La Chanson de Roland

Laisses I - XLIX


I 
Carles li reis, nostre emper[er]e magnes
Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne: 
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne. 
N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne;
5
Mur ne citet n'i est remes a fraindre, 
Fors Sarraguce, ki est en une muntaigne. 
Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet; 
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet guarder que mals ne l'i ateignet.
AOI. 

II

10
Li reis Marsilie esteit en Sarraguce. 
Alez en est en un verger suz l'umbre;
Sur un perrun de marbre bloi se culchet, 
Envirun lui plus de vint milie humes.
Il en apelet e ses dux e ses cuntes:
15
«Oëz, seignurs, quel pecchet nus encumbret:  
Li emper[er]es Carles de France dulce
En cest païs nos est venuz cunfundre.
Jo nen ai ost qui bataille li dunne,
Ne n'ai tel gent ki la sue derumpet.
20
Cunseilez mei cume mi savie hume, 
Si m(e) guarisez e de mort et de hunte.»
N'i ad paien ki un sul mot respundet,
Fors Blancandrins de Castel de Valfunde. 

III
Blancandrins fut des plus saives paiens:

25
De vasselage fut asez chevaler, 
Prozdom i out pur sun seignur aider;
E dist al rei: «Ore ne vus esmaiez!
Mandez Carlun a l'orguillus, (e) al fier,
Fedeilz servises e mult granz amistez.
30
Vos li durrez urs e leons e chens, 
Set cenz camelz e mil hosturs muers,
D'or e d'argent .IIII.C. muls cargez,
Cinquante carre, qu'en ferat carier:
Ben en purrat luer ses soldeiers.
35
En ceste tere ad asez osteiet; 
En France, ad Ais, s'en deit ben repairer.
Vos le sivrez a la feste seint Michel:
Si recevrez la lei de chrestiens,
Serez ses hom par honur e par ben.
40
S'en volt ostages, e vos l'en enveiez, 
U dis u vint pur lui afiancer.
Enveiu[n]s i les filz de noz muillers:
Par nun d'ocire i enveierai le men.
Asez est melz qu'il i perdent le chefs, 
45
Que nus perduns l'onur ne la deintet, 
Ne nus seiuns cunduiz a mendeier.» AOI.

IV
Dist Blancandrins: «Pa[r] ceste meie destre 
E par la barbe ki al piz me ventelet,
L'ost des Franceis verrez sempres desfere. 

50
Francs s'en irunt en France la lur tere.  
Quant cascuns ert a sun meillor repaire, 
Carles serat ad Ais, a sa capele;
A seint Michel tendrat mult halte feste. 
Vendrat li jurz, si passerat li termes,
55
N'orrat de nos paroles ne nuveles. 
Li reis est fiers e sis curages pesmes:
De noz ostages ferat tre[n]cher les testes; 
Asez est mielz, qu'il i perdent les testes, 
Que nus perduns clere Espaigne, la bele,
60
Ne nus aiuns les mals ne les suffraites.»  
Dient paien: «Issi poet il ben estre!»

V
Li reis Marsilie out sun cunseill finet: 
Sin apelat Clarin (...) de Balaguet,
Estamarin e Eudropin, sun per,

65
E Priamun e Guarlan le barbet, 
E Machiner e sun uncle, Maheu,
E Joüner e Malbien d'ultremer,
E Blancandrins, por la raisun cunter.
Des plus feluns dís en ad apelez:
70
«Seignurs baruns, a Carlemagnes irez; 
Il est al siege a Cordres la citet.
Branches d'olives en voz mains porterez, 
Ço senefiet pais e humilitet.
Par voz saveirs sem puez acorder,
75
Jo vos durrai or e argent asez, 
Teres e fiéz tant cum vos en vuldrez.»
Dient paien: «De ço avun nus asez!» AOI. 

VI
Li reis Marsilie out finet sun cunseill; 
Dist a ses humes: «Seignurs, vos en ireiz;

80
Branches d'olive en voz mains portereiz,  
Si me direz a Carlemagne, le rei,
Pur le soen Deu qu'il ait m(er)ercit de mei. 
Ja einz ne verrat passer cest premer meis, 
Que jel sivrai od mil de mes fedeilz,
85
Si recevrai la chrestiene lei,
[S]erai ses hom par amur e par feid;
S'il voelt ostages, il en avrat par veir.»
Dist Blancandrins: «Mult bon plait en avreiz.» AOI. 

VII
Dis blanches mules fist amener Marsilies, 

90
Que li tramist li reis de Suatilie; 
Li frein sunt d'or, les seles d'argent mises. 
Cil sunt muntez ki le message firent,
Enz en lur mains portent branches d'olive. 
Vindrent a Charles ki France ad en baillie: 
95
Nes poet guarder que alques ne l'engignent.
AOI. 
   

VIII
Li empereres se fait e balz e liez,
Cordres ad prise e les murs peceiez,
Od ses cadables les turs en abatied.
Mult grant eschech en unt si chevaler

100
D'or e d argent e de guarnemenz chers. 
En la citet nen ad remes paien,
Ne seit ocis, u devient chrestien.
Li empereres est en un grant verger,
Ensembl od lui Rollant et oliver
105
Sansun li dux e anseis li fiers 
Gefreid d anjou le rei gunfanuner,
E si i furent e gerin et gerers,
La u cist furent, des altres i out bien: 
De dulce france i ad quinze milliers.
110
Sur palies blancs siedent cil cevaler, 
As tables juent pur els esbaneier
E as eschecs li plus saive e li veill,
E escremissent cil bacheler leger.
Desuz un pin delez un eglenter
115
Un faldestoed i unt fait tut d or mer, 
La siet li reis, ki dulce france tient.
Blanche ad la barbe e tut flurit le chef, 
Gent ad le cors e le cuntenant fier,
S'est, kil demandet, ne l estoet enseigner. 
120
E li message descendirent a pied, 
Sil saluerent par amur e par bien.

IX
Blancandrins ad tut premereins parled,
E dist al rei: «Salvez seiez de Deu
Le glorius, que de[v]u[n]s aürer!

125
Iço vus mandet reis Marsilies, li bers: 
Enquis ad mult la lei de salvetez;
De sun aveir vos voelt asez duner,
Urs e leuns e veltres enchaignez,
Set cenz cameilz e mil hosturs muez,
130
D'or e d'argent .IIII. cenz muls trussez, 
Cinquante care, que carier en ferez;
Tant i avrat de besanz esmerez
Dunt bien purrez voz soldeiers luer.
En cest païs avez estet asez;
135
En France, ad Ais, devez bien repairer; 
La vos sivrat, ço dit mis avoez.»
Li empereres tent (...) ses mains vers Deu,
Baisset sun chef, si cumencet a penser. AOI.

X
Li empereres en tint sun chef enclin;

140
De sa parole ne fut mie hastifs: 
Sa custume est qu'il parolet a leisír.
Quant se redrecet, mult par out fier lu vis; 
Dist as messages: «Vus avez mult ben dit. 
Li reis Marsilies est mult mis enemis.
145
De cez paroles que vos avez ci dit, 
En quel mesure en purrai estre fiz?»
- «Voet par hostages,» ço dist li Sarrazins, 
«Dunt vos avrez ú dis ú quinze ú vint.
Pa[r] num de ocire i metrai un mien filz,
150
E sin avrez, ço quid, de plus gentilz. 
Quant vus serez el palais seignurill,
A la grant feste seint Michel del Peril, 
Mis avoez la vos sivrat, ço dit;
Enz en voz bainz que Deus pur vos i fist, 
155
La vuldrat il chrestiens devenir.» 
Charles respunt: «Uncore purrat guarir.»
AOI.

XI
Bels fut li vespres e li soleilz fut cler. 
Les dis mulez fait Char[l]es establer,
El grant verger fait li reis tendre un tref, 

160
Les dis messages ad fait enz hosteler; 
.XII. serjanz les unt ben cunreez.
La noit demurent tresque vint al jur cler. 
Li empereres est par matin levet;
Messe e matines ad li reis escultet.
165
Desuz un pin en est li reis alez, 
Ses baruns mandet pur sun cunseill finer: 
Par cels de France voelt il del tut errer. AOI.

XII
Li emper[er]es s'en vait desuz un pin.
Ses baruns mandet pur sun cunseill fenir: 

Le duc Oger, (e) l'arcevesque Turpin, 
Richard li Vélz e sun nev[old] Henri,
E de Gascuigne li proz quens Acelin
Tedbald de Reins e Milun, sun cusin;
E si i furent e Gerers e Gerin;
175
Ensembl' od els li quens Rollant i vint, 
E Oliver, li proz e li gentilz;
Des Francs de France en i ad plus de mil.
Guenes i vint, ki la traïsun fist.
Des ore cumencet le cunseill que mal prist. AOI.

XIII

180
«Seignurs barons,» dist li emperere Carles,  
«Li reis Marsilie m'ad tramis ses messages;
De sun aveir me voelt duner grant masse,
Urs e leuns e veltres caeignables,
Set cenz cameilz e mil hosturs muables,
185
Quatre cenz mulz cargez del ór d'Arabe, 
Avoec iço plus de cinquante care;
Mais il me mandet que en France m'en alge:
Il me sivrat ad Aís, a mun estage,
Si recevrat la nostre lei plus salve;
190
Chrestiens ert, de mei tendrat ses marches;  
Mais jo ne sai quels en est sis curages.» 
Dient Franceis: «Il nus i cuvent guarde!»
AOI.

XIV
Li empereres out sa raisun fenie.
Li quens Rollant, ki ne l'otriet mie,

195
En piez se drecet, si li vint cuntredire.  
Il dist al rei: «Ja mar crerez Marsilie.
Set anz [ad] pleins, que en Espaigne venimes;
Jo vos cunquis e Noples e Commibles,
Pris ai Valterne e la tere de Pine
200
E Balasgued e Tuele e Sezilie. 
Li reis Marsilie i fist mult que traïtre: 
De ses pai[ens il vus] enveiat quinze,
Cha(n)cuns portout une branche d'olive;
Nuncerent vos cez paroles meïsme.
205
A vos Franceis un cunseill en presistes:  
Loerent vos alques de legerie.
Dous de voz cuntes al paien tramesistes,
L'un fut Basan e li altres Basilies;
Les chef en prist es puis desuz Haltilie. 
210
Faites la guer[re] cum vos l'avez enprise: 
En Sarraguce menez vostre ost banie,
Metez le sege a tute vostre vie,
Si vengez cels que li fels fist ocire!» AOI.

XV
Li empe[re]re en tint sun chef enbrunc,

215
Si duist sa barbe, afaitad sun gernun, 
Ne ben ne mal ne respunt sun nevuld.
Franceis se taisent ne mais que Guenelun, 
En piez se drecet, si vint devant Carlun, 
Mult fierement cumencet sa raisun,
220
E dist al rei: «Ja mar crerez bricun, 
Ne mei ne altre, se de vostre prod nun.
Quant ço vos mandet li reis Marsiliun,
Qu'il devendrat jointes ses mains tis hom, 
E tute Espaigne tendrat par vostre dun,
Puis recevrat la lei que nus tenum,
Ki ço vos lodet que cest plait degetuns, 
Ne li chalt, sire, de quel mort nus muriuns. 
Cunseill d orguill n'est dreiz que a plus munt, 
Laissun les fols, as sages nus tenuns.» AOI.

XVI

230
Apres iço i est Neimes venud; 
Meillor vassal n'aveit en la curt nul,
E dist al rei: «Ben l'avez entendud,
Guenes li quens ço vus ad respondud,
Saveir i ad, mais qu'il seit entendud.
235
Li reis Marsilie est de guere vencud: 
Vos li avez tuz ses castels toluz,
Od voz caables avez fruiset ses murs,
Ses citez arses e ses humes vencuz;
Quant il vos mandet, qu'aiez mercit de lui, 
240
Pecchet fereit, ki dunc li fesist plus, 
U par ostage vos (en) voelt faire soürs;
Ceste grant guerre ne deit munter a plus.»
Dient Franceis: «Ben ad parlet li dux.» AOI.

XVII
- «Seignurs baruns, qui i enveieruns

245
En Sarraguce al rei Marsiliuns?» 
Respunt dux Neimes: «Jo irai par vostre dun! 
Livrez m'en ore le guant e le bastun.»
Respunt li reis: «Vos estes saives hom;
Par ceste barbe e par cest men gernun,
250
Vos n'irez pas uan de mei si luign.
Alez sedeir, quant nuls ne vos sumunt.»  

XVIII
- «Seignurs baruns, qui i purruns enveier
Al Sarrazin ki Sarraguce tient?»
Respunt Rollant: «Jo i puis aler mult ben!» 

255
- «Nu ferez certes!» dist li quens Oliver;  
«Vostre curages est mult pesmes e fiers;
Jo me crendreie, que vos vos meslisez.
Se li reis voelt, jo i puis aler ben.»
Respunt li reis: «Ambdui vos en taisez!
260
Ne vos ne il n'i porterez les piez. 
Par ceste barbe que veez [blancheier],
Li duze per mar i serunt jugez!»
Franceis se taisent: as les vus aquisez. 

XIX
Turpins de Reins en est levet del renc,

265
E dist al rei: «Laisez ester voz Francs!  
En cest païs avez estet set anz;
Mult unt oüd e peines e ahans.
Dunez m'en, sire, le bastun e le guant,
E jo irai al Sarazin en Espaigne,
270
Sin vois vedeir alques de sun semblant.» 
Li empereres respunt par maltalant:
«Alez sedeir desur cel palie blanc!
N'en parlez mais, se jo nel vos cumant!» AOI.

XX
- «Francs chevalers,» dist li emperere Carles, 

275
«Car m'eslisez un barun de ma marche, 
Qu'a Marsiliun me portast mun message.»
Ço dist Rollant: «Ço ert Guenes, mis parastre.»
Dient Franceis: «Car il le poet ben faire;
Se lui lessez, n'i trametrez plus saive.»
280
E li quens Guenes en fut mult anguisables;  
De sun col getet ses grandes pels de martre, 
E est remes en sun blialt de palie.
Vairs out [les oilz] e mult fier lu visage, 
Gent out le cors e les costez out larges; 
285
Tant par fut bels tuit si per l'en esguardent.  
Dist a Rollant: «Tut fol, pur quei t'esrages? 
Ço set hom ben que jo sui tis parastres; 
Si as juget qu'a Marsiliun en alge!
Se Deus ço dunet que jo de la repaire,
290
Jo t'en muvra[i] un si grant contr[a]ire 
Ki durerat a trestut tun edage.»
Respunt Rollant: «Orgoill ói e folage.
Ço set hom ben, n'ai cure de manace;
Mai[s] saives hom, il deit faire message:
295
Si li reis voelt, prez sui por vus le face.»  
AOI. 

XXI
Guenes respunt: «Pur mei n'iras tu mie!
Tu n'ies mes hom ne jo ne sui tis sire. 
Carles comandet que face sun servise:
En Sarraguce en irai a Marsilie;

300
Einz i f[e]rai un poi de [le]gerie, 
Que jo n'esclair ceste meie grant ire.»
Quant l'ot Rollant, si cumençat a rire. AOI.

XXII
Quant ço veit Guenes que ore s'en rit Rollant, 
Dunc ad tel doel pur poi d'ire ne fent, 

305
A ben petit que il ne pert le sens; 
E dit al cunte: «Jo ne vus aim nient;
Sur mei avez turnet fals jugement.
Dreiz emperere, veiz me ci en present,
Ademplir voeill vostre comandement.» AOI. 

XXIII

310
«En Sarraguce sai ben, [qu']aler m'estoet.
Hom ki la vait, repairer ne s'en poet.
Ensurquetut si ai jo vostre soer,
Sin ai un filz, ja plus bels n'en estoet:
Ço est Baldewin,» ço dit, «ki ert prozdoem. 
315
A lui lais jo mes honurs e mes fieus. 
Gua[r]dez le ben, ja nel verrai des oilz.»
Carles respunt: «trop avez tendre coer.
Puisquel comant, aler vus en estoet.»

XXIV
Ço dist li reis: «Guenes venez avant. AOI.

320
Si recevez le bastun e lu guant. 
Oït l'avez, sur vos le jugent Franc.»
- «Sire,» dist Guenes, «ço ad tut fait Rollant! 
Ne l'amerai a trestut mun vivant,
Ne Oliver, por ço qu'il est si cumpainz;
325
Li duze per, por [ço] qu'il l'aiment tant, 
Desfi les ci, sire, vostre veiant.»
Ço dist li reis: «Trop avez maltalant.
Or irez vos certes, quant jol cumant.»
- «Jo i puis aler, mais n'i avrai guarant: AOI.
330
Nu l'out Basilies ne sis freres Basant.»   

XXV
Li empereres li tent sun guant le destre; 
Mais li quens Guenes iloec ne volsist estre: 
Quant le dut prendre, si li caït a tere. 

Dient Franceis: «Deus! que purrat ço estre?  
335
De cest message nos avendrat grant perte.» 
- «Seignurs» dist Guenes, «vos en orrez noveles!» 

XXVI
- «Sire,» dist Guenes, «dunez mei le cungied;
Quant aler dei, n'i ai plus que targer.» 
Ço dist li reis: «Al Jhesu e al mien!»

340
De sa main destre l'ad asols e seignet, 
Puis li livrat le bastun e le bref.

XXVII
Guenes li quens s'en vait a sun ostel,
De guarnemenz se prent a cunreer,
De ses meillors que il pout recuvrer:

345
Esperuns d'or ad en ses piez fermez, 
Ceint Murglies, s'espee, a sun costed;
En Tachebrun, sun destrer est munted;
L'estreu li tint sun uncle Guinemer.
La veïsez tant chevaler plorer,
350
Ki tuit li dient «Tant mare fustes, ber!  
En (la) cort al rei mult i avez ested,
Noble vassal vos i solt hom clamer.
Ki ço jugat, que doüsez aler
Par Charlemagne n'er(cs) guariz ne tensez.
355
Li quens Rollant nel se doüst penser, 
Que estrait estes de mult grant parented.» 
Enpres li dient: «Sire, car nos menez!»
Ço respunt Guenes: «Ne placet Damnedeu!
Mielz est que sul moerge que tant bon chevaler
360
En dulce France, seignurs, vos en irez: 
De meie part ma muiller saluez,
E Pinabel, mun ami e mun per,
E Baldewin, mun filz que vos savez,
E lui aidez e pur seignur le tenez.»
365
Entret en sa veie, si s'est achiminez. AOI. 

XXVIII
Guenes chevalchet suz une olive halte,
Asemblet s'est as sarrazins messag[es].
Mais Blancandrins ki envers lu s'atarget; 
Par grant saveir parolet li uns a l'altre. 
370
Dist Blancandrins: «Merveilus hom est Charles,
Ki cunquist Puille e trestute Calabre;
Vers Engletere passat il la mer salse,
Ad oes seint Perre en cunquist le chevage:
Que nus requert ça en la nostre marche?» 
375
Guenes respunt: «Itels est sis curages, 
Jamais n'ert hume ki encuntre lui vaille.» AOI.

XXIX
Dist Blancandrins: «Francs sunt mult gentilz home;
Mult grant mal funt e [cil] duc e cil cunte 
A lur seignur, ki tel cunseill li dunent: 

380
Lui e altrui travaillent, e cunfundent.»  
Guenes respunt: «Jo ne sai veirs nul hume, 
Ne mes Rollant, ki uncore en avrat hunte.
Er matin sedeit li emperere suz l'umbre; 
Vint i ses nies, out vestue sa brunie,
385
E out predet dejuste Carcasonie; 
En sa main tint une vermeille pume:
«Tenez bel sire,» dist Rollant a sun uncle,
«De trestuz reis vos present les curunes.» 
Li soens orgoilz le devreit ben cunfundre, 
390
Kar chascun jur de mort [il] s'abandunet.
Seit, ki l'ociet, tute pais puis avriúmes.»
AOI.
 

XXX
Dist Blancandrins: «Mult est pesmes Rollant, 
Ki tute gent voelt faire recreant,
E tutes teres met en chalengement!

395
Par quele gent quiet il espleiter tant?»  
Guenes respunt: «Par la franceise gent.
Il l'a[i]ment tant ne li faldrunt nient;
Or e argent lur met tant en present,
Muls e destrers, e palies e guarnemenz;
400
L'emperere meïsmes ad tut a sun talent. 
Cunquerrat li les teres d'ici qu'en Orient.»
AOI.

XXXI
Tant chevalcherent Guenes e Blancandrins, 
Que l'un a l'altre la sue feit plevit,
Que il querreient, que Rollant fust ocis.

405
Tant chevalcherent e veies e chemins, 
Que en Sarraguce descendent suz un if.
Un faldestoet out suz l'umbre d'un pin;
Esvolupet fut d'un palie alexandrin:
La fut li reis ki tute Espaigne tint;
410
Tut entur lui vint milie Sarrazins. 
N'i ad celoi ki mot sunt ne mot tint,
Pur les nuveles qu'il vuldreient oïr.
Atant as vos Guenes e Blanchandrins.

XXXII
Blancandrins vint devant l'empereür;

415
Par le puig[n] tint le cunte Guenelun, 
E dist al rei: «Salvez seiez de Mahun
E d'Apollin, qui seintes leis tenuns!
Vostre message fesime[s] a Charlun.
Ambes ses mains en levat cuntre munt,
Loat sun Deu, ne fist altre respuns.
Ci vos enveiet un sun noble barun,
Ki est de France, si est mult riches hom: 
Par lui orrez si avrez pais u nun.»
Respunt Marsilie: «Or diet, nus l'orrum!»
AOI.

XXXIII

425
Mais li quens Guenes se fut ben purpenset.  
Par grant saver cumencet a parler
Cume celui ki ben faire le set,
E dist al rei: «Salvez seiez de Deu
Li Glorius, qui devum aürer!
430
Iço vus mandet Carlemagnes, li ber, 
Que recevez seinte chrestientet;
Demi Espaigne vos voelt en fiu duner.
Se cest acorde ne vulez otrier,
Pris e liez serez par poested;
435
Al siege ad Ais en serez amenet, 
Par jugement serez iloec finet;
La murrez vus a hunte e a viltet.»
Li reis Marsilies en fut mult esfreed.
Un algier tint, ki d'or fut enpenet,
440
Ferir l'en volt, se n'en fust desturnet. AOI.   

XXXIV
Li reis Marsilies ad la culur muee;
De sun algeir ad la hanste crollee.
Quant le vit Guenes, mist la main a l'espee, 
Cuntre dous deie l'ad del furrer getee,

445
Si li ad dit: «Mult estes bele e clere! 
Tant vus avrai en curt a rei portee!
Ja nel dirat de France li emperere,
Que suls i moerge en l'estrange cuntree, 
Einz vos avrunt li meillor comperee.»
450
Dient paien: «Desfaimes la mellee!»   

XXXV
Tuit li preierent li meillor Sarrazin,
Qu'el faldestoed s'es[t] Marsilies asis.
Dist l'algalifes: «Mal nos avez baillit, 
Que li Franceis asmastes a ferir;

455
Vos le doüssez esculter e oïr.» 
- «Sire,» dist Guenes, «mei l'avent a suffrir; 
Jo ne lerreie, por l'or que Deus fist 
Ne por tut l'aveir, ki seit en cest païs,
Que jo ne li die, se tant ai de leisir,
460
Que Charles li mandet, li reis poesteïfs,  
Par mei li mandet, sun mortel enemi.»
Afublez est d'un mantel sabelin,
Ki fut cuvert d'une palie alexandrin.
Getet le a tere, sil receit Blancandrin; 
465
Mais de s'espee ne volt mie guerpir; 
En sun puign destre par l'orie punt la tint. 
Dient paien: «Noble baron ad ci!» AOI.

XXXVI
Envers le rei s'est Guenes aproismet,
Si li ad dit: «A tort vos curuciez,

470
Quar ço vos mandet Carles, ki France tient,  
Que recevez la lei de chrestiens;
Demi Espaigne vus durat il en fiet.
L'altre meitet avrat Rollant, sis nies:
Mulz orguillos parçuner i avrez!
475
Si ceste acorde ne volez otrier, 
En Sarraguce vus vendrat aseger;
Par poestet serez pris e liez;
Menet serez . . . [tut] dreit ad Ais le siet:
Vus n'i avrez palefreid ne destrer,
480
Ne mul ne mule que puissez chevalcher; 
Getet serez sur un malvais sumer.
Par jugement iloec perdrez le chef.
Nostre emperere vus enveiet cest bref.»
El destre poign al paien l'ad liv(e)ret.

XXXVII

485
Marsilies fut esculurez de l'ire; 
Freint le seel, getet en ad la cire,
Guardet al bref, vit la raisun escrite:
«Carle me mandet, ki France ad en baillie, 
Que me remembre de la dolur e (de) l'ire,
490
Ço est de Basan e de sun frere Basilie, 
Dunt pris les chefs as puis de Haltoíe;
Se de mun cors voeil aquiter la vie,
Dunc li envei mun uncle, l'algalife;
Altrement ne m'amerat il mie.»
495
Apres parlat ses filz envers Marsilies, 
E dist al rei: «Guenes ad dit folie;
Tant ad erret nen est dreiz que plus vivet. 
Livrez le mei, jo en ferai la justise.»
Quant l'oït Guenes, l'espee en ad branlie;
500
Vait s'apuier suz le pin a la tige.   

XXXVIII
Enz el verger s'en est alez li reis,
Ses meillors humes enmeinet ensembl'od sei: 
E Blancandrins i vint, al canud peil,
E Jurfaret, ki est ses filz e ses heirs, 

505
E l'algalifes, sun uncle e sis fedeilz. 
Dist Blancandrins: «Apelez le Franceis,
De nostre prod m'ad plevie sa feid.»
Ço dist li reis: «E vos l'i ameneiz.»
E Guenes (l')ad pris par la main destre ad deiz, 
510
Enz el verger l'en meinet josqu'al rei. 
La purparolent la traïson seinz dreit. AOI.

XXXIX
«Bel sire Guenes,» ço li ad dit Marsilie, 
«Jo vos ai fait alques de legerie,
Quant por ferir vus demustrai grant ire. 

515
Guaz vos en dreit par cez pels sabelines;  
Melz en valt l'or que ne funt cinc cenz livres: 
Einz demain noit en iert bele l'amendise.»
Guenes respunt: «Jo nel desotrei mie.
Deus se lui plaist, a bien le vos mercie!» AOI. 

XL

520
Ço dist Marsilies: «Guenes par veir sacez,  
En talant ai que mult vos voeill amer,
De Carlemagne vos voeill oïr parler.
Il est mult vielz, si ad sun tens uset;
Men escient dous cenz anz ad passet.
525
Par tantes teres ad sun cors demened, 
Tanz [colps] ad pris sur sun escut bucler, 
Tanz riches reis cunduit a mendisted:
Quant ert il mais recreanz d'osteier?»
Guenes respunt: «Carles n'est mie tels.
530
N'est hom kil veit e conuistre le set  
Que ço ne diet que l'emperere est ber.
Tant nel vos sai ne preiser ne loer
Que plus n'i ad d'onur e de bontet.
Sa grant valor, kil purreit acunter?
535
De tel barnage l'ad Deus enluminet, 
Meilz voelt murir que guerpir sun barnet.» 

XLI

Dist li paiens: «Mult me puis merveiller  
De Carlemagne, ki est canuz e vielz!
Men escientre dous cenz anz ad e mielz.
540
Par tantes teres ad sun cors traveillet,  
Tanz colz ad pris de lances e d'espiet,
Tanz riches reis cunduiz a mendistiet:
Quant ert il mais recreanz d'osteier?»
- «Ço n'iert,» dist Guenes: «tant cum vivet sis niés: 
545
N'at tel vassal suz la cape del ciel. 
Mult par est proz sis cumpainz Oliver.
Les .XII. pers, que Carles ad tant chers,
Funt les enguardes a .XX. milie chevalers. 
Soürs est Carles, que nuls home ne crent.»
AOI.

XLII

550
Dist li Sarrazins: «Merveille en ai grant  
De Carlemagne, ki est canuz e blancs!
Mien escientre plus ad de .II.C. anz.
Par tantes teres est alet cunquerant,
Tanz colps ad pris de bons espiez trenchanz, 
555
Tanz riches reis morz e vencuz en champ:  
Quant ier il mais d'osteier recreant?»
- «Ço n'iert,» dist Guenes, «tant cum vivet Rollant:
N'ad tel vassal d'ici qu en Orient.
Mult par est proz Oliver, sis cumpainz;
560
Li .XII. per, que Carles aimet tant, 
Funt les enguardes a .XX. milie de Francs, 
Soürs est Carlles, ne (cre) crent hume vivant.»
AOI.

XLIII
- «Bel sire Guenes» dist marsilies li reis, 
«Jo ai tel gent, plus bele ne verreiz;

Quarte cenz milie chevalers puis aveir. 
Puis m'en cumbatre a Carlles e a Franceis?» 
Guenes respunt: «Ne vus a ceste feiz!
De voz paiens mult grant perte i avreiz. 
Lessez (la) folie, tenez vos al saveir.
570
L'empereür tant li dunez aveir, 
N'i ait Franceis ki tot ne s'en merveilt. 
Par .XX. hostages que li enveiereiz
En dulce France s'en repairerat li reis; 
Sa rereguarde lerrat derere sei:
575
Iert i sis nies, li quens Rollant, (...) ço crei, 
E Oliver, li proz e li curteis.
Mort sunt li cunte, se est ki mei en creit. 
Carlles verrat sun grant orguill cadeir;
N'avrat talent, que ja mais vus guerreit.» AOI.

XLIV

580
- «Bel sire Guenes,[» ço dist li reis Marsilies,] 
«Cum faitement purrai Rollant ocire?»
Guenes respont: «Ço vos sai jo ben dire. 
Li reis serat as meillors porz de Sizer; 
Sa rereguarde avrat detres sei mise;
585
Iert i sis nies, li quens Rollant, li riches, 
E Oliver, en qui il tant se fiet;
.XX. milie Francs unt en lur cumpaignie.
De voz paiens lur enveiez .C. milie:
Une bataille lur i rendent cil primes;
590
La gent de France iert blecee e blesmie;  
Nel di por ço, des voz iert la martirie. 
Altre bataille lur livrez de meïsme:
De quel que seit Rollant n'estuertrat mie.
Dunc avrez faite gente chevalerie;
595
N'avrez mais guere en tute vostre vie.» AOI.   

XLV
- «Chi purreit faire, que Rollant i fust mort, 
Dunc perdreit Carles le destre braz del cors, 
Si remeindreient les merveilluses óz;
N'asemblereit jamais Carles si grant esforz; 

600
Tere Major remeindreit en repos.» 
Quan l'ot Marsilie, si l'ad baiset el col, 
Puis si cumencet a venir ses tresors. AOI.

XLVI
Ço dist Marsilies: «Qu'en parlereient il plus? 
Cunseill n'est proz dunt hume n'est sevus.

605
La traïsun me jurrez de Rollant si illi est.» 
Ço respunt Guenes: «Issi seit cum vos plaist!» 
Sur les reliques de s'espee Murgleis,
La traïsun jurat, e si s'en est forsfait. AOI.

XLVII
Un faldestoed i out d'un olifant;

610
Marsilies fait porter un livre avant: 
La lei i fut Mahum e Tervagan.
Ço ad juret li Sarrazins espans:
Se en rereguarde troevet le cors Rollant,
Cumbatrat sei a trestute sa gent,
615
E, se il poet, murrat i veirement. 
Guenes respunt: «Ben seit vostre comant!» AOI.

XLVIII
A tant i vint uns paiens, Valdabruns:
Icil en vait al rei Marsiliun;
Cler en riant l'ad dit a Guenelun:

620
«Tenez m'espee, meillur n'en at nuls hom;  
Entre les helz ad plus de mil manguns.
Par amistiez, bel sire, la vos duins,
Que (v)[n]os aidez de Rollant le barun,
Qu'en rereguarde trover le poüsum.»
625
- «Ben serat fait,» li quens Guenes respunt.  
Puis se baiserent es vis e es mentuns.

XLIX
Apres i vint un paien, Climorins.
Cler en riant a Guenelun l'ad dit:
«Tenez mun helme, unches meillor ne vi.

630
Si nos aidez de Rollant li marchis, 
Par quel mesure le poüssum hunir.»
- «Ben serat fait,» Guenes respundit.
Puis se baiserent es buches e es vis. AOI.


 

I
Charles the King, our Lord and Sovereign,
Full seven years hath sojourned in Spain,
Conquered the land, and won the western main,
Now no fortress against him doth remain,
No city walls are left for him to gain,
Save Sarraguce, that sits on high mountain. 
Marsile its King, who feareth not God's name,
Mahumet's man, he invokes Apollin's aid,
Nor wards off ills that shall to him attain.
AOI.

II
King Marsilies he lay at Sarraguce,
Went he his way into an orchard cool;
There on a throne he sate, of marble blue,
Round him his men, full twenty thousand, stood. 
Called he forth then his counts, also his dukes:
"My Lords, give ear to our impending doom:
That Emperour, Charles of France the Douce,
Into this land is come, us to confuse.
I have no host in battle him to prove,
Nor have I strength his forces to undo.
Counsel me then, ye that are wise and true;
Can ye ward off this present death and dule?"
What word to say no pagan of them knew,
Save Blancandrin, of th' Castle of Val Funde.

III
Blancandrins was a pagan very wise,
In vassalage he was a gallant knight,
First in prowess, he stood his lord beside.
And thus he spoke: "Do not yourself affright!
Yield to Carlun, that is so big with pride,
Faithful service, his friend and his ally;
Lions and bears and hounds for him provide,
Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred camelry;
Silver and gold, four hundred mules load high;
Fifty wagons his wrights will need supply,
Till with that wealth he pays his soldiery.
War hath he waged in Spain too long a time,
To Aix, in France, homeward he will him hie.
Follow him there before Saint Michael's tide,
You shall receive and hold the Christian rite;
Stand honour bound, and do him fealty.
Send hostages, should he demand surety,
Ten or a score, our loyal oath to bind;
Send him our sons, the first-born of our wives; --
An he be slain, I'll surely furnish mine.
Better by far they go, though doomed to die,
Than that we lose honour and dignity,
And be ourselves brought down to beggary." AOI.

IV
Says Blancandrins: "By my right hand, I say,
And by this beard, that in the wind doth sway,
The Frankish host you'll see them all away;
Franks will retire to France their own terrain.
When they are gone, to each his fair domain,
In his Chapelle at Aix will Charles stay,
High festival will hold for Saint Michael.
Time will go by, and pass the appointed day;
Tidings of us no Frank will hear or say.
Proud is that King, and cruel his courage;
From th' hostage he'll slice their heads away.
Better by far their heads be shorn away,
Than that ourselves lose this clear land of Spain,
Than that ourselves do suffer grief and pain."
"That is well said.  So be it." the pagans say.

V
The council ends, and that King Marsilie
Calleth aside Clarun of Balaguee,
Estramarin and Eudropin his peer,
And Priamun and Guarlan of the beard,
And Machiner and his uncle Mahee,
With Jouner, Malbien from over sea,
And Blancandrin, good reason to decree:
Ten hath he called, were first in felony.
"Gentle Barons, to Charlemagne go ye;
He is in siege of Cordres the city.
In your right hands bear olive-branches green
Which signify Peace and Humility.
If you by craft contrive to set me free,
Silver and gold, you'll have your fill of me,
Manors and fiefs, I'll give you all your need."
"We have enough," the pagans straight agree. AOI.

VI
King Marsilies, his council finishing,
Says to his men : "Go now, my lords, to him,
Olive-branches in your right hands bearing;
Bid ye for me that Charlemagne, the King,
In his God's name to shew me his mercy;
Ere this new moon wanes, I shall be with him;
One thousand men shall be my following;
I will receive the rite of christening,
Will be his man, my love and faith swearing;
Hostages too, he'll have, if so he will."
Says Blancandrins: "Much good will come of this." AOI.

VII
Ten snow-white mules then ordered Marsilie,
Gifts of a King, the King of Suatilie.
Bridled with gold, saddled in silver clear;
Mounted them those that should the message speak,
In their right hands were olive-branches green.
Came they to Charle, that holds all France in fee,
Yet cannot guard himself from treachery.
AOI.

VIII
Merry and bold is now that Emperour,
Cordres he holds, the walls are tumbled down,
His catapults have battered town and tow'r.
Great good treasure his knights have placed in pound,
Silver and gold and many a jewelled gown.
In that city there is no pagan now
But he been slain, or takes the Christian vow.
The Emperour is in a great orchard ground
Where Oliver and Rollant stand around,
Sansun the Duke and Anseis the proud,
Gefreid d'Anjou, that bears his gonfaloun;
There too Gerin and Geriers are found.
Where they are found, is seen a mighty crowd,
Fifteen thousand, come out of France the Douce.
On white carpets those knights have sate them down,
At the game-boards to pass an idle hour; --
Chequers the old, for wisdom most renowned,
While fence the young and lusty bachelours.
Beneath a pine, in eglantine embow'red,
Stands a fald-stool, fashioned of gold throughout;
There sits the King, that holds Douce France in pow'r;
White is his beard, and blossoming-white his crown,
Shapely his limbs, his countenance is proud.
Should any seek, no need to point him out.
The messengers, on foot they get them down,
And in salute full courteously they lout.

IX
The foremost word of all Blancandrin spake,
And to the King: "May God preserve you safe,
The All Glorious, to Whom ye're bound to pray!
Proud Marsilies this message bids me say:
Much hath he sought to find salvation's way;
Out of his wealth meet presents would he make,
Lions and bears, and greyhounds leashed on chain,
Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred dromedrays,
Four hundred mules his silver shall convey,
Fifty wagons you'll need to bear away
Golden besants, such store of proved assay,
Wherewith full tale your soldiers you can pay.
Now in this land you've been too long a day
Hie you to France, return again to Aix;
Thus saith my Lord, he'll follow too that way."
That Emperour t'wards God his arms he raised
Lowered his head, began to meditate. AOI.

X
That Emperour inclined his head full low; 
Hasty in speech he never was, but slow:
His custom was, at his leisure he spoke.
When he looks up, his face is very bold,
He says to them: "Good tidings have you told.
King Marsilies hath ever been my foe.
These very words you have before me told,
In what measure of faith am I to hold?"
That Sarrazin says, "Hostages he'll show;
Ten shall you take, or fifteen or a score.
Though he be slain, a son of mine shall go,
Any there be you'll have more nobly born.
To your palace seigneurial when you go,
At Michael's Feast, called in periculo;
My Lord hath said, thither will he follow
Ev'n to your baths, that God for you hath wrought;
There is he fain the Christian faith to know."
Answers him Charles: "Still may he heal his soul."
AOI.

XI
Clear shone the sun in a fair even-tide;
Those ten men's mules in stall he bade them tie.
Also a tent in the orchard raise on high,
Those messengers had lodging for the night;
Dozen serjeants served after them aright.
Darkling they lie till comes the clear daylight.
That Emperour does with the morning rise;
Matins and Mass are said then in his sight.
Forth goes that King, and stays beneath a pine;
Barons he calls, good counsel to define,
For with his Franks he's ever of a mind. AOI.

XII
That Emperour, beneath a pine he sits,
Calls his barons, his council to begin:
Oger the Duke, that Archbishop Turpin,
Richard the old, and his nephew Henry,
From Gascony the proof Count Acolin,
Tedbald of Reims and Milun his cousin:
With him there were Gerers, also Gerin,
And among them the Count Rollant came in,
And Oliver, so proof and so gentil.
Franks out of France, a thousand chivalry;
Guenes came there, that wrought the treachery.
The Council then began, which ended ill.
AOI.

XIII
"My Lords Barons," says the Emperour then, Charles,
"King Marsilies hath sent me his messages;
Out of his wealth he'll give me weighty masses.
Greyhounds on leash and bears and lions also,
Thousand mewed hawks and seven hundred camels,
Four hundred mules with gold Arabian charged,
Fifty wagons, yea more than fifty drawing.
But into France demands he my departure;
He'll follow me to Aix, where is my Castle;
There he'll receive the law of our Salvation:
Christian he'll be, and hold from me his marches.
But I know not what purpose in his heart is."
Then say the Franks: "Beseems us act with caution!"
AOI.

XIV
That Emperour hath ended now his speech.
The Count Rollanz, he never will agree,
Quick to reply, he springs upon his feet;
And to the King, "Believe not Marsilie.
Seven years since, when into Spain came we,
I conquer'd you Noples also Commibles,
And took Valterne, and all the land of Pine,
And Balaguet, and Tuele, and Sezilie.
Traitor in all his ways was Marsilies;
Of his pagans he sent you then fifteen,
Bearing in hand their olive-branches green:
Who, ev'n as now, these very words did speak.
You of your Franks a Council did decree,
Praised they your words that foolish were in deed.
Two of your Counts did to the pagan speed,
Basan was one, and the other Basilie:
Their heads he took on th' hill by Haltilie.
War have you waged, so on to war proceed,
To Sarraguce lead forth your great army.
All your life long, if need be, lie in siege,
Vengeance for those the felon slew to wreak." AOI.

XV
That Emperour he sits with lowering front,
He clasps his chin, his beard his fingers tug,
Good word nor bad, his nephew not one.
Franks hold their peace, but only Guenelun
Springs to his feet, and comes before Carlun;
Right haughtily his reason he's begun,
And to the King: "Believe not any one,
My word nor theirs, save whence your good
shall come.
Since he sends word, that King Marsiliun,
Homage he'll do, by finger and by thumb;
Throughout all Spain your writ alone shall run
Next he'll receive our rule of Christendom
Who shall advise, this bidding be not done,
Deserves not death, since all to death must come.
Counsel of pride is wrong: we've fought enough.
Leave we the fools, and with the wise be one." AOI.

XVI
And after him came Neimes out, the third,
Better vassal there was not in the world;
And to the King: "Now rightly have you heard
Guenes the Count, what answer he returned.
Wisdom was there, but let it well be heard.
King Marsilies in war is overturned,
His castles all in ruin have you hurled,
With catapults his ramparts have you burst,
Vanquished his men, and all his cities burned;
Him who entreats your pity do not spurn,
Sinners were they that would to war return;
With hostages his faith he would secure;
Let this great war no longer now endure."
"Well said the Duke."  Franks utter in their turn. AOI.

XVII
"My lords barons, say whom shall we send up
To Sarraguce, to King Marsiliun?"
Answers Duke Neimes: "I'll go there for your love;
Give me therefore the wand, also the glove."
Answers the King: "Old man of wisdom pruff;
By this white beard, and as these cheeks are rough,
You'll not this year so far from me remove;
Go sit you down, for none hath called you up."

XVIII
"My lords barons, say whom now can we send
To th' Sarrazin that Sarraguce defends?"
Answers Rollanz: "I might go very well."
"Certes, you'll not," says Oliver his friend,
"For your courage is fierce unto the end,
I am afraid you would misapprehend.
If the King wills it I might go there well."
Answers the King: "Be silent both on bench;
Your feet nor his, I say, shall that way wend.
Nay, by this beard, that you have seen grow blench,
The dozen peers by that would stand condemned.
Franks hold their peace; you'd seen them all silent.

XIX
Turpins of Reins is risen from his rank,
Says to the King: "In peace now leave your Franks.
For seven years you've lingered in this land
They have endured much pain and sufferance.
Give, Sire, to me the clove, also the wand,
I will seek out the Spanish Sarazand,
For I believe his thoughts I understand."
That Emperour answers intolerant:
"Go, sit you down on yonder silken mat;
And speak no more, until that I command." AOI.

XX
"Franks, chevaliers," says the Emperour then, Charles,
"Choose ye me out a baron from my marches,
To Marsilie shall carry back my answer."
Then says Rollanz: "There's Guenes, my goodfather."
Answer the Franks: "For he can wisely manage;
So let him go, there's none you should send rather."
And that count Guenes is very full of anguish;
Off from his neck he flings the pelts of marten,
And on his feet stands clear in silken garment.
Proud face he had, his eyes with colour, sparkled;
Fine limbs he had, his ribs were broadly arched
So fair he seemed that all the court regarded.
Says to Rollant: "Fool, wherefore art so wrathful?
All men know well that I am thy goodfather;
Thou hast decreed, to Marsiliun I travel.
Then if God grant that I return hereafter,
I'll follow thee with such a force of passion
That will endure so long as life may last thee."
Answers Rollanz: "Thou'rt full of pride and madness.
All men know well, I take no thought for slander;
But some wise man, surely, should bear the answer;
If the King will, I'm ready to go rather."
AOI.

XXI
Answers him Guene: "Thou shalt not go for me.
Thou'rt not my man, nor am I lord of thee.
Charles commnds that I do his decree,
To Sarraguce going to Marsilie;
300  There I will work a little trickery,
This mighty wrath of mine I'll thus let free."
When Rollanz heard, began to laugh for glee. AOI.

XXII
When Guenes sees that Rollant laughs at it,
Such grief he has, for rage he's like to split,
A little more, and he has lost his wit:
Says to that count: "I love you not a bit;
A false judgement you bore me when you chid.
Right Emperour, you see me where you sit,
I will your word accomplish, as you bid. AOI.

XXIII
"To Sarraguce I must repair, 'tis plain;
Whence who goes there returns no more again.
Your sister's hand in marriage have I ta'en;
And I've a son, there is no prettier swain:
Baldwin, men say he shews the knightly strain.
To him I leave my honours and domain.
Care well for him; he'll look for me in vain."
Answers him Charles: "Your heart is too humane.
When I command, time is to start amain." AOI.

XXIV
Then says the King: "Guenes, before me stand;
And take from me the glove, also the wand.
For you have heard, you're chosen by the Franks,"
"Sire," answers Guenes, " all this is from Rollanz;
I'll not love him, so long as I'm a man,
Nor Oliver, who goes at his right hand;
The dozen peers, for they are of his band,
All I defy, as in your sight I stand."
Then says the King: "Over intolerant.
Now certainly you go when I command."
"And go I can; yet have I no warrant
Basile had none nor his brother Basant."

XXV
His right hand glove that Emperour holds out;
But the count Guenes elsewhere would fain be found;
When he should take, it falls upon the ground.
Murmur the Franks: "God!  What may that
mean now?
By this message great loss shall come about."
"Lordings," says Guene, "You'll soon have news enow."

XXVI
"Now," Guenes said, "give me your orders, Sire;
Since I must go, why need I linger, I?"
Then said the King "In Jesu's Name and mine!"
With his right hand he has absolved and signed,
Then to his care the wand and brief confides.

XXVII
Guenes the count goes to his hostelry,
Finds for the road his garments and his gear,
All of the best he takes that may appear:
Spurs of fine gold he fastens on his feet,
And to his side Murgles his sword of steel.
On Tachebrun, his charger, next he leaps,
His uncle holds the stirrup, Guinemere.
Then you had seen so many knights to weep,
Who all exclaim: "Unlucky lord, indeed!
In the King's court these many years you've been,
Noble vassal, they say that have you seen.
He that for you this journey has decreed
King Charlemagne will never hold him dear.
The Count Rollant, he should not so have deemed,
Knowing you were born of very noble breed."
After they say: "Us too, Sire, shall he lead."
Then answers Guenes: "Not so, the Lord be pleased!
Far better one than many knights should bleed.
To France the Douce, my lords, you soon shall speed,
On my behalf my gentle wife you'll greet,
And Pinabel, who is my friend and peer,
And Baldewin, my son, whom you have seen;
His rights accord and help him in his need."
-- Rides down the road, and on his way goes he. AOI.

XXVIII
Guenes canters on, and halts beneath a tree;
Where Sarrazins assembled he may see,
With Blancandrins, who abides his company.
Cunning and keen they speak then, each to each,
Says Blancandrins: "Charles, what a man is he,
Who conquered Puille and th'whole of Calabrie;
Into England he crossed the bitter sea,
To th' Holy Pope restored again his fee.
What seeks he now of us in our country?"
Then answers Guene  "So great courage hath he;
Never was man against him might succeed." AOI.

XXIX
Says Blancandrins "Gentle the Franks are found;
Yet a great wrong these dukes do and these counts
Unto their lord, being in counsel proud;
Him and themselves they harry and confound."
Guenes replies: "There is none such, without
Only Rollanz, whom shame will yet find out.
Once in the shade the King had sate him down;
His nephew came, in sark of iron brown,
Spoils he had won, beyond by Carcasoune,
Held in his hand an apple red and round.
"Behold, fair Sire," said Rollanz as he bowed,
"Of all earth's kings I bring you here the crowns."
His cruel pride must shortly him confound,
Each day t'wards death he goes a little down,
When he be slain, shall peace once more abound."
AOI.

XXX
Says Blancandrins: "A cruel man, Rollant,
That would bring down to bondage every man,
And challenges the peace of every land.
With what people takes he this task in hand?"
And answers Guene: "The people of the Franks;
They love him so, for men he'll never want.
Silver and gold he show'rs upon his band,
Chargers and mules, garments and silken mats.
The King himself holds all by his command;
From hence to the East he'll conquer sea and land."
AOI.

XXXI
Cantered so far then Blancandrins and Guene
Till each by each a covenant had made
And sought a plan, how Rollant might be slain.
Cantered so far by valley and by plain
To Sarraguce beneath a cliff they came.
There a fald-stool stood in a pine-tree's shade,
Enveloped all in Alexandrin veils;
There was the King that held the whole of Espain,
Twenty thousand of Sarrazins his train;
Nor was there one but did his speech contain,
Eager for news, till they might hear the tale.
Haste into sight then Blancandrins and Guene.

XXXII
Blancandrin comes before Marsiliun,
Holding the hand of county Guenelun;
Says to the King "Lord save you, Sire, Mahum
And Apollin, whose holy laws here run!
Your message we delivered to Charlun,
Both his two hands he raised against the sun,
Praising his God, but answer made he none.
He sends you here his noblest born barun,
Greatest in wealth, that out of France is come;
From him you'll hear if peace shall be, or none."
"Speak," said Marsile: "We'll hear him, every one."
AOI.

XXXIII
But the count Guenes did deeply meditate;
Cunning and keen began at length, and spake
Even as one that knoweth well the way;
And to the King: "May God preserve you safe,
The All Glorious, to whom we're bound to pray
Proud Charlemagne this message bids me say:
You must receive the holy Christian Faith,
And yield in fee one half the lands of Spain.
If to accord this tribute you disdain,
Taken by force and bound in iron chain
You will be brought before his throne at Aix;
Judged and condemned you'll be, and shortly slain,
Yes, you will die in misery and shame."
King Marsilies was very sore afraid,
Snatching a dart, with golden feathers gay,
He made to strike: they turned aside his aim. AOI.

XXXIV
King Marsilies is turn'ed white with rage,
His feathered dart he brandishes and shakes.
Guenes beholds: his sword in hand he takes,
Two fingers' width from scabbard bares the blade;
And says to it: "O clear and fair and brave;
Before this King in court we'll so behave,
That the Emperour of France shall never say
In a strange land I'd thrown my life away
Before these chiefs thy temper had essayed."
"Let us prevent this fight:" the pagans say.

XXXV
Then Sarrazins implored him so, the chiefs,
On the faldstoel Marsillies took his seat.
"Greatly you harm our cause," says the alcaliph:
"When on this Frank your vengeance you
would wreak;
Rather you should listen to hear him speak."
"Sire," Guenes says, "to suffer I am meek.
I will not fail, for all the gold God keeps,
Nay, should this land its treasure pile in heaps,
But I will tell, so long as I be free,
What Charlemagne, that Royal Majesty,
Bids me inform his mortal enemy."
Guenes had on a cloke of sable skin,
And over it a veil Alexandrin;
These he throws down, they're held by Blancandrin;
But not his sword, he'll not leave hold of it,
In his right hand he grasps the golden hilt.
The pagans say.  "A noble baron, this." AOI.

XXXVI
Before the King's face Guenes drawing near
Says to him "Sire, wherefore this rage and fear?
Seeing you are, by Charles, of Franks the chief,
Bidden to hold the Christians' right belief.
One half of Spain he'll render as your fief
The rest Rollanz, his nephew, shall receive,
Proud parcener in him you'll have indeed.
If you will not to Charles this tribute cede,
To you he'll come, and Sarraguce besiege;
Take you by force, and bind you hands and feet,
Bear you outright ev'n unto Aix his seat.
You will not then on palfrey nor on steed,
Jennet nor mule, come cantering in your speed;
Flung you will be on a vile sumpter-beast;
Tried there and judged, your head you will not keep.
Our Emperour has sent you here this brief."
He's given it into the pagan's nief.

XXXVII
Now Marsilies, is turn'ed white with ire,
He breaks the seal and casts the wax aside,
Looks in the brief, sees what the King did write:
"Charles commands, who holds all France by might,
I bear in mind his bitter grief and ire;
'Tis of Basan and 's brother Basilye,
Whose heads I took on th' hill by Haltilye.
If I would save my body now alive,
I must despatch my uncle the alcalyph,
Charles will not love me ever otherwise."
After, there speaks his son to Marsilye,
Says to the King: "In madness spoke this wight.
So wrong he was, to spare him were not right;
Leave him to me, I will that wrong requite."
When Guenes hears, he draws his sword outright,
Against the trunk he stands, beneath that pine.

XXXVIII
The King is gone into that orchard then;
With him he takes the best among his men;
And Blancandrins there shews his snowy hair,
And Jursalet, was the King's son and heir,
And the alcaliph, his uncle and his friend.
Says Blancandrins: "Summon the Frank again,
In our service his faith to me he's pledged."
Then says the King: "So let him now be fetched."
He's taken Guenes by his right finger-ends,
And through the orchard straight to the King
they wend.
Of treason there make lawless parliament. AOI.

XXXIX
"Fair Master Guenes," says then King Marsilie,
"I did you now a little trickery,
Making to strike, I shewed my great fury.
These sable skins take as amends from me,
Five hundred pounds would not their worth redeem.
To-morrow night the gift shall ready be."
Guene answers him: "I'll not refuse it, me.
May God be pleased to shew you His mercy." AOI.

XL
Then says Marsile "Guenes, the truth to ken,
Minded I am to love you very well.
Of Charlemagne I wish to hear you tell,
He's very old, his time is nearly spent,
Two hundred years he's lived now, as 'tis said.
Through many lands his armies he has led,
So many blows his buckled shield has shed,
And so rich kings he's brought to beg their bread;
What time from war will he draw back instead?"
And answers Guenes: "Not so was Charles bred.
There is no man that sees and knows him well
But will proclaim the Emperour's hardihead.
Praise him as best I may, when all is said,
Remain untold, honour and goodness yet.
His great valour how can it be counted?
Him with such grace hath God illumined,
Better to die than leave his banneret."

XLI
The pagan says: "You make me marvel sore
At Charlemagne, who is so old and hoar;
Two hundred years, they say, he's lived and more.
So many lands he's led his armies o'er,
So many blows from spears and lances borne,
And so rich kings brought down to beg and sorn,
When will time come that he draws back from war?"
"Never," says Guenes, "so long as lives his nephew;
No such vassal goes neath the dome of heaven;
And proof also is Oliver his henchman;
The dozen peers, whom Charl'es holds so precious,
These are his guards, with other thousands twenty.
Charles is secure, he holds no man in terror."
AOI.

XLII
Says Sarrazin: "My wonder yet is grand
At Charlemagne, who hoary is and blanched.
Two hundred years and more, I understand,
He has gone forth and conquered many a land,
Such blows hath borne from many a trenchant lance,
Vanquished and slain of kings so rich a band,
When will time come that he from war draws back?"
"Never," says Guene, "so long as lives Rollanz,
From hence to the East there is no such vassal;
And proof also, Oliver his comrade;
The dozen peers he cherishes at hand,
These are his guard, with twenty thousand Franks.
Charles is secure, he fears no living man."
AOI.

XLIII
"Fair Master Guenes," says Marsilies the King,
"Such men are mine, fairer than tongue can sing,
Of knights I can four hundred thousand bring
So I may fight with Franks and with their King."
Answers him Guenes: "Not on this journeying
Save of pagans a great loss suffering.
Leave you the fools, wise counsel following;
To the Emperour such wealth of treasure give
That every Frank at once is marvelling.
For twenty men that you shall now send in
To France the Douce he will repair, that King;
In the rereward will follow after him
Both his nephew, count Rollant, as I think,
And Oliver, that courteous paladin;
Dead are the counts, believe me if you will.
Charles will behold his great pride perishing,
For battle then he'll have no more the skill. AOI.

XLIV
Fair Master Guene," says then King Marsilie,
"Shew the device, how Rollant slain may be."
Answers him Guenes: "That will I soon make clear
The King will cross by the good pass of Size,
A guard he'll set behind him, in the rear;
585  His nephew there, count Rollant, that rich peer,
And Oliver, in whom he well believes;
Twenty thousand Franks in their company
Five score thousand pagans upon them lead,
Franks unawares in battle you shall meet,
Bruised and bled white the race of Franks shall be;
I do not say, but yours shall also bleed.
Battle again deliver, and with speed.
So, first or last, from Rollant you'll be freed.
You will have wrought a high chivalrous deed,
Nor all your life know war again, but peace. AOI.

XLV
"Could one achieve that Rollant's life was lost,
Charle's right arm were from his body torn;
Though there remained his marvellous great host,
He'ld not again assemble in such force;
Terra Major would languish in repose."
Marsile has heard, he's kissed him on the throat;
Next he begins to undo his treasure-store. AOI.

XLVI
Said Marsilie -- but now what more said they? --
"No faith in words by oath unbound I lay;
Swear me the death of Rollant on that day."
Then answered Guene: "So be it, as you say."
On the relics, are in his sword Murgles,
Treason he's sworn, forsworn his faith away. AOI.

XLVII
Was a fald-stool there, made of olifant.
A book thereon Marsilies bade them plant,
In it their laws, Mahum's and Tervagant's.
He's sworn thereby, the Spanish Sarazand,
In the rereward if he shall find Rollant,
Battle to himself and all his band,
And verily he'll slay him if he can.
And answered Guenes: "So be it, as you command!" AOI.

XLVIII
In haste there came a pagan Valdabrun,
Warden had been to King Marsiliun,
Smiling and clear, he's said to Guenelun,
"Take now this sword, and better sword has none;
Into the hilt a thousand coins are run.
To you, fair sir, I offer it in love;
Give us your aid from Rollant the barun,
That in rereward against him we may come."
Guenes the count answers: "It shall-be done."
Then, cheek and chin, kissed each the other one.

XLIX
After there came a pagan, Climorins,
Smiling and clear to Guenelun begins:
"Take now my helm, better is none than this;
But give us aid, on Rollant the marquis,
By what device we may dishonour bring."
"It shall be done." Count Guenes answered him;
On mouth and cheek then each the other kissed. AOI.
 


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