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Title: Old English Poems - Translated into the Original Meter Together with Short Selections from Old English Prose
Author: Various
Language: English
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Translated into the Original Meter
Together with
Short Selections from Old English Prose


Associate Professor of English in the Southern Methodist University


Instructor in English in The University of Texas

Scott, Foresman and Company
Chicago  New York

Copyright, 1918
By Scott, Foresman and Company

Robert O. Law Company
Edition Book Manufacturers
Chicago, U.S.A.


                             I. PAGAN POETRY

                         1. EPIC OR HEROIC GROUP
  Widsith                                                              15
  Deor's Lament                                                        26
  Waldhere                                                             29
  The Fight at Finnsburg                                               34

                             2. GNOMIC GROUP
      1. Charm for Bewitched Land                                      38
      2. Charm for a Sudden Stitch                                     42
      1. A Storm                                                       44
      2. A Storm                                                       45
      3. A Storm                                                       46
      5. A Shield                                                      48
      7. A Swan                                                        49
      8. A Nightingale                                                 49
      14. A Horn                                                       50
      15. A Badger                                                     51
      23. A Bow                                                        52
      26. A Bible                                                      52
      45. Dough                                                        54
      47. A Bookworm                                                   54
      60. A Reed                                                       54
  Exeter Gnomes                                                        56
  The Fates of Men                                                     58

                            3. ELEGIAC GROUP
  The Wanderer                                                         62
  The Seafarer                                                         68
  The Wife's Lament                                                    72
  The Husband's Message                                                75
  The Ruin                                                             78

                          II. CHRISTIAN POETRY

                          1. CÆDMONIAN SCHOOL.
  Cædmon's Hymn                                                        83
  Bede's Death Song                                                    84
  Selection From Genesis--The Offering of Isaac                        85
  Selection From Exodus--The Crossing of the Red Sea                   90

                       2. CYNEWULF AND HIS SCHOOL
  a. Cynewulf
      (1) Selections from Christ                                       95
          1. Hymn to Christ                                            96
          2. Hymn to Jerusalem                                         96
          3. Joseph and Mary                                           97
          4. Runic Passage                                            100
      (2) Selections from Elene                                       103
          1. The Vision of the Cross                                  103
          2. The Discovery of the Cross                               105
  b. Anonymous Poems of the Cynewulfian School
      (1) The Dream of the Rood                                       108
      (2) Judith                                                      116
      (3) The Phoenix                                                 132
      (4) The Grave                                                   157

                      III. POEMS FROM THE CHRONICLE
  The Battle of Brunnanburg                                           159
  The Battle of Maldon                                                163

                       APPENDIX--PROSE SELECTIONS
  Account of the Poet Cædmon                                          179
  Alfred's Preface to His Translation of Gregory's "Pastoral Care"    183
  Conversion of Edwin                                                 187
  Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan                                     189


These selections from Old English poetry have been translated to meet the
needs of that ever-increasing body of students who cannot read the poems
in their original form, but who wish nevertheless to enjoy to some extent
the heritage of verse which our early English ancestors have left for us.
Especially in the rapid survey of English literature given in most of our
colleges, a collection of translations covering the Anglo-Saxon period
and reflecting the form and spirit of the original poems should add much
to a fuller appreciation of the varied and rich, though uneven, literary
output of our earliest singers.

In subject-matter these Old English poems are full of the keenest
interest to students of history, of customs, of legend, of folk-lore, and
of art. They form a truly national literature; so that one who has read
them all has learned much not only of the life of the early English, but
of the feelings that inspired these folk, of their hopes, their fears,
and their superstitions, of their whole outlook on life. They took their
poetry seriously, as they did everything about them, and often in spite
of crudity of expression, of narrow vision, and of conventionalized modes
of speech, this very "high seriousness" raises an otherwise mediocre poem
to the level of real literature. Whatever may be said of the limitations
of Old English poetry, of its lack of humor, of the narrow range of its
sentiments, of the imitativeness of many of its most representative
specimens, it cannot be denied the name of real literature; for it is the
direct expression of the civilization that gave it birth--a civilization
that we must understand if we are to appreciate the characteristics of
its more important descendants of our own time.

Although the contents of these poems can be satisfactorily studied in any
translation, the effect of the peculiar meter that reinforces the
stirring spirit of Old English poetry is lost unless an attempt is made
to reproduce this metrical form in the modern English rendering. The
possibility of retaining the original meter in an adequate translation
was formerly the subject of much debate, but since Professor Gummere's
excellent version of _Beowulf_ and the minor epic poems,[footnote: _The
Oldest English Epic_, New York, 1909.] and other recent successful
translations of poems in the Old English meter, there can be no question
of the possibility of putting Anglo-Saxon poems into readable English
verse that reproduces in large measure the effect of the original. To do
this for the principal Old English poems, with the exception of
_Beowulf_, is the purpose of the present volume.

Except for the subtlest distinctions between the types of half verse,
strict Old English rules for the alliterative meter have been adhered to.
These rules may be stated as follows:

1. The lines are divided into two half-lines, the division being
indicated by a space in the middle.

2. The half-lines consist of two accented and a varying number of
unaccented syllables. Each half-line contains at least four syllables.
Occasional half-lines are lengthened to three accented syllables,
possibly for the purpose of producing an effect of solemnity.

3. The two half-lines are bound together by beginning-rime or
alliteration; _i.e._, an agreement in sound between the beginning letters
of any accented syllables in the line. For example, in the line

        _G_uthhere there _g_ave me     a _g_oodly jewel

the _g_'s form the alliteration. The third accent sets the alliteration
for the line and is known as the "rime-giver." With it agree the first
and the second accent, or either of them. The fourth accent must not,
however, agree with the rime-giver. Occasionally the first and third
accents will alliterate together and the second and fourth, as,

        The _w_eary in _h_eart     against _W_yrd has no _h_elp;

or the first and fourth may have the alliteration on one letter, while
the second and third have it on another, as,

        Then _h_eavier _g_rows     the _g_rief of his _h_eart.

These two latter forms are somewhat unusual. The standard line is that
given above:

        _G_uthhere there _g_ave me     a _g_oodly jewel,


        A _h_undred generations;     _h_oary and stained with red,


        With rings of _g_old     and _g_ilded cups.

All consonants alliterate with themselves, though usually _sh_, _sp_, and
_st_ agree only with the same combination. Vowels alliterate with one

In the following passage the alliterating letters are indicated by
italics: [transcriber's note: enclosed by underscore characters]

      Then a _b_and of _b_old knights     _b_usily gathered,
      _K_een men at the _c_onflict;     with _c_ourage they stepped
      _B_earing _b_anners,     _b_rave-hearted companions,
      And _f_ared to the _f_ight,     _f_orth in right order,
      _H_eroes under _h_elmets     from the _h_oly city
      At the _d_awning of _d_ay;     _d_inned forth their shields
      A _l_oud-voiced a_l_arm.     Now _l_istened in joy
      The lank _w_olf in the _w_ood     and the _w_an raven,
      _B_attle-hungry _b_ird,     _b_oth knowing well
      That the _g_allant people     would _g_ive them soon
      A _f_east on the _f_ated;     now _f_lew on their track
      The _d_eadly _d_evourer,     the _d_ewy-winged eagle,
      _S_inging his war _s_ong,     the _s_wart-coated bird,
      The _h_orned of beak.

                                              _Judith_, vv. 199-212.

Besides the distinctive meter in which the Old English poems are written,
there are several qualities of style for which they are peculiar. No one
can read a page of these poems without being struck by the parallel
structure that permeates the whole body of Old English verse. Expressions
are changed slightly and repeated from a new point of view, sometimes
with a good effect but quite as often to the detriment of the lines.
These parallelisms have been retained in the translation in so far as it
has been possible, but sometimes the lack of inflectional endings in
English has prevented their literal translation.

Accompanying these parallelisms, and often a part of them, are the
frequent synonyms so characteristic of Old English poetry. These
synonymous expressions are known as "kennings." They are not to be
thought of as occasional metaphors employed at the whim of the poet; they
had, in most cases, already received a conventional meaning. Thus the
king was always spoken of as "ring giver," "protector of earls," or
"bracelet bestower." The queen was the "weaver of peace"; the sea the
"ship road," or "whale path," or "gannet's bath."

Old English poetry is conventionalized to a remarkable degree. Even those
aspects of nature that the poets evidently enjoyed are often described in
the most conventional of words and phrases. More than half of so fine a
poem as _The Battle of Brunnanburg_ is taken bodily from other poems. No
description of a battle was complete without a picture of the birds of
prey hovering over the field. Heroes were always assembling for banquets
and receiving rewards of rings at the hand of the king. These
conventional phrases and situations, added to a thorough knowledge of a
large number of old Germanic myths, constituted a great part of the
equipment of the typical Old English minstrel or scop, such as one finds
described in _Widsith_ or _Deor's Lament_.

It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that the poems are convention
and nothing more. A sympathetic reading will undoubtedly show many high
poetic qualities. Serious and grave these poems always are, but they do
express certain of the darker moods with a sincerity and power that is
far from commonplace. At times they give vivid glimpses of the spirit of
man under the blighting influence of the "dark ages." After reading these
poems, we come to understand better the pessimistic mood of the author of
_The Wanderer_ when he says,

        All on earth is     irksome to man.

And we see how the winsome meadows of the land of the Phoenix must by
their contrast have delighted the souls of men who were harassed on every
side as our ancestors were.

All of these distinguishing features of Old English poetry--the regular
alliterative meter, the frequent parallelisms, the "kennings," and the
general dark outlook on life will be found illustrated in the poems
selected in this book. They cover the entire period of Old English
literature and embrace every "school."

The order in which the poems are printed is in no sense original, but is
that followed in most standard textbooks. Naturally such artificial
divisions as "Pagan" and "Christian" are inexact. The "pagan" poems are
only _largely_ pagan; the "Christian" predominatingly Christian. On the
whole, the grouping is perhaps accurate enough for practical purposes,
and the conformity to existing textbooks makes the volume convenient for
those who wish to use it to supplement these books.

In addition to the poems, four short prose passages referred to by most
historians of the literature have been included so as to add to the
usefulness of the volume.

In the translation of the poems the original meaning and word-order has
been kept as nearly as modern English idiom and the exigencies of the
meter would allow. Nowhere, we believe, has the possibility of an
attractive alliteration caused violence to be done to the sense of the

The best diction to be used in such a translation is difficult to
determine. The temptation is ever present to use the modern English
descendant of the Anglo-Saxon word, even when it is very archaic in
flavor. This tendency has been resisted, for it was desired to reproduce
the effect of the original; and, though Old English poetry was
conventional, it was probably not archaic: it was not out of date at the
time it was written. Since the diction of these poems was usually very
simple, it has been the policy of the translators to exclude all
sophisticated expressions, and to retain words of Germanic origin or
simple words of Latin derivation that do not suggest subtleties foreign
to the mind of the Old English poet.

The texts used as a standard for translation are indicated in the
introductory notes to the different poems. Whenever a good critical
edition of a poem has been available, it has been followed. Variations
from the readings used in these texts are usually indicated where they
are of any importance. In the punctuation and paragraphing of the poems,
the varying usage of the different editors has been disregarded and a
uniform practice adopted throughout.

Following these principles, the translators have attempted to reproduce
for modern English readers the meaning and movement of the Old English
originals. It is their earnest hope that something of the fine spirit
that breathes through much of this poetry will be found to remain in the

                                                      Cosette Faust.
                                                     Stith Thompson.

  March, 1918.

                             I. PAGAN POETRY

                         1. EPIC OR HEROIC GROUP


[Critical edition: R. W. Chambers, _Widsith: a Study in Old English
Heroic Legend_. Cambridge, 1912.

Date: Probably late sixth or early seventh century.

Alliterative translation: Gummere, _Oldest English Epic_ (1910), p. 191.

"Widsith--'Farway'--the ideal wandering minstrel, tells of all the tribes
among whom he has sojourned, of all the chieftains he has known. The
first English students of the poem regarded it as autobiographical, as
the actual record of his wanderings written by a _scop_; and were
inclined to dismiss as interpolations passages mentioning princes whom it
was chronologically impossible for a man who had met Ermanric to have
known. This view was reduced to an absurdity by Haigh.

             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"The more we study the growth of German heroic tradition, the more clear
does it become that _Widsith_ and _Deor_ reflect that tradition. They are
not the actual outpourings of actual poets at the court of Ermanric or
the Heodenings. What the poems sung in the court of Ermanric were like we
shall never know: but we can safely say that they were unlike
_Widsith_.... The Traveller's tale is a fantasy of some man, keenly
interested in the old stories, who depicts an ideal wandering singer, and
makes him move hither and thither among the tribes and the heroes whose
stories he loves. In the names of its chiefs, in the names of its tribes,
and above all in its spirit, _Widsith_ reflects the heroic age of the
migrations, an age which had hardly begun in the days of
Ermanric."--Chambers, p. 4.

Lines 75, 82-84 are almost certainly interpolated. With these rejected
"the poem leaves upon us," says Chambers, "a very definite impression. It
is a catalogue of the tribes and heroes of Germany, and many of these
heroes, though they may have been half legendary already to the writer of
the poem, are historic characters who can be dated with accuracy."]

Note.--In the footnotes, no attempt is made to discuss peoples or persons
mentioned in this poem unless they are definitely known and are of
importance for an understanding of the meaning of the lines.

      Widsith now spoke,     his word-hoard unlocked,
      He who traveled the widest     among tribes of men,
      Farthest among folk:     on the floor he received
      The rarest of gifts.     From the race of the Myrgings
5     His ancestors sprang.     With Ealhhild the gracious,
      The fair framer of peace,     for the first time
      He sought the home     of the Hræda king,
      From the Angles in the East     --of Eormanric,
      Fell and faithless.     Freely he spoke forth:
10      "Many a royal ruler     of a realm I have known;
      Every leader should live     a life of virtue;
      One earl after the other     shall order his land,
      He who wishes and works     for the weal of his throne!
      Of these for a while     was Hwala the best,
15    But Alexander     of all of men
      Was most famous of lords,     and he flourished the most
      Of all the earls     whom on earth I have known.
      Attila ruled the Huns,     Eormanric the Goths,
      Becca the Banings,     the Burgundians Gifica.
20    Cæsar ruled the Greeks     and Cælic the Finns,
      Hagena the Holm-Rugians     and Heoden the Glommas.
      Witta ruled the Swabians,     Wada the Hælsings,
      Meaca the Myrgings,     Mearchealf the Hundings,
      Theodoric ruled the Franks,     Thyle the Rondings,
25    Breoca the Brondings,     Billing the Wernas.
      Oswine ruled the Eowas     and the Ytas Gefwulf;
      Finn Folcwalding     ruled the Frisian people.
      Sigehere ruled longest     the Sea-Dane's kingdom.
      Hnæf ruled the Hocings,     Helm the Wulfings,
30    Wald the Woings,     Wod the Thuringians,
      Sæferth the Secgans,     the Swedes Ongentheow.
      Sceafthere ruled the Ymbrians,     Sceafa the Lombards,
      Hun the Hætweras     and Holen the Wrosnas.
      Hringweald was called     the king of the pirates.
35    Offa ruled the Angles,     Alewih the Danes:
      Among these men     he was mightiest of all,
      But he equalled not Offa     in earl-like deeds.
      For Offa by arms     while only a child,
      First among fighters     won the fairest of kingdoms;
40    Not any of his age     in earlship surpassed him.
      In a single combat     in the siege of battle
      He fixed the frontier     at Fifeldore
      Against the host of the Myrgings,     which was held thenceforth
      By Angles and Swabians     as Offa had marked it.
45    Hrothwulf and Hrothgar     held for a long time
      A neighborly compact,     the nephew and uncle,
      After they had vanquished     the Viking races
      And Ingeld's array     was overridden,
      Hewed down at Heorot     the Heathobard troop.
50      So forth I fared     in foreign lands
      All over the earth;     of evil and good
      There I made trial,     torn from my people;
      Far from my folk     I have followed my travels.
      Therefore I sing     the song of my wanderings,
55    Declare before the company     in the crowded mead-hall,
      How gifts have been given me     by the great men of earth.
        I was with the Huns     and with the Hræda-Goths,
      With the Swedes and with the Geats     and with the southern Danes,
      With the Wenlas I was and with the Vikings     and with the Wærna
60    With the Gepidæ I was and with the Wends     and with the Gefligas.
      With the Angles I was and with the Swæfe     and with the Ænenas.
      With the Saxons I was and with the Secgans     and with the
      With the Hronas I was and with the Deanas     and with the
      With the Thuringians I was     and with the Throwendas;
65    And with the Burgundians,     where a bracelet was given me.
      Guthhere there gave me     a goodly jewel,
      As reward for my song:     not slothful that king!
      With the Franks I was and with the Frisians     and with the
      With the Rugians I was and with the Glommas     and with the Roman
70    Likewise in Italy     with Ælfwine I was:
      He had, as I have heard,     a hand the readiest
      For praiseworthy deeds     of prowess and daring;
      With liberal heart     he lavished his treasures,
      Shining armlets     --the son of Eadwine.
75      I was with the Saracens     and with the Serings;
      With the Greeks I was and with the Finns     and with far-famed
      Who sat in rule     over the cities of revelry--
      Over the riches and wealth     of the realm of the Welsh.
      With the Scots I was and with the Picts     and with the
80    With the Lidwicingas I was and with the Leonas     and with the
      With the Hæthnas and with the Hærethas     and with the Hundings;
      With the Israelites I was     and with the Assyrians,
      And with the Hebrews and with the Egyptians     and with the Hindus
              I was,
      With the Medes I was and with the Persians     and with the Myrging
85    And with the Mofdings I was     and against the Myrging band,
      And with the Amothingians.     With the East Thuringians I was
      And with the Eolas and with the Istians     and with the Idumingas.
        And I was with Eormanric     all of the time;
      There the king of the Goths     gave me in honor
90    The choicest of bracelets     --the chief of the burghers--
      On which were six hundred pieces     of precious gold,
      Of shining metal     in shillings counted;
      I gave over this armlet     to Eadgils then,
      To my kind protector     when I came to my home,
95    To my beloved prince,     the lord of the Myrgings,
      Who gave me the land     that was left by my father;
      And Ealhhild then also     another ring gave me,
      Queen of the doughty ones,     the daughter of Eadwine.
      Her praise has passed     to all parts of the world,
100   Wherever in song     I sought to tell
      Where I knew under heavens     the noblest of queens,
      Golden-adorned,     giving forth treasures.
        Then in company with Scilling,     in clear ringing voice
      'Fore our beloved lord     I uplifted my song;
105   Loudly the harp     in harmony sounded;
      Then many men     with minds discerning
      Spoke of our lay     in unsparing praise,
      That they never had heard     a nobler song.
        Then I roamed through all     the realm of the Goths;
110   Unceasing I sought     the surest of friends,
      The crowd of comrades     of the court of Eormanric.
      Hethca sought I and Beadeca     and the Harlungs,
      Emerca sought I and Fridla     and East-Gota,
      Sage and noble,     the sire of Unwen.
115   Secca sought I and Becca,     Seafola and Theodoric,
      Heathoric and Sifeca,     Hlithe and Incgentheow.
      Eadwine sought I and Elsa     Ægelmund and Hungar
      And the worthy troop     of the With-Myrgings.
      Wulfhere sought I and Wyrmhere:     there war was seldom lacking
120   When the host of the Hrædas     with hardened swords
      Must wage their wars     by the woods of Vistula
      To hold their homes     from the hordes of Attila.
      Rædhere sought I and Rondhere,     Rumstan and Gislhere,
      Withergield and Freotheric,     Wudga and Hama:
125   These warriors were not     the worst of comrades,
      Though their names at the last     of my list are numbered.
      Full oft from that host     the hissing spear
      Fiercely flew on the     foemen's troopers.
      There the wretches ruled     with royal treasure,
130   Wudga and Hama,     over women and men.
        So I ever have found     as I fared among men
      That in all the land     most beloved is he
      To whom God giveth     a goodly kingdom
      To hold as long     as he liveth here.
135     Thus wandering widely     through the world there go
      Minstrels of men     through many lands,
      Express their needs     and speak their thanks.
      Ever south and north     some one they meet
      Skillful in song     who scatters gifts,
140   To further his fame     before his chieftains,
      To do deeds of honor,     till all shall depart,
      Light and life together:     lasting praise he gains,
      And has under heaven     the highest of honor.

4. _Myrging._ Nothing is known with any degree of certainty about this
   tribe. Chambers concludes that they dwelt south of the River Eider,
   which is the present boundary between Schleswig and Holstein, and that
   they belonged to the Suevic stock of peoples. See vv. 84, 85, below.

5. _Ealhhild._ See notes to vv. 8 and 97, below. Much discussion has
   taken place as to who Ealhhild was. Summing up his lengthy discussion,
   Chambers says (_Widsith_, p. 28): "For these reasons it seems best to
   regard Ealhhild as the murdered wife of Eormanric, the Anglian
   equivalent of the Gothic Sunilda and the Northern Swanhild."

7. _Hræda king._ That is, the Gothic king.

8. _Angles._ One of the Low Germanic tribes that later settled in
   Britain, and from whom the name England is derived. Their original
   home was in the modern Schleswig-Holstein. _Eormanric._ See v. 88,
   below, and _Deor's Lament_, v. 21. He was a king of the Goths. After
   his death, about 375 A.D., he came to be known as the typical bad
   king, covetous, fierce, and cruel. According to the Scandinavian form
   of the story, the king sends his son and a treacherous councillor,
   Bikki (the Becca of v. 19) to woo and bring to the court the maiden
   Swanhild. Bikki urges the son to woo her for himself and then betrays
   him to his father, who has him hanged and causes Swanhild to be
   trampled to death by horses. Her brothers revenge her death and wound
   the king. At this juncture the Huns attack him, and during the attack
   Eormanric dies.

11. The proverb, or "gnomic verse," is very common in Old English poetry.

14. _Hwala_ appears in the West Saxon genealogies as son of Beowi, son of
   Sceaf (see _Beowulf_, vv. 4, 18).

15. _Alexander_ [_the Great_]. The writer speaks of many celebrities who
   were obviously too early for him to know personally. This passage is
   usually considered to be an interpolation.

18. _Becca._ See note to v. 8. The _Banings_ are not definitely
   identified. The _Burgundians_ were originally an East Germanic tribe.
   During the second and third centuries they were neighbors of the Goths
   and lived in the modern Posen. Later they moved west, and finally
   threatened Gaul, where in the middle of the fifth century they were
   defeated by the Roman general, Aetius. Shortly afterward they were
   defeated by the Huns. The remnant settled in Savoy, where they
   gradually recovered, and by the middle of the sixth century became an
   important nation. _Gifica_ (or Gibica) was traditionally spoken of as
   an early king who ruled over the Burgundians while they were still in
   the east, living as neighbors of the Goths on the Vistula.

20. _Cæsar_, was the name given to the Emperor of the East--the "Greek
   Emperor." The Finns were at that time located in their present home in

21, 22. _Hagena, Heoden, Wada._ These heroes all belong to one
   myth-cycle, which was told in Europe for many centuries. It is
   difficult to reconstruct the story as it was known at the time
   _Widsith_ was written, for it has received many additions at the hands
   of subsequent writers. The essential parts of the tale seem to be
   these: Heoden asks his servant, the sweet-singing Heorrenda, for help
   in wooing Hild, the daughter of Hagena. Heorrenda, enlisting the
   services of Wada, the renowned sea-monster (or sea-god) goes to woo
   Hild. By means of Wada's frightful appearance and skill in
   swordsmanship they attract Hild's attention, and Heorrenda then sings
   so that the birds are shamed into silence. They then woo Hild and flee
   with her from her father's court. Hagena pursues, and Heoden, after
   marrying Hild, engages him in battle. Each evening Hild goes to the
   battlefield and by magic awakens the warriors who have fallen, and
   they fight the same battle over day after day without ceasing.
   _Heorrenda_, the sweet singer of the Heodenings (i.e., of the court of
   Heoden) is mentioned in _Deor's Lament_, vv. 36 and 39. _Wada_ is a
   widely-known legendary character. He had power over the sea. He was
   the father of Weland, the Vulcan of Norse myth (see _Deor's Lament_,
   and _Waldhere_, A, v. 2). The _Holm-Rugians_ and the _Hælsings_ were
   in the fourth century on the Baltic coast of Germany. The _Glommas_
   are unknown.

24. _Theodoric_, son of Chlodowech, king of the Franks, is meant, and not
   the famous Gothic king. Cf. v. 115, below.

25. _Breoca_: the same as Breca, prince of the Brondings, the opponent of
   Beowulf in his famous swimming match (_Beowulf_, vv. 499-606).

27, 28. _Finn Folcwalding_ was the traditional hero of the Frisians. For
   fragments of the stories connected with him, see _Beowulf_, vv.
   1068-1159, and the fragmentary poem, _The Fight at Finnsburg_ (p. 34,
   below). _Hnæf_, son of Hoc (hence ruler of the _Hocings_) also figures
   in the Finn story. Hnæf's sister marries Finn. For a summary of the
   story see the Introduction to _The Fight at Finnsburg_.

30. _Thuringians._ These people dwelt near the mouths of the Rhine and
   the Maas.

31. _Ongentheow_, the king of Sweden, is frequently mentioned in
   _Beowulf_ (e.g., vv. 2476 and 2783). _The Secgans_ are unknown, but
   they are mentioned in v. 62, below, and in _The Fight at Finnsburg_,
   v. 26.

32. The ancient home of the _Longobards_ (or Lombards) was between the
   Baltic and the Elbe.

35. _Offa_: a legendary king of the Angles, while they still lived on the
   continent toward the end of the fourth century. Legends of him are
   found in Denmark and in England. Chambers concludes that the Danish
   form is perhaps very near that known to the author of _Widsith_. Offa,
   the son of the king, though a giant in stature, is dumb from his
   youth, and when the German prince from the south challenges the aged
   king to send a champion to defend his realm in single combat, Offa's
   speech is restored and he goes to the combat. The fight was held at
   Fifeldore, the River Eider, which was along the frontier between the
   Germans and the Danes. Here Offa fought against two champions and
   defeated them both, thus establishing the frontier for many years.
   Note that the author of _Widsith_, who is of the Myrging race, is here
   celebrating the defeat of his own people.

44. _Swabians_ probably refers to the Myrgings, who were of the stock of
   the Suevi.

45. _Hrothwulf and Hrothgar._ See _Beowulf_, vv. 1017 and 1181 ff.
   Hrothgar is Hrothwulf's uncle, and they live on friendly terms at
   Heorot (Hrothgar's hall). Later it seems that Hrothwulf fails to
   perform his duties as the guardian of Hrothgar's son, thus bringing to
   an end his years of friendliness to Hrothgar and his sons. The fight
   referred to is against Ingeld, Hrothgar's son-in-law who invaded the
   Danish kingdom. (See _Beowulf_, vv. 84, 2024 ff.)

57. See v. 18, above.

58. The _Geats_ were probably settled in southern Sweden. They were the
   tribe to which Beowulf belonged.

60. The _Gepidæ_ were closely related to the Goths and were originally
   located near them at the mouth of the Vistula River. The _Wends_ were
   a Slavonic tribe who finally pressed up into the lands vacated in the
   great migrations by the Germans between the Elbe and the Vistula.

61. _Angles._ See vv. 8 and 44, above. _Swæfe._ See line 44, above.

62. The _Saxons_, who with the Angles and Jutes settled Britain in the
   fifth and sixth centuries, lived originally near the mouth of the

63. The _Heatho-Raemas_ dwelt near the modern Christiania in Norway. See
   _Beowulf_, line 518, in which Breca in the swimming match reaches
   their land.

65. _Burgundians._ See v. 19.

66. _Guthhere_ was a ruler of the Burgundians (v. 19). He was probably at
   Worms when he gave the jewel to Widsith. Guthhere, because of his
   great battle with Attila and his tragic defeat, became a great
   legendary hero. (See _Waldhere_, B, v. 14.)

67. The _Franks_ and the _Frisians_ are spoken of together in _Beowulf_
   (vv. 1207, 1210, 2917), where they together repulse an attack made by
   Hygelac. The Frisians probably dwelt west of the Zuider Zee.

68. The _Rugians_ and the _Glommas_. See note to v. 21, above.

70. _Ælfwine:_ (otherwise known as Alboin), the Lombard conqueror of
   Italy. He was the son of Audoin (Eadwine).

75-87. Most scholars agree that these lines are interpolated, since they
   do not fit in with the rest of the poem.

75. _Serings:_ possibly Syrians.

78. _Welsh:_ a term applied to the Romans by the Old English writers.

79. The _Scride-Finns_ were settled in northern Norway--not in Finland,
   where the main body of Finns were found. They are perhaps to be
   identified with the modern Lapps.

80. _Lidwicingas:_ the inhabitants of Armorica. _Longobards._ See v. 32.

81. The _Hundings_ are also mentioned in line 23.

84, 85. _Myrging._ See line 4.

86. _East Thuringians._ Probably those Thuringians dwelling in the sixth
   century east of the Elbe.

87. _Istians._ Probably the Esthonians mentioned in the _Voyage of
   Wulfstan_. (See p. 194, line 151, below.) The _Idumingas_ were
   neighbors of the Istians. Both were probably Lettish or Lithuanian

88. _Eormanric._ See note to v. 8, above.

93. _Eadgils_ was king of the Myrgings.

97. _Ealhhild._ See note to v. 5, above. She was (v. 98) daughter of
   Eadwine, King of the Lombards (v. 74). The meaning here is not
   absolutely clear, but Chambers makes a good case for considering her
   the wife of Eormanric. He thinks that she followed her husband's gift
   to Widsith by a gift of another ring, in return for which Widsith
   sings her praises.

112, 113. _Emerca_ and _Fridla_, the _Harlungs_, were murdered by their
   uncle, Eormanric. _East-Gota_, or Ostrogotha, the king of the united
   Goths in the middle of the third century, was a direct ancestor of

115. _Becca._ See note to v. 8. _Seafola_ and _Theodoric_: probably
   Theodoric of Verona and his retainer, Sabene of Ravenna. On the other
   hand, the references may be to Theoderic the Frank. (See v. 24.)

116. _Sifeca:_ probably the evil councillor who brought about the murder
   by Eormanric of his nephews, the Harlungs. (See vv. 112, 113, note.)

117-119. These names are all very obscure.

120. _Hrædas:_ the Goths.

121. The struggle between the Goths and the Huns did not actually occur
   in the Vistula wood, but after the Goths had left the Vistula.

124, 130. _Wudga_ and _Hama_. The typical outlaws of German tradition.
   Hama appears in _Beowulf_ (v. 1198) as a fugitive who has stolen the
   Brising necklace and fled from Eormanric. Wudga, the Widia of
   _Waldhere_ (B, vv. 4, 9) came finally to be known for his treachery.
   He was connected with the court of Theodoric and received gifts from
   him, but he is later represented as having betrayed the king. The
   traditions about both of these men are badly confused.

135-143. One of the passages that give us a definite impression of the
   scop, or minstrel, and his life. It serves very well for the
   conclusion of a poem descriptive of the life of a minstrel.

                              DEOR'S LAMENT

[Critical text and translation: Dickins, _Runic and Heroic Poems_,
Cambridge University Press, 1915, p. 70.

Alliterative translation: Gummere, _Oldest English Epic_ (1910), p. 186.

The metrical arrangement of this poem into strophes with a constant
refrain is very unusual in the poetry of the Anglo-Saxons, though it is
common among their Scandinavian kinsmen. This fact has led some scholars
to believe that we have here a translation from the Old Norse. Professor
Gummere, however, makes a good case against this assumption.

The first three strophes refer to the widely known story of Weland, or
Wayland, the Vulcan of Norse myth. The crafty king, Nithhad, captures
Weland, fetters him (according to some accounts, hamstrings him), and
robs him of the magic ring that gives him power to fly. Beadohild,
Nithhad's daughter, accompanied by her brothers, goes to Weland and has
him mend rings for her. In this way he recovers his own ring and his
power to fly. Before leaving he kills the sons of Nithhad, and,
stupefying Beadohild with liquor, puts her to shame.]

      To Weland came woes     and wearisome trial,
      And cares oppressed     the constant earl;
      His lifelong companions     were pain and sorrow,
      And winter-cold weeping:     his ways were oft hard,
5     After Nithhad had struck     the strong man low,
      Cut the supple sinew-bands     of the sorrowful earl.
        That has passed over:     so this may depart!

      Beadohild bore     her brothers' death
      Less sorely in soul     than herself and her plight
10    When she clearly discovered     her cursed condition,
      That unwed she should bear     a babe to the world.
      She never could think     of the thing that must happen.
        That has passed over:     so this may depart!

      Much have we learned     of Mæthhild's life:
15    How the courtship of Geat     was crowned with grief,
      How love and its sorrows     allowed him no sleep.
        That has passed over:     so this may depart!

      Theodoric held     for thirty winters
      The town of the Mærings:     that was told unto many.
20      That has passed over:     so this may depart!

      We all have heard     of Eormanric
      Of the wolfish heart:     a wide realm he had
      Of the Gothic kingdom.     Grim was the king.
      Many men sat     and bemoaned their sorrows,
25    Woefully watching     and wishing always
      That the cruel king     might be conquered at last.
        That has passed over:     so this may depart!

      Sad in his soul     he sitteth joyless,
      Mournful in mood.     He many times thinks
30    That no end will e'er come     to the cares he endures.
      Then must he think     how throughout the world
      The gracious God     often gives his help
      And manifold honors     to many an earl
      And sends wide his fame;     but to some he gives woes.
35    Of myself and my sorrows     I may say in truth
      That I was happy once     as the Heodenings' scop,
      Dear to my lord.     Deor was my name.
      Many winters I found     a worthy following,
      Held my lord's heart,     till Heorrenda came,
40    The skillful singer,     and received the land-right
      That the proud helm of earls     had once promised to me!
        That has passed over:     so this may depart!

1. _Weland_, or Wayland; the blacksmith of the Norse gods. He is
   represented as being the son of Wada (see _Widsith_, v. 22, note).

8. _Beadohild_ was violated by Weland, and this stanza refers to the
   approaching birth of her son Widia (or Wudga). (See _Widsith_, vv.
   124, 130, and _Waldhere_, B, vv. 4-10.)

14. The exact meaning of the third strophe as here translated is not
   clear. To make it refer to the story of Nithhad and Weland, it is
   necessary to make certain changes suggested by Professor Tupper
   (_Modern Philology_, October, 1911; _Anglia_, xxxvii, 118). Thus
   amended, this stanza would read: "Of the violation of (Beadu)hild many
   of us have heard. The affections of the Geat (i.e., Nithhad) were
   boundless, so that sorrowing love deprived him of all sleep." This
   grief of Nithhad would be that caused by the killing of his sons and
   the shame brought on his daughter. Thus the first three stanzas of the
   poem would refer to (1) Weland's torture, (2) Beadohild's shame, and
   (3) Nithhad's grief.

18. Strophe four refers to Theodoric the Goth (see _Widsith_, v. 115, and
   _Waldhere_, B, v. 4, note). He was banished to Attila's court for
   thirty years.

19. _Mærings:_ a name applied to the Ostrogoths.

21. _Eormanric_ was king of the Goths and uncle to Theodoric. He died
   about 375 A.D. He put his only son to death, had his wife torn to
   pieces, and ruined the happiness of many people. For an account of his
   crimes see the notes to _Widsith_, v. 8.

36. See, for the connection of the _Heodenings___ and the sweet-singing
   _Heorrenda_, the note to _Widsith_, v. 21.


[Critical text and translation: Dickins, _Runic and Heroic Poems_, p. 56.

Date: Probably eighth century.

Information as to the story is found in a number of continental sources.
Its best known treatment is in a Latin poem, _Waltharius_, by Ekkehard of
St. Gall, dating from the first half of the tenth century. Ekkehard's
story is thus summarized in the _Cambridge History of English
Literature_: "Alphere, king of Aquitaine, had a son named Waltharius, and
Heriricus, king of Burgundy, an only daughter named Hiltgund, who was
betrothed to Waltharius. While they were yet children, however, Attila,
king of the Huns, invaded Gaul, and the kings seeing no hope in
resistance, gave up their children to him as hostages, together with much
treasure. Under like compulsion treasure was obtained also from Gibicho,
king of the Franks, who sent as hostage a youth of noble birth named
Hagano. In Attila's service, Waltharius and Hagano won great renown as
warriors, but the latter eventually made his escape. When Waltharius grew
up, he became Attila's chief general; yet he remembered his old
engagement with Hiltgund. On his return from a victorious campaign he
made a great feast for the king and his court, and when all were sunk in
their drunken sleep, he and Hiltgund fled laden with much gold. On their
way home they had to cross the Rhine near Worms. There the king of the
Franks, Guntharius, the son of Gibicho, heard from the ferryman of the
gold they were carrying and determined to secure it. Accompanied by
Hagano and eleven other picked warriors, he overtook them as they rested
in a cave in the Vosges. Waltharius offered him a large share of the gold
in order to obtain peace; but the king demanded the whole, together with
Hiltgund and the horses. Stimulated by the promise of great rewards, the
eleven warriors now attacked Waltharius one after another, but he slew
them all. Hagano had tried to dissuade Guntharius from the attack; but
now, since his nephew was among the slain, he formed a plan with the king
for surprising Waltharius. On the following day they both fell upon him
after he had quitted his stronghold, and, in the struggle that ensued,
all three were maimed. Waltharius, however, was able to proceed on his
way with Hiltgund, and the story ends happily with their marriage."

Both our fragments, which are found on two leaves in the Royal Library at
Copenhagen, refer to a time immediately before the final encounter. The
first is spoken by the lady; the second by the man. We cannot tell how
long this poem may have been. What we have may be leaves from a long
epic, or a short poem, or an episode in a long epic.]


        .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     she eagerly heartened him:
        "Lo, the work of Weland     shall not weaken or fail
      For the man who the mighty     Mimming can wield,
      The frightful brand.     Oft in battle have fallen
5     Sword-wounded warriors     one after the other.
6     Vanguard of Attila,     thy valor must ever
      Endure the conflict!     The day is now come,
9     When fate shall award you     one or the other:
10    To lose your life     or have lasting glory,
      Through all the ages,     O Ælfhere's son!
      No fault do I find,     my faithful lover,
      Saying I have seen thee     at sword-play weaken,
      Yield like a coward     to a conqueror's arms,
15    Flee from the field     of fight and escape,
      Protect thy body,     though bands of the foemen
      Were smiting thy burnies     with broad-edged swords;
      But unfalt'ring still farther     the fight thou pursuedst
      Over the line of battle;     hence, my lord, I am burdened
20    With fear that too fiercely     to the fight thou shalt rush
      To the place of encountering     thy opponent in conflict,
      To wage on him war.     Be worthy of thyself
      In glorious deeds     while thy God protects thee!
      Have no fear as to sword     for the fine-gemmed weapon
25    Has been given thee to aid us:     on Guthhere with it
      Thou shalt pay back the wrong     of unrighteously seeking
      To stir up the struggle     and strife of battle;
      He rejected that sword     and the jewelled treasure,
      The lustrous gems;     now, leaving them all,
30    He shall flee from this field     to find his lord,
      His ancient land,     or lie here forever
      Asleep, if he  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  ."

1. The speaker is Hildegyth (the Old English form for Hiltgund).

2. _Weland:_ the blacksmith of Teutonic myth. See _Deor's Lament_,
   introductory note, and notes to vv. 1 and 8.

3. _Mimming_ was the most famous of the swords made by Weland.

28. Waldhere had offered Guthhere a large share of the treasure as an
   inducement for him to desist from the attack, and Guthhere had refused


        " .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     a better sword
      Except that other,     which also I have
      Closely encased     in its cover of jewels.
      I know that Theodoric     thought that to Widia
5     Himself he would send it,     and the sword he would join
      With large measure of jewels     and many other brands,
      Worked all with gold.     This reward he would send
      Because, when a captive,     the kinsman of Nithhad,
      Weland's son, Widia,     from his woes had released him--
10    Thus in haste he escaped     from the hands of the giants."
        Waldhere spoke,     the warrior brave;
      He held in his hand     his helper in battle,
      He grasped his weapon,     shouting words of defiance:
        "Indeed, thou hadst faith,     O friend of the Burgundians,
15    That the hand of Hagena     had held me in battle,
      Defeated me on foot.     Fetch now, if thou darest,
      From me weary with war     my worthy gray corselet!
      It lies on my shoulder     as 'twas left me by Ælfhere,
      Goodly and gorgeous     and gold-bedecked,
20    The most honorable of all     for an atheling to hold
      When he goes into battle     to guard his life,
      To fight with his foes:     fail me it will never
      When a stranger band     shall strive to encounter me,
      Besiege me with swords,     as thou soughtest to do.
25    He alone will vouchsafe     the victory who always
      Is eager and ready     to aid every right:
      He who hopes for the help     of the holy Lord,
      For the grace of God,     shall gain it surely,
      If his earlier work     has earned the reward.
30    Well may the brave warriors     then their wealth enjoy,
      Take pride in their property!     That is  .  .  .  ."

1. The opening of the second fragment finds the two champions ready for
   the final struggle. Guthhere is finishing his boast, in which he
   praises his equipment.

3. The meaning of this passage is obscure, but the translation here given
   seems to be the most reasonable conjecture. He probably refers to a
   sword that he has at hand in a jewelled case ready for use.

4. Stopping thus to give a history of the weapon calls to mind many
   similar passages in the Homeric poems. The particular story in mind
   here is the escape of Theodoric from the giants. He loses his way and
   falls into the hands of one of the twelve giants who guard Duke
   Nitger. He gains the favor of Nitger's sister, and through her lets
   his retainers, Hildebrand, Witige, and Heime know of his plight. They
   defeat the giants and release him. Witige and Heime are the Middle
   High German forms for the old English _Widia_ (see _Deor's Lament_, v.
   8, note), or Wudga and Hama (see _Widsith_, vv. 124, 130, note).

14. _Friend of the Burgundians:_ a usual old English expression for
   "king." Guthhere was king of the Burgundians in the middle of the
   fifth century (see _Widsith_, vv. 19, 66, notes).

15. Hagena is now the only one of Guthhere's comrades that has not been
   killed by Waldhere. Cf. _Widsith_, v. 21.

                         THE FIGHT AT FINNSBURG

[Edition used: Chambers, _Beowulf_, p. 158. See also Dickins, _Runic and
Heroic Poems_, p. 64.

Alliterative translation, Gummere, _Oldest English Epic_, p. 160.

The manuscript is now lost. We have only an inaccurate version printed by
Hickes at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Many difficulties are
therefore found in the text. For a good discussion of the text, see an
article by Mackie in _The Journal of English and Germanic Philology_,
xvi, 250.

This fragment belongs to the epic story of Finn which is alluded to at
some length in _Beowulf_ (vv. 1068-1159). The saga can be reconstructed
in its broad outlines, though it is impossible to be sure of details. One
of the most puzzling of these details is the position in which the
"Fight" occurs. In the story are two fights, either one of which may be
the one described in the fragment. The weight of opinion seems to favor
the first conflict, that in which Hnæf is killed. As summarized by
Möller, the Finn story is briefly as follows:

"Finn, king of the Frisians, had carried off Hildeburh, daughter of Hoc
(_Beowulf_, v. 1076), probably with her consent. Her father Hoc seems to
have pursued the fugitives, and to have been slain in the fight which
ensued on his overtaking them. After the lapse of some twenty years,
Hoc's sons Hnæf and Hengest, were old enough to undertake the duty of
avenging their father's death. They make an inroad into Finn's country
and a battle takes place in which many warriors, among them Hnæf and a
son of Finn (1074, 1079, 1115), are killed. Peace is therefore solemnly
concluded, and the slain warriors are burnt (1068-1124).

"As the year is too far advanced for Hengest to return home (1130 ff.),
he and those of his men who survive remain for the winter in the Frisian
country with Finn. But Hengest's thoughts dwell constantly on the death
of his brother Hnæf, and he would gladly welcome any excuse to break the
peace which had been sworn by both parties. His ill concealed desire for
revenge is noticed by the Frisians, who anticipate it by themselves
taking the initiative and attacking Hengest and his men whilst they are
sleeping in the hall. This is the night attack described in the "Fight."
It would seem that after a brave and desperate resistance Hengest himself
falls in this fight at the hands of Hunlafing (1143), but two of his
retainers, Guthlaf and Oslaf, succeed in cutting their way through their
enemies and in escaping to their own land. They return with fresh troops,
attack and slay Finn, and carry his queen, Hildeburh, off with them
(1125-1159)."--Wyatt, _Beowulf_, (1901), p. 145.

Professor Gummere finds in the fragment an example bearing out his theory
of the development of the epic. "The qualities which difference it from
_Beowulf_," he says, "are mainly negative; it lacks sentiment,
moralizing, the leisure of the writer; it did not attempt probably to
cover more than a single event; and one will not err in finding it a fair
type of the epic songs which roving singers were wont to sing before lord
and liegeman in hall and which were used with more or less fidelity by
makers of complete epic poems."]

        ".  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     Are the gables not burning?"
      Boldly replied then     the battle-young king:
        "The day is not dawning;     no dragon is flying,
      And the high gable-horns     of the hall are not burning,
5     But the brave men are bearing     the battle line forward,
      While bloodthirsty sing     the birds of slaughter.
      Now clangs the gray corselet,     clashes the war-wood,
      Shield answers shaft.     Now shineth the moon,
      Through its cover of clouds.     Now cruel days press us
10    That will drive this folk     to deadly fight.
      But wake at once,     my warriors bold,
      Stand now to your armor     and strive for honor;
      Fight at the front     unafraid and undaunted."
        Then arose from their rest,     ready and valiant,
15    Gold-bedecked soldiers,     and girded their swords.
      The noble knights     went now to the door
      And seized their swords,     Sigeferth and Eaha,
      And to the other door     Ordlaf and Guthlaf,
      And Hengest who followed     to help the defense.
20      Now Guthere restrained     Garulf from strife,
      Lest fearless at the first     of the fight he rush
      To the door and daringly     endanger his life,
      Since now it was stormed     by so stalwart a hero.
      But unchecked by these words     a challenge he shouted,
25    Boldly demanding     what man held the door.
        "I am Sigferth," he said,     "the Secgan's prince;
      Wide have I wandered;     many woes have I known
      And bitter battles.     Be it bad or good
      Thou shalt surely receive     what thou seekest from me."
30      At the wall by the door     rose the din of battle;
      In the hands of heroes     the hollow bucklers
      Shattered the shields.     Shook then the hall floor
      Till there fell in the fight     the faithful Garulf,
      Most daring and doughty     of the dwellers on earth,
35    The son of Guthlaf;     and scores fell with him.
      O'er the corpses hovered     the hungry raven,
      Swarthy and sallow-brown.     A sword-gleam blazed
      As though all Finnsburg     in flames were burning.
        Never heard I of heroes     more hardy in war,
40    Of sixty who strove     more strongly or bravely,
      Of swains who repaid     their sweet mead better
      Than his loyal liegemen     to their loved Hnæf.
      Five days they fought,     but there fell not a one
      Of the daring band,     though the doors they held always.
45      Now went from the warfare     a wounded chief.
      He said that his burnie     was broken asunder,
      His precious war-gear,     and pierced was his helmet.
      Then questioned their chief     and inquired of him
      How the warriors recovered     from the wounds they received,
50    Or which of the youths     .  .  .  .  .  .  .

1. The fragment begins in the middle of a word.

2. The "battle-young king" is probably the Hengest of v. 19. Possibly he
   is to be identified with Hengest, the conqueror of Kent.

5, 6. In the original these lines seem to be incomplete. The translation
   attempts to keep the intended meaning.

14, 15. In the original these appear as a single greatly expanded line,
   which was probably at one time two lines.

17. _Sigeferth_ (see also line 26), prince of the Secgans is probably
   identical with Sæferth who ruled the Secgans in _Widsith_, v. 31.

18. _Ordlaf and Guthlaf_ appear in the account in _Beowulf_ (vv. 1148,
   ff.) as Oslaf and Guthlaf. They are the avengers of Hnæf.

20. From the construction it is impossible to tell who is the speaker and
   who is being restrained. But from line 33 it is seen to be Garulf who
   neglects the advice and is killed. Garulf and Guthere are, of course,
   of the attacking band.

26. _Sigferth_, one of the defenders. See v. 17, above.

28, 29. These lines are obscure. Probably they mean that Garulf may have
   as good as he sends in the way of a fight.

35. Guthlaf, the father of Garulf (the assailant) was probably not the
   Guthalf of line 18, who was a defender. If we have here a conflict
   between father and son, very little is made of it.

45. It is impossible to tell who the wounded warrior was or which chief
   is referred to in line 48.

                             2. GNOMIC GROUP


[Edition used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

Critical edition and discussion of most of the charms: Felix Grendon,
_Journal of American Folk-lore_, xxii, 105 ff. See that article for

Grendon divides the charms into five classes:

    1. Exorcisms of diseases and disease spirits.
    2. Herbal charms.
    3. Charms for transferring disease.
    4. Amulet charms.
    5. Charm remedies.

These charms contain some of the most interesting relics of the old
heathen religion of the Anglo-Saxons incongruously mingled with Christian
practices. They were probably written down at so late a time that the
churchmen felt they could no longer do harm.]

                          I. For Bewitched Land

_Here is the remedy by which thou mayst improve thy fields if they will
not produce well or if any evil thing is done to them by means of sorcery
or witchcraft:_

 _5_ _Take at night, before daybreak, four pieces of turf from the four
corners of the land and mark the places where they have stood. Take then
oil and honey and yeast and the milk of every kind of cattle that is on
that land and a piece of every kind of tree that is grown _10_ on that
land, except hard wood, and a piece of every kind of herb known by name,
except burdock alone. Then put holy water on these and dip it thrice in
the base of the turfs and say these words:_ Crescite, _grow_, et
multiplicamini, _and multiply_, et replete, _and fill_, terram, _15_
_this earth_, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti sint
benedicti; _and_ Pater Noster _as often as anything else_.

_Then carry the turfs to the church and have the priest sing four masses
over them and have the green sides _20_ turned toward the altar. Then
bring them back before sunset to the place where they were at first. Now
make four crosses of aspen and write on the end of each_ Matheus _and_
Marcus _and_ Lucas _and_ Johannes. _Lay the crosses on the bottom of each
hole and then say_: _25_ Crux Matheus, crux Marcus, crux Lucas, crux
Sanctus Johannes. _Then take the sods and lay them on top and say nine
times the word_ Crescite, _and the_ Pater Noster _as often. Turn then to
the east and bow humbly nine times and say these words:_

30    Eastward I stand,     for honors I pray;
      I pray to the God of glory;     I pray to the gracious Lord;
      I pray to the high and holy     Heavenly Father;
      I pray to the earth     and all of the heavens,
      And to the true and virtuous     virgin Saint Mary,
35    And to the high hall     of Heaven and its power,
      That with God's blessing     I may unbind this spell
      With my open teeth,     and through trusty thought
      May awaken the growth     for our worldly advantage,
      May fill these fields     by fast belief,
40    May improve this planting,     for the prophet saith
      That he hath honors on earth     whose alms are free,
      Who wisely gives,     by the will of God.

_Then turn three times following the course of the sun, stretch thyself
prostrate, and chant the litanies. _45_ Then say_ Sanctus, Sanctus,
Sanctus _through to the end. Then chant_ Benedicte _with outstretched
arms, and the_ Magnificat _and_ Pater Noster _three times and commend thy
prayer to the praise and glory of Christ and Saint Mary and the Holy
Rood, and to the honor _50_ of him who owns the land and to all those
that are subject to him. When all this is done, get some unknown seed
from beggars, and give them twice as much as thou takest from them. Then
gather all thy plowing gear together and bore a hole in the beam and put
in _55_ it incense and fennel and consecrated soap and consecrated salt.
Take the seed and put it on the body of the plow, and then say:_

      Erce, Erce, Erce,     of earth the mother,
      May he graciously grant thee,     God Eternal,
60    To have fertile fields     and fruitful harvests,
      Growing in profit     and gaining in power;
      A host of products     and harvests in plenty,
      Bright with the broad     barley harvest;
      And heavy with the white     harvest of wheat,
65    And all the harvest of the earth.     May the Almighty Lord grant
      And all his saints     who are seated in heaven,
      That against all of the enemies     this earth may be guarded,
      Protected and made proof     against the powers of evil,
      Against sorceries and spells     dispersed through the land.
70    Now I pray to the Power     who planned the creation
      That no woman of witchcraft,     no worker of magic,
      May change or unspell     the charm I have spoken.

_Then drive forth the plow and turn the first furrow and say:_

75    Hail to thee, Earth,     of all men the mother,
      Be goodly thy growth     in God's embrace,
      Filled with food     as a favor to men.

_Then take meal of every kind and bake a loaf as broad as it will lie
between the two hands, kneading _80_ it with milk and with holy water,
and lay it under the first furrow. Say then:_

      Full be the field     with food for mankind,
      Blossoming brightly.     Blessed by thou
      By the holy name     of Heaven's Creator,
85    And the maker of Earth,     which men inhabit.
      May God who created the ground     grant us growing gifts,
      That each kernel of corn     may come to use.

_Say then three times_, Crescite in nomine patris, sint benedicti. Amen
_and_ Pater Noster _three times_.

30. Irregularities in the meter in the translations are imitations of
   similar irregularities in the original.

58. _Erce:_ probably the name of an old Teutonic deity, the Mother of
   Earth. This reference is all we have to preserve the name.

75. The conception of a goddess as Mother of Earth and of Earth as Mother
   of Men is entirely pagan. This charm is a peculiar complex of
   Christian and pagan ideas.

                       II. Against a Sudden Stitch

_Against a sudden stitch take feverfew, and the red nettle that grows
through the house, and plantain. Boil in butter._

      Loud were they, lo loud,     as over the lea they rode;
5     Resolute they were     when they rode over the land.
      Protect thyself that thy trouble     become cured and healed.
      Out, little stick,     if it still is
      I stood under the linden,     under the light shield,
      Where the mighty women     their magic prepared,
10    And they sent their spears     spinning and whistling.
      But I will send them     a spear in return,
      Unerringly aim     an arrow against them.
      Out, little stick,     if it still is within!
      There sat a smith     and a small knife forged
15    .  .  .  .  .  .  .     sharply with a stroke of iron.
      Out little stick     if it still is within!
      Six smiths sat and     worked their war-spears.
      Out, spear!     be not in, spear!
      If it still is there,     the stick of iron,
20    The work of the witches,     away it shall melt.
      If thou wert shot in the skin,     or sore wounded in the flesh,
      If in the blood thou wert shot,     or in the bone thou wert shot,
      If in the joint thou wert shot,     there will be no jeopardy to
              your life.
      If some deity shot it,     or some devil shot it,
25    Or if some witch has shot it,     now I am willing to help thee.
      This is a remedy for a deity's shot;     this is a remedy for a
              devil's shot;
      This is a remedy for a witch's shot.     I am willing to help thee.
      Flee there into the forests     .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Be thou wholly healed.     Thy help be from God.

 _30_ _Then take the knife and put it into the liquid._

1. The sudden stitch in the side (or rheumatic pain) is here thought of
   as coming from the arrows shot by the "mighty women"--the witches.

21-28. These irregular lines are imitated from the original.


[Critical editions: Wyatt, Tupper, and Trautmann. Wyatt (Boston, 1912,
Belles Lettres edition) used as a basis for these translations. His
numbering is always one lower than the other editions, since he rejects
one riddle.

Date: Probably eighth century for most of them.

For translations of other riddles than those here given see Brooke,
_English Literature from the Beginning to the Norman Conquest_, Pancoast
and Spaeth, _Early English Poems_, and Cook and Tinker, _Selections from
Old English Poetry_.

There is no proof as to the authorship. There were probably one hundred
of them in the original collection though only about ninety are left.
Many of them are translations from the Latin. Some are true folk-riddles
and some are learned.

In the riddles we find particulars of Anglo-Saxon life that we cannot
find elsewhere. The _Cambridge History of English Literature_ sums their
effect up in the following sentence: "Furthermore, the author or authors
of the Old English riddles borrow themes from native folk-songs and saga;
in their hands inanimate objects become endowed with life and
personality; the powers of nature become objects of worship such as they
were in olden times; they describe the scenery of their own country, the
fen, the river, and the sea, the horror of the untrodden forest, sun and
moon engaged in perpetual pursuit of each other, the nightingale and the
swan, the plow guided by the 'gray-haired enemy of the wood,' the bull
breaking up clods left unturned by the plow, the falcon, the
arm-companion of æthelings--scenes, events, characters familiar in the
England of that day."]

                               I. A Storm

      What man is so clever,     so crafty of mind,
      As to say for a truth     who sends me a-traveling?
      When I rise in my wrath,     raging at times,
      Savage is my sound.     Sometimes I travel,
5     Go forth among the folk,     set fire to their homes
      And ravage and rob them;     then rolls the smoke
      Gray over the gables;     great is the noise,
      The death-struggle of the stricken.     Then I stir up the woods
      And the fruitful forests;     I fell the trees,
10    I, roofed over with rain,     on my reckless journey,
      Wandering widely     at the will of heaven.
      I bear on my back     the bodily raiment,
      The fortunes of folk,     their flesh and their spirits,
      Together to sea. Say who may cover me,
15    Or what I am called,     who carry this burden?

1. Some scholars feel that the first three riddles, all of which describe
   storms, are in reality one, with three divisions. There is little to
   indicate whether the scribe thought of them as separate or not.

                               II. A Storm

      At times I travel     in tracks undreamed of,
      In vasty wave-depths     to visit the earth,
      The floor of the ocean.     Fierce is the sea
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .     the foam rolls high;
5     The whale-pool roars     and rages loudly;
      The streams beat the shores,     and they sling at times
      Great stones and sand     on the steep cliffs,
      With weeds and waves,     while wildly striving
      Under the burden of billows     on the bottom of ocean
10    The sea-ground I shake.     My shield of waters
      I leave not ere he lets me     who leads me always
      In all my travels.     Tell me, wise man,
      Who was it that drew me     from the depth of the ocean
      When the streams again     became still and quiet,
15    Who before had forced me     in fury to rage?

                              III. A Storm

      At times I am fast     confined by my Master,
      Who sendeth forth     under the fertile plain
      My broad bosom,     but bridles me in.
      He drives in the dark     a dangerous power
5     To a narrow cave,     where crushing my back
      Sits the weight of the world.     No way of escape
      Can I find from the torment;     so I tumble about
      The homes of heroes.     The halls with their gables,
      The tribe-dwellings tremble;     the trusty walls shake,
10    Steep over the head.     Still seems the air
      Over all the country     and calm the waters,
      Till I press in my fury     from my prison below,
      Obeying His bidding     who bound me fast
      In fetters at first     when he fashioned the world,
15    In bonds and in chains,     with no chance of escape
      From his power who points out     the paths I must follow.
        Downward at times     I drive the waves,
      Stir up the streams;     to the strand I press
      The flint-gray flood:     the foamy wave
20    Lashes the wall.     A lurid mountain
      Rises on the deep;     dark in its trail
      Stirred up with the sea     a second one comes,
      And close to the coast     it clashes and strikes
      On the lofty hills.     Loud soundeth the boat,
25    The shouting of shipmen.     Unshaken abide
      The stone cliffs steep     through the strife of the waters,
      The dashing of waves,     when the deadly tumult
      Crowds to the coast.     Of cruel strife
      The sailors are certain     if the sea drive their craft
30    With its terrified guests     on the grim rolling tide;
      They are sure that the ship     will be shorn of its power,
      Be deprived of its rule,     and will ride foam-covered
      On the ridge of the waves.     Then ariseth a panic,
      Fear among folk     of the force that commands me,
35    Strong on my storm-track.     Who shall still that power?
        At times I drive     through the dark wave-vessels
      That ride on my back,     and wrench them asunder
      And lash them with sea-streams;     or I let them again
      Glide back together.     It is the greatest of noises,
40    Of clamoring crowds,     of crashes the loudest,
      When clouds as they strive     in their courses shall strike
      Edge against edge;     inky of hue
      In flight o'er the folk     bright fire they sweat,
      A stream of flame;     destruction they carry
45    Dark over men     with a mighty din.
      Fighting they fare.     They let fall from their bosom
      A deafening rain     of rattling liquid,
      Of storm from their bellies.     In battle they strive,
      The awful army;     anguish arises,
50    Terror of mind     to the tribes of men,
      Distress in the strongholds,     when the stalking goblins,
      The pale ghosts shoot     with their sharp weapons.
      The fool alone fears not     their fatal spears;
      But he perishes too     if the true God send
55    Straight from above     in streams of rain,
      Whizzing and whistling     the whirlwind's arrows,
      The flying death.     Few shall survive
      Whom that violent guest     in his grimness shall visit.
      I always stir up     that strife and commotion;
60    Then I bear my course     to the battle of clouds,
      Powerfully strive     and press through the tumult,
      Over the bosom of the billows;     bursteth loudly
      The gathering of elements.     Then again I descend
      In my helmet of air     and hover near the land,
65    And lift on my back     the load I must bear,
      Minding the mandates     of the mighty Lord.
        So I, a tried servant,     sometimes contend:
      Now under the earth;     now from over the waves
      I drive to the depths;     now dropping from heaven,
70    I stir up the streams,     or strive to the skies,
      Where I war with the welkin.     Wide do I travel,
      Swift and noisily.     Say now my name,
      Or who raises me up     when rest is denied me,
      Or who stays my course     when stillness comes to me?

                               V. A Shield

      A lonely warrior,     I am wounded with iron,
      Scarred with sword-points,     sated with battle-play,
      Weary of weapons.     I have witnessed much fighting,
      Much stubborn strife.     From the strokes of war
5     I have no hope     for help or release
      Ere I pass from the world     with the proud warrior band.
      With brands and billies     they beat upon me;
      The hard edges hack me;     the handwork of smiths
      In crowds I encounter;     with courage I endure
10    Ever bitterer battles.     No balm may I find,
      And no doctor to heal me     in the whole field of battle,
      To bind me with ointments     and bring me to health,
      But my grievous gashes     grow ever sorer
      Through death-dealing strokes     by day and night.

                               VII. A Swan

      My robe is noiseless     when I roam the earth,
      Or stay in my home,     or stir up the water.
      At times I am lifted     o'er the lodgings of men
      By the aid of my trappings     and the air above.
5     The strength of the clouds     then carries me far,
      Bears me on its bosom.     My beautiful ornament,
      My raiment rustles     and raises a song,
      Sings without tiring.     I touch not the earth
      But wander a stranger     over stream and wood.

                           VIII. A Nightingale

      With my mouth I am master     of many a language;
      Cunningly I carol;     I discourse full oft
      In melodious lays;     loud do I call,
      Ever mindful of melody,     undiminished in voice.
5     An old evening-scop,     to earls I bring
      Solace in cities;     when, skillful in music,
      My voice I raise,     restful at home
      They sit in silence.     Say what is my name,
      That call so clearly     and cleverly imitate
10    The song of the scop,     and sing unto men
      Words full welcome     with my wonderful voice.

                               XIV. A Horn

      I was once an armed warrior.     Now the worthy youth
      Gorgeously gears me     with gold and silver,
      Curiously twisted.     At times men kiss me.
      Sometimes I sound     and summon to battle
5     The stalwart company.     A steed now carries me
      Across the border.     The courser of the sea
      Now bears me o'er the billows,     bright in my trappings.
      Now a comely maiden     covered with jewels
      Fills my bosom with beer.     On the board now I lie
10    Lidless and lonely     and lacking my trappings.
      Now fair in my fretwork     at the feast I hang
      In my place on the wall     while warriors drink.
      Now brightened for battle,     on the back of a steed
      A war-chief shall bear me.     Then the wind I shall breathe,
15    Shall swell with sound     from someone's bosom.
      At times with my voice     I invite the heroes,
      The warriors to wine;     or I watch for my master,
      And sound an alarm     and save his goods,
      Put the robber to flight.     Now find out my name.

8. Cosijn's reading has been adopted for the first half line.

                              XV. A Badger

      My throat is like snow,     and my sides and my head
      Are a swarthy brown;     I am swift in flight.
      Battle-weapons I bear;     on my back stand hairs,
      And also on my cheeks.     O'er my eyes on high
5     Two ears tower;     with my toes I step
      On the green grass.     Grief comes upon me
      If the slaughter-grim hunter     shall see me in hiding,
      Shall find me alone     where I fashion my dwelling,
      Bold with my brood.     I abide in this place
10    With my strong young children     till a stranger shall come
      And bring dread to my door.     Death then is certain.
      Hence, trembling I carry     my terrified children
      Far from their home     and flee unto safety.
      If he crowds me close     as he comes behind,
15    I bare my breast.     In my burrow I dare not
      Meet my furious foe     (it were foolish to do so),
      But, wildly rushing,     I work a road
      Through the high hill     with my hands and feet.
      I fail not in defending     my family's lives;
20    If I lead the little ones     below to safety,
      Through a secret hole     inside the hill,
      My beloved brood,     no longer need I
      Fear the offense     of the fierce-battling dogs.
25    Whenever the hostile one     hunts on my trail,
      Follows me close,     he will fail not of conflict,
      Of a warm encounter,     when he comes on my war-path,
      If I reach, in my rage,     through the roof of my hill
      And deal my deadly     darts of battle
30    On the foe I have feared     and fled from long.

29. The "deadly darts of battle" have caused "porcupine" to be proposed
   as a solution to this riddle, though when all the details are
   considered "badger" seems on the whole the more reasonable.

                              XXIII. A Bow

      My name is spelled _AGOB_     with the order reversed.
      I am marvelously fashioned     and made for fighting.
      When I am bent     and my bosom sends forth
      Its poisoned stings,     I straightway prepare
5     My deadly darts     to deal afar.
      As soon as my master,     who made me for torment,
      Loosens my limbs,     my length is increased
      Till I vomit the venom     with violent motions,
      The swift-killing poison     I swallowed before.
10    Not any man     shall make his escape,
      Not one that I spoke of     shall speed from the fight,
      If there falls on him first     what flies from my belly.
      He pays with his strength     for the poisonous drink,
      For the fatal cup     which forfeits his life.
15    Except when fettered     fast, I am useless.
      Unbound I shall fail.     Now find out my name.

                              XXVI. A Bible

      A stern destroyer     struck out my life,
      Deprived me of power;     he put me to soak,
      Dipped me in water,     dried me again,
      And set me in the sun,     where I straightway lost
5     The hairs that I had.     Then the hard edge
      Of the keen knife cut me     and cleansed me of soil;
      Then fingers folded me.     The fleet quill of the bird
      With speedy drops     spread tracks often
      Over the brown surface,     swallowed the tree-dye,
10    A deal of the stream,     stepped again on me,
      Traveled a black track.     With protecting boards
      Then a crafty one covered me,     enclosed me with hide,
      Made me gorgeous with gold.     Hence I am glad and rejoice
      At the smith's fair work     with its wondrous adornments.
15      Now may these rich trappings,     and the red dye's tracings,
      And all works of wisdom     spread wide the fame
      Of the Sovereign of nations!     Read me not as a penance!
      If the children of men     will cherish and use me,
      They shall be safer and sounder     and surer of victory,
20    More heroic of heart     and happier in spirit,
      More unfailing in wisdom.     More friends shall they have,
      Dear and trusty,     and true and good,
      And faithful always,     whose honors and riches
      Shall increase with their love,     and who cover their friends
25    With kindness and favors     and clasp them fast
      With loving arms.     I ask how men call me
      Who aid them in need.     My name is far famed.
      I am helpful to men,     and am holy myself.

1. Here, of course, a "codex," or manuscript of a Bible is in the
   writer's mind. He describes first the killing of the animal and the
   preparation of the skin for writing. Then the writing and binding of
   the book is described. Last of all, the writer considers the use the
   book will be to men.

                               XLV. Dough

      In a corner I heard     a curious weak thing
      Swelling and sounding     and stirring its cover.
      On that boneless body     a beautiful woman
      Laid hold with her hands;     the high-swelled thing
      She covered with a cloth,     the clever lord's daughter.

                            XLVII. A Bookworm

      A moth ate a word.     To me that seemed
      A curious happening     when I heard of that wonder,
      That a worm should swallow     the word of a man,
      A thief in the dark     eat a thoughtful discourse
5     And the strong base it stood on.     He stole, but he was not
      A whit the wiser     when the word had been swallowed.

                               LX. A Reed

      I stood on the strand     to the sea-cliffs near,
      Hard by the billows.     To the home of my birth
      Fast was I fixed.     Few indeed are there
      Of men who have ever     at any time
5     Beheld my home     in the hard waste-land.
      In the brown embrace     of the billows and waves
      I was locked each dawn.     Little I dreamed
      That early or late     I ever should
      With men at the mead-feast     mouthless speak forth
10    Words of wisdom.     It is a wondrous thing,
      And strange to the sight     when one sees it first
      That the edge of a knife     and the active hand
      And wit of the earl     who wields the blade
      Should bring it about     that I bear unto thee
15    A secret message,     meant for thee only,
      Boldly announce it,     so that no other man
      May speak our secrets     or spread them abroad.

1. This riddle occurs in the manuscript just before _The Husband's
   Message_, and some editors think that in the riddle we have a proper
   beginning for the poem. First is the account of the growth of the
   reed, or block of wood, then the account of its voyages, and last the
   message conveyed. There is really no way of telling whether the poems
   were meant to go together.

                              EXETER GNOMES

[Critical edition: Blanche Colton Williams, _Gnomic Poetry in
Anglo-Saxon_, New York, 1914.

There are two sets of gnomes or proverbs in Old English. The Exeter
collection, from which these are taken, consists of three groups. The
second group, which contains the justly popular lines about the Frisian
wife, is typical of the whole set.]

                                Group II

      All frost shall freeze,     fire consume wood,
      Earth grow its fruits.     Ice shall bridge water,
      Which shall carry its cover     and cunningly lock
75    The herbs of earth.     One only shall loose
      The fetter of frost,     the Father Almighty.
      Winter shall away,     the weather be fair,
      The sun hot in summer.     The sea shall be restless.
      The deep way of death     is the darkest of secrets.
80    Holly flames on the fire.     Afar shall be scattered
      The goods of a dead man.     Glory is best.
        A king shall with cups     secure his queen,
      Buy her with bracelets.     Both shall at first
      Be generous with gifts.     Then shall grow in the man
85    The pride of war,     and his wife shall prosper,
      Cherished by the folk;     cheerful of mood,
      She shall keep all counsel     and in kindness of heart
      Give horses and treasure;     before the train of heroes
      With full measure of mead     on many occasions
90    She shall lovingly greet     her gracious lord,
      Shall hold the cup high     and hand him to drink
      Like a worthy wife.     Wisely shall counsel
      The two who hold     their home together.
        The ship shall be nailed,     the shield be bound,
95    The light linden-wood.
                         When he lands in the haven,
      To the Frisian wife     is the welcome one dear:
      The boat is at hand     and her bread-winner home,
      Her own provider.     She invites him in
      And washes his sea-stained garments     and gives him new ones to
100   It is pleasant on land     when the loved one awaits you.
        Woman shall be wedded to man,     and her wickedness oft shall
              disgrace him;
      Some are firm in their faith,     some forward and curious
      And shall love a stranger     while their lord is afar.
        A sailor is long on his course,     but his loved one awaits his
105   Abides what can not be controlled,     for the time will come at
      For his home return, if his health permit,     and the heaving
      High over his head     do not hold him imprisoned.

                            THE FATES OF MEN

[Text: Grein-Wülcker, _Bibliothek der Angelsächischen Poesie_, iii, 148.
The poem is typical of a large group of Old English poems which give
well-known sayings or proverbs. Other poems of this group are _The Gifts
of Men_, _The Wonders of Creation_, _A Father's Instructions to His Son_,
and the like.]

      Full often through the grace     of God it happens
      That man and wife     to the world bring forth
      A babe by birth;     they brightly adorn it,
      And tend it and teach it     till the time comes on
5     With the passing of years     when the young child's limbs
      Have grown in strength     and sturdy grace.
      It is fondled and fed     by father and mother
      And gladdened with gifts.     God alone knows
      What fate shall be his     in the fast-moving years.
10      To one it chances     in his childhood days
      To be snatched away     by sudden death
      In woeful wise.     The wolf shall devour him,
      The hoary heath-dweller.     Heart-sick with grief,
      His mother shall mourn him;     but man cannot change it.
15      One of hunger shall starve;     one the storm shall drown.
      One the spear shall pierce;     one shall perish in war.
      One shall lead his life     without light in his eyes,
      Shall feel his way fearing.     Infirm in his step,
      One his wounds shall bewail,     his woeful pains--
20    Mournful in mind     shall lament his fate.
      One from the top     of a tree in the woods
      Without feathers shall fall,     but he flies none the less,
      Swoops in descent     till he seems no longer
      The forest tree's fruit:     at its foot on the ground
25    He sinks in silence,     his soul departed--
      On the roots now lies     his lifeless body.
        One shall fare afoot     on far-away paths,
      Shall bear on his back     his burdensome load,
      Tread the dewy track     among tribes unfriendly
30    Amid foreign foemen.     Few are alive
      To welcome the wanderer.     The woeful face
      Of the hapless outcast     is hateful to men.
        One shall end life     on the lofty gallows;
      Dead shall he hang     till the house of his soul,
35    His bloody body     is broken and mangled:
      His eyes shall be plucked     by the plundering raven,
      The sallow-hued spoiler,     while soulless he lies,
      And helpless to fight     with his hands in defense
      Against the grim thief.     Gone is his life.
40    With his skin plucked off     and his soul departed,
      The body all bleached     shall abide its fate;
      The death-mist shall drown him--     doomed to disgrace.
        The body of one     shall burn on the fire;
      The flame shall feed     on the fated man,
45    And death shall descend     full sudden upon him
      In the lurid glow.     Loud weeps the mother
      As her boy in the brands     is burned to ashes.
        One the sword shall slay     as he sits in the mead-hall
      Angry with ale;     it shall end his life,
50    Wine-sated warrior:     his words were too reckless!
      One shall meet his death     through the drinking of beer,
      Maddened with mead,     when no measure he sets
      To the words of his mouth     through wisdom of mind;
      He shall lose his life     in loathsome wise,
55    Shall shamefully suffer,     shut off from joy,
      And men shall know him     by the name of self-slayer,
      Shall deplore with their mouths     the mead-drinker's fall.
        One his hardships of youth     through the help of God
      Overcomes and brings     his burdens to naught,
60    And his age when it comes     shall be crowned with joy;
      He shall prosper in pleasure,     in plenty and wealth,
      With flourishing family     and flowing mead--
      For such worthy rewards     may one well wish to live!
        Thus many the fortunes     the mighty Lord
65    All over the earth     to everyone grants,
      Dispenses powers     as his pleasure shall lead him.
      One is favored with fortune;     one failure in life;
      One pleasure in youth;     one prowess in war,
      The sternest of strife;     one in striking and shooting
70    Earns his honors.     And often in games
      One is crafty and cunning.     A clerk shall one be,
      Weighted with wisdom.     Wonderful skill
      Is one granted to gain     in the goldsmith's art;
      Full often he decks     and adorns in glory
75    A great king's noble,     who gives him rewards,
      Grants him broad lands,     which he gladly receives.
      One shall give pleasure     to people assembled
      On the benches at beer,     shall bring to them mirth,
      Where drinkers are draining     their draughts of joy.
80      One holding his harp     in his hands, at the feet
      Of his lord shall sit     and receive a reward;
      Fast shall his fingers     fly o'er the strings;
      Daringly dancing     and darting across,
      With his nails he shall pluck them.     His need is great.
85      One shall make tame     the towering falcon,
      The hawk on his hand,     till the haughty bird
      Grows quiet and gentle;     jesses he makes him,
      Feeds in fetters     the feather-proud hawk,
      The daring air-treader     with daintiest morsels,
90    Till the falcon performs     the feeder's will:
      Hooded and belled,     he obeys his master,
      Tamed and trained     as his teacher desires.
        Thus in wondrous wise     the Warden of Glory
      Through every land     has allotted to men
95    Cunning and craft;     his decrees go forth
      To all men on earth     of every race.
      For the graces granted     let us give him thanks--
      For his manifold mercies     to the men of earth.

                            3. ELEGIAC GROUP

                              THE WANDERER

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_. It is also given in
Bright's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_.

Alliterative translations: Edward Fulton, _Publications of the Modern
Language Association of America_, vol. xii (1898); Pancoast and Spaeth,
_Early English Poems_, p. 65.

Lines 77 ff. and 101 ff. have been compared to a passage in Keats's
_Hyperion_ (book ii, 34-38).]

      Often the lonely one     longs for honors,
      The grace of God,     though, grieved in his soul,
      Over the waste of the waters     far and wide he shall
      Row with his hands     through the rime-cold sea,
5     Travel the exile tracks:     full determined is fate!
      So the wanderer spake,     his woes remembering,
      His misfortunes in fighting     and the fall of his kinsmen:
        "Often alone     at early dawn
      I make my moan!     Not a man now lives
10    To whom I can speak forth     my heart and soul
      And tell of its trials.     In truth I know well
      That there belongs to a lord     an illustrious trait,
      To fetter his feelings     fast in his breast,
      To keep his own counsel     though cares oppress him.
15    The weary in heart     against Wyrd has no help
      Nor may the troubled in thought     attempt to get aid.
      Therefore the thane     who is thinking of glory
      Binds in his breast     his bitterest thoughts.
        So I fasten with fetters,     confine in my breast
20    My sorrows of soul,     though sick oft at heart,
      In a foreign country     far from my kinsmen.
      I long ago laid     my loyal patron
      In sorrow under the sod;     since then I have gone
      Weary with winter-care     over the wave's foamy track,
25    In sadness have sought     a solace to find
      In the home and the hall     of a host and ring-giver,
      Who, mindful of mercy     in the mead-hall free,
      In kindness would comfort     and care for me friendless,
      Would treat me with tenderness.     The tried man knows
30    How stern is sorrow,     how distressing a comrade
      For him who has few     of friends and loved ones:
      He trails the track of the exile;     no treasure he has,
      But heart-chilling frost--     no fame upon earth.
        He recalls his comrades     and the costly hall-gifts
35    Of his gracious gold-friend,     which he gave him in youth
      To expend as he pleased:     his pleasure has vanished!
      He who lacks for long     his lord's advice,
      His love and his wisdom,     learns full well
      How sorrow and slumber     soothe together
40    The way-worn wanderer     to welcome peace.
      He seems in his sleep     to see his lord;
      He kisses and clasps him,     and inclines on his knee
      His hands and his head     as in happier days
      When he experienced the pleasure     of his prince's favors.
45    From his sleep then awakens     the sorrowful wanderer;
      He sees full before him     the fallow waves,
      The sea-birds bathing     and beating their wings,
      Frost and snow falling     with freezing hail.
        Then heavier grows     the grief of his heart,
50    Sad after his dream;     he sorrows anew.
      His kinsmen's memory     he calls to his mind,
      And eagerly greets it;     in gladness he sees
      His valiant comrades.     Then they vanish away.
      In the soul of a sailor     no songs burst forth,
55    No familiar refrains.     Fresh is his care
      Who sends his soul     o'er the sea full oft,
      Over the welling waves     his wearied heart.
        Hence I may not marvel,     when I am mindful of life,
      That my sorrowing soul     grows sick and dark,
60    When I look at the lives     of lords and earls,
      How they are suddenly snatched     from the seats of their power,
      In their princely pride.     So passes this world,
      And droops and dies     each day and hour;
      And no man is sage     who knows not his share
65    Of winter in the world.     The wise man is patient,
      Not too hot in his heart,     nor too hasty in words,
      Nor too weak in war,     nor unwise in his rashness,
      Nor too forward nor fain,     nor fearful of death,
      Nor too eager and arrogant     till he equal his boasting.
70    The wise man will wait     with his words of boasting
      Till, restraining his thoughts,     he thoroughly knows
      Where his vain words of vaunting     eventually will lead him.
      The sage man perceives     how sorrowful it is
      When all the wealth of the world     lies wasted and scattered.
75      So now over the earth     in every land
      Stormed on by winds     the walls are standing
      Rimy with hoar-frost,     and the roofs of the houses;
      The wine-halls are wasted;     far away are the rulers,
      Deprived of their pleasure.     All the proud ones have fallen,
80    The warriors by the wall:     some war has borne off,
      In its bloody embrace;     some birds have carried
      Over the high seas;     to some the hoar wolf
      Has dealt their death;     some with dreary faces
      By earls have been exiled     in earth-caves to dwell:
85    So has wasted this world     through the wisdom of God,
      Till the proud one's pleasure     has perished utterly,
      And the old work of the giants     stands worthless and joyless.
        He who the waste of this wall-stead     wisely considers,
      And looks down deep     at the darkness of life,
90    Mournful in mind,     remembers of old
      Much struggle and spoil     and speaks these words:
        'Where are the horses? Where are the heroes?
             Where are the high treasure-givers?
      Where are the proud pleasure-seekers?     Where are the palace and
              its joys?
      Alas the bright wine-cup!     Alas the burnie-warriors!
95    Alas the prince's pride!     How passes the time
      Under the shadow of night     as it never had been!
      Over the trusty troop     now towers full high
      A wall adorned     with wondrous dragons.
      The strength of the spear     has destroyed the earls,
100   War-greedy weapons,     Wyrd inexorable;
      And the storms strike down     on the stony cliffs;
      The snows descend     and seize all the earth
      In the dread of winter;     then darkness comes
      And dusky night-shade.     Down from the north
105   The hated hail-storms     beat on heroes with fury.
      All on earth is     irksome to man;
      Oft changes the work of the fates,     the world under the
      Here treasure is fleeting;     here true friends are fleeting;
      Here comrades are fleeting;     here kinsmen are fleeting.
110   All idle and empty     the earth has become.'
        So says the sage one in mind,     as he sits and secretly
      Good is the man who is true to his trust;     never should he
              betray anger,
      Divulge the rage of his heart     till the remedy he knows
      That quickly will quiet his spirit.     The quest of honor is a
              noble pursuit;
115   Glory be to God on high,     who grants us our salvation!"

1. These opening lines are typical of the group of poems usually known as
   the "Elegies"--this and the next four poems in the book. It is
   probable that the poems of this group have no relation with one
   another save in general tone--a deep melancholy that, though present
   in the other old English poems is blackest in these.

15. _Wyrd:_ the "Fate" of the Germanic peoples. The Anglo-Saxon's life
   was overshadowed by the power of Wyrd, though Beowulf says that "a man
   may escape his Wyrd--if he be good enough."

87. Ancient fortifications and cities are often referred to in
   Anglo-Saxon poetry as "the old work of the giants."

                              THE SEAFARER

[Edition used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

Up to line 65 this is one of the finest specimens of Anglo-Saxon poetry.
It expresses as few poems in English have done the spirit of adventure,
the _wanderlust_ of springtime. The author was a remarkable painter of
the sea and its conditions. From line 65 to the end the poem consists of
a very tedious homily that must surely be a later addition.

The use of the first person throughout and the opposing sentiments
expressed have caused several scholars to consider the first part of the
poem a dialogue between a young man eager to go to sea and an old sailor.
The divisions of the speeches suggested have been as follows:

       (By Hönncher)     (By Kluge)      (By Rieger)
       1-33a  Sailor  1-33 Sailor        1-38a Sailor
       33b-38 Youth   34-64 or 66 Youth  33b-38 Youth
       39-43 Sailor                      39-47 Sailor
       44-52 Youth                       48-52 Youth
       53-57 Sailor                      53-57 Sailor
       58-64a Youth                      58-71 Youth
                                         71-end Sailor

Sweet, in his _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, objects to these theories since there
are not only no headings or divisions in the manuscript to indicate such
divisions, but there are no breaks or contrasts in the poem itself.

"If we discard these theories," he says, "the simplest view of the poem
is that it is the monologue of an old sailor who first describes the
hardships of the seafaring life, and then confesses its irresistible
attraction, which he justifies, as it were, by drawing a parallel between
the seafarer's contempt for the luxuries of the life on land on the one
hand and the aspirations of a spiritual nature on the other, of which the
sea bird is to him the type. In dwelling on these ideals the poet loses
sight of the seafarer and his half-heathen associations, and as
inevitably rises to a contemplation of the cheering hopes of a future
life afforded by Christianity."

The dullness and obscurity of the last part of the poem, however, and the
obvious similarity to the homilies of the time make it very unlikely that
the whole poem was written by one author.]

      I will sing of myself     a song that is true,
      Tell of my travels     and troublesome days,
      How often I endured     days of hardship;
      Bitter breast-care     I have borne as my portion,
5     Have seen from my ship     sorrowful shores,
      Awful welling of waves;     oft on watch I have been
      On the narrow night-wakes     at the neck of the ship,
      When it crashed into cliffs;     with cold often pinched
      Were my freezing feet,     by frost bound tight
10    In its blighting clutch;     cares then burned me,
      Hot around my heart.     Hunger tore within
      My sea-weary soul.     To conceive this is hard
      For the landsman who lives     on the lonely shore--
      How, sorrowful and sad     on a sea ice-cold,
15    I eked out my exile     through the awful winter
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     deprived of my kinsmen,
      Hung about by icicles;     hail flew in showers.
      There I heard naught     but the howl of the sea,
      The ice-cold surge     with a swan-song at times;
20    The note of the gannet     for gayety served me,
      The sea-bird's song     for sayings of people,
      For the mead-drink of men     the mew's sad note.
      Storms beat on the cliffs,     'mid the cry of gulls,
      Icy of feather;     and the eagle screamed,
25    The dewy-winged bird.     No dear friend comes
      With merciful kindness     my misery to conquer.
      Of this little can he judge     who has joy in his life,
      And, settled in the city,     is sated with wine,
      And proud and prosperous--     how painful it is
30    When I wearily wander     on the waves full oft!
      Night shadows descended;     it snowed from the north;
      The world was fettered with frost;     hail fell to the earth,
      The coldest of corns.
                           Yet course now desires
      Which surge in my heart     for the high seas,
35    That I test the terrors     of the tossing waves;
      My soul constantly kindles     in keenest impatience
      To fare itself forth     and far off hence
      To seek the strands     of stranger tribes.
        There is no one in this world     so o'erweening in power,
40    So good in his giving,     so gallant in his youth,
      So daring in his deeds,     so dear to his lord,
      But that he leaves the land     and longs for the sea.
      By the grace of God     he will gain or lose;
      Nor hearkens he to harp     nor has heart for gift-treasures,
45    Nor in the wiles of a wife     nor in the world rejoices.
      Save in the welling of waves     no whit takes he pleasure;
      But he ever has longing     who is lured by the sea.
        The forests are in flower     and fair are the hamlets;
      The woods are in bloom,     the world is astir:
50    Everything urges     one eager to travel,
      Sends the seeker     of seas afar
      To try his fortune     on the terrible foam.
        The cuckoo warns     in its woeful call;
      The summer-ward sings,     sorrow foretelling,
55    Heavy to the heart.     Hard is it to know
      For the man of pleasure,     what many with patience
      Endure who dare     the dangers of exile!
        In my bursting breast     now burns my heart,
      My spirit sallies     over the sea-floods wide,
60    Sails o'er the waves,     wanders afar
      To the bounds of the world     and back at once,
      Eagerly, longingly;     the lone flyer beckons
      My soul unceasingly     to sail o'er the whale-path,
      Over the waves of the sea.

64. At this point the dull homiletic passage begins. Much of it is quite
   untranslatable. A free paraphrase may be seen in Cook and Tinker,
   _Translations from Old English Poetry_, p. 47.

                            THE WIFE'S LAMENT

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_, p. 146.

The meaning of some parts of this poem is very obscure--especially lines
18-21 and 42-47. No satisfactory explanation of them has been given.
There is probably no relation except in general theme between it and _The
Husband's Message_.]

      Sorrowfully I sing     my song of woe,
      My tale of trials.     In truth I may say
      That the buffets I have borne     since my birth in the world
      Were never more than now,     either new or old.
5     Ever the evils     of exile I endure!
        Long since went my lord     from the land of his birth,
      Over the welling waves.     Woeful at dawn I asked
      Where lingers my lord,     in what land does he dwell?
      Then I fared into far lands     and faithfully sought him,
10    A weary wanderer     in want of comfort.
        His treacherous tribesmen     contrived a plot,
      Dark and dastardly,     to drive us apart
      The width of a world,     where with weary hearts
      We live in loneliness,     and longing consumes me.
15    My master commanded me     to make my home here.
      Alas, in this land     my loved ones are few,
      My faithful friends!     Hence I feel great sorrow
      That the man well-matched     with me I have found
      To be sad in soul     and sorrowful in mind,
20    Concealing his thoughts     and thinking of murder,
      Though blithe in his bearing.     Oft we bound us by oath
      That the day of our death     should draw us apart,
      Nothing less end our love.     Alas, all is changed!
      Now is as naught,     as if never it were,
25    Our faith and our friendship.     Far and near I shall
      Endure the hate     of one dear to my heart!
        He condemned me to dwell     in a darksome wood,
      Under an oak-tree     in an earth-cave drear.
      Old is the earth-hall.     I am anxious with longing.
30    Dim are the dales,     dark the hills tower,
      Bleak the tribe-dwellings,     with briars entangled,
      Unblessed abodes.     Here bitterly I have suffered
      The faring of my lord afar.     Friends there are on earth
      Living in love,     in lasting bliss,
35    While, wakeful at dawn,     I wander alone
      Under the oak-tree     the earth-cave near.
      Sadly I sit there     the summer-long day,
      Wearily weeping     my woeful exile,
      My many miseries.     Hence I may not ever
40    Cease my sorrowing,     my sad bewailing,
      Nor all the longings     of my life of woe.
        Always may the young man     be mournful of spirit,
      Unhappy of heart,     and have as his portion
      Many sorrows of soul,     unceasing breast-cares,
45    Though now blithe of behavior.     Unbearable likewise
      Be his joys in the world.     Wide be his exile
      To far-away folk-lands     where my friend sits alone,
      A stranger under stone-cliffs,     by storm made hoary,
      A weary-souled wanderer,     by waters encompassed,
50    In his lonely lodging.     My lover endures
      Unmeasured mind-care:     he remembers too oft
      A happier home.     To him is fate cruel
      Who lingers and longs for     the loved one's return!

                          THE HUSBAND'S MESSAGE

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

The piece of wood on which the message is written speaks throughout the
poem. It is impossible to tell whether the sender of the message is
husband or lover of the woman addressed.

Some scholars consider the riddle on "The Reed," number LX, as the true
beginning of this poem. It precedes the "Message" in the manuscript.
Hicketeir (_Anglia_, xi, 363) thinks that it does not belong with that
riddle, but that it is itself a riddle. He cites the Runes, in lines
51-2, especially as evidence. Trautmann (_Anglia_ xvi, 207) thinks that
it is part of a longer poem, in which the puzzling relation would be
straightened out.]

      First I shall freely     confide to you
      The tale of this tablet of wood.     As a tree I grew up
      On the coast of Mecealde,     close by the sea.
      Frequently thence     to foreign lands
5     I set forth in travel,     the salt streams tried
      In the keel of the ship     at a king's behest.
      Full oft on the bosom     of a boat I have dwelt,
      Fared over the foam     a friend to see,
      Wherever my master     on a mission sent me,
10    Over the crest of the wave.     I am come here to you
      On the deck of a ship     and in duty inquire
      How now in your heart     you hold and cherish
      The love of my lord.     Loyalty unwavering
      I affirm without fear     you will find in his heart.
15      The maker of this message     commands me to bid thee,
      O bracelet-adorned one,     to bring to thy mind
      And impress on thy heart     the promises of love
      That ye two in the old days     often exchanged
      While at home in your halls     unharmed you might still
20    Live in the land,     love one another,
      Dwell in the same country.     He was driven by feud
      From the powerful people.     He prays now, most earnestly
      That you learn with delight     you may launch on the sea-stream
      When from the height of the hill     you hear from afar
25    The melancholy call     of the cuckoo in the wood.
      Let not thereafter     any living man
      Prevent thy voyage     or prevail against it.
      Seek now the shore,     the sea-mew's home!
      Embark on the boat     that bears thee south,
30    Where far over the foam     thou shalt find thy lord,--
      Where lingers thy lover     in longing and hope.
        In the width of the world     not a wish or desire
      More strongly stirs him     (he instructs me to say)
      Than that gracious God     should grant you to live
35    Ever after     at ease together,
      To distribute treasures     to retainers and friends,
      To give rings of gold.     Of gilded cups
      And of proud possessions     a plenty he has,
      And holds his home     far hence with strangers,
40    His fertile fields,     where follow him many
      High-spirited heroes--     though here my liege-lord,
      Forced by the fates,     took flight on a ship
      And on the watery waves     went forth alone
      To fare on the flood-way:     fain would he escape,
45    Stir up the sea-streams.     By strife thy lord hath
      Won the fight against woe.     No wish will he have
      For horses or jewels     or the joys of mead-drinking,
      Nor any earl's treasures     on earth to be found,
      O gentle lord's daughter,     if he have joy in thee,
50    As by solemn vows     ye have sworn to each other.
      I set as a sign     S and R together,
      E, A, W, and D,     as an oath to assure you
      That he stays for thee still     and stands by his troth;
      And as long as he lives     it shall last unbroken,--
55    Which often of old     with oaths ye have plighted.

1-6. The text here is so corrupt that an almost complete reconstruction
   has been necessary.

51. In the manuscript these letters appear as runes. For illustrations of
   the appearance of runes, see the introductory note to "Cynewulf and
   his School," p. 95, below. What these runes stood for, or whether they
   were supposed to possess unusual or magic power is purely a matter of

                                THE RUIN

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

This description of a ruin with hot baths is generally assumed to be of
the Roman city of Bath. The fact that the poet uses unusual words and
unconventional lines seems to indicate that he wrote with his eye on the

      Wondrous is its wall-stone     laid waste by the fates.
      The burg-steads are burst,     broken the work of the giants.
      The roofs are in ruins,     rotted away the towers,
      The fortress-gate fallen,     with frost on the mortar.
5     Broken are the battlements,     low bowed and decaying,
      Eaten under by age.     The earth holds fast
      The master masons:     low mouldering they lie
      In the hard grip of the grave,     till shall grow up and perish
      A hundred generations.     Hoary and stained with red,
10    Through conquest of kingdoms,     unconquered this wall endured,
      Stood up under storm.     The high structure has fallen.
      Still remains its wall-stone,     struck down by weapons.
      They have fallen     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Ground down by grim fate     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
15    Splendidly it shone     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      The cunning creation     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     from its clay covering is bent;
      Mind   .  .  .  .  .  .     the swift one drawn.
      The bold ones in counsel     bound in rings
19    The wall-foundations with wires,     wondrously together.
20      Bright were the burgher's homes,     the bath halls many,
      Gay with high gables     --a great martial sound,
      Many mead-halls,     where men took their pleasure,
      Till an end came to all,     through inexorable fate.
      The people all have perished;     pestilence came on them:
25    Death stole them all,     the staunch band of warriors.
      Their proud works of war     now lie waste and deserted;
      This fortress has fallen.     Its defenders lie low,
      Its repairmen perished.     Thus the palace stands dreary,
      And its purple expanse;     despoiled of its tiles
30    Is the roof of the dome.     The ruin sank to earth,
      Broken in heaps     --there where heroes of yore,
      Glad-hearted and gold-bedecked,     in gorgeous array,
      Wanton with wine-drink     in war-trappings shone:
      They took joy in jewels     and gems of great price,
35    In treasure untold     and in topaz-stones,
      In the firm-built fortress     of a far-stretching realm.
        The stone courts stood;     hot streams poured forth,
      Wondrously welled out.     The wall encompassed all
      In its bright embrace.     Baths were there then,
40    Hot all within     --a healthful convenience.
      They let then pour     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Over the hoary stones     the heated streams,
      Such as never were seen     by our sires till then.
      Hringmere was its name     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
45    The baths were there then;     then is .  .  .  .  .  .
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     That is a royal thing
      In a house  .  .  .  .  .  .     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

14-18. The text is too corrupt to permit of reconstruction. A literal
   translation of the fragmentary lines has been given in order to show
   the student something of the loss we have suffered in not having the
   whole of this finely conceived lament for fallen grandeur. The line
   numbers are those of Kluge's text.

                          II. CHRISTIAN POETRY

                           1. CÆDMONIAN SCHOOL

[Concerning the man Cædmon, we have nothing but Bede's account in his
_Ecclesiastical History_ (see p. 179 below) and Cædmon's Hymn.

_Genesis_ was first published in Amsterdam 1655, next in 1752. The first
editions brought _Genesis_ under Cædmon's name, because of Bede's
account. There is, however, no such clue in the manuscript. The
assignment of _Genesis_ to Cædmon was questioned by Hicks as early as
1689. The Cædmonian authorship was defended in the early part of the
nineteenth century by Conybeare and Thorpe. It is now agreed that all the
Cædmonian Paraphrases are probably by different authors.

Cf. A. S. Cook, "The Name Cædmon," _Publications of the Modern Language
Association of America_, vi, 9, and "Cædmon and the Ruthwell Cross,"
_Modern Language Notes_, v, 153.]

                              CÆDMON'S HYMN

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

Prose translation: Kennedy, _The Cædmon Poems_, p. xvii.

The poem is interesting in that it is found in two texts, the
Northumbrian and the West Saxon. It is the only thing we have that was
undoubtedly written by Cædmon.]

      Now shall we praise     the Prince of heaven,
      The might of the Maker     and his manifold thought,
      The work of the Father:     of what wonders he wrought
      The Lord everlasting,     when he laid out the worlds.
5     He first raised up     for the race of men
      The heaven as a roof,     the holy Ruler.
      Then the world below,     the Ward of mankind,
      The Lord everlasting,     at last established
      As a home for man,     the Almighty Lord.
      _Primo cantavit_ Cædmon _istud carmen_.

6. The many synonyms (known as "kennings") make this passage impossible
   to translate into smooth English. This fact is true in a measure of
   all old English poetry, but it is especially the case with this hymn.

                            BEDE'S DEATH SONG

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_.

This poem was attributed to Bede, who died in 735, by his pupil,
Cuthbert, who translated it into Latin. The Northumbrian version is in a
manuscript at St. Gall.

These verses are examples of gnomic poetry, which was very popular in Old
English literature. Miss Williams, in her _Gnomic Poetry in Anglo-Saxon_
(Columbia University Press, 1914), p. 67, says that this is the earliest
gnomic expression in Old English for which a definite date may be set.

Text criticism: Charlotte D'Evelyn, "Bede's Death Song," _Modern Language
Notes_, xxx, 31.]

      Before leaving this life     there lives no one
      Of men of wisdom     who will not need
      To consider and judge,     ere he sets on his journey,
      What his soul shall be granted     of good or evil--
5     After his day of death     what doom he shall meet.

1. Bede, the author of the _Ecclesiastical History of England_, was the
   greatest figure in the English church of the seventh and eighth

                         SELECTIONS FROM GENESIS

[The poem readily divides itself into two parts: _Genesis A_, the bulk of
the poem, and _Genesis B_, lines 235-853. The latter is a translation
from the Old Saxon. The passage here translated is from _Genesis A_.

                                GENESIS A

Critical edition of _Genesis A_: F. Holthausen, _Die ältere Genesis_,
Heidelberg, 1914.

Translation: C. W. Kennedy, _The Cædmon Poems_, New York, 1916, p. 7.

Partial translation: W. F. H. Bosanquet, _The Fall of Man or Paradise
Lost of Cædmon_, London, 1869.

Date and place: Early eighth century; Northern England. The author was
obviously acquainted with _Beowulf_.

Source: Vulgate Bible; first twenty-two chapters.]

                          The Offering of Isaac

2845  Then the powerful King     put to the test
      His trusted servant;     tried him sorely
      To learn if his love     was lasting and certain.
      With strongest words     he sternly said to him:
        "Hear me and hasten     hence, O Abraham.
2850  As thou leavest, lead     along with thee
      Thy own child Isaac!     As an offering to me
      Thyself shalt sacrifice     thy son with thy hands.
      When thy steps have struggled     up the steep hill-side,
      To the height of the land     which from here I shall show you--
2855  When thine own feet have climbed,     there an altar erect me,
      Build a fire for thy son;     and thyself shalt kill him
      With the edge of the sword     as a sacrifice to me;
      Let the black flame burn     the body of that dear one."
        He delayed not his going,     but began at once
2860  To prepare for departure:     he was compelled to obey
      The angel of the Lord,     and he loved his God.
      And then the faultless     father Abraham
      Gave up his night's rest;     he by no means failed
      To obey the Lord's bidding,     but the blessed man
2865  Girded his gray sword,     God's spirit he showed
      That he bore in his breast.     His beasts then he fed,
      This aged giver of gold.     To go on the journey
      Two young men he summoned:     his son made the third;
      He himself was the fourth.     He set forward eagerly
2870  From his own home     and Isaac with him,
      The child ungrown,     as charged by his God.
      Then he hurried ahead     and hastened forth
      Along the paths     that the Lord had pointed,
      The way through the waste;     till the wondrous bright
2875  Dawn of the third day     over the deep water
      Arose in radiance.     Then the righteous man
      Saw the hill-tops rise     high around him,
      As the holy Ruler     of heaven had shown him.
        Then Abraham said     to his serving-men:
2880  "O men of mine,     remain here now
      Quietly in this place!     We shall quickly return
      When we two have performed     the task before us
      Which the Sovereign of souls     has assigned us to do."
        The old man ascended     with his own son
2885  To the place which the Lord     had appointed for them,
      Went through the wealds;     the wood Isaac carried--
      His father the fire and the sword.     Then first inquired
      The boy young in winters,     in these words of Abraham:
        "Fire and sword, my father,     we find here ready:
2890  Where is the glorious offering     which to God on the altar
      Thou thinkest to bring     and burn as a sacrifice?"
        Abraham answered     (he had only one thing
      That he wished to perform,     the will of the Father):
      "The Sovereign of all     himself shall find it,
2895  As the Lord of men     shall believe to be meet."
      Up the steep hill struggled     the stout-hearted man,
      Leading the child     as the Lord had charged,
      Till climbing he came     to the crest of the height,
      To the place appointed     by the powerful Lord,
2900  Following the commands     of his faithful Master.
        He loaded the altar     and lighted the fire,
      And fettered fast     the feet and hands
      Of his beloved son     and lifted upon it
      The youthful Isaac,     and instantly grasped
2905  The sword by the hilt;     his son he would kill
      With his hands as he promised     and pour on the fire
      The gore of his kinsman.     --Then God's servant,
      An angel of the Lord,     to Abraham loudly
      Spoke with words.     He awaited in quiet
2910  The behests from on high     and he hailed the angel.
        Then forthwith spoke     from the spacious heavens
      The messenger of God,     with gracious words:
        "Burn not thy boy,     O blessed Abraham,
      Lift up the lad     alive from the altar;
2915  The God of Glory     grants him his life!
      O man of the Hebrews,     as meed for thy obedience,
      Through the holy hand     of heaven's King,
      Thyself shall receive     a sacred reward,
      A liberal gift:     the Lord of Glory
2920  Shall favor thee with fortune;     his friendship shall be
      More sacred than thy son     himself to thee."
        The altar still burned.     Abraham was blessed
      By the King of mankind,     the kinsman of Lot,
      With the grace of God,     since he gave his son,
2925  Isaac, alive.     Then the aged man looked
      Around over his shoulder,     and a ram he saw
      Not far away     fastened alone
      In a bramble bush--     Haran's brother saw it.
      Then Abraham seized it     and set it on the altar
2930  In eager haste     for his own son.
      With his sword he smote it;     as a sacrifice he adorned
      The reeking altar     with the ram's hot blood,
      Gave to his God     this gift and thanked him
      For all of the favors     that before and after
2935  The Lord had allowed him     in his loving grace.

1. This selection is based directly on the biblical account of the
   offering of Isaac. The clearness with which the picture is visualized
   by the poet, and the fine restraint in the telling of the dramatic
   incident make this passage a fitting close for the paraphrase of

2928. _Haran_, the brother of Abraham, is mentioned in Genesis, 11:26,

                         SELECTIONS FROM EXODUS

[Critical edition: Francis A. Blackburn, _Exodus and Daniel_, Boston and
London, 1907, Belles-Lettres Series.

Translation: Kennedy, _The Cædmon Poems_, p. 99.

There can be no doubt that both _Exodus_ and _Daniel_ are by different
hands from _Genesis A_ or _Genesis B_, and they are themselves by
different authors.]

                       The Crossing of the Red Sea

      When these words had been uttered     the army arose;
300   Still stood the sea     for the staunch warriors.
      The cohorts lifted     their linden-shields,
      Their signals on the sand.     The sea-wall mounted,
      Stood upright over     Israel's legion,
      For day's time;     then the doughty band
305   Was of one mind.     The wall of the sea-streams
      Held them unharmed     in its hollow embrace.
      They spurned not the speech     nor despised its teaching,
      As the wise man ended     his words of exhorting
      And the noise diminished     and mingled with the sound.
310     Then the fourth tribe     traveled foremost,
      Went into the waves,     the warriors in a band
      Over the green ground;     the goodly Jewish troop
      Struggled alone     over the strange path
      Before their kinsmen.     So the King of heaven
315   For that day's work     made deep reward,
      He gave them a great     and glorious victory,
      That to them should belong     the leadership
      In the kingdom, and triumph     over their kinsmen and tribesmen.
        When they stepped on the sand,     as a standard and sign
320   A beacon they raised     over the ranks of shields,
      Among the godly group,     a golden lion,
      The boldest of beasts     over the bravest of peoples.
      At the hands of their enemy     no dishonor or shame
      Would they deign to endure     all the days of their life,
325   While boldly in battle     they might brandish their shields
      Against any people.     The awful conflict,
      The fight was at the front,     furious soldiers
      Wielding their weapons,     warriors fearless,
      And bloody wounds,     and wild battle-rushes,
330   The jostling of helmets     where the Jews advanced.
        Marching after the army     were the eager seamen,
      The sons of Reuben;     raising their shields
      The sea-vikings bore them     over the salt waves,
      A multitude of men;     a mighty throng
335   Went bravely forth.     The birthright of Reuben
      Was forfeited by his sins,     so that he followed after
      In his comrade's track.     In the tribes of the Hebrews,
      The blessings of the birthright     his brother enjoyed,
      His riches and rank;     yet Reuben was brave.
340     Following him came     the folk in crowds,
      The sons of Simeon     in swarming bands,
      The third great host.     With hoisted banners
      Over the watery path     the war-troop pressed
      Dewy under their shafts.     When daylight shone
345   Over the brink of the sea,     --the beacon of God,
      The bright morning,--     the battle-lined marched.
      Each of the tribes     traveled in order.
      At the head of the helmeted     host was one man,
      Mightiest in majesty     and most renowned;
350   He led forward the folk     as they followed the cloud,
      By tribes and by troops.     Each truly knew
      The right of rank     as arranged by Moses,
      Every man's order.     They were all from one father.
      Their sacred sire     received his land-right,
355   Wise in counsel,     well-loved by his kinsmen.
      He gave birth to a brave,     bold-hearted race,
      The sage patriarch     to a sacred people,
      To the Children of Israel,     the chosen of God.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
        The folk were affrighted     with fear of the ocean;
      Sad were their souls.     The sea threatened death;
      The sides of the hill     were soaked with blood;
450   Gory was the flood,     confusion on the waves,
      The water full of weapons;     the wave-mist arose.
      The Egyptians turned     and journeyed backward;
      They fled in fright;     fear overtook them;
      Hurrying in haste     their homes they sought;
455   Their pride had fallen;     they felt sweep over them
      The welling waters;     not one returned
      Of the host to their homes,     but behind they were locked
      By Wyrd in the waves.     Where once was the path
      The breakers beat     and bore down the army.
460   The stream stood up;     the storm arose
      High to the heavens,     the harshest of noises.
      Dark grew the clouds.     The doomed ones cried
      With fated voices;     the foam became bloody.
      The sea-walls were scattered     and the skies were lashed
465   With the direst of deaths;     the daring ones were slain,
      The princes in their pomp--     they were past all help
      In the edge of the ocean.     Their armor shone
      High over the hosts.     Over the haughty ones poured
      The stream in its strength.     Destroyed were the troop
470   And fettered fast;     they could find no escape.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
                           The Egyptians were
      For that day's work     deeply punished,
      Because not any of the army     ever came home;
      Of that mighty multitude     there remained not a one
510   Who could tell the tale     of the traveling forth
      Who could announce in the cities     the sorrowful news
      To the wives of the warriors     of the woeful disaster.
      But the sea-death swallowed     the sinful men,
      And their messengers too,     in the midst of their power,
515   And destroyed their pride,     for they strove against God.

299. Moses has just finished telling the children of Israel that he has
   been able to make the sea part its waves so that they may walk across

307, 308. This passage is obscure in meaning.

310. The tribe of Judah lead the way. They are followed by the tribe of
   Reuben (v. 331) and then by the tribe of Simeon (v. 340). This order
   is perhaps taken from Numbers, chapter ii.

331. The Children of Israel are called "sailors" in the poem, but no
   satisfactory explanation has been made of the usage.

335, 336. See Genesis 49:4.

354. This refers to God's promise to Abraham. See Genesis 15:18; 22:17.

                       2. CYNEWULF AND HIS SCHOOL

[Aside from Cædmon's Hymn, the only Old English poems whose author we
know are four bearing the name of Cynewulf, _Christ_, _Juliana_, _Elene_,
and _The Fates of the Apostles_. In these he signs his name by means of
runes inserted in the manuscript. These runes, which are at once letters
of the alphabet and words, are made to fit into the context. They are
[image: Anglo-Saxon runes: cen,yr,nyd,eoh,wynn,ur,lagu,feoh]

Several other poems have been ascribed to Cynewulf, especially _Andreas_,
_The Dream of the Rood_, _Guthlac_, _The Phoenix_, and _Judith_. Except
for internal evidence there is no proof of the authorship of these poems.
The Riddles were formerly thought to be by Cynewulf, but recent scholars
have, with one notable exception, abandoned that theory.

Many reconstructions of the life of Cynewulf have been undertaken. The
most reasonable theories seem to be that he was Cynewulf, Bishop of
Lindisfarne, who died about 781; or that he was a priest, Cynewulf, who
executed a decree in 803. There is no real proof that either of these men
was the poet. For a good discussion of the Cynewulf question, see Strunk,
_Juliana_, pp. xvii-xix, and Kennedy, _The Poems of Cynewulf_,

Of the signed poems of Cynewulf, selections are here given from _Christ_
and _Elene_.]

                              _a_. CYNEWULF

                       SELECTIONS FROM THE CHRIST

[Critical edition: Cook, _The Christ of Cynewulf_, Boston, 1900. Text and
translation: Gollancz, _Cynewulf's Christ_, London, 1892. Translation:
Kennedy, _The Poems of Cynewulf_, pp. 153, ff. The poem consists of three

    1. Advent, largely from the Roman breviary.
    2. Ascension, taken from an Ascension sermon of Pope Gregory.
    3. Second coming of Christ, taken from an alphabetical Latin hymn on
          the Last Judgment, quoted by Bede.

Is there enough unity to make us consider it one work? Cook thinks we
can. The differences in the language and meter are not so striking as to
make it unlikely. The great objection to it is that the runes occur at
the end of the second part, which is not far from the middle of the
entire poem. In the three other poems signed by Cynewulf the runes occur
near the end.]

                            1. Hymn to Christ

      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     to the King.
      Thou art the wall-stone     that the workmen of old
      Rejected from the work.     Well it befits thee
      To become the head     of the kingly hall,
5     To join in one     the giant walls
      In thy fast embrace,     the flint unbroken;
      That through all the earth     every eye may see
      And marvel evermore,     O mighty Prince,
      Declare thy accomplishments     through the craft of thy hand,
10    Truth-fast, triumphant,     and untorn from its place
      Leave wall against wall.     For the work it is needful
      That the Craftsman should come     and the King himself
      And raise that roof     that lies ruined and decayed,
      Fallen from its frame.     He formed that body,
15    The Lord of life,     and its limbs of clay,
      And shall free from foemen     the frightened in heart,
      The downcast band,     as he did full oft.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

                          2. Hymn to Jerusalem

50    O vision of happiness!     holy Jerusalem!
      Fairest of king's thrones!     fortress of Christ!
      The home-seat of angels,     where the holy alone,
      The souls of the righteous,     shall find rest unceasing,
      Exulting in triumph.     No trace of sin
55    Shall be made manifest     in that mansion of bliss,
      But all faults shall flee     afar from thee,
      All crime and conflict;     thou art covered with glory
      Of highest hope,     as thy holy name showest.
        Cast now thy gaze     on the glorious creation,
60    How around thee the roomy     roof of heaven
      Looks on all sides,     how the Lord of Hosts
      Seeks thee in his course     and comes himself,
      And adopts thee to dwell in,     as in days agone
      In words of wisdom     the wise men said,
65    Proclaimed Christ's birth     as a comfort to thee,
      Thou choicest of cities!     Now the child has come,
      Born to make worthless     the work of the Hebrews.
      He bringeth thee bliss;     thy bonds he unlooseth;
      He striveth for the stricken;     understandeth their
70    How woeful men     must wait upon mercy.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

1. This poem begins in the fragmentary manner indicated by the

2. See Psalms 118:22.

                           3. Joseph and Mary

      [_Mary_] "O my Joseph,     O Jacob's son,
165   Kinsman of David,     the king renowned,
      Dost thou plan to turn     from thy plighted troth,
      And leave my love?"
                           [_Joseph_] "Alas, full soon
      I am oppressed with grief     and deprived of honor.
      I have borne for thee     many bitter words,
170   Insulting slurs     and sorrowful taunts,
      Scathing abuses,     and they scorn me now
      In wrathful tones.     My tears I shall pour
      In sadness of soul.     My sorrowful heart,
      My grief full easily     our God may heal,
175   And not leave me forlorn.     Alas, young damsel,
      Mary maiden!"
                           [_Mary_] "Why bemoanest thou
      And bitterly weepest?     No blame in thee,
      Nor any fault     have I ever found
      For wicked works,     and this word thou speakest
180   As if thou thyself     with sinful deeds
      And faults wert filled."
                           [_Joseph_] "Far too much grief
      Thy conception has caused me     to suffer in shame.
      How can I bear     their bitter taunts
      Or ever make answer     to my angry foes
185   Who wish me woe?     'Tis widely known
      That I took from the glorious     temple of God
      A beautiful virgin     of virtue unblemished,
      The chastest of maidens,     but a change has now come,
      Though I know not the cause.     Nothing avails me--
190   To speak or to be silent.     If I say the truth,
      Then the daughter of David     shall die for her crime,
      Struck down with stones;     yet still it were harder
      To conceal the sin;     forsworn forever
      I should live my life     loathed by all people,
195   By men reviled."     Then the maid revealed
      The work of wonder,     and these words she spoke:
        "Truly I say,     by the Son of the Creator
      The Savior of souls,     the Son of God,
      I tell thee in truth     that the time has not been
200   That the embrace of a mortal     man I have known
      On all the earth;     but early in life
      This grace was granted me,     that Gabriel came,
      The high angel of heaven,     and hailed me in greeting,
      In truthful speech:     that the Spirit of heaven
      With his light should illumine me,     that life's Glory by me
205   Should be borne, the bright Son,     the blessed Child of God,
      Of the kingly Creator.     I am become now his temple,
      Unspoiled and spotless;     the Spirit of comfort
      Hath his dwelling in me.     Endure now no longer
      Sorrow and sadness,     and say eternal thanks
210   To the mighty Son of the Maker,     that his mother I have become,
      Though a maid I remain,     and in men's opinion
      Thou art famed as his father,     if fulfillment should come
      Of the truth that the Prophets     foretold of his coming."
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

164. This passage is especially interesting in being one of the first
   appearances of the dialogue form in old English. Some scholars have
   gone so far as to think that we have here the germ from which English
   drama comes, but there does not seem reason to believe that the scene
   ever received any kind of dramatic representation.

                             4. Rune Passage

      Not ever on earth     need any man
780   Have dread of the darts     of the devil's race,
      Of the fighting of the fiends,     whose defense is in God,
      The just Lord of Hosts.     The judgment is nigh
      When each without fail     shall find his reward,
      Of weal or of woe,     for his work on the earth
785   During the time of his life.     'Tis told us in books,
      How from on high     the humble one came,
      The Treasure-hoard of honor,     to the earth below
      In the Virgin's womb,     the valiant Son of God,
      Holy from on high.     I hope in truth
790   And also dread     the doom far sterner,
      When Christ and his angels     shall come again,
      Since I kept not closely     the counsels my Savior
      Bade in his books.     I shall bear therefore
      To see the work of sin     (it shall certainly be)
795   When many shall be led     to meet their doom,
      To receive justice     in the sight of their Judge.
        Then the _C_ourageous shall tremble,     shall attend the King,
      The Righteous Ruler,     when his wrath he speaks
      To the worldlings who weakly     his warning have heeded
800   While their _Y_earning and _N_eed     even yet could have easily
      Found a comfort.     There, cowering in fear,
      Many wearily shall wait     on the wide plain
      What doom shall be dealt them     for the deeds of their life,
      Of angry penalties.     Departed hath _W_insomeness,
805   The ornaments of earth.     It _U_sed to be true
      That long our _L_ife-joys     were locked in the sea-streams,
      Our _F_ortunes on earth;     in the fire shall our treasure
      Burn in the blast;     brightly shall mount,
      The red flame, raging     and wrathfully striding
810   Over the wide world;     wasted shall be the plains;
      The castles shall crumble;     then shall climb the swift fire,
      The greediest of guests,     grimly and ruthlessly
      Eat the ancient treasure     that of old men possessed
      While still on the earth     was their strength and their pride.
815   Hence I strive to instruct     each steadfast man
      That he be cautious     in the care of his soul,
      And not pour it forth in pride     in that portion of days
      That the Lord allows him     to live in the world,
      While the soul abideth     safe in the body,
820   In that friendly home.     It behooveth each man
      To bethink him deeply     in the days of his life
      How meekly and mildly     the mighty Lord
      Came of old to us     by an angel's word;
      Yet grim shall he be     when again he cometh,
825   Harsh and righteous.     Then the heavens shall rock,
      And the measureless ends     of the mighty earth
      Shall tremble in terror.     The triumphant King
      Shall avenge their vain     and vicious lives,
      Their loathsome wickedness.     Long shall they wallow
830   With heavy hearts     in the heat of the fire bath,
      Suffer for their sins     in its surging flame.

779. The passage following contains the runes from which we obtain the
   name Cynewulf. The runes are at once a word and a letter, in the same
   way that our letter _I_ is also the symbol for the first personal
   pronoun. In the places where the meaning fits, Cynewulf has written
   the runes that spell his name.

804. In this passage the runes omit the _e_ of the poet's name, although
   it is found in the other runic passages.

                        SELECTIONS FROM THE ELENE

[Critical edition: Holthausen, _Kynewulf's Elene_, Heidelberg, 1905.

Translation: Kennedy, _The Poems of Cynewulf_, pp. 87 ff.; Kemble, _The
Poetry of the Codex Vercelliensis_, with an English translation, London,

Source: _Acta Sanctorum_ for May 4.

The first passage describes the vision of the cross by the Emperor
Constantine, the second the finding of the true cross by his mother,
Helena, in Old English, "Elene."

The poem is usually regarded as Cynewulf's masterpiece.]

                       1. The Vision of the Cross

      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     Heart-care oppressed
      The Roman ruler;     of his realm he despaired;
      He was lacking in fighters;     too few were his warriors,
      His close comrades     to conquer in battle
65    Their eager enemy.     The army encamped,
      Earls about their ætheling,     at the edge of the stream,
      Where they spread their tents     for the space of the
      After first they had found     their foes approach.
        To Cæsar himself     in his sleep there came
70    A dream as he lay     with his doughty men,
      To the valiant king     a vision appeared:
      It seemed that he saw     a soldier bright,
      Glorious and gleaming     in the guise of a man
      More fair of form     than before or after
75    He had seen under the skies.     From his sleep he awoke,
      Hastily donned his helmet.     The herald straightway,
      The resplendent messenger     spoke unto him,
      Named him by name     --the night vanished away:
        "O Constantine,     the King of angels bids--
80    The Master Almighty,     to make thee a compact,
      The Lord of the faithful.     No fear shouldst thou have,
      Though foreign foes     bring frightful war,
      And horrors unheard of!     To heaven now look,
      To the Guardian of glory:     Thou shalt gain there support,
85    The sign of victory!"
                           Soon was he ready
      To obey the holy bidding,     and unbound his heart,
      And gazed on high,     as the herald had bade him,
      The princely Peace-weaver.     With precious jewels adorned,
      He saw the radiant rood     over the roof of clouds,
90    Gorgeous with gold     and gleaming gems.
      The brilliant beam     bore these letters
      Shining with light:     "Thou shalt with this sign
      Overcome and conquer     in thy crying need
      The fearsome foe."     Then faded the light,
95    And joining the herald,     journeyed on high
      Unto the clean-hearted company.     The king was the blither,
      And suffered in his soul     less sorrow and anguish,
      The valiant victor,     through the vision fair.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

92. This is a translation of the famous Latin motto _in hoc signo

                      2. The Discovery of the Cross

      Striving in strength     and with steadfast heart,
830   He began to delve     for the glorious tree
      Under its covering of turf,     till at twenty feet
      Below the surface     concealed he found
      Shut out from sight,     under the shelving cliff,
      In the chasm of darkness     --three crosses he found,
      In their gloomy grave     together he found them,--
835   Grimy all over,     as in ancient days
      The unrighteous race     had wrapped them in earth,
      The sinful Jews.     Against the Son of God
      They showed their hate     as they should not have done
      Had they not harkened     to the behests of the devil.
840     Then blithe was his heart     and blissful within him.
      His soul was inspired     by the sacred tree.
      His heart was emboldened     when he beheld that beacon
      Holy and deep hidden.     With his hands he seized
      The radiant cross of heaven,     and with his host he raised it
845   From its grave in the earth.     The guests from afar
      And princes and æthelings     went all to the town.
        In her sight they set     the three sacred trees,
      The proud valiant men,     plain to be seen
      Before Elene's knee.     And now was joy
850   In the heart of the Queen;     she inquired of the men
      On which of the crosses     the crucified Lord,
      The heavenly Hope-giver,     hung in pain:
        "Lo! we have heard     from the holy books
      It told for a truth     that two of them
855   Suffered with him     and himself was the third
      On the hallowed tree.     The heavens were darkened
      In that terrible time.     Tell, if you can,
      On which of these roods     the Ruler of angels,
      The Savior of men     suffered his death.
860     In no wise could Judas     --for he knew not at all--
      Clearly reveal     that victory tree
      On which the Lord     was lifted high,
      The son of God,     but they set, by his order,
      In the very middle     of the mighty city
865   The towering trees     to tarry there,
      Till the Almighty King     should manifest clearly
      Before the multitude the might     of that marvelous rood.
        The assembly sat,     their song uplifted;
      They mused in their minds     on the mystery trees
870   Until the ninth hour     when new delight grew
      Through a marvelous deed.     --There a multitude came,
      Of folk not a little,     and, lifted among them,
      There was borne on a bier     by brave-hearted men
      Nigh to the spot     --it was the ninth hour--
875   A lifeless youth.     Then was lifted the heart
      Of Judas in great     rejoicing and gladness.
      He commanded them to set     the soulless man,
      With life cut off,     the corpse on the earth,
      Bereft of life,     and there was raised aloft
880   By the proclaimer of justice,     the crafty of heart,
      The trusty in counsel,     two of the crosses
      Over that house of death.     It was dead as before
      The body fast to the bier:     about the chill limbs
      Was grievous doom.     Then began the third cross
885   To be lifted aloft.     There lay the body,
      Until above him was reared     the rood of the Lord,
      The holy cross     of heaven's King,
      The sign of salvation.     He soon arose
      With spirit regained,     and again were joined
890   Body and soul.     Unbounded was the praise
      And fair of the folk.     The Father they thanked
      And the true and sacred     Son of the Almighty
      With gracious words.     --Glory and praise be his
      Always without end     from every creature.

829. After Constantine has accepted Christianity, his mother Helena
   (Elene) undertakes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the purpose of
   discovering the true cross. After many failures she finally learns
   where it is hidden. The passage here translated relates the discovery
   of the cross.


                          THE DREAM OF THE ROOD

[Critical edition: Cook, _The Dream of the Rood_, Oxford, 1905.

Author: "Making all due allowance, then, for the weakness of certain
arguments both pro and con, the balance of probability seems to incline
decidedly in favor of Cynewulfian authorship."--Cook.

Translations: English Prose: Kemble. Verse: Stephens, 1866; Morley, 1888;
Miss Iddings, 1902.

The poem has much in common with _Elene_, especially the intimate
self-analysis. Portions of it are on the Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire.
It is claimed as Cynewulf's, but there is nothing to indicate this except
the beauty of style, which has caused it to be called "the choicest
blossom of Old English Christian poetry."]

      Lo, I shall tell you     the truest of visions,
      A dream that I dreamt     in the dead of night
      While people reposed     in peaceful sleep.
      I seemed to see     the sacred tree
5     Lifted on high     in a halo of light,
      The brightest of beams;     that beacon was wholly
      Gorgeous with gold;     glorious gems stood
      Fair at the foot;     and five were assembled,
      At the crossing of the arms.     The angels of God looked on,
10    Fair through the firmament.     It was truly no foul sinner's
      For beholding his sufferings     were the holy spirits,
      The men of the earth     and all of creation.
      Wondrous was that victory-wood,     and I wounded and stained
      With sorrows and sins.     I saw the tree of glory
15    Blessed and bright     in brilliant adornments,
      Made joyous with jewels.     Gems on all sides
      Full rarely enriched     the rood of the Savior.
        Through the sight of that cross     I came to perceive
      Its stiff struggle of old,     when it started first
20    To bleed on the right side.     I was broken and cast down with
      The fair sight inspired me with fear.     Before me the moving
      Changed its clothing and color.     At times it was covered with
      Fearful and grimy with gore.     At times with gold 'twas adorned.
      Then I lay and looked     for a long time
25    And saw the Savior's     sorrowful tree
      Until I heard it     lift high its voice.
      The worthiest of the wood-race     formed words and spoke:
        "It was ages ago     --I shall always remember--
      When first I was felled     at the forest's edge,
30    My strong trunk stricken.     Then strange enemies took me
      And fashioned my frame to a cross;     and their felons I raised on
      On their backs and shoulders they bore me     to the brow of the
              lofty hill.
      There the hated ones solidly set me.     I saw there the Lord of
      Struggling forward with courage     to climb my sturdy trunk.
35    I dared not then oppose     the purpose of the Lord,
      So I bent not nor broke     when there burst forth a trembling
      From the ends of the earth.     Easily might I
      Destroy the murderers,     but I stood unmoved.
        "The Young Hero unclothed him     --it was the holy God--
40    Strong and steadfast;     he stepped to the high gallows,
      Not fearing the look of the fiends,     and there he freed mankind.
      At his blessed embrace I trembled,     but bow to the earth I dared
      Or forward to fall to the ground,     but fast and true I endured.
      As a rood I was raised up;     a royal King I bore,
45    The Lord of heavenly legions.     I allowed myself never to bend.
      Dark nails through me they drove;     so that dastardly scars are
              upon me,
      Wounds wide open;     but not one of them dared I to harm.
      They cursed and reviled us together.     I was covered all over
              with blood,
      That flowed from the Savior's side     when his soul had left the
50    Sorrowful the sights     I have seen on that hill,
      Grim-visaged grief:     the God of mankind I saw
      And his frightful death.     The forces of darkness
      Covered with clouds     the corpse of the Lord,
      The shining radiance;     the shadows darkened
55    Under the cover of clouds.     Creation all wept,
      The king's fall bewailed.     Christ was on the rood.
        Finally from afar     came faithful comrades
      To the Savior's side,     and I saw it all.
      Bitter the grief that I bore,     but I bowed me low to their
60    My travail was grievous and sore.     They took then God Almighty,
      From loathsome torment they lifted him.     The warriors left me
      To stand stained with blood.     I was stricken and wounded with
      Limb-weary they laid him there,     and at their Lord's head they
      They beheld there the Ruler of heaven;     and they halted a while
              to rest,
65    Tired after the terrible struggle.     A tomb then they began to
      His friends in sight of his foes.     Of the fairest of stone they
              built it,
      And set their Savior upon it.     A sorrowful dirge they chanted,
      Lamented their Master at evening,     when they made their journey
      Tired from their loved Lord's side.     And they left him with the
70    We crosses stood there     streaming with blood,
      And waited long     after the wailing ceased
      Of the brave company.     The body grew cold,
      The most precious of corpses.     Then they pulled us down,
      All to the earth     --an awful fate!
75    They buried us low in a pit.     But the loved disciples of Christ,
      His faithful friends made search     and found me and brought me to
      And gorgeously decked me     with gold and with silver.
        "Now mayst thou learn,     my beloved friend,
      That the work of the wicked     I have worthily borne,
80    The most trying of torments.     The time is now come
      When through the wide world     I am worshipped and honored,
      That all manner of men,     and the mighty creation,
      Hold sacred this sign.     On me the Son of God
      Death-pangs endured.     Hence, dauntless in glory,
85    I rise high under heaven,     and hold out salvation
      To each and to all     who have awe in my presence.
        "Long ago I was the greatest     and most grievous of torments,
      Most painful of punishments,     till I pointed aright
      The road of life     for the race of men.
90      "Lo, a glory was given     by the God of Creation
      To the worthless wood     --by the Warden of heaven--
      Just as Mary, his mother,     the maiden blessed,
      Received grace and glory     from God Almighty,
      And homage and worship     over other women.
95      "And now I bid thee,     my best of comrades,
      That thou reveal     this vision to men.
      Tell them I am truly     the tree of glory,
      That the Savior sorrowed     and suffered upon me
      For the race of men     and its many sins,
100   And the ancient evil     that Adam wrought.
        "He there tasted of death;     but in triumph he rose,
      The Lord in his might     and gave life unto men.
      Then he ascended to heaven,     and hither again
      Shall the Savior descend     to seek mankind
105   On the day of doom,     the dreaded Ruler
      Of highest heaven,     with his host of angels.
      Then will he adjudge     with justice and firmness
      Rewards to the worthy     whose works have deserved them,
      Who loyally lived     their lives on the earth.
110   Then a feeling of fear     shall fill every heart
      For the warning they had     in the words of their Master:
      He shall demand of many     where the man may be found
      To consent for the sake     of his Savior to taste
      The bitter death     as He did on the cross.
115   They are filled with fear     and few of them think
      What words they shall speak     in response to Christ.
      Then no feeling of fright     or fear need he have
      Who bears on his heart     the brightest of tokens,
      But there shall come to the kingdom     through the cross and its
120   All the souls of the saved     from the sorrows of earth,
      Of the holy who hope     for a home with their Lord."
        Then I adored the cross     with undaunted courage,
      With the warmest zeal,     while I watched alone
      And saw it in secret.     My soul was eager
125   To depart on its path,     but I have passed through many
      An hour of longing.     Through all my life
      I shall seek the sight     of that sacred tree
      Alone more often     than all other men
      And worthily worship it.     My will for this service
130   Is steadfast and sturdy,     and my strength is ever
      In the cross of Christ.     My comrades of old,
      The friends of fortune,     all far from the earth
      Have departed from the world and its pleasures     and have passed
              to the King of Glory,
      And high in the heavens     with the holy God
135   Are living eternally.     And I long for the time
      To arrive at last     when the rood of the Lord,
      Which once so plainly     appeared to my sight,
      Shall summon my soul     from this sorrowful life,
      And bring me to that bourne     where bliss is unending
140   And happiness of heaven,     where the holy saints
      All join in a banquet,     where joy is eternal.
      May He set me where always     in after time
      I shall dwell in glory     with God's chosen ones
      In delights everlasting.     May the Lord be my friend,
145   Who came to earth     and of old on the cross
      Suffered and sorrowed     for the sins of men.
      He broke there our bonds     and bought for us life
      And a heavenly home.     The hearts were now filled
      With blessings and bliss,     which once burned with remorse.
150   To the Son was his journey     successful and joyful
      And crowned with triumph,     when he came with his troops,
      With his gladsome guests     into God's kingdom,
      The Almighty Judge's,     and brought joy to the angels,
      And the host of the holy     who in heaven before
155   Dwelt in glory     when their God arrived,
      The Lord Most High,     at his home at last.

39. The lines that follow appear with some changes on the Ruthwell Cross
   in Dumfriesshire.

44. This and the following line form the basis of an inscription on a
   reliquary containing a cross preserved in the Cathedral at Brussels.


[Critical edition: Cook, _Judith_, Boston, 1904.

Translation: _Hall, Judith, Phoenix and Other Anglo-Saxon Poems._

Manuscript: The same as the one containing _Beowulf_. It was injured by a
fire in 1731. It had been printed by Thwaites in 1698 before the injury.

Authorship and date: The mixture of dialect forms seems to indicate that
a northern original passed through one or more hands and that at least
the last scribe belonged to the late West Saxon period. Cook thinks that
it is not earlier than about 825 nor later than 937, and that it is
possibly by Cynewulf.

Source: Apocryphal book of Judith.]

                              1. The Feast

      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     She doubted [not] the gifts
      In this wide world.     There worthily she found
      Help at the hands of the Lord,     when she had the highest need,
      Grace from God on high,     that against the greatest of dangers
5     The Lord of Hosts should protect her;     for this the Heavenly
      Graciously granted her wish,     for she had given true faith
      To the holy Ruler of heaven.
                             Holofernes then, I am told,
      Called his warriors to a wine-feast     and a wondrous and glorious
      Banquet prepared.     To this the prince of men
10    Bade the bravest of thanes.     Then with bold haste
      To the powerful prince     came the proud shield-warriors,
      Before the chief of the folk.     That was the fourth day
      Since the gentle Judith,     just in her thoughts,
      Of fairy-like beauty,     was brought to the king.
15    Then they sought the assembly     to sit at the banquet,
      Proud to the wine-pouring,     all his partners in woe,
      Bold burnie-warriors.     Bowls large and deep
      Were borne along the benches;     beakers also and flagons
      Full to the feasters.     Fated they drank it,
20    Renowned shield-knights,     though he knew not their doom,
      The hateful lord of heroes.     Holofernes, the king,
      Bestower of jewels,     took joy in the wine-pouring,
      Howled and hurled forth     a hideous din
      That the folk of the earth     from afar might hear
25    How the stalwart and strong-minded     stormed and bellowed,
      Maddened by mead-drink;     he demanded full oft
      That the brave bench-sitters     should bear themselves well.
      So the hellish demon     through the whole of the day
      Drenched with drink     his dear companions,
30    The cruel gold-king,     till unconscious they lay,
      All drunk his doughty ones,     as if in death they were slain,
      Every good gone from them.

1. Although the fragment begins in the middle of a line, it presents the
   appearance of being practically complete. Certainly, as it stands it
   makes an artistic whole: we begin and end the poem by showing how
   Judith was favored of God. Within a very short space after the opening
   lines we are in the midst of the action: Judith has come from her
   beleaguered city of Bethulia and enchanted Holofernes by her beauty,
   and Holofernes has finished his great feast by summoning her to him.
   All this is put before us in the first 37 lines. The rest of the poem
   is vividly conceived, from the slaying of the Assyrian king to the
   final victory and rejoicing.

                      2. The Slaying of Holofernes

                             He gave then commands
      To serve the hall-sitters     till descending upon them
      Dark night came near.     The ignoble one ordered
35    The blessed maiden,     burdened with jewels,
      Freighted with rings,     to be fetched in all haste
      To his hated bedside.     His behest they performed,
      His corps of retainers     --the commands of their lord,
      Chief of the champions.     Cheerfully they stepped
40    To the royal guest-room,     where full ready they found
      The queenly Judith,     and quickly then
      The goodly knights     began to lead
      The holy maiden     to the high tent,
      Where the rich ruler     rested always,
45    Lay him at night,     loathsome to God,
      Holofernes.     There hung an all-golden
      Radiant fly-net     around the folk-chief's
      Bed embroidered;     so that the baleful one,
      The loathed leader,     might look unhindered
50    On everyone     of the warrior band
      Who entered in,     and on him none
      Of the sons of men,     unless some of his nobles,
      Contrivers of crime,     he called to his presence:
      His barons to bring him advice.     Then they bore to his rest
55    The wisest of women;     went then the strong-hearted band
      To make known to their master     that the maiden of God
      Was brought to his bower.     Then blithe was the chief in his
      The builder of burg-steads;     the bright maiden he planned
      With loathsome filth to defile,     but the Father of heaven knew
60    His purpose, the Prince of goodness     and with power he
              restrained him,
      God, the Wielder of Glory.     Glad then the hateful one
      Went with his riotous     rout of retainers
      Baleful to his bedside,     where his blood should be spilled
      Suddenly in a single night.     Full surely his end approached
65    On earth ungentle,     even as he lived,
      Stern striver for evil,     while still in this world
      He dwelt under the roof of the clouds.     Drunken with wine then
              he fell
      In the midst of his regal rest     so that he recked not of counsel
      In the chamber of his mind;     the champions stepped
70    Out of his presence     and parted in haste,
      The wine-sated warriors     who went with the false one,
      And the evil enemy of man     ushered to bed
      For the last time.
                             Then the Lord's servant
      The mighty hand-maiden,     was mindful in all things
75    How she most easily     from the evil contriver
      His life might snatch     ere the lecherous deceiver,
      The creature crime-laden awoke.     The curly-locked maiden
      Of God then seized     the sword well ground,
      Sharp from the hammers,     and from its sheath drew it
80    With her right hand;     heaven's Guardian she began
      To call by name,     Creator of all
      The dwellers in the world,     and these words she spoke:
        "O Heavenly God,     and Holy Ghost,
      Son of the Almighty,     I will seek from Thee
85    Thy mercy unfailing     to defend me from evil,
      O Holiest Trinity.     Truly for me now
      Full sore is my soul     and sorrowful my heart,
      Tormented with griefs.     Grant me, Lord of the skies,
      Success and soundness of faith,     that with this sword I may
90    Behead this hideous monster.     Heed my prayer for salvation,
      Noble Lord of nations;     never have I had
      More need of thy mercy;     mighty Lord, avenge now
      Bright-minded Bringer of glory,     that I am thus baffled in
      Heated in heart."     Her then the greatest of Judges
95    With dauntless daring inspired,     as he doth ever to all
      The sons of the Spirit     who seek him for help,
      With reason and with right belief.     Then was to the righteous in
      Holy hope renewed;     the heathen man then she took,
      And held by his hair;     with her hands she drew him
100   Shamefully toward her,     and the traitorous deceiver
      Laid as she listed,     most loathsome of men,
      In order that easily     the enemy's body
      She might wield at her will.     The wicked one she slew,
      The curly-locked maiden     with her keen-edged sword,
105   Smote the hateful-hearted one     till she half cut through
      Severing his neck,     so that swooning he lay
      Drunken and death-wounded.     Not dead was he yet,
      Nor lifeless entirely:     the triumphant lady
      More earnestly smote     the second time
110   The heathen hound,     so that his head was thrown
      Forth on the floor;     foul lay the carcass,
      Bereft of a soul;     the spirit went elsewhere
      Under the burning abyss     where abandoned it lay,
      Tied down in torment     till time shall cease,
115   With serpents bewound,     amid woes and tortures,
      All firmly fixed     in the flames of hell,
      When death came upon him.     He durst not hope,
      Enveloped in blackness,     to venture forth ever
      From that dreary hole,     but dwell there he shall
120   Forever and aye     till the end of time,
      In that hideous home     without hope of joy.

52. Here begins a series of extended lines which some critics think are
   intended to lend an air of solemnity to the passage. A study of the
   occurrence of these long lines in this and other poems, such as _The
   Wanderer_, _The Charms_, or _Widsith_, does not seem to bear out this
   contention. Usually these long lines have three accents in each half.
   The rules for the alliteration are the same as for the short verses.

                        3. The Return to Bethulia

      Great was the glory     then gained in the fight
      By Judith at war,     through the will of God,
      The mighty Master,     who permitted her victory.
125   Then the wise-minded maiden     immediately threw
      The heathen warrior's     head so bloody,
      Concealed it in the sack     that her servant had brought--
      The pale-faced woman,     polished in manners--
      Which before she had filled     with food for them both.
130   Then the gory head gave she     to her goodly maid-servant
      To bear to their home,     to her helper she gave it,
      To her junior companion.     Then they journeyed together,
      Both of the women,     bold in their daring,
      The mighty in mind,     the maidens exultant,
135   Till they had wholly escaped     from the host of the enemy,
      And could full clearly     catch the first sight
      Of their sacred city     and see the walls
      Of bright Bethulia.     Then the bracelet-adorned ones,
      Traveling on foot,     went forth in haste,
140   Until they had journeyed,     with joy in their hearts,
      To the wall-gate.
                           The warriors sat
      Unwearied in watching,     the wardens on duty,
      Fast in the fortress,     as the folk erstwhile,
      The grieved ones of mind,     by the maiden were counselled,
145   By the wary Judith,     when she went on her journey,
      The keen-witted woman.     She had come once more,
      Dear to her people,     the prudent in counsel.
      She straightway summoned     certain of the heroes
      From the spacious city     speedily to meet her
150   And allow her to enter     without loss of time
      Through the gate of the wall,     and these words she spoke
      To the victor-tribe:
                           "I may tell to you now
      Noteworthy news,     that you need no longer
      Mourn in your mind,     for the Master is kind to you,
155   The Ruler of nations.     It is known afar
      Around the wide world     that you have won glory;
      Very great victory     is vouchsafed in return
      For all the evils     and ills you have suffered."
        Blithe then became     the burghers within,
160   When they heard how     the Holy Maid spoke
      Over the high wall.     The warriors rejoiced;
      To the gate of the fortress     the folk then hastened,
      Wives with their husbands,     in hordes and in bands,
      In crowds and in companies;     they crushed and thronged
165   Towards the handmaid of God     by hundreds and thousands,
      Old ones and young ones.     All of the men
      In the goodly city     were glad in their hearts
      At the joyous news     that Judith was come
      Again to her home,     and hastily then
170   With humble hearts     the heroes received her.
      Then gave the gold-adorned,     sagacious in mind,
      Command to her comrade,     her co-worker faithful
      The heathen chief's head     to hold forth to the people,
      To the assembly to show     as a sign and a token,
175   All bloody to the burghers,     how in battle they sped.
      To the famed victory-folk     the fair maiden spoke:
        "O proudest of peoples,     princely protectors,
      Gladly now gaze     on the gory face,
      On the hated head     of the heathen warrior,
180   Holofernes,     wholly life-bereft,
      Who most of all men     contrived murder against us,
      The sorest of sorrows,     and sought even yet
      With greater to grind us,     but God would not suffer him
      Longer to live,     that with loathsomest evils
185   The proud one should oppress us;     I deprived him of life
      Through the grace of God.     Now I give commands
      To you citizens bold,     you soldiers brave-hearted,
      Protectors of the people,     to prepare one and all
      Forthwith for the fight.     When first from the east
190     The King of creation,     the kindest of Lords,
      Sends the first beams of light,     bring forth your
      Boards for your breasts     and your burnie-corselets,
      Your bright-hammered helmets     to the hosts of the scathers,
      To fell the folk-leaders,     the fated chieftains,
195   With your fretted swords.     Your foes are all
      Doomed to the death,     and dearly-won glory
      Shall be yours in battle,     as the blessed Creator
      The mighty Master,     through me has made known."

                              4. The Battle

      Then a band of bold knights     busily gathered,
200   Keen men at the conflict;     with courage they stepped forth,
      Bearing banners,     brave-hearted companions,
      And fared to the fight,     forth in right order,
      Heroes under helmets     from the holy city
      At the dawning of day;     dinned forth their shields
205   A loud-voiced alarm.     Now listened in joy
      The lank wolf in the wood     and the wan raven,
      Battle-hungry bird,     both knowing well
      That the gallant people     would give to them soon
      A feast on the fated;     now flew on their track
210   The deadly devourer,     the dewy-winged eagle,
      Singing his war-song,     the swart-coated bird,
      The horned of beak.     Then hurried the warriors,
      Keen for the conflict,     covered with shields,
      With hollow lindens--     they who long had endured
215   The taunts and the tricks     of the treacherous strangers,
      The host of the heathen;     hard was it repaid now
      To all the Assyrians,     every insult revenged,
      At the shock of the shields,     when the shining-armed Hebrews
      Bravely to battle marched     under banners of war
220   To face the foeman.     Forthwith then they
      Sharply shot forth     showers of arrows,
      Bitter battle-adders     from their bows of horn,
      Hurled straight from the string;     stormed and raged loudly
      The dauntless avengers;     darts were sent whizzing
225   Into the hosts of the hardy ones.     Heroes were angry
      The dwellers in the land,     at the dastardly race.
      Strong-hearted they stepped,     stern in their mood;
      On their enemies of old     took awful revenge,
      On their mead-weary foes.     With the might of their hands
230   Their shining swords     from their sheaths they drew forth.
      With the choicest of edges     the champions they smote--
      Furiously felled     the folk of Assyria,
      The spiteful despoilers.     They spared not a one
      Of the hated host,     neither high nor low
235   Of living men     that they might overcome.
        So the kinsmen-companions     at the coming of morning
      Followed the foemen,     fiercely attacking them,
      Till, pressed and in panic,     the proud ones perceived
      That the chief and the champions     of the chosen people
240   With the swing of the sword     swept all before them,
      The wise Hebrew warriors.     Then word they carried
      To the eldest officers     over the camp,
      Ran with the wretched news,     arousing the leaders,
      Fully informed them     of the fearful disaster,
245   Told the merry mead-drinkers     of the morning encounter
      Of the horrible edge-play.     I heard then suddenly
      The slaughter-fated men     from sleep awakened
      And toward the bower-tent     of the baleful chief,
      Holofernes, they hastened:     in hosts they crowded,
250   Thickly they thronged.     One thought had they only,
      Their lasting loyalty     to their lord to show,
      Before in their fury     they fell upon him,
      The host of the Hebrews.     The whole crowd imagined
      That the lord of despoilers     and the spotless lady
255   Together remained     in the gorgeous tent,
      The virtuous virgin     and the vicious deceiver,
      Dreadful and direful;     they dared not, however,
      Awaken the warrior,     not one of the earls,
      Nor be first to find     how had fared through the night
260   The most churlish of chieftains     and the chastest of maidens,
      The pride of the Lord.
                           Now approached in their strength
      The folk of the Hebrews.     They fought remorselessly
      With hard-hammered weapons,     with their hilts requited
      Their strife of long standing,     with stained swords repaid
265   Their ancient enmity;     all of Assyria
      Was subdued and doomed     that day by their work,
      Its pride bowed low.     In panic and fright,
      In terror they stood     around the tent of their chief,
      Moody in mind.     Then the men all together
270   In concert clamored     and cried aloud,
      Ungracious to God,     and gritted their teeth,
      Grinding them in their grief.     Then was their glory at an end,
      Their noble deeds and daring hopes.     Then they deemed it wise
      To summon their lord from his sleep,     but success was denied
275     A loyal liegeman,     --long had he wavered--
      Desperately dared     the door to enter,
      Ventured into the pavilion;     violent need drove him.
      On the bed then he found,     in frightful state lying,
      His gold-giver ghastly;     gone was his spirit,
280   No life in him lingered.     The liegeman straight fell.
      Trembling with terror,     he tore at his hair,
      He clawed at his clothes;     he clamored despairing,
      And to the waiting warriors     these words he said,
      As they stood outside     in sadness and fear:
285     "Here is made manifest     our imminent doom,
      Is clearly betokened     that the time is near,
      Pressing upon us     with perils and woes,
      When we lose our lives,     and lie defeated
      By the hostile host;     here hewn by the sword,
290   Our lord is beheaded."     With heavy spirits
      They threw their weapons away,     and weary in heart,
      Scattered in flight.

205. The picture of the birds of prey hovering over the battle field is
   one of the constant features of Anglo-Saxon battle poetry. Note its
   occurrence in _The Fight at Finnsburg_ and _The Battle of Brunnanburg_

                             5. The Pursuit

                           Then their foemen pursued them,
      Their grim power growing,     until the greatest part
      Of the cowardly band     they conquered in battle
295   On the field of victory.     Vanquished and sword-hewn,
      They lay at the will of the wolves,     for the watchful and greedy
      Fowls to feed upon.     Then fled the survivors
      From the shields of their foemen.     Sharp on their trail came
      The crowd of the Hebrews,     covered with victory,
300   With honors well-earned;     aid then accorded them,
      Graciously granted them,     God, Lord Almighty.
      They then daringly,     with dripping swords,
      The corps of brave kinsmen,     cut them a war-path
      Through the host of the hated ones;     they hewed with their
305   Sheared through the shield-wall.     They shot fast and furiously,
      Men stirred to strife,     the stalwart Hebrews,
      The thanes, at that time,     thirsting exceedingly,
      Fain for the spear-fight.     Then fell in the dust
      The chiefest part     of the chosen warriors,
310   Of the staunch and the steadfast     Assyrian leaders,
      Of the fated race of the foe.     Few of them came back
      Alive to their own land.
                           The leaders returned
      Over perilous paths     through the piles of the slaughtered,
      Of reeking corpses;     good occasion there was
315   For the landsmen to plunder     their lifeless foes,
      Their ancient enemies     in their armor laid low,
      Of battle spoils bloody,     of beautiful trappings,
      Of bucklers and broad-swords,     of brown war-helmets,
      Of glittering jewels.     Gloriously had been
320   In the folk-field     their foes overcome,
      By home-defenders,     their hated oppressors
      Put to sleep by the sword.     Senseless on the path
      Lay those who in life,     the loathsomest were
      Of the tribes of the living.

                              6. The Spoil

                             Then the landsmen all,
325   Famous of family,     for a full month's time,
      The proud curly-locked ones,     carried and led
      To their glorious city,     gleaming Bethulia,
      Helms and hip-knives,     hoary burnies,
      Men's garments of war,     with gold adorned,
330   With more of jewels     than men of judgment,
      Keen in cunning     might count or estimate;
      So much success     the soldier-troop won,
      Bold under banners     and in battle-strife
      Through the counsel     of the clever Judith,
335   Maiden high-minded.     As meed for her bravery,
      From the field of battle,     the bold-hearted earls
      Brought in as her earnings     the arms of Holofernes,
      His broad sword and bloody helmet,     likewise his breast-armor
      Chased with choice red gold,     all that the chief of the
340   The betrayer, possessed of treasure,     of beautiful trinkets and
      Bracelets and brilliant gems.     All these to the bright maid they
      As a gift to her, ready in judgment.

                              7. The Praise

                             For all this Judith now rendered
      Thanks to the Heavenly Host,     from whom came all her success,
      Greatness and glory on earth     and likewise grace in heaven,
345   Paradise as a victorious prize,     because she had pure belief
      Always in the Almighty;     at the end she had no doubt
      Of the prize she had prayed for long.     For this be praise to
      Glory in ages to come,     who shaped the clouds and the winds,
      Firmament and far-flung realms,     also the fierce-raging streams
350   And the blisses of heaven,     through his blessed mercy.

                               THE PHOENIX

[Text used: Bright's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_. The Latin source is also
printed there.

Alliterative translations: Pancoast and Spaeth, _Early English Poems_;
William Rice Sims, _Modern Language Notes_, vii, 11-13; Hall, _Judith_,
_Phoenix_, etc.

Source: First part, Lactantius, _De Ave Phoenice_; second part,
application of the myth to Christ based on Ambrose and Bede.

In summing up scholarly opinion up to the date of his own writing (1910)
Mr. Kennedy says [_The Poems of Cynewulf_, pp. 58-59]: "In general,
however, it may be said that, while the question does not submit itself
to definite conclusions, the weight of critical opinion leans to the side
of Cynewulf's having written the _Phoenix_, and that the time of its
composition would fall between the _Christ_ and the _Elene_."

The first part of the poem is among the most pleasing pieces of
description in Anglo-Saxon.]


      I have heard that there lies     a land far hence
      A noble realm     well-known unto men,
      In the eastern kingdoms.     That corner of the world
      Is not easy of access     to every tribe
5     On the face of the earth,     but afar it was placed
      By the might of the Maker     from men of sin.
      The plain is beautiful,     a place of blessings,
      And filled with the fairest     fragrance of earth;
      Matchless is that island,     its maker unequalled,
10    Steadfast and strong of heart,     who established that land.
      There are often open     to the eyes of the blessed,
      The happiness of the holy     through heaven's door.
      That is a winsome plain;     the woods are green,
      Far stretching under the stars.     There no storm of rain or snow,
15    Nor breath of frost     nor blast of fire,
      Nor fall of hail     nor hoary frost,
      Nor burning sun     nor bitter cold,
      Nor warm weather     nor winter showers
      Shall work any woe,     but that winsome plain
20    Is wholesome and unharmed;     in that happy land
      Blossoms are blown.     No bold hills nor mountains
      There stand up steep;     no stony cliffs
      Lift high their heads     as here with us,
      Nor dales nor glens     nor darksome gorges,
25    Nor caves nor crags;     nor occur there ever
      Anything rough;     but under radiant skies
      Flourish the fields     in flowers and blossoms.
      This lovely land     lieth higher
      By twelve full fathoms,     as famous writers,
30    As sages say     and set forth in books,
      Than any of the hills     that here with us
      Rise bright and high     under heaven's stars.
      Peaceful is that plain,     pleasant its sunny grove,
      Winsome its woodland glades;     never wanes its increase
35    Nor fails of its fruitage,     but fair stand the trees,
      Ever green as God     had given command;
      In winter and summer     the woodlands cease not
      To be filled with fruit,     and there fades not a leaf;
      Not a blossom is blighted     nor burned by the fire
40    Through all the ages     till the end of time,
      Till the world shall fail.     When the fury of waters
      Over all the earth     in olden times
      Covered the world,     then the wondrous plain,
      Unharmed and unhurt     by the heaving flood,
45    Strongly withstood     and stemmed the waves,
      Blest and uninjured     through the aid of God:
      Thus blooming it abides     till the burning fire
      Of the day of doom     when the death-chambers open
      And the ghastly graves     shall give up their dead.
50    No fearsome foe     is found in that land,
      No sign of distress,     no strife, no weeping,
      Neither age, nor misery,     nor the menace of death,
      Nor failing of life,     nor foemen's approach,
      No sin nor trial     nor tribulation,
55    Nor the want of wealth,     nor work for the pauper,
      No sorrow nor sleep,     nor sick-bed's pain,
      Nor wintry winds,     nor weather's raging,
      Fierce under the heavens;     nor the hard frost
      Causeth discomfort     with cold icicles.
60    Neither hail nor frost     fall from the heavens,
      Nor wintry cloud     nor water descendeth
      Stirred by the storms;     but streams there flow,
      Wondrously welling     and watering the earth,
      Pouring forth     in pleasant fountains;
65    The winsome water     from the wood's middle
      Each month of the year     from the mould of earth,
      Cold as the sea,     coursing through the woods,
      Breaketh abundantly.     It is the bidding of the Lord
      That twelve times yearly     that teeming land
70    The floods shall o'erflow     and fill with joy.
      The groves are green     with gorgeous bloom,
      And fairest of fruits;     there fail not at all
      The holy treasures     of the trees under heaven,
      Nor falleth from the forests     the fallow blossoms,
75    The beauty of the trees;     but, bounteously laden,
      The boughs are hanging     heavy with fruit
      That is always new     in every season.
      In the grassy plain     all green appear,
      Gorgeously garnished     by God in his might,
80    The forests fair.     Nor fails the wood
      In its pleasing prospect;     a perfume holy
      Enchanteth the land.     No change shall it know
      Forever till he ends     his ancient plan,
      His work of wisdom     as he willed it at first.


85    In that wood there dwelleth     a wondrous bird,
      Fearless in flight,     the Phoenix its name.
      Lonely it liveth     its life in this place,
      Doughty of soul;     death never seeks him
      In that well-loved wood     while the world shall endure.
90    He is said to watch     the sun on his way
      And to go to meet     God's bright candle,
      That gleaming gem,     and gladly to note
      When rises in radiance     the most royal of stars
      Up from the east     over the ocean's waves,
95    The famous work of the Father,     fair with adornments,
      The bright sign of God.     Buried are the stars,
      Wandering 'neath the waters     to the western realms;
      They grow dim at dawn,     and the dark night
      Creepeth wanly away.     Then on wings of strength,
100   Proud on his pinions,     he placeth his gaze
      Eagerly on the streams,     and stares over the water
      Where the gleam of heaven     gliding shall come
      O'er the broad ocean     from the bright east.
      So the wondrous bird     at the water's spring
105   Bideth in beauty,     in the brimming streams.
      Twelve times there     the triumphant bird
      Bathes in the brook     ere the beacon appears,
      The candle of heaven,     and the cold stream
      Of the joy-inspiring     springs he tasteth
110   From the icy burn     at every bath.
      Then after his sport     in the springs at dawn,
      Filled full of pride     he flies to a tree
      Where most easily he may     in the eastern realm
      Behold the journey,     when the jewel of heaven
115   Over the shimmering sea,     the shining light,
      Gleameth in glory.     Garnished is the land,
      The world made beautiful,     when the blessed gem
      Illumines the land,     the largest of stars
      In the circle of the seas     sends forth its rays.
120   Soon as the sun     over the salt streams;
      Rises in glory,     then the gray-feathered bird
      Blithely rises     from the beam where he rested;
      Fleet-winged he fareth     and flieth on high;
      Singing and caroling     he soareth to heaven.
125   Fair is the famous     fowl in his bearing
      With joy in his breast,     in bliss exulting;
      He warbles his song     more wondrously sweet
      And choicer of note     than ever child of man
      Heard beneath the heavens     since the High King,
130   The worker of wonders,     the world established,
      Heaven and earth.     His hymn is more beautiful
      And fairer by far     than all forms of song-craft;
      Its singing surpasseth     the sweetest of music.
      To the song can compare     not the sound of trumpet,
135   Nor of horn; nor of harp,     nor of heroes' voices
      On all the earth,     nor of organ's sound,
      Nor singing song     nor swan's fair feathers,
      Nor of any good thing     that God created
      As a joy to men     in this mournful world!
140     Thus he singeth and carolleth     crowned with joy,
      Until the bright sun     in a southern sky
      Sinks to its setting;     then silent he is
      And listeneth and boweth     and bendeth his head,
      Sage in his thoughts,     and thrice he shaketh
145   His feathers for flight;     the fowl is hushed.
      Twelve equal times     he telleth the hours
      Of day and night.     'Tis ordained in this way,
      And willed that the dweller     of the woods should have joy,
      Pleasure in that plain     and its peaceful bliss,
150   Taste delights and life     and the land's enjoyments,
      Till he waiteth a thousand     winters of life,
      The aged warden     of the ancient wood.
        Then the gray-feathered fowl     in the fullness of years
      Is grievously stricken.     From the green earth he fleeth,
155   The favorite of birds,     from the flowering land,
      And beareth his flight     to a far-off realm,
      To a distant domain     where dwelleth no man,
      As his native land.     Then the noble fowl
      Becometh ruler     over the race of birds,
160   Distinguished in their tribe,     and for a time he dwelleth
      With them in the waste.     Then on wings of strength,
      He flieth to the west,     full of winters,
      Swift on his wing;     in swarms then press,
      The birds about their lord;     all long to serve him
165   And to live in loyalty     to their leader brave,
      Until he seeketh out     the Syrian land
      With mighty train.     Then turneth the pure one
      Sharply away,     and in the shade of the forest
      He dwells, in the grove,     in the desert place,
170   Concealed and hid     from the host of men.
      There high on a bough     he abides alone,
      Under heaven's roof,     hard by the roots
      Of a far stretching tree,     which the Phoenix is called
      By the nations of earth     from the name of that bird.
175   The King of glory     has granted that tree,
      The Holy One of heaven,     as I have heard said,
      That it among all     the other trees
      That grow in the glorious     groves of the world
      Bloometh most brightly.     No blight may hurt it,
180   Nor work it harm,     but while the world stands
      It shall be shielded     from the shafts of evil.


      When the wind is at rest     and the weather is fair,
      And the holy gem     of heaven is shining,
      And clouds have flown     and the forces of water
185   Are standing stilled,     and the storms are all
      Assuaged and soothed:     from the south there gleameth
      The warm weather-candle,     welcomed by men.
      In the boughs the bird     then buildeth its home,
      Beginneth its nest;     great is its need
190   To work in haste,     with the highest wisdom,
      That his old age he may give     to gain new life,
      A fair young spirit.     Then far and near,
      He gathers together     to his goodly home
      The winsomest herbs     and the wood's sweet blossoms,
195   The fair perfumes     and fragrant shoots
      Which were placed in the world     by the wondrous Lord,
      By the Father of all,     on the face of the earth,
      As a pleasure forever     to the proud race of men--
      The beauty of blossoms.     There he beareth away
200   To that royal tree     the richest of treasure.
      There the wild fowl     in the waste land
      On the highest beams     buildeth his house,
      On the loftiest limbs,     and he liveth there
      In that upper room;     on all sides he surrounds
205   In that shade unbroken     his body and wings
      With blessed fragrance     and fairest of blooms,
      The most gorgeous of green things     that grow on the earth.
        He awaiteth his journey     when the gem of heaven
      In the summer season,     the sun at its hottest,
210   Shineth over the shade     and shapeth its destiny,
      Gazeth over the world.     Then it groweth warm,
      His house becomes heated     by the heavenly gleam;
      The herbs wax hot;     the house steameth
      With the sweetest of savors;     in the sweltering heat,
215   In the furious flame,     the fowl with his nest
      Is embraced by the bale-fire;     then burning seizeth
      The disheartened one's house;     in hot haste riseth
      The fallow flame,     and the Phoenix it reacheth,
      In fullness of age.     Then the fire eateth,
220   Burneth the body,     while borne is the soul,
      The fated one's spirit,     where flesh and bone
      Shall burn in the blaze.     But it is born anew,
      Attaineth new life     at the time allotted.
      When the ashes again     begin to assemble,
225   To fall in a heap     when the fire is spent,
      To cling in a mass,     then clean becometh
      That bright abode--     burnt by the fire
      The home of the bird.     When the body is cold
      And its frame is shattered     and the fire slumbers
230   In the funeral flame,     then is found the likeness
      Of an apple that newly     in the ashes appeareth,
      And waxeth into a worm     wondrously fair,
      As if out from an egg     it had opened its way,
      Shining from the shell.     In the shade it groweth,
235   Till at first it is formed     like a fledgling eagle,
      A fair young fowl;     then further still
      It increaseth in stature,     till in strength it is like
      To a full-grown eagle,     and after that
      With feathers fair     as at first it was,
240   Brightly blooming.     Then the bird grows strong,
      Regains its brightness     and is born again,
      Sundered from sin,     somewhat as if
      One should fetch in food,     the fruits of the earth,
      Should haul it home     at harvest time,
245   The fairest of corn     ere the frosts shall come
      At the time of reaping,     lest the rain in showers
      Strike down and destroy it;     a stay they have ready
      A feast of food,     when frost and snow
      With their mighty coursing     cover the earth
250   In winter weeds;     the wealth of man
      From those fair fruits     shall flourish again
      Through the nature of grain,     which now in the ground
      Is sown as clear seed;     then the sun's warm rays
      In time of spring     sprouts the life germ,
255   Awakes the world's riches     so that wondrous fruits,
      The treasures of earth,     by their own kind
      Are brought forth again:     that bird changeth likewise,
      Old in his years,     to youth again,
      With fair new flesh;     no food nor meat
260   He eateth on the earth     save only a taste
      Of fine honey-dew     which falleth often
      In the middle of night;     the noble fowl
      Thus feedeth and groweth     till he flieth again
      To his own domain,     to his ancient dwelling.


265   When the bird springs reborn     from its bower of herbs,
      Proud of pinion,     pleased with new life,
      Young and full of grace,     from the ground he then
      Skillfully piles up     the scattered parts
      Of the graceful body,     gathers the bones,
270   Which the funeral fire     aforetime devoured;
      Then brings altogether     the bones and the ashes,
      The remnant of the flames     he arranges anew,
      And carefully covers     that carrion spoil
      With fairest flowers.     Then he fares away,
275   Seeking the sacred     soil of his birthplace.
      With his feet he fastens     to the fire's grim leavings,
      Clasps them in his claws     and his country again,
      The sun-bright seat,     he seeks in joy,
      His own native-land.     All is renewed--
280   His body and feathers,     in the form that was his,
      When placed in the pleasant     plain by his Maker,
      By gracious God.     Together he bringeth
      The bones of his body     which were burned on the pyre,
      Which the funeral flames     before had enveloped,
285   And also the ashes;     then all in a heap
      This bird then burieth     the bones and embers,
      His ashes on the island.     Then his eyes for the first time
      Catch sight of the sun,     see in the heaven
      That flaming gem,     the joy of the firmament
290   Which beams from the east     over the ocean billows.
        Before is that fowl     fair in its plumage,
      Bright colors glow     on its gorgeous breast,
      Behind its head     is a hue of green,
      With brilliant crimson     cunningly blended.
295   The feathers of its tail     are fairly divided:
      Some brown, some flaming,     some beautifully flecked
      With brilliant spots.     At the back, his feathers
      Are gleaming white;     green is his neck
      Both beneath and above,     and the bill shines
300   As glass or a gem;     the jaws glisten
      Within and without.     The eye ball pierces,
      And strongly stares     with a stone-like gaze,
      Like a clear-wrought gem     that is carefully set
      Into a golden goblet     by a goodly smith.
305   Surrounding its neck     like the radiant sun,
      Is the brightest of rings     braided with feathers;
      Its belly is wondrous     with wealth of color,
      Sheer and shining.     A shield extends
      Brilliantly fair     above the back of the fowl.
310   The comely legs     are covered with scales;
      The feet are bright yellow.     The fowl is in beauty
      Peerless, alone,     though like the peacock
      Delightfully wrought,     as the writings relate.
      It is neither slow in movement,     nor sluggish in mien,
315   Nor slothful nor inert     as some birds are,
      Who flap their wings     in weary flight,
      But he is fast and fleet,     and floats through the air,
      Marvelous, winsome,     and wondrously marked.
      Blessed is the God     who gave him that bliss!
320     When at last it leaves     the land, and journeys
      To hunt the fields     of its former home,
      As the fowl flieth     many folk view it.
      It pleases in passing     the people of earth,
      Who are seen assembling     from south and north;
325   They come from the east,     they crowd from the west,
      Faring from afar;     the folk throng to see
      The grace that is given     by God in his mercy
      To this fairest fowl,     which at first received
      From gracious God     the greatest of natures
330   And a beauty unrivalled     in the race of birds.
      Then over the earth     all men marvel
      At the freshness and fairness     and make it famous in writings;
      With their hands they mould it     on the hardest of marble,
      Which through time and tide     tells the multitudes
335   Of the rarity of the flying one.     Then the race of fowls
      On every hand     enter in hosts,
      Surge in the paths,     praise it in song,
      Magnify the stern-hearted one     in mighty strains;
      And so the holy one     they hem in in circles
340   As it flies amain.     The Phoenix is in the midst
      Pressed by their hosts.     The people behold
      And watch with wonder     how the willing bands
      Worship the wanderer,     one after the other,
      Mightily proclaim     and magnify their King,
345   Their beloved Lord.     They lead joyfully
      The noble one home;     but now the wild one
      Flies away fast;     no followers may come
      From the happy host,     when their head takes wing
      Far from this land     to find his home.


350   So the dauntless fowl     after his fiery death
      Happily hastens     to his home again,
      To his beauteous abode.     The birds return,
      Leaving their leader,     with lonely hearts,
      Again to their land;     then their gracious lord
355   Is young in his courts.     The King Almighty,
      God alone knows     its nature by sex,
      Male or female;     no man can tell,
      No living being     save the Lord only
      How wise and wondrous     are the ways of the bird,
360   And the fair decree     for the fowl's creation!
      There the happy one     his home may enjoy,
      With its welling waters     and woodland groves,
      May live in peace     through the passing of winters
      A thousand in number;     then he knows again
365   The ends of his life;     over him is laid
      The funeral fire:     yet he finds life again,
      And wondrously awakened     he waxes in strength.
      He droops not nor dreads     his death therefore,
      The awful agony,     since always he knows
370   That the lap of the flame     brings life afresh,
      Peace after death,     when undaunted once more
      Fully feathered     and formed as a bird
      Out of the ashes     up he can spring,
      Safe under the heavens.     To himself he is both
375   A father and a son,     and finds himself also
      Ever the heir     to his olden life.
      The Almighty Maker     of man has granted
      That though the fire shall fasten     its fetters upon him,
      He is given new life,     and lives again
380   Fashioned with feathers     as aforetime he was.


      So each living man     the life eternal
      Seeks for himself     after sorest cares;
      That through the darksome door     of death he may find
      The goodly grace     of God and enjoy
385   Forever and aye     unending bliss
      As reward for his work--     the wonders of heaven.
      The nature of this fowl     is not unlike
      That of those chosen     as children of God,
      And it shows men a sign     of how sacred joys
390   Granted by God     they may gain in trial--
      Hold beneath the heavens     through his holy grace,
      And abide in rapture     in the realms above.
        We have found that the faithful     Father created
      Man and woman     through his wondrous might.
395   At first in the fairest     fields of his earth
      He set these sons     on a soil unblemished,
      In a pleasant place,     Paradise named,
      Since they lacked no delight     as long as the pair
      Wisely heeded     the Holy word
400   In their new home.     There hatred came,
      The old foe's envy,     who offered them food,
      The fruit of the tree,     which in folly they tried;
      Both ate of the apple     against the order of God,
      Tasted the forbidden.     Then bitter became
405   Their woe after eating     and for their heirs as well--
      For sons and daughters     a sorrowful feast.
      Grievously were punished     their greedy teeth
      For that greatest of guilt;     God's wrath they knew
      And bitter remorse;     hence bearing their crimes,
410   Their sons must suffer     for the sin of their parents
      Against God's commands.     Hence, grieved in soul
      They shall lose the delights     of the land of bliss
      Through envy of the serpent     who deceived our elders
      In direful wise     in days of yore
415   Through his wicked heart,     so that they went far hence
      To the dale of death     to doleful life
      In a sorrowful home.     Hidden from them
      Was the blessed life;     and the blissful plain,
      By the fiend's cunning,     was fastened close
420   For many winters,     till the Maker of wonders,
      The King of mankind,     Comforter of the weary,
      Our only Hope,     hither came down
      To the godly band     and again held it open.


      His advent is likened     by learned writers
425   In their works of wisdom     and words of truth,
      To the flight of that fowl,     when forth he goes
      From his own country     and becometh old,
      Weighed with winters,     weary in mind,
      And finds in wandering     the forest wood
430   Where a bower he builds:     with branches and herbs,
      With rarest of twigs,     he raises his dwelling,
      His nest in the wood.     Great need he hath
      That he gain again     his gladsome youth
      In the flame of fire     that he may find new life,
435   Renew his youth,     and his native home,
      His sunbright seat,     he may seek again
      After his bath of fire.     So abandoned before us
      The first of our parents     their fairest plain,
      Their happy home,     their hope of glory,
440   To fare afar     on a fearful journey,
      Where hostile hands     harshly beset them;
      Evil ones often     injured them sorely.
        Yet many men     marked well the Lord,
      Heeded his behests     in holy customs,
445   In glorious deeds,     so that God, their Redeemer,
      The high Heaven-King     hearkened to them.
      That is the high tree     wherein holy men
      Hide their home     from the harm of their foe
      And know no peril,     neither with poison
450   Nor with treacherous token     in time of evil.
      There God's warrior     works him a nest,
      With doughty deeds     dangers avoids,
      He distributes alms     to the stricken and needy,
      He tells graceless men     of the mercy of God,
455   Of the Father's help;     he hastens forth,
      Lessening the perils     of this passing life,
      Its darksome deeds,     and does God's will
      With bravery in his breast.     His bidding he seeks
      In prayer, with pure heart     and pliant knee
460   Bent to the earth;     all evil is banished,
      All grim offences     by his fear of God;
      Happy in heart     he hopes full well
      To do good deeds:     the Redeemer is his shield
      In his varied walks,     the Wielder of victory,
465   Joy-giver to people.     Those plants are the ones,
      The flowers of fruit,     which the fowl of wildness
      Finds in this world     from far and wide
      And brings to his abode,     where it builds a nest
      With firmness of heart     against fear and hatred.
470   So in that place     God's soldiers perform
      With courage and might     the Creator's commands.
      Then they gain them glory:     they are given rewards
      By the gracious God     for their goodness of heart.
      From those is made     a pleasant dwelling
475   As reward for their works,     in the wondrous city;
      Since they held in their hearts     the holy teachings,
      Serving their Lord     with loving souls
      By day and by night     --and never ceasing--
      With fervent faith     preferring their Lord
480   Above worldly wealth.     They ween not, indeed,
      That long they will live     in this life that is fleeting.
        A blessed earl     earns by his virtue
      A home in heaven     with the highest King,
      And comfort forever,--     this he earns ere the close
485   Of his days in the world,     when Death, the warrior,
      Greedy for warfare,     girded with weapons,
      Seeketh each life     and sendeth quickly
      Into the bosom of the earth     those deserted bodies
      Lorn of their souls,     where long they shall bide
490   Covered with clay     till the coming of the fire.
      Many of the sons     of men into the assembly
      Are led by the leaders;     the Lord of angels,
      The Father Almighty,     the Master of hosts,
      Will judge with justice     the joyful and the sad.
495     Then mortal men     in a mass shall arise
      As the righteous King,     the Ruler of angels,
      The Savior of souls     said it must be,
      Gave command by the trumpet     to the tribes of the world.
      Then ends darkest death     for those dear to the Lord;
500   Through the grace of God     the good shall depart
      In clamoring crowds     when this cruel world
      Shall burst into flames,     into baleful fire;
      The earth shall end.     Then all shall have
      Most frightful fear,     when the fire crashes over
505   Earth's fleeting fortunes,     when the flame eats up
      Its olden treasures,     eagerly graspeth
      On goodly gold     and greedily consumes
      The land's adornments.     Then dawns in light
      In that awesome hour     for all of men,
510   The fair and sacred     symbol of the fowl,
      When the mighty Ruler     shall arouse all men,
      Shall gather together     from the grave the bones,
      The limbs of the body,     those left from the flame,
      Before the knee of Christ:     the King in splendor
515   From his lofty seat     shall give light to the holy,
      The gem of glory.     It will be joyous and gladsome
      To the servers of Truth     in that sad time.


      There the bodies,     bathed of their sins,
      Shall go in gladness;     again shall their spirits
520   To their bony frames,     and the fire shall burn,
      Mounting high to heaven.     Hot shall be to many
      That awful flame,     when every man,
      Unblemished or sinful,     his soul in his body,
      From the depths of his grave     seeks the doom of God,
525   Frightfully afraid.     The fire shall save men,
      Burning all sin.     So shall the blessed
      After weary wandering,     with their works be clothed,
      With the fruit of their deeds:     fair are these roots,
      These winsome flowers     that the wild fowl
530   Collects to lay     on his lovely nest
      In order that easily     his own fair home
      May burn in the sun,     and himself along with it,
      And so after the fire     he finds him new life;
      So every man     in all the world
535   Shall be covered with flesh,     fair and comely,
      And always young,     if his own choice leads him
      To work God's will;     then the world's high King
      Mighty at the meeting     mercy will grant him.
      Then the hymns shall rise high     from the holy band,
540   The chosen souls     shall chant their songs,
      In praise of the powerful     Prince of men,
      Strain upon strain,     and strengthened and fragrant
      Of their godly works     they shall wend to glory.
      Then are men's spirits     made spotless and bright
545   Through the flame of the fire--     refined and made pure.
        In all the earth     let not anyone ween
      That I wrought this lay     with lying speech,
      With hated word-craft!     Hear ye the wisdom
      Of the hymns of Job!     With heart of joy
550   And spirit brave,     he boldly spoke;
      With wondrous sanctity     that word he said:
        "I feel it a fact     in the fastness of my soul
      That one day in my nest     death I shall know,
      And weary of heart     woefully go hence,
555   Compassed with clay,     on my closing journey,
      Mournful of mind,     in the moldy earth.
      And through the gift of God     I shall gain once more
      Like the Phoenix fowl,     a fair new life,
      On the day of arising     from ruinous death,
560   Delights with God,     where the loving throng
      Are exalting their Lord.     I look not at all
      Ever to come     to the end of that life
      Of light and bliss,     though my body shall lie
      In its gruesome grave     and grow decayed,
565   A joy to worms;     for the Judge of the world
      Shall save my soul,     and send it to glory
      After the time of death.     I shall trust forever
      With steadfast breast,     in the Strength of angels;
      Firm is my faith     in the Father of all."
570     Thus sang the sage     his song of old,
      Herald to God,     with gladsome heart:
      How he was lifted     to life eternal.
        Then we may truly interpret     the token clearly
      Which the glorious bird     gave through its burning.
575   It gathers together     the grim bone-remnants,
      The ashes and embers     all into one place
      After the surge of the fire;     the fowl then seizes it
      With its feet and flies     to the Father's garden
      Towards the sun;     for a time there he sojourns,
580   For many winters,     made in new wise,
      All of him young;     nor may any there yearn
      To do him menace     with deeds of malice.
      So may after death     by the Redeemer's might
      Souls go with bodies,     bound together,
585   Fashioned in loveliness,     most like to that fowl,
      In rich array,     with rare perfumes,
      Where the steadfast sun     streams its light
      O'er the sacred hosts     in the happy city.


      Then high over the roofs     the holy Ruler
590   Shines on the souls     of the saved and the loyal.
      Radiant fowls     follow around him
      Brightest of birds,     in bliss exulting,
      The chosen and joyous ones     join him at home,
      Forever and ever,     where no evil is wrought
595   By the foulest fiend     in his fickle deceit;
      But they shall live in lasting     light and beauty,
      As the Phoenix fowl,     in the faith of God.
      Every one of men's works     in that wondrous home,
      In that blissful abode,     brightly shines forth
600   In the peaceful presence     of the Prince eternal,
      Who resembles the sun.     A sacred crown
      Most richly wrought     with radiant gems,
      High over the head     of each holy soul
      Glitters refulgent;     their foreheads gleam,
605   Covered with glory;     the crown of God
      Embellishes beautifully     the blessed host
      With light in that life,     where lasting joy
      Is fresh and young     and fades not away,
      But they dwell in bliss,     adorned in beauty,
610   With fairest ornaments,     with the Father's angels.
      They see no sorrow     in those sacred courts,
      No sin nor suffering     nor sad work-days,
      No burning hunger,     nor bitter thirst,
      No evil nor age:     but ever their King
615   Granteth his grace     to the glorious band
      That loves its Lord     and everlasting King,
      That glorifies and praises     the power of God.
      That host round the holy     high-set throne
      Makes then melody     in mighty strains;
620   The blessed saints     blithely sing
      In unison with angels,     orisons to the Lord:
        "Peace to thee, O God,     thou proud Monarch,
      Thou Ruler reigning     with righteousness and skill;
      Thanks for thy goodly     gifts to us all;
625   Mighty and measureless     is thy majesty and strength,
      High and holy!     The heavens, O Lord,
      Are fairly filled,     O Father Almighty,
      Glory of glories,     in greatness ruling
      Among angels above     and on earth beneath!
630   Guard us, O God of creation;     thou governest all things!
      Lord of the highest     heavens above!"
        So shall the saints     sing his praises,
      Those free from sin,     in that fairest of cities,
      Proclaim his power,     the righteous people,
635   The host in heaven     hail the Redeemer:
      Honor without end     is only for him,
      Not ever at all     had he any birth,
      Any beginning of bliss,     though he was born in the world,
      On this earth in the image     of an innocent child;
640   With unfailing justice     and fairest judgments,
      High above the heavens     in holiness he dwelt!
      Though he must endure     the death of the cross,
      Bear the bitter     burden of men,
      When three days have passed     after the death of his body,
645   He regains new life     through the love of God,
      Through the aid of the Father.     So the Phoenix betokens
      In his youthful state,     the strength of Christ,
      Who in a wondrous wise     awakes from the ashes
      Unto the life of life,     with limbs begirded;
650   So the Savior     sought to aid us
      Through the loss of his body,     life without end.
      Likewise that fowl     filleth his wings,
      Loads them with sweet     and scented roots,
      With winsome flowers     and flies away;
655   These are the words,     wise men tell us,
      The songs of the holy ones     whose souls go to heaven,
      With the loving Lord     to live for aye,
      In bliss of bliss,     where they bring to God
      Their words and their works,     wondrous in savor,
660   As a precious gift,     in that glorious place,
      In that life of light.
                           Lasting be the praise
      Through the world of worlds     and wondrous honor,
      And royal power     in the princely realm,
      The kingdom of heaven.     He is King indeed
665   Of the lands below     and of lordly majesty,
      Encircled with honor     in that city of beauty.
      He has given us leave     _lucis auctor_,
      That here we may     _merueri_
      As reward for good     _gaudia in celo_,
670   That all of us may     _maxima regna_
      Seek and sit on     _sedibus altis_,
      Shall live a life     _lucis et pacis_,
      Shall own a home     _almae letitiae_,
      Know blessings and bliss;     _blandem and mitem_
675   Lord they shall see     _sine fine_,
      And lift up a song     _lauda perenne_
      Forever with the angels.     _Alleluia!_

680. This and the following lines are imitated from the original in which
   the first half line, in Old English, alliterates with the second half
   line, in Latin. The Latin is here retained. The meaning of the lines
   is this: "The Author of light has given us leave that we may here
   merit as a reward for good, joy in heaven, that all of us may seek the
   mighty kingdom and sit on the high seats, may live a life of light and
   peace, may own a home of tender joy; may see the merciful and mild
   Lord for time without end, and may lift up a song in eternal praise,
   forever with the angels. Alleluia!"

                                THE GRAVE

[Text used: Kluge, _Angelsächsisches Lesebuch_, reprinted from Arnold
Schroeer, _Anglia_, v, 289.

Translation: Longfellow. Discussion of this translation in _Archiv für
das Studium der neueren Sprache_, xxix, 205.

It is probably the latest in date of any of the Anglo-Saxon poems.]

      Before thou wast born,     there was built thee a house;
      For thee was a mould meant     ere thy mother bore thee;
      They have not made it ready     nor reckoned its depth;
      No one has yet learned     how long it shall be.
5     I point out thy path     to the place thou shalt be;
      Now I shall measure thee,     and the mould afterwards.
      Thy house is not     highly timbered.
      It is unhigh and low;     when thou lyest therein,
      The bottom and side boards     shall bind thee near:
10    Close above thy breast     is builded the roof.
      Thou shalt dwell full cold     in the clammy earth.
      Full dim and dismal     that den is to live in.
      Doorless is that house,     and is dark within;
      Down art thou held there     and death hath the key.
15    Loathly is that house of earth     and horrid to live in.
      There thou shalt tarry     and be torn by worms.
      Thus thou art laid,     and leavest thy friends;
      Thou hast never a comrade     who will come to thee,
      Who will hasten to look     how thou likest thy house.
20    Or ever will undo     thy door for thee.
      .  . . . . . . .     and after thee descend;
      For soon thou art loathsome     and unlovely to see:
      From the crown of thy head     shall the hair be lost;
      Thy locks shall fall     and lose their freshness;
25    No longer is it fair     for the fingers to stroke.

                      III. POEMS FROM THE CHRONICLE

                        THE BATTLE OF BRUNNANBURG

[Critical edition: Sedgefield, _The Battle of Maldon and Six Short Poems
from the Saxon Chronicle_, Boston, 1904, Belles Lettres Edition.

Translation: Tennyson; Pancoast and Spaeth, _Early English Poems_, p. 81.

Date: It appears in the Chronicle under the year 937.

Danes living north of the Humber conspired with their kinsmen in Ireland
under the two Olafs, together with the Scottish king Constantine and the
Strathclyde Britons under their king Eugenius, against Æthelstan, king of
Wessex. The allies met in the south of Northumbria. Æthelstan encountered
them at Brunnanburg and defeated them.

The site of Brunnanburg has not been identified. The best claim is
probably for Bramber, near Preston, in the neighborhood of which, in
1840, was found a great hoard of silver ingots and coins, none later than
950. This was possibly the war chest of the confederacy. _Dyngesmere_ has
not been identified.

More than half the half-lines are exact copies from other Anglo-Saxon

      Here Æthelstan the king,     of earls the lord,
      Bracelet-giver of barons     and his brother as well,
      Edmund the Ætheling,     honor eternal
      Won at warfare     by the wielding of swords
5     Near Brunnanburg;     they broke the linden-wall,
      Struck down the shields     with the sharp work of hammers,
      The heirs of Edward,     as of old had been taught
      By their kinsmen who clashed     in conflict often
      Defending their firesides     against foemen invaders,
10    Their hoards and their homes.     The hated ones perished,
      Soldiers of Scotland     and seamen-warriors--
      Fated they fell.     The field was wet
      With the blood of the brave,     after the bright sun
      Had mounted at morning,     the master of planets
15    Glided over the ground,     God's candle clear,
      The Lord's everlasting,     till the lamp of heaven
      Sank to its setting.     Soldiers full many
      Lay mangled by spears,     men of the Northland,
      Shamefully shot     o'er their shields, and Scotchmen,
20    Weary and war-sated.     The West-Saxons forth
      All during the day     with their daring men
      Followed the tracks     of their foemen's troops.
      From behind they hewed     and harried the fleeing,
      With sharp-ground swords.     Never shunned the Mercians
25    The hard hand-play     of hero or warrior
      Who over the oar-path     with Anlaf did come,
      Who sailed on a ship     and sought the land,
      Fated in fight.
                         Five chieftains lay
      Killed in the conflict,     kings full youthful,
30    Put to sleep by the sword,     and seven also
      Of the earls of Anlaf,     and others unnumbered,
      Of sailors and Scotchmen.     Sent forth in flight then
      Was the prince of the Northmen,     pressed hard by need,
      To the stem of his ship;     with a staunch little band
35    To the high sea he hurried;     in haste the king sailed
      Over the fallow flood,     fled for his life.
      Also the sage one     sorrowfully northward
      Crept to his kinsmen,     Constantinus,
      The hoary war-hero;     for him was small need
40    To boast of the battle-play;     the best of his kinsmen
      And friends had fallen     on the field of battle,
      Slain at the strife,     and his son left behind
      On the field of fight,     felled and wounded,
      Young at the battle.     No boast dared he make
45    Of strife and of sword-play,     the silver-haired leader,
      Full of age and of evil,     nor had Anlaf the more.
      With their vanquished survivors     no vaunt could they make
      That in works of war     their worth was unequalled,
      In the fearful field,     in the flashing of standards,
50    In the meeting of men,     and the mingling of spears,
      And the war-play of weapons,     when they had waged their battle
      Against the heirs of Edward     on the awful plain.
      Now departed the Northmen     in their nailed ships,
      Dreary from dart-play     on Dyngesmere.
55    Over the deep water     to Dublin they sailed,
      Broken and baffled     back to Ireland.
        So, too, the brothers     both went together,
      The King and the Ætheling;     to their kinsmen's home,
      To the wide land of Wessex     --warrior's exultant.
60    To feast on the fallen     on the field they left
      The sallow-hued spoiler,     the swarthy raven,
      Horned of beak,     and the hoary-backed
      White-tailed eagle     to eat of the carrion,
      And the greedy goshawk,     and that gray beast,
65    The wolf in the wood.     Not worse was the slaughter
      Ever on this island     at any time,
      Or more folk felled     before this strife
      With the edge of the sword,     as is said in old books,
      In ancient authors,     since from the east hither
70    The Angles and Saxons     eagerly sailed
      Over the salt sea     in search of Britain,--
      Since the crafty warriors     conquered the Welshmen
      And, greedy for glory,     gained them the land.

31. _Anlaf_: the Old English form of "Olaf."

52. _Heirs of Edward_: the English, descendants of Edward the Elder.

58. _The Ætheling_: Edmund the Ætheling (or prince) of line 3.

                          THE BATTLE OF MALDON

[Critical edition: Sedgefield, _The Battle of Maldon and Six Short Poems
from the Saxon Chronicle_, Boston, 1904, Belles Lettres Edition.

Date: It appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 991.

"_The Battle of Maldon_ treats not of legendary heroes of the Germanic
races but of an actual historic personage, an English hero and patriot
fallen in battle against a foreign invader a very short time before the
poem was made. A single event in contemporary history is here described
with hardly suppressed emotion by one who knew his hero and loved him.
There is none of the allusiveness and excursiveness of the  _Beowulf_; we
have here not a member of an epic cycle, but an independent song. Very
striking is the absence of ornament from the _Battle of Maldon_; all is
plain, blunt, and stern."--Sedgefield, _The Battle of Maldon_, pp.

      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     was broken;
      He bade the young barons     abandon their horses,
      To drive them afar     and dash quickly forth,
      In their hands and brave heart     to put all hope of success.
5     The kinsman of Offa     discovered then first
      That the earl would not brook     dishonorable bearing.
      He held in his hand     the hawk that he loved,
      Let him fly to the fields;     to the fight then he stepped;
      By this one could know     that the knight was unwilling
10    To weaken in war,     when his weapons he seized.
      Edric wished also     to aid his chief,
      His folk-lord in fight;     forward he bore
      His brand to the battle;     a brave heart he had
      So long as he held     locked in his hand
15    His board and his broad sword;     his boast he made good,
      Fearless to fight     before his lord.
        Then Byrhtnoth began     to embolden the warriors;
      He rode and counseled them,     his comrades he taught
      How they should stand     in the stronghold's defence,
20    Bade them to bear     their bucklers correctly,
      Fast by their hands     without fear in their hearts.
      When the folk by fair words     he had fired with zeal,
      He alighted in a crowd     of his loyal comrades,
      Where he felt that his friends     were most faithful and true.
25      Then he stood on the strand;     sternly the messenger
      Of the Vikings called     in vaunting words,
      Brought him the boast     of the bloody seamen,
      The errand to the earl,     at the edge of the water:
        "I am sent to thee     by seamen bold;
30    They bade me summon thee     to send them quickly
      Rings for a ransom,     and rather than fight
      It is better for you     to bargain with gold
      Than that we should fiercely     fight you in battle.
      It is futile to fight     if you fill our demands;
35    If you give us gold     we will grant you a truce.
      If commands thou wilt make,     who art mightiest of warriors,
      That thy folk shall be free     from the foemen's attack,
      Shall give of their wealth     at the will of the seamen,
      A treasure for tribute,     with a truce in return,
40    We will go with the gold     again to our ships,
      We will sail to the sea     and vouchsafe to you peace."
      Byrhtnoth burst forth,     his buckler he grasped,
      His spear he seized,     and spoke in words
      Full of anger and ire,     and answer he gave:
45      "Dost thou hear, oh seamen,     what our heroes say?
      Spears they will send     to the sailors as tribute,
      Poisoned points and     powerful swords,
      And such weapons of war     as shall win you no battles.
      Envoy of Vikings,     your vauntings return,
50    Fare to thy folk     with a far sterner message,
      That here staunchly stands     with his steadfast troops,
      The lord that will fight     for the land of his fathers,
      For the realm of Æthelred,     my royal chief,
      For his folk and his fold;     fallen shall lie
55    The heathen at shield-play;     Shameful I deem it
      With our treasure as tribute     that you take to your ships,
      Without facing a fight,     since thus far hither
      You have come and encroached     on our king's domain.
      You shall not so easily     earn our treasure;
60    You must prove your power     with point and sword edge,
      With grim war grip     ere we grant you tribute."
        He bade then his band     to bear forth their shields,
      Until they arrived     at the river bank.
      The waters prevented     the warriors' encounter;
65    The tide flowed in,     the flood after the ebb,
      Locked up the land;     too long it seemed
      Until they could meet     and mingle their spears.
      By Panta's stream     they stood in array,
      The East Saxon army     and the eager shield-warriors;
70    Each troop was helpless     to work harm on the other,
      Save the few who were felled     by a flight of arrows.
      The flood receded;     the sailors stood ready,
      All of the Vikings     eager for victory.
      Byrhtnoth bade the     bridge to be defended,
75    The brave-hearted warrior,     by Wulfstan the bold
      With his crowd of kinsmen;     he was Ceola's son,
      And he felled the first     of the foemen who stepped
      On the bridge, the boldest     of the band of men.
      There waited with Wulfstan     the warriors undaunted,
80    Ælfhere and Maccus,     men of courage;
      At the ford not a foot     would they flee the encounter,
      But close in conflict     they clashed with the foe,
      As long as they wielded     their weapons with strength.
      As soon as they saw     and perceived it clearly,
85    How fiercely fought     was the defense of the bridge,
      The treacherous tribe     in trickery asked
      That they be allowed     to lead their hosts
      For a closer conflict,     to cross over the ford.
      Then the earl, too eager     to enter the fight,
90    Allowed too much land     to the loathed pirates.
      Clearly then called     over the cold water
      Byrhthelm's son;     the soldiers listened:
        "Room is now made for you;     rush quickly here
      Forward to the fray;     fate will decide
95    Into whose power shall pass     this place of battle."
        Went then the battle-wolves--     of water they recked not--
      The pirate warriors     west over Panta;
      Over the bright waves     they bore their shields;
      The seamen stepped     to the strand with their lindens.
100     In ready array     against the raging hosts
      Stood Byrhtnoth's band;     he bade them with shields
      To form a phalanx,     and to defend themselves stoutly,
      Fast holding the foe.     The fight was near,
      The triumph at conflict;     the time had come
105   When fated men     should fall in battle.
        Then arose an alarm;     the ravens soared,
      The eagle eager for prey;     on earth was commotion.
      Then sped from their hands     the hardened spears,
      Flew in fury     file-sharpened darts;
110   Bows were busy,     boards met javelins,
      Cruel was the conflict;     in companies they fell;
      On every hand     lay heaps of youths.
      Wulfmere was woefully     wounded to death,
      Slaughtered the sister's     son of Byrhtnoth;
115   With swords he was strongly     stricken to earth.
        To the vikings quickly     requital was given;
      I learned that Edward     alone attacked
      Stoutly with his sword,     not stinting his blows,
      So that fell at his feet     many fated invaders;
120   For his prowess the prince     gave praise and thanks
      To his chamberlain brave,     when chance would permit.
      So firm of purpose     they fought in their turn,
      Young men in battle;     they yearned especially
      To lead their line     with the least delay
125   To fight their foes     in fatal conflict,
      Warriors with weapons.     The world seethed with slaughter.
      Steadfast they stood,     stirred up by Byrhtnoth;
      He bade his thanes     to think on battle,
      And fight for fame     with the foemen Danes.
130   The fierce warrior went,     his weapon he raised,
      His shield for a shelter;     to the soldier he came;
      The chief to the churl     a challenge addressed;
      Each to the other     had evil intent.
      The seamen then sent     from the south a spear,
135   So that wounded lay     the lord of the warriors;
      He shoved with his shield     till the shaft was broken,
      And burst the spear     till back it sprang.
      Enraged was the daring one;     he rushed with his dart
      On the wicked warrior     who had wounded him sore.
140   Sage was the soldier;     he sent his javelin
      Through the grim youth's neck;     he guided his hand
      And furiously felled     his foeman dead.
      Straightway another     he strongly attacked,
      And burst his burnie;     in his breast he wounded him.
145   Through his hard coat-of-mail;     in his heart there stood
      The poisoned point.     Pleased was the earl,
      Loudly he laughed,     to the Lord he gave thanks
      For the deeds of the day     the Redeemer had granted.
      A hostile youth hurled     from his hand a dart;
150   The spear in flight     then sped too far,
      And the honorable earl     of Æthelred fell.
        By his side there stood     a stripling youth,
      A boy in battle     who boldly drew
      The bloody brand     from the breast of his chief.
155   The young Wulfmere,     Wulfstan's son,
      Gave back again     the gory war-lance;
      The point pierced home,     so that prostrate lay
      The Viking whose valor     had vanquished the earl.
        To the earl then went     an armed warrior;
160   He sought to snatch     and seize his rings,
      His booty and bracelets,     his bright shining sword.
      Byrhtnoth snatched forth     the brown-edged weapon
      From his sheath, and sharply     shook the attacker;
      Certain of the seamen     too soon joined against him,
165   As he checked the arm     of the charging enemy;
      Now sank to the ground     his golden brand;
      He might not hold     the hilt of his mace,
      Nor wield his weapons.     These words still he spoke,
      To embolden the youths;     the battle-scarred hero
170   Called on his comrades     to conquer their foes;
      He no longer had strength     to stand on his feet,
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     he looked to heaven:
        "Ruler of realms,     I render thee thanks
      For all of the honors     that on earth I have had;
175   Now, gracious God,     have I greatest of need
      That thou save my soul     through thy sovereign mercy,
      That my spirit speed     to its splendid home
      And pass into thy power,     O Prince of angels,
      And depart in peace;     this prayer I make,
180   That the hated hell-fiends     may harass me not."
        Then the heathen dogs     hewed down the noble one,
      And both the barons     that by him stood--
      Ælfnoth and Wulfmær     each lay slaughtered;
      They lost their lives     in their lord's defence.
185     Then fled from the fray     those who feared to remain.
      First in the frantic     flight was Godric,
      The son of Odda;     he forsook his chief
      Who had granted him gifts     of goodly horses;
      Lightly he leapt     on his lord's own steed,
190   In its royal array     --no right had he to it;
      His brothers also     the battle forsook.
      Godwin and Godwy     made good their escape,
      And went to the wood,     for the war they disliked;
      They fled to the fastnesses     in fear of their lives,
195   And many more     of the men than was fitting,
      Had they freshly in mind     remembered the favors,
      The good deeds he had done them     in days of old.
      Wise were the words     spoken once by Offa
      As he sat with his comrades     assembled in council:
200     "There are many who boast     in the mead-hall of bravery
      Who turn in terror     when trouble comes."
        The chief of the folk     now fell to his death,
      Æthelred's earl;     all his companions
      Looked on their lord     as he lay on the field.
205   Now there approached     some proud retainers;
      The hardy heroes     hastened madly,
      All of them eager     either to die
      Or valiantly avenge     their vanquished lord.
      They were eagerly urged     by Ælfric's son,
210   A warrior young in winters;     these words he spoke--
      Ælfwine then spoke,     an honorable speech:
        "Remember how we made     in the mead-hall our vaunts,
      From the benches our boasts     of bravery we raised,
      Heroes in the hall,     of hard-fought battles;
215   The time has now come     for the test of your courage.
      Now I make known     my noble descent;
      I come from Mercia,     of mighty kinsmen;
      My noble grandsire's     name was Ealdhelm,
      Wise in the ways     of the world this elder.
220   Among my proud people     no reproach shall be made
      That in fear I fled     afar from the battle,
      To leave for home     with my leader hewn down,
      Broken in battle;     that brings me most grief;
      He was not only my earl     but also my kinsman."
225   Then harboring hatred     he hastened forth,
      And with the point of spear     he pierced and slew
      A seaman grim     who sank to the ground
      Under weight of the weapon.     To war he incited
      His friends and fellows,     in the fray to join.
230     Offa shouted;     his ash-spear shook:
        "Thou exhortest, O Ælfwine,     in the hour of need,
      When our lord is lying     full low before us,
      The earl on the earth;     we all have a duty
      That each one of us     should urge on the rest
235   Of the warriors to war,     while his weapons in hand
      He may have and hold,     his hard-wrought mace,
      His dart and good sword.     The deed of Godric,
      The wicked son of Offa,     has weakened us all;
      Many of the men thought     when he mounted the steed,
240   Rode on the proud palfry,     that our prince led us forth;
      Therefore on the field     the folk were divided,
      The shield-wall was shattered.     May shame curse the man
      Who deceived our folk     and sent them in flight."
        Leofsunu spoke     and his linden-shield raised,
245   His board to defend him     and embolden his fellows:
        "I promise you now     from this place I will never
      Flee a foot-space,     but forward will rush,
      Where I vow to revenge     my vanquished lord.
      The stalwart warriors     round Sturmere shall never
250   Taunt me and twit me     for traitorous conduct,
      That lordless I fled     when my leader had fallen,
      Ran from the war;     rather may weapons,
      The iron points slay me."     Full ireful he went;
      Fiercely he fought;     flight he disdained.
255     Dunhere burst forth;     his dart he brandished,
      Over them all;     the aged churl cried,
      Called the brave ones to battle     in Bryhtnoth's avenging:
        "Let no hero now hesitate     who hopes to avenge
      His lord on the foemen,     nor fear for his life."
260     Then forward they fared     and feared not for their lives;
      The clansman with courage     the conflict began;
      Grasped their spears grimly,     to God made their prayer
      That they might dearly repay     the death of their lord,
      And deal defeat     to their dastardly foes.
265     A hostage took hold now     and helped them with courage;
      He came from Northumbria     of a noble kindred,
      The son of Ecglaf,     Æscferth his name;
      He paused not a whit     at the play of weapons,
      But unerringly aimed     his arrows uncounted;
270   Now he shot on the shield,     now he shattered a Viking;
      With the point of his arrow     he pierced to the marrow
      While he wielded his weapons     of war unsubdued.
        Still in the front     stood the stalwart Edward,
      Burning for battle;     his boasts he spoke:
275   He never would flee     a foot-pace of land,
      Or leave his lord     where he lay on the field;
      He shattered the shield-wall;     with the shipmen he fought,
      Till on the treacherous tribesmen     his treasure-giver's death
      He valiantly avenged     ere his violent end.
280     Such daring deeds     did the doughty Æthric,
      Brother of Sibyrht     and bravest of soldiers;
      He eagerly fought     and the others followed;
      They cleft the curvèd shields;     keenly they battled;
      Then burst the buckler's rim,     and the burnies sang
285   A song of slaughter.     Then was slain in battle,
      The seaman by Offa;     and the earth received him;
      Soon Offa himself     was slain in battle;
      He had laid down his life     for his lord as he promised
290   In return for his treasure,     when he took his vow
      That they both alive     from battle should come,
      Hale to their homes     or lie hewn down in battle,
      Fallen on the field     with their fatal wounds;
      He lay by his lord     like a loyal thane.
295     Then shivered the shields;     the shipmen advanced,
      Raving with rage;     they ran their spears
      Through their fated foes.     Forth went Wistan,
      Thurstan's son then,     to the thick of the conflict.
      In the throng he slew     three of the sailors,
300   Ere the son of Wigeline     sent him to death.
      The fight was stiff;     and fast they stood;
      In the cruel conflict     they were killed by scores,
      Weary with wounds;     woeful was the slaughter.
        Oswald and Eadwold     all of the while,
305   Both the brothers,     emboldened the warriors,
      Encouraged their comrades     with keen spoken words,
      Besought them to strive     in their sore distress,
      To wield their weapons     and not weaken in battle.
      Byrhtwold then spoke;     his buckler he lifted,
310   The old companion,     his ash-spear shook
      And boldly encouraged     his comrades to battle:
        "Your courage be the harder,     your hearts be the keener,
      And sterner the strife     as your strength grows less.
      Here lies our leader     low on the earth,
315   Struck down in the dust;     doleful forever
      Be the traitor who tries     to turn from the war-play.
      I am old of years,     but yet I flee not;
      Staunch and steadfast     I stand by my lord,
      And I long to be     by my loved chief."
320     So the son of Æthelgar     said to them all.
      Godric emboldened them;     oft he brandished his lance,
      Violently threw     at the Vikings his war-spear,
      So that first among the folk     he fought to the end;
      Hewed down and hacked,     till the hated ones killed him--
325     Not that Godric who fled     in disgrace from the fight.
      .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

5. _Offa's kinsman_ is not named. Offa himself is mentioned in line 286.

8. Is the fact that the earl is amusing himself with a falcon just before
   the battle to be taken as a sign of contempt for the enemy?

65. "The _Panta_, or Blackwater as it is now called, opens at Maldon into
   a large estuary, where a strong tide runs."--Sedgefield.

70. The approaches to the bridge were covered with water at high tide;
   hence the Norsemen feared to cross at high tide and asked for a truce.

140. The soldier is Byrhtnoth.

151. This refers to Byrhtnoth.

271. The two halves of the line rime in the original.

287. _Offa_: "the kinsman of Gad" in the original. The reference is to
   Offa and we have avoided confusion by translating the phrase by the
   name of the man meant.


                       ACCOUNT OF THE POET CÆDMON

[From the Anglo-Saxon version of Bede's _Ecclesiastical History_. Text
used: Bright's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, pp. 8 ff.]

In the monastery of this abbess [Hild] was a certain brother especially
distinguished and gifted with the grace of God, because he was in the
habit of making poems filled with piety and virtue. Whatever he learned
_5_ of holy writ through interpreters he gave forth in a very short time
in poetical language with the greatest of sweetness and inspiration, well
wrought in the English tongue. Because of his songs the minds of many men
were turned from the thoughts of this world and _10_ incited toward a
contemplation of the heavenly life. There were, to be sure, others after
him among the Angles who tried to compose sacred poetry, but none of them
could equal him; because his instruction in poetry was not at all from
men, nor through the aid of _15_ any man, but it was through divine
inspiration and as a gift from God that he received the power of song.
For that reason he was never able to compose poetry of a light or idle
nature, but only the one kind that pertained to religion and was fitted
to the tongue of a _20_ godly singer such as he.

This man had lived the life of a layman until he was somewhat advanced in
years, and had never learned any songs. For this reason often at the
banquets where for the sake of merriment it was ruled that they should
_25_ all sing in turn at the harp, when he would see the harp approach
him, he would arise from the company out of shame and go home to his
house. On one occasion he had done this and had left the banquet hall and
gone out to the stable to the cattle which it was his duty to guard _30_
that night. Then in due time he lay down and slept, and there stood
before him in his dream a man who hailed him and greeted him and called
him by name: "Cædmon, sing me something." Then he answered and said: "I
can not sing anything; and for that reason I left _35_ the banquet and
came here, since I could not sing." Once more the man who was speaking
with him said: "No matter, you must sing for me." Then he answered: "What
shall I sing?" Thereupon the stranger said: "Sing to me of the beginning
of things." When he had _40_ received this answer he began forthwith to
sing, in praise of God the Creator, verses and words that he had never
heard, in the following manner:

      Now shall we praise     the Prince of heaven,
      The might of the Maker     and his manifold thought,
45    The work of the Father:     of what wonders he wrought,
      The Lord everlasting     when he laid out the worlds.
      He first raised up     for the race of men
      The heaven as a roof,     the holy Ruler.
      Then the world below,     the Ward of mankind,
50    The Lord everlasting,     at last established
      As a home for man,     the Almighty Lord.

Then he arose from his sleep, and all that he had sung while asleep he
held fast in memory; and soon afterward he added many words like unto
them befitting _55_ a hymn to God. The next morning he came to the
steward who was his master and told him of the gift he had received. The
steward immediately led him to the abbess and related what he had heard.
She bade assemble all the wise and learned men and asked Cædmon to _60_
relate his dream in their presence and to sing the song that they might
give their judgment as to what it was or whence it had come. They all
agreed that it was a divine gift bestowed from Heaven. They then
explained to him a piece of holy teaching and bade him if he could, _65_
to turn that into rhythmic verse. When he received the instruction of the
learned men, he departed for his house. In the morning he returned and
delivered the passage assigned him, turned into an excellent poem.

Thereupon, the abbess, praising and honoring the _70_ gift of God in this
man, persuaded him to leave the condition of a layman and take monastic
vows. And this he did with great eagerness. She received him and his
household into the monastery and made him one of the company of God's
servants and commanded that he _75_ be taught the holy writings and
stories. He, on his part, pondered on all that he learned by word of
mouth, and just as a clean beast chews on a cud, transformed it into the
sweetest of poetry. His songs and poems were so pleasing that even his
teachers came to learn _80_ and write what he spoke. He sang first of the
creation of the earth, and of the origin of mankind, and all the story of
Genesis, the first book of Moses; and afterwards of the exodus of the
Children of Israel from the land of Egypt and the entry into the Promised
Land; _85_ and many other stories of the Holy Scriptures; the incarnation
of Christ, and his suffering and his ascension into heaven; the coming of
the Holy Ghost and the teaching of the apostles; and finally he wrote
many songs concerning the future day of judgment and of _90_ the
fearfulness of the pains of hell, and the bliss of heaven; besides these
he composed many others concerning the mercies and judgments of God. In
all of these he strove especially to lead men from the love of sin and
wickedness and to impel them toward the love _95_ and practice of
righteousness; for he was a very pious man and submissive to the rules of
the monastery. And he burned with zeal against those who acted otherwise.
For this reason it was that his life ended with a fair death.


[Text: Bright's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, pp. 26 ff.]

King Alfred sends greetings to Wærferth in loving and friendly words. I
let thee know that it has often come to my mind what wise men there were
formerly throughout England among both the clergy and the _5_ laity, and
what happy times there were then throughout England, and how the kings
who held sway over the people in those days obeyed God and his ministers;
and how they preserved not only their peace but their morality also and
good order at home and extended _10_ their possessions abroad; and how
prosperous they were both with war and with wisdom; and how zealous the
clergy were both in teaching and in learning, and in all the services
they owed to God; and how foreigners came to the land in search of wisdom
and learning, and _15_ how we should now have to secure them from abroad
if we were to have them. So complete was this decay in England that there
were very few on this side of the Humber who could understand their
rituals in English or translate a Latin letter into English; and I feel
sure _20_ that there were not many beyond Humber. So few there were that
I can not remember a single one south of the Thames when I began to
reign. Almighty God be thanked that we have any teachers among us now....

Then I considered all this, and brought to mind _25_ also how, before it
had all been laid waste and burned, the churches throughout all England
stood filled with treasures and books; and there was a great multitude of
God's servants, but they knew very little about the books, for they could
not understand anything in them, _30_ since they were not written in
their own language--as if they spoke thus: "Our fathers who held these
places of old loved wisdom and through it acquired wealth and bequeathed
it to us. Here we may still see their tracks, but we can not follow them,
and hence we have _35_ now lost both the wealth and the wisdom, since we
would not incline our hearts after their example."

When I called all this to mind, I wondered very much, considering all the
good and wise men who were formerly throughout England and all the books
that they _40_ had perfectly learned, that they had translated no part of
them into their own language. But soon I answered myself and said: "They
did not expect that men should ever become as careless and that learning
should decay as it has; they neglected it through the desire that the
_45_ greater increase of wisdom there should be in the land the more
should men learn of foreign languages."

I then considered that the law was first found in the Hebrew tongue, and
again when the Greeks learned it, they translated it all into their own
language. And the _50_ Romans likewise when they had learned it, they
translated it all through learned scholars into their own language. And
all other Christian people have turned some part into their own language.
Wherefore it seems to me best, if it seems so to you, that we should
translate _55_ some books that are most needful for all men to know into
the language which we can all understand and that we should bring about
what we may very easily do with God's help if we have tranquillity;
namely, that all youths that are now in England of _60_ free birth, who
are rich enough to devote themselves to it, be put to learning as long as
they are not fitted for any other occupation, until the time that they
shall be able to read English writing with ease: and let those that would
pursue their studies further be taught more _65_ in Latin and be promoted
to a higher rank. When I brought to mind how the knowledge of Latin had
formerly decayed throughout England, and yet many knew how to read
English writing, I began among other various and manifold troubles of
this kingdom to turn _70_ into English the book that is called in Latin
_Pastoralis_ and in English _The Shepherd's Book_, sometimes word for
word, sometimes thought by thought, as I had learned it from Plegmund my
archbishop, and Asser my bishop, and Grimbald my priest, and John my
priest. _75_ After I had learned it so that I understood it and so that I
could interpret it clearly, I translated it into English. I shall send
one copy to every bishopric in my kingdom; and in each is a book-mark
worth fifty mancuses. And I command in God's name that no man _80_ take
the book-mark from the monastery. It is not certain that there will be
such learned bishops as, thanks be to God, we now have nearly everywhere.
Hence I wish the books to remain always in their places, unless the
bishop wishes to take them with him, or they be lent _85_ out anywhere,
or any one be copying them.

                        THE CONVERSION OF EDWIN.

[From Alfred's translation of Bede's _Ecclesiastical History_. Text:
Bright, _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, p. 62, line 2--p. 63, line 17.]

When the king heard these words, he answered him [Paulinus, who had been
preaching Christianity to him] and said that he was not only willing but
expected to accept the faith that he taught; the king said, however, _5_
that he wished to have speech and counsel with his friends and advisers,
so that if they accepted the faith with him they might all together be
consecrated to Christ, the Fountain of Life. The bishop consented and the
king did as he said.

 _10_ He now counselled and advised with his wise men, and he asked of
each of them separately what he thought of the new doctrine and the
worship of God that was preached. Cefi, the chief of his priests, then
answered, "Consider, oh king, what this teaching is that is now _15_
delivered to us. I declare to you, I have learned for a certainty that
the religion we have had up to the present has neither virtue nor
usefulness in it. For none of thy servants has applied himself more
diligently to the worship of our gods than I, and nevertheless there _20_
are many who receive greater gifts and favors from thee than I, and are
more prosperous in all their undertakings. I know well that our gods, if
they had had any power, would have rewarded me more because I have more
faithfully served and obeyed them. It seems _25_ to me, therefore, wise,
if you consider that these new doctrines which are preached to us are
better and more efficacious, to receive them immediately."

Assenting to his words, another of the king's wise men and chiefs spoke
further: "O king, this present _30_ life of man on earth seems to me, in
comparison with the time that is unknown to us, as if thou wert sitting
at a feast with thine eldermen and thanes in the winter time, and the
fire burned brightly and thy hall was warm, and it rained and snowed and
stormed outside; _35_ there comes then a sparrow and flies quickly
through thy house; in through one door he comes, through the other door
he goes out again. As long as he is within he is not rained on by the
winter storm, but after a twinkling of an eye and a mere moment he goes
immediately _40_ from winter back to winter again. Likewise this life of
man appeareth for a little time, but what goes before or what comes after
we know not. If therefore this teaching can tell us anything more
satisfying or certain, it seems worthy to be followed."


[From Alfred's version of Orosius's _History of the World_. Text used:
Bright's _Anglo-Saxon Reader_, pp. 38 ff.]

                            Ohthere's Voyages

Ohthere told his lord, King Alfred, that he dwelt the farthest north of
all the Northmen. He said that he lived in the northern part of the land
toward the West Sea. He reported, however, that the land extended very
_5_ far north thence; but that it was all waste, except in a few places
here and there where the Finns dwell, engaged in hunting in winter and
sea fishing in summer. He said that on one occasion he wished to find out
how far the land lay northward, or whether any man inhabited _10_ the
waste land to the north. Then he fared northward to the land; for three
days there was waste land on his starboard and the wide sea on his
larboard. Then he had come as far north as the whale hunters ever go.
Whereupon, he journeyed still northward as far as he _15_ could in three
days sailing. At that place the land bent to the east--or the sea in on
the land, he knew not which; but he knew that there he waited for a west
wind, or somewhat from the northwest, and then sailed east, near the
land, as far as he could in four days. There he had to _20_ wait for a
wind from due north, since there the land bent due south--or the sea in
on the land, he knew not which. From there he sailed due south, close in
to the land, as far as he could in five days. At this point a large river
extended up into the land. They then followed _25_ this river, for they
dared not sail beyond it because of their fear of hostile reception, the
land being all inhabited on the other side of the river. He had not found
any inhabited land since leaving his own home; for the land to the right
was not inhabited all _30_ the way, except by fishermen, fowlers, and
hunters, and these were all Finns; to the left there was always open sea.
The Permians had cultivated their soil very well, but they dared not
enter upon it. The land of the Terfinns was all waste, except where
hunters, fishers, or _35_ fowlers dwelt.

The Permians told him many tales both about their own country and about
surrounding countries, but he knew not how much was true, for he did not
behold it for himself. The Finns and Permians, it appeared to him, _40_
spoke almost the same language. He went hither on this voyage not only
for the purpose of seeing the country, but mainly for walruses, for they
have exceedingly good bone in their teeth--they brought some of the teeth
to the king--and their hides are very good for _45_ ship-ropes. This
whale is much smaller than other whales; it is not more than seven ells
long; but the best whale-fishing is in his own country--those are eight
and forty ells long, and the largest are fifty ells long. He said that he
was one of a company of six who killed _50_ sixty of these in two days.

Ohthere was a very rich man in such possessions as make up their wealth,
that is, in wild beasts. At the time when he came to the king, he still
had six hundred tame deer that he had not sold. The men call these _55_
reindeer. Six of these were decoy-reindeer, which are very valuable among
the Finns, for it is with them that the Finns trap the wild reindeer. He
was among the first men in the land, although he had not more than twenty
cattle, twenty sheep, and twenty swine, and the _60_ little that he
plowed he plowed with horses. Their income, however, is mainly in the
tribute that the Finns pay them--animals' skins, birds' feathers,
whalebone, and ship-ropes made of the hide of whale and the hide of seal.
Every one contributes in proportion to his _65_ means; the richest must
pay fifteen marten skins and five reindeer skins; one bear skin, forty
bushels of feathers, a bear-skin or otter-skin girdle, and two
ship-ropes, each sixty ells long, one made of the hide of the whale and
the other of the hide of the seal.

 _70_ He reported that the land of the Northmen was very long and very
narrow. All that man can use for either grazing or plowing lies near the
sea, and even that is very rocky in some places; and to the east,
alongside the inhabited land, lie wild moors. The Finns live _75_ in
these waste lands. And the inhabited land is broadest to the eastward,
becoming always narrower the farther north one goes. To the east it may
be sixty miles broad, or even a little broader; and in the middle thirty
or broader; and to the north, where it was narrowest, _80_ he said that
it might be three miles broad to the moor. Moreover the moor is so broad
in some places that it would take a man two weeks to cross it. In other
places it was of such a breadth that a man can cross it in six days.

 _85_ Then there is alongside that land southward, on the other side of
the moor, Sweden, as far as the land to the north; and alongside the land
northward, the land of the Cwens (Finns). The Finns plunder the Northmen
over the moor sometimes and sometimes the Northmen _90_ plunder them. And
there are very many fresh lakes out over the moor; and the Finns bear
their ships over the land to these lakes and then ravage the Northmen;
they have very small and very light ships.

Ohthere said that the place was called Halgoland, in _95_ which he dwelt.
He said that no man lived north of him. There is one port in the southern
part of the land which is called Sciringesheal. Thither he said that one
might not sail in one month, if he encamped by night and had good wind
all day; and all the while he should sail _100_ close to land. And on the
starboard he has first Ireland, and then the island that is between
Ireland and this land. Then he has this land till he comes to
Sciringesheal, and all the way he has Norway on the larboard. To the
south of Sciringesheal the sea comes far up into _105_ the land; the sea
is so broad that no man may see across. And Jutland is in the opposite
direction, and after that is Zealand. The sea runs many hundred miles up
in on that land.

And from Sciringesheal he said that he sailed in five _110_ days to that
port that is called Haddeby; it lies between the country of the Wends and
the Saxons and the Angles, and belongs to the Danes. When he sailed away
from Sciringesheal for three days, he had Denmark on the larboard and the
wide sea on his starboard; and then, _115_ two days before he reached
Haddeby, he had Jutland on his starboard and also Zealand and many
islands. In that land had dwelt the English before they came hither to
this land. And then for two days he had on his larboard the islands which
belong to Denmark.

100. _Ireland_: Iceland is probably meant.

                            Wulfstan's Voyage

 _120_ Wulfstan said that he set out from Haddeby, and that he arrived
after seven days and nights at Truso, the ship being all the way under
full sail. He had Wendland (Mecklenburg and Pomerania) on the starboard,
and Langland, Laaland, Falster, and Sconey on _125_ the larboard; and all
these lands belong to Denmark. And then we had on our larboard the land
of the Burgundians (Bornholmians), and they have their own king. Beyond
the land of the Burgundians we had on our left those lands that were
first called Blekinge, and _130_ Meore, and Oland, and Gothland; these
lands belong to the Swedes. To the starboard we had all the way the
country of the Wends, as far as the mouth of the Vistula. The Vistula is
a very large river, and it separates Witland from Wendland; and Witland
belongs to the _135_ Esthonians. The Vistula flows out of Wendland, and
runs into the Frische Haff. The Frische Haff is about fifteen miles
broad. Then the Elbing empties into the Frische Haff, flowing from the
east out of the lake on the shore of which Truso stands; and there they
empty _140_ together into the Frische Haff, the Elbing from the east,
which flows out of Esthonia, and the Vistula from the south, out of
Wendland. The Vistula then gives its name to the Elbing, and runs out of
the mere west and north into the sea; hence it is called the mouth of the
_145_ Vistula.

Esthonia is very large, and there are many towns there, and in every town
there is a king. There is also very much honey, and fishing. The king and
the richest men drink mare's milk, but the poor men and the slaves _150_
drink mead. There is much strife among them. There is no ale brewed by
the Esthonians; there is, however, plenty of mead. And there is a custom
among the Esthonians that when a man dies he lies unburied in his house,
with his kindred and friends, for a month--sometimes _155_ two; and the
kings and most powerful men still longer, in proportion to their riches;
it is sometimes half a year that they stay unburnt, lying above ground,
in their own houses. All the time that the body is within, drinking and
merry-making continue until _160_ the day that he is burned. The same day
on which they are to bear him to the funeral-pyre they divide his
possessions, whatever may be left after the drinking and pleasures, into
five or six parts--sometimes into more, in proportion to the amount of
his goods. Then they _165_ place the largest share about a mile from the
town, then the second, then the third, until it is all laid within the
one mile; and the smallest portion must be nearest the town in which the
dead man lies. Then there are gathered together all of the men in the
land that have _170_ the swiftest horses, about six or seven miles from
the goods. Then they all run toward the possessions, and the one who has
the swiftest horse comes to the first and largest part, and so one after
another till all is taken up; and the man who arrives at the goods
nearest the _175_ town obtains the smallest part. Then each man rides his
way with the property, and he may keep it all; and for this reason fast
horses are very dear in that country. When the property is thus all
spent, they bear him out and burn him along with his weapons and his
raiment. _180_ And generally they spend all his wealth, with the long
time that the corpse lies within and with the goods that they lay along
the roads, and that the strangers run for and bear off with them. Again,
it is a custom with the Esthonians to burn men of every tribe, _185_ and
if any one finds a bone which is unburned he has to make amends for it.
And there is one tribe among the Esthonians that has the power of making
cold, and it is because they put this cold upon them that the corpses lie
so long and do not decay. And if a man _190_ places two vessels full of
ale or water, they cause both to be frozen over, whether it is summer or

                             INDEX TO TITLES

  Account of the Poet Cædmon                                          179
  Alfred's Preface to His Translation of Gregory's "Pastoral Care"    183
  Badger, A                                                            51
  Battle of Brunnanburg, The                                          159
  Battle of Maldon, The                                               163
  Bede's Death Song                                                    84
  Bible, A                                                             52
  Bookworm, A                                                          54
  Bow, A                                                               52
  Brunnanburg, The Battle of                                          159
  Cædmon, Account of the Poet                                         179
  Cædmon's Hymn                                                        83
  Charm Against a Sudden Stitch                                        42
  Charm for Bewitched Land                                             38
  Christ, Selections from the                                          95
  Conversion of Edwin, The                                            187
  Crossing of the Red Sea, The                                         90
  Deor's Lament                                                        26
  Dough                                                                54
  Dream of the Rood, The                                              108
  Edwin, The Conversion of                                            187
  Elene, Selections from the                                          103
  Exeter Gnomes                                                        56
  Exodus, Selections from                                              90
  Fates of Men, The                                                    58
  Fight at Finnsburg, The                                              34
  Finnsburg, The Fight at                                              34
  Genesis, Selections from                                             85
  Grave, The                                                          157
  Gregory's "Pastoral Care," Preface to                               183
  Horn, A                                                              50
  Husband's Message, The                                               75
  Isaac, The Offering of                                               85
  Judith                                                              116
  Maldon, The Battle of                                               163
  Nightingale, A                                                       49
  Offering of Isaac, The                                               85
  Ohthere and Wulfstan, The Voyages of                                189
  "Pastoral Care," Preface to                                         183
  Phoenix, The                                                        132
  Reed, A                                                              54
  Riddles                                                              44
      I. Storm, A                                                      44
      II. Storm, A                                                     45
      III. Storm, A                                                    46
      V. Shield, A                                                     48
      VII. Swan, A                                                     49
      VIII. Nightingale, A                                             49
      XIV. Horn, A                                                     50
      XV. Badger, A                                                    51
      XXIII. Bow, A                                                    52
      XXVI. Bible, A                                                   52
      XLV. Dough                                                       54
      XLVII. Bookworm, A                                               54
      LX. Reed, A                                                      54
  Ruin, The                                                            78
  Seafarer, The                                                        68
  Shield, A                                                            48
  Storm, A                                                             44
  Storm, A                                                             45
  Storm, A                                                             46
  Swan, A                                                              49
  Voyages of Ohthere and Wulfstan, The                                189
  Waldhere                                                             29
  Widsith                                                              15
  Wife's Lament, The                                                   72

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