Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Six Burgesses of Calais

The blog BibliOdyssey, one which awakes in me a sense of wonder, has compiled The Comic History of England. One of the engravings particularly calls a certain passage:

The Siege of Calais, or rather the blockade (for it was shut up both by land and sea), was the most memorable, as it withstood the efforts of Edward the Third a whole year, and was not terminated at last but by famine and extreme misery; the gallantry of Eustace de St. Pierre*, who first offered himself a victim for his fellow-citizens, has ranked his name with heroes.

* Eustace de St. Pierre (1287 - 1371), leader of the six burghers of Calais who, bareheaded and barefoot, with hopes around their necks, presented themselves to Edward III of England as hostages for the safety of Calais; they were pardoned at the instance of Queen Philippa.

From The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, by Laurence Sterne