chapter
284 Pages

GEOFFREY DE VINSAUF'S ITINERARY OF RICHARD I. AND OTHERS, TO THE HOLY LAND.

HERE BEGINS THE ITINERARY OF RICHARD KING

OF THE ENGLISH TO THE HOLY LAND,

Urban III. held the government of the Apostolic See, and Frederic was emperor of Germany; when Isaac was reigning at Constantinople, Philip in :France, Henry in England, and 'Villiam in Sicily, the Lord's hand fell heavy upon his l)eople, if indeed it is right to call those his people, whom unclean-· ness of life and habits, and the foulness of their vices, had alienated from his favour. Their licentiousness had indeed become so flagrant that they all of them, casting aside the veil of shame, rushed headlong, in the face of day, into crime. It would be a long task and incompatible with our pre~ent purpose to disclose the scenes of blood, robbery, and adultery, which disgraced them, for this work of mine is a history of deeds and not a moral treatise: but when the ancient enemy had diffused, far and near, the spirit of corruption, he more especially took possession of the land of Syria, so that other nations now drew an example of uncleanness from the same source which formerly had supplied them with the elements of religion. For this cause, therefore, the Lord seeing that the land of his birth and place of his passion had sunk into an abyss of turpitude, treated with neglect his inheritance, and suffered Saladin, the rod of his wrath, to put forth his fury to the destruction of that stiff-necked people; for he would rather that the Holy Laud should, for a short time,

ITINERARY OF RICHARD I. [n. I. C. 2. be subject to the profane rites of the heathen, than that it snould any longer be possessed hy those men, whom no regard for what is right could deter from things unlawful. The approach of future destruction was foretold by divers events: famine, earthquakes, and frequent eclipses, both of the sun and of the moon. And that strong wind also, which astronomers prophesied would spring out of the conjunction of the planets, became changed to the signification of this event. It was a mighty wind indeed; it shook the four cardinal points of the earth, and forcshewed that the whole of the globe was about to be stirred up to troubles and wars.