Observations of Fountainbleau (guards' dress)

Seing I have now mentioned the guarde, I will make some large relation thereof according as I informed my selfe partly at the French Court, and partly by some conference that I have had since my arrivall in England, with my worthy and learned friend M. Laurence Whitaker.
The French guard consisteth partly of French, partly of Scots, and partly of Switzers. Of the French Guarde The French there are three rankes : The first is the Regiment of the guard. which consisteth of sixteene hundred foote, Musketeers, Harquebushers and Pikemen, which waite always by turns, two hundred at a time before the Loure Gate in Paris, or before the Kings house wheresoever he lyeth. The second bee the Archers, which are under the Captaine of the Gate, and waite in the very Gate, whereof there be about fiftie. The third sort bee the Gard of the body, whereof there are foure hundred, but one hundred of them be Scots. These are Archers and 600 Switzers.
Of the Switzers, there is a Regiment of five hundred, which waite before the Gate by turnes with the French Regiment, and one hundred more who carie onely Halberts and weare swords, who waite in the Hall of the Kings house, where soever he lyeth. The Archers of the Garde of the body weare long-skirted halfe-sleeved Coates made of white taffatie Cloth, but their skirts mingled with Red and Greene, and the bodies of the Cotes trimmed before and behind with Mayles of plaine Silver, but not so thicke as the rich Coates of the English Garde. The Switzers weare no Coates, but doublets and hose of panes, intermingled with Red and Yellow, and some with Blew, trimmed with long Puffes of Yellow and Blewe Sarcenet rising up betwixt the Panes, besides Codpieces of the like colours, which Codpiece because it is by that merrie French writer Rablais stiled the first and principall piece of Armour, the Switzers do weare it as a significant Symbole of the assured service they are to doe to the French King in his Warres, and of the maine burden of the most laborious imployments which lye upon them in time of Peace, as old suresbyes to serve for all turnes. But the originall of their wearing of Codpieces and partie-coloured clothes grew from this ; it is not found that they wore any till Anno 1476 at what time the Switzers tooke their revenge upon Charles Duke of Burgundie, for taking from them a Towne called Granson within the Canton of Berne, whom after they had defeated, and shamefully put to flight, together with all his forces, they found there great spoils, spoyles that the Duke left behind, to the valew of three Millions, as it was said. But the Switzers being ignorant of the valew of the richest things, tore in pieces the most sumptuous Pavilions in the world, to make themselves coates and breeches ; some of them sold Silver dishes as cheape as Pewter, for two pence half-pennie a piece, and a great Pearle hanging in a Jewell of the Dukes for twelve pence, in memorie of which insipid simplicite, Lewes the eleventh King of France, who the next yeare after entertained them into his Pension, caused them to bee uncased of their rich Clothes made of the Duke of Burgundies Pavilions, and ordained that they should ever after weare Suites and Codpieces of those varyegated colours of Red and Yellow. I observed that all these Switzers do weare Velvet Cappes with Feathers in them, and I noted many of them to be very clusterfisted lubbers. As for their attire, it is made so phantastically, that a novice newly come to the Court, who never saw any of them before, would halfe imagine, if he should see one of them alone with out his weapon, hee were the Kings foole. I could see but few roomes of the Palace, because most of the The Scottish Scots that waited the Sunday morning when I was there, hapned to dine at a marriage of their country woman in the towne, so that I could see them no more all that day, otherwise they promised to have procured me the sight of most of the principall roomes.

Citation Type  Prose
Citation Year 1602