Chapter 52

[ 52 ]

       Thus the most distinguished duke and count Richard, ensnared by the allurements and threats of these lying embassies, has set out, with a gathered military band, to meet king Lothar at a conference. But the king, having gathered together in the deceit all of Richard's enemies, namely Tetbold of Chartres, Geoffrey of Anjou (note 1) and count Baldwin of Flanders, (note 2) having indeed secretly amassed an entire army of Richard's enemies, would linger, in a fraudulent spirit, by the river Eaulne. (note 3) Truly, on the day of the enjoined conference, the day established (deceitfully) for the two to become allies, great duke Richard has sent scouts to report to him concerning any transactions in the king's camp, and to inquire who was with the king and whether any deception was concealed in the conference that was about to be held.
       However, having travelled thither, the scouts have discovered Tetbold and duke Richard's (note 4) other foes before the king. They have been, moreover, brought to a standstill, greatly astounded indeed at the king's messages. Furthermore, while they still lingered with the king in view, behold the cuirassed and helmeted armies of counts Tetbold, Geoffrey and Baldwin have come surging to that very spot, riding swiftly, desiring to be ordered to attack Richard (note 5) and his followers as a hostile assembly. Each one, however, seeing this, would signal to himself the need to report swiftly to count Richard what they have seen. Then one of them, mounted on a nimble horse, has sought out the most worthy count Richard with a fleet course, leaping over the entire host and crying out with a great groan and saying: "Lord, mightiest lord duke, rescue yourself, lest you be undone by enemy heinousness, for all your foes, assembled with the king, are longing either to capture or to slay you and your followers!"
       Undaunted by what he has heard, duke Richard has arisen and has said to his gathered fideles: "Behold, dinner has been prepared for us. Before we turn aside, let us taste it in the name of the Lord. And secured in this way by the banner of the sacrosant cross, let us wait, unshaken, for the battle-wedged troops of our enemies. For their own vileness and treachery will deservedly exhaust them, whereas the uprightness of pure faith and hope will rescue us. Do not let the vehemence of their corrupt multitude terrify you, but let your remembrance of those who preceded you, strong in every adversity, make you valiant." However while he, sitting at dinner, profers these and very many other things by way of persuasion (although very many of his fideles were absent), another messenger has come reporting the approach of the enemy army, and as the most holy duke Richard would interrogate him concerning how many thousands numbered the king's men and whether the king himself was part of the enemy attack, a third messenger has come with spur-quickened horses. He has said to Richard: "Lord duke, behold the king, with his iron-clad army, hastens to accost you with readied battle-lines." Just as he would set forth all this in his quivering voice, the battle lines have appeared, with armed men springing forth onto that very spot.
       Then the unutterable duke and count Richard, observing the imminent danger closer at hand, has arisen speedily, foresaking dinner, and has turned away from them and has withdrawn across the bed of the Dieppe, (note 6) and would wait there waiting for the support of his own army. But the king's army has blocked the fords of the Dieppe in order that it not come to him. Moreover certain pursuers from among his foes, following after duke Richard, have attacked, by force of arms, in the middle of the shallows of the Dieppe. But as all were wrestling in battle, duke Richard, recognizing there a certain one of his own hunters, named Walter, has run thither undaunted along with his household retinue, and has snatched him away, having either put his enemies to flight or having killed them, and has withstood the king's entire army at the outlet of the river Dieppe.
       But as the army of the king and of Richard's foes flocks together from every quarter, the elders have said to the duke, who is harshly defending the entrance to the shallows: "Magnanimous lord duke, the fraud of this treachery, the deceit of this abominable deception, has been exposed by God's will. Therefore turn aside, we beseech you, lest you fall prey to death or be captured. And make for the town of Rouen, riding swiftly, lest peradventure your foes hinder us with an even fleeter course and, finding the town devoid of warriors, claim it for themselves." However duke Richard, rejecting their counsels, would long to attack the hosts of those coming against him with his own new recruits. Then the elders, seeing him continue steadfast in the intention of his own mind and not assent to these words of advantageous advice, approach him and, laying hold of the reins of his bridle, would beseech him to withdraw. But at length, barely constrained by the beseechings of the warriors of greater age, he has withdrawn and has made hastily for Rouen, that it not be captured.
       As common talk would immediately make public the conspired deception of that detestable conference, all the people of that region have flowed swiftly to the great duke Richard, incessantly urging him with repeated and manifold admonitions to retaliate against the king and count Tetbold for the attempted deception by attacking their realm. But he himself would devotedly give thanks daily to the King of kings, who snatched him from the ruin of death or capture. Therefore he would honor churches, even more completely than before, with altarcloths and various liturgical things and with a bountiful hand he would even more abundantly furnish food and drink for paupers and, devoting himself, he would lavish every care upon the duty of divine service. He would even more correctly weigh his judgments on the scale of equitable examination; restraining quarrels and disputes and disagreements, he would govern the populace with even greater moderation. He would even more wisely accomplish all good works, he would be himself even more perfect, subject to God in all his works. He would sustain even more gently orphans and minors and exiles, as a father does his children, and he would refresh widows and fugitives even more delightfully. He would even more strictly drive monks and canons and laypeople to obey God, he would even more judiciously feed the people under his advocacy with the nourishment of safety, repelling pagans and miscreants.

                      Apostrophe to the Town

Oh city, more plentifully furnished than very many others
With an abundance of goodness and with sacred warriors,
Behold how your judicious, compassionate, holy, good duke,
Snatched from the snares of such chiefs,
Accomplishes things which are of God and are suitable for you,
Through it all on the path of right judgment!
But, because I was not at the time your inhabitant,
I do not know how to relate what he strove to do.
If only you possessed chattering poets who sang in verse,
Composed with great labor, the good deeds after which he strove!
But it is a defect, you lack masters, bards.
Now teach innumerable boys the arts;
They will know how to compose, with great labor, in a       harmonious
Whatever the successors of this great father accomplish!


1. Geoffrey "Greymantle," count of Anjou circa 960/961 ff.

2. Baldwin III of Flanders (+ 962), son of Arnulf I.

3. Dep. Seine-Maritime.

4. Preferring the "Richardi" of Rouen 1173 and others.

5. Preferring the "Richardum" of Rouen 1173 and others.

6. Now called the Bethune.

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