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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

In the war with the Lollards he was once wounded


character Henry ranks above

most of the Plantagenets. He had no favourites and let no unjust acts be imputed to him. He was stern towards the great and careful for the common people; at his first word men could tell what they had to expect from him. The French were frightened at the keenness of his expression, but they reverenced his high spirit, his bravery and truthfulness. 'He transacts all his affairs himself; he considers them well before he undertakes them; he never does anything fruitlessly. He is free from excesses, and truthful: he never makes himself too familiar. On his face are visible dignity and supreme power.'[68] He possessed in full measure the bold impulses of his ancestors, their attention to the general affairs of Western Christendom. In the war with the Lollards he was once wounded; that he recovered from his wound was designated as the work of divine Providence, which had destined him to be the conqueror of the Holy Land. He informed himself about its state as it was then constituted under the Mameluke rule: a Chronicle of Jerusalem and a History of Godfrey of Bouillon were two of the books he loved most to read. And without doubt such an undertaking would have been the true means, if any such means were possible, of uniting more closely, by common undertakings successes and interests, the realms already bound together under one sceptre. The Ottomans had not yet extended themselves in the East with their full force: something might yet have been effected there; for the King of France
and England, who was yet young in years, a great future seemed to be at hand.

Sometimes it seems as though fortune were specially making a mock of man's frailty. In this fulness of power and of expectations, Henry V was attacked by a disease which men did not yet know how to cure and to which he succumbed. His heir was a boy, nine months old.

Of the two surviving brothers of the deceased King, the younger ruled England under the already established predominance of the Estates of the Realm, while the elder governed France with an increased participation on the part of the Estates: their efforts could only be directed towards preserving these kingdoms for their nephew Henry VI. We might almost wonder that this succeeded so well for a time: in the long run it was impossible. The feeling of French nationality, which had already met the victor himself with secret warnings, found its most wonderful expression in the Maid who revived in the French their old attachment to their native King and his divine right; the English, when she fell into their hands, with ungenerous hate inflicted on her the punishment of the Lollards: but the Valois King had already gained a firm footing. It was Charles VII who understood how to appease the enmity of Burgundy, and in unison with the great men of his kingdom to give his power a peculiar organisation corresponding to its character, so that he was able to oppose to the English troops better armed than their own, and make the restoration of a firm peace even desirable for them. But this reacted on England in two ways. The government, which was inclined for peace, fell into as bitter a quarrel as any that had hitherto taken place with the national bodies politic, which either did not recognise this necessity, or attributed the disasters incurred to bad management. The man most trusted by the King fell a victim to the public


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