The Life of Godfrey of Bulloigne

by Edward Fairfax. An excerpt taken from the book:


or the


Done into English Heroical Verse,
By Edward Fairfax, Gent.

Together with the LIFE of the said

Licensed to be Reprinted.
Sept. 18. 1686. Ro.L'Estrange.

Printed by J.M. for Ric. Chiswell, Ric. Bentley,
Tho. Sawbridge, and Geo. Wells,



THIS Translation (over and a-
bove the Dignity of the Sub-
ject, and the Excellency of the
Morals) is one of the most correct
Pieces, perhaps, for the Turn of the
Verse; The apt and Harmonious Dis-
position of the Words, and the strength
of Thought, that we have any where
extant of this Kind, in the English
Tongue. I speak this after great Judg-
es, and without assuming to my single
self the Honour of doing Right to the
I recommended it to the Book-seller,
for the common Benefit, both of Him-
self, and of the World: the former,
with a respect to his Trade, the other,
with a regard to the Use and Service
of my Countrymen. I go no snip with
the Stationer; but I am willing to ven-
ture my Reputation upon This Testi-
mony, and I reckon my self secure that
I shall lose no Credit by the Recom-
mendation. If the Book-seller finds
His Account in it, the Reader, I am
sure, cannot fail: and these two Ends
are all that's aim'd at by this Pre-
Ro. L'Estrange.







That Expedition of the Ar-
gonautes, who went into
Asia to fetch the Golden
Fleece, is much celebrated by Poets;
but the Expedition of the Christian
Princes, into the said Country, to
redeem the Golden Fleece and Patri-
mony of the Lamb of God, is much
more to be solemnized; who, not
for Gain, nor Ambition, but for
the Propagation of Christian Reli-
gion, and Vindication of the Holy
Land, undertook this long, difficult,
and dangerous Enterprise: of whom
the Poet seems long before to have
conceived a Prophecy, when he
Alter erit tum Typhis, & altera que
vebat Argo
Delectos Heroas.--------
In the Year therefore 1096. Pope
Urban the second, desirous to enlarge
the Christian Faith, caused to be pro-
claimed a Voyage against the Infidels
and Saracens, which possessed the
Holy Land, called Palestine; and
this, at the instance of one Peter the
Hermit, chief Author and Abettor
of this Voyage, called the Croysade,
because such as entred their Names
for this Enterprise, were marked
with a Red Cross, upon the right
Shoulder; making this vow, either
to die, or return Conquerors. The
number of them that were gathered
together, for this purpose, was al-
most infinite; for of all Nations,
Men of all Qualities, assembled to-
gether, drawn on with an emulation
of Piety, and Honour.
When the Army was met at
Chalcedon in Asia, it was mustered
to be Six hundred thousand Foot-
men, and One hundred thousand
Horsemen; all which went volunta-
rily upon their own charge, for the
Honour of Christian Religion.
Of the French, (that I may say
nothing of other Nations) there
went Hugh the Great, Brother to
Philip King of France; two Ro-
berts, the one Duke of Normandy,
and the other Earl of Flanders;
Stephen Earl of Chartres, Godfrey,
Eustace, and Baldwin, the Sons of
Eustace, Earl of Bulloigne, a Sea-
town in Picardy. The received opi-
nion is, That Godfrey was Captain
General of this Army: it is questi-
oned whether he was Duke of Lor-
raine: but this is for certain, That
he was descended of the antient and
Illustrious House of Lorraine, That
he was Duke of Bouillon, and Earl
of Bulloigne aforesaid; the memora-
ble Notes of which are upon record
as yet. in that he sold Mets (a chief
Town in Lorraine) to the Inhabi-
tants thereof: and the Dutchy of
Bouillon, to Hubert Bishop of Liege,
to furnish himself with Money for
this Holy Expedition.
And here we may observe the Er-
ror of some about the Name and
Title of Godfrey, grown upon the
likeness of the word: for there is
Bologne a City in Italy, commonly
called Bononia, with which, in this
place, we have nothing to do: and
there is Boulogne a Sea-Town in Pi-
cardy, famous amongst us for being
besieged by H. the Eighth, of which
our Godfrey seemeth to have been
Earl; and thirdly, there is Bouillon,
adjoining to the Bishoprick of Liege,
of which Godfrey was stiled Duke.
The first Enterprise that the Chri-
stians undertook, in their entrance
into Asia, was the Siege of Nicea, a
City in Bithynia, which is yet fa-
mous for the Nicene Council; and
that they won from the Turks, in
the space of 26. days: after which
they subdued other Provinces in A-
sia, as Lycaonia, Cilicia, Syria, Me-
sopotamia, and Comagena. In the
Year 1098. they won the City of
Antiochia, upon the River O-
rontes, after a difficult Siege of
nine Months. At last they came to
Jerusalem, which at that time the
Saracens held, having newly recover-
ed it from the Turks, after the
Turks had possessed it eight Years.
The Christians won this Holy City
from the Saracens, after thirty eight
days Siege in the Year 1099. in
which they found so much difficulty,
that they were about to leave the
Siege, had they not been animated
to a new Assault, by a Prodigious
and Miraculous Sight which appear-
ed from the Mount Olivet, which by the
shaking of a glittering Shield, gave
them hope of Victorious Success.
The chief Honour of this Con-
quest was given to Godfrey, because
he of all others had raised a Tower of
Wood, near the Wall of the City,
and from thence cast a Bridge upon
the Wall, by which the Christian
Souldiers made themselves Masters
of the Rampire, and so entred the
Town. Hereupon by the consent
of all the Princes, Godfrey of Bouil-
lon was chosen King of Jerusalem:
who (shewing himself as full of Pi-
ety as Valour) refused to be crown-
ed with a Crown of Gold, saying,
That it was not fit that any Man
should wear a Crown of Gold in
that City, where Christ the King
of Kings had worn a Crown of
Thorns: and thereupon made a
vow to hold the Kingdom of Jeru-
salem, and Syria, of the Pope, as a
Feudatary Prince to the Church of
Rome. But this perhaps was, to
make some honourable amends for
a Fault he had committed, when be-
ing in the Service of Henry the Em-
perour, in his Wars against the
Pope, he was the first that scaled the
Walls of Rome, and there planted
his victorious Ensign. So that he
may be famous amongst Christian
Princes, in that he conquered both
Turk and Pope.
The Provinces were divided a-
mongst the chief Princes; Baldwin
Brother to Godfrey possessed Cilicia,
Comagena, and Mesopotamia, and
had the Title of Count of Edessa, a
City in Comagena, which is the
same, that in the Story of Tobias,
is called Rages: Tancred obtained
the Government of Tiberia, and
Boemund of Antioch.
Godfrey, after he had inlarged his
Victories, with the Conquest of di-
vers Cities and Places, in the Land
of Palestine, reigned one Year
King of Jerusalem, and then passed
to the Heavenly Jerusalem.
His Brother Baldwin succeeded
him, who increased the Kingdom
by the Conquest of divers famous
Cities; as Antipatris, Caesarea, Pto-
lemais, Triplis, Laodicea, and Car
of Mesopotamia, and the Island Pha-
ros in Egypt: He reigned 18. Years,
and left his Successour Baldwin de
Burgo, his Cousin German. In the
Reign of this King was instituted
the Order of the Knights of Jeru-
solem, who commonly were called
Knights of St John, and afterwards
Knights of Rhodes: who for many
Years defended Christendom a-
gainst the Turks and Saracens, and
won many Islands in the Mediterra-
nean Sea: but since that time the
Power of the Turk prevailing, and
those Countries being lost, these
Knights hardly maintain themselves
within the Straights of the Island
Malta. About this time also was
the Order of the Templers institu-
ted, to be Champions for the Holy
War: but their Riot brought them
into contempt, and so they were
dissolved. This second Baldwin had
great Conquests against the Turks
and Saracens of Egypt; winning
from them Damascus and Tirus.
He dyed in the Year 1131. when
he had reigned Thirteen Years: af-
ter him grew Dissentions amongst
the Christian Princes, so that the
Kings of Jerusalem fell from their
wonted Piety and Prosperity toge-
ther; till at last in the Year 1188.
the Sultan of Egypt recovered it
wholly again, and expelled or de-
stroyed the Christians, when they
had enjoyed it 88. Years, after the
first Conquest.
So Godfrey died in the Year
1100. the fifteenth of July, and
was buried in the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre; upon whose Tomb
this is found written,

First published along with his essay on the Allegory of the Poem four hundred years ago (and five hundred years since Godfrey himself died in Jerusalem), the preceding "Life of Godfrey" written by Edward Fairfax at the close of the 1500's was copied from the 1687 edition of his translation of "Gerusalemme Liberata" (Tasso, 1581). It is of interest as an example of sixteenth century historical literature, but not at all as a source of twelfth century history. This e-text of the brief "Life of Godfrey" was prepared by Hugh of Bowen.