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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His hauberk white into his body broke.
Clean through his breast the thrusting spear he

drove ;
After he said : " YouVe borne a mighty blow.
Charles the great should not have left you so ;
1950 He*s done us wrong, small thanks to him we owe ;
IVe well avenged dl ours on you alone.**


Oliver feels that he to die is bound.
Holds Halteclere, whose steel is rough and brown, \
Strikes the alcaliph on his helm's golden mount ;\
195s .Flowers and stones fall clattering to the groimd,\
v Slices his head, to th 'small teeth in his mouth ; I
So brandishes his blade and flings him down ; «
After he says : '^ Pagan, accurst be thou !
Thoult never say that Charles forsakes me now ; ^
i960 Nor to thy wife, nor any dame thou'st found,

Thou'lt never boast, in lands where thou wast

One pennyworth frcmi me thou'st taken out,
Nor damage wrought on me nor any around."
^ After, for aid, " Rollant 1 " he cries aloud. ^


1 965 Oliver feels that death is drawing nigh ;

To avenge himself he hath no longer time ;
Through the great press most gallantly he strOces,
He breaks their spears, their buckled shields doth


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Their feet, their fists, their shoulders and their
1 970 Dismembers them : whoso had seen that sight,

Dead in the field one on another piled.

Remember well a vassal brave he might.

Charl^'s ensign he'll not forget it quite ;

Aloud and clear " Monjoie again he cries.
1975 To call RoUanz, his friend and peer, he tries i.

" My companion, come hither to my side. ^

With bitter grief we must us now divide."


Then RoUant looked upon Olivier's face ;
Which was all wan and colourless and pale,
1980 While the clear blood, out of his body sprayed,
Upon the ground gushed forth and ran away.
" God ! " said that count, " What shall I do or

say ?
My companion, gallant for such ill fate !
Ne'er shall man be, against thee could prevail.
1985 Ah! France the Douce, henceforth art thou

made waste
Of vassals brave, confounded and disgraced !
Our Emperour shall suffer damage great."
And with these words upon his horse he faints;



'^ You'd seen RoUant aswoon there in his seat,<
1990 V And Oliver, who unto death doth bleed,

^ So much he's bled, his eyes are dim and weak ;
Nor clear enough his vision, far or near,
To recognise whatever man he sees ;
His companion, when each the other meets, .
1995 l^bove the helm Jewelled with gold he beats^j
Ji»licing it down from there to the nose-piece, <*
But not his head ; he's touched not brow nor

At such a blow RoUant regards hini keen.
And asks of him, in gentle tones and sweet : ;

65 F

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2000 vj*' To do this thing, my comrade, did you mean ?

-^;;This is RoUanz, who ever held you dear ; l

\^ And no mistrust was ever us between."
"" tSays Oliver : " Now can I hear you speak ; ^
rl see you not : may the Lord God you keep ! ^^"^
aoo5 I struck you now : and for your pardon plead."

Answers RoUanz : '^ I am not hurt, indeed ; \

I pardon you, before God*s Throne and here." |

Upon these words, each to the other leans ;
^ And in such love you had their parting seen.


aoio 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,
2015 Clasps his two hands, heavenwards holds them
Prays God himself in Paradise to allow ;
Blessings on Charles, and on Douce France he

And his comrade, Rollanz, to whom he's bound.
Then his heart fails ; his helmet nods and bows;
2020 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 pro-
found ;
Nowhere on earth so sad a man you'd found.

So RoUant's friend is dead ; whom when he sees
2025 • ^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.
2030 Now thou art dead, and all my life a grief."
i> And with these words again he swoons, that chief,


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upon his horse, which he calls Veillantif ;
Stirrups of gold support him underneath ;
He cannot fall, whichever way he lean.


2035 Soon as RoUant 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 losCj^ll'.
Save the Archbishop, and save Gualter del Hum r

2040 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 RoUant, to bring him succour soon :

2045 " 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 Droiin ;
My vassalage thou ever thoughtest good.

2050 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."
RoUant has heard these words and understood,
2055 Has spurred his horse, and on towards him drew.

Grief gives RoUanz intolerance and pride ;
Through the great press he goes agam to strike ;
To slay a score of Spaniards he contrives,
Gualter has six, the Archbishop other five.

2060 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,

2065 From every part they come to break the line.


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Count RoUant 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 ;
ao 70 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,
2075 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

From his hauberk the woven mail they tear,
2080 In his body four spear-woimds doth he bear ;

Beneath him too his charger's fallen dead.
.XJreat grief it was, when that Archbishop fell. <


Turpin of Reims hath felt himself undone.
Since that four spears have through his body
come ;
2085 - 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
2090 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

Also there were from whom the heads he'd cut :
2095 So tells the tale, he that was there says thus.

The brave Saint Giles, whom God made mar-



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Who charters wrote for th' Minster at Loiun ;
Nothing he's heard that does not know this much.


The count RoUanz has nobly fought and well,
2 IOC But he is hot, and all his body sweats ;

Great pain he has, and trouble in his head, y>

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. \}^
2105 That Emperour stood still and listened then : VT
" My lords," said he, " Right evilly we fare !
This day RoUanz, my nephew shall be dead :
I hear ms horn, with scarcely any breath.
Nimbly canter, whoever would be there !
21 10 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 beset.*'


21 15 The pagans say : " That Emperour's at hand, .

We hear their soimd, 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."
2120^ Four hundred men of them in helmets stand ; •

The best of them that might be in their ranks r

Make on RoUanz a grim and fierce attack ;

Gainst these the count had well enough in hand.


The count RoUanz, when their approach he sees
2125 lis grown so bold and manifest and fierce
So long as he's alive he vnll not yield.
He sits his horse, which men call VeUlantif,
Pricking him well with golden spurs beneath,


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Through the great press he goes, their line to

2130 And by his side is the Archbishop Turpin.

" Now, friend, begone ! " say pagans, each to

each ;
** These Prankish men, their horns we plainly

Charle is at hand, that King in Majesty/'



The count RoUanz has never loved cowards,
2135 Nor arrogant, nor men of evil heart.

Nor chevalier, that was not good vassal.
That Archbishop, Turpins, he calls apart :
" Sir, you're afoot, ancl I my charger have ;
For love of you, here will I take my stand,
2140 Together we'll endure things good and bad ;
rU 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 !
2145 Charle is at hand, full vengeance he'll exact."


The pagans say : " Unlucly were we bom !
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,
2150 -Of Frankish men we plainly hear the horns,

" Monjoie " they cry, and great is their uproar.
The count RoUant is of such pride and force
He'll never yield to man of woman bom ;
/ Let's aim at him, then leave him on the spot ! "
2155 / And aim they did : with arrows long and short,
' Lances and spears and feathered javelots ;
Count Rollant's shield they've broken tlirough

and bored.
The woven mail have from his hauberk torn,


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\ But not himself, they've never touched his corse ; f
2 1 60 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 RoUant stands on his feet once more.^


Pagans are fled, enangered and enraged, "^

2165 Home into Spain with speed they make their
way ;
The count RoUanz, 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 ;

2170 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;

2175 On the green grass he has him softly laid.

Most sweetly then to him has RoUant prayed :
" Ah ! Gentle sir, give me your leave, I say ;
Our companions, whom we so dear appraised,jJ^
Are now all dead ; we cannot let them stay ; 7?

2 1 80 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 ! "


So Rollanz turns ; through the field, all alone,
2185 Searching the vales and mountains, he is gone ;
He finds Gerin, Gerers his companion.
Also he finds Berenger and Otton,
There too he finds Ans6is and Sanson,
And finds Gerard the old, of Rossillon ;
2190 By one and one he's taken those barons,

the Archbishop with each of them he comes,


By (

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: Before his knees arranges every one.
That Archbishop, he cannot help but sob,
He lifts his hand, gives benediction ;
2195 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."


zaoo So RoUant turns, goes through the field in quest ;
His companion Olivier finds at length ;
He has embraced him dose against his. ijf east.
To the Archbishop returns as he can best ;
Upon a shield he's laid him, by the rest ;
2205 And the Archbishop has them absolved and blest:
Whereon his grief and pity grow afresh.
^Then says RoUanz : " Fair comrade Olivier,
You were the son of the good count Reinier,
Who held the march by th' Vale of Runier ;
2210 To shatter spears, through buckled shields to
And from hauberks the mail to break and tear,
I Proof men to lead, and prudent counsel share,
]>Gluttons in field to frighten and conquer,
" No land has known a better chevalier."


2215 The coimt RoUanz, 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,
8220 >Will he or nill, he swooned upon the field.

Said the Archbishop : " Unlucky lord, indeed !"


When the Archbishop beheld him swoon, RoUant,
Never before such bitter grief he'd had ;


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Stretching his hand, he took that olifant.
2225 Through Rencesvals a little river ran ;

He would go there, fetch water for RoUant.
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 ;
2230 Ere he has crossed an acre of the land,

V His heart grows faint, he falls down forwards
Death comes to him with very cruel pangs. ^^


The count RoUanz wakes from his swoon once

Climbs to his feet ; his pains are very sore ;
2235 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

There he proclaims his sins, and looks above ;
2240 Joins his two hands, to Heaven holds them forth,
/And Paradise prays God to him to accord.
/ Dead is Turpin, the warrior of Charlon. 1
\In battles great and very rare sermons ■
Against pagans ever a ctiampion.
2245 God grant him now His Benediction !


The count RoUant 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,
2250 Crossways he folds those hands so white and fair.
Then mourns aloud, as was the custom there :
" Thee, gentle sir, chevalier nobly bred,
To th* Glorious Celestial I commend ;
Ne'er shall man be, that will Him serve so well ;


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2255 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 ! "


^ N^Then RoUanz feels that death to him draws near,yV
2260 ^or all his brain is issued from his ears ; ( ^

He prays to God that He wilt call the peers,
Bids Gabriel, the angel, t' himself appear.
Takes the olifant, that no reproach shall hear, v\
And Durendal in the other hand he wields ; y V
2265 ^ Further than might a cross-bow's arrow speed \\
^JGoes towards Spain into a fallow-field ; v v

Climbs on a cliff ; where, under two fair trees, "^
Four terraces, of marble wrought, he sees. v

^ There he falls down, and lies upon the green ;
2270 ' ^He swoons again, for death is very near.


High are the peaks, the trees are very high.

Four terraces of polished marble shine ;

On the green grass count RoUant swoons thereby.
, A Sarrazin him all the time espies,
227s / Who feigning death among the others hides ;

Blood hath ms 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.
2280 He's seized RoUant, and the arms, were at his

" Charl^'s nephew," he's said, " here conquered

To Araby I'll bear this sword as prize."

As he drew it, something the count descried.


So RoUant felt his sword was taken forth, ^-. -
2285 Opened his eyes, and this word to him spoke :


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" 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

And broke its steel, his skull and all his bones,

2290 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..

2295 ' But my great one, my olifant I broke ; ^

^ Fallen from it the crystal and the gold."


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.

2300 In front of him a great brown boulder lies ; 1
Whereon ten blows with grief and rage he striJkes^|
The steel cries out, but does not break outright \
And the count says : " Saint Mary, be my guide !
Good Durendal, unlucky is your plight ! * *

2305 IVe 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 !

2310 A good vassal has held you this long time ; ;''
Never shall France the Free behold his like.^


Rollant hath struck the sardonyx terrace ;
The steel cries out, but broken is no ways.
So when he sees he never can it break,
2315 Within himself begins he to complain :

" Ah ! Durendal, white art thou, clear of stain !
Beneath the sim reflecting back his rays !
In Moriane was Charl^, in the vale,
When from heaven God by His angel bade


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z3«o 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,
232s 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 ;
2330 In Saisonie all is as he ordains ;

'With thee I won him Scotland, Ireland, Wales,
England also, where he his chamber maJ^es ;
Won I with thee so many countries strange
That Charlte holds, whose beard is white with
*33S , For this sword's sake sorrow upon me weighs,
, Rather Fid die, than it mid pagans stay.
-^ lx>rd God Father, never let France be shamed !"


RoUant his stroke on a dark stone repeats,
And more of it breaks off than I can speak.

2340 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 !

2345 ^, Relics enough thy golden hilt conceals :

i 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,

2350 For Christian men thy use shall ever be.
Nor any man's that worketh cowardice !
Many broad lands with thee have I retrieved
Which Charles holds, who hath the great white

beard ;
Wherefore that King so proud and rich is he."


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2355 But RoUant 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 y*
His olifant and sword beneath him placed, . i;

2360 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,

2365 And for his sins his glove to God upraised.


But RoUant feels he's no more time to seek ; .
Looking to Spain, he lies on a sheer peak,
And with one hand upon his breast he beats :
" Mea Culpa /God, by Thy Virtues clean
2370 Me from my sins, the mortal and the mean,

Which from the hour that I was bom have been
Until this day, when life is ended here ! " %ij
Holds out his glove towards God, as he speaks ; ^
Angels descend from heaven on that scene. x.


2375 The count RoUanz, beneath a pine he sits ;
Turning his eyes towards Spain, he begins
Remenmering so many divers things :
So many lands where he went conquering.
And France the Douce, the heroes of his kin,

2380 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,

2385 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 sms I did in life commit ! "


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His right-hand glove, to God he offers it ;

2390 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 finished.
God sent him down His angel cherubin,
And Saint Michael, we worship in peril ;

2395 ^ And by their side Saint Gabriel alit ;

So the count^s soul they bare to Paradis.


RoUant is dead ; his soul to heav'n God bare.

That Emperour to Rencesvals doth fare.

There was no path nor passage anywhere
2400 Nor of waste ground no ell nor foot to spare

Without a Frank or pagan lying there.

Charles cries aloud : " Where are you, nephew

Whereas the Archbishop and that count Oliviers?

Where is Gerins and his conuade Gerers ?
2405 Oths the Duke, and the count Berengiers

And Ivorie, and Ive, so dear they were ?

What is become of Gascon Engelier,

Sansun the Duke and Ans6is the fierce ?

Whereas old Gerard of Russillun ; oh, where
2410 The dozen peers I left behind me there ? '*

But what avail, since none can answer bear ?

" God ! '* >pays the King, " Now well may I

I was not here the first assault to share ! '*

Seeming enraged, his beard the King doth tear.
2415 Weep ^om their eyes barons and oievaliers,

A thousand score, they swoon upon the earth ;

Duke Neimes for them was moved with pity


No chevalier nor baron is there, who
Pitifully weeps not for grief and dule ;
2420 They mourn their sons, their brothers, their


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And their liege lords, and trusty friends and true;
Upon the ground a many of them swoon.
Thereon Duke Neimes doth act with wisdom/

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 of them, too.
Canter therefore ! Vengeance upon them do ! "
" Ah, God I " 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

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.


That Emperour bids trumpets sound again,
Then canters forth with his great host so brave.
Of Spanish men, whose backs are turned their

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 :


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" Charles, canter on ! Light needst not thou


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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 6 of 10)