Capitulum nonum decimum.
RICHARDE the secunde, and the iiijthe duke of Normandy, diede þis yere; whom his sonne Richarde the thrydde did suc|cede; whom Roberte the yonger broþer poysenede after the firste yere of his governayle. Wherefore the same Robert, successour to hym, after the vijthe yere of his governayle, with grete compunction wente barefote to Ierusalem, and diede at Bithinia; of whom hit is rehersed that he was myȝhty in batelle, liberalle in ȝiffenge, and profuse in makynge festes. Where hit happede in a grete feste that the seide duke offrenge with his knyȝhtes, oon of his knyȝhtes offred not; the duke suppos|ynge he hade not eny thynge to offre, commaunded an cli. to Page 121, vol.7 be taken to hym; whiche receyvynge that summe, offrede hit holle. That knyȝhte inquirede why he did soe, ansueryde that hit was ȝiffen to hym to offre. The duke herynge that, com|maunded an cli. to be taken to hym to his awne use. That duke playenge an other tyme at the chesse, a botelle of golde onorned mervellousely with gemmes, was brouȝhte to hym, whom he ȝafe anoon to a clerke playenge with hym, and the clerke diede anoon after. Leches assignede this to be the cause, seyenge that lyke as a herte schutte for grete sorowe, and not opened soone, inducethe dethe, so the herte openede for grete ioye, and not schutte soone, inducethe dethe. Also a man brouȝhte to the duke ij. ryalle knyfes, to whom he ȝafe a cli., whiche tellynge that money, in the meane tyme ij. noble horses were ȝiffen to the duke, whom he ȝafe also to þe same man, the man ȝiffenge thonkynge to þe duke departede prively awey. After that a cuppe of sylver was taken to the seide duke, that man bryngynge the knyfes to the duke souȝhte and not founde, the duke was soory, sayenge that he hade not a condigne rewarde for his knyves. Hit was seide that this duke wolde have ȝiffen to a man that hade brouȝhte hym enythynge of worschip or pleasure whatsoever thynge that hade ben ȝifen to Page 123, vol.7 hym in þat day, withowte the ȝifte hade ben to eite.*. [Sic in MS.]Willel|mus de Regibus, libro tertio. This duke Robert goynge in a tyme thro Phalesia a cite of Normandy, perceyvede the doȝhter of a skynner, Arlet by name, dawnesynge amonge oþer women, and takynge hir to hym in the nyȝhte, and usynge here a cer|teyne season in the maner of his wife, gate of here William þe [folio 321a] noble conquerour. The magnitude of whom to comme the dreame of his moder portended, thenkynge hire bowells to be spredde over Ynglonde and Normandy. And also in the tyme of hire childynge, William Conquerour here son towchynge the erthe, fyllede bothe his hondes of hit, and helde hit faste; wherefore the myddewife seide hit was a signe that he scholde be a noble kynge and prince. This maide Arlet brouȝhte to the bedde of the duke, in the firste nyȝhte brake here smokke from the chynne unto here feete. The duke inquirenge the cause, sche answerede and seide that hit was ageyne norture and curtesye that the laweste parte of here smocke, whiche hade compassede here feete, scholde be turnyde to the mowthe of here lorde. This duke goynge to Ierusalem, and callynge afore to hym the noble men of Normandy, caused theyme to swere and to promise fidelite to William his sonne, havynge that tyme Page 125, vol.7 vij. yere in age, makynge Gilbertus the erle his tutor, and the specialle charge of theim bothe to Henre kynge of Fraunce. Whiche promyse and fidelite was kepede to the seide William unto the dethe of Roberte, þat noble duke his fader, but his dethe knowen, every man allemoste amonge theyme despised the childe, and made provision for þeim selfe. But the seide Gilberte sleyne by the sonne of the broþer to the seide Roberte, Radulphus by name, and William Conqueroure but tendre in age, mony batelles were movede betwene parties. Neverthe|lesse the seide William Conquerour gedrenge an hoste toke and did sle Guido of Burguyn, cosyn to hym, getyn by the doȝhter of Richarde the secunde, auctor of those batelles, and causede Odo, broþer to the kynge of Fraunce, to flye, com|mynge with an hoste to ȝiffe batelle to hym. Henre kynge of Fraunce herynge that, and commynge with a grete multitude, was causede to fle by the seide William also; but pease was reformed by mediators, and the men of the kynge taken in captivite were restorede. Wherefore hit is to be attended that this noble William Conqueroure ȝiffynge mony batelles to the kynge of Fraunce, did not comme on hym not provided, as men use nowe, but assignenge a day and the place, hade victory contynually ageyne the kynge. The kynge of Fraunce dedde, William Conqueroure gate by grete victoryes Cenomannia and Briteyne the lesse, pertenynge of olde tyme to Normandy, whom Page 127, vol.7 kynge Charls ȝafe to Rollo with Gilla his doȝhter. In whiche batelle Harolde off Yngelonde was, as hit schalle be schewede after. Robert this duke of Normandy goynge to Ierusalem thro Burgundye, and commynge laste from the ȝate of the cite of alle pilgremes, was smyten with a staffe in the hedde by the porter, and thonkynge God, seide to his men that they scholde not do eny hurte to the porter, for he was worthy to have moore correccion, "ffor y luffe this stroke better than Roone." After that this duke commynge to Rome to take the crosse [folio 321b] of the pope, putte his precious palle on the ymage of noble Constantyne, skornynge the Romanes, in that thei wolde not ȝiffe oon tyme in the yere a clothynge to theire lorde. Also he causede the mule on whom he did ryde to be schodde with golde, prohibitynge his men to take the schoone and if thei did falle ofte. After that, he returnynge by the emperour of Con|stantinopole, and spekynge with hym, founde noo benche þer, sate uppon his palle after the maner of the cuntre, and his knyȝhtes in like wise. The duke arysynge and his men also lefte theire palles þer, seyenge that hit was not honeste to take theire seetes aweye with theyme. Themperoure proferynge grete ȝiftes to the duke, he refusede theyme, seyenge that he wolde Page 129, vol.7 lyve of his awne goode in his pilgremage and goynge to Ieru|salem, but in returnynge he wolde fullefylle the wylle of them|peroure. Wherefore themperoure commaunded that he scholde have woode y nowe necessary to hym thro his empyre withowte eny price. But the seide duke bouȝhte nuttes, with whom he caused his meyte to be made redy. Themperoure mervellynge moche the manhode of that duke, ordeynede benches and bankers in his place afterwarde. After that the duke was soo soore seke, that he myȝhte neiþer go ne ryde, wherefore he hirede poore Saracenys to beere hym on a beere in the day uppon theire schulders. Wherefore he commaunded a man of Normandy returnynge to that cuntre to say to men inquirynge for hym, that he see develles berrynge the duke towarde hevyn, ffor he callede the Saracenys develles, and the holy londe hevyn. The consuetude was in þat tyme that noo pilgreme scholde entre into the hooly cite, with owte that þei payede a certeyn summe of moneye; where mony Cristen men herynge of the commynge of that duke, come to hym, askynge helpe for the luffe of Criste; to whom he did swere by the herte of his wombe that he wolde be the laste of Cristen peple that scholde entre into that cite in that day, as longe as eny peny wolde dure. The noble Saracene and lorde of that cite herynge of the grete curtesye of that duke and manhode, commaunded that eny thynge scholde not be taken of hym or of men commynge with hym, and that offrenge of alle that day scholde be ȝiffen to the duke, whiche the duke distribute to poore men, and diede after þat in Bithinia.