The Siege of Milan
THE SIEGE OF MILAN: FOOTNOTES
1 It behooves him to surrender it in the morning
2 He is superior to other kings
3 He quickly had a palfrey saddled for himself
4 It seemed to him an angel as bright as lightning
5 Christ's sending you this sword / makes you his warrior here on earth; / he lets you know it well.
6 He [Ganelon] wished that he [Roland] were dead, / whoever would understand the correct explanation [of Ganelon's treason].
7 So that many were ready to be buried
8 Though he knew he would die right there
9 We believe in no other [God]
10 I saw from none of them any more power / than from some other rotten tree / [lying] on the ground, as I might walk
11 Made just as He bled (i.e., the carving depicted Christ bleeding on the Cross)
12 They caused those bold men to die
13 Thought that event wondrous
14 I wonder at your way of doing things
15 And complained to Mary continuously
16 Even if I knew [I would] be slain
17 The King bared his head by undoing his helmet
18 God grant that they may fare the worse
19 For the outrage that he committed
20 They made the bold [foe] die
21 All who would stand fast there and be [slain]
22 Men rapidly loaded those machines
23 I suppose you think my heart is faint
24 He [the King] gave him [Sir Lyonelle] his [the Duke of Burgoyne's] property in his place
THE SIEGE OF MILAN: NOTES
*A note on the text: There are places where the manuscript is illegible. Herrtage reconstructed those portions in his edition and I have generally accepted his reconstructions (which are indicated by brackets). There are some places where Herrtage apparently could make out letters that are no longer visible in the manuscript. In this case, I have left his reading on the assumption that the manuscript may have deteriorated in the intervening period.
19 Here, as often in this text, `gon' or the alternate spelling `gan' (past tense of `gin,' [`to begin']) is used as an auxiliary (like `did' in more modern times) indicating the past tense of a verb. Thus `gon he wyn' means `he conquered.'
25 Herrtage places the `r' in `ther' between brackets, but it is clearly present in the manuscript.
121 I have emended `resteyne' to `reteyne' (as the MED suggests).
168 Herrtage suggests emending `worde' to `wone' to achieve something nearer a rhyme. Mills also so emends.
169 Ganelon is the traditional traitor of the Charlemagne romances. In The Song of Roland his hatred for Roland leads him to betray Charlemagne's rear guard at Roncevalles.
315 I follow Herrtage and Mills in emending the ms. reading `age' to `elde,' which restores the rhyme.
358 I have emended `Bot' (which makes no sense here) to `By.'
364 Mills emends `thay' to `thayr.'
384-85 `Passus' and `fitt' (which is an English translation of the Latin term) refer to structural units within a poem. The divisions into passus or fitts are not regularly marked in the manuscript. At this point the manuscript reads `Prymus passus the first Fytt.' This probably marks the end of the first passus and the beginning of the second. The passus beginning at line 814 is indicated in the manuscript without a number.
395 `Mahownn' is Mohammed, whom medieval Christians believed was worshipped by the Saracens as a deity.
405 `Goddis' is the singular possessive form depending on the noun `forbode' (a forbidding or prohibition). `Goddis forbode' = `God forbid!'
408 I follow Mills in emending ms. `lawe' to `laye,' which restores the rhyme.
416a Metrically this is an extra line in the stanza. Mills sees the line as another example of the `triplets' which are used instead of couplets `quite often in the Thornton text of Isumbras' (p. 193). But the line remains an aberration in the metrical pattern of The Sege of Melayne. A `bale-fire' is a blazing pile or heap kindled to consume something.
420 `So mote I gone' is one of those near meaningless expressions often used to fill out a line in the Middle English metrical romances.
471 The reference is to the elements or four substances (earth, air, fire, and water) which were believed to make up all material things.
503 I follow Mills in emending `Eeven' to `Even.'
506 On St. Denis, see the note to Sowdone of Babylone, line 26.
516 `Prime' is the canonical hour (a fixed part of the Divine Office to be sung or recited at a specific time) for the first hour of the day (6 a.m. or sunrise).
577 Herrtage notes that `syne' must be a corrupt reading `but the true reading is not clear.' Mills emends to `fyne.' `Syne' must be a form of `son,' the unusual spelling being for the sake of rhyme. It is perfectly appropriate for Charlemagne to refer to his nephew as the son of his relative.
603 If we translate `bot' as `but' in this line, `it' must refer to the cursing of the advisor, in which case the line translates: `and undoubtedly it [cursing him] is right.' Another (though less likely) possibility is to read `bot' as a form of `boute' (meaning `about') and translate: `and nothing about it [the advice] is right.'
622 I follow Herrtage and Mills in adding `care' to this line.
704 Here and again in line 989 the phrase `under thy schelde' means something like `in battle.'
773-74 If we translate the lines literally, line 774 must be taken as an almost meaningless metrical filler. It only makes sense if we extend the meaning of `tythynges' beyond the `event' or `news' (the literal meaning) to those people who represent the new event referred to. They could come `with banners raised.'
782 Herrtage notes that `on evynhaunt' is probably `a corruption of avenaunt' (meaning `gracious' or `noble' here) which appears in different forms in lines 807 and 917. Mills emends the ms. by deleting `on.'
856 This line presents some difficulty and may be corrupt. Herrtage admits in a note `I do not exactly understand this line'; and Mills glosses it only with a question mark. As it stands it seems to suggest that the sapphire presented to the Sultan is invisible.
870 The word `lede' normally means `people'; here it must mean something like `the customs of a people.' Thus the line means: `They believed in heathen customs.'
878 `Whereals' is used here in the sense of `where.'
913-16 A `kirtle' is `a man's tunic or coat which reached to the knees'; a `corset' refers here to the `corslet' which is `a piece of defensive armor covering the body'; an `acton' is `a stuffed jacket or jerkin, at first of quilted cotton worn under the mail; also, in later times, a jacket of leather or other material plated with mail'; a `hauberk' is a coat of mail; a `jazerant' or `jesserant' is `a light coat of armor composed of splints or small plates of metal riveted to each other or to a lining of some stout material.' (Definitions are from the OED.)
935 In this line I follow Mills' reconstruction rather than Herrtage's (`For[th to Mela]yne'). The line in the manuscript clearly begins with a B.
957 The OED defines `tepet' (see under `tippet,' where this line is cited) as `camail,' which is `a piece of chain-mail armour attached to the basinet or head-piece, and protecting the neck and shoulders.'
976 A `gowere pendande' is a `pendant attached to a coat of mail' (MED).
997 `Famagose' is Famagusta on Cypress.
1163 There seems to be a connective missing at the beginning of this line (e.g., `for'). Mills translates `Because of the strength of its Saracen garrison.'
1233 In this line `baners' must refer to the men assembled around the standard or the phrase `breme als bare' would be a totally meaningless filler.
1286 Herrtage takes `gones' as an alternate form of `gomes' (men). Mills emends to `gomes.'
1289 Herrtage explains `bowes of devyce' as `cross-bows worked with a rack or winch.'
1298 The suffix `-warde' is here separated from `fro' (= `from'). Thus the line translates `And they ride away from the city.' (Compare this line to line 1310: `Frowarde the cité ride.')
1303 The word `browe' does not fit the context since the spear wounded him in the side. Perhaps the correct reading is something like `brawne.' Mills emends the word to `browne' and translates the line: `Through the tough skin and unprotected flesh.'
1304 A `schaftemonde' is `the distance from the end of the extended thumb to the opposite side of the hand, used as a measure = about 6 inches' (OED).
1388 I follow Mills in emending ms. `wills' to `wille.'
1402 The definitions of `baneret' in the MED and the OED indicate that the term is generally applied to a high order of knighthood. However, the context here makes it clear that Sir Barnarde is a standard bearer who has not yet achieved such distinction. He calls himself `over symple' to refuse the task, as some other knights have, and asks to have the order of knighthood conferred on him for agreeing to deliver the message.
1459 A `fewter' is a support for a lance on a knight's saddle.
1474 A `warden' is one in charge of a division of an army.
1536 Mills emends `mekills' to `mekille.'
1597 A `hurdas' is a temporary rampart used for assault.
The Sege of Melayne*
[Primus Passus: A Fitt]
All werthy men that luffes to here
Off chevallry that byfore us were
That doughty weren of dede,
Off Charlles of Fraunce, the heghe kinge of alle
That ofte sythes made hethyn men for to falle
That styffely satte one stede.
This geste es sothe, wittnes the buke,
The ryghte lele trouthe whoso will luke
In cronekill for to rede.
Alle Lumbardy thay made thaire mone
And saide thaire gaummes weren alle gone,
Owttrayede with hethen thede.
The Sowdane, Arabas the stronge,
Werreyde appon Crystyndome with wronge
And ceties brake he downn,
Robbyde the Romaynes of theire rent,
The Popys pousty hase he schente
And many a kynges with crownn.
In Tuskayne townnes gon he wyn
And stuffede tham wele with hethyn kyn,
This lorde of grete renownn.
And sythen to Lumbardy he wanne;
Mighte to lett hym hade no man.
Thus wynnes he many a townn.
The emagery that ther solde bee,
Bothe the Rode and the Marie free,
Brynnede tham in a fire.
And than his mawmettes he sett up there
In kirkes and abbayes that there were,
Helde tham for lordes and syre.
To Melayne sythen he tuke the waye
And wanne the cyté apon a daye,
Gaffe his men golde till hyre.
Many a martyre made he there
Off men and childire that there were
And ladyes swete of swyre.
The lorde of Melayne, Sir Alantyne,
Sawe the Crystynde putt to pyne.
Owte of the townn he flede
To a cyté that was thereby;
All nyghte he thoghte therin to ly.
He was full straytly stede.
Thay myghte it wynn with spere and schelde;
Appon the morne hym buse it yelde 1
Or laye his lyfe in wede.
Was never no knyghte putt to mare care.
Full hertly to Criste than prayes he thare
To knawe the lyfe he ledde.
The Sawdane sent hym messangers free
And bade hym torne and hethyn bee
And he solde have his awenn:
Melayne, that was the riche cité,
And alle the laundis of Lumbardye,
And to his lawe be knawenn:
`And if he ne will noghte to oure lawe be swornne,
He sall be hanged or other morne
And with wylde horse be drawen,
His wyffe and his childire three
Byfore his eghne that he myghte see
Be in sondre sawenn.'
He prayede the Sowdane than of grace
That he wolde byde a littill space
Whils one the morne at daye,
And he sall do hym for to witt
If that he wolde assent to itt
To leve apon his laye.
Bot than heves he up his handis to heven,
To Jesu Criste with mylde steven
Full hertly gane he praye.
`Lorde,' he saide, `als Thou swelte appon the Tree,
Of Thy man Thou hafe peté
And Mary mylde, that maye.
`If I solde Crystyndome forsake
And to hethyn lawe me take,
The perill mon be myn.
Bot, Lorde, als Thou lete me be borne,
Late never my sawle be forlorne
Ne dampnede to helle pyne.
Bot, Lorde, als Thou swelte on the Rode
And for mankynde schede Thi blode,
Some concelle sende Thou me--
Whethire that me es better to doo,
The hethyn lawe to torne too
Or my lyfe in lande to tyne.'
Than wente that knyghte unto bedde
For sorowe hym thoghte his hert bledde,
And appon Jesu than gan he calle.
And sone aftire that gane he falle one slepe
Als man that was wery for-wepe.
Than herde by hym on a walle
Ane angelle that unto hym gane saye,
`Rysse up, Sir Kynge, and wende thy waye,
For faire the sall byfalle
To Charles that beris the flour-delyce--
Of other kynges he berys the pryce--2
And he sall wreke thy wrethis alle.'
The angelle bade hym ryse agayne,
`And hy the faste to Charlemayne,
The crownnede Kynge of Fraunce,
And say hym God byddis that he sall go
To helpe to venge the of thy foo
Both with spere and launce.'
The Kynge was full fayne of that;
His swerde in his hande ge gatt
And therto graythely he grauntis.
He garte swythe sadyll hym a palfraye 3
And even to Fraunce he tuke the waye.
Now herkenys of this chaunce.
The same nyghte byfore the daye
Als Kyng Charls in his bedde laye
A swevn than gan he mete.
Hym thoghte ane angele lyghte als leven 4
Spake to hym with mylde steven,
That gudly hym gane grete.
That angele bytaughte hym a brande,
Gaffe hym the hiltis in his hande,
That even was handefull mete
And saide, `Criste sende the this swerde
Mase the His werryoure here in erthe--
He dose the wele to weite. 5
`He biddes thou sall reteyne it tyte
And that thou venge alle His dispyte,
For thynge that ever may bee.
And sla alle there thou sees me stryke
And sythen thou birnne up house and dyke,
For beste He traystis in thee.'
The walles abowte Melayne townne
Hym thoghte the angele dange tham downn
That closed in that cité,
Sythen alle the laundis of Lumbardy
Townnes, borows and bayli.
This was selcouthe to see.
When Charls wakenede of his dreme,
He sawe a bryghtenes of a beme
Up unto hevenwarde glyde.
Bot when he rose, the swerde he fande
That the angelle gaffe hym in his hande
Appon his bedde syde.
He schewede it thanne to his barouns alle,
And than saide his lordes bothe grete and smalle:
`The sothe is noghte to hyde;
We wote wele that Goddis will it es
That thou sall conquere of hethennesse
Countres lange and wyde.'
To mete than wente that riche kynge,
Bot sone come there newe tydynge
Als he in sete was sette.
The lorde of Melayne he sawe come in,
That was his cosyn nere of kyn,
And hym full gudely grette.
The grete lordis alle hailsede hee
And prayede tham all sesse of theire glee
And sayse to Charls withowtten lette,
`Jesu Criste hase comannde thee
To fare to the felde to feghte for mee,
My landis agayne to gette.'
He tolde tham alle at the borde and by
That the Sarasenes had wonn Lumbardy --
Thay mornede and made grete mone --
And how the angelle bade hym goo.
The Kynge tolde his sweven alsoo;
Thay accordede bothe in one.
Thane sayde the Beshope Turpyne:
`Hafe done! Late semble the folke of thyne.
Myn hede I undirtake
That Gode es grevede at the Sarasenes boste.
We salle stroye up alle theire hoste,
Those worthely men in worde.'
Bot alle that herde hym Genyenn
That was a lorde of grete renownn
And Rowlande modir hade wedde.
Thare wery hym bothe God and Sayne John!
The falseste traytoure was he one
That ever with fode was fedde.
For landis that Rowlande solde have thare
Dede fayne he wolde that he ware,
The resone ryghte who redde.6
His firste tresone now bygynnes here
That the lordis boghte sythen full dere
And to ladyse grete barett bredde.
`Sir,' he sayde, `that ware a synfull chaunce.
What solde worthe of us in Fraunce
And thou in the felde were slayne?
Thyselfe and we at home will byde
And latte Rowlande thedire ryde,
That ever to bekyre es bayne
With batelle and with brode banere.
Of his wyrchippe wolde I here,
Witt ye wele, full fayne.'
For Rowlande this resone he wroghte;
Everemore in his herte he thoghte
He solde never come agayne.
The kynge than sent a messangere
To grette lordes bothe ferre and nere
And bade tham make tham yare.
Bot the peris take a concelle newe
That made alle Fraunce ful sore to rewe
And byrdis of blyse full bare.
Thay prayede the Kynge on that tyde
That he hymselfe at home walde byde
To kepe that lande right thare,
`And sendis Rowlande to Lumbardy
With fourty thowsande chevalry
Of worthy men of were.'
Then Rowlande, thus his were than made,
Fares forthe with baners brade;
The Kynge byleves thare still
Within the cité of Paressche
For to kepe that townn of pryce
Als thay accordede till.
And if the Sowdane wane the felde
Lyghtly walde they it noghte yelde
To thay had foughtten thaire fill.
Bot be comen was the feftenede daye
Therfore myghte mornne bothe man and maye
And ladyse lyke full ill.
To Melayne even thay made tham bownn
And batelde tham thare byfore the townn,
Those knyghttis that were kene.
And into the Sowdane thay sent a knyghte
And bade hym come owte with tham to fyghte,
To witt withowtten wene.
The Sowdane grauntis wele thertill
That tornede oure gud men all to gryll
And many one mo to mene.
Than the Sarasene come owte of that cité
Forty thowsandes of chevalrye,
The beste in erthe myghte be[ne].
The forthirmaste come a Sarasene wyghte,
Sir Arabaunt of Perse he highte;
Of Gyon was he kynge.
He saide ther was na Cristyn knyghte,
Ware he never so stronge ne wyghte
To dede he [ne] solde hym dynge.
And one Sir Artaymnere of Beme
That was Sir Olyveres eme--
Byfore the stowre thay thrynge.
And even at the first countire righte
The Sarasen slewe oure Cristyn knyghte.
It was dyscomforthynge.
The lorde of Melayne to hym rade,
Sir Alantyne withowtten bade,
The Crystyn knyghte to wreke;
Bot he stroke oure Cristyn knyghte that stownde
That dede he daschede to the grounde,
Mighte no worde after speke.
Sythen afterwarde he bare down
Worthy lordes of grete renownn,
Ay to his launce gane breke.
And sythen areste thaire nobill stedis
And to the hethyn hoste tham ledis.
Loo thus-gates fares the freke.
Bot by that was done the grete gon mete,
Barouns undir blonkes fete
Braythely ware borne doun.
Thay stekede many a staleworthe knyghte;
The hethen folke in that fyghte
The moste were of renownn.
Oure knyghtis one the gronde lyse
With wondes wyde one wafull wyse:
Crakkede was many a crownn;
Riche hawberkes were all to-rent,
And beryns thorowe thaire scheldis schent
That many to bery was bownn. 7
The Sarasens semblede so sarely
That thay felde faste of oure chevalrye;
Oure vawarde down thay dynge.
Righte at the firste frusche thay felde
Fyve thowsande knyghtis trewly telde--
This is no lesynge.
Oure knyghtis lyghtede one the bent;
Thorowe thaire scheldis are they schent.
Of sorowe than myghte thay synge.
Than oure medillwarde gane tham mete,
Thare myghte no beryns oure bales bete,
Bot the helpe of hevens Kynge.
The medillwarde Sir Rowlande ledde;
That doghty in felde was never drede
To do what solde a knyghte.
Fyfty lordis of gret empryce,
Of Fraunce that bare the floure-delyce,
Hase loste bothe mayne and myghte.
Our medillwarde sone hade thaye slayne,
And Rowlande was in handis tane
And other seven that were knyghtes.
Bot als God gaffe hym that chaunce,
Thay wende he hade bene Kynge of Fraunce
That lyfede in thase fyghtis.
Bot of a knyghte me rewes sore
That in the felde laye wondede thore:
The Duke of Normandy.
He lukes up in the felde,
His umbrere with his hande up helde;
On Rowlande gane he cry:
`Rowlande, if the tyde that chaunce
That thou come evermore into Fraunce,
For the lufe of mylde Marie,
Comande me till oure gentill Kynge
And to the Qwene, my lady yynge,
And to all chevalrye.
``And if thou come into Normandy,
Grete wele my lady
And Sir Richerd my sonne;
And dubbe hym duke in my stede
And bydde hym venge his fadir dede,
Of myrthe if he will mone.
Bid hym hawkes and houndes forgoo
And to dedis of armes hym doo,
Thase craftes for to konne
Appon the cursede Sarasens for to werre,
Venge me with dynt of spere,
For my lyfe is nere done.
`A, Rowlande, byhaulde nowe whatt I see:
More joye ne myghte never bee
In youthe ne yitt in elde.
Loo! I see oure vawarde ledde to hevene
With angells songe and merye stevene
Reghte as thay faughte in the felde.
I see moo angells, loo, with myn eghe,
Then there are men within Cristyanté
That any wapyn may welde.
To heven thay lede oure nobill knyghtis
And comforthes tham with mayne and myghtis,
With mekill blysse and belde.'
Bot by Rowland gan a Sarasene stande
That braydede owte with a bryghte brande
When he harde hym say soo;
And to the Duke a dynt he dryvede.
At the erthe he smate righte of his hede.
Therfore was Rowlande woo.
And Rowland styrte than to a brande
And hastily hent it owte of a Sarasene hande,
And sone he gane hym sloo.
With that swerde he slewe sexty,
The beste of the Sarasens chevalrye,
Off hardy men and moo.
Than Rowlande in handis is taken agayne
And putt unto full harde payne
That sorowe it was to see.
And foure nobill knyghtis than have thay slayne
Byfore that were in handis tane
With Sir Rowlande the free.
The Sowdane comandis of his men
An hundrethe knyghtis to kepe tham then,
Rowland and other three,
And to oure rerewarde sythen thay rode.
Oure barouns boldely tham abode.
Nowe helpe tham the Trynytee!
The Duke of Burgoyne, Sir Belland,
The fadir of Sir Gy of Nevynlande,
The rerewarde than rewlis hee.
He comforthede alle oure nobyll knyghtis,
Said, `Lordis, halde your feldes and your ryghttis
And no Sarasene yee flee.
And thofe ye see thies lordis be slayne
Ne hope ye noghte for alle thaire payne
That ne we sall solance see;
By the werkynge of oure wondis sare
Of the paynes of helle fele we no mare
Bot hy to heven one heghe.'
Thay fruschede in fersely; for Goddis sake
Grete strokes gane thay gyffe and take
With wondis werkande wyde.
Bot yitt the Sarasens with thay speris
Full ferre on bakke oure batelle berys
And knyghtis felde undir fete.
Walde never no Crystyn knyghte thethyn flee
Thoghe that he wyste ryghte there to dye, 8
I doo yowe wole to wytt.
Bot alle in fere thay endide righte thare
That sewede the Sarasenes sythen full sare
For lordis that levede the swete.
Thus fourty thowsande hafe thay slayne
Safe foure that were in handis tane,
Rowlande ande other three.
One was the gentill erle, Sir Olyvere;
Another was Sir Gawtere,
The Kyngis cosyns nere;
The thirde was Sir Gy of Burgoyne--
His fadir in the felde laye there slone;
The soryare myghte he bee.
They ledde thies lordes into Melayne;
With that the Sowdane turnes agayne,
Righte gladde of his menyee.
[Secundus Passus: A] Fytt
To the Sowdane chambir many a man
Oure foure lordis ledd thay than
To rekken of theire arraye.
Thay ette and dranke and made tham glade,
Bot littill myrthe oure lordis hadde.
The Sowdane gane tham saye,
`Welcome be thow, Kynge of Fraunce;
The bytide a cely chaunce:
Thi lyfe was savede this daye.
The false lawes of Fraunce sall downn;
The rewme sall leve one seynt Mahownn
That alle the myghtyeste maye!'
And Rowlande answerde full gentilly,
`I ne rekke whethir I lyfe or dye,
By God that awe this daye.
Kynge of Fraunce ame I none,
Bot a cosyne ame I one
To Charlles, by my faye.
He will gyffe me golde and fee,
Castells ryche with towris heghe--
That lorde full wele he maye.
Bot Goddis forbode and the holy Trynytee
That ever Fraunce hethen were for mee
And lese oure Crysten laye.
`For sothe, thou Sowdane, trowe thou moste
One the Fader and the Sone and the Holy Goste.
Thire thre are alle in one
That borne was of Marye free
Sythen for us dyede one a tree;
In other trowe we none.' 9
Thane loughe the Sowdane withe eghne full smale
And saide, `Ane hundrethe of youre goddis alle hale
Have I garte byrne in firre with bale
Sen firste I wanne this wone.
I sawe at none no more powstee
Than att another rotyn tree
One erthe, so mote I gone. 10
`Goo, feche one of theire goddis in
And if he in this fire will byrne
Alle other sett att noghte.'
Than furthe ther rane a Sarasene in that tyde
To a kyrke was there byside;
A faire rode in he broghte
Fourmede ewenn als He gane blede. 11
Oure Cristen knyghtis bygane thaire crede
And Rowland God bysoughte
And saide, `Thou that was borne of a may,
Schewe thou, Lorde, Thi meracle this day,
That with Thi blode us boghte.'
They keste the rode into the fire
And layde brandis with mekill ire;
Fayne wolde thay garre hym birne.
The Sowdane saide, `Now sall ye see
What myghte es in a rotyn tree
That youre byleve es in.
I darre laye my lyfe full ryghte
That of hymselfe he hase no myghte
Owte of this fire to wyn.
How solde he than helpe another man
That for hymselfe no gyn ne kan,
Nother crafte ne gyn?'
Thay caste one it full many a folde;
The rode laye still ay as it were colde.
No fire wolde in hym too.
All if the crosse were makede of tree
The fire yode owtt that come ther nee.
Than wexe the Sowdan woo.
`And yif the devell,' he sayde, `be hym within,
He sall be brynt or ever I blyne';
Of hert he was full throo.
`Thies cursede wreches that are herein
Has wethede thaire goddis that thai may not byrn;
I wote wele it es soo.'
Than bromstone that wele walde birn
And pykke and terre mengede therin
Thay slange in the fire full bolde.
Torches that were gude and grete
For to helpe that mekill hete
Thay caste in many a folde.
The fire wexe owte at the laste;
Oure knyghtis made thaire prayere faste
To Criste that Judas solde.
The rode braste and gaffe a crake
That thamm thoghte that alle the byggynge brake
That was within that holde.
A fire than fro the crosse gane frusche
And in the Sarasene eghne it gaffe a dosche,
Ane element als it were,
That thay stode still als any stone.
Haundis nore fete myghte thay stirre none
Bot drery wexe in chere;
Thay wyste nother of gude ne ill.
Than Rowlande sais his felawes untill,
`Sirs, hy us alle hethyn in fere.
This meracle es schewede thorowe Goddis grace,
For alle the Sarasenes in this place
May nother see nore here.'
Sayde Sir Gy of Burgoyne, `Yitt or I goo
The Sowdane sall have a stroke or twoo
That glade sall hym no glee.'
He ferkes owte with a fawchon
And hittis the Sowdane one the crownn
Unto the girdyll welle nee.
Thay tuke the grete lordes with ire
And brynte tham in that bale fire;
Those doughty garte they dye 12
Bot sythen the Sarasenes crouned Sir Garsy,
Thay ofte sythes chaste oure chevalry--
A bolde Sarasene was he.
Alle that was than in that place
Thay slewe clenly thorow Goddis grace,
Oure worthy men and wyghte.
And sythen owte at the gates they yede.
Ilkone of tham fande a whitte stede
Sadlit and redy dighte.
Thay stirtt up on those stedis full steryn;
Thay fande no man that tham wolde warne,
Oure ferse men, felle in fighte.
And als the cronekill yitt will saye,
Even to Fraunce thay tuke the waye;
To Paresche thay ryde full righte.
Bot yitt thay wolde noghte come att Paresche
To thay had offerde to Seyne Denys
And wendis to that abbaye,
And leves thaire stedis righte at the gate
And wightly in thay tuke the gate,
Thaire prayers for to say.
And by thay hade thayre prayers made
Agayne thay come withowtten bade.
Thaire horse than were away
And alle the bellis that in that abbaye was
Range allone thorowe Goddis grace
Whils it was pryme of the day.
And thereby wiste those lordis of pryce
That the myghte of God and Seynt Denys
Had broghte tham thethyn away.
Thaire horse that so there come to handes
Was thorowe the prayere of Seynt Denys--
Thus will the cronecle say.
Bischope Turpyne than come fro Paresche townn
To Seynt Denys with grete processiownn
For thiese lordes for to pray
That was in Lumbardy at the were.
And when he sawe Rowlande there
He saide, `Lordis, morne we may.'
Thay mervelde why the bellis so range
And the clergy lefte theire sange,
Thoghte ferly of that fare.13
Thay hade mervelle whate it myghte mene.
Als sone als the Byschoppe hade Rowlande sene,
To hym he went full yare.
Sayd, `A, Rowlande, how fares Lumbardye
And all oure nobill chevallry
That thou hade with the thare?'
`Certis, Sir Bischoppe, it is noghte to layne,
The Sarasenes hase oure gude men slayne;
Thou seese of tham na mare.'
The Bischop keste his staffe hym fro,
The myter of his hede also.
`I sall never were the more,
Ne other habite for to bere,
Bot buske me bremly to the were
And lerene one slyke a lore.
A, Mary mylde, whare was thi myght
That thou lete thi men thus to dede be dighte
That wighte and worthy were?
Art thou noghte halden of myghtis moste,
Full conceyvede of the Holy Goste?
Me ferlys of thy fare. 14
`Had thou noghte, Marye, yitt bene borne,
Ne had noghte oure gud men thus bene lorne.
The wyte is all in the.
Thay faughte holly in thy ryghte
That thus with dole to dede es dyghte.
A Marie, how may this bee?'
The Bischoppe was so woo that stownnd
He wolde noghte byde appon the grownnd
A sakerynge for to see;
Bot forthe he wente--his handis he wrange--
And flote with Marye ever amange 15
For the losse of oure menyee.
Then come Kynge Charls appon pilgremage
Fro Paresche town with his baronage;
To Seynt Denys he went.
Bot when the Bischoppe mett with the Kynge,
He wolde noghte say `Gud mornynge'
Ne ones his browes blenke.
The Kynge had mervelle what that myght be;
Bot als sone als he Rowlande see,
Wyghtly to hym he went.
Be Rowlande had his tale tolde,
The Kynge myghte noghte a tere holde.
For bale hym thoght he brynt.
`Allas,' he saide, `cosyn syne,
Whare are alle the nobill knyghtis of myne
That ever to fighte were fayne?'
`Sir, bi God and by Sayne John,
The Sarasenes alle bot us hase slone--
It is no bote to layne.
Bot we were taken into holde;
Bot als that Criste hymselfe wolde
That we wan owte agayne,
Thorowe the grace of God omnipotent
In his chambir or we went
The Sowdane have we slayne.'
Genyonn saide, `Lorde, by my rede,
All if the Sowdane thus be dede,
Thay will have another newe,
A more schrewe than was the tother,
Garcy that is his awenn brothir,
That more barett will brewe.
These landes of hym I rede ye halde
Or he will kindill cares full calde;
Yhe trowe this tale for trewe.
Or ells within thies monethes three
Als qwhitte of Fraunce sall yhe bee
Als yhe it never ne knewe.'
`Now Cristis malyson,' quod the Bischoppe, `myghte he have
That Charls first this concell gaffe
And noghte bot it be righte.
To make homage to a Sarasene--
Jesu kepe us fro that pyne
And Marie His modir bryghte.
Bot at home, Sir Kynge, thou sall kepe nanne
Bot alle thy gud men with the tane
That worthy are and wighte
Appon yone cursede Sarasenes for to were
And venge the one tham with dynt of spere
That thus thi peris hase dyghte.
And alle the clergy undirtake I
Off alle Fraunce full sekerly
Thay sall wende to that were.
Of the Pope I have pousté:
Att my byddynge sall thay bee,
Bothe with schelde and spere.'
The Bischoppe sendis ferre and nere
To monke, chanoun, preste and frere
And badd tham graythe thaire gere
And keste thaire [care] clene tham froo,
Come helpe to feghte one Goddis foo,
All that a swerde may bere.
The clergy grauntes alle ther-to,
Als doghety men of dede solde do
That worthy were and wyghte.
Be comen was wekes three
Thare semblede a ful faire menyhé
In baneres burneschid bryghte.
A hundrethe thowsande were redy bownn
Of prestis that werede schaven crownn
And fresche men for to fighte.
Thay lightede appon a lawnde so clere
Undir the Mownte Mowmartere:
It was a ful faire syghte.
With that the Bischoppe Turpyn come
And also a cardynall of Rome
With a full grete powere.
Thay semblede appon another syde,
Baners bett with mekill pryde,
The clergy that was so clere.
And appon thaire knees thay knelide down;
The Bischoppe gafe tham his benyson,
All hollyly in fere.
And thane sent he in to the Kynge
And badde hym forth his barouns brynge
And saide, `My prestis are here.'
Bot yitt this false Genyonn
Conselde the Kynge ay with treson
That hymselfe solde duelle ther still:
`And lette the Bischoppe wende his waye,
Doo at yone Sarasenes that he maye;
There sall he feghte his fill.
And byde thiselfe in this citee.
Slayne in the felde gife that thou bee,
Alle Fraunce may like it full ill.'
And with his concelle and his fare
Slyke concell he gaffe tham thare
The Kynge grauntis thertill.
And forthe to the Bischoppe than sendis he,
And for thynge that ever myghte bee
He solde hym never beswyke.
Bot take his nobill chevalrye
And wende forthe into Lumbardy,
`For I will kepe my ryke.'
The Bischoppe saide, `By Goddes Tree,
Or that Charls doo so with mee
Full ill it sall hym lyke!
I sall hym curse in myddis his face.
What! sall he nowe with sory grace
Become ane eretyke?'
The Bischoppe leves his powere thare
And into the cité gane he fare
And the Cardenall with hym.
And when he come byfore the Kynge,
There was none other haylsynge
Bot stowte wordes and grym.
He saide, `Allas, Sir Charllyone,
That thou thus sone becomes a crayon!
Me thynke thi body full dym.
Alle the false councell that touches the crown
Here gyffe I tham Goddis malyson,
Bothe in lyfe and lyme.
And Cristis malyson myghte he have
That fyrste to the that concell gaffe;
And here I curse the, thou Kynge!
Because thou lyffes in eresye,
Thou ne dare noghte fyghte one Goddes enemy.'
And a buke forthe gane he brynge.
And the sertayne sothe als I yow telle
He dyde all that to cursynge felle.
This was no manere of lesynge.
`Nowe arte thou werre than any Sarasene,
Goddes awenn wedirwyne;
Of sorowe now may thou synge.
`If Cristyndome loste bee
The wyte bese casten one the.
Allas that thou was borne!
Criste for the sufferde mare dere,
Sore wondede with a spere,
And werede a crown of thorne;
And now thou dare noghte in the felde
For hym luke undir thy schelde,
I tell thi saule for lorne.
Men will deme aftir thi day
How falsely thou forsuke thi laye
And calle the Kynge of Skornne.'
Bot then Kyng Charls withowtten wene
At the Byschopp was so tene,
A fawchone hase he drawen.
And the Bischopp styrte than to a brande,
Hent it owt of a sqwyers hande
Both with myghte and mayne
And braydes owte the blade bare.
Be myghtfull God than he sware:
`If I wiste to be slayne, 16
Charls, and thou touche mee,
Thou fares noghte forthir fete thre
Or it be qwitt agayne.'
Than grete lordes yede tham bytwene;
The Kynge comande his knyghtis kene
The Bischopp for to taa.
And the Bischopp said, `Sirres, I will yow no scathe
And bi my faythe it es grete wathe
Bot if ye late me gaa.
For certis I will noghte taken bee
With nane that I now here see
Bot if yee firste me slaa.
And whilk of yow that touches me
Withowtten harme passes noghte hee.'
Than with his horse come thay.
`Here,' he said, `I avowe to mylde Marie
And to hir Sone, God Almyghttye,
I sall noghte leve the soo.
For we are halden with the righte,
Clerkes appon cursede men to fighte.
I calle the Goddes foo.
I sall gerre buske my batelle bownn
And halde the, Charls, within this townn:
Withowt thou sall noghte goo.
Was never kynge that werede a crown
So foule rebuytede with relygyon;
Thou sall sone witt of woo.
`Goddes byddynge hast thou broken;
Thurghe the traytour speche spoken
Alle Cristendom walde thou schende.
When Criste sent the a suerde untill,
Thou myghte wele wiete it was His will
That thiselfe solde thedir wende.
Therefore I sall stroye the,
Byrne and breke downn thi cité
If thou be never so tene.
Then to yone Sarasenes wende sall I,
Fighte with tham whils I may dry,
In Goddes servyce to ende.'
The Bischopp and the Cardynere
Appon thaire horses gatt bothe in fere;
Owte of the townn thay rade
Also faste als thay myghte dryve
To the grete batelle belyfe
And buskede baners full brade.
They romede towarde Paresche town
And thoghte to bete the cyté downe
With the powere that he hade.
(Slyke clerkes beris my benysone,
For trewere men of relygyoun
In erthe were never none made.)
Charls over the walles bihelde
And sawe the hoste come in the felde
And drawe towardes the town.
Bot than said Duke Naymes unto the Kynge:
`Sir, yonder comes us new tythynges
With baners buskede alle bown.
I rede ye praye yone clergy sesse
And aske the Bischoppe forgyfnesse
And graunt hym graythely for to goo
For to feghte appon Goddis foo,
Or loste es thi renownn.'
`In faithe,' saide the Kynge, `I graunt.'
The Bischopp es gude and on evynhaunt
With baners bryghte of hewe
Before tham a furlange and mare.
The Kynge undid his hede alle bare--17
The Bischopp wele hym knewe --
And appon his knees he knelid down
And tuke his absolucyoun.
Theire joye bygane to newe.
The Kynge says: `Haly fader free,
This gilte I praye the forgyffe me
And I will wirke your will.
And with your clergye tournes agayne;
Riste and ryott yow by the water of Sayne,
Ay whils I come yow till.'
The Bischoppe grauntis hym in that tyde
And pyghte pavylyons with mekill pryde,
With wyne and welthes at will.
The Kynge into the citee went
And aftir his baronage he sent,
All forwardes to fulfill.
And by the thre wekes comen were,
Charls had semblede a faire powere.
Hymselfe come all at hande
Erles, dukes and the Twelfe Duchepers,
Bothe barouns and bachelers,
Knyghtis full hevenhande.
Thay offerde alle at Seynt Denys
And grete lordes to armes chesse,
And Charls tuke his hande
And thus romewes that grete powere.
The levenynge of [thair] baners clere
Lyghtenes all that lande.
[Tertius] Passus: A Fitt
Thus Charls with his chevalrye
Unto he come at Lumbardy
In no place wolde he hone.
And to the Sarasenes was it tolde
That Charls make werre appon tham wolde
To venge that are was done.
The grete lordes than togedir spake:
`It is better that we Sir Garcy take
And crownn hym the Sowdane sone.'
Than sent thay to many an hethyn knyghte;
Thay badde that alle solde come that myghte,
By the heghten day at none.
When thay were semblede sekerly,
Thay crownnede the Sowdane Sir Garcy
That solance was to see[ne].
Sexty knyghtis of dyverse lande,
Ilkon sent hym sere presande
To witt withowtten wene.
Thay dressede on hym a dyademe
And made hym emperour, so hym seme,
Those knyghtis that were kene.
Syne present hym with golde
And stones of vertu that was holde,
The beste in erthe myghte bene.
The Kynge of Massedoyne lande
Sent the Sowdane a presande,
The meryeste one molde:
Sexty maydyns faire of face
That cheffeste of his kyngdome was
And faireste appon folde;
Sexty fawconns faire of flyghte;
And sexti stedis noble and wyghte
In everilke journay bolde
And appon ilke a stede a knyghte sittande
With a fawcon appon his hande
And a cowpe full of golde;
Sexty grewhondes unto the gamen;
And sexti raches rynnande in samen,
The beste in erthe myghte bee.
He come hymselfe with this presande
And broghte in his awenn hande
That was worthe thiese three:
Invisebill, a full riche stone,
A safre, the beste that myghte be one
To seke alle Crystiantee.
The Sowdane was full fayne of this
And kyndely gan his cosyn kysse
With mekill solempnytee.
When he his powere semblede hade,
A ryalle feste the Sowdan made
Of worthy men in wede.
Of alle the damesels bryghte and schene
The Sowdane hade hymselfe I wene
Thaire althere maydynhede.
By tham ilkone he laye a nyghte
And sythen mariede hir unto a knyghte:
Thay leffed one haythen lede.
So mekill luste of lechery
Was amange that chevalry
That thay [myg]hte noghte wele spede.
To Charls now will I torne agayne
That passes over mountayne and playne;
At [Me]layne wolde he bee.
And when he come into that stede
Whereals the Cristyn men byfore weren dede,
Off Fraunce so grete plentee,
There heghe appon an hill, appon highte,
Turpyn garte an awtre dyghte
That alle the folke myghte see;
And off the Trynytee a messe he says
And hertly for the saules he prayes
And the bodyes that thare gan dye.
The Bischopp sone gane hym revesche;
In gude entent he says a messe
In the name of God Almyghte.
He blyssede the awtere with his hande
And a fayre oste of brede therappon he fande
That ever he sawe with syghte.
His chalesse was so full of wyne
There myghte no more hafe gone therin--
It come fro heven on highte.
He dide his messe forthe to the ende
And thankede Gode that it hym sende
And Marie, His modir bryghte.
The Bischopp in his hert was fayne
And thankede God with all his mayne
And Marie, His modir free.
He tolde the hoste with lowde steven
How brede and wyne was sent fro heven,
Fro God of moste poustee:
`And all that ever hase sene this syghte,
Yee are als clene of syn, I plyghte,
Als that day borne were yee.
And whoso endys in this felde
In His byggynge sall he belde,
Evermore in blysse to bee.'
The Bischopp than keste of his abytte
And aftir armours he askede tytte;
For egernesse he loughe.
A kirtill and a corsett fyne,
Therover he keste an acton syne
And it to hym he droughe
An hawbarke with a gesserante;
His gloves weren gude and avenaunte.
And als blythe als birde one boughe
He tuke his helme and sythen his brande,
Appon a stede, a spere in hande
Was grete and gud ynoghe.
Sayse, `I praye yow, all my cleregy here,
Assembles undire my banere;
The vawarde will I have.
Charls and his knyghtis kene
Lete erles and barouns with hym bene,
Both sqwyers and knave
I beseke freschely for to fyghte
That the [le]wede men may se with syghte
And gud ensample have.
Standis [now baldly f]or youre trouthe;
Appon yo[ne Sarasen]es haves no rewthe.
For golde in erthe, none save.'
Thus Ch[arls led]eth a faire menyhé
Bifo[re Mela]yne, that riche cité,
Braydes up baners yare.
And when the Sowdane hase tham sene,
He comandes his knyghtis kene
That thay solde make tham yare.
And or he wolde passe owte of the townn,
He made his offerande to Mahownn--
The wars, leve Gode, tha fare. 18
And sythen owt of that citee
Off heythen men an hugge menyhee
That semyde als breme als bare.
Sir Arabaunt, with ire and hete,
A furlange bifore the batelle grete
Come and askede fighte.
And byfore of oure folke had he slayne
Bothe the lorde of Melayne
And many another knyght.
Than sayde the Bischopp, `So mot I spede,
He sall noghte ruysse hym of this dede
If I cane rede aryghte.'
And or any knyght myght gete his gere
The Bischopp gart hym with a spere
Appon his tepet lighte.
Turpyn strake hym so sekerly
Thurgh the breste bone all plenerly
A lange yerde and more
That dede he daschede to the grounde
Grysely gronannde in that stownde,
Woundede wonderly sore.
The Bischopp than lighte full apertly
And off he hewes his hede in hy
That are was breme als bare.
His horse unto the Cristen oste gan spede;
A sqwyere broghte agayne his stede
And one he leppe righte thare.
The Bischopp sqwyere in the place
Saw that the Kynge dede was
That had bene of grete powere.
His helme and his hawberke holde,
Frette overe with rede golde,
With stones of vertue dere
His gowere pendande on the grounde --
It was worthe a thowsande pownde
Off rubys and safere.
He lowttede down, up wolde itt ta;
The Bischopp bad hym fro it ga:
`Go fonnge the another fere.
To wyn the golde thou arte a fole;
Thou bygynnes sone for to spoyle.
Loo! yonder comes moo.
Thou settis more by a littill golde
That thou seese lye appon the molde
Than to fighte one Goddes foo.
Loo! yonder comes Sarasenes in the felde;
Go kill tham down undir thi schelde.
Slyk [w]orchippes were gude to do.'
He tuke the pendande in his hande;
The Bishoppe bett hym with his brande
[That] he keste it hym fro.
With that come girdande Sir Darnadowse,
A nobill knyghte and a chevallrouse,
Prekande one a stede.
He was the chefe of Famagose,
A Sarasene that fayne wolde wyn lose,
And to the Cristen oste gan spede.
He bad sende owte Charlyon
If he dare come to wynn pardonn,
A bofett for to bede.
He wolde noghte fighte bot with a kynge;
He calde hymselfe withowt lesynge
The chefe of hethyn thede.
Then Kyng Charls tuke his spere hym to;
The Bischopp Turpyn and other mo
Prayede God solde hym spede.
`A, dere lorde,' said Rowlande in heghe,
`Late me fare to fighte for thee,
For Hym that one Rode gan blede.'
Than Charls sweris by Saynt Paule:
`Sen ilke a man feghtis for his saule,
I sall for myn do mede.
Slayne in the felde gif that I bee,
Kynge off Fraunce here make I the,
With reghte the reme to lede.'
Than withowtten any more habade
Theis two kynges togedir rade
With ire and grete envy.
And at the firste course that thay ranne
Thies kynges two with horse and manne
At the grounde bothe gun ly.
Deliverly up sone bothe thay stirtt
And drewe thaire swerdis with noble hertt,
Withowtten noyse or cry.
Thay dalt so derfely with thaire brandes
Thay hewe theire scheldis to thaire handis
In cantells hyngand by.
So darfely bothe thaire dynttis thay driste
A littill while thay wolde tham riste;
The Sarasene prayede hym styntt.
`Nowe certis, sir,' he saide, `me rewes of thee
A Cristynn man that thou solde bee:
Thou arte so stronge of dyntt.
Bot torne unto oure lawes and take tham to
And I sall gyffe the rewmes two,
And elles will thou harmes hentt.'
Bot the Bischoppe Turpyn than cryes on heghte,
`A! Charles, thynk appon Marie brighte,
To whayme oure lufe es lentt.
`And if ever that thou hade any myghte,
Latt it nowe be sene in syghte
What pousté that thou hase.
Latte never oure Kynge with dynt of brande
B[e] slayne with yone Sarasene hande
Ne ende, Lady, in this place.
A [God] wote we sall be safe;
[Never] the lyk wolde we hafe
Of oure comly Kynge of face.
[Thou Ma]kere bathe of son and see,
[Pity t]he dole w[e d]ree for Thee
And graunte us of Thi grace.'
[Charls] saide, `Sir Bischopp, nay,
[Never sall I] forsake my lay.'
And togedir gan thay goo.
So stiffely aythere at othere strake;
Appon his helme Sir Charles brake
His nobill swerde in two.
Bot than the Franche folke with nobill stevenn
Thay cry up unto the Kynge of Hevenn
And for thaire lorde were wo.
The Sarasene was curtays in that fighte
And lawses owt a knyfe full righte;
His swerde he keste hym fro.
And Charles voydede his broken brande;
Owte he hent a knyfe in hande.
And samen thay wente full tytte.
Thay daschede full darfely with thaire dynt.
Mighte no steryn stele tham stynt,
So styffely bothe thay smyte.
In sondre braste thay many a mayle;
Thaire hawberghes thurgh force gan fayle.
To see had lordis delitte.
Botte a felle stroke Sir Charls gafe hym one
Evyn at the breste bone;
That strake his hert gan blende.
The Sarasene was dede of that strake
And Charls gan this fende up take;
And with his awenn brande
He broches hym so boldely
That his hert blode sekerly
Rane to oure Kynges hande.
And thare he wane the Sarasene swerde
And certis that with one the erthe
He conquered many a lande.
The Cristen folke were never so fayne;
Bot by the Kynge was horsede agayne
The batells were doande.
And hawberkes sone in schredis were schorne
And beryns thorowe the bodys borne
And many a Sarasene slayne.
Knyghtis one the bent bledis;
Many lay stekede undir stedis
In gilten gere full gay[n]e;
Other with glafes were girde thurgh evyn.
We may thanke Gode that is in heven
That lent us myghte and mayne.
Thay sloughe tham downn with swerdis bright.
The Cristynnd faughte in Goddis righte;
The Bischopp loughe for fayne.
Bot, als the cronakill yitt will telle,
Ther come a Sarasene fers and felle
And to the Bischoppe glade,
And stroke hym righte thorowe the thee
And agayne to the hethen oste gane flee;
And Turpyn after hym rade.
The Bischoppe folouede hym so ferre
That the Sarasene hade the werre
For the maystrie that he [made]. 19
He stroke hym so in the Sowdane syghte,
He fande never man that after myghte
Hele the hurt [he had]e.
Bot they helde in the Bischoppe in that rowtte
That he ne myghte noghte wyn owte
And ther he [was doande].
The Kynge of Massedoyne land with a spere
The Bischop fro his horse gane bere
And sette [on hym his hande].
The Sarasenes sware he solde be dede
And the Kynge sayde, `Naye,' in that stede
`For no Sarasene liffande.'
And righte als thay solde oure Bischopp slo,
Thay smote the Kynge of Massaydoyne fro
Clenly of his reghte hande.
Bot than Kynges men of Massaydoyne weren wo
When thay saughe thaire lorde was wondede soo
And trowede he walde be dede.
Thay braydede owte swerdes full bryghte
Agaynes the Sowdane folke to fighte
Full styffely in that stede.
For that gane fyfetene thowsandes dy
Of the Sowdans chevalry,
Laye bledande than full rede.
And with that Turpyn gatt awaye
To Charls oste--full fayne were thay.
A horse thay to hym lede.
Bot when the Bischoppe was horsede agayne,
Alle the cleregy weren full fayne
And presede into the place.
So depe wondes that day thay dalt
That many on wyde opyn walt
That wikkidly wondede was.
Thay sloughe so many an heythen kynge
That at the laste thay tuke to flyinge
Als God us gaffe the grace.
Many a Sarasene garte thay falle,
And Turpyn with his clergy alle
Folowede faste one the chase.
And Charls on the tother syde
Sloughe tham downn with wondis wyde;
The doughty garte thay dy. 20
The Sowdane hymselfe so harde was stedde
That with ten thowsande away he fledde,
And faste to Melayne gatt he.
The Cristen men chasede tham to the barres
And sloughe righte there fele folke and fresche,
All that there walde byde and bee. 21
Bot than Kynge Charls tuke the playne
And semblede all his folke agayne
To luke how beste myghte [the].
Thay myghte noghte the cité wynn,
The strenghe of the Sarasenes that were within.
The Bischoppe said, `I rede
Of oure knyghtes in the felde
Es many woundede undir schelde
And also some are dede.
And yone Sarasenes full of tresone es.
There I concelle bothe more and lesse
We stirre noghte of this stede
Ne or tomorne serche never a wounde
Bot luke than who may be sownde.
Lat Criste wirke.' And forthe he yede.
Here to a[c]ordes everilkon;
Lordes [haf] thaire horse tone
And comen es the nyghte.
Fo[r alle] the Sarasenes there
Th[ay ne mygh]te no forthir fare
Bot bydis in brenys bryghte.
Ch[arles acordede] als thay rade.
All [nyghte on]e the bent thay bade
With standardes even up streghte.
The Kynge prayede the Bischoppe fre
His wonde that he wolde late hym see
That he hade tane in that fighte.
Bot the Bischoppe saide, `A vowe to God make I here:
There sall no salve my wonde come nere
Ne no hose of my thee
Ne mete ne drynke my hede come in,
The cité of Melayne or we it wyn
Or ells therfore to dye.'
He garte dele his vetells then
Furthe amanges oure wonded men,
Bot no mete neghe wolde hee.
Bot als so sore wondede als he was,
Knelande he his prayers mase
To Gode of moste pousté.
Oure folke hade done so doughtily
That many of tham weren ful wery--
So hade thay foghten than.
Bot one the morne the Cristen stode,
A thowsande, over theire fete in theire blode,
Of theire awenn wondes wane.
Othere refreschynge noghte many hade
Bot blody water of a slade
That thurghe the oste ran.
The Sowdane sent a messangere
To Kynge Charles als ye may here;
And that sawe many a man.
The messangere bare a wande
Of an olefe in his hande,
In takynnynge he come of pece.
And lowde he cryede appon Charls the Kynge
And saide he myghte his handis wrynge
Appon lyfe if that he es:
`For oure Sowdane hase by Mahownn sworne
That he salle mete hym here tomorne
With full prowde men in prese,
With fowrty thowsande of helmes bryghte:
Was never yitt frekkere men to fighte
Sene in hethynnesse.'
And Charles ansuerde at that tide,
`In faythe I sall tham here habyde,
Wode giffe that thay were.
If that he brynge alle the Sarasenes
That es alle heythynnesse within,
Hyne will I noghte fare.'
The messangere agayne than rade
And they sett wache and still habade
Whills pryme was passede and mare.
Bot or the nonnee neghede nee,
To tham than soughte a felle semblé
With baners breme als bare.
Bot than Sir Charles spekes full gudely
To Rowlande his nevewe that stode hym by
And said, `Sir, so God the spede,
This day wirke thou manfully
With thi nobill chevalry
And of the Sarasenes hafe [no dre]de.
Thou sall see that I sall noghte be sparede;
Myselfe sall have the vawarde.
There Jesu [Crist the spe]de.'
The trumpetes trynes one righte than;
To joyne so jolyly thay bygane,
Oure worthy men in wede.
Thay ruysschede samen with swilke a rake
That many a Sarasene laye on his bake;
And one the lawnde righte ther thay lay
Full grisely gronande one the grete,
Stekyde undir stedis fete,
And liste nothynge of playe.
So darfely than thay dynge tham downn
Thay saide the myghte of saynt Mahownn
Was clenely all awaye.
`A! Mountjoye!' oure lordes gane crye,
And Charles with his chevalrye
Full freschely faughte that day.
They hewe of hethen hedis in hye.
Oure Cristen men so sekirly
Of tham hade littill drede
Bot brittenesse tham with brandis bare
And Sarasenes thurghe the schuldirs schare
That to the girdill it yode.
Thay tuke none hede of gudes nore golde,
Lay never so mekill appon the molde,
Oure worthy men in wede,
Bot beris abake the batells brade;
Fowrty thowsande in a slade
Laye stekede under stede.
And so harde bystade was the Sowdane,
Hymselfe with ten thowsande than
To Melayne tuke the gate.
Oure Cristen knyghtis with thaire speres
The hyndirmaste fro thaire blonkes beres
And chacede tham to the gate.
The owte barres hew thay downn
And slewe hethynn kynges with crownn
And thaire powere therate.
To sawtte the cité sadly thay bygann;
Off Cristyn men many a cruelle man
The hethyn wex all mate.
With speris and with spryngaldes faste,
With dartis kenely owte thay caste,
Bothe with myghte and mayne.
With gownnes and with grete stones
Graythe gounnes stoppede those gones 22
With peletes, us to payne.
Our Cristyn men that were of price
Bendis up bowes of devyce
And bekirs tham agayne.
Appon bothe the sydis so freschely thay fighte
That by it drewe unto the nyghte
Fele folke of Fraunce were slayne.
There were of oure clergy dede
And other lordes in that stede
Or thay of sawte walde sesse.
By than thay sawe it was no bote to byde
And fro the cité warde thay ryde,
Oure prynces provede in presse.
The Bischoppe es so woundede that tyde
With a spere thoroweowte the syde
That one his ribbis gan rese.
Thurgh the schelde and the browe bare
A schaftemonde of his flesche he schare--
Lordynnges, this es no lese.
He pullede it owte, keste it hym fro,
And weryde the handis that it come fro
And that it lete forthe glyde.
The Sowdane over the wallis byhelde
And sawe the Cristen in the felde
Frowarde the cité ride.
And appon Kynge Charls than cryes he:
`What Charls, thynkes now to flee?
I trowe the moste habyde.
I sall the mete tomorne in felde
With fourty thowsand under schelde,
Sall fonde to felle thi pryde.'
Says Charls, `Thou false hethyn hownde,
Thou ne dare noghte byde appon the grounde.
Ther evermore worthe the woo;
Bot aythire of thies dayes ilyke
Hase thou stollen awaye lyke a tyke.
The develle myghte with the goo!
That cité bot thou yelde to me
And fully trowe and Cristyn be
Appon one God and no moo,
In felde yif ever I see the mare
I sall by myghtfull God,' he sware,
`Hewe thi bakke in twoo.'
Then of oure Cristen men in the felde
Many semblede under schelde
And some ware wondede sare.
Thay that were bothe hale and sownnde
Comforthed tham that were evyll wounde,
So als Criste wolde it were.
The Kynge than of his helme tase
And to the Bischoppe swythe he gase
And sayde, `Fadir, for Goddes are,
Thy woundes that thou walde late me see;
If any surgeoun myghte helpe thee,
My comforthe ware the mare.'
`What! wenys thou, Charls,' he saide, `that I faynte bee
For a spere was in my thee,
A glace thorowte my syde.
Criste for me sufferde mare.
He askede no salve to His sare,
Ne no more sall I this tyde.
I sall never ette ne drynke
Ne with myn eghe slepe a wynke,
Whate bale als ever I byde,
To yone cité yolden bee
Or ells therfore in batelle dye--
The sothe is noghte to hyde.'
Als thay stode spekande of this thynge,
To Charls come a newe tydynge
That blenkede all his blee.
Thay saide that one Sir Tretigon,
That was the Sowdane syster son
And the best of Barbarye,
`Certys, Charls, he comes at hande
With men of armes a sexty thowsande
To strenghe with yone cité.'
[At least one leaf of the manuscript is lost at this point. In the
missing lines, Charlemagne apparently tells one of his knights to
ride to France for help.]
`Now sone, when I hafe foughten my fill,
I sall avise me gif that I will
One thi message to wende.'
`Now Sir Bawdwyne, buske and make the bownn.'
He saide, `Allas, thou Charelyoun,
That ever I tuke thi fee;
For yitt myselfe es saffe and sownnde,
My body hole withowttyn wounde,
Als thou thiselfe may see.
I walde noghte, for all thi kyngdome,
That ever that worde unto France come
I solde so feyntly flee.
Gett the a currour whare thou may;
For, by God that awe this day,
Thou sall have none of mee.'
`A, Sir Ingelere, for a knyghte thou art kyde.'
`Whi, Sir Charls, what walde thou that I dide?'
`I pray the wende thi waye.'
`Bi Jesu Criste that sittis aboffe,
Me thynke thou kydde me littill luffe
When thou that worde wolde saye.
Bot me sall never bytyde that taynte.
I hope thou wenys myn herte be feynte. 23
I say the schortly, naye.
That I sall never so fremdly flee,
God lett me yif it his wille bee
Never habyde that daye.'
The Duke Berarde was wondede sare:
Thurgh the schelde into the body bare
He was borne with a brande.
Of this message thay gun hym frayne,
Bot he hade no worde to speke agayne
Bot grymly stude lukande.
Than Turpyn gan to Charls say,
`Here arte thou servede, bi my fay,
Thou fayles of that thou fande.
The Duke es woundede so wonder sare
It ware grete syn to greve hym mare;
Gude Sir, thou late hym stande.'
Thay prayede a banarett than of pryce,
One Sir Barnarde of Parische,
For grete gyftis he wolde wende.
And he saide, `Lordynges, by my faye,
I ame over symple to yow to saye
Whereever ye will me sende.
I aske ordir of knyghte thertill.
Bot giffe your giftis where ye will;
Elles ye be my frende.'
Thay made hym knyghte with full gud chere;
He tuke leve at the Twelve Duzepere,
This curtayse knyghte and he[nde].
He saide than: `Have gud daye, Charls, in this stede,
For thou sall never gyffe me brede
Ne in thy burdynge say
If I be pore of golde and fee
That I fro this grete journee
Fayntly fledde away.'
He rydis even to the gatis of Melayne
And there with Sarasenes was he slayne.
He dide full wele that day.
And Charls for hym in hert was woo;
Bischoppe Turpyn and othere moo
For his dede sore mournede thay.
Thus have thay prayede everylkone,
Bot there wolde goo never one;
The symple thay bade none sende.
The Bischoppe Turpyn cryede appon highte:
`Sen ye are so frekke for to fighte
God of his myghte yow mende.
Yitt are we ten thowsande here
That are yitt bothe hole and fere,
That wele for kene are kende,
And of gude men that none will flee
To fourty thowsande or we dye
In the felde to make thaire ende.'
Bot als Turpyn lenys hym on his brande,
Over an hill he saw comande
Ful many a brade banere.
The Duke of Bretayne, Sir Lyonelle,
That Charls was thare he herde telle
And had mystere of powere.
He broghte hym thirty thowsande fyne,
Vetaylls gude and nobill engyne,
This bolde with full blythe chere.
Than Turpyn gan to Charls say,
`I see a felle hoste, bi my fay,
That sone will neghe us nere.
Yone are the Sarasenes mekill of mayne,
The full powere owt of Spayne,
That sone sall full ill spede.
For, by Hym that swelt on tree,
This day no Sarasene sall I see
Sall gerre me torne my stede.'
And in his hande he caughte a launce --
`Have gud day, Charls, and grete wele Fraunce!' --
And agayne that hoste he yede.
In fewter sone he keste his spere
And thoghte the boldeste down to bere
That batelle walde hym bede.
So blody was that Bischoppis wede
His conysaunce ne yit his stede
The Bretons ne couthe noghte knawe.
Bot als an harawde hym byhelde
He lukede up into his schelde
And sayde to alle one rawe,
`If Bischoppe Turpyn appon lyve be,
In faythe, lordynges, yone es he
That ye se hedirwarde drawe.'
Thay ferlyde why he fewterde his spere.
`A Mountjoye!' cryes one that he myghte here:
He was glade of that sawe.
The wardayne rydis hym agayne
And said, `Sir Bischoppe, for Goddis payne,
Who hase greved the?'
He tuke his spere owt of reste adownn
And gaffe tham alle his benysoun,
The Bretons when he tham see.
The Bischoppe tolde tham of his care;
Bot than the Bretons hertis were sare
For the dole oure oste gun dryee.
A messangere went to telle the Kynge.
So fayne was Charles never of thynge
With eghe that he gan see.
And or Turpyn myghte his tale halfe telle,
He sawe come hovande over a felle
Many a brade banere,
Standardis grete with stalworthe men.
Sexti thowsande wele myghte thay ken
In brenyes burnescht clere.
Under the cante of an hille
Oure Bretons beldis and bydis stille
When thay wiste whate thay were.
The Bischoppe saide, `Bi Goddis myghte,
Thaym sall rewe or it be nyghte
The tyme that thay come here.
`Go we to yone company
With ``Mountjoye'' baldly and tham ascrye;
Late ther be no lettynge.'
An hawrawde saide, `To fewe are we
To fighte with slyke a grete menyé;
It is better wende to the Kynge.'
`A, sir, whare thay are sexti thowsande men,
And if thay were mo bi thowsandis ten,
[Bi] God that made all thynge,
The more powere that thay be
The more honour wyn sall we.
We dowte noghte tham to dynge.'
The Bischoppe to the Kyng sent
And prayes hym to byde appon the bent,
The cité for to kepe
That there no Sarasene solde come owte
To thay had rekkenede with that rowte
Thay sawe come overe the depe.
Oure Bretonns kyndely comforthes he,
Sayse, `Alle the Sarasenes ye yonder see,
Thaire frendis sore may wepe.
We sall wirke tham wondis full wyde;
I hete tham be thaire lemans syde
Sowndely never sall thay slepe.'
For isschuynge owte of the cité
Kynge Charles with his menyé
Helde his batelle still.
Oure Bretons bolde that fresche come in
Thoghte that thay wolde wirchipp wyn
And gatt the cante of the hill.
The Sarasenes were so strange and stowte
Thay late no lede that thay wolde lowte,
Thay were so wykkede of w[ill].
Oure Bretonns dide so doughtyly
That lange or none sekerly
The Sarasenes lykede full ill.
Samen than strake that grete stowre
Als it were aftire the none ane houre --
It was noghte mekills mare.
Bot many a Sarasene in that stownde
Lay grysely gronande on the grownde,
Woundede wonderly sore.
Bot there God will helpe ther es no lett;
So stronge strokes thay one tham sett
With burneschede bladis bare
That fourty thowsande Sarasenes kene
With brandis lay brettenyde one the grene:
So bolde oure Bretonns were.
And to the cité the tother wolde have flede
And Rowlande thoghte he wolde tham stedde;
Ten thowsande was with hym.
And when he with the Sarasenes mett,
Full grym strokes he over tham sett
With growndyn speris and grym.
Charles appon the tothere syde
Sloughe tham downn with woundis wyde
And made thaire dedis full dyme.
And thus thay chase tham here and thare
Als the howndes dose the hare
And refte tham lyfe and lyme.
Rowlande rydis to Letygon
That was the Sowdane sister sone
And stroke hym with a spere
That dede he daschede in the felde.
Helme ne hawberke he myghte none welde
Ne never after none bere.
Of sexti thowsande, sothely to say,
Passede never one qwyke away;
Bot evyll thay endide there.
The Cristenyde knelide down in that place
And thankede God that gaffe tham grace
So worthily tham to were.
The false in the felde thus gun thay felle.
The Kynge callede Sir Lyonelle
And avauncede hym full heghe.
The Duke of Burgoyne bifore was dede.
He sessede hym in his stede 24
And gafe hym his doughter free.
And to the Bischoppe than swythe he gase
That wery and sore woundede was
And fastande dayes three.
Be that tyme he myghte note wele a worde owt-wyn.
The teris rane over Charles chynn
That sorowe it was to see:
`And thou dy, than dare I saye
The floure of presthode es awaye,
That ever hade schaven crownn.
For there ne is kynge ne cardynere
In Cristyndome may be thi pere
Ne man of religiownn.'
He will no man his wondes late see
Ne mete ne drynke none neghe hym ne,
For prayer ne for pardownn.
Oure oste for the Bischoppe mournes alle
And graythes tham to Melayne walle
With baners buskede bownn.
New vetailles the Bretons broghte than,
That refresschede many of oure men,
Of brede, brawne and wynne.
A nobill hurdas ther was graythede
And baners to the walles displayede
And bendis up thaire engyne.
Destroyed by heathen people
Made war; wrongfully
Pope's power; ruined
Tuscany; (see note)
[sacred] images; should; (see note)
stake his life
[Saracen] faith; professed
let him know
on earth to lose
it seemed to him
As; worn out with weeping
shall befall you
listen to what happened
That just fit the hand
possess; quickly; (see note)
It seemed to him; struck
stop their merrymaking
were very sorrowful
army; broad banner
grievously to regret
ladies; bliss; deprived
by [the time that]
prepared for battle
Persia he was called
battle; push forward
in such a way; man
wounds; in a piteous manner
men through; wounded
struck down; knights
men; woes make better
bold man; afraid
participated in these battles
I grieve greatly
if the opportunity befalls you
old age; (see note)
To; smote; off; head
rear guard; leads
inflicting; (see note)
backwards; army pushes
I let you know well
lost their lives
Except for four; taken prisoner
Near kin to the King
army; (see note)
beliefs; be overthrown
realm; believe in; (see note)
Who is most powerful
heathen; on account of
lose; faith; (see note)
had burned; (see note)
wood; great wrath
make it burn
of itself it has
take hold in it
Even if; it
It; before; stop
pitch; tar mixed
became sorrowful; countenance
hasten; from here together
will bring him no joy
straight; (see note)
Until; (see note)
boldly; made their way
Until; (see note)
knew; worthy lords
arm; fiercely; war
held to be
in that place
consecration [of the mass]
By [the time that]
made our way
cruel; the other
yourself on them; thrust
from; (see note)
In three weeks
wore shaved heads
to his face
I wish you no harm
I shall have my army readied
know about sorrow
sent a sword to you
As . . . as
Such; have; blessing
Rest; refresh yourselves; Seine
agrees with; time
by [the time that]
came to him
Each; different gift
as it seemed fitting for him
that were held to have power
hunting dogs; together
sapphire; best one that might be
If all Christendom were searched
The maidenhead of them all
had an altar prepared
put on his vestments
dwelling; find shalter
cast off; habit
Terribly groaning; place
formerly; bold; boar
(Kynge = Sir Arabaunt)
[too] soon; despoil
So that; cast
On; both lay
valiantly; blows; struck
Asunder burst; metal ring
by [the time that]
doing [i.e., being waged]
many a one gaped wide
they made fall
Nor before; probe
abide; coats of mail
had his rations divided
food; come near
As a token that
If he is alive
before noon approached
Towards; moved a fierce army
charged; such a rush
took no pleasure from battle
cut to pieces
force back the scattered battalions
made his way
rearmost; horses knock off
engines of war
no use to abide
struck against his ribs
cut off; (see note)
believe you must abide
try; bring down
may sorrow come to you
made pale; complexion
the Saracen world
became your vassal
live to see
they asked him
asked then a worthy knight; (see note)
of too low a degree
In another manner
The people of the lower class
uninjured and strong
need of troops
Provisions; machines of war
draw near to us
make me turn
Who would do battle with him
heraldic device; rank
mail burnished bright
stay in the field
Until; dealt; host
acknowledged; people; bow to
much; (see note)
cut to pieces
deprived them of
has passed away
prepares to go
prepared; (see note)
[The manuscript ends at this point.]
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