The Life of St. Julian the Hospitaller
©Translation by Tony Devaney Morinelli
||St. Julian the Hospitaller, or "the
Poor Man" [Feast day February 12], was a popular saint in Western Europe - his life
was recounted in the Golden Legend - and his name was attached to many churches and
charitable institutions. It is his legend which made him popular. He has been taken as the
patron of ferrymen, innkeepers and circus performers.
This Medieval French version -- La Vie de saint Julien -- is from the ARSENAL
MS. 3516. Folio 84. dated c. 1286. It is the only extant version of the verse life. There
is a transcription of the manuscript by Rudolf Tobler published in Archiv fur das
Studium der Neuren Sprachen und Literaturen IV, 102 (1899): 109 - 178. There are
several other versions in prose. Caroline Swann (Tubingen:Max Niemeyer, 1977) has produced
a study of the prose versions, but there is has not been an English translation.
The following translation is based on both the Tobler transcription and the original
Paris Arsenal manuscript 3516, Folio 84, indexed in the manuscript as La Vie de saint Julien. The translation attempts to be as literal as possible and at the same time
to be easily readable. In those instances when either Tobler or the original manuscript
are ambiguous or unclear we have offered alternate translations and supplied a copy of the
questionable manuscript passage.
The manuscript which contains La Vie de saint Julien is a rather large tome.
Among the first pages is a church calendar which begins with the year 1268 and an index of
the works contained in the manuscript. This calendar, however, is written in a hand
different from that of the rest of the manuscript and may have been added later as noted
in our introduction. Following the calendar is a table of contents. The titles of the
texts (edited hereafter) are of interest in themselves. The breadth of topics suggests
that the entire tome may have been
something of a general encyclopedia of world knowledge necessary for any place where
educated people might gather.
The subjects range from biblical narratives, to saints' lives, to philosophy, the
sciences, the honor of women and the rules of chivalry.
Aside from the calendar, the remainder of the manuscript is readily discernible as
being written in the same hand. The pages, are of parchment and measure 240 x 200 mm. The
text of La Vie de saint Julien is presented in four columns per sheet with 50
verses per column. Majuscules in red or blue with filigree extending ten or more lines
decorate the pages at irregular intervals.
Many of the texts, particularly the Histoire d'Adam and the Bestiare,
are illuminated with charming miniatures. The scientific works like Le Table de le
mapemonde contain intriguing diagrams of the medieval concept of the earth and its
place in the heavens, including an enlightening pre-columbian explanation of Comment
la terre est ronde.
The survival of these miniatures and diagrams is all the more interesting because
many of the miniatures have been cut from the text including all those from La Vie de
saint Julien. If indeed, this mutilation was at the hands of art collectors or antique
sellers, as we might immediately suspect, we must wonder why they ignored the greater part
of the illuminated pages and took only the few found in these texts. When we recall,
however, that there is no other known extant version of the verse life we are intrigued by
the possibility that the Julien illuminations were removed deliberately in order not to
call attention to the text (assuming as well that the medieval reader would more quickly
and easily recognize a story in a manuscript by its illustrations).
Since the prose version is represented in at least twenty four manuscripts, it would
seem that at some time an ur-verse version, upon which the prose and the extant verse are
based, must have been equally widespread. If we judge from the reassignment of gender
roles made in the transition from verse to prose as well as from the re-interpretation of
the epithet "Hospitaller", the later variations may be due to a directed effort
to correct what may have been considered unacceptable or inappropriate in a saint's life.
All non-conforming versions of the tale may have suffered a systematic eradication.
Removing the illuminations from the extant verse version may very well have preserved it.
Yet, alluring as this notion may be, it is little more than conjecture. Until such time as
more information concerning the Julien legend comes to light, this question, as well as
many others concerning its origin and development remain unanswered.
INDEX Of MANUSCRIPT ARS 3516.
histoire d Adam Noe et l Arche
l estoire Isaac
David et Salemon
Joachim et Anna
li regrets de Nostre Dame et de son Fils
de la traison de Judas
de Nostre Dame et la croix
de la chanson David
de la Magdalaine en prose
La passion Saint Jehan evvangeliste
" " Saint Jake
" " Johan Baptiste
" " Saint Pierre
" " Saint Andrieu
La vie de Saint Nicolai
Saint Johan bouce d or
THE LIFE OF SAINT JULIAN HOSPITALLER
There are those troubadours who can compose fine words
and can put them into measured verse. They are called to tell their tales before counts
and kings, and create their wonderful tales for princes and for counts, for knights and
for castellans. In return they are rewarded with gifts. But I, who am but a poor man, am
not so famous. To tell the truth I suppose that I should not be, for I do not have such
great skills as the world would prize. Nonetheless, I would like to try my hand at the
telling of the life of a Saint. Now pray God that He teach me how; because I make this
attempt at the request of a lady whom I have always and will always regard with the
greatest affection. She is not a woman of great means, great income or great holdings. But
lovely is her countenance and I find her a loyal friend in the highest sense. And even
when she calls to account those who are indebted to her she does so with the greatest
delicacy. She one to be usurious, even though she could profit greatly from the trusts
that are placed in her care. She would never deceive either man or woman for her own gain.
Yes, I know her well, but her name I will not tell you here. She gives freely of all she
has to the poor and to those seeking alms. She always looks for the good in things and her
sole wish is that sin would be forever banished from this earth. I do not say that she
herself is without stain, for in this world there are those things which we are compelled
to do which may taint us. Yet, both love and fear master her and urge her on against those
temptations which seek to control her will. And in this bitter world she wants only to
love Jesus Christ. And may God, who brings about all goodness, grant her wisdom and great
strength and a loving will to serve Him by her goodness.
My lady has asked me to tell the tale of a saint which
many people remember and so may God grant me the skill not only to begin this tale but to
bring it to a good end. Now listen, that God grant to all honor and joy.
I want to tell the tale of a saint's life who without
pride and without greed, without cunning and without cowardice served the King of Majesty
with a heart so pure and humble that he was crowned in glory. You will know him well
because he is a saint that we often call upon in time of need. In fact, he is one of the
most famous saints I know. He is especially revered by pilgrims and mendicants, pilgrims
and friars, clerics and priests, knights and townsfolk. He is known in Burgundy and in
Albi, in France and in Normandy, in Spain and in Lombardy, in Rome and across the seas. I
do not know any country where God's name is spoken that this Saint is not invoked, either
by the heart or upon parchment.
All those who wander the roads call upon him ceaselessly
from the depths of their hearts. They pray to him daily and at sunset when they are weary
from their travels they call upon him with greater love than they did at dawn when their
travels began. But the wicked and those who conjure spells dare not call upon him when in
need of lodging. He is proclaimed in the underworld and among the Saints. His name is
Saint Julien and he has served God so fully that he received death and martyrdom.
Saint Julien was a most noble man, as we read in his
life. And so holy was the life he lived that he housed the Most High King. He was not the
child of a serf, nor of a poor castellan but the son of Geoffry, the good Duke of Angers
who rules over that province which included Angers and Torraine, Maine and Poitou. Since
the duke could have no other children he loved Julien above all other possessions. Yet,
despite this love, never did any father endure more grief than did the duke over his son.
His mother was the Duchess Emma, a noble woman of most noble line. She was of such a sweet
nature that her kindness showed in all she did. And the Duke, too, was so kind, so honest,
so noble and so considerate that both rich and poor loved him well and they called him
father and lord. And like his parents Julien was neither cruel or unkind, and so made
himself loved by all. But no one loved him as much as his parents did who held him with
greatest devotion above all their worldly goods and personal honor.
Both their hearts are in Julien and through their love
the three are joined as one. And Julien, in turn, honored his parents. He would never do
anything that they would object to. But as things would happen, Duke Geoffry and the
Duchess met with a sorry fate which caused them the greatest anguish over their child. I
know of no sorrow as great as theirs. And now I shall tell you of this adventure just as
it is given in writing and in history and in peoples tales.
The Duke had come to LeMans in great pomp to hold court
and Julien and the Duchess came with him. All was prepared most elegantly and the Duke
distributed many fine presents to his people and pardoned many wrongdoers. The Duchy of
Angers was resplendent with many noble princes and fine ladies. Together they created such
great mirth that no one has never seen its equal. Everyone in the town was busy preparing
for a great feast. Not even the smallest of streets could you find where there was not the
music of harp and string. There were jousts for the men and dances for the ladies and talk
of love for both. Much was the mirth that was in that court. But, alas, their merriment
was all too short and I shall tell you the reason why just as we read it in the history.
From the time he was a child Julien was obsessed with
hunting. Whenever the court traveled, Julien would always bring his bow and there was no
one who could keep him from his daily forays into the woods. It was also just as difficult
to get him to go home. Now on this day, while the others are at the feast, Julien kisses
his father and mother and takes leave of his parents.
"My hearts," says he, "Do not worry. I am
only going out to hunt for a short while and I will bring you back a fine deer and those
at court will share in enjoying it". As they grant him his leave they say, "God
be with you good son". And so Julien sets out upon his way. From that hour when they
parted they would never again see each other except in sorrow and anguish.
Now Julien sets out on his way in the company of about
twenty of his valets and sergeants who are armed with bow and arrow. They all enter the
woods but at different points and so they soon become separated and Julien finds that he
is alone. (God grant him comfort and aid) Bow and arrows in hand he spurs on his horse and
gallops through the wood where he finds neither road nor path. Before long he loses his
way and rides into the wilds. There are snakes in that part of the wood and soon his shirt
is torn by bramble thorn. There is neither trail nor track except those left by beasts and
snakes. He becomes frightened because he doesn=t
know where he is riding. Now is the moment when his life is played like a game of chance
and Fortune deals him a turn from which he will never recover. For from this moment he
will never again see friend or family, nor mother or father until he sees them in death.
Julien is greatly troubled for he has lost all his men
and hears neither hound nor horn, he wanders alone as if in exile. Fortune strikes him
such a blow that henceforth he would know only sorrow. And then in his wandering the young
man saw a beast within the closure of a hedge. The beast was lying there and was taking
its rest from the day's heat. Lying within its lair, it was colored all over in shades of
red, even though it was hidden from the sun. Now this beast that lay in hiding had the
semblance and face of a man. Our young man sees it and alights from his saddle. Without a
moment's hesitation he bands back his bow and vents his fury upon it. Immediately the
beast is struck and calls out, "Young man, what do you want of me? How does it
trouble you that I am lying here? But since you have stricken me know what evil will
befall you. With a single blow, you will slay your father and your mother. And never will
you avoid this fate or flee from it. It will follow you even to death!"
Then Julien spoke, "The man who lets himself be
taken in by such a folly could also easily be duped. I do not believe this a bit, for you
say it from fear of death." "You speak true", said the beast. "Now
know fear, and what will befall you because of what you have done to me. Now see what the
future will bring. You have your sharp and cutting sword. Now it will sever life itself.@ Then dies the beast. And Julien turns away and
determines to go into exile. Thus, although he went only to hunt, Fortune, without mercy,
pursued him and put him in such a state that he must now seek his living like one who must
beg his bread.
He swears that he will never return to his own land. He
will stay far from his parents. His heart is filled with a great conflict for both fear
and love torment him. On one side, Love says to him that foolish is he who leaves this
way, to wish to humiliate himself and to take off in exile because of the words of some
deceitful beast. "I hold it a great foolishness that you, because of this
enchantment, wish to flee from your friends, and from those who have devoted their hearts
to loving you. Indeed, your heart will be sad. Your father would die of shame if he were
to receive so great a blow." This is Love who speaks, Love who is so wise... .
(The manuscript is damaged at this point. A miniature
on the opposite side has been cut out. It seems that it is Fear who speaks and suggests
what may happen if he should kill his parents.)
... for it would be a great mistake. And because of this
you can lose your life. Everyone will say that you cut short their joy out of jealousy.
And your peers will not prevent you from being wrongly judged and burned or banished. Now
let it be that no evil may befall you, so remember this always. All those of honor, both
great and small will hate you. It is better that you go from them than that you kill them
both. For it is the wise man in truth who keeps misfortune at a distance.
Thus Fear controls the youth and with right reason leads
him away. But Love remains at hand and goes weeping along after him, who, up until now,
recalled to him the love that he used to have. Thus he wanders, in the face of hardship
through the forest by day and by night. He never ate or drank or slept or rested. He
leaves his lands and his country and his father, his mother and his friends. Towards
Brittany he makes his way like a poor begging friar and weeps and goes wringing his hands.
But let us turn now to his valets and his sergeants.
They have been hunting and searching for him so long all day that their horses are
exhausted and yet, they do not know what has become of him. Behold, they have now come
back to Le Mans. In great display they bring back both fowl and venison, but they do not
bring back the one who was beloved by all. It was early evensong when they returned. When
the Duke and his barons see that Julien is not with them their hearts are much distressed.
And so the Duke asks them how it happens that his son does not return with them.
"Sire," they said, "we have lost him. We
don't know where he is. We have sought him so long throughout the wood that our horses are
spent. We have sought him both here and there but we do not know which way he took. From
the moment he had entered the wood, your son Julien went out on his own and no one met or
saw him. Of this you may be completely certain." They have sorrow's pale shade. All
those within the hall can have no greater grief for their lord than now besets them. But
the Duke's is so great that no one can comfort him. A Good sweet son", so spoke the father, "what will your sorrowful mother do who
has given herself all to you? She will die of grief, I know. Fair son, most simple
creature, what shall I do, most sweet soul? You were kind to all people, humble of heart
and noble of body."
heart is greatly troubled. He wrenches his fists and tears his hair. The princes in tears
sustain him and hold him by the arms and by his robe. They do not conceal their great
sorrow. Into the curtained chamber where the Duchess is enjoying the feast the sorrowful
news runs with speed. "Lady",they say, "Your son is dead."
Then was her heart so deeply stricken that never will
dawn that day to comfort it. "Ah, sweet son! What will become of your father when he
has lost his friend? For even more dear to the Duke was he than to me. I was but your
heart=s captive. To die is what remains for me.
For I am too much alive when dead is he who loved me so and called me mother and
At these words she rushes out from the room and becomes
more yellow than amber. She comes to the Duke who comforts her. She weeps so and her two
hands are so tightly joined that she distends the nerves and joints. The sorrow of the
Duke and of his wife troubles many princes and many ladies. "Lady", says he,
"dead is my joy and all the good that I had."
The Duchess sighs and weeps. "Oh, God," she
says,"with what illfortune was this hunt undertaken this day! I am stricken with
such grief that my heart will dwell upon this day as long as I shall live. Fair son, we
are surely all distressed. To lose you so soon in life, you who are all our comfort, all
is now lost. What shall become of us? Alas!" All lament as one his goodness and his
prowess. All weep for him, both poor and rich, like a child for his nurse. His mother,
like a woman bewildered, beseeches in tears Holy Mary. "If he is living, may God
The Duke calls out for a horse that is strong and
spirited for he decides to go to seek his son. They bring him the horse and the Duke
mounts. And although he goes to seek him, it is to no avail. And the barons ride with him
all fitted out with spurs. About the wood they trumpet and cry out for him, but this is a
hunt with no merriment and they do sigh. Their quest amounts to nothing for their eyes
will never see him again.
Then the Duchess speaks to Duke Geoffrey.
"Sire", says she," no man can continue on like this with such fear. It is
better to pray for him and, if he is dead, that God may have his soul."
"Lady", says the Duke,"You speak true. It
is not fitting to carry on in grief. Rather, now let people pray for him at the church and
give a generous offering that God may save his soul from torment. Now that our son, so
noble and so good, is dead, we must be our own comfort. And from God we need nothing else.
Comfort me then and you will do well."
she says, "with all my will." And she has greatly lessened his grief. Soon the
court took leave. The Duke shared among them his great treasures. He gives to all so
generously and dispenses his gifts so graciously that poor and rich praise him for it and
they commend him to the Lord with all their hearts. The Duke and his wife stay at LeMans
where they decide to make their dwelling. But they cannot have comfort in this retirement.
But, for now we will leave these two; and when the place is right we shall speak of them
Now we will tell you of Julien who without respite and
without worldly possessions has entered upon a great penance. Woe to him that he beheld
the face of that beast for because of that countenance he will never have rest or peace of
heart no matter where he will go. But he will have suffered misery and shame, as the
stories of his life recount it. He will know great hunger and cold, and the most awful and
harsh sufferings, many the mean hostel and hard bed, many the troubles and few the
pleasures. He will wander from place to place and suffer through great duress and poverty
before he may come to any good end. And there is no one who would know how to describe it,
no heart that could imagine it nor tongue which might speak of it.
He rides at great speed along the highways and he does
not canter. He charges upon his steed across rivers and marshes for he fears that he may
be followed. When the countryside is no longer recognizable he thinks that he has made
some headway in his flight. Yet, still he rides with speed and drive for he fears that the
others may reach him. So to Nantes in Brittany he rides and comes there before nightfall.
He prays God with all his heart to grant him an honest shelter. And so God hear him and
provided him with one the likes of which he would not see again.
There was a townsman whose name was Gervais, a good man
above all, that night lodged the weary and troubles Julien. Both he and his horse were wet
from the mud and the water. They had been running for so long through the lowlands that it
was late and the towns realizing this gave him a lodging both good and fine, and it was
clean in appearance with a hearty fire. (It could rightly be said that Saint Julien was at
this hostel.)) There was mush to eat and drink but Julien could eat nothing more as id he
had a full stomach. Then he began to sob and cries out.
Then his host Gervais asks him. "Where were you
born good friend? By your leave, tell us this."
"Sir, I am from the land of Le Mans but with
remorse have I left it. But now leave me for the time being."
"Friend, you are ill. If there is something that
displeases you, tell it to me without fear. I am ready to relieve it."
"Nothing, sir, truly," says the boy, "but
I have neither the great means nor enough deniers to pay you. It behooves me then to sell
my horse and my clothes and seek poorer ones. I wish to visit the shrine of Saint James
and to pray to the other Saints. For before I can return to my home I must see to my
redemption. Such is my trouble".
The host, who is a wise man , answers, "Surely we
can arrange your finances for I am a merchant of all things. You will not be unlucky. I
shall buy your belongings without trickery and without the least little gain.
"Sir," says Julien, "God keep you for this. Now you have softened my grief.
Go see then what my belongings are worth."
The host who did not wish to forestall him bought all in
honesty and made his payment to him. That very night, in that very place Gervais had a
coat and cape made for Julien and small shoes and good hose. The young man was well
attired and Gervais gave him with great generosity a scarf and hat and pilgrim staff, a
rope, a knife and doublet. He outfitted him well and gave him a leather belt in which to
keep his deniers. Both strong friendship and pity brought him to help the young man.
The following morning after he had been to church, for
he has wished to hear divine office, Julien set out on the road. Gervais accompanies him
for some time until he sets him upon the right road. And when the time comes for them to
part, most lovingly and with their whole hearts do they humbly embrace. And Gervais
beseeches Julien that he return to him immediately and that he pray for him whatever may
"This I must do", says Julien. Then the two
take leave of each other. The young lord rides off in haste. Now does Julien enter into
much trouble, great will be his worry and great his anguish over a destiny of which he has
Now the boy sets off in his wanderings, to fast and to
wake the night, to weep and to suffer. Night and day is he driven to flee, for he is
determined to reach the border quickly. His wanderings took him so far that he became pale
and changed in color. If anyone he had known would have come upon him they would barely
have recognized him he had become so black and thin and word away. Never was there a man
or woman born whom Fortune sported more. She has put on him such tight bonds that barely
ever does he meet anyone who does not cause him trouble by word or deed. Even when he is
there upon the road, brigands and false pilgrims fall upon him and seem to seek him out.
And when Julien tries to find an honest hostel, for neither prayer nor money does he find
one. And so neither from God nor from silver can he obtain respite. And this weighed
heavily upon him until Fortune grew weary of him and plagued him no more but left him in
great misery. A great wonder it is that he endures it. But he suffers all and bears all
for God most nobly.
I do not know how to tell you all in all the things that
happened to him. But he pressed on and so came to the lord Saint James the Apostle, the
shrine at Campostela. There he weeps and hands joined, sighing, says his paternosters. And
weeping he beseeches God tenderly to deliver him of all his sins. He then prays that God
might have him in his service and keep him in His holy sight and that He keep his parents
well and in peace, for never again will they see him. For with all his might he keeps
himself from them. Finally he prays for his good host, Gervais that God might hold him and
stay with him and in His service keep him.
When he had finished his prayer he went immediately to
confess to a priest. He reflected as best he could and he tells him all with great fear.
The priest gave him the penance that he quickly go to Rome. There will he find the remedy
and council against all his misdeeds, against his sins and against his actions. Would that
the Pope might set all in the right road.
With this advice Julien takes his leave. In the morning
as dawn breaks he stays no more in that place and turns away towards Rome.
But hear now what adventure happened to his host
Gervais. Cruel indeed are the facts and for such little cause. Gervais was not often at
home because he used to follow the fairs and markets. He was much loved and respected and
trusted by both clerk and layman. Yet a cruel and ugly calamity befell this merchant who
was a righteous man.
One day Gervais went to the festival straight away to
Anger no doubt, Since he fears no one and doubts not, as he was one who did no wrong. He
arrived at the festival mounted on the very horse that he bought from Julien. And so upon
that very horse he came and went upon his business. A horse that cost him so dearly that
he almost paid with his life.
As it happened that the Duke and the Duchess were at Le
Mans. Now the histories and the accounts say that in order to bear more easily their
sorrow they decided to go to Anger to entertain their knights and their household with a
fine outing. The Duke was in a most fitting loge to watch the festival and just there
Gervais, the merchant goes riding by as do the other merchants. He often passes before the
Duke. As Gervais passes by the Duke catches sight of him and suddenly recognizes the
horse. When he saw it, his blood stirred within him. He knew that horse well without
Quickly he had his men seize the merchant who was not
wicked or dishonest. They brought Gervais villainously before all the other merchants the
Duke asked him on the spot how this horse came to him. The merchant who was well known
said to him, "Lord, I bought it and counted out deniers for it."
"Show us then your bill of sale or you will have a
far bigger horse and indeed one more shameful. Who would believe that a man like you would
commit such a crime or engage in thievery. Unless you prove yourself innocent you shall
hang on this very spot."
"Lord, you speak wrongly . Those who would hang me
for what I own would commit a great offense. I need have no such shame."
"Shamed should you be, for you have deceived nay
even slain him whose horse now passes as yours."
Our man did not know what to say, nor did he have a
witness to speak for him. But then you should have seen the other merchants run to his
rescue those from France, from Normandy, from Flanders and from Lombardy. One and all
speak and say, "See, how you treat with shame the most upright man that we
know." Then they close all their stalls and the festival comes to a halt. Not the
smallest trinket is sold. And so they all run as one to hear the judgment. The sergeants,
lead the horse and merchant immediately before Duke Geoffrey.
The merchant was in fear, he who was so kind and noble
now suffered great shame because of those folk who came from all about to see him. But
great was their pity for him. Many merchants melt in tears over it and many are angered
and make moves to rescue him from this state. Gervais moves forward so that the other
merchants may not put up a defense, for he was an upright man.
On his feet before the Duke was the merchant in great
sadness and his heart is in such distress because he doesn't know what end might come. He
will tell the truth whatever happens. The devil thought surely to disgrace him before all
his friends and in such a way to deceive him and thus cast him into despair. But strong is
the merchant's hope and he takes his comfort in Jesus Christ and in the knowledge that he
has done no wrong. In the silence of his heart he makes a short prayer. He prays God most
sincerely that He might clear him of this deed in which he knows no guilt.
The Duke readily then acknowledged him and was much
taken back to see that the townsman has such a good reputation.
"This weighs on me when I dare say it," says
the Duke, "But say it I must."
With great anger he asked the merchant how it happened
that this very horse came to him.
"Tell me truly, by Him who has made all the world
through Himself, for if there is a lie behind this, surely I shall have you hanged or
burned or vilely undone. Tell me now this whole affair."
"Sire", says Gervais, "truly I shall tell
you and not a word shall be a lie. If God grants that I may have his love, I shall go
among His own to see Him."
Then both great and small cry out in the merchant=s defense since they are determined that they will
"Sire," say they, "we would both swear
and pledge for him, since never in him has there been wrong doing or thievery or deceit.
Whatever he will tell you will be he truth."
"My Lords, I have heard you well," says the
Duke,"and I surely believe you. Nor do I mistrust the man himself. Even without all
of you, by his oath I shall surely acquit him. For I shall hold to his own oath and I will
question him no more." They bring forth the Holy Relics of the Saints and he swears
by God and by the Holy Scriptures that he will speak the truth whatever may come, in all
that he may recall.
Then the Duchess arrived. They tell her the news just as
it happened. She has just come down the steps to the ground and she beholds the horse. She
sees it, and immediately recognizes it. She now recalls her son. I do not think that any
woman who bears a child could have such sorrow from her offspring as does the Duchess
because of Julien.
Yet, she had pity for the merchant. She prays the Duke
out of kindness for God that he do the merchant no harm but that he restore his lot to
him. "For just and loyal he seems to me."
"Lady," he answers, "it seems to me that
you wish that he have my mercy and that he may not suffer here. But let us hear first what
this man who came her upon this horse may have to say."
It was still and there was not a word spoken at all. The
merchant, who was neither crafty nor brash spoke before all his witnesses, for the truth
made him bold. "Sire, in truth I tell you upon the oath that I have made that I
bought this horse in all honesty from a young man. Never before have my eyes seen so
handsome a youth who was more weary and distraught. Wet and in disarray he came to my
house in Nantes. Never was there one more frightened and bewildered than he. He had good
lodging and proper food and a hearty fire. And I am so sure and certain that he had meat
and good wine. Yet he ate ever so poorly. That night he told me in confidence that he had
no money upon which to draw but that he wished to sell his horse and his clothes and to
replace them with others. For he wished to seek out the shrine of Saint James. He seemed
very much a person of great renown but I did not learn his name. But this much he told me,
the good and honest soul, that he was from the county of Mans but because of great
distress he left that place. More he did not tell me. These things I bought in all surety;
never could I have done so more honestly. I had clothes sewn and fitted for him and had
him well outfitted as a pilgrim with all his needs. And so he departed from me. But he
seemed to me from his look that he liked hunting best."
He names the night for them that Julien arrived there
and the night that he went off. As the merchant speaks the Duke weeps and the Duchess
curses the hour that the hunt had begun, and cut short her son's life.
The Duke says, "Good kind friend, this youth was my
son who put both me and his mother in such distress that never shall we be at peace. Have
his clothes brought to me, I would rejoice upon seeing them. And I also wish to have his
horse. I will give you two or three times what it is worth."
The merchant does as the Duke wishes and joyfully allies
himself in reconciliation. Gervais then sends them all Julien's clothes which were torn in
many places. The Duke receives them all the while weeping while the Duchess in sorrow
sighs. The merchant took his rightful payment. . And in the court was he much esteemed for
the Duke and his Lady love him and they call him their guest and friend.
The news spread throughout Nantes, and none could be
sweeter to Gervais' friends. It seems to me that all the merchants, were moved together to
assure the acquittal of their good comrade. And they rejoiced when they heard the message
that told them that peace was sealed between Gervais and Duke Geoffrey. For great had been
their fear, for he might have been hanged or exiled if he had not been aided by God. But
now he is so high in the court that every counselor comes by him. All his friends were
And now the Duke outfitted his sergeants to seek out his
son but it would avail him naught. And although they seek him through many lands it is for
nothing. They will not find him. Those who explore far and wide labor in vain. Finally,
they give up the search. Duke Geoffry, now at his own home, dwelt in pure frustration. He
is in sorrow, in great sorrow. What should I tell you? And so they languish.
The Duke and the Duchess remain at LeMans and they keep
the merchant with them, for they did not wish to be without him. Never did Gervais go out
without promising that he would return as quickly as he could to comfort them. For in
their sorrow, which was great, the merchant was their consolation. The Duke and the
Duchess loved him and so they called him guest and son. And soon the three are of one
accord. They remember Julien's words and in so doing their grief is lessened.
Now I shall return to my story of Julien who strives and
strains that he may be very far away. Now he is weary and worn. Most of his money is gone.
And he is much discolored. I do not know everything that happened to him but I know that
he wandered so far that he came to Rome.
Why would I make a long story for you? Finally he tells
his tale to the Pope from beginning to end, about how and by what ill fortune he came out
from his country and came to him to seek his advice. The Pope honored him well. Julien
stayed with him a while but at length
asks to take his leave. The Pope then orders him to
spend two years across the sea. Out of love Julien accepted the command willingly and this
penance gave his heart new strength and fullness.
He travels on so far that he has covered much of the
earth and has crossed the whole sea. But when he arrived on the other side he was so
stripped of clothing and belongings that he had neither food nor money. If he does not beg
he has nothing.
Finally, Julien comes upon the Hospital where he spends
two whole years. And each week without fail they had battle with the Turks, three or four
or five times at least. Julien was not the last in battle for he was strong and tall and
desirous of combat, and so they issue him the proper arms. Thus, he entered immediately
into the fray against the Turks and bravely battles. Many does he kill and many does he
strike down. He rends their hauberks, he splits their shields. He assaults well; he
defends himself well. Julien slays and kills and drives himself with a fury. He cuts and
strikes with such folly and abandon that he clearly shows that he no longer wishes to be
alive. For, he knows well that if he should die, the beast would have lied. And so he
stakes his life for sale. Now his comrades, when they see how he battles, marvel at his
prowess and even the cowardly become brave.
Julien, in his new armor, was little loved by the Turks.
They feared him alone and dared not go against him. As soon as they see him coming they
dare not turn in his direction but turn aside that he may not see them. But Julien cuts
them off from their escape. So often does he engage them in battle and so violently does
he strike and smash whatever he encounters that it seems that by the force of his strength
that he wishes to die in battle. The Turks have no defense against him. Again and again he
defeats them and he is upon them at every moment. Yet, when he returned to the Hospital he
was so quiet and so silent it was as though he had never stirred from his room. It does
not seem that he has been in battle. At the Hospital he serves great and small equally
with such great friendship that all love him most dearly.
What should I tell you? So humbly did he serve that he
earned the love of all, even that of the professed. But had they known that he was a Duke
even greater honor would they have shown him and all therein would have rejoiced in it.
And so he was there for a long time when one day the Master came to him. In front of the
great lords he announces to them that Julien might take his vows as a religious with them
before God. But Julien says to them, "I shall not do this now for I have not yet the
makings of a religious." Then they told him unanimously that they wished otherwise
and that he should be dubbed a knight.
"Lords", says Julien, "do not jest with
me. I came here naked and poor. I should not have come to this position. Do you wish to
place a poor vagabond of little worth in such a worthy position. Leave me as I am, there
is no need. I am a poor man of little consequence. I know nothing of knighthood. Send me
to work in the mad house or out to guard the pigs in the sty. It serves no purpose to make
such a noise. This is not fitting for a homeless person like me."
And the others reply, "None of these are worthy of
Then do the Hospitallers by one voice make him a knight.
They have him arrayed and bathed, shaved and tonsured, then do they arm him most finely.
All pray to God most piously that Julien may fully devote himself to God=s service where he may remain a long time. When
Julien was arrayed as a full knight he did not flaunt himself over it. He had no desire
for authority, but serves with great humility as before. But he was so proud and fearless
in arms and so completely unbridled that nothing could slow him or stop him in his way.
Directly he goes to battle the Infidel. He has not the slightest fear and so strikes them
with such violence that he dashes them over against the ground. Here three, here five,
here one, here two. He renews their troubles. He has tinged sword and arm with the blood
of those he strikes down. He causes them to panic and strikes them. He strikes so many of
the wild invader that he surely need not be ashamed of his skill. And he has no thought to
take prisoners, for he wants to take no Turk alive. He would have them all learn death and
so they flee from him as would a wild beast.
He cuts arms and heads and spills their blood and
brains. He kills and disembowels so many and with such prowess that every blow counts as
destruction. And the Turks are powerless against him. All this Julien the Beau
Now has he stripped their daring from them, so that the
Turks ask a truce of him. No, they do not ask, but demand it. They willingly surrender and
submit to peace. And for a long time they held to the peace for they feared Julien so much
that they dare not stir nor move against our people. Thus the Franks have completely
conquered the Turks. By the great strength of Julien our Christian men have conquered all.
Now all, both high and low share in the great spoils that were to be had.
Now was Julien held in great esteem above and beyond all
was his renown. By the king was he greatly loved, by the Templars and by the Germans, by
the Genovese and by the Pisans, by the Normans and by the French. Everyone who can serves
him. The Hospitallers love him so that they call him nothing less than brother. And Julien
in turn served them so kindly that truly he was deserving of nothing less than the love of
all. They all prayed God with one voice that he might preserve the kingdom of Syria, for
through Julien they are all in surety. Thus Julien was there a long time. Now he thinks
and believes with certainty that he has escaped the words of the Beast. And he does not
think that he could ever be befall him to do such a bitter thing to his own father and
And yet, he will, it cannot be otherwise. For Fortune
arrives to assail him in his finest moment. Fortune turns her wheel a spoke ahead, Fortune
who envied that he had a good life. And so to undo all his affair she turns her wheel. For
just as in earlier times of greatest surety Fortune had put him in the most dire straits
that no one would have anything to do with him, so does Fortune cut from him the honor and
comfort that he now had. Hear now what happened to him.
At time there came to Acre a shipload of pilgrims. The
vessel came into port. Normans it had as well as Poitevins, French and Bretons and
Angevins from the lands of Duke Geoffrey. But they were in great distress for they had
heard it said from those who had recently left the country, that the Duke their sire had
died, after they had left him. For at the time they went away he had already languished a
long time and so because of this they thought that he died more quickly.
Thus was Duke Geoffrey mourned and grieved by his men.
And they said one and all, "He perished because of the son he lost. The grief of the
loss beset him so that he could continue no more nor endure so great a sorrow." They
told the story to one another so often that one and all knew it. And so the news went
abroad such that all, both wise man and fool learned it. When Julien, his son, heard of
it, he was both happy and sad. So Julien went quickly to ask about what he had heard. They
tell him of one accord that the Duke is truly dead. Thus was Julien=s heart filled with sorrow, and so he thinks for
certain that the beast had deceived him. Never before had he received such a loss. Then he
says that since his father is dead he can well return to his mother, the Duchess, who is
so good. He will send no other messenger there but will go directly to tell her of all his
adventures. He wants to go immediately so he has his baggage made ready.
The Templars, the King and the Hospitallers and many
noble men who stay there are distressed that he will not remain with them; but they
provided well for him and outfitted him as a knight. The brothers of the Hospital bestow
on him furnishings, clothes and a horse, as well as two servants, jewels, fine gold and
coin. And they tell him that should he return, he will find his place waiting for him.
"My Lords," he says,"May God reward you
and defend you all from misfortune." He has great sorrow upon leaving, and they
bestow on him, all needs according to his wishes. So much did he have and in such great
plenty that, if Fortune left it to him alone, he would return quite richly. Then Julien
set upon his way. And many fine men see him off, both rich and poor who held him dear, but
this much I tell you, that they never did learn where he was from nor of what family; for
Julien the noble was quite hidden from those to whom he was born.
At the port the ship stood ready and Julien and his
servants went on board. There they all did surely confess and each one did his penance for
they were wary of the sea. And they were right to have done so, for before long, their joy
will flee and change to most great woe.
The shipman sets his sail. When all were put upon the
ship, they commend their friends to God.
Many men weep for Julien and all say that from the hour
that he leaves, never more will they see him and that the Turks will return upon them as
soon as they will hear the news. The Turks will now come upon the, with force. Never will
they see themselves delivered from the enemy; for it was Julien who made them live in
peace. They watch him as long as they can see him, and with eyes and heart they send him
off. And the voyagers go off with great joy.
Yet never, I believe, do I see joy so quickly fade. Now
came Fortune to besiege them by a torment that attacks them and turn things upside down.
Their joy has quickly tumbled and Fortune has raised their grief. The sea now swells and
the air stirs and the winds grow and double, the masts snap like a twig, the waves strike
the vessel. It frightens and troubles them greatly. The ship plunges so deeply that they
surely think that they are falling into the depths and all beseech the Most High King.
Then the sea raises them up as though they were on a mountain top.
They all fall at once and pray God that He will forgive
them their misdeeds and make them safe, for so great is this assault on them. The ship
fills with water, the strong winds distress them and the sea continually strikes against
them. No mind can imagine their fear. There is no relief in sight. It is the breaking
point. In the ship were many good men who were crying out for God's mercy. "Lord,
deliver us from this." Even the son of the good Duke Geoffrey was in great fear.
Quietly he prays to God that he may do His will.
They flounder upon the sea without direction and in
order to lighten the ship, they cast over horses and goods and whatever else they had to.
These storms which beset them lasted a week, what a miracle it was that they endured them.
So the ship wandered until they came upon a most narrow shore, a place where hardly anyone
ever lands. But misfortune has led them there.
Now the ship, which had suffered so long, was near the
port. Just then, because of the waves it cracks and splits, breaks and shatters and
splinters, as though it were an ancient wreck. They abandon the ship in confusion. They
have so completely lost everything that they have not a penny of all their goods. Never
were men in such dire straits .
See them now all scattered about; there were many who
perished. Those who do not know how to swim will drown. This troubles the people at the
port. They run to their boats to help, and they rescue those that they can. But as I find
it in the text, they do not even rescue half.
The number who perished I cannot count. Julien is still
in the sea painted the color of fear. He swam on until he reached a plank which he
Stripped and shamed, without leggings, naked and in a
sorry state Julien came into the harbor. He had lost absolutely everything, even his two
servants for whom he had great sorrow. He has not a thing in the world except for his
tunic. He puts his hand before his flesh to hide and conceal himself and then, like this,
goes forth to seek bread, for hunger afflicted him since for three days and two nights he
had fasted and did not eat.
All in all he has suffered much, and with shame, great
loss. His poverty is so apparent that he has not a stitch to cover himself. Thus he does
not open his knees to warm himself at the inn. He is so unfortunate and so ashamed that he
beds down on straw and wood shavings. He sleeps In great distress that night. Great is his
hunger and cold and the company he finds crude. Yet, for all his many troubles that he has
both day and night, he still thanks God and worships Him truly and so does not neglect Him
at any hour. For Julien has faith in God and never for any tribulation will that faith be
Now, since his father is dead, he plans to go forth to
see his mother the Duchess. He wishes to go, this is his goal. But he does not know the
roads nor which route to take, nor does he know how he can learn them for he did not know
the language. He prays God that he might have the direction and counsel which come from
Him. For he does not know what will become of him. While he was there, it happened that he
found a townsman, who was standing on the shore. A merchant he was, big and goodly. He
sees Julien, and watching him so realizes that Julien is one of those who was shipwrecked
for so poorly was he attired. He has great pity on him when he sees him so naked and knows
that he ought to cover him. Quickly the townsman gives him a pair of good breeches and so
frees Julien from his shameful prison. Thereupon was Julien more joyous than if he had a
thousand marks at LeMans. Before he was most intimidated, but now he is sure and
Weeping he looks upon the townsman. "Sir,"
says he, "may God look well upon you. For now I am saved and restored." The
townsman, who was rather old, housed him well that night and gave him enough to eat.
Julien was much at ease that night.
The townsman says,"if it does not trouble you good
friend, tell me your name. For I do not know how you are called."
"Sir, I am called Julien, and so was I lifted upon
the baptismal font."
"Where are you from?"
"Sir, from France." "But by your
forthright kindness, show me the direct road, for the love of God and of Saint
"Friend, you will go to Brindisi and there you will
quickly find Frenchmen who will show you the way."
In the morning the young man sets out and along with him
go the exiled, the poor and naked and the miserable. So far do they travel that they
arrived at Brindisi. People of many tongues they saw there. Here Julien takes leave of the
others .( Now his great suffering approaches him.) At Brindisi he does not tarry long. At
early morning, as day breaks, he sets off for Rome. Much anguish, much hunger and much
cold has he suffered. Julien passes completely barefoot among many great hard rocks. His
skin is graven deeply with cold and great hardship and sun burn. His feet were completely
battered, his body was stricken and black and thin.
Like one who has seen many bitter days his face is
completely ulcered. Often is he called a vagrant; hunger and cold cause him to grovel. If
I wished to touch upon all his woes from beginning to end, I would never be able to
complete them nor have the time to tell them all.
He has traversed many lands has he traversed and lodges
in many a crude hostel. So long has he wandered and so far pressed on that he passes Rome
and the province of Romanie. So far does he wander, so far does he go, so much does he
traverse, so many plains, so many woods, so many country sides, that he came to the land
of Spain, to a fine and tall castle.
Now the castle stands right upon that road that goes
from Le Mans to Saint Jacques. There Julien stopped. He met a great crowd of pilgrims from
his country and he talks with them with great interest. From them he learns with certainty
that his father the Duke was living and that he had no illness. But, because of his son
whom he has lost, the Duke and the
Duchess, had suffered with no repose or rest by day or
night since the time he had gone from their land.
"Sirs", said Julien the naked, "Does no
one know what became of the Duke=s son?. And do
you know," he asks,"what was the reason for his departure?."
"We know nothing else about it, except that one day
he went to hunt. Then, that they went out to search and look for him. It will be four
years this Christmas. We have heard not a word since."
"What then? " Julien answered, "he left
them and he went away for no reason?"
"Truly," they say. "And we are sad
because of it. But, we also heard that he later arrived at Nantes and spent some time
there. Sometime after that a townsman came to Angers. A merchant who had received Julien
and had kindly lodged him. We heard that he was a very fine example of a loyal, wise and
honest man. This man came to the fair at Anger upon the horse that had once belonged to
our sire, Julien. He was to be burnt by fire; for the Duke recognized that horse as
belonging to his son Julien. Without further word, the Duke had him seized without hearing
any excuses. As it is the law that all brigands should be hanged. Indeed, the Duke would
have killed and dishonored him if God had not been his true defense. If it were not for
the merchant=s loyalty and faith he surely would
have been hanged and surely too would have been mourned.
But he told the Duke the story from beginning to end,
how he met the young man and how he made arrangements to buy the horse and the exact means
by which the horse came to him. He told him all such that he never misled him in anything.
Then everything was clear to the Duke, and the misunderstanding was settled. And the Duke
did love and believe him. Of this situation we know no more for we have heard no more of
the matter." Thus the pilgrims speak to their Lord and friend.
But he was so thin and naked that he was not recognized
by them. Julien heard them and stood quietly without reaction for he did not wish to be
recognized. He fears that there may be some way to deceive him. Then he thinks with pity
for the townsman who had shown him such kindness.
When he takes his leave of them he does not tarry. That
night the young man is lodged in the castle which is fortified with bucklers and banded
shields, with arbalests and with mangonels. Often they ring out the bells to assemble
their people within the walls for a pagan king leads a large band of men against them
every day. Three or four times within the week he comes to them in force to assault them
trying to force them out beyond the walls protection.
And this is why he lays siege to them. It is to take by
force their lady, who was a countess, for as it is told, she was the daughter of a high
count. Now this pagan oppresses them greatly. For two years now he has kept her under such
duress that he has almost destroyed her land. Now the lady is most distraught because her
men have no refuge outside this castle and its tower.
The pagan king often makes oaths and swears by his pagan
gods that if her subjects do not surrender their lady, that he will besiege them and make
each one confront death. But the countess will not have him for she holds the Christian
faith and refuses to be a pagan. Rather, so she says, would she let herself be drowned
than to deny God. This is her decree. Even so she often lets him know that if he would be
a Christian, then would she abandon to him her body, her domain and all her being. For in
no other way will he have her body. But the pagan will have none of it and orders in great
rancor that despite her will, she will be his wife.
Thus he does outrage the townspeople for he makes his
demands with great force. Shame and dishonor he caused them. Those within the walls all
curse him. The lady and her men declare that they will not abandon their God, nor for him
will they forsake their law.
And so this great war waged at the time when Julien
arrived there like a disheveled vagabond, black and burnt and all scorched. Hardly had he
ever bathed nor was his hair washed and combed. Oh God, if only they had recognized him!
What great joy might they have and how he might be received and dearly prized and well
He takes lodging with a noble townsman who has a fine
dwelling and who does not bear himself in a lowly fashion for he was the castellan of the
castle. Thus he had at his disposal at all times of the day thirty servants of his
household. Never did I see men in better livery. He also had twenty mounted horsemen.
Never in my time have I seen a gentleman so well to do. He had all the weapons of war. His
men willingly serve him in both the castle and in the field. They make use of the many
provisions and they trust him completely.
At night they speak often of the Turks. Among each other
they say that although it may bring trouble, tomorrow they will go against them battle.
"Truly", says the host, "for they will
attack this very morning. We must open the gates early so that we go out when they come
against us. And so, if I am able they will meet us at early morning outside the gate.
Shamed be he who dallies with pagans for they are wicked and have
gone astray. The right is ours and they are in the
wrong. And although I cannot say, I am fully confident that tomorrow you will see them
Julien heard this and trembled. He questions the
castellan and says, "Good Sir, who is this king who vents his anger against you?
Truly would I know who he is. Tomorrow, I will be with you."
The castellan, seeing Julien in such a miserable state,
answers him with disdain. "Master, you wish that I should tell you? Will you be the
one to make our army bold? Will the Turks be beaten and taken when the likes of you enters
the fray? You wish that I tell you the tale?"
"By your bad fortune! It is not fitting that such a
vagabond present himself before so fine a gentleman. You push my good pleasure too far.
Let it be by your own misfortune that you meddle in our affairs! What does it matter to
you? What do you wish to do about it?"
"Sir," said the youth, "nothing."
The castellan, who abuses him much, says to him,
"Be gone vagrant! Off to bed with you!." And Julien, in tears, makes off to his
bed, as unhappy as he is ashamed. Now it happened that in the same chamber was a young man
who told Julien all the story of the pagan king and of the lady and how there came to be
war from which they have had not a moment's peace.
Shortly before the light the castellan is aroused from
bed. He sets his men all upon their way and fits them in hauberks. But, Julien, whom the
castellan had lodged that night is not at all dismayed. When the others had taken their
armor and vesture and saddled up their mounts. Julien went out to the yard. He had no
hauberk, only his tunic, which was most disgraceful and so soiled that it was foul
smelling. His breeches were hardly in condition. And stockings were his only leggings.
Yet, great is his desire to be in the fray. From a woodpile he takes a great log, heavy
and strong in his two hands. He does not tarry or wait behind. Rather, he seems as one who
has escaped from prison. As black as he is bristling, he runs off with the log that he is
carrying. They dare not hold gate or door before him.
The gateman says to him with haughtiness, "You go
out most lightly. You have no coat with lining. This will surely be a quick battle for
As soon as they see the Turks appear, many trumpets
sound and many horns. So many are the Saracen man that I don't know how to count them.
Those from within the castle, as best I can number them, are but five hundred. Often do
they invoke Saint Vincent that he may be
their guarantee and shield and that they may defeat the
Turks. The castellan spurs on his men and rallies them to charge. He does not seem
churlish or cowardly. He strikes against the wily Turks, like one who is brave and
valiant. He dashes five of them down to the hard ground and when his pike serves him no
more he strikes them with his sword. He goes into the midst of the Turks routing the core.
The men from the castle follow close behind the castellan and strike against the Turks.
They strike with lance and sword. Many heads are cut off and their horses flee
across the field. Among the Turks there was neither
laughter nor song, for great was their grief and great their ire. In his fury and in his
anger the Turkish king withdraws his troops. Those of the castle in their frenzy, hurl
lances and darts, draw their arbalests and bows, strike with sword and with hatchet, with
clubs and with mace. There was a great crowd of the pagans, well five times more than the
Christians. They fought the Christians and backed them up to the palisades. More than
sixty they dashed down. Julien sees that there is no escape for them.
Although completely unshod, he dashes into the battle.
Quickly he comes running with his log and he is not long in pursuit. He encounters a
haughty Turk for whom this day will bring a sorry meeting. Julien, breaking his stride,
ran with the great log upon his shoulder and struck him with such perfect aim in the
middle of the helmet that he bashed his brains out entirely.
He battles boldly against the Turks like one who is
eager for combat. He even kills their horses and humiliates the Turks. He has whittles
away so much of the pagan soldiers that he has completely milled his log. Julien does his
part well, killing Turks and splitting their guts. He disarms a Turk that he has killed
and now arms himself with armor like one who was of high rank. Iron leggings, a hauberk of
value, a heavy battle sword, a helmet of steel and a horse both fine and proud, the young
man now has won. There was no need to search for a cutting blade for there were enough
upon the grass.
Julien unsettles the Turks and brings death upon them.
He strikes out in a frenzy amidst the carnage where our people were most pressed. The
blows are hard and true. Julien who is greatly roused, kills horses and slays Saracens.
His arms were bloody and stained. He slaughtered all wherever he strikes. Julien enters
deep into the fray and rescues those who had fallen in flight. Great is the luck that has
fallen to them. Each recovers shield and lance and with vigor thrusts himself into the
battle. They charge upon the Turks, best to best.
But the castellan has done so much, dashed so many and
chased so many off that that the Saracens have worn him down. They trample down his body
and dash him to the ground at the feet of their horses. In great distress the castellan
calls to his men. They run to him greatly troubled, and strike against the Turks. The
castellan calls the rally. They cry it out to each other and make it clear that if they
loose the castellan then are they all caught upon the hook. So they let their horses run
and determine to rescue him by force. But they see so many Turks coming that they cannot
get near to him. They have not managed to rescue him and so, Julien, who has just won a
battle, comes running to his defense. The Saracens had battered and smashed Julien=s shield and twisted his helmet. They have done him
such battle that they have left his hauberk in tatters. Yet he escapes every assault.
Julien sees his host caught in a trap and that the Saracens have run him down such that
they have all but killed him. And though they have struck him repeatedly in the battle he
continues to struggle as they try to carry him off.
When Julien sees his host taken, he feels that he will
die of grief, unless he retakes him from the hands of the Saracens. So he does not tarry
or delay but spurs on his horse. He unleashes all his fury against the Turks and battles
hard to save the castellan. Striking both left and right he dashes and batters the Turks.
Julien kills all in his path so that even the most daring of the enemy make way before
him. And so, as one crazed, Julien made straight for his host. He slays and disrupts the
pagans and draws their chariots into the red sea. So well does he claim them with his
sword of steel that they dare not approach him.
They watch him in wonder and the pagan king himself is
amazed. "By faith", he says to his friends, "this is not a man but a devil
who supports the Christians. Yet he is armed like the pagans. Never has any man battled
so. By himself alone he undid us."
So the pagans all flee at full speed, leaving behind the
castellan whom Julien, by his great effort, forcefully rescued from the Turks. Julien
frees his host and delivers him whole. He gives him a good running horse from which he
unseated a pagan. So they mount the castellan upon the horse and Julien leads him by the
bridle. He takes him to his own men who are most joyful that they he has been returned to
them and that the pagans have not slain him. Now they hold Julien in esteem for he has
returned to them all that they held dear.
"He must be", say they, "one of much
merit who has saved our castellan. For to speak truly, he has done it all. Ye gods, where
does so perfect a man come from?"
"In faith," say great and small, "God led
him into this battle to deliver us. Surely he must be a lord or a nobleman."
The castellan looks long at Julien, now dressed in
armor, but he is not aware that this is the beggar he had taken in. And then he puts his
hand around his neck.
"Sire," he says, "I embrace you as that
man who on both land and sea my heart should love most, for from death have you delivered
me. Whatever I have, let it be given to you. Truly I must be your liege man. Yet, I do not
know your name, where you are from nor your people."
Now answered Julien, the good, the kind, "Goodly
kind host, surely will you know it as soon as you will come back to your residence."
The castellan is willing to trust him but he does not
know what these words mean. Julien had called him "host". But why? He cannot say
And so are the Turks completely routed and overwhelmed.
Never again will they be able to take arms against the castle. Not as long as they are
aware that Julien will be with them. Julien who entered barefoot into the fray. The
soldiers of the castle go back with all the great booty they have. But they realize that
what they have gained is due to the soldier who led them in the battle.
One of the townsman comes to the tower and tells the
news to his lady whose heart is renewed at the telling.
"Lady, now let your heart be glad for vanquished
and pursued their king goes off against his will. And they have left us such spoils that
the least your men are rich because of it. The Turks are beaten this day. And all this by
some young man who is worth twenty of the others. But we do not know where he comes from
nor how he came among us. God sent him to us expressly to help us. Never, even in my
dreams, have I seen a man cause such desolation or strike such bitter blows. Surely he is
the most notable of all. The others would have been dead and taken had God and his shield
not been there. He defeated all the enemy camp. Indeed, our castellan might have been
imprisoned if God and this man alone were not there. For the Turks captured our castellan
and were leading him away when this stranger engaged himself such that with all his
strength he rescued him. Retain this man whatever it costs you for surely he is valorous
and good. As well as any a knight I have ever seen will he bear your colors."
"Where is he?", she asks, "At the
"Lady, with your castellan."
"His heart was surely not cowardly when he saved
that good man. The castellan is my good friend and I am much in his service. But to that
one who is most valiant, bid greeting on my behalf. As soon as you give him my praise tell
him then, that when it will please him, that it would gladden us to know who he is and
where he dwells."
Now the townsman does not tarry there but goes directly
to bring the message to Julien the brave, the wise. The townsman gave Julien his lady's
greeting just as the youth comes down.
The youth answers most kindly, "Friend, tell her
that I will be at her bidding at all times to do the best that I will be able."
And the townsman does this and relates all to his lady.
Most gladly does she hear this message. Because of the great goodness that was in him, the
fire of love kindles within her being, yet it is not fleeting in heart. Nor is it because
she thinks on him foolishly but because he might aid and help her and rescue her land from
the Turks. And Julien feels the same towards her, for he senses her kindness.
The people of the castle gather in the hall for they
have requested of the castellan that he might present to them on the morrow that one who
was so mighty. "Who has dazzled us all." And the castellan answers,
"Willingly." Then they go off each in their own way.
When Julien see the castellan he asks him if he would
help him to disarm in a room apart. He does not want anyone to see how poorly he is
attired beneath. Might they not please go to a room where no one would see him. The host
suddenly realizes what has happened and knows that he has been deceived by his own pride.
Now he knows that this man is the very one to whom he gave shelter and so rudely treated.
And so he is much distraught and he burns with shame like fire. His heart is so filled
with remorse that he barely speaks a word. Much does he bewail himself, much does he
The castellan calls his wife and the two escort Julien
between them to their very own room while the others remain outside. They close the door
well after them and between the two of them they disarm the youth. Now without armor
Julien was left in his chemise which was poor and black. And the good castellan in homage
quickly bows before him and kissed both his feet. With hands joined the castellan prays
for mercy, and with his tears he wets his toes. The castellan, amidst his sighs, begs
forgiveness through his tears. By that God who does all good he asks pardon for this
wrongdoing. "Good sir, pardon for what I said to you."
"You must not be held at fault," said Julien , A I pardon you and give you all my
Then the castellan and his courteous lady kiss Julien
upon the face. They kneel before him, their faces bathed in tears. Julien makes them stand
immediately. The clothing with which they dressed Julien was made ready quickly. And they
attired him finely and well such as befits a knight. Now that he is so finely clothed, he
looks quite different from when he arrived. There was no count or king more handsome.
Noble was he of body, simple and genteel.
"Sir, by God, where are you from?" says the
castellan, "do not conceal it from me. And how are you called?"
"Sir, I have the name Julien. I shall keep it from
you no more. I am from France, born at LeMans. I am a poor man and I still have a father,
I believe and a poor mother."
And then Julien asks of the count, that if he please, to
ask no more of him. "Sir," the castellan answers, "at your command. Surely
I wish that it should be as you desire. We are all ready to be at your service."
So they say no more nor less. All three took each other
by the hand and came into the hall from the chamber. All rise and came up to him. They
honor him for his grace and he receives them with goodness. All do say that never did they
see so fine a man.
But the hauberk which Julien had worn has sorely bruised
him. He was rather weary and hurt. The castellan kisses his hands. All do their best to
put him at ease and all served him without disdain. And then, they sit to dine and when
they have eaten all at leisure, they go off to lie down and rest. But the castellan, who
concerns himself for Julien had him bathed that night. When the young man was bathed and
washed, shaved and combed, the castellan sees to it that they have prepared for him a most
fine bed. Thus was the youth bedded down. Know well that he was much honored and he rested
until the morning.
And when the next day came, the castellan had him
dressed as though he were the son of the king of Tyre, or an emir or the son of a count so
that he might not be ashamed. They went to the church to hear the divine office. Those of
the lady's castle are anxious that they may see their savior. So the castellan sends for
them all. They come as he so bids. They are overjoyed to see this man who defeated all the
enemy in the field by himself. They offered him their services and honored him in whatever
way they could. After the mass the castellan brings Julien to see the countess.
Those of the castle follow after this man whom they
cherished above all men. Such to them is the beauty of his bearing that just to look at
him they could not satisfy themselves. Julien did much to be praised; for surely he is
brave and he carries himself handsomely. The castellan takes him by the hand and nobly
they proceed to the tower. The crowd follow quickly behind them. They find the countess in
the courtyard of the Chapel of Our Lady with the countess are many other noble women who
were in exile from the surrounding. These ladies too were greatly distraught , but the
countess had managed to give them courage by her own good example. But now we see the
castellan arrive holding his guest by the hand and presents him to his lady.
"Lady, I do render and bring to you him whom you
should love more than any man that one might name from here to the kingdom of the Syria.
He it is who will make you secure. Let your heart be most confident of this. For he has
already routed the Turks such that they can no longer stand before him nor can they endure
his violent blows. I have not seen so brave a man in my time."
The men who took part in the battle bear witness to
"Lady, all would have been lost if God=s purpose were not there in this knight. He battled
so valiantly for you that he rescued more than sixty of our men who had been beaten by the
Turks. This man alone was the defense of all of us. Truly did he rescue both you and me
AAs for me, I
can say that the Turks would have dashed my face into the dust, for they had already run
me down. I was near madness as they beat me and led me off so vilely. I was near death
itself. But by this man I was delivered. In the face of all the enemy he saved me and
found me a horse. Thus do I give him my heart and my love and I abandon all that I own to
Beseech him Lady, that he may stay with you and that for
God=s sake that he may remain by your
The countess does not at all doubt his words . In front
of all, she takes Julien by the hand and demurely sits beside him. She does not misjudge
the young man but casts him a sweet glance.
"Sire," says she,"May God who gives
wealth and protects from evil keep you always. Your troubles will be rewarded if you wish
to remain with me. I will make you my close friend. Help me and you will do great good,
first for God and then for me."
Julien was truly taken. He answers wisely and happily.
"Lady, I will not refuse you. In a single word,
without contradiction, I remain with you most gladly. But I must depend on a payment from
you, otherwise, I will not hold myself to an agreement.
"Your war will I surely continue as long as God
gives me life, for I still despise the Turks. Woe to them who came here to assault you,
for it is now for love of you that I will drive them out."
Now all the people were happy and joyous.
And the countess, upon hearing this says to him, "I
will pay you so well that I will appease your heart."
Thus, just as they were taking their leave and were to
go out as they should, the countess is so generous that before all those there she gives
him a gold ring and Julien accepted it. Now is Julien held in great esteem and honor is
his completely. But Fortune, who undoes all those things which many men propose to do,
comes upon him to disrupt this moment and moves against him with dire plans, as you will
They took their leave and went off. They went down from
the castle hall to the lodge where the castellan invites the highest men of the castle to
dine. The serve gifts and cakes and the people are filled with great love and joy. The
countess quickly arranges for jewels and robes and money to be sent to the young man. But
Julien dismisses these things immediately and gives them all to the castellan, who turns
them over to his men. The castellan kindly requests that some of this wealth be given to
the poor younger knights who are in greater need. The castellan is very happy and all
those within the castle, both rich and poor do love this young man and soon they call him
And it was because he was truly neither vain nor haughty
that he caused them to love him. They all wished, both high born and low, that he might be
made a lord of the realm, and for this boon they pray to God Almighty.
Great was their joy during that time. For nearly a month
he spoke often to the countess. She gives to him without conditions, horse, robe and
palfrey. Oh God! Neither the duke Geoffrey nor the duchess Emma now knows that their son
was among such riches. How they would love to be with him. Nothing could have kept them
away. But still, perhaps, they will arrive. Yet, even if they did, it would be to no use
for they will never see him again. But now we will not discuss this further with you but
we will return to the pagan king who had been greatly angered for having been defeated and
put to shame.
Now, without delay, he assembles all his comrades, well
thirty thousand, and goes off to besiege the castle and their horses make a mighty cloud
of dust! The king and his men will remain in the rear and the foreguard go in ahead. They
lay waste to whatever they find. They cry that they
will take the castle, or by force set it afire and
plunder it. The king swore by his faith that the lady will be roasted at the stake. The
foreguard who battle ahead are two thousand in number. They are off to pillage the castle
which is now in great fear. But the son of the good duke Geoffrey, who was most wise and
brave says to them, "Lords, see here your opportunity. Now will the courageous be
able to seize horses and robes and gear. And those who are afraid must have courage if
they are to have what awaits them among the enemy. Shamed are we if we here. Now, to arms
without further delay! We must not let them begin to pitch a single tent, for if they set
in to begin a siege we are dead. So they sally forth with great courage. Julien, who was
brave and strong rides forth the first upon the field. Between him and the castellan there
were more than our hundred. Now will they pay the Turks their quarter. Julien was of such
a mind when he is armed that is with strength unbounded at the sight if the Turks. There
is neither sense nor reason in him. He fell upon the pagans as though he were bewitched.
He thrusts and bashes, confronts and kills. The killing of Turks fills him with passion.
And the castellan on the other side holds his own full well. He splits their hauberks and
smashes their shields and defeats the Turks. He strikes the pagans hard and strikes again.
But Julien hits all of them hard. The men of the castle strike at close range and cause
the Turks damage. The Turks pursue the young man, he strikes them and they draw back.
The countess was in the tower and picked out Julien
within the fray. She sees him fighting boldly. He slays the pagans and beats them down,
now two, now three, now five, now four. He wants not the least one of them to be put in
prison. He has no care for their ransom but puts them to the sword without a thought.
The countess watches him the while "Those men
have," she says, "a strong defender." To her pleasure she is satisfied with
him. "We estimated well our value of him."
The pagans are all either dead or taken, completely
overwhelmed and undone. Those who can escape take flight. Despite the call to battle none
of them will return to the field. Yet, it is to their misfortune for they are caught in a
trap. Of some two thousand, I believe. Only some fifty eight do escape and they take
flight upon their steeds.
And Julien thereupon returns happy and joyous to his
quarters. The castellan and his men have taken so much in all that those who know how to
care for it will never be poor. Julien wants nothing of the spoils, not even a small
horse. Thus he surrenders all to his host who most courteously receives them from him. And
he gives it so wisely, so handsomely and so generously that all do praise him, both rich
and poor. And those that hear tell of it love much.
Now are those of the castle at ease. But the Turks run
off in dismay for their horsemen are toppled. All undone, they come to their king, the
king who has fallen into such trouble and ill luck.. You have begun in cowardice,"
says the king, "in the first charge. Who is it who has so vilely defeated you?"
"The one from the castle," they say,"in faith! We have no defense against
them as long as he is with them. The one against whom neither horse nor armor can stand
when he strikes.
It seems that he is driven beyond his senses so
possessed he is with daring. And those of the castle, in the same way, become so bold,
thanks to his example. Indeed were we beaten and killed and so have we lost
Then was the king greatly enraged by the sight of his
enemy in arms. He swore that he would lay siege to the castle and assault them until they
repaid his losses. So he has the mangonels made ready and prepares stonethrowers and
stones against the castle which he wishes to destroy.
He determines that he will take them all by force and
see them all hanged and so for eight days they prepared their steeds for battle. But woe
to the king and to all the pagans that they ever saw Julien.
In the meantime, the castellan, with up to twenty men of
high rank, came up to the countess with the noble heart who was their lady. They found her
in the tower and led her to a place apart. In private they offer her their advice.
"Lady, we have found that knight to be the most noble of any in the empire of Rome.
Although we do not know where he comes from, his courage and cunning are indeed great. Of
what importance to us then is his place of birth? Truly we would be greatly pleased if you
took him as your lord. Indeed we would be overjoyed. It is our wish that you do take him
to you and that he carry your standard. But yet, have us know what your heart tells you.
The countess answers them without haughtiness or
displeasure and says humbly and wisely, "I am completely at your service, for you
have upheld my honor and preserved me from shame and for this many a battle endured. Now
you proposed this man to me. Lords, I do not know anything
about him, yet I do not wish to oppose you. I do not
doubt at all that he is a man of noble birth. And indeed he did destroy our enemy. I will
do as you bid for I am your lady. I pray you each, upon his soul, that you advise me
rightly and that I am protected from a great wrong. I do not wish that you should hold
against me that I did not wish to take him according to your counsel. I will have no
conflict with you. I cede to all your wishes."
"Lady," they say,"we wish it so."
Then they say,"let us go to him and talk to him
about this arrangement, and we will learn what he will wish.."
They go to the hostel and there they meet him in whom
they find no fault. They tell him of their plan. Julien, answers them without deceit as
one who was so strong and wise.
truly is this a fine message if God and she and you wish it. Never was my heart so happy.
But I am a very poor man and I am not of any great renown. I have neither the skills or
means or friends to be set in so high a place. I think that if you knew who I am, you may
decide otherwise. Yet, I cannot tell you more about myself for I have sworn to completely
sever myself from all the good I have ever known. Therefor, in God's name, do not then
"But no, sire'" say they, "mercy! We are
not here to mock you but rather that we wish, all of us both great and small, that you
might become a count of the realm. And we wish that this should come about as quickly as
"Then may God grant that good fortune should come
upon us," says Julien in his goodness.
Then they entered the castle. The countess was in her
chapel. They she called sweetly upon God, asking that if good fortune should not come of
this marriage that He will not consent to its happening. Then come the princes, all
twenty, and with them came Julien who deserved to be esteemed. The princes took Julien by
the hand and he approached with dignity.
your husband," they say, "there is nothing more nor less."
Thus they give him into her hands, and she received him
sweetly just as she should. Now was the affair settled which then could not be undone. And
each pledged faith to the other. Then they led such a holy life and were themselves so
saintly that they housed God himself.
And Julien said, "I have sworn my pledge, but this
much I will tell you without delay. By the faith which I owe to her and to you, I will not
put a ring upon her finger, nor shall she be given to me until I will have delivered her
from the Turks. And then I will do her will."
They grant him this willingly. And they pledged to him
their fealty and swore without falsehood that they will be his loyal men in every good
place that he will be. And he swears as much to them. Thereupon they return to the hostel
and took their leave of the countess.
There are many man and women guests and they honor
Geoffry's son. And the countess sends him a palfrey and a sparrow hawk, and a cloak and a
greyhound. And Julien, whom true love has not deceived, received them gladly. Through the
castle and everywhere where the knights are quartered all are happy, both great and small,
that they have this protector. And the castellan, as it seems to me, assembled all those
of the castle and they all swear their fealty to the young man. And Julien melts in tears
who looks upon them with pity. He prays God to be their protector, not only of the lady
but also of all her vassals. Yet, does he not know that his sorrows must fall upon him.
But he will know it shortly hereafter.
While in the castle they have arranged the affair well,
the pagans, both the king and the Saracens have proceeded so far that they are now close
upon the walls and here they pitch their tents. The king affirms with vigor that he will
destroy all their people. But Julien, the righteous, the noble, has his men armed with
great care to meet the enemy force. As they arm themselves without further a word and
Julien goes forth filled with ire and after him goes the castellan who was neither foolish
or cowardly. And they left behind not even a little boy as long as he can carry his little
bow. All have left the castle entirely emptied so that they may aid their liege lord. They
have calculated their men in the field; at three hundred they estimate their army. And
whoever might count the men of the pagan king as I reckon they might be some thousand in
Says Julien, "There is only one charge. I will go
first into battle for I rage against delay. I will engage myself against them. Before they
have drawn their arrows you will see them all overturned."
At the place where the pagans set up their mangonels and
pitch their tents, there comes Julien to them at full tilt. His horse, which charges
beneath him, runs with such fire that his hooves split the stones beneath him. And Julien
abandons himself to fighting the Turks with such great violence that he dashed to the
ground more than fourteen of them without a pause. All around him the circle of attack
comes to halt.
He strikes against the Turks, cuts and hacks. He splits
their helmets, and rends their hauberks. He strikes so wildly in every direction that it
would seem that he were out of his senses. And he cannot satisfy himself nor restrain his
violence for from his childhood it is his way. He is by Nature so molded that no sooner is
he armed that he becomes so bold and unbridled that he wishes to destroy and to smash
everything. His only wish is that he might find someone with whom to do battle. Yet,
without arms is he so youthful, so gentle and so kind that he makes himself immediately
loved. But now in arms he is so fierce that he upsets the Saracen hoard, routs them and
The castellan sets out behind and positions himself to
strike. Bravely he assaults and defends, he breaks shields and splits hauberks. Together
they torment the Saracens.
The Turks say, "might a violent death come suddenly
striking us. No one may survive near him."
Julien proves himself proudly. He asks the castellan and
barons that they might aid him like goodly men and follow him boldly like those who take
their delight in war. And they are proud of their strength and none of them fear the Turks
more than a cow would a sheep.
Now are the Turks truly amazed and greatly stricken with
fear. Their men are at a loss and Julien now attacks those who are pitching their tents.
He is so close upon them that they have not the time to draw their arrows. As they
struggle to defend themselves against the charge they drop their arrows and leave their
tents. They try to arm themselves in some way but the confusion is great among them. as
they were nearly armed, the Turks were so rushed together, that two thousand at least met
their end and never a tent could they pitch or mangonel set in place. Many Turks met their
sorrow there. This news ran to the king that his people had already lost the siege.
"How will you ever rally them again", cries
the messenger. "You have already lost many nobles, two thousand Turks, it seems to
me. Your men and theirs have joined in battle and the enemy has totally penetrated our
Then the king himself charges into the fray armed upon a
galloping horse. In great anger he goes out onto the field seeking the castle knights. The
king and his men in full fury struck against the knights and they dashed down some sixty
of them. The king strikes as a madman. Repeatedly he charges those from the castle and he
has killed and wounded many.
"Now truly," says he, "you shall not
escape unless you hang. You have caused me the loss of too many of my own men. Your lady
will be burned and dragged out. Woe that ever you saw her born. And if I find your
scoundrel who boasts proudly and encourages himself by shaming me and slays and kills my
pagans, he will be subjected to torture.
The castellan arrives in fury when he hears his lord
defamed. Nothing could cause him greater shame. In great anger upon his horse he entered
into the fray against the king. He recovers a lance and rushes toward the king amidst the
Turks. And the king does not avoid him but jousts with such vigor that the two break their
pikes. They pass so closely to one another that they see the sparks in each other's eyes
and their steeds beneath them quiver. With their brands they run to strike each other and
cause sparks to spring from each helmet.
But the castellan was wounded by the great battle of
which you have heard. And now with the arrival of new pagan troops, great is his
misfortune. They rush after him with such speed that they cause his horse to stumble.
The king cries out, "Seize that man! I will not
hold him long for quickly will he be hung without delay by the moat in front of the tower
so that his lady might see him as soon as she comes to the walls."
At these words the Saracens rush together and from
everywhere they descend upon him. They strike with lance and sword and shatter his armor.
He defends himself bravely as a noble but could not withstand their assault for he had
battled much that day. Do not be surprised that he was taken. And they carry him off even
as he struggles. See now his men go in pursuit but he cannot be rescued for the castellan
he had gone too far into the enemy line. He yells his war cry with mighty force and calls
out as best he could.
"Julien," he cries, "sweet friend! I
shall be put to great shame if I do not soon have help from you. My life has turned to its
end." And he speaks truly for he was in dire straits when Julien spurred forward.
Julien came forth from a crowd of Turks. With an iron brand he finished
them off. At the cry he turned to his host and turns his
mighty steed. Julien strikes against the Arabs like a famished wolf among the sheep. Into
the press he battled on. Many did he kill and dash. And those who recognized him skirt
away to the sides. There are none who dare to meet him for they fear him greatly. Cutting
through the middle of them he came to his host and in defiance Julien lifts him from their
clutches. He deals with them harshly and sorrow is the lot of him who feels his blows.
When the cowardly Turks catch sight of him, they take themselves for lost. They flee in
every direction in haste and they leave him his castellan all alone.
Then the king leaps ahead and drives against them a
fierce assault. With his brand he strikes with great skill. And his men stay with him
while he wins. The king lets go with all his strength. Coming upon Julien he strikes his
helmet with such force that he makes it spark. Now you see the young squire Julien tinged
with the color of anger and ire. With his sword he knew surely how to rush for the king.
In the passing, just as he crosses, he deals him such a blow with the back of his hand
that he completely smashed his helmet.
Then the Turks saw that the king would never have power
over Julien. They make no move to help him even though he is stricken and wounded; for
both the king and his horse had fallen upon a hillock . Deftly is he brought down and
misfortune falls vilely upon him. When the Turks saw him fallen, they go off in flight
with haste and they leave the king all alone for they believe that he has been killed. Now
not a one remains and Julien turns back to the king and determines to deal him a mighty
blow. He would have killed the king without further delay but the king cried for mercy.
"Good sir," he says, "do not kill me, I
beg you by God's mercy. I shall become your liege man, never more will I wage war against
you nor cause you any trouble or disturbance. See here now by my faith that you will have
high-ranking hostages so that you must well believe me."
Julien does not mistrust him but takes him all at his
faith and then brings him to the castellan. Now the people of the castle are free. Then
they gathered up the fugitives. Because they have killed many and set them back in
disgrace, never will they cause harm nor have any force against the castle.
I cannot begin to recount to you all the booty they
took: pavilions and tents, coffers and trunks, that they have conquered from the enemy
men. So much that I do not know how to say the number. Each man has so much that he is
And Julien brings the king before the authority of the
countess and the castellan and their men. Without derision, Julien hands over the grief
stricken king. Now it is the countess who holds him captive. The king, in his need prays
him and her together most humbly for mercy. He says that he is entirely their liege man
and that in their service he will do them loyal homage. He declares that he will settle
all damages and that he will send them one thousand marks each year and that he will
secure the bond with hostages. So upon his faith they release him.
His men rejoice when he tells them this and immediately
they do what he commands them, one thousand marks they give as payment. The war is ended
and appeased. He has delivered noble hostages to them. He then swears that as a free man
he will serve as their defender should anyone come to attack the realm. Thus do the pagans
withdraw and all is settled.
Now are all the castle's men rich. No longer will they
have fear or trouble and all because of the son of the Duke Geoffrey. Now they are rest
from night until morning. But no sooner comes that morning than they do not permit Julien
further repose, for they would have him wed their lady. They had a celebration, do not
worry, from early day until night. All the men and all the women make so much merriment
that I do not think that one may ever have seen so great a joy for a single affair. And,
as the story of his life tells us, they had joy and great delight.
And when it came time that night to go to bed, the
countess most humbly says to the count most courteously, "Sire," she says,
"If I dare, I would ask you a thing that I do not know for my heart is in great
dismay about it. Would you tell me where you are from and of what people?"
"Lady," says Julien the noble, "I was
born in the kingdom of France. And this much I will tell you my good lady, without
boasting and without further words, I often heard it said that my mother was a
"Sire, what was the name of your father?"
"Lady, his name is Geoffrey, my mother is Emma. Now
at this time and for here after, I pray you, in love that you ask no more of me about
"Sire, as you command. Let it not grieve you that I
dared ask it, for I wish no more when I have you."
Thus were they both together two years or more, so it
seems to me. By such great love were they bound that never did any couple love each other
more. Each one agrees to serve God and never was there any discord between the two of
them. And those of the castle love them such that through tender love they call them Lord
and Lady and Mother and Father.
But, in time, was their joy bitter. They were in
happiness for two entire years, but before the third year had passed, Fortune has so
troubled them and misfortune so confounded them with anguish and sorrow and woe that no
man might know how to tell or recount from beginning to end all their great trials and
At the moment when the count was most secure in his
position and that he was troubled no more with sorrow, it happened that the good Duke, his
father and the Duchess, Emma, his mother, who were grieving for him greatly, decided that
they would go off to Saint James on pilgrimage. They took leave of their family, for they
wish to mortify their bodies and to endure this exile for the soul of Julien, their son.
(Alas, sinner, what great sorrow will come upon all three of them in time. ) Now will come
to pass what the devil said to Julien when he killed him. They could not protect
themselves against it. Alas, no! for they knew nothing of it.
They made their route ready. The duke and the duchess
set out on their way. They leave their land and their riches, in the hands of their
barons. He makes the merchant who once lodged his son at Nantes, and of whom I have
already spoken to you, the guarantor, for he does not know a more loyal man. And with this
it was settled.
The Duke goes off and took his leave of the merchant.
God counsel him, the Son of Mary! Off went the Duke in poverty, the duke, a noble baron of
such renown, now clothed in such misery. And the Duchess too left in tears. It grieves
their people greatly that they have set upon this labor for the love of Julien their son.
Now go off those who never shall never return.
I do not know all that happened to them. They traveled
some twenty days. They saw many castles and many cities. They wandered so far that they
sighted the castle directly in front of them which their son held in his own right. The
duke beholds its handsome state. There he saw all was well, a town fine and grand, and it
was peopled with folk. It was after the hour of none when he came to the city which his
son held, the city where he was called count and was well served and honored. The Duke,
his father, lodged there and his mother the Duchess, Emma. They lodged at a good hostel
for they were comfortable.
That evening, when they and the lodgers had finished
their supper, they joined in conversation. A pilgrim was lodged in that inn where the Duke
was. He asked the Duke where he came from, who his people were and where he was going. The
Duke said to him, "Good dear sir, I am from the land of Poitiers."
And so they continued. The Duke who was neither unkind
nor ill mannered said to his guest, "Good, kind sir, who is the lord of this kingdom
and of the city and of the castle? For, by God, it is most strong and fine.
And the lodger answered him, "A fine man, I assure
you. And one most honest with his people. His heart is neither haughty nor cowardly, for
he is humble, courteous and kind, strong, brave and virtuous. Thus, he has by his valor
conquered this county and this land. He says that he was born in France and that he is
When the lady hears these words her heart fails her.
Because of this she breathed so deeply that she nearly fell into a swoon. Then she calls
to Holy Mary.
"Lady," says she, "may your help now
sustain me. Long have I been beset, distraught and disconsolate. Lady, lend me life enough
that yet I may have my dear son for whom I am in this exile."
The Duchess most sweetly and humbly spoke to the Duke.
"Sire, if it is your pleasure, settle with the innkeeper and let us go to sleep for
it is well the time for bed. Such thoughts as I do hold most dear, I wish to tell you
The count knows and understands well why his lady's
heart is heavy. They are off to bed without delay. They close the chamber door behind them
well. They do not wish to say things between them that may be heard by other people. The
countess does not remain silent.
"Sire," says she, "You have heard how we
must be cautious against tales which the devil uses to seduce us, but it is God who wishes
to bring us to Him. Sire, I know well without any doubt that God has given us affliction
for he wishes to return us to joy. By His will He speaks to us. We have found our son who
has been so long in exile and in great hardship and great pain. I know well for certain
that God has led us here and has directed us. Sire, I take you well in hand. It behooves
us to stay on tomorrow."
"My heart tells me and assures itself that this
Julien is my son who is lord of this country. No one can tell me otherwise. And I will not
be deceived. If I might see him, even from afar, over all the other Juliens, I will know
if this one is mine. And if I can take him by the hand, he will find it right to tell me
why he has left me for so long. Oh God Almighty, Oh Most High King! I loved him more than
myself; thus he could not say with reason that it was because of me that he had occasion
to flee. If, indeed, he had any reason in him."
"Lady," so says Duke Geoffrey, "It is
fitting to do good so that good may come of it in the end. Happily we began this journey.
God wished that we do so that we might come to this place. We have come here by His grace.
Now let us pray to Him that he may do for us that for which we have prayed. By His will
may He guide us and put us in the right path where we may find our son, Julien, whom I
love so much."
"Truly, my Lord", so says the Lady, "May
God and Our Lady be mindful of us."
The lady said to her lord, "Sire, hear me for the
love of God. Tomorrow at dawn when we rise let me tell you what we will do. We will enter
alone into that castle. We will stand quietly before the chapel. If anyone asks us
questions we shall say that we are pilgrims, and that we want to hear mass that morning.
Then we shall ask in what way we can see the lord of the castle, the count, of whom we
have heard tell such great things. Surely we will find someone who will tell us if he will
go to hunt that morning. And if we hear it told that he wishes to go to his chapel and we
see that he is our son, we shall embrace him. So tightly will we hold him by his cloak
that he will not escape us. And when we hold him so close he will tell us why he has been
severed from us for so long. This is the best plan, I think."
And so they have between them determined that this will
be their course of action which they undertake by God's help. All that night they continue
keeping vigil and considering this plan. It was a Friday at night.
Now it was that Julien, for his diversion, decided to go
off hunting that morning for he is not one to spend his time in idleness. He calls to his
wife and says to her, "Lady," says he with no harshness, "I would that you
prepare me a bath. I would like to bathe before the hour of nones. If God grants me
success, by that time shall I return from the forest. So I pray you, Lady, if you please,
that then may my bath be drawn." And so she reached out her arms to him and so has
covered him with her heart for so sweetly she loved him.
The lady answers, "Good, dear, Sire, I wish not to
refuse this to you, nor would I dare. Your authority is worth more than mine, and thus
goes before as it should. And I myself in faith to you will have one drawn for my own use.
Thus, when I meet you upon your return, I shall be bathed. And so shall it be without
pause. I pray you to return soon."
"Sweet friend, this is my plan. In surety I say to
you I will be back before nones."
In this way they left this situation. The lady calls her
maids to prepare the bath that they may be ready at terce or before. They the maids answer
sweetly, "Lady, your orders, as you plan them, will be done."
Into the wood, Julien goes that morning while the maids
most joyfully prepared the two baths. The Duke and the Duchess of Anjou slept little that
night, nearly all night were they awake. In the morning they made themselves ready. They
took the road to the castle and came to the first gate. No one turned them away for the
gate was open because from here at dawn Julien had gone out, who was moved to hunt. They
came to the second gate. It was open.
God, King of the universe ! For now they do not know
their misfortune! Happy and joyous do they go to death. From this that they think to have
joy. There is death ever close. Their destiny leads them on. Indeed, the great happiness
in their hearts is for their own death but they did not know it. From the gate they came
to the chapel where they compose themselves most piously. They say their prayers from the
outside and they are filled with hope.
"God, king of the heavens," says the Duchess,
"mercy upon this sinner. Lord, much am I troubled, but my joy is ready, for You have
seen to it. God of good counsel, behold I have been wandering in sorrow for a long time.
Lord, my joy is ever so near. If at this I fail here, never again in life will anything I
see or hear bring me any joy. True God, let Thy will be done. Lord, according to your
pleasure, fill me with joy, give back to me that for which I have grieved. Lift from me
such a long wait."
From her heart she sighs and from her eyes the countess
weeps. So much rests upon her that it holds her words from her. She cannot believe that
this is happening. She is bent in prayer until it comes toward midmorning. At that time
the chaplain awoke. Carrying the keys in his hands came directly to the chapel as is his
custom. At the door he finds them praying and weeping from joy.
From joy? .... Or, rather from grief. There would they
find there joy - in him who would slay them both. And so it will all come to naught for it
is he who will bring them martyrdom. The chaplain greeted them. They rose and asked about
the lord who holds the honor of this castle and whether or not he might be expected to
rise shortly. And the chaplain answers them.
"I believe that he is in the woods, about five
leagues from here. He cannot lie about in the morning. He is not one to be in bed to this
hour on the morning of a hunt in the woods."
The countess of Anjou answers, "His wife and those
who are with him, will they come here to pray?"
"Yes, woman, they will be here. I will say mass for
them presently. Never, for any reason , would my lady miss hearing mass. As long as she is
in good health she does not miss any day of the week.
The chaplain enters the church. The count of Anjou and
his wife enter there after him. They sit in a corner just by the side and they pray God
with all their hearts. Much have they searched and great the burden they assumed. Yet they
never knew they were close upon their death. Alas, they knew nothing of it. For him do
they pray without ceasing, for him who was to slay them both.
The countess of the castle came then to the chapel. On
her left side walked a knight and on her right the castellan. Together they heard the mass
of the Holy Spirit. The Duchess of Anjou said to her lord after the mass, "Sire, see
there the countess. Let us go to her before she departs; for you must tell her all without
fail, all that about which we are in doubt. Let us tell all our story, how we came here
without servants, without retinue and without men, and how we lost our son and of the pain
and suffering and tears that we have since had. For it cannot be that she does not know
who he is or that he never told her how he came out of our country. At least she may be
able to advise us in the action we should take. And we will act according to what she will
say. I cannot let her leave this church without disclosing to her my thoughts. "
The count answers, "I approve and agree. I am more
happy than I have ever been. May God grant me that I may hear the news from which may come
Thereupon they came to the lady. They say that they are
pilgrims of St. Jacques and they wish to speak to her privately where there are no other
people. The lady says to her handmaids, "Go now from here." And to the clerk and
to the chaplain she made a sign with her hand. And they all quickly leave.
The countess of the Anjou, in a quiet voice began her
"Lady," says she,"we are doing penance
for a sin with which we are darkly stained. Lady, I will tell you our situation and still
I will give proof as I best I can. Now must I tell you.@
AMy Lord, whom
you see here is the duke of Anjou, now believe this of me, and I am hailed as duchess. But
for so long have I wandered this path that I am now in tatters, without hose, boots, or
shoes and I am reduced to great misfortune. My lord, who leads me by him, comes here too
in this manner. We thought that we would turn back when we came to Saint Gilles but we
realized that we would be doing little unless we continued onward. So, we went on to St.
Jacques. But in the meantime there came to us a bit of news and a thought that caused me
to be disturbed."
ALady, I will
tell you the sorrow that I have in my heart both night and day. So strongly is it planted
there that it does not move and cannot depart to any other place. God, who everywhere does
his pleasure, wished to take from me my son. Never had I any other child and this one only
briefly. Never was I so distraught that I might not see him again. For sixteen years I
raised him with me. But I know well that never did I see any other creature who pleased me
so much. Would that God had granted that he might remain longer.
Lady, when he was a boy, he loved the woods and the
chase above everything. Never did he hear talk of a fine hunting dog that he did insist
upon having it with him. I do not know truly to say exactly what became of him. He was
lost in the wood and never came back. It is now twelve years that we have lost him. We had
him tracked everywhere but we heard neither good nor happy news. Never before were we at
such a loss.
But Lady, now our son has come to us, I surely believe
it. My heart says certainly that it is he, by his reputation and because he has his name
for Julien was the name of my son."
With this word she lowers her eyes begins to weep and
can speak no more. She became more yellow than is wax.
When the lady of the castle heard her speak in this way
she cries, "God, you have done me a true mercy through your grace."
"Good woman, it is right that I know from you and
from your lord what are your names. Never greater joy might I find if I might know your
names and the country from which you came. For despite all that he hid from me, I would
know your names as God has moved us to discover them. And surely I will withhold nothing
The countess of Anjou says to her, "Let me not
tarry then but say that I am Emma and this is my Lord Geoffry. Anjou is our realm. The
counties of Anjou and Maine are all our domain."
Upon hearing the names she knew them well and fell at
their feet crying, "glorious Holy Mother, happier I have never been. You have given
me great comfort. Surely, I did not believe nor ever thought that in my whole life you
would ever come here. I have sure faith, Lady, and believe that you have found your son.
Truly I know that you are my lady, and as God is a part within my soul I love you and your
lord as much and more than those who are my own. And I should let my household perish
before I see you grieve."
The Duchess Emma is amazed at the news that the countess
tells her. The duke weeps, everyone weeps, for their joy is shared. Each finds his desire
and that which he had wanted. I do not know to tell you or anyone which of them had the
greater joy. Each of them was happy in great measure.
The countess was now the first to speak. The Lord God
she praises and thanks, for He has done so much for her that He has recovered both mother
and father. She sees them in tatters and barefoot and well she knows that they have
endured much hardship. She thinks of how she could help them and ease them. Then she
recalls that it has only been a moment that the baths have been prepared. She wishes to
relieve them and so will bathe them, and in the bath will soothe them. And afterwards,
when then will have drunk and eaten, they will be well rested.
The countess says to them, " Sire, I am glad of
your coming and that of your lady as well. Your son is hardly far from here, he has gone
to the wood to hunt. He brought a sturdy buckler with him to carry back a deer for our
supper. Never was there a man who loved the hunt so much. He will not tarry long, well I
know, for I have prepared for him a bath. And another have I made ready for my own use.
But I have no need to draw out what I say.
Noble Sire, it is fitting for you to bathe in the bath
of your son and my Lady will have mine. For I see you both so worn that my heart is amazed
at how you can endure it. For I can assure you and swear it that I would not be able to
bear this suffering. Indeed, I think I would die before enduring it. I know how to help
you and so carry out your plan. No one will hear a word of you as long as I may keep it in
confidence. I will serve you privately in my own chambers with but a few servants. No one
will know who you are. You will do all according to my advice and it will be for the
The duchess hears and understands that the Lady wishes
to serve her. "Lady," says she, "At your pleasure. But we have no need of
"Sweet mother, I ask it of you. Never have I asked
anything of you except for the bath that I have had prepared for my own use. It is
fitting, know this, for you to bathe, and my father, whom I hold dear, will bathe in his
son's bath. And know that he will be bathed before his son returns from the wood. And know
well that whatever happens, tomorrow will be Sunday and we will have three feasts this
week. Surely all will fare well and be brought to a good end. And so do not let us tarry.
The duke who sighs with joy does not wish to disappoint
the lady. "Sweet daughter, good dear friend, I would not disappoint you in any way. I
would not bath upon my own but I do not wish to go against your wishes. May God, the
counselor, help me for I love you and hold you dear that I could ask no more than if I had
fathered you myself."
The countess then leads them then to her inner chamber.
She brought no one with her there except only a young maid and to her she says,
"Maiden, watch that here within no one else may enter. Help to serve these folk,
these pilgrims that I have received here. But watch, let it be pledged, that no one else
herein knows of this, if you would have my favor."
"Lady, no one will know it from me."
Then she closed the door, so as I believe it, and the
baths were all warmed. The countess came most happily when she saw that the baths were
"Good father," she said, "It is time.
Ready is the bath which awaits you."
The count did as she requested. Each of them entered
into their tub. And the lady makes them steam hot by covering the tubs with white sheets.
Although undressed she goes off and prepares them something to eat. And she to it that all
is properly done. Thus she serves them with such joy that when she brings them to eat she
cannot refrain from kissing them. She does not know which one to come to, she does not
know which to serve first .
The young servant girl is amazed at the joy the countess
brings to them and is astounded at the way the she entertains these two pilgrims. She does
not know or understand the reasons for which her mistress should do these things and so
she despairs of understanding and becomes bewildered, for she dares not speak a word about
this nor does she wish to question.
When the lady noticed that it was near noon she said;
"Father, good friend, I told you a moment ago that I would see to these things myself
and that I would put you at ease. I said that the one you seek would be presently apparent
to you and that you would be able to take him
in your hands if you would allow yourself to heed me. So
now, together you and your wife will go to rest upon my bed, there where we lie, me and my
lord. There is nothing to hide from him. And know in all truth that this day at the
appointed hour when my lord returns from the wood that he will not be out of his stirrup
before I am at his side to see him, in trust, of this you may be sure. And I will bring
him directly to you in this room, sweet father. And now I will close the door that no one
else may enter. And we shall keep the promise between the four of us."
At these words she embraces the count and says to him,
"Father, please me here. Before he comes from the forest, get yourself up and go
forth to bed for you might bathe too long."
All her bidding they did. They go quickly off to the
bed. The countess does no other thing than to serve them. She covers them in the bed,
leaves the room and closes the door. Oh God, what a sorrowful repose! Fortune bears them
on their way. They are now both asleep, both arm in arm and mouth against mouth. And the
face of one touches the other. From the chamber the countess goes down and enters into the
hall. She came with purpose and spoke softly.
"Go out. Go to play. And so I ask and pray you for
love's sake, make no noise, for greatly my head pains me." And she says these things
for the sake of those she had bathed and served for she wished that they might sleep, rest
and lie in peace. In a room that was away from there did the lady go to sleep along with
them, for she was a bit weary from having bathed them.
Julien knows that he has stayed too long. It is the hour
and the time to return. He leaves behind his dogs and his companions and spurring his
horse he makes his way through the wood. He comes directly to his castle for he fears that
he will anger his wife for having tarried too long. He goes quickly off, spurring his
horse along the most direct path and at his side, his sword, which in time will be tinged
with blood, a blood which he holds most dear. His destiny he did not know.
Now is Julien come to his courtyard, yet no one runs to
help him down from his stirrups. All had gone to the hostel and down to the town as the
lady had asked. Well has Fortune hunted him down. As much as he has fled, so much as she
hunted. Now will happen, without contradiction, what the beast had told him. And now as
Fortune bears him on, he passes the bridge and then the gate. He comes down into the hall.
Oh God! the Duke does not know it, nor does his wife, they are asleep! But it is for
nought, they will not know!
And Julien knew not a word about them for no one had
told him anything for the guards had been sent down from there. And Julien went up the
stairs all alone as though it were all his choosing. When he had reached the top he
wonders why it was that the countess does not come to him for she was accustomed to
receive his sword. He greatly fears to be deceived when he sees the hall all empty. Now he
thinks and wonders if his companion Clarice might have contrived some evil thing. Jealousy
strikes him immediately and cruelty with revenge. And what does this mean? He cannot
escape what is to come about. Hear now how sin leads him on.
He directs himself to the room where the two deeply
slept unafraid of anyone. God! With such destiny they lay in bed. It is not a wonder if
they dreamed a troublesome dream. Behold the count before the bed where lay his father and
his mother. The room was not at all bright for the window was mostly closed. Everything
was destined. He came up to the bed directly and perceived those who were lying there.
With great hatred looks upon his bed. The window was carelessly shuttered and was neither
well closed nor open. His mistrusts his wife unjustly. He moved forward and he listens. He
suspects now without doubt, and his distress for her is great. But the countess is so
deeply asleep in the other room that she knew nothing of his return.
The count drew the naked sword. When he sees the room so
dark he puts his trust in listening well and hears them both breathing. Now his pain grows
and he becomes stronger. Then he felt the two heads, and his sorrow is even more unbound.
His heart is now so stricken with ire that no man could tell of it. Julien made such a
great error when he believed for certain that this was his wife, for in her he had a truly
good woman. It was his mother who lay where he thinks that it is his wife. And there,
where he thinks it is her lover it was his father. Thus it is his father, unhappy sinner,
and the mother who bore him whom in great error he will slay.
Again he heard them breathe. His heart was seized to
bursting. He is moved in his very soul and body. "Ah!" cries he, "wicked
He is stricken and burned by anguish. He takes his sword
by its handle.
"Alas!" he cries, "how she destroys me,
she who taught me all! Through her was my joy made great and now she commits great
debauchery. Has she then forsaken me that she may lie with her lover in this my very bed.
She has done too much too rashly. How sorrowful am I that in my bed she has done this
villainous crime. I know not what to say or think. I will kill both her and her lecher
here and now without further delay.
Now speaks Cruelty: "You have the right! Kill them
both immediately or you will be disgraced." Thus does Cruelty urge him on as does
haughty Jealousy .They come there to take the worse side and the devil quickly snares him.
Ire and Trouble cause him to brood. But now comes Love who would also speak, She and
Reason if only they could. So speaks Reason: "Open the window!" It is good that
first you see them and that you chase away all doubts and so you will be more sure. If you
strike them without challenging them it will be an open betrayal for which you can have
trouble and loss."
"Hold!" says Love, "Do not strike them at
all! She used to be your lover and good companion. It was she who made you a count in
Spain. Never has she done you wrong. How do you know who lies here now? Wake them at
least, rather than putting your hands to strike her."
Speaks Cruelty: "They will cry out and beg you, in
God's name, and you for mercy. Strike quickly, kill them both, for you have found them in
the deed. And then go off to your own country. Give them what they deserve."
Cruelty wins the blow and the count from whom all reason
has flown, strikes. Such is the loveless blow of his sword that he cut them in two and
slices the very bed in half.
The blow was truly sorrowful when Julien killed them
both and bitter his fortune. For he has murdered both mother and father and split apart
their bed. Never have I seen a blow so fierce. He did not have to land another blow for
with a single stroke he had caused the death of those two people whom he ever loved the
The countess, who was asleep, was dreaming that a
marvelous serpent, enraged and wild with hunger was rushing headlong upon both the duke
and the duchess and had quickly devoured them. Then was her heart so frightened that she
jumped up in a single leap, and although still half asleep she heard the blow and so
screamed like a crazed woman.
"Ah", says she,"Holy Mary! Who is in that
Julien answered, "Lady, is that you there?"
"Yes, my Lord. Do not be troubled, for I was asleep
so long this night that I could not come down to meet you."
Then she came to him without further delay.
"Sire," said she, "Now be happy, for with you stays the good duke Geoffrey,
your father and the duchess Emma, your mother. I have served them as best I could, as
those I love the most with the exception of you. And to better ease their weary bodies,
good Sire, I had them bathed. And as I love them much, I put them to rest in our bed. I
could not honor them more."
Then the count began to weep and to wrench his wrists.
"Now is come that moment that the beast did tell me of long ago. Never has man
committed such a sin! I have killed both of them. Oh, miserable wretch that I am! I have
turned this joy into great sorrow" "Ah!@ cries he, "sorrowful wretch! I would that I were dead rather than alive. How came
this sorrowful future if God watched over my birth! It was surely not God who was there
but rather demons who were charged with me and accountable for me when I came to be born.
God, you have no power, in my doings I know full well that the devil knows more than you!
The work of the devil is as hard as stone."
"St. James, although I was your pilgrim the devil
drew me to him! And so have I left God and you and faith, charity and pilgrimage, all for
the service and for the homage that I owed to the devil! Savage beast of a whore's race!
You told me the truth and well did you announce it. But I held it all as fable for I
thought it was demons speaking in you.@
Now they opened the window, they lifted the sheets and
there they saw how the two were cut. Would that you had seen the count's distress and the
greatness of his grief. Although they are dead, he kisses them both, he holds them tight
and holds them close. In his anguish he nearly faints over them. And so he embraces them
sweetly and looks upon them most humbly. "Father, dire was that hour that you did
beget me. Sweet mother who bore me, for what I have done I have lost all reason and with
you both I must die."
At these words he draws his sword of steel and goes to
plunge it into his side when his wife quickly runs to wrench it from his grip and says to
him, "Gentle count, mercy! Do you know what will happen if you die here? Your men
will say that I have done all these murders and I will be dragged and burned and led into
grief. No other lot can I have."
The count understands that what she says is true.
"Lady" says he, "and what shall I say?
What will I do? Where shall I flee? And what will I do before the judgment of the Almighty
King when I have killed without any retribution both of those who after God have made me?
And the people, what will they be able to say? I cannot hide from them that I have brought
these two to their death. Therefore, by law am I damned. So great is the horror within me
that I have lost both soul and body. May Jesus Christ have pity on me!"
"Sire," says she, "in truth, if one
wishes to talk reason, no one is at fault, save me. You are not at fault, friend, but I,
alas, who put them here. If I had not put them into this bed you would not have touched
them. It is I who have killed them to judge truly."
"Lady," says he, "Do not talk in this way
at any time. For you did as should do a noble lady and not as I did in truth. For you were
not mistaken in anything; but I, who thought nothing good, struck the blow of my own will.
You owe me no thanks if you have escaped from death. Well would I have cut you in two with
full knowledge for I struck at you with intent. For I thought that some lecher was with
you my dear love, who might have dishonored me with your body. Now must I then be banished
both from you and from your country. Such great sorrow have I encountered that never I
shall remain in exile as long as I do live upon this earth. To exile I wish to abandon
"Do you intend then to leave me?" says the
countess. "Indeed not! For I will not endure that you should suffer such hardship,
such shame, such misery, such hunger, such thirst, such cold; through wood, through field
and through country, unless I remain as your companion through it all. What did you swear
to me when we married? Is it within you now to remember? Truly now you will not escape me.
I will go where you go! Never will we leave each other. Together good and evil we will
endure. I am the occasion of this sin. Through me were they both killed, and so I must do
the penance. And God, who is pity itself, asks no more of anyone than what one can do for
Him. And if you wish to serve God, I, too, wish to earn his love. Well I know that God is
so merciful and so kind and loving, that if we serve Him all our lives without anger and
without envy, I do surely believe that he will grant us mercy. For I do so believe in
God and his forgiveness that no one serves him in vain.
Alas, oh sorry day! Why ever was I born? Sire, sad that ever I saw you. Because of me is
this evil come about. And through me is their sorrowful death. I have killed both them and
my good lord, surely, shall I die next." Then she fell down faint upon the floor. Her
heart all but breaks and her life seems to flow from her body. Whereupon Julien too falls
beside his love. Neither of the two stir or make a sound. Here lie these two lifeless just
as the other two lie dead.
But now, as I recall it, it is Julien who recovers
first. He recalled nothing of the deed nor of anything that he had done. When he arose,
and was on his feet, he remembered his sin. And when he did, he was so troubled that
expectedly he again fell faint to the ground. Mind and strength and breath slowly return
to the lady with great trouble. With great trouble she returned to consciousness and she
reaches out her arms to her lord. She tenderly bends towards and releases her grief upon
Julien returned to consciousness but with some confusion
and so cannot yet stand.
"Lady," says he, "I commend you to God
the son of Holy Mary as my own dear love. Lady, I will tell you my life. Never from any
wretch was heard a tale such as mine.
When I was a young lad, as I remember it, I was sixteen,
I went to hunt in my father's wood one feast day after eating. With me were my companions
and those that I had in my charge. When we had hunted for a long time, some became tired.
They were weary and could not continue. They told me that they wanted to go back to the
castle. They said that I had too improper a way of staying so long in the woods. And so I
answered them curtly, 'Good Lords, be on your way! I will not go, God see to that! With
these words all left. I hurried on and turned away. The others did not know what became of
In a thicket I noticed a beast who was lying there. I
went to shoot at it and it spoke. It said to me that I ought not kill unless my destiny
await me - my father and my mother would I kill with a single blow . And in no way would I
escape from that fate. Three times I aimed to shoot and three times it repeated the threat
and such sorrow that so befalls me. But it told me neither the hour nor the day.
I thought that I could avoid this evil. I left in haste
upon my horse and fled away at great speed as my future led me on. Never any day, as long
as I could help it, would I return to that place where I had parents. Directly towards
Rome I made my way and all this I told the Pope. Why would I make a long tale of this? He
advised me enough and I answered him. 'There is then no need of punishment?'
AFrom him I
took the cross freely. He made me a gift of money and told me many good things. Then I
went upon the sea in a ship and stayed seven years in Syria. I served the lepers outside
Jerusalem and then I left. Towards St. Gilles I resumed my way. The Devil! how he tricked
me, led me on straight this way, as one who was his. Saint James was my patron for to him
I gave myself.
But the devil had me in hand. He did not wish that I
should serve him in vain and so he had me stay here with you. Lady, I became your spouse.
I commend you now to God. I leave you and do not think
that I will see you again. Just as I came I shall go. In that same clothing I will leave.
I wish to bring nothing else with me."
"Ah, Sire," says she, "I believe and know
in faith and do not at all doubt that if I do not keep you company, my body will be
delivered to great shame, and there will be no other recourse for me. For this sin is mine
as well. I have committed the murder. I will tell you the reasons why I will go into
exile. When I came this morning to the church, I met your parents and I kept them. I put
them in the bed where they died, the guilt is mine and the wrong. Through my doing and
through my words have I killed them; for if I had prevented them from coming here they
would have gone elsewhere to sleep. In their hostel they would not have been killed, they
would still be alive. Sire, it would not be worth speaking of, my life would count little.
If you decide to leave me here you would do a great disloyalty. I myself bought this evil
for them, and as long as I shall live I will do penance without doubt.
Sire, if you take to your road, I will take to my own
myself. Sire, thus will you see me on the road which will give me strength and purpose.
Sire, noble man, let me spend each night at your shelter. In this world I ask nothing
"Lady, by God," he answers her, "My grief
and my sorrow are well apparent. Well you know it. But for a long time I have been
accustomed to them. If chance leads us, what to you will be great suffering, to me will be
sweetness. Misfortune grows sweet to him who is accustomed to it. Lady, by my wish you
would remain here. If you do good deeds everywhere, offer masses, alms, prayers, fasts and
penance, you would expiate the sin and you would not go forth from your hostel."
"Surely, Sire, I will not remain here. I will give
back my body to God for the sin, no other thing will I do. Without shoes, without
clothing, in tatters I will wander all the days of my life and in other lands will I beg.
On hard beds, in bad hostels God will take his revenge. Never, if it pleases God, will I
be in comfort nor see a thing that may please me. If God grant it to me, we will always be
without regret in discomfort and poverty. Sire, I will put my body at loss, and to shame
and to dishonor and to discomfort both night and day my body will be delivered, well I
know it. Do not dismay; for I will take all as penance, less will turn me to regret."
"Lady," says Julien,"Say no more. Because
you do not run from those trials and pains and sufferings which you will have again and
again I wish for you to come with me until God may be avenged of us. Never will we be at a
loss for trouble but it will be better for our souls. We will always take equally the good
and the bad."
"Dear Lord, now do you speak justly. We must leave
together. For if you were the king of France and you wore its crown then would I be your
queen by right. And when God does destine us here, let us then be partners together and
therefore let us pray that God may let us live together and that He may deliver us
together from this misdeed, by which we are so stained, by His mercy."
"God grant it, Lady," Says the Duke, "Of
your pleasure, I refuse nothing."
"Lady, let us now call the castellan from the
tower. We will reveal this matter to him and we will keep his advice. For in him there is
great faith and for this I praise him without restraint."
"Sire, as you command."
So the castellan was called and the men of the duke with
him, and they show them this great trouble. And to them all, the count briefly tells the
end and the beginning and how he found them in the bed and how he was crazed and the
reason why he did it. How now his heart is grieved such that nowhere he finds solace, how
his sorrow is so great that he wishes only to die.
And the countess is so bereaved that it was a marvel how
she or anyone ever endures such grief. The two of them suffer such agony and lead such
lives of pain that even those who have the greatest pity for them suffer but the half of
what they feel.
The household was in great mourning. There was not a one
of them who was not weeping. Ladies and lords alike are in tears. Never had they greater
sorrow. Never had such a thing occurred. And the count lashes at himself and is disturbed
and the countess falls in tears, and the castellan and his men are great with grief. This
is the sum of it.
Now the news is spread about. When those of the castle
hear tell of it they too are filled with sorrow. All the people run there to witness the
misery and the death. There is not one who is not agonized by what they behold.
"Alas," they say, "what a great sin has
God sent upon the count and upon the countess together." First God had brought them
together and now has the devil so worked that they will be cut off in sorrow." But
why should I tell you this at length? They made the story known to one another briefly.
"Alas," says Julien, "such a great loss.
This sorrow is too clear."
"Lord, Count," says the castellan,
"neither by your sighs nor by your laments would you be able to change anything.
Sire, for God's sake, let things be. It is not worth lamenting or weeping. It would be
better to give alms and to pray and have the psalms recited than to beat your
I do not know whether I should recount more to you, or
further prolong the story. They have the two bodies prepared, of the good duke and of his
wife. They watch over them that night until the day. That dawn without delay they brought
them to the great church. There they had a glorious service. Afterwards, they put the two
into one coffin, as I know the story. There was great sorrow at the burial. The count who
was capable of great emotion established a great sum at the church so that thirty priests
would from that time on sing and pray for their souls.
When Julien the good had done these things, he had all
his people assembled together and then said to them, "I have protected you all for
two whole years. Now I will go as I should into exile. It is right that I should exile my
body for those whom I have exiled from life and for which I am so grieved. I now say to
you in fact that if I have done wrong to any of you, I pray you, by God, to pardon me and
that you give me your leave."
Then are his people most bewildered. "Then Sire, we
have lost everything if we lose you now. Stay with us here and we with you will certainly
do all the penance that might be imposed. Without pride and without reluctance we will
help you, great and small. There is no one who would not help you most willingly and
Before the count there were indeed men of his father,
the duke, Geoffrey. "Sire," they say, "we are from the country whose renown
we bear. Come with us by your pleasure, to take your grand duchy so that no foreigners may
put their hands upon it. If they do not have your help forthcoming, your land will be
poorly advised and lost to chance."
"Lords," says he, "grant me peace; for I
will never return there. If God may forgive me my sins, with which I am so greatly
stained, never will I hold wealth, thus shall I go on seeking poverty."
Says the countess, "And I along with you, for you
will not go without me. Together we will take the good and the bad loyally, as long as we
And although their grief was great it availed them
nothing. So the count has himself readied immediately and with him his wife. They are
dressed liked pilgrims and arrayed as beggars and carry neither gold nor silver. And now
they leave their people for they wish no longer to be with them, and so barefoot he begins
to walk away.
To the castellan he leaves in trust the castle and their
holdings. In such a way does he leave all their things that he has broken the ties. And
the countess runs after for she has determined to follow by his side. She, too, has left
all, houses and towers, rooms and lodges and refuge, land and goods and friends. She has
put all out of her mind, all of her riches and all that she had. Nothing remains to her of
what she had but she has quickly forgotten it all so that she might be poor with her
Surely I dare to tell you without lying that there was
great grieving when they left. The men and the woman and the children the commonly held
sorrow was great. But above all, the castellan made the most doleful cry. He wishes to go
off with the two of them; but the count does not permit it. His people, too, wish to set
out with him, but lest they should go astray he would not let a one come with him. And he
commands them all to be silent. He swears an oath before all that sorry will be the daring
ones, knight, townsman or peasant, or even the castellan, who may follow his steps beyond
these walls. Then they do hastily leave.
Now the others go back wailing in sorrow as they let
them both go off. Never was there greater mourning. And they made the castellan their
lord. We will tell you no more concerning these people. Now, let us speak of Julien again
and of the countess as well who puts her heart in great torment.
They did not dally in their trek but went off as far as
they could. They wander far from their own country so that they may not come upon anyone
who may wish to interfere with the penance they have chosen. Then have they given
themselves over to working, to praying and to the keeping of vigils. They run through rain
and wind and are so discolored so thin and so disfigured that never might anyone recognize
them who had ever seen them.
They are very hungry and cold. They suffer insult, shame
and ugliness. Often they were poorly lodged and are often called vagabonds. But for God
they suffer and endure the misery in which they find themselves. Many are the hardships
and few the pleasures, but they do not complain a bit. So many are their troubles that I
do not know the number.
Now since the count and the countess both exchanged
their dress against the most poor clothing and they seem as beggars wandering. And so they
go begging their bread from God, who knows to care for all. I cannot tell all the things
that happened to them, but they did labor so that they came to Rome . They spoke to the
Pope and told him, the things that had happened to them and how they came there. In
confession they told him the truth and the Pope orders them to do as he advises. And so,
they willingly accept. The Pope has great compassion for their terrible calamity; and so
he would have lightened their burden if they had wished it. But they say that they have
vowed never to be charged with castle or home for they wish to live in poverty.
Then the Pope has pity on them and tells them in
friendship, "I shall give you your penance. May God keep you in his power that you
might find that certain place as you wander where there is a perilous passage and where go
both the fool and the wise man, the merchant and the pilgrim. If there is this perilous
route, I command you to lodge there and to shelter the poor of God so that God may grant
you His love and pardon you your sin. There you will establish a hostel and you will
devote the hostel to God so that He might grant you His grace. I will charge you with
nothing more. And they humbly received his command.
The Pope did not disappoint them, for he absolved all
their sins and with this he gave to them of his own money such that they were well
provided for. Then, taking their leave of the Pope they set out upon the road and went
their way to serve God well.
They pass many strange lands, the count and his
companion. They suffer much hardship and cold and endure many great discomforts. Often
they have little to eat. Now are they long past the days of their own dominion. They eat
bread when they find it along the road and they do drink from many an unhealthful spring.
But each of them grows stronger in God and His great mercy. But they are so blackened and
their features are so changed and their clothing so ruined that they are altered so
completely that hardly anyone one recognize them for who they are or grant them any
courtesy. All their attention is directed to God.
The count occasionally laments that they have so many
troubles. Often memories come to him and says, "Wretch, what were you thinking about?
Now are all your good days past. Never will you have honor or peace but shame and troubles
and discomfort. Now you have left your duchy and this lady her county. Now our people are
unprotected, now they are destroyed or in exile. I know well that God will hold you
accountable for whatever will befall them.
AAnd did the
Pope not wish to lighten your burden and discharge you. But you did not wish to allow it.
Be careful, he was doing your pleasure for you. You know that he can pardon everything.
Now you could live in your own country. You could live well and in health. You could
generously create hospitals and endow churches where God's services would be done. You
would not be a beggar there. You go on seeking this folly but you will never have anything
but shame. And if you should meet thieves, they will cut you into pieces and they would be
able to sin with your wife shamefully, and then both of you would be in torment."
Thus does the Enemy assault him.
But the lady, whom God advises, shakes him brusquely and
shows him most reasonably the good that is in poverty. She shows him the truth that
neither through pride nor through greed can you truly have God. Rather, it is the true
poor. They are the ones who will have Him. For if they serve God, never will he fail them.
For God Himself testifies to this who could never tell a lie. For it is said in The Book
that whoever left all to serve Him would have Him; and where are there greater riches than
to have God and His majesty? Let go this notion. It is the Enemy who tempts you. Watch
that it never happens to you again but that now you remember God."
She advises with such conviction and so strongly
reassures him that she makes him righteous and confident. Now, he will never again have
any doubt and so in peace with her he joyfully does his penance.
They suffer considerable pain and torment. The count and
countess encountered many hardships and traveled many lands. I could not begin to tell you
of all their misfortunes. They travel from shrine to shrine and God counsels them and
teaches them to do his will. I would not be able to tell you in one day all their trials
and misfortunes because now I must draw to a close.
The lady was of great patience. She did not complain
about their beds or about their food. When she has great suffering she thanks God for it.
There was no place so rough that she would not sleep there willingly. The hard roads and
paths often made her feet bloody and yet she said to herself, "Lord, God, be blessed.
Now I know well that You travel with me."
And when Julien looks at her and sees that she never
cowers and at no time loses her spirit he is moved by anguish and pity. His own suffering
does not trouble him as mush as what befalls his wife. Her complexion has become strange
and she is very black and changed. Through great suffering her body becomes worse but it
pleases her to remain silent. Well have they vowed and promised God that since He has put
them in this condition, never any day of their lives will they part company. They suffer
their trials and their woes. They pass lands and valleys, woods plains and rivers which
they find large and full.
Julien says in his heart that he will now make the
pilgrimage that he had promised to Saint James. He has put his whole soul into this and so
he goes straight into Galicia. He seeks to have no other pleasure than his suffering and
his poverty. He sees nothing which displeases him except the lady who progressively from
day to day changes and becomes worse. I do not know what more to tell you without making a
When they came to Saint James they were ready again to
seek a place where they would stay where they would expiate their sins. They pushed onward
that they might find a place where the two of them could camp. By a stream, near a thicket
they made a poor shelter between the road and the wood where many pilgrims passed. This
was a very perilous passage. Many men had died at this place for there was no bridge or
plank across the water. Thus the pilgrims pass at great danger and this troubles them, for
often someone drowns there. There were also many thieves and often pilgrims were robbed.
There did the two of them lodge, making their shelter near the water. The forest was near
them, and they work so much between the two of them that they set up a small roof. There
did the two of them settle in order to shelter the pilgrims.
The countess was very hard working. She made beds and
litters from grass, from hay and from fern to put up the wayfarers. Those who cannot walk
she lifts up and then beds down most humbly. She and the count serve most graciously so
that those who took shelter there talked everywhere in their own countries and to all
those they met of the kindness that they found in that inn. Never had they seen such kind
people. Many people came and went there who were very happy with the hostel and that it
was found at that crossroad. Now the road was more secure and frequented by pilgrims, by
merchants, clerks and monks, abbots, bishops and canons. Travelers thought well of this
place because Julien and Clarisse aided the poor most kindly served them most humbly. Thus
both fool and wise man preferred this route. Now one could very well say that it was the
hostel of Saint Julien. Yet, it was a hostel without money; for they devoted all to the
people. They gave entirely of themselves and of their goods.
The count often makes a great fire for them. Never did
anyone arrive so weary, so frozen and so wet that he would not have them completely rest
before he would let them travel on. The countess dried them and gently warmed them. She
washes their clothes, washes their hair; oils their shoes and washes their feet.
She often renews the mats where she beds them down with
fresh grass. She herself grooms them, and ferrets out the vermin on them. Never was born
such a countess who knew so well how to be a hostess; for she even mended their clothes
and whatever she did for them she did with such love that God himself dwelt there through
her goodness. So much did God cherish her service, both hers and that of the count, as the
story tells us, that He dwelled with them as now you will hear.
The Lady would stay in the house and the count would
seek their provisions and gather wood to warm the pilgrims. To carry the feeble across the
water he puts them upon his neck and brings them back and forth. His patience is often put
to the test and he is tires and worn. He and his wife work themselves hard. By day they
labor and by night they keep watch to adore God and to pray and to help the poor. And
those of the land, when they learned of this, love them much and honor them much for they
see them so sincere. Now they see that it was necessary to improve their hostel. With
their bodies and with their goods they work hard and they persevere until they have made a
hospital there. What is more, they put in some bedding where the poor may have their
comfort. Many people give alms. But the two of them give of these alms so generously to
the poor that it very often happened that the two of them have nothing to eat in the
evening for they are at the end of their stores.
What would I tell you? The gentle count hunted and
bartered such that he bought a small boat and tied it to the river bank which was near
their dwelling. He carries the pilgrims in the boat to the shore, for it pained him to
carry them and he was afraid of drowning. Thus they serve God sweetly for a long time in
this way. And having been there for some time they now work the ground without rest and
they plow and plant and reap. They now sow and reap so that that the pilgrims who come
there have enough food in the evening, beans, leeks, wild apples, fruit and nuts. What
they have, they give to the poor in great plenty. Should it ever happen that no guests
came to them they would worry that Jesus had abandoned them. In fear Julien would go out
into the road to see if he would find a wanderer who was lost by the road. He was
accustomed to do this. And when he finds no one, he is greatly anguished. When the count
realizes that things are not as they should be, he prays to God to help them and is afraid
of being forgotten by God.
They have bound themselves to God. People came from many
countries, from France, from Anjou and from Maine and from Julien's very domain, who were
going through there to Saint James. Many times the people spoke with regret of the duke
Geoffrey and of his wife and of his child, all three of whom were lost, because of which
their people were much distressed. And thus they often spoke about it to Julien and
Clarisse since they did not recognize them in the least. And Julien said nothing about it,
nor was it important to him who holds his country. He loves neither gold nor silver;
neither land nor dwelling. For now his whole heart is turned to Jesus Christ our Lord, to
lodging and to ferrying. Anyone who stays with them he ferries and ferries again every
They do all their work for their guests. He gives
charity often and they return it. Whatever they have, they rid themselves of it for
charity. Although nothing remains to them, there is nothing that is lacking to them.
Charity is God himself. He has made them such according to his will. With them He remained
and Julien in Him. For this reason they had no sorrow but did delight in their trials.
Little did the time trouble them. For a long time have
they been his servants, both in summer and in winter. They have ferried and lodged people
and near and far their renown was great. All the vagabonds of the country learned of the
hostel and thirty and twenty and fifteen and ten returned there often, and the lady in all
goodness served both good and wicked. She was seneschal of her property and happy she was
in the position of seneschal. And nonetheless, her very life, except for holy days and
Sundays was not without travail and pain.
Julien as well lived a good life and nothing within him
was at conflict, such that he often said in his heart, "Ah, companion, Ah, sister,
how you are of such great merit! When a woman takes pleasure in what is good, no one can
value what she is worth. If she does not care to do good then no beast is so wicked as
she. But your heart is never down but always rises. Never does it descend and never does
it cease from doing good."
This life pleases Julien very much. The crossing and the
hostel were open to all people and every traveler came by here. One day there rose up a
storm which lasted the entire day and into that night and it rained so much that no one
moved from shelter. Little did the people of the town go out. And certainly no one would
go out at night who did not even go out during the day, such was the wind and rain. The
winds blew all day and it rained. And the lady standing at her door awaited guests all
day. She is frightened and fearful that she is not doing her duty.
"God," she says, "By your pleasure, bring
us guests and entrust them to us if such is your desire. It will be right for us to serve,
since we have made it our promise. Good kind Lord, he who serves You well loses neither
time nor hour nor place. To serve you well is all our reward.
The day dwindles and the night comes but no guest comes
from anywhere. The lady was truly fearful that they would have no guests and she fears
that God may be angry with her. She repeatedly calls to God for mercy and at their supper
she had a woeful countenance. Julien, who loved her much, asked her what was wrong .
The lady did not conceal it from him. "Sire,"
she says, "I am at a loss. In my heart I think and fear that God is angered with us.
Perhaps some sin which we have committed works against us since He grants us no guests.
Never before since we came here nor since we built this hostel, have we ever lacked guests
at night. And for this reason I am afraid and believe that we are guilty before God."
"Lady," says he, "This is not at all so.
No man goes out for it has rained hard this day. How would people go forth if they had no
cover? Even if they had nothing to eat and to drink, it would have suited them to stay.
Lady, you should not at all complain if God does not grant your will. Foolish is he who
does not await his mercy. We will have some guests tomorrow, if God pleases. It is good
that we leave this to Him."
And so they left things and they go off to bed. But for
all the gold in this world, the lady did not sleep soundly. She lamented the rain and the
dark weather which have taken away her responsibility for others. And while she prays and
reflects upon this thought, she heard a voice from across the water crying in the name of
God upon the cross. The lady heard it well and sent thanks to God.
The voice grows louder and cries, "Good Julien,
help, for God! Do not leave me now here on the other side!"
This the lady's heart did hear now and she sits up in
her bed. And the voice cries the more,"Ah, Julien, come here, for God, now keep me
company. Take me with you to your hostel ! For I am cold and sick and suffering."
Julien wished to sleep as was his custom, when his wife
draws him near and says, "I have news to tell you. Rise up quickly and be glad; God
has sent us a guest. Truly, I have heard a voice which calls to you from across the
waters. Go then quickly, it is some poor man who waits for you."
"Lady," says he, "may it not aggrieve you
but let me speak to you a bit. Know that I would not dare go there. I would shrink from it
with all my body since the water is cold and deep and the winds churn the waves so. The
skiff would be quickly filled with water; even by day I would have great trouble to bring
someone here under these conditions."
She says, "Now I know certainly that you are not
such a man as I thought. Only God now sends me joy. What does it matter what the weather
may be. Sire, do not lose your grace! I know that God approves of us. Of what worth is he
who laments his suffering and the trouble that he endures for God. To abandon hope in
God's care is to abandon all that he has done. Thus my heart did not lose hope nor
separate itself from good nor regret the penance that we do. If I wished to give up, I
would return to my own country.
I shall fear neither water nor wind and he will not
stand there alone by my allowance. Rain or wind will not restrain me, nor any weather
which may come up." Then she began to dress herself.
When Julien sees that she is getting dressed he says to
her, "Lady, if you please, I will go there for him. Be at peace. Rather I endure the
burden of going out than you. If you were willing to do it, so then too should I be as
willingly. Now light these twigs and make a fire on the bank and I will ferry
The lady lit the fire and brought it to the river bank.
Julien follows after and quickly enters the bark. He sets off immediately into the water
but the bark does not seem to float easily. He was afraid as he came across. But whatever
fear he had, he always remembered God and recalled in his heart and on his lips His
passion and birth. The bark touches the other bank. He jumped out and has tied it. He then
called out loudly, "Where are you, you who called me? You are not so poor nor so
dejected that I would begrudge you service. In all things be in my protection. You will
have nothing but good, if I have anything to say."
"Sire," said the poor man, "I ask for
nothing, except your hostel, lend me nothing more. I am a poor man, naked and from day to
day. Now I do languish for I am weaker than I have ever been."
Julien comes straight towards him and says, "Come,
for we should be covered above."
"Know", says the leper, "that surely I
cannot go down to the boat unless you take me in your arms and are willing to carry me
into your boat. Will you then help me? For I cannot go alone."
Julien then answers, "I agree to this. Tell me in
what manner I will do it and how to carry you."
The leper says, "In this I will guide you. For I am
so feeble that I do not know how you can carry me safely. Still, then carry me by the
thighs. Raise me against your chest. But I do not know if this troubles your body. Let it
be by the Most High King, that the good you will do for me may be repaid to you you by His
pleasure. Surely, I will not be secret before you. I am more feeble and weak a hundred
times more than you are poor."
Julien, who was strong and brave, takes him from under
the thighs and lifts him up against his chest. And the leper places his brow against that
of Julien and his mouth as well is against Julien's mouth. And this pleases Julien and it
seems good. And when the breath comes from his mouth, it softens Julien's heart and so he
breathes often and again. Never did he press so closely so that Julien became angry over
it, nor that he ever complained.
As quietly as possible Julien bore him to the bark. Then
he leaves the far shore. Julien rows with force and effort. He struggles along and wearies
himself until he crosses the thread of water. The lady made the fire bright and she cried
out, "Lord, by God, what do you bring? Do not be troubled. God is with and directs
us. From the good tree comes good fruit."
"Lady, I bear a poor man much in distress. He is in
need of great kindness."
At these words the lady ran toward him. She entered the
boat holding the fire in her hand and saw him so filled with misery. Never had she seen
anyone in so sorry a state. She looks at him rather closely and is struck with pity. She
tells him that she was as ready as she could be to fulfill his needs.
And the leper says, "I cannot move, nor have I the
ease with which to walk unless you carry me between your arms."
The lady yearned to serve. And so she took him on one
side and Julien holds him on the other. They carried him kindly and carefully to their
gentle hostel. They bring him a cushion and the lady quickly sits him on it with care.
Then she tells him not to be troubled for anything that in the name of God she might do.
"Lady, I am colder than ice," answered the
leper. "Cast a skin about my back; make a fire to warm me and give me something to
eat; for I am still fasting after two days. This is all that may keep me alive. "
The lady does not wait for him to say more to her. She
covers him quickly and makes the fire. She takes care to nourish him well. Know that she
prepared him with the best that she had. He now feigned hunger and so ate heartily of the
bread and anything else that she gave him. Yet, it seemed that he was never filled by
anything. When he had drunk and eaten, his feet became cold again as did the rest of his
body. So much so that he said he would surely die that night of the cold.
The lady was near him and makes a great fire of dried
wood. Yet the more the fire grew, the colder the leper became. The lady sits down at his
feet and believes that she can warm them with her hands.
"Lady, I am all filled with an ill, which is of
such a nature, that no creature would warm me except one. If, it should happen that one
creature would wish to do it for me."
The lady says, "There is nothing beneath the
heavens that I might do for you that I would not do immediately."
"Lady," says he, "I need the flesh of a
woman to warm me. No man might lend me anything from which I might otherwise derive warmth
no matter what the situation. Julien, in the name of God, I ask you that you lend me your
wife. Let her lie here close to me for if I feel her next to me, her flesh will warm mine.
Sire, good lord, God will see you!
This night leave her naked with me. You have had her for
so many nights, surely you can lend her to me this night. I would otherwise not have
wished to stop here nor lie here if I were not to have her. It is for her that I came
along this way."
Julien looks at the leper. "Brother," says he,
"I do not keep her here to lend her in this way. I have had more than a hundred
guests here and never did any of them ask such a thing. Even should I ask her, I do not
think she would do such a thing."
"Sire, for God's sake, you will not refuse,"
says the lady, "not at all. I have put my life in the service of God and I will not
refuse the favor that this poor leper requests. Never will it be otherwise. My flesh will
warm his if this is how he must be warmed. Go to bed quickly now. I will lie with him
through charity. And know well in truth that the more unpleasantness I will have lying
with him so much less the pain will come to me for doing so."
"Lady, I do not speak against you," says
Julien, "but in your favor. All that this leper asks will be done just as you have
promised it." Then Julien goes to bed on one side of the hut.
The leper says, "Lady, it is time for me to be put
in my bed." And she beds him down without delay; and afterward goes to cover the fire
and then comes back to lie down. But when she does, she finds nothing of the leper. She
feels about everywhere. She wonders and asks
what may have become of him. After all, he was so poor
and naked that the wind might take him out of the bed. She feels about the whole bed and
quickly asks of her lord, "Sire, I cannot find our leper. I do not know where he is.
I cannot find him! And I am much concerned. He is not where I bedded him down."
Julien jumps up and lights the fire. It burns such that
there is no smoke. With a handful of burning straw he goes about looking everywhere. But
he does not find him in the hostel. The lady is bewildered. She runs to the door and finds
"Oh God of majesty," she says, "Now am I
dead, now am I stricken. I thought I was serving You according to your will. But now I
know that it was not your desire that I should act in this manner. Now you have forsaken
The lady cries tenderly. The leper, who was indeed
outside in the wind, says to her, "Woman, weep not. for I am He who forgets nothing;
nothing is hidden from Me. I have come here because of your merit and because of the great
faith of your lord in whom there is greater charity than in any man living. He took me for
a leper at the river bank, but I wanted to
test him. Woman, cease this anguishing. You have both
expiated yourselves. The great sin and homicide of which he seeks to repent will be
pardoned and forgiven to you and to him. You are out of the devil's hands and an all
enduring gift I give you. If ever anyone is in distress and in need of lodging let them
say a Pater Noster in the evening and the lodging they seek thee will have. It will not
fail them. And this I give because of you and because of him and because of the death of
those whom he wrongly killed. This gift I give you and I pardon your sins." And with
this He vanished. But He leaves them so bewildered that they know not where they are.
Julien is the first to speak as he sheds warm tears and
prays the Lord God.
"Ah, true God! Now am I saved! Counsel me, Holy
Spirit. Allow me to lead such a life and to labor and toil so that my soul may be saved.
Lady, happily were you born! Because of the great good that is in you are we both saved
and redeemed. Now may God allow us in His pleasure that we may ever serve Him and do His
And so they did. For. as I believe, they continued on
for seven years. But wicked and covetous are evil men and thieves who have only evil
intent. They are the masters of this life. Those who did not know Julien's and Clarisse's
state thought that they were very rich; for they
were not avaricious or greedy but they dispensed all
their goods every day. And, from day to day God gave them whatever they spent and gave to
So it happened that thieves who were in that country
came one night into their hostel. And God allowed them to kill them in the same way that
he killed his mother and father. For one of the thieves took each head and with one blow
killed both. They plundered all the cupboards but found nothing except for food.
There were great miracles without end in that place and
land. So many that, as it pleased God, their bodies were brought to Brioude. Gold and
silver was made ready and God saw to it that there were sufficient gift to make a
reliquary. And still the bones are there from that time in great repose.
Now may each one pray the Creator, that God with
strength and honor, may give a good end and a long life to the count my benefactor,
through whose aid and through whose grace, this story is made. Thus Roger wishes as much
good to count Philipon as God spreads throughout the world.
Here ends the story of Saint Julien.
May God keep us all well.
©Translation by Tony Devaney Morinelli,
Reproduction for personal and classroom use permitted.
This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The
Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval
and Byzantine history.
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Paul Halsall October 1997