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.

   [1] So Sw.; ‘weary in mind,’ Gn., Kr., C.

   [2] ‘Hostile,’ C., though ‘flashing,’ 194, and ‘gleaming,’
       302.

   [3] Lit., ‘cough.’

   [4] So Gn. and Kr.; ‘with violence,’ Sw.; ‘with afflictions,’
       C.

   [5] So Sw. and Kr.; ‘Of the hostile shield-warriors,’ Gn. and
       C.

   [6] i.e., ‘spirited.’

ATHELSTAN,

OR

THE FIGHT AT BRUNANBURH.

AEthelstan King, of earls the lord,
Of heroes ring-giver, and his brother too,
Edmund AEtheling, enduring fame
Earned in the fight with edges of swords
By Brunanburh.  The board-wall they cleaved, 5
The war-shields hewed with leavings of hammers
The sons of Edward.  ’Twas natural to them
By right of descent that in battle they oft
’Gainst every foe their land defended,
Their hoards and homes.  The foes were fallen, 10
Folk of the Scots and men of the ships,
Fated they fell.  The field ran thick[1]
With heroes’ blood, when the risen sun
At morning-time, the mighty orb,
Shone o’er the earth, bright candle of God, 15
Eternal Lord, till the noble creature
Sank to his rest.  There many men lay
Struck down[2] with spears, men from the North,
Shot o’er the shield, and Scotsmen too,
Weary [and] war-filled.  The West-Saxons forth 20
The live-long day with legions of warriors
Pressed on the heels of the hostile foes;
They felled the fleers with force from behind
With sharp-ground swords.  Shrank not the Mercians
From hard hand-play with any of heroes, 25
Of those who with Anlaf o’er welling of waves
On the deck of the ship had sought the land,
Fated for fight.  Five of them lay
On the battle-field, young kings [they were],
Slaughtered[3] with swords, and also seven 30
Earls of Anlaf, and unnumbered host
Of seamen and Scots.  There was forced to flee
The Northmen’s chief, by need compelled
To the prow of his ship with few attendants. 
Keel crowded[4] the sea, the king went forth 35
On the fallow flood; he saved his life. 
There too the aged escaped by flight
To his home in the North, Constantinus. 
The hoar war-hero was unable to boast
Of attendance of men; he was robbed of his kinsmen, 40
Bereaved of his friends on the battle-field,
Conquered in fight, and he left his son
On the place of slaughter wasted with wounds,
The boy in the battle.  He durst not boast,
The gray-haired warrior, of the clash of swords, 45
The aged enemy, nor Anlaf the more. 
With their army-remnant they durst not rejoice
That in deeds of war they proved to be better

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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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