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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51

Richard I. (1189—1199)

Richard I. (1189—1199).

Henry was succeeded by his dutiful son Richard I.. This man was called Lion Heart, by reason of his habits of violence and brawling; while his fellow-crusader, Philip of page 28 France, was known as the Lamb, his manners being courteous and conciliatory. Richard was a mere atrocious blood-shedder, and nothing else. He had plenty of that animal courage which is still to be had in such abundance at the rate of eighteenpence a-day. He was neither statesman not general. In both these respects he was greatly inferior to the infidel Saladin. He put up every office in the State for sale, in order to raise money for his mad expedition to the Holy Land. His subsequent ransom cost the nation some £300,000—an immense sum for such a worthless bravo.

He appropriately met his death in a petty brawl before the Castle of Chaluz, whose owner had acquired some treasure-trove which Richard coveted. Prowling round the walls with a mercenary band, he was hit by an archer, whose father and two brothers he had killed. On his death-bed Richard is said to have pardoned his slayer; but in point of fact he was flayed alive, while the rest of the garrison were hanged to a man. Sir Walter Scott, and others who have converted this merciless and purposeless scourge of humanity into a hero, have truly much to account for. He himself formed a much more reasonable judgment when, speaking comprehensively of his house, he said, "We came of the devil, and we shall go to the devil."