Once on a time an Emperor, a man of might and fame,
Married a wife, and fair was she, and Bellisant her name ;
And fair and happy were their lives, until a evil man
(He was the High Priest of the Court) an evil tale began,
Of how the lady was not true unto her husband dear :
The Emperor believed the tale, and rose up in great fear,
And drove poor Bellisant away ; in haste and dire mischance
She took her way to Pepin's Court (her brother, King of France)
And as she heel, weighed down with grief and sense of cruel scorn,
Lo, in the forest two fair sons to Bellisant were born ;
But while her servant went to buy some food, a great she-bear
Came up, and carried off one child unto her distant lair.
Poor Bellisant ran after her, with many a sigh and moan ;
In vain, – and when she turned again, the other child was gone !
Now, Pepin chanced that very day to hunt with all his train
In that same wood, and found the child ere she came back again ;
And took him home, and brought him up, and gave him all things fine –
Apparel, horses, and a name, – so he was VALENTINE.
And brave and fair he grew, – King Pepin's daughter loved him well ;
The sons were jealous. Now will I his brother's story tell.
The she-bear and her savage cubs, they saved the child alive,
And nursed him well,and tended him, – well did he grow and thrive,
They called him ORSON ; in the woods he lived, a strong wild man,
And all he fought he killed with ease ; and so a wicked plan
Was made by Pepin's sons for getting rid of Valentine
Whom they induced to fight with him, by flattering words and fine,
But Valentine was conqueror, and Orson owned his might,
And served and followed him always, and they were squire and knight.
Now, in that land there dwelt a man, the Green Knight he was called,
Who by his strength and magic arts a lady fair enthralled,
And kept in prison dark and strong, and none could set her free ;
Not even Valentine prevailed, with all his bravery.
But Orson threw the Green Knight down, and bound him with a chain,
And set the lady free ; both brothers then started off to gain
The Green Knight's castle gates, – two roaring lions kept guard there,
But down they crouched when they beheld the brothers void of fear.
And there within the castle hall they saw a head of brass,
That uttered marvels, – of their birth, and how it came to pass ;
How in a convent lonely was their mother Bellisant ;
How the King and Queen of France were their uncle and their aunt ;
How the High Priest had confessed his lies, with many tears and groans ;
How the Emperor, their father, was in search of wife and sons.
So the lost were found, the wrong made right, by all good rule and line ;
They married well, and lived long years – ORSON and VALENTINE.