Chapter 32

[ 32 ]

       Once the business of this deliberation, nay rather the disposing judgment of omnipotent God, had indeed been accomplished, the father began to muse in his sagacious mind over where or by whom his son might be advantageously brought up and fostered. Devoting himself to these explorations, he begins to speak to the aforenamed three: "Because, in truth, the city of Rouen uses the Roman rather than the Dacian eloquence, and Bayeux uses the Dacian language more frequently than the Roman, I therefore want him to be brought as soon as possible to the Bessin and there I want him to be both brought up and fostered with great diligence under your guardianship, Botho, enjoying Dacian eloquence and learning it with a tenacious memory, that he may be able at a future time to dispute fluently against the inhabitants of Dacia." Then Botho, assenting willingly to his lord's request and taking up the solicitude of fostering the extraordinary young child, brought him quickly to the town of Bayeux, and guarded him as the apple of his own eye. (note 1) But duke William, for love of his most beloved son, celebrated Easter that year at Bayeux, having collected there the magnates of the Breton and Norman region. And he lingered there until the festive days of the sacred festival of Pentecost had passed.
       Desiring, however, that the young child Richard be lifted up and confirmed in his possession of the realm by an oath of allegiance and an oath-taking of his fideles, he took with him seven magnates of rather great influence and, with the three mentioned above, he made known to them his secret will: "Because the state of affairs at any given moment is always turned, like a wheel, by countless misfortunes, and rarely is the outcome of any action certain, for that reason I want, with your favor, my son Richard to be appointed by you as heir to my authority while I still survive, and for you to place your hands, as symbols of your heart, in his hands, and then for the covenanted fidelity of your true promise to be, with all your strength, made lasting by an oath, and for the entire fatherland itself to be judiciously ruled by your most beneficial deliberations." Merry at these proposals, the seven magnates replied: "If you were not already burning with desire in your own soul to explore and thoroughly consider in advance, nay rather to fix in advance, precisely what you have proposed, it would have been appropriate and reasonable for us to admonish you to such a course of action by our own prayers and our own anxious encouragement, because this necessary business also peculiarly concerns us." That said, having given their hands to the young child Richard, they promised and vowed to be his fideles in all things, making a promise, on sacrosanct relics, of compliant obeisance and military service.


Illustrious boy, sprung both from a glittering
Father of nourishing genius, and from the
Free-born and shining high birth of your mother,
That fatherland and region where you were
Brought forth is deservedly submitted to you,
Because you will be, for the native who resides here,
A good duke and a nourishing count,
The dignity of the churches,
The sacred glory and the venerable hope
Both of the sacred order and of all ranks.
Taking assisting aid from you,
The vagrant, the orphan, and the destitute exile,
Satisfied, will go away merry.


1. Literally, the "pupil of his own eye."

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