Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dream of the Rood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 66 pages of information about Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dream of the Rood.
155
Held in their hearts counsels of heroes. 
Then that gan inquire chief of the folk,
Victory-famed king, throughout the wide crowd,
If any there were, elder or younger,
Who him in truth was able to tell, 160
Make known by speech, what the god were,
The giver of glory,[5] “whose beacon this was,
That seemed me so sheen, and saved my people,
Brightest of beacons, and gave to me glory,
War-speed against foes, through that beautiful tree.” 165
They him any answer at all were unable
To give in reply, nor could they full well
Clearly declare of that victory-sign. 
Then did the wisest speak out in words
Before the armed host, that Heaven-king’s 170
Token it was, and of that was no doubt. 
When they that heard who in baptism’s lore
Instructed had been, light was their mind,
Rejoicing their soul, though of them there were few,
That they ’fore the Caesar might dare to proclaim 175
The gift of the gospel, how the spirits’ Defence,
In form of the Trinity worshipped in glory,
Incarnate became, Brightness of kings,—­
And how on the cross was God’s own Son
Hanged ’fore the hosts with hardest pains; 180
The Son men saved from the bonds of devils,
Sorrowful spirits, and a gift to them gave
Through that same sign that appeared to him
Before his own eyes the token of victory
’Gainst onset of nations; and how the third day 185
From out of the tomb the Glory of heroes,
From death, arose, the Lord of all
The race of mankind, and to Heaven ascended. 
So with cunning of mind in secrets of soul
They said to the victor as they by Sylvester[6] 190
Instructed had been.  From him the folk-chief
Baptism received, and continued to hold it
For the time of his days at the will of the Lord.

   [1] Lit. ‘in like manner,’ adv.

   [2] Add ‘at the work.’

   [3] ‘Diminished,’ Gn.

   [4] i.e., with precious stones.  Kr. reads ’(rattled strong
       shields).’

   [5] ‘Gold,’ Kr.  ‘Lord of the house,’ Gn.  Cf.  W.

   [6] The Bishop of Rome.

III.

Then was in bliss the giver of treasure,
The battle-brave king.  To him was new joy 195
Inspired in his soul; greatest of comforts
And highest of hopes was heaven’s Defence. 
Then gan he God’s law by day and by night
Through gift of the Spirit with zeal proclaim,
And truly himself devoted he eagerly, 200
Gold-friend of men, to the service of God,
Spear-famed, unfaltering.  Then found the aetheling,
Defence of his folk, through learned men,[1]
War-brave, spear-bold, in books of God,

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Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dream of the Rood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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