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This volume of "Mediæval Tales" is in four parts, containing severally, (1) Turpin's "History of Charles the Great and Orlando," which is an old source of Charlemagne romance; (2) Spanish Ballads, relating chiefly to the romance of Charlemagne, these being taken from the spirited translations of Spanish ballads published in 1823 by John Gibson Lockhart; (3) a selection of stories from the "Gesta Romanorum;" and (4) the old translation of the original story of Faustus, on which Marlowe founded his play, and which is the first source of the Faust legend in literature...
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Copyright © 2015 by Henry Morley
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Turpin’s History of Charles the Great and Orlando.
FROM THE SPANISH BALLADS
THE MOOR CALAYNOS.
THE ESCAPE OF GAYFEROS.
THE MARCH OF BERNARDO DEL CARPIO.
LADY ALDA’S DREAM.
THE ADMIRAL GUARINOS.
THE COMPLAINT OF THE COUNT OF SALDENHA.
THE FUNERAL OF THE COUNT OF SALDENHA.
BERNARDO AND ALPHONSO.
THE YOUNG CID.
XIMENA DEMANDS VENGEANCE.
THE CID AND THE FIVE MOORISH KINGS.
THE CID’S COURTSHIP.
THE CID’S WEDDING.
THE CID AND THE LEPER.
THE EXCOMMUNICATION OF THE CID.
COUNT ALARCOS AND THE INFANTA SOLISA.
TALES FROM THE GESTA ROMANORUM.
I.—THE EIGHT PENNIES.
II.—THE THREE TRUTHS.
III.—THE HUSBAND OF AGLAES.
IV.—THE THREE CASKETS.
V.—THE THREE CAKES.
VII.—THE LOST FOOT.
X.—THE TREE OF PALETINUS.
XII.—THE HUMBLING OF JOVINIAN.
XIII.—THE TWO PHYSICIANS.
XV.—LET THE LAZIEST BE KING.
XVI.—THE THREE MAXIMS.
XVII.—A LOAF FOR A DREAM.
XVIII.—LOWER THAN THE BEASTS.
XIX.—OF REAL FRIENDSHIP.
XXIII.—THE TRUMP OF DEATH.
XXIV.—ALEXANDER AND THE PIRATE.
XXV.—A TALE OF A PENNY.
XXVI.—OF AVOIDING IMPRECATIONS.
XXVII.—A VERSE EXERCISE.
XXVIII.—BRED IN THE BONE.
THE THIRD AND LAST OF DR. FAUSTUS HIS MERRY CONCEITS, SHOWING AFTER WHAT SORT HE PRACTISED NECROMANCY IN THE COURTS OF GREAT PRINCES: AND, LASTLY, OF HIS FEARFUL AND PITIFUL END.
By Henry Morley
This volume of “Mediæval Tales” is in four parts, containing severally, (1) Turpin’s “History of Charles the Great and Orlando,” which is an old source of Charlemagne romance; (2) Spanish Ballads, relating chiefly to the romance of Charlemagne, these being taken from the spirited translations of Spanish ballads published in 1823 by John Gibson Lockhart; (3) a selection of stories from the “Gesta Romanorum;” and (4) the old translation of the original story of Faustus, on which Marlowe founded his play, and which is the first source of the Faust legend in literature.
Turpin’s “History of Charles the Great and Orlando” is given from a translation made by Thomas Rodd, and published by himself in 1812, of “Joannes Turpini Historia de Vita Caroli Magni et Rolandi.” This chronicle, composed by some monk at an unknown date before the year 1122, professed to be the work of a friend and secretary of Charles the Great, Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, who was himself present in the scenes that he describes. It was—like Geoffrey of Monmouth’s nearly contemporary “History of British Kings,” from which were drawn tales of Gorboduc, Lear and King Arthur—romance itself, and the source of romance in others. It is at the root of many tales of Charlemagne and Roland that reached afterwards their highest artistic expression in Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso.” The tale ascribed to Turpin is of earlier date than the year 1122, because in that year Pope Calixtus II. officially declared its authenticity. But it was then probably a new invention, designed for edification, for encouragement of faith in the Church, war against infidels, and reverence to the shrine of St. James of Compostella.
The Church vouched for the authorship of Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, “excellently skilled in sacred and profane literature, of a genius equally adapted to prose and verse; the advocate of the poor, beloved of God in his life and conversation, who often hand to hand fought the Saracens by the Emperor’s side; and who flourished under Charles and his son Lewis to the year of our Lord eight hundred and thirty.” But while this work gave impulse to the shaping of Charlemagne romances with Orlando (Roland) for their hero, there came to be a very general opinion that, whether the author of the book were Turpin or another, he too was a romancer. His book came, therefore, to be known as the “Magnanime Mensonge,” a lie heroic and religious.
No doubt Turpin’s “Vita Caroli Magni et Rolandi” was based partly on traditions current in its time. It was turned of old into French verse and prose; and even into Latin hexameters. The original work was first printed at Frankfort in 1566, in a collection of Four Chronographers—"Germanicarum Rerum.” Mr. Rodd’s translation, here given, was made from the copy of the original given in Spanheim’s “Lives of Ecclesiastical Writers.”
Publication of the songs and ballads of Spain began at Valencia in the year 1511 with a collection by Fernando del Castillo, who on his title-page professed to collect pieces “as well ancient as modern.” From 1511 to 1573 there were nine editions of this “Cancionero.” A later collection made between 1546 and 1550—The “Cancionero de Romances"—was made to consist wholly of ballads. A third edition of it, in 1555, is the fullest and best known. The greatest collection followed in nine parts, published separately between 1593 and 1597, at Valencia, Burgos, Toledo, Alcala, and Madrid. This formed the great collection known as the “Romancero General.”
The chief hero of the Spanish Ballads is the Cid Campeador; and Robert Southey used these ballads as material for enriching the “Chronicle of the Cid,” which has already been given in this Library. Songs of the Cid were sung as early as the year 1147, are of like date with the “Magnanime Mensonge” and Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of British Kings.” In 1248 St. Ferdinand gave allotments to two poets who had been with him during the Siege of Seville, and who were named Nicolas and Domingo Abod “of the Romances.” There is also evidence from references to what “the juglares sing in their chants and tell in their tales,” that in the middle of the thirteenth century tales of Charlemagne and of Bernardo del Carpio were familiar in the mouths of ballad-singers.
The whole number of the old ballads of Spain exceeds a thousand, and of these John Gibson Lockhart has translated some of the best into English verse. Lockhart was born in 1793, was the son of a Scottish minister, was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford, and was called to the bar at Edinburgh in 1816. Next year he was one of the keenest of the company of young writers whose genius and lively audacity established the success of “Blackwood’s Magazine.” Three years later, in 1820, he married the eldest daughter of Sir Walter Scott. Lockhart’s vigorous rendering of the spirit of the Spanish Romances was first published in 1823, two years before he went to London to become editor of the “Quarterly Review.” He edited the “Quarterly” for about thirty years, and died in 1854.
The “Gesta Romanorum;” is a mediæval compilation of tales that might be used to enforce and enliven lessons from the pulpit. Each was provided with its “Application.” The French Dominican, Vincent of Beauvais, tells in his “Mirror of History” that in his time—the thirteenth century—it was the practice of preachers, to rouse languid hearers by quoting fables out of Æsop, and he recommends a sparing and discreet use of profane fancies in discussing sacred subjects. Among the Harleian MSS. is an ancient collection of 215 stories, romantic, allegorical and legendary, compiled by a preacher for the use of monastic societies. There were other such collections, but the most famous of all, widely used not only by the preachers but also by the poets, was the Latin story-book known as the “Gesta Romanorum.” Its name, “Deeds of the Romans,” was due to its fancy for assigning every story to some emperor who had or had not reigned in Rome; the emperor being a convenient person in the Application, which might sometimes begin with, “My beloved, the emperor is God.” Perhaps the germ of the collection may have been a series of applied tales from Roman history. But if so, it was soon enriched with tales from the East, from the “Clericalis Disciplina,” a work by Petrus Alfonsus, a baptized Jew who lived in 1106, and borrowed professedly from the Arabian fabulists. Mediæval tales of all kinds suitable for the purpose of the “Gesta Romanorum” were freely incorporated, and the book so formed became a well-known storehouse of material for poetic treatment. Gower, Shakespeare, Schiller are some of the poets who have used tales which are among the thirty given in this volume.
The “Gesta Romanorum” was first printed in 1473, and after that date often reprinted. It was translated into Dutch as early as the year 1484. There was a translation of forty-three of its tales into English, by Richard Robinson, published in 1577, of which there were six or seven editions during the next twenty-four years. A version of forty-five of its tales was published in 1648 as “A Record of Ancient Histories.” The fullest English translation was that by the Rev. C. Swan, published in 1824. In this volume two or three tales are given in the earlier English form, the rest from Mr. Swan’s translation, with a little revision of his English. Mr. Swan used Book English, and was apt to write “an instrument of agriculture” where he would have said “a spade.” I give here thirty of the Tales, but of the “Applications” have left only enough to show how they were managed.
In the volume of this Library, which contains Marlowe’s “Faustus” and Goethe’s “Faust,” reference has been made to the old German History of Faustus, first published at Frankfort in September 1587, and reprinted with slight change in 1588. There was again a reprint of it with some additions in 1589. This book was written by a Protestant in early days of the Reformation, but shaped by him from mediæval tales of magic, with such notions of demons and their home as had entered deeply in the Middle Ages into popular belief. From it was produced within two years of its first publication Marlowe’s play of “Faustus,” which has already been given, and that English translation of the original book which will be found in the present volume. It was reprinted by Mr. William J. Thoms in his excellent collection of “Early English Prose Romances,” first published in 1828, of which there was an enlarged second edition, in three volumes, in 1858. That is a book of which all students of English literature would like to see a third and cheap edition.
Archbishop Turpin’s Epistle to Leopander.
Turpin, by the grace of God, Archbishop of Rheims, the faithful companion of the Emperor Charles the Great in Spain, to Leopander, Dean of Aix-la-Chapelle, greeting.
Forasmuch as you requested me to write to you from Vienne (my wounds being now cicatrized) in what manner the Emperor Charles delivered Spain and Gallicia from the yoke of the Saracens, you shall attain the knowledge of many memorable events, and likewise of his praiseworthy trophies over the Spanish Saracens, whereof I myself was eyewitness, traversing France and Spain in his company for the space of forty years; and I hesitate the less to trust these matters to your friendship, as I write a true history of his warfare. For indeed all your researches could never have enabled you fully to discover those great events in the Chronicles of St. Denis, as you sent me word: neither could you for certain know whether the author had given a true relation of those matters, either by reason of his prolixity, or that he was not himself present when they happened. Nevertheless this book will agree with his history. Health and happiness.
How Charles the Great delivered Spain and Gallicia
from the Saracens.
The most glorious Christian Apostle St. James, when the other Apostles and Disciples of our Lord were dispersed abroad throughout the whole world, is believed to have first preached the gospel in Gallicia. After his martyrdom, his servants, rescuing his body from King Herod, brought it by sea to Gallicia, where they likewise preached the gospel. But soon after, the Gallicians, relapsing into great sins, returned to their former idolatry, and persisted in it till the time of Charles the Great, Emperor of the Romans, French, Germans, and other nations. Charles therefore, after prodigious toils in Saxony, France, Germany, Lorraine, Burgundy, Italy, Brittany, and other countries; after taking innumerable cities from sea to sea, which he won by his invincible arm from the Saracens, through divine favour; and after subjugating them with great fatigue of mind and body to the Christian yoke, resolved to rest from his wars in peace.
But observing the starry way in the heavens, beginning at the Friezeland sea, and passing over the German territory and Italy, between Gaul and Aquitaine, and from thence in a straight line over Gascony, Bearne, and Navarre, and through Spain to Gallicia, wherein till his time lay undiscovered the body of St. James; when night after night he was wont to contemplate it, meditating upon what it might signify, a certain beautiful resplendent vision appeared to him in his sleep, and, calling him son, inquired what he was attempting to discover. At which Charles replied, “Who art thou, Lord?” “I am,” answered the vision, “St. James the Apostle, Christ’s disciple, the son of Zebedee, and brother of John the Evangelist, whom the Lord was pleased to think worthy, in his ineffable goodness, to elect on the sea of Galilee to preach the gospel to his people, but whom Herod the King slew. My body now lies concealed in Gallicia, long so grievously oppressed by the Saracens, from whose yoke I am astonished that you, who have conquered so many lands and cities, have not yet delivered it. Wherefore I come to warn you, as God has given you power above every other earthly prince, to prepare my way, and rescue my dominions from the Moabites, that so you may receive a brighter crown of glory for your reward. The starry way in the heavens signifies that you, with a great army, will enter Gallicia to fight the Pagans, and, recovering it from them, will visit my church and shrine; and that all the people from the borders of the sea, treading in your steps, will ask pardon of God for their sins, and return in safety, celebrating his praise; that you likewise will acknowledge the wonders he hath done for you in prolonging your life to its present span. Proceed then as soon as you are ready; I am your friend and helper; your name shall become famous to all eternity, and a crown of glory shall be your reward in heaven.”
Thus did the blessed Apostle appear thrice to the Emperor, who, confiding in his word, assembled a great army, and entered Spain to fight the infidels.
Of the Walls of Pampeluna, that fell of themselves.
The first city Charles besieged was Pampeluna; he invested it three months, but was not able to take it, through the invincible strength of the walls. He then made this prayer to God: “O Lord Jesus Christ, for whose faith I am come hither to fight the Pagans; for thy glory’s sake deliver this city into my hands; and O blessed St. James, if thou didst indeed appear to me, help me to take it.” And now God and St. James, hearkening to his petition, the walls utterly fell to the ground of themselves; but Charles spared the lives of the Saracens that consented to be baptized; the rest he put to the edge of the sword. The report of this miracle induced all their countrymen to surrender their cities, and consent to pay tribute to the Emperor. Thus was the whole land soon subdued.
The Saracens were amazed to see the French well clothed, accomplished in their manners and persons, and strictly faithful to their treaties; they gave them therefore a peaceful and honourable reception, dismissing all thoughts of war. The Emperor, after frequently visiting the shrine of St. James, came to Ferrol, and, fixing his lance in the sea, returned thanks to God and the Apostle for having brought him to this place, though he could then proceed no further.
The Pagan nations, after the first preaching of St. James and his disciples, were converted by Archbishop Turpin, and by the grace of God baptized; but those who refused to embrace the faith were either slain or made slaves by the Christians. Turpin then traversed all Spain from sea to sea.
Of the idol Mahomet.
The Emperor utterly destroyed the idols and images in Spain, except the idol in Andalusia, called Salamcadis. Cadis properly signifies the place of an island, but in Arabic it means God. The Saracens had a tradition that the idol Mahomet, which they worshipped, was made by himself in his lifetime; and that by the help of a legion of devils it was by magic art endued with such irresistible strength, that it could not be broken. If any Christian approached it he was exposed to great danger; but when the Saracens came to appease Mahomet, and make their supplications to him, they returned in safety. The birds that chanced to light upon it were immediately struck dead.
There is, moreover, on the margin of the sea an ancient stone excellently sculptured after the Saracenic fashion; broad and square at the bottom, but tapering upward to the height that a crow generally flies, having on the top an image of gold, admirably cast in the shape of a man, standing erect, with a certain great key in his hand, which the Saracens say was to fall to the ground immediately after the birth of a King of Gaul, who would overrun all Spain with a Christian army, and totally subdue it. Wherefore it was enjoined them, whenever that happened, to fly the country, and bury their jewels in the earth.
Of the Churches the King built.
Charles remained three years in these parts, and with the gold given him by the kings and princes greatly enlarged the church of the blessed St. James, appointing an Abbot and Canons of the order of St. Isidore, martyr and confessor, to attend it: he enriched it likewise with bells, books, robes, and other gifts. With the residue of the immense quantity of gold and silver, he built many churches on his return from Spain; namely, of the blessed Virgin in Aix-la-Chapelle, of St. James in Thoulouse, and another in Gascony, between the city commonly called Aix, after the model of St. John’s at Cordova, in the Jacobine road; the church likewise of St. James at Paris, between the river Seine and Montmartre, besides founding innumerable abbeys in all parts of the world.
Of the King’s Return to France, and of Argolander,
King of the Africans.
After the King’s return from Spain, a certain Pagan King, called Argolander, recovered the whole country with his army, driving the Emperor’s soldiers from the towns and garrisons, which led him to march back his troops, under their General, Milo de Angleris.
Of the false Executor.
But the judgment inflicted on a false executor deserves to be recorded, as a warning to those who unjustly pervert the alms of the deceased. When the King’s army lay at Bayonne, a certain soldier, called Romaricus, was taken grievously ill, and, being at the point of death, received the eucharist and absolution from a priest, bequeathing his horse to a certain kinsman, in trust, to dispose of for the benefit of the priest and the poor. But when he was dead his kinsman sold it for a hundred pence, and spent the money in debauchery. But how soon does punishment follow guilt! Thirty days had scarcely elapsed when the apparition of the deceased appeared to him in his sleep, uttering these words: “How is it you have so unjustly misapplied the alms entrusted to you for the redemption of my soul? Do you not know they would have procured the pardon of my sins from God? I have been punished for your neglect thirty days in fire; to-morrow you shall be plunged in the same place of torment, but I shall be received into Paradise.” The apparition then vanished, and his kinsman awoke in extreme terror.
On the morrow, as he was relating the story to his companions, and the whole army was conversing about it, on a sudden a strange uncommon clamour, like the roaring of lions, wolves, and calves, was heard in the air, and immediately a troop of demons seized him in their talons, and bore him away alive. What further? Horse and foot sought him four days together in the adjacent mountains and valleys to no purpose; but the twelfth day after, as the army was marching through a desert part of Navarre, his body was found lifeless, and dashed to pieces, on the summit of some rocks, a league above the sea, about four days’ journey from the city. There the demons left the body, bearing the soul away to hell. Let this be a warning, then, to all that follow his example to their eternal perdition.
Of the War of the Holy Facundus, where the Spears grew.
Charles and Milo, his General, now marched after Argolander into Spain, and found him in the fields of the river, where a castle stands in the meadows, in the best part of the whole plain, where afterwards a church was built in honour of the blessed martyrs Facundus and Primitivus; where likewise their bodies rest, an abbey was founded, and a city built. When the King’s army advanced, Argolander wished to decide the contest by set combat between twenties, forties, hundreds, thousands, or even by two champions only. Charles willingly consented, and marched a hundred of his soldiers against a hundred Saracens, when all of them were slain. Argolander then sent two hundred, who shared the same fate. Two thousand were then led against two thousand, part of whom were slain, and the rest fled. But on the third day Argolander cast lots, and, knowing that evil fortune threatened the Emperor, sent him word he would draw out his whole army on the open plain, on the morrow, which challenge was accepted.
Then did this miracle happen. Certain of the Christians, who carefully had been furbishing their arms against the day of battle, fixed their spears in the evening erect in the ground before the castle in the meadow, near the river, and found them early in the morning covered with bark and branches. Those, therefore, that were about to receive the palm of martyrdom were greatly astonished at this event, ascribing it to divine power. Then cutting off their spears close to the ground, the roots that remained shot out afresh, and became lofty trees, which may be still seen flourishing there, chiefly ash. All this denoted joy to the soul, but loss to the body; for now the battle commenced, and forty thousand Christians were slain, together with Milo, their General, the father of Orlando. The King’s horse was likewise slain under him; but Charles resolutely continued the fight on foot, and with two thousand Christians gallantly hewed his way through the Saracens, cleaving many of them asunder from the shoulders to the waist.
The following day both Christians and Saracens remained quietly in their camps, but the day after four Marquisses brought four thousand fresh troops from Italy to the King’s assistance; whereupon Argolander retreated with his army to Leon, and Charles led back his forces to France.
And here it is proper to observe we should strive for Christ’s blessing; for as the soldiers prepared their arms against the day of battle, so we in like manner should prepare ours, namely, our virtues to resist our passions. For he that would oppose faith to infidelity, brotherly love to hatred, charity to avarice, humility to pride, chastity to lust, prayer to temptation, perseverance to instability, peace to strife, obedience to a carnal disposition, must fortify his soul with grace, and prepare his spear to flourish against the day of judgment. Triumphant indeed will he be in heaven who conquers on earth! As the King’s soldiers died for their faith, so should we die to sin, and live in holiness in this world, that we may receive the palm of glory in the next, which shall be the reward of those who fight manfully against their three grand adversaries, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.
Of King Argolander’s Army.
Argolander now assembled together innumerable nations of Saracens, Moors, Moabites, Parthians, Africans, and Persians: Texephin, King of Arabia; Urabell, King of Alexandria; Avitus, King of Bugia; Ospin, King of Algarve; Facin, King of Barbary; Ailis, King of Malclos; Manuo, King of Mecca; Ibrahim, King of Seville; and Almanzor, King of Cordova. Then, marching to the city of Agen, he took it, and sent word to Charles he would give him sixty horse-load of gold, silver, and jewels, if he would acknowledge his right to the sceptre. But Charles returned this answer, “that he would acknowledge him no otherwise than by slaying him whenever it should be his chance to meet him in battle.”
The Emperor had by this time approached within four miles of Agen, when, secretly dismissing his army, he proceeded with only sixty soldiers to the mountain near the city. There he left them, and changing his dress, came with his shield reversed, after the custom of messengers in time of war, accompanied by one soldier only to the city; and when the people inquired his business, he informed them he had brought a message from King Charles to Argolander, whereupon he was admitted into his presence, and addressed him in these words: “My King bids me say, you may expect to see him, provided you will come out with only sixty of your people to meet him.” Now Argolander little thought it was Charles himself to whom he was speaking, who all the while took especial note of his person, and of the weakest parts of the walls of the city, as well as of the auxiliary kings that were then within it. Argolander then armed himself, and Charles rejoined his sixty soldiers, and soon after the two thousand that at first accompanied him. But Argolander came out with seven thousand men, thinking to slay the Emperor, but was himself compelled to fly.
The King then recruited his army, and besieged the city for six months. On the seventh his battering rams, wooden castles, and other engines, were ready to storm it; but Argolander and the rest of the Kings made their escape in the night through the common sewers, and, passing up the Garonne, got clear off. Charles entered the city in triumph the next day, and slew ten thousand of the remaining Saracens.
Of the City of Xaintonge, where the Spears grew.
Argolander now came to Xaintonge, at that time under the dominion of the Saracens; but Charles pursuing him, summoned him to restore the city, which Argolander refused, resolving first to fight, and that it should be the conqueror’s reward. But on the eve of battle, when the battering rams were ready to attack the castle in the meadows, called Taleburg, and that part of the city near the river Carenton, certain of the Christians fixed their spears in the ground before the castle, and on the morrow found them covered with bark and branches. Those therefore that were to receive the crown of martyrdom perished in the fight, after slaying a multitude of the Saracens, namely, about four thousand men. The King’s horse was likewise slain under him, but valiantly placing himself at the head of his infantry, he slew so many of his enemies that they were forced back into the city, which Charles invested on every side but the river, through which Argolander made his escape, with the loss of the Kings of Algarve and Bugia, and about four thousand of his army.
Of Argolander’s Flight, and of the King’s Warriors.
Argolander fled beyond the passes of the Pyrenees, and came to Pampeluna, where he sent Charles word he would stay for him. Charles then returned to France, and with the utmost diligence summoned his troops from all parts to his assistance, proclaiming free pardon to all banished persons, on condition they would join him against the Pagans. What further? He liberated all the prisoners; made the poor rich; clothed the naked; reconciled the disaffected; bestowed honours on the disinherited; preferred the most experienced to the best commands; making friends of enemies, and associating both the civilized and the barbarian in the war of Spain, uniting them through the favour of God in the bond of love. Then did I, Turpin, absolve them from their sins, and give them my benediction.
These are the names of the warriors that attended the King:—Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims, who by the precepts of Christ, and for his faith’s sake, brought the people to fight valiantly, fighting likewise himself hand to hand with the Saracens. Orlando, General of the whole army, Count of Mans and Lord of Guienne, the King’s nephew, son of Milo de Angleris and Bertha the King’s sister. His soldiers were four thousand. Another Orlando likewise, of whom we are silent. Oliver, a General also, and a valiant soldier, renowned for strength and skill in war, led three thousand troops. Aristagnus, King of Brittany, seven thousand. Another King of Brittany, of whom little mention is made. Angelerus, Duke of Aquitaine, brought four thousand valiant bowmen. At this time likewise there was in the city of Poictiers another Duke of Aquitaine, but Angelerus was the son of Gascon, Duke of the city of Aquitaine, lying between Limorge, Bourges, and Poictiers, which city Augustus Cæsar founded; and the rest of the cities, as well as Xaintonge and Angoulême, with their provinces, were subject to it; the whole country was also called Aquitaine. But after the death of its lord, who perished with all his people in the fatal battle of Ronceval, it was never fresh colonized, and fell utterly to ruin.
Gayfere, King of Bordeaux, led three thousand warriors. Galerus, Galinus Solomon, Estolfo’s friend and companion; Baldwin, Orlando’s brother, Galdebode, King of Friezeland, led seven thousand heroes; Ocellus, Count of Nantes, two thousand, who achieved many memorable actions, celebrated in songs to this day. Lambert, Count of Berry, led two thousand men. Rinaldo of the White Thorn, Vulterinus Garinus, Duke of Lorraine, four thousand. Hago, Albert of Burgundy, Berard de Miblis, Gumard, Esturinite, Theodoric, Juonius, Beringaire, Hato, and Ganalon, who afterwards proved the traitor, attended the King into Spain. The army of the King’s own territory was forty thousand horse and foot innumerable.
These were all famous heroes and warriors, mighty in battle, illustrious in worldly honour, zealous soldiers of Christ, that spread his name far and near, wherever they came. For even as our Lord and his twelve Apostles subdued the world by their doctrine, so did Charles, King of the French and Emperor of the Romans, recover Spain to the glory of God. And now the troops, assembling in Bordeaux, overspread the country for the space of two days’ journey, and the noise they made was heard at twelve miles distance. Arnold of Berlanda first traversed the pass of the Pyrenees, and came to Pampeluna. Then came Astolfo, followed by Aristagnus; Angelerus, Galdebode, Ogier the King, and Constantine, with their several divisions. Charles and his troops brought up the rear, covering the whole land from the river of Rume to the mountains, that lie three leagues beyond them on the Compostella road. They now halted for eight days. In the interval Charles sent Argolander word, if he would restore the city he had built, he would return home, or otherwise wage cruel war against him: but Argolander, finding he could not keep possession of the city, resolved to march out, rather than tamely perish in it. Charles then granted him a truce to draw out his army and prepare for battle; expressing moreover his willingness to see him face to face, as Argolander wished.
Of the Truce, and of the Discourse between the King and Argolander.
A truce thus being granted, Argolander drew out his people from the city, and attended by sixty guards came into the King’s presence, who was at this time encamped about a mile from Pampeluna. The two armies occupied a spacious plain six miles square, separated by the main road to Compostella.
When Charles perceived Argolander, he addressed him in these words:
“You are, then, he that have fraudulently taken possession of my territories in Spain and Gascony, which I conquered by the favour of God, and reduced to the faith of Christ. You have perverted the princes from my allegiance, and slain the Christians with the edge of the sword. Availing yourself of my return to Gaul, you have destroyed my towns and castles, and laid waste the territory with fire and sword. At present, therefore, you have the advantage of me.”
Now when Argolander heard the King speak in the Arabic tongue, he was greatly pleased and astonished, for Charles had learnt it in his youth in the city of Thoulouse, where he had spent some time. Argolander then answered in these terms: “I wonder you should reason thus, for the territory did not belong to you; neither was it your father’s, grandfather’s, or great-grandfather’s. Why then did you take possession of it?” “Because,” replied Charles, “our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of heaven and earth, elected us in preference to others, and gave us dominion over all the earth: therefore I endeavoured to convert the Saracens to the Christian faith."—"It would be unworthy of us to submit to you,” rejoined Argolander, “when our own faith is best. We have Mahomet, a prophet of God, whose precepts we obey. Therefore we have a powerful God, who through his prophet has declared his will, and by him we live and reign.” “O Argolander,” said the King, “how widely do you err! You follow the vain precepts of a man; we believe and worship Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: you worship mortal man. After death our souls are received into Paradise, and enjoy everlasting life, but yours descend to the abyss of hell. Wherefore our faith is evidently best. Accept then baptism, or fight and perish.”
“Far be it from me,” said Argolander, “to accept baptism, and deny Mahomet and my God! But I will fight you on these terms: if your faith is best, you shall gain the victory, otherwise heaven shall give it to me; and let shame be the portion of the conquered, but eternal glory reward the conqueror. Furthermore, if my people are subdued, and I survive the contest, I will receive baptism.”
These terms being mutually agreed, twenty Christians were sent against twenty Saracens, and the battle commenced. What further? Nearly all the Saracens fell. Forty were then sent against forty, and they were defeated also. A hundred then fought together; but the Saracens turned their backs from the face of the Christians, and were all slain. Are not these Christians then types for us? Does it not argue that we likewise should fight manfully against our sins; should face our spiritual enemies, and never ignobly yield to them, since they will infallibly lead us into perdition? He only, says the Apostle, shall receive the crown that fights the good fight, and overcomes.
Two hundred Saracens were then sent out, and were all slain; lastly a thousand, who shared the same fate. A truce being then granted, Argolander promised to be baptized on the morrow with all his people, and, calling his Kings and Captains together, told them his intention, to which they likewise assented, few only refusing to follow his example.
Of the King’s Banquet, and of the Poor, at whom Argolander took
so great Offence that he refused to be Baptized.
On the third day Argolander attended the King, as he promised, and found him at dinner. Many tables were spread at which the guests were sitting; some in military uniform; some in black; some in Priests’ habits; which Argolander perceiving, inquired what they were? “Those you see in robes of one colour,” replied the King, “are priests and bishops of our holy religion, who expound the gospel to us, absolve us from our offences, and bestow heavenly benediction. Those in black are monks and abbots; all of them holy men, who implore incessantly the divine favour in our behalf.” But in the meantime Argolander espying thirty poor men in mean habiliments, without either table or table-cloth, sitting and eating their scanty meals upon the ground, he inquired what they were? “These,” replied the King, “are people of God, the messengers of our Lord Jesus, whom in his and his Apostles names we feed daily.” Argolander then made this reply: “The guests at your table are happy; they have plenty of the best food set before them; but those you call the messengers of God, whom you feed in his name, are ill fed, and worse clothed, as if they were of no estimation. Certainly he must serve God but indifferently who treats his messengers in this manner, and thus do you prove your religion false.” Argolander then refused to be baptized, and, returning to his army, prepared for battle on the morrow.
Charles, seeing the mischief his neglect of these poor men had occasioned, ordered them to be decently clothed and better fed. Here then we may note the Christian incurs great blame who neglects the poor. If Charles, from inattention to their comfort, thereby lost the opportunity of converting the Saracens, what will be the lot of those who treat them still worse? They will hear this sentence pronounced—"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire; for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat; naked, and ye clothed me not.”
We must consider likewise that our faith in Christ is of little value without good works. As the body, says the Apostle, without the soul is dead, so is faith dead if it produce not good fruit. And as the Pagan King refused baptism because he found something wrong after it, so our Lord, I fear, will refuse our baptism at the day of judgment if superfluity of faults be found in us.
Of the Battle of Pampeluna, and Argolander’s Death.
Both armies now prepared for battle in the morning, contending for their different faiths. The King mustered one hundred and thirty thousand men, but Argolander only one hundred thousand. The Christians formed themselves into four squadrons; the Saracens into five; whose first corps being speedily discomfited, they all joined in one phalanx, with Argolander in the midst. The Christians then surrounded them on all sides. First Arnaldo de Berlanda and his troops; then Astolfo; next Aristagnus, Galdebode, Ogier, and Constantine; lastly the King himself, and his innumerable warriors. Arnaldo was the first that broke in upon the enemy, overthrowing them right and left till he reached Argolander himself in the centre, and slew him with his own hand. Then ensued a great shout, and the Christians, rushing in upon the Saracens, slew them on all sides, making so great a slaughter that none escaped but the Kings of Seville and Cordova, and a few of their troops. So great, indeed, was the effusion of blood, that the Christians waded in it to their very knees. They slew likewise all the Saracens left in the city. Charles fought for the faith, and therefore triumphed over Argolander. Note then, O Christian, that whatsoever thou undertakest thou likewise shalt accomplish if thou hast faith, for all things are possible to them that believe. Greatly rejoiced at this victory, the King marched forward, and came to the bridge of Arge in the Compostella road.
Of the Christians that returned unlawfully to Spoil the Dead.
Certain of the Christians however, coveting the spoils of the dead, returned that same night to the field of battle, and loaded themselves with heaps of gold and silver. But as they were returning to the camp, Almanzor, King of Cordova, who had fled for refuge to the mountains with the Saracens that made their escape, came pouring down, and slew them all to the number of a thousand men. These, then, are types of such as strive against sin, but afterwards relapse; who, when they have overcome, continue not stedfast, but seek unlawful pleasures, suffering themselves to be mastered in turn by their grand adversary. So likewise the religious, that forsake their vocations to re-engage in worldly concerns and profits, lose the reward of eternal life, and entail upon themselves everlasting perdition.
Of the War of Furra.
The day after the King was informed that a certain King of Navarre, called Furra, designed to fight him at Mount Garzim. Charles therefore prepared for battle; but desiring to know who should perish in it, he entreated the Lord to show him; whereupon in the morning a red cross appeared on their shoulders behind. In order therefore to preserve them, he confined them in his Oratory. Then joining battle, Furra and three thousand of his troops were slain. These were all Saracens of Navarre. The King now returned to his Oratory, but found them all dead that he had left in it, to the number of one hundred and fifty men.
“O holy band of Christian warriors, though the sword slew you not, yet did you not lose the palm of victory, or the prize of martyrdom!” Charles then made himself master of the mountain and castle of Garzim, and subdued the whole country of Navarre.
Of the War with Ferracute,
and of Orlando’s admirable Dispute with him.
Charles now received news that a certain Giant, of the name of Ferracute, of the race of Goliath, was come to Nager, sent thither by Admiraldus, with twenty thousand Turks of Babylon, to fight him. This Giant neither feared spear nor dart, and was stronger than forty men. Charles therefore marched to Nager, and Ferracute, hearing of his arrival, sallied out from the city to challenge any warrior to single combat.
Charles then sent Ogier the Dacian, whom the Giant no sooner perceived, than, leisurely approaching, he caught him up under his right arm, as easily as he would a lamb, and bore him off in sight of all his friends to the city; for the Giant’s stature was twelve cubits; his face a cubit long; his nose a palm; his arms and thighs four cubits; and his fingers three palms in length.
Rinaldo of the White Thorn was next sent against him, but he seized him in like manner, and imprisoned him with Ogier. The King then sent Constantine and Ocellus, but, seizing one under each arm, he bore them off likewise. He then sent twenty warriors by pairs against him, but they shared the same fate. Charles dared not then venture to send more warriors: but Orlando with the King’s permission approached the Giant, who seized him instantly by the right arm, and seated him upon his steed before him.
But as he was bearing him to the city, Orlando, recovering his strength, and trusting in the Almighty, seized the Giant by the beard, and tumbled him from his horse, so that both came to the ground together. Orlando, then, thinking to slay the Giant, drew his sword, and struck at him, but the blow fell upon his steed, and pierced him through. The Giant being thus on foot, drew his enormous sword, which Orlando perceiving, who had remounted his own charger, struck him on the sword arm, and, though he did not wound him, struck the sword out of his hand; which greatly enraging Ferracute, he aimed a blow at Orlando with his fist, but, missing him, hit his horse on the forehead, and laid him dead on the spot. And now the fight lasted till noon with fists and stones. The Giant then demanded a truce till next day, agreeing to meet Orlando without horse or spear. Each warrior then retired to his post.
Next morning they accordingly met once more. The Giant brought a sword, but Orlando a long staff to ward off the Giant’s blows, who wearied himself to no purpose. They now began to batter each other with stones, that lay scattered about the field, till at last the Giant begged a second truce, which being granted, he presently fell fast asleep upon the ground. Orlando, taking a stone for a pillow, quietly laid himself down also. For such was the law of honour between the Christians and Saracens at that time, that no one on any pretence dared to take advantage of his adversary before the truce was expired, as in that case his own party would have slain him.
When Ferracute awoke, he found Orlando awake also, who thereupon rose, and seated himself by the Giant’s side, inquiring how it came to pass he was so very strong? “Because,” replied the Giant, “I am only vulnerable in the navel.” Ferracute spoke in the Spanish language, which Orlando understanding tolerably well, a conversation now followed between them, which Ferracute recommenced by inquiring his name, which Orlando told him. “And what race are you of?” said the Giant. “Of the race of the Franks."—"What law do you follow?” “The law of Christ, so far as his grace permits me."—"Who is this Christ in whom you profess to believe?” “The Son of God, born of a Virgin, who took upon him our nature, was crucified for us, rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven, where he sitteth on the right hand of his Father.”
“We believe,” said Ferracute, “that the Creator of heaven and earth is one God, and that, as he was not made himself, so cannot another God spring from him. There is therefore only one God, not three, as I understand you Christians profess.” “You say well,” said Orlando; “there is but one God, but your faith is imperfect; for as the Father is God, so likewise is the Son, and so is the Holy Ghost. Three persons, but one God."—"Nay,” said Ferracute: “if each of these three persons be God, there must be three Gods.”
“By no means,” replied Orlando; “he is both three and one. The three persons are co-eternal and co-equal. There is indeed distinction of person, but unity of essence, and equality of majesty. Abraham saw three, but worshipped one. Let us recur to natural things. When the harp sounds, there is the art, the strings, and the hand, yet but one harp. In the almond there is the shell, the coat, and the kernel. In the sun, the body, the beams, and the heat. In the wheel, the centre, the spokes, and the nave. In you, likewise, there is the body, the members, and the soul. In like manner may Trinity in Unity be ascribed to God.”
“I now comprehend,” replied Ferracute, “how God may be three in one, but I know not how he begot the Son.” “Do you,” answered Orlando, “believe that God made Adam?"—"I do.” “Adam himself was not, then, born of any, and yet he begot sons. So God the Father is born of none, yet of his own ineffable grace begot the Son from all eternity."—"Your arguments,” said the Giant, “please me exceedingly, but still I am at a loss to know how he that was God became man.” “The Creator of heaven and earth, who made all things out of nothing, could certainly,” said Orlando, “engender his Son of a pure Virgin, by divine afflation."—"There lies the difficulty,” returned Ferracute, “how without human aid, as you affirm, he could spring from the womb.” “Surely,” said Orlando, “God, who formed Adam from no seed, could form his Son in like manner; and as from God the Father he was without Mother, so from his Mother did he spring without an earthly Father."—"It makes me blush,” said the Giant, “to think that a virgin should conceive without a man.” “He,” answered Orlando, “that causes the worm in the bean, and many species of birds, beasts, and serpents, to engender without the help of the male, could procure God and Man of a pure Virgin without the help of Man. For as his power enabled him to produce the first man from the ground, so could he produce the second from a virgin."—"I grant it,” replied the Giant; “he might be born of a virgin; but if he was the Son of God, how could he die, for God never dies?” “That indeed is true,” said Orlando; “as God, he could not die; but when he took our nature upon him, and was made man, he became subject to death, for every man dies. As we believe his nativity, so may we likewise believe his passion and resurrection.”
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