That the Prince of Condies attempt of three things for a proud face vpon the beginning of his enterprise, wher∣at the Catholikes at the first were astonied.
MAns courage vrged by necessitie doth in∣crease,* as also his former apprehensions beeing some what quailed, he standeth in the lesse feare to hazarde himselfe vnto whatsoeuer difficult and dangerous at∣tempts, as it then happened to the Pro∣testants. For they seeing the naked swoord threatning of them, resolued to saue themselues rather with the arme than the legge and therefore winking at sundrie respects thought it best valiantlie to beginne. Their first and principall act was a gene∣rall taking of armes vppon one selfe daie, which bred great astonish∣ment euen to some of their owne parte, who were ignoraunt of the matter, & much terrour to the Catholiks, who peraduenture 〈◊〉 if they had begun first, haue dealt more rigorously thā ye Protestants did: neuerthelesse in the meane time it grieued them to see so many townes taken, which they dissembled: albeit some of them sayde, The brethren haue now taken vs tardie, but the daie will come that wee shall haue our reuenge, wherein they shewed themselues as good as their wordes: For before the yeere was ouer, they gaue them to weete that they had, sayde but the truth. Some helde opinion that so many aduertisementes as were to bee giuen to the Prouinces, woulde breede the discouerie of the enterprise, ho wheit that happe∣ned in fewe places, neuerthelesse in those of most importaunce: much more vnpossible is it in these dayes so to proceede in re∣specte of mannes indiscretion, the which is such as it can con∣ceale nothing. Wee may note in auncient time examples in manner much lyke vnto this (excepte that the one did •ende Page 395 to offend, the other to defend, as when Mithridates within his do∣minions vpon a lyke daie procured the slaughter of fortie thousand Romaines. Likewise when three score townes of Greece were by a certayne daie appointed by the Romaine Consul seazed & sacked by his legions without anie fore knowledge or perceuerance of one or other vntill the verie time of the execution thereof. But such acti∣ons happen but seldome, by reason that they which haue once beene caught and scaped agayne, doe grow so vigilant and suspitious that euen the wagging of euery leafe doth waken them, and each shadow make them to start.
The second notable action consisted in that with lesse than fiue * hundred horse, they durst aduenture vpon six thousand Suitzers, and make them to retyre. True it is that according to their platforme * they should haue bene more, viz. a certayn number of harquebuziers on horsebacke, who fayled them, not in comming into the fielde, but of comming in time to the place appoynted, so as in respect of theyr small power the Captaines of the Protestants stayed and duist not aduenture vpon a generall charge against this greate troope which seemed a forrest. Moreouer, theyr great race that they had runne, had almost tyred all their horses, and yet haue I heard them affirme that had their troope of Picardie which consisted of an hundred and fiftie horse come in time they would haue hazarded the field, in making their harquebuziers to alight, and charging with their squadrons on three sides. Howbeit although they had so done, yet had the euent bene doubtfull. All passed in skirmishes, wherin some of each part were slaine and wounded. I haue heard that this great battayle set a countenance worthie Suitzers: for without any feare they stood fast a while, and then retyred close still turning their head as dooth the wilde Bore whome the hunters doe pursue, vntill that seeing no lykelyhoode to force them, they gaue them ouer.
The third deed was the occupying of the towne of Saint Denis, and two other small villages at hande which the Prince of Condie* caused to be entrenched, where he planted himselfe with al his pow∣er to laie siege to that side of Paris. All these effects comming into consideration euen of the best Captaines of the Catholikes, they grew astonied, as imagining that the Prince did spedely expect some great force, and had verie good intelligences as well in Paris as in the Court. Otherwise (sayd they) being so weake, he neuer durst come so boldly to lodge so neere vs, neither would the Admirall (being a most warie and good warriour) without some hidden groundes haue coun∣sayled Page 396 it. This made them to forbeare vntill they had assembled their power. Diuerse there were that thought it hard (conside∣ring that theyr strength was good as consisting of almost ten thou∣sand men) to suffer this small handfull of people by theyr dailie and continuall skirmishes to face them euen to their gates, thinking it a great shame that an Ant shoulde bes•ege an Elephant. But in my opinion the others considerations were the wiser, who affir∣med it to be a manifest token of follie, by a battayle which is vncer∣tayne agayust fooles (for so they tearmed vs) who nowe haue no counsayle but despayre, or treasure, but their horse and armour, to hazarde the whole bodie of the state, which is as it were enclosed within the walles of Paris: also that hauing in their handes so sa∣cred a matter as the kings person, they must doe all things surelie: and that shortly they shoulde perceiue most honourable fruites pro∣ceede of this aduice. Thus betweene the wisedome of some and the rashnesse of others, there was as it were a discordant concorde be∣tweene them for a fewe daies, yea, euen vntill the greate game was playde, which was so rude, that the Protestants were forced to for∣sake theyr lodgings: He therefore yt vpon this example shoulde goe about to builde auie greate or aduenturous purposes might perad∣uenture commit an incurable errour: For the matters which wee would compare doe not alwayes in euerie parte resemble: besides that these accidents are such as it is much if a whole age bringeth forth two or three.