Chapter 43

[ 43 ]

       However, since he would rejoice in the becoming advice of a consort of such great nobility, and would calm with salvation-giving right the peoples of the Breton and Norman fatherland and, with the power of worthy lordship, would restrain with advantageous deliberation the rising evils of any unexpected disturbances throughout almost the whole of Francia and Burgundy, a certain viceroy, (note 1) one rich in treasures and most affluent in warriors, Tetbold by name, irritated with malevolent madness and jealousy and hatred, has begun to plot against him and to wrangle with him, with much mockery, and to storm his land to no purpose. Perceiving, however, that he accomplishes nothing against him, he has travelled to queen Gerberga and her son king Lothar of the Franks, sojourning at Mont Laon. He has begun to urge them, pursuing the matter repeatedly, to bring him down from so great an honor, by ensnaring him.
       And, corrupted by the poison of malice, he would say to the king and his mother: "It is marvelous to me and to all how count Richard (so presumptuous!), holding the Norman and Breton realm, calm, puffed up with presumptuous rashness, insolent beyond all others, rules over Franks. He wages war for, attends and serves neither God nor anyone else but, in the ostentation of his audacity, he trusts confidently in his own disrespectful soul and silly heart. Every one of us he esteems lightly and, like a king, he rules and dominates the Franks with an arrogant authority. Through his resolution, happenings, all of which are troublesome to the Franks, are being compassed. For it pertains to neither your nor our official dignity that such a count should be our lord and master. Indeed it is a blemish on your sovereignty that he commands the Burgundians, censures the Aquitanians and rebukes the Bretons, and rules and governs the Normans, threatens the Flemings and ravages the Dacians and binds and makes friendly the Lotharingians, nay rather the Saxons, to himself, and even the Angles are obediently subjected to him, the Scots and the Irish are ruled by his patronage. Indeed all nations of all realms attend him and yield obedience to him nor is there anyone, except you, who may be able to halt his arrogant rashness and that of his warriors. He is much strengthened and grows very strong, more and more violently and beyond what is sufficient, nor does he become any more reasonable, for he trusts confidently in his copiously-flowing mass of warriors. See that he does not try to attack, in addition to you yourself, your hereditary realm and to banish you and drive you out from it. If you held what he holds, unjustly, you would be able to claim all realms for yourself."
       Indeed, having heard the fallacious tergiversations of this conflict-inciting address, the queen, saddened and moved, has replied to Tetbold: "You, privy to our secret conversation and trusty privy counsellor and advisor of our more private deliberation, give us advice concerning these matters. We, propped up by no one's helping valor, except God's, pray that you, moved by compassion in this affair, might mercifully assist us. We avoid every quarter and keep to ourselves, and secure trustworthiness is nowhere to be found." Truly count Tetbold, desiring through this deceit completely to ruin patrician Richard (so upright!), added this advice for the queen:


Hark! why just now do you rage, o Arnulf, (note 2) inflamed by hatred and treachery,
Extremely weakened and mangled by the pitch-pine torches of envy?
Stop struggling against a higher will and ability,
The exertion which you are now reconsiding in your heart, is utterly useless,
He will not be captured whom the right hand of God has ratified and protects,
For the equitable, upright, harmless, holy and celebrated
Marquis and patrician, count and bountiful duke Richard,
Glorified by a shining bulwark of quadrifid virtue,
Enriching the people entrusted to him, will correct, protect,
Aid, save, and refresh them, just as does a father.


1. Satraps.

2. The reading "Arnulf" does not seem to be one of the frequent mistakes concerning proper names, though it might at first seem to be so. The names of the villains of the work were never rubricated and so the opportunity for confusion would not have arisen as it so frequently did with the names of the heroes of the work. Dudo seems to be insulting Tetbold here by calling him by the name of some great villain, in this case "Arnulf," just as authors sometimes insult traitors by calling them by the name "Judas."

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