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II

Spoken: Story and Dialogue

The count Bougar de Valence launched a war against Count Garin de Beaucaire so violent, so horrifying and so deadly that he never rose on any morning without presenting himself at the doors, at the walls, at the abrriers of the village with one hundred knights and ten thousand sergeants on foot and on horseback: he burned his land, devastated his country, killed his people.

The count Garin de Beaucaire was an old, tired man who had passed his prime. He had no heir, boy or girl, except one boy whom I will describe.

This young lord was named Aucassin. Handsome, elegant, large, he had well-made legs, feet, body and arms. His hair was blond and very curly, his eyes lively and merry, his face bright and long, his nose high and well-placed. He was blessed with so many qualities that there was no place on him for faults, but Love, the sovereign master, took such absolute posession of him that he did not want to be a knight, nor to take up arms, nor to go to a joust, nor accomplish any of his duties.

His father and mother said to him:

"Dear son, please take up arms, mount a horse, defend your land, help your subjects. If they see you in their midst, they will better defend their bodies, their posessions, your land and mine."

"Father," said Aucassin, "What are you talking about? May God refuse to grant anything I ask if I accept, once a knight, to mount a horse, to take part in combats and battles where I exchange blows with knights, without you allowing me to marry Nicolette, my sweet friend whom I love so much!"

"Son," responded the father, "that cannot be. Renounce your love for Nicolette: she's a prisoner, brought back from a foreign land, that the viscount of this town bought from the Saracens and brought back here; he became her godfather and he baptized her: she became his goddaughter; soon he will give her a husband who earns an honorable living. This doesn't concern you. But if you would like to take a wife, I will give you the daughter of a king or a count: there is no man in France so powerful that you couldn't have his daughter if you desire."

"Come now! Father," responded Aucassin, "where is at this time, on earth, an honor high enough Nicolette, my sweet friend, doesn't deserve, if she had it? If she were the empress of Constantinople or Germany, queen of France or England, still it would be too little for her, because she is so noble, courteous, generous, blessed with all good qualities."

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