Chapter 56

[ 56 ]

       With these things triumphantly accomplished, the great duke Richard has swiftly sent to Dacia extraordinary ambassadors from his household, so that the hardy Dacian folk might hasten to assist him. Truly cheered by these embassies, the Dacians hastily approach Rouen with swiftly outfitted and loaded ships. But that most steady duke, observing the leaders of so great a multitude, and striving to avenge the ill-will of wrath and displeasure visited upon him, has commanded them to make for Jeufosse, and to devastate the holdings of Tetbold and of the king.
       But after this the Dacians, going away and accosting the king and Tetbold, would pillage indiscriminately whatever they hit upon. With all the villas of the countryfolk layed waste, they would torch suburban areas and throw many castles to the ground. They would kill in a cruel manner whoever stood against them and, lamentably, would toss the rest of the company into their ships. All the land of the king and of count Tetbold is deserted, vilely ruined by such enemies. Famine appears, for the land is not cut by the plow. The thoroughfares, roads and by-ways cannot be recognized, because they are beaten down by no one's footsteps. Safety and hope and confidence are bewailed as lost by those left behind, for they are ruined by the dishonor of a universal plague. But duke Richard the Great's land would remain safe and calm, not distressed by any disastrous destruction, but worked by all with voluntary exertion. Each inhabitant, having perceived his ability to achieve his own purpose, would freely strive for whatever he had in view.
       Francia, distressed for nearly a year both night and day by the countless misfortunes of such great strife and rapine, and of so great a Norman scourge, would no longer be able to bear the hazards of such great misfortune. In these circumstances, well-nigh all of Francia under Tetbold's rule has been deserted by its residents; the churches, abandoned because of these events, are visited by no worshippers of Christ. Therefore the prelates of all Francia, having endured the fury of the Norman pagans, have called together a holy synod to explore what they should do, for the Christians, exposed to dangers, would be tormented, harassed by countless misfortunes and by so very many fires and by the greatest possible robberies and plunderings. But with the false deceit of a fraudulent aim, Tetbold, stirring up strife, would excite the bishops and royal officials to wrangle with Richard's pagans as well, for the sake of the state and of their loyalty to the king. However, since the goodness of the most holy duke Richard was known and acknowledged, the bishops would only marvel at the words of count Tetbold.
       Thus, taking counsel about this matter, they deprecate the bishop of Chartres, (note 1) whose will it is that duke Richard the Great be questioned about the dishonor of that baleful scarcity and loss. Moreover, constrained by the admonitions of his fellow bishops, he has sent a certain monk to duke Richard, who has relayed to him this message: "The bishop of Chartres sends you the faithful gift of his prayers. For he wants to approach you and exchange words with you, wherefore he is asking that a wayfarer be given to him as a guide and helper on his trip, so that your devils and wolves shall not devour and eat him." The most serene duke Richard, smiling at what he had heard, has sent someone to lead the bishop to him safe and sound.
       The latter, reaching duke Richard the Great, begins to speak: "The metropolitans of the Frankish nation, along with their fellow bishops, send you the gift of their incessant prayers. For we, struck senseless, are wondering why you allow pagans to rage harshly against Christians, when you are renowned throughout the world as a worshipper of God and as an extraordinary Christian? Once I had passed, under the safeguard of your assistance, through that fearful region tyrannized by immense enmity, I found the inhabitants of this land untroubled by enemies; their shrines were not in dread of any sudden adverse misfortune, and I saw the churches reverently attended by the inhabitants and the mystery of the divine office solemnly celebrated. Truly, it is important unceasingly to carry out everything necessary for the worship of the true faith, to increase the name of the Christian faith. We are exhausted by robberies and fires, yea indeed by the misfortunes of sudden and nocturnal death, and we do not know by whose design this execrable calamity is being stirred up against us. Wherefore do we pray with all our might, on bended knees of body and soul, that the reason why this detestable damage is being stirred up against the Frankish nation be made clear with words of truth, since we have come to you for this purpose."
       Then duke Richard, veracious and equitable: "Remembering, do you recall the many evils that were repeatedly visited upon me? Did not Bruno, Lothar's duke, try to ensnare me at the deceitful prompting of count Tetbold? Did not king Lothar, ensnared by the deceitful lies and subterfuges of that same count, try to apprehend and kill me, whom God rescued in his bountiful mercy? Did not that count also promise the Norman region to king Lothar, if he would give him Evreux, a city which he now holds? Besides, did he not challenge me, ravaging and burning in the harbor of Rouen with an immense enemy host?" Then the prelate: "You do not all owe him revenge for his reviling challenge (note 2) to battle. But the count brags even now that he will battle and fight against you yourself, on account of the condition of the sacrosanct church and of the state. However this accursed affair turns out, we beseech you now to procure some increase of peace, so that you might be able to boast of yourself along with the bishops and king Lothar, and so that the bishops and the king might likewise boast of you, so great a duke and a most Christian patron."
       However most mighty Richard, recognizing that no offering and sacrifice is as acceptable to God as the increase of peace, and desiring to reconcile the Frankish and Norman realms, but unwilling to show, because of Tetbold, his goodwill, has said to the prelate, go-between of his fellow bishops: "I do not know whether I shall be able to procure the happiness of a peace from the pagans, which is why you have come to me, and that is why, doubting, I am wavering. Therefore, when the sun has passed halfway through the month of May, come to me with some of your fellow bishops and royal officials. And I, in the meantime, will try, through flattery, to restrain the headstrong arrogance of the haughty (note 3) pagans."
       However, as the bishop of Chartres was reporting to the king and to his fellow bishops what he had heard from duke Richard the Great, count Tetbold immediately realized and ascertained that, without his advice, a peace had been sought. He at once sent a certain monk to duke Richard the Great, to say the following words: "Count Tetbold sends you his faithful allegiance. For he is repentant that, deceived by the perverse advice of certain Franks, he brawled and wrangled with you without cause, and that he has caused whatever ill he has wrought. And he declares publicly that he will cause evil no longer. He now strives, if it be agreeable to you, to speak to you privately as a servant to his lord, and to return to you Evreux, which the king has taken away from you, in order to obtain the grace of your love. The land under his authority, exposed to tyrannical enmity, is being pillaged by robberies and fires, and he is incapable of withstanding the fury of so great a multitude, nor even of appeasing it by collecting money from the whole realm, except through you, who are the commander of this affair. He prays on bended knees of body and soul that, restraining the baleful attacks of Dacian savageness, you be indulgent to the sacrosanct church and to the foresaken population, and take him as your faithful servant."
       Truly duke Richard, when he heard these things, silently thanked God in his own mind. Also, he replied to the monk: "Are you saying that these things can be true?" He answered: "They are true. And, returning the town of Evreux to you, he does not long to earn any other favor (note 4) unless, continuing steadfastly in this declaration of deep love for you, he stays with you, as the peace and concord of an indestructible alliance, all the days of your life. And, for the sake of this business, he will come whenever you like, at night, with his privy counsellors, to the walls of the town of Rouen, to affirm what I have offered you by an oath of allegiance of true trustworthiness." Then Richard replied: "Because of our faith in God, through which we live and are invigorated and which is the tenacious prop of our own career, we highly approve that he come to us, if it be to his liking, six days hence, and that we be joined together in an indissoluble alliance, to be maintained through unbroken and inextricable laws." And the monk reported what he had heard to count Tetbold.
       Six days later, moreover, delighted and merry over the report, Tetbold himself came by night to Rouen, with his privy counsellors. Each of them, as (note 5) he caught sight of the other, ran to meet the other one and, embracing one another, they kissed and (note 6) were seated. Then Tetbold spoke first: "A suppliant, I come before you, your unutterable Grace, for I stand in need of your compassion, both in itself and as the propitiatress of the God of all. Scorched, everywhere, are the lands I hold, and my rightful region is like some desert. I am, therefore, ready to carry out with pleasure what the monk offered you. I will correct all damage to you resulting from my advice and action. And in order to accomplish that, I will fight for you, serving as though in return for some boon. (note 7) I am returning the fortress of Evreux to you willingly and, suppliant, I ask your compassionate pardon and indulgence for having held it against your will."
       The most humble duke Richard the Great, compelled by Tetbold's humble devotion, replied to the count: "You have come here, wavering at nothing, without a hostage or an oath of from me; you shall obtain whatever you seek. You shall have the happiness of uninterrupted peace; none of my followers shall henceforth be hurtful or injurious to you and yours. But from now on I am yours, as you are mine, and by the mutual assistance of common aid, we will support each other confidently. Through inextricable ordinances, let there be between us a splendid peace, a delightful repose, a tranquil calm, a steadfast and perfect concord." They thus made an alliance on the saints' relics which had been brought to them. The privy counsellors of each count likewise confirmed these same things by an oath of allegiance of true trustworthiness.
       Then that most generous marquis Richard (note 8) honored him copiously with the greatest possible number of presents and gifts; the latter, moreover, delighting in that longed-for kiss and desired embrace, departed and returned secretly to Chartres that same night. For that very day the Tetboldians, withdrawing from the town of Evreux with all their goods, as had been commanded, sent for duke Richard to take it back. He, however, taking it back, secured it with an abundance of warriors and made it fruitful, embellishing it with an outpouring of all good things.


However much the rustic style of our inexperience (note 9) may adorn,
With various metres of diverse type, this extremely useless work,
A work both needful of assistance and destitute of skill,
And deprived of the redolent nectar of the rhetorical honeycomb,
It would be most fitting were it to be rich in the heroic metre,
Since in this metre do the strong deeds of men, composed by lamplight, bloom.
For this man, strong, constant, robust in arms,
Peace-making, good and upright, compassionate, himself moderate,
Eminent, deserving, very lofty, noble, bountiful,
Illustrious, distinguished, marvelous and handsome,
The greatest, exceptional, excellent and magnanimous,
Extraordinary, equitable, holy and humble, charming,
Gracious, lenient, gentle, mild, rigorous,
Patient, celebrated, solemn, lovable and
Clement, indulgent, merciful and avenging accursed deeds,
Protector, censor, defender, bountiful giver of offices, (note 10)
Judicious and wise, diligent, skilful, immense
And knowledgeable in the languages of diverse regions,
Attentive, docile, eager and thirsting for good,
Wonderful, steadfast, agreeable and trusty, faithful,
Tranquil, placid, glad, without gloom, serene,
Pleasant, delightful and persuasive, courteous to everyone,
Witty, happy, frugal and truth-telling, (note 11)
Finely formed, rich, opulent and a bestower of gifts,
Delightful head of the people, hope and confidence for the populace,
Tall and handsome, elegant, splendid in appearance,
Foot for the lame, and eye for the blind, and staff for the tottering,
A generous drink, sufficient for every thirster,
A dinner of varied and very generous food for every hungerer,
Immoderate guardian of the pauper, the exile and the needy,
Protector of the widow, like a spouse and husband,
Supporter of kings and dukes, prelates and counts,
Become, in this way (as long as he flourished in this world) all things to everyone,
He harmed no one, he tried to benefit all.


1. Vulfadus, bishop of Chartres c. 962 - c. 967.

2. Preferring the "provocationis" of Bongars 390 and others.

3. Preferring the "arrogantium" of Bongars 390 and others.

4. Beneficium.

5. Preferring the "ut" of Bongars 390 and others.

6. Preferring the "-que" of Bongars 390 and others.

7. Beneficium.

8. Preferring the "Ricardus" of CC 276.

9. Preferring the "inscitiae" of Rouen 1173.

10. Honorum.

11. Preferring the "veridicus" of CC 276.

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