From the Roman de Rou, the 12th century verse chronicle of the Normans commissioned by the English king Henry II, in which the author Robert Wace mentions a jester of Duke William of Normandy (c. 1029-1087, later ‘William the Conqueror’). He recounts how Goles apparently woke the Duke to warn him of the approaching enemy.

 

  `Open, open, open!’ he cries,

                  `Thou art but dead, arise! arise!

                  Where art thou, William?  Why sleepest thou?

                  If seized thou wilt be slain, I trow;

                  Thy foes are arming even now…

 

                  (“Ovrez,” dist il, “ovrez, ovrez!

                  Ja morreiz tuit, levez, levez!

                  Ou giés Guilliame? pour quei dorz?

                  S’ateinz i es ja seras morz;

                  ti enemi se vont armer”).

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Source: Robert Wace (c. 1100-c. 1175), Roman de Rou, ed. by A.J. Holden (Paris: Picard, 1971), vol. 2, ll. 3655-62, trans. Welsford, Enid, The Fool: His Social and Literary History (London: Faber and Faber, 1935; repr. 1968).p. 114.

Image credit: engraving by C.E. Lambert, in Frédéric Pluquet, Notice sur la vie et les écrits de Robert Wace, 1824.

 

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