The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/A Notable Oration of Zisca to his Soldiers

A Notable Oration of Zisca to his Soldiers.

Brethren! be ye not aggrieved against me, neither accuse him who hath sought your health and safeguard. The victories which ye have obtained under my conduct are yet fresh in memory, neither have I brought you at any time unto any place, from whence you have not come victors. You are become famous and rich, and I, for your sake, have lost my sight, and dwell in darkness. Nothing have I gotten by all these fortunate battles, but only a vain name. For you have I fought, and for you have I vanquished; neither do I repent me of my travails, neither is my blindness grievous unto me, but only that I cannot provide for you according to my accustomed manner: neither do I persecute them of Prague for mine own cause, for it is your blood that they thirst and seek for, and not mine. It were but small pleasure for them to destroy me, being now an old man and blind; it is your valiantness and stout stomachs which they fear. Either must you or they perish; who, while they seem to lie in wait for me, do seek after your lives. You must rather fear civil wars than foreign; and civil sedition ought first to be avoided. We will subdue Prague, and banish the seditious citizens, before the emperor shall have any news of this sedition. And then, having but a few of his faction left, we may, with the less fear, look for it, better than if these doubtful citizens of Prague were still in our camp. But, because ye shall accuse me no more, I give you free liberty to do what you will. If it please you to suffer them of Prague to live in quietness, I will not be against it, so that there be no treason wrought. If you determine to have war, I am also ready. Look, which ever part you will incline unto, Zisca will be your aid and helper.

The hearts of the soldiers altered by the oration of Zisca.When he had spoken these words, the soldiers' minds were changed, and wholly determined to make wars, so that they ran, by-and-by, to take up their armour and weapons, to run unto the walls, to provoke their enemies to fight for the gates of the city. Zisca, in the mean time, prepared all things ready for the assault. There is, a little from Pilsen, a certain village named Rochezana. In this place there was a child born of poor and base parentage, whose name was John; he came to Prague, and got his living there by begging, and learned grammar and logic. When he came to man's estate, he became the schoolmaster of a noble man's child; and, forasmuch as he was of an excellent wit and ready tongue, he was received into the college of the poor; and, last of all, being made priest, he began to preach the word of God to the citizens of Prague, and was named Johannes de Rochezana, by the name of the town where he was born. Peace between Zisca and Prague.This man grew to be of great name and authority in the town of Prague. Whereupon, when Zisca besieged Prague, he, by the consent of the citizens, went out into the camp, and reconciled Zisca again unto the city.

The emperor gald to be reconciled with Zisca.When the emperor perceived that all things came to pass according to Zisca's will and mind, and that upon him alone the whole state of Bohemia did depend, he sought privy means to reconcile and get Zisca into his favour, promising him the governance of the whole kingdom, the guiding of all his hosts and armies, and great yearly revenues, if he would proclaim him king, and cause the cities to be sworn unto him. The death of Zisca.Upon which conditions, when Zisca, for the performance of the covenants, went unto the emperor, being in his journey at the castle of Priscovia, he was stricken with sickness and died. A. D. 1424.

Is is reported, that when he was demanded, being sick, in what place he would be buried; he commanded the skin to be pulled off from his dead carcase, and the flesh to be cast unto the fowls and beasts, and that a drum should be made of his skin, which they should use in their battles: The words of Zisca at his death.affirming, that as soon as their enemies should hear the sound of that drum, they would not abide, but take their flight. The Taborites, despising all other images, yet set up the picture of Zisca over the gates of the city.