The Romaunce of the Sowdone of Babylone and of Ferumbras his sone who conquerede Rome. Re-edited from the unique ms. of the late Sir Thomas Phillipps, with introduction, notes, and glossary, by Emil Hausknecht.
Hausknecht, Emil, 1853-1927.
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The Romaunce of the Sowdone of Babylone and of Ferumbras his Sone who Conquerede Rome:
From the unique MS. of the late Sir Thos. Phillipps.
GOd in glorye of myghteste 1. [Read: myghtes] moost, [ 1] *. [God has ordained all things wisely.]
That al thinge made in sapience
By vertue of woorde and holy goost,
Gyvinge to man grete excellence, [ 4]
And alle, þat is in erthe, wroght *. [He has subjected the earth to man, and man to God.]
Subiecte to man and man̄ to the,
That he shoulde witħ herte and thought
To loue and serve, and noon̄ but the: [ 8]
For ȝyfe man̄ kepte thy commaundemente *. [The man who keeps His com∣mandments and loves Him well,]
In al thinge and loued the welle
And hadde synnede in his entente,
Than̄ shulde he fully thy grace fele; [ 12] *. [will feel His grace.]
But for the offences to God I-doon2. [MS. dōō]*. [But many who offended Him have felt His vengeance.]
Many vengeaunces haue be-falle.
Where-of I wole yoū telle of oon̄, *. [I will tell you of one; it would take too long to tell of all.]
It were to mocħ to telle of alle. [ 16]
While þat Rome was in excellence
Of alle Realmes in dignite, *. [Listen to me, and ye shall hear how Rome, the former mistress of all nations, came to fall by its sins,]
And howe it felle for his offence,
Listinythe a while and ye shal see, [ 20]
Howe it was wonen̄ and brente
Of a Sowdon̄, that heathen̄ was, *. [and was destroyed by a heathen Soudan.]
And for synne howe it was shente;
As Kinge Lowes witnessith þat cas, [ 24] *. [King Lewis has borne witness to]
Page 2 As it is wryten in Romaunce *. [that story, which, written in Ro∣mance and found in very old chro∣nicles at St Denys in France, relates]
And founden in bokes of Antiquyte
At Seinte Denyse Abbey in Fraunce[e], 1. [leaf worn.]
There as Cronycles remembrede be, [ 28]
Howe Laban, the kinge of hie degre, *. [how Laban, the king of Babylon, who was born at Ascalon, con∣quered a great part of Christen∣dom.]
And syr and Sowdon̄ of hie Babilon̄,
Conquerede grete parte of Christiante,
That was born in Askalon̄. [ 32]
And in the Cite of Agremare 2. [See the note.]*. [He was holding his court in the city of Agremore, on the river Flagot,]
Vppon̄ the Rivere of Flagote
At þat tyme he soiorned ther 2. [See the note.]
Fulle roially, wel I wote, [ 36]
With kinges xij and Admyralles xiiij, *. [with 12 kings and 14 amirals, and many worthy barons and knights,]
With many a Baron̄ & Kniȝtis ful boold,
That roialle were and semly to sene;
Here worþynesse al may not be told. [ 40]
Hit bifelle by-twyxte March and Maye, [lf 1, bk]
Whan kynde corage begynneth to pryke, *. [when, in the time between March and May,]
Whan̄ ffritħ and felde wexen gaye,
And every wight desirith his like, [ 44]
Whan̄ lovers slepen̄ withe opyn̄ yȝe,
As Nightyngalis on grene tre,
And sore desire þat thai cowde flye,
That thay myghte withe here louere be: [ 48]
This worthy Sowdon̄ in this seson̄ *. [he went to the chase]
Shope him to grene woode to goon̄,
To chase the Bore or the Veneson̄,
The Wolfe, the Bere and the Bawson. [ 52]
He roode tho vppon̄ a fforeste stronde *. [in a wood near the sea.]
With grete rowte and roialte,
The fairest, þat was in alle þat londe,
With Alauntes, Lymmeris and Racches free. [ 56]
His huntes to chace he commaunde,
Here Bugles boldely for to blowe,
To fere the beestis in þat launde.
Page 3 The Sowdon̄ woxe wery I-nowe; [ 60] *. [Being weary with hunting, he sat down under a holm tree, and,]
He rested him vndere an holme tre
Sittynge vppon̄ a grene sete
Seynge a Dromonde com sailyng in þe see *. [seeing a dromond sailing on the sea, he charged one to enquire for news concerning the ship.]
Anone he charged to bekyn̄ him with honde [ 64]
To here of him tidinges newe.
The maister sende a man to londe, *. [The interpreter of the vessel being sent ashore, in∣formed the soudan, that this dromond, freighted at Babylon,]
Of diuers langages was gode and trewe,
And saide "lorde, this Dromonde 1. [See the note.] [ 68]
Fro Babyloyne comen̄ is,
That was worþe thousande poundis,
As 2. [or Ar] it mete with shrewes I-wis,
Charged with perle and precious stones [ 72] *. [with a cargo of rich furs, spices, oil, brass and pearls, intended as a present to the soudan, had been driven by stress of weather to Rome, where they had been robbed by the Romans.]
And riche pelure and spicerye,
With oyle and bras qweynte for the nones
To presente yow, my lorde worthy.
A drift of wedir vs droffe to Rome, [ 76]
The Romaynes robbed vs anone;
Of vs thai slowgh ful many one.
With sorwe and care we be bygone.
Whereof, lorde, remedye [ 80] [leaf 3]
Ye ordeyne by youre Barons boolde, *. [Therefore he solicited that the soudan would take revenge on those who had done such villainy to him.]
To wreke the of this vilane;
Or certes oure blis is coolde."
The Soudon hirynge this tyþinge, [ 84] *. [The soudan, hearing these tidings, made a vow to Mahound and to Apolyn, that they should dearly pay for it.]
With egre chere he made a vowe
To Mahounde and to Appolyne,
That thai shulde by it dere I-nowe,
Er that he wente fro theyme. 3. [See the note.] [ 88]
"Where be ye, my kinges boolde,
My Barons and my Admyral?
Thes tidinges make myn herte coolde
But I be venged, dyen I shalle. [ 92]
Sire Ferumbras, my sone so dere, *. ['Ferumbras, my son,' he said, 'and my daughter Floripas, ye must]
Ye muste me comforte in this case;
Page 4 My ioye is alle in the nowe here *. [be my comfort in this case.]
And in my Doghter Dame Florypas. [ 96]
Sortybraunce, my Counselere, *. [Order Sorti∣brance, my counsellor, to be called for, and my chancellor Oliborn,]
Lete clepe him forthe to counsaile me,
And Oliborne, my Chauncelere
And noble Clerke of hie degre, [ 100]
And Espiarde, my messangere, *. [and Espiard my messenger, that he may go to Africa and to Asia and to all the princes, who owe me allegiance, and command them hastily to assemble with shield and lance at Agremore."]
To goon to Assye and to Aufrike,
To kinges, princes ferr and ner,
Barons, Admyralls and Dukes frike, [ 104]
Comaundinge hem vppon̄ her legeaunce
To come in al hast vnto me,
Wel Armed with shelde and launse,
To Egremoure þon̄ riche Cite." [ 108]
In shorte tyme this message was wroghte *. [In a short time 100,000 men had assembled.]
An hundred thouusande on a rowte
That robbery was righte dere boght,
Was never none derrer withouten douȝte. [ 112]
The kinge of Baldas, sir Lukafer, *. [On the advice of Lukafer, king of Baldas,]
Of Aufryke lorde and governoure,
Spake to the Sowdon̄, that men myghte here,
And saide "sir, for thyn honour, [ 116]
Do sende for shippes both fer and nere."
Carrikes, Galeis and shippes shene, *. [the soudan also brought together 700 sail and a]
vij hundred were gadered al in fere
And a Dromonde for the Sowden̄ kene. [ 120] [leaf 4]
Sir Ferumbras of Alisaundre *. [dromond for himself, for Fe∣rumbras of Alex∣andrie, for the]
In the Dromonde with him was,
Of Assy the kinge of Chaunder, *. [Asiatic king of Chaunder and for Floripas.]
And his faire dogħter Floripas. [ 124]
Two maistres were in the Dromounde, *. [There were two masters in that vessel, and two idols placed on the main top, with round maces, therewith to menace the Christians. The sails of red sendal-silk were]
Two goddes on hye seten̄ thore
In the maister toppe, withe macis rounde,
To manace with the Cristen̄ lore. [ 128]
The sailes were of rede Sendelle,
Embrowdred witħ riche araye,
Page 5 With beestes and breddes every dele, *. [richly em∣broidered with figures of animals and birds.]
That was right curious and gaye; [ 132]
The Armes displaied of Laban
Of Asure and foure lions of goolde. *. [Four golden lions, the arms of the soudan of Babylon, were also displayed thereon.]
Of Babiloyne the riche Sowdon̄,
Moost myghty man he was of moolde, [ 136]
He made a vowe to Termagaunte, *. [Laban made a vow to Terma∣gant, to destroy Rome, and after that Charle∣magne.]
Whan Rome were distroied & hade myschaunce,
He woolde turne ayen erraunte
And distroye Charles the kinge of Fraunce. [ 140]
Fortħ thai sailed on the flode,
Tille thai come to the haven of Rome: *. [Having disem∣barked in the haven of Rome,]
The wynde hem served, it was ful goode.
Ther londed many a grymlye gome. [ 144]
Thai brente and slowen, þat Cristen were, *. [they slew all Christians, and burned towns, abbeys and churches.]
Town̄, Abbey and holy chirche.
The hethen hade such power there,
That moche woo gan thai there wircħ. [ 148]
Tidinggis came to Rome anone *. [The Pope of Rome, hearing of the heathens laying waste the whole country,]
Unto the Pope, that þt tyme was,
That the heþen came to bren and slone.
This was to hem a sory cas. [ 152]
He lete cal his counsaile to-geder *. [assembled his council.]
To wete, what was beste to don̄.
Anone as thai were come þeder,
He asked of hem al ful sone: [ 156]
"Lordinges, it is vnknowne 1. [See the note.] to you,
That this cursed hathen Sowdon̄
Brennyth and stroyeth oure pepul nowe,
Alive he leveth vnneth not one. [ 160]
Seint Petir be oure governoure [leaf 5]
And save this worthi Cite of Rome,
And Seinte Poule be oure gydoure
From this cursed hethen̄ houne 2. [looks like hound.]!" [ 164]
Ifreȝ he bispake him than̄, *. [Jeffrez, a senator]
Page 6 Of Rome he was a Senatoure, *. [of Rome, advised that worthy men should be sent to Charles of Douce France to implore his assistance.]
And saide "senditħ some worthy man
To Charles kinge of hye honoure. [ 168]
He wolde you helpe with al his mygħte,
That noble kinge of Dowse Fraunce."
"Certes" quod Savaris "þat weren no rigħte, *. [But Duke Savariz, thinking this to be a wretched piece of timidity,]
It were right a foule myschaunce, [ 172]
To sende to þat worthy kinge.
We have oure hedes yet al hole, *. [as they had not tried anything for themselves,]
Oure sheldes be not broke no-thinge,
Hawberke, spere, ner poleyne, ner pole. [ 176]
Where-of shul we playn̄ to him,
That no thinge yet have assaide?
Mecħ uylanye we myght wynne,
That for noght were so sone afrayed. [ 180]
Ten thousande men delyuere me tyte *. [asked for 10,000 men to be put under his command.]
Tomorue next in-to the feelde,
And I shall prove with al my myghte
To breke there bothe spere and shelde." [ 184]
Vnto the Senatours it semed welle,
His counsaile goode and honourable.
This worthi Duke was armed in stele
In armes goode and profitable; [ 188]
He bare a Chek of goulis clere,
An Egle of goolde abrode displayed.
With him many a bolde Bachelere
Tho spake Savaryȝ witħ wordes on hye [ 192] *. [The next morning the duke ad∣dressed his men,]
And saide "my felowes alle,
This daie prove you men̄ worthy,
And faire you al shal befalle.
Thenke yat Criste is more myghty [ 196]
Than here fals goddis alle;
And he shal geve vs the victorie,
And foule shal hem this day bifalle."
Fortħ than rode þat faire Ooste [ 200] *. [and directed them to the soudan's]
With right goode chere and randon̄,
Page 7 Tille than come ful nyȝe the cooste. *. [pavilion near the shore.]
Of the Sowdons Pavylon̄ [leaf 6]
Ferumbras was of hem ware [ 204] *. [Ferumbras, that doughty warrior, becoming aware of them, led]
And sprange out as a sparkil of glede;
Of Armes bright a sheelde he bare,
A Doughty man̄ he was of dede.
xv thousande came oute there [ 208] *. [15,000 men against the Romans.]
With him at þat same tyde,
Ayen the Romaynes for to were,
Witħ bobaunce, booste and grete pride.
The stoure was stronge, enduryng longe: [ 212]
The Romaynes hade there the feelde;
The Sarysyns thai slougħ amonge,
Ten thousand and mo with spere and sheelde. *. [10,000 and more of the Saracens were slain, and the Romans, though victorious, were led back to Rome by the cautious Savaris.]
Sauariz was wise and ware [ 216]
And drowe towards þat Citee.
His baner displaied witħ him he bare
To releve with his meyne.
The Pope with his Senatours [ 220] *. [The Pope thanked God for the victory.]
Thanked god þat tyme of glorie,
That gafe hem þat day grete honours,
Of hethen that dai to have the victorie.
Lukafere, kinge of Baldas, [ 224] *. [Lukafer of Baldas having scoured the country,]
The countrey hade serchid and sought,
Ten thousande maidyns faire of face *. [brought 10,000 maidens to the soudan, who]
Vnto the Sowdan hath he broghte.
The Sowdon̄ commanded hem anone, [ 228] *. [ordered them to be slain,]
That thai shulde al be slayn̄.
Martires thai were euerychon̄,
And therof were thai al ful fayne.
He saide "my peple nowe ne shalle [ 232] *. [saying, he would not have his people polluted by them, and he would destroy every Christian seed.]
With hem noughte defouled be,
But I wole distroie ouer all
The sede over alle Cristiante."
Tho spake lukefere the kinge, [ 236] *. [Lukafer said to the soudan:]
That hethen̄ hounde Baldas,
Page 8 And saide "Sir Sowdan̄, graunte me one thinge, *. ["Grant me thy daughter and I will bring thee Charlemagne and all his twelve peers."]
Thi doghter Dame Floripas.
The kinge of Fraunce I shal the bringe [ 240]
And the xij dosipers alle in fere."
The Sowdan saide in þat tokenyng,
"I graunte the here, that is so dere." *. [Laban assented; but Floripas said, she would only consent to be his darling,]
Tho sayde Floripe "sire, noon̄ haste, [ 244]
He hath note done as he hath saide.
I trowe, he speketh these wordes in waste, [leaf 7]
He wole make bute an easy brayde.
Whan he bryngith home Charles the kinge [ 248] *. [when he had taken Charles and the douzepeers.]
And the xij dosipers alle,
I graunte to be his derlynge
What so evere therof by-falle.
Than on the morowe the Sowdan̄ [ 252] *. [The next morning the soudan ordered Lukafer to assault the City with 30,000 men.]
Callid to him Lukafer of Baldas,
To assaile the Cite anone:
"And loke thou tary not in this cas!
Thritty thousande of my menie, [ 256]
Of Gallopes, Ethiopes and Aufricanes,
Take hem to the walles witħ the.
Betitħ down̄ wallis, towris and stones."
Lukafer blewe his clarion̄ [ 260]
To Assemble the Sarasyns þat tide,
Where-of thai knewe right welle the soune,
Thai made hem redy for to ride,
But whan thai come to the yate, [ 264]
The Dikes were so develye depe, *. [The Saracens, finding the ditches too deep, cannot pass, and are]
Thai helde hem selfe Chek-mate;
Ouer cowde thai nothir goo nor crepe.
Lukafer in al the haste [ 268]
Turned to the Sowdan agayn̄ *. [obliged to return.]
And saide "sir, it is alle in waste,
We laboure nowe alle in vayne.
To depe and brode the Dikes bene, [ 272]
The Towres so stronge be witħ alle,
Page 9 That by Mahounde I can note seen̄,
How that we shulde wyne ther to the walle."
Who was woode but the Sowdon̄? [ 276]
He reneyed his goddis alle.
He clepede his Engynour sir mavone, *. [The soudan calls for his engineer Mavon,]
To counsaile he did him faste calle.
He tolde him the case of þat myschefe, [ 280]
How it stode at that ilke tyde.
Mavon Gafe him counsel in breefe *. [who advised him to fill the ditch]
To fille the Dikes þat were depe. 1. [Read 'wide']
Every man to woode shal goon̄, [ 284]
Fagotis to hewe and faste bynde, *. [with fagots.]
And fille the Dikes faste anoon̄
With alle, that we may ther fynde.
"Gramercy, Mavon̄," quod Laban than̄, [ 288] *. [Laban thanks his wise engineer.]
"Mahoundis benysone thou shalt haue,
Of alle myn Ooste the wiseste man, [leaf 8]
With counsaile men for to saue.
Alle this was done the seconde daye, [ 292] *. [The following day, the ditch being filled with fagots, the city]
Men myght go even to the walle;
On every party the ooste laye,
Thai made assaite 2. [sic.? assaute.] then generalle. *. [was assaulted from all quarters. The Romans ran to the towers, and]
The Romaynes ronnen̄ to the toures, [ 296]
Thai were in ful grete dowte;
Thai hade many sharpe shoures, *. [a sharp conflict ensued.]
Thai were assailed sore a-bowte.
Wifis and maidyns stones thai bare [ 300] *. [Women and maidens carried stones which the]
To the walles than ful faste,
Thai were in grete drede and care;
The men over the wallis did caste. *. [men threw over the walls.]
Thai slowen many a Sarasyn̄, [ 304]
x thousande3. [MS. Ml] pepul of hem̄ and moo. *. [10,000 Saracens were slain and]
The daie passed to the fyne,
The hethen withdrowe hem tho. *. [the heathens obliged to withdraw.]
Whan these tidinges came to laban, [ 308]
Page 10 His goddes he gan chide. *. [Laban chides his gods and nearly grows mad with vexation.]
He waxe both blake, pale and wan,
He was nyȝe woode þat same tyde.
Tho Lukafer comfortede him welle [ 312] *. [But Lukafer told him that, having espied that]
And saide "sir, be not dismayed,
For I have aspied everydele,
Howe thai shalle alle be betrayede.
Sauariz wole to morowe witħ us fighte, [ 316] *. [Savaris would, the following day, come out again to fight with them, he would have a banner made exactly like his, which when Savaris was much engaged in the battle, he would unfold and enter Rome.]
His baner knowe I ful welle;
I shal have an othere, I yoū plighte,
Like to this every dele.
Whan he is moste besy in bataile, [ 320]
Than wole I with banere displaiede
Ride in to Rome without faile,
Thus shal thai al be betrayede.
The Sowdan̄ was glad of this tidinge, [ 324]
Hopinge it shulde be so;
And even as it was in purposynge, *. [And so it turned out;]
Right so was it aftir I-do.
Wenynge it hade be Sauarye, [ 328] *. [the Romans mis∣taking him for Savaris, returning from his sally,]
Relevinge fro the hethen stour,
Wenynge doth ofte harme withoute lye,
He entred to the maister Toure. *. [he entered the main tower,]
The firste warde thus thay wonne [ 332] [leaf 9]
By this fals contrevede engyne.
Thus was moche sorowe bygon̄,
Thai slougħ all, that were ther-Inne. *. [and slew all therein.]
Whan̄ Sauariz saugħ this discomfitur [ 336] *. [Savaris becoming aware of the arti∣fice of the enemy,]
Of the Romaynes in that tyme,
And howe harde than̄ was here aventur,
Of sorowe þat myghte he ryme
Of x thousande men̄ lefte no moo [ 340] *. [and seeing out of 10,000 Romans no more than seventy-two left,]
But sexty men̄ and twelfe,
And whan he sawe this myschief tho,
He turned homewarde agayn him selue. *. [turned back, but found the gate shut,]
By than̄ he founde the gate shite [ 344]
Page 11 With Sarisyns, that hade it wone;
And Estragot with him he mette
With bores hede, blake and donne.
For as a bore an hede hadde [ 348]
And a grete mace stronge as stele.
He smote Sauaryz as he were madde, *. [and was slain by Estragot, a black giant of Ethiopia.]
That dede to grounde he felle.
This Astrogot of Ethiop, [ 352]
He was a kinge of grete strengtħ;
Ther was none suche in Europe
So stronge and so longe in lengtħ.
I trowe, he were a develes sone, [ 356]
Of Belsabubbis lyne,
For ever he was thereto I-wone,
To do Cristen̄ men grete pyne.
Whan tidinggis came to the [P]ope, [ 360] *. [After the death of Savaris, the Pope]
That Duke Sauaryz was dede slayn̄,
Than̄ to woo turned alle his hope;
He dide calle than̄ to counsaile *. [summoned his council again.]
Alle the Senatouris of Rome, [ 364]
What þinge þat myght hem most availe,
And what were beste to done.
Tho by-spake a worthy man of counsaile,
An Erille of the Senatouris: [ 368] *. [An earl of the senatours sug∣gested the neces∣sity of dispatch∣ing messengers to Charlemagne, im∣ploring him to]
"The best counsaile, þat I can
Sending vnto Charles the kinge 1. [This line in a much later hand.]
Certifiynge him by your myssangeris
The myschief þat ye are Inne, [ 372]
That he come with his Dosyperys *. [come to their deliverance.]
To reskue Cristiante fro this heþen." [leaf 10]
All thai assentede anone therto; *. [hey all assented.]
The lettres were made in haste. [ 376]
Thre messageres we ordeyn̄ 2. [Read: were ordeyned] therto, *. [Three messen∣gers, with letters written in haste,]
That went forthe at the laste.
Page 12 At a posterne thai wente oute *. [left the city by a postern at mid∣night, and passed the enemy's camp without being noticed by any wight.]
Pryvely aboute mydnygħt, [ 380]
And passed through alle the route.
Of hem was war no wigħt.
BVt let we nowe the messangeris goon̄,
And speke we of Laban̄, [ 384]
Howe he dide saile the Cite anoon̄,
And commaundid, þat every man *. [Laban com∣manded every man to throw pikes and bills over the walls, to kill the Romans.]
Shulde withe Pikeys or witħ bille
The Wallis over throwe, [ 388]
That he myght the Romaynes kille,
Playnly on a rowe,
By water he ordeynede the shippes goon̄, *. [He ordered the ships to go up the water, with their boats bound to the mast, that they might fight in close combat.]
The bootis bownden to the maste, [ 392]
That thai myght fight with hem anoon̄,
Honde of honde, þat was here caste.
To the Toure a bastile stode, *. [Near the tower there stood a bastile which formed a principal protection to the city.]
An engyne was I-throwe— [ 396]
That was to the Cite ful goode—
And brake down̄ towres both hie and lowe. *. [It was laid low by stones hurled from an engine.]
Tho sorowede alle the Citesyns
And were ful hevy than̄. [ 400]
Tho wox prowde the Sarasyns, *. [Laban, growing proud, summoned the Romans to surrender.]
And than bispake sire laban
And saide "yolde youe here to me,
Ye may not longe endure, [ 404]
Or ellis shall ye al slayn̄ be,
By mahounde I you ensure."
A Romayne drife a darte him to *. [Instead of an answer, a Roman hurled a dart at his breast-plate, but his hauberk shielded him.]
And smote him on the breste plate, [ 408]
Ne hadde his hawberke lasted tho,
Mahounde had come to late.
Tho was the Sowdon̄ more þan̄ wod, *. [The soudan, more than mad, charged Ferum∣bras to destroy them all,]
He cried to Ferumbras, [ 412]
"For Mahoundes loue, þat is so good,
Destroye vp bothe man and place.
Page 13 Spare no thinge that is alyve,
Hows, Toure ner Walle, [ 416] [leaf 11]
Beest, ner man, Childe nere Wife,
Brenne, slo and distroye alle."
Tho Ferumbras ordeynede anone
To bende the Engynes to the town̄ [ 420]
And bete down̄ botħ Toure and stoon̄.
He cleped fortħ Fortibraunce and Mavon̄ *. [and enjoined Fortibrance and Mavon to direct their engines against the walls.]
And saide "be youre Engynes goode?
Shewe forth here nowe your crafte [ 424]
For Mahoundis love, þat gevith man foode,
That ther be no Toure lafte."
Tho the grete gloton̄ Estagote 1. [Estragote]*. [The great glutton Estragot, with his heavy mace,]
With his myghty mace sware [ 428]
On the Gatis of Rome he smote *. [smote on the gates and brake them in pieces.]
And brake hem alle on thre thare.
In he entrid at the Gate *. [But as he was entering one of the gates, they let the portcullis fall, which crushed him to the ground,]
The Porte-Colis on him thai lete falle. [ 432]
He wende, he hade come to late,
It smote him through herte, lyuer and galle.
He lai cryande at the grounde *. [where he lay crying like a devil.]
Like a develle of Helle; [ 436]
Through the Cite wente the sowne,
So lowde than gan he yelle.
Gladde were al the Romaynes, *. [The Romans were glad, but the Saracens grieved.]
That he was take in the trappe, [ 440]
And sorye were al the Sarsyns
Of þat myschevos happe.
Sory was the Soudon̄ than̄
And Ferumbras and Lukafer. [ 444]
Thai drowe hem tille her tentes than̄, *. [They withdrew to their tents, leav∣ing behind the corpse of Estra∣got, whose soul went up to Mahound.]
Thai left him ligginge there.
Mahounde toke his soule to him
And broght it to his blis. [ 448]
He loued him wel and al his kyn,
Page 14 Of þat myghte he not mys.
Anone the [P]ope dide somon̄ alle; *. [The Pope called all his people to St. Peter's,]
The peple of the Cite came, [ 452]
To Seinte Petris he dide hem calle,
And thidere came every man.
He saide on hie "my Children dere, *. [and proposed to them]
Ye wote wel, howe it is; [ 456]
Ayenst the Sarisyns, þat nowe be here,
We mowe not longe endure I-wis.
Thay brekene oure walles, oure Toures alle [leaf 12]
With caste of his Engyne. [ 460]
Therefore here amonge yoū alle
Ye shalle here counsaile myne.
Thai bene withdrawe to here Oost, 1. [Read: reste]
And on-armede thay ben alle. [ 464]
Therfore, me thenketh, is beste *. [to attempt a sally with 20,000 men, to attack the enemy before day∣break within their camp,]
To-morowe erly on hem to falle.
We have xxxti thousande men;
Twenty thousande shal go witħ me, [ 468]
And in this Cite leve ten *. [and to leave 10,000 for the guard of the city.]
To governe the comynalte."
The Senatouris assentede sone *. [The senators assented.]
And saide, beter myghte no man seyne. [ 472]
On the morowe this was it done 2. [See the note.]*. [In the morning]
God bringe hem wele home agayne.
The Pope did display than *. [the Pope dis∣played the banner of Rome,]
The hie baner of Rome, [ 476]
And he assoiled every man̄
Througħ gracious god in Dome.
He praide of helpe and socour *. [and after a prayer for the preserva∣tion of the city,]
Seinte Petir and Poule also [ 480]
And oure lady, þat swete floure,
To saue the Cite of Rome from woo.
Forth thai riden̄ towarde the Oost. *. [they marched out.]
Ferumbras romede a-boute; [ 484] *. [But Ferumbras. going his rounds,]
Page 15 He saw the Romaynes comen̄ by the Cost, 1. [MS. Oost corrected to Cost.]*. [discovered their coming,]
Thereof he hade grete dowte.
He blewe an horne, of bras it was; *. [sounded the alarm,]
The Sarsyns be-gon̄ to wake. [ 488]
"Arise vp" he saide in aras, 2. [Read: a ras.]
"We bene elles alle I-take,
And Armes anone, every wight,
To horse with spere and shelde! [ 492]
Ye may se here a ferefułł sighte
Of oure enemyes in the felde.
Astopars, 3. [See the note.] goo ye biforne vs, *. [and drew up his troops.]
For ye be men of myghte; [ 496]
Ethiopes, Assayneȝ and Askalous,
Go nexte afore my sighte.
My Fadir and I with Babyloynes,
Ho 4. [Read: We] shal kepe the rerewarde. [ 500]
King Lukafer with Baldeseynes,
To venge alle, shalle have the Fowarde." [leaf 13]
The Romaynes aspied, þat thai were ware
Of here comynge than̄, [ 504]
And therfore hade thay moche care.
Natheles on hem thai gon̄—
Seinte Petir be here socoure!—
And laiden on side, bake and bon̄. [ 508]
There bigan a sturdy shoure *. [There began a hard struggle.]
Sire 5. [MS. Berumbras.] Ferumbras of Alisaundre oon̄, 6. [See the note.]
That bolde man was in dede,
Vppon a steede Cassaundre gaye, [ 512]
He roode in riche Weede.
Sire Bryer of Poyle a Romayne to fraye *. [Ferumbras slew Sir Bryer of Apulia]
He bare through witħ a spere,
Dede to the grounde ther he lan̄ [ 516]
Might he no more hem dere!
Page 16 That sawe Huberte, a worthy man,
Howe Briere was I-slayn̄,
Ferumbras to qwite than̄ [ 520]
To him he rode ful even̄.
With a spere vppone his shelde þan̄
Stifly ganne he strike;
The shelde he brake I-myddis the feelde; [ 524]
His Hawberke wolde not breke.
Many goode strokes were delte.
Ferumbras was a-greved tho,
He smote with mayne and mygħte [ 528] *. [and the worthy Hubert.]
The nekke asonder, the ventayle also,
That dede he sate vprighte.
There was bataile harde and stronge;
Many a steede wente ther a-straye, [ 532]
And leyen at the grounde I-stonge,
That resyn never aftyr that day,
IX thousand of the payens pride *. [9000 pagans were killed,]
That day were slayn̄, [ 536]
And viij thousande of the Romaynes side, *. [and 8000 Romans.]
That in the feelde dede layne.
Lukafere, þat paynym proude, *. [Lukafer destroyed eighteen Romans,]
Slough Romaynes eyȝtene, [ 540]
Of werr moche sorowe he coude,
His strokes were over alle sene.
Gyndarde, a Senatoure of Rome, *. [he also slew Gyndard, a senator of Rome,]
Had slayne Sarsenys ten̄, [ 544] [leaf 14]
Tille he met with the cursed gome, *. [who had slain ten Saracens.]
Lukifere slough him than.
Tho come the Pope with grete aray, *. [Then came the Pope with a great guard and his banner before him.]
His baner to-fore him wente. [ 548]
Ferumbras than gan̄ to assaye,
If he myght that praye entente,
Supposynge in this though[t]e, *. [Ferumbras, sup∣posing him to be the sovereign,]
Ther was the souerayne; [ 552]
He spared him therfore rigħt nogħt,
Page 17 But bare him down̄ ther in þe playn̄. *. [burst open the thick crowd and threw him down to the ground.]
Anoon̄ he sterte on him all ane
His Ventayle for to onlace, [ 556]
And saugh his crown̄ newe shafe, *. [But seeing his tonsure, he was ashamed.]
A-shamed thanne he was.
"Fye, preest, god gyfe the sorowe! *. ["Fie, priest," he said, "what doest thou in the battle-field?]
What doist thou armede in the feelde, [ 560]
That sholdest saie thi matyns on morwe,
What doist thoū witħ spere and shelde?
I hoped, thoū hadiste ben̄ an Emperoure,
Or a Cheftayne of this Ooste here, [ 564]
Or some worthy conqueroure.
Go home and kepe thy Qwer!
Shame it were to me certayne *. [It would be a shame for me to slay thee.]
To sle the in this bataile, [ 568]
Therfore turne the home agayn̄!" *. [Go home and think of thy choir∣service!"]
The Pope was gladde þer-of certayne, 1. [Read: 'without faile.']
He wente home to Rome that nyght *. [The Pope retired with 5000 men,]
Witħ Five thousande and no more, [ 572]
XV thousande lefte in the feelde aplight, *. [15,000 being killed.]
Full grete sorowe was therfore.
NOwe telle we of the messanger,
That wente to Charlemayne, [ 576] *. [Charlemagne, having learned from the mes∣senger the great disaster which had befallen the Romans,]
Certyfyinge him by lettres dere,
Howe the Romaynes were slayne,
And howe the Contrey brente was
Vnto the Gate of Rome, [ 580]
And howe the people song 'alas,'
Tille socoure from him come.
"Who" quod Charles, that worthy kinge,
"The Sowdon̄ and Ferumbras? [ 584]
I nyl lette for no thinge, [leaf 15]
Till I him oute of Cristendome chace. *. [said, he would not desist until he had chased the soudan and Ferumbras out of Christendom.]
Therefore Gy of Burgoyn̄,
Mynne owen nevewe so trewe, [ 588]
Page 18 Take a thausande pounde of Frankis fyne, *. [He gave 1000 pounds of francs to his nephew Guy of Burgundy,]
To wage wytħ the pepul newe.
Take this with the nowe at this tyme,
And more I wole sende the, [ 592]
Loke that thou spare no hors ne shelde, *. [and sent him off with orders to advance against the soudan by forced marches.]
But þat he dede be;
And faste hye the thyderwarde,
For I drede thay haue grete nede, [ 596]
And I shalle come aftirwarde *. [Himself would follow as soon as possible.]
As faste, as I may me spede."
SPeke we of Sir Laban̄
And let Charles and Gy be, [ 600]
Howe he ordeyned for hem than̄
To Distroye Rome Citee.
"Sir Lukafer, thou madiste thi boost *. [Laban reminded Lukafer of his vaunting promise to bring him Charlemagne and his douzepeers,]
To conquer the Romaynes [ 604]
And to bringe me the Ooste
Of the xij peris and Charlemayne.
Vppon̄ a condicion̄ I graunte the *. [in return for his daughter Floripas.]
My doghter, dere Dame Floripas. [ 608]
Wherefore, I aske nowe of the
To holde covenaunte in this cas."
"That I saide" quod Lucafere, *. [Lukafer said, he would do all he had promised.]
"To Mahounde I make a vowe [ 612]
To done al þat I hight the ther,
Ye and more than 1. [See the note.] for Florip love."
He ordeyned assaute anone in haste *. [With 10,000 men he attacked the city on one side,]
With x thousande men and moo; [ 616]
And Ferumbras at that oþer side faste *. [the other being assaulted by Ferumbras.]
Assailed hem with grete woo.
The saute endured al þat daye *. [The combat con∣tinues as long as daylight lasts.]
From morowe, tille it was nyght, [ 620]
To throwe and shete by euery waye,
While that hem endured the light.
Tho wente thai home to thair tentys, *. [At night they retired to their tents.]
Page 19 Tille it were on the morowe. [ 624]
Isres in his fals ententes *. [Isres, who pos∣sessed by inherit∣ance the guard of the principal gate,]
Purposed treson̄ and sorowe.
He was chief Porter of the Town̄, [leaf 16]
By heritage and fee so he shulde be. [ 628] *. [planned treason.]
He wente to the Sowdan̄, *. [He repaired to the soudan and offered to betray the city on condi∣tion that his life and property should be spared.]
For the riche Cite betraye woolde he,
And saide "lorde, gife me grace
For my goodes and for me, [ 632]
And I wole delyuer the this place
To haue and holde for ever in fee.
The keyes of this riche Cite
I haue in my bandon." [ 636]
"That graunte I" quod Laban "the *. [The soudan pro∣mised it.]
To be free withoute raunson̄."
Ferumbras made him yare, *. [Ferumbras with 20,000 men went with Isres.]
With xxti thousand men̄ and moo, [ 640]
With this Isres for to fare,
And to wynne the Cite soo.
As sone as he entred was *. [On entering the gate,]
The chief Gate of alle, [ 644]
And alle his men in aras, 1. [Read: 'a ras.']
He lete the Portcolys falle. *. [he caused the traitor's head to be struck off by the portcullis, and]
He smote of the traitourus hede
And saide "god gife him care! [ 648]
Shal he never more ete brede,
All traitours evel mot 2. [MS. met.] thai fare!
If he myght leve and reigne here,
He wolde betraye me; [ 652]
For go he west, soutħ or Nortħ,
Traitour shalle he never be."
He dide lete bere his hede on a spere *. [to be carried on the point of a spear through the city.]
Througħ-oute this faire Citee. [ 656]
'Treson, treson̄' thai cried there, *. ["Treason," cried the people within,]
Pite it was to here and see.
Page 20 The people fled by every waye,
Thai durst no-where a-bide. [ 660]
The hye wey ful of dede men laye, *. [and all streets were soon covered with dead men.]
And eke by every lanys side.
Ferumbras to Seinte Petris wente, *. [Ferumbras went to St. Peter's, seized the relies, the cross, the crown and the nails,]
And alle the Relekes he seased anoon̄, [ 664]
The Crosse, the Crown̄, the Nailes bente;
He toke hem with him everychone.
He dide dispoile al the Cite
Both of tresoure and of goolde, [ 668]
And after that brente he [leaf 17]
Alle þat ever myght be toolde. *. [burned the whole city,]
And alle the tresoure witħ hem þai bare *. [and carried away all the treasures and the gold to Agremore,]
To the Cite of Egremour. [ 672]
Laban the Sowdon̄ soiourned there 1. [See the note.]*. [where the soudan went to stay.]
Thre monþes and thre dayes more *. [Three months and three days they spent there in great festivities, making offerings to their gods,]
In myrtħ and Ioye and grete solas.
And to his goddes offrynge he made, [ 676]
He and his sone Sir Ferumbras
Here goddis of golde dide fade,
Thai brente Franken̄sense, *. [and burning frankincense in their honour.]
That smoked vp so stronge, [ 680]
The Fume in her presence,
It lasted alle alonge.
Thai blewe hornes of bras,
Thai dronke beestes bloode. [ 684] *. [They drank the blood of beasts and milk, and ate honey]
Milke and hony ther was,
That was roial and goode.
Serpentes in Oyle were fryed *. [and snakes fried in oil.]
To serve þe Sowdon̄ with alle, [ 688]
"Antrarian Antrarian" thai lowde cryed
That signyfied 'Ioye generalle.'
Thus thai lived in Ioye and blis
Two monþes or thre. [ 692]
Lete we now be alle this,
Page 21 And of Gye nowe speke we.
NOw speke we of Sir Gȳe
That toward Rome hied witħ his Oost. [ 696]
Whan̄ he approched there-to so nyȝe, *. [When Sir Guy drew near Rome, finding the whole city in flames,]
That he myght se the cooste,
Alle on a flame þat Cite was,
That thre myle al abowte, [ 700]
Ther durst no man̄, þat ther was,
Come nyȝe the Cite for grete dowte.
That was a sory Cite than,
Sir Gye was in grete care, [ 704] *. [he grieved much]
Ther was nowhere a soryer man̄,
For sorowe he sighed ful sare,
And saide "welallas" 1. [MS. is rubbed, but it looks more like welawai.] the while
"For we come ar to late, [ 708] *. [that he had arrived too late.]
For by some treson or some gyle
Thai entred in at some Gate.
There is no more but for to abyde, *. [He resolved there to wait for Charlemagne]
Tille Charles come, the kinge, [ 712]
In this mede Vnder grene wode side, [leaf 18]
To telle him of this tithinge, *. [and then to tell him, how Laban had burnt the city, and had sent the relies to Agremore,]
Howe Laban hath the Cite brente
And bore the Religes 2. [Read: 'reliqes.'] a-waye, [ 716]
And howe he hath hem to Spayne sente
With Shippes of grete aray,
To Egremour his chief Cite, *. [his principal town in Spain.]
Ther to live and ende; [ 720]
And manassitħ Charles and his baronye.
God gife hem evelle ende!"
Kinge Charles he forgate nought *. [King Charles advanced to rescue Rome with his douzepeers]
To come to reskowe Rome, [ 724]
Alle his Doȝypers were I-sought,
Fulle sone to him thay come.
Thre hundred thousande of Sowdeoures *. [and 300,000 soldiers.]
Page 22 Kinge Charles with him dide lede, [ 728]
They were doughty in all stourys
And worthy men of dede.
Sir Roulande þat worthy knighte, *. [Roland led the vanguard,]
He ladde the Fowarde, [ 732]
And Sir Olyuer, that was so wighte, *. [Oliver the rear,]
Gouerned the Rerewarde.
The Kinge himselfe and his Baronye, *. [the king was]
With Dukes And Erilles roialle, [ 736]
Gouerned alle the medil partye. *. [with the main body.]
By commaundemente generall
He ordeynede grete plente *. [The provisions]
Of Flessh and Fissh, brede and wyne, [ 740]
In shippes to saile by the see, *. [were conveyed by sea.]
To serven him ful wel and fyne.
Sir Gye aspied his comynge, *. [Guy seeing them come, went to]
He knewe the baner of Fraunce, [ 744]
He wente anoon̄ ayen the kinge *. [meet the king, and told him the mischief done by the soudan,]
And tolde him of þat myschaunce,
Howe that the cursed Sowdan̄
Hath brent Rome and bore the Relekis awaye, [ 748]
And how he hath slayn̄ alle and some,
That he hatħ founde of Cristen̄ faye.
And more-over he made his a-vowe, *. [who moreover had made a vow to seek Charles in France in order to afflict him with grief.]
To seke kinge Charles in Fraunce [ 752]
And do him wo ther I-nowe.
"God gif him moch myschaunce!"—
"A" quod Charles "þat neditħ noght, [leaf 19]
He shal fynde me nere. [ 756] *. ["He will find me near," said Charles, "and]
By god, þat dere me bogħt,
He shal by it ful dere. *. [shall dearly pay for it.]
I shalle him never leve I-wis
Withinne walle ner witħoute, [ 760]
I swere by god and seinte Denys,
Tille I have sought him oute; *. [Unless he consents to be baptized,]
And but if he will Baptised be
Page 23 And lefe his fals laye, [ 764]
Babyloyne shal he never see *. [he never shall see Babylon again."]
For alle his grete aray.
Anoon to shippe every man̄ *. [They all took ship without delay.]
With vitaile and with store, [ 768]
Euen towarde the proud Sawdan̄
With-outen̄ any more.
Wynde him blewe ful fayre and goode
Into the Ryver of Gaȝe, [ 772] *. [Propitious winds drove them into the river Gase, where they]
Even over the salte flode
And ouer the profounde rase.
XXX legeeȝ from Egremour *. [landed, 30 miles from Agremore,]
By londe for south it is, [ 776]
And ther withoute any more
To londe thai wente I-wis,
And brente and sloughen̄ al þat thai fonde, *. [and laid waste the country.]
And stroyed both Toure and town̄. [ 780]
Thai lefte no thinge on grounde,
That thai ne bete it down̄.
Tithinggis were tolde to Laban, *. [Laban, hearing this news,]
Howe Charles was I-come [ 784]
And slough bouth childe, wyfe, man
And brente and stroyed alle and some
With thre hundred thousand of Bacheleris,
That were both stoute and gaye, [ 788]
And with him al his Dosyperis,
Pepul of grete araye.
"And but ye ordeyne remedy,
He wole you brenne and sloon̄, [ 792]
Youe and youre riche Baronye,
He wole leve a-life neuere oon̄."
Whan Laban herde these tidyngys,
His herte woxe alle coolde [ 796]
And saide "this is a wonder thinge! [leaf 20]
Howe durste he be so boolde? *. [was astonished at Charles's presumption.]
Litill kennyth he what I may doo,
Page 24 He dredith me litil nowe. [ 800]
But certes he shalle, er he goo,
To Mahounde I make a vowe.
Sir Lucafer and Ferumbras *. [He assembled all his barons,]
To him dide he calle [ 804]
And Mavon̄ and Sortebras
And his Barons alle.
I charge you vppon̄ youre legeaunce, *. [and charged them to bring him alive that glutton that called himself king of France,]
That ye bringe me that gloton, [ 808]
That clepeth himselfe kinge of Fraunce,
Hidere to my Pavilon̄.
Kepe him a-live, the remenaunte sle *. [and to slay the remnant.]
The xij Peris ychoon̄! [ 812]
I shalle tech him curtesye,
I swere by god Mahounde."
Ferumbras anoon̄ than *. [Ferumbras went forth with many Saracens.]
Arrayed him for to ride [ 816]
With proude Sarasyns many a man,
That boldely durst a-bide.
Rowlande met with Ferumbras *. [He meets with Roland.]
And gafe him such a stroke [ 820]
That al astonyed þerof he was,
It made him lowe to stoupe.
Ferombras smote him agayne *. [They deal each other heavy strokes.]
With myghte and mayn, with ire [ 824]
That he stenyed alle his brayne,
Him thought, his eyen̄ were alle on fyre.
With Lucafer Oliver mette, *. [Oliver cuts off a quarter of Lukafer's shield.]
And hit him on the sheelde [ 828]
A stroke, that was right wel sette;
A quarter flye in the feelde.
Thus thai hurteled to-gedere *. [The combat lasted the whole day.]
Alle the lefe longe daye, [ 832]
Nowe hider and nowe theder;
Mony an hors wente ther astraye.
The Dosyperis thay foughten wele, *. [Well fought the twelve peers.]
Page 25 Duke Neymys and Oger, [ 836]
With goode swerdes of fyne stele
And so dide Gye and Syr Bryer.
Ferumbras was euer a-bowte [leaf 21]
To fyghte witħ Olyvere, [ 840] *. [Ferumbras charges Oliver.]
And Olyuer with-oute dowte
Leyde on with goode chere.
Kinge Charles saugh Ferumbras, *. [King Charles, seeing this, rides on to Ferumbras,]
To him fast he rode [ 844]
And it on the helme witħ his mace, *. [and strikes his helm with his heavy mace.]
That stroke sadlye abode.
Ferumbras was woode for woo, *. [Ferumbras cannot approach him on account of the crowd.]
He myght for prees come him to [ 848]
For no worldis thinge, that myght be tho.
Kinge Charles anoon 1. [A modern hand has written in the margin "Mount."] Ioye oute-drowe, *. [Charlemagne with his sword Mounjoy slew 30 Saracens.]
And with his owen honde
XXXti Sarseynys ther he slowe, [ 852]
That laie dede vppone the sonde;
Many of hem therfore made joy Inowe.
Sir Lucafere of Baldas, *. [Lukafer of Baldas, encountering Charles,]
He presed to Charles sone, [ 856]
And saide "Sir, with harde grace,
What hastowe here to done?
I behight Laban to bringe the to him *. [told him that he had promised the soudan to bring him Charles and the douzepeers.]
And the xij peris alle; [ 860]
Now shaltowe come from al thy kyn
Into the Sowdans halle.
Yelde the to me" he saide,
"Thy life shalle I safe." [ 864]
A stroke on him than Charles layde; *. [Charles strikes him on his helmet,]
He made the Paynym to rafe.
He smote him on the helme
With mown-Ioye, his gode bronde. [ 868]
Ne hadde he be reskued than,
He hade slayn him with his honde.
Page 26 Than came Baldeȝynȝ with thronge *. [but Lukafer is rescued by a great throng.]
To reskue there here lorde, [ 872]
And nubens with hem amonge
And Turkes by one accorde.
Tho Roulande Durnedale oute-drowe *. [Roland, drawing Durendale, cleared a space around him and]
And made Romme 1. [See the note.] abowte. [ 876]
XL of hem ther he slowe,
Tho were thai in grete dowte.
Roulande as fiers as a lion̄
With Durnedale 2. [Insert: 'gan.'] tho dinge [ 880] *. [hammered the heads of the Saracens.]
Vppon the Sarsyns crowne,
As harde as he myght flynge. [leaf 22]
Duke Neymys and Sir Olyuer, *. [So do the other peers,]
Gy and Alloreynes of Loreyne, [ 884]
And alle the noble xij Peris,
Oger and Bryer of Brytayne,
Thai foughten as feythfully in þat fight,
The feelde ful of dede men laye. [ 888]
XXXti thousande, I you plight, *. [and 30,000 Saracens were slain.]
Of Sarsenys ther were slayn̄.
Al thinge moste haue an̄ ende,
The nyghte come on ful sone, [ 892] *. [At night the Pagans quit the field.]
Every wighte retourned to wende;
Ferumbras to his men gan gone
And saide "oure hornes blowe we,
This day haue we a ful ille afraye, [ 896]
To saie the south and not to lye,
Oure goddis holpe vs not to daye,
What devel þat ever hem̄ eilith.
This bataile was so sharpe in faye, [ 900]
That many a man it wailyth.
Shalle I never in herte be glade to daye, *. [Ferumbras vows, never to desist]
Till I may preve my myghte
With Roulande, that proude ladde, [ 904]
Or with Olyuer, that is so lighte,
Page 27 That evel hath vs ladde;
And in Paris be crowned kinge *. [unless he be crowned king at Paris.]
In despite of hem alle, [ 908]
I wole leve for no thinge
What so evere byfalle.
Kinge Charles with grete honour *. [Charles went to his pavilion and]
Wente to his Pavilon̄; [ 912]
Of the treyumple he bare the flour
In dispite of Mahounde.
Almyghty God and Seynte Denyse *. [thanked God]
He thanked ful ofte sithe [ 916]
And oure lady Marie of Paris, *. [and St. Mary of France.]
That made hem gladde and blitħ.
He recomendide the olde Knightes, *. [He praised the elder knights for having won the victory and exhorted the young ones]
That þat daye hade the victorye, [ 920]
And charged the yonge with al her myghtes
To haue hem in memorye;
For worthynesse wole not be hadde,
But it be ofte sougħte, [ 924] [leaf 23]
Ner knigħthode wole not ben hadde,
Tille it be dere boghte.
"Therfore ye knightes, yonge of age,
Of oolde ye may now lere, [ 928]
Howe ye shalle both hurle and rage
In felde with sheelde and spere.
And take ensample of the xij Peris, *. [to take an example by them.]
Howe thai have proved her myght, [ 932]
And howe thai were both wight and fiers
To wynnen honourys in righte.
These hethen houndes we shal a-tame
By God in magiste, [ 936]
Let us make myrtħ in goddis name *. [They make merry and go to supper.]
And to souper nowe goo we."
O Thow, rede Marȝ Armypotente, *. [Prayer addressed to the red Mars Armipotent,]
That in the trende baye hase made þy trone, [ 940]
That god arte of bataile and regent
Page 28 And rulist alle that alone,
To whom I profre precious present,
To the makande my moone [ 944]
Witħ herte, body and alle myn entente,
A crown̄ of precious stoones,
And howe to the I gyfe
Withouten fraude or engyne, [ 948]
Vppon̄ thy day to make offerynge,
And so shal I ever, while þat I live,
By righte þat longith to my laye,
In worshipe of thy reverence [ 952]
On thyn owen Tewesdaye
With myrr, aloes and Frankensense,
Vppon̄ condicion̄ that thou me graunte, *. [to grant the Mahometans the victory over the Christians.]
The victorye of Crystyn̄ Dogges, [ 956]
And that I may some 1. [Read: 'sone.'] hem adaunte
And sle hem down̄ as hogges,
That have done me distruccion̄
And grete disherytaunce [ 960]
And eke slayn my men with wronge.
Mahounde gyfe hem myschaunce!"
IN the semely seson of the yere, *. [In the spring of the year]
Of softenesse of the sonne, [ 964]
In the prymsauns of grene vere,
Whan floures spryngyn̄ and bygynne, [leaf 24]
And alle the floures in the fritħ
Freshly shews here kynde, [ 968]
Than it is semely therwytħ, *. [man ought to show his manhood]
That manhode be in mynde;
For corage wole a man to kitħ,
If he of menske haue mynde, [ 972]
And of loue to lystyn̄ and lithe, *. [and to think of love.]
And to seke honur for þat ende.
For he was neuere gode werryour, *. [For none can be a good warrior, unless he knows how to love.]
That cowde not loue a-ryght; [ 976]
Page 29 For loue hath made many a conquerour
And many a worthy knighte.
This worthy Sowdan, though he heþen wer, *. [The soudan was a great conqueror;]
He was a worthy conquerour; [ 980]
Many a contrey with shelde and spere
He conquerede wyth grete honoure.
And his worthy sone Ferumbras, *. [Ferumbras and]
That kinge was of Alisaundr, [ 984]
And Lucafer of Baldas, *. [Lukafer wrought]
That cruel kinge of Cassaundr,
That wroughten wonders with here honde *. [wonders with their hands.]
With myghte and mayne for to fyghte, [ 988]
And over-ride mony a manly londe,
As men of Armes hardy and wighte.
The Sowdan seyinge this myschief,
How Charles hade him a-greved, [ 992]
That grevaunce was him no thinge lese, 1. [Read: 'lefe.']
He was ful sore ameved.
He sente oute his bassatoures *. [The soudan sent for his vassals,]
To Realmes, provynces ferr and ner, [ 996]
To Townes, Citeis, Castels and Tours,
To come to him ther he were,
To Inde Maior and to Assye,
To Ascoloyne, Venys, Frige and Ethiope, [ 1000]
To Nubye, Turkye and Barbarye,
To Macedoine, Bulgar and to Europe.
Alle these people was gadred to Agremore, *. [and assembled more than 300,000 Saracens at Agremore.]
Thre hundred thousand of Sarsyns felle, [ 1004]
Some bloo, some yolowe, some blake as more,
Some horible and stronge as devel of helle.
He made hem drinke Wilde beestes bloode, [leaf 25]
Of Tigre, Antilope and of Camalyon̄, [ 1008]
As is here vse to egre here mode,
Whan þai in werre to battayle goon.
He saide to hem "my frendes der, *. [He addressed them in order]
As my trust is alle in you, [ 1012]
Page 30 On these Frenche dogges, that bene here, *. [to increase their ardour,]
Ye moste avenge me nowe.
Thai have done me vilanye,
Mikille of my people have thay slayn̄. [ 1016]
And yet more-over thay manace me
And drive me to my contrey agayn;
Wherefore I wole at the bygynnynge *. [ordered a solemn sacrifice to his gods,]
To Mahounde and to my goddis alle [ 1020]
Make a solempne offerynge;
The better shall it vs byfalle.
The laste tyme thai were wrothe,
We hade not done oure dute. [ 1024]
Therefore to saye the southe" ....
There were many hornys blowe,
The presstes senden̄ thikke I-nowe
Goolde, and silver thikke thai throwe, [ 1028]
With noyse and crye thai beestes slowe,
And thought to spede wel I-nowe;
And every man his vowe he made
To venge the Sowdan̄ of his tene. [ 1032]
Here goddis of golde thai wex alle fade,
The smoke so grete was hem bitwene.
Whan alle was done, the Sowdan than
Charged Ferumbras redy to be [ 1036] *. [and charged Ferumbras]
On the morowe, ere day began,
To ride oute of þat Cite
With xxxti thousande of Assiens, *. [to march with 30,000 of his people]
Frigys, Paens and Ascoloynes, [ 1040]
Turkis, Indeis and Venysyens,
Barbarens, Ethiopes and Macidoynes,
"Bringe him to me, that proude kinge; *. [against the Christian King, whom he wished to teach courtesy,]
I shal him teche curtesye, [ 1044]
Loke that thou leve for nothinge
To sle alle his other mayne, [leaf 26]
Safe Rouland and Olyuere, *. [and to slay all his men except Roland and Oliver,]
That bene of grete renowne, [ 1048]
Page 31 If thai wole reneye her goddis ther *. [if they would renounce their gods.]
And leven on myghty Mahounde."
FErumbras with grete araye *. [Ferumbras led out his troops;]
Rode forthe, Mahounde him spede, [ 1052]
Tille he came nyȝe ther Charles lay *. [until arriving near Charles's camp, he ordered]
By syde in a grene mede.
In a woode he buskede his men *. [them to halt in a wood,]
Prively that same tyde, [ 1056]
And with his felowes noon but ten *. [and advanced with only ten of his men to the camp of Charlemagne,]
To kinge Charles he gan ride
And said "sir kinge, that Arte so kene,
Upon trwes I come to speke with the, [ 1060]
If thou be curteis, as I wene,
Thou wolte graunte a bone to me,
That I migħte fight vppon̄ this grene, *. [and offered him to fight at once against Roland, Oliver, Guy, Duke Naymes, Ogier the Dame, and Richard of Normandy.]
With Rouland, Olyvere and Gye, [ 1064]
Duke Neymes and Oger I mene,
Ye and Duke Richarde of Normandye,
With al sex attones to fight.
My body I profr here to the [ 1068]
And requyre the, kinge, thoū do me right,
As thou art gentille Lord and fre;
And if I may conquere hem in fere, *. [If he should conquer them, he would lead them away to his father's hall; if he should be conquered, he would be his man.]
To lede them home to my Faderis halle; [ 1072]
And if thai me, I graunte the here,
To be thy man, body and alle.
The kinge Answered with wordis mylde
And saide "felowe, þat neditħ nought, [ 1076]
I shalle fynde of myn̄ a Childe,
That shal the fynde that thou hast sought."
The kinge lete calle Sir Roulande *. [The king sent for Roland and ordered him to undertake the combat.]
And saide "thou most with this man figħt, [ 1080]
To take this bataile here on honde,
Ther-to God gyfe the grace and myghte!"
Roulande answered with woordis boolde *. [Roland refuses,]
And saide "Sir, have me excused!" [ 1084]
Page 32 He saide, certeynly he ne wolde;
The bataile vttirly he refused.
"The laste day ye preised faste *. [because Charles had praised the]
The oolde knightes of her worthynes. [ 1088] [leaf 27]
Let hem goon fortħ, I haue no haste, *. [old knights.]
Thai may goo shewen her prowes." *. ["May they show their valour now."]
For that worde the kinge was wrothe
And smote him on the mouthe on̄ hye, [ 1092] *. [Charles, vexed, smites Roland on the mouth,]
The bloode at his nose oute-goth, *. [so that the blood springs from his nose,]
And saide "traitour, thou shalte a-bye."
"A-bye" quod Roulande "wole I noughte, *. [and he calls him a traitor.]
And traitour was I never none, [ 1096]
By þat lord, þat me dere hath bought!"
And braide oute Durnedale þer anone. *. [Roland draws his sword,]
Ho wolde haue smyten̄ the kinge ther,
Ne hadde the barons ronne bytwene; [ 1100] *. [but the other barons separate them]
The kinge with-drowe him for fer
And passed home as it myght beste bene.
The Barons made hem at one *. [and try to con∣ciliate them.]
With grete prayer and instaunce, [ 1104]
As every wrath moste over-gone,
Of the more myschiefe to make voydaunce.
Olyuere herde telle of this, *. [Meanwhile Oliver, who, being sorley wounded, kept his bed, on hearing of this dispute, had armed him∣self and went to Charles.]
That in his bedde laye seke sore. [ 1108]
He armede him ful sone I-wisse,
And to the kinge he wente withoute more
And saide "Sir Kinge, a bone graunte me
For alle the servyse, that I haue done, [ 1112] *. [He reminds him of his long services, and demands the battle.]
To fight with þat kinge so free
To morue day, ere it be none."
Charles answered to Olyuer:
"Thou arte seke and woundede sore, [ 1116] *. [Charles remon∣strates with him.]
And thou also my cosyn̄ dere,
Therfore speke thereof no more."—
"Sir Kinge" he saide "I am alle hoole, *. [But Oliver insists.]
I aske you this bone in goddis name." [ 1120]
Page 33 "Certes" he saide "I holde the a fole,
But I praye, god sheelde the fro shame."
Forth he rideth in that Forest, *. [Oliver rides to the forest, and finds Ferumbras alighted under a tree, to a branch of which his steed was tied.]
Tille he gan Ferumbras see, [ 1124]
Where he was ligħt and toke his rest,
His stede renewed til a grene tre.
"Sir" he saide "reste thoū wele!
Kinge Charles sente me hidur. [ 1128]
If thou be curteys knighte and lele, *. ["Arise," he said,]*. ["I am come to fight with thee."]
Rise vp and let vs fight to-geder." [leaf 28]
Ferumbras sate stille and lough, *. [Ferumbras, without moving, demands his name.]
Him liste not to rise oute of the place. [ 1132]
"My felowe" quod he "what arte thou?
Telle me thy name for goddis grace."
"Sir" he saide "Generyse, *. ["I am Generys," says Oliver, "a young knight lately dubbed."]
A yonge knighte late dobbet newe." [ 1136]
"By Mahounde" quod he "thou arte not wyse,
For thy comyng shaltowe sore rewe.
I holde Charles but a foole *. [Ferumbras observes, "Charles is a fool to send thee.]
To sende the hider to me, [ 1140]
I shall the lerne a newe scole,
If thoue so hardy to fighte be.
I wende, he wolde haue sende Roulande,
Olyuer and iiij mo Dosyperys, [ 1144]
That hade bene mygħty men of honde
Bataile to a-bide stronge and fiers.
With the me liste no playe begynne,
Ride agayn̄ and saye him soo! [ 1148] *. [Go and tell him to send me Roland and Oliver, and such four other douzepeers.]
Of the may I no worshype wynne,
Though I slougħ the and such V mo."
"Howe longe" quod Olyuer "wiltowe plete? *. [For little honour were it to me to fight with thee." "Spare thy words," says Oliver, "and take thy arms."]
Take thyn̄ armes and come to me, [ 1152]
And prove þat thou saiest in dede,
For boost thou blowest, and þenkes 1. [Read: 'as thenketh.'] me."
Whan Ferumbras herde him speke so wel,
Page 34 He caught his helme in grete Ire, [ 1156] *. [Ferumbras is wrath and seizes his helmet,]
That wroght was of goode fyne stele
With Perlis pight, Rubeis and Saphire.
Olyuer halpe him it to onlase; *. [which Oliver assists him to lace.]
Gilte it was alle abowte. [ 1160]
Ferumbras þanked him of his grace *. [Ferumbras thanks him, courteously bowing to him. They mount their steeds,]
And curteisly to him gan lowte.
Thai worthed vp on̄ here stedes,
To Iuste thai made hem preest, [ 1164]
Of Armes to shewe her myghty dedis
Thai layden here speres in a-reeste,
To-geder thai ronnen̄ as fire of thonder, *. [rush together like fire of]
That both here Launces to-braste. [ 1168] [leaf 29]
That they seten̄, it was grete wonder; *. [thunder, and have their lances broken.]
So harde it was, þat thay gan threste.
Tho drowen̄ thai oute here swordes kene *. [They draw their swords.]
And smyten to-geder by one assente. [ 1172]
There thai hitten̄, it was wele sene;
To sle eche other was here entente.
Syr Ferumbras smote Olyuer *. [Ferumbras smites Oliver on his helmet]
Vppon̄ the helme righte on hye [ 1176]
With his swerde of metel cler,
That the fyre he made oute-flye. *. [so that the fire flies.]
Olyuer him hitte agayn̄ vpon̄ the hede *. [Oliver strikes at the head of Ferumbras,]
1. [Blank in MS. See the note.] the hede than fulle sore, [ 1180]
He carfe awaye with mygħt and mayne *. [breaks away the circle of his helmet,]
The cercle, that sate vppon̄ his crown̄.
The stroke glode down by his bake,*. [and the sword glancing off down his back, he]
The Arson he smot ther awaye [ 1184]
And the botelles of bawme withoute lake,*. [cuts off two bottles of balm,]
That uppone the grene ther thai laye,
That were trussed by-hynde him faste.
Tho Ferumbras was fułł woo; [ 1188]
Olyuer light adown̄ in haste,
The botellis he seased both two,
Page 35 He threwe hem into the River than *. [which he throws into the river.]
As ferr as he myghte throwe. [ 1192]
"Alas" quod Ferumbras "what doistowe, 1. [MS. deistowe.] manne?
Thou art wode, as I trowe.
Thai were worth an C mł pounde *. [Ferumbras tells him that they were invaluable to a wounded man, and that he]
To a man, þat were wounded sore. [ 1196]
Ther was no preciosour thinge vppon̄ grounde,
That myghte helpe a man more.
Thou shalt abye by Mahounde,
That is a man of myghtes moost. [ 1200]
I shall breke both bake and crown̄
And sle the, ther thou goist." *. [should atone for their loss with his life.]
Tho Olyuer worth vp agayn̄,
His swerde he hade oute I-drawe. [ 1204]
Ferumbras him smote with mayne *. [He strikes at Oliver, who wards off the blow with his shield, but his steed is killed under him.]
And mente to haue him slawe.
He smote as doth the dinte of þondir;
It glased down by his sheelde [ 1208]
And carfe his stedes neke a-sonder, [leaf 30]
That dede he fille in the felde.
Wightly Olyuer vp-sterte *. [Oliver quickly starts up and tries to kill his adversary's horse,]
As Bacheler, doughti of dede, [ 1212]
With swerde in honde him for to hirte
Or Ferumbras goode stede.
That Ferumbras aspied welle,
He rode a-waye than ful faste [ 1216] *. [but Ferumbras rides off and ties it to a hazel.]
And tiede him to a grene hasel,
And come ayen to him in haste
And saide "nowe yelde the to me! *. ["Yield thyself to me," says Ferumbras;]
Thou maiste not longe endure; [ 1220]
And leve on Mahounde, þat is so der, 2. [Read: 'free.']*. ["believe on Mahound, and I]
And thy life I shalle the ensure. 3. [MS. ensuce.]
Thou shalt be a Duke in my contr, *. [will make thee a duke in my country and give thee my sister."]
And men haue at thyn̄ owen̄ wille. [ 1224]
To my Sustir shaltowe wedded be,
Page 36 It were pite the for to spille!"
"Better" quod Olyuer "shul we dele,
By God that is in magiste, [ 1228] *. ["Ere I yield to thee," answered Oliver, "thou shalt feel my strokes."]
And of my strokes shaltow more fele,
Er I to the shalle yelde me."
Thai smeten togeder witħ egre mode, *. [They fight for a considerable time]
And nathir of othire dradde; [ 1232]
Thai persed her hauberkes, that were so goode,
Tille both thayr bodyes bladde. *. [the blood ran from both their bodies. By mutual consent they stop to take breath.]
Thay foughten̄ soo longe, þat by assente
Thai drewe hem a litil bysyde, [ 1236]
A litil while thaym to avente,
And refresshed hem at þat tyde.
"Generis" quod Ferumbras, *. [Ferumbras asks Oliver again his name and kin.]
"As thou arte here gentil knighte, [ 1240]
Telle me nowe here in this place
Of thy kyn̄ and what thoū hight;
Me thenkith by the now evermore,
Thou shuldist be one of the xij peris, [ 1244] *. ["Thou must be one of the douze∣peers, as thou fightest so well."]
That maiste fighte with me so sore,
And arte so stronge, worthy and fiers."
Olyuere answered to hym agayn̄:
"For fer I leve it not ontoolde, [ 1248]
My name is Olyuere certayn̄, *. ["I am Oliver, cousin to Charlemagne."]
Cousyn to kynge Charles the boolde, [leaf 31]
To whome I shalle the sende
Qwikke or dede this same daye, [ 1252]
By conqueste here in this feelde,
And make the to renye thy laye."
"O" quod Ferumbras than̄ to Olyuer,
"Welcome thoū arte in-to this place, [ 1256] *. ["Thou art welcome here," says Ferumbras;]
I have desyrede many a yere
To gyfe the harde grace.
Thou slough myn̄ uncle Sir Persagyne, *. ["thou slewest my uncle,]
The doughty kinge of Italye, [ 1260]
The worthyeste kinge þat lyued of men,
Page 37 By Mahounde, thou shalt abye!" *. [now thou shalt pay the penalty!"]
Tho thai dongen̄ faste to-geder
While the longe day endured, [ 1264] *. [The fight continued the whole day.]
Nowe hither and nowe thider;
Fro strokes wytħ sheeldes here bodies þai couered.
And at the laste Olyuer smote him so *. [At last Oliver, smiting]
Vppon̄ the helme, þat was of stele, [ 1268] *. [Ferumbras upon the helmet, has his sword broken.]
That his swerde brake in two.
Tho wepen̄ had he nevere a dele.
Who was woo but Olyuere than?
He saugh noone other remedy. [ 1272]
He saide "sir, as thoū arte gentile man,
On me nowe here haue mercy.
It were grete shame I-wis,
And honur were it noon̄, [ 1276]
To sle a man wepenles;
That shame wolde never goon̄."
"Nay traitour, thou getiste noon̄.
Hade I here an hundred and moo! [ 1280]
Knele down̄ and yelde the here anoon̄,
And eles here I woole the sloo."
Olyuer saugh, it wolde not be,
To truste to moch in his grace. [ 1284]
He ranne to the stede, þat stode by the tre,*. [He ran to the steed at the tree and seized a sword that was hanging there;]
A swerde he raught in þat place,
That was trussed on Ferumbras stede,
Of fyne stele goode and stronge. [ 1288]
He thought he quyte 1. [See the note.] Ferumbras his mede.
Almoost hadde he abyde to longe;
For in turnynge Ferumbras him smote, [leaf 32]
That stroke he myghte welle fele, [ 1292] *. [but in turning or Ferumbras he received a blow]
It come on hym so hevy and hoote,
That down it made hym to knele. *. [that made him kneel down.]
Tho was Olyuer sore ashamede
And saide "thou cursed Sarasyne, [ 1296]
Page 38 Thy proude pride shall be atamed,
By God and by seinte Qwyntyne.
Thou hast stole on me that dynte,
I shall quyte the thyn̄ hire." [ 1300]
A stroke than Olyuer him lente, *. [But Oliver returns him fearful stroke.]
That hym thought his eyen̄ wer on fir.
Kinge Charles in his pavilon̄ was *. [Charles, seeing Oliver on his knees,]
And loked towarde þat fyghte [ 1304]
And saugh, howe fiers Ferumbras
Made Olyuere knele down̄ right.
Wo was him tho in his herte;
To Ihesu Criste he made his mone; [ 1308] *. [prayed to Christ]
It was a sight of peynes smerte,
That Olyuere kneled so sone:
"O Lord, God in Trinite,
That of myghtis thoū arte moost, [ 1312]
By vertue of thy maieste
That alle knoweste and woste,
Lete not this hethen man
Thy seruaunte ouercome in fyght, [ 1316]
That on the bileve ne kan,
Ihesu, Lorde, for thy myghte!
But graunte thy man the victorye, *. [that he might grant the victory over the Pagan.]
And the Paynym̄ skomfited to be, [ 1320]
As thou arte Almyghty God of glorye!
Nowe mekely, Lorde, I pray to the."
To Charles anoone an Aungel came *. [An angel announces him,]
And broght him tidingges sone, [ 1324]
That God had herde his praier than̄ *. [that his prayer was heard.]
And graunte him his bone.
Tho Charles thanked God aboue 1. [See the note.]*. [Charles thanks God.]
With herte and thought, worde and dede, [ 1328]
And saide "blessed be thoū, lorde almyghty, 1. [See the note.]
That helpiste thy seruaunte in nede."
These Champions to-gedir thai gone [leaf 33]
Page 39 With strokes grete and eke sure, [ 1332] *. [They begin again.]
Eche of hem donge othir on̄,
Alle the while thai myghte endur.
Ferumbras brake his swerde *. [Ferumbras breaks his sword on Oliver's helmet.]
On Olyueris helme on hye. [ 1336]
Tho wexe he ful sore a-ferde;
He ranne for an othir redyly *. [He runs for another and asks Oliver to sur∣render.]
And saide "Olyuere, yelde the to me
And leve thy Cristen̄ laye, [ 1340]
Thou shalte have alle 1. [Probably an error for 'half.'] my kingdome free
And alle aftir my daye."
"Fye, Saresyne" quod Olyuere than̄,
"Trowest thou, that I were wode, [ 1344]
To forsake him, þat made me man̄
And boght me with his hert blode."
He raught a stroke to Ferumbras, *. [But Oliver aims at Ferumbras a blow which cuts his hauberk, so]
On his helme it gan down̄ glyde, [ 1348]
It brast his hawberke at þat ras
And carfe hym throughe-oute his syde,
His bare guttis men mygħt see; *. [that his bowels are laid bare.]
The blode faste down̄ ranne. [ 1352]
"Hoo, Olyvere, I yelde me to the, *. [Ferumbras implores his mercy, and]
And here I become thy man.
I am so hurte, I may not stonde,
I put me alle in thy grace. [ 1356]
My goddis ben false by water and londe, *. [consents to be christened, his gods having proved false.]
I reneye hem alle here in this place, 2. [In the margin the Scribe adds:—'The merci Ladi helpe.']
Baptised nowe wole I be.
To Ihesu Crist I wole me take, [ 1360]
That Charles the kinge shal sene, 3. [See the note.]
And alle my goddes for-sake
Take myn hawberke and do it on the, *. [He requested him to take his hauberk, to]
Thou shalte haue fułł grete nede. [ 1364]
Page 40 X thousande Saresyns waiten vppon̄ me,
And therfore go take my stede. *. [fetch his horse,]
Lay me to-fore the, I the praye,
And lede me to thy tente. [ 1368] *. [and to carry him to his own tent.]
Hye the faste forth in thy way, [leaf 34]
That the Saresyns the not hente."
A-noon̄ it was done, as he ordeynede,
And faste forth thai ryden. 1. [Read: 'soghten.'] [ 1372]
The Saresyns anone assembled, *. [But the Saracens, who lay concealed in the wood, rush out.]
For to haue with hem foghten.
Ferumbras saugħ the feelde thore
Of Sarsynes fully filled; [ 1376]
Of Olyvere dradde he ful sore, *. [Oliver, being surrounded, sets]
That Saresyns shulde him haue killed.
He praide, that he wolde let him down̄
"Vndir yonde Olyfe tree, [ 1380]
For if ye cast me down̄ here, with hors shoon̄ 2. [See the note.]
Alle to-treden̄ shalle I be."
He priked forth and layde him thar, 2. [See the note.]*. [down Ferumbras under an olive∣tree, and defends himself with his sword,]
Out of the horses trase, [ 1384]
And with his swerde by-gan him wer,
For amonge hem alle he was.
A Saresyn̄ smote him witħ a spere,
That it brake on pecis thre; [ 1388]
His hauberke mygħt he not der,
So stronge and welle I-wroght was he.
He hit þat Saresyns with his swerde *. [dealing the Saracens many a hard blow.]
Througħ the helme in-to the brayne. [ 1392]
He made an other as sore aferde,
He smote of his Arme with mayne.
But than̄ come Roulande witħ Durnedale *. [Then Roland rushed into the throng of the enemy and slew many;]
And made way him a-bowte. [ 1396]
He slowe hem down̄ in the vale,
Of him hade thai grete dowte.
The prees of Saresyns was so stronge
Page 41 A-boute Roulande that tyde. [ 1400]
Thai sloughen̄ his horsys with thronge, *. [his horse being killed by arrows and darts,]
And dartis throwen̄ on every syde.
Whan Roulande was on his Fete, *. [he fights on foot,]
Than̄ was he woo witħ-alle. [ 1404]
Many of hem he felte yete
And dede to grounde made hem falle.
At the last his swerde brake, *. [but his sword breaking,]
Than̄ hadde he wepyn̄ noon̄, [ 1408]
As he smote a Saresyns bake [leaf 35]
A-sundre down̄ to the Arson̄.
Tho was he caught, he mygħt not flee, *. [he is taken]
His hondes thai bounden̄ faste [ 1412]
And lad him forth to here Cite, *. [and led away.]
And in depe prison̄ they hem caste.
Olyuer sawe, howe he was ladde,
A sorye man̄ than̄ was he; [ 1416]
Him hadde leuer to haue bene dede
Than suffren that myschief to be.
Smertly aftire he pursued tho, *. [Oliver rides to rescue him,]
To reskue his dere brother. [ 1420]
The prees was so grete, he myghte not so,
It myghte be no othir,
Be he was cowþe 1. [Read: 'caughte.'] by verr force
With LX of Astopartes. 2. [Ascopartes.] [ 1424]
Thai hurte him foule and slougħ his hors *. [but his horse being also killed,]
With gauylokes and wyth dartis.
Yet on foote, ere he were foolde,
He slough of hem fiftene. [ 1428]
He was not slayn̄, as god woolde,
But taken and bounded 3. [Miswritten for 'bounden.'] with tene. *. [he is overpowered and bound. Both were conducted to Lukafer of Baldas.]
Tho were taken̄ to Lucafer,
The proude kinge of Baldas, [ 1432]
Both Roulande and Olyuer.
Page 42 Gladde was he of that cas.
Kinge Charles was in herte woo,
When he saughe his neuewes so ladde, [ 1436] *. [Charles sees them, and calls for a rescue.]
He cried to the Frenshmen̄ tho:
"Reskue we these knyghtes at nede."
The kynge himselfe slough many one, *. [Many enemies were slain,]
So dede the Barons bolde. [ 1440]
It wolde not bene, thai were agon̄, *. [but the Saracens had fled with their prisoners, and Charles is obliged to turn back.]
Magre who so woolde.
The Saresyns drewe hem to here Cite,
Kinge Charles turned agayne. [ 1444] *. [Under a holm tree they find Ferumbras,]
He saugħ under an holme tre,
Where a knight him semed lay slayn̄.
Thederward he rode witħ swerde in honde.
Tho he saugħ, he was alyve; [ 1448]
He lay walowynge vppon the sonde
With blody woundes fyve. [leaf 36]
"What arte thow?" quod Charlemayne,
"Who hath the hurte so sore?" [ 1452]
"I am Ferumbras" he saide certayn̄,
"That am of hethen̄ lore."
"O fals Saresyn̄" quod the kinge,
"Thou shalte have sorowe astyte; [ 1456] *. [whom he is going to put to death.]
By the I haue lost my two Cosynes,
Thyn̄ hede shalle I of-smyte."
"O gentil kinge" quod Ferumbrase,
"Olyuere my maister me hight [ 1460] *. [But on his requesting to be baptized,]
To be Baptised by goddis grace,
And to dyen̄ a Cristen̄ knighte.
Honur were it noon to the
A discoumfite man̄ to slo, [ 1464]
That is conuerted and Baptized wolde be
And thy man bycomen̄ also."
The kinge hade pite of him than̄, *. [Charles took pity with him,]
He toke him to his grace [ 1468]
And assyned anoon̄ a man
Page 43 To lede him to his place. *. [led him to his tent, and ordered a surgeon to attend him.]
He sende to him his surgyne
To hele his woundes wyde. [ 1472]
He ordeyned to him such medycyn̄,
That sone myght he go and ryde. *. [He soon recovered,]
The kinge commaunded bishope Turpyn̄
To make a fonte redye, [ 1476]
To Baptise Ferumbras þerin
In the name of god Almygħtye.
He was Cristened in þat welle, *. [and bishop Turpin baptised him, by the name of Floreyn.]
Floreyne the kinge alle him calle, [ 1480]
He forsoke the foule feende of helle
And his fals goddis alle.
Nought for than̄ Ferumbras *. [But he continued to be called Ferumbras all his life.]
Alle his life cleped was he, [ 1484]
And aftirwarde in somme place, *. [Afterwards he was known as Floreyn of Rome]
Floreyne of Rome Cite.
God for him many myracles shewed,
So holy a man he by-came, [ 1488] *. [on account of his holiness.]
That witnessitħ both lerned and lewde,
The fame of him so ranne.
NOwe for to telle of Roulande *. [Roland and Oliver being brought to the Soudan, Laban enquires their names.]
And of Olyuere, that worthy wos, 1. ['was.'] [ 1492]
Howe thai were brougħt to þe Sowdan̄
By the kinge of Boldas.
The Sowdan̄ hem sore affrayned,
What þat here names were. [ 1496]
Rouland saide and noght alayned:
"Syr Roulande and sire Olyuere, *. [They confess their names.]
Nevewes to Kinge Charles of Fraunce,
That worthy kinge and Emperoure, [ 1500]
That nowe are takyn by myschaunce
To be prisoneres here in thy toure."
"A, Olyuer, arte thou here?
That haste my sone distroyede, [ 1504]
Page 44 And Rouland that arte his fere,
That so ofte me hatħ anoyed.
To Mahounde I make a vowe here, *. [The Soudan swears they shall both be executed the next morning before his dinner.]
That to morue, ere I do ete, [ 1508]
Ye shulle be slayn̄ botħ qwik in fere,
And lives shalle ye bothe lete."
Tho saide maide Florepas:
"My fader so derewortħ and der, [ 1512] *. [But Floripas advises him to detain them as hostages, and]
Ye shulle be avysed of this cas,
How and in what manere
My brothir, þat is to prison̄ take,
May be delyuered by hem nowe, [ 1516]
By cause of these two knightes sake,
That bene in warde here with yoū.
Wherefore I counsaile yoū, my fader dere,
To have mynde of Sir Ferumbras. [ 1520] *. [to remember his son Ferumbras,]
Pute hem in youre prison̄ here,
Tille ye haue better space.
So that ye haue my brother agayn̄ *. [for whom they might be exchanged.]
For hem, þat ye haue here; [ 1524]
And certeyn̄ elles wole he be slayn̄,
That is to you so lefe and dere."
"A, Floripp, I-blessed thou bee,
Thy counsaile is goode at nede, [ 1528] *. [The Soudan finds her counsel good,]
I wolde not leve my sone so free,
So Mahounde moost me spede,
For al the Realme of hethen Spayne, [leaf 38]
That is so brode and large. [ 1532]
Sone clepe forth my gaylour Bretomayne, *. [and orders his gaoler Bretomayn to imprison them,]
That he of hem hadde his charge,
"Caste hem in your prison̄ depe,
Mete and drinke gyfe hem none, [ 1536] *. [but to leave them without food.]
Chayne hem faste, þat thay not slepe;
For here goode daies bene a-gone."
Tho were thay cast in prison depe 1. [Read: 'dirke.']
Page 45 Every tyde the see came inne. [ 1540] *. [At high tide the sea filled their deep cells.]
Thay myght not see, so was it myrke,
The watir wente to her chynne.
The salte watir hem greved sore, *. [They suffered much from the salt water, from their wounds, and from hunger.]
Here woundis sore did smerte. [ 1544]
Hungir and thurste greved heme yet more,
It wente yet more nere here herte.
Who maye live withoute mete?
vj dayes hadde thay rigħt none, [ 1548] *. [On the sixth day,]
Ner drinke that thay mygħt gete,
Bute loked vppon the harde stone.
So on a daye, as God it wolde,
Floripas to hir garden̄ wente, [ 1552] *. [Floripas, who was gathering flowers in her garden,]
To geder Floures in morne colde.
Here maydyns from̄ hir she sente,
For she herde grete lamentacion̄ *. [heard them lament.]
In the Prison̄, that was ther nye; [ 1556]
She supposed by ymagynacion̄,
That it was the prisoners sory.
She wente her nerr to here more,
Thay wailed for defaute of mete. [ 1560]
She rued on hem anoon̄ ful sore, *. [Moved to compassion,]
She thought, how she myght hem beste it gete.
She spake to her Maistras Maragounde, *. [she asks her governess Mara∣gound to help her in getting food for the prisoners.]
Howe she wolde the prisoneres fede. [ 1564]
The develle of helle hir confounde,
She wolde not assente to þat dede, *. [Maragound refuses, and reminds Floripas of her father's command.]
But saide "Damesel, thou arte woode,
Thy Fadir did vs alle defende, [ 1568]
Both mete and drinke and othere goode [leaf 39]
That no man shulde hem thider sende."
Floripe by-thought hir on a gyle *. [Floripas, thinking of a trick, called to her governess to come to a window and]
And cleped Maragounde anoon rigħt, [ 1572]
To the wyndowe to come a while
And se ther a wonder syght:
"Loke oute" she saide "and see a ferr
Page 46 The Porpais pley as thay were wode." [ 1576] *. [see the porpoises sporting beneath. Maragound looking out, is pushed into the flood.]
Maragounde lokede oute, Floripe come ner
And shofed hire oute in to the flode.
"Go there" she saide "the devel the spede!
My counsail shaltowe never biwry. [ 1580]
Who so wole not helpe a man̄ at nede,
On evel deth mote he dye!"
She toke witħ hire maidyns two,
To Britomayne she wente hir waye [ 1584] *. [Floripas asks Bretomayn to let her see the prisoners.]
And saide to him, she moste go
To viseten̄ the prisoneris that daye,
And saide "sir, for alle loues,
Lete me thy prisoneres seen̄. [ 1588]
I wole the gife botħ goolde and gloues,
And counsail shalle it been̄."
Brytomayne that Iaylor kene
Answered to hir sone agayne [ 1592]
And saide "Damesel, so mote I then̄,
Than̄ were I worthy to be slayn̄.
Hath not youre Fader charged me,
To kepe hem from̄ every wyght? [ 1596]
And yet ye wole these traytours see?
I wole goo telle him Anoon̄ right." *. [The gaoler threatened to complain to her father,]
He gan to turne him anone for to go,
To make a playnte on Floripas. [ 1600]
She sued him as faste as she myghte go, *. [but Floripas,]
For to gif him harde grace.
With the keye cloge, þat she caugħt, *. [having seized his key-clog,]
Witħ goode wille she maute 1. [Read: 'mente.'] than, [ 1604]
Such a stroke she hym ther raught, *. [dashed out his brains.]
The brayne sterte oute of his hede þan̄.
To hire Fader forth she gotħ *. [She then went to tell her father,]
And saide "Sire, I telle you here, [ 1608] [leaf 40]
I saugħ a sight, that was me lotħ, *. [she had surprised the gaoler feeding the prisoners and]
Howe the fals Iailour fedde your prisoner,
Page 47 And how the covenaunte made was, *. [promising to deliver them;]
Whan thai shulde delyuered be; [ 1612]
Wherefore I slougħ him witħ a mace. *. [wherefore she had slain him.]
Dere Fadir, forgif it me!"
"My doghtir dere, that arte so free, 1. [Read: 'trew.']
The warde of hem now gif I the. [ 1616] *. [The Soudan gives the prisoners into her guard.]
Loke, here sorowe be evere newe,
Tille that Ferumbras delyuered be."
She thanked her Fadere fele sithe
And toke her maydyns, and forth she gotħ, [ 1620] *. [She now proceeded to the prison,]
To the prisone she hyed hire swytħ.
The prison̄ dore vp she dothe
And saide "sires, what be ye,
That make here this ruly moone? [ 1624]
What yoū lakkitħ, tellyth me; *. [asked the prisoners what they wanted,]
For we be here nowe alle alone."
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
To Floripe, that was bothe gente and fre, [ 1628]
And saide "lo, we two caytyfes here
For defaute of mete dede moste be.
vj dayes be comyn̄ and goon̄,
Sith we were loked in prison̄ here, [ 1632]
That mete nor drinke hade we noon̄
To comforte witħ oure hevy cher.
But woolde god of myghtes moost,
the Sowdon̄ wolde let vs oute goon̄, [ 1636]
We to fight witħ alle his Ooste,
To be slayn̄ in feelde anoon̄.
To murthir men̄ for defaute of mete,
It is grete shame tille a kinge; [ 1640]
For every man most nedes ete,
Or ellis may he do no thinge."
Tho saide Floripe with wordes mylde,
"I wolde fayne, ye were now here, [ 1644] *. [and promised to protect them from any harm.]
From harme skatħ 2. [Read: 'harme & skathe.'] I wole you shelde,
Page 48 And gife you mete with right gode cher."
A rope to hem she lete down̄ goon̄, *. [She let down a rope,]
That aboven̄ was teyde faste. [ 1648] [leaf 41]
She and hir maydyns drewe þer vppon̄, *. [and drew up both,]
Tille vp thay hadde hem at the last.
She led hem into here chambir dere, *. [and led them to her apartments.]
That arrayed for hem was rigħt wele, [ 1652]
Both Roulande and Olyvere,
And gafe hem̄ there a right gode mele. *. [There they ate,]
And whan thay hadde eten̄ alle her fille,
A batħ for hem was redy there, [ 1656] *. [took a bath,]
Ther-to thay went ful fayre and stille,
And aftyr to bedde with right gode cher. *. [and went to bed.]
Now Floripas chamber is here prisone,
Withouten̄ wetinge of the Sowdon̄; [ 1660] *. [The Soudan knew nothing of his prisoners being in Floripas' chamber.]
Thai were ful mery in that Dongeon̄,
For of hem̄ wiste man̄ never oone.
Now lete we hem be and mery make,
Tille god sende hem gode delyueraunce. [ 1664]
Aftir the tyme, þat thay were take,
What did Charles, the kinge of Fraunce, *. [Meanwhile Charlemagne]
Ther-of wole we speke nowe,
Howe he cleped forth Sir Gy [ 1668] *. [tells Guy that he must go to the Soudan to]
And saide "on my message shaltowe,
Therfore make the faste redy,
To bidde the Sowden̄ sende me my Nevewes botħ *. [demand the surrender of Roland and Oliver, and of the relies of Rome.]
And the Releqes also of Rome; [ 1672]
Or I shal make him so wortħ,
He shałł not wete what to done.
And by þat god, þat hath me wroght,
I shal him leve Towre ner Town̄. [ 1676]
This bargan̄ shal so dere be bought
In dispite of his god Mahoun̄."
And saide "Sir, hastowe no mynde, [ 1680]
How the cursed Sowdan̄ Laban
Page 49 Alle messengeris doth he shende? *. [certainly be slain; and that they ought to be anxious not to lose any more besides Rouland and Oliver. Then said the]
Ye haue lost inowe, lese no mo
Onworthily Olyuer and Roulande." [ 1684]
"By god, and thou shalt with him go,
For al thy grete brode londe."
THo Ogere Danoys, þat worthy man̄, [leaf 42]
"Sir" he saide "be not wrotħ! [ 1688] *. [king, 'By god, thou shalt go with Guy.' Ogier the Dane remonstrates, but is ordered to go too.]
For he saitħ soutħ."—"go thou than̄!
By Gode thou shalte, be thou never so loth."
"A Sire" quod Bery Lardeneys,
"Thou shalte hem se never more."— [ 1692] *. [So are Thierry of Ardane]
"Go thou forth in this same rees,
Or it shalle the repente ful sore."
FOlk Baliante saide to the kinge, *. [and Folk Baliant,]
"Liste ye youre Barons to lese?"- [ 1696]
"Certis, this is a wondir thinge!
Go thou also, thou shalte not chese!"
A Leroyse rose vp anone *. [Aleroys]
And to the kinge þan gan̄ he speke [ 1700]
And saide "what thinke ye, sir, to done?"—
"Dresse the forth witħ hem̄ eke!"
MIron of Brabane spake an worde *. [and Miron of Brabant.]
And saide "Sir, thou maiste do þy wille. [ 1704]
Knowist thou not that cruel lorde,
How he wole thy Barons spille?"—
"Trusse the forth eke, sir Dasaberde,
Or I shalle the sone make! [ 1708]
For of all thinge thou arte aferde,
Yet arte thou neyther hurte ner take."
BIsshope Turpyn̄ kneled adown̄ *. [Bishop Turpin kneels down to implore the king's mercy, but he must go too,]
And saide "lege lorde, mercy!" [ 1712]
The kinge him swore by seynt Symon̄:
"Thou goist eke, make the in hast redye!"
BErnarde of Spruwse, þat worthy knygħt, *. [as well as Bernard of Spruwse]
Saide "sir, avyse you bette, [ 1716]
Set not of youre Barons so ligħt,
Page 50 Thou maiste haue nede to hem̄ yette."—
"Thou shalte goon̄ eke for alle thy boost,
Haue done and make the fast yare! [ 1720]
Of my nede gyfe thou no coost,
Ther-of haue thou right no care!"
BRyer of Mounteȝ, þat marqwyȝ bolde, *. [and Brier of Mountdidier.]
Was not aferde to him to speke. [ 1724]
To the kinge sharply he tolde,
His witte was not worth a leke: [leaf 43]
"Woltowe for Angre thy Barons sende
To þat Tiraunte, þat alle men sleitħ? [ 1728]
Or thou doist for þat ende,
To bringe thy xij peres to the detħ."
The kinge was wrotħ and swore in halle
By him, þat boght him witħ his blode: [ 1732]
"On my messange shall ye gon̄ alle!
Be ye never so wrotħ or wode."
Thay toke here lefe and fortħ thay yede, *. [The knights take leave and start.]
It availed not agayne him to sayne. [ 1736]
I pray, god gif hem gode spede!
Ful harde it was to comen̄ agayn̄.
NOwe let hem passe in goddis name,
And speke we of the Sowdon̄, [ 1740] *. [The Soudan assembled his council.]
Howe he complayned him of his grame,
And what that he myght beste done.
"Sortybraunnce and Bronlande 1. [See the note.]" seyde he, *. [Sortibrance and Brouland]
"Of counsail ye be fulle wyse. [ 1744]
How shal I do to avenge me
Of kinge Charles, and in what wyse?
He brennyth my Toures and my Citees,
And Burges he levethe me never oon̄. [ 1748]
He stroieth my men̄, my londe, my fees.
Thus shalle it not longe goon̄.
And yet me greveth most of alle,
He hath made Ferumbras renay his laye. [ 1752]
Page 51 Therfore my counselors I calle,
To remedy this, howe thay best maye.
For me were lever that he were slayn̄,
Thane he a Cristen̄ hounde shulde be, [ 1756]
Or witħ Wolfes be rente and slayn̄,
By Mahounde mygħty of dignyte."
To answerde Sortybraunce and Broulande *. [advise him]
And saide "gode counsaile we shal you gyfen̄, [ 1760]
If thoue wilte do aftyr covenaunte,
It shal you profit, while you lyven̄.
Take xij knightis of worthy dede *. [to send 12 knights, and to bid Charles]
And sende hem to Charles on message nowe. [ 1764]
A-raye hem welle in roial wede,
For thȳ honour and for thy prowe. [leaf 44]
Bidde Charles sende thy sone to the *. [to give up Ferumbras and to withdraw from his country.]
And voyde thy londe in alle haste, [ 1768]
Or ellis thou shalt him honge on a tre,
As hye, as any shippes maste."
"Nowe by Mahoude" quod Laban,
"This counseil is both trewe and goode, [ 1772]
I shalle him leve for no man̄
To parforme this, though he wer woode."
He did his lettris write in haste,
The knightes were called to goo þerwitħ, [ 1776] *. [The knights are dispatched.]
That thay hyȝe hem̄ to Charles faste
And charke 1. [Sic in MS. Query—'charge.'] hym̄ vppon̄ life and lithe.
Fortħ thai ride towarde Mantrible þan̄,
In a medowe, was fayre and grene, [ 1780] *. [Near Mantrible they meet with the Christian messengers.]
Thai mette witħ Charles messageris ten̄.
Duke Neymes axed hem̄, what thai wolde mene,
And saide "Lordynges, whens come ye? *. [Duke Naymes inquires whither they intend to go.]
And whider ye are mente, telle vs this tyde." [ 1784]
"From̄ the worthy Sowdon̄" than̄ saide he,
"To Charles on message shalle we ride,
Page 52 Euel tithyngges we shalle him telle,
Fro Laban, that is lorde of Spayne. [ 1788]
Farewele, felowes, we may not dwelle."
"A-byde" quod Gy "and turne agayne, *. [Having heard their message,]
We wole speke with you, er ye goon̄,
For we be messengeris of his. [ 1792]
Ye shal aby everichone,
So God brynge me to blis."
Anoon̄ here swerdes oute thay brayde
And smoten̄ down̄ right al a-boute. [ 1796]
Tille the hethen̄ were down̄ layde,
Thai reseyued many a sore cloute.
Thai smyten̄ of here hedes alle, *. [the delegates of Charles cut off their heads, which they take with them to present to the Soudan at Agremore.]
Eche man̄ toke one in his lappe. [ 1800]
Fal what so euer byfalle,
To the Soudon̄ wole they trappe.
Tille thai come to Egremoure,
Thai stynte for no worldes thinge; [ 1804]
Anone thai fonde the Sawdan̄ thore,
At his mete proudely sittynge, [leaf 45]
And þat maide fair Dame Floripas *. [The Soudan was just dining.]
And xiiij princes of grete price [ 1808]
And kinge Lukafer of Baldas,
Thas was both bolde, hardy and wyse.
Doughty Duke Neymes of Bauer *. [Naymes delivers his message:]
To the Sowdone his message tolde [ 1812]
And saide "god, þat made heven̄ so cler, *. ['God confound Laban and all his Saracens, and save Charles,]
He saue kinge Charles so bolde
And confounde Laban̄ and all his men̄,
That on Mahounde byleved, 1. [Read: 'byleven.'] [ 1816]
And gife hem evel endinge! amen̄.
To morue, longe er it be even̄,
He commaundith the vppon̄ thy life *. [who commands thee to send back his two nephews and to restore the relics.']
His Nevewes home to him sende, [ 1820]
And the Religes 2. [Read: 'reliqes.'] of Rome withoute strife;
Page 53 And ellis getist thou an evel ende!
xij lurdeynes mette vs on the waye;
Thai saide, thay come streight fro the. [ 1824]
Thai made it botħ stoute and gay;
Here hedis here maistowe see. *. [They then produce the heads of the Soudan's messengers.]
Thai saide, thai wolde to Charles goon̄,
Evel tidingges him to telle. [ 1828]
Loo here here heddis euerychone,
Here soulis bene in helle."
"O" quod Lavane "what may this be,
To suffr this amonge my knightes alle? [ 1832]
To be rebuked thus here of the
At mete in myn owen̄ halle!
To Mahounde myghty I make a vowe, *. [The Soudan vowed a vow that they should all ten be hanged as soon as he had finished his dinner.]
Ye shall be hanged alle ten, [ 1836]
Anoon as I have eten̄ I-nowe,
In presence of alle my men̄."
Maide Floripas answered tho *. [But Floripas recommended him to put off his resolution, until a general council of his barons had determined on the best way of the liberation of Ferumbras.]
And saide "my derworth Fadir der! [ 1840]
By my counsaile ye shal not so,
Tille ye haue your Barons alle in fer,
That thai may se what is the best,
For to delyuere my brother Sir Ferumbras. [ 1844]
And aftirward, if þat ye liste,
Ye may gife hem ful evel grace."
"Gramercy, doghter, thou saieste welle, [leaf 46]
Take hem alle into thy warde. [ 1848] *. [The Soudan gives them into her guard.]
Do feter hem faste in Iren̄ and stele
And set hem in strayȝte garde.
Thus was I neuer rebukede er nowe;
Mahounde myghty gyfe hem̄ sorowe! [ 1852]
Thay shalle be flayn and honged on a bowe,
Longe ere tyme 1. [Read: 'I dyne.' See the note.] to morowe."
Florip̄ toke these messangeris *. [Floripas leads the knights into her tower, where]
And ladde hem vp in-to here tour, [ 1856]
Page 54 There thai founde two of here feris. *. [they were glad to find Roland and Oliver.]
Thay thanked thereof god of honoure.
Tho sayde Duke Neymys of Bauer:
"Gladde men we be nowe here, [ 1860]
To fynde Roulande and Olyuer
In helthe of bodye and of goode cher."
Thai kissed eche other with herte gladde
And thanked god of his grace; [ 1864]
And eche toolde othir, howe thay sped hadde, *. [They told each other how they had fared.]
And howe thay come in-to that place
By helpe of mayde Florip̄ hire self,
"God kepe hir in honoure! [ 1868]
For thus hath she brought vs hider alle twelfe,
To dwelle in hir owen̄ boure."
Tho thay wessh and wente to mete, *. [After washing,]
And were served welle and fyne [ 1872]
Of suche goode, as she myght gete,
Of Venyson̄, brede and gode wyne. *. [they dined off venison, bread and wine,]
There thai were gladde and wel at ease;
The Soudon̄ ne wist it noght. [ 1876]
Aftyr thay slepe and toke her ese, *. [and then went to sleep.]
Of no man than̄ thay ne roght.
On the morowe Florip̄, that mayde fre, *. [The following day, Floripas asks Naymes his name,]
To Duke Neymes spake in game: [ 1880]
"Sir gentil knigħt," tho saide she,
"Telle me, what is your name."
"Whi axe ye, my lady dere,
My name here to knowe alle?" [ 1884]
"For he 1. [Sic in MS. Read: 'ye.'] spake with so bolde chere
To my Fadir yestirdaye in his halle. *. [and enquires after Guy of Burgundy,]
Be not ye the Duke of Burgoyne, sir Gȳ,
Nevewe unto the kinge Charles so fre?" [ 1888] [leaf 47]
"Noe, certes, lady, it is not I,
It is yondir knight, þat ye may see."
"A, him have I loved many a day; *. [whom she had loved for a long time, and for]
Page 55 And yet knowe I him noght. [ 1892]
For his loue I do alle that I maye, *. [whom she would do all she could for their benefit,]
To chere yoū witħ dede and thought.
For his love wille I cristenede be *. [and would be baptised,]
And lefe Mahoundes laye. [ 1896]
Spekith to him nowe for me,
As I yoū truste maye;
And but he wole graunte me his loue, *. [if he would agree to love her in return.]
Of yoū askape shalle none here. [ 1900]
By him, þat is almyghty aboue,
Ye shalle abye it ellis ful dere."
Tho wente Duke Neymes to Sir Gye
And saide "This ladye lovetħ the, [ 1904] *. [Naymes tells Guy]
For thy loue she maketħ us alle merye,
And Baptizede wole she be.
Ye shalle hir take to your wedded wife, *. [to take her for his wife,]
For alle vs she may saue." [ 1908]
"By God" quod Gye "þat gafe me life, *. [but Guy refuses,]
Hire wole I never haue,
Wyle I neuer take hire ner no woman̄, *. [as he never will take a wife, unless she be given him by Charles.]
But Charles the kinge hir me gife. [ 1912]
I hight him, as I was trewe man̄,
To holden̄ it, while I lyve."
Tho spake Roulande and Olyuer, *. [Rouland and Oliver persuaded him,]
Certyfyinge him of her myschefe, [ 1916]
Tellinge him of the parelles, þat þay in wer,
For to take this lady to his wedded wife.
"But thoū helpe in this nede,
We be here in grete doute. [ 1920]
Almyghty god shalle quyte thy mede,
Elles come we nevere hennys oute."
Thus thay treted him to and fro;
At the laste he sayde, he wolde. [ 1924] *. [so that he at last consented.]
Floripas thay cleped fortħ tho;
And brought fourth a Cuppe of golde, *. [Floripas, holding a golden cup of wine,]
Ful of noble myghty wyne,
Page 56 And saide "my loue and my lorde, [ 1928] [leaf 48]
Myn herte, my body, my goode is thyn̄,"
And kissed him witħ that worde, *. [kissed him,]
And "sir" she saide "drinke to me, *. [and requested him to drink to her after the fashion of her country.]
As the Gyse is of my londe; [ 1932]
And I shalle drinke agayn̄ to the,
As to my worthy hosbonde." *. [She also drinks to him.]
Thay clipped and kissed botħ in fere
And made grete Joye and game, [ 1936] *. [They all make merry.]
And so did alle, that were ther,
Thai made ful mery alle in same.
Tho spake Floripas to the Barons boolde
And saide "I haue armur I-nowe; [ 1940]
Therfore I tel yoū, what I wolde,
And þat ye dide for your prowe.
To morue, whan̄ my Fadir is at his souper, *. [For the following day]
Ye shalle come in alle attonys; [ 1944]
Loke ye spare for no fere,
Sle down̄ and breke botħ bake and bones;
Kithe yoū knightis of hardynesse!
Ther is none helpe, but in this wyse, [ 1948]
Then moste ye shewen̄ youre prowes,
And wynne this Castel in this guyse."
Thai sayden alle, it was welle saide,
And gladde thay were of this counsaile. [ 1952]
Here armur was fortħ layde, *. [they all prepare to assail the Soudan at supper.]
At souper the Sowdon̄ to assaile.
Kinge Lucafere prayde the Sawdon̄, *. [Lukafer comes to the Soudan and asks leave to see the prisoners, in order to know the manner of their detention.]
That he wolde gif him lysence, [ 1956]
To the prisoners for to goon̄,
To see the maner of her presence.
He gafe him lefe, and forth he wente
Vp vnto Floripas Toure. [ 1960]
To asspie the maner was his entent,
Hem̄ to accuse agayne honoure.
Whan̄ he come, he founde the dore fast I-stoke, *. [Finding the door locked, he burst it]
Page 57 He smote there-on with his fist, [ 1964] *. [open with a blow of his fist.]
That the barr began̄ to broke.
To make debate, wel him list.
"Who artowe" quod Floripas 1. [These two lines are written as one in the MS.]
"Þat maketh her sucħ araye 1. [These two lines are written as one in the MS.]?" [ 1968]
"I am kinge Lucafere of Baldas, [leaf 49]
The Sowdon̄ sente me hidir in faye;
To seen̄ his prisoneris is my desire
And speke with hem everychon̄, [ 1972] *. [He told them that he was come to speak to them,]
To talke with hem by the fire
And speke of dedis of Armes amonge."
Tho saide Duke Neymes "welcome be ye
To us prisoners here! [ 1976]
What is your wille, nowe telle ye;
For we be men̄ of feble chere."
"I woolde wete of Charles the kinge, *. [and to enquire after Charlemagne.]
What man̄ he is in his contre, [ 1980]
And what meyne he hatħ, and of what thinge
He rekyneth moost his dignyte."
Duke Neymes saide "an Emperoure *. [Duke Naymes answers.]
And kinge he is of many a londe, [ 1984]
Of Citeis, Castels, and many a Toure,
Dukes, Erles, Barons bowynge to his honde."
"But saye me, felowe, what is your vse,
To do in contr aftyr the none. [ 1988] *. [He then asks what amusements they have after dinner.]
And what is the custome of your hous,
Tille men̄ to souper shalle gone?"
"Sir, somme men̄ iouste 2. [MS. iuste.] witħ sper and shelde, *. [Naymes says, 'Some joust, some sing, some play at chess.']
And somme men̄ Carol and singe gode songes, [ 1992]
Some shote with dartis in the feelde,
And somme play at Chesse amonge."
"Ye bene but foulis of gode dissporte;
I wole yoū tech a newe play. [ 1996] *. ['I will teach you a new game,' says Lukafer.]
Sitte down̄ here by one assorte,
Page 58 And better myrthe never ye saye."
He teyde a tredde on a pole *. [With a thread he fastened a needle on a pole and put a burning coal upon it.]
With an nedil ther-on I-fest, [ 2000]
And ther vppon̄ a qwik cole.
He bade every man blowe his blast.
Duke Neymes hade a long berde,
Kinge Lucafer blewe even̄ to hym̄, [ 2004] *. [He blew it at Naymes's beard and burnt it.]
That game hade he never before lered.
He brent the her of Neymes berde to the skyne.
Duke Neymes than̄ gan wex wrotħ, *. [Naymes waxed wroth, and]
For he hade brente his berde so white [ 2008] [leaf 50]
To the Chymneye forth he goth *. [snatching a burning brand from the fire]
And caught a bronde him witħ to smyte.
Witħ a goode wille he him smote, *. [he smites at Lukafer and throws him into the fire,]
That both his eyen̄ bresten̄ oute. [ 2012]
He caste him in the fire al hote;
For sothe he hadde a rigħt gode cloute.
And with a fyre forke he helde him doune,
Tille he were rosted to colis ilkadele. [ 2016] *. [where he was roasted to charcoal.]
His soule hade his god Mahoun̄.
Florip̄ bade him̄ warme him wele. *. [Floripas applauds this,]
"Sires" tho saide Floripas,
"Entendith nowe al to me! [ 2020]
This Lucafer of Baldas
Was a lorde of grete mayne.
My Fadir hade him euer yn cher *. [but points out their danger,]
I telle you for sothe everydele, [ 2024]
He wolde anoon̄ aftyr him enquer,
And therefore loke, ye arme you wełł!" *. [and advises them to arm.]
Florip wente in, as the maner was,
To here Fadir at souper tyme. [ 2028] *. [At supper time she goes to her father.]
No man spake worde of kinge Baldas,
Ner no man knewe of his sharp pyne.
The xij peris armed hem wel and fyne
With swerdes drawe and egr chere. [ 2032]
While they mery 1. [Miswritten for 'were'?] drinkyng the wyne
Page 59 And sittinge alle at here souper. *. [As they were sitting at table, the twelve peers rushed in and slew all whom they met.]
Thai reheted the Sowdon̄ and his Barons alle
And maden̄ orders wondir fast, [ 2036]
Thai slowe down̄ alle, þat were in the halle,
And made hem wondirly sore a-gast.
Olyvere egerly sued Laban̄ *. [Laban, pursued by Oliver,]
With swerd I-drawe in his honde. [ 2040]
Oute at the wyndowe lepte he þan̄ *. [jumps out of a window on to the sea-shore and escaped]
Vppon̄ the salte see stronde, 1. [MS. strowde.]
And he skaped away from̄ hime,
But woo was he þerfore, [ 2044]
That he went awaye witħ lym̄ *. [without injury.]
To worche hem sorowe more.
Roulande than̄ came rennynge
And axed, where was Laban. [ 2048]
Olyuere answerede moornynge [leaf 51]
And saide, howe he was agoon̄.
Tho thai voided the Courtes at the last *. [They killed all in the castle,]
And slowen̄ tho, that wolde a-byde, [ 2052]
And drewe the brigge and teyed it fast, *. [and then drew up the bridges and shut the gates.]
And shitte the gatis, that were so wyde.
Laban, that by the ebbe escapede,
Of harde, er he come to londe, [ 2056]
He alle astonyed and a-mapide, 2. [Read: 'a-wapide.']
For sorowe he wronge botħ his honde
And made a vowe to Mahounde of myght, *. [Laban vowed a vow]
He wolde that Cite wynne [ 2060]
And never go thens by day nor nyght,
For foo, for frende, ner for kynne.
"And tho traytouris will I do honge, *. [that he would hang them all]
On a Galowes hye with-oute the gate; [ 2064]
And my Doghter, þat hore stronge, *. [and burn his daughter.]
I-brente shal be there-ate.
To mauntryble he gan sende anoon̄ *. [He sent to Mantrible for troops and]
Aftir men and tentis goode, [ 2068]
Page 60 And Engynes to throwe witħ stoon̄ *. [engines,]
And goode armur many foolde.
The sege he did leyen a-bowte *. [and besieged Agremore.]
On every side of that Cite. [ 2072]
To wallis with Engynes thai gan rowte,
To breke the Toures so fre.
Tho saide Florip̄, "lordingges goode, *. [Floripas recom∣mends the peers]
Ye bene biseged in this toure, [ 2076]
As ye bene wight of mayne and moode,
Proveth here to saue youre honour.
The toure is stronge, drede yoū nought,
And vitayle we have plente. [ 2080]
Charles wole not leve yoū vnsougħt;
Truste ye welle alle to me.
Therefore go we soupe and make merye, *. [to enjoy them∣selves.]
And takith ye alle your ease; [ 2084]
And xxxti maydens lo here of Assyne, 1. [Read: 'Assye.']
The fayrest of hem ye chese.
Take your sporte, and kith yoū knyghtes,
Whan ye shalle haue to done; [ 2088]
For to morowe, when the day is light, [leaf 52]
Ye mooste to the wallis goon̄
And defende this place witħ caste of stoon̄
And with shotte of quarelles and darte. [ 2092]
My maydyns and I shałł bringe goode wone,
So eueryche of us shalle bere hir parte."
On morowe the Sowdon̄ made assaute *. [In the morning the soudan attacks the castle,]
To hem, that were witħ-Inne, [ 2096]
And certes in hem was no defaute,
For of hem̄ myght thay nought wynne.
Here shotte, here cast was so harde,
Thay durste not nyȝhe the walle. [ 2100]
Thay drowen̄ hem bakwarde, *. [but is repulsed.]
Thay were beten̄ over alle.
King Laban̄ turnede to his tentes agayn̄,
Page 61 He was nere wode for tene, [ 2104]
He cryede to Mahounde and Apolyne *. [He accuses his gods of sleepiness, and shakes them to wake up.]
And to Termagaunte, þat was so kene,
And saide "ye goddes, ye slepe to longe,
Awake and helpe me nowe, [ 2108]
Or ellis I may singe of sorowe a songe,
And of mournynge right I-nowe.
Wete ye not wele, that my tresoure
Is alle witħ-inne the walle? [ 2112]
Helpe me nowe, I saye therfore,
Or ellis I forsake yoū alle."
He made grete lamentacion̄,
His goddis byganne to shake. [ 2116]
Ye that comfortede his meditacion̄,
Supposinge thay didde awake.
He cleped Brenlande to aske counsaile,
What was beste to done, [ 2120]
And what thinge myght him̄ moste avayle,
To wynne the Cite sone.
"Thou wotist welle, þat alle my tresour
Is there in here kepinge, [ 2124]
And my doughter, þat stronge hore,
God yif her evelle endyng!" [leaf 53]
"Sir" he saide "ye knowe welle, *. [Brouland tells him, as the castle is strong and well stored with pro∣visions, the peers will hold it very long;]
That Toure is wondir stronge. [ 2128]
While þay haue vitayle to mele,
Kepen̄ it thay wole fulle longe.
Sende to Mauntreble, your cheif Cite,
That is the keye of this londe, [ 2132]
That non̄ passe, where it so be,
With-oute youre speciall sonde,
To Alagolofur, þat geaunte stronge, *. [but if he would send orders to Alagolafre, the bridge-keeper at Mantrible, not to allow any one to pass without leave,]
That is wardeyne of þat pas, [ 2136]
That no man passe that brigge alonge,
But he have special grace.
So shalle not Charles witħ his meyne
Page 62 Reskowe than̄ Agramoure. [ 2140] *. [they would get no assistance from Charles, and die from hunger.]
Than̄ thay shalle enfamyched be,
That shalle hem rewe ful sore."—
"Mahoundis blessynge have thoū and myne,
Sortybraunce, for thy rede."— [ 2144]
"Espyarde, messanger myne, *. [Espiard is despatched to Mantrible,]
In haste thou most the spede
To my Cite Mavntreble,
To do my message there, [ 2148]
To Alogolofr, þat giaunte orrible.
Bydde him his charge wele lere,
And tel him, howe that the last daye
Ten fals traytours of Fraunce [ 2152]
Passed by that same waye
By his defaute witħ myschaunce,
Charginge him vppon̄ his hede to lese,
That no man by the brigge, 1. [See the note.] [ 2156]
Be it rayne, snowe or freze,
But he his heede down̄ ligge."
Espiarde spedde him in his waye,
Tille he to Mauntrible came, [ 2160]
To seke the geaunte, ther he laye
On the banke bysyde the Dame,
And saide "the worthy Sowdon̄,
That of alle Spayn̄ is lorde and sir, [ 2164]
Vppon̄ thy life commaundeth the anoon̄, *. [and commands the giant]
To deserue better thyn hire.
The laste day thoū letist here passe
Ten trattoures of douse Fraunce. [ 2168]
God giffe the evel grace,
And hem̄ also moche myschaunce!
He charged the vppon̄ life and detħ,
To kepe this place sikerlye; [ 2172]
While in thy body lastetħ the bretħ,
Lette noon̄ enemye passe ther-bye." *. [not to suffer any one to pass the bridge.]
Page 63 Alagolofur rolled his yen̄
And smote with his axe on̄ the stone [ 2176]
And swore by Termagaunte and Apolyne,
That ther-by shulde passen never one,
But if he smote of his hede,
And brought it to his lorde Laban̄, [ 2180]
He wolde never ete no brede,
Nere never loke more on man̄.
xxiiijti Cheynes he didde ouer-drawe, *. [Alagolafre drew 24 chains across the bridge.]
That noo man passe mygħt, [ 2184]
Neyther for loue nere for awe,
No tyme by daye, nere by nyghte.
"Go, telle my lorde, I shalle it kepe;
On payne of my grete heede [ 2188]
Shalle ther no man̄ goo ner crepe,
But he be take or dede."
This geaunte hade a body longe
And hede, like an libarde. [ 2192]
Ther-to he was devely stronge,
His skynne was blake and harde.
Of Ethiope he was bore,
Of the kinde of Ascopartes. [ 2196]
He hade tuskes, like a bore,
An hede, like a liberde.
Laban nolde not forgete *. [The soudan assaults the castle again,]
The saute to renewe, 1. [These two lines are written as one in the MS.] [ 2200]
To wynne the Toure, he wolde not lete.
Here trumpes lowde thay blewe.
Every man wente to the walle,
With pikeys or witħ bowe. [ 2204] [leaf 55]
Thai made assaute generalle,
The walles downe to throwe.
But thay witħ-inne bare hem̄ soo, *. [but the 12 peers slay 300 Saracens.]
Thay slowe of the Saresyns iij hundred. [ 2208]
Thay wroghten̄ hem both care and woo,
Page 64 Vppon̄ her fightinge thay wondride.
Tho cryed Laban̄ to hem on hye,
"Traytours, yelde yoū to me, [ 2212] *. [Laban threatens to hang them, and utters impreca∣tions]
Ye shall be hongede els by and bye
Vppon̄ an hye Galowe tree."
Tho spake Florip̄ to the Sowdon̄
And sayde "thou fals tyraunte, [ 2216]
Were Charles come, thy pride wer done
Nowe, cursede myscreaunte. *. [against Floripas, who returns them.]
Alas! that thou ascapediste soo
By the wyndowe vppon̄ the stronde. [ 2220]
That thy nek hade broke a-twoo!
God sende the shame and shonde!"—
"A! stronge hore, god gife the sorowe!
Tho[u] venemouse serpente. [ 2224]
Withe wilde horses 1. [See the note.] thoū shalt be drawe to morowe,
And on this hille be brente,
That al men may be war by the,
That cursed bene of kynde. [ 2228]
And thy love shalle honged be,
His hondes bounde him byhynde."
He called forth Mavon̄, his Engynour, *. [The soudan calls for Mavon, his engineer, and orders him to direct a mangonel against the walls.]
And saide "I charge the, [ 2232]
To throwe a magnelle to yon tour,
And breke it downe on thre."
Mavon set vp his engyne *. [Mavon knocked down a piece of the battlements.]
With a stoon̄ of .vj. C wigħt, [ 2236]
That wente as even̄ as eny lyne,
And smote a cornell down̄ right.
Woo was Roulande and Olyuer, *. [Roland and Oliver lament;]
That þat myschief was be-falle, [ 2240]
And so were alle the xij peres;
But Florip̄ than̄ comforte hem alle: *. [they are com∣forted by Floripas.]
"Sires" she saide "beitħ of goode chere!
This Toure is stronge I-nowe. [ 2244]
Page 65 He may cast twies or thries or he hit ayen þer,1. [See the note.] [leaf 56]
For sothe I telle it yoū.
Marsedage, the roialle kinge,
Rode in riche weede, [ 2248]
Fro Barbary commyng,
Vppon̄ a sturdy stede,
Cryinge to hem vppon̄ the walle:
"Traytouris, yelde yoū here! [ 2252]
Brenne you alle ellis I shalle,
By myghty god Iubyter."
Gy aspied, that he came ner, *. [Guy kills Marsedage the king of Barbary, by throwing a dart at him.]
A darte to hime he threwe ful even̄, [ 2256]
He smote him throwe herte & liver in fer.
Dame Floripe lough witħ loude steven̄
And saide "Sir Gye, my loue so free,
Thou kanste welle hit the prikke. [ 2260]
He shall make no booste in his contre;
God giffe him sorowe thikke!"
Whan̄ Laban̄ herde of this myschief,
A sory man̄ was he. [ 2264]
He trumped, his mene to relefe; *. [They stop the attack]
For to cease that tyme mente he.
Mersadage, kinge of Barbarye,
He did carye to his tente, [ 2268]
And beryed him by right of Sarsenye *. [to bury Marse∣dage,]
With brennynge fire and riche oynemente,
And songe the Dirige of Alkaron̄,
That bibill is of here laye, [ 2272]
And wayled his deth everychon̄, *. [and bewail him 7 days and nights.]
vij nyghtis and vij dayes.
Anoon̄ the Sowdon̄, south to say, *. [Then the soudan more closely blockades the castle.]
Sente iij hundrid of knightis, [ 2276]
To kepe the brigge and the waye
Oute of that Castil rightis,
That noon̄ of hem shulde issue oute,
Page 66 To feche vitayle by no waye. [ 2280]
He charged hem to wacche wel ałł abowte,
That thay for-famelid myght dye.
Thus thay kepte the place vij dayes, [leaf 57]
Tille alle hire vitaile was nyȝe spente. [ 2284] *. [The provisions being exhausted,]
The yates thai pas the streyte weyes.
Tho helde thai hem with-in I-shente.
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
Woordes lamentable, [ 2288]
Whan̄ he saugħ the ladies so whiȝte of ler,
Faile brede on here table,
And saide "Charles, thoū curteys kinge, *. [Roland complains of Charles's forgetfulness;]
Why forgetist thoū vs so longe? [ 2292]
This is to me a wondir thinge;
Me thinkitħ, thou doiste vs grete wronge,
To let vs dye for faute of mete,
Closed thus in a dongeon̄. [ 2296]
To morowe wol we asaye what we kon̄ gete,
By god, that berithe the crown̄."
Tho saide Floripas "sires, drede noghte *. [but Floripas cheers him up,]
For noon̄ houngr that may befalle. [ 2300]
I knowe a medycyne in my thoughte
To comforte yoū witħ alle.
I have a girdil in my Forcer, *. [saying she pos∣sessed a magic girdle which was a talisman against hunger and thirst for those who wore it.]
Who so girde hem̄ ther-with aboute, [ 2304]
Hunger ner thirste shal him neuer dere,
Though he were vij yere witħ-oute."
"O" quod Sir Gy "my loue so trewe,
I-blessed mote ye be! [ 2308]
I pray yoū, that ye wole us alle hit shewe,
That we may haue oure saule.
She yede and set it fortħ anoon̄,
Thai proved alle the vertue, [ 2312] *. [They all suc∣cessively put it on and felt as if they had feasted.]
And diden it aboute hem̄ euerychon̄.
It comforted alle both moo and fewe,
As thai hade bene at a feste.
Page 67 So were thay alle wele at ease, [ 2316]
Thus were thai refresshed botħ moost & lest
And weren bifore in grete disese.
Laban̄ wondred, how thai myght endur *. [Laban wondered at their endur∣ance,]
Witħ-outen̄ vitaile so longe. [ 2320]
He remembred him on Floripas senctur, *. [but at last remembering the girdle,]
And of the vertue so stronge.
Tho wiste he welle, that throgħ famyne [leaf 58]
Might he hem̄ never wynne. [ 2324]
He cleped to him fals Mapyne, *. [he induced Mapyne]
For he coude many a fals gynne:
He coude scale Castel and Toure
And over the walles wende. [ 2328]
"Mapyne" he saide "for myn̄ honoure,
Thou mooste haue this in mynde:
That hore, my doghter, a girdil hatħ she,
From̄ hounger it savyth hem̄ alle, [ 2332]
That wonnen may thay never be,
That foule mote hir bifalle!
Kanstowe gete me that gyrdill by craft, *. [to attempt to steal it at night.]
A thousande pounde than̄ shal I gefe the; [ 2336]
So that it be there not lefte, 1. [Read: 'lafte.']
But bringe it hithir to me.
Thoū kanste see by nyghte as welle
As any man doth by daye. [ 2340]
Whan thay bene in here beddes ful stiłł,
Than go forth thider right in thy waye.
Thou shalt it in here Chamber fynde,
Thou maist be thereofe sure." [ 2344]
"Sir, there-to I wole me bynde,
If my life may endure."
Fortħ wente this fals Mapyne
By nyght into the Tour [ 2348]
God gife him evel endinge!—*. [Mapyne entered the chamber of Floripas through]
Euen in to Floripas bour.
Page 68 By a Chemney he wente inne; *. [a chimney;]
Fulle stilly there he soughte it. [ 2352]
He it founde and girde it aboute him, *. [he finds the girdle and puts it on,]
And aftyr ful dere he bogħt it;
For by the light of a lampe ther
Floripas gan̄ him aspye, [ 2356] *. [but Floripas perceives him]
Alle a-frayed oute of hir slepe for fere,
But lowde than gan she crye *. [and cries out.]
And saide "a thefe is in my boure,
Robbe me he wole or sloo." [ 2360]
Ther-with come Rouland fro his tour *. [Roland hurries to her assistance,]
To wete of hir woo. [leaf 59]
He founde Mapyne bysyde hir bedde,
Stondinge amased for drede, [ 2364]
To the wyndowe he him ladde, 1. [See the note.]
And there he smote of his hedde, *. [cuts off Mapine's head, and throws him out through the window without noticing the girdle.]
And caste him oute in-to the see.
Of the gyrdille was he not war; [ 2368]
But whan̄ he wist, the girdel hade he,
Tho hadde he sorowe and care.
Floripe to the Cheste wente *. [Floripas, seeing her girdle lost, is much grieved;]
And aspyed, hire gyrdel was goon̄, [ 2372]
"Alas!" she saide, "alle is it shente!
Sir, what haue ye done?
He hath my girdel aboute hym̄.
Alas! þat harde while! [ 2376]
A rebelle hounde dotħ ofte grete tene;
Howe be we alle begilede."
Tho spake Roulande witħ cher boolde,
"Dameselle! beytħ noughte aferde! [ 2380] *. [Roland comforts her.]
If any vitaile be aboute this hoolde,
We wole hem wynne withe dinte of swerde.
To morowe wole wee oute-goon̄ *. [They agree to attempt a sally to obtain food.]
And assaye, howe it wole it be. [ 2384]
I make a vowe to god alone,
Page 69 Assaile hem wole we!
And if thay haue any mete,
Parte withe hem̄ wole we. [ 2388]
Or elles strokes thay shal gete
By God and seynte Mary myn̄ avour! 1. [See the note.]
In the morne, er the larke songe, *. [In the morning]
Thai ordeynede hem to ride [ 2392]
To the Saresyns, þat hade so longe
Leyen hem besyde.
Duke Neymes and Oger *. [Naymes and Ogier remain in the castle,]
Were ordeynede to kepe the place. [ 2396]
The x othir of the xij peres *. [the others start]
Wente oute to assaye here grace.
Thay founden̄ hem in logges slepynge, *. [and surprise the Saracens still sleeping in their huts.]
Of hem hade thay no thought. [ 2400]
Thai slowen̄ down̄ þat came to honde,
Mahounde availed hem noghte. [leaf 60]
In shorte tyme the ende was made,
Thay ten slough iij hundred ther. [ 2404] *. [They slew 300 and carried off as much food as they could bear.]
Tho founde thai vitaile, thay were glad,
As moche as thay myghte home ber.
Duke Neymes and Oger, that kept the tour,
Say hem witħ here praye. [ 2408]
Thai thanked god hye of honoure,
That thai spedde so þat day.
Thay avaled the brigge and lete him yn,
Florip̄ and here maydyns were gladde, [ 2412]
And so were thay, that were with-yn;
For alle grete hounger thay hadde.
Thai eten̄ and dronken right I-nowe
And made myrtħ ever amonge. [ 2416]
But of the Sowdon̄ laban speke we nowe,
Howe of sorowe was his songe.
WHan tidyngges came to him,
That his men̄ were slayn̄, [ 2420]
And howe thai hade stuffed hem̄ also 1. [See the note.]
Page 70 With vitaile in agayne,
For sorowe he woxe nere wode. *. [The soudan is enraged,]
He cleped Brenlande and Sortybraunce. [ 2424]
And tolde hem̄ witħ angry mode
Of his harde myschaunce.
"Remedye ordeyne me,
Ye be chief of my counsaile; [ 2428]
That I of hem may vengede be,
It shalle you bouth availe.
O ye goddes, ye faile at nede,
That I have honoured so longe, [ 2432]
I shalle yoū bren̄, so mote 1. [MS. mete.] I spede, *. [and is going to burn his gods,]
In a fayre fyre ful stronge;
Shalle I neuer more on yoū bileve,
But renaye yoū playnly alle. [ 2436]
Ye shalle be brente this day er eve,
That foule mote yoū befalle!"
The fire was made, the goddes were broght
To have be caste ther-inne. [ 2440] [leaf 61]
Tho alle his counsaile him by-sought, *. [but, appeased by his wise men,]
He shulde of þat erroure blynne,
And saide "Sir, what wole ye done?
Wole ye your goddis for-sake? [ 2444]
Vengeaunce shalle than̄ on yoū come,
With sorowe, woo and wrake!
Ye moste make offrynge for youre offence,
For drede of grete vengeaunce, [ 2448]
With oyle, mylke and ffranken̄cense
By youre prestis ordynaunce."
Tho he dide bere hem in ayen̄, *. [he sacrifices again,]
And to hem made dewe offerynge. [ 2452]
The prestis assoyled him of þat synne, *. [and is assoiled by the priests.]
Ful lowly for him prayinge.
Tho he cleped his counselers *. [Laban holds council.]
Brulande and Sortybraunce, [ 2456]
Page 71 Axynge, howe he myght destroye the xij peres,
That Mahounde gife hem myschaunce.
Thay cowde no more ther-on̄,
But late saile ayen̄ the toure. [ 2460]
Witħ xxti thousande thai gan̄ gon̄,
And bigonne a newe shoure *. [A new assault begins,]
To breke down̄ the Walles,
With mattokes and witħ pike, [ 2464]
Tille iiij hundred of hem alle *. [but the ditches are filled with assailants, who were slain by the showers of stones hurled down by the peers.]
Lay slayne in the dike.
So stronge was the cast of stoone.
The Saresyns drewe hem̄ abakke, [ 2468]
Tille it was at hye none; *. [The Saracens retire.]
Tho gonne thay ayen̄ to shake. *. [A second attack ensues.]
Tho fayled hem cast, þat were with-inne; *. [There being no stones,]
Tho cowde thai no rede, [ 2472]
For stoone was ther noone to wynne.
Tho were thay in grete drede.
Than saide Florip, "beitħ not dismayde!
Ye shalle be holpe anoon̄. [ 2476]
Here is syluer vessel and now," 1. [? I now.] she sayde, *. [Floripas gave them her father's silver and gold to cast amongst the assailants.]
"That shulle ye prove goode woon̄."
She set it forth, thay caste oute faste
Alle that came to honde. [ 2480] [leaf 62]
Off siluer and goolde vessel thay made waste
That wast 2. [Read: 'went.'] down̄ vppon̄ the sonde.
Whan̄ thai saugħ that roial sight,
Thai leften alle here dede; [ 2484]
And for the tresoure thay do fight,
Who so myghte it awey lede.
Tho the Sowdon̄ wexe nere wode, *. [The soudan in alarm for his treasure]
Seinge this tresoure thus dispoyled, [ 2488]
That was to him so dere and goode
Laye in the dike thus defouled.
He bade that thai shulde leue *. [gives up the assault.]
Page 72 And turne hem̄ agayne in haste. [ 2492]
He wente home tille his tente than
With grete sorowe and mournyng mode.
To-fore his goddis whan̄ he came,
He cryed, as he were wode: [ 2496]
"O fals goddis, that ye betħ, *. [He is enraged with his gods,]
I have trustid to longe youre mode.
We 1. [? Me.] were lever to suffr dede,
Than̄ lif this life here lenger nowe. [ 2500]
I haue almoste loste the bretħ,
xij fals traytours me overe-lede,
And stroyen alle þat I haue.
Ye fals goddis, the devel youe spede! [ 2504]
Ye make me nowe for to rave;
Ye do fayle me at my nede."
In Ire he smote Mahounde, *. [and smites Mahound]
That was of goolde fulle rede, [ 2508]
That he fille down̄ to the grounde, *. [so that he fell on his face;]
As he hade bene dede.
Alle here bisshopes cryden̄ oute
And saide "Mahounde, thyn̄ ore!" [ 2512]
And down̄ to the erthe wele lowe thay loute,
Howlynge and wepynge sore,
And saide "Sire Sowdon̄, what haue ye done?
Vengeaunce shalle on the falle, [ 2516]
But thoū repente the here anone."
"Ye" quod he "I shrewe yoū alle!" *. [but the priests induce him]
Thai made a fyre of frankencense
And blewen̄ hornes of bras, [ 2520]
And casten in milke hony for the offence, [leaf 63]
To-fore Mahoundes face.
Thay counsailed Laban to knele a down̄ *. [to kneel down and ask forgive∣ness.]
And aske forgevenes in that place. [ 2524]
And so he didde and hade pardon̄
Throgh prayere and specialle grace.
Page 73 Then 1. [? 'When.'] this was done, þan̄ sayde Roulande *. [Meanwhile Roland]
To his Felowes xj: [ 2528]
"Here may we not longe holde londe,
By God that is in heven̄.
Therefore sende we to Charles, the kinge,
That he wolde reskowe vs sone; [ 2532]
And certyfye him of oure strayȝte beinge, *. [exhorted Richard of Normandy to go on message to Charles, that he might come to their rescue.]
If ye thinke, it be to done.
Richard of Normandye, ye most goon̄,
I holde yoū both wyse and hende. [ 2536]
And we shalle tomorowe, as stil as stoon̄, *. [They all would the following morning, before day break, make an attack on the Saracens, and meanwhile he should steal off in the darkness.]
The Saresyns a-wake, er ye wynde. 2. [Read: 'wende.']
And while we be mooste bysy in oure werke,
And medel witħ hem alle in fere, [ 2540]
Stele ye a-waye in the derke!
And spede you faste, ye were there!"
On the morowe aftir the daye *. [In the morning]
Thay were armede ful ryghte, [ 2544]
Thai rode fortħ stilly in here way, *. [they sally out.]
God gouerne hem, mooste of myght!
Floripe and here maydyns kept the tour *. [Floripas and her maidens draw up the bridges after them.]
And woonde vp the brigges on hye, [ 2548]
And prayde god, to kepe here paramour,
The Duke of Burgoyne, Sir Gȳe.
She preyde to Rouland, er he wente,
To take goode hede of him̄, [ 2552]
That he were neyþer take nere shente,
As he wolde her loue wynne.
On thay set with herte stronge
And alle hem̄ sore afrayed. [ 2556]
Richard the whiles away he wronge, *. [Richard went off towards Mantrible.]
Thile 3. [? 'while.'] thai were alle dismayede.
Towarde the Mountrible he hyed him faste,
To passe, if that he myghte. [ 2560] [leaf 64]
Thedir he came at the laste.
Page 74 God kepe him for his mocħ myght!
His xij 1. [? xj.] felowes besyed hem̄ soo *. [The others slay many Saracens;]
That many of hem̄ thay sloughe. 2. [See the note.] [ 2564]
Gye slowe the kinge of Babyloyne tho;
The Babyloynes of his hors him drowe, *. [but Guy, overpowered by the Babylonians, is taken prisoner.]
And with force him drowe there
And bounde his hondes ful fast. [ 2568]
A newe game thai gan̄ him lere,
For in depe prison̄ thay him caste.
But Laban̄ wolde him first se,
To wete what he was. [ 2572]
"Telle me thy name nowe" quod he, *. [Laban asks his name.]
"Thy songe shalle be 'alas.'"—
"Sire" he saide "my name is Gye, *. [Guy tells him.]
I wole it never forsake. [ 2576]
It were to me grete vilanye
An̄ othir name to take."—
"O fals traytour" quod Laban̄,
"My doghtir, þat stronge hore, [ 2580]
Hath me for-sake and the hath tan̄,
Thoū shalte be honged therfore." *. [He is to be hanged.]
Roulande made grete moone,
It wolde noon̄ other be. [ 2584]
Homwarde thai gan̄ goon̄,
.iij.c Saresyns ther saye he, *. [300 Saracens crowding near the gate of the castle, attempted to prevent the other peers from entering.]
That kepte the pace at the brigge-ende,
Armed wel in goode araye, [ 2588]
That thai sholde not in wende,
But be take or slayn̄ þat daye.
Roulande to his felowes saide:
"Beth alle of right gode chere! [ 2592]
And we shal make hem alle afrayde,
Er we go to oure soupere."
There byganne a bykeringe bolde *. [A fearful struggle begins.]
Of x Bachelers that tyde, [ 2596]
Page 75 Agayne iijc men̄ I-tolde,
That durste righte wel a-byde.
Tho was Durnedale set a werke, [leaf 65]
XL of hethen he sloughe, [ 2600]
He spared neþer lewde ner clerke,
And Floripas ther-of loughe.
The shotte, the caste was so stronge,
Syr Bryer was slayn̄ there [ 2604] *. [Sir Bryer is killed.]
With dartes, gauylokes and speres longe,
xxti on hym there were.
Roulande was woo and Olyuer,
Thay sloughen̄ alle that thai mette. [ 2608]
Tho fledde the Turkes alle for fer, *. [At last the Saracens take to flight.]
Thay durste no longer lette
And saide, thai wer no men,
But develis abroken̄ oute of helle, [ 2612]
".iij. hundred of vs agayn̄ hem ten̄.
Oure lorde Mahounde hem qwelle!
XL of vs here be ascaped,
And hardde we be bistadde."— [ 2616]
"Who so wole of hem̄ more be iaped,
I holde him worsse than madde."
Tho Roulande and Olyuer
Maden̄ grete woo and sorowe, [ 2620]
And token̄ the corps of Sir Bryere *. [The peers retire inside the castle, taking the corpse of Bryer with them.]
And beryed it on the morowe.
Floripe asked Roulande anoone
"Where is my loue Sir Gye?"— [ 2624] *. [Floripas enquires after Guy,]
"Damesel" he saide "he is goon̄,
And therfore woo am I."—
"Alas" she saide "than am I dede, *. [and on hearing of his capture, begins to lament despairingly.]
Nowe Gye my lorde is slayn̄, [ 2628]
Shall I neuer more ete brede
Tille that I may se him̄ agayn̄."—
"Be stille" quod Roulande "and haue no car, *. [Roland promises to rescue Guy.]
We shal hym̄ haue ful wele. [ 2632]
Page 76 Tomorowe wele we thiderward far
With spere and shelde of stele.
But we bringe him to this Tour—
Leeve me elles no more— [ 2636]
With victorye and grete honour,
Or thay shalle abye it ful sore." [leaf 66]
On the morowe, whan tha daye was clere,
Laban ordeynede Gye honged to be. [ 2640]
He cleped forth Sir Tampere *. [On the following morning Laban orders Sir Tamper to erect a gallows before the castle, where Floripas could see it.]
And badde him do make a Galowe tre,
"And set it even̄ by-fore the tour,
That þilke hore may him see; [ 2644]
For by lord Mahounde of honour,
This traitour there shalle honged be.
Take withe the .iij. hundred knigħtes
Of Ethiopis, Indens and Ascopartes, [ 2648]
That bene boolde and hardy to fight
With Wifles, Fauchons, Gauylokes 1. [MS. Gamylokes.] and Dartes;
Leste þat lurdeynes come skulkynge oute,
For ever thay haue bene shrewes. [ 2652]
Loke eche of hem̄ haue sucħ a cloute,
That thay neuer ete moo Sewes."
Forth thay wente with Sir Gye, *. [Guy is led bound.]
That bounde was as a thefe faste, [ 2656]
Tille thay come the towr ful nye;
Thai rered the Galowes in haste.
Roulande perceyued here doynge
And saide "felows, let armes 2. [Read: 'as armes.']! [ 2660] *. [Roland calls his companions to arms.]
I am ful gladde of here comynge,
Hem shall not helpe her charmes."
Oute thai riden a wele gode spede, *. [They rush forth.]
Thai ix towarde hem alle. [ 2664]
Florip witħ here maydyns toke gode hede,
Biholdinge over the tour walle.
Thai met first witħ Sir Tamper,
Page 77 God gife him evelle fyne! [ 2668]
Such a stroke lente hym Olyuer, *. [Oliver cuts down Sir Tamper;]
He clefe him down̄ to the skyne.
Rouland bare the kinge of Ynde *. [Roland kills a king of India,]
Ther with his spere frome his stede. [ 2672]
.iiij. fote it passed his bak byhynde,
His herte blode þer didde he blede.
He caught the stede, he was ful goode, *. [takes his sword and horse,]
And the swerde, þat the kinge hadde, [ 2676]
And rode to Gye, there he stode, [leaf 67]
And onbounde hym̄ and bade him be gladde. *. [and gives them to Guy, having unbound him.]
And girde him witħ that goode swerde,
And lepen vppon̄ here stedes. [ 2680]
"Be thou" he saide "righte nougħt a-ferde,
But helpe vs wightly at this nede."
An hundred of hem sone thay slowe *. [They slay many Saracens, and put the rest to flight.]
Of the beste of hem alle; [ 2684]
The remenaunte a-way fast thay flowe,
That foule motte hem byfalle!
Rouland and his Felowes were glad
That Gye was safe in dede. [ 2688]
Thay thanked god, that thay 1. [See the note.] him hadde
Gyfen thaye1. [See the note.] sucħ grace to spede.
As thay wente towarde the Tour, *. [Retiring towards the castle,]
A litil bysyde the hye waye, [ 2692]
Thai saugh comynge with grete vigour
An hundred vppon̄ a laye. 2. [MS. 'alaye.' See the note.]
Costroye ther was, the Admyrałł, *. [they see admiral Costroye]
With vitaile grete plente, [ 2696]
And the stondarte of the Sowdon̄ Roial. *. [and the soudan's standard-bearer escorting a great convoy, destined for the sultan, across a field near the high road.]
Towarde Mauntrible riden̄ he,
.iiij. Chariotes I-charged witħ flessh and brede,
And two other with wyne, [ 2700]
Of divers colouris, yolowe, white and rede,
And iiij Somers of spicery fyne.
Page 78 Tho saide Roulande to Olyuer:
"With these meyne moste we shifte, [ 2704]
To haue parte of here vitailes her,
For therof us nedith by my thrifte."—
"Howe, sires" he saide "god you see! *. [Roland calls to them]
We pray youe for youre curtesye, [ 2708]
Parte of your Vitaile graunte me, *. [to share the provisions with them.]
For we may nother borowe ner bye."
Tho spake Cosdroye, that Admyral,
"Ye gete none here for nogħt. [ 2712] *. [Costroye refuses,]
Yf ye oght chalenge in speciałł,
It most be dere I-boght."—
"O gentil knightes" quod Olyuere,
"He is no felowe, þat wole haue alle." [ 2716]
"Go fortħ" quod the stondart, "thoū getist noon here,
Thy parte shalle be fulle smalle."—
"Forsoth" quod Roulande "and shift we wole, [leaf 68]
Gete the better, who gete maye! [ 2720]
To parte with the nedy it is gode skille,
And so shalle ye by my faye."
He rode to the Admyral witħ his swerde *. [and is slain by Roland.]
And gafe him suche a cloute, [ 2724]
No wonder thogħ he were aferde,
Both his eyȝen̄ braste oute.
Olyuere met withe the proude stondarde,
He smote him througħ the herte. [ 2728] *. [Oliver kills the standard-bearer.]
That hade he for his rewarde;
That wounde gan̄ sore smerte.
Thai were slayn̄, that wolde fight
Er durste bikure abyde. [ 2732]
Thai forsoke her parte anoon̄ rigħt,
It lefte alle on̄ that on̄ side.
Forth thai drewen̄ þat vitaile *. [The convoy is conveyed into the castle.]
Streight in-to the Toure. [ 2736]
There was no man̄ durst hem assayle,
For drede of here vigour.
Page 79 Floripe hem resceyved with honour
And thanked Roulande fele sythe, [ 2740] *. [Floripas thanks Roland for bringing back Sir Guy,]
That she saugħ Gye hir paramour,
That wolde she him qwite and kithe.
Thai eten̄ and dronken and made hem gladde,
Hem neded ther aftyr fulle sore [ 2744]
Of suche, as god hem sente hade,
I-nowe for iiij moonþes and more.
Florip saide to Roulande than, *. [and proposes that he shall choose himself a mistress from amongst her maidens. But Roland refuses to take any that is no Christian.]
"Ye moste chese you a love 1. [Read: 'leve.'] [ 2748]
Of alle my maydyns, white as swan̄."—
Quod Rouland "þat were myscheve;
Oure lay wole not, þat we with youe dele,
Tille that ye Cristyn̄ be made; [ 2752]
Ner of your play we wole not fele,
For than̄ were we cursed in dede."
NOwe shall ye here of Laban̄. *. [The soudan, on hearing such bad news,]
Whan tidyngges to him wer comen̄, [ 2756]
Tho was he a fulle sory man̄.
Whan he herde, howe his vitaile were nomen̄,
And howe his men were slayne,
And Gye was go safe hem̄ froo, [ 2760] [leaf 69]
He defyed Mahounde and Apolyne, *. [again defies his gods,]
Iubiter, Ascarot and Alcaron̄ also.
He commaundede a fire to be digħt *. [and threatens to throw them into the flames.]
With picche and Brymston̄ to bren̄. [ 2764]
He made a vowe with alle his mygħt,
"Thai shal be caste ther-Inne!"
The prestes of her lawe ther-on̄,
Thai criden̄ oute for drede [ 2768]
And saide "alas, what wole ye done?
The worse than moste ye spede!"
The Sowdon̄ made a grete othe
And swore by his hye trone, [ 2772]
That though hem were never so lotħ,
Page 80 Thai sholde be brente Ichon̄.
Tho came the bisshope Cramadas *. [But bishop Cramadas kneels before him and appeases him.]
And kneled bifore the Sowdon̄, [ 2776]
And charged him by the hye name Sathanas,
To saven his goddes ychon̄:
"For if ye brenne youre goddes her,
Ye wynnyn̄ her malison̄, [ 2780]
Than wole no man do yoū cher,
In feelde, Cite, ner in town̄."
The Sowdon̄ was astonyed þan
And gan him sore repente [ 2784]
Of the foly, that he bygan̄,
And els hade he be shente.
A thousande of Besauntes he offred þaym to, *. [The soudan makes an offering of 1000 besants to his gods.]
By counsail of sir Cramadas, [ 2788]
To please witħ his goddys tho,
For fere of harde grace.
The Sowdone commanded euery daye
To assaile the tour witħ caste. [ 2792]
But thay with-in gafe not an Eye,
For thai wroghte in wast.
NOwe speke we of Richarde of Normandy,
That on message was sente, [ 2796]
Howe he spede and his meyne.
Whan he to Mauntrible wente, *. [When Richard arrived as far as Mantrible, he]
He founde the brigge Ichayned sore;
xxiiijti were ouere-drawen̄. [ 2800] [leaf 70]
Alagolofure stode there byfore, *. [found the bridge barred by 24 chains, and Alagolafre standing before it.]
That many a man hade slawene.
Whan Richard saugħ, ther was no gate,
But by flagot the flode, [ 2804]
His message wolde he not lete; *. [Determined not to leave his errand unperformed, he knelt down and commended himself to God.]
His hors was botħ bigge and goode.
He kneled, bisechinge god of his grace,
To save him fro myschiefe. [ 2808]
A white hende he saugħ anoon̄ in þat place, *. [A hind appears]
Page 81 That swam̄ over the cliffe. *. [and swims across.]
He blessed him in godis name
And folowed the same waye [ 2812] *. [Richard follows her, and, passing over in safety,]
The gentil hende, þat was so tame,
That on̄ þat othir side gan playe.
He thanked god fele sythe,
That him hade sente comforte. [ 2816]
He hied him in his message swiþe. *. [hurries on to Charlemagne.]
To speke witħ Charles his lorde.
But I shalle yoū telle of a traytour,
That his name was called Genelyne, [ 2820]
He counseiled Charles for his honour *. [Meanwhile Genelyn, the traitor, had advised Charles to retire to France, because the 12 peers were all slain.]
To turne homewarde ageyn̄.
He saide "the xij peres bene alle dede,
And ye spende your goode in vayne, [ 2824]
And therfore dotħ nowe by my rede,
Ye shalle see hem no more certeyn̄."
The kinge bileved þat he saide, *. [The king believed him, and marched home∣ward, lamenting for his peers.]
And homwarde gan he fare. [ 2828]
He of his xij Dosiperes was sore dismayed,
His herte woxe right fulle of car.
Rycharde of Normandy came prikande *. [Richard overtakes him, and is recognised by Charles,]
And hertly to ride begane. [ 2832]
Kinge Charles aspyed him comande;
He commaunded to abide euery man̄.
"What tidingges?" quod the kinge to Richarde, *. [who asks him about the others.]
"Howe fare my felowes alle?" [ 2836]
"My lorde" he saide "god wote, ful harde, *. [Richard tells the king, how they are besieged within the castle, and are waiting for his assistance.]
For thai be byseged with-in ston-walle,
Abydynge youre helpe and your socour,
As men þat haue grete nede. [ 2840]
For Ihesues loue, kinge of honour,
Thiderward ye yoū spede!"
"O Genelyne" quod the kinge, *. [Charles, vowing vengeance on]
"Nowe knowe I thy treson̄, [ 2844] [leaf 71]
I shalle the qwite, be seynte Fremounde, *. [Genelyn,]
Page 82 Whan̄ this viage is don̄."
The kinge turned him ageyn̄, *. [turned and marched to Agremore.]
And alle his Ooste him witħ, [ 2848]
Towarde Mountrible certeyne.
And 1. [Read: 'God'.] graunte him gree and grith!
Richarde him tolde of that place,
Howe stronge it was I-holde [ 2852]
With a geaunte foule of face, *. [Richard informed him of the giant, who kept the bridge,]
The brigge hath chayned many folde;
The River was both depe and brode,
Ther myght no man̄ over-ryde. [ 2856]
"The last tyme that I over-rode, *. [and how he had passed the river by a miracle.]
By myracle I passed þat tide.
Therfore sir, I shal yoū telle,
Howe ye mote governe yoū here. [ 2860]
In yonde wode ye moste dwelle *. [He proposed a plan,]
Priuely in this maner,
And xij of vs shalle vs araye *. [that 12 knights disguised as merchants, with]
In gyse of stronge marchauntes, [ 2864]
And fille oure somers withe fog and haye,
To passe the brigge Currauntes.
We shalle be armed vnder the cote *. [their arms hidden under their clothes,]
With goode swerdes wele I-gyrde, [ 2868]
We moste paye tribute, wele I wote, *. [should pay the toll,]
And elles over we may not sterte.
But whan̄ the chaynes be lete down̄ *. [and the bridge being let down,]
Ouer ther for to passe, [ 2872]
Than wole I, þat ye come on̄,
In haste to that same place.
Whan̄ I see tyme for to come,
Than̄ shalle I my horne blowe. [ 2876] *. [should blow a horn as a signal for the others to approach.]
Loke, ye be redy alle and some,
For that shałł ye welle knowe."
Forth thay wente in þat araye *. [They start and arrive at Mantrible.]
To Mountrible, that Cite. [ 2880]
Page 83 Alagolofur to hem̄ gan seye, *. [Alagolafre asks whither they are going.]
"Felawes, wheder wole ye?"
Richarde spake to the geaunte
And saide "towarde the Sowdon̄, [ 2884] *. [Richard says, they are mer∣chants on their way to the Soudan,]
With dyu[e]rs chaffer as trewe marchaunte,
We purpose for to goon̄,
To shewen him of pellur and Gryse, 1. [Read: 'gray.']
Orfrays of Perse Imperyalle, [ 2888] [leaf 72]
We wole the yefe tribute of assaye *. [and they are willing to pay the toll.]
To passe by lycence in especyałł."
"Licence gete ye noon̄ of me, 2. [See the note.]*. [Alagolafre refuses to let them pass,]
I am charged that noone shałł passe, [ 2892]
For x lurdeyns of Fraunce were her; *. [and tells them about the 10 knights,]
God yefe hem evell grace!
Thay passed this way to Egramour; *. [who had passed there and done so much mischief to the Soudan;]
Thay haue done the Sowdon̄ grete tene, [ 2896]
Thay have wonne his toure and his tresour,
And yet holde thai it, I wene.
Wherfor, felawes, I arest yoū alle, *. [therefore he will arrest them all.]
Tille I knowe, what þat ye bene." [ 2900]
Sire Focarde brayde oute his swerde witħ-alle, *. [Sir Focard draws his sword and]
Wel sore he gan to tene
And saide "fye on̄ the Sarasyne!
For alle thy grete harde hede [ 2904]
Shaltow never drinke water ner wyne,
By god! thou shalte be dede."
He smote at him witħ egre chere *. [smites at him.]
But he gafe thereof right nought. [ 2908]
"Alas" quod Richard "thou combrest vs her,
By god, that me der hatħ boghte."
The cheynes yet wer alle faste,
The geaunte wexe nere wode, [ 2912]
Richard blewe his horne in haste, *. [Richard blows his horn,]
That was both shrille and goode.
Kinge Charles hied him anoon̄ *. [and Charles advances.]
Page 84 Towarde the brigge so longe; [ 2916]
The Geaunte faught with hem̄ alone,
He was so harde and stronge.
With a Clog of an̄ Oke he faugħt, *. [Alagolafre fights them with a great oak club.]
That was wele bound with stele. [ 2920]
He slough al þat ever he raugħt,
So stronge was his dinte to dele.
Richard raught him witħ a barr of bras, *. [Richard seizes a bar of brass and knocks him down.]
That he caught at the gate. [ 2924]
He brake his legges, he cryed "alas"
And felle alle chek-mate.
Loude than̄ gan̄ he to yelle;
Thay herde him yelle througħ þat Cite, [ 2928]
Like the grete develle of helle,
And saide "Mahounde, nowe helpe me!" [leaf 73]
iiij men him caught ther, *. [4 men get hold of him]
So hevy he was and longe, [ 2932]
And cast him ouer in-to the river. *. [and throw him into the river.]
Chese he, whither 1. [? 'whether.'] he wolde swymme or gong!
Anoon̄ thay brast the Chaynes alle, *. [They loosened the chains;]
That ouer the brigge were I-drawe. [ 2936]
The Saresyns ronnen̄ to the walle, *. [but, the Saracens assembling on the walls of the city, many Christians were slain.]
Many Cristen̄ men were ther I-slawe.
Than came forth Dam barrok, the bolde,
With a sithe large and kene, [ 2940] *. [Alagolafre's wife, Barrock the giantess, comes on with her scythe and mows down all whom she meets.]
And mewe a-down̄ as þikke as shepe in folde,
That came byforne hir by-dene.
This Barrok was a geaunesse,
And wife she was to Astragote, [ 2944]
She did the Cristen̄ grete distresse,
She felled downe alle þat she smote.
There durst no man hire sithe abyde,
She grenned like a develle of helle. [ 2948]
Kinge Charles with a quarel þat tide *. [Charles dashes out her brains,]
Smote hir, that she lowde gan̄ yelle,
Page 85 Euer 1. [Read: 'over.'] the founte througħ-oute the brayn̄;
That cursede fende fille down̄ dede. [ 2952]
Many a man hade she there slayn̄,
Might she never aftyr ete more brede!
Charles entred in the firste warde *. [and with 15 knights enters the outer gate of the town,]
With xv knightis and no moo; [ 2956]
Of hym his oste toke no garde,
He wende his oste hade entred also. *. [thinking his army would follow him.]
The Sarysyns ronne to the gate,
And shet it wonder faste. [ 2960] *. [But the gate was instantly closed upon him, and his men came too late.]
Charles men̄ come to late;
Tho was Charles sore agaste.
Betwene two wardes he was shit,
Defende he him if he can̄! [ 2964]
The Sarysyns with him thay mette, *. [Charles was in great danger;]
Grete parel was he in than̄.
Tho Genelyne saie, the kinge was inne *. [but Genelyn, seeing him shut in,]
And the yates faste I-stoke, [ 2968]
Ther myght no man̄ to him wynne,
So was he faste witħ-inne I-loke,
To his frendes he gan speke
And saide "the kinge is dede, [ 2973] [leaf 74]
And alle xij peres eke. *. [exclaimed that the king and the 12 peers were dead, and proposed to retire,]
On peyne" said he "to lese myn hede,
Let vs hye to Fraunce warde!
For I wele be crownede kinge, [ 2976] *. [as he wished to be king himself.]
I shalle yoū alle wele rewarde,
For I wole spare for no thinge."
Anoon̄ thay assented to Genelyne,
Thay saugh, ther was no better rede. [ 2980]
The Frenssh men̄ drewe hem̄ al ayene, *. [They are going to return,]
Thay wende the kinge hade bene dedde.
Tho Ferumbras witħ his meyne than̄ *. [but Ferumbras]
Came for to seke the kinge, [ 2984]
And saugh hem turne euery man̄;
Page 86 Him thought, it was a wondir thing.
"Where is the kinge?" quod Ferumbras.
Quod Genelyne "with-in the walle, [ 2988]
Shaltowe neuer more seen̄ his face!"
"God gyf the an̄ yvel falle!
Turne agayne, thoū traytoure! *. [calls him a traitour,]
And helpe to reskowe thy lorde. [ 2992]
And ye, sires, alle for your honour!" *. [rallies the French,]
Thay turned agayne with that worde.
Ferumbras with axe in honde, *. [and with his axe bursts open the gate.]
Myghtyly brake up the gate, [ 2996]
Ther myght laste him noon̄ yron̄ bonde,
He hade ner-honde I-come to late.
The kinge hadde fought so longe witħ-ynne,
That onnethe myght he no more. [ 3000]
Many ther were abouten̄ him,
His men̄ were wounded ful sore.
Ferumbras came with gode spede,
He made the Sarasyns to fle. [ 3004] *. [He chased the Saracens and rescued the king.]
He reskowed the kinge at his nede,
XL Sarasyns sone killed he.
Thai ronnen a-weye by every side,
Thai durste nowher rowte. [ 3008]
In shorte tyme was falled her pride,
Thay caught many a sore cloute.
That Cite was wonne that same daye, *. [Mantrible is taken,]
And every tour ther-ynne [ 3012]
Of Mountreble, þat was so gaye,
For alle her soubtile gynne, [leaf 75]
Fulle of tresour and richesse, *. [with all its engines and treasures.]
Of Siluer and goolde and perr, [ 3016]
And clothes of goolde, wroght of Saresynes,
Of riche aray and roialte.
Richarde, Duke of Normandy, *. [Richard found 2 children of 7 months old and]
Founde ij Children of .vij. monþes oolde, 1. [See the note.] [ 3020]
Page 87 xiiij fote longe wer thay, *. [4 feet high.]
Thay wer Barrakes sonnes so boolde; *. [They were sons of Barrock, begotten by Astragot.]
Bygote thay wer of Astragot.
Grete joye the kinge of hem hade. [ 3024]
Hethen̄ thay wer botħ, wele I wote,
Therfore hem̄ to be cristenede he bade. *. [Charles caused them to be baptized, and called the one Roland and the other Oliver.]
He called þat one of hem Roulande,
And that other he cleped Olyuer: [ 3028]
"For thai shalle be myghty men of honde."
To kepen̄ hem, he was fulle chere.
Thay myght not leve, her Dam was dede; *. [But they soon died]
Thai coude not kepe hem fortħ. [ 3032]
Thai wolde neyþer ete butter nere brede,
Ner no men̄ 1. [Read: 'mete.'] was to hem worthe.
Her Dammes mylke they lakked ther, *. [for want of their mother's milk.]
Thay deyden for defaute of here dam. [ 3036]
Kinge Charles made hevy cher,
And a sory man̄ was than.
The kinge lete ordeyne anoon̄,
The Cite to be gouerned [ 3040]
Of the worthyest of hem̄ ychon̄,
That weren of werr best lerned.
Duke Richarde of Normandy, *. [The king appoints Richard governor of the city,]
He was made chief gouernour; [ 3044]
And ij C with him in hys company
To kepe the brigge and tour.
Fortħ he rode to laban̄ than̄, *. [and hurries on to Agremore with his army and with Ferumbras.]
With his Ooste and Sir Ferumbras. [ 3048]
A spye to the Sowdon̄ fast ran
And tolde him al that cas,
How Charles was come with his ost,
And Mountrible hade he wonne, [ 3052]
"Alagolofur slayn̄ is for alle his bost,
This game was evel begon̄."
Whane laban herde of his comynge,
Page 88 Him thought his herte gan breke. [ 3056]
"Shalle I never be withoute moornynge, [leaf 76]
Tille I of him be wreke."
He commaunded to blowe his Claryons
To assemble alle his Ooste. [ 3060]
His counsaile to him he lete calle
And tolde, how kinge Charles was in þat coost, *. [Laban, being told by a spy that his city was taken and the bridge∣ward killed,]
Hadde wonne Mountrible and slayn̄ his men
"And dishirytħ to disheryte me, [ 3064]
And proudely manessith me to fleen̄,
Or drive me oute of this contre.
Me mervaylythe moch of his pride.
By Mahounde, moost of mygħt! [ 3068]
Ye and my sone withe him doth ride,
To the develle I hem bedigħt.
But I be venget of hem both *. [swears to avenge him.]
And honge hem̄ on a tree, [ 3072]
To myghty Mahounde I make myne othe,
Shalle I never Joyfulle be.
Therfore I charge yoū in alle wyse *. [He calls a council, and charges his barons to take Charles alive that he might flay him.]
That thay be taken or slayn̄. [ 3076]
Thane shalle I pynne heme at my gyse
And don̄ hem alle qwike be flayn̄."
On the morowe, whan it was day, *. [Charles approaches.]
Kinge Charles was in the felde, [ 3080]
Byfore Agremour in riche aray
On stede witħ sper and sheelde.
Floripe lay on the tour on̄ hye *. [Floripas first recognises the banner of France]
And knewe the baner of Fraunce. [ 3084]
To Roulande she gan faste crye
Tidynges of goode chaunce:
"Kinge Charles is comen and Ferumbras, *. [and tells the others.]
Here baners botħ I do see, [ 3088]
With alle her oste yonder in þat place;
Welcome to vs thay alle be."
Roulande and Olyuere
Page 89 Arayed hem for to ride; [ 3092] *. [Roland and all his companions sally forth to meet Charle∣magne.]
And here felawes alle in fer,
To Charles thay gon̄ that tyde.
Laban come forth with his mayne, *. [Laban draws up all his people]
Saresyns, that were ful felle, [ 3096]
Turkes, Indens, and Arabye
Ye and of the Ethiopes like the develes of helle.
There were stronge wardes sette [leaf 77]
By ordynaunce of dyuers batayle. [ 3100] *. [in battle-order.]
Whan thay to geder were met,
Eythir othir sore gan̄ assayle.
Ther were Saresyns al to-hewe; *. [The French make a great slaughter of the Saracens.]
Roulande sloughe many one. [ 3104]
Thay lay so thikke dede on rewe,
That onneþe myghte men ride or goon̄.
Kinge Charles met with Laban̄ *. [Charles encounters the Soudan, unhorses him,]
And bare him down̄ of his stede, [ 3108]
He lighted down̄ and ceased him than̄,
He thought to qwite him his mede.
He brayde oute Mown̄joye wytħ gode wille
And wolde have smeten of his hede, [ 3112] *. [and would have cut off his head, but for Ferumbras, who requested that his father might be baptized. The Saracens, seeing Laban a prisoner, fly;]
Ferumbras prayde him to abyde stille,
To crysten̄ him, er he wer dede.
The Saresyns saughe Laban take,
Thay fledden̄ away fulle faste. [ 3116]
Lenger durste thay no maistryes make,
Thai were so sore agaste.
The Cristen̄ hem chased to and fro, *. [but the Christians pursue them.]
As a grehounde doth the hare. [ 3120]
.iij. c. ascaped with moche woo, *. [300 escaped to Belmarine.]
To Belmore gan thay far.
Kinge Charles ladde Laban̄ *. [Charles leads Laban to Agremore.]
In-to Agremour Cite. [ 3124]
And whan̄ þat he ther came
A ful sory man was he. *. [Floripas wel∣comes her father,]
His doghter welcomed him
Page 90 With right gode cher. 1. [These two lines are written as one in the MS.] [ 3128]
He loked on hir al grymme, *. [but he is enraged at seeing her.]
As he wode wroth wer,
And saide "fye on the, stronge hore,
Mahounde confounde the!" [ 3132]
Charles saide "here-of no more,
But let us nowe mery be!"—
"Sir" she saide thanne, *. [She then bids Charlemagne welcome,]
"Welcome ye be into this tour! [ 3136]
Here I presente to you, as I can, *. [and presents the holy relics to him.]
Relikes of grete honour,
That were at Rome I-wonnen̄
And broght into this halle. [ 3140]
That game was evel bygonnen̄,
It sithen rewed us alle." [leaf 78]
Kinge Charles kneled adown̄ *. [Charles kisses them, and says a prayer;]
To kisse the Relikes so goode, [ 3144]
And badde ther an̄ oryson̄
To that lorde, þat deyde on̄ rode.
And þanked Floripe witħ al his herte, *. [he then thanks Floripas for her assistance to his knights,]
That she hade saued his meyne [ 3148]
And holpe hem oute of peynes smerte
And kepte the Relekes so fre. *. [and for having preserved the precious relics.]
Kinge Charles did calle bisshope Turpyn̄
And bade him ordeyne a grete fat, [ 3152] *. [He orders Turpin to prepare a vessel,]
To baptyse the Sowdon̄ yne;
"And loke what he shalle hat. *. [wherein to bap∣tize the Soudan]
Unarme him faste and bringe him ner,
I shal his godfader be. [ 3156]
Fille it fulle of water cler,
For Baptysed shalle he be.
Make him naked as a Childe,
He moste plunge ther-inne. [ 3160] *. [and to wash off his sin in the water.]
For now most he be meke and mylde,
And I-wassh awaye his synne."
Page 91 Turpyn toke him by the honde *. [Turpin leads Laban to the font,]
And ladde him to the fonte. [ 3164]
He smote the bisshope witħ a bronde *. [but the Soudan strikes at him,]
And gaf him an evel bronte.
He spitted in the water cler *. [spits on the vessel,]
And cryed oute on hem alle, [ 3168] *. [utters invectives against all Christians,]
And defied alle þat cristen̄ wer.
That foule mote him by-falle!
"Ye and thoū, hore serpentyne,
And that fals cursed Ferumbras, [ 3172] *. [and curses Ferumbras.]
Mahounde gyfe hem botħ evel endyng,
And almyghty Sathanas!
By you came all my sorowe,
And al my tresure for-lorne. [ 3176]
Honged be ye both er tomorowe!
In cursed tyme were ye born̄."
Ferumbras saide to the kinge,
"Sir, ye see, it wole not be, [ 3180]
Lete him take his endynge,
For he loueth not Cristyante."
"Duke Neymes" quod Charles tho, *. [Charles com∣mands Naymes to cut off his head.]
"Loke þat execucion̄ be don̄, [ 3184]
Smyte of his hedde! god gyfe him woo! [leaf 79]
And goo we to mete anoone."
It was done as the kinge commaunde, *. [He is executed; his soul goes to hell,]
His soule was fet to helle, [ 3188]
To daunse in þat sory lande *. [there to dance with devils.]
With develes, þat wer ful felle.
Dame Florip was Baptysed than̄ *. [Floripas was baptized with all her maidens, and wedded to Guy.]
And here maydyns alle, [ 3192]
And to Sir Gye I-maryed.
The Barons honoured hir alle.
Alle the londe of Spayne *. [Charles divided Spain between Guy and Ferumbras,]
Kinge Charles gyfe hem̄ two, [ 3196]
To departe bitwyxt hem twayne,
Ferumbras and Gȳ also.
Page 92 And so thay livede in ioye and game,
And brethern̄ both thay wer, [ 3200]
In pees and werr both I-same,
Ther durste no man̄ hem der.
Kinge Charles turned home agayn̄
Towarde his contre, [ 3204]
He charged Sir Bryer of Bretayne *. [and charges Sir Bryer of Bretayne to take care of the relics,]
His tresourer for to be:
To kepe the Relikes of grete pris
And his other tresour, [ 3208] *. [and to bring all his treasure to Paris.]
And bringe hem safe to Parys,
There to a-bide in store.
He saide "farewell, Sir Ferumbras,
Ye and Gye, my dere frende! [ 3212] *. [After taking leave of Guy and Floripas,]
And thy wyf Dame Floripas!
For to Fraunce nowe wole I wende.
Be ye togeder as breth[e]rn̄ botħ!
No man̄ ye neditħ to drede, [ 3216]
Be ye nevere to-gedere wrotħ,
But eyther helpe othir at his nede.
Vysityth me, whan̄ ye haue space;
In-to Fraunce makitħ your disporte, [ 3220]
God wole you sende the better grace,
In age to do me comforte."
Thai toke leve of the kinge,
With ful hevy cher, [ 3224]
And turned agayn̄ botħ mornynge,
With wepynge water cler.
Kinge Charles with the victory *. [he sails to Moun∣peler,]
Sailed to Mounpeleres, [ 3228]
And thanked almyghty god in glorye, [leaf 80]
That he hade saued his Dosiperes, *. [where he thanks God for the victory,]
And fende him of the Saresynes
The hyer honde to have, [ 3232]
For alle here strenghe 1. [Read: 'strengthe.'] and her Engynes
Page 93 The Relikes of Rome to saue. *. [and for the relies.]
At oure lady of Parys *. [He presents the cross to Paris,]
He offred the Crosse so fre; [ 3236]
The Crown̄ he offred at seynte Denyse, *. [the Crown to St. Denis, the three nails to Boulogne.]
At Boloyne the nayles thre.
Alle his Barons of him wer gladd,
Thai gafe him grete presente. [ 3240]
For he so wele hade I-spedde,
Thay did him grete reuerence.
The kinge hade wel in mynde *. [Charles well remembered the treachery of Genelyn,]
The tresone of Genelyne, [ 3244]
Anoon̄ for him he dide sende
To yefe him an evel fyne:
"Thou traitour unkynde" quod the kynge,
"Remembrist thoū not how ofte [ 3248]
Thou hast me betrayed, þou fals Genelyne?
Therfore thoue shalt be honged on lofte!—
Loke that the execucion̄ be don̄,
That throgh Parys he be drawe, [ 3252] *. [and ordered him to be drawn and hanged at Montfaucon in Paris.]
And honged on hye on mount Fawcon̄,
As longeth to traytoures by lawe;
That alle men shall take hede,
What deth traytourys shałł fele, [ 3256]
That assente to such falshede,
Howe the wynde here bodyes shal kele."
Thus Charles conquered Laban̄, *. [Thus Charles conquered the Soudan of Babylone.]
The Sowdon̄ of Babyloyne, [ 3260]
That riche Rome stroyed and wan̄
And alle the brode londe of Spayn̄.
1. [A corner of the leaf torn off.] . . . . . .[an]d of his Barons
. . . . . . .[hi]s pride [ 3264]
. . . . . . . .eligons
. . . . . . . .þat tyde
. . . . . . .on Charles soule
. . . . . . .s also [ 3268]
Page 94 . . . . . . .Peter and Poule
God lete hem never wete of woo! [leaf 81]
But brynge here soules to goode reste!
That were so worthy in dede. [ 3272]
And gyf vs ioye of the beste, *. [God give joy to all who read this romance.]
That of here gestes rede!
Here endithe the Romaunce of the Sowdon of Babyloyne and of Ferumbras his sone who conquerede Rome, And Kynge Charles off Fraunce withe xij. Dosyperes toke the Sowdon in the feelde And smote of his heede.
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