Excerpt from The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft

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Excerpt from The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft

from: The Chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft (Pp. 150 - 155)  1866

Quant els sunt en mer, tost changent corage,
Dyent k'il ne lerront, pur clerk ne pur hostage,
Ke Arthur ne destruent, e trestot son manage.
Retornent, e prenent terre, vile, e boscage,
Tote de Totenesse dekes à la grant rivage
De Saverne vers la mer: à Bha funt estage,
E tuent les waynours ke suent le waynage.
Quant Arthur l'oyt dire, fist pendre lur hostage.
Dist, "Ceus mescreans mult sunt de fauslynge;
Des covenauns me fayllent, e me font damage.
Ore, Brettons, combatez, e pernoms le vayage;
Les Saxonays sunt noz, les testes lerront pur gage."

Lors dist saint Dubrik, eveske de Karlioun,
"Ws ke estes Kristiens, escotez ma resoun;
Deu morust pur ws, combatez en son noun,
Defendez voster terre de confusioun,
Ke payen ne la gayne." Arthur e ly baroun
Resceyvent de l'eveske absolucioun.

Arthur prent l'esku, le ymage de la Marie
Purtrait fu dedenz, ke Arthur ne l'oblye.
Se ceynt ke Caleburne, la meyllur espeye
Ke unkes en Brettayne fu forgé ou furbye.
As Saxonays se mette, ke ne fuent mye,
Combatent jekes la nouyt, severé est là partye.
Les paens sur un mount sunt tuz endormye;
Arthur les survent al jour par grant vaidye,
Devotement ahoure la mere Deu, e prye
En totes ses bataylles de counsayl e aye.
Il soul of Caleburne ad mort e honye
Lxx. hommes de la renaerye.
Colegrym e Ralduf tuez sunt, e fuy
e E le duk Cordik, of sa companye.

Ben unt la victore Arthur e sa gent.
Cador de Cornewaile, par comaundement,
Vers Albanyes'en va, of Oel, privement,
Nevuz le ray Arthur, fu grevé malement;
Cordike ke fuyst assally durement
Aclude, où Oel fust, mè Cador of sa gent
Lour nefs prent of les bens, la mer lour defent.
E Cordik of sa route assalt taunt egrement,
Ke Cordik est pris, e mort par jugement,
E li remenant tuz tuez nettement.

Translation:
When they are at sea, they soon change their minds,
Say that they will not cease, for truce nor hostages,
From destroying Arthur, and all his people.
They return, and take land, town, and wood,
From Totness to the great shore
Of Severn towards the sea; at Bath they make a halt,
And slay the labourers who are following agriculture.
When Arthur heard tell of it, he causes their hostages to be hanged;
And said, "Those misbelievers are of very false lineage,
They break their covenants with me, and do me much damage.
Now, Britons, fight, and let us undertake the battle;
The Saxons are ours, they will leave their heads for pledges."

Then said St. Dubricius, bishop of Caerleon.
"You who are Christians, listen to my discourse;
God died for you, fight in his name,
Defend your land from confusion,
That a pagan may not win it." Arthur and the barons
Receive from the bishop absolution
Of sins, and go forth with his benediction.

Arthur takes the shield, the image of Mary
Was pourtrayed within it, that Arthur might not forget her.
He girds himself with Caliburn, the best sword
That ever was forged or furbished in Britain.
He attacks the Saxons, who do not fly at all,
They combat till night, when the combatants are separated.
The pagans are all gone asleep on a hill;
Arthur falls upon them at daybreak with great craft,
Devoutly he worships the mother of God, and prays
In all his battles her counsel and aid.
He alone with Caliburn has put to death and shame
Seventy men of the infidel army.
Colgrim and Baldulf are slain, and flies
The duke Cerdic with his company.

Well gained the victory have Arthur and his people.
Cador of Cornwall, by command,
Proceeds towards Albany, where Hoel, privately,
Nephew of king Arthur, was in great sickness;
Cerdic in his flight assailed hard
Alclud, where Hoel was, but Cador with his people
Takes their ships with their goods, and shuts the sea against them,
And with his forces attacks Cerdic so furiously,
That Cerdic is taken, and put to death by judgment,
And the rest all slain entirely.
Additional Information:
See The Battle of Mount Badon page.