Song of Roland  

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"The "Chanson de Roland, " which I have ventured to translate, is the outcome of ruder lays which have perished. It was composed, according to all probability, about the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century. Its hero is Roland, the Christian Achilles."Song of Roland, John O'Hagan translation

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The Song of Roland based on the Frankish military leader Roland at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in AD 778, during the reign of the Carolingian king Charlemagne. It is the oldest surviving major work of French literature. It exists in various manuscript versions, which testify to its enormous and enduring popularity in Medieval and Renaissance literature from the 12th to 16th centuries.

The epic poem written in Old French is the first and one of the most outstanding examples of the chanson de geste, a literary form that flourished between the 11th and 16th centuries in Medieval Europe and celebrated legendary deeds. The date of composition is put in the period between 1040 AD and 1115 AD; an early version began around 1040 AD with additions and alterations made up until about 1115 AD. The final text contains about 4,000 lines of poetry.

In 1516 Ludovico Ariosto published his epic Orlando Furioso, which deals largely with characters first described in the Song of Roland.

The song of Roland; translated into English verse by John O'Hagan


INTRODUCTION. CHARLEMAGNE has had the fortune, unique so far as I know, of being a hero both of history The legen- dary and of fable. The one character seems Charlein general to exclude the other. Achilles, magne. Odin, the Cid, King Arthur, Cuchullin, whose achievements are unknown, whose existence has been questioned, have been the centres of the greatest cycles of legendary romance. On the other hand, is it not at first thought surprising that a figure so dazzling and romantic as Alexander the Great, whose recorded exploits may vie with those of the hero of the Iliad, whom he envied, never became the theme of popular song? * The same may be said of Hannibal, of Julius Cæsar, and Napoleon. Charlemagne, the conqueror and king, the legislator and civilizer,

  • That is, in Europe. The fact that Alexander became a

hero of Eastern legend tends to confirm the view I put forward here. 4 The Song of Roland. t the founder of the new Roman Empire which lasted a thousand years, is also the source and centre of a legendary cycle of enormous and far-spreading growth, forming for centuries the delight of the nations of Central Europe, and as its latest expression giving birth to the masterpieces of Italian poetry. So much has been written on the origin and growth of legend, that it would be unpardonable to dwell upon the subject. Its cradle is the imagination of an unlettered people. Their minds, like those of children, delight in marvels, and yield them an eager credence. First come ballads of rude and simple structure ; new incidents, new personages are added year after year by the fancies of a hundred unknown bards, until it may come to pass, possibly after centuries, that this floating ballad-lore is seized on by the genius of some great poet, and, while faith in the legend as yet survives, is embodied in some immortal poem. Thus the ballad is crystallized into the epic. So was it with the Iliad ; so, in their degree, was it with the early ballads concerning Charlemagne and his heroes. The " Chanson de Roland, " which I have ventured to translate, is the outcome of ruder lays which have perished. It was composed, according to all probability, about the end of the eleventh or the Introduction. 5 beginning of the twelfth century. Its hero is Roland, the Christian Achilles. 1 It was Charlemagne's fortune to come between two civilizations the expiring civilization of Rome, and the nascent civilization of feudal Christendom. His passion for letters and science is well known, and he gathered round him the foremost clerks of his age. But the great mass of his people were, I need hardly say, as unlettered as they were rude in manners and simple in faith ; and, what is still more to the purpose, the two centuries which immediately succeeded were darker than his own. So when his towering figure and marvellous exploits struck full upon the hearts of his contemporaries, there existed all the elements for the growth of a sylva of legends. If he had lived in, still more if he had been followed by, a time of literary cultivation, this could hardly have taken place . The beginnings, the early germs, might have come into existence, for at all times the great mass of mankind are ignorant and imaginative ; but those germs would have withered and died in face of the facts. At such a time mere fiction, the conscious falsification of the known facts of history (unless done in sport and playfulness), would have been abhorrent to creative genius, which, by its very nature, lives in what it believes to be true. This may be illustrated by reverting for a moment to Napoleon. A good deal + 6 The Song of Roland. has been said of late of the Napoleonic legend. But the songs of Béranger are in no true sense legendary, any more than the prose of Thiers. The incidents told with such simple pathos in " Les Souvenirs du Peuple, " might have actually happened without violation of probability during the war of 1814. Yet there were unquestionably in France the beginnings and sproutings of a genuine Napoleonic mythus. A lamented friend of mine, years ago, heard among the peasants of Picardy that Wellington had been a pupil and officer of Napoleon, and had learned from him the secret of success in war, which he afterwards turned treacherously against his master. Give ideas of this kind two or three illiterate centuries to grow and expatiate in , and one can well fancy what a wealth of legendary lore might have gathered round the name of Napoleon. His marshals would have been peers and paladins, each with his garland of ballads, and each credited with some marvellous incident of birth and with impossible adventures. Bourmont would have been as Ganelon, and the tale of Waterloo would have rivalled the tale of Roncesvalles. But the growth of such a legend is impossible in our time, simply because the germs of it are destroyed in the mind of every Frenchman who learns to read. The legends concerning Charlemagne and his peers ran little risk of being thus nipped in Introduction. 7 the bud. His actual achievements are given to us in the admirable biography written by his secretary, Eginhard, and in the later and less authentic narrative ofthe Monk of St. Gall. But these histories, enshrined in a language read by clerks alone, had no influence on the wild ballad-lore of the people, which went its own way. Thus, the double part which Charlemagne į fills may be accounted for. The earlier ballads-all, in fact, anterior to this "Song of Roland "-have perished. The very language in which they originally existed has been a subject of controversy. It has been insisted with good show of reason that, as Charlemagne was a Frankish king of the Austrasian race of Pepin of legend Was the originally Heristal, speaking, he and his warriors, a Teutonic Teutonic dialect, it must have been in that or Gaulish? language that the admiration for him first broke forth in song. This is, of course, highly probable, though not a fragment remains to attest it. On the other hand, the Franks had been conquerors of a great part of Roman Gaul for more than three hundred years. Multitudes of Charlemagne's soldiers and servants must have spoken one of the dialects of the lingua Romana, and as we find that language so to speak in possession, as being the vehicle of all the succeeding poetry, there is no reason to suppose any transfusion of the ballads from the Teuton into Gaulish 8 The Song of Roland. Latin. The probabilities are that they existed in both languages, possibly even in the lifetime of Charlemagne. But whether Teuton or Roman, or both, no remains of these primitive chants are now known to exist. They must have been almost wholly unwritten ; and their very memory would have perished if it had not been preserved both in the allusions of contemporary Latin writers, and in the larger chansons de geste-the quasi epics-into which they became fused. Of these, as I said, the earliest in date, and confessedly the first in merit, is the " Chanson de Roland. " Of the others the name is literally legion, and I need but refer my readers to the interesting, and almost exhaustive work of M. Gaston Paris, "L'Histoire Poétique de Charlemagne." * The disaster of Ronces- valles. Most singular, too, is the point in the history of Charlemagne which became the theme of the deepest interest-the disaster which befell his rear-guard at Roncesvalles. There is no doubt of the reality of the occurrence. It is told briefly, and almost baldly, but with an obvious fidelity to fact, by Eginhard. It came to pass in this way :-In the year 777 Charlemagne had convoked at Paderborn an assembly of the various

  • "Histoire Poétique de Charlemagne, " par Gaston Paris.

Paris, A. Franck, 1865. Introduction. 9 nations which were subject to his sceptre. Thither came before him, as a suppliant, Ibn- el-Arabi, the Saracen governor of Saragossa. He came to implore the aid of the great King of the Franks, against Abderahman, the Ommiad Usurper, whose genius and daring had made him all but master of Spain. Charlemagne eagerly grasped at the occasion. Possibly he might win and keep some Spanish cities ; possibly alleviate the condition of the Christians-in any case, there were influence and glory to be gained ; so he assembled a mighty army, and in the spring of 778 marched towards the Pyrenees. He crossed them, passing through the Vale of Roncesvalles, took Pampeluna, and moved straight upon Saragossa. But there his good fortune ended. The presence of the detested unbeliever had united all factions of the Moslem. Saragossa made a desperate defence. The Franks failed to capture it, and a negociation ensued. Charlemagne, according to the chronicles, received large presents of gold, with hostages, and promises of fidelity. In any case, he raised the siege, and marched towards France, levelling with the ground the walls of Pampeluna on his way. But when, with the van of his army, he had passed through the defiles, a new enemy, the Basques, or Gascons, of the mountains, assailed his rear. The result may be given in the very words of Eginhard. ΙΟ The Song of Roland. "The king brought back his army safe and undiminished, save that in passing the heights Eginhard. of the Pyrenees, on his return, he had to suffer somewhat from the perfidy of the Basques. For while the army, compelled thereto by the nature of the ground and the straightness of the defile, marched in a long and narrow line, the Basques, who lay in ambush on the crest of the mountain (for the denseness of the abundant forest was favourable to ambuscades), rushed suddenly from the heights on the men who were stationed in the rear-guard to protect those in front. The Basques cast them down into the valley beneath, and in the battle that ensued slew them to the last man. Having pillaged the baggage they made their escape, and rapidly dispersed under favour of the night which was now drawing on. The success of the Basques was greatly due to the lightness of their arms and the character of the ground. The Franks, on the other hand, heavily armed, and placed in an unfavourable position, were in every respect an unequal match for their enemies. In this battle perished Aeggihard, provost of the royal table ; Anselm , count of the palace ; and Roland (Hruotlandus), prefect of the March of Brittany. There was no means of taking vengeance for this blow ; for the enemy dispersed so rapidly that no information could be had of the place where they were to be found. " Introduction. II Eginhard relates the same disaster in his Annals, and adds, that this defeat almost effaced in the heart of the king all his joy for his Spanish conquests. "Hruotlandus, prefect of the March of Brittany," Lord Warden of the Marches. He had per- The Roland formed, no doubt sternly and valiantly, the of history. part of some "Belted Will," upon the Breton border, delivering his commands in brief Teutonic gutturals. He accompanied his liege upon this Spanish expedition, and perished in the Gascon ambuscade. This is all that authentic history can tell us of a name ; that has filled a thousand romances. Charlemagne at the epoch of this disaster was thirty-six years of age. Roland, if any credit can be accorded to an epitaph given by the pseudo-Turpin, was thirty- eight or forty-two. * These ages of the king and his prefect of the March strike us in strange contrast with the Charlemagne and Roland of song. But in Divergences be- tween the all respects the transformation was complete. history and I proceed to denote briefly the points of the legend. divergence between the history and the legend.

  • Sed qui lustra tenes octo et binos super annos,

Ereptus terris, justus ad astra redis. These are the concluding lines of the epitaph. In Signor Ciampi's edition of the Turpin the first of the above lines runs thus : Sex qui lustra gerens, octo bonus insuper annos. 12 The Song of Roland. 1. The enemy by whom the rear-guard was overthrown, instead of the barbarous Gascons The enemy Saracens, not the Basques. became the of the hills, became the great Mohammedan power of Spain. In fact, what other power could the ninth, or tenth, or eleventh century conceive of as a match for the mighty Karl ? In a time when the imaginations of men were filled either with terror of Saracen invasion, or with the enthusiastic spirit of the Crusades, all other differences seemed lost in the conflict of Christian and Moslem. So it was Marsilius, the Saracen king of Saragossa,, who, with a force outnumbering twenty-fold "the marvellous little company " of the Christians, lay in wait for and destroyed the rear-guard of Karl. 2. Charlemagne, instead of being in the strength of early manhood, is in the extreme of old age, but an old age still green and vigorous ; Charlemagne of advanced age, not early manhood. belt. his white beard flows down over mail and Cruda viro viridisque senectus. His enemies deemed his age something superhuman, reckoning him to have lived two hundred years. His aspect is so striking and majestic that none who seek him may mistake him. As pre- His legendary cha- sented to us in the Roland, he is the ideal racteristics . of a king. The enthusiastic reverence with which he is regarded by his peers and warriors is absolutely unbounded. Even the traitor Ganelon Introduction. 13 has no word for him but that he is the noblest and most princely of men, whose vassalage he would. rather die than forsake. The greatest sorrow of Archbishop Turpin, when dying, is that he will look upon his emperor never more. Like all great commanders of men, Karl is extremely tolerant of freedom of speech, even of open contradiction ; but exacts the most unquestioning obedience to his commands ; and he combines a terrible, and even savage sternness with the utmost warmth and tenderness of heart. 3. It was not a sudden incursion of Karl into Spain that gave birth to the disaster. had been there for seven years, and He His supquest of had posed conconquered the high land, as far as to the Spain. sea, save the city of Saragossa alone. His retreat into France was induced, not by any failure of his enterprise, but by the perfidious prayers and tears, the feigned submission and promised conversion, of the Paynim king, aided by the treason of the near connection and bosom counsellor of Karl. The trea4. For how was it possible that such a calamity could have befallen a host of Christian and Frankish warriors otherwise than by treason ? son of How often in later ages has the cry, On nous a trahi " resounded after a French defeat ! The traitor of Roncesvalles was Ganelon. Readers of the 66 Ganelon . 14 The Song of Roland. Italian poets, who in the fifteenth century turned this theme into one of sportive and delightful romance, must remember his name in its various forms-

Gan, Gano, Ganellone. In them, and, indeed, in all the later versions of the legend, he is depicted as the very type of a low, sordid soul, intrinsically baseminded and treacherous. "E Gan fu traditor prima che nato," says Pulci. Very different, and of a high poetical conception, is the Ganelon ofthe " Song of Roland. " By birth among the noblest, wedded to the sister of Charlemagne, and step-father of Roland, he is no less distinguished by his splendid person and knightly valour, than by a genuine love and loyalty to Karl. His own retainers and kinsmen entertain for him the deepest devotion ; his treason springs from outraged pride. His step-son Roland treats him with a height of scorn and outrecuidance, which rankles deeply in his breast. Ganelon suspects Roland of naming him ambassador to the Saracen, in the hope that he might be slain, as former envoys had been. He has persuaded himself, moreover,

  • There was a Ganilo, or Wenilo, Archbishop of Sens, about

seventy years after Roncesvalles, who was accused of treachery towards Charles the Bald, and it has been conjectured that his ' name, having become a kind of synonym of treason, was bestowed on the legendary betrayer of Charlemagne. See preface to M. Genin's edition of the " Song of Roland, " p. xxxv. All this is extremely obscure. Introduction. 15 that Roland is the evil genius of Karl, for ever inciting him to new wars and conquests ; and that France, the great land (tere majur), would never see peace while Roland lived. So he plotted with the Saracen how Roland should be cut off while leading the rear guard of the Franks on their return to France. It is true (and surely natural) that the character of Ganelon becomes debased as the consequence of his crime. He accepts the gifts of the Saracen. He lies unblushingly to the emperor. But even to the end he maintains that his act was one of vengeance on his personal enemy, not of treason to his king.

5. Karl has twelve chosen nobles and warriors, who are named his peers. The term Paladin (Palatinus), so common in the later chansons The peers. Roland. de geste, is not found in this poem. The captain of the twelve is Roland, whom fiction has made the nephew of Charlemagne. He is in the prime and strength of youth, the bright consummate flower of Frankish chivalry. He has often been named the Christian Achilles, and certainly, considering the almost impossibility of the author having read the Iliad, there is something very striking in the traits of resemblance. Fearless and adventurous to

  • The reader need hardly be reminded that, in fact, Charlemagne did not become emperor for more than twenty years after

Roncesvalles. But in the poem he is emperor as well as king throughout. 16 The Song of Roland. the extremity of daring, Roland, like Achilles, is marked by the sin of pride and presumption. He is doubly the cause of the disaster in which he fell ; first by his scorn of Ganelon, and again by his haughty refusal to wind his horn to apprize Charlemagne of the danger in which the rear-guard stood. "It shall never be spoken of me by living man, that for any heathen I sounded my horn. Never shall I bring such shame upon my race. " Like Achilles, too, he is bound in the closest and tenderest ties of friendship. His Patroclus is Olivier, the gallant and the sage, Olivier. whose prudence always stands in contrast with the fiery recklessness of Roland. They were to have been further bound by ties of affinity, for Roland was betrothed to the fair Alda, sister of Olivier. They have but one quarrel. When Roland at last resolves to sound that horn whose timely blast would have been their salvation, Olivier, seeing the ruin that has been wrought, cannot refrain from bitterly reproaching his comrade ; Roland accepts his rebuke with all humility, and Archbishop Turpin reconciles them to one another. There are, I think, few things in poetry more touching than the passage where Olivier, wounded to death and blinded by the blood which streams down his forehead, strikes out darkly and smites the helm of Roland, who had ridden to Introduction. 17 his side : " My comrade, thou didst it not wittingly. I am thy Roland, who have loved thee so dearly." " I hear thee,” said Olivier, " but I see thee not ; God seeth thee. Have I then struck thee ? Forgive it me." And they bent their heads and laid them together, and made their parting in great love. Of the remaining ten peers, the names differ in i the various gestes. In the " Chanson de Roland, " they are Gerein, Gerier, Berengier, Otho, Duke Samson, Engelier of Bordeaux, Ivon, Ivor, Anseis, and Gerard of Roussillon. All perform great deeds of valour, and all are slain at Roncesvalles ; but none of them has any individuality of character. "Fortemque Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum. " Turpin. It is otherwise with Archbishop Turpin, who, next to Roland and Charlemagne, is by far the most striking figure in the poem. There is no doubt that an actual Archbishop Turpin, or Tylpin, | held the episcopal chair of Rheims during the last quarter of the eighth century ; and that he may have been intimate with and highly prized by Charlemagne is, of course, probable. But he certainly was not one of the victims of Roncesvalles, as he lived for years afterwards, and there is no evidence of his having had martial tastes at all. But in the poem, he is the type and impersonation of a warrior ecclesiastic of the middle ages. "In battles and with sermons he C 18 The Song of Roland . was ever a champion against the heathen." When he blesses the army and gives them absolution before the battle, the penance he enjoins them is to strike. When we read the account of his death, and those of Olivier and Roland, it is impossible not to feel what beauty and tenderness Christianity has conferred upon poetry. If any one object to the gallant Bishop as uncanonical, I would remind him that the war was a holy one against " felon Paynims ; " and without citing the Bishop of Beauvais and his coat, we may remember how Heber Macmahon, two centuries ago, took the place of Owen Roe, as commander of the Irish army. And, if I mistake not, there was a fighting bishop within the present generation, as proud of the achievements of his rifle as ever Turpin was of his sword Almace. The But the name of Turpin has been sorely abused. A century or more after he had died in pseudo- his see of Rheims, there appeared a Turpin. narrative of the exploits of Charlemagne, written in Latin, and evidently the work of ecclesiastical hands. To this production the writer, or writers, gave the name of Archbishop Turpin as the author ; " Ego Turpinus Archiepiscopus. " Written

  • " De Vitâ Caroli Magni et Rolandi. Historia Joanni Turpino Remensi Episcopo vulgo tributa ad fidem Codicis vetustioris emendata, " a Sebastiano Ciampi, Florentiæ, 1822.

Introduction. 19 in the vile ambitious style which was then current, it presents, first, a number of the religious legends concerning Charlemagne, especially as regards the shrine of S. Iago di Compostella ; and secondly, the legends of his warlike exploits, borrowed in great part from the Song of Roland. The story of Roncesvalles, of course, is told ; but the archbishop, being the supposed narrator, is not one of the victims, but miraculously escapes. This fiction had a truly marvellous success. In an age wholly uncritical, it was accepted as the genuine work of the archbishop, and in time, as the lays and chansons grew more and more obsolete, it was regarded as the source from which all the Carlovingian legends flowed. And the imaginary Turpin was made to answer for even more than his own sins. Whenever Pulci or Ariosto tells some astounding extravagance, far beyond the common, the poet generally goes on to say, " You may not believe this ; all I can tell you is, so is it written in Turpin. " So when mockery succeeded to credulity, the good archbishop came to be looked on as the prince of fictionmongers. 6. Another point in which the poem has parted company with historical truth is as to the vengeance taken by Charlemagne for his The reprisals.

  • M. Gaston Paris has written an elaborate essay on the

" Pseudo-Turpin, " which he attributes to more authors than one. " De Pseudo- Turpino. " Disseruit Gaston Paris. Parisii, 1865. 20 The Song of Boland. defeat. We have seen that he was unable to lay hands on the Gascons, who dispersed into their mountain fastnesses. In truth, the only vengeance he took was by hanging Duke Lupus of Acquitaine, whom he suspected of having devised the treachery. But in the poem, Charlemagne marches to Roncesvalles with the main body of his army, when he hears the mighty note of the horn which Roland sounded when he was near his end. The reader will remember the passage in Marmion : " O, for a blast of that dread horn On Fontarabian echoes borne, That to King Charles did come, When Roland brave and Olivier, And every paladin and peer, On Roncesvalles died. " The incident of the horn is so striking that one cannot help believing it must have some foundation in truth, and that Hruotlandus, brought to bay by his savage foes, blew upon his " Olifant " (horn of the elephant's tusk) some prodigious blast, which came to the ears of the rearmost of the main body. In the poem the ghastly note is made to resound for fifteen leagues. Karl, notwithstanding the lying dissuasions of Ganelon, feels that his nephew is in battle and in jeopardy. He turns at once with all his army, and arrives at Roncesvalles. Alas ! too late ; not one of his peers, not a Frank of the rear-guard, was left alive. He has Entroduction. 21 but little time for lamentation. God works for him a miracle, as for Joshua-makes " the sun stand still in heaven," while Charlemagne is urged bythe " angel who is wont to speak with him " to pursue the heathen and take swift vengeance. Karl pursues them ; slays or drives them into the river Ebro ; returns to Roncesvalles, where he makes a long and touching lament over Roland ; brings his body, and those of Olivier and Turpin, to Blaye, and deposits them in the shrine of Saint Romanus. He then proceeds to Aix- la- Chapelle, leading Ganelon in chains. The poem ends with the trial of Ganelon, who haughtily maintains his innocence, and whose kinsmen demand that it shall be adjudged by arms. Ajudicial combat ensues between Pinabel, the " friend and peer" of Ganelon, and Thierry of Anjou, the king's champion. Thierry at the last is victor ; Ganelon is torn in pieces by wild horses, and thirty of his kindred who had been his bailsmen are hanged. Queen Bramimonde is converted to Christianity ; the angel appears again to Charlemagne, commanding him to undertake a new expedition to the East ; the emperor tearing his beard to think " what an unresting life is his." So the poem ends. There is, however, a portion of the poem of which I have not yet spoken, and which I have The epiomitted in the translation. It is the episode of the Emir Baligant. sode of the Emir Baligant. 1 22 The Song of Roland. In the year that Charlemagne had invaded Spain, King Marsil, foreseeing the disaster which might befall him, had sent an embassy to his suzerain Baligant, the Emir of Babylon, imploring succour. The distance was so great, and the delay so long, that it was not until the seventh year that Baligant reached Spain with an immense army formed of innumerable heathen nations. Among these it is curious to find the Prussians and Sclavonians. The ravages of the wild Borussian pagans had reached the ear of the trouvère ; and, heathen for heathen, he recked of little difference between north and east. However, Baligant arrives before Saragossa, only in time to learn of the calamity that had befallen his vassal. True, the rear-guard of the Christians, and all the twelve peers, had been slain, but the emperor had taken fearful vengeance, and the whole army of Marsil was annihilated. His son Jurfalez was slain, and he himself lay in anguish, maimed of his right hand. The queen was already abjuring her gods as faithless and impotent. The Emir promises a speedy reprisal, and marches out with his army against Karl. They met in an open plain. "Between them there was neither hill, nor valley, nor mound, neither forest nor wood. Hidden they might not be. " The Emir divides his nations into thirty battalions, the emperor his army into ten. It may be Introduction. 23 interesting to state them, as indicating the conceived extent of the dominion of Charlemagne. The first two were of Franks, each of fifteen thousand men; the third, Bavarians ; the fourth, Almains of the Marches ; the fifth, the Normans with Count Richard at their head ; the sixth are Bretons ; the seventh, the men of Poitou and Auvergne ; the eighth, Flemings and Frisians ; the ninth, Burgundians and Lorrainers ; the tenth, a hundred thousand of the warriors of France ; and at the head Geoffrey of Anjou, who bore the oriflamme. In the battle the heathens, I need hardly say, are routed with slaughter, Charlemagne slaying the Emir with his own hand. After this battle he captures Saragossa. Marsil dies of anguish. The inhabitants have the choice of baptism or the sword, and the queen is led off a prisoner. It has been much disputed whether this episode is a part of the original poem or a subsequent interpolation. M. d'Avril, who has published a modern version of the poem in the series called " Livres pour Tous," maintains the latter opinion, and has accordingly left it out. M. Léon Gautier, whose labours on the subject of this poem are beyond price, adopts the former view, and slow indeed should I be to venture to differ from him. But, in any case, I cannot help regarding it as a blemish. It interrupts the natural march of the narra- 24 The Song of Roland . tive, and there is a good deal of it that resembles a mere variation of the incidents of the battle of Roncesvalles. Indeed, at Roncesvalles itself, the details of the killing, though undoubtedly Homeric, become a little. monotonous ; and it would, I fear, be wearisome to the English reader to have them repeated in the narrative of the battle before Saragossa. I have not, Ithink, done great wrong in omitting it. To turn now to what I may call the external history The MS. and features of this poem. of the " Chanson The manuscript is in the Bodleian Library, and A small de Roland. " marked " Digby, 23." It is apparently the writing of a scribe of the middle of the twelfth century, between 1150 and 1160, thinks M. Gautier. octavo, the leaves vellum, the writing mediocre enough, without a pretence to caligraphy ; it formed a volume suitable to be carried in the pocket of a jongleur, to read from or refresh his memory by. It had belonged to the famous Sir Kenelm Digby, and was given by him to the Bodleian in 1634 , with over two hundred other manuscripts. Surely the French owe a debt of immortal gratitude to Sir Kenelm, who was the means of preserving the solitary copy known to exist of what they now claim as their true epic. It lay for two centuries in the Bodleian, forgotten and unnoticed. Tyrwhitt, the editor of Chaucer, saw it, and Introduction. 25 But it It was there is a passing reference to it in a note to his edition. In 1817 Mr. J. F. Conybeare, in the Gentleman's Magazine, referred to it as the earliest specimen of the chansons de geste known to exist among the manuscript treasures of our libraries. was not given to the world until 1837. transcribed and edited by M. Francisque Michel, who had been sent over to Oxford by M. Guizot with that mission. Its publication was an era in French literature. It was received with the utmost enthusiasm, and the interest which it awakened is testified bythe number of editions it has gone through in France and Germany, and the learning and research which have been devoted to its elucidation. * 1 In 1878 Herr Edmund Stengel published an exact transcript of the original, with all its contractions, errors, and lacunæ. He gives a photograph facsimile of two pages of the original. † Moreover, he photographed the entire poem, from beginning to end. Of this photographic edition he has published a limited number of copies. Other editors in . Germany are Ed. Boehmer and Th. Müller. It would be wearisome to detail the several French

  • See in the Introduction to the assonant translation of M.

Petit de Julleville , the " Liste Chronologique des Ouvrages Consacrés à la Chanson de Roland." "Das Altfranzösische Rolandslied . " Besorgt von Edmund Stengel. Heilbronn, 1878. 26 The Song of Roland. editions. First amongst them all may be named the edition of M. Léon Gautier, who has devoted to his task not only a wonderful familiarity with the subject, but all the untiring patience which springs from a genuine enthusiasm. The language of the " Roland" is the langue d'oil The lan- -the language of the north and centre of France, as distinguished from the langue guage. doc of the south. Time of composition. It was The precise date of its composition is unsettled. most probably the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century. Many have assumed that it was a portion of this very poem which Taillefer, the jongleur, : chanted when he leaped ashore, and when he flung his sword into the air at the beginning of the battle of Hastings. If this be so, the composition must, of course, have been anterior to the Conquest. This song of Taillefer is mentioned by William of Malmesbury and Matthew Paris, and still more explicitly by Robert Wace, the poet of the " Roman de Rou " (" Lay of Rollo ") . The passage from Wace is as follows : - " Taillefer qui moult bien cantoit Sur un roncier qui tost aloit Devant eux s'en' aloit cantant De Carlemagne et de Rolant, Et d'Olivier et des Vassaux Qui moururent en Roncesvaux. " Introduction. 27 "Taillefer, who right well sang, mounted on his rapid steed, went before them, singing of Charlemagne, and of Roland and Olivier and of the vassals who died in Roncesvalles. " And the passage which follows reads like a bit of the " Song of Roland " itself : - 66 Sire, dit Taillefer, merchi, Je vus ai lungement servi Tut mun servise me devez Hui se vos plait me le rendrez Pur tut guerredun vus requier Et si vos voil forment preier Otriez me ke jeo n'y faille Le premier colp de la bataille Et li duc respunt jeo l'otrei. " " I have served you Sire," said Taillefer, " a boon. long. You owe me a debt for all my service ; and you can repay it to me this day. Grant, and deny me not, to strike the first stroke in the battle. " "I grant it thee," replied the duke. Conjec- tures as to the author. Taillefer may, of course, have chanted some earlier lay of Roland. M. Gautier has come to the conclusion that the author of the poem was certainly a Norman ; and probably a Norman who accompanied William to England, or who lived there shortly after. His chief reason for believing him to have been a Norman is the great prominence given to Saint Michael the Archangel, under the name of " Saint Michael of Peril. " This, he conceives, plainly refers to the famous Mont St. 28 The Song of Roland. Michel, on the Norman coast, where the feast of the apparition of the archangel to St. Aubert is kept on the 16th of October. The pilgrimages to this shrine are termed in the Chronicles contemporary with our poem, "Ad montem Sancti Michaelis de Periculo Maris !" The phrase " Saint Michael of Peril, ” M. Gautierthinks, would never have occurred to any writer other than a Norman. The grounds for supposing him to be an Anglo-Norman are the references to England in the poem ; the fact of the solitary manuscript which exists having been found in England ; of two copies of a poem on Roncesvalles having been formerly in the cathedral of Peterborough, as appears by a catalogue which has been preserved ; and by the use ofthe word "algier " for javelin, which is supposed to have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon ategar. All this, it must be owned, is very slight and conjectural. The last line of the poem is- " Ci falt la geste que Turoldus declinet. " "Here endeth the geste which Turoldus related " (or ¹ completed). Now, there was a Theroulde who was the preceptor of William the Conqueror, and this Theroulde had a son of the same name, whom William made successively Abbot of Malmesbury and Abbot of Peterborough. The similarity of name, coupled with the fact which I have referred to, of a poem on Introduction. 29 Roncesvaux having been once in the library of Peterborough, have led M. Genin almost unhesitatingly to the conclusion that the book is that either of the father or the son. But, again, is not this the merest surmise ? Accepting, then, implicitly the conclusion drawn by critics, who have devoted the most conscientious labour to this task, that the language shows the date to have been the end of the eleventh or the beginning of the twelfth century, we are absolutely in the dark as to the author. One thing, however, I may say ; with all respect for M. Genin, I doubt whether the poem was the work of an ecclesiastic. Devout it is, and displays a deep and tender faith ; but it is absolutely untheological. Let any one read the beginning of the " Pseudo- Turpin," and he will feel clearly what I mean. A cleric would not have been likely to give such prominence to the fighting over the preaching qualities of the archbishop. We should have had more matter tending directly to edification ; and the reasons by which the Saracen queen was converted to Christianity would hardly have been omitted. The Scriptural allusions, and the references to saints and angels, are nothing more than would have been elementary knowledge with " La Chanson de Roland Poeme de Theroulde. Texte critique accompagne d'une traduction d'une introduction et de notes, " par F. Genin. Paris, 1850. 30 The Song of Roland.

laymen of that age. It was more probably the work of one who, like Taillefer himself, was at once minstrel and warrior. The metre. The metre is decasyllabic, the same as in Chaucer ; the same which we have preserved in our heroic measure, but which the French, unfortunately, as many have thought, afterwards discarded for the longer Alexandrine. it out of place to speak. Of the grammar, I think Those who may take a philological interest in the poem will find abundant and superabundant materials in what has been written on this theme in France and Germany. The poem is divided into stanzas or leashes (laisses) of very unequal length, each stanza having the same rhyme throughout. The rhyme is not a perfect rhyme in our sense ; it is the assonant, or vowel rhyme ; " Vele, ' for example, rhyming with The assonant rhyme. "perdent," and " tere " with " feste. " This assonant rhyme, which quite satisfies an uneducated ear, appears to have been universal among European nations in the early stage of their civilization. It is almost the only species of rhyme known in Celtic poetry, and it long remained a feature even of Irish ballads written in the English tongue. The " Groves of Blarney " is, of course, a burlesque, but even as a burlesque it gives a specimen of the kind of rhyme existing in the compositions which it ridiculed. But Introduction. 31 it is in Spanish that the use of the assonant rhyme became most domesticated, for it was adopted by the authors who are their recognized classics. The greater part of Calderon is written in assonants. Upon this subject I need only refer to Mr. MacCarthy's wonderful translations from that poet, to whose fidelity Mr. Ticknor bore the following testimony :- " In this point of view, your volume seems to me little less than marvellous. If I had not read itif I had not carefully gone through with the Devocion de la Cruz, I should not have believed it possible to do what you have done. Titian, they say, and some others of the old masters, laid on colours for their groundwork wholly different from those they used afterwards, but which they counted upon to shine through and contribute materially to the grand results they produced. So in your translations, the Spanish seems to come through to the surface ; the original air is always perceptible. It is like a family likeness coming out in the next generation, yet with the freshness of originality. " But the rhyme is as remarkable as the verse and the translation ; not that you have made the asonante as perceptible to the English ear as it is to the Spanish-our cumbersome consonants make that impossible. But the wonder is that you have made it perceptible at all.” As possibly the best mode of giving to the reader 32 The Song of Roland. an idea of assonant rhyme, we will cite a few lines from Mr. MacCarthy's translation of the Auto Los Encantos de la Culpa, " The Sorceries of Sin. " "All the garden is one joy ; Not a plant that here hath budded, Not a leaf but breathes from out it, Fragrance that no tongue can utter.

Limpid fountains leap and bubble, Breaking with melodious beat ; Songs whose never- ceasing burden Seemeth sad when most they laughMirthful most when most they murmur. And the envious Nymph of Air, Seeing earth so richly studded With the flowers of many springs, Joined in this that is the youngest. Has unto her azure plain, Flowers of other kinds conducted ; Which, upborne on myriad wings, Living nosegays float and flutter. " * Two years ago M. Petit de Julleville published M. Julle- ville's translation into modern French assonants. of labour. a version of the entire " Chanson de Roland " in modern French verse, with assonant rhymes. It is a very remarkable achievement, and must have cost a world But French poetry has drifted so far from

  • Mr. Longfellow speaks of these translations in even warmer

terms than Mr. Ticknor. Every lover of letters must desire that Mr. MacCarthy should bring out a complete and uniform edition, not only of these translations from the Spanish, but of his own exquisite original poetry. Entroduction. 33 any of its forms in the period when assonants could please the ear, that it may be doubtful whether M. de Julleville's version will ever become popular, except with those who could enjoy the original ; and whether the ordinary French reader would not prefer a version altogether unrhymed, like that of M. Gautier, M. ¡ Genin, or M. d'Avril. I give one of M. de Julleville's stanzas, that the reader may judge with what skill he has performed so difficult a task. ORIGINAL. Sansun li Dux vait ferir l'almacur, L'escut li freinst k'est ad or e à flurs Li bons osbercs ne li est guarant prud Le coer li tranchet le feie e le pulmun Que mort l'abat cui qu'en peist o cui nun Dist l'Arcevesque cist colp est de Barun. M. de Julleville's version is as follows :- Et Samson ' frappe l'Emir ; il brise en deux Son riche ecu couvert d'or et de fleurs Le bon haubert le garantit trop peu Tranche le foie le poumon et le coeur Et mort l'abat soit tant pis, soit tant mieux Turpin s'ecrie " ce coup est d'un vrai preux. " * I have to add that there is in the Oxford MS. , at the end of each stanza or set of assonants, The refrain the curious word or combination of letters, Aoi.

  • In Mr. Ticknor's letter to Mr. MacCarthy, which I have

cited above, he says, speaking of assonant rhymes, " Would it not be amusing to have the experiment tried in French ? " Here is the experiment tried to the full. D 34 The Song of Roland. A O I, which has to this hour remained a puzzle to the critics ; some consider it equivalent to the English "away," others regard it as a musical notation, others as a simple refrain or burthen. tian MS. In saying that the Bodleian manuscript is the only The Vene- known copy of the " Roland," I mean the only copy in its original form, the grammatical langue d'oil of the eleventh century. There is in truth, in the library of St. Mark, in Venice, a manuscript containing, with some variations, the whole of the "Song of Roland, " down to the return of Charlemagne into France. At that point begins a total departure from the Oxford version, and a number of adventures are introduced, which are plainly later additions. The date of this manuscript M. Gautier assigns to the years 1230-40. The language is an Italianized French, such probably as the traveller, to his distraction, may still hear on the borders of Piedmont. The jongleurs, we may conceive, when they plied their vocation in places where the dialect was different from the language of the poem, altered the text viva voce, so as to make themselves understood by their hearers ; and afterwards it was found convenient to have it written out in its altered form. The Venetian text has been of the utmost service to the editors of the Bodleian MS. It has thrown light on difficult passages, supplied valuable variants and Introduction. 35 the means of filling up lacunæ. An excellent edition of the Venetian manuscript was published in 1877, by Herr Eugen Kölbing. * This version is in leashes of assonants like the Bodleian. But as the French ear grew more cultivated, it became intolerant of the merely assonant rhyme ; hence the rifaccimenti (remaniements), or The rifacrefashionings, of the poem according to cimenti. the taste of a later time. The chief feature of these rifaccimenti is the change of the assonant into a complete rhyme ; still preserving the leash or stanza. This was not to be done without much labour, nor without taking considerable liberties with the original. It was an operation not quite the same as changing blank verse into rhyme, because the assonants were occasionally perfect rhymes, but it was in great degree the same, much as if the Paradise Lost were laboriously turned into rhyme, by inferior artists. Having had to take so great a liberty with the original, all other liberties seemed little, and thus the poem became utterly defaced. M. Gautier mentions six manuscripts of these rifaccimenti. One of them, of the fourteenth century, is in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge ; another, known as the "Versailles MS. ," is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. This

  • La Chanson de Roland. Genauer abdruck der Venetianer Handschrift IV. " Besorgt von Eugen Kölbing. Heilbronn,

1877. 36 The Song of Roland . latter version M. Francisque Michel has appended, under the name of " Roncesvaux," to the second edition of his " Song of Roland," published in 1869. A comparison ofthe first stanza of the Bodleian MS. , with the same stanza in the " Roncesvaux," will give us a clear idea of the nature of the remaniement. CHANSON DE ROLAND. Carles li reis nostre emperere magnes Set anz tut pleins ad estet en Espaigne Tresqu' en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaignet Murs ne citet n'i est remés à fraindre Fors Sarraguce kest en une muntaigne Li reis Marsilies la tient ki Deu n'enaimet Mahummet sert e Apollin reclaimet Ne s poet guarden que mals ne li ateignet. MS. OF VERSAILLES. Challes li rois à la barbe grifaigne Sis ans toz plens à este' en Espaigne Conquist la terre jusqu à la mer alteigne En meint estor fu ve'ue s'enseigne Ne trove borc ne castel qu'il n'enplaigne Ne mur tant aut qu'à la terre n'enfraigne Forz Saragoze au chief d'une montaigne La est Marsille qui la loi Deu n'en daigne Mahommet sert, mot fait folle gaaigne Ne poit durer que Challes ne le taigne Car il n'a hom qu'à lui servir se faigne Fors Guenelon que il tint por engeigne Jamais n'ert jor que li rois ne s'en plaigne. It may be seen in some slight degree from the above what liberties the refashioner permitted himself. Introduction. 37 Indeed, when once the mania of recasting the earlier poems set in, the new versifier seems to have placed his chief glory in dragging in as many rhymes as possible into one stanza, and never knew how to leave off as long as he was able "to make it clink. " It was in imitation of these models that Scott framed the commencement of the " Lay of the Bloody Vest, " which Blondel sings to King Richard in " The Talisman. " It must It History of To return to the history of the poem. have had an early and wide success. was translated into Latin and then into the legend. German verse by a priest Conrad (Chuonrat) , Germany. at the request of Duke Henry, whom M. Genin identifies with the Emperor Henry the Lion, and the request was made by desire of Henry's wife, Matilda, daughter of Henry II. of England. The date of this translation M. Genin fixes at from 1173 till 1177. In somewhat more than half a century, the " Ruolandes Liet" itself had to undergo a rifaccimento. The German language was then in such a state of flux and transition that even in that short space it had materially changed. The new adapter is known by the name of Stricker ; and his poem was published under the title of " Karl. ” To follow the later German developments of the legend would be to transgress the limits of this Introduction. 38 The Song of Roland . The poem spread rapidly through the ScandinaScandi- vian countries. The " Karlomagnus Saga" navia. The " Karlomagnus Saga. " is an Icelandic compilation of the thirteenth century, consisting of translations from the French of all the current legends concerning Charlemagne ; the eighth of these is "Roncesvalles," and is in substance the " Song of Roland." "The Icelandic compiler," says M. Gaston Paris, "follows the Oxford text pretty closely, and seems to know nothing of the later French versions. But there is one most important difference. The saga wholly omits the episode of the Emir Baligant, and even the capture of Saragossa by Karl. A Danish abridgment of the " Karlomagnus Saga " appeared in the fifteenth century under the name " Keiser of "Keiser Karl Magnus Kronike," which, Karl in a modern form, is still a popular book Magnus Kronike. " in Denmark. Flemish translations or imitations appeared as early as the fifteenth century. In England, the Carlovingian legend never became popular, notwithstanding the supposed Anglo- England. Norman origin of the " Song of Roland. " Arthur of Britain and Armorica, with his knights of the Table Round, displaced every other band of heroes. In Ellis's " Metrical Romances " will, however, be found an account of three ballads on the Carlovingian theme. Entroduction. 39 They are Roland and Ferragus, Sir Otuel, and Sir Ferumbras. The first two are in the main taken from the "Pseudo-Turpin. " The last seems a paraphrase of Fierabras, one of the later chansons de geste. In M. Michel's first edition there are given large extracts from an English MS. poem, apparently of the beginning of the fourteenth century, dealing more immediately with the subject of Roland. As a composition, it is poor in the extreme, so as to be pronounced by M. Michel, " almost worthless." There is in the British Museum a Life of Charlemagne by Caxton, with the following title : "Th ystorie and Lyf of the Most Noble and Crysten Prince Charles the Grete, King of France and Emperour of Rome. Printed by William Caxton, December 1 , 1485." The early part of this Life seems taken from the Romance of Fierabras. The later portion follows implicitly the " Pseudo-Turpin. " Ireland. Nor has Ireland been a stranger to the great legend. In the " Book of Lismore," of which the original is at Chatsworth, but of which both Trinity College and the Royal Irish Academy possess copies, there is found at fol. 46 a Narrative of the Conquests of Charles the Great. It has been expounded and partially translated for me by my friend, Professor O'Looney. It also is based on the "Pseudo-Turpin," but it possesses one very original feature-it professes 40 The Song of Roland. 1. i to give the derivations of the names of the heroes, these derivations being almost wholly Celtic. * The fate of the legend in Spain was singular and yet most natural. National jealousy displaced religious zeal, and the disaster of Roncesvalles began to be claimed as a Spanish victory. The hero who slew Roland in the battle became no other than the famous Bernardo del Carpio. Spain. Mato Bernardo por si Al Roldan el esforzado Y a otros muchos Capitanos De Francia muy estimados. Readers of " Don Quixote " will remember Sancho singing the ballad of the defeat of the French in Roncesvalles- - Italy. Mala la hubistes, Franceses La Caza de Roncesvalles. Of the Italian poems, I may well be dispensed from speaking. Roland (Orlando) is, as all the world knows, the prime figure in the masterpieces of Italian classical poetry. But in them the legend is in its third stage. The early gestes were sung by minstrels in Italian cities as well as beyond the Alps. We have seen that an Italianized version ofthe " Song of Roland, " not much later in date than

e.g. Rolandus is " the wheel of wisdom " ( Roth na hegna) ; Charles (Serlus) is " the light of the body " (soilloi na Colla) . Introduction. 41 the Bodleian MS. , is preserved in the library of St. Mark. That is only one of many manuscripts which are to be found in the same library, comprising almost all the Carlovingian legends. When, in the course of two centuries, the language of these earlier Italian lays had become obsolete, and the assonants were odious and contemptible, the legend in Italy descended into plain prose, and was expressed by the " Reali di Francia. " But it had a glorious resurrection, unparalleled elsewhere. Pulci was the first to appropriate the ancient theme, and with grave mockery, alternating with elevated poetry, to bring vividly before his contemporaries the living figures of Charlemagne and his peers and his Saracen adversaries. "Pulci was sire of the half- serious rhyme, Who sang when chivalry was more Quixotic ; And revelled in the fancies of his time, Brave knights, chaste dames, huge giants, kings despotic. " Alas ! the Quixotism of chivalry had passed away long. before Pulci, but no doubt the themes were "the fancies of his time. " For one thing, Pulci, as the sequel to all his humorous extravagances, gives a most spirited and stirring narrative of the disaster of Roncesvalles, in which neither the blow given by the dying Oliver to Roland in his blindness, nor Roland's endeavour to break his sword against the rock, is omitted. It is curious that Pulci (in this differing from all the Roland represented by Pulci as an old man. 42 The Song of Roland. other romancers) describes Roland not as young but old, "Antico e saggio. " He makes him say of himself while dying- "Io dico pace dopo lunga guerra, Ch'io son per gli anni pur defesso e stanco, Rendi il misero corpo a questa terra Il qual tu vedi già canuto e bianco. " Cant. 27, st. 122. And again the poet apostrophizes him as "O Santo Vecchio ! " (cant. 27, st. 153) . This is an exaggeration ofthe " Pseudo- Turpin " itself, and is scarcely consistent with Roland's legendary character. It is entirely different from what we find both earlier and later. Pulci is the only poet among the Italian Cinquecentisti who even attempts to portray the disaster of Roncesvalles. Ariosto pursues a far different flight— " Le Donne, I Cavalier, gli armi, gl' Amori. ” His poem is a wondrous kaleidoscope, a perpetually shifting scene of love and enchantment, winged horses, warrior-maidens, fountains of desire and hatred, and a thousand other delightful fooleries, -ifone may so translate the epithet applied to them by the Cardinal D'Este. Mr. Gladstone, in his lately republished essay on Leopardi, complains of the present neglect of the Italian poets. It is true, and, as regards Ariosto, not easily explicable. But what a distance separates the deep and simple earnest- Introduction. 43 ness of the Roland from the light, playful touch of the Orlando Furioso ! In another point, too, there is, unhappily for Ariosto, a difference as great. From the beginning to the end of the older poem, the page is not sullied by one evil thought or expression. All is pure, dignified, and chivalrous. The very love between Roland and the fair Alda is only shown by her dying for him. But the real victors, the Basques, had their own ballads in their own tongue. And these TheBasque natural, in a ballads on RoncesM. Michel, valles. ballads were conceived, as was strain of exultation and scorn. in the appendix to his first edition, gives extracts from the Basque song of Altabizar, with a translation into modern French. Thus the extracts run- "What came they to do in our mountains, those men of the north ? Why came they hither to disturb our peace ? God made the mountains for men to transgress them not. But the rocks hurled down fall on the soldiers and crush them. Their blood flows, their flesh quivers, their bones are shattered. What a sea of blood ! " Fly, fly, ye who have strength and a steed ! Fly, King Charlemagne, with thy dark plumes and thy crimson vesture ! Thy nephew, thy bravest Roland, lies dead below. His courage availed him not. And now, Escualdunacs, let us quit the rocks and march down, flinging our shafts upon those who fly. " 44 The Song of Roland. To return to the "Chanson de Roland. " The French The rank boldly challenge for this poem the name and claimed by dignity of an epic. "No longer," they say, of an epic the French for this poem. 66 can the reproach be cast upon France, of being destitute of the epic genius, nor the Henriade be flung scornfully in our faces. " Certainly many of the recognized attributes of the epic cannot be denied to the Roland : it wants neither majesty of theme, nor heroic grandeur in the personages, nor a great catastrophe, nor unity of conception and action, nor what is termed poetic justice. The reader's sympathy is uniformly enlisted in behalf of what is highest in human nature-valour, faith , tenderness, devotion to creed and country. And yet, in a poem aspiring to be classed with the halfdozen masterpieces of man, we desire, over and above all these qualities, a certain loftiness and grandeur of expression-the " Os magna sonaturum," the large utterance of the elder gods, which the warmest admirers of our poem would hardly assert for it. Its simpli- It is throughout as simple in diction as a city of diction. ballad. There is not a simile, not a metaphor throughout. Such current phrases as "like angry lions," cannot be regarded as exceptions. This simplicity, however, brings with it one great merit-a complete freedom from pretence, and therefore from bad taste. The author never once obtrudes Introduction. 45 himself. Happily, he lived two centuries before the time when grand moral sentiments and personifications of the virtues and vices came in fashion. If he ever is tedious, it is with what may be termed a Homeric tediousness ; I mean in the account of the several single combats between Franks and Saracens in the battle. The details of the killing certainly ) affect us with a certain sense of monotony. But we must remember the audiences to which the poem was addressed. Over and above the delight in all warlike deeds, they had a keen and vivid sympathy with the Christian cause, which made them exult or lament over every incident of the combat as if it were passing before their eyes. It must be also owned that the manifestations of grief are too vehement, and, towards the end of the poem, recur too often ; and the reader can scarce help inwardly protesting against so much weeping and tearing of hair and beard, above all, against the wholesale swooning of men by the hundred thousand. But to alter any of these things is not permitted to a translator. That the author had never read a line of Homer : or Virgil may be well taken for granted. There is , indeed, a reference to them in one line of the episode of the Emir of Babylon, but it only serves to show that their names were to him names merely. Speaking of the antiquity of the emir, he says that he had 46 The Song of Roland. outlived Virgil and Homer. " Tut survesquiet e Virgilie e Omer. " Whatever idea may be meant to be conveyed by this expression, it is plain that it never would have been used by one who had the least acquaintance with their works. The Homeric resemblances which have been traced in the poem are the natural coincidences between the products of ages which, though far distant, had much in common, and the efforts of kindred though unequal genius. Such as it is, the numerous popular editions, and Its imagin- the continuous rendering of it into modern French, are a manifest proof that it has given able effect on the Middle Ages. delight to thousands of readers in our time. What must it have been in its own ? Let us conceive the market-place of some French or Italian mediæval city, such as a whole world of art has made us familiar with. It is an hour or so after noon, when the morning's business and the midday meal are both well over, and the after-dinner time is weighing somewhat heavily upon the citizens. The rumour goes that the famous jongleur, or trouvère, who had been entertained the preceding night at the castle of the lord upon the hill, is riding thither, and means to give them a cast of his art. Soon the market-place is thronged, and, after a long period of expectation, their desire is gratified. The jongleur has come, and he and his attendant, having put up their horses at the hostelry, Introduction. 47 are making their way through the crowd, which eagerly separates to admit them. He wears a long mantle, cap, and feather, and his attendant carries a little triangular lyre. He mounts upon the perron of the Hotel de Ville, or upon some temporary scaffold, takes the lyre from his companion, and, striking a few preluding notes to mark the rhythm, commences the tale of the disaster of Roncesvalles. His voice, naturally strong and melodious (or he would not have chosen such a calling), has been cultivated with the greatest care, and he has formed himself to all the arts of an accomplished actor. The language he uses has nothing strange or antiquated ; it is the very idiom of the assembly he is addressing. It is, of course, impossible that the whole poem should be recited in one day. He selects such parts as he deems will most captivate his audience, or, if he means to make a stay for some days, he gives it to them piecemeal, breaking off each day like a feuilletoniste, at some point of highly wrought interest. But if we, after the lapse of centuries, in a cultivated age, reading this as a mere fiction, in a language nowgrown wholly obsolete, cannot help being moved by its heroic and pathetic traits, what, I repeat, must it have been when declaimed in their own tongue, and by a finished orator, to a population who listened to every word with unquestioning faith, and whose hearts were on fire for 1. 48 The Song of Roland . the Christian cause ? Poggio relates in his " Facetiæ," as a ridiculous story, that a citizen of Milan came home sobbing to his wife, and when she asked the cause, he answered that he was weeping for a tale he had heard a minstrel tell of the deaths of Roland and Olivier and of the peers of Charlemagne. Tears for such a cause seemed highly facetious to the man of the Renaissance. But the jongleur had other audiences dearer to his heart. From the city market-place we may follow him to the halls of princes and nobles. Imagine the long and weary evenings in a mediæval castle ; then conceive what a delight and resource it must have been when fortune brought a minstrel who was master of the chansons de geste, and, above all, of the great " Song of Roncesvalles. " High and low, baron, squire, and servitor, lady and damsel, would gather round, and hang upon the strain. And not for pleasure alone. Familiarity with such a poem must have formed no mean education in point of nobility of thought and greatness of purpose. It was romance, no doubt, but not the chimerical romance of knight-errantry. It was the story of brave men fighting to the last, against desperate odds, for their land and faith. I so much admire this poem that I wonder more and more at my own temerity in having ventured Introduction. 49 The prelation. to translate it. I learned first of its existence from an admirable article in the Quarterly Review, published in the year 1866 ; and this, and sent transsome most scholarly and appreciative essays in the Saturday Review, were all that I had seen concerning it in English. Two or three years ago the poem itself came into my hands almost accidentally, and I soon found myself attempting to translate parts of it. But most certainly it never would have been completed or published if it had not been for the encouragement given to me by the lost friend to whom it is dedicated, and who went over it with me during a long vacation which I had the happiness of spending in his society. There has been no previous translation into English that I am aware of, except a graceful prose version given by Mrs. Marsh, of a condensation of the poem, contained in an article by M. Vitet, in the " Revue des Deux Mondes. " * The edition I have taken as the basis of my translation has been that of M. Léon Gautier, whose name I have had occasion to mention more than once in this Introduction. † In truth, no one has made the "The Song of Roland, as chanted before the Battle of Hastings by the Minstrel Taillefer. " Translated by the author of 66 Emilia Wyndham. " London : Hurst and Blackett, 1854. † " La Chanson de Roland, Texte Critique, Traduction, et Commentaire, Grammaire et Glossaire, " par Léon Gautier. Ouvrage Couronné par l'Academie Française et par l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. Tours, Mame et fils , 1876. E 50 The Song of Roland. "Song of Roland" so completely his own. The most learned of the German editors, Th. Müller, speaks of his labours in terms of high praise, and adopts many of his readings. His work, as may be seen, has received a double crown. He has not only restored most happily parts which time or the carelessness of the scribe had defaced, but he has supplied, from the Venetian version or from the later rifaccimenti, stanzas necessary to the completeness of the story. I have taken almost all of these " lacunes comblées " into my translation. I have omitted some, but they were evidently doubtful to M. Gautier himself, as is manifest by his adding a query (?) to them. A word or two as to the metre I have chosen. If I had had the least confidence that I could have approached the success of Mr. MacCarthy, in domesticating the assonant rhyme in our language, I might have been tempted to try it. The first stanza would then have run somewhat thusIt was when Karl the King, our Emperor great, Had battled now for seven full years in Spain, And won the highland to the ocean wave ; Nor fortress standing in the realm remained , Nor wall nor town was left for him to take, Save Saragossa, on a mountain placed ; - King Marsil holds it, who hath God in hate ; Mahound he serves, and to Apollin prays, Yet could not ward the doom that him assailed. Introduction. 51 But I feel that both my own powers and the public taste would have failed me. I adopted the mixed iambic and anapæstic metre, which " Christabel " and the "Siege of Corinth " and the " Bridal of Triermain " have made so familiar to us. It has, I know, fallen into much discredit as a lilting metre. Mr. Conington speaks very disparagingly of it, in the introduction to his translation of Virgil. And yet I doubt if I could have chosen better. One can certainly imagine the story of Roland beautifully rendered in heroic numbers. Not, perhaps, in the couplet of Pope, but in the free, sweet, and dignified line of Chaucer and Keats, of which in our day Mr. Morris has shown himself so complete a master. Still more perfectly could it be conceived as another idyll, in the exquisite blank verse of the laureate. But I dared not attempt either, and I perceived that one advantage lay in a metre so facile, viz. , of the proper names, especially among the heathen, were " strong and unworkable," not easily got into verse, unless the verse were of a somewhat elastic character. that many For the rest, no one knows more than I for how many shortcomings I have to plead. What is so emphatically stated by Pope and Byron, of the absolute devotion and concentration of faculties necessary for poetry, is true in its degree even of a translation. And I feel that much cannot be hoped from the out- 52 The Song of Roland. come of the leisure hours and scattered intervals of a working lawyer. For one thing, I may say that I have striven throughout to be as literal as difference of idiom and "the wicked necessity of rhyming " would permit. In any case, it is at least something to aid in making known to the English reading public a poem of such genuine beauty and poetic power-a poem which the world of letters in France and Germany are almost agreed in admitting to a high place among the masterpieces of human genius. *

  • These sheets were almost in the printer's hands before I had

the good fortune to meet with Mr. Ormsby's spirited and flowing version of the best parts of the " Epic of the Cid, " which creates a strong wish to see a rendering of the entire poem by him in verse. The points of resemblance and difference between it and the " Roland " are very curious. PART I. THE TREASON OF GANELON. [ As already mentioned, I have in this translation adopted, from M. Léon Gautier's edition, some stanzas and parts of stanzas not found in the Oxford MS. , but inserted by him, either from the Venetian version or the later French remaniements. These additions he prints in italics, so as to separate distinctly the Bodleian text from what is not found in it. I have not followed his example in this respect, but I wish to designate here the passages which are not in the Oxford MS. They are, in this first part of the poem, stanzas 24, 65 and 68, and some lines of stanzas 9, 16, 34 and 58. ] Saragossa. The Council of King Marsil. I. THE king, our Emperor Carlemaine, * Hath been for seven full years in Spain.t From highland to sea hath he won the land ; City was none might his arm withstand ; Keep and castle alike went downSave Saragossa, the mountain town. The King Marsilius holds the place, Who loveth not God, nor seeks His grace : He prays to Apollin, ‡ and serves Mahound ; But he saved him not from the fate he found, II. In Saragossa King Marsil made His council- seat in the orchard shade, On a stair of marble of azure hue. § There his courtiers round him drew ;

  • See Note A.

See Note C. † See Note B. § See Note D. 56 The Song of Roland . While there stood, the king before, Twenty thousand men and more. Thus to his dukes and his counts he said, * " Hear ye, my lords, we are sore bested. The Emperor Karl of gentle France † Hither hath come for our dire mischance. Nor host to meet him in battle line, Nor power to shatter his power, is mine. Speak, my sages ; your counsel lend : My doom of shame and death forefend." But of all the heathens none spake word Save Blancandrin, Val Fonde's lord . III. Blancandrin was a heathen wise, Knightly and valiant of enterprise, Sage in council his lord to aid ; And he said to the king, " Be not dismayed : Proffer to Karl, the haughty and high, Lowly friendship and fealty ; Ample largess lay at his feet, Bear and lion and greyhound fleet. Seven hundred camels his tribute be, Athousand hawks that have moulted free. Let full four hundred mules be told, Laden with silver enow and gold

  • See Note E. † See Note F.

The Treason of Ganelon. 57 For fifty waggons to bear away ; So shall his soldiers receive their pay. Say, too long hath he warred in Spain, ― Let him turn to France-to his Aix—again. At Saint Michael's feast you will thither speed, Bend your heart to the Christian creed, And his liegeman be in duty and deed. Hostages he may demand Ten or twenty at your hand. We will send him the sons whom our wives have nursed ; Were death to follow, mine own the first. Better by far that they there should die Than be driven all from our land to fly, Flung to dishonour and beggary. IV. "Yea," said Blancandrin , " by this right hand, And my floating beard by the free wind fanned, Ye shall see the host of the Franks disband, And hie them back into France their land ; Each to his home as beseemeth well, And Karl unto Aix-to his own Chapelle. He will hold high feast on Saint Michael's day And the time of your tryst shall pass away. Tale nor tidings of us shall be ; Fiery and sudden, I know, is he : 58 The Song of Roland . He will smite off the heads of our hostages all : Better, I say, that their heads should fall Than we the fair land of Spain forego, And our lives be laden with shame and woe. " "Yea," said the heathens, " it may be so. " V. King Marsil's council is over that day, And he called to him Clarin of Balaguet, Estramarin, and Eudropin his peer, Bade Garlon and Priamon both draw near, Machiner and his uncle Maheu-with these Joïmer and Malbien from overseas, Blancandrin for spokesman, —of all his men He hath summoned there the most felon ten. "Go ye to Carlemaine, " spake their liege,— "At Cordres city he sits in siege, *- While olive branches in hand ye press, Token of peace and of lowliness. Win him to make fair treaty with me, Silver and gold shall your guerdon be, Land and lordship in ample fee." "Nay," said the heathens, " enough have we. " VI. So did King Marsil his council end. "Lords," he said, " on mine errand wend ; See Note G. The Treason of Ganelon. 59 While olive branches in hand ye bring, Say from me unto Karl the king, For sake of his God let him pity show ; And ere ever a month shall come and go, With a thousand faithful of my race, I will follow swiftly upon his trace, Freely receive his Christian law, And his liegeman be in love and awe. Hostages asks he ? it shall be done. " Blancandrin answered, "Your peace is won. " VII. Then King Marsil bade be dight Ten fair mules of snowy white, Erst from the King of Sicily * brought, Their trappings with silver and gold inwroughtGold the bridle, and silver the selle. On these are the messengers mounted well ; And they ride with olive boughs in hand, To seek the lord of the Frankish land. Well let him watch ; he shall be trepanned.

  • See Note H.

60 The Song of Roland. At Cordres. Carlemaine's Council. VIII. King Karl is jocund and gay of mood, He hath Cordres city at last subdued ; Its shattered walls and turrets fell By catapult and mangonel ; Not a heathen did there remain But confessed him Christian or else was slain. * The Emperor sits in an orchard wide, Roland and Olivier by his side : Samson the duke, and Anseis proud ; Geoffrey of Anjou, whose arm was vowed The royal gonfalon to rear ; Gerein, and his fellow in arms, Gerier ; With them many a gallant lance, Full fifteen thousand of gentle France. The cavaliers sit upon carpets white, Playing at tables for their delight ; The older and sager sit at the chess, The bachelors fence with a light address. Seated underneath a pine, Close beside an eglantine, Upon a throne of beaten gold, The lord of ample France behold ; White his hair and beard were seen,

  • See Note I.

The Treason of Ganelon. 61 Fair of body, and proud of mien, Who sought him needed not ask, I ween. The ten alight before his feet, And him in all observance greet. IX. Blancandrin first his errand gave, And he said to the king, " May God you save, The God of glory, to whom you bend ! Marsil, our king, doth his greeting send. Much hath he mused on the law ofgrace, Much of his wealth at your feet will place— Bears and lions, and dogs of chase, Seven hundred camels that bend the knee, A thousand hawks that have moulted free, Four hundred mules, with silver and gold Which fifty wains might scantly hold, So shall you have of the red bezants To pay the soldiers of gentle France. Overlong have you dwelt in Spain, — To Aix, your city, return again. The lord I serve will thither come, Accept the law of Christendom, With clasped hands your liegeman be, And hold his realm of you in fee. " The Emperor raised his hands on high, Bent and bethought him silently. 62 The Song of Roland. X. The Emperor bent his head full low; Never hasty of speech, I trow, Leisurely came his words, and slow. Lofty his look as he raised his head : "Thou hast spoken well, " at length he said. " King Marsil was ever my deadly foe, And of all these words, so fair in show, How may I the fulfilment know ? " "Hostages will you? " the heathen cried, "Ten or twenty, or more beside. I will send my son, were his death at hand, With the best and noblest of all our land ; And when you sit in your palace halls, And the feast of Saint Michael of Peril falls, Unto the waters will come our king, Which God commanded for you to spring ; There in the laver of Christ be laved." "Yea ! " said Karl, " he may yet be saved. " XI. Fair and bright did the evening fall : The ten white mules were stabled in stall ; On the sward was a fair pavilion dressed, To give to the Saracens cheer of the best ; Servitors twelve at their bidding bide, And they rest all night until morning tide. The Treason of Ganelon. 63 The Emperor rose with the day-dawn clear, Failed not Matins and Mass to hear, Then betook him beneath a pine, Summoned his barons by word and sign : As his Franks advise will his choice incline. XII. Under a pine is the Emperor gone, And his barons to council come forth anon : * Archbishop Turpin, Duke Ogier bold, With his nephew Henry was Richard the old, Gascony's gallant Count Acelin, Tybalt of Rheims, and Milo his kin, Gerein and his brother in arms, Gerier, Count Roland and his faithful fere, The gentle and valiant Olivier : More than a thousand Franks of France. And Ganelon came, of woful chance ; By him was the deed of treason done. So was the fatal consult begun. XIII. " Lords my barons," the Emperor said, " King Marsil to me hath his envoys sped. He proffers treasure surpassing bounds, Bears and lions, and leashèd hounds ;

  • See Note J.

64 The Song of Roland. Seven hundred camels that bend the knee ; A thousand hawks that have moulted free ; Four hundred mules with Arab gold, Which fifty wains might scantly hold. But he saith to France must I wend my way : He will follow to Aix with brief delay, Bend his heart unto Christ's belief, And hold his marches of me in fief; Yet I know not what in his heart may lie." "Beware ! beware ! " was the Franks' outcry. XIV. Scarce his speech did the Emperor close, When in high displeasure Count Roland rose, Fronted his uncle upon the spot, And said, " This Marsil, believe him not : Seven full years have we warred in Spain ; Commibles and Noples for you have I ta'en, Tudela and Sebilie, cities twain ; Valtierra I won, and the land of Pine, † And Balaguet fell to this arm of mine. King Marsil hath ever a traitor been : He sent of his heathens, at first fifteen , Bearing each one an olive bough, Speaking the self-same words as now. Into council with your Franks you went, Lightly they flattered your heart's intent ;

  • See Note K. † See Note L.

The Treason of Ganelon. 65 Two of your barons to him you sent, - They were Basan and Basil, the brother knights : He smote off their heads on Haltoia's heights. War, I say !-end as you well began, Unto Saragossa lead on your van ; Were the siege to last your lifetime through, Avenge the nobles this felon slew. " XV. The Emperor bent him and mused within, Twisted his beard upon lip and chin, Answered his nephew nor good nor ill ; And the Franks, save Ganelon, all were still : Hastily to his feet he sprang, Haughtily his words outrang :- "By me or by others be not misled, -- Look to your own good ends, " he said. "Since now King Marsil his faith assures, That, with hands together clasped in yours, He will henceforth your vassal be, Receive the Christian law as we, And hold his realm of you in fee, Whoso would treaty like this deny, Recks not, sire, by what death we die : Good never came from counsel of pride, —-- List to the wise, and let madmen bide. ”

  • See Note M.

F 66 The Song of Roland. XVI. Then his form Duke Naimes upreared, White of hair and hoary of beard. * Better vassal in court was none. "You have hearkened,” he said, “ unto Ganelon. Well hath Count Ganelon made reply ; Wise are his words, if you bide thereby. King Marsil is beaten and broken in war ; You have captured his castles anear and far, With your engines shattered his walls amain, His cities burned, his soldiers slain : Respite and ruth if he now implore, Sin it were to molest him more. Let his hostages vouch for the faith he plights, And send him one of your Christian knights. 'Twere time this war to an ending came. " "Well saith the duke ! " the Franks exclaim. XVII. "Lords my barons, who then were best In Saragossa to do our hest ? " " I," said Naimes, " of your royal grace, Yield me in token your glove and mace. " "Nay-my sagest of men art thou : By my beard upon lip and chin I vow Thou shalt never depart so far from me : Sit thee down till I summon thee.

  • See Note N.

The Treason of Ganelon. 67 XVIII. "Lords my barons, whom send we, then, To Saragossa, the Saracen den ? ” "I," said Roland, " will blithely go. "Nay," said Olivier ; " nay, not so. All too fiery of mood thou art ; 99 Thou wouldst play, I fear me, a perilous part. I go myself, if the king but will. ” "I command," said Karl, "that ye both be still. Neither shall be on this errand bound, Nor one of the twelve--my peers around ; So by my blanching beard I swear. " The Franks are abashed and silent there. XIX. [ Turpin of Rheims rose from the ranks : " Look, my liege, on your faithful Franks : Seven full years have they held this land, With pain and peril on every hand. To me be the mace and the glove consigned ; I will go this Saracen lord to find, And freely forth will I speak my mind. " The Emperor answered, in angry plight, "Sit thee down on that carpet white ; Speak not till I thy speech invite. 68 The Song of Roland. XX. "My cavaliers," he began anew, "Choose of my marches a baron true, Before King Marsil my hest to do." "Be it, then," said Roland, " my stepsire Gan, In vain ye seek for a meeter man. " The Franks exclaim, " He is worth the trust, So it please the king it is right and just. ” Count Ganelon then was with anguish wrung, His mantle of fur from his neck he flung, Stood all stark in his silken vest, And his grey eyes gleamed with a fierce unrest. Fair of body and large of limb, All in wonderment gazed on him. "Thou madman," thus he to Roland cried, "What may this rage against me betide ? I am thy stepsire, as all men know, And thou doom'st me on hest like this to go ; But so God my safe return bestow, I promise to work thee scathe and strife Long as thou breathest the breath of life. " "Pride and folly ! " said Roland, then. "Am I known to reck of the threats of men ? But this is work for the sagest head. So it please the king, I will go instead. " The Treason of Ganelon. 69 " In XXI. my stead ?―never, of mine accord. Thou art not my vassal nor I thy lord. Since Karl commands me his hest to fill , Unto Saragossa ride forth I will ; Yet I fear me to wreak some deed of ill, Thereby to slake this passion's might. " Roland listened, and laughed outright. XXII. At Roland's laughter Count Ganelon's pain Was as though his bosom were cleft in twain. He turned to his stepson as one distraught : "I do not love thee, " he said, " in aught ; Thou hast false judgment against me wrought. O righteous Emperor, here I stand To execute your high command. XXIII. "Unto Saragossa I needs must go ; — Who goeth may never return, I know ; — Yet withal, your sister is spouse of mine, And our son-no fairer of mortal lineBaldwin bids to be goodly knight :

I leave him my honours and fiefs of right. Guard him—no more shall he greet my sight."

  • See Note O.

70 The Song of Roland. Saith Karl, " Thou art over tender of heart. Since I command it, thou shalt depart. XXIV. " Fair Sir Gan," the Emperor spake, "This my message to Marsil take : He shall make confession of Christ's belief, And I yield him full half of Spain in fief ; In the other half shall Count Roland reign. If he choose not the terms I now ordain, I will march unto Saragossa's gate, Besiege and capture the city straight, Take and bind him both hands and feet, Lead him to Aix, to my royal seat, There to be tried and judged and slain, Dying a death of disgrace and pain. I have sealed the scroll of my command. Deliver it into the heathen's hand. 66 XXV. Gan," said the Emperor, " draw thou near : Take my glove and my bâton here ; On thee did the choice of thy fellows fall." "Sire, ' twas Roland who wrought it all. I shall not love him while life may last, Nor Olivier his comrade fast, The Treason of Ganelon. 71 Nor the peers who cherish and prize him so, — Gage of defiance to all I throw. " Saith Karl, " Thine anger hath too much sway. Since I ordain it, thou must obey. " " I go, but warranty none have I That I may not like Basil and Basan die." XXVI. The Emperor reached him his right-hand glove ; Gan for his office had scanty love ; As he bent him forward, it fell to ground: "God, what is this ! " said the Franks around ; "Evil will come of this quest we fear. " "My lords," said Ganelon, " ye shall hear. 66 XXVII. Sire," he said, " let me wend my way ; Since go I must, what boots delay ? " Said the king, " In Jesus' name and mine ! " And his right hand sained him with holy sign. Then he to Ganelon's grasp did yield His royal mace and missive sealed. XXVIII. Home to his hostel is Ganelon gone, His choicest of harness and arms to don ; 72 The Song of Roland. On his charger Taschebrun to mount and ride, With his good sword Murgleis girt at side. On his feet are fastened the spurs of gold, And his uncle Guinemer doth his stirrup hold. Then might ye look upon cavaliers A-many round him who spake in tears. 66 Sir," they said, " what a woful day ! Long were you ranked in the king's array, A noble vassal as none gainsay. For him who doomed you to journey hence Carlemaine's self shall be scant defence ; Foul was the thought in Count Roland's mind, When you and he are so high affined. Sir," they said, " let us with you wend. " "Nay," said Ganelon, " God forefend. Liefer alone to my death I go, Than such brave bachelors perish so. Sirs, ye return into France the fair ; Greeting from me to my lady bear, To my friend and peer Sir Pinabel, And to Baldwin, my son, whom ye all know well, — Cherish him, own him your lord of right. " He hath passed on his journey and left their sight. The Treason of Ganelon. 73 The Embassy and Crime of Ganelon. XXIX. Ganelon rides under olives high, And comes the Saracen envoys nigh. Blancandrin lingers until they meet, And in cunning converse each other greet. The Saracen thus began their parle : "What a man, what a wondrous man is Karl ! Apulia-Calabria—all subdued, Unto England crossed he the salt sea rude, * Won for Saint Peter his tribute fee ; But what in our marches maketh he ? " Ganelon said, " He is great of heart, Never man shall fill so mighty a part." XXX. Said Blancandrin, " YourFranks are high of fame, But your dukes and counts are sore to blame. Such counsel to their lord they give, Nor he nor others in peace may live. " Ganelon answered, " I know of none, Save Roland, who thus to his shame hath done. Last morn the Emperor sat in the shade, His nephew came in his mail arrayed, -

  • See Note P.

74 The Song of Roland. ↓ He had plundered Carcassonne just before, And a vermeil apple in hand he bore : ' Sire, ' he said, ' to your feet I bring The crown of every earthly king.' Disaster is sure such pride to blast ; He setteth his life on a daily cast. Were he slain, we all should have peace at last. " XXXI. "Ruthless is Roland," Blancandrin spake, "Who every race would recreant make, And on all possessions of men would seize ; But in whom doth he trust for feats like these ? " "The Franks ! the Franks ! " Count Ganelon cried ; 66 They love him, and never desert his side ; For he lavisheth gifts that seldom fail, Gold and silver in countless tale, Mules and chargers, and silks and mail. The king himself may have spoil at call. From hence to the East he will conquer all. " XXXII. Thus Blancandrin and Ganelon rode, Till each on other his faith bestowed That Roland should be by practice slain, And so they journeyed by path and plain, Till in Saragossa they bridle drew, There alighted beneath a yew. The Treason of Ganelon. 75 In a pine-tree's shadow a throne was set ; Alexandrian silk was the coverlet : There the Monarch of Spain they found, With twenty thousand Saracens round, Yet from them came nor breath nor sound ; All for the tidings they strained to hear, As they saw Blancandrin and Ganelon near. XXXIII. Blancandrin stepped before Marsil's throne, Ganelon's hand was in his own. "Mahound you save, " to the king he said, "And Apollin, whose holy law we dread ! Fairly your errand to Karl was done ; But other answer made he none, Save that his hands to Heaven he raised, Save that a space his God he praised ; He sends a baron of his court, Knight of France, and of high report, Ofhim your tidings of peace receive. " "Let him speak, " said Marsil, "we yield him leave. " XXXIV. Gan had bethought him, and mused with art ; Well was he skilled to play his part ; And he said to Marsil, " May God you save, The God of glory, whose grace we crave ! 76 The Song of Roland. Thus saith the noble Carlemaine : You shall make in Christ confession plain, And he gives you in fief full half of Spain ; The other half shall be Roland's share (Right haughty partner, he yields you there) ; And should you slight the terms I bear, He will come and gird Saragossa round, You shall be taken by force and bound, Led unto Aix, to his royal seat, There to perish by judgment meet, Dying a villainous death of shame. " Over King Marsil a horror came ; He grasped his javelin, plumed with gold, * In act to smite, were he not controlled. XXXV. King Marsil's cheek the hue hath left, And his right hand grasped his weapon's heft. When Ganelon saw it, his sword he drew Finger lengths from the scabbard two. "Sword," he said, " thou art clear and bright ; I have borne thee long in my fellows' sight ; Mine Emperor never shall say of me That I perished afar, in a strange countrie, Ere thou in the blood of their best wert dyed. " "Dispart the mellay, " the heathens cried.

  • See Note Q.

The Treason of Ganelon. 77 XXXVI. The noblest Saracens thronged amain, Seated the king on his throne again, And the Algalif said, ""Twas a sorry prank, * Raising your weapon to slay the Frank. It was yours to hearken in silence there. " "Sir," said Gan, " I may meetly bear, But for all the wealth of your land arrayed, For all the gold that God hath made, Would I not live and leave unsaid, What Karl, the mightiest king below, Sends, through me, to his mortal foe. " His mantle of fur, that was round him twined, With silk of Alexandria lined, Down at Blancandrin's feet he cast, But still he held by his good sword fast, Grasping the hilt by its golden ball. "A noble knight," say the heathens all. XXXVII. Ganelon came to the king once more. "Your anger," he said " misserves you sore As the princely Carlemaine saith, I say, You shall the Christian law obey.

  • See Note R.

78 The Song of Roland. And half of Spain you shall hold in fee, The other half shall Count Roland's be, (And a haughty partner ' tis yours to see). Reject the treaty I here propose, Round Saragossa his lines will close ; You shall be bound in fetters strong, Led to his city of Aix along. Nor steed nor palfrey shall you bestride, Nor mule nor jennet be yours to ride ; On a sorry sumpter you shall be cast, And your head by doom stricken off at last. So is the Emperor's mandate traced, " And the scroll in the heathen's hand he placed. XXXVIII. Discoloured with ire was King Marsil's hue ; The seal he brake and to earth he threw, Read of the scroll the tenor clear. "So Karl the Emperor writes me here, Bids me remember his wrath and pain For sake of Basan and Basil slain, Whose necks I smote on Haltoia's hill ; Yet, if my life I would ransom still , Mine uncle the Algalif must I send, Or love between us were else at end." Then outspake Jurfalez, Marsil's son : "This is but madness of Ganelon. The Treason of Ganelon. 79 For crime so deadly his life shall pay ; Justice be mine on his head this day. " Ganelon heard him, and waved his blade, While his back against a pine he stayed. XXXIX. Into his orchard King Marsil stepped. His nobles round him their station kept : There was Jurfalez, his son and heir, Blancandrin of the hoary hair, The Algalif, truest of all his kin. Said Blancandrin, " Summon the Christian in ; His troth he pledged me upon our side. " "Go," said Marsil, "be thou his guide." Blancandrin led him, hand-in - hand, Before King Marsil's face to stand. Then was the villainous treason planned. XL. "Fair Sir Ganelon, " spake the king, "I did a rash and despighteous thing, Raising against thee mine arm to smite. Richly will I the wrong requite. See these sables whose worth were told At full five hundred pounds of gold : Thine shall they be ere the coming day. " "I may not," said Gan, " your grace gainsay. God in His pleasure will you repay. ” 80 The Song of Roland. XLI. "Trust me I love thee, Sir Gan, and fain Would I hear thee discourse of Carlemaine. He is old, methinks, exceeding old ; And full two hundred years hath told ; With toil his body spent and worn, So many blows on his buckler borne, So many a haughty king laid low, When will he weary of warring so ? " "Such is not Carlemaine," Gan replied ; "Man never knew him, nor stood beside, But will say how noble a lord is he, Princely and valiant in high degree. Never could words of mine express His honour, his bounty, his gentleness. 'Twas God who graced him with gifts so high. Ere I leave his vassalage I will die. " XLII. * The heathen said, " I marvel sore Of Carlemaine, so old and hoar, Who counts I ween two hundred years, Hath borne such strokes of blades and spears, So many lands hath overrun, So many mighty kings undone, When will he tire of war and strife ? " "Not while his nephew breathes in life.

  • See Note S.

The Treason of Ganelon. 81 Beneath the cope of heaven this day Such vassal leads not king's array. Gallant and sage is Olivier, And all the twelve, to Karl so dear, With twenty thousand Franks in van, He feareth not the face of man." XLIII. (6 "Strange," said Marsil, seems to me, Karl, so white with eld is he, Twice a hundred years, men say, Since his birth have passed away. All his wars in many lands, All the strokes of trenchant brands, All the kings despoiled and slain, — When will he from war refrain ?" "Not till Roland breathes no more, For from hence to eastern shore, Where is chief with him may vie? Olivier his comrade by, And the peers, of Karl the pride, Twenty thousand Franks beside, Vanguard of his host, and flower, Karl may mock at mortal power. XLIV. " I tell thee, Sir Gan, that a power is mine ; Fairer did never in armour shine, G 82 The Song of Roland. Four hundred thousand cavaliers, With the Franks of Karl to measure spears." " Fling such folly," said Gan, " away ; Sorely your heathens would rue the day. Proffer the Emperor ample prize, A sight to dazzle the Frankish eyes ; Send him hostages full a score, So returns he to France once more. But his rear will tarry behind the host ; There, I trow, will be Roland's postThere will Sir Olivier remain. Hearken to me, and the counts lie slain ; The pride of Karl shall be crushed that day, And his wars be ended with you for aye." XLV. "Speak, then, and tell me, Sir Ganelon, How may Roland to death be done ? " 66' Through Cizra's pass will the Emperor wind,* But his rear will linger in march behind ; Roland and Olivier there shall be, With twenty thousand in company. Muster your battle against them then, A hundred thousand heathen men. Till worn and spent be the Frankish bands, Though your bravest perish beneath their hands.

  • See Note T.

The Treason of Ganelon. 83 For another battle your powers be massed, Roland will sink, overcome at last. There were a feat of arms indeed, And your life from peril thenceforth be freed. XLVI. "For whoso Roland to death shall bring, From Karl his good right arm will wring, The marvellous host will melt away, No more shall he muster a like array, And the mighty land will in peace repose. " King Marsil heard him to the close ; Then kissed him on the neck, and bade His royal treasures be displayed. XLVII. What said they more? Why tell the rest ? Said Marsil, " Fastest bound is best ; Come, swear me here to Roland's fall. " "Your will," said Gan, " be mine in all," He swore on the relics in the hilt Of his sword Murgleis, and crowned his guilt. XLVIII. Astool was there of ivory wrought. King Marsil bade a book be brought, Wherein was all the law contained Mahound and Termagaunt ordained. 84 The Song of Roland . The Saracen hath sworn thereby, If Roland in the rear-guard lie, With all his men-at-arms to go, And combat till the count lay low. Sir Gan repeated, " Be it so." XLIX. King Marsil's foster-father came, A heathen, Valdabrun by name. He spake to Gan with laughter clear. 66 My sword, that never found its peer, — A thousand pieces would not buy The riches in the hilt that lie, — To you I give in guerdon free ; Your aid in Roland's fall to see, Let but the rear-guard be his place. " " I trust," said Gan, " to do you grace. " Then each kissed other on the face. L. Next broke with jocund laughter in, Another heathen, Climorin. To Gan he said, " Accept my helm, The best and trustiest in the realm , Conditioned that your aid we claim To bring the marchman unto shame. " " Be it," said Ganelon, 66 as you list. " And then on cheek and mouth they kissed. The Treason of Eanelon. 85 LI. Now Bramimonde, King Marsil's queen, To Ganelon came with gentle mien. "I love thee well, Sir Count, " she spake, 66 For my lord the king and his nobles' sake. See these clasps for a lady's wrist, Of gold, and jacinth, and amethyst, That all the jewels of Rome outshine ; Never your Emperor owned so fine ; These by the queen to your spouse are sent." The gems within his boot he pent. LII. Then did the king on his treasurer call, "My gifts for Karl, are they ready all ? " "Yea, sire, seven hundred camels' load Ofgold and silver well bestowed, And twenty hostages thereby, The noblest underneath the sky. " LIII. On Ganelon's shoulder King Marsil leant. "Thou art sage, " he said, " and of gallant bent ; But by all thy holiest law deems dear, Let not thy thought from our purpose veer. 86 The Song of Roland. Ten mules' burthen I give to thee Ofgold, the finest of Araby ; Nor ever year henceforth shall pass But it brings thee riches in equal mass. Take the keys of my city gates, Take the treasure that Karl awaitsRender them all ; but oh, decide That Roland in the rear-guard bide ; So may I find him by pass or height, As I swear to meet him in mortal fight. " Cried Gan, " Meseemeth too long we stay," Sprang on his charger and rode away. LIV. The Emperor homeward hath turned his face, To Gailne city he marched apace,* (By Roland erst in ruins strown— Deserted thence it lay and lone, Until a hundred years had flown). Here waits he, word of Gan to gain With tribute of the land of Spain ; And here, at earliest break of day, Came Gan where the encampment lay. LV. The Emperor rose with the day dawn clear, Failed not Matins and Mass to hear,

  • See Note U.

The Treason of Ganelon. 87 Sate at his tent on the fair green sward, Roland and Olivier nigh their lord, Duke Naimes and all his peers of fame. Gan the felon, the perjured, came— False was the treacherous tale he gave, - And these his words, " May God you save ! I bear you Saragossa's keys, Vast the treasure I bring with these, And twenty hostages ; guard them well. The noble Marsil bids me tellNot on him shall your anger fall, If I fetch not the Algalif here withal ; For mine eyes beheld, beneath their ken, Three hundred thousand armèd men, With sword and casque and coat of mail, Put forth with him on the sea to sail, All for hate of the Christian creed, Which they would neither hold nor heed. They had not floated a league but four, When a tempest down on their galleys bore. Drowned they lie to be seen no more. If the Algalif were but living wight, He had stood this morn before your sight. Sire, for the Saracen king I say, Ere ever a month shall pass away, On into France he will follow free, Bend to our Christian law the knee, 88 The Song of Roland. Homage swear for his Spanish land, And hold the realm at your command. " "Now praise to God, " the Emperor said, "And thanks, my Ganelon, well you sped. " A thousand clarions then resound, The sumpter-mules are girt on ground, For France, for France the Franks are bound. LVI. Karl the Great hath wasted Spain, 66 Her cities sacked, her castles ta'en ; But now My wars are done," he cried, "And home to gentle France we ride." Count Roland plants his standard high Upon a peak against the sky ; The Franks around encamping lie. Alas ! the heathen host the while, Through valley deep and dark defile, Are riding on the Christians' track, All armed in steel from breast to back ; Their lances poised, their helmets laced, Their falchions glittering from the waist, Their bucklers from the shoulder swung, And so they ride the steeps among, Till, in a forest on the height, They rest to wait the morning light. Four hundred thousand couching there. O God! the Franks are unaware. The Treason of Ganelon. 89 LVII. The day declined, night darkling crept, And Karl, the mighty Emperor, slept. He dreamt a dream : he seemed to stand In Cizra's pass, with lance in hand. Count Ganelon came athwart, and lo, He wrenched the ashen spear him fro, Brandished and shook it aloft with might, Till it brake in pieces before his sight ; High towards heaven the splinters flew ; Karl awoke not, he dreamed anew. LVIII. In his second dream he seemed to dwell In his palace of Aix, at his own Chapelle. Abear seized grimly his right arm on, And bit the flesh to the very bone. Anon a leopard from Arden wood, Fiercely flew at him where he stood. When lo ! from his hall, with leap and bound, Sprang to the rescue a gallant hound. First from the bear the ear he tore, Then on the leopard his fangs he bore. The Franks exclaim, ""Tis a stirring fray, But who the victor none may say." Karl awoke not-he slept alway. 90 The Song of Roland. LIX. The night wore by, the day dawn glowed, Proudly the Emperor rose and rode, Keenly and oft his host he scanned. "Lords, my barons, survey this land, See the passes so strait and steep : To whom shall I trust the rear to keep ? " "To my stepson, Roland, " Count Gan replied. 66 Knight like him have you none beside. " The Emperor heard him with moody brow. "A living demon," he said, " art thou ; Some mortal rage hath thy soul possessed. To head my vanguard, who then were best ? ' "Ogier," he answered, " the gallant Dane, Braver baron will none remain." LX. Roland, when thus the choice he saw, Spake, full knightly, by knightly law : "Sir Stepsire, well may I hold thee dear, That thou hast named me to guard the rear ; Karl shall lose not, if I take heed, Charger, or palfrey, or mule or steed, Hackney or sumpter that groom may lead ; The reason else our swords shall tell. " "It is sooth, " said Gan, " and I know it well. ” The Treason of Ganelon. 91 LXI. Fiercely once more Count Roland turned * To speak the scorn that in him burned. "Ha ! deem'st thou, dastard, of dastard race, That I shall drop the glove in place, As in sight of Karl thou didst drop the mace ? " LXII. Then of his uncle he made demand : "Yield me the bow that you hold in hand ; Never of me shall the tale be told, As of Ganelon erst, that it failed my hold." Sadly the Emperor bowed his head, With working finger his beard he spread, Tears in his own despite he shed. LXIII. But soon Duke Naimes doth by him standNo better vassal in all his band. "You have seen and heard it all, O sire, Count Roland waxeth much in ire. On him the choice for the rear-guard fell, And where is baron could speed so well ? Yield him the bow that your arm hath bent, And let good succour to him be lent. " The Emperor reached it forth, and lo ! He gave, and Roland received, the bow.

  • See Note V.

92 The Song of Roland. LXIV. "Fair Sir Nephew, I tell thee free. Halfof my host will I leave with thee." "God be my judge, " was the count's reply, "If ever I thus my race belie. But twenty thousand with me shall rest, Bravest of all your Franks and best ; The mountain passes in safety tread, While I breathe in life you have nought to dread. " LXV.

Count Roland sprang to a hill-top's height, And donned his peerless armour bright ; Laced his helm, for a baron made ; Girt Durindana, gold-hilted blade ; † Around his neck he hung the shield, With flowers emblazoned was the field ; Nor steed but Veillantif will ride ; And he grasped his lance with its pennon's pride. White was the pennon, with rim of gold ; Low to the handle the fringes rolled. Who are his lovers men now may see ; And the Franks exclaim, "We will follow thee. ”

  • See Note W. † See Note X.

The Treason of Ganelon. 93 LXVI. Roland hath mounted his charger on ; Sir Olivier to his side hath gone ; Gerein and his fellow in arms, Gerier ; Otho the count, and Berengier, Samson, and with him Anseis old, Gerard of Roussillon, the bold. Thither the Gascon Engelier sped ; "I go," said Turpin, " I pledge my head ; "And I with thee," Count Walter said ; 99 "I am Roland's man, to his service bound. " So twenty thousand knights were found. LXVII. Roland beckoned Count Walter then. "Take of our Franks a thousand men ; Sweep the heights and the passes clear, That the Emperor's host may have nought to 66 fear." I go," said Walter, "at your behest," And a thousand Franks around him pressed. They ranged the heights and passes through, Nor for evil tidings backward drew, Until seven hundred swords outflew. The lord of Belferna's land, that day, King Almaris met him in deadly fray. 94 The Song of Roland. LXVIII. Through Roncesvalles the march began ; Ogier, the baron, led the van ; For them was neither doubt nor fear, Since Roland rested to guard the rear, With twenty thousand in full array : Theirs the battle-be God their stay. Gan knows all ; in his felon heart Scarce hath he courage to play his part. LXIX. High were the peaks, and the valleys deep, The mountains wondrous dark and steep ; Sadly the Franks through the passes wound, Full fifteen leagues did their tread resound. To their own great land they are drawing nigh, And they look on the fields of Gascony. They think of their homes and their manors there, Their gentle spouses and damsels fair. Is none but for pity the tear lets fall ; But the anguish of Karl is beyond them all. His sister's son at the gates of Spain Smites on his heart, and he weeps amain. The Treason of Canelon. 95 LXX. On the Spanish marches the twelve abide, With twice ten thousand Franks beside. Fear to die have they none, nor care : But Karl returns into France the fair ; Beneath his mantle his face he hides. Naimes, the duke, at his bridle rides. "Say, sire, what grief doth your heart oppress ? " "To ask," he said, " brings worse distress ; I cannot but weep for heaviness. By Gan the ruin of France is wrought. In an angel's vision, last night, methought He wrested forth from my hand the spear : 'Twas he gave Roland to guard the rear. God should I lose him, my nephew dear, Whom I left on a foreign soil behind, His peer on earth I shall never find ! " LXXI. Karl the Great cannot choose but weep, For him hath his host compassion deep ; And for Roland, a marvellous boding dread. It was Gan, the felon, this treason bred ; He hath heathen gifts of silver and gold, Costly raiment, and silken fold, Horses and camels, and mules and steeds.- But lo! King Marsil the mandate speeds, 96 The Song of Roland . To his dukes, his counts, and his vassals all, To each almasour and amiral. And so, before three suns had set, Four hundred thousand in muster met. Through Saragossa the tabors sound ; On the loftiest turret they raise Mahound : Before him the pagans bend and pray, Then mount and fiercely ride away, Across Cerdagna, by vale and height, Till stream the banners of France in sight, Where the peers of Carlemaine proudly stand, And the shock of battle is hard at hand. LXXII. Up to King Marsil his nephew rode, With a mule for steed, and a staff for goad ; Free and joyous his accents fell, "Fair Sir King, I have served you well, So let my toils and my perils tell. I have fought and vanquished for you in field. One good boon for my service yield,— Be it mine on Roland to strike the blow ; At point of lance will I lay him low ; And so Mohammed to aid me deign, Free will I sweep the soil of Spain, From the gorge of Aspra to Dourestan, Till Karl grows weary such wars to plan. The Treason of Ganelon. 97 Then for your life have you won repose." King Marsil on him his glove bestows. LXXIII. His nephew, while the glove he pressed, Proudly once more the king addressed. "Sire, you have crowned my dearest vow; Name me eleven of your barons now, In battle against the twelve to bide. " Falsaron first to the call replied ; Brother to Marsil, the king, was he ; " Fair Sir Nephew, I go with thee ; In mortal combat we front, to-day, The rear-guard of the grand array. Foredoomed to die by our spears are they." LXXIV. King Corsablis the next drew nigh, Miscreant Monarch of Barbary ; Yet he spake like vassal staunch and boldBlench would he not for all God's gold. The third, Malprimis, of Brigal's breed, More fleet of foot than the fleetest steed, Before King Marsil he raised his cry, " On unto Roncesvalles I : In mine encounter shall Roland die. " H 98 The Song of Roland . LXXV. An Emir of Balaguet came in place, Proud of body, and fair of face ; Since first he sprang on steed to ride, To wear his harness was all his pride ; For feats of prowess great laud he won ; Were he Christian, nobler baron none. To Marsil came he, and cried aloud, "Unto Roncesvalles mine arm is vowed ; May I meet with Roland and Olivier, Or the twelve together, their doom is near. The Franks shall perish in scathe and scorn ; Karl the Great, who is old and worn, Weary shall grow his hosts to lead, And the land of Spain be for ever freed. " King Marsil's thanks were his gracious meed. LXXVI. A Mauritanian Almasour * (Breathed not in Spain such a felon Moor) Stepped unto Marsil, with braggart boast : "Unto Roncesvalles I lead my host, Full twenty thousand, with lance and shield. Let me meet with Roland upon the field, Lifelong tears for him Karl shall yield. "

  • See Note Y.

The Treason of Ganelon. 99 LXXVII. Turgis, Count of Tortosa, came. Lord of the city, he bears its name. Scathe to the Christian to him is best, And in Marsil's presence he joined the rest. To the king he said, " Be fearless found ; Peter of Rome cannot mate Mahound. Ifwe serve him truly, we win this day ; Unto Roncesvalles I ride straightway. No power shall Roland from slaughter save : See the length of my peerless glaive, That with Durindana to cross I go, And who the victor, ye then shall know. Sorrow and shame old Karl shall share, Crown on earth never more shall wear. " LXXVIII. Lord of Valtierra was Escremis ; Saracen he, and the region his ; He cried to Marsil, amid the throng, "Unto Roncesvalles I spur along, The pride of Roland in dust to tread, Nor shall he carry from thence his head ; Nor Olivier who leads the band. And of all the twelve is the doom at hand. The Franks shall perish, and France be lorn, And Karl of his bravest vassals shorn. " 100 The Song of Roland. LXXIX. Estorgan next to Marsil hied, With Estramarin his mate beside. Hireling traitors and felons they. Aloud cried Marsil, " My lords, away Unto Roncesvalles, the pass to gain, Of my people's captains ye shall be twain. " "Sire, full welcome to us the call, On Roland and Olivier we fall. None the twelve from their death shall screen, The swords we carry are bright and keen ; We will dye them red with the hot blood's vent, The Franks shall perish and Karl lament. We will yield all France as your tribute meet. Come, that the vision your eyes may greet ; The Emperor's self shall be at your feet. " LXXX. With speed came Margaris-lord was he Ofthe land of Sibilie to the sea; Beloved of dames for his beauty's sake, Was none but joy in his look would take, The goodliest knight of heathenesse, — And he cried to the king over all the press, "Sire, let nothing your heart dismay; I will Roland in Roncesvalles slay, The Treason of Ganelon. ΙΟΙ Nor thence shall Olivier scatheless come, The peers await but their martyrdom. The Emir of Primis bestowed this blade ; Look on its hilt, with gold inlaid ; It shall crimsoned be with the red blood's trace : Death to the Franks, and to France disgrace ! Karl the old, with his beard so white, Shall have pain and sorrow both day and night ; France shall be ours ere a year go by ; At Saint Denys' bourg shall our leaguer lie. " King Marsil bent him reverently. LXXXI. Chernubles is there, from the valley black, His long hair makes on the earth its track ; A load, when it lists him, he bears in play, Which four mules' burthen would well outweigh. Men say, in the land where he was born Nor shineth sun, nor springeth corn, Nor falleth rain nor droppeth dew ; The very stones are of sable hue. 'Tis the home of demons, as some assert. And he cried, " My good sword have I girt, In Roncesvalles to dye it red. Let Roland but in my pathway tread, Trust ye to me that I strike him dead, 102 The Song of Roland. His Durindana beat down with mine. The Franks shall perish and France decline. " Thus were mustered King Marsil's peers, With a hundred thousand heathen spears. In haste to press to the battle on, In a pine-tree forest their arms they don. LXXXII. They don their hauberks of Saracen mould, Wrought for the most with a triple fold ; In Saragossa their helms were made ; Steel of Vienne was each girded blade ; Valentia lances and targets bright, Pennons of azure and red and white. They leave their sumpters and mules aside, Leap on their chargers, and serried ride. Bright was the sunshine and fair the day ; Their arms resplendent gave back the ray. Then sound a thousand clarions clear, Till the Franks the mighty clangour hear. "Sir Comrade," said Olivier, " I trow There is battle at hand with the Saracen foe. " "God grant," said Roland, " it may be so. Here our post for our king we hold ; For his lord the vassal bears heat and cold, Toil and peril endures for him, Risks in his service both life and limb. The Treason of Ganelon. 103 For mighty blows let our arms be strung, Lest songs of scorn be against us sung. With the Christian is good, with the heathen ill : No dastard part shall ye see me fill. "

PART II. RONCESVALLES. [The stanzas of the translation not found in the Oxford MS. , but taken from the stanzas inserted from other versions by M. Gautier, are, as regards Part II. , the following : stanzas 113, 114, 115, 118, 119, 120, 122, 123 , 126, 127, 139, 143, 144, 145, 146, 163] . The Prelude of the Great Battle. LXXXIII. OLIVIER clomb to a mountain height, Glanced through the valley that stretched to right ; He saw advancing the Saracen men, And thus to Roland he spake agen : "What sights and sounds from the Spanish side, White gleaming hauberks and helms in pride? In deadliest wrath our Franks shall be! | Ganelon wrought this perfidy ; It was he who doomed us to hold the rear." 66 Hush," said Roland ; " O Olivier, No word be said of my stepsire here. " LXXXIV. Sir Olivier to the peak hath clomb, Looks far on the realm of Spain therefrom ; He sees the Saracen power arrayed,— Helmets gleaming with gold inlaid, 108 The Song of Roland. Shields and hauberks in serried row, Spears with pennons that from them flow. He may not reckon the mighty mass, So far their numbers his thought surpass. All in bewilderment and dismay, Down from the mountain he takes his way, Comes to the Franks the tale to say. LXXXV. "I have seen the paynim, " said Olivier. "Never on earth did such host appear : A hundred thousand with targets bright, With helmets laced and hauberks white, Erect and shining their lances tall ; Such battle as waits you did ne'er befall. My Lords of France, be God your stay, That you be not vanquished in field to-day. " "Accursed, " say the Franks, "be they who fly. None shall blench from the fear to die." Roland's Pride. LXXXVI. "In mighty strength are the heathen crew, " Olivier said, " and our Franks are few ; My comrade, Roland, sound on your horn ; Karl will hear and his host return. " Roncesvalles. 109 " I were mad," said Roland, "to do such deed ; Lost in France were my glory's meed. My Durindana shall smite full hard, And her hilt be red to the golden guard. The heathen felons shall find their fate ; Their death, I swear, in the pass they wait. " LXXXVII. "O Roland, sound on your ivory horn, To the ear of Karl shall the blast be borne : He will bid his legions backward bend, And all his barons their aid will lend. " "Now God forbid it, for very shame, That for me my kindred were stained with blame, Or that gentle France to such vileness fell : This good sword that hath served me well, My Durindana such strokes shall deal, That with blood encrimsoned shall be the steel. By their evil star are the felons led ; They shall all be numbered among the dead. " LXXXVIII. "Roland, Roland, yet wind one blast ! Karl will hear ere the gorge be passed, And the Franks return on their path full fast. " " I will not sound on mine ivory horn : It shall never be spoken of me in scorn, IIO The Song of Roland. That for heathen felons one blast I blew ; I may not dishonour my lineage true. But I will strike, ere this fight be o'er, A thousand strokes and seven hundred more, And my Durindana shall drip with gore. Our Franks will bear them like vassals brave. The Saracens flock but to find a grave. " LXXXIX. "I deem of neither reproach nor stain. I have seen the Saracen host of Spain, Over plain and valley and mountain spread, And the regions hidden beneath their tread. Countless the swarm of the foe, and we A marvellous little company. " Roland answered him, "All the more My spirit within me burns therefore. God and his angels of heaven defend That France through me from her glory bend. Death were better than fame laid low. Our Emperor loveth a downright blow." XC. Roland is daring and Olivier wise, Both of marvellous high emprise ; On their chargers mounted, and girt in mail, To the death in battle they will not quail. Roncesvalles. III Brave are the counts, and their words are high, And the Pagans are fiercely riding nigh. "See, Roland, see them, how close they are, The Saracen foemen, and Karl how far ! Thou didst disdain on thy horn to blow. Were the king but here we were spared this woe. Look up through Aspra's dread defile, Where standeth our doomed rear-guard the while; They will do their last brave feat this day, No more to mingle in mortal fray." "Hush ! " said Roland, "the craven taleFoul fall who carries a heart so pale ; Foot to foot shall we hold the place, And rain our buffets and blows apace. " - XCI. When Roland felt that the battle came, Lion or leopard to him were tame ; He shouted aloud to his Franks, and then Called to his gentle compeer agen. "My friend, my comrade, my Olivier, The Emperor left us his bravest here ; Twice ten thousand he set apart, And he knew among them no dastard heart. For his lord the vassal must bear the stress Of the winter's cold and the sun's excess— Peril his flesh and his blood thereby : 112 The Song of Roland. Strike thou with thy good lance-point, and I With Durindana, the matchless glaive Which the king himself to my keeping gave, That he who wears it when I lie cold - May say ' twas the sword of a vassal bold. ” XCII. Archbishop Turpin, above the rest, Spurred his steed to a jutting crest. His sermon thus to the Franks he spake :- “ Lords, we are here for our monarch's sake ; Hold we for him, though our death should come ; Fight for the succour of Christendom . The battle approaches-ye know it well, For ye see the ranks of the infidel. Cry mea culpa, and lowly kneel ; I will assoil you, your souls to heal. In death ye are holy martyrs crowned. " The Franks alighted, and knelt on ground ; In God's high name the host he blessed, And for penance gave them—to smite their best. XCIII. The Franks arose from bended knee, Assoiled, and from their sins set free ; The archbishop blessed them fervently : Roncesvalles. 113 Then each one sprang on his bounding barb, Armed and laced in knightly garb, Apparelled all for the battle line. At last said Roland, " Companion mine, Too well the treason is now displayed, How Ganelon hath our band betrayed. To him the gifts and the treasures fell ; But our Emperor will avenge us well. King Marsil deemeth us bought and sold ; The price shall be with our good swords told. " XCIV. Roland rideth the passes through, On Veillantif, his charger true ; Girt in his harness that shone full fair, And baron-like his lance he bare. The steel erect in the sunshine gleamed, With the snow-white pennon that from it streamed ; The golden fringes beat on his hand. Joyous of visage was he, and bland, Exceeding beautiful offrame ; And his warriors hailed him with glad acclaim . Proudly he looked on the heathen ranks, Humbly and sweetly upon his Franks. Courteously spake he, in words of grace— "Ride, my barons, at gentle pace. The Saracens here to their slaughter toil : I 114 The Song of Roland. Reap we, to-day, a glorious spoil, Never fell to Monarch of France the like." At his word, the hosts are in act to strike. XCV. Said Olivier, " Idle is speech, I trow ; Thou didst disdain on thy horn to blow. Succour of Karl is far apart ; Our strait he knows not, the noble heart : Not to him nor his host be blame ; Therefore, barons, in God's good name, Press ye onward, and strike your best, Make your stand on this field to rest ; Think but of blows, both to give and take, Never the watchword of Karl forsake. " Then from the Franks resounded high66 > * Montjoie !" Whoever had heard that cry Would hold remembrance of chivalry. Then ride they-how proudly, O God, they ride !- With rowels dashed in their coursers' side. Fearless, too, are their paynim foes. Frank and Saracen, thus they close.

  • See Note Z.

Roncesvalles. 115 The Mellay. XCVI. King Marsil's nephew, Aelroth his name, Vaunting in front of the battle came, Words of scorn on our Franks he cast : "Felon Franks, ye are met at last, By your chosen guardian betrayed and sold, By your king left madly the pass to hold. This day shall France of her fame be shorn, And from Karl the mighty his right arm torn. ” Roland heard him-in wrath and pain !— He spurred his steed, he slacked the rein, Drave at the heathen with might and main, Shattered his shield and his hauberk broke, Right to the breast-bone went the stroke ; Pierced him, spine and marrow through, And the felon's soul from his body flew. A moment reeled he upon his horse, Then all heavily dropped the corse ; Wrenched was his neck as on earth he fell, Yet would Roland scorn with scorn repel. "Thou dastard ! never hath Karl been mad, Nor love for treason or traitors had., To guard the passes he left us here, Like a noble king and cavalier. 116 The Song of Roland. Nor shall France this day her fame forego. Strike in, my barons ; the foremost blow Dealt in the fight doth to us belong : We have the right, and these dogs the wrong." XCVII. A duke was there, named Falsaron, Ofthe land of Dathan and Abiron ; Brother to Marsil, the king, was he ; More miscreant felon ye might not see. Huge of forehead, his eyes between, A span of a full half-foot, I ween. Bitter sorrow was his , to mark His nephew before him lie slain and stark. Hastily came he from forth the press, Raising the war- cry of heathenesse.. Braggart words from his lips were tost : "This day the honour of France is lost. " Hotly Sir Olivier's anger stirs ; He pricked his steed with the golden spurs, Fairly dealt him a baron's blow, And hurled him dead from the saddle-bow. Buckler and mail were reft and rent, And the pennon's flaps to his heart's blood went. He saw the miscreant stretched on earth : "Caitiff, thy threats are of little worth. On, Franks ! the felons before us fall ; Montjoie !" "Tis the emperor's battle-call. Roncesvalles. 117 $ XCVIII. A king was there of a strange countrie, King Corsablis of Barbary ; Before the Saracen van he cried , "Right well may we in this battle bide ; Puny the host of the Franks I deem, And those that front us, of vile esteem. Not one by succour of Karl shall fly ; The day hath dawned that shall see them die. " Archbishop Turpin hath heard him well ; No mortal hates he with hate so fell : He pricked with spurs of the fine gold wrought, And in deadly passage the heathen sought ; Shield and corselet were pierced and riven, And the lance's point through his body driven ; To and fro, at the mighty thrust, He reeled, and then fell stark in dust. Turpin looked on him, stretched on ground. "Loud thou liest, thou heathen hound ! King Karl is ever our pride and stay ; Nor one ofthe Franks shall blench this day, But your comrades here on the field shall lie ; I bring you tidings : ye all shall die. Strike, Franks ! remember your chivalry ; First blows are ours, high God be praised ! " Once more the cry, "Montjoie ! " he raised. 118 The Song of Roland. XCIX. Gerein to Malprimis of Brigal sped, Whose good shield stood him no whit in stead; Its knob of crystal was cleft in twain, And one half fell on the battle plain. Right through the hauberk, and through the skin, He drave the lance to the flesh within ; Prone and sudden the heathen fell, And Satan carried his soul to hell. C. Anon, his comrade in arms, Gerier, Spurred at the Emir with levelled spear ; Severed his shield and his mail apart, — The lance went through them, to pierce his heart. Dead on the field at the blow he lay. Olivier said, "'Tis a stirring fray. " CI. At the Almasour's shield Duke Samson rodeWith blazon of flowers and gold it glowed ; But nor shield nor cuirass availed to save, When through heart and lungs the lance he drave. Dead lies he, weep him who list or no. The Archbishop said, ""Tis a baron's blow." Roncesvalles. 119 CII. Anseis cast his bridle free ; At Turgis, Tortosa's lord, rode he : Above the centre his shield he smote, Brake his mail with its double coat, Speeding the lance with a stroke so true, That the iron traversed his body through. So lay he lifeless, at point of spear. Said Roland, " Struck like a cavalier." CIII. Engelier, Gascon of Bordeaux, On his courser's mane let the bridle flow : Smote Escremis, from Valtierra sprung, Shattered the shield from his neck that swung ; On through his hauberk's vental pressed, And betwixt his shoulders pierced his breast. Forth from the saddle he cast him dead. "So shall ye perish all," he said. CIV. The heathen Estorgan was Otho's aim : Right in front of his shield he came ; Rent its colours of red and white, Pierced the joints of his harness bright, Flung him dead from his bridle rein. Said Otho, " Thus shall ye all be slain. " 120 The Song of Roland. CV. Berengier smote Estramarin, Planting his lance his heart within, Through shivered shield and hauberk torn. The Saracen to earth was borne Amid a thousand of his train. Thus ten ofthe heathen twelve are slain ; But two are left alive I wisChernubles and Count Margaris. CVI. Count Margaris was a valiant knight, Stalwart of body, and lithe and light : He spurred his steed unto Olivier, Brake his shield at the golden sphere, Pushed the lance till it touched his side ; God of His grace made it harmless glide. Margaris rideth unhurt withal, Sounding his trumpet, his men to call. CVII. Mingled and marvellous grows the fray, And in Roland's heart is no dismay. He fought with lance while his good lance stood ; Fifteen encounters have strained its wood. At the last it brake ; then he grasped in hand Roncesvalles. 121 His Durindana, his naked brand. He smote Chernubles' helm upon, Where, in the centre, carbuncles shone : Down through his coif and his fell of hair, Betwixt his eyes came the falchion bare, Down through his plated harness fine , Down through the Saracen's chest and chine, Down through the saddle with gold inlaid, Till sank in the living horse the blade, Severed the spine where no joint was found, And horse and rider lay dead on ground. "Caitiff, thou camest in evil hour ; To save thee passeth Mohammed's power. Never to miscreants like to thee Shall come the guerdon of victory. " CVIII. Count Roland rideth the battle through, With Durindana, to cleave and hew; Havoc fell of the foe he made, Saracen corse upon corse was laid, The field all flowed with the bright blood shed ; Roland, to corselet and arm, was red— Red his steed to the neck and flank. Nor is Olivier niggard of blows as frank ; Nor to one of the peers be blame this day, For the Franks are fiery to smite and slay. 122 The Song of Roland. "Well fought," said Turpin, " our barons true ! " And he raised the war-cry, " Montjoie !" anew. CIX. Through the storm of battle rides Olivier, His weapon, the butt of his broken spear, Down upon Malseron's shield he beat, Where flowers and gold emblazoned meet, Dashing his eyes from forth his head : Low at his feet were the brains bespread, And the heathen lies with seven hundred dead ! Estorgus and Turgin next he slew, Till the shaft he wielded in splinters flew. "Comrade ! " said Roland, " what makest thou? Is it time to fight with a truncheon now? Steel and iron such strife may claim ; Where is thy sword, Hauteclere by name, With its crystal pommel and golden guard ? " "Of time to draw it I stood debarred, Such stress was on me of smiting hard. ” CX. Then drew Sir Olivier forth his blade, As had his comrade Roland prayed. He proved it in knightly wise straightway, On the heathen Justin of Val Ferrée. At a stroke he severed his head in two, Roncesvalles. 123 Cleft him body and harness through ; Down through the gold-incrusted selle, To the horse's chine, the falchion fell : Dead on the sward lay man and steed. Said Roland, " My brother, henceforth, indeed ! The Emperor loves us for such brave blows ! " Around them the cry of "Montjoie ! " arose. CXI. Gerein his Sorel rides ; Gerier Is mounted on his own Pass-deer ; The reins they slacken , and prick full well Against the Saracen Timozel. One smites his cuirass, and one his shield, Break in his body the spears they wield ; They cast him dead on the fallow mould. I know not, nor yet to mine ear was told, Which of the twain was more swift and bold. Then Espreveris, Borel's son, By Engelier unto death was done. Archbishop Turpin slew Siglorel, The wizard, who erst had been in hell, By Jupiter thither in magic led. "Well have we ' scaped," the archbishop said : "Crushed is the caitiff," Count Roland replies, Olivier, brother, such strokes I prize ! " 124 The Song of Roland. CXII. Furious waxeth the fight, and strange ; Frank and heathen their blows exchange ; While these defend, and those assail, And their lances broken and bloody fail. Ensign and pennon are rent and cleft, And the Franks of their fairest youth bereft, Who will look on mother or spouse no more, Or the host that waiteth the gorge before. Karl the Mighty may weep and wail ; What skilleth sorrow, if succour fail ? An evil service was Gan's that day, When to Saragossa he bent his way, His faith and kindred to betray. But a doom thereafter awaited himAmerced in Aix, of life and limb, With thirty of his kin beside, 1 To whom was hope of grace denied. CXIII.

King Almaris with his band, the while, Wound through a marvellous strait defile, Where doth Count Walter the heights maintain, And the passes that lie at the gates of Spain. "Gan, the traitor, hath made of us,” Said Walter, " a bargain full dolorous."

  • See Note AA.

Roncesvalles. 125 CXIV. King Almaris to the mount hath clomb, With sixty thousand of heathendom. In deadly wrath on the Franks they fall, And with furious onset smite them all : Routed, scattered, or slain they lie. Then rose the wrath of Count Walter high ; His sword he drew, his helm he laced, Slowly in front of the line he paced, And with evil greeting his foemen faced. CXV. Right on his foemen doth Walter ride, And the heathen assail him on every side ; Broken down was his shield of might, Bruised and pierced was his hauberk white ; Four lances at once did his body wound : No longer bore he-four times he swooned ; He turned perforce from the field aside, Slowly adown the mount he hied, And aloud to Roland for succour cried. CXVI. Wild and fierce is the battle still : Roland and Olivier fight their fill ; The archbishop dealeth a thousand blows Nor knoweth one of the peers repose ; 126 The Song of Roland. The Franks are fighting commingled all, And the foe in hundreds and thousands fall ; Choice have they none but to flee or die, Leaving their lives despighteously. Yet the Franks are reft of their chivalry, Who will see nor parent nor kindred fond, Nor Karl who waits them the pass beyond. CXVII. Now a wondrous storm o'er France hath passed, With thunder- stroke and whirlwind's blast ; Rain unmeasured, and hail, there came, Sharp and sudden the lightning's flame ; And an earthquake ran-the sooth I say, From Besançon city to Wissant Bay ; From Saint Michael's Mount to thy shrine, Cologne, * House unrifted was there none. And a darkness spread in the noontide highNo light, save gleams from the cloven sky. On all who saw came a mighty fear. They said, " The end of the world is near. " Alas, they spake but with idle breath, - 'Tis the great lament for Roland's death. CXVIII. Dread are the omens and fierce the storm, Over France the signs and wonders swarm :

  • See Note BB.

Roncesvalles. 127 From noonday on to the vesper hour, Night and darkness alone have power; Nor sun nor moon one ray doth shed , Who sees it ranks him among the dead. Well may they suffer such pain and woe, When Roland, captain of all, lies low. Never on earth hath his fellow been, To slay the heathen or realms to win. CXIX. Stern and stubborn is the fight ; Staunch are the Franks with the sword to smite Nor is there one but whose blade is red, 66' Montjoie ! ” is ever their war-cry dread. Through the land they ride in hot pursuit, And the heathens feel ' tis a fierce dispute. CXX. In wrath and anguish, the heathen race Turn in flight from the field their face ; The Franks as hotly behind them strain. Then might ye look on a cumbered plain : Saracens stretched on the green grass bare, Helms and hauberks that shone full fair, Standards riven and arms undone : So by the Franks was the battle won. The foremost battle that then befellO God, what sorrow remains to tell ! 128 The Song of Roland. CXXI. With heart and prowess the Franks have stood ; Slain was the heathen multitude ; Of a hundred thousand survive not two : The archbishop crieth, " O staunch and true ! Written it is in the Frankish geste, That our Emperor's vassals shall bear them best. " To seek their dead through the field they press, And their eyes drop tears of tenderness ; Their hearts are turned to their kindred dear. Marsil the while with his host is near. CXXII. Distraught was Roland with wrath and pain ; Distraught were the twelve of Carlemaine— With deadly strokes the Franks have striven, And the Saracen horde to the slaughter given ; Of a hundred thousand escaped but oneKing Margaris fled from the field alone ; But no disgrace in his flight he bore— Wounded was he by lances four. To the side of Spain did he take his way, To tell King Marsil what chanced that day. CXXIII. Alone King Margaris left the field, With broken spear and piercèd shield , Roncesvalles. 129 Scarce half a foot from the knob remained, And his brand of steel with blood was stained ; On his body were four lance wounds to see : Were he Christian, what a baron he ! He sped to Marsil his tale to tell ; Swift at the feet of the king he fell : " Ride, sire, on to the field forthright, You will find the Franks in an evil plight ; Full half and more of their host lies slain , And sore enfeebled who yet remain ; Nor arms have they in their utmost need : To crush them now were an easy deed. " Marsil listened with heart aflame. Onward in search of the Franks he came. • CXXIV. King Marsil on through the valley sped, With the mighty host he has marshallèd. Twice ten battalions the king arrayed : Helmets shone, with their gems displayed, Bucklers and braided hauberks bound, Seven thousand trumpets the onset sound ; Dread was the clangour afar to hear. Said Roland, "My brother, my Olivier, Gan the traitor our death hath sworn, Nor may his treason be now forborne. To our Emperor vengeance may well belong, — K 130 The Song of Roland. To us the battle fierce and strong ; Never hath mortal beheld the like. With my Durindana I trust to strike ; And thou, my comrade, with thy Hauteclere : We have borne them gallantly otherwhere. So many fields ' twas ours to gain , They shall sing against us no scornful strain. " CXXV. As the Franks the heathen power descried, Filling the champaign from side to side, Loud unto Roland they made their call, And to Olivier and their captains all. Spake the archbishop as him became : " O barons, think not one thought of shame ; Fly not, for sake of our God I pray, That on you be chaunted no evil lay. Better by far on the field to die ; For in sooth I deem that our end is nigh. But in holy Paradise ye shall meet, And with the innocents be your seat. ' "" The Franks exult his words to hear, And the cry, "Montjoie ! " resoundeth clear. CXXVI. King Marsil on the hill-top bides, While Grandonie with his legion rides. Roncesvalles. 131 He nails his flag with three nails of gold : " Ride ye onwards, my barons bold. " Then loud a thousand clarions rang. And the Franks exclaimed as they heard the clang-- "O God, our Father, what cometh on ! Woe that we ever saw Ganelon : Foully, by treason, he us betrayed." Gallantly then the archbishop said, "Soldiers and lieges of God are ye, And in Paradise shall your guerdon be. To lie on its holy flowerets fair, Dastard never shall enter there." Say the Franks, "We will win it every one. " The archbishop bestoweth his benison. Proudly mounted they at his word, And, like lions chafed, at the heathen spurred . CXXVII. Thus doth King Marsil divide his men : He keeps around him battalions ten. As the Franks the other ten descry, "What dark disaster, " they said, " is nigh ? What doom shall now our peers betide ? " Archbishop Turpin full well replied, "My cavaliers, of God the friends, Your crown of glory to-day He sends, To rest on the flowers of Paradise, 132 The Song of Roland. That never were won by cowardice. " The Franks made answer, " No cravens we, Nor shall we gainsay God's decree ; Against the enemy yet we hold, — Few may we be, but staunch and bold. " Their spurs against the foe they set, Frank and paynim-once more they met. CXXVIII. A heathen of Saragossa came. Full half the city was his to claim. It was Climorin : hollow of heart was he, He had plighted with Gan in perfidy, What time each other on mouth they kissed, And he gave him his helm and amethyst. He would bring fair France from her glory down, And from the Emperor wrest his crown. He sate upon Barbamouche, his steed, Than hawk or swallow more swift in speed. Pricked with the spur, and the rein let flow, To strike at the Gascon of Bordeaux, Whom shield nor cuirass availed to save. Within his harness the point he drave, The sharp steel on through his body passed, Dead on the field was the Gascon cast. Said Climorin, " Easy to lay them low: Strike in, my pagans, give blow for blow." For their champion slain, the Franks cry woe. Roncesvalles. 133 CXXIX. Sir Roland called unto Olivier, "Sir Comrade, dead lieth Engelier ; Braver knight had we none than he. ” "God grant," he answered, " revenge to me." His spurs of gold to his horse he laid, Grasping Hauteclere with its bloody blade. Climorin smote he, with stroke so fell, Slain at the blow was the infidel. His soul the Enemy bore away. Then turned he, Alphaien, the duke, to slay ; From Escababi the head he shore, And Arabs seven to the earth he bore. Saith Roland, " My comrade is much in wrath ; Won great laud by my side he hath ; Us such prowess to Karl endears. Fight on, fight ever, my cavaliers. " CXXX. Then came the Saracen Valdabrun, Ofwhom King Marsil was foster-son. Four hundred galleys he owned at sea, And of all the mariners lord was he. Jerusalem erst he had falsely won, Profaned the temple of Solomon, Slaying the Patriarch at the fount. 'Twas he who in plight unto Gan the count, 134 The Song of Roland. His sword with a thousand coins bestowed. Gramimond named he the steed he rode, Swifter than ever was falcon's flight ; Well did he prick with the sharp spurs bright, To strike Duke Samson, the fearless knight. Buckler and cuirass at once he rent, And his pennon's flaps through his body sent ; Dead he cast him, with levelled spear. 66 Strike, ye heathens ; their doom is near. " The Franks cry woe for their cavalier. CXXXI. When Roland was ware of Samson slain, Well may you weet of his bitter pain. With bloody spur he his steed impelled, While Durindana aloft he held, The sword more costly than purest gold ; And he smote, with passion uncontrolled, On the heathen's helm, with its jewelled crown, - Through head, and cuirass, and body down, And the saddle embossed with gold, till sank The griding steel in the charger's flank ; Blame or praise him, the twain he slew. "A fearful stroke ! " said the heathen crew. "I shall never love you, " Count Roland cried. " With you are falsehood and evil pride.” Roncesvalles. 135 CXXXII. From Afric's shore, of Afric's brood, Malquiant, son of King Malcus, stood ; Wrought of the beaten gold, his vest Flamed to the sun over all the rest. Saut-perdu hath he named his horse, Fleeter than ever was steed in course ; He smote Anseis upon the shield, Cleft its vermeil and azure field , Severed the joints of his hauberk good, In his body planted both steel and wood. Dead he lieth, his day is o'er, And the Franks the loss of their peer deplore. CXXXIII. Turpin rideth the press among ; Never such priest the Mass hath sung, Nor who hath such feats of his body done. "God send thee, " he said, " His malison ! For the knight thou slewest my heart is sore." He sets the spur to his steed once more, Smites the shield in Toledo made, And the heathen low on the sward is laid. CXXXIV. Forth came the Saracen Grandonie , Bestriding his charger Marmorie ; 136 The Song of Roland. He was son unto Cappadocia's king, And his steed was fleeter than bird on wing. He let the rein on his neck decline, And spurred him hard against Count Gerein, Shattered the vermeil shield he bore, And his armour of proof all open tore ; In went the pennon, so fierce the shock, And he cast him, dead, on a lofty rock ; Then he slew his comrade in arms, Gerier, Guy of Saint Anton and Berengier. Next laid the great Duke Astor prone, The Lord of Valence upon the Rhone. Among the heathen great joy he cast. Say the Franks, lamenting, "We perish fast. " CXXXV. Count Roland graspeth his bloody sword : Well hath he heard how the Franks deplored ; His heart is burning within his breast. "God's malediction upon thee rest ! Right dearly shalt thou this blood repay." His war-horse springs to the spur straightway, And they come together-go down who may. CXXXVI. A gallant captain was Grandonie, Great in arms and in chivalry. Roncesvalles. 137 Never, till then, had he Roland seen, But well he knew him by form and mien, By the stately bearing and glance of pride, And a fear was on him he might not hide. Fain would he fly, but it skills not here ; Roland smote him with stroke so sheer, That it cleft the nasal his helm beneath , Slitting nostril and mouth and teeth, Through his body and mail of plate, And the gilded saddle whereon he sate, Deep the back of the charger through : Beyond all succour the twain he slew. From the Spanish ranks a wail arose, And the Franks exult in their champion's blows. CXXXVII. The battle is wondrous yet, and dire, And the Franks are cleaving in deadly ire ; Wrists and ribs and chines afresh, And vestures, in to the living flesh ; Onthe green grass streaming the bright blood ran, "O mighty country, Mahound thee ban ! For thy sons are strong over might of man. ” And one and all unto Marsil cried, "Hither, O king, to our succour ride. " 138 The Song of Roland. CXXXVIII. Marvellous yet is the fight around, The Franks are thrusting with spears embrowned ; And great the carnage there to ken, Slain and wounded and bleeding men, Flung, each by other, on back or face. Hold no more can the heathen race, They turn and fly from the field apace ; The Franks as hotly pursue in chase. CXXXIX. Knightly the deeds by Roland done, Respite or rest for his Franks is none ; Hard they ride on the heathen rear, At trot or gallop in full career. With crimson blood are their bodies stained, And their brands of steel are snapped or strained ; And when the weapons their hands forsake, Then unto trumpet and horn they take. Serried they charge, in power and pride ; And the Saracens cry-" May ill betide The hour we came on this fatal track ! " So on our host do they turn the back, The Christians cleaving them as they fled, Till to Marsil stretcheth the line of dead. Roncesvalles. 139 CXL. King Marsil looks on his legions strown, He bids the clarion blast be blown, With all his host he onward speeds : Abîme the heathen his vanguard leads. No felon worse in the host than he, Black of hue as a shrivelled pea ; He believes not in Holy Mary's Son ; Full many an evil deed hath done. Treason and murder he prizeth more 1 Than all the gold of Galicia's shore ; Men never knew him to laugh nor jest, But brave and daring among the bestEndeared to the felon king therefore; And the dragon flag of his race he bore. Thearchbishop loathed him-full well he might, - And as he saw him he yearned to smite. To himself he speaketh, low and quick, "This heathen seems much a heretic ; I go to slay him, or else to die, For I love not dastards or dastardy." CXLI. The archbishop began the fight once more ; He rode the steed he had won of yore, 140 The Song of Roland. When in Denmark Grossaille the king he slew. Fleet the charger, and fair to view : His feet were small and fashioned fine, Long the flank, and high the chine Chest and croup full amply spread, With taper ear and tawny head, And snow-white tail and yellow mane : To seek his peer on earth were vain. The archbishop spurred him in fiery haste, And, on the moment Abîme he faced, Came down on the wondrous shield the blow, The shield with amethysts all aglow, Carbuncle and topaz, each priceless stone ; 'Twas once the Emir Galafir's own ;'* A demon gave it in Metas vale : But when Turpin smote it might nought avail— From side to side did his weapon trace, And he flung him dead in an open space. Say the Franks, "Such deeds beseem the brave. Well the archbishop his cross can save. ” CXLII. Count Roland Olivier bespake : "Sir Comrade, dost thou my thought partake ? A braver breathes not this day on earth Than our archbishop in knightly worth.

  • See Note CC.

Roncesvalles. 141 How nobly smites he with lance and blade ! " Saith Olivier, " Yea, let us yield him aid ; " And the Franks once more the fight essayed. Stern and deadly resound the blows. For the Christians, alas, ' tis a tale of woes! CXLIII. The Franks of France of their arms are reft, Three hundred blades alone are left. The glittering helms they smite and shred, And cleave asunder full many a head ; Through riven helm and hauberk rent, Maim hand and foot and lineament. "Disfigured are we," the heathens cry. "Who guards him not hath but choice to die." "Right unto Marsil their way they take. "Help, O king, for your people's sake ! " King Marsil heard their cry at hand, "Mahound destroy thee, O mighty land ; Thy race came hither to crush mine own. What cities wasted and overthrown, Doth Karl of the hoary head possess ! Rome and Apulia his power confess, Constantinople and Saxony ; Yet better die by the Franks than flee. On, Saracens ! recreant heart be none ; If Roland live, we are all foredone. " 142 The Song of Roland. CXLIV. Then with the lance did the heathens smite On shield and gleaming helmet bright ; Of steel and iron arose the clang, Towards heaven the flames and sparkles sprang ; Brains and blood on the champaign flowed : But on Roland's heart is a dreary load, To see his vassals lie cold in death ; His gentle France he remembereth, And his uncle, the good King Carlemaine ; And the spirit within him groans for pain. CXLV. Count Roland entered within the prease, And smote full deadly without surcease ; While Durindana aloft he held, Hauberk and helm he pierced and quelled, Intrenching body and hand and head. The Saracens lie by the hundred dead, And the heathen host is discomfited. CXLVI. Valiantly Olivier, otherwhere, Brandished on high his sword HauteclereSave Durindana, of swords the best. To the battle proudly he him addressed. His arms with the crimson blood were dyed. Roncesvalles. 143 "God, what a vassal ! " Count Roland cried. 66 "O gentle baron, so true and leal, This day shall set on our love the seal ! The Emperor cometh to find us dead, For ever parted and severèd. France never looked on such woful day ; Nor breathes a Frank but for us will pray, — From the cloister cells shall the orisons rise, And our souls find rest in Paradise." Olivier heard him, amid the throng, Spurred his steed to his side along. Saith each to other, " Be near me still ; We will die together, if God so will. " CXLVII. Roland and Olivier then are seen To lash and hew with their falchions keen ; With his lance the archbishop thrusts and slays, And the numbers slain we may well appraise ; In charter and writ is the tale expressedBeyond four thousand, saith the geste. In four encounters they sped them well : Dire and grievous the fifth befell. The cavaliers of the Franks are slain All but sixty, who yet remain ; God preserved them, that ere they die, They may sell their lives full hardily. 144 The Song of Roland. The Horn. CXLVIII. As Roland gazed on his slaughtered men, He bespake his gentle compeer agen : "Ah, dear companion, may God thee shield ! Behold, our bravest lie dead on field ! Well may we weep for France the fair, Of her noble barons despoiled and bare. Had he been with us, our king and friend ! Speak, my brother, thy counsel lend, — - How unto Karl shall we tidings send ? " Olivier answered, " I wis not how. Liefer death than be recreant now." CXLIX. " I will sound," said Roland, " upon my horn, Karl, as he passeth the gorge, to warn. The Franks, I know, will return apace. " Said Olivier, " Nay, it were foul disgrace On noble kindred to wreak such wrong ; your They would bear the stain their lifetime long. Erewhile I sought it, and sued in vain ; But to sound thy horn thou wouldst not deign. Not now shall mine assent be won, Nor shall I say it is knightly done. Roncesvalles. 145 Lo ! both your arms are streaming red. " "In sooth," said Roland, " good strokes I sped. " CL. Said Roland, " Our battle goes hard, I fear ; I will sound on my horn that Karl may hear. " " Twere a deed unknightly," said Olivier ; " Thou didst disdain when I sought and prayed : Saved had we been, with our Karl to aid ; Unto him and his host no blame shall be : By this my beard, might I hope to see My gentle sister Alda's face, Thou shouldst never hold her in thine embrace. " 66 CLI. ' Ah, why on me doth thine anger fall ? " "Roland, ' tis thou who hast wrought it all. Valour and madness are scarce allied, — Better discretion than daring pride. All of thy folly our Franks lie slain, Nor will render service to Karl again. As I implored thee, if thou hadst done, The king had come and the field were won ; Marsil captive, or slain, I trow. Thy daring, Roland, hath wrought our woe. No service more unto Karl we pay, L 146 The Song of Roland. That first of men, till the judgment day ; Thou shalt die, and France dishonoured be, Ended our loyal companyAwoful parting this eve shall see. ” CLII. Archbishop Turpin their strife hath heard, His steed with the spurs of gold he spurred, And thus rebuked them, riding near : "Sir Roland, and thou, Sir Olivier, Contend not, in God's great name, I crave. Not now availeth the horn to save ; And yet behoves you to wind its call, — Karl will come to avenge our fall, Nor hence the foeman in joyance wend. The Franks will all from their steeds descend ; When they find us slain and martyred here, They will raise our bodies on mule and bier, And, while for pity aloud they weep, Lay us in hallowed earth to sleep ; Nor wolf nor boar on our limbs shall feed. " Said Roland, " Yea, ' tis a goodly rede. " CLIII. Then to his lips the horn he drew, And full and lustily he blew. The mountain peaks soared high around ; Roncesvalles . 147 Thirty leagues was borne the sound. Karl hath heard it, and all his band. "Our men have battle," he said, Ganelon rose in front and cried, 66 on hand." " If another spake, I would say he lied. " CLIV. With deadly travail, in stress and pain, Count Roland sounded the mighty strain. Forth from his mouth the bright blood sprang, And his temples burst for the very pang. On and onward was borne the blast, Till Karl hath heard, as the gorge he passed, And Naimes and all his men of war. "It is Roland's horn," said the Emperor, 66 And, save in battle, he had not blown. " "Battle," said Ganelon, " is there none. Old are you grown-all white and hoar ; Such words bespeak you a child once more. Have you, then, forgotten Roland's pride, Which I marvel God should so long abide, How he captured Noples without your hest ? * Forth from the city the heathen pressed, To your vassal Roland they battle gave, - He slew them all with the trenchant glaive, Then turned the waters upon the plain,

  • See Note DD.

148 The Song of Roland, 1 That trace of blood might none remain. He would sound all day for a single hare : 'Tis a jest with him and his fellows there ; For who would battle against him dare ? Ride onward-wherefore this chill delay ? Your mighty land is yet far away. " CLV. On Roland's mouth is the bloody stain, Burst asunder his temple's vein ; His horn he soundeth in anguish drear. King Karl and the Franks around him hear. Said Karl, " That horn is long of breath. " Said Naimes, "'Tis Roland who travaileth. There is battle yonder by mine avow. He who betrayed him deceives you now. Arm, sire ; ring forth your rallying cry, And stand your noble household by ; For you hear your Roland in jeopardy. " CLVI. The king commands to sound the alarm. To the trumpet the Franks alight and arm ; With casque and corselet and gilded brand, Buckler and stalwart lance in hand, Pennons of crimson and white and blue, The barons leap on their steeds anew, And onward spur the passes through ; Roncesvalles. 149 Nor is there one but to other saith, "Could we reach but Roland before his death, Blows would we strike for him grim and great. " Ah! what availeth !-'tis all too late. CLVII. The evening passed into brightening dawn. Against the sun their harness shone ; From helm and hauberk glanced the rays, And their painted bucklers seemed all ablaze. The Emperor rode in wrath apart. The Franks were moody and sad of heart ; Was none but dropped the bitter tear, For they thought of Roland with deadly fear.- Then bade the Emperor take and bind Count Gan, and had him in scorn consigned To Besgun, chief of his kitchen train. "Hold me this felon," he said, " in chain." Then full a hundred round him pressed, Of the kitchen varlets the worst and best ; His beard upon lip and chin they tore, Cuffs of the fist each dealt him four, Roundly they beat him with rods and staves ; Then around his neck those kitchen knaves Flung a fetterlock fast and strong, As ye lead a bear in a chain along ; On a beast of burthen the count they cast, Till they yield him back to Karl at last. 150 The Song of Roland. CLVIII. Dark, vast, and high the summits soar, The waters down through the valleys pour. The trumpets sound in front and rear, And to Roland's horn make answer clear. The Emperor rideth in wrathful mood, The Franks in grievous solicitude ; Nor one among them can stint to weep, Beseeching God that He Roland keep, Till they stand beside him upon the field, To the death together their arms to wield. Ah, timeless succour, and all in vain ! Too long they tarried, too late they strain. CLIX. Onward King Karl in his anger goes ; Down on his harness his white beard flows. The barons of France spur hard behind ; But on all there presseth one grief of mind— That they stand not beside Count Roland then, As he fronts the power of the Saracen. Were he hurt in fight, who would then survive ? Yet three score barons around him strive. And what a sixty ! Nor chief nor king Had ever such gallant following. Roncesvalles. 151 CLX. Roland looketh to hill and plain, He sees the lines of his warriors slain, And he weeps like a noble cavalier, "Barons of France, God hold you dear, And take you to Paradise's bowers, Where your souls may lie on the holy flowers ; Braver vassals on earth were none, So many kingdoms for Karl ye won ; Years a-many your ranks I led, And for end like this were ye nurtured. Land of France, thou art soothly fair ; To-day thou liest bereaved and bare ; It was all for me that your lives ye gave, And I was helpless to shield or save. May the great God save you who cannot lie. Olivier, brother, I stand thee by ; I die of grief, if I ' scape unslain : In, brother, in to the fight again. ” CLXI. Once more pressed Roland within the fight, His Durindana he grasped with might ; Faldron of Pui did he cleave in two, And twenty-four of their bravest slew. Never was man on such vengeance bound ; And, as flee the roe- deer before the hound, 152 The Song of Roland. So in face of Roland the heathens flee. Saith Turpin, " Right well this liketh me. Such prowess a cavalier befits, Who harness wears and on charger sits ; In battle shall he be strong and great, Or I prize him not at four deniers' rate ; Let him else be monk in a cloister cell, His daily prayers for our souls to tell. " Cries Roland, " Smite them, and do not spare. " Down once more on the foe they bear, But the Christian ranks grow thinned and rare. CLXII. Who knoweth ransom is none for him, Maketh in battle resistance grim ; The Franks like wrathful lions strike. But King Marsil beareth him baron-like ; He bestrideth his charger, Gaignon hight, And he pricketh him hard, Sir Beuve to smite, The Lord of Beaune and of Dijon town, Through shield and cuirass, he struck him down : Dead past succour of man he lay. Ivon and Ivor did Marsil slay ; Gerard of Roussillon beside. Not far was Roland, and loud he cried, "Be thou for ever in God's disgrace, Who hast slain my fellows before my face Roncesvalles. 153 1 Before we part thou shalt blows essay, And learn the name of my sword to-day. Down, at the word, came the trenchant brand, And from Marsil severed his good right hand : With another stroke, the head he won Of the fair-haired Jurfalez, Marsil's son. 66' Help us, Mahound ! " say the heathen train, May our gods avenge us on Carlemaine ! Such daring felons he hither sent, Who will hold the field till their lives be spent." " Let us flee and save us," cry one and all. Unto flight a hundred thousand fall, Nor can aught the fugitives recall. CLXIII. But what availeth ? though Marsil fly, His uncle, the Algalif, still is nigh ; Lord of Carthagena is he, Of Alferna's shore and Garmalie, And of Ethiopia, accursed land : The black battalions at his command, With nostrils huge and flattened ears , Outnumber fifty thousand spears ; And on they ride in haste and ire, Shouting their heathen war-cry dire. "At last," said Roland, " the hour is come, Here receive we our martyrdom ; 154 The Song of Roland. Yet strike with your burnished brands—accursed Who sells not his life right dearly first ; In life or death be your thought the same, That gentle France be not brought to shame. When the Emperor hither his steps hath bent, And he sees the Saracens' chastisement, Fifteen of their dead against our one, He will breathe on our souls his benison. " Death of Olivier. CLXIV. When Roland saw the abhorrèd race, Than blackest ink more black in face , Who have nothing white but the teeth alone, "Now," he said, " it is truly shown, That the hour of our death is close at hand. Fight, my Franks, ' tis my last command. " Said Olivier, " Shame is the laggard's due. " And at his word they engage anew. CLXV. When the heathens saw that the Franks were few, Heart and strength from the sight they drew ; They said, " The Emperor hath the worse." The Algalif sat on a sorrel horse ; Roncesvalles. 155 He pricked with spurs of the gold refined, Smote Olivier in the back behind. On through his harness the lance he pressed, Till the steel came out at the baron's breast. "Thou hast it ! " the Algalif, vaunting, cried. "Ye were sent by Karl in an evil tide. Of his wrongs against us he shall not boast ; In thee alone I avenge our host. " CLXVI. Olivier felt the deathly wound, Yet he grasped Hauteclere, with its steel embrowned ; He smote on the Algalif's crest of gold, — Gem and flowers to the earth were rolled ; Clave his head to the teeth below, And struck him dead with the single blow. "All evil, caitiff, thy soul pursue. Full well our Emperor's loss I knew ; But for thee-thou goest not hence to boast To wife or dame on thy natal coast, Of one denier from the Emperor won, Or of scathe to me or to others done." Then Roland's aid he called upon. CLXVII. Olivier knoweth him hurt to death ; The more to vengeance he hasteneth ; 156 The Song of Roland. Knightly as ever his arms he bore, Staves of lances and shields he shore ; Sides and shoulders and hands and feet, — Whose eyes soever the sight could greet, How the Saracens all disfigured lie, Corpse upon corpse, each other by, Would think upon gallant deeds ; nor yet Doth he the war-cry of Karl forget- " Montjoie ! " he shouted, shrill and clear ; Then called to Roland, his friend and peer, "Sir, my comrade, anear me ride ; This day of dolor shall us divide. " CLXVIII. Roland looked Olivier in the face, - Ghastly paleness was there to trace ; Forth from his wound did the bright blood flow, And rain in showers to the earth below. "O God ! " said Roland, " is this the end Of all thy prowess, my gentle friend ? Nor know I whither to bear me now : On earth shall never be such as thou. Ah, gentle France, thou art overthrown, Reft ofthy bravest, despoiled and lone ; The Emperor's loss is full indeed ! " At the word he fainted upon his steed. Roncesvalles. 157 CLXIX. See Roland there on his charger swooned, Olivier smitten with his death wound. His eyes from bleeding are dimmed and dark, Nor mortal, near or far, can mark ; And when his comrade beside him pressed, Fiercely he smote on his golden crest ; Down to the nasal the helm he shred, But passed no further, nor pierced his head. Roland marvelled at such a blow, And thus bespake him soft and low : "Hast thou done it, my comrade, wittingly ? Roland who loves thee so dear, am I, Thou hast no quarrel with me to seek ? " Olivier answered, " I hear thee speak, But I see thee not. God seeth thee. Have I struck thee, brother ? Forgive it me." "I am not hurt, O Olivier ; And in sight of God, I forgive thee here. " Then each to other his head hath laid , And in love like this was their parting made. CLXX. Olivier feeleth his throe begin ; His eyes are turning his head within, Sight and hearing alike are gone. He alights and couches the earth upon ; 158 The Song of Roland. His Mea Culpa aloud he cries, And his hands in prayer unto God arise, That He grant him Paradise to share, That He bless King Karl and France the fair, His brother Roland o'er all mankind ; Then sank his heart, and his head declined, Stretched at length on the earth he lay, - So passed Sir Olivier away. Roland was left to weep alone : Man so woful hath ne'er been known. CLXXI. When Roland saw that life had fled, And with face to earth his comrade dead, He thus bewept him, soft and still : "Ah, friend, thy prowess wrought thee ill ! So many days and years gone by We lived together, thou and I ; And thou hast never done me wrong, Nor I to thee, our lifetime long. Since thou art dead, to live is pain." He swooned on Veillantif again, Yet may not unto earth be cast, His golden stirrups held him fast. CLXXII. When passed away had Roland's swoon, With sense restored , he saw full soon Roncesvalles. 159 What ruin lay beneath his view. His Franks have perished all save twoThe archbishop and Walter of Hum alone. From the mountain-side hath Walter flown, Where he met in battle the bands of Spain, And the heathen won and his men were slain. In his own despite to the vale he came ; Called unto Roland, his aid to claim. "Ah, count ! brave gentleman, gallant peer ! Where art thou ? With thee I know not fear. I am Walter, who vanquished Maelgut of yore, Nephew to Drouin, the old and hoar. For knightly deeds I was once thy friend. I fought the Saracen to the end ; Mylance is shivered, my shield is cleft, Of my broken mail are but fragments left. I bear in my body eight thrusts of spear ; I die, but I sold my life right dear. " Count Roland heard as he spake the word, Pricked his steed, and anear him spurred. CLXXIII. "Walter," said Roland, " thou hadst affray With the Saracen foe on the heights to-day. Thou wert wont a valorous knight to be : A thousand horsemen gave I thee ; Render them back, for my need is sore. " 160 The Song of Roland. "Alas, thou seest them never more ! Stretched they lie on the dolorous ground, Where myriad Saracen swarms we found, — Armenians, Turks, and the giant brood. Of Balisa, famous for hardihood , Bestriding their Arab coursers fleet, Such host in battle ' twas ours to meet ; Nor vaunting thence shall the heathen go, — Full sixty thousand on earth lie low. With our brands of steel we avenged us well, But every Frank by the foeman fell. My hauberk plates are riven wide, And I bear such wounds in flank and side, That from every part the bright blood flows, And feebler ever my body grows. I am dying fast, I am well aware : Thy liegeman I, and claim thy care. If I fled perforce, thou wilt forgive , And yield me succour whilst thou dost live. " Roland sweated with wrath and pain, Tore the skirts of his vest in twain, Bound Walter's every bleeding vein. CLXXIV. In Roland's sorrow his wrath arose, Hotly he struck at the heathen foes, Nor left he one of a score alive ; Roncesvalles. 161 Walter slew six, the archbishop five. The heathens cry, "What a felon three ! Look to it , lords, that they shall not flee. Dastard is he who confronts them not ; Craven, who lets them depart this spot. " Their cries and shoutings begin once more, And from every side on the Franks they pour. CLXXV. Count Roland in sooth is a noble peer ; Count Walter, a valorous cavalier ; The archbishop, in battle proved and tried. Each struck as if knight there were none beside. From their steeds a thousand Saracens leap, Yet forty thousand their saddles keep ; I frow they dare not approach them near, But they hurl against them lance and spear, Pike and javelin, shaft and dart. Walter is slain as the missiles part ; The archbishop's shield in pieces shred, Riven his helm, and pierced his head ; His corselet of steel they rent and tore, Wounded his body with lances four ; His steed beneath him dropped withal : What woe to see the archbishop fall ! M 162 The Song of Roland. CLXXVI. When Turpin felt him flung to ground, And four lance wounds within him found, He swiftly rose, the dauntless man, To Roland looked, and nigh him ran. Spake but, "I am not overthrownBrave warrior yields with life alone. ” He drew Almace's burnished steel, A thousand ruthless blows to deal. In after time, the Emperor said He found four hundred round him spread,— Some wounded, others cleft in twain ; Some lying headless on the plain. So Giles the saint, who saw it, tells, For whom High God wrought miracles. In Laon cell the scroll he wrote ; He little weets who knows it not. CLXXVII. Count Roland combateth nobly yet, His body burning and bathed in sweat ; In his brow a mighty pain, since first, When his horn he sounded, his temple burst ; But he yearns of Karl's approach to know, And lifts his horn once more—but oh, How faint and feeble a note to blow ! Roncesvalles. 163 The Emperor listened, and stood full still. "My lords, " he said, " we are faring ill. This day is Roland my nephew's last ; Like dying man he winds that blast. On ! Who would aid, for life must press. Sound every trump our ranks possess. " Peal sixty thousand clarions high, The hills re-echo, the vales reply. It is now no jest for the heathen band. " Karl ! " they cry, " it is Karl at hand ! CLXXVIII. They said, ""Tis the Emperor's advance, We hear the trumpets resound of France. If he assail us, hope is vain ; If Roland live, ' tis war again, And we lose for aye the land of Spain. " Four hundred in arms together drew, The bravest of the heathen crew ; With serried power they on him press, And dire in sooth is the count's distress. CLXXIX. When Roland saw his coming foes, All proud and stern his spirit rose ; Alive he shall never be brought to yield : Veillantif spurred he across the field , 164 The Song of Roland. With golden spurs he pricked him well, To break the ranks of the infidel ; Archbishop Turpin by his side. " Let us flee, and save us," the heathens cried ; "These are the trumpets of France we hearIt is Karl, the mighty Emperor, near. " CLXXX. Count Roland never hath loved the base, Nor the proud of heart, nor the dastard race, — Nor knight, but if he were vassal good, - And he spake to Turpin, as there he stood ; "On foot are you, on horseback I ; For your love I halt, and stand you by. Together for good and ill we hold ; I will not leave you for man of mould. We will pay the heathen their onset back, Norshall Durindana of blows be slack. " "Base," said Turpin, " who spares to smite : When the Emperor comes, he will all requite. " CLXXXI. The heathens said, " We were born to shame. This day for our disaster came : Our lords and leaders in battle lost, And Karl at hand with his marshalled host ; Roncesvalles. 165 We hear the trumpets of France ring out, And the cry Montjoie ! ' their rallying shout. Roland's pride is of such a height, Not to be vanquished by mortal wight ; Hurl we our missiles, and hold aloof. " And the word they spake, they put in proof, - They flung, with all their strength and craft, Javelin, barb, and plumed shaft. Roland's buckler was torn and frayed, His cuirass broken and disarrayed, Yet entrance none to his flesh they made. From thirty wounds Veillantif bled, Beneath his rider they cast him, dead; Then from the field have the heathen flown : Roland remaineth, on foot, alone. The Last Benediction of the Archbishop. CLXXXII. The heathens fly in rage and dread; To the land of Spain have their footsteps sped ; Nor can Count Roland make pursuitSlain is his steed, and he rests afoot ; To succour Turpin he turned in haste, The golden helm from his head unlaced, 1 166 The Song of Roland. Ungirt the corselet from his breast, In stripes divided his silken vest ; The archbishop's wounds hath he staunched and bound, His arms about him softly wound ; On the green sward gently his body laid, And, with tender greeting, thus him prayed : "For a little space, let me take farewell ; Our dear companions, who round us fell, I go to seek ; if I haply find, I will place them at thy feet reclined. " "Go," said Turpin ; " the field is thine-- To God the glory, ' tis thine and mine. " CLXXXIII. Alone seeks Roland the field of fight, He searcheth vale, he searcheth height. Ivon and Ivor he found, laid low , And the Gascon Engelier of Bourdeaux, Gerein and his fellow in arms, Gerier ; Otho he found, and Berengier ; Samson the duke, and Anseis bold, Gerard of Roussillon, the old. Their bodies, one after one, he bore, And laid them Turpin's feet before. The archbishop saw them stretched arow, Nor can he hinder the tears that flow ; Roncesvalles. 167 In benediction his hands he spread : "Alas ! for your doom, my lords," he said, "That God in mercy your souls may give, On the flowers of Paradise to live ; Mine own death cometh, with anguish sore That I see mine Emperor never more." CLXXXIV. Once more to the field doth Roland wend, Till he findeth Olivier his friend ; The lifeless form to his heart he strained, Bore him back with what strength remained, On a buckler laid him, beside the rest, The archbishop assoiled them all, and blessed. Their dole and pity anew find vent, And Roland maketh his fond lament : 66' My Olivier, my chosen one, Thou wert the noble Duke Renier's son, Lord of the March unto Rivier vale. To shiver lance and shatter mail, The brave in council to guide and cheer, To smite the miscreant foe with fear, - Was never on earth such cavalier. " CLXXXV. Dead around him his peers to see, And the man he had loved so tenderly, 168 The Song of Roland. Fast the tears of Count Roland ran, His visage discoloured became, and wan, He swooned for sorrow beyond control. "Alas," said Turpin, " how great thy dole ! " CLXXXVI. To look on Roland swooning there, Surpassed all sorrow he ever bare ; He stretched his hand, the horn he took, — Through Roncesvalles there flowed a brook, - A draught to Roland he thought to bring ; But his step was feeble and tottering, Spent his strength, from waste of blood,- He struggled on for scarce a rood, When sank his heart, and drooped his frame, And his mortal anguish on him came. CLXXXVII. Roland revived from his swoon again ; On his feet he rose, but in deadly pain ; He looked on high, and he looked below, Till, a space his other companions fro, He beheld the baron, stretched on sward, The archbishop, vicar of God our Lord. Mea Culpa was Turpin's cry, While he raised his hands to heaven on high, Roncesvalles. 169 Imploring Paradise to gain. So died the soldier of Carlemaine, -- With word or weapon, to preach or fight, Achampion ever of Christian right, And a deadly foe of the infidel. God's benediction with him dwell ! CLXXXVIII. When Roland saw him stark on earth (His very vitals were bursting forth, And his brain was oozing from out his head), He took the fair white hands outspread, Crossed and clasped them upon his breast, And thus his plaint to the dead addressed, - So did his country's law ordain : - "Ah, gentleman of noble strain, I trust thee unto God the True, Whose service never man shall do With more devoted heart and mind : To guard the faith, to win mankind, From the apostles' days till now, Such prophet never rose as thou. Nor pain nor torment thy soul await, But of Paradise the open gate." 170 The Song of Roland. The Death of Roland. CLXXXIX. Roland feeleth his death is near, His brain is oozing by either ear. For his peers he prayed-God keep them well ; Invoked the angel Gabriel. That none reproach him, his horn he clasped ; His other hand Durindana grasped ; Then, far as quarrel from crossbow sent, Across the march of Spain he went. Where, on a mound, two trees between, Four flights of marble steps were seen ; Backward he fell, on the field to lie ; And he swooned anon, for the end was nigh. CXC. High were the mountains and high the trees, Bright shone the marble terraces ; On the green grass Roland hath swooned away. A Saracen spied him where he lay : Stretched with the rest, he had feigned him dead, His face and body with blood bespread. To his feet he sprang, and in haste he hied, — He was fair and strong and of courage tried, Roncesvalles. 171 In pride and wrath he was overbold, — And on Roland, body and arms, laid hold. "The nephew of Karl is overthrown ! To Araby bear I this sword, mine own. " He stooped to grasp it, but as he drew, Roland returned to his sense anew. CXCI. He saw the Saracen seize his sword ; His eyes he oped, and he spake one word— "Thou art not one of our band, I trow," And he clutched the horn he would ne'er forego ; • On the golden crest he smote him full, Shattering steel and bone and skull, Forth from his head his eyes he beat, And cast him lifeless before his feet. "Miscreant, makest thou then so free, As, right or wrong, to lay hand on me? Who hears it will deem thee a madman born ; Behold the mouth of mine ivory horn Broken for thee, and the gems and gold Around its rim to earth are rolled." CXCII. Roland feeleth his eyesight reft, Yet he stands erect with what strength is left ; 172 The Song of Roland. From his bloodless cheek is the hue dispelled, But his Durindana all bare he held. In front a dark brown rock arose— He smote upon it ten grievous blows. Grated the steel as it struck the flint, Yet it brake not, nor bore its edge one dint. "Mary, Mother, be thou mine aid ! Ah, Durindana, my ill-starred blade, I may no longer thy guardian be! What fields of battle I won with thee ! What realms and regions ' twas ours to gain, Now the lordship of Carlemaine ! Never shalt thou possessor know Who would turn from face of mortal foe ; A gallant vassal so long thee bore, Such as France the free shall know no more. " CXCIII. He smote anew on the marble stair. It grated, but breach nor notch was there. When Roland found that it would not break, Thus began he his plaint to make. “ Ah, Durindana, how fair and bright Thou sparklest, flaming against the light ! When Karl in Maurienne valley lay, God sent his angel from heaven to say— Roncesvalles. 173 'This sword shall a valorous captain's be,' And he girt it, the gentle king, on me. With it I vanquished Poitou and Maine, Provence I conquered, and Aquitaine ; I conquered Normandy the free, Anjou, and the marches of Brittany ; Romagna I won, and Lombardy, Bavaria, Flanders from side to side, And Burgundy, and Poland wide ; Constantinople affiance vowed, And the Saxon soil to his bidding bowed ; Scotia, and Wales, and Ireland's plain , * Of England made he his own domain. What mighty regions I won of old, For the hoary- headed Karl to hold ! But there presses on me a grievous pain, Lest thou in heathen hands remain. O God our Father, keep France from stain ! " CXCIV. His strokes once more on the brown rock fell, And the steel was bent past words to tell ; Yet it brake not, nor was notched the grain, Erect it leaped to the sky again. When he failed at the last to break his blade, His lamentation he inly made.

  • See Note EE.

174 The Song of Roland. "Oh, fair and holy, my peerless sword, What relics lie in thy pommel stored ! Tooth of Saint Peter, Saint Basil's blood, Hair of Saint Denis beside them strewed, Fragment of holy Mary's vest. 'Twere shame that thou with the heathen rest ; Thee should the hand of a Christian serve, One who would never in battle swerve. What regions won I with thee of yore, The empire now of Karl the hoar ! Rich and mighty is he therefore." CXCV. That death was on him he knew full well ; Down from his head to his heart it fell. On the grass beneath a pine-tree's shade, With face to earth, his form he laid, Beneath him placed he his horn and sword, And turned his face to the heathen horde. Thus hath he done the sooth to show, That Karl and his warriors all may know, That the gentle count a conqueror died. Mea Culpa full oft he cried ; And, for all his sins, unto God above, In sign of penance, he raised his glove. Roncesvalles. 175 CXCVI. Roland feeleth his hour at hand ; On a knoll he lies towards the Spanish land. With one hand beats he upon his breast : "In thy sight, O God, be my sins confessed. From my hour of birth, both the great and small, Down to this day, I repent of all. " As his glove he raises to God on high, Angels of heaven descend him nigh. CXCVII. Beneath a pine was his resting-place, To the land of Spain hath he turned his face. On his memory rose full many a thoughtOf the lands he won and the fields he fought ; Ofhis gentle France, of his kin and line ; Of his nursing father, King Karl benign ;— He may not the tear and sob control, Nor yet forgets he his parting soul. To God's compassion he makes his cry : 66 "O Father true, who canst not lie, Who didst Lazarus raise unto life agen, And Daniel shield in the lions' den ; Shield my soul from its peril, due For the sins I sinned my lifetime through." 176 The Song of Roland. He did his right-hand glove uplift— St. Gabriel took from his hand the gift ; Then drooped his head upon his breast, And with claspèd hands he went to rest. God from on high sent down to him One of his angel CherubimSaint Michael of Peril of the sea, Saint Gabriel in companyFrom heaven they came for that soul of price, And they bore it with them to Paradise. *

  • See Note FF.

PART III. THE REPRISALS. N · The Chastisement of the Saracens. CXCVIII. DEAD is Roland ; his soul with God. While to Roncesvalles the Emperor rode, Where neither path nor track he found, Nor open space nor rood of ground, But was strewn with Frank or heathen slain, "Where art thou, Roland ? " he cried in pain : "The Archbishop where, and Olivier, Gerein and his brother in arms, Gerier ? Count Otho where, and Berengier, Ivon and Ivor, so dear to me; And Engelier of Gascony ; Samson the duke, and Anseis the bold ; Gerard, of Roussillon, the old ; My peers, the twelve, whom I left behind ? " In vain !-No answer may he find. "O God," he cried, " what grief is mine That I was not in front of this battle line ! " 1 180 The Song of Roland. For very wrath his beard he tore, His knights and barons weeping sore ; Aswoon full fifty thousand fall ; Duke Naimes hath pity and dole for all. CXCIX. Nor knight nor baron was there to see But wept full fast, and bitterly ; For son and brother their tears descend, For lord and liege, for kin and friend ; Aswoon all numberless they fell , But Naimes did gallantly and well. He spake the first to the Emperor— "Look onward, sire, two leagues before, See the dust from the ways arise, — There the strength ofthe heathen lies. Ride on ; avenge you for this dark day. " "O God," said Karl, " they are far away ! Yet for right and honour, the sooth ye say. Fair France's flower they have torn from me. " To Otun and Gebouin beckoned he, 1 To Tybalt of Rheims, and Milo the count. " Guard the battle-field, vale, and mount— Leave the dead as ye see them lie ; Watch, that nor lion nor beast come nigh, Nor on them varlet or squire lay hand ; None shall touch them, ' tis my command, The Reprisals. 181 Till with God's good grace we return again." They answered lowly, in loving strain, "Great lord, fair sire, we will do your hest," And a thousand warriors with them rest. CC. The Emperor bade his clarions ring, Marched with his host the noble king. They came at last on the heathens' trace, And all together pursued in chase ; But the King of the falling eve was ware : He alighted down in a meadow fair, Knelt on the earth unto God to pray That He make the sun in his course delay, Retard the night, and prolong the day. Then his wonted angel who with him spake, Swiftly to Karl did answer make, " Ride on ! Light shall not thee forego ; God seeth the flower of France laid low ; Thy vengeance wreak on the felon crew. " The Emperor sprang to his steed anew. CCI. God wrought for Karl a miracle : In his place in heaven the sun stood still. The heathens fled, the Franks pursued, And in Val Tenèbres beside them stood ; 182 The Song of Roland. Towards Saragossa the rout they drave, And deadly were the strokes they gave. They barred against them path and road ; In front the water of Ebro flowed : Strong was the current, deep and large ; Was neither shallop , nor boat, nor barge. With a cry to their idol Termagaunt, The heathens plunge, but with scanty vaunt. Encumbered with their armour's weight, Sank the most to the bottom, straight ; Others floated adown the stream ; And the luckiest drank their fill , I deem : All were in marvellous anguish drowned. Cry the Franks, " In Roland your fate ye found." CCII. As he sees the doom of the heathen host, Slain are some and drowned the most, (Great spoil have won the Christian knights), The gentle king from his steed alights, And kneels, his thanks unto God to pour : The sun had set as he rose once more. "It is time to rest," the Emperor cried,

"And to Roncesvalles ' twere late to ride. Our steeds are weary and spent with pain ; Strip them of saddle and bridle-rein, The Reprisals. 183 Free let them browse on the verdant mead. " "Sire," say the Franks, " it were well, indeed. " CCIII. The Emperor hath his quarters ta'en, And the Franks alight in the vacant plain ; The saddles from their steeds they strip, And the bridle-reins from their heads they slip ; They set them free on the green grass fair, Nor can they render them other care. On the ground the weary warriors slept ; Watch nor vigil that night they kept. CCIV. In the mead the Emperor made his bed, With his mighty spear beside his head, Nor will he doff his arms to-night, But lies in his broidered hauberk white. Laced is his helm, with gold inlaid, Girt on Joyeuse, the peerless blade, Which changes thirty times a day The brightness of its varying ray. Nor may the lance unspoken be Which pierced our Saviour on the tree ; Karl hath its point-so God him gracedWithin his golden hilt enchased. 184 The Song of Roland. And for this honour and boon of heaven, The name Joyeuse to the sword was given ; The Franks may hold it in memory. Thence came "Montjoie," their battle- cry, And thence no race with them may vie. CCV. Clear was the night, and the fair moon shone, But grief weighed heavy King Karl upon ; He thought of Roland and Olivier, Of his Franks and every gallant peer, Whom he left to perish in Roncesvale, Nor can he stint but to weep and wail, Imploring God their souls to bless, - Till, overcome with long distress, He slumbers at last for heaviness. The Franks are sleeping throughout the meads ; Nor rest on foot can the weary steedsThey crop the herb as they stretch them prone.- Much hath he learned who hath sorrow known. " CCVI. The emperor slumbered like man forespent, While God his angel Gabriel sent The couch of Carlemaine to guard. All night the angel kept watch and ward,

  • See Note GG.

The Reprisals. 185 And in a vision to Karl presaged A coming battle against him waged. 'Twas shown in fearful augury ; The King looked upwards to the skyThere saw he lightning, and hail, and storm, Wind and tempest in fearful form. A dread apparel of fire and flame, Down at once on his host they came. Their ashen lances the flames enfold, And their bucklers in to the knobs of gold ; Grated the steel of helm and mail. Yet other perils the Franks assail, And his cavaliers are in deadly strait. Bears and lions to rend them wait, Wiverns, snakes and fiends offire, More than a thousand griffins dire ; Enfuried at the host they fly. 66' Help us, Karl ! " was the Franks' outcry, Ruth and sorrow the king beset ; Fain would he aid, but was sternly let. A lion came from the forest path, Proud and daring, and fierce in wrath ; Forward sprang he the king to grasp, And each seized other with deadly clasp ; But who shall conquer or who shall fall, None knoweth. Nor woke the king withal. 186 The Song of Roland. CCVII. Another vision came him o'er : He was in France, his land, once more ;, In Aix, upon his palace stair, And held in double chain a bear. When thirty more from Arden ran, Each spake with voice of living man : "Release him, sire ! " aloud they call ; " Our kinsman shall not rest in thrall. To succour him our arms are bound," Then from the palace leaped a hound, On the mightiest of the bears he pressed, Upon the sward, before the rest. The wondrous fight King Karl may see, But knows not who shall victor be. These did the angel to Karl display ; But the Emperor slept till dawning day. CCVIII. At morning-tide when day-dawn broke, The Emperor from his slumber woke. His holy guardian, Gabriel, With hand uplifted sained him well. The king aside his armour laid, And his warriors all were disarrayed. The Reprisals. 187 Then mount they, and in haste they ride, Through lengthening path and highway wide Until they see the doleful sight In Roncesvalles, the field of fight. CCIX. Unto Roncesvalles King Karl hath sped, And his tears are falling above the dead ; " Ride, my barons, at gentle pace, — I will go before, a little space, For my nephew's sake, whom I fain would find. It was once in Aix, I recall to mind, When we met at the yearly festal-tide, — My cavaliers in vaunting vied Of stricken fields and joustings proud, - I heard my Roland declare aloud, In foreign land would he never fall But in front of his peers and his warriors all, He would lie with head to the foeman's shore, And make his end like a conqueror. " Then far as man a staff might fling, Clomb to a rising knoll the king. CCX. As the king in quest of Roland speeds, The flowers and grass throughout the meads 188 The Song of Roland. He sees all red with our barons' blood, And his tears of pity break forth in flood. He upward climbs, till, beneath two trees , The dints upon the rock he sees. Of Roland's corse he was then aware ; Stretched it lay on the green grass bare. No marvel sorrow the king oppressed ; He alighted down, and in haste he pressed, Took the body his arms between, And fainted dire his grief I ween. CCXI. As did reviving sense begin, Naimes, the duke, and Count Acelin, The noble Geoffrey of Anjou, And his brother Henry nigh him drew. They made a pine-tree's trunk his stay ; But he looked to earth where his nephew lay, And thus all gently made his dole : "My friend, my Roland, God guard thy soul ! Never on earth such knight hath been, Fields of battle to fight and win. My pride and glory, alas, are gone ! " He endured no longer he swooned anon. The Reprisals. 189 CCXII. As Karl the king revived once more, His hands were held by barons four. He saw his nephew, cold and wan ; Stark his frame, but his hue was gone ; His eyes turned inward, dark and dim ; And Karl in love lamented him : "Dear Roland, God thy spirit rest In Paradise, amongst His blest ! In evil hour thou soughtest Spain : No day shall dawn but sees my pain, And me of strength and pride bereft, No champion of mine honour left ; Without a friend beneath the sky ; And though my kindred still be nigh, Is none like thee their ranks among. " With both his hands his beard he wrung. The Franks bewailed in unison ; A hundred thousand wept like one. CCXIII. "Dear Roland, I return again To Laon, to mine own domain ; Where men will come from many a land, And seek Count Roland at my hand. A bitter tale must I unfold-- 'In Spanish earth he lieth cold. ' 190 The Song of Roland. A joyless realm henceforth I hold, And weep with daily tears untold. CCXIV. "Dear Roland, beautiful and brave, All men of me will tidings crave, When I return to La Chapelle. Oh, what a tale is mine to tell ! That low my glorious nephew lies. Now will the Saxon foeman rise ; Bulgar and Hun in arms will come, Apulia's power, the might of Rome, Palermitan and Afric bands, And men from fierce and distant lands. To sorrow sorrow must succeed ; My hosts to battle who shall lead, When the mighty captain is overthrown? Ah ! France deserted now, and lone. Come, death, before such grief I bear." Once more his beard and hoary hair Began he with his hands to tear ; A hundred thousand fainted there. CCXV. "Dear Roland, and was this thy fate ? May Paradise thy soul await. The Reprisals. 191 Who slew thee wrought fair France's bane : I cannot live, so deep my pain. For me my kindred lie undone ; And would to Holy Mary's Son, Ere I at Cizra's gorge alight, My soul may take its parting flight : My spirit would with theirs abide ; My body rest their dust beside. " With sobs, his hoary beard he tore. "Alas ! " said Naimes, " for the Emperor. " CCXVI. ' Sir Emperor, " Geoffrey of Anjou said, "Be not by sorrow so sore misled. Let us seek our comrades throughout the plain, Who fell by the hands of the men of Spain ; And let their bodies on biers be borne." "Yea," said the Emperor. "Sound your horn. " CCXVII. Now doth Count Geoffrey his bugle sound, And the Franks from their steeds alight to ground. As they their dead companions find , They lay them low on biers reclined ; Nor prayers of bishop or abbot ceased, Of monk or canon, or tonsured priest. 192 The Song of Roland. The dead they blessed in God's great name, Set myrrh and frankincense aflame. Their incense to the dead they gave, Then laid them, as beseemed the braveWhat could they more ?-in honoured grave. CCXVIII. But the king kept watch o'er Roland's bier, O'er Turpin and Sir Olivier. He bade their bodies opened be, Took the hearts of the barons three, Swathed them in silken cerements light, Laid them in urns of the marble white. Their bodies did the Franks enfold In skins of deer, around them rolled ; Laved them with spices and with wine, Till the king to Milo gave his sign, To Tybalt, Otun, and Gebouin ; Their bodies three on biers they set, Each in its silken coverlet.

CCXIX . To Saragossa did Marsil flee. He alighted beneath an olive tree, And sadly to his serfs he gave 1 His helm, his cuirass, and his glaive, The Reprisals. 193 Then flung him on the herbage green ; Came nigh him Bramimonde his queen. Shorn from the wrist was his right hand good ; He swooned for pain and waste of blood. The queen, in anguish, wept and cried, With twenty thousand by her side. King Karl and gentle France they cursed ; Then on their gods their anger burst. Unto Apollin's crypt they ran, And with revilings thus began : "Ah, evil-hearted god, to bring Such dark dishonour on our king. Thy servants ill dost thou repay. " His crown and wand they wrench away, They bind him to a pillar fast, And then his form to earth they cast, His limbs with staves they bruise and break : From Termagaunt his gem they take : Mohammed to a trench they bear, For dogs and boars to tread and tear. CCXX. Within his vaulted hall they bore King Marsil, when his swoon was o'er ; The hall with coloured writings stained. And loud the queen in anguish plained, 194 The Song of Roland. The while she tore her streaming hair, "Ah, Saragossa, reft and bare, Thou seest thy noble king o'erthrown ! Such felony our gods have shown, Who failed in fight his aids to be. The Emir comes-a dastard he, Unless he will that race essay, Who proudly fling their lives away. Their Emperor of the hoary beard, In valour's desperation reared, Will never fly for mortal foe. Till he be slain, how deep my woe !

CCXXI. Fierce is the heat and thick the dust. The Franks the flying Arabs thrust. To Saragossa speeds their flight. The queen ascends a turret's height. The clerks and canons on her wait, Of that false law God holds in hate.

  • Here intervenes the episode of the great battle fought between

Charlemagne and Baligant, Emir of Babylon, who had come, with a mighty army, to the succour of King Marsil his vassal. As to this, see introduction. The translation is resumed at the end of the battle, after the Emir had been slain by Charlemagne's own hand, and when the Franks enter Saragossa in pursuit of the Saracens. The Reprisals. 195 Order or tonsure have they none. And when she thus beheld undone The Arab power, all disarrayed, Aloud she cried, " Mahound us aid ! My king ! defeated is our race, The Emir slain in foul disgrace." King Marsil turns him to the wall, And weeps his visage darkened all. He dies for grief-in sin he dies, His wretched soul the demon's prize. CCXXII. Dead lay the heathens, or turned to flight, And Karl was victor in the fight. Down Saragossa's wall he brakeDefence he knew was none to make. And as the city lay subdued, The hoary king all proudly stood, There rested his victorious powers. The queen hath yielded up the towersTen great towers and fifty small. Well strives he whom God aids withal. CCXXIII. Day passed ; the shades of night drew on, And moon and stars refulgent shone. 196 The Song of Roland. Now Karl is Saragossa's lord, And a thousand Franks, by the king's award, Roam the city, to search and see Where mosque or synagogue may be. With axe and mallet of steel in hand, They let nor idol nor image stand, The shrines of sorcery down they hew; For Karl hath faith in God the True, And will Him righteous service do. The bishops have the water blessed, The heathens to the font are pressed. If any Karl's command gainsay, He has him hanged or burned straightway. So a hundred thousand to Christ are won ; But Bramimonde the queen alone Shall unto France be captive brought, And in love be her conversion wrought. CCXXIV. Night passed, and came the daylight hours, Karl garrisoned the city's towers ; He left a thousand valiant knights, To sentinel their Emperor's rights. Then all his Franks ascend their steeds, While Bramimonde in bonds he leads, To work her good his sole intent. And so, in pride and strength, they went ; The Reprisals. 197 They passed Narbonne in gallant show, And reached thy stately walls, Bordeaux. There, on Saint Severin's altar high, Karl placed Count Roland's horn to lie, With mangons filled, and coins of gold, As pilgrims to this hour behold. Across Garonne he bent his way, In ships within the stream that lay, And brought his nephew unto Blaye, With his noble comrade, Olivier, And Turpin sage, the gallant peer. Ofthe marble white their tombs were made ; In Saint Roman's shrine are the barons laid, Whom the Franks to God and his saints commend. And Karl by hill and vale doth wend, Nor stays till Aix is reached, and there Alighteth on his marble stair. When sits he in his palace hall, He sends around to his judges all, From Frisia, Saxony, Lorraine, From Burgundy and Allemaine, From Normandy, Brittaine, Poitou : The realm of France he searcheth through, And summons every sagest man. The plea of Ganelon then began. 198 The Song of Roland. CCXXV. From Spain the Emperor made retreat, To Aix in France, his kingly seat ; And thither, to his halls, there came, Alda, the fair and gentle dame. "Where is my Roland, sire," she cried, "Who vowed to take me for his bride ? " O'er Karl the flood of sorrow swept ; He tore his beard, and loud he wept. "Dear sister, gentle friend, " he said, " Thou seekest one who lieth dead : I plight to thee my son instead, — Louis, who lord of my realm shall be. " ' Strange," she said, " seems this to me. God and his angels forbid that I Should live on earth if Roland die." Pale grew her cheek-she sank amain, Down at the feet of Carlemaine. So died she. God receive her soul ! The Franks bewail her in grief and dole. CCXXVI. So to her death went Alda fair. The king but deemed she fainted there. While dropped his tears of pity warm, He took her hands and raised her form. The Reprisals. 199 Upon his shoulder drooped her head, And Karl was ware that she was dead. When thus he saw that life was o'er, He summoned noble ladies four. Within a cloister was she borne ; They watched beside her until morn ; Beneath a shrine her limbs were laid ; - Such honour Karl to Alda paid. CCXXVII. The Emperor sitteth in Aix again, While Gan the felon, in iron chain, The very palace walls beside, By serfs unto a stake was tied. They bound his hands with leathern thong, Beat him with staves and cordage strong ; Nor hath he earned a better fee. And there in pain awaits his plea. 1 CCXXVIII. 'Tis written in the ancient geste, How Karl hath summoned east and west. At La Chapelle assembled they ; High was the feast and great the daySaint Sylvester's, the legend ran. The plea and judgment then began 200 The Song of Roland. Of Ganelon, who the treason wrought, Now face to face with his Emperor brought. CCXXIX. "Lords, my barons," said Karl the king, " On Gan be righteous reckoning : He followed in my host to Spain ; Through him ten thousand Franks lie slain ; And slain was he, my sister's son, Whom never more ye look upon, With Olivier the sage and bold, And all my peers, betrayed for gold. " "Shame befall me, " said Gan, “ if I Now or ever the deed deny ; Foully he wronged me in wealth and land, And I his death and ruin planned : Therein, I say, was treason none. " They said, "We will advise thereon. " CCXXX. Count Gan to the Emperor's presence came, Fresh of hue and lithe of frame, With a baron's mien, were his heart but true. On his judges round his glance he threw, And on thirty kinsmen by his side, And thus, with mighty voice, he cried : The Reprisals. 201 " Hear me, barons, for love of God. In the Emperor's host was I abroadWell I served him, and loyally, But his nephew, Roland, hated me : He doomed my doom of death and woe, That I to Marsil's court should go. My craft the danger put aside, But Roland loudly I defied, With Olivier, and all their crew, As Karl, and these his barons, knew. Vengeance, not treason, have I wrought. " "Thereon," they answered, "take we thought. " CCXXXI. When Ganelon saw the plea begin, He mustered thirty of his kin, With one revered by all the restPinabel of Sorrence's crest. Well can his tongue his cause unfold, And a vassal brave his arms to hold. "Thine aid," said Ganelon, " I claim : To rescue me from death and shame. " Said Pinabel, " Rescued shalt thou be. Let any Frank thy death decree, And, wheresoe'er the king deems meet, I will him body to body greet, 202 The Song of Roland. Give him the lie with my brand of steel. " Ganelon sank at his feet to kneel. CCXXXII. Come Frank and Norman to council in, Bavarian, Saxon, and Poitevin, With all the barons of Teuton blood ; But the men of Auvergne are mild of moodTheir hearts are swayed unto Pinabel . Saith each to other, "Pause we well. Let us leave this plea, and the king implore To set Count Ganelon free once more, Henceforth to serve him in love and faith : Count Roland lieth cold in death : Not all the gold beneath the sky Can give him back to mortal eye ; Such battle would but madness be. " They all applauded this decree, Save Thierry-Geoffrey's brother he. CCXXXIII. The barons came the king before. " Fair Sire, we all thy grace implore, That Gan be suffered free to go, His faith and love henceforth to show. Oh, let him live-a noble he. Your Roland you shall never see : The Reprisals. 203 No wealth of gold may him recall. " Karl answered, “ Ye are felons all. ” CCXXXIV. When Karl saw all forsake him now, Dark grew his face and drooped his brow. He said, " Of men most wretched I ! " Stepped forth Thierry speedily, Duke Geoffrey's brother, a noble knight, Spare of body, and lithe and light, Dark his hair and his hue withal, Nor low of stature, nor over tall. To Karl, in courteous wise, he said, " Fair Sire, be not disheartened. I have served you truly, and, in the name Of my lineage, I this quarrel claim. If Roland wronged Sir Gan in aught, Your service had his safeguard wrought. Ganelon bore him like caitiff base, A perjured traitor before your face. I adjudge him to die on the gallows tree ; Flung to the hounds let his carcase be, The doom of treason and felony. Let kin of his but say I lie, And with this girded sword will I My plighted word in fight maintain. ” "Well spoken," cry the Franks amain. 204 The Song of Roland. CCXXXV. Sir Pinabel stood before Karl in place, Vast of body and swift of pace, - Small hope hath he whom his sword may smite. 66 Sire, it is yours to decide the right. Bid this clamour around to pause. Thierry hath dared to adjudge the cause. He lieth. Battle thereon I do. " And forth his right-hand glove he drew. But the Emperor said, " In bail to me Shall thirty of his kinsmen be ; I yield him pledges on my side : Be they guarded well till the right be tried. " When Thierry saw the fight shall be, To Karl his right glove reacheth he ; The Emperor gave his pledges o'er. And set in place were benches fourThereon the champions take their seat, And all is ranged in order meet, — The preparations Ogier speeds, - And both demand their arms and steeds. CCXXXVI. But yet, ere lay they lance in rest, They make their shrift, are sained and blessed ; The Reprisals. 205 They hear the Mass, the Host receive, Great gifts to church and cloister leave. They stand before the Emperor's face ; The spurs upon their feet they lace ; Gird on their corselets, strong and light ; Close on their heads the helmets bright. The golden hilts at belt are hung ; Their quartered shields from shoulder swung. In hand the mighty spears they lift, Then spring they on their chargers swift. A hundred thousand cavaliers The while for Thierry drop their tears ; They pity him for Roland's sake. God knows what end the strife shall take. CCXXXVII. At Aix is a wide and grassy plain, Where meet in battle the barons twain. Both of valorous knighthood are, Their chargers swift and apt for war. They prick them hard, with slackened rein ; Drive each at other with might and main. Their bucklers are in fragments flung, Their hauberks rent, their girths unstrung ; With saddles turned, they earthward rolled . A hundred thousand in tears behold. 206 The Song of Roland. CCXXXVIII. Both cavaliers to earth are gone, Both rise and leap on foot anon. Strong is Pinabel, swift and light ; Each striketh other, unhorsed they fight ; With golden hilted swords, they deal Fiery strokes on the helms of steel . Trenchant and fierce is their every blow. The Franks look on in wondrous woe. "O God," saith Karl, " Thy judgment show. " CCXXXIX. "Yield thee, Thierry," said Pinabel. "In love and faith will I serve thee well, And all my wealth to thy feet will bring, Win Ganelon's pardon from the king. " "Never," Thierry in scorn replied, "Shall thought so base in my bosom bide ! God betwixt us this day decide. CCXL. "Ah, Pinabel ! " so Thierry spake, "Thou art a baron of stalwart make, Thy knighthood known to every peer, - Come, let us cease this battle here. The Reprisals. 207 With Karl thy concord shall be won, But on Ganelon be justice done ; Of him henceforth let speech be none." "No," said Pinabel ; " God forefend ! My kinsman I to the last defend ; Nor will I blench for mortal face, — Far better death than such disgrace." Began they with their glaives anew The gold-encrusted helms to hew ; Towards heaven the fiery sparkles flew. They shall not be disjoined again, Nor end the strife till one be slain. CCXLI. Pinabel, lord of Sorrence's keep, Smote Thierry's helm with stroke so deep, The very fire that from it came Hath set the prairie round in flame ; The edge of steel did his forehead trace Unto the middle, adown his face ; His hauberk to the centre clave. God deigned Thierry from death to save. CCXLII. When Thierry felt him wounded so, For his bright blood flowed on the grass below, 208 The Song of Roland. He smote on Pinabel's helmet brown, Cut and clave to the nasal down ; Dashed his brains from forth his head, And, with stroke of prowess, cast him dead. Thus, at a blow, was the battle won : "God," say the Franks, " hath this marvel done. " CCXLIII. When Thierry thus was the conqueror, He came the Emperor Karl before. Full fifty barons were in his train, Duke Naimes, and Ogier the noble Dane, Geoffrey of Anjou and William of Blaye. Karl clasped him in his arms straightway. With the skin of sable he wiped his face ; Then cast it from him, and, in its place, Bade him in fresh attire be drest. His armour gently the knights divest ; On an Arab mule they make him ride : So returns he, in joy and pride. To the open plain of Aix they come, Where the kin of Ganelon wait their doom. CCXLIV. Karl his dukes and his counts addressed : "Say, what of those who in bondage restWho came Count Ganelon's plea to aid, And for Pinabel were bailsmen made ? ” The Reprisals. 209 "One and all let them die the death. ” And the king to Basbrun, his provost, saith, "Go, hang them all on the gallows tree. By my beard I swear, so white to see, If one escape, thou shalt surely die." "Mine be the task," he made reply. A hundred men-at-arms are there ; The thirty to their doom they bear. The traitor shall his guilt atone, With blood of others and his own. CCXLV. The men of Bavaria and Allemaine, Norman and Breton return again, And with all the Franks aloud they cry, That Gan a traitor's death shall die. They bade be brought four stallions fleet ; Bound to them Ganelon, hands and feet ; Wild and swift was each savage steed, And a mare was standing within the mead ; Four grooms impelled the coursers on, — A fearful ending for Ganelon. His every nerve was stretched and torn, And the limbs of his body apart were borne ; The bright blood, springing from every vein, Left on the herbage green its stain. P The Song of Roland. He died a felon and recreant : Never shall traitor his treason vaunt. CCXLVI. Now was the Emperor's vengeance done, And he called to the bishops of France anon, With those of Bavaria and Allemaine. "Anoble captive is in my train. She hath hearkened to sermon and homily, And a true believer in Christ will be ; Baptize her so that her soul have grace. ” They said, " Let ladies of noble race, At her christening, be her sponsors vowed. ” And so there gathered a mighty crowd. At the baths of Aix was the wondrous sceneThere baptized they the Spanish queen ; Julienne they have named her name. In faith and truth unto Christ she came. CCXLVII. When the Emperor's justice was satisfied, His mighty wrath did awhile subside. Queen Bramimonde was a Christian made. The day passed on into night's dark shade As the King in his vaulted chamber lay, Saint Gabriel came from God to say,

The Reprisals. 211 " Karl, thou shalt summon thine empire's host, And march in haste to Bira's coast ; Unto Impha city relief to bring, And succour Vivian, the Christian king. The heathens in siege have the town essayed, And the shattered Christians invoke thine aid. " Fain would Karl such task decline. “ God ! what a life of toil is mine ! ' He wept ; his hoary beard he wrung. So ends the lay Turoldus sung.


NOTES . A. STANZA I. I have adopted the spelling of the Venetian MS. , " Carlemaine, " as more suited to poetry than " Carlemagne, " the spelling of the Bodleian MS. B. " Hath been for seven full years in Spain. " These Spanish conquests of Charlemagne are, as the reader will have seen by the introduction, entirely mythical. No wonder that when they became embodied in a work so widely read and religiously confided in as the pseudo-Turpin, the national feelings of the Spanish were awakened. I append here a valuable note, with which a learned French ecclesiastic has kindly furnished me, on the relation of the Carlovingian legend to Spanish history and poetry. CHARLEMAGNE ET ROLAND DANS L'HISTOIRE ET LA POESIE ESPAGNOLE. I. HISTOIRE. 1. Les plus anciennes chroniques Arturo- latines du IX® et du Xe siècle gardent le plus profond silence sur l'expédition de Charlemagne dans le Nord- Ouest de l'Espagne, sur la défaite dans les Pyrénées, et sur la mort de Roland. C'est ce qu'il est 216 Notes. facile de constater en parcourant la Chronique d'Albada ou de S. Millan ( écrite à 882) , celle de Sébastien ou plus tôt d'Alphonse III . (écrite vers la même époque) et les chartes authentiques d'Oviedo. * 2. Les Chroniques de Léon ou de Castille du XIIe et du XIIIe siècle, le moine de Silos, Rodrique de Tolède, Luc de Tuy, parlent de Charlemagne et de Roland pour mentionner la défaite de l'un, la mort de l'autre, et pour réfuter les vanteries françaises du faux Turpin et de la Chronique de Roland. Ainsi le Moine de Silos déclare carrément que les Espagnols, ne doivent rien à Charlemagne ; qu'entré en Navarre et après avoir pris pacifiquement possession de Pampelune, à peine s’avança jusqu'à Saragosse, dont il s'éloigna, gagné par l'or des Sarrasins et rappellé en France par son amour des bains et du luxe ; qu'après avoir fait démanteler Pampelune, il eut son arrière garde, commandée par Egibard et Roland, massacrée dans les gorges de Pyrénées, et qu'il ne vengea jamais cette injure (Monache Silensòs, chrom . c. ii . 12 , 19, et 20) † Le Moine de Silos écrit tout ceci en opposition à ce que les français affirment faussement (Francifalso asserunt) . Rodrique de Tolède mêle à ce récit de la défaite de Charlemagne et de la mort de Roland le personage légendaire de Bernal del Carpio, et une protestation contre les mensongères conquêtes de Charlemagne en Espagne. ‡ Luc de Tuy brouille tout ; il place la défaite de Charlemagne et la mort de Roland à Roncevaux par Alphonse- le- Chaste et Bernal del Carpio (chronico. mundi, dans Schott, Hisp. Illustr. t. iv. p. 75 ) ; puis une seconde défaite des Francs d'un Empereur Charles III. par Alphonse le Grand et Bernal del Carpio cent ans après la précédente ( ibid. p. 79) . Bien entendu que l'un et l'autre Charles font ensuite le pélérinage de S. Jacques de Compostelle. Les chroniques de S. Millan et d'Alphonse III. , ainsi que les chartes authentiques d'Oviedo sont renfermées dans les appendices au 2º vol. de Beganza Antiguedades de España Propugnadas, etc. , 2 in fº Madrid, 1721 ; dans le tome xiii. de l'Espana Sagrada, par Florez, et dans le tome xxxvii. du même ouvrage. ↑ Berganza, t. ii . p. 516, et . Esp. Sagr. t. xvii . p. 271 , n. 18, 19. Rodericus Toletanus, De Reb. Hisp. 1. iv. c. 10. Notes. 217 II. POÉSIE. Aucun des poëtes Espagnols du Moyen âge n'a, que je sache, parlé de Roland. L'auteur anonyme de la Legenda del Conde Fernan Gonzalez, qui composait a poëme dans la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle, n'en dit mot, quoiqu'il parle de la guerre entre Charlemagne et Alphonse- le- Chaste, et de la double victoire remportée par Bernard del Carpio, Géneral du Roi des Asturies, sur les Français avec le Concours des Sarrasins (Poema, vel Legenda de Fernan Gonzales, copt. 127-144) . Pour trouver quelque chose qui ressemble à la légende de Roland à Roncevaux dans la poésie Espagnole il faut, je crois, descendre aux Romances Caballerescos du XVIe siècle, et aux Dramaturges espagnols du XVII. e Un dernier mot sur la légende de Bernal del Carpio. C'est la réponse populaire de l'Espagne chrétienne, aux hâbleries françaises sur Roland et Charlemagne. La forme la plus ancienne de cette légende est reproduite dans le poëme de Fernand Gonzalez. Il n'est question là ni de la sœur d'Alphonse- le - Chaste, ni de son mariage secret avec le Cte. Don Sanche, d'où serait issu Bernard del Carpio, et par conséquent d'aucun lien de parenté entre Bernard et Alphonse- le- Chaste. Alphonse- el- Sabio, dans son histoire d'Espagne et les Romances, nous donnent la version la plus récente de cette légende. J. TAILHAN, S.J. Supplément à la note sur Roland en Espagne. I. Quelques écrivains Français ont pretendu que la Chronique de Turpin aurait été composée par un chanoine de Compostelle, qui espérait ainsi achalander le pèlerinage de St. Jacques. Mais outre qu'un Espagnol de Compostelle ou d'ailleurs, se serait difficilement résigné au XIIe siècle -époque approximative de 218 Notes. la composition de cette chronique-à forger sur le dos de ses compatriotes, une gloire apocryphe au profit de Charlemagne et de ses Français, le style de cette chronique n'a rien qui rappelle même de latin des écrivains espagnols de la même époque ; il serait en outre bien étonnant que les idiotismes esp . velet, apellitune, fonsatura, fonsedera, ne se montrent pas une seule fois dans le cours de cette compilation ; enfin l'Histoiria Compostellana, composée au commencement du XIIe siècle, dans son récit de la découverte du corps de S. Jacques sous Alphonsele- Chaste, et dans l'Histoire des évêques qui gouvernèrent le siége Apostolique de Galice depuis cette découverte jusqu'à Diego Gelmirez qui fit écrire par un de ses clercs l'Hist. Compostellana, il n'est pas dit un mot des fables entassées dans son récit par le faux Turpin (v. le texte de cette Historia Comp. dans le tome xxe de l'Espana Sagrada) ; Charlemagne n'y est même pas nommé. Et cependant un des deux compilateurs de l'œuvre l'Archidiacre Don Hugo était français de nation (cf. Florez, Esp. Sagr. t. xx. noticia previa, n. 4) . Je dois citer cependant, comme parlant d'un voyage de Charlemagne dans les Asturies (mais non à Saint Jacques) le Chronicon. Trienne, qui dans les MSS. suit l'Historia Compostellana. Mais tout se borne à une simple mention du fait sans aucun détail ( cf. Esp. Sagr. t. xx. p. 602, n. 4) . Dans les actes apocryphes (quoiqu'en dise le docte Risco) du Concile d'Oviedo intercalés dans la chronique latine d'Astorga, il est parlé non d'un voyage de Charlemagne aux Asturies ; mais de l'envoi à Oviedo par ce prince, de Théodulphe, évêque d'Orleans, en qualité d'Ambassadeur (cf. Esp. Sagr. t. xxxvii. p. 295, 298, n. 6). JULES TAILHAN, S.J. , 1879. C. " He prays to Apollin. " Apollin. 66 I would have gladly translated this word by 'Apollyon. " But the critics and editors are almost unanimous in asserting Notes. 219 66 I that it was Apollo, the sun- god, whom the Christians accused the Saracens of adoring. The only authority I can find on the other side is Dr. Hertz, the German translator, who says in a note, Apollin ist der biblishe Apollyon der Verderber. " have followed his example in giving simply the word as it is in the original. The common error of the Christians of that age, in representing those whom Gibbon terms "the purest monotheists " as worshippers of false Gods and graven images, is familiar to every one. D. STANZA II. "Stair of marble. " In the original " perrun. " Perron in modern French is commonly the flight of steps leading to the entrance of a public building or private mansion . The perrun in King Marsil's " verger " (vìridarium) we may imagine as a marble block, with steps hewn in the centre, upon the uppermost of which he sate, as on a throne. Some such I lately read of as existing at the Bala Hissar in Cabul. E. "Dukes and Counts." It is said that the Spanish Moors did, in fact, establish a kind of imitation of the feudal organization. But to attribute any knowledge of this to the poet would be to assume a great deal. In fact, the writers, as well as the painters of the Middle Ages, drew their pictures of the distant, or the past, from what they saw around them. Witness Chaucer's " Palamon and Arcite, " where all the ordinances and romantic usages of chivalry are represented as in full vigour in the kingdoms of Thrace and India. 220 Notes. " Gentle France." F. " France dulce." This is one of the " Homeric " epithets applied to France by Christian and heathen alike. Another designation of the France of Charlemagne is " tere majur-the great land. " G. STANZA V. " Cordres." Many of the editors have insisted that Cordres is Cordova ; that the poet, in absolute ignorance of the geography of Spain, had simply retained in his memory the names of the chief Spanish cities, and used them without reference to locality. There is no necessity, however, to shock so far the sense of probability in the mind of the reader. Cordres seems to have been an actual town in the Pyrenees. H. STANZA VII. " Sicily. " The Oxford MS. has Suatilie. The Venetian, on the other hand, has Cecilie. M. Gautier, whom I follow, has adopted the latter reading. I. STANZA VIII. "Or else was slain. " The same summary method of conversion was afterwards adopted, as the reader will find, on the capture of Saragossa. Though absolutely contrary to the doctrine of the Church and the decrees of councils, it naturally pleased the military and bardic imagination, as 66 vigour " at all times does. It must, however, be owned that Charlemagne's conversion of the Saxons was brought about very much in this fashion. Notes. 221 J. STANZA XII. " His barons. " His barons are his men. Baron-" Ber," in the nominative singular-is synonymous with " vir. " In this sense it is familiar to every lawyer. In the poem it is used sometimes, as here, to signify the king's lieges who took part in his council ; sometimes as a personal epithet, to denote greatness of character, to give 66 assurance of a man. " The Archbishop and Charlemagne himself are constantly spoken of with the addition of " li-ber." It is even bestowed upon Saint Giles. K. STANZA XIV. " Count Roland." Li quens is the form of the nominative singular. In the oblique cases it becomes Cunte. bore the title of Count. Almost all the great vassals Two or three only were Dukes. In a few places the name of Marquis is given to Roland . This is plainly connected with the fact of the historical Roland having been Lord of the Marches of Brittany. L. "Valtierra," etc. Of these places, Valtierra, Tudela, and Balaguet are easily identified. The others are unascertained or imaginary. It has been contended that Sebilie is Seville, but that is inadmissible. See note to Stanza V. M. STANZA XV. " Hands clasped in yours. " It is hardly necessary to recall to the recollection of the reader the feudal ceremony of homage. 222 Notes. N. STANZA XVI. "White of hair and hoary of beard . " This line is not in the Bodleian MS. It is found in that of St. Mark. Bláça oit la barba et li cero tut canu. Naimes was Duke of Bavaria, bound to Charlemagne by the closest ties of affection and allegiance . He plays a great part in all the Carlovingian legends. O. STANZA XXIII. " Baldwin. " Baldwin, son of Ganelon by Bertha ; consequently, half brother to Roland. He is mentioned here, and in Stanza XXVIII. , but then disappears totally from the poem. In the later chansons de geste, followed by Pulci, Baldwin is with Charlemagne's army, and is made to redeem his father's treason by dying gallantly at Roland's side in Roncesvalles. P. STANZA XXIX. "Ad oes Seint Piere en cunquest le chevage. " The tribute of Peter's pence was in fact established in England in the time of Charlemagne, by Offa, king of the Mercians. It need scarcely be added that Charlemagne had no part in it, or that he never set foot in England. This and other references to England in the poem, confirm M. Gautier in his opinion that the author was one who came over in the train of William. Q. STANZA XXXIV. " His javelin. " In the original " Algier. ” M. Gautier derives this word from the Saxon " Ategar, " and relies on it as an additional proof of the Anglo- Norman origin of the poem. But surely the " Al " denotes an Arabic origin. Notes. 223 R. STANZA XXXVI. " The Algalif. " In the original " l'Algalifes. ” "Al " is, of course, the Arabic definite article "the, " to which an additional article is prefixed, as in the familiar instance " the Alcoran. " In the modern French versions this is commonly translated " le Calife ; " but as the name " Caliph " is usually appropriated to the Vicar of the Prophet, I have thought it less misleading to adopt the very term as we find it in the poem. S. STANZA XLII. "The heathen said ' I marvel sore. " " The repetition in this and the following stanza will strike the reader. It has been disputed whether this is a case of simple variantes, or whether they all existed in the original and sprang from a design of the poet to heighten the effect. I have little doubt that the latter is the true solution. The effect is in truth heightened. The same repetition occurs in the passage where Olivier implores Roland to mind his horn. It should be mentioned that in the original there is always in these repetitions a variation of the assonant, and there was probably a marked change of intonation in the delivery. T. STANZA XLV. " Cizra's Pass." In the " Kaiser Kronik " " Porta Cæsaris. " It still bears the name of Ciza. Every traveller in the Pyrenees is familiar with the name "porte " or "gate " as applied to one of the passes between France and Spain. 224 Notes. U. STANZA LIV. " Gailne city. " This city also remains among the unidentified. No probable conjecture has been made respecting it. V. STANZA LXI. This stanza is not in the Venetian MS. , and, to say the truth, Roland's anger seems inconsistent with the gallant spirit of knighthood evinced by him at first. But as it is in the Oxford MS. , it could not, of course, be omitted . W. STANZA LXV. The arming of Roland. I subjoin an extract from the Old English version containing the corresponding passage. Rowland was war of ther Croyll dede. He commanded Barons by his side, He armed him surly in irne wed And thought him sure for eny ned : His banners beten with gold for the nonys, Set with diamonds and other stonys ; His kneys coveryd with plats many, His thies thringid with sich as I sey, His acton and other ger that he werrid. The swerd was ful good that he there had; The hilt then he taketh surly and sad When that his helm on his hed wer, And his gloves gletering with gold wer, Durendall his swerd gird hym about With a schyning sheld, on his shulder stout, He tok with hym his sper and went to hors But lep on lightly without any boss. Notes. 225 " Durindana. " Durendal, Durendarte, -the famous sword of Roland. In the old English version, " Durendall. " I have given the Italian form, " Durindana, " as that most familiar to us. Y. STANZA LXXVI. " Almasour. " In the original " Almacur. " The Arabic, " Al Mansor, -the victorious. " It was a title given to high officials. In the pseudo-Turpin it is rendered " Altumajor "—" Altumajor Cordubæ. " Z. STANZA XCV. " Montjoie. " In the original " Munjoie. " A volume might be made up of the various theories as to the origin of this famous war-cry of the Franks, afterwards coupled with the name of their patron, St. Denis. Was it simply Meum Gaudium, or was it Mons Gaudii? "Adhuc sub judice lis est . " The poet makes it come from Charlemagne's sword, “ Joyeuse. " See Stanza CCIV. AA. STANZA CXIII. As This and the following stanzas are not in the Oxford MS. They are inserted by M. Gautier from the later versions. Count Walter's engagement on the heights is alluded to further on, these stanzas are necessary to make the narrative complete. Q 226 Notes. BB. STANZA CXVII. "To thy shrine, Cologne. " In the MS. it is " iosquas Seinz, " which has been generally understood to be the city of Sens on the Yonne. M. Gautier believes that the true reading is " jusqu'aux Saints, " meaning the Saints of Cologne, the Rhine thus marking the eastern boundary of the France of Charlemagne. I follow M. Gautier, without venturing any opinion on the question. ' CC. STANZA CXLI. "The Emir Galafir. " Galafir is an important person in the chansons de geste which deal with the earlier years of Charlemagne. He was the Saracen king with whom Karl was supposed to have taken refuge in his youth under the assumed name of Mainet, or Meinet. The Emir's daughter, as a matter of course, falls in love with him, and innumerable adventures arise therefrom. There is an early German poem ( " Karl Meinet ") devoted to this subject. DD. STANZA CLIV. Captured Noples. The capture of Noples, or Nobles, by Roland, is mentioned in the " Karlomagnus- Saga." It was taken by order of Charlemagne, but Roland transgressed the emperor's order, by putting to death the king, whom Karl wished to save. Roland caused the place where he slew him to be washed with water, to efface the mark of his blood ( see Paris Hist. Poet, p. 263) . In the present poem the whole seizure of the town is supposed to have been against the will of the emperor. Notes. 227 EE. STANZA CXCIII. " Ireland's Plain." In the original, " Islande. " Although almost all the commentators agree that Ireland, not Iceland, is meant, I at first literally followed the original. I did so, conceiving that Ireland was already named under the designation of Escoce or Scotia. But in the eleventh century the name of Scotia began to be appropriated to Scotland. The probability is, therefore, that the third country named is Ireland. FF. STANZA CXCVII. I extract the following narrative of Roland's death from Caxton's " Life of Charlemagne " (in the library of the British Museum) . It follows almost literally the pseudo- Turpin, and when we remember that this composition is at least half a century later in date than the " Chanson de Roland, " we may gather how much the compiler of the Turpin was indebted to the Chanson. He "Rolland, the valyant champyon ofthe Crysten faith, was moche sorouful of the Crysten men by cause they had no socours. was moche wery, gretely abasshed, moche affebled in his persone, for he had lost moche of his blode by his five mortal woundes, of which the leste of them was suffysaunt for hym to have dyed, and he had grete payne to get him out fro the Sarasyns for to have a lytel commemoracion of God tofore or the soule sholde departe fro his body. So meet he enforced hyror that he came to the fote of a mountayne nygh to the porte of Cezarye, and brought hymself nygh to a rock ryght by Roncyvale, under a tree in a fayre meadowe. Whan he sat doune in the grounde he behelde hys swerde, the best that ever was, namd durandel, which is as moche to say as giving an hard stroke, 228 Notes. which was ryght fayre and rychely made. The handle was of fyn beryl, shynyng mervayllously ; it had a fayre crosse of gold in the which was wrytyn the name of Ihesus. It was so good and fyn that soner sholde the arme fayle than the swerde. He toke it out of the shethe, and saw it shine moche bryght ; and by cause it sholde change his maister, he had moche sorowe in his hert, and wepying, he sayd in thys maner pitously : ' O Sword of Valure, the fayrest that ever was, thou wer never but fayr ; ne never fonde I the but good : thou art long by mesure. Thou hast be so moche honoured thet alwaie thou barest with the the name of the blessed Ihesus, Savyour of the world, which hath endowed the with the power of God. Who may comprehend thy valure ? Alas ! who shall have thee after me? Whosomever hath thee shal never be vaynquished . Alwaye he shal have good fortune. Alas, what shal I moreover say for thee, good swerd. Many Sarasyns have ben destroyed by thee. Thynfydels and myscreauntes have ben slayn by thee. The name of God is exalted by thee. By thee is made the path of savement. O how many times hav I by thee avenged thynjurie made to God ! O how many men have I smyttyn and cutte asondre by the myddle ! O my swerde, whych has byn my comfut and my joy, whych never hurted persone that myght escape fro death. O my swerde, yf any person of noo value sholde have thee and I knew it, I shold dye for sorowe. ' After thet Rolland had wepte ynough, he had fere that some paynim myght fynde it after hys deth, wherefor he concluded in hymself to breke it, and toke it and smote it upon a rocke wyth alle hys myght iii tymes withoute hurtynge onythynge the swerde, and clefte the rocke to the erthe, and colde in no wise breke the swerde. Whan he sawe the facyon, and coude do no more therto, he toke his horn whych was of yvorye, moche rychely made, and sowned and blewe it moche strongly, to the ende that yf there were ony Crysten men hydde in the wodes or in the waye of theyr retournynge, thet they shuld come to hym to fore they went ony ferther, and to fore he rendred his soule. Then seyinge that none came he sowned it ageyn, by soo grete force and vertu and Notes. 229 so impetuously, thet the horn roof a sondre in the myddle, and the vaynes of hys necke braken a sondre, and the synewes of hys body stratched. And that noyse, by the grace of God, came to the ear of Charles, whych was eyght mile fro hin. GG. STANZA CCVI. " Much hath he learned who hath sorrow known, "" " Mult ad apris ki bien conoist ahan. " Is not this the same idea as Goethe's ? "Wer nie sein brod mit thränen ass, Wer nie die kummervollen nächte, Aufseinem bette weinend sass, Der kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlishen mächte. " THE END. PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, BECCLES AND LONDON. 2039 G

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THE SONG OF ROLAND, TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY JOHN O'HAGAN, M.A. ONE OF HER MAJESTY'S COUNSEL Dopo la dolorosa rotta, quando Carlo Magno perdè la santa gesta Non sonò si terribilmente Orlando Inferno, xxxi. FARBOR SCIENTI SARBOR VITA LONDON C. KEGAN PAUL & CO. , 1 , PATERNOSTER SQUARE 1880/1 (61 ) 27276.56 ✓ B HARVARD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY DEC 9 1940 SenterFind (The rights oftranslation and ofreproduction are reserved.) TO THE VERY REVEREND MONSIGNORE CHARLES W. RUSSELL, D.D. , PRESIDENT OF ST. PATRICK'S COLLEGE, MAYNOOTH. MY DEAR DR. RUSSELL, You have permitted me to dedicate to you this translation, which owes so much to you. But for the great interest you took in it, your generous encouragement, your acute and scholarly criticism , I am sure I should have never ventured to publish it. Your kindness to me in this regard has been but the sequel of a lifetime of kindness. It is truly a great happiness and privilege to be enabled to subscribe myself Your affectionate friend, JOHN O'HAGAN. UPPER FITZWILLIAM STREET, DUBLIN, December, 1879. When the above dedication was written and in print, I little thought that Dr. Russell would not live to see the publication of a work, with every page and almost every line of which he is associated in my memory. In love, sorrow, and reverence I dedicate it to him anew. April, 1880. J. O'H.

Translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff

Anonymous Old French epic, dating perhaps as early as the middle 11th century.

 Charles the King, our Lord and Sovereign,
 Full seven years hath sojourned in Spain,
 Conquered the land, and won the western main,
 Now no fortress against him doth remain,
 No city walls are left for him to gain,
 Save Sarraguce, that sits on high mountain.
 Marsile its King, who feareth not God's name,
 Mahumet's man, he invokes Apollin's aid,
 Nor wards off ills that shall to him attain.

 King Marsilies he lay at Sarraguce,
 Went he his way into an orchard cool;
 There on a throne he sate, of marble blue,
 Round him his men, full twenty thousand, stood.
 Called he forth then his counts, also his dukes:
 "My Lords, give ear to our impending doom:
 That Emperour, Charles of France the Douce,
 Into this land is come, us to confuse.
 I have no host in battle him to prove,
 Nor have I strength his forces to undo.
 Counsel me then, ye that are wise and true;
 Can ye ward off this present death and dule?"
 What word to say no pagan of them knew,
 Save Blancandrin, of th' Castle of Val Funde.
 Blancandrins was a pagan very wise,
 In vassalage he was a gallant knight,
 First in prowess, he stood his lord beside.
 And thus he spoke: "Do not yourself affright!
 Yield to Carlun, that is so big with pride,
 Faithful service, his friend and his ally;
 Lions and bears and hounds for him provide,
 Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred camelry;
 Silver and gold, four hundred mules load high;
 Fifty wagons his wrights will need supply,
 Till with that wealth he pays his soldiery.
 War hath he waged in Spain too long a time,
 To Aix, in France, homeward he will him hie.
 Follow him there before Saint Michael's tide,
 You shall receive and hold the Christian rite;
 Stand honour bound, and do him fealty.
 Send hostages, should he demand surety,
 Ten or a score, our loyal oath to bind;
 Send him our sons, the first-born of our wives;--
 An he be slain, I'll surely furnish mine.
 Better by far they go, though doomed to die,
 Than that we lose honour and dignity,
 And be ourselves brought down to beggary."
 Says Blancandrins: "By my right hand, I say,
 And by this beard, that in the wind doth sway,
 The Frankish host you'll see them all away;
 Franks will retire to France their own terrain.
 When they are gone, to each his fair domain,
 In his Chapelle at Aix will Charles stay,
 High festival will hold for Saint Michael.
 Time will go by, and pass the appointed day;
 Tidings of us no Frank will hear or say.
 Proud is that King, and cruel his courage;
 From th' hostage he'll slice their heads away.
 Better by far their heads be shorn away,
 Than that ourselves lose this clear land of Spain,
 Than that ourselves do suffer grief and pain."
 "That is well said.  So be it." the pagans say.
 The council ends, and that King Marsilie
 Calleth aside Clarun of Balaguee,
 Estramarin and Eudropin his peer,
 And Priamun and Guarlan of the beard,
 And Machiner and his uncle Mahee,
 With Jouner, Malbien from over sea,
 And Blancandrin, good reason to decree:
 Ten hath he called, were first in felony.
 "Gentle Barons, to Charlemagne go ye;
 He is in siege of Cordres the city.
 In your right hands bear olive-branches green
 Which signify Peace and Humility.
 If you by craft contrive to set me free,
 Silver and gold, you'll have your fill of me,
 Manors and fiefs, I'll give you all your need."
 "We have enough," the pagans straight agree.
 King Marsilies, his council finishing,
 Says to his men: "Go now, my lords, to him,
 Olive-branches in your right hands bearing;
 Bid ye for me that Charlemagne, the King,
 In his God's name to shew me his mercy;
 Ere this new moon wanes, I shall be with him;
 One thousand men shall be my following;
 I will receive the rite of christening,
 Will be his man, my love and faith swearing;
 Hostages too, he'll have, if so he will."
 Says Blancandrins: "Much good will come of this."
 Ten snow-white mules then ordered Marsilie,
 Gifts of a King, the King of Suatilie.
 Bridled with gold, saddled in silver clear;
 Mounted them those that should the message speak,
 In their right hands were olive-branches green.
 Came they to Charle, that holds all France in fee,
 Yet cannot guard himself from treachery.
 Merry and bold is now that Emperour,
 Cordres he holds, the walls are tumbled down,
 His catapults have battered town and tow'r.
 Great good treasure his knights have placed in pound,
 Silver and gold and many a jewelled gown.
 In that city there is no pagan now
 But he been slain, or takes the Christian vow.
 The Emperour is in a great orchard ground
 Where Oliver and Rollant stand around,
 Sansun the Duke and Anseis the proud,
 Gefreid d'Anjou, that bears his gonfaloun;
 There too Gerin and Geriers are found.
 Where they are found, is seen a mighty crowd,
 Fifteen thousand, come out of France the Douce.
 On white carpets those knights have sate them down,
 At the game-boards to pass an idle hour;--
 Chequers the old, for wisdom most renowned,
 While fence the young and lusty bachelours.
 Beneath a pine, in eglantine embow'red,
 l    Stands a fald-stool, fashioned of gold throughout;
 There sits the King, that holds Douce France in pow'r;
 White is his beard, and blossoming-white his crown,
 Shapely his limbs, his countenance is proud.
 Should any seek, no need to point him out.
 The messengers, on foot they get them down,
 And in salute full courteously they lout.
 The foremost word of all Blancandrin spake,
 And to the King: "May God preserve you safe,
 The All Glorious, to Whom ye're bound to pray!
 Proud Marsilies this message bids me say:
 Much hath he sought to find salvation's way;
 Out of his wealth meet presents would he make,
 Lions and bears, and greyhounds leashed on chain,
 Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred dromedrays,
 Four hundred mules his silver shall convey,
 Fifty wagons you'll need to bear away
 Golden besants, such store of proved assay,
 Wherewith full tale your soldiers you can pay.
 Now in this land you've been too long a day
 Hie you to France, return again to Aix;
 Thus saith my Lord, he'll follow too that way."
 That Emperour t'wards God his arms he raised
 Lowered his head, began to meditate.
 That Emperour inclined his head full low;
 Hasty in speech he never was, but slow:
 His custom was, at his leisure he spoke.
 When he looks up, his face is very bold,
 He says to them: "Good tidings have you told.
 King Marsilies hath ever been my foe.
 These very words you have before me told,
 In what measure of faith am I to hold?"
 That Sarrazin says, "Hostages he'll show;
 Ten shall you take, or fifteen or a score.
 Though he be slain, a son of mine shall go,
 Any there be you'll have more nobly born.
 To your palace seigneurial when you go,
 At Michael's Feast, called in periculo;
 My Lord hath said, thither will he follow
 Ev'n to your baths, that God for you hath wrought;
 There is he fain the Christian faith to know."
 Answers him Charles: "Still may he heal his soul."
 Clear shone the sun in a fair even-tide;
 Those ten men's mules in stall he bade them tie.
 Also a tent in the orchard raise on high,
 Those messengers had lodging for the night;
 Dozen serjeants served after them aright.
 Darkling they lie till comes the clear daylight.
 That Emperour does with the morning rise;
 Matins and Mass are said then in his sight.
 Forth goes that King, and stays beneath a pine;
 Barons he calls, good counsel to define,
 For with his Franks he's ever of a mind.
 That Emperour, beneath a pine he sits,
 Calls his barons, his council to begin:
 Oger the Duke, that Archbishop Turpin,
 Richard the old, and his nephew Henry,
 From Gascony the proof Count Acolin,
 Tedbald of Reims and Milun his cousin:
 With him there were Gerers, also Gerin,
 And among them the Count Rollant came in,
 And Oliver, so proof and so gentil.
 Franks out of France, a thousand chivalry;
 Guenes came there, that wrought the treachery.
 The Council then began, which ended ill.
 "My Lords Barons," says the Emperour then, Charles,
 "King Marsilies hath sent me his messages;
 Out of his wealth he'll give me weighty masses.
 Greyhounds on leash and bears and lions also,
 Thousand mewed hawks and seven hundred camels,
 Four hundred mules with gold Arabian charged,
 Fifty wagons, yea more than fifty drawing.
 But into France demands he my departure;
 He'll follow me to Aix, where is my Castle;
 There he'll receive the law of our Salvation:
 Christian he'll be, and hold from me his marches.
 But I know not what purpose in his heart is."
 Then say the Franks: "Beseems us act with caution!"
 That Emperour hath ended now his speech.
 The Count Rollanz, he never will agree,
 Quick to reply, he springs upon his feet;
 And to the King, "Believe not Marsilie.
 Seven years since, when into Spain came we,
 I conquer'd you Noples also Commibles,
 And took Valterne, and all the land of Pine,
 And Balaguet, and Tuele, and Sezilie.
 Traitor in all his ways was Marsilies;
 Of his pagans he sent you then fifteen,
 Bearing in hand their olive-branches green:
 Who, ev'n as now, these very words did speak.
 You of your Franks a Council did decree,
 Praised they your words that foolish were in deed.
 Two of your Counts did to the pagan speed,
 Basan was one, and the other Basilie:
 Their heads he took on th' hill by Haltilie.
 War have you waged, so on to war proceed,
 To Sarraguce lead forth your great army.
 All your life long, if need be, lie in siege,
 Vengeance for those the felon slew to wreak."
 That Emperour he sits with lowering front,
 He clasps his chin, his beard his fingers tug,
 Good word nor bad, his nephew not one.
 Franks hold their peace, but only Guenelun
 Springs to his feet, and comes before Carlun;
 Right haughtily his reason he's begun,
 And to the King: "Believe not any one,
 My word nor theirs, save whence your good shall come.
 Since he sends word, that King Marsiliun,
 Homage he'll do, by finger and by thumb;
 Throughout all Spain your writ alone shall run
 Next he'll receive our rule of Christendom
 Who shall advise, this bidding be not done,
 Deserves not death, since all to death must come.
 Counsel of pride is wrong: we've fought enough.
 Leave we the fools, and with the wise be one."
 And after him came Neimes out, the third,
 Better vassal there was not in the world;
 And to the King: "Now rightly have you heard
 Guenes the Count, what answer he returned.
 Wisdom was there, but let it well be heard.
 King Marsilies in war is overturned,
 His castles all in ruin have you hurled,
 With catapults his ramparts have you burst,
 Vanquished his men, and all his cities burned;
 Him who entreats your pity do not spurn,
 Sinners were they that would to war return;
 With hostages his faith he would secure;
 Let this great war no longer now endure."
 "Well said the Duke."  Franks utter in their turn.
 "My lords barons, say whom shall we send up
 To Sarraguce, to King Marsiliun?"
 Answers Duke Neimes: "I'll go there for your love;
 Give me therefore the wand, also the glove."
 Answers the King: "Old man of wisdom pruff;
 By this white beard, and as these cheeks are rough,
 You'll not this year so far from me remove;
 Go sit you down, for none hath called you up."
 "My lords barons, say whom now can we send
 To th' Sarrazin that Sarraguce defends?"
 Answers Rollanz: "I might go very well."
 "Certes, you'll not," says Oliver his friend,
 "For your courage is fierce unto the end,
 I am afraid you would misapprehend.
 If the King wills it I might go there well."
 Answers the King: "Be silent both on bench;
 Your feet nor his, I say, shall that way wend.
 Nay, by this beard, that you have seen grow blench,
 The dozen peers by that would stand condemned.
 Franks hold their peace; you'd seen them all silent.
 Turpins of Reins is risen from his rank,
 Says to the King: "In peace now leave your Franks.
 For seven years you've lingered in this land
 They have endured much pain and sufferance.
 Give, Sire, to me the clove, also the wand,
 I will seek out the Spanish Sarazand,
 For I believe his thoughts I understand."
 That Emperour answers intolerant:
 "Go, sit you down on yonder silken mat;
 And speak no more, until that I command."
 "Franks, chevaliers," says the Emperour then, Charles,
 "Choose ye me out a baron from my marches,
 To Marsilie shall carry back my answer."
 Then says Rollanz: "There's Guenes, my goodfather."
 Answer the Franks: "For he can wisely manage;
 So let him go, there's none you should send rather."
 And that count Guenes is very full of anguish;
 Off from his neck he flings the pelts of marten,
 And on his feet stands clear in silken garment.
 Proud face he had, his eyes with colour, sparkled;
 Fine limbs he had, his ribs were broadly arched
 So fair he seemed that all the court regarded.
 Says to Rollant: "Fool, wherefore art so wrathful?
 All men know well that I am thy goodfather;
 Thou hast decreed, to Marsiliun I travel.
 Then if God grant that I return hereafter,
 I'll follow thee with such a force of passion
 That will endure so long as life may last thee."
 Answers Rollanz: "Thou'rt full of pride and madness.
 All men know well, I take no thought for slander;
 But some wise man, surely, should bear the answer;
 If the King will, I'm ready to go rather."
 Answers him Guene: "Thou shalt not go for me.
 Thou'rt not my man, nor am I lord of thee.
 Charles commnds that I do his decree,
 To Sarraguce going to Marsilie;
 There I will work a little trickery,
 This mighty wrath of mine I'll thus let free."
 When Rollanz heard, began to laugh for glee.
 When Guenes sees that Rollant laughs at it,
 Such grief he has, for rage he's like to split,
 A little more, and he has lost his wit:
 Says to that count: "I love you not a bit;
 A false judgement you bore me when you chid.
 Right Emperour, you see me where you sit,
 I will your word accomplish, as you bid.
 "To Sarraguce I must repair, 'tis plain;
 Whence who goes there returns no more again.
 Your sister's hand in marriage have I ta'en;
 And I've a son, there is no prettier swain:
 Baldwin, men say he shews the knightly strain.
 To him I leave my honours and domain.
 Care well for him; he'll look for me in vain."
 Answers him Charles: "Your heart is too humane.
 When I command, time is to start amain."
 Then says the King: "Guenes, before me stand;
 And take from me the glove, also the wand.
 For you have heard, you're chosen by the Franks,"
 "Sire," answers Guenes, "all this is from Rollanz;
 I'll not love him, so long as I'm a man,
 Nor Oliver, who goes at his right hand;
 The dozen peers, for they are of his band,
 All I defy, as in your sight I stand."
 Then says the King: "Over intolerant.
 Now certainly you go when I command."
 "And go I can; yet have I no warrant
 Basile had none nor his brother Basant."
 His right hand glove that Emperour holds out;
 But the count Guenes elsewhere would fain be found;
 When he should take, it falls upon the ground.
 Murmur the Franks: "God!  What may that mean now?
 By this message great loss shall come about."
 "Lordings," says Guene, "You'll soon have news enow."
 "Now," Guenes said, "give me your orders, Sire;
 Since I must go, why need I linger, I?"
 Then said the King "In Jesu's Name and mine!"
 With his right hand he has absolved and signed,
 Then to his care the wand and brief confides.
 Guenes the count goes to his hostelry,
 Finds for the road his garments and his gear,
 All of the best he takes that may appear:
 Spurs of fine gold he fastens on his feet,
 And to his side Murgles his sword of steel.
 On Tachebrun, his charger, next he leaps,
 His uncle holds the stirrup, Guinemere.
 Then you had seen so many knights to weep,
 Who all exclaim: "Unlucky lord, indeed!
 In the King's court these many years you've been,
 Noble vassal, they say that have you seen.
 He that for you this journey has decreed
 King Charlemagne will never hold him dear.
 The Count Rollant, he should not so have deemed,
 Knowing you were born of very noble breed."
 After they say: "Us too, Sire, shall he lead."
 Then answers Guenes: "Not so, the Lord be pleased!
 Far better one than many knights should bleed.
 To France the Douce, my lords, you soon shall speed,
 On my behalf my gentle wife you'll greet,
 And Pinabel, who is my friend and peer,
 And Baldewin, my son, whom you have seen;
 His rights accord and help him in his need."
 --Rides down the road, and on his way goes he.
 Guenes canters on, and halts beneath a tree;
 Where Sarrazins assembled he may see,
 With Blancandrins, who abides his company.
 Cunning and keen they speak then, each to each,
 Says Blancandrins: "Charles, what a man is he,
 Who conquered Puille and th'whole of Calabrie;
 Into England he crossed the bitter sea,
 To th' Holy Pope restored again his fee.
 What seeks he now of us in our country?"
 Then answers Guene  "So great courage hath he;
 Never was man against him might succeed."
 Says Blancandrins "Gentle the Franks are found;
 Yet a great wrong these dukes do and these counts
 Unto their lord, being in counsel proud;
 Him and themselves they harry and confound."
 Guenes replies: "There is none such, without
 Only Rollanz, whom shame will yet find out.
 Once in the shade the King had sate him down;
 His nephew came, in sark of iron brown,
 Spoils he had won, beyond by Carcasoune,
 Held in his hand an apple red and round.
 "Behold, fair Sire," said Rollanz as he bowed,
 "Of all earth's kings I bring you here the crowns."
 His cruel pride must shortly him confound,
 Each day t'wards death he goes a little down,
 When he be slain, shall peace once more abound."
 Says Blancandrins: "A cruel man, Rollant,
 That would bring down to bondage every man,
 And challenges the peace of every land.
 With what people takes he this task in hand?"
 And answers Guene: "The people of the Franks;
 They love him so, for men he'll never want.
 Silver and gold he show'rs upon his band,
 Chargers and mules, garments and silken mats.
 The King himself holds all by his command;
 From hence to the East he'll conquer sea and land."
 Cantered so far then Blancandrins and Guene
 Till each by each a covenant had made
 And sought a plan, how Rollant might be slain.
 Cantered so far by valley and by plain
 To Sarraguce beneath a cliff they came.
 There a fald-stool stood in a pine-tree's shade,
 Enveloped all in Alexandrin veils;
 There was the King that held the whole of Espain,
 Twenty thousand of Sarrazins his train;
 Nor was there one but did his speech contain,
 Eager for news, till they might hear the tale.
 Haste into sight then Blancandrins and Guene.
 Blancandrin comes before Marsiliun,
 Holding the hand of county Guenelun;
 Says to the King "Lord save you, Sire, Mahum
 And Apollin, whose holy laws here run!
 Your message we delivered to Charlun,
 Both his two hands he raised against the sun,
 Praising his God, but answer made he none.
 He sends you here his noblest born barun,
 Greatest in wealth, that out of France is come;
 From him you'll hear if peace shall be, or none."
 "Speak," said Marsile: "We'll hear him, every one."
 But the count Guenes did deeply meditate;
 Cunning and keen began at length, and spake
 Even as one that knoweth well the way;
 And to the King: "May God preserve you safe,
 The All Glorious, to whom we're bound to pray
 Proud Charlemagne this message bids me say:
 You must receive the holy Christian Faith,
 And yield in fee one half the lands of Spain.
 If to accord this tribute you disdain,
 Taken by force and bound in iron chain
 You will be brought before his throne at Aix;
 Judged and condemned you'll be, and shortly slain,
 Yes, you will die in misery and shame."
 King Marsilies was very sore afraid,
 Snatching a dart, with golden feathers gay,
 He made to strike: they turned aside his aim.
 King Marsilies is turn'ed white with rage,
 His feathered dart he brandishes and shakes.
 Guenes beholds: his sword in hand he takes,
 Two fingers' width from scabbard bares the blade;
 And says to it: "O clear and fair and brave;
 Before this King in court we'll so behave,
 That the Emperour of France shall never say
 In a strange land I'd thrown my life away
 Before these chiefs thy temper had essayed."
 "Let us prevent this fight:" the pagans say.
 Then Sarrazins implored him so, the chiefs,
 On the faldstoel Marsillies took his seat.
 "Greatly you harm our cause," says the alcaliph:
 "When on this Frank your vengeance you would wreak;
 Rather you should listen to hear him speak."
 "Sire," Guenes says, "to suffer I am meek.
 I will not fail, for all the gold God keeps,
 Nay, should this land its treasure pile in heaps,
 But I will tell, so long as I be free,
 What Charlemagne, that Royal Majesty,
 Bids me inform his mortal enemy."
 Guenes had on a cloke of sable skin,
 And over it a veil Alexandrin;
 These he throws down, they're held by Blancandrin;
 But not his sword, he'll not leave hold of it,
 In his right hand he grasps the golden hilt.
 The pagans say.  "A noble baron, this."
 Before the King's face Guenes drawing near
 Says to him "Sire, wherefore this rage and fear?
 Seeing you are, by Charles, of Franks the chief,
 Bidden to hold the Christians' right belief.
 One half of Spain he'll render as your fief
 The rest Rollanz, his nephew, shall receive,
 Proud parcener in him you'll have indeed.
 If you will not to Charles this tribute cede,
 To you he'll come, and Sarraguce besiege;
 Take you by force, and bind you hands and feet,
 Bear you outright ev'n unto Aix his seat.
 You will not then on palfrey nor on steed,
 Jennet nor mule, come cantering in your speed;
 Flung you will be on a vile sumpter-beast;
 Tried there and judged, your head you will not keep.
 Our Emperour has sent you here this brief."
 He's given it into the pagan's nief.
 Now Marsilies, is turn'ed white with ire,
 He breaks the seal and casts the wax aside,
 Looks in the brief, sees what the King did write:
 "Charles commands, who holds all France by might,
 I bear in mind his bitter grief and ire;
 'Tis of Basan and 's brother Basilye,
 Whose heads I took on th' hill by Haltilye.
 If I would save my body now alive,
 I must despatch my uncle the alcalyph,
 Charles will not love me ever otherwise."
 After, there speaks his son to Marsilye,
 Says to the King: "In madness spoke this wight.
 So wrong he was, to spare him were not right;
 Leave him to me, I will that wrong requite."
 When Guenes hears, he draws his sword outright,
 Against the trunk he stands, beneath that pine.
 The King is gone into that orchard then;
 With him he takes the best among his men;
 And Blancandrins there shews his snowy hair,
 And Jursalet, was the King's son and heir,
 And the alcaliph, his uncle and his friend.
 Says Blancandrins: "Summon the Frank again,
 In our service his faith to me he's pledged."
 Then says the King: "So let him now be fetched."
 He's taken Guenes by his right finger-ends,
 And through the orchard straight to the King they wend.
 Of treason there make lawless parliament.
 "Fair Master Guenes," says then King Marsilie,
 "I did you now a little trickery,
 Making to strike, I shewed my great fury.
 These sable skins take as amends from me,
 Five hundred pounds would not their worth redeem.
 To-morrow night the gift shall ready be."
 Guene answers him: "I'll not refuse it, me.
 May God be pleased to shew you His mercy."
 Then says Marsile "Guenes, the truth to ken,
 Minded I am to love you very well.
 Of Charlemagne I wish to hear you tell,
 He's very old, his time is nearly spent,
 Two hundred years he's lived now, as 'tis said.
 Through many lands his armies he has led,
 So many blows his buckled shield has shed,
 And so rich kings he's brought to beg their bread;
 What time from war will he draw back instead?"
 And answers Guenes: "Not so was Charles bred.
 There is no man that sees and knows him well
 But will proclaim the Emperour's hardihead.
 Praise him as best I may, when all is said,
 Remain untold, honour and goodness yet.
 His great valour how can it be counted?
 Him with such grace hath God illumined,
 Better to die than leave his banneret."
 The pagan says: "You make me marvel sore
 At Charlemagne, who is so old and hoar;
 Two hundred years, they say, he's lived and more.
 So many lands he's led his armies o'er,
 So many blows from spears and lances borne,
 And so rich kings brought down to beg and sorn,
 When will time come that he draws back from war?"
 "Never," says Guenes, "so long as lives his nephew;
 No such vassal goes neath the dome of heaven;
 And proof also is Oliver his henchman;
 The dozen peers, whom Charl'es holds so precious,
 These are his guards, with other thousands twenty.
 Charles is secure, he holds no man in terror."
 Says Sarrazin: "My wonder yet is grand
 At Charlemagne, who hoary is and blanched.
 Two hundred years and more, I understand,
 He has gone forth and conquered many a land,
 Such blows hath borne from many a trenchant lance,
 Vanquished and slain of kings so rich a band,
 When will time come that he from war draws back?"
 "Never," says Guene, "so long as lives Rollanz,
 From hence to the East there is no such vassal;
 And proof also, Oliver his comrade;
 The dozen peers he cherishes at hand,
 These are his guard, with twenty thousand Franks.
 Charles is secure, he fears no living man."
 "Fair Master Guenes," says Marsilies the King,
 "Such men are mine, fairer than tongue can sing,
 Of knights I can four hundred thousand bring
 So I may fight with Franks and with their King."
 Answers him Guenes: "Not on this journeying
 Save of pagans a great loss suffering.
 Leave you the fools, wise counsel following;
 To the Emperour such wealth of treasure give
 That every Frank at once is marvelling.
 For twenty men that you shall now send in
 To France the Douce he will repair, that King;
 In the rereward will follow after him
 Both his nephew, count Rollant, as I think,
 And Oliver, that courteous paladin;
 Dead are the counts, believe me if you will.
 Charles will behold his great pride perishing,
 For battle then he'll have no more the skill.
 Fair Master Guene," says then King Marsilie,
 "Shew the device, how Rollant slain may be."
 Answers him Guenes: "That will I soon make clear
 The King will cross by the good pass of Size,
 A guard he'll set behind him, in the rear;
 His nephew there, count Rollant, that rich peer,
 And Oliver, in whom he well believes;
 Twenty thousand Franks in their company
 Five score thousand pagans upon them lead,
 Franks unawares in battle you shall meet,
 Bruised and bled white the race of Franks shall be;
 I do not say, but yours shall also bleed.
 Battle again deliver, and with speed.
 So, first or last, from Rollant you'll be freed.
 You will have wrought a high chivalrous deed,
 Nor all your life know war again, but peace.
 "Could one achieve that Rollant's life was lost,
 Charle's right arm were from his body torn;
 Though there remained his marvellous great host,
 He'ld not again assemble in such force;
 Terra Major would languish in repose."
 Marsile has heard, he's kissed him on the throat;
 Next he begins to undo his treasure-store.
 Said Marsilie--but now what more said they?--
 "No faith in words by oath unbound I lay;
 Swear me the death of Rollant on that day."
 Then answered Guene: "So be it, as you say."
 On the relics, are in his sword Murgles,
 Treason he's sworn, forsworn his faith away.
 Was a fald-stool there, made of olifant.
 A book thereon Marsilies bade them plant,
 In it their laws, Mahum's and Tervagant's.
 He's sworn thereby, the Spanish Sarazand,
 In the rereward if he shall find Rollant,
 Battle to himself and all his band,
 And verily he'll slay him if he can.
 And answered Guenes: "So be it, as you command!"
 In haste there came a pagan Valdabrun,
 Warden had been to King Marsiliun,
 Smiling and clear, he's said to Guenelun,
 "Take now this sword, and better sword has none;
 Into the hilt a thousand coins are run.
 To you, fair sir, I offer it in love;
 Give us your aid from Rollant the barun,
 That in rereward against him we may come."
 Guenes the count answers: "It shall-be done."
 Then, cheek and chin, kissed each the other one.
 After there came a pagan, Climorins,
 Smiling and clear to Guenelun begins:
 "Take now my helm, better is none than this;
 But give us aid, on Rollant the marquis,
 By what device we may dishonour bring."
 "It shall be done." Count Guenes answered him;
 On mouth and cheek then each the other kissed.
 In haste there came the Queen forth, Bramimound;
 "I love you well, sir," said she to the count,
 "For prize you dear my lord and all around;
 Here for your wife I have two brooches found,
 Amethysts and jacynths in golden mount;
 More worth are they than all the wealth of Roum;
 Your Emperour has none such, I'll be bound."
 He's taken them, and in his hosen pouched.
 The King now calls Malduiz, that guards his treasure.
 "Tribute for Charles, say, is it now made ready?"
 He answers him: "Ay, Sire, for here is plenty
 Silver and gold on hundred camels seven,
 And twenty men, the gentlest under heaven."
 Marsilie's arm Guene's shoulder doth enfold;
 He's said to him: "You are both wise and bold.
 Now, by the law that you most sacred hold,
 Let not your heart in our behalf grow cold!
 Out of my store I'll give you wealth untold,
 Charging ten mules with fine Arabian gold;
 I'll do the same for you, new year and old.
 Take then the keys of this city so large,
 This great tribute present you first to Charles,
 Then get me placed Rollanz in the rereward.
 If him I find in valley or in pass,
 Battle I'll give him that shall be the last."
 Answers him Guenes: "My time is nearly past."
 His charger mounts, and on his journey starts.
 That Emperour draws near to his domain,
 He is come down unto the city Gailne.
 The Count Rollanz had broken it and ta'en,
 An hundred years its ruins shall remain.
 Of Guenelun the King for news is fain,
 And for tribute from the great land of Spain.
 At dawn of day, just as the light grows plain,
 Into their camp is come the county Guene.
 In morning time is risen the Emperere,
 Mattins and Mass he's heard, and made his prayer;
 On the green grass before the tent his chair,
 Where Rollant stood and that bold Oliver,
 Neimes the Duke, and many others there.
 Guenes arrived, the felon perjurer,
 Begins to speak, with very cunning air,
 Says to the King: "God keep you, Sire, I swear!
 Of Sarraguce the keys to you I bear,
 Tribute I bring you, very great and rare,
 And twenty men; look after them with care.
 Proud Marsilies bade me this word declare
 That alcaliph, his uncle, you must spare.
 My own eyes saw four hundred thousand there,
 In hauberks dressed, closed helms that gleamed in the air,
 And golden hilts upon their swords they bare.
 They followed him, right to the sea they'll fare;
 Marsile they left, that would their faith forswear,
 For Christendom they've neither wish nor care.
 But the fourth league they had not compassed, ere
 Brake from the North tempest and storm in the air;
 Then were they drowned, they will no more appear.
 Were he alive, I should have brought him here.
 The pagan king, in truth, Sire, bids you hear,
 Ere you have seen one month pass of this year
 He'll follow you to France, to your Empire,
 He will accept the laws you hold and fear;
 Joining his hands, will do you homage there,
 Kingdom of Spain will hold as you declare."
 Then says the King: "Now God be praised, I swear!
 Well have you wrought, and rich reward shall wear."
 Bids through the host a thousand trumpets blare.
 Franks leave their lines; the sumpter-beasts are yare
 T'wards France the Douce all on their way repair.
 Charles the Great that land of Spain had wasted,
 Her castles ta'en, her cities violated.
 Then said the King, his war was now abated.
 Towards Douce France that Emperour has hasted.
 Upon a lance Rollant his ensign raised,
 High on a cliff against the sky 'twas placed;
 The Franks in camp through all that country baited.
 Cantered pagans, through those wide valleys raced,
 Hauberks they wore and sarks with iron plated,
 Swords to their sides were girt, their helms were laced,
 Lances made sharp, escutcheons newly painted:
 There in the mists beyond the peaks remained
 The day of doom four hundred thousand waited.
 God! what a grief.  Franks know not what is fated.
 Passes the day, the darkness is grown deep.
 That Emperour, rich Charles, lies asleep;
 Dreams that he stands in the great pass of Size,
 In his two hands his ashen spear he sees;
 Guenes the count that spear from him doth seize,
 Brandishes it and twists it with such ease,
 That flown into the sky the flinders seem.
 Charles sleeps on nor wakens from his dream.
 And after this another vision saw,
 In France, at Aix, in his Chapelle once more,
 That his right arm an evil bear did gnaw;
 Out of Ardennes he saw a leopard stalk,
 His body dear did savagely assault;
 But then there dashed a harrier from the hall,
 Leaping in the air he sped to Charles call,
 First the right ear of that grim bear he caught,
 And furiously the leopard next he fought.
 Of battle great the Franks then seemed to talk,
 Yet which might win they knew not, in his thought.
 Charles sleeps on, nor wakens he for aught.
 Passes the night and opens the clear day;
 That Emperour canters in brave array,
 Looks through the host often and everyway;
 "My lords barons," at length doth Charles say,
 "Ye see the pass along these valleys strait,
 Judge for me now, who shall in rereward wait."
 "There's my good-son, Rollanz," then answers Guenes,
 "You've no baron whose valour is as great."
 When the King hears, he looks upon him straight,
 And says to him: "You devil incarnate;
 Into your heart is come a mortal hate.
 And who shall go before me in the gate?"
 "Oger is here, of Denmark;" answers Guenes,
 "You've no baron were better in that place."
 The count Rollanz hath heard himself decreed;
 Speaks then to Guenes by rule of courtesy:
 "Good-father, Sir, I ought to hold you dear,
 Since the rereward you have for me decreed.
 Charles the King will never lose by me,
 As I know well, nor charger nor palfrey,
 Jennet nor mule that canter can with speed,
 Nor sumpter-horse will lose, nor any steed;
 But my sword's point shall first exact their meed."
 Answers him Guenes: "I know; 'tis true in-deed."
 When Rollant heard that he should be rerewarden
 Furiously he spoke to his good-father:
 "Aha! culvert; begotten of a bastard.
 Thinkest the glove will slip from me hereafter,
 As then from thee the wand fell before Charles?"
 "Right Emperour," says the baron Rollanz,
 "Give me the bow you carry in your hand;
 Neer in reproach, I know, will any man
 Say that it fell and lay upon the land,
 As Guenes let fall, when he received the wand."
 That Emperour with lowered front doth stand,
 He tugs his beard, his chin is in his hand
 Tears fill his eyes, he cannot them command.
 And after that is come duke Neimes furth,
 (Better vassal there was not upon earth)
 Says to the King: "Right well now have you heard
 The count Rollanz to bitter wrath is stirred,
 For that on him the rereward is conferred;
 No baron else have you, would do that work.
 Give him the bow your hands have bent, at first;
 Then find him men, his company are worth."
 Gives it, the King, and Rollant bears it furth.
 That Emperour, Rollanz then calleth he:
 "Fair nephew mine, know this in verity;
 Half of my host I leave you presently;
 Retain you them; your safeguard this shall be."
 Then says the count: "I will not have them, me I
 Confound me God, if I fail in the deed!
 Good valiant Franks, a thousand score I'll keep.
 Go through the pass in all security,
 While I'm alive there's no man you need fear."
 The count Rollanz has mounted his charger.
 Beside him came his comrade Oliver,
 Also Gerins and the proud count Geriers,
 And Otes came, and also Berengiers,
 Old Anseis, and Sansun too came there;
 Gerart also of Rossillon the fierce,
 And there is come the Gascon Engeliers.
 "Now by my head I'll go!" the Archbishop swears.
 "And I'm with you," says then the count Gualtiers,
 "I'm Rollant's man, I may not leave him there."
 A thousand score they choose of chevaliers.
 Gualter del Hum he calls, that Count Rollanz;
 "A thousand Franks take, out of France our land;
 Dispose them so, among ravines and crags,
 That the Emperour lose not a single man."
 Gualter replies: "I'll do as you command."
 A thousand Franks, come out of France their land,
 At Gualter's word they scour ravines and crags;
 They'll not come down, howe'er the news be bad,
 Ere from their sheaths swords seven hundred flash.
 King Almaris, Belserne for kingdom had,
 On the evil day he met them in combat.
 High are the peaks, the valleys shadowful,
 Swarthy the rocks, the narrows wonderful.
 Franks passed that day all very sorrowful,
 Fifteen leagues round the rumour of them grew.
 When they were come, and Terra Major knew,
 Saw Gascony their land and their seigneur's,
 Remembering their fiefs and their honours,
 Their little maids, their gentle wives and true;
 There was not one that shed not tears for rue.
 Beyond the rest Charles was of anguish full,
 In Spanish Pass he'd left his dear nephew;
 Pity him seized; he could but weep for rue.
 The dozen peers are left behind in Spain,
 Franks in their band a thousand score remain,
 No fear have these, death hold they in disdain.
 That Emperour goes into France apace;
 Under his cloke he fain would hide his face.
 Up to his side comes cantering Duke Neimes,
 Says to the King: "What grief upon you weighs?"
 Charles answers him: "He's wrong that question makes.
 So great my grief I cannot but complain.
 France is destroyed, by the device of Guene:
 This night I saw, by an angel's vision plain,
 Between my hands he brake my spear in twain;
 Great fear I have, since Rollant must remain:
 I've left him there, upon a border strange.
 God! If he's lost, I'll not outlive that shame."
 Charles the great, he cannot but deplore.
 And with him Franks an hundred thousand mourn,
 Who for Rollanz have marvellous remorse.
 The felon Guenes had treacherously wrought;
 From pagan kin has had his rich reward,
 Silver and gold, and veils and silken cloths,
 Camels, lions, with many a mule and horse.
 Barons from Spain King Marsilies hath called,
 Counts and viscounts and dukes and almacours,
 And the admirals, and cadets nobly born;
 Within three days come hundreds thousands four.
 In Sarraguce they sound the drums of war;
 Mahum they raise upon their highest tow'r,
 Pagan is none, that does not him adore.
 They canter then with great contention
 Through Certeine land, valleys and mountains, on,
 Till of the Franks they see the gonfalons,
 Being in rereward those dozen companions;
 They will not fail battle to do anon.
 Marsile's nephew is come before the band,
 Riding a mule, he goads it with a wand,
 Smiling and clear, his uncle's ear demands:
 "Fair Lord and King, since, in your service, glad,
 I have endured sorrow and sufferance,
 Have fought in field, and victories have had.
 Give me a fee: the right to smite Rollanz!
 I'll slay him clean with my good trenchant lance,
 If Mahumet will be my sure warrant;
 Spain I'll set free, deliver all her land
 From Pass of Aspre even unto Durestant.
 Charles will grow faint, and recreant the Franks;
 There'll be no war while you're a living man."
 Marsilie gives the glove into his hand.
 Marsile's nephew, holding in hand the glove,
 His uncle calls, with reason proud enough:
 "Fair Lord and King, great gift from you I've won.
 Choose now for me eleven more baruns,
 So I may fight those dozen companions."
 First before all there answers Falfarun;
 --Brother he was to King Marsiliun--
 "Fair sir nephew, go you and I at once
 Then verily this battle shall be done;
 The rereward of the great host of Carlun,
 It is decreed we deal them now their doom."
 King Corsablis is come from the other part,
 Barbarian, and steeped in evil art.
 He's spoken then as fits a good vassal,
 For all God's gold he would not seem coward.
 Hastes into view Malprimis of Brigal,
 Faster than a horse, upon his feet can dart,
 Before Marsile he cries with all his heart:
 "My body I will shew at Rencesvals;
 Find I Rollanz, I'll slay him without fault."
 An admiral is there of Balaguet;
 Clear face and proud, and body nobly bred;
 Since first he was upon his horse mounted,
 His arms to bear has shewn great lustihead;
 In vassalage he is well famoused;
 Christian were he, he'd shewn good baronhead.
 Before Marsile aloud has he shouted:
 "To Rencesvals my body shall be led;
 Find I Rollanz, then is he surely dead,
 And Oliver, and all the other twelve;
 Franks shall be slain in grief and wretchedness.
 Charles the great is old now and doted,
 Weary will be and make no war again;
 Spain shall be ours, in peace and quietness."
 King Marsilies has heard and thanks him well.
 An almacour is there of Moriane,
 More felon none in all the land of Spain.
 Before Marsile his vaunting boast hath made:
 "To Rencesvals my company I'll take,
 A thousand score, with shields and lances brave.
 Find I Rollanz, with death I'll him acquaint;
 Day shall not dawn but Charles will make his plaint."
 From the other part, Turgis of Turtelose,
 He was a count, that city was his own;
 Christians he would them massacre, every one.
 Before Marsile among the rest is gone,
 Says to the King: "Let not dismay be shewn!
 Mahum's more worth than Saint Peter of Rome;
 Serve we him well, then fame in field we'll own.
 To Rencesvals, to meet Rollanz I'll go,
 From death he'll find his warranty in none.
 See here my sword, that is both good and long
 With Durendal I'll lay it well across;
 Ye'll hear betimes to which the prize is gone.
 Franks shall be slain, whom we descend upon,
 Charles the old will suffer grief and wrong,
 No more on earth his crown will he put on."
 From the other part, Escremiz of Valtrenne,
 A Sarrazin, that land was his as well.
 Before Marsile he cries amid the press:
 "To Rencesvals I go, pride to make less;
 Find I Rollanz, he'll not bear thence his head,
 Nor Oliver that hath the others led,
 The dozen peers condemned are to death;
 Franks shall be slain, and France lie deserted.
 Of good vassals will Charles be richly bled."
 From the other part, a pagan Esturganz;
 Estramariz also, was his comrade;
 Felons were these, and traitors miscreant.
 Then said Marsile: "My Lords, before me stand!
 Into the pass ye'll go to Rencesvals,
 Give me your aid, and thither lead my band."
 They answer him: "Sire, even as you command.
 We will assault Olivier and Rollant,
 The dozen peers from death have no warrant,
 For these our swords are trusty and trenchant,
 In scalding blood we'll dye their blades scarlat.
 Franks shall be slain, and Chares be right sad.
 Terra Major we'll give into your hand;
 Come there, Sir King, truly you'll see all that
 Yea, the Emperour we'll give into your hand."
 Running there came Margariz of Sibile,
 Who holds the land by Cadiz, to the sea.
 For his beauty the ladies hold him dear;
 Who looks on him, with him her heart is pleased,
 When she beholds, she can but smile for glee.
 Was no pagan of such high chivalry.
 Comes through the press, above them all cries he,
 "Be not at all dismayed, King Marsilie!
 To Rencesvals I go, and Rollanz, he
 Nor Oliver may scape alive from me;
 The dozen peers are doomed to martyry.
 See here the sword, whose hilt is gold indeed,
 I got in gift from the admiral of Primes;
 In scarlat blood I pledge it shall be steeped.
 Franks shall be slain, and France abased be.
 To Charles the old, with his great blossoming beard,
 Day shall not dawn but brings him rage and grief,
 Ere a year pass, all France we shall have seized,
 Till we can lie in th' burgh of Saint Denise."
 The pagan king has bowed his head down deep.
 From the other part, Chemubles of Muneigre.
 Right to the ground his hair swept either way;
 He for a jest would bear a heavier weight
 Than four yoked mules, beneath their load that strain.
 That land he had, God's curse on it was plain.
 No sun shone there, nor grew there any grain,
 No dew fell there, nor any shower of rain,
 The very stones were black upon that plain;
 And many say that devils there remain.
 Says Chemubles "My sword is in its place,
 At Rencesvals scarlat I will it stain;
 Find I Rollanz the proud upon my way,
 I'll fall on him, or trust me not again,
 And Durendal I'll conquer with this blade,
 Franks shall be slain, and France a desert made."
 The dozen peers are, at this word, away,
 Five score thousand of Sarrazins they take;
 Who keenly press, and on to battle haste;
 In a fir-wood their gear they ready make.
 Ready they make hauberks Sarrazinese,
 That folded are, the greater part, in three;
 And they lace on good helms Sarragucese;
 Gird on their swords of tried steel Viennese;
 Fine shields they have, and spears Valentinese,
 And white, blue, red, their ensigns take the breeze,
 They've left their mules behind, and their palfreys,
 Their chargers mount, and canter knee by knee.
 Fair shines the sun, the day is bright and clear,
 Light bums again from all their polished gear.
 A thousand horns they sound, more proud to seem;
 Great is the noise, the Franks its echo hear.
 Says Oliver: "Companion, I believe,
 Sarrazins now in battle must we meet."
 Answers Rollanz: "God grant us then the fee!
 For our King's sake well must we quit us here;
 Man for his lord should suffer great disease,
 Most bitter cold endure, and burning heat,
 His hair and skin should offer up at need.
 Now must we each lay on most hardily,
 So evil songs neer sung of us shall be.
 Pagans are wrong: Christians are right indeed.
 Evil example will never come of me."
 Oliver mounts upon a lofty peak,
 Looks to his right along the valley green,
 The pagan tribes approaching there appear;
 He calls Rollanz, his companion, to see:
 "What sound is this, come out of Spain, we hear,
 What hauberks bright, what helmets these that gleam?
 They'll smite our Franks with fury past belief,
 He knew it, Guenes, the traitor and the thief,
 Who chose us out before the King our chief."
 Answers the count Rollanz: "Olivier, cease.
 That man is my good-father; hold thy peace."
 Upon a peak is Oliver mounted,
 Kingdom of Spain he sees before him spread,
 And Sarrazins, so many gathered.
 Their helmets gleam, with gold are jewelled,
 Also their shields, their hauberks orfreyed,
 Also their swords, ensigns on spears fixed.
 Rank beyond rank could not be numbered,
 So many there, no measure could he set.
 In his own heart he's sore astonished,
 Fast as he could, down from the peak hath sped
 Comes to the Franks, to them his tale hath said.
 Says Oliver: "Pagans from there I saw;
 Never on earth did any man see more.
 Gainst us their shields an hundred thousand bore,
 That laced helms and shining hauberks wore;
 And, bolt upright, their bright brown spearheads shone.
 Battle we'll have as never was before.
 Lords of the Franks, God keep you in valour!
 So hold your ground, we be not overborne!"
 Then say the Franks "Shame take him that goes off:
 If we must die, then perish one and all."
 Says Oliver: "Pagans in force abound,
 While of us Franks but very few I count;
 Comrade Rollanz, your horn I pray you sound!
 If Charles hear, he'll turn his armies round."
 Answers Rollanz: "A fool I should be found;
 In France the Douce would perish my renown.
 With Durendal I'll lay on thick and stout,
 In blood the blade, to its golden hilt, I'll drown.
 Felon pagans to th' pass shall not come down;
 I pledge you now, to death they all are bound.
 "Comrade Rollanz, sound the olifant, I pray;
 If Charles hear, the host he'll turn again;
 Will succour us our King and baronage."
 Answers Rollanz: "Never, by God, I say,
 For my misdeed shall kinsmen hear the blame,
 Nor France the Douce fall into evil fame!
 Rather stout blows with Durendal I'll lay,
 With my good sword that by my side doth sway;
 Till bloodied o'er you shall behold the blade.
 Felon pagans are gathered to their shame;
 I pledge you now, to death they're doomed to-day."
 "Comrade Rollanz, once sound your olifant!
 If Charles hear, where in the pass he stands,
 I pledge you now, they'll turn again, the Franks."
 "Never, by God," then answers him Rollanz,
 "Shall it be said by any living man,
 That for pagans I took my horn in hand!
 Never by me shall men reproach my clan.
 When I am come into the battle grand,
 And blows lay on, by hundred, by thousand,
 Of Durendal bloodied you'll see the brand.
 Franks are good men; like vassals brave they'll stand;
 Nay, Spanish men from death have no warrant."
 Says Oliver: "In this I see no blame;
 I have beheld the Sarrazins of Spain;
 Covered with them, the mountains and the vales,
 The wastes I saw, and all the farthest plains.
 A muster great they've made, this people strange;
 We have of men a very little tale."
 Answers Rollanz: "My anger is inflamed.
 Never, please God His Angels and His Saints,
 Never by me shall Frankish valour fail!
 Rather I'll die than shame shall me attain.
 Therefore strike on, the Emperour's love to gain."
 Pride hath Rollanz, wisdom Olivier hath;
 And both of them shew marvellous courage;
 Once they are horsed, once they have donned their arms,
 Rather they'd die than from the battle pass.
 Good are the counts, and lofty their language.
 Felon pagans come cantering in their wrath.
 Says Oliver: "Behold and see, Rollanz,
 These are right near, but Charles is very far.
 On the olifant deign now to sound a blast;
 Were the King here, we should not fear damage.
 Only look up towards the Pass of Aspre,
 In sorrow there you'll see the whole rereward.
 Who does this deed, does no more afterward."
 Answers Rollanz: "Utter not such outrage!
 Evil his heart that is in thought coward!
 We shall remain firm in our place installed;
 From us the blows shall come, from us the assault."
 When Rollant sees that now must be combat,
 More fierce he's found than lion or leopard;
 The Franks he calls, and Oliver commands:
 "Now say no more, my friends, nor thou, comrade.
 That Emperour, who left us Franks on guard,
 A thousand score stout men he set apart,
 And well he knows, not one will prove coward.
 Man for his lord should suffer with good heart,
 Of bitter cold and great heat bear the smart,
 His blood let drain, and all his flesh be scarred.
 Strike with thy lance, and I with Durendal,
 With my good sword that was the King's reward.
 So, if I die, who has it afterward
 Noble vassal's he well may say it was."
 From the other part is the Archbishop Turpin,
 He pricks his horse and mounts upon a hill;
 Calling the Franks, sermon to them begins:
 "My lords barons, Charles left us here for this;
 He is our King, well may we die for him:
 To Christendom good service offering.
 Battle you'll have, you all are bound to it,
 For with your eyes you see the Sarrazins.
 Pray for God's grace, confessing Him your sins!
 For your souls' health, I'll absolution give
 So, though you die, blest martyrs shall you live,
 Thrones you shall win in the great Paradis."
 The Franks dismount, upon the ground are lit.
 That Archbishop God's Benediction gives,
 For their penance, good blows to strike he bids.
 The Franks arise, and stand upon their feet,
 They're well absolved, and from their sins made clean,
 And the Archbishop has signed them with God's seal;
 And next they mount upon their chargers keen;
 By rule of knights they have put on their gear,
 For battle all apparelled as is meet.
 The count Rollant calls Oliver, and speaks
 "Comrade and friend, now clearly have you seen
 That Guenelun hath got us by deceit;
 Gold hath he ta'en; much wealth is his to keep;
 That Emperour vengeance for us must wreak.
 King Marsilies hath bargained for us cheap;
 At the sword's point he yet shall pay our meed."
 To Spanish pass is Rollanz now going
 On Veillantif, his good steed, galloping;
 He is well armed, pride is in his bearing,
 He goes, so brave, his spear in hand holding,
 He goes, its point against the sky turning;
 A gonfalon all white thereon he's pinned,
 Down to his hand flutters the golden fringe:
 Noble his limbs, his face clear and smiling.
 His companion goes after, following,
 The men of France their warrant find in him.
 Proudly he looks towards the Sarrazins,
 And to the Franks sweetly, himself humbling;
 And courteously has said to them this thing:
 "My lords barons, go now your pace holding!
 Pagans are come great martyrdom seeking;
 Noble and fair reward this day shall bring,
 Was never won by any Frankish King."
 Upon these words the hosts are come touching.
 Speaks Oliver: "No more now will I say.
 Your olifant, to sound it do not deign,
 Since from Carlun you'll never more have aid.
 He has not heard; no fault of his, so brave.
 Those with him there are never to be blamed.
 So canter on, with what prowess you may!
 Lords and barons, firmly your ground maintain!
 Be minded well, I pray you in God's Name,
 Stout blows to strike, to give as you shall take.
 Forget the cry of Charles we never may."
 Upon this word the Franks cry out amain.
 Who then had heard them all "Monjoie!" acclaim
 Of vassalage might well recall the tale.
 They canter forth, God! with what proud parade,
 Pricking their spurs, the better speed to gain;
 They go to strike,--what other thing could they?--
 But Sarrazins are not at all afraid.
 Pagans and Franks, you'ld see them now engaged.
 Marsile's nephew, his name is Aelroth,
 First of them all canters before the host,
 Says of our Franks these ill words as he goes:
 "Felons of France, so here on us you close!
 Betrayed you has he that to guard you ought;
 Mad is the King who left you in this post.
 So shall the fame of France the Douce be lost,
 And the right arm from Charles body torn."
 When Rollant hears, what rage he has, by God!
 His steed he spurs, gallops with great effort;
 He goes, that count, to strike with all his force,
 The shield he breaks, the hauberk's seam unsews,
 Slices the heart, and shatters up the bones,
 All of the spine he severs with that blow,
 And with his spear the soul from body throws
 So well he's pinned, he shakes in the air that corse,
 On his spear's hilt he's flung it from the horse:
 So in two halves Aeroth's neck he broke,
 Nor left him yet, they say, but rather spoke:
 "Avaunt, culvert!  A madman Charles is not,
 No treachery was ever in his thought.
 Proudly he did, who left us in this post;
 The fame of France the Douce shall not be lost.
 Strike on, the Franks!  Ours are the foremost blows.
 For we are right, but these gluttons are wrong."
 A duke there was, his name was Falfarun,
 Brother was he to King Marsiliun,
 He held their land, Dathan's and Abirun's;
 Beneath the sky no more encrimed felun;
 Between his eyes so broad was he in front
 A great half-foot you'ld measure there in full.
 His nephew dead he's seen with grief enough,
 Comes through the press and wildly forth he runs,
 Aloud he shouts their cry the pagans use;
 And to the Franks is right contrarious:
 "Honour of France the Douce shall fall to us!"
 Hears Oliver, he's very furious,
 His horse he pricks with both his golden spurs,
 And goes to strike, ev'n as a baron doth;
 The shield he breaks and through the hauberk cuts,
 His ensign's fringe into the carcass thrusts,
 On his spear's hilt he's flung it dead in dust.
 Looks on the ground, sees glutton lying thus,
 And says to him, with reason proud enough:
 "From threatening, culvert, your mouth I've shut.
 Strike on, the Franks!  Right well we'll overcome."
 "Monjoie,"  he shouts, 'twas the ensign of Carlun.
 A king there was, his name was Corsablix,
 Barbarian, and of a strange country,
 He's called aloud to the other Sarrazins:
 "Well may we join battle upon this field,
 For of the Franks but very few are here;
 And those are here, we should account them cheap,
 From Charles not one has any warranty.
 This is the day when they their death shall meet."
 Has heard him well that Archbishop Turpin,
 No man he'ld hate so much the sky beneath;
 Spurs of fine gold he pricks into his steed,
 To strike that king by virtue great goes he,
 The hauberk all unfastens, breaks the shield,
 Thrusts his great spear in through the carcass clean,
 Pins it so well he shakes it in its seat,
 Dead in the road he's flung it from his spear.
 Looks on the ground, that glutton lying sees,
 Nor leaves him yet, they say, but rather speaks:
 "Culvert pagan, you lied now in your teeth,
 Charles my lord our warrant is indeed;
 None of our Franks hath any mind to flee.
 Your companions all on this spot we'll keep,
 I tell you news; death shall ye suffer here.
 Strike on, the Franks!  Fail none of you at need!
 Ours the first blow, to God the glory be!"
 "Monjoie!" he cries, for all the camp to hear.
 And Gerins strikes Malprimis of Brigal
 So his good shield is nothing worth at all,
 Shatters the boss, was fashioned of crystal,
 One half of it downward to earth flies off;
 Right to the flesh has through his hauberk torn,
 On his good spear he has the carcass caught.
 And with one blow that pagan downward falls;
 The soul of him Satan away hath borne.
 And his comrade Gerers strikes the admiral,
 The shield he breaks, the hauberk unmetals,
 And his good spear drives into his vitals,
 So well he's pinned him, clean through the carcass,
 Dead on the field he's flung him from his hand.
 Says Oliver: "Now is our battle grand."
 Sansun the Duke goes strike that almacour,
 The shield he breaks, with golden flowers tooled,
 That good hauberk for him is nothing proof,
 He's sliced the heart, the lungs and liver through,
 And flung him dead, as well or ill may prove.
 Says the Archbishop: "A baron's stroke, in truth."
 And Anseis has let his charger run;
 He goes to strike Turgis of Turtelus,
 The shield he breaks, its golden boss above,
 The hauberk too, its doubled mail undoes,
 His good spear's point into the carcass runs,
 So well he's thrust, clean through the whole steel comes,
 And from the hilt he's thrown him dead in dust.
 Then says Rollant: "Great prowess in that thrust."
 And Engelers the Gascoin of Burdele
 Spurs on his horse, lets fall the reins as well,
 He goes to strike Escremiz of Valtrene,
 The shield he breaks and shatters on his neck,
 The hauberk too, he has its chinguard rent,
 Between the arm-pits has pierced him through the breast,
 On his spear's hilt from saddle throws him dead;
 After he says "So are you turned to hell."
 And Otes strikes a pagan Estorgant
 Upon the shield, before its leathern band,
 Slices it through, the white with the scarlat;
 The hauberk too, has torn its folds apart,
 And his good spear thrusts clean through the carcass,
 And flings it dead, ev'n as the horse goes past;
 He says: "You have no warrant afterward."
 And Berenger, he strikes Estramariz,
 The shield he breaks, the hauberk tears and splits,
 Thrusts his stout spear through's middle, and him flings
 Down dead among a thousand Sarrazins.
 Of their dozen peers ten have now been killed,
 No more than two remain alive and quick,
 Being Chernuble, and the count Margariz.
 Margariz is a very gallant knight,
 Both fair and strong, and swift he is and light;
 He spurs his horse, goes Oliver to strike,
 And breaks his shield, by th'golden buckle bright;
 Along his ribs the pagan's spear doth glide;
 God's his warrant, his body has respite,
 The shaft breaks off, Oliver stays upright;
 That other goes, naught stays him in his flight,
 His trumpet sounds, rallies his tribe to fight.
 Common the fight is now and marvellous.
 The count Rollanz no way himself secures,
 Strikes with his spear, long as the shaft endures,
 By fifteen blows it is clean broken through
 Then Durendal he bares, his sabre good
 Spurs on his horse, is gone to strike Chemuble,
 The helmet breaks, where bright carbuncles grew,
 Slices the cap and shears the locks in two,
 Slices also the eyes and the features,
 The hauberk white, whose mail was close of woof,
 Down to the groin cuts all his body through
 To the saddle; with beaten gold 'twas tooled.
 Upon the horse that sword a moment stood,
 Then sliced its spine, no join there any knew,
 Dead in the field among thick grass them threw.
 After he said  "Culvert, false step you moved,
 From Mahumet your help will not come soon.
 No victory for gluttons such as you."
 The count Rollanz, he canters through the field,
 Holds Durendal, he well can thrust and wield,
 Right great damage he's done the Sarrazines
 You'd seen them, one on other, dead in heaps,
 Through all that place their blood was flowing clear!
 In blood his arms were and his hauberk steeped,
 And bloodied o'er, shoulders and neck, his steed.
 And Oliver goes on to strike with speed;
 No blame that way deserve the dozen peers,
 For all the Franks they strike and slay with heat,
 Pagans are slain, some swoon there in their seats,
 Says the Archbishop: "Good baronage indeed!"
 "Monjoie" he cries, the call of Charles repeats.
 And Oliver has cantered through the crush;
 Broken his spear, the truncheon still he thrusts;
 Going to strike a pagan Malsarun;
 Flowers and gold, are on the shield, he cuts,
 Out of the head both the two eyes have burst,
 And all the brains are fallen in the dust;
 He flings him dead, sev'n hundred else amongst.
 Then has he slain Turgin and Esturgus;
 Right to the hilt, his spear in flinders flew.
 Then says Rollant: "Companion, what do you?
 In such a fight, there's little strength in wood,
 Iron and steel should here their valour prove.
 Where is your sword, that Halteclere I knew?
 Golden its hilt, whereon a crystal grew."
 Says Oliver: "I had not, if I drew,
 Time left to strike enough good blows and true."
 Then Oliver has drawn his mighty sword
 As his comrade had bidden and implored,
 In knightly wise the blade to him has shewed;
 Justin he strikes, that Iron Valley's lord,
 All of his head has down the middle shorn,
 The carcass sliced, the broidered sark has torn,
 The good saddle that was with old adorned,
 And through the spine has sliced that pagan's horse;
 Dead in the field before his feet they fall.
 Says Rollant: "Now my brother I you call;
 He'll love us for such blows, our Emperor."
 On every side "Monjoie" you'ld hear them roar.
 That count Gerins sate on his horse Sorel,
 On Passe-Cerf was Gerers there, his friend;
 They've loosed their reins, together spurred and sped,
 And go to strike a pagan Timozel;
 One on the shield, on hauberk the other fell;
 And their two spears went through the carcass well,
 A fallow field amidst they've thrown him dead.
 I do not know, I never heard it said
 Which of the two was nimbler as they went.
 Esperveris was there, son of Borel,
 And him there slew Engelers of Burdel.
 And the Archbishop, he slew them Siglorel,
 The enchanter, who before had been in hell,
 Where Jupiter bore him by a magic spell.
 Then Turpin says "To us he's forfeited."
 Answers Rollanz: "The culvert is bested.
 Such blows, brother Olivier, I like well."
 The battle grows more hard and harder yet,
 Franks and pagans, with marvellous onset,
 Each other strike and each himself defends.
 So many shafts bloodstained and shattered,
 So many flags and ensigns tattered;
 So many Franks lose their young lustihead,
 Who'll see no more their mothers nor their friends,
 Nor hosts of France, that in the pass attend.
 Charles the Great weeps therefor with regret.
 What profits that?  No succour shall they get.
 Evil service, that day, Guenes rendered them,
 To Sarraguce going, his own to sell.
 After he lost his members and his head,
 In court, at Aix, to gallows-tree condemned;
 And thirty more with him, of his kindred,
 Were hanged, a thing they never did expect.
 Now marvellous and weighty the combat,
 Right well they strike, Olivier and Rollant,
 A thousand blows come from the Archbishop's hand,
 The dozen peers are nothing short of that,
 With one accord join battle all the Franks.
 Pagans are slain by hundred, by thousand,
 Who flies not then, from death has no warrant,
 Will he or nill, foregoes the allotted span.
 The Franks have lost the foremost of their band,
 They'll see no more their fathers nor their clans,
 Nor Charlemagne, where in the pass he stands.
 Torment arose, right marvellous, in France,
 Tempest there was, of wind and thunder black,
 With rain and hail, so much could not be spanned;
 Fell thunderbolts often on every hand,
 And verily the earth quaked in answer back
 From Saint Michael of Peril unto Sanz,
 From Besencun to the harbour of Guitsand;
 No house stood there but straight its walls must crack:
 In full mid-day the darkness was so grand,
 Save the sky split, no light was in the land.
 Beheld these things with terror every man,
 And many said: "We in the Judgement stand;
 The end of time is presently at hand."
 They spake no truth; they did not understand;
 'Twas the great day of mourning for Rollant.
 The Franks strike on; their hearts are good and stout.
 Pagans are slain, a thousandfold, in crowds,
 Left of five score are not two thousands now.
 Says the Archbishop: "Our men are very proud,
 No man on earth has more nor better found.
 In Chronicles of Franks is written down,
 What vassalage he had, our Emperour."
 Then through the field they go, their friends seek out,
 And their eyes weep with grief and pain profound
 For kinsmen dear, by hearty friendship bound.
 King Marsilies and his great host draw round.
 King Marsilies along a valley led
 The mighty host that he had gathered.
 Twenty columns that king had numbered.
 With gleaminag gold their helms were jewelled.
 Shone too their shields and sarks embroidered.
 Sounded the charge seven thousand trumpets,
 Great was the noise through all that country went.
 Then said Rollanz: "Olivier, brother, friend,
 That felon Guenes hath sworn to achieve our death;
 For his treason no longer is secret.
 Right great vengeance our Emperour will get.
 Battle we'll have, both long and keenly set,
 Never has man beheld such armies met.
 With Durendal my sword I'll strike again,
 And, comrade, you shall strike with Halteclere.
 These swords in lands so many have we held,
 Battles with them so many brought to end,
 No evil song shall e'er be sung or said."
 When the Franks see so many there, pagans,
 On every side covering all the land,
 Often they call Olivier and Rollant,
 The dozen peers, to be their safe warrant.
 And the Archbishop speaks to them, as he can:
 "My lords barons, go thinking nothing bad!
 For God I pray you fly not hence but stand,
 Lest evil songs of our valour men chant!
 Far better t'were to perish in the van.
 Certain it is, our end is near at hand,
 Beyond this day shall no more live one man;
 But of one thing I give you good warrant:
 Blest Paradise to you now open stands,
 By the Innocents your thrones you there shall have."
 Upon these words grow bold again the Franks;
 There is not one but he "Monjoie" demands.
 A Sarrazin was there, of Sarraguce,
 Of that city one half was his by use,
 'Twas Climborins, a man was nothing proof;
 By Guenelun the count an oath he took,
 And kissed his mouth in amity and truth,
 Gave him his sword and his carbuncle too.
 Terra Major, he said, to shame he'ld put,
 From the Emperour his crown he would remove.
 He sate his horse, which he called Barbamusche,
 Never so swift sparrow nor swallow flew,
 He spurred him well, and down the reins he threw,
 Going to strike Engelier of Gascune;
 Nor shield nor sark him any warrant proved,
 The pagan spear's point did his body wound,
 He pinned him well, and all the steel sent through,
 From the hilt flung him dead beneath his foot.
 After he said: "Good are they to confuse.
 Pagans, strike on, and so this press set loose!"
 "God!" say the Franks, "Grief, such a man to lose!"
 The count Rollanz called upon Oliver:
 "Sir companion, dead now is Engeler;
 Than whom we'd no more valiant chevalier."
 Answered that count: "God, let me him avenge!"
 Spurs of fine gold into his horse drove then,
 Held Halteclere, with blood its steel was red,
 By virtue great to strike that pagan went,
 Brandished his blade, the Sarrazin upset;
 The Adversaries of God his soul bare thence.
 Next he has slain the duke Alphaien,
 And sliced away Escababi his head,
 And has unhorsed some seven Arabs else;
 No good for those to go to war again.
 Then said Rollanz: "My comrade shews anger,
 So in my sight he makes me prize him well;
 More dear by Charles for such blows are we held."
 Aloud he's cried: "Strike on, the chevaliers!"
 From the other part a pagan Valdabron.
 Warden he'd been to king Marsilion,
 And lord, by sea, of four hundred dromonds;
 No sailor was but called his name upon;
 Jerusalem he'd taken by treason,
 Violated the Temple of Salomon,
 The Partiarch had slain before the fonts.
 He'd pledged his oath by county Guenelon,
 Gave him his sword, a thousand coins thereon.
 He sate his horse, which he called Gramimond,
 Never so swift flew in the air falcon;
 He's pricked him well, with sharp spurs he had on,
 Going to strike e'en that rich Duke, Sanson;
 His shield has split, his hauberk has undone,
 The ensign's folds have through his body gone,
 Dead from the hilt out of his seat he's dropt:
 "Pagans, strike on, for well we'll overcome!"
 "God!" say the Franks, "Grief for a brave baron!"
 The count Rollanz, when Sansun dead he saw,
 You may believe, great grief he had therefor.
 His horse he spurs, gallops with great effort,
 Wields Durendal, was worth fine gold and more,
 Goes as he may to strike that baron bold
 Above the helm, that was embossed with gold,
 Slices the head, the sark, and all the corse,
 The good saddle, that was embossed with gold,
 And cuts deep through the backbone of his horse;
 He's slain them both, blame him for that or laud.
 The pagans say: "'Twas hard on us, that blow."
 Answers Rollanz: "Nay, love you I can not,
 For on your side is arrogance and wrong."
 Out of Affrike an Affrican was come,
 'Twas Malquiant, the son of king Malcud;
 With beaten gold was all his armour done,
 Fore all men's else it shone beneath the sun.
 He sate his horse, which he called Salt-Perdut,
 Never so swift was any beast could run.
 And Anseis upon the shield he struck,
 The scarlat with the blue he sliced it up,
 Of his hauberk he's torn the folds and cut,
 The steel and stock has through his body thrust.
 Dead is that count, he's no more time to run.
 Then say the Franks:  "Baron, an evil luck!"
 Swift through the field Turpin the Archbishop passed;
 Such shaven-crown has never else sung Mass
 Who with his limbs such prowess might compass;
 To th'pagan said  "God send thee all that's bad!
 One thou hast slain for whom my heart is sad."
 So his good horse forth at his bidding ran,
 He's struck him then on his shield Toledan,
 Until he flings him dead on the green grass.
 From the other part was a pagan Grandones,
 Son of Capuel, the king of Capadoce.
 He sate his horse, the which he called Marmore,
 Never so swift was any bird in course;
 He's loosed the reins, and spurring on that horse
 He's gone to strike Gerin with all his force;
 The scarlat shield from's neck he's broken off,
 And all his sark thereafter has he torn,
 The ensign blue clean through his body's gone,
 Until he flings him dead, on a high rock;
 His companion Gerer he's slain also,
 And Berenger, and Guiun of Santone;
 Next a rich duke he's gone to strike, Austore,
 That held Valence and the Honour of the Rhone;
 He's flung him dead; great joy the pagans shew.
 Then say the Franks: "Of ours how many fall."
 The count Rollanz, his sword with blood is stained,
 Well has he heard what way the Franks complained;
 Such grief he has, his heart would split in twain:
 To the pagan says: "God send thee every shame!
 One hast thou slain that dearly thou'lt repay."
 He spurs his horse, that on with speed doth strain;
 Which should forfeit, they both together came.
 Grandonie was both proof and valiant,
 And virtuous, a vassal combatant.
 Upon the way there, he has met Rollant;
 He'd never seen, yet knew him at a glance,
 By the proud face and those fine limbs he had,
 By his regard, and by his contenance;
 He could not help but he grew faint thereat,
 He would escape, nothing avail he can.
 Struck him the count, with so great virtue, that
 To the nose-plate he's all the helmet cracked,
 Sliced through the nose and mouth and teeth he has,
 Hauberk close-mailed, and all the whole carcass,
 Saddle of gold, with plates of silver flanked,
 And of his horse has deeply scarred the back;
 He's slain them both, they'll make no more attack:
 The Spanish men in sorrow cry, "Alack!"
 Then say the Franks: "He strikes well, our warrant."
 Marvellous is the battle in its speed,
 The Franks there strike with vigour and with heat,
 Cutting through wrists and ribs and chines in-deed,
 Through garments to the lively flesh beneath;
 On the green grass the clear blood runs in streams.
 The pagans say: "No more we'll suffer, we.
 Terra Major, Mahummet's curse on thee!
 Beyond all men thy people are hardy!"
 There was not one but cried then: "Marsilie,
 Canter, O king, thy succour now we need!"
 Marvellous is the battle now and grand,
 The Franks there strike, their good brown spears in hand.
 Then had you seen such sorrowing of clans,
 So many a slain, shattered and bleeding man!
 Biting the earth, or piled there on their backs!
 The Sarrazins cannot such loss withstand.
 Will they or nill, from off the field draw back;
 By lively force chase them away the Franks.
 Their martyrdom, his men's, Marsile has seen,
 So he bids sound his horns and his buccines;
 Then canters forth with all his great army.
 Canters before a Sarrazin, Abisme,
 More felon none was in that company;
 Cankered with guile and every felony,
 He fears not God, the Son of Saint Mary;
 Black is that man as molten pitch that seethes;
 Better he loves murder and treachery
 Than to have all the gold of Galicie;
 Never has man beheld him sport for glee;
 Yet vassalage he's shown, and great folly,
 So is he dear to th' felon king Marsile;
 Dragon he bears, to which his tribe rally.
 That Archbishop could never love him, he;
 Seeing him there, to strike he's very keen,
 Within himself he says all quietly:
 "This Sarrazin great heretick meseems,
 Rather I'ld die, than not slay him clean,
 Neer did I love coward nor cowardice."
 That Archbishop begins the fight again,
 Sitting the horse which he took from Grossaille
 --That was a king he had in Denmark slain;--
 That charger is swift and of noble race;
 Fine are his hooves, his legs are smooth and straight,
 Short are his thighs, broad crupper he displays,
 Long are his ribs, aloft his spine is raised,
 White is his tail and yellow is his mane,
 Little his ears, and tawny all his face;
 No beast is there, can match him in a race.
 That Archbishop spurs on by vassalage,
 He will not pause ere Abisme he assail;
 So strikes that shield, is wonderfully arrayed,
 Whereon are stones, amethyst and topaze,
 Esterminals and carbuncles that blaze;
 A devil's gift it was, in Val Metase,
 Who handed it to the admiral Galafes;
 So Turpin strikes, spares him not anyway;
 After that blow, he's worth no penny wage;
 The carcass he's sliced, rib from rib away,
 So flings him down dead in an empty place.
 Then say the Franks: "He has great vassalage,
 With the Archbishop, surely the Cross is safe."
 The count Rollanz calls upon Oliver:
 "Sir companion, witness you'll freely bear,
 The Archbishop is a right good chevalier,
 None better is neath Heaven anywhere;
 Well can he strike with lance and well with spear."
 Answers that count: "Support to him we'll bear!"
 Upon that word the Franks again make yare;
 Hard are the blows, slaughter and suffering there,
 For Christians too, most bitter grief and care.
 Who could had seen Rollanz and Oliver
 With their good swords to strike and to slaughter!
 And the Archbishop lays on there with his spear.
 Those that are dead, men well may hold them dear.
 In charters and in briefs is written clear,
 Four thousand fell, and more, the tales declare.
 Gainst four assaults easily did they fare,
 But then the fifth brought heavy griefs to bear.
 They all are slain, those Frankish chevaliers;
 Only three-score, whom God was pleased to spare,
 Before these die, they'll sell them very dear.
 The count Rollant great loss of his men sees,
 His companion Olivier calls, and speaks:
 "Sir and comrade, in God's Name, That you keeps,
 Such good vassals you see lie here in heaps;
 For France the Douce, fair country, may we weep,
 Of such barons long desolate she'll be.
 Ah!  King and friend, wherefore are you not here?
 How, Oliver, brother, can we achieve?
 And by what means our news to him repeat?"
 Says Oliver: "I know not how to seek;
 Rather I'ld die than shame come of this feat."
 Then says Rollanz: "I'll wind this olifant,
 If Charles hear, where in the pass he stands,
 I pledge you now they will return, the Franks."
 Says Oliver: "Great shame would come of that
 And a reproach on every one, your clan,
 That shall endure while each lives in the land,
 When I implored, you would not do this act;
 Doing it now, no raise from me you'll have:
 So wind your horn but not by courage rash,
 Seeing that both your arms with blood are splashed."
 Answers that count: "Fine blows I've struck them back."
 Then says Rollant: "Strong it is now, our battle;
 I'll wind my horn, so the King hears it, Charles."
 Says Oliver: "That act were not a vassal's.
 When I implored you, comrade, you were wrathful.
 Were the King here, we had not borne such damage.
 Nor should we blame those with him there, his army."
 Says Oliver: "Now by my beard, hereafter
 If I may see my gentle sister Alde,
 She in her arms, I swear, shall never clasp you."
 Then says Rollanz: "Wherefore so wroth with me?"
 He answers him: "Comrade, it was your deed:
 Vassalage comes by sense, and not folly;
 Prudence more worth is than stupidity.
 Here are Franks dead, all for your trickery;
 No more service to Carlun may we yield.
 My lord were here now, had you trusted me,
 And fought and won this battle then had we,
 Taken or slain were the king Marsilie.
 In your prowess, Rollanz, no good we've seen!
 Charles the great in vain your aid will seek--
 None such as he till God His Judgement speak;--
 Here must you die, and France in shame be steeped;
 Here perishes our loyal company,
 Before this night great severance and grief."
 That Archbishop has heard them, how they spoke,
 His horse he pricks with his fine spurs of gold,
 Coming to them he takes up his reproach:
 "Sir Oliver, and you, Sir Rollant, both,
 For God I pray, do not each other scold!
 No help it were to us, the horn to blow,
 But, none the less, it may be better so;
 The King will come, with vengeance that he owes;
 These Spanish men never away shall go.
 Our Franks here, each descending from his horse,
 Will find us dead, and limb from body torn;
 They'll take us hence, on biers and litters borne;
 With pity and with grief for us they'll mourn;
 They'll bury each in some old minster-close;
 No wolf nor swine nor dog shall gnaw our bones."
 Answers Rollant: "Sir, very well you spoke."
 Rollant hath set the olifant to his mouth,
 He grasps it well, and with great virtue sounds.
 High are those peaks, afar it rings and loud,
 Thirty great leagues they hear its echoes mount.
 So Charles heard, and all his comrades round;
 Then said that King: "Battle they do, our counts!"
 And Guenelun answered, contrarious:
 "That were a lie, in any other mouth."
 The Count Rollanz, with sorrow and with pangs,
 And with great pain sounded his olifant:
 Out of his mouth the clear blood leaped and ran,
 About his brain the very temples cracked.
 Loud is its voice, that horn he holds in hand;
 Charles hath heard, where in the pass he stands,
 And Neimes hears, and listen all the Franks.
 Then says the King: "I hear his horn, Rollant's;
 He'ld never sound, but he were in combat."
 Answers him Guenes "It is no battle, that.
 Now are you old, blossoming white and blanched,
 Yet by such words you still appear infant.
 You know full well the great pride of Rollant
 Marvel it is, God stays so tolerant.
 Noples he took, not waiting your command;
 Thence issued forth the Sarrazins, a band
 With vassalage had fought against Rollant;
     A He slew them first, with Durendal his brand,
 Then washed their blood with water from the land;
 So what he'd done might not be seen of man.
 He for a hare goes all day, horn in hand;
 Before his peers in foolish jest he brags.
 No race neath heav'n in field him dare attack.
 So canter on!  Nay, wherefore hold we back?
 Terra Major is far away, our land."
 The count Rollanz, though blood his mouth doth stain,
 And burst are both the temples of his brain,
 His olifant he sounds with grief and pain;
 Charles hath heard, listen the Franks again.
 "That horn," the King says, "hath a mighty strain!"
 Answers Duke Neimes: "A baron blows with pain!
 Battle is there, indeed I see it plain,
 He is betrayed, by one that still doth feign.
 Equip you, sir, cry out your old refrain,
 That noble band, go succour them amain!
 Enough you've heard how Rollant doth complain."
 That Emperour hath bid them sound their horns.
 The Franks dismount, and dress themselves for war,
 Put hauberks on, helmets and golden swords;
 Fine shields they have, and spears of length and force
 Scarlat and blue and white their ensigns float.
 His charger mounts each baron of the host;
 They spur with haste as through the pass they go.
 Nor was there one but thus to 's neighbour spoke:
 "Now, ere he die, may we see Rollant, so
 Ranged by his side we'll give some goodly blows."
 But what avail?  They've stayed too long below.
 That even-tide is light as was the day;
 Their armour shines beneath the sun's clear ray,
 Hauberks and helms throw off a dazzling flame,
 And blazoned shields, flowered in bright array,
 Also their spears, with golden ensigns gay.
 That Emperour, he canters on with rage,
 And all the Franks with wonder and dismay;
 There is not one can bitter tears restrain,
 And for Rollant they're very sore afraid.
 The King has bid them seize that county Guene,
 And charged with him the scullions of his train;
 The master-cook he's called, Besgun by name:
 "Guard me him well, his felony is plain,
 Who in my house vile treachery has made."
 He holds him, and a hundred others takes
 From the kitchen, both good and evil knaves;
 Then Guenes beard and both his cheeks they shaved,
 And four blows each with their closed fists they gave,
 They trounced him well with cudgels and with staves,
 And on his neck they clasped an iron chain;
 So like a bear enchained they held him safe,
 On a pack-mule they set him in his shame:
 Kept him till Charles should call for him again.
 High were the peaks and shadowy and grand,
 The valleys deep, the rivers swiftly ran.
 Trumpets they blew in rear and in the van,
 Till all again answered that olifant.
 That Emperour canters with fury mad,
 And all the Franks dismay and wonder have;
 There is not one but weeps and waxes sad
 And all pray God that He will guard Rollant
 Till in the field together they may stand;
 There by his side they'll strike as well they can.
 But what avail?  No good there is in that;
 They're not in time; too long have they held back.
 In his great rage on canters Charlemagne;
 Over his sark his beard is flowing plain.
 Barons of France, in haste they spur and strain;
 There is not one that can his wrath contain
 That they are not with Rollant the Captain,
 Whereas he fights the Sarrazins of Spain.
 If he be struck, will not one soul remain.
 --God!  Sixty men are all now in his train!
 Never a king had better Capitains.
 Rollant regards the barren mountain-sides;
 Dead men of France, he sees so many lie,
 And weeps for them as fits a gentle knight:
 "Lords and barons, may God to you be kind!
 And all your souls redeem for Paradise!
 And let you there mid holy flowers lie!
 Better vassals than you saw never I.
 Ever you've served me, and so long a time,
 By you Carlon hath conquered kingdoms wide;
 That Emperour reared you for evil plight!
 Douce land of France, o very precious clime,
 Laid desolate by such a sour exile!
 Barons of France, for me I've seen you die,
 And no support, no warrant could I find;
 God be your aid, Who never yet hath lied!
 I must not fail now, brother, by your side;
 Save I be slain, for sorrow shall I die.
 Sir companion, let us again go strike!"
 The count Rollanz, back to the field then hieing
 Holds Durendal, and like a vassal striking
 Faldrun of Pui has through the middle sliced,
 With twenty-four of all they rated highest;
 Was never man, for vengeance shewed such liking.
 Even as a stag before the hounds goes flying,
 Before Rollanz the pagans scatter, frightened.
 Says the Archbishop: "You deal now very wisely!
 Such valour should he shew that is bred knightly,
 And beareth arms, and a good charger rideth;
 In battle should be strong and proud and sprightly;
 Or otherwise he is not worth a shilling,
 Should be a monk in one of those old minsters,
 Where, day, by day, he'ld pray for us poor sinners."
 Answers Rollant: "Strike on; no quarter give them!"
 Upon these words Franks are again beginning;
 Very great loss they suffer then, the Christians.
 The man who knows, for him there's no prison,
 In such a fight with keen defence lays on;
 Wherefore the Franks are fiercer than lions.
 Marsile you'd seen go as a brave baron,
 Sitting his horse, the which he calls Gaignon;
 He spurs it well, going to strike Bevon,
 That was the lord of Beaune and of Dijon,
 His shield he breaks, his hauberk has undone,
 So flings him dead, without condition;
 Next he hath slain Yvoerie and Ivon,
 Also with them Gerard of Russillon.
 The count Rollanz, being not far him from,
 To th'pagan says: "Confound thee our Lord God!
 So wrongfully you've slain my companions,
 A blow you'll take, ere we apart be gone,
 And of my sword the name I'll bid you con."
 He goes to strike him, as a brave baron,
 And his right hand the count clean slices off;
 Then takes the head of Jursaleu the blond;
 That was the son of king Marsilion.
 Pagans cry out  "Assist us now, Mahom!
 God of our race, avenge us on Carlon!
 Into this land he's sent us such felons
 That will not leave the fight before they drop."
 Says each to each: "Nay let us fly!"  Upon
 That word, they're fled, an hundred thousand gone;
 Call them who may, they'll never more come on.
 But what avail?  Though fled be Marsilies,
 He's left behind his uncle, the alcaliph
 Who holds Alferne, Kartagene, Garmalie,
 And Ethiope, a cursed land indeed;
 The blackamoors from there are in his keep,
 Broad in the nose they are and flat in the ear,
 Fifty thousand and more in company.
 These canter forth with arrogance and heat,
 Then they cry out the pagans' rallying-cheer;
 And Rollant says: "Martyrdom we'll receive;
 Not long to live, I know it well, have we;
 Felon he's named that sells his body cheap!
 Strike on, my lords, with burnished swords and keen;
 Contest each inch your life and death between,
 That neer by us Douce France in shame be steeped.
 When Charles my lord shall come into this field,
 Such discipline of Sarrazins he'll see,
 For one of ours he'll find them dead fifteen;
 He will not fail, but bless us all in peace."
 When Rollant sees those misbegotten men,
 Who are more black than ink is on the pen
 With no part white, only their teeth except,
 Then says that count: "I know now very well
 That here to die we're bound, as I can tell.
 Strike on, the Franks!  For so I recommend."
 Says Oliver: "Who holds back, is condemned!"
 Upon those words, the Franks to strike again.
 Franks are but few; which, when the pagans know,
 Among themselves comfort and pride they shew;
 Says each to each: "Wrong was that Emperor."
 Their alcaliph upon a sorrel rode,
 And pricked it well with both his spurs of gold;
 Struck Oliver, behind, on the back-bone,
 His hauberk white into his body broke,
 Clean through his breast the thrusting spear he drove;
 After he said: "You've borne a mighty blow.
 Charles the great should not have left you so;
 He's done us wrong, small thanks to him we owe;
 I've well avenged all ours on you alone."
 Oliver feels that he to die is bound,
 Holds Halteclere, whose steel is rough and brown,
 Strikes the alcaliph on his helm's golden mount;
 Flowers and stones fall clattering to the ground,
 Slices his head, to th'small teeth in his mouth;
 So brandishes his blade and flings him down;
 After he says: "Pagan, accurst be thou!
 Thou'lt never say that Charles forsakes me now;
 Nor to thy wife, nor any dame thou'st found,
 Thou'lt never boast, in lands where thou wast crowned,
 One pennyworth from me thou'st taken out,
 Nor damage wrought on me nor any around."
 After, for aid, "Rollant!" he cries aloud.
 Oliver feels that death is drawing nigh;
 To avenge himself he hath no longer time;
 Through the great press most gallantly he strikes,
 He breaks their spears, their buckled shields doth slice,
 Their feet, their fists, their shoulders and their sides,
 Dismembers them: whoso had seen that sigh,
 Dead in the field one on another piled,
 Remember well a vassal brave he might.
 Charles ensign he'll not forget it quite;
 Aloud and clear "Monjoie" again he cries.
 To call Rollanz, his friend and peer, he tries:
 "My companion, come hither to my side.
 With bitter grief we must us now divide."
 Then Rollant looked upon Olivier's face;
 Which was all wan and colourless and pale,
 While the clear blood, out of his body sprayed,
 Upon the ground gushed forth and ran away.
 "God!" said that count, "What shall I do or say?
 My companion, gallant for such ill fate!
 Neer shall man be, against thee could prevail.
 Ah!  France the Douce, henceforth art thou made waste
 Of vassals brave, confounded and disgraced!
 Our Emperour shall suffer damage great."
 And with these words upon his horse he faints.
 You'd seen Rollant aswoon there in his seat,
 And Oliver, who unto death doth bleed,
 So much he's bled, his eyes are dim and weak;
 Nor clear enough his vision, far or near,
 To recognise whatever man he sees;
 His companion, when each the other meets,
 Above the helm jewelled with gold he beats,
 Slicing it down from there to the nose-piece,
 But not his head; he's touched not brow nor cheek.
 At such a blow Rollant regards him keen,
 And asks of him, in gentle tones and sweet:
 "To do this thing, my comrade, did you mean?
 This is Rollanz, who ever held you dear;
 And no mistrust was ever us between."
 Says Oliver: "Now can I hear you speak;
 I see you not: may the Lord God you keep!
 I struck you now: and for your pardon plead."
 Answers Rollanz: "I am not hurt, indeed;
 I pardon you, before God's Throne and here."
 Upon these words, each to the other leans;
 And in such love you had their parting seen.
 Oliver feels death's anguish on him now;
 And in his head his two eyes swimming round;
 Nothing he sees; he hears not any sound;
 Dismounting then, he kneels upon the ground,
 Proclaims his sins both firmly and aloud,
 Clasps his two hands, heavenwards holds them out,
 Prays God himself in Paradise to allow;
 Blessings on Charles, and on Douce France he vows,
 And his comrade, Rollanz, to whom he's bound.
 Then his heart fails; his helmet nods and bows;
 Upon the earth he lays his whole length out:
 And he is dead, may stay no more, that count.
 Rollanz the brave mourns him with grief profound;
 Nowhere on earth so sad a man you'd found.
 So Rollant's friend is dead whom when he sees
 Face to the ground, and biting it with's teeth,
 Begins to mourn in language very sweet:
 "Unlucky, friend, your courage was indeed!
 Together we have spent such days and years;
 No harmful thing twixt thee and me has been.
 Now thou art dead, and all my life a grief."
 And with these words again he swoons, that chief,
 Upon his horse, which he calls Veillantif;
 Stirrups of gold support him underneath;
 He cannot fall, whichever way he lean.
 Soon as Rollant his senses won and knew,
 Recovering and turning from that swoon.
 Bitter great loss appeared there in his view:
 Dead are the Franks; he'd all of them to lose,
 Save the Archbishop, and save Gualter del Hum;
 He is come down out of the mountains, who
 Gainst Spanish men made there a great ado;
 Dead are his men, for those the pagans slew;
 Will he or nill, along the vales he flew,
 And called Rollant, to bring him succour soon:
 "Ah!  Gentle count, brave soldier, where are you?
 For By thy side no fear I ever knew.
 Gualter it is, who conquered Maelgut,
 And nephew was to hoary old Drouin;
 My vassalage thou ever thoughtest good.
 Broken my spear, and split my shield in two;
 Gone is the mail that on my hauberk grew;
 This body of mine eight lances have gone through;
 I'm dying.  Yet full price for life I took."
 Rollant has heard these words and understood,
 Has spurred his horse, and on towards him drew.
 Grief gives Rollanz intolerance and pride;
 Through the great press he goes again to strike;
 To slay a score of Spaniards he contrives,
 Gualter has six, the Archbishop other five.
 The pagans say: "Men, these, of felon kind!
 Lordings, take care they go not hence alive!
 Felon he's named that does not break their line,
 Recreant, who lets them any safety find!"
 And so once more begin the hue and cry,
 From every part they come to break the line.
 Count Rollant is a noble and brave soldier,
 Gualter del Hum's a right good chevalier,
 That Archbishop hath shewn good prowess there;
 None of them falls behind the other pair;
 Through the great press, pagans they strike again.
 Come on afoot a thousand Sarrazens,
 And on horseback some forty thousand men.
 But well I know, to approach they never dare;
 Lances and spears they poise to hurl at them,
 Arrows, barbs, darts and javelins in the air.
 With the first flight they've slain our Gualtier;
 Turpin of Reims has all his shield broken,
 And cracked his helm; he's wounded in the head,
 From his hauberk the woven mail they tear,
 In his body four spear-wounds doth he bear;
 Beneath him too his charger's fallen dead.
 Great grief it was, when that Archbishop fell.
 Turpin of Reims hath felt himself undone,
 Since that four spears have through his body come;
 Nimble and bold upon his feet he jumps;
 Looks for Rollant, and then towards him runs,
 Saying this word: "I am not overcome.
 While life remains, no good vassal gives up."
 He's drawn Almace, whose steel was brown and rough,
 Through the great press a thousand blows he's struck:
 As Charles said, quarter he gave to none;
 He found him there, four hundred else among,
 Wounded the most, speared through the middle some,
 Also there were from whom the heads he'd cut:
 So tells the tale, he that was there says thus,
 The brave Saint Giles, whom God made marvellous,
 Who charters wrote for th' Minster at Loum;
 Nothing he's heard that does not know this much.
 The count Rollanz has nobly fought and well,
 But he is hot, and all his body sweats;
 Great pain he has, and trouble in his head,
 His temples burst when he the horn sounded;
 But he would know if Charles will come to them,
 Takes the olifant, and feebly sounds again.
 That Emperour stood still and listened then:
 "My lords," said he, "Right evilly we fare!
 This day Rollanz, my nephew shall be dead:
 I hear his horn, with scarcely any breath.
 Nimbly canter, whoever would be there!
 Your trumpets sound, as many as ye bear!"
 Sixty thousand so loud together blare,
 The mountains ring, the valleys answer them.
 The pagans hear, they think it not a jest;
 Says each to each: "Carlum doth us bestead."
 The pagans say: "That Emperour's at hand,
 We hear their sound, the trumpets of the Franks;
 If Charles come, great loss we then shall stand,
 And wars renewed, unless we slay Rollant;
 All Spain we'll lose, our own clear father-land."
 Four hundred men of them in helmets stand;
 The best of them that might be in their ranks
 Make on Rollanz a grim and fierce attack;
 Gainst these the count had well enough in hand.
 The count Rollanz, when their approach he sees
 Is grown so bold and manifest and fierce
 So long as he's alive he will not yield.
 He sits his horse, which men call Veillantif,
 Pricking him well with golden spurs beneath,
 Through the great press he goes, their line to meet,
 And by his side is the Archbishop Turpin.
 "Now, friend, begone!" say pagans, each to each;
 "These Frankish men, their horns we plainly hear
 Charle is at hand, that King in Majesty."
 The count Rollanz has never loved cowards,
 Nor arrogant, nor men of evil heart,
 Nor chevalier that was not good vassal.
 That Archbishop, Turpins, he calls apart:
 "Sir, you're afoot, and I my charger have;
 For love of you, here will I take my stand,
 Together we'll endure things good and bad;
 I'll leave you not, for no incarnate man:
 We'll give again these pagans their attack;
 The better blows are those from Durendal."
 Says the Archbishop: "Shame on him that holds back!
 Charle is at hand, full vengeance he'll exact."
 The pagans say: "Unlucky were we born!
 An evil day for us did this day dawn!
 For we have lost our peers and all our lords.
 Charles his great host once more upon us draws,
 Of Frankish men we plainly hear the horns,
 "Monjoie" they cry, and great is their uproar.
 The count Rollant is of such pride and force
 He'll never yield to man of woman born;
 Let's aim at him, then leave him on the spot!"
 And aim they did: with arrows long and short,
 Lances and spears and feathered javelots;
 Count Rollant's shield they've broken through and bored,
 The woven mail have from his hauberk torn,
 But not himself, they've never touched his corse;
 Veillantif is in thirty places gored,
 Beneath the count he's fallen dead, that horse.
 Pagans are fled, and leave him on the spot;
 The count Rollant stands on his feet once more.
 Pagans are fled, enangered and enraged,
 Home into Spain with speed they make their way;
 The count Rollanz, he has not given chase,
 For Veillantif, his charger, they have slain;
 Will he or nill, on foot he must remain.
 To the Archbishop, Turpins, he goes with aid;
  I   He's from his head the golden helm unlaced,
 Taken from him his white hauberk away,
 And cut the gown in strips, was round his waist;
 On his great wounds the pieces of it placed,
 Then to his heart has caught him and embraced;
 On the green grass he has him softly laid,
 Most sweetly then to him has Rollant prayed:
 "Ah!  Gentle sir, give me your leave, I say;
 Our companions, whom we so dear appraised,
 Are now all dead; we cannot let them stay;
 I will go seek and bring them to this place,
 Arrange them here in ranks, before your face."
 Said the Archbishop: "Go, and return again.
 This field is yours and mine now; God be praised!"
 So Rollanz turns; through the field, all alone,
 Searching the vales and mountains, he is gone;
 He finds Gerin, Gerers his companion,
 Also he finds Berenger and Otton,
 There too he finds Anseis and Sanson,
 And finds Gerard the old, of Rossillon;
 By one and one he's taken those barons,
 To the Archbishop with each of them he comes,
 Before his knees arranges every one.
 That Archbishop, he cannot help but sob,
 He lifts his hand, gives benediction;
 After he's said: "Unlucky, Lords, your lot!
 But all your souls He'll lay, our Glorious God,
 In Paradise, His holy flowers upon!
 For my own death such anguish now I've got;
 I shall not see him, our rich Emperor."
 So Rollant turns, goes through the field in quest;
 His companion Olivier finds at length;
 He has embraced him close against his breast,
 To the Archbishop returns as he can best;
 Upon a shield he's laid him, by the rest;
 And the Archbishop has them absolved and blest:
 Whereon his grief and pity grow afresh.
 Then says Rollanz: "Fair comrade Olivier,
 You were the son of the good count Reinier,
 Who held the march by th' Vale of Runier;
 To shatter spears, through buckled shields to bear,
 And from hauberks the mail to break and tear,
 Proof men to lead, and prudent counsel share,
 Gluttons in field to frighten and conquer,
 No land has known a better chevalier."
 The count Rollanz, when dead he saw his peers,
 And Oliver, he held so very dear,
 Grew tender, and began to shed a tear;
 Out of his face the colour disappeared;
 No longer could he stand, for so much grief,
 Will he or nill, he swooned upon the field.
 Said the Archbishop: "Unlucky lord, indeed!"
 When the Archbishop beheld him swoon, Rollant,
 Never before such bitter grief he'd had;
 Stretching his hand, he took that olifant.
 Through Rencesvals a little river ran;
 He would go there, fetch water for Rollant.
 Went step by step, to stumble soon began,
 So feeble he is, no further fare he can,
 For too much blood he's lost, and no strength has;
 Ere he has crossed an acre of the land,
 His heart grows faint, he falls down forwards and
 Death comes to him with very cruel pangs.
 The count Rollanz wakes from his swoon once more,
 Climbs to his feet; his pains are very sore;
 Looks down the vale, looks to the hills above;
 On the green grass, beyond his companions,
 He sees him lie, that noble old baron;
 'Tis the Archbishop, whom in His name wrought God;
 There he proclaims his sins, and looks above;
 Joins his two hands, to Heaven holds them forth,
 And Paradise prays God to him to accord.
 Dead is Turpin, the warrior of Charlon.
 In battles great and very rare sermons
 Against pagans ever a champion.
 God grant him now His Benediction!
 The count Rollant sees the Archbishop lie dead,
 Sees the bowels out of his body shed,
 And sees the brains that surge from his forehead;
 Between his two arm-pits, upon his breast,
 Crossways he folds those hands so white and fair.
 Then mourns aloud, as was the custom there:
 "Thee, gentle sir, chevalier nobly bred,
 To the Glorious Celestial I commend;
 Neer shall man be, that will Him serve so well;
 Since the Apostles was never such prophet,
 To hold the laws and draw the hearts of men.
 Now may your soul no pain nor sorrow ken,
 Finding the gates of Paradise open!"
 Then Rollanz feels that death to him draws near,
 For all his brain is issued from his ears;
 He prays to God that He will call the peers,
 Bids Gabriel, the angel, t' himself appear.
 Takes the olifant, that no reproach shall hear,
 And Durendal in the other hand he wields;
 Further than might a cross-bow's arrow speed
 Goes towards Spain into a fallow-field;
 Climbs on a cliff; where, under two fair trees,
 Four terraces, of marble wrought, he sees.
 There he falls down, and lies upon the green;
 He swoons again, for death is very near.
 High are the peaks, the trees are very high.
 Four terraces of polished marble shine;
 On the green grass count Rollant swoons thereby.
 A Sarrazin him all the time espies,
 Who feigning death among the others hides;
 Blood hath his face and all his body dyed;
 He gets afoot, running towards him hies;
 Fair was he, strong and of a courage high;
 A mortal hate he's kindled in his pride.
 He's seized Rollant, and the arms, were at his side,
 "Charles nephew," he's said, "here conquered lies.
 To Araby I'll bear this sword as prize."
 As he drew it, something the count descried.
 So Rollant felt his sword was taken forth,
 Opened his eyes, and this word to him spoke
 "Thou'rt never one of ours, full well I know."
 Took the olifant, that he would not let go,
 Struck him on th' helm, that jewelled was with gold,
 And broke its steel, his skull and all his bones,
 Out of his head both the two eyes he drove;
 Dead at his feet he has the pagan thrown:
 After he's said: "Culvert, thou wert too bold,
 Or right or wrong, of my sword seizing hold!
 They'll dub thee fool, to whom the tale is told.
 But my great one, my olifant I broke;
 Fallen from it the crystal and the gold."
 Then Rollanz feels that he has lost his sight,
 Climbs to his feet, uses what strength he might;
 In all his face the colour is grown white.
 In front of him a great brown boulder lies;
 Whereon ten blows with grief and rage he strikes;
 The steel cries out, but does not break outright;
 And the count says: "Saint Mary, be my guide
 Good Durendal, unlucky is your plight!
 I've need of you no more; spent is my pride!
 We in the field have won so many fights,
 Combating through so many regions wide
 That Charles holds, whose beard is hoary white!
 Be you not his that turns from any in flight!
 A good vassal has held you this long time;
 Never shall France the Free behold his like."
 Rollant hath struck the sardonyx terrace;
 The steel cries out, but broken is no ways.
 So when he sees he never can it break,
 Within himself begins he to complain:
 "Ah!  Durendal, white art thou, clear of stain!
 Beneath the sun reflecting back his rays!
 In Moriane was Charles, in the vale,
 When from heaven God by His angel bade
 Him give thee to a count and capitain;
 Girt thee on me that noble King and great.
 I won for him with thee Anjou, Bretaigne,
 And won for him with thee Peitou, the Maine,
 And Normandy the free for him I gained,
 Also with thee Provence and Equitaigne,
 And Lumbardie and all the whole Romaigne,
 I won Baivere, all Flanders in the plain,
 Also Burguigne and all the whole Puillane,
 Costentinnople, that homage to him pays;
 In Saisonie all is as he ordains;
 With thee I won him Scotland, Ireland, Wales,
 England also, where he his chamber makes;
 Won I with thee so many countries strange
 That Charles holds, whose beard is white with age!
 For this sword's sake sorrow upon me weighs,
 Rather I'ld die, than it mid pagans stay.
 Lord God Father, never let France be shamed!"
 Rollant his stroke on a dark stone repeats,
 And more of it breaks off than I can speak.
 The sword cries out, yet breaks not in the least,
 Back from the blow into the air it leaps.
 Destroy it can he not; which when he sees,
 Within himself he makes a plaint most sweet.
 "Ah! Durendal, most holy, fair indeed!
 Relics enough thy golden hilt conceals:
 Saint Peter's Tooth, the Blood of Saint Basile,
 Some of the Hairs of my Lord, Saint Denise,
 Some of the Robe, was worn by Saint Mary.
 It is not right that pagans should thee seize,
 For Christian men your use shall ever be.
 Nor any man's that worketh cowardice!
 Many broad lands with you have I retrieved
 Which Charles holds, who hath the great white beard;
 Wherefore that King so proud and rich is he."
 But Rollant felt that death had made a way
 Down from his head till on his heart it lay;
 Beneath a pine running in haste he came,
 On the green grass he lay there on his face;
 His olifant and sword beneath him placed,
 Turning his head towards the pagan race,
 Now this he did, in truth, that Charles might say
 (As he desired) and all the Franks his race;--
 'Ah, gentle count; conquering he was slain!'--
 He owned his faults often and every way,
 And for his sins his glove to God upraised.
 But Rollant feels he's no more time to seek;
 Looking to Spain, he lies on a sharp peak,
 And with one hand upon his breast he beats:
 "Mea Culpa!  God, by Thy Virtues clean
 Me from my sins, the mortal and the mean,
 Which from the hour that I was born have been
 Until this day, when life is ended here!"
 Holds out his glove towards God, as he speaks
 Angels descend from heaven on that scene.
 The count Rollanz, beneath a pine he sits;
 Turning his eyes towards Spain, he begins
 Remembering so many divers things:
 So many lands where he went conquering,
 And France the Douce, the heroes of his kin,
 And Charlemagne, his lord who nourished him.
 Nor can he help but weep and sigh at this.
 But his own self, he's not forgotten him,
 He owns his faults, and God's forgiveness bids:
 "Very Father, in Whom no falsehood is,
 Saint Lazaron from death Thou didst remit,
 And Daniel save from the lions' pit;
 My soul in me preserve from all perils
 And from the sins I did in life commit!"
 His right-hand glove, to God he offers it
 Saint Gabriel from's hand hath taken it.
 Over his arm his head bows down and slips,
 He joins his hands: and so is life finish'd.
 God sent him down His angel cherubin,
 And Saint Michael, we worship in peril;
 And by their side Saint Gabriel alit;
 So the count's soul they bare to Paradis.
 Rollant is dead; his soul to heav'n God bare.
 That Emperour to Rencesvals doth fare.
 There was no path nor passage anywhere
 Nor of waste ground no ell nor foot to spare
 Without a Frank or pagan lying there.
 Charles cries aloud: "Where are you, nephew fair?
 Where's the Archbishop and that count Oliviers?
 Where is Gerins and his comrade Gerers?
 Otes the Duke, and the count Berengiers
 And Ivorie, and Ive, so dear they were?
 What is become of Gascon Engelier,
 Sansun the Duke and Anseis the fierce?
 Where's old Gerard of Russillun; oh, where
 The dozen peers I left behind me here?"
 But what avail, since none can answer bear?
 "God!" says the King, "Now well may I despair,
 I was not here the first assault to share!"
 Seeming enraged, his beard the King doth tear.
 Weep from their eyes barons and chevaliers,
 A thousand score, they swoon upon the earth;
 Duke Neimes for them was moved with pity rare.
 No chevalier nor baron is there, who
 Pitifully weeps not for grief and dule;
 They mourn their sons, their brothers, their nephews,
 And their liege lords, and trusty friends and true;
 Upon the ground a many of them swoon.
 Thereon Duke Neimes doth act with wisdom proof,
 First before all he's said to the Emperour:
 "See beforehand, a league from us or two,
 From the highways dust rising in our view;
 Pagans are there, and many them, too.
 Canter therefore!  Vengeance upon them do!"
 "Ah, God!" says Charles, "so far are they re-moved!
 Do right by me, my honour still renew!
 They've torn from me the flower of France the Douce."
 The King commands Gebuin and Otun,
 Tedbalt of Reims, also the count Milun:
 "Guard me this field, these hills and valleys too,
 Let the dead lie, all as they are, unmoved,
 Let not approach lion, nor any brute,
 Let not approach esquire, nor any groom;
 For I forbid that any come thereto,
 Until God will that we return anew."
 These answer him sweetly, their love to prove:
 "Right Emperour, dear Sire, so will we do."
 A thousand knights they keep in retinue.
 That Emperour bids trumpets sound again,
 Then canters forth with his great host so brave.
 Of Spanish men, whose backs are turned their way,
 Franks one and all continue in their chase.
 When the King sees the light at even fade,
 On the green grass dismounting as he may,
 He kneels aground, to God the Lord doth pray
 That the sun's course He will for him delay,
 Put off the night, and still prolong the day.
 An angel then, with him should reason make,
 Nimbly enough appeared to him and spake:
 "Charles, canter on!  Light needst not thou await.
 The flower of France, as God knows well, is slain;
 Thou canst be avenged upon that crimeful race."
 Upon that word mounts the Emperour again.
 For Charlemagne a great marvel God planned:
 Making the sun still in his course to stand.
 So pagans fled, and chased them well the Franks
 Through the Valley of Shadows, close in hand;
 Towards Sarraguce by force they chased them back,
 And as they went with killing blows attacked:
 Barred their highways and every path they had.
 The River Sebre before them reared its bank,
 'Twas very deep, marvellous current ran;
 No barge thereon nor dromond nor caland.
 A god of theirs invoked they, Tervagant.
 And then leaped in, but there no warrant had.
 The armed men more weighty were for that,
 Many of them down to the bottom sank,
 Downstream the rest floated as they might hap;
 So much water the luckiest of them drank,
 That all were drowned, with marvellous keen pangs.
 "An evil day," cry Franks, "ye saw Rollant!"
 When Charles sees that pagans all are dead,
 Some of them slain, the greater part drowned;
 (Whereby great spoils his chevaliers collect)
 That gentle King upon his feet descends,
 Kneels on the ground, his thanks to God presents.
 When he once more rise, the sun is set.
 Says the Emperour "Time is to pitch our tents;
 To Rencesvals too late to go again.
 Our horses are worn out and foundered:
 Unsaddle them, take bridles from their heads,
 And through these meads let them refreshment get."
 Answer the Franks: "Sire, you have spoken well."
 That Emperour hath chosen his bivouac;
 The Franks dismount in those deserted tracts,
 Their saddles take from off their horses' backs,
 Bridles of gold from off their heads unstrap,
 Let them go free; there is enough fresh grass--
 No service can they render them, save that.
 Who is most tired sleeps on the ground stretched flat.
 Upon this night no sentinels keep watch.
 That Emperour is lying in a mead;
 By's head, so brave, he's placed his mighty spear;
 On such a night unarmed he will not be.
 He's donned his white hauberk, with broidery,
 Has laced his helm, jewelled with golden beads,
 Girt on Joiuse, there never was its peer,
 Whereon each day thirty fresh hues appear.
 All of us know that lance, and well may speak
 Whereby Our Lord was wounded on the Tree:
 Charles, by God's grace, possessed its point of steel!
 His golden hilt he enshrined it underneath.
 By that honour and by that sanctity
 The name Joiuse was for that sword decreed.
 Barons of France may not forgetful be
 Whence comes the ensign "Monjoie," they cry at need;
 Wherefore no race against them can succeed.
 Clear was the night, the moon shone radiant.
 Charles laid him down, but sorrow for Rollant
 And Oliver, most heavy on him he had,
 For's dozen peers, for all the Frankish band
 He had left dead in bloody Rencesvals;
 He could not help, but wept and waxed mad,
 And prayed to God to be their souls' Warrant.
 Weary that King, or grief he's very sad;
 He falls on sleep, he can no more withstand.
 Through all those meads they slumber then, the Franks;
 Is not a horse can any longer stand,
 Who would eat grass, he takes it lying flat.
 He has learned much, can understand their pangs.
 Charles, like a man worn out with labour, slept.
 Saint Gabriel the Lord to him hath sent,
 Whom as a guard o'er the Emperour he set;
 Stood all night long that angel by his head.
 In a vision announced he to him then
 A battle, should be fought against him yet,
 Significance of griefs demonstrated.
 Charles looked up towards the sky, and there
 Thunders and winds and blowing gales beheld,
 And hurricanes and marvellous tempests;
 Lightnings and flames he saw in readiness,
 That speedily on all his people fell;
 Apple and ash, their spear-shafts all burned,
 Also their shields, e'en the golden bosses,
 Crumbled the shafts of their trenchant lances,
 Crushed their hauberks and all their steel helmets.
 His chevaliers he saw in great distress.
 Bears and leopards would feed upon them next;
 Adversaries, dragons, wyverns, serpents,
 Griffins were there, thirty thousand, no less,
 Nor was there one but on some Frank it set.
 And the Franks cried: "Ah!  Charlemagne, give help!"
 Wherefore the King much grief and pity felt,
 He'ld go to them but was in duress kept:
 Out of a wood came a great lion then,
 'Twas very proud and fierce and terrible;
 His body dear sought out, and on him leapt,
 Each in his arms, wrestling, the other held;
 But he knew not which conquered, nor which fell.
 That Emperour woke not at all, but slept.
 And, after that, another vision came:
 Himseemed in France, at Aix, on a terrace,
 And that he held a bruin by two chains;
 Out of Ardenne saw thirty bears that came,
 And each of them words, as a man might, spake
 Said to him: "Sire, give him to us again!
 It is not right that he with you remain,
 He's of our kin, and we must lend him aid."
 A harrier fair ran out of his palace,
 Among them all the greatest bear assailed
 On the green grass, beyond his friends some way.
 There saw the King marvellous give and take;
 But he knew not which fell, nor which o'ercame.
 The angel of God so much to him made plain.
 Charles slept on till the clear dawn of day.
 King Marsilies, fleeing to Sarraguce,
 Dismounted there beneath an olive cool;
 His sword and sark and helm aside he put,
 On the green grass lay down in shame and gloom;
 For his right hand he'd lost, 'twas clean cut through;
 Such blood he'd shed, in anguish keen he swooned.
 Before his face his lady Bramimunde
 Bewailed and cried, with very bitter rue;
 Twenty thousand and more around him stood,
 All of them cursed Carlun and France the Douce.
 Then Apollin in's grotto they surround,
 And threaten him, and ugly words pronounce:
 "Such shame on us, vile god!, why bringest thou?
 This is our king; wherefore dost him confound?
 Who served thee oft, ill recompense hath found."
 Then they take off his sceptre and his crown,
 With their hands hang him from a column down,
 Among their feet trample him on the ground,
 With great cudgels they batter him and trounce.
 From Tervagant his carbuncle they impound,
 And Mahumet into a ditch fling out,
 Where swine and dogs defile him and devour.
 Out of his swoon awakens Marsilies,
 And has him borne his vaulted roof beneath;
 Many colours were painted there to see,
 And Bramimunde laments for him, the queen,
 Tearing her hair; caitiff herself she clepes;
 Also these words cries very loud and clear:
 "Ah!  Sarraguce, henceforth forlorn thou'lt be
 Of the fair king that had thee in his keep!
 All those our gods have wrought great felony,
 Who in battle this morning failed at need.
 That admiral will shew his cowardice,
 Unless he fight against that race hardy,
 Who are so fierce, for life they take no heed.
 That Emperour, with his blossoming beard,
 Hath vassalage, and very high folly;
 Battle to fight, he will not ever flee.
 Great grief it is, no man may slay him clean."
 That Emperour, by his great Majesty,
   I  Full seven years in Spain now has he been,
 And castles there, and many cities seized.
 King Marsilies was therefore sore displeased;
 In the first year he sealed and sent his brief
 To Baligant, into Babilonie:
 ('Twas the admiral, old in antiquity,
 That clean outlived Omer and Virgilie,)
 To Sarraguce, with succour bade him speed,
 For, if he failed, Marsile his gods would leave,
 All his idols he worshipped formerly;
 He would receive blest Christianity
 And reconciled to Charlemagne would be.
 Long time that one came not, far off was he.
 Through forty realms he did his tribes rally;
 His great dromonds, he made them all ready,
 Barges and skiffs and ships and galleries;
 Neath Alexandre, a haven next the sea,
 In readiness he gat his whole navy.
 That was in May, first summer of the year,
 All of his hosts he launched upon the sea.
 Great are the hosts of that opposed race;
 With speed they sail, they steer and navigate.
 High on their yards, at their mast-heads they place
 Lanterns enough, and carbuncles so great
 Thence, from above, such light they dissipate
 The sea's more clear at midnight than by day.
 And when they come into the land of Spain
 All that country lightens and shines again:
 Of their coming Marsile has heard the tale.
 The pagan race would never rest, but come
 Out of the sea, where the sweet waters run;
 They leave Marbris, they leave behind Marbrus,
 Upstream by Sebre doth all their navy turn.
 Lanterns they have, and carbuncles enough,
 That all night long and very clearly burn.
 Upon that day they come to Sarragus.
 Clear is that day, and the sun radiant.
 Out of his barge issues their admiral,
 Espaneliz goes forth at his right hand,
 Seventeen kings follow him in a band,
 Counts too, and dukes; I cannot tell of that.
 Where in a field, midway, a laurel stands,
 On the green grass they spread a white silk mat,
 Set a fald-stool there, made of olifant;
 Sits him thereon the pagan Baligant,
 And all the rest in rows about him stand.
 The lord of them speaks before any man:
 "Listen to me, free knights and valiant!
 Charles the King, the Emperour of the Franks,
 Shall not eat bread, save when that I command.
 Throughout all Spain great war with me he's had;
 I will go seek him now, into Douce France,
 I will not cease, while I'm a living man,
 Till be slain, or fall between my hands."
 Upon his knee his right-hand glove he slaps.
 He is fast bound by all that he has said.
 He will not fail, for all the gold neath heav'n,
 But go to Aix, where Charles court is held:
 His men applaud, for so they counselled.
 After he called two of his chevaliers,
 One Clarifan, and the other Clarien:
 "You are the sons of king Maltraien,
 Freely was, wont my messages to bear.
 You I command to Sarraguce to fare.
 Marsiliun on my part you shall tell
 Against the Franks I'm come to give him help,
 Find I their host, great battle shall be there;
 Give him this glove, that's stitched with golden thread,
 On his right hand let it be worn and held;
 This little wand of fine gold take as well,
 Bid him come here, his homage to declare.
 To France I'll go, and war with Charles again;
 Save at my feet he kneel, and mercy beg,
 Save all the laws of Christians he forget,
 I'll take away the crown from off his head."
 Answer pagans: "Sire, you say very well."
 Said Baligant: "But canter now, barons,
 Take one the wand, and the other one the glove!"
 These answer him: "Dear lord, it shall be done."
 Canter so far, to Sarraguce they come,
 Pass through ten gates, across four bridges run,
 Through all the streets, wherein the burghers crowd.
 When they draw nigh the citadel above,
 From the palace they hear a mighty sound;
 About that place are seen pagans enough,
 Who weep and cry, with grief are waxen wood,
 And curse their gods, Tervagan and Mahum
 And Apolin, from whom no help is come.
 Says each to each: "Caitiffs!  What shall be done?
 For upon us confusion vile is come,
 Now have we lost our king Marsiliun,
 For yesterday his hand count Rollanz cut;
 We'll have no more Fair Jursaleu, his son;
 The whole of Spain henceforward is undone."
 Both messengers on the terrace dismount.
 Horses they leave under an olive tree,
 Which by the reins two Sarrazins do lead;
 Those messengers have wrapped them in their weeds,
 To the palace they climb the topmost steep.
 When they're come in, the vaulted roof beneath,
 Marsilium with courtesy they greet:
 "May Mahumet, who all of us doth keep,
 And Tervagan, and our lord Apoline
 Preserve the, king and guard from harm the queen!"
 Says Bramimunde "Great foolishness I hear:
 Those gods of ours in cowardice are steeped;
 In Rencesvals they wrought an evil deed,
 Our chevaliers they let be slain in heaps;
 My lord they failed in battle, in his need,
 Never again will he his right hand see;
 For that rich count, Rollanz, hath made him bleed.
 All our whole Spain shall be for Charles to keep.
 Miserable!  What shall become of me?
 Alas!  That I've no man to slay me clean!"
 Says Clarien: "My lady, say not that!
 We're messengers from pagan Baligant;
 To Marsilies, he says, he'll be warrant,
 So sends him here his glove, also this wand.
 Vessels we have, are moored by Sebres bank,
 Barges and skiffs and gallies four thousand,
 Dromonds are there--I cannot speak of that.
 Our admiral is wealthy and puissant.
 And Charlemagne he will go seek through France
 And quittance give him, dead or recreant."
 Says Bramimunde: "Unlucky journey, that!
 Far nearer here you'll light upon the Franks;
 For seven years he's stayed now in this land.
 That Emperour is bold and combatant,
 Rather he'ld die than from the field draw back;
 No king neath heav'n above a child he ranks.
 Charles hath no fear for any living man.
 Says Marsilies the king: "Now let that be."
 To th'messengers: "Sirs, pray you, speak to me.
 I am held fast by death, as ye may see.
 No son have I nor daughter to succeed;
 That one I had, they slew him yester-eve.
 Bid you my lord, he come to see me here.
 Rights over Spain that admiral hath he,
 My claim to him, if he will take't, I yield;
 But from the Franks he then must set her free.
 Gainst Charlemagne I'll shew him strategy.
 Within a month from now he'll conquered be.
 Of Sarraguce ye'll carry him the keys,
 He'll go not hence, say, if he trusts in me."
 They answer him: "Sir, 'tis the truth you speak."
 Then says Marsile: "The Emperour, Charles the Great
 Hath slain my men and all my land laid waste,
 My cities are broken and violate;
 He lay this night upon the river Sebre;
 I've counted well, 'tis seven leagues away.
 Bid the admiral, leading his host this way,
 Do battle here; this word to him convey."
 Gives them the keys of Sarraguce her gates;
 Both messengers their leave of him do take,
 Upon that word bow down, and turn away.
 Both messengers did on their horses mount;
 From that city nimbly they issued out.
 Then, sore afraid, their admiral they sought,
 To whom the keys of Sarraguce they brought.
 Says Baligant: "Speak now; what have ye found?
 Where's Marsilies, to come to me was bound?"
 Says Clarien: "To death he's stricken down.
 That Emperour was in the pass but now;
 To France the Douce he would be homeward-bound,
 Rereward he set, to save his great honour:
 His nephew there installed, Rollanz the count,
 And Oliver; the dozen peers around;
 A thousand score of Franks in armour found.
 Marsile the king fought with them there, so proud;
 He and Rollanz upon that field did joust.
 With Durendal he dealt him such a clout
 From his body he cut the right hand down.
 His son is dead, in whom his heart was bound,
 And the barons that service to him vowed;
 Fleeing he came, he could no more hold out.
 That Emperour has chased him well enow.
 The king implores, you'll hasten with succour,
 Yields to you Spain, his kingdom and his crown."
 And Baligant begins to think, and frowns;
 Such grief he has, doth nearly him confound.
 "Sir admiral," said to him Clariens,
 "In Rencesvals was yesterday battle.
 Dead is Rollanz and that count Oliver,
 The dozen peers whom Charle so cherished,
 And of their Franks are twenty thousand dead.
 King Marsilie's of his right hand bereft,
 And the Emperour chased him enow from thence.
 Throughout this land no chevalier is left,
 But he be slain, or drowned in Sebres bed.
 By river side the Franks have pitched their tents,
 Into this land so near to us they've crept;
 But, if you will, grief shall go with them hence."
 And Baligant looked on him proudly then,
 In his courage grew joyous and content;
 From the fald-stool upon his feet he leapt,
 Then cried aloud:  "Barons, too long ye've slept;
 Forth from your ships issue, mount, canter well!
 If he flee not, that Charlemagne the eld,
 King Marsilies shall somehow be avenged;
 For his right hand I'll pay him back an head."
 Pagan Arabs out of their ships issue,
 Then mount upon their horses and their mules,
 And canter forth, (nay, what more might they do?)
 Their admiral, by whom they all were ruled,
 Called up to him Gemalfin, whom he knew:
 "I give command of all my hosts to you."
 On a brown horse mounted, as he was used,
 And in his train he took with him four dukes.
 Cantered so far, he came to Sarraguce.
 Dismounted on a floor of marble blue,
 Where four counts were, who by his stirrup stood;
 Up by the steps, the palace came into;
 To meet him there came running Bramimunde,
 Who said to him: "Accursed from the womb,
 That in such shame my sovran lord I lose!
 Fell at his feet, that admiral her took.
 In grief they came up into Marsile's room.
 King Marsilies, when he sees Baligant,
 Calls to him then two Spanish Sarazands:
 "Take me by the arms, and so lift up my back."
 One of his gloves he takes in his left hand;
 Then says Marsile: "Sire, king and admiral,
 Quittance I give you here of all my land,
 With Sarraguce, and the honour thereto hangs.
 Myself I've lost; my army, every man."
 He answers him: "Therefore the more I'm sad.
 No long discourse together may we have;
 Full well I know, Charles waits not our attack,
 I take the glove from you, in spite of that."
 He turned away in tears, such grief he had.
 Down by the steps, out of the palace ran,
 Mounted his horse, to's people gallopped back.
 Cantered so far, he came before his band;
 From hour to hour then, as he went, he sang:
 "Pagans, come on: already flee the Franks!"
 In morning time, when the dawn breaks at last,
 Awakened is that Emperour Charles.
 Saint Gabriel, who on God's part him guards,
 Raises his hand, the Sign upon him marks.
 Rises the King, his arms aside he's cast,
 The others then, through all the host, disarm.
 After they mount, by virtue canter fast
 Through those long ways, and through those roads so large;
 They go to see the marvellous damage
 In Rencesvals, there where the battle was.
 In Rencesvals is Charles entered,
 Begins to weep for those he finds there dead;
 Says to the Franks:  "My lords, restrain your steps,
 Since I myself alone should go ahead,
 For my nephew, whom I would find again.
 At Aix I was, upon the feast Noel,
 Vaunted them there my valiant chevaliers,
 Of battles great and very hot contests;
 With reason thus I heard Rollant speak then:
 He would not die in any foreign realm
 Ere he'd surpassed his peers and all his men.
 To the foes' land he would have turned his head,
 Conqueringly his gallant life he'ld end."
 Further than one a little wand could send,
 Before the rest he's on a peak mounted.
 When the Emperour went seeking his nephew,
 He found the grass, and every flower that bloomed,
 Turned scarlat, with our barons' blood imbrued;
 Pity he felt, he could but weep for rue.
 Beneath two trees he climbed the hill and looked,
 And Rollant's strokes on three terraces knew,
 On the green grass saw lying his nephew;
 `Tis nothing strange that Charles anger grew.
 Dismounted then, and went--his heart was full,
 In his two hands the count's body he took;
 With anguish keen he fell on him and swooned.
 That Emperour is from his swoon revived.
 Naimes the Duke, and the count Aceline,
 Gefrei d'Anjou and his brother Tierry,
 Take up the King, bear him beneath a pine.
 There on the ground he sees his nephew lie.
 Most sweetly then begins he to repine:
 "Rollant, my friend, may God to thee be kind!
 Never beheld any man such a knight
 So to engage and so to end a fight.
 Now my honour is turned into decline!"
 Charle swoons again, he cannot stand upright.
 Charles the King returned out of his swoon.
 Him in their hands four of his barons took,
 He looked to the earth, saw lying his nephew;
 All colourless his lusty body grew,
 He turned his eyes, were very shadowful.
 Charles complained in amity and truth:
 "Rollant, my friend, God lay thee mid the blooms
 Of Paradise, among the glorious!
 Thou cam'st to Spain in evil tide, seigneur!
 Day shall not dawn, for thee I've no dolour.
 How perishes my strength and my valour!
 None shall I have now to sustain my honour;
 I think I've not one friend neath heaven's roof,
 Kinsmen I have, but none of them's so proof."
 He tore his locks, till both his hands were full.
 Five score thousand Franks had such great dolour
 There was not one but sorely wept for rue.
 "Rollant, my friend, to France I will away;
 When at Loum, I'm in my hall again,
 Strange men will come from many far domains,
 Who'll ask me, where's that count, the Capitain;
 I'll say to them that he is dead in Spain.
 In bitter grief henceforward shall I reign,
 Day shall not dawn, I weep not nor complain.
 "Rollant, my friend, fair youth that bar'st the bell,
 When I arrive at Aix, in my Chapelle,
 Men coming there will ask what news I tell;
 I'll say to them: `Marvellous news and fell.
 My nephew's dead, who won for me such realms!'
 Against me then the Saxon will rebel,
 Hungar, Bulgar, and many hostile men,
 Romain, Puillain, all those are in Palerne,
 And in Affrike, and those in Califerne;
 Afresh then will my pain and suffrance swell.
 For who will lead my armies with such strength,
 When he is slain, that all our days us led?
 Ah!  France the Douce, now art thou deserted!
 Such grief I have that I would fain be dead."
 All his white beard he hath begun to rend,
 Tore with both hands the hair out of his head.
 Five score thousand Franks swooned on the earth and fell.
 "Rollant, my friend, God shew thee His mercy!
 In Paradise repose the soul of thee!
 Who hath thee slain, exile for France decreed.
 I'ld live no more, so bitter is my grief
 For my household, who have been slain for me.
 God grant me this, the Son of Saint Mary,
 Ere I am come to th' master-pass of Size,
 From my body my soul at length go free!
 Among their souls let mine in glory be,
 And let my flesh upon their flesh be heaped."
 Still his white beard he tears, and his eyes weep.
 Duke Naimes says: "His wrath is great indeed."
 "Sire, Emperour," Gefrei d'Anjou implored,
 "Let not your grief to such excess be wrought;
 Bid that our men through all this field be sought,
 Whom those of Spain have in the battle caught;
 In a charnel command that they be borne."
 Answered the King: "Sound then upon your horn."
 Gefreid d'Anjou upon his trumpet sounds;
 As Charles bade them, all the Franks dismount.
 All of their friends, whose bodies they have found
 To a charnel speedily the bring down.
 Bishops there are, and abbots there enow,
 Canons and monks, vicars with shaven crowns;
 Absolution in God's name they've pronounced;
 Incense and myrrh with precious gums they've ground,
 And lustily they've swung the censers round;
 With honour great they've laid them in the ground.
 They've left them there; what else might they do now?
 That Emperour sets Rollant on one side
 And Oliver, and the Archbishop Turpine;
 Their bodies bids open before his eyes.
 And all their hearts in silken veils to wind,
 And set them in coffers of marble white;
 After, they take the bodies of those knights,
 Each of the three is wrapped in a deer's hide;
 They're washen well in allspice and in wine.
 The King commands Tedbalt and Gebuin,
 Marquis Otun, Milun the count besides:
 Along the road in three wagons to drive.
 They're covered well with carpets Galazine.
 Now to be off would that Emperour Charles,
 When pagans, lo! comes surging the vanguard;
 Two messengers come from their ranks forward,
 From the admiral bring challenge to combat:
 "'Tis not yet time, proud King, that thou de-part.
 Lo, Baligant comes cantering afterward,
 Great are the hosts he leads from Arab parts;
 This day we'll see if thou hast vassalage."
 Charles the King his snowy beard has clasped,
 Remembering his sorrow and damage,
 Haughtily then his people all regards,
 In a loud voice he cries with all his heart:
 "Barons and Franks, to horse, I say, to arms!"
 First before all was armed that Emperour,
 Nimbly enough his iron sark indued,
 Laced up his helm, girt on his sword Joiuse,
 Outshone the sun that dazzling light it threw,
 Hung from his neck a shield, was of Girunde,
 And took his spear, was fashioned at Blandune.
 On his good horse then mounted, Tencendur,
 Which he had won at th'ford below Marsune
 When he flung dead Malpalin of Nerbune,
 Let go the reins, spurred him with either foot;
 Five score thousand behind him as he flew,
 Calling on God and the Apostle of Roum.
 Through all the field dismount the Frankish men,
 Five-score thousand and more, they arm themselves;
 The gear they have enhances much their strength,
 Their horses swift, their arms are fashioned well;
 Mounted they are, and fight with great science.
 Find they that host, battle they'll render them.
 Their gonfalons flutter above their helms.
 When Charles sees the fair aspect of them,
 He calls to him Jozeran of Provence,
 Naimon the Duke, with Antelme of Maience:
 "In such vassals should man have confidence,
 Whom not to trust were surely want of sense;
 Unless the Arabs of coming here repent,
 Then Rollant's life, I think, we'll dearly sell."
 Answers Duke Neimes: "God grant us his consent!"
 Charles hath called Rabel and Guineman;
 Thus said the King: "My lords, you I command
 To take their place, Olivier and Rollant,
 One bear the sword and the other the olifant;
 So canter forth ahead, before the van,
 And in your train take fifteen thousand Franks,
 Young bachelors, that are most valiant.
 As many more shall after them advance,
 Whom Gebuins shall lead, also Lorains."
 Naimes the Duke and the count Jozerans
 Go to adjust these columns in their ranks.
 Find they that host, they'll make a grand attack.
 Of Franks the first columns made ready there,
 After those two a third they next prepare;
 In it are set the vassals of Baiviere,
 Some thousand score high-prized chevaliers;
 Never was lost the battle, where they were:
 Charles for no race neath heaven hath more care,
 Save those of France, who realms for him conquered.
 The Danish chief, the warrior count Oger,
 Shall lead that troop, for haughty is their air.
 Three columns now, he has, the Emperour Charles.
 Naimes the Duke a fourth next sets apart
 Of good barons, endowed with vassalage;
 Germans they are, come from the German March,
 A thousand score, as all said afterward;
 They're well equipped with horses and with arms,
 Rather they'll die than from the battle pass;
 They shall be led by Hermans, Duke of Trace,
 Who'll die before he's any way coward.
 Naimes the Duke and the count Jozerans
 The fifth column have mustered, of Normans,
 A thousand score, or so say all the Franks;
 Well armed are they, their horses charge and prance;
 Rather they'ld die, than eer be recreant;
 No race neath heav'n can more in th'field compass.
 Richard the old, lead them in th'field he shall,
 He'll strike hard there with his good trenchant lance.
 The sixth column is mustered of Bretons;
 Thirty thousand chevaliers therein come;
 These canter in the manner of barons,
 Upright their spears, their ensigns fastened on.
 The overlord of them is named Oedon,
 Who doth command the county Nevelon,
 Tedbald of Reims and the marquis Oton:
 "Lead ye my men, by my commission."
 That Emperour hath now six columns yare
 Naimes the Duke the seventh next prepares
 Of Peitevins and barons from Alverne;
 Forty thousand chevaliers might be there;
 Their horses good, their arms are all most fair.
 They're neath a cliff, in a vale by themselves;
 With his right hand King Charles hath them blessed,
 Them Jozerans shall lead, also Godselmes.
 And the eighth column hath Naimes made ready;
  Tis of Flamengs, and barons out of Frise;
 Forty thousand and more good knights are these,
 Nor lost by them has any battle been.
 And the King says: "These shall do my service."
 Between Rembalt and Hamon of Galice
 Shall they be led, for all their chivalry.
 Between Naimon and Jozeran the count
 Are prudent men for the ninth column found,
 Of Lotherengs and those out of Borgoune;
 Fifty thousand good knights they are, by count;
 In helmets laced and sarks of iron brown,
 Strong are their spears, short are the shafts cut down;
 If the Arrabits demur not, but come out
 And trust themselves to these, they'll strike them down.
 Tierris the Duke shall lead them, of Argoune.
 The tenth column is of barons of France,
 Five score thousand of our best capitans;
 Lusty of limb, and proud of countenance,
 Snowy their heads are, and their beards are blanched,
 In doubled sarks, and in hauberks they're clad,
 Girt on their sides Frankish and Spanish brands
 And noble shields of divers cognisance.
 Soon as they mount, the battle they demand,
 "Monjoie" they cry.  With them goes Charlemagne.
 Gefreid d'Anjou carries that oriflamme;
 Saint Peter's  twas, and bare the name Roman,
 But on that day Monjoie, by change, it gat.
 That Emperour down from his horse descends;
 To the green grass, kneeling, his face he bends.
 Then turns his eyes towards the Orient,
 Calls upon God with heartiest intent:
 "Very Father, this day do me defend,
 Who to Jonas succour didst truly send
 Out of the whale's belly, where he was pent;
 And who didst spare the king of Niniven,
 And Daniel from marvellous torment
 When he was caged within the lions' den;
 And three children, all in a fire ardent:
 Thy gracious Love to me be here present.
 In Thy Mercy, if it please Thee, consent
 That my nephew Rollant I may avenge.
 When he had prayed, upon his feet he stepped,
 With the strong mark of virtue signed his head;
 Upon his swift charger the King mounted
 While Jozerans and Neimes his stirrup held;
 He took his shield, his trenchant spear he kept;
 Fine limbs he had, both gallant and well set;
 Clear was his face and filled with good intent.
 Vigorously he cantered onward thence.
 In front, in rear, they sounded their trumpets,
 Above them all boomed the olifant again.
 Then all the Franks for pity of Rollant wept.
 That Emperour canters in noble array,
 Over his sark all of his beard displays;
 For love of him, all others do the same,
 Five score thousand Franks are thereby made plain.
 They pass those peaks, those rocks and those mountains,
 Those terrible narrows, and those deep vales,
 Then issue from the passes and the wastes
 Till they are come into the March of Spain;
 A halt they've made, in th'middle of a plain.
 To Baligant his vanguard comes again
 A Sulian hath told him his message:
 "We have seen Charles, that haughty sovereign;
 Fierce are his men, they have no mind to fail.
 Arm yourself then: Battle you'll have to-day."
 Says Baligant: "Mine is great vassalage;
 Let horns this news to my pagans proclaim."
 Through all the host they have their drums sounded,
 And their bugles, and, very clear trumpets.
 Pagans dismount, that they may arm themselves.
 Their admiral will stay no longer then;
 Puts on a sark, embroidered in the hems,
 Laces his helm, that is with gold begemmed;
 After, his sword on his left side he's set,
 Out of his pride a name for it he's spelt
 Like to Carlun's, as he has heard it said,
 So Preciuse he bad his own be clept;
 Twas their ensign when they to battle went,
 His chevaliers'; he gave that cry to them.
 His own broad shield he hangs upon his neck,
 (Round its gold boss a band of crystal went,
 The strap of it was a good silken web;)
 He grasps his spear, the which he calls Maltet;--
 So great its shaft as is a stout cudgel,
 Beneath its steel alone, a mule had bent;
 On his charger is Baligant mounted,
 Marcules, from over seas, his stirrup held.
 That warrior, with a great stride he stepped,
 Small were his thighs, his ribs of wide extent,
 Great was his breast, and finely fashioned,
 With shoulders broad and very clear aspect;
 Proud was his face, his hair was ringleted,
 White as a flow'r in summer was his head.
 His vassalage had often been proved.
 God! what a knight, were he a Christian yet!
 His horse he's spurred, the clear blood issued;
 He's gallopped on, over a ditch he's leapt,
 Full fifty feet a man might mark its breadth.
 Pagans cry out: "Our Marches shall be held;
 There is no Frank, may once with him contest,
 Will he or nill, his life he'll soon have spent.
 Charles is mad, that he departs not hence."
 That admiral to a baron's like enough,
 White is his beard as flowers by summer burnt;
 In his own laws, of wisdom hath he much;
 And in battle he's proud and arduous.
 His son Malprimes is very chivalrous,
 He's great and strong;--his ancestors were thus.
 Says to his sire: "To canter then let us!
 I marvel much that soon we'll see Carlun."
 Says Baligant: "Yea, for he's very pruff;
 In many tales honour to him is done;
 He hath no more Rollant, his sister's son,
 He'll have no strength to stay in fight with us."
 "Fair son Malprimes," then says t'him Baligant,
 "Was slain yestreen the good vassal Rollanz,
 And Oliver, the proof and valiant,
 The dozen peers, whom Charles so cherished, and
 Twenty thousand more Frankish combatants.
 For all the rest I'ld not unglove my hand.
 But the Emperour is verily come back,
 --So tells me now my man, that Sulian--
 Ten great columns he's set them in their ranks;
 He's a proof man who sounds that olifant,
 With a clear call he rallies his comrades;
 These at the head come cantering in advance,
 Also with them are fifteen thousand Franks,
 Young bachelors, whom Charles calls Infants;
 As many again come following that band,
 Who will lay on with utmost arrogance."
 Then says Malprimes: "The first blow I demand."
 "Fair son Malprimes," says Baligant to him,
 "I grant it you, as you have asked me this;
 Against the Franks go now, and smite them quick.
 And take with you Torleu, the Persian king
 And Dapamort, another king Leutish.
 Their arrogance if you can humble it,
 Of my domains a slice to you I'll give
 From Cheriant unto the Vale Marquis."
 "I thank you, Sire!"  Malprimes answers him;
 Going before, he takes delivery;
 'Tis of that land, was held by king Flurit.
 After that hour he never looked on it,
 Investiture gat never, nor seizin.
 That admiral canters among his hosts;
 After, his son with's great body follows,
 Torleus the king, and the king Dapamort;
 Thirty columns most speedily they form.
 They've chevaliers in marvellous great force;
 Fifty thousand the smallest column holds.
 The first is raised of men from Butenrot,
 The next, after, Micenes, whose heads are gross;
 Along their backs, above their spinal bones,
 As they were hogs, great bristles on them grow.
 The third is raised from Nubles and from Blos;
 The fourth is raised from Bruns and Esclavoz;
 The fifth is raised from Sorbres and from Sorz;
 The sixth is raised from Ermines and from Mors;
 The seventh is the men of Jericho;
 Negroes are the eighth; the ninth are men of Gros;
 The tenth is raised from Balide the stronghold,
 That is a tribe no goodwill ever shews.
 That admiral hath sworn, the way he knows,
 By Mahumet, his virtues and his bones:
 "Charles of France is mad to canter so;
 Battle he'll have, unless he take him home;
 No more he'll wear on's head that crown of gold."
 Ten great columns they marshal thereafter;
 Of Canelious, right ugly, is the first,
 Who from Val-Fuit came across country there;
 The next's of Turks; of Persians is the third;
 The fourth is raised of desperate Pinceners,
 The fifth is raised from Soltras and Avers;
 The sixth is from Ormaleus and Eugez;
 The seventh is the tribe of Samuel;
 The eighth is from Bruise; the ninth from Esclavers;
 The tenth is from Occiant, the desert,
 That is a tribe, do not the Lord God serve,
 Of such felons you never else have heard;
 Hard is their hide, as though it iron were,
 Wherefore of helm or hauberk they've no care;
 In the battle they're felon murderers.
 That admiral ten columns more reviews;
 The first is raised of Giants from Malpruse;
 The next of Huns; the third a Hungar crew;
 And from Baldise the Long the fourth have trooped;
 The fifth is raised of men from Val-Penuse;
 The sixth is raised of tribesmen from Maruse;
 The seventh is from Leus and Astrimunes;
 The eighth from Argoilles; the ninth is from Clarbune;
 The tenth is raised of beardsmen from Val-Frunde,
 That is a tribe, no love of God e'er knew.
 Gesta Francor' these thirty columns prove.
 Great are the hosts, their horns come sounding through.
 Pagans canter as men of valour should.
 That admiral hath great possessions;
 He makes them bear before him his dragon,
 And their standard, Tervagan's and Mahom's,
 And his image, Apollin the felon.
 Ten Canelious canter in the environs,
 And very loud the cry out this sermon:
 "Let who would from our gods have garrison,
 Serve them and pray with great affliction."
 Pagans awhile their heads and faces on
 Their breasts abase, their polished helmets doff.
 And the Franks say: "Now shall you die, gluttons;
 This day shall bring you vile confusion!
 Give warranty, our God, unto Carlon!
 And in his name this victory be won!"
 That admiral hath wisdom great indeed;
 His son to him and those two kings calls he:
 My lords barons, beforehand canter ye,
 All my columns together shall you lead;
 But of the best I'll keep beside me three:
 One is of Turks; the next of Ormaleis;
 And the third is the Giants of Malpreis.
 And Occiant's, they'll also stay with me,
 Until with Charles and with the Franks they meet.
 That Emperour, if he combat with me,
 Must lose his head, cut from his shoulders clean;
 He may be sure naught else for him's decreed.
 Great are the hosts, and all the columns fair,
 No peak nor vale nor cliff between them there,
 Thicket nor wood, nor ambush anywhere;
 Across the plain they see each other well.
 Says Baligant: "My pagan tribes adverse,
 Battle to seek, canter ye now ahead!"
 Carries the ensign Amboires of Oluferne;
 Pagans cry out, by Preciuse they swear.
 And the Franks say: "Great hurt this day you'll get!"
 And very loud "Monjoie!" they cry again.
 That Emperour has bid them sound trumpets;
 And the olifant sounds over all its knell.
 The pagans say: "Carlun's people are fair.
 Battle we'll have, bitter and keenly set."
 Great is that plain, and wide is that country;
 Their helmets shine with golden jewellery,
 Also their sarks embroidered and their shields,
 And the ensigns fixed on all their burnished spears.
 The trumpets sound, their voice is very clear,
 And the olifant its echoing music speaks.
 Then the admiral, his brother calleth he,
 'Tis Canabeus, the king of Floredee,
 Who holds the land unto the Vale Sevree;
 He's shewn to him Carlun's ten companies:
 "The pride of France, renowned land, you see.
 That Emperour canters right haughtily,
 His bearded men are with him in the rear;
 Over their sarks they have thrown out their beards
 Which are as white as driven snows that freeze.
 Strike us they will with lances and with spears:
 Battle with them we'll have, prolonged and keen;
 Never has man beheld such armies meet."
 Further than one might cast a rod that's peeled
 Goes Baligant before his companies.
 His reason then he's shewn to them, and speaks:
 "Pagans, come on; for now I take the field."
 His spear in hand he brandishes and wields,
 Towards Carlun has turned the point of steel.
 Charles the Great, when he sees the admiral
 And the dragon, his ensign and standard;--
 (In such great strength are mustered those Arabs
 Of that country they've covered every part
 Save only that whereon the Emperour was.)
 The King of France in a loud voice has called:
 "Barons and Franks, good vassals are ye all,
 Ye in the field have fought so great combats;
 See the pagans; they're felons and cowards,
 No pennyworth is there in all their laws.
 Though they've great hosts, my lords, what matters that?
 Let him go hence, who'ld fail me in the attack."
 Next with both spurs he's gored his horse's flanks,
 And Tencendor has made four bounds thereat.
 Then say the Franks: "This King's a good vassal.
 Canter, brave lord, for none of us holds back."
 Clear is the day, and the sun radiant;
 The hosts are fair, the companies are grand.
 The first columns are come now hand to hand.
 The count Rabel and the count Guinemans
 Let fall the reins on their swift horses' backs,
 Spurring in haste; then on rush all the Franks,
 And go to strike, each with his trenchant lance.
 That count Rabel, he was a hardy knight,
 He pricked his horse with spurs of gold so fine,
 The Persian king, Torleu, he went to strike.
 Nor shield nor sark could such a blow abide;
 The golden spear his carcass passed inside;
 Flung down upon a little bush, he died.
 Then say the Franks: "Lord God, be Thou our Guide!
 Charles we must not fail; his cause is right."
 And Guineman tilts with the king Leutice;
 Has broken all the flowers on his shield,
 Next of his sark he has undone the seam,
 All his ensign thrust through the carcass clean,
 So flings him dead, let any laugh or weep.
 Upon that blow, the Franks cry out with heat:
 "Strike on, baron, nor slacken in your speed!
 Charle's in the right against the pagan breed;
 God sent us here his justice to complete."
 Pure white the horse whereon Malprimes sate;
 Guided his corse amid the press of Franks,
 Hour in, hour out, great blows he struck them back,
 And, ever, dead one upon others packed.
 Before them all has cried out Baligant:
 "Barons, long time I've fed you at my hand.
 Ye see my son, who goes on Carlun's track,
 And with his arms so many lords attacks;
 Better vassal than him I'll not demand.
 Go, succour him, each with his trenchant lance!"
 Upon that word the pagans all advance;
 Grim blows they strike, the slaughter's very grand.
 And marvellous and weighty the combat:
 Before nor since was never such attack.
 Great are the hosts; the companies in pride
 Come touching, all the breadth of either side;
 And the pagans do marvellously strike.
 So many shafts, by God! in pieces lie
 And crumpled shields, and sarks with mail untwined!
 So spattered all the earth there would you find
 That through the field the grass so green and fine
 With men's life-blood is all vermilion dyed.
 That admiral rallies once more his tribe:
 "Barons, strike on, shatter the Christian line."
 Now very keen and lasting is the fight,
 As never was, before or since that time;
 The finish none shall reach, unless he die.
 That admiral to all his race appeals:
 "Pagans, strike on; came you not therefore here?
 I promise you noble women and dear,
 I promise you honours and lands and fiefs."
 Answer pagans: "We must do well indeed."
 With mighty blows they shatter all their spears;
 Five score thousand swords from their scabbards leap,
 Slaughter then, grim and sorrowful, you'd seen.
 Battle he saw, that stood those hosts between.
 That Emperour calls on his Franks and speaks:
 "I love you, lords, in whom I well believe;
 So many great battles you've fought for me,
 Kings overthrown, and kingdoms have redeemed!
 Guerdon I owe, I know it well indeed;
 My lands, my wealth, my body are yours to keep.
 For sons, for heirs, for brothers wreak
 Who in Rencesvals were slaughtered yester-eve!
 Mine is the right, ye know, gainst pagan breeds."
 Answer the Franks: "Sire, 'tis the truth you speak."
 Twenty thousand beside him Charles leads,
 Who with one voice have sworn him fealty;
 In straits of death they never will him leave.
 There is not one thenceforth employs his spear,
 But with their swords they strike in company.
 The battle is straitened marvellously.
 Across that field the bold Malprimes canters;
 Who of the Franks hath wrought there much great damage.
 Naimes the Duke right haughtily regards him,
 And goes to strike him, like a man of valour,
 And of his shield breaks all the upper margin,
 Tears both the sides of his embroidered ha'berk,
 Through the carcass thrusts all his yellow banner;
 So dead among sev'n hundred else he casts him.
 King Canabeus, brother of the admiral,
 Has pricked his horse with spurs in either flank;
 He's drawn his sword, whose hilt is of crystal,
 And strikes Naimun on's helmet principal;
 Away from it he's broken off one half,
 Five of the links his brand of steel hath knapped;
 No pennyworth the hood is after that;
 Right to the flesh he slices through the cap;
 One piece of it he's flung upon the land.
 Great was the blow; the Duke, amazed thereat,
 Had fallen ev'n, but aid from God he had;
 His charger's neck he clasped with both his hands.
 Had the pagan but once renewed the attack,
 Then was he slain, that noble old vassal.
 Came there to him, with succour, Charles of France.
 Keen anguish then he suffers, that Duke Naimes,
 And the pagan, to strike him, hotly hastens.
 "Culvert," says Charles, "You'll get now as you gave him!"
 With vassalage he goes to strike that pagan,
 Shatters his shield, against his heart he breaks it,
 Tears the chin-guard above his hauberk mailed;
 So flings him dead: his saddle shall be wasted.
 Bitter great grief has Charlemagne the King,
 Who Duke Naimun before him sees lying,
 On the green grass all his clear blood shedding.
 Then the Emperour to him this counsel gives:
 "Fair master Naimes, canter with me to win!
 The glutton's dead, that had you straitly pinned;
 Through his carcass my spear I thrust once in."
 Answers the Duke: "Sire, I believe it, this.
 Great proof you'll have of valour, if I live."
 They 'ngage them then, true love and faith swearing;
 A thousand score of Franks surround them still.
 Nor is there one, but slaughters, strikes and kills.
 Then through the field cantered that admiral,
 Going to strike the county Guineman;
 Against his heart his argent shield he cracked,
 The folds of his hauberk apart he slashed,
 Two of his ribs out of his side he hacked,
 So flung him dead, while still his charger ran.
 After, he slew Gebuin and Lorain,
 Richard the old, the lord of those Normans.
 "Preciuse," cry pagans, "is valiant!
 Baron, strike on; here have we our warrant!"
 Who then had seen those Arrabit chevaliers,
 From Occiant, from Argoille and from Bascle!
 And well they strike and slaughter with their lances;
 But Franks, to escape they think it no great matter;
 On either side dead men to the earth fall crashing.
 Till even-tide 'tis very strong, that battle;
 Barons of France do suffer much great damage,
 Grief shall be there ere the two hosts be scattered.
 Right well they strike, both Franks and Arrabies,
 Breaking the shafts of all their burnished spears.
 Whoso had seen that shattering of shields,
 Whoso had heard those shining hauberks creak,
 And heard those shields on iron helmets beat,
 Whoso had seen fall down those chevaliers,
 And heard men groan, dying upon that field,
 Some memory of bitter pains might keep.
 That battle is most hard to endure, indeed.
 And the admiral calls upon Apollin
 And Tervagan and Mahum, prays and speaks:
 "My lords and gods, I've done you much service;
 Your images, in gold I'll fashion each;
 Against Carlun give me your warranty!"
 Comes before him his dear friend Gemalfin,
 Evil the news he brings to him and speaks:
 "Sir Baliganz, this day in shame you're steeped;
 For you have lost your son, even Malprime;
 And Canabeus, your brother, slain is he.
 Fairly two Franks have got the victory;
 That Emperour was one, as I have seen;
 Great limbs he has, he's every way Marquis,
 White is his beard as flowers in April."
 That admiral has bent his head down deep,
 And thereafter lowers his face and weeps,
 Fain would he die at once, so great his grief;
 He calls to him Jangleu from over sea.
 Says the admiral, "Jangleu, beside me stand!
 For you are proof, and greatly understand,
 Counsel from you I've ever sought to have.
 How seems it you, of Arrabits and Franks,
 Shall we from hence victorious go back?"
 He answers him: "Slain are you, Baligant!
 For from your gods you'll never have warrant.
 So proud is Charles, his men so valiant,
 Never saw I a race so combatant.
 But call upon barons of Occiant,
 Turks and Enfruns, Arrabits and Giants.
 No more delay: what must be, take in hand."
 That admiral has shaken out his beard
 That ev'n so white as thorn in blossom seems;
 He'll no way hide, whateer his fate may be,
 Then to his mouth he sets a trumpet clear,
 And clearly sounds, so all the pagans hear.
 Throughout the field rally his companies.
 From Occiant, those men who bray and bleat,
 And from Argoille, who, like dogs barking, speak;
 Seek out the Franks with such a high folly,
 Break through their line, the thickest press they meet
 Dead from that shock they've seven thousand heaped.
 The count Oger no cowardice e'er knew,
 Better vassal hath not his sark indued.
 He sees the Franks, their columns broken through,
 So calls to him Duke Tierris, of Argune,
 Count Jozeran, and Gefreid, of Anjou;
 And to Carlun most proud his reason proves:
 "Behold pagans, and how your men they slew!
 Now from your head please God the crown remove
 Unless you strike, and vengeance on them do!"
 And not one word to answer him he knew;
 They spurred in haste, their horses let run loose,
 And, wheresoeer they met the pagans, strook.
 Now very well strikes the King Charlemagne,
 Naimes the Duke, also Oger the Dane,
 Geifreid d'Anjou, who that ensign displays.
 Exceeding proof is Don Oger, the Dane;
 He spurs his horse, and lets him run in haste,
 So strikes that man who the dragon displays.
 Both in the field before his feet he breaks
 That king's ensign and dragon, both abased.
 Baligant sees his gonfalon disgraced,
 And Mahumet's standard thrown from its place;
 That admiral at once perceives it plain,
 That he is wrong, and right is Charlemain.
 Pagan Arabs coyly themselves contain;
 That Emperour calls on his Franks again:
 "Say, barons, come, support me, in God's Name!"
 Answer the Franks, "Question you make in vain;
 All felon he that dares not exploits brave!"
 Passes that day, turns into vesper-tide.
 Franks and pagans still with their swords do strike.
 Brave vassals they, who brought those hosts to fight,
 Never have they forgotten their ensigns;
 That admiral still "Preciuse" doth cry,
 Charles "Monjoie," renowned word of pride.
 Each the other knows by his clear voice and high;
 Amid the field they're both come into sight,
 Then, as they go, great blows on either side
 They with their spears on their round targes strike;
 And shatter them, beneath their buckles wide;
 And all the folds of their hauberks divide;
 But bodies, no; wound them they never might.
 Broken their girths, downwards their saddles slide;
 Both those Kings fall, themselves aground do find;
 Nimbly enough upon their feet they rise;
 Most vassal-like they draw their swords outright.
 From this battle they'll ne'er be turned aside
 Nor make an end, without that one man die.
 A great vassal was Charles, of France the Douce;
 That admiral no fear nor caution knew.
 Those swords they had, bare from their sheaths they drew;
 Many great blows on 's shield each gave and took;
 The leather pierced, and doubled core of wood;
 Down fell the nails, the buckles brake in two;
 Still they struck on, bare in their sarks they stood.
 From their bright helms the light shone forth anew.
 Finish nor fail that battle never could
 But one of them must in the wrong be proved.
 Says the admiral: "Nay, Charles, think, I beg,
 And counsel take that t'wards me thou repent!
 Thou'st slain my son, I know that very well;
 Most wrongfully my land thou challengest;
 Become my man, a fief from me thou'lt get;
 Come, serving me, from here to the Orient!"
 Charle answers him: "That were most vile offence;
 No peace nor love may I to pagan lend.
 Receive the Law that God to us presents,
 Christianity, and then I'll love thee well;
 Serve and believe the King Omnipotent!"
 Says Baligant: "Evil sermon thou saist."
 They go to strikewith th'swords, are on their belts.
 In the admiral is much great virtue found;
 He strikes Carlun on his steel helm so brown,
 Has broken it and rent, above his brow,
 Through his thick hair the sword goes glancing round,
 A great palm's breadth and more of flesh cuts out,
 So that all bare the bone is, in that wound.
 Charles tottereth, falls nearly to the ground;
 God wills not he be slain or overpow'red.
 Saint Gabriel once more to him comes down,
 And questions him "Great King, what doest thou?"
 Charles, hearing how that holy Angel spake,
 Had fear of death no longer, nor dismay;
 Remembrance and a fresh vigour he's gained.
 So the admiral he strikes with France's blade,
 His helmet breaks, whereon the jewels blaze,
 Slices his head, to scatter all his brains,
 And, down unto the white beard, all his face;
 So he falls dead, recovers not again.
 "Monjoie," cries Charles, that all may know the tale.
 Upon that word is come to him Duke Naimes,
 Holds Tencendur, bids mount that King so Great.
 Pagans turn back, God wills not they remain.
 And Franks have all their wish, be that what may.
 Pagans are fled, ev'n as the Lord God wills;
 Chase them the Franks, and the Emperour therewith.
 Says the King then: "My Lords, avenge your ills,
 Unto your hearts' content, do what you will!
 For tears, this morn, I saw your eyes did spill."
 Answer the Franks: "Sir, even so we will."
 Then such great blows, as each may strike, he gives
 That few escape, of those remain there still.
 Great was the heat, the dust arose and blew;
 Still pagans fled, and hotly Franks pursued.
 The chase endured from there to Sarraguce.
 On her tower, high up clomb Bramimunde,
 Around her there the clerks and canons stood
 Of the false law, whom God ne'er loved nor knew;
 Orders they'd none, nor were their heads tonsured.
 And when she saw those Arrabits confused
 Aloud she cried: "Give us your aid, Mahume!
 Ah!  Noble king, conquered are all our troops,
 And the admiral to shameful slaughter put!"
 When Marsile heard, towards the wall he looked,
 Wept from his eyes, and all his body stooped,
 So died of grief.  With sins he's so corrupt;
 The soul of him to Hell live devils took.
 Pagans are slain; the rest are put to rout
 Whom Charles hath in battle overpowered.
 Of Sarraguce the gates he's battered down,
 For well he knows there's no defence there now;
 In come his men, he occupies that town;
 And all that night they lie there in their pow'r.
 Fierce is that King, with 's hoary beard, and proud,
 And Bramimunde hath yielded up her towers;
 But ten ere great, and lesser fifty around.
 Great exploits his whom the Lord God endows!
 Passes the day, the darkness is grown deep,
 But all the stars burn, and the moon shines clear.
 And Sarraguce is in the Emperour's keep.
 A thousand Franks he bids seek through the streets,
 The synagogues and the mahumeries;
 With iron malls and axes which they wield
 They break the idols and all the imageries;
 So there remain no fraud nor falsity.
 That King fears God, and would do His service,
 On water then Bishops their blessing speak,
 And pagans bring into the baptistry.
 If any Charles with contradiction meet
 Then hanged or burned or slaughtered shall he be.
 Five score thousand and more are thus redeemed,
 Very Christians; save that alone the queen
 To France the Douce goes in captivity;
 By love the King will her conversion seek.
 Passes the night, the clear day opens now.
 Of Sarraguce Charles garrisons the tow'rs;
 A thousand knights he's left there, fighters stout;
 Who guard that town as bids their Emperour.
 After, the King and all his army mount,
 And Bramimunde a prisoner is bound,
 No harm to her, but only good he's vowed.
 So are they come, with joy and gladness out,
 They pass Nerbone by force and by vigour,
 Come to Burdele, that city of high valour.
 Above the altar, to Saint Sevrin endowed,
 Stands the olifant, with golden pieces bound;
 All the pilgrims may see it, who thither crowd.
 Passing Girunde in great ships, there abound,
 Ev'n unto Blaive he's brought his nephew down
 And Oliver, his noble companioun,
 And the Archbishop, who was so wise and proud.
 In white coffers he bids them lay those counts
 At Saint Romain: So rest they in that ground.
 Franks them to God and to His Angels vow.
 Charles canters on, by valleys and by mounts,
 Not before Aix will he not make sojourn;
 Canters so far, on th'terrace he dismounts.
 When he is come into his lofty house,
 By messengers he seeks his judges out;
 Saxons, Baivers, Lotherencs and Frisouns,
 Germans he calls, and also calls Borgounds;
 From Normandy, from Brittany and Poitou,
 And those in France that are the sagest found.
 Thereon begins the cause of Gueneloun.
 That Emperour, returning out of Spain,
 Arrived in France, in his chief seat, at Aix,
 Clomb to th' Palace, into the hall he came.
 Was come to him there Alde, that fair dame;
 Said to the King: "Where's Rollanz the Captain,
 Who sware to me, he'ld have me for his mate?"
 Then upon Charles a heavy sorrow weighed,
 And his eyes wept, he tore his beard again:
 "Sister, dear friend, of a dead man you spake.
 I'll give you one far better in exchange,
 That is Loewis, what further can I say;
 He is my son, and shall my marches take."
 Alde answered him: "That word to me is strange.
 Never, please God, His Angels and His Saints,
 When Rollant's dead shall I alive remain!"
 Her colour fails, at th' feet of Charlemain,
 She falls; she's dead.  Her soul God's Mercy awaits!
 Barons of France weep therefore and complain.
 Alde the fair is gone now to her rest.
 Yet the King thought she was but swooning then,
 Pity he had, our Emperour, and wept,
 Took her in's hands, raised her from th'earth again;
 On her shoulders her head still drooped and leant.
 When Charles saw that she was truly dead
 Four countesses at once he summoned;
 To a monast'ry of nuns they bare her thence,
 All night their watch until the dawn they held;
 Before the altar her tomb was fashioned well;
 Her memory the King with honour kept.
 That Emperour is now returned to Aix.
 The felon Guene, all in his iron chains
 Is in that town, before the King's Palace;
 Those serfs have bound him, fast upon his stake,
 In deer-hide thongs his hands they've helpless made,
 With clubs and whips they trounce him well and baste:
 He has deserved not any better fate;
 In bitter grief his trial there he awaits.
 Written it is, and in an ancient geste
 How Charles called from many lands his men,
 Assembled them at Aix, in his Chapelle.
 Holy that day, for some chief feast was held,
 Saint Silvester's that baron's, many tell.
 Thereon began the trial and defence
 Of Guenelun, who had the treason spelt.
 Before himself the Emperour has him led.
 "Lords and barons," Charles the King doth speak,
 "Of Guenelun judge what the right may be!
 He was in th'host, even in Spain with me;
 There of my Franks a thousand score did steal,
 And my nephew, whom never more you'll see,
 And Oliver, in 's pride and courtesy,
 And, wealth to gain, betrayed the dozen peers."
 "Felon be I," said Guenes, "aught to conceal!
 He did from me much gold and wealth forfeit,
 Whence to destroy and slay him did I seek;
 But treason, no; I vow there's not the least."
 Answer the Franks: "Take counsel now must we."
 So Guenelun, before the King there, stood;
 Lusty his limbs, his face of gentle hue;
 Were he loyal, right baron-like he'd looked.
 He saw those Franks, and all who'ld judge his doom,
 And by his side his thirty kinsmen knew.
 After, he cried aloud; his voice was full:
 "For th' Love of God, listen to me, baruns!
 I was in th' host, beside our Emperour,
 Service I did him there in faith and truth.
 Hatred of me had Rollant, his nephew;
 So he decreed death for me and dolour.
 Message I bare to king Marsiliun;
 By my cunning I held myself secure.
 To that fighter Rollant my challenge threw,
 To Oliver, and all their comrades too;
 Charles heard that, and his noble baruns.
 Vengeance I gat, but there's no treason proved."
 Answered the Franks: "Now go we to the moot.
 When Guenes sees, his great cause is beginning,
 Thirty he has around him of his kinsmen,
 There's one of them to whom the others listen,
 'Tis Pinabel, who in Sorence castle liveth;
 Well can he speak, soundly his reasons giving,
 A good vassal, whose arm to fight is stiffened.
 Says to him Guenes: "In you my faith is fixed.
 Save me this day from death, also from prison."
 Says Pinabel: "Straightway you'll be delivered.
 Is there one Frank, that you to hang committeth?
 Let the Emperour but once together bring us,
 With my steel brand he shall be smartly chidden."
 Guenes the count kneels at his feet to kiss them.
 To th' counsel go those of Bavier and Saxe,
 Normans also, with Poitevins and Franks;
 Enough there are of Tudese and Germans.
 Those of Alverne the greatest court'sy have,
 From Pinabel most quietly draw back.
 Says each to each: "'Twere well to let it stand.
 Leave we this cause, and of the King demand
 That he cry quits with Guenes for this act;
 With love and faith he'll serve him after that.
 Since he is dead, no more ye'll see Rollanz,
 Nor any wealth nor gold may win him back.
 Most foolish then is he, would do combat."
 There is but one agrees not to their plan;
 Tierri, brother to Don Geifreit, 's that man.
 Then his barons, returning to Carlun,
 Say to their King:  "Sire, we beseech of you
 That you cry quits with county Guenelun,
 So he may serve you still in love and truth;
 Nay let him live, so noble a man 's he proved.
 Rollant is dead, no longer in our view,
 Nor for no wealth may we his life renew."
 Then says the King: "You're felons all of you!"
 When Charles saw that all of them did fail,
 Deep down he bowed his head and all his face
 For th' grief he had, caitiff himself proclaimed.
 One of his knights, Tierris, before him came,
 Gefrei's brother, that Duke of Anjou famed;
 Lean were his limbs, and lengthy and delicate,
 Black was his hair and somewhat brown his face;
 Was not too small, and yet was hardly great;
 And courteously to the Emperour he spake:
 "Fair' Lord and King, do not yourself dismay!
 You know that I have served you many ways:
 By my ancestors should I this cause maintain.
 And if Rollant was forfeited to Guenes
 Still your service to him full warrant gave.
 Felon is Guene, since th' hour that he betrayed,
 And, towards you, is perjured and ashamed:
 Wherefore I judge that he be hanged and slain,
 His carcass flung to th' dogs beside the way,
 As a felon who felony did make.
 But, has he a friend that would dispute my claim
 With this my sword which I have girt in place
 My judgement will I warrant every way."
 Answer the Franks: "Now very well you spake."
 Before the King is come now Pinabel;
 Great is he, strong, vassalous and nimble;
 Who bears his blow has no more time to dwell:
 Says to him: "Sire, on you this cause depends;
 Command therefore this noise be made an end.
 See Tierri here, who hath his judgment dealt;
 I cry him false, and will the cause contest."
 His deer-hide glove in the King's hand he's left.
 Says the Emperour: "Good pledges must I get."
 Thirty kinsmen offer their loyal pledge.
 "I'll do the same for you," the King has said;
 Until the right be shewn, bids guard them well.
 When Tierri sees that battle shall come after,
 His right hand glove he offereth to Chares.
 That Emperour by way of hostage guards it;
 Four benches then upon the place he marshals
 Where sit them down champions of either party.
 They're chos'n aright, as the others' judgement cast them;
 Oger the Dane between them made the parley.
 Next they demand their horses and their armour.
 For battle, now, ready you might them see,
 They're well confessed, absolved, from sin set free;
 Masses they've heard, Communion received,
 Rich offerings to those minsters they leave.
 Before Carlun now both the two appear:
 They have their spurs, are fastened on their feet,
 And, light and strong, their hauberks brightly gleam;
 Upon their heads they've laced their helmets clear,
 And girt on swords, with pure gold hilted each;
 And from their necks hang down their quartered shields;
 In their right hands they grasp their trenchant spears.
 At last they mount on their swift coursing steeds.
 Five score thousand chevaliers therefor weep,
 For Rollant's sake pity for Tierri feel.
 God knows full well which way the end shall be.
 Down under Aix there is a pasture large
 Which for the fight of th' two barons is marked.
 Proof men are these, and of great vassalage,
 And their horses, unwearied, gallop fast;
 They spur them well, the reins aside they cast,
 With virtue great, to strike each other, dart;
 All of their shields shatter and rend apart.
 Their hauberks tear; the girths asunder start,
 The saddles slip, and fall upon the grass.
 Five score thousand weep, who that sight regard.
 Upon the ground are fallen both the knights;
 Nimbly enough upon their feet they rise.
 Nimble and strong is Pinabels, and light.
 Each the other seeks; horses are out of mind,
 But with those swords whose hilts with gold are lined
 Upon those helms of steel they beat and strike:
 Great are the blows, those helmets to divide.
 The chevaliers of France do much repine.
 "O God!" says Charles, "Make plain to us the right!"
 Says Pinabel "Tierri, I pray thee, yield:
 I'll be thy man, in love and fealty;
 For the pleasure my wealth I'll give to thee;
 But make the King with Guenelun agree."
 Answers Tierri: "Such counsel's not for me.
 Pure felon I, if e'er I that concede!
 God shall this day the right shew, us between!"
 Then said Tierri "Bold art thou, Pinabel,
 Thou'rt great and strong, with body finely bred;
 For vassalage thy peers esteem thee well:
 Of this battle let us now make an end!
 With Charlemagne I soon will have thee friends;
 To Guenelun such justice shall be dealt
 Day shall not dawn but men of it will tell."
 "Please the Lord God, not so!" said Pinabel.
 "I would sustain the cause of my kindred
 No mortal man is there from whom I've fled;
 Rather I'ld die than hear reproaches said."
 Then with their swords began to strike again
 Upon those helms that were with gold begemmed
 Into the sky the bright sparks rained and fell.
 It cannot be that they be sundered,
 Nor make an end, without one man be dead.
 He's very proof, Pinabel of Sorence,
 Tierri he strikes, on 's helmet of Provence,
 Leaps such a spark, the grass is kindled thence;
 Of his steel brand the point he then presents,
 On Tierri's brow the helmet has he wrenched
 So down his face its broken halves descend;
 And his right cheek in flowing blood is drenched;
 And his hauberk, over his belly, rent.
 God's his warrant, Who death from him prevents.
 Sees Tierris then 'that in the face he's struck,
 On grassy field runs clear his flowing blood;
 Strikes Pinabel on 's helmet brown and rough,
 To the nose-piece he's broken it and cut,
 And from his head scatters his brains in th' dust;
 Brandishes him on th' sword, till dead he's flung.
 Upon that blow is all the battle won.
 Franks cry aloud: "God hath great virtue done.
 It is proved right that Guenelun be hung.
 And those his kin, that in his cause are come."
 Now that Tierris the battle fairly wins,
 That Emperour Charles is come to him;
 Forty barons are in his following.
 Naimes the Duke, Oger that Danish Prince,
 Geifrei d'Anjou, Willalme of Blaive therewith.
 Tierri, the King takes in his arms to kiss;
 And wipes his face with his great marten-skins;
 He lays them down, and others then they bring;
 The chevaliers most sweetly disarm him;
 An Arab mule they've brought, whereon he sits.
 With baronage and joy they bring him in.
 They come to Aix, halt and dismount therein.
 The punishment of the others then begins.
 His counts and Dukes then calls to him Carlun:
 "With these I guard, advise what shall be done.
 Hither they came because of Guenelun;
 For Pinabel, as pledges gave them up."
 Answer the Franks: "Shall not of them live one."
 The King commands his provost then, Basbrun:
 "Go hang them all on th' tree of cursed wood!
 Nay, by this beard, whose hairs are white enough,
 If one escape, to death and shame thou'rt struck!"
 He answers him: "How could I act, save thus?"
 With an hundred serjeants by force they come;
 Thirty of them there are, that straight are hung.
 Who betrays man, himself and 's friends undoes.
 Then turned away the Baivers and Germans
 And Poitevins and Bretons and Normans.
 Fore all the rest, 'twas voted by the Franks
 That Guenes die with marvellous great pangs;
 So to lead forth four stallions they bade;
 After, they bound his feet and both his hands;
 Those steeds were swift, and of a temper mad;
 Which, by their heads, led forward four sejeants
 Towards a stream that flowed amid that land.
 Sones fell Gue into perdition black;
 All his sinews were strained until they snapped,
 And all the limbs were from his body dragged.
 On the green grass his clear blood gushed and ran.
 Guenes is dead, a felon recreant.
 Who betrays man, need make no boast of that.
 When the Emperour had made his whole vengeance,
 He called to him the Bishops out of France,
 Those of Baviere and also the Germans:
 "A dame free-born lies captive in my hands,
 So oft she's heard sermons and reprimands,
 She would fear God, and christening demands.
 Baptise her then, so God her soul may have."
 They answer him: "Sponsors the rite demands,
 Dames of estate and long inheritance."
 The baths at Aix great companies attract;
 There they baptised the Queen of Sarazands,
 And found for her the name of Juliane.
 Christian is she by very cognisance.
 When the Emperour his justice hath achieved,
 His mighty wrath's abated from its heat,
 And Bramimunde has christening received;
 Passes the day, the darkness is grown deep,
 And now that King in 's vaulted chamber sleeps.
 Saint Gabriel is come from God, and speaks:
 "Summon the hosts, Charles, of thine Empire,
 Go thou by force into the land of Bire,
 King Vivien thou'lt succour there, at Imphe,
 In the city which pagans have besieged.
 The Christians there implore thee and beseech."
 Right loth to go, that Emperour was he:
 "God!" said the King: "My life is hard indeed!"
 Tears filled his eyes, he tore his snowy beard.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Song of Roland" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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