As the first dim light of dawn crept across the sky, Charlemagne awoke. Soon all the camp was astir, and before the sun rose high the knights were riding back over the wide roads to Roncesvalles.
When once again they reached the dreadful field, Charlemagne wandered over all the plain until he came where Roland lay. Then taking him in his arms he made great moan. “My friend, my Roland, who shall now lead my army? My nephew, beautiful and brave, my pride, my glory, all are gone. Alas the day! alas!” Thus with tears and cries he mourned his loss.
Then said one, “Sire, grieve not overmuch. Command rather that we search the plain and gather together all our men who have been slain by the heathen. Then let us bury them with chant, and song and solemn ceremony, as befits such heroes.”
“Yea,” said Charlemagne, “it is well said. Sound your trumpets!”
So the trumpets were sounded, and over all the field the Franks searched, gathering their slain brothers and comrades.
With the army there were many bishops, abbots and monks, and so with chant and hymn, with prayer and incense, the Franks were laid to rest. With great honor they were buried. Then, for they could do no more, their comrades left them.
Only the bodies of Roland, Oliver and Archbishop Turpin, they did not lay in Spanish ground. In three white marble coffins covered with silken cloths they were placed on chariots, ready to be carried back to the fair land of France.
HERO OF SPAIN
ADAPTED BY ROBERT SOUTHEY
RODRIGO AND THE LEPER
Rodrigo forthwith set out upon the road, and took with him twenty knights. And as he went he did great good, and gave alms, feeding the poor and needy. And upon the way they found a leper, struggling in a quagmire, who cried out to them with a loud voice to help him for the love of God; and when Rodrigo heard this, he alighted from his beast and helped him, and placed him upon the beast before him, and carried him with him in this manner to the inn where he took up his lodging that night. At this were his knights little pleased.
When supper was ready he bade his knights take their seats, and he took the leper by the hand, and seated him next himself, and ate with him out of the same dish. The knights were greatly offended at this foul sight, insomuch that they rose up and left the chamber. But Rodrigo ordered a bed to be made ready for himself and for the leper, and they twain slept together. When it was midnight and Rodrigo was fast asleep, the leper breathed against him between his shoulders, and that breath was so strong that it passed through him, even through his breast; and he awoke, being astounded, and felt for the leper by him, and found him not; and he began to call him,