Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/91

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83
STEPHEN.

vantage. For, Lewis the Young, king of France, was lately divorced from his wife Eleanor; who, as the French writers relate, bore a great contempt and hatred to her husband, and had long desired such a separation. Other authors give her not so fair a character: but whatever might be the real cause, the pretext was consanguinity in the fourth degree. Henry was content to accept this lady with all her faults, and in her right became duke of Aquitain, and earl of Poitou, very considerable provinces, added to his other dominions.

But the two kings of France and England began to apprehend much danger from the sudden greatness of a young ambitious prince; and their interests were jointly concerned to check his growth. Duke Henry was now ready to sail for England, in a condition to assert his title upon more equal terms; when the king of France, in conjunction with Eustace, king Stephen's son, and Geoffry, the duke's own brother, suddenly entered into his dominions with a mighty army; took the castle of Neumarchè by storm, and laid siege to that of Angers. The duke, by this incident, was forced to lay aside his thoughts of England, and marching boldly toward the enemy, resolved to relieve the besieged; but finding they had already taken the castle, he thought it best to make a diversion, by carrying the war into the enemy's country; where he left all to the mercy of his soldiers, surprised and burnt several castles, and made great devastations wherever he came. This proceeding answered the end for which it was designed; the king of France thought he had already done enough for his honour, and began to grow weary of a ruinous war, which was likely to be pro-

tracted.
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