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Otuel and Roland


1 Lines 2254–56: The Christians then understood that those who were away were slain, and came to his call [i.e., Roland’s blowing of his horn]





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; Pseudo-Turpin: The Chronicle of Pseudo-Turpin, ed. and trans. Poole; Song of Roland: The Song of Roland: An Analytical Edition, ed. and trans. Brault; RV: Roland and Vernagu; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases.

1–45 Herkenyth lordynges . . . . tell you aryght. The opening announces that the poem will tell of Charlemagne’s conquest of Galicia in Spain, and then adds details about the various episodes. Curiously, one of the cited episodes — Roland’s slaying of Vernagu (lines 16–18) — is not included in OR. Others are misleading: the combats against Ebryan and Emon take up only a few lines (lines 19–21; compare lines 1700–1858), and Roland does not overcome Otuel (lines 25–26).

16–18 Vernagu . . . . in false lore. The poet’s reference is to Otuel’s uncle Vernagu, slain by Roland in a duel, an action occurring prior to the events recounted in OR. Vernagu, a well-mannered giant Saracen, arrives at Charlemagne’s court as a messenger. When given the opportunity, he will not convert to Christianity, and is therefore killed by Roland. The story is told in RV and Pseudo-Turpin. In OR, this mention of the back-story raises familial vengeance as a motive for Otuel’s coming to Charlemagne’s court. Compare the more expanded references to Vernagu in DR, lines 313–18, and in Otinel, lines 204–09.

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

40–41 Ercheboschope Syr Turpyn . . . . wrote in Latyn. Archbishop Turpin is a key militant 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. Here, in OR, Turpin is named as an eyewitness chronicler of events, as in Pseudo-Turpin. On Turpin’s role in the Song of Roland, see the note to line 2114 below.

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

50 Parys. Here, Charlemagne appears to live in Paris and hold court in Saint-Denis. 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 DR, Charlemagne dwells in Paris (line 39). In OK, Charlemagne appears to arrive from Saint-Denis to hold court in Paris (lines 57–58). Although the poet identifies Paris as a key location for Charlemagne, this is 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.

51 Seynd-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 French kings from the tenth century until the French Revolution.

55–87 Thenne came . . . . hope to spylle. Compare Otinel, lines 33–58.

71 hore berde. 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 DR, line 80 (“white berde large and lange”).

88–93 Roulond sayde . . . . none wynne. Compare Otinel, lines 59–61.

106 Cursins. Corsouse is Otuel’s named sword. It is later described as a “falchion,” a long sword with a curved blade (lines 531, 1816, etc.). See MED fauchoun (n.). On other named swords, see the notes to lines 183, 900–04, 1240, and 2326–49 below.

121–22 Mahon / Jubiter and Syre Platon. 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. Platon is another, though less common, fictional god. See the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 16.

124 So mote Y thee. “so may I thrive,” an common idiomatic phrase; see MED thriven (v.), sense 1c. See also lines 523 and 979. For a negative variation (“Evel mote he the”), see line 2061.

128 mametrye. “idolatry.” Muslims, as Saracens, are inaccurately depicted as worshiping idols. On Western Christian beliefs about Muslim idolatry, see the discussion in Strickland, Saracens, Demons, and Jews, pp. 166–69.

151–56 And yut hath . . . . none so ryche. The location of Utaly as a major Lombard city situated between two rivers makes it likely that the poet is referencing 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 poet names “Coyne” in line 693) 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 Coyne/Ticino that Charlemagne builds the bridge over which the French will pass to attack the city; see the notes to lines 695–701 below. In DR, Garcy’s city in Lombardy is called Ataly (Atelie in Otinel, line 167).

154 uyterly. “completely, fully.” See MED, witterli (adv.), sense 2.c, which cites this line.

164–74 Come nought there . . . . And thynne arn al yong. Otuel insults Charlemagne by calling him too old to engage in battle and saying he might match his strength only against birds. At the end of Otuel’s taunt, he says that Charlemagne’s knights are incapable of besieging Utaly because they are too young and inexperienced.

166 ferhede. “armed combat.” MED ferreden (n.), sense 2b. Compare “ferede,” meaning “army” (sense 2a), at line 1169.

183 Dorundale. 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 Pélerin 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). Compare the note to lines 2326–49 below.

239 Seynt-Omeres. 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 DR, line 329.

245 florens. A florin was a gold coin minted in Florence and stamped with the figure of a lily. An English florin was worth 6 shillings and 8 pence. See MED floren (n.).

252–69 . . . n to honouryng . . . . Sarsin Otuel. Damage to folio 34v renders these lines only partially visible. The ritual is that Roland offers his sword as a pledge to Saint Denis, then retrieves the sword as he redeems the pledge through charitable alms (a cash payment). When Mass has ended, Otuel arrives and, apparently not seeing Roland, accuses him of cowardice for not showing up to fight as promised. Roland kneels in prayer before calling Otuel a liar. Compare Otinel, lines 223–51, OK, lines 395–422, and DR, lines 329–48.

272 Dogge thou lyest by Seynt Mychel. Roland responds to Otuel by calling him a dog and a liar. He swears by Saint Michael the archangel, patron saint of warriors and the leader of God’s army (Jude 1:9; Apocalypse 12:7). On calling a Saracen a dog, compare the note to line 1449 below.

292 grene as glas. “Green” is not one of the usual adjectives linked with “glass” in Middle English. See MED grene (adj.), sense 1a (where this line is cited), and glas (n.), sense 1a. The original may have read “clene as glas” (a more common phrase), meaning “as shiny as glass.”

331–32 Leire . . . Some. The Loire and the Somme are French rivers. The Loire, the longest river in France, stretches from the Massif Central in southern France to the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes in southern Brittany. The Somme runs westward through Picardy in northern France to its mouth in the English Channel.

349–50 Sche toke . . . . Resonet de Rowenele. Compare Otinel, lines 327–28.

364 for the nonys. 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.).

375 With thre Sarisins heuedys of sabyl. Medieval knights were identifiable by the images on their shields. Otuel carries a racialized emblem: three black Saracen heads. Roland carries a lion on his shield (line 301). Compare the note to lines 1366–68 below.

377 Mygades. Mygades is the name of Otuel’s horse. Compare DR, line 434 (“Mekredose”).

384 Withouten ony fayle. “Without doubt.” The manuscript reads “fable,” which is here emended to “fayle” because the corresponding b-rhymes make the substitution obvious. For this common tag, used frequently for rhyme, see MED faile (n.), sense 2.

456 To wetyn and nought to wene. “Of certainty and without doubt.” On this tag, see MED, witen (v.1), sense 1h.

491 was ther no chyldys game. Proverbial. See Whiting C221.

511–31 Roulond to Otuel . . . . Cursins my fauchon. Compare Otinel, lines 454–69.

552 felonye. “violent temper, violent nature, ruthlessness.” See MED felonie (n.), sense 4a.

568–73 With that . . . . holy myght. 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, line 585–88; and DR, lines 578–79.

658–63 Lemosyns . . . . stoute and fere. Compare Otinel, lines 636–42.

679–81 Syre Otuel . . . . mule a prys. The poet borrows the idea of Belesent riding on a mule from Otinel, line 656, but adds the detail that Otuel mounts her upon it. Compare DR, line 736.

686 ferdales. “furlongs.” This word is a misrepresentation of the original French word, “Versels” (Otinel, line 664), referring to the city Vercelli. See the explanatory note to DR, lines 742–56.

689–90 mount . . . . Poyne. If this name is intended to denote a real mountain in Lombardy (“Mount Point”), its identity is unknown. Also mentioned at line 864 (“Mount Paynt”), it is said to overlook Utaly, a city situated on the banks of the Coyne River (another unknown name). The poet borrows the name from Otinel, line 667 (“Munpoun”). 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 meadow where the French army encamps is across the Coyne/Ticino River from Pavia, around five miles from the city. See the explanatory note to Otinel, lines 664–68.

695–701 Charles chese . . . . come and go. The bridge that Charlemagne has built over the Coyne/Ticino River helps to locate Pavia as the site of Utaly. See the note to lines 151–56 above; and compare OK, lines 697–706; DR, lines 754–56; and Otinel, lines 674–80.

696 telden on hys pavylon. “pitch his tent.” See MED telden (v.), sense a, and paviloun (n.), sense 1b, where this line is cited.

721–23 Curables . . . . here fere. Compare Otinel, lines 696–702.

740 Agelond. An unknown Saracen place, of which Roland has slain the lords. For this action, Clarel vows revenge.

781 Oger Denys. Ogier the Dane is one of Charlemagne’s dussepers in the chanson de geste tradition. See the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 5n13.

794 With that cours. “Forcefully, vigorously”; literally “with that force of movement, impetus.” See MED cours (n.), sense 3a, for the phrase with cours. Oliver is charging his opponent.

864 Mount Paynt. “Mount Point.” On this unidentified mountain in Lombardy, see the note to line 689–90 above.

884–88 Good hyt ys . . . . a grete lordyng. Compare Otinel, lines 848–50.

900–04 Cursable . . . . Haunchecler. Ogier’s sword is named Cursable, and Oliver’s is Haunchecler. 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 DR, line 914 (“Haunkclere”), and at Otinel, line 873 (“Halteclere”). Ogier’s sword is named “Curteine” at Otinel, line 877. On other named swords, see the notes to lines 106, 183, 1240, and 2326–49.

954 yeve nought an hawe. Proverbial. See Whiting H190 and note to OK, line 200.

980 waraunt. The Saracen lord is saying that he will not permit Clarel to be Ogier’s protector from being killed or dismembered.

1039–47 Otuel aspyede . . . . lordynges yare. Compare Otinel, lines 1000–17.

1039 Otuel. The large red initial O of this word opens this line, indicating a secondary transition (not a fitt division). See the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 23.

1058–74 And sayde . . . . a lytel thrawe. Compare Otinel, lines 1043–47.

1071 plawe. “battle, fight, conflict.” See MED pleie (n.), sense 4c.

1091 he ne flycted. Literally, “he did not flee.” See MED, flighten (v.).

1099–110 Olmadas . . . . grete renoun. Olmadas of Aschomoyne, a Saracen, unhorses Duke Reyner (Charlemagne’s chamberlain; see line 223) and takes the steed. The Christian knight Emoleres then attacks Olmadas, striking off the Saracen’s head with a mighty blow.

1146 grenned as an hownde. Proverbial. See Whiting H584; and compare line 1496. Otuel’s strike at Empater’s face anticipates his later strike at Clarel, which will also expose a Saracen’s teeth (line 1463).

1165–203 Anone Clarel . . . . Y thee plyght. Compare Otinel, lines 1195–1234.

1240 Melyn. This is the name of Clarel’s sword. Compare DR, line 847, where it is named “Melle,” and Otinel, line 807, where it is named “Mellee.” On other named swords, see the notes to lines 106, 183, 900–04, and 2326–49.

1267–350 Thou olde Charlys . . . . in Godys name. Compare Otinel, lines 1311–52.

1324 nought worth a tord. Proverbial. See Whiting T526. Compare Chaucer’s Tale of Sir Thopas (CT VII[B2 2120]).

1366–68 Thre swerdys . . . . a ryche ston. Belesent has replaced Otuel’s old shield, which bore an emblem of three black Saracen heads, with a new, bejeweled one bearing an emblem of three silver and three golden swords. Compare the note to line 375 above.

1388 Alle it is in God long. “It’s all in God’s power.” See MED bilong (adj.), sense 1b.

1433 sprange oute as sparcle of glede. Proverbial. See Whiting S562. Although the phrase is used more often to describe the swiftness of knights’ movements (i.e., springing out of a saddle or into battle), it is also conventional for knights’ blows to be so violent that sparks fly from their weapons. See, for example, Lybeaus Desconus (Lambeth Palace, MS 306), ed. Salisbury and Weldon, lines 1176–78 and 1980–82. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Green Knight’s horse famously strikes sparks with its hooves exiting King Arthur’s court (ed. Winny, line 459).

1449 hethen hounde. The phrase commonly appears in Middle English romances as a term of abuse to describe Saracens. See MED hound (n.), sense 2b, which also notes the use of “cristen hound — said in disparagement by an infidel.” The phrase reappears at lines 1644 and 2278. Otuel calls Roland “worse than ony hounde” at line 467, and Clarel imagines himself being called a “hounde” at line 1496. Compare, too, the notes to lines 272 and 1146 above.

1459–85 He smote hym . . . . syttyth alle onmys. Compare Otinel, lines 1445–56.

1463 That men myght sen hys tethe. Compare the note to line 1146 above.

1464 lewed and lered. This phrase literally means “the uneducated and the learned,” but it can be used more generally to mean “people of all types.”

1615 The Fillingham manuscript lacks several folios after this line at the base of fol. 57v. If seven leaves are missing, as O’Sullivan suggests (Firumbras and Otuel and Roland, p. xliv), that would constitute a gap of over 400 lines, but comparison to other versions of the story suggests that three to five leaves (approximately 186 to 310 lines) are missing (see also O’Sullivan, p. xiv). The corresponding passages in Otinel (approximately 302 lines), in OK (approximately 250 lines), and in DR (approximately 190 lines) suggest that, on the absent folios, the poet recounted some of the following episodes: one-on-one combats featuring Roland (killing a Turk), Oliver, and Otinel; more melees between Christians and Saracens; a conversation between Garcy and a Saracen about their losses; a moment when Otinel, Roland, and Oliver join together to rout the Saracens; Charlemagne’s pleasure at watching the Saracens flee; and a few lines of transition to Ogier as he is about to escape from captivity.

1616–36 And threw . . . . doughty knyght. In the penultimate scene of the Otuel section of the romance, just before the capture of King Garcy, Ogier the Dane breaks out of prison and rejoins his comrades. In this version, which lacks the opening lines of the scene due to missing folios, Ogier throws guards over the castle wall, breaks his chains, finds his horse and armor, and shouts a gracious farewell to Enfamy. For alternate scenarios, see Otinel, lines 1836–69; OK, lines 1629–78; and DR, lines 1543–60.

1646–81 To the Turkeyes . . . . trumpes and daunsyng. Compare Otinel, lines 1873–1901.

1682–93 The Erchebyschop . . . . Y yow telle may. On the different endings among the French and Middle English accounts of Otuel/Otinel, see the explanatory note to Otinel, lines 1899–904.

1694–978 Here bygynneth . . . . ther agayn. Fitt 7 recounts two episodes that appear in neither Otinel nor the Song of Roland, one in which Charlemagne fights against Ebrayn, a strong Saracen king (lines 1700–1858), the second in which he fights against the king of Navarre (lines 1859–1921). A large red initial at line 1859 marks the beginning of the second episode. As a result of the two battles, Charlemagne takes control of Spain and Galicia.

1700–858 Afftyr Garcy . . . . joye and solempnité. King Ebrayn has brought a Saracen army to Cordoba, where they are joined by Germans escaped from the battle against Garcy. Charlemagne travels to Cordoba, kills Ebrayn in single combat, takes Cordoba, and converts the city’s inhabitants.

1716–20 Syxty thousand . . . . all to be. Ebrayn’s army is said to number sixty thousand Saracens, but since Charlemagne is said to have only sixty thousand men to fight against “hem all,” the first number may reflect a scribal error.

1859 Welle. The large red initial W of this word opens this line, indicating a secondary transition (not a fitt division). See the note to lines 1694–1978 above, and the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 23.

1859–921 Welle sone . . . . kynnes nede. This passage presents a moral lesson that no man may escape his preordained death. On learning that the king of Navarre has begun a campaign of pillage and burning, Charlemagne comes to fight. Before the battle, he beseeches Jesus and Mary that each warrior who is fated to die be marked with a red cross on his shoulder. When, on the morning of the battle, he sees a thousand men so marked, he commands them to stay behind. After he has defeated the king of Navarre, Charlemagne returns to camp to find that the marked knights are dead.

1866 Mount Gardyn. A unidentified place-name.

1929 yfeffyd. Charlemagne has enfeoffed each man who helped him in battle; they are now his honored vassals, bound to fight for him when he requires it, and rewarded for their service.

1941 Jercos. It is unknown who the “Jercos” are. Based on the passage, they are inhabitants of a place in Spain to whom Charlemagne rewards the castle Tandylyf.

1979–2790 Here bygynnyth . . . . wythoute bale. The retelling of the Song of Roland in Fitts 8 and 9 is unique to the Fillingham manuscript. Fitt 8 (lines 1979–2586) recounts the Battle at Roncevaux in which Roland dies while leading Charlemagne’s rearguard against a vastly larger Saracen army. For another retelling in English, see the Middle English Song of Roland (Fragment of the Song of Roland, ed. Herrtage) and the discussion in the General Introduction, pp. 12–13.

1981–2016 Now lete . . . . cité of Pampulon. These lines are also found (with slight variations in wording) in RV, lines 425–60. The overlap contributed to the now-discarded “Charlemagne and Roland” theory of a lost romance. See the discussion in the General Introduction, pp. 7–8.

1982–90 speke we of Charles . . . . red of face. On the description of Charlemagne, borrowed in part from Einhard’s Life of Charlemagne, p. 34, see the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 9. On his gigantic size, compare the explanatory note to RV, lines 474–83.

2017–28 Twey Sarsins . . . . here tyme se. In this section of OR, Charlemagne and Roland’s opponents are two Saracen rulers from Persia — Mansour and his brother Beligans — who have been sent to Pamplona by the sultan of Babylon to harass Charlemagne. In the first part of the Song of Roland (lines 1–2608), Charlemagne and Roland’s foe is Marsile, Saracen king of Spain. His overlord Baligant, the aged emir of Babylon, is not mentioned until line 2614 of the Song of Roland, after Marsile’s armies have been defeated.

2023 Mansour. The name Mansour means “the one who is victorious.” Al-Mansur (Abu Ja’far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur) ruled from 754 to 775 over the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258, the second of the two great Muslim caliphates). Al-Mansur moved the Abbasid capital city from Syria to Iraq, where he found the city of Baghdad in 762–63. The Abbasid dynasty fell to the Mongol Hulagu Khan (a grandson of Ghengis Khan) who conquered Baghdad in 1258. Regardless of whether the OR poet knew any of this, he clearly associated the name Mansour with a Muslim military leader.

2029–97 Charlys bythought . . . . beyt suche. In the Song of Roland, Gwynes (Ganelon) was Charlemagne’s brother-in-law and Roland’s uncle. He is also, famously, one of the great traitors of Western European literary history. Dante places Ganelon among the traitors to country, who lie eternally in Cocytus, the frozen lake at the very bottom of Hell (Inferno, ed. Sinclair, 32.122). For the classic account of Ganelon’s treason, see the Song of Roland, lines 10–702. The lines in OR offer an abbreviated rendition of how Ganelon joins with the Saracens to plot Roland’s death.

2082 whyt a flour. Proverbial. See Whiting F308.

2096 Judas. Judas is the disciple who betrays Jesus, hence a common model for traitors. See, for example, Matthew 26:14–25.

2098–106 Charlys grethed . . . . forto lede. On the assignment of Roland, Oliver, and the other dussepers to lead the rearguard during Charlemagne’s passage through the Pyrenees Mountains, see the Song of Roland, lines 737–825.

2114 Turpyn. Here, Turpin stays with Charlemagne, whereas in the Song of Roland the warrior-archbishop accompanies Roland in the rearguard and plays a major role: when Marsile’s army attacks the rearguard at Roncevaux, Turpin blesses the French warriors, explains why they must fight to martyrdom, comforts the dying Roland, and is himself one of the last three French warriors to die. The OR poet names Turpin as a surviving eyewitness; see the note to lines 40–41 above.

2122–478 Syxty thousand . . . . Y thee say. This 357-line account of the battle at Roncevaux summarizes 1549 lines in the Song of Roland (lines 848–2396). The OR poet’s concern is to convey the general story and a few highlights, not to provide a thorough account of the battle and its political ramifications.

2122–23 Syxty thousand . . . . brought tho. While Mansour here leads a force of 60,000 fighters, Marsile’s army in the Song of Roland numbers 400,000 Saracens. In each text, Roland leads a rearguard of 20,000.

2156 As der that beyth withinne the net. Proverbial. See Whiting D148. See also line 2642.

2164–66 Though Oger . . . . dethys wounde. This account of Ogier the Dane’s death as he fights under Roland’s leadership does not occur in the Song of Roland, where Ogier remains with Charlemagne and eventually leads one of the emperor’s three columns in the battle against Baligant.

2187 develes lemes. In its literal sense, “lemes” usually means “limbs”; here, the Saracens are characterized as limbs of the devil, much as Christians were often characterized as parts of the body of the Christ. See MED lim (n.1), sense 4a; and compare line 2652.

2188–211 A Sarsyn . . . . ys me bynome. This scene in which a blinded and dying Oliver unintentionally strikes his companion Roland is conveyed with great drama in the Song of Roland, lines 1989–2009.

2252–53 hys horn . . . . in hys honde. These two lines show Roland blowing his horn. In the Song of Roland, the act of Roland blowing his horn fills three of the poem’s most poignant laisses (lines 1753–95), and follows two lengthy scenes in which brave Roland and wise Oliver debate whether it is proper for Roland to blow his horn to call back Charlemagne, first when the enemy has been spotted but the battle has not yet begun (lines 1049–1109), later when all but a handful of the French have been killed (lines 1691–1736). See the discussion in the General Introduction, p. 14.

2300 wytherlyngges. “enemies.” See MED witherling (n.), a word derived from Old English wiþer, meaning “hostile, adverse, fierce; contrary, opposite, wrong” (OED wither (adj.), senses A1, A2). Compare MED wither-wine (n.), often used as an epithet for Satan, and wither-iwinne (n.), “adversary.” The word in this form is rare, but it appears twice in OR, here and at line 2649.

2326–49 Tho he bygan . . . . hys thought. On Roland’s address to Durendal and his unsuccessful attempt to break it so as to keep the sword out of Saracen hands, see the Song of Roland, lines 2297–2354. On a local legend that Durendal survives, and is now embedded in a wall in a chapel in Rocamadour, France, see the note to line 183 above.

2356 the temple and hys vayne. Roland blows his horn so loudly that his temples burst. This scene is one of the most famous moments in the Song of Roland (lines 1753–95, especially 1761–64). See the note to lines 2252–53 above.

2377 Rowlond. The large red initial R of this word opens this mid-stanza line. It marks a major moment in OR: Roland’s death scene. See the discussion of the initials in the General Introduction, p. 23.

2425–42 Jhesu that syttyth . . . . for the stedfastnesse. For an alternate account of Roland’s final prayer, see the Song of Roland, lines 2369–72 and 2384–88.

2446–57 Ayngelys . . . . Roulondys soule bare. Here Roland’s soul is carried to paradise by sixty-seven angels, under the leadership of the angels Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. In the Song of Roland, Roland’s soul is borne to paradise by just three angels: his “angel Cherubin,” Saint Michael of the Peril, and Saint Gabriel (lines 2390–96).

2503–38 With dwele . . . . Godys knyght. On Charlemagne’s grief at seeing the bodies of Roland and the dead French soldiers, see the Song of Roland, lines 2398–2414 and 2855–2944.

2527–38 Sampson . . . . Godys knyght. In praising Roland, Charlemagne makes comparison to three biblical figures. Samson was renowned for his strength (Judges 13–16); David (to whom Charlemagne compares himself) was famous for his grief upon the death of his son Absalom (2 Kings 18:33); Judas Maccabeus fought successfully against the Seleucid empire that had been occupying Israel (1 Maccabees 3–9). Medieval thought imagined Nine Worthies who represented the most valiant men of the Pagan, Judaic, and Christian eras. David and Judas Maccabeus were two of the Three Jewish Worthies, and Charlemagne one of the Three Christian Worthies.

2543 There nys no bote of mannys deth. Proverbial. See Whiting D78.

2584 Goddys mounde. The reference is to Calvary, the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. See Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; Luke 23:33; and John 19:17.

2587–664 Here bygynnyth . . . . uppon the grounde. Fitt 9 tells of Charlemagne’s battle against Belyngas (the sultan of Persia) and Perigon (the sultan of Babylon). Otinel slays Perigon, while Turpin and Charlemagne join to kill Belyngas. The brief encounter bears little resemblance to the second battle in the Song of Roland (lines 2974–3647), wherein Charlemagne’s forces defeat a mighty multinational army brought to Spain by Baligant (the emir of Babylon). When Charlemagne and Baligant meet in single combat, the emir staggers Charlemagne with a weighty blow. The emperor recovers and kills Baligant after the angel Saint Gabriel asks Charlemagne, very simply, what he is doing (line 3611).

2594 Sadrak. An unidentified river-name, said to be two miles from Zaragoza. The river that flows through Zaragoza is the Ebro.

2605 Too thowsand of Percyans. Here, the OR poet counts two thousand Persians, while line 2614 reads “Two hundred of Percy.” One line would seem to be in error.

2606 Affricans. The references to Africans and Persians reflect the inclusion among the Saracen armies of people of color from distant lands, further emphasizing the Otherness of the enemies of Christendom.

2649 wytherlynges. See the note to line 2300 above.

2652 fyndes lemes. See the note to line 2187 above.

2668 mowntans. Not to be confused with “mountain,” MED mountaunce (n.), sense 1b means a “length of time.”

2680–754 Forsothe . . . . muche myssaunter. After Turpin and Turry accuse Ganelon of treason and Ganelon denies the allegation, Turry defeats him in a brief single combat on the battlefield in which Roland lies dead. Ganelon is then hung and drawn, in a gruesome scene. In the Song of Roland, the judicial combat takes place not at Roncevaux but at Charlemagne’s court in Aix-la-Chapelle, and the episode is long and complicated. Ganelon insists that he is not a traitor against Charlemagne, but has simply avenged himself against Roland, who had shamed him in public. When Ganelon’s mighty kinsmen Pinabel steps forward on his behalf, Charlemagne’s barons are cowed, and the only man willing to stand against him is an inexperienced knight, Thierry. Thierry’s victory over the much stronger Pinabel carries political significance: not only is Ganelon drawn and quartered as befits a traitor, but thirty kinsmen who had supported him are hung. On the trial and punishment of Ganelon, see the Song of Roland, lines 3735–3974.

2688 withclepyth. “accuses.” See MED withclepen (v.), sense c, which cites this line.

2693 Thowe lyxt. “You lie.” Lyxt (“liest”) is the second-person present tense of MED lien (v.2), sense 2a.

2759 murre and baune. The fragrant ointments with which Roland’s body is anointed are reminiscent of the exotic “spices, and balm, and myrrh” carried by the Ismaelite merchants to whom Joseph is sold by his brothers (Genesis 37:25); and also of the “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” brought by the Magi as gifts to the newborn Jesus (Matthew 2:11).

2785–90 Here endeth . . . . wythoute bale. The closing stanza unites the two parts of OR by naming Otuel, Roland, Oliver, and the twelve peers, and praying that Jesus may bring them and ourselves (the readers) to bliss.

Explicit Amen quod J. Gage. The explicit has been interpreted as the scribe’s (not the poet’s) signature. The final word is smudged, but in the British Library Catalogue “Explore Archives and Manuscripts” description of the Fillingham manuscript it is read as “Gage” (“Additional MS 37492”), viewable at (search term “Additional MS 37492”). See also O’Sullivan, Firumbras and Otuel and Roland, p. 146.








ABBREVIATIONS: MS: London, British Library MS Additional 37492 (Fillingham), fols. 30v–76r; O: Otuel and Roland, ed. O’Sullivan, in Firumbras and Otuel and Roland, pp. 59–146.

2 worchyp. So MS. O: worchype.

8 Ellipses have been added because the rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. There is no break in the MS.

11 do. So MS. O: tho.

16 Rowlond. So MS. O: Rowland.

19 Emon. So MS. O: Emoun.

24 Albene. So MS. O: awbane.

28 O inserts a blank line here though no line is missing in the manuscript.

30 dere. So MS. O: der.

42 syght. So MS. O: fyȝt.

66 Charlyon. So MS. O: Charlyoun.

69 renon. So MS. O: renoun.

81 tylle. So O. MS: stylle.

92 Ere. So MS. O: Or.

116 grylle. So MS. O: yvylle.

121 Mahon. So MS. O: Mahoun.

122 Platon. So MS. O: Platoun.

123 fayn. So MS. O: fayne.

125 thay. So MS. O: day.

129 lastyd. So MS. O: lastyth.

139 Charlyon. So MS. O: Charlyoun.

140 Mahon. So MS. O: Mahoun.

152 Has don. So MS. O: Don.

172 wordy. So MS. O: worthy.

176 thede. So MS. O: dede.

195 O inserts a blank line here though no line is missing in the manuscript.

207 Mahon. So MS. O: Mahoun.

213 Mahon. So MS. O: Mahoun.

215 deme. MS: dene. O: thone.

222 comaunded. So MS. O: commaunded.

228 syght. MS, O: fyȝt.

252–69 Folio in MS is torn, which has corrupted the text.

293 Tha. So MS. O: That.

311 schon. So MS. O: schone.

333 sayth sure the bok. MS, O: sayth the bok sure.

367 The. So MS. O: tho.

370 The. So MS. O: tho.

383 fettyn. So MS. O: settyn.

384 fayle. MS, O: fable. Emended for rhyme.

400 heued. So O. MS: houed.

419 foo. So MS. O: foe.

455 foeld. So MS. O: feeld.

465 sede. So MS. O: dede.

486 thonkyth. So MS. O: thonkyd.

497 Dronke. So MS. O: Drouke.

506 do. So MS. O: tho.

507 lyght. So MS. O: hyȝt.

509 cristen. So MS. O: cristene.

532 Efte. So MS. O: Erste.

553 holme. So MS. O: helme.

559 Rouland. So MS. O: Roulond.

560 Sarisin. So MS. O: sarsin.

576 fyght. So O. MS: syȝt.

580 drewe. So MS. O: threwe.

610 an answere. So MS. O: andswere.

615 woman. So MS. O: womman.

624 yslowe. So MS. O: y-slawe.

640 Charles. So MS. O: Charlys.

646 the1. So MS. O: tho.

676 thay. So MS. O: day.

686 Two ferdales. So MS. O: To Vergels.

697 sojourned. MS: sorourned. O: soiourned.

706 goode wede. So O. MS: wys, struck through, is placed between goode and wede.

714 hedynesse. So MS. O: hethynesse.

763 Askeward. So O. MS: Asterward.

781 Denys. So MS. O: danys.

794 cours to. So MS. O: cours he to.

796 The schaft was strong and the heued brod. In MS and O, this line is broken into two lines between strong and and. Metrically, it should be a single line, so I have combined it.

801 Non. So MS. O: No.

803 yet. MS, O: ȝyt.

822 overdrew. So MS. O: over threw.

843 Smertilyche. So MS. O: Smertelyche.

856 do. So MS. O: tho.

871 yendyrward. So MS. O: ȝenderware.

875 ower. So MS. O: ewer.

880 tabeures. So MS. O: taboures.

881 chynoures. So MS. O: chymours.

882 afryght. MS, O: aflyght.

891 Assaylethen. So MS. O: Assayleden.
elthe. So MS. O: elde.

913 de. So O. MS: and.

928 do. So MS. O: tho.

976 de. So MS. O: the.

980 hys. So MS. O: his.

982 wroth. MS, O: vroth.

1001 had. So MS. O: hath.

1015 do. So MS. O: tho.

1033 do. So MS. O: tho.

1052 hys1, 2. So MS. O: ys1, 2.

1060 Olyver. So MS. O: Olyuere.

1061 everchon. So MS. O: euerchone.

1065 hedyn. So MS. O: hethyn.

1068 Yet. MS, O: ȝyt.

1070 fone. So MS. O: sone.

1073 enthyng. So MS. O: endyng.

1084 overdrew. So MS. over threw.

1087 Langares. So MS. O: langars.

1130 rwed. So MS. O: rived.

1164 thynketh. So MS. O: thynkyth.

1176 God. So MS. O: good.

1177 Otul. So MS. O: Otuel.

1219 hem. So MS. O: hym.

1232 warlok. MS, O: garlok.

1237 fettan. So MS. O: fetton.

1246 Twe hethe. So MS. O: Two of þe.

1252 That. So MS. O: Than.

1266 launce. So O. MS: saunce.

1272 of myschaunce. So MS. O: of my myschaunce.

1283 dretest. So MS. O: thretest.

1290 hedynesse. So MS. O: hethynesse.

1294 dare. So MS. O: þare.

1311 to. So MS. O: he.

1337 drydde. So MS. O: þrydde.

1339 Eve. So MS. O: ous.

1347 low. MS, O: lew.

1360 Syr. So MS. O: Syre.
over. So MS. O: on.

1411 stete. So MS. O: stede.

1420 sought. So MS. O: fouȝt.

1432 helmes hauberk. So MS. O: helmes and hauberk.

1462 wytnessed. So MS. O: wytnesseth.

1475 had. So MS. O: hath.
yschave. MS: extra minim struck out.

1486 ne2. So MS. O: the.

1501 Ellipses have been added because the rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. There is no break in the MS.

1508 haberjon. So MS. O: haberioun.

1511 thee. So O. MS: tho.
syde. So MS. O: sythe.

1529 thonkyth. So MS. O: thonkyd
day. So MS. O: thay.

1537 had. So MS. O: hath.

1546 doume. So MS. O: domne.

1564 ycristeneth. So MS. O: ycristened.

1590 eld. So MS. O: old.

1597 barones. So MS. O: borones.

1598 Lorthynges. So MS. O: lordynges.

1609 fer. So MS. O: for.

1615 pryketh. So MS. O: prykyng.
beforn. So MS. O: before.

1615–16 An unknown number of folios are missing.

1648 blode. So O. MS: blede.

1678 enthyng. So MS. O: endyng.

1698 Alle. So MS. O: All.

1702 the. So O. MS: the the.

1714 neghhode. So MS. O: neȝhede.

1734 swyde. So MS. O: swythe.

1750 that. So MS. O: thay.

1783 wyss. So MS. O: wysser.

1803 banerer. So MS. O: banere.

1809 Charlys by. So MS. O: Charlys swore by.

1823 tho. So MS. O: thon.

1849 Ellipses have been added because the rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. There is no break in the MS.

1868 othyr. So MS. O: othyyr.

1874 He sende. So MS. O inserts that at the start of the line.

1893 de. So MS. O: ded.

1925 hys saum fayle. So MS. O: hys barownes saumfayle.

1928 And was. So MS. O: And hyt was.

1939 parteth. So MS. O: parted.

1955 stabeleth. So MS. O: stabeled.

1967 Yver. So MS. O: yuner.

1968 comaund. So MS. O: comaunded.

2010 Of knyghtes grete. So MS. O: knyȝtes off grete.

2026 dwelleth. So MS. O: dwelled.

2057 Bathe. So MS. O: Bothe.

2082 a. So MS. O: as.

2108 bodyes. So O. MS: bedyes.

2138 peces. So MS. O: peses.

2153 fyn. So MS. O: fyne.

2174 also. So MS. O: al to.

2176 do. So MS. O: tho.

2192 bode. So MS. O: bothe.

2194 blynth. So MS. O: blynd.

2196 leythen. So MS. O: leyde.

2197 evermore. So O. MS: neuer more.

2198 brod. So O. MS: bred.

2210 whom. So MS. O: when.

2212 bode. So MS. O: bothe.

2218 Ellipses have been added because the rhyme scheme indicates that a line is missing. There is no break in the MS.

2231 fer. So MS. O: ser.

2233 yhongeth. So MS. O: y-honged.

2241 drydde. So MS. O: thrydde.

2242 gooth. So MS. O: good.

2245 resteth. So MS. O: rested.

2247 of hys. So MS. O: wythys.

2249 hem. So MS. O: hym.

2252 schylle. So MS. O: schrylle.

2255 yslowe. So MS. O: yflowe.

2265 Sey. So MS. O: bey.

2295 theleth. So MS. O: deled.

2310 that. So MS. O: than.

2345 graveth. So MS. O: graued.

2367 dare. So MS. O: thare.

2407 Deth. So MS. O: Ded.
sayd. So MS. O: sayth.

2410 com. So MS. O: cam.

2423 Loketh. So MS. O: loked.
hene. So MS. O: heuene.

2430 there. So MS. O: dere.

2464 hym. So MS. O: hem.

2486 Angls. So MS. O: Angels.

2557 ther. So O. MS: word obscured by a blot of ink.

2558 waketh. So MS. O: waked.

2561 lyght. MS: lyȝt. O: hyȝt.

2596 Saragon. So MS. O: Saragone.

2612 do. So MS. O: tho.

2613 had. So MS. O: hath.

2647 Of. So MS. O: Off.

2649 Of. So MS. O: Off.

2655 Suffreth dere. So MS. O: Suffred there.

2662 thay. So MS. O: they.

2674 do. So MS. O: tho.
blyde. So MS. O: blythe.

2675 thonketh. So MS. O: thonked.

2676 hath. So MS. O: had.

2681 had. So MS. O: hath.

2682 had ryght. So MS. O: hath dyõt.

2688 withclepyth. So MS. O: with-clepyd.

2700 Byhonged. So MS. O: Be honged.
trawe. So MS. O: drawe.

2713 schylde. So O. MS: chylde.

2760 othour. So MS. O: odour.

2771 everychon. So MS. O: everychone.

2778 were. So MS. O: they were.








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Fitt 1

Herkenyth, lordynges, and gevyth lyst,
In the worchyp of Jhesu Cryst,
             Of a conquerour
That was yhote Sir Charlemayn,
Howe he wan Galys of Spayne
             With ful grete honour,
And how that he overcam
             With full grete vygour,
And howe Rowland and othyr knytys to
Ageyn four knytys foughtyn do,
             And ever was a grete warryour.

And the Kyng Ebryan
Helde werre ageynes ham,
             And greved hem ful sore;
And howe Rowlond slowe Vernagu
Thorugh the myght of Jhesu,
             That leved in false lore;
And the caytyf Emon
Helde werre agens Charlyon
             Thrytty wyntyr and more,
And magre hym and al hys
Thorugh the myght of Jhesu
             In the Mount Albene thay wore.

And ther Rouland the gode knyght
Overcom Otuell in fyght —
             Nowe ye schulle yhuyre —
And was cristenyd withoute fayle,
And helpe Charles in many a batayle,
             And was hym lef and dere.

And all the dussyperys with hym,
Bothe Gwynes and Sir Turpyn,
             That was stoute in fyght;
And howe Charles aftyr than
All hys fomen overcam
             Thorowe the grace of God Almyght;
With swerdys dynt, withouten les,
Hys lond he held in grythe and pes,
             Withoute warre and fyght.
The Ercheboschope Syr Turpyn
Alle those dedys wrote in Latyn
             Whiles he hem saugh in syght.
Of Charles that was so grym,
Nowe y wolle begynne of hym
             To tell you aryght.

Nought longe theraftyr yt was,
That ther byfel a wondyr cas
             On Chyldermasse Day.
Charlys, thorugh Goddys grace,
Out of Parys toke the pas
             To Seynd-Denys, the ryght way.
Hys dussypers with hym he ladde,
And other men, also goode and sadde,
             And knytys stoute and gay.
Thenne came there a messynger
That was bothe stout and fer,
             And made grete deray.

Syr Otuell he hyght,
A man of moche myght,
             To batayll he was boun.
To hym he clepyd a knyght
That was curteys and wyght,
             Gawter of Amoun,
And sayd, “Syr, Y thee beseke
That thou woldyst me teche
             To Kyng Charlyon,
And to Roulond hys nevewe
That hath many a vertu
             And grete of renon.”
And tho Gawter answered,
And sayde, “He with the hore berde,
             That ys Charlyon.

And the dussipers that sitten hym next,
Tho arne the twelf that thou syxt,
             Curteysly, withoute lesyng.”
Otuel yede the kyng nere
And hym myssayde, as ye now here,
             And bade hym sytte stylle
And sayde, “Y am Garcies messanger —
In alle thys world nys hys peer.
             He hath me sent thee tylle.
The wylde fyre, that ys so sterne,
Thyn hore lokkys there schulle berne
             For thyn dedes ylle.
And Roulond that Y be thee se,
And alle tho that be wyght thee,
             Yut Y hope to spylle.”

Roulond sayde, “Do nought ylle,
But thou haddyst eny skylle,
             To none that ys hereinne.
But yf thou haddyst spylt
Ere eny thyng more mysgylt,
             Harm schal tou none wynne.”
Charlemayn the conquerour
Comaunde to every dussiper,
             What tale that he bygynne,
That no man leye on hym none hond
To to the messanger no schond —
             Hys wyt hys ful thynne.

“Ye, Charles, ne care thou nought therefore —
That ylke man nys nought ybore
             That durst me abyde.
Though he hadde my deth yswore,
Al hys oth schulde be forlore
             Whylys that Y have by my syde
Cursins my goode swerde,
Wherwith Y was fyrst gerde
             Of Kyng Garcy with pride.”
Roulond sayde, “Styfly thou standyst
And ful yelpe wel thou canst,
             And wel canst chyde.
Yf thou wylt thyn erande bede,
Tel on and wende hom in thy nede —
             No lenger that thou ne abyde!”

Tho were the Frenche stylle,
And Otuel gan to carpe grylle
             To Syre Charlemayn,
And sayde, “Garcy sent me thee tylle,
And sayde that he wyl thy body spylle
             For the wynnyng of Spayne.
Byleve on hys god Mahon,
Jubiter, and Syre Platon,
             Thou mayst be ful fayn.”
Charles sayde, “So mote Y thee,
That ylke thay schal thou never se,
             I telle thee for certayn,

That Y schal byleve on Termagaunt,
Ne on mametrye that yow by stant,
             Whyle me lastyd my lyf.
But by the Kyng in Trinité,
Al so sone as Y may Garcé se,
             Out of londe Y schal hym dryve.”
“Ye, so thynketh me,” quod Otuel,
“The Frenche konne yelpe wel —
             Ful evyl mote they thryve!
Faynte men thay gonne agaste,
And of here dedys thay best unwraste,
             Suche maystrye to kythe.”

Tho sayde Syre Charlyon,
“Sarsin, so helpe thee Mahon,
             Wyl Garcye with me fyght?”
“Ye, Syre,” he sayde, “By my croune,
Alle the Frenche to fylle adoun,
             Be thay never so wyght.
I wote he haght redy thare
An houndred thousand men and mare,
             By day and be nyght;
For nothyng wel he flen,
Though he wyste yslaw to ben,
             For no maner syght.

And yut hath my Lord Garcy
Has don arered in Lumbardy
             A burgh that ys ryche,
Ful wel hyt ys walled uyterly.
The bourgh hys hote Utaly —
             There nys none so ryche!
Two wateres rennen there abowte
That hym bytrenten, san doute,
             With many a dep dyche.
Yf thow wylt, Charles, undyrfare,
Men schulle se thy sydes bare
             With many a sory tyche.

Thow olde cherl,” Otuel sayde,
“Come nought there, Y thee rede,
             But go and make a flyng
To throwe aboute in ferhede
Pies and crowes to don to deth,
             And other foules, olde and yong!
For age ys stolen thee uppon,
And thy lyf dayes beght ny don,
             And don hys alle thy werryng.
Thou nart nought wordy at nede
Ageynes a knyght to prike a stede,
             And thynne arn al yong.”

“Schrew Sarsin,” Roulond sayde,
“Were thow al so doughty in thede
             As tou nowe seist with worde,
Alle thys lond in lengthe and brede
Myght have of thy body drede,
             Withouten speres orde.
And thou unto Lumbardy fare,
And Y may mete thee there
             With Dorundale my brond,
I schall wyte howe hyt can byte
For thy wordys and thy dyspyte,
             By Jhesu Crist my Lorde.”

“Ye,” sayd Otuel, and lowe,
“The brydde that syttyth on the bowe,
             For drede of thee fle he wyl fonde,
And Y schall wete wel ynowe
Why thou makyst hyt sa towe
             Yf thou wylt come to honde.
The wylde best in the fryth
Ther ne may no man make hys gryth
             Where thou hom fynde in londe.

Yf thou wylt with me fyght,
Do arme thee anoneryght
             And go we pley in same.
Y am redy, syker Y thee plyght,
Have Y helme and hauberk bryght
             To layke with thee a game.
Men schull wyte be lyte
Wetheres swerde can bettyr byte,
             And that ys levest to grame,
Wethyr swyrd bettyr byte schall,
Of Cursins and of Dorundale,
             By Mahon swete name!”

Rouland sayd, “Y wyl thee nought spare,
And Y wyst to fynde thee thare,
             Forthe with thee wolde Y fyght.”
And Otuel sayd, “Have thou no care,
Into a medowe we schull fare,
             By Mahon ful of myght!
And wethur of us hym withdrawe,
Men schull deme the ryght sawe
             Longe er hyt be nyght.”
And Rouland sayd with wordys bolde,
“That ilke covenaunt Y schall holde
             Thorugh grace of God Almyght.”

Gauter of Amoun and Oger,
And Olyver and hys fadyr Reyner,
             Charles comaunded in fere,
And hys chamberleyn Reyner,
And yfynde the messanger
             All that nede were.

Fitt 2

Here bygynnyth a batayle snelle
Of Rowland and of Otuel,
             That wondyrlyche was in syght,
And howe Otuel ycristened was.
Herkenyth nowe a mery pas
             And of a stronge fyght!

Amorwe er it were daylyght
And er the sonne schon bryght,
             Charles to chyrche yede,
To byseche God Almyght
For Roulond that noble knyght,
             To helpe hym at nede,
With alle the dussypers,
And the abbot of Seynt-Omeres,
             In ryme as Y rede.
The abbot song the masse
With ful moche mekenesse
             And bad Roulond that God schulde hym spede.

Kyng Charles brought a basyn
With florens of gold fyn,
             And yede to the offryng.
That he wan of a Sarsin
In the lond of Appolyn,
             Withoute eny lesyng,
Charles offrede the basyn al;
And Roulond offred Dorundal,
             ..............n to honouryng,
...n pound of florens, Y undyrstonde.
...Dorundale that good bronde
             ............yn gaf Charles the kyng.

...whenne the masse was don everydel, the Sarsin Otuel
             ...........ay al in hyghyng:
...ys Roulond he ys nought lel!
...trouth nys neveradel!
             ........deth of hys endynge.
......ale yesterday there he stode,
..........................was lete blod,
......................ough so byhyd,
....................chal out be kyd,
             .............nge dwellyng.

................kneled in a schapel
.......................e Sarsin Otuel,
             What bost he gan blowe.
He yede to hym with hert lel,
And sayde, “Dogge, thou lyest by Seynt Mychel,
             And that schal thou ben knowe!
For Y was never pale ne wan,
For Sarsin ne for no man,
             So God my soule owe.”
Tho Charles the conquerour
Comandyd to every dussyper
             To arme Roulond arowe.

The dussypers everychone
Yede to arme Roulond anone,
             Alle withoute fayle.
On hym an haketon thay gonne done
Over hys hauberk, that bryght schon,
             That ryche was of mayle —
And it made, ywys,
That was whylom Denys prentys —
             Of a trewe entayle.
Estre of Langares, that was lel,
Brought hym an helm of steel
             Ful strong to assayle.

The helm was grene as glas
Tha whylome hit aught Galyas,
             And sythe Kyng Barbatyan.
Hym gert in that plas
With Dorundale that good was,
             That he byfore wanne.
Duk Reyner hym brought a schyld,
A fayrer myght have be non in feld,
             And that wel many a man telle can,
With a lyon thereinne raumpande,
That whylome aught a geante
             That was a doughty man.

Tho Olyver hym brought a spere,
As good as any man myght bere
             In feld to batayle;
Kyng, knyght, ere any ryder
Myght it ful wel were,
             Hys enymye to assayle.
The Duk Terry sette anone
The spores that of gold schon,
             Forsothe withoute fayle.

Oger hym brought hys stede,
As good as any man myght lede —
             Hyt was wonne in Hongery.
Hit ne bar never knyght at nede
But he schulde wel spede
             And wynne the maystery.
The sadyl was wel dere-worth,
The beste aboven erthe
             That eny man myght aspeye.
Roulond into the sodel sprong,
And rod hym to Charles the kyng,
             Hys mercy forto crye.

Kyng Charles hef up hys hond
And blessyd hys cosyn Roulond,
             And at hym leve he tok,
And into the medewe he gan ryde.
There ran a water by that syde,
             That was a wel dep brok.
That on Leire ycleped ys,
And that other Some, ywys,
             Also sayth sure the bok.

Anone com Otuel to the kyng,
And bysought hym in hyyng
             That he hym lente armur:
Spere and schyld atte bygynnyng,
Helm, hauberk, and other thyng
             That myght dyntes endure.
Kyng Charles called Belysent,
Hys doughter, so fayre and gent,
             Curtayse, cler, and pure.
“Doughter, tak to the messanger
Into thy chaumber ryght now here,
             And arme hym wel and sure.”

The mayde hym answared with hert lel,
“Y schal hym arme swythe wel,
             As ye han me bede.”
Sche toke Laumbr de Mouble,
And mayde Resonet de Rowenele,
             To fette forthe hys wede.
Sche went to the kynges cheste
And tok armur of the beste
             That eny knyght myght lede,
And gan to arme that hethen knyght,
That in batayle ne in fyght
             Of no man hym ne drede.

Fyrst an haketon of fyn styl,
And an hauberk ywrought ful wel,
             She dude on that knyght.
Mayde Rosynet de Rowenel
An helme brought to Syre Otuel,
             And on hys heued hyt dyghte.
The helme was riche, for the nonys,
Of sylver, gold, and precious stones
             That schone ful bryghtt.
The Belysent hym gyrde
With Cursins hys gode swerde
             That felon was in fyght.

The burde Belysent hym brought
A schylde, no bettyr myght be wrought,
             Forsothe withoute fable.
Hyt was so wel ywrought
That none myght bettyr be thought,
             With thre Sarisins heuedys of sabyl
In syghte of hys schylde, to lede.
Thay broughten to hym Mygades stede
             Out of the kyngys stable;

Anon the stede wyst wel
That hys maystyr Otuel
             Schuld to batayle.
The mayde Rosenet de Rouenel
Thoo spores fettyn hym, good and lel,
             Wythouten ony fayle.
The Sarisin spronge into the sadyl anone,
And priked the stede and let hym gone,
             That was of fayre entayle.
Agen to Belysent he rode;
The mayde stode and abode,
             That was of hye parayle.

“Damysel, gramercy!” sayde Otuel,
“Myn armure ys good and lel,
             By that Y se in syght;
And that schal Rouland fynde wel,
With my swerde yground of stel,
             That Y am a man of myght.”
“Syre Otuel,” quod that mayd smale,
“I rede thee that thou kepe fro Dorundale,
             For Rowland ys a man ful wyght;
And but thou kepe wel thyne heued,
Ellys hyt worthe sone astoned
             Ful longe ere hyt be nyght.

Ac thyke Lorde, that best may,
Fro schame schylde thee today,
             Yf yt be Hys wylle.”
Otuel went forthe hys way
Into the medewe as hyt lay;
             Rowland he thought to spylle.
Kyng Charles the conquerour
Went up into hys toure,
             An gan to crye schrylle:
“Now, lordyngys al!” he sayde,
“Gothe nowe fast oute of the mede,
             That no man come hem tylle!”

And the knyghtes with sperys tho
Smyten her horsys and let hem go,
             As men of moche myght.
In the felde to fyght thay were tho,
For eythyr was other foo —
             That was a sely syght!
The gonne to ryden with grete raundon
Eyther to bere other adown,
             With strengthe and fyght.
The speres were scharp and gode,
And thorugh the schyldes they wode,
             Into here bryny bryght.

Yperced was eyther scheld
That the speres al toschyvered,
             That were so gret and long.
Off here stedys they fellyn adoun,
So dude eyther gomphanon —
             No game was hem among!
Tho sone thay wyste that thay were sounde
And neyther of hem hadden wounde,
             Anone ageyn to hors they sprong;
Ful faste they gonne togedyr smyte
Ful sterne strokys and stryte,
             The fyr therafter outsprong.

“Now,” quod Belysent, “Y am sure
That good and trewe ys Otuels armure;
             The sothe Y se everydele.
To God Y make my prayer,
As He hys Lord and brought ous dere,
             Leve hym to spede wel.”
The knyghtes eft togyder gonne ryde
And foughten as they were wode,
             With good hert and lel;
Duk Roulond with Dorundale,
He gaf strokys many and fele,
             And spared neveradel.

Roulond with Dorundale so fel
A sterne stroke gaf Otuel
             Uppon the helm so schene,
That god and stonys and crystall
Tobrokyn and into the foeld fel,
             To wetyn and nought to wene.
Hys honde he withdrowe, aplyght,
And smote a dynte of muche myght
             That thay myghten it sene.
The hors byfore the knyght
By the schuldrys anoneryght,
             He smote on the grene.

Otuel fyl to grounde
And felt hym hole and sounde,
             And sayd to Rouland in sede,
“Yut am Y hole and sounde,
And thou worse than ony hounde,
             So Mahon me spede!
Thou hast don grete vylonye
Wenne thou sparest my bodye
             And hast slayn my stede.
And er we departe atto,
Y schall do thee moche wo
             And do thy sydes to blede.”

Anon Sir Otuel with hys honde
A strok gaf Sir Roulande,
             A ful styrne dynt of myght.
He forcarfe, Y understande,
A grete pese with hys honde
             Off hys hauberk, ful ryght.
The stede he carf even ato,
Bytwene the schuldrys, anoneryght tho,
             Even into the erthe ryght.
Roulond fel to the grounde,
But he ne hadde no wounde,
             He thonkyth God Almyght.

Tho was Rouland sore agramyd;
Was he never so sore aschamed
             Byfore in no batayle.
Eft they foughten in samen,
Ne was ther no chyldys game,
             So harde gan eythyr othyr assayle.
The medewe quok of her dynt,
The fyr outsprang as spark of flynt,
             Oute of helme, hauberk, and mayle.
Tho Roulond hastylyche anone
Dronke to hym wel good wone
             Of strokys, withouten fayle.

Quod Belysent to the kyng tho,
“Thy batayle worthe sone ydo,
             By that Y se in syght.
The swete worchyth hem to wo,
That here hertys bothe to
             Bene astonyed of fyght.”
Kyng Charles felle don on knees tho,
And an oryson to God he gan do,
             That ys in hevyn lyght,
That He sende pes hem bytwene,
And the Sarisin to be cristen,
             As He ys ful of myght.

Roulond to Otuel tho sayd,
“Sarisin, do by my rede,
             And leve on God Almyght!
And to the kyng Y woll thee lede,
And he woll geve thee to mede
             Hys doughtyr so bryght.
And thou and I and Oliver
Mowen wende togedyr in fere
             Into batayle and into fyght.
Ne schulle we fynde in no londe
None that schall us withstonde,
             Neythyr kyng ne knyght.”

Quod Otuel, “So mote Y thee,
That ne schaltou never se —
             To forsake Mahon,
Ne Tormegaunt that ys so fre,
Ne Jovyn, the goddys thre,
             That beth goddys of grete renown!
By that I have yment
Erst Y schall geve thee a dynt
             With Cursins my fauchon!”
Efte togedyr they smyten, aplyght,
Eythyr of hem was so lyght
             And wode as eny lyon.

Duk Roulond the gode knyght
Smote a dynt of moche myght
             Anone to the paynym.
Therof the Sarisin hadde a syght
And that strok he flye, aplyght,
             That hyt fel bysyde hym.
The hauberk fro the schuldyr bone,
Rouland carf yt down anone —
             That was a stroke ful grym!
“Allas!” he sayde, “unworthy in hape.”
For ther ne fel out no blodys drepe
             Out there at none lym.

The Frenche cryed anonryght,
“Nowe overcome ys thys fyght,
             Thorughe helpe of God and Marye!”
At lyte they knewe that hethyn knyght,
By God that thys world had dyght,
             Ne nothyng of hys felonye.
Roulond on the holme he smote
With Cursins that bytter bote
             A strok with grete envye.
Yf the swerde ne hadde ywenyd,
Rouland hys lyf ther hadde lenyd,
             And Otuel wonne the maystrye.

Tho was Rouland swythe wo
That he ne myght that Sarisin slo
             That was so ful of pryde.
The Sarisin smote efte so
Hys hauberk evene ato,
             Evene alonge by the syde.
The Frenche seyen that all,
And to Jhesu Cryst they gonne calle,
             And alle to God helpe they cryede.
With that ther come a colvyr bryght
That fro hevene tho lyght,
             In that ilke tyde.

The Holy Gost thorugh here alder prayer
Alyght apon that Sarisin there
             Thorugh Goddys holy myght.
Tho sayd the messanger,
“Leve Roulond, come me ner.
             Y have forlorne my fyght.
Mahon and Jovyn Y wyl forsake,
And to Jhesu Crist Y wyl me take
             To bene Hys knyght.”
The Sarisin drewe awey hys bronde,
And so dude Duk Roulond,
             And kust hem anonryght.

And Charles went thyder anone,
And so dud the barons echon
             That weren in that cyté.
Quod Charles, “How ys thys ydon?”
And Rouland sayd to hym anon,
             “Thys Sarisin cristen wyl be,
But thou most sese in hys hond
Belysent, with muche londe,
             Thy doughtyr, fayr and fre.”
Tho sayd Charles the kynge,
“Y am glad of thys tythyng
             That Y hem so schal se.”

To chyrche they went anonryght,
And Turpyn cristened that knyght
             That couthe Goddys lawe.
The kyng toke her by the hond;
“Doughtyr,” he sayd, “to me thou undyrstond
             Nowe a lyte throwe
Thou schalt be weddyd to thys knyght.”
“Syr,” sche sayd, “syker aplyght,
             Therof Y am ful fawe.”
Tho sayd Charles to Sir Otuel,
“Thou schalt have thys damysel
             Ryght as for thyn awe.”

Quod Otuel, “Yf ye love me wel,
Ye ne dur drede neveradel
             Of Garcins grete power.”
The mayde yaf agen an answere,
“Syr,” sche sayd, “Have thou no care,
             By Goddys moder dere,
Y love thee more in hert myn
Thanne Y do my fadyr and al my kyn
             That me to woman bere.”

Syr Otuel to the kyng sayde,
“Thou most lede with thee thys mayde
             Withouten eny vylonye,
With knyghtys gode, doughty in dede,
With schyld, and spere, and many a chylde,
             Ferre into Lumbardye.
Whenne thou hast that londe ynome
And all the Sarisins overcom
             And yslowe Kynge Garcye,
Thenne woll we be spousyd, ywys,
And holde fest with joye and blysse
             In the burugh of Utalye.”

The kyng with hys knyghtys alle
Wenten to Parys into hys halle
             With moche melodye.
He held fest ryche and ryall,
Forsothe, in the kyngys halle,
             With myrthe and mynstrelsye.
At the fourtenyghtys ende,
He asked yf he wolde wende
             Forthe into Lumbardye,
Or ellys byleve styl thare
Tyl the wynter passed were
             And the wethyr were drye.

Kyng Charles of Seynt-Denys
In that same cyté of Parys,
             Somer he ther gan byde.
And whenne the fowlys songon on the rys,
The kyng sent aftyr knyghtys of prys;
             To a mownteyn gan he ryde.
Forsothe, the left the kyng,
And with hym many a gret lordyng,
             With ladyes ful gret in pryde.
Ther was Rowland and Olyver
And Syr Otuel and Oger —
             In hert ys nought to huyde!

Esteryche of Langares and Sir Turpyn,
Archel, Etus, and Syr Geryn,
             Nemes and Sir Reyner,
Tho thay were in the kyngys inne,
They say many a paynym
             Comyng with grete power:
Lemosyns, Bretons, and Lumbardye,
Bayons, Gaskoynes, and Pycardye,
             Of londys bothe ferre and ner;
Provynciales and Almaynes,
That couthen wel fyght on the playnes,
             Of Normans bothe stoute and fere.

Fitt 3

Nowe here bygynnyth a batayle
Ful fel to founde, sam fayle,
             Of thre goode dussypers —
Rowlond, Olyver, and Oger.
Forsothe, yt were knyghtes sam pyr,
             Ypreved in many contrés.

Howe they slowe undyr a forest
Kynges thre that were full prest
             To fyght in mede othyr in felde,
And the furthe kynge they toke,
As hyt ys fownd in the boke,
             And slowen all that with hym helde.

In Averel the thyrdde thay,
Whenne foules synge on the spray,
             Thay wentyn fro Seynt-Denys.
Syre Otuel with muche pryde
Sette Belysent by hys syde
             Uppon a mule a prys.
And sone after thay forlete
The lond that hem thought swete,
             And leftyn Parys.
Forth to Burgoyne the wente,
Two ferdales, verement,
             That Otuellys was, ywys.

And forth they wente into Lumbardye,
To that mount swythe hey
             That men callyn Poyne.
And there the Frensche myghten se
The borwgh that men calle Utalé,
             Bysyde the water of Coyne.
In a mede that grene was
Charles chese a fayre plas
             To telden on hys pavylon.
Sevene dayes he sojourned there,
And over the water he dude rere
             A fayre brygge, withoute assoyne,

That the Frenche men myghten tho
Over that brygge come and go,
             To fleen here enymyes.
Uppon a day it byfylle so,
The Duk Roulond and knyghtes to
             Spokyn wordys unwys;
And armeden hem in goode wede,
And uche of hem tok a gode stede
             That was of gret prys;
Thay bysaughtyn God Almyght
That he schulde hem fynde here fylle of fyght,
             For the love of Sent Denys.

Kynges foure withouten fayle,
Were went out to seche batayle,
             Of hedynesse thay were,
Wel yarmyd, syker sam fayle.
Ye mowe yhere grete mervayle.
             Lordynges, wyl ye now here?
Here names Y wylle that yow wyte,
As in Frensche it ys ywrete,
             Now lesteneth to lere —
Curables and Askeward
And Balsomon strong and hard;
             Clarel was here fere.

The knyghtes seyden as they gonne ryde,
Yf thay myght that tyme abyde
             That thay myght with Roulond mete,
Thay wolde hym make blody syde,
And Olyver that was so ful of pride,
             With grymly woundes and grete.
Tho sayde Clarel that ryche kyng,
“Suche res nyl helpe no thyng,
             Ne no bale vyl it bote.
Ye han herd here byfore,
That Roulond as a knyght ycore,
             Curtays be way or strete.

At wolde my lord Termagaunt,
That Y myght mete with Roulond,
             With hym wolde Y fyght.
Hyt scholde hym rewe, with myn hond,
The doughty eyres of Agelond
             That he slow with unryght.”
The knyghtes undyr the forest were,
And herden the kynges alle there,
             And of hem haddyn a syght.
The place was called Forestent,
That the knyghtes were in went,
             That weren of muche myght.

Roulond to hys felawes sayde,
“Now we have that we bede —
             God ous save hole and sounde —
But we ben doughty in dede
And styf syttyng on stede
             Whenne we hem haven founde.”
He smot hys hors and let hym gon,
And Kyng Clarel sey hym anone,
             By hys lord Mahound,
“Thre knyghtes Cristen Y se!
We beth foure, and thay but thre.
             Go we felle hem to grounde.”

Alle foure knyghtes with muche pride
Smyten here hors and gonne to ryde
             Ageynes the knyghtes kene.
And Askeward, nought to hyde,
He gaf Roulond a wounde wyde
             With a spere that was ful kene,
That thorugh hys schylde yt wode,
And at hys hauberk hyt withstode,
             Wel Y wote, withowtyn wene;
And Rowland thoughth that strok to yelde,
An karfe ato the kyngys schelde,
             Anonryght uppon that grene.

The stroke was scharp that Rouland sprong,
And thorugh the kynges hert hyt stonge
             And thorughoute hys syde.
Kyng Corable so egre smot
With a spere that bytter bote
             Bytwene hauberk and hyde.
Tho was the spere byhynde fast,
The knyght sat the sadyl brast,
             With yre and muche pryde.

Oger Denys hys swerde out brayde,
And to the kynge fast he leyde —
             He couthe ful wel hys craft.
A wownde he made swythe wyde,
The armur fyl down by hys syde,
             The helme conne outbrast.
Balsamon, a kyng unhende,
To Olyver he wolde wende
             And quelle hym with hys craft.
Oliver he smot with hys schelde,
The launce brast in the felde —
             That was a wel gode schaft.

Olyver withouten abode
With that cours to hym rode,
             And in the schylde hym hytte.
The schaft was strong and the heued brod,
And thorugh the kynges body hyt glod,
             And made a wel brod flytte.
Doun he fyl dede to grounde,
Ne was he never afterward sonde,
             Non lenger myght he sytte.
Slaw weren the kynges thre,
But yet nolde nought the ferthe fle,
             So wod he was of wytte.

Hym thought hys hert brast ato
But yf he myght Olyver slo
             Ere he thennes wende.
He smot hys stede and let hym go.
In hys herte hym was ful wo,
             For slawe were al hys kynde.
But Roulond tho bytwyne rode
And the kynges strok he abode,
             He kydde that he was hende.
Ac though the strok weren ful grete,
In the schelde he it sette,
             He nolde no lenger lende.

The schaft was bothe gret and long,
And the kyng was wondyr strong,
             And schof as he wolde awede.
Theren nas no game hem among,
The schaft was styf and nought outsprong
             And overdrew hys stede.
Hors and man of Roulonde ryght
The kyng threw doun, aplyght.
             “Mahoun joye!” he gredde.
That was the maner of the lawe,
Whenne a knyght were overthrowe
             That doughty were of dede.

Kyng Clarel wolde awey have rede,
Ac Oger com by that other syde
             And smot hym with a spere.
Hys hynder arson gan out glyde,
Over the sadyl, it nys nought to hyde,
             There Oger gan hym bere.
Oger tok the kynges stede,
And to Roulond gan hym lede,
             And sayd, “Here ys on thee to bare!
Thys ys an hors good an fyn
And moche bettyr thanne was thyn,
             And with gayer gere!”

Rowland up stert and nought ne lay,
And into the sadyl that was so gay
             Smertilyche gan he sprynge.
Ryght to the place they token the way,
Ther that they fought, sothe to say,
             With Sir Clarell the kyng.
The Duk Roulond and Olyver,
Wyghthly they wente the kyng ner,
             Withouten more dwellyng,
But Kyng Clarel toke that fyght
Agens hem thre with al hys myght,
             Forsothe withoute lesynge.

Tyl hys swerd was brost atto,
No wondyr thowe hym were wo,
             Nedes he most hym yelde.
He bysought Rowlond do,
He schulde hym save from hys fo,
             And from alle harme hym schylde.
That broke swerd hym bytok
The good Rowland, so seyth my boke,
             Ther he yt fonde in felde.
They setten the kyng uppon a stede,
And to Charles they thought hym lede,
             To Mount Paynt that ys teld.

Fitt 4

Nowe here bygynneth a batayle
Of these thre knyghtes, sam fayle,
             That wondyr it ys to telle!
For Cristendom they foughten ful sore
With vi milers and vii sckore
             Off Sarisins stronge and felle.

And as they yendyrward weren,
The sey an host hem byforn
             Of Kyng Garcions knyghtys,
With vi milers and vii skore,
The strengyst Sarisins that ower were;
             Alle they were redy to fyght.
Ther-thorugh thay most hym lede,
Or ellys lese her manhede
             Yf that they flowyn, aplyght.
He herde trumpes and tabeures,
Hornes, chymbys, and chynoures.
             Somdel they were afryght.

The good Oger sayd tho,
“Good hyt ys to lete hym go,
             Clarelle the kene kyng —
Yut he may save ous fro wo;
Among the Sarisins altho
             He ys a grete lordyng.”
Where he wolde, thay lat hym passe.
And these knyghtys with Goddys grace
             Assaylethen bothe elthe and yong.
Roulond made a grysly wounde
In Kyng Bremer, forsothe, that stounde
             That he hadde hys endyng.

Tho Syre Olyver after thanne
Slow a kyng that hyght Blasan,
             That ful strong was in fyght.
Syre Oger, that doughty man,
Slow another that hyght Morgan
             With Cursable so bryght.
And Roulond with Dorundale,
Deled strokes gret and smale —
             Forsothe, there was a semly syght!
Olyver with Haunchecler
Slow many a Sarsin there
             With swerd that schon ful bryght.

Over alle, where these knyghtes rod
There was ymad a way ful brod
             That waynes myghten mete.
For there that Dorundale glod,
There was no Sarsin that abod
             That he ne lese hys swete.
There come Carmele de Taborye
Uppon a stede of Lumbardye,
             And grymlyche gan to grede.
“Fyghteth,” he sayde, “better wone,
Or ellys we beyth dede uchone!
             Who schal ouren bale bete?

Fy, a devlys! How may thys be
That these Crysten knyghtes thre
             Schulle bryng ous alle to grounde?
Ryght ful sone ye schullyn se
Myn owyn hond schal you sle
             Wythin a lytyl stounde.”
He smot Oger on the schylde
That he felle into the fylde
             And in hys body a wounde.
Oger do off hys stede felle,
And the blod of hys body outwelle —
             Such hap he hath there founde!

Tho Roulond that syght sey,
For wrath he was wood wel neyghe
             And priked tho to Carmele.
He smot hym on the helm in hye
That in to the sadyl the swerd fley —
             No leche ne myght hym hele.
Tho come Syre Aufer of Daubery,
The strengest with Garcy,
             He thought with hym to mele.
With hys spere he smot hys schylde,
That the hede at the haubrek feld,
             So myche was that steole.

Tho Roulond worthy on wede,
He dude dere a welle good dede:
             That Sarisin there he slow.
These knyghtes bothe, for certayn,
Ere they wenten out of the playn,
             Fyghtyng they hadde ynowe.
As Olyver sat on hys stede,
Rowlond tho to hym yede,
             “Here bygynneth a sory plawe!”
Therof sayd Olyver, “Thou ne drede!
My strenghthe ys good and nothyng gnede —
             Of hem Y ne yeve nought an hawe!”

Tho thay bothe gonne to ryde,
And slowe adown ucche syde
             Alle that they before hem stode.
Of gode Oger in that tyde,
That blod ranne oute of hys wounde wyde,
             And he syked sore unsounde.
Tho the Sarisins hym throng
With sperys and swyrdys strong,
             And made hym many a wounde.
So fast hys body gan blede
That he forgate hys gode stede —
             Wel wo was hym that stowunde!

With that come ryde an amerel
Bysydes the Kyng Clarel
             That Roulond feld adown;
For Oger savede hym that tyde,
Amonge the Sarisins of muche pryde
             Dude Oger grete renon.
“Come to me!” Clarel seyde,
“Of nothyng ne schaltou drede,
             Ne of no Sarsins treson.
Forsothe, there schal no man de drede
Whyles my body may thee were,
             By my god Mahon.”

The ameraunt sayde, “So mote Y thee,
Thou ne schalt nought hys waraunt be,
             That he ne schal be todrawe.”
The kyng wel wroth tho was he,
He hewed the ameraunt in peces thre,
             And so he hath hym slawe.
“Lo,” he sayde, “Syre Ameral,
Thus men thee teche schall
             To sygge wycked sawe,
Now may Oger Denys
Ever more have pes
             In ernest and eke in plawe.”

He dude knyghtes come hym ner,
And bytok hem Denys Oger
             To hys lemman hym to lede.
Forth they went alle yfere,
And fond that mayde in on erbere,
             And thus to here thay sayde:
“Kyng Clarel, thyn owyn lemman,
Swythe wel thee grete can,
             And for hys love he thee bede
Thou scholdyst kepe thys Cristen knyght.
Today he had wonne in fyght
             Many goode knyghtes in dede.

Twey other and thys knyght
Thys day haveth slaw in fyght
             A thousand of oure mayné.”
Thenne lowe that mayde so bryght,
And sayde to hym anoneryght,
             “Why ne hadde ye brought al thre?”
Tho sayde to here a knyght doughty,
“Good damysel Enfamy,
             Ous ne lyketh syker no gle!
Fyrst mote somer come
Ere thay tweye wyl be ynome,
             And more batayle schal be.”

The damysel do anoneryght
Cleped sevene of here knyght,
             And bytok hem Syre Oger.
Bothe by day and eke by nyght,
Hereself hys woundys gan dyght
             And gaf hym drynkes der.
Sche made hym salves soft,
And as Oger lay in loft
             He feld hym bothe hole and fer.
Whenne he waked, he hadde no wounde,
But felt hys body hole and sounde.
             To God he made hys prayer.

And ever Roulond and Olyver
Ageynes the Sarsins foughte there,
             That were so ful of pryde.
Tho that they sey that Garcy com there
With helm bryght and many spere
             Uppon here ryght syde,
Ful loth hem was to ben ytake do.
They smyten here hors and letten hem go,
             Away gonne thay to ryde.
An houndred Sarsins and wel mo
Faste redyn after tho
             To take hem in that tyde.

* * *

Otuel aspyede wel there
How Oger, Roulond, and Olyver
             Weren out yfare,
And with hem never a dussyper.
Charlys the coquerour
             Therfor was in care.
Otuel let crye thorow the oste,
“In the name of the Holy Gost,
             As armes, lordynges, yare!”
Florys, hys stede, he bestrod,
And Samon by hym rode
             And hys baner bare.

Toward the batayle he gan ryde
With hys knyghtes by hys syde;
             With Roulond he gan mete.
Many a Sarisin in that tyde
Sayden to Roulond, and cryde,
             “Lese thou schalt thy swete!”
Syr Otuel gan to chyde,
And sayde, “Roulond, for thy pryde
             Thy lyfe thou wylt forlete!
What wenes tou and Olyver alone
To sle the Sarysyns everchon,
             And thus to grounde hem bete?

Nay, though thou and Y and Olyver
Hadde ben ther al in fer
             Ageyns the hedyn lawe —
And ek Charles the conquerour,
Though he brought alle hys power —
             Yet schuld they be nought alle slawe.
Ac turne ageyn with me anone,
And venge we ous of Godys fone,
             And gynne we a new plawe.
Ther schulle a thousand, for thys thyng,
Thys day of hem have here enthyng
             Withinne a lytel thrawe.”

A knyght there was swythe fre,
He was cleped Emptybré,
             In the foward of the batayle.
He come dryvyng to Syr Olyvere,
Allemost he com hym to ner,
             Forsothe without fayle.
Olyver with a good spere
Thorugh the hert gan hym bere
             Ryght over at hys hors tayle,
That the Sarisin overdrew —
That the soth men wel knewe,
             That weren at that assayle.

Esterych of Langares, a dussyper,
Slow a Sarysin stoute and fer
             That was of Turkye.
He smot hym thorugh the lyver,
That he ne flycted, fer ne ner.
             “Mahon, help!” he gan crye.
Many an helme was ofwenyde,
And many a bassinet al tocleved
             Of the Sarsin companye.
Many a spere and many a schyld,
Were dryven adown into the feld,
             And many a sadyl made empty.

Olmadas of Aschomoyne
He gaf Charles chamberleyne
             That bar Duk Reyner adoun,
And toke the stede by the reyne
To wynnen at he was ful fayne
             And lepe into the arson.
But Emoleres, a strong knyght,
Hym to sle he dud hys myght
             With hys gode fawchon.
He smote the Sarisin in the schyld,
That helm and heued flye into fylde,
             And wanne hym grete renoun.

Tho come Galyan, that hethen knyght
That erst hadde slayn in fyght
             Many a Crysten man.
He smote Emoleres aplyght,
That to grownde he fyl ryght.
             Hys stede of hym he wan.
Wel nyghe he hadde hym slawe
And brought hym of lyf dawe,
             Ac Sire Artok tho cam
And savyd hym fro vylonye,
That unnethe he myght crye
             That the Sarisins flowen echon.

And as the Sarisins flowyn in that tyde,
The Cristen swed and gan to ryde,
             And tho com Kyng Clarel the kyng,
And slowe by every syde.
Whoso wolde strokys abyde
             Hadde there hys endyng.
He slewe the Emperour of Almayne —
Sore hyt rwed Charlemayne
             That heye lordyng.
Empater ther come byhynde,
A kyng ycome of grete kynde,
             And oute of many a bekeryng.

Syr Bernard of Orlyaunse,
Empater gaf hym myschawnce
             With dynt of dethys wownde.
Among the dussypers of Frawnce,
Empater gaf hym myschaunce,
             And gan to ryde to Otuel in that stounde.
Ac Otuel of hym was ware,
And with Cursins he smote hym thare
             On hys helme that was rownde.
He clef hys heued into the teth,
So that all men wel seth
             He grenned as an hownde.

Syr Otuel tho made alle
The dukes adown falle,
             That he myght hytte aryght.
To Mahon they gonne crye and calle,
To Jovyn and to her goddys all,
             That schulde hem help in fyght.
Tho thay flowyn with a careful crye,
Tyl they com to Kyng Garcy,
             As fast as they ever fle myght.
Duk Rouland and Syr Otuel
And Olyver that was gode and lel
             The Sarisins slowen down ryght.

Fitt 5

Here bygynnyth a batayll felle
Of Kynk Clarell and Otuel,
             And wondurlyche strong;
How they fouten for the lawe,
Lystenyth to my sawe,
             And thynketh nought to long.

Anone Clarel to Otuel sede,
“Sey me, knyght, so God thee spede,
             What that thy name now be?
Thou hast yslaw in length and brede
An c knyghtes of oure ferede,
             Sethe Y fyrst saw thee.
Wel fayn Y wolde thyn name bryng
To Garcy, the ryche kyng
             That ys so fayre and fre.”
“O, thou coward!” sayde Otuel,
Thou oughtest my name know well,
             By God that ys in Trinité,

Forsothe, my name Otul ys;
Thou hast yknowe or thys.
             Now Mahound Y have forsake.
Kyng Charles of Seynt-Denys
Me hath ygeve hys doughter of prys,
             And Crystendom Y have take.”
“O,” quod Clarel the fayre kyng,
“Now Y here a wondour thyng.
             Mahound geve thee wrake
But thou byleve on Jovyn,
Termagaunt, and Appolyn,
             And hem amendys make.”

“Cursed be,” Otuel seyde,
“Mahound and alle hys felawrede —
             Forsothe, thay beyth alle unwrest!
Whoso hem loveth, thay mowe drede;
Of goodnesse here lawe ys gnede,
             And schal be whyle it last.”
Sayde Clarel, “So Mahound thee spede,
Were we yend in that mede,
             We selve to alle prest,
Y wolde thee teche that Appolyn,
Termagaunt, and Jovyn
             Were goddys of the best.”

“Ye,” sayde Otuel the good gome,
“Tomorwe Y wyl thyder come,
             My treuthe Y thee plyght.”
The glove of that kyng he had ynome
Among the knyghtes alle and som,
             With Kyng Clarel to ffyght.
Tho the sonne to rest was gonne,
The kyng yede to bedde anone
             As sone as it was nyght.
On morwe whanne the larke song
And the lyght day it sprong,
             There rose bothe baron and knyght.

Clarel of hys bedde awoke,
And cleped hys knyghtes fotehote,
             Hys wyll to don in dede.
Gamor, Melyn, and Memorok,
None of hem hys heste forsok,
             But duden as he hem bede.
An haketon they duden hem uppon
And an haberjon that bryght schon
             That lyght was forto lete.
And thereon a corset, san fayle —
What man so it bare in batayle,
             What man so it bare in batayle,

Men brought hym an helm bryght
That Barnard the gode knyght
             Was went forto be were.
Thereon an adderes heued, aplyght —
Forsothe, it was a sely syght
             In eche batayle to bere.
And a schyld that was unryde,
Of warlok that sayntes hyde,
             He was a greselyche fere.
Ypaynted it was with Mahoun
Of gold, Jubiter and yk Platon,
             And yche ymad with a spere.

Forth they fettan hym a schaft —
He that it made couthe hys craft;
             Hyt was of a trew tre.
Hys swerd Melyn was hym betaught;
Therwith he hadde heuedes ykaught
             Of kynges, two or thre.
Hys stede forth was fette,
And Kyng Clarel thereon set,
             That semely was to se.
Twe hethe knyghtes also sket
Two spores of gold duden on hys fet,
             And eyther sat on hys kne.

Tho thay fette here god Mahound,
And alle the Sarsins of renoun,
             And settyn hym amyd the toun of Utalye.
That uppon here knees thay seten adown,
With alle the lordys of that toun,
             And also Kyng Garcye.
Thay sayden, “Mahound, we thee byseche,
Today thou be oure alder leche,
             And on Clarel have mercy.
As thou art god ful o muche myght,
That he mowe sle Otuel in fyght,
             That doyth thee so muche vylonye.”

Over that water Clarel gan to ryde,
And tho sey he come, on hys ryght syde,
             Charlys the Kyng of Fraunce.
The dussypers comen that tyde,
And alle here ost with muche pride,
             With schyld, spere, and launce.
“Thou, olde Charlys,” Clarel sayde,
“Swythe long thou hast ous anyede,
             Kyng Garcy with disturbaunce,
And now thyn dayes ben agoon,
And age ys fallyn thee uppon,
             Thou mayst doute of myschaunce.

Old wrecche, what dost thou here?
Thou ne art nought worth, fer ne ner,
             Schaftys forto schake,
Hors to stryde, ne armour to bere,
A kyng to assayle with no spere,
             Crounes forto crake,
Ne emp no sadyl, ne wynne no stede,
Ne do no knyghtes sydes to blede;
             Thyn handys gynnen to quake.
Fy, a devylys, for vylony,
That thou dretest Kyng Garcy
             Suche maystryes to make!”

Tho byspake he that was wys,
Charlys of Sent-Denys,
             To the Kyng Clarel ful ryght,
“Thrytty kynges of prys
Y have yslaw or thys
             In hedynesse with fyght.
Thorugh grace of Almyghty God in Trinité,
Thys day thou schalt on of hem be
             Ful longe ere it be nyght.
Make thee redy, that thou were dare,
For myn olde body schal be yare,
             Thorugh grace of God Almyght!”

Duk Roulond stood the kyng by,
“Mercy, Lord!” he gan to crye,
             “Ne com nought in batayle!
Thou hast knyghtes ful hardy,
Bothe Otuel, Neymes, and Y,
             Kyng Garcy to assayle.
Y wyl fyght with hym, ywys,
That hath sayde to thee amys.
             Hyt ne schal hym nought avayle!”
The dussypers everychon,
Profreden thus anone,
             That weren hye of parayle.

Charlys was swythe wroth,
And to Sent Denys made hys oth
             That to deth he schulde be dyght.
“He schall wete the certayn soth
That he is to Jhesu Crist loth,
             Yff he wylle kythe hys myght.”
Otuel gan to Charles crye,
And sayde, “For the love of Sent Marye,
             So leteth me with hym fyght!
For yesterday in the medes,
For hys falce wordys
             My treuthe Y dude hym plyght.

Y schall yow telle every word,
How it began, ende and ord,
             The stryf betwyn ous to.
He sayde that oure God vas nought worth a tord,
And that he wold prove with dynt of swerd,
             To whom that it wolde do,
And sayde that we were thourgh Hym ylore,
That of a womman was ybore,
             And schent forevermore;
For Hys lesyng and for Hys sawe,
Uppon a cros He was ydrawe.
             Alle thus sayde he me to thare.

Y answered and sayde, ‘Nay,
That He was bore of a may
             To save al menkynde,
And ros, and to helle toke the way,
That byfyl uppon the drydde day,
             And Satan brought in bonde;
And toke therout Eve and Adam,
And all with Hym tho God nam;
             And sythe the Holy Gost sende,
And after Hys rysyng upsty
To Hys Fadyr up an hy.
             Thys we haven in mynde.’

Of my wordys he ne helde no pryse,
And cleped me ‘schrew unwys,’
             And low me to skorne and game.”
Tho sayde Charles of Seynt-Denys,
“Otuel, as tou sayst it ys,
             Go fyght, in Godys name!”
The dussyperes weren alle prest
To arme Otuel of the best;
             Thay spedden al in same.
Duk Roulond an helm fette,
And on hys heued he hyt sette,
             That was withowten blame.

The helm was worth muche thyng;
Hit aught sumtyme an hethen kyng,
             Of Babylone the sawdan.
And Syr Olyver, over hying,
A scharp spere gan hym bryngge,
             In Spayne hymself it wan.
Thenne henged thay aboute hys swyre
A schyld that was ryche and dere,
             That hym gaf hys lemman —
Thre swerdys of sylver bryght,
And thre swerdys with gold ydyght,
             With many a ryche ston.

Men broughten hym a stede broun,
And two spores that were boun;
             On hys helys thay ham dyght.
He lep to hors and nought abode;
Over the water Otwel rod,
             With the grace of God Almyght.
Thanne hym spak Kyng Clarel,
“Artou ycome, Syre Otwel,
             As thou me behyght?
Thou art welcome to batayle,
Thou myghte be fayn, sam fayle,
             Agens suche a kene knyght.

Thou schalt wete, er thou gon,
That thou haddyst beter ben at hom,
             Thanne hedyr come to suche a thyng.
For thou mayst wel wete, withoute fayle,
That Y am ycome of heye parayle,
             And am a gret lordyng.”
“Ye,” quod Otwel, “Though thow be strong,
Alle it is in God long,
             That ys alle-weldyng.
Yut today schulle we that se,
That God ys bettyr in Trinité
             Thanne Mahon and all hys ospryng.”

No lengyr they wolde abyde,
But togedyr thay gonne ryde,
             As folke that weren fone.
With grete sperys and unryde,
So that they bothe fyllen in that tyde,
             Ryght ther to grownd anon;
But up thay sprong, so yt ys wrete,
And aftyr sones togyder thay smyte,
             That men hyt seyon uchon,
The schaftys were stronge and gode,
The knyghtys scheuyn as they were wode,
             Ne was ther no bettyr wone.

Heyr peytrelys broston atwo,
And the gerthys also,
             Her scheldes fellen to grownde,
The knyghtys weren ful wo,
To grounde thay yede bothe two
             In that ilke stownde,
And eythers stete went forthe,
That on sowthe, that othyr north,
             That weren fayre and rownd.
Thanne sayde Roulond to Belysent,
That was the kynges doughtor gent,
             “Here ys a fayre fyght yfownde.”

Sythe he sayd that he was bore,
“Ne sey Y never her byfore
             Suche two men of myghtys.
Though a man sought syxti skore,
Ne schulde he fynde none doughtyer,
             Ne suche othyr to knyghtys.”
Tho sayd Oliver that dussyper,
And the abbot of Seynt-Omer,
             That yt was a fayre fyghtys.
Tho sayd Belysent that may,
“God save Otuell today,
             For Hys moche myghtys!”

The knyghtys eft togedyr yede,
To fyght on fote thay most nede;
             Here stedys weren schent.
Of helmes, hauberk, in lenthe and brede,
The fyr sprange oute as sparcle of glede,
             So stronge was others dynt.
Clarel with hys swerd of stel
So harde strokys he smote to Otuel,
             To sle hym he hadde ment.
Kyng Clarell was nygh wood,
For that Otuel so longe agen hym stode,
             And for harme that he hent.

He hytte hym on the helme an heye,
That golde and stonys adown flye,
             Al off hys helme so rownde.
Though Otuel were of werre sly,
He nas never hys deth so ny, so near death
             He fylle in swowe on the grownd.
Kyng Charles to Jhesu gan speke,
“Lord,” he sayd, “Thou me awreke
             Uppon thys hethen hounde!
And schyld from schame thys Crystyn knyght,
That he be nought slayn in thys fyght,
             In the worchyp of Thy wownde.”

Syr Otuel that gode knyght
Stert up tho anoneryght,
             And was nothyng aferd.
And thought that hys body wolde brest aplyght
But he myght be awreke anoneryght
             With Cursins hys swerde.
He smote hym on the helme anone,
That a quarter of hym away gan gone,
             Bothe hys schelde and hys berde,
Forsothe, the boke wytnessed,
That men myght sen hys tethe,
             Bothe lewed and lered.

Tho lowe Otuel, and sayd,
“Y sawe never, so God me rede,
             Sythe that Y was bore,
Never man in knyghtys wede,
Al so fer as Y have rede,
             A berd so clene yschore!
So God me save and sent savour,
Now ys Cursins a good rasour!
             Hyt were harm that it were lore,
Hyt ys scharp, and that ys sene!
Hyt had yschave thy berd ful clene
             That ther nys laft no more!

Now be thou syker in alle thyng:
Nyl never Garcy the Kyng
             Byleve on thee after thys,
Neyther Enfamé, that fayrer thyng,
Sche nyl namore of thy playyng,
             Ne for no love thee kysse.
Now thy behoveth to grenne,
And to make thee to mowe on menne,
             For thy mouth syttyth alle onmys.
Now ne helpth ne nought thy god Mahound,
Jubiter, ne that breythen Platoun,
             That thou ne art syker of thys.”

Kyng Clarel to hymself sayde,
“Allas, that Y began thys dede
             Ageynes that Cristen knyght!
Though Y sle hym in thys mede,
Alle the world in lengthe and brede,
             Schal me skorne aplyght:
‘None fayrer knyght myght by founde,
And now he grenneth as an hounde,
             Both day and nyght.’
He schall abye, be Appolyn!”
And with hys swerd Melyn
             To deth he wolde hym dyght.

Syr Otuel hys dynt wel sye,
             And kept it on hys schylde;
Kyng Clarel tho fast fly,
And Otuel clef hys targe atouey,
             That halfe fley in the felde,
And thorugh Otuel had be born;
Ne hadde ben hys haberjon,
             Syr Otuel hadde he queld.
Of that strok Clarel was blythe,
And sayd “Yf Y thee hytte anothyr syde,
             Thy lyf hys adoun feld!”

Thanne sayd Otuel, “Y have ment
That myn schal be that other dent,
             As Y am a trewe knyght!
To fyght fast wyl Y nought stent.”
That feer flye out as sparkyl of flynt,
             Out of helm and hauberk bryght.
With Cursins that byttyr bot
To Kyng Clarel he smote,
             Thoroweoute the helme aplyght.
Kyng Clarell fyl tho adown —
Tho men myght se that ys god Mahon
             Was but of lytyl myght!

Syr Otuel namore ne gradde,
And the Sarisins were ful madde
             For Clarel the Kyng.
The dussypers tho forthe Otuel ladde,
And thonkyth God that day hym hadde
             And had overcome that fytyng.
Kyng Garcy and hys knytys
To the temple yede anonryghtys,
             And kneleden, elde and yong;
And cryed on Mahon and Appolyn,
Termagaunt and Jovyn,
             “Why suffur ye all thys thyng,

That Clarel had lore the swete,
So ofte as hym ye hadde hete
             Whenne he wolde bygynne?
And Kyng Charles we schult mete,
And with grysly lawnces hym grete,
             All Cristendom to wynne?
Allthough Y make to thee my mone,
Ye stondyn stylle as ony stone,
             No word nyl ye mynne!
Y wene that ye ben doume and def;
On yow was all my bylef
             More thanne to alle my kynne!

For longe ye have forhete,
Y wene that ye most be bete,
             Howe so it ever byfalle.”
Bothe hym was longe to threte,
He dud fette stonys grete,
             Toforn hym in the halle,
All hys goddys he gaf a cloute,
He gaf hem strokys styf and stoute;
             “Harawe!” they ganne to calle.
He brake bothe legges and swere,
And kest hem bothe into the fere,
             Mahon and hem all.

Fitt 6

Here bygynneth a batayle, sykerly,
Of Charles and of Kyng Garcy,
             That wondyr yt ys to here,
And howe Garcy ycristeneth was.
Herkeneth nowe a mery pas,
             I pray yowe nowe all in fere.

Anone bad Kyng Garcy,
“Lordynges, doth arme you redy,
             And every man redy to fyght!
And thus we schulle bete oure mametrye.
For that thay nolde nought ous socurye,
             Thus we schulle hem dyght.”
There were in the fyrst warde
Syxty thousand stoute and harde,
             With helm and breny bryght,
With pencelys of sykelaton,
Of grene sendal and of broun —
             Ther was a semely syght!

Syxty thousand in thys maner
Come after with brod baner,
             Alle thretyng Charles the Kyng,
And both Otuel and Olyver,
And also eche dussyper,
             And Rouland, hys gode derlyng.
Kyng Charles that was so fre,
Hys ost hath partyd at thre
             Ryght erlyche in the morownyng.
In eche warde there were tho
Syxty thousand and wel mo
             Of knyghtes eld and young.

Ac couthe no man telle the route
Of folk that were goyng abowte,
             Speremen and arblasteres,
Wel yarmed and stoute;
Of the hethen thay hadde no doute,
             Thow they were cruel and fel and fers.
Charles to hys barones sayde,
“Lorthynges, ye mote do by rede,
             Bothe barones, knyghtes, and squyers,
Bowmen, slyngers, withoute fayle,
Holdeth yow in youre batayle,
             With youre gode wynteners.

Charlys the Duk Neymes hym bythought,
In that nede, ne fayle hym nought
             To bere hys gode baner.
And he answerd with word and thought,
“By Hym that hath alle thys world ywrought,
             Y am ful redy now ryght here!”
The trompes bygonne fer to blow
For that the Sarisins schulde knowe
             That the Cristen men were there.
The Sarisins wenten into the feld,
With helm and spere and ek with schyld,
             Of Kyng Garcyons power.

A Torkeyes was pryketh out beforn,
And threw hem over the castyll wal,
And brak hys cheynes to peces alle,
             And outward faste hym drow,
So he dude in that yle,
Thorugh hys queyntys and hys gyle,
             That hym thought game ynow.

Hys good stede sone he fond,
And in hys hond hys good brond,
             And alle hys other gere;
He armed hym, Y undyrstande,
And into the sadyll anone he wond,
             With good schyld and spere.
Oger tho gan to crye,
“Have good day, Dame Enfamye,
             Y wyll dwelle no lenger.
And yf thou, fayre, prayest me,
Tomorwe Y schall speke with thee,
             By Jhesu Crist Y swere!”

Into the ost rod Oger,
And fond Roulond and Olyver,
             With many a doughty knyght.
Thay cleptyn and kyssedyn alle in fer,
And askedyn yf he hole were;
             He sayde, “Ye, anoneryght!
Never sythe that Y was bore,
In alle my lyf here byfore,
             Ne felt Y me so lyght!
Go we blyve into batayle,
The hethen houndes to assayle,
             And sle we hem doun ryght.”

To the Turkeyes thay gonne to ryde,
And leyde hem doun in yche syde,
             Thay schedde here brayn an blode;
There nas none that myght hym hyde,
That thay ne lore in that tyde
             The balles in here hod.
Kyng Garcy thereof tok hede,
And with hys spore he smot hys stede,
             And fley as he were wood.
Syr Otuel that gan aspye,
And gan a country with Kyng Garcy,
             With welle egre mood.

“Yelde, ye traytours!” Otuel gredde,
“Thou lyest, by Hym that for ous bledde!
             Ne bost ne gynne to crake,
Tofore Charles thou schalt be ladde,
And legge thy lyf there to wedde,
             But thou Mahoun forsake.”
Garcy hys stede smot,
And to Otuel he rod,
             Hys spere he gan to schake.
Hys hors stomblyd at a stone,
He felle and brast hys arme anone,
             And Olyver gan hym take.

Thenne bede he Olyver, pur charité,
That he ne schulde hym nought sle;
             Hys hondys began wryngge,
And he wolde cristen be.
And Olyver graunted, that was so fre,
             To court he gan hym bryng.
And kneled tofore Charles and tolde
That he hys londys of hym wolde holde
             Ryght into hys enthyng.
Charlys of hym tok goode hede,
And to Parys he dude hym lede,
             With trumpes and daunsyng.

The Erchebyschop Syre Turpyn,
A swythe good clerk of dyvyn,
             Crystened hym that day;
The soule of that Sarsin
Forto save fro helle pyn,
             He lered hym Goddys lawe.
Thus Charles and hys dussypers
Lyved in warre many yerys
             And faughten, the soth to say;
For every batayle that he began,
Thorugh the grace of God he it wan,
             As Y yow telle may.

Fitt 7

Here bygynneth a batayle grym,
Of Charles and of Ebrayn
             That was wonderlyche strong.
At Cordys how thay foughten same,
Alle for the love of Cristendom,
             Herkeneth and thenketh nought long!

Afftyr Garcy, nought longe hyt nas
To Kyng Charles told hyt was
             That Ebrayn, the stronge kyng,
Wyth strenthe was come to Cordys,
With hym many a Sarisin, ywys,
             And many a grete lordyng.
The Almayns, saum fayle,
Tha aschapeden fro the batayle
             Of Angulaittes werryng.
Tho Charlys thys herde
Of that kyng, how hyt ferde,
             He com thydyr anon hying.

With hys knyghtys of pris,
And tho he come to Cordys
             And neghhode the cyté,
The Sarisins com ageyns hym,
Syxty thousand stout and grym,
             Forsothe, in parties thre.
Charlys syker nadde no mo
But syxti thousand tho
             Ageynes hem all to be!
Tho Charlys made thre batayl:
The furst of knytys, saum fayl,
             That ryght symly hyt was to se;

That other of fotemen tho;
The trydde knyghtys also,
             As the fyrst were.
The kyng with grete rawndoun
Come agen Syr Charlemon,
             As ye mowe here,
With batayles stern ten.
The furst weren fotmen
             That gryslyche were of chere.
With her thay war behong,
And berdys swyde long,
             And hornys on hond bere.

And al so that on batayle
Schulde that othyr assayle,
             The bowmen weren byforn,
And come ageyne the knyghtys.
And tho ther, anonryghtys,
             Everyche blewe hys horn.
Tho the stedys gonne here and se,
Fast away thay gonne to fle,
             They ne spared thyk ne thorn;
Forsothe, the knyghtys bolde
Myghten nought hem withholde,
             Though thay hadde ysworn.

Whenne thay that weren on fote,
Ne say no bettyr bote,
             Away that flowyn also;
For her knyghtes gode,
Ageyn hem nought ne stode;
             Thay seye wel thay myght nought don.
Tho Charles that gan se,
That hys fotemen gonne fle,
             In hert hym was ful wo.
Hys stede he turnyd agayn anon,
For he ne seye no bettyr wone,
             But faste went aftyr tho.

Tho the Sarisins seyen that cas,
They swed aftyr wel gret pas
             Tylle they comyn to an hylle.
Two myle uppon that playn,
The Cristened turnyd manlyche agayn,
             As hyt was Goddys wylle.
The Sarisins seyen hem come,
And flewen away, all and somme,
             Hom to her cyté wel stylle.
Charlys with hys knyghtys
Setten her pavylons upryghtys,
             And all nyght ther gonne dwelle.

Tho on morwe whan hyt was daylyght,
Charlys bad anonryght
             That all here horsys of the ost
With wex to stoppe here ere,
That they myght nought yhere
             Her noyse ne her bost.
Forsothe, hys hest was sone ydone,
An her eyyen yhudde anon,
             Bothe lest and mest
And Charles prayed to God Almyght
To helpe hym that day in fyght,
             So wyss hem the Holy Gost.

Alle they come togederes on morwe,
The Sarisins to moche sorowe,
             Into the felde to fyght;
And the Kyng Ebrayn
Come ful evyn ageynes hym
             With hys ost aplyght.
Togedyr thay gonne smyte;
Eythyr spared other lyte —
             Ther was a symly syght!
Of the hethen lawe,
Many onothyr was yslawe,
             Well longe or hyt were nyght.

The Sarisins seyen alle
Howe her felawys down gonne falle;
             Ther rose a rufull crye.
Togyder they gonne hem drawe,
That folk of hethen lawe;
             Forsothe, they were sory.
Amyd hem was a char
That here banerer that tyme bar
             Uppon a spere on hye.
With twelf oxen yt was ydrawe;
That tyme hyt was the lawe
             That none schulde fle away

The whyle her syne stood.
Charlys, by the rode,
             That the baner schulde adown.
Forsothe, he semyt wood outryght
So fast tho he gan to fyght,
             As hyt were a wylde lyon.
Ther nas neythyr spere ne schyld,
That dury myght in the feld
             A strok of hys faucon.
Tho Rouland and Oliver,
And everyche of the dussyper,
             To batayle were ful boun.

All tho that hey mette wyth,
Forsothe, to grownd thay yede ryght,
             So fast they faught thare.
Kyng Charles tho, anoneryght,
Thorugh the grace of God Almyght,
             Evene come into the char,
And with hys gode fawchon
He smote the baner adown
             That with hymself were;
He smote the baner adownryght —
Tho that hyt sawe, they were aflyght
             And in sorowe and care.
He smote tho suche a dynt,
That fyre flye out as sparke of flynt,
             And tho the Sarisins were in hart sare,
An gonne to fle in eche syde.
They ne durst no lengyr abyde —
             Of blysse they were alle bare!

Tho Ebrayn the strong kyng
Come wyth spere kervyng
             To the Kynge Charlemayn,
And yaf hym suche a wownde
That Charles fylle to grownd
             Off hys stede adown.
Charles, forsothe, that hym yeld,
That helm and heued fly in the feld,
             Tho ryght with hys fauchon;
And many anothyr paynym,
Forsothe, ther was yslawe with hym,

That were yholde of grete renown.
To Charles they yeld the gode toun,
             And cristened wolde he be.
Gret othes they swore thare:
“Of hym wyl we holde evermore
             Cordys the good cyté.”
Therof Charles was glad tho,
And all were cristened in a thro,
             With grete joye and solempnité.

* * *

Welle sone theraftyr come tythyng
To Charles the ryche kyng
             By a well trwe messanger,
That the kyng of Naverne
Gan to robbe and to berne
             In hys lond bothe fer and nere.
Tho Charles hyt wyst afyn,
He com to Mount Gardyn,
             And ther they mette in fere.
Eythyr had othyr behyght
Togedyr on morowe forto fyght
             In the same stede ther.

Tho Charles made an oryson
With ryght gode devocion
             To Jhesu and to Marye,
He sende hem grace, withoute fayle,
To wete who schulle in bataylle
             Wynne the maystrye;
And who schull be yslawe
Of knyghtys of Cristen lawe
             In Kyng Charles partye,
That everych that schuld be ded
Most bere a croys red
             On hys schuldyr on hye.

On morwe wanne yt was day,
Charlys rose with gret noblay
             And to hys knyghtys cryed,
“To batayle forto fare!”
Thenne sey he moche care
             Of ten hundred that tyde.
Then was the kyng in grete dolour,
And prayed to ten hundred, par amour,
             At the chapel to abyde.
And sayde yf thay with hem went,
They schuld be de, verrament,
             With the Sarisins ful of pride.

Thay answerd and askeden, “Why?”
Then sayde Charles, “Sykerly,
             Y se on you the sygne of deth, withoute drede.
Loke nowe echon on othyrs schulder:
Amonge you alle nys none othyr
             But beryng the croys red;
For why Y wote, thorough my prayer,
That ye schulle be ded, all in fer,
             Yf Y yowe with me lede.
Ac dwellyth here vithouten stryf,
Today Y schall save your lyfe;
             To spylle you yt ys no nede.”

Tho to batayl the kyng gan ryde,
Hys good dussypers by hys syde,
             And faste the ganne to fyght.
Of the Sarisins thay slowyn so yern
That the kyng tho of Naverne
             Ageyns hem he had no myght.
Kyng Charles slowe that day,
He and hys ost, sothe to say,
             Syxty thousand tho ful ryght.
And whenne he come to the mede,
He fonde hys knyghtys al dede
             Ther he hem left, aplyght,

By the ensampyl who mowe se
That no man schall hys deth fle
             For nones kynnes nede.
Tho all Naverne Charles toke
Into hys honde, so saythe the boke,
             In trewthe, so Y nowe rede,
And gaf hyt hys, saum fayle,
That hadde hym holpe in batayle,
             That doughty were of dede;
And was departyd amonge hem uchon,
And were yfeffyd therwith anon
             To lyve in joye and pryde.

And whenne the Kyng Charlemayn
Hadde ywonne Naverne and Spayne
             And yslawe the hethen knyghtys,
Hys catel and hys townys
He gaf to hys barownys,
             And made hem grete lordynges.
Portyngale, Naverne,
To the Brytons he gaf hyt yerne,
             And thus parteth hys wynnyngys.
Tandylyf, a strong castel,
To the Jercos he gave hyt yche a del,
             Ryght in grete hyynges,

And the londe of Galeys
He gaf the Frenchemen, ywys,
             But thay nolde dwelle nought thare.
Thay forsokyn that ylke londe
Forto have into her honde,
             For yt was so dere.
In Spayne Charles tok,
As Y fynde in my boke,
             All that hethen were,
That lyved in false lawe;
He dud hem honge and to drawe
             Wel fast by the swere.

Charles stabeleth forto be
An erchebyschop in that cyté
             Ther that Sent James lys;
And alle the bysschopys in Spayne,
By the hest of Charlemayn,
             And eke in Galys
Schulde be undyr hym.
Ac the Byschop Syr Turpyn
             Halowed that stede, ywys,
For ther nas arst no cyté,
Charles hote, that ther schuld be
             Composterne of prys.

And in the moneth of Yver,
Charlys comaund, fer and nere,
             In Galys and ek in Spayne,
That eche hous of power
Schulde gef twelf penyes a yer,
             By the hest of Charlemayne,
To Seynt Jams of Galys,
And be quyt of other servys,
             That hous to sustayne.
And so thay dude withoute lete;
For Charles hyt hade sette,
             Durst no man be ther agayn.

Fitt 8

Here bygynnyth a rewful tale:
How Rowlond deyde at Rouncyvale.

Now lete we be of thys,
And speke we of Charles,
             That muche was of myght.
Of hys lengthe and hys brede,
As clerk ye doth in boke rede,
             Y schal yow telle aryght.
Twenty fot he was of lengthe,
And therto man of gret strength,
             And a man of sterne syght;
Blake of here, red of face,
Ther he come in many place,
             He was a doughty knyght.

Foure tymes in the yer,
Uppon hys heued he wolde ber
             The holy croune of thorne:
At Ester and at Whytsontyde,
At Seynt James Day with pride,
             And at the tyme that God was born,
At the mete in the halle,
Among hys knyghtes alle,
             With drawe swerd hym byforn.
That ys in the maner ay
And schal be tyl Domesday
             Of emperour that ys corne.

Whereso he slepe a nyght —
Wyse he was, as felle to hys ryght,
             And ever douted treson —
An hundred knyghtes schulde hym kepe
Were that ever he schuld slepe,
             Of knyghtes grete renoun:
And everych doughthy knyght,
Hold a torche brennyng bryght
             And a nakyd fachoun.
Thus the Kyng Charles lay
With hys ost many a day
             In the cité of Pampulon.

Twey Sarsins tho of Spayne
Were ysent to Charlemayne,
             With hym forto be;
The sawdan of Babylonye,
He sent hem to Paumpylayne
             Fram Perce, the ryche cité.
Mansour hyght that other,
And Beligans hys brother,
             That was of gret pusté.
Thay dwelleth there long whyle,
Kyng Charles to bygyle,
             Whenne thay myght here tyme se.

Charlys bythought hym tho
That thay ne scholde nought dwelle so
             But thay cristen were.
He sent to hem sone
A knyght into Aragone —
             Gwynes a dussyper —
But Charles wyst nought
The treson of Gwynes thought,
             The wykked fals messanger.

Forsoth, he hath hys way ynome;
To Mansure that he ys come,
             And sayde that Charles hem grette.
He sayde that hys brother and he
Scholde, forsothe, ycristened be,
             Withouten any lette.
Mansure was full fel,
And made a ryche jeuel;
             Forth he lete it fette,
And gaf the messanger,
And sette hym to the soper —
             Wel fayre, forsothe, thay hym grette,

Mansure tok tho Gwynes,
And sayde to hym thus,
             “I pray thee, Gwynes, lysten to me.
Yf thou wylt Charles forsake
And to my consayle take,
             Full ryche schal tou be.
Thrytty somers and yut mo,
Bathe of sylver and gold also,
             Forsothe, Y wyll geve thee.”
Thorugh that ylke tresour,
Gwynes bycome traytour —
             Evyl mote he the!

Thenne dyvysed Gwynes
That he wolde sey thus
             To the Kyng Charlemayn,
That Mansour and Belyganns
Wolde come into Fraunce;
             Thereto thay were they boun.
And Mansure therewhyle
Trayeth hys ost with gyle,
             To sle hym with treson.
Charlys was wel apayede,
And to Gwynes tho sayde,
             “Thow art a good baroun.”

Tho was Mansoure glad
That the treson was ymad,
             And gaf that traytour
Thrytty somers and mo
Of gold and sylver also,
             With swythe gret honour.
And thrytté stedes with gold fyn
To Charles sent that Sarsin,
             Alle they were whyt a flour;
And an houndred tonne of wyn,
That was bothe good and fyn,
             And swythe fayre colour.

Gwynes hys leve tok
And went hym hom, so sayth the bok,
             Wyth that presaunt so ryche.
And sayde Syre Charles tho,
“Mansure wylle come thee to,
             Ryght wel blythelyche.
Forsothe, hys brother and ek he
Wyllyn bothe ycristened be,
             With here folk, lytell and muche.”
Forsothe, Gwynes tho was
A fals traytour, as was Judas,
             And many mo beyt suche!

Charlys grethed hym to wende
To Fraunce with hys knyghtes hende,
             By the traytours rede.
There he fond fomen fale
In the forest of Runcyvale,
             That wolde hym do to dede.
The kyng bad Roulond hys cosyn
Twenty thousand to take with hym,
             Stouttelyche forto lede.
Whenne Charles hadde yhote tho,
The best bodyes that were tho
             With Roulond, forsothe, thay yede.

Twenty thousand Charles ladde,
And also fele Roulond hadde
             Into the rere batayle.
Charlys ne tok no dussyper
But Gwynes and Turpyn yfer,
             That weren of heyghe parayle.
Mansoure lete tho passe
Charlys folk, bothe more and lasse,
             Forsothe withouten fayle.
Tho com Roulond with hys ost,
And Mansoure with muche bost
             Hard hym gan assayle.

Syxty thousand and ek mo
Mansoure with hym brought tho,
             Out of the wode aplyght.
The Cristen thay gonne assayle;
Many deyde in that batayle
             Or it ever were nyght.
Togyder thay gonne smyte;
Neyther ne spared other but lyte;
             There was a wel gryslych syght.
Roulond was there yslawe,
And good Olyver hys felawe,
             And wel many a trewe knyght!

Syre Constantyn of gret Rome
Ageynes Belyngas, forsothe, come,
             With a gret spere kervyng,
And to hym he it bare;
He brast it on peces thare,
             Withouten any lesyng.
With swerd and with mas,
Forsothe, in that plas
             Togedyr thay hem thryng.
Jhesu Crist, Kyng of blys,
Lord withouten mys,
             Here soules to hevene bryng!

Whenne Oger Denys seye thys,
That hys good felaw yslawe ys,
             In hert hym was full who.
He faught as he were wood,
That alle ageyn hym stod,
             To grounde he fylle hem tho.
Raynold of Auby d’Espyne
Com prikyng on a stede fyn,
             And faught ful hard also.
Wel sone the Cristen were byset
As der that beyth withinne the net,
             With ten thousand and mo.

Thay faughten wel by the lawe,
But sone thay were alle yslawe,
             Withinne a lytel stounde.
Men seyeth in old sawe,
That ten men in a lytel thrawe,
             Mowe be brought to grownd.
Though Oger faught fast,
Yut sone at the laste,
             He hadde dethys wounde,
And Raynold wyth also,
And wel many a gode knyght mo,
             In boke as hyt ys fownde.

Tho Sir Bertram the baner,
Bothe Rouland and eke Olyver,
             And Sir Gaumfres the kyng
Gonne tho to fyght ful fast,
And also ground tey caste
             Wel many a gret lordyng.
Forsoth, Olyver and Rouland do
Cleven men and hors atowo,
             So thay faught in that thryng.
Syre Bertram the baner,
Bothe Roulond and Olyver
             Ne spared elde ne yong.

Ful sone after in a stounde,
Ganfres was brought to grounde
             With the cursed Sarisins.
Tho good Olyver was slawe tho,
And many a doughty knyght also,
             With the develes lemes.
A Sarsyn that hyght Langelye,
He com with gret envye,
             As Y yow say in rymes.
He com and smot Olyver on the croune,
That bode hys eyghen fyl adown,
             Fram hym in that tymes.

Whenne that Olyver was blynth,
Bothe byfore and ek byhynde
             He leythen faste aboute;
And evermore as he rod,
He made a way swythe brod
             Of the Sarisins that were stoute.
And as he faught wondurlyche fast,
Roulond com ate last
             To helpe hym, saun doute.
So hard Olyvere smot Roulond
That hys schyld from hym wond
             Among the hethen route.

“Allas!” sayde Roulond tho,
“Olyver, why faryst thou so?
             Artou paynym bycome?”
“Nay!” sayde Olyver, “God it wot,
Y ne wyst never whom Y smot!
             My syght ys me bynome!”
Tho thay bode layden on in fere,
Bothe Roulond and Olyver,
             And slowyn there many a gom.
With that com l’angelye,
The cours have he of Oure Ladye,
             That most hath myrthes mone.

And with a spere swythe feloun,
             That dede he fyl to grounde.
Tho Roulond sey that fyght,
With sorow and care he smot a knyght,
             That same hethen hound,
That hors an man, bothe at onys,
He evene cleved hys body and bonys,
             Ne myght no man hym hele that wounde.
Bothe Ganfer and Ganfres,
Ryght besyde Oger Denys,
             There lay yslaw that stounde.

Anguler and Anastes ther,
And Syr Yvory, here gode fer,
             Alle quyk thay were ynome,
And yhongeth heyghe on a tre,
That grete dele it was to se
             Uppon many a Cristen gom.
Therfore Mansoure was ful fawe
That thay were so alle yslawe,
             The Cristen, bothe alle and sum.
But Roulond skaped away
In a busk of an hegge, forsoth to say,
             With hys drydde gome.

And as Rouland the gooth knyght
Com framward that strong fyght,
             A Sarsin ther he fand,
That resteth hym ther upryght
Y say, forsothe aplyght,
             With foure of hys bond.
So upryght by a tre,
He yede forth and let hem be,
             Styll for to stonde,
And went uppon an heyghe hylle,
And hys horn he blew wel schylle,
             That he held in hys honde.

The Cristen gonne it knowe
That weren away yslowe,
             And comyn to hys cry. 1
Wel an hundred on a drowe
Ageyneward gonne drawe
             To the Sarsins, sykerly.
Roulond hys swerd gan drawe,
To the Sarsin he sayde in a thrawe,
             “Anone thow schalt deye,
But thow me telle, ywys,
Where Mansoure thy lord ys —
             Sey me hastlye!

Thenne wyl Y save thee,
             My treuth Y thee plyght.”
The Sarsin was blythe
To askape with hys lyve,
             And sayde, “Go we anoneryght!”
Forth thay went alle prist,
Bothe togederes in that forest,
             So faste as thay myght.
The Sarsin sayde, “He ys thys
That bereth the schylde of prys
             With a dragon of gold bryght.”

Roulond mette an hathen hounde;
Suche a strok he hym founde
             That ded he fyll in that plas.
Hard he layde on bothe syde;
Whome Roulond mette in that tyde,
             Hym byfyll a sory cas.
Mansure he mette, saun fayle,
In that same batayle,
             As it was Goddys grace.
Roulond let tho the Sarsin gon,
And to the batayle he went anone,
             There Mansure in was.

Strong fyght was hem bytwene,
They al tohewen the helmes schene,
             And here schyldes dude also.
Thorugh the hauberk the blod was sene,
For the strokys weren ful kene,
             That theleth were bytwene hem to.
Roulond smot a strok with yre
On the helm of Syre Mansure,
             And clef hys body tho.
Welle a thousand Sarsins,
Alle of Godys wytherlyngges,
             Thay flowyn away hym fro.

Whenne Belyngans hys brother
Sey that hit was none other,
             He fleye with hys ost
To Saragous, that ryche cyté,
Bothe he and eke hys mayné,
             Wyth bobaunce and with bost.
Roulond had so many a wounde,
Wondyr that he ne fyl to grounde,
             And that was sorw most.
“God!” he cryed, “mercy, blyve!”
Lord, help hym in hys lyve,
             As Tou art the Holy Gost!

Roulond com doun anone,
Of febelnesse he hadde gret wone;
             With that come Syre Baudewyne,
And Terry also, withouten fayle,
That weren askaped from that batayle;
             That on was hys owyn cosyn.
He seye hys armur al totore,
Hys body with speres thorugh-bore,
             Hys lyf in poynt to tyne.
Roulond throw out Dorundale,
And sayde there a rewfull tale,
             And wroth was in fyn.

Tho he bygan to make hys mone,
And faste loked there uppon,
             As he it held in hys hond:
“O, swerd of gret myght!
Better bar never no knyght,
             To wynne with no lond!
Thow hast ybe in many batayle,
That never Sarsin, saum fayle,
             Ne myght thy strok withstonde!
Go! Let never no paynym
Into batayle bere hym
             After the deth of Roulond.

O, swerd of gret power!
In thys world nys nought thy per,
             Of no metal ywrought.
Alle Spayne and Gales,
Thorugh grace of God and thee, ywys,
             To Cristendom ben brought.
Thow ert good, withouten blame;
In thee ys graveth the Holy Name,
             That alle thyng made of nought.”
Roulond smot it on a stone,
And he it karf ato anone,
             To breke it tho was hys thought.

Tho he hadde that ston yschorne,
Wel lowde he blew tho hys horne,
             To have yhad more socour.
Thre note he blew so,
That hys horn clef atwo,
             That was of good yvour,
That the temple and hys vayne,
Brost bothe with gret mayne,
             Of Roulond the conquerour.
Syxty myle men herde the soun;
Tho the Kyng Charles of renoun,
             Made gret dolour.

“Gyne, Y can Roulond knowe,
Ryght now, forsothe, Y herde hym blowe,
             Y drede lest he mysfare.
As armes anone, gret and smale,
To that forest of Rouncyvale,
             To loke yf he be dare.”
Gwynes, that wyst of thys dede,
To the kyng anone he sayde,
             “Syre, have ye no care!
Roulond ys so jolyf a man
That he hys blewyng bygan
             For huntyng of an hare.”

Lo, thys falce traytour —
God yeve hym myssauntour
             For hys falce lesyng!
* * *
Rowlond now lyth on the gras,
And Baudewyn with hym was,
             And schulde hym water bryng
To fecche hym water he gan gon,
But he ne myght fynde none,
             For nones kynnes thyng.
Tho he tolde that there none was,
Roulond sayde, “Allas, allas!”
             With swythe gret mornyng.

To fecche eft yede Baudewyn.
With that there come a Sarsin
             There that lay Roulond,
And tok that swerd Dorundale,
And thus he sayde in hys tale,
             As he it held on hond:
“O, Dorundale, thou art wel founde!
Wyth thee hath Roulond ybrought to grounde
             Many a Sarsin of oure lond!
Now schal may a Cristen berd
Wynne schame here afterward
             Thorugh help of Mahoundys honde!”

Whenne Roulond herd hym speke so,
In hys hert hym was ful wo,
             And hastylyche up he stert.
He yede anon to that paynym,
And with hys horn he smot hym,
             That he felle overthwart.
That blod and brayn start up byforn;
Forsothe, hys lyf there was lorn,
             That he nas never after quart.
Deth he fel, so sayd my tale,
For he wolde have stolyn Dorundale;
             He hadde a stroke ful smert.

With that com Baudewyn anone agayn,
And fond Roulond on the playn;
             He leyde hym on hys stede.
Swerd and horn he tok also,
As man that was in muche wo;
             Away he gan hym lede,
Out of that forest of Rouncyvale
Into another dep dale,
             And leyde hym a mede,
And sayde, “Roulond, pur charité!
Thenk our God in Trinté
             That for ous wolde blede!”

With that, Roulond Godys knyght
Loketh up to hene lyght,
             And sayde on hys maner:
“Jhesu, that syttyth in Trinté,
O God and Persones Thre!
             Now here my prayer!
Y com to thys contré,
Lord, for the love of Thee,
             And Thy moder there,
The hethen for to slo,
That wrought Thee so muche wo
             Whyle that Thou were here.

Lord, as Thou art Kyng ycorne,
Let Thou me be nought forlorne,
             But bryng me to blys,
There that ys Thy reynyng,
Jhesu Criste, hene Kyng,
             Therof that Y ne mys,
And thylke that ben yslawe
For the ryght lawe,
             And for the stedfastnesse.”

Ryght in thys same prayer,
Roulond the very martyr
             Passed out of hys lyve.
Angelys comyn fro hevene,
By syxty and by sevene —
             Of hym thay were ful blythe —
And broughten hym into blys
That never more schal mysse,
             There joye ys ful ryve.
Now Jhesu, Mary Sone,
Graunt ous alle therre to wone
             For Thy woundys fyve.

And as the angel Mychael,
Gabriel and Raphael
             Roulondys soule bare
Over Charles chapyll, ywys,
As Turpyn messed, ywys,
             A gret crye he gan here,
Of fendys that weryn felle
That weren towarde helle
             With the soule of Mansur.
Turpyn bad hym abyde,
And axed hem in that tyde
             What thyng that they beryn there.

“On that ys ous ful sure,
Forsothe, the soule of Mansure;
             He hath yserved ous ay.
He schall have to hys hure
The pyne of helle sure —
             None other be it ne may!
And Roulondys soule ys
Ybrought into paradys,
             With joye and with play,
Thereinne for to be,
And there hyt to se,
             Forsoth, Y thee say.”

Whenne the masse was don,
The Byschop Turpyn anon
             To Charles went and sayde,
“Charlys Syre, forsothe ywys,
Ryght now none other there nys,
             Roulond ys do to deth.
Forsothe, Y sey now ryght
Angls of muche myght
             Hys soule to hevene lede.”
Wyth that com Baudewyn,
Roulondys owyn cosyn,
             Rydyng on hys stede.

The swerd and the horn
He brought the kyng beforn,
             And tolde hym of that cas:
How Roulond was yslawe,
And Olyver hys gode felaw,
             And alle that that ever was;
Thorugh Mansures rede,
Alle hys folk were dede
             And yspylt in that plas.
Tho Charles wust thys,
He was ful sory, ywys,
             And sayde, “Allas, allas!”

With dwele and muche crye,
Charles went in hye
             Roulond for to se;
And fond hym there ded,
And thus to hym he sayde,
             As Y schal telle thee:
“O, Roulond, the good conquerour
And the noblyst warryour
             That ever more schal be,
How Y have thee forlore?
Dey Y wylle thee before
             But God wyl save!”

On swowne he felle to grounde,
Anone in that same stounde,
             As a man that was in care;
And whenne he up stood,
He cryed as he were wood,
             And wep and tor hys here.
With a rewful rage,
He cracched hys vysage,
             And sayde with sykyng sore,
“Roulond, now for the love of thee,
Dede now wyl Y be;
             Of blys Y am alle bare!

Thow were strong as Sampson,
And bolder thanne any lyon,
             In batayle and eke in fyght.
I may wepe for thy partyng
So dude David the kyng
             For Absolon the whyte!
Best me ys myself to sle,
For glad ne worthe Y never mo
             After thys ylke syght.
Thow were in were good and wys,
As was Judas Machabeus,
             That was Godys knyght.”

The barouns beden hym let be,
And sayde, “Syre, pur charyté,
             Lete away thys ylke mornyng.
Wel ye seth how it geth —
There nys no bote of mannys deth.
             Take to thee confortyng.”
The kyng let that body dyght,
With myrre and baume aryght
             For drede of rotyng;
And sythe went to Rowncyvale,
Ther the bodyes lyen be tale,
             Of many an heyghe lordyng.

And also Oliver ther they fownde,
With foure wythes harde ybownde,
             And ded he lay undyr a tre.
On hys body was many a wownde.
Charlys sayd tho in that stownde,
             “Allas, that yche schulde thys ever se.”
Her pavylons ther they pyght,
And waketh the bodyes all that nyght,
             With swythe grete solemptnité.
The kyng swore by God Almyght,
That ys an heye in hevene lyght,
             Therof he wolde awreke be.

Anonryght that trewe kyng
Made there ryght hys prayng
             To Jhesu ful of myght,
That He wolde sende hym grace
Ryght ther in that same place,
             To have the dayes lyght
For to sle hys enemys,
And also to wynne the peys
             Or come the next nyght.
An angel come ther sone,
And sayd, “Yherd ys thy bone.
             Ryse an wende to fyght,

For tylle thou have thy wylle,
The sonne schall stonde stylle
             In the firmement.”
The kyng was tho glad and blythe,
And thonked God fele sythe,
             Jhesu Lord Omnipotent.
Kyng Charles and Turpyn,
Terry and eke Bawdewyn,
             To batayl sone they went,
And sworyn by Goddys mounde,
Thay schulde never stytnt stownde
             Tylle the Sarisins were schent.

Fitt 9

Here bygynnyth a batayle stronge and fyn
Of Kyng Charles and of Turpyn
             That joye ys of to here;
That faughten agens the Sarisins stoute
At Saragous, wythoute dowte,
             As gode men schulde and sure.

Charlys hys ost gan oute lede,
And comyn to Sadrak, so Y rede,
             That ys a fayre watyr and clere,
Two myle from Saragon.
Belyngas thay fownde sone,
             That was wel stoute and fere;
Of Percy the ryche sowdan
That hyght Syre Perygan —
             Ne wust nower hys per;
And also many a paynym
That were bothe stoute and grym,
             And of swythe gret power.

Too thowsand of Percyans
And also fele Affricans
             Thay browten to the feld.
Of Babyloyn the sowdan
He brought with hym many a man
             With spere, swerde, and schylde.
Syxty thowsand and mo
He brought with hym do;
             Thus Turpyn had ous told.
Two hundred of Percy,
Charlys ne hadde but thyrty
             Of knyghtes that were bold.

To batayle thay were boune,
Bothe with spere and gomphanoune,
             And fast thay gonne to fyght.
Syre Turpyn and Charlyon
With here gode swerde broun
             Hewyn on the helmes bryght.
Many a paynym there fyl adoun
That weren of swythe gret renoun,
             Longe er it were nyght.
Otuel tho with hys fauchoun,
And the gode Duk Hugoun,
             A man of muche myght,

In the fyrst batayle
The saudan they gonne assayle,
             Of Percy that hyght Perigon.
Syre Otuel smot hym tho,
That evene he cleft hym ato,
             Syker bothe hors and man.
Byschop Turpyn with hys spere
To Belyngans he gan it bere,
             That thorugh hys body it ran.
Therewhyle the Kyng Charlyoun
Slow with hys fauchoun
             Of Babylone the sawdan.

Tho Turpyn was byset
As a der in the net
             There among the paynemes,
And neygh yslawe that stounde,
And hadde many a wounde
             Of the falce Sarsins.
Of strokes hard and sore
Turpyn suffred thare
             Of Godys wytherlynges.
And Turpyn and Tybaut
Made a swythe noble saught
             To slen the fyndes lemes.

Thay and here ost faughten so
That syxty thousand and mo
             Suffreth dere dedes wounde.
Grete peple thay gonne sle,
And wenten fele into the se,
             For drede of deth that stounde.
No Sarsin, syker aplyght,
From that batayle skapyn myght
             That owher myght be founde.
Alle thay were yslawe,
And ybrought of here lyve dawe,
             There uppon the grounde.

And ever schon the sonne bryght
To yeve Kyng Charles lyght
             In that fayre fyrmement.
Thre dayes of mowntans ryght,
Tylle he hadde ywonne the fyght
             Thorugh grace that God hym sent.
And he slowe alle hys enemys,
And worschyplyche he wan the pris
             Wyth swythe gode entent.
The kyng was do glad and blyde,
And thonketh God many sythe
             For the grace that He hath hym sent.

Anon thereaftyr he toke the way
Ther that Rowlandys body lay,
             And with hym many a knyght.
“Forsothe,” sayd Turpyn and Turry,
“Gwynes had made thys, sekerly,
             And thys fals treson had ryght.”
Tho the Kyng Charlyon
Commawndyth swythe anone
             To brynge hym forthe anonryght.
Terry to hym anone forthe wonde,
And of the deth of Rowlond
             He hym withclepyth aplyght,

And sayde, “Thorugh thy false treson,
Many a gode lorde ys brought adown,
             And hathe suffryd dedes wownde.”
Gwynes sayd, “Nay!
Thowe lyxt falsly, by thys day!
             And that schall be well yfownde,
Thy body anoneryght ys to myn.
Arme thee anon wel afyn,
             And Y wyth a spere ygrownde.
But Y me defende,
Y grawnt, so God me amende,
             Byhonged and trawe thys stownde.”

Anone Turry the gode knyght
Armed hym wel aplyght,
             And Gwynes dude also.
Thay come bothe into the felde,
Bothe with spere and with schelde,
             Togedyr thay reden tho.
Gwynes smote Turry
That hys schylde sykerly
             Evene clef atoo
Turpyn and Charles the kyng
Bothe thay say that fyghtyng —
             In hert hem was ful wo.

But Turry with hys half-schylde,
To Gwynes rod in the felde
             With a grete rawnan.
He gafe the traytour suche a wownde
That down he fel to grownde
             Wyth Crystys malyson.
Ther the traytour was overcome,
And swythe anone he was ynome
             By the hest of Charlyon.
And ther he was byknowe,
Byfore heye and eke lowe
             Of that ylke false treson:

The Crystyn howe he solde
For thrytty somers of golde
             To her enomys.
“Forsothe,” sayd Charles, “hyt ys the lawe
That thow be honged an drawe,
             By Crst and Sent Denys.”
He tolde that Mansure and Belygans,
How thay schulde have come into Fraunce
             And have ywone the prys,
And have yslaw Kyng Charles,
Turpyn, and alle hys barounes
             Ryght at here Dynys.

Tho by the heste of Charles the kyng
The traytour was don to hongyng,
             And was ydrawe thorugh the toun.
And after yhonged wel faste,
Forsothe, tho in haste,
             Alle quyk he was leten doun,
And ybounde to a stake,
And hys bowels out ytake,
             To brenne hym byforn.
To foure stedys he was yknyt
By the hondys and by the fet,
             At the heste of Charlyoun.

On eche stede sat a knyght,
And thus he was totwyt,
             Gwynes the falce traytour.
Forsothe, hit were skele and ryght,
That everych traytour were so ydyght,
             And hadde muche myssaunter!
Charlys tok hys knyghtes
And went to Roulond anoneryghtes
             With swythe gret dolour.
Roulondys body he let dyght
With murre and baune anoneryght,
             With swythe good othour.

Bothe Roulond and Olyver
And everych of the dussyper
             With baune weren ydyght.
Of some, withoute fayle,
Men duden out the entrayle,
             And in lede layde hem aryght.
And tho that weren nought so,
Ful wel in salt men dude hem do,
             To be swete bothe day and nyght.
Thus thay weren dyght anone,
Wel ynoynted everychon,
             Withouten any unryght.

Thus Charles doth, that ys so hende,
To bryng hys knyghtes to good ende,
             Forsothe, as hym thought best.
Other lordys that weren there,
Men layde hem on hors bere,
             And were rychelyche brought in cheste.

Charlys bysyde Runcyvale
Lete rere a chyrche good withalle
             For hem to rede and syng.
Now Jhesu Crist in Trinté,
O God and Persones Thre,
             To joye and blysse ous bryng.

Here endeth Otuel, Roulond, Olyver,
And of the twelf dussypers,
             That deyden in the batayle of Runcyvale.
Jhesu Lord, hevene Kyng,
To Hys blysse ous and hem bothe bryng
             To leven wythoute bale.

Amen quod J. Gage.




Against; then; (t-note)

aggrieved them
slew; (t-note)

believed; false beliefs; (see note)
wicked; (t-note)

Thirty winters
in spite of

Mount Alben (in Lombardy); were; (t-note)

[Otuel] was baptized; (t-note)

beloved and dear; (t-note)

twelve peers; (see note)


lies [i.e., truly]
order and peace

deeds; (see note)
As; witnessed them; (t-note)

(see note)

(see note)

path; (see note)
Saint-Denis; (see note)

mighty and merry


was called



renown; (t-note)
white; (see note)

Those are; see
lying [i.e., truly]

none is
to you; (t-note)
wild fire [of battle]; savage
white locks; burn
see beside you
those; with
slay; (see note)

If you have any sense

Unless; cause harm
Before; offends; (t-note)
No harm will come to you; (see note)

Whatever his message be

To do; disgrace
He has a dim wit

don’t worry about that
No one has yet been born
dares; fight

oath; broken

Corsouse; (see note)
carry on your errand
go home

speak fiercely; (t-note)


(see note)(t-note)
You must [do so] eagerly; (t-note)
thrive; (see note)
very day; (t-note)

[never] believe
idolatry; adhere to; (see note)


They frighten cowards
are worthless

Saracen; (t-note)

know; has commanded

knows he will be slain

raised; (t-note)
completely; (see note)
called; Ataly
(see note)
encircle it

journey [to Ataly]


advise you
armed combat; (see note)

are nearly done
is; warring
worthy; (t-note)

your [knights] are all young; (see note)

as; deed; (t-note)


Durendal; (see note)
teach [you]

bird; bough
be tempted to flee
know; enough
How tough you will make it
to fight
wild beast; forest
protect him
If you were to find him; (t-note)

truly; promise

know in a short time
which is most eager to harm


Should I happen


judge; verdict; (t-note)

very same


together; (t-note)

supply to
All that he needs




In the morning before


Saint-Omer; (see note)


fine gold coins; (see note)




nothing at all

(see note)(t-note)

(see note)

[i.e., afraid]


one by one


padded jacket
coat of mail

was made, truly
By one who was once an apprentice of Denis
beautiful design

(see note)
once was owned by; (t-note)

reared up
was once owned by a giant



spurs; shone; (t-note)

have success



To seek his blessing


he [Roland] took his leave [of Charles]

Somme; (see note)

at once
should lend




(see note)


So that
He might fear no man

padded jacket
coat of mail

head; placed
(see note)

Then; (t-note)

lady; (t-note)

black; (see note)
on the front of; carry
(see note)

Then; trustworthy; (t-note)
(see note)(t-note)


high nobility


Unless; (t-note)
become; smashed

But this same



near them

They; speed

coats of mail



As soon as


is; redeemed (bought)

not a bit

god [i.e., depiction of Mahoun]
To know and not to guess; (see note)
so much

in front of


himself to be
in his seat; (t-note)


sliced off

in half



Once again; together
(see note)

quaked with their strokes

good fortune; (t-note)

will soon be done

sweat stirs; woe

prayer; (t-note)

baptized; (t-note)

believe in

as a reward

May go; as companions


Instead I intend that
sword; (see note)
Again; (t-note)


drops of blood
any limb

Little did they know

Nor anything of his violent temper; (see note)
bitterly struck

very dismayed; (t-note)

once again
evenly in half


very moment

of them all

(see note)

given up; (t-note)

threw; (t-note)

they kissed




from me
in a short while

very truly


need never endure dread at all


Who raised me to womanhood; (t-note)

must take

person (i.e., man)


slain; (t-note)



two weeks’



Summer; await
birds; branch

then departed; (t-note)

hold back

When; lodgings

Limousins (i.e., inhabitants of Limoges)

And; (see note)

violent to relate, without fail

without peer


fourth; captured

April; day; (t-note)

of worth; (see note)

Burgundy they
furlongs, truly; (see note)(t-note)
belonged to Otuel

very high hill
(see note)

pitch his tent; (see note)
bridge; delay

(see note)

Spoke unwise words [i.e., acted foolishly]
clothing (i.e., armor); (t-note)

find for them abundant fighting

heathenness; (t-note)



companion; (see note)

If it were to happen

bloody his sides

It won’t cure any misfortune

is; special

By the will of

He will regret
heirs; (see note)

prayed for




in two

bit bitterly
When; stuck behind
[on] the broken saddle

Ogier the Dane; drew; (see note)(t-note)



overcome; strength

Forcefully; (see note)(t-note)

spearhead; (t-note)




from there

slain; people

showed; noble
But even though


charged; enraged
between them
extended beyond; (t-note)
Roland’s horse and body directly


uptilted back of a saddle

one for

more colorful

didn’t lie down

Skillfully; (t-note)


the three of them

He had to surrender
then; (t-note)


(see note)

six thousand and seven score [i.e., 6,140]

headed in that direction (yonder); (t-note)
They saw

ever; (t-note)

reputation for valor
Were they to flee
They; drums; (t-note)
chimes; cymbals; (t-note)
They were quite afraid; (t-note)

(see note)
Wherever he wished

Assailed; old; (t-note)

soon after

(see note)

carts; pass [i.e., broad as a two-way street]
encountered [it]

for better luck
each one
relieve our suffering

then; (t-note)

ill luck




spearhead; broke
strong; steel armor

in armor


Do not fear
not lacking
Of them I care not a bit; (see note)

slew; each

Then; bombarded


Saracen lord

Because Ogier had saved him once

[He] did Ogier a great honor

make you afraid; (t-note)

guarantor; (see note)(t-note)

say; statement


entrusted to them




We really don’t like your mockery

Before those two; taken

then; (t-note)
Called for

tended to
precious potions

felt himself grow; strong


captured then; (t-note)
spurred; gallop

noticed; (see note)

gone away


To arms; make ready; (see note)



give up
presume; (t-note)

heathen; (t-note)


foes; (t-note)
let us begin a new battle; (see note)

ending; (t-note)
short time; (see note)



fell over; (t-note)


couldn’t escape; (see note)

flew off

struck; (see note)



to the end of his life days

So that scarcely might he cry out
Before all the Saracens fled


Sorely did Charlemagne mourn for; (t-note)



might see
grinned; (see note)



don’t consider it too long; (t-note)


hundred; army




Whoever; ought to fear

Were we to go
Ourselves to battle together

the best gods


promise; (see note)





padded jacket; (t-note)
coat of armor
reflected light
body armor

Had once worn
snake’s head

Of a demon that scares saints; (t-note)
It was grisly in appearance

each bearing

fetched; (t-note)
brought to him; (see note)

heathen; quickly; (t-note)

brought [the idol of]

kneeled; (t-note)

healer of us all



annoyed us

fear; (t-note)

empty any

threaten; (t-note)

heathenness; (t-note)

if you dare; (t-note)

Proffered [themselves]
noble without peer

he [Clarel]; (t-note)

troth; promise

beginning to end

worthless; (see note)





third; (t-note)

then; took
afterwards; sent

no worth
laughed; (t-note)

(see note)

belonged once to

hurrying; (t-note)



(see note)




come here

high nobility

It’s all in God’s power; (see note)


against each other


That every man spoke of it

thrust; insane
course of action

horses’ breastplates
saddle straps

same moment
steed; (t-note)

He said that since the time he was born

sixty score [i.e., 1200]; (t-note)


once more

burning coal; (see note)


on top

so near death

(see note)



(see note)
unlearned and learned; (see note)


send salvation
It would be a shame if it were lost


amiss; (see note)
be protected from this

pay for this

deflected it with

cut Otuel’s shield in two

would have struck through Otuel
Had it not been for his coat of armor; (t-note)
He would have killed Otuel

again; (t-note)



bitterly cut


cried out no more

he had won that day; (t-note)


lost his lifeblood; (t-note)
So often did he pray to you
Whenever he would begin [battle]

dumb and deaf; (t-note)

Too long; disregarded [me]

Both [i.e., Mahoun and other idols]; he was determined


they [the Saracens]
cast; fire


treat them

mail shirt
banners; silk


divided into three parts


But no man could count the number




soldiers armed with slings
Maintain your ranks
commanders of twenty soldiers


far; (t-note)

Turk; (see note)(t-note)
them [Ogier’s guards]

came to; island


(see note)




heads; helmets



For neither boast nor attempted trick

answer for; wager
Unless you forsake Mahoun



[Garcy] kneeled
hold his lands [as Charles’ vassal]
until death; (t-note)

(see note)



(see note)


Cordoba; together


[i.e., those from Anjou]
About; fared

when; Cordoba
neared; (t-note)

(see note)


[i.e., Ebrahim]; speed

ten fierce battalions

gruesome; appearance
hair; covered
so; (t-note)

in the event that
Should the other side attack
in front

then; immediately

When; heard and saw

avoided; thicket

Couldn’t restrain them

Didn’t see any better remedy
they fled; (t-note)
Nothing protected against them
saw; could do nothing

course of action


Christians; courageously



Set up

wax; their ears

Their noises nor their boasts
[the horses’] eyes were blinkered

As the Holy Ghost may guide them; (t-note)

very little


gathered themselves

their banner then bore; (t-note)

[swore] by the cross; (t-note)

utterly crazed
As soon as



All those whom they



All by himself

When; took to flight

When he struck



returned that to him



ceremony; (see note)

(see note)


When Charles fully understood it
(see note)

promised; (t-note)



That they grant him; (t-note)

Among the knights

So that everyone destined to die
High upon his shoulder

saw; grief

To remain at the chapel

dead; (t-note)
On account of

for certain

If you remain



Where; truly

By any means; (see note)

[to] his [people]; (t-note)

[it] was divided; (t-note)
enfeoffed; (see note)



distributed his winnings; (t-note)

(see note)
With great honor





established; (t-note)


also; Galicia

Hallowed (consecrated)
never before
equal to Compostela

April; (t-note)

religious house

freed of other obligations
In order to sustain that house
Because; decreed
against; (see note)


(see note)

As ever had been the manner

divinely chosen

was his right

Pamplona; (see note)


(see note)


see their chance; (see note)

thought to himself

Unless; baptized

didn’t know about

He arrived before Mansour

He had it brought forth



packhorse loads

Ill may he thrive


ready to go
at that time
Would betray; guile

would be well satisfied
would say

as a flower; (see note)(t-note)

said [to]


of low and high station

(see note)
shall be so; (see note)


many foes

bring to death

Boldly; (see note)
commanded this be done


rear guard

Except for; (see note)
high nobility

of high and low station


(see note)






galloping; (t-note)

deer; (see note)

for the faith

in a moment

(see note)

When; banner-bearer

they cast down; (t-note)

then; (t-note)


By; followers; (see note)

both; eyes; (t-note)

blind; (t-note)

struck; (t-note)
very wide path; (t-note)


did not know; (t-note)
taken; (see note)
both fight together; (t-note)

an angel
Who most has inspired mirth

he [Oliver]


companion; (t-note)
alive; captured

bush; hedge
third companion [perhaps Baldwin]; (t-note)

good; (t-note)
away from

rested; (t-note)

vassals; (t-note)

them; (t-note)

loudly; (t-note)
(see note)


in a group

in a moment




costly shield



dealt; (t-note)

enemies; (see note)



[It is a]

fell down
in full

That one
saw; broken
to lose (i.e., near death)
drew out

utterly upset



is engraved; (t-note)

it [the stone]
it [the sword]; (see note)

When; carved

his temple and his vein; (see note)
Burst; powerfully

Sixty thousand



suffer misfortune
To arms

there; (t-note)


(see note)

By any means
When; reported

fetch [water] again


many; beard [i.e., men]

spewed in front of him



in a meadow

Think upon

heaven’s; (t-note)


dear; (t-note)



those who have been slain
(see note)

Directly after

be lacking
Where; plentiful


(see note)

gave mass

were headed to

ordered them to; (t-note)

One is very certainly ours


(see note)

I just now saw


When; knew

at once

I wish to die in your presence
Unless God prevents it

scratched; face


will I nevermore be


(see note)(see note)

remedy; (see note)

be prepared
To avoid

one by one

willow ropes

willow ropes; (t-note)


Prayed there directly



mount [i.e., Calvary]; (see note)
pause for a moment

(see note)

From Persia


(see note)
(see note)

there; (t-note)


polished swords

was almost slain


enemies; (see note)(t-note)

devil’s followers; (see note)

their; (t-note)

many jumped into

to the end of their life days
(see note)

Exactly the length of three days; (see note)

worshipfully (honorably)

then; blithe; (t-note)

caused; (t-note)
has arranged; (t-note)

leapt forth

accuses him at once; (see note)(t-note)

lie; (see note)

Your body immediately against mine

drawn; (t-note)

made ready then






exposed as guilty

How he had sold the Christians


He [Ganelon] confessed

gained the prize

here at Saint-Denis

sentenced to

Still living

horses; tied




misadventure; (see note)

myrrh; balm; (see note)
aroma; (t-note)

balm; anointed
From some [of the dead]


preserved them


horse-drawn biers
caskets; (t-note)



suffering; (see note); (see note)

says; (see note)



Go To Introduction of Duke Roland and Sir Otuel of Spain