" Then Taillefer, who sang right well, rode, mounted on a swift horse, before the duke, singing of Charlemagne and of Roland, of Oliver, and the peers who died in Roncesvalles. And when they drew nigh to the English, ' A boon, sire!' cried Taillefer ; ' I have long served you, and you owe me for all such service. To-day, so please you, you shall repay it. I ask as my guerdon, and beseech you for it earnestly, that you will allow me to strike the first blow in the battle!' And the duke answered, ' I grant it.' Then Taillefer put his horse to a gallop, charging before all the rest, and struck an Englishman dead, driving his lance below the breast into his body, and stretching him upon the ground. Then he drew his sword, and struck another, crying out, ' Come on, come on'. What do ye, sirs? Lay on, lay on' At the second blow he struck, the English pushed forward, and surrounded, and slew him. Forthwith arose the noise and cry of war, and on either side the people put themselves in motion.
The Taillefer family appears later in England. William, Fulco and Robert Tailefer occur in Normandy in 1180-95 and Ralph Tailefer in England in 1202.Return to Main Index