Chapter 38

[ 38 ]

       Once these things and others of the same type had been accomplished, count Bernard, riding rapidly, made for Coucy-le-ChÉteau and (enjoying longed-for embraces) having kissed the boy (so diligent!), guided him with a great army to the town of Senlis. But king Louis, having ascertained the sadness of this double deception, that is because he had captured the boy and then the latter had escaped, sent a messenger to duke Hugh the Great to compel count Bernard to return the boy. Indeed Hugh the Great, in the words of the following oration: "I will not take Senlis, Coucy-le-ChÉteau and Thoury-sous-Clermont away from Bernard by force, and I am unable, no matter how hard I try, to beseige the fortress of Creil, all so that he return his most beloved nephew Richard."
       Meanwhile count Bernard of Senlis sent to Bernard of Rouen and the rest of the Normans to report quickly the longed-for success. Indeed the Normans and the Bretons, merry at the seizure of the welcome boy, rendered vows and thanks for him to omnipotent God. On account of this affair, count Bernard of Senlis travelled to Bernard, a man of Rouen and Dacian-born, in order to take counsel concerning what to do about the boy. And when by turns they had enjoyed reciprocal and greatly secret discussions and had for a long time pondered the reinstatement of the boy in the realm, count Bernard said to Bernard the Dacian: "Henceforth I will no longer come to meet you in conference, so that king Louis will not realize the intention of our plan. But believe and examine with ingenious effort whatever message I shall send to you through a messenger (once the signal established between you and me is shown) that will cause king Louis to fail for, in a cruel manner, he wishes to ruin both us and all of you." When very many matters had been cautiously (note 1) reflected upon, each one immediately went swiftly to see his own home.
       Meanwhile king Louis, anguished over the release of the boy (so worthily seized!) and especially sad and sorrowful about Hugh's disobedient reply, sent for count Arnulf of the Flemish nation (who was particularly anguished by this affair) to hasten to meet him at a conference. Meeting each other hastily in Vermandois, at the villa which is called "Restibulis," (note 2) they began to muse over what to do. But, fearing his own destruction through deserved revenge, Arnulf, fuming with crafty cunning, said to king Louis: "I am shaken to the marrow over what is to come and I am terrified by the quaking of a prodigious fear that the Normans and the Bretons, cleaving to duke Hugh (who is already impetuously quarreling against you), will perchance rise up against us both with a gathered military band, to our combined ruin. But I will give you advice about this, so that we not incur the risk of future damage. Therefore, blind Hugh's eyes with presents and bribes, (note 3) so that he will not be able, by right, to resist what you might do. Grant him Normandy from the Seine to the sea, so that you may have the strength to occupy calmly the regions which are on this side of the river. The Normans, divided in this way, will be truly foresaken, and will not again be stirred to battles against us. In this way you will diminish and disarm the influence of the Normans, not waging war for a single lord."


Contriver of this accursed deed and of this evil advice
And of this impious fraud, why with your treasonous advice
Do you long to crush and check God's foreknowing,
Which is utterly prohibited?
Alas, alas, this offspring's deserving father,
In order to be even more spotless in the Lord's sight
And to shine, a martyr strengthened by martyrdom,
Has already succombed to your treachery.
This time your depravity will turn awry,
Neither defiling nor dilacerating in a similar way.
Truly, this one will be a more splendid duke,
A judicious, peace-making, deserving count,
A holy, god-fearing, good and pious
High patrician, a prudent marquis,
A defender of the fatherland and a supporter of the wretched,
Of those needful of assistance, verily of the widow and orphan.
Having become, for everyone, their every good and their propitious wealth,
He will lead forth the populace
To the heavenly pastures of the starry field,
Governing with suitable guidance and correcting with the law.


1. Preferring the "caute" of CC 276.

2. The contemporary name for this locale is not known.

3. Beneficia.

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