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.
Shall ask of that tree, now mine own mind
And thought of heart ye [well] do know.” 535
Him then in reply the cleverest of all
In the crowd of men with words addressed: 
“Ne’er did we hear any of men
Among this folk save thee just now,
Another thane, declare in this manner 540
Of so secret event.  Do as [best] seems thee,
Thou wise in old lore, if thou be questioned
’Mong the host of men.  Of wisdom has need,
Of wary words and sage’s cunning,
Who shall to the noble one answer return 545
Before such a host among the assembly.”

   [1] i.e., ‘defence, protector.’

VII.

Words waxed in speech; men counsel took
On every side; some hither, some thither,
Considered and thought.  Then came many thanes
To the people’s assembly.  The heralds called, 550
The Caesar’s criers:  “This queen you invites,
Men, to the hall, that the council-decisions
Ye rightly may tell.  Of rede have ye need
In the place of assembly, of wisdom of mind.” 
Ready they were, the sad-in-mind 555
People’s protectors, when they were summoned
Through stern command; to court they went
Craft’s might to tell.  Then gan the queen
The Hebrew men in words address,
Ask the life-weary of writings of old, 560
How ere in the world the prophets sang,
Men holy in spirit, of the Son of God,
Where the Prince [of the people] his sufferings bore,
True son of Creator, for love of souls. 
Stubborn they were, harder than stone, 565
Would not that secret rightly make known
Nor answer to her any would tell,
Anger-provokers, of what she sought,
But they of each word made a denial,
Firm in their minds, of what she gan ask, 570
Said that in life they any such thing
Nor ere nor since ever had heard of. 
Helena spake and angrily said: 
“I [now] in truth to you will say,—­
And of this in your life there shall be no deception,—­ 575
If ye in this falseness longer continue
With treacherous lying, who stand here before me,
That you on the mountain bale-fire shall take,
Hottest of war-waves, and your corpses consume,
The lambent flame, so for you shall that lie 580
To leaving of life [surely] be turned. 
Ye may not prove that word, which ye just now in wrong
Concealed ’neath heaps[1] of sins.  Nor may ye hide that fate,
Obscure its deepest might.”  In thought of death they were
Of pyre and life’s end, and delivered then one 585
Well-skilled in songs (to him the name Judas
Was given ’fore kinsmen);—­him they gave to the queen,
Said of him very wise:  “He may truth to

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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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