The Song of Roland Author:translated by W. S. Merwin In 778, Charlemagne, returning with his armies to France after a campaign against the Moors in Spain, was ambushed and fiercely attacked in the Pyrenees. Contemporary chroniclers painted the battle as a minor mishap. Historians today differ as to whether it was a bitter but militarily unimportant misfortune, or one of the critical defeats of Cha... more »rlemagne's reign.
Whatever its historical significance, this battle was the source of one of the richest bodies of legend in the Middle Ages. In his prose translation of La Chanson de Roland, the best known of the six surviving versions of the Roland legend, W. S. Merwin reproduces the formal clarity and beauty of its language, and captures the stirring excitement of its story.« less