Notes: Childhood of Roland (Ms. Marc. XIII)
Leslie Zarker Morgan (April 16, 1996)
- Lazzeri's translation into Modern Italian prose begins with
this line, 10907. Editions of the original are by Mussafia and
Cremonesi, as cited for Berta and Milone.
- "Rolandin" is "little Roland," used to distinguish the child
from the grown man. In the manuscript, the name is normally
abbreviated "r." so I have here regularized (free from concerns
of rhyme) to the form "Rolandin." This makes following the
plot easier for modern readers.
- Cremonesi gives this definition of "carega"; it is not found in
Old French or Old Italian dictionaries.
- i.e., tied together at the corners so it makes a bundle.
- Literally, the insignia on the tablecloth.
- According to Rosellini, "hunger does him wrong" ("haine,"
"hatred"). But "haingre" means "skinny" ("maigre, descharnÇ")
- Or, "Let him receive only good."
- "par poi q'il non fon": for a little that he doesn't explode.
Lazzeri says, "for the little they did not do," but this does not
fit into the context, especially since "par poi/poc" appears in
several other contexts meaning "almost": cf. line 12253, "par
poc d'ire no[n] fent"; cf. 2536, etc.
- A quarter is a heraldic term; other editors have suggested that
it is not clear here exactly what the meaning is. Cremonesi has
suggested a cross (which would divide the piece of clothing into
quarters). However, quartering generally means combining two
coats of arms. "Ordinarily, an 'armiger' has no right to use his
mother's arms; that is, in case she had a brother to continue the
family name, the arms descending exclusively in the male line
of the posterity of the original recipient, so long as it
The children of an heiress, however, inasmuchas they become
the representatives in blood of the last owner of the arms in
their branch, have a right to use their mother's arms in a certain
mode...the arms of the mother are placed in the second and
third quarters of a shield, the first and fourth being occupied by
the paternal arms" (Whitmore, 58). Since Charlemagne has but
one son-- to be killed by the Dane-- Roland is in fact in line for the
crown and thus could use a quarter by that definition.
- This is the don contraignant, the unconditional boon, of
- Other editors suggest that there must be a lacuna here.
However, if we understand that Rolandin is playing the
diplomat, then this is comprehensible: in spite of his youth, he
steps into the breach and smooths the situation.
- Lazzeri here translates, "attraverso i fianchi," "across
(around) the hips"-- an embrace perhaps, putting his arms
around him? It would depend on the age of the youth at the
time; for a seven-year-old, pulling the child to his lap would
make more sense than an adult embrace.
- The warmth of this assertion is somewhat dampened by the
fact that Charlon is killed by the Dane in the Chevalerie Danois
which follows. Charlon's death results directly from Charlon's
having killed the Dane's son who had been left in Charles's
charge. Charlemagne's reputation for care of youth is therefore
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