Le Roy Engloys

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King Henry V of England

Le Roy engloys is a song found in the Bayeux Manuscript,[1] a collection of more than a hundred songs compiled at the start if the 16th century AD by Charles III de Bourbon and written at the end of the 15th century AD, some dozens of years after the end of the Hundred Years' War.

The song contains numerous historical errors due to the fact that its composition took place close to half a century after the events it recounts. The English King Henry V is said to have died in Saint-Fiacre in Brie,[1] while in reality he died in Vincennes. The "Captain Pregént" is Prigent VII de Coëtivy, one of the victors, along with Jean de Clermont, of the Battle of Formigny,[2] on 18 April 1450 (3500 dead on the English side, 500 on the French side). The Middle French word used for "tails", "couez", bears a resemblance to the word "couard", meaning "coward".[3] The word "Godon" was a French ethnic slur for English people,[4] which may be the result of a corruption of "God-damn".[5]


Original lyrics in Middle French[1] English translation

Le Roy Engloys se faisoit appeler
Le Roy de France par s’appellation.
Il a voulu hors du païs mener
Les bons François hors de leur nation.

The English King named himself
The King of France by his own designation.
He wanted to throw out of their country
The good French people out of their nation.

Or est-il mort à Sainct-Fiacre en Brye,
Du pays de France ils sont tous déboutez.
Il n’est plus mot de ces Engloys couez.
Mauldite en soit trestoute la lignye !

But he died in Saint-Fiacre in Brie,
From the country of France they've all been thrown.
No more is spoken of these English tails.
May their whole lineage be cursed!

Ils ont chargé l’artillerie sur mer,
Force biscuit et chascun ung bidon,
Et par la mer jusqu’en Bisquaye aller
Pour couronner leur petit roy Godon.

They have charged the artillery to the sea,
Lots of biscuit and each one a tummy,
And by the sea up to Biscay they go,
To crown their little Godon king.

Mais leur effort n’est rien que moquerie :
Cappitaine Prégent lez a si bien frottez
Qu’ils ont esté terre et mer enfondrez.
Mauldite en soit trestoute la lignye !

 But their effort is nothing but mockery:
Captain Prégent fought them well
And they've been buried on land and sea.
May their whole lineage be cursed!


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Gérold, Théodore (1921). Le Manuscrit de Bayeux, texte et musique d'un recueil de chansons du XVe siècle. Librairie Istria: Faculty of French Literature and Language of the University of Strasburg. p. 103. read online
  2. Nicolle, David (2012). The Fall of English France 1449–53. p. 29. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. EFFE, Frédéric (22 April 2016). "Le Roy Engloys ou le roé anglais". moyenagepassion. Retrieved 16 July 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. de Ullmann, Stephen (December 1947). "Anglicisms in French-Notes on Their Chronology, Range, and Reception". PMLA. Modern Language Association. 62 (4): 1155–1156. doi:10.2307/459155. JSTOR 459155.
  5. Foulsham, Martha; Gunther, G.; Ryan, John S. (1992). "Appendix 1 Godams (Thesis, part 5)". Stand Up the Real Maid: The St Joan Theme in Selected Modern English Language and European Authors (Thesis). p. 231.

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