Song of Roland
, 1082-1092, translated by John O'Hagan:
"I deem of neither reproach nor stain.
I have seen the Saracen host of Spain,
Over plain and valley and mountain spread,
And the regions hidden beneath their tread.
Countless the swarm of the foe, and we
A marvellous little company."
Roland answered him, "All the more
My spirit within me burns therefore.
God and his angels of heaven defend
That France through me from her glory bend.
Death were better than fame laid low.
Our Emperor loveth a downright blow."
Translated by Charles Scott Moncrief:
Says Oliver: "In this I see no blame;
I have beheld the Sarrazins of Spain;
Covered with them, the mountains and the vales,
The wastes I saw, and all the farthest plains.
A muster great they've made, this people strange;
We have of men a very little tale."
Answers Rollanz: "My anger is inflamed.
Never, please God His Angels and His Saints,
Never by me shall Frankish valour fail!
Rather I'll die than shame shall me attain.
Therefore strike on, the Emperour's love to gain."
Old French original:
Dist Oliver: "D'iço ne sai jo blasme?
Jo ai veüt les Sarrazins d'Espaigne,
Cuverz en sunt li val e les muntaignes
E li lariz e trestutes les plaignes.
Granz sunt les oz de cele gent estrange;
Nus i avum mult petite cumpaigne."
Respunt Rollant: "Mis talenz en est graigne.
Ne placet Damnedeu ne ses angles
Que ja pur mei perdet sa valur France!
Melz voeill murir que huntage me venget.
Pur ben ferir l'emperere plus nos aimet."