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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2455 The flower of France, as God knows well, is

slain ;
Thou canst be avenged upon that crimeful race."
Upjai that word mounts the Emperour again.



y



y CLXXX



For Charlemagne a great marvel God planned :

flaking the sun still in his course to stand.
2460 "1 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.
2465 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.
2470 The armM 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.
247s " An evil day," cry Fraxiks, " ye saw RoUant ! "

CLXXXI

When Charles sees that pagans all are dead.
Some of them slain, the greater part drownid ;
(Whereby great spoils his chevaliers collect)
That gentle King upon his feet descends,
2480 Kneels on the ground, his thanks to God pre-
sents.
When he once more rises, the sun is set.
Says the Emperour : '^^ Time is to pitch our tents ;
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To Rencesvals too late to go again. -r

Our hoi^ are worn out and founderM : ^'

2485 Unsaddle them, take bridles from their heads,
And through these meads let them refreshment

get/^
Answer the Franks : " Sire, you have spoken
weU."

CLXXXII

That Emperour hath chosen his bivouac ;
The Franks dismount in those deserted tracts,

2490 Their saddles take from off their horses' backs,
Bridles of gold from off their heads imstrap,
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.

2495 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,
3500 Has laced his helm, jewelled with golden beacls.

Girt on Joius e, 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 Ti|ee :
2505 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
2510 Whence comes the ensign ** Monjoie," they cry
at need ;

Wherefore no race against them can succeed.



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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,
2515 For *s dozen peers, for all the Prankish band

He had left dead in bloody Rencesvals ;

He could not help, but wept and waxfed mad.

And prayed to God to be their souls* Warrant.
^ Weary that King, for grief he's very sad ;
2520 He falls on sleep, he can no more withstand.

Through all those meads they slumber then, the
Franks ;

Is iiot a horse can any longer stand,

Wno would eat grass, he td^es it lying flat.

He has learned much, can imderstand their pangs.

CLXXXV

2525 i Charles, like a man worn out with labour, slept*
r 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 annoimced he to him then
2530 A battle, should be fought against him yet.

Significance of griefs demonstrated.

Charl^ looked up towards the sky, and there

Thunders and winds and blowing gales beheld,

And hurricanes and marvellous tempests ;
2535 Lightnings and flames he saw in readiness.

That speedily on all his people fell ;
(Apple and ash, their spear-shafts all bumfed.

Also their shields, e'en the golden bosses.

Crumbled the shafts of their trenchant lances,
2 5 40 Crushed their hauberks and all their steeliielmets .

His chevaliers he saw in gTfiat distress.

; Bears and leopards would teed upon them next ;

Adversaries, dragons, wyvems, serpents.

Griffins were there, thirty thousand, no less,
2545 Nor was there one but on some Fraxik it set.

'And the Franks cried : " Ah ! Charlemagne,
give help ! "

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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 1
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 overcame.
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 ouve 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.



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a 580 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/*

2585 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 eround.
With great cudgels they batter him and troimce.
From Tervagant his carbuncle they impound,

2590 And Mahumet into a ditch fling out.

Where swine and dogs defile lum and devour.

CLXXXVIII

Out of his swoon awakens Marsilies,

And has him borne his vaulted roof beneath ;

Many colours were painted there to see,

2595 And Bramimunde laments for him, the queen.
Tearing her hair ; caitiflF 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 !

2600 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.

2605 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,
2610 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
f To Baligant, into Babilonie :

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2615 ('Twas the admiral, old in antiquity,

That clean outlived Omer and Vir^lie,)
To Sarraguce, with succour bade hun speed,
For, if he failed, Marsile his gods would leave,
All his idols he worshipped formerly ;

2620 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, ^T

2625 Barges and skiflFs and ships and galleries ; JX

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.



2630 Great are the hosts ofThat opposM 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

2635 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.



CXCI

Ti^r r#»Qt Kilt mmf^ .



The pagan race would never rest, but come |
2640 Out of the sea, where the sweet waters run ;

They leave Marbris, they leave behind Mar-
brus.

Upstream by Sebre doth all their navy turn.

Lanterns they have, and carbuncles enough.

That all night long and very clearly bum.
2645 Ufon that day they come to Sarragus.



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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,
2650 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,
2655 i And all the rest in rows about him stand.
; The lord of them speaks before any man :
i " Listen to me, free knights and valiant !
Charlis the King, the Emperour of the Franks,
Shall not eat bread, save when that I command.
2660 Throughout all Spain great war with me he's
had ;
..\ I will go seek him now, into Douce France,
'^ 1 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

2665 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 Charle's court is held :

His men applaud, for so they counsellM.

After he called two of his chevaliers,
2670 One Clarifan, and the other Clarien :

" You are the sons of king Maltraien,

Freely was wont my messages to bear.

You 1 command to Sarraguce to fare.

Marsiliun on my part you shall tell
267s 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,

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a68o 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, . •
rU take away the crown from oflF his head."

2685 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,
2690 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,
2695 Who weep and cry, with grief are waxen wood,
And curse their gods, Tervagan an'STMahum
And Apolin, from whom no help is come.
Says each to each : " Caitiffs ! What shall be

done ?
For upon us confusion vile is come,
2700 Now have we lost our king Marsiliun,

For yesterday his hand count RoUanz cut ;
We'll have no more Fair Jursaleu, his son ;
The whole of Spain henceforward is undone."
Both messengers on the terrace dismount.

cxcv

2705 Horses they leave imder 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,
2710 Marsilium with courtesy they greet :

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(

.1



" May Mahumet, who all of us doth keq),
/7 And Tervagant, and our lord Apoline

Preserve the king and guard from harm the
queen ! *'

Says jBramimunde : " Great foolishness I hear :
2715 ^ 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 ;
2720 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 Tve no man to slay me clean ! '*

CXCVI

, Says Clarien : " My lady, say not that !

2725 We're messengers from pagan BaUgant ;
To Marsilies, he says, he'll be warrant,
. So sends him here his glove, also this wand.
Vessels we have, are moored by Sebrfe's bank,
Barges and skiffs and gallies four thousand,

2730 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 !

273s 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.

2740 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.

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I am held fast by death, as ye may see.

No son have I nor daughter to succeed ;
»74S That one I had, they slew him yester-eve.

Bid you my lord, he come to see me here.

That admiral, rights over Spain hath he,

My claim to him, if he will take^t, I yield ;

But from the Franks he then must set her free.
2750 Gainst Charlemagne FU shew him strategy.

Within a month from now hell conquered be.

Of Sarraguce yell carry him the keys,

Hell go not hence, say, if he trusts in me.**

They answer him : " Sir, *tis the truth you speak."

CXCVIII

2755 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 ;

IVe counted well, tis seven leagues away, f
2760 Bid the admiral, leading his host this way, :

Do battle here ; this word to him convey.*'

Gives them the kevs of Sarraguce her gates ;

Both messengers their leave of him do take,

Upon that word bow down, and turn away.

CXCIX

2765 Both messengers did on their horses mount;

From that city nimbly they issued out.

Then, sore an'aid, their admiral they sought.

To whom the keys of Sarraguce they brought.

Says Baligant : " Speak now ; what have ye
foimd ?
2770 Where's Marsilies, to come to me was bound ? *'

Says Claiien : " 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 :

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2775 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.

2780 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.

2785 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 thmk, and frowns ;
Such grief he has, doth nearly him confound.

CC

2790 ^' Sir admiral," said to him Clariens,
" In Rencesvals was yesterday battle.
Dead is Rollanz and that count Oliver,
The dozen peers whom Charle so cherishM,
And of their Franks are twenty thousand dead.

2795 King Marsilie's of his right hand bereft.

And the Emperour chased him enow from thence.
Throughout this land no chevalier is left.
But he be slain, or drowned in Sebr^'s bed.
By river side the Franks have pitched their tents,

2800 Into this land so near to us theyVe crept ;

But, if you will, grief shall go with them hence."
And Baligant looked on him proudly then.
In his courage grew joyous and content ;*
From the fald-stool upon his feet he leapt,

2805 Then cried aloud: "Barons, too long yeVe
slept ;
Forth from your ships issue, mount, canter well!
If he flee not, that Charlemagne the eld^
King Marsilies shall somehow be avenged ;
For his right hand FU pay him back an head."

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CCI

Pagan Arabs out of their ships issue^

Then mount upon their horses and their mules,

And canter forth, (nay, what more might they

do ?)
Their admiral, by whom they all were ruled,
Called up to him Gemalfin, whom he knew :
" I give command of all my hosts to you/*
On a brown horse mounted, as he was used.
And in his train he took with him four dukes.
Cantered so far, he came to Sarraguce.
Dismounted on a floor of marble blue,
Where four counts were, who by his stirrup

stood ;
Up by the steps, the palace came into ;
To meet him there came running Bramimunde,
Who said to him : " Accursed from the womb.
That in such shame my sovran lord I lose ! **
Fell at his feet ; that admiral her took.
In grief they came up into Marsile's room.

ecu

King Marsilies, when he sees Baligant,

Calls to him then two Spanish Sarazands :

" Take me by the arms, and so lift up my back.**

One of his gloves he takes in his left hand ;

Then says Marsile : " Sire, king and admiral,

Quittance I give you here of all my land.

With Sarraguce, and the honour thereto hangs.

Myself IVe lost ; my army, every man."

He answers him : " Therefore the more Vm

sad.
No long discourse together may we have ;
Full well I know, Charles waits not our attack,
I take the glove from you, in spite of that."
He turned away in tears, such grief he had. '^
Down by the steps, out of the palace ran.
Mounted his horse, to*s people gallopped back.
Cantered so far, he came before his band ;

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From hour to hour then, as he went, he sang :
" Pagans, come on : already flee the Franlb ! "

CCIII

284 s In morning time, when the dawn breaks at last,
Awakened is that Emperour Charles.
Saint Gabriel, who on God's part him guards,
Raises his hand, the Sign upon him manLS.
Rises the King, his arms aside he's cast,

2850 The others then, through all the host, disarm.
After they mount, by virtue canter fast
Through those long ways, and through those

roads so large ;
They go to see the marvellous damage
In Rencesvals, there where the battle was.

CCIV

2855 In Rencesvals is Charl^ enterM,

Begins to weep for those he finds there dead r
Says to the Franks : " My lords, restrain your

steps,
Since I myself alone should go ahead.
For my nephew, whom I would find again.

2860 At Aix I was, upon the feast Noel,

Vaunted them there my valiant chevaliers, ^
Of battles great and very hot contests ;
With reason thus I heard RoUant speak then :
He would not die in any foreign realm

2865 Ere he'd surpassed his peers and all his men.

To the foes' land he would have turned his head,
Conqueringly his gallant life he'ld end."
Further than one a little wand could send,
Before the rest he's on a peak mounted.

ccv

2870 When the Emperour went seeking his nephew.
He found the grass, and every flower that bloomed;
Turned scarlat, with our barons' blood imbrued,

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Pity he felt, he could but weep for rue.
Beneath two trees he climbed the hill and looked,
And RoUant's strokes on three terraces knew,
On the green grass saw lying his nephew ;
'Tis nothing strange that Charlies anger grew.
Dismoimted then, and went — ^his heart was full.
In his two hands the coimt's body he took ;
With anguish keen he fell on him and swooned. ^

CCVI

That Emperour is from his swoon revived,
Naim^s tne Duke, and the count Aceline,
Gefrei d'Anjou and his brother Tierry,
Take up the King, bear him beneath a pine.
There on the ground he sees his nephew lie.
Most sweetly then begins he to repine :
" RoUant, my friend, may God to thee be

kind!
Never beheld any man such a knight v
So to engage ana so to end a fight.
Now my honour is turned into decline ! "
Charle swoons again, he cannot stand upright.

CCVII

Charlis the King returned out of his swoon.

Him in their hands four of his barons took.

He looked to the earth, saw lying his nephew ;

All colourless his lusty body grew.

He turned his eyes, were very shadowful.

Charles complained in amity and truth :

" RoUant, my friend, God lay thee mid the

blooms
Of Paradise, among the glorious !
Thou Cam'st to Spain in evil tide, seigneur !
Day shall not dawn, for thee I've no dolour.
How perishes my strength and my valour !
None shall I have now to*sustain my honour ;
I think IVe not one friend neath heaven's roof.
Kinsmen I have, but none of them's so proof."

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• He tore his locks, till both his hands were fiill.
Five score thousand Franks had such great

dolour
There was not one but sorely wept for rue.

CCVIII

" Rollant, my friend, to France I will away ;
2910 When at Loiim, I'm in my hall again,

Strange men will come from many far domains.

Who'll ask me, where's that count, the Capitain ;

I'll say to them that he is dead in Spain.

In bitter grief henceforward shall I reign,
2915 Day shall not dawn, I weep not nor complain.

CCIX

" RoUant, my friend, fair youth that bar'st the

bell,
When I arrive at Aix, in my Chapelle,
Men coming there will ask what news I tell ;
I'll say to them : * Marvellous news and fell.

29Z0 My nephew's dead, who won for me such realms!'
Against me then the Saxon will- rebel,
Himgar, Bulgar, and many hostile men,
Romain, Puiflain, all those are in Paleme,
And in AflFrike, and those in Califeme ;

2925 Afresh then will my pain and suffrance swell.
For who will lead my armies with such strength.
When he is slain, that all our days us led ?
Ah ! France the Douce, now art thou deserted !
Such grief I have that I would fain be dead."

2930 All his white beard he hath begun to rend.

Tore with both hands the hair out of his head.
Five score thousand Franks swooned on the earth
and fell.

ccx

" RoUant, my friend, God shew thee His mercy !
In Paradise repose the soul of thee !
2935 Who hath thee slain, exile for France decreed.
I'ld Uve no more, so bitter is my grief

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For my household, who have been slain for me.
God grant me this, the Son of Saint Mary,
Ere I am come to th* master-pass of Size,
From my body my soul at length go free !
Among their souls let mine in glory be,
And let my flesh upon their flesh be heaped/'
Still his white beard he tears, and his eyes weep,
Duke Naim^s says : " His wrath is great indeed."

CCXI

" Sire, Emperour," Gefrei d'Anjou implored,
" Let not your grief to such excess be wrought ;
Bid that our men through all this fleld be sought,
Whom those of Spain have in the battle caught ;
In a chamel command that they be borne."
Answered the King : " Sound then upon your
horn."

GCXII

Gefreid d'Anjou upon his trumpet sounds ;
As Charles bade them, all the Franks dismount.
All of their friends, whose bodies they have found
To a chamel speedily they bring down.
Bishops there are, and abbots there enow.
Canons and monks, vicars with shaven crowns ;
Absolution in God's name they Ve pronounced ;
Incense and myrrh with precious gums they've

ground.
And lustily they've swung the censers round ;
With honour great they've laid them in the

ground.
They've left them there ; what else might they.

do now ?

CCXIII

That Emperour sets RoUant on one side
And Oliver, and the Archbishop Turpine ;
Their bodies bids open before his eyes
And all their hearts in silken veils to wind,
And set them in coffers of marble white ;

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After, thev take the bodies of those knights,
Each of tne three is wrapped in a deer's hide ;
They're washen well in auspice and in wine.
^970 The King commands Tedbalt and Gebuin,
Marquis Otun, Milim the count besides :
Along the road in three wagons to drive.
They're covered well with carpets Galazine.

CCXIV

'^ Now to be off would that Emperour Charles,


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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 7 of 10)