Poetry Reading, Fall 1998

The Song of Roland

Reading in Old Norman French by John McKerley

"Cumpainz Rollant, sunez vostre olifan, Companion Roland, sound your ivory horn,
Si l'orrat Carles, ki est as porz passant. So Charles will hear it, who is going through the pass.
Je vos plevis, ja returnerunt Franc." I promise you, then the Franks will return."
"Ne placet Deu," šo li respunt Rollant, "May it not please God," this Roland answers to him.
"Que šo seit dit de nul hume vivant, "That this be said by no man living,
Ne pur paien, que ja seie cornant! Nor by pagan, that I ever sound the horn!
Ja n'en avrunt reproece mi parent. Then it will never reproach my kinsmen.
Quant jo serai en la bataille grant When I shall be in the great battle,
E jo ferrai e mil colps e .VII. cenz, I shall strike a thousand and seven-hundred blows,
De Durendal verrez l'acer sanglent. Of Durendal you will see the steel blood-stained.
Franceis sunt bon, si ferrunt vassalment, The French are good, and they will strike loyally,
Ja cil d'Espaigne n'avrunt de mort guarant." Then those from Spain will have no protector from death."