Synopses & Reviews
No king, no captain ever stood with better. Roland looks up on the mountains and slopes, sees the French dead, so many good men fallen, and weeps for them, as a great warrior weeps: "Barons, my lords, may God give you his grace, may he grant Paradise to all your souls, make them lie down among the holy ?owers. I never saw better vassals than you. All the years you've served me, and all the times, the mighty lands you conquered for Charles our King! The Emperor raised you for this terrible hour! Land of France, how sweet you are, native land, laid waste this day, ravaged, made a desert. Barons of France, I see you die for me, and I, your lord--I cannot protect you. May God come to your aid, that God who never failed. --Excerpt from
, one of the earliest medieval epic poems, was written in France in about 1100. The poem is based on an incident during Charlemagne's wars against Muslims in Spain. Charlemagne puts his nephew, Count Roland, in charge of the rearguard as French knights retreat. The rearguard is attacked by a much larger Arab army, and Roland waits too long to summon Charlemagne's help.