King Charles sat in judgment in his palace at Aachen.
He said, "Take the thirty kinsmen of Ganelon, perverters of justice, let not one escape, and hang them." Blithely the Franks obeyed his word.
But Ganelon he caused to be drawn and quartered; and thus did Charles the king make an end of his vengeance for his guard.
This is the song which Turold used to sing.
RINALDO AND BAYARD
By Thomas Bulfinch
Charlemagne was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of so many of his bravest warriors at the disaster of Roncesvalles, and bitterly reproached himself for his credulity in resigning himself so completely to the counsels of the treacherous Count Ganelon. Yet he soon fell into a similar snare when he suffered his unworthy son Charlot to acquire such an influence over him, that he constantly led him into acts of cruelty and injustice that in his right mind he would have scorned to commit. Rinaldo and his brothers, for some slight offence to the imperious young prince, were forced to fly from Paris, and to take shelter in their castle of Montalban; for Charles had publicly said, if he could take them, he would hang them all. He sent numbers of his bravest knights to arrest them, but all without success. Either Rinaldo foiled their efforts and sent them back, stripped of their armor and of their glory, or, after meeting and conferring with him, they came back and told the king they could not be his instruments for such a work.
At last Charles himself raised a great army, and went in person to compel the paladin to submit. He ravaged all the country round about Montalban, so that supplies of food should be cut off, and he threatened death to any who should attempt to issue forth, hoping to compel the garrison to submit for want of food.
Rinaldo's resources had been brought so low that it seemed useless to contend any longer. His brothers had been taken prisoners in a skirmish, and his only hope of saving their lives was in making terms with the king.
So he sent a messenger, offering to yield himself and his castle if the king would spare his and his brothers' lives. While the messenger was gone, Rinaldo, impatient to learn what tidings he might bring, rode out to meet him. When he had ridden as far as he thought prudent he stopped in a wood, and, alighting, tied Bayard to a tree. Then he sat down, and, as he waited, he fell asleep. Bayard meanwhile got loose, and strayed away where the grass tempted him. Just then came along some country people, who said to one another, "Look, is not that the great horse Bayard that Rinaldo rides? Let us take him, and carry him to King Charles, who will pay us well for our trouble." They did so, and the king was delighted with his prize, and gave them a present that made them rich to their dying day.
When Rinaldo woke he looked round for his horse, and, finding him not, he groaned, and said, "O unlucky hour that I was born! how fortune persecutes me!" So desperate was he, that he took off his armor and his spurs, saying, "What need have I of these, since Bayard is lost?"
While he stood thus lamenting, a man came from the thicket, seemingly bent with age. He had a long beard hanging over his breast, and eyebrows that almost covered his eyes. He bade Rinaldo good day. Rinaldo thanked him, and said, "A good day I have hardly had since I was born." Then said the old man, "Signor Rinaldo, you must not despair, for God will make all things turn to the best." Rinaldo answered, "My trouble is too heavy for me to hope relief. The king has taken my brothers, and means to put them to death. I thought to rescue them by means of my horse Bayard, but while I slept some thief has stolen him." The old man replied, "I will remember you and your brothers in my prayers. I am a poor man, have you not something to give me?" Rinaldo said, "I have nothing to give," but then he recollected his spurs. He gave them to the beggar, and said, "Here, take my spurs. They are the first present my mother gave me when my father, Count Aymon, dubbed me knight. They ought to bring you ten pounds."
The old man took the spurs, and put them into his sack, and said, "Noble sir, have you nothing else you can give me?" Rinaldo replied, "Are you making sport of me? I tell you truly if it were not for shame to beat one so helpless, I would teach you better manners." The old man said, "Of a truth, sir, if you did so, you would do a great sin.
If all had beaten me of whom I have begged, I should have been killed long ago, for I ask alms in churches and convents, and wherever I can." "You say true," replied Rinaldo, "if you did not ask, none would relieve you." The old man said, "True, noble sir, therefore I pray if you have anything more to spare, give it me." Rinaldo gave him his mantle, and said, "Take it, pilgrim. I give it you for the love of Christ, that God would save my brothers from a shameful death, and help me to escape out of King Charles's power."
The pilgrim took the mantle, folded it up, and put it into his bag. Then a third time he said to Rinaldo, "Sir, have you nothing left to give me that I may remember you in my prayers?" "Wretch!"
exclaimed Rinaldo, "do you make me your sport?" and he drew his sword, and struck at him; but the old man warded off the blow with his staff, and said, "Rinaldo, would you slay your cousin, Malagigi?" When Rinaldo heard that he stayed his hand, and gazed doubtingly on the old man, who now threw aside his disguise, and appeared to be indeed Malagigi. "Dear cousin," said Rinaldo, "pray forgive me. I did not know you. Next to God, my trust is in you. Help my brothers to escape out of prison, I entreat you. I have lost my horse, and therefore cannot render them any assistance." Malagigi answered, "Cousin Rinaldo, I will enable you to recover your horse. Meanwhile, you must do as I say."
Then Malagigi took from his sack a gown, and gave it to Rinaldo to put on over his armor, and a hat that was full of holes, and an old pair of shoes to put on. They looked like two pilgrims, very old and poor. Then they went forth from the wood, and, after a little while, saw four monks riding along the road. Malagigi said to Rinaldo, "I will go meet the monks, and see what news I can learn."
Malagigi learned from the monks that on the approaching festival there would be a great crowd of people at court, for the prince was going to show the ladies the famous horse Bayard that used to belong to Rinaldo. "What!" said the pilgrim; "is Bayard there?" "Yes," answered the monks; "the king has given him to Charlot, and, after the prince has ridden him, the king means to pass sentence on the brothers of Rinaldo, and have them hanged." Then Malagigi asked alms of the monks, but they would give him none, till he threw aside his pilgrim garb, and let them see his armor, when, partly for charity and partly for terror, they gave him a golden cup, adorned with precious stones that sparkled in the sunshine.
Malagigi then hastened back to Rinaldo, and told him what he had learned.
The morning of the feast-day Rinaldo and Malagigi came to the place where the sports were to be held. Malagigi gave Rinaldo his spurs back again, and said, "Cousin, put on your spurs, for you will need them."
"How shall I need them," said Rinaldo, "since I have lost my horse?"
Yet he did as Malagigi directed him.
When the two had taken their stand on the border of the field among the crowd, the princes and ladies of the court began to assemble. When they were all assembled, the king came also, and Charlot with him, near whom the horse Bayard was led, in the charge of grooms, who were expressly enjoined to guard him safely. The king, looking round on the circle of spectators, saw Malagigi and Rinaldo, and observed the splendid cup that they had, and said to Chariot, "See, my son, what a brilliant cup those two pilgrims have got. It seems to be worth a hundred ducats." "That is true," said Chariot; "let us go and ask where they got it." So they rode to the place where the pilgrims stood, and Chariot stopped Bayard close to them.
The horse snuffed at the pilgrims, knew Rinaldo, and caressed his master. The king said to Malagigi, "Friend, where did you get that beautiful cup?" Malagigi replied, "Honorable sir, I paid for it all the money I have saved from eleven years' begging in churches and convents. The Pope himself has blessed it." Then said the king to Chariot, "My son, these are right holy men; see how the dumb beast worships them."
Then the king said to Malagigi, "Give me a morsel from your cup, that I may be cleared of my sins." Malagigi answered, "Illustrious lord, I dare not do it, unless you will forgive all who have at any time offended you. You know that Christ forgave all those who had betrayed and crucified him." The king replied, "Friend, that is true; but Rinaldo has so grievously offended me, that I cannot forgive him, nor that other man, Malagigi, the magician. These two shall never live in my kingdom again. If I catch them, I will certainly have them hanged. But tell me, pilgrim, who is that man who stands beside you?"
"He is deaf, dumb, and blind," said Malagigi. Then the king said again, "Give me to drink of your cup, to take away my sins." Malagigi answered, "My lord king, here is my poor brother, who for fifty days has not heard, spoken, nor seen. This misfortune befell him in a house where we found shelter, and the day before yesterday we met with a wise woman, who told him the only hope of a cure for him was to come to some place where Bayard was to be ridden, and to mount and ride him; that would do him more good than anything else." Then said the king, "Friend, you have come to the right place, for Bayard is to be ridden here to-day. Give me a draught from your cup, and your companion shall ride upon Bayard." Malagigi, hearing these words, said, "Be it so." Then the king, with great devotion, took a spoon, and dipped a portion from the pilgrim's cup, believing that his sins should be thereby forgiven.
When this was done, the king said to Chariot, "Son, I request that you will let this sick pilgrim sit on your horse, and ride if he can, for by so doing he will be healed of all his infirmities." Chariot replied, "That will I gladly do." So saying, he dismounted, and the servants took the pilgrim in their arms, and helped him on the horse.
When Rinaldo was mounted, he put his feet in the stirrups, and said, "I would like to ride a little." Malagigi, hearing him speak, seemed delighted, and asked him whether he could see and hear also. "Yes,"
said Rinaldo, "I am healed of all my infirmities." When the king heard it, he said to Bishop Turpin, "My lord bishop, we must celebrate this with a procession, with crosses and banners, for it is a great miracle."
When Rinaldo remarked that he was not carefully watched, he spoke to the horse, and touched him with the spurs. Bayard knew that his master was upon him, and he started off upon a rapid pace, and in a few moments was a good way off. Malagigi pretended to be in great alarm. "O noble king and master," he cried, "my poor companion is run away with; he will fall and break his neck." The king ordered his knights to ride after the pilgrim, and bring him back, or help him if need were. They did so, but it was in vain. Rinaldo left them all behind him, and kept on his way till he reached Montalban. Malagigi was suffered to depart, unsuspected, and he went his way, making sad lamentation for the fate of his comrade, who he pretended to think must surely be dashed to pieces.
Malagigi did not go far, but, having changed his disguise, returned to where the king was, and employed his best art in getting the brothers of Rinaldo out of prison. He succeeded; and all three got safely to Montalban, where Rinaldo's joy at the rescue of his brothers and the recovery of Bayard was more than tongue can tell.
HOW THE CHILD OF THE SEA WAS MADE KNIGHT
[Footnote: The young Amadis, son of King Perion of Gaul, was called by his father the Child of the Sea because he was born on the sea.]
By Robert Southey
King Falangiez reigned in Great Britain, and died without children. He left a brother Lisuarte, of great goodness in arms, and much discretion, who had married Brisena, daughter of the King of Denmark; and she was the fairest lady that was to be found in all the islands of the sea. After the death of the king the chief men of his land sent for Lisuarte to be their king.
When King Lisuarte heard this embassage he set sail with a great fleet, and on their way they put into Scotland, where he was honorably received by King Languines. Brisena, his wife, was with him, and their daughter Oriana, born in Denmark and then about ten years old, the fairest creature that ever was seen, wherefore she was called the one without a peer. And because she suffered much at sea it was determined to leave her there. Right gladly did King Languines accept this charge, and his queen said: "Believe me, I will take care of her like her own mother." So Lisuarte proceeded. * * *
The Child of the Sea was now twelve years old, but in stature and size he seemed fifteen, and he served the queen; but now that Oriana was there the queen gave her the Child of the Sea that he should serve her, and Oriana said that it pleased her; and that word which she said the child kept in his heart, so that he never lost it from his memory, and in all his life he was never weary of serving her, and his heart was surrendered to her, and his love lasted as long as they lasted, for as well as he loved her did she also love him. But the Child of the Sea, who knew nothing of her love, thought himself presumptuous to have placed his thoughts on her, and dared not speak to her; and she who loved him in her heart was careful riot to speak more with him than with another; but their eyes delighted to reveal to the heart what was the thing on earth that they loved best. And now the time came that he thought he could take arms if he were knighted, and this he greatly desired, thinking that he could do such things that, if he lived, his mistress would esteem him. With this desire he went to the king, who was at that time in the garden, and fell upon his knees before him, and said, "Sire, if it please you, it is time for me to receive knighthood." "How, Child of the Sea?" said Languines, "are you strong enough to maintain knighthood? it is easy to receive, but difficult to maintain; and he who would keep it well, so many and so difficult are the things he must achieve, that his heart will often be troubled; and if, through fear, he forsakes what he ought to do, better is death to him than life with shame." "Not for this," replied he, "will I fail to be a knight; my heart would not require it, if it were not in my will to accomplish what you say. And since you have bred me up, complete what you ought to do in this; if not, I will seek some other who will do it." The king, who feared lest he should do this, replied, "Child of the Sea, I know when this is fitting better than you can know, and I promise you to do it, and your arms shall be got ready; but to whom did you think to go?" "To King Perion, who they say is a good knight, and has married the sister of your queen. I would tell him how I was brought up by her, and then he would willingly fulfil my desire." "Now," said the king, "be satisfied, it shall be honourably done." And he gave orders that the arms should be made, and sent to acquaint Gandales thereof.
When Gandales heard this, he greatly rejoiced; and sent a damsel with the sword and the ring and the letter in the wax, which he had found in the ark. The Child of the Sea was with Oriana and the ladies of the palace, discoursing, when a page entered and told him there was a strange damsel without who brought presents for him, and would speak with him. When she who loved him heard this her heart trembled, and if any one had been looking at her he might have seen how she changed; and she told the Child of the Sea to let the damsel come in, that they might see the presents. Accordingly she entered, and said, "Sir Child of the Sea, your good friend Gandales salutes you as the man who loves you much, and sends you this sword and this ring and this wax, and he begs you will wear this sword while you live for his sake." He took the presents, and laid the ring and the wax in his lap, while he unrolled the sword from a linen cloth in which it was wrapt, wondering that it should be without a scabbard. Meantime Oriana took up the wax, and said, "I will have this," not thinking that it contained anything: it would have better pleased him if she had taken the ring, which was one of the finest in the world. While he was looking at the sword, the king came in and asked him what he thought of it. "It seems a goodly one, sir," said he, "but I marvel wherefore it hath no scabbard." "It is fifteen years," said the king, "since it had one"; and, taking him by the hand, he led him apart, and said, "You would be a knight, and you know not whether of right you should be one. I therefore tell you all that I know concerning you." And with that he told him all that Gandales had communicated. The Child of the Sea answered, "I believe this; for the damsel said my good friend Gandales had sent her, and I thought she had mistaken, and should have called him my father; but am nothing displeased herewith, except that I know not my parents, nor they me, for my breast tells me I am well born; and now, sir, it behoves me more to obtain knighthood, that I may win honour and the praise of prowess, since I know not my lineage, and am like one whose kindred are all dead." When the king heard him speak thus, he believed that he would prove a hardy and good knight.
As they were thus conversing, a knight came to inform the king that King Perion was arrived. Languines went to welcome him, as one who knew how to do honour to all, and, after they had saluted, he asked how it was that he came so unexpectedly. "I come to seek for friends," replied Perion, "of whom I have more need than ever; for King Abies of Ireland wars upon me, and is now, with all his power, in my country; and Daganel, his half-brother, is with him; and both together have collected such a multitude against me that I stand in need of all my friends and kinsmen; for I have lost many of my people in battle already, and others whom I trusted have failed me."
"Brother," replied Languines, "your misfortunes grieve me not a little, and I shall aid you the best I can." Agrayes, who was already knighted, now came and knelt before his father, saying, "Sir, I beg a boon." The which being granted,--for King Languines loved him as himself,--he pursued, "I request that I may go to defend the queen, my aunt." "And I grant it," answered Languines; "and you shall be as honourably and well accompanied as may be."
This while had the Child of the Sea been looking earnestly at Perion, not as his father, for of that he knew nothing, but because of his great goodness in arms, of which he had heard the fame; and he desired to be made a knight by his hand, rather than by any man in the world.
To attain this purpose, he thought best to entreat the queen; but her he found so sad that he would not speak to her, and going to where Oriana was, he knelt before her, and said, "Lady Oriana, could I know by you the cause of the queen's sadness?" Oriana's heart leaped at seeing him whom she most loved before her, and said to him, "Child of the Sea, this is the first thing ye ever asked of me, and I shall do it with a good will."--"Ah, lady! I am neither so bold nor worthy as to ask anything from one like you, but rather to obey what it pleases you to command." "What!" said she. "Is your heart so feeble?"--"So feeble, that in all things towards you it would fail me, except in serving you like one who is not his own, but yours." "Mine!" said she.
"Since when?"--"Since _it pleased you_." "How _since it pleased me_?"--"Remember, lady, the day whereon your father departed, the queen took me by the hand, and leading me before you, said, 'I give you this child to be your servant'; and you said _it pleased you._ And from that time I have held and hold myself yours to do your service: yours only, that neither I nor any other, while I live, can have command over me." "That word," said she, "you took with a meaning that it did not bear; but _I am well pleased_ that it is so." Then was he overcome with such pleasure that he had no power to answer; and Oriana, who now saw the whole power that she had over him, went to the queen, and learnt the cause of her sadness, and, returning to the Child of the Sea, told him that it was for the queen, her sister, who now was so distressed. He answered, "If it please you that I were a knight, with your aid, I would go and aid the queen, her sister."
"With my leave! And what without it? Would you not then go?"--"No,"
said he; "for without the favour of her whose it is, my heart could not sustain itself in danger." Then Oriana smiled, and said, "Since I have gained you, you shall be my knight, and you shall aid the sister of the queen." The Child of the Sea kissed her hand--"The king, my master, has not yet knighted me; and I had rather it should be done by King Perion at your entreaty." "In that," said she, "I will do what I can; but we must speak to the Princess Mabilia, for her request will avail with her uncle."
Mabilia, who loved the Child of the Sea with pure love, readily agreed. "Let him go," said she, "to the chapel of my mother, armed at all points, and we and the other damsel will accompany him; and when King Perion is setting off, which will be before daybreak, I will ask to see him; and then will he grant our request, for he is a courteous knight." When the Child of the Sea heard this, he called Gandalin, and said to him, "My brother, take all my arms secretly to the queen's chapel, for this night I think to be knighted; and, because it behoves me to depart right soon, I would know if you wish to bear me company."
"Believe me," quoth Gandalin, "never, with my will, shall I depart from ye." The tears came in the eyes of the Child at this, and he kissed him on the face, and said, "Do, now, what I told you." Gandalin laid the arms in the chapel, while the queen was at supper; and, when the cloths were removed, the Child of the Sea went there, and armed himself, all save his head and his hands, and made his prayer before the altar, beseeching God to grant him success in arms, and in the love which he bore his lady.
When the queen had retired, Oriana and Mabilia went with the other damsels to accompany him, and Mabilia sent for Perion as he was departing; and, when he came, she besought him to do what Oriana, the daughter of King Lisuarte, should request. "Willingly," said King Perion, "for her father's sake." Then Oriana came before him; and when he saw her how fair she was, he thought there could not be her equal in the world. She begged a boon, and it was granted. "Then," said she, "make this my gentleman knight." And she showed him to Perion kneeling before the altar. The king saw him how fair he was, and approaching him, said, "Would you receive the order of knighthood?"--"I would."-- "In the name of God, then! And may He order it that it be well bestowed on you, and that you may grow in honour as you have in person." Then, putting on the right spur, he said, "Now are you a knight, and may receive the sword." The king took the sword, and gave it to him, and the Child girded it on. "Then," said Perion, "according to your manner and appearance, I would have performed this ceremony with more honours; and I trust in God that your fame will prove that so it ought to have been done." Mabilia and Oriana then joyfully kissed the king's hands, and he, commending the Child of the Sea to God, went his way.
THE SPANISH CHRONICLE OF THE CID
The Cid, who was as actual individual, is the Arthur and Roland of the Spaniards, the great hero of mediaeval Spain. The Chronicles, based on heroic songs and national traditions of the struggle with the Moors, pictures for us the life of an old and haughty nation, proud in arms.
It was compiled in the reign of King Alfonso the Wise, who reigned between 1252 and 1284, and was translated into English by Robert Southey in 1808.