THE
ENGLISH CHARLEMAGNE ROMANCES

[Book I]
[Part i]
[Of the kynges of Fraunce paynyms vnto kyng' Cloys the first Cristen kyng: capitulo primo]

   As it is redde in thy storyes of the Troians After the destructyon of the noble cyte of Troye there was a kyng moche noble named Francus, the whyche was felowe of Eneas, which, whan he departed fro Troye came in to the regyon of Fraunce & began to regne in grete prosperyte: & for the felycyte of his name he dyd compose & do edyfye a cyte whiche he named Fraunce, & so folowyng all the regyon was called Fraunce: & after, whan Fraunce was enhaunced & reduced to mageste ryal Priamus was the fyrst that regned vpon the Frensshe men v yere. The second was Marcurius xxxiij yere; The iij Pharamundus regned xj yere; The iiij Clodyus xiiij yere; The v Meroneus x yere; The vj Hildericus xxvij. yere, & the vij was Clodoneus, the fyrst Crysten kyng whyche regned vpon the Frensshe men after thyncarnacion of our lord cccclxxxiiij yere, of whome I entende to make a litel mencyon vpon hys merueyllous conuersacyon.

How the kyng Clodoneus paynym had' to wyf the noble doughter of the kynge of Burgoyne: capitulo ij

   In that tyme was kyng of the Burgoynons Guydengus, the whiche had iiij sones al of good aege, that is to wete, Agabondus, the ij Godogesylus, the iij. Hyspericus, & the fourth Godamarus. The fyrst Agabondus replenysshed of al inyquyte put to deth by swerd his broder Hyspericus and after henge his wyf, & put a stone aboute hyr necke & drowned hyr. This Hyspericus had two fayre doughters, theldest was named Throne whom Agabondus her vncle bannysshed fro hys contrey & sent hyr forth in habyte dyssymyled. The yonger of these ij doughters was named Clotyldys, whom he reteyned for hyr beaute wyth hym in his hous. duryng thys the kyng Clodoneus, or Cloys in Frensshe, beyng a paynym whyche byleued with his subgettes but vpon ydolles, oftymes for hys affayres sent his messagers in to Burgoyne. Clotyldys this fayr mayde was ofte seen of the messagers of the kyng Cloys & by-holden affectuously, and for hyr grete beaulte & dyscrecyon the sayd messagers notyfyed it to the kyng Cloys, and whan thys kyng Cloys was ynough informed of the grete beaute & wysdom of this mayde, whyche was crysten, he was moche curyous to sende his herawdes vnto Agabondus vncle of thys doughter for to haue hyr to maryage. Duryng those dayes the kyng Cloys had a subtyl man wyth hym named Aurelyanus, which by comaundement of hys lord wente to the place where as was thys mayde & put hym self in habyte moche poure and dyssymyled, & left his good habytes with his felowes in a wode & went moche holyly tofore the moder chyrche of that place the day of a grete feste, & set hym self in the myddes of the poure peple for to receyue almesse lyke as other dyden. whan thoffyce was accomplysshed this mayde Clotyldys, like as she was accustomed, atte departyng fro the chyrche began to gyue almesse to the poure peple, & whan she came to Aurelyanus she gaf to hym in his honde a pyece of golde, & anone he as glad & wel contente kyssed hyr honde. whan this lady was in hyr chambre she began to thynke on that poure man that had kyssed hyr honde & sent for to seche hym by hyr seruaunt. whan he wyst it he cam to hyr moche Joyously and bare in his honde the rynge of kyng Cloys & humbly behaued hym tofore hyr.
   The mayde began to say to hym; "saye to me wherfore dyssymylest thou thy self lyke to the poure people." Aurelyanus answerd: "Madame, knowe ye for trouthe that I am a messager of the noble kyng Cloys kyng of Fraunce, whiche hath sente me to you, & beyng enformed of your beaute & wysdom desyreth you to be hys wyf & for to be quene," & forthwith he presented to hyr the rynge of kyng Cloys the whyche she took & put it in to the tresour of Agabondus hyr vncle, & sayd to the messager that he shold recomaunde hyr to the kyng in tellyng to hym that it was not leeful to a paynym to haue to his wyf a crysten woman. Neuertheles she prayed hym that of al this he shold say noo worde, & that she wold not doo but as the kyng wold. & vpon this poynt Aurelyanus came and shewed al to the kyng, wherevpon the kyng Cloys the yere folowyng sent ageyn his messager Aurelyanus to Agabondus vncle of Clotildis for to haue hyr to his wyf. whan Agabondus knewe thentencyon of kyng Cloys he ansuerd to the messager: "Say hardyly to the kyng thy lord that he hath lytel to do in desyryng to haue my nyece to wyf:" but the Bourgoynons wyse counseyllours, redoubtyng the puyssaunce of kyng Cloys, by good counceyl whan they had wel serched the tresour of Agabondus their kyng & founde the rynge of kyng Cloys which Clotyldys had layed therin, wherin was grauen & portrayed his ymage, wente & concluded to performe the wylle of kyng Cloys: & vpon this Agabondus ful of yre delyuerd Clotyldys to Aurelyanus & he brought hyr with his peple with grete Ioye to kyng Cloys which had grete playsyr to see thys fayr mayde. And forthwyth with al solemnyte after the maner royal he espoused hyr after the custome of his lawe.

How kyng' Cloys was admonested' by the quene Clotyldys affectuously that he shold' byleue in the Crysten fayth, and' other maters: capitulo iij

   The fyrst nyght after the espousaylles atte houre that the kyng and the quene shold slepe togyder, Clotyldys enbraced wyth the loue of God by grete knowlege of Ihesus our lord went and said to the kyng: "My right dere lord, I requyre the that it please the to graunte to me a lytel demaunde byfore or I entre in to thy bedde wyth the." The kynge sayd: "demaunde what thou wylt For I am welcontente." Clotyldys thenne sayd to hym: "Fyrst, I demaunde, requyre, and admoneste the that thou wylt byleue in God of heuen Fader almyghty, whyche made heuen and erthe & that hath created the. And in Ihesu Cryst his gloryous sone, kyng of alle kynges, which by his passyon hath redemed the. And in the holy ghoost, confirmatour and Illumynatour of al good werkes, procedyng fro the fader & fro the sone, the foresayd Trynyte in one onely essence, to whome ought to be gyuen al honour and all lawde & byleue. Byleue ye in this holy byleue and mageste and leue the ydolles made wyth mannes honde, a folysshe thyng and vayn, and thynke for to restore the holy chyrches whyche thou hast brente. Secondly, I requyre the that thou wylt demaunde my parte and porcyon of the goodes of my fader and of my moder of Agabondus myn vncle whom he dyd put to deth falsely and wythoute occasyon, but the vengeaunce I leue to God." whan she had said this the kyng answerd:
   "Thou hast demaunded me a poynte & passage which is to me ouer strayt & hard to graunte, that is that I shold forsake my goddes by whome I gouern me, for to adoure one onely god of whome thou hast spoken to me. demaunde of me som other thyng & with good hert I shal doo it." Clotyldys ansuerd: "as moche as is possyble to me to requyre I supplye & byseche the that thou wilt adoure the god of heuen maker of al, to whome onely is due al honour." the kyng made none other ansuer but sente anone Aurelyen his factour to Agabondus for to haue the goodes longyng to the quene Clotyldys, & whan Aurelyen had doon his message Agabondus, replenysshed with grete Ire, ansuerd to the messager that he shold as soone haue alle his royame as ony thyng of hym. For which cause Aurelyen said to hym: "the kyng Cloys my maister comaundeth the by me that thou make an answer vpon my demaunde or ellys he shalle be euyl contente." Thenne the Bourgoynons helden a counceyl and sayd to Agabondus their kyng: "Sir kyng, gyue to your nyece of your goodes as reason wyl for it is ryght, And we knowe wel that so ought ye to doo and to take playsyr to haue good alyaunces with Cloys the kyng and wyth all the Frensshe peple, to thende that they renne not on vs. For the people is boystous & furious and, that werse is, wythout mynde of God" And vpon this poynte Agabondus, constrayned to the counceyl of the Bourgoynons hys people, sente a grete partye of his tresour to Aurelyen the messager of kyng Cloys. In a litel tyme after the kyng Cloys in vysityng his royame The quene Clotyldys was anon grete with chylde, and sone after was delyuerd of a sone whome she dyd do baptyse, And contynuelly requyred the kyng that he wold byleue as to-fore is sayd, but he in no wyse wold here her ne do therafter. And whan the chylde was baptysed anone it exspyred & dyed, wherof the kyng was euyl contente and sayd to the quene: "yf thou haddest gyuen hym and dedyed hym to my goddes he were now alyue." The quene answerd: "for this thyng I am noo thyng perturbled in my courage, but I rendre & gyue thankynges to God my creatour by cause he hath me so dygne and worthy that it hath plesed hym to take in to his royalme of heuen the fyrst fruyt of my wombe." After, the yere folowyng she had ageyn another sone named Lodomyrus, the whyche whan he was baptysed bycame anone so seke that it was supposed he shold deye. And whan the kyng sawe it languysshe he beyng euyl contente said to the quene: "and now,"  sayd he, "it shal none otherwyse be of this chylde but as it was of that other his broder, by-cause ayenst myn entente thou doost thy wylle in baptysyng them." Thenne the quene for the fere of the kyng prayed to God deuoutely for the helthe of hyr chylde, And anone he was guarysshed and hool.

How the kyng' Cloys was vyctoryous of hys enemyes by cause he byleued' in Ihesu Cryste: Capitulo iiij

   Kyng Cloys after certeyn tyme began to make warre mortal ayenst the Almayns, And so perseueryng the Allemayns had vyctorye on the Frensshe men in suche wyse that they were ouer-throwen & slayn. Thenne whan Aurelyen sawe the dystructyon of the kynges peple he began to beholde the kyng hys lord & sayd to hym: "Syr kyng, ye see tofore your eyen the mortal destructyon of your peple, I requyre you that ye byleue in God almyghty whych hath made heuen & erthe, I mene hym whome my lady the quene adoureth, precheth, and byleueth on." Whan the kyng had herde Aurelyen thus speken in grete affectyon he began to lyfte his eyen vnto heuen and wepte moche largely, and wyth grete pyte thus sayd: "O Ihesu Cryst, sone of the veray God Almyghty, on whom my wyf by-leueth and wyth al hyr hert precheth & notyfyeth hym to gyue remedye to them that ben in trybulacyons, I byseche the of ayde and socour that I may be vyctoryous of myn enemyes by experyence presently. I byleue on the, and in thy name I shalle baptyse me. I haue demaunded my goddes for to helpe me but they haue doon no thyng for me, And I say they be of noo value ne of noo comforte whan they may not helpe them that requyre them. Wherfore to the as veray god and lord I requyre the that I may be delyuerd by thy hye puyssaunce fro myn aduersaryes." he thus sayeng wyth an hyghe voys The Allemayns his enemyes vanquysshed & murdred began to flee in suche wyse that theyr kyng was deed, wherfore they that abode yelded them to kyng Cloys and bycamen his subgettes and sette al that contreye vnder hys obayssaunce & puyssaunce payeng yerely trybute. Thenne after this vyctory by the puyssaunce of God obteyned he came in to Fraunce And recounted alle to the quene hys wyf, how by Inuocacion dyuyne and by thayde of God Almyghty he had obteyned vyctorye.

How the kyng' was baptysed' by saynt Remyge, & in hys baptesme by myracle was brought the holy ampulle by an aungel fro heuen wherof euer after all the kynges of Fraunce been enoynted' in theyr conse-cracyon atte cyte of Raynes: capitulo v.

   After that the quene had herde the kynge whyche was conuerted vnto the crysten fayth for the vyctorye whych he had obteyned she had grete Ioye And Incontynent sent after saynt Remyge bysshop of Raynes, a moche holy man, whiche came to hyr for to preche to the kyng his saluacyon & the manere of the crysten fayth. & whan he was comen, after that he had wel enformed the kyng, began strongely to excyte the peple of Fraunce to byleue in Ihesu Cryst, And the peple gaynsayed it not. For in knowyng the errour of thydolles they began al to byleue in God & say: "Syr kyng gloryous, it is best that ye forsake thydolles and adoure the God Inmortal whome the quene adoureth and preyseth & so for to do all we be contente." Incontynent al this was shewed to saynt Remyge, wherof he was moche Ioyous, and cam to them dylygently as a good herdman that taketh grete payne to kepe the sheep fro his aduersarye; and grete playsyr ought he to haue to come thyder, For his comyng and hys prechyng dyd soo grete prouffyte that it made the peple to be regenerate after thordynaunce of holy baptesme, wythoute whych no man may entre in to heuen. wherfore the necessyte of the saluacion of thys kyng enlumyned of grace, dysposed to byleue, conioyned to good entencyon maad affectuously saynt Remyge to come, for he thought wel whan the kyng was baptysed and byleued in Ihesu Cryst and his commaundements that al the peple subgette to hym shold do the same wyse. And whan saynt Remyge was comen and had commyned with the kyng touchyng his saluacyon he1 began to ordeyne the place for to baptyse hym honourably, and dyd do paynte the hystoryes after somme poyntes of our crysten fayth moche rychely and repayred the places ryght delycyously.
   And on that other he dyd do ordeyne & founde chirches autentykly,2 & compose baptyzatoryes & frentes3 conuenably. whan al this was done4 ye kyng was al redy to receyue the holy sacrament of baptesme, to whome the frende of God saynt Remyge began to say by faconde manere.
"Syr kyng, it is tyme that he ought wyth pure entencyon to forsake the false goddes to whome tofore this tyme he haue gyuen fayth,* whyche ben ful of al vanyte and do no thynge but excersite of dampnacyon. And ye ought to byleue wyth ryght humble hert in one onely God almyghty, the fader, the sone, & the holy ghoost, one onely & pure essence, whyche hath created heuen and erthe, to whome one onely ought to gyue fayth and creaunce: and in Ihesu cryst his sone, whyche for the sauacyon of humayn creature wold take humanyte couenable for to repayre thynobedyence of our fyrst fader Adam. And that was conceyued in the bely of the Virgyn Marie by the werk of the holy ghoost: whyche after was sette on the crosse and took deth dolorously for to redeme vs, was buryed and roos fro deth to lyf, and after ascended in to heuen, and sytteth vpon the ryght honde of the fader, and fro thens shal come and Iudge the lyuyng and deed.
   Also ye shal byleue in holy chyrche, our catholyque moder, & her ordonnayre." and whan saynt Remyge had ynough enformed the kyng and the peple of our fayth and byleue he baptysed them in the name of the fader & of the sone & of the holy ghoost. And whan he came to enoyntyng after the custome of the holy cresme whyche noo man brought, Incontynent by the plesyr of God and demonstraunce myraculous, they alle stondyng, sodeynlye came doun descendyng fro heuen a douue shynyng, whiche bare in hyr becke an holy ampull and lefte it in the same place where the holy cresme was, wherwyth the kyng Cloys was fyrst enoynted in grete deuocyon by Saynt Remyge; whyche Ampull is presently at Raynes, of whyche holy cresme that is therin the kynges of Fraunce onelye been enoynted ones in theyr consecracyon.
   In that tyme were baptysed the systers of the sayd kyng and thre thousand men of hys excersyte, and so after all the peple of Fraunce in grete Ioye and exaltacion of glorye.

  1. he: the pronoun is unnecessarily inserted here: throughout the book the subject is constantly omitted in secondary clauses, where the person or thing spoken of is the same as in the principal sentence. See Sege off Melayne, l. 27, and note.
  2. "autentykly:" Fr. Auctentiquement
  3. "frentes:" clearly an error for "fontes:" the Fr. reads, composer baptitoires couenablement
  4. The words between the asterisks are repeated in the original with slight alterations, as follow: And thenne the kyng was al redy to receyue the holy sacrament of baptesme [printed taptesme], To whom Saynt Remyge began by fayr manere: "Syr Kyng, it is tyme that e ought of pure Intencion to forsake the goddes to whome here afore tyme e haue byleued on."