Measures Taken by EdwardThis was in an eminent degree the age of chivalry; and Edward, who had himself gained renown in Palestine, availed himself of that imposing system to give greater spirit to his intended expedition. He published a manifesto, declaring his intention of bestowing knighthood upon his son, the Prince of Wales; and he caused it to be proclaimed over England, that as many young esquires as had a right to claim knighthood, should appear at Westminster on the Feast of Pentecost, and receive that honour along with the son of their sovereign, after which they should accompany him in his Scottish war. On the day appointed, three hundred young gentlemen, the flower of the English youth, with a brilliant assemblage of pages and attendants, crowded before the king palace; which being too small for so great a concourse, orders were given to cut down the trees in the orchard of the New Temple.
In this ample space the novices pitched their pavilions; and the king, with a splendid munificence, distributed to them from his royal wardrobe, the scarlet cloth, fine linen, and'embroidered belts, made use of on such occasions. Habited in these, they kept their vigil and watched their arms in the Chapel of the Temple, whilst the young prince performed the same ceremony in the abbey church at Westminster.
Next morning Edward, with great pomp, knighted his son in the palace; and the prince, after having received the belt and spurs, came to the abbey church to confer the same honour upon the young esquires who were there waiting for him, with an immense concourse of spectators. This crowd was the cause of giving additional solemnity to the spectacle, for the prince was obliged, from the press, to mount the steps of the high altar; and on this sacred spot, amid the assembled chivalry of England, he conferred the rank of knighthood upon his three hundred companions. He and his companions then proceeded to the banquet, at which two swans, ornamented with golden net-work, emblems in those days of constancy and truth, were brought in. Upon their being placed on the table, the king rose and made a solemn vow to God and to the Swans, that he would set out for Scotland, there avenge the death of John Comyn, punish the treachery of the Scots, and afterwards embark for the holy war, with the resolution to die in Palestine.