Chapter 29

[ 29 ]

       Indeed, it is devoid of merit to keep silent concerning the imitable combat of superior dukes, practised diligently in time past, through various actions, with a benevolent design of sacrosanct purpose, and particularly concerning the especially worthy remarkable deeds of those dukes who have zealously persisted in every way in such good purposes; rather, they are to be written down, lit as much as possible so that, made clear in writing to the memory of those succeeding them, those deeds might instruct and teach their souls for the better through salvation-giving fruit, and so that those successors might, with skilled effort, measure what constitutes an honest life against that standard, and so that, by observation of this example, eternal beatitude may be happily obtained. Wherefore let us begin, although in a dull style, the life of the most kind duke Richard, who flourished in the meadow of the sacrosanct church through especially worthy deeds, shining as does a star in the sky. And furthermore let it be, through his merits, given to us respectfully to publicize his life, he who was the highest reverence and the highest dignity of the church. Just as we would advantageously enjoy the safeguarding and the favor (note 1) of his patronage on earth, may we be defensibly protected by his prayers and merits from everything unsuitable.
       Thus did a most mighty duke, a most glittering patrician and most notorious marquis of venerable life, of remarkable memory, of holy remembrance and of memorable kindness, come forth from the most remarkable stock of a splendid and most noble family, born where the pays de Caux spreads out to the outermost tracts of Belgic Francia adjacent to the sea, bless the walls and the fruitful fields of the fortress of F‚camp with the sacred commencement of his birth. His father William, a duke and a most glorious martyr, knowing of the imminent birth, had his mother, pregnant with the most fortunate and ingrafted scion of a renowned offspring, conveyed in a distinguished manner along a graceful course to the plentifully-furnished court of his residence at F‚camp, so that if by chance Riulf, cruelest of all brutes, should, as was being estimated, claim for himself with his confederates the monarchy of the Norman region, she would be taken speedily across the strait to the Angles so that he would not ravish her. For, as has been recounted, on the day when the battle between the deserving duke William and Riulf (in many ways a blasphemer and an oath-breaker) took place, the venerable matron, having labored to bring forth the boy of divine memory, sent a certain young recruit named Fulchard to disclose to duke William the much-desired matter of the sired descendant. Truly the messenger came, announcing the joy of a born offspring to William, who was riding through the field of battle darkened with lukewarm blood and contemplating the overthrown thousands of lifeless warriors and with joy giving the greatest thanks to the king of kings, having obtained a victory over his foes with 300 men.


O always deserving parents of such a progeny,
At whose appearance prodigious joys blow through
The citizens of the upper world, many earthdwellers likewise.
The heavenly order is merry for such a future fellow citizen,
The deserving human order manifests joy for this sacred judge.
Under his direction, the glad world will always
Enjoy a very worthy dowry of tranquil peace.


1. Beneficium.

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