Charles de Coster.

The legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak and their adventures heroical, joyous, and glorious in the land of Flanders and elsewhere (Volume 2) online

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The Legend of Ulenspiegel
andfjimme Cjoedzak^

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London: Wtlliam H/tn/mann.

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BOOK V 305

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HE GOES away, the Silent One, God guideth
The two counts have been seized already;
Alba promises the Silent One lenity and pardon if he
will present himself before him.

At this news, Ulenspiegel said to Lamme: "The
Duke summons, at the instance of Dubois, the procu-
rator general, the Prince of Orange, Ludwig his brother,
De Hoogstraeten, Van den Bergh, Culembourg, de
Brederode, and other friends of the Prince's, to
appear before him within thrice fourteen days, prom-
ising them good justice and grace. Listen, Lamme, and
hearken: One day a Jew of Amsterdam summoned
one of his enemies to come down into the street; the
summoner was on the pavement and the summoned
at a window.

"'Come down, then,' said the summoner to the
summoned, 'and I will give thee such a cuff on the head
with my fist that it will tumble into thy breast, and
thou shalt look through thy ribs like a thief through the
bars of his prison.'


2 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

"The summoned replied: 'Even if thou wast to prom-
ise me an hundredfold more, I would not come down
even then.' And so may Orange and the others answer."

And they did so, refusing to appear. Egmont and
de Hoorn did not follow their example. And weakness
in duty evokes the hour of God and fate.


At this time were beheaded on the Horse Market at
Brussels the sires d'Andelot, the sons of Battemberg
and other renowned and valiant lords, that had wished
to seize Amsterdam by surprise.

And while they were going to execution, being eigh-
teen in number, and singing hymns, the drummers
drummed before and behind, all along the way.

And the Spanish troopers escorting them and carry-
ing blazing torches burned their bodies with them all
over. And when they writhed because of the pain,
the troopers would say: "What now, Lutherans, does
that hurt then to be burned so soon?"

And he that had betrayed them was called Dierick
Slosse, who brought them to Enkhuyse, that was still
Catholic, to hand them over to the duke's catchpolls.

And they died valiantly.

And the king inherited.


"Didst thou see him go by?" said Ulenspiegel, clad
as a woodman, to Lamme similarly accoutred. "Didst
thou see the foul duke with his forehead flat above
like an eagle's, and his long beard like a rope end

And Lamme Goedzak 3

dangling from a gallows? May God strangle him with
it! Didst thou see that spider with his long hairy legs
that Satan vomiting spat out upon our country ? Come,
Lamme, come; we will fling stones into his web . . ."

"Alas!" said Lamme, "we shall be burned alive."

"Come to Groenendal, my dear friend; come to
Groenendal, there is a noble cloister whither His Spiderly
Dukishness goes to pray to the God of peace to allow
him to perfect his work, which is to rejoice his black
spirits wallowing in carrion. We are in Lent, and it is
only blood from which His Dukishness has no mind to
fast. Come, Lamme, there are five hundred armed
horsemen roundabout the house of Ohain; three hun-
dred footmen have set out in little bands and are enter-
ing the forest of Soignes.

"Presently, when Alba is at his devotions, we shall
run out upon him, and having taken him, we shall put
him in a good iron cage and send him to the prince."

But Lamme, shivering in anguish:

"A great risk, my son," he said to Ulenspiegel.
"A great risk! I would follow you in this emprise were
not my legs so weak, if my belly was not so blown out
by reason of the thin sour beer they drink in this town
of Brussels."

This discourse was held in a hole dug in the earth in
a wood, in the middle of the undergrowth. Suddenly,
looking through the leaves as though out of a burrow,
they saw the yellow and red coats of the Duke's troop-
ers, whose weapons glittered in the sun and who were
going afoot through the wood.

"We are betrayed," said Ulenspiegel.

When he saw the troopers no more, he ran at top
speed as far as Ohain. The troopers let him pass

4 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

without noticing him, because of his woodcutter's
clothes and the load of wood he carried on his back.
There he found the horsemen waiting; he spread the
news, all scattered and escaped except the sire de
Bausart d'Armentieres who was taken. As for the
footmen that were coming from Brussels, they could
not find a single one.

And it was a cowardly traitor in the regiment of the
Sieur de Likes that betrayed them all.

The Sire de Bausart paid cruelly for the others.

Ulenspiegel went, his heart beating wildly with
anguish, to see his cruel punishment in the Cattle
Market at Brussels.

And poor d'Armentieres, put upon the wheel, re-
ceived thirty-seven blows of an iron bar on legs,
arms, feet, and hands, which were broken to pieces
one by one, for the murderers desired to see him suffer

And he received the thirty-seventh on the breast, and
of that one he died.


On a June day, bright and sweet, there was erected
at Brussels, on the marketplace in front of the City
Hall, a scaffold covered with black draperies, and hard
by two tall stakes with iron spiked ends. Upon the
scaffold were two black cushions and a little table on
which there was a silver crucifix.

And on this scaffold were put to death by the sword
the noble counts of Egmont and of Hoorn. And the
king inherited.

And the ambassador of Francois, the first of that
name, said, speaking of Egmont:

And Lamme Goedzak 5

"I have just seen the head cut from off the man that
twice caused France to tremble."

And the heads of the counts were set on the iron

And Ulenspiegel said to Lamme:

"The bodies and the blood are covered with black
cloth. Blessed be they that shall hold their heart
high and the sword straight in the black days that
are at hand!"

At this time the Silent One gathered an army and in-
vaded the Low Countries from three sides.

And Ulenspiegel said at a meeting of Wild Beggars
at Marenhout:

"Upon the advice of the Inquisitors, Philip, the
king, has declared each and every inhabitant of the
Low Countries guilty of treason through heresy, both for
adherence to it and for not having opposed it, and in
consideration of this execrable crime, condemns them
all, without respect to [sex or age, excepting those that
are expressly noted by name, to the penalties attached
to such misdemeanours; and that without hope of
grace. The king inherits. Death is reaping through-
out the wide rich lands that border on the Northern
Sea, the country of Emden, the river Amise, the coun-
tries of Westphalia, of Cleves, of Juliers and of Liege,
the bishoprics of Cologne and of Treves, the countries
of Lorraine and of France. Death is reaping over a
land of three hundred and forty leagues, in two hundred
walled cities, in a hundred and fifty villages holding
city rights, in the countryside in bourgs and plains.
The king inherits.

6 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

"It is nowise too much,", he went on, "eleven
thousand butchers to do the work. Alba calls them
soldiers. And the land of our fathers has become a
charnel house whence the arts are taking flight, which
the trades abandon, whence industries are departing
to go and enrich foreigners, who allow them in their
land to worship the God of the free conscience. Death
and Ruin are reaping. The king inherits.

"The countries had acquired their privileges by
dint of money given to needy princes; these privileges
are confiscated. They had hoped, in accordance with
the contracts entered upon and passed between them
and the sovereigns, to enjoy riches as the fruit of their
labours. They are deceived: the mason builds for the
fire, the worker toils for the thief. The king inherits.

"Blood and tears! death reaps at the stake; upon
the trees that serve as gallows all along the highways;
in the open graves wherein poor girls are thrown alive;
in the judicial drownings of the prisons, in the circles of
blazing faggots within which the victims burn by slow
fire, in the wrappings of burning straw in which the
victims die in flame and smoke. The king inherits.

"So has willed the Pope in Rome.

"The cities are bursting with spies waiting for their
share of the victims' goods. The richer a man is, the
guiltier he is. The king inherits.

"But the valiant men of the countries will not suffer
themselves to be slain like lambs. Among those that
flee there are armed men that take shelter in the woods.
The monks had denounced them that they might be
slain and their goods seized. And so by night, by day,
by bands, like wild beasts they rush upon the cloisters,
and take back from thence the money stolen from the

And Lamme Goedzak 7

poor people, in the shape of candelabra, gold and silver
shrines, pyxes, patens, precious vases. Is not that so,
good fellows? They drink from them the wine the
monks were keeping for themselves. The vases melted
down or pledged will serve for the holy war. Long
live the Beggars!"

"They harass the king's soldiers, slay them and strip
them, and then they flee into their dens. Day and
night fires are seen lighted and extinguished, changing
place incessantly. They are the fires of our feastings.
For us the game, both fur and feather. We are lords.
The peasants give us bread and bacon when we want
it. Lamme, look at them. Raggedy, fierce, resolute,
and proud eyed, they wander about the woods with
their hatchets, halberds, long swords, daggers, pikes,
lances, crossbows, arquebuses, for all weapons are good
to them, and they will never march under ensigns.
Long live the Beggars!

And Ulenspiegel sang:

"Slaet op den trommele van dirre dom deyne
Slaet op den trommele van dirre doum, doum.
Beat upon the drum! van dirre dom deyne,
Beat upon the drum of war.

"Let them tear out his bowels from the Duke!
Let them lash his face with them!
Slaet op den trommele, beat upon the drum
Cursed be the Duke! Death to the murderer.

"Let him be thrown to dogs! Death to the
Butcher! Long live the Beggars!
Let him be hanged by the tongue
And by the arm, by the tongue that orders,
And by the arm that signs the sentence of death.

8 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

Slaet op den trommele.
Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!

"Let the Duke be shut up alive with his victims' bodies!
In the noisome stench
Let him die of the corpse plague!
Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!

"Christ from on high look on thy soldiers,
Risking the fire, the rope,
The sword for thy word's sake.
They will deliverance for the land of their fathers.
Slaet op den trommele, van dirre dom deyne.
Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!"

And all set to drinking and shouting:

"Long live the Beggar!"

And Ulenspiegel, drinking from the gilt tankard of a
monk, looked proudly round on the valiant faces of the
Wild Beggars.

"Wild men," said he, "ye are wolves, lions, and
tigers. Eat the dogs of the bloody king."

"Long live the Beggar!" said they, singing:

" Slaet op den trommele van dirre dom deyne;
Slaet op den trommel van dirre dom dom:
Beat upon the war drum. Long live the Beggar!"


Ulenspiegel, being at Ypres, was recruiting soldiers
for the Prince: pursued by the Duke's catchpolls, he
offered himself as beadle to the provost of Saint Martin.


And Lamme Goedzak 9

There he had for his companion a bellringer called
Pompilius Numan, a coward of the deepest dye, who
at night took his own shadow for the devil and his shirt
for a ghost.

The provost was fat and plump as a hen fattened
just ripe for the spit. Ulenspiegel soon saw on what
grass he grazed to make himself so much pork. Accord-
ing to what he heard from the bellringer and saw with
his own eyes, the provost dined at nine and supped at
four by the clock. He stayed in bed until half-past
eight; then before dinner he went walking in his church
to see if the poor-boxes were well filled. And the half
he put into his own pouch. At nine o'clock he dined
on a bowl of milk, half a leg of mutton, a little heron
pie, and emptied five tankards of Brussels wine. At
ten, sucking a few prunes and washing them down with
Orleans wine, he prayed God never to bring him in the
way of gluttony. At noon, he ate, to pass the time,
a wing and rump of a chicken. At one o'clock, thinking
of his supper, he drained a big draught of Spanish
wine; then stretching himself out on his bed, refreshed
himself with a little nap.

Awaking, he would eat a little salted salmon to whet
his appetite, and drink a great tankard of dobbel-knol
of Antwerp. Then he would go down into the kitchen,
sit down before the chimney place and the noble wood
fire that flamed in it. There he watched roasting and
browning for the abbey monks a big piece of veal or a
well-scalded little pigling, that he would have eaten
more gladly than a piece of bread. But his appetite
was a little wanting. And he would study the spit,
which turned by itself like a miracle. It was the work
of Peter van Steenkiste the smith, who lived in the

io The Legend of Ulenspiegel

castellany of Courtrai. The provost paid him fifteen
Paris livres for one of these spits.

Then he would go up again to his bed, and dozing
upon it through fatigue, he would wake up about three
o'clock to gulp in a little pig jelly washed down with
wine of Romagna at two hundred and forty florins the
hogshead. At three he would eat a fledgling chick
with Madeira sugar and empty two glasses of mal-
voisie at seventeen florins the keg. At half-past three,
he took half a pot of preserves and washed it down with
hydromel. Being now well awaked, he would take one
foot in his hand and rest in meditation.

The moment of supper being come, the cure of
Saint Jean would often arrive to visit him at this suc-
culent hour. They sometimes disputed which could
eat most fish, poultry, game, and meat. The one that
was quickest filled must pay a dish of carbonadoes for
the other, with three hot wines, four spices, and seven

Thus drinking and eating, they talked together of
heretics, being of opinion anyhow that it was impossible
to do away with too many of them. And then they
never fell into any quarrel, except only when they were
discussing the thirty-nine ways of making good soups
with beer.

Then drooping their venerable heads upon their
priestly paunches, they would snore. Sometimes half
waking, one of them would say that life in this world
is very sweet and that poor folk are very wrong to com-

This was the saintly man whose beadle Ulenspiegel
became. He served him well during mass, not without
filling the flagons three times, twice for himself and

And Lamme Goedzak 1 1

once for the provost. The ringer Pompilius Numan
helped him at it on occasion.

Ulenspiegel, who saw Pompilius so flourishing, paun-
chy, and full cheeked, asked him if it was in the pro-
vost's service he had laid up for himself this treasure of
enviable health.

"Aye, my son," replied Pompilius, "but shut the door
tight for fear that one might listen to us."

Then speaking in a whisper:

"You know," said he, "that our master the provost
loveth all wines and beers, all meats and fowl, with a
surpassing love. And so he locks his meats in a cup-
board and his wines in a cellar, the keys of which are
ever in his pouch. And he sleeps with his hand on
them. . . . By night when he sleeps I go and
take his keys from his pouch and put them back
again, not without trembling, my son, for if he knew
my crime he would have me boiled alive."

"Pompilius," said Ulenspiegel, "it needs not to take
all that trouble, but the keys one time only; I shall
make keys on this pattern and we shall leave the others
on the paunch of the good provost."

"Make them, my son," said Pompilius.

Ulenspiegel made the keys; as soon as he and Pom-
pilius judged about eight of the clock in the evening
that the good provost was asleep they would go
down and take what they chose of meats and bottles.
Ulenspiegel would carry two bottles and Pompilius
the meats, because Pompilius always was trembling
like a leaf, and hams and legs of mutton do not
break in falling. They took possession of fowl more
than once before they were cooked, which brought
about the accusation of several cats belonging to

12 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

the neighbourhood, which were done to death for the

They went thereafter into the Ketel-straat, which is
the street of the bona robas. There they spared nothing,
giving liberally to their dears smoked beef and ham,
saveloys and poultry, and gave them wine of Orleans
and Romagna to drink, and Ingelsche bier, which they
called ale on the other side of the sea, and which they
poured in floods down the fresh throats of the pretty
ladies. And they were paid in caresses.

However, one morning after dinner the provost sent
for both of them. He had a formidable look, sucking
a marrow bone in soup, not without anger.

Pompilius was trembling in his shoes, and his belly was
shaken with fear. Ulenspiegel, keeping quiet, felt at
the cellar keys in his pocket with pleased satisfaction.

The provost, addressing him, said:

"Someone is drinking my wine and eating my fowl,
is it thou, my son ? "

"No," replied Ulenspiegel.

"And this ringer," said the provost, pointing to
Pompilius, "hath not he dipped his hands in this
crime, for he is pallid as a dying man, assuredly be-
cause the stolen wine is poison to him."

"AlaslMessire," answered Ulenspiegel, "you wrongly
accuse your ringer, for if he is pale, it is not from having
drunk wine, but for want of drinking enough, from
which cause he is so loosened that if he is not stopped
his very soul will escape by streams into his shoes."

"The poor we have always with us," said the provost,
taking a deep draught of wine from his tankard. "But
tell me, my son, if thou, who hast the eyes of a lynx,
hast not seen the robbers?"

And Lamme Goedzak 13

"I will keep good watch for them, Messire Provost,"
replied Ulenspiegel.

"May God have you both in his joy, my children,"
said the provost, "and live soberly. For it is from
intemperance that many evils come upon us in this
vale of tears. Go in peace."

And he blessed them.

And he sucked another marrow bone in soup, and
drank another great draught of wine.

Ulenspiegel and Pompilius went out from him.

"This scurvy fellow," said Ulenspiegel, "would not
have given you a single drop of his wine to drink. It
will be blessed bread to steal more from him still. But
what ails you that you are shivering?"

"My shoes are full of water," said Pompilius.

"Water dries quickly, my son," said Ulenspiegel.
"But be merry, to-night there will be flagon music in
the Ketel-straat. And we will fill up the three night
watchmen, who will watch the town with snores."

Which was done.

However, they were close to Saint Martin's day : the
church was adorned for the feast. Ulenspiegel and
Pompilius went in by night, shut the doors close, lit
all the wax candles, took a viol and bagpipe, and began
to play on these instruments all they might. And the
candles flared like suns. But that was not all. Their
task being done, they went to the provost, whom they
found afoot, in spite of the late hour, munching a
thrush, drinking Rhenish wine and opening both eyes
to see the church windows lit up.

"Messire Provost," said Ulenspiegel to him, "would
you know who eats your meats and drinks your wines ? "

"And this illumination," said the provost, pointing to

14 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

the windows of the church. "Ah! Lord God, dost thou
allow Master Saint Martin thus to burn, by night and
without paying, poor monks' wax candles?"

"He is doing something besides, Messire -Provost,"
said Ulenspiegel, "but come."

The provost took his crozier and followed with them;
they went into the church.

There, he saw, in the middle of the great nave, all
the saints come down from their niches, ranged round
and as it seemed commanded by Saint Martin, who
out-topped them all by a head, and from the forefinger
of his hand, outstretched to bless, held up a roast
turkey. The others had in their hands or were lifting
to their mouths pieces of chicken or goose, sausages,
hams, fish raw and cooked, and among other things a
pike weighing full fourteen pounds. And every one
had at his feet a flask of wine.

At this sight the provost, losing himself wholly in
anger, became so red and his face was so congested, that
Pompilius and Ulenspiegel thought he would burst,
but the provost, without paying any heed to them,
went straight up to Saint Martin, threatening him as if
he would have laid the crime of the others to his charge,
tore the turkey away from his finger and struck him
such heavy blows that he broke his arm, his nose, his
crozier, and his mitre.

As for the others, he did not spare them bangs and
thumps, and more than one under his blows laid aside
arms, hands, mitre, crozier, scythe, axes, gridirons,
saw, and other emblems of dignity and of martyrdom.
Then the provost, his belly shaking in front of him,
went himself to put out all the candles with rage and

And Lamme Goedzak 15

He carried away all he could of hams, fowl, and
sausages, and bending beneath the load he came
back to his bedchamber so doleful and angry that he
drank, draught upon draught, three great flasks of

Ulenspiegel, being well assured that he was sleeping,
took away to the Ketel-straat all the provost thought he
had rescued, and also all that remained in the church,
not without first supping on the best pieces. And
they laid the remains and fragments at the feet of the

Next day Pompilius was ringing the bell for matins;
Ulenspiegel went up into the provost's sleeping chamber
and asked him to come down once more into the

There, showing him the broken pieces of saints and
fowls, he said to him:

"Messire Provost, you did all in vain, they have
eaten all the same."

"Aye," replied the provost, "they have come up to
my sleeping chamber, like robbers, and taken what I
had saved. Ah, master saints, I will complain to the
Pope about this."

"Aye," replied Ulenspiegel, "but the procession is
the day after to-morrow, the workmen will presently
be coming into the church: if they see there all these
poor mutilated saints, are you not afraid of being ac-
cused of iconoclasm?"

"Ah! Master Saint Martin," said the provost,
"spare me the fire, I knew not what I did!"

Then turning to Ulenspiegel, while the timid bell-
ringer was swinging to his bells:

"They could never," said he, "between now and

1 6 The Legend of Ulenspiegel

Sunday, mend Saint Martin. What am I to do, and
what will the people say?"

"Messire," answered Ulenspiegel, "we must employ
an innocent subterfuge. We shall glue on a beard
on the face of Pompilius; it is always respectable, being
always melancholic; we shall dight him up with the
Saint's mitre, alb, amice, and great cloak; we shall
enjoin upon him to stand well and fast on his pedestal,
and the people will take him for the wooden Saint

The provost went to Pompilius who was swaying
on the ropes.

"Cease to ring," said he, "and listen to me: would
you earn fifteen ducats? On Sunday, the day of the
procession, you shall be Saint Martin. Ulenspiegel
will get you up properly, and if when you are borne
by your four men you make one movement or utter
one word, I will have you boiled alive in oil in the great
caldron the executioner has just had built on the
market square."

"Monseigneur, I give you thanks," said Pompilius;
" but you know that I find it hard to contain my water."

"You must obey," replied the provost.

"I shall obey, Monseigneur," said Pompilius, very


Next day, in bright sunshine, the procession issued
forth from the church. Ulenspiegel had, as best he
could, patched up the twelve saints that balanced them-
selves on their pedestals between the banners of the
guilds, then came the statue of Our Lady; then the
daughters of the Virgin all clad in white and singing

And Lamms Goedzak 17

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Online LibraryCharles de CosterThe legend of Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak and their adventures heroical, joyous, and glorious in the land of Flanders and elsewhere (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 22)