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Fine-Guerre [French King] [Non-Cyclic] [weap:sword]

Fine-Guerre (Michel ed., p.93; v.1833 [recte 1834?])*1, (Buffom ed. [after Flutre])*2, ? (Lowe ed., prose) [OF];
["End of War"]

The sword of Gérard de Nevers, which he is supplied with when he champions the cause of the maid of the castle on the river (Aigline, the châtelaine of Vergy), by fighting her oppressor, Galerans, lord of the Gorgerans. Gérard goes on to slay this foe with the sword, and saves the town.

The sword had a past history are as follows:

Back in the days, the King of Bagdad had a nephew, the ruler of the Greek isle of Salamis. The King bore great hatred for this handsome nephew and he conspired to kill him. He ordered the nephew to fight Esclamor de Baudaire (Bagdad) on an islet, and supplied him with a sword which looked splendid but which had a useless blade made of lead. The sword broke in the middle after a single stroke. The distraught prince realized his uncle's trachery, and interrupting the fight, went to the river-shore. There by chance he felt the guard/hilt of a steel sword on his hand. It laid buried there for forty-one years. With this newfound weapon, he was reenergized, and he attacked and slew his opponent Esclamor with one blow. That was the celeberated blow that brought an end to war, and for that reason, the sword was dubbed Fine-Guerre, or "End to War".

The above summary for the most part consistent with the one given by Bach*4, except he infers for some reason that Gérard was a participant in the duel against Esclamor.

According to the entry in Flutre's Table de Noms (which uses the text edited by Buffum), Fine-Guerre was the sword of Esclamor, while Esclamor de Baudaire was the nephew of the King of Bagdad, which is contrary to my summary above.
Texts
*1 Michel, Francisque, ed. Roman de la violette; ou, De Gerard de Nevers: en vers, du XIIIe siècle (Paris 1834) [books.google] | copy2 [IArchive]. There seems to be a miscount in verse lines. On p.92 are four lines which should be vv. 1829-1832. Thus p.93 should begin on v.1833, but it is labeled "(v.1832)". Thus

*2 Buffum, Douglas Labaree, b. 1878. ed., Gerbert de Montreuil, Le roman de la violette ou de Gerart de Nevers Société des Anciens Textes français. (Paris, 1928)

*2a Since I have had not occassion to access Buffum's SATF edition, I relied on the entry in Flutre's Table des Noms.

*3 Lawrence FH Lowe ed., Prose version of the Roman de la Violette (Elliot Monographs. vol. 22.).

*4 Bach, Volkmar, Die Angriffswaffen in den Altfranzösischen Artus- und Abenteure-Romanen, p.19, [Ausgaben und Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der Romanischen Philologie, veröffentlich von E. Stengel, LXX]. (Marburg: N.G. Elwert'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 1887).

§ Romance de la Violette

§ The Main Plot (Accusation of Love and Fidelity)

  A certain King Louis holds court on Easter (pasques p.6) at Pont-de-l'Arche in Normandy. A roster of female guests is described. A certain gentleman arrives holding a bird on his fist ([damoiseau] qui sur son puing tint .j. oiseau, p.11), who turns out to be Gérard de Nevers (Li vasaus ot Gérars à non p.11) The Chastelaine of Poitier urges him to perform a song of romance. Swayed by the mood, he makes an open boast about the unassailable fidelity of his beloved, later identified as Euriaut/Euriante (Oriaus p.19, Oriaut p.21, Euriaut), p.43, passim.)

  The malicious Lisiart, Count of Forest/Forez (Lisiart (Lisiars), quens de Forois p.16) seeks to prove this claim otherwise, and wagers his land against Gérard's that he can make this lady succumb to his temptations within eight days.
Lisiart travels disguised as a pilgrim, but his declaration of love is tactfully deflected by Euriaut.

  In the lady's household there was a loathly and dark-skinned old woman named Gondrée (p.27). She was the daughter of Gontacle the thief versed in sorcery, and was willing to aid and abet the Lisiart, even though she was the governess who raised the lady as a child. As recompense, she is offered robes and horses (Robes et chevals p.30) by the Count.
This hag asked the lady why she never disrobed completely in front of anybody ever, and elicited the information that she had a certain mark on her body which ony she herself and her lover was privy to, and she cannot allow it to be seen since it was the most intimate secret between them. The hag now drills a peep-hole in the door to the chamber where the lady takes her bath, and spies on her. She now learn that Lady Euriante has a birthmark in the shape and color of a violet on her right breast (sor sa destre mamiele / Une violete nouviele p.34). She hurriedly wakes up the count so he can be allowed to view for himself through the peep-hole. (Thre is an MS. illumination opposite p.34, showing the mistress naked in a tub, while the Count of Forest looks through the peephole)

  Armed with this information, the count returns to Melun (Meléun, p.37) where King Louis holds his court. Lisiart claims success, Gérard agrees to a proceeding to judge whether the claim is good or bogus.
Gérard sends out his nephew Geoffroy (Joiffroi, p.41) to fetch Euriante, who joyfully prepares to leave, saddling her white palfrey, wearing her marvellous robe and a girdle encrusted with jacinths (jagonse, glossed as such by Godefroy), rubies and emeralds which Roland gave to the belle Aude (p.44)

  At the proceeding, Count Lisiart divulges his knowledge of her secret birthmark, Gérard concedes the bet, so the king awards the county of Nevers to Lisiart.

Prodded by his parents to punish the "unfaithful one", Gérard answers that he will find his own means to do so, and takes Euriante to a deserted forest with intent to kill her with the sword. But before that happesn, she raises a hue and cry, warning him of the approach of a flame-breathing dragon, measuring nearly an acre wide (serpent.. près de li .j. arpent p.55). He turns around and attacks the dragon, finally beheading the creature. No longer has he the heart to execute her. But he decides to abandon her to fate by leaving her in the forest. The distraught lady makes her way to Metz (Miès) (p.58), where she is taken into the Duke's service.

  Gérard finds no comfort but in his singing, and while dressed as a minstrel, goes to Nevers where he overhears the converstaion between Gonorée (Gondrée, p.74) and Lisiart, and learns of the deceit. (Opposite p.70 is an illumination of G. as jongleur in Nevers)
In remorse, he goes looking for Euriart in Burgandy, Paris, to Nivelles (Nivieles p.77 in Belgium), then onto a castle on the river, later identified as the castle of Vergy (Vergi).

[There follows a series of adventures occupying 4000 lines of verse.]

  He comes to Metz and happens upon a young woman about to be burnt at the pyre on suspicion of having murdered Ismène, sister of the Duc de Metz. He realizes this is Euriart, and announces he will champion her against her accuser, Méliatirs (Meliatir p.257 v.5462), who is the real culprit. The defeated villain confesses his own crime. The reunited couple goes to court, and pleads his case against Lisiart's villainy. A duel to the death is set to determine who is in the right. Gérard kills his caluminator and marries Euriaut.

§ The sword, Fine-Guerre


  Gerard (Gérars de Nevers) whose last named destination was Nivelles (in Belgium), arrives at a place later revealed to be Vergy, where he sees a castle on a river. It was encircled by a two-league wall, with two armed men with shield and bared swords guarding the two roads at the bridge of the castle. Four more on foot, three bearing a spear, a fourth an ax. Gerard requests lodging. They warn him that people live in fear of their lives, the wheat crop has failed three years (p.79). He is shown a donjon as fine as the one in Dijon (Dygon). But his lodging is poor. The garments the people wear are tattered, nobody wears gems or finery of samite or cendal (p.80-1).

  He strikes conversation with a refined seeming maiden who is (who is later identified as Aigline (p.108), the Châtelaine de Vergy), and she describes the meager provisions left in the castle. They are bracing for an assault tomorrow from a very wicked and horrid man (à demain l'assaut / D'une gent molt laide et molt orde p.82). The maiden has already lost three brothers (she later names only two) and her father.

  As expected, Gerard volunteers to fight the scoundrel, and the following day, is equipped with an assortment of the fine and costly armaments (p.88-): an acton (aqueton) with orifreyed stripes, a triple(-mailed) hauberk that belonged to Alexander (Alis) and over the cuirass (cuirie) wore a coat made by a Scotswoman named Rainse, the mother of Talas. The helm belonged to Charlemagne. And the blade he girt on his breast, none better could be had, and whoever tests it will know that is true.

* (Here follows the history of this sword that Gerard was given)

{p.89}
Li rois de Budas la cité
Ot .j. neveu jouene tousel,
1780 Molt i avoit biel damoisel;
{p.90}La terre tint de Salemine ;
Mais molt ot en lui grant haïne
Ses oncles, qui volsist sans faille
Qu'il fust en auchune bataille
1785 Occis, puis si aroit sa terre.
Par trahison le fist requerre
.J. jour d'une bataille faire
Encontre Esclamor de Baudaire.
D'unes fauses armes l'arma
1790 Li rois, ki molt petit l'ama;
D'un hauberc molt menu maillié
D'estain trop bien apparillié.
Ses hiaumes fu de plonc forgiés;
Mais il estoit par lius vergiés;
1795 De bendes d'or molt richement.
S'espée, se l'escris ne ment,
Avoit crois d'or et puing d'argent,
Et fuere d'orfrois bel et gent ;
Mais li brans fu de plonc burnis.
1800 Tout ensi faitement garnis
Est montés el cheval isniel,
Puis l'amainnent en .j. islel
{p.91}Où cil Esclamor l'atendoit,
Qui combatre à lui se devoit.
1805 Des lanches au premier joustèrent,
Et si durement se hurtèrent
C'andoi se porterent à terre;
Sus salent, si se vont requerre.
Li niès le roi l'espée a traite,
1810 Seure li cort à la retraite;
S'a s'espée par mi brisie
Que li rois li ot tant prisie,
Et Esclamors sore li court;
Si a l'enfant tenu si court
1815 Que partout là où il l'ataint
En trait le sanc, ensi le taint.
L'enfès voit bien k'il fu traïs,
De la paour fu esbahis.
En la rivière l'enfès fuit,
1820 Ne set aillours avoir refuit ;
Por pierres prendre s'i aploie
Tant c'à la destre main s'apoie
Au heu d'une espée d'achier.
L'enfès le sache au redrechier
1825 De la rivière, où ot esté
Plus de .lx. et .j. esté.
L'enfès estoit legiers et fors;
De la rivière sailli fors,
{p.92}A .ij. piés encontremont saut ;
1830 A Esclamor vient, si l'asaut;
Donné li a si grant colée
Que très le chief li est coulée
{p.93} L'espée de si en la terre : (v.1832)
Por cel cop ot non Fine-Guerre
L'espée i ; or l'a Gérars au flanc.
Puis amainnent son cheval blanc;
—Michel ed.,
Roman de la violette,
p.89-93 (vv.1778-1836)
{p.89}
The King of the city of [Bagdad]
had a young nephew, a youngster.
1780 A very handsome gent was he;
Who held the [Greek Isle of Salamis];
But [the king] regarded him with hatred
His uncles unmistakably wanted him
To be involved in some battle
1785 and be killed, to claim kingship over his land.
Trecherously [the king] sent him
one day to battle against
Esclamor de Baudaire [Bagdad].
He equipped him with fake arms,
1790 The king who loved him little;
A hauberk with fine links
of tin, very craftily made.
His helms were made from lead,
But it was banded here and there
1795 With very rich stripes of gold.
His sword did not reveal the slightest fault,
A gold crossguard and Silver hilt it had,
And orfreyed pretty and nice;
But the balde was polished lead.
1800 Thus he was outfitted totally,
And mounted a swift horse,
Then went to a little isle,
Where Esclamor awaited, To do combat against him.
1805 The lances were jousted at first,
And they struck so hard,
They threw each other to ground,
Dashing forth [as warranted?].
The king's nephew plied his sword,
1810 Upon the body on reencounter [?]
And his sword broke in the middle,
The one which the king praised highly to him,
And Esclamors rushed upon him;
As the childe held such a short [piece],
1815 That wherever he could reach,
He drew blood and dyed him [red]
The childe knew well he was betrayed,
The fear made him cringe.
The childe went off to the river,
1820 With nowhere else to flee;
To gather rocks to use,
Then his right hand pressed
Upon the hilt of a sword of steel.
The childe reaches for it to recover it,
1825 From the river where it has been,
For more than forty-one summers.
The child feels fleet and strong;
From the river he sallies forth,
Soaring two feet in the air ;
1830 Comes upon Esclamor with such an attack;
Gave him such a great neck-blow
That the head gushed profusely,
The sword of his [found?] in the ground,
Was named Fine-Guerre for that blow.
That was the sword Gérard had at his side,
An so he led his white horse;
—tr. mine

  The enemy arrives; he is Galerans, lord of the Gorgerans [a band of men]. In the combat Gerard gains the upper hand with the raised sword and demands the cry of mercy, but the enemy never complies, and with a hack of the sword, cuts his head. The Gorgeran (underlings) who see their boss dead and beg for mercy.

  In the Michel edition, there is an illustration (after p.144) from a different adventure, in which Gerard (apparently the knight mounted on the white horse) is depicted holding a sword.
*1 The page numbers are after Michel's edition. This summary relied on an English summary of the main plot is given in Foreign Quart. Review XXXIII, (April 1836), pp. 52-; and a French one is found in François Victor Hugo in Œuvres complètes de W. Shakespeare, p.8- Tome V.

*2


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