Freer Translation of the Chronica Chapter
This is an attempt at a freer translation, one that flows better. It's put in the past tense where other tenses seemed to be used. Some parts are difficult to decipher. This translation is subject to revision, if a mistake in thought is found, by one knowing the language, especially one also familiar with the old Portuguese. —JR
The foundation of the Monastery of Santa Maria dos Tamaraes, affiliated with Alcobaça, touching on some ancient records
There was in the Court of King Dom Afonso Henriques I of Portugal, a young Knight, very accomplished in arms, highly regarded in the Palace, named Gonçalo Hermingues, with the nickname Traga Mouro [Moor Swallower], the latter name given him for his spirit and valor on the battlefield. In clashes, he defeated enemies, lancing them fearlessly, through half their squadrons.
Since it wasn't a time of peace, when he saw a Moor come to negotiate at the Court about security, the manner of the Moor disturbed his blood. Anger arose in him to prevail over him and even the desire to kill him. It was with great effort to be over with him before something happened. Many times Gonzalo lost facial color, his bravery showing. He inherited this enmity from his father, Hermigo Goçalves, the Wrestler, who was killed by the Moors on the battlefield of Ourique, while performing deeds with valor and always being compelled to have a lance in his fist.
When in the company of the King Dom Afonso, Gonzalo did not have the occasion to enter into the territory of the Moors to win honor, joined by some friendly, young Knights—with those who run camps, took great cavalcades, having neither danger nor work that they couldn't stop for a moment from their exercise, for a happy conversation.
Gonzalo was gentle person, very beloved in the Court, by the Ladies of Queen Dona Mafalda (among whom his cavalries were quite celebrated) and by the King himself. They were very entertained by sayings and posy he made. Even more, they praised him for the writings which he practiced, being a stutterer, and very embarrassed of tongue
King Dom Afonso was occupied in Coimbra with the well-being of the realm and
peace, but, owing to continuous war, little headway was made in justice
Taking some boats by the river, they put out to the middle and passed over to the other side, to the Castle of Almada, carrying everything with them to attack the Moors, early on the morning of St. John the Baptist.
Some went by sea and some by land, to join together later for the undertaking. Fortune favored them to arrive the evening before St. John, at night, in sight of the Villa, where the Moors looked like they were caught off guard. There was a sense that the enemy was otherwise occupied with festivities and play, the custom of such a time.
Early the next day, before dawn, it seemed that there was no sign of alarm. The river was empty of opposing sails and the Moors opened the gates of the Villa, for the men and women to come out onto the field. Others were heard along the river, making a racket, singing a thousand romaces and Moorish folk songs. The Moorish noble women, with garlands on their heads, were scattering balls from the garden, while others along the shore had green branches in their hands. These were accompanied by prominent Moors, enjoying the music from the boats, the freshness of the morning, and looking forward to the growing light of day to see knights in a gentle skirmish.
When the Christians felt satisfied and more assured, they advanced on schedule. Gonçalo Hermingues came forth from his hiding place, together with his people from theirs. He commanded the trumpets be blown, and crying, "Santiago," they caught the Moors in festive dress, unarmed.
The boats in the river rowed with all fury toward the foes, drawing everything into great confusion, the Moor having no plan to meet so sudden a misfortune. Had death and capture had not occupied them, without doubt the Christians could've taken the Villa.
[not all clear] . . . (& ficar Senhores della - ?? re women fighting ??) without afterwards costing so much work (or trouble), as in fact it cost: but the impetus and the anger of the Catholic Captain, many found where to use their sword, but didn't have a good place to wield it, before the meddlesome and among the barbaric rabble . . .
Many Moorish knights with sleeved outer garments, called Marlotas and cutlasses in their hands, defended the Moorish women. They sold their lives dearly, like a beast, not conceding life to anyone.
[not all clear who did what] . . . but their sword did not distinguish the old from the young, nor the weaker, eminent Moorish women, whose blood was puddled along the shore. Here and at other places, where the Catholics fought, fortune was very favorable to them . . .
Those who came by river, like those who came by land, were able to conquer their foe in a short order, and from the land, were able to put their booty and captives onto the boats.
The order was given to sail and not rest till they reached the Tejo River, securing their prizes of the fustas (Moorish boats that they commonly used at sea). And sailing in this task, to take the captives.
Gonçalo Hermingues happened to see among other captured Moorish women, an unusual beauty who was caught in the midst of a lot of confusion. The heart with faith, felt pity at seeing the tears that came forth from her eyes.
The noise of weapons, urged him on. In half the time, many people from the Villa hastened on horse and escaped. Those who did not come forth, started to bring into play spears, thrusting at the Christians. The Capitain pressed his confidence, to gather the spoils from the boats along the land, and saw that none could regain them without peril.
Leaving some captives on the shore, he commanded the anchors be raised
and the ships follow their course back, without loss of many persons in the
[not clear] To not offend the Moorish maiden, carried away, he followed.
He prodded hard his horse, rode up to the Moor, cruelly speared him, and regained the Moorish maiden. With this, he turned the skirmish. Seeing that he was going to very much embarrass his captive and fearful of surviving a large number of Moors, he took steps to withdraw, and they set off in a gentle order, turning aside two enemies who for many years, regretted the day, because they lost among the dead and captive, the flower and nobility from their Villa.
Thus they left under her tears of weeping. The valiant Captain Gonzalo Herminguez was glad of his victory, in which he slew many, but gladdened more for regaining the Moorish maiden.
With her borne in his left arm, upheld by the shield, and with a lance in his right, he repelled some attacks, the enemies were making on the rear guard. They were wary of them regaining what they lost.
They went by road, up to small settlement of Almada where they would be safe and where they had stowed cargo in boats awaiting their arrival at the River Tejo, to go upriver to Santarem, where the king was quite happy of their successful news.
In dividing the plunder, Goncalo Hermingues chose for himself the Moorish maiden, won with his lance.
Without wanting anything else, in a brief time it was concluded, that she renounced the rule of Mohammad, and converted to that of Jesus Christ so he would be able to marry her. At Baptism she changed her name Fatima to Oriana, and Oriana Hermingues is how she's remembered--and taking from this all this history.
Very unusual was their love, that its marvel was talked about in Portugal, and it was shown in some good verses of his, and some poor, which takes place in any work seen in the more ancient words of the Portuguese language.
Tinherabos, nom tinherabos,
Per mil goyvos trabelhando
Ouroana, Ouroana, oy temp per certo
With these creations to see, (other similarities to refer to and enough cited for intent), Gonçalo Hermingues celebrated the affections of his beloved Oriana, when death stole the happiness from out between his hands (este descanço),* and she was lain to rest.
Because of an illness, she came to the end of her days, and gave her spirit to the Lord, manifesting herself a great Catholic, leaving her husband feeling her absence.
He suffered an excess of grief, not even a little to sustain himself in life, or being left to lose his mind. And without wanting more the tastes of the earth, he entered the Monastery of Alcobaça, where he renounced the world, and pomps of it. He took the Religious habit with determination, to never more come out of the cloister.
And as to the time of the profession, he gave some of inherited goods to the Monastery, among these was a certain country estate, a short distance from the villa of Ourem. Being a secluded place, it accommodated the founding of a Religious Monastery.
The Abbot of Alcobaça sent their own, Frey Goncalo Hermingues with another five Religious, to found homes for themselves, and commence a Monastic way.
To which, the King Dom Affonso assisted with large alms, and in this manner, his own devotion, and esteem for Frey Gonçalo Hermingues, for whom he still had affection from the outside. He thus increased the Monastic land, bestowing other favors, great and dignified, from his pious spirit and Catholic zeal
This foundation began on the 23rd of July in the year of Christ, 1171, and a Church was dedicated in honor of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady, where Gonçalo Hermingues ended a holy life, and many other Religious as well.
That there they would live up to our time (the time this was written down), but the income was little to sustain the Monastery. It was annexed to the College of San Bernardo of Coimbra, leaving there a Religious to fulfill the ordinary duties.
And today  the very same Monastery and old Church remains, with the title of Santa Maria dos Tamaraes, where many people stream in pilgrimage, and the Lord performs many miracles on persons sick with various infirmities.
* (descanso = rest; possibly a form of verb descansar = to rest, to be at rest; figurative morrer = to die, or be dead] )
Copyright © 2005 - John Riedell - All