Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Council of Woodstock in Norman French

A Wedestoke fu la secunde ire esprise
Par quei li reis vers lui en grant ire s'atise.
Car en Engletere a une custume mise,
Que " l'aïe al vescunte " est par les cuntez prise ;
Si est par duble solt par les hydes asise. 755
At Woodstock did the second anger[trouble/quarrel] flare up [between them] by which king Henry was provoked into a great ire towards him [Becket], for, in England, [there exists] "the sheriff's aid" a customary [amount] which is collected by the sheriffs; it is assessed at a pair of [two] sous [solidi/shillings] per hide.

Li barun del païs la soleient doner
A ceus ke furent mis pur les kuntez garder,
K'il déusent lur terres et lur humes tenser.
Ne ke nul n'en déusent enpleider, ne grever.
Or les voleit li Reis à sa rente aturner.

The barons of the country were accustomed to give it [in payment] to those who were assigned to guard the counties, so that they might protect their property and people, so that no one could bring an action against them [in court], nor harm them. Now the king wants to turn it into his rent [revenue/income].

« — Sire, fet l'arcevesques, n'es deveiz pas saisir; A rente n'es poez aturner, n'establir.
« Kar vus n'es durum pas, se vus vent à pleisir;
« Mes tant nus poent bel li veskunte servir,
« Ke nus ne leur aide ne lur devum faillir. »

« Sire,>> said the archbishop, <<it is not for you to seize [take possession of] this; you cannot convert it into, nor establish it as [your] rent [revnue/income]. For this is not what you can do at your pleasure; but so that the sheriff can serve us well, we must neither their aid nor their needs [allow to] fail.»

« — Par les oelz Deu! fet-il , tut ièrent enrullé !
« Et vus en deveiz ben fère ma volenté;
« Kar des voz fera l'un quancque nus ert à gré. »
« — Par les oelz, fet li il, ke vus aveiz juré,
« Jà n'en i aura un de ma terre dune ! »

«By the eyes of God!>> said he [king Henry], <<everything will be enrolled [in the Exchequer's Pipe Rolls]! and you must carry out my will in this matter; for you will fulfill whatever our pleasure is.»
«By the eyes [of God],>> he [Becket] said to him, <<by whom you have sworn I will not one [sou] for [from] my land give [you] for this.»

[Sheriff's Aid was a kind of protection money paid by land owners to sheriffs]. 

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