This page contains a text in Old French with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old French Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old French language and its speakers' culture.
Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche,
Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet.
Halt sunt li pui e la voiz est mult lunge,
Granz .XXX. liwes l'oïrent il respundre.
Karles l'oït e ses cumpaignes tutes.
Ço dist li reis: "Bataille funt nostre hume!"
Li quens Rollant ad la buche sanglente.
De sun cervel rumput en est li temples.
L'olifan sunet a dulor e a peine.
Karles l'oït e ses Franceis l'entendent.
Ço dist li reis: "Cel corn ad lunge aleine!"
Respont dux Neimes: "Baron i fait la peine!
Bataille i ad, par le men escïentre.
Cil l'at traït ki vos en roevet feindre.
Adubez vos, si criez vostre enseigne,
Si sucurez vostre maisnee gente:
Asez oez que Rollant se dementet!"
Ço sent Rollant que la mort le tresprent,
Devers la teste sur le quer li descent.
Desuz un pin i est alet curant,
Sur l'erbe verte s'i est culchet adenz,
Desuz lui met s'espee e l'olifan,
Turnat sa teste vers la paiene gent:
Pur ço l'ad fait que il voelt veirement
Que Carles diet e trestute sa gent,
Li gentilz quens, qu'il fut mort cunquerant.
Cleimet sa culpe e menut e suvent,
Pur ses pecchez Deu en puroffrid lo guant. AOI
Morz est Rollant, Deus en ad l'anme es cels.
Li emperere en Rencesvals parvient.
Il nen i ad ne veie ne senter,
Ne voide tere, ne alne ne plein pied,
Que il n'i ait o Franceis o paien.
Carles escriet: "U estes vos, bels niés?"
"Deus! dist li reis, tant me pois esmaier
Que jo ne fui a l'estur cumencer!"
Tiret sa barbe cum hom ki est iret;
Plurent des oilz si baron chevaler;
Encontre tere se pasment .XX. millers.
Roland has put the horn at his mouth,
He places it solidly, with great force he blows it.
The mountains are high and the sound carries very far,
Thirty long miles away they heard it resonate.
Charles heard it, and all his troops.
The king spoke these words: "Our troops fight a battle!"
Count Roland has his mouth full of blood.
The temple of his brains has burst open.
He blows the horn in suffering and in pain.
Charles heard him and his subjects hear him.
The king spoke these words: "That horn has a long breath!"
Duke Naimes answers: "A brave knight is in distress!
There is a battle, to my knowledge.
He who has betrayed him, orders you to do nothing.
Arm yourself, and shout your war cry,
And go to the help of your fair army:
You hear very well that Roland is lamenting."
Roland feels that death overcomes him completely,
it descends from his head to his heart.
He has gone, running, under a pine tree,
there he has lain down on top of the green grass, face downwards,
he puts his sword and the horn under him,
he turned his head towards the pagan people:
He has done this for the reason that he really wants
that Charles and his entire people say
that he the brave count has died as a conqueror.
He confesses his sins aloud, tapping his chest quickly and frequently
For his sins he offered his glove to God.
Roland has died, God has his soul in heaven.
The emperor arrives in Roncevaux.
There is no road nor path,
nor any empty piece of ground, nor any ell or full foot,
where there is no Frenchman or heathen.
Charles cries out: "Where are you, my beloved nephew?"
"God!" the king said, "I can torment myself so much
for not having been there at the beginning of the battle!"
He pulls his beard like a man who is distressed;
His warrior knights shed tears from their eyes;
twenty thousand men faint on top of the earth.