History of Valentine and Orson

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

THE

HISTORY

OF

Valentine and Orson.



Reader, you'll find this little Book contains,
Enough to answer thy Expence and Pains,
And if with Caution you will read it thro',
Twill both instruct thee, and delight thee too.



History of Valentine and Orson - Title.png


Stirling, Printed by C. Randall.

THE
HISTORY
OF
Valentine and Orson.



CHAP. I.


The Punishment of the Lady Bellisant, who is delivered of Valentine and Orson, at one Birth, in a Wood.

IT stands upon record, that Pepin, King of France, had a fair sister named Bellisant, who was married to Alexander. Emperor of Greece and by him carried to his capitol at Constantinople; from whence after having lived with great virtue, she was banished thro' the means of a false accuser, whom she had severely checked for his impudence; and tho' at that time she was big with child, yet she was compelled to leave her husband's empire, to the great regret of the people, attended only by a Squire named Blandiman.

After great fatigue and travel, she arrived in the forest of Orleans where sincing her pains come thick upon her she dismissed her attendant for a midwife, but before his return was delivered of two lovely children, one of which was conveyed away by a she bear, but she willing to save it, pursued on her hands and knees, leaving the other behind. But before her return King Pepin being a hunting in the forest, came to the tree where she had left the other babe, and causing it to be taken up, sent it to a nurse and when it grew up, he called his name Valentine. Blandiman, at length came back, and instead of finding his mistress, found his brother Pepin at the tree, to whom he declared all that had happened and how his sister was banished through the false suggestions of the arch priest; which when King Pepin heard, he was greatly enraged against the Lady Bellisant, saying, the Emperor ought to have put her to death. So leaving Blandiman, he returned with his nobles to Paris.

The Lady Bellisant having followed the bear to no purpose, returned to the place where she had left the other babe; but great was her sorrow when Blandiman said he had seen her brother Pepin, but could tell nothing of the child; and having comforted her for the loss of it, they went to the sea-side, took shipping and arrived at the castle of the giant Ferragus, in Portugal.

All this while the bear nourished the infant among her young ones, until at length it grew up a wild hairy man, doing great mischief to all that passed through the forest; in which we will leave him, and return to the arch priest who did great mischief, until he was impeached by a merchant, of having wrongfully accused the Empress; upon which they fought, and the merchant conquering, made the priest confess all his treasons.

The Emperor wrote about it to the King of France, and he was hanged.


CHAP. II.
Valentine conquers his brother in the Forest of Orleans.

NOW Valentine was grown a lusty young man, and by the King as greatly beloved as if he had been his own child; commanding him to be taught the use of arms, in which he soon became so expert, that few in the court dared to encounter him; which made Hufray and Henry, the King's bastard sons, exceedingly envy him. At this juncture great complaints were made against the Wild Man, from whom no knight had escaped with his life that had encountered him; which made the King promise a thousand marks to any one that should bring him dead or alive; which offer none dared to accept; but Hufray and Henry desired King Pepin to send Valentine, with a view of getting rid of so powerful a rival in the King’s favour; but his Majesty seeing their malice, was very angry; telling them, he had rather lose the best baron in the land.

However. Valentine desired leave of his Majesty to go to the forest, resolving either to conquer the Wild man, or die in the attempt. Accordingly, having furnished himself with a good horse and arms, he set forward on his journey, and after hard travelling, he arrived in the forest; in the evening he tied his horse to a large spreading oak, and got up into a tree himself, for his security, where he rested for that night.

Next morning he beheld the Wild Man traversing the forest in search of his prey, at length he came to the tree where Valentine's horse stood, from whom he pulled many hairs, upon which the horse kicked him. The Wild Man feeling the pain, was going to tear him to pieces, which Valentine seeing, made signs as if he would fight him, and accordingly he leaped down and gave him a blow; but the Wild Man caught him by the arm, and threw him to the ground. Then taking up Valentine's shield, he beheld it with amaze, in respect to the colours thereon emblazoned.

Valentine being much bruised, got up, and came to his brother in great anger; but Orson ran to a tree, and then they engaged; but both being terribly wounded, gave out by consent; after which Valentine signified to Orson, that if he would yield to him, he would order matters so as he should become a rational creature.

Orson thinking that he meant no harm, stretched forth his hands to him. Upon which he bound him, and then led him to Paris, where he presented him to King Pepin, who had the Wild Man baptised by the name of Orson, from his being taken in a wood. Orson's actions, during his stay there, very much amused the whole court, so that at length the Duke of Acquitain sent letters, importing, that whosoever should overcome the Green Knight, a fierce Pagan champion, should have his daughter Fazon in marriage, Upon which proposition, Valentine set out for that province, attended by his brother Orson, by which means he came to the knowledge of his parents, as we shall find hereafter.


CHAP. III.
The Fight between Orson and the Green Knight.

AFTER a long journey, Valentine and Orson arrived at Duke Savary's palace in Acquitain; and making known the reasons that they came there were presented to Fazon, to whom Valentine thus addressed himself:

"Sweet creature! King Pepin has sent me hither with the bravest Knight in all his realm, to fight the Green Knight, who though he is dumb and naked, is indued with such valour, that no Knight under the sun is able to cope with him.

During this speech she viewed Orson narrowly, and he her; but supper coming in, interrupted them, and they sat down to eat.

Whilst they were in the midst of their feasting, the Green Knight entered, saying, Noble Duke of Acquitain, hast thou any more Knights to cope with me for thy daughter? Yes, replied the Duke I have seventeen, and then shewed them to him.

The Green Knight then said to them. Eat your fill, for to-morrow will be your last.

Orson hearing what he said, was much incensed against him, and suddenly rising from the table, threw the Green Knight with such force against the wall as laid him dead for some time; which very much pleased the whole company.

Next day many Knights went to fight the Green Knight, but he overcame and slew them all until at last. Orson being armed in Valentine's armour, came to the Green Knight's paviilion, and defying him, they began the most terrible combat that ever was heard of, and the Green Knight made so great a stroke at him, as to cut off the top of his helmet, and half his shield, wounding him much.

But this served only to enrage the Valiant Orson who coming to him on foot, took hold of him and pulling him from his horse got astride him, and was just going to kill him but was prevented by Valentine who interceded with Orson to spare his life, on condition of his turning Christian, and acquainted King Pepin how he was conquered.

The Green Knight having promised to perform all that was desired, they led him a prisoner to the city of Acquitain; and the Duke received them with great joy, and offered the Lacy Fazon to Orson; but he would not marry her, till his brother had won the Green Knight's sister, Lady Clerimond; nor till they had talked with the enchanted Head of Brass, to know his parents, and get the proper use of his tongue.

Which when the Lady knew she was very sorrowful, because she loved Orson, and was resolved to marry none but him, who had so nobly conquered the Green Knight.


CHAP. IV.

Valentine and Orson go in Search of Lady Clerimond, who had the Brazen Head in her Possession.

VALENTINE and Orson having taken leave of the Duke of Acquitain, and his daughter Fazon, proceeded on their journey in search of the Lady Clerimond, and at last came to a tower of burnished brass; which, upon enquiry, they discovered to be kept by Clerimond, sister to Ferragus and the deceased Green Knight, and having demanded entrance were refused it by the centinel who guarded the gate; which provoked Valentine to that degree, that he ran against him with such fury, that the centinel fell down dead immediately.

The Lady Clerimond beheld all this dispute, and seeing them brave Knights, received them courteously, Valentine having presented tokens from the Green Knight, told her he came there for the love of her, and to discourse with the All-knowing Head, concerning their parents.

After dinner, the Lady Clerimond took them by the hand, and led them to the chamber of varieties, where the Head was placed between four pillars of pure jasper, when as they entered it; it made the following speech to Valentine:

"Thou famous Knight of Royal extract, art called Valentine the Valiant, who of right ought to marry Lady Clerimond. Thou art son to the Emperor of Greece, and the Empress Bellisant; who is now in the castle of Ferragus in Portugal, where she has resided for twenty years. King Pepin is thine uncle, and the Wild Man thy brother; the Empress Bellisant brought ye two forth in the forest of Orleans; he was taken away by a ravenous bear, and thou wast taken up by thine uncle Pepin, who brought thee up to man's estate. Moreover, I likewise tell thee, that thy brother shall never speak, until thou cuttest the thread that groweth under his tongue.

The Brazen Head having ended its speech, Valentine embraced Orson, and cut the thread which grew under his tongue; when he directly related many wonderful things.

After which Valentine married the Lady Clerimond, but not before she had turned a Christian.

In this castle there lived a dwarf, named Pacolet, who was an enchanter, and by his art had contrived a horse of wood, and in the forehead a fixed pin, by turning of which, he could convey himself to the farthest part of the world.

This enchanter flies to Portugal, and informed Feragus of his sister's nuptials, and of her turning Christian, which so enraged him, that he swore by Mabomet he would make her rue it, and therefore got ready his fleet, and sailed towards the castle of Clerimond, where, when he arrived he concealed his malice from his sister; and also the two Knights, telling them, that he came to bring them into Portugal, the better to solemnize their marriage, and he would turn Christian on their arrival at his castle, all which they believed, and soon after embarked with him.

When he had got them on board, he ordered them to be put in irons, which so much grieved his sister Clerimond, that she would have thrown herself into the sea, had she not been stopped.


CHAP. V.
Pacolet comforts the Ladies, and delivers Valentine and Orson out of prison.

WHEN they were come to Portugal, he put Valentine and Orson into a dungeon, and fed them with bread and water, but allowed his sister Clerimond the liberty of the castle, where she met the Empress Bellisant who had been confined twenty years in the castle of Ferragus.

She seeing her so full of grief comforted her, enquiring the reason, which she told her.

The Empress was mightily grieved but Pacolet comforted them, telling them he would release them all in the evening, which he accordingly did in the following manner:

In the dead of the night he goes to the dungeon, where lay Valentine and Orson, bound in chains, and touching the doors with his magical wand, they flew open; and coming to the Knights he released them, and conducted them to the apartment where Bellisant and Clerimond were, who were exceedingly transported; but Pacolet hindered them from discoursing long, by telling them they must depart before the guards of Ferragus awaked, which would put a stop to his proceedings. So Pacolet led them out of the castle, and having prepared a ship he conveyed them to the Lady Fazon, at the city of Acquitain. Next morning when Feragus heard of their escape, he was enraged to the highest degree.

The Knights and Ladies being out of danger soon arrived in Acquitain to the great joy of Lady Fazon, who was soon after married to Orson with great solemnity; upon which tilts and tournaments were performed for many days; but Valentine carried the prize, overthrowing at least an hundred brave Knights.


CHAP. VI.
Feragus raises a mighty Army, and lays Siege to the City of Acquitain.

FERAGUS, to be revenged on them, assembled an army, and laid close siege to it, with a vast army of Saracens; when Duke Savary perceived it, he resolved to give them battle the very next morning, and accordingly he sallied forth with all his forces, but venturing too far, he was taken by the Saracens, and carried to Feragus's tent.

Now Orson was resolved to set him free, or lose his life; so putting on the armour of a dead Saracen, he called Pacolet, and went through the enemy without being molested, until they arrived at the tent where the Duke was confined; which done, they gave him a horse, and rode to the Christian army; on their return a general shout was made by all the army, of Long live the Duke of Acquitain! which so dismayed the Saracens, that they fled away in confusion, and the Christians pursued them till the night obliged them to give over.

Soon after this victory, Valentine, Orson, tha Ladies Bellisant, Clerimond, and Fazon, set out for Constantinople to see the Emperor their father, after they had taken leave of the Duke of Savary and his nobles, and were received with great joy.

At length the Emperor set out from Constantinople, after taking leave of his family, to visit a strong castle he had in Spain.

While he was absent, Brandifer, brother to Feragus, invaded the empire with a very great army, and at length besieged Constantinople where lay Valentine and Orson, the Green Knight, and all the ladies.

Valentine seeing the condition they all were in, resolved to give Brandifer battle, and therefore divided his army into ten bataliions, commanded by ten Knights, and sallying out of the city, began the fight with the Saracens, who drew up in readiness to receive them.

In the mean time the Emperor who was at sea, returned homeward, and in his way he met a fleet going to the assistance of Brandifer, which bore down upon him with full fail; whereupon, exhorting his companions to behave like men they made ready to receive them, and after a most bloody and obstinate battle, the Emperor got the victory, having slain many of the Pagans, and dispersed their ships.

After this victory, the Emperor commanded his men to put on the arms of the vanquished, as he did himself, thinking thereby the better to fall upon the besiegers his enemies; but the stratagem proved most fatal to him, as we shall hereafter find.

All this while the Christians and Valentine bravely encountered Brandifer, and his men, before the walls of Constantinople, sometimes gaining, and sometimes losing ground: but at length Valentine came to the standard of Brandifer, where an Indian King ran against him with great force, but Valentine avoiding him, struck him with such fury, as cleft him down the middle.

On the other hand, Orson and the Green Knight were not idle, but with their braudished swords cut themselves a passage quite thro' the Pagan army, destroying all that opposed them.

Soon after, news came that a mighty fleet of Saracens were entering the harbour; upon which. Valentine indeed (illegible text) go thither, and oppose their landing, but it proved fatal; for in this fleet was the Emperor his father, who being clad in Saracen's armour, Valentine by mistake ran him quite through the body with his spear; which, when he knew, he was going to kill himself, had not his brother and the Green Knight prevented him; but getting a horse with an intent to lose his life, he rushed into the midst of the enemy, till he came to the giant Brandifer, who when he saw Valentine encountered him so fiercely, that both fell to the ground; but Valentine recovering, gave him a stab, which sent him to hell, to see his false prophet Mahomet.

The Pagans seeing their King dead, threw down their arms and ran and the Christians pursued them with a mighty slaughter. At last the pursuit being over, they returned to Constantinople, and Orson acquainted the Empress of the death of his father, but concealed by whom it was done.

Upon which it was concluded that Valentine and Orson should govern the empire by turns, with their wives, the Ladies Fazon and Clerimond, whose brother the Green Knight, was crowned King of the Green Mountain, the people of which were much delighted to have so brave a warrior for their King.

CHAP. VII.
Valentine dies, and Orson turns Hermit.

NOW Valentine being greatly vexed in mind for the death of his father whom he had killed by mistake, resolved to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre; and thereupon taking leave of his wile Clerimond, and giving the government of the empire unto his brother Orson, he departed, to the great sorrow of all, particularly his brother Orson, and the fair Clarimond.

Valentine, after seven years absence, returned, dressed like a poor palmer, begging victuals at the gate of his own palace; and at length being sick, and about to die, he called for Clerimond and made himself known to her, at which she was ready to give up the ghost.

At last, having recommended the care of her to his brother and the Empress, his dear mother, and blessing of them, he turned on one side, and breathed out his noble soul from his illustrious body, to the great grief of all the valiant Knights of Christendom, to whom he had been a most noble example, and a generous reliever. But Clerimond never would espouse any one, but betook her to a single, life, always lamenting the loss of her beloved husband.

After his death Orison governed the empire with great wisdom and justice for seven years, till at length, seeing the fragile state of human affairs, he gave the charge of his empire, wife, and children, to the Green Knight, and then turning hermit he became once more a voluntary resident of the forests and woods where, after living to a great age, this magnanimous and invincible hero surrendered up his body unto never sparing death, and his soul to the immortal Deities, of whose attributes it had a true resemblance.

Thus Reader you may see that none withstand,
Tho' great in valour, or in vast command.
The mighty force of death's all conquering hand,


FINIS.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.