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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Taken by force and bound by might and main ;
You will be brought before his throne at Aix ;
Judged and condemned you'll be, and shortly

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 ms aim


King Marsilies is turned white with rage, ^-
His feathered dart he brandishes and shakes.
Guen^ 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.


The best of them did so much him beseech.
On the fald-stool 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," Guenfe 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."


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Guen^ had on a cloke of sable skin,

And over it a veil Alexandrin ;

These he throws down, they're held by Blan-

candrin ;
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."


Before the king's face Guen^s drawing near

Says to him : " Sire, wherefore this rage and
470 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 RoUanz, his nephew, shall receive,
, Proud parcener in him you'll have indeed.
475 \ 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,
480 Jennet nor mule, come cantering in your speed ;

Flung you will be on a vile simipter-beast ;

Tried there and judged, your head you will not

Our Emperour has sent you here this brief."

He's given it into the pagan's nief.


485 Now Marsilies is turned white with ire.

He breaks the seal and casts the wax aside,
Looks in the brief, sees what the King did write :
"Charlfes commands, who holds all France by

I bear in mind his bitter grief and ire ;

490 'Tis of Basan and 's brother Basilye,

Whose heads I took on th' hill by Haltilye.


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If I would save my body now alive,
I must despatch my uncle the alcalyph,
Charles will not love me ever otherwise."

495 After, there speaks his son to Marsilye,

Says to the king : '' In madness spoke this

So wrong he was, to spare him were not right ;
Leave him to me, I will that wrong requite. *
When Guenis hears, he draws his sword out-

500 Against the trunk he stands, beneath that pine.


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,

505 And the alcaliph, his uncle and his friend.

Says Blancanarins : ^^ Siunmon the Frank aeain^ t
In our service his faith to me he's pledged. '

Then says the king : " So let nim now be

He's taken Guenes by his right finger-ends,

510 And through^ the orchard straight to the Kingi
they wend. I

Of treason there make lawless parliament.


" Fair Master Guenes," says then king Marsilie, -
" I did you now a little trickery.
Making to strike, I shewed my great fiiry.
515 These sable skins I'll have you take from me ; *
Five hundred pounds would not their worth

To-morrow night a fair amends they'll seem."
Guene answers him : " I'll not refuse it, me.
May God be pleased to shew you His mercy.'*

17 c

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5«o Then says Marsile : " Gucnis, the truth to ken>
Minded I am to love you very well.
lOf Charlemaene I wish to hear you tell,

f .. ^ IS^'® ^^^ ^^^» ^^ ^"^^ ^^ nearly spent,

I " rTwo hundred years he's lived now, as 'tis said.
525 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 Charl^ bred.
5^0 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 coimted ?
535 Him with such grace hath God illuming.
Better to die ttum leave his banneret.


The pagan says : " You make me marvel sore
At Charlemagne, who is so old and hoar ;
/ Two himdred years, they say, he's lived and more.

.5^0 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 som,
! When will time come that he draws back from
1 war ? "

I" Never," says Guenes, " so long as lives his
! nephew ;
545 jNo such vassal goes neath the dome of heaven ;
And proof also is Oliver his henchman ;
The dozen peers, whom Charl^ holds so precious,
These are his guards, with other thousands

Charles is secure, he holds no man in terror."


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550 Says Sarrazin : " My wonder yet is grand

At Charlemaene, who hoary is and blanched.
Two hundred years and more, I understand, f ,* ^^
He has gone forth and conquered many a land,
Such blows hath borne from many a trenchant

555 Vanquished and slain of kines so rich a band,

When will time come that he from war draws ^

back ? "
" Never," says Guene, " so lon^ as lives Rollanz, ' " v
From hence to the East there is no such vassal ; j
And proof also, Oliver his comrade ; I

560 The dozen peers he cherishes at hand, ^

These are his guard, with twenty thousand

Charles is secure, he fears no living man."


" Fair Master Guenes," says Marsilies the king.

Such men are mine, fairer than tongue can sing,
565 Of knights I can four hundred thousand bring

So I may fight with Franks and with their ELing."

Answers him Guenes : " Not on this journey-
ing !

Save of pagans a great loss suffering.

Leave you the fools, wise counsel following ;
570 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 ELing ;

In the rereward will follow after him
575 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.


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580 " Fair Master Guene," says then king Marsilie,

Shew the device, how RoUant slain may be."

Answers him Guenes : " That will I soon make

' clear :

iThe King will cross by the good pass of Size,

jA 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 ;
I Twenty thousand Franks in their company.
^ Five score thousand pagans upon them lead,

Franks unawares in battle you shall meet,
590 Bruised and bled 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 youll be freed.
^ fYou will have wrought a high chivalrous deed,
59^ ^or all your life know war again, but peace.*'


f " Could one achieve that RoUant's life was lost>
f Charlfe's right arm were from his body torn ;
Though there remained his marvellous great

He'ld not again assemble in such force ;
600 Terra Major would languish in repose."

' Marsile has heard, he's kissed him on the throat ;
I Next he begins to undo his treasure-store.


Said Marsilie — but now what more said they ? —
" No faith in words by oath unbound I lay ;
^05 Swear me the death of Rollant on that day.*'

Then answered Guene : " So be it, as you say*'^
On the relicsi are in his sword Murglis,
Treason he's sworn, forsworn his faith away.


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Was a fald-stool there, made of olifant.

6io A book thereon Marsilies bade them plant,
In it their laws, Mahimi's and Tervagant's.
He's sworn thereby, the Spanish Sarazandi
In the rereward if ne shall find Rollant, |
Battle to give, himself and all his band,

615 And verily he'll slay him if he can.

And answered Guenes : ^^ So be it, as you com-
mand ! "


In haste there came a pagan, Valdabnm,
Warden had been to king Marsiliun,
Smiling and clear, he's said to Guenelun, ,

6ao " Take now this sword, and better swor4 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.'*

625 Guenfes the count answers : " It shall be done."
Then, cheek and chin, kissed each the other one.


After there came a pagan, Climorins,
Smiling and clear to Guenelun begins : \
" Take now my helm, better is none tha^ this ;
630 But give us aid, on Rollant .the marquis.
By what device we may dishonoiu* bring."
" It shall be done." Count Guenfes answered

him ;
On mouth and cheek then each the other kissed.


In haste there came the queen forth, Bram^-
mound ; ^

635 "I love you well, sir," said she to the count,
^* For pnze you dear my lord and all around ;


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Here for you wife I have two brooches found,
^ Amethysts and jacynths in golden mounts ;
More worth are they than all the wealth of Roum;
640 Yoiu" Emperour has none such, Til be bound."
He's taken them, and in his hosen pouched.


The king now calls Malduiz, that guards his

" Tribute for Charles, say, is it now made ready?'*
He answers him : " Ay, Sire, for here is plenty :
645 Silver and gold on hundred camels seven.

And twenty men, the gentlest under heaven/'


MarsiUe's arm Guene's shoulder doth enfold ;

He's said to him : " You are both wise and bold.

Now, by the law that you most sacred hold,
650 Let not your heart in our behalf grow cold !
( Out of my store I'll give you wealu untold.

Charging ten mules with fine Arabian gold ;
' I'll do the same for you, new year and old.

' Take then the keys of this city so large,
655 This great tribute present you first to Charles,
Then get me placed Rollanz in the rereward.
If him I find in valley-or in pass.
Battle I'll ^ve him that shall be the last."
Answers mm Guenes : '^ My time is nearly
660 His charger mounts, and on his journey starts.


That Emperour draws near to his domain.
He is come down unto the city Gailne.
The Count Rollanz had broken it and ta'en,
An himdred years its ruins shall remain.


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665 Of Guenelun the King for news is fain,

And for tribute from the great land of Spain.
At dawn of day, just as the light grows plain.
Into their camp is come the county Guene.


In morning time is risen the Empererc, \

6 70 Mattins and Mass he's heard, and made his i>rayer; j
On the green grass before the tent his chair, ♦

Where RoUant stood and that bold Oliver,
Neim^ the Duke, and many others there.
Guente arrived, the felon periurer, ^.^

675 Begins to speak, with very cunning air.

Says to the King : " God keep you, Sire, I

Of Sarraeuce the keys to you I bear.
Tribute I bring you, very great and rare.
And twenty men ; look after them with care.

680 Proud Marsilies bade me this word declare :
That the alcaliph, his uncle, you must spare.
My own eyes saw four hundred thousand there,
Iq hauberks dressed, closed helms that gleamed /

in the air.
And golden hilts upon their swords they bare.

685 They followed him, right to the sea they Id fare ;
Marsile they left, that would their faith forswear,
For Christendom they Ve neither wish nor care. .
But the fourth leagui^ they had not compassed, ;

Brake from the North tempest and storm in the ;
air; j

690 Then were they drowned, they will no more !
appear. ^

Were he alive, I should have brought him here.
The pagan king, in truth. Sire, bids you hear.
Ere you have seen one month pass of this year
He'll follow you to France, to your Empire,

695 He will accept the laws you hold and fear ;

Joining his hands, will do you homage there,


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Ejutigdom of Spain will hold as you declare."
Then says the King : " Now God be praised, I

swear !
Well have you wrought, and rich reward shall
700 Bids through the host a thousand trumpets blare.
Franks leave their lines ; the sumpter-beasts

»gf are yare ;
Towards France the Douce all on their way


Charles the Great that land of Spain had wasted,
Her castles ta'en, her cities violated.
705 Then said the King, his war was now abated.

Towards Douce France that Emperour has hasted.
^\Upon a lance Rollant his ensign rais^,
"riigh on a cliff against the sky 'twas placM ;
The Franks in camp through all that country
710 Cantered pagans, through those wide valleys
Hauberks they wore, their sarks were doubly

Swords to their sides were girt, their helms were


Lances made sharp, escutcheons newly painted :

There in the mists beyond the peaks remained,

715 |The day of doom four hundred thousand waited.

jGrod ! what a grief. Franks know not what is



Passes the day, the darkness is grown deep.
-^^^^^^ That Emperour, rich Charlfes, lies asleep ;

^^^^ Dreams that he stands in the great pass of Size,
720 /In his two hands his ashen spear he sees ;

fiGuenfes the count that spear irom him doth seize.
Brandishes it and twists it with such ease,
That flown into the sky the flinders seem.
Charl^ sleeps on nor wakens from his dream.

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725 And after this another vision saw,

In France, at Aix, in his Chapelle once more,"\/
That his right arm an evil bear did gnaw ; K

Out of Ardennes he saw a leopard stalk, ^

His body dear did savagely assault ;

730 But then there dashed a harrier from the hall.
Leaping in the air he sped to Charl^'s call,
By the right ear that felon bear he caught,
And furiously the leopard next he fought.
Of battle great the Franks then seemed to talk,

735 Yet which might win they knew not, in his
Charl^ sleeps on, nor wakens he for aught.


Passes the night and opens the clear day ;
That Emperour canters in brave array.
Looks through the host often and everyway ;

740 " My lords barons," at length doth Charlfes say.
Ye see the pass along these valleys strait.
Judge for me now, who shall in rereward wait."
" There's my good-son, RoUanz," then answers

" YouVe no baron whose valour is so great."

745 When the King hears, he looks upon him straight.
And says to him : ** You devil incarnate ;
Into your heart is come a mbflal hate. 1

And who shall go before me in the gate ? "
" Oger is here, of Denmark ; " answers Guenes,

750 " YouVe no baron were better in that place."

The count RoUanz hath heard himself decreed ;
Speaks then to Guenes by rule of courtesy :
" Good-father, Sir, I ought to hold you dear.
Since the (Ireward you have for me decreedj.^^
755 Charl^ the King will never lose by me, 1
As I know well, nor charger nor palfrey,


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Jennet nor mule that canter can with speed.
Nor siunpter-horse will lose, nor any steed ;
But my sword's point shall first exact their meed/*
760 Answers him Guenes : " I know ; 'tis true in-


When RoUant heard that he should be rerewarden
Furiously he spoke to his good-father :

^ ^^ Aha ! culvert ; begotten of a bastard.

I Thinkest the dove will slip from me hereafter,
765 As then from uiee the wand fell before Charl^ ?'*


" Right Emperour," says the baron Rollanz,
" Give me the bow you carry in your hand ;
Ne'er in reproach, I know, will any man
Say that it fell from me, as Guenes chanced
770 Let fall your glove, when he received the wand.'*
;That Emperour with lowered front doth stand,
- He tugs his beard, his chin is in his hand ;
Tears fill his eyes, he cannot them command.


And after that is come duke Neim^ furth,
775 (Better vassal there was not upon earth)

Says to the King : " Right well now have you
heard ;

The count Rollanz to bitter wrath is stirred,

For that on him the rereward is conferred ;

No baron else have you, would do that work.
780 Give him the bow your hands have bent, at first ;

Then find him men, his company are worth."

Gives it, the King, and RoUant Dears it fiirth.


That Emperour, Rollanz then calleth he :
" Fair nephew mine, know this in verity ;
785 . Half of my host I leave you presently ;


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Retain you them ; your safeguard this shall be/^

Then says the count : " I will not have them, me I

Confoimd me God, if I fail in the deed !

Good valiant Franks, a thousand score I'll keep*-|C ^

Cxo through the pass in all security,

While Fm alive there's no man you need fearJ


The coimt RoUanz has mounted his charger.

Beside him came his comrade Oliver,

Also Gerins and the proof count Geriers,

And Ot^ came, and also Berengiers,

Old Ans^is, and Sansun too came there,

Gerart also of Rossillon the fierce.

And there is come the Gascon Eneeliers.

" Now by my head FU go ! '* the Archbishop

" And Fm with you," says then the count Gual-

** Fm Rollant's man, I may not leave him there/*
A thousand score they choose of chevaliers.


Gualter del Himi he calls, that Count Rollanz ;
*^ A thousand Franks take, oijt of France our

land ;
Dispose them so, among ravines and crags.
That the Emperour lose jiot a single man/*
Gualter replies : " Fll do as you command."
A thousand Franks, come out of France their

At Gualter's word they scour ravines and crags ;
They'll not come down, howe'er the news be bad,.
Ere from their sheaths swords seven hundred

King Almaris, Belfeme for kingdom had.
On me evil day he met them in combat.


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High are the peaks, the valleys shadowful,
Sis Swarthy the rocks, the narrows wonderful.
Franks passed that day all very sorrowful,
Fifteen leagues round the rumour of them grew.
When they were come, and Terra Major knew,
Saw Gascony their land and their seigneur's,
<2o" Remembering their fiefs and their honours.

Their little maids, their gentle wives and true ;
There was not one that shed not tears for rue.
Beyond the rest Charles was of anguish full.
In Spanish Pass he'd left his dear nephew ;
Szs Pity him seized ; he could but weep for rue.


The dozen peers are left behind in Spain,
Franks in their band a thousand score remain,
No fear have these, death hold they in disdain.
I That Emperour goes into France apace ;
830 I Under his cloke he fain would hide his face.
Up to his side comes cantering Duke Neimes,
' Says to the King : " What grief upon you
weighs ? "
Charles answers him : " He's wrong that quest-
ion makes.
So great my grief I cannot but complain.
83 s France is destroyed, by the device of Guene :
This night I saw, by an angel's vision plain,
Between my hands he brake my spear m twain ;
Great fear 1 have, since RoUant must remain :
I've left him there, upon a border strange.
«4o God ! If he's lost, I'll not outlive that shame."


Charles the great, he cannot but deplore.

And with him Franks an hundred thousand

Who for RoUanz have marvellous remorse.


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The felon Guenes had treacherously wrought ;
From pagan king has had his rich reward,
Silver and gold, and veils and silken cloths,
Camels, lions, with many a mule and horse.
Barons from Spain King Marsilies hath called,
Counts and viscounts and dukes and almacours.
And the admirals, and cadets nobly bom ;
Within three days come hundred thousands four.
In Sarraguce they sound the drums of war ;
Mahiun they raise upon their highest towV,
Pagan is none, that dx>es not him adore.
They canter then with great contention
Through Certeine land, valleys and mountains^

Till of the Franks they see the gonfalons.
Being in rereward those dozen companions ;
They will not fail battle to do anon.


Marsile's nephew is come before the band,
Riding a mule, he goads it with a wand.
Smiling and clear, his uncle*s ear demands :
" Fair lord and king, since, in your service, glad»
I have endured sorrow and sufferance,
Have fought in field, and victories have had.
(Give me a fee : the right to smite RoUanz !
I'll slay him clean with my good trenchant lance.
If Mahiunet will be my sure warrant ;
Spain ril set free, deliver all her land
From Pass of Aspre even unto Durestant.
Charles will grow faint, and recreant the Franks ;
There'll be no war while you're a living man."
Marsilie gives the glove into his hand.


Marsile's nephew, holding in hand the glove,
His uncle calls, with reason proud enough :
'' Fair lord and king, great gift from you I've



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Choose now for me eleven more baruns,
So I may fight those dozen companions/'
First before all there answers Fa lfarun ;
880 — Brother he was to King MaiSliim—
" Fair sir nephew, go you and I at once
Then verily this battle shall be done ;
The rereward of the great host of Carlun,
It is decreed, their death shall come from us/'


885 King Corsablia is come from the other part,
Barbanan, and steeped in evil art.
He's spoken then as fits a good vassal,
For all Grod's gold he would not seem coward.
Hastes into view Malpnmiajof -Brigal,

890 Faster than a horse, upon his feet can dart.
Before Marsile he cries with all his heart :
** My body I will shew at Rencesvals ;
Finci I Rollanz, I'll slay him without fault."


An admiral js there of Balaguet ;
895 Clear face and proucf, and body nobly bred ;

Since first he was upon his horse mounted,

His arms to bear has shewn great lustihead ;

In vassalage he is well famoi^d ;

Christian were he, he'd shewn good baronhead.
900 Before Marsile aloud has he shouted :

" To Rencesvals my body shall be led ;

Find I Rollanz, then is he surely dead.

And Oliver, and all the dozen else ;

Franks shall be slain in grief and wretchedness.
905 Charles the great is old now and doted.

Weary will be and make no war again ;

Spain shall be ours, in peace and quietness."

Kmg Marsilies has heard, and thanks him well.


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An ahnacour is t^^ere of Mariaiie^
no More felon none in all the land of Spain.

Before Marsile his vaunting boast bath made :
" To Rencesvals my company Til take,
A thousand score, with shields and lances brave.
Find I RoUanz, with death Til him acquaint ;
^15 Day shall not dawn but Charles will make his


From the other part, T]U|gis of Tiutelose,

He was a coimt, that city was his own ;

Christians he would them massacre, every one.

Before Marsile among the rest is gone,
^20 Says to the King : " Let not dismay be shewn !

Mahum's more worth than Saint Peter of Rome ;

Serve we him well, then fame in field we'll own.

To Rencesvals, to meet Rollanz Til go,

From death he'll find his warranty in none.
^25 See here my sword, that is both good and long

With Durendal I'll lay it well across ;

Ye'U hear betimes to which the prize is gone.

Franks shall be slain, whom we descend upon,

Charl^ the old will suffer grief and wrong, u-
^39 No more on earth his crown will he put on."


From the other part, Escremiz of Valtrenne,

A Sarrazin, that land wasliis as welL
^Before Marsile he cries amid the press :
^^ To Rencesvals I go, pride to make less ;

Find I Rollanz, he'll not bear thence his head, ^

Nor Oliver that hath the others led,

The dozen peers condenmM are to death ;

Franks shall be slain, and France lie deserted.

Of good vassals will Charles be richly bled."


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940 From the other part, a p^^g^ Esturgan? ;

gsS^m^n;; also, was his comrade ;

Felons were these, and traitors miscreant.

Then said Marsile : " My Lords, before me
stand !

Into the pass ye'll go to Rencesvals,

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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 3 of 10)