A Quiet Refusal

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The day departs and evening turns to night. Charlemagne has laid himself down in his chamber. Then Saint Gabriel came to him with a message from God: “Up, Charles! Summon the armies of thy empire! By force shalt thou enter the land of Bire and bring succour to king Vivien in his city of Imphe which the heathen have besieged. The Christians are crying out and calling for thee.” Charlemagne had no wish to go. “God!” says the King, “how weary is my life!” Tears spring from his eyes as he tears at his flowing white beard.
-Song of Roland (11th Century text)