Siege d'AntiocheFordham Center for Medieval Studies A transcription and translation from Bodleian Library MS Hatton 77 and BL MS Add. 34114
Quant Buiamond li princesprince | ot finifinie sa raison
et la citié fud arse | jesqu'al maistremeste donjon,
loreslors ont acordé | li nobile baron 1
qu'il feroientferront un mur | od chauz et od sablon
entr'els et les paens | del chastel Garsion,
que cel qu'ilque orent fait | ne valut un boton:
Tut le ront craventél'ont recravente | Sarazin paien li felongloton,
ore en penst Damedé | qui soffri passion,
que que soit del parfaire | le mur comencerom .
Communalment i ovrentorent | chevaler et geudon,
mais fort le jorfort le lor le deffendent | la mainsieemaisnieemaisne Mahon: 2
oncque le premerain jor, | foi que nos vos devom,
ne porent aseer | ne mes uneun ureison
nonne feïssentfeiseient il ja | si ne fust par Raimon 3
le conte de Seint Gile | qui mult fud savies homsage homme.
Cil lor fist un engin | mervillosement bon:
plus orent de dis teises | li plus bas estelon
et furent bien traveztrouez | de granz fustz environ; 4
ne criement cop de piere | le vaillant d'un bouton. 5
Iloc s'en sunt monté | Provencal et Gascon,
qui suresursor leslez Sarazins, | qui mult furent felon,
lancent pierres et pels, | et cel a grant fuison,
que remuez les ont | de trestut l'environlaviron;
puis funt enprés le mur, | u il voillent u non,
qui merveilles lor fud, | a grant deffension.
Mais ore oiezorrez, seignors, | une grantgrante auisionavisonauision
que Deus ad demustré | par sa beneïçon.
Ce fud a uneun nuit, | por voir le vos disom,
que grant feu mervillos, | senz bosche et sanz charbon,
fud veüvenu(?) as herberges | de la gent Pharaon,
qui vient devers le ciel | u aoue grant lueïsonlucison. 6
Tut en durent estre ars | li encriesme felon,
n'i ad cil ne guerpisse | et tente et pavillon;
onquesonc icele nuit | n'i ot lai ne chançon,
trestut en sunt torné | en despereïson.
Ce dient li alquant: | Car nos nos en alom 7
ainz que cist feuscest fu nos arde | et que nos i morrom!
Ja contre cels del ciel | mes ne nos combatrons:
bien poüm aperceivre, | par sen et par raison,
que Damedé ne vielt | que cele villede ceste citié aiom.
Mult ferom que musart | si mesja plus i esteiom! .
Forment en ont entr'els, | seignors, grant contençon:
lilez uns volentuoleient l'aler | et li autre le non. 8
Bien lor ditlora dit Corberan, | o la fiere façon:
Por nïentneient en parlez, | que ja nen tornerom;
si ceste vile estnest prise, | queqi tienent cil Francon
qui la nos ont tolue | par lur seductïon,
soudan de Corrocane | meneraimenrai Buiamon
et seront tuit li autre | mené comme larron.
Ce respondent paen, | hardi comme leon:
Face quanqu'il voldra, | car ja ne li faudrom!.
255It was only when Prince Bohemond had finished expounding his position and the city was burnt to the ground as far as the main keep that the noble lords agreed to construct a wall with lime and sand as a barrier between them and the pagans in Garsion’s citadel , since the one they had already built was worse than useless. The villainous Saracens have knocked the whole thing down again. Now may God Who suffered in the Passion spare a thought for our plight; whatever it may take to complete it, we will get to work on the wall. Knights and footsoldiers worked shoulder to shoulder, but the troops of Mohammed made it very hard going: that first day, by the faith we owe you, they would have been unable to hold the ground and if it hadn’t been for Raymond , the Count of St Gilles, a very clever man. He had a remarkably good siege engine built for them: the beams in the bottom storey were more than 60 feet long and were firmly buttressed by stout logs; the Christians had no fear of any damage a stone might inflict. The Provençals and Gascons swarmed up it and flung javelins sticks and stones in abundance at the Saracens , those appalling villains; that cleared them out of the whole area; then they put up the wall nearby whether the Saracens liked it or not, which was little short of miraculous given the heavy opposition. But now, my lords, hear about a great vision which God manifested in His blessed goodness. It was one night – we are telling you the truth – that a massive flame, miraculous and fuelled by neither wood nor coal, was seen above the camp of the race of Pharaoh ; it came down from the sky, which was all lit up. All those black-skinned villains were on the verge of being burnt by it; there was not a single one who did not abandon his tent or pavilion. There was not much singing of lais or songs that night; every last one turned away in despair. Some spoke in these terms: Why don’t we leave before this fire burns us and we find ourselves dead men? We cannot continue to take on opponents from Heaven; it is abundantly clear in sense and reason that God does not want us to take this town . We should be complete fools if we carry on as we are. My lords, the argument raged back and forth: some of them were determined to leave and others determined not to. Corbaran addressed them proudly in no uncertain terms: You are wasting your time discussing this. There is no way we are going to retreat. If this town is taken – which these Franks hold because they seduced it away from us. I shall march Bohemond off to the Sultan of Corozan , and all the others will be trailed along behind him like thieves. At this the pagans replied, brave as lions: Let him do as he sees fit – we will never let him down!