Chapter 10

[ 10 ]



Thus in the eight hundred seventy sixth year from the lord's incarnation, noble rollo, foresaking the bed of the river schelde on the advice of his fideles, launched his sails before the ship-bearing winds and came by ship to jumiŠauml;ges, having traversed the deep where the cerulean whirlpool of the seine, flowing with its crystal-clear courses and lapping the fragrant grasses of its elevated banks and, going to the open main of the inundating sea, discharges itself, and is often repelled, according to the intervals of the moon, by a more swollen billow of the sea itself. (note 1) And seeing the monastery of saint peter and reckoning the place to be holy and embellished with abodes of monkish habitation, he hesitated to linger there, but steered his ships to the other side of the river, to the chapel of saint vedast, and he placed upon the altar of saint vedast the body of a certain virgin, hameltrude by name, which he had carried there with him, and a name from the virgin's name has forever stuck to this chapel. And that place is called at saint hameltrude by the residents. Thus the inhabitants of rouen, poor men and destitute merchants, and the dwellers in that region, hearing that a plentiful multitude of normans was at jumiŠauml;ges, came of one mind to bishop franco of rouen, in order to take counsel about what to do. But franco immediately sent to rollo, that he might give a guarantee of safety to himself and to those abiding in the district. Truly rollo, ascertaining that there lingered in the town and in its territory none except a defenseless mass, gave the bishop a guarantee of safety on the strength of his own assurance. And then, pursuing a course of navigation beneficial to himself, he came to rouen and secured his ships, plentifully furnished with a very large (note 2) warband, at the gate which is connected to the church of saint martin. Moreover, coming down off the ship and surveying the town at a swift pace, he saw its monuments laid in ruins, and large stones torn away from sanctuaries, churches shaken from their foundations and walls smashed on every side, and a small and defenseless band, and he began to be perplexed in spirit. And to fasten his sight in sole contemplation, (note 3) recalling the vision which he had had beyond the sea.

APOSTROPHE

Oh rollo, mighty duke and most superior leader,
Through christ's gift this town will flourish under your leadership,
It will be built at a future time, once the realm has been calmedby peace,
Once the Franks have been devoured by war, and the populace broken.
Behold the mount (note 4) of the church where you kept seeing yourself rejoice,
Behold here the font of the bath where you were cleansed of leprosy.
This fatherland is to be built by your followers, themselves renewed in the font.
To the peoples in that town you will give laws and alliances
And rights likewise, with the fear of strict penalty.
Marvelously, then, in the coming time of your descendants
Fierce ages will grow tame, wars having been banished,
And ungodly fury, sitting on its arms, will challenge no one
With its cry, the strength of ungodliness having been undone.
Rather, let the fierce wolf graze at the same time in the sheep's field.


Notes:


1. The Seine river rises in Burgundy and flows through Champagne, the Ile-de-France and Normandy into the English Channel. The name of the river is said to mean "to curve," for the course of the river is extraordinarily winding. One result of the sharp twists and turns of the river's flow, has been the creation of extremely steep promontories along certain sections of the riverbank. Another feature of the Seine that also results from its extraordinary curviness is that, when the great tides are running, the seas entering the Seine estuary from the English Channel overwhelm the normal flow of the river current, reversing it and causing a powerful and dangerous rush of waters, called a "mascaret."

2. Preferring the "plurimo" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

3. Preferring the "intuitu" of Bern 390 and other witnesses.

4. Preferring the "mons" of CC 276.


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