L. B. (Laughlan Bellingham) Mackinnon.

Some account of the Falkland Islands, from a six months' residence in 1838 and 1839 online

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Turoldus did something absolutely uncertain
with .•

The obstacles to assonance in English, and its
probable disagreeables, are many and various..
In the first place (and no wise person will mini-
mise or misunderstand this) we have not proved
it " ; it has never been an accepted and familiar
form with us. In the second, we know it best as
a failure of something else — a slovenly or careless
substitute for rhyme. Thirdly, there are certain
stiunbling-blocks hard to get over or avoid in the
sound-habits (I never use the word phonetic if I
can possibly help it) of English as a language.
We are so fond of throwing back the accent thzt
we have comparatively few words soimding fully
on the ultinuite. The habit of slurring vowel-
sound, though not so usual with well educated
and well-bred people as phoneticians seem to
think, does to too great an extent deprive us of
the sharp, full rineme effect that assonance re-
q[uires, and that Old French, and Spanish of all
times, afford. Lastly, there is the multiplicity, —
valuable in itself and not to be sacrificed to any
simplifying simpleton, — of our soimd-values for
the same vowel. All these are dangerous lions in
the path (to vary the comparison), and some of them
are disagreeable beaste as well as dangerous ones.
Captain Scott Moncrieff has, I thir^, managed
the stumbling blocks, and met the beasts, with a
most creditable amount of skill and courage and
with a very considerable success. He has had, of
course, to avail himself of some licenses, none of
them, however, unjustified by good precedent.

* Turoldm decKnet. The Colophon of the Poem is a
hopeless puzzle.


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He has availed himself of the accenting of finaEs
like *ifig and ^eth which was common from Chaucer
to Wyatt, and did not quite cease with Surrey as
well as though not too often of Chaucerian
" French accentuation '* generally. Some slight
archaisms in languag^e pay a double debt, and
therefore justify their own borrowing doubly.
Nor does he always require these. I ta^e for in-
stance a sars of the honestest k£nd and light upon
Stanza XC :—

" The Franks arise and stand upon their feet,"

in which no liberty of any kind is taken with
rhythm, vocabulary or vowel-soimd, and the eflFect
of which is excellent.

One feature only I do not like, and that is fur-
nished by the laisses in which the assonance is sup-
plied by the penultimate : for instance, CXXa,
where the midwords are "battle," "Charlis," "vas-
sal's," " wrathful," " damage," " army," " here-
after," " Aide," " clasp you." English is a very
queer language — one of the few points in which
loreigners are perhaps nearer the truth about it
than some of its own children — ^and there are all
sorts of perhaps unexpected and perhaps inex-
plicable things that it will not bear — a fact of
which some students of its prosody seem specially
ignorant. In this matter of assonance it is like
some thoroughbreds. It is suspicious of the single
assonance, and has to be carefully familiarised,
whilst it simply bucks and lashes out at the double.
At least so it seems to me.

But it also seems to me, if I may borrow the
phrase by which, actually borrowing from Seneca,
poor Ben Jonson got himself into such complicated
trouble, that there is more — ^very much more —
in this version to be praised than to be pardoned.
It is quite certainly nearer to the original than any
other version that I have read, and though this of


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itself would cover a multitude of sins there appear
to me to be, in that region of technique with which
it has been my privilege to deal, no multitude of
sins at all and a good deal of virtue.

Gborge Saintsbury.


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The Song of Roland

Charles the King, our Emperour the great,
Full seven years hath sojourned in Spam,
Unto the sea conquered the lofty plain ;
Now no fortress against him dom remain.
No city walls are left for him to break,
Save Sarraguce, that sits on high mountain.
Marsile its king, who feareth not God's name,
Mahumet's man, he invokes ApoUin's aid.
Nor wards off ills that shall to him attain.


King lybiailifi&he lay at JSacraguce,
Went he his way into an orchard cool ;
On a terrace he sate, of marble blue,
Roimd 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 imdo.
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 BlanQandrins> of th' Castle of Val Funde.


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 fqr him provide.
Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred camelry;
Silver and gold, four hundred mules load high ;


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Fifty wagons his wrights will need supply,

Till wit;h that wealth he pays his soldiery.
35 War hath he waged in Spam 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.
40 Send hostages, should he demand surety.

Ten or a score, our loyal oath to bind ;

Send him our sons, the first-bom of our wives;r-

An he be slain, 111 surely furnish mine.

Better by far they go, though doomed to die,;
45 Than that we lose honour and dignity.

And be ourselves brought down to beggary.":

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 ;

50 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 ;

55 Tidings of us no Frank will hear or say.

Proud is that King, and cruel his courage ;
From th' hostages he'll slice their heads away.
Better by far tl^r heads be shorn away,
Than that ourselves lose this clear land of Spain,

60 Than that ourselves do suffer grief and pam."

" That is weH said. So be it." the pagans say.


The council ends, and that king Marsilie
Calleth aside Clarun of Balaguee,
Estramarin and Eudropin his peer,
65 And Priamun and Guarlan of the beard,

And Machiner and his uncle Mahee,
With Jouner, Malbien from over sea.

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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, FU give you all your need."

" We have enough," me pagans straight agree.


ICing Marsilies, his council finishing.
Says to his men : " Go now, my lords, to him,
Ohve-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."


Ten snow-white mules then ordered Marsilie,
Gifts of a king, the king of Suatilie.
Bridled with gold, saddled in silver clear ;
Moimted them those that should the message

In their right hands were olive-branches green.
Came they to Charle, that holds all France in

Yet cannot guard himself from treachery.

Merry and bold is now that Emperour,
Cordres he holds, the walls are tumbled down,

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His catapults have battered town and tow'r.

Great good treasure his knights have placed in
loo 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 RoUant stand around,
105 Sansun the Duke and Ans6is the proud,

Gefreid d*Anjou, that bears his gonfaloun ;

There too Gerin and there Geriers are foimd.

Where they ai*e found, is seen a mighty crowd,

Fifteen thousand, from France the Douce come
no On white carpets those knights have sate them

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,
115 Stands a fald-stool, fashioned of gold throughout;

There sits the King, that holds fiouce Friince in
pow'r ;

White is his beard, and blossoming-white his

Shapely his limbs, his countenance is proud.

! Should, any seek, no need to^iunt4Mia^ut.
120 The messengers, on foot they get them down.

And in salute full courteously they lout.


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!
125 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

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Thousand mewed hawks, sev'n hundred drome-

30 Four hundred mules his silver shall conveyi
Fifty wagons youll need to bear away
Golden besants, such store of proved assay,
Wherewith full tale your soldiers vou can pay.
Now in this land youVe been too long a day ;

[35 Hie you to France, return again to Aix ;

Thus saith my lord, he'll follow too that way."
That Emperour towards God his arms he raised
Lowered his head, began to meditate.


That Emperour inclined his head full low ;
laaty ^" speech he never wg-^i but dnw > ,
lis custom was, at SsTeisure 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^l 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 bom.
To yoiu" 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



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 ^ey lie till comes the clear daylight.

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That Emperour does with the morning rise ;
Matins and Mass are said then in his sight.
165 Forth goes that King, and stays beneath a pine ;
Barons he calls, good counsel to define,
For with his Fnuiks he's ever of a mind.


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


180 " My Lords Barons,'* says the. Emperour then,

^* 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
185 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 :
190 Christian he'll be, and hold from me his mtarches.

But I know not what purpose in his heart is."

Then say the Franks : " Beseems us act with

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That Emperour hath ended now his speech.
j The Count RoUanz, he never will agree, j ^

^5 Quick to reply, he springs upon his feet ; 1
And to the King, " Believe not Marsilie.
Seven years since, when into Spain came we,
I conquered you Noples also Commibles,
And took Valteme, and all the land of Pine,
>o And Balaguet, and Tuele, and Sezilie.

Traitor in all his ways was Marsilies ; i
I Of his pagans he sent you then fifteen, '

I Bearing in hand their olive-branches green ;

Who, ev'n as now, these very words did speak.
PS You of your Franks a Council did decree.

Praised they your words that foolish were in deed.
Two of your Coimts did to the pagan speed,
Basan was one, and the other Basilie :
Their heads he took on th* hill by Haltilie.
no War have you waged, so on to war proceed,
To Sarra^ce lead forth your great army.
All your life long, if need be, lie in siege,
Vengeance for those the felon slew to wreak."


That Emperour he sits with lowering front, /

215 He clasps his chin, his beard his fingers tug.

Good word nor bad, his nephew hears not one.

Franks hold their peace, but only Guenelun

Springs to his feet, and comes before Carlim ;

Right haughtily his reason he's begun,
220 And to the King : " Believe not any one.

My word nor theirs, save whence your good shall

Since he sends word, that king Marsiliun,

Homage he'll do, by finger and by thumb ;

Throughout all Spain your writ alone shall run ;
225 Next he'll receive our rule of Christendom;

Who shall advise, this bidding be not done,

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r Deserves not death, since all to death must come.
1 Counsel of pride is wrong : we've fought enough*
' Leave we the fools, and with the wise be one."


230 And after him came Neim^ out, the third,
Better vassal there was not in the world ;
And to the King : " Now rightly have you heard
Guenis the Coimt, what answer he returned*
. Wisdom was there, but let it well be heard.
23s King Marsilies in war is overturned,
I 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,
. V. 240 Sinners were they that would to war return ;
With hostages his faith he would secure ;
Let this ^eat war no longer now endure."
" Well said the Duke." Franks utter in their turn.


** My lords barons, say whom shall we send up
24s To Sarraguce, to lang 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 ,
250 ^^ You'll not this year so far from me remove ;

Go sit you down, for none hath called you up."

^^^^ " ^y ^^^^ barons, say whom now can we send

A^ ^ To th' Sarrazin that Sarraguce defends ? "

. Answers Rollanz ; /^ 1 giight go very ^elL" y

255 " Certes, you^l not," says count Olivier then, , -^
" For your courage is cruel in its strength ; ^^fj^
I am afraid you would not long be friends.
If the King wills it I might go there well."
Answers the King : " Be silent both on bench ;


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Your feet nor his, I say, shall that way wend.
Nay, by this beard, that you have seen grow

The dozen peers it would be wrong to send.
Franks hold their peace ; you'd seen them all



Turpins of Reii^ is risen from his rank,

"mg : " In peace now leave your

For seven years youVe lingered in this land ; u
They have endured much pain and sufferance.
Give, Sire, to me the glove, also the wand,
I will seek out the Spanish Sarazand,
What's in my mind I'll make him imderstand."
That Emperour answers intolerant :
" Go, sit you down on yonder silken mat ;
And speak no more, until that I command."


" Franks, chevaliers," says the Emperour then,

" Choose ye me out a baron from my marches.
To Marsilie shall carry back my answer."
Then says RoUanz : " There's Guenis, my good- ^

fathe f?^ ^

Answer the Franks : " For he can wisely man-
age ;
So let him go, there's none you should send Jyv /uo^ c >C^

rather." / / /

And that count Guenes is very full of angui sh ;^' //•
Off from his neck he flings the pelts of marten, \ ^
And on his feet stands clear in silken garment. 1 c^ ^
Proud face he had, his eyes with colour sparkled ; \
Fine limbs he had, his ribs were broadly arched ; \

* M. Gautier has re-arranged this passage as follows :
lines 2^6y additional line, 277, 279, 278, additional line ;
laisse xxiv, xxiii, lines 280-295, laisses xxi, xxii, additional
laisse, xxv, etc.

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285 So fair he seemed that all the court regarded.
Says to Rollant : " Fflo ^wherefore art so wrath-

Ajrinen know well that I^a thy good-fath er ;
i'hou hast decreed, to MarsiBun 1 travel.
Then if God grant that I return hereafter,
290 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 prid e and
fe* I gladnes s.

.2 >^ / All men know well, I take no thought for sla nder;

■ Hutj^me wise imiO sur eSl^^ou ld bea r the
. ^ ^sw er ; '^

. 29s If the King will, Tm ready to go rather."

XXI \l

Answers him Guenc : ** Thou shalt not go for

Thou'rt not my man, nor am I lord of thee.
Charl^ conunands that I do his decree,
^ To Sarraguce going to Marsilie ;
300^^ /There I will work a little trickery,

V * This mighty wrath of mine TU thus let free."
Whe nRoUanzj^d^Jbgganj^ laugh for glee>


When Guente sees that Rollant laughs at it,
Such grief he has, for rage he's like to split,
305 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.


310 /'To Sarraguce I must repair, ' tis plain ;

Whence who goes there returns no more again.


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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.
cCare well for him ; he'll look for me in vain."

Answers him Charles : *' Your heart is too

When I command, time is to start amain."


Then says the King : " Guen^s, before me

stand ;
And take from me the glo^e, also the wand.
For you have heard, you re chosen by the Franks,
" Sire," answers Guenes, " all this is from y

RoUanz ; /

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 Kmg : " Over intolerant.
Now certainly you go when I command."
" And go I can ; yet have I no warrant ;
Basile nad none, nor his brother Basant."


His right hand glove that Emperour holds out ;
But the count Guenes elsewhere would fain be-

found; A

When he should take, it falls upon the ground*..*^ ^; ^
Murmur the Franks : " God ! What may that 1 \

mean now ? I "^

By this message great loss shall come about." ^
" Lordings," says Guene, " You'll soon have

news enow.


" Now," Guenes said, " give me your orders*
Sire ;


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Since I mxist go, why need I linger, I ? '*
Then said the King : " In Jesu's Name and
mine! "
340 With his right hand he has absolved and signed,
Then to his care the wand and brief confioes.


Giien^ the count goes to his hostelry,
Finds for the road his garments and his gear.
All of the best he takes that may appear :
345 Spurs of fine gold he fastens on his teet,

And to his side Murglte 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,
350 Who all exclaim : " Unlucky lord, indeed !

In the King's court these many years youVe

Noble vassal, they say that have you seen.
He that for you this journey has decreed
King Charlemagne will never hold him dear.
355 The Count RoUant, he should not so have deemed,
; Knowing you were bom of very noble breed.**
After they say : " Sire, let us too proceed ! "
Then answers Guenes : " Not so, the Lord be

pleased !
CPar better one than many knights should bleed.
360 ^o France the Douce, my lords, you soon shall
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."
365 — Rides down the road, and on his way goes he.


Guenes canters on, and halts beneath a tree ;
Where Sarrazins assembled he may see.
With Blancandrins, who abides his company.


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Cunning and keen they speak then, each to each»
370 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 seel^ he now of us in our coimtry ? '*
375 Then answers Guene : " So great courage hath
he ;
Never was man against him might succeed/'


Says Blancandrins : '^ Gentle the Franks are
foimd ;

Yet a great wrong these dukes do and these

Unto their lord, being in counsel proud ;
380 Him and themselves they harry and confound/'

Answers him Guene : There is none such,

Only RoUanz, whom shame will yet find out. '

Once in the shade the King had sate him down ; .

His nephew came, in sark of iron brown, j

385 Spoils he had won, beyond by Carcasoune, }

Held in his hand an apple red and round.

" Behold, fair Sire," said RoUanz as he bowed, \

" Of all earth's kings I bring you here the crowns/*' '

#"His cruel pride must shortly him confoimd,
390 (Each day t'wards death he goes a little down, ;

When he be slain, shall peace once more abound/^ ;


Says Blancandrins : " A cruel man, Rollant,
That would bring down to bondage every man.
And challenges the peace of every land,
395 With what people takes he this task in hand ? **
And answers Guene : " The people of the
Franks ; 1

They love him so, for men he'll never want.
Silver and gold he show'rs upon his band,


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Chargers and mules, garments and silken mats.
400 *^ The fcng himself holds all by his conmiand ;
\ From hence to the East he'll conquer sea and


Cantered so far then Blancandrins and Guene
; Till each by each a covenant had made
j And sought a plan, how RoUant might be slain.
405 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
410 Twenty thousand of Sarrazins his train ;

Nor was there one but did his speech contain.
Eager for neygs, till they might hear the tale.
Haste into sight then Blancandrins and Guene.


iBlancandrin comes before Marsiliun,
415 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 Charlim,
Both his two hands he raised against the sun,
420 Praising his God, but answer made he none.
He sends you here his noblest bom 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


425 I 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.


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Proud Charlemagne this message bids me say :
You must receive the holy Christian Faith :
Hell give you in fee one half the land of Spain.
If to accord this tribute you disdain,

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Online LibraryL. B. (Laughlan Bellingham) MackinnonSome account of the Falkland Islands, from a six months' residence in 1838 and 1839 → online text (page 2 of 10)