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To dig about the Lis to turn the water.
But what, sirs,—we have fought enough for that.
Why still the more we fight the more we lose ;
For every battle that our White-Hoods win
But gives a warrant to this Van den Bosch
To spoil us of our substance.- Welcome, sirs.
Enter two Deans of the Crafts.
Friends, have ye heard the news ?
I know not, sir;
If the news be, we owe the White-Hoods pay
For giving us a hosier for our liege, -
'Tis old, sir, old.
No, this is what you'll owe them;
A ready market for your rats and mice.
Corn is already risen cent. per cent.,
Though many question if the news be true.
Our John of Launoy's slain, with all his men,
And the Earl's troops possess the Quatre-Metiers.
There's a fair end to our supplies from Brabant.
But how came this to pass ?
'Twas briefly thus : Beside Nivelle the Earl and Launoy met. Six thousand voices shouted with the last, 'Ghent the good Town! Ghent and the Chaperons
But from that force thrice-told there came the cry
Of 'Flanders with the Lion of the Bastard !'
So then the battle join'd, and they of Ghent
Gave back and open'd after three hours' fight,
And hardly flying had they gain'd Nivelle,
When the Earl's vanguard came upon their rear
Ere they could close the gate, and enter'd with them.
Then all were slain save Launoy and his guard,
Who barricaded in the minster tower
Made desperate resistance, whereupon
The Earl wax'd wrothful and bade fire the church.
'Twas done,—and presently was heard a yell,
And after that the rushing of the flames !
Then Launoy from the steeple cried aloud
• A ransom!' and held up his coat to sight
With florins filled, but they without but laugh'd
And mock'd him, saying, 'Come amongst us, John,
And we will give thee welcome; make a leap;
Come out at window, John.'— With that the flames
up and reach'd him, and he drew his sword,
Cast his rich coat behind him in the fire,
And shouting 'Ghent, ye slaves !' leapt freely forth,
When they below received him on their spears.
And so died John of Launoy.
A brave end. 'Tis certain we must now make peace betimes; The city will be starved else-Will be, said I?
Starvation is upon us : want and woe
Stand round about and stare us in the face;
And what will be the end ?
Believe me, sirs,
So long as Van den Bosch bears rule in Ghent,
You'll not have peace; for well wots he no terms
That spare his life will pacify the Earl.
Sirs, if we make no peace but with the will
Of them whose heads must answer it, woe to us!
For we must fight for ever; sirs, I say,
We must put down this Van den Bosch, and up
The men that with the Earl stand fair and free,
Who shall take counsel for the city's weal.
Then, friends, stand fast by me,
And as we're all agreed to give no denier
Of this five hundred marks, I will speak out,
And let him know our minds.
Enter VAN DEN Bosch, FRANS ACKERMAN, and the LORD OP
Occo, with a retinue of White-Hoods.
Good morrow, worthy friends ; good morrow, all !
'Tis a sweet sight to look on, in these times,
A score of true and trusty friends to Ghent
So fresh and hearty and so well provided.
Ah, sirs, you know not, you, who lies afield
When nights are cold, with frogs for bed-fellows;
You know not, you, who fights and sheds his blood,
And fasts and fills his belly with the east wind !
Poor souls and virtuous citizens they are !
'Tis they that keep the franchises of Ghent.
But what! they must be fed; they must have meat !
Sirs, have ye brought me these five hundred marks
That they demanded ?
Master Van den Bosch,
Look round about; as many as stand here
Are of one mind, and this is what they think :
The company of White-Hoods, sometime past,
Were, as thou say’st, brave citizens and true,
And they fought stoutly for our franchises ;
But they were afterward as beasts of prey,
That, tasting blood, grow greedy and break loose
And turn upon their keepers : so at length
The city, like a camp in mutiny,
Saw nothing else to walk her streets unharm'd
But these your free-companions. They at will
Enter'd our houses, lived upon our means
In riotry, made plunder of our goods,
Lay with our wives and daughters; and if once
Some hardy fool made bold to lift his hand
For safeguard of his own, he met his death.
Now this we have resolved to bear no longer,
Nor will we give our substance so to feed
The lewd excesses of your company.
How now, Myk Steensel ! thou art bold of tongue ;
I marvel thou shouldst speak so like a traitor
In presence of such honest, virtuous men,
As these thou seest about me. How can I,
Think you, give warranty that some good soul,
Inflamed with anger at thy foolish speech,
May not cut out thy tongue and slit thy nose
For uttering of such treasons—how, indeed ?
Thou think'st by this to hound thy pack upon me;
But know, thy reign is o'er, and I defy thee.
Thy brother Launoy with his men-at-arms
Will never answer to thy bidding more ;
And if thou dare do violence to me,
Thou shalt be fain to take as long a leap
As his was at Nivelle.
Oh, ho! my masters ! 'Tis this then that emboldens you, this tale Brought by Van Borselen, who ran away Before the fight began, and calls it lost That so his cowardice should stand excused; For which his false report and foul desertion I have already had him gibbeted. Bring not yourselves, I pray you for your honours, With the like nimbleness to a grave i’ the air. I say, sirs, bring me these five hundred marks, And that or ere to-morrow's sun go downFive hundred marks—I'll bate you not a scute. Ye slothful, hide-blown, gormandising niggards! What! all must starve but you, that lie a-bed And lack a day of fast to purge your grossness. What, know ye who I am ? Are ye
awake? Or sleeping off the wine of yesternight,