Then the King glowed: his nobles fold round, like the sun of old time quenched in clouds;
In their darkness the King stood, his heart flamed, and uttered a withering heat, and these words burst forth:
‘The nerves of five thousand years’ ancestry tremble, shaking the heavens of France;
Throbs of anguish beat on brazen war foreheads, they descend and look into their graves.
I see through darkness, through clouds rolling round me, the spirits of ancient kings
Shivering over their bleaches bones; round them their counsellors look up from the dust,
Crying: “Hide from the living! Our bands and our prisoners shout in the open field,
Hide in the nether earth! Hide in the bones! Sit obscured in the hollow skull.
Our flesh is corrupted, and we wear away. We are not numbered among the living. Let us hide
In stones, among roots of trees. The prisoners have burst their dens,
Let us hide; let us hide in the dust; and plague and wrath and tempest shall cease.”’