William Marshal at the The Battle of Lincoln in 1218

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After the death of King John in 1216, Louis VIII, heir to the French kingdom, sailed across the English Channel to lay claim to the England's throne.  William the Marshal, who acted as the regent for the young Henry III, led the English forces against the French army that was besieging the castle of Lincoln, and on May 20th the two sides met in battle.  As the text below recounts, William personally led the attack against the French forces and defeated them.  A few months later Prince Louis was forced to give up his invasion of England.


Any man with ears to hear, hear me now
Ore oie qui oreiles a;
and make sure he pays full attention to my words!
De bien oïr s'entende ja!
For the fact is that in my words you will hear it all,
Qu'en cez moz orreiz ja la somme
how God came to the assistance of that worthy man
Com Dex conseilla le prodome
who, above all others, was the very best of men,
Qui devant toz ert esleüz
the most highly prized and trusted.
E plus presiez e plus creüz.
"Hear me, you noble, loyal knights, "
"Oiez, frans chevaliers leials,"
said William the Marshal,
Dist Willemes li Mareschals,
"you who keep faith with the King.
"E qui al rei estes en fei;
In God's name hear me now,
Por Dieu, or entendez a mei,
for your attention to what I say is most necessary.
Kar molt i fait bien a entendre.
Now that we, in order to defend our name,
Quant nos, por nostre pris defendre,
for ourselves and for the sake of our loved ones,
E por nos e por nos amanz
our wives and our children,
E por femes e por enfanz,
and to defend our land
E por defendre nostre tere
and win for ourselves the highest honour,
E por tresaute enor conquere,
and to safeguard the peace of Holy Church
E por la pais de sainte Glise
which our enemies have broken and infringed,
Que cil ont enfrete e malmise,
and to gain redemption
E por aveir redemption
and pardon for all our sins,
De toz noz pecchez e pardon,
now that we, for all that, have taken on the burden of armed combat,
Sostenons des armes le fes,
let us make sure there is no coward amongst us!
Gardez n'i ait ui nul malveis!
Some of our enemies
Partie de nos enemis
have got inside Lincoln,
Se sunt dedenz Nichole mis;
and I know for a fact that the reason they have gone inside
S'i sunt entré, jel sai de veir
is to lay siege to our castle.
Por nostre chastel asseeir,
However, they are not all there.
Mes n'i sunt mie tot ensemble.
I believe that lord Louis
Sire Loeïs, ce me semble,
has gone elsewhere.
Est en autre païs torné;
Those who have set out on this mission
Cil qui se sunt atorné
have been rash in making their assault.
Se sunt enbatuz folement.
We shall be a lily-livered lot
Trop nos deduirons molement
if we do not now take revenge
Se nos ne pernons or venjance
on those who have come from France
De cels qui sunt venu de France
to take for themselves the lands of our men,
Por nostre gent deseriter,
thinking to inherit the same.
Dont il se quident eriter.
They seek our total destruction;
Destruire nos vuelent de bot;
so, in God's name, let us play for the highest stakes,
Por Deu, metons tot a tot,
for, if victory is ours,
Kar, se nos avons la victorie,
we must truly bear in mind
Bien devons aveir en memorie
that honour will accrue to us,
Qu'enor nos en sera creüe,
and that that heritage will be defended,
E la franchise defendue
for us and our descendants,
A nos e a nostre lignage
which they shamefully wish
Que en volent par lor outrage
to deprive us of; we will truly hold on to that,
Tolir nos, mes bien la tendrons;
since it is God's wish that we defend ourselves.
Dex velt que nos nos defendons.
And, since their army is divided,
E quant lor ost est departie,
we shall more easily overcome a part
Nos veintruns mielz l'une partie
of their force than if they were all together.
De lor genz que trestoz ensemble;
What I say is right and makes sense, I feel;
C'est dreiz e reson, ce me semble,
God wills it and reason proves it to be right.
Dex le velt e raison le prueve.
So, it is right that each of you should strive
Dunt est dreiz que chascuns s'esmueve
to the best of his ability to meet this need,
Son son poër a cest afaire,
for otherwise we cannot achieve our objective.
Car autrement nel pouons fere.
There is not a man here who does not see
N'i a nul sol de nos ne veie
that we must free the road that lies ahead
Qu'il couvient delivrer la veie
with blades of iron and steel.
Devant al fer e a l'acier;
This is not the time for idle threats,
Or n'i a mot del manacier,
let us quickly launch an attack on them.
Mes isnelement lor corons sore.
Let us give thanks to God, who has given us the opportunity
Diex nos a doné tens e ore,
to take our revenge
Soie merci, de nos vengier
on those who came here
De cels que por nos ledengier
to do us harm and damage.
Sunt ci venu e por mal faire;
Nobody should hold back:
Nus ne s'en deit ariere traire:
a man takes full revenge for the wrong and shame done to him
Bien venge son mal e sa honte
who overcomes his enemy."
Cil qui sun enemi sormonte."
These words put hope in their hearts,
A cez diz pristrent esperment
cheered, strengthened and emboldened them,
E cuer e force e ardement,
so that they did not hesitate to advance.
K'aler avant rien ne lor coste.
On the Wednesday of Whitsun
Le mecresdi de Pentecoste
they rode to Newark,
Dessi qu'a Newerc chevalchierent;
where they camped for the night.
La nuit iloc se herbergerent.
The next day, Thursday, they rested.
Le juesdi aprés sejornerent;
The Normans in the army
E li Normant qui en l'ost erent
went to see the young Marshal
Dusqu'al gienvle Mareschal vindrent,
and spoke to him the words
A teil parole le tindrent
that you will hear me say next:
Comme vos m'orrez aprés dire:
"In the name of God," they said, "my dear lord,
"En non Dieu," font il, "beals dolz sire,
you were born in Normandy,
Vos fuistes neiz en Normendie;
so it is only right for us to tell you
Si est bien dreiz que l'en vos die
that you are aware that the Normans,
E qu'os sachiez que li Normant    
should be given the privilege of dealing the first blows
Deivent lé premiers cops avant
in every battle fought.
Aveir en checune bataille.
Make sure that you don't fall down on this."
Gardez qu'endreit vos ne defaille."
When the earl of Chester heard
E quant li cuens de Cestre oï
these words, he was not one bit pleased,
Ces moz, point ne s'en esjoï,
and, indeed, he told them plainly, without mincing words,
Ainz lor dit pleinnement sanz faille,
that, if he was not given the right to launch the first attack,
S'il n'a la premiere bataille,
he would not join them in the army
Qu'il n'ireit ovec els en l'ost,
and they would not have his support.
Ne de lui n'avreient acost.
The Marshal and those present
Li Mareschal e cil qu'i erent
did not like this dissension at all,
La discorde point n'i amerent,
so they granted his every wish,
S'otreierent tuz ses talenz,
whilst reserving the rights of the Normans.
Salve la dreiture as Normanz.
Once the matter had been settled,
Quant agreanté fu l'affere,
the papal legate, as was his duty,
Li legaz, qui bien le dut faire,
absolved them with full remission
Les assolt en remission
and pardon of their sins,
De lor pecchez e en pardon,
of all the sins committed by them
De trestoz icels que il firent
since the hour of their birth,
Puis icele ure qu'il nasquirent,
so that they might be free to receive
Si qu'il en fussent quitement
salvation on Judgement Day.
Salvé al jor del jugement.
He then excommunicated the French
Puis escumenia les genz
inside the town,
De France qui erent dedenz;
a fact that is well known to people.
Issi fu fet, bien le seit l'en.
The legate then rode
Li legaz vers Notingaham
straight to Nottingham,
Tint son dreit chemin e sa veie.
whilst the army proceeded to Torksey.
L'ost ves Torkesie s'aveie;
They camped there that night
La nuit i jurent, tant vos di,
and the next day, a Saturday,
E l'endemain al samedi
following mass, they took up their arms
Aprés messe les armes pristrent
and put every effort into preparing themselves.
D'els acesmer mult s'entremistrent.
When they were well and truly armed,
Quant bien e bel armé se furent,
they organised and duly
Lors atornerent comme il durent
drew up their squadrons,
Lor batailles e conreerent
and formed their battalions.
E lor escheles ordinerent.
The earl of Chester rode out first,
Li cuens de Cestre eissi avant,
a brave and highly experienced knight,
Proz chevaliers e bien savant,
with the earl Marshal next,
E li cuens Mareschal aprés,
he and his son side by side,
Il e si fiz tot pres a pres,
both of them having high expectations
Qui molt erent en grant espeir
of advancing their cause to the best of their ability.
D'avancier l'euvre a lor poeir.
And so they did, very clearly,
Si firent il, bien i parut,
for their ability produced a rich return.
Car lor poer molt i valut;
The worthy earl of Salisbury,
E li boens cuens de Salesbere,
whom may the Lord our God and his mother
Lequel Damlnedex e sa mere
grant the right to share in his glory,
Face compaignon de sa glorie,
rode forward in the third formation.
S'en eissi en la tierce estorie.
The worthy bishop of Winchester,
Li buens evesque de Vincestre,
who was in command of one part of the army
Qui d'une part ert de l'ost mestre,
led the fourth formation
Si conduist la quarte bataille
was not for one moment harmed by that.
Unques point n'en fu enconbrez.
When the entire army was counted up,
Quant tot li oz fu ennonbrez,
there were only four hundred
Ne furent il que quatre cent
and five knights amongst them,
E .v. chevalier solement,
and, I can assure you, crossbowmen
Ne d'arbalestiers entreset
only three hundred and seventeen.
Fors sol treis cenz e .xvii.;
They were few, but they conducted themselves in a fine manner,
Poi furent, mes bel se porterent,
for they were brave and valiant men.
Car buene gent e hardie erent.
And once they had ridden out,
E quant issi eissu s'en furent,
properly drawn up in close ranks,
Al reingnie, si comme il durent,
the Marshal spoke to them
Lores parla molt hautement
in a very stirring way,
Li Mareschal a cele gent,
in the manner of a man who well knew how to do that
Comme cil qui bien le sout feire,
and was best capable of pulling it off.
Car mielz en saveit a chief traire,
He said: "Now listen, my lords!
Si dist: "Ore escoutez, seignor!
There is honour and glory to be won here,
Vez ici hautece e enor,
and my opinion is that we have the chance
Vez ici, ce nos est a vis,
to free our land.
La delmorance del païs;
It is true that you can win this battle.
Ci poez conquerre, c'est veirs.
Our lands and our possessions those men
Cil nos terres e nos avers
have seized and taken by force.
Sesissent e pernent a force;
Shame be upon the man who does not strive,
Honiz seit qui ci ne s'esforce
this very day, to put up a challenge,
De metre i, ui cest jor, chalenge,
and may the Lord our God take care of the matter!
E Damlnedex conrei en prenge!
You see them here in your power.
Vez les bel isi suz uim;        
So much do I fully guarantee,
Itant vos prenc je bien em main
that they are ours for the taking, whatever happens,
Il sunt nostre, comment qu'il aut,
if courage and bravery are not found wanting.
Se cuers e herdemenz n'i faut.
And, if we die .......................,
E se nos morons ...........................,
God, who knows who are his loyal servants,
Dex, qui ses buens veit e descuevre,
will place us today in paradise,
Nos met ui en son paradis;
of that I am completely certain.
De ce sui je certeins e fis;
And, if we beat them, it is no lie to say
E se nos lé vencons, sanz fable,
that we will have won eternal glory
Nos avrons enor pardurable
for the rest of our lives,
Conquise a trestoz nos eages,
both for ourselves and for our kin.
A nos e a toz nos lignages.
And I shall tell you another fact
Si vos dirrai un autre acontre
which works very badly against them:
Qui trop leidement les encontre,
they are excommunicated
Que il sunt escomenïé,
and for that reason all the more trapped.
D'itant sunt il plus enlïé;
I can tell you that they will come to a sticky end
Si vos di que mal chief prendront,
as they descend into hell.
Que que en enfer descendrunt.
There you see men who have started a war
Vez ci cels qui gerre ont enprise
on God and Holy Church.
Contre Dieu e vers seinte Glise;
I can fully guarantee you this,
Itant vos prenc je bien en main,
that God has surrendered them into our hands.
Dex lé nos a mis en la main.
Let us make haste and attack them,
Haston nos, si lor coron sore,
for it truly is time to do so!"
Car bien est e tens e ore!"
When the Marshal had spoken,
Quant parlé out li Mareschals
as the worthy, loyal,
Comme proz e comme leials
and wise knight he was,
E come sages chevaliers,
he entrusted his crossbowmen
Lors bailla les arbalestiers
to Peter, the worthy bishop of Winchester,
Al buen evesque de Wincestre,
who was in charge of leading them,
Qui de bien mener ses fu mestre,
who had sound knowledge in that sphere,
Pieres, qui molt sout de l'afere
and who strove hard to perform well.
E mult se pena de bien faire.
Then he told him to place himself straightway
Aprés lui dist que demaneis
to the right of the French,
Fust a la destre de Franceis;
and he told the bowmen to make sure to
E si lor dist que tant feïssent
spread themselves out in a long line,
Que estenduement s'entendissent,
so that, when the French arrived,
Si que quant li Franceis venissent
their horses would be killed under them.
Que lor chevals lor occeïssent.
The Marshal then asked for
E li Mareschal demanda     
two hundred soldiers and ordered them
Deus cenz serjanz e quemanda
to be ready to kill
Qu'en ocire meïssent peine
their own horses with their knives,
Des couverez lor chevals demeine,
so as to be able to take shelter behind them,
Si qu'en lieu de lices lor fussent
if necessary, in an emergency.
Al besoingn se mestier eüssent.
All those who listened to the earl
Tuit cil qui le conte escouterent
displayed their joy
Joiosement se demenerent,
and disported themselves as merrily
E aussins envoisiement
as if they were at a tournament.
Com se ço fust torneiement.
In the castle,
Laïnz furent Franceis par nombre,
if I have got my figures right,
Qui li nonbre ne m'en encombre,
there were six hundred and eleven French knights,
Sis cenz e unze chevaliers;
and at least a thousand foot soldiers,
S'i furent bien mil peoniers,
not counting the English with them,
Estre Engleis qui o els esteient,
who were still on the French side.
Qui encore a els se teneient.
Out of the city rode
De la vile eissirent eissi
Sir Simon de Poissy,
Missires Simons de Peissi
along with the count of Perche
E le conte del Perche o lui
and the earl of Winchester,
E cil de Vincestre autresi,
their mission being to observe the King's men
Que l'ost des reals sorveïssent
and bring back a true report on their strength.
E verité lor en deïssent.
They went and quickly returned.
Cil alerent e tost revindrent;
The result of their observation
Lor sorveüe a itant tindrent
was that they estimated them to be a fine body of men,
Que bele gent i ont esmee:
and that a troop better equipped for war
Unques nule mielz acesmee
and more resolute to wage it,
Ne melz enpernante de guerre
nobody had ever seen in any land.
Ne vit mes uns en nule terre.
Once they heard the news given to them,
As noveles que cil lor distrent
the French withdrew behind their walls,
Franceis dedenz lor murs se mistrent,
and they said that they knew full well
E si distrent que bien saveient
that the King's men had not the power
Que li real poër n'aveient
to attack them inside the city,
Qu'en la vile les assaillissent,
whatever pretence they put up,
Quel semblant que il en feïssent,
and that they would go away;
E distrent qu'il s'en partireient;
but the King's men would not be allowed
Mes ja issi ne s'en ireient
to get away scot-free,
Li real o correies ointes,
because they would have other encounters
Qu'il n'eüssent autres acointes
as they left, so they swore.
Al departir, ce s'afichoent,  
And they disclosed and gave what,
E bien disoient e mostroent,
in their opinion, was the real reason
Ce lor ert vis, dreite acheison
why and how
Coument e pur quele raison
they would gain many of their possessions:
Il avreient del lor assez,
their horses were weary
Car lor chevals erent lassez
from carrying heavy burdens, from the long journeys,
Des grant fes e des granz tornees,
from all the stopping, the turning round,
De l'arester, des retornees,
because both by night and by day
Qu'il lor couveneit nuit e jor
their masters had to be mounted on their backs.
Que sor els fussent lor seignor.
The French in saying this spoke the truth,
Li Franceis d'itant veir se distrent,
but, nevertheless, the King's men
Mes totes veies s'entremistrent
began to move quickly
Li real d'aler bien e tost
with the entire army towards the city,
Vers la vile e tote lor ost
and boldly so, not caring who saw them.
Herdïement, ne chaut quis veie.
And the Marshal constantly
E li Mareschal tote veie
exhorted and addressed them,
Les amoneste e lor sermone
giving them heart and courage.
E herdement e cuer lor done,
His words to them were: "My lords, my friends,
Si lor a dit: "Seignor ami,
look how those who mustered
Veiz ci cels qui sunt arrami
with a view to riding to attack you
De venir vers vos a bataille
have already shown their true colours
Ont ja depeciee lor caille
and retreated behind their walls;
E dedenz lor murs se sunt mis;
that is what God promised us.
C'est ce que Dex nos a pramis.
God gives us great glory!
Dex nos done grant glorie;
This is our first victory,
C'est ci la premiere victorie
the fact that we have made the French hide away,
Que por nos se muchent Franceis,
men who in the past were accustomed
Cil qui soleient estre anceis
to coming first in the tournament;
Li premier al tornïement;
God is giving us good guidance.
Dex nos feit bel aveiement.
They greatly increase our worth and lessen their own
Mult nos haucent e mult s'abessent
when they leave us in charge of the fields outside.
Cill qui les chans defors nos lessent.
We shall encircle the city,
Nos seron entor la cité,
I can tell you that for a fact.
Cest vos di je por verité;
Let us perform well, God so wishes it.
Feson le bien, car Dex le volt.
Whoever was wont to be a brave man,
Qui c'onques prodom estre seult
let him really see to it that he is so now,
Si le soit ui en bone atente;
lest he repent of his deeds this day."
Ja por un jor ne se repente."
My lords, I must add something further:
Seignor, ci me covient plus dire,
those who have given me my subject matter
Car cil qui me donent matire
do not agree unanimously,
Ne s'acordent pas tot a un,
and I cannot follow all of them
Ne je ne puis pas a chascun
for that would be wrong of me
Obeïr, car je mefereie,
and I would lose the right road
Sin perdreie ma dreite veie,
and be less trustworthy,
Si en fereie mains a creire,
since, when telling a true story,
Car en estorie qui est veire
nobody does right to lie;
Ne doit nus par reison mentir,
lies are not to be condoned
Car ne fait pas a consentir
in a matter which is so well known,
Mensonge en chose si seüe,
so widely heard about and witnessed.
Qui tant est oï e veüe;
But I well tell you this much, in a word,
Mes tant vos dirrei a un mot,
that when the Marshal saw and knew
Quant li Mareschal vit e sout
about the whole business and the manner of it,
Tote la chose e le portreit
namely that the other side had retreated,
Que cil s'erent arriere treit,
before our army advanced further,
Ainz que l'ost plus avant venist
he told John the Marshal,
A Johan li Mareschal dist,
his nephew, to go
Son nevo, qu'el chastel alast
and make enquiries
Si enqueïst e demandast
about the lie of the land inside,
L'estre dedenz e la maniere,
and then return.
Puis si s'en revenist arriere.
And Sir John carried out
E missire Johans si fist
quickly and to good effect what his uncle had said:
Tost e bien, si commë il dist:
he went straight to the castle,
Tot dreit vers le chastel ala,
and, as he reached it,
E issi conmë il vint la
Sir Geoffrey de Serlant
A l'encontre li ert errant
came riding up to meet him.
Missires Geffrei de Cerllant,
On one side of the road
Qui d'une part en une estree
he showed him the entrance
Li demostra tote l'entree
through which the army could penetrate the castle,
Par ou l'ost laïnz avendreit,
for there would be nobody there to stop it.
Que ja nuls nel contretendreit.
Sir John could see for himself
Misssire Johans vit molt bien
that the man showing him the entrance
Que cil ne li menteit de rien
was not lying in any way,
Qui l'entree li enseignot;
and so he returned as soon as possible,
Retorna s'en a l'einz qu'il pout,
for he had no wish to tarry.
Car n'out talent de sejorner.
Just as he thought to turn his horse round,
Si comme il s'en quida torner,
the French, who were lying in ambush,
Li Franceis, qui en aguet furent,   
immediately assailed him.
Erraument sore li corrurent.
He did not behave like a man terrified
Ne fist pas esbaïement,
but boldly encountered
Ainz encontra herdïement
the first few of them to reach him,
Toz les primereins qui li vindrent,
and they could not withstand him,
Si qu'onques vers lui ne se tindrent,
because of his bravery and courage,
Par herdement e par proëce
his skill and his speed.
E par bien faire e par vistesse;
He returned so quickly to where he had come from ...
Meis retorna si tost ariere ....
and there was not a single one of them there.
Qu'onques nuls d'els n'i eüst.
Thus, in very truth, John the Marshal
Issi parti de cels de France
departed from the French
Sanz meschef e sanz mesestance
without suffering any harm or mischief,
Johans li Mareschal por veir,
and he fully made them realise
E bien lor fist aperceveir
that he had gone there to seek them out
Qu'i esteit venuz por els querre
and to claim his land from them.
E por chalengier lor sa terre.
Once he had sent them on their way,
Quant il les out mis en la veie,
he rode straight back to his uncle
Tot dreit vers son oncle s'aveie,
and told him all that had happened to him.
Si li conta tot son afaire;
I can tell you that his uncle was much pleased
Sachiez qu'a l'oncle pot molt plere
by his exploit, the encounter with the enemy,
E de l'uevre e de l'assemblee
and with the news about the entrance.
E des noveles de l'entree.
That is what Sir John did on that occasion,
Issi le fist a cele feiz
but it would not be right for me
Sire Johans, mes n'est pas dreiz
to relate my account in advance;
Que redie par ci me taille;
what he did in the battle
De ce qu'il fist en la bataille
will be related when the right moment comes,
Sera parlé quant lius en iert,
and as my written source stipulates.
Si com l'estorie le requiert.
The bishop of Winchester,
E li avesques de Wincestre,
who had a great wish to learn about their situation,
Qui molt volt saveir de lor estre,
rode of his own will towards the walls,
Ala vers les murs volentiers
with a big contingent of crossbowmen.
A grant plenté d'arbalestiers;
Then he told them to wait for him there,
Puis lor dist qu'iloc l'atendissent,
and to remain patient for a while,
O un poi iloc se soufrissent,
and said that he would return quickly.
Qu'il revendreit hastivement.
Taking with him only one soldier,
O un servant tant solement
he entered the castle,
Dedenz le chastel s'en entra,
and, as he did so, he met
E en son entrer encontra
Sir Geoffrey de Serlan,
De Serlant monseignor Geiffrei,   
who had been in great fear.
Qui out esté en grant esfrei;
They saw the collapsing fallen walls
Les murs trebuchiez e quassez
and greatly lamented what they saw.
Virent, si les pleinstrent asez.
The bishop witnessed the damage sustained
Li evesques vit les tormenz
by walls, houses, and people,
Des murs, des meissons e des genz
knocked down to the ground and laid low
Que les perrieres qui jetoent
by the stones launched by catapults.
Trebuchoent e abateient.
Some of those inside the castle
Alcuns de cels qui laïnz erent
tried to protect him, and asked him,
Le garnirent, si li roverent,
for God's sake, to stand back,
Por Dieu, qu'il se traïst arrieres
because of the mangonels and catapults
Por mangonels e por perieres,
which were breaking everything in sight,
Qui pecieient tot entor,
but he entered the tower.
Et il s'en entra en la tor.
There he found that worthy lady
Iloec trova la boene dame,
(may God protect her in body and soul!)
Que Dex gard en cors e en ame,
who was its castellan
Qui dame cel chastel esteit,
and was defending it to the best of her ability.
A son poeir le defendeit.
The lady was very pleased
Bien s'en tint la dame avenue,
and was full of joy at his arrival,
Molt se heta de sa venue,
and he gave her great comfort
E il molt le conforta
through the news he brought her.
Des noveles qu'il aporta.
I can tell you that he did not stay long there;
Poi i demora, ge vos di;
he entered the town on foot
Par un postiz a pié eissi
through a postern gate, for his wish was
En la vile, car il voleit
to see what the situation was there.
Veer coument ke seeit.
And as he looked around him,
E comme il esgardout issi,
he caught sight of an old gate,
Une vielle porte choisi,
a gate of great antiquity
Qui ert de grant antequité
which was the link between the city walls
E qui les murs de la cité
and those of the castle.
Joigneit ovec cels del chastel.
When he saw it, he was very pleased,
Quant il la vit, molt li fu bel,
but it had long before been
Mes el fu ancïenement
blocked in with stone and cement,
Close de pere e de ciment,
so that nobody could have passed through it,
Si que nuls entrer n'i peüst
whatever need he had to do so.
Por nul bosoing qu'il en eüst.
Once the bishop had seen
Quant li evesques out veüe
and espied that gate,
Cele porte e aparceüe,
he had it knocked out
Por le chastel plus enforcier
so as to give better protection to the castle,
La fist abatre e trebuchier,
and so that the king's army could see and know
E que l'ost veïst e seüst
that they had a certain point of entry there.
Que seüre entree i eüst,
But, before doing so, he prayed to God in the matter,
Mes Deu tot avant en preia,
and God granted him his wish.
E Damlnedex li otreia.
The bishop returned to join the army,
Li avesques a l'ost revint,
whose men came to meet him with joy in their hearts,
Qui a joie encontre lui vint,
and every man in his squadron was singing,
E chantout chascuns en s'estorie
as if victory were already theirs.
Cum il eüsent ja victorie.
The bishop was full of mirth
Li evesques joiosement
as he told them gently, in jest,
Lor dist par giu buenement
why he had played that trick of his:
Por ço qu'il out fait cele tresque,
it was with a view to claiming the bishop's palace
Qu'il eüst la meisun l'evesque
to sleep in when he got there,
A lui gesir quant la vendreit,
for he ought to have it by right.
Qu'il la deveit aveir par dreit.
"The reason why it should be given up to me
"Por ço me deit estre livree
is that I have arranged that entrance
Que l'entree i ai aparaillé
for the safe
Par ou noz genz seürement
and valorous entry of our men."
I enterront proosement."
And when Fulcher's men heard
E quant les genz Fauques oïrent
these words, they were overjoyed;
Itels moz, molt s'en esjoïrent;
they went straight ahead and entered,
Tot avant dedenz entrerent,
but those inside repelled them
Mes leidement les reüserent
savagely, so that they achieved hardly anything
Cil dedenz, qu'il n'i firent gueres,
and so their fortunes quickly turned.
Tost lor changierent lor afeires.
The bishop said to the Marshal:
Li avesque al Mareschal
"Upon my soul, these men of ours did badly,
Dist: "Par mon chef, cist ont fait mal,
for it is abundantly obvious
Car c'est la verité provee
that they haven't yet found
Qu'il n'ont pas unquore trovee
the right gate, the one I had in mind.
La dreite entree ou mis cuers pense,
There they will find no resistance,
Car ja n'i troveront defense;
for I can tell you that nobody guards it;
Car sachiez que nuls ne la garde
no man on our side need have any fear.
Ne nuls de nos n'i avra garde.
And I can tell you for a fact
E sachiez bien, tot a seür,
that a part of their wall
C'une partie de lur mur
is breached, to our advantage,
I est a nostre ues aoverte
but not open to those inside.
E a cels de laïnz coverte;
Come, I will take you there!"
Je vos i merrai; venez i!"     
The Marshal replied,
E li Mareschal respondi,
that worthy earl William,
Li boens cuens qui ot non Willelme:
"God's lance! Here, bring me my helmet!"
"Por la glavie Dieu! cha mon helme!"
The bishop said in reply: "My lord,
Li evesques respondi: "Sire,
listen a while to what I wish to say:
Oiez un poi que vuil dire:
it is not wise to act in such haste
L'en ne deit mie en tel sorsalt
and launch such an attack at this time.
Ci endreit faire teil assalt;
Instead, allow two men
Mes souffrez que entor la tor
from each of our squadrons
Augent dui home tot entor
to go round the tower,
De chascune de noz batailles,
to find out about the hiding-places,
Qui enquerront les repostailles
and, in line with what they discover,
E, selon ce que il veront,
to give us their advice."
Selonc ce nos conseilleront.
The Marshal accepted this,
Li Mareschal bien li otreie.
and then set forth,
Lors se mist avant a la veie,
whilst the bishop of Winchester
E li evesque de Wincestre
.......... ten ................;
Dis ...........................................;
he took two from each formation,
De chascune eschiele en prist deus,
and with them he went to the place.
Dessi qu'al liu vint ovec els.
And when those who went encountered the soldiers,
E quant les servanz encontrerent,
who had beaten an ugly retreat,
Qui leidement parti s'en erent,
they reviled them greatly
Molt les ledirent cil qui vindrent
when they were close to them in the throng.
Quant dedenz la presse les tindrent.
"Ride on!" the Marshal then said
Lors dist li Mareschal: "Errez!"
to all his men, "for you will see them
A toz les suens, "car les verrez,
beaten in a short while.
Qu'il seront vencu en poi d'ore.
Shame be upon the head of him who waits longer!"
Honiz seit qui plus demore!"
The bishop said to him: "My dear lord,
Li evesques li dist: "Bel sire,
listen a while to what I wish to say to you.
Oiez un poi que jo vueil dire.
Wait in there for your men,
Atendez leiens vostre gent;
for it will be a finer and more proper thing,
Si sera plus bel e plus gent
and far safer, I think,
E greingnor seürté, ce semble,
if we all rode there as a body.
Que nos augons trestuit ensemble,
That is what is fitting, I believe,
Que s'apartient, ce m'est a vis,
and, at the same time, our enemies will have greater fear of us
Si nos creindront nos enemis
when they see us all together;
Plus, quant ensemble nos veront;
our arrival will cost them dearly."
Nostre venue comperont."
The truth is that the Marshal
D'icez paroles, c'est la veire,        
had no inclination to accept these words of advice.
Nel volt pas li Mareschal creire,
Instead, more swiftly than a merlin could fly,
Mes plus tost c'uns emerillons
he spurred on his horse,
Feri cheval des esperonz,
and all those in his company
Si que tot cil qui o lui erent
were emboldened by what they saw him do.
S'enhardirent quant l'esgarderent.
A young lad then said to him:
Un vallez li comence a dire:
"In God's name, my dear lord, wait for us;
"Por Deu, atendez nos, beal sire;
you haven't got your helmet on."
Vos n'avez pas vostre healme."
It was then that earl William realised that this was so,
Lors s'aparchust li cuens Willealme;
so he said to the young Marshal:
Lors dist al giemble Mareschal:
"Wait for me here
"Atendez moi a cest ostal
while I get my helmet;
Tant que j'aie mon helme pris,
I nearly made a mistake there."
Mes d'itant dui aveir mespris."
The delay was not for long,
Ne fist mie grant demoree;
and once the helmet was on his head
E quant il ot sa teste armee
he appeared more handsome than all the rest.
Sor trestoz les autres fu bels;
As swiftly as if he were a bird,
Si treslegiers come uns oisels,
a sparrowhawk or an eagle,
Esperviers ne alerions,
he pricked the horse with his spurs.
Feri le cheval des esperons.
From now on he wished to be in full view.
Des uimés velt que l'en le veie;
No ravenous lion, on finding its prey
Lions famillos sor sa preie,
helpless on the ground beneath it,
Quant soz sei la trueve a bandon,
ever rushed at it with such ferocity,
Ne vient unques de cel randon
I would say, as did the Marshal
Cum li Mareschal, ce m'est vis
when he attacked his enemies.
Corut sore a ses enemis.
This man, who had performed so many deeds of valour,
Cil qui des proëces fist tantes
plunged into the very thick of them
Plus que la longor de treis hantes
over a distance greater than three spears' length,
S'enbati en lor grant espeisse,
thinning their ranks by main force
Si qu'a force les deespeisse
and breaking up in his path a press
E derront avant sei la presse,
which was very tightly formed and crowding in on him.
Qui molt ert espresse e empresse;
He really knew how to clear the way ahead,
Bien sout fere avant lui la veie,
routing them all and pushing them aside.
Que toz les desrote e deveie.
The bishop followed,
Li evesques aprés ala,
shouting loudly
Qui a haute voiz s'escria:
many times, in all directions:
Plusors feiz amont e aval:
"This way! God is with the Marshal!"
"Ça!  Dex aïe al Mareschal!"
But I nearly omitted to mention the fact
Mes d'itant dui aveir mespris        
that, as our side arrived, there was killed
Qu'el venir des noz fu ocis
their most expert stonethrower,
Lor plus mestre perreior,
the one who was bombarding the tower.
Cil qui perreiot a la tor;
When he saw our knights,
Cil, quant il vit noz chevaliers,
he had become more heartened and resolute,
Si em fu plus bauz e plus fiers,
for he thought they were on his side,
Qu'il quida ce fuissent des suens,
so the game seemed a better one to him.
Si li sembla li gius plus buens.
He put his stone in the catapult,
Lors mist la pierre en la perriere,
and those coming up behind him,
E cil qui li erent derriere,
once they had heard him say "Eh!" twice,
Si comme il out dit deus feiz: "é!"
prevented him from saying another "Eh!",
Le firent faillir a l'autre "é",
for they cut off his head
Car il li couperent la teste,
without any further ceremony.
N'unques n'en firent autre feste.
I can vouch for the fact that the young Marshal
Li genvles Mareschal por veir
made it plain for all to see
Fist bien a toz aparceveir
that he had no wish to be left behind,
Qu'il ne voleit pas estre ariere,
since his banner was always
Car toz dis esteit sa baniere
seen at the very front,
El premier front devant veüe;
and was well recognised there that day.
Bien i fu le jor coneüe.
Our men rode up most fiercely,
Nos genz vindrent molt durement,
and the other side began to put up
E cil molt angosusement
a very stout defence,
Se coumencierent a defendre,
though they had no wish to tarry there for very long,
Mes n'i voldrent pas trop atendre;
for it was not a matter of issuing threats.
N'i aveit mot del manescier.
By the time the Marshal had had his helmet laced up,
Quant son healme fist lacier
I can tell you for a fact that
Li Mareschal, por verité,
his son entered the city
Entra sis filz en la cité
through the breach in the wall, with a sizeable contingent of his own men,
Par la breque o plenté des suens,
of which there were many worthy present.
Dont il i ot asez de buens,
E molt entor lui seu
....he found the enemy there,
La gent trova de la,
who formed a far more handsome contingent,
Qui plus esteient bels d'asez
for there were many more of those there
Car trop en i ot amassez
assembled in the city
De cels qui en la cité erent
than in the company of those who had entered.
Plus que de cels qui i entrerent,
Despite that, he lost no time in assailing them.
Mes il lor corust tantost sore.
And I can tell you that, within a very short time,
Si vos di en molt poi d'ore
they had inflicted great damage on those inside,
Orent cels dedenz molt quassez,  
although many feats of arms had been performed
Mes fait i out d'armes asés
by both sides in the meantime.
Entre tant d'ambedeus parties.
Before it came to the conclusion of the fight,
Ainz qu'il venist as departies
those inside the city had had
En orent cil de la cité
the worst of it, I can tell you,
Le pis parti, c'est verité,
for I can assure you that
Car je vos di que tote veie
the young Marshal continually
Les mist cil par force a la veie
sent their men on their way by force.
Qui esteit gienvles Mareschals;
And the father came galloping up,
E li peres, qui vit grant dals,
together with the worthy earl of Salisbury,
E li buens cuens de Salesbere,
to whom may God and his mother
A cui Damlnedex e sa mere
grant such a reward
Otreit issi buen gueredon
that he find pardon for his sins;
Qu'il ait de ses pecchez pardon,
these two turned to the right,
Icist dui tornerent a destre
leaving on their left
E si lasserent a senestre
a church, and they came across the enemy,
Un mostier e lor gent troverent,
many of them
Dunt grant partie ileques erent
in great fear and trembling.
En grant peor e en esmai,
Robert of Roppesley
Si que Robert de Ropelai
picked up a lance to joust,
Prist une lance por joster;
and, whatever the cost might be to him,
Que que il li deüst coster,
he dealt such a savage blow to the earl
Si durement feri le conte
of Salisbury, as our story has it,
De Salesbire, c'est al conte,
that he broke his lance into pieces,
Que sa lance en pieces bruissa;
after which he rode on past.
A itant utre s'en passa.
As he rode back,
Al retor, en son revenir,
the Marshal dealt him such a fierce
Li Mareschal de teil aïr
blow between the shoulders
Entrë espalles le feri
that he almost knocked him to the ground.
Si que par poi ne l'abati.
And he, who had all the misfortune,
E il, qui tot a le mescheeir,
slid to the ground
Se lassa a terre chaeir;
and, out of fear, went to hide
Por la poor s'ala muchier,
as quickly as he could in an upper room,
A l'einz qu'il pout, en un solier,
for he dared not be found on the ground.
Car il n'osa remeindre a terre.
And our side had no inclination to pay him much attention
Ne voldrent atendre a lui guere,
and rode on in pursuit.
Mes por teser avant passerent.
They found the count of Perche
Le conte de Perche troverent
right in front of the church,
Aseiz pres devant le mostier        
looking very arrogant and proud.
Molt orguillos e molt tresfier.
He was a very tall, handsome, fine-looking man,
Molt esteit bels e granz e genz
and he had many men with him.
E molt out grant plenté de genz;
They put up a very stern defence,
Molt durement se defendirent,
whilst our side strove with all their might
Et li nostre molt entendirent
to do them mischief,
A els grever de grant puissance,
for they detested the French.
Car molt haeient cels de France.
There were many feats of arms performed there,
Ilec ot fet d'armes assez,
and the truth is that there were many
Car de bleciez e de quassez
of their men who were found
E de folez e de batuz
within the walls wounded and maimed,
E de pris e de retenuz
trampled on and beaten,
I ot molt, c'est la verité,
and many taken captive,
Des trovez dedenz la cité,
and many of our own also came to grief,
E des nos genz lediz sovent,
for nobody there sought protection
Car nuls n'i quereit tensement
or gave himself up for ransom or wished to be enrolled among the prisoners;
N'amercïer ne metre en taille;
all were intent on the fight.
Tuit tendeient a la bataille.
[Fierce was the battle and the fighting,]
Grant fu la mellee e l'estor,
and the count of Perche performed
E molt i fist d'armes le jor
many great feats of arms that day,
Li quens del Perche durement,
although he did not last out long,
Mes n'i dura pas longement,
for he began to inflict
E molt commença fierement
great damage on our men.
A grever tote nostre gent.
The Marshal could see that the French
Li Mareschal vit que sa gent
were forcing his men
Remuoent molt durement
from the high ground to the low,
Les Franceis del mont vers le val
pushing them back down.
E les reüsoent aval.
Immediately he stretched out his hand
En es le pas tendi la main
and took the count of Perche's horse by the bridle,
E prist le conte par le frein,
and that seemed the right thing to do,
Del Perche, e si sembla raison,
for he was the highest ranking man
Por ço qu'il ert le plus hauz hom
to be found on the French side.
Qui i fust devers les Franceis,
However, before that, he had been wounded
Mais il esteit navrez anceis
mortally through his eyehole
Parmi l'oilliere mortelment
by a cruel straight thrust of the sword
D'un espee estreit leidement,
delivered by Sir Reginald Croc
Del quel misire Reinal Croc
with the point of the sword straight through the eye.
L'aveit feru tot a estoc.
When the count of Perche saw the defenders
Quant li cuens del Perche a noz genz     
being so pushed back by our men,
Vit si reüser cels dedenz,
he immediately let go of his bridle,
Par lui fu tost laschiez sis freins
took his sword in both hands,
E a pris l'espee de deus mains
and dealt the Marshal
E fiert li Mareschal Willielme
three consecutive blows on his helmet.
Treis cops pres a pres sor le helme;
The blows dealt were so hard and fierce
Si tresgranz e si estult furent
that the marks could be clearly seen on the helmet.
Que sor le healme bien parurent;
But, immediately after that, he slumped down
Tantost si branla contreval
and fell from his horse.
E trebucha de son cheval.
Truly, when the earl Marshal saw
Quant li cuens Mareschal por veir
the count fall in this manner,
Vit issi le conte chaeir,
he thought he had fainted
Si cuida qu'il se fust pasmez
and feared he would be blamed.
E dota qu'il n'en fust blasmez.
To William de Montigny
A Willeme de Montigni
he said: "Dismount and take off
Dist: "Decendez e ostez lui
that helmet which is causing him great distress;
Son helme qui forment le grieve;
I fear that he may not get up again."
De li dot qu'il ne se relieve."
Once his helmet had been removed,
Quant li helmes lui fu ostez,
while the Marshal was by his side
E cil fu de lui el costez,
to see that he was stone dead,
E vit qu'il esteit toz freiz morz,
the sorrow there was intense.
La fu grant li desconforz.
Once the blade had been withdrawn
De la plaie qui lui fu fete
from the wound he had received through
Par l'oiliere, quant en fu trete
his eyehole, there was nothing for him but death.
L'alemele, morir l'estut;
It was a great pity that he died in this manner.
Ce fu grant dous qu'issi morut.
And when the French, who were a mighty force,
E quant Franceis, qui grant gent erent,
saw that our men had attacked
Virent que nos genz se meslerent
them with such vigour,
A els si vigorosement
they were greatly dismayed
Si s'esmaierent durement
and could no longer stand and resist.
E qu'il n'i poeient plus estre;
They rode down a street on the left
Aval une rue a senestre
and headed for Wigford,
S'en tornerent ver Wikefort,
for it was difficult for them to stand their ground.
Car l'atendre lor ert fort.
They were pleased when they found
Bel lor fu, car troverent
some of their men still in the field;
De lor genz qui encore i erent;
very pleased, I should think.
Molt lor en fu bel, ce me semble.
They then grouped together
Lors se ralïerent ensemble
with a view to launching another assault,
Por venir encore assembler,
but they would have done better to steal away,
Mes melz les en venist embler,
as some did subsequently,
Come tels i ot firent puis,
as I read it in my source,
Si comme en l'estorie le truis;
for they looked to their right
Car il regarderent sor destre
and saw the earl of Chester
Si virent le conte de Cestre
in the company of his worthy men,
E sa bone gent ovec lui;
and that turned out to be to their great cost.
Molt lor torna en grant ennui.
The young Marshal went to see his father,
Li gienbles Mareschal al pere
and he gave him a very warm welcome
Vint, qui molt li fist bele here
and was overjoyed
E molt durement s'esjoï
by what he had seen and heard,
De ce que il vit e oï
that is that his son performed so exceedingly well
Que si durement le feseit
in the combat, which was much to his liking.
En l'estor qui molt li pleseit.
The father asked: "Are you wounded?"
Li pere dist: "Avés nul mal?"
He replied: "My lord, not at all."
Il respondi: "Sire, nenal."
The worthy man in turn said: "I am certain that,
E li prodom respondi: "Certes,
if it please God, our losses
Si Dieu pleist, nos avrons nos pertes
will be somewhat repaired today.
Alques restorees encui.
In my opinion and estimation,
Si comme g'entent e je cui,
we shall either defeat them this very day
Nos lé veintromes ui cest jor
or they will leave us victors in the field.
Ou il nos guerperont l'estor.
Then it will be plain for all to see
Si ert veü apertement
how the French perform.
Qu'il uevrent li Franceis.
Let every man take thought to do well,
Ore penst chascuns de bien faire,
for we have no wish to seek their company."
Car nos nes volons mie atrere."
After that the French arrived
A itant vindrent li Franceis
with the English
E ensemble o els li Engleis,
who had fallen in with them.
Icil qui o els se teneient;
In tight battle-formation
Serré e bataillié esteient
they came riding uphill,
E veneient encontremont,
but, before they had reached the top,
Mes anceis qu'il fussent amont
they met our forces.
Encontrerent il nostre gent.
They were not at all pleased by what they saw,
Ne lor sembla pas bel ne gent,
for our side rode in a fine, orderly fashion
Qu'il vindrent sagement e bel
between the church and the castle.
Entre l'eglise e le chastel.
They engaged with their men and attacked them
Nostre gent a els assemblerent
so savagely that they drove them
Si durement qu'il les menerent
by force back down hill, in disarray
Par force contreval arriere, 
and not following road or track.
Sanz quere chemin ne chariere.
Sir Alan Basset and his brother,
Sire Aleins Basset e sis freres
Sir Thomas, with loud shouts
Sire Thomas, o lor vois cleres,
attacked them from behind
Les escrierent par deriere
together with all their bold and valiant men.
A toz lor genz herdie e fere.
When they saw themselves surrounded,
Quant enclos se virent issi,
they were somewhat dismayed,
Lors furent alques esbahi,
and they had no time to rest nor find relief
Qu'il n'orent arrest ne confort
until they reached the bridge in Wigford.
Dessi qu'al pont de Wikefort;
But then they were on soft ground.
Lors furent en la mole terre.
A man would not have had to ride there
La ne covint pas aler quere
very far to seek out combat,
Chevalerie gueres loingnz,
for every man with a mind to do that
Car chascuns en out pleins les poins
had his hands full of it;
Qui d'armes se volt entremetre;
there was no question there of offering pledges,
Qu'il n'i aveient gaige a metre
for the sole price to pay would be their heads and their lives.
Ne mes les testes e les vies.
The boasts made at night in the lodgings
La n'erent proz les aaties
were of no use here;
Que l'en feit al seir a l'osteil;
they had much else to do.
Asez aveient a feire eil.
There were many feats of arms performed there
Ilec ot fet d'armes assez
by both sides, until
D'amedeus pars, tant que lassez
even the very strongest amongst them felt weary,
S'en sentirent tot li plus fort,
for there was no succour
Car ilec n'aveit nul confort
to be expected:
Ou il se peüssent atendre
all they could expect was the giving and receiving of blows.
Fors de cops doner e de prendre.
Some speak of great feats of arms
Tel parole de bien fait d'armes  
who, if they held a shield
Que, s'il teneit par les enarmes
by the straps at such a time,
Un escu en itel afaire,
would certainly not know what to do with it.
Certes, qu'il n'en savreit que faire;
And, if they were fully armed,
E s'il esteit de tot armez,
they would think they were bewitched,
Il quidereit estre charmez,
to the point where they would be powerless to move,
Si que ja mes ne se meüst
however much they needed to do so.
Por nul besoing qu'il en eüst.
What is armed combat? Is it the same
Qu'est fere d'armes? fet en l'an
as working with a sieve or winnow,
Si comme d'un crible ou d'un van
with an axe or mallet?
Ou d'une coingnie ou d'un mail?
Not at all, it is much nobler work,
Nenil, c'est trop greignor travail,
for he who undertakes these tasks is able to take a rest
Car cil quin uevre se repose
when he has worked for a while.
Quant il a ovré une pose.
What, then, is chivalry?
Que est donques chevalerie?
Such a difficult, tough,
Si forte chose e si herdie
and very costly thing to learn
E si trescostos a aprendre
that no coward ventures to take it on.
Que nuls malveis ne l'ose enprendre.
Is every knight really such?
Est chascuns chevaliers un tels?
Not at all, for.............
Nenil, nen a astels
there are many who do nothing with their arms,
Assez qui d'armes n'en font rien
but that does not prevent them from boasting.
E sin richeient il molt bien.
Any man seeking to achieve high honour
Qui en haute enor se velt metre
must first see to it
Primes li covient entremetre
that he has been well schooled.
Qu'il en ait esté a escole.
At the battle of Lincoln
En la bataille de Nichole
were some who had learned sufficiently
Ot de tels quin orent apris
to have won high renown.
Tant qu'il esteient de haut pris.
I can tell you that in that battle
Bien sachiez qu'en cele assemblee
prowess was not lacking,
Ne fu mie proësse emblee,
for you would have seen knights
Car la veïst l'en chevaliers
armed and mounted on their chargers,
Armez seeir sor les destriers,
holding their shields by the straps.
Les escuz as enarmes pris.
Any man who rode a valuable horse
Qui aveit buen cheval de pris
and had in his hand a sturdy lance,
E teneit en sa main boen glavie
would not have traded that lance for all the gold in Blaye,
Nel chanjast por tot l'or de Blaive,
nor would he have lent it at that hour of need,
Ne nel prestast a cel bosoingn:     
for, had he done so, he would have been hard put to it to get it back.
Trop li fust li recovrers loing.
Had you been there, you would have seen great blows dealt,
La veïst l'en grant coups ferir,
heard helmets clanging and resounding,
Haumes soner e retentir
seen lances fly in splinters in the air,
E gleives voler en esteles,
saddles vacated by riders, knights taken prisoner.
Chevaliers prendre e vuidier seles.
You would have heard, from place to place,
La oïst l'en parmi les places
great blows delivered by swords and maces
Grant cops d'espees e de maches
on helmets and on arms,
Sor les helmes e sor les braz
[and seen] knives and daggers drawn
E coutels treire e alesnaz
for the purpose of stabbing horses;
Por chevals ocire a estoc;
their protective covering was not worth a fig.
N'i valeit coverture un froc.
You would have seen hands stretched out
La veïst l'en tendre les mains
on many a side to take horses by their bridles.
De plusors parz por prendre as freinz;
Some spurred forward to help
Li un poigneient por secore
and come to the rescue of companions
Lor compaignons e por recore
they saw suffering injury,
Qu'il veeient venir a honte,
but there was no question of an actual rescue.
Mes del rescorre n'eirt nul conte.
The noise there was so great
La esteit la noise si grant
that you would not have heard God thunder
Que l'en n'i oïst Deu tonant,
for anything, had he chosen to do so,
Por nule rien, se il tonast,
and nobody would have been aware of it.
Ne nuls garde ne s'en donast.
When the shout "The King's men! The King's men!" went up,
Quant l'en criout: "Reials! Reials!"
you would have seen the traitors
Lors veïst l'en les desleals
so disturbed and careworn,
Si trespensez e alordiz
so bowed down and dumbfounded,
E enbronchiez e estordiz
that they did not know what to do,
Que il ne saveient que feire,
nor was there any question of retreat.
N'il n'i aveit mot del retreire.
The King's men began to get the upper hand;
Li Real se pristrent a prendre;
there was no question of putting up a defence there,
Ça n'i aveit mot de defendre,
for they knew and could see only too well
Car bien virent e bien saveient
that they had completely lost.
Que tot a tot perdu aveient.
William Bloet, who held the banner
Ne voleit pas estre deriere
of the young Marshal,
Willeme, qui tint la baniere,
had no wish to be left behind;
Bloët, al gienvle Mareschal,
indeed, he spurred his horse so quickly
Ainz hurta si tost le cheval
that he landed in the press,
Que il s'enbati en la presse,
which was very dense and violent,
Qui molt ert espresse e engresse,
so heavily and head on
Si angoisseement de front   
that he fell over the side of the bridge,
Que il chaï outre le pont,
he and his horse with him;
Il e son cheval tot ensemble;
a man who launches such an attack is no coward.
N'est pas mauveis qui si asemble.
He had not come there to lie down, however;
Il n'i vint pas por sei gesir;
any man who had seen him leap to his feet,
Qui lors le veïst sus saillir
would have born witness to his fleetness of foot,
Torner le deüst a vistesce
his valour and prowess.
E a valor e a proësce.
There the contest was fought,
Iloc fu li chaples tenuz
but hardly long
Mes ne fu gueres meintenuz
by the French side,
Devers la partie as Franceis,
men who, beforehand, had made so many boasts
Qui tant se vantoent anceis
about driving from the land
Qu'il chacereient de la terre
all the men of England.
Trestoz les Engleis d'Engleterre.
In the battle was taken prisoner Saher de Quincy,
La fu pris Sechiers de Quenci,
earl of Winchester, as was
Cuens de Wincestre, e autresi
Sir Robert fitz Walter.
Sire Robert le filz Gauter;
Without any delay my lord Robert de Quincy
Si fu pris sanz nul demorier
was also taken,
Missire Robert de Quenci,
as were many others too,
E plosors autres autresi
which was not a matter to my displeasure.
Furent pris, dont point ne m'ennuie,
The rest rode off in flight
E li sorplus torna en fuie
down along the street
Tote la rue contreval
that leads straight to the Hospital;
Qui s'en veit dreit a l'Hospital;
the way seemed a very difficult one to them
Molt lor sembla la veie forte
until they had reached the last gate.
Dusqu'a la dererene porte.
But then there occured an incident
La lor avint une aventure,
which caused them great harm and injury:
Qui mult lor fu pesante e dure,
a cow went through the gate,
C'une vache entra en la porte,
the one with the port-cullis,
En cele qui le fleel porte,
and as it did the gate came down to the ground,
E la porte se clost aval
with the result that no rider
Issi que nuls homme a cheval
could have passed through, try as he might.
N'i passast en nule maniere.
They now could not move either forward or backward,
Lors ne porent avant n'arriere;
and, anxious as they were
Mes cil, qui angoissos en erent
to get out, they killed the cow.
De issir s'en, la vache acorerent.
The danger was at its worst there,
La fu plus fors li enconbrers,
and many of their knights were taken prisoner,
La out molt pris de chevaliers
as if they had been surrendered up.
Des lor, cum se ce fust livree.      
Once the gate had been broken down,
Quant la porte fu debrusee,
immediately Sir Simon de Poissy
Tant tost fuant s'en issi
fled through the gap
Missires Simons de Peissi,
and after him went the castellan of Arras,
E puis li chasteleins de Arraz,
he who had come to chase away the rats
Cil qui vint por chacier les raz
for the ladies who had come to London
As dames qui a Londres vindrent
to surrender and who took their side.
All the others who made their escape
rested neither by night or day
in any house or any town,
because they believed that the bushes
everywhere, on the hills and in the valleys,
were hiding any number of Marshals,
and they were much afraid at last by that thought.
That was all too obvious at the Holland bridge,
which was broken and in a dangerous condition,
for they killed their horses
to make a bridge to cross over,
such was their haste to do so.


This text was translated by Stewart Gregory, with the assistance of David Crouch.  We thank Ian Short of the Anglo-Norman Text Society and David Crouch for their permission and assistance in republishing this section.




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