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broken victory is over. No one can resist him personally; but the vast numbers of the Saracens make personal valour useless. Vivien, already hopelessly wounded, fights on, and receives a final blow from a giant. He is able, however, to drag himself to a tree where a fountain flows, and there makes his confession, and prays for his uncle's safety. As for William himself, his army is entirely cut to pieces, and it is only a question whether he can possibly escape. He comes to Vivien's side just as his nephew is dying, bewails him in a very noble passage, receives his last breath, and is able before it passes to administer the holy wafer which he carries with him. It is Vivien’s first communion as well as his last. After this really great scene, one of the finest in all the chansons, William puts the corpse of Vivien on the wounded but still generous Baucent, and endeavours to make his way through the ring of enemies who have held aloof but are determined not to let him go. Night saves him: and though he has to abandon the body, he cuts his way through a weak part of the line, gains another horse (for Baucent can carry him no longer), and just reaches Orange. But he has taken the arms as well as the horse of a pagan to get through his foes: and in this guise he is refused entrance to his own city. Guiboure herself rejects him, and only recognises her husband from the prowess which he shows against the pursuers, who soon catch him up. The gates are opened and he is saved, but Orange is surrounded by the heathen. There is no room to tell the full heroism of Guiboure, and, besides, Aliscans is one of the best known of the chansons, and has been twice printed. From this point the general interest of the saga, which has culminated in the battle of Aliscans, The end of though it can hardly be said to disappear, *** declines somewhat, and is diverted to other persons than William himself. It is decided that Guiboure shall hold Orange, while he goes to the Court of Louis to seek aid. This personal suit is necessary lest the fulness of the overthrow be not believed; and the pair part after a scene less rugged than the usual course of the chansons, in which Guiboure expresses her fear of the “damsels bright of blee,” the ladies of high lineage that her husband will meet at Laon; and William swears in return to drink no wine, eat no flesh, kiss no mouth, sleep on his saddle-cloth, and never change his garments till he meets her again. His reception is not cordial. Louis thinks him merely a nuisance, and the courtiers mock his poverty, distress, and loneliness. He meets with no hospitality save from a citizen. But the chance arrival of his father and mother from Narbonne prevents him from doing anything rash. They have a great train with them, and it is no longer possible simply to ignore William ; but from the king downwards, there is great disinclination to grant him succour, and Queen Blanchefleur is especially hostile. William is going to cut her head off—his usual course of action when annoyed—after actually addressing her in a speech of extreme directness, somewhat resembling

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overcome by the ingenious suggestion of Bertrand that he shall hit with the small end. And these comic touches have a little disturbed those who wish to find in the pure chanson de geste nothing but war and religion, honour and generosity. But, as has been already hinted, this is to be over-nice. No doubt the oldest existing, or at least the oldest yet discovered, MS. of Aliscans is not the original, for it is rhymed, not assonanced, a practically infallible test. But there is no reason to suppose that the comic touches are all new, though they may have been a little amplified in the later version. Once more, it is false argument to evolve the idea of a chanson from Roland only, and then to insist that all chansoms shall conform to it. After the defeat of Desramé, and the relief of halfruined Orange, the troubles of that city and its Count are not over. The admiral returns to the charge, and the next chanson, the Bataille Loquifer, is ranked by good judges as ancient, and describes fresh prowess of Rainouart. Then comes the Moniage [“Monking” of] Rainouart, in which the hero, like so many other heroes, takes the cowl. This, again, is followed by a series describing chiefly the reprisals in Spain and elsewhere of the Christians—Foulques de Candie, the Siege de Barbastre, the Prise de Cordres, and Gilbert d’Andrenas. And at last the whole geste is wound up by the Mort Aimeri de Narbonne, Renier, and the Moniage Guillaume, the poem which unites the profane history of the Marquis au Court Nez to the legend of St William of the Desert, though in a fashion sometimes odd. M. Gautier will not allow any of these poems (except the Bataille Loquiser and the two Moniages) great age; and even if it were otherwise, and more of them were directly accessible," there could be no space to say much of them here. The sketch given should be sufficient to show the general characteristics of the chansons as each is in itself, and also the curious and ingenious way in which their successive authors have dovetailed and pieced them together into continuous family chronicles. If these delights can move any one, they may be found almost universally distributed about the son, anor chansons. Of the minor groups the most * interesting and considerable are the crusading cycle, late as it is in part, and that of the Lorrainers, which is, in the main, very early. Of the former the Chansons d'Antioche and de Jerusalem are almost historical, and are pretty certainly based on the account of an actual partaker. Antioche in particular has few superiors in the whole hundred and more poems of the kind. Hélias ties this historic matter on to legend proper by introducing the story of the Knight of the Swan ; while Les Chétifs (The Captives) combines history and legend very interestingly, starting as it does with a probably historical capture of certain Christians, who are then plunged in dreamland of romance for the rest of it. The concluding poems of this cycle, Baudouin de Seboure and the Bastart de Bouillon, have been already more

1 Foulques de Candie (ed. Tarbé, Reims, 1860) is the only one of this batch which I possess, or have read in extenso.

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