Chapter 42

[ 42 ]

       But queen Gerberga, completely deserted by paternal and fraternal patronage, and having endured such a discomfitting defeat, and supported by no hope of relief (but rather dreading to lose the realms), on the advice of the bishops requested the aid of duke Hugh the Great. Duke Hugh the Great respectfully received the queen and the bishops who accompanied her and, honorably apportioning to them whatever was needed, kept her with him for many days; however, in the meanwhile, he sent count Bernard of Senlis to the warrior Bernard of Rouen so that, having called a council of the Norman magnates, he would hasten to meet the duke at St. Clair. No sooner said than done: [the Normans] came hastily, under Bernard's leadership, to the aforesaid place to meet duke Hugh, in fulfillment of the latter's bidding.
       Then the great duke and the bishops said to the Normans: "Return to us our lord king Louis." And they: "He will not be returned, but rather he will be held in captivity." Then Hugh the Great: "We will give you, in exchange for him, his son and two bishops and as many young recruits of his household as you would like, as surety that the Frankish prelates and counts and leaders and abbots will come to meet you at a conference, at some predetermined time, where all will confirm and corroborate and ratify by the oath of allegiance (note 1) of a most irreproachable and true promise that the Norman land belongs to Richard and to his descendants in perpetuity." The leaders of the Normans, very much praising this advice and trusting in the promise of duke Hugh the Great, returned the king, accepting in exchange for him his son, (note 2) and two bishops, Hildierus of Beauvais and Guido of Soissons, (note 3) and very many warriors. Truly, Hugh the Great escorted the king to the former's own home, to rejoice with [the duke's] followers and wife.
       But at the appointed time, having gathered a military band and the prelates of Francia, the king came with duke Hugh the Great to the river Epte to meet the Normans. And although his son, whom he had given in exchange for himself, had died in the town of Rouen, Louis himself, in his own name, with his hands placed upon reliquaries, and the bishops, counts and reverend abbots and the leaders of the realm of Francia, all made a guarantee to the blameless boy Richard that he would have and hold the realm which his grandfather Rollo had obtained for him by force and power in wars and battles, and that Richard himself and his successors in office would render service to no one except God, and that if someone should accost Richard in some quarrelsome corrupt attack, or attack the realm in some hostile quarrelsome attack, Louis would himself be, through it all, a most trusty helper in every exigency. (note 4) Then, when these things had been settled according to this eloquent termination of legitimacy, as king Louis and duke Hugh the Great and their followers stood by, the chiefs of the Bretons and the Norman magnates, having with greatest pleasure given their hands (in place of their hearts) to the boy Richard (so unutterably upright!), made a second promise of military service, aid and payment of dues through the most trusty guarantee of a Christian oath of allegiance.
       Then the Normans and the Bretons, rejoicing greatly, have brought the boy Richard (so honorable and so dignified and so splendid!) to Rouen. When, morever, the inhabitants of the town and of the territory of that district (note 5) , old and young, children and infants, of both sexes, ascertained that the boy Richard (whom they so desired to see!) was speeding toward them, they would be running to meet the boy (so bountifully and mellifluously blameless!) even though they would have no power to reach him, hindered as they were by the obstacle of the pressed-together masses, for the multitude would crush together everywhere because of their joy, and the populace would rush into one another on account of their relief at the recovery of their supporting safety, while the crowd would fiercely squeeze together into innumerable exaggerated mobs. Having prepared the appropriate religious items, the clergy of the whole region has barely managed to extricate itself from the suburbs of Rouen because of the assaults of the turbulent multitude, yet in the end, bearing the bodies of saints in feretories and all the while praising God for the transports of joy occasioned by the returned progeny, has escorted him to the altar of the holy Mother of God. (note 6)


Splendid town, gleaming with that sacred warrior
And plenteously full of all goods,
Abiding, fierce, in a tranquil port,
Glad Rouen, seize that patrician and duke,
Brought back from imprisonment,
Filled with never-ending divine nectar, mighty by right,
For this one will be for you a marvelous and bountiful
Duke, mellifluous likewise, a count
And a patrician, a constant marquis,
And one day the four corners of the world
Will acknowledge his fame, redolent
Of his augured of uprightness,
Because there will be no one more holy than he himself
In action, word, yea even in thought,
For he stands at the summit of human achievement in all these three things.


1. Preferring the "sacramento" of Bongars 390 and CC 276.

2. His second oldest son, named Charles.

3. Hildierus was bishop of Beauvais c. 933 - 972, Guido of Soissons c. 957 - 970.

4. "Licetque - exstiterit" must be read as one sentence in order to provide a subject ("ipse et omnes episcopi") and an indirect object ("Richardo puero") for the main finite verb of the passage ("fecit securitatem"), therefore I have overriden the sentence divisions of the manuscripts.

5. Pagus.

6. The cathedral of Rouen, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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