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Chapter 48 How Gargantua set upon Picrochole within the rock Clermond, an_tterly defeated the army of the said Picrochole

  • Gargantua had the charge of the whole army, and his father Grangousier staye_n his castle, who, encouraging them with good words, promised great reward_nto those that should do any notable service. Having thus set forward, a_oon as they had gained the pass at the ford of Vede, with boats and bridge_peedily made they passed over in a trice. Then considering the situation o_he town, which was on a high and advantageous place, Gargantua thought fit t_all his council, and pass that night in deliberation upon what was to b_one. But Gymnast said unto him, My sovereign lord, such is the nature an_omplexion of the French, that they are worth nothing but at the first push.
  • Then are they more fierce than devils. But if they linger a little and b_earied with delays, they'll prove more faint and remiss than women. M_pinion is, therefore, that now presently, after your men have taken breat_nd some small refection, you give order for a resolute assault, and that w_torm them instantly. His advice was found very good, and for effectuatin_hereof he brought forth his army into the plain field, and placed th_eserves on the skirt or rising of a little hill. The monk took along with hi_ix companies of foot and two hundred horsemen well armed, and with grea_iligence crossed the marsh, and valiantly got upon the top of the gree_illock even unto the highway which leads to Loudun. Whilst the assault wa_hus begun, Picrochole's men could not tell well what was best, to issue ou_nd receive the assailants, or keep within the town and not to stir. Himsel_n the mean time, without deliberation, sallied forth in a rage with th_avalry of his guard, who were forthwith received and royally entertained wit_reat cannon-shot that fell upon them like hail from the high grounds on whic_he artillery was planted. Whereupon the Gargantuists betook themselves unt_he valleys, to give the ordnance leave to play and range with the large_cope.
  • Those of the town defended themselves as well as they could, but their sho_assed over us without doing us any hurt at all. Some of Picrochole's men tha_ad escaped our artillery set most fiercely upon our soldiers, but prevaile_ittle; for they were all let in betwixt the files, and there knocked down t_he ground, which their fellow-soldiers seeing, they would have retreated, bu_he monk having seized upon the pass by the which they were to return, the_an away and fled in all the disorder and confusion that could be imagined.
  • Some would have pursued after them and followed the chase, but the mon_ithheld them, apprehending that in their pursuit the pursuers might los_heir ranks, and so give occasion to the besieged to sally out of the tow_pon them. Then staying there some space and none coming against him, he sen_he Duke Phrontist to advise Gargantua to advance towards the hill upon th_eft hand, to hinder Picrochole's retreat at that gate; which Gargantua di_ith all expedition, and sent thither four brigades under the conduct o_ebast, which had no sooner reached the top of the hill, but they me_icrochole in the teeth, and those that were with him scattered.
  • Then charged they upon them stoutly, yet were they much endamaged by thos_hat were upon the walls, who galled them with all manner of shot, both fro_he great ordnance, small guns, and bows. Which Gargantua perceiving, he wen_ith a strong party to their relief, and with his artillery began to thunde_o terribly upon that canton of the wall, and so long, that all the strengt_ithin the town, to maintain and fill up the breach, was drawn thither. Th_onk seeing that quarter which he kept besieged void of men and competen_uards, and in a manner altogether naked and abandoned, did most magnanimousl_n a sudden lead up his men towards the fort, and never left it till he ha_ot up upon it, knowing that such as come to the reserve in a conflict brin_ith them always more fear and terror than those that deal about them wit_hey hands in the fight.
  • Nevertheless, he gave no alarm till all his soldiers had got within the wall,
  • except the two hundred horsemen, whom he left without to secure his entry.
  • Then did he give a most horrible shout, so did all these who were with him,
  • and immediately thereafter, without resistance, putting to the edge of th_word the guard that was at that gate, they opened it to the horsemen, wit_hom most furiously they altogether ran towards the east gate, where all th_urlyburly was, and coming close upon them in the rear overthrew all thei_orces.
  • The besieged, seeing that the Gargantuists had won the town upon them, an_hat they were like to be secure in no corner of it, submitted themselves unt_he mercy of the monk, and asked for quarter, which the monk very nobl_ranted to them, yet made them lay down their arms; then, shutting them u_ithin churches, gave order to seize upon all the staves of the crosses, an_laced men at the doors to keep them from coming forth. Then opening that eas_ate, he issued out to succour and assist Gargantua. But Picrochole, thinkin_t had been some relief coming to him from the town, adventured more forwardl_han before, and was upon the giving of a most desperate home-charge, whe_argantua cried out, Ha, Friar John, my friend Friar John, you are come in _ood hour. Which unexpected accident so affrighted Picrochole and his men,
  • that, giving all for lost, they betook themselves to their heels, and fled o_ll hands. Gargantua chased them till they came near to Vaugaudry, killing an_laying all the way, and then sounded the retreat.