Alphabet of tales : an English 15th century translation of the Alphabetum narrationum of Etienne de Besançon, from Additional MS. 25,719 of the British Museum
Etienne de Besançon
Mary Macleod Banks
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CCCCXXII.
Karolus. De statura et vita Karoli regis.

This kyng Charlis was of a fayr̛ statur, for he was viij fute long & wele shapyn̛ & awfuƚƚ to sight; & he was passand̛ large of renys, & he was clenlie bothe in bely & in armys & had grete theis; & he was a passand̛ wyse knyght & a bitter & strong of lym̛. & his face was in lenthe oderhalfe palme (and̛ his berd̛ a fute long), & his nese emyddiste þerof & halfe þat lentℏ. & his fored̛ was a fute long, and he had een̛ like a lyon̛ þat shane as a precious stane, and his browis was a palm̛ brede. And if he had bene wrathe & lukid̛ on̛ a man̛ he wolde hafe flayed̛ hym̛. And his gyrdyƚƚ was viij fute lang with-oute þat at hang. And he ete bod littyl brede, bod at ans he wolde ete a quarter of a weddur, or ij hennys, or a guse, or a swyne shulder, or a pacok, or a crane, or a hale hare. And he wolde drynk bod esy wyne, bod if it war medlid̛ with watir. & he was of suche strenthe þat, at a strake with his swerd̛, he wald̛ cut in sonder ane armyd knyght syttand on̛ a hors fro þe crown̛ of þe hede vnto þe sole of þe fute, & his hors als; and he wolde lightlie breke iiij hors shone at ans, and he wold̛ lifte eselie to his hede ane armyd knyght stondyng on̛ þe luff of his hand̛. And̛ he bare tables with hym̛ þat he bare aƚƚ his actis in. And he drank bod seldom̛ mor̛ þan̛ thrise at his meat. And he luffid̛ wele to ride and bere armys, and he made his doghters to be clothe-makers, & for to lere at spyn̛ on̛ þe rokk̘, at þai sulde nott be ydiƚƚ. And at Coleyn̛ he garte byg ij briggis Page  291 our̛ þe watir of Reine. And when̛ he come to Rome he wold̛ light a myle with-oute þe town̛, & go vnto þe cetie apon̛ his fute, & kys euer-ilk kurk dure, & giff grete rewardis vnto euer-ilk kurk̘. And he delyverd̛ þe Holie Lande oute of Saracens handis, and come fro thens-ward be Constantynople; and he broght thens many wurthi relikkis, þat is to say, parte of þe crown̛ of our̛ Lord̛, whilk þat florisshid̛ in his syght, and ane of þe naylis þat our Lord̛ was naylid̛ vnto þe cros with, and His sudarie, & our̛ Ladie sarke, and Saynt Symeon̛ arm̛. And aƚƚ þies he putt in a kurk of our Layde þat he byggid̛, and he fowndid̛ & byggid̛ als many abbays as þer was lettres in þe Abce. And in euer-ilk one of þaim he lefte a letter of golde. And at þe laste, when̛ his son̛ Lowis was crownyd̛, he was fuƚƚ of gude werkis & decesid̛, and was berid̛ at Aquis Granum in a kurk of our̛ Ladye þat he byggid̛. And yit or he dyed̛ he callid̛ samen aƚƚ his prelattis, & gaff þaim aƚƚ his tresurs to distribute þaim whar̛ þaim þoght nede emang þer kurkis.

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