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Translation

  great mortification:
“Have mercy, mercy, mercy, most holy man!
We did not know you and we still do not know you.”
 
360
73 “Here before you are two sinners,
By the grace of God called emperors:
By his mercy he gives us this honour.
Of all this world we are the rulers.
Yet of your guidance we are needful.
365
74 This pope has charge over souls,
This is his duty which he has to fulfil
Give him the letter, by your mercy:
He will tell us what he finds written there,
And may God grant that we might be saved by it.
370
75 The pope holds out his hand for the letter;
Saint Alexis opens his hand to him:
He entrusts it (the letter) to him who was pope of Rome.
He did not read it, nor does he look at its contents:
He hands it over to a good learned clerk.
375
76 The chancellor, whose task it was,
Read the letter: the others listened to him.
Of that jewel (i.e. the holy man) whom they have found there
It told them the name of the father and the mother,
And that told them about his parentage
380
77 And it told how he escaped by sea,
And how he stayed in the city of Alsis (Edessa),
And that God made the statue speak on his account,
And that because of the recognition with which he did not wish to be burdened
He fled back to the city of Rome.
385
78 When the father heard what the letter said,
He tears at his white beard with both hands:
“Oh, son”, he said, “what a painful message!
I waited for you to return to me,
So that by God’s mercy you might bring me comfort once more.”
390
79 In a loud voice the father began to cry:
“My son, Alexis, what sorrow has come to me!
I did not take good care of you under my stairs;
Alas, sinner that I am, how blind I was!
I have seen him so many times, yet I was unable to recognise him.”
395
80 “Alexis, my son, alas for your grieving mother!
So much pain has she borne on your account
And so much fasting and so many privations,
And so many tears shed over you!
This sorrow must surely have stricken her to the heart.
400
81 Oh son, who will my great estates go to,
The extensive lands which I owned in abundance,
My great palaces in the city of Rome?
And for your sake I had toiled so hard for them,
After my death you would have been given charge of them.
405
82 My hair is white and my beard is hoary;
I had held onto my high position for you,
And for your sake, yet you had no regard for it.
Such great sorrow has now come upon me!
My son, may your soul in heaven be absolved!
410
83 It would have been fitting for you to wear a helmet and coat of mail,
And put on a sword like the rest of your peers;
And you should have been in charge of a great household,
And carried the banner of the emperor,
As your father did and all your family.
415
84 In such suffering and in such poverty,
My son, have you spent your life in foreign lands!
And of that wealth which should have been yours,
What did you take from me in your poor dwelling?
If it had pleased God, you should have been lord of it all!”
420
85 The father’s expression of grief
Was so loud that the/
 

Transcription

granz afflictiuns · mercit mercit mercit saintismes hom · nen coneumes/ net uncore nen connuissum · Ci devant tei estunt dui pechethuor · / par la deu grace vocet amperedor · có est sa merci qu'il nus consent/ l'onor · de tut cest mund sumes iugedor · del ton conseil sumes tut/ busuin[us] · Cist apostolies deit les anames baillir · có est ses mesters dunt/ il ad a servir · dune li la cártre par tue mercit · có nus dirrat qu'enz/ trovrat escrit · e có duinst deus qu'or en puisum grarir · Li aposto/lie tent sa main a la cartre · sainz alexis la sue li alascet · lui le con/sent ki de rome esteit pape · il ne la list ne il dedenz ne guardet/ avant la tent ad un boen clerc e savie · Li cancelers cui li mesters/ an eret · cil list le cartre li altra l'esculterent · le num lur dist/ del pedre e de la medre · e có lur dist de quels parenz il eret · d'icele/ gemme qued iloc unt truvede · E có lur dist cum s'en fuit par mer/ e cum il fut en alsis la citet · e que l'imagine d[eu]s fist pur lui parler/ e pur l'onor dunt nes volt ancumbrer · s'en refuit en rome la citet ·/ Quant ot li pedre co que dit ad la cartre · ad ambes mains derumpet/ sa blance barbe · e filz dist il cum dolerus message · ío atendi quet/ a mei repairasses · par deu merci que tun [error for tum] reconfortasses · A halte voiz/ prist li pedra a crier · filz alexis quels dols m'est apresentet · malveise/ guarde t'ai faite suz mun degret · alas pecables cum par sui avo/glet · tant l'ai vedud si nel poi aviser Filz alexis de ta dolenta medra/ tantes dolurs ad pur tei andurede · e tantes fains e tantes consireres/ e tantes lermes pur le ton cors pluredes · cist dols l'avrat en quor par/ acurede O filz cui erent mes granz ereditez · mes larges terres dunt/ io aveie asez · mes granz paleis de rome la citet · puis mun deces/ en fusses enoret · & enpur tei m'en esteie penet · Blanc ai le chef/ e le barbe ai canuthe · ma grant honur t'aveie retenude · & an/ pur tei mais n'en aveies cure · si grant dolur or m'est aparude · filz la tue aname el ciel seit absoluthe · Tei cuvenist helme e brunie/ a porter · espede ceindra cume tui altre per · e grant maisnede dou/ses guverner · cum fist tis pedre e li tons parentez le gunfanun l'em/peredur porter · A tel dolur & a si grant poverte · filz t'ies deduit/ par alienes terres e d'icel bien ki toen doust estra ·quer am perneies en/ ta povre herberge se deu ploust · servit [error for sire] en dousses estra De la/ dolur qu'en demenat li pedra · grant fut li dols si l'antendit la/

Translation

  great mortification:
“Have mercy, mercy, mercy, most holy man!
We did not know you and we still do not know you.”
 
360
73 “Here before you are two sinners,
By the grace of God called emperors:
By his mercy he gives us this honour.
Of all this world we are the rulers.
Yet of your guidance we are needful.
365
74 This pope has charge over souls,
This is his duty which he has to fulfil
Give him the letter, by your mercy:
He will tell us what he finds written there,
And may God grant that we might be saved by it.
370
75 The pope holds out his hand for the letter;
Saint Alexis opens his hand to him:
He entrusts it (the letter) to him who was pope of Rome.
He did not read it, nor does he look at its contents:
He hands it over to a good learned clerk.
375
76 The chancellor, whose task it was,
Read the letter: the others listened to him.
Of that jewel (i.e. the holy man) whom they have found there
It told them the name of the father and the mother,
And that told them about his parentage
380
77 And it told how he escaped by sea,
And how he stayed in the city of Alsis (Edessa),
And that God made the statue speak on his account,
And that because of the recognition with which he did not wish to be burdened
He fled back to the city of Rome.
385
78 When the father heard what the letter said,
He tears at his white beard with both hands:
“Oh, son”, he said, “what a painful message!
I waited for you to return to me,
So that by God’s mercy you might bring me comfort once more.”
390
79 In a loud voice the father began to cry:
“My son, Alexis, what sorrow has come to me!
I did not take good care of you under my stairs;
Alas, sinner that I am, how blind I was!
I have seen him so many times, yet I was unable to recognise him.”
395
80 “Alexis, my son, alas for your grieving mother!
So much pain has she borne on your account
And so much fasting and so many privations,
And so many tears shed over you!
This sorrow must surely have stricken her to the heart.
400
81 Oh son, who will my great estates go to,
The extensive lands which I owned in abundance,
My great palaces in the city of Rome?
And for your sake I had toiled so hard for them,
After my death you would have been given charge of them.
405
82 My hair is white and my beard is hoary;
I had held onto my high position for you,
And for your sake, yet you had no regard for it.
Such great sorrow has now come upon me!
My son, may your soul in heaven be absolved!
410
83 It would have been fitting for you to wear a helmet and coat of mail,
And put on a sword like the rest of your peers;
And you should have been in charge of a great household,
And carried the banner of the emperor,
As your father did and all your family.
415
84 In such suffering and in such poverty,
My son, have you spent your life in foreign lands!
And of that wealth which should have been yours,
What did you take from me in your poor dwelling?
If it had pleased God, you should have been lord of it all!”
420
85 The father’s expression of grief
Was so loud that the/
 

 

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