Beneath a pine was his
To the land of Spain hath he turned his face,
On his memory rose full many a thought—
Of the lands he won and the fields he fought;
Of his gentle France, of his kin and line;
Of his nursing father, King Karl benign;—
He may not the tear and sob control,
Nor yet forgets he his parting soul.
To God’s compassion he makes his cry:
“O Father true, who canst not lie,
Who didst Lazarus raise unto life agen,
And Daniel shield in the lions’ den;
Shield my soul from its peril, due
For the sins I sinned my lifetime through.”
He did his right-hand glove uplift—
Saint Gabriel took from his hand the gift;
Then drooped his head upon his breast,
And with clasped hands he went to rest.
God from on high sent down to him
One of his angel Cherubim—
Saint Michael of Peril of the sea,
Saint Gabriel in company—
From heaven they came for that soul of price,
And they bore it with them to Paradise.
THE CHASTISEMENT OF THE SARACENS
Dead is Roland; his
soul with God.
While to Roncesvalles the Emperor rode,
Where neither path nor track he found,
Nor open space nor rood of ground,
But was strewn with Frank or heathen slain,
“Where art thou, Roland?” he cried in pain:
“The Archbishop where, and Olivier,
Gerein and his brother in arms, Gerier?
Count Otho where, and Berengier,
Ivon and Ivor, so dear to me;
And Engelier of Gascony;
Samson the duke, and Anseis the bold;
Gerard, of Roussillon, the old;
My peers, the twelve whom I left behind?”
In vain!—No answer may he find.
“O God,” he cried, “what grief is mine
That I was not in front of this battle line!”
For very wrath his beard he tore,
His knights and barons weeping sore;
Aswoon full fifty thousand fall:
Duke Naimes hath pity and dole for all.
Nor knight nor baron
was there to see
But wept full fast, and bitterly;
For son and brother their tears descend,
For lord and liege, for kin and friend;
Aswoon all numberless they fell,
But Naimes did gallantly and well.
He spake the first to the Emperor—
“Look onward, sire, two leagues before,
See the dust from the ways arise,—
There the strength of the heathen lies.
Ride on; avenge you for this dark day.”
“O God,” said Karl, “they are far away!
Yet for right and honor, the sooth ye say.
Fair France’s flower they have torn from me.”