The Legend of Bertha Broadfoot 3: The Italian Family

Section 1:

MS V13: Berta de la Pie Grant

Venice, Biblioteca marciana fondo francese manuscript XIII (=256), usually abbreviated V13, is a collection of chansons de geste in Franco-Italian assonanced decasyllables, containing: Bovo d’Antona (Part 1, unknown number of pages lost at the beginning), Bertha Broad-Foot, Bovo Part 2, Karleto, Berta e Milone, Enfances Ogier, Orlandino, Chevalerie Ogier, and Macario, of all of which it is the only copy. Franco-Italian was never a spoken dialect, but rather a literary creation. The MS and poems date from the early 1300s.

Pepin holds court in Paris on Pentecost, at which Aquilon of Bavaria (father of Naimon), Bernard of Clairmont, Salomon and others attend. They urge him to take a wife, and a çubler announces that the most beautiful woman he has ever seen is named Berta da li pe grandi, daughter of King Alfaris of Hungary and his wife Belisant. The barons all agree that this is a good plan, and Pepin sends as ambassador to Hungary Aquilon, Bernard, Morando de Rivere, and Grifon of Altafoglia [Hauteville]. The King receives them warmly, then consults with his family. He tells Berta that Pepin is short and ugly, but very rich and very brave. She agrees to marry him, and they depart. On their way home, they stop at the castle of Belençer of Magance, whose daughter happens to look exactly like Berta. The two become friends at once, and Berta takes the damsel with her to Paris. As they near that city, Berta asks the girl to take her place in King Pepin’s bed, because she is exhausted from the long ride. King Pepin is surprised to see his bride’s tiny feet, but decides the çubler must have been lying. In the morning, the girl bids her henchman take Berta into the forest and kill her. The man is touched by pity, however, and spares Berta’s life after making her swear never to return to France. Berta wanders into the forest. Continue reading

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The Legend of Bertha Broadfoot 2: Unique Early Versions

Section 1:

Chronique Saintongeaise

Also called Tote Listoire de France and Gesta Francorum. Survives in only two MSS. Appears to be a French translation of a dull Latin compilation (with much butchering) of older histories.1

1: To be specific:

I. Liber Historiae Francorum,

welded, (without Fredegar Contin.) into

II. Annales Laurissenses,

followed by condensed and adapted portions of

III. Einhart’s Vita Caroli,

interspersed wih fragments of

IV. Vita Ludovici Pii.

Insertions were also made from

V. Miracula S. Benedicti,

and the whole completed from some

VI. Unknown Chronicle,

which was also followed by Ademar of Chabannes.

The work is notable for exactly four things: 1) It is one of the first histories of France in French. 2) It preserves the oldest surviving account of Bertha Broadfoot. 3) It is the only work to tell how Charlemagne miraculously restored Pope Hadrian’s vision, by finding his eyes in a fish. 4) It is the only surviving account of the legend of Taillefer of Leon, which is obviously based on a chanson de geste, but no other traces thereof remain.

There are also a few other interpolations, mainly regarding fictitious donations of kings to the Church.

Pepin, in the year 249 [749], sent to Pope Zacharias and obtained permission to depose Chilperic and have himself elected and anointed king, in 250 [750]. He then sent to marry Berta, the daughter of King Flore of Hungary. However, when they were in bed, Berta’s nurse substituted her own daughter via the knife-trick. Berta was taken to the forest, where she found refuge in a church and was taken in by Pepin’s cowherd and his wife Constance. She serves as their maid for four years. Meanwhile, Pepin thought he was living with Berta, and had two sons: Remfre and Audri. Then Berta’s mother came to Paris, and the impostor pretended to be ill. The old Queen forced her way into the sickroom and turned down the covers, exposing the tiny feet. She summons all the barons and says this is not her daughter. The old nurse is burnt, and the Queen goes weeping home. Pepin tries to raise his spirits by going hunting, and stops by the home of his cowherd, where he sees Berta and asks to sleep with her. The cowherd consents, and as they make love on a cart, they reveal their true identities to each other. Pepin makes the cowherd a rich man, and takes his wife home to Paris. After these things, he goes to Saint Seurin to pray, and makes peace between the Lorrainers and the Bordelais. He and Berta had two sons and two daughters, and the eldest boy was Magniez, who was guarded by thirty barons. He was later protected by Rollant, “de Loubare” [Lombardy?], Duke of Brittany.

Edition:

Bourdillon, Francis William, ed. Tote listoire de France (Chronique Saintongeaise). London: David Nutt, 1897. To whom the notes on the Chronicle and its origins are owing. 

Section 2:

Philippe Mousket’s Chronique Rimée

Charles Martel dies and is damned, leaving behind two legitimate sons, Pepin and Carlon [Carloman], and one bastard, Grifon. Carlon becomes a monk at Saint Silvester, and Pepin becomes steward of all France. He marries Bierte as grans-piés, the daughter of King Florie and Blanceflor, but she is afraid of King Pepin’s enormous member, and so sends her maid to take her place in bed. The servant has the princess sent to the forest to be killed, but the man who is supposed to kill her has mercy and lets her live. She is taken in by a forester and his wife, whom she serves whilst concealing her identity. Meanwhile, Pepin begets Raienfroit and Heldri on the maid, until he happens to visit the forest, see his wife, and recover her.

After this, Theoderic dies, having reigned fifteen years, and his son Childeric becomes King, until Pepin and Pope Zachary depose him. Grifon rebels against him, but Pepin defeats him. The story of the Lorrainers follows, and Bertha is said to be kin to them. In the course of this war, Pope Zachary dies and is succeeded by Stephen [II], who comes to France to crown Pepin and Bertha, and their sons Charles and Carloman. After the coronation, Begon Garin’s brother, is killed by the Bordelais, and the Lorrainers’ wars resume.

Edition:

Reiffenberg, Baron de, ed. Chronique rimée de Philippe Mouskes. Brussels: M. Hayez,1836-1838.

Section 3:

La Gran Conquista de Ultramar

La Gran Conquista de Ultramar is a Spanish history of the First Crusade, sometimes said to have been written for King Alfonso X the Wise (r. 1252-1284), but others say it was written a generation or so later. Chapter 43 of Book II contains the story of Bertha Broadfoot and Mainet.

Folguer Ubert de Chartes, who fought in the Crusade, and killed Sultan Aliadan, nephew of the Sultan of Persia, in the battle of Nublis, [not the Fulcher of Chartres who wrote a chronicle about them] was a descendant of Mayugot of Paris, who protected Charlemagne from his wicked brothers.

Berta was daughter of Flores and Blancaflor, rulers of Almeria, in Spain, who conquered much land in Spain and Africa, and saved the King of Babylon [Cairo] from his enemies. Berta was wed to King Pepin of France, but her nurse’s daughter looked exactly like her, so the nurse put her in the place of the princess, and got Bertha condemned to death for trying to murder the “queen.” Two henchmen take her into the forest to kill here, but they have pity and settle for tying her to a tree in her shirt, in January, and take a dog’s heart back to the servant. The impostor and Pepin have two sons: Manfre and Carlon, one of whom is given Germany and the other France. By God’s mercy, Bertha was found by Pepin’s forester, who at first thinks she is a ghost, but rescues her when he hears her calling on Our Lord and Saint Mary. He takes her to his home, where she lives with his wife and three daughters. Three years later, Pepin is out hunting, when he stops at this vassal’s house. He sees Bertha and demands to lay with her, which request is granted at once, and they conceive Carlos Mainetes. She does not reveal herself, and Pepin returns home.

King Flores dies, and Blancaflor decides to visit her daughter to seek some comfort for her grief. The nurse’s daughter feigns illness, but Blancaflor forces her way into the sick room, and turns down the covers. Berta had her toes joined together; the servant girl does not. Blancaflor drags the girl by her hair before King Pepin, threatening to kill him [Her laments throughout the ensuing scenes are very long and dramatic]. The servant and her mother confess everything, and Pepin sends for the forester. He tells everything he knows, and Bertha and her son Carlos, now six years old, are brought to court. The old nurse is burnt, but her daughter is spared until she gives birth to her third child, after which she is sent to a nunnery to fast on bread and water. Blancaflor bequeaths little Carlos her lands in Spain, and Pepin appoints as his guardians Mayugot and Morante de Rivera. Some time later, Blancaflor falls ill. She returns home, wishing to die and be buried with Flores, and so it befalls. Her lands are left without a leader, and the Moors overrun them, while King Pepin also dies before Carlos is of age to rule. Some say he was killed by a horse, others that he died of illness.

The chronicle now transitions to Mainet, p. 179.

Edition:

Gayangos, Don Pascual de, ed. La Gran Conquista de Ultramar. Biblioteca de Autores Españoles XLIV. Madrid, 1858.

The Legend of Taillefer of Leon

The Saintongeaise translation of Turpin interpolates a certain Taillefer de Leon among Charlemagne’s warriors who fought in Spain. In the Chronique Saintongeaise which is prefaced to two MSS of this Turpin, we are told of this Taillefer’s namesake nephew, who allegedly lived in the days of Charles the Simple. The CS is a third-rate butchering of various older chronicles, of interest only for the bits of folklore it includes. The only English translations, to my knowledge, is a few paragraphs about Taillefer by Francis Bourdillon in Folklore 7, 1896, p. 254 sq. Although Taillafer seems to have at one time been a popular local hero in Saintonge, what follows is all that is now known of him.

During the troubles after the deposition of Charles the Simple, King Raoul of Burgundy defeated the invading Normans alongside his son Taillefer de Leon. Taillefer was given Aquitaine and Angoulême, and the daughter of Walter Frapan of Rome, who brought with her a dowry of silver, gold, and twenty thousand knights, with whom he drove the Normans from Paris. His sons were William, Count of Auvergne and Duke of Aquitaine; and Ramnulf, Count of Poitou; and Theobald. Taillefer then conquered all Germany, and drove the Hungarians and Normans out, and became emperor, and then went over-sea [to Jerusalem] and left the realm to his son Odon, who had four sons. He gave Bougogne to one of them, Geoffrey, who built the abbeys of Vendôme, with Countess Agnes his wife. He [unclear antecedent] gave his son Emonon Angoulême, Gascony, Saintonge, and Peiregorc. And he gave Walter Toulouse, Limousine, Auvergne, and all the land to the Rhine. There were three gestes in France: one of Pepin and “langre,” one of Odon of Maence, and one of Guarin of Maence, and these conquered Christendom.

Origins and Influence

This most minor of minor heroes has been discussed in depth by William Bourdillon, in an appendix to his edition of the CS, which is what we follow here. Bourdillon identifies uncle and nephew as doublets of William Taillefer I, Count of Angouleme (r. 916-962). In Ademar’s chronicle, only sixty years after his death, Taillefer is given the sword Durissimus, forged by Walander the Smith [Wayland, Volunt], and cleaves the Norse king Storim in half with it.

William Taillefer III (r. c. 1088-c.1119) was also a valiant knight, and visited the Holy Sepulchre near the end of his life.

King Rodolph the First of Burgundy (r. 888-912) did defeat the Normans, and Duke William the Pious of Aquitaine (r. 994-1019) and Count Ranulph of Poitou (r. 877-890) were also real, but they were not related to each other.

William Taillefer I was, however, the son of Raimund, Count of Toulouse and Duke of Aquitaine, who had repelled a Hungarian invasion in 924. As for the later genealogy, Odon appears to be meant for Otto the Great (r. 936-973). The founder of Vendôme was Count Geoffrey II Martel of Anjou (r. 1040-1060), no relation to the Great Otto, though his wife, Agnes, was the daughter of Otto-William (958-1026), stepson of Duke Henry of Burgundy.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 16: Modern Adaptations

Section 1

Sobrabre y Aragon

According to the history of Sobrarbe (an utterly fictitious history of Aragon fabricated in the early Renaissance), after Charlemagne destroyed Pamplona, the Navarrese rebelled. King Fortunio of Sobarbe (r. 803-815), married the daughter of Galindo Aznar, allied with Alfonso against Charlemagne and Marsil, and fought in the Battle of Roncesvalles in 809, when Roland and the Peers were slain.1

1Franklin, Albert B. “A Study of the Origins of the Legend of Bernardo Del Carpio.” Hispanic Review 5, no. 4 (1937): 286-303. doi:10.2307/469961. p. 294-295.

Section 2:

History

1500’s historians took Bernardo as factual, except Ambrosio de Morales. Even he, however, though denying the bulk of the legends around him, admitted he was probably a real person. Pedro Mantuano, in 1611, was the first to deny all reality to the hero, though a few Spanish patriots held out for him until the end of the eighteenth century.

Section 3:

Chapbooks

Historia fiel y verdadera del valienta Bernardo del Carpio was the name of a chapbook circulating through the 1800s, by Manuel José Martín

The Portuguese Alejandro Caetano Gomes Flaviense wrote the Verdadeira Terciera Parte da Historia de Carlos-Magno em que se esvreven as gloriosas açoes e victorias de Bernardo del Carpio. É de como venceo em batallha os Doze Pares de França, con algunas particularidades dos Principes de Hispanha, seus povoadores è Reis preimeiros, in 1745, “for diversion during winter nights.” The book begins with the Creation of the World, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, and the kings of Spain from the oldest legends down to Don Ramiro of Leon and his children Alfonso and Jimena. Bernardo is dubbed a knight by Sultan Orimandro of Persia, and has many extravagant adventures of Gomes’ own invention. After defeating Roldan in a duel, he returns to Spain, but is summoned therefrom to save the Pope from the invading Lombards. After his victory at Roncesvalles, he conquers the Moors of Catalonia and Aragon and kills Don Bueso (who in this book is Duke of Guyana, for some reason). Bernardo is buried at Aguilar de Camóo, and Gomes identifies him with Bernard of Septimania.2

Pelayo Ch. XXXI. He explains that Part One was the Portuguese translation of Nicolas de Piamonte’s Fierabras, by Jerónimo Moreira de Carvalho, who added Part Two out of his own head.

Section 4

Miscellaneous Adaptations, Literary

Lope de Vega’s Mocedades de Roldan includes a scene at the end when the Spanish ambassador to Charles’ court, admiring the young Roland, says that he will be a worthy rival to Alfonso’s nephew Bernardo del Carpio someday.

Alvaro Cubillo, El Conde de Saldaña, 1660. A reworking of Lope’s Mocedades, tightens the play up slightly, and omits such scenes as the lying-in of the Princess. Cubillo also wrote a sequel, Hechos de Bernardo, about Roncesvalles, which is devoid of merit.

Joaquín Francisco Pacheco, Bernardo, 1848. Spanish play. Based on Cubillo, with random changes of his own, and makes Bernardo the hero of the entirely unrelated legend that the Christians were obliged to pay a hundred damsels a year in tribute to the Moors until a hero put a stop to it.

Ventura Ruiz Aguilera and Francisco Zea, Bernardo de Saldaña, also 1848. “A historical drama.”

Henry F. Harrington: Bernardo del Carpio. An Historical Tragedy in Five Acts. English.

John Finnamore, Carpio: A Tragedy in Five Acts, 1875, English play.

George Washington Montgomery: Bernardo del Carpio: Novela Histórica, Caballeresca Original. Spanish novel.

Javier González Zaldumbide: El Señor del Carpio. 2008. Spanish historical fiction novel.

Section 5

Miscellaneous Adaptations, Popular

In San Lucas de Colán, Piura, Peru, the festivities of Our Lady of Mercy in early October feature a pageant in which Bernardo del Carpio fights the Moors. See here.

In the Philippines, Bernardo Carpio (who is either the same as the Spanish hero or else simply named after him) ends his career of extraordinary feats by being trapped between two mountains. His story has been retold in countless ballads, songs, and comic books, in innumerable versions. He is a giant, or simply an ordinary man with extraordinary strength. He is the son of Sancho and Jimena, or simply named after him. At any rate, he is the hero and protector of the Filipinos, until the Spanish hire a wizard to trap him in the mountains of Montalban (in the Philippines, now called Rodriguez, Rizal), where his attempts to escape cause earthquakes.

Let thus much suffice for the legend of Bernardo del Carpio.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 15: Siglo d’Oro Plays

SIGLO D’ORO PLAYS

There are four Siglo d’Oro plays about Bernardo del Carpio, full summaries of which follow.

Juan de la Cueva: Comedia de la Libertad de España por Bernardo del Carpio (1579-1581, printed 1583).

First edition: Comedias y tragedias 1583.

Reprinted 1917 by Icaza for the Sociedad de Bibliófilos Españoles.

Printed alone 1974, edited by Anthony Watson, Exeter Hispanic Texts, No. 8.

ACT I: King Alfonso broods on his wrongs and sends Count Tibalte to summon Doña Ximena. He has misgivings, but goes. Ximena is lamenting to her confidante, Doña Oliva, when Tibalte arrives. King Alfonso, meanwhile, is brooding on the weight of the crown when Ximena arrives. He accuses her of disgracing herself and her family, and tells her she will be sent to a nunnery. She asks him to take care of Bernardo, who is just a babe in Asturias. He agrees, and sends her away. The king next sends Count Tibalte to summon the Count of Saldaña.

ACT II: Count Tibalte is a friend of Saldaña’s, and wavers between the king and his friend, before deciding to follow the king’s orders. He and Doña Oliva love each other, and he does not tell her where he is going. Count Tibalte is greeted warmly by Saldaña, and they go to Alfonso’s court. Saldaña denies the king’s accusations of treason, but he never mentions Ximena or Bernardo during this entire scene. The king has him blinded and sent to the Castle of Luna. He then sends Count Tibalte to Asturias to fetch Bernardo, who will be reared at the king’s court as his bastard son. Continue reading

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 14: Wanderings and Death of Bernardo

WANDERINGS OF BERNARDO

PCG Chapter 655: Year 11 of Alfonso III’s reign (876). They say in cantares that Bernaldo went to France, where King Charles [presumably the Bald] welcomed him, but Timbor’s son rejected him. Despairing, Bernaldo left the court. Charles gave him horses and arms, but Bernaldo still ravaged the land as he returned to Spain, where he founds Canal de Jaca, marries Doña Galiana, daughter of Count Alardos de Latre, and begets on her Galín Galíndez, who grew up to be a fine knight in his own right. Bernardo fought three great battles against the Moors before his death. Some say that it was Alfonso III who fought at Ronçasvalles, but this is an error.

Chapter 656. Year 21 (887). Bernardo del Carpio died in France, as Don Lucas says [he says no such thing]. Perhaps he returned there after his time in Spain which we have already recorded.

The legend of the Carolingian Bernardo has been awkwardly made into a tacked-on sequel to the Carpian story. This account makes no sense where it is placed in the PCG. In the original Carolingian legend, these adventures likely took place immediately after Roncesvalles, as in Lucas; the king was likely Charlemagne; and the story of Count Sancho did not feature.

Estevan de Garibay (1628) in his Compendio historial de España claims that Bernardo wandered errant throughout France and Navarre until his death, after which his body was taken to Spain and buried in Aguilar de Campo.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 13: Bernardo Frees His Father

BERNARDO FREES HIS FATHER

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas never tells us what became of Count Sancho.

Rodrigo. Bernardo rebels against King Alfonso III after the battle of Toledo. To make peace, Alfonso releases the Count, alive and well, and Bernardo is reconciled with the king.

PCG: Year 11 of Alfonso the Great’s reign [876]. Alfonso’s men at last prevail upon him to release San Diaz. Bernaldo agrees to this, and hands over Orios Godos, Count Tiobalte, and his castle of El Carpio. Alfonso sends Orios and Tiobalte to fetch Count San Diaz, but they arrive three days after his death. They say in their songs that Alfonso ordered the corpse to be cleaned, mounted on a horse, and paraded before Saldaña. Bernardo surrendered the city and went forth to meet his father. When he realized he had been deceived, he rounded on the king with fury, and the king banished him again.

The Cuarta follows Rodrigo in sparing the Count’s life.

Section 2: Ballads

Burguillos Pidal Eruditos 10. “Los altos hombres del reino.”

Alfonso the Great’s men, seeing the damage done to their country, prevail upon him to make peace with Bernardo. Alfonso agrees, if Bernardo will render up El Carpio. He agrees, and Alfonso sends Don Tibalte and Arias Godos to Luna, where they find that the Count is dead. They wash his body, dress it up, and return to El Carpio with the body mounted on horseback. Bernardo kisses his father’s hand, discovers the trick, and laments. Alfonso banishes Bernardo from Spain, but gives him rich gifts and recommends that he go to his [Bernardo’s] kinsman King Charles of France, which he does.

The absurdity of Alfonso banishing Bernardo in one breath and showering him with good advice and gifts in the next is considered to be evidence that two stories have been combined here, one about Bernardo del Carpio, and one about Bernardo the Carolingian.

Lorenzo de Sepúlveda Durán 658, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 15. “En Leon y las Asturias”

Alfonso III the Great reigns in Leon and Asturias. Bernardo asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso refuses, and Bernardo revolts. The barons persuade Alfonso to release Count Sancho Diaz. Alfonso agrees, if Bernardo will render up El Carpio. He agrees, and Alfonso sends Don Tibalte and Don Arias to Luna, where they find that the Count is dead. They wash his body, dress it up, and invite Bernardo to the palace to see him. Bernardo kisses his father’s hand, discovers the trick, and laments.

Durán 656, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 28a-b. “Antes que barbas tuviese”

28a=Durán 656, printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

28b is from Colombia, 1907. A fragment that only contains part of Bernardo’s rebuke.

Bernardo rebukes Alfonso for not releasing his father. Alfonso swears to release him before Mass is sung tomorrow in the Lateran. He does so, but first he blinds him.

Count Sancho is also blinded in the theater of Cueva, Lope, and Cubillo. Durán changes the ending to make Alfonso blind and kill the Count.1

1 Pidal, Rom. Trad. I, 258-259.

Durán 625, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 20a-c. “Bañando están las prisiones”

Count Sancho Diaz, in prison, laments. “When I entered this castle, I had no beard; now it is long and white. My son, why do you not come save me? Are you a bad son, or am I a bad father? Have I done something to offend you? Oh, forgive me!”

Lockhart has translated Durán 625.

Pidal 20b and c are from oral tradition, where this ballad is combined with Con cartas y mensajeros (Pidal Primitivos 1i, 1j).

B, from Seville, 1916 [=Cartas I].

After Bernardo tells the king that he knew he was only joking, he departs for the castle of Luna. Inside the castle, the prisoner sings a version of Mes de mayo, mes de mayo. “In May, all are happy and joyful, save for myself, who lie here in prison, and know not whether it is night or day save by a bird that sings outside my window. But for three days I have not heard him. Tell me, what happened to him? The guards tell me I have a son called Bernardo, who has done mighty feats. My son, why do you not come free me?”

The singer had forgotten the rest of the verses, but Bernardo arrived at the castle, heard his father’s laments, and set him free.

C, from Seville, 1916 [=Cartas J].

When I came into this castle, I had no beard, but now it is long and white. I have a son, Bernardo, who has done great deeds, and conquered Alto Silverio, but why does he not come save me?” [The story then transitions to Con Cartas, in a version which ends ambiguously].

Lope de Vega adapts the ballad for his Mocedades de Bernardo. Alvaro Cubillo de Aragon, whose Conde de Saldaña is a reworking of Lope, transforms it almost beyond recognition. Lope returns to the theme, though this time without quoting the ballad, in his Casamiento en la Muerte.

Lope’s Mocedades has passed into Spanish folklore, with the tragic ending restored. In an oral prose version from Seville, 1920, Bernardo enters the Count of Saldaña’s prison cell to free him. The Count embraces his son, but dies of the emotion.

Gabriel Lasso de la Vega Durán 657, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 29a-b. “Hincado está de rodillas”

Bernardo kneels before his father to kiss his hand, since Alfonso has mercifully freed him, but the hand is icy cold A, B. He laments A; he calls himself a bad son, and swears to avenge his father’s death, and leaves, trembling with anger, to seek Alfonso B.

Durán prints only B, which seems to be an expanded version of Gabriel Lasso’s original A.

Durán 659, Class VIII; Pidal Artifciosos 30. “Mal mis servicios pagaste” Printed in a broadsheet from 1595, and in the Romancero de 1600.

Bernardo laments, and storms out of the palace to raise a revolt, calling to his aid all his friends, both Christians and Moors.

Durán again alters the text, which is not quite clear in the original whether the Count is dead, or merely blinded.3

3 Pidal, Rom. Trad. I, 261.

Gabriel Lobo Laso de la Vega Durán 662, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 32. “Aspero llanto hacia” The version in Gabriel’s MS of 1578 is longer than that which was published. We italicize the omitted parts.

Bernardo, safe at Carpio, plots vengeance on King Alfonso the Chaste. He wanders into a room where he finds an old and dusty harness that once was his father’s, and laments, in quatrains. This finished, he sallies forth with a fine helmet and sword, upon a light-brown steed with black caparison and all dressed in black armor. His lance is black, and his shield is black with a red heart on it. Three hundred noblemen follow him from El Carpio.

Durán 660, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 33a-c. “Retraido en su aposento” Manuscripts only, earliest 1578.

Bernardo, in his own castle, arms himself, sighs, weeps, and laments. He begs his father’s pardon, says that if he had been a good son the Count would be avenged already, and swears vengeance on the king. He then puts mourning garb over his white armor. (He leaps to the saddle without need of stirrup C)

Durán 661, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 36. “¡Inhumano rey Alfonso!” First printed in the Romancero General de 1605.

Bernardo rebukes his uncle King Alfonso of Leon and announces his intent to go to France and seek to serve King Charles, though they have been enemies before. He says that killing his father was an ill reward for all the times he had saved Alfonso, including giving him his horse at the Romeral, and killing the Paladins at Roncesvalles.

This ballad is interesting both for an allusion to Con cartas y mensajeros, and for being one of the few [only?] Siglo d’Oro retellings to acknowledge the Bernardo in France episodes in the PCG.

Combined with Durán 655 by Lockhart.

Durán 663, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 35. “Las obsequias funerales” First printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

Bernardo, at the funeral, weeps by his father’s side, and laments, cursing King Alfonso.

This romance is very artificial and full of playing with conceits.

Durán 664, Class VIII; Pidal Artificiosos 34. “Al pie de un túmulo negro.” First printed in the Romancero General de 1600.

Bernardo, his kin and friends kneel by a black tomb in a church. It is that of Count Sancho. Bernardo laments. At last he rises, turns around, and, heedless of the holy place, rebukes King Alfonso the Chaste, in ottava rima. He says that he is the same Bernardo who single-handedly broke the power of Charlemagne (by killing the Peers) and he will avenge his father.

This seems to be the ballad translated by Lockhart, but he takes even more liberties than usual.

Section 3: Siglo d’Oro Plays

Vega Mocedades: After Bernardo returns in triumph from capturing El Carpio from the Moors, Alfonso tells him that his father is still alive, and that he will be freed if Bernardo does him one last favor: investigate the haunted castle of Luna. Bernardo is unable to persuade his superstitious squire to accompany him, and sets off alone. He hears Count Sancho lamenting and at first thinks he is a ghost. The prisoner explains that he is no ghost, however, but the Count of Saldaña, and tells his story. Bernardo realizes this must be his father, and offers to break him out, but the Count insists on obedience to the king, so Bernardo promises to get the king’s permission.

The king and his court are celebrating Saint John’s Day when Bernardo arrives with an army to demand his father’s freedom. Alfonso grants it, and Bernardo announces that this is a fitting end to THE YOUTH OF BERNARDO.

Vega Casamiento: At the castle, the jailer draws back a curtain to reveal the Count seated on a chair. Bernardo kneels and kisses his hand, only to find that he is dead. Bernardo, after he has lamented and somewhat recovered, asks where his mother is. She is immured in a nunnery that is attached to the castle. Bernardo forces the nuns to open the door and let him in, and he brings his mother, still unprofessed, out. He brings her to where the count is seated and joins their hands together. He asks his mother if she weds this man, and she says yes. He then asks his father if he weds this woman, and moves the corpse’s head up and down, “yes.” He announces that he is no longer a bastard, now that there has been A MARRIAGE IN DEATH.

According to Menéndez y Pelayo, this scene is as great as anything in Shakespeare, and deserves to be known to everyone by heart.

Section 4: Modern Adaptations

Felicia Hemans’ poem Bernardo Del Carpio is not a translation of any Spanish ballad.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 12: Bernardo’s War Against Alfonso

CHAPTER XII

BERNARDO’S WAR AGAINST ALFONSO

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas: After the battle of Toledo, Bernaldus built the castle of Carpio near Salamanca, and rebelled against King Alfonso, on account of his father’s imprisonment in the Castle of Luna. The Saracens seized this opportunity to attack Asturias and Leon and lay them waste with fire and sword. King Alfonso promised Bernaldus his father’s liberty if he would make peace, which he did, and they fought the battle of Polvoroso together [we are not told if the Count was actually freed.]

Rodrigo After the battle of Toledo, Berinaldus built the castle of Carpio in the land of Salamanca, and allied with the Saracens to harry Alfonso’s borders. [Some other?] Saracens seized this opportunity to attack Asturias and Leon and lay them waste with fire and sword. King Alfonso promised Berinaldus his father’s liberty if he would make peace. So it was done, and the Count was freed. Alfonso and Berinaldus fought the battle of Polvoroso.

PCG For two years after the Pentecost Court, Bernardo strengthens his position, joined by men from Benavente, Toro, and Zamora. In the 10th year of Alfonso III’s reign [875], Bernaldo marches on Salamanca. He advances with a small division, and then retreats, luring Alfonso’s troops into an ambush, where Orios Godos and Count Tiobalte are captured. Bernaldo then founds El Carpio near Salamanca. He makes alliance with the Muslims and raids Asturias and Leon, prompting Alfonso to lay siege to El Carpio. Bernaldo proposes to trade Orios Godos and Count Tiobalte for his father, but Alfonso refuses. Bernaldo, in revenge, raids Salamanca, but cautions his men not to go overboard plundering it, lest there be nothing left to take in the future.

Section 2: Ballads

Burguillos Pidal Eruditos 9. “De Salamanca partía” Only the first four lines survive.

Bernardo del Carpio leaves Salamanca, cursing King Alfonso the Great.

Burguillos was the only Siglo d’Oro writer to think this part of the story worth adapting, unless Pidal’s theory that By the Rivers of Arlanza is a very free retelling thereof is correct.

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 11: The Pentecost Court and Bernardo’s Banishment

CHAPTER XI

THE PENTECOST COURT AND BERNARDO’S BANISHMENT

Section 1: Chronicles

Lucas and Rodrigo: Give no details, only saying that Bernardo rebelled after the Battle of Toledo, and that he made peace before the battle of Polvorosa.

PCG: Year 8 of Alfonso the Great’s reign [873]. King Alfonso held court at Pentecost, to which came, among others, Orios Godos and Tiobalt. But Bernaldo did not come, until the Queen promised him that she would ask for his father’s liberty. He came, and she asked, but Alfonso refused, and Bernaldo denounced and insulted him in front of the whole court, reminding him of all his faithful service, prompting Alfonso to banish him. His kinsmen Blasco Meléndez, Suero Velásquez, and Nuño de Leon leave with him. They retreat to Saldaña, where they make war against Alfonso for two years.

Ocampo: Year 36 of Alfonso the Chaste’s reign, the fifth of Louis the Pious, AD 815 [really 818]. Continue reading

The Legend of Bernardo del Carpio 8: Bernardo Learns His True Identity

Section I: Chronicles

Lucas: Says nothing.

Rodrigo: Ditto

PCG: In the 28th year of Alfonso’s reign, the 13th of Charlemagne’s, AD 808, [813] two of Bernardo’s kinsmen, Blasco Meléndez and Suero Velásquez, having sworn an oath to Alfonso not to tell Bernardo about Count Sancho, make a plan with two of their kinswomen, Maria Meléndez and Urraca Sánchez. The women play at tablas [prob. backgammon] with Bernardo, let him win, and then inform him how his father languishes in durance vile. Benardo asked Alfonso for his father’s liberty, which was refused, but Bernardo swore he would nonetheless stay faithful to his king.

Ocampo: Omits the game of tables, and makes the women tell Bernardo directly.

Section II: Ballads

Burguillos “En corte del casto Alfonso” Durán 626, Class I; Wolf 9, Class I; Pidal Eruditos 3a-3b. Found in the Cancionero sin año, Cancionero de 1550, Silva I.
3a is the printed version.
3b is from a MS.

Bernardo, living at Alfonso’s court, does not know his father is imprisoned, though everyone else does. Two courtiers, Vasco Melendez and Suero Velazquez, tell two noblewomen, Urraca Sanchez and Maria Melendez, to tell Bernardo the truth. Bernardo storms to the throne room, so angrily that Alfonso thinks he has come to kill him. But Bernardo merely asks humbly for the release of his father. Alfonso swears it will never be done while he [Alfonso] lives. Bernardo swears to serve the king loyally until he earns his father’s pardon. But King Alfonso had always loved Bernardo, who thought he was his son.

Pidal’s 3b omits the last few lines of exposition about Alfonso and Bernardo’s relationship.

Lorenzo de Sepúlveda Durán 6, Class IV; Pidal Eruditos 13. “En Luna está preso el Conde.”

The Count has long been imprisoned in Luna. Bernardo knows nothing of this. Two damsels break King Alfonso’s orders and tell Bernardo the truth. He laments, then goes before the king. Alfonso thinks Bernardo has come to kill him, but he merely asks for his father’s liberty. Alfonso swears it will never be done while he [Alfonso] lives. Bernardo swears to serve the king loyally until he earns his father’s pardon.

Gabriel Lobo Lasso de la Vega (perhaps) Durán 624, Class VIII. Pidal Artificiosos 21. “Contándole estaba un dia.” Printed in the Romancero general de 1600, in broadsides from 1638, 1677.

Elvira Sanchez, Bernardo’s nurse, tells him that he is not really King Alfonso’s bastard son. He is the son of the lawfully married Count Sancho Diaz of Saldaña and the king’s sister Jimena. The Count is imprisoned in the castle of Luna, and the princess in a nunnery. Bernardo is the rightful heir to the throne, though Alfonso wishes to leave it to the French. Bernardo rebukes her for not telling him sooner, and swears to set them free. Elvira says she was afraid of the tyrant Alfonso. Bernardo looks to heaven and weeps, and swears mighty oaths to free his father.

This ballad has no author given in the old copies, but it was printed alongside four other works of Gabriel Lobo. Whoever the author was, he was likely responsible for the unique details of this version.

Section III: Plays

De la Cueva.

Before the battle of Roncesvalles, Suero Velazquez and Velasco Melendez tell Bernardo that Alfonso is planning to give the kingdom to Charlemagne, and then Maria Melendez and Urraca Sanchez, (who are both nuns in this play) tell him of his father’s true identity, without a backgammon game. Bernardo is shocked, but swears to foil Charlemagne’s plans and free his parents. He enters Alfonso’s presence with a great retinue, enough to unnerve Alfonso. Bernardo explains that he intends to stop Charles. Alfonso is at last persuaded to retract his offer to Charles and promised to free Count Sancho. The play ends, however, without us ever learning if he keeps his promise

Lope de Vega’s Mocedades de Bernardo goes completely off the rails of the traditional story. Bernardo, having been raised by Don Rubio, is a holy terror, and exasperates his foster father to the point that he calls him a bastard. Bernardo is taken in by King Alfonso, who reveals that he is his nephew, but no more, and dubs him a knight. At the festivities, Bernardo chases away a Moorish ambassador and insults his cousin Don Ramiro, who claimed a higher seat at the table than him. Bernardo flees the court to El Carpio, currently held by the Moors, and offers them his sword. They, remembering his conduct to their ambassador, welcome him with a smile while plotting to kill him. Bernardo foils their plans and drags them captive back to Alfonso, who reveals that his father is alive, and then asks Bernardo to do him a favor and investigate the haunted castle of Luna, which Bernardo sets off to do.

Lope’s Casamiento opens with Bernardo already aware (before Roncesvalles) of his heritage.

Origins and Influence

Galien li Restore learns his true parentage under similar circumstances to Bernardo; his uncle calls Galien a bastard after losing to him at chess. In the Crónica de 1344, Mudarra, half-brother to the Seven Sons of Lara, learns his true parentage after beating the King of Segura at backgammon.1

Katherine P. Oswald, “The Formation and Transmission of the Legend of Bernardo del Carpio” (PhD diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015), p. 177.