Chapter 15

[ 15 ]

Thus did william become born in the town of rouen; a most glorious duke and very mighty count and most esteemed athlete for the eternal king. he was begotten of distinguished stock. that is of a dacian father namely rollo. and a frankish-born mother. namely poppa. as was described from beginning to end in the preceding book. His sire. richly endowed with a plenteousness of all goods; and rich with a mosaic of all objects. committed him for fostering. drenched by sacred baptism. to a certain very wealthy count botho; and surrendered him for polishing as was fitting. And then that most beautiful boy. living intimately. near orthodox men. and men of the most respectable lifestyle; beginning to be of blessed memory and great promise. dedicated his youth. strong as a result of his abundant fellowship with four virtues at once; to jesus christ. and he enslaved himself. conquered. to all divine endeavors. Truly he was becoming ever more profusely filled with divine grace. and ever more richly endowed with the wisdom of the seven-fold gift; (note 1) and he was daily becoming more willingly enriched by an abundance of merits; he was being copiously versed in divine dogmas. plenteously animated by religious ordinances. engraved with pleasure by his stewardship of the ecclesiastical way of life. and infused with great profusion by a nectar of honey-flowing sweetness. Indeed he was of striking image. tall in stature. with a vigorous mind. aged in the uprightness of his manners. a perfect man of faith. glittering with every strength. He would spurn the ostentation of this age. and manfully avoid the pomp of the world. Openly, he was most delighted in his visage; peaceful in his serene mind. He was most charming in speech; most mild of comportment in business. He was longing to forsake this fleeting age; and to become a monk at jumiŠges. He would often reflect upon it in his soul; and he would be perplexed in his mind with frequent fixed considerings. He would investigate unremitting; what did christ want in this matter. He would search for a sign concerning the matter. perhaps one might come to him from heaven. Therefore he would devote himself unremittingly to tears; and would austerely prop up his body away from food. Up all night. he would persist in vigils. and he would revive the poor with sustenance. Inflamed by the passionate fire of this ardor; he vowed that he would become a monk. that he would wholly foresake the world.

APOSTROPHE TO WILLIAM

O SACRED WILLIAM, go on in youthful health.
A young man redolent of the flower of first youth.
How can you quickly execute the vow recounted by the present voice?
Why do you wish with a swift vow to proceed to christ's place of refuge?
Why does a ever-watchful guardianship guard tender years?
Why does a rule now straighten your fleshly habits?
Why does a law of chaste limbs bind fast your companions?
Leave off these vows. you will be indispensable to yourself and to us.
For a splendid duke will be born from your seed.
One be adorned moreover with spilled celestial gifts.
Under his wonderful thumb will francia.
Exultingly lead. move and stir. bend and raise her form.
After you pass over the straits to heaven through martyrdom.
He will direct as arbiter the eminent reins of the realm.
And he will weigh complaints balancing with a fair scale:
And with fair judgment; he will instigate torments for culprits.
And he will consign the rewards of a bountiful gift to the righteous.
Everywhere bearing on the deserving top. of his holy head.
A glowing red diadem. punctuated with glittering beryls.
Worthy because of his mound of four-virtues-at-once action.
He will ascend with christ's leadership to the elysian field.


Notes:

1. For the seven gifts of the spirit, see the Glossary under "septifarius."


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