Song and Legend From the Middle Ages
And Daniel shield in the lions' den;
Shield my soul from its peril, due
For the sins I sinned my lifetime through."
He did his right hand glove uplift---
St. Gabriel took from his hand the gift;
Then drooped his head upon his breast,
And with clasped hands he went to rest.
God from on high sent down to him
One of his angel cherubim---
Saint Michael of Peril of the sea,
Saint Gabriel in company----
From heaven they came for that soul of price,
And they bore it with them to Paradise.
The king hears Roland's horn and hurries back, only to find him and all his knights slain. He swoons, revives, but swoons again.
Stanza 212--- As Karl the king revived once more,
His hands were held by barons four.
He saw his nephew, cold and wan;
Stark his frame, but his hue was gone;
His eyes turned inward, dark and dim;
And Karl in love lamented him:
"Dear Roland, God thy spirit rest
In paradise, amongst His best!
In evil hour thou soughtest Spain:
No day shall dawn but sees my pain,
And me of strength and pride bereft,
No champion of mine honour left;
Without a friend beneath the sky;
And though my kindred still be nigh,
Is none like thee their ranks among."
With both his hands his beard he wrung.
The Franks bewailed in unison;
A hundred thousand wept like one.
Stanza 213--- "Dear Roland, I return again
To Laon, to mine own domain;
Where men will come from many a land,
And seek Count Roland at my hand.
A bitter tale must I unfold---
'In Spanish earth he lieth cold.'
A joyless realm henceforth I hold,
And weep with daily tears untold.
Stanza 214--- "Dear Roland, beautiful and brave,
All men of me will tidings crave,
When I return to La Chapelle.
Oh, what a tale is mine to tell!
That low my glorious nephew lies.
Now will the Saxon foeman rise;
Palermitan and Afric bands,
And men from fierce and distant lands.
To sorrow sorrow must succeed;
My hosts to battle who shall lead,
When the mighty captian is overthrown?
Ah! France deserted now, and lone.
Come, death, before such grief I bear."
Began he with his hands to tear;
A hundred thousand fainted there.
Stanza 215--- "Dear Roland, and was this thy fate?
May Paradise thy soul await.
Who slew thee wrought fair France's bane:
I cannot live so deep my pain.
For me my kindred lie undone;
And would to Holy Mary's Son,
Ere I at Cizra's gorge alight,
My soul may take its parting flight: