Blancandrin, “by this right hand,
And my floating beard by the free wind fanned,
Ye shall see the host of the Franks disband
And hie them back into France their land;
Each to his home as beseemeth well,
And Karl unto Aix—to his own Chapelle.
He will hold high feast on Saint Michael’s day
And the time of your tryst shall pass away.
Tale nor tidings of us shall be;
Fiery and sudden, I know, is he:
He will smite off the heads of our hostages all:
Better, I say, that their heads should fall
Than we the fair land of Spain forego,
And our lives be laden with shame and woe.”
“Yea,” said the heathens, “it may be so.”
council is over that day,
And he called to him Clarin of Balaguet,
Estramarin, and Eudropin his peer,
Bade Garlon and Priamon both draw near,
Machiner and his uncle Maheu—with these
Joimer and Malbien from overseas,
Blancandrin for spokesman,—of all his men
He hath summoned there the most felon ten.
“Go ye to Carlemaine,” spake their liege,—
“At Cordres city he sits in siege,—
While olive branches in hand ye press,
Token of peace and of lowliness.
Win him to make fair treaty with me,
Silver and gold shall your guerdon be,
Land and lordship in ample fee.”
“Nay,” said the heathens, “enough have we.”
So did King Marsil his
“Lords,” he said, “on my errand wend;
While olive branches in hand ye bring,
Say from me unto Karl the king,
For sake of his God let him pity show;
And ere ever a month shall come and go,
With a thousand faithful of my race,
I will follow swiftly upon his trace,
Freely receive his Christian law,
And his liegemen be in love and awe.
Hostages asks he? it shall be done.”
Blancandrin answered, “Your peace is won.”
Then King Marsil bade
Ten fair mules of snowy white,
Erst from the King of Sicily brought
Their trappings with silver and gold inwrought—
Gold the bridle, and silver the selle.
On these are the messengers mounted well;
And they ride with olive boughs in hand,
To seek the Lord of the Frankish land.
Well let him watch; he shall be trepanned.
At Cordres. CARLEMAINE’S council
King Karl is jocund
and gay of mood,
He hath Cordres city at last subdued;
Its shattered walls and turrets fell
By Catapult and mangonel;
Not a heathen did there remain
But confessed him Christian or else was slain.
The Emperor sits in