Chapter 3

[ 3 ]



       Whilst Francia was being abandoned, as if a desert, and the dreadful arrivals of the Normans were being dreaded like the hidden rumblings of bellowing thunder, and the king of the Franks did not have the wherewithal to resist the temerity of the pagans by force, he meanwhile hit upon the measure, extremely advantageous to himself and to his followers, that he would ally with that viler-than-the-vilest Anstign, and that there would be peace between the two of them, with the storm of pillagings that had been assailing the whole realm having cleared. When, on that account, he had summoned dukes and bishops, counts and throngs of armed retainers, he related and recounted what he had devised, according to the disposition of his own heart, by speaking out and declaiming thus: "Oh lords and masters, having been invited hither because of this menacing complaint, let you seek earnestly for the safety of the realm by examining this measure." But then the Franks, deeply moved by the royal address, said of one mind that they would do battle, waging war against the Normans. And the king, advising against such things, began to speak, saying: "To commence a war against them does not, to me, seem wise. If you perchance go forth to contend with them, oh!, either you will die or they, extremely swift, will return to their ships, having slipped away in flight. Let a lasting peace be procured from these ungodly men, that the land may rest in our time." This measure revealed by the king's mouth was indeed very pleasing to all.
       Peace-making ambassadors are directed to harsh Anstign. Afterwards, assuaged by the rendered payments of a tributary sum and gradually appeased by the weight of the tribute exacted from the Franks, he is not rejecting the peace which was being requested but, of his own accord, is giving it for a longer time! Thus, once an unshattered peace between the chiefs has been secured, he is being escorted to the king, with whom he has fixed, under an inextricable agreement, tributes for a four-year peace. Allied in turn by mutual will and by imperial agreements, they are made, of one mind, united. (note 1) And Francia rested, formerly reduced by manifold pillaging, and during the course of that time it is released from enemy destruction, delivered from the ravaging of puffed-up pagans.
       We urge the reader not to shudder at the dishonor of the unfavorable misfortunes which beset the Franks, for these misfortunes were not intended to ruin them but rather, because of their cumulation of accursed deeds, to correct them. For indeed the Frankish nation, which was crushed by the avenger Anstign, was very full of filthy uncleanness. Treasonous and oath-breaking, they were deservedly condemned; unbelievers and faithless, they were justly punished. For us to pursue in our narration all the hardships of that time is long, therefore let us quickly turn our audacious pen to its intended design. Thus let the reed-pen, however unskilled, briefly illuminate those things which were done at God's command and briefly relate how they happened. And let it represent the truth of the matter, spurning the error of sophism. Let it avoid detours into offensive events, let it pursue instead the salvation that is to come.

                             Epilogue

Holding to wild, circuitous paths and proceeding along slippery,out-of-the-way roads
And entering fruitlessly upon the tortuous bends of slipperyroutes,
I earnestly request, Book, that you now desist for a moment fromthe journey you have begun,
That, wearied by the uncertainties of the subject matter, you now leave off labor.
If, adroit, you are to have the strength to be led further, look closely now,
For the road is exceedingly long, scabrous, full of rocksthroughout,
Grassy, wooded, covered with foliage, both slippery and rough.
And feed grain to your horses, already so lean,
Since they still have the good will, but their ability is very small,
And let them be more frequently thoroughly washed and wiped dry,
With nails join horseshoes to the bottoms of their feet
And greatly adorn their backs with steadfast trappings
And bind their jaws with stitched reins and bridles.
In this way you will perhaps be able to traverse the splendid road
Without going astray and tumbling down, without being harmed and perishing,
If not with the help of God, who justly triumphs from on high,
Nor the intercession of the blessed witness Quintinus,
Then through him for whom we now sing the deeds that he himself exultingly accomplished.


Notes:


1. According to the Annals of St. Bertin, Anstign spent the period after his return from the Mediterranan around Angers, and the treaty was negotiated in 874.


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