Chapter 8

[ 8 ]

     Then Rollo, delighted by the king's words, is said to have said: "I thank you, the superior of all kings, for these willing boons and, as I wish it, bring to pass everything you have recounted as needing to be done between you and me. I will not linger very long in your realm but, as swiftly as I am able, I will go to Francia. In whatever land I be, I will stay your friend till the end, united in an alliance of indissoluble esteem." Absolutely inextricably allied through these words, marvelously enriched through these agreements about their mutual affairs, each with his followers returned home. For throughout the wintertime, duke Rollo (so disposed to concern!) has caused the ships and expenses necessary for the journey to be prepared and has gathered warriors in the flower of youth, angles who had become his followers and were to travel with him. Moreover at the beginning of the summer season, when an abundant supply of red-glowing flowers would gently smile, and milk-white and fragrant lilies would shine white with purple-colored purples, ever mindful of the vision admonishing him to set out for Francia, having given sails to the fleet, he has embarked. But although the navigation assembly would be brought by gentle winds to the middle of a calm smooth sea and they would see nothing but sky compassing the face of the sea, envious spirits, knowing that those men were to be cleansed by baptism in the name of Christ and groaning that the men were to acquire the glory which they themselves had lost, have gone to meet them yea indeed are rushing from their own residences, awakening the wind's dangers and are lifting up great billows from the gaping deep, from the lowest depths up to the stars and down again into the precipice. The sky has resounded with ever more frequent flashes and a black night of thick shadows has lied down over them. With the oars cracked, the sails are not able to bear the frenzy of the winds. Thus, their strength drained, they allow all control to the winds. The ships move to and fro, hither and thither as if through mountains and valleys. And they threaten everyone with sudden death. Then, with outstretched hands, Rollo has lied down prostrate upon the ship and in a humble voice has poured forth words such as these:

ROLLO'S PRAYER
O omnipotent God filling the heavens with light,
You who occupy heaven and earth throughout eternity
And whose divine will compasses all things in their eternal turning,
You who, through the gift of a vision,
Wish troublesome me, filled with the vices of sin and with impurity,
To become a Christian in the short turning course of future time,
Receive these wishes with good will and, kind, favor (note 1) these prayers
And, having calmed (note 2) their destructions, restrain the fierce billows
And, snatching us from these misfortunes and this exertion,
Softening, taming, hold back and calm the deep,


Notes:

1. Preferring "faueto" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

2. Preferring the "sedatisque" of Rouen 1173 and other witnesses.

Greatly billowing in a violent whirlpool.


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