La Chanson de Roland

Laisses CL - CXCIX

 


2010




2015




f.37r
CL
Oliver sent que la mort mult l'angoisset.
Ansdous les oilz en la teste li turnent,
L'oíe pert e la veüe tute;
Descent a piet, a l[a] tere se culchet,
Durement en halt si recleimet sa culpe,
Cuntre le ciel ambesdous ses mains juintes,
Si priet Deu que pareïs li dunget
E beneïst Karlun e France dulce,
Sun cumpaignun Rollant sur tuz humes.
Falt li le coer, le helme li embrunchet,
Trestut le cors a la tere li justet.
Morz est li quens, que plus ne se demuret.
Rollant li ber le pluret, sil duluset;
Jamais en tere n'orrez plus dolent hume!
CL
Oliver feels death's anguish on him now;

And in his head his two eyes swimming round;
Nothing he sees; he hears not any sound;
Dismounting then, he kneels upon the ground,
Proclaims his sins both firmly and aloud,
Clasps his two hands, heavenwards holds them out,
Prays God himself in Paradise to allow;
Blessings on Charles, and on Douce France he vows,
And his comrade, Rollanz, to whom he's bound.
Then his heart fails; his helmet nods and bows;
Upon the earth he lays his whole length out:
And he is dead, may stay no more, that count.
Rollanz the brave mourns him with grief profound;
Nowhere on earth so sad a man you'd found.

2025





2030
CLI
Or veit Rollant que mort est sun ami,
Gesir adenz, a la tere sun vis,
Mult dulcement a regreter le prist:
«Sire cumpaign, tant mar fustes hardiz!
Ensemble avum estet e anz e dis;
Nem fesis mal ne jo nel te forsfis.
Quant tu es mor[t], dulur est que jo vif!»
A icest mot se pasmet li marchis
Sur sun ceval que cleimet Veillantif.
Afermet est a ses estreus d'or fin:
Quel part qu'il alt, ne poet mie chaïr.
CLI
So Rollant's friend is dead whom when he sees

Face to the ground, and biting it with's teeth,
Begins to mourn in language very sweet:
"Unlucky, friend, your courage was indeed!
Together we have spent such days and years;
No harmful thing twixt thee and me has been.
Now thou art dead, and all my life a grief."
And with these words again he swoons, that chief,
Upon his horse, which he calls Veillantif;
Stirrups of gold support him underneath;
He cannot fall, whichever way he lean.

2035




2040




2045


f.37v

2050




2055
CLII
Ainz que Rollant se seit aperceüt,
De pasmeisuns guariz ne revenuz,
Mult grant damage li est apareüt:
Morz sunt Franceis, tuz les i ad perdut,
Senz l'arcevesque e senz Gualter del Hum.
Repairez est des muntaignes jus;
A cels d'Espaigne mult s'i est cumbatuz;
Mort sunt si hume, sis unt paiens (...) vencut;
Voeillet (illi) o nun, desuz cez vals s'en fuit,
Si reclaimet Rollant, qu'il li aiut:
«E! gentilz quens, vaillanz hom, ú ies tu?
Unkes nen oi poür, la u tu fus.
Ço est Gualter, ki cunquist Maelgut,
Li nies Droün, al vieill e al canut!
Pur vasselage suleie estre tun drut.
Ma hanste est fraite e percet mun escut,
E mis osbercs desmailet e rumput;
Par mi le cors hot une lances [...] ferut.
Sempres murrai, mais cher me sui vendut!»
A icel mot l'at Rollant entendut;
Le cheval brochet, si vient poignant vers lui. AOI.
CLII
Soon as Rollant his senses won and knew,

Recovering and turning from that swoon.
Bitter great loss appeared there in his view:
Dead are the Franks; he'd all of them to lose,
Save the Archbishop, and save Gualter del Hum;
He is come down out of the mountains, who
Gainst Spanish men made there a great ado;
Dead are his men, for those the pagans slew;
Will he or nill, along the vales he flew,
And called Rollant, to bring him succour soon:
"Ah! Gentle count, brave soldier, where are you?
For By thy side no fear I ever knew.
Gualter it is, who conquered Maelgut,
And nephew was to hoary old Drouin;
My vassalage thou ever thoughtest good.
Broken my spear, and split my shield in two;
Gone is the mail that on my hauberk grew;
This body of mine eight lances have gone through;
I'm dying. Yet full price for life I took."
Rollant has heard these words and understood,
Has spurred his horse, and on towards him drew. AOI.





2060




2065
CLIII
Rollant ad doel, si fut maltalentifs;
En la grant presse cumencet a ferir.
De cels d'Espaigne en ad get[et] mort .XX.,
E Gualter .VI. e l'arcevesque .V. 
Dient paien: «(Felun) Feluns humes ad ci!
Guardez, seignurs, qu'il n'en algent vif!
Tut par seit fel ki nes vait envaïr,
E recreant ki les lerrat guar[ir]!»
Dunc recumencent e le hu e le cri;
De tutes parz le revunt envaïr. AOI.
CLIII
Grief gives Rollanz intolerance and pride;

Through the great press he goes again to strike;
To slay a score of Spaniards he contrives,
Gualter has six, the Archbishop other five.
The pagans say: "Men, these, of felon kind!
Lordings, take care they go not hence alive!
Felon he's named that does not break their line,
Recreant, who lets them any safety find!"
And so once more begin the hue and cry,
From every part they come to break the line. AOI.





2070




2075
f.38r




2080
CLIV
Li quens Rollant fut noble guerrer,
Gualter de Hums est bien bon chevaler,
Li arcevesque prozdom e essaiet:
Li uns ne volt l'altre nient laisser.
En la grant presse i fierent as paiens.
Mil Sarrazins i descendent a piet,
E a cheval sunt .XL. millers.
Men escientre nes osent aproismer.
Il lor lancent e lances e espiez,
E wigres e darz e museras e agiez e gieser.
As premers colps i unt ocis Gualter,
Turpins de Reins tut sun escut percet,
Quasset sun elme, si l'unt nasfret el chef,
E sun osberc rumput e desmailet;
Par mi le cors nasfret de .IIII. espiez;
Dedesuz lui ocient sun destrer.
Or est grant doel quant l'arcevesque chiet. AOI.
CLIV
Count Rollant is a noble and brave soldier,

Gualter del Hum's a right good chevalier,
That Archbishop hath shewn good prowess there;
None of them falls behind the other pair;
Through the great press, pagans they strike again.
Come on afoot a thousand Sarrazens,
And on horseback some forty thousand men.
But well I know, to approach they never dare;
Lances and spears they poise to hurl at them,
Arrows, barbs, darts and javelins in the air.
With the first flight they've slain our Gualtier;
Turpin of Reims has all his shield broken,
And cracked his helm; he's wounded in the head,
From his hauberk the woven mail they tear,
In his body four spear-wounds doth he bear;
Beneath him too his charger's fallen dead.
Great grief it was, when that Archbishop fell. AOI.



2085




2090




2095
CLV
Turpins de Reins, quant se sent abatut,
De .IIII. espiez par mi le cors ferut,
Isnelement li ber resailit sus;
Rollant reguardet, puis si li est curut,
E dist un mot: «Ne sui mie vencut!
Ja bon vassal nen ert vif recreüt.»
Il trait Almace, s'espee de acer brun,
En la grant presse mil colps i fiert e plus,
Puis le dist Carles qu'il n'en esparignat nul;
Tels .IIII. cenz i troevet entur lui:
Alquanz nafrez, alquanz par mi ferut,
Si out d'icels ki les chefs unt perdut.
Ço dit la Geste e cil ki el camp fut:
Li ber Gilie, por qui Deus fait vertuz,
E fist la chartre el muster de Loüm.
Ki tant ne set ne l'ad prod entendut.
CLV
Turpin of Reims hath felt himself undone,

Since that four spears have through his body come;
Nimble and bold upon his feet he jumps;
Looks for Rollant, and then towards him runs,
Saying this word: "I am not overcome.
While life remains, no good vassal gives up."
He's drawn Almace, whose steel was brown and rough,
Through the great press a thousand blows he's struck:
As Charles said, quarter he gave to none;
He found him there, four hundred else among,
Wounded the most, speared through the middle some,
Also there were from whom the heads he'd cut:
So tells the tale, he that was there says thus,
The brave Saint Giles, whom God made marvellous,
Who charters wrote for th' Minster at Loum;
Nothing he's heard that does not know this much.
 

CLVI
Li quens Rollant genteme[n]t se cumbat,
2100
Mais le cors ad tressuet e mult chalt;
En la teste ad e dulor e grant mal:
Rumput est li temples, por ço que il cornat.
f.38v
Mais saveir volt se Charles i vendrat:
Trait l'olifan, fieblement le sunat.
2105
Li emperere s'estut, si l'escultat:
«Seignurs,» dist il, «mult malement nos vait!
Rollant mis nies hoi cest jur nus defalt.
Jo oi al corner que guaires ne vivrat.
Ki estre i voelt isnelement chevalzt!
2110
Sunez voz graisles tant que en cest ost ad!»
Seisante milie en i cornent si halt,
Sunent li munt e respondent li val:
Paien l'entendent, nel tindrent mie en gab;
Dit l'un a l'altre: «Karlun avrum nus ja!»

CLVII
2115
Dient paien: «L'emperere repairet! AOI.
De cels de France oe(n)z suner les graisles!
Se Carles vient, de nus i avrat perte.
Se R[ollant] vit, nostre guere renovelet,
Perdud avuns Espaigne, nostre tere.»
2120
Tels .IIII. cenz s'en asemble[nt] a helmes,
E des meillors ki el camp quient estre:
A Rollant rendent un estur fort e pesme.
Or ad li quens endreit sei asez que faire. AOI.

CLVIII
Li quens Rollant, quant il les veit venir,
2125
Tant se fait fort e fiers e maneviz!
Ne lur lerat tant cum il serat vif.
Siet el cheval qu'om cleimet Veillantif,
Brochet le bien des esperuns d'or fin,
En la grant presse les vait tuz envaïr,
2130
Ensem[b]l'od lui arcevesques Turpin.
f.39r
Dist l'un a l'altre: «Ça vus traiez ami!
De cels de France les corns avuns oït:
Carles repairet, li reis poesteïfs!»

CLIX
Li quens Rollant unkes n'amat cuard
2135
Ne orguillos, ne malvais (...) hume de male part,
Ne chevaler, se il ne fust bon vassal.
Li arcevesques Turpin en apelat:
«Sire, a pied estes e jo sui a ceval;
Pur vostre amur ici prendrai estal;
2140
Ensemble avruns e le ben e le mal;
Ne vos lerrai pur nul hume de car.
Encui rendruns a paiens cest asalt.
Les colps des mielz, cels sunt de Durendal.»
Dist l'arcevesque: «Fel seit ki ben n'i ferrat.
2145
Carles repairet, ki ben nus vengerat.»

CLX
Paien dient: «Si mare fumes nez!
Cum pes[mes] jurz nus est hoi ajurnez!
Perdut avum noz seignurs e noz pers.
Carles repeiret od sa grant ost li ber;
2150
De cels de France odum les graisles clers,
Grant est la noise de «Munjoie!» escrier.
Li quens Rollant est de tant grant fiertet,
Ja n'ert vencut pur nul hume carnel.
Lancuns a lui, puis sil laissums ester.»
2155
E il si firent darz e wigres asez,
Espiez e lances e museraz enpennez;
(Le) L'escut Rollant unt frait e estroet,
E sun osberc rumput e desmailet;
f.39v
Mais enz el cors ne l'unt mie adeset.
2160
Mais Veillantif unt en .XXX. lius nafret,
Desuz le cunte, si l'i unt mort laisset.
Paien s'en fuient, puis sil laisent ester.
Li quens Rollant i est remes a pied. AOI.

CLXI
Paien s'en fuient, curucus e irez;
2165
Envers Espaigne tendent de l'espleiter.
Li quens Rollant nes ad dunt encalcer:
Perdut i ad Veillantif sun destrer;
Voellet o nun, remes i est a piet.
A l'arcevesque Turpin alat aider:
2170
Sun elme ad or li deslaçat del chef,
Si li tolit le blanc osberc leger,
E sun blialt li ad tut detrenchet;
En ses granz plaies les pans li ad butet;
Cuntre sun piz puis si l'ad enbracet;
2175
Sur l'erbe verte puis l'at suef culchet,
Mult dulcement li ad Rollant preiet:
«E! gentilz hom, car me dunez cunget!
Noz cumpaignuns, que oümes tanz chers,
Or sunt il morz: nes i devuns laiser.
2180
Joes voell aler querre e entercer,
Dedevant vos juster e enrenger.»
Dist l'arcevesque: «Alez e repairez!
Cist camp est vostre, mercit Deu [...] mien.»

CLXII
Rollant s'en turnet, par le camp vait tut suls,
2185
Cercet les vals e si cercet les munz:
Iloec truvat Gerin e Gerer sun cumpaignun.
f.40r
E si truvat Berenger e Attun;
Iloec truvat Anseïs e Sansun,
Truvat Gerard le veill de Russillun.
2190
Par uns e uns les ad pris le barun,
A l'arcevesque en est venuz a tut,
Sis mist en reng dedevant ses genuilz.
Li arcevesque ne poet muer n'en plurt,
Lievet sa main, fait sa b[en]eïçun,
2195
Apres ad dit: «Mare fustes, seignurs!
Tutes voz anmes ait Deus li Glorius!
En pareïs les metet en se[i]ntes flurs!
La meie mort me rent si anguissus:
Ja ne verrai le riche empereuür!»

CLXIII
2200
Rollant s'en turnet, le camp vait recercer,
Sun cumpaignun ad truvet, Oliver:
Encuntre sun piz estreit l'ad enbracet;
Si cum il poet a l'arcevesques en vent,
Sur un escut l'ad as altres culchet,
2205
E l'arcevesque (les) [l']ad asols e seignet.
Idunc agreget le doel e la pitet.
Ço dit Rollant: «Bels cumpainz Oliver,
Vos fustes fils al duc Reiner
Ki tint la marche del val de Runers.
2210
Pur hanste freindre e pur escuz peceier,
Pur orgoillos veincre e esmaier,
E pur prozdomes tenir e cunseiller,
E pur glutun veincre e esmaier,
En nule tere n'ad meillor chevaler!»

CLXIV
f.40v
Li quens Rollant, quant il veit mort ses pers,
E Oliver, qu'il tant poeit amer,
Tendrur en out, cumencet a plurer.
En sun visage fut mult desculurez.
Si grant doel out que mais ne pout ester;
2220
Voeillet o nun, a tere chet pasmet.
Dist l'arcevesque: «Tant mare fustes ber!»

CLXV
Li arcevesques quant vit pasmer Rollant,
Dunc out tel doel unkes mais n'out si grant.
Tendit sa main, si ad pris l'olifan:
2225
En Rencesvals ad un ewe curant;
Aler i volt, sin durrat a Rollant.
Sun petit pas s'en turnet cancelant.
Il est si fieble qu'il ne poet en avant;
N'en ad vertut, trop ad perdut del sanc.
2230
Einz que om alast un sul arpent de camp,
Falt li le coer, si est chaeit avant.
La sue mort l'i vait mult angoissant.

CLXVI
Li quens Rollant revient de pasmeisuns:
Sur piez se drecet, mais il ad grant dulur.
2235
Guardet aval e si guardet amunt:
Sur l'erbe verte, ultre ses cumpaignuns,
La veit gesir le nobilie barun,
Ço est l'arcevesque, que Deus mist en sun num.
Cleimet sa culpe, si reguardet amunt,
2240
Cuntre le ciel amsdous ses mains ad juinz,
Si priet Deu que pareïs li duinst.
[Morz est Turpin, le guerreier Charlun.]
f.41r
Par granz batailles e par mult bels sermons,
Cuntre paiens fut tuz tens campiuns.
2245
Deus li otreit (la sue) seinte beneïçun! AOI.

CLXVII
Li quens Rollant veit l'ar[ce]vesque a tere:
Defors sun cors veit gesir la buele;
Desuz le frunt li buillit la cervele.
Desur sun piz, entre les dous furceles,
2250
Cruisiedes ad ses blanches [mains], les beles.
Forment le pleignet a la lei de sa tere:
«E! gentilz hom, chevaler de bon aire,
Hoi te cumant al Glorius celeste!
Jamais n'ert hume plus volenters le serve.
2255
Des les apostles ne fut hom tel prophete
Pur lei tenir e pur humes atraire.
Ja la vostre anme nen ait sufraite!
De pareïs li seit la porte uverte!»

CLXVIII
Ço sent Rollant que la mort li est pres
2260
Par les oreilles fors se ist la cervel.
De ses pers priet Deu ques apelt,
E pois de lui a l'angle Gabriel.
Prist l'olifan, que reproce n'en ait,
E Durendal s'espee en l'altre main.
2265
D'un arcbaleste ne poet traire un quarrel,
Devers Espaigne en vait en un guaret;
Muntet sur un tertre; desuz un arbre bel(e)
Quatre perruns i ad, de marbre fait(e).
Sur l'erbe verte si est caeit envers:
2270
La s'est pasmet, kar la mort li est pres.

CLXIX
f.41v
Halt sunt li pui e mult halt les arbres.
Quatre perruns i ad luisant de marbre.
Sur l'erbe verte li quens Rollant se pasmet.
Uns Sarrazins tute veie l'esguardet:
2275
Si se feinst mort, si gist entre les altres;
Del sanc luat sun cors e sun visage.
Met sei en piez e de curre s'astet.
Bels fut e forz e de grant vasselage;
Par sun orgoill cumencet mortel rage;
2280
Rollant saisit e sun cors e ses armes,
E dist un mot: «Vencut est li nies Carles!
Iceste espee porterai en Arabe.»
En cel tirer(es) li quens s'aperçut alques.

CLXX
Ço sent Rollant que s'espee li tolt.
2285
Uvrit les oilz, si li ad dit un mot:
«Men escientre, tu n'ies mie des noz!»
Tient l'olifan, que unkes perdre ne volt, 
Sil fiert en l'elme, ki gemmet fut a or:
Fruisset l'acer e la teste e les ós,
2290
Amsdous les oilz del chef li ad mis fors;
Jus a ses piez si l'ad tresturnet mort.
Apres li dit: «Culvert paien, cum fus unkes si ós
Que me saisis, ne a dreit ne a tort?
Ne l'orrat hume, ne t'en tienget por fol.
2295
Fenduz en est mis olifans el gros,
Caiuz en est li cristals e li ors.»

CLXXI
Ço sent Rollant la veúe ad perdue;
Met sei sur piez, quanqu'il poet, s'esvertuet;
f.42r
En sun visage sa culur ad perdue.
2300
Dedevant lui ad une perre byse:
.X. colps i fiert par doel e par rancune.
Cruist li acers, ne freint, [ne] n'esgruignet. 
«E!» dist li quens, «sainte Marie, aiue!
E! Durendal, bone, si mare fustes!
2305
Quant jo mei perd, de vos n'en ai mais cure.
Tantes batailles en camp en ai vencues.
E tantes teres larges escumbatues,
Que Carles tient, ki la barbe ad canue!
Ne vos ait hume ki pur altre fuiet!
2310
Mult bon vassal vos ad lung tens tenue:
Jamais n'ert tel en France l'asolue.»

CLXXII
Rollant ferit el perrun de sardónie.
Cruist li acers, ne briset ne n'esgrunie.
Quant il ço vit que n'en pout mie freindre,
2315
A sei meïsme la cumencet a pleindre:
«E! Durendal, cum es bele, e clere, e blanche!
Cuntre soleill si luises e reflambes!
Carles esteit es vals de Moriane,
Quant Deus del cel li mandat par sun a[n]gle,
2320
Qu'il te dunast a un cunte cataignie:
Dunc la me ceinst li gentilz reis, li magnes.
Jo l'en cunquis Namon e Bretaigne,
Si l'en cunquis e Peitou e le Maine;
Jo l'en cunquis Normendie la franche,
2325
Si l'en cunquis Provence e Equitaigne
E Lumbardie e trestute (r)Romaine;
f.42v
Jo l'en cunquis Baiver e tute Flandres,
E Burguigne e trestute Puillanie,
Costentinnoble, dunt il out la fiance,
2330
E en Saisonie fait il ço, qu'il demandet;
Jo l'en cunquis e Escoce e Vales Islonde,
E Engletere, que il teneit sa cambre;
Cunquis l'en ai païs e teres tantes,
Que Carles tient, ki ad la barbe blanche.
2335
Pur ceste espee ai dulor e pesance:
Mielz voeill murir qu'entre paiens remaigne.
Deus! Perre, n'en laise(i)t hunir France!»

CLXXIII
Rollant ferit en une perre bise,
Plus en abat que jo ne vos sai dire.
2340
L'espee cruist, ne fruisset, ne ne brise,
Cuntre ciel amunt est resortie.
Quant veit li quens que ne la freindrat mie,
Mult dulcement la pleinst a sei meïsme:
«E! Durendal, cum es bele e seintisme!
2345
En l'oriet punt asez i ad reliques:
La dent seint Perre e del sanc seint Basilie,
E des chevels mun seignor seint Denise,
Del vestement i ad seinte Marie.
Il nen est dreiz que paiens te baillisent;
2350
De chrestiens devrez estre servie.
Ne vos ait hume ki facet cuardie!
Mult larges teres de vus avrai cunquises,
Que Carles les tent, ki la barbe ad flurie.
E li empereres en est ber e riches.»

CLXXIV
2355
Ço sent Rollant que la mort le tresprent,
f.43r
Devers la teste sur le quer li descent.
Desuz un pin i est alet curant,
Sur l'erbe verte s'i est culcet adenz,
Desuz lui met s'espee e l'olifan (en sumet);
2360
Turnat sa teste vers la paiene gent;
Pur ço l'at fait que il voelt veirement
Que Carles diet e trestute sa gent,
Li gentilz quens, qu'il fut mort cunquerant.
Cleimet sa culpe e menut e suvent;
2365
Pur ses pecchez Deu (recleimet) en puroffrid lo guant. AOI.

CLXXV
Ço sent Rollant de sun tens n'i ad plus.
Devers Espaigne est en un pui agut;
A l'une main si ad sun piz batud:
«Deus, meie culpe vers les tues vertuz
2370
De mes pecchez, des granz e des menuz
Que jo ai fait des l'ure que nez fui
Tresqu'a cest jur que ci sui consoüt!»
Sun destre guant en ad vers Deu tendut:
Angles del ciel i descendent a lui. AOI.

CLXXVI
2375
Li quens Rollant se jut desuz un pin;
Envers Espaigne en ad turnet sun vis.
De plusurs choses a remembrer li prist:
De tantes teres cum li bers conquist,
De dulce France, des humes de sun lign,
2380
De Carlemagne, sun seignor, kil nurrit.
Ne poet muer n'en plurt e ne suspirt.
Mais lui meïsme ne volt mettre en ubli,
f.43v
Cleimet sa culpe, si priet Deu mercit:
«Veire Patene, ki unkes ne mentis,
2385
Seint Lazaron de mort resurrexis,
E Daniel des leons guaresis,
Guaris de mei l'anme de tuz perilz
Pur les pecchez que en ma vie fis!»
Sun destre guant a Deu en puroffrit;
2390
Seint Gabriel de sa main l'ad pris.
Desur sun braz teneit le chef enclin;
Juntes ses mains est alet a sa fin.
Deus tramist sun angle Cherubin,
E seint Michel del Peril;
2395
Ensembl'od els sent Gabriel i vint.
L'anme del cunte portent en pareïs.

CLXXVII
Morz est Rollant, Deus en ad l'anme es cels.
Li emperere en Rence[s]val[s] parvient.
Il nen i ad ne veie ne senter,
2400
Ne voide tere, ne alne (illi) [ne] plein pied,
Que il n'i ait o Franceis ó paien.
Carles escriet: «U estes vos, bels nies?
U est l'arcevesque e li quens Oliver?
U est Gerins e sis cumpainz Gerers?
2405
U est Otes e li quens Berengers
Ive e Ivorie, que jo aveie tant chers?
Que est devenuz li Guascuinz Engeler?
Sansun li dux e Anseïs li bers?
U est Gerard de Russillun li veilz?
f.44r
Li .XII. per, que jo aveie laiset?»
De ço qui chelt, quant nul n'en respundiet?
- «Deus!» dist li reis, «tant me pois esmaer
Que jo ne fui a l'estur cumencer!»
Tiret sa barbe cum hom ki est iret;
2415
Plurent des oilz si baron chevaler;
Encuntre tere se pasment .XX. millers.
Naimes li dux en ad mult grant pitet.

CLXXVIII
Il n'en i ad chevaler ne barun
Que de pitet mult durement ne plurt;
2420
Plurent lur filz, lur freres, lur nevolz,
E lur amis e lur lige seignurs;
Encuntre tere se pasment [...] li plusur.
Naimes li dux d'iço ad fait que proz,
Tuz premereins l'ad dit l empereür:
2425
«Veez avant de dous liwes de nus,
Ve[d]e[i]r puez les granz chemins puldrus,
(Que) Qu'ase(n)z i ad de la gent paienur.
Car chevalchez! Vengez ceste dulor!»
- «E! Deus!» dist Carles, «ja sunt il ja si luinz!
2430
Cunse[i]l[l]ez mei e dreit[ure] e honur;
De France dulce m'unt tolud la flur.»
Li reis cumandet Gebuin e Otun,
Tedbalt de Reins e le cunte Milun:
«Guardez le champ e les vals e les munz.
2435
Lessez gesir les morz tut issi cun il sunt,
Que n'i adeist ne beste ne lion,
Ne n'i adeist esquier ne garçun;
f.44v
Jo vus defend que n'i adeist nuls hom,
Josque Deus voeil[l]e que en cest camp revengum.»
2440
E cil respundent dulcement, par amur:
«Dreiz emperere, cher sire, si ferum!»
Mil chevaler i retienent des lur. AOI.

CLXXIX
Li empereres fait ses graisles suner,
Puis si chevalchet od sa grant ost li ber.
2445
De cels d'Espaigne unt lur les dos turnez,
Tenent l'enchalz, tuit en sunt cumunel.
Quant veit li reis le vespres decliner,
Sur l'erbe verte descent li reis en un pred,
Culchet sei a tere, si priet Damnedeu
2450
Que li soleilz facet pur lui arester,
La nuit targer e le jur demurer.
Ais li un angle ki od lui soelt parler,
Isnelement si li ad comandet:
«Charle, chevalche, car tei ne faudrad clartet!
2455
La flur de France as perdut, ço set Deus.
Venger te poez de la gent criminel.»
A icel mot est l'emperere muntet. AOI.

CLXXX
Pur Karlemagne fist Deus vertuz mult granz,
Car li soleilz est remes en estant.
2460
Paien s'en fuient, ben les chalcent Franc.
El Val Tenebrus la les vunt ateignant,
Vers Sarraguce les enchalcent [...] franc,
A colps pleners les en vunt ociant,
Tolent lur veies e les chemins plus granz.
2465
L'ewe de Sebre, el lur est dedevant:
f.45r
Mult est parfunde, merveill[us]e e curant;
Il n'en i ad barge, ne drodmund ne caland.
Paiens recleiment un lur deu, Tervagant,
Puis saillent enz, mais il n'i unt guarant.
2470
Li adubez en sunt li plus pesant,
Env(er)ers les funz s'en turnerent alquanz;
Li altre en vunt cuntreval flotant.
Li miez guariz en unt boüd itant,
Tuz sunt neiez par merveillus ahan.
2475
Franceis escrient: «Mare fustes, Rollant!» AOI.

CLXXXI
Quant Carles veit que tuit sunt mort paiens,
Alquanz ocis e li plusur neiet,
Mult grant eschec en unt si chevaler,
Li gentilz reis descendut est a piet,
2480
Culchet sei a tere, sin ad Deu graciet.
Quant il se drecet, li soleilz est culchet.
Dist l'emperere: «Tens est del herberger;
En Rencesvals est tart del repairer:
Nos chevals sunt e las e ennuiez.
2485
Tolez lur les seles, le freins qu'il unt es chefs,
E par cez prez les laisez refreider.»
Respundent Franc: «Sire, vos dites bien.» AOI.

CLXXXII
Li emperere ad prise sa herberge.
Franceis descendent en la tere deserte,
2490
A lur chevals unt toleites les seles,
Les freins a or e metent jus des testes,
Livrent lur prez, asez i ad fresche herbe;
D'altre cunreid ne lur poeent plus faire.
f.45v
Ki mult est las, il se dort cuntre tere.
2495
Icele noit n'unt unkes escalguaite.

CLXXXIII
Li emperere s'est culcet en un pret:
Sun grant espiet met a sun chef li ber;
Icele noit ne se volt il desarmer,
Si ad vestut sun blanc osberc sasfret,
2500
Laciet sun elme, ki est a or gemmet,
Ceinte Joiuse, unches ne fut sa per,
Ki cascun jur muet .XXX. clartez.
Asez savum de la lance parler
Dunt Nostre Sire fut en la cruiz nasfret:
2505
Carles en ad la mure, mercit Deu;
en l'oret punt l'ad faite manuvrer.
Pur ceste honur e pur ceste bontet,
Li nums Joiuse l'espee fut dunet.
Baruns franceis nel deivent ublier:
2510
Enseigne en unt de «Munjoie!» crier;
Pur ço nes poet nule gent cuntrester.

CLXXXIV
Clere est la noit e la lune luisante.
Carles se gist, mais doel ad de Rollant
E d'Oliver li peiset mult forment,
2515
Des .XII. pers e de la franceise gent.
[Qu']en Rencesvals ad laiset morz sang[l]enz.
Ne poet muer n'en plurt e nes dement
E priet Deu qu'as anmes seit guarent.
Las est li reis, kar la peine est mult grant;
2520
Endormiz est, ne pout mais en avant.
Par tuz les prez or se dorment li Franc.
f.46r
N'i ad cheval ki puisset ester en estant;
Ki herbe voelt, il la prent en gisant.
Mult ad apris ki bien conuist ahan.

CLXXXV
2525
Karles se dort cum hume traveillet.
Seint Gabriel li ad Deus enveiet:
L'empereür li cumandet a guarder.
Li angles est tute noit a sun chef.
Par avisiun li ad anunciet
2530
D'une bataille ki encuntre lui ert:
Senefiance l'en demustrat mult gref.
Carles guardat amunt envers le ciel,
Veit les tuneires e les venz e les giels,
E les orez, les merveillus tempez,
2535
E fous e flambes i est apareillez:
Isnelement sur tute sa gent chet.
Ardent cez hanstes de fraisne e de pumer
E cez escuz jesqu'as bucles d'or mier,
Fruisent cez hanstes de cez trenchanz espiez,
2540
Cruissent osbercs e cez helmes d'acer.
En grant dulor i veit ses chevalers.
Urs e leuparz les voelent puis manger,
Serpenz e guivres, dragun e averser;
Grifuns i ad, plus de trente millers:
2545
N'en i ad cel a Franceis ne s'agiet.
E Franceis crient: «Carlemagne, aidez!»
Li reis en ad e dulur e pitet;
Aler i volt, mais il ad desturber.
f.46v
Devers un gualt uns granz leons li vint,
2550
Mult par ert pesmes e orguillus e fiers;
Sun cors meïsmes i asalt e requert,
E prenent sei a braz ambesdous por loiter;
Mais ço ne set liquels abat ne quels chiet.
Li emperere n'est mie esveillet.

CLXXXVI
2555
Apres icel li vien[t] un altre avisiun,
Qu'il ert en France, ad Ais, a un perrun,
En dous chaeines si teneit un brohun.
Devers Ardene veeit venir .XXX. urs,
Cascun parolet altresi cume hum.
2560
Diseient li: «Sire rendez le nus!
Il nen est dreiz que il seit mais od vos;
Nostre parent devum estre a sucurs.»
De sun paleis uns veltres acurt;
Entre les altres asaillit le greignur
2565
Sur l'erbe verte ultre ses cumpaignuns.
La vit li reis si merveillus estur;
Mais ço ne set liquels veint ne quels nun.
Li angles Deu ço ad mustret al barun.
Carles se dort tresqu'al demain, al cler jur.

CLXXXVII
2570
Li reis Marsilie s'en fuit en Sarraguce.
Suz un olive est descendut en l'umbre,
S'espee rent e sun elme e sa bronie;
Sur la verte herbe mult laidement se culcet;
La destre main ad perdue trestute;
2575
Del sanc qu'en ist se pasmet e angoiset.
f.47r
Dedevant lui sa muiller, Bramimunde,
Pluret e criet, mult forment se doluset;
Ensembl'od li plus de .XX. mil humes,
Si maldient Carlun e France dulce.
2580
Ad Apolin (en) curent en une crute,
Tencent a lui, laidement le despersunent:
«E! malvais deus, por quei nus fais tel hunte?
Cest nostre rei por quei lessas cunfundre?
Ki mult te sert, malvais luer l'en dunes!»
2585
Puis si li tolent se sceptre e sa curune.
Par les mains le pendent sur une culumbe,
Entre lur piez a tere le tresturnent,
A granz bastuns le batent e defruisent.
E Tervagan tolent sun escarbuncle,
2590
E Mahumet enz en un fosset butent,
E porc e chen le mordent e defulent.

CLXXXVIII
De pa(i)smeisuns en est venuz Marsilies:
Fait sei porter en sa cambre voltice;
Plusurs culurs i ad peinz e escrites.
2595
E Bramimunde le pluret, la reïne,
Trait ses chevels, si se cleimet caitive,
A l'altre mot mult haltement s'escriet:
«E! Sarraguce, cum ies oi desguarnie
Del gentil rei ki t'aveit en baillie!
2600
Li nostre deu i unt fait felonie,
Ki en bataille oi matin le faillirent.
Li amiralz i ferat cuardie
S'il ne cumbat a cele gent hardie,
f.47v
Ki si sunt fiers n'unt cure de lur vies.
2605
Li emperere od la barbe flurie,
Vasselage ad e mult grant estultie;
S'il ad bataill(i)e, il ne s'en fuirat mie.
Mult est grant doel que n'en est ki l'ociet!»

CLXXXIX
Li emperere par sa grant poestet,
2610
.VII. anz tuz plens ad en Espaigne estet;
Prent i chastels e alquantes citez.
Li reis Marsilie s'en purcacet asez:
Al premer an fist ses brefs seieler,
En Babilonie Baligant ad mandet,
2615
Ço est l'amiraill, le viel d'antiquitet,
Tut survesquiet e Virgilie e Omer,
En Sarraguce alt sucurre li ber;
E, s'il nel fait, il guerpirat ses deus
E tuz ses ydeles que il soelt adorer,
2620
Si recevrat sainte chrestientet,
A Charlemagne se vuldrat acorder.
E cil est loinz, si ad mult demuret;
Mandet sa gent de .XL. regnez,
Ses granz drodmunz en ad fait aprester,
2625
Eschiez e barges e galies e nefs.
Suz Alixandre ad un port juste mer:
Tut sun navilie i ad fait aprester.
Ço est en mai, al premer jur d'ested:
Tutes ses oz ad empeintes en mer.

CXC
2630
Granz sunt les oz de cele gent averse:
Siglent a fort e nagent e guvernent.
En sum cez maz e en cez (les) [h]altes vernes,
f.48r
Asez i ad carbuncles e lanternes;
La sus amunt pargetent tel luiserne
2635
Par la noit la mer en est plus bele.
E cum il vienent en Espaigne la tere,
Tut li païs en reluist e esclairet.
Jesqu'a Marsilie en parvunt les noveles. AOI.

CXCI
Gent paienor ne voelent cesser unkes:
2640
Issent de mer, venent as ewes dulces,
Laisent Marbrose e si laisent Marbrise,
Par Sebre amunt tut lur naviries turnent.
Asez i ad lanternes e carbuncles:
Tute la noit mult grant clartet lur dunent.
2645
A icel jur venent a Sarraguce. AOI.

CXCII
Clers est li jurz et li soleilz luisant.
Li amiralz est issut del calan:
Espaneliz fors le vait adestrant,
.XVII. reis apres le vunt siwant;
2650
Cuntes e dux i ad ben ne sai quanz.
Suz un lorer, ki est en mi un camp,
Sur l'erbe verte getent un palie blanc:
U[n] faldestoed i unt mis d'olifan.
Desur s'asiet li paien Baligant;
2655
Tuit li altre sunt remes en estant.
Li sire d'els premer parlat avant:
«Oiez ore, franc chevaler vaillant!
Carles li reis, l'emperere des Francs,
Ne deit manger, se jo ne li cumant.
2660
Par tute Espaigne m'at fait guere mult grant:
f.48v
En France dulce le voeil aler querant.
Ne finerai en trestut mun vivant
Josqu'il seit mort u tut vif recreant.»
Sur sun genoill en fiert sun destre guant.

CXCIII
2665
Puis qu'il l'ad dit, mult s'en est afichet
Que ne lairat pur tut l'or desuz ciel,
Que il ainz ad Ais, o Carles soelt plaider.
Si hume li lo[d]ent, si li unt cunseillet.
Puis apelat dous de ses chevalers,
2670
L'un Clarifan e l'altre Clarïen:
«Vos estes filz al rei Maltraïen,
Ki messages soleit faire volenters.
Jo vos cumant qu'en Sarraguce algez;
Marsiliun de meie part li nunciez,
2675
Cuntre Franceis li sui venut aider.
Se jo truis ó, mult grant bataille i ert;
Si l'en dunez cest guant ad or pleiet,
El destre poign si li faites chalcer.
Si li portez cest [bast]uncel d'or mer,
2680
E a mei venget pur reconoistre sun feu.
En France irai pur Carles guerreier;
S'en ma mercit ne se culzt a mes piez
E ne guerpisset la lei de chrestiens,
Jo li toldrai la co(r)rune del chef.»
2685
Paien respundent «Sire, mult dites bien.»

CXCIV
Dist Baligant: «Car chevalchez, barun!
L'un port le guant, li alt]r]e le bastun!»
E cil respundent «Cher sire, si ferum.»
f.49r
Tant chevalcherent que en Sarraguce sunt.
2690
Passent .X. portes, traversent .IIII. punz,
Tutes les rues u li burgeis estunt.
Cum il aproisment en la citet amunt,
Vers le paleis oïrent grant fremur;
Asez i ad de cele gent paienur,
2695
Plurent e crient, demeinent grant dolor,
Pleignent lur deus Tervagan e Mahum
E Apollin, dunt il mie n'en unt.
Dist cascun a l'altre: «Caitifs, que devendrum?
Sur nus est venue male confusiun.
2700
Perdut avum le rei Marsiliun:
Li quens Rollant li trenchat ier le destre poign.
Nus n'avum mie de Jurfaleu le Blunt.
Trestute Espaigne iert hoi en lur bandun.»
Li dui message descendent al perrun.

CXCV
2705
Lur chevals laisent dedesuz un olive:
Dui Sarrazin par les resnes les pristrent.
E li message par les mantels se tindrent,
Puis sunt muntez sus el paleis altisme.
Cum il entrent en la cambre voltice,
2710
Par bel amur malvais saluz li firent:
«Cil Mahumet ki nus ad en baillie,
E Tervagan e Apollin, nostre sire,
Sálvent le rei e guardent la reïne!»
Dist Bramimunde: «Or oi mult grant folie!
2715
Cist nostre deu sunt en recreantise.
En Rencesval m[al]vaises vertuz firent:
f.49v
Noz chevalers i unt lesset ocire;
Cest mien seignur en bataille faillirent;
Le destre poign ad perdut, n'en ad mie,
2720
Si li trenchat li quens Rollant, li riches.
Trestute Espaigne avrat Carles en baillie.
Que devendrai, duluruse, caitive?
E! lasse, que n'en ai un hume ki m'ociet!» AOI.

CXCVI
Dist Clarien «Dame, ne parlez mie itant!
2725
Messages sumes al paien Baligant.
Marsiliun, ço dit, serat guarant,
Si l'en enveiet sun bastun e sun guant.
En Sebre avum .IIII. milie calant,
Eschiez e barges e galees curant;
2730
Drodmunz i ad ne vos sai dire quanz.
Li amiralz est riches e puisant:
En France irat Carlemagne querant;
Rendre le quidet u mort ó recreant.»
Dist Bramimunde «Mar en irat itant!
2735
Plus pres d'ici purrez truver les Francs.
En ceste tere ad estet ja .VII. anz.
Li emperere est ber e cumbatant:
Meilz voel murir que ja fuiet de camp;
Suz ciel n'ad rei qu'il prist a un enfant.
2740
Carles ne creint nuls hom ki seit vivant.»

CXCVII
- «Laissez ço ester!« dist Marsilies li reis.
Dist as messages: «Seignurs, parlez a mei!
Ja veez vos que a mort sui destreit,
Jo si nen ai filz ne fille ne heir:
f.50r
Un en aveie, cil fut ocis her seir.
Mun seignur dites qu'il me vienge veeir.
Li amiraill ad en Espaigne dreit:
Quite li cleim, se il la voelt aveir,
Puis la defendet encuntre li Franceis!
2750
Vers Carlemagne li durrai bon conseill:
Cunquis l'avrat d'oi cest jur en un meis.
De Sarraguce les clefs li portereiz;
Pui li dites, il n'en irat, s'il me creit.» 
Cil respundent: «Sire, vus dites veir.» AOI.

CXCVIII
2755
Ço dist Marsilie: «Carles l'emperere
Mort m'ad mes homes, ma tere deguastee,
E mes citez fraites e violees.
Il jut anuit sur cel ewe de Sebre:
Jo ai cunte n'i ad mais que .VII. liwes.
2760
L'amirail dites que sun host i amein.
Par vos li mand bataille i seit justee.»
De Sarraguce les clefs li ad livrees.
Li messager ambedui l'enclinerent,
Prenent cu(i)[n]get, a cel mot s'en turnerent.

CXCIX
2765
Li dui message es chevals sunt muntet.
Isnelement issent de la citet,
A l'amiraill en vunt esfreedement;
De Sarra[gu]ce li presentent les cles.
Dist Baligant: «Que avez vos truvet?
2770
U est Marsilie, que jo aveie mandet?«
Dist Clarïen: «Il est a mort nasfret.
Li emperere fut ier as porz passer,
f.50v
Si s'en vuolt en dulce France aler.
Par grant honur se fist rereguarder:
2775
Li quens Rollant i fut remes, sis nies,
E Oliver e tuit li .XII. per,
De cels de France .XX. milie adubez.
Li reis Marsilie s'i cumbatit, li bers.
Il e Rollant el camp furent remes:
2780
De Durendal li dunat un colp tel
Le destre poign li ad del cors sevret;
Sun filz ad mort, qu'il tant suleit amer,
E li baron qu'il i out amenet.
Fuiant s'en vint, qu'il n'i pout mes ester.
2785
Li emperere l'ad enchalcet asez.
Li reis mandet que vos le sucurez.
Quite vus cleimet d'Espaigne le regnet.»
E Baligant cumencet a penser;
Si grant doel ad por poi qu'il n'est desvet. AOI.

CLVI

The count Rollanz has nobly fought and well,
But he is hot, and all his body sweats;
Great pain he has, and trouble in his head,
His temples burst when he the horn sounded;
But he would know if Charles will come to them,
Takes the olifant, and feebly sounds again.
That Emperour stood still and listened then:
"My lords," said he, "Right evilly we fare!
This day Rollanz, my nephew shall be dead:
I hear his horn, with scarcely any breath.
Nimbly canter, whoever would be there!
Your trumpets sound, as many as ye bear!"
Sixty thousand so loud together blare,
The mountains ring, the valleys answer them.
The pagans hear, they think it not a jest;
Says each to each: "Carlum doth us bestead." AOI.

CLVII

The pagans say: "That Emperour's at hand,
We hear their sound, the trumpets of the Franks;
If Charles come, great loss we then shall stand,
And wars renewed, unless we slay Rollant;
All Spain we'll lose, our own clear father-land."
Four hundred men of them in helmets stand;
The best of them that might be in their ranks
Make on Rollanz a grim and fierce attack;
Gainst these the count had well enough in hand. AOI.

CLVIII

The count Rollanz, when their approach he sees
Is grown so bold and manifest and fierce
So long as he's alive he will not yield.
He sits his horse, which men call Veillantif,
Pricking him well with golden spurs beneath,
Through the great press he goes, their line to meet,
And by his side is the Archbishop Turpin.
"Now, friend, begone!" say pagans, each to each;
"These Frankish men, their horns we plainly hear
Charle is at hand, that King in Majesty."

CLIX

The count Rollanz has never loved cowards,
Nor arrogant, nor men of evil heart,
Nor chevalier that was not good vassal.
That Archbishop, Turpins, he calls apart:
"Sir, you're afoot, and I my charger have;
For love of you, here will I take my stand,
Together we'll endure things good and bad;
I'll leave you not, for no incarnate man:
We'll give again these pagans their attack;
The better blows are those from Durendal."
Says the Archbishop: "Shame on him that holds back!
Charle is at hand, full vengeance he'll exact."

CLX

The pagans say: "Unlucky were we born!
An evil day for us did this day dawn!
For we have lost our peers and all our lords.
Charles his great host once more upon us draws,
Of Frankish men we plainly hear the horns,
"Monjoie " they cry, and great is their uproar.
The count Rollant is of such pride and force
He'll never yield to man of woman born;
Let's aim at him, then leave him on the spot!"
And aim they did: with arrows long and short,
Lances and spears and feathered javelots;
Count Rollant's shield they've broken through and bored,
The woven mail have from his hauberk torn,
But not himself, they've never touched his corse;
Veillantif is in thirty places gored,
Beneath the count he's fallen dead, that horse.
Pagans are fled, and leave him on the spot;
The count Rollant stands on his feet once more. AOI.

CLXI

Pagans are fled, enangered and enraged,
Home into Spain with speed they make their way;
The count Rollanz, he has not given chase,
For Veillantif, his charger, they have slain;
Will he or nill, on foot he must remain.
To the Archbishop, Turpins, he goes with aid;
He's from his head the golden helm unlaced,
Taken from him his white hauberk away,
And cut the gown in strips, was round his waist;
On his great wounds the pieces of it placed,
Then to his heart has caught him and embraced;
On the green grass he has him softly laid,
Most sweetly then to him has Rollant prayed:
"Ah! Gentle sir, give me your leave, I say;
Our companions, whom we so dear appraised,
Are now all dead; we cannot let them stay;
I will go seek and bring them to this place,
Arrange them here in ranks, before your face."
Said the Archbishop: "Go, and return again.
This field is yours and mine now; God be praised!"

CLXII

So Rollanz turns; through the field, all alone,
Searching the vales and mountains, he is gone;
He finds Gerin, Gerers his companion,
Also he finds Berenger and Otton,
There too he finds Anseis and Sanson,
And finds Gerard the old, of Rossillon;
By one and one he's taken those barons,
To the Archbishop with each of them he comes,
Before his knees arranges every one.
That Archbishop, he cannot help but sob,
He lifts his hand, gives benediction;
After he's said: "Unlucky, Lords, your lot!
But all your souls He'll lay, our Glorious God,
In Paradise, His holy flowers upon!
For my own death such anguish now I've got;
I shall not see him, our rich Emperor."

CLXIII

So Rollant turns, goes through the field in quest;
His companion Olivier finds at length;
He has embraced him close against his breast,
To the Archbishop returns as he can best;
Upon a shield he's laid him, by the rest;
And the Archbishop has them absolved and blest:
Whereon his grief and pity grow afresh.
Then says Rollanz: "Fair comrade Olivier,
You were the son of the good count Reinier,
Who held the march by th' Vale of Runier;
To shatter spears, through buckled shields to bear,
And from hauberks the mail to break and tear,
Proof men to lead, and prudent counsel share,
Gluttons in field to frighten and conquer,
No land has known a better chevalier."

CLXIV

The count Rollanz, when dead he saw his peers,
And Oliver, he held so very dear,
Grew tender, and began to shed a tear;
Out of his face the colour disappeared;
No longer could he stand, for so much grief,
Will he or nill, he swooned upon the field.
Said the Archbishop: "Unlucky lord, indeed!"

CLXV

When the Archbishop beheld him swoon, Rollant,
Never before such bitter grief he'd had;
Stretching his hand, he took that olifant.
Through Rencesvals a little river ran;
He would go there, fetch water for Rollant.
Went step by step, to stumble soon began,
So feeble he is, no further fare he can,
For too much blood he's lost, and no strength has;
Ere he has crossed an acre of the land,
His heart grows faint, he falls down forwards and
Death comes to him with very cruel pangs.

CLXVI

The count Rollanz wakes from his swoon once more,
Climbs to his feet; his pains are very sore;
Looks down the vale, looks to the hills above;
On the green grass, beyond his companions,
He sees him lie, that noble old baron;
'Tis the Archbishop, whom in His name wrought God;
There he proclaims his sins, and looks above;
Joins his two hands, to Heaven holds them forth,
And Paradise prays God to him to accord.
Dead is Turpin, the warrior of Charlon.
In battles great and very rare sermons
Against pagans ever a champion.
God grant him now His Benediction! AOI.

CLXVII

The count Rollant sees the Archbishop lie dead,
Sees the bowels out of his body shed,
And sees the brains that surge from his forehead;
Between his two arm-pits, upon his breast,
Crossways he folds those hands so white and fair.
Then mourns aloud, as was the custom there:
"Thee, gentle sir, chevalier nobly bred,
To the Glorious Celestial I commend;
Neer shall man be, that will Him serve so well;
Since the Apostles was never such prophet,
To hold the laws and draw the hearts of men.
Now may your soul no pain nor sorrow ken,
Finding the gates of Paradise open!"

CLXVIII

Then Rollanz feels that death to him draws near,
For all his brain is issued from his ears;
He prays to God that He will call the peers,
Bids Gabriel, the angel, t' himself appear.
Takes the olifant, that no reproach shall hear,
And Durendal in the other hand he wields;
Further than might a cross-bow's arrow speed
Goes towards Spain into a fallow-field;
Climbs on a cliff; where, under two fair trees,
Four terraces, of marble wrought, he sees.
There he falls down, and lies upon the green;
He swoons again, for death is very near.

CLXIX

High are the peaks, the trees are very high.
Four terraces of polished marble shine;
On the green grass count Rollant swoons thereby.
A Sarrazin him all the time espies,
Who feigning death among the others hides;
Blood hath his face and all his body dyed;
He gets afoot, running towards him hies;
Fair was he, strong and of a courage high;
A mortal hate he's kindled in his pride.
He's seized Rollant, and the arms, were at his side,
"Charles nephew," he's said, "here conquered lies.
To Araby I'll bear this sword as prize."
As he drew it, something the count descried.

CLXX

So Rollant felt his sword was taken forth,
Opened his eyes, and this word to him spoke
"Thou'rt never one of ours, full well I know."
Took the olifant, that he would not let go,
Struck him on th' helm, that jewelled was with gold,
And broke its steel, his skull and all his bones,
Out of his head both the two eyes he drove;
Dead at his feet he has the pagan thrown:
After he's said: "Culvert, thou wert too bold,
Or right or wrong, of my sword seizing hold!
They'll dub thee fool, to whom the tale is told.
But my great one, my olifant I broke;
Fallen from it the crystal and the gold."

CLXXI

Then Rollanz feels that he has lost his sight,
Climbs to his feet, uses what strength he might;
In all his face the colour is grown white.
In front of him a great brown boulder lies;
Whereon ten blows with grief and rage he strikes;
The steel cries out, but does not break outright;
And the count says: "Saint Mary, be my guide
Good Durendal, unlucky is your plight!
I've need of you no more; spent is my pride!
We in the field have won so many fights,
Combating through so many regions wide
That Charles holds, whose beard is hoary white!
Be you not his that turns from any in flight!
A good vassal has held you this long time;
Never shall France the Free behold his like."

CLXXII

Rollant hath struck the sardonyx terrace;
The steel cries out, but broken is no ways.
So when he sees he never can it break,
Within himself begins he to complain:
"Ah! Durendal, white art thou, clear of stain!
Beneath the sun reflecting back his rays!
In Moriane was Charles, in the vale,
When from heaven God by His angel bade
Him give thee to a count and capitain;
Girt thee on me that noble King and great.
I won for him with thee Anjou, Bretaigne,
And won for him with thee Peitou, the Maine,
And Normandy the free for him I gained,
Also with thee Provence and Equitaigne,
And Lumbardie and all the whole Romaigne,
I won Baivere, all Flanders in the plain,
Also Burguigne and all the whole Puillane,
Costentinnople, that homage to him pays;
In Saisonie all is as he ordains;
With thee I won him Scotland, Ireland, Wales,
England also, where he his chamber makes;
Won I with thee so many countries strange
That Charles holds, whose beard is white with age!
For this sword's sake sorrow upon me weighs,
Rather I'ld die, than it mid pagans stay.
Lord God Father, never let France be shamed!"

CLXXIII

Rollant his stroke on a dark stone repeats,
And more of it breaks off than I can speak.
The sword cries out, yet breaks not in the least,
Back from the blow into the air it leaps.
Destroy it can he not; which when he sees,
Within himself he makes a plaint most sweet.
"Ah! Durendal, most holy, fair indeed!
Relics enough thy golden hilt conceals:
Saint Peter's Tooth, the Blood of Saint Basile,
Some of the Hairs of my Lord, Saint Denise,
Some of the Robe, was worn by Saint Mary.
It is not right that pagans should thee seize,
For Christian men your use shall ever be.
Nor any man's that worketh cowardice!
Many broad lands with you have I retrieved
Which Charles holds, who hath the great white beard;
Wherefore that King so proud and rich is he."

CLXXIV

But Rollant felt that death had made a way
Down from his head till on his heart it lay;
Beneath a pine running in haste he came,
On the green grass he lay there on his face;
His olifant and sword beneath him placed,
Turning his head towards the pagan race,
Now this he did, in truth, that Charles might say
(As he desired) and all the Franks his race; --
'Ah, gentle count; conquering he was slain!' --
He owned his faults often and every way,
And for his sins his glove to God upraised. AOI.

CLXXV

But Rollant feels he's no more time to seek;
Looking to Spain, he lies on a sharp peak,
And with one hand upon his breast he beats:
"Mea Culpa! God, by Thy Virtues clean
Me from my sins, the mortal and the mean,
Which from the hour that I was born have been
Until this day, when life is ended here!"
Holds out his glove towards God, as he speaks
Angels descend from heaven on that scene. AOI.

CLXXVI

The count Rollanz, beneath a pine he sits,;
Turning his eyes towards Spain, he begins
Remembering so many divers things:
So many lands where he went conquering,
And France the Douce, the heroes of his kin,
And Charlemagne, his lord who nourished him.
Nor can he help but weep and sigh at this.
But his own self, he's not forgotten him,
He owns his faults, and God's forgiveness bids:
"Very Father, in Whom no falsehood is,
Saint Lazaron from death Thou didst remit,
And Daniel save from the lions' pit;
My soul in me preserve from all perils
And from the sins I did in life commit!"
His right-hand glove, to God he offers it
Saint Gabriel from's hand hath taken it.
Over his arm his head bows down and slips,
He joins his hands: and so is life finish'd.
God sent him down His angel cherubin,
And Saint Michael, we worship in peril;
And by their side Saint Gabriel alit;
So the count's soul they bare to Paradis.

CLXXVII

Rollant is dead; his soul to heav'n God bare.
That Emperour to Rencesvals doth fare.
There was no path nor passage anywhere
Nor of waste ground no ell nor foot to spare
Without a Frank or pagan lying there.
Charles cries aloud: "Where are you, nephew fair?
Where's the Archbishop and that count Oliviers?
Where is Gerins and his comrade Gerers?
Otes the Duke, and the count Berengiers
And Ivorie, and Ive, so dear they were?
What is become of Gascon Engelier,
Sansun the Duke and Anseis the fierce?
Where's old Gerard of Russillun; oh, where
The dozen peers I left behind me here?"
But what avail, since none can answer bear?
"God!" says the King, "Now well may I despair,
I was not here the first assault to share!"
Seeming enraged, his beard the King doth tear.
Weep from their eyes barons and chevaliers,
A thousand score, they swoon upon the earth;
Duke Neimes for them was moved with pity rare.

CLXXVIII

No chevalier nor baron is there, who
Pitifully weeps not for grief and dule;
They mourn their sons, their brothers, their nephews,
And their liege lords, and trusty friends and true;
Upon the ground a many of them swoon.
Thereon Duke Neimes doth act with wisdom proof,
First before all he's said to the Emperour:
"See beforehand, a league from us or two,
From the highways dust rising in our view;
Pagans are there, and many them, too.
Canter therefore! Vengeance upon them do!"
"Ah, God!" says Charles, "so far are they re-moved!
Do right by me, my honour still renew!
They've torn from me the flower of France the Douce."
The King commands Gebuin and Otun,
Tedbalt of Reims, also the count Milun:
"Guard me this field, these hills and valleys too,
Let the dead lie, all as they are, unmoved,
Let not approach lion, nor any brute,
Let not approach esquire, nor any groom;
For I forbid that any come thereto,
Until God will that we return anew."
These answer him sweetly, their love to prove:
"Right Emperour, dear Sire, so will we do."
A thousand knights they keep in retinue. AOI.

CLXXIX

That Emperour bids trumpets sound again,
Then canters forth with his great host so brave.
Of Spanish men, whose backs are turned their way,
Franks one and all continue in their chase.
When the King sees the light at even fade,
On the green grass dismounting as he may,
He kneels aground, to God the Lord doth pray
That the sun's course He will for him delay,
Put off the night, and still prolong the day.
An angel then, with him should reason make,
Nimbly enough appeared to him and spake:
"Charles, canter on! Light needst not thou await.
The flower of France, as God knows well, is slain;
Thou canst be avenged upon that crimeful race."
Upon that word mounts the Emperour again. AOI.

CLXXX

For Charlemagne a great marvel God planned:
Making the sun still in his course to stand.
So pagans fled, and chased them well the Franks
Through the Valley of Shadows, close in hand;
Towards Sarraguce by force they chased them back,
And as they went with killing blows attacked:
Barred their highways and every path they had.
The River Sebre before them reared its bank,
'Twas very deep, marvellous current ran;
No barge thereon nor dromond nor caland.
A god of theirs invoked they, Tervagant.
And then leaped in, but there no warrant had.
The armed men more weighty were for that,
Many of them down to the bottom sank,
Downstream the rest floated as they might hap;
So much water the luckiest of them drank,
That all were drowned, with marvellous keen pangs.
"An evil day," cry Franks, "ye saw Rollant!"

CLXXXI

When Charles sees that pagans all are dead,
Some of them slain, the greater part drowned;
(Whereby great spoils his chevaliers collect)
That gentle King upon his feet descends,
Kneels on the ground, his thanks to God presents.
When he once more rise, the sun is set.
Says the Emperour "Time is to pitch our tents;
To Rencesvals too late to go again.
Our horses are worn out and foundered:
Unsaddle them, take bridles from their heads,
And through these meads let them refreshment get."
Answer the Franks: "Sire, you have spoken well." AOI.

CLXXXII

That Emperour hath chosen his bivouac;
The Franks dismount in those deserted tracts,
Their saddles take from off their horses' backs,
Bridles of gold from off their heads unstrap,
Let them go free; there is enough fresh grass --
No service can they render them, save that.
Who is most tired sleeps on the ground stretched flat.
Upon this night no sentinels keep watch.

CLXXXIII

That Emperour is lying in a mead;
By's head, so brave, he's placed his mighty spear;
On such a night unarmed he will not be.
He's donned his white hauberk, with broidery,
Has laced his helm, jewelled with golden beads,
Girt on Joiuse, there never was its peer,
Whereon each day thirty fresh hues appear.
All of us know that lance, and well may speak
Whereby Our Lord was wounded on the Tree:
Charles, by God's grace, possessed its point of steel!
His golden hilt he enshrined it underneath.
By that honour and by that sanctity
The name Joiuse was for that sword decreed.
Barons of France may not forgetful be
Whence comes the ensign "Monjoie," they cry at need;
Wherefore no race against them can succeed.

CLXXXIV

Clear was the night, the moon shone radiant.
Charles laid him down, but sorrow for Rollant
And Oliver, most heavy on him he had,
For's dozen peers, for all the Frankish band
He had left dead in bloody Rencesvals;
He could not help, but wept and waxed mad,
And prayed to God to be their souls' Warrant.
Weary that King, or grief he's very sad;
He falls on sleep, he can no more withstand.
Through all those meads they slumber then, the Franks;
Is not a horse can any longer stand,
Who would eat grass, he takes it lying flat.
He has learned much, can understand their pangs.

CLXXXV

Charles, like a man worn out with labour, slept.
Saint Gabriel the Lord to him hath sent,
Whom as a guard o'er the Emperour he set;
Stood all night long that angel by his head.
In a vision announced he to him then
A battle, should be fought against him yet,
Significance of griefs demonstrated.
Charles looked up towards the sky, and there
Thunders and winds and blowing gales beheld,
And hurricanes and marvellous tempests;
Lightnings and flames he saw in readiness,
That speedily on all his people fell;
Apple and ash, their spear-shafts all burned,
Also their shields, e'en the golden bosses,
Crumbled the shafts of their trenchant lances,
Crushed their hauberks and all their steel helmets.
His chevaliers he saw in great distress.
Bears and leopards would feed upon them next;
Adversaries, dragons, wyverns, serpents,
Griffins were there, thirty thousand, no less,
Nor was there one but on some Frank it set.
And the Franks cried: "Ah! Charlemagne, give help!"
Wherefore the King much grief and pity felt,
He'ld go to them but was in duress kept:
Out of a wood came a great lion then,
'Twas very proud and fierce and terrible;
His body dear sought out, and on him leapt,
Each in his arms, wrestling, the other held;
But he knew not which conquered, nor which fell.
That Emperour woke not at all, but slept.

CLXXXVI

And, after that, another vision came:
Himseemed in France, at Aix, on a terrace,
And that he held a bruin by two chains;
Out of Ardenne saw thirty bears that came,
And each of them words, as a man might, spake
Said to him: "Sire, give him to us again!
It is not right that he with you remain,
He's of our kin, and we must lend him aid."
A harrier fair ran out of his palace,
Among them all the greatest bear assailed
On the green grass, beyond his friends some way.
There saw the King marvellous give and take;
But he knew not which fell, nor which o'ercame.
The angel of God so much to him made plain.
Charles slept on till the clear dawn of day.

CLXXXVII

King Marsilies, fleeing to Sarraguce,
Dismounted there beneath an olive cool;
His sword and sark and helm aside he put,
On the green grass lay down in shame and gloom;
For his right hand he'd lost, 'twas clean cut through;
Such blood he'd shed, in anguish keen he swooned.
Before his face his lady Bramimunde
Bewailed and cried, with very bitter rue;
Twenty thousand and more around him stood,
All of them cursed Carlun and France the Douce.
Then Apollin in's grotto they surround,
And threaten him, and ugly words pronounce:
"Such shame on us, vile god!, why bringest thou?
This is our king; wherefore dost him confound?
Who served thee oft, ill recompense hath found."
Then they take off his sceptre and his crown,
With their hands hang him from a column down,
Among their feet trample him on the ground,
With great cudgels they batter him and trounce.
From Tervagant his carbuncle they impound,
And Mahumet into a ditch fling out,
Where swine and dogs defile him and devour.

CLXXXVIII

Out of his swoon awakens Marsilies,
And has him borne his vaulted roof beneath;
Many colours were painted there to see,
And Bramimunde laments for him, the queen,
Tearing her hair; caitiff herself she clepes;
Also these words cries very loud and clear:
"Ah! Sarraguce, henceforth forlorn thou'lt be
Of the fair king that had thee in his keep!
All those our gods have wrought great felony,
Who in battle this morning failed at need.
That admiral will shew his cowardice,
Unless he fight against that race hardy,
Who are so fierce, for life they take no heed.
That Emperour, with his blossoming beard,
Hath vassalage, and very high folly;
Battle to fight, he will not ever flee.
Great grief it is, no man may slay him clean."

CLXXXIX

That Emperour, by his great Majesty,
26I0 Full seven years in Spain now has he been,
And castles there, and many cities seized.
King Marsilies was therefore sore displeased;
In the first year he sealed and sent his brief
To Baligant, into Babilonie:
('Twas the admiral, old in antiquity,
That clean outlived Omer and Virgilie,)
To Sarraguce, with succour bade him speed,
For, if he failed, Marsile his gods would leave,
All his idols he worshipped formerly;
He would receive blest Christianity
And reconciled to Charlemagne would be.
Long time that one came not, far off was he.
Through forty realms he did his tribes rally;
His great dromonds, he made them all ready,
Barges and skiffs and ships and galleries;
Neath Alexandre, a haven next the sea,
In readiness he gat his whole navy.
That was in May, first summer of the year,
All of his hosts he launched upon the sea.

CXC

Great are the hosts of that opposed race;
With speed they sail, they steer and navigate.
High on their yards, at their mast-heads they place
Lanterns enough, and carbuncles so great
Thence, from above, such light they dissipate
The sea's more clear at midnight than by day.
And when they come into the land of Spain
All that country lightens and shines again:
Of their coming Marsile has heard the tale. AOI.

CXCI

The pagan race would never rest, but come
Out of the sea, where the sweet waters run;
They leave Marbris, they leave behind Marbrus,
Upstream by Sebre doth all their navy turn.
Lanterns they have, and carbuncles enough,
That all night long and very clearly burn.
Upon that day they come to Sarragus. AOI.

CXCII

Clear is that day, and the sun radiant.
Out of his barge issues their admiral,
Espaneliz goes forth at his right hand,
Seventeen kings follow him in a band,
Counts too, and dukes; I cannot tell of that.
Where in a field, midway, a laurel stands,
On the green grass they spread a white silk mat,
Set a fald-stool there, made of olifant;
Sits him thereon the pagan Baligant,
And all the rest in rows about him stand.
The lord of them speaks before any man:
"Listen to me, free knights and valiant!
Charles the King, the Emperour of the Franks,
Shall not eat bread, save when that I command.
Throughout all Spain great war with me he's had;
I will go seek him now, into Douce France,
I will not cease, while I'm a living man,
Till be slain, or fall between my hands."
Upon his knee his right-hand glove he slaps.

CXCIII

He is fast bound by all that he has said.
He will not fail, for all the gold neath heav'n,
But go to Aix, where Charles court is held:
His men applaud, for so they counselled.
After he called two of his chevaliers,
One Clarifan, and the other Clarien:
"You are the sons of king Maltraien,
Freely was, wont my messages to bear.
You I command to Sarraguce to fare.
Marsiliun on my part you shall tell
Against the Franks I'm come to give him help,
Find I their host, great battle shall be there;
Give him this glove, that's stitched with golden thread,
On his right hand let it be worn and held;
This little wand of fine gold take as well,
Bid him come here, his homage to declare.
To France I'll go, and war with Charles again;
Save at my feet he kneel, and mercy beg,
Save all the laws of Christians he forget,
I'll take away the crown from off his head."
Answer pagans: "Sire, you say very well."

CXCIV

Said Baligant: "But canter now, barons,
Take one the wand, and the other one the glove!"
These answer him: "Dear lord, it shall be done."
Canter so far, to Sarraguce they come,
Pass through ten gates, across four bridges run,
Through all the streets, wherein the burghers crowd.
When they draw nigh the citadel above,
From the palace they hear a mighty sound;
About that place are seen pagans enough,
Who weep and cry, with grief are waxen wood,
And curse their gods, Tervagan and Mahum
And Apolin, from whom no help is come.
Says each to each: "Caitiffs! What shall be done?
For upon us confusion vile is come,
Now have we lost our king Marsiliun,
For yesterday his hand count Rollanz cut;
We'll have no more Fair Jursaleu, his son;
The whole of Spain henceforward is undone."
Both messengers on the terrace dismount.

CXCV

Horses they leave under an olive tree,
Which by the reins two Sarrazins do lead;
Those messengers have wrapped them in their weeds,
To the palace they climb the topmost steep.
When they're come in, the vaulted roof beneath,
Marsilium with courtesy they greet:
"May Mahumet, who all of us doth keep,
And Tervagan, and our lord Apoline
Preserve the, king and guard from harm the queen!"
Says Bramimunde "Great foolishness I hear:
Those gods of ours in cowardice are steeped;
In Rencesvals they wrought an evil deed,
Our chevaliers they let be slain in heaps;
My lord they failed in battle, in his need,
Never again will he his right hand see;
For that rich count, Rollanz, hath made him bleed.
All our whole Spain shall be for Charles to keep.
Miserable! What shall become of me?
Alas! That I've no man to slay me clean!" AOI.

CXCVI

Says Clarien: "My lady, say not that!
We're messengers from pagan Baligant;
To Marsilies, he says, he'll be warrant,
So sends him here his glove, also this wand.
Vessels we have, are moored by Sebres bank,
Barges and skiffs and gallies four thousand,
Dromonds are there -- I cannot speak of that.
Our admiral is wealthy and puissant.
And Charlemagne he will go seek through France
And quittance give him, dead or recreant."
Says Bramimunde: "Unlucky journey, that!
Far nearer here you'll light upon the Franks;
For seven years he's stayed now in this land.
That Emperour is bold and combatant,
Rather he'ld die than from the field draw back;
No king neath heav'n above a child he ranks.
Charles hath no fear for any living man.

CXCVII

Says Marsilies the king: "Now let that be."
To th'messengers: "Sirs, pray you, speak to me.
I am held fast by death, as ye may see.
No son have I nor daughter to succeed;
That one I had, they slew him yester-eve.
Bid you my lord, he come to see me here.
Rights over Spain that admiral hath he,
My claim to him, if he will take't, I yield;
But from the Franks he then must set her free.
Gainst Charlemagne I'll shew him strategy.
Within a month from now he'll conquered be.
Of Sarraguce ye'll carry him the keys,
He'll go not hence, say, if he trusts in me."
They answer him: "Sir, 'tis the truth you speak." AOI.

CXCVIII

Then says Marsile: "The Emperour, Charles the Great
Hath slain my men and all my land laid waste,
My cities are broken and violate;
He lay this night upon the river Sebre;
I've counted well, 'tis seven leagues away.
Bid the admiral, leading his host this way,
Do battle here; this word to him convey."
Gives them the keys of Sarraguce her gates;
Both messengers their leave of him do take,
Upon that word bow down, and turn away.

CXCIX

Both messengers did on their horses mount;
From that city nimbly they issued out.
Then, sore afraid, their admiral they sought,
To whom the keys of Sarraguce they brought.
Says Baligant: "Speak now; what have ye found?
Where's Marsilies, to come to me was bound?"
Says Clarien : "To death he's stricken down.
That Emperour was in the pass but now;
To France the Douce he would be homeward-bound,
Rereward he set, to save his great honour:
His nephew there installed, Rollanz the count,
And Oliver; the dozen peers around;
A thousand score of Franks in armour found.
Marsile the king fought with them there, so proud;
He and Rollanz upon that field did joust.
With Durendal he dealt him such a clout
From his body he cut the right hand down.
His son is dead, in whom his heart was bound,
And the barons that service to him vowed;
Fleeing he came, he could no more hold out.
That Emperour has chased him well enow.
The king implores, you'll hasten with succour,
Yields to you Spain, his kingdom and his crown."
And Baligant begins to think, and frowns;
Such grief he has, doth nearly him confound. AOI.

     


Laisses C - CXLIX
Laisses CC - CCXLIX

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