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Title: The Romaunce of the Sowdone of Babylone and of Ferumbras His Sone Who Conquerede Rome

Editor: Emil Hausknecht

Release date: March 19, 2015 [eBook #48531]

Language: English

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The Sowdone of Babylone.

Early English Text Society. Extra Series. No. xxxviii.
original title page
The Romaunce of
The Sowdone of Babylone
and of Ferumbras his Sone
who conquerede Rome.
[Reprinted 1891, 1898.]
Extra Series,



THE exploits of Charles the Great, who by his achievements as conqueror and legislator, as reformer of learning and missionary, so deeply changed the face of Western Europe, who during a reign of nearly half a century maintained, by his armies, the authority of his powerful sceptre, from the southern countries of Spain and Italy to the more northern regions of Denmark, Poland, and Hungary, must have made a profound and unalterable impression in the minds of his contemporaries, so that for centuries afterwards they continued to live in the memory of the people. Evidence of this high pitch of popularity is given by the numerous chansons de geste or romances, which celebrate the deeds, or are connected with the name, of the great and valiant champion of Christendom.

It is true that the sublime figure of Charlemagne, who with his imaginary twelve peers perpetually warred against all heathenish or Saracen people, in the romances of a later period, has been considerably divested of that nimbus of majestic grandeur, which the composers of the earlier poems take pains to diffuse around him. Whereas, in the latter, the person of the Emperor appears adorned with high corporeal, intellectual, and warlike gifts, and possessed of all royal qualities; the former show us the splendour of Royalty tarnished and debased, and the power of the feodal vassals enlarged to the prejudice of the royal authority. Roland, in speaking of Charlemagne, says, in the Chanson de Roland, l. 376:—

“Jamais n’iert hum qui encuntre lui vaillet,”

and again the same Roland says of the Emperor, in Guy de Bourgoyne, l. 1061:—

“Laissomes ce viellart qui tous est assotez.”

This glorification of the great Christian hero took its rise in France, but soon spread into the neighbouring countries, and before long Charlemagne was celebrated in song by almost all European nations. Indeed, there are translations, reproductions, compilations of French Charlemagne romances to be met with in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as in Scandinavia and Iceland. Even in Hungary and Russia these chansons of the Charlemagne cycle seem to have been known.1

A full account of almost all Charlemagne romances will be found in Gaston Paris’s exhaustive work of the Histoire poétique de Charlemagne (Paris, 1865), and in Léon Gautier’s Epopées françaises (Paris, 1867).

Of all the Charlemagne romances, that of Fierabras or Ferumbras has certainly obtained the highest degree of popularity, as is shown by the numerous versions and reproductions of this romance, from the 13th century down to the present day.

When the art of printing first became general, the first romance that was printed was a prose version of Fierabras; and when the study of mediæval metrical romances was revived in this century, the Fierabras poem was the first to be re-edited.2

The balm of Fierabras especially seems to have been celebrated for its immediately curing any wound; we find it referred to and minutely described in Florian’s Don Quichotte, I. chap. 10. The scene of Fierabras challenging to a combat the twelve peers of France, and of his vaunting offer to fight at once with six (or twelve) of them,3 must also have been pretty familiar to French readers, as the name of Fierabras is met with in the sense of a simple common noun, signifying “a bragging bully or swaggering hector.”4

Rabelais5 also alludes to Fierabras, thinking him renowned enough as to figure in the pedigree of Pantagruel.

In 1833, on a tour made through the Pyrenees, M. Jomard witnessed ‹vii› a kind of historical drama, represented by villagers, in which Fierabras and Balan were the principal characters.6

That in our own days, the tradition of Fierabras continues to live, is evident from the fact, that copies of the Fierabras story, in the edition of the Bibliothèque Bleue, still circulate amongst the country people of France.7 There is even an illustrated edition, published in 1861, the pictures of which have been executed by no less an artist than Gustave Doré. And like Oberon, that other mediæval hero of popular celebrity,8 Fierabras has become the subject of a musical composition. There is an Opera Fierabras composed by Franz Schubert (words by Joseph Kupelwieser) in 1823, the overture of which has been arranged for the piano in 1827, by Carl Czerny.9

The different versions and the popularity of the present romance in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, having been treated in the Introduction to Sir Ferumbras, we need not repeat it again here.10 As to the popularity of the Fierabras romance in the Netherlands, the following passage from Hoffmann, Horæ Belgicæ (Vratislaviæ, 1830), I. 50, may be quoted here11:—

“Quam notæ Belgis, sec. xiii. et xiv., variæ variarum nationum fabulæ fuerint, quæ ex Gallia septemtrionali, ubi originem ceperunt, translatæ sunt, pauca hæc testimonia demonstrabunt:— . . . . in exordio Sidraci:—12

‘Dickent hebbic de gone ghescouden,

die hem an boeken houden

daer si clene oerbare in leren,

also sijn jeesten van heeren,

van Paerthenopeuse, van Amidase,

van Troijen ende van Fierabrase,

ende van menighen boeken, die men mint

ende daer men litel oerbaren in vint,


ende dat als leghene es ende mere,

ende anders en hebben ghene lere,

danne vechten ende vrowen minnen

ende lant ende steden winnen . . . . . .’—

“Nec rarius tanguntur fabulæ de Carolo Magno, Speculum Historiale, IV. 1. xxix (cf. Bilderdijk, Verscheidenh, I. D. bl. 161–2):—

‘Carel es menichwaerf beloghen

in groten boerden ende in hoghen,

alse boerders doen ende oec dwase,

diene beloghen van Fierabrase,

dat nie ghesciede noch en was . . . .

die scone walsce valsce poeten,

die mer rimen dan si weten,

belieghen groten Caerle vele

in sconen worden ende bispele

van Fierabrase van Alisandre,

van Pont Mautrible ende andre,

dat algader niet en was . .   . .’”

That the Fierabras romance must have been well known and highly popular in England and Scotland, may be gathered from the numerous references to this poem in various Middle English works.

Thus the whole subject of the Fierabras romance is found in the following passage, taken from Barbour’s Bruce, ed. Skeat, 3, 435 ss., where the King is described as relating to his followers:—

“Romanys off worthi Ferambrace,

That worthily our-commyn was

Throw the rycht douchty Olywer;

And how the duz Peris wer

Assegyt intill Egrymor,

Quhar King Lawyne lay thaim befor

With may thowsandis then I can say,

And bot elewyn within war thai,

And a woman; and wa sa stad,

That thai na mete thar within had,

Bot as thai fra thair fayis wan.

Y heyte, sua contenyt thai thaim than;

That thai the tour held manlily,

Till that Rychard off Normandy,

Magre his fayis, warnyt the king,

That wes joyfull off this tithing:

For he wend, thai had all bene slayne,

Tharfor he turnyt in hy agayne,

And wan Mantrybill and passit Flagot;

And syne Lawyne and all his flot

Dispitusly discumfyt he:

And deliueryt his men all fre,

And wan the naylis, and the sper,

And the croune that Ihesu couth ber; ‹ix›

And off the croice a gret party

He wan throw his chewalry.”13

In his poem of Ware the Hawk, Skelton (ed. Dyce, I. 162) cites Syr Pherumbras as a great tyrant. He also refers to him in one of his poems against Garnesche, whom he addresses with the following apostrophe:—

“Ye fowle, fers and felle, as Syr Ferumbras the ffreke.”

The story of the combat between Oliver and Ferumbras is alluded to by Lyndsay, in his Historie of ane Nobil and Wailȝeand Squyer, William Meldrum, ed. Hall, ll. 1313–16:—

“Roland with Brandwell, his bricht brand,

Faucht never better, hand for hand,

Nor Gawin aganis Golibras,

Nor Olyver with Pharambras.”

The tale of the fortified bridge of Mauntrible seems also to have been very well known in England and Scotland. In the Complaint of Scotland, ed. Murray, p. 63, we find the Tail of the Brig of the Mantrible mentioned among other famous romances. In his lampoon on Garnesche, Skelton describes his adversary as being more deformed and uglier than

“Of Mantryble the bryge Malchus14 the murryon.”

As has already been mentioned, amongst all the Charlemagne romances the (originally French) romance of Fierabras is remarkable as being one of the first that was rescued from the dust of libraries; and it is worthy of note, in connection with it, that the first printed version was not a French, but a Provençal one, which was published not in France, the birth-place of the romance, but in Germany.

The manuscript of this Provençal version having been discovered by Lachmann in the Library of Prince Ludwig von Oettingen-Wallerstein,15 ‹x› somewhere about the year 1820, the poem was published in 1829 by Immanuel Bekker.16

Raynouard, who drew attention to this edition of the poem in the Journal des Savants, March 1831, supposed this Provençal version to be the original.

Soon after Fauriel discovered at Paris two MSS. of the romance in French, and a third French MS. was found in London,17 by Fr. Michel, in 1838.

In 1852 Fauriel gave an account of the poem in the Histoire Littéraire de la France, par les religieux bénédictins de congregation de Saint-Maur . . . . . continuée par des membres de l’Institut, vol. xxii. p. 196 et seq., where he also investigated the question of the originality of the two versions, without arriving at a final solution; as from the comparison of the French and the Provençal version, no conclusion as to the original could be drawn in favour of either of the two poems.18

As early as 1829 Uhland and Diez had expressed their opinion, that in all probability the Provençal poem was to be looked upon as a reproduction of some French source;19 and in 1839 Edelestand du Méril, in France, had pointed out the French poem as the original of the Provençal version;20 Guessard in his lectures at the Ecole des Chartes, at Paris, had also defended the same opinion; when in 1860, the editors of the French Fierabras21 finally and irrefutably proved the impossibility of considering the Provençal poem as anything but a translation of a French original. ‹xi›

In 1865, Gaston Paris, in his Poetical History of Charlemagne, pointed out that what we have now of the Fierabras romance must be looked upon as a very different version from the old original Fierabras (or Balan) romance, the former being indeed only a portion, considerably amplified and in its arrangement modified, of the old poem, the first portion of which has been lost altogether. Gaston Paris had been led to this supposition by the rather abrupt opening of the Fierabras, which at once introduces the reader in medias res, and by the numerous passages of the Fierabras, which contain allusions and references to preceding events; several of which, being obscure and inexplicable from the context of the Fierabras itself, can only be explained by assuming the existence of an earlier poem.

The main subject of the old Balan or Fierabras romance may be given as follows:—“The Saracens having invaded Rome and killed the Pope, Charlemagne sends, from France, Guy of Burgundy and Richard of Normandy to the rescue of the city, and follows himself with his main army. After a fierce combat between Oliver and Ferumbras, the city is delivered from the Saracens, and a new Pope established.”22 ‹xii›

Of all the events related in the old Balan romance, there is but one which is contained in the Fierabras poem, viz. the combat between Oliver and Ferumbras, and even this has been greatly modified in consequence of the composer’s transferring the scene of action from Italy to Spain. All the other events related in the Fierabras, the love of Floripas and Guy, the capture of the twelve peers, their being besieged in the castle of Agremor, and their deliverance by Charlemagne, and the ultimate wedding of Floripas and Guy are altogether wanting in the original Fierabras [Balan] romance.

Therefore Gaston Paris was right in saying that the Fierabras poem contained only the second part of the earlier poem, the first part of which had not come down to us.

Now it seemed as though this view, which had been clearly ‹xiii› demonstrated and generally adopted, would have to undergo a thorough modification on the discovery of a new Fierabras Manuscript in Hanover. Professor Grœber, having been informed of the existence of that MS. by Professor Tobler, published from it, in 1873, the poem of the Destruction de Rome,23 which in that MS. precedes the Fierabras romance.24 In his Address to the Assembly of German Philologists at Leipzig,25 the same scholar attempted to show that this poem represented the first part of the earlier Balan romance.

This supposition, however, can only be accepted with reserve, and needs a great modification, as by no means all the references to previous events contained in the Fierabras receive explanation in the Destruction, although all such previous events must have been narrated in the original Balan. Moreover, one of these allusions in the Fierabras is in direct contradiction to the contents of the Destruction.

Thus ll. 2237 et seq. of the Fierabras:26

“.i. chevalier de France ai lontans enamé:

Guis a nom de Borgoigne, moult i a bel armé;

Parens est Karlemaine et Rollant l’aduré.

Dès que je fui à Romme, m’a tout mon cuer emblé,

Quant l’amirans mes peres fist gaster la cité,

Lucafer de Baudas abati ens ou pré,

Et lui et le ceval, d’un fort espiel quarré,”

where Floripas declares that she has seen Guy before Rome when defeating Lukafer, widely differ from the account given in ll. 1355 et seq. of the Destruction, where Guy does not arrive at Rome until after the departure of Laban’s army to Spain.

In the Destruction no clue is given which would enable us to explain why Charles should be constantly applying to Richard in the Fierabras (ll. 112 et seq.) for information about Fierabras, or why Richard, in particular, should know more about Fierabras than any one else. There is no mention in the Destruction of Richard chasing ‹xiv› the Emir before him in the plain of Rome, to which event ll. 3708–9 of the Fierabras27 clearly refer.

“Richars de Normendie au courage aduré,

Qui cacha l’amirant devant Romme ens el pré.”

The allusion contained in l. 2614,28

. . . . “Richart de Normendie,

Cil qui m’ocist Corsuble et mon oncle Mautrie,”

where Richard is said to have slain Corsuble and Mautrie, the uncle of Floripas, is not cleared up by the Destruction, as in the three passages, where Richard is mentioned there (ll. 246, 288, 541), he does not play an active part at all, whereas from Mousket’s analysis of the original Fierabras [Balan] romance, we know how important a part Guy and Richard played in the old poem.29 There Richard and Guy being sent off by Charlemagne as a first succour to the oppressed Romans, succeeded in delivering Château-Miroir, which had been seized by the Saracens. The story of the combat around Château-Miroir, as related in the Destruction, ll. 593 ss., is thoroughly different,30 as besides other variations, there is neither Richard nor Guy concerned in it.

Therefore, as the contents of the Destruction are not identical with Mousket’s analysis of the old Balan romance, and as several passages alluding to events previously described are left unexplained in the Destruction; and as there is even an instance of the Destruction being in contradiction to the Fierabras, the poem of the Destruction de Rome cannot be said to be identical with the first part of the Balan romance.31 ‹xv›

The Provençal version and the Destruction are each printed from unique MSS., the latter from the Hanover MS., the former from the Wallerstein MS. Of the French Fierabras there are seven MSS. known to exist.

As to the English Fierabras romances, there are two versions known to exist:33 the poem of Sir Ferumbras contained in the Ashmole MS. 3334 and the present poem.

In the following we shall attempt to point out the differences of these two versions, and to examine whether there is any relationship between the English and the French poems, and if possible to identify the original of the former.

A superficial comparison of the English poem of Sir Ferumbras with the French romance Fierabras (edd. Krœber and Servois) will suffice at once to show the great resemblance between the two versions. In my Dissertation on the sources and language of the Sowdan of Babylone (Berlin, 1879) I have proved (pp. 30–40) that the Ashmolean Ferumbras must be considered as a running poetical translation of a French original. Since Mr. Herrtage, in the Introduction to his edition of the Ashmole MS. 33, has also pointed out the closeness with which the translator generally followed the original, which he believes to belong to the same type as the Fierabras, edited by MM. Krœber and Servois. “The author has followed his original closely, so far as relates to the course of events; but at the same time he has translated it freely, introducing several slight incidents and modifications, which help to enliven and improve the poem. That he has not translated his original literally, is shown by the fact that the French version consists of only 6219 lines, or allowing for the missing portion of the Ashmole MS., not much more than one-half the number of lines in the latter, and that too, although he has cut down the account of the duel between Oliver and Ferumbras from 1500 to 800 lines, by leaving out Oliver’s attempts at converting the Saracen, Charlemagne’s prayers, &c.”

Now, in my opinion, we ought not to lay too much stress on the fact that the number of lines in the two versions differs, as all translators of poetical works, who wish to follow their original as closely as possible, will easily be able to render it ‘literally’ as long as they write in prose. But adopting a poetical form for their translation, and still pursuing their intention of a close rendering of their original, ‹xvii› they must needs be more diffuse, and the consideration of rhythm and rhyme will compel them sometimes to abandon a quite literal translation, and to be content with a free reproduction. This is also the case with the author of Syr Ferumbras, who, notwithstanding the many passages where the French text is not given ‘literally,’ must be considered as a close rhymed translation of the French poem. The only liberty which we see the English author take sometimes, consists in contracting or amalgamating together those couplets similaires,35 or strophes which contain repetitions.

But not always did the author thus give up his plan of rendering his original closely: occasionally he has such repetitionary lines in the same place as the French poem, as, for instance, in ll. 130 et seq. corresponding to Fierabras, ll. 125 et seq.

The closeness and literalness of his translation is well exemplified by his introduction in an English dress of a great many French words which are unknown, or at least of a most rare occurrence, in English, and which in his translation are found in the same place and context, where the French text has them. This will be best illustrated by juxtaposing the corresponding phrases of the two versions.

Ashmole Ferumbras. French Fierabras.
312 Hit ys rewarded ous two betwyne þat Olyuer schal wende and take þe batail 301 ‘Nous jujon Olivier, si l’avons esgardé Qu’il fera la bataille au paien deffaé.’
330 Mercy, quaþ he to kyng Charles 333 ‘As piés le roy se jete, merchi li a priié.’
369 þat paynede crist 377 ‘— dont vos Diex fu penès.’
388 Er y remuvie me of þis place 392 ‘Ains que je m’en remue ...’
399 y chalenge wiþ þe to fiȝt 402 ‘— je te voel calengier
457 Parfay, ansuerde erld O. 449 Par foi, dist Oliviers ...’
533 þat he ne . . maden ȝelde his body to him creaunt 548 ‘se Roland s’i combat, ne faice recréant
537 wiþ my swerd trenchaunt 553 ‘ . . . à m’espée trencant
538 Sarsyns, said erld O. 554 Sarrazins, dist li quans ...
551 long man in fourchure 579 Il ot l’enfourcéure grant
558 a ful gret pite, etc. 586 j’ai de toi grand pité, etc. ‹xviii›
751 haue mercy of me, iantail knyȝt 1494
merci li a crié: Gentix hom . .
781 to remurie þe of þis place 1515 ja par moi n’i seriés . . remués
817 he was encombred with F. 1552 Mais de F. est . . . encombrés
922 þey went forth on a pendant 1696 Cil s’entornent fuiant le pendant d’un laris
947 wan hure spere gunne to faile 1712 Quant les lances lor falent
984 At avalyng of an hulle 1734 À l’avaler d’un tertre
to rescourre þe barons 1757 . . les barons rescous . .
1016 wel longe hadde þis chas ylest 1764 Moult fu grans cele chace
1058 and oþre reliques riche ynow wherof y have plentee 1806 Et les dignes reliques dont il i ad plenté
1227 for to wyte wat þay be and hure covyne yknowe 2067 Lor couvine et lor estre enquerre et demander.
1316 By an old forsake ȝeate of þe olde antiquyte 2144 Par une gaste porte de viel antequité
1773 sittynge on a grene erber 2562 . . siét sous cel arbre ramé.
1974 Florippe his doȝtre þe cortoyse in chambre þar she was In þe paleys yhurde noise and þyder þan she gas 2712 Floripas la courtoise a le nois escoute
Puis issi de la cambre, . . .
Entresi c’au palais . .
2007 þow ert asotid 2733 . . vous voi assoté.
2538 a gret repref it were 3136 . . il nous est reprouvé
3665 brydel and paytrel and al þe gere wiþ fyn gold yharneyssed were 4117 Li estrier furent d’or, rices fu li poitrés
3672 and þe king him gan ascrie 4126 . . . si s’est haut escriés.
3791 a gret dul þay made þere 4236 . . demainent grant dolour
4541 with an hard crestid serpentis fel 4832 vestu ot la pel d’un dur serpent cresté
5753 on þan ston a cracchede and in a spatte in dispit of god, etc. 5910 en despit de Ihesu ens es fous ecraca.

Besides these undoubted examples of translation, we must bear in mind that there occur some variations of readings, where, indeed, the author of Syr Ferumbras seems to have introduced slight incidents and modifications. But examining them more closely, we shall soon become aware that many of them also point to a French original, which we may sometimes identify by comparing these variations with the readings of those French MSS. that are already printed. Thus, the words “þarto ys stede þan tyeþ he,” l. 91, render exactly a line of the Escorial MS.36—“son cheval aresna à l’abricel rose”—which is omitted in l. 93 of F (i. e. the French Fierabras, as edited by MM. Krœber and Servois).37 ‹xix›

The following is another example of A (= the Ashmolean Ferumbras) differing from F, but agreeing with E:

A. E.
175 Ne lyre he noȝt þys day til evene 175 ke il puisse tant vivre que cis jours soit passés
2131 Adoun þay gunne falle, knellyng on þe erthe stille ... & kussedem everechone, etc. 2833 Issi agenoillierent par bones volentez
... Ils baissent les reliques ...

Notwithstanding these resemblances of A to E, in passages where A differs from F, E cannot have been the source of A, as there are many instances where E and F show the same reading, whereas A differs from both versions.

Thus, A, l. 340 et seq., it is Duke Reyner who blesses his son, and not Charles, as E and F (l. 357) have it.

The names of Arrenor, Gwychard, Gayot, and Angwyree, given in l. 814, differ from those which are mentioned in the corresponding passage of E and F (ll. 1548–49).

There is no mention of Kargys being slain by Oliver (A 880) to be found in E or F (l. 1670–76).

In A 1178, Lamasour advises the Soudan not to slay the prisoners; in E and F (l. 1948) the same advice is given by Brulans.

The names of Lambrock and Colbrant (A 1616, 1618) are not found in E and F, 2424.

A, ll. 1347–48, are wanting in E and F (2174). ‹xx›

Instead of a giant (A 1700) we find a giantess mentioned in E and F (l. 2483).

Instead of Roland (A 1793) it is Naymes who speaks first in E and F, 2570.

These few instances, the number of which might easily be increased, will certainly suffice to show the impossibility of regarding E as the original of A.

Only a short passage of the Didot MS. has been hitherto printed;38 therefore the arguments drawn from a comparison of A with that printed passage cannot be considered as altogether irrefutable and final. But as the Didot MS. belongs to the same family of MSS. as E, we may at once presume, that as E cannot be taken for the original of A, the possibility of the Didot MS. being the source of A, is not very strong. Besides it may be stated, that no trace of the two additional lines (ll. 19 and 2039) which the Didot MS. inserts after l. 63 of a (or F) is found in A, although this version gives, in ll. 52 ss., a pretty close translation of the corresponding passage in F (ll. 50 et seq.). This may lead us to conclude that the Didot MS. was not the source of A.

Comparing now A with what is known of the Hanover MS. of Fierabras,40 we find A resembling to H in the following names: Lucafer (only once Lukefer in A 2204), Maragounde (once Marigounde, A 1364), Maubyn A = Maupyn H.A 1700 and 2831, which differ from F, equally agree with H. In the last case A agrees also with E (although differing from F). Now as we know that H together with D and E are derived from the same group z,41 we may perhaps be justified in regarding a MS. of the latter group as the original of A. But a more detailed comparison of A with H being impossible at present, this argumentation wants confirmation.

The impossibility of regarding the Provençal version as the source ‹xxi› of the Ashmolean Ferumbras, is proved by the fact that the long additional account, the ‘episode’ as Professor Grœber calls it,42 is wanting in A. Another proof is given by A, ll. 5763 et seq., where A agrees with F, but widely differs from P.43

It seems superfluous to point out the inadmissibility of regarding the French prose version as the original of A, the first edition of the prose version being of a much later date than the Ashmole Ferumbras. But also that version from which the prose romance has been copied or compiled, cannot have been the original of A. For although the phrase of A, 3888—“A skuntede as a bore”—seems to contain some resemblance of expression with the reading of the prose Fierabras—“il commença à escumer come s’il fust ung senglier eschaufé,” which Caxton translates—“he began to scumme at the mouthe lyke a bore enchaffed”—the reading of A, ll. 1307 ss., which greatly varies from Caxton’s version (a translation of the French prose Fierabras), renders inadmissible the supposition that the original of the French prose version is the source of A.44

Having thus compared the Ashmolean Ferumbras, as far as can be done at present, with all existing versions of this romance, we arrive at the following conclusions.

The Ashmole Ferumbras is a pretty close translation of some French version, which we are at present unable to identify. Its original was neither of the same family (w) as the Fierabras, edited by MM. Krœber and Servois, nor yet of that of the Escorial version. Nevertheless, the original of Sir Ferumbras cannot have differed much from the common original, from which these two groups of MSS. are derived. To this original, called y by Grœber, the MS., from which A has been copied, appears to have been more closely related than to the Provençal version, from which it certainly is not derived. As the liberties which the author of Sir Ferumbras took in translating his original, consist only in very slight modifications, we may conclude ‹xxii› from his closeness of translation in general, that in those passages of A which exhibit significant deviations from the known French versions, these variations are not due to the composer of the Ashmolean poem, but were already to be found in its original. Therefore the Ashmole Ferumbras may be considered as representing by itself the translation of an independent French MS., which perhaps belonged, or at least was nearly related, to the type y.

I now come to the consideration of the Sowdan of Babylone, which the simple analysis given by Ellis,45 shows to be an essentially different work from the Ashmolean Ferumbras. Indeed, whilst the Syr Ferumbras represents only a portion (viz. the second part) of the original Fierabras [or Balan, as Gaston Paris has styled it],46 the Sowdan approaches the original more nearly in that it contains the long ‘introductory account’.47 For this first part of the Sowdan (as far as l. 970), although it cannot be considered as identical with the first portion of the old Balan romance, contains several facts, which, however abridged and modified, show a great resemblance with those which must have been the subject of the lost portion of the old original. Whereas the Ashmolean Ferumbras is, on the whole, a mere translation of a French original, the Sowdan must be looked upon as a free reproduction of the English redactor, who, though following his original as far as regards the course of events, modelled the matter given there according to his own genius, and thus came to compose an independent work of his own.

This point being fully treated in my Dissertation,48 I need not again enter into discussion of it here. I only mention that the composer of the Sowdan has much shortened his original, omitting all episodes and secondary circumstances not necessarily connected with the principal action, so that this poem does not contain half the number of lines which his original had,49 and that the proportion of the diffuse Ashmolean Ferumbras and the Sowdan is over five to one.50 ‹xxiii›

The subject of the ‘introductory account,’ or the first part of the Sowdan, is nearly the same as that of the Destruction de Rome, differing from this poem only in the omission of a few insignificant incidents or minor episodes, and in greater conciseness, which latter circumstances, however, enters into the general plan of the author.

Indeed, the author of the Sowdan seems to have known the Destruction, as we see from a comparison of the two poems. Thus the following instances show a great resemblance of expression of the two versions:

Sowdan. Destruction.
37 ‘With kinges xii and admyralles xiv’ 420 ‘Ensemble ou li issirent xv roi corone Et xiv amaceours’
1154 ‘Bien i a xxx roi et xiv admiré’
689 ‘xxx roi sont ou li et xiv amaceours’
163 ‘Et xiv amaceours’
77 ‘The Romaynes robbed us anone’ 115
‘De cels de Romenie que m’ont fait desrobber. Tiel avoir m’ont robbé’
75 ‘to presente you’ 119 ‘vous quidai presenter’
76 ‘a drift of wedir us droffe to Rome’ 120 ‘Uns vens nous fist à Rome parmi le far sigler’
110 ‘An hundred thousande’ 217 ‘Par C fois M payen’
128 ‘To manace with the Cristene lore’ 228 ‘pour François menacier’
332 ‘Et menace François pour faire les loye’
‘Oure sheldes be not broke nothinge, Hawberkes, spere, ner poleyne, ner pole’ 546
‘Quant encor nen est lance quassée ne brusie, Ne halbers derompus, ne fors targe percie’
‘Lukafere, Kinge of Baldas, The countrey hade serchid and sought, Ten thousande maidyns fayre of face Unto the Sowdan hath he broghte’ 613
‘Lucafer de Baldas discent al mestre tre, Devant l’amirail vint, forment l’a encline: Voyant tot ses barnages l’a l’eschec presente, Moignes, prestres et lais, que sont enchenee, Hermites et enfants, a tous lor poign lié; As femmes et pucels les os furent bende, Totes vives presentent par devant l’admiré.’
228 ss. ‘The Sowdane commaunded hem anone That thai shulde al be slayne . . . He saide “My peple nowe ne shalle With hem noughte defouled be”’ 614 ‘Maintenant soient tot occis et descoupé. Ne voil que mi serjant en soient encombré.’
278 ‘He clepede his engynour Sir Mavone’ 908 ‘Sortibrans a mande Mabon l’engineor’
289 ‘Mahoundis benysone thou shalt haue’ 627 ‘Mahon te benoie’
925 ‘Mahon te doint honor’ ‹xxiv›
286 ‘And fille the dikes faste anoone’ 934 ‘Si emplirons les fosses’
293 ‘Men myght go even to the walle’ 918 ‘K’om poet aler al mure’
952 ‘K’om pooit bien au mur et venir et aler’
307 ‘The hethen withdrowe hem tho’ 979 ‘Payen se sont retrait’
317 ‘His baner knowe I ful welle’ 997 ‘Jeo ai bien ses armes conu et avisee’
331 ‘He entred to the maistre toure’ 1011 ‘Tantost le mestre porte aurons moult bien ferme’
332 ‘The firste warde thus they wonne’ 1057 ‘Mais tot le premier bail ont Sarasin pople’
‘And Estragot with him he mette With bores hede, blake and donne. For as a bore an hede hadde And a grete mace stronge as stele. He smote Savaryz as he were madde’ 1090
‘Estragot le poursuit, uns geans diffaes, Teste avoit com senglers, si fu rois coronés. El main tient une mace de fin ascier trempé, Un coup a Savariz desur le chef done’
587 ‘Therfore Gy of Bourgoyne! Myn owen nevewe so trewe’ 1179 ‘Et Guion de Bourgoyne a a lui apelle, Fils est de sa soror et de sa parente: Cosins, vous en irrés . .’
647 ‘He smote of the traytours hede’ 1236 ‘Le chief al portier trenche’
648 ‘And saide “Gode gife him care, Shal he never more ete brede, All traitours evel mot thai fare”’ 1244 ‘“Diex” fist il “te maldie et que t’ont engendré, Kar traitour au darain averont mal dehé.”’
663 ‘Ferumbras to Seinte Petris wente’ 1260 ‘Al moustier de saint Piere est Fierenbras ales’
727 ‘Thre hundred thousande of sowdeours’ 1403 ‘iii C mil chevaliers’
743 ‘Sir Gye aspied his comynge,
He knewe the baner of Fraunce,
He wente anoone ayen the Kinge,
And tolde him of that myschaunce,
Howe that the cursed sowdone,
Hath brent Rome and bore the relequis awaye’
1409 ‘Guis parceut le baniere le roi de saint Dine, Encontre lui chevalche, la novele ont conté Come la fort cité li payen ont gasté; La corone et les clous d’iloec en sont robbé Et les altres reliques . .’
771 ‘Wynde him blewe ful fayre and gode’ 1425 ‘Li vens en fiert es voilles que les a bien guies’
778 ‘To londe thai wente iwis’ 1427 ‘il sont en terre entré’
783 ‘Tithinggis were tolde to Lavan’ 1436 ‘Les noveles en vindrent al soldan diffaié’
787 ‘With three hundred thousand of bacheleris’ 1443 ‘iii C mile François’

Other instances of resemblance may be found in the following passages:

S 49–50 = D 94–99;51 S 103 = D 202, 209; S 119 = D 385; S 146 = D 445–46; S 150 = D 503–4; S 157 = D 509; S 300 = D 967; ‹xxv› S 303 = D 915; S 396 = D 977; S 312 = D 989; S 340 = D 1063; S 360 = D 1101; S 376 = D 1119, 1121; S 377 = D 1133; S 380 = D 1136; S 699 = D 1379; S 723 = D 1384, &c., &c.

Besides, there are some names which occurring in none of the French versions, but in the Destruction, point to this poem as to the original of the Sowdan. Thus Savaris52 (S 171) seems to be taken from D 540.

Astragot or Estragot, S 346, 2944, 3022, the name of the giant by whom Savaris is slain, and who is said to be the husband of Barrock, occurs in D 1090.

The Ascopartes, a people subjected to the Soudan, are mentioned in D 98, 426, but not in F or P.

King Lowes, in the context where it occurs (S 24) is clearly taken from D 9.

Iffrez, S 165, is perhaps the same as Geffroi in D 1139, 1367, 1122.

[Mounpelers, S 3228, occurs only in D 250, 286.]

Persagyn, S 1259, seems to be identical with Persagon, D 162.

The form Laban is only met with in the Destruction, the French and the Provençal versions, and the Ashmole Ferumbras reading Balan.53

The name of the Soudan’s son, Ferumbras, is explained by the form Fierenbras, which occurs in D 57, 66, 71, 91, 343, 1210, 1237, besides the spelling Fierabras, which is the only one used in the French, the Provençal and Caxton’s versions.

Also the phrase ‘sowdan’ seems to have been derived from the Destruction (l. 1436, ‘soldan’), as it does not occur in any other version.

The great number of these resemblances seem evidently to point out the Destruction as the original of the first portion of the Sowdan; the few points in which the two versions differ not being such as to offer convincing arguments against this supposition. ‹xxvi›

Indeed if, for instance, we find a lot of nations, the names of which are not in D, mentioned by the author of the poem as belonging to the Soudan’s empire, this point can be considered as irrelevant, as from many other instances we know how fond many composers of mediæval romances were of citing geographical names, by the great number of which they believed to show their knowledge in that science.54 Also the three names of Saints (Qwyntyn, Symon, Fremond55), and the names of five Saracen gods and of a Saracen bishop,56 many of which, moreover, seem to be inserted only for the sake of rhyme, cannot be regarded as being of great consequence in establishing the source of the Sowdan. Others also, as Oliborn, Focard, Hubert, Gyndard, Tamper (the last occurring twice as a rhyme-word), being the names of insignificant characters, may be looked upon as mere expletives. Another variation is Isrez (ll. 625, 641) for Tabour (D 1202).

Besides these variations in the names contained in the two poems, we find in the Sowdan some slight modifications as to the matter related; none of which, however, is of so significant a character, as necessarily to point to some other original than the Destruction, which the very striking points of resemblance above cited show almost decisively to have been the original of the Sowdan. The differences in the subject-matter may be explained by the tendency of the poet to follow his original only as far as the principal events are concerned, but to have his own way in the arrangement of the subject-matter, and especially to deal freely with secondary incidents.

Thus he may have thought the combat round Château-Miroir—which, moreover, is related in the Destruction in a rather obscure and confused style—to be a rather episodical incident, which he had better leave out in his poem, as not advancing the principal course of events.

A similar explanation may be given of the fact, that the account of Lukafer’s desiring the hand of Floripas is given on another occasion in the Sowdan than in the Destruction. In the Destruction, l. 241, Lucafer claims that maiden immediately on arriving in the ‹xxvii› Soudan’s camp, as a reward for his having travelled such a long way in Laban’s service. The poet of the Sowdan thinking, perhaps, that this was not a sufficient reason to justify such a claim, mentions this incident at another time, which he may have considered as more properly chosen for demanding a reward. It is on returning from a victorious expedition undertaken by Lukafer that the latter in the Sowdan, ll. 224–242, asks for the hand of Floripas.

As to the following or second part of the Sowdan, on the whole the same subject is treated of as in the Ashmole Ferumbras. But there are many differences between the two poems.

In the Sowdan, l. 1411 et seq., Roland is captured by the Saracens at the same time as Oliver, and both on being conducted before Laban at once avow their names. In the Ashmole MS., ll. 909, &c., Oliver is led away to the Soudan together with Gwylmer, Berard, Geoffrey, and Aubray, whereas Roland is among the French peers whom Charlemagne sends on a mission to Laban to demand the surrender of Oliver.57

The names of the twelve peers do not agree in both poems. In the Sowdan we find the following list (cf. ll. 1653 et seq., and ll. 1730, 880):—Roland, Oliver, Duk Neymes of Bavere, Oger Danoys, Tery Lardeneys, Folk Baliante, Aleroyse of Loreyne, Miron of Braban, Bishop Turpyn, Bernard of Spruwse, Bryer of Mountez,58 Guy of Bourgoyne.59—Richard of Normandye, although a most important personage, is not included amongst the Douzeperes. Nor is Guenelyn mentioned as a peer of France. Four of these names, Folk Baliant, Turpyn, Bernard of Spruwse, Aleroyse of Loreyne, do not occur at all in the Ashmolean Ferumbras.60

The new game which Lucafer wants to teach Neymes, is differently described in the two poems, there being no mention made in the Ashmol. MS. (ll. 2231 et seq.) of the thread, needle, and coal, as spoken of in ll. 1998–2000 of the Sowdan. ‹xxviii›

In the Sowdan, l. 2507, Laban, being engaged with his gods, seizes the image of Mahound and smashes it. This incident is omitted in Syr Ferumbras (ll. 3345).

In the Ashmole MS., ll. 5760 et seq., Ferumbras tries to persuade his father to become a Christian, whilst Floripas urges Charles not to delay in putting him to death. In the Sowdan, l. 3156 et seq., there is no mention of either of them interfering either for or against their father.

Ashm. MS., ll. 130 et seq., differs greatly from the corresponding passage in the Sowdan (ll. 1647 et seq.). In the latter poem the knights are pulled up from their dungeon with a rope, whilst in the former they have their fetters taken off by means of a sledge-hammer, anvil, and tongs, &c.

In the Sowdan, l. 3044, Richard of Normandy is left back as a governor of Mantrible; in the Ashmole version, l. 4881 et seq., Raoul and Howel are ordered to keep that place, whereas Richard accompanies Charlemagne (cf. l. 5499).

In the Ashm. MS., l. 5209, Neymes sees first Charles coming with his host; in the Sowdan, l. 3083, it is Floripas who first discovers the banner of France.

The prayer which Charlemagne, seeing Oliver in distress, addressed to Christ, in the Sowdan, l. 1304 et seq., is not mentioned in the Ashm. version.

The account of the duel between Oliver and Ferumbras differs considerably in the two versions. In the Ashmolean MS., l. 580, the incident of Oliver assisting Ferumbras to arm (cf. Sowdan, 1158) is omitted, and it is not Oliver (as in the Sowdan, l. 1270) who is disarmed, but Ferumbras, whom his adversary offers to accept his own sword back (Ashm. MS., l. 680).

In the Ashmolean version, l. 102, Ferumbras offers to fight at once with twelve of Charles’s knights; in the corresponding passage of the Sowdan, l. 1067, he challenges only six.

In the Sowdan, l. 1512 et seq., Floripas advises her father not to slay the captive peers, but to detain them as hostages that might be exchanged for Ferumbras. In the Ashm. MS., l. 1178, it is not Floripas, but Lamasour, who gives that advice to the amirant. ‹xxix›

As in many of the variations, mentioned just before, there are many omissions in the Ashmole MS., which are related in the Sowdan, it becomes evident that the Ashmolean version cannot have been the original from which the Sowdan was copied, which is also proved by several names occurring in the Sowdan, but which are not to be found in Syr Ferumbras. Thus, for instance, the names of Espiard, Belmore, Fortibrance, Tamper,61 do not occur at all in the Ashmolean version, whereas other names have quite a different form in the latter poem. For Generyse, S 1135, 1239, we find Garin, A 216, 443; Barrock, S 2939, 2943, 3022 = Amyote, A 4663; Alagolofur, S 2135, 2881 = Agolafre, A 3831, 4327; and Laban is always spelt Balan in the Ashmolean poem, &c.

Now as there are some passages where the Sowdan, while it differs from the Ashm. MS., corresponds with the French Fierabras, we might be inclined to think that poem to be the original of the Sowdan. Thus Charlemagne’s prayer and the name of Bishop Turpin, which are omitted in the Ashm. MS., occur in the French Fierabras. But there are several differences between the Sowdan and the French poem.

In the Fierabras, l. 1933, the French prisoners, on being brought before the Soudan, do not avow their true names as they do in the Sowdan, l. 1498.

In the French poem, l. 704, Oliver tells his adversary his name before the fight begins; in the Sowdan, l. 1249, he does not confess his true name until they had fought for a considerable time.

In the Fierabras, l. 1043, Oliver drinks of the bottles of balm, which is not mentioned in the Sowdan, l. 1190.

Again, Fierabras, ll. 1329 ss., where Ferumbras having disarmed Oliver, tells him to take his sword back again, does not agree with ll. 1279–82 of the Sowdan.

Instead of Floripas (S 1515), Brulans advises the Soudan not to slay the prisoners in F 1949.

The French knight slain at the sally of the captives is called Bryer in S 2604, but Basin in F 3313. ‹xxx›

Concerning the sacred relics there is no mention made of the cross (S 3236) in the French poem, and the signe, i. e. ‘the shroud or winding-sheet of the Lord’62 (F 6094), is omitted in the Sowdan.

Besides these variations of the two versions there is an incident of Marsedag being killed by Guy, and buried by the Saracens (S 2247–2274), which being omitted in the Fierabras proves that the author of the Sowdan cannot have followed the French poem, or at least not that version which is edited by MM. Krœber and Servois.

Similarly there is no mention made in the French Fierabras of Bryer being charged to take care of the relics and of Charles’s treasure (S 3204).

The game of blowing burning coals is related in Sowdan, l. 1996 ss., with several details which are wanting in the French poem, l. 2907.

The names also do not always agree in both versions. Thus we find Generyse, S 1139, for Garin, F 438; Mapyn, S 2325, for Maubrun, F 3046; Alagolofur, S 2135, for Agolafre, F 4290 or Golafre, F 4267, 4383; Bryer, S 2604, for Basin, F 3313; Maragounde, S 1563, for Marabunde, F 2196; Boloyne, S 3238, for St. Denis, F 6199; Barokke, S 2939, and Espiard, S 2145, are not mentioned at all in the French Fierabras, nor does Belmore, S 3122, occur in the Fierabras, either in the corresponding passage, F 5867, or elsewhere.

On the fact that the names of the twelve peers (see above, p. xxvii) differ in the Sowdan from those mentioned in the Fierabras, too much stress need not, I think, be laid, as it might be explained by the simple inadvertence of the composer. The poet in freely reproducing his source, which he generally followed pretty closely as far as relates the course of events, well remembered the names of the principal French knights; but having forgotten those of less important characters, some of whom do not appear again in the poem, and being obliged to fill up their number of twelve, might have placed any names which he remembered having met with somewhere ‹xxxi› as included in the list of the douzeperes. By an oversight he omitted to mention Richard, whom however we see appear afterwards.63

Similarly the names of Laban and Ferumbras for Balan and Fierabras afford no convincing proof of the impossibility of the French Fierabras being the original of the second part of the Sowdan, as the poet, having found those spellings in the Destruction, the source of the first portion of his romance, might simply have retained them for the whole poem.

But reviewing all the facts of the case, and taking into account those passages which relate incidents omitted in the Fierabras, and which the author of the Sowdan therefore cannot have taken from that poem—and further taking into account the several differences between the two versions, which, it may be admitted, generally speaking, are only slight ones—the French Fierabras, i. e. the version edited by MM. Krœber and Servois, which represents the group w (see before, p. xix, footnote), cannot have been the original of the second part of the Sowdan.

Proceeding now to a comparison of the Sowdan with the Escorial MS.,64 we have not found any passage where S differing from F agrees with E, as E and F generally have in those places the same reading. Therefore the Escorial MS. cannot be regarded as the original of the Sowdan.

Unfortunately the fragment printed from the Hanover MS. is too short to allow of an exact comparison with that version. We only know65 that some names, the spelling of which in the Sowdan differs from that in the other versions, have the same form in the Hanover MS. as in the Sowdan. Thus we find the following names agreeing in both versions: Lucafer, Maragonde, Maupyn. Only instead of Laban which is used in the Sowdan, we read Balan. In the fragment printed by Grœber,66 we find the name of the Soudan’s son ‹xxxii› with the same spelling as in the Destruction, Fierenbras, which is nearer to Ferumbras than Fierabras.67

This resemblance of the names contained in the two versions might lead us to believe the Hanover MS. of Fierabras to be the original of the second part of the Sowdan, just as the Destruction, found in the same MS., is the original of the first part. But as, according to Gaston Paris, the Hanoverian version “is the same as the printed text, differing only in slight variations of readings,”68 we may suppose it likely that in all passages where the Sowdan differs from the printed Fierabras, it also differs from the Hanover MS. Nevertheless, as the differences between the Sowdan and the printed Fierabras are, on the whole, not very significant; for the several instances of omission in the Sowdan, being easily accounted for by the general plan of the poet, cannot be regarded as real variations; and as some names, the spelling of which differs in S and F, are found to be identical in S and H, we might, perhaps, be entitled to think the second part of the Sowdan to be founded on a MS. similar to the Hanover one.

It still remains for us to compare the Sowdan with the Provençal version.

In most cases where S differs from F, it also differs from P, therefore S cannot have taken those variations of readings from the Provençal poem.

The account of the knights sent on a mission to Laban, in S 1663–1738, considerably differs from the corresponding passage in P 2211 ss.

In P the scene of the whole poem is placed in Spain, there is no mention of the combat before Rome,69 as in the first part of the Sowdan.

The game of blowing a coal, S 1996 ss., is not mentioned in the Provençal version.

From these variations, taken at random out of a greater number, ‹xxxiii› it becomes evident that the Provençal poem has not been the original of the Sowdan.

If now we compare the Sowdan with Caxton’s version, which we know to be simply a translation of the French prose romance of Fierabras;70 the few following instances of differences between C and S will show at once, that also that version from which the prose romance was copied or compiled71 cannot have been the original of the Sowdan.

There are several variations in the names contained in the two versions. Thus we find Ballant in C for Laban in S; Fyerabras in C for Ferumbras in S; Garin, C 55/3 = Generyse, S 1135; Amyotte, C 176/26 = Barrokk, S 1135, &c. The game of blowing a coal is told with more details in S 1998, and somewhat differently from C 118/24; the incident of Laban’s seizing the image of Mahound and smashing it, which is related in S 2507, is omitted in C, &c.

Looking back now to our investigation concerning the original of the Sowdan, we sum up what results from it, in the following resumé:

Most probably the Destruction de Rome is the original of the first part of the Sowdan. As to the second part, we are unable to identify it with any of the extant versions. The French Fierabras, as edited by MM. Krœber and Servois, is not the original, but the differences between the two poems are not significant; apparently a version similar to the Hanover MS. may be thought to be the original.

The Sowdan is no translation, but a free reproduction of its originals; the author of the Sowdan following his sources only as far as concerns the course of the principal events, but going his own independent way in arranging the subject-matter as well as in many minor points.

The Sowdan differs from the poem of Syr Ferumbras in two principal points:

(1) In being an original work, not in the conception, but in the treatment of the subject-matter, whereas the Ashmole Ferumbras is little more than a mere translation. ‹xxxiv›

(2) In representing, in its first portion, the first part of the old Balan romance, whereas Syr Ferumbras contains only the second. But as that second part of the old Balan romance appears to be considerably modified and greatly amplified in the Ashmole Ferumbras, so the first part of the Sowdan contains a likewise modified, but much shortened, narration of the first part of the old Balan poem, so that the Sowdan has arrived to become quite a different work from the original Balan or Fierabras romance, and that a reconstruction of the contents of that old poem would be impossible from the Sowdan.


AS regards the language of the Sowdan, the first point is the dialect. Looking at the plurals of the present indicative in -en or -n, we at once detect the Midland peculiarities of the poem. Thus we find, l. 1331, gone rhyming with one, l. 1010, goon : camalyon, l. 506, gone : than, l. 1762, lyven : gyfen, l. 1816, byleven : even.

The verbal forms of the singular present indicative and of the second person sing. preterite of weak verbs lead us to assign this poem to an East-Midland writer. The 2nd and 3rd person singular present indicative end in -est, -eth; and the 2nd person sing. preterite of weak verbs exhibits the inflection -est: l. 1202, goist : moost; 1314, 1715, knowest; 1344, trowest; 1154, blowest; 1153, saiest; 2292, forgetist; 560, doist; 1193, doistowe;—1093, goth : wroth, 1609 : loth, 1620 : doth; 1728, sleith : deth; 561, sholdest; 1244, shuldist; 603, madist; 563, hadist; 2219, askapedist, &c.—Twice we find the 2nd person preterite without -est (made, wroght); but see the note to l. 2.

If, now, we examine the phonological and inflectional peculiarities of the Sowdan, we find them thoroughly agreeing with those of other East-Midland works,72 which still further confirms the supposition of the East-Midland origin of the poem. ‹xxxv›

I or y, the descendants of original u (which in Old English [Anglo-Saxon] had already become y or i in consequence of i- mutation or umlaut)—are found rhyming with original i:—ll. 449, 881, kyn : him, 2060 : wynne; 1657, fille : stille; 1973, fire : desire, &c. It must, however, be noted that the rhyme king : inne (l. 372) or king : thing (ll. 173, 236) cannot be regarded as an East-Midland peculiarity, because king, drihten, chikken, the i of which is a modification of original u, are to be met with in all Middle-English dialects, as has been shown by Professor Zupitza in the Anzeiger für deutsches Altertum, vol. vi. p. 6.

Old English short a, which is liable to change into o, appears in this poem—

(1) always as o, before n- combinations (nd, nt, ng):—531, stronge : istonge; 3166, bronte : fonte; 214, amonge : longe, &c.

(2) as a, before the single consonants m and n:—1120, name : shame, 935 : same, 1739 : grame; 785, 1773, man : Lavan; 3125, came : Lavan (cf. 2579, Lavan : tane); 2160, came : dame, &c.—The fact that com (ll. 547, 1395, 3095, &c.) is used as well as cam as sing. preterite indic. need occasion no difficulty if we remember that the original short a (or o) of cam (or com) had already been lengthened into ô in the O.E. period.73 Came and come as pret. sing. are employed indifferently in Chaucer as well as in the Celestin (ed. Horstmann, Anglia, i. 56), which is known to have been composed in the East-Midland dialect.

O long, from O.E. â, in our poem has that broad sound which is peculiar to the East-Midland dialect. We find it rhyming with—

(1) original ô:—1025, wrothe : sothe; 801, goo : doo; 60, inowe : blowe; 325, so : ido, &c.

(2) unchangeable a:—257, Aufricanes : stoones; 506, gon : than; 2049, agoon : Lavan, &c.

As many East-Midland works74 the Sowdan has three forms for O.E. þâr:—thare, thore, there, all of which are established by the rhyme:—1805, thore : Egremoure (cf. 2895, Egremoure : tresoure, 1003, Agremore : more); 126, thore : lore; 430, thare : sware; ‹xxxvi› 2245, there : chere, 2404 : bere; 2604, there : were (wae with circumflex, non-italicron), 208 : were (werian), &c.

We likewise find sore and sare75 (O.E. sâre):—1196, sore : more; 166, sare : care; 1377, sore : thore.

The O.E. diphthongs ea and eo and the O.E. ŷ (mutated from êa or êo) appear as e in this poem:—1595, me : see, 632 : fee, 1339 : free, 405 : be; 1535, depe : slepe; 1011, 1523, dere : here; 963, yere : vere, 1257 : Olyvere; 996, nere : were; 596, 1528, nede : spede; 1702, eke : speke; 1726, leke : speke; 184, 215, 1208, shelde : felde; 2530, hevene : elevene, &c.

A brief summary of the grammatical inflexions employed in the poem will also give evidence of a great similarity with the forms used by other East-Midland writers, and will serve to show that the language of the Sowdan agrees closely with that of Chaucer.

In the declension of substantives the only remnant of case-formation by means of inflexions is the ending used to form the Genitive Singular and the Plural.

The genitive singular of nouns ends in es (sometimes written -is or ys) for all genders:—356, develes; 1209, stedes; 849, worldis; 1804, worldes; 3035, dammes; 1641, nedes; 1770, shippes; 1072, faderis.

Substantives ending in -s in the nominative case, remain unchanged in the genitive case:—1214, 1287, Ferumbras; 2006, Naymes; 3207, Charles; 1639, 1350, Floripas.—Florip, l. 614, is the genitive case of Floripe or Florip, l. 2027, 1571.

The nominative plural of all genders is formed by -es (-is, -ys) or -s:—919, knightes, 1947, 2276, knightis; 1384, horses, 1401, horsys; 429, 2054, gatis; 192, wordes; 837, swerdes; 174, hedes; 2289, ladies; 3271, soules; 26, bokes; 606, peres; 297, tours, &c. Examples of a plural case without s are seen in thinge, l. 2, 1709:—O.E. þing; honde, 987, O.E. handa, as well as hondes, 1412, 2568; frende, 3212, O.E. frŷnd, as well as frendes, 1011, O.E. frêondas. Other plurals which are equally easily explained by their O.E. forms are:—eyen, 825, O.E. êagan; shoone, 1381, O.E. scêon; fete, 1403, O.E. fêt, fote, 1427, O.E. fôtum, 2673, O.E. fôta. ‹xxxvii›

To mark the difference between the definite and indefinite forms of adjectives is a difficult task; as the final -e had in most cases already become silent in the poet’s dialect, it seems probable that he no longer observed the distinction.

The pronouns are the same as in Chaucer and in other East-Midland poems:—I, me, thou, the; he, hym; sche, her and hir; it and hit (cf. note to l. 41); we, us; ye, you. The plural of the personal pronoun of the 3rd person is thai and he (cf. note to l. 2698) for the nominative case; hem, and in some doubtful passages (see note to l. 88) thaym for the accusative case.

As in Chaucer, the pronoun of the 2nd person is often joined to the verb:—hastow 1680, maistow 1826, shaltow 1669, woltow 1727, wiltow 1151, artow 1967, kanstow 2335, &c.

Possessive pronouns:—myn and thyn are used before vowels and before h; my, thy before consonants. Only once, l. 90, my is placed before a vowel. His, hire and here; our, your; here and (twice, 623, 1244) thair.

The demonstrative pronouns are this, these or thes; that.

The definite article the or þe, is used for all cases singular and plural. But we find besides, the following examples of inflexion:—tho, 2063, O.E. þâ, and the accusative sing. þon, 108. In l. 2052, tho means ‘them, those’ = Lat. eos. Tha, l. 2639, seems to be a mistake of the scribe, it is perhaps miswritten for þat (day), cf. l. 619.

Men, 115, 1351, and me, 287, are used as indefinite pronouns. Everyche, every, everychone occur frequently. Note also ichoon 2774, ilka 2016; thilke 2644, eche 1865.

That or þat, who, whome are used as relative pronouns. The interrogative pronouns are who and what.

Verbs. The plural imperative ends in -eth or -th, which, however, we find frequently omitted, as in l. 194, prove you, 2078 proveth; 2131 sende, 167 sendith; telle 1977, tellyth 1625, &c.

The -n of the infinitive mood is often dropped, as in Chaucer:—274, 1588, sene : bene; 1124, see : tre; 658 : cite; 600, be : cite; 1225 : contre; 1411, flee : cite; 3065, fleen : men; 1282, sloo : mo; 792, sloone : one, &c.

The final -(e)n of past participles of strong verbs is in most cases ‹xxxviii› dropped, as in Chaucer:—3176 forlorne: borne, 32 born, 3011 wonne, 21 wonnen, 2756 comen : nomen, 155 come, 2476 holpe, 1362 bygote, 1026 blowe, &c.

Weak verbs form their past participles in -ed, -d, -et, -t, much as in Chaucer:—lerned 3042, eyde 1648, toolde 670, bogt 111, delte 526, displaied 133.

The prefix i- or y- occurs sometimes, icome 784, come 155, istonge 533, itake 49, taken 1430, &c.

The present participles end in -inge and ande, as is often the case in East-Midland works:—2831 prikande : comande, 435 cryande, 924 makande, 3225 mornynge : kynge, 2399 slepynge : honde, where evidently slepande is the true reading.

As in Chaucer the 2nd person preterite of strong verbs is sometimes formed by -est or -ist, letist 2167; but we find also regular forms, as in slough 1259, where, however, the O.E. e (slôge) is already dropped.

The -en or -n of the preterite plural and of past participles is commonly dropped, ronnen 3007, ronne 2959, took 477, tokene 2621, slough 78, sloughen 401, ido 327: so, &c.

The -d in the past participles and in the preterite of weak verbs is sometimes omitted, as often happens in East-Midland works. Thus we find comforte 2242 and comforted 312, commaunde 57 and commaunded 228, graunte 607, liste 1132, list 1966, discumfite 1464, &c. On the same analogy we find light 1125, 1189, and lighted 3109, worth 1203, and worthed 1163.

As regards the final -e’s, it may be remarked that the scribe has added many final -e’s, where the rules would not lead us to suspect them, and has often given a final -e to words which in other passages of the poem, although similarly used, have no e:—note 245, 274, not 255, 313; howe 19, how 275; undere 61, under 713; bute 247, but 8; cooste 202, coost 3062; crafte 424, craft 2335; ashamede 1295, ashamed 558, &c.

This is due either to carelessness on the part of the scribe, or perhaps to the fact that in the speech of the copyist the final e’s had already become altogether silent, so that finding many words ending in -e and not knowing its meaning, he considered it as a mere ‹xxxix› “ornament in writing” (Ellis, Pronunciation, i. 338), and sometimes added, sometimes omitted it.

With respect to the composer of the Sowdan himself, there may be some doubt left whether in his speech the final e had become altogether silent, or was still pronounced occasionally. From the following instances it may be concluded with certainty that the poet very frequently did not sound the final e:—757 boghtẹ : noght, 3154 hat : fat, 961 wrongẹ : distruccion, 556 onlacẹ : was; cf. also 1383, 1611, 2163; 2795 spékẹ we of Ríchard, 2999 fought, 2093, 859 bringẹ, 9, 2547 keptẹ, 834 wentẹ, 142 comẹ, 713 wodẹ.

In other cases there is no certainty whether the final e is quite silent or must be slightly pronounced or slurred over, so as to form trisyllabic measures. It must be noted, however, that in supposing trisyllable measures in all these doubtful cases, the number of this kind of measure will increase to a great amount in the Sowdan. Therefore I rather incline to think the final e silent also in the following instances:—2090 défendẹ this place, 1201 brékẹ both báke, 861 cómẹ from ál, 2119 askẹ consaile, 1597 wólẹ these traítours, 1783 whéns comẹ yé, 2317 pássẹ that brígge, 1100 rónnẹ bytwéne, 2997 fóught so lónge, 175 brokẹ nothinge, 1658 béddẹ with ríght, 713 grénẹ wodẹ síde, 571 hómẹ to Rómẹ that nýght, 1610 the fáls jailoúr feddẹ yoúr prisonére, 2152 fáls traitóurs of Fránce, 921 chárged the yónge with ál, 380 aboútẹ midnýghte, 726 sóne to hím, 160 únneth not óne [Chaucer still pronounces unnethë].

Nevertheless there seems to be some instances where the final e is to be sounded, as in ll. 298, 2790, 1332, 1619, 2740, 592, 2166, 2463, 1405, 2386, 895, 332, 91.

Final en also seems sometimes not to constitute a separate syllable:—1365 waítitalic letters  en with dots uppon mé, 459 brékitalic letters en with dots our wállis, 45 slépitalic letters en with dots with ópyne ýȝe, 485 cómitalic letters en with dots by the cóst, 2313 díditalic letters en with dots it aboút, &c.

In all these cases n had very probably already fallen off in the speech of the poet, as the following examples lead us to suppose:—178 wynne : him, 1582 dye : biwry, 2309 shewe  : trewe, 2107 slépe to lónge, 861 cóme from ál, &c.

As regards the final es of nouns, the poet seems to have observed the same rules as those followed by Chaucer; viz. es is sounded when ‹xl› joined to monosyllabic stems; it does not increase the number of syllables (and therefore is often spelt-s instead of-es), when the stem has two or more syllables:—197, 277 goddës, 665 nailës, 445 tentës, 2068 tentïs, 174, 1799 hedës, 2032, 2868 swerdës, 2327 wallës, 1209 stedës, 1770 shippës, 2702 somers, 2687, 2591 felowes, 2660 felows, 2412 maydyns, 647, 1597 traytours, 2036 orders, 45 lovers, 2612, 3098 develes, 1072 faderis, 203, 862 sowdons, 881 sarsyns.

The final es of adverbs seems no longer to constitute a separate syllable:—2213 hónged’ els bý, 2786 éls had’ hé, 2109 éllis I may sínge, 1525 élles wol’ hé, 2061 théns, 1783 whens.


THE poem is composed in four-line stanzas. The arrangement of the rhyme is such that the 1st and 3rd lines rhyme together, and the 2nd and 4th together, which gives the following rhyme-formula: a b a b. The rhyme-endings employed in one stanza do not occur again in the next following.

But it must be noticed that there seem to occur some instances of eight-line stanzas, one of which, beginning at l. 1587, is built on the model employed by Chaucer. Others are arranged differently. Those beginning at ll. 1059 and 1219 show the rhyme-formula a b a b a c a c, in that of l. 1411 the 2nd and 4th lines are rhymed together, and the 5th and 7th, whilst the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th, all end with the same rhyme. The formula for the stanzas beginning at ll. 807, 879, 1611 is a b a b c b c b. In the stanza of l. 939 all the pair lines are rhymed together, and the odd ones also, which is the only instance in the poem of eight consecutive lines having only two rhyme-endings, as generally eight lines show four different rhyme-endings, and three only in the passages cited above. But the whole stanza of l. 939 seems not to be due to the author; he has very probably borrowed it from some other poem.76

Turning now our attention to the fact that the lines occurring between the Initials or Capital Letters, which are met with in some passages in the MS., are often divisible by eight, we might feel ‹xli› inclined to regard this as an additional reason for considering the stanza employed in the Sowdan as an eight-line one. Indeed, the portion from the Initial of l. 1679 to the next one of l. 1689 might be taken for one single stanza. The 24 lines from l. 575 (beginning with an Initial) to the next Initial in l. 598 might equally be considered as three stanzas, whilst there are 5 times 8 lines = 5 eight-line stanzas from the Initial of l. 2755 to the next Initial in l. 2795.

In all these instances the supposition of eight-line stanzas would suit the context, as is the case also with other passages. Thus in the following cases it might seem as though eight lines taken together were more closely connected and made better sense than four lines, e. g. ll. 583–598, 1703–1710, 1679–1686, 939–962, 1043–1050, 244 ss., 455 ss., 631 ss., 1059 ss.

But, on the other hand, it must be borne in mind that there are also a great many cases where, as regards the sense, four lines can be considered as an independent whole, when, e. g., the speech spoken by a person is contained in four lines, and the words of another person replying to the first follow in the next four lines. Very often also these next four lines contain only a part of the second person’s reply, so that the remainder of his reply falls into the following stanza. This ‘enjambement’ or continuation of the sense, and sometimes of the syntactical construction from one stanza to another, need not, of course, prevent us from admitting the supposition of eight-line stanzas; as, upon the whole, it is met with in all poems composed in stanzas, and as it is frequently used in Le Morte Arthur (Harleian MS. 2252, ed. Furnivall), which is written in eight-line stanzas; but as there is no instance known of an eight-line stanza containing four different rhyme-endings, which at this supposition it would be the case with the Sowdan, the eight-line stanzas containing either three rhyme-endings, as in Chaucer, or two, as in Le Morte Arthur, and as in some passages of the Sowdan (ll. 1691, 1695, 1699, 1711, 1715), we find Initials placed after four lines, I believe a stanza of four alternately rhyming lines to be the one intended by the composer—a metre which, according to Guest, History of Eng. Rhythms, ii. 317—‘must have been well known and familiar during the fifteenth century.’ The few eight-line stanzas quoted above, may ‹xlii› then be owing either to the inadvertence of the poet, who somewhat carelessly employed one of the two rhyme-endings of one stanza a third and fourth time in the following one, or, perhaps also, he intentionally retained that rhyme-ending, and he inserted eight-line stanzas amongst those of four verses as a mere matter of variation. It is perhaps not impossible that the retention of this rhyme-ending was not greatly felt.

As regards the rhymes themselves, they are both monosyllabic or masculine rhymes, and dissyllabic or feminine ones. Frequently they are used alternating with each other, as in the stanzas beginning with l. 2755.

Sometimes we find four feminine rhymes occurring in an unbroken succession, as in ll. 1263–66. But it must be noticed that the number of masculine rhymes is predominant. Thus the stanzas beginning with ll. 3047, 3063, 3123, 1123, 791, 1035, 1271, 1275, 2019, 1311, 1351, 1463, &c., contain only masculine rhyme-endings.

The rhymes are not always full and true; there occur many imperfect ones.

(1) A word in the singular number is often rhymed with a word in the plural number, which therefore has an additional s (or es):—797, thinge : tidyngys; 2647, fyght : knyghtes; 2087, light : knightes; 1455, cosynes : kinge; 2272, laye : dayes; 2395, 885, Ogere : peres; 2456, alle : walles; 2682, nede : stedes; 944, mone : stoones; cf. also 2376, wile : beguiled. In l. 68, poundis : dromonde; the rhyme becomes perfect in reading pounde, as in l. 2336, instead of poundis.

(2) Single n is found rhyming with n- combinations.

α. n : nd—cf. 814, ychoon : Mahounde; 912, pavilone : Mahounde; 1201, crowne : Mahounde. The rhyme, 162, Rome : houne, may be explained in the same manner, for houne stands for hounde, as it is spelt in ll. 237, 2377, 935, 1756.77

β. n : ng—cf. 2349, Mapyne : endinge; 86, Apolyne : tithinge; 370, inne : kinge; 1455, cosynes : kinge; 3249, Genelyne : kinge; 3171, serpentyne : endinge; 959, distruccion : wronge. ‹xliii›

In 614, love : vowe, the second rhyme vowe does not contain the consonant v.

(3) Rhymes imperfect as concerns the consonants.

m : n—cf. 76, Rome : one; 1672, 364 : done; 2443, 366, come : done; 747, some : soudone; 1323, came : than; 1488, came : ranne; 2128, tyme : pyne; 177, him : wynne; 2375, him : tene; 447, 859, him : kyn; 2004, hyme : skyne; 2353, him : inne.

f : v—cf. 341, twelve : selve; 415, wife : alive; 1762, gyfene : lyvene; 1912, gife : lyve. But in all these cases the rhymes are really perfect, they seem only imperfect in consequence of the copyist writing indiscriminately f and v. Thus the rhyme of l. 341 reappears in l. 1867, self : twelf. In l. 2336 we find gefe, which is written geve in l. 198; lefe, l. 764; safe, l. 864, are spelt with v in ll. 1340, 1529, 2808.

l : n—cf. l. 363, consaile : slayne. Quite similar is l. 1251, felde : sende.

p : k—l. 820, stoupe : stroke. A similar rhyme occurs in Guy, l. 10903, scapid : nakid.

d : t—l. 2868, gyrde : sterte; 1151, plete : dede.

d : p—l. 283, tyde : depe. But this rhyme is very probably owing to the scribe. For depe we ought to read wide.

A single consonant rhymes with a double consonant. The only certain instance occurs in l. 311, tyde : chidde. For in ll. 312, 317, dele : welle, we might read wele, as this word is frequently spelt in the poem; cf. ll. 385, 2618, 1173, 1651, &c. For dedde in l. 2980 (rede : dedde) we may substitute dede, which occurs in l. 2510. The rhyme glad : hadde, 2687, becomes perfect if we read gladde, which is the usual spelling of the word in the poem; cf. ll. 439, 570, 918, &c. Besides, I believe hadde to be monosyllabic. Ferre : nere l. 1575; in l. 117 we find fere.

The rhyme, l. 2654, sloughe : drowe can easily be restored in reading slowe, which occurs frequently, as in ll. 2401, 2683, 304, 2208, &c. The rhyme ane : shafe, 555, seems to be due to some clerical error.

(4) Rhymes imperfect as concerns the vowels.

a : e—2803, gate : lete; perhaps we are justified in reading late, ‹xliv› cf. Havelock, 328; l. 2752, made : dede. The rhymes thare : were, 1383; bare : there, 671; Agremare : there, 33, are really perfect ones, as we know the poet to have used thare, there, and thore indiscriminately; cf. ll. 208, 2604, 430, 1805, 1003; l. 1436, ladde : nede; 2365, ladde : bedde, the author probably pronounced ledde. For lefte, l. 2335 : craft, we may read lafte, as is shown by l. 424, lafte : crafte. In ll. 1781, 544, tene : than, the rhyme will be improved by reading then.

a : o (cf. p. xxxv)—504, thane : gone; 1143, 1079, Rolande : honde; 133, sowdone : Lavan (where we might read sowdan, as in l. 1491); 627, sowdane : towne; 2527, 1684, Roulande : londe.

i(y) : e. This rhyme also occurs in Chaucer; cf. Ellis, Pron. i. 272; see also Guy, p. xiv.—l. 21419, him : hem; 1299, dynte : lente; 523, strike : breke; 1643, mylde : shelde; 1263, togedere : thidere; 1277, wepenless : iwis; 344, shitte : mette; 2538, hende : wynde (read wende), &c.; l. 82, vilane : remedye (read vilanye, as in ll. 179, 2577); but 1015, vilane : me, cf. Guy, xi, ν—813, sle : curtesye; 895, we : lye; cf. Ellis, Pron., i. 271.

The monophthong y is rhymed with a diphthong, the second part of which is y:—l. 441, Sarsynes : Romaynes; 2761, Apolyne : agayne; 2105 : slayne; 2175 : eyne; 2280, dye : waye (cf. 1582); 589, fyne : Bourgoyne.

o: ou (ow).—l. 1023, wrothe : southe (which is written sothe in ll. 2014, 2024, 2246, 2719); 779, fonde : grounde; 260, clarione : soune; 879, lione : crowne; 2780, malison : towne, &c. Cf. also 1264, endured : covered.

o: e.—463, oost : best. The rhyme is restored in reading rest instead of oost.

o: i.—l. 966, sonne : begynne.

ue: ewe.—l. 2312, vertue : fewe. But this rhyme cannot be objected to, as “final French u (as in due) was diphthongized into eu in Chaucerian English.”78

Other irregularities are:—l. 112, douȝte : rowte; 1987, use : house; 1131, thou : lough; 1200, moost : goist; 1730, dethe : sleith; ‹xlv› 2136, pas : grace; 1611, was : mace (in which cases e is silent); 931, 1144, peris : fiers.

A line or verse generally contains four accented syllables, separated from each other by one or by two unaccented syllables, so that there are some instances of trisyllabic feet, as in ll. 817, 834, 2035, 2301, 2791, 3020, 3073, 2313, &c. In ll. 692, 695, two accented syllables are put close together without being separated by an unaccented one, which is altogether wanting. In some passages we find lines of three accented syllables alternating with those of four accents, as in ll. 575–582, 763–770, 839–846, 871–878, 2287–2290, &c. But in most cases lines with four accents follow each other in an unbroken succession, as in ll. 1–372, 995–1010, 1026–1029, 1067–1107, 1147–1154, 1731–1734, &c.

A few instances of verses with more than four accented syllables are also to be met with in the Sowdan. They are either due to the author and therefore intended, as in l. 37, where the poet almost literally imitates his original,79 or they may be considered as due to some clerical error, in which case the metre generally can be restored by a slight emendation.

A verse has generally an iambic effect, that is to say, the first foot begins with an unaccented syllable, which is followed by an accented one. Frequently, however, the first accented syllable is preceded by two unaccented ones, as in ll. 41, 75, 127, 151, 367, 849, 1060, 1815, 1819, 2289, 2758, &c. There are some instances of the first foot consisting of a single (accented) syllable only, the unaccented one being altogether wanting, as in ll. 2120, 2288, 2374, 2394, &c.


GEORGE Ellis attributes the present poem to the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century. “I think,” he says in his Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, ed. Halliwell, p. 380, “it would not be difficult to prove from internal evidence, that the present translation80 cannot be earlier than the end of the fourteenth or beginning of the fifteenth century.” ‹xlvi›

Having seen from the summary of grammatical peculiarities that there is a great similarity between the language of Chaucer and that of the composer of this romance, we might be inclined to consider the latter as a contemporary of Chaucer. From some passages of the Sowdan, which seem to contain allusions to Chaucerian poetry, we may conclude that the poet must have known the Canterbury Tales. Thus ll. 42–46:—

“Whan kynde corage begynneth to pryke,

Whan ffrith and felde wexen gaye,

And every wight desirith his like,

Whan lovers slepen with opyn yȝe,

As Nightingales on grene tre” . . .

appear to be imitated from the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales, ll. 10–12:—

“And smale fowles maken melodie,

That slepen al the night with open eye,

So priketh hem nature in her corages.”

Further on we remark in ll. 939–40:—

“O thow, rede Marȝ Armypotente,

That in the trende baye hase made þy trone.”

some traces of resemblance with the Knight’s Tale, ll. 1123–26:—

“And downward on a hill under a bent,

There stood the tempul of Marȝ armypotent,

Wrought al of burned steel, of which thentre

Was long and streyt, and gastly for to see,”

which may still be compared with the first lines of the Prologue of Queen Anelida and False Arcite:—

“Thou ferse God of armes, Mars the rede,

That in thy frosty contre called Trace,

Within thy grisly temples ful of drede,

Honoured art as patroun of that place.”81

Now the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales and the Knight’s Tale, being written in couplets, or lines arranged in pairs, were certainly composed after 1385,82 or rather after 1389.83 From the treatment of ‹xlvii› the final e’s, which, contrary to Chaucer’s usage, seem to have been silent in a great number of cases in the poet’s speech, we may further conclude that the Sowdan must be somewhat later than the Canterbury Tales. Therefore the poet of the Sowdan cannot have been merely a later contemporary of Chaucer; I rather think it to be more probable that he must have lived some time after him. This would bring us to the beginning of the fifteenth century as the date of the romance.

As to the name and profession of the poet nothing is known, and we have no clue whatever from the poem.


The present edition of the Sowdan is printed from the unique MS. of the late Sir Thomas Phillips, at Middle Hill, Worcestershire, which is now in the possession of the Rev. John E. A. Fenwick, Thurlestane House, Cheltenham. Sir Thomas Phillips purchased the MS. at Mr. Heber’s sale.84 The oldest possessor’s name which we find noted, is on the reverse of the last leaf of the Manuscript, where is written, “This is John Eteyes (or Ebeye’s) boke, witnes by John Staff”—in a hand circa temp. Eliz. or Jac. I. By some notes made by former possessors on the first fly-leaf of the MS., and by the autograph names which we find there, we learn that Geo. Steevens bought the MS. “at Dr. Farmer’s Sale, Friday June 15, 1798, for 1: 10. 0.” On May 20th, 1800, it was “bought at the Sale of Geo. Stevens, for 3. 4. 6.” by “O. Grahm Gilchrist.”

A transcript of the MS. made by Geo. Stevens had been presented by him to Mr. Douce. This copy was re-transcribed by Geo. Ellis, who, in 1811, published some extracts with an analysis of the romance in the Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances.85 The same copy has been followed by Halliwell, who in his Dictionary of Arch. and Prov. W., has several quotations86 from the present romance, which he styles as “MS. Douce, 175.” ‹xlviii›

The poem of the Sowdan was first printed by the Roxburghe Club in 1854.87 The text of the present edition differs from that of the editio princeps in so far as punctuation is introduced, which is altogether disregarded by the MS. and the Roxburghe Club edition. In some passages words which have been written as one in the MS. are separated in the text; thus a laye, l. 2694; a ras, l. 645, are printed instead of alaye, aras. Sometimes also words written separately in the MS. are united by a hyphen, as be-falle, 14; i-wiss, 71; i-sought, 725; with-oute, 841; a-bide, 818; a-ferde, 1337, &c. These slight deviations from the MS., which are always indicated in the footnotes, seemed advisable on account of the great help they afford the reader in understanding the text. More important emendations and corrections of evident scribal blunders and other mistakes are given in the foot-notes, and will be found explained in the Notes.

The Index of Names will be useful to those who wish to compare the Sowdan with any other version of the romance.

The Glossarial Index contains besides the obsolete terms all those words the spelling or the signification of which essentially differs from that now accepted. Words which show only slight orthographical variations from their modern form have not been included, as the reader will have no difficulty in identifying them.

In conclusion I have the pleasant duty of acknowledging the invaluable assistance which Professor Zupitza at all times readily and freely gave me. My best thanks are also due to Mr. Furnivall and to Mr. Napier for their kind advice and suggestions, and to Mr. Herrtage for collating a transcript of the poem with the MS.


Berlin, January, 1881.


1 Histoire Poét., p. 133–4.

2 Gautier, Epopées, ii. 308.

3 Cf. the French Fierabras, l. 84; Sir Ferumbras, l. 102; Sowdone, l. 1067.

4 Thus in Scarron, Gigant, iii.

5 Pantagruel, ii. chap. 1.

6 See the most interesting account of this piece and its curious manner of representation in Histoire Littéraire de la France, xvii. 720–21.

7 Gautier, Epopées, ii. p. 308; and Histoire Poétique, p. 99.

8 See Huon de Bourdeaux, edd. Guessard and Grandmaison, p. xxxviii.

9 See G. Nottebohm, Thematisches Verzeichniss der im Druck erschienenen Werke von Franz Schubert. Wien, 1874.—Op. 76.

10 Cf. besides, Histoire Poétique, pp. 97, 143, 155, 214, 251; Epopées françaises, ii. pp. 307–9; and the Préface of the French edition of Fierabras.

11 See also Mone, Uebersicht der niederländischen Volksliteratur älterer Zeit. Tübingen, 1836. p. 56.

12 Cf. Warton, Hist. of Eng. Poetry, 1824, vol. i. pp. 147–8.

13 It is worthy of notice that the account of the Fierabras romance as given by Barbour, may be considered, on the whole, as identical with the subject of the French Fierabras or the English Syr Ferumbras, but not with the Sowdan, as there is no mention made of the combat before Rome, nor any trace of what makes up the first part of the Sowdan. But the spelling Lawyn for Balan agrees with the spelling of the same name in the Sowdan. As to the relics mentioned in the passage above, they differ from all other versions.

14 In the Sowdan the Bridgeward is called Alagolofre; cf. Index of Names.

15 This MS. consisting of 71 parchment leaves in 4to, with coloured initials at the beginning of each rhyme-strophe, had formerly been in the possession “Majoris Monasterii congregationis Sancti Mauri,” at Paris. Having passed through many hands during the French Revolution, it finally came to the Library of Wallerstein.

16 Der Roman von Ferabras, provenzalisch. Berlin, 1829.

17 British Museum, MS. Reg. 15. E. vi.

18 Cf. also the Préface of the French Fierabras, p. iv.

19 See Leben und Werke der Troubadours, by Friedrich Diez, Zwickau, 1829, p. 613 note, and Berliner Jahrbücher für wissenschaftliche Kritik, 1831.

20 In a footnote to his Histoire de la Poésie scandinave, p. 183, where he says:—“Le roman de Ferabras, publié à Berlin par M. Bekker, est . . . évidemment traduit du français, et en a conservé trop de formes et d’expressions pour avoir la moindre valeur grammaticale.”

21 Fierabras chanson de geste, edd. Krœber and Servois, in the collection of the Anciens Poètes de la France.

22 For a more detailed analysis, see Histoire Poét., p. 251, and cf. the account given of the old Fierabras or Balan romance by Philippe Mousket, ed. Reiffenberg, Bruxelles, vol. I. v. ll. 4664–4716, which runs as follows:—

4664 Puis fu Roume par force prise
et la gent destruite et ocise
et li apostoile ocis
Castiaus-Mireors ars et pris
4668 et toute la cité bruie.
li dus Garins et sa mesnie
entrerent en Castiel-Croisant,
quar Sarrasin, Turc et Persant
4672 amenerent trop grant compagne
et devers Surie et d’Espagne;
si furent crestien dolant,
et manderent tot maintenant
4676 soucours al bon roi Charlemainne
ki sa fieste en France demainne,
et li rois en cele besogne
lor tramist Guion de Bourgogne,
4680 ki nouviaus chevaliers estoit
et des jovenes enfans avoit
devant çou la couronne prise.
et soucoururent sans faintise
4684 lor bon roi en la tiere estrange
u il n’orent ni lin ni lange.
en France estoient revenu
et soujourné et bien péu,
4688 mais à cel soucours le tramist
li rois, ki moult s’entremist,—
et si tramist de Normendie
Ricart à la ciere hardie,
4692 si reprirent li Mireour:
et dus Garins vint à l’estour,
ki tint Pavie en quité
s’ot bien Castil-Croisant gardé,
4696 et Karles ot sa gent mandée,
si vinrent de mainte contrée,
quar il lor faisoit tant de biens,
qu ’à ses amis ne faloit riens.
4700 si trest vers Rome li bons rois
et fist as paiens moult d’anois.
dont se combati Oliviers
a Fierabras ki tant fu fiers;
4704 d’armes l’outra, si reconquist
les .ii. barius qu’à Rome prist,
si les gieta enmi le Toivre
por çou que plus n’en péust boivre;
4708 quar c’est bausmes ki fu remés
dont Ihesu Cris fu embausmés.
puis furent mort tot li paien
et mis en Roume crestiien,
4712 si ot autre apostoile fait
et Karles s’en revint à hait,
si gratia Dieu et St. Piere,
que recouvrée ot sa kaiere,
4716 soujourner vint dont à Parise . . .

23 Romania, ii. 1873, pp. 1–48.

24 Cf. Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache und Literatur, edd. Lemcke, vol. xiii. p. 111.

25 Printed in Verhandlungen der 28sten Versammlung deutscher Philologen und Schulmänner in Leipzig. Leipzig, 1873, p. 209 et seq.

26 Corresponding to ll. 1410 et seq. of the Ashmole Ferumbras.

27 Cf. Sir Ferumbras, ll. 8192–3.

28 Cf. also l. 2784 and Sir Ferumbras, ll. 1860 and 2059.

29 See above, p. xi, footnote, and Histoire Poétique, p. 251.

30 Cf. Grœber, Verhandlungen, pp. 217–18.

31 The following differences between the Destruction and the narration of Philippe Mousket are worthy of note:—

(i) the combat around Château-Miroir is described in a different manner in the two poems.

(ii) the scene of action, which at the end of the Destruction is transferred to Spain, remains, according to Philippe Mousket, in the neighbourhood of Rome for the whole time.

(iii) Guy of Burgundy and Richard of Normandy play a most important active part before Rome, according to Ph. Mousket, whereas in the Destruction this is not the case.

Now, as to the last two items, they must have been in the original such as they are related by Ph. Mousket. For only thus some obscure passages of Fierabras, of which even the Destruction affords no explanation, are cleared up. Thus, Fierabras, l. 1049,

“Près fu du far de Rome, ses a dedens jetés”—

which is in contradiction to the Destruction, is explained by ll. 4705–6 of Mousket’s account (see above). Only Mousket relates that Floripas has seen Guy before Rome (Fierabras, l. 2240; Ashmole Ferumbras, l. 1413), and that Richard took part at the combat there. Therefore the account as given by Ph. Mousket, agreeing with what must have been the contents of the old original, is based on a version older than the Destruction, which exhibits significant differences.

These differences between Mousket and the Destruction, as well as the fact that several references to preceding events contained in Fierabras remain unexplained by the Destruction, were some of the reasons which led me in my Dissertation, pp. 41–49, to consider the Destruction as a poem written by another author than that of the Fierabras. In order to clear up the allusions to preceding events contained in the Fierabras, the very beginning of which necessarily requires some explanatory account—a circumstance which also gave rise to the ‘episode’ of the Provençal version—the Destruction was composed as a kind of Introduction to the Fierabras, whereby it happened that some allusions remained unexplained.

32 For a description of this magnificent MS., see Sir Ferumbras, p. vi, footnote.

33 Cf. Warton, Hist. of Eng. Poetry, ii. 197–8.

34 Edited for the E. E. T. S. in 1879, by S. J. Herrtage, B.A.

35 Cf. Gautier, Epopées Françaises, i. 221.—“Rien n’est plus fréquent, dans la Chanson de Roland et dans nos poèmes les plus anciens, que la répétition double, triple et même quelquefois quadruple, de certains couplets. Cette répétition n’a pas lieu dans les mêmes termes, ni surtout avec les mêmes rimes. Tout au contraire, la même idée est reproduite en vers différents, munis d’assonances ou de rimes différentes.”

36 The variations of this MS. are printed in the Jahrbuch der roman. and engl. Sprachen, vol. ix. pp. 43 ss.

37 This edition, although printed from the MS. a, may be said to represent a group (w) of four MSS., called a b c d (see above xv). Another group (z) is formed by the MSS. E and D. Both groups belong to the same type y. Cf. Grœber, Die handschriftlichen Gestaltungen der chanson de geste Fierabras, Leipzig, 1869, p. 27, where we find the following stemma:

38 Epopées Françaises, ii. 307, and Cat. rais. des livr. de la bibl. d’Ambr. F. Didot, I, 361.

39 Grœber, Handschriftl. Gestaltungen, p. 6.

40 Jahrbuch, xiii. p. 111, and Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, iv. p. 164.

41 “Die Vergleichung weniger aus allen Hss. bekannten Versen macht gewiss, dass H mit D und E aus der nämlichen Quelle z geflossen ist.” Jahrbuch, xiii. 113.

42 Handschriftl. Gestalt., p. 10.

43 See the note to l. 5763 of Sir Ferumbras, and cf. Fierabras, 5955.

44 The number of instances where A varies from C’s version might easily be increased. Thus we find A 340 differing from C 52/111 and from F 357; A 814 differing from C 79/3 and from F 1548; A 1616 differing from C 102/10 and from F 2424; A 1238 differing from C 92/5 and from F 2083; A 4652 differing from C 171/26 and from F 4900, &c.

45 Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, ed. Halliwell, p. 379 et seq.

46 Histoire Poétique, p. 251; cf. also Revue critique d’Histoire et de Littérature, ii. 1869, p. 121 et seq.

47 Cf. Mr. Shelley’s Paper in Warton, Hist. of Eng. Poetry, ii. 197–8.

48 pp. 17 et seq.

49 Dissertation, p. 18.

50 Introduction to Sir Ferumbras, p. xiv.

51 The French text will be found in the Notes, which see.

52 For these names, the Index of Names may be referred to.

53 In some passages the Destruction shows also the spelling Balan, but Laban is more common.

54 See note to l. 1000.

55 See note to l. 2842.

56 Dissertation, p. 20.

57 See note to l. 1663.

58 Cf. note to l. 1723.

59 Mr. Herrtage, in his note to the Ashmol. MS., l. 259, reproduces—from the Roxburghe Club edition, Introd. p. vi.—the list of the twelve peers in the French version of the Grenville copy, 10531, which he erroneously takes for that of the Sowdan.

60 But there is one “Alorys þe erld of Brye,” mentioned in the Ashm. MS., ll. 935, 2842, 4076, &c.

61 There is one Templer mentioned in the Ashm. MS., l. 2673. But he is not identical with Tamper of the Sowdan, ll. 2641, 2667.

62 Greek σινδων. Cf. Dissertation, pp. 45–46.

63 See note to l. 2535.

64 There being only a small fragment printed of the Didot MS. (Epopées Fr. ii. 307), a comparison of the Sowdan with this version is impossible at present. But as the Didot MS. belongs to the same group as E, what results from a comparison of S with E may be assumed for the Didot MS.

65 See Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, iv. pp. 164, 170.

66 Jahrbuch für romanische und englische Sprache und Literatur, xiii. p. 111.

67 This example is not very striking, as the spelling Ferumbras may simply have been retained from the first part of the poem; see above, p. xxxi.

68 Syr Ferumbras, Introduction, p. xiv, footnote.

69 See Handschriftliche Gestaltungen, p. 14, and Dissert., p. 29.

70 Histoire Poétique, p. 157.

71 And to which only a few very insignificant additions were made by the author; see Hist. Poét., p. 99, bottom.

72 See Morris’s Preface to Genesis and Exodus, Skeat’s Introduction to Havelock the Dane, and Mall’s edition of Harrowing of Hell (Breslau, 1871).

73 See Sweet, Anglia, iii. 152.

74 Cf. Mall, Harrowing of Hell, p. 18.

75 Cf. Schipper, Alexiuslegenden, 98/121.

76 See note to l. 939.

77 “This elision of a final d in such words as hond, lond, sheld, held, &c., is by no means uncommon in ancient poetry, and arises simply from pronunciation.”—Morris, Specimens of Early English, 320/261.

78 Cf. Mr. Nicol’s Paper in the Academy of June 23, 1877, vol. xi. p. 564, col. 1, and Seventh Annual Address of the President to the Philol. Soc., p. 2.

79 See the note.

80 Although l. 25 says that the story of the Sowdan “is written in Romance,” this cannot induce us to consider our poem as a mere translation. It is, on the contrary, a free reproduction of a French original.

81 Cf. also Lindsay’s History of Squyer Meldrum, l. 390:

“Like Mars the God Armypotent.”

82 Cf. Prioress’s Tale, ed. Skeat (Clarendon Press Series), p. xx; and Furnivall’s Trial Forewords, p. 111.

83 Cf. Chaucer, ed. Morris, i. 205, footnote.

84 Bibliotheca Heberiana, Part xi. p. 162. MSS. Lot 1533.

85 Ed. Halliwell, p. 379 et seq.

86 For instances, see the following words:—Atame, alayned, ameved, assorte, avente, forcer, &c.

87 London. Printed by William Nicol, Shakspere Press, MDCCCLIV.


SINCE the Introduction was written, I have had an opportunity of seeing the Hanover MS. of the French Fierabras. The kind offices of Professor Koner exerted on my behalf secured me the consent of the Administration of the Royal Hanoverian Library to have the MS. sent to Berlin, and their most generous permission to consult it freely in the Reading Room of the University Library.

Having now compared the Sowdan more closely with the Hanover MS., I must state that the final result arrived at in my investigation concerning the original of the Sowdan (cf. p. xxxii) is in no way altered.

As already stated above (p. xxxii), and as the subsequent examination and the passages of H quoted below will serve to confirm, the Hanover version is, generally speaking, the same as the printed version of the Fierabras, differing only in slight variations of readings.

The names in which S differs from F, but agrees with H, are already spoken of on p. xxxi. But there are several others in the spelling of which H agrees with F, but differs from S. Thus we find Balans or Balant in H for Laban in S; Guarin, H, leaf 80, back, F 438 = Generyse, S 1135; Agolafres, H, leaf 81 = Alagolofer, S 2135; Amiotte, H leaf 83, back = Barrokk, S 2939, etc.

As to the subject-matter, there are no instances where S, differing from F, agrees with H. In all points in which S differs from F we find it also differing from H.

Thus the game of blowing a burning coal, in the description of ‹l› which S slightly differs from F, is related in H with nearly the same words as in F. As, besides the small fragment printed by Grœber in the Jahrbuch, xiii, and some few remarks in the Zeitschrift für rom. Phil., nothing is known of the Hanover MS., the following passages printed here may serve to show how little H differs from F. The game of the coal (S 1996–2016, F 2907–2934) is thus described in H, leaf 58:—

“Veillard, dist Lucafer, vous ni savez juer,

Vous ne savez en France le grant charboun soffler.

Certes, ceo dist li dus, mais n’en oie soffler.

Et respont li payen: Mais te feray mostrer.

Ly payen vait le duc au grant fowel mener.

Quant Rollant l’ad veu, a Berard l’ad mostre

Ore porres boue jeu ver et esgarder.

Dahait qui ne laira ly et Naimes juer.

Lucafer se beysa pur un tison combrer,

Trestote le plus ardant quil i poet trover,

Par tiel air soffla le fu qil li fist voler.

Puis ad dist a Names ‘Ore vous covent soffler.’

Names prist le tison qui bien se sout aider,

Vers le payen s’en va pur le tison sofler,

Pur ceo le fist ly dus qa ly se volt meller,

Si suffla le tison qe le fist allumer,

Le barbe et le menton fist au payen bruler,

Tres parmy le visaie en fist la flame virer,

Qe par un sule petite qe nel fist souuiler.

Quant le voit ly payen, le sanc quida deueher.

Il jette a .ij. ses maines, qi le quide frapper,

Mais ly dus le ferry tres parmy le costes,

Qe les oilz de la teste ly fist en fu voler.

Puys l’ad pris par le flank, s’il voit en le fu ruer.

Lichiers, dist dus Names, Dex te poet mal doner,

Tu me quidoies ore come fole cy trover.”

The distribution of the relics, in which S (cf. note to l. 3238) differs from F 6195 et seq. is related as follows in H, leaf 100:—

AU baron seint Dynis fu mult grant l’assemblee

Au perron au londy fu la messe chantee,

Illok fu la corone partie et desseveree,

L’un moite fu a saint Dynis donee

Et un clow ansiement, cest verite provee,

De la Corone fu un partie a Ais portee,

A Compaigne est l’ensigne en l’eglise honoree,

Et les altres .ij. clowes a Orliens fu enveiee,

Maint presant fist Charls de France la loie

Des saintisme reliqes, Jhesu de maiestes.

En l’onur de Deu est mainte eglise fondee,

La feste de lendit fu pur iceo estoree.

Jaiaz videront cens ne taille donee. ‹li›

Ne tardoit que .iiij. ans k’Espaigne fu gastee.

La fu la treison de Rollant porpensee,

Qe Ganes le vendist a la gent diffaee,

Puys fu as chiuals sa chars destreinee,

Pinables en fu mortz de suz Lyons en la pree,

La le vengea Terris au trenchant del espee,

Puys fu pendu armes par gulee paree,

Toutz iours vegnent traitors a mal destinee

Ou aloignee ou apres ia ni aueront duree.

Charles voit a Orliens, la chancheon est finee

Au deu vous commande, tote j’ai ma chancon fine.

De cels romance est bone la fine et l’entree,

Et en mileue et partote qi bien l’ad escoutee

La beneiceon aez de Deu et del virgine honore. Amen.”

The miracle (F 6101–6123)88 of the glove, in which Charles had placed fragments of the thorns, remaining suspended in the air for over an hour, the description of which is omitted in the Sowdan (cf. Dissert., p. 29), is related as follows in H, leaf 99:—

L’EMPERERS de France fist forement a loier

Il a fait un table sur .ij. trestes lever.

Et par de sur un paille qui fu fait outre mer.

Illok fist Charlupright letter m with macron la corone aporter,

Puis ad fait l’arcevesqe partir et deviser,

Si ad fait les reliqes mult bien envoluper,

Dedens son mestre coffres les a fait deffermer,

Et les altres reliqes qe il voudra aporter.

Les petites espignons qil vist esgruner,

De la saint corone qil fist demenbrer,

Trestote les acoillye nostre emperer ber,

Et les mist en son gant qanqil pout trover.

Un chivaler le tent qil vist lez ly ester,

Mais al ne l’aperceut my qe nele oit parler.

Charlemayn retiret sa mayne, si lesse le gant aler.

Et dex a fait le gant enmy l’air arester

Tant que d .j. leue en pout home bien aler;

Kar la presse fu grant, ne l’en puis remenbrer.

Charlemayn comande l’ewe apporter.

De son gant ly sovengre si quant il dust laver,

Mais ne seet a ky le comanda abailier,

Par desur la gent le vist en l’air esteer,

L’arcevesqe la monstre et tuit l’altre barne.

Ceo fu mult grant merveille, home en doit bien parler,

Charls a pris son gant, s’est assis au soper.”

H, leaf 37, agrees with F, l. 1043, in making Oliver drink of the bottles of balm, which is not mentioned in the Sowdan, l. 1190 (cf. p. xxix). ‹lii›

Similarly we find S 2604 differing from H, leaf 62, where we read Basyns (= Basin, F 3313) instead of Bryer.

Again H, l. 40, agreeing exactly with F, l. 1329 et seq., differs from S 1279–82 (cf. p. xxix).

Instead of Floripas, S 1515, it is Brulans, H, l. 49, and F 1949, who advises the Soudan not to slay the prisoners.

The names of the twelve peers are the same in H as in F (cf. p. xxvii); and the whole scene of the peers being sent one after the other on a mission to Laban (cf. note to l. 1665 of the Sowdan) is described exactly alike in F 2263–2282 and in H, leaf 51, back, with the only difference that the names of the peers are given in a different order in both versions, Richard of Normandy, who is sent off as the sixth in F, being the second in H.

These variations of S from H clearly exemplify the impossibility of regarding the Hanover MS. as the original of the Sowdan. But as on the whole these differences are not of a very significant nature, and as, moreover, part of these variations may perhaps be attributed to the favourite habit of the author of going his own way in the arrangement of the subject-matter and in some minor points, whereas in the essential course of the events he strictly adhered to his source (see above p. xxxviii, and cf. note to l. 2535); and as besides there are several names, the spelling of which differs in F, agreeing in S and H, I think there can be no doubt that the original of the second part of the Sowdan was a version similar to the Hanover MS.

If now we compare the Hanover version with the Ashmole Ferumbras more closely than has been possible on page xx, there are some instances where A, whilst differing from F, agrees with H.

H. A.
lf. 27. Ha Glout, dist Karlemaines, 163. A glotoun, saide þe Emperer
lf. 27. Que puis vivre que cest jours fu passes 175. Ke lyve he noȝt þys day to be evene
lf. 25, bk. Ses chiuals ad reine à un arbre rasmee 91. Þarto ys stede þan tyeþe he
Et garda les leges tote contreval li pree

Nevertheless, the following passage in which A agrees with F, but differs from H, will at once show the impossibility of regarding H as the original of A. ‹liii›

A. H.
302. Þanne þer come bifore Charloun, Gweneloun and Hardree lf. 28, bk. Atant se sunt drecie Guinelons et Alores

In other instances A is found differing from H as well as from F. Thus the name of Enfachoun, A 4652, which is Effraons in F 4900, does not occur at all in H, which in the passage corresponding to F 4900, as well as in that corresponding to F 4913, reads Affricons li Geans.

Again, in the story of Myloun, in which A, l. 2008 et seq., differs from F, we find H disagreeing from F, 2734 et seq., and from A:—

“Volez vous queor de feme essaier et esprover

Del riche duc Milon vous deverez remenbrer,

Qe tant nori Galans qe ly fist adouber,

Puys ly tolly sa feile Gabaen au vis cler,

L’enfes Marsilion en fist desherriter.—

Quant l’entent Floripas, du sens quida deueer.”

—(H, leaf 56.)

But in most cases in which F differs from A, H agrees with F.

Thus we find Ferumbras challenging only six French knights in H, lf. 26, as in F, 84, 105, instead of twelve in A, l. 102.

In A, l. 5204, Floripas, swooning away, is upheld by Oliver, whereas in F, 5373, and in H, lf. 90, it is Guy who keeps her from falling.

For Howel of saint Miloun, A 5574, we read Huon de saint Lis in F 5792, and Hugon de saint Lis in H, lf. 95, bk.

As in F 2912 it is to Berard that Roland speaks in H, lf 57, bk., and not to Olyver, as in A 2234.

That Maubyn scales the walls by means of a ladder of leather (A 2406) is not mentioned in F 3061, nor in H, lf. 59, bk.

In A 1386 Floripas gives Oliver, who is wounded, a warm draught, which heals every wound; in F 2209, as well as in H, lf. 51, it is by a bit of the mandrake plant that he is healed.

The maid-attendant mentioned in A 1238 (chamberere) is a man-attendant in F 2083 (chamberlenc) and in H, lf. 49, bk. (chamberlayn).

There is no trace of the additional lines of A, ll. 4867–4875, to be found in H, lf. 86 bk., nor in F, 5094.

Among the relics spoken of in A, there is nowhere a mention made of the signe. In H we find the signe always mentioned ‹liv› together with the crown and the nails, just as in F. In the passage quoted above from H, lf. 100, and in the line which corresponds to F 6094, we find ensigne instead of signe; but ensigne certainly must be looked upon as a clerical blunder. In the other passages in which we find “the winding sheet, or shroud, of the Lord” mentioned in H it is also called signe:—

“Et rendrai la corone et le signe honore.”
H, lf. 42 = F, 1498; and H, lf. 45, bk. = F, 1805.

“Et les saintismes clowes et le signe honores.”
H, lf. 57 = F, 2829.

That the signe cannot be the “inscription of the cross” (cf. Introduction, p. xxx) is proved by an additional line of the Hanover MS., in which the Archbishop is said to have covered the heads of the French with the signe:—

“Puys a trait l’ensigne qui bien estoit ovres

Engenolant l’ad ly Rois tote oue lermes baises,

Plus flairoit ducement que basine enbasines.

Quant Franceis l’ont veu, ele vous effraes,

De pite et de ioy fu chescous enplores.

L’ercevesqe le prist, mult fu bien purpenses,

Et nos Franceis en a les chefs envolupes,

Puis le mist sur le paille qest a or ornes,

Od les altres relikes dont illi out asses.”
H, lf. 98, corresponding to F, 6094 et seq.

Abstaining now from citing any more passages where H agrees with F, but differs from A, I think the few quotations above will suffice to show the impossibility of regarding the Hanover MS. as the original of the Ashmole Ferumbras, notwithstanding that there are some resemblances of A to H (cf. p. xx). Therefore the result arrived at on p. xxi as to the original of the Ashmolean version is in no way altered by the detailed comparison of A with H.


88 Cf. Sir Ferumbras, 185/5988.


Laban, the Soudan of Babylon, who was residing at Agremore in Spain, went to the chase in a wood near the sea (p. 2). Being tired of hunting he sat down under a tree, and, perceiving a ship drawing near unto the shore, he sent one of his men to hail the vessel and to inquire for news. The interpreter of the vessel informs the soudan that the ship, freighted with a rich cargo at Babylon designed as a ‹lv› present to Laban, had been driven by violent storms to the shore near Rome, where the ship had been robbed, and many of its people had been slain by the Romans. He solicits the Soudan to revenge this insult. Laban promises to make them pay dearly for it (p. 3). He convokes a war-council, and assembles a hundred thousand men and seven hundred sail. Himself goes, with Ferumbras his son and Floripas his daughter, in a dromond richly adorned (p. 4). They disembark in the haven of Rome, slay all Christians, and burn towns, abbeys, and churches. The pope of Rome assembles his council (p. 5). Duke Savaris is to meet the Saracens. With ten thousand men he draws near the Soudan’s pavilion on the shore (p. 6); they slay ten thousand Saracens. The Romans, though masters of the field, cautiously retire within the walls of the city. Lukafer of Baldas, having scoured the country, brings ten thousand Christian maidens to the Soudan, who orders them to be put to death (p. 7). Lukafer demands Floripas for his wife, in return for which he promises her father to bring Charlemagne and his twelve peers to the foot of his throne. Floripas agrees to accept him when he has fulfilled his promise. The next morning Lukafer assaults the city, but the ditches being too deep (p. 8), the Saracens are obliged to retire. On the following day the assault is renewed, the ditches are, on Mavon’s advice, filled with faggots. After a sharp conflict, where there were ten thousand Saracens slain by the stones of the Romans, the heathens are obliged to withdraw (p. 9). This second repulse makes the Soudan almost mad with vexation; he chides his gods. But Lukafer told him that he had learned from a spy that Savaris would, on the following day, come out again to fight with them. He now intended, when Savaris was engaged in the battle, to unfold a banner made exactly like that of the Romans, and to attempt, by this stratagem, to be admitted within the gates. And so it turned out: the Romans mistaking him for Savaris returning from his sally, he entered the main tower, and slew all therein. Savaris, noticing the artifice of the enemy, and seeing his troop reduced to seventy-two men, turned back, but found the gate shut (p. 10). Estragot, a black giant of Ethiopia, slays him with his steel-mace. The Pope having summoned his council, a senator suggested the necessity of ‹lvi› sending messengers to Charlemagne to ask his aid. They all assented, and three messengers (p. 11) left the city by a postern at midnight; they passed the enemy’s camp without being noticed by any wight. On the next morning Laban attempted a third assault; he commanded every man to throw pikes and bills over the walls to kill the Romans, and ordered the ships to go up the water with their boats bound to the mast, that they might fight in close combat. Near the tower there stood a bulwark, or “bastile,” which was a strong defence to the wall. It was thrown down by stones hurled from an engine. Laban, growing proud from this event, summoned the Romans to surrender. Instead of an answer a Roman hurled a dart at his breast-plate, but his hauberk shielded him. The Soudan, more than mad, charged Ferumbras to destroy them all (p. 12), and enjoined Fortibrance and Mavon to direct their engines against the walls. The great glutton Estragot, with his heavy mace, smote on the gates and brake them in pieces. But as he was entering one of the gates, they let the portcullis fall, which crushed him to the ground, where he lay crying like a devil of hell. The Romans rejoiced, but the Saracens grieved. They withdrew to their tents, leaving behind the corpse of Estragot, whose soul went up to Mahound (p. 13). The Pope called all his people to St. Peter’s and proposed to them to attempt a sally with twenty thousand men, to attack the enemy before day-break within their camp, and to leave ten thousand for the defence of the city. In the morning the Pope displayed the banner of Rome, and after a prayer for the preservation of the city, they marched out. But Ferumbras, going his rounds (p. 14), noticed their coming, sounded the alarm, and drew up his troops. Then began a fierce struggle. Ferumbras slew Sir Bryer of Apulia (p. 15) and the worthy Hubert. Nine thousand heathens were killed and eight thousand Romans. Lukafer destroyed eighteen Romans; he also slew Gyndard, a senator of Rome, who had killed ten Saracens. Then came the Pope with a great escort and his banner before him. Ferumbras, supposing him to be the sovereign (p. 16), burst open the thick crowd and threw him down to the ground. But having opened his ventail, he saw his tonsure, and recognized the Pope. “Fie, priest,” he said, “what doest thou here in the battle-field? ‹lvii› It would be a shame for me to slay thee. Go home and think of thy choir-service.” The Pope, being glad to get off so easily, retired to Rome with five thousand men, fifteen thousand being killed. Charlemagne, having learned from the messenger the great disaster which had befallen the Romans, said he would not desist until he had chased the Soudan and Ferumbras out of Christendom (p. 17). He gave ten thousand pounds of francs to his nephew, Guy of Burgundy, and sent him off with orders to advance against the Soudan by forced marches. Himself would follow as soon as possible. In the mean time Laban reminded Lukafer of his vaunting promise to bring him Charlemagne and his twelve peers in return for his daughter Floripas. Lukafer said he would do all he had promised. With ten thousand men he attacked the city on one side, the other being assaulted by Ferumbras. The combat continued as long as daylight lasted. At night they retired to their tents (p. 18). Then treason was planned by Isres, who by inheritance possessed the guard of the chief gate of the town. He went to the Soudan and offered to betray the city on condition that his life and property should be spared. The Soudan promised it. Ferumbras with twenty thousand men went with Isres, but on entering the gate he caused the traitor’s head to be struck off by the portcullis and to be carried on the point of a spear through the city. “Treason,” cried the people (p. 19), when Ferumbras advanced into Rome. All the streets were soon covered with dead men. Ferumbras went to St. Peter’s, seized the relics, the cross, the crown, and the nails, burned the whole city, and carried away all the treasures and the gold to Agremore in Spain, where the Soudan went back to stay. Three months and three days they spent there in great festivities, making offerings to their gods, and burning frankincense in their honour. They drank the blood of beasts and milk, and ate honey, and snakes fried with oil (p. 20). When Sir Guy, approaching, drew near Rome, he found the whole city in flames. He grieved much that he had arrived too late, and resolved to wait there for Charlemagne, and then to tell him how Laban had burnt the city, and had sent the relics to Agremore, his principal town in Spain. Soon king Charles advanced to rescue Rome with his twelve peers and three hundred thousand soldiers (p. 21). Roland ‹lviii› led the vanguard, Oliver the rear, and the king was with the main body. The provisions were conveyed by sea. Guy, seeing the army come, went to meet the king, and told him the mischief done by the Soudan, who, moreover, had made a vow to seek Charles in France in order to afflict him with grief. “He will find me near,” said Charles, “and shall pay dearly for it. Unless he consents to be baptized (p. 22), he shall never see Babylon again.” They all took ship without delay. Propitious winds drove them into the river Gase, where they landed, thirty miles from Agremore, and laid waste the country. Laban, hearing this news, was astonished at Charles’s presumption (p. 23). He assembled all his barons, and charged them to bring him alive that glutton that called himself king of France, and to slay the rest of his army. Ferumbras went forth with many Saracens. He meets with Roland. They deal each other heavy strokes. Oliver cuts off a quarter of Lukafer’s shield. The combat lasted the whole day. Well fought the twelve peers (p. 24). Ferumbras charges Oliver. King Charles, seeing this, rides at Ferumbras, and strikes his helm with a heavy mace. Ferumbras cannot approach him on account of the crowd. Charlemagne slew thirty Saracens with his sword Mounjoy. Lukafer of Baldas encountering Charles told him that he had promised the Soudan to bring him Charles and the twelve peers. Charles strikes him on his helmet (p. 25), but Lukafer is rescued by a great throng. Roland, drawing Durnedale, cleared a space around him, and hammered the heads of the Saracens. So did the other peers, and thirty thousand Saracens were slain. At night the pagans quit the field. Ferumbras vows never to desist until he has conquered Roland and Oliver (p. 26) and been crowned king at Paris. Charles went to his pavilion and thanked God and St. Mary of France. He praised the elder knights for having won the victory, and exhorted the young ones to take example by them. They all make merry and go to supper. The Saracens address a prayer to the red Mars Armipotent (p. 27), to grant the Mahometans the victory over the Christians (p. 28). In order to recruit the late losses in his army, the Soudan sent for his vassals, and assembled more than three hundred thousand Saracens at Agremore. He addressed them (p. 29) in order to increase their ‹lix› ardour, ordered a solemn sacrifice to his gods, and charged Ferumbras to march with thirty thousand of his people against the Christian king (whom he wished to teach courtesy), and to slay all his men except Roland and Oliver (p. 30), if they would renounce their gods. Ferumbras led out his troops; until arriving near Charles’s camp, he ordered them to halt in a wood, and advanced with only ten of his men to the camp of Charlemagne, and offered to fight at once against six of his peers. If he should conquer them, he would lead them away to his father’s hall; but if he should be conquered, he would be Charles’s man. The king sent for Roland and ordered him to undertake the combat. Roland refuses (p. 31), because Charles had praised the old knights: they might show their prowess now. Charles, vexed, smites Roland on the mouth, so that the blood springs from his nose, and he calls him a traitor. Roland draws his sword, but the other barons separate them and try to conciliate them. Meanwhile Oliver, who being sorely wounded kept his bed, on hearing of this dispute, had armed himself and went to Charles. He reminds the king of his long services, in reward for which he demands the battle. Charles remonstrates with him. But Oliver insists (p. 32). He rides to the forest, and finds Ferumbras alighted under a tree, to a branch of which his steed was tied. “Arise,” he said, “I am come to fight with thee.” Ferumbras, without moving, demands his name. “I am Generyse, a young knight lately dubbed.” Ferumbras observes: “Charles is a fool to send thee; go and tell him to send me Roland and Oliver and such four other douzeperes. For little honour were it to me to fight with thee.” “Spare thy words,” replies Oliver, “and take thy arms” (p. 33). Ferumbras is wrath and seizes his helmet, which Oliver assists him to lace. Ferumbras thanks him, courteously bowing to him. They mount their steeds, and rushing together like fire of thunder, they have their lances broken. They draw their swords. Ferumbras smites Oliver on his helmet so that the fire flies. Oliver strikes at the head of Ferumbras, breaks away the circle of his helmet, and the sword glancing off down his back, he cuts off two bottles of balm (p. 34), which he throws into the river. Ferumbras tells him that they were invaluable to a wounded man, and that he should atone for their loss with his life. He ‹lx› strikes at Oliver, who wards off the blow with his shield, but his steed is killed under him. Oliver quickly starts up and tries to kill his adversary’s horse, but Ferumbras rides off and ties it to a hazel. “Yield thyself to me,” says Ferumbras, “believe on Mahound, and I will make thee a duke in my country, and give thee my sister” (p. 35). “Ere I yield to thee,” answered Oliver, “thou shalt feel my strokes.” They fight for a considerable time; the blood runs from both their bodies. By mutual consent they stop to take breath. Ferumbras again asks Oliver his name and kin. “Thou must be one of the twelve peers, as thou fightest so well.” “I am Oliver, cousin to Charlemagne.” “Thou art welcome here,” says Ferumbras; “thou slewest my uncle (p. 36); now thou shalt pay the penalty.” The fight continued the whole day. At last Oliver, smiting Ferumbras upon the helmet, had his sword broken. He ran to the steed at the tree and seized a sword that was hanging there, but in turning on Ferumbras, he received a blow that made him kneel down (p. 37). But he returns Ferumbras a fearful stroke. Charles, seeing Oliver on his knees, prayed to Christ that he might grant the victory over the pagan. An angel announced to him that his prayer was heard. Charles thanks God (p. 38). The fight begins again. Ferumbras breaks his sword on Oliver’s helmet. He runs for another and asks Oliver to surrender. But Oliver aims at him a blow which cuts his hauberk, so that his bowels are laid bare. Ferumbras implores his mercy, and consents to be christened, his gods having proved false. He requested him to take his hauberk (p. 39), to fetch his horse, and to carry him to his own tent. But the Saracens who lay concealed in the wood rush out. Oliver, being surrounded, sets down Ferumbras under an olive-tree, and defends himself with his sword, dealing the Saracens many a hard blow. Then Roland rushed into the throng of the enemy and slew many (p. 40). His horse being killed by arrows and darts, he fights on foot, but his sword breaking, he is taken and led away. Oliver rides to rescue him, but his horse being also killed, he is overpowered and bound. Both were conducted to Lukafer of Baldas (p. 41). Charles sees them, and calls for a rescue. Many enemies were slain by the French barons, but the Saracens had fled with their prisoners, and ‹lxi› Charles is obliged to turn back. Under a holm tree they find Ferumbras, whom the king is going to put to death. But on his requesting to be baptized Charles took pity on him (p. 42), led him to his tent, and ordered a surgeon to attend him. He soon recovered, and bishop Turpin baptized him by the name of Floreyn. But he continued to be called Ferumbras all his life. Afterwards he was known as Floreyn of Rome on account of his holiness. Roland and Oliver being brought to the Soudan, Laban enquires their names. They confess their names (p. 43). The Soudan swears they shall both be executed the next morning before his dinner. But Floripas advises him to detain them as hostages, and to remember his son Ferumbras, for whom they might be exchanged. The Soudan, finding her counsel good, orders his gaoler Bretomayn to imprison them, but to leave them without food (p. 44). At high tide the sea filled their deep cells, so that they suffered much from the salt water, from their wounds, and from hunger. On the sixth day Floripas, who was gathering flowers in her garden, heard them lament. Moved to compassion, she asks her governess Maragound to help her in getting food for the prisoners. Maragound refuses, and reminds Floripas of her father’s command. Floripas, thinking of a trick, called to her governess to come to a window (p. 45) and see the porpoises sporting beneath. As Maragound is looking out, Floripas pushes her into the flood. She then asks Bretomayn to let her see the prisoners. The gaoler threatened to complain to her father, but Floripas, having seized his key-clog, dashed out his brains. She then went to tell her father she had surprised the gaoler feeding the prisoners (p. 46) and promising to deliver them, wherefore she had slain him. The Soudan gives the prisoners into her guard. She now proceeded to the prison, asked the prisoners what they wanted, and promised to protect them from any harm (p. 47). She let down a rope, and with her maidens drew up both, and led them to her apartments. There they ate, took a bath, and went to bed. The Soudan knew nothing of his prisoners being in Floripas’s chamber. Meanwhile Charlemagne tells Guy that he must go to the Soudan to demand the surrender of Roland and Oliver, and of the relics of Rome. Naymes of Bavaria represents that a messenger to the Soudan ‹lxii› (p. 48) would certainly be slain; and that they ought to be anxious not to lose any more besides Roland and Oliver. Then said the king: “By God, thou shalt go with Guy.” Ogier the Dane remonstrates, but is ordered to go too. So are Thierry of Ardane, and Folk Baliant, Aleroys, and Miron of Brabant. Bishop Turpin kneels down to implore the king’s mercy, but he must go too, as well as Bernard of Spruwse (p. 49) and Brier of Mountdidier. The knights take leave and start. About the same time the Soudan having assembled his council, Sortibrance and Brouland (p. 50) advise him to send twelve knights, and to bid Charles to give up Ferumbras and to withdraw from his country. The knights are despatched; near Mantrible they meet with the Christian messengers. Duke Naymes enquires whither they intend to go (p. 51). Having heard their message, the delegates of Charlemagne cut off their heads, which they take with them to present to the Soudan at Agremore. Laban was just dining when Naymes delivers his message: “God confound Laban and all his Saracens, and save Charles, who commands thee to send back his two nephews and to restore the relics” (p. 52). They then produce the heads of the Soudan’s messengers. The Soudan vowed a vow that they should all ten be hanged as soon as he had finished his dinner. But Floripas recommended him to put off his resolution until a general council of his barons had determined on the best way to procure the liberation of Ferumbras. Thereupon the Soudan gives the prisoners into her guard. Floripas leads the knights into her tower (p. 53), where they were glad to find Roland and Oliver. They told each other how they had fared. After washing, they dined off venison, bread, and wine. The following day Floripas asks Naymes his name, and enquires after Guy of Burgundy, whom she had loved for a long time (p. 54), and for whom she would do all she could for their benefit, and would be baptized if he would agree to love her in return. Naymes tells Guy to take her for his wife; but Guy refuses, as he never will take a wife unless she be given him by Charles. But Roland and Oliver persuade him, so that he at last consents. Floripas, holding a golden cup of wine (p. 55), kissed him, and requested him to drink to her after the fashion of her country; she then would drink to him in return. They all ‹lxiii› make merry, and prepare to assail the Soudan at supper on the following day. Meanwhile Lukafer comes to the Soudan and asks leave to see the prisoners, in order to know how Floripas guards them. Finding the door locked (p. 56), he burst it open with a blow of his fist, and told them he was come to speak to them, and to enquire after Charlemagne. Duke Naymes answers. Lukafer then asks what amusements they have after dinner. Naymes says: “Some joust, some sing, some play at chess.” “I will teach you a new game,” says Lukafer (p. 57). With a thread he fastened a needle on a pole and put a burning coal upon it. He blew it at Naymes’s beard and burnt it. Naymes waxed wroth, and snatching a burning brand from the fire he smites at Lukafer, and throws him into the fire, where he was burnt to charcoal. Floripas applauds this, but points out their danger, and advises them to arm. At supper time she goes to her father (p. 58). As they were sitting at table, the twelve peers rushed in and slew all whom they met. Laban, pursued by Oliver, jumps out of a window on to the sea-shore and escaped without injury. They killed all in the castle, and then drew up the bridges and shut the gates. Laban vowed a vow that he would hang them all and burn his daughter. He sent to Mantrible for troops (p. 59) and engines and besieged Agremore. Floripas recommends the peers to enjoy themselves. In the morning the Soudan attacks the castle, but is repulsed (p. 60). He accuses his gods of sleepiness and shakes them to rouse them out of sleep. Brouland tells him, as the castle is strong and well stored with provisions, the peers will hold it very long; but if he would send orders to Alagolofer, the bridge-keeper at Mantrible, not to allow any one to pass without leave (p. 61), they would get no assistance from Charles and die from hunger. Espiard, the Soudan’s messenger, is despatched to Mantrible, and commands the giant not to suffer any one to pass the bridge (p. 62). Alagolofer drew four and twenty chains across the bridge. Meanwhile the Soudan assaults the castle again, but the twelve peers slew three hundred Saracens (p. 63). Laban threatens to hang them, and utters imprecations against Floripas, who returns them. He then calls for Mavon, his engineer, and orders him to direct a mangonel against the walls. Mavon knocked down a piece of the battlements. ‹lxiv› Roland and Oliver lament; they are comforted by Floripas (p. 64). Guy kills Marsedage, the king of Barbary, by throwing a dart at him. The Saracens stop the attack to bury Marsedage, and bewail him seven nights and seven days. Then the Soudan more closely blockades the castle (p. 65). The provisions being exhausted, Roland complains of Charles’s forgetfulness; but Floripas cheers him up, saying she possessed a magic girdle, which was a talisman against hunger and thirst for those who wore it. They all successively put it on, and felt as if they had feasted (p. 66). Laban wondered at their endurance, but at last remembering the girdle, he induced Mapin to attempt to steal it at night. Mapin entered the chamber of Floripas (p. 67) through a chimney. He finds the girdle and puts it on, but Floripas perceives him and cries out. Roland hurries to her assistance, cuts off Mapin’s head, and throws him out through the window into the sea without noticing the girdle. Floripas, seeing her girdle lost, is much grieved; Roland comforts her. They agree to attempt a sally to obtain food (p. 68). In the morning Naymes and Ogier remain in the castle, while the others start and surprise the Saracens sleeping in their huts. They slew three hundred, and carried off as much food as they could bear (p. 69). The Soudan is enraged and is going to burn his gods, but, appeased by his wise men, he sacrifices again, and is assoiled by the priests. Laban holds council (p. 70). A new assault begins, but so many of the assailants were slain by the showers of stones hurled down by the peers that the ditches are filled with dead bodies. The Saracens retire. But soon a second attack ensues. There being no stones, Floripas gave them her father’s silver and gold to cast amongst the assailants. The Soudan in alarm for his treasure gives up the assault (p. 71). He is enraged with his gods, and smites Mahound so that he fell on his face; but the priests induce him to kneel down and ask forgiveness (p. 72). Meanwhile Roland exhorted Richard of Normandy to go on a message to Charles, that he might come to their rescue. They all would, the following morning before day-break, make an attack on the Saracens, and meanwhile he should steal off in the darkness. In the morning they sally out. Floripas and her maidens draw up the bridges after them. Richard went off towards Mantrible (p. 73). ‹lxv› The others slay many Saracens; but Guy, overpowered by the Babylonians, is taken prisoner. Laban asks his name. Guy tells him. He is to be hanged. Three hundred Saracens crowding near the gate of the castle, attempted to prevent the other peers from entering. A fearful struggle begins (p. 74), in which Sir Bryer is killed. At last the Saracens take to flight. The peers retire inside the castle, taking the corpse of Bryer with them. Floripas enquires after Guy, and on hearing of his capture, begins to lament despairingly. Roland promises to rescue Guy (p. 75). On the following morning Laban orders Sir Tamper to erect a gallows before the castle, where Floripas could see it. Guy is led bound. Roland calls his companions to arms. They rush forth (p. 76). Oliver cuts down Sir Tamper, Roland kills a king of India, takes his sword and horse, and gives them to Guy, having unbound him. They slay many Saracens, and put the rest to flight. Retiring towards the castle, they see Admiral Costroye, and the Soudan’s standard-bearer, escorting a great convoy, destined for the sultan, across a field near the high road (p. 77). Roland calls to them to share the provisions with them. Costroye refuses, and is slain by Roland. Oliver kills the standard-bearer, and the convoy is conveyed into the castle (p. 78). Floripas thanks Roland for bringing back Sir Guy, and proposes that he shall choose himself a mistress from amongst her maidens. But Roland refuses to take any that is not a Christian. The Soudan, on hearing such bad news, again defies his gods, and threatens to throw them into the flames (p. 79). But bishop Cramadas kneels before him and appeases him. The Soudan makes an offering of a thousand besants to his gods. When Richard arrived as far as Mantrible, he found the bridge barred by twenty-four chains, and Alagolofer standing before it. Determined not to leave his errand unperformed, he knelt down and commended himself to God. A hind appears (p. 80) and swims across the river; Richard follows her, and passing over in safety, hurries on to Charlemagne. Meanwhile Genelyn, the traitor, had advised Charles to retire to France, because the twelve peers were all slain. The king believed him, and marched homeward, lamenting for his peers. Richard overtakes him, and is recognized by Charles, who asks him about the others. ‹lxvi› Richard tells the king how they are besieged within the castle of Agremore, and are waiting for his assistance. Charles, vowing vengeance on Genelyn (p. 81), turned and marched to Agremore. Richard informed him of the giant who kept the bridge, and how he had passed the river by a miracle. He proposed a plan that twelve knights, disguised as merchants, with their arms hidden under their clothes, should pay the toll, and the bridge being let down, they should blow a horn as a signal for the others to approach. They start and arrive at Mantrible (p. 82). Alagolofer asks whither they are going. Richard says they are merchants on their way to the Soudan, and they are willing to pay the toll. Alagolofer refuses to let them pass, and tells them about the ten knights, who had passed there and done so much mischief to the Soudan; therefore he will arrest them all. Sir Focard draws his sword and smites at him, Richard blows his horn, and Charles advances (p. 83). Alagolofer fights them with a great oak club. Richard seizes a bar of brass and knocks him down. Four men get hold of him and throw him into the river. They loosened the chains; but the Saracens assembling on the walls of the city, many Christians were slain. Alagolofer’s wife, Barrock the giantess, comes on with her scythe and mows down all whom she meets. Charles dashes out her brains (p. 84), and with fifteen knights enters the outer gate of the town, thinking his army would follow him. But the gate was instantly closed upon him, and his men came too late. Charles was in great danger; but Genelyn, seeing him shut in, exclaimed that the king and the twelve peers were dead, and proposed to retire, as he wished to be king himself. They were going to return, but Ferumbras (p. 85) calls him a traitor; he rallies the French, and with his axe bursts open the gate. He chased the Saracens and rescued the king. Mantrible is taken with all its engines and treasures. Richard found two children of seven months old (p. 86), and four feet high. They were sons of Barrock, begotten by Astragot. Charles caused them to be baptized, and called the one Roland and the other Oliver. But they soon died for want of their mother’s milk. The king appoints Richard governor of the city, and hurries on to Agremore with his army and with Ferumbras (p. 87). Laban, being told by a spy ‹lxvii› that his city was taken and the bridge-ward killed, swears to avenge him. He calls a council, and charges his barons to take Charles alive that he might flay him. Charles approaches. Floripas first recognizes the banner of France and tells the others (p. 88). Roland and all his companions sally forth to meet Charlemagne. Laban draws up all his people in battle-order. The French make a great slaughter of the Saracens. Charles encounters the Soudan; he unhorses him, and would have cut off his head, but for Ferumbras, who requested that his father might be baptized. The Saracens, seeing Laban a prisoner, fly; but the Christians pursue them. Three hundred escaped to Belmarine. Charles leads Laban to Agremore. Floripas welcomes her father (p. 89), but he is enraged at seeing her. She then bids Charlemagne welcome, and presents the holy relics to him. Charles kisses them, and says a prayer; he then thanks Floripas for her assistance to his knights, and for having preserved the precious relics. He orders Turpin to prepare a vessel wherein to baptize the Soudan, and to wash off his sin in the water (p. 90). Turpin leads Laban to the font, but the Soudan strikes at him, spits on the vessel, utters invectives against all Christians, and curses Ferumbras. Charles commands Naymes to cut off his head. He is executed; his soul goes to hell, there to dance with devils. Floripas was baptized with all her maidens, and was wedded to Guy. Charles divided Spain between Guy and Ferumbras (p. 91), and charges Sir Bryer of Bretayne to take care of the relics, and to bring all his treasure to Paris. After taking leave of Guy and Floripas, Charles sails to Monpilier, where he thanks God for the victory (p. 92), and for the relics. He presents the cross to Paris, the crown to St. Denis, the three nails to Boulogne. Charles well remembered the treachery of Genelyn, and ordered him to be drawn and hanged at Montfaucon in Paris (p. 93).

The Romaunce of the Sowdone of Babylone and of Ferumbras his Sone who Conquerede Rome:

From the unique MS. of the late Sir Thos. Phillipps.

G Od in glorye of myghteste89 moost, 1 God has ordained all
That al thinge made in sapience things wisely.
By vertue of woorde and holy goost,
Gyvinge to man grete excellence, 4 He has subjected the
And alle, þat is in erthe, wroght earth to man, and man
Subiecte to man and maupright letter n with macron to the, to God.
That he shoulde witħ herte and thought
To loue and serve, and nooupright letter n with hook but the: 8 The man who keeps His
For ȝyfe maupright letter n with macron kepte thy commaundemente commandments and loves
In al thinge and loued the welle Him well, will feel
And hadde synnede in his entente, His grace. But many
Thaupright letter n with hook shulde he fully thy grace fele; 12 who offended Him have
But for the offences to God I-doon90 felt His vengeance. I
Many vengeaunces haue be-falle. will tell you of one;
Where-of I wole youpright letter u with hook telle of ooupright letter n with hook, it would take too long
It were to mocħ to telle of alle. 16 to tell of all. Listen
While þat Rome was in excellence to me, and ye shall
Of alle Realmes in dignite, hear how Rome, the
And howe it felle for his offence, former mistress of all
Listinythe a while and ye shal see, 20 nations, came to fall
Howe it was woneupright letter n with hook and brente by its sins, and was
Of a Sowdoupright letter n with hook, that heatheupright letter n with hook was, destroyed by a heathen
And for synne howe it was shente; Soudan. King Lewis has
As Kinge Lowes witnessith þat cas, 24 borne witness to


As it is wryten in Romaunce that story, which,
And founden in bokes of Antiquyte written in Romance
At Seinte Denyse Abbey in Fraunc[e],91 and found in very
There as Cronycles remembrede be, 28 old chronicles at
Howe Laban, the kinge of hie degre, St Denys in France,
And syletter r with right hook, upright and Sowdoupright letter n with hook of hie Babiloupright letter n with hook, relates how Laban, the
Conquerede grete parte of Christiante, king of Babylon, who
That was born in Askaloupright letter n with hook. 32 was born at Ascalon,
And in the Cite of Agremare92 conquered a great part
Vppoupright letter n with macron the Rivere of Flagote of Christendom. He was
At þat tyme he soiorned theletter r with right hook, upright holding his court in
Fulle roially, wel I wote, 36 the city of Agremore,
With kinges xij and Admyralles xiiij, on the river Flagot,
With many a Baroupright letter n with macron & Kniȝtis ful boold, with 12 kings and 14
That roialle were and semly to sene; admirals, and many
Here worþynesse al may not be told. 40 worthy barons and
Hit bifelle by-twyxte March and Maye, [lf 1, bk] knights,
Whan kynde corage begynneth to pryke, when, in the time
Whaupright letter n with macron ffritħ and felde wexen gaye, between March and May,
And every wight desirith his like, 44
Whaupright letter n with macron lovers slepeupright letter n with macron withe opyupright letter n with macron yȝe,
As Nightyngalis on grene tre,
And sore desire þat thai cowde flye,
That thay myghte withe here louere be: 48  
This worthy Sowdoupright letter n with macron in this sesoupright letter n with macron he went to the chase
Shope him to grene woode to gooupright letter n with macron,
To chase the Bore or the Venesoupright letter n with macron,
The Wolfe, the Bere and the Bawson. 52  
He roode tho vppoupright letter n with macron a fforeste stronde in a wood near the sea.
With grete rowte and roialte,
The fairest, þat was in alle þat londe,
With Alauntes, Lymmeris and Racches free. 56  
His huntes to chace he commaunde,
Here Bugles boldely for to blowe,
To fere the beestis in þat launde.


The Sowdoupright letter n with macron woxe wery I-nowe; 60 Being weary with
He rested him vndere an holme tre hunting, he sat down
Sittynge vppoupright letter n with macron a grene sete under a holm tree, and,
Seynge a Dromonde com seilyng in þe see seeing a dromond
Anone he charged to bekyupright letter n with macron him with honde 64 sailing on the sea, he charged
To here of him tidinges newe. one to enquire for news
The maister sende a man to londe, concerning the ship. The
Of diuers langages was gode and trewe, interpreter of the vessel being
And saide “lorde, this Dromonde93 68 sent ashore, informed the
Fro Babyloyne comeupright letter n with macron is, soudan, that this
That was worþe thousande poundis, dromond, freighted at
As94 it mete with shrewes I-wis, Babylon, with a cargo
Charged with perle and precious stones 72 of rich furs, spices,
And riche pelure and spicerye, oil, brass and pearls,
With oyle and bras qweynte for the nones intended as a present
To presente yow, my lorde worthy. to the soudan, had been
A drift of wediletter r with right hook, upright vs droffe to Rome, 76 driven by stress of
The Romaynes robbed vs anone; weather to Rome, where
Of vs thai slowgh ful many one. they had been robbed by
With sorwe and care we be bygone. the Romans.
Whereof, lorde, remedye 80 [leaf 3]
Ye ordeyne by youre Barons boolde, Therefore he solicited
To wreke the of this vilane; that the soudan would
Or certes oure blis is coolde.” take revenge on those
The Soudon hirynge this tyþinge, 84 who had done such
With egre chere he made a vowe villainy to him.
To Mahounde and to Appolyne, The soudan, hearing
That thai shulde by it dere I-nowe, these tidings, made
Er that he wente fro theyme.95 88 a vow to Mahound and
“Where be ye, my kinges boolde, to Apolyn, that they
My Barons and my Admyral? should dearly pay for
Thes tidinges make myn herte coolde, it.
But I be venged, dyen I shalle. 92 ‘Ferumbras, my son,’ he
Sire Ferumbras, my sone so dere, said, ‘and my daughter
Ye muste me comforte in this case; Floripas, ye must


My ioye is alle in the nowe here be my comfort in this
And in my Doghter Dame Florypas. 96 case.
Sortybraunce, my Counselere, Order Sortibrance,
Lete clepe him forthe to counsaile me, my counsellor, to be
And Oliborne, my Chauncelere called for, and my
And noble Clerke of hie degre, 100 chancellor Oliborn,
And Espiarde, my messangere, and Espiard my
To goon to Assye and to Aufrike, messenger, that he
To kinges, princes ferletter r with right hook, upright and neletter r with right hook, upright, may go to Africa and
Barons, Admyralls and Dukes frike, 104 to Asia and to all
Comaundinge hem vppoupright letter n with macron her legeaunce the princes, who owe
To come in al hast vnto me, me allegiance, and
Wel Armed with shelde and launse, command them hastily to
To Egremoure þoupright letter n with macron riche Cite.” 108 assemble with shield
In shorte tyme this message was wroghte and lance at Agremore.’
An hundred thouusande on a rowte In a short time 100,000
That robbery was righte dere boght, men had assembled.
Was never none derrer withouten douȝte. 112 On the advice of Lukafer,
The kinge of Baldas, sir Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright, king of Baldas,
Of Aufryke lorde and governoure, the soudan also
Spake to the Sowdoupright letter n with macron,that men myghte here, brought together 700 sail
And saide “sir, for thyn honouletter r with right hook, upright, 116 and a dromond for himself,
Do sende for shippes both feletter r with right hook, upright and nere.” for Ferumbras of
Carrikes, Galeis and shippes shene, Alexandrie, for the
vij hundred were gadered al in fere Asiatic king of
And a Dromonde for the Sowdeupright letter n with macron kene. 120 [leaf 4] Chaunder and
Sir Ferumbras of Alisaundre for Floripas. There
In the Dromonde with him was, were two masters in
Of Assy the kinge of Chaundeletter r with right hook, upright, that vessel, and two
And his faire dogħter Floripas. 124 idols placed on the
Two maistres were in the Dromounde, main top, with round
Two goddes on hye seteupright letter n with macron thore maces, therewith to
In the maister toppe, withe macis rounde, menace the Christians.
To manace with the Cristeupright letter n with macron lore. 128 The sails of red
The sailes were of rede Sendelle, sendal-silk were
Embrowdred witħ riche araye,


With beestes and breddes every dele, richly embroidered
That was right curious and gaye; 132 with figures of
The Armes displaied of Laban animals and birds.
Of Asure and foure lions of goolde. Four golden lions, the
Of Babiloyne the riche Sowdoupright letter n with macron, arms of the soudan of
Moost myghty man he was of moolde, 136 Babylon, were also
He made a vowe to Termagaunte, displayed thereon.
Whan Rome were distroied & hade myschaunce, Laban made a vow to
He woolde turne ayen erraunte Termagant, to destroy Rome,
And distroye Charles the kinge of Fraunce. 140 and after that Charlemagne.
Fortħ thai sailed on the flode, Having disembarked in
Tille thai come to the haven of Rome: the haven of Rome,
The wynde hem served, it was ful goode. they slew all
Ther londed many a grymlye gome. 144 Christians, and burned
Thai brente and slowen, þat Cristen were, towns, abbeys and
Towupright letter n with macron, Abbey and holy chirche. churches.
The hethen hade such power there, The Pope of Rome,
That moche woo gan thai there wircħ. 148 hearing of the heathens
Tidinggis came to Rome anone laying waste the whole
Unto the Pope, that þt tyme was, country,
That the heþen came to bren and slone.
This was to hem a sory cas. 152  
He lete cal his counsaile to-geder assembled his council.
To wete, what was beste to doupright letter n with macron.
Anone as thai were come þedeletter r with right hook, upright,
He asked of hem al ful sone: 156  
“Lordinges, it is vnknowne96 to you,
That this cursed hathen Sowdoupright letter n with macron
Brennyth and stroyeth oure pepul nowe,
Alive he leveth vnneth not one. 160  
Seint Petir be oure governoure [leaf 5]
And save this worthi Cite of Rome,
And Seinte Poule be oure gydoure
From this cursed hetheupright letter n with macron houne97!” 164  
Ifreȝ he bispake him thaupright letter n with macron, Jeffrez, a senator


Of Rome he was a Senatoure, of Rome, advised that
And saide “senditħ some worthy man worthy men should be
To Charles kinge of hye honoure. 168 sent to Charles of
He wolde you helpe with al his mygħte, Douce France to implore
That noble kinge of Dowse Fraunce.” his assistance.
“Certes” quod Savaris “þat weren no rigħte, But Duke Savariz,
It were right a foule myschaunce, 172 thinking this to be
To sende to þat worthy kinge. a wretched piece
We have oure hedes yet al hole, of timidity, as they
Oure sheldes be not broke no-thinge, had not tried
Hawberke, spere, ner poleyne, ner pole. 176 anything for themselves,
Where-of shul we playupright letter n with macron to him,
That no thinge yet have assaide?
Mecħ uylanye we myght wynne,
That for noght were so sone afrayed. 180  
Ten thousande men delyuere me tyte asked for 10,000 men
Tomorue next in-to the feelde, to be put under his
And I shall prove with al my myghte command.
To breke there bothe spere and shelde.” 184  
Vnto the Senatours it semed welle,
His counsaile goode and honurable.
This worthi Duke was armed in stele
In armes goode and profitable; 188  
He bare a Chek of goulis clere,
An Egle of goolde abrode displayed.
With him many a bolde Bachelere
Tho spake Savaryȝ witħ wordes on hye 192 The next morning the
And saide “my felowes alle, duke addressed his men,
This daie prove you meupright letter n with macron worthy,
And faire you al shal befalle.
Thenke yat Criste is more myghty 196  
Than here fals goddis alle;
And he shal geve vs the victorie,
And foule shal hem this day bifalle.”
Fortħ than rode þat faire Ooste 200 and directed them to
With right goode chere and randoupright letter n with macron, the soudan’s


Tille than come ful nyȝe the cooste. pavilion near the
Of the Sowdons Pavyloupright letter n with macron shore.
Ferumbras was of hem ware 204 [leaf 6] Ferumbras,
And sprange out as a sparkil of glede; that doughty
Of Armes bright a sheelde he bare, warrior, becoming
A Doughty maupright letter n with macron he was of dede. aware of them, led
xv thousande came oute there 208 15,000 men against the
With him at þat same tyde, Romans.
Ayen the Romaynes for to were,
Witħ bobaunce, booste and grete pride.
The stoure was stronge, endurynletter g with right bar longe: 212  
The Romaynes hade there the feelde;
The Sarysyns thai slougħ amonge,
Ten thousand and mo with spere and sheelde. 10,000 and more of the
Sauariz was wise and ware 216 Saracens were slain,
And drowe towards þat Citee. and the Romans, though
His baner displaied witħ him he bare victorious, were led
To releve with his meyne. back to Rome by the
The Pope with his Senatours 220 cautious Savaris.
Thanked god þat tyme of glorie, The Pope thanked God
That gafe hem þat day grete honours, for the victory.
Of hethen that dai to have the victorie. Lukafer of Baldas
Lukafere, kinge of Baldas, 224 having scoured the
The countrey hade serchid and sought, country,
Ten thousande maidyns faire of face brought 10,000 maidens
Vnto the Sowdan hath he broghte. to the soudan, who
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron commanded hem anone, 228 ordered them to be
That thai shulde al be slayupright letter n with macron. slain,
Martires thai were euerychoupright letter n with macron, saying, he would
And therof were thai al ful fayne. not have his people
He saide “my peple nowe ne shalle 232 polluted by them, and
With hem noughte defouled be, he would destroy every
But I wole distroie ouer all Christian seed.
The sede over alle Cristiante.” Lukafer said to the
Tho spake lukefere the kinge, 236 soudan:
That hetheupright letter n with macron hounde Baldas,


And saide “Sir Sowdaupright letter n with macron, graunte me one thinge, “Grant me thy daughter
Thi doghter Dame Floripas. and I will bring thee
The kinge of Fraunce I shal the bringe 240 Charlemagne and all his
And the xij dosipers alle in fere.” twelve peers.”
The Sowdan saide in þat tokenynupright letter g with right bar, Laban assented; but
“I graunte the here, that is so dere.” Floripas said, she
Tho sayde Floripe “sire, nooupright letter n with macron haste, 244 would only consent to
He hath note done as he hath saide. be his darling,
I trowe, he speketh these wordes in waste, [leaf 7]
He wole make bute an easy brayde.
Whan he bryngith home Charles the kinge 248 when he had taken
And the xij dosipers alle, Charles and the
I graunte to be his derlynge douzepeers.
What so evere therof by-falle. The next morning the
Than on the morowe the Sowdaupright letter n with macron 252 soudan ordered Lukafer
Callid to him Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright of Baldas, to assault the City
To assaile the Cite anone: with 30,000 men.
“And loke thou tary not in this cas!
Thritty thousande of my menie, 256  
Of Gallopes, Ethiopes and Aufricanes,
Take hem to the walles witħ the.
Betitħ dowupright letter n with macron wallis, towris and stones.”
Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright blewe his clarioupright letter n with macron 260  
To Assemble the Sarasyns þat tide,
Where-of thai knewe right welle the soune,
Thai made hem redy for to ride,
But whan thai come to the yate, 264  
The Dikes were so develye depe, The Saracens, finding
Thai helde hem selfe Chek-mate; the ditches too deep,
Ouer cowde thai nothir goo nor crepe. cannot pass, and are
Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright in al the haste 268  
Turned to the Sowdan agayupright letter n with macron obliged to return.
And saide “sir, it is alle in waste,
We laboure nowe alle in vayne.
To depe and brode the Dikes bene, 272  
The Towres so stronge be witħ alle,


That by Mahounde I can note seeupright letter n with macron,
How that we shulde wyne ther to the walle.”
Who was woode but the Sowdoupright letter n with macron? 276  
He reneyed his goddis alle.
He clepede his Engynour sir mavone, The soudan calls for
To counsaile he did him faste calle. his engineer Mavon,
He tolde him the case of þat myschefe, 280  
How it stode at that ilke tyde.
Mavon Gafe him counsel in breefe who advised him to fill
To fille the Dikes þat were depe.98 the ditch
Every man to woode shal gooupright letter n with macron, 284  
Fagotis to hewe and faste bynde, with fagots.
And fille the Dikes faste anooupright letter n with macron
With alle, that we may ther fynde.
“Gramercy, Mavoupright letter n with macron,” quod Laban thaupright letter n with macron, 288 Laban thanks his wise
“Mahoundis benysone thou shalt haue, engineer.
Of alle myn Ooste the wiseste man, [leaf 8]
With counsaile men for to saue.”
Alle this was done the seconde daye, 292 The following day, the
Men myght go even to the walle; ditch being filled with
On every party the ooste laye, fagots, the city
Thai made assaite99 then generalle. was assaulted from all
The Romaynes ronneupright letter n with macron to the toures, 296 quarters. The Romans
Thai were in ful grete dowte; ran to the towers, and
Thai hade many sharpe shoures, a sharp conflict
Thai were assailed sore a-bowte. ensued.
Wifis and maidyns stones thai bare 300 Women and maidens
To the walles than ful faste, carried stones which
Thai were in grete drede and care; the
The men over the wallis did caste. men threw over the
Thai slowen many a Sarasyupright letter n with macron, 304 walls.
x thousande100 pepul of heupright letter m with macron and moo. 10,000 Saracens were
The daie passed to the fyne, slain and
The hethen withdrowe hem tho. the heathens obliged to
Whan these tidinges came to laban, 308 withdraw.


His goddes he gan chide. Laban chides his gods
He waxe both blake, pale and wan, and nearly grows mad
He was nyȝe woode þat same tyde. with vexation. But
Tho Lukafer comfortede him welle 312 Lukafer told him that,
And saide “sir, be not dismayed, having espied that
For I have aspied everydele, Savaris would, the
Howe thai shalle alle be betrayede. following day, come
Sauariz wole to morowe witħ us fighte, 316 out again to fight
His baner knowe I ful welle; with them, he would
I shal have an othere, I youpright letter u with hook plighte, have a banner made
Like to this every dele. exactly like his, which
Whan he is moste besy in bataile, 320 when Savaris was much
Than wole I with banere displaiede engaged in the battle,
Ride in to Rome without faile, he would unfold and
Thus shal thai al be betrayede.” enter Rome.
The Sowdaupright letter n with macron was glad of this tidinge, 324  
Hopinge it shulde be so;
And even as it was in purposynge, And so it
Right so was it aftir I-do. turned out; the Romans
Wenynge it hade be Sauarye, 328 mistaking him for
Relevinge fro the hethen stouletter r with right hook, upright, Savaris, returning from
Wenynge doth ofte harme withoute lye, his sally, he entered
He entred to the maister Toure. the main tower,
The firste warde thus thay wonne 332 [leaf 9]
By this fals contrevede engyne.
Thus was moche sorowe bygoupright letter n with macron,
Thai slougħ all, that were ther-Inne. and slew all therein.
Whaupright letter n with macron Sauariz saugħ this discomfituletter r with right hook, upright 336 Savaris becoming aware
Of the Romaynes in that tyme, of the artifice of the
And howe harde thaupright letter n with macron was here aventuletter r with right hook, upright, enemy,
Of sorowe þat myghte he ryme
Of x thousande meupright letter n with macron lefte no moo 340 and seeing out of
But sexty meupright letter n with macron and twelfe, 10,000 Romans no more
And whan he sawe this myschief tho, than seventy-two left,
He turned homewarde agayn him selue. turned back, but found
By thaupright letter n with macron he founde the gate shite 344 the gate shut,


With Sarisyns, that hade it wone;
And Estragot with him he mette
With bores hede, blake and donne.
For as a bore an hede hadde 348  
And a grete mace stronge as stele.
He smote Sauaryz as he were madde, and was slain by
That dede to grounde he felle. Estragot, a black giant
This Astrogot of Ethiop, 352 of Ethiopia.
He was a kinge of grete strengtħ;
Ther was none suche in Europe
So stronge and so longe in lengtħ.
I trowe, he were a develes sone, 356  
Of Belsabubbis lyne,
For ever he was thereto I-wone,
To do Cristeupright letter n with macron men grete pyne.
Whan tidinggis came to the [P]ope, 360 After the death of
That Duke Sauaryz was dede slayupright letter n with macron, Savaris, the Pope
Thaupright letter n with macron to woo turned alle his hope;
He dide calle thaupright letter n with macron to counsaile summoned his council
Alle the Senatouris of Rome, 364 again.
What þinge þat myght hem most availe,
And what were beste to done.
Tho by-spake a worthy man of counsaile,
An Erille of the Senatouris: 368 An earl of the
“The best counsaile, þat I can senatours suggested
the necessity of
Sending vnto Charles the kinge101 dispatching messengers
Certifiynge him by your myssangeris to Charlemagne,
The myschief þat ye are Inne, 372 imploring him to come
That he come with his Dosyperys to their deliverance.
To reskue Cristiante fro this heþen.” [leaf 10]
All thai assentede anone therto; They all assented.
The lettres were made in haste. 376 Three messengers,
Thre messageres we ordeyupright letter n with macron102 therto, with letters
That went forthe at the laste. written in haste,


At a posterne thai wente oute left the city by a
Pryvely aboute mydnygħt, 380 postern at midnight,
And passed through alle the route. and passed the enemy’s
Of hem was war no wigħt. camp without being
B Vt let we nowe the messangeris gooupright letter n with macron, noticed by any wight.
And speke we of Labaupright letter n with macron, 384  
Howe he dide saile the Cite anooupright letter n with macron, Laban
And commaundid, þat every man commanded every
Shulde withe Pikeys or witħ bille man to throw pikes and
The Wallis over throwe, 388 bills over the walls,
That he myght the Romaynes kille, to kill the Romans.
Playnly on a rowe,
By water he ordeynede the shippes gooupright letter n with macron, He ordered the ships
The bootis bownden to the maste, 392 to go up the water,
That thai myght fight with hem anooupright letter n with macron, with their boats bound
Honde of honde, þat was here caste. to the mast, that they
To the Toure a bastile stode, might fight in close
An engyne was I-throwe— 396 combat.
That was to the Cite ful goode— Near the tower there
And brake dowupright letter n with macron towres both hie and lowe. stood a bastile which
Tho sorowede alle the Citesyns formed a principal
And were ful hevy thaupright letter n with macron. 400 protection to the city.
Tho wox prowde the Sarasyns, It was laid low by
And than bispake sire laban stones hurled from an
And saide “yolde youe here to me, engine.
Ye may not longe endure, 404 Laban, growing proud,
Or ellis shall ye al slayupright letter n with macron be, summoned the Romans to
By mahounde I you ensure.” surrender.
A Romayne drife a darte him to Instead of an answer, a
And smote him on the breste plate, 408 Roman hurled a dart at
Ne hadde his hawberke lasted tho, his breast-plate, but
Mahounde had come to late. his hauberk shielded
Tho was the Sowdoupright letter n with macron more þaupright letter n with macron wod, him.
He cried to Ferumbras, 412 The soudan, more than
“For Mahoundes loue, þat is so good, mad, charged Ferumbras
Destroye vp bothe man and place. to destroy them all,


Spare no thinge that is alyve,
Hows, Toure ner Walle, 416 [leaf 11]
Beest, ner man, Childe nere Wife,
Brenne, slo and distroye alle.”
Tho Ferumbras ordeynede anone
To bende the Engynes to the towupright letter n with macron 420  
And bete dowupright letter n with macron botħ Toure and stooupright letter n with macron.
He cleped fortħ Fortibraunce and Mavoupright letter n with macron and enjoined
And saide “be youre Engynes goode? Fortibrance and Mavon
Shewe forth here nowe your crafte 424 to direct their
For Mahoundis love, þat gevith man foode, engines against the
That ther be no Toure lafte.” walls.
Tho the grete glotoupright letter n with macron Estagote103 The great glutton
With his myghty mace sware 428 Estragot, with his
On the Gatis of Rome he smote heavy mace,
And brake hem alle on thre thare. smote on the gates
In he entrid at the Gate and brake them in
The Porte-Colis on him thai lete falle. 432 pieces.
He wende, he hade come to late, But as he was
It smote him through herte, lyuer and galle. entering one of the
He lai cryande at the grounde gates, they let the
Like a develle of Helle; 436 portcullis fall,
Through the Cite wente the sowne, which crushed him to
So lowde than gan he yelle. the ground,
Gladde were al the Romaynes, where he lay crying
That he was take in the trappe, 440 like a devil.
And sorye were al the Sarsyns The Romans were glad,
Of þat myschevos happe. but the Saracens
Sory was the Soudoupright letter n with macron thaupright letter n with macron grieved.
And Ferumbras and Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright. 444 They withdrew to
Thai drowe hem tille her tentes thaupright letter n with macron, their tents, leaving
Thai left him ligginge there. behind the corpse of
Mahounde toke his soule to him Estragot, whose soul
And broght it to his blis. 448 went up to Mahound.
He loued him wel and al his kyn,


Of þat myghte he not mys.
Anone the [P]ope dide somoupright letter n with macron alle; The Pope called all
The peple of the Cite came, 452 his people to St.
To Seinte Petris he dide hem calle, Peter’s,
And thidere came every man.
He saide on hie “my Children dere, and proposed to them
Ye wote wel, howe it is; 456  
Ayenst the Sarisyns, þat nowe be here,
We mowe not longe endure I-wis.
Thay brekene oure walles, oure Toures alle [leaf 12]
With caste of his Engyne. 460  
Therefore here amonge youpright letter u with hook alle
Ye shalle here counsaile myne.
Thai bene withdrawe to here Oost,104
And on-armede thay ben alle. 464  
Therfore, me thenketh, is beste to attempt a sally
To-morowe erly on hem to falle. with 20,000 men, to
We have xxxti thousande men; attack the enemy
Twenty thousande shal go witħ me, 468 before day-break
And in this Cite leve ten within their camp,
To governe the comynalte.” and to leave 10,000
The Senatouris assentede sone for the guard of the
And saide, beter myghte no man seyne. 472 city. The senators
On the morowe this was it done105; assented.
God bringe hem wele home agayne. In the morning
The Pope did display than the Pope displayed
The hie baner of Rome, 476 the banner of Rome,
And he assoiled every maupright letter n with macron
Througħ gracious god in Dome.
He praide of helpe and socouletter r with right hook, upright and after a prayer
Seinte Petir and Poule also 480 for the preservation
And oure lady, þat swete floure, of the city,
To saue the Cite of Rome from woo. they marched out.
Forth thai rideupright letter n with macron towarde the Oost. But Ferumbras, going
Ferumbras romede a-boute; 484 his rounds,


He saw the Romaynes comeupright letter n with macron by the Cost,106 discovered their
Thereof he hade grete dowte. coming,
He blewe an horne, of bras it was; sounded the alarm,
The Sarsyns be-goupright letter n with macron to wake. 488  
“Arise vp” he saide in aras,107
“We bene elles alle I-take,
And Armes anone, every wight,
To horse with spere and shelde! 492  
Ye may se here a ferefuupright letters ll with middle tilde sighte
Of oure enemyes in the felde.
Astopars,108 goo ye biforne vs, and drew up his
For ye be men of myghte; 496 troops.
Ethiopes, Assayneȝ and Askalous,
Go nexte afore my sighte.
My Fadir and I with Babyloynes,
Ho109 shal kepe the rerewarde. 500  
King Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright with Baldeseynes,
To venge alle, shalle have the Fowarde.” [leaf 13]
The Romaynes aspied, þat thai were ware
Of here comynge thaupright letter n with macron, 504  
And therfore hade thay moche care.
Natheles on hem thai goupright letter n with macron
Seinte Petir be here socoure!—
And laiden on side, bake and boupright letter n with macron. 508  
There bigan a sturdy shoure There began a hard
Sire 110Ferumbras of Alisaundre ooupright letter n with macron,111 struggle.
That bolde man was in dede,
Vppon a steede Cassaundre gaye, 512  
He roode in riche Weede.
Sire Bryer of Poyle a Romayne to fraye Ferumbras slew Sir
He bare through witħ a spere, Bryer of Apulia
Dede to the grounde ther he laupright letter n with macron 516  
Might he no more hem dere!


That sawe Huberte, a worthy man,
Howe Briere was I-slayupright letter n with macron,
Ferumbras to qwite thaupright letter n with macron 520  
To him he rode ful eveupright letter n with macron.
With a spere vppone his shelde þaupright letter n with macron
Stifly ganne he strike;
The shelde he brake I-myddis the feelde; 524  
His Hawberke wolde not breke.
Many goode strokes were delte.
Ferumbras was a-greved tho,
He smote with mayne and mygħte 528 and the worthy Hubert.
The nekke asonder, the ventayle also,
That dede he sate vprighte.
There was bataile harde and stronge;
Many a steede wente ther a-straye, 532  
And leyen at the grounde I-stonge,
That resyn never aftyr that day,
IX thousand of the payens pride 9000 pagans were
That day were slayupright letter n with macron, 536 killed,
And viij thousande of the Romaynes side, and 8000 Romans.
That in the feelde dede layne.
Lukafere, þat paynym proude, Lukafer destroyed
Slough Romaynes eyȝtene, 540 eighteen Romans,
Of werletter r with right hook, upright moche sorowe he coude, he also slew Gyndard,
His strokes were over alle sene. a senator of Rome,
Gyndarde, a Senatoure of Rome, who had slain ten
Had slayne Sarsenys teupright letter n with macron, 544 [leaf 14] Saracens.
Tille he met with the cursed gome,
Lukifere slough him than.
Tho come the Pope with grete aray, Then came the Pope
His baner to-fore him wente. 548 with a great guard
Ferumbras than gaupright letter n with macron to assaye, and his banner before
If he myght that praye entente, him.
Supposynge in this though[t]e, Ferumbras, supposing
Ther was the souerayne; 552 him to be the
He spared him therfore rigħt nogħt, sovereign,


But bare him dowupright letter n with macron ther in þe playupright letter n with macron. burst open the thick
Anooupright letter n with macron he sterte on him all ane crowd and threw him
His Ventayle for to onlace, 556 down to the ground.
And saugh his crowupright letter n with macron newe shafe, But seeing his
A-shamed thanne he was. tonsure, he was
“Fye, preest, god gyfe the sorowe! ashamed.
What doist thou armede in the feelde, 560 “Fie, priest,”
That sholdest saie thi matyns on morwe, he said, “what
What doist thoupright letter u with hook witħ spere and shelde? doest thou in the
I hoped, thoupright letter u with hook hadiste beupright letter n with macron an Emperoure, battle-field?
Or a Cheftayne of this Ooste here, 564  
Or some worthy conqueroure.
Go home and kepe thy Qweletter r with right hook, upright!
Shame it were to me certayne It would be a shame
To sle the in this bataile, 568 for me to slay thee.
Therfore turne the home agayupright letter n with macron!” Go home and think of
The Pope was gladde þer-of certayne,112 thy choir-service!”
He wente home to Rome that nyght The Pope retired with
Witħ Five thousande and no more, 572 5000 men,
XV thousande lefte in the feelde aplight, 15,000 being killed.
Full grete sorowe was therfore.
N Owe telle we of the messangeletter r with right hook, upright,
That wente to Charlemayne, 576 Charlemagne, having
Certyfyinge him by lettres dere, learned from the
Howe the Romaynes were slayne, messenger the great
And howe the Contrey brente was disaster which had
Vnto the Gate of Rome, 580 befallen the Romans,
And howe the people song ‘alas,’
Tille socoure from him come.
“Who” quod Charles, that worthy kinge, said, he would not
“The Sowdoupright letter n with macron and Ferumbras? 584 desist until he had
I nyl lette for no thinge, [leaf 15] chased the
Till I him oute of Cristendome chace. soudan and Ferumbras
Therefore Gy of Burgoyupright letter n with macron, out of Christendom.
Mynne owen nevewe so trewe, 588  


Take a thausande pounde of Frankis fyne, He gave 1000 pounds
To wage wytħ the pepul newe. of francs to his
Take this with the nowe at this tyme, nephew Guy of
And more I wole sende the, 592 Burgundy,
Loke that thou spare no hors ne shelde, and sent him off with
But þat he dede be; orders to advance
And faste hye the thyderwarde, against the soudan by
For I drede thay haue grete nede, 596 forced marches.
And I shalle come aftirwarde Himself would follow
As faste, as I may me spede.” as soon as possible.
S Peke we of Sir Labaupright letter n with macron
And let Charles and Gy be, 600  
Howe he ordeyned for hem thaupright letter n with macron
To Distroye Rome Citee.
“Sir Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright, thou madiste thi boost Laban reminded
To conqueletter r with right hook, upright the Romaynes 604 Lukafer of his
And to bringe me the Ooste vaunting promise to
Of the xij peris and Charlemayne. bring him Charlemagne
Vppoupright letter n with macron a condicioupright letter n with macron I graunte the and his douzepeers,
My doghter, dere Dame Floripas. 608 in return for his
Wherefore, I aske nowe of the daughter Floripas.
To holde covenaunte in this cas.”
“That I saide” quod Lucafere, Lukafer said, he
“To Mahounde I make a vowe 612 would do all he had
To done al þat I hight the theletter r with right hook, upright, promised.
Ye and more than113 for Florip love.”
He ordeyned assaute anone in haste With 10,000 men he
With x thousande men and moo; 616 attacked the city on
And Ferumbras at that oþer side faste one side, the other
Assailed hem with grete woo. being assaulted by
The saute endured al þat daye Ferumbras. The combat
From morowe, tille it was nyght, 620 continues as long as
To throwe and shete by euery waye, daylight lasts. At
While that hem endured the light. night they retired to
Tho wente thai home to thailetter r with right hook, upright tentys, their tents.


Tille it were on the morowe. 624 Isres, who possessed
Isres in his fals ententes by inheritance
Purposed tresoupright letter n with macron and sorowe. the guard of the
He was chief Porter of the Towupright letter n with macron, [leaf 16] principal
By heritage and fee so he shulde be. 628 gate, planned treason.
He wente to the Sowdaupright letter n with macron, He repaired to the
For the riche Cite betraye woolde he, soudan and offered to
And saide “lorde, gife me grace betray the city on
For my goodes and for me, 632 condition that his
And I wole delyuer the this place life and property
To haue and holde for ever in fee. should be spared.
The keyes of this riche Cite
I haue in my bandon.” 636  
“That graunte I” quod Laban “the The soudan promised
To be free withoute raunsoupright letter n with macron.” it.
Ferumbras made him yare, Ferumbras with 20,000
With xxti thousand meupright letter n with macron and moo, 640 men went with Isres.
With this Isres for to fare,
And to wynne the Cite soo.
As sone as he entred was On entering the gate,
The chief Gate of alle, 644  
And alle his men in aras,114 he caused the
He lete the Portcolys falle. traitor’s head to be
He smote of the traitourus hede struck off by the
And saide “god gife him care! 648 portcullis, and
Shal he never more ete brede,
All traitours evel mot115 thai fare!
If he myght leve and reigne here,
He wolde betraye me; 652  
For go he west, soutħ or Nortħ,
Traitour shalle he never be.” to be carried on the
He dide lete bere his hede on a spere point of a spear
Througħ-oute this faire Citee. 656 through the city.
‘Treson, tresoupright letter n with macron thai cried there, “Treason,” cried the
Pite it was to here and see. people within,


The people fled by every waye,
Thai durst no-where a-bide. 660  
The hye wey ful of dede men laye, and all streets were
And eke by every lanys side. soon covered with
Ferumbras to Seinte Petris wente, dead men. Ferumbras
And alle the Relekes he seased anooupright letter n with macron, 664 went to St. Peter’s,
The Crosse, the Crowupright letter n with macron, the Nailes bente; seized the relics,
He toke hem with him everychone. the cross, the crown
He dide dispoile al the Cite and the nails,
Both of tresoure and of goolde, 668  
And after that brente he [leaf 17] burned
Alle þat ever myght be toolde. the whole city, and
And alle the tresoure witħ hem þai bare carried away all the
To the Cite of Egremouletter r with right hook, upright. 672 treasures and the
Laban the Sowdoupright letter n with macron soiourned there116 gold to Agremore,
Thre monþes and thre dayes more where the soudan went
In myrtħ and Ioye and grete solas. to stay. Three months
And to his goddes offrynge he made, 676 and three days they
He and his sone Sir Ferumbras spent there in great
Here goddis of golde dide fade, festivities, making
Thai brente Frankeupright letter n with macronsense, offerings to their
That smoked vp so stronge, 680 gods, and burning
The Fume in her presence, frankincense in their
It lasted alle alonge. honour.
Thai blewe hornes of bras,
Thai dronke beestes bloode. 684 They drank the blood
Milke and hony ther was, of beasts and milk,
That was roial and goode. and ate honey and
Serpentes in Oyle were fryed snakes fried in oil.
To serve þe Sowdoupright letter n with macron with alle, 688  
“Antrarian Antrarian” thai lowde cryed
That signyfied ‘Ioye generalle.’
Thus thai lived in Ioye and blis
Two monþes or thre. 692  
Lete we now be alle this,


And of Gye nowe speke we.
N Ow speke we of Sir Gupright letter y with macrone
That toward Rome hied witħ his Oost. 696  
Whaupright letter n with macron he approched there-to so nyȝe, When Sir Guy drew
That he myght se the cooste, near Rome, finding
Alle on a flame þat Cite was, the whole city in
That thre myle al abowte, 700 flames,
Ther durst no maupright letter n with macron, þat ther was,
Come nyȝe the Cite for grete dowte.
That was a sory Cite than,
Sir Gye was in grete care, 704 he grieved much
Ther was nowhere a soryer maupright letter n with macron,
For sorowe he sighed ful sare,
And saide “welallas”117 the while
“For we come ar to late, 708 that he had arrived
For by some treson or some gyle too late.
Thai entred in at some Gate.
There is no more but for to abyde, He resolved there to
Tille Charles come, the kinge, 712 wait for Charlemagne
In this mede Vnder grene wode side, [leaf 18]
To telle him of this tithinge, and then to tell him,
Howe Laban hath the Cite brente how Laban had burnt
And bore the Religes118 a-waye, 716 the city, and had
And howe he hath hem to Spayne sente sent the relics to
With Shippes of grete aray, Agremore,
To Egremouletter r with right hook, upright his chief Cite, his principal town in
Ther to live and ende; 720 Spain.
And manassitħ Charles and his baronye.
God gife hem evelle ende!”
Kinge Charles he forgate nought King Charles advanced
To come to reskowe Rome, 724 to rescue Rome with
Alle his Doȝypers were I-sought, his douzepeers
Fulle sone to him thay come.
Thre hundred thousande of Sowdeoures and 300,000 soldiers.


Kinge Charles with him dide lede, 728  
They were doughty in all stourys
And worthy men of dede.
Sir Roulande þat worthy knighte, Roland led the
He ladde the Fowarde, 732 vanguard,
And Sir Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, that was so wighte, Oliver the rear,
Gouerned the Rerewarde.
The Kinge himselfe and his Baronye, the king was
With Dukes And Erilles roialle, 736  
Gouerned alle the medil partye. with the main body.
By commaundemente generall
He ordeynede grete plente The provisions
Of Flessh and Fissh, brede and wyne, 740  
In shippes to saile by the see, were conveyed by sea.
To serven him ful wel and fyne.
Sir Gye aspied his comynge, Guy seeing them come,
He knewe the baner of Fraunce, 744 went to
He wente anooupright letter n with macron ayen the kinge meet the king, and
And tolde him of þat myschaunce, told him the mischief
Howe that the cursed Sowdaupright letter n with macron done by the soudan,
Hath brent Rome and bore the Relekis awaye, 748  
And how he hath slayupright letter n with macron alle and some,
That he hatħ founde of Cristeupright letter n with macron faye.
And more-over he made his a-vowe, who moreover had made
To seke kinge Charles in Fraunce 752 a vow to seek Charles
And do him wo ther I-nowe. in France in order
“God gif him moch myschaunce!”— to afflict him with
“A” quoupright letter d with right vertical tilde Charles “þat neditħ noght, grief. [leaf 19] “He
He shal fynde me nere. 756 will find me near,”
By god, þat dere me bogħt, said Charles, “and
He shal by it ful dere. shall dearly pay for
I shalle him never leve I-wis it.
Withinne walle ner witħoute, 760  
I swere by god and seinte Denys,
Tille I have sought him oute; Unless he consents to
And but if he will Baptised be be baptized,


And lefe his fals laye, 764  
Babyloyne shal he never see he never shall see
For alle his grete aray.” Babylon again.” They
Anoon to shippe every maupright letter n with macron all took ship without
With vitaile and with store, 768 delay.
Euen towarde the proud Sawdaupright letter n with macron
With-outeupright letter n with macron any more.
Wynde him blewe ful fayre and goode
Into the Ryver of Gaȝe, 772 Propitious winds
Even over the salte flode drove them into the
And ouer the profounde rase. river Gase, where
XXX legeeȝ from Egremouletter r with right hook, upright they landed, 30 miles
By londe for south it is, 776 from Agremore,
And ther withoute any more
To londe thai wente I-wis,
And brente and slougheupright letter n with macron al þat thai fonde, and laid waste the
And stroyed both Toure and towupright letter n with macron. 780 country.
Thai lefte no thinge on grounde,
That thai ne bete it dowupright letter n with macron.
Tithinggis were tolde to Laban, Laban, hearing this
Howe Charles was I-come 784 news,
And slough bouth childe, wyfe, man
And brente and stroyed alle and some
With thre hundred thousand of Bacheleris,
That were both stoute and gaye, 788  
And with him al his Dosyperis,
Pepul of grete araye.
“And but ye ordeyne remedy,
He wole you brenne and slooupright letter n with macron, 792  
Youe and youre riche Baronye,
He wole leve a-life neuere ooupright letter n with macron.”
Whan Laban herde these tidyngys,
His herte woxe alle coolde 796  
And saide “this is a wonder thinge! [leaf 20]
Howe durste he be so boolde? was astonished at
Litill kennyth he what I may doo, Charles’s presumption.


He dredith me litil nowe. 800  
But certes he shalle, eletter r with right hook, upright he goo,
To Mahounde I make a vowe.
Sir Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright and Ferumbras He assembled all his
To him dide he calle 804 barons,
And Mavoupright letter n with macron and Sortebras
And his Barons alle.
I charge you vppoupright letter n with macron youre legeaunce,
That ye bringe me that gloton, 808 and charged them to
That clepeth himselfe kinge of Fraunce, bring him alive that
Hidere to my Paviloupright letter n with macron. glutton that called
Kepe him a-live, the remenaunte sle himself king of
The xij Peris ychooupright letter n with macron! 812 France, and to slay
I shalle tech him curtesye, the remnant.
I swere by god Mahounde.”
Ferumbras anooupright letter n with macron than Ferumbras went forth
Arrayed him for to ride 816 with many Saracens.
With proude Sarasyns many a man,
That boldely durst a-bide.
Rowlande met with Ferumbras He meets with Roland.
And gafe him such a stroke 820  
That al astonyed þerof he was,
It made him lowe to stoupe.
Ferombras smote him agayne They deal each other
With myghte and mayn, with ire 824 heavy strokes.
That he stenyed alle his brayne,
Him thought, his eyeupright letter n with macron were alle on fyre.
With Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright Oliveletter r with right hook, upright mette, Oliver cuts off a
And hit him on the sheelde 828 quarter of Lukafer’s
A stroke, that was right wel sette; shield.
A quarter flye in the feelde.
Thus thai hurteled to-gedere The combat lasted the
Alle the lefe longe daye, 832 whole day.
Nowe hider and nowe theder;
Mony an hors wente ther astraye. Well fought the
The Dosyperis thay foughten wele, twelve peers.


Duke Neymys and Ogeletter r with right hook, upright, 836  
With goode swerdes of fyne stele
And so dide Gye and Syr Bryeletter r with right hook, upright.
Ferumbras was euer a-bowte [leaf 21]
To fyghte witħ Olyvere, 840 Ferumbras charges
And Olyueletter r with right hook, upright with-oute dowte Oliver.
Leyde on with goode chere.
Kinge Charles saugh Ferumbras, King Charles, seeing
To him fast he rode 844 this, rides on to
And it on the helme witħ his mace, Ferumbras,
That stroke sadlye abode. and strikes his helm
Ferumbras was woode for woo, with his heavy mace.
He myght for prees come him to 848 Ferumbras cannot
For no worldis thinge, that myght be tho. approach him on
Kinge Charles anoon119 Ioye oute-drowe, account of the crowd.
And with his owen honde Charlemagne with his
XXXti Sarseynys ther he slowe, 852 sword Mounjoy slew 30
That laie dede vppone the sonde; Saracens.
Many of hem therfore made joy Inowe.
Sir Lucafere of Baldas, Lukafer of Baldas,
He presed to Charles sone, 856 encountering Charles,
And saide “Sir, with harde grace,
What hastowe here to done?
I behight Laban to bringe the to him told him that he had
And the xij peris alle; 860 promised the soudan
Now shaltowe come from al thy kyn to bring him Charles
Into the Sowdans halle. and the douzepeers.
Yelde the to me” he saide,
“Thy life shalle I safe.” 864  
A stroke on him than Charles layde; Charles strikes him
He made the Paynym to rafe. on his helmet,
He smote him on the helme
With mown-Ioye, his gode bronde. 868  
Ne hadde he be reskued than,
He hade slayn him with his honde.


Than came Baldeȝynȝ with thronge but Lukafer is
To reskue there here lorde, 872 rescued by a great
And nubens with hem amonge throng. Roland,
And Turkes by one accorde. drawing Durendale,
Tho Roulande Durnedale oute-drowe cleared a space
And made Romme120 abowte. 876 around him and
XL of hem ther he slowe,
Tho were thai in grete dowte.
Roulande as fiers as a lioupright letter n with macron
With Durnedale121 tho dinge 880 hammered the heads of
Vppon the Sarsyns crowne, the Saracens.
As harde as he myght flynge. [leaf 22]
Duke Neymys and Sir Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, So do the other peers,
Gy and Alloreynes of Loreyne, 884  
And alle the noble xij Peris,
Ogeletter r with right hook, upright and Bryeletter r with right hook, upright of Brytayne,
Thai foughten as feythfully in þat fight,
The feelde ful of dede men laye. 888  
XXXti thousande, I you plight, and 30,000 Saracens
Of Sarsenys ther were slayupright letter n with macron. were slain.
Al thinge moste haue aupright letter n with macron ende,
The nyghte come on ful sone, 892 At night the Pagans
Every wighte retourned to wende; quit the field.
Ferumbras to his men gan gone
And saide “oure hornes blowe we,
This day haue we a ful ille afraye, 896  
To saie the south and not to lye,
Oure goddis holpe vs not to daye,
What devel þat ever heupright letter m with macron eilith.
This bataile was so sharpe in faye, 900  
That many a man it wailyth.
Shalle I never in herte be glade to daye, Ferumbras vows, never
Till I may preve my myghte to desist
With Roulande, that proude ladde, 904  
Or with Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, that is so lighte,


That evel hath vs ladde;
And in Paris be crowned kinge unless he be crowned
In despite of hem alle, 908 king at Paris.
I wole leve for no thinge
What so evere byfalle.”
Kinge Charles with grete honouletter r with right hook, upright Charles went to his
Wente to his Paviloupright letter n with macron; 912 pavilion and
Of the treyumple he bare the flouletter r with right hook, upright
In dispite of Mahounde.
Almyghty God and Seynte Denyse thanked God
He thanked ful ofte sithe 916  
And oure lady Marie of Paris, and St. Mary of
That made hem gladde and blitħ. France.
He recomendide the olde Knightes, He praised the elder
That þat daye hade the victorye, 920 knights for having
And charged the yonge with al her myghtes won the victory and
To haue hem in memorye; exhorted the young
For worthynesse wole not be hadde, ones
But it be ofte sougħte, 924 [leaf 23]
Ner knigħthode wole not ben hadde,
Tille it be dere boghte.
“Therfore ye knightes, yonge of age,
Of oolde ye may now lere, 928  
Howe ye shalle both hurle and rage
In felde with sheelde and spere.
And take ensample of the xij Peris, to take an example by
Howe thai have proved her myght, 932 them.
And howe thai were both wight and fiers
To wynnen honourys in righte.
These hethen houndes we shal a-tame
By God in magiste, 936 They make merry and
Let us make myrtħ in goddis name go to supper.
And to souper nowe goo we.” Prayer addressed
O Thow, rede Marȝ Armypotente, to the red Mars
That in the trende baye hase made þy trone, 940 Armipotent,
That god arte of bataile and regent


And rulist alle that alone,
To whom I profre precious present,
To the makande my moone 944  
Witħ herte, body and alle myn entente,
A crowupright letter n with macron of precious stoones,
And howe to the I gyfe
Withouten fraude or engyne, 948  
Vppoupright letter n with macron thy day to make offerynge,
And so shal I ever, while þat I live;
By righte þat longith to my laye,
In worshipe of thy reverence 952  
On thyn owen Tewesdaye
With myrletter r with right hook, upright, aloes and Frankensense,
Vppoupright letter n with macron condicioupright letter n with macron that thou me graunte, to grant the
The victorye of Crystyupright letter n with macron Dogges, 956 Mahometans the
And that I may some122 hem adaunte victory over the
And sle hem dowupright letter n with macron as hogges, Christians.
That have done me distruccioupright letter n with macron
And grete disherytaunce 960  
And eke slayn my men with wronge.
Mahounde gyfe hem myschaunce!”
I N the semely seson of the yere, In the spring of the
Of softenesse of the sonne, 964 year
In the prymsauns of grene vere,
Whan floures spryngyupright letter n with macron and bygynne, [leaf 24]
And alle the floures in the fritħ
Freshly shews here kynde, 968  
Than it is semely therwytħ, man ought to show his
That manhode be in mynde; manhood
For corage wole a man to kitħ,
If he of menske haue mynde, 972  
And of loue to lystyupright letter n with macron and lithe, and to think of love.
And to seke honuletter r with right hook, upright for þat ende. For none can be a
For he was neuere gode werryouletter r with right hook, upright, good warrior, unless
That cowde not loue a-ryght; 976 he knows how to love.


For loue hath made many a conquerouletter r with right hook, upright
And many a worthy knighte.
This worthy Sowdan, though he heþen weletter r with right hook, upright, The soudan was a
He was a worthy conquerouletter r with right hook, upright; 980 great conqueror;
Many a contrey with shelde and spere
He conquerede wyth grete honoure.
And his worthy sone Ferumbras, Ferumbras and
That kinge was of Alisaundletter r with right hook, upright, 984  
And Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright of Baldas, Lukafer wrought
That cruel kinge of Cassaundletter r with right hook, upright,
That wroughten wonders with here honde wonders with their
With myghte and mayne for to fyghte, 988 hands.
And over-ride mony a manly londe,
As men of Armes hardy and wighte.
The Sowdan seyinge this myschief,
How Charles hade him a-greved, 992  
That grevaunce was him no thinge lese,123
He was ful sore ameved.
He sente oute his bassatoures The soudan sent for
To Realmes, provynces ferletter r with right hook, upright and neletter r with right hook, upright, 996 his vassals,
To Townes, Citeis, Castels and Tours,
To come to him theletter r with right hook, upright he were,
To Inde Maior and to Assye,
To Ascoloyne, Venys, Frige and Ethiope, 1000  
To Nubye, Turkye and Barbarye,
To Macedoine, Bulgaletter r with right hook, upright and to Europe.
Alle these people was gadred to Agremore, and assembled more
Thre hundred thousand of Sarsyns felle, 1004 than 300,000 Saracens
Some bloo, some yolowe, some blake as more, at Agremore.
Some horible and stronge as devel of helle.
He made hem drinke Wilde beestes bloode, [leaf 25]
Of Tigre, Antilope and of Camalyoupright letter n with macron, 1008  
As is here vse to egre here mode,
Whan þai in werre to battayle goon.
He saide to hem “my frendes deletter r with right hook, upright, He addressed them in
As my trust is alle in you, 1012 order


On these Frenche dogges, that bene here, to increase their
Ye moste avenge me nowe. ardour,
Thai have done me vilanye,
Mikille of my people have thay slayupright letter n with macron. 1016  
And yet more-over thay manace me
And drive me to my contrey agayn;
Wherefore I wole at the bygynnynge ordered a solemn
To Mahounde and to my goddis alle 1020 sacrifice to his gods,
Make a solempne offerynge;
The better shall it vs byfalle.
The laste tyme thai were wrothe,
We hade not done oure dute. 1024  
Therefore to saye the southe” . . . .
There were many hornys blowe,
The preestes sendeupright letter n with macron thikke I-nowe
Goolde, and silver thikke thai throwe, 1028  
With noyse and crye thai beestes slowe,
And thought to spede wel I-nowe;
And every man his vowe he made
To venge the Sowdaupright letter n with macron of his tene. 1032  
Here goddis of golde thai wex alle fade,
The smoke so grete was hem bitwene.
Whan alle was done, the Sowdan than
Charged Ferumbras redy to be 1036 and charged Ferumbras
On the morowe, ere day began,
To ride oute of þat Cite
With xxxti thousande of Assiens, to march with 30,000
Frigys, Paens and Ascoloynes, 1040 of his people
Turkis, Indeis and Venysyens,
Barbarens, Ethiopes and Macidoynes,
“Bringe him to me, that proude kinge; against the Christian
I shal him teche curtesye, 1044 King, whom he wished
Loke that thou leve for nothinge to teach courtesy,
To sle alle his other mayne, [leaf 26] and to slay
Safe Rouland and Olyuere, all his men except
That bene of grete renowne, 1048 Roland and Oliver,


If thai wole reneye heletter r with right hook, upright goddis theletter r with right hook, upright if they would
And leven on myghty Mahounde.” renounce their
F Erumbras with grete araye gods. Ferumbras led
Rode forthe, Mahounde him spede, 1052 out his troops;
Tille he came nyȝe theletter r with right hook, upright Charles lay until arriving near
By syde in a grene mede. Charles’s camp, he
In a woode he buskede his men ordered them to
Prively that same tyde, 1056 halt in a wood, and
And with his felowes noon but ten advanced with only
To kinge Charles he gan ride ten of his men to the
And said “siletter r with right hook, upright kinge, that Arte so kene, camp of Charlemagne,
Upon trwes I come to speke with the, 1060  
If thou be curteis, as I wene,
Thou wolte graunte a bone to me,
That I migħte fight vppoupright letter n with macron this grene, and offered him to
With Rouland, Olyvere and Gye, 1064 fight at once against
Duke Neymes and Ogeletter r with right hook, upright I mene, Roland, Oliver, Guy,
Ye and Duke Richarde of Normandye, Duke Naymes, Ogier
With al sex attones to fight. the Dane, and Richard
My body I profletter r with right hook, upright here to the 1068 of Normandy.
And requyre the, kinge, thoupright letter u with hook do me right,
As thou art gentille Lord and fre;
And if I may conquere hem in fere, If he should conquer
To lede them home to my Faderis halle; 1072 them, he would lead
And if thai me, I graunte the here, them away to his
To be thy man, body and alle.” father’s hall; if he
The kinge Answered with wordis mylde should be conquered,
And saide “felowe, þat neditħ nought, 1076 he would be his man.
I shalle fynde of myupright letter n with macron a Childe,
That shal the fynde that thou hast sought.”
The kinge lete calle Sir Roulande The king sent for
And saide “thou most with this man figħt, 1080 Roland and ordered
To take this bataile here on honde, him to undertake
Ther-to God gyfe the grace and myghte!” the combat. Roland
Roulande answered with woordis boolde refuses,
And saide “Sir, have me excuseupright letter d with right vertical tilde!” 1084  


He saide, certeynly he ne wolde;
The bataile vttirly he refused. because Charles had
“The laste day ye preised faste praised the old
The oolde knightes of heletter r with right hook, upright worthynes. 1088 knights. [leaf 27]
Let hem goon fortħ, I haue no haste, “May they show their
Thai may goo shewen heletter r with right hook, upright prowes.” valour now.” Charles,
For that worde the kinge was wrothe vexed, smites Roland
And smote him on the mouthe oupright letter n with macron hye, 1092 on the mouth, so that
The bloode at his nose oute-goth, the blood springs
And saide “traitour, thou shalte a-bye.” from his nose, and he
“A-bye” quod Roulande “wole I noughte, calls him a traitor.
And traitour was I never none, 1096  
By þat lord, þat me dere hath bought!”
And braide oute Durnedale þeletter r with right hook, upright anone. Roland draws his
He wolde haue smyteupright letter n with macron the kinge theletter r with right hook, upright, sword, but the other
Ne hadde the barons ronne bytwene; 1100 barons separate them
The kinge with-drowe him for feletter r with right hook, upright and try to conciliate
And passed home as it myght beste bene. them.
The Barons made hem at one
With grete prayeletter r with right hook, upright and instaunce, 1104  
As every wrath moste over-gone, Meanwhile Oliver,
Of the more myschiefe to make voydaunce. who, being sorely
Olyuere herde telle of this, wounded, kept his
That in his bedde laye seke sore. 1108 bed, on hearing of
He armede him ful sone I-wisse, this dispute, had
And to the kinge he wente withoute more armed himself and
And saide “Sir Kinge, a bone graunte me went to Charles. He
For alle the servyse, that I haue done, 1112 reminds him of his
To fight with þat kinge so free long services, and
To morue day, ere it be none.” demands the battle.
Charles answered to Olyueletter r with right hook, upright: Charles remonstrates
“Thou arte seke and woundede sore, 1116 with him.
And thou also my cosyupright letter n with macron dere,
Therfore speke thereof no more.”—
“Sir Kinge” he saide “I am alle hoole, But Oliver insists.
I aske you this bone in goddis name.” 1120  


“Certes” he saide “I holde the a fole,
But I praye, god sheelde the fro shame.” Oliver rides to the
Forth he rideth in that Forest, forest, and finds
Tille he gan Ferumbras see, 1124 Ferumbras alighted
Where he was ligħt and toke his rest, under a tree, to
His stede renewed til a grene tre. a branch of which
“Sir” he saide “reste thoupright letter u with hook wele! his steed was tied.
Kinge Charles sente me hiduletter r with right hook, upright. 1128 “Arise,” he said,
If thou be curteys knighte and lele, “I am come to fight
Rise vp and let vs fight to-geder.” with thee.” [leaf 28]
Ferumbras sate stille and lough, Ferumbras, without
Him liste not to rise oute of the place. 1132 moving, demands his
“My felowe” quod he “what arte thou? name.
Telle me thy name for goddis grace.”
“Sir” he saide “Generyse, “I am Generys,” says
A yonge knighte late dobbet newe.” 1136 Oliver, “a young
“By Mahounde” quod he “thou arte not wyse, knight lately dubbed.”
For thy comyng shaltowe sore rewe.
I holde Charles but a foole Ferumbras observes,
To sende the hideletter r with right hook, upright to me, 1140 “Charles is a fool to
I shall the lerne a newe scole, send thee.
If thoue so hardy to fighte be.
I wende, he wolde haue sende Roulande,
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright and iiij mo Dosyperys, 1144  
That hade bene mygħty men of honde Go and tell him to
Bataile to a-bide stronge and fiers. send me Roland and
With the me liste no playe begynne, Oliver, and such four
Ride agayupright letter n with macron and saye him soo! 1148 other douzepeers. For
Of the may I no worshype wynne, little honour were it
Though I slougħ the and such V mo.” to me to fight with
“Howe longe” quod Olyueletter r with right hook, upright “wiltowe plete? thee.”
Take thyupright letter n with macron armes and come to me, 1152 “Spare thy words,”
And prove þat thou saiest in dede, says Oliver, “and
For boost thou blowest, and þenkes124 me.” take thy arms.”
Whan Ferumbras herde him speke so wel,


He caught his helme in grete Ire, 1156 Ferumbras is wrath
That wroght was of goode fyne stele and seizes his
With Perlis pight, Rubeis and Saphire. helmet, which Oliver
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright halpe him it to onlase; assists him to lace.
Gilte it was alle abowte. 1160 Ferumbras thanks him,
Ferumbras þanked him of his grace courteously bowing to
And curteisly to him gan lowte. him. They mount their
Thai worthed vp oupright letter n with macron here stedes, steeds,
To Iuste thai made hem preest, 1164  
Of Armes to shewe heletter r with right hook, upright myghty dedis rush together like
Thai layden here speres in a-reeste, fire of thunder, and
To-geder thai ronneupright letter n with macron as fire of thondeletter r with right hook, upright, have their lances
That both here Launces to-braste. 1168 broken. [leaf 29]
That they seteupright letter n with macron, it was grete wonder; They draw their
So harde it was, þat thay gan threste. swords.
Tho droweupright letter n with macron thai oute here swordes kene
And smyten to-geder by one assente. 1172  
There thai hitteupright letter n with macron, it was wele sene;
To sle eche other was here entente. Ferumbras smites
Syr Ferumbras smote Olyueletter r with right hook, upright Oliver on his
Vppoupright letter n with macron the helme righte on hye 1176 helmet so that the
With his swerde of metel cleletter r with right hook, upright, fire flies. Oliver
That the fyre he made oute-flye. strikes at the head
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright him hitte agayupright letter n with macron vpoupright letter n with macron the hede of Ferumbras, breaks
125the hede than fulle sore, 1180 away the circle of
He carfe awaye with mygħt and mayne his helmet, and the
The cercle, that sate vppoupright letter n with macron his crowupright letter n with macron. sword glancing off
The stroke glode down by his bake, down his back, he
The Arson he smot ther awaye 1184 cuts off two bottles
And the botelles of bawme withoute lake, of balm,
That uppone the grene ther thai laye,
That were trussed by-hynde him faste.
Tho Ferumbras was fuupright letters ll with middle tilde woo; 1188  
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright light adowupright letter n with macron in haste,
The botellis he seased both two,


He threwe hem into the River than which he throws into
As ferletter r with right hook, upright as he myghte throwe. 1192 the river.
“Alas” quod Ferumbras “what doistowe,126 manne?
Thou art wode, as I trowe.
Thai were worth an C mupright letter l with middle tilde pounde Ferumbras tells
To a man, þat were wounded sore. 1196 him that they were
Ther was no preciosour thinge vppoupright letter n with macron grounde, invaluable to a
That myghte helpe a man more. wounded man, and that
Thou shalt abye by Mahounde, he
That is a man of myghtes moost. 1200  
I shall breke both bake and crowupright letter n with macron
And sle the, ther thou goist.” should atone for
Tho Olyueletter r with right hook, upright worth vp agayupright letter n with macron, their loss with his
His swerde he hade oute I-drawe. 1204 life. He strikes at
Ferumbras him smote with mayne Oliver, who wards off
And mente to haue him slawe. the blow with his
He smote as doth the dinte of þondir; shield, but his steed
It glased down by his sheelde 1208 is killed under him.
And carfe his stedes neke a-sonder, [leaf 30]
That dede he fille in the felde.
Wightly Olyueletter r with right hook, upright vp-sterte Oliver quickly starts
As Bacheler, doughti of dede, 1212 up and tries to kill
With swerde in honde him for to hirte his adversary’s horse,
Or Ferumbras goode stede.
That Ferumbras aspied welle,
He rode a-waye than ful faste 1216  
And tiede him to a grene hasel, but Ferumbras rides
And come ayen to him in haste off and ties it to
And saide “nowe yelde the to me! a hazel. “Yield
Thou maiste not longe endure; 1220 thyself to me,” says
And leve on Mahounde, þat is so deletter r with right hook, upright,127 Ferumbras; “believe
And thy life I shalle the ensure.128 on Mahound, and I
Thou shalt be a Duke in my contletter r with right hook, upright, will make thee a duke
And men haue at thyupright letter n with macron oweupright letter n with macron wille. 1224 in my country and
To my Sustir shaltowe wedded be, give thee my sister.”


It were pite the for to spille!”
“Better” quod Olyueletter r with right hook, upright “shul we dele,
By God that is in magiste, 1228 “Ere I yield to
And of my strokes shaltow more fele, thee,” answered
Er I to the shalle yelde me.” Oliver, “thou shalt
Thai smeten togeder witħ egre mode, feel my strokes.”
And nathir of othire dradde; 1232 They fight for a
Thai persed heletter r with right hook, upright hauberkes, that were so goode, considerable time;
Tille both thayr bodyes bladde. the blood ran from
Thay foughteupright letter n with macron soo longe, þat by assente both their bodies. By
Thai drewe hem a litil bysyde, 1236 mutual consent they
A litil while thaym to avente, stop to take breath.
And refresshed hem at þat tyde.
“Generis” quod Ferumbras, Ferumbras asks Oliver
“As thou arte here gentil knighte, 1240 again his name and
Telle me nowe here in this place kin.
Of thy kyupright letter n with macron and what thoupright letter u with hook hight;
Me thenkith by the now evermore,
Thou shuldist be one of the xij peris, 1244 “Thou must be one
That maiste fighte with me so sore, of the douzepeers,
And arte so stronge, worthy and fiers.” as thou fightest so
Olyuere answered to hym agayupright letter n with macron: well.”
“For feletter r with right hook, upright I leve it not ontoolde, 1248 “I am Oliver, cousin
My name is Olyuere certayupright letter n with macron, to Charlemagne.”
Cousyn to kynge Charles the boolde, [leaf 31]
To whome I shalle the sende
Qwikke or dede this same daye, 1252  
By conqueste here in this feelde,
And make the to renye thy laye.”
“O” quod Ferumbras thaupright letter n with macron to Olyueletter r with right hook, upright,
“Welcome thoupright letter u with hook arte in-to this place, 1256 “Thou art welcome
I have desyrede many a yere here,” says
To gyfe the harde grace. Ferumbras; “thou
Thou slough myupright letter n with macron uncle Sir Persagyne, slewest my uncle,
The doughty kinge of Italye, 1260  
The worthyeste kinge þat lyued of men,


By Mahounde, thou shalt abye!” now thou shalt pay
Tho thai dongeupright letter n with macron faste to-gedeletter r with right hook, upright the penalty!” The
While the longe day endured, 1264 fight continued the
Nowe hitheletter r with right hook, upright and nowe thideletter r with right hook, upright; whole day.
Fro strokes wytħ sheeldes here bodies þai couered.
And at the laste Olyueletter r with right hook, upright smote him so At last Oliver,
Vppoupright letter n with macron the helme, þat was of stele, 1268 smiting Ferumbras
That his swerde brake in two. upon the helmet, has
Tho wepeupright letter n with macron had he nevere a dele. his sword broken.
Who was woo but Olyuere than?
He saugh noone other remedy. 1272  
He saide “siletter r with right hook, upright, as thoupright letter u with hook arte gentile man,
On me nowe here haue mercy.
It were grete shame I-wis,
And honuletter r with right hook, upright were it nooupright letter n with macron, 1276  
To sle a man wepenles;
That shame wolde neveletter r with right hook, upright gooupright letter n with macron.”
“Nay traitour, thou getiste nooupright letter n with macron.
Hade I here an hundred and moo! 1280  
Knele dowupright letter n with macron and yelde the here anooupright letter n with macron,
And eles here I woole the sloo.”
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright saugh, it wolde not be,
To truste to moch in his grace. 1284  
He ranne to the stede, þat stode by the tre, He ran to the steed
A swerde he raught in þat place, at the tree and
That was trussed on Ferumbras stede, seized a sword that
Of fyne stele goode and stronge. 1288 was hanging there;
He thought he quyte129 Ferumbras his mede.
Almoost hadde he abyde to longe;
For in turnynge Ferumbras him smote, [leaf 32]
That stroke he myghte welle fele, 1292 but in turning on
It come on hym so hevy and hoote, Ferumbras he received
That down it made hym to knele. a blow that made him
Tho was Olyueletter r with right hook, upright sore ashamede kneel down.
And saide “thou cursed Sarasyne, 1296  


Thy proude pride shall be atamed,
By God and by seinte Qwyntyne.
Thou hast stole on me that dynte,
I shall quyte the thyupright letter n with macron hire.” 1300  
A stroke than Olyueletter r with right hook, upright him lente, But Oliver returns
That hym thought his eyeupright letter n with macron weletter r with right hook, upright on filetter r with right hook, upright. him fearful stroke.
Kinge Charles in his paviloupright letter n with macron was Charles, seeing
And loked towarde þat fyghte 1304 Oliver on his knees,
And saugh, howe fiers Ferumbras
Made Olyuere knele dowupright letter n with macron right.
Wo was him tho in his herte;
To Ihesu Criste he made his mone; 1308 prayed to Christ
It was a sight of peynes smerte,
That Olyuere kneled so sone:
“O Lord, God in Trinite,
That of myghtis thoupright letter u with hook arte moost, 1312  
By vertue of thy maieste
That alle knoweste and woste,
Lete not this hethen man
Thy seruaunte ouercome in fyght, 1316  
That on the bileve ne kan,
Ihesu, Lorde, for thy myghte!
But graunte thy man the victorye, that he might grant
And the Paynyupright letter m with macron skomfited to be, 1320 the victory over the
As thou arte Almyghty God of glorye! Pagan.
Nowe mekely, Lorde, I pray to the.”
To Charles anoone an Aungel came
And broght him tidingges sone, 1324 An angel announces
That God had herde his praieletter r with right hook, upright thaupright letter n with macron him, that his prayer
And graunte him his bone. was heard. Charles
Tho Charles thanked God aboue130 thanks God.
With herte and thought, worde and dede, 1328  
And saide “blessed be thoupright letter u with hook, lorde almyghty,†
That helpiste thy seruaunte in nede.”
These Champions to-gedir thai gone [leaf 33]


With strokes grete and eke sure, 1332 They begin again.
Eche of hem donge othir oupright letter n with macron,
Alle the while thai myghte enduletter r with right hook, upright.
Ferumbras brake his swerde Ferumbras breaks his
On Olyueris helme on hye. 1336 sword on Oliver’s
Tho wexe he ful sore a-ferde; helmet.
He ranne for an othir redyly He runs for another
And saide “Olyuere, yelde the to me and asks Oliver to
And leve thy Cristeupright letter n with macron laye, 1340 surrender.
Thou shalte have alle131 my kingdome free
And alle aftir my daye.”
“Fye, Saresyne” quod Olyuere thaupright letter n with macron,
“Trowest thou, that I were wode, 1344  
To forsake him, þat made me maupright letter n with macron
And boght me with his hert blode.”
He raught a stroke to Ferumbras, But Oliver aims at
On his helme it gan dowupright letter n with macron glyde, 1348 Ferumbras a blow
It brast his hawberke at þat ras which cuts his
And carfe hym throughe-oute his syde, hauberk, so
His bare guttis men mygħt see; that his bowels are
The blode faste dowupright letter n with macron ranne. 1352 laid bare.
“Hoo, Olyvere, I yelde me to the, Ferumbras implores
And here I become thy man. his mercy, and
I am so hurte, I may not stonde,
I put me alle in thy grace. 1356  
My goddis ben false by water and londe, consents to be
I reneye hem alle here in this place,132 christened, his gods
Baptised nowe wole I be. having proved false.
To Ihesu Crist I wole me take, 1360  
That Charles the kinge shal sene,133
And alle my goddes for-sake.
Take myn hawberke and do it on the, He requested him to
Thou shalte haue fuupright letters ll with middle tilde grete nede. 1364 take his hauberk, to


X thousande Saresyns waiten vppoupright letter n with macron me,
And therfore go take my stede. fetch his horse,
Lay me to-fore the, I the praye, and to carry him
And lede me to thy tente. 1368 to his own tent.
Hye the faste forth in thy way, [leaf 34]
That the Saresyns the not hente.”
A-nooupright letter n with macron it was done, as he ordeynede,
And faste forth thai ryden.134 1372  
The Saresyns anone assembled, But the Saracens,
For to haue with hem foghten. who lay concealed
Ferumbras saugħ the feelde thore in the wood, rush
Of Sarsynes fully filled; 1376 out. Oliver, being
Of Olyvere dradde he ful sore, surrounded, sets
That Saresyns shulde him haue killed.
He praide, that he wolde let him dowupright letter n with macron
“Vndir yonde Olyfe tree, 1380  
For if ye cast me dowupright letter n with macron here, with hors shooupright letter n with macron135
Alle to-tredeupright letter n with macron shalle I be.” down Ferumbras under
He priked forth and layde him thaletter r with right hook, upright,† an olive-tree, and
Out of the horses trase, 1384 defends himself with
And with his swerde by-gan him weletter r with right hook, upright, his sword,
For amonge hem alle he was.
A Saresyupright letter n with macron smote him witħ a spere,
That it brake on pecis thre; 1388  
His hauberke mygħt he not deletter r with right hook, upright,
So stronge and welle I-wroght was he.
He hit þat Saresyns with his swerde dealing the Saracens
Througħ the helme in-to the brayne. 1392 many a hard blow.
He made an other as sore aferde,
He smote of his Arme with mayne. Then Roland rushed
But thaupright letter n with macron come Roulande witħ Durnedale into the throng of
And made way him a-bowte. 1396 the enemy and slew
He slowe hem dowupright letter n with macron in the vale, many;
Of him hade thai grete dowte.
The prees of Saresyns was so stronge


A-boute Roulande that tyde. 1400  
Thai slougheupright letter n with macron his horsys with thronge, his horse being
And dartis throweupright letter n with macron on every syde. killed by arrows and
Whan Roulande was on his Fete, darts,
Thaupright letter n with macron was he woo witħ-alle. 1404 he fights on foot,
Many of hem he felte yete
And dede to grounde made hem falle.
At the last his swerde brake,
Thaupright letter n with macron hadde he wepyupright letter n with macron nooupright letter n with macron, 1408 but his sword
As he smote a Saresyns bake breaking, [leaf 35]
A-sundre dowupright letter n with macron to the Arsoupright letter n with macron.
Tho was he caught, he mygħt not flee, he is taken
His hondes thai boundeupright letter n with macron faste 1412  
And lad him forth to here Cite, and led away.
And in depe prisoupright letter n with macron they hem caste.
Olyueletter r with right hook, upright sawe, howe he was ladde,
A sorye maupright letter n with macron thaupright letter n with macron was he; 1416  
Him hadde leuer to haue bene dede
Than suffren that myschief to be.
Smertly aftire he pursued tho, Oliver rides to
To reskue his dere brother. 1420 rescue him,
The prees was so grete, he myghte not so,
It myghte be no othir,
Be he was cowþe136 by verletter r with right hook, upright force
With LX of Astopartes.137 1424  
Thai hurte him foule and slougħ his hors but his horse being
With gauylokes and wyth dartis. also killed,
Yet on foote, ere he were foolde,
He slough of hem fiftene. 1428  
He was not slayupright letter n with macron, as god woolde, he is overpowered
But taken and bounded138 with tene. and bound. Both were
Tho were takeupright letter n with macron to Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright, conducted to Lukafer
The proude kinge of Baldas, 1432 of Baldas.
Both Roulande and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright.


Gladde was he of that cas.
Kinge Charles was in herte woo,
When he saughe his neuewes so ladde, 1436 Charles sees them,
He cried to the Frenshmeupright letter n with macron tho: and calls for a
“Reskue we these knyghtes at nede.” rescue. Many enemies
The kynge himselfe slough many one, were slain, but the
So dede the Barons bolde. 1440 Saracens had fled
It wolde not bene, thai were agoupright letter n with macron, with their prisoners,
Magre who so woolde. and Charles is
The Saresyns drewe hem to here Cite, obliged to turn back.
Kinge Charles turned agayne. 1444 Under a holm tree
He saugħ under an holme tre, they find Ferumbras.
Where a knight him semed lay slayupright letter n with macron.
Thederward he rode witħ swerde in honde.
Tho he saugħ, he was alyve; 1448  
He lay walowynge vppon the sonde
With blody woundes fyve. [leaf 36]
“What arte thow?” quod Charlemayne,
“Who hath the hurte so sore?” 1452  
“I am Ferumbras” he saide certayupright letter n with macron,
“That am of hetheupright letter n with macron lore.”
“O fals Saresyupright letter n with macron quod the kinge,
“Thou shalte have sorowe astyte; 1456 whom he is going to
By the I haue lost my two Cosynes, put to death.
Thyupright letter n with macron hede shalle I of-smyte.”
“O gentil kinge” quod Ferumbrase,
“Olyuere my maister me hight 1460 But on his requesting
To be Baptised by goddis grace, to be baptized,
And to dyeupright letter n with macron a Cristeupright letter n with macron knighte.
Honuletter r with right hook, upright were it noon to the
A discoumfite maupright letter n with macron to slo, 1464  
That is conuerted and Baptized wolde be
And thy man bycomeupright letter n with macron also.”
The kinge hade pite of him thaupright letter n with macron, Charles took pity
He toke him to his grace 1468 with him,
And assyned anooupright letter n with macron a man


To lede him to his place. led him to his tent,
He sende to him his surgyne and ordered a surgeon
To hele his woundes wyde. 1472 to attend him.
He ordeyned to him such medycyupright letter n with macron,
That sone myght he go and ryde. He soon recovered,
The kinge commaunded bishope Turpyupright letter n with macron
To make a fonte redye, 1476  
To Baptise Ferumbras þerin
In the name of god Almygħtye.
He was Cristened in þat welle, and bishop Turpin
Floreyne the kinge alle him calle, 1480 baptised him, by the
He forsoke the foule feende of helle name of Floreyn.
And his fals goddis alle. But he continued to
Nought for thaupright letter n with macron Ferumbras be called Ferumbras
Alle his life cleped was he, 1484 all his life.
And aftirwarde in somme place, Afterwards he was
Floreyne of Rome Cite. known as Floreyn of
God for him many myracles sheweupright letter d with right vertical tilde, Rome
So holy a man he by-came, 1488 on account of his
That witnessitħ both lerned and lewde, holiness.
The fame of him so ranne.
N Owe for to telle of Roulande Roland and Oliver
And of Olyuere, that worthy wos,139 1492 being brought to
Howe thai were brougħt to þe Sowdaupright letter n with macron the Soudan, Laban
By the kinge of Boldas. enquires their names.
The Sowdaupright letter n with macron hem sore affrayned,
What þat here names were. 1496  
Rouland saide and noght alayned:
“Syr Roulande and sire Olyuere, They confess their
Nevewes to Kinge Charles of Fraunce, names.
That worthy kinge and Emperoure, 1500  
That nowe are takyn by myschaunce
To be prisoneres here in thy toure.”
“A, Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, arte thou here?
That haste my sone distroyede, 1504  


And Rouland that arte his fere,
That so ofte me hatħ anoyed.
To Mahounde I make a vowe here, The Soudan swears
That to morue, ere I do ete, 1508 they shall both be
Ye shulle be slayupright letter n with macron botħ qwik in fere, executed the next
And lives shalle ye bothe lete.” morning before his
Tho saide maide Florepas: dinner.
“My fader so derewortħ and deletter r with right hook, upright, 1512 But Floripas advises
Ye shulle be avysed of this cas, him to detain them as
How and in what manere hostages, and
My brothir, þat is to prisoupright letter n with macron take,
May be delyuered by hem nowe, 1516  
By cause of these two knightes sake,
That bene in warde here with youpright letter u with hook.
Wherefore I counsaile youpright letter u with hook, my fader dere,
To have mynde of Sir Ferumbras. 1520 to remember his son
Pute hem in youre prisoupright letter n with macron here, Ferumbras,
Tille ye haue better space.
So that ye haue my brother agayupright letter n with macron for whom they might
For hem, þat ye haue here; 1524 be exchanged.
And certeyupright letter n with macron elles wole he be slayupright letter n with macron,
That is to you so lefe and dere.”
“A, Floripp, I-blessed thou bee,
Thy counsaile is goode at nede, 1528 The Soudan finds her
I wolde not leve my sone so free, counsel good,
So Mahounde moost me spede,
For al the Realme of hethen Spayne, [leaf 38]
That is so brode and large. 1532  
Sone clepe forth my gaylour Bretomayne, and orders his gaoler
That he of hem hadde his charge, Bretomayn to imprison
“Caste hem in your prisoupright letter n with macron depe, them,
Mete and drinke gyfe hem none, 1536 but to leave them
Chayne hem faste, þat thay not slepe; without food.
For here goode daies bene a-gone.”
Tho were thay cast in prison depe140;


Every tyde the see came inne. 1540 At high tide the sea
Thay myght not see, so was it myrke, filled their deep
The watir wente to her chynne. cells. They suffered
The salte watir hem greved sore, much from the salt
Here woundis sore did smerte. 1544 water, from their
Hungir and thurste greved heme yet more, wounds, and from
It wente yet more nere here herte. hunger.
Who maye live withoute mete?
vj dayes hadde thay rigħt none, 1548 On the sixth day,
Ner drinke that thay mygħt gete,
Bute loked vppon the harde stone.
So on a daye, as God it wolde,
Floripas to hir gardeupright letter n with macron wente, 1552 Floripas, who was
To geder Floures in morne colde. gathering flowers in
Here maydyns froupright letter m with macron hir she sente, her garden, heard
For she herde grete lamentacioupright letter n with macron them lament.
In the Prisoupright letter n with macron, that was ther nye; 1556  
She supposed by ymagynacioupright letter n with macron,
That it was the prisoners sory.
She wente heletter r with right hook, upright nerletter r with right hook, upright to here more,
Thay wailed for defaute of mete. 1560 Moved to compassion,
She rued on hem anooupright letter n with macron ful sore, she asks her
She thought, how she myght hem beste it gete. governess Maragound
She spake to her Maistras Maragounde, to help her in
Howe she wolde the prisoneres fede. 1564 getting food for the
The develle of helle hir confounde, prisoners. Maragound
She wolde not assente to þat dede, refuses, and reminds
But saide “Damesel, thou arte woode, Floripas of her
Thy Fadir did vs alle defende, 1568 father’s command.
Both mete and drinke and othere goode [leaf 39]
That no man shulde hem thider sende.”
Floripe by-thought hir on a gyle Floripas, thinking of
And cleped Maragounde anoon rigħt, 1572 a trick, called to
To the wyndowe to come a while her governess to come
And se ther a wonder syght: to a window and
“Loke oute” she saide “and see a ferletter r with right hook, upright


The Porpais pley as thay were wode.” 1576 see the porpoises
Maragounde lokede oute, Floripe come neletter r with right hook, upright sporting beneath.
And shofed hire oute in to the flode. Maragound looking
“Go there” she saide “the devel the spede! out, is pushed into
My counsail shaltowe never biwry. 1580 the flood.
Who so wole not helpe a maupright letter n with macron at nede,
On evel deth mote he dye!”
She toke witħ hire maidyns two,
To Britomayne she wente hir waye 1584 Floripas asks
And saide to him, she moste go Bretomayn to let her
To viseteupright letter n with macron the prisoneris that daye, see the prisoners.
And saide “sir, for alle loues,
Lete me thy prisoneres seeupright letter n with macron. 1588  
I wole the gife botħ goolde and gloues,
And counsail shalle it beeupright letter n with macron.”
Brytomayne that Iaylor kene
Answered to hir sone agayne 1592  
And saide “Damesel, so mote I theupright letter n with macron,
Thaupright letter n with macron were I worthy to be slayupright letter n with macron.
Hath not youre Fader charged me,
To kepe hem froupright letter m with macron every wyght? 1596  
And yet ye wole these traytours see?
I wole goo telle him Anooupright letter n with macron right.”
He gan to turne him anone for to go,
To make a playnte on Floripas. 1600 The gaoler threatened
She sued him as faste as she myghte go, to complain to her
For to gif him harde grace. father, but Floripas,
With the keye cloge, þat she caugħt, having seized his
Witħ goode wille she maute141 than, 1604 key-clog, dashed
Such a stroke she hym theletter r with right hook, upright raught, out his brains. She
The brayne sterte oute of his hede þaupright letter n with macron. then went to tell
To hire Fader forth she gotħ her father, she had
And saide “Sire, I telle you here, 1608 surprised [leaf 40]
I saugħ a sight, that was me lotħ, the gaoler feeding
Howe the fals Iailour fedde your prisoneletter r with right hook, upright, the prisoners and


And how the covenaunte made was, promising to deliver
Whan thai shulde delyuered be; 1612 them; wherefore she
Wherefore I slougħ him witħ a mace. had slain him.
Dere Fadir, forgif it me!”
“My doghtir dere, that arte so free,142
The warde of hem now gif I the. 1616 The Soudan gives the
Loke, here sorowe be evere newe, prisoners into her
Tille that Ferumbras delyuered be.” guard.
She thanked her Fadere fele sithe
And toke her maydyns, and forth she gotħ, 1620 She now proceeded to
To the prisone she hyed hire swytħ. the prison,
The prisoupright letter n with macron dore vp she dothe
And saide “sires, what be ye,
That make here this ruly moone? 1624  
What youpright letter u with hook lakkitħ, tellyth me; asked the prisoners
For we be here nowe alle alone.” what they wanted,
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
To Floripe, that was bothe gente and fre, 1628  
And saide “lo, we two caytyfes here
For defaute of mete dede moste be.
vj dayes be comyupright letter n with macron and gooupright letter n with macron,
Sith we were loked in prisoupright letter n with macron here, 1632  
That mete nor drinke hade we nooupright letter n with macron
To comforte witħ oure hevy cheletter r with right hook, upright.
But woolde god of myghtes moost,
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron wolde let vs oute gooupright letter n with macron, 1636  
We to fight witħ alle his Ooste,
To be slayupright letter n with macron in feelde anooupright letter n with macron.
To murthir meupright letter n with macron for defaute of mete,
It is grete shame tille a kinge; 1640  
For every man most nedes ete,
Or ellis may he do no thinge.”
Tho saide Floripe with wordes mylde, and promised to
“I wolde fayne, ye were now here, 1644 protect them from any
From harme skatħ143 I wole you shelde, harm.


And gife you mete with right gode cheletter r with right hook, upright.”
A rope to hem she lete dowupright letter n with macron gooupright letter n with macron, She let down a rope,
That aboveupright letter n with macron was teyde faste. 1648 [leaf 41] and drew up
She and hir maydyns drewe þer vppoupright letter n with macron, both, and led them to
Tille vp thay hadde hem at the last. her apartments.
She led hem into here chambir dere,
That arrayed for hem was rigħt wele, 1652  
Both Roulande and Olyvere,
And gafe heupright letter m with macron there a right gode mele. There they ate,
And whan thay hadde eteupright letter n with macron alle her fille,
A batħ for hem was redy there, 1656 took a bath,
Ther-to thay went ful fayre and stille,
And aftyr to bedde with right gode cheletter r with right hook, upright. and went to bed.
Now Floripas chamber is here prisone,
Withouteupright letter n with macron wetinge of the Sowdoupright letter n with macron; 1660 The Soudan knew
Thai were ful mery in that Dongeoupright letter n with macron, nothing of his
For of heupright letter m with macron wiste maupright letter n with macron never oone. prisoners being in
Now lete we hem be and mery make, Floripas’ chamber.
Tille god sende hem gode delyueraunce. 1664  
Aftir the tyme, þat thay were take,
What did Charles, the kinge of Fraunce,
Ther-of wole we speke nowe,
Howe he cleped forth Sir Gy 1668 Meanwhile Charlemagne
And saide “on my message shaltowe, tells Guy that he
Therfore make the faste redy, must go to the
To bidde the Sowdeupright letter n with macron sende me my Nevewes botħ Soudan to demand the
And the Releqes also of Rome; 1672 surrender of Roland
Or I shal make him so wrotħ, and Oliver, and of
He shaupright letters ll with middle tilde not wete what to done. the relics of Rome.
And by þat god, þat hath me wroght,
I shal him leve Towre ner Towupright letter n with macron. 1676  
This bargaupright letter n with macron shal so dere be bought
In dispite of his god Mahouupright letter n with macron.” Naymes of Bavaria
D Uke Neymes of Baueletter r with right hook, upright vp stert thaupright letter n with macron represents that a
And saide “Sir, hastowe no mynde, 1680 messenger to the
How the cursed Sowdaupright letter n with macron Laban Soudan should


Alle messengeris doth he shende? certainly be slain;
Ye haue lost inowe, lese no mo and that they ought
Onworthily Olyueletter r with right hook, upright and Roulande.” 1684 to be anxious not to
“By god, and thou shalt with him go, lose any more besides
For al thy grete brode londe.” Rouland and Oliver.
T Ho Ogere Danoys, þat worthy maupright letter n with macron, [leaf 42] Then said
“Sir” he saide “be not wrotħ! 1688 the king, ‘By god,
For he saitħ soutħ.”—“go thoupright letter u with hook thaupright letter n with macron! thou shalt go with
By Gode thou shalte, be thoupright letter u with hook never so loth.” Guy.’ Ogier the Dane
“A Sire” quod Bery Lardeneys, remonstrates, but is
“Thoupright letter u with hook shalte hem se never more.”— 1692 ordered to go too. So
“Go thou forth in this same rees, are Thierry of Ardane
Or it shalle the repente ful sore.”
F Olk Baliante saide to the kinge, and Folk Baliant,
“Liste ye youre Barons to lese?”— 1696  
“Certis, this is a wondir thinge!
Go thou also, thoupright letter u with hook shalte not chese!”
A Leroyse rose vp anone Aleroys
And to the kinge þan gaupright letter n with macron he speke 1700  
And saide “what thinke ye, sir, to done?”—
“Dresse the forth witħ heupright letter m with macron eke!”
M Iron of Brabane spake an worde and Miron of Brabant.
And saide “Sir, thou maiste do þy wille. 1704  
Knowist thou not that cruel lorde,
How he wole thy Barons spille?”—
“Trusse the forth eke, sir Dasaberde,
Or I shalle the sone make! 1708  
For of all thinge thou arte aferde,
Yet arte thoupright letter u with hook neyther hurte ner take.”
B Isshope Turpyupright letter n with macron kneled adowupright letter n with macron Bishop Turpin kneels
And saide “lege lorde, mercy!” 1712 down to implore the
The kinge him swore by seynt Symoupright letter n with macron: king’s mercy, but he
“Thou goist eke, make the in hast redye!” must go too,
B Ernarde of Spruwse, þat worthy knygħt, as well as Bernard of
Saide “sir, avyse youpright letter u with hook bette, 1716 Spruwse
Set not of youre Barons so ligħt,


Thou maiste haue nede to heupright letter m with macron yette.”—
“Thou shalte gooupright letter n with macron eke for alle thy boost,
Haue done and make the fast yare! 1720  
Of my nede gyfe thoupright letter u with hook no coost,
Ther-of haue thou right no care!”
B Ryeletter r with right hook, upright of Mounteȝ, þat marqwyȝ bolde, and Brier of
Was not aferde to him to speke. 1724 Mountdidier.
To the kinge sharply he tolde,
His witte was not worth a leke: [leaf 43]
“Woltowe for Angre thy Barons sende
To þat Tiraunte, þat alle men sleitħ? 1728  
Or thou doist for þat ende,
To bringe thy xij peres to the detħ.”
The kinge was wrotħ and swore in halle
By him, þat boght him witħ his blode: 1732  
“On my messange shall ye goupright letter n with macron alle!
Be ye never so wrotħ or wode.”
Thay toke here lefe and fortħ thay yede, The knights take
It availed not agayne him to sayne. 1736 leave and start.
I pray, god gif hem gode spede!
Ful harde it was to comeupright letter n with macron agayupright letter n with  macron.
N Owe let hem passe in goddis name,
And speke we of the Sowdoupright letter n with macron, 1740 The Soudan assembled
Howe he complayned him of his grame, his council.
And what that he myght beste done.
“Sortybraunnce and Bronlande144” seyde he, Sortibrance and
“Of counsail ye be fulle wyse. 1744 Brouland
How shal I do to avenge me
Of kinge Charles, and in what wyse?
He brennyth my Toures and my Citees,
And Burges he levethe me never ooupright letter n with macron. 1748  
He stroieth my meupright letter n with macron, my londe, my fees.
Thus shalle it not longe gooupright letter n with macron.
And yet me greveth most of alle,
He hath made Ferumbras renay his laye. 1752  


Therfore my counselors I calle,
To remedy this, howe thay best maye.
For me were lever that he were slayupright letter n with macron,
Thane he a Cristeupright letter n with macron hounde shulde be, 1756  
Or witħ Wolfes be rente and slayupright letter n with macron,
By Mahounde mygħty of dignyte.”
To answerde Sortybraunce and Broulande advise him
And saide “gode counsaile we shal youpright letter u with hook gyfeupright letter n with macron, 1760  
If thoue wilte do aftyr covenaunte,
It shal youpright letter u with hook profit, while youpright letter u with hook lyveupright letter n with macron.
Take xij knightis of worthy dede to send 12 knights,
And sende hem to Charles on message nowe. 1764 and to bid Charles
A-raye hem welle in roial wede,
For thupright letter y with macron honouletter r with right hook, upright and for thy prowe. [leaf 44]
Bidde Charles sende thy sone to the to give up Ferumbras
And voyde thy londe in alle haste, 1768 and to withdraw from
Or ellis thou shalt him honge on a tre, his country.
As hye, as any shippes maste.”
“Nowe by Mahounde” quod Laban,
“This counseil is both trewe and goode, 1772  
I shalle him leve for no maupright letter n with macron
To parforme this, though he weletter r with right hook, upright woode.”
He did his lettris write in haste,
The knightes were called to goo þerwitħ, 1776 The knights are
That thay hyȝe heupright letter m with macron to Charles faste dispatched.
And charke145 hyupright letter m with macron vppoupright letter n with macron life and lithe.
Fortħ thai ride towarde Mantrible þaupright letter n with macron,
In a medowe, was fayre and grene, 1780 Near Mantrible
Thai mette witħ Charles messageris teupright letter n with macron. they meet with the
Duke Neymes axed heupright letter m with macron, what thai wolde mene, Christian messengers.
And saide “Lordynges, whens come ye? Duke Naymes inquires
And whider ye are mente, telle vs this tyde.” 1784 whither they intend
“Froupright letter m with macron the worthy Sowdoupright letter n with macron thaupright letter n with macron saide he, to go.
“To Charles on message shalle we ride,


Euel tithyngges we shalle him telle,
Fro Laban, that is lorde of Spayne. 1788  
Farewele, felowes, we may not dwelle.”
“A-byde” quod Gy “and turne agayne, Having heard their
We wole speke with youpright letter u with hook, er ye gooupright letter n with macron, message,
For we be messengeris of his. 1792  
Ye shal aby everichone,
So God brynge me to blis.”
Anooupright letter n with macron here swerdes oute thay brayde
And smoteupright letter n with macron dowupright letter n with macron right al a-boute. 1796  
Tille the hetheupright letter n with macron were dowupright letter n with macron layde,
Thai reseyued many a sore cloute.
Thai smyteupright letter n with macron of here hedes alle, the delegates of
Eche maupright letter n with macron toke one in his lappe. 1800 Charles cut off their
Fal what so euer byfalle, heads, which they
To the Soudoupright letter n with macron wole they trappe. take with them to
Tille thai come to Egremoure, present to the Soudan
Thai stynte for no worldes thinge; 1804 at Agremore.
Anone thai fonde the Sawdaupright letter n with macron thore,
At his mete proudely sittynge, [leaf 45] The Soudan
And þat maide failetter r with right hook, upright Dame Floripas was just dining.
And xiiij princes of grete price 1808  
And kinge Lukafeletter r with right hook, upright of Baldas,
Thas was both bolde, hardy and wyse.
Doughty Duke Neymes of Baueletter r with right hook, upright Naymes delivers
To the Sowdone his message tolde 1812 his message: ‘God
And saide “god, þat made heveupright letter n with macron so cleletter r with right hook, upright, confound Laban and
He saue kinge Charles so bolde all his Saracens, and
And confounde Labaupright letter n with macron and all his meupright letter n with macron, save Charles,
That on Mahounde byleved146 1816  
And gife hem evel endinge! ameupright letter n with macron.
To morue, longe er it be eveupright letter n with macron, who commands thee
He commaundith the vppoupright letter n with macron thy life to send back his
His Nevewes home to him sende, 1820 two nephews and to
And the Religes147 of Rome withoute strife; restore the relics.’


And ellis getist thou an evel ende!
xij lurdeynes mette vs on the waye;
Thai saide, thay come streight fro the. 1824  
Thai made it botħ stoute and gay;
Here hedis here maistowe see. They then produce the
Thai saide, thai wolde to Charles gooupright letter n with macron, heads of the Soudan’s
Evel tidingges him to telle. 1828 messengers.
Loo here here heddis euerychone,
Here soulis bene in helle.”
“O” quod Lavane “what may this be,
To suffletter r with right hook, upright this amonge my knightes alle? 1832  
To be rebuked thus here of the The Soudan vowed
At mete in myn oweupright letter n with macron halle! a vow that they
To Mahounde myghty I make a vowe, should all ten be
Ye shall be hanged alle ten, 1836 hanged as soon as
Anoon as I have eteupright letter n with macron I-nowe, he had finished
In presence of alle my meupright letter n with macron.” his dinner. But
Maide Floripas answered tho Floripas recommended
And saide “my derworth Fadir deletter r with right hook, upright! 1840 him to put off his
By my counsaile ye shal not so, resolution, until
Tille ye haue your Barons alle in feletter r with right hook, upright, a general council
That thai may se what is the best, of his barons had
For to delyuere my brother Sir Ferumbras. 1844 determined on the
And aftirward, if þat ye liste, best way of the
Ye may gife hem ful evel grace.” liberation of
“Gramercy, doghter, thou saieste welle, Ferumbras. [leaf 46]
Take hem alle into thy warde. 1848 The Soudan gives them
Do feter hem faste in Ireupright letter n with macron and stele into her guard.
And set hem in strayȝte garde.
Thus was I neuer rebukede er nowe;
Mahounde myghty gyfe heupright letter m with macron sorowe! 1852  
Thay shalle be flayn and honged on a bowe,
Longe ere tyme148 to morowe.” Floripas leads the
Floriupright letter p with macron toke these messangeris knights into her
And ladde hem vp in-to here touletter r with right hook, upright, 1856 tower, where


There thai founde two of here feris. they were glad to
Thay thanked thereof god of honoure. find Roland and
Tho sayde Duke Neymys of Baueletter r with right hook, upright: Oliver.
“Gladde men we be nowe here, 1860  
To fynde Roulande and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright
In helthe of bodye and of goode cheletter r with right hook, upright.”
Thai kissed eche other with herte gladde
And thanked god of his grace; 1864  
And eche toolde othir, howe thay sped hadde, They told each other
And howe thay come in-to that place how they had fared.
By helpe of mayde Floriupright letter p with macron hire self,
“God kepe hir in honoure! 1868  
For thus hath she brought vs hider alle twelfe,
To dwelle in hir oweupright letter n with macron boure.”
Tho thay wessh and wente to mete, After washing,
And were served welle and fyne 1872  
Of suche goode, as she myght gete,
Of Venysoupright letter n with macron, brede and gode wyne.
There thai were gladde and wel at ease; they dined off
The Soudoupright letter n with macron ne wist it noght. 1876 venison, bread and
Aftyr thay slepe and toke her ese, wine, and then
Of no man thaupright letter n with macron thay ne roght. went to sleep. The
On the morowe Floriupright letter p with macron, that mayde fre, following day,
To Duke Neymes spake in game: 1880 Floripas asks Naymes
“Sir gentil knigħt,” tho saide she, his name,
“Telle me, what is your name.”
“Whi axe ye, my lady dere,
My name here to knowe alle?” 1884  
“For he149 spake with so bolde chere
To my Fadir yestirdaye in his halle.
Be not ye the Duke of Burgoyne, sir Gupright letter y with macron, and enquires after
Nevewe unto the kinge Charles so fre?” 1888 [leaf 47] Guy of
“Noe, certes, lady, it is not I, Burgundy, whom she
It is yondir knight, þat ye may see.” had loved for a long
“A, him have I loved many a day; time, and for


And yet knowe I him noght. 1892 whom she would do all
For his loue I do alle that I maye, she could for their
To chere youpright letter u with hook witħ dede and thought. benefit, and would be
For his love wille I cristenede be baptised,
And lefe Mahoundes laye. 1896  
Spekith to him nowe for me,
As I youpright letter u with hook truste maye;
And but he wole graunte me his loue, if he would agree to
Of youpright letter u with hook askape shalle none here. 1900 love her in return.
By him, þat is almyghty aboue,
Ye shalle abye it ellis ful dere.”
Tho wente Duke Neymes to Sir Gye
And saide “This ladye lovetħ the, 1904 Naymes tells Guy
For thy loue she maketħ us alle merye,
And Baptizede wole she be.
Ye shalle hir take to your wedded wife, to take her for his
For alle vs she may saue.” 1908 wife,
“By God” quod Gye “þat gafe me life, But Guy refuses,
Hire wole I never haue,
Wyle I neuer take hire ner no womaupright letter n with macron, as he never will take
But Charles the kinge hir me gife. 1912 a wife, unless she be
I hight him, as I was trewe maupright letter n with macron,
To holdeupright letter n with macron it, while I lyve.” given him by Charles.
Tho spake Roulande and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, Rouland and Oliver
Certyfyinge him of heletter r with right hook, upright myschefe, 1916 persuaded him,
Tellinge him of the parelles, þat þay in weletter r with right hook, upright,
For to take this lady to his wedded wife.
“But thoupright letter u with hook helpe in this nede,
We be here in grete doute. 1920  
Almyghty god shalle quyte thy mede,
Elles come we nevere hennys oute.”
Thus thay treted him to and fro;
At the laste he sayde, he wolde. 1924 so that he at last
Floripas thay cleped fortħ tho; consented.
And brought fourth a Cuppe of golde, Floripas, holding a
Ful of noble myghty wyne, golden cup of wine,


And saide “my loue and my lorde, 1928 [leaf 48]
Myn herte, my body, my goode is thyupright letter n with macron,”
And kissed him witħ that worde, kissed him, and
And “sir” she saide “drinke to me, requested him to
As the Gyse is of my londe; 1932 drink to her after
And I shalle drinke agayupright letter n with macron to the, the fashion of her
As to my worthy hosbonde.” country. She also
Thay clipped and kissed botħ in fere drinks to him. They
And made grete Joye and game, 1936 all make merry.
And so did alle, that were theletter r with right hook, upright,
Thai made ful mery alle in same.
Tho spake Floripas to the Barons boolde
And saide “I haue armuletter r with right hook, upright I-nowe; 1940  
Therfore I tel youpright letter u with hook, what I wolde,
And þat ye dide for your prowe.
To morue, whaupright letter n with macron my Fadir is at his soupeletter r with right hook, upright, For the following day
Ye shalle come in alle attonys; 1944  
Loke ye spare for no fere,
Sle dowupright letter n with macron and breke botħ bake and bones;
Kithe youpright letter u with hook knightis of hardynesse!
Ther is none helpe, but in this wyse, 1948  
Then moste ye sheweupright letter n with macron youre prowes,
And wynne this Castel in this guyse.”
Thai sayden alle, it was welle saide,
And gladde thay were of this counsaile. 1952  
Here armuletter r with right hook, upright was fortħ layde, they all prepare to
At souper the Sowdoupright letter n with macron to assaile. assail the Soudan at
Kinge Lucafere prayde the Sawdoupright letter n with macron, supper. Lukafer comes
That he wolde gif him lysence, 1956 to the Soudan and
To the prisoners for to gooupright letter n with macron, asks leave to see the
To see the maner of her presence. prisoners, in order
He gafe him lefe, and forth he wente to know the manner of
Vp vnto Floripas Toure. 1960 their detention.
To asspie the maner was his entenupright letter t with right bar,
Heupright letter m with macron to accuse agayne honoure. Finding the door
Whaupright letter n with macron he come, he founde the dore fast I-stoke, locked, he burst it


He smote there-on with his fist, 1964 open with a blow of
That the barletter r with right hook, upright begaupright letter n with macron to broke. his fist.
To make debate, wel him list.
“Who artowe” quod Floripas150
“Þat maketh heletter r with right hook, upright sucħ araye†?” 1968  
“I am kinge Lucafere of Baldas, [leaf 49]
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron sente me hidir in faye;
To seeupright letter n with macron his prisoneris is my desire
And speke with hem everychoupright letter n with macron, 1972 He told them that he
To talke with hem by the fire was come to speak to
And speke of dedis of Armes amonge.” them,
Tho saide Duke Neymes “welcome be ye
To us prisoners here! 1976  
What is your wille, nowe telle ye;
For we be meupright letter n with macron of feble chere.”
“I woolde wete of Charles the kinge, and to enquire after
What maupright letter n with macron he is in his contre, 1980 Charlemagne.
And what meyne he hatħ, and of what thinge
He rekyneth moost his dignyte.”
Duke Neymes saide “an Emperoure Duke Naymes answers.
And kinge he is of many a londe, 1984  
Of Citeis, Castels, and many a Toure,
Dukes, Erles, Barons bowynge to his honde.”
“But saye me, felowe, what is your vse,
To do in contletter r with right hook, upright aftyr the none. 1988 He then asks what
And what is the custome of your hous, amusements they have
Tille meupright letter n with macron to souper shalle gone?” after dinner. Naymes
“Sir, somme meupright letter n with macron iouste151 witħ speletter r with right hook, upright and shelde, says, ‘Some joust,
And somme meupright letter n with macron Carol and singe gode songes, 1992 some sing, some play
Some shote with dartis in the feelde, at chess.’
And somme play at Chesse amonge.”
“Ye bene but foulis of gode dissporte; ‘I will teach you
I wole youpright letter u with hook tech a newe play. 1996 a new game,’ says
Sitte dowupright letter n with macron here by one assorte, Lukafer.


And better myrthe never ye saye.”
He teyde a tredde on a pole With a thread he
With an nedil ther-on I-fest, 2000 fastened a needle
And ther vppoupright letter n with macron a qwiupright letter k with right bar cole. on a pole and put a
He bade every man blowe his blast. burning coal upon it.
Duke Neymes hade a long berde, He blew it at
Kinge Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright blewe eveupright letter n with macron to hyupright letter m with macron, 2004 Naymes’s beard and
That game hade he never before lered. burnt it. Naymes
He brent the heletter r with right hook, upright of Neymes berde to the skyne. waxed wroth, and
Duke Neymes thaupright letter n with macron gan wex wrotħ, snatching a burning
For he hade brente his berde so white 2008 [leaf 50] brand from
To the Chymneye forth he goth the fire he smites at
And caught a bronde him witħ to smyte. Lukafer and throws
Witħ a goode wille he him smote, him into the fire,
That both his eyeupright letter n with macron bresteupright letter n with macron oute. 2012  
He caste him in the fire al hote;
For sothe he hadde a rigħt gode cloute.
And with a fyre forke he helde him doune,
Tille he were rosted to colis ilkadele. 2016 where he was roasted
His soule hade his god Mahouupright letter n with macron. to charcoal. Floripas
Floriupright letter p with macron bade hiupright letter m with macron warme him wele. applauds this,
“Sires” tho saide Floripas,
“Entendith nowe al to me! 2020  
This Lucafeletter r with right hook, upright of Baldas
Was a lorde of grete mayne.
My Fadir hade him euer yn cheletter r with right hook, upright
I telle you for sothe everydele, 2024  
He wolde anooupright letter n with macron aftyr him enqueletter r with right hook, upright, but points out their
And therefore loke, ye arme you weupright letters ll with middle tilde!” danger, and advises
Florip wente in, as the maner was, them to arm. At
To here Fadir at souper tyme. 2028 supper time she goes
No man spake worde of kinge Baldas, to her father.
Ner no man knewe of his sharp pyne.
The xij peris armed hem wel and fyne
With swerdes drawe and egletter r with right hook, upright chere. 2032  
While thay mery152 drinkynupright letter g with right bar the wyne


And sittinge alle at here soupeletter r with right hook, upright. As they were sitting
Thai reheted the Sowdoupright letter n with macron and his Barons alle at table, the twelve
And madeupright letter n with macron orders wondir fast, 2036 peers rushed in and
Thai slowe dowupright letter n with macron alle, þat were in the halle, slew all whom they
And made hem wondirly sore a-gast. met.
Olyvere egerly sued Labaupright letter n with macron Laban, pursued by
With swerd I-drawe in his honde. 2040 Oliver, jumps out of
Oute at the wyndowe lepte he þaupright letter n with macron a window on to the
Vppoupright letter n with macron the salte see stronde,153 sea-shore and escaped
And he skaped away froupright letter m with macron hime,
But woo was he þerfore, 2044  
That he went awaye witħ lyupright letter m with macron without injury.
To worche hem sorowe more.
Roulande thaupright letter n with macron came rennynge
And axed, where was Laban. 2048  
Olyuere answerede moornynge [leaf 51]
And saide, howe he was agooupright letter n with macron.
Tho thai voided the Courtes at the last They killed all in
And sloweupright letter n with macron tho, that wolde a-byde, 2052 the castle, and then
And drewe the brigge and teyed it fast, drew up the bridges
And shitte the gatis, that were so wyde. and shut the gates.
Laban, that by the ebbe escapede,
Of harde, er he come to londe, 2056  
He alle astonyed and a-mapide,154
For sorowe he wronge botħ his honde
And made a vowe to Mahounde of myght, Laban vowed a vow
He wolde that Cite wynne 2060  
And never go thens by day nor nyght,
For foo, for frende, ner for kynne.
“And tho traytouris will I do honge,
On a Galowes hye with-oute the gate; 2064 that he would hang
And my Doghter, þat hore stronge, them all and burn his
I-brente shal be there-ate.” daughter. He sent to
To mauntryble he gan sende anooupright letter n with macron Mantrible for troops
Aftir men and tentis goode, 2068 and


And Engynes to throwe witħ stooupright letter n with macron engines,
And goode armuletter r with right hook, upright many foolde.
The sege he did leyen a-bowte and besieged Agremore.
On every side of that Cite. 2072  
To wallis with Engynes thai gan rowte,
To breke the Toures so fre.
Tho saide Floriupright letter p with macron, “lordingges goode, Floripas recommends
Ye bene biseged in this toure, 2076 the peers
As ye bene wight of mayne and moode,
Proveth here to saue youre honouletter r with right hook, upright.
The toure is stronge, drede youpright letter u with hook nought,
And vitayle we have plente. 2080  
Charles wole not leve youpright letter u with hook vnsougħt;
Truste ye welle alle to me.
Therefore go we soupe and make merye, to enjoy themselves.
And takith ye alle your ease; 2084  
And xxxti maydens lo here of Assyne,155
The fayrest of hem ye chese.
Take your sporte, and kith youpright letter u with hook knyghtes,
Whan ye shalle haue to done; 2088  
For to morowe, when the day is light, [leaf 52]
Ye mooste to the wallis gooupright letter n with macron
And defende this place witħ caste of stooupright letter n with macron
And with shotte of quarelles and darte. 2092  
My maydyns and I shaupright letters ll with middle tilde bringe goode wone,
So eueryche of us shalle bere hir parte.”
On morowe the Sowdoupright letter n with macron made assaute In the morning the
To hem, that were witħ-Inne, 2096 soudan attacks the
And certes in hem was no defaute, castle,
For of heupright letter m with macron myght thay nought wynne.
Here shotte, here cast was so harde,
Thay durste not nyȝhe the walle. 2100  
Thay droweupright letter n with macron hem bakwarde, but is repulsed.
Thay were beteupright letter n with macron over alle.
King Labaupright letter n with macron turnede to his tentes agayupright letter n with macron,


He was nere wode for tene, 2104  
He cryede to Mahounde and Apolyne He accuses his gods
And to Termagaunte, þat was so kene, of sleepiness, and
And saide “ye goddes, ye slepe to longe, shakes them to wake
Awake and helpe me nowe, 2108 up.
Or ellis I may singe of sorowe a songe,
And of mournynge right I-nowe.
Wete ye not wele, that my tresoure
Is alle witħ-inne the walle? 2112  
Helpe me nowe, I saye therfore,
Or ellis I forsake youpright letter u with hook alle.”
He made grete lamentacioupright letter n with macron,
His goddis byganne to shake. 2116  
Yet that comfortede his meditacioupright letter n with macron,
Supposinge thay didde awake.
He cleped Brenlande to aske counsaile,
What was beste to done, 2120  
And what thinge myght hiupright letter m with macron moste avayle,
To wynne the Cite sone.
“Thou wotist welle, þat alle my tresouletter r with right hook, upright
Is there in here kepinge, 2124  
And my doughter, þat stronge hore,
God yif her evelle endynupright letter g with right bar!”
“Sir” he saide “ye knowe welle, [leaf 53] Brouland
That Toure is wondir stronge. 2128 tells him, as the
While þay haue vitayle to mele, castle is strong and
Kepeupright letter n with macron it thay wole fulle longe. well stored with
Sende to Mauntreble, youletter r with right hook, upright cheif Cite, provisions, the peers
That is the keye of this londe, 2132 will hold it very
That noupright letter n with macron passe, where it so be, long;
With-oute youre speciall sonde, but if he would send
To Alagolofuletter r with right hook, upright, þat geaunte stronge, orders to Alagolafre,
That is wardeyne of þat pas, 2136 the bridge-keeper at
That no man passe that brigge alonge, Mantrible, not to
But he have special grace. allow any one to pass
So shalle not Charles witħ his meyne without leave,


Reskowe thaupright letter n with macron Agramoure. 2140 they would get no
Thaupright letter n with macron thay shalle enfamyched be, assistance from
That shalle hem rewe ful sore.”— Charles, and die from
“Mahoundis blessynge have thoupright letter u with hook and myne, hunger.
Sortybraunce, for thy rede.”— 2144  
“Espyarde, messangeletter r with right hook, upright myne, Espiard is despatched
In haste thou most the spede to Mantrible,
To my Cite Mavntreble,
To do my message there, 2148  
To Alogolofletter r with right hook, upright, þat giaunte orrible.
Bydde him his charge wele lere,
And tel him, howe that the last daye
Ten fals traytours of Fraunce 2152  
Passed by that same waye
By his defaute witħ myschaunce,
Charginge him vppoupright letter n with macron his hede to lese,
That no man by the brigge,156 2156  
Be it rayne, snowe or freze,
But he his heede dowupright letter n with macron ligge.”
Espiarde spedde him in his waye,
Tille he to Mauntrible came, 2160  
To seke the geaunte, ther he laye
On the banke bysyde the Dame,
And saide “the worthy Sowdoupright letter n with macron,
That of alle Spayupright letter n with macron is lorde and siletter r with right hook, upright, 2164  
Vppoupright letter n with macron thy life commaundeth the anooupright letter n with macron, and commands the giant
To deserue better thyn hire.
The laste day thoupright letter u with hook letist here passe
Ten trattoures of douse Fraunce. 2168  
God giffe the evel grace,
And heupright letter m with macron also moche myschaunce!
He charged the vppoupright letter n with macron life and detħ,
To kepe this place sikerlye; 2172  
While in thy body lastetħ the bretħ, not to suffer any one
Lette nooupright letter n with macron enemye passe theletter r with right hook, upright-bye.” to pass the bridge.


Alagolofur rolled his yeupright letter n with macron
And smote with his axe oupright letter n with macron the stone 2176  
And swore by Termagaunte and Apolyne,
That ther-by shulde passen never one,
But if he smote of his hede,
And brought it to his lorde Labaupright letter n with macron, 2180  
He wolde never ete no brede,
Nere never loke more on maupright letter n with macron.
xxiiijti Cheynes he didde ouer-drawe, Alagolafre drew 24
That noo man passe mygħt, 2184 chains across the
Neyther for loue nere for awe, bridge.
No tyme by daye, nere by nyghte.
“Go, telle my lorde, I shalle it kepe;
On payne of my grete heede 2188  
Shalle ther no maupright letter n with macron goo ner crepe,
But he be take or dede.”
This geaunte hade a body longe
And hede, like an libarde. 2192  
Ther-to he was devely stronge,
His skynne was blake and harde.
Of Ethiope he was bore,
Of the kinde of Ascopartes. 2196  
He hade tuskes, like a bore,
An hede, like a liberde.
Laban nolde not forgete The soudan assaults
The saute to renewe,157 2200 the castle again,
To wynne the Toure, he wolde not lete.
Here trumpes lowde thay blewe.
Every man wente to the walle,
With pikeys or witħ bowe. 2204 [leaf 55]
Thai made assaute generalle,
The walles downe to throwe.
But thay witħ-inne bare heupright letter m with macron soo, but the 12 peers slay
Thay slowe of the Saresyns iij hundreupright letter d with right vertical tilde. 2208 300 Saracens.
Thay wroghteupright letter n with macron hem both care and woo,


Vppoupright letter n with macron her fightinge thay wondride.
Tho cryed Labaupright letter n with macron to hem on hye,
“Traytours, yelde youpright letter u with hook to me, 2212 Laban threatens to
Ye shall be hongede els by and bye hang them, and utters
Vppoupright letter n with macron an hye Galowe tree.” imprecations
Tho spake Floriupright letter p with macron to the Sowdoupright letter n with macron
And sayde “thou fals tyraunte, 2216  
Were Charles come, thy pride weletter r with right hook, upright done
Nowe, cursede myscreaunte. against Floripas, who
Alas! that thou ascapediste soo returns them.
By the wyndowe vppoupright letter n with macron the stronde. 2220  
That thy neupright letter k with right bar hade broke a-twoo!
God sende the shame and shonde!”—
“A! stronge hore, god gife the sorowe!
Tho[u] venemouse serpente. 2224  
Withe wilde horses158 thoupright letter u with hook shalt be drawe to morowe,
And on this hille be brente,
That al men may be waletter r with right hook, upright by the,
That cursed bene of kynde. 2228  
And thy love shalle honged be,
His hondes bounde him byhynde.”
He called forth Mavoupright letter n with macron, his Engynouletter r with right hook, upright, The soudan calls for
And saide “I charge the, 2232 Mavon, his engineer,
To throwe a magnelle to yon touletter r with right hook, upright, and orders him to
And breke it downe on thre.” direct a mangonel
Mavon set vp his engyne against the walls.
With a stooupright letter n with macron of .vj. C wigħt, 2236 Mavon knocked down
That wente as eveupright letter n with macron as eny lyne, a piece of the
And smote a cornell dowupright letter n with macron right. battlements.
Woo was Roulande and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright,
That þat myschief was be-falle, 2240  
And so were alle the xij peres; Roland and Oliver
But Floriupright letter p with macron thaupright letter n with macron comforte hem alle: lament; they are
“Sires” she saide “beitħ of goode chere! comforted by Floripas.
This Toure is stronge I-nowe. 2244  


He may cast twies or thries or he hit ayen þer,159 [leaf 56]
For sothe I telle it youpright letter u with hook.”
Marsedage, the roialle kinge,
Rode in riche weede, 2248  
Fro Barbary commyng,
Vppoupright letter n with macron a sturdy stede,
Cryinge to hem vppoupright letter n with macron the walle:
“Traytouris, yelde youpright letter u with hook here! 2252  
Brenne you alle ellis I shalle,
By myghty god Iubyteletter r with right hook, upright.”
Gy aspied, that he came neletter r with right hook, upright, Guy kills Marsedage
A darte to hime he threwe ful eveupright letter n with macron, 2256 the king of Barbary,
He smote him throwe herte & liver in feletter r with right hook, upright. by throwing a dart at
Dame Floripe lough witħ loude steveupright letter n with macron him.
And saide “Sir Gye, my loue so free,
Thou kanste welle hit the prikke. 2260  
He shall make no booste in his contre;
God giffe him sorowe thikke!”
Whaupright letter n with macron Labaupright letter n with macron herde of this myschieupright letter f with right bar,
A sory maupright letter n with macron was he. 2264  
He trumped, his mene to relefe; They stop the attack
For to cease that tyme mente he.
Mersadage, kinge of Barbarye,
He did carye to his tente, 2268  
And beryed him by right of Sarsenye to bury Marsedage,
With brennynge fire and riche oynemente,
And songe the Dirige of Alkaroupright letter n with macron,
That bibill is of here laye, 2272  
And wayled his deth everychoupright letter n with macron, and bewail him 7 days
vij nyghtis and vij dayes. and nights.
Anooupright letter n with macron the Sowdoupright letter n with macron, south to say, Then the soudan more
Sente iij hundrid of knightis, 2276 closely blockades the
To kepe the brigge and the waye castle.
Oute of that Castil rightis,
That nooupright letter n with macron of hem shulde issue oute,


To feche vitayle by no waye. 2280  
He charged hem to wacche wel aupright letters ll with middle tilde abowte,
That thay for-fameliupright letter d with right vertical tilde myght dye.
Thus thay kepte the place vij dayes, [leaf 57]
Tille alle hire vitaile was nyȝe spente. 2284 The provisions being
The yates thai pas the streyte weyes. exhausted,
Tho helde thai hem with-in I-shente.
Tho spake Roulande with hevy chere
Woordes lamentable, 2288  
Whaupright letter n with macron he saugħ the ladies so whiȝte of leletter r with right hook, upright,
Faile brede on here table,
And saide “Charles, thoupright letter u with hook curteys kinge, Roland complains
Why forgetist thoupright letter u with hook vs so longe? 2292 of Charles’s
This is to me a wondir thinge; forgetfulness;
Me thinkitħ, thou doiste vs grete wronge,
To let vs dye for faute of mete,
Closed thus in a dongeoupright letter n with macron. 2296  
To morowe wol we asaye what we koupright letter n with macron gete,
By god, that berithe the crowupright letter n with macron.”
Tho saide Floripas “sires, drede noghte but Floripas cheers
For nooupright letter n with macron houngletter r with right hook, upright that may befalle. 2300 him up,
I knowe a medycyne in my thoughte
To comforte youpright letter u with hook witħ alle.
I have a girdil in my Forceletter r with right hook, upright, saying she possessed
Who so girde heupright letter m with macron ther-with aboute, 2304 a magic girdle which
Hunger ner thirste shal him neuer dere, was a talisman
Though he were vij yere witħ-oute.” against hunger and
“O” quod Sir Gy “my loue so trewe, thirst for those who
I-blessed mote ye be! 2308 wore it.
I pray youpright letter u with hook, that ye wole us alle hit shewe,
That we may haue oure saule.”
She yede and set it fortħ anooupright letter n with macron,
Thai proved alle the vertue, 2312 They all successively
And diden it aboute heupright letter m with macron euerychoupright letter n with macron. put it on and felt as
It comforted alle both moo and fewe, if they had feasted.
As thai hade bene at a feste.


So were thay alle wele at ease, 2316  
Thus were thai refresshed botħ moost & lest
And weren bifore in grete disese.
Labaupright letter n with macron wondred, how thai myght enduletter r with right hook, upright
Witħ-outeupright letter n with macron vitaile so longe. 2320 Laban wondered at
He remembred him on Floripas senctuletter r with right hook, upright, their endurance, but
And of the vertue so stronge. at last remembering
Tho wiste he welle, that throgħ famyne the girdle, [leaf 58]
Might he heupright letter m with macron never wynne. 2324  
He cleped to him fals Mapyne, he induced Mapyne
For he coude many a fals gynne:
He coude scale Castel and Toure
And over the walles wende. 2328  
“Mapyne” he saide “for myupright letter n with macron honoure,
Thou mooste haue this in mynde:
That hore, my doghter, a girdil hatħ she,
Froupright letter m with macron hounger it savyth heupright letter m with macron alle, 2332  
That wonnen may thay never be,
That foule mote hir bifalle!
Kanstowe gete me that gyrdill by craft, to attempt to steal
A thousande pounde thaupright letter n with macron shal I gefe the; 2336 it at night.
So that it be there not lefte,160
But bringe it hithiletter r with right hook, upright to me.
Thoupright letter u with hook kanste see by nyghte as welle
As any man doth by daye. 2340  
Whan thay bene in here beddes ful stiupright letters ll with middle tilde,
Than go forth thider right in thy waye.
Thou shalt it in here Chamber fynde,
Thou maist be thereofe sure.” 2344  
“Sir, there-to I wole me bynde,
If my life may endure.”
Fortħ wente this fals Mapyne
By nyght into the Touletter r with right hook, upright 2348 Mapyne entered the
God gife him evel endinge!— chamber of Floripas
Euen in to Floripas bouletter r with right hook, upright. through


By a Chemney he wente inne;
Fulle stilly there he soughte it. 2352 a chimney;
He it founde and girde it aboute him,
And aftyr ful dere he bogħt it; he finds the girdle
For by the light of a lampe theletter r with right hook, upright and puts it on,
Floripas gaupright letter n with macron him aspye, 2356 but Floripas
Alle a-frayed oute of hir slepe for fere, perceives him
But lowde than gan she crye and cries out.
And saide “a thefe is in my boure,
Robbe me he wole or sloo.” 2360  
Ther-with come Rouland fro his touletter r with right hook, upright Roland hurries to her
To wete of hir woo. assistance, [leaf 59]
He founde Mapyne bysyde hir bedde,
Stondinge amased for drede, 2364  
To the wyndowe he him ladde,161
And there he smote of his hedde, cuts off Mapine’s
And caste him oute in-to the see. head, and throws
Of the gyrdille was he not waletter r with right hook, upright; 2368 him out through
But whaupright letter n with macron he wist, the girdel hade he, the window without
Tho hadde he sorowe and care. noticing the girdle.
Floripe to the Cheste wente Floripas, seeing her
And aspyed, hire gyrdel was gooupright letter n with macron, 2372 girdle lost, is much
“Alas!” she saide, “alle is it shente! grieved;
Sir, what haue ye done?
He hath my girdel aboute hyupright letter m with macron.
Alas! þat harde while! 2376  
A rebelle hounde dotħ ofte grete tene;
Howe be we alle begilede.”
Tho spake Roulande witħ cheletter r with right hook, upright boolde,
“Dameselle! beytħ noughte aferde! 2380 Roland comforts her.
If any vitaile be aboute this hoolde,
We wole hem wynne withe dinte of swerde
To morowe wole wee oute-gooupright letter n with macron They agree to attempt
And assaye, howe it wole it be. 2384 a sally to obtain
I make a vowe to god alone, food.


Assaile hem wole we!
And if thay haue any mete,
Parte withe heupright letter m with macron wole we. 2388  
Or elles strokes thay shal gete
By God and seynte Mary myupright letter n with macron avouletter r with right hook, upright!”162
In the morne, er the larke songe, In the morning
Thai ordeynede hem to ride 2392  
To the Saresyns, þat hade so longe
Leyen hem besyde.
Duke Neymes and Ogeletter r with right hook, upright Naymes and Ogier
Were ordeynede to kepe the place. 2396 remain in the castle,
The x othir of the xij peres the others start
Wente oute to assaye here grace.
Thay foundeupright letter n with macron hem in logges slepynge, and surprise the
Of hem hade thay no thought. 2400 Saracens still
Thai sloweupright letter n with macron dowupright letter n with macron þat came to honde, sleeping in their
Mahounde availed hem noghte. huts. [leaf 60]
In shorte tyme the ende was made,
Thay ten slough iij hundred theletter r with right hook, upright. 2404 They slew 300 and
Tho founde thai vitaile, thay were glad, carried off as much
As moche as thay myghte home beletter r with right hook, upright. food as they could
Duke Neymes and Ogeletter r with right hook, upright, that kept the touletter r with right hook, upright, bear.
Say hem witħ here praye. 2408  
Thai thanked god hye of honoure,
That thai spedde so þat day.
Thay avaled the brigge and lete him yn,
Floriupright letter p with macron and here maydyns were gladde, 2412  
And so were thay, that were with-yn;
For alle grete hounger thay hadde.
Thai eteupright letter n with macron and dronken right I-nowe
And made myrtħ ever amonge. 2416  
But of the Sowdoupright letter n with macron laban speke we nowe,
Howe of sorowe was his songe.
W Han tidyngges came to him,
That his meupright letter n with macron were slayupright letter n with macron, 2420  
And howe thai hade stuffed heupright letter m with macron also163


With vitaile in agayne,
For sorowe he woxe nere wode. The soudan is enraged,
He cleped Brenlande and Sortybraunce. 2424  
And tolde heupright letter m with macron witħ angry mode
Of his harde myschaunce.
“Remedye ordeyne me,
Ye be chief of my counsaile; 2428  
That I of hem may vengede be,
It shalle you bouth availe.
O ye goddes, ye faile at nede,
That I have honoured so longe, 2432  
I shalle youpright letter u with hook breupright letter n with macron, so mote164 I spede, and is going to burn
In a fayre fyre ful stronge; his gods,
Shalle I neuer more on youpright letter u with hook bileve,
But renaye youpright letter u with hook playnly alle. 2436  
Ye shalle be brente this day er eve,
That foule mote youpright letter u with hook befalle!”
The fire was made, the goddes were broght
To have be caste theletter r with right hook, upright-inne. 2440 [leaf 61]
Tho alle his counsaile him by-sought, but, appeased by his
He shulde of þat erroure blynne, wise men,
And saide “Sir, what wole ye done?
Wole ye your goddis for-sake? 2444  
Vengeaunce shalle thaupright letter n with macron on youpright letter u with hook come,
With sorowe, woo and wrake!
Ye moste make offrynge for youre offence,
For drede of grete vengeaunce, 2448  
With oyle, mylke and ffrankeupright letter n with macroncense
By youre prestis ordynaunce.”
Tho he dide bere hem in ayeupright letter n with macron, he sacrifices again,
And to hem made dewe offerynge. 2452  
The prestis assoyled him of þat synne, and is assoiled by
Ful lowly for him prayinge. the priests.
Tho he cleped his counselers
Brulande and Sortybraunce, 2456 Laban holds council.


Axynge, howe he myght destroye the xij peres,
That Mahounde gife hem myschaunce.
Thay cowde no more ther-oupright letter n with macron,
But late saile ayeupright letter n with macron the toure. 2460  
Witħ xxti thousande thai gaupright letter n with macron goupright letter n with macron,
And bigonne a newe shoure A new assault begins,
To breke dowupright letter n with macron the Walles,
With mattokes and witħ pike, 2464 but the ditches
Tille iiij hundred of hem alle are filled with
Lay slayne in the dike. assailants, who were
So stronge was the cast of stoone. slain by the showers
The Saresyns drewe heupright letter m with macron abakke, 2468 of stones hurled down
Tille it was at hye none; by the peers. The
Tho gonne thay ayeupright letter n with macron to shake. Saracens retire. A
Tho fayled hem cast, þat were with-inne; second attack ensues.
Tho cowde thai no rede, 2472 There being no stones,
For stoone was ther noone to wynne.
Tho were thay in grete drede.
Than saide Florip, “beitħ not dismayde!
Ye shalle be holpe anooupright letter n with macron. 2476 Floripas gave
Here is syluer vessel and now,”165 she sayde, them her father’s
“That shulle ye prove goode wooupright letter n with macron.” silver and gold to
She set it forth, thay caste oute faste cast amongst the
Alle that came to honde. 2480 assailants. [leaf 62]
Off siluer and goolde vessel thay made waste
That wast166 dowupright letter n with macron vppoupright letter n with macron the sonde.
Whaupright letter n with macron thai saugħ that roial sight,
Thai leften alle here dede; 2484  
And for the tresoure thay do fight,
Who so myghte it awey lede. The soudan in alarm
Tho the Sowdoupright letter n with macron wexe nere wode, for his treasure
Seinge this tresoure thus dispoyleupright letter d with right vertical tilde, 2488 gives up the assault.
That was to him so dere and goode
Laye in the dike thus defouleupright letter d with right vertical tilde.
He bade that thai shulde leue


And turne heupright letter m with macron agayne in haste. 2492  
He wente home tille his tente than
With grete sorowe and mournynupright letter g with right bar mode.
To-fore his goddis whaupright letter n with macron he came,
He cryed, as he were wode: 2496  
“O fals goddis, that ye betħ, He is enraged with
I have trustid to longe youre mode. his gods,
We167 were leveletter r with right hook, upright to suffletter r with right hook, upright dede,
Thaupright letter n with macron lif this life here lenger nowe. 2500  
I haue almoste loste the bretħ,
xij fals traytours me overe-lede,
And stroyen alle þat I haue.
Ye fals goddis, the devel youe spede! 2504  
Ye make me nowe for to rave;
Ye do fayle me at my nede.”
In Ire he smote Mahounde, and smites Mahound so
That was of goolde fulle rede, 2508 that he fell on his
That he fille dowupright letter n with macron to the grounde, face;
As he hade bene dede.
Alle here bisshopes crydeupright letter n with macron oute
And saide “Mahounde, thyupright letter n with macron ore!” 2512  
And dowupright letter n with macron to the erthe wele lowe thay loute,
Howlynge and wepynge sore,
And saide “Sire Sowdoupright letter n with macron, what haue ye done?
Vengeaunce shalle on the falle, 2516  
But thoupright letter u with hook repente the here anone.”
“Ye” quod he “I shrewe youpright letter u with hook alle!” but the priests
Thai made a fyre of franupright letter k with right barencense induce him
And bleweupright letter n with macron hornes of bras, 2520  
And casten in milke hony for the offence, [leaf 63]
To-fore Mahoundes face.
Thay counsailed Laban to knele a dowupright letter n with macron to kneel down and ask
And aske forgevenes in that place. 2524 forgiveness.
And so he didde and hade pardoupright letter n with macron
Throgh prayere and specialle grace.


Then168 this was done, þaupright letter n with macron sayde Roulande Meanwhile Roland
To his Felowes xj: 2528 exhorted Richard of
“Here may we not longe holde londe, Normandy to go on
By God that is in heveupright letter n with macron. message to Charles,
Therefore sende we to Charles, the kinge, that he might come
That he wolde reskowe vs sone; 2532 to their rescue.
And certyfye him oupright letter f with right bar oure strayȝte beinge, They all would the
If ye thinke, it be to done. following morning,
Richard of Normandye, ye most gooupright letter n with macron, before day break,
I holde youpright letter u with hook both wyse and hende. 2536 make an attack on
And we shalle tomorowe, as stil as stooupright letter n with macron, the Saracens, and
The Saresyns a-wake, er ye wynde.169 meanwhile he should
And while we be mooste bysy in oure werke, steal off in the
And medel witħ hem alle in fere, 2540 darkness. In the
Stele ye a-waye in the derke! morning
And spede you faste, ye were there!”
On the morowe aftiletter r with right hook, upright the daye
Thay were armede ful ryghte, 2544  
Thai rode fortħ stilly in here way, they sally out.
God gouerne hem, mooste of myght!
Floripe and here maydyns kept the touletter r with right hook, upright Floripas and her
And woonde vp the brigges on hye, 2548 maidens draw up the
And prayde god, to kepe here paramouletter r with right hook, upright, bridges after them.
The Duke of Burgoyne, Sir Gupright letter y with macrone.
She preyde to Rouland, er he wente,
To take goode hede of hiupright letter m with macron, 2552  
That he were neyþer take nere shente,
As he wolde her loue wynne.
On thay set with herte stronge
And alle heupright letter m with macron sore afrayed. 2556  
Richard the whiles away he wronge,
Thile170 thai were alle dismayede. Richard went off
Towarde the Mountrible he hyed him faste, towards Mantrible.
To passe, if that he myghte. 2560 [leaf 64]
Thedir he came at the laste.


God kepe him for his mocħ myght!
His xij171 felowes besyed heupright letter m with macron soo The others slay many
That many of heupright letter m with macron thay sloughe.172 2564 Saracens;
Gye slowe the kinge of Babyloyne tho;
The Babyloynes of his hors him drowe, but Guy, overpowered
And with force him drowe there by the Babylonians,
And bounde his hondes ful fast. 2568 is taken prisoner.
A newe game thai gaupright letter n with macron him lere,
For in depe prisoupright letter n with macron thay him caste.
But Labaupright letter n with macron wolde him first se,
To wete what he was. 2572  
“Telle me thy name nowe” quod he, Laban asks his name.
“Thy songe shalle be ‘alas.’”—
“Sire” he saide “my name is Gye, Guy tells him.
I wole it never forsake. 2576  
It were to me grete vilanye
Aupright letter n with macron othir name to take.”—
“O fals traytour” quod Labaupright letter n with macron,
“My doghtir, þat stronge hore, 2580  
Hath me for-sake and the hath taupright letter n with macron,
Thoupright letter u with hook shalte be honged therfore.” He is to be hanged.
Roulande made grete moone,
It wolde nooupright letter n with macron other be. 2584  
Homwarde thai gaupright letter n with macron gooupright letter n with macron,
.iij.c Saresyns ther saye he, 300 Saracens crowding
That kepte the pace at the brigge-ende, near the gate of the
Armed wel in goode araye, 2588 castle, attempted to
That thai sholde not in wende, prevent the other
But be take or slayupright letter n with macron þat daye. peers from entering.
Roulande to his felowes saide:
“Beth alle of right gode chere! 2592  
And we shal make hem alle afrayde,
Eletter r with right hook, upright we go to oure soupere.”
There byganne a bykeringe bolde A fearful struggle
Of x Bachelers that tyde, 2596 begins.


Agayne iijc meupright letter n with macron I-tolde,
That durste righte wel a-byde.
Tho was Durnedale set a werke, [leaf 65]
XL of hethen he sloughe, 2600  
He spared neþeletter r with right hook, upright lewde ner clerke,
And Floripas theletter r with right hook, upright-of loughe.
The shotte, the caste was so stronge,
Syr Bryer was slayupright letter n with macron there 2604 Sir Bryer is killed.
With dartes, gauylokes and speres longe,
xxti on hym there were.
Roulande was woo and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright,
Thay slougheupright letter n with macron alle that thai mette. 2608  
Tho fledde the Turkes alle for feletter r with right hook, upright, At last the Saracens
Thay durste no longer lette take to flight.
And saide, thai weletter r with right hook, upright no men,
But develis abrokeupright letter n with macron oute of helle, 2612  
“.iij. hundred of vs agayupright letter n with macron hem teupright letter n with macron.
Oure lorde Mahounde hem qwelle!
XL of vs here be ascaped,
And hardde we be bistadde.”— 2616  
“Who so wole of heupright letter m with macron more be iaped,
I holde him worsse than madde.”
Tho Roulande and Olyueletter r with right hook, upright The peers retire
Madeupright letter n with macron grete woo and sorowe, 2620 inside the castle,
And tokeupright letter n with macron the corps of Sir Bryere taking the corpse of
And beryed it on the morowe. Bryer with them.
Floripe asked Roulande anoone Floripas enquires
“Where is my loue Sir Gye?”— 2624 after Guy,
“Damesel” he saide “he is gooupright letter n with macron,
And therfore woo am I.”— and on hearing of his
“Alas” she saide “than am I dede, capture, begins to
Nowe Gye my lorde is slayupright letter n with macron, 2628 lament despairingly.
Shall I neuer more ete brede
Tille that I may se hiupright letter m with macron agayupright letter n with macron.”—
“Be stille” quod Roulande “and haue no caletter r with right hook, upright, Roland promises to
We shal hyupright letter m with macron haue ful wele. 2632 rescue Guy.


Tomorowe wele we thiderward faletter r with right hook, upright
With spere and shelde of stele.
But we bringe him to this Touletter r with right hook, upright
Leeve me elles no more— 2636  
With victorye and grete honouletter r with right hook, upright,
Or thay shalle abye it ful sore.” [leaf 66]
On the morowe, whan tha daye was clere,
Laban ordeynede Gye honged to be. 2640 On the following
He cleped forth Sir Tampere morning Laban orders
And badde him do make a Galowe tre, Sir Tamper to erect
“And set it eveupright letter n with macron by-fore the touletter r with right hook, upright, a gallows before
That þilke hore may him see; 2644 the castle, where
For by lord Mahounde of honouletter r with right hook, upright, Floripas could see it.
This traitour there shalle honged be.
Take withe the .iij. hundred knigħtes
Of Ethiopis, Indens and Ascopartes, 2648  
That bene boolde and hardy to fight
With Wifles, Fauchons, Gauylokes173 and Dartes;
Leste þat lurdeynes come skulkynge oute,
For ever thay haue bene shrewes. 2652  
Loke eche of heupright letter m with macron haue sucħ a cloute,
That thay neuer ete moo Sewes.”
Forth thay wente with Sir Gye, Guy is led bound.
That bounde was as a thefe faste, 2656  
Tille thay come the towletter r with right hook, upright ful nye;
Thai rered the Galowes in haste.
Roulande perceyued here doynge
And saide “felows, let armes174! 2660 Roland calls his
I am ful gladde of here comynge, companions to arms.
Hem shall not helpe her charmes.”
Oute thai riden a wele gode spede, They rush forth.
Thai ix towarde hem alle. 2664  
Florip witħ here maydyns toke gode hede,
Biholdinge over the touletter r with right hook, upright walle.
Thai met first witħ Sir Tampeletter r with right hook, upright,


God gife him evelle fyne! 2668  
Such a stroke lente hym Olyueletter r with right hook, upright, Oliver cuts down Sir
He clefe him dowupright letter n with macron to the skyne. Tamper; Roland kills
Rouland bare the kinge of Ynde a king of India,
Ther with his spere frome his stede. 2672  
.iiij. fote it passed his bak byhynde,
His herte blode þeletter r with right hook, upright didde he blede.
He caught the stede, he was ful goode,
And the swerde, þat the kinge hadde, 2676 takes his sword and
And rode to Gye, there he stode, horse, [leaf 67] and
And onbounde hyupright letter m with macron and bade him be gladde. gives them to Guy,
And girde him witħ that goode swerde, having unbound him.
And lepen vppoupright letter n with macron here stedes. 2680  
“Be thou” he saide “righte nougħt a-ferde,
But helpe vs wightly at this nede.” They slay many
An hundred of hem sone thay slowe Saracens, and put the
Of the beste of hem alle; 2684 rest to flight.
The remenaunte a-way fast thay flowe,
That foule motte hem byfalle!
Rouland and his Felowes were glad
That Gye was safe in dede. 2688  
Thay thanked god, that thay175 him hadde
Gyfen thaye† sucħ grace to spede.
As thay wente towarde the Touletter r with right hook, upright, Retiring towards the
A litil bysyde the hye waye, 2692 castle,
Thai saugh comynge with grete vigouletter r with right hook, upright they see admiral
An hundred vppoupright letter n with macron a laye.176 Costroye and
Costroye ther was, the Admyraupright letters ll with middle tilde, the soudan’s
With vitaile grete plente, 2696 standard-bearer
And the stondarte of the Sowdoupright letter n with macron Roial. escorting a great
Towarde Mauntrible rideupright letter n with macron he, convoy, destined for
.iiij. Chariotes I-charged witħ flessh and brede, the sultan, across a
And two otheletter r with right hook, upright with wyne, 2700 field near the high
Of divers colouris, yolowe, white and rede, road.
And iiij Somers of spicery fyne.


Tho saide Roulande to Olyueletter r with right hook, upright:
“With these meyne moste we shifte, 2704  
To haue parte of here vitailes heletter r with right hook, upright,
For therof us nedith by my thrifte.”—
“Howe, sires” he saide “god you see! Roland calls to them
We pray youe for youre curtesye, 2708  
Parte of your Vitaile graunte me, to share the
For we may nother borowe ner bye.” provisions with them.
Tho spake Cosdroye, that Admyral,
“Ye gete none here for nogħt. 2712 Costroye refuses,
Yf ye oght chalenge in speciaupright letters ll with middle tilde,
It most be dere I-boght.”—
“O gentil knightes” quod Olyuere,
“He is no felowe, þat wole haue alle.” 2716  
“Go fortħ” quod the stondart, “thoupright letter u with hook getist noon here,
Thy parte shalle be fulle smalle.”—
“Forsoth” quod Roulande “and shift we wole, [leaf 68]
Gete the better, who gete maye! 2720  
To parte with the nedy it is gode skille,
And so shalle ye by my faye.”
He rode to the Admyral witħ his swerde and is slain by
And gafe him suche a cloute, 2724 Roland.
No wonder thogħ he were aferde,
Both his eyȝeupright letter n with macron braste oute.
Olyuere met withe the proude stondarde,
He smote him througħ the herte. 2728 Oliver kills the
That hade he for his rewarde; standard-bearer.
That wounde gaupright letter n with macron sore smerte.
Thai were slayupright letter n with macron, that wolde fight
Er durste bikure abyde. 2732  
Thai forsoke her parte anooupright letter n with macron rigħt,
It lefte alle oupright letter n with macron that oupright letter n with macron side.
Forth thai dreweupright letter n with macron þat vitaile The convoy is
Streight in-to the Toure. 2736 conveyed into the
There was no maupright letter n with macron durst hem assayle castle.
For drede of here vigouletter r with right hook, upright.


Floripe hem resceyved with honouletter r with right hook, upright
And thanked Roulande fele sythe, 2740 Floripas thanks
That she saugħ Gye hir paramouletter r with right hook, upright, Roland for bringing
That wolde she him qwite and kithe. back Sir Guy,
Thai eteupright letter n with macron and dronken and made hem gladde,
Hem neded ther aftyr fulle sore 2744  
Of suche, as god hem sente hade,
I-nowe for iiij moonþes and more. and proposes that he
Florip saide to Roulande than, shall choose himself
“Ye moste chese you a love177 2748 a mistress from
Of alle my maydyns, white as swaupright letter n with macron.”— amongst her maidens.
Quod Rouland “þat were myscheve; But Roland refuses to
Oure lay wole not, þat we with youe dele, take any that is no
Tille that ye Cristyupright letter n with macron be made; 2752 Christian.
Ner of your play we wole not fele,
For thaupright letter n with macron were we cursed in dede.”
N Owe shall ye here of Labaupright letter n with macron. The soudan, on
Whan tidyngges to him weletter r with right hook, upright comeupright letter n with macron, 2756 hearing such bad news,
Tho was he a fulle sory maupright letter n with macron.
Whan he herde, howe his vitaile were nomeupright letter n with macron,
And howe his men were slayne,
And Gye was go safe heupright letter m with macron froo, 2760 [leaf 69]
He defyed Mahounde and Apolyne, again defies his gods,
Iubiter, Ascarot and Alcaroupright letter n with macron also.
He commaundede a fire to be digħt and threatens to
With picche and Brymstoupright letter n with macron to breupright letter n with macron. 2764 throw them into the
He made a vowe with alle his mygħt, flames.
“Thai shal be caste ther-Inne!”
The prestes of heletter r with right hook, upright lawe ther-oupright letter n with macron,
Thai crideupright letter n with macron oute for drede 2768  
And saide “alas, what wole ye done?
The worse than moste ye spede!”
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron made a grete othe
And swore by his hye trone, 2772  
That though hem were never so lotħ,


Thai sholde be brente Ichoupright letter n with macron.
Tho came the bisshope Cramadas But bishop Cramadas
And kneled bifore the Sowdoupright letter n with macron, 2776 kneels before him and
And charged him by the hye name Sathanas, appeases him.
To saven his goddes ychoupright letter n with macron:
“For if ye brenne youre goddes heletter r with right hook, upright,
Ye wynnyupright letter n with macron her malisoupright letter n with macron, 2780  
Than wole no man do youpright letter u with hook cheletter r with right hook, upright,
In feelde, Cite, neletter r with right hook, upright in towupright letter n with macron.”
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron was astonyed þan
And gan him sore repente 2784  
Of the foly, that he bygaupright letter n with macron,
And els hade he be shente.
A thousande of Besauntes he offred þaym to, The soudan makes an
By counsail of sir Cramadas, 2788 offering of 1000
To please witħ his goddys tho, besants to his gods.
For fere of harde grace.
The Sowdone commaunded euery daye
To assaile the touletter r with right hook, upright witħ caste. 2792  
But thay with-in gafe not an Eye,
For thai wroghte in wast. When Richard arrived
N Owe speke we of Richarde of Normandy, as far as Mantrible,
That on message was sente, 2796 he found the bridge
Howe he spede and his meyne. barred by 24 chains,
Whan he to Mauntrible wente, and Alagolafre
He founde the brigge Ichayned sore; standing before it.
xxiiijti were ouere-draweupright letter n with macron. 2800 [leaf 70]
Alagolofure stode there byfore,
That many a man hade slawene.
Whan Richard saugħ, ther was no gate, Determined not to
But by flagot the flode, 2804 leave his errand
His message wolde he not lete; unperformed, he knelt
His hors was botħ bigge and goode. down and commended
He kneled, bisechinge god of his grace, himself to God. A
To save him fro myschiefe. 2808 hind appears
A white hende he saugħ anooupright letter n with macron in þat place,


That swaupright letter m with macron oveletter r with right hook, upright the cliffe. and swims across.
He blessed him in godis name Richard follows her,
And folowed the same waye 2812 and, passing over in
The gentil hende, þat was so tame, safety,
That oupright letter n with macron þat othir side gan playe.
He thanked god fele sythe,
That him hade sente comforte. 2816  
He hied him in his message swiþe, hurries on to
To speke witħ Charles his lorde. Charlemagne.
But I shalle youpright letter u with hook telle of a traytour,
That his name was called Genelyne, 2820  
He counseiled Charles for his honouletter r with right hook, upright Meanwhile Genelyn,
To turne homewarde ageyupright letter n with macron. the traitor, had
He saide “the xij peres bene alle dede, advised Charles to
And ye spende your goode in vayne, 2824 retire to France,
And therfore dotħ nowe by my rede, because the 12 peers
Ye shalle see hem no more certeyupright letter n with macron.” were all slain. The
The kinge bileved þat he saide, king believed him,
And homwarde gan he fare. 2828 and marched homeward,
He of his xij Dosiperes was sore dismayed, lamenting for his
His herte woxe right fulle of caletter r with right hook, upright. peers. Richard
Rycharde of Normandy came prikande overtakes him, and is
And hertly to ride begane. 2832 recognised by Charles,
Kinge Charles aspyed him comande;
He commaunded to abide euery maupright letter n with macron. who asks him about
“What tidingges?” quod the kinge to Richarde, the others. Richard
“Howe fare my felowes alle?” 2836 tells the king, how
“My lorde” he saide “god wote, ful harde, they are besieged
For thai be byseged with-in ston-walle, within the castle,
Abydynge youre helpe and youletter r with right hook, upright socouletter r with right hook, upright, and are waiting for
As men þat haue grete nede. 2840 his assistance.
For Ihesues loue, kinge of honouletter r with right hook, upright,
Thiderward ye youpright letter u with hook spede!” Charles, vowing
“O Genelyne” quod the kinge, vengeance on
“Nowe knowe I thy tresoupright letter n with macron, 2844 [leaf 71] Genelyn,
I shalle the qwite, be seynte Fremounde,


Whaupright letter n with macron this viage is doupright letter n with macron.”
The kinge turned him ageyupright letter n with macron, turned and marched to
And alle his Ooste him witħ, 2848 Agremore.
Towarde Mountrible certeyne.
And178 graunte him gree and grith!
Richarde him tolde of that place,
Howe stronge it was I-holde 2852 Richard informed him
With a geaunte foule of face, of the giant, who
The brigge hath chayned many folde; kept the bridge,
The River was both depe and brode,
Ther myght no maupright letter n with macron over-ryde. 2856 and how he had passed
“The last tyme that I over-rode, the river by a
By myracle I passed þat tide. miracle.
Therfore sir, I shal youpright letter u with hook telle,
Howe ye mote governe youpright letter u with hook here. 2860  
In yonde wode ye moste dwelle He proposed a plan,
Priuely in this maneletter r with right hook, upright, that 12 knights
And xij of vs shalle vs araye disguised as
In gyse of stronge marchauntes, 2864 merchants, with
And fille oure somers withe fog and haye,
To passe the brigge Currauntes.
We shalle be armed vnder the cote their arms hidden
With goode swerdes wele I-gyrde, 2868 under their clothes,
We moste paye tribute, wele I wote, should pay the toll,
And elles over we may not sterte. and the bridge being
But whaupright letter n with macron the chaynes be lete dowupright letter n with macron let down,
Ouer ther for to passe, 2872  
Than wole I, þat ye come oupright letter n with macron,
In haste to that same place.
Whaupright letter n with macron I see tyme for to come,
Thaupright letter n with macron shalle I my horne blowe. 2876 should blow a horn
Loke, ye be redy alle and some, as a signal for the
For that shaupright letters ll with middle tilde ye welle knowe.” others to approach.
Forth thay wente in þat araye They start and arrive
To Mountrible, that Cite. 2880 at Mantrible.


Alagolofuletter r with right hook, upright to heupright letter m with macron gan seye, Alagolafre asks
“Felawes, wheder wole ye?” whither they are
Richarde spake to the geaunte going.
And saide “towarde the Sowdoupright letter n with macron, 2884 Richard says, they
With dyu[e]rs chaffeletter r with right hook, upright as trewe marchaunte, are merchants on
We purpose for to gooupright letter n with macron, their way to the
To shewen him of pelluletter r with right hook, upright and Gryse,179 Soudan,
Orfrays of Perse Imperyalle, 2888 [leaf 72]
We wole the yefe tribute of assaye and they are willing
To passe by lycence in especyaupright letters ll with middle tilde.” to pay the toll.
“Licence gete ye nooupright letter n with macron of me,180 Alagolafre refuses to
I am charged that noone shaupright letters ll with middle tilde passe, 2892 let them pass, and
For x lurdeyns of Fraunce were heletter r with right hook, upright; tells them about the
God yefe hem evell grace! 10 knights, who had
Thay passed this way to Egramouletter r with right hook, upright; passed there and done
Thay haue done the Sowdoupright letter n with macron grete tene, 2896 so much mischief to
Thay have wonne his toure and his tresouletter r with right hook, upright, the Soudan;
And yet holde thai it, I wene.
Wherfoletter r with right hook, upright, felawes, I arest youpright letter u with hook alle, therefore he will
Tille I knowe, what þat ye bene.” 2900 arrest them all.
Sire Focarde brayde oute his swerde witħ-alle, Sir Focard draws his
Wel sore he gan to tene sword and
And saide “fye oupright letter n with macron the Sarasyne!
For alle thy grete harde hede 2904  
Shaltow never drinke water ner wyne,
By god! thou shalte be dede.”
He smote at him witħ egre chere smites at him.
But he gafe thereof right nought. 2908  
“Alas” quod Richard “thou combrest vs heletter r with right hook, upright,
By god, that me deletter r with right hook, upright hatħ boghte.”
The cheynes yet weletter r with right hook, upright alle faste,
The geaunte wexe nere wode, 2912  
Richard blewe his horne in haste, Richard blows his
That was both shrille and goode. horn, and Charles
Kinge Charles hied him anooupright letter n with macron advances.


Towarde the brigge so longe; 2916  
The Geaunte faught with heupright letter m with macron alone,
He was so harde and stronge.
With a Cloupright letter g with right bar of aupright letter n with macron Oke he faugħt, Alagolafre fights
That was wele bound with stele. 2920 them with a great oak
He slough al þat eveletter r with right hook, upright he raugħt, club.
So stronge was his dinte to dele. Richard seizes a bar
Richard raught him witħ a barletter r with right hook, upright of bras, of brass and knocks
That he caught at the gate. 2924 him down.
He brake his legges, he cryed “alas”
And felle alle cheupright letter k with right bar-mate.
Loude thaupright letter n with macron gaupright letter n with macron he to yelle;
Thay herde him yelle througħ þat Cite, 2928  
Like the grete develle of helle,
And saide “Mahounde, nowe helpe me!” [leaf 73]
iiij men him caught theletter r with right hook, upright, 4 men get hold of him
So hevy he was and longe, 2932 and throw him into
And cast him ouer in-to the riveletter r with right hook, upright. the river.
Chese he, whither181 he wolde swymme or gonupright letter g with right bar! They loosened the
Anooupright letter n with macron thay brast the Chaynes alle, chains;
That ouer the brigge were I-drawe. 2936  
The Saresyns ronneupright letter n with macron to the walle, but, the Saracens
Many Cristeupright letter n with macron men were theletter r with right hook, upright I-slawe. assembling on the
Than came forth Dam barroupright letter k with right bar, the bolde, walls of the city,
With a sithe large and kene, 2940 many Christians were
And mewe a-dowupright letter n with macron as þikke as shepe in folde, slain. Alagolafre’s
That came byforne hir by-dene. wife, Barrock the
This Barroupright letter k with right bar was a geaunesse, giantess, comes on
And wife she was to Astragote, 2944 with her scythe and
She did the Cristeupright letter n with macron grete distresse, mows down all whom
She felled downe alle þat she smote. she meets.
There durst no man hire sithe abyde,
She grenned like a develle of helle. 2948  
Kinge Charles with a quarel þat tide Charles dashes out
Smote hir, that she lowde gaupright letter n with macron yelle, her brains,


Euer182 the founte througħ-oute the brayupright letter n with macron;
That cursede fende fille dowupright letter n with macron dede. 2952  
Many a man hade she there slayupright letter n with macron,
Might she never aftyr ete more brede!
Charles entred in the firste warde and with 15 knights
With xv knightis and no moo; 2956 enters the outer gate
Of hym his oste toke no garde, of the town,
He wende his oste hade entred also. thinking his army
The Sarysyns ronne to the gate, would follow him.
And shet it wonder faste. 2960 But the gate was
Charles meupright letter n with macron come to late; instantly closed upon
Tho was Charles sore agaste. him, and his men came
Betwene two wardes he was shit, too late.
Defende he him if he caupright letter n with macron! 2964  
The Sarysyns with him thay mette, Charles was in great
Grete parel was he in thaupright letter n with macron. danger;
Tho Genelyne saie, the kinge was inne but Genelyn, seeing
And the yates faste I-stoke, 2968 him shut in,
Ther myght no maupright letter n with macron to him wynne,
So was he faste witħ-inne I-loke,
To his frendes he gan speke
And saide “the kinge is dede, 2973 [leaf 74] exclaimed
And alle xij peres eke. that the king and
On peyne” said he “to lese myn hede, the 12 peers were
Let vs hye to Fraunce warde! dead, and proposed to
For I wele be crownede kinge, 2976 retire, as he wished
I shalle youpright letter u with hook alle wele rewarde, to be king himself.
For I wole spare for no thinge.”
Anooupright letter n with macron thay assented to Genelyne,
Thay saugh, ther was no better rede. 2980  
The Frenssh meupright letter n with macron drewe heupright letter m with macron al ayene, They are going to
Thay wende the kinge hade bene dedde. return,
Tho Ferumbras witħ his meyne thaupright letter n with macron but Ferumbras
Came for to seke the kinge, 2984  
And saugh hem turne euery maupright letter n with macron;


Him thought, it was a wondir thinupright letter g with right bar.
“Where is the kinge?” quod Ferumbras.
Quod Genelyne “with-in the walle, 2988  
Shaltowe neueletter r with right hook, upright more seeupright letter n with macron his face!”
“God gyf the aupright letter n with macron yvel falle!
Turne agayne, thoupright letter u with hook traytoure! calls him a traitour,
And helpe to reskowe thy lorde. 2992  
And ye, sires, alle for youletter r with right hook, upright honouletter r with right hook, upright!” rallies the French,
Thay turned agayne with that worde.
Ferumbras with axe in honde, and with his axe
Myghtyly brake up the gate, 2996 bursts open the gate.
Ther myght laste him nooupright letter n with macron yroupright letter n with macron bonde,
He hade neletter r with right hook, upright-honde I-come to late.
The kinge hadde fought so longe witħ-ynne,
That onnethe myght he no more. 3000  
Many ther were abouteupright letter n with macron him,
His meupright letter n with macron were wounded ful sore.
Ferumbras came with gode spede,
He made the Sarasyns to fle. 3004 He chased the
He reskowed the kinge at his nede, Saracens and rescued
XL Sarasyns sone killed he. the king.
Thai ronnen a-weye by every side,
Thai durste nowheletter r with right hook, upright rowte. 3008  
In shorte tyme was falled her pride,
Thay caught many a sore cloute.
That Cite was wonne that same daye, Mantrible is taken,
And every touletter r with right hook, upright ther-ynne 3012  
Of Mountreble, þat was so gaye,
For alle heletter r with right hook, upright soubtile gynne, [leaf 75]
Fulle of tresouletter r with right hook, upright and richesse, with all its engines
Of Siluer and goolde and perletter r with right hook, upright, 3016 and treasures.
And clothes of goolde, wroght of Saresynes,
Of riche aray and roialte. Richard found 2
Richarde, Duke of Normandy, children of 7 months
Founde ij Children of .vij. monþes oolde,183 3020 old and


xiiij fote longe weletter r with right hook, upright thay, 4 feet high.
Thay weletter r with right hook, upright Barrakes sonnes so boolde; They were sons of
Bygote thay weletter r with right hook, upright of Astragot. Barrock, begotten by
Grete joye the kinge of hem hade. 3024 Astragot.
Hetheupright letter n with macron thay weletter r with right hook, upright botħ, wele I wote,
Therfore heupright letter m with macron to be cristenede he bade. Charles caused them
He called þat one of hem Roulande, to be baptized, and
And that other he cleped Olyueletter r with right hook, upright: 3028 called the one Roland
“For thai shalle be myghty men of honde.” and the other Oliver.
To kepeupright letter n with macron hem, he was fulle chere.
Thay myght not leve, her Dam was dede; But they soon died
Thai coude not kepe hem fortħ. 3032  
Thai wolde neyþer ete butter nere brede,
Ner no meupright letter n with macron184 was to hem worthe.
Heletter r with right hook, upright Dammes mylke they lakked theletter r with right hook, upright, for want of their
Thay deyden for defaute of here dam. 3036 mother’s milk.
Kinge Charles made hevy cheletter r with right hook, upright,
And a sory maupright letter n with macron was than.
The kinge lete ordeyne anooupright letter n with macron,
The Cite to be gouerneupright letter d with right vertical tilde 3040  
Of the worthyest of heupright letter m with macron ychoupright letter n with macron,
That weren of werletter r with right hook, upright best lerneupright letter d with right vertical tilde.
Duke Richarde of Normandy, The king appoints
He was made chief gouernouletter r with right hook, upright; 3044 Richard governor of
And ij C with him in hys company the city,
To kepe the brigge and touletter r with right hook, upright.
Fortħ he rode to labaupright letter n with macron thaupright letter n with macron, and hurries on
With his Ooste and Siletter r with right hook, upright Ferumbras. 3048 to Agremore with
A spye to the Sowdoupright letter n with macron fast ran his army and with
And tolde him al that cas, Ferumbras.
How Charles was come with his ost,
And Mountrible hade he wonne, 3052  
“Alagolofur slayupright letter n with macron is for alle his bost,
This game was evel begoupright letter n with macron.”
Whane laban herde of his comynge,


Him thought his herte gan breke. 3056  
“Shalle I never be withoute moornynge, [leaf 76]
Tille I of him be wreke.”
He commaunded to blowe his Claryons
To assemble alle his Ooste. 3060  
His counsaile to him he lete calle
And tolde, how kinge Charles was in þat coost, Laban, being told by
Hadde wonne Mountrible and slayupright letter n with macron his men a spy that his city
“And dishirytħ to disheryte me, 3064 was taken and the
And proudely manessith me to fleeupright letter n with macron, bridge-ward killed,
Or drive me oute of this contre.
Me mervaylythe moch of his pride.
By Mahounde, moost of mygħt! 3068  
Ye and my sone withe him doth ride,
To the develle I hem bedigħt.
But I be venget of hem both swears to avenge him.
And honge heupright letter m with macron on a tree, 3072  
To myghty Mahounde I make myne othe,
Shalle I never Joyfulle be.
Therfore I charge youpright letter u with hook in alle wyse He calls a council,
That thay be taken or slayupright letter n with macron. 3076 and charges his
Thane shalle I pynne heme at my gyse barons to take
And doupright letter n with macron hem alle qwike be flayupright letter n with macron.” Charles alive that
On the morowe, whan it was day, he might flay him.
Kinge Charles was in the felde, 3080 Charles approaches.
Byfore Agremouletter r with right hook, upright in riche aray
On stede witħ speletter r with right hook, upright and sheelde.
Floripe lay on the touletter r with right hook, upright oupright letter n with macron hye Floripas first
And knewe the baneletter r with right hook, upright of Fraunce. 3084 recognises the banner
To Roulande she gan faste crye of France
Tidynges of goode chaunce:
“Kinge Charles is comen and Ferumbras, and tells the others.
Here baners botħ I do see, 3088  
With alle her oste yondeletter r with right hook, upright in þat place;
Welcome to vs thay alle be.”
Roulande and Olyuere


Arayed hem for to ride; 3092 Roland and all his
And here felawes alle in feletter r with right hook, upright, companions sally
To Charles thay goupright letter n with macron that tyde. forth to meet
Laban come forth with his mayne, Charlemagne. Laban
Saresyns, that were ful felle, 3096 draws up all his
Turkes, Indens, and Arabye people
Ye and of the Ethiopes like the develes of helle.
There were stronge wardes sette [leaf 77]
By ordynaunce of dyuers batayle. 3100 in battle-order.
Whan thay to geder were met,
Eythir othir sore gaupright letter n with macron assayle.
Ther were Saresyns al to-hewe; The French make a
Roulande sloughe many one. 3104 great slaughter of
Thay lay so thikke dede on rewe, the Saracens.
That onneþe myghte men ride or gooupright letter n with macron.
Kinge Charles met with Labaupright letter n with macron Charles encounters
And bare him dowupright letter n with macron of his stede, 3108 the Soudan, unhorses
He lighted dowupright letter n with macron and ceased him thaupright letter n with macron, him,
He thought to qwite him his mede.
He brayde oute Mowupright letter n with macronjoye wytħ gode wille
And wolde have smeten of his hede, 3112 and would have cut
Ferumbras prayde him to abyde stille,
To crysteupright letter n with macron him, er he weletter r with right hook, upright dede. off his head, but
The Saresyns saughe Laban take, for Ferumbras, who
Thay fleddeupright letter n with macron away fulle faste. 3116 requested that
Lenger durste thay no maistryes make, his father might
Thai were so sore agaste. be baptized. The
The Cristeupright letter n with macron hem chased to and fro, Saracens, seeing
As a grehounde doth the hare. 3120 Laban a prisoner,
.iij. c. ascaped with moche woo, fly; but the
To Belmore gan thay faletter r with right hook, upright. Christians pursue
Kinge Charles ladde Labaupright letter n with macron them. 300 escaped to
In-to Agremouletter r with right hook, upright Cite. 3124 Belmarine. Charles
And whaupright letter n with macron þat he theletter r with right hook, upright came leads Laban to
A ful sory man was he. Agremore. Floripas
His doghter welcomed him welcomes her father,


With right gode cheletter r with right hook, upright.185 3128  
He loked on hir al grymme, but he is enraged at
As he wode wroth weletter r with right hook, upright, seeing her.
And saide “fye on the, stronge hore,
Mahounde confounde the!” 3132  
Charles saide “here-of no more,
But let us nowe mery be!”—
“Sir” she saide thanne, She then bids
“Welcome ye be into this touletter r with right hook, upright! 3136 Charlemagne welcome,
Here I presente to you, as I can, and presents the holy
Relikes of grete honouletter r with right hook, upright, relics to him.
That were at Rome I-wonneupright letter n with macron
And broght into this halle. 3140  
That game was evel bygonneupright letter n with macron,
It sithen rewed us alle.” [leaf 78]
Kinge Charles kneled adowupright letter n with macron
To kisse the Relikes so goode, 3144 Charles kisses them,
And badde theletter r with right hook, upright aupright letter n with macron orysoupright letter n with macron and says a prayer;
To that lorde, þat deyde oupright letter n with macron rode. he then thanks
And þanked Floripe witħ al his herte, Floripas for her
That she hade saued his meyne 3148 assistance to his
And holpe hem oute of peynes smerte knights, and for
And kepte the Relekes so fre. having preserved the
Kinge Charles did calle bisshope Turpyupright letter n with macron precious relics. He
And bade him ordeyne a grete fat, 3152 orders Turpin to
To baptyse the Sowdoupright letter n with macron yne; prepare a vessel,
“And loke what he shalle hat. wherein to baptize
Unarme him faste and bringe him neletter r with right hook, upright, the Soudan
I shal his godfader be. 3156  
Fille it fulle of wateletter r with right hook, upright cleletter r with right hook, upright,
For Baptysed shalle he be.
Make him naked as a Childe,
He moste plunge ther-inne. 3160  
For now most he be meke and mylde, and to wash off his
And I-wassh awaye his synne.” sin in the water.


Turpyn toke him by the honde Turpin leads Laban to
And ladde him to the fonte. 3164 the font,
He smote the bisshope witħ a bronde but the Soudan
And gaf him an evel bronte. strikes at him,
He spitted in the water cleletter r with right hook, upright spits on the vessel,
And cryed oute on hem alle, 3168 utters invectives
And defied alle þat cristeupright letter n with macron weletter r with right hook, upright. against all
That foule mote him by-falle! Christians,
“Ye and thoupright letter u with hook, hore serpentyne,
And that fals cursed Ferumbras, 3172 and curses Ferumbras.
Mahounde gyfe hem botħ evel endynupright letter g with right bar,
And almyghty Sathanas!
By you came all my sorowe,
And al my tresure for-lorne. 3176  
Honged be ye both er tomorowe!
In cursed tyme were ye borupright letter n with macron.”
Ferumbras saide to the kinge,
“Sir, ye see, it wole not be, 3180  
Lete him take his endynge,
For he loueth not Cristyante.”
“Duke Neymes” quod Charles tho, Charles commands
“Loke þat execucioupright letter n with macron be doupright letter n with macron, 3184 Naymes to cut off his
Smyte of his hedde! god gyfe him woo! head. [leaf 79]
And goo we to mete anoone.”
It was done as the kinge commaunde, He is executed; his
His soule was fet to helle, 3188 soul goes to hell,
To daunse in þat sory lande there to dance with
With develes, þat weletter r with right hook, upright ful felle. devils.
Dame Florip was Baptysed thaupright letter n with macron
And here maydyns alle, 3192 Floripas was baptized
And to Sir Gye I-maryed. with all her maidens,
The Barons honoured hir alle. and wedded to Guy.
Alle the londe of Spayne Charles divided Spain
Kinge Charles gyfe heupright letter m with macron two, 3196 between Guy and
To departe bitwyxt hem twayne, Ferumbras,
Ferumbras and Gupright letter y with macron also.


And so thay livede in ioye and game,
And bretherupright letter n with macron both thay weletter r with right hook, upright, 3200  
In pees and werletter r with right hook, upright both I-same,
Theletter r with right hook, upright durste no maupright letter n with macron hem deletter r with right hook, upright.
Kinge Charles turned home agayupright letter n with macron
Towarde his contre, 3204  
He charged Sir Bryeletter r with right hook, upright of Bretayne and charges Sir Bryer
His tresoureletter r with right hook, upright for to be: of Bretayne to take
To kepe the Relikes of grete pris care of the relics,
And his other tresouletter r with right hook, upright, 3208 and to bring all his
And bringe hem safe to Parys, treasure to Paris.
There to a-bide in store.
He saide “farewell, Sir Ferumbras,
Ye and Gye, my dere frende! 3212 After taking leave of
And thy wyf Dame Floripas! Guy and Floripas,
For to Fraunce nowe wole I wende.
Be ye togeder as breth[e]rupright letter n with macron botħ!
No maupright letter n with macron ye neditħ to drede, 3216  
Be ye nevere to-gedere wrotħ,
But eyther helpe othir at his nede.
Vysityth me, whaupright letter n with macron ye haue space;
In-to Fraunce makitħ your disporte, 3220  
God wole you sende the better grace,
In age to do me comforte.”
Thai toke leve of the kinge,
With ful hevy cheletter r with right hook, upright, 3224  
And turned agayupright letter n with macron botħ mornynge,
With wepynge water cleletter r with right hook, upright.
Kinge Charles with the victory he sails to Mounpeler,
Sailed to Mounpeleres, 3228  
And thanked almyghty god in glorye, [leaf 80] where he
That he hade saued his Dosiperes, thanks God for the
And fende him of the Saresynes victory,
The hyer honde to have, 3232  
For alle here strenghe186 and heletter r with right hook, upright Engynes


The Relikes of Rome to saue. and for the relics.
At oure lady of Parys He presents the
He offred the Crosse so fre; 3236 cross to Paris, the
The Crowupright letter n with macron he offred at seynte Denyse, Crown to St. Denis,
At Boloyne the nayles thre. the three nails to
Alle his Barons of him weletter r with right hook, upright gladd, Boulogne.
Thai gafe him grete presente. 3240  
For he so wele hade I-spedde,
Thay did him grete reuerence. Charles well
The kinge hade wel in mynde remembered the
The tresone of Genelyne, 3244 treachery of Genelyn,
Anooupright letter n with macron for him he dide sende
To yefe him an evel fyne:
“Thou traitour unkynde” quod the kynge,
“Remembrist thoupright letter u with hook not how ofte 3248  
Thou hast me betrayed, þou fals Genelyne?
Therfore thoue shalt be honged on lofte!—
Loke that the execucioupright letter n with macron be doupright letter n with macron,
That throgh Parys he be drawe, 3252 and ordered him to be
And honged on hye on mount Fawcoupright letter n with macron, drawn and hanged at
As longeth to traytoures by lawe; Montfaucon in Paris.
That alle men shall take hede,
What deth traytourys shaupright letters ll with middle tilde fele, 3256  
That assente to such falshede,
Howe the wynde here bodyes shal kele.” Thus Charles
Thus Charles conquered Labaupright letter n with macron, conquered the Soudan
The Sowdoupright letter n with macron of Babyloyne, 3260 of Babylone.
That riche Rome stroyed and waupright letter n with macron
And alle the brode londe of Spayupright letter n with macron.
187 . . . . . .[an]d of his Barons
. . . . . . .[hi]s pride 3264  
. . . . . . . .eligons
. . . . . . . .þat tyde
. . . . . . .on Charles soule
. . . . . . .s also 3268  


. . . . . . .Peter and Poule
God lete hem never wete of woo! [leaf 81]
But brynge here soules to goode reste!
That were so worthy in dede. 3272  
And gyf vs ioye of the beste, God give joy to all
That of here gestes rede! who read this romance.

Here endithe the Romaunce of the Sowdon of Babyloyne and of Ferumbras his sone who conquerede Rome, And Kynge Charles off Fraunce withe xij. Dosyperes toke the Sowdon in the feelde And smote of his heede.


89 Read: myghtes

90 MS. dōō

91 leaf worn.

92–† See the note.

93 See the note.

94 or Ar

95 See the note.

96 See the note.

97 looks like hound.

98 Read ‘wide’

99 sic.? assaute.

100 MS. Ml

101 This line in a much later hand.

102 Read: were ordeyned

103 Estragote

104 Read: reste

105 See the note.

106 MS. Oost corrected to Cost.

107 Read: a ras.

108 See the note.

109 Read: We

110 MS. Berumbras.

111 See the note.

112 Read: ‘without faile.’

113 See the note.

114 Read: ‘a ras.’

115 MS. met.

116 See the note.

117 MS. is rubbed, but it looks more like welawai.

118 Read: ‘reliqes.’

119 A modern hand has written in the margin “Mount.”

120 See the note.

121 Insert: ‘gan.’

122 Read: ‘sone.’

123 Read: ‘lefe.’

124 Read: ‘as thenketh.’

125 Blank in MS. See the note.

126 MS. deistowe.

127 Read: ‘free.’

128 MS. ensuce.

129 See the note.

130–† See the note.

131 Probably an error for ‘half.’

132 In the margin the Scribe adds:—‘The merci Ladi helpe.’

133 See the note.

134 Read: ‘soghten.’

135–† See the note.

136 Read: ‘caughte.’

137 Ascopartes.

138 Miswritten for ‘bounden.’

139 ‘was.’

140 Read: ‘dirke.’

141 Read: ‘mente.’

142 Read: ‘trew.’

143 Read: ‘harme & skathe.’

144 See the note.

145 Sic in MS. Query—‘charge.’

146 Read: ‘byleven.’

147 Read: ‘reliqes.’

148 Read: ‘I dyne.’ See the note.

149 Sic in MS. Read: ‘ye.’

150–† These two lines are written as one in the MS.

151 MS. iusta.

152 Miswritten for ‘were’?

153 MS. strowde.

154 Read: ‘a-wapide.’

155 Read: ‘Assye.’

156 See the note.

157 These two lines are written as one in the MS.

158 See the note.

159 See the note.

160 Read: ‘lafte.’

161 See the note.

162 See the note.

163 See the note.

164 MS. mete.

165 ? I now.

166 Read: ‘went.’

167 ? Me.

168 ? ‘When.’

169 Read: ‘wende.’

170 ? ‘while.’

171 ? xj.

172 See the note.

173 MS. Gamylokes.

174 Read: ‘as armes.’

175-† See the note.

176 MS. ‘alaye.’ See the note.

177 Read: ‘leve.’

178 Read: ‘God.’

179 Read: ‘gray.’

180 See the note.

181 ? ‘whether.’

182 Read ‘over.’

183 See the note.

184 Read: ‘mete.’

185 These two lines are written as one in the MS.

186 Read: ‘strengthe’

187 A corner of the leaf torn off.


Page 1, line 1. myghteste, evidently an error of the scribe for myghtes, cf. ll. 1635, 1312, 3068, 2546, 1200, 2059; and Syr Ferumbras, l. 2719.

“Nov help hem þe heȝ kyng of hevene,

Þat art of miȝtes most.”

God in glorie occurs again in l. 3229; cf. the French expression Damedeu de glore; Fierabras 2332.

p. 1, l. 2. made and wroght in l. 5 are the 2nd person sing. preterite, which in all other instances in this poem ends in -est. But perhaps we might suppose a change of person here, and regard made and wroght as the third person. For examples of the change of person see Syr Ferumbras, ll. 2719, 4393, and Guy of Warwick, ed. Zupitza, l. 2324.

p. 1, l. 7. shulde to love; to before an infinitive, governed by an auxiliary verb, is pretty common in Middle English works. See Zupitza’s note to Guy, 1925.

p. 1, l. 9. ȝyfe. This is the only instance of ȝ being written in the present poem at the beginning of a word. ȝife is written if in all other passages of the poem, cf. ll. 550, 651, 763, and 1061, etc. As to the pronunciation of ȝ in the middle of a word, it is doubtful, whether it had still preserved its ancient guttural sound, or not, as the same words are written sometimes with it and sometimes without it, and are often made to rhyme with words in which ȝ or gh would be etymologically incorrect; e. g. nye, which is spelt nyȝe in l. 2284, rhymes with Gye, in l. 2657. We even find whiȝte, in l. 2289, instead of white (l. 2008: smyte). At the end of a word ȝ has the sound of s.

p. 1, l. 13. idoone. The prefix i-, O.E. ge-, sometimes occurs in this poem, but more frequently it is not written; see Introduction, p. xxxviii.

p. 1, l. 14. cf. l. 2516.—ll. 1–14 may be said to contain the moral of the whole poem, which we know the romance writers to be very fond of placing at the beginning of their works. “La moralité de tout un poème,” says Léon Gautier, in his Epopées Françaises, I. 233, “est quelquefois exprimée dans ses premiers vers.” ‹p096›

p. 1, l. 16. moch = much (as in l. 754) is the usual spelling in this poem. We likewise find meche, l. 179, and mikille, l. 1016.

p. 1, l. 19, his refers to Rome.

p. 1, l. 22. Laban, the father of Ferumbras, is styled sowdan only in this poem, and once in the Destruction de Rome, l. 1436:

“Les noveles en vindrent al soldan diffaié.”

The French, the Provençal and the English version of Sir Ferumbras all agree to call him amyral or amirans.

p. 1, l. 24. The mention of King Louis and of the abbey of St. Denis (l. 27) seems to be an imitation of the Destruction, l. 7 et seq.:

“Le chanchon est perdue et le rime fausee,

Mais . . li rois Louis, dont l’alme est trespassee

—Ke li fache pardon la verge honoree—

Par lui et par Gautier est l’estoire aunee

Et le chanchon drescie, esprise et alumee

A saint Dynis de France premierement trovee.”

St. Denis also occurs in the beginning of the French Fierabras, l. 4:

“A Saint Denis en France fu li raules trouvés.”

Cf. besides note to l. 26. witnessith = attests, testifies; cf. Stratmann, p. 645. It occurs again in l. 1489.

p. 2, l. 25. Romaunce, the French or Romance language. We often find the authors of romances, both of translations and of imitations from the French, referring to the original; cf. Syr Eglamour of Artoys, sign. E i:

“His own mother there he wedde,

In Romaunce as we rede.”

Again, fol. ult.: “In Romaunce this cronycle is.”

[Quoted by Warton, History of English Poetry, II. 146, footnote.]

p. 2, l. 26. bokes of antiquyte. This is to be regarded as one of those frequent assertions of the authors of these poems, who in order to give more credit to their tales, thought it necessary to affirm their antiquity and celebrity in old times. Cf. Gautier, Epop. Fr., II. 87: “Il fut de bon ton d’annoncer, au commencement de chaque poème, qu’on avait trouvé la matière de ce poème dans quelque vieux manuscrit latin, dans quelque vieille chronique d’abbaye, surtout dans les manuscrits et dans les chroniques de Saint-Denis. On se donnait par là un beau vernis de véracité historique. Plus les trouvèrent ajoutaient aux chansons primitives d’affabulations ridicules, plus ils s’écriaient: ‘Nous avons trouvé tout cela dans un vieux livre.’”

p. 2, l. 27. Seinte Denyse is the genitive depending on abbey.

p. 2, l. 28. there as = where, or where that. See Koch, Englische Grammatik, II. § 511.

p. 2, l. 29. Laban. So the father of Ferumbras is called in the Destruction de Rome, where only in six passages (ll. 891, 899, 1116, 1194, 1174, 981) we find the form Balan, which is the only one used in the French Fierabras, in the Provençal version, and in the English ‹p097› Syr Ferumbras.—of hie degre; this kind of expletive occurs again in l. 100: clerk of hie degre; cf. also l. 168: king of hie honour.

p. 2, l. 31. Cristiante = the company of Christians, the countries inhabited by Christians, cf. ll. 235, 374. It signifies “the religion taught by Christ” in l. 3182. Cristiante and Christendom are used promiscuously in Middle English writers.

p. 2, l. 33. Agremare : there. The rhyme becomes perfect by reading Agremore : thore, which we find in l. 1805; cf. also l. 1003 Agremore : more (i. e. negro), and ll. 672, 775, 2140, 2895.

p. 2, l. 34. Flagot. See Index of Names, s. v. Flagot, and cf. note to l. 1723.

p. 2, l. 37. This line is too long, nevertheless it seems to be correct as it stands, clearly imitated from several passages of the Destruction de Rome.

l. 420.

“Ensamble ou li issirent xv roi corone. Et xiiii amaceours . .”

l. 1155.

“Bien i ad xxx rois et xiiii amaceours.”

l. 689.

“xxx roi sont ou li et xiiii amaceours.”

l. 163.

“Et xiiii amaceours.”

p. 2, l. 41. hit instead of it is found again in l. 2309; in all the other instances it is spelt as in modern English.

p. 2, l. 42. pryke, to spur a horse, to excite, to spur or to stimulate. It is O.E. prician, which occurs in Ælfric’s Grammar, ed. Zupitza, p. 174 (pungo = ic pricige). This and the following line are imitated from Chaucer; cf. C.T. Prologue, ll. 10, 11, and see Introduction, p. xlvi. Kynde = naturalis, ingenuus; kynde wit = common sense. Kynde is O.E. cynde (Modern English kind).

p. 2, l. 73. frith means “forest,” or more correctly “enclosed wood.” The original sense of forest is “unenclosed wood” (see Diez, Etymol. Wörterbuch, I. 185). Stratmann, Dict. p. 228, s. v. frið, seems to be right in connecting frith with O.E. frið, freoðo = pax, tutela, saeptum. Morris, Allit. Poems, Glossary, derives it from the Gaelic frith. “frith is still used in Provincial English, meaning unused pasture-land, brushwood” (Halliwell).

p. 2, l. 45. yȝe (O.E. êagum) : flye (O.E. flêogan). With regard to the power of ȝ, see the note to l. 9, and cf. the spelling eyen in ll. 826, 1302, 2012.

p. 2, l. 46. tre may be singular (O.E. trêowe) as well as plural (O.E. trêowum).

p. 2, l. 49. The following lines (49–53) correspond with ll. 94–100 of the Destruction, which run as follows:

“Li admirals d’Espaigne s’est ales desporter

As puis sur Aigremore, avec li. M. Escler;

La fist ses ours salvages a ses hommes berser.

La veissies meint viautre, maint brachet descoupler,

Payens et Ascopars as espees jouer,

Coure par le marine et chacier maint sengler,

Maint ostour veisies et maint falcon voler.”


p. 2, l. 50. shope, literally “shaped:” he shope him, “he got himself ready, he planned, devised, intended.” The phrase is of frequent occurrence in Chaucer.

p. 2, l. 52. bawson, badger. For the use of badgers, see Skeat’s note to Specimens of English Literature, p. 383.

p. 2, l. 56. Alaunts, a kind of large dogs of great strength and courage, used for hunting the wolf, the bear, the boar, &c. Cf.

“Aboute his chare wente white alauntz

Twenty and mo, as grete as any stere,

To hunte at the lyoun or at the bere.”

Chaucer, ed. Morris, II. 66/1290.

According to Diez (Etymol. Wörterb., I. 12, s. v. “alano”) alaunts means “Albanian dogs.” Lymmeris, “blood-hounds.” Halliwell quotes the following passage: “A dogge engendred betwene an hounde and a mastyve, called a lymmer or a mongrell.” Lymmer is the French limier, O.Fr. liemier, which etymologically means a dog that a courser leads by a lime, i. e. a thong or leash. Lime is the same word as French lien, a leash; Latin ligamen. Lymmer is preserved in Modern English limer, a “lime-hound.”

p. 2, l. 56. Rache and brache are both retained in the modern speech; rache seems to be particularly used in Scotland. “Brache is said to signify originally a bitch hound—the feminine of rache, a foot-scenting dog” (Morris, Gawayne, Gloss. p. 89). Rache is, according to Stratmann, O.Icel. rakki; brache is O.Fr. braque, M.H.Ger. braccho. Cf. also Halliwell’s Dict. s. v. “brach.” The French racaille is etymologically connected with rache; see Diez, Etym. Wörterb., II. 407.

p. 2, l. 57. commaunde for commaunded (l. 228), formed on the same analogy as comforte (l. 2242) for comforted (ll. 312, 2117), aliȝt for alighted; gerde for girded; graunte (l. 607) for graunted, etc.

p. 2, l. 59. fere, O.E. fae with circumflex, italicran (Mod. Eng. fear), is an active verb, meaning “to frighten, to terrify.” It is still found in this sense in Shakespeare.—launde : commaunde. The very same rhyme occurs again in l. 3189, where launde is spelt lande. The rhyme need not cause any difficulty, cf. Guy, p. xi. κ. Or must launde be taken here for lande = saltus? Cf. Morris, Gloss. to Allit. Poems, s. v. launde.

p. 3, l. 62. set, means “seat, sedes”; O.Icel. set, O.H.G. sez, M.H.G. sitz. This stanza as it stands seems to be incorrect, there being no rhyme to sete; possibly a line has been lost after l. 63.

p. 3, l. 67. The subject of the sentence is wanting. For more instances see Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 10. It is to be observed that for the most part the subject wanting is of the same person as the object of the preceding sentence.—he was god and trew of divers langages = “he well knew, understood them perfectly.”

p. 3, l. 68. dromonde : poundis. Read dromounde (which occurs l. 125): pounde (see l. 2336). ‹p099›

p. 3, l. 69. We find fro and from in this poem. Both belong to the Midland dialect. Fro is confirmed by the rhyme fro : so (l. 2760). It is derived from the Scandinavian fra; Mod. Eng. has retained it in “froward,” and in the phrase “to and fro.” The same word enters as a prefix into composition in O.E. compounds, as fr-ettan, etc. Babyloyne, the author pronounced Babyloyne as well as Babylone (either rhyming, cf. ll. 30, 3260).

p. 3, l. 74. qweynte, “famous, excellent,” cf. Skeat, Etymol. Dict. p. 482, s. v. quaint. for the nones, “for the nonce, for the occasion.” Cf. Zupitza’s note to Guy, 612; it is often used as a kind of expletive.

p. 3, l. 75. to presente you. The Destruction de Rome has: “vous quidai presenter.”

p. 3, l. 76. French: “Uns vens nous fist à Rome parmi le far sigler.” Destr. l. 120.

p. 3, l. 77. Cf. Destr. ll. 115–16. See Introduction, p. xxiii.

p. 3, l. 78. About the rhyme Rome : one, see Introduction, p. xliii.

p. 3, l. 79. bygone, “afflicted, pressed hard;” literally it means, “overrun, covered.” Cf. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar:

“Even such a one,

So pale, so spiritless, and woe-begone.”

p. 3, l. 82. vilane : remedye. Read vilanye, as in l. 2577, where it rhymes with Gye, see Introduction, p. xliv, and Ellis, Pronunciation, I. 271.

p. 3, l. 83. colde, used here and in l. 91 in nearly the same sense as in the expressions collected by Zupitza, in his note to Guy, 1149.

p. 3, l. 84. tithynge. So with th in ll. 1787, 714, 783; in ll. 65, 91, 149, 324, etc., we read tidinge. There are several instances where d and th in the middle of a word seem to be promiscuously used in this poem; as hithire l. 1265, hider 1869 (cf. also dogdir 2580, and doghter 96, 124, etc.).

p. 3, l. 86. Mahounde, Appolyn and Termagant are the principal deities (cf. ll. 2105, 2177, 2761) of the Mahometans, who were considered as pagans = payens (ll. 535, 1040) or paynym (ll. 539, 866, etc.). Other idols of the Saracens are mentioned in ll. 2761–2 of the Sowdone. Compare also Gautier’s note to l. 8, of his Edition critique de la Chanson de Roland, and Skeat, Prioress’s Tale (Clarendon P.S.), 161/2000.

p. 3, l. 88. theyme instead of hem occurs only three times in the poem (ll. 88, 1237, 2787). There must be some corruption here, as there is no rhyme to theym. The last stanza ends at l. 87, and the next one begins at l. 89. As far as the sense is concerned we could easily do without this line; it ought perhaps to be regarded as spurious.

p. 3, l. 93. Ferumbras is spelt differently in the different versions of the romance. In the Sowdan we always find Ferumbras, in the Ashmole MS. Ferumbras and Fyrumbras. He is called Fierabras in the French ‹p100› Ferabras in the Provençal version; the Destruction has Fierabras, but more frequently Fierenbras. In Caxton’s Life of Charles the Great his name is Fyerabras, Skelton has Pherumbras, Lyndsay Pharambras, and in Barbour’s Bruce we read Ferambrace; see Introduction, pp. xxv and xxxii.

p. 4, l. 99. Oliborn. This name does not occur in any other version of this poem. The same is the case with regard to Espiard, l. 103. None of the French versions gives any name to the Soudan’s messenger. In the Ashmole MS. l. 3823, the messenger is called Malyngryas.

p. 4, l. 102. Assye = Asia. This name does not occur in the other versions of the poem; cf. note to l. 1000.

p. 4, l. 103. Cf. the Destruction, l. 202:

“Par tote la terre sont li baron mande”

ferre and nere, cf. ll. 117, 996, and the note to l. 528 of Syr Ferumbras.

p. 4, l. 104. frike, “quick, bold,” O.E. frec. See Stratmann, Dictionary, p. 225.

p. 4, l. 108. Þon. Compare Introduction, p. xxxvii.

p. 4, l. 109. The passage is not clear. Perhaps there is some corruption here and we ought to read: anon rowte, “assembled quickly, immediately”; rowte would then be the preterite formed on the analogy of lighte, graunte, commaunde, etc. See Introduction, p. xxxviii.

p. 4, l. 110. Destruction, l. 217:

“Par C fois M payen.”

p. 4, l. 112. douȝte : route. See Introduction, p. xliv, and note to l. 9.

p. 4, l. 113. Lucafer is the name of the Saracen King in all the versions of this romance but in the French one, where with the single exception of one passage (l. 2242 Lucafer), he is always called Lucifer, cf. Introd. p. xx.

p. 4, l. 114. lorde and governoure. This repetition of the same idea by two synonymous words, the one of English and the other of French origin, is very common in M.E. writers. Thus we read in this poem, l. 2164 lorde and sire, l. 225 serchid and sought, ll. 3199, 1936 joye and game, l. 742 wel and fine.

p. 4, l. 118. A carrik was a kind of large ship, called caraca in Italian, carraca in Spanish and Portuguese, carraque in French, kraecke in Dutch. The etymology is not clear. See Diez, Etymol. Wörterb., I. 112. Halliwell has ‘carrack, a Spanish galleon. Sometimes English vessels of great value and size were so called.’

p. 4, l. 119. Destruction, l. 385:

“Par vii fois sont C mil, si l’estoire ne ment.”

p. 4, l. 124. his faire daughter Floripas. Floripas is described as follows in the Destruction, ll. 252–262:

“Aitant es vous la bele ou il n’out qu’enseignier

Vestue d’un diapre, onke ne vi tant chier, ‹p101›

Ses crins sur ses epaules plus lusoient d’or mier,

Sa char out bele et blanke plus que noifs en fevrier,

Les oes avoit plus noirs que falcon montenier,

Et le colour vermaile con rose de rosier,

La bouche bien seant et douce pour baisier,

Et les levres vermailes come flour de peskier;

Les mameles out dures com pomme de pomnier,

Plus sont blanches que noifs que chiet apres fevrier;

Nuls hom ne porroit ja sa grant bealte preisier.”

Compare also the French Fierabras, ll. 2007, et seq.

p. 4, l. 128. This line is clearly imitated from the Destruction, ll. 331–2:

“En sa main .i. baston que contremont bailie,

Et manace François pour faire les loye.”

Cf. Introduction, p. xxiii.

p. 5, l. 131. breddes, “birds”; l and r very often change their place in a word. Thus we find worlde and wrolde, crafti and carfti, etc.

p. 5, l. 132. sowdon and sowdan are used promiscuously in the rhymes.

p. 5, l. 146. Destruction, ll. 445–6:

“N’i remeigne chastels, dongeons ne fermete

Moustiers ne abbeie que ne soit embrase.”

p. 5, l. 150. Compare the Destruction, ll. 503–4:

“L’apostoile de Rome ad la novele oie

Ke payen sont venu els plains de Romanie.”

p. 5, l. 157. unknowne makes no sense. Perhaps we ought to read yknowne or not unknowne. In the Destruction, ll. 509–513—

“Seignours, ke le feromes, franke gent segnorie?

Li admirals d’Espaigne a no terre seisie;

Il en ont ja gastee une moult grant partie:

Au bref terme serra ceste terre exillie;

Qui bon consail saura vienge avant si nous die.”

p. 5, l. 160. unneth, O.E. unêaðe, “uneasily, scarcely.” Chaucer has unnethë, the final e being almost always sounded. See Introduction, p. xxxix.

p. 5, l. 163. gydoure evidently means “guide, conductor, commander.”

p. 5, l. 164. houne = hounde. On the elition of final d, see Skeat, Specimens of Early English, 320/261, and Preface to Havelok, p. xxxvii.

p. 5, l. 165. Ifreȝ. There is no person of this name in any other version. Perhaps this Ifres may be identical with Jeffroi, mentioned as a senator of Rome in the Destruction (ll. 1122, 1139, 1367).

p. 6, l. 170. About the phrase “douce France” compare Léon Gautier’s note to l. 15 of his Edition critique de la Chanson de Roland.

p. 6, l. 171. Savaris. The author has found this name in the Destruction, l. 540.

p. 6, l. 173. Kinge : thinge. In my dissertation on the language and the sources of the Sowdan of Babylon, p. 4, bottom, I have shown ‹p102› that i or y, which corresponds to O.E. y, the umlaut of u, rhymed with original i in this poem, which proves that the author wrote in the East Midland dialect. But among the examples collected there (p. 5), I ought not to have cited kinge, because this word is not peculiar to the East Midland speech, but occurs with the same form in all dialects. See Introduction, p. xxxv.

p. 6, ll. 175–6 are imitated from the Destruction, ll. 546–7. See Introduction, p. xxiii.

p. 6, l. 176. ner, the common form for nor (267, 1633) in this poem. “Polaynes are knee-pieces in a suit of armour. This term for genouilleres is found in the household book of Edward I.” (Morris, Glossary on Sir Gawayne, s. v. polaynes).

p. 6, l. 181. tyte, “soon, quick.” The editor of the Roxburghe Club edition of the Sowdan curiously confounds tyte with tightly = “adroitly,” occurring in Shakespeare, Merry Wives, I. 3. Tyte is derived from O.Icel. tîðr, “creber,” the neuter of which tîtt, used adverbially means “crebro, celeriter.” See Stratmann, p. 561, s. v. tîd.

p. 6, l. 189. Chek = “cotton, linen or woollen cloths, woven or printed in checkers.” (Latham, Dictionary, 1876.)

p. 6, l. 191. A line seems to be wanting here. There is no rhyme to displayed.

p. 6, l. 201. randon, “rapidity, force.” About the etymology see Diez, Etym. Wörterbuch, I. 342, and Skeat, Etym. Dict.

p. 7, l. 202. than seems to be an error for thay.

p. 7, l. 214. Sarysyns. There are several spellings of the name of this people in the poem: Sarsyns, Sarsenys, Sarisyns, Sarasyns.

p. 7, l. 222. that day occurs again in l. 223. The author probably only wrote it once; the repetition is most likely due to the scribe.

p. 7, l. 224. The following lines are imitated from the Destruction, ll. 613–619; see Introduction, p. xxiii.

p. 7, l. 228. The French text (Destruction, l. 624) has:

“Maintenant soient tot occis et descoupe.

Ne voil que mi serjant en soient encombre.”

p. 8, l. 247. The original meaning of brayde is “start, blow,” but this makes no sense here, nor can it mean “a boast,” as the editor of the Roxburghe Club edition explains it. But Mid. Eng. brayde, as well as O.E. brægd or bregd, often signifies “deceit, craft, a cunning trick, a fraudulous contrivance, a stratagem or artifice.” See Mätzner’s Wörterb. and Halliwell’s Dict. This, I think, is also the meaning of brayde in l. 247. Floripas has been engaged to Lukafer who had promised the Soudan, her father, to bring the emperor Charlemagne and all his twelve peers to the foot of his throne, in return for the hand of his daughter. Floripas, not at all enamoured of the king of Baldas, but obeying the will of her father, said she would only agree to ‹p103› accept him when he had fulfilled these conditions. But she does not believe that Laban thinks of ever fulfilling them, she is persuaded that those words, those promises made by Laban, are only a brayde, i. e. a stratagem or artifice devised by him in the hope of winning her hand before the performance of his promise. This signification of braide has been retained in the Mod. Eng. adjective braid, “crafty, deceitful.”

p. 8, l. 257. The Ethiopes, “Ethiopians,” are not mentioned in the other versions of this romance. On the rhyme Aufricanes : stones cf. Introduction, p. xxxv.

p. 9, l. 278. Destruction, l. 908:

“Sortibrans a mande Mabon l’engineor.”

p. 9, l. 283. depe : tyde. The rhyme becomes perfect if we read wide instead of depe.

p. 9, l. 286. French text gives, l. 934:

“Si emplirons les fossés.”

p. 9, l. 289. Cf. Destruction, l. 627. “Mahon te benoie,” and l. 925, “Mahon te doint honour.”

p. 9, l. 293. Men myght go even to the walle, compare the Destruction, l. 918:

“K’om poet aler al mure.”

and l. 958:

“K’om pooit bien au mur et venir et aler.”

p. 9, l. 295. assaile, evidently a mistake. Read assaute, as in l. 2205.

p. 9, l. 298. shour, “fight, attack.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 9206. sharpe shoures, as in the Destruction of Troy, l. 5804, “sharp was the shoure.” Cf. also l. 950 of this poem, “bataile was sharpe.”

p. 9, l. 300. stones thai bare, etc. Destruction, l. 967:

“Ces dedens ou grans pieres firent grant lapide.”

p. 9, l. 303. French text gives (l. 975):

“Maintes pieres del mur ont contreval rue.”

p. 9, l. 306. In the Destruction, l. 977:

“L’asalt dureit cel jour jusque a la nutee.”

p. 9, l. 307. French: “Payen se sont retrait.” Destruction, l. 979.

p. 10, l. 311. For tyde : chidde see Introduction, p. xliii.

p. 10, l. 312.

“Lucafer li traitre traison ad pense,

Qu’il se contrefera les armes del cite;

Et tote si pense sont a Labam demonstre.

‘Sire admirail d’Espaigne,’ ceo dist li diffaies,

‘La cite est moult fors, et François sont doute;

Ils defendront le mur, ja mais n’iert entre,

Que par une voidie que jeo ai porpense.

Il ad dedens un conte de mult grant crualte,

Savaris ad a non, est de grant parente;

Chescon jour il s’en ist, s’est oue nous melle,

De la gent dieffae, mainte teste a coupe.”

Destr., ll. 986–96.


p. 10, l. 317. Destruction, l. 997.

“J’ai bien conu ses armes et les ai avise.”

p. 10, l. 331. Destruction, l. 1011:

“Tantost le mestre porte aurons moult bien ferme.”

p. 10, l. 332. Destruction, l. 1057:

“Mais tot le premier bail ont Sarrasin poeple.”

p. 10, l. 336. discumfiture, “defeat.” See below, note to l. 1320.

p. 10, l. 339. ryme, “to speak loudly, to cry.” O.E. hrêman or hrŷman. See Stratmann, p. 322.

p. 10, l. 340. French text (l. 1063):

“De V. M. ne remendrent que iiiC sans fausser.”

See note to l. 67.

p. 10, l. 341. twelfe : selve; f and v very often stand for one another, see Introduction on p. xliii.

p. 10, l. 344. shite : mette. See Ellis, Pronunc., I. 272, and Introduction, on p. xliv. Cf. also ll. 2054, 2963, 2960. by than = then; see Mätzner’s Wörterb. p. 217(2).

p. 11, l. 346. Estragot or Astragot. This name is not to be found in the other versions, it only occurs in the Sowdan and in the Destruction; cf. Destr. l. 1090–4:

“Estragot le poursuit uns geans diffaies


Teste avoit com senglers, si fu rois corones.

El main tient .i. mace de fin ascier trempe,

Un coup a Savaris desur le chef done.”

p. 11, l. 360. French text reads:

“Et la novele en ont l’apostoile conté.”

Destr. l. 1101.

p. 11, l. 363. consaile : slayne. See Introduction, p. xliii.

p. 11, l. 364. See above, l. 78.

p. 11, l. 368. erille is not derived from the Erse, as the editor of the Roxburghe Club edition supposes. It is simply another spelling for erle, which occurs in l. 1986. O.E. eorl, Mod. Eng. earl.

p. 11, l. 369. There must be a gap of some lines here; between this and the following line a space has been left of about the width of one line; l. 370 is written in a much later hand.

p. 11, l. 376. lettres translates the French “li brief” (Destr. l. 1121), in haste = French “isnelement” (Destr. l. 1119).

p. 11, l. 377. we ordeyne makes no sense. Read were ordeyned, as in l. 2396. Cf. the Destruction, l. 1133:

“Tot troi sont coiement de la cite hastés.”

p. 12, l. 379. at a posterne. On the posterns compare Skeat, Spec. of Eng. Literature, 359, 165.

p. 12, l. 380. aboute mydnyghte. French: “Tote la nuit alerent ou la lune clarté.” Destr. l. 1136. ‹p105›

p. 12, l. 394. honde of honde, “hand to hand.”—In the Glossary of the Roxburghe Club ed. we read: “Cast. Wherewithal to throw.” This is the sense of cast in l. 2471; but it occurs with two other meanings. In l. 394 cast signifies “device, plot, intention,” as often elsewhere. In ll. 460, 2091, 2099, 2467, 2603, 2792, it means “the act of throwing, the throw.”

p. 12, l. 400. hevy, “afflicted, sorrowful.” So in ll. 3037, 3224.

p. 13, l. 427. Estagote, miswritten for Estragote, cf. ll. 346, 352, and Destr. l. 1090. brake on three, cf. ll. 2234, 1388, 1269.

p. 13, l. 441. Sarsyns : Romaynes. See Introduction, p. xliv.

p. 14, l. 464. oost does not rhyme with beste. Both the sense and the rhyme will be improved if we read rest for oost.

p. 14, l. 473. As it stands, the line makes no sense. This is written indistinctly in the MS., so that we may read either this or thus; the sense requires the latter, which I think is the true reading. Or else we may keep this and write idone instead of it done.

p. 15, l. 488. aras. Read a ras, and see note to l. 1349.

p. 15, l. 491. and armes makes no sense, as we are hardly entitled to take armes for the 2nd person plural imperative; which in this poem always ends in -eth. See Introduction, p. xxxvii. I think we must change and into as. For the explanation of the phrase “as armes,” see note on l. 2660.

p. 15, l. 495. The Ascopars or Ascopartes are mentioned in the Destruction as the subjects of the Soudan. The name of this people is not to be found in any other version. Astopars is merely a clerical error for Ascopars, which may be easily accounted for by remembering that in the MSS. the characters c and t are very often formed almost alike. The true spelling Ascopars is found in ll. 2196, 2648; cf. also the Destruction, ll. 98, 426. Nothing is known of the origin and the home of the Ascoparts. That they must have been men of great bodily strength follows from l. 496, “for ye be men of mighte,” and l. 2645, “that bene boolde and hardy to fighte.” Compare also what is said about them by Donne, in his first satire:

“Those Askaparts, men big enough to throw

Charing-cross for a bar.”

It is worthy while to note that a giant, called Askapard, occurs in the romance of Sir Bevis of Hamptoun. See Ellis, Metr. Romances, ed. Halliwell, p. 263.

p. 15, l. 500. Ho is evidently a mistake for we. rere-warde, “rear-guard;” the van is called fowarde, ll. 502, 732, the main body the medyl partye, l. 735.

p. 15, l. 504. than : gon. See Introduction, p. xxxv.

p. 15, l. 510. oon makes no sense. I suspect the reading of this and the following stanza is quite corrupt. If ll. 510 and 511 should belong to different stanzas, the enjambement, or continuation of the ‹p106› sense from one stanza to another, would be unusually strong. I am therefore inclined to think that originally a stanza began at l. 510, and that there is a line wanting after l. 509, which contained the rhyme to bon (l. 508). The scribe noticing the absence of rhyme tried to restore it himself. Adding oon to l. 510, he made it rhyme with bon (l. 508). Having thus destroyed the rhyme of ll. 510 and 512 (Alisaundre : Cassaundre, as in l. 984), he added gaye to l. 512, which now rhymed to l. 514, where he still added to fraye. In order to get a rhyme to l. 518, he changed in l. 516 the original laye (: Romayne) into lan (“he ceased, stopped”), and wrote “tothe grounde instead of “on” (cf. l. 1186) or “at” (cf. ll. 533, 435) the grounde, connecting thus these words with l. 515, whereas originally they belonged to there he laye, or—as there also may have been added by the scribe—to he laye. If now we read with mayne instead of ful evene, in l. 521, we get a perfect rhyme to l. 519; l. 520 having lost its rhyming line, he made it rhyme, by adding than to l. 522, which originally rhymed to l. 524. Now to get a rhyme to l. 524 he composed and inserted himself l. 526. Therefore I think the original reading of these two stanzas ran as follows:


Sir Ferumbras of Alisaundre

That bolde man was in dede,

Uppon a steede Cassaundre

He roode in riche weede.


Sir Bryer of Poyle a Romayne

He bare through with a spere;

Dede on the ground [there] he laye,

Might he no more hem dere.


That saw Huberte, a worthy man,

Howe Briere was islayne,

Ferumbras to quite than

To him he rode with mayne.


With a spere uppone his shelde

Stiffly gan he strike;

The shelde he brake imiddis the feelde,

His hawberke wolde not breke.


Ferumbras was agreved tho, &c.

On the rhyme Romayne : laye (l. 514) cf. ll. 536, 890.

p. 15, l. 514. Bryer of Poyle does not occur in any of the other versions.

p. 15, l. 516. lan, preterite of lin, “to cease;” more common in the compound blin, contracted from * be-lin.

p. 15, l. 517. might he no more hem dere. On the order of words, cf. ll. 2954, 649, 2435.

p. 16, l. 520. qwite, “to requite, reward, retaliate, pay off.” See below note to l. 780.

p. 16, l. 531. On stronge (O.E. strang) : istonge (O.E. gestungen), see Introduction, p. xxxv.

p. 16, l. 532. astraye, “out of the right way or proper place, running ‹p107› about without guidance.” O.French estraier, which is derived from Latin ex strada, see Diez, Etym. Wörterb. I. 402; II. 296.

p. 16, l. 541. werre, “war,” seems to owe its origin to the French guerre, as it is not found in O.E. It appears for the first time in the Saxon Chronicle,—he coude, “he knew, had endured.” See Mätzner’s Grammatik, II. 262.

p. 17, l. 555. It is evident that all ane must be a corruption. Perhaps the conjecture of the editor of the Roxb. Club edition, supposing all rafe to be the true reading, may be right. But he is certainly wrong to identify this rafe with the rafe in l. 866, which, being the infinitive mood of a verb, cannot be taken for an adjective or adverb, which the sense seems to require in l. 555. Halliwell, s. v. Raff, gives: “in raff = speedily.” There is a Danish adjective, rap, “brisk, quick.” Cf. Skeat, Etym. Dict. s. v. raffle and rap.

p. 17, l. 570. certaine spoils the rhyme. The rhyme becomes perfect if we read without faile, as in l. 322.

p. 17, l. 573. aplight, “on plight, on my word.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 8541. It is often used as an expletive.

p. 17, l. 580. who the sowdan, etc. = who is the Sowdan. The verb of the sentence is wanting; cf. note to l. 2156.

p. 17, l. 587. French text gives:

“Et Guion de Bourgoyne ad a lui appelé

Fils est de sa soror et de sa parenté

Cosins, vous en irrés. . .”

Destr. ll. 1179, et seq.

p. 18, l. 613. hight = (1) “was called,” (2) “promised,” (3) “called” (partic. past). It is the preterite tense of haten, hoten, or hat (l. 3154). Cf. Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 169.

p. 18, l. 614. than seems to be a corruption, and I think must be left out. Florip is the genitive of Florip, which occurs as a nominative in ll. 2075, 1527. There is another nominative Floripas which forms the genitive Floripas, ll. 1659, 2350.

p. 19, l. 625. Isres, the name of the “chief porter of the town,” who betrayed the city, only occurs in the Sowdan; in the Destruction the same treachery is committed by Tabour, D. 1203.

“Uns traitre del cit que del porte out les cles.”

p. 19, l. 636. bandon, literally “proclamation,” means “power, disposal.” See Skeat, Etym. Dict. s. v. abandon.

p. 19, l. 647. French:

“Le chief al portier trenche,” Destr. l. 1236.

p. 19, l. 648. In the Destr. l. 1244–5:

“Dieux” fist il “te maldie, et que t’ont engendre,

Kar traitour au darain averont mal dehe.”

p. 19, l. 650. met, a mistake for mot, which we find in ll. 1582, 2334, 3170. ‹p108›

p. 20, l. 663. Cf. the Destr. l. 1260:

“Al moustier de saint Piere est Fierenbras alés.”

p. 20, l. 665. the crosse, the crown, the nailes bente. The relics mentioned in the Destruction are the crown of thorns, the cross, the nails, and the “signe,” which, as I have shown in my Dissertation (pp. 45, 46), does not mean “inscription of the cross,” but is the Greek σινδων, and signifies “the shroud, or winding-sheet, of the Lord, suaire, sudatorium.” In the French Fierabras, as well as in Syr Ferumbras, no mention is made of the cross.

p. 20, l. 673. thare instead of there would improve the rhyme. See Introduction, p. xxxv.

p. 20, l. 678. fade, O.E. fadian, “dispose, suit.” Stratmann, p. 187.

p. 20, l. 679. frankencense = “pure incense.” Compare Skeat, Etym. Dict.

p. 20, l. 686. roial, “excellent.” Cf. “roial spicerye,” Chaucer, ed. Morris, III. 135/142.

p. 21, l. 699. Alle on a flame that cite was; cf. the French:

“Kant il vindrent a Rome si virent luy porte oueree

La flambe en la cite moult granment alumee.

Pour grant chalour qu’i fu n’i povoient entrer.”

(Destr. ll. 1378–80.)

p. 21, l. 723. The Destruction, ll. 1384–1408, has:

“Si dirrai de Charlon, le fort roi corone.

De par totes ses terres avoit ses gens mande,

N’i remest dus ne quiens ne baron el regne,

Qu’il assemble ne soient a Paris la cite.

Quant il i furent tous venu et ajouste,

L’emperere de France en halt en ad parle:

‘Seignours, or escoutes, si vous dirrai verte,

Li admirails d’Espaigne a no pais gaste

Et oue lui CM sarrazin diffaie.

Il ont ensegie Rome, m’admirable cite,

Tot le pais entour ont il pour voir robbe;

Si jeo ne les soccour tot l’auront il gaste.’

‘Sire,’ firent li princes, ‘a vostre volonte:

Nous ne vous failliromes tant que poons durer.’

Adonc en ad li rois grant joie demene.

Quant si gent furent prest a complir son pense,

Adonc s’en est li rois eralment aprestes

Et si firent li contes de France le regne.

Quant sont appareillie si sont enchemine:

iii C mil chevaliers ad li rois el barne

Oliviers porte sa baneer que ben leu ad guie,

Rollans fu en arriere, li vassals adures.

De soccoure Guion s’en est li rois hastes.

Tant ont il nuit et jor chivalche et erre.

Qu’il sont en Romenie, n’i ont reine tire.”

p. 22, l. 744. He knewe the baner of France. The French text has: ‹p109›

“Guis parceut le baniere le roi de saint Dine,

Encontre lui chevalche, la novele ont conte,

Come la forte cite li payen ont gaste:

La corone et les clous d’iloec en sont robbe

Et les altres reliques. . .”

p. 23, l. 766. for, “notwithstanding, in spite of.” So also in l. 2904.

p. 23, l. 771. Destr., l. 1425:

“Li vens en fiert es voiles que les a ben guies.”

p. 23, l. 776. for south, “forsooth,” cf. ll. 2014, 897, 2024, 1025, 2246.

p. 23, l. 778. French: “il sont en terre entre.”

p. 23, l. 779. fonde : grounde. fonde is spelt founde in ll. 1857, 3020, 344, 2353, 2363.

p. 23, l. 780. stroyeth = “destroyeth.” “Compounds of Romance origin, the first part of which is a preposition, or words derived from such, often mutilate, or even entirely drop the preposition” (Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 576). Thus we have sail, l. 385, = “assail;” longeth, l. 3254, = “belongeth;” skomfited, l. 1320, = “diskomfited,” ll. 336, 1464; quite, l. 520, = “requite;” perceived, l. 2659, = “aperceived;” saut, ll. 619, 2200, = “assaut,” l. 615; ginne, l. 2326, = “enginne,” l. 333; playne, l. 177, = “complayn;” skaped, l. 2049, = “askaped,” l. 2218.

p. 23, l. 787. French: “iiiC mile François.”

p. 24, l. 812. ychoon : Mahounde. See Introduction, p. xlii.

p. 24, l. 820. stroke : stoupe. See Introduction, p. xliii.

p. 24, l. 820. stenyed, “stunned,” not from O.Fr. estaindre, as the editor of the Roxb. Club ed. suggests, but from O.E. stunian, “percellere, stupefacere.” See Stratmann, p. 540.

p. 24, l. 835. Observe the subject expressed twice; cf. ll. 723, 1031, 1682, 1814, 2331.

p. 25, l. 836. Neymes. This celebrated hero has been especially famous by the advices and counsels of which even in matters of greatest difficulty he was never at a loss. “Tel conseiller n’orent onques li Franc,” i. e. the French had never such a counsellor. This passage of the romance of Aspremont may be looked upon as containing the portrait of Neymes as we find him described in all poems. The story of his birth and youth is in the romance of Aubri le Bourgoing. He was the son of Gasselin, king of Bavaria. Cassile, an usurper, is about to seize the throne and to kill the young Neymes, when Charlemagne comes to his help and re-establishes the legitimate inheritor.

p. 25, l. 836. Ogier Danoys (cf. l. 1687) is one of the twelve peers in this poem. His life is contained in the French poem of the “Chevallerie Ogier” by Raimbert de Paris. According to that romance Ogier had been delivered in his youth to Charlemagne as ‹p110› a pledge to secure the discharge of the tribute which his father Geffroi, king of Denmark, was bound to pay to the emperor. The French ambassadors having once been insulted by Geffroy, Charlemagne swears to make Ogier pay with his life the offence done by his father, and Ogier is going to be executed when the emperor, following the urgent requests of messengers arrived from Rome, suddenly starts to deliver this city from the Saracens. On this expedition the French army is hard pressed by the enemy, but Ogier by his eminent prowess and valour enables Charles to enter Rome. He now is pardoned and becomes the favourite of the emperor. Several years afterwards Ogier’s son Baudouinet is slain by Charlot, the son of Charlemagne, as they were quarrelling about a party of chess. Ogier, in order to revenge his son, goes as far as to attack Charlemagne himself, but on the point of being taken a prisoner, he escapes and flees to Didier, king of Lombardy. Charles makes war on Didier, and after a long struggle Ogier is taken and imprisoned at Reims, where he is going to be starved, when a sudden invasion of the Saracens obliges Charlemagne again to have recourse to the courage and valour of the Dane. Ogier delivers France by slaying the giant Bréhus. To reward him for the service done to his country, Charles gives him the county of Hainaut, where afterwards, as the poem tells us, he died in the renown of holiness.

p. 25, l. 845. it = “hit.” Cf. note to l. 41.

p. 25, l. 847–50. These four lines seem to be incorrect. As they stand, the three first lines are rhymed together, and there is no rhyme to the fourth. The diction of the whole passage, which cannot be said to be ungrammatical, is nevertheless wanting in precision and exactness.

p. 25, l. 866. rafe = rave.

p. 25, l. 868. Moun-joye is the name of Charlemagne’s sword in this poem (cf. ll. 3111, 850), whereas, according to all other romances, the emperor’s sword was called Joyeuse. Mounjoie or Montjoie was the name of the French standard; it was likewise used as the battle-cry of the French, cf. Fierabras, l. 1703, and Syr Ferumbras, ll. 2285, 2652, 4577, 4727. The sword Joyeuse had been forged by the celebrated Weland or Galand, as we read in the French Fierabras, l. 635:

“Et Galans fist Floberge à l’acier atrempé,

Hauteclere et Joiouse, où moult ot dignité;

Cele tint Karlemaines longuement en certé.”

Compare Gaston Paris, Histoire Poétique, p. 374.

p. 26, l. 875. Durnedale. This renowned sword was forged by the famous Galand or Weland. The French Fierabras (l. 645) is the only romance which attributes it to Munifican. It had been given by Charlemagne to Roland as the best of his warriors. As to the exploits achieved with it, Roland enumerates them himself in that celebrated passage, where in his death-hour he tries to break ‹p111› Durnedale to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Saracens (Chanson de Roland, ll. 2316–2337). The steel blade of this sword has been highly praised for its extraordinary hardness. It had been tried by Charlemagne himself on that “perron,” or steel block before the emperor’s palace in Aix-la-Chapelle (see Histoire Poétique, p. 370). Durnedale proved good as well as Almace, the sword of Turpin. But Courtain, Ogier’s sword, was then shortened by half a foot. According to l. 1407 of the Sowdan, Durnedale broke; but this incident has been mentioned nowhere else. Cf. Syr Ferumbras, l. 997, and Fierabras, l. 1740.

p. 26, l. 876. romme, spelt also rome, rowme, roum, is Mod. E. room, O.E. rûm, “spatium.”

p. 26, l. 880. dinge; read gan dinge. Dinge is the infinitive mood, but the sense requires a preterite tense. The preterite of dinge is dong, dongen, which occurs in l. 1263. But as dinge cannot be altered here, on account of the rhyme, the passage is easily corrected by adding gan = “he began to strike, he struck.”

p. 26, l. 884. Alloreynes of Loreynes and Aleroyse (l. 1699) are probably identical. Then Alloreynes would be an error of the scribe, who having already the following Loreynes in his mind wrote Alloreynes instead of Alleroyse.

p. 26, l. 900. in fay = “truly,” fay= “faith, truth.” O.Fr. fei or feid, Lat. fides.

p. 26, l. 904–5. Cf. Chanson de Roland, ll. 1903–4:

“Rollanz est proz e Oliviers est sages,

Ambedui unt merveillus vasselage.”

p. 27, l. 913. I cannot tell what treyumple means, or whether it be a corruption.

p. 27, l. 939. This kind of prayer or apostrophe addressed to the God of War is certainly taken from another English work, which I am unable to trace, but which must have been much known at the time of our author, as we find it referred to in different authors. That it has been taken from another poem is proved by some phrases of this prayer which are somewhat obscure or rather unintelligible here, and which we certainly should be able to explain if we knew the original context in which they occurred. Then the form hase (l. 940) is somewhat suspicious, as it is the only instance of the 2nd person singular present dropping the t, which it has always in this poem. The arrangement, too, of the following stanzas differs from that generally observed in the Sowdan. If we consider our poem as composed in eight-line stanzas (but see Introduction, p. xl) we mostly find the 1st and 3rd lines rhyming together, then the 2nd and 4th, the 5th and 7th, and finally the 6th and 8th, so that four different rhyme-endings are necessary to one stanza. If now we consider the stanza from l. 939 to 946, we only have two rhyme-endings, all the pair lines rhyming together, and all the odd ones ‹p112› together. In ll. 947 to 950 the 1st and 4th rhyme together, whilst the 2nd and 3rd are paired off together.—ll. 939–941 we find alluded to in Chaucer, see Introduction, p. xlvi, and the Prioress’s Tale, ed. Skeat (Clarendon Press), p. xvii. Compare also Lindsay, The Historie of Squyer Meldrum, l. 390:

“Like Mars, the God Armipotent.”

p. 27, l. 939. rede Mars. “Bocaccio uses the same epithet in the opening of his Teseide: ‘O rubiconde Marte.’ Rede refers to the colour of the planet.” Morris, note to Knight’s Tale, l. 889.

p. 27, l. 940. Baye never means “sword,” as the editor of the Roxburghe Club ed. renders it, nor does this translation make any sense here at all; baye signifies “a wide, open room or space in a building.” See Mätzner’s Wörterbuch, p. 164. Morris, in the Glossary to the Alliterative Poems, has “bay = recess. The original meaning seems to be opening of any kind. Cf. bay, space in a building between two main beams.” Halliwell, s. v. bay, has: “A principal compartment or division in the architectural arrangement of a building.” It appears to be etymologically the same word as Ital. baja, French baie, “bay, gulf, harbour,” the French baie being equally used for “opening of any kind.” The Catalan form for baie is badia, which corresponds to the verb badar, meaning “to open.” See Diez, Etym. Wörterb. I. 46. Bay is retained in the Mod. E. compound “bay-window.” Cf. also the French “la bée d’une fenestre,” cited by Carpentier-Ducange, s. v. beare. With regard to the signification of trende, the editor of the Roxb. Club ed. wrongly guessed again in explaining it as “drawn” or “trenchant, cutting.” Trende means “turned, bent, vaulted in the form of an arch.” See Halliwell, p. 887, and Stratmann, p. 572, s. v. trenden (= “volvere”). But I am at a loss how to explain why Mars is said to have put up his throne in an arched recess, or compartment, of a building.

p. 28, l. 957. some, a clerical error for sone.

p. 28, l. 965. prymsauns of grene vere = “the earliest days of green spring” (Glossary to the Roxb. Club ed.). This may be the sense; but what is the literal meaning of prymsauns? If we had prymtauns, or prymtaunce, we might be inclined to take it for a corruption of French printemps, as we find pastaunce or pastance corrupted from passe-temps. (See Skeat, Spec. of Eng. Literature, 460/149 and 427/1096.) Cf. also the Romaunt of the Rose, ll. 3373–74: “At prime temps, Love to manace, Ful ofte I have been in this caas.” Or is prymtauns perhaps a clerical error for entrauns or entraunce? This would then make us think of such passages as the following one:

“Che fu ou mois de mai, à l’entree d’esté,

Que florissent cil bos et verdissent cil pré.”

Fierabras, ll. 5094–5.

p. 28, l. 966. spryngyn, the only instance of the 3rd person present plural ending in -yn (for the common -en). This perhaps is due to ‹p113› the scribe thinking already of the following yn in begynne. But it must be stated that the whole passage is rather obscure. Neither the meaning of springyn and begynne nor the connection of l. 966 with the following lines is very clear. Floures occurring twice looks also somewhat suspicious. Moreover, these two stanzas do not well suit the context and might easily be done without; they are evidently borrowed from some other poem. Observe besides the alliteration in floures, frithe, freshly.

p. 28, l. 973. lithe, “to hear.” O.Icel. hlŷða, “auscultare.” Stratmann, s. v. hlîþen, p. 315.

p. 29, l. 993. lese miswritten for lefe, which sense and rhyme require, and which occurs in ll. 832, 1526.

p. 29, l. 995. bassatours (?) = “vavassours, vavasors.”

p. 29, l. 999. Inde Major. The meaning of Major is not clear. Cf. besides Chanson de Roland, ed. Gautier, Glossarial Index, s. v. Major. Compare also Destr. l. 690: terre Majour.

p. 29, l. 1000. The great number of geographical names contained in these two lines is probably due to the favourite habit of mediæval romance writers, who thought that they showed their geographical knowledge by introducing long strings of names. Thus we find in Web. Rom. II. l. 632 et seq., the names of sixteen towns mentioned in fourteen lines, all of which are said to have been visited by Richard the Lion-hearted. Again in the same poem, ll. 3679, et seq., we find the names of thirteen countries occurring in ten lines. Cf. also King Alis., Web. Rom. I. ll. 1440 and 1692. Often, too, geographical names seem to be inserted on account of the rhyme, as Chaunder in l. 123, and Europe in l. 1001.

p. 29, l. 1008. Camalyon, “meaning, probably, the camelopardalis. The blood of a cameleon would go a very little way towards satisfying a thirsty Saracen” (Ellis, Metr. R. 387). Perhaps also the poet did not know much of either of these two kinds of animals, and all he wished was to cite an animal with some outlandish name.

p. 30, l. 1025. southe : wrothe. The spelling sothe occurs in ll. 2014, 2024, 2246, 2719. There must be a lacuna of one or more lines here. The rhyme-word to dute (l. 1024) is wanting; the context also evidently shows that ll. 1025 and 1026, as they stand together, make no sense. It is worth while to add that the next five lines, contrary to the common usage of our poem, are all rhymed together.

p. 30, l. 1040. Observe Paens, i. e. “pagans,” used as a proper name here; cf. the Destr. l. 98, and Fierabras, l. 5673.

p. 31, l. 1051. For a description of Ferumbras, compare Fierabras, ll. 578 et seq., and ll. 611 et seq., and Syr Ferumbras, l. 550.

p. 31, l. 1060. trwes = trues, truce.

p. 31, l. 1067. sex. So in the French Fierabras, l. 84:

“Ja n’en refuserai, par Mahom, jusqu’à vi.”


In the English Ferumbras, l. 102, we read:

“And þoȝ þer come twelue, þe beste of þy fered,

I will kuþe on hem my miȝt, & dyngen hem al to douste.”

p. 31, l. 1071. in fere = “together.” fere, literally “one who fares with one,” means “a travelling companion, a comrade, a mate; a company.” O.E. (ge-)fera.

p. 31, l. 1074. man = “bondman, subject, vassal.” So in ll. 1354 1466.

p. 31, l. 1077. childe, “young knight, young man.” See Skeat’s note to Sir Thopas (Clarendon Press), 162/2020.

p. 31, l. 1084. Cf. the French text:

“Sire, ce dist Rollans, chertes, tort en aves,

Car, par icel seigneur Ki Dix est appelés,

Je vauroie moult miex que fuissiés desmenbrés

Ke jou en baillasse armes ne ne fuisse adobés.

Hier quant paien nous vindrent à l’issue des gués

L. mile furent, à vers helmes jesmés,

Grans caus en soustenimes sur les escus bandés;

Oliviers mes compaigns i fu le jour navrés.

Tout fuissons desconfit, c’est fines verités,

Quant vous nous secourustes e vos riches barnés,

Et paien s’en tournerent les frains abandonnés.

Quant fumes repairié as loges et as trés,

Puis te vantas le soir, quant tu fus enivrés,

Que li viel chevalier c’avoies amené

L’avoient moult miex fait que li joule d’assés,

Assés en fui le soir laidement ramponés.”

(ll. 144–161.)

Compare also Syr Ferumbras, ll. 144–163

p. 32, l. 1088. of = “on account of.”

p. 32, l. 1092. According to most of the old romances Roland was invulnerable. He never lost any blood by a wound but on the occasion when he was beaten by Charlemagne

“For trois goutes sans plus, quant Charles par irour

Le feri de son gant que le virent plousour.”

See Histoire Poétique, p. 264.

The French text (ll. 166–170) runs as follows:

“Karles trait son gant destre, qui fu à or parés

Fiert le comte Rollant en travers sur le nés;

Après le caup en est li sans vermaus volés.

Rollans jete le main au branc qui est letrés;

Ja en ferist son oncle se il n’en fust ostés.”

p. 32, l. 1094. abye, “to pay for, suffer for.” In Mod. Eng. abye is corrupted into abide. See Morris, Gloss. to Chaucer (Clarend. Press), s. v. aboughte.

p. 32, l. 1096. Double negatives like never none are pretty common in mediæval writers. Cf. in the Sowdan, ll. 1876, 2181, 2199, 2279, 2305. ‹p115›

p. 32, l. 1103. at one, “of one mind, agreement.” Cf. King Horn, ed. Lumby, l. 925:

“At on he was wiþ þe king.”

Hence Mod. Eng. atone, “to set at one, to reconcile.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 5308.

p. 32, l. 1106. to make voydaunce, the same as to voide, l. 1768 = “to quit, to depart from, to get rid of.”

p. 32, l. 1110. withoute more = “without delay, immediately.” more is O.E. mâra, comparative to micel; it is not the Latin more. See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 719.

p. 33, l. 1126. renewed, “tied.” Fr. renouer, from nœud = Lat. nodius. It is to be distinguished from renewed = “renovated,” which occurs in l. 2200.

p. 32, l. 1128. hidur is spelt hider in ll. 810, 833, etc.

p. 32, l. 1135. Generyse. In the other versions Olyver calls himself Garin. See Introduction on p. xxxiii.

p. 32, l. 1141. lerne, “to teach.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 6352. scole, O.E. scôl, Mod. Eng. school, means here “style, or manner of fighting.” It must not be confounded with schole, O.E. scolu, “troop, band,” Mod. Eng. shoal. Cf. also The Song of Roland, 129/786.

p. 33, l. 1145. myghty men of honde. So in l. 3029. The same phrase occurs in M.H.G. “ein helt ze sînen handen,” which is explained as meaning, “a hero [or one who becomes a hero] by the strength of his hands or arms.” See Jänicke’s note to Biterolf, 5078, and Grimm’s Grammatik, IV. 727 note. The expression seems to be originally French; cf. Méon, Fabliaux, III. 478: “chevaliers de sa main”; Renard, ed. Martin, l. 21409: “proedom de sa main.” Cf. also Roman des Eles, ed. Scheler, l. 433, where main is wrongly explained by the editor.

p. 33, l. 1151. plete, “plead.” The rhyme leads us to suppose that the author pronounced plede, which indeed is the more common form.

p. 33, l. 1154. and makes no sense here. thenkes must also be incorrect, the 3rd person present singular always terminating in -eth in this poem, and not in -es. Read as thenketh me; thenketh me occurs in l. 465.

p. 34, l. 1158. pight, “pitched, fixed.” The infinitive mood is picchen; cf. O.Dutch picken, O.Icel. pikka, “pungere, pangere.”

p. 34, l. 1159. In the French Fierabras, l. 606 et seq., Oliver also assists the Saracen to put on his gear. This point is not mentioned in the Ashmolean version, see Introduction, p. xxviii.

p. 34, l. 1163. worthed up, “became up, got up, mounted.” It is the past tense of the verb worthen, O.E. weorðan, “to become.” Another past tense of this verb is worth, l. 1204.

p. 34, l. 1164. areest, or arest = “a rest, or support for the spear when ‹p116› couched for the attack” (Morris). Originally = “stoppage, waiting, readiness.” Cf. Mätzner’s Wörterbuch, p. 107.

p. 34, l. 1167. as fire of thonder, cf. dinte of thondir in l. 1207.

p. 34, l. 1168. to-braste, “burst in pieces.” The prefix to-, answering to Germ. zer-, has the force of “in twain, asunder.”

p. 34, l. 1170. threste, O.E. þrae with circumflex, italicstan, “premere, trudere.” The author probably pronounced thraste, which will improve the rhyme.

p. 34, ll. 1179–80. upon the hede (blank in MS) the hede. This is evidently a mistake of the scribe; sore, l. 1180, too, which does not rhyme with crowne, is probably miswritten for sone. The rhyme as well as the context shows that the true reading is:

“Olyver him hitte again

Upon the hede than fulle sone

 He carfe awaye with myght and mayne

The cercle that sate uppon his crowne.”

p. 34, l. 1182. About the cercle, see Demay, Le Costume de guerre, p. 132. “Non seulement le cône du heaume (helme) est bordé par ce cercle, mais il est parfois renforcé dans toute sa hauteur par deux arêtes placées l’une devant, l’autre derrière, ou par quatre bandes de métal ornementées (de verroteries), venant aboutir et se croiser à son sommet.”—crowne means the “tonsure of the head,” then topically “the skull or head.”

p. 34, l. 1185. the botteles of bawme are not mentioned anywhere else in the Sowdan; the other versions tell us that the balm contained in those vessels was the same as that with which Christ was anointed. Cf. Syr Ferumbras, ll. 510–517; and see Introduction, p. vi and xxix.

p. 34, l. 1191. the river. According to the oldest version of the poem the whole combat took place on the shore of the Tiber, near Rome. See Introduction, pp. xi and xxxii. Cf. Fierabras, l. 1049:

“Pres fu du far de Rome, ses a dedes jetés,”

and Philippe Mousket, I. 4705–6:

“Les .ii. barius qu’à Rome prist,

Si les gieta enmi le Toivre.”

In the Sowdan as well as in the Ashmole MS. there is no mention of Oliver’s drinking of the balm before throwing it into the water, which both the Provençal and the French versions tell us he did. Cf. Fierabras, ll. 1031–1048, and the Provençal version, ll. 1335, et seq.

p. 35, l. 1210. fille, “fel.”

p. 35, ll. 1221. dere spoils the rhyme. Read “free.”

p. 36, l. 1250. Cousyn to King Charles, cf. l. 1117. In ll. 1499 and 1671 Oliver is said to be nephew to Charlemagne. He was the son of Renier de Gennes, who according to Sir Ferumbras, l. 652: “Y am Charlis emys sone”—was the uncle of Charlemagne. In the poem Girar de Viane we find Oliver among the enemies of the ‹p117› Emperor and fighting with Roland in close combat; they are at length stopped by divine interposition. Then began a close friendship which lasted till their death at Roncesvaux. Oliver’s sister Aude was betrothed to Roland. See, besides, Syr Ferumbras, ll. 422, 1297, 1305, 1354.

p. 36, l. 1258. harde grace, “misfortune,” cf. l. 2790.

p. 36, l. 1259. Persagyn. This name does not occur in any other version again, except in the Destruction, where one Persagon appears in the list of the Saracen barons. But it is not stated there that he is uncle to Ferumbras; cf. besides Fierabras, ll. 2614, 2784.

p. 37, l. 1263. Observe the four consecutive feminine rhymes.

p. 37, l. 1277. The scene as related here widely differs from that described in the Ashmolean version. In the Sowdone, Oliver gets hold of the sword which is “trussed on Ferumbras’s stede.” In the Ashmolean poem it is not Oliver who is disarmed, but Ferumbras, and Oliver allows him to pick up his weapon again. This in itself furnishes us an argument for conjecturing that the author of the Sowdon did not follow, or even know of, the Ashmolean version. In the French poem, as well as in the Provençal, it is likewise Oliver who is disarmed. If in those poems we find mentioned besides that Ferumbras offered his enemy to take up his sword again—an incident not related in the Sowdan—we do not consider this to disprove our supposition that the French version was the source of the Sowdan, as we may consider our author in this case simply to have adhered to his favourite practice of shortening his original as much as possible, so far as no essential point is concerned. Cf. the French Fierabras, ll. 1289–1346.

p. 37, l. 1286. saught is a misprint for raught.

p. 37, l. 1289. He thought he quyte. quyte may be explained as standing for quyted, or else he must be changed into to: He thought to quyte, the latter reading is perhaps preferable. We find in l. 3110 a passage agreeing almost exactly with this.

p. 38, l. 1298. Qwyntyn. The name of this Saint does not occur in any other version of our romance.

p. 38, l. 1308. There is no mention made of this prayer in the Ashmolean version, the Sowdan here (ll. 1308–1340) agrees again with the French Fierabras, ll. 1164–1244 (and with the Provençal poem, l. 1493, et seq.), with the only difference, that the prayer which Charlemagne addressed to God, in order to bestow the victory upon the Christian hero, is much longer in F; and is stuffed with so many details of the Scripture, that in some way it may be regarded as a succinct account of the whole life of the Lord.

p. 38, l. 1320. skomfited = discomfited, l. 1464. It is formed by the same analogy as stroyeth = destroyeth. See note to l. 780. The substantive discumfiture, O.Fr. desconfiture, occurs in l. 336; the same ‹p118› word, without prefix, is found in M.H.G., cf. Kudrun, ed. Martin, 646, 2:

“dô si hêten gerne die porten zuo getân

dô muosten si daz lernen durch schumphentiuren verlân.”

The Italian noun is sconfitta, and the verb sconfiggere.

p. 38, l. 1327. God aboue does not rhyme with lord almighty. The rhyme is easily restored if we read of might (cf. l. 2059) for aboue, and if we change almighty into almighte, so that we have:

l. 1327.

“Tho Charles thanked God of myghte.”

l. 1329.

“And saide, ‘blessed be thou, lord almyghte.’”

The adjective almiȝt is of frequent occurrence in Mid. Eng. writers. So in Allit. Poems, I. 497: “in sothful gospel of god almyȝt;” Syr Ferumbras, l. 3580, “God almyȝte: siȝte;” ibid. l. 3815, “god almyȝt: wyȝt.”

p. 39, l. 1349. cas is an erratum for ras.—“Ras, shave.” “Rees 1693, evening.” These explanations given by the editor of the Roxb. Club ed. are wrong. Ras and rees being both derived from O.E. rae with circumflex, italics, “impetus cursus,” are indiscriminately used in three meanings: (1) “onset, assault;” (2) “course, run, rush, haste, hurry;” (3) “space, time, occasion.” The last signification is well shewn by the following passages:

“Hit lasteþ but a lutel rees.”

(Cl. Maydenhod, l. 26.)

“Þat ys to seye upon a rees,

Stynkyng Saxone, be on pees.”

(Arthur, ed. Furnivall, l. 525.)

In the Sowdan ras or rees means (1) “time, instant, occasion,” ll. 1349, 1693; (2) “rush, hurry, haste,” ll. 645, 489. rase, l. 774 = “current in the sea,” the same word as the preceding ras and rees, meaning properly, “a narrow rush, or violent current of water.” See Morris, Chaucer’s Prologue (Clarendon Press), s. v. reyse. Cf. the French expressions, “raz de mer,” “raz de courent,” “raz de marée.”

p. 39, l. 1361. sene : be. Read se as in ll. 1124, 658, 1826.

p. 40, l. 1372. ryden, which does not rhyme with foghten, is evidently a clerical error. I suppose soghten to be the true reading. For examples of soght = “came, went, moved,” see Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 7151, and Skeat’s Glossary to Specimens, s. v. socht.—There is still another corruption in this passage, as assembled does not rhyme with ordeyned.

p. 40, l. 1380. Note the transition from the indirect to the direct speech.

p. 40, l. 1381. As it stands, the line is too long and spoils the rhythm. The words “if ye cast me downe” can be dispensed with.

p. 40, l. 1383. thare : were (O.E. werian). The rhyme is easily restored by reading there instead of thare, cf. ll. 2604, 2404, 2245, etc. and see Introduction, p. xxxv. ‹p119›

p. 41, ll. 1419–22. Observe the weak rhymes alternating with the strong ones.

p. 41, l. 1420. brother means “brother-in-law.” Oliver’s sister Aude was Roland’s intended bride. Perhaps also brother may be taken here in sense of “brother in arms,” as in most romances we find Roland and Oliver mentioned as a couple of true friends united by the most tender ties of comradeship. Besides, Oliver was highly indebted to Roland, who had rescued him when he had been made a prisoner after his duel with Ferragus.

p. 41, l. 1423. cowthe miswritten for caughte, which we read in ll. 1411, 1603.

p. 41, l. 1424. Ascopartes is the correct form. See note on l. 495.

p. 51, l. 1427. foolde cannot be “earth” here, for which the editor of the Roxburghe Club ed. takes it. Foolde is the participle past of fealden, “to fold, plicare.” It means, “folded, bent down, fallen.” This seems also to be the sense of folde in the following passages:

Laȝamon, 23983–4:

“Þa feol Frolle

folde to grunde.”

Ibid. ll. 27054–6:

“Romanisce veollen

fiftene hundred

folden to grunden.”

Ibid. ll. 20057–60:

“he þohte to quellen

Þe king on his þeode

& his folc valden

volden to grunde.”

Cf. Stratmann, p. 194.

p. 41, l. 1433. Roland and Olyver are taken prisoners. This incident is differently related in the other poems. There Roland is not taken at all, but sent afterwards among the messengers to the Soudan’s court. Together with Oliver four knights are taken, viz. Gwylmer, Berard, Geoffrey and Aubry, who all are carried away by the flying Saracens in spite of the efforts of Roland and Ogier.

p. 42, l. 1451. what = “who.” See Koch, Eng. Gr. II. § 339, and Skeat’s note to Piers the Plowman (Clarendon Press), 113/19. So in ll. 1133, 1623.

p. 42, l. 1456. astyte has nothing to do with the Latin astutus with which the editor of the Roxb. Club ed. apparently confounds it in explaining it as “cunningly devised.” Astyte means “at once, immediately, suddenly”; see Morris, Glossary to Allit. Poems. It is a compound of the simple word tyte, “soon, quickly,” which see above, l. 181.

p. 43, l. 1475. Turpyn. The name of the archbishop is not mentioned in the Ashmolean version. The French text, ll. 1836–40, runs as follows: ‹p120›

“Karles, nostre empereres, en est en piés levés,

Il apela Milon et Turpin l’alosés,

Deus rices arcevesques de moult grant sainteté:

Faites moi tost uns fons beneir et sacrer;

Je woel que cis rois soit bauptiziés et levés.”

Cf. also the Provençal poem, l. 1899, et seq.

p. 43, l. 1483. nought for thane = “nevertheless,” cf. Koch, Eng. Gr. II. p. 473.

p. 43, l. 1486. Rome is a corruption of Roye, as follows from the French Fierabras, l. 1851:

“C’est sains Florans de Roie, ce dist l’auctorités.”

Cf. the Ashmole Ferumbras, l. 1087, and Grœber, Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie, IV. p. 167.

p. 43, l. 1495. affrayned, which must not be confounded with affrayed, as the editor of the Roxburghe Club ed. does, means “asked, inquired.” It is the compound of freynen or fraynen, O.E. frignan, “to ask.” Goth. fraihnan. Germ. fragen.

p. 43, l. 1497. allayned, “concealed.” The simple verb layne (from Icel. leyna, cf. Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 2994) is still retained in the Scottish dialect, with the sense of “to hide.” Cf. also Morris, Allit. Poems, Gloss. s. v. layned.

p. 43, l. 1498. In the other poems the prisoners do not tell their true names; see Introduction, pp. xxvii and xxix; and cf. Syr Ferumbras, l. 1167.

p. 43, l. 1499. Roland is nephew to Charlemagne on his mother’s side. See note to l. 1888, and cf. the Ashmole Ferumbras, l. 2066. For Oliver, see above, note to l. 1250.

p. 44, l. 1515. In the Sowdan Floripas herself advises Laban not to slay his captives, but to imprison them. In the other versions it is one of the barons who gives the same advice. See Introduction, p. xxviii.

p. 44, l. 1539. depe : myrke. The rhyme will be restored by reading dirke or derke instead of depe. derke occurs in l. 2541.

p. 45, l. 1604. maute. “In Old French mauté is malice.” Gloss. to Roxburghe Club ed. I do not know whether mauté exists in O.Fr., but even if it did, it would make no sense here. I feel sure maute is a corruption of mynte or mente (cf. l. 1784), the preterite of minten or menten = “to aim a blow, to strike,” from O.E. myntan, “to intend, to purpose.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 6579, and Morris, Allit. Poems, s. v. mynte. Cf. also Syr Ferumbras, l. 5587:

“Þan Charlis a strok till hym gan mynte;

Ac hym faylede of ys dynte,

for þat swerd hym glente .  .  .”

p. 47, l. 1615. trew instead of free will restore the rhyme. The same rhyme trewe : newe occurs in ll. 67, 588.

p. 47, l. 1619. fele sithe, “many a time, often.” So in ll. 2740, 2815. Cf. ofte sithe, l. 916. ‹p121›

p. 47, l. 1624. ruly, O.E. hrêowlîc = “rueful, sorrowful, mournful, piteous.”

p. 47, l. 1645. harme skathe makes no sense. Read harme & skathe, which occurs in Gen. and Exod. l. 2314:

“ðis sonde hem overtakeð raðe

And bicalleð of harme and scaðe.”

p. 48, l. 1665. In the French Fierabras (as well as in the Ashmolean version) it is Roland whom Charlemagne addresses first (see above, note to l. 1433); he tells him that he must go on a mission to demand the surrender of Oliver and his companions. Upon which Naymes and the other twelve peers remonstrate, but are all sent to Laban one after the other, just as in the Sowdan. In the Provençal poem it is only Guy who protests. Cf. ll. 2263–2282 of the French Fierabras:

“Rollant regarda tost, si l’a araisonné:

Biaus nés, ce dist li rois, trop sui por vous irés;

Vous movrés le matin, à Aigremore irés;

Si dirés l’amirant, gardés ne li celés,

Rende moi la courone dont Dix fu couronés

Et les autres reliques dont je sui moult penés;

Et en après demant mes chevalier menbrés;

Et se il ne le fait si que deviserés,

Dites jel ferai pendre par la goule à un trefs,

En destre le menrai com .i. larron prové,

Ne troverai putel où il ne soit passé.” etc.

p. 48, l. 1668. Cf. Fierabras, ll. 2309–2321, and Syr Ferumbras, l. 1486–1493.

p. 49, l. 1683. lese, “lose.” So in l. 2655 and 1696, where it rhymes with chese, which occurs again in ll. 2748, 2934.

p. 49, l. 1687. French text gives (ll. 2297, et seq.):

“Ogiers li boins Danois s’en est levés en piés:

Sire drois emperere, pour amour Dieu, oiés:

Bien sai se il i vont ja n’en revenra piés.

Avoec irés, dist Karles, par les ex de mon cief:

Or i serés vous .v. qui porterés mes briés.”

p. 49, l. 1691. Bery must be miswritten for Terry, as we find Terris d’Ardane in the French Fierabras, l. 2290, and Terry of Ardane in Syr Ferumbras, l. 1469. According to l. 3187 of Sir Ferumbras, Thierry is the father of Berard (Bryer) of Mountdidier. Cf. the French text, ll. 2290–96 and Syr Ferumbras, ll. 1468–1473.

p. 49, l. 1693. rees, “time, occasion.” See note to l. 1349.

p. 49, l. 1695. Folk Baliant is not mentioned in any other poem of our romance. See Introduction, p. xxvii.

p. 49, l. 1698. chese, O.E. cêosan, Mod. E. choose. It here means “to be free to choose”:—“You shall not be free to choose,” “you shall have no choice,” “you shall do what you are ordered.” See Mätzner’s remark [in his Wörterb., p. 562, s. v. cheosen] to Halliwell, Dict. p. 250. ‹p122›

p. 49, l. 1699. Aleroyse. See note to l. 884.

p. 49, l. 1711. Turpyn. There was a real bishop of this name, who, according to the Gallia Christiana, held the see of Reims from A.D. 753 to 794. As we find him described in the romances, Turpin was the very type of a knight-bishop. In the poem of Aspremont, he bears before the Christian army the wood of the true cross which in his hands beams with brightness like the sun. In the romance of the Enfances Ogier it was he, into whose custody Ogier was given, when he had been made a prisoner after his revolt, in company with the king of Lombardy, against Charlemagne (see above, note to l. 856), and who, notwithstanding the order of Charles to have Ogier starved to death, kept the Dane alive, who afterwards, when the Saracens invaded France, proved a great help to the Christian arms. As we read in the Chanson de Roland, ll. 2242ss, Turpin met his death at Roncesvaux, but according to the Chronicle of Turpin, he survived the disaster of Roncesvaux, and was saying mass for the dead, when he saw the angels carrying the soul of Roland up to heaven. But from Gaston Paris’s Essay De Pseudo-Turpino we know this chronicle to be an apocryphical book written by two monks of the eleventh and twelfth century.

p. 49, l. 1717. set not of youre barons so light = “do not count, consider them so little.” Cf. “to take one so lighte,” in Syr Ferumbras, ll. 114, 156.

p. 50, l. 1721. gyfe no coost has the same meaning as give no tale = “make no account, do not mind.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, 8143. Cf. also Sowdan, l. 2793, and Syr Ferumbras, l. 5847, 101, 4975; and also ll. 173, 1578.

p. 50, l. 1723. Bryer of Mounteȝ or Berard de Montdidier was celebrated for his gallantries and attentions to the ladies:

“D’ardimen vail Rotlan et Olivier

E de domnei Berart de Mondesdier.”

i. e.—“In prowess I am equal to Rolland and to Oliver, in matters of love to Berart of M.” says the troubadour Peire Vidal in his poem Dragoman seiner; cf. also Fierabras, ll. 2125–7:

“Je ne sai cui vous estes, car ne vous puis viser,

Mais je cuit c’as pucieles sivés moult bien juer,

En cambre sous cortine baisier et acoler.”

See, besides, Syr Ferumbras, ll. 422, 1297, 1305, 1354. This Bryer of Mountes must be the same as the one slain in a sally of the twelve peers, ll. 2604, 2622, because, according to l. 1723, it was he who was among the peers sent on a mission to the Soudan. There is one Bryer of Brytaine occurring in l. 886, whom one might be inclined to think identical with Bryer of Mountes, as in l. 886 he is cited together with the other peers. But since we find him again as the treasurer of Charlemagne (l. 3205), this is impossible, unless we suppose the mention of Bryer in l. 3205 to be owing to the ‹p123› absent-mindedness of the author, who may be accused of a similar inadvertency with regard to Rychard of Normandy; cf. note to l. 2797, and Index of Names, s. v. Flagot.

p. 50, l. 1743. Bronland. The true reading is Brouland, as shewn by Fierabras, ll. 1549, 5174, &c.; Destruction, ll. 1240–159, 441, and Sowdan, ll. 1759, 2456. The Ashmole MS. has Bruyllant.

p. 51, l. 1751. thane = “thane that.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, 992, p. 363.

p. 51, l. 1778. charke hardly makes sense here. It is perhaps a clerical error for charge, “to command, to order.” The sense would then be, “and to tell him the Soudan’s strict orders which by peril of death (= upon life and lithe) Laban recommended him to obey.”

p. 51, l. 1779. þen instead of þan would improve the rhyme.

p. 52, l. 1788. lorde of Spayne. Cf. the French expression, “amirans d’Espaigne,” which we find so often used in the Destruction.

p. 52, l. 1802. trappe is Mod. Eng. trape, which is used in the sense of “to traipse, to walk sluttishly.” Halliwell has “trapes = to wander about.”

p. 52, l. 1816. byleved. Rhyme and sense will be improved by reading byleven.

p. 53, l. 1854. tyme makes no sense here. Perhaps we ought to read I dyne; cf. ll. 1508, 1114, 1837, and Syr Ferumbras, l. 5621:

“Oþer elles þoo shalt þyn hefd forgon,

To morwen, or y wil dyne.”

Fierabras, l. 1914:

“Ja mais ne mengerai si sera desmembrés.”

See also Guy, l. 3695.

p. 54, l. 1888. Syr Gy, nevew unto the king Charles. Cf. Fierabras, ll. 3406–8:

“On m’apele Guion, de Borgoigne fui nés,

Et fils d’une des filles au duc Millon d’Aingler,

Cousin germain Rollant, qui tant fait à douter.”

Duke Milon d’Anglers was brother-in-law to Charlemagne, whose sister Berte was Milon’s wife and mother to Roland. Cf. Philippe Mousket, l. 2706–8:

“S’ot Charles une autre sereur,

Bertain: cele prist à seigneur

Milon d’Anglers, s’en ot Rollant.”

If, therefore, in the passage quoted above from Fierabras, Guy is said to be the grandson of Milon, he must have been the grand-nephew of Charlemagne, and nephew to Rollant. As we learn from the French poem of Guy de Bourgoyne, Guy’s father was Samson of Burgundy. Cf. besides, Histoire Poétique, p. 407, and Syr Ferumbras, ll. 1922, 2091, 1410, etc.

p. 55, l. 1892. And yet knowe I him noght. Floripas has already once ‹p124› seen Guy when he was defeating Lukafer before Rome; cf. Fierabras, ll. 2237–2245:

“.i. chevalier de France ai lontans enamé

Guis a nom de Borgoigne, moult i a bel armé;

Parens est Karlemaine et Rollant l’aduré.

Dès que je fui à Romme, m’a tout mon cuer emblé;

Quant l’amirans mes peres fist gaster la cité,

Lucafer de Baudas abati ens ou pré,

Et lui et le ceval, d’un fort espiel quarré.

Se cis n’est mes maris, je n’arai homme né;

Pour lui voel je croire ou roi de sainte maïsté.”

See also Syr Ferumbras, ll. 2073–2087. Our line does not necessarily imply a contradiction to the French text, as on the former occasion she probably saw the duel from a great distance, when the latter’s features were hidden by his helmet. That she really did not recognize him follows from the following passage of Fierabras, l. 2800, et seq.

“Je aim en douce France .i. leger baceler.”

—“Dame, comment a nom?” ce dist Rollans li her

Et respont la puciele: “ja le m’orrés nommer;

Guis a nom de Borgoigne, moult i a bel armé.”

—“Par mon cief” dist Rollans “à vos ex le véés

N’a pas entre vous deus iiii piés mesurés.”

Besides there are numerous instances to be met with in mediæval poetry of persons enamoured of some one they had never seen:

“Ans no la vi et am la fort”

says Guilhelm de Poitiers in speaking of his lady (Mahn, Werke der Troubadours, p. 3). Cf. also Rits. Rom. II. 19, and Web. Rom. II. 131.

p. 55, l. 1927. myghty seems to mean “excellent, delicious,” rather than “heavy.”

p. 57, l. 1974. amonge, “every now and then, from time to time, occasionally.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, 2301. It is often used as a kind of expletive.

p. 57, l. 1995. foulis, “fools, foolish.” Cf. the French text:

“Par Mahoun, dist li rois, trestout sont fol prové.”

p. 57, l. 1996. There is no mention made of this game in the Provençal poem. It is described here even more explicitly than in the French Fierabras, ll. 2907–2932. Cf. also Syr Ferumbras, ll. 2230–2251.

p. 57, l. 1997. assorte = “assembly, company;” by one assorte = “in one company” (Halliwell). It seems to be connected with sort = “set, assemblage,” see Skeat, Specimens of E. E., 425/999

p. 58, l. 2000. i-fest : blast. Perhaps we ought to read i-fast.

p. 59, l. 2036. maden orders. I do not know the exact meaning of this expression. Perhaps it may be taken with the same sense as the Mod. H. Germ. phrase = “ordnung schaffen,” which literally means ‹p125› “to set in order, to put matters straight,” but is often used in the sense of “to clear away,” or, “to remove or despatch.”

p. 59, l. 2045. that he wente awaye with lym = “that he had escaped with (his limbs, or having) his limbs safe and sound.” lyme, O.E. lim, Mod. Eng. limb.

p. 59, l. 2052. tho = O.E. Þâ, “those, them,” it is used as a definite article in l. 2063.

p. 59, l. 2057. amapide, miswritten for awapide (Herrtage), “astounded, bewildered.” Cf. Stratmann, p. 10.—Mätzner, Wörterbuch, p. 150, connects it with Goth. afhvapjan, “to suffocate.” We find m written for w several times in our poem; thus we read gamylokes for gawylokes in l. 2650, and romme for rowme in l. 876.

p. 60, l. 2085. Assyne. The rhyme shows that Assye is the true reading. Assye occurs in ll. 102, 123.

p. 60, l. 2093. wone, “heap, plenty.” O.Icel. wân. See Zupitza’s note to Guy, p. 444.

p. 61, l. 2119. Brenlande. It ought to be Breuland or Brouland; see above note to l. 1743.

p. 61, l. 2120. The first foot in the line consists of the single word what. Thus in ll. 2288, 2374, 2394, etc.

p. 62, l. 2145. Espyarde. This name only occurs in this poem. In Syr Ferumbras, l. 3824, the messenger sent to the bridge-keeper is called Malyngryas. There is no name mentioned in the French Fierabras, l. 4265.

p. 62, l. 2156. That no man by the brigge. There is no verb in the sentence. Perhaps we ought to read that no man passe by the brigge, or, that no man passe the brigge.

p. 63, l. 2191. Cf. the description of the giant in Fierabras, ll. 4740–4755, and Syr Ferumbras, ll. 4435–4441.

p. 63, l. 2199. nolde not. See note to l. 1096.

p. 64, l. 2225. The line is too long. Wilde can be dispensed with, and instead of horses we may read hors; cf. Skeat, Gloss. to Prioress’s Tale (Clarendon Press), s. v. hors.

p. 64, l. 2233. a magnelle, “a mangonel,” an ancient military engine used for battering down walls (Halliwell). Magnelle is the O.Fr. Mangonel, or Mangoneau, the Italian manganello (= “arbalist, cross-bow”). The latter is the diminutive form of mangano, “a sling;” Greek, μαγγανον. See Diez, Etym. Wörterb., I. 261.

p. 64, l. 2238. Cornel or carnel, Fr. carnel, Mod.Fr. créneau, “battlement, pinnacle.” Literally it means, “a piece carved out,” i. e. of the wall on the top of a building; the French verb carneler or creneler signifying, “to carve out, to jag, to notch.” Carnel is derived from Latin crena (See Diez, Gramm., I. 14), which means “a notch, a cut, an incision” (Diez, Etym. Wörterb., II. 266). Thus carnel came to denote a battlement or indented parapet; or more ‹p126› exactly it was applied to those parts of the wall projecting upwards between the openings or embrasures. It was one of these projecting portions that was here knocked down. Cf. also Syr Ferumbras, l. 3314.

p. 65, l. 2245. The line is too long. Perhaps or he hit may be dispensed with.

p. 65, l. 2247. The episode of Marsedag being slain by Guy is not found in any other poem of this romance.

p. 65, l. 2271. Alkaron, “the Koran,” al is the Arabic article. There is a god named Alcaron occurring in l. 2762.

p. 66, l. 2282. dye : waye. See l. 441. forfamelid = “famished, starved to death.” I am not aware of any other instance of this word. Halliwell has “famele = to be famished.” The prefix for- has intensive or augmentative power; it is particularly used in past participles. See Mätzner’s Grammatik, I2. 542.

p. 66, l. 2290. faile is the infinitive mood = “to be wanting, to become deficient.” “Roland seeing the ladies white and pale (with hunger) and (seeing) the bread wanting on their table spoke some words of lamentation,” etc.

p. 66, l. 2303. forcere, “chest, coffer.” For the etymology see Diez, Wörterb., II. 31, s. v. forziere.

p. 66, l. 2309. As it stands the line is too long. As you and that may be dispensed with, we ought perhaps to read, I pray ye wole us alle it shewe.

p. 66, l. 2310. saule, “fill, hunger satisfied to repletion.” The rhyme shows that the last syllable is accentuated. Therefore it cannot be derived from the French soûl (Gloss. to Roxb. Club ed.), but from soûlée.

p. 66, l. 2311. yede = “went.” Not from O.E. eode, but from ge-eode. See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 60, and Skeat, Piers the Plowman (Clarendon Press), 94/40.

p. 66, l. 2312. vertue : fewe; the rhyme is perfect, see the Abstract of Mr. Nicol’s paper in the Academy of June 23, 1877 (vol. xi. p. 564, col. 1).

p. 66, l. 2313. We must scan this line thus:

'And dídẹn it aboútẹ hem éverychón.' with scansion markup

-en in diden is mute; see Introduction, p. xxxix.

p. 67, l. 2326. ginne = “engin, contrivance, trick.” See note to l. 780.

p. 67, l. 2337. lefte. The rhyme shows that the author pronounced lafte, which we find in l. 426.

p 68, l. 2351. Cf. Fierabras, ll. 3046–3097. In the Provençal poem Maubyn or Malpi, as he is called in Provençal, enters the room by means of a charm which makes the door open itself: ‹p127›

“Vengutz es al fossat, pres de la tor cayrada.

Tantost intret dedins cuendamens a celada,

Venc a l’us de la cambra: si la trobet tancada.

Et a dit son conjur: tota s’es desfermada.”

ll. 2757–60.

p. 68, l. 2365. The rhyme is restored if we read ledde instead of ladde. See l. 1651.

p. 69, l. 2390. By God and seynte Mary, myn avour. I think the words myn avoure are due to the scribe, not to the author, as they spoil the rhythm. So we get Mary : we. This rhyme, although not perfect, is of no rare occurrence in Mid. Eng. works, see Introduction, p. xliv. As to the spelling of avour I am not aware of any other instance of this form of the word. There is a form avyowre cited by Halliwell. Besides, avoury and avowery, which he quotes under different heads, are perhaps only different spellings of the same word.

p. 69, l. 2399. slepinge must be altered into slepande in order to restore the rhyme. The author employed -and and -ynge as terminations of the present participle. See Introduction, p. xxxviii.

p. 69, l. 2421. also belongs to l. 2422.

p. 70, l. 2433. so mete I spede, “as I may succeed.” See Zupitza’s note to Guy, l. 615.

p. 71, l. 2477. and now is perhaps miswritten for inow; cf. the French text, l. 3803:

Tant y a plates d’or, nus nes porroit nombrer.”

p. 71, l. 2482. wast gives no sense. Perhaps we ought to read went.

p. 72, ll. 2491–2502. The arrangement of the stanzas seems, as regards the rhymes, to be incorrect.

p. 72, l. 2507. In the Ashmole Ferumbras this episode of the Soudan breaking the image of Mahound is omitted. In the French text he only threatens to make him cry, as soon as he gets hold of him, but he is rebuked by Sorbrance telling him that Mahomet being over-tired with guarding the treasure has only fallen asleep. Cf. Fierabras, ll. 3820–3829.

p. 72, l. 2512. ore, O.E. âr, “mercy, favour.” Thyn ore = “grant us thy favour,” “have mercy upon us,” or, “with thy favour.”

p. 73, l. 2535. Richard of Normandy appearing here as in the French Fierabras, among the twelve peers besieged by the Soudan, without having been mentioned before in the number of the knights sent on a mission by Charles, furnishes us with an argument in support of our supposition that the French Fierabras was the source of our poem. See Introduction, p. xxx, and of Fierabras, ll. 3957–3994, and Syr Ferumbras, l. 4921.

p. 73, l. 2538. wynde : hende; wende which occurs in l. 2328 would improve the rhyme. ‹p128›

p. 73, l. 2549. paramour = “object of chivalrous affection and devotion.”

p. 73, l. 2557. wronge, preterite of wringe, “to press well out, force one’s way.”

p. 73, l. 2558. Does thile stand for while, as then, l. 2527, seems to be miswritten for when? Or is thile = the while?

p. 74, l. 2564. sloughe : drowe. Read slowe, as in ll. 2401, 2683, 304, 2208, etc.

p. 75, l. 2597. itolde, “in number,” see Zupitza’s note to Guy, 1770.

p. 75, l. 2614. quell = “kill,” which occurs in l. 3006.

p. 75, l. 2616. bistadde, “hard bestead, greatly imperilled.”

p. 75, l. 2617. japed, “mocked, tricked, laughed at.” Connected with Icel. gabba, “to mock.”

p. 76, l. 2639. tha. See Introduction, p. xxxvii.

p. 76, l. 2651. lurdeyn, Mod. Eng. lurdan, which is said to be the Fr. lourdin (diminutive of lourd). Regarding it as a corruption of “lord Dane” is a mere joke:

“In every house lord Dane did then rule all,

Whence laysie lozels lurdanes now we call.”

Mirrour for Magistrates, p. 588.

p. 76, l. 2654. sewes. See Skeat, Prioress’s Tale, p. 286.

p. 76, l. 2660. let armes makes no sense. Read as armesAs armes = Fr. aux armes, “to arms,” is of pretty frequent occurrence in Mid. Eng. poems; see Mätzner’s Wörterb., p. 112. Cf. also Syr Ferumbras, l. 2933: