Sunday, June 19, 2005
- 1066 p. 122 & 123
- Wizard of Oz 156 & 157
- Narcotics Pamphlet
- Self Mastery Secrets
- It's Academic 201, 116, 101, &194.
- Book of Spells 116, 121, 118
"The Normans are good fighters," Harold told his troops, "valiant on foot and on horseback, and well used to battle. All is lost if they once penetrate our ranks."
Across the valley now came the Normans in their thousands, an awesome sight. Sunlight flashed from their armor, that Saturday morning in October. High above the Norman ranks fluttered the banner of the pope, as though telling the English that God Himself came to fight against them today.
In Wace's account:As soon as the two armies were in full view of each other, great noise and tumult arose. You might hear the sounds of many trumpets, of bugles, and of horns; and then you might see men ranging themselves in line, lifting their shields, raising their lances, bending their bows, handling their arrows, ready for assault and defense.
The English stood ready to their post, the Normans still moved on; and when they drew near, the English were to be seen stirring to and fro; were going and coming; troops ranging themselves in order; some with their color rising, others turning pale; some making ready their arms, others raising their shields; the brave man rousing himself to fight, the coward trembling at the approach of danger.
In the midst of the Norman host rode Taillefer, the minstrel, poet to the Norman court, Taillefer "who sang right well, riding mounted on a swift horse, before the Duke, singing of Charlemagne and of Roland, of Olivier and the peers who died in Roncevalles." In the tense moment just before the start of the battle that would change English history, Taillefer the minstrel approached his master Duke William.
"A boon, sire!" he cried. "I have long served you, and you owe me for all such service. Today, so please you, you shall repay it. I ask and beseech you earnestly, allow me to strike the first blow in the battle!"
"I grant it, Duke William answered.
So, to the astonishment of the English, a minstrel rode out of the Norman ranks, singing lustily, tossing his sword high in the air and catching it again with a juggler's skill. He spurred his horse to a gallop, up the steep hill toward the English line, and struck an Englishman dead with the first thrust of his lance.
Then he drew his sword back and struck another, crying out, "Come on, come on! What do ye, sirs, lay on, lay on!"
An instant later Taillefer disappeared beneath the blows of English battle-axes and was seen alive no more. The battle had been joined!
1 Excepting, of course, children's books and biographies.