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Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain

Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain: FOOTNOTES

1 That they pushed back our battalions very far




Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain: EXPLANATORY NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: DR: Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OED: Oxford English Dictionary; OK: Otuel a Knight; OR: Otuel and Roland; Otinel: Anglo-Norman Otinel; RV: Roland and Vernagu; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

Incipit The Romance . . . . Of Cherlles of Fraunce. The incipit, which can be attributed to the scribe Robert Thornton, takes care to specify the genre: DR is a romance of Charlemagne, that is, it belongs to the Matter of France.

13 le Roy Pepyn. Son of Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne, Pepin le Bref (Pepin the Short; c. 714–68), was the first of the Carolingian kings, ruling from 751 to 768. Like Charlemagne, he spent much of his life in military campaigns to consolidate, expand, and defend his realm.

16 dusperes. “Twelve peers.” According to legend, Charlemagne recognized twelve knights — his dussepers — as his greatest, noblest warriors.

39 Pariche. The poet identifies Paris as the location of Charlemagne’s court. The other Otuel romances also set this scene in or near Paris. In Otinel, Charlemagne holds court in Paris, having come from Clermont-Ferrand (line 18). In OK, Charlemagne appears to arrive from Saint-Denis to hold court in Paris (lines 57–58). In OR, Charlemagne appears to dwell in Paris and hold court in Saint-Denis (lines 50–51). These settings are historically inaccurate. The Roman town of Lutetia Parisiorum did not develop into the administrative center of France until the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Hugh Capet, count of Paris and duke of the Franks, was elected king of the Franks in 987, and subsequent Capetian kings expanded the city’s size and influence. During the Carolingian age, Aix-la-Chapelle, also called Aachen, was where Charlemagne lived and ruled.

49–54 Bot now . . . . helpe ne wore. Compare Otinel, lines 24–26.

71–90 Sayd . . . . ay full bowun. Compare Otinel, lines 33–44.

80 white berde large and lange. The reference here is to Charlemagne’s iconic white beardedness. In Otinel, lines 36–37, Charlemagne has a “fluri gernun” (white moustache) and “grant barbe” (great beard). See also RV, line 664 (“hore bard”); and OR, line 71 (“hore berde”).

82 floreschede thonwange. “profusely bearded cheeks.” See MED florishen (v.), sense 2, and thun-wonge (n.), sense b. The primary meaning of thun-wonge is “temple” (sense a, where this line is cited), but the secondary meaning, “cheeks,” is more likely because the reference here is to Charlemagne’s beard.

94–168 He saide . . . . he schere. Compare the Otinel, lines 59–99.

130 Corsu. Corsouse is Otuel’s named sword. In Otinel, it is called Curçuse; in OR, it is Cursins; and in OK, it is Corsouse. See the explanatory note to OR, line 106.

134 the playnes of Lubardy. Lombardy, as region in north Italy, figures prominently in many of the Otuel-cycle romances. Medieval Lombardy bordered on France. In The Siege of Milan, the central conflict between Saracens and Christians is over the city of Milan and the surrounding Lombard region. In Otinel, OK, OR, and DR, the Saracen Emperor Garcy has conquered many key Christian cities and made Lombardy his command center.

149 neffes. “fists.” This word, of Old Norse origin, is a mark of DR’s Northern dialect. See MED neve (n.2), “the clenched hand, fist.” Robert Thornton, the scribe of DR, was from Yorkshire. On Northern words, see also the notes to lines 967, 1032, and 1418 below.

166 breme as bare. “as fierce as a boar.” Proverbial. See MED breme (adj.), sense 3b(a), which notes the ambiguity of “bare”: does it designate a boar or a bear? To judge by Thornton’s Northern dialect and his later spellings of the word (“bore”), the named animal is a boar. See also lines 802, 1237, and 1396.

172–74 rollede his eghne . . . . browes one hye. In Middle English romances, eyerolling and dramatic facial expressions are behaviors that distinguish Saracens from Christians. On this detail, Phillipa Hardman comments, “The comparison with a wild lion is of course a commonplace figure for fierce martial prowess, but the details of Otuell’s facial gestures are interesting. He seems to be contorting his face into an image of terrifying hostility, and by exaggeratedly raising his brows, gives even greater prominence to the strange motion of his eyes, rolling up and down in his head . . . . Roland does nothing comparable, nor do any of the other French knights, nor does Otuell himself once he is converted . . . . This detail, then, may express something of Otuell’s bloodthirsty fierceness as champion of Mahoun, overlaid with the disturbing appearance of real madness. Rolling eyes are clearly cause for alarm and may signal specifically alien hostility” (“Dear Enemies,” pp. 69–70). Emily Lavin Leverett adds that Otuel’s emotive response is used to distinguish between the Saracen and the French Christians of Charlemagne’s court: “the bestial nature displayed by Otuel is a mark of his excess; in this case, his inability to control his emotions. Though he professes to know and understand chivalry, his excess emotion spills out after he is forced to defend himself and contained violence rapidly shifts to uncontained savagery” (“Holy Bloodshed,” p. 154). To “ferd als a . . . lyoung” is proverbial. See Whiting L344. On Otuel’s eye-rolling, see also line 424.

184 als mot I thee. Proverbial. See MED thriven (v.), sense 1c. See also lines 641, 793, and the second-person variant at 1321 (“als mote thou thee”).

210 Boty. An unidentifiable place in Emperor Garcy’s Saracen empire. Perhaps the name is intended to evoke Buthrotum (modern day Butrint, Albania), a Mediterranean site known to readers of Virgil’s Aeneid, 3.375–79 (trans. Mandelbaum).

213–16 Fermorye . . . . Fermorye. There is no identifiable location to which this place-name refers, but the other cities listed in this passage suggest that it is likely an actual city-name that the audience might recognize. For the second reference (line 216), the manuscript reads “Fermonye” (here emended).

222 noghte worthe ane aye. Proverbial. See Whiting A25.

232–46 House and londe . . . . life to lede. Compare Otinel, lines 130–36.

240 landes of Scamonye. There is no known place named “Scamonye.”

259 smothirly. “menacingly.” This unusual word is not attested elsewhere; see MED smotherli (adv.).

274–75 Bitwix two watirs . . . . cité hight Attaylé. Garcy’s city in Lombardy is called Atelie in Otinel, and Utaly in OR. As discussed in the notes to lines 659 and 742–43 below, the city being referenced is most likely Pavia. Compare Otinel, lines 165–67.

283–88 Lete Duke Naymes . . . . als he were. In his taunt, Otuel asserts that Naimes should be left behind to protect Paris, implying that dussepere is too old and feeble to engage in combat. In regards to the idea that no scavenger birds of war will come to Paris, compare Otinel’s taunt in Otinel, lines 173–76.

313–18 Sir Vernague . . . . myghte and mayne. Compare Otinel, lines 204–09.

329 Saynte-Thomers. Saint-Omer is a place in northern France named for Saint Audomarus (Omer), a seventh-century bishop and founder of the monastery alluded to here. This detail is borrowed from the French source. See Otinel, line 226, and compare OR, line 239.

334 Droundale. Durendal is the name of Roland’s famous sword. In Rocamadour, France, one may see a chapel with a sword embedded in its outside wall. By local legend, this sword is Durendal. De Veyrières notes the claim (found in l’abbé Cheval’s 1862 guidebook, Guide du Pèlerin à Roc-Amadour) that the real Durendal was stolen in 1183 when Henry II pillaged the chapel, and he includes a drawing of the current sword (“L’Épée de Roland,” pp. 139–41). On other named swords, see the notes to lines 130, 847, 914, and 1196.

361 spende. “girded.” See MED spennen, sense b, where this line is cited.

374 rekreyande thou hym brynge. “cause him to admit defeat or surrender.” See MED recreaunt (adj.), senses a and b.

397–98 And scho calles . . . . Roselet of Barelle. Compare Otinel, lines 327–28.

424 rollede his eghne up and dowun. See the note to lines 172–74 above.

447 In the name of Marie of heven. According to Hardman, the characters of DR exhibit a heightened reliance on Mary, a feature also seen in the other Thornton Otuel-cycle romance Siege of Milan (“The Sege of Melayne,” p. 85).

456 sex and seven. Proverbial. See Whiting S359, and MED six (num.), sense 2d: “bix six or seven” meaning “in large quantities in great numbers.”

470 fers als any lyoun. Proverbial. See Whiting L311.

474 loughe. “humbled, brought low, made to bow.” The phrase is appositional to “made hym bowen” in line 472. See MED louen (v.1), senses 3a and 4a. Otuel is eagerly (and prematurely) feeling victorious because he has cowed Roland.

476 strade. The MED defines this word as either “? a skirmish” or “? a pathway in a battlefield”; see MED, strade (n.), where this instance is cited as the only appearance of the word.

518–40 Sarazene . . . . als thou were. Compare Otinel, lines 454–69.

578–79 A dofe . . . . lightes. A white dove is a traditional sign for the presence of the Holy Spirit (one of the Three Persons of the Trinity), which is associated with God’s grace (see Luke 3:22). Compare Otinel, lines 516–18; OK, lines 585–88; and OR, lines 568–73.

607 Bischope Turpyn. Archbishop Turpin is an important military and ecclesiastical character in the Song of Roland and the Middle English Charlemagne romances. In Otinel, RV, and the three Otuel romances, Turpin’s role is limited to episcopal duties: performing Mass and baptizing converts. In the fifth Otuel-cycle romance, The Siege of Milan, Turpin plays a central role.

620 rede als rose. Proverbial. See Whiting R199.

659 the cité of Attaly. Ataly is most likely Pavia, the capital of Lombardy in the seventh and eighth centuries, which is located on the Ticino River three miles upstream from its confluence with the Po River. The Ticino, which the DR poet names the Soltane (lines 746 and 756), rises in the Swiss Alps, descends into Italy through Lake Maggiore, and is the largest left-bank tributary of the Po. It is over the Soltane/Ticino that Charlemagne builds the bridge over which the French will pass to attack the city (see the note to lines 754–56 below).

702 Mount Marteres. Montmartre is a hill in what is now the northern part of Paris, and the location where Saint Denis was purportedly beheaded by Romans. According to legend, after he was decapitated, he picked up his head and carried it some distance away before he died on the site thereafter known as Saint-Denis. For more, see “St. Denis” in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

703–17 The Almaynes . . . . a stalworthe stede. Compare Otinel, lines 636–42.

704 for the nanes. The term for the nonce means approximately “for the moment” or “for the occasion,” though it is primarily used as a meaningless metrical filler. See MED nones (n.1) and none (n.).

724 Saynt Denys. See the note to line 702 above.

733–38 Olyvere his stede . . . . thousande bolde barouns. The detail of Oliver accompanying Belesent is unique to DR. It is possible that “Olyvere” at lines 727 and 733, are errors for “Otuel.” The poet borrows the idea of Belesent riding on a mule from Otinel. See Otinel, lines 655–60, and compare OR, lines 679–81.

739 Bretayne. “Brittany.” In the source Otinel, line 661, the French army passes through Burgundy (“Burgonie”); OR, line 685, follows Otinel: “Burgoyne.” The DR substitution of Brittany for Burgundy indicates an English poet’s (or scribe’s) confused geography. Another reference to Brittany appears at line 1431.

740 Mandely. An unidentified region corresponding to the place-names Mungiu and Morie in Otinel, lines 662–63.

742–56 Thay schipped . . . . Soltane dighte. These lines describe the final stages of Charlemagne’s journey to his encampment outside Ataly. “Vertely” refers to Vercelli, a city on the Po River around forty-five miles west-northwest of Pavia, in Piedmont on the border with Lombardy. An ancient site, settled around 600 BCE, Vercelli became an independent commune in 1120, and in the years that followed was a member of the first and second Lombard leagues. The city housed the University of Pavia from 1228 to 1372. In DR, the name given to the river near Ataly is the Soltane (in OR, it is the Coyne; in Otinel, it is the Ton). This river is most likely the Ticino, on the left bank of which lies Pavia (Ataly). The historical Charlemagne laid siege to Pavia, then the Lombard capital, in the winter and spring of 773–74, after which he had himself crowned king of Pavia and its surrounding territories. The “mountayne” (line 745) is likely borrowed from Otinel, lines 664–68 (see explanatory note). Pavia itself is situated on a small hill, but the plains surrounding Pavia are quite flat, with no significant heights between the Monferrat Hills and Pavia. The “medowe” (line 747) where the French army encamps is across the Soltane/Ticino from Pavia. See the note to line 659 above.

754–56 Therefore . . . . Soltane dighte. The bridge that Charlemagne has built over the Soltane/Ticino helps to locate Pavia as the site of Ataly. When Roland, Oliver, and Ogier cross the bridge to seek Saracens, they meet Clarel and his companions “a mile” from Ataly. See the note to line 659 above, and compare OK, lines 697–706; OR, lines 695–701; and Otinel, lines 674–80.

784–92 Kynge Balsame . . . . Kyng Claryell. Compare Otinel, lines 696–703.

802 breme als bare. See the note to line 166 above.

815 ne vaylede noghte a pere. Proverbial. See Whiting P79.

846 lofesome under lyne. Proverbial. See MED lofsom (adj.), sense 1a.

847 Melle. Melle is the name of Clarel’s sword; elsewhere it is called “Modlee” (line 1207). Compare OR, line 1240, where it is named “Melyn”; and Otinel, line 807, where it is named “Mellee.”

851 A noble cheke here wonn. “a noble victory here won.” See MED chek (interj. and n.), sense 3, “feat, enterprise,” where this line is cited.

866–70 Sayd . . . . we noghte slo. Compare Otinel, lines 848–50.

881 Mountjoy! The war cry of the French. See MED mon-joie (n.), and compare Otinel, line 860.

914 Haunkclere. This is the name of Oliver’s sword. Like Roland’s Durendal and Otuel’s Corsouse, the mightiest warriors’ swords of chansons de geste often acquire names that associate them with their owners. Oliver’s sword is also named at OR, line 904 (“Haunchecler”), and in Otinel, line 873 (“Halteclere”). On other named swords, see the notes to lines 130, 847, and 1196.

920 Kyng Alphamanye. King Alphamanye, who dies in this scene, is a different person from the King Alphané who leads “twenty thowsande of Barbarye / That wele couthe wapyns bere” (lines 1448–49).

967 white als fame. Proverbial. See Whiting F361. The phrase is a compliment of beauty, like “white as snow.” See MED whit (adj.), sense 6a(b), and fom (n.), sense 4. The spelling of “foam” with an a is Northern, and the phrase “a dogheter, white als fame” appears in another Thornton romance: Sir Eglamour, line 26 (ed. Cook and Schleich, p. 14).

996 lyghte als lefe one tree. Proverbial. See Whiting L140.

1009–35 Otuell . . . . hir awenn fyndynge. Compare Otinel, lines 1000–17.

1032 thethey. “Headstrong, irritable.” The OED specifies that this word is chiefly Scottish and Northern. The only instances of it cited in the MED are this line and one in a Townley play (c. 1500); see MED tethi (adj.). On Northern words and spellings in DR, see also the notes to lines 149, 967, and 1418.

1043–54 And sayde . . . . by full dere. Compare Otinel, lines 1043–47.

1052 grete gramaungere. “foolish enterprise.” This line contains the only attestation of the French-derived word (from grant mangier). See MED gramaunger (n.), “a great meal; fig. an overambitious enterprise.” Otuel is calling Roland and Oliver foolish for fighting a Saracen army by themselves. The poet’s word “gramaungere” may reflect the joke about eating the pagans found in the source-text Otinel, line 1044, which reads: “Quidez vus sul les paiens tuz mangier?” (“Do you think that you alone can eat all the pagans?”).

1135–64 Then comes . . . . holde his daye. Compare Otinel, lines 1195–1233.

1157 noghte worthe a pye. Proverbial. See Whiting P177.

1174 groped hym wele. “examined him well,” i.e., probed and tended his wounds, like a physician. See MED gropen (v.), sense 5c. The scene of Belesent touching Otuel has an amorous suggestion as well (gropen, sense 1d). See the discussion in the OR Introduction, p. 118.

1196 Galyene. Though this master swordsmith cannot be identified, some medieval armorers were renowned. Dirk H. Breiding of the Department of Arms and Armor, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, writes: “The earliest references to both armorers and famous regions of manufacture occur in myths and legend, such as the famed Hephaistos, armorer to the Greek gods, or Wieland, the smith from Germanic mythology. During the eighth century, Ingelri and Ulfberht, two blade smiths (or their workshops) from the Rhine region, apparently produced such high-quality sword blades that their names are found inscribed on swords produced over the following two centuries. Indeed, makers of arms and armor appear to have been among the first craftsmen to ‘sign’ their works, and some of the later court armorers were as highly esteemed as any of the celebrated court painters” (“Famous Makers of Arms and Armor”).

1207 Modlee. See the note to line 847 above.

1214 mawmettis. “idols.” Muslims, as Saracens, are inaccurately depicted as worshiping idols. On Western Christian beliefs about Muslim idolatry, see Strickland, Saracens, Demons, and Jews, pp. 166–69; and the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 16.

1231–69 Than comes . . . . deme and dighte. Compare Otinel, lines 1311–52.

1237 breme als bore. See the note to line 166 above.

1254 mellyde hare. “gray hair.” See MED medlen (v.), sense 1b(c), which cites this line.

1318–26 Cursu thurghe . . . . nott hir wyte. Compare Otinel, lines 1445–56.

1341 gayne. “quickly.” See MED gein (adv.), sense a.

1396 breme als any bore. See the note to line 166 above.

1418 slakkes. “valleys.” For this word of Scandinavian origin, see MED slak (n.2.). Here the word is conjoined with an Anglo-Saxon-derived word — MED slade (n.), “slope” — to form a Northern-flavored alliterative phrase (“on valley and on hill”). On Northern words or spellings, see also the notes to lines 149, 967, and 1032 above.

1445 Alphané. King Alphané of Barbarye, father of Duke Balamé, is a different person from the King Alphamanye who knocks Oliver from his horse before Roland kills him (lines 919–27).

1510 are that he blane. Taken literally, this phrase means “before one might stop.” See MED blinnen (v.), sense 1f, “without stopping or delay, right away,” where this line is cited.

1543–60 Oggere Daunays . . . . of dede. Ogier the Dane is one of Charlemagne’s dussepers in the chanson de geste tradition; see the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 5n13. In the penultimate scene of the romance, just before the capture of King Garcy, Ogier the Dane breaks out of prison and rejoins his comrades. In this version, Ogier slays his guards with a piece of firewood, puts on his armor, finds his horse and a spear, and gallops off. For alternate scenarios, see Otinel, lines 1836–69; OK, lines 1629–78; and OR, lines 1616–36.

1565–75 The emperour . . . . hathe hym sent. Compare Otinel, lines 1873–1901.

1580–96 Home thay wente . . . . par charité. On the different endings among the French and Middle English accounts of Otuel/Otinel, see the explanatory note to Otinel, lines 1899–1904.

Explicit Here endes . . . . Sir Otuell. The first two lines of the explicit are inclusively bracketed on the left, with the word “Charlles” written outside the bracket. In both the explicit and the incipit, therefore, Thornton signals that DR is a Charlemagne romance. It is notable that Thornton elsewhere copies more legends of the Nine Worthies: the prose Life of Alexander, the alliterative Morte Arthure, and the Parlement of the Thre Ages. See Fein, “The Contents of Robert Thornton’s Manuscripts,” pp. 16–19. A reproduction of fol. 94r, showing the explicit, may be viewed in Thompson, Robert Thornton and the London Thornton Manuscript, plate 16.







Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain: TEXTUAL NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: H: The Romance of Duke Rowlande and of Sir Ottuell of Spayne, ed. Herrtage, in The English Charlemagne Romances. Part II, pp. 55–104; MS: London, British Library Additional MS 31042 (London Thornton), fols. 82r–94r.

88 gentill. So MS. H: gentille.

94 flawmande. So MS. H: flawmandre.

121 spekes. So MS. H: spekis.

165 bakwarde. So MS. H: backwarde.

175 hir. So MS. H: his.

201 al. So MS. H: all.

211 fre. MS: nere was initially written and then canceled.

216 Fermorye. MS, H: Fermonye.

234 Normaundy. So MS. H: Normandy.

244 kyng. So MS. H: kynges.

263 chevalrye. So MS. H: cheualry.

281 kon. So H. MS: couthe was initially written and then canceled.

307 so. So MS. H: oo.

314 myn eme I. So H. MS: myn I.

349 Elleven. So MS. H: Eleuen.

361 sporres. So MS. H: sperres.

372 Hys. So H. MS: Scribe initially copied hes, then canceled the e and wrote a y on top of the canceled character.

383 thies. So MS. H: these.

463 Rawlande. So MS. H: Rowlande.

502 dynttys. So MS. H: dynttis.

523 thou. So MS. H: thow.

559 Ane. So MS. H: And.

597 yit. So MS. H: ȝitt.

618 was. So MS. H: nas.

632 bayllye. So MS. H: Bayllyee; Herrtage mistook the curl of the bracket for an additional e.

633 contreth. So MS. H: contrey.

641 scho. So MS. H: sche.

644 Now that I hafe chosen. MS: now inserted in the left margin. H: that I hafe now chosen.

657 one. So MS. H: on.

661 The king said. So H. MS: The said.

662 Now hafe. So MS. H: Now ȝe hafe.

730 yode. So MS. H: ȝede.

731 one. So MS. H: on.

736 maid. MS: word is obscured. H: mayd.

737 were arrayed. MS: end of word were and following word are obscured. H: were arrayd.

756 Soltane. MS, H: Roltane.

796 me by. MS: Scribe initially copied by me and canceled it, then copied me by.

798 dynttes. So MS. H: dynttis.

800 sporres. So MS. H: spores.

803 fare. MS: word obscured. H: faire.

813 egerly. So MS. H: werly.

832 smyttys. So MS. H: Smyttis.

862 semys. So MS. H: semes.

866 getyn. So MS. H: gettyn.

899 What schall saye. So MS. H: what we schall.

903 wode. So MS. H: wede.

925 than. So MS. H: þan.

948 yoo. So MS. H: þoo.

954 He1. So MS. H: his.

967 saide. So MS. H: sayde.

982 said. So MS. H: sayd.

1008 now. So MS. H: nowe.

1043 ye. So H. MS: Scribe initially copies, then cancels, he, then replaces canceled word with ȝe.

1091 one. So MS. H: on.

1113 be. So MS. H: bene.

1114 blode. So H. MS: bolde.

1126 Gauntere. So MS. H: Grauntere.

1163 hafe. So MS. H: hase.

1168 to his. So H. MS: to his to his.

1179 ware. So MS. H: were.

1218 Alle. So MS. H: All.

1220 everichonee. So MS. H: euerichone.

1230 faire. So MS. H: fayre.

1231 Kynge. So MS. H: kyng.

1237 yitt. So MS. H: ȝit.

1239 on. MS, H: men.

1256 those. So MS. H: þofe.

1268 one. So MS. H: on.

1287 yowe. So MS. H: ȝow.

1297 Than bothe thies kene knyghttis there. So H. MS: line is copied twice — once at the bottom of fol. 91v and once at the top of 92r, with spelling knyghttes on 91v and knyghtis on 92r.

1305 handis. So MS. H: handes.

1326 may. So MS. H: maye.

1385 one. So MS. H: on.

1413 werun. So MS. H: werynn.

1428 nowe. So MS. H: Newe.

1429 Elys. So H. MS: Elys Elye.

1453 stalworthe were. So MS. H: staleworthe ware.

1481 And lovede God. So H. MS: god inserted in left margin.

1483 hoved by. So H. MS: three characters obscured: the ed in hoved and the b in by.

1491 sqwyeres. So MS. H: Sqwyere.

1502 saulles. So MS. H: Saules.

1507 to the banere. So H. MS: þe inserted in margin to left of line.

1522 Mahomis. So MS. H: Mahonns.

1539 thay. So MS. H: þey.

1549 thwnge. So MS. H: thynge.

Explicit Charlles. MS: Charles is written in the margin to the left of the first two lines of the explicit and linked to them with a bracket.








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The Romance of Duke Rowland and Sir Ottuell of Spayne Of Cherlles of Fraunce

Fitt 1

Lordynges that bene hende and free,
Herkyns alle hedirwardes to mee,
             Gif that it be your will.
Now lates alle your noyse be,
And herkyns nowe of gamen and glee
             That I schall tell yow till.
Of doghety men I schall yow telle
That were full fayre of flesche and fell
             And semely appon sille,
And with thaire wapyns wele couthe melle
And boldly durste in batell duelle
             And doghety proved one hill.

The sone of le Roy Pepyn
That was Sir Cherlles gud and fyne,
             Als the cronykills us gan say,
With his dusperes doghety and dyin
That wele couthe feghte with a Sarazene
             For to felle tham fey;
Till Genyone with his traytorye
Solde tham ille and wikkedly
             Unto the false ley —
Fourty thowsande and fyfty
Of the flour of chevalrye
             There dyede apon a daye!

Mynstrells in that lande gan duelle,
Bot alle the sothe thay couthe noghte tell
             Of this noble chevalrye:
How that Cherlles with his swerde gan melle,
Bot suche a menske hym befell
             That come hym sodeynly.
They tentede to thaire daunsynge,
And also to thaire othir thynge,
             To make gamen and glee;
Burdours into the haulle thay brynge
That gayly with thaire gle gan synge
             With wowynges of lady.

And forthir in romance als ye mon here,
This noble kynge of grete powere
             Duellede in Pariche,
With his lordes and his duspers
That were holden felle and fers
             And in batelle full wyse.
All thay buskede tham for to bere
Helme and hawberke, schelde and spere,
             And rapede tham for to ryse
Agaynes Kynge Merthill, forto were
And forto kepe the heythyn here,
             And struye there Goddes enymys.

Bot now come tham newe note one hande,
And wondirfull hasty tythande
             That grevede tham righte sore;
For of the chevallrye of the lande,
Ther hade dyede thritty thousande,
             Gif Goddes helpe ne wore!
And owte of Spayne there come in hy
A Sarazene that was full doghety
             With grymly grownden gare,
Fro the Emperour Sir Garcy
To Kyng Charlles full hastilye,
             That kyndilde alle thaire care.

The messangere was mekill of pride.
Thorowte Pareche gan he ryde
             And at the kynges sale he lighttis,
And there he metys in that tyde
That were faire of hewe and hide,
             Thre full noble knyghtis:
Sir Otes and Sir Raynere,
Duke Naymes was theire fere,
             That ofte thaire resouns rightes.
He haylsede tham with steryn chere,
Sayd, “Fro the kynge am I sent a messangere,
             That moste es provede of myghtis.”

Duke Naymes sayde full curtaysly,
“Sir, whate may thi name bee?”
             He sayde, “I highte Otuell.
Kyng Cherlles, where es he?
Righte to hym byhovede mee
             Mi message forto telle.”
Duke Naymes saide, “He sittes his duspers imange,
With white berde large and lange,
             Faire of flesche and fell,
With a floreschede thonwange,
Oure noble kynge that es so strange,
             His doghety men imelle.

He sittes in riche meneuere;
The Duke Rowlande sittys hym nere
             In rede siclaton,
And the gentill erle Sir Olyvere,
That es full noble and felle and fere
             And in batelle ay full bowun.”
Forthe passede than the messangere
Bifore the kynge with steryn chere,
             It was hym grete renoun.
He saide, “Ane evyll flawmande fyre
Bryne thi berde, thi breste, and thi swyre,
             Even to thi fote alle doun!

A messangere ame I sent in hy
Fro my lorde the emperor Sir Garcy
             That settis yow alle at noghte.
In paynym ne es none so doghety;
He hathe the flour of chevallrye
             Allredy with hym broghte.
Charlles, I ne maye noghte honour thee,
For thou hase grevede Mahoun and me,
             That alle this worlde hase wroghte.
And Rowlande, if ever I may thee see
At batayle or at any semblé,
             Thi dedis schall dere be boghte!

And Rowlande, gif ever I maye thee mete,
With my swerde I schall thee hete
             To hewe thi body in two,
And fulle thee under my horse fete,
Sarazenes myrthe with thee to bete,
             For thou hase wroghte tham woo!”
And Rowlande at those wordes loughe,
And said, “Sir, thou arte doghety ynoghe
             Siche dedis to undirtoo!
Thou may jangill and make it toughe,
For here schall no man do thee woghe
             Till aughte dayes ben agoo.”

The kyng spekes than the Sarazene till,
“Say one, felawe, whatte thou will.
             Distroube thee schall righte none,
Ne none of my men, lowde nor still,
Touche thee with nonekyns ille
             Till heghte dayes ben gone.”
The Sarazene at those wordes hadde skorne.
“I dowte no man,” he says, “that ever was borne,
             And I my stede hafe tone,
Corsu my swerde me biforne,
That myche Cristen blode hathe schorne
             And many a body slone.”

“Where?” sayde the kynge in hy.
“Sir, in the playnes of Lubardy —
             Thou claymes it for thi lande,
The powere there of Sir Garcy.
Appon a daye we garte tham dy,
             Fully fifty thousande.
Nyne monethes es gone arighte
Sen I with Cursu was dobbide knyghte,
             My golde brayden brande.
A thosande there to the dede I dighte,
Of Cristen men mekill of myghte,
             Righte with myn awenn hande.

And thus hathe Lubades harmes laughte
Bothe by dayes and by naghte,
             Ne gladdes tham no glee.
Myselfe was then in batelle and faughte;
Myn neffes were bolnede dayes aughte
             That selly was to see.”
Up than stirte ane hardy knyghte,
Sir Estut of Logres, forsothe, he highte,
             A lorde of grete bountee.
With the Sarazene wolde he fighte;
A staffe in hande he takes hym righte
             Was of sqwarede tree.

Fitt 2

Than Rowlande sayde full sobirly,
“Now, gud Sir Estut, let it be.
             He es a messangere.
He es ensurede to myn eme and mee.
For thi gud, Sir, par charyté,
             Thyn hert that thou wolde stere.”
Bot yit the knyghte ne wolde noghte spare,
Bot hent the Sarazene by the hare
             And bakwarde doun hym bere.
The Sarazene stirte up breme as bare,
Cursu his swerde he drewe reghte thare —
             The knyghte hede off he schere.

Than saide the baronage with hole sowun,
“Lay hande one the traytoure feloun!
             He hase done velanye!”
Bot he rollede his eghne both up and dowun
And ferde als a wilde lyoun,
             Brayde up his browes one hye.
He braundescht hir swerde bare,
That trenchande was and wele schare,
             And sayde full sobirly
(And by his grete Mahown he sware),
“And any of yow duspers stirre thare,
             The beste party schall dy!”

The kyng his men sone sessed he,
Sayd, “Sarazene, yelde thi suerde to mee,
             And late be alle this bere.”
And he sayde, “Naye, als mot I thee!”
Up than rose Sir Rowlande full sobirly,
             And with a lagheande chere
Said, “Yelde to me thi brande brighte.
I schall thee save, als I ame knyghte,
             Whills that thou arte here.
And when thi message es doun and dighte,
I schall delyver thee thi brande so brighte,
             Als I ame trewe duspere.”

“In that covande I yelde it thee.
I nolde gif it for twelve cité,
             So bittirly will it bite!
And, Rowlande, yif ever I may thee see
At batayle or at any semblé,
             Thi hede off therwith to smyte!”
Rowlande sayde, “Sir, thou art to outrage!
Fayrere myghte thou batayll wage
             Than al daye thus to chide.”
The Sarazene spake with stowte vesage,
“Herkenys now to my message,
             And I schall tell yow tyte.

Kyng Cherlls, als thou may here,
I am sent a messangere
             Fro hym that es doghty.
He weldes paynym ferre and nere:
Alysaundere of grete powere,
             And the londis of Boty,
Toures, Sedoyne, ferre and fre,
Perse, semely one to see,
             And therto Fermorye.
This noble kynge of grete pousté,
He distruyes bothe londe and see
             Reghte into Fermorye.

Forthi hathe he sent thee worde by mee:
That thou schall uncristen bee,
             And leve appon oure ley.
For we will prove in oure degré
That the lawes of Cristyanté
             Ne are noghte worthe ane aye!
Giffe thi hert unto Mahoun,
That weldis bothe toure and towun
             And alle myghtis maye;
Hafe done belyfe that thou be bowne
Forto come to oure somoun —
             Thus am I sent to saye.

Hafe done, sir! Buske thee to oure kynge,
For he hath ordeynede thi wonnynge,
             For alle thi chevalrye;
House and londe, wodde and thynge,
He grauntes thee over all othir thynge
             The londes of Normaundy.
Inglonde also hathe giffen to thee;
And to Rowlande thi nevieu fre
             To be sesede in Russy.
Olyver, that es faire and free,
The knyghte es provede of grete bounté,
             The landes of Scamonye.

To Sir Florance of Surry,
He hathe giffen France in hye,
             That wele cane prike a stede —
The kyng sone of Barbarye,
To hafe it to his bayly
             Therone his life to lede.”
Than the kynge sayde, “Nay!
Duspers, whate will ye say
             Of this wonder dede?
Schall never Sarazene of heythyn ley
Welde France, by nyghte ne daye.
             Now Jhesu it forbede!”

Then thay ansuerde sone in hye,
“Nay, Sir, we will oure batells guy,
             And rape us for to ryde
Agayne the Emperor Sir Garcy.
Thurgh the myghte of mylde Marye,
             Hy schall schome betyde.”
The Sarazyn laughes full smothirly,
“What, threte ye now Sir Garcy
             With your boste and your pryde?
Ther es none of yow so hardy,
And ye hade sene his chevalrye,
             Your hedis that ye nolde hyde!”

The Duke Naymes talkes wordes one highte,
Says, “Sir, if that the emperor will fighte,
             We schall to hy full even!”
The Sarazene ansuerde with mekill myghte,
“He hath a hondreth thousande helmys brighte
             And therto hundrethes seven!
Ther es no kyng in Cristyanté
Dare warne hym huntynge and fischynge fre,
             Ne discrye hym ther with steven!
Bitwix two watirs fayre and fre,
He hath bigged a cité hight Attaylé —
             Es none siche under the heven!

Cherlles, with thi longe berde,
That empoure schall make thee full ferde
             With his stronge powere!
For he hathe men in batell lerede
That wele kon feghte with floresched swerde
             And hafe lemans full clere.
Lete Duke Naymes lenge at hame
To kepe Pareche walles fro schame,
             That no gledes neghe tham nere,
Coo ne pye that there come none,
For chevalrye es fro hym gone —
             An olde nappere als he were!”

The Duke Naymes asschamede was;
The blode stert up in his face —
             Agreved he was full sore.
Than Sir Rowlande full rathely up he rase;
“Unconnande Sarazene!” he said, “In this place
             Thi wykkednes es yare.
By Hym that dyede appon a tree,
Thou scholde have a velany of me,
             Ensurede nyfe that I ware!
Bot in batelle if ever I may thee see,
Schall never no kyng of Cristyanté
             Be encombirde with thee mare!”

The Sarazene ansueres full stoutly,
“Be Mahownn, Rowlande, I ame redy
             For to fighte with thee!
Into yone medowe I rede we hye
And luke that no man bee us by —
             Grete gamen than schall men see!
Whethir so werse es of us twoo,
Lett hewe bothe his spourres hy froo;
             He never more honorede bee.”
Rowlande was of hert full throo
Siche dedys to undertoo;
             His hande upholdes hee.

“Sir Vernague of Barabas,
Sertys, myn eme I wote he was,
             That Rowlande here hath slayne.
I chalange his dethe now in this place.
I schalle thee lede a wikkede pase,
             Bothe with myghte and mayne.”
The kynge at those wordes loughe,
And said, “Sir, thou arte doghty ynoghe!
             Garte calle a chambirlayne.
Garte delyvere hym innes withowtten woghe.
To sue hym, lokes that thee bene toughe
             Of alle that scholde hym gayne.”

The kynge garte calle Sir Grauntere,
Sir Raynere, and Sir Oggere,
             Bade take kepe of the knyghte.
One the morne thay rose alle in fere.
The abbott of Saynte-Thomers
             Songe tham a messe full righte.
Elleven coupes fayre to fonde
Was offrede at the abbottes honde,
             Full of golde so brighte.
Rowlande offrede Droundale his brande,
Boghte it agayne with golde at hande.
             Alle honoured thay God Allemyghte.

             A Fitt

And unnethes was the messe alle done,
When that the Sarazene come full sone,
             And cryed appon highte
To Kyng Cherlles with steryn tone,
Sayd, “Send owte Rowlande withowtten hone!
             I calle hym recreyande knyghte.
I appelle hym for trouthe broken
For the wordes that were spoken
             Yistreven within the nyghte.
In his armes that he be loken;
Myn emes dethe I will hafe wroken —
             He was a kynge of myghte!”

Elleven duspers stode hym by
To arme Sir Rowlande full hastyly,
             That provede was in batayle.
Ane actone they threwe appon hym hye,
And ane hawberke, sekerly,
             That sekire was of mayle,
Hose of hawberke, gesseraunte;
Broghte hym ane helme of bettant,
             And lacede his aventale.
Iche a knyghte gane tham avante
For to sue hym to his avenaunte,
             That no thynge scholde hym fayle.

Thay spende hym with his gilte sporres,
And dressede hym in his armours,
             Alle redy to the felde.
Broghte hym a schelde of faire coloure;
He was a lofely creatoure,
             Whoso hym than bihelde.
Girde hym with Drondale to the were;
Appone a stede he leppes there,
             That doghety under schelde.
And in his hande a noble spere,
A faire course he rydes there
             Hys wapyns for to welde.

Then sayde Cherlles the kynge,
“Loke rekreyande thou hym brynge
             That hathe made this derraye!
Late hym noghte skape for nonkynsthynge.”
He gaffe hym Goddes blyssynge
             And bade hym wende his waye.
Thay broghte tham bytwene two watirs brighte —
Sayne and Meryn le Graunte thay highte,
             Als the bukes gan us saye —
Into a medowe semely to sighte,
There als thies doghety men solde fighte
             Withowtten more delaye.

This while hovede the Sarazene still,
And called to the kynge with voyce full schrylle,
             “Ane hawberke aske I thee!
Spere and schelde garre brynge me till,
For I hafe horssynge at my will,
             None siche in Cristyanté.”
The kyng than lokes hym besyde
And saughe his dogheter mekill of pryde,
             Belesent brighte of blee.
Than he comandide hir that tyde,
“Goo take hym fayre be thi syde,
             Wele armede that he bee.”

And scho calles Flores of Maundelle,
Mayden Roselet of Barelle,
             And bade tham wende to the knyghte,
And haste tham that within awhile,
And til a chambire gan thay syle,
             And gayly gan hym dighte.
To arme hym wele thay were full snelle:
Out his aktone ane hawberke felle
             Of colours that were brighte,
That aughte gud Kynge Ragnell,
That was bothe ferse and felle,
             And in felde full faire couthe fighte.

Thay armede hym wele withowtten fayle;
With golde thay lacede his aventaile
             For that it solde be trewe;
Broghte hym ane helme of riche entayle
Of precyouse stones, the appayrayle
             That brighteste was of hewe.
His helme was bothe harde and holde;
Therone was sett a sercle of golde
             That bett was wonder newe.
Then sayde thies damesels fre one folde,
A meryere armede knyghte one molde
             Never yitt thay ne knewe.

Thay broghte hym a schelde when he was bowun;
Thies maydens two thay broghte hym dowun.
             He cried aftir his stede.
He rollede his eghne up and dowun,
And sware by his grete Mahoun —
             His enemy sore myghte drede!
Than spake those two maydens smale,
“Sir, kepe thee wele fro Drondale,
             For it will garre thee blede!
Entyre thou ones into yone vale,
Comes thou never aftyr into this sale,
             And Sir Rowlande righte may rede!”

He toke his leve and forthe he gose,
Lepe one a stede highte Mekredose,
             In his hande a spere.
A faire course he rydes close,
Full egerly amonges his fose,
             And dressede hym in his gere.
When the Sarazene comen was,
The kyng garte sone avoyde the place
             Of Cristen that there were.
To the castelle he wendes a pase,
And appone the kirnells gase
             To wayte appon that were.

The kynge to Rowlande lowde gan crye,
“Feghte one, dere sone, hardely,
             In the name of Marie of heven!”
The Sarazene saide, “I ame redy!”
Appon Sir Rowlande he gan defy
             With a full hawtayne steven.
Thies kene knyghtis togedir gan glide,
The medowe tremlyde one aythir syde,
             In scheldes thay cowped full even.
Theyre joynynge was so harde that tyde
That theyre tymbir in sondire gan ryde
             In mo than sex or seven.

Thurghowte thaire scheldis than thay schare
And all the lethirs that thare ware —
             Thay assembled soryly.
The poyntes appon the hawberke bare,
Bot the mayles so sekir ware
             The spere hedis bigan to plye.
Rawlande owte his swerde wanne
And hittes hym on the helme thanne
             That the nasell floghe full hye.
Thurgh the horse schuldirs the swerde rane —
That was a styffe stroke of a man!
             His noble stede gan dy.

The Sarazene off his horse tublys doun
And stert up fers als any lyoun,
             And Cursu his swerde he drewe.
He brasede his schelde and made hym bowun;
He hitt Sir Rowlande one the crowun,
             That fore egirnes he loughe.
The nasell of his helme off glade
Dowun bifore hym in the strade —
             Hade almoste wroghte hym woghe!
Thurgh the horse schuldirs the swerde gan wade,
His stede even in sondere he hade —
             The stroke was stythe ynoghe!

Rowlande one the grownde es lighte,
Uppon his fete he sterte uprighte;
             His swerde in his hande he helde.
The Sarazene cryed with mekill myghte,
“This was a stythe stroke of a knyghte,
             And no thynge of a childe!”
Charlles herde those wordes wele;
Appon his knees dowun gan he knele,
             And bothe his handes uphelde.
“God,” he said, “that alle schall dighte and dele,
His modir mylde and Saynt Michael,
             Fro schame Ye Rowlande schelde!”

Rowlande raysede up Drondale;
Abown his hede he gane it hale,
             His enemy forto dere.
He hade almoste wroghte hym bale;
A quartere of his helme awaye gane vale
             And halfendele his one ere,
That the Sarazene bygane to helde,
And up he caste his noble schelde;
             In the bokells gane he schere.
So thikke thaire dynttys togedir pelyde,
Thaire armours hewenn laye in the felde
             Als floures that strewede were.

Belesent sayde full curtaysly,
“Mi lorde, thay feghten full gentilly;
             A grete travayle thay hafe!”
Up to God he caste a crye,
And to His moder Saynt Marie:
             “Fro schame Ye Rowlande save!
And coverte us yone gentill knyghte
That es so hardy and so wighte,
             For elles it were grete wathe!
He es so ferse in armes to fyghte,
And a man of mekill myghte.
             Full doghety are thay bathe!”

Than Rowlande sayde full curtaysly,
“Sarazene, will thou cristenyde be
             And leve appon oure laye?
A noble gifte I schall giffe thee:
Belesent that es brighte of ble —
             In the worlde ne es siche a maye!
And thou and I and Olyver,
We schall be felawes all in fere,
             And travell nyghte and daye.
We schall ryde bothe ferre and nere,
Wyn citees and towunes dere,
             And gode horses at assaye!”

The Sarazene ansuers full stoutly,
“Thou kan to littill of clergy
             To leryn me siche a lare!
The wordes that thou hase spoken in hy,
Thou schall tham full dere aby
             With sadde dynttes and sare!
I swere thee, by my grete Mahoun,
I schall thee lere a newe lessoun
             Or I fro thee fare,
With a bofete appon thi croun
That thou schall laye thi wapen doun,
             Rekreyande als thou were!”

Than was Sir Rowlande gretly grevede,
And in his hert full sore amevede;
             At the Sarazene lete he flye.
He hitt hym a bown appon the heuede
That to the scholdire the swerde wefede;
             The fyre floghe owte full hye!
Thurgh duble hawberke it hym schare,
To the girdilstede it made hym bare.
             Then bigane he forto plye.
Drondale felle so sadde and sare
That the Sarazene bigane to stare
             And fallen he was full nye.

The Sarazene than a lepe he made;
A stroke to Rowlande forsothe he glade,
             And hit hym on the hede
That almoste top over tayle he rade,
And nere the swerde twynede hade,
             His life ther hade he lefede.
Ane other stroke he to hym bere,
And doun byfore hym it strypes there;
             His schelde awaye revede,
And alle the skirtys of Rowlandes gere.
Otuell says, “My suerde kan schere!”
             And into the erthe it wevede.

Rowlande claghte up his noble schelde,
His wapyns wightly for to welde
             And helde it one his nefe.
Thaire dynttis so thikke gan samen helde,
Thaire harnays hewen was in the felde —
             Full littill was tham levede!
Thaire dynttis felle so sadde and sare
That bothe thaire bodies wexen bare,
             Thaire armours all todreves.
Tharefore Sir Charlles hade mekill care;
Appon his knees he knelys thare
             And bothe his handes upheves.

And als the kynge thus prayed faste,
A dofe come fro the Holy Gaste
             And one the Sarazene lightes.
And than was he full sore agaste,
And unto Sir Rowlande saide he in haste,
             “Sesse, Sir, of thi fighttes!
For I ame broghte in siche a will
That I youre lawes will fulfill,
             And become a Cristyn knyghte.”
Than doun thay layde thaire wapyns still,
And aythere wente othire untill;
             A saughtillynge was ther dighte.

Than wolde the kynge no lengere duelle,
Bot hyed hym dowun of the castelle,
             And grete lordes hym by.
He askede Sir Rowlande how it bifelle,
And he ansuerde with wordes snelle,
             “Mi lorde, full gentilly
I hafe foghten with the beste knyghte
In alle this werlde — es none so wighte
             That ever yit provede I!
And he hase yolden hym to the righte;
Belesent I hafe hym highte.
             Gare cristen hym in hy.”

Unto the grounde than knelide the kynge;
He loved God of alle this thynge
             And His modir fre.
Two gude stedis thay garte forthe brynge,
And one thay lepe withowte lettynge
             And went home to the cité.
Bischope Turpyn was redy
With bukes and with stoles in hy.
             A fownte sone halowes he
To cristen hym that was doghety.
Many grete lorde stode thaym by
             With myche solempnyté.

And when the Sarazene cristenned was,
The kynge tuke his doghetir faire of face,
             And gyffes hir to that noble knyghte.
The lovelyeste inwith lace,
And swetteste in armes for to enbrace —
             In the worlde was siche a wighte.
Als lely-like was hir coloure,
Hir rode rede als rose floure,
             In lere that rynnes righte.
The kyng toke that brighte in boure
With menske and with myche honoure,
             And gaffe hym that birde so brighte.

He said, “Hafe here my doghetir fre,
And Rowlande felawe schall thou bee,
             And gentill Sir Olyver.
Powunce and plesaunce I schalle gife thee,
With two full noble cités
             With towrres heghe and dere.
I make thee lorde of Lubardye,
To hafe it alle to thi bayllye,
             That contreth ferre and nere.
For thi noble chevallrye,
Welcome to this companye,
             Duelle and be a pere.”

The Sarazene knelyde appon his knee,
And thankkes the kynge full gentilly
             Of thies giftes so gude.
He sayde, “Damesell, arte thou payed of me?”
And scho sayde, “Yee, als mot I thee.”
             Full frely was that fude.
Than he said, “I make a vowe to mylde Marie:
Now that I hafe chosen to my lady
             That es so mylde of mode,
That I schall wende to Attalé,
And for thi lufe do chevalrye,
             And distruye the heythyn blode.

Sir Kyng, I giff agayne to thee
This mayden that es faire and fre,
             And in clethynge comly clede.
And lokes alle that we redy be
Into the landes of Lubardye,
             Righte als we firste redde,
Forto distruye there Goddes enemy
That hathe to yowe ther grete envy,
             With folkes one fote wele fedde.
When I hafe tane myn eme Garcy
And the cité of Attaly,
             This mayden schall I wedde.”

Fitt 4

The king said than to his duspers,
“Now hafe herde the messangeres.
             Your consell? What es beste?
Sir Garcy with his stronge powere
Distruyes my landes, both ferre and nere,
             Mi cités brekes and bristes.
He confoundes so myche of Cristen blode
That I for sorowe goo nere wode,
             And I may hafe no riste.”
And thay than ansuerde with steryn mode,
“To fende off, lorde, us thynke it gude;
             To batayle are we priste.”

The kynge saide, “We will habyde
Till it be nerre the somertyde,
             The colde of Marche be gone.
We schalle sende letteres on ilke a syde,
In dyverse contres, brode and wyde,
             To grete lordes ichone,
Sqwyers doghety undir schelde
That wele kan thaire wapyns welde —
             Byhynde us leve we none!
And alle that are within elde,
Loke that thay to batayle helde,
             Goddes enemys forto slone.”

Thus the kynge duellys there
Till the tyme comen were,
             The daye neghede neghe.
With hym Rowlande and Olyvere,
And the gentill Grauntere,
             In batayle that was so sleghe.
Sir Oggere and Sir Raynere,
Duke Naymes was thaire fere,
             And Gayryn of kynredyn heghe,
Sir Estut and Sir Inglere,
Sir Otuell the werryeure,
             His dynttys were full dreghe.

Appon a mornynge thay lokede owte,
And saughe there powere stythe and stowtte
             Comynge ferre and nere.
Thay rode in many a ryalle rowte,
By thowsande tale, withowtten dowte,
             Under the Mount Marteres.
The Almaynes and the Tuskaynes,
The Flemynges full fele for the nanes
             With the banereres;
The Provynce worthily inwith wone,
The Normandes gude of blode and bone —
             There semlyde faire powere!

There semled owte of Lubardye
A full noble chevalrye,
             And sekir at ilke a nede.
The Gayscoynes comen sone in hy,
And the Burgoynes faste tham by,
             That worthily were in wede.
The Bretons come withowtten faile;
There semblede a full faire batayle
             One many a stalworthe stede.
With helmys one hedis that walde avayle,
Full riche was thaire appayraille,
             And worthily was thaire wede.

One the forthirmaste daye of Averille,
The kyng assemblede appon ane hille
             Alle his mery menye.
Full faire he offres Saynt Denys till,
And appon his knees he knelys still
             To God and Oure Lady;
Sayde to Olyvere, gud at ilke a nede,
“My sone, thou schall the vawarde lede,
             For thou arte swythe doghety!”
The oste remowede and forthe thay yode.
Thay stirrede one many a stalworthe stede;
             To thaire journaye thay hye.

Olyvere his stede hathe hent,
With hym yode mayden Belesent,
             That lady of grete renoun.
One a muyle then rode that gentyll maid,
And in hir company ther were arrayed
             A thousande bolde barouns.
Thay passed forthe than Bretayne by,
Thurgh the landes of the Mandely,
             By many a ryalle toun.
Thay schipped over at Vertely
Into the landes of Lubardy,
             Thay passede bothe dales and dowun.

Under a mountayne thay herberde than
Besyde a rever that highte Soltane,
             And in a medowe thay lighte.
Ther was many a worthy man,
Ryalle howssynges thay bygan
             Of pavylyons proudly pighte.
So fortravellede were thay sare,
That aughte dayes thay duelled thare,
             Thaire harnays forto righte.
Therefore Kyng Cherlles wolde noghte spare,
A noble brigge he garte make thare
             Over the watir of Soltane dighte.

And a wonder poynte now schall ye here:
To the mete thay wente alle in fere
             Iche lorde in thaire lyveré,
Bot Duke Rowlande and Olyvere
And the Daynnes Oggere,
             Stode armede undir a tree;
And over the brigge than gan thay ryde
Full prevaly that ilke a tyde
             That no mo wiste bot they three.
Awnters thoghte thay forto byde;
Thay stale awaye by a wodde syde
             Righte towarde Attalé.

And a mile withowtten Attalé
There hovede foure kynges fre
             With speris in theire hande;
And ichone sware in theire degree
That thay wolde reghte gladly see
             Olyver and Rowlande.
Thay sware alle by thaire grete Mahowun,
“We wolde that thay were nowe here bowun,
             To loke how thay couthe stande!
And so we scholde forjuste tham doun,
That thay solde never see Charllyoun,
             The chefe of Cristen lande!”

Now, lordynges, forto rede yow righte,
Thies kynges names, what thay highte,
             The sothe I will yow tell.
Kynge Balsame, a mane of myghte;
Kynge Corsabell, another knyghte
             That bothe was ferse and felle.
Kyng Askuardyne, that teraunt,
Of wikkednes he myghte hym avaunte,
             Was lyke a fende of helle.
The ferthe was faire and avenante
With a full manly semblande;
             Men callede hym Kyng Claryell.

Kynge Clariell sayde, “Als mot I thee,
Rowlande es holden full doghety —
             Es none siche undir sone!
Be Mahoun, I wolde he were here me by.
I scholde assaye his body,
             My dynttes scholde he con!”
Thies knyghttes herde how thay therett were;
With sporres thay brochede thaire stedis there,
             Oute of the wodde thay rynn.
Than sayd Kynge Clariell, breme als bare,
“We hafe tham that we spake fare!
             Be Mahoun, alle es wonn!

Bot wendes now forthe, ye kynges three,
And slees yone knyghtis of Cristyantee,
             And I schall hove here styll.
Alle als ye done I schall see;
There es no mache unto mee,
             And that me lykes ille!”
Kyng Askuardyn in his gere
Rydes owte a course of were
             Full egerly and with ill will.
And Rowlande thurgh his scholdir gan schere;
His armours ne vaylede noghte a pere;
             His hert blode he gan ther spill.

Kyng Corsabolyn in armes full clere
Rydis owte to Sir Oggere,
             And hittes hym in the schelde.
The Cristen knyghte neghede hym so nere,
Thurgh double hawberke he hym bere,
             Of horse he garte hym helde.
Kyng Balsamy rode till Sir Olyvere.
Thies thre kynges dyede in fere,
             And lyen gronande in the felde.
Thaire thretynge boghte thay there full dere;
Thaire saules went alle to Lucyfere
             That hade tham alle towelde.

Then was Kyng Clariell full sory,
And flynges owte full fersely
             With hert egire and throo.
He smyttys Rowlande that was doghety
That his noble stede gan dy —
             His bakke braste even in two.
And up he keste ane heghe cry,
“This was a poynte of chevalry!”
             And busked hym for to goo.
Oggere Dauynes gan aftir hym hye
And stroke the kynge his sadill bye;
             His stede he tuke hym fro.

Olyvere anone hath hent the stede,
And righte to Rowlande he gan hym lede,
             And sayde, “Hafe this for thyne!”
And he stert up bettir spede
And drissede hym in his worthy wede
             That lofesome under lyne.
Kyng Clariell drawes Melle
And faghte agaynes tham all thre;
             His swerde was gude and fyne.
He said, “Gud lordes, slees noghte me!
A noble cheke here wonn hafe yee,
             My lyfe wolde I noghte tyne.”

And when his vesage was alle bare,
A fayrere knyghte sawe thay never are,
             And sett hym one a stede.
Thay wende awaye with hym to fare;
A thousande Sarazenes come one tham thare;
             There bale bygan to brede.
Than saide Rolande to Olyvere,
“Yondere I see full brighte banere
             And worthily undir wede.
Tham semys bothe felle and ferse;
I wolde no worde come to oure peres
             That we fledde tham for drede.”

Ogger Daynes was moste wysse,
Sayd, “Sen we hafe getyn this kyng of price,
             I rede we late tham goo.
For bi God and Saynt Denys,
We may noghte skape in nonekynswyse,
             Ne hym will we noghte slo.”
Than said Kyng Clariell there he stode,
“This was a worde of gentill blode,
             To speke thus for thi foo!”
He tuke his leve and forthe he yode,
Thankede tham with mylde mode,
             And agaynes a thousande was no moo.

Rowlande and Olyvere
Dressede tham in armes clere,
             Alle redy to the fyghte.
And the Daynes Oggere
Cryed “Mountjoy!” all in fere,
             Bothe with mayne and myghte.
For the Sarazenes thay haden dowte,
To Jhesus Criste thay crye and lowte,
             That moste es man of myghte.
Thies paynyms put tham owte,
That were halden full steryn and stoute,
             And under thaire horses thay lighte.

Those thre to the thousande gan ryde,
And hewed one faste one iche a syde,
             And brittenede blode and bone.
Thay made thaire wayes wondere wyde;
Ther durste no Sarazene thair dynttis byde;
             To gronde thay garte tham gone.
Then comes girdande Sir Carpé,
The kynges sone of Aubré,
             Was halden a noble man.
Upone highte he castis a krye:
“What schall saye to Sir Garcye?
             Thre schendis us everichone?”

Sir Carpy come girdande suythe:
To Oggere Daynes gan he dryfe
             That he swounede als he were wode.
Sir Rowlande gan doghety dedis kythe,
With Drondale he gan hym ryfe
             Reghte to the girdillstede.
Ogger Daynes wakkened than,
Pulled owte a swerde highte Curtane,
             Was gude at ilke a nede;
Than to fighte Oggere bygane
To hewe doun many ane heythyn man —
             Grete travayle ther thay hade!

And the gentill Erle Sir Olyvere
Hewes one with Haunkclere —
             Mighte none his dynttis withstande!
He daunge tham doun bothe ferre and nere;
It was a wonder thynge to here,
             Thies thre men wroghte with hande.
Than comes a Sarazene sone in hye;
His name was Kyng Alphamanye,
             Was fayre and wele farande.
He smyttes Olyvere that was doghety,
That toppe over tayle he garte hym lye
             Appon a ley lande.

Bot than was Sir Rowlande never so woo;
Full swythe that Sarazene gan he sloo,
             That to the grounde he yede.
Olyvere rose with herte full throo;
Belyfe his stede gan he too
             And sterte up in his nede.
He sayd, “Rowlande, drede thee noghte!
Now I am one horse broghte,
             I fayle thee at no nede!”
With Hankclere many wondirs he wroghte;
Fele Sarazenes to the grounde he broghte,
             And ferde als he wolde wede.

This while was Ogger Daynes one fete;
The Sarazenes that he myghte with mete,
             He wroghte thaire bodyes wo.
He gaffe tham woundes wyde and wete,
Full many one there lefte the swete
             (The boke us telles soo)
Till almoste scomfet was he.
Than comes Kyng Clariell with hert fre,
             Als faste als he myghte go,
And bade the Sarazenes thay scholde late be:
“Oggere, yelde thi suerde to me!”
             Belyve he sayde hym yoo.

A Sarazene come with steryn ble,
Sayd, “This Cristen doge sall not saved be,
             Bot sle we hym reghte here!”
“Yee,” sais Kyng Clariell, “as avenche thee
He schall be savede nowe, pardee!”
             He heued of sone he schere.
He called seven paynyms of mekill myghte,
Said, “Gose, ledis hym to my leman brighte
             Of colours that es clere.
Loke his wondes ben wele dighte,
And kepe me wele this Cristen knyghte,
             For this es gentill of chere.”

The Sarazenes toke hym that was hende,
And to that lady gan thay wende,
             Of coloures that was brighte,
Tolde hir the tale unto the ende,
Sayd, “Madame, this Duke Claryell yow sende
             To hele hym at your myghte.”
“What?” saide that lady, white als fame,
“Es this Kynge Charlles that here es tane,
             His men to dethe alle dighte?”
“Nay, by grete Mahoun!” thay sware, “Madame,
Thre knyghtes of his hath a thousande slane,
             That we helde hardy and wighte.

And Kyng Clariell under schelde
Hymselfe was taken in the felde,
             Thre kynges by hym slayne.
Ther was nother bute nere belde,
Ne Mahoun that alle schall welde,
             For hym thay moghte nott gone.
And there was none bot glotons three,
And one of tham here may thou see
             That Kyng Clariell hathe tane.”
“What, devyll?” scho said, “How may this be?
Who durste neghe my leman free,
             Es beste of blode and bone?”

Scho said, “Comforthe thee, sir. Be noghte abayste.
Schall none of my men thee brayste.
             What es the name of thee?”
“Madame,” he sayde, “Oggere Daunays.”
Than sayde the lady that was curtayse,
             “I have herde speke of thee.”
Belyfe scho garte unarme hym there,
And to hym comes that lady clere,
             And greses broghte that fre,
That Godd sett in His awenn herbere.
Als sone als ever thay dronken were,
             He was lyghte als lefe one tree.

Thus Oggere Daynas duelled there,
And heled es of his hurtes sare
             In the ladise presoun.
And of his felawes speke we mare,
How that thay full harde handilde ware,
             Thies two knyghtes of renoun.
Ten thousande Sarazenes come girdande
That hardy were of hert and hande,
             With helme and haberjoun.
Bot than myghte thay no lengere stande,
Olyver and gud Rowlande —
             To flye now are thay boun.

Otuell that was so wighte
Duelles with Belesent the brighte,
             Was comely one to calle.
Oute of hir chambire he wendis righte,
Als faste als ever that he myghte,
             Into the kynges haulle
To seche Olyver and Rowlande,
Bot never nother he ther fande
             Amonge the lordes alle.
Therefore Kynge Charlles his handes wrange,
And ever “allas!” was his sange,
             “What may of this byfalle?”

Ottuell sayde, “Where it be soo?
Oggere Daynes and tho twoo
             Are went to Attalee.
Now buske we aftir thaym to goo,
Or ells the Sarazenes will tham sloo —
             Forsothe, thay mon alle dy.”
Thay busked tham in armes full clere,
Seven hundrethe bolde bacheleres
             With hym to wende in hy.
Belesent sayde to Sir Grauntere,
“Gude Sir, ryde my lemmane nere;
             The knyghte es full thethey.”

Thies seven hundrethe knyghtis
Duellede with Belesante the brightes
             At hir awenn fyndynge.
Sir Otuell that was so wighte
Strykes Florence his stede brighte;
             Byfore tham forthe gan he flynge.
He metys Rowlande and Olyvere
Faste rydande by a revere
             And fresche folke aftir tham dynge.
He hailsede tham with steryn chere,
And sayde, “Sirres, whate make ye here?
             Come ye fro fischeynge?”

He reproved tham there full velanslye,
And yit theire bodies were alle blodye
             With wondes many one.
“Wene ye, for youre chevalrye,
For youre boste and youre folye,
             That the Sarazenes will late yow one?
Charlles with his stronge powere
Schall thynke this a grete gramaungere,
             This dede to undertone.
Bot this chase schall thay by full dere!”
He smote to a knyghte highte Sir Glantere
             And belyfe he hathe hym slone.

Fitt 5

Syr Otuell there righte in that gere,
Full faste he dange tham doun there
             And garte tham go to grounde.
And his felawe Sir Ynglere
In a Sarazene breke a spere
             Within a littill stounde,
And in his hande lefte a littill troncheoun,
Therwith full faste he dange tham doun,
             Full many ane heythyn hounde.
He crakkede full many a carefull croun,
And criede “Mountjoye!” with heghe sowun.
             Fele folke thay there confounde.

Then come a knyghte that highte Sir Galias,
A noble Sarazene men saide he was,
             And in his hande a spere.
For the lufe of his leman fayre of face,
A glofe to his pensalle he hase
             In sygnance of his were.
He rydes to Sir Inglere,
And thurghe the schelde he gan hym schere
             And unhorssede hym there.
Thurghe double hawberke he hym bere,
Bot, als Goddes will it were,
             His flesche hade nonekyns dere.

Appon hym also relevede a Sarazene wighte
That hardy was, and Ancole highte,
             Sir Inglere for to sloo.
Bot Sir Ysope come with mekill myghte,
And Sir Estut a noble knyghte,
             And Sir Davide also;
Sir Estut de ronoun,
Sir Grauntere de Lyoun,
             One bakke thay garte tham goo;
And broghte hym upe that are was doun,
And horsede hym one a stede browun
             With hert egere and throo.

Than come rydande Sir Galyadose,
Of Sarazenes alle he bare the lose,
             Was halden a noble knyghte.
Faste he felled dowun of his fose!
Sir Inglere righte to hym gose,
             And cleves his hede full righte.
Forthe rydes than Sir Grauntere,
A Sarazene thurgh the body he bere,
             Sir Megradyn he highte;
He dange tham doun, bothe ferre and nere,
Bot appon hym come a stronge powere
             With baners brode and brighte.

Then was there no nother crye
When grete batells togedir gan hye,
             With mouthe als I yow mene.
Full thikke-folde gan Sarazenes dy
And thaire horses thaym by,
             To wete withowtten wene.
Be thousandes thay tumblede doun dede,
Thaire saules wente unto the quede
             That myghte not nombrede be.
For braynes and blode in that stede,
The brode medowe was waxen rede
             That ere was growen grene.

Than come a Turke appon a stede
To Kynge Clariell better spede,
             And sayde, “Allas, how do wee!
For Cristen men we hafe grete drede,
And bot thou helpe us in this nede,
             Grete sorowe here may thou see!”
Kynge Claryell come with his powere,
Oure batells ferre one bakke he bere,
             Ane Almayne sone sloghe he.
Also he dide the gude Gauntere,
Sir Otes and Sir Raynere,
             And other grete plentee.

By that it was so nere nyghte
Thay moghte no lengere see to fighte,
             Bot stynt one ayther syde.
Sir Otuell that was so wighte
Stroke Florence his stede full righte,
             And byfore tham forthe gan ryde.
Then comes girdande Kynge Clariell,
And cried to hym with wordes fell,
             “To speke thou schalt abyde,
Thi righte name that thou me tell!”
He sayde, “I highte Otuell,
             For no man will I hyde!

And fro youre Mahoun ame I went,
And Cristyndome hafe I hent,
             And baptiste ame I full righte.
My leman es bothe faire and gent,
Hir reghte name es Belesent,
             Charlles dogheter the brighte.”
Bot than the Sarazene said, “Allas!
Now is this a wikkede case,
             And thou so noble a knyghte!
Whi duelles thou there amonges thi fase?
Foully there thou wichede was.
             And whi es this dede thus dighte?

I rede that thou coverte thee in hye,
And then sall saughtyll with thyn eme Sir Garcy,
             And forsake not thy lawe.”
Unto the Sarazene gon he defye,
“Your lawes are noghte worthe a pye,
             That dare I savely saye!
And if thou wilt for Mahoun fighte,
Loo, me here, a Cristyn knyghte,
             With Hym that myghtes maye
Stalworthely to stande for oure righte!”
Kyng Clariell his trouthe hafe plighte
             At morne to holde his daye.

Kyng Clariell wendis to the cité
That men callede Attalé,
             Ther into duelle al nyghte;
Sir Otuell to his companye,
To Kyng Charlles that was fre,
             And Belesent so brighte.
That faire mayden of hewe and hide,
Hirselfe unarmed hym that tide
             And thris scho kissede that knyghte,
And groped hym wele, body and syde,
That he ne hade no woundes wyde,
             And esede hym at hir myghte.

Knyghtis wache was there sett,
Faire fyres was there bett
             To ese tham that there ware.
Of dede folkes thay hepes fett
To berye tham withowtten lett,
             Those that Cristen ware.
Leches come that couthe one booke
Woundede men for to loke,
             To salve tham of thaire sare.
And grete lordes riste toke,
And nyghte wache full worthily wooke,
             Blewe and made grete fare.

Kyng Clariell rose at morne,
Wiste whate othes that he hade sworne
             And to his chambir went,
Garte kaste armoures hym byforne,
That riche was and comly korne.
             Ane actone one he hent,
One he dide ane hawberke schene,
Of the mayster handwerke of Galyene
             That never no wapyn rent.
When that was armed clene,
A fayrere knyghte was never sene,
             For joly ne for gent.

His creste was of an eddire hede
With golde abowte it was bywevede
             And sett one hym Mahoun
And Appolyne that he one levede.
Alle his armours was overdrevede
             With stones of grete renoun.
He girde hym with a suerde that hate Modlee,
Broghte hym a schelde of faire blee.
             He buskede and made hym boun,
Lepe on a stede semely to see,
With mekill myrthe and solempnytee
             He rydes thurghowte the toun.

An hundrethe knyghtes of Turkeye
Bare his mawmettis hym by,
             And paste over that strande;
And doun thay lighten all in hye.
Thay were halden full doghetye
             Alle in thaire awenn lande.
Thay sett thaire goddes appon a stone
And dowun thay knelyde everichonee,
             And made tham thare offerande.
Kyng Clariell his leve hase tone,
Lepe one a stede that highte Browan —
             That horse was noble at hande.

Charlles come rydande by a revere,
With hym Rowlande and Olyvere
             Appon the ferrere syde.
Duke Naymes was thaire fere,
And Sir Otuell the gude werryere,
             Full faire of hewe and hyde.
Than comes girdande Kynge Clariell,
And cried to tham with wordis felle:
             “To speke ye schall abyde!
I beteche yow to the devell of helle!
How longe schall I aftir batelle duelle?”
             Thus bygynnes he forto chide.

“And yitt,” he cried, breme als bore,
“Wiche of yow foure es mayster thore?”
             Kyng Charlles calles on, “Mee!”
“Now cursede worthe thou ever mare,
For thou hase wroghte us myche care
             In many dyverse contree.”
The kyng sayde, “Be Saynt Marie,
And hir dere Sone Almyghtye
             That derely dyede one tree,
With dyntt of swerde thou schalte aby,
And take your Emperoure Sir Garcy,
             And distruye alle youre citee.”

The Sarazene ansuerde with wordes full bolde,
“Charlles, methynke that thou scholdeste folde,
             And thou were streken sore.
Thi vesage es crounkilde and waxen olde;
A nobill suerde thee burde not wolde
             Now for thi mellyde hare.
Bot, by righte, methynke thou scholde be founde
Als those it were an olde grewhounde
             That myghte rynn no mare.”
The kynge wex grevede in that stounde
And keste his clothes appon the grounde
             “As armes!” he cried thare.

Bot Sir Otuell saide full curtasely,
“Gude Lorde, graunte this batell to me,
             For trowthes hafe we plighte.
He sett the lawes of Cristyantee
Nott at a pillynge of a tree
             Yistereven within the nyghte.”
Charlles thankkes hym ther he stode,
Taughte hym to Godde that diede one rode,
             That alle schall deme and dighte.
Elleven duspers with hym yode,
To dresse hym in his armours gude,
             Alle redy for to fighte.

When he was armede in his gere
That was bothe faire white and clere,
             Thay girde hym with a brande;
Broghte hym ane helme was riche and dere
That aughte gud Kynge Galliere —
             Was none siche in that lande!
The lady lufsome under lyne
Garte the Bischope Sir Turpyne
             Assoyle hym with his hande.
Scho kiste hym thryse with herte full fyne,
Bytaughte hym unto dere Dryghtyne,
             That mayden faire to fande.

Lordes that weren of mekill pride
Overe the brigge than gan thay ryde,
             With mouthe als I yowe mene.
Bot then the Sarazene begynnes to chide:
“Now schalte thou, fole, lose thi pryde,
             Bothe with traye and tene!
To oure goddes I rede thou gone
And knele bifore tham everichone,
             Of colours that are clene.”
“Nay!” he sayde, “There es no God bot one
That ever made ne blode ne bone.
             Nowe sone it schall be sene!”

Than bothe thies kene knyghttes there,
Togedir thay reden a course of werre
             With stronge speres in theire hande,
That alle in sondre floughe thaire gere;
Tayle over tope bothe doun gon bere —
             The stroke was wele sittande!
Belysent keste up a crye
Unto God and milde Marie;
             Scho wepede and handis wrange.
Bot up thay stert full hastily,
And ayther gan to other defye
             With swerdis large and lange.

This noble kyng this Clariell,
Smyttes to Sir Otuell
             A dynt that he myghte fele;
Bot one his helme it myghte nott duelle,
So sadly one his scholdire it felle;
             The knyghte bygane to knele.
Bot up he stirte full hastilye,
“I vowe to God thou schall abye,
             That alle schalle deme and dele!”
Cursu thurghe his helme gan hye
That alle his one cheke hyngede bye —
             His tethe were schaven wele!

He said than, “Clariell, als mote thou thee,
Whi grynnes thou nowe so one mee,
             As thofe thou wolde me byte?
Alphayné, thi leman white and fre,
Thare never yerne to kysse thee;
             Therfore I may nott hir wyte!”
The kynge ferde than als he wolde wede;
To the knyghte he hyed hym bettir spede,
             Full egerly to smyte,
And thurgh his schelde he gan hym schrede,
That schulde hafe savede hym at his nede —
             Almoste he was scomfite!

The kynge woundede Otuell so sore,
Hade he nott schounte his stroke thore,
             Forsothe, he hade bene slayne.
Bot than Cursu that the knyghte bare
Thorowowte the kynges herte it schare,
             Bothe with myghte and mayne.
And to the grounde he tumbills doun;
His saule went unto Mahoun,
             Than by those gates gayne.
And a full blythe man was Charllyoun,
And lovede God with full heghe sowun,
             And Belesent was full fayne.

Fitt 6

For sorowe Sir Garcy went nere wode
For Clariell dede, was stronge of mode,
             And sware by Appolyne
That mete ne drynke scholde done hym gude
Are he struyed hade Cristen blode
             And broghte tham alle to pyne.
His grete bataylls he garte arayee
And his baners brode displeye
             With coloures noble and fyne.
And Charlles wele thynkes that he maye
Forto kepe the heythyn laye
             With the helpe of dere Drightyn.

Sir Barlott of Perse come girdande swythe
Also faste als he myghte dryfe —
             Was holden a noble knyghte —
And doghety dedis gun he kythe;
Ther myghte no wapen his wedys ryfe,
             So savely was he dighte.
He rydes owte a course of were
And in his hande a noble spere,
             His armours glyssenede full brighte.
He askede leve at Sir Garcy there
To juste with Rowlande and Olyvere,
             Theire bothere dede to dyghte.

And one his horse he come rynnande
With his spere faste in his hande;
             His armour glessened clere.
He called firste one Rowlande,
One Otuell stalworthe forto stande,
             And sythen one Olyvere.
“Hafe done,” he saide. “Brynge mee forthe your kynge,
Or ells to dethe I schall yow dynge,
             Forsothe, alle foure ifere.”
Rowlande askede the kynges blyssynge;
He stroke his stede and forthe gan flynge —
             His thretynge boghte he dere!

When that thay togedir mett,
A sekere stroke was there sett
             That bothe thay tynte thaire stedys.
And up thay rose withowtten lett,
And ayther harde one othir bett
             And persed some of thaire wedys.
Rowlande doghty dedis gan kythe;
With Drondale he gan hym ryve
             That reghte to the girdill it yede.
And Sir Barlot loste his lyfe;
He faughte nothir with foure ne fyve;
             His lyfe was hym full gnede.

Then comes a Sarazene girdande there;
His name was called Sir Lamagere,
             Was holden a noble knyghte.
He come als breme als any bore,
And woundede Sir Rowlande wonder sore
             Thurgh his brenyes brighte.
And Olyvere saughe his felawe blede,
With sporres he touches his noble stede;
             The Sarazene garte he lighte.
The grete batells by than togedir yede;
Thay hewede one faste and full gude spede,
             And now bygynnes thaire fyghte.

Bot other noyse was ther none
When the grete togedir gun gone
             Bot stronge strokes and steryn!
Thay hewede one faste and full gud wone,
Brusten bothe bak, blode, and bone —
             Of wandrethe myghte men leryn!
Be thousandes thay doun gan dryfe,
For bothe helme and haberjeone thay ryfe —
             Ther myghte no man tham werun!
Kyng and duke there loste thaire lyfe;
With dynt of swerde, spere, and knyfe,
             Thay brittenede many a beryn.

Doun thay dange thaire baners brade
Bothe in slakkes and in slade,
             One bukes as we rede.
Full fele Sarazenes feble thay fade,
And many one to the grounde thay hade —
             Thaire lyfe was tham full gnede.
Full grisely thay grone and grenne;
Maisterles thaire horse thay rynne —
             Of tham toke no man hede.
The Cristen men gan the maystry wynn,
Bot yitt thaire barett ne wolde not blyn.
             On nowe bygynnes thaire dede.

Sir Elys come with mekill myghte,
With seven hundrethe newe-made knyghtes
             Oute of Bretayne.
Thise fresche men so freschely fyghte
That it was joye to see that sighte,
             Bothe with myghte and mayne.
A Sarazene come with felawes fyve,
Thorowte Sir Briane gane he dryfe;
             That nobill knyghte was slayne.
And yitt that paynym loste his lyfe;
With a spere thay gan hym ryfe;
             His saule went unto payne.

Sir Otuell that noble man,
To his awenn cosyn he ran
             Full grymly in his gere.
He strikes the Duke Balamé,
The kynges sone of Alphané,
             Even thurghowte with a spere.
Than Kynge Alphané come in hye
With twenty thowsande of Barbarye
             That wele couthe wapyns bere,
And the Kynge Cursabolee
With thritty thousande of Turkee,
             And alle one fote thay were.

Thies futemen so stalworthe were
That oure batells full ferre one bakke thay bare, 1
             Ther myghte none stirre thaire schelde.
Thaire dynttes felle so sadde and sare
That wele ané alblastire schott and mare,
             Thay myghte no wapyns welde.
Thay were so mekill and so unryde,
And so foulle of hewe and hyde,
             That thay hade almoste wonn the felde.
Thay gafe thaym wondes wete and wyde,
And brittenede tham bothe bake and syde;
             Oure batell garte thay helde.

Than come girdande a gude sqwyere,
Sir Grym sone, the gude duchere,
             That was borne in Pareyche —
With hym an hundrethe that hardy ware —
His name was hatten Naymere,
             A man of mekill pryce.
To arme thaym grete hye thay hade,
Dispoyle the bodyes that laye one brade,
             Ichone one thaire beste wyse.
Of thaire clothes pensalles thay made;
To Kyng Cherlles belyfe thay rade:
             “Mountjoye!” was thaire discrye.

The grete batell than relyed agayne,
Both with myghte and with mayne,
             And brittenede blode and bone.
Kyng Charlles than was full fayne,
And lovede God, es noghte to layne,
             And His Modir allone.
Kynge Corsable hoved by Apparoun
And seese hys men alle doungen doun,
             And sone gane he to tham goo.
Bot Aymere hitt hym one the crowun,
That that lorde hathe loste alle his renoun,
             In the felde he hathe hym tone.

Aymere hathe the kynge hent,
And to Kynge Charlles he hathe hym sent
             By foure of his sqwyeres.
Bot when that he made hym that ther sent,
He loves Gode that luffe hade lent
             And His mylde Modere dere.
Thies fresche men so fersely fighte,
It was grete joye to see that syghte,
             And a wondere thynge to here!
This noble man Sir Ottuell,
Thilke-folde he gane tham felle
             With strengthe and noblitee.

And certis, als the bookes gane telle,
Thaire saulles wente unto helle,
             Those fele that there gun blede.
Thus kynges and dukes to the dede thay dighte;
A hundrethe dubbide thamselfe to knyghte,
             That worthy were and welde.
And to the banere belyfe thay wanne,
And foure gude kynges thay sloughe ther thane —
             Thaire lyfes was tham full gnede.
Thurgheowte the oste are that he blane
Unto Kynge Charlles als a mane.
             He thankede hym of that dede.

Than for sorowe Sir Garcy said, “Allas!”
To a kynge that highte Sir Abars,
             That was armede full clere.
“Yone renayede thefe my cosyn was;
He ledis us here a wikkide pase,
             Bothe with traye and tene!”
The kyng ansuerde to Sir Garcy,
“Loo, where Sir Cherlles commes thee by
             And dynges alle doune bydene,
Now, for Mahomis lufe, that thou thee hye
With twenty thousande of Turkye
             Till that we redy bene!”

The kyng dide als the emperour bad:
With those Turkes that he hade
             He stroke into the stourre.
There were oure folkes full styffely stadde;
Thay hewede one faste als thay were madde,
             And brittenede brighte armour.
The Duke Naymes stede was slayne,
And hymselfe in the felde tan —
             That boughte thay sythen full sourre.
Rowlande, gude of blode and bone,
And Sir Otuell hase thre kynges slone,
             And reschewsede hym with honoour.

Than was there no nother crye,
Bot thik-folde gane the Sarazenes dy,
             And grysely gane thay grone.
A sory man was Sir Garcy,
And alle the Sarazenes that hoved hym by —
             Thaire herttis was fro tham tone!
Oggere Daunays laye in presoun,
And of that noyse he herde the soun;
             A heghte men kepede hym one.
Bot prevaly he made hym boun;
With an astell schide he slewe tham doun;
             Hys wardens thus hath he slayne.

He armede hymselfe iche a thwnge,
And to a stabill gan he gange
             And hent a noble stede.
The horse was styffe, thuoghe, and strange,
He caughte a spere, was large and lange,
             And leppe up better spede.
He kayres forthe owte of the cité,
“Nowe hafes alle gude daye!” says he,
             And to his felawes thus he yede.
And gladdere men there myghte none bee
Ne thay were when thay Sir Oggere Daynnes see,
             That doghety was of dede.

Now Oggere Daynas bygynnes to fighte,
And to hew doun many ane heythen knyghte,
             And brittyne blode and bone.
Kynge and duke to the dede he dighte;
The emperour tooke hym to the flighte —
             To the toun he wolde hafe gone.
Sir Otuell stroke his stede Floryne
With two sporres of golde full fyne,
             And belyfe he to hym come.
“Nay, Sir!” he sayde, “Be Sayne Drightyne,
Thou schall noghte to the toun to dyne,
             Bot here thee moste be tone!”

Sir Otuell hase there tane the emperour;
That lorde hath loste there his honour;
             To Charlles he hathe hym sent.
Knyghtis streghte in ilke a stourre
Token up cité, toun, and toure;
             The Sarazenes are alle schent.
When thay had wroghte one swilken wyse,
Home thay wente than to Pariche,
             Full wightly one thaire waye;
And Charlles lovede God of this enpryce,
And Sir Otuell that worthy es,
             Now weddede he Belesent.

And than thay helde a mangery
With alle the noble chevalry
             That semely was to see.
Thay made hym lorde of Lubardy
To hafe it alle in his bayly,
             That contré faire and free.
And thus he duellys and es a pere,
Rowlande felawe and Olyvere,
             A gud Cristyn man was hee.
And Jhesus Criste that boghte us dere,
Brynge us to Thi blisses sere.
             Amen, par charité.

                                     Here endes the romance
Charlles                     Of Duk Rowland and Sir Otuell of Spayne.
                                       Explycit Sir Otuell
(see note)


be quiet

flesh and skin [i.e., body]
handsome in the hall

(see note)

twelve peers; dignified; (see note)

slay them


in one day


Until; honor




may hear

Paris; (see note)
twelve peers
considered strong and fierce
coat of mail
make war
engage with


Were it not for God’s help; (see note)
in haste

sternly wrought armor

caused; worrying

hall; alights

[Those]; complexion

Who often provided sound judgment
greeted; stern expression
[as] a

am called

Directly; it is required of

(see note)
of body
bearded cheek; (see note)


strong and fierce
eager; (see note)

He was held in great renown
flaming; (t-note)
Burn; throat

in haste

deems you worthless

sorely paid for


knock you down
Gladden Saracens by beating you


mock; boast
eight; have passed


No one shall disturb you
loud or quiet
May harm you; nothing

If; have mounted
Corsouse; (see note)

[Otuel speaks]; Lombardy; (see note)


ornate sword
sent to death


Lombards; received

fists; swollen; eight; (see note)

squared wood


in surety; uncle

You should control your anger

seized; hair
angry as a boar; (see note)

sheared; (see note)

in unison

Raised his brows quickly; (see note)
his; (t-note)
keen; sharp

better part of you

ordered to cease

as I may thrive; (see note)

laughing expression

done and delivered

By that promise

too discourteous

fierce expression


rules pagan lands
(see note)
Sidonia; far away and noble; (t-note)
Persia, pleasing to look at
(see note)(t-note)

For this reason

believe in our faith

an egg; (see note)

rules; tower
has almighty power
Give up the religion that holds you

Go quickly
dwelling place


noble nephew
in possession of Russia

(see note)

spur a horse
[He is]; (t-note)
(see note)


prepare our battalions

experience shame
menacingly; (see note)

That were you to see; (t-note)
Who wouldn’t hide your heads


leave right away

helmets [i.e., men]

prevent him from; freely
rebuke; voice
erected; Ataly; (see note)


skilled in warfare
brandished; (t-note)
beautiful paramours
rest at home
sparks come near
Jackdaw; magpie

nap-taker; (see note)


If I had not given my oath

troubled by; again

urge; go

Whichever; (t-note)
Let both his spurs be cut off from him


[Otuel speaks]
Truly; uncle; (t-note)

give you a grievous blow
(see note)

call forth
Have him taken care of without harm
aid; diligent

Ordered [them]; care
Saint-Omer; (see note)


Durendal; (see note)
Redeemed it with an offering of gold

Fitt 3



accuse; of

Yesterday evening
armor; fastened
be avenged


padded jacket
coat of mail
Chain mail leggings, jacket of scale armor
beaten metal
neck covering
come forward
help; advantage

girded; gilded spurs; (see note)(t-note)

[To] those who
Armed; battle

Adeptly [i.e., in a fair manner]
weapons; (t-note)

to defeat; (see note)
escape; anything

Seine; Marne


coat of mail
let be brought to me
an equipped horse


(see note)

to; proceed
Above; strong

once belonged to



freshly and beautifully crafted
noble on earth
on earth

led him forth
called for
(see note)


Once you’ve entered; valley
If; is able to deal rightly

Leapt onto

Adeptly; sturdily

dressed up

ordered that the place be cleared

takes a path
to the tower window goes

(see note)

to taunt
haughty voice
trembling; either

lances; broke asunder
(see note)

leather parts
fought fiercely
bore down upon
drew; (t-note)

nose guard flew

(see note)


Who eagerly he brought low; (see note)
path; (see note)


has alighted

Above; draw
half of his own earpiece

boss of a shield; he [Roland]
struck; (t-note)
hewn pieces of armor

hard labor

convert [for] us


believe; faith



know; learning
teach; lesson
in haste
dearly pay for
hard blows; painful

Before; go

Defeated; (see note)


sparks; at once
bend down

was stunned

had not; broken in two
was shorn away


so thickly began to come
very little was left to them


casts up

alights; (see note)

accord; made



tested; (t-note)

Let him be christened at once


on they leapt; delay

(see note)
baptismal font; blesses


dressed in

was [never] such a creature; (t-note)
complexion; (see note)
In an honest face
lovely one in bower


Power; delight

governance; (t-note)
country; (t-note)


pleased with
might I thrive; (t-note)
noble; young woman


beautifully attired

Just as we first planned

With well-nourished foot soldiers; (t-note)

(see note)


breaks and crushes


make a defense


in all directions

every one

We won’t leave anyone behind
of age
enlist in battle


came near


noble lineage


strong and sturdy

count (tally)
Montmartre; (see note)
Germans; Tuscans
numerous for the occasion; (see note)
Those who nobly dwell in Provence


Gascons; in haste
splendidly; armor

(see note)


Saint Denis; (see note)


advanced; (t-note)
rode; (t-note)

(see note)
Brittany; (see note)
(see note)


hills and valleys

took shelter

fatigued; sorely
armor and weapons; adjust
Because; was diligent
bridge he ordered to be made
(see note); (see note)(t-note)

wondrous event
meal; together
heraldic clothes

Ogier the Dane

no one knew except

outside of

wish; headed
find out; stand [in fight]
might; unhorse (defeat)
might never [again]



(see note)


know; (t-note)
were threatened
spurred on; (t-note)
fierce as a boar; (see note)
here of whom we spoke; (t-note)

no match [i.e., no fourth knight]

was not worth a pear; (see note)

He caused him to fall from his horse

lay groaning
paid for



loud cry

prepared to ride away
hastened after him


[Roland]; more quickly
got ready
was handsome under linen; (see note)
(see note)

victory; (see note)


expected to go away with him
came upon
Their anxiety began to grow

They seem to be; (t-note)
don’t want any; peers

him [Clarel]

any way
(see note)

no more [i.e., only three]

And with
together; (see note)

[Because] of; fear

troubled them


every side

made them fall


swooned; senseless; (t-note)


(see note)


soon in haste
(see note)



Quickly he regained his horse

fought as if he were a madman

During this time; on foot



Quickly; then; (t-note)

stern countenance

may you be avenged

He [Clarel] cut off his head quickly; (t-note)

Go, lead him; paramour
Of beautiful coloring
protect for me

this [man, i.e., Ogier]

white as foam; (see note)(t-note)

near to
neither aid nor support


she; (t-note)
[Who] is


Quickly; had him disarmed

potions; noble one

(see note)



coat of scale armor

flee; (t-note)


Why has this happened

have gone

headstrong; (see note)

By her [Belesent’s] own maintenance; (see note)


charging after them


grant you [victory]

foolish enterprise; (see note)

cost them dearly; (see note)


short time
remained; cudgel

loud voice

glove on; pennant
As a sign of his pledge

no injury at all


of renown


was the most distinguished

knocked down his foes

He [Megradyn] had struck
strong power [i.e., the Christians]

rushed together

know and not to guess

to join the wicked

at rapid speed

And unless

He pushed our battalions further back





You will stop to speak [to me]




advise that you convert at once
next; reconcile

magpie; (see note)

Lo, see me here

keep his appointment [i.e., challenged him to duel]; (see note)

[returned] to; (t-note)

(see note)

comfort; (t-note)
gathered in heaps
bury; continuously

Physicians; knew by book
how to look after
watchmen; stayed awake
Blew [horn]; fanfare

Remembered; oaths

Ordered his armor be laid out
handsomely selected
padded jacket

Made by; (see note)
had never been torn by
that one; thoroughly

jolity; gentility

beset [with images of]
in whom he believed
[i.e., jewels]
They; (see note)
went forth; ready

idols; (see note)
passed; river


took his leave



do I have to wait for battle

as savage as a boar; (see note)(t-note)


[I shall] capture

give up
Before you are
might not; wield
gray; (see note)
Like an old greyhound; (t-note)

became aggrieved
cast clothes
To arms

At less than the worth of a tree bark
Yesterday evening

Commended; (t-note)
(see note)

To get him attired


belonged to

linen clothes

Bless (absolve)

Commended; Lord

as I tell you; (t-note)

pain and torment

[Appearing] in bright colors

commenced a battle

Head over heels
well aimed



pay for it

hung sideways
well shaven


fair and noble (generous)

I would not blame her; (see note)(t-note)
as if he were mad
at great speed




Then; quickly; (see note)

praised; loud outcry


That he would neither eat nor drink
Until he had ruined Christendom
battalions; gathered

Restrain the heathen law
[his] dear Lord

Persia; charging

securely; armored

permission of

dead brother to avenge

paid for

fell off
either beat hard against the other; (t-note)
pierced; garments (i.e., armor)


lacking [i.e., he is dead]

fierce as any boar; (see note)

mail shirt

struck down
battalions; clashed together

the great encounter had begun

furiously and a long while

misery; learn

jacket of scale armor
ward off; (t-note)


in valley and on hill; (see note)

feebly they weakened


won the upperhand
conflict; cease
And now their [heroic] deeds begin; (t-note)



(see note)

on foot

[heathen] footmen; (t-note)

disturb; shield-wall
truly and sorely
however well a crossbowman could shoot
He couldn’t wield a weapon
numerous; savage

They held back our battalion


much worth
By despoiling the bodies that lay broadly
quickly; rode


it is no lie; (t-note)

waited; [the statue of] Apollin; (t-note)


[Aymere] had sent [Corsable] there
[Charles] praises; peace


Those many who bled there
they struck to death
were dubbed as knights
banner [i.e., the battle]; (t-note)

completely lost
without delay; (see note)
large group
He [Charles] thanked him [Otuel]

That recreant thief
gave us a wicked turn
treason and trouble


struck; battle
thoroughly challenged

They paid for that later quite bitterly



haughty; guarded him
readied himself
piece of firewood

at each point; (t-note)

sturdy, tough; strong
at great speed


As they were
(see note)


Holy Lord

(see note)
at once in every battle
conquered in such a way
praised; achievement



(see note)

(see note)(t-note)


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