Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/30

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22
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

fully instructed in all the measures necessary for such a war: to these was joined the artifice of certain dreams and visions that might pass for divine admonition: all which, added to the piety of his exhortations, gave him such credit with the pope, and several princes of Christendom, that he became in his own person the leader of a great army against the infidels, and was very instrumental for engaging, many others in the same design.

What a spirit was thus raised in Christendom among all sorts of men, cannot better be conceived than from the vast numbers of these warlike pilgrims; who, at the siege of Nice, are said to have consisted of 600,000 foot, and 1000,000 horse: and the success at first was answerable to the greatness of their numbers, the valour of their leaders, and the universal opinion of such a cause; for, beside several famous victories in the field, not to mention the towns of less importance, they took Nice, Antioch, and at last Jerusalem, where duke Godfrey was chosen king without competition. But zeal, with a mixture of enthusiasm, as I take this to have been, is a composition only fit for sudden enterprises, like a great ferment in the blood, giving double courage and strength for the time, until it sink and settle by nature into its old channel: for, in a few years, the piety of these adventurers began to slacken, and give way to faction and envy, the natural corruptions of all confederacies: however, to this spirit of devotion there succeeded a spirit of honour, which long continued the vein and humour of the times; and the Holy Land became either a school, wherein young princes went to learn the art of war; or a scene wherein they affected to show their valour, and gain reputation, when they were weary of peace at home.

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