Chapter 34

[ 34 ]

       However, king Louis of Francia, hearing that William duke of the Normans, deceived by the ingenuity of count Arnulf of Flanders, had been martyred for the sake of the stability of the sacrosanct church and of holy faith and of peace, and for the sake of his own fidelity, felt severe pain, and hastened quickly to Rouen with his counts in order to consult the magnates of the realm (except those who were compassers of his death) concerning these things which had happened because of the execrable cunning of count Arnulf. Truly the people of Rouen, merry over the arrival of king Louis, took him up willingly, reckoning that he would ride against the Flemings, and that he wished to visit upon them a stinging and baleful revenge for the unheardof sin which they had committed. However king Louis made the boy Richard (so beautiful!) come to him and, weeping with deceitful and fraudulent goodwill, took him up and kissed him and, not letting him go, compelled him to dine and to lie with him. And indeed the following day the king kept with himself and withheld that boy (so honorable) from his tutor, who wanted to lead him to another house (note 1) in order to bathe and watch over him. A second and a third day, in the same way, the king did not allow the foster father, (note 2) burning with desire, to take him away but, with a resolute heart, withheld the boy. The tutor, understanding that the boy (so sweet!) was a prisoner, did not afterwards try to take him any place.
       Full of bustle, therefore, over the report of the situation, the whole city is awakened, and the murmuring which has poured forth about the imprisonment is fanned here and there through the whole town. But at length both the massed suburbanites and the citizens, rushing in the manner of the common people upon the houses of the leaders of the city, have begun to revile those leaders, emitting prodigious groans and saying in loud voices: "By our own carelessness we have lost our extraordinary advocate, duke William; this one, however, will not be banished, an exile, through any treasonous deliberation of yours. We will justly slay all you oath-breakers as well as the king, and we will deliver the boy Richard (so authoritative!) so that he will not be exiled." Stirred up, however, by the extremely rough words of the citizens, very many of the leaders, having speedily decked themselves out with swords and arms, join the armed common people. But very many, fearing the ardor of the rustics, have remained behind in their own homes, bolting the doors with all their strength.
       Thereupon do the common people and the armed warriors, with fervent souls and speedy steps, hasten to attack the king and his own fellow warriors. Moreover, when he has heard the roaring of the hastily raised din, the king has begun to ask the cause. And it has been said to him: "The leaders of this town are longing to attack you, because you are keeping the boy Richard (so hopeful!) in captivity. Only with difficulty will you escape the imminent peril, only with difficulty will you be delivered from the mobs of citizens and armed men." Seized by a cold (note 3) quaking and quivering and shaking at the misfortune of his imminent downfall, the king (having at length returned to himself) has sent for Bernard, a leader of the Norman army, to immediately assist him, for the love of God. Bernard has immediately sent this message back to Louis: "I will deliver neither myself nor him but, I assert, I will take part in this sedition that has arisen." Then the king has sent to him again, this time for advice about how he might be delivered. Bernard, moreover, dreading lest both himself and the king be killed, has sent word for Louis to throw himself as a suppliant, with the boy Richard (of lofty aid!) in his arms, upon the mercy of the warriors and citizens.
       Moreover the king, distrustful and fearing the ruin and destruction of his followers, has taken in his arms the boy Richard (of such great deliverance!) and brought him before the armed men, begging with a suppliant voice for the mercy of those who wished to kill him and his followers. "Behold, it is I and your lord. Do quickly whatever you wish concerning me, only do not kill me and my followers, I supplicantly implore, for your lord did not linger by my side in the way a prisoner is held, but in order that he might be versed in regal knowledge and palatine eloquence." But they, receiving the boy Richard (so virtuous!), have suffered the king, filled with very humble prayer, to return to his courtly dwelling and to his followers. Moreover king Louis, uneasy about these unbecoming events and faltering in fidelity and uncertain about things to come, having consulted his bishops and counts, has sent for the magnates of that city (namely Rodulf and Anslec and also Bernard) to hasten to him. And when they have been summoned and brought before him, the sad king begins to speak to the leaders: "I came here, urged on by vehement grief at the death of your lord, in order to console you concerning what took place, but I encountered the still sadder grief of a more stinging sadness, because your suburbanites with your citizens, and your warriors with a company of rustics wished to crush and tear to pieces, in unexpected ruin, both myself and my followers. But, having been delivered (by your advice, Bernard) from the seditions of so baleful an enemy, I now ask you what I should do next."
       And Bernard has replied: "Your soul already endures only with great displeasure what the rustics and the citizens have done to you. It is, thus, needful that you be rendered safe from the vileness of any fraud that is might be made public. In a word, because our lord William was your fidelis through thick and thin, it is fitting that you confirm for the boy Richard (of great posterity!) the holding of his land in hereditary right, ratifying his possession by the oath of allegiance of a sacred promise and by the placing of your hands upon sacrosanct phylacteries, and so from here on you will be considered innocent. And, finally, may you help and support him against everyone on earth. In this way, you will be able to delight in our services, both military and non-military, and we in your safeguarding and direction. Truly if someone should quarrel with you, we will crush him, and if someone should rise up against us, you will throw him to the ground, by virtue of your influence." Then, in deceit, the king has replied to Bernard: "I will do exactly what you have said, and I will compel my followers, willy nilly, to do so likewise." Thereupon did he bountifully give the land to the boy Richard (so innocent!) to be held in the same hereditary right as his father and grandfather and, having placed his hands upon the holy relics which were brought to him, first he swore by God's name that he himself would aid [Richard] against all others and then he compelled his prelates and counts to do likewise.
       Once everything has been settled and completed in this way, the king begins to speak fraudulently to the Norman leaders: "Since I have, by the offering of a veracious oath, now gone through with this promise (of most irreproachable content) to you and to your lord, you have a steadfast assurance that I will help you with all my strength, and let none among you in any way doubt in my relieving aid. Allow your lord to linger with me, so that, thoroughly instructed in the language of plenteous eloquence, he might learn to terminate and settle the outcome even of a thorny affair. Truly, he will gain knowlege of very many things better in my palace than by remaining in his own household. Wherever I set out to go, he will depart with me, wherever I linger, he shall linger. I now rule all Francia and Burgundy due to the efficacious assistance of his father; for that reason, I will be a help and a solace to him for as long as I shall survive. I would be a rather cruel brute were I not to aid him, for his father was taken by death for my sake." Thus the leaders of the Normans, deceived by these counterfeit addresses of the fraudulent king, have given the boy Richard (of welcome hope!) to king Louis for fostering.
       But after this the king, having gone with the boy to the town of Evreux, would himself dispose of the rights of the state. He would pretend in word and deed to be a helper of good will, but he would bear in his heart the intention of an evil design. Tarrying for awhile in Evreux and, with a sly heart, forcing the throngs of citizens into fidelity to the boy, he has returned to town of Rouen. The next day he has recited to the summoned leaders of the city these fraudulent and deceitful words: "I intend to move against the author of our loss and our grief. Let me return to Laon, escorting with me the boy Richard (your assurance!) and from there, once the Burgundians have been called together and the Franks amassed, I will beseige Arras until I take it. Truly will I overturn all the ramparts of the Flemings and demolish their goods by force of arms. Wherever I shall ascertain Arnulf to be, there will I hastily lead my army. I will visit upon him the revenge which he deserves, if peradventure I ever find him. You, moreover, be ever prepared to avenge your lord with me." Blinded by the sophism of such shammings, they have allowed (note 4) the boy (of future assistance!) to be escorted away by him.


Beat your breast, Rouen, for now your boy,
That mighty marquis given to you by right,
Is a prisoner, quivering,
And is led away, oh grief, like a foreigner,
By the king and the Frankish viceroys,
While the Dacian prelates, slow of mind, stand by.


1. Preferring the "ad alteram" of Bongars 390.

2. Preferring the "itidem altori" of Bongars 390.

3. Preferring the "algido" of CC 276.

4. Preferring the "siverunt" of CC 276.

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