The Sultan of Babylon
THE SULTAN OF BABYLON: FOOTNOTES
1 With oil and brass excellent for the occasion
2 Hauberk, shield, knee-armor, nor spearshaft
3 [Missiles from] a siege engine were thrown - / it was a good enough machine to reach the city
4 He [Ferumbras] had his [Isres'] head borne on a spear
5 Do you want to lose your barons?
6 Don't so undervalue your barons
7 They behaved boldly and light-heartedly
8 You are ignorant of good diversion
9 They slew anyone they encountered
10 Except to have the tower assailed again
11 Then they ran out of stones for throwing
12 Then they didn't know what to do
13 It is reasonable to share with the needy
14 That he could hardly [fight] anymore
15 Then shall I torment them in my accustomed manner
16 So long as you're never angry with one another
THE SULTAN OF BABYLON: NOTES
*A note on the text: In the manuscript, large initial letters appear at lines 1, 383, 575, 599, 695, 940, 963, 1051, 1491, 1679, 1687, 1691, 1695, 1699, 1703, 1711, 1715, 1723, 1739, 2419, 2755, and 2795. Since these generally mark shifts in the action and so were clearly meant to begin new structural units, I have used a space between lines to divide the text where they appear - except that I have moved the break before line 2419 so that it now appears before 2417, where it seems more natural and more in keeping with the practice of the poet or scribe. The other breaks indicated in the text I have added, for ease of reading, at points where there is a shift in action not marked by a large initial letter.
1 Ms. reads `myghteste.'
11 The `ne' is not in the manuscript, but the sense of the line requires it.
27 Denis was the patron saint of France. In 626 Dagobert I founded the Abbey of Saint-Denis in Paris at the site where St. Denis was believed to be buried.
32 `Askalon' or Ascalon is a city in Palestine, north of Gaza, on the Mediterranean. It was captured by Crusaders in 1153 and recaptured by Saladin in 1187. The city is referred to again in line 1000 (`Ascoloyne').
46 Cf. the `General Prologue' to the Canterbury Tales (lines 9-11), where Chaucer refers to this belief that nightingales sleep with an open eye.
56 An `alaunt' is `a highly prized ferocious dog of a breed used in hunting, bull-baiting, etc.'; a `lymmer' is `a hound trained to be led on a leash and to track game by scent'; `racche' refers to `a dog that hunts by scent' (MED).
86 Mahounde and Appolyne (Apollo) are gods thought to be worshipped by the Saracens.
113 Baldas is probably Bagdad. In The Alliterative Morte Arthure, the form `Baldake' (for Bagdad) appears. The fact that Lucafere is also called `That cruel kinge of Cassaundre' (line 986) does not necessarily argue against identifying Baldas as Bagdad. Cassaundre is probably Cassandria in Macedonia. However, Lucafere, who is also `Of Aufryke lorde and governoure' (line 114), seems to have been granted many lands because of his prowess. It is also possible that the poet made Lucafere king of Cassaundre because he needed a rhyme for `Alisaundre' in line 984.
127 The maintop is a platform at the head of the mainmast.
148 Here, as often in the romance, `gan' is used as an auxiliary to indicate a past tense, much as we might use `did.'
202 Ms. reads `than,' but, as Hausknecht suggested, `thay' seems the correct reading.
241 The `Dosipers' are the Twelve Peers or principal warriors of Charlemagne. The term, from the French `douze pairs,' comes to be used as a synonym for `peer' or `knight,' so that we often find the etymologically redundant `Twelve Dosipers,' as we do here. In the Chanson de Roland, the Twelve Peers are said to be Roland, Olivier, Gérin, Gérier, Bérengier, Otton, Samson, Engelier, Ivon, Ivoire, Anséis, and Girard. The list varies in different works. In this romance, as lines 1688 ff. suggest, the Twelve Peers are Roland, Oliver, Gy of Burgoyne, Duke Neymes of Baver, Ogere Danoys, Bery Lardeneys, Folk Baliant, Aleroyse, Miron of Brabane, Bishop Turpyn, Bernard of Spruwse and Bryere of Mountez.
257 The `Gallopes' are perhaps the people from Gallipoli on the Southern shore of the Gallipolli Peninsula, at the east end of the Dardanelles.
360 The p in `Pope' is illegible in the ms.
369-70 There is a blank line in the ms. between these lines, and the sense suggests that something has been omitted here.
473 Hausknecht suggests reading `thus was it done' or `this was i-done.'
495 The correct reading here is probably `Ascopars' rather than the ms. `Astopars.' Forms of the name with the c appear, as Hausknecht notes, in lines 2196 and 2648. A similar confusion between t and c takes place in line 1424 (where I have again emended to read `Ascopartes'). The Ascopartes are apparently a fearsome race of giants subject to the Sultan.
497 `Askalous' are people from Askalon (see note to line 32), also referred to as `Ascoloynes' in line 1040.
500 Hausknecht suggests emending `Ho' to `We'; but `Ho' as a variant of the adverb `o' (meaning `continually' or `ever') is a possible reading.
551 Ms. reads `thoughe.'
561 Matins is the first of the canonical hours (i. e., the fixed parts of the Divine Office to be recited or sung at specified hours of the day). Matins is followed by lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers and compline.
628-34 To hold `in fee' means to possess `by a heritable right subject to feudal obligations' (see OED, `fee,' sb. 2, 1b).
650 Ms. reads `met,' probably an error for `mot.' (A similar error occurs in line 2433.)
663 St. Peter's Basilica was built by the Emperor Constantine (beginning c. 324) and completed by his son Constantius (in c. 354). Tradition says it was built over the grave of Peter the Apostle.
689 Smyser sees details such as the reference to the Saracens' cry of `antrarian' to signify `joye generalle' as a sign that the author took `an innocent if slightly ostentatious delight in airing his learning of things Saracen' (p. 209).
716 Ms. reads `religes,' as it does again in line 1821.
850, 868 There seems to be some confusion in this poem between Charlemagne's sword `Joyeuse' and the battle cry of his troops, `Monjoie.' The identification of the two by the poet is paralleled by a linking of the two in the Chanson de Roland (see line 2510). The battle cry is derived, according to one theory, from Monte Gaudia, the hill from which pilgrims first see the eternal city. Another theory suggests that a `montjoie' was `a mound or cairn of stones set up to mark the site of a victory' and that the cry `Montjoie St.-Denis' or, in a shortened form, `Montjoie' `derived from the cairn set up at Saint-Denis on the site of the saint's martyrdom (his spiritual victory)' (see Dorothy Sayers' translation of the Chanson de Roland, note to line 1181).
857 The phrase `with harde grace' (literally `with bad luck') is used as an imprecation.
871 The `Baldesyns' are the people of Baldas (Bagdad).
875 Durendal is the famous sword of Roland, given to him by Charlemagne who received it from an angel.
953 Tuesday is the day of Tiu, the Germanic war god, identified with Mars. The Latin name for Tuesday, `dies Martis' (which survives in the French `mardi') attests to the longstanding association of Tuesday with Mars.
954 `Myrre' or myrrh is a gum-resin used in perfumes and incense; `aloe' is the fragrant resin or wood of the agalloch; `frankensense' or frankincense is the gum resin chiefly from East African or Arabian trees of the genus Boswellia, which is used for incense.
986 On `Cassaundre,' see note to line 113.
999 `Inde Major' probably refers to the part of India between the Ganges and the Himalayas.
1001 `Barbarye' refers to the Saracen lands on the north coast of Africa. The `Barbarens' in line 1042 are the people from this region.
1025 The sense suggests that there is a gap of one or more lines after line 1025, though nothing in the manuscript indicates the omission.
1040 `Paens' (pagans) suggests non-Christians, here probably referring to Muslims or Saracens. On the `Ascoloynes' see the note to line 497.
1154 Ms. reads `and thenkes.' Hausknecht suggested the emendation to `as thenketh' (`as it seems').
1179-80 In the ms. line 1179 reads `Olyvere him hitte agayn upon the hede'; then there is a blank space at the beginning of line 1180, followed by the words `the hede than full sore.' Hausknecht suggests emending the lines to appear as they do above in the text. His emendation restores the rhyme.
1298 St. Quentin is, according to The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, a `martyr of unknown date, recorded by Bede and some early martyrologies, mentioned by Gregory of Tours as having a church dedicated to him. The place where he suffered, Augusta Veromanduorum, is now called Saint-Quentin (Aisne).' Legend makes him `a Roman citizen who came to preach the Gospel in Gaul with St. Lucian of Beauvais; Quentin preached at Amiens where the probably fictitious prefect Rictiovarus arrested and interrogated him, finally killing him by a series of fearsome tortures. . . .'
1341 Hausknecht suggests that `alle' in line 1341 is an error for `half.'
1357 It is common in Middle English to use contrasting pairs to suggest completeness. Thus to say that the gods are false `by water and londe' implies that they are entirely false.
1361 Hausknecht suggests reading `se' for `sene' in order to restore the rhyme.
1390 In this line, `he' refers to the hauberk.
1423 I have followed Hausknecht's suggestion in emending ms. `cowthe' to `caughte' and have also emended ms. `Be' to `But.'
1445 The `holme' tree is probably `the evergreen oak (Quercus ilex)' (MED).
1604 MED indicates that the form `maute' as a past of `mene' (here used in the sense of `to aim a stroke at someone') is an error. The normal past forms would be `mente,' `mant,' or `mende.'
1645 Ms. reads `harme skathe' rather than `harme and skathe.'
1691 As Hausknecht suggests, `Berry Lardeneys' must be a corruption of Thierry (sometimes appearing as `Terry') d'Ardane.
1713 According to tradition, St. Simon the Apostle went with St. Jude to Persia, where they suffered martyrdom (see The Oxford Dictionary of Saints).
1726 The phrase `not worth a leek' means `of little or no value.'
1773-74 French and Hale suggest that `leve' should be taken in the double sense of `leave alone' and `fail.' The sense of the lines is that Laban will follow the advice and force Charlemagne to surrender Ferumbras and depart from his territory.
1816 Hausknecht suggests emending `byleved' to `byleven' (which would restore the rhyme).
1885 Hausknecht suggests emending `he' to `ye'; but reading `he' in the sense of `a man' or `someone' allows us to maintain the manuscript reading.
1967-68 These two lines are written as one in the manuscript.
2033 Ms. reads `While thay mery drinkyng. . . .' Hausknecht is probably correct in suggesting that `mery' is miswritten for `were.'
2042 I have followed Hausknecht in reading `stronde' for the ms. `strowde.'
2085 Hausknecht suggested reading `Assye' for the ms. `Assyne.' This is surely the right reading, as it restores the rhyme.
2092 A `quarelle' is `a bolt for a crossbow, an arblast, or a siege engine' (MED).
2156 The verb of motion is understood in this line.
2224 The `u' in `Thou' does not appear in the ms. I follow Hausknecht in adding it.
2285 French and Hale suggest emending `pas' to `par' (bar, close). As it stands, the line suggests that the gates `pass by' or `extend across' the narrow paths.
2384 In Hausknecht's edition the line reads `And assaye howe it wole it be.' The second `it' is not in the manuscript and is clearly a misprint in the edition.
2421 Hausknecht suggests that `also' should begin line 2422.
2433 The ms. `mete' is probably an error for `mote' (the emendation Hausknecht made).
2477 Hausknecht is probably correct in suggesting that ms. `and now' should read `i-now.'
2558 I follow Hausknecht in emending ms. `Thile' to `While.' The Roxburghe Club edition, however, reads `Thile' as a contraction for `the while.'
2601 `The untutored and the learned' is a contrasting pair used to indicate all people. Thus the meaning of the line is, `He spared no one.'
2650 I follow Hausknecht in emending `Gamylokes' to `Gavylokes.'
2761-62 Jupiter and Ascarot, like Apollo and Mohammed, are taken to be gods of the Saracens.
2689-90 I follow Hausknecht in emending the ms. reading: `Thay thanked god that thay him hadde / Gyfen thaye such grace to spede.'
2694 Ms. reads `alaye.'
2787 A `besaunte' is `a gold coin first struck at Byzantium or Constantinople . . . in value between the English sovereign and half-sovereign or less' (OED).
2845 Hausknecht believes that `Fremounde' `cannot be the true reading, as it does not rhyme with kinge.' There are, however, other places in the text where the rhyme is less than perfect. If he is correct, it may be that the scribe substituted the name of Fremund because he was an English saint. Though he may have been a fictional character, he was reputedly, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, `a relative of Offa, king of Mercia, and of Edmund, king of East Anglia [who] became a hermit. But as he had royal blood, he was a possible claimant to the throne of Mercia and was killed by an apostate kinsman Oswy, with the help of some of the same Danish army who slew Edmund.'
2885 The e in `dyvers' does not appear in the ms. Hausknecht suggested the addition.
2887 `Pellure' refers to furs in general; `gryse' is `a grey fur; prob. fur from the back of the Russian gray squirrel in winter' (MED).
2951 French and Hale emend Hausknecht's `Euer the founte' to `Over the frounte' (over the forehead). The ms. does, in fact, read `frounte,' which is the reading of the Roxburghe Club edition. Reading `frounte' makes the emendation of `Ever' to `over' even more plausible.
3127-28 The two lines are written as one in the ms.
3263ff Some of the text is lost due to a torn manuscript page.
The Romance of the Sowdone of Babylone
And of Ferumbras His Sone Who Conquered Rome*
God in glorye of myghtes moost,
That al thinge made in sapience
By vertue of Woorde and Hooly Goost,
Gyvinge to man grete excellence,
And alle that is in erthe wroght
Subjecte to man and man to The,
That he should with herte and thought
To love and serve, and noon but The:
For yyfe man kepte Thy commaundemente
In al thinge and loved The welle
And hadde [ne] synnede in his entente,
Than shulde he fully Thy grace fele;
But for the offences to God i-doon
Many vengeaunces have befalle.
Whereof I wole you telle of oon,
It were to moch to telle of alle.
While that Rome was in excellence
Of all realmes in dignite,
And howe it felle for his offence,
Listinythe a while and ye shall see,
Howe it was wonen and brente
Of a Sowdon, that heathen was,
And for synne how it was shente;
As King Lowes witnessith that cas,
As it is wryten in romaunce
And founden in bokes of antiquyté
At Seinte Denyse Abbey in Fraunce,
There as cronycles remembrede be,
Howe Laban, the kinge of hie degre,
And syre and Sowdon of hie Babilon,
Conquerede grete parte of Christianté,
That was born in Askalon.
And in the cité of Agremare
Uppon the rivere of Flagote
At that tyme he sojorned there
Fulle roially, wel I wote,
With kinges twelfe and admyralles fourtene,
With many a baron and knightis ful boold,
That roialle were and semly to sene;
Here worthynesse al may not be told.
Hit bifelle bytwyxte March and Maye,
Whan kynde corage begynneth to pryke,
Whan frith and felde wexen gaye,
And every wight desirith his like,
Whan lovers slepen withe opyn yye
As nightyngalis on grene tre,
And sore desire that thai cowde flye,
That thay myghte withe here lovere be:
This worthy Sowdon in this seson
Shope him to grene woode to goon,
To chase the bore or the veneson,
The wolfe, the bere and the bawson.
He roode tho uppon a foreste stronde
With grete rowte and roialte,
The fairest, that was in all that londe,
With alauntes, lymmeris and racches free.
His huntes to chace he commaunde,
Here bugles boldely for to blowe,
To fere the beestis in that launde.
The Sowdon woxe wery i-nowe;
He rested him undere an holme tre,
Sittynge uppon a grene sete
Seynge a dromonde com sailyng in the see
Anone he charged to bekyn him with honde
To here of him tidinges newe.
The maister sende a man to londe,
Of divers langages was gode and trewe,
And saide `Lorde, this dromonde
Fro Babyloyne comen is,
That was worthe thousande poundis,
As it mete with shrewes i-wis,
Charged with perle and precious stones
And riche pelure and spicerye,
With oyle and bras qweynte for the nones 1
To presente yow, my lorde worthy.
A drift of wedire us droffe to Rome,
The Romaynes robbed us anone;
Of us thai slowgh ful many one.
With sorwe and care we be bygone.
Whereof, lorde, remedye
Ye ordeyne by youre barons boolde,
To wreke the of this vilané;
Or certes our blis is coolde.'
The Soudon hirynge this tythinge,
With egre chere he made a vowe
To Mahounde and to Appolyne,
That thai shulde by it dere i-nowe,
Er that he wente fro theyme.
`Where be ye, my kinges boolde,
My barons and my admyral?
Thes tidinges make myn herte coolde;
But I be venged, dyen I shalle.
Sire Ferumbras, my sone so dere,
Ye muste me comforte in this case:
My joye is alle in the nowe here
And in my doghter Dame Florypas.
Sortybraunce, my counselere,
Lete clepe him forthe to counsaile me,
And Oliborne, my chauncelere
And noble clerke of hie degre,
And Espiarde, my messangere,
To goon to Assye and to Aufrike
To kinges, princes ferre and nere,
Barons, admyralls and dukes frike,
Comaundinge hem uppon her legeaunce
To come in al hast unto me,
Wel armed with shelde and launse,
To Egremoure thon riche cité.'
In shorte tyme this message was wroghte
An hundred thouusande on a rowte.
That robbery was righte dere boght,
Was never none derrer withouten doughte.
The Kinge of Baldas, Sir Lukafere,
Of Aufryke lorde and governoure,
Spake to the Sowdon, that men myghte here,
And saide `Sir, for thyn honoure,
Do sende for shippes both fere and nere.'
Carrikes, galeis and shippes shene,
Sefen hundred were gadered al in fere
And a dromonde for the Sowden kene.
Sir Ferumbras of Alisaundre
In the dromonde with him was,
Of Assy the Kinge of Chaundere,
And his faire doghter Floripas.
Two maistres were in the dromounde,
Two goddes on hye seten thore
In the maister toppe, withe macis rounde,
To manace with the Cristen lore.
The sailes were of rede sendelle,
Embrowdred with riche arraye,
With beestes and breddes every dele,
That was right curious and gaye;
The armes displaied of Laban
Of asure and foure lions of goolde.
Of Babiloyne the riche Sowdon,
Moost myghty man he was of moolde;
He made a vowe to Termagaunte:
Whan Rome were distroied and hade myschaunce,
He woolde turne ayen erraunte
And distroye Charles, the Kinge of Fraunce.
Forth thai sailed on the flode,
Tille thai come to the haven of Rome:
The wynde hem served; it was ful goode.
Ther londed many a grymlye gome.
Thai brente and slowen, that Cristen were,
Town, abbey and holy chirche.
The hethen hade such power there,
That moche woo gan thai there wirch.
Tidinggis came to Rome anone
Unto the pope, that that tyme was,
That the hethen came to bren and slone.
This was to hem a sory cas.
He lete cal his counsaile togeder
To wete what was beste to don.
Anone as thai were come thedere,
He asked of hem al ful sone:
`Lordinges, it is unknowne to you,
That this cursed hathen Sowdon
Brennyth and stroyeth oure pepul nowe,
Alive he leveth unneth not one.
Seint Petir be oure governoure
And save this worthi cité of Rome,
And Seinte Poule be oure gydoure
From this cursed hethen houne!'
Ifrez he bispake him than,
Of Rome he was a senatoure,
And saide, `Sendith some worthy man
To Charles, kinge of hye honoure.
He wolde you helpe with all his myghte,
That noble Kinge of dowse Fraunce.'
`Certes,' quod Savaris, `that weren no righte;
It were right a foule myschaunce,
To sende to that worthy kinge.
We have oure hedes yet al hole,
Oure sheldes be not broke no thinge,
Hawberke, spere, ner poleyne, ner pole. 2
Whereof shul we playn to him,
That no thinge yet have assaide?
Mech vylanye we myght wynne,
That for noght were so sone afrayed.
Ten thousande men delyvere me tyte
Tomorue next into the feelde,
And I shall prove with al my myghte
To breke there bothe spere and shelde.'
Unto the senatours it semed welle,
His consaile goode and honurable.
This worthi duke was armed in stele
In armes goode and profitable;
He bare a chek of goulis clere,
An egle of goolde abrode displayed,
With him many a bolde bachelere.
Tho spake Savaryz with wordes on hye
And saide, `My felowes alle,
This daie prove you men worthy,
And faire you al shal befalle.
Thenke yat Criste is more myghty
Than here fals goddis alle;
And He shal geve us the victorie,
And foule shal hem this day bifalle.'
Forth than rode that faire ooste
With right goode chere and randon,
Tille thay come ful nyghe the cooste
Of the Sowdons pavylon.
Ferumbras was of hem ware
And sprange out as a sparkil of glede.
Of armes bright a sheelde he bare;
A doughty man he was of dede.
Fyftene thousande came oute there
With him at that same tyde,
Ayen the Romaynes for to were,
With bobaunce, booste and grete pride.
The stoure was stronge, enduryng longe:
The Romaynes hade there the feelde;
The Sarysyns thai slough amonge,
Ten thousand and mo with spere and sheelde.
Savariz was wise and ware
And drowe towards that citee.
His baner displaied with him he bare
To releve with his meyné.
The pope with his senatours
Thanked God that tyme of glorie,
That gafe hem that day grete honours,
Of hethen that dai to have the victorie.
Lukafere, Kinge of Baldas,
The countrey hade serchid and sought,
Ten thousande maidyns fair of face
Unto the Sowdan hath he broghte.
The Sowdon commanded hem anone,
That thai shulde al be slayn.
Martires thai were everychon,
And therof were thai al ful fayne.
He said, `My peple nowe ne shalle
With hem noughte defouled be,
But I wole distroie over all
The sede over alle Cristianté.'
Tho spake Lukefere the Kinge,
That hethen hounde Baldas,
And saide, `Sir Sowdan, graunte me one thinge,
Thi doghter Dame Floripas.
The Kinge of Fraunce I shal the bringe
And the Twelfe Dosipers alle in fere.'
The Sowdan saide in that tokenyng,
`I graunte the here, that is so dere.'
Tho sayde Floripe, `Sire, noon haste,
He hath note done as he hath saide.
I trowe he speketh these wordes in waste;
He wole make bute an easy brayde.
Whan he bryngith home Charles the Kinge
And the Twelfe Dosipers alle,
I graunte to be his derlynge
What so evere therof byfalle.'
Than on the morowe the Sowdan
Callid to him Lukafere of Baldas,
To assaile the cité anone:
`And loke thou tary not in this cas!
Thritty thousande of my menie,
Of Gallopes, Ethiopes and Aufricanes,
Take hem to the walles with the.
Betith down wallis, towris and stones.'
Lukafere blewe his clarion
To assemble the Sarasyns that tide,
Whereof thai knewe right welle the soune.
Thai made hem redy for to ride,
But whan thai come to the yate,
The dikes were so develye depe,
Thai helde hemselfe chekmate;
Over cowde thai nothir goo nor crepe.
Lukafere in al the haste
Turned to the Sowdan agayn
And saide, `Sir, it is all in waste,
We laboure nowe alle in vayne.
To depe and brode the dikes bene,
The towres so stronge be with-alle,
That by Mahounde I can note seen,
How that we shulde wyne ther to the walle.'
Who was woode but the Sowdon?
He reneyed his goddis alle.
He clepede his engynour Sir Mavone,
To counsaile he did him faste calle.
He tolde him the case of that myschefe,
How it stode at that ilke tyde.
Mavon gafe him counsel in breefe
To fille the dikes that were depe.
`Every man to woode shal goon,
Fagotis to hewe and faste bynde,
And fille the dikes faste anoon
With alle that we may ther fynde.'
`Gramercy, Mavon,' quod Laban than,
`Mahoundis benysone thou shalt have,
Of all myn ooste the wiseste man,
With counsaile men for to save.'
Alle this was done the seconde daye,
Men myght go even to the walle.
On every party the ooste laye;
Thai made assaite then generalle.
The Romayns ronnen to the toures,
Thai were in ful grete dowte;
Thai hade many sharpe shoures,
Thai were assailed sore abowte.
Wifis and maidyns stones thai bare
To the walles than ful faste,
Thai were in grete drede and care;
The men over the wallis did caste.
Thai slowen many a Sarasyn,
Ten thousande pepul of hem and moo.
The daie passed to the fyne;
The hethen withdrowe hem tho.
Whan these tidinges came to Laban,
His goddes he gan chide.
He waxe both blake, pale and wan,
He was nyghe woode that same tyde.
Tho Lukafer comfortede him welle
And saide `Sir, be not dismayed,
For I have aspied everydele,
Howe thai shalle alle be betrayede.
Savariz wole tomorowe with us fighte,
His baner knowe I ful welle;
I shal have an othere, I you plighte,
Like to this every dele.
When he is moste besy in bataile,
Than wole I with banere displaiede
Ride into Rome without faile,
Thus shal thai al be betrayede.'
The Sowdan was glad of this tidinge,
Hopinge it shulde be so;
And even as it was in purposynge,
Right so was it aftir i-do.
Wenynge it hade be Savarye,
Relevinge fro the hethen stoure -
Wenynge doth ofte harme, withoute lye -
He entred to the maister toure.
The firste warde thus thay wonne
By this fals contrevede engyne.
Thus was moche sorowe bygon,
Thai slough all that were therinne.
Whan Savariz saugh this discomfiture
Of the Romaynes in that tyme,
And howe harde than was here aventure,
Of sorowe that myghte he ryme
Of ten thousande men lefte no moo
But sexty men and twelfe,
And whan he sawe this myschief tho,
He turned homewarde agayn himselve.
By than he founde the gate shite
With Sarisyns that hade it wone;
And Estragot with him he mette
With bores hede, blake and donne.
For as a bore an hede hadde
And a grete mace stronge as stele.
He smote Savaryz as he were madde,
That dede to grounde he felle.
This Astrogot of Ethiop,
He was a kinge of grete strength;
Ther was none suche in Europe
So stronge and so longe in length.
I trowe he were a develes sone,
Of Belsabubbis lyne.
For ever he was thereto i-wone,
To do Cristen men grete pyne.
Whan tidinggis came to the Pope
That Duke Savaryz was dede slayn,
Than to woo turned alle his hope;
He dide calle than to counsaile
Alle the senatouris of Rome,
What thinge that myght hem most availe,
And what were beste to done.
Tho byspake a worthy man of counsaile,
An erille of the senatouris:
`The best counsaile that I can
Sending unto Charles the Kinge
Certifyinge him by your myssangeris
The myschief that ye are inne,
That he come with his dosyperys
To reskue Cristianté fro this hethen.'
All thai assentede anone therto;
The lettres were made in haste.
Thre messageres we ordeyn therto,
That went forthe at the laste.
At a posterne thai wente oute
Pryvely aboute mydnyght,
And passed through alle the route.
Of hem was war no wight.
But let we nowe the messangeris goon,
And speke we of Laban,
Howe he dide saile the cité anoon,
And commaundid that every man
Shulde withe pikeys or with bille
The wallis overthrowe,
That he myght the Romaynes kille,
Playnly on a rowe,
By water he ordeynede the shippes goon,
The bootis bownden to the maste,
That thai myght fight with hem anoon,
Honde of honde, that was here caste.
To the toure a bastile stode,
An engyne was i-throwe -
That was to the cité ful goode - 3
And brake down towres both hie and lowe.
Tho sorowede alle the citesyns
And were ful hevy than.
Tho wox prowde the Sarasyns,
And than bispake Sire Laban
And saide, `Yolde youe here to me,
Ye may not longe endure,
Or ellis shall ye al slayn be,
By Mahounde I you ensure.'
A Romayne drife a darte him to
And smote him on the breste plate,
Ne hadde his hawberke lasted tho,
Mahounde had come to late.
Tho was the Sowdon more than wod.
He cried to Ferumbras,
`For Mahoundes love, that is so good,
Destroye up bothe man and place.
Spare no thinge that is alyve,
Hows, toure ner walle,
Beest ner man, childe nere wife,
Brenne, slo and distroye alle.'
Tho Ferumbras ordeynede anone
To bende the engynes to the town
And bete down both toure and stoon.
He cleped forth Fortibraunce and Mavon
And saide, `Be youre engynes goode?
Shewe forth here nowe your crafte
For Mahoundis love, that gevith man foode,
That ther be no toure lafte.'
Tho the grete gloton Estagote
With his myghty mace sware
On the gatis of Rome he smote
And brake hem alle on thre thare.
In he entrid at the gate
The portecolis on him thai lete falle.
He wende he hade come to late;
It smote him through herte, lyver and galle.
He lai cryande at the grounde
Like a develle of helle;
Through the cité wente the sowne,
So lowde than gan he yelle.
Gladde were all the Romaynes,
That he was take in the trappe,
And sorye were al the Sarsyns
Of that myschevos happe.
Sory was the Soudon than
And Ferumbras and Lukafere.
Thai drowe hem till her tentes than -
Thai lefte him ligginge there.
Mahounde toke his soule to him
And broght it to his blis.
He loved him wel and al his kyn,
Of that myghte he not mys.
Anone the Pope dide somon alle;
The peple of the cité came.
To Seinte Petris he dide hem calle,
And thidere came every man.
He saide on hie, `My children dere,
Ye wote wel howe it is;
Ayenst the Sarisyns that nowe be here,
We mowe not longe endure, i-wis.
Thay brekene oure walles, oure toures alle
With caste of his engyne.
Therefore here amonge you alle
Ye shall here counsaile myne.
Thai bene withdrawe to here oost,
And on-armede thay ben alle.
Therefore, me thenketh, is beste
Tomorowe erly on hem to falle.
We have thirti thousande men;
Twenty thousande shal go with me,
And in this cité leve ten
To governe the comynalté.'
The senatouris assentede sone
And saide, `Beter myghte no man seyne.'
On the morowe this was it done;
God bringe hem wele home agayne.
The Pope did display than
The hie baner of Rome,
And he assoiled every man
Through gracious God in dome.
He praide of helpe and socoure
Seinte Petir and Poule also
And Oure Lady, that swete floure,
To save the cité of Rome from woo.
Forth thai riden towarde the oost.
Ferumbras romede aboute.
He saw the Romaynes comen by the cost;
Thereof he hade grete dowte.
He blewe an horne, of bras it was;
The Sarsyns begon to wake.
`Arise up,' he saide in a ras,
`We bene elles alle i-take;
And armes anone, every wight!
To horse with spere and shelde!
Ye may se here a ferefull sighte
Of oure enemyes in the felde.
Ascopars, goo ye biforne us,
For ye be men of myghte;
Ethiopes, Assaynez and Askalous,
Go nexte afore my sighte.
My fadir and I, with Babyloynes,
Ho shal kepe the rerewarde.
King Lukafere with Baldeseynes,
To venge alle, shalle have the fowarde.'
The Romaynes aspied that thai were ware
Of here comynge than,
And therfore hade thay moche care.
Natheles on hem thai gon -
Seinte Petir be here socoure! -
And laiden on side, bake and bon.
There bigan a sturdy shoure.
Sire Ferumbras of Alisaundre oon,
That bolde man was in dede,
Uppon a steede Cassaundre gaye,
He roode in riche weede.
Sire Bryer of Poyle, a Romayne to fraye,
He bare through with a spere;
Dede to the grounde ther he lan.
Might he no more hem dere!
That sawe Huberte, a worthy man,
Howe Briere was i-slayn;
Ferumbras to qwite than
To him he rode ful even.
With a spere uppone his shelde than
Stifly ganne he strike;
The shelde he brake i-myddis the feelde;
His hawberke wolde not breke.
Many goode strokes were delte.
Ferumbras was agreved tho;
He smote with mayne and myghte
The nekke asonder, the ventayle also,
That dede he sate uprighte.
There was bataile harde and stronge;
Many a steede wente ther astraye,
And leyen at the grounde i-stonge,
That resyn never aftyr that day,
Nine thousand of the payens pride
That day were slayn,
And eyghte thousande of the Romaynes side,
That in the feelde dede layne.
Lukafere, that paynym proude,
Slough Romaynes eyghtene.
Of werre moche sorowe he coude;
His strokes were over alle sene.
Gyndarde, a senatoure of Rome,
Hade slayne Sarsenys ten,
Tille he met with the cursed gome;
Lukifere slough him than.
Tho come the Pope with grete aray;
His baner to-fore him wente.
Ferumbras than gan to assaye
If he myght that praye entente,
Supposynge in this thoughte,
Ther was the soverayne;
He spared him therfore right noght,
But bare him down ther in the playn.
Anoon he sterte on him all ane
His ventayle for to onlace,
And saugh his crown newe shafe,
Ashamed thanne he was.
`Fye, preest, God gyfe the sorowe!
What doist thou armede in the feelde,
That sholdest saie thi matyns on morwe?
What doist thou with spere and shelde?
I hoped thou hadiste ben an emperoure,
Or a cheftayne of this ooste here,
Or some worthy conqueroure.
Go home and kepe thy qwere!
Shame it were to me certayne
To sle the in this bataile;
Therfore turne the home agayn!'
The Pope was gladde therof certayne.
He wente home to Rome that nyght
With five thousande and no more;
Fiftene thousande lefte in the feelde aplight,
Full grete sorowe was therfore.
Nowe telle we of the messangere,
That wente to Charlemayne,
Certyfyinge him by lettres dere,
Howe the Romaynes were slayne,
And howe the contrey brente was
Unto the gate of Rome,
And howe the people song `Alas,'
Tille socoure from him come.
`Who,' quod Charles, that worthy kinge,
`The Sowdon and Ferumbras?
I nyl lette for no thinge,
Till I him oute of Cristendome chace.
Therefore Gy of Burgoyn,
Mynne owen nevewe so trewe,
Take a thausande pounde of frankis fyne,
To wage wyth the pepul newe.
Take this with the nowe at this tyme
And more I wole sende the.
Loke that thou spare no hors ne shelde,
But that he dede be;
And faste hye the thyderwarde,
For I drede thay have grete nede,
And I shalle come aftirwarde
As faste as I may me spede.'
Speke we of Sir Laban
And let Charles and Gy be,
Howe he ordeyned for hem than
To distroye Rome citee.
`Sir Lukafere, thou madiste thi boost
To conquere the Romaynes
And to bringe me the ooste
Of the Twelfe Peris and Charlemayne.
Uppon a condicion I graunte the
My doghter, dere Dame Floripas.
Wherefore I aske nowe of the
To holde covenaunte in this cas.'
`That I saide,' quod Lucafere,
`To Mahounde I make a vowe
To done al that I hight the there,
Ye and more than for Florip love.'
He ordeyned assaute anone in haste
With ten thousande men and moo;
And Ferumbras at that other side faste
Assailed hem with grete woo.
The saute endured al that daye
From morowe tille it was nyght,
To throwe and shete by every waye,
While that hem endured the light.
Tho wente thai home to thaire tentys,
Tille it were on the morowe.
Isres, in his fals ententes,
Purposed treason and sorowe.
He was chief porter of the town,
By heritage and fee so he shulde be.
He wente to the Sowdan,
For the riche cité betraye woolde he,
And saide, `Lorde, gife me grace
For my goodes and for me,
And I wole delyver the this place
To have and holde for ever in fee.
The keyes of this riche cité
I have in my bandon.'
`That graunte I,' quod Laban, `the
To be free withoute raunson.'
Ferumbras made him yare,
With twenti thousand men and moo,
With this Isres for to fare,
And to wynne the cité soo.
As sone as he entred was
The chief gate of alle,
And alle his men in aras,
He lete the portcolys falle.
He smote of the traitourus hede
And saide, `God gife him care!
Shal he never more ete brede.
All traitours evel mot thai fare.
If he myght leve and reigne here,
He wolde betraye me;
For go he west, south or north,
Traitour shalle he never be.'
He dide lete bere his hede on a spere 4
Throughoute this faire citee.
`Treson, treson,' thai cried there;
Pite it was to here and see.
The people fled by every waye;
Thai durst nowhere abide.
The hyewey ful of dede men laye,
And eke by every lanys side.
Ferumbras to Seinte Petris wente,
And alle the relekes he seased anoon,
The Crosse, the Crown, the Nailes bente;
He toke hem with him everychone.
He dide dispoile al the cité
Both of tresoure and of goolde,
And after that brente he
Alle that ever myght be toolde.
And alle the tresoure with hem thai bare
To the cité of Egremoure.
Laban the Sowdon sojourned there
Thre monthes and thre dayes more
In myrth and joye and grete solas.
And to his goddes offrynge he made.
He and his sone Sir Ferumbras
Here goddis of golde dide fade;
Thai brente frankensense
That smoked up so stronge
The fume in her presence,
It lasted alle alonge.
Thai blewe hornes of bras;
Thai dronke beestes bloode.
Milke and hony ther was,
That was roial and goode.
Serpentes in oyle were fryed
To serve the Sowdon with-alle;
`Antrarian, antrarian,' thai lowde cryed
That signyfied `Joye generalle.'
Thus thai lived in joye and blis
Two monthes or thre.
Lete we now be alle this,
And of Gye nowe speke we.
Now speke we of Sir Gye
That toward Rome hied with his oost.
Whan he approched thereto so nyghe
That he myght se the cooste,
Alle on a flame that cité was
That thre myle al abowte
Ther durst no man that ther was
Come nyghe the cité for grete dowte.
That was a sory cité than,
Sir Gye was in grete care,
Ther was nowhere a soryer man,
For sorowe he sighed ful sare
And saide `Welallas the while
For we come ar to late.
For by some treson or some gyle
Thai entred in at some gate.
There is no more but for to abyde
Tille Charles come, the Kinge,
In this mede under grene wode side,
To telle him of this tithinge,
Howe Laban hath the cité brente
And bore the reliqes awaye,
And howe he hath hem to Spayne sente
With shippes of grete aray,
To Egremoure his chief cité,
Ther to live and ende;
And manassith Charles and his baronye.
God gife hem evelle ende!'
King Charles he forgate nought
To come to reskowe Rome.
Alle his dozypers were i-sought;
Fulle sone to him thay come.
Thre hundred thousande of sowdeoures
Kinge Charles with him dide lede,
They were doughty in all stourys
And worthy men of dede.
Sir Roulande that worthy knighte,
He ladde the fowarde,
And Sir Olyvere, that was so wighte,
Governed the rerewarde.
The Kinge himselfe and his baronye,
With dukes and erilles roialle,
Governed alle the medil partye.
By commaundemente generall
He ordeynede grete plenté
Of flessh and fissh, brede and wyne,
In shippes to saile by the see,
To serven him ful wel and fyne.
Sir Gye aspied his comynge,
He knewe the baner of Fraunce,
He wente anoon ayen the Kinge
And tolde him of that myschaunce,
Howe that the cursed Sowdan
Hath brent Rome and bore the relekis awaye,
And how he hath slayn alle and some,
That he hath founde of Cristen faye.
And moreover he made his avowe,
To seke Kinge Charles in Fraunce
And do him wo ther i-nowe.
God gif him moch myschaunce!
`A,' quod Charles, `that nedith noght,
He shal fynde me nere.
By God, that dere me boght,
He shal by it ful dere.
I shalle him never leve, i-wis,
Withinne walle ner withoute,
I swere by God and Seinte Denys,
Tille I have sought him oute;
And but if he will baptised be
And lefe his fals laye,
Babyloyne shal he never see
For alle his grete aray.
Anoon to shippe every man
With vitaile and with store,
Even towarde the proud Sawdan
Withouten any more.'
Wynde him blewe ful fayre and goode
Into the ryver of Gase,
Even over the salte flode
And over the profounde rase.
Thirti legeez from Egremoure
By londe forsouth it is,
And ther withoute any more
To londe thai wente i-wis,
And brente and sloughen al that thai fonde,
And stroyed both toure and town.
Thai lefte no thinge on grounde,
That thai ne bete it down.
Tithinggis were tolde to Laban,
Howe Charles was i-come
And slough bouth childe, wyfe, man
And brente and stroyed alle and some
With thre hundred thousand of bacheleris,
That were both stoute and gaye,
And with him al his dosyperis,
Pepul of grete araye.
`And but ye ordeyne remedy,
He wole you brenne and sloon,
Youe and youre riche baronye,
He wole leve alife nevere oon.'
Whan Laban herde these tidyngys,
His herte woxe alle coolde
And saide, `This is a wonder thinge!
Howe durste he be so boolde?
Litill kennyth he what I may doo.
He dredith me litil nowe,
But certes he shalle, ere he goo -
To Mahounde I make a vowe.'
Sir Lucafere and Ferumbras
To him dide he calle
And Mavon and Sortebras
And his barons alle.
`I charge you uppon your legeaunce
That ye bringe me that gloton
That clepeth himselfe Kinge of Fraunce,
Hidere to my pavilon.
Kepe him alive; the remenaunte sle,
The Twelfe Peris ychoon.
I shalle tech him curtesye,
I swere by god Mahounde.'
Ferumbras anoon than
Arrayed him for to ride
With proude Sarasyns many a man,
That boldely durst abide.
Rowlande met with Ferumbras
And gafe him such a stroke
That al astonyed therof he was,
It made him lowe to stoupe.
Ferombras smote him agayne
With myghte and mayn, with ire
That he stenyed alle his brayne;
Him thought his eyen were alle on fyre.
With Lucafere Olivere mette
And hit him on the sheelde
A stroke that was right wel sette;
A quarter flye in the feelde.
Thus thai hurteled togedere
Alle the lefelonge daye,
Nowe hider and nowe theder;
Mony an hors wente ther astraye.
The dosyperis thay foughten wele,
Duke Neymys and Ogere,
With goode swerdes of fyne stele
And so dide Gye and Syr Bryere.
Ferumbras was ever abowte
To fyghte with Olyvere,
And Olyvere withoute dowte
Leyde on with goode chere.
Kinge Charles saugh Ferumbras;
To him fast he rode
And it on the helme with his mace.
That stroke sadlye abode.
Ferumbras was woode for woo,
He myght for prees come him to
For no worldis thinge that myght be tho.
King Charles anoon Joye oute-drowe,
And with his owen honde
Thirti Sarseynys ther he slowe,
That laie dede uppone the sonde;
Many of hem therfore made joy inowe.
Sir Lucafere of Baldas,
He presed to Charles sone,
And saide, `Sir, with harde grace,
What hastowe here to done?
I behight Laban to bringe the to him
And the Twelfe Peris alle;
Now shaltowe come from al thy kyn
Into the Sowdans halle.
Yelde the to me,' he saide;
`Thy life shalle I safe.'
A stroke on him than Charles layde;
He made the paynym to rafe.
He smote him on the helme
With Mownjoye, his gode bronde.
Ne hadde he be reskued than,
He hade slayn him with his honde.
Than came Baldesyns with thronge
To reskue there here lorde,
And Nubens with hem amonge
And Turkes by one accorde.
Tho Roulande Durendale oute-drowe
And made romme abowte.
Forti of hem ther he slowe;
Tho were thai in grete dowte.
Roulande as fiers as a lion
With Durendale tho dinge
Uppon the Sarsyns crowne,
As harde as he myght flynge.
Duke Neymys and Sir Olyvere,
Gy and Alloreynes of Loreyne,
And alle the noble Twelfe Peris,
Ogere and Bryere of Brytayne,
Thai foughten as feythfully in that fight,
The feelde ful of dede men laye.
Thirti thousande, I you plight,
Of Sarsenys ther were slayn.
Al thinge moste have an ende.
The nyghte come on ful sone;
Every wighte retourned to wende.
Ferumbras to his men gan gone
And saide, `Oure hornes blowe we;
This day have we a ful ille afraye.
To saie the south and not to lye,
Oure goddis holpe us not todaye,
What devel that ever hem eilith.
This bataile was so sharpe, in faye,
That many a man it wailyth.
Shalle I never in herte be glade todaye,
Till I may preve my myghte
With Roulande, that proude ladde,
Or with Olyvere, that is so lighte,
That evel hath us ladde;
And in Paris be crowned kinge
In despite of hem alle,
I wole leve for no thinge
What so evere byfalle.'
King Charles with grete honoure
Wente to his pavilon;
Of the treyumple he bare the floure
In dispite of Mahounde.
Almyghty God and Seynte Denyse
He thanked ful ofte sithe
And Oure Lady, Marie of Paris,
That made hem gladde and blith.
He recomendide the olde knightes,
That that daye hade the victorye,
And charged the yonge with al her myghtes
To have hem in memorye;
`For worthynesse wole not be hadde,
But it be ofte soughte,
Ner knighthode wole not ben hadde,
Tille it be dere boghte.
Therfore ye knightes, yonge of age,
Of oolde ye may now lere,
Howe ye shalle both hurle and rage
In felde with sheelde and spere.
And take ensample of the Twelfe Peris,
Howe thai have proved her myght,
And howe thai were both wight and fiers
To wynnen honourys in righte.
These hethen houndes we shal a-tame
By God in magisté,
Let us make myrth in Goddis name
And to souper nowe goo we.''
`O thow, rede Mars armypotente,
That in the trende baye has made thy trone,
That god art of bataile and regent
And rulist alle that alone,
To whom I profre precious present,
To the makande my moone
With herte, body and alle myn entente,
A crown of precious stoones,
And howe to the I gyfe
Withouten fraude or engyne,
Uppon thy day to make offerynge,
And so shal I ever, while that I live,
By righte that longith to my laye,
In worshipe of thy reverence
On thyn owen Tewesdaye
With myrre, aloes and frankensense,
Uppon condicion that thou me graunte
The victorye of Crystyn dogges,
And that I may some hem adaunte
And sle hem down as hogges,
That have done me distruccion
And grete disherytaunce
And eke slayn my men with wronge.
Mahounde gyfe hem myschaunce!'
In the semely seson of the yere,
Of softenesse of the sonne,
In the prymsauns of grene vere,
Whan floures spryngyn and bygynne,
And alle the floures in the frith
Freshly shews here kynde,
Than it is semely therwyth
That manhode be in mynde;
For corage wole a man to kith,
If he of menske have mynde,
And of love to lystyn and lithe,
And to seke honure for that ende.
For he was nevere gode werryoure
That cowde not love aryght;
For love hath made many a conqueroure
And many a worthy knighte.
This worthy Sowdan, though he hethen were,
He was a worthy conqueroure;
Many a contrey with shelde and spere
He conquerede wyth grete honoure
And his worthy sone Ferumbras,
That kinge was of Alisaundre,
And Lucafere of Baldas,
That cruel Kinge of Cassaundre,
That wroughten wonders with here honde
With myghte and mayne for to fyghte,
And over-ride mony a manly londe,
As men of armes hardy and wighte.
The Sowdan seyinge this myschief,
How Charles hade him agreved,
That grevaunce was him no thinge lese;
He was ful sore ameved.
He sente oute his bassatoures
To realmes, provynces ferre and nere,
To townes, citeis, castels and tours,
To come to him there he were,
To Inde Major and to Assye,
To Ascoloyne, Venys, Frige and Ethiope,
To Nubye, Turkye and Barbarye,
To Macedoine, Bulgare and to Europe.
All these people was gadred to Agremore,
Thre hundred thousand of Sarsyns felle,
Some bloo, some yolowe, some blake as More,
Some horible and stronge as devel of helle.
He made hem drinke wilde beestes bloode,
Of tigre, antilope and of camalyon,
As is her use to egre her mode,
When thai in were to battayle goon.
He saide to hem, `My frendes dere,
As my trust is alle in you,
On these Frenche dogges, that bene here,
Ye moste avenge me nowe.
Thai have done me vilanye;
Mikille of my people have thay slayn.
And yet moreover thay manace me
And drive me to my contrey agayn;
Wherefore I wole at the bygynnynge
To Mahounde and to my goddis alle
Make a solempne offerynge;
The better shall it us byfalle.
The laste tyme thai were wrothe,
We had not done our duté.
Therefore to saye the southe' . . .
There were many hornys blowe.
The preestes senden thikke i-nowe;
Goolde, and silver thikke thai throwe,
With noyse and crye thai beestes slowe,
And thought to spede wel i-nowe.thrive
And every man his vowe he made
To venge the Sowdan of his tene.
Here goddis of golde thai wex alle fade:
The smoke so grete was hem bitwene.
Whan alle was done, the Sowdan than
Charged Ferumbras redy to be
On the morowe, ere day began,
To ride oute of that cité
With thirti thousande of Assiens,
Frigys, Paens and Ascoloynes,
Turkis, Indeis and Venysyens,
Barbarens, Ethiopes and Macidoynes,
`Bringe him to me, that proude kinge;
I shal him teche curtesye.
Loke that thou leve for nothinge
To sle alle his other mayne,
Safe Rouland and Olyvere,
That bene of grete renowne,
If thai wole reneye here goddis there
And leven on myghty Mahounde.'
Ferumbras with grete araye
Rode forthe, Mahounde him spede,
Tille he came nyghe there Charles lay
Bysyde in a grene mede.
In a woode he buskede his men
Prively that same tyde,
And with his felowes noon but ten
To Kinge Charles he gan ride
And said, `Sire Kinge, that arte so kene,
Upon trwes I come to speke with the.
If thou be curteis, as I wene,
Thou wolte graunte a bone to me,
That I mighte fight uppon this grene,
With Rouland, Olyvere and Gye,
Duke Neymes and Ogere i-mene,
Ye and Duke Richarde of Normandye -
With al sex attones to fight.
My body I profre here to the
And requyre the, Kinge, thou do me right,
As thou art gentille lord and fre,
And if I may conquere hem in fere,
To lede them home to my faderis halle;
And if thai me, I graunte the here
To be thy man, body and alle.'
The Kinge answered with wordis mylde
And saide, `Felowe, that nedith nought;
I shal fynde of myn a childe
That shal the fynde that thou hast sought.'
The Kinge lete calle Sir Roulande
And saide, `Thou most with this man fight,
To take this bataile here on honde,
Therto God gyfe the grace and myghte!'
Roulande answered with woordis boolde
And saide, `Sir, have me excused!'
He saide certeynly he ne wolde;
The bataile uttirly he refused.
`The laste day ye preised faste
The oolde knightes of here worthynes.
Let hem goon forth - I have no haste;
Thai may goo shewen here prowes.'show
For that worde the Kinge was wrothe
And smote him on the mouthe on hye,
The bloode at his nose oute-goth,
And saide, `Traitour, thou shalte abye.'
`Abye,' quod Roulande, `wole I noughte,
And traitour was I never none,
By that Lord, that me dere hath bought!'
And braide oute Durendale there anone.
He wolde have smyten the Kinge there
Ne hadde the barons ronne bytwene;
The Kinge withdrowe him for fere
And passed home as it myght beste bene.
The barons made hem at one
With grete prayere and instaunce,
As every wrath moste over-gone,
Of the more myschiefe to make voydaunce.
Olyvere herde telle of this,
That in his bedde laye seke sore.
He armede him ful sone i-wisse,
And to the Kinge he wente withoute more
And saide, `Sir Kinge, a bone graunte me
For alle the servyse that I have done,
To fight with that kinge so free
Tomorue day, ere it be none.'
Charles answered to Olyvere:
`Thou arte seke and woundede sore,
And thou also my cosyn dere;
Therfore speke thereof no more.'
`Sir Kinge,' he saide, `I am alle hoole.
I aske you this bone in Goddis name.'
`Certes,' he saide, `I holde the a fole,
But I praye God sheelde the fro shame.'
Forth he rideth in that forest
Tille he gan Ferumbras see,
Where he was light and toke his rest,
His stede renewed til a grene tre.
`Sir,' he saide, `reste thou wele.
King Charles sente me hidure.
If thou be curteys knighte and lele,
Rise up and let us fight togeder.'
Ferumbras sate stille and lough;
Him liste not to rise oute of the place.
`My felowe,' quod he, `what arte thou?
Telle me thy name for Goddis grace.'
`Sir,' he saide, `Generyse,
A yonge knighte late dobbet newe.'
`By Mahounde,' quod he, `thou arte not wyse,
For thy comyng shaltowe sore rewe.
I holde Charles but a foole
To sende the hidere to me.
I shall the lerne a newe scole
If thoue so hardy to fighte be.
I wende he wolde have sende Roulande,
Olyvere and four mo dosyperys,
That hade bene myghty men of honde,
Bataile to abide stronge and fiers.
With the me liste no playe begynne;
Ride agayn and saye him so.
Of the may I no worshype wynne,
Though I slough the and such five mo.'
`Howe longe,' quod Olyvere, `wiltowe plete?
Take thyn armes and come to me,
And prove that thou saiest in dede,
For boost thou blowest, as thenketh me.'
Whan Ferumbras herde him speke so wel,
He caught his helme in grete ire,
That wroght was of goode fyne stele
With perlis pight, rubeis and saphire.
Olyvere halpe him it to onlase;
Gilte it was alle abowte.
Ferumbras thanked him of his grace
And curteisly to him gan lowte.
Thai worthed up on here stedes,
To juste thai made hem preest,
Of armes to shewe here myghty dedis
Thai layden here speres in areeste.
Togeder thai ronnen as fire of thondere,
That both here launces to-braste.
That they seten, it was grete wonder;
So harde it was that thay gan threste.
Tho drowen thai oute here swordes kene
And smyten togeder by one assente.
There thai hitten, it was wele sene;
To sle eche other was here entente.
Syr Ferumbras smote Olyvere
Uppon the helme righte on hye
With his swerde of metel clere,
That the fyre he made oute-flye.
Olyvere him hitte agayn
Upon the hede than fulle sone;
He carfe awaye with myght and mayne
The cercle that sate uppon his crown.
The stroke glode down by his bake;
The arson he smot ther awaye
And the botelles of bawme withoute lake,
That uppone the grene ther thai laye,
That were trussed byhynde him faste.
Tho Ferumbras was full woo.
Olyvere light adown in haste.
The botellis he seased both two;
He threwe hem into the river than
As ferre as he myghte throwe.
`Alas,' quod Ferumbras, `what deistowe, manne?
Thou art wode, as I trowe.
Thai were worth an hundred thousand pounde
To a man that were wounded sore.
Ther was no preciosour thinge uppon grounde
That myghte helpe a man more.
Thou shalt abye, by Mahounde,
That is a man of myghtes moost.
I shall breke both bake and crown
And sle the ther thou goist.'
Tho Olyvere worth up agayn,
His swerde he hade oute i-drawe.
Ferumbras him smote with mayne
And mente to have him slawe.
He smote as doth the dinte of thondir;
It glased down by his sheelde
And carfe his stedes neke asonder
That dede he fille in the felde.
Wightly Olyvere up-sterte
As bacheler, doughti of dede,
With swerde in honde him for to hirte
Or Ferumbras goode stede.
That Ferumbras aspied welle;
He rode awaye than ful faste
And tiede him to a grene hasel,
And come ayen to him in haste
And saide, `Nowe yelde the to me -
Thou maiste not longe endure -
And leve on Mahounde, that is so dere,
And thy life I shalle the ensure.
Thou shalt be a duke in my contré,
And men have at thyn owen wille.
To my sustir shaltowe wedded be -
It were pité the for to spille!'
`Better,' quod Olyvere, `shul we dele,
By God that is in magisté,
And of my strokes shaltow more fele,
Er I to the shalle yelde me.'
Thai smeten togeder with egre mode,
And nathir of othire dradde;
Thai persed here hauberkes that were so goode
Tille both thayr bodyes bladde.
Thay foughten soo longe that by assente
Thai drewe hem a litil bysyde,
A litil while thaym to avente,
And refresshed hem at that tyde.
`Generis,' quod Ferumbras,
`As thou arte here gentil knighte,
Telle me nowe here in this place
Of thy kyn and what thou hight;
Me thenkith by the now evermore,
Thou shuldist be one of the Twelfe Peris,
That maiste fighte with me so sore,
And arte so stronge, worthy and fiers.'
Olyvere answered to hym agayn:
`For fere I leve it not ontoolde:
My name is Olyvere certayn,
Cousyn to Kynge Charles the boolde,
To whome I shalle the sende
Qwikke or dede this same daye,
By conqueste here in this feelde,
And make the to renye thy laye.'
`O,' quod Ferumbras than to Olyvere,
`Welcome thou arte into this place;
I have desyrede many a yere
To gyfe the harde grace.
Thou slough myn uncle Sir Persagyne,
The doughty Kinge of Italye,
The worthyeste kinge that lyved of men.
By Mahounde, thou shalt abye!'
Tho thai dongen faste togedere
While the longe day endured,
Nowe hithere and nowe thidere;
Fro strokes wyth sheeldes here bodies thai covered.
And at the laste Olyvere smote him so
Uppon the helme, that was of stele,
That his swerde brake in two.
Tho wepen had he nevere a dele.
Who was woo but Olyvere than?
He saugh noone other remedy.
He saide, `Sire, as thou art gentile man,
On me nowe here have mercy.
It were grete shame i-wis,
And honure were it noon,
To sle a man wepenles;
That shame wolde nevere goon.'
`Nay traitour, thou getiste noon.
Hade I here an hundred and moo!
Knele down and yelde the here anoon,
And eles here I woole the sloo.'
Olyvere saugh it wolde not be
To truste to moch in his grace.
He ranne to the stede that stode by the tre;
A swerde he raught in that place
That was trussed on Ferumbras stede,
Of fyne stele goode and stronge.
He thought he quyte Ferumbras his mede.
Almoost hadde he abyde to longe;
For in turnynge Ferumbras him smote.
That stroke he myghte welle fele:
It come on hym so hevy and hoote
That down it made hym to knele.
Tho was Olyvere sore ashamede
And saide, `Thou cursed Sarasyne,
Thy proude pride shall be atamed,
By God and by Seinte Qwyntyne.
Thou hast stole on me that dynte;
I shall quyte the thyn hire.'
A stroke than Olyvere him lente,
That hym thought his eyen were on fire.
King Charles in his pavilon was
And loked towarde that fyghte
And saugh howe fiers Ferumbras
Made Olyvere knele down right.
Wo was him tho in his herte;
To Jhesu Criste he made his mone.
It was a sight of peynes smerte
That Olyvere kneled so sone:
`O Lord God in Trinite,
That of myghtis Thou arte moost,
By vertue of thy majesté
That alle knoweste and woste,
Lete not this hethen man
Thy servaunte overcome in fyght,
That on The bileve ne kan,
Jhesu Lorde, for Thy myghte!
But graunte Thy man the victorye,
And the paynym skomfited to be,
As Thou arte Almyghty God of glorye!
Nowe mekely, Lorde, I pray to The.'
To Charles anoone an aungel came
And broght him tidingges sone
That God had herde his praiere than
And graunte him his bone.
Tho Charles thanked God above
With herte and thought, worde and dede,
And saide, `Blessed be Thou, Lorde Almyghty,
That helpiste Thy servaunte in nede.'
These champions togedir thai gone
With strokes grete and eke sure.
Eche of hem donge othir on
Alle the while thai myghte endure.
Ferumbras brake his swerde
On Olyveris helme on hye.
Tho wexe he ful sore aferde;
He ranne for an othir redyly
And saide, `Olyvere, yelde the to me
And leve thy Cristen laye,
Thou shalte have alle my kingdome free
And alle aftir my daye.'
`Fye, Saresyne,' quod Olyvere than,
`Trowest thou that I were wode,
To forsake Him that made me man
And boght me with His hert blode.'
He raught a stroke to Ferumbras;
On his helme it gan down glyde.
It brast his hawberke at that ras
And carfe hym througheoute his syde.
His bare guttis men myght see;
The blode faste down ranne.
`Hoo, Olyvere, I yelde me to the,
And here I become thy man.
I am so hurte I may not stonde;
I put me alle in thy grace.
My goddis ben false by water and londe;
I reneye hem alle here in this place.
Baptised nowe wole I be.
To Jhesu Crist I wole me take -
That Charles the Kinge shal sene -
And alle my goddes forsake.
Take myn hawberke and do it on the;
Thou shalte have full grete nede.
Ten thousande Saresyns waiten uppon me,
And therfore go take my stede.
Lay me to-fore the, I the praye,
And lede me to thy tente.
Hye the faste forth in thy way,
That the Saresyns the not hente.'
Anoon it was done as he ordeynede,
And faste forth thai ryden.
The Saresyns anone assembled,
For to have with hem foghten.
Ferumbras saugh the feelde thore
Of Sarsynes fully filled;
Of Olyvere dradde he ful sore,
That Saresyns shulde him have killed.
He praide that he wolde let him down
`Undir yonde olyfe tree,
For if ye cast me down here, with hors shoon
Alle to-treden shalle I be.'
He priked forth and layde him thare
Out of the horses trase;
And with his swerde bygan him were,
For amonge hem alle he was.
A Saresyn smote him with a spere,
That it brake on pecis thre;
His hauberke myght he not dere,
So stronge and welle i-wroght was he.
He hit that Saresyns with his swerde
Through the helme into the brayne.
He made an other as sore aferde:
He smote of his arme with mayne.
But than come Roulande with Durnedale
And made way him abowte.
He slowe hem down in the vale;
Of him hade thai grete dowte.
The prees of Saresyns was so stronge
Aboute Roulande that tyde.
Thai sloughen his horsys with thronge
And dartis throwen on every syde.
Whan Roulande was on his fete,
Than was he woo with-alle.
Many of hem he felte yete
And dede to grounde made hem falle.
At the last his swerde brake,
Than hadde he wepyn noon,
As he smote a Saresyns bake
Asundre down to the arson.
Tho was he caught; he myght not flee.
His hondes thai bounden faste
And lad him forth to here cité,
And in depe prison they hem caste.
Olyvere sawe howe he was ladde.
A sorye man than was he;
Him hadde lever to have bene dede
Than suffren that myschief to be.
Smertly aftire he pursued tho
To reskue his dere brother.
The prees was so grete, he myghte not so -
It myghte be no othir
But he was caughte by verre force
With sixti of Ascopartes.
Thai hurte him foule and slough his hors
With gavylokes and wyth dartis.
Yet on foote, ere he were foolde
He slough of hem fiftene.
He was not slayn, as God woolde,
But taken and bounded with tene.
Tho were taken to Lucafere,
The proude Kinge of Baldas,
Both Roulande and Olyvere.
Gladde was he of that cas.
King Charles was in herte woo
When he saughe his nevewes so ladde;
He cried to the Frenshmen tho:
`Reskue we these knyghtes at nede.'
The Kynge himselfe slough many one;
So dede the barons bolde.did
It wolde not bene, thai were agon,
Magre whoso woolde.
The Saresyns drewe hem to here cité;
King Charles turned agayne.
He saugh under an holme tre
Where a knight him semed lay slayn.
Thederward he rode with swerde in honde.
Tho he saugh he was alyve;
He lay walowynge uppon the sonde
With blody woundes fyve.
`What arte thow?' quod Charlemayne,
`Who hath the hurte so sore?'
`I am Ferumbras,' he saide certayn,
`That am of hethen lore.'
`O fals Saresyn,' quod the Kinge,
`Thou shalte have sorowe astyte;
By the I have lost my two cosynes,
Thyn hede shalle I of-smyte.'
`O gentil Kinge,' quod Ferumbrase,
`Olyvere my maister me hightpromised
To be baptised by Goddis grace,
And to dyen a Cristen knighte.
Honure were it noon to the
A discoumfite man to slo,
That is converted and baptized wolde be
And thy man bycomen also.'
The Kinge hade pité of him than;
He toke him to his grace
And assyned anoon a man
To lede him to his place.
He sende to him his surgyne
To hele his woundes wyde.
He ordeyned to him such medycyn,
That sone myght he go and ryde.
The Kinge commaunded Bishope Turpyn
To make a fonte redye,
To baptise Ferumbras therin
In the name of God Almyghtye.
He was cristened in that welle.
Floreyne the Kinge alle him calle;
He forsoke the foule feende of helle
And his fals goddis alle.
Nought for than Ferumbras
Alle his life cleped was he,
And aftirwarde in somme place,
Floreyne of Rome cité.
God for him many myracles shewed,
So holy a man he bycame.
That witnessith both lerned and lewde:
The fame of him so ranne.
Nowe for to telle of Roulande
And of Olyvere, that worthy wos,
Howe thai were brought to the Sowdan
By the Kinge of Boldas.
The Sowdan hem sore affrayned
What that here names were.
Roulande saide and noght alayned,
`Sir Roulande and Sire Olyvere,
Nevewes to King Charles of Fraunce,
That worthy kinge and emperoure,
That nowe are takyn by myschaunce
To be prisoneres here in thy toure.'
`A, Olyvere, arte thou here
That haste my sone distroyede,
And Roulande that arte his fere,
That so ofte me hath anoyed?
To Mahounde I make a vowe here,
That tomorue, ere I do ete,
Ye shulle be slayn both qwik in fere,
And lives shalle ye bothe lete.'
Tho saide maide Florepas:
`My fader so dereworth and dere,
Ye shulle be avysed of this cas,
How and in what manere
My brothir, that is to prison take,
May be delyvered by hem nowe,
Bycause of these two knightes sake,
That bene in warde here with you.
Wherefore I counsaile you, my fader dere,
To have mynde of Sir Ferumbras.
Pute hem in youre prison here
Tille ye have better space,
So that ye have my brother agayn
For hem that ye have here;
And certeyn elles wole he be slayn
That is to you so lefe and dere.'
`A, Floripp, i-blessed thou bee,
Thy counsaile is goode at nede,
I wolde not leve my sone so free,
So Mahounde moost me spede,
For al the realme of hethen Spayne
That is so brode and large.
Sone clepe forth my gaylour Bretomayne,
That he of hem hadde his charge:
``Caste hem in your prison depe;
Mete and drinke gyfe hem none;
Chayne hem faste that thay not slepe;
For here goode daies bene a-gone.'''
Tho were thay cast in prison depe;
Every tyde the see came inne.
Thay myght not see, so was it myrke;
The watir wente to her chynne.
The salte watir hem greved sore,
Here woundis sore did smerte.
Hungir and thurste greved heme yet more:
It wente yet more nere here herte.
Who maye live withoute mete?
Six dayes hadde thay right none,
Ner drinke that thay myght gete,
Bute loked uppon the harde stone.
So on a daye, as God it wolde,
Floripas to hir garden wente
To geder floures in morne colde.
Here maydyns from hir she sente,
For she herde grete lamentacion
In the prison that was ther nye.
She supposed by ymagynacion
That it was the prisoners sory.
She wente here nerre to here more:
Thay wailed for defaute of mete.
She rued on hem anoon ful sore;
She thought how she myght hem beste it gete.
She spake to her maistras Maragounde
Howe she wolde the prisoneres fede.
The develle of helle hir confounde!
She wolde not assente to that dede
But saide, `Damesel, thou arte woode;
Thy fadir did us alle defende
Both mete and drinke and othere goode
That no man shulde hem thider sende.'
Floripe bythought hir on a gyle
And cleped Maragounde anoon right
To the wyndowe to come a while
And se ther a wonder syght:
`Loke oute,' she saide, `and see aferre
The porpais pley as thay were wode.'
Maragounde lokede oute; Floripe come nere
And shofed hire oute into the flode.
`Go there,' she said; `the devel the spede!
My consail shaltowe never biwry.
Whoso wole not helpe a man at nede
On evel deth mote he dye.'
She toke with hire maidyns two;
To Britomayne she wente hir waye
And saide to him she moste go
To viseten the prisoneris that daye
And saide, `Sir, for alle loves,
Lete me thy prisoneres seen.
I wole the gife both goolde and gloves,
And counsail shalle it been.'
Brytomayne, that jaylor kene,
Answered to hir sone agayne
And saide, `Damsel, so mote I then,
Than were I worthy to be slayn.
Hath not youre fader charged me
To kepe hem from every wyght?
And yet ye wole these traytours see.
I wole goo telle him anoon right.'
He gan to turne him anone for to go
To make a playnte on Floripas.
She sued him as faste as she myghte go
For to gif him harde grace.
With the keye cloge that she caught,
With goode wille she maute than.
Such a stroke she hym there raught,
The brayne sterte oute of his hede than.
To hire fader forth she goth
And saide, `Sire, I telle you here
I saugh a sight that was me loth:
Howe the fals jailour fedde your prisonere
And how the covenaunte made was
Whan thai shulde delyvered be;
Wherefore I slough him with a mace.
Dere fadir, forgif it me.'
`My doghtir dere, that arte so free,
The warde of hem now gif I the.
Loke here sorowe be evere newe
Tille that Ferumbras delyvered be.'
She thanked her fadere fele sithe
And toke her maydyns and forth she goth.
To the prisone she hyed hire swyth.
The prison dore up she dothe
And saide, `Sires, what be ye
That make here this ruly moone?
What you lakkith tellyth me
For we be here nowe alle alone.'
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
To Floripe that was bothe gente and fre
And saide, `Lo, we two caytyfes here
For defaute of mete dede moste be.
Six dayes be comyn and goon
Sith we were loked in prison here
That mete nor drinke had we noon
To comforte with oure hevy chere.
But woolde God of myghtes moost
The Sowdon wolde let us oute goon,
We to fight with alle his ooste
To be slayn in feelde anoon.
To murthir men for defaute of mete -
It is grete shame tille a kinge;
For every man most nedes ete,
Or ellis may he do no thinge.'
Tho saide Floripe with wordes mylde,
`I wolde fayne ye were now here.
From harme and skath I wole you shelde
And gife you mete with right gode chere.'
A rope to hem she lete down goon
That aboven was teyde faste.
She and hir maydyns drewe theruppon
Tille up thay hadde hem at the last.
She led hem into here chambir dere
That arrayed for hem was right wele,
Both Roulande and Olyvere,
And gafe hem there a right gode mele.
And whan thay hadde eten alle her fille
A bath for hem was redy there.
Therto thay went ful fayre and stille
And aftyr to bedde with right gode chere.
Now Floripas chamber is here prisone,
Withouten wetinge of the Sowdon;
Thai were ful mery in that dongeon,
For of hem wiste man never oone.
Now lete we hem be and mery make
Tille God sende hem gode delyveraunce.
Aftir the tyme that thay were take
What did Charles, the Kinge of Fraunce,
Therof wole we speke nowe -
Howe he cleped forth Sir Gy
And saide, `On my message shaltowe;
Therfore make the faste redy
To bidde the Sowden sende me my nevewes both
And the releqes also of Rome
Or I shal make him so wroth
He shall not wete what to done.
And by that God that hath me wroght
I shal him leve towre ner town.
This bargan shal so dere be bought
In despite of his god Mahoun.'
Duke Neymes of Bavere up stert than
And saide, `Sir, hastowe no mynde
How the cursed Sowdan Laban
Alle messengeris doth he shende?
Ye have lost inowe; lese no mo
Onworthily Olyvere and Roulande.'
`By God, and thou shalt with him go,
For al thy grete brode londe.'
Tho Ogere Danoys, that worthy man,
`Sir,' he saide, `be not wroth,
For he saith south.' - `Go thou than!
By Gode thou shalte, be thou never so loth.'
`A Sire,' quod Bery Lardeneys,
`Thou shalte hem se never more.'
`Go thou forth in this same rees,
Or it shalle the repente ful sore.'
Folk Baliante saide to the Kinge,
`Liste ye youre barons to lese?' 5
`Certis, this is a wondir thinge!
Go thou also; thou shalte not chese.'
Aleroyse rose up anone
And to the Kinge than gan he speke
And saide, `What thinke ye, sir, to done?'
`Dresse the forth with hem eke!'
Miron of Brabane spake an worde
And saide, `Sir, thou maiste do thy wille.
Knowist thou not that cruel lorde
How he wole thy barons spille?'
`Trusse the forth eke, Sir Dasaberde,
Or I shalle the sone make.
For of all thinge thou arte aferde,
Yet arte thou neyther hurte ner take.'captured
Bisshope Turpyn kneled adown
And saide, `Lege lorde, mercy.'
The Kinge him swore by Seynt Symon,
`Thou goist eke; make the in hast redye.'
Bernarde of Spurwse, that worthy knyght,
Saide, `Sir, avyse you bette;
Set not of your barons so light. 6
Thou maiste have nede to hem yette.'
`Thou shalte goon eke for alle thy boost;
Have done and make the fast yare.
Of my nede gyfe thou no coost;
Therof have thou right no care.'
Bryere of Mountes, that marqwys bolde,
Was not aferde to him to speke.
To the Kinge sharply he tolde
His witte was not worth a leke:
`Woltowe for angre thy barons sende
To that tiraunte that all men sleith?
Or thou doist, for that ende,
To bringe thy Twelfe Peres to the deth.'
The Kinge was wroth and swore in halle
By Him that boght him with His blode:
`On my messange shall ye gon alle,
Be ye never so wroth or wode.'
Thay toke here lefe and forth thay yede;
It availed not agayne him to sayne.
I pray God gif hem gode spede!
Ful harde it was to comen agayn.
Nowe let hem passe in Goddis name
And speke we of the Sowdon,
Howe he complayned him of his grame
And what that he myght beste done.
`Sortybraunce and Bronlande,' sayde he,
`Of consail ye be fulle wyse.
How shal I do to avenge me
Of Kinge Charles, and in what wyse?
He brennyth my toures and my citees,
And burges he levethe me never oon.
He stroieth my men, my londe, my fees.
Thus shalle it not longe goon.
And yet me greveth most of alle
He hath made Ferumbras renay his laye.
Therfore my counselors I calle
To remedy this howe thay best maye.
For me were lever that he were slayn
Thane he a Cristen hounde shulde be,
Or with wolfes be rente and slayn,
By Mahounde myghty of dignyté.'
To answerde Sortybraunce and Broulande
And saide, `Gode counsaile we shal you gyfen.
If thoue wilte do aftyr covenaunte,
It shal you profit while you lyven.
Take twelfe knightis of worthy dede
And sende hem to Charles on message nowe.
Araye hem welle in roial wede
For thy honoure and for thy prowe.
Bidde Charles sende thy sone to the
And voyde thy londe in alle haste
Or ellis thou shalt him honge on a tre
As hye as any shippes maste.'
`Nowe by Mahounde,' quod Laban,
`This counseil is both trewe and goode;
I shalle him leve for no man
To parforme this, though he were woode.'
He did his lettris write in haste;
The knightes were called to goo therwith
That thay hyghe hem to Charles faste
And charke hym uppon life and lithe.
Forth thai ride towarde Mantrible than.
In a medowe was fayre and grene
Thai mette with Charles messageris ten.
Duke Neymes axed hem what thai wolde mene
And saide, `Lordynges, whens come ye
And whider ye are mente, telle us this tyde.'
`From the worhty Sowdon,' than saide he,
`To Charles on message shalle we ride.
Evel tithyngges we shalle him telle
Fro Laban that is lorde of Spayne.
Farewelle, felowes, we may not dwelle.'
`Abyde,' quod Gy, `and turne agayne;
We wole speke with you er ye goon,
For we be messengeris of his.
Ye shal aby everichone,
So God brynge me to blis.'
Anoon here swerdes oute thay brayde
And smoten down right al aboute
Tille the hethen were down layde -
Thai reseyved many a sore cloute.
Thai smyten of here hedes alle;
Eche man toke one in his lappe.
Fal whatsoever byfalle,
To the Soudon wole they trappe.
Tille thai come to Egremoure
Thai stynte for no worldes thinge;
Anone thai fonde the Sawdan thore
At his mete proudely sittynge
And that maide, faire dame Floripas,
And fourtene princes of grete price
And Kinge Lukafere of Baldas
Thas was both bolde, hardy and wyse.
Doughty Duke Neymes of Bavere
To the Sowdone his message tolde
And said, `God that made heven so clere,
He save Kinge Charles so bolde
And confounde Laban and all his men
That on Mahounde byleved
And gife hem evel ending, amen.
Tomorue, long er it be even,
He commaundith the uppon thy life
His nevewes home to him sende
And the reliqes of Rome withoute strife,
And ellis getist thou an evel ende.
Twelfe lurdeynes mette us on the waye;
Thai saide thay come streight fro the.
Thai made it both stoute and gay. 7
Here hedis here maistowe see.
Thai saide thai wolde to Charles goon
Evel tiddingges him to telle.
Loo here here heddis everychone;
Here soulis bene in helle.'
`O,' quod Lavane, `what may this be,
To suffre this amonge my knightes alle,
To be rebuked thus here of the
At mete in myn owen halle?
To Mahounde myghty I make a vowe:
Ye shall be hanged alle ten
Anoon as I have eten i-nowe,
In presence of alle my men.'
Maide Floripas answered tho
And saide, `My derworth fadir dere,
By my counsaile ye shal not so
Tille ye have your barons alle in fere
That thai may se what is the best
For to delyvere my brother Sir Ferumbras;
And aftirward, if that ye liste,
Ye may gife hem ful evel grace.'
`Gramercy, doghter, thou saieste welle;
Take hem alle into thy warde.
Do feter hem faste in iren and stele
And set hem in strayghte garde.
Thus was I never rebukede er nowe.
Mahounde myghty gyfe hem sorowe!
Thay shalle be flayn and honged on a bowe
Long ere tyme tomorowe.'
Florip toke these messangeris
And ladde hem up into here toure,
There thai founde two of here feris.
Thay thanked thereof God of honoure.
Tho sayde Duke Neymys of Bavere,
`Gladde men we be nowe here
To fynde Roulande and Olyvere
In helthe of bodye and of goode chere.'
Thai kissed eche other with herte gladde
And thanked God of his grace;
And eche toolde othir howe thay sped hadde
And howe thay come into that place
By helpe of mayde Florip hireself:
`God kepe hir in honoure,
For thus hath she brought us hider alle twelfe
To dwelle in her owen boure.'
Tho thay wessh and wente to mete
And were served welle and fyne
Of suche goode as she myght gete,
Of venyson, brede and gode wyne.
There thai were gladde and wel at ease;
The Soudon ne wist in noght.
Aftyr thay slepe and toke her ese,
Of no man than thay ne roght.
On the morowe Florip, that mayde fre,
To Duke Neymes spake in game.
`Sir gentil knight,' tho saide she,
`Telle me, what is your name.'
`Whi axe ye, my lady dere,
My name here to knowe alle?'
`For he spake with so bolde chere
To my fadir yestirdaye in his halle.
Be not ye the Duke of Burgoyne, Sir Gy,
Nevewe unto the Kinge, Charles so fre?'
`Noe, certes, lady, it is not I;
It is yondir knight, that ye may see.'
`A, him have I loved many a day
And yet knowe I him noght
For his love I do alle that I maye
To chere you with dede and thought.
For his love wille I cristenede be
And lefe Mahoundes laye.
Spekith to him nowe for me,
As I you truste maye.
And but he wole graunte me his love,
Of you askape shalle none here.
By Him that is almyghty above,
Ye shalle abye it ellis ful dere.'
Tho wente Duke Neymes to Sir Gye
And saide, `This ladye loveth the;
For thy love she maketh us alle merye
And baptizede wole she be.
Ye shalle hir take to your wedded wife,
For alle us she may save.'
`By God,' quod Gye, `that gafe me life,
Her wole I never have;
Wyle I never take hire ner no woman
But Charles the Kinge hir me gife.
I hight him, as I was trewe man,
To holden it while I lyve.'
Tho spake Roulande and Olyvere,
Certifyinge him of here myschefe,
Tellinge him of the parelles that thay in were,
For to take this lady to his wedded wife.
`But thou helpe in this nede,
We be here in grete doute.
Almyghty God shalle quyte thy mede;
Elles come we nevere hennys oute.'
Thus thay treted him to and fro;
At the laste he sayde he wolde.
Floripas thay cleped forth tho
And brought fourth a cuppe of golde,
Ful of noble myghty wyne
And saide, `My love and my lorde,
Myn herte, my body, my goode is thyn,'
And kissed him with that worde.
And, `Sir,' she saide, `drink to me
As the gyse is of my londe;
And I shalle drink agayn to the
As to my worthy hosbonde.'
Thay clipped and kissed both in fere
And made grete joye and game
And so did alle that were there:
Thai made ful mery alle in same.
Tho spake Floripas to the barons boolde
And saide, `I have armure i-nowe;
Therfore I tel you what I wolde
And that ye dide for your prowe.
Tomorue, whan my fadir is at his soupere,
Ye shalle come in alle attonys.
Loke ye spare for no fere;
Sle down and breke both bake and bones.
Kithe you knightis of hardynesse!
Ther is none helpe but in this wyse.
Then moste ye shewen your prowes
And wynne this castel in this guyse.'
Thai sayden alle it was welle saide,
And gladde thay were of this counsaile.
Here armure was forth layde,
At souper the Sowdon to assaile.
King Lucafere prayde the Sawdon
That he wolde gif him lysence
To the prisoners for to goon
To see the maner of her presence.
He gafe him lefe, and forth he wente
Up unto Floripas toure.
To asspie the maner was his entent,
Hem to accuse agayne honoure.
Whan he come he founde the dore fast i-stoke.
He smote thereon with his fist
That the barre began to broke.
To make debate wel him list.
`Who artowe,' quod Floripas,
`That maketh here such araye?'
`I am Kinge Lucafere of Baldas;
The Sowdon sente me hidir, in faye.
To seen his prisoneris is my desire
And speke with hem everychon,
To talke with hem by the fire
And speke of dedis of armes amonge.'
Tho saide Duke Neymes, `Welcome be ye
To us prisoners here.
What is your wille, nowe telle ye,
For we be men of feble chere.'
`I woolde wete of Charles the Kinge,
What man he is in his contré,
And what meyné he hath, and of what thinge
He rekyneth moost his dignyté.'
Duke Neymes saide, `An emperoure
And kinge he is of many a londe,
Of citeis, castels, and many a toure,
Dukes, erles, barons bowynge to his honde.'
`But saye me, felowe, what is your use
To do in contré aftyr the none,
And what is the custome of your hous
Tille men to souper shalle gone?'
`Sir, somme men jouste with spere and shelde
And some men carol and singe gode songes;
Some shote with dartis in the feelde,
And somme play at chesse amonge.'
`Ye bene but foulis of gode dissporte. 8
I wole you tech a newe play.
Sitte down here by one assorte
And better myrthe never ye saye.'
He teyde a tredde on a pole
With an nedil theron i-fest
And theruppon a qwik cole.
He bade every man blowe his blast.
Duke Neymes hade a long berde.
Kinge Lucafere blewe even to hym;
That game hade he never before lered.
He brent the here of Neymes berde to the skyne.
Duke Neymes than gan wex wroth,
For he hade brente his berde so white,
To the chymneye forth he goth
And caught a bronde him with to smyte.
With a goode wille he him smote
That both his eyen bresten oute.
He caste him in the fire al hote;
For sothe he hadde a right gode cloute.
And with a fyre forke he helde him doune
Tille he were rosted to colis ilkadele.
His soule hade his god Mahoun.
Florip bade him warme him wele.
`Sires,' tho saide Floripas.
`Entendith nowe al to me.
This Lucafere of Baldas
Was a lorde of grete mayne.
My fadir hade him ever yn chere.
I telle you forsothe everydele
He wolde anoon aftyr him enquere,
And therefore loke ye arme you well.'
Florip wente in, as the maner was,
To here fadir at souper tyme.
No man spake worde of Kinge Baldas
Ner no man knewe of his sharp pyne.
The Twelfe Peris armed hem wel and fyne
With swerdes drawe and egre chere
While thay were drinkyng the wyne
And sittinge alle at here soupere.
Thai reheted the Sowdon and his barons alle
And maden orders wondir fast;
Thai slowe down alle that were in the halle
And made hem wondirly sore agast.
Olyvere egerly sued Laban
With swerd i-drawe in his honde.
Oute at the wyndowe lepte he than
Uppon the salte see stronde,
And he skaped away from hime.
But woo was he therfore
That he went awaye with lym
To worche hem sorowe more.
Roulande than came rennynge
And axed where was Laban.
Olyvere answerede moornynge
And saide howe he was agoon.
Tho thai voided the courtes at the last
And slowen tho that wolde abyde
And drewe the brigge and teyed it fast
And shitte the gatis that were so wyde.
Laban that by the ebbe escapede
Of harde er he come to londe,
He alle astonyed and a-mapide
For sorowe he wronge both his honde
And made a vowe to Mahounde of myght
He wolde that cité wynne
And never go thens by day nor nyght
For foo, for frende, ner for kynne.
`And tho traytouris will I do honge
On a galowes hye withoute the gate;
And my doghter, that hore stronge,
I-brente shal be thereate.'
To Mauntryble he gan sende anoon
Aftir men and tentis goode
And engynes to throwe with stoon
And goode armure many-foolde.
The sege he did leyen abowte
On every side of that cité.
To wallis with engynes thai gan rowte
To breke the toures so fre.
Tho saide Florip, `Lordingges goode,
Ye bene biseged in this toure;
As ye bene wight of mayne and moode,
Proveth here to save youre honoure.
The toure is stronge, drede you nought,
And vitayle we have plenté.
Charles wole not leve you unsought;
Truste ye welle alle to me.
Therefore go we soupe and make merye
And takith ye alle your ease;
And thirti maydens lo here of Assye,
The fayrest of hem ye chese.
Take your sporte and kith you knyghtes
Whan ye shalle have to done;
For tomorowe when the day is light
Ye mooste to the wallis goon
And defende this place with caste of stoon
And with shotte of quarelles and darte.
My maydyns and I shall bringe goode wone,
So everyche of us shalle bere hir parte.'
On morwe the Sowdon made assaute
To hem that were withinne.
And certes in hem was no defaute,
For of hem myght thay nought wynne.
Here shotte, here cast was so harde
Thay durste not nyghe the walle.
Thay drowen hem bakwarde;
Thay were beten over alle.
King Laban turnede to his tentes agayn.
He was nere wode for tene.
He cryede to Mahounde and Apolyne
And to Termagaunte that was so kene
And saide, `Ye goddes, ye slepe to longe;
Awake and helpe me nowe
Or ellis I may singe of sorowe a songe
And of mournynge right i-nowe.
Wete ye not wele that my tresoure
Is alle withinne the walle?
Helpe me nowe, I saye, therfore
Or ellis I forsake you alle.'
He made grete lamentacion,
His goddis byganne to shake.
Yet that comfortede his meditacion
Supposinge thay didde awake.
He cleped Brenlande to aske counsaile
What was best to done
And what thinge myght him moste avayle
To wynne that cité sone.
`Thou wotist welle that alle my tresoure
Is there in here kepinge
And my doughter, that stronge hore,
God yif her evelle endyng!'
`Sir,' he said, `ye knowe welle
That toure is wondir stronge.
While thay have vitayle to mele,
Kepen it thay wole fulle longe.
Sende to Mauntreble, youre cheif cité
That is the keye of this londe,
That non passe, where it so be,
Withoute your speciall sonde,
To Alagolofure, that geaunte stronge
That is wardeyne of that pas,
That no man passe that brigge alonge
But he have special grace.
So shalle not Charles with his meyné
Reskowe than Agramoure.
Than thay shalle enfamyched be
That shalle hem rewe ful sore.'
`Mahoundis blessynge have thou and myne,
Sortybraunce, for thy rede.'
`Espyarde, messangere myne,
In haste thou most the spede
To my cité Mauntreble
To do my message there
To Alogolofre, that giaunte orrible.
Bydde him his charge wele lere
And tel him howe that the last day
Ten fals traytours of Fraunce
Passed by that same waye
By his defaute with myschaunce,
Charginge him uppon his hede to lese
That no man by the brigge,
Be it rayne, snowe or freze,
But he his heede down ligge.'
Espiarde spedde him in his waye
Tille he to Mauntrible came
To seke the geaunte there he laye
On the banke bysyde the dame
And saide, `The worthy Sowdon,
That of alle Spayn is lorde and sire,
Uppon thy life commaundeth the anoon
To deserve better thyn hire.
The laste day thou letist here passe
Ten trattoures of douse Fraunce.
God giffe the evel grace
And hem also moche myschaunce!
He charged the uppon life and deth
To kepe this place sikerlye.
While in thy body lasteth the breth,
Lette noon enemye passe therebye.'
Alagolofur rolled his yen
And smote with his axe on the stone
And swore by Termagaunte and Apolyne
That therby shulde passen never one
But if he smote of his hede
And brought it to his lord Laban
He wolde never ete no brede
Nere never loke more on man.
Twenti-four cheynes he didde over-drawe
That noo man passe myght,
Neyther for love nere for awe,
No tyme by daye nere by nighte.
`Go telle my lorde I shalle it kepe;
On payne of my grete heede
Shalle ther no man goo ner crepe
But he be take or dede.'
This geaunte hade a body longe
And hede like an libarde.
Therto he was devely stronge;
His skynne was blake and harde.
Of Ethiope he was bore,
Of the kinde of Ascopartes.
He had tuskes like a bore,
An hede like a liberde.
Laban nolde not forgete
The saute to renewe;
To wynne the toure, he wolde not lete.
Here trumpes lowde thay blewe.
Every man wente to the walle
With pikeys or with bowe.
Thai made assaute generalle,
The walles downe to throwe.
But thay withinne bare hem soo
Thay slowe of the Saresyns thre hundred.
Thay wroghten hem both care and woo;
Uppon her fightinge thay wondride.
Tho cryed Laban to hem on hye,
`Traytours, yelde you to me;
Ye shall be hongede els by and bye
Uppon an hye galowe tree.'
Tho spake Florip to the Sowdon
And sayde, `Thou fals tyraunte,
Were Charles come, thy pride were done
Nowe, cursede myscreaunte.
Alas that thou ascapediste soo
By the wyndowe uppon the stronde.
That thy nek hade broke a-twoo!
God sende the shame and shonde!'
`A! stronge hore, God gife the sorowe.
Thou venomous serpente.
Withe wilde horses thou shalt be drawe tomorowe
And on this hille be brente
That al men may be ware by the
That cursed bene of kynde.
And thy love shalle honged be,
His hondes bounde him byhynde.'
He called forth Mavon, his engynoure,
And saide, `I charge the
To throwe a magnelle to yon toure
And breke it downe on thre.'
Mavon set up his engyne
With a stoon of six hundred wight
That went as even as eny lyne
And smote a cornell down right.
Woo was Roulande and Olyvere
That that myschief was befalle,
And so were alle the Twelfe Peres.
But Florip than comforte hem alle:
`Sires,' she saide, `beith of goode chere.
This toure is stronge i-nowe.
He may cast twies or thries or he hit ayen ther;
For sothe I telle it you.'
Marsedage, the roialle kinge,
Rode in riche weede,
Fro Barbary commyng
Uppon a sturdy stede,
Cryinge to hem uppon the walle,
`Traytouris, yelde you here.
Brenne you alle ellis I shalle,
By myghty god Jubytere.'
Gy aspied that he came nere;
A darte to hime he threwe ful even.
He smote him throwe herte and liver in fere.
Dame Floripe lough with loude steven
And saide, `Sir Gye, my love so free,
Thou kanste welle hit the prikke.
He shall make no booste in his contré.
God giffe him sorowe thikke!'
Whan Laban herde of this myschief,
A sory man was he.
He trumped, his mene to relefe,
For to cease that tyme mente he.
Mersadage, Kinge of Barbarye,
He did carye to his tente
And beryed him by right of Sarsenye
With brennynge fire and riche oynemente
And songe the Dirige of Alkaron,
That Bibill is of here laye,
And wayled his deth everychon
Sefen nyghtis and sefen dayes.
Anoon the Sowdon, south to say,
Sente thre hundrid of knightis
To kepe the brigge and the waye
Oute of that castil rightis,
That noon of hem shulde issue oute
To feche vitayle by no waye.
He charged hem to wacche wel all abowte
That thay for-famelid myght dye.
Thus thay kepte the place sefen dayes
Tille alle hire vitaile was nyghe spente.
The yates thai pas the streyte weyes;
Tho helde thai hem within i-shente.
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
Whan he saugh the ladies so whighte of lere
Faile brede on here table
And saide, `Charles, thou curteys kinge,
Why forgetist thou us so longe?
This is to me a wondir thinge.
Me thinkith thou doiste us grete wronge
To let us dye for faute of mete,
Closed thus in a dongeon.
Tomorowe wol we asaye what we kon gete,
By God that berithe the crown.'
Tho saide Floripas, `Sires, drede noghte
For noon houngre that may befalle;
I knowe a medycyne in my thoughte
To comforte you with-alle.
I have a girdil in my forcere,
Whoso girde hem therwith aboute,
Hunger ner thirste shal him never dere
Though he were sefen yere withoute.'
`O,' quod Sir Gye, `my love so trewe,
I-blessed mote ye be.
I pray you that ye wole us alle hit shewe
That we may have oure saule.'
She yede and set it forth anoon;
Thai proved alle the vertue
And diden it aboute hem everychon.
It comforted alle both moo and fewe,
As thai hade bene at a feste.
So were thay alle wele at ease;
Thus were thai refresshed both moost and lest
And weren bifore in grete disese.
Laban wondred how thai myght endure
Withouten vitaile so longe.
He remembred him on Floripas sencture
And of the vertue so stronge.
Tho wiste he welle that through famyne
Might he hem never wynne.
He cleped to him fals Mapyne,
For he coude many a fals gynne;
He coude scale castel and toure
And over the walles wende.
`Mapyne,' he saide, `for myne honoure,
Thou mooste have this in mynde:
That hore, my doghter, a girdil hath she;
From hounger it savyth hem alle
That wonnen may thay never be -
That foule mote hir bifalle!
Kanstowe gete me that gyrdill by craft,
A thousande pounde than shal I gefe the,
So that it be there not lefte
But bringe it hithire to me.
Thou kanste see by nyghte as welle
As any man doth by daye.
Whan thay bene in here beddes ful still,
Than go forth thider right in thy waye.
Thou shalt it in here chamber fynde;
Thou maist be thereofe sure.'
`Sir, thereto I wole me bynde,
If my life may endure.'
Forth wente this fals Mapyne
By nyght into the toure -
God gife him evel endinge! -
Even into Floripas boure.
By a chemney he wente inne.
Fulle stilly there he soughte it.
He it founde and girde it aboute him,
And aftyr ful dere he boght it.
For by the light of a lampe there
Floripas gan him aspye,
Alle afrayed oute of hir slepe for fere;
But lowde than gan she crye
And saide, `A thefe is in my boure;
Robbe me he wole or sloo.'
Therwith come Rouland fro his toure
To wete of hir woo.
He founde Mapyne bysyde hir bedde
Stondinge amased for drede.
To the wyndowe he him ladde
And ther he smote of his hedde
And caste him oute into the see.
Of the gyrdille was he not ware;
But whan he wist the girdel hade he,
Tho hadde he sorowe and care.
Floripe to the cheste wente
And aspyed hire gyrdel was goon.
`Alas,' she saide, `alle is it shente!
Sir, what have ye done?
He hath my girdel aboute hym.
Alas, that harde while!
A rebelle hounde doth ofte grete tene;
Howe be we alle begilede.'
Tho spake Roulande with chere boolde,
'Damselle, beyth noughte aferde.
If any vitaile be aboute this hoolde,
We wole hem wynne withe dinte of swerde.
Tomorowe wole we oute-goon
And assaye howe it wole be.
I make a vowe to God alone,
Assaile hem wole we.
And if thay have any mete
Parte withe hem wole we,
Or elles strokes thay shal gete
By God and Seynte Mary, myn avoure.'
In the morne, er the larke songe,
Thai ordeynede hem to ride
To the Saresyns that hade so longe
Leyen hem besyde.
Duke Neymes and Ogere
Were ordeynede to kepe the place.
The ten othir of the Twelfe Peres
Wente oute to assaye here grace.
Thay founden hem in logges slepynge;
Of hem hade thay no thought.
Thai slowen down that came to honde. 9
Mahounde availed hem noghte.
In shorte tyme the ende was made;
Thay ten slough thre hundred there.
Tho founde thai vitaile, thay were glad,
As moche as thay myghte home bere.
Duke Neymes and Ogere that kept the toure
Say hem with here praye.
Thai thanked God, hye of honoure,
That thai spedde so that day.
Thay avaled the brigge and lete him yn;
Florip and here maydyns were gladde
And so were thay that were withyn,
For alle grete hounger thay hadde.
Thai eten and dronken right i-nowe
And made myrth ever amonge.
But of the Sowdon Laban speke we nowe,
Howe of sorowe was his songe.
Whan tidyngges came to him
That his men were slayn
And howe thai hade stuffed hem also
With vitaile in agayne,
For sorowe he woxe nere wode.
He cleped Brenlande and Sortybraunce
And told hem with angry mode
Of his harde myschaunce.
`Remedye ordeyne me -
Ye be chief of my counsaile -
That I of hem may vengede be;
It shalle you bouth availe.
O ye goddes, ye faile at nede,
That I have honoured so longe.
I shalle you bren, so mote I spede,
In a fayre fyre ful stronge.
Shalle I never more on you bileve
But renaye you playnly alle.
Ye shalle be brente this day er eve -
That foule mote you befalle!'
The fire was made; the goddes were broght
To have be caste thereinne.
Tho alle his counsaile him bysought
He shulde of that erroure blynne
And saide, `Sir, what wole ye done?
Wole ye your goddis forsake?
Vengeaunce shalle than on you come
With sorowe, woo and wrake.
Ye moste make offrynge for youre offence,
For drede of grete vengeaunce,
With oyle, mylke and frankencense
By youre prestis ordynaunce.'
Tho he dide bere hem in ayen,
And to hem made dewe offerynge.
The prestis assoyled him of that synne,
Ful lowly for him prayinge.
Tho he cleped his counselers
Brulande and Sortybraunce,
Axynge howe he myght destroye the Twelfe Peres,
That Mahounde gife hem myschaunce.
Thay cowde no more theron
But late saile ayen the toure. 10
With twenti thousande thai gan gon
And bigonne a newe shoure
To brake down the walles
With mattokes and with pike
Tille four hundred of hem alle
Lay slayne in the dike.
So stronge was the cast of stoone,
The Saresyns drewe hem abakke
Tille it was at hye none.
Tho gonne thay ayen to shake.
Tho fayled hem cast that were withinne; 11
Tho cowde thai no rede 12
For stoone was ther noone to wynne.
Tho were thay in grete drede.
Than saide Florip, `Beith not dismayde.
Ye shalle be holpe anoon.
Here is sylver vessel i-now,' she sayde,
`That shulle ye prove goode woon.'
She set it forth; thay caste oute faste
Alle that came to honde.
Off silver and goolde vessel thay made waste
That wast down uppon the sonde.
Whan thai saugh that roial sight,
Thai leften alle here dede
And for the tresoure thay do fight,
Whoso myghte it awey lede.
Tho the Sowdon wexe nere wode,
Seinge this tresoure thus dispoyled
That was to him so dere and goode
Laye in the dike thus defouled.
He bade that thai shulde leve
And turne hem agayne in haste.
He wente home tille his tente than
With grete sorowe and mournyng mode.
To-fore his goddis whan he came
He cryed as he were wode:
`O fals goddis that ye beth,
I have trustid to longe youre mode.
We were levere to suffre dede
Than lif this life here lenger nowe.
I have almoste loste the breth.
Twelfe fals traytours me overe-lede
And stroyen alle that I have.
Ye fals goddis, the devel youe spede!
Ye make me nowe for to rave.
Ye do fayle me at my nede.'
In ire he smote Mahounde
That was of goolde fulle rede,
That he fille down to the grounde
As he hade bene dede.
Alle here bisshopes cryden oute
And saide, `Mahounde, thyn ore!'
And down to the erthe wele lowe thay loute
Howlynge and wepynge sore
And saide, `Sire Sowdon, what have ye done?
Vengeaunce shalle on the falle
But thou repente the here anone.'
`Ye,' quod he, `I shrewe you alle.'
Thai made a fyre of frankencense
And blewen hornes of bras
And casten in milke hony for the offence
To-fore Mahoundes face.
Thay counsailed Laban to knele adown
And aske forgevenes in that place.
And so he didde and hade pardon
Throgh prayere and specialle grace.
Then this was done, than sayde Roulande
To his felowes eleven:
`Here may we not longe holde londe,
By God that is in heven.
Therefore sende we to Charles the Kinge
That he wolde reskowe us sone
And certyfye him of oure strayghte beinge,
If ye thinke it be to done.
Richard of Normandye, ye most goon;
I holde you both wyse and hende.
And we shalle tomorowe as stil as stoon
The Saresyns awake er ye wynde.
And while we be mooste bysy in oure worke
And medel with hem alle in fere,
Stele ye awaye in the derke;
And spede you faste, ye were there.'
On the morowe aftire the daye
Thay were armede ful ryghte;
Thay rode forth stilly in here way -
God governe hem, mooste of myght!
Floripe and here maydyns kept the toure
And woonde up the brigges on hye
And prayde God to kepe here paramoure,
The Duke of Burgoyne, Sir Gye.
She preyde to Rouland, er he wente,
To take goode hede of him,
That he were neyther take nere shente,
As he wolde her love wynne.
On thay set with herte stronge
And alle hem sore afrayed.
Richard the whiles away he wronge,
While thai were alle dismayede.
Towarde the Mountrible he hyed him faste
To passe, if that he myghte.
Thedir he came at the laste.
God kepe him for his moch myght!
His twelfe felowes besyed hem soo
That many of hem thay sloughe.
Gye slowe the Kinge of Babyloyne tho;
The Babyloynes of his hors him drowe
And with force him drowe there
And bounde his hondes ful fast.
A newe game thai gan him lere,
For in depe prison thay him caste.
But Laban wolde him first se
To wete what he was.
`Telle me thy name nowe,' quod he,
`Thy songe shalle be `alas.''
`Sire,' he saide, `my name is Gye;
I wole it never forsake.
It were to me grete vilanye
An othir name to take.'
`O fals traytour,' quod Laban,
`My doghtir, that stronge hore,
Hath me forsake and the hath tan;
Thou shalte be honged therefore.'
Roulande made grete moone;
It wolde noon other be.
Homwarde thai gan goon;
Thre hundred Saresyns ther saye he
That kepte the pace at the brigge-ende,
Armed wel in goode araye,
That thai sholde not in wende
But be take or slayn that daye.
Roulande to his felowes saide,
`Beth alle of right gode chere
And we shal make hem alle afrayde
Ere we go to oure soupere.'
There byganne a bykeringe bolde
Of ten bachelers that tyde
Agayne thre hundred men i-tolde
That durste righte wel abyde.
Tho was Durnedale set a-werke:
Forti of hethen he sloughe.
He spared nether lewde ner clerke,
And Floripas thereof loughe.
The shotte, the caste was so stronge,
Syr Bryer was slayn there
With dartes, gavylokes and speres longe -
Twenti on hym there were.
Roulande was woo and Olyvere;
Thay sloughen alle that thai mette.
Tho fledde the Turkes alle for fere -
Thay durste no longer lette -
And saide thai were no men
But develis abroken oute of helle:
`Thre hundred of us agayn hem ten.
Oure lorde Mahounde hem qwell!
Forti of us here be ascaped
And hardde we be bistadde.
Whoso wole of hem more be japed,
I holde him worsse than madde.'
Tho Roulande and Olyvere
Maden grete woo and sorowe
And token the corps of Sir Bryere
And beryed it on the morowe.
Floripe asked Roulande anoone,
`Where is my love, Sir Gye?'
`Damesel,' he saide, `he is goon,
And therefore woo am I.'
`Alas!' she saide, `than am I dede;
Nowe Gye my lorde is slayn
Shall I never more ete brede
Tille that I may se him agayn.'
`Be still,' quod Roulande, `and have no care:
We shal hym have ful wele.
Tomorowe wele we thiderward fare
With spere and shelde of stele.
But we bringe him to this toure
Leve me elles no more -
With victorye and grete honoure
Or thay shalle abye it ful sore.'
On the morowe whan tha day was clere,
Laban ordeynede Gye honged to be.
He cleped forth Sir Tampere
And badde him do make a galowe tre
`And set it even byfore the toure
That thilke hore may him see,
For by lord Mahounde of honoure
This traitour there shalle honged be.
Take withe the thre hundred knightes
Of Ethiopis, Indens and Ascopartes
That bene boolde and hardy to fight
With wifles, fauchons, gavylokes and dartes
Leste that lurdeynes come skulkynge oute,
For ever thay have bene shrewes.
Loke eche of hem have such a cloute
That thay never ete moo sewes.'
Forth thay wente with Sir Gye
That bounde was as a thefe faste
Tille thay come the towre ful nye;
Thai rered the galowes in haste.
Roulande perceyved here doynge
And saide, `Felows, let armes!
I am ful gladde of here comynge;
Hem shall not helpe her charmes.'
Oute thai riden a wele gode spede,
Thai nine towarde hem alle.
Florip with here maydyns toke gode hede
Biholdinge over the toure walle.
Thai met first with Sir Tampere -
God gife him evelle fyne!
Such a stroke lente hym Olyvere
He clefe him down to the skyne.
Rouland bare the Kinge of Ynde
Ther with his spere frome his stede.
Four foot it passed his bak byhynde:
His herte blode there didde he blede.
He caught the stede - he was ful goode -
And the swerde that the Kinge hadde
And rode to Gye there he stode
And onbounde hym and bade him be gladde
And girde him with that goode swerde
And lepen uppon here stedes.
`Be thou,' he saide, `righte nought aferde
But helpe us wightly at this nede.'
An hundred of hem sone thay slowe
Of the beste of hem alle;
The remenaunte away fast thay flowe -
That foule motte hem byfalle!
Rouland and his felowes were glad
That Gye was safe indede.
Thay thanked God that hem hadde
Gyfen such grace to spede.
As thay wente towarde the toure,
A litil bysyde the hye waye,
Thai saugh comynge with grete vigoure
An hundred uppon a laye.
Costroye ther was, the admyrall,
With vitaile grete plenté
And the stondarte of the Sowdon roial.
Towarde Mauntrible riden he,
Four chariotes i-charged with flessh and brede
And two othere with wyne
Of divers colouris - yolowe, white and rede -
And four somers of spicery fyne.
Tho saide Roulande to Olyvere,
`With these meyne moste we shifte
To have parte of here vitailes here,
For therof us nedith, by my thrifte.'
`Howe, sires,' he saide, `God you see.
We pray youe for youre curtesye,
Parte of your vitaile graunte me;
For we may nother borowe ner bye.'
Tho spake Cosdroye, that admyral:
`Ye gete none here for noght.
Yf ye oght chalenge in speciall,
It most be dere i-boght.'
`O gentil knightes,' quod Olyvere,
`He is no felowe that wole have alle.'
`Go forth,' quod the stondart, `thou getist noon here;
Thy parte shalle be fulle smalle.'
`Forsoth,' quod Roulande, `and shift we wole;
Gete the better, who gete maye.
To parte with the nedy, it is gode skille; 13
And so shalle ye by my faye.'
He rode to the admyral with his swerde
And gafe him suche a cloute -
No wonder thogh he were aferde -
Both his eyyen braste oute.
Olyvere met withe the proude stondarde;
He smote him through the herte.
That hade he for his rewarde.
That wounde gan sore smerte.
Thai were slayn that wolde fight
Er durste bikure abyde.
Thai forsoke her parte anoon right;
It lefte alle on that on side.
Forth thai drewen that vitaile
Streight into the toure.
There was no man durst hem assayle
For drede of here vigoure.
Floripe hem resceyved with honoure
And thanked Roulande fele sythe
That she saugh Gye hir paramoure,
That wolde she him qwite and kithe.
Thai eten and dronken and made hem gladde.
Hem neded ther aftyr fulle sore
Of suche as God hem sente hade,
I-nowe for four moonthes and more.
Florip saide to Roulande than,
`Ye moste chese you a love
Of alle my maydyns, white as swan.'
Quod Rouland, `That were myscheve;
Our lay wole not that we with youe dele
Tille that ye Cristyn be made,
Ner of your play we wole not fele
For than were we cursed indede.'
Nowe shall ye here of Laban.
Whan tidynnges to him were comen,
Tho was he a fulle sory man.
Whan he herde howe his vitaile were nomen
And howe his men were slayne
And Gye was go safe hem froo,
He defyed Mahounde and Apolyne,
Jubiter, Ascarot and Alcaron also.
He commaundede a fire to be dight
With picche and brymston to bren.
He made a vowe with alle his myght:
`Thai shal be caste therinne.'
The prestes of here lawe theron
Thai criden oute for drede
And saide, `Alas, what wole ye done?
The worse than moste ye spede.'
The Sowdon made a grete othe
And swore by his hye trone
That though hem were never so loth
Thai sholde be brente ichon.
Tho came the bisshope Cramadas
And kneled bifore the Sowdon
And charged him by the hye name Sathanas
To saven his goddes ychon,
`For if ye brenne your goddes here,
Ye wynnyn her malison.
Than wole no man do you chere
In feelde, cité, nere in town.'
The Sowdon was astonyed than
And gan him sore repente
Of the foly that he bygan
And els hade he be shente.
A thousande of besauntes he offred thaym to,
By counsail of Sir Cramadas,
To please with his goddys tho,
For fere of harde grace.
The Sowdone commaunded every daye
To assaile the toure with caste;
But thai within gafe not an eye,
For thai wroghte in wast.
Nowe speke we of Richarde of Normandy
That on message was sente -
Howe he spede and his meyné.
Whan he to Mauntrible wente,
He founde the brigge ichayned sore:
Twenti-four were overe-drawen
Alagolofure stode there byfore
That many a man hade slawene.
Whan Richard saugh ther was no gate
But by Flagot the flode
His mesage wolde he not lete.
His hors was both bigge and goode.
He kneled, bisechinge God of his grace
To save him from myschiefe.
A white hende he saugh anoon in that place
That swam overe the cliffe.
He blessed him in Godis name
And folowed the same waye
The gentil hende that was so tame
That on that othir side gan playe.
He thanked God fele sythe
That him had sente comforte.
He hied him in his message swithe
To speke with Charles, his lorde.
But I shalle you telle of a traytour
That his name was called Genelyne.
He counseiled Charles for his honoure
To turne homewarde ageyn.
He saide, `The Twelfe Peres bene alle dede,
And ye spende your goode in vayne;
And therfore doth nowe by my rede -
Ye shalle see hem no more, certeyn.'
The Kinge bileved that he saide
And homwarde gan he fare.
He of his Twelfe Dosiperes was sore dismayed;
His herte woxe right fulle of care.
Rycharde of Normandy came prikande
And hertly to ride begane.
Kinge Charles aspyed him comande.
He commaunded to abide every man.
`What tidingges?' quod the Kinge to Richarde.
`Howe fare my felowes alle?'
`My lorde,' he saide, `God wote, ful harde;
For thai be byseged within ston walle,
Abydynge youre helpe and youre socoure
As men that have grete nede.
For Jhesues love, Kinge of honoure,
Thiderward ye you spede.'
`O Genelyne,' quod the Kinge,
`Nowe knowe I thy treson,
I shalle the qwite, be Seynte Fremounde,
Whan this viage is don.'
The Kinge turned him ageyn
And alle his ooste him with
Towarde Mountrible certeyne -
And graunte him gree and grith!
Richarde him tolde of that place,
Howe stronge it was i-holde
With a geaunte foule of face,
The brigge hath chayned many-folde.
The river was both depe and brode;
Ther myght no man over-ryde.
`The last tyme that I over-rode,
By myracle I passed that tide.
Therfore, sir, I shal you telle
Howe ye mote governe you here.
In yonde wode ye moste dwelle
Prively in this manere;
And twelfe of us shalle us araye
In gyse of stronge marchauntes
And fille oure somers withe fog and haye
To passe the brigge currauntes.
We shalle be armed under the cote
With goode swerdes wele i-gyrde.
We moste paye tribute, wele I wote,
And elles over we may not sterte.
But whan the chaynes be lete down
Over ther for to passe,
Than wole I that ye come on
In haste to that same place.
Whan I see tyme for to come,
Than shalle I my horne blowe.
Loke ye be redy alle and some,
For that shall ye welle knowe.'
Forth thay wente in that araye
To Mountrible, that cité.
Alagolofure to hem gan seye,
`Felawes, wheder wole ye?'
Richarde spake to the geaunte
And saide, `Towarde the Sowdon
With dyvers chaffere as trewe marchaunte
We purpose for to goon
To shewen him of pellure and gryse,
Orfrays of Perse imperyalle.
We wole the yefe tribute of assaye
To passe by lycence in especyall.'
`License gete ye noon of me.
I am charged that noone shall passe,
For ten lurdeyns of Fraunce were here -
God yefe hem evell grace!
Thay passed this way to Egramoure;
Thay have done the Sowdon grete tene.
Thay have wonne his toure and his tresoure
And yet holde thai it, I wene.
Wherfore, felawes, I arest you alle
Tille I knowe what that ye bene.'
Sire Focarde brayde oute his swerde with-alle;
Wel sore he gan to tene
And saide, `Fye on the, Sarasyne!
For alle thy grete harde hede,
Shaltow never drinke water ner wyne.
By God, thou shalte be dede!'
He smote at him with egre chere,
But he gafe thereof right nought.
`Alas,' quod Richard, `thou combrest us here,
By God that me dere hath boghte.'
The cheynes yet were all faste;
The geaunte wexe nere wode.
Richard blewe his horne in haste,
That was both shrille and goode.
King Charles hied him anoon
Towarde the brigge so longe.
The geaunte faught with hem alone,
He was so harde and stronge.
With a clog of an oke he faught,
That was wele bound with stele.
He slough al that evere he raught,
So stronge was his dinte to dele.
Richard raught him with a barre of bras
That he caught at the gate.
He brake his legges; he cryed `Alas'
And felle alle chekmate.
Loude than gan he to yelle -
Thay herde him yelle through that cité
Like the grete develle of helle -
And saide, `Mahounde, nowe helpe me!'
Four men him caught there,
So hevy he was and longe,
And cast him over into the rivere.
Chese he whither he wolde swymme or gong.
Anoon thay brast the chaynes alle
That over the brigge were i-drawe.
The Saresyns ronnen to the walle;
Many Cristen men were there i-slawe.
Than came forth Dam Barrok the bolde
With a sithe large and kene
And mewe adown as thikke as shepe in folde
That came byforne hir bydene.
This Barrok was a geaunesse,
And wife she was to Astragote.
She did the Cristen grete distresse;
She felled downe alle that she smote.
There durst no man hire sithe abyde;
She grenned like a develle of helle.
King Charles with a quarel that tide
Smote hir, that she lowde gan yelle,
Over the frounte throughoute the brayn.
That cursede fende fille down dede.
Many a man hade she there slayn.
Might she never aftyr ete more brede!
Charles entred in the firste warde
With fiftene knightis and no moo;
Of hym his oste toke no garde;
He wende his oste hade entred also.
The Sarysyns ronne to the gate
And shet it wonder faste.
Charles men come to late;
Tho was Charles sore agaste.
Betwene two wardes he was shit,
Defende he him if he can.
The Sarysyns with him thay mette;
Grete parel was he in than.
Tho Genelyne saie the Kinge was inne
And the yates faste i-stoke.
Ther myght no man to him wynne
So was he faste withinne i-loke.
To his frendes he gan speke
And saide, `The Kinge is dede
And all twelfe peres eke.
`On peyne,' said he, `to lese myn hede,
Let us hye to Fraunce warde.
For I wele be crownede kinge.
I shalle you alle wele rewarde,
For I wole spare for no thinge.'
Anoon thay assented to Genelyne;
Thay saugh ther was no better rede.
The Frenssh men drewe hem al ayene;
Thay wende the Kinge hade bene dedde.
Tho Ferumbras with his meyné than
Came for to seke the Kinge
And saugh hem turne every man,
Him thought it was a wondir thing.
`Where is the Kinge?' quod Ferumbras.
Quod Genelyne, `Within the walle;
Shaltowe nevere more seen his face!'
`God gyf the an yvel falle.
Turne agayne, thou traytoure,
And helpe to reskowe thy lorde.
And ye, sires, alle for youre honoure!'
Thay turned agayne with that worde.
Ferumbras, with axe in honde,
Myghtyly brake up the gate.
Ther myght laste him noon yron bonde.
He hade nere-honde i-come to late;
The Kinge hadde fought so longe withynne
That onnethe myght he no more. 14
Many ther were abouten him;
His men were wounded ful sore.
Ferumbras came with gode spede;
He made the Sarasyns to fle.
He reskowed the Kinge at his nede;
Forti Sarasyns sone killed he.
Thai ronnen aweye by every side;
Thai durste nowhere rowte.
In shorte tyme was falled her pride;
Thay caught many a sore cloute.
That cité was wonne that same daye
And every toure therynne
Of Mountreble that was so gaye
For alle here soubtile gynne,
Fulle of tresoure and richesse,
Of silver and goolde and perre
And clothes of goolde, wroght of Saresynes,
Of rich aray and roialte.
Richarde, Duke of Normandy,
Founde two children of sefen monthes oolde,
Fourtene fote longe were thay;
Thay were Barrakes sonnes so boolde;
Bygote thay were of Astragot.
Grete joye the Kinge of hem hade.
Hethen thay were both, wele I wote;
Therfore hem to be cristenede he bade.
He called that one of hem Roulande,
And that other he cleped Olyvere
For thai shalle be myghty men of honde.
To kepen hem he was fulle chere.
Thay myght not leve; her dam was dede;
Thai coude not kepe hem forth.
Thai wolde neyther ete butter nere brede,
Ner no men was to hem worthe.
Here dammes mylke they lakked there;
Thay deyden for defaute of here dam.
Kinge Charles made hevy chere
And a sory man was than.
The Kinge lete ordeyne anoon
The cité to be governed
Of the worthyest of hem ychon
That weren of werre best lerned.
Duke Richarde of Normandy,
He was made chief governoure,
And two hundred with him in hys company
To kepe the brigge and toure.
Forth he rode to Laban than
With his ooste and Sire Ferumbras.
A spye to the Sowdon fast ran
And told him al that cas:
How Charles was come with his ost
And Mountrible hade he wonne,
`Alagolofur slayn is for alle his bost;
This game was evel begon.'
Whane Laban herde of his comynge,
Him thought his herte gan breke.
`Shalle I never be withoute moornynge
Tille I of him be wreke.'
He commaunded to blowe his claryons
To assemble alle his ooste.
His counsaile to him he lete calle
And tolde how Kinge Charles was in that coost,
Hadde wonne Mountrible and slayn his men
`And dishiryth to disheryte me
And proudely manessith me to fleen
Or drive me oute of this contré.
Me mervaylythe moch of his pride,
By Mahounde, moost of myght!
Ye, and my sone withe him doth ride;
To the develle I hem bedight!
But I be venget of hem both
And honge hem on a tree -
To myghty Mahounde I make myne othe -
Shalle I never joyfulle be.
Therfore I charge you in alle wyse
That thay be taken or slayn.
Than shalle I pynne heme at my gyse 15
And don hem alle qwike be flayn.'
On the morowe whan it was day,
King Charles was in the felde
Byfore Agremoure in riche aray,
On stede with spere and sheelde.
Floripe lay on the toure on hye
And knewe the banere of Fraunce.
To Roulande she gan faste crye
Tidynges of goode chaunce:
`Kinge Charles is comen and Ferumbras;
Here baners both I do see
With alle her oste yondere in that place.
Welcome to us thay alle be.'
Roulande and Olyvere
Arayed hem for to ride.
And here felawes alle in fere
To Charles thay gon that tyde.
Laban come forth with his mayné:
Saresyns that were ful felle,
Turkes, Indens and Arabye,
Ye, and of the Ethiopes like the develes of helle.
There were stronge wardes sette
By ordynaunce of dyvers batayle.
Whan thay togeder were met,
Eythir othir sore gan assayle.
Ther were Saresyns al to-hewe;
Roulande sloughe many one.
Thay lay so thikke dede on rewe
That onnethe myghte men ride or goon.
King Charles met with Laban
And bare him down of his stede.
He lighted down and ceased him than;
He thought to qwite him his mede.
He brayde oute Mownjoye wyth gode wille
And wolde have smeten of his hede;
Ferumbras prayde him to abyde stille
To crysten him, er he were dede.
The Saresyns saughe Laban take;
Thay fledden away fulle faste.
Lenger durste thay no maistryes make;
Thai were so sore agaste.
The Cristen hem chased to and fro
As a grehounde doth the hare.
Thre hundred ascaped with moche woo
To Belmore gan thay fare.
King Charles ladde Laban
Into Agremoure cité;
And whan that he there came,
A ful sory man was he.
His doghter welcomed him
With right gode chere.
He loked on hir al grymme
As he wode wroth were
And saide, `Fye on the, stronge hore;
Mahounde confounde the!'
Charles saide, `Hereof no more,
But let us nowe mery be.'
`Sir,' she saide thanne,
`Welcome ye be into this toure.
Here I presente to you, as I can,
Relikes of grete honoure
That were at Rome iwonnen
And broght into this halle.
That game was evel bygonnen;
It sithen rewed us alle.'
Kinge Charles kneled adown
To kisse the relikes so goode
And badde there an oryson
To that Lorde that deyde on Rode
And thanked Floripe with al his herte
That she had saved his meyné
And holpe hem oute of peynes smerte
And kepte the relekes so fre.
King Charles did calle Bisshope Turpyn
And bade him ordeyne a grete fat
To baptyse the Sowdon yne:
`And loke what he shalle hat.
Unarme him faste and bringe him nere;
I shal his godfader be.
Fille it fulle of watere clere,
For baptysed shalle he be.
Make him naked as a childe;
He moste plunge therinne,
For now most he be meke and mylde
And i-wassh awaye his synne.'
Turpyn toke him by the honde
And ladde him to the fonte.
He smote the bisshope with a bronde
And gaf him an evel bronte.
He spitted in the water clere
And cryed oute on hem alle
And defied alle that Cristen were.
That foule mote him byfalle!
`Ye and thou, hore serpentyne,
And that fals cursed Ferumbras -
Mahounde gyfe hem both evel endyng
And almyghty Sathanas!
By you came all my sorowe
And al my tresure forlorne.
Honged be ye both er tomorowe.
In cursed tyme were ye born.'
Ferumbras saide to the Kinge,
`Sir, ye see it wole not be;
Lete him take his endynge
For he loveth not Cristyanté.'
`Duke Neymes,' quod Charles tho,
`Loke that execucion be don.
Smyte of his hedde - God gyfe him woo!
And goo we to mete anoone.'
It was done as the Kinge commaunde.
His soule was fet to helle
To daunse in that sory lande
With develes that wer ful felle.
Dame Florip was baptysed than
And here maydyns alle
And to Sir Gye i-maryed.
The barons honoured hir alle.
Alle the londe of Spayne
Kinge Charles gyfe hem two
To departe bitwyxt hem twayne,
Ferumbras and Gy also.
And so thay livede in joye and game,
And brethern both thay were.
In pees and werre both i-same,
There durste no man hem dere.
King Charles turned home agayn
Towarde his contré.
He charged Sir Bryere of Bretayne
His tresourere for to be
To kepe the relikes of grete pris
And his other tresoure
And bringe hem safe to Parys,
There to abide in store.
He saide, `Farewell, Sir Ferumbras,
Ye and Gye, my dere frende,
And thy wyf Dame Floripas.
For to Fraunce nowe wole I wende.
Be ye togeder as brethrn both.
No man ye nedith to drede,
Be ye never togedere wroth 16
But eyther helpe othir at his nede.
Vysityth me whan ye have space;
Into Fraunce makith your disporte.
God wole you sende the better grace
In age to do me comforte.'
Thai toke leve of the Kinge
With ful hevy chere
And turned agayn both mornynge
With wepynge water clere.
King Charles with the victory
Sailed to Mounpeleres
And thanked Almyghty God in glorye
That he hade saved his dosiperes
And fende him of the Saresynes
The hyer honde to have,
For alle here strenghe and her engynes
The relikes of Rome to save.
At Our Lady of Parys
He offred the Crosse so fre;
The Crown he offred at Seynte Denyse,
At Boloyne the Nayles thre.
Alle his barons of him were gladd;
Thai gafe him grete presente.
For he so wele hade i-spedde,
Thay did him grete reverence.
The Kinge hade wel in mynde
The tresone of Genelyne;
Anoon for him he dide sende
To yefe him an evel fyne:
`Thou traitour unkynde,' quod the Kynge,
`Remembrist thou not how ofte
Thou hast me betrayed, thou fals Genelyne?
Therfore thoue shalt be honged on lofte.
Loke that the execucion be don
That throgh Parys he be drawe
And honged on hye on Mount Fawcon,
As longeth to traytoures by lawe,
That alle men shall take hede
What deth traytourys shall fele
That assente to such falshede,
Howe the wynde here bodyes shal kele.'
Thus Charles conquered Laban,
The Sowdon of Babyloyne,
That riche Rome stroyed and wan
And alle the brode londe of Spayn.
. . . . . . . . . . d of his barons
. . . . . . . . . . s pride
. . . . . . . . . . eligons
. . . . . . . . . . that tyde
. . . . . . . . . . on Charles soule
. . . . . . . . . . s also
. . . . . . . . . . Peter and Poule
God lete hem never wete of woo
But bringe here soules to goode reste
That were so worthy in dede.
And gyf us joye of the beste
That of here gestes rede.
natural desire; stir
then; river bank
avenge yourself; villainy
pay for; dearly enough
Have him called
more costly; doubt
Carracks, galleys; noble
maintop; maces; (see note)
work; (see note)
checkered cloth; red
with wings spread
(see note); site
spark; glowing ember
Against; make war
together; (see note)
as a token
her to you
Ethiopians; Africans; (see note)
ditches; devilishly deep
boar's head; dark
withdrew themselves to
people of the city
Ethiopians; Asians; (see note)
rearguard; (see note)
turn his attention to that crowd
on and on
relics; (see note)
It seemed to him
person turned; depart
triumph; won the prize
red Mars mighty in arms
vaulted alcove; throne
making my moan
Asia; (see note)
Venice, Phrygia; Ethiopia
Nubia, Turkey; (see note)
excite their courage
truth; (see note)
Phrygians; (see note)
Turks, Indians; Venetians
pay for it
avoid greater trouble
it pleases; combat
you brag loudly; (see note)
support for a lance
ornamental band; head
are you doing
pay for it
take a breather
pay for it
not at all
would pay; reward
are aware of
Who can't believe in You
Do you believe
press of battle
In spite of
struck; (see note)
See to it
lack of food
lack of food
injury; protect; (see note)
Go; also, Sir Good-for-nothing
I would prefer
according to your word
it pleases you
Very early in the morning
their present state
argument; it pleased him
Who makes such a scene here
now and then
in one group
shore; (see note)
person; strength; courage
Asia; (see note)
provisions for meals
failure; unlucky results
bridge; (see note)
To better earn your keep
machine for hurling stones
Office of the Dead; the Koran
guard; drawbridge; road
pale of complexion
try their luck
supplied themselves; (see note)
axes, swords, javelins;(see note)
at quite a good speed
field; (see note)
Or dared do battle
have to do with you
renounced; (see note)
then must; fare
be friendly towards you
hurling of stones
gave not an egg (i.e., didn't care)
worked in vain
24 [chains]; pulled across
the river Flagot
repay; (see note)
merchandise; (see note)
Gold embroidery; Persia
bolt from a crossbow
forehead; (see note)
castle walls; trapped
It seemed to him
made by Saracens
died; lack; mother
in every way
battle array; different companies
in a heap
give him his reward
See to it
Set out for France
protected him from
|Here endithe the Romaunce of the Sowdon of Babylone and of Ferumbras his sone who conquered Rome, and Kyng Charles off Fraunce with the Twelfe Dosyperes toke the Sowdon in the feelde and smote of his heede|
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