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Otuel a Knight


1 I hadn’t planned to receive that stroke from you.





ABBREVIATIONS: DR: Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain; MED: Middle English Dictionary; OK: Otuel a Knight; OR: Otuel and Roland; Otinel: Anglo-Norman Otinel; Pseudo- Turpin: The Chronicle of Pseudo-Turpin, ed. and trans. Poole; RV: Roland and Vernagu; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

11 Seint-Denys. Saint-Denis, located near Paris, is the site of the Basilica of Saint-Denis, housing the relics of the martyred first bishop of Paris. It has long been connected to the royal line, and was the burial site for almost all French kings from the tenth century until the French Revolution. Charlemagne’s parents — Pepin le Bref and Bertrada of Laon — were interred in the basilica at Saint-Denis, the construction of which was begun by Pepin and completed by Charlemagne. There is, however, no evidence to credit the poet’s statement that Charlemagne was born in Saint-Denis.

17 Lumbardie. Lombardy, a 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.

34 hel. See MED holden (v.1), sense 7a(b): “to hold (an estate, a manor, land, etc., from a feudal lord).”

55 Childermasse Day. Holy Innocents’ Day (December 28). See MED childermasse-dai (n.), “the feast day commemorating Herod’s slaughter of the infants.” See Matthew 2:16. This detail is borrowed from the source; see Otinel, line 17, and compare OR, line 48.

58 Parys. Charlemagne arrives from Saint-Denis and holds court in Paris. The other Otuel narratives also set this scene in or near Paris. In Otinel, Charlemagne holds court in Paris, having come from Clermont Ferrand (line 18). In OR, he appears to live in Paris and hold court in Saint-Denis (lines 50–51). In DR, Charlemagne dwells in Paris (line 39). 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.

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

70 amoevede . . . blod. To stir one’s blood with anger. See MED ameven (v.), sense 1a. The phrase recurs at lines 290, 363, and 539.

71–120 There com a Sarazin . . . . me and te. Compare Otinel, lines 27–58.

104 thorte drinke win. The comment that Otuel would drink wine illustrates one of many inaccuracies in the depiction of Muslim behavior.

119 so mote ich thee. “so may I thrive,” an idiomatic phrase used frequently in OK, where it occurs more than a dozen times. See MED thriven (v.), sense 1c. For a negative variation (“evele mote he thrive [and thee]”), see lines 309 and 1190. For a variation in second person (“so mote thou thee”), see line 1325.

136 Rome. OK is unique among the Otuel poems in placing Garcy in Rome and having Charlemagne travel to meet him in Lombardy (lines 687–88). In Otinel, OR, and DR, Garcy’s headquarters is in Atelie/Ataly, the name the poets give to Pavia, the capital of Lombardy that the historical Charlemagne conquered in 773–74. See the explanatory notes to Otinel, lines 165–67 and 664–68.

139 Corsouse. Corsouse is Otuel’s named sword. In Otinel, it is called Curçuse; in OR, it is Cursins; in DR, it is Corsu. Compare the explanatory note to OR, line 106.

141–76 Estught of Leggers . . . . he were wood. Compare Otinel, lines 83–99.

192 ordres. Otuel puns as he tells the knights that if any be so bold as to strike him, the only “ordres” (holy orders/blows) they will take are from his sword, Corsouse, not a bishop.

200 gaf nought of . . . an hawe. A “hawe” is literally the fruit of a hawthorn, and idiomatically “a thing of little worth.” See MED haue (n.2), sense 1b; and Whiting H190.

224 wind . . . havest ilore. Proverbial. See Whiting W329.

255–57 And certes . . . . Olecent of Esclavenye. Compare Otinel, lines 130–36.

313 Ich wole finde Mahoun to borwe. The phrase has a legal valence: “I will have Mahoun as my surety, or guarantor,” as if for a pledge or loan. For the idiom finden to borwe, see MED borgh(n.), sense 3a.

325 follaut. This Middle English word for the sacrament of baptism is derived from Old English fulluht, fulwiht. Both this word and the Latin/French-derived bapteme were widely used in English. See MED fulloght (n.) and bapteme (n.).

346–49 A kinges sone . . . . myn eem was. Compare Otinel, lines 204–08.

348 cosin. A general term for any blood relation or relative by marriage. See MED cosine (n.), sense 1a (general sense) and 2a (a nephew or niece, specifically). See also OK, lines 352 and 412; and compare Otinel, line 207.

349 Fernagu. Otuel’s reference is to his uncle “Fernagu” (or “Vernagu,” as the name is spelled in RV), who was slain by Roland in a duel. Vernagu is the well-mannered giant Saracen who arrives at Charlemagne’s court as a messenger in RV, the romance that directly precedes OK in the Auchinleck manuscript.

416 ilete blod. “feeling weak,” that is, as one would feel after having been medically treated for an illness by the letting of blood. The taunting insult given here by Otuel to Roland is what medieval readers and listeners would have most expected and enjoyed about this character. The French Otinel tradition brands him for his talent in verbal wit and comic insult.

521–34 And seide . . . . mi wille iwent. Compare Otinel, lines 456–65.

578 seightnesse. “reconciliation, peace, accord.” See MED saughtnesse (n.), where this line is cited.

585 whit colver. 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). The symbol is very common in medieval art and literature, and the audience of OK would have readily caught this meaning. Here, the Holy Spirit is referenced as “the vertu of Godes mighte” (line 588). Compare Otinel, lines 516–18; OR, lines 568–73; and DR, lines 578–79.

645 Bisschop Turpin. 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.

697–706 Fol nygh . . . . over gon. The construction of a bridge is common to all the Otuel poems. OK is unique in having Charlemagne observe enemy soldiers riding on the other side of the river and in not specifying the name or location of the river, nor mentioning a city (which is named Ataly in the other poems). Compare OR, lines 695–701; DR, lines 754–56; and Otinel, lines 674–80.

724 As we finden in romaunse write. It is a common trope for romance authors to refer to a source for their works, lending credibility to their tales. The OK poet most likely did work with a version of the French Otinel before him.

725–31 Curabeles hatte . . . . highte Clarel. Compare Otinel, lines 696–702.

834 his swerd he tok. The gesture of taking Clarel’s sword, that is, disarming him with his consent, denotes that Clarel is now the Frenchmen’s prisoner of war, under the safekeeping of his captors. Compare line 992, where Ogier the Dane allows Clarel to take his sword. See also the corresponding scene in Otinel, lines 814– 17.

853–60 Felawes . . . . ich nought be. Compare Otinel, lines 843–50.

862 Sein Richer. Saint Richerus (or Richer) of Reims, was a tenth-century monk and historian of France. His naming by Oliver is an anachronism, for he lived later than Charlemagne. His four-part Historiae begins with the reign of Charles the Fat (839–88), grandson of Charlemagne, so this mention of Saint Richerus may be meant to evoke an association with the Carolingian Empire. It may also be relevant that Turpin, the ecclesiastical authority in the Charlemagne romances (and purported author of Pseudo-Turpin, the source for RV), was himself archbishop of Reims. Throughout the Middle Ages, Reims was the traditional site for the coronation of kings of France.

882 ferd. “danger, something inspiring fear.” See MED ferde (n.1), sense 2.

891 Sein Martin. Saint Martin of Tours, a bishop and martyred saint (316–397). The oath may convey a patriotic French air to English readers; it is said that Saint Martin’s relics were sometimes carried by French kings into battle. The veneration of Saint Martin was widespread in medieval Europe, especially in French regions. See also line 1603.

962 nevere eft crouste he ne bot. Proverbial. See Whiting C583 and B520.

992 tok him his swerd anon. On this formal gesture of capture, compare the note to line 834 above.

1013 overmyghte. “Beyond endurance”; see MED, over-might (adv.), where this instance is cited as the only appearance of the word.

1017–40 To Otuwel . . . . hare oune wit. Compare Otinel, lines 1000–17.

1040 Let ham witen hare oune wit. “Let them blame their own wits,” or, as is commonly said in modern English, “It will be their own fault.” See MED witen (v.3), sense 1a(c), “lay the blame on, hold accountable,” where this line is cited.

1061–64 And seide . . . . so faste fle. Compare Otinel, lines 1043–47.

1110 smiten to in eche side. “struck about in every direction.” The phrase smiten to would normally have an object; see MED smiten (v.), sense 1b(c), “strike at (somebody or something).” Here, modified adverbially by “in eche side,” it denotes the wild actions of many knights striking everywhere.

1124 boruwe. “receive (a blow) with the intention of returning it.” See MED borwen (v.), sense 1b.

1136 maden a . . . larder. Proverbial. See MED larder (n.), sense 3a: “make a slaughter.”

1151–212 Thanne seide . . . . for to fighte. Compare Otinel, lines 1195–1233.

1231–82 King Charles . . . . fram sschame. Compare Otinel, lines 1311–52.

1276 Mahoun and Apolyn. Middle English romances often misrepresent Muslims as polytheists who worship idols, naming three or four gods as central to their fictionalized faith: Mahoun, Jubiter, Apollin, and Termagaunt. See the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 16.

1328 cheine. Otuel taunts Clarel that he is not a tooth-puller because he does not carry the chain used to pull out teeth. This vivid scene of the handsome Clarel’s facial disfigurement is present in all three Roland and Otuel romances, although how Otuel mocks Clarel takes a different form in each one. Compare Otinel, lines 1452–56.

1337–40 Quath Otuwel . . . . a strong knave. Normally a beard is a sign of strength, as in the biblical story of Samson (Judges 16:17). Here, according to Otuel’s sarcastic insult, the reverse seems to be the case: being so brutally “shaven” makes Clarel “strong.” The joke may also imply that Clarel’s Muslim identity has been marred.

1399 Dorendal. 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).

1472 tourneth agein the berd. Proverbial. See Whiting B120.

1510 lay as a stiked swin. Proverbial. See Whiting S966. The phrase is especially insulting because Muslims consider pigs dirty; pork is prohibited from their diet.

1530 Bi Mahoun that yonder stant. Arperaunt refers to a nearby idol.

1575 of Agineis. “of Agen.” The French knight is from the city of Agen, located in southwest France in the Aquitaine region.

1603 Seint Martyn. See the note to line 891 above.

1629–78 Godde Ogger . . . . fol of might. 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, he is aided in his escape by a cunning squire, who brings Ogier his horse and armor and then convinces the porter to open the gate. For alternate scenarios, see Otinel, lines 1836–69; OR, lines 1616–36; and DR, lines 1543–60.

1681–82 fous . . . As . . . a foul to flight. Proverbial. See Whiting F564.

1697–746 And Otuwel . . . . he mote live. Compare Otinel, lines 1876–1901. On the different endings among the French and Middle English accounts of Otuel/Otinel, see the explanatory note to Otinel, lines 1899–904.








ABBREVIATIONS: BW: The Auchinleck Manuscript, ed. Burnley and Wiggins; H: Otuel, ed. Herrtage, in The English Charlemagne Romances. Part VI, pp. 65–116; MS: Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.2.1 (the Auchinleck MS), fols. 268ra–77vb.

6 Sarazins. So MS, H. BW: Sarrazins.

34 hel. So MS. BW, H: held.

59 with. MS, BW, H: wit.
he. So H. MS, BW: ne.

69 Sarasin. So H, BW. MS: sazasin.

71 There. So MS, BW. H: þer.

77 Into the paleis tho he cam. MS repeats the line at bottom of fol. 268r at the top of 268v, spelling palais in second copying. BW, H also omit repeated line.

78 hon. So MS. H, BW: hond.

98 gode. So MS, BW. H: godde.

121–28 MS: eight lines missing where a miniature has been removed. A blue paraph marks missing line 127.

139 mi swerde ful. So BW, H. MS: Text is rubbed away.

178 asschamed. So MS, BW. H: aschamed.

187 Sire. So MS, BW. H: fire.

244 an. So MS, BW. H: and.

249 thine. So MS, H. BW: þin.

250 Sire. So MS, BW. H: fire.

261 sschal al. So MS, BW. H: sschall all.

269 oppon. So MS, BW. H: upon.

272 thou. So MS, BW. H: you.

279 King. So BW, H. MS: k rubbed from page.

283 yiukthe. So MS. BW, H: ȝinkþe.

285 was the king agramed. So BW, MS. H: was the king was a gramed.

287 Otuwel. So BW, H. MS: otuwet.

302 ich here. So MS. BW, H: ich nought here.

327 Ichc wolle maketh, so mote ihc thee. MS: line written in the margin, inserted between lines 326 and 328.
maketh. So MS. BW, H: make þe.

345 answerede. So MS, BW. H: answerde.

351 Sir. So BW, H. MS: sr.

357 Nou. So MS, H. BW: ȝou.

361 awreke. So MS. BW emends to will wreke. H: ich wille a-wreke.

363 Charle. So MS. BW, H: Charles.

368 fechen. So MS, BW. H: sechen.

428 nas. So MS, BW. H: was.

440 feel. So MS. BW, H:feeld.

452 druye. So MS, BW. H: druþe.

455 sterne. So BW. MS: stene. H: steue.

456 bothe. So MS, BW. H: boþ.

462 bothe. So MS, BW. H: boþ.

468 blenkte. So MS. BW, H: blenkt.

472 Bote. So MS. BW, H: Bot.

476 gon. So MS, H. BW: gan.

484 ich. MS, BW, H: Ihc.
isought. So MS, BW. H: ifouȝt.

490 idrawe. So MS, BW. H: idraue.

492 ovede. So MS. BW, H: houede.

516 togidere. So MS, BW. H: to gider.

518 feled. So BW, H. MS: d is superscripted, inserted with caret.

528 my. So BW, MS. H: mi.

547 ende. So BW, MS. H: end.

554 Roulond. So BW, MS. H: roulonde.

574 you. So BW, H. MS: wou.

603 likede. So MS, BW. H: likete.

612 wroth. So BW, H. MS: worþ.

618 hon. So MS. BW, H: hond.

633 thee. BW, H: þe. MS: þe is superscripted, inserted with caret.

635 al. So MS, BW. H: all.

654 goo. So MS. BW, H: go.

669–70 Whether wole we wenden oppon him anon, / Other abide til winter be gon. So BW, H. MS: Scribe initially omitted line 670. The line is copied at the bottom of the column, and scribe uses marginal a and b to note the proper placement of the line.

683 bond. So MS, BW. H: hond.

685 an. So MS, H. BW emends to and.

695 bisides. So MS, BW. H: besides.

697 nygh. So MS, BW. H: niȝ.

711 an. So MS. BW, H: and.

716 Suche. So MS. BW, H: Such.

719 ost. So MS, BW. H: oft.

720 forte. So MS, BW. H: for to.

725 Curabeles. MS, BW, H: Turabeles.

740 neve. So MS. BW, H: neuer.

741 Roulond. So MS. BW, H: Roulonde.

747 Roulond. So MS. BW, H: Rouland.

748 Yich. So MS. BW: Iich. H: Ich.

751 founden. So MS, BW. H: fonnden.

760 is tis. So MS, BW. H: is þis.

781 adon. So MS, H. BW: a doun.

785 Balsamun. So MS, BW. H: balsamum.

789 He ne. So H. BW: he ne (ne). MS includes a second ne, which I have omitted. BW puts second ne in parenthesis, likely to preserve meter.

817 Roulond. So MS. BW, H: Rouland.

823 maner. So MS, BW. H: manner.

832 swerd tok. So MS, BW. H: swerd he tok.

840 up. So H, BW. MS: vt.

869 were. So MS. BW, H: where.

872 mot entenden. So MS, BW. H: moten tenden.

908 An. So MS. BW, H: and.

914 bar. So MS. BW, H: bare.

938 where youre. So MS. BW, H: where is ȝoure.

958 he. So H, BW. MS: be.

963 op. So MS, BW. H: ap.

964 wonde. So MS, H. BW: wounde.

968 nas. So MS, BW. H: was.

970 thei. So BW, H. MS: rei.

981 com. So MS. BW, H: come.

986 come. So MS. BW, H: to me.

1015 An. So MS. BW, H: and.

1022 hise. So BW, H. MS: hise is superscripted, inserted with caret.

1026 an. So MS, H. BW: and.

1027 Ove. So MS. BW, H: Ouer.

1038 Te. So MS. BW, H: To.

1060 An. So MS. BW: and. H: &.

1069 Otuel. So MS, BW. H: otuwel.

1149 And. So MS, H. BW omits word.

1167 rede. So BW, H. MS: rere.

1196 deth. So MS, BW. H: deaþ.

1206 sschal. So MS, BW. H: sschall.

1208 Tomorwe. So BW, H. MS: r is superscripted, inserted with caret.

1209 the. So MS, H. BW: þei.

1221 becom. So MS, BW. H: he com.

1223 hond. So MS, BW. H: bond.

1224 Otuwel. So BW, H. MS: tuwel.

1229 for. So BW. H: fol. MS: scribe initially copied for and then wrote an l over the r.

1238 hold. So MS, H. BW: bold. BW notes that the h has been altered to form a b in the manuscript.

1302 An. So MS, H. BW: and.

1311 swerd nevere so. So MS. BW: s werd neuere nere so. H: swerd nere neuere so.

1323 is. So MS, H. BW: his.

1326 thi. So MS, BW. H: þe.

1331 An. So MS, H. BW: and.

1350 Maden. So BW, H. MS: Aaden.

1353 night. So MS. BW, H: miȝt.

1367 asemlen. So MS, H. BW: asemblen.

1404 stonden. So MS, BW. H: stenden.

1416 le. So MS. BW, H: þe.

1433 steede. So MS, BW. H: stede.

1445 donne. So MS. BW, H: doune.

1456 thoughte. So MS, BW. H: rouȝte.

1472 berd. So MS, BW. H: herd.

1493 nough. So MS. BW, H: nouȝt.

1514 Negheden. So MS. BW, H: Neiȝeden.

1523 reneied. So MS, BW. H: reneid.

1536 kans. So MS, H. BW: kanst.

1543 an. So MS. BW, H: and.

1594 Tha. So MS, H. BW: Þat.

1621 Thorou. So MS, BW. H: Þrou.

1625 swumme. So BW, H. MS: smumme.

1628 manie. So BW, H. MS: mananie.

1680 Adden imet with gode Ogger. So H. MS: adden imet wiþ gode. BW: hadden imet wiþ gode Ogger.

1683 bataile. So MS, BW. H: bataille.

1693 took god. So MS, BW. H: toke god.

1713 perlement. So MS, BW. H: parlement.

1721 hon. So MS. BW, H: hond.

1729 schal. So MS, BW. H: schall.

1731 An. So MS, H. BW: and.







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Herkneth, bothe yinge and olde
That willen heren of batailles bolde;
And ye wolle a while duelle,
Of bolde batailles ich wole you telle
That was sumtime bitwene
Cristine men and Sarazins kene.
       There was sumtime a king in France,
A doughty man with spere and launce,
And made Sarazins ful tame —
King Charles was his name,
And was born in Seint-Denys
Nought bote a litel fram Parys,
And was a wol treu knight
And meintenede Cristendom aright.
       In his time, a king ther was,
An hethene that uncristned was,
That was king of Lumbardie,
And was yhoten King Garsie.
Marsile was his also,
And manie other londes mo.
A swithe gret lord he was;
In his time non suych ther nas.
On Jhesu Crist ne levede he nought
That him hadde so dere abought.
He levede al in maumettrie
And forsok God and Seinte Marie.
In alle londes there he wente
He slough al that evere he hente
That wolde on Jhesu Crist bileve,
And tok the lond to his byheve.
Night and day it was his thout
To bringe Cristendom to nout.
       In hethenesse ther nas no king
That ne hel of him sum thing
Or dude him omage or feuté.
Suich a mighty king was he,
Alle thei scholden to him bouwe.
He was lord of londes ynowe,
And yit he thoughte wit maistrie
Habben al Cristendom to gye.
Al Cristendom, more and lasse,
He thoughte to maken hethennesse.
       Whan he wolde haven a parlement,
There com to his comaundement
To helpen hym wit alle thinges
Fiftene hethene kinges,
And alle thei were togidere sworn
That Cristendom scholde be lorn,
And maden alle here ordenaunce
To werren uppon the king of Fraunce,
For thei herden alle tidinges
That he was chef of Cristene gynges,
And the king wiste it wel.
Nou schulle ye here hou it bifel.
       Hit was on Childermasse Day,
Soth to segge withouten nay,
That King Charles of Sein-Denys
Wente him toward Parys;
Hise duzzeperes with him he nam,
And muche poeple to him kam.
And token alle here consail thare
That thei wolden withalle fare
Into Marsile riden and gon
And werren there with Godes foon,
And hadden set a certein day
To wenden thider withouten delay.
Bote ar thei thiderward ferden,
Suiche tydinges thei herden
Of a Sarasin, doughti and good,
That amoevede al here blod.
       There com a Sarazin ful of rage
Fram King Garsie in message;
Into Paris the wei he nam
And to the kinges paleis he kam.
Otuwel his name was,
Of no man afered he nas.
Into the paleis tho he cam,
A skwier be the hon he nam,
And seide, “Ich am comen her,
Kyng Garsies messager,
To speke with Charles, king of this lond,
And with a knight that heet Roulond,
And another hatte Oliver,
Knightes holden withouten peer.
Those thre, ich biseche thee,
That thou telle me whiche thei be.”
       The skwier thoughte wel by sight
That Otuwel was a doughti knight,
And for he was in message come,
Bi the hond he haveth him nome
And ladde him into the halle
Among the grete lordes alle.
And there thei stoden oppon her feet,
He schewede him where the king seet,
And taughte him hou he scholde knowe,
There thei seten oppon a rowe,
Roulond and Olyver
And the gode knight Ogger.
       Anon as Otuwel hadde a sight
Of Charles that was king and knight,
For eye of no man he ne leet,
Bote wente to him there he seet.
Hit was the boldeste Sarazin
That evere thorte drinke win,
And that was sene, withoute lesing,
Tho he spak with Charles the king.
He seide to him amydde his halle,
“Sire King, foule mote thee falle!
Thou art aboute for to greve
Mahoun that we onne byleve.
Therefore, have thou maugré!
So thee greteth Garsie, bi me,
That me haveth in message sent
To seggen his comaundement.
And thou, Roulond, that art his knight,
Nou ich knowe thee be sight,
May ich mete thee in the feeld
With thi spere and with thi scheld,
Ich wole wyte, so mote ich thee,
Right bytwene me and te,
“That thou makest off this bost,
Tel me nou, yef thou wost.”
Quath Otuwel, “So mote ich thee,
Inelle nought hele for eie of thee.
It was oppon a Weddenesdai
In Averil, before the May,
King Garsie the weie nam,
To the cité of Rome he cam;
Twenti thousende was the sawe
That were thare of Sarazin lawe.
Corsouse, mi swerde, ful harde fel
And bot there Freinche flechs fol wel.”
       Estught of Leggers, a Freinshe knight,
He sterte op anonright
And kypte anon in his hond
A gret muche fir-brond,
And to Otuwel a strok hadde ment,
And Roulond bynam him the dent.
       Thanne seide Charles the king,
“Ich forbede, oppen alle thing,
That no man be so wood
For to don hym other than good!
A kinges messager for he is,
He ne schal habbe non harm, iwis.”
       “Sire King,” quath Otuwel, “be mi blod,
And ani of hem be so wod
To drawe to me swerd or knif,
Certes, he schal lesen his lif!”
       The kinges knightes hadden tene
Of Otuwel wordes kene.
With that word, anonright
Op starte a Freinsche knight.
Bihinden Otuwel he cam,
And be the hod Otuwel nam
And braid with so gret might,
And braid adon that hethene knight,
And anon out with a knif,
And wolde have reved him his lif.
And that Sarazin Otuwel
Was iarmed swithe wel
That he ne dede him nought bote good,
Ne drough of his bodi no blood.
       He starte op and was wroth,
To ligge longe him was loth,
And Corsouze his brond he drough
And the kinges knight he slough,
And amang hem alle he stood
And lokede as he were wood.
The kinges knightes were agramed,
And summe of hem were asschamed
That Otuwel in the halle
Slough a knight among hem alle,
And bigunnen op to stonden
And thoughte to leggen on him honden.
       Otuwel therof was war
And in his herte it him bar
That thei nere aboute no good,
And seide to hem, there he stod,
“Bi the louerd, Sire Mahoun,
Knightes I rede ye sitten a doun!
For yef ani of you so hardi be
That any strok munteth to me,
Mahoun mi God ich here forsake
Yef he sschal evere ordres take
Of ani other bisschopes hond
Bot of Corsouze, mi gode brond.”
       Thei behelden Otuwel alle,
Knightes and skwieres in the halle;
Ther nas non that there stood
That ne wende Otuel were wod.
And evere he held his swerd ydrawe
And gaf nought of hem alle an hawe.
       King Charles stood upright
And comaundede anonright
That no man sscholde be so wod
To do the messager nought bote good.
       Knightes and sweines in the halle
Were wol glade therof alle
That the king so bad,
For mani of hem was sore adrad,
And thei withdrowen hem echone.
And evere stod Otuwel alone
And biheld hem as thei yede
Yef ani him wolde strok dede.
       Thanne seide Charles the king,
“Bi God that made alle thing,
Sarasin, nere thou messager,
Wrother hele come thou her.
I rede thou yeld op thi brond
And take’t out of thin hond.”
       Quath Otuwel that Sarazin,
“Bi Mahoun that is louerd myn,
I nelle take it out of min hond
To no man of al thi lond
That is therinne geten and bore!
That wind thou havest ilore.”
       “Sarasin,” quath Roulond,
“Tak me thi swerd in myn hond,
And iche wole save thee, bi mi blod —
Sschal no man do thee nought bote good.
And whan thou art redi to fare,
Forsothe, thi swerd sschal be yare.”
       Quath Otuwel the Sarazin,
“Bi Mahoun that is louerd min,
Thaugh ich hadde skwieres twelve,
Ich wole bere myn swerd miselve!
Holte o roum, ich wolde rede,
And thanne dostou a god dede.”
       “Sarazin,” quath Charles the King,
“Let ben al thi thretning.
Tel me nou, alle and some,
In what message artou come.”
Otuwel that noble knight
Answerede anonright,
“Hider me sente King Garsie.
Spaine is his, an Lumbardie,
And manye londes name couthe
That I ne mai nought nemne with mouthe.
Bi me he sente thee to segge,
Thou sscholdest Cristendom alegge
And maken thine men in eche toun
For to leven on Sire Mahoun,
And thou and alle thine barons bolde.
Of him ye sschulle youre londes holde,
Thanne mightou amenden, yif thou wilt,
That thou havest Mahoun agult.
And, certes, bote it so bifalle,
Garsie wele give thine londes alle
To Olecent of Esclavenye,
The kinges sone of Ermenie,
That haveth his o doughter to wif,
That he loveth as his lif.
Thous sschal al thi murthe adoun,
Bote thou leve on Sire Mahoun.”
       The duzzepieres answerede tho,
“Certes, while we moun ride and go,
Fraunse sschal he nevere give
To no man while we moun live.
Sire King, his wille nou thou wost,
Let asemblen al thin ost,
And let us oppon Garsie wenden,
Alle hise londes for to sschenden,
Of wordes that he haveth ispeke.
Forsothe, we reden thou be awreke!”
       “Certes, Sire King,” quath Otuwel,
“Thine Freinsche knightes kune yelpe wel,
And whan thei beth to werre ibrought,
Thanne be thei right nought.
       Thaugh thou bringe with sscheld and spere
Al that evere may wepene bere
To werren upon King Garsie,
Certes, alle thei sscholden deie.
And thou art king and old knight,
And havest iloren al thi might,
And in thi yiukthe, tak god hede,
Thou nere nevere doughti of dede!”
       Tho was the king agramed,
And alle hise duzzeperes asschamed
That Otuwel, that hethene knight,
Tolde of hem alle so light.
       Roulond bi the king stood
And amevede al his blod,
And seide in wrathe anonright
To Otuwel that hethene knight,
“To werren on Garsie, yef we fare
In bataille, and I mete thee thare
And I may mete thee aright,
Bi Jhesu that is ful of might,
Thou ne sschalt nevere after that day
Despice Freinchsman, yef ich may.”
       “Ough,” quath Otuwel, and lough,
“Wherto makestou it so tough
To threte me in another lond?
Nam ich here at thin hond?
Yef thou havest wille to fighte,
Whanevere thou wolt let thee dighte,
And thou sschalt finde me redi dight,
In the feld to bide fight.”
       “Bi God,” quath Roulond, “Ich wolde be yare,
Whan ich wiste to finde thee thare,
And evele mote he thrive and thee
That ferst failleth of me and te.”
       “Ye leve ya,” quath Otuwel tho,
“Whether so failleth of us two,
Ich wole finde Mahoun to borwe.
Ich wile be redi erliche tomorwe.”
       Quath Roulond thar he stod on grounde,
“S’elpe me Gode, feere ifounde!”
Right before the kinges eien,
That alle the kinges knightes seien,
Either other his trewthe plighte
Uppon morwen for to fighte.
       King Charles stod al stille
And biheld his gode wille,
And seide, “It is harm, iwis,
That thou nost what follaut is.
Yef thou woldes follaut take
And thine false godes forsake,
Ichc wolle maketh, so mote ihc thee —
And tou wille bleve with me —
A riche man in mi lond.
That ich wille sikere thee on hond.”
       Otuwel that hardi knight
Answerede anonright,
“Cristes cors uppon his heued
That me radde such a red,
To forsake mi god Mahun!
Inelle nought leve thi false sarmon.”
       Thaugh Otuwel speke outrage,
For he was comen on message,
King Charles, that was heende and god,
Nolde soffre him habbe nought bote god,
Bote seide to him anonright,
“Be thou skwier? Be thou knight?
Tel me, yef thi conseil is nome,
Of what linage thou art come.”
       Otuwel answerede this,
“A kinges sone ich am, iwis,
Soth to segge and nought to lye.
Ich am the kinges cosin, Garsie.
Fernagu myn eem was,
That nevere overcomen nas.
Sir Roulond, thi cosin, him slough.
Therefore wole rise wo inough.
Therefore ich desire so moche
To fighte with Roulond sikerliche.
Ich wille tomorewen, in the day,
Awreken his deth yef ich may.
Nou he haveth iseid his sawe,
That he ne mai him nought withdrawe
That we schule bothe fighten ifeere,
Nou ich wille that thou it here:
Min emes deth ich awreke,
Or myn herte sschal tobreke!”
       King Charle gan to meven his blod,
Bot natheles he was hende and good,
And nolde for hise wordes heghe
Don Otuel no vileinie,
Bote comaundede anon a swein
Gon fechen him his chaumberlein,
A ying knight ant nought old,
That was wel norssched and bold,
And seide to him, “Sire Reiner,
Tak here this messeger
And to his in saveliche him lede,
That for no word ne for no dede
That he haveth don and seid
That non hond be on him leid;
And loke that he be wel idight
And onoured als a knight.”
       The chamberlein anon dede
Als the king him hadde ibede,
And ladde him hom to his in.
And whan he was icomen in,
He tok his leve the chamberlein
And wente to the king agein.
Littel slep the king that night,
For ferd of Roulant that gode knight
Of the bataille he hadde inome
Leste he were overcome.
For the king hadde sein fol wel
The kuntenaunse of Otuel,
The king wiste wel afin
Hit was a bold Sarazin,
For he saugh hit wel by sight
Tho he saugh him slen his knight.
       On morwe tho the dai sprong,
And the larke bigan hire song,
King Charles wente to cherche
Godes werkes for to werche.
Roulond his cosin with him yede,
Of Godes help that hadde nede.
Thei wenten anon to here masse
For here sinnen sscholde be the lasse.
       Tho the masse was iseid
And the vestement doun ileid,
The king and Roulond ifere
Wente forth, as ye moun here,
Right to the paleis gate,
And founde hovinge therate
Otuel, armed and idight,
Al redi to bide fight.
Tho seide that Sarazin,
“Sire King, where is thi cosin
Roulond, that his truthe plighte
That he wolde with me fighte?
He was tho fol heie of mod,
Is he nou ilete blod?”
       Roulond stod al and herde
Hou Otuel toward him ferde,
And answerede anonright:
“By Jhesu that is fol of might,
Thin heued sschal fele under thin hood
That I nam nought laten blood.”
       “Welcome be thou,” quath Otuwel tho,
And turnde his stede and made him go,
And to the place tho rod he
There the bataille sscholde be.
Al aboute the water ran.
Ther nas nother man ne wimman
That mighte in riden no gon
At no stede bote at on.
And there Otuwel in rood,
No lengere he ne abood.
       Roulond that doughti knight
Was fol hasteliche idight
And his stede he bistrod,
And no lengere he ne abood.
Er the dai idon it were,
Ther thei sschollen fighten ifere.
       Anon als Roulond beheeld
Otuwel hovede in the feel,
Roulond was so egre to fighte
That for al the world he ne mighte
Abide to riden in at the gate
There Otuwel rod in ate.
He thoute the nekste weie to ride
And no lengere he nolde abide.
He smot his stede with spores brighte,
And with help of Godes mighte,
Over the water the stede swam,
And to londe saf he cam.
       Anonright, als Roulond
Hadde ikaught the druye lond,
Gret envye was ham betwene.
Thei riden togidere with speres kene,
That were sterne and nought longe,
And the knightes were bothe stronge,
And smyten either in otheres sscheld
That bothe hors fellen in the feld,
And risen agein op fram the grounde;
And bothe knightes were hole and sounde.
       Tho the stedes were risen bothe,
The knightes woxen bothe fol wrothe
And drowen swerdes ate laste,
And either hugh on other faste.
Roulond to Otuwel smot
A strok that fol sore bot.
He wolde have smiten Otuwel,
And he blenkte swithe wel.
And Roulond smot the stede broun
And clef the heued al adoun,
And the stede fel to grounde,
Bote Otuwel was hol and sounde.
       Roulond was hende and good of wille
And hovede oppon his stede stille.
To smiten made he semblant non
Er Otuwel was risen and gon.
       “Roulond,” quath Otuwel, “What was thee?
Art tou blynd? Mightou nought se?
Wil ich oppon mi stede sat,
Whi sscholde mi stede habbe that?
It hadde be more honour to thee,
Forsothe, to habbe ismite me.”
       “Ough,” quath Roulond, “Blame me nought!
Bi Sen Geme, ich habbe isought,
Otuwel, ich hadde yment
That thou sscholdest have ifeled that dent.
Ich hadde wel levere, so mote ich thee,
Otuwel, habbe yoven it thee.”
       Otuwel was wroth his stede was slawe,
And with his swerd he bar idrawe,
He smot to Roulond with good wille
That ovede oppon his stede stille.
That he hadde Roulond ment,
And he failede of his dent
And smot Roulondes gode stede,
That nevere eft on erthe hene yede.
       Otuwel thoute, on errore deede,
Tho he hadde slawe his stede,
Hou Roulond hovede stille as ston
Til he was risen and gon;
And he stod al stille
And leet Roulond risen at wille,
And seide, “Roulond, so mote ich thee,
That strok ich mente to thee,
And nou it is on thi stede istunt.
Let nou stonde, dunt for dunt!”
       Tho thei sien non other bote,
Thei wenten togidere al on fote
And strokes yeden bitwene ham so kene
That the fer sprong out bitwene.
       King Charles with hise knightes bolde
Was come the bataille to biholde,
And bisoughte God, fol of might,
He sscholde save Roulond his knight.
       Bothe knightes were gode and stronge
And foughten togidere swithe longe.
Roulond was a hende knight,
And feled that Otuwel smot aright
And that myght was in his arm,
And thoute to saven him fram harm,
And seide, “Otuwel, let thi fight!
And leve on Jhesu, ful of might,
And ich wele ben at acent
That thou sschalt wedde Belecent,
The kinges doughter, mi nese, that is.
I rede, Otuwel, that thou do this.”
       Quath Otuwel to Roulond,
“Whil my swerd is in min hond,
Al thi preching is for nought;
Hit ne cam nevere in my thout.
Me ne stant nought of thee swich awe
That thou sschalt make me reneie mi lawe
For to wedde Belecent.
So nis nought mi wille iwent.”
       Tho thei ne mighte nought acente,
Agein to bataille thei wente,
And foughten harde togidere beie;
Never on of other ne stod eie.
       Roulond bigan to meven his blood
That Otuwel so longe stood,
And fortene up with the brond
That he bar in his hond,
And in the heued he thoute to redde
Otuwel, bote nought he ne spedde.
Otuwel starte o side
And lette the swerd bi him glide.
And Roulond with the swerdes ende
Reighte Otuwel oppon the lende.
Als he wolde the dent fle,
Otuwel fel on kne.
       Otuwel asschamed was
That he knelede oppon the gras,
And for anger his herte gan sswelle
And thoughte Roulond for to quelle.
In the heued he hadde him ment,
Bote Roulond bleinte for the dent,
As swete Jhesu Crist wolde
That Roulond there deie ne sscholde.
Biside the heued the dent wente,
And the hauberk he torente
Fram the hepebon an heigh,
That alle the pece out fleigh.
       King Charles saugh there he stood,
And was fol dreri in his mood,
And was swithe sore afright
To lese Roulond his gode knight.
For Otuwel smot so heterliche,
The king wende sikerliche
That Roulond sscholde been ylore,
And was a sori man therefore.
       As the king stod in doute,
He spak to his folk aboute,
And seide to alle that there were,
“Lordinges, doth as ich you lere:
Sitte eche man oppon his kne
And biddeth to God in Trinité,
For His grace and for Hise mightes,
Sende seightnesse bitwene tho knightes,
And give Otuwel wille today
For to reneien his lay.
       Everichone thei token here red,
And deden as the king ham bed.
To Jhesu Crist thei deden here bone,
And swete Jhesu herde ham sone.
A whit colvere ther cam fle
That al the peple mighten se,
On Otuweles heued he lighte,
Thoru the vertu of Godes mighte.
And Otuwel, that doughti knight,
Withdrough him anoonright
Fram Roulond, and stod al stille;
To fighte more he ne hadde wille,
And seide, “Roulond, thou smitest fol sore.
Withdrau thin hond and smight namore.
Yef thou wolt holden that thou me het,
That I sschal wedde that maiden swet,
The kinges doughter Belesent,
Forsothe, than is mi wille went.
Yef I sschal wedden that faire may,
Ich wille bileven oppon thi lay,
And alle myne godes forsake,
And to youre God ich wille take.”
       Roulond likede that word fol wel,
And answerede Otuwel,
“I thonke it Jhesu ful of might,
Thorou wham that grace is in thee light!”
       Otuel caste of his hond
Corsouse, his gode brond,
And Roulond his also,
And togidere thei gune go.
Eyther forgaf other his loth,
Nas non of hem with other wroth,
Bote clippe and kusse eyther other
As either hedde been otheres brother.
       King Charles rood thidere anon,
And knightes with him many on.
Anon as he thider cam
Bi the hon Roulond he nam,
And seide, “Roulond, for Godes erthe,
Hou is thee and this man iwurthe?
So harde strokes as ye habben give,
Hit is wunder that ye live!”
       “Sire,” quath Roulond, “We beth al sounde,
Nother of us ne haveth wounde.
Otuwel haveth his conseil nome
That he wile Cristene bycome,
And ich habbe granted, bi youre acent,
That he sschal wedde Belecent.”
       “Certes!” quath Charles tho,
“Nou thou wolt that it be so,
I grante wel that it so be.
Forwhi that he wille dwelle with me,
Thanne hadde ich thee and Oliver,
Otuwel and gode Ogger;
In al the world in lenkthe and brede
Ther nis king that nolde me drede.”
       The king took Otuwel anon
And to his paleis made him gon,
And makeden murthe and meloudie
Of alle maner of menestrausie
For the miracle that was wrought:
That Otuwel hadde iturnd his thought.
       On moruen tho the day was bright,
Thei ladden to churche that noble knight.
Bisschop Turpin was bisschop tho,
He follede him that day, and nammo.
       Tho Otuwel hadde follaught nome
And to the kingges pees was come,
The king beed him his doughter anon
And feire londes mani on.
       Otuwel to the king saide,
“Sire, keep me wel that maide.
Forsothe, ich nele hire nevere wedde,
No nevere with hire goo to bedde,
Er thi werre to the ende be brought
And sumwhat of thi wille wrought.
Whan King Garsie is slawe or take,
Thanne is time mariage to make!”
       Quath King Charles to Otuwel,
“Nou I se thou lovest me wel,
And yef I leve, so mote I thee,
Thou ne sschalt nought lese thi love on me.”
       Tho leet the king asemblen anon
Alle hise duzzeperes, echon.
“Lordinges,” he seide, “What is youre red?
King Garsie seith I sschal be ded,
And as ye habbeth iherd segge,
He thenketh Cristendam to legge —
Whether wole we wenden oppon him anon,
Other abide til winter be gon?”
The duzzeperes acentenden therto
To bide til winter were ido.
And alle winter the king of Fraunce
Lette maken his purveianse.
Al that winter at hom he bod,
And in somer to werre he rod.

*                   *                   *

Lordinges, bothe yinge and olde,
Herneth as we formest tolde,
Hou the werre was fol hyghe
Bitwene King Charles and King Garsie.
Anon as winter was ygon,
The king asemblede his host anon,
And mochel peple cam to his bond
Out of mani diverse lond.
Averil was comen an winter gon,
And Charles tok the weie anon
And drough him toward Lumbardie
To werren oppon King Garsie.
There was set, withouten faille,
Certein day of bataille.
       Anoon as Charles was icome
Nigh honde thar the bataille was nome,
In a mede anonright
The kinges pavilons were ipight
Under an hul bisides a rivere;
And bifel as ye moun here.
Fol nygh the water the king lay
Of bataille forto abide his day,
And uppon that other side
He mighte seen hise enemis ride,
And there nas brugge ne forde non
That man mighte over riden ne gon.
       King Charles that gode knight
Tok carpenters anonright
And lette make a brugge anon
That men mighten over gon.
       Tho the brugge was al yare
That men mighten over fare,
Hit bitidde uppon a day
Wil Charles in his bed lay,
That Roulond an Oliver
And the gode knight Oger
Over the brugge thei wenten ifeere
Auntres for to sen and here.
And tho thei over passed were,
Suche auntres thei funden there
For al the good under sonne
Thei nolde habben the gamen bigonne.
       Of Garsies ost, foure hethene kinges
Wenten forte here tidinges
For alle cas that mighte bitide,
Wel iarmed bataille to bide.
Here foure names ye moun wite
As we finden in romaunse write:
       Curabeles hatte thet o king,
A stout Sarazin withouten lesing;
       That other Balsamun het,
A werse man yede non on fet;
       Astaward was the thriddes name,
He lovede werre and hatede game;
       The ferthe king highte Clarel,
That nevere yite ne dede wel.
As thei riden alle yfere,
That on seide as ye moun here,
“Mahoun, leeve ous yit abide
Into Fraunce that we moun ride
And ich mighte Roulond mete;
Al with wrathe ich wolde him grete.
That traitour he slough mi brother,
Ne gete ich neve eft such another.”
       Roulond herde, and Oliver
And the gode knight Ogger,
Hou thei speken hare wordes highe
And thratten Roulond to die;
And Roulond was so nygh
That alle foure kinges he sygh.
       “Felawes,” quath Roulond anon,
“Yich am war of oure fon.
Thei beth foure, and we bote thre.
Datheit habbe that hem fle!
Nou we habben founden game;
Ga we to hem, a Godes name.”
       Anon as Clarel ham sygh,
He seide, “Oure enemys beth nygh.
Ich se bi here cuntenaunse
Thei beth Cristene men of Fraunce.
Charles ost lith here biside
In pavilons, bataille to bide,
And these beth of hise men, iwis;
Therfore mi reed is tis —
That we hasteliche to ham ride
And loke whether thei wole abide.”
       With that word the kinges anon
Touchede here stedes and made hem gon,
And toward the Cristene knightes thei riden,
And thei doughtiliche abiden.
       Astaward with Roulond mette,
Nought he ne spak, ne him ne grette,
Bot smot him with his spere anon,
Thorou the sscheld he made hit gon.
And Roulondes spere, ywis,
Was wel betere than was his;
To Astawardes herte hit yede,
And caste him doun off his stede.
“Aris,” quath Roulond, “and tak thee bet;
At this time thou art ilet.”
       Curabeles no lengere ne abood;
To god Ogger anon he rod.
Ogger was a strong knight
And rod to him with gret might,
And bar adon hors and pak
And the Sarazins nekke tobrak.
       Balsamum and Oliver,
Eyther neighede other ner.
Tho Balsamun bigan to ride,
Oliver nolde no lengere abide.
He pingde his stede with spores kene,
And smot a strok that was sene;
He ne mighte tho no bette do,
Bote gurde the nekke bon otwo.
       Thus Roulond and Oliver
And the gode knight Ogger
Slouwen the hethene kinges thre,
And yit nolde nought Clarel fle.
To the Duk Roulond he rood,
And Roulond his strok abod.
For wrathe hise felaus were islein,
He rood to Roulond with gret mayn,
And bar a spere, greet and long.
And the Sarazin was strong
And in the sadel sat faste,
And Roulond to grounde he kaste.
With the fal the steede anoon,
Tobarst that o sschanke bon.
Roulond uppon his feet stood,
And ne hadde nought bote good.
       Ogger saugh fol wel tho
That Roulondes hors was ago.
Ogger that was doughti of dede
Smot doun Clarel off his stede.
Oliver tok the stede anon
And to Roulond he gan gon.
“Roulond, have this,” quath Oliver,
“This thee sente good Ogger,
And Clarel he haveth to grounde ithrowe
For he broughte thee so lowe.”
       Roulond that hadde his stede ilore
Thonkede hem bothe therfore,
And was the gladdeste man under sonne
That he hadde an hors iwonne.
       Clarel uppon his feet stood
And faught as he were wood.
On none maner he nolde fle,
Bot faught agein hem alle thre.
       The thre knightes were fol stronge;
He ne mighte nought dure agein ham longe,
And seide to hem alle thre,
“Lordinges, let me olive be!
To you it were lutel honour
To sle me that nabbe no socour!”
To fighte more he forsook,
And Roulond his swerd tok.
Roulond was hende and nought forsok,
And of Clarel his swerd he tok.
       “King Clarel,” quath Ogger,
“Worth up bihinden me her.”
Tho was King Clarel glad
For to do that Ogger bad,
And was staleworthe and light
And lep up anonright.
Tho wenten thei forth withouten targing,
And thoute presente Charles the king
With Clarel that thei hadden inome,
And hopeden to ben welcome.
And of here weie thei were let,
And swithe harde thei were met.
Thei sien of Garsies men afeerd,
Bothe with spere and with swerd,
Bitwen hem and the paviloun,
There thei sscholden wenden adoun.
Thei ne mighte skapen in nevere a side;
Thoruout hem thei mosten ride.
       “Felawes,” quath Ogger tho
To Roulond and Oliver bo,
“Ich wene er we hom come,
Clarel ous worth bynome,
Lordinges, what is nou youre red?
Wole we smiten of his hed?”
       Quath Roulond, “So mote ich thee,
At that red nel ich nought be.”
“No, ich nother,” quat Oliver,
“Bi the Louerd Sein Richer,
On live I rede we leten him go,
And ne do we him nammore wo.
Such cas may fallen in sum neede,
He mai quiten us oure mede.”
       “Bi God,” quath Ogger, “that is soth,
And where he do or he ne doth,
Hit were sschame to ous, iwis,
To sslen a man that yolden him is.
I rede we leten him gon his wey,
For we mot entenden to another pley.”
       Alle thre thei were at on,
And leten Clarel on live gon.
Clarel nolde no lengere abide,
He ne askede non hors onne to ride,
Bote on fote dede him go
And levede hem thare in muchel wo.
       “Nou, lordinges,” quath Ogger
To Roulond and to Oliver,
“Ich wole triste to my sswerd
And fonde forto passe this ferd.
Ich hope thoru help of Godes might
To se mi lord Charles this night.
Yef ani Sarazin with eie
Cometh to lette me of mi weie,
S’elp me God and this day,
He sschal abugge, yef ich may!”
       “Nou,” quath Roulond, that doughti knight,
“And ich wille helpe thee, bi mi might!
I nele today, bi Sein Martin,
Yilde me to no Sarazin.”
       Quath Oliver, “So mote ich thee,
In mani peril ich habbe ibe,
And yef ich faille at this nede,
God ne lete me nevere eft spede.
I nele, yef God halt me sound,
Today yelde me to non hound!”
       Thei markeden hem alle thre
To Him that tho lede deth on tre,
And no lengere thei ne abiden;
Anon into the ferde thei riden.
       A Sarazin with Roulond mette,
And of his weie Roulond lette.
He cam out of al the here,
And bar to Roulond a gret spere.
A bold knight that hatte Byoun,
An Roulond bar him adoun.
       Oliver that was his brother,
He mette with another,
A doughti knight, an hethene man,
A strong thef that heet Bassan.
Oliver was horsed wel
And bar a spere, kene and fel,
And smot him right under the sscheld,
That there he lay amidde the feld.
       And the gode knight Ogger
Mette with on that heet Moter
And wolde him habbe doun ibore;
And Ogger was wroth tharfore,
And smot the Sarazin so sore
That he ne spak neveremore.
       Oliver, Ogger, and Roulond
Among the Sarazins stureden here hond
Thoru help of God that is above,
That ham hadde that grace iyove,
Thorou the ferd as thei riden,
Alle that here strokes abiden
Thei were maimed foreveremore;
The doughti knightes thei smiten so sore
That withinne a litel stounde
Thei felden mani on to grounde.
       Tho cam a soudan, stout and firs,
On of Garsies duzzepeers
That hatte Karmel of Tabarie.
Oppon the Sarasins he gan crie,
“Recreiede knightes, whi nele ye fighte?
Traitours, theves, where youre mighte?
It is sschame, bi god Mahon,
That oure folk goon thus adoun.”
       With this word Carmel anon
Pingde his stede and made him gon,
And rood to Ogger in that hete
And thoute he sscholde his lif forlete,
And was strong and ful of tene
And smot sore, and that was sene.
He smot Ogger in the sscheld,
That Ogger lay amidde the feld.
Sore he fel oppon the grounde
And hadde a fol luther wonde.
       The Duk Roulond that seygh;
For wrathe he was wod wel nygh,
And for wrathe smot him so sore
That he ne spak nevere eft more.
       Tho cam Anwe of Nubie,
On of kinges knightes Garsie,
And felde Oliver to grounde,
Bote he ne gaf him nevere a wounde.
       Roulond was fol wroth withalle
Tho he saugh Oliver falle,
And Anawe of Nubie he smot
That nevere eft crouste he ne bot.
       Oliver ros op fram the grounde
Al hol withouten wonde,
And anon his stede he nam
And to Roulond sone he cam.
       Tho was Roulond fol fawe
That Oliver nas nought isslauwe.
Tho thei were togidere imet,
Tho were thei harde biset
Amang Sarasins that were kene,
And thei smiten sore for tene.
       Whil Roulond faught and Oliver,
Hevere stod the gode Ogger,
And hadde lorn his gode stede,
And his wounde gan faste blede,
And yit he faught there he stod,
And leide on as he were wod.
       Whil Ogger that doughti knight
Agenes Sarazins stod in fight,
Oppon a stede Clarel com drive,
That Ogger halp to saven olive
Thorou cunseil of Roulond and Oliver,
And anon he knugh Ogger.
“Ogger,” he seide, “hit is my red,
Yilte come ore thou art ded;
Thou holpe to save mi lif a day;
Ich wole saven thin gef I may.”
       Ogger saugh wel with his eye
That he was in point to deye,
And to Clarel he gan gon
And tok him his swerd anon.
       Clarel nas no wedded man;
Clarel hadde a fair lemman
That was hoten Aufanye
And was born in Ermenie.
       Clarel anonrightes
Clepede to him two knightes,
And seide to hem anon,
“To mi lemman ye schulle gon,
And segge that ich sente hire this knight,
And that his wounde be heled aright,
And god hede to him nome
To saven him til mi tocome.”
       The knightes deden as he hem bad.
To his lemman he was lad,
That was hoten Aufanye,
That was kinges doughter Garsie,
And yo was glad of that present,
To do Clareles comaundement.
Roulond and Oliver foughten
That of here lives nought ne roughten.
Thei hadden foughten overmyghte;
Thei ne mighte no lengere dure to fighte,
An anon turnden here steeden
And flowen, for thei ne myghten nought speden.
       To Otuwel it was told
That Roulond, that was bold,
Oliver and Ogger bo
Were over the water go.
       Otuwel anonrightes
Leet armen him and alle hise knightes.
Tho he was armed and wel idight,
He wente to the king anonright,
And seide, “Sire, I dwelle to longe!
Roulond, Oliver, an Ogger the stronge,
Ove the water alle thre
Beth went for envie of me,
To loke wher thei mighten spede
To don any doughti deede
Among the Sarazins bolde,
And I sscholde be couward hoolde.
Therfore I nele no lengere abide;
To sechen hem ich wole ride.
Thaugh thei habben envie to me,
Ich wille for the love of thee
Fonden whother I mighte comen
Te helpen hem ar thei weren inomen,
And yif hem any harm bytit,
Let ham witen hare oune wit.”
       Quath the king, “Par charité!
Otuwel, ich biseche thee,
For Godes love, highe thee blive,
And fonde to saven hem olive
Er thei be slawe or nome,
And thee sschal sone socour come.”
       Otuwel no lengere ne abood;
Anon his stede he bistrood
And alle hise knightes bi his side,
And toward the ferd he gan to ride.
       Anon as Otuwel was goon,
The king leet dighte his host anon
After Otuwel to wende,
As a god king and hende.
       As Otuwel bigan to ride,
He lokede abouten in eche side
And he saugh ate laste
Where Roulond fleygh and Oliver faste.
Otuwel touchede his stedes side
An agein hem he gan ride,
And seide, “Turneth agein anon,
And helpeth to wreke you on youre fon!
Thei sschulle abugge, so mote ich thee,
That maketh you so faste fle!”
       Tho thei herden Otuwel speken
That thei sscholden ben awreken,
Tho were thei ferchs to fighte,
And tournden agein and were fol lighte.
       “Lordinges,” quath Otuel tho,
“Whuder is god Ogger go?”
And thei answereden, sikinge sore,
“Forsothe, we ne sien him nought yore,
We ne witen where he is bycome,
Whether he is islawe other nome.”
       “Allas, allas!” quath Otuwel,
“This tiding liketh me nout wel.
Sire Charles, my lord the king,
Wole be sori for this tiding.
For Godes love, hie we blive,
And loke we whother Ogger be alive.”

*                    *                  *

Otuwel and Oliver
And Roulond, that doughti bacheler,
With a feir compaignye
Thei bigunnen for to hie
Toward King Garsies host,
For to abaten of hare bost.
       There was a Sarazin strong,
That bar a brod swerd and a long,
And was hoten Encumbrer,
And bigan to neighen hem ner
Oppon a muche blak stede.
And Otuwel took of him hede,
And of his armes hadde a sight
And knugh him anonright,
And no lengere he ne abod.
Otuwel to him rood
And bar him doun, hors and man —
Thus Otuwel gamen bigan!
       Estught of Legers, a noble knight
That with Otuwel cam to fight,
Bar a spere of tre fol fin
And smot a bold Sarazin
Into the bodi, thoru the sscheld,
And there he lay det in the feld.
Oliver ho slough another,
And the ferthe, Roulond, his brother.
       Tho the Freinche knightes seien
The Sarasins fallen with hare eien,
Thei nolden tho no lengere abide.
Thei smiten to in eche side
And felden Sarazins faste,
And thei flowen ate laste.
       King Clarel made hem torne agein
Oppon Cristene men to lein;
And he leide on faste,
And the thef ate laste
Slou Dromer of Alemaine —
That reu fol sore the King Charlemaine.
       Erpater King of Ynde was;
He cam with a mase of bras,
And Otuwel on the helm he reighte
So harde that al the heued toqueighte.
       Quath Otuwel, “So mote Y thee,
Ich ne thoute naught boruwe that strok of thee; 1
Bi min heued, under myn hat,
I nele nought longe ouwe thee that.”
Otuwel with a fauchoun
Cleef him al the heued adoun,
And he fil under his horse feet;
Quath Otuwel, “That ich thee biheet!”
       Tho was Otuwel fol of mood,
And faught as he were wood.
Al the kinges ost anon
Foleuweden Otuwel echon,
Roulond and Oliver,
And maden a foul larder.
The knightes leiden on so faste,
The Sarazins flouwen ate laste.
       Tho neighede it toward eve,
Tho moste the ost bileve
And dwellen there al that night,
Til on morwe the dai was bright.
Tho the ost was withdrawe,
To resten hem as is the lawe,
King Clarel kam in fourme of pees
With tweie felawes, mo ne lees,
Toward Charles ost the king
For to wyten a tiding.
And Otuwel agein him wente
To wite who him thidere sente.
       Thanne seide King Clarel
To the doughti Otuwel,
“Knight,” he seide, “so mote thou thee,
Tel me what thi name be.
Thou art so doughti man of dede,
And mani a knight havest maked blede,
Ich wolde fol fain, bi myn eye,
Bringe thi name to the King Garsie.”
       “Bi God, felawe,” quath Otuwel,
“Er this, thou kneuwe my name fol wel,
So God sschilde me fram sschame.
Otuel is my Cristine name —
Mahun ich habbe forsake,
And to Jhesu ich habbe me take.”
       “Allas,” quath Clarel, “whi destou so?
So wrecheliche havestou do?
Yit I rede thou turne thi mood,
And leef on Mahoun ore thou art wod,
And ich wole pese, yef thou wilt,
That thou havest Garsie agult.”
       “Figh!” quath Otuel tho,
“On Mahoun and on Garsie bo!
Bi Him that maude Adam and Eve,
Y nele nevere oppon you leve;
Bi Jhesu that is fol of might,
And ich may mete him aright,
There sschal no Sarazin skape olive
That ich may hente, so mote ich thrive.”
       “Otuwel,” quath Clarel tho,
“Were we sumware bitwene us two,
Bi Mahoun that ich onne bileve,
Oppon thi bodi ich wolde preve
That Mahoun may mo miracles make
Than He that thou art to itake —
He nis nought half, be mi croun,
So mighty as is Sire Mahoun!”
       Quath Otuwel, “Bi Godes mighte,
Clarel, mi truthe ich thee plighte:
Whanevere thou wolt hit schal be —
Evele mote he thrive that fle.”
       Quath Clarel anonright,
“Bi Mahoun that is fol of might,
Woltou sikere me on hond
That no man of King Charles lond
Schal do me no vileynie,
By the deth that I sschal deye,
Mi conseil is anon inome;
Tomorue erliche ich wille come.”
       Quath Otuwel, “Ne doute thee nought.
Bi God that al the world haveth wrought
And the deth that I schal deie,
Thou ne sschalt hente no vileinie
Of no man of King Charles lond,
Bote right of myn oune hond.
Bi Him that made leef and bough,
Theroffe thee sschal thinken ynough.”
Quath Clarel, “Tho do thi best;
Tomorwe thou sschalt finde me prest.”
       Thus the were there bothe at on.
Er thei wolden otwinne gon,
Eyther other his trewethe plighte
Oppon morwen for to fighte.
       On moruwen tho the day sprong,
Clarel the king thoughte long
To the paviloun til he cam
To holde the day that he nam.
Oppon a stede wel idight
He cam fol redi to bide fight.
       King Charles with hise knightes bolde
Comen out Clarel to biholde,
Hou becom al redi dight,
Boldeliche to bide fight.
       Clarel was bold on his hond,
For Otuwel sikerede him on hond
That no man of flechs and blood
Ne sscholde doon him nought bote good,
Bot hemselve tweien fighte,
And habbe the maistrie who so mighte.
Tho was Clarel for trist
Forto segge what him lust.
       King Charles was an old man,
And Clarel hede theroffe nam,
And seide, “Charles, thou art old,
Who made thee nou so bold
To werren oppon King Garsie,
That is cheef of al painie?
Al paynime he haved in wold;
Thou dotest for thou art so hold.”
       King Charles warythede anonright
That Clarel tolde of him so light,
And hadde iment tho fol wel
To habben ifoughten with Clarel;
And bad fetten his armure bright
And wolde armen him anonright,
And seide in wrathe, “By Godes mighte,
Ich miself wole with him fighte!”
       Roulond bi the king stood
And bigan to meven his mood,
And sede to the king anon,
“Thou havest, Sire King, mani on
Gode doughti knightes of deede;
To fighte thiself thou ne havest no nede!”

       “God sschilde, Sire,” quath Oliver,
“Hit sscholde springe, fer or ner,
To putte thin oune bodi to fight
And havest so mani a doughti knight.”
       King Charles swor his oth
And bigan to wexe wroth,
And seide, “For ought that man may speke,
Miself ich wile ben on him wreke.”
       “A, Sire,” quath Otuwel tho,
“For Godes love, sei nought so!
Ich and he beth truthe plighte
That we sschole togidere fighte,
And ich wole telle thee, withoute faille,
Wherefore we habbe taken bataille.
       He wolde habbe maked me yusterday
To habbe reneied my lay,
And seide that ich was ilore,
And God nas nought of Marie bore,
And seide algate he wolde preve
That ich am in misbeleve.
Therefore he profreth him to fight
To wite whether is more of might:
Jhesu that is Louerd min,
Or Mahoun and Apolyn.
Thous we habbeth the bataille inome,
And bothe we beth iswore to come.”
       Quath the King Charles tho,
“Otuwel, whan it is so,
Tak the bataille, a Godes name,
And Jhesu schilde thee fram sschame.”
Otuwel that noble knight
Lette armen him anonright,
And his gode stede bistrod,
And no lengere he ne abood,
Bote to the stede he rood fol right,
There Clarel hovede to bide fight.
       Anon as Otuwel was icome,
Here conseil was anon inome.
No lengere thei ne abiden;
Anonright togidere thei riden.
Noon other nas ham bitwene
Bote gode stronge speres and kene;
Nas never nother of other agast,
And either sat in his sadel fast,
That bothe stedes yeden to grounde,
And the knightes weren al sounde;
And bothe stedes wenten forth,
That on south, that other north.
The knighte on fote togidere yede,
An drowen hare swerdes gode at nede;
Ne sparede thei nought the swerdes egge;
Eyther on other bigan to legge.
       Thei were bothe swithe stronge
And foughten togidere swithe longe.
King Clarel was wel negh wood
That Otuwel so longe stood.
In gret wrathe Otuwel he smot,
And his swerd felliche bot,
And thau the swerd nevere so good,
The gode helm it withstood,
Bote Otuwel astoneied was
There he stood up on the gras.
       Quath Otuwel, “So mote ich go,
He ne lovede me nought that smot me so!
Ich warne thee wel, so mote ich thee,
Thou sschalt habbe as good of me.”
       Otuwel for wrathe anon
Areighte him on the chekebon
Al the fel of that was thare,
And made his teth al bare.
       Tho Otuwel saugh is chekebon,
He gaf Clarel a skorn anon,
And seide, “Clarel, so mote thou thee,
Whi scheuwestou thi teth to me?
I nam no toth-drawere!
Thou ne sest me no cheine bere.”
       Clarel felede him wounded sore
And was maimed for everemore,
An smot to Otuwel with al his might.
And Otuwel that doughti knight
With his swerd kepte the dent
That Clarel him hadde iment,
And yit the dent glood adoun
And smot Otuwel oppon the croun.
       Quath Otuwel, “Bi Godes ore,
Sarazin, thou smitest fol sore!
Suthen thi berd was ischave,
Thou art woxen a strong knave.”
       Otuwel smot Clarel tho
O strok and nammo,
That never eft word he ne spak,
And so Otuwel his tene wrak.
       Tho was Charles glad ynough
That Otuwel King Clarel slough,
And gaf Otuwel that doughti knight
A god erldam that selve night.
Al that in the ost was
Maden murthe and solas
That Otuwel hadde so bigunne,
And hadde so the maistri wonne.
Al that night over al the ost,
Thei maden alther joye most.
       Ther cam a messager and browghte tiding
To Garsie that riche king
That Otuwel, his cosin in lawe,
Hadde King Clarel islawe.
       Tho Garsie it undergat,
He was swithe sori for that,
And for wrathe there he stood,
Corsede hise godes as he were wood,
And seide, “Allas, and walawo!
Nou is gode Clarel go!
Certes, myn herte it wile tobreke
Bote ich mowe Clarel awreke.”
       Tho lette Garsie asemlen anon
Alle hise Sarazins echon,
And thoughte thoruout alle thing
To ben awreken on Charles King,
And on his cosin Otuwel,
And on himself the wreche fel.
       King Charles herde be a spye
That Garsie thratte him to die,
And he asemblede hise knightes echon
And sede to hem alle anon,
“Lordinges, Garsie thinketh to ride;
Forsothe, I nele no lengere abide!”
The king armede him anon
And alle hise knightes echon.
The king gurde him with his swerd
And wente himself with his ferd.
       The king cam stilleliche with his ost,
And Garsie cam with gret bost.
Tho the ostes neigheden niegh
That either ost other siegh,
Out of Garsies ost cam ride
A Turkein that was ful of prude.
       Roulond was good and hende,
And agenes him gan wende.
The Tourkein no lengere nabod;
To Roulond anon he rood
And gurde Roulond with a spere,
That wel couthe a strok bere,
And as doughti as he was,
His o stirop he las.
       Roulond was aschamed tharfore
That he hadde his stirop lore,
And with Dorendal that was good
He smot the Tourkein oppon the hood,
And he sey doun of his stede,
So Rowlond quitte him his mede.
Quath Roulond, “That ich thee biheet —
Thou nult na more stonden on thi feet!
Min o stirop thou madest me tine,
Nou havestou lose bothe thine!”
       Ther cam another stout Sarazin
That was armed wel afin,
That highte Myafle of Bagounde.
And with a litel stounde
He made his stede swithe to goon,
And smot Oliver anoon;
Thorouout al his armure bright,
He woundede sore that gode knight.
       Roulond saugh be contenaunse
His brother was hurt with le launce;
His warde-cors anon he fond
And tok a spere out of his hond,
And made his hors make a sturt
To him that hadde his brother hurt,
And touchede him with the speres ord
That nevere eft he ne spak word,
And tok Myafles stede anon
And sette Oliver theron.
       There was a noble Sarazin,
A king that heet Galatyn,
And cam with a compainie,
And bigan faste to hie.
       Otuwel was war of that,
Oppon his stede there he sat,
Hou King Galatin cam with wille
Cristene men forto spille.
With the spores the steede he nam,
To Galatyn the king he kam;
Thorou the bodi he him bar,
And bad he scholde eft be war
Of such a strok whan it kam.
Non other hede of him he ne nam,
Bote rood forth oppon his stede,
And leet the Sarazin ligge and blede.
       Tho smiten tho ostes togidere anon
And foughten faste and good won,
And todaschten many a scheld;
Mani a bodi lay in the feld.
       Tho cam over the donne ride
An hethene king fol of prude,
And browghte with him al ferche tho
A thousende Sarazins and mo,
And foughten faste a good stounde,
And felden Cristene men to grounde.
       A doughti bacheler cam ride
Oppon King Charles side,
A yong knight that sprong furst berd,
Of no man he nas aferd.
Five hundred men with him he broughte
That of hare lif litel thei thoughte;
Nas non twenti winter old,
And echon was doughti man and bold;
He hadde ichosen hem fol wide,
Bolde men bataille to bide.
Thei foughten faste withinne a stounde
And broughten Sarazins to grounde.
Thei were bolde and foughten faste;
The Sarazins flouwen ate laste.
Roulond and Oliver hulpen wel,
And the doughty Otuwel.
       Coursabex the king cam tho
And mette fleinde a thousend and mo;
“Traitours!” quath Coursabex the king,
“Certes, this is a foul thing
That ye schule fle for ferd!
Traitours, tourneth agein the berd!
Tourneth agein, alle with me,
And we wole make the Freinche fle!”
Thous Coursabex himself allone
Made tourne hem agein echone.
       The yinge knight that was so bold,
Right nou that ich of habbe told,
With Coursabex wel sone he mette,
And with his swerd anon he sette
Such a strok oppon his croun
That of his stede he fel adoun.
The yinge knight to him cam,
And Coursabex olive nam,
And sente him Charles the king —
Tho was he glad of that tiding.
       Tho the Tourkeins seien alle
That Coursabex was falle,
And Cristene men smite sore,
Thei flouwen and nolde fighte namore;
And the gode yinge knight
Suwede and leid on doun right.
There ne halp nough Sire Mahoun,
The Tourkeins yeden faste adoun.
       Tho kam Poidras of Barbarin,
And with him mani a Sarazin.
Poidras oppon the yunge knight
Leid on with al his might,
And here men togidere huwen,
And hethene hornes faste blewen.
Poidras and the yinge knight,
Bitwene hem was strong fight;
Poidras hadde the more mayn
And hadde wel neigh the knight slain.
       Otuwel that doughti knight
Was war of that anonright;
Otuwel no lengere na bood,
To Poidras anoon he rood,
And smot Poidras of Barbarin
That there he lay as a stiked swin.
       Otuwel rood into the feerd,
And leide on faste mid his swerd.
Roulond and Oliver
Negheden Otuwel ner
And the berdles knight,
And slowen Sarazins adounright.
       King Garsie herde withinne a stounde
Hou hise men yeden to grounde.
King Garsie hadde a conseiler,
And anon he took him neer,
And seide to him, “Sire Arperaunt,
Agenes Otuwel myn herte stant,
That thous haveth reneied his lay
And sleth mine men, night and day.
Sire Arperant, what is thi reed
That the thef traitour nere ded?
Certes, Fraunce hadde be wonnen
Ne hadde his tresoun be bigunnen!”
       “King Garsie,” quath Arperaunt,
“Bi Mahoun that yonder stant,
Al the while that Roulond
Mai bere Durendal in his hond,
And Oliver rit by his side,
For no thing that may betide,
Thou ne schalt nevere Otuwel winne
For nought that evere thou kans biginne.”
Tho was Garsie wel nygh wood
For wrathe on molde there he stood.
       There was an Affrikan gent
That hatte Baldolf of Aquilent.
King Garsie seide to him anoon,
“Certes, Baldoff, thou most goon,
And take with thee knight an swein,
And tourne the Cristene men agein;
And ich miself wole after come
And helpe that Otuwel were nome.”
       Quath Baldolf, “Bi Sire Mahun,
Louerd, we wole don what we moun,
And com thou after and tak hede
Wuche maner that we spede
And yef thou sest that nede be,
Com and help us er we fle,
For whan an ost to flight is went,
Bote socour come, it is schent.”
       Baldolf took his compainie
And to the bataille he gan heye,
And withinne a litel stounde,
Hard bataille thei habben ifounde.
       Otuwel doughti of dede,
Where thei comen he took hede,
And no lengere he ne bood,
Bote hasteliche to ham he rood.
Roulond and Oliver
Neigheden Otuwel ner
And the gode yinge knight
That was so doughti man in fight.
Tho thei foure weren ifere,
Tho mighte men seen and here
Harde strokes dele and dighte,
And with Sarazins boldeliche fighte.
       Ther cam out of Garsies ost
A man that made muche bost,
A king that hatte Karnifees,
And muchel onour there he les.
       Ther kam a knight of Agineis,
A bold man and a courteis,
And with Carnifees he mette,
And wende Carnifees to lette;
King Karnifees him haveth istunt
And slough him ate forme dunt.
Tho Karnifees hadde thous do,
He wende to serven ham alle so.
       Otuwel no lengere na bood,
To Karnifees anon he rood;
Karnifees knugh Otuwel
By hise armes swithe wel,
And seide to the gode gome,
“Forsworne, thef, artou come!
Bi Mahoun,” quath Karnifees,
Thou schalt hoppen heuedles!”
       Otuwel, withoute targing,
Answerede Karnifees the king:
“Bi Sein Geme, ich ne habbe nought munt
Tha thou schalt give me that dunt!”
Thei nolden no lengere abide
Anon togidere thei gunde ride.
Karnifees smot Otuwel;
Biside the heued the strok fel.
A corner of Otuweles scheld
He gurde out amidde the feld.
       Quath Otuwel, “Good it wite,
That strok was wel ismite!
Nou thou schalt, bi Seint Martyn,
Preven a strok of myn!”
Otuwel Karnifees smot
With Corsouse that wel boot
That Karnifees soughte the ground;
Ros he nevere eft hol ne sound.
       Tho the Sarazins wisten alle
That Karnifees was ifalle,
And that he nolde namore arise,
Tho bigan ham alle to agrise,
For in al Garsies feerd
Nas such a man to handle a swerd.
Tho tournde thei to flight,
The Sarazins, anonright.
       Thous the gode Otuwel
And Roulond that was good and snel,
Thoru the help of Godes might,
Maden the Sarazins tourne to flight,
Thorou swete Jhesu Cristes grace;
And thei suweden faste the chasse.
The Sarazins were so adredde
Into the water manye fledde;
Summe swumme and summe sunke,
And coold water ynough thei drunke.

*                  *                  *

Til Roulond and Oliver the gode
In manie harde stoures stode,
Godde Ogger in prisoun lay,
Bothe bi night and eke be day.
Herkneth what hede good to him nam
And hou he out of prisoun kam.
       Sevene hethene knightes bolde
Ogger was bitaken to holde,
And the foure Ogger slough,
And yit he skapede wel inough.
       There was a noble skuier
That with queintize halp Ogger;
Swithe priveliche and stille,
He broughte Ogger, to his wille,
His swerd and his armure bright,
And Ogger armede him anonright.
Tho he hadde on his gode wede,
The squier broughte him a good stede.
Ogger no lengere ne abood;
The goodde stede he bistrood.
The squier was armed and wel idight,
And hadde a good hors and a light;
And al so stille as a ston,
The squier lep to horse anon,
And to the porteres windou he kam,
And in his hond his mase he nam,
And oppon the windou he schof
That the windou al todrof.
       Hit was abouten midnight
And the porter was afright,
And askede anon who was thare,
And who makede al that fare.
       “Porter,” quath the squier tho,
“Undo the gate, and let us go!
We here tellen, bi Sire Mahoun,
That Cristene men goon alle adoun,
And ich and mi felawes, iwis,
We wole witen hou it is,
And yef we ani good winne,
Forsothe, thou schalt parten therinne!”
And he dude op the gate wide
And lette ham bothe out ride,
And steek agein the gate fast,
And there thei sien Ogger last.
       Ogger rood al that night,
Til on the morewen the day was bright,
That nevere his feet comen on grounde
Er he hadde his felawes founde.
       Tho Roulond and Oliver
Weren war of gode Ogger,
Thei were fol glad of that sight
And thonkeden Jhesu fol of might.
       Tho Roulond and Oliver
Adden imet with gode Ogger,
Thei were also fous to fight
As evere was a foul to flight,
And wenten into the bataile anon,
And foughten faste and good won,
And made the Sarazins agaste,
And Otuwel nas nought the laste.
       Tho alle foure weren ifere,
Thar nere none strokes dere;
Tho doughti knightes smiten so sore
As thaugh thei ne hadden nought foughten yore,
That withinne a litel stounde
Sarazins yeden alle to grounde.
       King Garsie took god hede
Hou his folk to grounde yede,
And no lengere he ne abood;
Toward his pavilons he rood.
       And Otuwel anoon byheld
There he rod in the feld,
And warende fore anon tho
Roulond and Oliver bo,
And Ogger that douhty knight
That King Garsie was tornd to flight.
Tho Roulond and Oliver
And the gode knight Ogger
Sien where King Garsie rood,
Ther nas non that lengere abood;
Hasteliche the wey thei nomen,
And to King Garsie thei comen.
       King Garsie was afered to deye
And bigan mersi to crie,
And seide, forsothe, that he wolde
Of King Charles his lond holde,
And ben at eche perlement,
Redi at his comaundement.
       King Garsie seide this,
“For His love that youre Good is,
Taketh me on live and sle me nought!
Leet mi lif be forbought,
And let me as a prisoun goon
Bifore King Charles anoon,
And don him omage with myn hon
To holden of him al mi lond!”
       Thanne seide Otuwel,
That was doughti knight and snel,
To Roulond and to Oliver
And to the gode knight Ogger:
“Nou he haveth this gift igive,
I rede that we laten him live.
Bifore the king he schal be brought,
For Gode, we nulle slen him nought.”
An thei acenteden therto,
And seiden, “It wile be wel ido.”
And withouten any targing,
Thei ladden him bifore the king.
       Thanne seide Otuwel that gode knight
To King Charles anonright,
“Sire,” he seide, “Her is Garsie,
That sumtime thratte thee to die.
He wile nou, yif thi wille be,
Do thee omage and feauté
And ben at thi comaundement,
And at eche parlement
Al redi at thin hond;
And holden of thee al his lond,
And for his lond rente give,
With thee noue, he mote live.”

Who; wish to hear
If; abide

fierce; (t-note)


Saint-Denis; (see note)
Not far from

During [Charles’s] reign

Lombardy; (see note)

there was none such as him
did not believe


slew; captured


didn’t hold some property from him [Garcy]; (see note); (t-note)
paid him tribute; fealty
They all had to bow to him
yet; with force
rule all Christendom
those both high and low
wanted to turn into heathen lands
hold a council
came at his command

they all swore together
made their declaration
make war on


(see note)
True to say

(see note)
His twelve peers; took; (see note); (t-note)

[they] decided together
they would travel at once

make war; foes

go there
But before they went that way
Such news they heard
From; (t-note)
stirred their wrath; (see note)
came; (t-note)
as a messenger


was not afraid of any man
then; (t-note)
He took a squire by the hand; (t-note)

is called

knew by looking

He took him by the hand

where; their
showed; sat

Ogier; (t-note)

awe; would he hesitate

dared drink wine; (see note)


may destruction fall upon you

Thus does Garcy greet you


know, as I may thrive; (see note)
you; (see note)

[Roland is speaking]; What

I will not hide it; fear

took the way
(see note)

(see note); (t-note)
pierced their French flesh

picked up
very large firebrand
But Roland stopped the blow

anything but
should not be harmed, certainly

If; them

were enraged

Up stood
came up behind
seized Otuel by the hood

taken his life

[the French knight] didn’t harm [Otuel]

To hesitate; unwilling

among them
furious; (see note)
ashamed; (t-note)

lay hands [i.e., seize]

it seemed to him

lord; (t-note)
if; audacious
raise a blow

holy orders; (see note)

Except; sword

were none
failed to understand

held them in contempt; (see note)



sorely afraid

walked away
In case any would strike him dead

if you were not
No good would come to you here

give it up

my lord
will not

That is begotten and born therein
You have wasted your breath; (see note)

Give me

ready to depart
In truth; ready

Even if

Stand back
You’ll have done a good deed


well renowned lands

believe in; (t-note)

make amends
if you do not do this
Slovenia; (see note)

happiness decline; (t-note)
Unless; believe
can ride and walk

attack; (t-note)
[Because] of
advise you to seek revenge; (t-note)

can yelp

are worthless
Even if



youth; (t-note)
You were never brave in battle
outraged; (t-note)

Belittled all of them

became enraged

Disparage Frenchmen

Am I not here; (t-note)

make ready
waiting for

may he have bad luck
between me and you
As you say
Mahoun will be my surety; (see note)

So help me God, I’ve found a match
swear an oath

[Otuel’s] resolve
truly a shame
do not know; baptism
(see note)
as I may thrive; (t-note)
If you


Christ’s curse upon his head
Who advises me such a thing

I will not
spoke outrageously
noble and good
Would not allow him to be harmed

Are you
message is finished

True to say; it is no lie
(see note)
uncle; (see note)(see note)
Who had never been overcome
Because of this, there will be woe

Avenge [Fernagu’s] death
has promised(t-note)

I will avenge my uncle’s death; (t-note)
grew enraged; (t-note)
would not because of; haughty

To fetch his attendant; (t-note)

inn safely

well cared for
honored as


had come in
The chamberlain left

agreed to

appearance (countenance)
knew completely

In the morning
To do God’s work

hear mass
To lessen their sin


standing there


very haughty
feeling weak; (see note)

acted toward him

Your head will feel under your hood


Where; would
The river flowed all around [it]
woman; (t-note)
ride in nor leave
one [entry]

hastily prepared
mounted his steed

each other

mounted; field; (t-note)

To where Otuel rode
chose; closest path

struck; spurs

achieved; dry land; (t-note)
sturdy; (t-note)
hit each other
[So that]
[When they had]
When the steeds were both standing

cut each other

bit hard

But; dodged it well; (t-note)

cut off its head


He made no move to strike
Before; (t-note)
What are you

While; sat upon my steed
have this treatment

James, that’s what I intended; (t-note)

felt; blow
I would rather, so I may thrive
had it hit you


remained; (t-note)
He had intended that for Roland

never after walked the earth
upon his mistake

Until he [Otuel]
And [therefore]

it fell on your steed

Then; no other option

sparks flew

felt; (t-note)
believe in
in assent



I do not fear you so much
abandon my faith

This is not what I want; (see note)
Because; agree

had any fear


head; planned to strike
did not succeed
shifted to the side

Struck; hip
Because he wished to avoid

kill; (t-note)

swerved away from

chain mail coat; tore
hip bone at once
pieces flew apart
from where

thought certainly
would be lost


do as I ask; (t-note)

reconciliation; those; (see note)
renounce his faith
obeyed their command

made their request
them straightaway
white dove; (see note)


to what you promised



Through whom; entered
out of

angry; (t-note)
embraced; kissed

many a one

hand; took; (t-note)



I have; (t-note)

length and breadth; (t-note)


morning when

then; (see note)
baptized; no others
When; taken baptism

watch over for me


done deeds according to your will

as I believe
ordered to be assembled


heard spoken
ought to
Or; (t-note)


Listen; first

As soon as

many; because of their pledge to him; (t-note)

April; (t-note)

went towards

Near at hand; to be undertaken
pavilions; pitched
hill; (t-note)
[it] happened
Close to; (t-note)
To await the day of battle

bridge; ford

(see note)
When; ready



That they would not have begun the game
what might be happening

Their; know
(see note)
was called the first king; (t-note)

was called
walked never on foot
(see note)
had done a good deed

let it happen to us


I’ll never have; (t-note)

Fellows; (t-note)
aware; foes; (t-note)

Let’s go
saw them



advice; (t-note)


Spurred their


heart it went

accept your defeat

packsaddle; (t-note)

When; (t-note)

pricked; sharp spurs

could not have done better; (t-note)
cut; in two


one leg bone

was unharmed

lost; (t-note)



has no aid
did not refuse
(see note)

Mount up behind

able-bodied; agile
leapt up; (t-note)

hoped to be
But; hindered

were afraid of

Where they had to go
escape by either side
But had to ride through them
before; home
will cause us to be seized
Should we; off

I would not be guilty of that; (see note)

Saint Richerus; (see note)
no more woe
It may occur
repay; kindness
But whether he does or he does not
slay; has yielded himself

must attend; matter; (t-note)
in agreement


attempt; escape this danger; (see note)

If; wrath
stop me on my way
So help me
pay for it

I will not; (see note)
Yield; any

never give me success again

crossed themselves
once suffered



was named


sharp and fierce; (t-note)

So that


wielded their hands



short time

Then; sultan; fierce

where [is]; (t-note)

heat [of battle]
[Ogger’s]; destroy


nearly insane

King Garcy’s knights


So that he never again bit a crust; (see note)
whole; wounde; (t-note)

Then; glad
slain; (t-note)
Then; (t-note)



came riding; (t-note)

Come yield yourself before; (t-note)

on the verge of death

(see note)




say; her
give good care to him
protect him until I return


be ruined
excessively; (see note)

turned around; (t-note)
fled; succeed


Had himself armed; (t-note)

Over; (t-note)
Have gone; spite

considered a coward

Discover whether
before; captured; (t-note)
has occurred
It will be their own fault; (see note)(see note)

go quickly
try to; alive
Before; taken
aid shall soon come to you



ordered this army to prepare to ride

towards; (t-note)

avenge yourselves; foes
(see note)
be avenged
sighing heavily

let us go quickly

young man

In order to deflate their boast

come near
dark black
was wary
coat of arms

the game (i.e., battle)

fine wooden spear

he slew

their eyes

(see note)
[the Saracens] fled
turn around


brass mace

(see note)

owe you
[Here is] what I promised you
full of courage

carnage; (see note)

evening was near
the host must depart

appearance of peace
two fellows, no more or less

hear news
towards; (t-note)

am very eager

Before now
shield me from shame

advise; (t-note)
believe in
make peace
For how you have wronged

trust you

escape alive

If we were just us two

have chosen

I promise you

Evil befall him who flees

If you will promise me

By the death I shall die; (t-note)
oath; pledged


You should see this is sufficient; (t-note)

ready for battle; (t-note)
they; in agreement; (t-note)
go separately

(see note)
It seemed a long time [to]


brave on his side; (t-note)
had promised him; (t-note)

Only the two of them would fight

confident; (t-note)
That he could say what he liked

took heed thereof

He has command of all pagans
behave feeble-mindedly; old; (t-note)
became enraged immediately
had mocked
wanted then very much
To fight


you have no need to fight

God forbid
That it should happen, far or near
put your own body in a fight
While you

I will seek revenge myself

swore an oath


renounced my faith
believe a false faith
offered himself
learn which [faith]
(see note)

(see note)


Where; stood waiting
As soon as
They quickly came to a decision

saddle steadily


quite amazed

bit ruthlessly

He loves me not who hits me so

You will have the same from me

Struck directly
When; saw his; (t-note)
as you may thrive
Why do you show your teeth to me; (t-note)
You don’t see me carrying a chain; (see note)
felt himself to be



on the head

Now that your beard has been shaved
You have become; young man; (see note)

One; no more
avenged his anger

good earldom; same

merriment and joy; (t-note)

exceeding joy

When; realized
so dismayed


Unless; avenge
ordered to be assembled; (t-note)

above all

achieve the vengeance himself

I will


When; came near

Turkish knight; pride

held back

lost one of his stirrups

(see note)

fell down off
paid him his reward


short time

by his appearance



goaded (applied); (t-note)

next time be wary

lie and bleed

gained success
broke apart

hill riding; (t-note)


growing his first beard

Who cared little for their lives; (t-note)

for a time



flee in fear
turn your faces around; (see note); (t-note)


took alive
[Coursabex to]

had fallen


Then came


very nearly

stuck pig; (see note)


remains opposed
thus; repudiated his faith; (t-note)

is not dead
would have been conquered
Had not his treason begun

stands there; (see note)

Not for anything that may occur

the ground

knights and men; (t-note)
turn around


Unless help comes, it will end in ruin




Agen; (see note)

intended to stop
has stopped
with the first blow




go about headless

James; don’t intend
blow; (t-note)

carved out
God knows

(see note)

so well cut


shudder with fear
There was never


made a quick pursuit

swam; (t-note)

battles; (t-note)
[who] in
Listen; good luck to him

were assigned to guard Ogier

then; escaped

secretly and quietly
as he requested

When; clothing

good, swift horse
just as quietly



have heard

have a part of it

they last saw Ogier


(see note)
Had met; (t-note)
bird; (see note)

least [of them]
There were never any harsher strokes


immediately warned in advance



attend each council; (t-note)
Obedient to Charles’s command


hand; (t-note)





once threatened

homage and fealty

so might he live; (see note)



Go To Introduction to Otuel and Roland