The Normans Close Ranks on the
Duke William had
taken his place by his standard...
"Then those who
kept close guard by him and rode where he rode, being about a
thousand armed men, came and rushed with closed ranks upon the
English, and, with the weight of their good horses, and the
blows the knights gave, broke the press of the enemy, and
scattered the crowd before them, the good Duke leading them on
Many pursued and
many fled; many were the Englishmen who fell around, and were
trampled under the horses, crawling upon the earth, and not
able to rise.
Many of the richest and noblest men fell in the rout, but
still the English rallied in places, smote down those whom
they reached, and maintained the combat the best they could,
beating down the men and killing the horses. One Englishman
watched the Duke, and plotted to kill him; he would have
struck him with his lance, but he could not, for the Duke
struck him first, and felled him to the earth.
Loud was now the clamor and great the slaughter; many a soul
then quitted the body it inhabited. The living marched over
the heaps of dead, and each side was weary of striking. He
charged on who could, and he who could no longer strike still
pushed forward. The strong struggled with the strong; some
failed, others triumphed; the cowards fell back, the brave
pressed on; and sad was his fate who fell in the midst, for he
had little chance of rising again; and many in truth fell who
never rose at all, being crushed under the throng.