mercredi 28 novembre 2018

The Battle of Maldon







Anglo-Saxon Poems.



Formerly Professor of the English Language and Literature in the University of Virginia; Translator of "Béowulf."


The Athenæum Press.



Whén had elapsed in course of yearsTwo hundred and three, reckoned by number,And thirty alsó, in measure of time,Of winters for th' world, since mighty GodBecame incarnate, of kings the Glory,5Upón mid-earth in human form,Light of the righteous; then sixth was the yearOf Constantine's imperial sway,Since hé o'er the realm of the Roman people,The battle-prince, as ruler was raised.10The ward of his folk, skilful with shield,Was gracious to earls. Strong grew the ætheling's [1]Might 'neath the heavens. Hé was true king,War-keeper of men. God him strengthenedWith honor and might, that to many became he15Throughoút this earth to men a joy,To nations a vengeance, when weapon he raisedAgainst his foes. Him battle was offered,Tumult of war. A host was assembled,Folk of the Huns and fame-loving Goths;20War-brave they went, the Franks and the Hugs. [2]Bold were the men [in battle-byrnies, Gn.],Ready for war. Bright shone the spears,The ringéd corselets. With shouts and shieldsThey hoisted the standards. The heroes were there25Plainly assembled, and [host, Gn.] all together.The multitude marched. A war-song howledThe wolf in the wood, war-secret concealed not;The dew-feathered eagle uplifted his songOn the trail of his foes. Hastened quickly30O'er cities of giants [3] the greatest of war-hostsIn bands to battle, such as king of the HunsOf dwellers-around anywhere might,Of city-warriors, assemble to war.Went greatest of armies,—the footmen were strengthened35With chosen bands,—till in foreign landThe fighters-with-darts upón the Danube'sBank were encamping, the brave in heart,'Round the welling of waters, with tumult of host.The realm of the Romans they wished to oppress,40With armies destroy. Thére was Huns' comingKnown to the people. Then bade the CæsarAgainst the foes his comrades in war'Neath arrow-flight in greatest hasteGather for fight, form battle-array45The heroes 'neath heavens. The Romans were,Men famed for victory, quickly preparedWith weapons for war, though lesser armyHad théy for the battle than king of the Huns. [4]They rode 'round the valiant: then rattled the shield,50The war-wood clanged: the king with host marched,With army to battle. Aloft sang the raven,Dark and corpse-gréedy. The band was in motion.The horn-bearers blew, [5] the heralds called,Steed stamped the earth. The host assembled55Quickly for contest. The king was affrighted,With terror disturbed, after the strangers,The Huns' and Hreths' hóst they [6] observed,That it [7] on the Romans' kingdom's border'Round the bank of the river a band assembled,60A countless crowd. Heart-sorrow boreThe Romans' ruler, of realm he hoped notFor want of force; had warriors too few,Trusty comrades, 'gainst th' overmightOf the brave for battle. The army encamped,65The earls 'round the ætheling nigh to the riverIn neighboring plain a night-long time,After force of their foes they first beheld.Thén in his sleep was shown to him,To the Cæsar himself where he slept 'mid his men,70By the victory-famed seen, a vision of dream.Effulgent it seemed him, in form of a man,White and hue-bright, some one of heroesMore splendid appeared than ere or sinceHe saw 'neath the heavens. From sleep he awaked75With boar-sign bedecked. The messenger quickly,Bright herald of glory, to him made addressAnd called him by name (the night-veil vanished):"To thee, Constantine, bade King of the angels,Wielder of fates, his favor grant,80The Lord of Hosts. Fear not for thyself,Though thee the strangers threaten with terror,With battle severe. Look thou to heaven,To the Lord of glory: there help wilt thou find,A token of victory." Soon was he ready85At hest of the holy, his heart-lock unloosed,Upwards he looked as the messenger bade him,Trusty peace-wéaver. He saw bright with gemsFair rood of glory o'er roof of the cloudsAdorned with gold: the jewels shone,90The glittering tree with letters was writtenOf brightness and light: "With this beacon thouOn the dangerous journey [8] wilt the foe overcome,The loathly host let." The light then departed,Ascended on high, and the messenger too,95To the realm of the pure. The king was the blitherAnd freer from sorrow, chieftain of men,In thoughts of his soul, for thát fair sight.


Bade then a likeness [9] defender of æthelings,Ring-giver of heroes, to that beacon he saw,100Leader of armies, that in heaven beforeTo him had appeared, with greatest haste[Bade] Constantine [like] the rood of Christ,The glorious king, a token make.He bade then at dawn with break of day105His warriors rouse and onset of battle,The standard raise, and that holy treeBefore him carry, 'mid host of foesGod's beacon bear. The trumpets sangAloud 'fore the hosts. The raven rejoiced, [10]110The dew-feathered eagle beheld the march,Fight of the fierce cries, the wolf raised his howl,The wood's frequenter. War-terror arose.There was shattering of shields and mingling of men,Heavy handstroke and felling of foes,115After in arrow-flight first they had met.On the fated folk showers of darts,Spears over shields into hosts of foes,Sword-fierce foemen battle-addersWith force of fingers forwards impelled.120The strong-hearted stepped, pressed onwards at once,Broke the shield-covers, thrust in their swords,Battle-brave hastened. Then standard was raised,Sign 'fore the host, song of victory sung.The golden helmet, the spear-points glistened125On field of battle. The heathen perished,Peaceless they fell. Forthwith they fled,The folk of the Huns, when that holy treeThe king of the Romans bade raise on high,Fierce in the fight. The warriors became130Widely dispersed. Some war took away;Some with labor their lives preservedUpon that march; some half-aliveFled to the fastness and life protectedBehind the stone-cliffs, held their abode135Around the Danube; some drowning took offIn the stream of the river at the end of their life.Then wás of the proud ones the force in joy;They followed the foreigners forth until evenFrom break of day. The ash-darts flew,140Battle-adders. The heap was destroyed, [11]Shield-band of foes. Very few cameOf the host of the Huns home again thence.Thén it was plain that victory gaveTo Constantine the King Almighty145In the work of that day, glorious honor,Might 'neath the heavens, through the tree of his rood.Went helmet of hosts home again thence,In booty rejoicing (the battle was ended),Honored in war. Came warriors' defence150With band of his thanes to deck the strong shield, [12]War-renowned king, to visit his cities.Bade warriors' ward the wisest menSwiftly to synod, who wisdom's craftThrough writings of old had learnt to know,155Held in their hearts counsels of heroes.Then thát gan inquire chief of the folk,Victory-famed king, throughout the wide crowd,If any there were, elder or younger,Who him in truth was able to tell,160Make known by speech, what the god were,The giver of glory, [13] "whose beacon this was,That seemed me so sheen, and saved my people,Brightest of beacons, and gave to me glory,War-speed against foes, through that beautiful tree."165They him any answer at all were unableTo give in reply, nor could they full wellClearly declare of that victory-sign.Thén did the wisest speak out in wordsBefore the armed host, that Heaven-king's170Token it was, and of that was no doubt.When they that heard who in baptism's loreInstructed had been, light was their mind,Rejoicing their soul, though of them there were few,That they 'fore the Cæsar might dare to proclaim175The gift of the gospel, how the spirits' Defence,In form of the Trinity worshipped in glory,Incarnate became, Brightness of kings,—And how on the cross was God's own SonHanged 'fore the hosts with hardest pains;180The Son men saved from the bonds of devils,Sorrowful spirits, and a gift to them gaveThrough thát same sign that appeared to himBefore his own eyes the token of victory'Gainst onset of nations; and how the third day185From out of the tomb the Glory of heroes,From death, arose, the Lord of allThe race of mankind, and to Heaven ascended.So with cunning of mind in secrets of soulThey said to the victor as they by Sylvester [14]190Instructed had been. From him the folk-chíefBaptism received, and continued to hold itFor the time of his days at the will of the Lord.


Thén was in bliss the giver of treasure,The battle-brave king. To him was new joy195Inspired in his soul; greatest of comfortsAnd highest of hopes was heaven's Defence.Then gan he God's law by day and by nightThrough gift of the Spirit with zeal proclaim,And truly himself devoted he eagerly,200Gold-friend of men, to the service of God,Spear-famed, unfaltering. Then found the ætheling,Defence of his folk, through learned men, [15]War-brave, spear-bold, in books of God,Whére had been hanged with shouts of the host205On tree of the rood the Ruler of heavenThrough envy and hate, just ás the old fiendMisled with his lies, the people deceived,The race of the Jews, so that God himselfThey hanged, Lord of hosts: hence in misery shall they210For ever and ever punishment suffer.Then praise of Christ by the Cæsar wasIn the thoughts of his mind [16] always rememberedFor that great tree, and his mother he badeGó on a journey with a band of men215To [land of] the Jews, earnestly seekWith host of warriors where that tree of gloryHoly 'neath earth hidden might be,The noble King's rood. Helena would notOn that expedition be slow to start,220Nor that joy-giver's command neglect,Her own [dear] son's, but soon she [17] was readyFor the wished-for journey, as the helmet of men,Of mail-clad warriors, her had commanded.Gan then with speed the crowd of earls225Hasten to ship. [18] The steeds of the sea'Round the shore of the ocean ready were standing,Cabled sea-horses, at rest on the water.Then plainly was known the voyage of the lady,When the welling of waves she sought with her folk.230There many a proud one at Wendel-seaStood on the shore. They severally hastenedOver the mark-paths, band after band,And then they loaded with battle-sarks,With shields and spears, with mail-clad warriors,235With men and women, the steeds of the sea.Then they let o'er the billows the foamy ones go,The high wave-rushers. The hull oft receivedO'er the mingling of waters the blows of the waves.The sea resounded. Not since nor ere heard I240On water-stream a lady lead,On ocean-street, a fairer force.There might he see, who that voyage beheld,Burst o'er the bath-way the sea-wood, hasten'Neath swelling sails, the sea-horse play,245The wave-floater sail. The warriors were blithe,Courageous in mind; queen joyed in her journey.After to haven the ringèd-prowedO'er the sea-fastness had finished their courseTo the land of the Greeks, they let the keels250At the shore of the sea beat by the breakers,The old sea-dwellings at anchor fast,On the water await the fate of the heroes,When the warlike queen with her band of menOver the east-ways should seek them again.255There wás on [each] earl easily seenThe braided byrnie and tested sword,Glittering war-weeds, many a helmet,Beautiful boar-sign. The spear-warriors were,Men 'round victor-queen, prepared for the march,260Brave war-heroes. They marched with joyInto land of the Greeks, the Cæsar's heralds,Battle-warriors with armor protected.There wás to be seen treasure-gem set'Mid that army-host, gift of their lord.265[Then] wás the blessed Helena mindful,Bold in her thought, of the prince's will,Eager in mind, in that shé of the Jews,O'er the army-fields with tested bandOf warriors-with-shields, the land was seeking,270With host of men; so it after befellIn little while that thát force of men,War-famed heroes, to Híerusalem [19]Came to the city the greatest of crowds,Spear-famed earls, with the noble queen.275


Bade she then order the dwellers-in-cityMost skilled in lore, those far and wideAmong the Jews, each one of men,For council-talk in meeting to come,Whó most deeply the secrets of God280By righteous law were able to tell.Then was assembled from distant waysNo little crowd who Moses' lawWere able to tell. In number there wereOf thousands three of thóse [learned] men285Chosen for lore. The lovely womanThe men of the Hebrews with words gan address:"I thát most surely have learnt to knowThrough secret words of prophets [of old]In the books of God, that in days of yore290Ye worthy were of the glorious King,Dear to the Lord and daring in deed.Lo! yé that wisdom [very, Gn.] unwisely,Wrongly, rejected, when him ye condemnedWho you from the curse through might of his glory,295From torment of fire, thought to redeem,From fetters' force. Ye filthily spatOn hís fair face who light of the eyesFrom blindness [restored], a remedy broughtTo you anew by that noble spittle,300And often preserved you fróm the uncleanSpirits of devils. This one to deathYe gan adjudge, who self from deathMany awakened 'mong host of menOf your own race to the former life.305So blinded in mind ye gan conjoinLying with truth, light with darkness,Hatred with mercy, with evil thoughtsYe wickedness wove; therefore the curseYou guilty oppresses. The purest Might310Ye gan condemn, and have lived in error,In thoughts benighted, until this day.Go ye now quickly, with prudence selectMen firm in wisdom, crafty in word,Who yóur own law, with excellence skilled,315In thoughts of their minds most thoroughly have,Who to me truly are able to say,Answer to tell for you hencefórthOf each one of tokens that I from thee seek."They went then away sorry-in-mind,320The law-clever earls, oppressed with fear,Sad in their grief, earnestly soughtThe wisest men in secrets of words,That they to the queen might answer wellBoth of good and of ill, as shé from them sought.325Then théy 'mong the host a thousand of menFound clever in mind whó the old storyAmong the Jews most readily knew.Then they pressed in a crowd where in pomp awaitedOn kingly throne the Cæsar's mother, [20]330Stately war-queen with gold adorned.Helena spake and said 'fore the earls:"Hear, clever in mind, the holy secret,Word and wisdom. Lo! yé the prophets'Teaching received, hów the Life-giver335In form of a child incarnate became,Ruler of might. Of him Moses sangAnd spake this [word], [21] warden of Israel:'To yóu shall be born a child in secretRenowned in might, though his mother shall nót340Be filled with fruit through love of a man.'Of him David the king a kingly psalm sang,The wise old sage, father of Solomon,And spake this word, prince of warriors:'The God of creation before me I saw,345Lord of victories. He wás in my sight,Ruler of hosts, upon my right hand,Guardian of glory. Thence turn I nótEver in life my countenance from him.' [22]So it again of you Isaiah350'Fore the people, the prophet, foretold in words,Thinking profoundly by spirit of the Lord:'I raised upon high sons young in years,And children begat, to whom glory I gave,Heart-comfort holy: but théy me rejected,355With enmity hated, forethought possessed not,Wisdom of mind, and the wretched cattle,That on each day one drives and strikes,Their well-doer know, not at áll with revengeBear hate to their friends who give them fodder.360And the folk of Israel never were willingMe to acknowledge, though many for them,In worldly course, of wonders I wrought.' [23]


"Lo! thát we heard through holy books,That the Lord to you gave blameless glory,365The Maker, mights' Speed, to Moses saidHow the King of heaven ye should obey,His teaching perform. Of that ye soon wearied,And counter to right ye had contended;Ye shunned the bright Creator of all,370The Lord [of Lords], [24] and followed error'Gainst right of God. Now quickly goAnd find ye still who writings of oldThrough craft of wit the best may know,Your books of law, that answer to me375Through prudent mind they may return."Went then with a crowd depressed in mindThe proud in heart, as thém the queen bade.Found they five hundred of cunning men,Chosen comrades, who craft of lore380Through memory of mind the most possessed,Wisdom in spirit. They back to the hallIn little while again were summoned,Wards of the city. The queen them ganWith words address (she glanced over all):385"Often ye silly actions performed,Accursèd wretches, and writings despised,Lore of your fathers, ne'er more than now,When ye of your blindness the Healer rejected,Ánd ye contended 'gainst truth and right,390That in Bethlehem the child of the Ruler,The only-born King, incarnate was,The Prince of princes. Though the law ye knew,Words of the prophets, ye wére not then willing,Workers of sin, the truth to confess."395With one mind then they answered her:"Lo! wé the Hebrew law have learned,That in days of old our fathers knew,At the ark of God, nor know we wellWhy thou so fiercely, lady, with us400Hast angry become. We know not the wrongThat wé have done amid this nation,Chiefest of crimes [25] against thee ever."Helena said and 'fore the earls spakeWithout concealment; the lady proclaimed405Aloud 'fore the hosts: "Now go ye quickly,Seek out apart who wisdom with youMight and mindcraft the most may have,That each of the things they boldly may tell me,Without delay, that I from them seek."410Went they then from the council as the mighty queen,Bold in the palace, them had commanded,Sorry-in-mind eagerly searched they,With cunning sought, what were the sinThat they in the folk might have committed415Against the Cæsar, for which the queen blames them.Then there 'fore the earls óne them addressed,Cunning in songs (his name was Judas),Crafty in word: "I surely know,That she will seek of the victor-tree420On which once suffered the Ruler of nationsFree from all faults, own Son of God,Whom though guiltless [26] of every sinThrough hatred hanged upon the high treeIn days of old oúr own fathers.425That was terrible thought. There is now great needThat we with firmness strengthen our minds,That we of this murder become not informers,Where the holy tree was hidden awayAfter the war-storm, lest máy be rejected430The wise old writings and óf our fathersThe lore be lost. Not long will it be [27]That of Israelites the noble raceOver the mid-earth may reign any more,The law-craft of earls, if this be revealed:435That same long ago mine elder fatherVictory-famed said (his name was Zacchaéus),The wise old man, to mine own father,[Who afterwards made it known to his, Gn.][29] son,(He went from this world), and spake this word:440'If to thée that happen in the days of thy life,That thou may'st hear of that holy treeWise men inquire and questionings raiseOf that victor-wood on which the true KingWas hanged on high, Guardian of heaven,445Child of all peace, then quickly declare it,Mine own dear son, ere death thee remove.Ne'er may after that the folk of the Hebrews,The wise in counsel, their kingdom hold,Rule over men, but their fame shall live450And their dominion [be glorified ever, Gn.], [28]To world of worlds with joy be filled,Who the King that was hanged honor and praise.'


"Then quickly I to mine own father,The old law-sage, answer returned:455'How might that happen on kingdom of earthThat they on the holy their hands should layFor reaving of life, oúr own fathers,Through hostile mind, if they ere knewThat he were Christ, the King in heaven,460True son of Creator, Saviour of souls.'Then to mé mine elder answer returned,Wise in his mind my father replied:'Perceive, young man, the might of God,The name of the Saviour. That is to each man465Unutterable. Him may no oneUpon this earth [ever] find out.Never that plan that this people framedWas I willing to follow, but I always myselfHeld aloof from their crimes, by no means wrought shame470To mine own spirit. To them earnestly oftenOn account of their wrong I made opposition,When the learned-in-lore counsel were taking,Were seeking in soul how the Son of their Maker,Men's Helm, [29] they might hang, the Lord of all,475Both angels and men, noblest of children.They might not so foolish death fasten on him,Miserable men, as they ere weened,Afflict with pains, though he for a timeUpon the cross his spirit gave up,480Victor-child of God. Then afterwards wasRaised from the rood the Ruler of heavens,Glory of all glories, three nights afterWithin the tomb was he abidingUnder the darkness, and then on third day,485Light of all light, he living arose,Prince of angels, and he to his thanes,True Lord of victories, himself revealed,Bright in his fame. Then did thy brotherIn time receive the bath of baptism,490Enlightening belief. For love of the LordWas Stephen then with stones assailed,Nor ill gave for ill, but for foes of oldPatient implored, prayed King of gloryThat he the woe-deed would not lay to their charge,495In thát through hate the innocent One,Guiltless of sins, by the teachings of SaulThey robbed of life, as he through enmityTo misery many of the folk of ChristCondemned, to death. Yet later the Lord500Mercy him showed, that to many became heOf people for comfort, when the God of creation,Saviour of men, had changed his name,And afterwards he the holy PaulWas called by name, and no one than he505Of teachers of faith, [no] other, was better'Neath roof of heaven afterwards everOf those man or woman brought into the world,Although he Stephen with stones them badeSlay on the mountain, thine own brother.510Now may'st thou hear, mine own dear son,How gracious ís the Ruler of all,Though we transgression 'gainst him oft commit,The wound of sins, if we soon afterFor those misdeeds repentance work515Ánd from unrighteousness afterwards cease.Therefore I truly, and my dear father,After believed [in the Giver of life, Gn.],That he had suffered, God of all glories,Leader of life, painful penalty520For mighty need of the race of men.Therefore I teach thee through secret of song,My dearest child, that scornful words,Hatred or blasphemy, never thou work,Fierce contradiction 'gainst the Son of God.525Then wilt thou merit that thee life eternal,Best of rewards, shall be given in heaven.'Thus mine own father in days of oldMe unwaxen with words did teach,Instruct with true speech (his name was Simon),530Man wise in words. Now well do ye knowWhat of that in your thought may seem to you bestPlainly to tell, if us this queenShall ask of that tree, now mine own mindAnd thought of heart ye [well] do know."535Him then in reply the cleverest of allIn the crowd of men with words addressed:"Ne'er did we hear any of menAmong this folk save thee just now,Another thane, declare in this manner540Of so secret event. Do as [best] seems thee,Thou wise in old lore, if thou be questioned'Mong the host of men. Of wisdom has need,Of wary words and sage's cunning,Who shall to the noble one answer return545Before such a host among the assembly."


Words waxed in speech; men counsel tookOn every side; some hither, some thither,Considered and thought. Then came many thanesTo the people's assembly. The heralds called,550The Cæsar's criers: "This queen you invites,Men, to the hall, that the council-decisionsYe rightly may tell. Of rede have ye needIn the place of assembly, of wisdom of mind."Ready they were, the sad-in-mind555People's protectors, when they were summonedThrough stern command; to court they wentCraft's might to tell. Then gan the queenThe Hebrew men in words address,Ask the life-weary of writings of old,560How ere in the world the prophets sang,Men holy in spirit, of the Son of God,Where the Prince [of the people] his sufferings bore,True son of Creator, for love of souls.Stubborn they were, harder than stone,565Would not that secret rightly make knownNor answer to her any would tell,Anger-provokers, of what she sought,But they of each word made a denial,Firm in their minds, of what she gan ask,570Said that in life they any such thingNor ere nor since ever had heard of.Helena spake and angrily said:"I [now] in truth to you will say,—And of this in your life there shall be no deception,—575If ye in this falseness longer continueWith treacherous lying, who stand here before me,That you on the mountain bale-fire shall take,Hottest of war-waves, and your corpses consume,The lambent flame, so for yoú shall that lie580To leaving of life [surely] be turned.Ye may not prove that word, which ye just now in wrongConcealed 'neath heaps [30] of sins. Nor may ye hide that fate,Obscure its deepest might." In thought of death they wereOf pyre and life's end, and delivered then one585Well-skilled in songs (to him the name JudasWas given 'fore kinsmen);—him they gave to the queen,Said of him very wise: "He may truth to thee tell,Fate's secrets reveal, as thou askest in words,The law from beginning forth to the end.590He is before earth of noble race,Wise in word-craft and son of a prophet,Bold in council. To him 'tis inbornThat he the answers clever may have,Knowledge in heart. He to thée shall declare595'Fore the crowd of men the gift of wisdomThrough mickle might, as thy mind desires."In peace she permitted each one to seekHis own [dear] home, and him alone took,Judas, as hostage, and earnestly prayed600That he of the rood would rightly teach,Which of old in its bed was long concealed,And she himself apart to her called.Helena spake to him alone,Glory-rich queen: "For thee two are ready,605Or life or death, as liefer shall be,To thee to choose. Now quickly declareTo which of the two thou wilt agree."Judas to her spake again (he might not the sorrow avoid,Avert the ire of the empress. [31] In the power of the queen was he):610"How maý him befall who oút on the waste,Tired and foodless, treads the moorland,Oppressed with hunger, and bread and stoneBoth in his sight together [32] shall be,The hard and the soft, that he take the stone615For hunger's defence, care nót for the bread,Return to want and reject the food,Renounce the better, if both he enjoys?"


To him then the blessed answer returned,Helena 'fore earls without concealment:620"If thou in heaven willest to haveDwelling with angels and life on earth,Reward in the skies, tell me quicklyWhere rests the rood of the King of heavenHoly 'neath earth, which yé now long625Through sin of murder from men have concealed."Judas replied (his mind was sad,Heat in his heart and woe for both,Whether hope of heaven with [all] his soulHe should renounce, along with his present630Kingdom 'neath skies, or show the rood):"How may I that find that long ago happenedIn course of winters? Now many are gone,Two hundred or more, reckoned by number;I may not recount, now the number I know not.635Now many have since departed this life,Of wise and good who were before us,Of clever men. In youth was IIn later days afterwards born,A child in years. I cannot what I know not640Find in my heart that so long ago happened."Helena spake to him in answer:"How has it happened among this people,That ye so much in mind retain,Each one of all signs, just as the Trojans645In fight effected? 'Twas greater terror, [33]Well-known old war, than this noble event,In course of years. Ye that can wellQuickly recount, how many there wereIn number of men in that murderous fight650Of throwers-with-darts fallen in deathUnder the shield-hedge. Ye have the gravesUnder the stone-slopes, and likewise the placesAnd the number of winters in writings set down."Judas replied (great sorrow he bore):655"That work of war, we, lady mine,Through direful need remember well,And that tumult of war in writing set down,The bearing of nations, but this one neverBy any man's mouth have we heard660Made known to men except here now."The noble queen gave answer to him:"Thou resistest too much both truth and rightOf the tree of life, and now little beforeThou truly said'st of that victor-tree665To thine own people, and now turn'st to a lie."To her Judas said that he spake that in sorrowAnd doubt extreme, worse evil expected.Him quickly answered the Cæsar's mother:"Lo! that have we heard through holy books670Made known to men that there was hangedOn Calvarý the King's free child,God's Spirit-son. Thou fully shaltWisdom reveal, as writings tell,About the plain, where the place may be,675That Calvarý, ere misery take thee,Death for thy sins, that I afterwards mayPurify ít at the will of Christ,For help to men, that holy God,Almighty Lord, the thought of my heart680My wish may fulfil, men's Giver of glory,Helper of souls." Her Judas answered,Stubborn in mind: "I know not the placeNor aught of the plain, nor the thing do I know."Helena spake with angry mind:685"This do I swear through the Son of the MakerThe hangèd God, that with hunger thou shaltBefore thy kinsmen be put to death,Unless thou forsake these lying talesAnd plainly to me the truth make known."690Then bade she with band him lead alive,The guilty one cast (the servants delayed not)Intó a dry pit, where robbed of joy,He lingered in sorrows seven nights' timeWithin the prison oppressed with hunger,695Fastened with fetters, and then gan he call,Weakened by pains, on the seventh day,Tired and foodless (his strength was exhausted):"I you beseech through heaven's God,That me from these sufferings ye maý release,700Humbled by hunger. Of that holy treeShall I willingly tell, now longer I may notFor hunger conceal it. This bond is too strong,Distress too severe, and this misery too hardIn number of days. I may not endure it,705Nor longer conceal of the tree of life,Though with folly before I was thoroughly filled,And the truth too late I myself have perceived."


When she that heard, who men there ordered,The man's behavior, she quickly commanded710That him from confinement and out of his dungeon,From the narrow abode, they shóuld release.They hastily thát did soon performAnd him with honor then led they upFrom out of the prison as them the queen bade.715Stepped they then to the place, the firm-in-mind,Upon the hill on which the LordBefore was hanged, heaven-kingdom's Ward,God's child, on the cross, and yet knew he not well,Weakened by hunger, where the holy rood720Through cunning of foe [34] enclosed in earth,721-2Long firm in its bed concealed from men,Remained in its grave. Now raised he his voice,Unmindful [35] of might, and in Hebrew he spake:725"Saviour Lord, thou hast power of rule,And thou didst create through the might of thy gloryHeaven and earth and the boisterous sea,The ocean's wide bosom, all creatures alike,And thou didst measure with thine own hands730All the globe of the earth and the heaven above,And thou thyself sittest, Wielder of victories,Above the noblest order of angels,That fly through the air encircled with light,Great might of glory. There mankind may not735From the paths of earth ascend on highIn bodily form with thát bright host,Heralds of glory. These wroughtest thou,And for thíne own service thém didst thou set,Holy and heavenly. Of these in the choir740In joy eternal six are named,Who are surrounded with six wings apiece,[With them are] adorned, [and] fair they shine.Of these are four who ever in flightThe service of glory attend upon745Before the face of the Judge eternal,Continually sing in glory the praise,With clearest voices, of the King of heaven,Most beauteous of songs, and say these wordsWith voices pure (their name Cherubím):750'Holy is the holy God of archangels,Ruler of hosts. Full of his gloryAre heaven and earth and all the high powersWith glory distinguished,' There are two among these,Victor-race in heaven, who Seraphím755By name are called. They sháll ParadiseAnd the tree of life with flaming swordHoly maintain. The hard-edged trembles,The etched brand wavers, and changes its form,Firm in their grips. Thát, [36] O Lord God,760Ever thou wieldest, and thou the sinful,Guilt-working foes out of the heavens,The foolish, didst cast. The accursèd host thenUnder dwellings of darkness was forced to fallTo perdition of hell. There now in the welling765Endure they death-pain in the dragon's embrace,Enclosed in darkness. [Thee] he resisted,Thy princely rule; therefore in misery,Full [37] of all foulness, he guilty shall suffer,Slavery endure. There may he not770Thy word reject: he is fast in torments,The author of sin, in misery bound.If thy will it be, Ruler of angels,That he may reign who was on the rood,And who through Mary upon the mid-earth775Incarnate became in form of a child,Prince of the angels (if hé had not beenThy Son free from sin, never so manyTrue wonders in world would hé have wroughtIn number of days. Thou wouldst not from death780So gloriously him, Ruler of nations,Have awaked 'fore the hosts, if hé in gloryThrough the bright [maid] were not thy Son),—Now, Father of angels, send forth thy sign.As thou didst hear the holy man,785Moses, in prayer, when thou, God of might,Didst show to the earl at the noble timeUnder the hill-slope the bones of Joseph,So, Ruler of hosts, if it be thy will,Through that bright form I'll pray to thee790That to me the gold-hoard, Maker of spirits,Thou wilt reveal, that has been from men[So] long concealed. Let, Author of life,Now from this plain a winsome smoke'Neath heaven's expanse mount up on high795Playing in the air. I'll the better believe,And I'll the more firmly stablish my mind,Undoubting trust, upon the hanged Christ,That hé be in truth the Saviour of souls,Eternal, Almighty, Israel's King,800Forever may have glory in heaven,Rule without end the dwellings eternal."


Then out of that place a vapor aroseLike smoke 'neath the heavens. Thére was rejoicedThe mind of the man. With both his hands,805Happy and láw-clever, upward he clapped.Judas exclaimed, clever in thought:"Now I in truth myself have knownIn my hardened heart that thou art the SaviourOf [this] mid-earth. To thee, God of might,810Sitting in glory, be thanks without end,That to me so sad and so full of sinThou revealed'st in glory the secrets of fate.Now, Son of God, to thee will I pray,Will-giver of peoples, now I know that thou art815Declared and born of all kings the Glory,That thou no longer be of my sins,Those which I committed by no means seldom,O Maker, mindful. Let mé, God of might,Amid the number of thine own kingdom820With the army of saints my dwelling haveIn that bright city, where is my brotherHonored in glory, for that faith with theeHe, Stephen, kept, though with handfuls of stonesHe was pelted to death. War's meed he has,825Fame without end. There are in booksThe wonders he wrought, in writings, made known."Then gan he glad for the tree of glory,Constant in zeal, delve in the earthBeneath the turf, so thát at twenty830Feet by measure he found far concealed,Down in the depths hidden in the earth'Neath cover of darkness,—there found he threeOf roods together within the sad houseBuried in sand, as in days of old835The host of the wicked covered with earth,The folk of the Jews. 'Gainst the child of GodHatred they raised, although they should not,If the lore they'd not heard of the father of lies.Then wás his mind greatly rejoiced,840His heart was strengthened by that holy tree,His spirit inspired, when the beacon he sawHoly 'neath earth. With his hands he claspedThe cross [38] of glory, and it raised 'mid the crowdFrom its grave in the earth. The guests on foot,845The æthelings, went on into the city.They set there in sight three victor-treesThe firm-minded earls 'fore Helena's feet, [39]Courageous in heart. The queen rejoicedIn the depth of her soul, and then gan ask850On which of those trees the Son of the Ruler,Joy-giver of heroes, hangèd had been."Lo! thát we have heard through holy booksBy tokens declared, that two with-him[Also] suffered, and himself was the third855On the tree of the rood. All heaven was darkOn that terrible day. Say, if thou canst,On which of these three the Prince of the angelsSuffered [his doom], the Shepherd of glory."Her Judas might not (he knew not full well)860Plainly inform of the victor-wood,On which one the Saviour uplifted had been,Victor-son of God, ere he bade them setWithin the middle of that great cityThe trees with clamor, and there await865Till to him declared the Almighty KingThe wonder 'fore the folk of that tree of glory.The victor-famed sat, their song they raised,The wise in rede, 'round the three roodsUntil the ninth hour; new joy they had870With wonder found. Then came there a crowd,No little folk, and a man deceasedThey brought on a bier with heap of menIn neighborhood [nigh] (ninth hour it was),A lifeless youth. Then Judas was there875In thought of his heart greatly rejoiced.He bade then set the soul-less [youth],Deprived of life the corpse on the earth,The lifeless one, and up he raised,Declarer of truth, two of the crosses,880The wise, in his arms o'er that fated house,Plunged deep in thought. It was dead as before,Corpse fast on its bier: the limbs were cold,Clad in distress. Then wás the thirdHoly upraised. The body awaited885Until over it the Ætheling's [cross],His rood, was upraised, Heaven-king's tree,True token of victory. Soon he aroseReady in spirit, both togetherBody and soul. There praise was uplifted890Fair 'mid the folk. The Father they honored,And also the true Son of the RulerThey praised in words. Be glory and thanksTo Him without end from all His creatures.


Then wás to the people in the depth of their souls895Impressed on their minds, as ever shall be,The wonder that wrought the Lord of hostsFor saving of souls of the race of men,The Teacher of life. There the sinner-through-liesThen stied in the air, the flying fiend.900Gan then exclaim the devil of hell,The terrible monster, mindful of evils:"Lo! whát man is this, who now againWith ancient strife my service will ruin,Increase the old hate, [and] plunder my goods?905This contest's increasing. The souls cannot,Workers of sin, longer withinMy power remain, now a stranger is come,Whom I ere reckoned fast in his sins,Me has he robbed of every right,910Of precious possessions. That's nót a fair course.To me many harms the Saviour has done,Contests oppressive, he who in NazarethWas reared as a child. As soon as he grewFrom childhood's years, he to hím ever turned915Mine own possessions. I may not nowIn any right thrive. His kingdom is broadOver the mid-earth. My might is lessenedUnder the heavens. The rood I need notJoyfully praise. Lo! me the Saviour920In that narrow home again has confinedSadly for sorrow. Through Judas beforeJoyful I was, and now am I humbled,Deprived of goods, through Judas again,Despised and friendless. Still can I find925Through evil deeds return hereafter [40]From the homes of the damned. 'Gainst thee will I rouseAnother king [41] who will persecute thee,And he will reject thine own instruction,And sinful manners of mine will he follow,930And thee will he send then into the blackestAnd into the worst terrors of torments,That with sorrow beset thou'lt firmly renounceThe hangèd King whom ere thou obeyed'st."To him then the cunning Judas replied,935The battle-brave man (in him Holy SpiritWas firmly implanted, fire-hot his love,His wit was welling with warrior's craft),And this word he spake with wisdom filled:"Thou need not so strongly, mindful of sins,940Sorrow renew, and strife uprear,Sin-maker of murder, for thee mighty KingIn the depths beneath will thrust thee down,Worker of sin, to miseries' bottomDeprived of glory, who many of the dead945With his word awaked. Know thou the readier,That thou with folly didst once renounceBrightest of lights and love of the Lord,The fairest joy, and in bath of fire,Surrounded with torments, didst afterwards dwell,950Consumed with flame, and there ever shalt,Hostile in mind, punishment suffer,Misery endless." Helena heardHow the fiend and the friend contests aroused,The blest and the base, on both their sides,955The sinner and the saint. Her mind was the gladderFor that she heard the hellish foe[The fiend] overcome, the worker of sins,And then she wondered at the wit of the man,How hé so truthful in so little time960And so untaught ever becameWith wisdom inspired. [Then] thanked she God,The King of glory, that her wish was fulfilledThrough the Son of God of each of the two,Bóth for the sight of the victor-tree,965Ánd of the faith that [42] so bright she perceived,The glorious gift in the breast of the man.


Thén was made known among that folk,Throughout that nation widely proclaimed,The great morning-news for a grievance to many970Of those who God's law wished to conceal,Announced in the towns far as waters embrace,In each of the cities, that the rood of ChristOnce buried in earth had been discovered,Brightest of beacons, which since or before975Holy 'neath heavens had been upheaved;And it was to the Jews the greatest of sorrows,Unhappy men, most hateful of fates,That they 'fore the world were unable to change it,The joy of the Christians. Then bade the queen980'Mong the host of earls heralds to hasten,Quickly to journey; they should of the RomansO'er the high sea the lord seek out,Ánd to that warrior the best of tidingsSay, to himself, that the victor-sign985Through Creator's favor had been recovered,Found in the earth, which ages beforeHad been concealed for sorrow to saints,To Christian folk. Then was to the kingThrough the glorious words his spirit gladdened,990His heart rejoicing. Then was of inquirers'Neath golden garments no lack in the citiesCome from afar. To him greatest of comfortsIt became in the world at the wished-for tidings,—His heart delighted,—which army-leaders995Over the east-ways, messengers, brought him,How happy a journey over the swan-roadThe men with the queen successfully madeTo the land of the Greeks. The Cæsar bade themWith greatest haste again prepare1000Themselves for the way. The men delayed notAs soon as they had the answer heard,The words of the ætheling. Bade he Helena hail,The war-famed greet, if they the sea-voyageAnd happy journey were able to make,1005Brave-minded men, to the holy city.Bade also to her the messengers sayConstantínus, that she a churchOn the mountain-slope for gain of bothShould there erect, a temple of God,1010On Calvarý, for joy to Christ,For help to men, where the holy roodHad béen discovered, greatest of trees,Of those that earth-dwellers ever heard namedUpon the earth. So she effected,1015After dear kinsmen brought from the westOver the ocean many loved tidings.Then bade the queen those skilled in craftsTo seek out apart, the best of all,Those who most cunningly knew how to work1020In joinings of stones, on the open plainGod's temple to build. As the Warden of spiritsHer counselled from heaven, she bade the roodWith gold adorn and gems of all kinds,With the most splendid of precious stones1025To set with skill, and in silver chestTo enclose with locks. There that tree of life,Best of victor-trees, has since remainedIn nature eternal. [43] There 'twill be ever readyA help to the sick 'gainst every ill,1030Distress and sorrow. There soon will theyThrough that holy creation assistance obtain,A gift divine. Also Judas receivedAfter fixed time the bath of baptism,And cleansed became, trustful in Christ,1035Dear to the Life-warden. His faith becameFirm in his heart, when the Spirit of comfortMade his abode in the breast of the man,To repentance him urged. The better he chose,The joy of glory, and the worse he refused,1040The service of idols, and error rejected,Unlawful belief. To him King [44] eternal,The Creator, was mild, God, Ruler of might.


Then hé was baptized who often beforeThe ready light [had long rejected, Gn.],1045Inspired was his soul for that better life,To glory turned. Fate surely ordainedThat so full of faith and so dear to GodIn realm of the world he should become,[So] pleasing to Christ. That known became,1050After that Helena bade them Eusebius,Bishop of Rome, into council with herTo bring for help, the very wise [man]By means of men, [45] to the holy city,That he might ordain to the sacred office1055Judas for the folk in Jerúsalém,To be their bishop within the city,Through gift of the Spirit for the temple of GodChosen with wisdom, and him CyriácusThrough counsel of wit she afterwards named1060A second time. The name was changedOf the man in the city henceforth for the better,For the law of the Saviour. Then still Helena'sMind was disturbed at the wondrous fate,Very much for the nails, those which the Saviour's1065Feet had pierced through and likewise his hands,With which on the rood the Ruler of Heaven,Lord mighty, was fastened. Of these gan askThe Christians' queen, Cyriacus prayedThat still for her, by the might of his spirit,1070For the wondrous fate the will he'ld fulfil,Reveal by his gifts, and shé addressedThis word to the bishop, boldly she spake:"Thou, earls' defence, the noble treeOf heavens' King me rightly didst show,1075On which was hanged by heathen handsThe Helper of spirits, own Son of God,Saviour of men. Still of the nailsIn thought of my mind curiosity troubles me.I would thou should'st find those which yet in the earth1080Deeply buried remain concealed,Hidden in darkness. My heart ever sorrows,Sad it complains and never will rest,Ere for mé He fulfil, Almighty Father,Ruler of hosts, mine own desire,1085Saviour of men, by sight [46] of the nails,The Holy from height. Now quickly do thouWith all humility, most excellent man,Direct thy prayer to the heavens bright,To the Ruler of glory, pray Strength of warriors,1090That to thee may reveal the Almighty KingThe hord 'neath the earth, that hidden still,Concealed from men, in secret abides."Then gan the holy one strengthen his heart,Inspired in his breast the bishop of the folk,1095Glad-minded, went with a crowd of menThose praising God, and earnestly thenCyriacús on CalvarýInclined his face, his secret concealed not,With might of his spirit called upon God1100With all humility, prayed Warden of angelsTo open to him the unknown fateIn his new distress, where he the nailsUpon the plain Best need expect.Then caused he the token, where they were looking,1105The Father, hope's Spirit, in form of fireUpwards to rise, where they most nobleBy means of men [47] had once been hiddenWith secret cunning, the nails in the earth.Then suddenly came brighter than sun1110The playing flame. The people sawTo the giver of their will [48] the wonder made known,When there out of darkness, like stars of heavenOr gems of gold, upon the bottomThe nails from the narrow bed shining beneath1115Brilliantly glittered. The people rejoiced,The glad-minded host, spake glory to GodWith one accord all, though ere they wereBy the devil's deceit long in error,Estranged from Christ. Thus did they speak:1120"Ourselves now we see the token of victory,True wonder of God, that before we opposedWith lying words. Now is come into light,Is revealed, fate's course. May glory for thisHave in the highest heaven-kingdom's God!"1125Then hé was rejoiced who turned to repentanceThrough the Son of God, the people's bishop,A second time. He took the nails,Disturbed with fear, ánd to the venerableQueen did he bring them. Cyriacus had1130It all fulfilled as the noble one bade him,The woman's will. There was sound of weeping,Hot head-welling was poured o'er her cheeks,By no means for sorrow. The tears were fallingO'er the plaiting of wires. [49] With glory fulfilled1135Was the wish of the queen. She knelt on her kneesWith bright belief; she honored the gift,Rejoicing with joy, which wás to her broughtFor help in her sorrows. Then thanked she God,The Lord of victories, that the truth she had learnt1140At that present time, that oft was announcedSo long before from creation of the worldFor comfort to the people. Shé was inspiredWith the gift of wisdom, and his dwelling heldHoly Spirit of heaven, guarded her breast,1145Her noble heart. So her the AlmightyVictor-son of God after protected.


Then eagerly gan she with secrets of soulSeek in her spirit by soothfastnéssThe way to glory. Now God of hosts1150His help bestowed, the Father in heaven,Almighty King, that the queen obtainedHer will in the world. The prophecy wasBy sages of old sung long beforeAll from beginning, as it afterwards happened1155In respect to each thing. The folk-queen beganThrough gift of the Spirit gladly to seekWith greatest care how best the nails,And in manner most worthy, she might applyFor joy to the folk, what was will of the Lord.1160Bade she then fetch a very wise manQuickly to counsel, him who wisdomThrough clever might thoroughly knew,Wise in his heart, and gan him askWhat in his soul seemed to him best1165To do about that, and his teachings she choseIn respect to her conduct. Her boldly [50] he answered:"That is becoming that word of the LordThou hold in heart, holy counsel,Most excellent queen, and the King's command1170Gladly fulfil, now God has thee givenSuccess of soul and craft of wit,The Saviour of men. Bid thou these nailsFor that most excellent of earthly kings,Of owners of cities, put on his bridle1175For bit to his horse. To many that shall,Throughout the mid-earth, become renowned,When with that in contest he may overcomeEach one of his foes, when the brave-in-warOn either side the battle seek,1180Sword-contenders, where they strive for victory,Foe against foe. War-speed shall he have,Victory in fight and everywhere peace,In battle success, who carries in frontThe bridle on horse, when the famed-in-fight1185At clashing of spears, the choicest of men,Bear shield and lance. To each one of menAgainst war-terror shall be invincibleThis weapon in war. The seer of it sang,Cunning in thought. Deep moved his mind,1190His wit of wisdom. This word he spake:'That shall be known that the horse of the kingShall 'neath the proud with bit be adorned,With bridle-rings. That beacon to GodShall holy be called, and that one valor-blessed,1195Honored in war, who rides on that horse.'"With haste then that did all performHelena 'fore earls, bade the ætheling's,Heroes' ring-giver's, bridle adorn,To her own son sent as a present1200O'er ocean's stream the blameless gift.She bade then together those whom as bestOf men she knew among the Jews,Of the race of heroes, to the holy city,To the town to come. Then gan the queen1205The dear ones teach that love of the LordAnd peace likewíse among themselves,The bond of friendship, they fast should holdWithout reproach in time of their life,And they to the teacher's lore should hearken,1210The Christian virtues that Cyriacus taught them,Clever in books. The office of bishopWas fairly made fast. From afar oft to himThe lame, the sick, the crippled came,The halt, the wounded, the leprous and blind,1215The lowly, the sad; always there healthAt the hands of the bishop, healing, they foundEver for ever. Yet Helena gave himTreasures as presents, when ready she wasFor the journey home, and bade she then all1220In that kingdom of men who worshipped God,Men and women, that they should honorWith mind and might that famous day,With thoughts of the heart, whereon holy roodHad béen discovered, greatest of trees,1225Of those which from earth ever sprang upGrown under leaves. Then spring was goneExcept six nights ere coming of summerOn the kalends of May. To each of those menBe hell's door shut, heaven's unclosed,1230Eternally opened the kingdom of angels,Joy without end, and their portion appointedAlong with. Mary, who takes into mindThat one most dear of festal daysOf that rood under heaven, that which the mightiest1235Ruler of all with arm protected. Finit. [51]


Thus old and death-ready in this frail houseWord-craft I wove and wondrously framed it,Reflected at times and sifted my thoughtClosely at night. I knew not well1240The truth of the rood, [52] ere wider knowledgeThrough glorious might into thought of my mindWisdom revealed to me. I was stained with crimes,Fettered with sins, pained with sorrows,Bitterly bound, banefully vexed,1245Ere lore to me lent through light-bringing officeFor help to the agèd, his blameless giftThe mighty King meted, and poured in my mind,Brightness disclosed, widened with time,Bone-house unbound, breast-lock unwound,1250Song-craft unlocked, which I joyfully used,With will, in the world. Of that tree of gloryOften not once meditation I had,Ere that wonder I had revealedAbout that bright tree, as in books I found1255In course of events, in writings declaredOf that beacon of victory. Ay till then was the manWith care-waves oppressed, a nickering pine-torch[C],Though he in the mead-hall treasures received,Apples of gold. [53] Mourned for his bow[Y]1260The comrade of sorrow[N], suffered distress,His secret constrained, where before him the horse[E]Measured the mile-paths, with spirit ranProud of his ornaments. Hope[W] is decreased,Joy, after years, youth is departed,1265The ancient pride. The bison[U] was onceThe gladness of youth. Now are the old daysIn course of time gone forever,Life-joy departed, as ocean[L] flows by,Waves hurried along. To each one is wealth [54][F]1270Fleeting 'neath heaven, treasures of earthPass 'neath the clouds likest to wind,When before men it mounts up aloud,Roams 'round the clouds, raging rushes,And then all at once silent becomes,1275In narrow prison closely confined,Strongly repressed. So passes this world,And likewise besides what things [55] have beenIn it produced flame will consume,When the Lord himself judgment will seek1280With host of angels. Every one thereOf speech-bearing men the truth shall hearOf every deed through mouth of the Judge,And likewise of words the penalty payOf all that with folly were spoken before,1285Of daring thoughts. Then parts into threeInto clutch of fire each one of folk,Of those that have dwelt in course of timeUpon the broad earth. The righteous shall beUpmost-in flame, host of the blessed,1290Crowd eager for glory, as they may bear it,And without torment easily suffer,Band of the brave. For them shall be moderateThe brightness of flame, [56] as it shall be easiest,Softest for them. The sinful shall be,1295Those spotted with evil, compressed in the middle,Men sad-in-mind, within the hot wavesSmothered with smoke. The third part shall be,Accursèd sinners, in the flood's abyss,False folk-haters, fastened in flame1300For deeds of old, gang of the godlessIn grip of the gledes. To God never moreFrom that place of torment come they in mind,To the King of glory, but théy shall be castFrom that terrible fire to the bottom of hell,1305The workers of woe. To the [other] two partsIt will be unlike. They may angels' Lord,Victories' God, see. Théy shall be cleansed,Sundered from sins, as smelted gold,That is in the flame from every spot1310Through fire of the oven thoroughly cleansed,Freed and refined. So shall each of those menBe freed and made pure from every sin,From heavy crimes through fire of that doom.Then afterwards théy may peace enjoy,1315Eternal bliss. To them angels' WardenShall be mild and gentle, for that théy every evilDespised, sins' work, and to Son of their MakerThey called with words. Hence in beauty they shine nowLike to the angels, the heritage have1320Of the King of glory for ever and ever. Amen.
[1] Prince's.
[2] MS. 'Huns,' but Z. reads 'Hugs.' Cf. W.
[3] 'O'er land of Burgundians,' Gn.
[4] Z. has no point, W. puts (;), Gn. (.)
[5] 'Hurried,' Z.3
[6] 'He,' W.
[7] 'Which,' Z.
[8] 'In the terrible danger,' Gn.
[9] Lit. 'in like manner,' adv.
[10] Add 'at the work.'
[11] 'Diminished,' Gn.
[12] i.e., with precious stones. Kr. reads '(rattled strong shields).'
[13] 'Gold,' Kr. 'Lord of the house,' Gn. Cf. W.
[14] The Bishop of Rome.
[15] Lit., 'smiths of lore.'
[16] Z. supposes lacuna of one verse; W. thinks it unnecessary.
[17] Lit., 'the woman.'
[18] Lit., 'to the sea,' or 'sea-journey.'
[19] A.-S. form retained for the sake of the accent and alliteration.
[20] Lit., 'kinswoman.' The Elizabethan 'Kesar' would preserve the alliteration in this line.
[21] Gn. and Z. W. omits.
[22] Psalms xvi. 8, 9.
[23] Isaiah i. 2, 3.
[24] Gn., Z., W.
[25] So W. 'Wrongs have committed,' Gm., Gn. and Z. [?]
[26] W.
[27] Add 'after that.'
[28] Lacuna in MS., emended by Gn.
[29] i.e., 'defence, protector.'
[30] Lit., 'under the lap (or bosom) of sins.'
[31] MS. rex (Latin?), Z.; 'oppression of care' (cearces), Gn.; 'of hunger' (ceaces), Gm.; 'of smoke' (rêces), Schubert; rex = cyninges, Sievers and W.
[32] Z.
[33] Or, 'war,' Gn.; 'further oft,' Gm.
[34] No lacuna in MS. Gn.1 inserted one line, but Gn.2 one word (fêonda), which W. prefers. Text as Z. (fêondes), which Sievers approves.
[35] 'Mindful,' Gm. and Gn.; 'suffering,' Z. [?].
[36] Referring to the sword.
[37] Gn., or 'foul,' Z.
[38] Lit., 'joy-wood.'
[39] Lit., 'knee.'
[40] So Z.; 'rebellion for this,' W. See W.'s note.
[41] Julian the Apostate, suggests Gn.
[42] 'That,' relative, though it may be taken as conjunction, as Z.
[43] So Z.; 'The noble wood,' Gm. and Gn.
[44] Latin, rex.
[45] So Z.; 'With pomp of array,' Gn.
[46] Lit., 'coming.'
[47] Same expression as in 1054.
[48] Lit., 'will-giver,' i.e., the queen.
[49] i.e., her ornaments of gold.
[50] Gn.'s emendation.
[51] Here properly ends the legend of the Finding of the Cross. The last canto contains reflections of the poet.
[52] Gn.'s emendation.
[53] Lit.,'appled gold.'
[54] The words in italics are the names of the runes that make up the name CYNEWULF. This artificial use of words makes the interpretation obscure, and scholars differ about it.
[55] Or, 'those who.'
[56] Gn., Z.



*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *[The glorious Creator's] [1] gifts doubted she [not]Upón this wide earth; then found she there readyHelp from the mighty Prince, when she most need did haveOf grace from the highest Judge, that her 'gainst the greatest terrorThe Lord of Creation should shield. That Father in heaven to herThe Glorious-in-mind did grant, for thát firm faith she hadÍn the Almighty ever. Then heard I that HolofernesWine-summons eagerly wrought, and with all wonders a gloriousBanquet had hé prepared; to thát bade the prince of menAll his noblest thanes. Thát with mickle haste10Did the warriors-with-shields perform; came to the mighty chiefThe people's leaders going. Ón the fourth day was thatAfter that Judith, cunning in mind,The elf-sheen virgin, him first had sought.


They then at the feast proceeded to sit,15The proud to the wine-drinking, all his comrades-in-ill,Bold mailèd-warriors. There were lofty beakersOft borne along the benches, alsó were cups and flagonsFull to the hall-sitters borne. The fated partook of them,Brave warriors-with-shields, though the mighty weened not of it,20Awful lord of earls. Thén was Holofernes,Gold-friend of men, full of wine-joy:He laughed and clamored, shouted and dinned,That children of men from afar might hearHow the strong-minded both stormed and yelled,25Moody and mead-drunken, often admonishedThe sitters-on-benches to bear themselves [2] well.Thus did the hateful one during all dayHis liege-men [loyal] keep plying with wine,Stout-hearted giver of treasure, untíl they lay in a swoon,30He drenched all his nobles [with drink], as if they were slain in death,Deprived [3] of each one of goods. Thus bade the prince of menThe sitters-in-hall to serve, untíl to children of menThe darkening night drew nigh. He bade then, filled with hate,The blessed maiden with haste to fetch35To his bed of rest, laden with jewels,Adorned with rings. They quickly performed,The attendant thanes, what their lord them bade,Mailed-warriors' prince; like a flash they steppedInto the guest-room, where they Judith40Wise-minded found, and quickly thenThe warriors-with-shields began to leadThe glorious maid to the lofty tentWhere the mighty himself always [4] restedBy night within, to the Saviour hateful,45Holofernes. There wás an all-goldenBeautiful fly-net around the folk-warrior'sBed suspended, só that the hatefulWas able to look through, the chief of warriors,Upon each one that therein came50Of the sons of heroes, and on him no oneOf the race of men, unless the proud some oneOf the strong-in-war bade to him nearerOf warriors for counsel to come. They then to him at rest broughtQuickly the cunning woman; went then the stout-in-heart55The men their lord to tell that the holy woman wasBrought to his chamber-tent. The famous then in mindWas glad, the ruler of cities; he thought the beautiful maidenWith spot and stain to defile: that Judge of glory would notAllow, the Keeper of honor, but him from that deed restrained60The Lord, the Ruler of hosts. Went then the devilish one,The wanton [warrior-prince], [5] with [mickle] band of men,The baleful his bed to seek, where hé his life should loseQuickly within one night; he had then his end attained [6]On earth ungentle [end], such as before he wrought for,65The mighty prince of men, while ín this world he was,While he dwelt under roof of the clouds. Then fell so drunk with wineThe mighty [chief] on his bed, as if he knew no redeWithin his place of wit; the warriors steppedOút from the chamber with mickle haste,70The wine-filled men, whó the oath-breaker,Hateful folk-hater, had led to his bedFor the very last time. Then was the Saviour'sGlorious maiden earnestly mindfulHow she the terrible most easily might75Of life deprive before the lustful,The wanton, awoke. The wreathed-locked took then,The Creator's handmaid, a sharp-edged swordHardened by war-strokes [?], [7] and drew from its sheathWith hér right hand; then Keeper of heaven80By name she gan name, Saviour of allDwellers-in-th' world, and this word she spake:"Thee, God of Creation, and Spirit of Comfort,Son of the Almighty, will I [now] prayFor thine own mercy to me in my need,85Trinity's Glory. To me greatly now thenMy heart is inflamed, and my mind is sad,Sorely with sorrows oppressed; grant, Lord of Heaven, to meVictory and faith without fear, that I with this sword may be ableTo hew down this dealer of murder; grant [too] my safety to me,90Strong-hearted Leader of men; ne'er in this world had IOf thy mercy more urgent need: avenge now, mighty Lord,Glorious Giver of honor, that I am so angry in mind,So heated within my breast." Hér then the highest JudgeQuickly with courage inspired, as doth he [ever] each one95Of dwellers here [upon earth], who him for help to them seekWith rede and righteous belief. Then roomy in mind she became,The holy one's hope was renewed; then took she the heathen manFast by his own [long] hair, with hands him towards her she drewWith marks of contempt, and the baleful one100With cunning laid down, the loathsome man,As she the accursèd most easily mightWield at her will. Struck then the curly-lockedThe hostile foe with shining [8] sword,The hateful-minded, that half-way she cut105The [evil one's] neck, that he lay in a swoon,Drunken and wounded. Not yet was he dead,Thoroughly lifeless; struck she then earnestly,The maiden brave-minded, a second timeThe heathen hound, that his head rolled off110Forth on the floor: the foul corpse layLifeless behind, went the spirit elsewhereBeneath the deep earth, and there was disgraced,In torment bound ever thereafter,Surrounded with serpents, with tortures encompassed,115Strongly enchained in the fire of hellAfter his death. He need never hope,Enveloped with darkness, that thence he may goOut of that worm-hall, but there shall he dwellEver for ever without end henceforth120In that dark home, of hope-joys deprived.


Then had she gained glorious honor,Judith in war, as God to her granted,The Ruler of Heaven, who gave to her victory.The cunning maid then quickly brought125The army-leader's head so bloodyIn that [very] vessel in which her attendant,The fair-faced woman, food for them both,In virtues renowned, thither had brought,And it then so gory to her gave in hand,130To the thoughtful-in-mind to bear to their home,Judith to her maid. Went they forth thence,The women both in courage bold,Until they had come, proud in their minds,The women triumphant, out from the army,135So that they plainly were able to seeOf that beautiful city the walls [fair] shine,Béthulía. Then jewel-decked théyUpon the foot-path hastened to go,Until glad-minded they had arrived140At the gate of the wall. The warriors sat,The watching men were keeping wardWithin that fortress, as before to the folk,Sad in their minds, Judith had bidden,The cunning maiden, when she went on her journey,145The stout-hearted woman. Then again was she come,Dear to her people, and then quickly orderedThe wise-minded woman some one of the menTo come to meet her from out the wide city,And hér in haste to admit within150Through the gate of the wall, and this word she spakeTo the victor-folk: "To you can I sayA thought-worthy [9] thing, that no longer ye needMourn in your minds: your Creator is kind,Glory of kings: that ís become known155Wide through the world, that to you is successGlorious at hand, and honor is grantedFor [all] those sorrows which long ye suffered."Glad then were they, the dwellers-in-borough,After they heard how the holy one spake160O'er the high wall. The host was in joy.To the fortress-gate the people hastened,Men, women together, in troops and heaps,In crowds and throngs, hurried and ranTo meet the Lord's maid by thousands and thousands,165Both old and young: to each one becameOf men in the mead-city his mind rejoiced,After they knew that Judith was comeAgain to her home, and then in hasteWith reverence théy allowed her to enter.170Then bade the clever, with gold adorned,Her servant-maid, thoughtful-in-mind,The army-leader's head to uncover,And it as a proof bloody to showTo the city-folk how she speeded in war.175Then spake the noble one to all the folk:"Here ye may clearly, victory-blessed warriors,Chiefs of the people, upón the most hatefulHeathen hero's head fix your gaze,On Holofernes deprived of life,180Who chiefest of men wrought murders for us,Sorest sorrows, and that yet moreWould he increase: but God him granted notA longer life, that hé with woesMight still afflict us. Of life I deprived him185By help of God. Now I every manOf these city-dwellers will [earnestly] pray,Of shield-bearing warriors, that ye yourselves quicklyHasten to fight; when the God of creation,The glorious King, shall send from the east190Bright beams of light, bear forth your shields,Boards before breasts and coats-of-mail,Bright helmets [too] among the foes,To fell the folk-leaders with shining swords,The fated chiefs. Your foes are now195Condemned to death, and ye glory shall gain,Honor in battle, as to you hath betokenedThe mighty Lord through mine own hand."Then the band of the brave was quickly prepared,Of the bold for battle; stepped out the valiant200Men and comrades, bore their banners,Went forth to fight straight on their wayThe heroes 'neath helmets from the holy cityAt the dawn itself; shields made a din,Loudly resounded. Thereat laughed the lank205Wolf in the wood, and the raven wan,Fowl greedy for slaughter: both of them knewThat for them the warriors thought to provideTheir fill on the fated; and flew on their trackThe dewy-winged eagle eager for prey,210The dusky-coated sang his war-song,The crooked-beaked. Stepped forth the warriors,The heroes for battle with boards protected,With hollow shields, who awhile beforeThe foreign-folk's reproach endured,215The heathens' scorn; fiercely was thátAt the ash-spear's play to them all repaid,[All] the Assyrians, after the HebrewsUnder their banners had [boldly] advancedTo the army-camps. They bravely then220Forthright let fly showers of arrows,Of battle-adders, óut from the horn-bows,Of strongly-made shafts; stormed they aloud,The cruel warriors, sent forth their spearsAmong the brave; the heroes were angry,225The dwellers-in-land, with the loathéd race;The stern-minded stepped, the stout-in-heart,Rudely awakened their ancient foesWeary from mead; with hands drew forthThe men from the sheaths the brightly-marked swords230Most choice in their edges, eagerly struckOf the [host of] Assyrians the battle-warriors,The hostile-minded; not one they sparedOf the army-folk, nor low nor highOf living men, whom théy might subdue.235


Thus then the thanes in the morning-hoursPressed on the strangers unceasinglý,Until they perceived, those who were hostile,The army-folk's chiefest leaders,That upón them sword-strokes mighty bestowed240The Hebrew men. They thát in wordsTo their most noted chiefs of the peopleWent to announce, waked helmeted warriorsAnd to thém with fear the dread news told,To the weary-from-mead the morning-terror,245The hateful sword-play. Then learnt I that quicklyThe slaughter-fated men aroused from sleepÁnd to the baleful's sleeping-bowerThe saddened [10] men pressed ón in crowds,To Holofernes: they only were thinking250To their own lord to make known the fight,Ere terror on him should take its seat,The might of the Hebrews. They all imaginedThat the prince of men and the handsome maidIn the beautiful tent were [still] together,255Judith the noble and the lustful one,Dreadful and fierce; though no earl there wasWhó the warrior durst [then] awake,Or durst discover how the helmeted warriorWith the holy maid had passed his time,260The Creator's handmaid. The force approached,The folk of the Hebrews, courageously foughtWith hard battle-arms, fiercely repaidTheir former fights with shining [11] swords,The old-time grudge; was óf the Assyrians265By thát day's work the glory diminished,The pride brought low. The warriors stood'Round their prince's tent strongly excited,Gloomy in mind. They then all togetherBegan to groan, [12] to cry aloud270And gnash with their teeth,—afar from God,—Showing their anger; 'twas the end of their glory,Of joy and valor. The earls were thinkingTo awaken their lord; they did not succeed.Then at last and too late was one so bold275Of the battle-warriors that to the bower-tentHe daringly ventured, since need him compelled:Found he then on the bed lying deadly-paleHis [own] gold-giver of breath bereft,Of life deprived. Then quickly he fell280Astounded to earth, gan tear his hair,Excited in mind, and his garments too,And this word he spake to the warriors [brave],Who saddened there were standing without:"Here is displayed our own destruction,285The future betokened, that it is to the timeNow amongst men [13] almost arrived,When wé our lives shall lose together,In battle perish: here lies with sword hewnOur lord beheaded." They then sad-in-mind290Threw down their weapons and sorrowful wentTo hasten in flight. They fought on their tracks,The mighty folk, till the greatest partOf the army lay, in battle struck down,On the victor-plain, hewn down with swords,295To wolves for pleasure, and to slaughter-greedyFowls for a joy. Those who lived fledThe shields of their foes. [14] Went on their tracksThe Hebrews' host, honored with victory,With glory ennobled; them took the Lord God300Fairly to help, the Lord Almighty.They bravely then with shining swords,Stout-hearted heroes, a war-path wroughtThrough heaps of their foes, hewed down their shields,Cut through their phalanx: the warriors were305Enraged in battle, the Hebrew men;The thanes at that time were much delightedAt the combat with spears. Here fell in the dustThe highest part of the chiefest numberÓf the Assyrians' princely nobility,310Of the hateful race; very few cameAlive to their homes. The nobly-bold turned,Warriors retiring, among the slaughtered,The smoking corpses; it was time to takeFor the dwellers-in-land from the loathsome ones,315Their ancient foes deprived of life,The gory booty, the shining trappings,Shields and broad swords, brown-colored helmets,Precious treasures. Gloriously had theyOn thát folk-place their foes overcome,320The defenders of home their ancient foesWith swords put-to-sleep: behind them restedThose who in life were most hateful to themOf living races. Then all the people,Of tribes most renowned, for one month's space,325The proud twisted-locked, bore and carriedTo that bright city, Bethulia [named],Helmets and hip-swords, hoary byrnies,War-trappings of men adorned with gold,More precious treasures than any man330Of the cunning-in-mind may be able to tell,All that the warriors with might had won,The bold under banners on the battle-placeBy means of Judith's [most] clever lore,The moody [15] maid's. As meed for her335From that expedition, they brought for herself,The spear-strong earls, of HolofernesThe sword and gory helm, likewíse the byrnie broad,Adorned with reddish gold, all that the warrior-chief,The brave, of treasure had, or individual wealth,340Of rings and jewels bright; thát to the lady fair,The wise-in-mind, gave théy. For all that Judith saidGlory to the Lord of hosts, who honor to her gave,Fame in realm of earth, and meed in heaven too,Reward in the glory of heaven, because true faith she had345Ín the Almighty ever; now at last she doubted notOf the meed which long she yearned for. For that to the dear Lord beGlory for ever and ever, who made both wind and air,The heavens and roomy lands, likewíse the rushing streams,And joys of firmament too by means of his mercy mild.350
[1] Gn.'s emendation to fill lacuna of MS.
[2] 'Loudly carouse,' Kr. and C.
[3] 'Gorged with,' Kr. and C.
[4] Or, 'after feast.'
[5] 'King,' Gn. and Kr., but guðfreca suits the verse better than cyning, and even that is not metrically sufficient to fill the lacuna.
[6] Lit., 'awaited.'
[7] So Gn.? 'Scouring,' Sw.?, Kr.?, C.
[8] 'Hostile,' Sw.?
[9] 'Thank-worthy,' Kr.
[10] So Sw.; 'weary in mind,' Gn., Kr., C.
[11] 'Hostile,' C., though 'flashing,' 194, and 'gleaming,' 302.
[12] Lit., 'cough.'
[13] So Gn. and Kr.; 'with violence,' Sw.; 'with afflictions,' C.
[14] So Sw. and Kr.; 'Of the hostile shield-warriors,' Gn. and C.
[15] i.e., 'spirited.'




Æthelstan King, of earls the lord,Of heroes ring-giver, and his brother too,Edmund Ætheling, enduring fameEarned in the fight with edges of swordsBy Brunanburh. The board-wall they cleaved,5The war-shields hewed with leavings of hammersThe sons of Edward. 'Twas natural to themBy right of descent that in battle they oft'Gainst every foe their land defended,Their hoards and homes. The foes were fallen,10Folk of the Scots and men of the ships,Fated they fell. The field ran thick [1]With heroes' blood, when the risen sunAt morning-time, the mighty orb,Shone o'er the earth, bright candle of God,15Eternal Lord, till the noble creatureSank to his rest. There many men layStruck down [2] with spears, men from the North,Shot o'er the shield, and Scotsmen too,Weary [and] war-filled. The West-Saxons forth20The live-long day with legions of warriorsPressed on the heels of the hostile foes;They felled the fleers with force from behindWith sharp-ground swords. Shrank not the MerciansFrom hard hand-play with any of heroes,25Of those who with Anlaf o'er welling of wavesOn the deck of the ship had sought the land,Fated for fight. Five of them layOn the battle-field, young kings [they were],Slaughtered [3] with swords, and also seven30Earls of Anlaf, and unnumbered hostOf seamen and Scots. There was forced to fleeThe Northmen's chief, by need compelledTo the prow of his ship with few attendants.Keel crowded [4] the sea, the king went forth35On the fallow flood; he saved his life.There too the agèd escaped by flightTo his home in the North, Constantínus.The hoar war-hero was unable to boastOf attendance of men; he was robbed of his kinsmen,40Bereaved of his friends on the battle-field,Conquered in fight, and he left his sonOn the place of slaughter wasted with wounds,The boy in the battle. He durst not boast,The gray-haired warrior, of the clash of swords,45The agèd enemy, nor Anlaf the more.With their army-remnant they durst not rejoiceThat in deeds of war they proved to be betterOn the place of battle, the striking of standards,The mingling of spears, the meeting of men,50The clashing of weapons, when on slaughter-fieldIn contest with Edward's sons they contended.Departed the Northmen in nailèd ships,Drear remnant of darts, on the sea of Dyng [5][?],O'er the water deep Dublin to seek,55Back to land of the Erse, depressed in mind.Likewise the brothers both together,King and ætheling, were seeking their home,West-Saxons' land, exulting in war.Behind them they let the corpses share60The dark-feathered fowl, the raven black,The crooked-beaked, and the ashy-feathered,White-tailed eagle enjoy the prey,The greedy war-hawk, and the gray-clad beast,The wolf in the wood. More corpses there wére not65Upon this island ever as yetOf folk down-felled before this timeWith edges of sword, as books to us tell,Sages of old, since hither from EastAngles and Saxons came to this land,70O'er the broad ocean Britain [once] sought,Haughty war-smiths the Welsh overcame,Earls eager for honor this earth acquired.
[1] Lit., 'became slippery,' Gn.; 'babbled' (as a brook), or 'became dark,' Kr.; 'streamed,' Th.
[2] 'Scattered,' Th.
[3] Lit., 'put to sleep.'
[4] Or, 'He pressed ship on the sea', 'drove,' Th.
[5] Gn. and W. take Dyng as a proper name, but no one knows who Dyng was. Kr. leaves on dynges mere untranslated, with the remark: "ist unaufgeklärt." He thinks it refers to some bay in Ireland, from which the invaders set out, but why may it not be a name for the Irish Sea itself? Th. translates 'on the roaring sea,' but adds 'quite conjectural.'




* * * * * * was broken.Then bade he each youth his horse to forsake,To hasten afar and forwards to go,Be mindful of might, of mood courageous.This Offa's kinsman at once perceived5That the earl was unwilling faint heart to endure.Then he let from his hands his lief [1] hawk fly,His hawk to the holt, and to battle he stepped;By thát might one know that the knight was unwillingTo be weak in the war when to weapons he took.10By him too would Eadric, by his overlord, stand,His chief in the fight; then forth gan he bearHis spear to the battle: brave spirit had heThe while that with hands he was able to holdShield and broad sword; his boast he fulfilled, [2]15When hé 'fore his lord was bound to fight.There Byrhtnoth gan then his warriors embolden,Rode and gave rede, instructed his menHów they should stand, and the stead sustain,And bade that rimmed shields they rightly should hold20Fast with their fists, and frightened be never.When hé had the folk fairly emboldened,With his men he alighted where was liefest to him,Whére his hearth-followers most faithful he knew.Then stood on the stathe, [3] stoutly did call25The wikings' herald, with words he spake,Who boastfully bore fróm the brine-farersAn errand to th' earl, where he stood on the shore:"To thee me did send the seamen snell, [4]Bade to thee say, thou must send to them quickly30Bracelets for safety; and 'tis better for youThat ye this spear-rush with tribute buy offThan we in so fierce a fight engage.We need not each spill, [5] if ye speed to this:We will for the pay a peace confirm.35If thou that redest who art highest in rank,If thou thy lieges art willing to loose,To pay to the seamen at their own pleasureMoney for peace, and take peace from us,We will with the treasure betake us to ship,40Fare on the flood, and peace with you confirm."Byrhtnoth replied, his buckler uplifted,Waved his slim spear, with words he spake,Angry and firm gave answer to him:"Hear'st thou, seafarer, what saith this folk?45They will for tribute spear-shafts you pay,Poisonous points and trusty [6] swords,Those weapons that you in battle avail not.Herald of seamen, hark [7] back again,Say to thy people much sadder words,50Here stands not unknown an earl with his band,Whó will defend this father-land,Æthelred's home, mine own liege lord's,His folk and field: ye're fated to fall,Ye heathen, in battle. Too base it me seems55That ye with our scats [8] to ship may goUnfought against, so far ye now hitherIntó our country have come within;Ye shall not so gently treasure obtain;Shall spear and sword sooner beseem us,60Grim battle-play, ere tribute we give."Then bade he shield bear, warriors advance,So that on the burn-stathe [9] they all were standing.Might not thére for the water one war-band to th' other,When flowing flood came after the ebb,65Sea-streams interlocked; too long seemed it themTill they together their spears should bear.Then Panta's stream with pomp [10] [?] they beset,East-Saxons' chief and the host from the ships:No one of them might do harm to the other,70But he who by dart's flight his death should receive.The flood ebbed forth; the fleetmen stood ready,Many of wikings, eager for war.Bade heroes' buckler [11] then hold the bridgeA war-hardened warrior, who Wulfstan was named,75Bold 'mid his kin (he was Ceola's son),Who the first man with his dart shot downThat there most boldly stepped on the bridge.There stood with Wulfstan warriors fearless,Ælfhere and Maccus, courageous the twain;80At the ford they would nót seek safety in flight,But firm 'gainst the foes themselves they defended,The while that they weapons were able to wield.When they that perceived and earnestly sawThat there bridge-fenders [so] fierce they found,85Began to lie these loathly guests:Begged that out-going they might obtain,Fare o'er the ford, their footmen lead.Then gan the earl on account of his prideLeave too much land to the loathly people.90Began then to call o'er the water coldThe son [12] of Byrhthelm (the warriors listened):"Now room is allowed you, come quickly to us,Warriors to war; wot God aloneWho thís battle-field may be able to keep."95Waded the war-wolves, for water they recked not,The wikings' band, west over Panta,O'er the clear water carried their shields,Boatmen to bank their bucklers bore.There facing their foes ready were standing100Byrhtnoth with warriors: with shields he badeThe war-hedge [13] work, and the war-band holdFast 'gainst the foes. Then fight was nigh,Glory in battle; the time was comeThat fated men should there [now] fall.105Then out-cry was raised, the ravens circled,Eagle eager for prey; on earth was uproar.Then they let from their fists the file-hardened spears,The darts well-ground, [fiercely] [14] fly forth:The bows were busy, board point received,110Bitter the battle-rush, warriors fell down,On either hands the youths lay dead.Wounded was Wulfmær, death-rest he chose,Byrhtnoth's kinsman, with bills [15] was hé,His sister's son, mightily hewn.115There was to the wikings recompense given;Heard I that Edward one of them slewStrongly with sword, stroke he withheld not,That fell at his feet the fated warrior;For that did his prince give thanks to him,120To his bower-thane, [16] when he had opportunity.So firmly stood the fierce-in-mind,The youths in fight, eagerly thoughtWho there with his spear might soonest be ableFrom a fated man the life to win,125A warrior with weapons: the dead to earth fell.Steadfast they stood; strengthened them Byrhtnoth,Bade that each youth of battle should thinkHe whó on the Danes glory would gain.Went then a war-brave, his weapon uplifted,130His shield for defence, and strode towards the chief;So earnest he went, the earl to the churl:Each for the other of evil was thinking.Sent then the seaman his spear from the southThat wounded wás the warrior's lord;135Then he shoved with his shield that the shaft in two broke,And the spear was shivered; so sprang it back.Enraged was the warrior: with his spear he thrustThe wiking proud, who the wound him gave.Wise was the warrior; he let his spear pierce140Through the neck of the youth; his hand it guidedSo that hé his foe of life deprived.Then he another speedily shot,That the byrnie burst; in breast was he woundedThrough the ringèd mail; there stood in his heart145The poisonous point. The earl was the gladder;Laughed the proud man, to his Maker gave thanksFor the work of that day that the Lord him gave.Then let one of warriors a dart from his hands,Fly from his fist, that forth it went150Thróugh that noble thane of Æthelred.There stood by his side a youth not grown,A boy in the fight, whó very boldlyDrew from the warrior the bloody spear,The son of Wulfstan, Wulfmær the young;155He let the hard weapon fly back again;The point in-pierced, that on earth he layWho erst his lord strongly had struck.Went then an armored man to the earl,He would the warrior's jewels fetch back,160Armor and rings and sword well-adorned.Then Byrhtnoth drew his sword from its sheath,Broad and brown-edged, and on byrnie he struck:Too quickly him hindered one of the seamen,When he of the earl the arm had wounded;165Fell then to earth the fallow-hilt sword:He might not hold the hardened brand,His weapon wield. Yet the word he spake,The hoary hero the youths encouraged,Bade forwards go his good companions:170He might not on foot longer stand firm;He looked up to heaven, [the earl exclaimed: [17]]"I thanks to thee give, Ruler of nations,For all those joys that on earth I experienced:Now, Maker mild, most need have I175That thou to my spirit the blessing grant,That my soul to thee may take its course,Intó thy power, Prince of angels,With peace may go: I pray to thee,That fiends of hell may not it harm."180Then hewed him down the heathen hinds,And both the warriors, who by him stood,Ælfnoth and Wulfmær both lay down dead,Beside their lord gave up their lives.Then bowed they from battle who there would not be;185There Odda's sons were erst in flight:From battle went Godric, and the good one forsook,Who hád on him many a steed oft bestowed:He leaped on the horse that his lord had owned,Upon those trappings that right it was not,190And his brothers with him both ran away,Godrinc and Godwig, recked not of war,But went from the fight, and sought the wood,Fled to the fastness, and saved their lives,And more of the men than wás at all meet,195If they those services all had remembered,That he for their welfare to them had done;So Offa to him one day had erst saidAt the meeting-place, when he held a moot,That there [very] proudly they many things spake200Which after in need they would not perform. [18]Thén was down-fallen the prince of the folk,Æthelred's earl: all of them saw,The hearth-companions, that their lord lay dead.Then hurried there forth the haughty thanes,205The valiant men eagerly hastened:They would then all the one of the two,Their lives forsake or their loved one avenge.So urged them ón the son of Ælfric,A winter-young warrior, with words them addressed.210Then Ælfwine quoth (boldly he spake):"Remember the times that we oft at mead spake,When we on the bench our boast upraised,Heroes in hall, the hard fight anent:Now may be tested who is the true. [19]215I will my lineage to all make known,That I 'mong the Mercians of mickle race was,My grandfather wás Ealhhelm by name,An alderman wise, with wealth endowed.Ne'er shall 'mong this folk me thanes reproach220That I from this host will hasten to wend,My home to seek, now lies my lordDown-hewn in fight; to me 'tis great harm:By blood he was kin and by rank he was lord." [20]Then went he forth, was mindful of feud,225That hé with his spear one of them pierced,A sailor o' the folk, that he lay on the groundKilled with his weapon. Gan he comrades exhort,Friends and companions, that forth they should go.Offa addressed them, his ash-spear shook:230"Lo! Ælfwine, thóu hast all admonished,Thanes, of the need. Now lieth our lord,Earl on the earth, to us all there is needThat each one of us should strengthen the otherWarrior to war, while weapon he may235[Still] have and hold, the hardened brand,Spear and good sword. Us hath Godric,Cowed son of Offa, all [basely] deceived:So many men thought when on mare he rode,On thát proud steed, that it wás our lord:240Therefore in field here the folk was divided,The phalanx broken: may perish his deed,That he here so many men caused to flee!"Leofsunu spake, and uplifted his shield,His buckler for guard; to the warrior he quoth:245"I promise thee this, that hence I will nótA foot's breadth flee, but further will go,Avenge in battle mine own dear lord.Me need not 'round Stourmere the steadfast heroesWith words reproach, now my friend has fallen,250That, lacking my lord, home I depart,Wend from the war, but weapons shall take me,Spear and iron." [21] Full angry he strode,Firmly he fought, flight he despised.Then Dunnere spake, his spear he shook,255The agèd churl, called over all,Bade that each warrior should Byrhtnoth avenge:"He may not delay who thinks to avengeHis lord on the folk, nor care for his life."Then forwards they went, they recked not of life;260Gan then his followers valiantly fight,Spear-bearers grim, and to God they prayed,That théy might avenge their own dear lord,And upon their foes slaughter fulfil.Then gan the hostage eagerly help:265He was 'mong Northumbrians of valiant race,The son of Ecglaf, his name was Æscferth:Ne'er wavered hé in that play of war,But he hastened forth many a dart;At times shot on shield, at times killed a chief,270Ever and anon inflicted some wound,The while that he weapon was able to wield.Then still in front stood Edward the long,Ready and eager; boastingly saidThat hé would not flee a foot-breadth of land,275Backwards withdraw, when his better lay dead:Broke he the shield-wall and fought 'gainst the warriors,Till hé his ring-giver upón the seamenWorthily avenged, ere he lay on the field.So [too] did Ætheric, noble companion,280Ready and eager, earnestly fought he;Sigebryht's brother and many anotherCleft the curved [22] board, them bravely defended;Shield's border burst, and the byrnie sangA terrible song. In battle then slew285Offa the seaman that on earth he fell,And the kinsman of Gadd there sought the ground;Quickly in battle was Offa hewn down:He had though fulfilled what he promised his lord,As hé before vowed in face of his ring-giver,290That both of them shóuld ride to the borough,Hale to their homes, or in battle should fall,Upón the slaughter-place die of their wounds;He lay like a thane his lord beside.Then was breaking of boards; the seamen stormed,295Enraged by the fight; the spear oft piercedThe fated one's life-house. Forth then went Wigstan,Son of Thurstan, fought 'gainst the foes:He wás in the throng the slayer of three,Ere Wigelin's bairn lay dead on the field.300There fierce was the fight: firmly they stood,Warriors in war, the fighters fell,Weary with wounds; fell corpses to earth.Oswald and Ealdwald during all the while,Both of the brothers, emboldened the warriors,305Their kinsman-friends bade they in words,That they in need should there endure,Unwaveringlý their weapons use.Byrhtwold [then] spake, uplifted his shield,—Old comrade was he,—his spear he shook,310Hé very boldly exhorted the warriors:"The braver shall thought be, the bolder the heart,The more the mood, [23] as lessens our might.Here lieth our lord, all hewn to pieces,The good on the ground: ever may grieve315Who now from this war-play thinketh to wend.I am old in years: hence will I not,But here beside mine own dear lord,So loved a man, I purpose to lie."So Æthelgar's bairn them all emboldened,320Godric, to battle: oft let he his spear,His war-spear wind amongst the wikings;So 'midst the folk foremost he went,Hewed he and felled, till in battle he lay;This was nót that Godric who fled from the fight.325* * * * * * * *
[1] Dear.
[2] Or, 'maintained.'
[3] Bank.
[4] Bold.
[5] Destroy.
[6] Lit., 'old.'
[7] Lit., 'announce.'
[8] Money.
[9] Bank of the stream.
[10] i.e., 'battle-array,' Sw., but the word is uncertain; Kr. suggests 'fascines'; Zl. merely gives 'Prunk.'
[11] i.e., Byrhtnoth.
[12] i.e., Byrhtnoth.
[13] i.e., the phalanx with interlocked shields.
[14] Some such word as grame, or grimme, seems needed for the alliteration.
[15] i.e., battle-axes.
[16] Chamberlain.
[17] Inserted by Kr. to fill the lacuna, whom W. follows; Sw. and Zl. omit.
[18] Lit., 'suffer,' 'endure.'
[19] Lit., 'bold.'
[20] Lit., 'He was both my kinsman and my lord.'
[21] i.e., 'sword.'
[22] i.e., 'hollow shields.' Cellod is found only here and in Finnsburg, 29.
[23] i.e., 'courage.'


Lo! choicest of dreams I will relate,What dream I dreamt in middle of nightWhen mortal men reposed in rest.Methought I saw a wondrous woodTower aloft with light bewound,5Brightest of trees; that beacon was allBegirt with gold; jewels were standingFour [1] at surface of earth, likewise were there fiveAbove on the shoulder-brace. All angels of God beheld it,Fair through future ages; 'twas no criminal's cross indeed,10But holy spirits beheld it there,Men upon earth, all this glorious creation.Strange was that victor-tree, and stained with sins was I,With foulness defiled. I saw the glorious treeWith vesture [2] adorned winsomely shine,15Begirt with gold; bright gems had thereWorthily decked the tree of the Lord. [3]Yet through that gold I might perceiveOld strife of the wretched, that first it gaveBlood on the stronger [right] side. With sorrows was I oppressed,20Afraid for that fair sight; I saw the ready beaconChange in vesture and hue; at times with moisture covered,Soiled with course of blood; at times with treasure adorned.Yet lying there a longer while,Beheld I sad the Saviour's tree25Until I heard that words it uttered;The best of woods gan speak these words:"'Twas long ago (I remember it still)That I was hewn at end of a grove,Stripped from off my stem; strong foes laid hold of me there,30Wrought for themselves a show, bade felons raise me up;Men bore me on their shoulders, till on a mount they set me;Fiends many fixed me there. Then saw I mankind's LordHasten with mickle might, for He would sty [4] upon me.There durst I not 'gainst word of the Lord35Bow down or break, when saw I trembleThe surface of earth; I might then allMy foes have felled, yet fast I stood.The Hero young begirt [5] Himself, Almighty God was He,Strong and stern of mind; He stied on the gallows high,40Bold in sight of many, for man He would redeem.I shook when the Hero clasped me, yet durst not bow to earth,Fall to surface of earth, but firm I must there stand.A rood was I upreared; I raised the mighty King,The Lord of Heaven; I durst not bend me.45They drove their dark nails through me; the wounds are seen upon me,The open gashes of guile; I durst harm none [6] of them.They mocked us both together; all moistened with blood was I,Shed from side of the man, when forth He sent His spirit.Many have I on that mount endured50Of cruel fates; I saw the Lord of HostsStrongly outstretched; darkness had thenCovered with clouds the corse of the Lord,The brilliant brightness; the shadow continued, [7]Wan 'neath the welkin. There wept all creation,55Bewailed the King's death; Christ was on the cross.Yet hastening thither they came from afarTo the Son of the King [8]: that all I beheld.Sorely with sorrows was I oppressed; yet I bowed 'neath the hands of men,Lowly with mickle might. Took they there Almighty God,60Him raised from the heavy torture; the battle-warriors left meTo stand bedrenched with blood; all wounded with darts was I.There laid they the weary of limb, at head of His corse they stood,Beheld the Lord of Heaven, and He rested Him there awhile,Worn from the mickle war. Began they an earth-house to work,65Men in the murderers' [9] sight, carved it of brightest stone,Placed therein victories' Lord. Began sad songs to singThe wretched at eventide; then would they back returnMourning from the mighty prince; all lonely [10] rested He there.Yet weeping [11] we then a longer while70Stood at our station: the [voice [12]] aroseOf battle-warriors; the corse grew cold,Fair house of life. Then one gan fellUs [13] all to earth; 'twas a fearful fate!One buried us in deep pit, yet of me the thanes of the Lord,75His friends, heard tell; [from earth they raised me], [14]And me begirt with gold and silver.Now thou mayst hear, my dearest man,That bale of woes [15] have I endured,Of sorrows sore. Now the time is come,80That me shall honor both far and wideMen upon earth, and all this mighty creationWill pray to this beacon. On me God's SonSuffered awhile; so glorious nowI tower to Heaven, and I may heal85Each one of those who reverence me;Of old I became the hardest of pains,Most loathsome to ledes [16] [nations], the way of life,Right way, I prepared for mortal men. [17]Lo! the Lord of Glory honored me then90Above the grove, [18] the guardian of Heaven,As He His mother, even Mary herself,Almighty God before all menWorthily honored above all women.Now thee I bid, my dearest man,95That thou this sight shalt say to men,Reveal in words, 'tis the tree of glory,On which once suffered Almighty GodFor the many sins of all mankind,And also for Adam's misdeeds of old.100Death tasted He there; yet the Lord aroseWith His mickle might for help to men.Then stied He to Heaven; again shall comeUpon this mid-earth to seek mankindAt the day of doom the Lord Himself,105Almighty God, and His angels with Him;Then He will judge, who hath right of doom,Each one of men as here beforeIn this vain life he hath deserved.No one may there be free from fear110In view of the word that the Judge will speak.He will ask 'fore the crowd, where is the manWho for name of the Lord would bitter deathBe willing to taste, as He did on the tree.But then they will fear, and few will bethink them115What they to Christ may venture to say.Then need there no one be filled with fear [19]Who bears in his breast the best of beacons;But through the rood a kingdom shall seekFrom earthly way each single soul120That with the Lord thinketh to dwell."Then I prayed to the tree with joyous heart,With mickle might, when I was aloneWith small attendance [20]; the thought of my mindFor the journey was ready; I've lived through many125Hours of longing. Now 'tis hope of my lifeThat the victory-tree I am able to seek,Oftener than all men I alone mayHonor it well; my will to thatIs mickle in mind, and my plea for protection130To the rood is directed. I've not many mightyOf friends on earth; but hence went they forthFrom joys of the world, sought glory's King;Now live they in Heaven with the Father on high,In glory dwell, and I hope for myself135On every day when the rood of the Lord,Which here on earth before I viewed,In this vain life may fetch me awayAnd bring me then, where bliss is mickle,Joy in the Heavens, where the folk of the Lord140Is set at the feast, where bliss is eternal;And may He then set me where I may hereafterIn glory dwell, and well with the saintsOf joy partake. May the Lord be my friend,Who here on earth suffered before145On the gallows-tree for the sins of man!He us redeemed, and gave to us life,A heavenly home. Hope was renewed,With blessing and bliss, for the sufferers of burning.The Son was victorious on that fateful journey,150Mighty and happy, [21] when He came with a many, [22]With a band of spirits to the kingdom of God,The Ruler Almighty, for joy to the angelsAnd to all the saints, who in Heaven beforeIn glory dwelt, when their Ruler came,155Almighty God, where was His home.
[1] Feowere, B.'s emendation for MS. fægere, 'fair.'
[2] Silken cords, or tassels, W.; sailyards, ropes, in Hall and Sweet.
[3] Wealdendes, S.'s emendation for MS. wealdes, 'wood'; so Kl.
[4] Sty, 'mount,' common in Middle English.
[5] Here and below W. gives the corresponding verses from the Ruthwell Cross. They will also be found in Stopford Brooke's "Early English Literature," p. 337, q.v.
[6] Gr. changes MS. nænigum to ænigum and others follow; W. as MS.
[7] Forð-eode, not for-ðeode, 'overcame,' as Sw. W.'s note is an oversight.
[8] MS. to þam æðelinge. Sw. follows Ruthwell Cross, æðele to anum.
[9] Banan must be taken as gen. pl.; B. reads banana; Sw. thinks it "a mistake for some other [word], possibly beorg," and takes banan as gen. sing. referring to the cross, though he adds, "this is very improbable." Truly so, as the cross is speaking.
[10] Maete werode, lit., 'with a small band,' but it means 'by himself.'
[11] Greotende is Gr.'s emendation for MS. reotende; B. hreotende; K. geotende; Sw. as Gr.
[12] Stefn is Kl.'s emendation to fill lacuna. W. prefers it, but does not think it convincing.
[13] Us here must refer to the three crosses, that of Christ and those of the two thieves.
[14] This half-line is Gr.'s emendation to fill lacuna in MS. Sw. and W. leave it blank.
[15] Or, 'of the wicked,' 'of criminals.'
[16] I have used this Middle English word for sake of the alliteration.
[17] Sw.'s text ends here. It was translated a few years ago in Poet-Lore as if it were the whole poem.
[18] MS. holmwudu; K. holtwudu, and so Gr. with (?).
[19] MS. unforht, but Gr.'s anforht suits the sense better.
[20] i.e., 'by myself.' See on 69.
[21] Lit., 'speedy,' 'successful.'
[22] A company, a crowd; common in Middle English.