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British Literature I Anthology - From the Middle Ages to Neoclassicism and the Eighteenth Century, 2018a

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BRITISH<br />

LITERATURE<br />

<strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Eighteenth</strong> <strong>Century</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Neoclassicism</strong><br />

Edited by<br />

Bonnie J. Robinson, Ph.D.<br />

Laura J. Getty, Ph.D.


BRITISH<br />

LITERATURE<br />

<strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Eighteenth</strong> <strong>Century</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Neoclassicism</strong><br />

Edited by<br />

Bonnie J. Robinson, Ph.D.<br />

Laura J. Getty, Ph.D.<br />

University System of Georgia<br />

“Creating A More Educated Georgia”<br />

Blue Ridge | Cumming | Dahlonega | Gainesville | Oconee


<strong>British</strong> Liteature: <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Eighteenth</strong> <strong>Century</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Neoclassicism</strong> is<br />

licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.<br />

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<br />

investigation) ei<strong>the</strong>r public domain or carry a compatible Creative Commons license. If<br />

you are <strong>the</strong> copyright owner of images in this book <strong>and</strong> you have not authorized <strong>the</strong> use<br />

of your work under <strong>the</strong>se terms, please contact <strong>the</strong> University of North Georgia Press at<br />

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ISBN: 978-1-940771-28-1<br />

Produced by:<br />

University System of Georgia<br />

Published by:<br />

University of North Georgia Press<br />

Dahlonega, Georgia<br />

Cover Design <strong>and</strong> Layout Design:<br />

Corey Parson<br />

For more information, please visit http://ung.edu/university-press<br />

Or email ungpress@ung.edu


TABLE OF C ONTENTS<br />

PART 1: THE MIDDLE AGES 1<br />

1.1 Learning Outcomes ......................................1<br />

1.2 Introduction............................................1<br />

1.2.1 Roman Britain ............................................................2<br />

1.2.2 Anglo-Saxon Britain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3<br />

1.2.3 Danelaw Britain...........................................................4<br />

1.2.4 Norman Britain...........................................................5<br />

1.3 Recommended Reading ................................. 7<br />

1.4 The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood.................................. 8<br />

1.4.1 The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood.....................................................9<br />

1.4.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.............................................13<br />

1.5 Beowulf.............................................. 13<br />

1.5.1 Beowulf.................................................................16<br />

1.5.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions............................................ 90<br />

1.6 Judith ............................................... 91<br />

1.6.1 Selections from Judith ....................................................91<br />

1.6.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions........................................... 100<br />

1.7 The W<strong>and</strong>erer .......................................100<br />

1.7.1 Bibliography............................................................101<br />

1.7.2 The W<strong>and</strong>erer ..........................................................101<br />

1.7.3 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions............................................102<br />

1.8 The Wife’s Lament.................................... 103<br />

1.8.1 The Wife’s Lament.......................................................103<br />

1.8.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions............................................104<br />

1.9 The Venerable Bede .................................. 104<br />

1.9.1 The S<strong>to</strong>ry of Cædmon <strong>and</strong> Cædmon’s Hymn.................................105<br />

1.9.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions........................................... 302<br />

1.10 Anglo-Saxon Riddles.................................303<br />

1.10.1 Selections from Old English Poems....................................... 303<br />

1.10.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................310


1.11 Marie de France ......................................311<br />

1.11.1 The Lay of Sir Launfal...................................................312<br />

1.11.2 The Lay of <strong>the</strong> Honeysuckle............................................. 320<br />

1.11.3 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions ...........................................321<br />

1.12 <strong>Middle</strong> English Lyrics ................................322<br />

1.12.1 Cuckoo Song.......................................................... 322<br />

1.12.2 Spring Song .......................................................... 323<br />

1.12.3 Winter Song.......................................................... 323<br />

1.12.4 Alysoun.............................................................. 324<br />

1.12.5 Blow, Nor<strong>the</strong>rn Wind .................................................. 325<br />

1.12.6 When <strong>the</strong> Nightingale Sings............................................. 326<br />

1.12.7 Ubi Sunt Qui Ante Nos Fuerunt?. .........................................327<br />

1.12.8 Earth................................................................ 328<br />

1.12.9 Life ................................................................. 329<br />

1.12.10 Ave Maria........................................................... 330<br />

........................................................... 330<br />

.......................................................... 330<br />

1.12.13 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions ......................................... 332<br />

...................................333<br />

1.13.1 Bibliography.......................................................... 335<br />

1.13.2 The Parliament of Birds ............................................... 335<br />

1.13.3 Selections from The Canterbury Tales.....................................351<br />

1.13.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .457<br />

1.14 Sir Gawain <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Green Knight......................458<br />

1.14.1 Suggested Reading.....................................................460<br />

1.14.2 Sir Gawain <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Green Knight ....................................... 460<br />

1.14.3 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524<br />

1.15 Julian of Norwich ................................... 525<br />

1.15.1 Bibliography.......................................................... 526<br />

1.15.2 Selections from Revelations of Divine Love ............................... 526<br />

1.15.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions .......................................... 529<br />

1.16 The Second Shepherds’ Play ..........................529<br />

1.16.1 The Second Shepherds’ Play..............................................531<br />

1.16.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.......................................... 559<br />

1.17 Sir Thomas Malory .................................. 559<br />

1.17.1 Selections from Le Morte d’Arthur ........................................561<br />

1.17.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions .......................................... 565<br />

1.18 Everyman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 565<br />

1.18.1 Everyman............................................................ 566<br />

1.18.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................597<br />

1.19 Key Terms.......................................... 597


PART TWO: THE TUDOR AGE (1485-1603) 599<br />

2.1 Learning Outcomes...................................599<br />

2.2 Introduction.........................................599<br />

2.3 Recommended Reading ...............................602<br />

2.4 Thomas More .......................................602<br />

2.4.1 U<strong>to</strong>pia ...............................................................604<br />

2.4.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions........................................... 670<br />

2.5 Thomas Wyatt .......................................670<br />

2.5.1 “The Long Love That in My Thought Doth Harbor” ..........................671<br />

2.5.2 “My Galley” ........................................................... 672<br />

2.5.3 “Whoso List <strong>to</strong> Hunt” .................................................. 672<br />

2.5.4 “My Lute, Awake!” ..................................................... 673<br />

2.5.5 “They Flee <strong>From</strong> Me” ................................................... 674<br />

2.5.6 “And Wilt Thou Leave Me Thus?”......................................... 674<br />

2.5.7 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions............................................675<br />

2.6 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey ......................... 676<br />

2.6.1 “The soote season” ......................................................677<br />

2.6.2 “Love, that doth reign <strong>and</strong> live within my thought” ......................... 678<br />

2.6.3 “Alas! so all things now do hold <strong>the</strong>ir peace” ............................... 678<br />

2.6.4 “So cruel prison how could betide”........................................ 678<br />

2.6.5 “O happy dames, that may embrace”......................................680<br />

2.6.6 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions............................................681<br />

2.7 Queen Elizabeth .....................................682<br />

2.7.1 “The Doubt of Future Foes” .............................................. 683<br />

2.7.2 “On Monsieur’s Departure”.............................................. 684<br />

2.7.3 “The Golden Speech” ................................................... 684<br />

2.7.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions........................................... 686<br />

2.8 Edmund Spenser ....................................687<br />

2.8.1 from The Faerie Queene................................................. 689<br />

2.8.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions ..........................................1051<br />

2.9 Sir Walter Raleigh .................................. 1052<br />

2.9.1 “Farewell, False Love” ..................................................1053<br />

2.9.2 “If Cynthia Be a Queen, a Princess, <strong>and</strong> Supreme” ......................... 1054<br />

2.9.3 “The Nymph’s Reply <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Shepherd” ................................... 1054<br />

2.9.4 “The Lie” .............................................................1055<br />

2.9.5 “Nature, That Washed Her H<strong>and</strong>s in Milk” ................................1057<br />

2.9.6 <strong>From</strong> The Discovery of <strong>the</strong> Large, Rich, <strong>and</strong> Beautiful Empire of Guiana ..... 1058<br />

2.9.7 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.......................................... 1063


2.10 Sir Philip Sidney ...................................1064<br />

2.10.1 The Defence of Poesy ................................................. 1065<br />

2.10.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions......................................... 1098<br />

.........1099<br />

2.11.1 “The Doleful Lay of Clorinda”. ...........................................1100<br />

2.11.2 “To <strong>the</strong> Angel Spirit of <strong>the</strong> Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney” .................1103<br />

2.11.3 “Psalm 51” ...........................................................1105<br />

2.11.4 “Psalm 55” ...........................................................1106<br />

2.11.5 “Psalm 57” ...........................................................1108<br />

2.11.6 “Psalm 84” ...........................................................1110<br />

2.11.7 “Psalm 102” ..........................................................1111<br />

2.11.8 “Psalm 150” ..........................................................1114<br />

2.11.9 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................1114<br />

. ...............................1115<br />

2.12.1 The Tragical His<strong>to</strong>ry of Doc<strong>to</strong>r Faustus ..................................1116<br />

2.12.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................1174<br />

................................1174<br />

2.13.1 Selected Sonnets ......................................................1177<br />

2.13.2 Much Ado About Nothing ..............................................1184<br />

2.13.3 King Lear ........................................................... 1280<br />

2.13.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................1413<br />

2.14 Key Terms......................................... 1413<br />

PART 3: THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY: THE AGE OF<br />

REVOLUTION (1603-1688) 1415<br />

3.1 Learning Outcomes...................................1415<br />

3.2 Introduction.........................................1415<br />

3.3 Recommended Reading .............................. 1419<br />

3.4 John Donne ........................................1420<br />

3.4.1 “The Good-Morrow” ...................................................1422<br />

3.4.2 “The Sun Rising” ......................................................1422<br />

......................................................1423<br />

3.4.4 “Break of Day” ........................................................1424<br />

3.4.5 “Love’s Alchemy” ......................................................1424<br />

3.4.6 “The Flea” ............................................................1425<br />

3.4.7 “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” ....................................1426<br />

3.4.8 “Holy Sonnet 3” .......................................................1427<br />

3.4.9 “Holy Sonnet 4” ...................................................... 1428


3.4.10 “Holy Sonnet 5” ..................................................... 1428<br />

3.4.11 “Holy Sonnet 10”..................................................... 1428<br />

3.4.12 from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions: Meditation 17 ..................1429<br />

3.4.13 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions......................................... 1430<br />

3.5 Aemilia Lanyer ..................................... 1431<br />

3.5.1 Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum .............................................1432<br />

3.5.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................1496<br />

3.6 Ben Jonson ........................................ 1497<br />

3.6.1 The Alchemist ........................................................ 1498<br />

3.6.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................1651<br />

......................................1651<br />

3.7.1 “The Argument of his Book” .............................................1652<br />

3.7.2 “His Prayer for Absolution” .............................................1652<br />

3.7.3 “The Bad Season Makes <strong>the</strong> Poet Sad”.....................................1653<br />

3.7.4 “Corinna’s going a Maying”..............................................1653<br />

3.7.5 “The Night Piece, <strong>to</strong> Julia”...............................................1655<br />

3.7.6 “Upon Julia’s Breasts” ..................................................1656<br />

3.7.7 “Upon Julia’s Clo<strong>the</strong>s” ..................................................1656<br />

3.7.8 “Delight in Disorder” ...................................................1656<br />

3.7.9 “To <strong>the</strong> Virgins, <strong>to</strong> Make Much of Time” ...................................1656<br />

3.7.10 “Discontents in Devon” ................................................1657<br />

3.7.11 “His Return <strong>to</strong> London” ................................................1657<br />

3.7.12 “His Prayer <strong>to</strong> Ben Jonson” .............................................1658<br />

3.7.13 “An Ode <strong>to</strong> Ben Jonson”................................................1658<br />

3.7.14 “Upon Ben Jonson” ...................................................1659<br />

3.7.15 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................1659<br />

3.8 Andrew Marvell ....................................1660<br />

3.8.1 “A Dialogue, Between The Resolved Soul, <strong>and</strong> Created Pleasure” ..............1661<br />

3.8.2 “On a Drop of Dew” ....................................................1664<br />

3.8.3 “The Coronet” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1665<br />

3.8.4 “To his Coy Mistress”...................................................1665<br />

3.8.5 “The Garden” .........................................................1667<br />

3.8.6 “On Mr. Mil<strong>to</strong>n’s Paradise Lost” .........................................1669<br />

3.8.7 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................1670<br />

..........1671<br />

3.9.1 “The Hunting of <strong>the</strong> Hare”...............................................1672<br />

3.9.2 “A True Relation of <strong>the</strong> Birth, Breeding <strong>and</strong> Life of Margaret Cavendish,<br />

Written by Herself” .....................................................1674<br />

3.9.3 from The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World ............ 1683<br />

3.9.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................1712


3.10 John Mil<strong>to</strong>n ........................................1712<br />

3.10.1 “L’Allegro”...........................................................1714<br />

3.10.2 “Il Penseroso” ........................................................1718<br />

3.10.3 “Lycidas” ............................................................1722<br />

3.10.4 from Paradise Lost....................................................1727<br />

3.10.5 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions......................................... 1900<br />

3.11 John Dryden ......................................1900<br />

3.11.1 Annus Mirabilis: The Year of Wonders, 1666 ............................. 1902<br />

3.11.2 All for Love: Or, The World Well Lost ....................................1945<br />

3.11.3 “A Discourse Concerning <strong>the</strong> Original <strong>and</strong> Progress of Satire” ............... 2053<br />

3.11.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions: ........................................ 2076<br />

3.12 Samuel Pepys......................................2076<br />

3.12.1 Diary of Samuel Pepys ...............................................2078<br />

3.12.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................2118<br />

3.13 Key Terms......................................... 2118<br />

PART 4: NEOCLASSICISM AND THE EIGHTEENTH<br />

CENTURY (1603-1688) 2120<br />

4.1 Learning Outcomes.................................. 2120<br />

4.2 Introduction........................................ 2120<br />

4.3 Recommended Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2124<br />

4.4 Aphra Behn ........................................ 2125<br />

4.4.1 Oroonoko ............................................................2126<br />

4.4.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................2173<br />

. .................................. 2174<br />

4.5.1 The Way of <strong>the</strong> World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2175<br />

4.5.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.......................................... 2273<br />

4.6 Daniel Defoe .......................................2274<br />

4.6.1 from Moll Fl<strong>and</strong>ers.................................................... 2275<br />

4.6.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................2480<br />

...................2480<br />

4.7.1 “The Introduction” .................................................... 2481<br />

4.7.2 “A Nocturnal Reverie” .................................................2483<br />

4.7.3 “To <strong>the</strong> Nightingale”...................................................2484<br />

4.7.4 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.......................................... 2485


4.8 Jonathan Swift .....................................2486<br />

4.8.1 Gulliver’s Travels ..................................................... 2487<br />

4.8.2 “A Modest Proposal” ...................................................2651<br />

4.8.3 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions ......................................... 2657<br />

4.9 Alex<strong>and</strong>er Pope .....................................2658<br />

4.9.1 “An Essay on Criticism” ................................................ 2659<br />

4.9.2 The Rape of <strong>the</strong> Lock .................................................. 2678<br />

4.9.3 “Windsor-Forest”.....................................................2696<br />

4.9.4 <strong>From</strong> “An Essay on Man”............................................... 2707<br />

4.9.5 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions...........................................2715<br />

4.10 Henry Fielding .................................... 2716<br />

4.10.1 <strong>From</strong> Joseph Andrews .................................................2717<br />

4.10.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions..........................................2815<br />

4.11 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu ......................... 2816<br />

4.11.1 <strong>From</strong> Turkish Embassy Letters LET. XXVI. ...............................2817<br />

4.11.2 “Constantinople”..................................................... 2819<br />

4.11.3 “Town Eclogues: Saturday. The Small Pox” ...............................2822<br />

4.11.3 “The Reasons that Induced Dr S <strong>to</strong> write a Poem call’d <strong>the</strong><br />

Lady’s Dressing room”..................................................2824<br />

4.11.4 “Epistle from Mrs. Yonge <strong>to</strong> Her Husb<strong>and</strong>”............................... 2827<br />

4.11.5 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions .........................................2829<br />

4.12 Samuel Johnson ...................................2830<br />

4.12.1 “London” ...........................................................2832<br />

4.12.2 The Vanity of Human Wishes ..........................................2838<br />

4.12.3 <strong>From</strong> Dictionary of <strong>the</strong> English Language .............................. 2847<br />

4.12.4 <strong>From</strong> The His<strong>to</strong>ry of Rasselas .........................................2850<br />

4.12.5 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions......................................... 2878<br />

4.13 James Boswell .....................................2878<br />

4.13.1 from The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D. ................................2880<br />

4.13.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions.........................................2905<br />

4.14 Olaudah Equiano ..................................2906<br />

4.14.1 from The Interesting Narrative of <strong>the</strong> Life of Olaudah Equiano:<br />

Or, Gustavus Vassa, <strong>the</strong> African ......................................... 2907<br />

4.14.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions......................................... 2970<br />

4.15 Key Terms.........................................2970


1The <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong><br />

1.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES<br />

After completing this chapter, you should be able <strong>to</strong> do <strong>the</strong> following:<br />

• Describe <strong>the</strong> migration <strong>and</strong>/or invasion of successive groups in<strong>to</strong> Britain;<br />

• Analyze <strong>the</strong> ways that Anglo-Saxon literature assimilated Christian<br />

<strong>the</strong>mes;<br />

• Compare how various groups <strong>and</strong> individuals used <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry of King<br />

Arthur for political, religious, <strong>and</strong> revisionist reasons;<br />

• Describe <strong>the</strong> languages used in Britain over time, leading <strong>to</strong> Chaucer’s<br />

use of English when composing his works;<br />

• <br />

<br />

literature, especially in Malory;<br />

• <br />

in Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, <strong>and</strong> <strong>Middle</strong> English works;<br />

• Analyze <strong>the</strong> ways that writers use <strong>the</strong> concept of courtly love, from<br />

Marie de France <strong>to</strong> Malory.<br />

1.2 INTRODUCTION<br />

Medieval <strong>British</strong> literature exists because of <strong>the</strong> waves of successive groups<br />

that made <strong>the</strong> <strong>British</strong> Isles a melting pot of cultures, with each contributing a piece<br />

of <strong>the</strong> puzzle. The <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> spans over 1000 years of his<strong>to</strong>ry, which would be<br />

impossible <strong>to</strong> reproduce in much detail in a concise summary; <strong>the</strong> avid student of<br />

<br />

for a more complete picture of events. The purpose of this introduction is <strong>to</strong> give<br />

<br />

at what time, <strong>and</strong> how literature responded <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> changing times. To underst<strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> context of medieval <strong>British</strong> literature, it is necessary <strong>to</strong> begin much earlier, in<br />

Roman times.<br />

Page | 1


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

1.2.1 Roman Britain<br />

Although Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 <strong>and</strong> 54 BCE, it was not until<br />

43 ACE that <strong>the</strong> Romans began a systematic invasion of <strong>the</strong> <strong>British</strong> Isles. The<br />

<br />

<br />

archaeologists <strong>and</strong> his<strong>to</strong>rians suggest that calling <strong>the</strong>m Celtic language speakers<br />

would be more accurate. The Celts were not <strong>the</strong> original or only inhabitants of <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

Age), <strong>and</strong> even some sites now associated with <strong>the</strong> Celts, such as S<strong>to</strong>nehenge,<br />

predate <strong>the</strong>m. Although <strong>the</strong>se Celtic tribes had an oral culture, ra<strong>the</strong>r than a written<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

who served as priests <strong>and</strong> advisors,<br />

among o<strong>the</strong>r functions) <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir languages. The tribes in <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

by <strong>the</strong> Romans—spoke Common<br />

Brit<strong>to</strong>nic, a Celtic language that<br />

would develop in<strong>to</strong> modern Welsh,<br />

<br />

extinct Cumbric). The Goidelic, or<br />

Gaelic, language developed in<strong>to</strong><br />

Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, <strong>and</strong><br />

<br />

<br />

can be found most prominently<br />

in place names, such as London,<br />

Dover, Avon, <strong>and</strong> Cornwall.<br />

The Roman conquest of Britain<br />

was met with considerable resistance;<br />

<strong>the</strong> most famous example<br />

was <strong>the</strong> revolt led by Queen<br />

Boudica of <strong>the</strong> Iceni, a Celtic tribe,<br />

in ei<strong>the</strong>r 60 or 61 ACE. Boudica<br />

<strong>and</strong> her coalition of several Celtic<br />

tribes came close <strong>to</strong> driving out <strong>the</strong><br />

Romans, but Roman forces under<br />

Sue<strong>to</strong>nius managed <strong>to</strong> defeat <strong>the</strong><br />

coalition <strong>and</strong> reassert control. To<br />

<strong>the</strong> north, <strong>the</strong> Roman Emperor<br />

Image 1.1 | Map of Roman conquest of Britain<br />

Artist | User “Notuncurious”<br />

Hadrian ordered <strong>the</strong> construction<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

of a wall in 122 ACE <strong>to</strong> keep out License | CC BY-SA 3.0<br />

Page | 2


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<strong>the</strong> Picts, who inhabited what is<br />

present-day Scotl<strong>and</strong>. The Picts<br />

may have been a combination of<br />

ed<br />

<strong>the</strong> Celtic migration <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

isl<strong>and</strong> hundreds of years earlier)<br />

<strong>and</strong> immigrants from Irel<strong>and</strong><br />

Scoti, from which<br />

<strong>the</strong> name Scotl<strong>and</strong> derives, was<br />

used by <strong>the</strong> Romans <strong>to</strong> describe<br />

<strong>the</strong> Irish). The Picts were never<br />

conquered by <strong>the</strong> Romans, just<br />

as Irel<strong>and</strong> resisted Roman rule.<br />

Much later, in <strong>the</strong> Declaration of<br />

<br />

use this fact <strong>to</strong> argue <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Pope<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y his<strong>to</strong>rically were an independent<br />

kingdom, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

Edward I of Engl<strong>and</strong> had no<br />

Image 1.2 | Map of Roman withdrawal from Britain<br />

right <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir l<strong>and</strong>s.<br />

Artist | User “Notuncurious”<br />

Although <strong>the</strong> <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong><br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

in Europe are often seen as<br />

License | CC BY-SA 3.0<br />

beginning after <strong>the</strong> fall of Rome<br />

in 476 ACE, <strong>the</strong> <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> in Britain start with <strong>the</strong> withdrawal of Roman troops.<br />

By 383 ACE, Roman forces had withdrawn from <strong>the</strong> north <strong>and</strong> west, with <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

Arthur <strong>and</strong> his knights comes from <strong>the</strong> events that followed this departure.<br />

1.2.2 Anglo-Saxon Britain<br />

When Roman forces ab<strong>and</strong>oned <strong>the</strong>ir <strong>British</strong> outposts, <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns were left<br />

vulnerable after several hundred years of Roman military protection. The Irish<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Picts began raiding <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>s formerly controlled by <strong>the</strong> Romans, while<br />

Saxon pirates stepped up <strong>the</strong>ir raids along <strong>the</strong> <strong>British</strong> coastline. Although his<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

<br />

<br />

title) made <strong>the</strong> colossal mistake of inviting Saxon mercenaries in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> country<br />

<strong>to</strong> protect Bri<strong>to</strong>ns from <strong>the</strong> Picts <strong>and</strong> Irish. Instead, according <strong>to</strong> later literary<br />

sources, <strong>the</strong> Saxons began <strong>the</strong>ir own invasion of <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>. Although modern<br />

his<strong>to</strong>rians debate whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> invasion was actually more of a migration, literary<br />

sources follow <strong>the</strong> version of events found in <strong>the</strong> Anglo-Saxon Chronicle<br />

composed in <strong>the</strong> ninth century). However it started, <strong>the</strong> Saxons, Angles, <strong>and</strong> Jutes<br />

would eventually overrun what is now Engl<strong>and</strong>, or “Anglel<strong>and</strong>,” pushing many of<br />

Page | 3


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<strong>the</strong> Celtic tribes in<strong>to</strong> Wales, Cornwall, Scotl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> Irel<strong>and</strong>, as well as across <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

The Romanized Bri<strong>to</strong>ns attempted <strong>to</strong> repel <strong>the</strong> invaders, <strong>and</strong> it was during this<br />

time—approximately 450 <strong>to</strong> 550—that <strong>the</strong> legend of Arthur originates. There is no<br />

written evidence from that period that Arthur existed, although some his<strong>to</strong>rians<br />

<br />

Romano-Bri<strong>to</strong>ns who temporarily held back <strong>the</strong> Saxon invasion. Whe<strong>the</strong>r he was<br />

<br />

authors named Arthur as <strong>the</strong> leader who defeated <strong>the</strong> Saxons in several key battles.<br />

<br />

of Monmouth) who would write about Arthur, but also <strong>the</strong> very English/Anglo-<br />

Saxons against whose ances<strong>to</strong>rs Arthur was supposed <strong>to</strong> have fought.<br />

<br />

East Anglia, <strong>and</strong> Northumbria, along with o<strong>the</strong>r smaller domains) were slowly<br />

Christianized in <strong>the</strong> seventh <strong>and</strong> eighth centuries. Missionaries often tried <strong>to</strong> convert<br />

<br />

describes part of this process in his Ecclesiastical His<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong> English People,<br />

completed in about 731 ACE. Bede begins with <strong>the</strong> Roman invasion <strong>and</strong> continues<br />

<strong>to</strong> this present day. For <strong>the</strong> previously-pagan Germanic tribes, <strong>the</strong> process of<br />

conversion involved reconciling <strong>the</strong> warrior code with Christian teachings.<br />

Anglo-Saxon literature, <strong>the</strong>refore, often couches traditional warrior behavior in a<br />

Christian context. S<strong>to</strong>ries such as Beowulf take a clearly pagan s<strong>to</strong>ry <strong>and</strong> re<strong>to</strong>ol it<br />

<br />

successful in that s<strong>to</strong>ry). One of <strong>the</strong> most successful examples of this reworking is<br />

The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood<br />

a warrior who defeats his enemies through his bravery. More frequently, as in <strong>the</strong><br />

poem The W<strong>and</strong>erer, <strong>the</strong> Christian meaning of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry appears added after <strong>the</strong><br />

fact. The opposite transformation happens with <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry of Judith, taken from The<br />

Book of Judith<br />

but removed from both Jewish <strong>and</strong> Protestant versions). The Hebrew Judith who<br />

<br />

worthy of her share of <strong>the</strong> enemy’s treasure. Our underst<strong>and</strong>ing of this process is<br />

limited as well by <strong>the</strong> scarcity of manuscripts that have survived; both Beowulf<br />

<strong>and</strong> Judith survive in only one manuscript, while only four manuscript books, or<br />

codices, of Anglo-Saxon poetry are extant.<br />

1.2.3 Danelaw Britain<br />

In 793, <strong>the</strong> Vikings raided <strong>the</strong> monastery at Lindisfarne, <strong>and</strong> Danish attacks<br />

on Engl<strong>and</strong> began <strong>to</strong> increase. Over <strong>the</strong> next hundred years, Danish forces would<br />

occupy more <strong>and</strong> more Anglo-Saxon terri<strong>to</strong>ry, at one point leaving only <strong>the</strong> kingdom<br />

of Wessex independent. Sections in <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn <strong>and</strong> eastern parts of Engl<strong>and</strong><br />

became known as <strong>the</strong> Danelaw, or areas where Danish laws were used, ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

than Anglo-Saxon ones. Ironically, as Britain went through a temporary phase<br />

Page | 4


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

where fewer people knew Latin, more books were translated from Latin <strong>to</strong> Old<br />

<br />

<br />

numerous Latin texts in<strong>to</strong> Old English, so that past learning would not be lost.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> same time, areas under <strong>the</strong> Danelaw picked up quite a few loanwords from<br />

Norse/Sc<strong>and</strong>inavian languages, including words like “anger,” “cake,” “window,”<br />

“glitter,” “mistake,” “eggs,” <strong>and</strong> “awkward.” Those words would spread <strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

areas of <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> over time.<br />

In 1016, King Canute of Norway <strong>and</strong> Denmark became king of all Engl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

ruling until 1035. After a struggle with <strong>the</strong> succession among Canute’s heirs, <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

commonly referred <strong>to</strong> now as William <strong>the</strong> Conqueror). William defeated his main<br />

rival, Harold Godwin, at <strong>the</strong> Battle of Hastings, on Oc<strong>to</strong>ber 14, 1066.<br />

1.2.4 Norman Britain<br />

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records <strong>the</strong> Norman Conquest as a punishment<br />

from God, although it is not complimentary about <strong>the</strong> instrument of that<br />

punishment, William, or his Norman troops. While suppressing revolts, William<br />

began <strong>the</strong> process of removing Anglo-Saxons from power <strong>and</strong> replacing <strong>the</strong>m with<br />

his Norman followers. The Domesday Book<br />

of Engl<strong>and</strong>) records <strong>the</strong> removal of l<strong>and</strong>s from Anglo-Saxon nobles, whose l<strong>and</strong>s<br />

were <strong>the</strong>n awarded <strong>to</strong> Normans. Many free peasants suddenly found <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

bound <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> manor <strong>and</strong> required <strong>to</strong> work for him, signaling <strong>the</strong> start<br />

of <strong>the</strong> feudal system. At one point, fewer than 250 people owned most of <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong><br />

in Engl<strong>and</strong>.<br />

William did not speak English, so Norman French became <strong>the</strong> most commonly-<br />

<br />

legal system. Just as <strong>the</strong> Christianization of <strong>the</strong> Anglo-Saxons had introduced<br />

Latin words in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> language, Old English incorporated more <strong>and</strong> more French<br />

vocabulary over time. As a result, English speakers can say that <strong>the</strong>y are going<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

“police,” “tax,” “jury,” “at<strong>to</strong>rney,” <strong>and</strong> “prison.”<br />

The Norman invasion also led <strong>to</strong> a resurgence of interest in King Arthur, <strong>and</strong><br />

it would be during <strong>the</strong> next few centuries that <strong>the</strong> most common modern image of<br />

Arthur was created. The three main <strong>to</strong>pics of literature in medieval Britain were “<strong>the</strong><br />

Aeneid as a reference),<br />

<br />

<br />

Monmouth’s His<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong> Kings of Britain, written around 1135-1139, introduced<br />

Page | 5


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

<br />

The House of Fame<br />

Many of <strong>the</strong> most well-known elements of <strong>the</strong> Arthurian legend were added over<br />

<strong>the</strong> next forty years or so; <strong>the</strong> Anglo-Norman writer Wace, in his Roman de Brut<br />

<br />

a French knight, Lancelot, as <strong>the</strong> lover of Queen Guinevere <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> greatest knight<br />

of King Arthur’s court in his The Knight of <strong>the</strong> Cart; or Lancelot<br />

between 1175 <strong>and</strong> 1181).<br />

The quest for <strong>the</strong> Holy Grail evolved during this time as well. In <strong>the</strong> Welsh<br />

PeredurPerceval,<br />

it is a serving dish with contents that light up <strong>the</strong> room; <strong>and</strong> in Wolfram von<br />

Eschenbach’s Parzival <br />

<strong>the</strong> Knights Templar. It is in Robert de Boron’s Joseph d’Arima<strong>the</strong> that <strong>the</strong> grail<br />

becomes <strong>the</strong> cup used by Jesus at <strong>the</strong> Last Supper <strong>and</strong> used by Joseph of Arima<strong>the</strong>a<br />

<br />

Malory wrote his huge compilation of Arthurian s<strong>to</strong>ries in Le Morte d’Arthur, <strong>the</strong><br />

Grail knight was no longer Percival, but Galahad, <strong>the</strong> son of Lancelot <strong>and</strong> Elaine,<br />

<br />

although Percival accompanies Galahad on his quest.<br />

Several <strong>British</strong> monarchs attempted <strong>to</strong> use <strong>the</strong> Arthurian s<strong>to</strong>ries for <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

found <strong>the</strong> grave of Arthur <strong>and</strong> Guinevere in Glas<strong>to</strong>nbury, possibly <strong>to</strong> discourage<br />

<strong>the</strong> popular idea that Arthur might return one day. During <strong>the</strong> reign of Edward<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

considered at one point) <strong>to</strong> create a new type of community of knights. It was<br />

during Edward III’s reign that <strong>the</strong> English language, ra<strong>the</strong>r than French, slowly<br />

became prominent again. In 1362, English was re-established as <strong>the</strong> language of<br />

<br />

were conducted in French, even though most of <strong>the</strong> English did not know French),<br />

<br />

<br />

Norman conquest.<br />

<br />

becoming <strong>the</strong> language of literature in Britain once more. Although some of his<br />

contemporaries, such as John Gower, wrote in French <strong>and</strong> Latin as well as English<br />

<strong>to</strong> reach a wider audience, Chaucer wrote his works in <strong>Middle</strong> English, as did <strong>the</strong><br />

anonymous author of Sir Gawain <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Green Knight, William Langl<strong>and</strong> with<br />

his Piers Plowman, <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r authors. By <strong>the</strong> time that William Cax<strong>to</strong>n printed<br />

a copy of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales<br />

1400), Chaucer was considered <strong>the</strong> master that many English <strong>and</strong> Scottish authors<br />

Page | 6


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

sought <strong>to</strong> emulate. In <strong>the</strong> Renaissance, Shakespeare <strong>to</strong>ok Chaucer’s poem Troilus<br />

<strong>and</strong> Criseyde <strong>and</strong> turned it in<strong>to</strong> a play, writing in Early Modern English.<br />

<br />

Le Morte<br />

d’Arthur was published in <strong>the</strong> same year, <strong>and</strong> it is <strong>the</strong> literary reaction <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> wars<br />

between <strong>the</strong> houses of Lancaster <strong>and</strong> York that had just ended. As <strong>the</strong> <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong><br />

drew <strong>to</strong> a close, Malory records a picture of knighthood that is both nostalgic <strong>and</strong>,<br />

at times, cynical: celebrating <strong>the</strong> concept while criticizing <strong>the</strong> practice of it. Just<br />

as <strong>the</strong> start of <strong>the</strong> <strong>Middle</strong> <strong>Ages</strong> gave rise <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> legend of King Arthur, Le Morte<br />

d’Arthur serves as a bookend <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> period.<br />

1.3 RECOMMENDED READING<br />

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The. Everyman Press Edition, 1912. Translated by Rev. James<br />

Ingram <strong>and</strong> Dr. J. A. Giles. The Internet Archives. https://archive.org/details/<br />

Anglo-saxonChronicles.<br />

The Discovery of King Arthur. The His<strong>to</strong>ry Press, 2005.<br />

Kings <strong>and</strong> Queens of Early Britain. Academy Chicago Publishers, 1990.<br />

Blair, Peter Hunter. Roman Britain <strong>and</strong> Early Engl<strong>and</strong>: 55 B.C.-A.D. 871. Nor<strong>to</strong>n Library,<br />

1963.<br />

Love Visions. Translated by Brian S<strong>to</strong>ne. Penguin Classics, 1983.<br />

“Declaration of Arbroath.” http://www.rampantscotl<strong>and</strong>.com/know/blknow_arbroath.htm.<br />

Ellis, Peter Berresford. The Druids. Constable <strong>and</strong> Company Ltd., 1994.<br />

The Arthurian H<strong>and</strong>book. Garl<strong>and</strong>, 1988.<br />

Lacy, Norris J., <strong>and</strong> James J. Wilhelm, Edi<strong>to</strong>rs. The Romance of Arthur: An <strong>Anthology</strong> of<br />

Medieval Texts in Translation. 3 rd edition. Routledge, 2013.<br />

Millward, C. M. A Biography of <strong>the</strong> English Language. Holt, Rinehart, <strong>and</strong> Wins<strong>to</strong>n, Inc.,<br />

1989.<br />

Roberts, Clay<strong>to</strong>n, F. David Roberts, <strong>and</strong> Douglas Bisson. A His<strong>to</strong>ry of Engl<strong>and</strong>, Volume I:<br />

Prehis<strong>to</strong>ry <strong>to</strong> 1714. 6 th edition. Routledge, 2013.<br />

“The Round Table.” Hampshire His<strong>to</strong>ry. http://www.hampshire-his<strong>to</strong>ry.com/<strong>the</strong>-roundtable-winchester/.<br />

Page | 7


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

ANGLO-SAXON LITERATURE<br />

1.4 THE DREAM OF THE ROOD<br />

Author unknown<br />

Approximately seventh <strong>to</strong> eighth century<br />

The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood dates from<br />

at least <strong>the</strong> early eighth century, when<br />

eighteen verses of it were carved on <strong>the</strong><br />

Ruthwell Cross in runic letters. The<br />

Ruthwell Cross, in sou<strong>the</strong>rn Scotl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

st<strong>and</strong>s over eighteen feet tall <strong>and</strong> includes<br />

Gospel scenes, Latin inscriptions, <strong>and</strong><br />

elaborately-carved vines in addition <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

fragment of The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood. Like<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r Anglo-Saxon poems, The Dream<br />

of <strong>the</strong> Rood uses alliteration ra<strong>the</strong>r than<br />

<br />

a pause, or caesura, in <strong>the</strong> middle) that<br />

vary between short rhythmic sections <strong>and</strong><br />

<br />

syllables). The 156 lines of <strong>the</strong> complete<br />

poem are found in <strong>the</strong> tenth century<br />

Image 1.3 | The Ruthwell Cross<br />

Vercelli Book, a manuscript rediscovered Artist | Lairich Rig<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

in 1822, in <strong>the</strong> ca<strong>the</strong>dral in Vercelli, in<br />

License | CC BY-SA 2.0<br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn Italy. Just as <strong>the</strong> Ruthwell Cross<br />

is meant <strong>to</strong> appeal <strong>to</strong> a variety of audiences, <strong>the</strong> poem presents a Christian subject<br />

<br />

only recently converted <strong>to</strong> Christianity in some cases. Warriors followed a lord<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

up on<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> cross freely <strong>and</strong> bravely <strong>to</strong> defeat sin. An Anglo-Saxon audience could<br />

<br />

<br />

fragment is written. The poem is also a dream vision, a popular genre in medieval<br />

Parlement of Fowles, found in this<br />

anthology). When <strong>the</strong> dreamer awakes, he longs <strong>to</strong> rejoin his companions, who<br />

have gone on <strong>to</strong> feast at <strong>the</strong> Lord’s table in heaven: a situation similar <strong>to</strong> that found<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Anglo-Saxon poem The W<strong>and</strong>erer<br />

<br />

reference <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> popular Harrowing of HellGospel<br />

of Nicodemus <strong>and</strong> in numerous medieval works, from mystery plays <strong>to</strong> Dante’s<br />

Page | 8


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Divine Comedy. In it, Christ descends <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> gate, scatters <strong>the</strong> demons, <strong>and</strong> frees<br />

all <strong>the</strong> righteous souls, leading <strong>the</strong>m<br />

<strong>to</strong> heaven. The reference survives <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> present day in <strong>the</strong> Apostle’s Creed,<br />

which states that Christ “descended<br />

<br />

“descended <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> dead”). The poem<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore celebrates Christ’s vic<strong>to</strong>ries<br />

in battle, eschewing <strong>the</strong> later medieval<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> lamb of God.<br />

1.4.1 The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood<br />

Lo! choicest of dreams I will relate,<br />

What dream I dreamt in middle of night<br />

When mortal men reposed in rest.<br />

Methought I saw a wondrous wood<br />

Artist | Nicodemos<br />

Tower aloft with light bewound,<br />

Brightest of trees; that beacon was all<br />

Begirt with gold; jewels were st<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

<br />

Above on <strong>the</strong> shoulder-brace. All angels of God beheld it,<br />

Fair through future ages; ’twas no criminal’s cross indeed,<br />

But holy spirits beheld it <strong>the</strong>re,<br />

Men upon earth, all this glorious creation.<br />

Strange was that vic<strong>to</strong>r-tree, <strong>and</strong> stained with sins was I,<br />

<br />

With vesture adorned winsomely shine,<br />

Image 1.4 | The Gospel of Nicodemos<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

License | Public Domain<br />

Begirt with gold; bright gems had <strong>the</strong>re<br />

Worthily decked <strong>the</strong> tree of <strong>the</strong> Lord.<br />

Yet through that gold I might perceive<br />

<br />

Blood on <strong>the</strong> stronger [right] side. With sorrows was I oppressed,<br />

Afraid for that fair sight; I saw <strong>the</strong> ready beacon<br />

Change in vesture <strong>and</strong> hue; at times with moisture covered,<br />

Soiled with course of blood; at times with treasure adorned.<br />

Yet lying <strong>the</strong>re a longer while,<br />

Beheld I sad <strong>the</strong> Saviour’s tree<br />

Page | 9


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Until I heard that words it uttered;<br />

The best of woods gan speak <strong>the</strong>se words:<br />

<br />

That I was hewn at end of a grove,<br />

<br />

Wrought for <strong>the</strong>mselves a show, bade felons raise me up;<br />

Men bore me on <strong>the</strong>ir shoulders, till on a mount <strong>the</strong>y set me;<br />

<br />

Hasten with mickle might, for He would sty upon me.<br />

There durst I not ’gainst word of <strong>the</strong> Lord<br />

Bow down or break, when saw I tremble<br />

The surface of earth; I might <strong>the</strong>n all<br />

My foes have felled, yet fast I s<strong>to</strong>od.<br />

The Hero young begirt Himself, Almighty God was He,<br />

Strong <strong>and</strong> stern of mind; He stied on <strong>the</strong> gallows high,<br />

Bold in sight of many, for man He would redeem.<br />

I shook when <strong>the</strong> Hero clasped me, yet durst not bow <strong>to</strong> earth,<br />

<br />

A rood was I upreared; I raised <strong>the</strong> mighty King,<br />

The Lord of Heaven; I durst not bend me.<br />

They drove <strong>the</strong>ir dark nails through me; <strong>the</strong> wounds are seen upon me,<br />

The open gashes of guile; I durst harm none of <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

They mocked us both <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r; all moistened with blood was I,<br />

Shed from side of <strong>the</strong> man, when forth He sent His spirit.<br />

Many have I on that mount endured<br />

Of cruel fates; I saw <strong>the</strong> Lord of Hosts<br />

Strongly outstretched; darkness had <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Covered with clouds <strong>the</strong> corse of <strong>the</strong> Lord,<br />

The brilliant brightness; <strong>the</strong> shadow continued,<br />

Wan ’neath <strong>the</strong> welkin. There wept all creation,<br />

Bewailed <strong>the</strong> King’s death; Christ was on <strong>the</strong> cross.<br />

Yet hastening thi<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y came from afar<br />

To <strong>the</strong> Son of <strong>the</strong> King: that all I beheld.<br />

Sorely with sorrows was I oppressed; yet I bowed ’neath <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s of men,<br />

Lowly with mickle might. Took <strong>the</strong>y <strong>the</strong>re Almighty God,<br />

Him raised from <strong>the</strong> heavy <strong>to</strong>rture; <strong>the</strong> battle-warriors left me<br />

To st<strong>and</strong> bedrenched with blood; all wounded with darts was I.<br />

There laid <strong>the</strong>y <strong>the</strong> weary of limb, at head of His corse <strong>the</strong>y s<strong>to</strong>od,<br />

Beheld <strong>the</strong> Lord of Heaven, <strong>and</strong> He rested Him <strong>the</strong>re awhile,<br />

Worn from <strong>the</strong> mickle war. Began <strong>the</strong>y an earth-house <strong>to</strong> work,<br />

Men in <strong>the</strong> murderers’ sight, carved it of brightest s<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

Placed <strong>the</strong>rein vic<strong>to</strong>ries’ Lord. Began sad songs <strong>to</strong> sing<br />

The wretched at eventide; <strong>the</strong>n would <strong>the</strong>y back return<br />

Page | 10


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Mourning from <strong>the</strong> mighty prince; all lonely rested He <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

Yet weeping we <strong>the</strong>n a longer while<br />

S<strong>to</strong>od at our station: <strong>the</strong> [voice] arose<br />

Of battle-warriors; <strong>the</strong> corse grew cold,<br />

Fair house of life. Then one gan fell<br />

Us all <strong>to</strong> earth; ’twas a fearful fate!<br />

One buried us in deep pit, yet of me <strong>the</strong> thanes of <strong>the</strong> Lord,<br />

His friends, heard tell; [from earth <strong>the</strong>y raised me],<br />

And me begirt with gold <strong>and</strong> silver.<br />

Now thou mayst hear, my dearest man,<br />

That bale of woes have I endured,<br />

Of sorrows sore. Now <strong>the</strong> time is come,<br />

That me shall honor both far <strong>and</strong> wide<br />

Men upon earth, <strong>and</strong> all this mighty creation<br />

Will pray <strong>to</strong> this beacon. On me God’s Son<br />

<br />

I <strong>to</strong>wer <strong>to</strong> Heaven, <strong>and</strong> I may heal<br />

Each one of those who reverence me;<br />

Of old I became <strong>the</strong> hardest of pains,<br />

Most loathsome <strong>to</strong> ledes [nations], <strong>the</strong> way of life,<br />

Right way, I prepared for mortal men.<br />

Lo! <strong>the</strong> Lord of Glory honored me <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Above <strong>the</strong> grove, <strong>the</strong> guardian of Heaven,<br />

As He His mo<strong>the</strong>r, even Mary herself,<br />

Almighty God before all men<br />

Worthily honored above all women.<br />

Now <strong>the</strong>e I bid, my dearest man,<br />

That thou this sight shalt say <strong>to</strong> men,<br />

Reveal in words, ’tis <strong>the</strong> tree of glory,<br />

<br />

For <strong>the</strong> many sins of all mankind,<br />

And also for Adam’s misdeeds of old.<br />

Death tasted He <strong>the</strong>re; yet <strong>the</strong> Lord arose<br />

With His mickle might for help <strong>to</strong> men.<br />

Then stied He <strong>to</strong> Heaven; again shall come<br />

Upon this mid-earth <strong>to</strong> seek mankind<br />

At <strong>the</strong> day of doom <strong>the</strong> Lord Himself,<br />

Almighty God, <strong>and</strong> His angels with Him;<br />

Then He will judge, who hath right of doom,<br />

Each one of men as here before<br />

In this vain life he hath deserved.<br />

No one may <strong>the</strong>re be free from fear<br />

In view of <strong>the</strong> word that <strong>the</strong> Judge will speak.<br />

Page | 11


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

He will ask ’fore <strong>the</strong> crowd, where is <strong>the</strong> man<br />

Who for name of <strong>the</strong> Lord would bitter death<br />

Be willing <strong>to</strong> taste, as He did on <strong>the</strong> tree.<br />

But <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y will fear, <strong>and</strong> few will bethink <strong>the</strong>m<br />

What <strong>the</strong>y <strong>to</strong> Christ may venture <strong>to</strong> say.<br />

<br />

Who bears in his breast <strong>the</strong> best of beacons;<br />

But through <strong>the</strong> rood a kingdom shall seek<br />

<strong>From</strong> earthly way each single soul<br />

That with <strong>the</strong> Lord thinketh <strong>to</strong> dwell.”<br />

Then I prayed <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> tree with joyous heart,<br />

With mickle might, when I was alone<br />

With small attendance; <strong>the</strong> thought of my mind<br />

For <strong>the</strong> journey was ready; I’ve lived through many<br />

Hours of longing. Now ‘tis hope of my life<br />

That <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry-tree I am able <strong>to</strong> seek,<br />

Oftener than all men I alone may<br />

Honor it well; my will <strong>to</strong> that<br />

Is mickle in mind, <strong>and</strong> my plea for protection<br />

To <strong>the</strong> rood is directed. I’ve not many mighty<br />

Of friends on earth; but hence went <strong>the</strong>y forth<br />

<strong>From</strong> joys of <strong>the</strong> world, sought glory’s King;<br />

Now live <strong>the</strong>y in Heaven with <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r on high,<br />

In glory dwell, <strong>and</strong> I hope for myself<br />

On every day when <strong>the</strong> rood of <strong>the</strong> Lord,<br />

Which here on earth before I viewed,<br />

In this vain life may fetch me away<br />

And bring me <strong>the</strong>n, where bliss is mickle,<br />

Joy in <strong>the</strong> Heavens, where <strong>the</strong> folk of <strong>the</strong> Lord<br />

Is set at <strong>the</strong> feast, where bliss is eternal;<br />

And may He <strong>the</strong>n set me where I may hereafter<br />

In glory dwell, <strong>and</strong> well with <strong>the</strong> saints<br />

Of joy partake. May <strong>the</strong> Lord be my friend,<br />

<br />

On <strong>the</strong> gallows-tree for <strong>the</strong> sins of man!<br />

He us redeemed, <strong>and</strong> gave <strong>to</strong> us life,<br />

A heavenly home. Hope was renewed,<br />

<br />

The Son was vic<strong>to</strong>rious on that fateful journey,<br />

Mighty <strong>and</strong> happy, when He came with a many,<br />

With a b<strong>and</strong> of spirits <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> kingdom of God,<br />

The Ruler Almighty, for joy <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> angels<br />

And <strong>to</strong> all <strong>the</strong> saints, who in Heaven before<br />

Page | 12


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

In glory dwelt, when <strong>the</strong>ir Ruler came,<br />

Almighty God, where was His home.<br />

1.4.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions<br />

1. In what ways is <strong>the</strong> Rood a loyal retainer of Christ? How does he not<br />

betray his lord/Lord, despite <strong>the</strong> circumstances?<br />

2. How much does <strong>the</strong> Dreamer seem <strong>to</strong> identify with <strong>the</strong> Rood, <strong>and</strong> how<br />

much does he seem <strong>to</strong> identify with <strong>the</strong> “hero?”<br />

3. Which passages of <strong>the</strong> poem could be used in any Anglo-Saxon heroic<br />

<br />

4. How does <strong>the</strong> image in this poem of Christ on <strong>the</strong> cross compare <strong>to</strong><br />

depictions of Odin hanging on Yggdrasil in Norse mythology? Compare<br />

how each one is described <strong>and</strong> what each one accomplishes.<br />

5. <br />

why not?<br />

1.5 BEOWULF<br />

Author unknown<br />

<br />

Beowulf survives in a single manuscript that was burned around <strong>the</strong> edges<br />

<br />

lost <strong>to</strong> his<strong>to</strong>ry. It is impossible<br />

<strong>to</strong> know how long <strong>the</strong> oral s<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

was in circulation before it<br />

was written down. The <strong>British</strong><br />

manuscript is written mostly in<br />

a West Saxon dialect of Anglo-<br />

Saxon/Old English, although <strong>the</strong><br />

main actions of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry take<br />

place in what would be modern-<br />

<br />

map). Saxon l<strong>and</strong>s were just<br />

south of that area, in modernday<br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn Germany, so<br />

when <strong>the</strong> Saxons, Angles, <strong>and</strong><br />

Jutes invaded Britain, leading<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> creation of Anglel<strong>and</strong>,<br />

or Engl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong>y brought with<br />

Image 1.5 | Beowulf Geography Map<br />

Artist | User “Wiglaf”<br />

<strong>the</strong>m s<strong>to</strong>ries of <strong>the</strong>ir previous<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

homel<strong>and</strong>s. There are some real License | Free Art License<br />

Page | 13


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

people <strong>and</strong> his<strong>to</strong>rical events mentioned in Beowulf alongside <strong>the</strong> more legendary<br />

<strong>and</strong> literary elements of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry, although scholars have not found any his<strong>to</strong>rical<br />

reference <strong>to</strong> Beowulf himself.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

dragon years later. As those divisions suggest, heroic behavior drives <strong>the</strong> action,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry also asks <strong>the</strong> audience <strong>to</strong> s<strong>to</strong>p <strong>and</strong> consider what heroic behavior<br />

really is, sometimes by highlighting <strong>the</strong> opposite. When Hrothgar lectures Beowulf<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> dangers of pride <strong>and</strong> seeking after fame, foreshadowing Beowulf’s death. This<br />

warning is appropriate for a warrior culture, but it also works as a reference <strong>to</strong><br />

Christian values. The tensions in <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry between <strong>the</strong> Germanic heroic code <strong>and</strong><br />

Christian values are worth noting, since <strong>the</strong> clearly-pagan s<strong>to</strong>ry was written down<br />

after <strong>the</strong> Saxons had begun <strong>to</strong> convert. The s<strong>to</strong>ry records <strong>the</strong> past glories of <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

The poem contains over three thous<strong>and</strong> lines, each consisting of alliterative<br />

<br />

<br />

in this section follow <strong>the</strong> same pattern). Ano<strong>the</strong>r st<strong>and</strong>ard feature of Anglo-Saxon<br />

<br />

<br />

as “wave-rider.” The kennings “gold-friend” almost always refers <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> leader<br />

<br />

maintain his status <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> loyalty of his men by distributing his accumulated<br />

wealth <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. The b<strong>and</strong> of warriors, or comitatus<br />

alongside <strong>the</strong>ir leader; <strong>the</strong> shame of not falling in battle by <strong>the</strong> side of your goldfriend<br />

is demonstrated near <strong>the</strong> end of Beowulf in <strong>the</strong> speech that Wiglaf gives <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r men. Many of <strong>the</strong> cus<strong>to</strong>ms in <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry require some explanation for a<br />

modern audience. Grendel is considered uncivilized for many reasons in <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

but one of <strong>the</strong>m is that he does not pay wergild, or blood money, for <strong>the</strong> men that<br />

he kills. In order <strong>to</strong> avoid blood feuds between families, wergild would be paid <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

Beowulf, <strong>the</strong>re are none<strong>the</strong>less many moments when revenge is praised as a mark<br />

of loyalty <strong>and</strong> honor, even when <strong>the</strong> families were related by marriage. High-born<br />

women often were sent <strong>to</strong> marry in<strong>to</strong> a rival or enemy family, in an attempt <strong>to</strong><br />

bring <strong>the</strong> families <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r; <strong>the</strong>se “peace-weavers,” however, more often than not<br />

found <strong>the</strong>mselves caught in <strong>the</strong> middle when <strong>the</strong>ir families resumed <strong>the</strong>ir feuds.<br />

The song that <strong>the</strong> bard sings in honor of Beowulf’s triumph is about Hildeburh, <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

s<strong>to</strong>ries-within-<strong>the</strong>-s<strong>to</strong>ry), it uses past events <strong>to</strong> foreshadow future events: in this<br />

instance, <strong>the</strong> fate of Wealh<strong>the</strong>ow’s sons. Far from being unrelated digressions, <strong>the</strong><br />

songs enrich <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry by placing <strong>the</strong> action in a larger context.<br />

Page | 14


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Image 1.6 | First Page of Beowulf<br />

Artist | Unknown<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

License | Public Domain<br />

Page | 15


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

1.5.1 Beowulf<br />

Part I<br />

Lo! <strong>the</strong> Spear-Danes’ glory through splendid achievements<br />

The folk-kings’ former fame we have heard of,<br />

How princes displayed <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>ir prowess-in-battle.<br />

<br />

<strong>From</strong> many a people <strong>the</strong>ir mead-benches <strong>to</strong>re.<br />

<br />

The earl had had terror: comfort he got for it,<br />

Waxed ’neath <strong>the</strong> welkin, world-honor gained,<br />

Till all his neighbors o’er sea were compelled <strong>to</strong><br />

Bow <strong>to</strong> his bidding <strong>and</strong> bring him <strong>the</strong>ir tribute:<br />

An excellent a<strong>the</strong>ling! After was borne him<br />

A son <strong>and</strong> heir, young in his dwelling,<br />

Whom God-Fa<strong>the</strong>r sent <strong>to</strong> solace <strong>the</strong> people.<br />

He had marked <strong>the</strong> misery malice had caused <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

That reaved of <strong>the</strong>ir rulers <strong>the</strong>y wretched had erstwhile<br />

<br />

Wielder of Glory, with world-honor blessed him.<br />

Famed was Beowulf, far spread <strong>the</strong> glory<br />

Of Scyld’s great son in <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> Danemen.<br />

So <strong>the</strong> carle that is young, by kindnesses rendered<br />

The friends of his fa<strong>the</strong>r, with fees in abundance<br />

Must be able <strong>to</strong> earn that when age approacheth<br />

Eager companions aid him requitingly,<br />

When war assaults him serve him as liegemen:<br />

By praise-worthy actions must honor be got<br />

’Mong all of <strong>the</strong> races. At <strong>the</strong> hour that was fated<br />

Scyld <strong>the</strong>n departed <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> All-Fa<strong>the</strong>r’s keeping<br />

Warlike <strong>to</strong> wend him; away <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y bare him<br />

<br />

As himself he had bidden, while <strong>the</strong> friend of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings<br />

Word-sway wielded, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> well-lovèd l<strong>and</strong>-prince<br />

Long did rule <strong>the</strong>m. The ring-stemmèd vessel,<br />

Bark of <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling, lay <strong>the</strong>re at anchor,<br />

Icy in glimmer <strong>and</strong> eager for sailing;<br />

The belovèd leader laid <strong>the</strong>y down <strong>the</strong>re,<br />

Giver of rings, on <strong>the</strong> breast of <strong>the</strong> vessel,<br />

The famed by <strong>the</strong> mainmast. A many of jewels,<br />

Of fretted embossings, from far-l<strong>and</strong>s brought over,<br />

Was placed near at h<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n; <strong>and</strong> heard I not ever<br />

<br />

Page | 16


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

With weapons of warfare, weeds for <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

Bills <strong>and</strong> burnies; on his bosom sparkled<br />

Many a jewel that with him must travel<br />

<br />

And favors no fewer <strong>the</strong>y furnished him soothly,<br />

Excellent folk-gems, than o<strong>the</strong>rs had given him<br />

<br />

Lone on <strong>the</strong> main, <strong>the</strong> merest of infants:<br />

And a gold-fashioned st<strong>and</strong>ard <strong>the</strong>y stretched under heaven<br />

High o’er his head, let <strong>the</strong> holm-currents bear him,<br />

Seaward consigned him: sad was <strong>the</strong>ir spirit,<br />

Their mood very mournful. Men are not able<br />

Soothly <strong>to</strong> tell us, <strong>the</strong>y in halls who reside,<br />

Heroes under heaven, <strong>to</strong> what haven he hied.<br />

Part II<br />

In <strong>the</strong> boroughs <strong>the</strong>n Beowulf, bairn of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

Belovèd l<strong>and</strong>-prince, for long-lasting season<br />

<br />

The prince from his dwelling), till afterward sprang<br />

Great-minded Healfdene; <strong>the</strong> Danes in his lifetime<br />

He graciously governed, grim-mooded, agèd.<br />

Four bairns of his body born in succession<br />

Woke in <strong>the</strong> world, war-troopers’ leader<br />

Heorogar, Hrothgar, <strong>and</strong> Halga <strong>the</strong> good;<br />

Heard I that Elan was Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow’s consort,<br />

<br />

Then glory in battle <strong>to</strong> Hrothgar was given,<br />

Waxing of war-fame, that willingly kinsmen<br />

Obeyed his bidding, till <strong>the</strong> boys grew <strong>to</strong> manhood,<br />

A numerous b<strong>and</strong>. It burned in his spirit<br />

To urge his folk <strong>to</strong> found a great building,<br />

A mead-hall gr<strong>and</strong>er than men of <strong>the</strong> era<br />

Ever had heard of, <strong>and</strong> in it <strong>to</strong> share<br />

With young <strong>and</strong> old all of <strong>the</strong> blessings<br />

The Lord had allowed him, save life <strong>and</strong> retainers.<br />

<br />

To many races in middle-earth’s regions,<br />

To adorn <strong>the</strong> great folk-hall. In due time it happened<br />

<br />

The greatest of hall-buildings; Heorot he named it<br />

Who wide-reaching word-sway wielded ’mong earlmen.<br />

His promise he brake not, rings he lavished,<br />

Page | 17


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Treasure at banquet. Towered <strong>the</strong> hall up<br />

High <strong>and</strong> horn-crested, huge between antlers:<br />

<br />

Ere long <strong>the</strong>n from hottest hatred must sword-wrath<br />

Arise for a woman’s husb<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> mighty war-spirit endured for a season,<br />

Bore it bitterly, he who bided in darkness,<br />

That light-hearted laughter loud in <strong>the</strong> building<br />

Greeted him daily; <strong>the</strong>re was dulcet harp-music,<br />

Clear song of <strong>the</strong> singer. He said that was able<br />

To tell from of old earthmen’s beginnings,<br />

That Fa<strong>the</strong>r Almighty earth had created,<br />

The winsome wold that <strong>the</strong> water encircleth,<br />

Set exultingly <strong>the</strong> sun’s <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> moon’s beams<br />

To lavish <strong>the</strong>ir lustre on l<strong>and</strong>-folk <strong>and</strong> races,<br />

And earth He embellished in all her regions<br />

With limbs <strong>and</strong> leaves; life He bes<strong>to</strong>wed <strong>to</strong>o<br />

On all <strong>the</strong> kindreds that live under heaven.<br />

So blessed with abundance, brimming with joyance,<br />

The warriors abided, till a certain one gan <strong>to</strong><br />

Dog <strong>the</strong>m with deeds of direfullest malice,<br />

A foe in <strong>the</strong> hall-building: this horrible stranger<br />

Was Grendel entitled, <strong>the</strong> march-stepper famous<br />

Who dwelt in <strong>the</strong> moor-fens, <strong>the</strong> marsh <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fastness;<br />

The wan-mooded being abode for a season<br />

In <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> giants, when <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>and</strong> Crea<strong>to</strong>r<br />

Had banned him <strong>and</strong> br<strong>and</strong>ed. For that bitter murder,<br />

The killing of Abel, all-ruling Fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

The kindred of Cain crushed with His vengeance;<br />

In <strong>the</strong> feud He rejoiced not, but far away drove him<br />

<strong>From</strong> kindred <strong>and</strong> kind, that crime <strong>to</strong> a<strong>to</strong>ne for,<br />

Meter of Justice. Thence ill-favored creatures,<br />

Elves <strong>and</strong> giants, monsters of ocean,<br />

Came in<strong>to</strong> being, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> giants that longtime<br />

Grappled with God; He gave <strong>the</strong>m requital.<br />

Part III<br />

When <strong>the</strong> sun was sunken, he set out <strong>to</strong> visit<br />

The lofty hall-building, how <strong>the</strong> Ring-Danes had used it<br />

For beds <strong>and</strong> benches when <strong>the</strong> banquet was over.<br />

Then he found <strong>the</strong>re reposing many a noble<br />

Asleep after supper; sorrow <strong>the</strong> heroes,<br />

Misery knew not. The monster of evil<br />

Page | 18


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Greedy <strong>and</strong> cruel tarried but little,<br />

Fell <strong>and</strong> frantic, <strong>and</strong> forced from <strong>the</strong>ir slumbers<br />

Thirty of thanemen; <strong>the</strong>nce he departed<br />

Leaping <strong>and</strong> laughing, his lair <strong>to</strong> return <strong>to</strong>,<br />

With surfeit of slaughter sallying homeward.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> dusk of <strong>the</strong> dawning, as <strong>the</strong> day was just breaking,<br />

Was Grendel’s prowess revealed <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> warriors:<br />

<br />

Morning-cry mighty. The man-ruler famous,<br />

The long-worthy a<strong>the</strong>ling, sat very woful,<br />

<br />

When <strong>the</strong>y had seen <strong>the</strong> track of <strong>the</strong> hateful pursuer,<br />

The spirit accursèd: <strong>to</strong>o crushing that sorrow,<br />

Too loathsome <strong>and</strong> lasting. Not longer he tarried,<br />

But one night after continued his slaughter<br />

Shameless <strong>and</strong> shocking, shrinking but little<br />

<strong>From</strong> malice <strong>and</strong> murder; <strong>the</strong>y mastered him fully.<br />

<br />

A pleasanter place of repose in <strong>the</strong> lodges,<br />

A bed in <strong>the</strong> bowers. Then was brought <strong>to</strong> his notice<br />

Told him truly by <strong>to</strong>ken apparent<br />

The hall-thane’s hatred: he held himself after<br />

<br />

So ruled he <strong>and</strong> strongly strove against justice<br />

Lone against all men, till empty up<strong>to</strong>wered<br />

The choicest of houses. Long was <strong>the</strong> season:<br />

<br />

<br />

Endless agony; hence it after became<br />

Certainly known <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> children of men<br />

Sadly in measures, that long against Hrothgar<br />

Grendel struggled:—his grudges he cherished,<br />

Murderous malice, many a winter,<br />

Strife unremitting, <strong>and</strong> peacefully wished he<br />

Life-woe <strong>to</strong> lift from no liegeman at all of<br />

The men of <strong>the</strong> Dane-folk, for money <strong>to</strong> settle,<br />

No counsellor needed count for a moment<br />

On h<strong>and</strong>some amends at <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> murderer;<br />

<br />

The ill-planning death-shade, both elder <strong>and</strong> younger,<br />

Trapping <strong>and</strong> tricking <strong>the</strong>m. He trod every night <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The mist-covered moor-fens; men do not know where<br />

Witches <strong>and</strong> wizards w<strong>and</strong>er <strong>and</strong> ramble.<br />

Page | 19


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

So <strong>the</strong> foe of mankind many of evils<br />

Grievous injuries, often accomplished,<br />

Horrible hermit; Heort he frequented,<br />

Gem-bedecked palace, when night-shades had fallen<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Soul-crushing sorrow. Not seldom in private<br />

Sat <strong>the</strong> king in his council; conference held <strong>the</strong>y<br />

What <strong>the</strong> braves should determine ’gainst terrors unlooked for.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> shrines of <strong>the</strong>ir idols often <strong>the</strong>y promised<br />

<br />

The devil from hell would help <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> lighten<br />

Their people’s oppression. Such practice <strong>the</strong>y used <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Hope of <strong>the</strong> hea<strong>the</strong>n; hell <strong>the</strong>y remembered<br />

In innermost spirit, God <strong>the</strong>y knew not,<br />

The true God <strong>the</strong>y do not know.<br />

Judge of <strong>the</strong>ir actions, All-wielding Ruler,<br />

No praise could <strong>the</strong>y give <strong>the</strong> Guardian of Heaven,<br />

The Wielder of Glory. Woe will be his who<br />

Through furious hatred his spirit shall drive <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

Wax no wiser; well for <strong>the</strong> man who,<br />

Living his life-days, his Lord may face<br />

<br />

Part IV<br />

So Healfdene’s kinsman constantly mused on<br />

His long-lasting sorrow; <strong>the</strong> battle-thane clever<br />

Was not anywise able evils <strong>to</strong> ’scape from:<br />

Too crushing <strong>the</strong> sorrow that came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

Loathsome <strong>and</strong> lasting <strong>the</strong> life-grinding <strong>to</strong>rture,<br />

Greatest of night-woes. So Higelac’s liegeman,<br />

Good amid Geatmen, of Grendel’s achievements<br />

Heard in his home: of heroes <strong>the</strong>n living<br />

He was s<strong>to</strong>utest <strong>and</strong> strongest, sturdy <strong>and</strong> noble.<br />

He bade <strong>the</strong>m prepare him a bark that was trusty;<br />

He said he <strong>the</strong> war-king would seek o’er <strong>the</strong> ocean,<br />

The folk-leader noble, since he needed retainers.<br />

For <strong>the</strong> perilous project prudent companions<br />

Chided him little, though loving him dearly;<br />

They egged <strong>the</strong> brave a<strong>the</strong>ling, augured him glory.<br />

The excellent knight from <strong>the</strong> folk of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen<br />

Page | 20


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Had liegemen selected, likest <strong>to</strong> prove <strong>the</strong>m<br />

Trustworthy warriors; with fourteen companions<br />

The vessel he looked for; a liegeman <strong>the</strong>n showed <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

A sea-crafty man, <strong>the</strong> bounds of <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

<br />

<br />

Well-equipped warriors: <strong>the</strong> wave-currents twisted<br />

The sea on <strong>the</strong> s<strong>and</strong>; soldiers <strong>the</strong>n carried<br />

On <strong>the</strong> breast of <strong>the</strong> vessel bright-shining jewels,<br />

H<strong>and</strong>some war-armor; heroes outshoved <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Warmen <strong>the</strong> wood-ship, on its wished-for adventure.<br />

<br />

Likest a bird, glided <strong>the</strong> waters,<br />

Till twenty <strong>and</strong> four hours <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

The twist-stemmed vessel had traveled such distance<br />

That <strong>the</strong> sailing-men saw <strong>the</strong> sloping embankments,<br />

<br />

Nesses enormous: <strong>the</strong>y were nearing <strong>the</strong> limits<br />

At <strong>the</strong> end of <strong>the</strong> ocean. Up <strong>the</strong>nce quickly<br />

The men of <strong>the</strong> Weders clomb <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> mainl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

<br />

War burnies clattered), <strong>the</strong> Wielder <strong>the</strong>y thanked<br />

That <strong>the</strong> ways o’er <strong>the</strong> waters had waxen so gentle.<br />

<br />

<br />

Brave ones bearing beauteous targets,<br />

Armor all ready, anxiously thought he,<br />

Musing <strong>and</strong> wondering what men were approaching.<br />

High on his horse <strong>the</strong>n Hrothgar’s retainer<br />

Turned him <strong>to</strong> coastward, mightily br<strong>and</strong>ished<br />

His lance in his h<strong>and</strong>s, questioned with boldness.<br />

“Who are ye men here, mail-covered warriors<br />

Clad in your corslets, come thus a-driving<br />

A high riding ship o’er <strong>the</strong> shoals of <strong>the</strong> waters,<br />

And hi<strong>the</strong>r ’neath helmets have hied o’er <strong>the</strong> ocean?<br />

I have been str<strong>and</strong>-guard, st<strong>and</strong>ing as warden,<br />

Lest enemies ever anywise ravage<br />

Danish dominions with army of war-ships.<br />

More boldly never have warriors ventured<br />

Hi<strong>the</strong>r <strong>to</strong> come; of kinsmen’s approval,<br />

Word-leave of warriors, I ween that ye surely<br />

Nothing have known. Never a greater one<br />

Of earls o’er <strong>the</strong> earth have I had a sight of<br />

Page | 21


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Than is one of your number, a hero in armor;<br />

No low-ranking fellow adorned with his weapons,<br />

But launching <strong>the</strong>m little, unless looks are deceiving,<br />

And striking appearance. Ere ye pass on your journey<br />

As treacherous spies <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings<br />

And far<strong>the</strong>r fare, I fully must know now<br />

What race ye belong <strong>to</strong>. Ye far-away dwellers,<br />

Sea-faring sailors, my simple opinion<br />

<br />

Plainly <strong>to</strong> tell me what place ye are come from.”<br />

Part V<br />

The chief of <strong>the</strong> strangers rendered him answer,<br />

War-troopers’ leader, <strong>and</strong> word-treasure opened:<br />

“We are sprung from <strong>the</strong> lineage of <strong>the</strong> people of Geatl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

And Higelac’s hearth-friends. To heroes unnumbered<br />

My fa<strong>the</strong>r was known, a noble head-warrior<br />

Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow titled; many a winter<br />

He lived with <strong>the</strong> people, ere he passed on his journey,<br />

Old from his dwelling; each of <strong>the</strong> counsellors<br />

Widely mid world-folk well remembers him.<br />

We, kindly of spirit, <strong>the</strong> lord of thy people,<br />

The son of King Healfdene, have come here <strong>to</strong> visit,<br />

Folk-troop’s defender: be free in thy counsels!<br />

To <strong>the</strong> noble one bear we a weighty commission,<br />

The helm of <strong>the</strong> Danemen; we shall hide, I ween,<br />

Naught of our message. Thou know’st if it happen,<br />

As we soothly heard say, that some savage despoiler,<br />

Some hidden pursuer, on nights that are murky<br />

By deeds very direful ’mid <strong>the</strong> Danemen exhibits<br />

Hatred unheard of, horrid destruction<br />

<br />

I am able <strong>to</strong> render counsel <strong>to</strong> Hrothgar,<br />

How he, wise <strong>and</strong> worthy, may worst <strong>the</strong> destroyer,<br />

If <strong>the</strong> anguish of sorrow should ever be lessened,<br />

Comfort come <strong>to</strong> him, <strong>and</strong> care-waves grow cooler,<br />

<br />

And troublous distress, while <strong>to</strong>wereth upward<br />

The h<strong>and</strong>somest of houses high on <strong>the</strong> summit.”<br />

Bestriding his stallion, <strong>the</strong> str<strong>and</strong>-watchman answered,<br />

<br />

’Twixt words <strong>and</strong> works, <strong>the</strong> warlike shield-bearer<br />

Page | 22


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Who judgeth wisely well shall determine.<br />

This b<strong>and</strong>, I hear, beareth no malice<br />

To <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings. Pass ye <strong>the</strong>n onward<br />

With weapons <strong>and</strong> armor. I shall lead you in person;<br />

To my war-trusty vassals comm<strong>and</strong> I shall issue<br />

To keep from all injury your excellent vessel,<br />

Your fresh-tarred craft, ’gainst every opposer<br />

Close by <strong>the</strong> sea-shore, till <strong>the</strong> curved-neckèd bark shall<br />

Waft back again <strong>the</strong> well-beloved hero<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> way of <strong>the</strong> water <strong>to</strong> Weder dominions.<br />

To warrior so great ’twill be granted sure<br />

In <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm of strife <strong>to</strong> st<strong>and</strong> secure.”<br />

<br />

The broad-bosomed bark was bound by its cable,<br />

Firmly at anchor); <strong>the</strong> boar-signs glistened<br />

Bright on <strong>the</strong> visors vivid with gilding,<br />

Blaze-hardened, brilliant; <strong>the</strong> boar acted warden.<br />

The heroes hastened, hurried <strong>the</strong> liegemen,<br />

Descended <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r, till <strong>the</strong>y saw <strong>the</strong> great palace,<br />

The well-fashioned wassail-hall wondrous <strong>and</strong> gleaming:<br />

’Mid world-folk <strong>and</strong> kindreds that was widest reputed<br />

Of halls under heaven which <strong>the</strong> hero abode in;<br />

Its lustre enlightened l<strong>and</strong>s without number.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> battle-brave hero showed <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> glittering<br />

Court of <strong>the</strong> bold ones, that <strong>the</strong>y easily thi<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Might fare on <strong>the</strong>ir journey; <strong>the</strong> aforementioned warrior<br />

Turning his courser, quoth as he left <strong>the</strong>m:<br />

“’Tis time I were faring; Fa<strong>the</strong>r Almighty<br />

Grant you His grace, <strong>and</strong> give you <strong>to</strong> journey<br />

Safe on your mission! To <strong>the</strong> sea I will get me<br />

’Gainst hostile warriors as warden <strong>to</strong> st<strong>and</strong>.”<br />

Part VI<br />

The highway glistened with many-hued pebble,<br />

A by-path led <strong>the</strong> liegemen <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Firm <strong>and</strong> h<strong>and</strong>-locked <strong>the</strong> war-burnie glistened,<br />

The ring-sword radiant rang ’mid <strong>the</strong> armor<br />

As <strong>the</strong> party was approaching <strong>the</strong> palace <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

In warlike equipments. ’Gainst <strong>the</strong> wall of <strong>the</strong> building<br />

Their wide-fashioned war-shields <strong>the</strong>y weary did set <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Battle-shields sturdy; benchward <strong>the</strong>y turned <strong>the</strong>n;<br />

Their battle-sarks rattled, <strong>the</strong> gear of <strong>the</strong> heroes;<br />

Page | 23


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The lances s<strong>to</strong>od up <strong>the</strong>n, all in a cluster,<br />

The arms of <strong>the</strong> seamen, ashen-shafts mounted<br />

With edges of iron: <strong>the</strong> armor-clad troopers<br />

Were decked with weapons. Then a proud-mooded hero<br />

Asked of <strong>the</strong> champions questions of lineage:<br />

“<strong>From</strong> what borders bear ye your battle-shields plated,<br />

Gilded <strong>and</strong> gleaming, your gray-colored burnies,<br />

Helmets with visors <strong>and</strong> heap of war-lances?—<br />

To Hrothgar <strong>the</strong> king I am servant <strong>and</strong> liegeman.<br />

’Mong folk from far-l<strong>and</strong>s found I have never<br />

Men so many of mien more courageous.<br />

I ween that from valor, nowise as outlaws,<br />

But from greatness of soul ye sought for King Hrothgar.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> strength-famous earlman answer rendered,<br />

The proud-mooded Wederchief replied <strong>to</strong> his question,<br />

Hardy ’neath helmet: “Higelac’s mates are we;<br />

Beowulf hight I. To <strong>the</strong> bairn of Healfdene,<br />

The famous folk-leader, I freely will tell<br />

To thy prince my commission, if pleasantly hearing<br />

He’ll grant we may greet him so gracious <strong>to</strong> all men.”<br />

<br />

His boldness of spirit was known un<strong>to</strong> many,<br />

His prowess <strong>and</strong> prudence): “The prince of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

The friend-lord of Danemen, I will ask of thy journey,<br />

The giver of rings, as thou urgest me do it,<br />

The folk-chief famous, <strong>and</strong> inform <strong>the</strong>e early<br />

What answer <strong>the</strong> good one mindeth <strong>to</strong> render me.”<br />

He turned <strong>the</strong>n hurriedly where Hrothgar was sitting,<br />

Old <strong>and</strong> hoary, his earlmen attending him;<br />

The strength-famous went till he s<strong>to</strong>od at <strong>the</strong> shoulder<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> Danemen, of courteous thanemen<br />

The cus<strong>to</strong>m he minded. Wulfgar addressed <strong>the</strong>n<br />

His friendly liegelord: “Folk of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> way of <strong>the</strong> waters are wafted hi<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Faring from far-l<strong>and</strong>s: <strong>the</strong> foremost in rank<br />

The battle-champions Beowulf title.<br />

They make this petition: with <strong>the</strong>e, O my chieftain,<br />

To be granted a conference; O gracious King Hrothgar,<br />

Friendly answer refuse not <strong>to</strong> give <strong>the</strong>m!<br />

In war-trappings weeded worthy <strong>the</strong>y seem<br />

Of earls <strong>to</strong> be honored; sure <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling is doughty<br />

Who headed <strong>the</strong> heroes hi<strong>the</strong>rward coming.”<br />

Page | 24


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part VII<br />

Hrothgar answered, helm of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings:<br />

“I remember this man as <strong>the</strong> merest of striplings.<br />

His fa<strong>the</strong>r long dead now was Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow titled,<br />

Him Hre<strong>the</strong>l <strong>the</strong> Geatman granted at home his<br />

One only daughter; his battle-brave son<br />

Is come but now, sought a trustworthy friend.<br />

Seafaring sailors asserted it <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Who valuable gift-gems of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen carried<br />

<br />

Has in his h<strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong> hero-in-battle.<br />

The holy Crea<strong>to</strong>r usward sent him,<br />

To West-Dane warriors, I ween, for <strong>to</strong> render<br />

’Gainst Grendel’s grimness gracious assistance:<br />

I shall give <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> good one gift-gems for courage.<br />

Hasten <strong>to</strong> bid <strong>the</strong>m hi<strong>the</strong>r <strong>to</strong> speed <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

To see assembled this circle of kinsmen;<br />

Tell <strong>the</strong>m expressly <strong>the</strong>y’re welcome in sooth <strong>to</strong><br />

The men of <strong>the</strong> Danes.” To <strong>the</strong> door of <strong>the</strong> building<br />

Wulfgar went <strong>the</strong>n, this word-message shouted:<br />

“My vic<strong>to</strong>rious liegelord bade me <strong>to</strong> tell you,<br />

The East-Danes’ a<strong>the</strong>ling, that your origin knows he,<br />

And o’er wave-billows wafted ye welcome are hi<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Valiant of spirit. Ye straightway may enter<br />

Clad in corslets, cased in your helmets,<br />

To see King Hrothgar. Here let your battle-boards,<br />

Wood-spears <strong>and</strong> war-shafts, await your conferring.”<br />

The mighty one rose <strong>the</strong>n, with many a liegeman,<br />

An excellent thane-group; some <strong>the</strong>re did await <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

And as bid of <strong>the</strong> brave one <strong>the</strong> battle-gear guarded.<br />

Toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y hied <strong>the</strong>m, while <strong>the</strong> hero did guide <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

’Neath Heorot’s roof; <strong>the</strong> high-minded went <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Sturdy ’neath helmet till he s<strong>to</strong>od in <strong>the</strong> building.<br />

<br />

His armor seamed over by <strong>the</strong> art of <strong>the</strong> craftsman):<br />

“Hail thou, Hrothgar! I am Higelac’s kinsman<br />

And vassal forsooth; many a wonder<br />

I dared as a stripling. The doings of Grendel,<br />

<br />

Sea-farers tell us, this hall-building st<strong>and</strong>eth,<br />

<br />

To all <strong>the</strong> earlmen after evenlight’s glimmer<br />

’Neath heaven’s bright hues hath hidden its glory.<br />

Page | 25


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

This my earls <strong>the</strong>n urged me, <strong>the</strong> most excellent of <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Carles very clever, <strong>to</strong> come <strong>and</strong> assist <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

Folk-leader Hrothgar; fully <strong>the</strong>y knew of<br />

The strength of my body. Themselves <strong>the</strong>y beheld me<br />

When I came from <strong>the</strong> contest, when covered with gore<br />

<br />

The giant-race wasted, in <strong>the</strong> waters destroying<br />

The nickers by night, bore numberless sorrows,<br />

<br />

Enemies ravaged; alone now with Grendel<br />

I shall manage <strong>the</strong> matter, with <strong>the</strong> monster of evil,<br />

The giant, decide it. Thee I would <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

Beg of thy bounty, Bright-Danish chieftain,<br />

Lord of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, this single petition:<br />

Not <strong>to</strong> refuse me, defender of warriors,<br />

Friend-lord of folks, so far have I sought <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

That I may unaided, my earlmen assisting me,<br />

This brave-mooded war-b<strong>and</strong>, purify Heorot.<br />

I have heard on inquiry, <strong>the</strong> horrible creature<br />

<strong>From</strong> veriest rashness recks not for weapons;<br />

I this do scorn <strong>the</strong>n, so be Higelac gracious,<br />

My liegelord belovèd, lenient of spirit,<br />

To bear a blade or a broad-fashioned target,<br />

A shield <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> onset; only with h<strong>and</strong>-grip<br />

<br />

Foeman with foeman; he fain must rely on<br />

The doom of <strong>the</strong> Lord whom death layeth hold of.<br />

I ween he will wish, if he win in <strong>the</strong> struggle,<br />

To eat in <strong>the</strong> war-hall earls of <strong>the</strong> Geat-folk,<br />

Boldly <strong>to</strong> swallow <strong>the</strong>m, as of yore he did often<br />

The best of <strong>the</strong> Hrethmen! Thou needest not trouble<br />

A head-watch <strong>to</strong> give me; he will have me dripping<br />

And dreary with gore, if death overtake me,<br />

<br />

The hermit will eat me, heedless of pity,<br />

Marking <strong>the</strong> moor-fens; no more wilt thou need <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Should I fall, send my armor <strong>to</strong> my lord, King Higelac.<br />

Find me my food. If I fall in <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

Send <strong>to</strong> Higelac <strong>the</strong> armor that serveth<br />

To shield my bosom, <strong>the</strong> best of equipments,<br />

Richest of ring-mails; ’tis <strong>the</strong> relic of Hrethla,<br />

The work of Wayl<strong>and</strong>. Goes Weird as she must go!”<br />

Page | 26


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part VIII<br />

Hrothgar discoursed, helm of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings:<br />

“To defend our folk <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> furnish assistance,<br />

Thou soughtest us hi<strong>the</strong>r, good friend Beowulf.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

For fear of a feud were forced <strong>to</strong> disown him.<br />

<br />

The race of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, o’er <strong>the</strong> roll of <strong>the</strong> waters;<br />

I had lately begun <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> govern <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

The hoard-seat of heroes held in my youth,<br />

Rich in its jewels: dead was Heregar,<br />

My kinsman <strong>and</strong> elder had earth-joys forsaken,<br />

Healfdene his bairn. He was better than I am!<br />

That feud <strong>the</strong>reafter for a fee I compounded;<br />

<br />

Ornaments old; oaths did he swear me.<br />

It pains me in spirit <strong>to</strong> any <strong>to</strong> tell it,<br />

What grief in Heorot Grendel hath caused me,<br />

What horror unlooked-for, by hatred unceasing.<br />

Waned is my war-b<strong>and</strong>, wasted my hall-troop;<br />

<br />

God can easily hinder <strong>the</strong> sca<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>From</strong> deeds so direful. Oft drunken with beer<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> ale-vessel promised warriors in armor<br />

They would willingly wait on <strong>the</strong> wassailing-benches<br />

A grapple with Grendel, with grimmest of edges.<br />

Then this mead-hall at morning with murder was reeking,<br />

The building was bloody at breaking of daylight,<br />

<br />

The folk-hall was gory: I had fewer retainers,<br />

Dear-beloved warriors, whom death had laid hold of.<br />

Sit at <strong>the</strong> feast now, thy intents un<strong>to</strong> heroes,<br />

Thy vic<strong>to</strong>r-fame show, as thy spirit doth urge <strong>the</strong>e!”<br />

For <strong>the</strong> men of <strong>the</strong> Geats <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r assembled,<br />

In <strong>the</strong> beer-hall bli<strong>the</strong>some a bench was made ready;<br />

There warlike in spirit <strong>the</strong>y went <strong>to</strong> be seated,<br />

Proud <strong>and</strong> exultant. A liegeman did service,<br />

Who a beaker embellished bore with decorum,<br />

And gleaming-drink poured. The gleeman sang whilom<br />

Hearty in Heorot; <strong>the</strong>re was heroes’ rejoicing,<br />

A numerous war-b<strong>and</strong> of Weders <strong>and</strong> Danemen.<br />

Page | 27


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part IX<br />

Unferth spoke up, Ecglaf his son,<br />

Who sat at <strong>the</strong> feet of <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

<br />

Sea-farer doughty, gave sorrow <strong>to</strong> Unferth<br />

And greatest chagrin, <strong>to</strong>o, for granted he never<br />

That any man else on earth should attain <strong>to</strong>,<br />

Gain under heaven, more glory than he):<br />

“Art thou that Beowulf with Breca did struggle,<br />

On <strong>the</strong> wide sea-currents at swimming contended,<br />

Where <strong>to</strong> humor your pride <strong>the</strong> ocean ye tried,<br />

<strong>From</strong> vainest vaunting adventured your bodies<br />

In care of <strong>the</strong> waters? And no one was able<br />

Nor lief nor loth one, in <strong>the</strong> least <strong>to</strong> dissuade you<br />

<br />

Where your arms outstretching <strong>the</strong> streams ye did cover,<br />

The mere-ways measured, mixing <strong>and</strong> stirring <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Glided <strong>the</strong> ocean; angry <strong>the</strong> waves were,<br />

With <strong>the</strong> weltering of winter. In <strong>the</strong> water’s possession,<br />

Ye <strong>to</strong>iled for a seven-night; he at swimming outdid <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

In strength excelled <strong>the</strong>e. Then early at morning<br />

On <strong>the</strong> Heathoremes’ shore <strong>the</strong> holm-currents <strong>to</strong>ssed him,<br />

Sought he <strong>the</strong>nceward <strong>the</strong> home of his fa<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

Beloved of his liegemen, <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Brondings,<br />

The peace-castle pleasant, where a people he wielded,<br />

Had borough <strong>and</strong> jewels. The pledge that he made <strong>the</strong>e<br />

The son of Beanstan hath soothly accomplished.<br />

<br />

Though ever triumphant in onset of battle,<br />

A grim grappling, if Grendel thou darest<br />

For <strong>the</strong> space of a night near-by <strong>to</strong> wait for!”<br />

<br />

“My good friend Unferth, sure freely <strong>and</strong> wildly,<br />

Thou fuddled with beer of Breca hast spoken,<br />

Hast <strong>to</strong>ld of his journey! A fact I allege it,<br />

That greater strength in <strong>the</strong> waters I had <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Ills in <strong>the</strong> ocean, than any man else had.<br />

We made agreement as <strong>the</strong> merest of striplings<br />

<br />

Younkers in years) that we yet would adventure<br />

Out on <strong>the</strong> ocean; it all we accomplished.<br />

<br />

Boldly we br<strong>and</strong>ished, our bodies expected<br />

Page | 28


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

To shield from <strong>the</strong> sharks. He sure was unable<br />

To swim on <strong>the</strong> waters fur<strong>the</strong>r than I could,<br />

More swift on <strong>the</strong> waves, nor would I from him go.<br />

Then we two companions stayed in <strong>the</strong> ocean<br />

Five nights <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r, till <strong>the</strong> currents did part us,<br />

The weltering waters, wea<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>the</strong> bleakest,<br />

And ne<strong>the</strong>rmost night, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> north-wind whistled<br />

Fierce in our faces; fell were <strong>the</strong> billows.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

My battle-sark braided, brilliantly gilded,<br />

Lay on my bosom. To <strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>m <strong>the</strong>n dragged me,<br />

<br />

Grim in his grapple: ’twas granted me, nathless,<br />

To pierce <strong>the</strong> monster with <strong>the</strong> point of my weapon,<br />

<br />

The mighty mere-creature by means of my h<strong>and</strong>-blow.<br />

Part X<br />

“So ill-meaning enemies often did cause me<br />

Sorrow <strong>the</strong> sorest. I served <strong>the</strong>m, in quittance,<br />

<br />

They missed <strong>the</strong> pleasure of feasting abundantly,<br />

Ill-doers evil, of eating my body,<br />

Of surrounding <strong>the</strong> banquet deep in <strong>the</strong> ocean;<br />

But wounded with edges early at morning<br />

They were stretched a-high on <strong>the</strong> str<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> ocean,<br />

Put <strong>to</strong> sleep with <strong>the</strong> sword, that sea-going travelers<br />

No longer <strong>the</strong>reafter were hindered from sailing<br />

The foam-dashing currents. Came a light from <strong>the</strong> east,<br />

God’s beautiful beacon; <strong>the</strong> billows subsided,<br />

That well I could see <strong>the</strong> nesses projecting,<br />

The blustering crags. Weird often saveth<br />

The undoomed hero if doughty his valor!<br />

But me did it fortune <strong>to</strong> fell with my weapon<br />

Nine of <strong>the</strong> nickers. Of night-struggle harder<br />

’Neath dome of <strong>the</strong> heaven heard I but rarely,<br />

Nor of wight more woful in <strong>the</strong> waves of <strong>the</strong> ocean;<br />

Yet I ’scaped with my life <strong>the</strong> grip of <strong>the</strong> monsters,<br />

Weary from travel. Then <strong>the</strong> waters bare me<br />

<br />

The weltering waves. Not a word hath been <strong>to</strong>ld me<br />

Page | 29


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Of deeds so daring done by <strong>the</strong>e, Unferth,<br />

And of sword-terror none; never hath Breca<br />

At <strong>the</strong> play of <strong>the</strong> battle, nor ei<strong>the</strong>r of you two,<br />

Feat so fearless performèd with weapons<br />

Glinting <strong>and</strong> gleaming . . . . . . . . . . . .<br />

. . . . . . . . . . . . I utter no boasting;<br />

Though with cold-blooded cruelty thou killedst thy bro<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

Thy nearest of kin; thou needs must in hell get<br />

Direful damnation, though doughty thy wisdom.<br />

<br />

Never had Grendel such numberless horrors,<br />

The direful demon, done <strong>to</strong> thy liegelord,<br />

Harrying in Heorot, if thy heart were as sturdy,<br />

Thy mood as ferocious as thou dost describe <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

<br />

The edge-battle eager, of all of your kindred,<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> Vic<strong>to</strong>ry-Scyldings, need little dismay him:<br />

Oaths he exacteth, not any he spares<br />

<br />

Killeth <strong>and</strong> feasteth, no contest expecteth<br />

<strong>From</strong> Spear-Danish people. But <strong>the</strong> prowess <strong>and</strong> valor<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> earls of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen early shall venture<br />

To give him a grapple. He shall go who is able<br />

Bravely <strong>to</strong> banquet, when <strong>the</strong> bright-light of morning<br />

Which <strong>the</strong> second day bringeth, <strong>the</strong> sun in its e<strong>the</strong>r-robes,<br />

O’er children of men shines from <strong>the</strong> southward!”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> gray-haired, war-famed giver of treasure<br />

Was bli<strong>the</strong>some <strong>and</strong> joyous, <strong>the</strong> Bright-Danish ruler<br />

Expected assistance; <strong>the</strong> people’s protec<strong>to</strong>r<br />

Heard from Beowulf his bold resolution.<br />

There was laughter of heroes; loud was <strong>the</strong> clatter,<br />

The words were winsome. Wealh<strong>the</strong>ow advanced <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Consort of Hrothgar, of courtesy mindful,<br />

Gold-decked saluted <strong>the</strong> men in <strong>the</strong> building,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> freeborn woman <strong>the</strong> beaker presented<br />

<br />

<br />

Lief <strong>to</strong> his liegemen; he lustily tasted<br />

Of banquet <strong>and</strong> beaker, battle-famed ruler.<br />

The Helmingish lady <strong>the</strong>n graciously circled<br />

’Mid all <strong>the</strong> liegemen lesser <strong>and</strong> greater:<br />

<br />

That <strong>the</strong> decorous-mooded, diademed folk-queen<br />

Page | 30


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Might bear <strong>to</strong> Beowulf <strong>the</strong> bumper o’errunning;<br />

She greeted <strong>the</strong> Geat-prince, God she did thank,<br />

Most wise in her words, that her wish was accomplished<br />

That in any of earlmen she ever should look for<br />

Solace in sorrow. He accepted <strong>the</strong> beaker,<br />

Battle-bold warrior, at Wealh<strong>the</strong>ow’s giving,<br />

Then equipped for combat quoth he in measures,<br />

<br />

“I purposed in spirit when I mounted <strong>the</strong> ocean,<br />

When I boarded my boat with a b<strong>and</strong> of my liegemen,<br />

I would work <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> fullest <strong>the</strong> will of your people<br />

Or in foe’s-clutches fastened fall in <strong>the</strong> battle.<br />

Deeds I shall do of daring <strong>and</strong> prowess,<br />

Or <strong>the</strong> last of my life-days live in this mead-hall.”<br />

These words <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> lady were welcome <strong>and</strong> pleasing,<br />

The boast of <strong>the</strong> Geatman; with gold trappings broidered<br />

Went <strong>the</strong> freeborn folk-queen her fond-lord <strong>to</strong> sit by.<br />

Then again as of yore was heard in <strong>the</strong> building<br />

Courtly discussion, conquerors’ shouting,<br />

Heroes were happy, till Healfdene’s son would<br />

Go <strong>to</strong> his slumber <strong>to</strong> seek for refreshing;<br />

For <strong>the</strong> horrid hell-monster in <strong>the</strong> hall-building knew he<br />

<br />

No longer could see, <strong>and</strong> lowering darkness<br />

O’er all had descended, <strong>and</strong> dark under heaven<br />

Shadowy shapes came shying around <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

The liegemen all rose <strong>the</strong>n. One saluted <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Hrothgar Beowulf, in rhythmical measures,<br />

Wishing him well, <strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong> wassail-hall giving<br />

To his care <strong>and</strong> keeping, quoth he departing:<br />

“Not <strong>to</strong> any one else have I ever entrusted,<br />

But <strong>the</strong>e <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>e only, <strong>the</strong> hall of <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

Since high I could heave my h<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> my buckler.<br />

Take thou in charge now <strong>the</strong> noblest of houses;<br />

Be mindful of honor, exhibiting prowess,<br />

Watch ’gainst <strong>the</strong> foeman! Thou shalt want no enjoyments,<br />

Survive thou safely adventure so glorious!”<br />

Part XI<br />

Then Hrothgar departed, his earl-throng attending him,<br />

Folk-lord of Scyldings, forth from <strong>the</strong> building;<br />

The war-chieftain wished <strong>the</strong>n Wealh<strong>the</strong>ow <strong>to</strong> look for,<br />

The queen for a bedmate. To keep away Grendel<br />

Page | 31


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The Glory of Kings had given a hall-watch,<br />

As men heard recounted: for <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> Danemen<br />

He did special service, gave <strong>the</strong> giant a watcher:<br />

And <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen implicitly trusted<br />

His warlike strength <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wielder’s protection.<br />

<br />

His helmet from his head, <strong>to</strong> his henchman committed<br />

His chased-h<strong>and</strong>led chain-sword, choicest of weapons,<br />

And bade him bide with his battle-equipments.<br />

<br />

Beowulf Geatman, ere his bed he upmounted:<br />

“I hold me no meaner in matters of prowess,<br />

In warlike achievements, than Grendel does himself;<br />

Hence I seek not with sword-edge <strong>to</strong> sooth him <strong>to</strong> slumber,<br />

Of life <strong>to</strong> bereave him, though well I am able.<br />

No battle-skill has he, that blows he should strike me,<br />

To shatter my shield, though sure he is mighty<br />

In strife <strong>and</strong> destruction; but struggling by night we<br />

Shall do without edges, dare he <strong>to</strong> look for<br />

Weaponless warfare, <strong>and</strong> wise-mooded Fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

The glory apportion, God ever-holy,<br />

On which h<strong>and</strong> soever <strong>to</strong> him seemeth proper.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> brave-mooded hero bent <strong>to</strong> his slumber,<br />

The pillow received <strong>the</strong> cheek of <strong>the</strong> noble;<br />

And many a martial mere-thane attending<br />

Sank <strong>to</strong> his slumber. Seemed it unlikely<br />

That ever <strong>the</strong>reafter any should hope <strong>to</strong><br />

Be happy at home, hero-friends visit<br />

Or <strong>the</strong> lordly troop-castle where he lived from his childhood;<br />

They had heard how slaughter had snatched from <strong>the</strong> wine-hall<br />

Had recently ravished, of <strong>the</strong> race of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings<br />

Too many by far. But <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m granted<br />

The weaving of war-speed, <strong>to</strong> Wederish heroes<br />

Aid <strong>and</strong> comfort, that every opponent<br />

By one man’s war-might <strong>the</strong>y worsted <strong>and</strong> vanquished,<br />

By <strong>the</strong> might of himself; <strong>the</strong> truth is established<br />

That God Almighty hath governed for ages<br />

Kindreds <strong>and</strong> nations. A night very lurid<br />

The trav’ler-at-twilight came tramping <strong>and</strong> striding.<br />

The warriors were sleeping who should watch <strong>the</strong> horned-building,<br />

One only excepted. ’Mid earthmen ’twas ’stablished,<br />

Th’ implacable foeman was powerless <strong>to</strong> hurl <strong>the</strong>m<br />

To <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> of shadows, if <strong>the</strong> Lord were unwilling;<br />

Page | 32


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

But serving as warder, in terror <strong>to</strong> foemen,<br />

He angrily bided <strong>the</strong> issue of battle.<br />

Part XII<br />

<br />

Grendel going, God’s anger bare he.<br />

The monster intended some one of earthmen<br />

In <strong>the</strong> hall-building gr<strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> entrap <strong>and</strong> make way with:<br />

He went under welkin where well he knew of<br />

The wine-joyous building, brilliant with plating,<br />

Gold-hall of earthmen. Not <strong>the</strong> earliest occasion<br />

He <strong>the</strong> home <strong>and</strong> manor of Hrothgar had sought:<br />

Ne’er found he in life-days later nor earlier<br />

Hardier hero, hall-thanes more sturdy!<br />

Then came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> building <strong>the</strong> warrior marching,<br />

Bereft of his joyance. The door quickly opened<br />

<br />

<br />

Open <strong>the</strong> entrance. Early <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

The foeman trod <strong>the</strong> shining hall-pavement,<br />

Strode he angrily; from <strong>the</strong> eyes of him glimmered<br />

<br />

He beheld in <strong>the</strong> hall <strong>the</strong> heroes in numbers,<br />

A circle of kinsmen sleeping <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

A throng of thanemen: <strong>the</strong>n his thoughts were exultant,<br />

He minded <strong>to</strong> sunder from each of <strong>the</strong> thanemen<br />

The life from his body, horrible demon,<br />

Ere morning came, since fate had allowed him<br />

The prospect of plenty. Providence willed not<br />

To permit him any more of men under heaven<br />

To eat in <strong>the</strong> night-time. Higelac’s kinsman<br />

Great sorrow endured how <strong>the</strong> dire-mooded creature<br />

In unlooked-for assaults were likely <strong>to</strong> bear him.<br />

No thought had <strong>the</strong> monster of deferring <strong>the</strong> matter,<br />

But on earliest occasion he quickly laid hold of<br />

A soldier asleep, suddenly <strong>to</strong>re him,<br />

Bit his bone-prison, <strong>the</strong> blood drank in currents,<br />

Swallowed in mouthfuls: he soon had <strong>the</strong> dead man’s<br />

Feet <strong>and</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s, <strong>to</strong>o, eaten entirely.<br />

Nearer he strode <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ut-hearted warrior<br />

Snatched as he slumbered, seizing with h<strong>and</strong>-grip,<br />

Forward <strong>the</strong> foeman foined with his h<strong>and</strong>;<br />

Caught he quickly <strong>the</strong> cunning deviser,<br />

Page | 33


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

On his elbow he rested. This early discovered<br />

The master of malice, that in middle-earth’s regions,<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> whole of <strong>the</strong> heavens, no h<strong>and</strong>-grapple greater<br />

In any man else had he ever encountered:<br />

Fearful in spirit, faint-mooded waxed he,<br />

<br />

<br />

His calling no more was <strong>the</strong> same he had followed<br />

Long in his lifetime. The liege-kinsman worthy<br />

Of Higelac minded his speech of <strong>the</strong> evening,<br />

S<strong>to</strong>od he up straight <strong>and</strong> s<strong>to</strong>utly did seize him.<br />

<br />

The earl stepped far<strong>the</strong>r. The famous one minded<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

The strength of his grapple in <strong>the</strong> grip of <strong>the</strong> foeman.<br />

’Twas an ill-taken journey that <strong>the</strong> injury-bringing,<br />

Harrying harmer <strong>to</strong> Heorot w<strong>and</strong>ered:<br />

The palace re-echoed; <strong>to</strong> all of <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

Dwellers in castles, <strong>to</strong> each of <strong>the</strong> bold ones,<br />

Earlmen, was terror. Angry <strong>the</strong>y both were,<br />

Archwarders raging. Rattled <strong>the</strong> building;<br />

’Twas a marvellous wonder that <strong>the</strong> wine-hall withs<strong>to</strong>od <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The bold-in-battle, bent not <strong>to</strong> earthward,<br />

Excellent earth-hall; but within <strong>and</strong> without it<br />

<br />

<br />

Bent mead-benches many, as men have informed me,<br />

Adorned with gold-work, where <strong>the</strong> grim ones did struggle.<br />

The Scylding wise men weened ne’er before<br />

That by might <strong>and</strong> main-strength a man under heaven<br />

Might break it in pieces, bone-decked, resplendent,<br />

<br />

In smoke should consume it. The sound mounted upward<br />

Novel enough; on <strong>the</strong> North Danes fastened<br />

A terror of anguish, on all of <strong>the</strong> men <strong>the</strong>re<br />

Who heard from <strong>the</strong> wall <strong>the</strong> weeping <strong>and</strong> plaining,<br />

The song of defeat from <strong>the</strong> foeman of heaven,<br />

Heard him hymns of horror howl, <strong>and</strong> his sorrow<br />

<br />

Who was strongest of main-strength of men of that era.<br />

Page | 34


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part XIII<br />

For no cause whatever would <strong>the</strong> earlmen’s defender<br />

Leave in life-joys <strong>the</strong> loathsome newcomer,<br />

He deemed his existence utterly useless<br />

To men under heaven. Many a noble<br />

Of Beowulf br<strong>and</strong>ished his battle-sword old,<br />

Would guard <strong>the</strong> life of his lord <strong>and</strong> protec<strong>to</strong>r,<br />

The far-famous chieftain, if able <strong>to</strong> do so;<br />

While waging <strong>the</strong> warfare, this wist <strong>the</strong>y but little,<br />

Brave battle-thanes, while his body intending<br />

To slit in<strong>to</strong> slivers, <strong>and</strong> seeking his spirit:<br />

<br />

Of all on <strong>the</strong> earth, nor any of war-bills<br />

Was willing <strong>to</strong> injure; but weapons of vic<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

Swords <strong>and</strong> suchlike he had sworn <strong>to</strong> dispense with.<br />

His death at that time must prove <strong>to</strong> be wretched,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> far-away spirit widely should journey<br />

In<strong>to</strong> enemies’ power. This plainly he saw <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Who with mirth of mood malice no little<br />

Had wrought in <strong>the</strong> past on <strong>the</strong> race of <strong>the</strong> earthmen<br />

<br />

But Higelac’s hardy henchman <strong>and</strong> kinsman<br />

Held him by <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>; hateful <strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<br />

The direful demon, damage incurable<br />

Was seen on his shoulder, his sinews were shivered,<br />

His body did burst. To Beowulf was given<br />

Glory in battle; Grendel from <strong>the</strong>nceward<br />

<br />

Sick un<strong>to</strong> death, his dwelling must look for<br />

Unwinsome <strong>and</strong> woful; he wist <strong>the</strong> more fully<br />

<br />

The end of his earthly existence was nearing,<br />

His life-days’ limits. At last for <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> slaughter was over, <strong>the</strong>ir wish was accomplished.<br />

The comer-from-far-l<strong>and</strong> had cleansed <strong>the</strong>n of evil,<br />

Wise <strong>and</strong> valiant, <strong>the</strong> war-hall of Hrothgar,<br />

Saved it from violence. He joyed in <strong>the</strong> night-work,<br />

In repute for prowess; <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen<br />

For <strong>the</strong> East-Danish people his boast had accomplished,<br />

Bettered <strong>the</strong>ir burdensome bale-sorrows fully,<br />

<br />

And were forced <strong>to</strong> endure from crushing oppression,<br />

Page | 35


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Their manifold misery. ’Twas a manifest <strong>to</strong>ken,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> hero-in-battle <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong> suspended,<br />

<br />

Of Grendel <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r) ’neath great-stretching hall-roof.<br />

Part XIV<br />

In <strong>the</strong> mist of <strong>the</strong> morning many a warrior<br />

S<strong>to</strong>od round <strong>the</strong> gift-hall, as <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry is <strong>to</strong>ld me:<br />

Folk-princes fared <strong>the</strong>n from far <strong>and</strong> from near<br />

Through long-stretching journeys <strong>to</strong> look at <strong>the</strong> wonder,<br />

The footprints of <strong>the</strong> foeman. Few of <strong>the</strong> warriors<br />

Who gazed on <strong>the</strong> foot-tracks of <strong>the</strong> inglorious creature<br />

His parting from life pained very deeply,<br />

<br />

In combats conquered he carried his traces,<br />

<br />

There in bloody billows bubbled <strong>the</strong> currents,<br />

The angry eddy was everywhere mingled<br />

And seething with gore, welling with sword-blood;<br />

He death-doomed had hid him, when reaved of his joyance<br />

<br />

His hea<strong>the</strong>nish spirit, where hell did receive him.<br />

Thence <strong>the</strong> friends from of old backward turned <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

And many a younker from merry adventure,<br />

Striding <strong>the</strong>ir stallions, s<strong>to</strong>ut from <strong>the</strong> seaward,<br />

Heroes on horses. There were heard very often<br />

Beowulf’s praises; many often asserted<br />

That nei<strong>the</strong>r south nor north, in <strong>the</strong> circuit of waters,<br />

O’er outstretching earth-plain, none o<strong>the</strong>r was better<br />

’Mid bearers of war-shields, more worthy <strong>to</strong> govern,<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> arch of <strong>the</strong> e<strong>the</strong>r. Not any, however,<br />

’Gainst <strong>the</strong> friend-lord muttered, mocking-words uttered<br />

<br />

Oft <strong>the</strong> famed ones permitted <strong>the</strong>ir fallow-skinned horses<br />

To run in rivalry, racing <strong>and</strong> chasing,<br />

<br />

Known for <strong>the</strong>ir excellence; oft a thane of <strong>the</strong> folk-lord,<br />

A man of celebrity, mindful of rhythms,<br />

Who ancient traditions treasured in memory,<br />

New word-groups found properly bound:<br />

The bard after ’gan <strong>the</strong>n Beowulf’s venture<br />

Wisely <strong>to</strong> tell of, <strong>and</strong> words that were clever<br />

To utter skilfully, earnestly speaking,<br />

Page | 36


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Everything <strong>to</strong>ld he that he heard as <strong>to</strong> Sigmund’s<br />

Mighty achievements, many things hidden,<br />

The strife of <strong>the</strong> Wælsing, <strong>the</strong> wide-going ventures<br />

The children of men knew of but little,<br />

The feud <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fury, but Fitela with him,<br />

When suchlike matters he minded <strong>to</strong> speak of,<br />

Uncle <strong>to</strong> nephew, as in every contention<br />

Each <strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r was ever devoted:<br />

A numerous host of <strong>the</strong> race of <strong>the</strong> sca<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

They had slain with <strong>the</strong> sword-edge. To Sigmund accrued <strong>the</strong>n<br />

No little of glory, when his life-days were over,<br />

Since he sturdy in struggle had destroyed <strong>the</strong> great dragon,<br />

The hoard-treasure’s keeper; ’neath <strong>the</strong> hoar-grayish s<strong>to</strong>ne he,<br />

The son of <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling, unaided adventured<br />

The perilous project; not present was Fitela,<br />

Yet <strong>the</strong> fortune befell him of forcing his weapon<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> marvellous dragon, that it s<strong>to</strong>od in <strong>the</strong> wall,<br />

Well-honored weapon; <strong>the</strong> worm was slaughtered.<br />

The great one had gained <strong>the</strong>n by his glorious achievement<br />

To reap from <strong>the</strong> ring-hoard richest enjoyment,<br />

As best it did please him: his vessel he loaded,<br />

Shining ornaments on <strong>the</strong> ship’s bosom carried,<br />

Kinsman of Wæls: <strong>the</strong> drake in heat melted.<br />

He was far<strong>the</strong>st famed of fugitive pilgrims,<br />

Mid wide-scattered world-folk, for works of great prowess,<br />

War-troopers’ shelter: hence waxed he in honor.4<br />

Afterward Heremod’s hero-strength failed him,<br />

His vigor <strong>and</strong> valor. ’Mid venomous haters<br />

To <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s of foemen he was foully delivered,<br />

<br />

Oppressed him <strong>to</strong>o long, <strong>to</strong> his people he became <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

To all <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>lings, an ever-great burden;<br />

And <strong>the</strong> daring one’s journey in days of yore<br />

Many wise men were wont <strong>to</strong> deplore,<br />

Such as hoped he would bring <strong>the</strong>m help in <strong>the</strong>ir sorrow,<br />

That <strong>the</strong> son of <strong>the</strong>ir ruler should rise in<strong>to</strong> power,<br />

Holding <strong>the</strong> headship held by his fa<strong>the</strong>rs,<br />

Should govern <strong>the</strong> people, <strong>the</strong> gold-hoard <strong>and</strong> borough,<br />

The kingdom of heroes, <strong>the</strong> realm of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings.<br />

He <strong>to</strong> all men became <strong>the</strong>n far more beloved,<br />

Higelac’s kinsman, <strong>to</strong> kindreds <strong>and</strong> races,<br />

To his friends much dearer; him malice assaulted.—<br />

Oft running <strong>and</strong> racing on roadsters <strong>the</strong>y measured<br />

Page | 37


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The dun-colored highways. Then <strong>the</strong> light of <strong>the</strong> morning<br />

Was hurried <strong>and</strong> hastened. Went henchmen in numbers<br />

To <strong>the</strong> beautiful building, bold ones in spirit,<br />

To look at <strong>the</strong> wonder; <strong>the</strong> liegelord himself <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<strong>From</strong> his wife-bower wending, warden of treasures,<br />

Glorious trod with troopers unnumbered,<br />

Famed for his virtues, <strong>and</strong> with him <strong>the</strong> queen-wife<br />

Measured <strong>the</strong> mead-ways, with maidens attending.<br />

Part XV<br />

<br />

He s<strong>to</strong>od by <strong>the</strong> pillar, saw <strong>the</strong> steep-rising hall-roof<br />

Gleaming with gold-gems, <strong>and</strong> Grendel his h<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>re):<br />

“For <strong>the</strong> sight we behold now, thanks <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wielder<br />

<br />

Snaring from Grendel: God can e’er ’complish<br />

Wonder on wonder, Wielder of Glory!<br />

But lately I reckoned ne’er under heaven<br />

Comfort <strong>to</strong> gain me for any of sorrows,<br />

While <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>somest of houses horrid with bloodstain<br />

<br />

Each of <strong>the</strong> wise ones who weened not that ever<br />

The folk-troop’s defences ’gainst foes <strong>the</strong>y should streng<strong>the</strong>n,<br />

’Gainst sprites <strong>and</strong> monsters. Through <strong>the</strong> might of <strong>the</strong> Wielder<br />

A doughty retainer hath a deed now accomplished<br />

Which erstwhile we all with our excellent wisdom<br />

<br />

What woman soever in all of <strong>the</strong> nations<br />

Gave birth <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> child, if yet she surviveth,<br />

That <strong>the</strong> long-ruling Lord was lavish <strong>to</strong> herward<br />

In <strong>the</strong> birth of <strong>the</strong> bairn. Now, Beowulf dear,<br />

Most excellent hero, I’ll love <strong>the</strong>e in spirit<br />

As bairn of my body; bear well henceforward<br />

The relationship new. No lack shall befall <strong>the</strong>e<br />

Of earth-joys any I ever can give <strong>the</strong>e.<br />

Full often for lesser service I’ve given<br />

Hero less hardy hoard-treasure precious,<br />

To a weaker in war-strife. By works of distinction<br />

<br />

Forever <strong>and</strong> ever. The All-Ruler quite <strong>the</strong>e<br />

With good from His h<strong>and</strong> as He hi<strong>the</strong>r<strong>to</strong> did <strong>the</strong>e!”<br />

<br />

“That labor of glory most gladly achieved we,<br />

Page | 38


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The combat accomplished, unquailing we ventured<br />

The enemy’s grapple; I would grant it much ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Thou wert able <strong>to</strong> look at <strong>the</strong> creature in person,<br />

Faint un<strong>to</strong> falling, <strong>the</strong> foe in his trappings!<br />

On murder-bed quickly I minded <strong>to</strong> bind him,<br />

<br />

Low he should lie in life-<strong>and</strong>-death struggle<br />

’Less his body escape; I was wholly unable,<br />

Since God did not will it, <strong>to</strong> keep him from going,<br />

<br />

Too swift was <strong>the</strong> foeman. Yet safety regarding<br />

<br />

His arm <strong>and</strong> shoulder, <strong>to</strong> act as watcher;<br />

No shadow of solace <strong>the</strong> woe-begone creature<br />

Found him <strong>the</strong>re nathless: <strong>the</strong> hated destroyer<br />

Liveth no longer, lashed for his evils,<br />

But sorrow hath seized him, in snare-meshes hath him<br />

Close in its clutches, keepeth him writhing<br />

In baleful bonds: <strong>the</strong>re banished for evil<br />

The man shall wait for <strong>the</strong> mighty tribunal,<br />

How <strong>the</strong> God of glory shall give him his earnings.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> soldier kept silent, son of old Ecglaf,<br />

<strong>From</strong> boasting <strong>and</strong> bragging of battle-achievements,<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> princes beheld <strong>the</strong>re <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong> that depended<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> lofty hall-timbers by <strong>the</strong> might of <strong>the</strong> nobleman,<br />

<br />

<br />

The hea<strong>the</strong>n one’s h<strong>and</strong>-spur, <strong>the</strong> hero-in-battle’s<br />

Claw most uncanny; quoth <strong>the</strong>y agreeing,<br />

That not any excellent edges of brave ones<br />

Was willing <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>uch him, <strong>the</strong> terrible creature’s<br />

Battle-h<strong>and</strong> bloody <strong>to</strong> bear away from him.<br />

Part XVI<br />

Then straight was ordered that Heorot inside<br />

With h<strong>and</strong>s be embellished: a host of <strong>the</strong>m ga<strong>the</strong>red,<br />

Of men <strong>and</strong> women, who <strong>the</strong> wassailing-building<br />

<br />

Webs on <strong>the</strong> walls <strong>the</strong>n, of wonders a many<br />

To each of <strong>the</strong> heroes that look on such objects.<br />

The beautiful building was broken <strong>to</strong> pieces<br />

Which all within with irons was fastened,<br />

<br />

Page | 39


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Whole <strong>and</strong> uninjured when <strong>the</strong> horrible creature<br />

<br />

Hopeless of living. ’Tis hard <strong>to</strong> avoid it<br />

<br />

The place awaiting, as Wyrd hath appointed,<br />

Soul-bearers, earth-dwellers, earls under heaven,<br />

Where bound on its bed his body shall slumber<br />

<br />

That <strong>the</strong> son of Healfdene went <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> building;<br />

The excellent a<strong>the</strong>ling would eat of <strong>the</strong> banquet.<br />

Ne’er heard I that people with hero-b<strong>and</strong> larger<br />

Bare <strong>the</strong>m better <strong>to</strong>w’rds <strong>the</strong>ir bracelet-bes<strong>to</strong>wer.<br />

The laden-with-glory s<strong>to</strong>oped <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> bench <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<br />

<br />

Doughty of spirit in <strong>the</strong> high-<strong>to</strong>w’ring palace,<br />

Hrothgar <strong>and</strong> Hrothulf. Heorot <strong>the</strong>n inside<br />

<br />

The Folk-Scyldings now nowise did practise.<br />

<br />

A golden st<strong>and</strong>ard, as reward for <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

A banner embossed, burnie <strong>and</strong> helmet;<br />

Many men saw <strong>the</strong>n a song-famous weapon<br />

Borne ’fore <strong>the</strong> hero. Beowulf drank of<br />

The cup in <strong>the</strong> building; that treasure-bes<strong>to</strong>wing<br />

He needed not blush for in battle-men’s presence.<br />

Ne’er heard I that many men on <strong>the</strong> ale-bench<br />

In friendlier fashion <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fellows presented<br />

Four bright jewels with gold-work embellished.<br />

’Round <strong>the</strong> roof of <strong>the</strong> helmet a head-guarder outside<br />

Braided with wires, with bosses was furnished,<br />

<br />

Boldly <strong>to</strong> harm him, when <strong>the</strong> hero proceeded<br />

Forth against foemen. The defender of earls <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Comm<strong>and</strong>ed that eight steeds with bridles<br />

Gold-plated, gleaming, be guided <strong>to</strong> hallward,<br />

Inside <strong>the</strong> building; on one of <strong>the</strong>m s<strong>to</strong>od <strong>the</strong>n<br />

An art-broidered saddle embellished with jewels;<br />

’Twas <strong>the</strong> sovereign’s seat, when <strong>the</strong> son of King Healfdene<br />

Was pleased <strong>to</strong> take part in <strong>the</strong> play of <strong>the</strong> edges;<br />

The famous one’s valor ne’er failed at <strong>the</strong> front when<br />

Slain ones were bowing. And <strong>to</strong> Beowulf granted<br />

The prince of <strong>the</strong> Ingwins, power over both,<br />

Page | 40


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

O’er war-steeds <strong>and</strong> weapons; bade him well <strong>to</strong> enjoy <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

In so manly a manner <strong>the</strong> mighty-famed chieftain,<br />

Hoard-ward of heroes, with horses <strong>and</strong> jewels<br />

War-s<strong>to</strong>rms requited, that none e’er condemneth<br />

Who willeth <strong>to</strong> tell truth with full justice.<br />

Part XVII<br />

And <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling of earlmen <strong>to</strong> each of <strong>the</strong> heroes<br />

Who <strong>the</strong> ways of <strong>the</strong> waters went with Beowulf,<br />

A costly gift-<strong>to</strong>ken gave on <strong>the</strong> mead-bench,<br />

<br />

The warrior killed by Grendel is <strong>to</strong> be paid for in gold.<br />

With gold should be paid for, whom Grendel had erstwhile<br />

Wickedly slaughtered, as he more of <strong>the</strong>m had done<br />

Had far-seeing God <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> mood of <strong>the</strong> hero<br />

The fate not averted: <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>n governed<br />

All of <strong>the</strong> earth-dwellers, as He ever is doing;<br />

<br />

<br />

Of lief <strong>and</strong> of loathsome who long in this present<br />

Useth <strong>the</strong> world in this woful existence.<br />

There was music <strong>and</strong> merriment mingling <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<br />

Measures recited, when <strong>the</strong> singer of Hrothgar<br />

On mead-bench should mention <strong>the</strong> merry hall-joyance<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> kinsmen of Finn, when onset surprised <strong>the</strong>m:<br />

“The Half-Danish hero, Hnæf of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

<br />

Sure Hildeburg needed not mention approving<br />

The faith of <strong>the</strong> Jutemen: though blameless entirely,<br />

When shields were shivered she was shorn of her darlings,<br />

Of bairns <strong>and</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs: <strong>the</strong>y bent <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir fate<br />

With war-spear wounded; woe was that woman.<br />

Not causeless lamented <strong>the</strong> daughter of Hoce<br />

The decree of <strong>the</strong> Wielder when morning-light came <strong>and</strong><br />

She was able ’neath heaven <strong>to</strong> behold <strong>the</strong> destruction<br />

Of bro<strong>the</strong>rs <strong>and</strong> bairns, where <strong>the</strong> brightest of earth-joys<br />

She had hi<strong>the</strong>r<strong>to</strong> had: all <strong>the</strong> henchmen of Finn<br />

<br />

<br />

To <strong>the</strong> onset of Hengest in <strong>the</strong> parley of battle,<br />

Nor <strong>the</strong> wretched remnant <strong>to</strong> rescue in war from<br />

<br />

Page | 41


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Compact between <strong>the</strong> Frisians <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Danes.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r great building <strong>to</strong> fully make ready,<br />

A hall <strong>and</strong> a high-seat, that half <strong>the</strong>y might rule with<br />

The sons of <strong>the</strong> Jutemen, <strong>and</strong> that Folcwalda’s son would<br />

Day after day <strong>the</strong> Danemen honor<br />

When gifts were giving, <strong>and</strong> grant of his ring-s<strong>to</strong>re<br />

To Hengest’s earl-troop ever so freely,<br />

Of his gold-plated jewels, as he encouraged <strong>the</strong> Frisians<br />

On <strong>the</strong> bench of <strong>the</strong> beer-hall. On both sides <strong>the</strong>y swore <strong>the</strong>n<br />

A fast-binding compact; Finn un<strong>to</strong> Hengest<br />

With no thought of revoking vowed <strong>the</strong>n most solemnly<br />

The woe-begone remnant well <strong>to</strong> take charge of,<br />

His Witan advising; <strong>the</strong> agreement should no one<br />

By words or works weaken <strong>and</strong> shatter,<br />

<br />

Though reaved of <strong>the</strong>ir ruler <strong>the</strong>ir ring-giver’s slayer<br />

They followed as vassals, Fate so requiring:<br />

Then if one of <strong>the</strong> Frisians <strong>the</strong> quarrel should speak of<br />

In <strong>to</strong>nes that were taunting, terrible edges<br />

Should cut in requital. Accomplished <strong>the</strong> oath was,<br />

And treasure of gold from <strong>the</strong> hoard was uplifted.<br />

The best of <strong>the</strong> Scylding braves was <strong>the</strong>n fully<br />

Prepared for <strong>the</strong> pile; at <strong>the</strong> pyre was seen clearly<br />

The blood-gory burnie, <strong>the</strong> boar with his gilding,<br />

The iron-hard swine, a<strong>the</strong>lings many<br />

Fatally wounded; no few had been slaughtered.<br />

Hildeburg bade <strong>the</strong>n, at <strong>the</strong> burning of Hnæf,<br />

<br />

That his body be burned <strong>and</strong> borne <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> pyre.<br />

The woe-stricken woman wept on his shoulder,<br />

In measures lamented; upmounted <strong>the</strong> hero.<br />

<br />

On <strong>the</strong> hill’s-front crackled; heads were a-melting,<br />

Wound-doors bursting, while <strong>the</strong> blood was a-coursing<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>From</strong> both of <strong>the</strong> peoples; <strong>the</strong>ir bravest were fallen.<br />

Part XVIII<br />

“Then <strong>the</strong> warriors departed <strong>to</strong> go <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir dwellings,<br />

Reaved of <strong>the</strong>ir friends, Friesl<strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> visit,<br />

Their homes <strong>and</strong> high-city. Hengest continued<br />

Biding with Finn <strong>the</strong> blood-tainted winter,<br />

Page | 42


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Wholly unsundered; of fa<strong>the</strong>rl<strong>and</strong> thought he<br />

Though unable <strong>to</strong> drive <strong>the</strong> ring-stemmèd vessel<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> ways of <strong>the</strong> waters; <strong>the</strong> wave-deeps were <strong>to</strong>ssing,<br />

Fought with <strong>the</strong> wind; winter in ice-bonds<br />

Closed up <strong>the</strong> currents, till <strong>the</strong>re came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> dwelling<br />

A year in its course, as yet it revolveth,<br />

If season propitious one alway regardeth,<br />

World-cheering wea<strong>the</strong>rs. Then winter was gone,<br />

Earth’s bosom was lovely; <strong>the</strong> exile would get him,<br />

The guest from <strong>the</strong> palace; on grewsomest vengeance<br />

He brooded more eager than on oversea journeys,<br />

Whe’r onset-of-anger he were able <strong>to</strong> ’complish,<br />

The bairns of <strong>the</strong> Jutemen <strong>the</strong>rein <strong>to</strong> remember.<br />

Nowise refused he <strong>the</strong> duties of liegeman<br />

<br />

Fairest of falchions, friendly did give him:<br />

Its edges were famous in folk-talk of Jutl<strong>and</strong>.<br />

And savage sword-fury seized in its clutches<br />

Bold-mooded Finn where he bode in his palace,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> grewsome grapple Guthlaf <strong>and</strong> Oslaf<br />

Had mournfully mentioned, <strong>the</strong> mere-journey over,<br />

<br />

Could not bide in his bosom. Then <strong>the</strong> building was covered<br />

With corpses of foemen, <strong>and</strong> Finn <strong>to</strong>o was slaughtered,<br />

The king with his comrades, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> queen made a prisoner.<br />

The troops of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings bore <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir vessels<br />

All that <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>-king had in his palace,<br />

Such trinkets <strong>and</strong> treasures <strong>the</strong>y <strong>to</strong>ok as, on searching,<br />

<br />

The excellent woman on oversea journey,<br />

Led her <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir l<strong>and</strong>-folk.” The lay was concluded,<br />

The gleeman’s recital. Shouts again rose <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

<br />

Wine from wonder-vats. Wealh<strong>the</strong>o advanced <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Going ’neath gold-crown, where <strong>the</strong> good ones were seated<br />

Uncle <strong>and</strong> nephew; <strong>the</strong>ir peace was yet mutual,<br />

True each <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r. And Unferth <strong>the</strong> spokesman<br />

Sat at <strong>the</strong> feet of <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings:<br />

Each trusted his spirit that his mood was courageous,<br />

<br />

Said <strong>the</strong> queen of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings: “My lord <strong>and</strong> protec<strong>to</strong>r,<br />

Treasure-bes<strong>to</strong>wer, take thou this beaker;<br />

Joyance attend <strong>the</strong>e, gold-friend of heroes,<br />

Page | 43


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

And greet thou <strong>the</strong> Geatmen with gracious responses!<br />

So ought one <strong>to</strong> do. Be kind <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Geatmen,<br />

In gifts not niggardly; anear <strong>and</strong> afar now<br />

Peace thou enjoyest. Report hath informed me<br />

Thou’lt have for a bairn <strong>the</strong> battle-brave hero.<br />

Now is Heorot cleansèd, ring-palace gleaming;<br />

Give while thou mayest many rewards,<br />

And bequeath <strong>to</strong> thy kinsmen kingdom <strong>and</strong> people,<br />

On wending thy way <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Wielder’s splendor.<br />

I know good Hrothulf, that <strong>the</strong> noble young troopers<br />

He’ll care for <strong>and</strong> honor, lord of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

If earth-joys thou endest earlier than he doth;<br />

I reckon that recompense he’ll render with kindness<br />

<br />

What favors of yore, when he yet was an infant,<br />

We awarded <strong>to</strong> him for his worship <strong>and</strong> pleasure.”<br />

Then she turned by <strong>the</strong> bench where her sons were carousing,<br />

<br />

The war-youth <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r; <strong>the</strong>re <strong>the</strong> good one was sitting<br />

’Twixt <strong>the</strong> bro<strong>the</strong>rs twain, Beowulf Geatman.<br />

Part XIX<br />

<br />

Graciously given, <strong>and</strong> gold that was twisted<br />

<br />

Rings <strong>and</strong> corslet, of collars <strong>the</strong> greatest<br />

I’ve heard of ’neath heaven. Of heroes not any<br />

More splendid from jewels have I heard ’neath <strong>the</strong> welkin,<br />

<br />

The bracteates <strong>and</strong> jewels, from <strong>the</strong> bright-shining city,<br />

<br />

Chose gain everlasting. Geatish Higelac,<br />

Gr<strong>and</strong>son of Swerting, last had this jewel<br />

When tramping ’neath banner <strong>the</strong> treasure he guarded,<br />

<br />

When for deeds of daring he endured tribulation,<br />

Hate from <strong>the</strong> Frisians; <strong>the</strong> ornaments bare he<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> cup of <strong>the</strong> currents, costly gem-treasures,<br />

Mighty folk-leader, he fell ’neath his target;<br />

The corpse of <strong>the</strong> king <strong>the</strong>n came in<strong>to</strong> charge of<br />

The race of <strong>the</strong> Frankmen, <strong>the</strong> mail-shirt <strong>and</strong> collar:<br />

Warmen less noble plundered <strong>the</strong> fallen,<br />

<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

The choicest of mead-halls with cheering resounded.<br />

Wealh<strong>the</strong>o discoursed, <strong>the</strong> war-troop addressed she:<br />

“This collar enjoy thou, Beowulf worthy,<br />

Young man, in safety, <strong>and</strong> use thou this armor,<br />

Gems of <strong>the</strong> people, <strong>and</strong> prosper thou fully,<br />

Show thyself sturdy <strong>and</strong> be <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>se liegemen<br />

Mild with instruction! I’ll mind thy requital.<br />

Thou hast brought it <strong>to</strong> pass that far <strong>and</strong> near<br />

Forever <strong>and</strong> ever earthmen shall honor <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

Even so widely as ocean surroundeth<br />

<br />

A wealth-blessèd a<strong>the</strong>ling. I wish <strong>the</strong>e most truly<br />

Jewels <strong>and</strong> treasure. Be kind <strong>to</strong> my son, thou<br />

Living in joyance! Here each of <strong>the</strong> nobles<br />

Is true un<strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r, gentle in spirit,<br />

Loyal <strong>to</strong> leader. The liegemen are peaceful,<br />

The war-troops ready: well-drunken heroes,<br />

Do as I bid ye.” Then she went <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> settle.<br />

There was choicest of banquets, wine drank <strong>the</strong> heroes:<br />

Weird <strong>the</strong>y knew not, destiny cruel,<br />

As <strong>to</strong> many an earlman early it happened,<br />

When evening had come <strong>and</strong> Hrothgar had parted<br />

<br />

Warriors unnumbered warded <strong>the</strong> building<br />

As erst <strong>the</strong>y did often: <strong>the</strong> ale-settle bared <strong>the</strong>y,<br />

’Twas covered all over with beds <strong>and</strong> pillows.<br />

Doomed un<strong>to</strong> death, down <strong>to</strong> his slumber<br />

Bowed <strong>the</strong>n a beer-thane. Their battle-shields placed <strong>the</strong>y,<br />

Bright-shining targets, up by <strong>the</strong>ir heads <strong>the</strong>n;<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling on ale-bench ’twas easy <strong>to</strong> see <strong>the</strong>re<br />

Battle-high helmet, burnie of ring-mail,<br />

And mighty war-spear. ’Twas <strong>the</strong> wont of that people<br />

To constantly keep <strong>the</strong>m equipped for <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

At home or marching—in ei<strong>the</strong>r condition—<br />

At seasons just such as necessity ordered<br />

As best for <strong>the</strong>ir ruler; that people was worthy.<br />

Part XX<br />

They sank <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> slumber. With sorrow one paid for<br />

His evening repose, as often betid <strong>the</strong>m<br />

While Grendel was holding <strong>the</strong> gold-bedecked palace,<br />

Ill-deeds performing, till his end over<strong>to</strong>ok him,<br />

Page | 45


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Death for his sins. ’Twas seen very clearly,<br />

Known un<strong>to</strong> earth-folk, that still an avenger<br />

Outlived <strong>the</strong> loa<strong>the</strong>d one, long since <strong>the</strong> sorrow<br />

Caused by <strong>the</strong> struggle; <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r of Grendel,<br />

Devil-shaped woman, her woe ever minded,<br />

Who was held <strong>to</strong> inhabit <strong>the</strong> horrible waters,<br />

<br />

Slayer-with-edges <strong>to</strong> his one only bro<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

The son of his sire; he set out <strong>the</strong>n banished,<br />

Marked as a murderer, man-joys avoiding,<br />

Lived in <strong>the</strong> desert. Thence demons unnumbered<br />

Fate-sent awoke; one of <strong>the</strong>m Grendel,<br />

Sword-cursèd, hateful, who at Heorot met with<br />

A man that was watching, waiting <strong>the</strong> struggle,<br />

Where a horrid one held him with h<strong>and</strong>-grapple sturdy;<br />

Nathless he minded <strong>the</strong> might of his body,<br />

The glorious gift God had allowed him,<br />

And folk-ruling Fa<strong>the</strong>r’s favor relied on,<br />

His help <strong>and</strong> His comfort: so he conquered <strong>the</strong> foeman,<br />

The hell-spirit humbled: he unhappy departed <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Reaved of his joyance, journeying <strong>to</strong> death-haunts,<br />

Foeman of man. His mo<strong>the</strong>r moreover<br />

Eager <strong>and</strong> gloomy was anxious <strong>to</strong> go on<br />

Her mournful mission, mindful of vengeance<br />

For <strong>the</strong> death of her son. She came <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> Heorot<br />

Where <strong>the</strong> Armor-Dane earlmen all through <strong>the</strong> building<br />

Were lying in slumber. Soon <strong>the</strong>re became <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Return <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> nobles, when <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r of Grendel<br />

Entered <strong>the</strong> folk-hall; <strong>the</strong> fear was less grievous<br />

By even so much as <strong>the</strong> vigor of maidens,<br />

War-strength of women, by warrior is reckoned,<br />

When well-carved weapon, worked with <strong>the</strong> hammer,<br />

Blade very bloody, brave with its edges,<br />

Strikes down <strong>the</strong> boar-sign that st<strong>and</strong>s on <strong>the</strong> helmet.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> hard-edgèd weapon was heaved in <strong>the</strong> building,<br />

The br<strong>and</strong> o’er <strong>the</strong> benches, broad-lindens many<br />

H<strong>and</strong>-fast were lifted; for helmet he recked not,<br />

For armor-net broad, whom terror laid hold of.<br />

She went <strong>the</strong>n hastily, outward would get her<br />

Her life for <strong>to</strong> save, when some one did spy her;<br />

Soon she had grappled one of <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>lings<br />

<br />

That one <strong>to</strong> Hrothgar was liefest of heroes<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

In rank of retainer where waters encircle,<br />

A mighty shield-warrior, whom she murdered at slumber,<br />

A broadly-famed battle-knight. Beowulf was absent,<br />

But ano<strong>the</strong>r apartment was erstwhile devoted<br />

To <strong>the</strong> glory-decked Geatman when gold was distributed.<br />

There was hubbub in Heorot. The h<strong>and</strong> that was famous<br />

She grasped in its gore; grief was renewed <strong>the</strong>n<br />

In homes <strong>and</strong> houses: ’twas no happy arrangement<br />

In both of <strong>the</strong> quarters <strong>to</strong> barter <strong>and</strong> purchase<br />

With lives of <strong>the</strong>ir friends. Then <strong>the</strong> well-agèd ruler,<br />

The gray-headed war-thane, was woful in spirit,<br />

When his long-trusted liegeman lifeless he knew of,<br />

His dearest one gone. Quick from a room was<br />

Beowulf brought, brave <strong>and</strong> triumphant.<br />

As day was dawning in <strong>the</strong> dusk of <strong>the</strong> morning,<br />

Went <strong>the</strong>n that earlman, champion noble,<br />

Came with comrades, where <strong>the</strong> clever one bided<br />

Whe<strong>the</strong>r God all gracious would grant him a respite<br />

<br />

With a troop of retainers trod <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> pavement<br />

<br />

The earl of <strong>the</strong> Ingwins; asked if <strong>the</strong> night had<br />

Fully refreshed him, as fain he would have it.<br />

Part XXI<br />

Hrothgar rejoined, helm of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings:<br />

“Ask not of joyance! Grief is renewed <strong>to</strong><br />

The folk of <strong>the</strong> Danemen. Dead is Æschere,<br />

Yrmenlaf’s bro<strong>the</strong>r, older than he,<br />

My true-hearted counsellor, trusty adviser,<br />

<br />

Our heads we protected, when troopers were clashing,<br />

And heroes were dashing; such an earl should be ever,<br />

An erst-worthy a<strong>the</strong>ling, as Æschere proved him.<br />

<br />

His h<strong>and</strong>-<strong>to</strong>-h<strong>and</strong> murderer; I can not tell whi<strong>the</strong>r<br />

The cruel one turned in <strong>the</strong> carcass exulting,<br />

By cramming discovered. The quarrel she wreaked <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

That last night igone Grendel thou killedst<br />

In grewsomest manner, with grim-holding clutches,<br />

Since <strong>to</strong>o long he had lessened my liege-troop <strong>and</strong> wasted<br />

My folk-men so foully. He fell in <strong>the</strong> battle<br />

With forfeit of life, <strong>and</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r has followed,<br />

Page | 47


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

A mighty crime-worker, her kinsman avenging,<br />

And henceforth hath ‘stablished her hatred unyielding,<br />

As it well may appear <strong>to</strong> many a liegeman,<br />

Who mourneth in spirit <strong>the</strong> treasure-bes<strong>to</strong>wer,<br />

Her heavy heart-sorrow; <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong> is now lifeless<br />

Which availed you in every wish that you cherished.<br />

L<strong>and</strong>-people heard I, liegemen, this saying,<br />

Dwellers in halls, <strong>the</strong>y had seen very often<br />

A pair of such mighty march-striding creatures,<br />

Far-dwelling spirits, holding <strong>the</strong> moorl<strong>and</strong>s:<br />

One of <strong>the</strong>m wore, as well <strong>the</strong>y might notice,<br />

The image of woman, <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r one wretched<br />

In guise of a man w<strong>and</strong>ered in exile,<br />

Except he was huger than any of earthmen;<br />

Earth-dwelling people entitled him Grendel<br />

In days of yore: <strong>the</strong>y know not <strong>the</strong>ir fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Whe’r ill-going spirits any were borne him<br />

Ever before. They guard <strong>the</strong> wolf-coverts,<br />

L<strong>and</strong>s inaccessible, wind-beaten nesses,<br />

<br />

’Neath mists of <strong>the</strong> nesses ne<strong>the</strong>rward rattles,<br />

The stream under earth: not far is it henceward<br />

Measured by mile-lengths that <strong>the</strong> mere-water st<strong>and</strong>eth,<br />

Which forests hang over, with frost-whiting covered,<br />

<br />

There ever at night one an ill-meaning portent<br />

<br />

None liveth so wise that wot of <strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>m;<br />

Though harassed by hounds <strong>the</strong> heath-stepper seek for,<br />

<br />

Spurred from afar, his spirit he yieldeth,<br />

His life on <strong>the</strong> shore, ere in he will venture<br />

To cover his head. Uncanny <strong>the</strong> place is:<br />

Thence upward ascendeth <strong>the</strong> surging of waters,<br />

Wan <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> welkin, when <strong>the</strong> wind is stirring<br />

The wea<strong>the</strong>rs unpleasing, till <strong>the</strong> air groweth gloomy,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> heavens lower. Now is help <strong>to</strong> be gotten<br />

<strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong>e <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>e only! The abode thou know’st not,<br />

The dangerous place where thou’rt able <strong>to</strong> meet with<br />

The sin-laden hero: seek if thou darest!<br />

For <strong>the</strong> feud I will fully fee <strong>the</strong>e with money,<br />

With old-time treasure, as erstwhile I did <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

With well-twisted jewels, if away thou shalt get <strong>the</strong>e.”<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part XXII<br />

Beowulf answered, Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s son:<br />

“Grieve not, O wise one! for each it is better,<br />

His friend <strong>to</strong> avenge than with vehemence wail him;<br />

Each of us must <strong>the</strong> end-day abide of<br />

His earthly existence; who is able accomplish<br />

Glory ere death! To battle-thane noble<br />

<br />

Arise, O king, quick let us hasten<br />

To look at <strong>the</strong> footprint of <strong>the</strong> kinsman of Grendel!<br />

I promise <strong>the</strong>e this now: <strong>to</strong> his place he’ll escape not,<br />

To embrace of <strong>the</strong> earth, nor <strong>to</strong> mountainous forest,<br />

Nor <strong>to</strong> depths of <strong>the</strong> ocean, wherever he w<strong>and</strong>ers.<br />

Practice thou now patient endurance<br />

Of each of thy sorrows, as I hope for <strong>the</strong>e soothly!”<br />

Then up sprang <strong>the</strong> old one, <strong>the</strong> All-Wielder thanked he,<br />

Ruler Almighty, that <strong>the</strong> man had outspoken.<br />

Then for Hrothgar a war-horse was decked with a bridle,<br />

Curly-maned courser. The clever folk-leader<br />

Stately proceeded: stepped <strong>the</strong>n an earl-troop<br />

Of linden-wood bearers. Her footprints were seen <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Widely in wood-paths, her way o’er <strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>ms,<br />

Where she faraway fared o’er fen-country murky,<br />

Bore away breathless <strong>the</strong> best of retainers<br />

Who pondered with Hrothgar <strong>the</strong> welfare of country.<br />

The son of <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>lings <strong>the</strong>n went o’er <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ny,<br />

<br />

Narrow passages, paths unfrequented,<br />

Nesses abrupt, nicker-haunts many;<br />

One of a few of wise-mooded heroes,<br />

He onward advanced <strong>to</strong> view <strong>the</strong> surroundings,<br />

Till he found unawares woods of <strong>the</strong> mountain<br />

O’er hoar-s<strong>to</strong>nes hanging, holt-wood unjoyful;<br />

The water s<strong>to</strong>od under, welling <strong>and</strong> gory.<br />

’Twas irksome in spirit <strong>to</strong> all of <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

Friends of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, <strong>to</strong> many a liegeman<br />

<br />

To each of <strong>the</strong> earlmen, when <strong>to</strong> Æschere’s head <strong>the</strong>y<br />

<br />

<br />

The horn anon sang <strong>the</strong> battle-song ready.<br />

The troop were all seated; <strong>the</strong>y saw ’long <strong>the</strong> water <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Many a serpent, mere-dragons wondrous<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Trying <strong>the</strong> waters, nickers a-lying<br />

<br />

Go on <strong>the</strong> sea-deeps <strong>the</strong>ir sorrowful journey,<br />

Wild-beasts <strong>and</strong> wormkind; away <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y hastened<br />

ot-mooded, hateful, <strong>the</strong>y heard <strong>the</strong> great clamor,<br />

The war-trumpet winding. One did <strong>the</strong> Geat-prince<br />

Sunder from earth-joys, with arrow from bowstring,<br />

<strong>From</strong> his sea-struggle <strong>to</strong>re him, that <strong>the</strong> trusty war-missile<br />

Pierced <strong>to</strong> his vitals; he proved in <strong>the</strong> currents<br />

<br />

Soon in <strong>the</strong> waters <strong>the</strong> wonderful swimmer<br />

Was straitened most sorely with sword-pointed boar-spears,<br />

<br />

The liegemen <strong>the</strong>n looked on <strong>the</strong> loath-fashioned stranger.<br />

Beowulf donned <strong>the</strong>n his battle-equipments,<br />

Cared little for life; inlaid <strong>and</strong> most ample,<br />

The h<strong>and</strong>-woven corslet which could cover his body,<br />

Must <strong>the</strong> wave-deeps explore, that war might be powerless<br />

To harm <strong>the</strong> great hero, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> hating one’s grasp might<br />

Not peril his safety; his head was protected<br />

<br />

Trying <strong>the</strong> eddies, treasure-emblazoned,<br />

Encircled with jewels, as in seasons long past<br />

The weapon-smith worked it, wondrously made it,<br />

With swine-bodies fashioned it, that <strong>the</strong>nceforward no longer<br />

Br<strong>and</strong> might bite it, <strong>and</strong> battle-sword hurt it.<br />

And that was not least of helpers in prowess<br />

That Hrothgar’s spokesman had lent him when straitened;<br />

And <strong>the</strong> hilted h<strong>and</strong>-sword was Hrunting entitled,<br />

Old <strong>and</strong> most excellent ’mong all of <strong>the</strong> treasures;<br />

Its blade was of iron, blotted with poison,<br />

Hardened with gore; it failed not in battle<br />

Any hero under heaven in h<strong>and</strong> who it br<strong>and</strong>ished,<br />

Who ventured <strong>to</strong> take <strong>the</strong> terrible journeys,<br />

<br />

That deeds of daring ’twas destined <strong>to</strong> ’complish.<br />

Ecglaf’s kinsman minded not soothly,<br />

Exulting in strength, what erst he had spoken<br />

Drunken with wine, when <strong>the</strong> weapon he lent <strong>to</strong><br />

A sword-hero bolder; himself did not venture<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> strife of <strong>the</strong> currents his life <strong>to</strong> endanger,<br />

To fame-deeds perform; <strong>the</strong>re he forfeited glory,<br />

Page | 50


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Repute for his strength. Not so with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

When he clad in his corslet had equipped him for battle.<br />

Part XXIII<br />

Beowulf spake, Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s son:<br />

“Recall now, oh, famous kinsman of Healfdene,<br />

Prince very prudent, now <strong>to</strong> part I am ready,<br />

Gold-friend of earlmen, what erst we agreed on,<br />

Should I lay down my life in lending <strong>the</strong>e assistance,<br />

When my earth-joys were over, thou wouldst evermore serve me<br />

In stead of a fa<strong>the</strong>r; my faithful thanemen,<br />

My trusty retainers, protect thou <strong>and</strong> care for,<br />

Fall I in battle: <strong>and</strong>, Hrothgar belovèd,<br />

Send un<strong>to</strong> Higelac <strong>the</strong> high-valued jewels<br />

Thou <strong>to</strong> me hast allotted. The lord of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen<br />

May perceive from <strong>the</strong> gold, <strong>the</strong> Hrethling may see it<br />

When he looks on <strong>the</strong> jewels, that a gem-giver found I<br />

Good over-measure, enjoyed him while able.<br />

And <strong>the</strong> ancient heirloom Unferth permit thou,<br />

The famed one <strong>to</strong> have, <strong>the</strong> heavy-sword splendid<br />

The hard-edgèd weapon; with Hrunting <strong>to</strong> aid me,<br />

I shall gain me glory, or grim-death shall take me.”<br />

The a<strong>the</strong>ling of Geatmen uttered <strong>the</strong>se words <strong>and</strong><br />

Heroic did hasten, not any rejoinder<br />

Was willing <strong>to</strong> wait for; <strong>the</strong> wave-current swallowed<br />

The doughty-in-battle. Then a day’s-length elapsed ere<br />

He was able <strong>to</strong> see <strong>the</strong> sea at its bot<strong>to</strong>m.<br />

<br />

The course of <strong>the</strong> currents kept in her fury,<br />

Grisly <strong>and</strong> greedy, that <strong>the</strong> grim one’s dominion<br />

Some one of men from above was exploring.<br />

Forth did she grab <strong>the</strong>m, grappled <strong>the</strong> warrior<br />

With horrible clutches; yet no sooner she injured<br />

His body unscathèd: <strong>the</strong> burnie out-guarded,<br />

That she proved but powerless <strong>to</strong> pierce through <strong>the</strong> armor,<br />

<br />

The sea-wolf bare <strong>the</strong>n, when bot<strong>to</strong>mward came she,<br />

The ring-prince homeward, that he after was powerless<br />

<br />

But many a mere-beast <strong>to</strong>rmented him swimming,<br />

<br />

Break through his burnie, <strong>the</strong> brave one pursued <strong>the</strong>y.<br />

The earl <strong>the</strong>n discovered he was down in some cavern<br />

Page | 51


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Where no water whatever anywise harmed him,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> clutch of <strong>the</strong> current could come not anear him,<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> roofed-hall prevented; brightness a-gleaming<br />

<br />

The good one saw <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> sea-bot<strong>to</strong>m’s monster,<br />

The mighty mere-woman; he made a great onset<br />

With weapon-of-battle, his h<strong>and</strong> not desisted<br />

<strong>From</strong> striking, that war-blade struck on her head <strong>the</strong>n<br />

A battle-song greedy. The stranger perceived <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The sword would not bite, her life would not injure,<br />

But <strong>the</strong> falchion failed <strong>the</strong> folk-prince when straitened:<br />

Erst had it often onsets encountered,<br />

Oft cloven <strong>the</strong> helmet, <strong>the</strong> fated one’s armor:<br />

<br />

Had failed of its fame. Firm-mooded after,<br />

Not heedless of valor, but mindful of glory,<br />

Was Higelac’s kinsman; <strong>the</strong> hero-chief angry<br />

Cast <strong>the</strong>n his carved-sword covered with jewels<br />

That it lay on <strong>the</strong> earth, hard <strong>and</strong> steel-pointed;<br />

He hoped in his strength, his h<strong>and</strong>-grapple sturdy.<br />

So any must act whenever he thinketh<br />

To gain him in battle glory unending,<br />

And is reckless of living. The lord of <strong>the</strong> War-Geats<br />

<br />

The mo<strong>the</strong>r of Grendel; <strong>the</strong>n mighty in struggle<br />

Swung he his enemy, since his anger was kindled,<br />

<br />

She gave him requital early <strong>the</strong>reafter,<br />

And stretched out <strong>to</strong> grab him; <strong>the</strong> strongest of warriors<br />

Faint-mooded stumbled, till he fell in his traces,<br />

Foot-going champion. Then she sat on <strong>the</strong> hall-guest<br />

<br />

For her son would take vengeance, her one only bairn.<br />

His breast-armor woven bode on his shoulder;<br />

It guarded his life, <strong>the</strong> entrance defended<br />

’Gainst sword-point <strong>and</strong> edges. Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s son <strong>the</strong>re<br />

Had fatally journeyed, champion of Geatmen,<br />

In <strong>the</strong> arms of <strong>the</strong> ocean, had <strong>the</strong> armor not given,<br />

Close-woven corslet, comfort <strong>and</strong> succor,<br />

And had God most holy not awarded <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

All-knowing Lord; easily did heaven’s<br />

Ruler most righteous arrange it with justice;<br />

Uprose he erect ready for battle.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part XXIV<br />

Then he saw mid <strong>the</strong> war-gems a weapon of vic<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

An ancient giant-sword, of edges a-doughty,<br />

Glory of warriors: of weapons ’twas choicest,<br />

Only ’twas larger than any man else was<br />

Able <strong>to</strong> bear <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> battle-encounter,<br />

The good <strong>and</strong> splendid work of <strong>the</strong> giants.<br />

He grasped <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> sword-hilt, knight of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

Bold <strong>and</strong> battle-grim, br<strong>and</strong>ished his ring-sword,<br />

Hopeless of living, hotly he smote her,<br />

<br />

Broke through her bone-joints, <strong>the</strong> bill fully pierced her<br />

Fate-cursèd body, she fell <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> ground <strong>the</strong>n:<br />

The h<strong>and</strong>-sword was bloody, <strong>the</strong> hero exulted.<br />

The br<strong>and</strong> was brilliant, brightly it glimmered,<br />

Just as from heaven gemlike shineth<br />

<br />

And turned by <strong>the</strong> wall <strong>the</strong>n, Higelac’s vassal<br />

Raging <strong>and</strong> wrathful raised his battle-sword<br />

Strong by <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>le. The edge was not useless<br />

To <strong>the</strong> hero-in-battle, but he speedily wished <strong>to</strong><br />

Give Grendel requital for <strong>the</strong> many assaults he<br />

Had worked on <strong>the</strong> West-Danes not once, but often,<br />

When he slew in slumber <strong>the</strong> subjects of Hrothgar,<br />

<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> folk of <strong>the</strong> Danemen, <strong>and</strong> fully as many<br />

Carried away, a horrible prey.<br />

He gave him requital, grim-raging champion,<br />

<br />

Grendel lying, of life-joys bereavèd,<br />

As <strong>the</strong> battle at Heorot erstwhile had sca<strong>the</strong>d him;<br />

<br />

Death having seized him, sword-smiting heavy,<br />

<br />

The clever carles who as comrades of Hrothgar<br />

Gazed on <strong>the</strong> sea-deeps, that <strong>the</strong> surging wave-currents<br />

<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> good one <strong>the</strong> gray-haired <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r held converse,<br />

The hoary of head, that <strong>the</strong>y hoped not <strong>to</strong> see again<br />

The a<strong>the</strong>ling ever, that exulting in vic<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

He’d return <strong>the</strong>re <strong>to</strong> visit <strong>the</strong> distinguished folk-ruler:<br />

Then many concluded <strong>the</strong> mere-wolf had killed him.<br />

The ninth hour came <strong>the</strong>n. <strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> ness-edge departed<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The bold-mooded Scyldings; <strong>the</strong> gold-friend of heroes<br />

Homeward be<strong>to</strong>ok him. The strangers sat down <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Soul-sick, sorrowful, <strong>the</strong> sea-waves regarding:<br />

They wished <strong>and</strong> yet weened not <strong>the</strong>ir well-loved friend-lord<br />

To see any more. The sword-blade began <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

The blood having <strong>to</strong>uched it, contracting <strong>and</strong> shriveling<br />

With battle-icicles; ’twas a wonderful marvel<br />

That it melted entirely, likest <strong>to</strong> ice when<br />

The Fa<strong>the</strong>r unbindeth <strong>the</strong> bond of <strong>the</strong> frost <strong>and</strong><br />

Unwindeth <strong>the</strong> wave-b<strong>and</strong>s, He who wieldeth dominion<br />

<br />

Nor <strong>to</strong>ok he of jewels more in <strong>the</strong> dwelling,<br />

Lord of <strong>the</strong> Weders, though <strong>the</strong>y lay all around him,<br />

Than <strong>the</strong> head <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>le h<strong>and</strong>some with jewels;<br />

The br<strong>and</strong> early melted, burnt was <strong>the</strong> weapon:<br />

So hot was <strong>the</strong> blood, <strong>the</strong> strange-spirit poisonous<br />

<br />

Who had bided in combat <strong>the</strong> carnage of haters,<br />

Went up through <strong>the</strong> ocean; <strong>the</strong> eddies were cleansèd,<br />

The spacious expanses, when <strong>the</strong> spirit from farl<strong>and</strong><br />

His life put aside <strong>and</strong> this short-lived existence.<br />

The seamen’s defender came swimming <strong>to</strong> l<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Doughty of spirit, rejoiced in his sea-gift,<br />

The bulky burden which he bore in his keeping.<br />

The excellent vassals advanced <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> meet him,<br />

To God <strong>the</strong>y were grateful, were glad in <strong>the</strong>ir chieftain,<br />

That <strong>to</strong> see him safe <strong>and</strong> sound was granted <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

<strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> high-minded hero, <strong>the</strong>n, helmet <strong>and</strong> burnie<br />

Were speedily loosened: <strong>the</strong> ocean was putrid,<br />

The water ’neath welkin weltered with gore.<br />

Forth did <strong>the</strong>y fare, <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong>ir footsteps retracing,<br />

Merry <strong>and</strong> mirthful, measured <strong>the</strong> earth-way,<br />

The highway familiar: men very daring<br />

<br />

Each of <strong>the</strong> earlmen, excellent-valiant.<br />

Four of <strong>the</strong>m had <strong>to</strong> carry with labor<br />

The head of Grendel <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> high <strong>to</strong>wering gold-hall<br />

Upstuck on <strong>the</strong> spear, till fourteen most-valiant<br />

And battle-brave Geatmen came <strong>the</strong>re going<br />

Straight <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> palace: <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> people<br />

Measured <strong>the</strong> mead-ways, <strong>the</strong>ir mood-brave companion.<br />

The a<strong>the</strong>ling of earlmen entered <strong>the</strong> building,<br />

Deed-valiant man, adorned with distinction,<br />

Page | 54


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Doughty shield-warrior, <strong>to</strong> address King Hrothgar:<br />

Then hung by <strong>the</strong> hair, <strong>the</strong> head of Grendel<br />

Was borne <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> building, where beer-thanes were drinking,<br />

Loth before earlmen <strong>and</strong> eke ’fore <strong>the</strong> lady:<br />

The warriors beheld <strong>the</strong>n a wonderful sight.<br />

Part XXV<br />

<br />

“Lo! we bli<strong>the</strong>ly have brought <strong>the</strong>e, bairn of Healfdene,<br />

Prince of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, <strong>the</strong>se presents from ocean<br />

Which thine eye looketh on, for an emblem of glory.<br />

<br />

In war ’neath <strong>the</strong> water <strong>the</strong> work with great pains I<br />

<br />

Had God not defended me. I failed in <strong>the</strong> battle<br />

Aught <strong>to</strong> accomplish, aided by Hrunting,<br />

Though that weapon was worthy, but <strong>the</strong> Wielder of earth-folk<br />

Gave me willingly <strong>to</strong> see on <strong>the</strong> wall a<br />

Heavy old h<strong>and</strong>-sword hanging in splendor<br />

<br />

That I swung as a weapon. The wards of <strong>the</strong> house <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> battle-sword burned, <strong>the</strong> br<strong>and</strong> that was lifted,<br />

As <strong>the</strong> blood-current sprang, hottest of war-sweats;<br />

<br />

I avenged as I ought <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir acts of malignity,<br />

The murder of Danemen. I <strong>the</strong>n make <strong>the</strong>e this promise,<br />

Thou’lt be able in Heorot careless <strong>to</strong> slumber<br />

With thy throng of heroes <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> thanes of thy people<br />

Every <strong>and</strong> each, of greater <strong>and</strong> lesser,<br />

And thou needest not fear for <strong>the</strong>m from <strong>the</strong> selfsame direction<br />

As thou formerly fearedst, oh, folk-lord of Scyldings,<br />

End-day for earlmen.” To <strong>the</strong> age-hoary man <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

The gray-haired chieftain, <strong>the</strong> gold-fashioned sword-hilt,<br />

Old-work of giants, was <strong>the</strong>reupon given;<br />

<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> wielder of Danemen, <strong>the</strong> wonder-smith’s labor,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> bad-mooded being ab<strong>and</strong>oned this world <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Opponent of God, victim of murder,<br />

And also his mo<strong>the</strong>r; it went <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> keeping<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> best of <strong>the</strong> world-kings, where waters encircle,<br />

Who <strong>the</strong> scot divided in Scylding dominion.<br />

Hrothgar discoursed, <strong>the</strong> hilt he regarded,<br />

Page | 55


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The ancient heirloom where an old-time contention’s<br />

Beginning was graven: <strong>the</strong> gurgling currents,<br />

<br />

They had proved <strong>the</strong>mselves daring: that people was loth <strong>to</strong><br />

The Lord everlasting, through lash of <strong>the</strong> billows<br />

<br />

So in letters of rune on <strong>the</strong> clasp of <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>le<br />

Gleaming <strong>and</strong> golden, ’twas graven exactly,<br />

Set forth <strong>and</strong> said, whom that sword had been made for,<br />

<br />

Wrea<strong>the</strong>d at its h<strong>and</strong>le <strong>and</strong> gleaming with serpents.<br />

<br />

Son of old Healfdene: “He may say unrefuted<br />

Who performs ’mid <strong>the</strong> folk-men fairness <strong>and</strong> truth<br />

<br />

That better by birth is this bairn of <strong>the</strong> nobles!<br />

Thy fame is extended through far-away countries,<br />

Good friend Beowulf, o’er all of <strong>the</strong> races,<br />

<br />

Prudence of spirit. I’ll prove myself grateful<br />

As before we agreed on; thou granted for long shalt<br />

Become a great comfort <strong>to</strong> kinsmen <strong>and</strong> comrades,<br />

A help un<strong>to</strong> heroes. Heremod became not<br />

Such <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, successors of Ecgwela;<br />

He grew not <strong>to</strong> please <strong>the</strong>m, but grievous destruction,<br />

And diresome death-woes <strong>to</strong> Danemen attracted;<br />

He slew in anger his table-companions,<br />

<br />

<strong>From</strong> world-joys away, wide-famous ruler:<br />

Though high-ruling heaven in hero-strength raised him,<br />

In might exalted him, o’er men of all nations<br />

Made him supreme, yet a murderous spirit<br />

Grew in his bosom: he gave <strong>the</strong>n no ring-gems<br />

To <strong>the</strong> Danes after cus<strong>to</strong>m; endured he unjoyful<br />

St<strong>and</strong>ing <strong>the</strong> straits from strife that was raging,<br />

Longsome folk-sorrow. Learn <strong>the</strong>n from this,<br />

Lay hold of virtue! Though laden with winters,<br />

I have sung <strong>the</strong>e <strong>the</strong>se measures. ’Tis a marvel <strong>to</strong> tell it,<br />

How all-ruling God from greatness of spirit<br />

Giveth wisdom <strong>to</strong> children of men,<br />

Manor <strong>and</strong> earlship: all things He ruleth.<br />

He often permitteth <strong>the</strong> mood-thought of man of<br />

The illustrious lineage <strong>to</strong> lean <strong>to</strong> possessions,<br />

Page | 56


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Allows him earthly delights at his manor,<br />

A high-burg of heroes <strong>to</strong> hold in his keeping,<br />

Maketh portions of earth-folk hear him,<br />

And a wide-reaching kingdom so that, wisdom failing him,<br />

He himself is unable <strong>to</strong> reckon its boundaries;<br />

He liveth in luxury, little debars him,<br />

Nor sickness nor age, no treachery-sorrow<br />

<br />

No sword-hate, appeareth, but all of <strong>the</strong> world doth<br />

Wend as he wisheth; <strong>the</strong> worse he knoweth not,<br />

Till arrant arrogance inward pervading,<br />

Waxeth <strong>and</strong> springeth, when <strong>the</strong> warder is sleeping,<br />

The guard of <strong>the</strong> soul: with sorrows encompassed,<br />

Too sound is his slumber, <strong>the</strong> slayer is near him,<br />

Who with bow <strong>and</strong> arrow aimeth in malice.<br />

Part XXVI<br />

“Then bruised in his bosom he with bitter-<strong>to</strong>o<strong>the</strong>d missile<br />

Is hurt ’neath his helmet: from harmful pollution<br />

He is powerless <strong>to</strong> shield him by <strong>the</strong> wonderful m<strong>and</strong>ates<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> loath-cursèd spirit; what <strong>to</strong>o long he hath holden<br />

Him seemeth <strong>to</strong>o small, savage he hoardeth,<br />

Nor boastfully giveth gold-plated rings,<br />

<br />

Since God had erst given him greatness no little,<br />

Wielder of Glory. His end-day anear,<br />

It afterward happens that <strong>the</strong> bodily-dwelling<br />

Fleetingly fadeth, falls in<strong>to</strong> ruins;<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r lays hold who doleth <strong>the</strong> ornaments,<br />

The nobleman’s jewels, nothing lamenting,<br />

Heedeth no terror. Oh, Beowulf dear,<br />

Best of <strong>the</strong> heroes, from bale-strife defend <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

And choose <strong>the</strong>e <strong>the</strong> better, counsels eternal;<br />

Beware of arrogance, world-famous champion!<br />

But a little-while lasts thy life-vigor’s fulness;<br />

’Twill after hap early, that illness or sword-edge<br />

<br />

Or <strong>the</strong> wave of <strong>the</strong> current, or clutch of <strong>the</strong> edges,<br />

<br />

<br />

’Twill happen full early, excellent hero,<br />

That death shall subdue <strong>the</strong>e. So <strong>the</strong> Danes a half-century<br />

I held under heaven, helped <strong>the</strong>m in struggles<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

’Gainst many a race in middle-earth’s regions,<br />

With ash-wood <strong>and</strong> edges, that enemies none<br />

<br />

Came <strong>to</strong> my manor, grief after joyance,<br />

When Grendel became my constant visi<strong>to</strong>r,<br />

Inveterate hater: I from that malice<br />

Continually travailed with trouble no little.<br />

Thanks be <strong>to</strong> God that I gained in my lifetime,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> Lord everlasting, <strong>to</strong> look on <strong>the</strong> gory<br />

Head with mine eyes, after long-lasting sorrow!<br />

Go <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> bench now, battle-adornèd<br />

Joy in <strong>the</strong> feasting: of jewels in common<br />

We’ll meet with many when morning appeareth.”<br />

The Geatman was gladsome, ganged he immediately<br />

To go <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> bench, as <strong>the</strong> clever one bade him.<br />

Then again as before were <strong>the</strong> famous-for-prowess,<br />

Hall-inhabiters, h<strong>and</strong>somely banqueted,<br />

Feasted anew. The night-veil fell <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Dark o’er <strong>the</strong> warriors. The courtiers rose <strong>the</strong>n;<br />

The gray-haired was anxious <strong>to</strong> go <strong>to</strong> his slumbers,<br />

The hoary old Scylding. Hankered <strong>the</strong> Geatman,<br />

The champion doughty, greatly, <strong>to</strong> rest him:<br />

An earlman early outward did lead him,<br />

Fagged from his faring, from far-country springing,<br />

Who for etiquette’s sake all of a liegeman’s<br />

Needs regarded, such as seamen at that time<br />

Were bounden <strong>to</strong> feel. The big-hearted rested;<br />

The building up<strong>to</strong>wered, spacious <strong>and</strong> gilded,<br />

The guest within slumbered, till <strong>the</strong> sable-clad raven<br />

Bli<strong>the</strong>ly foreboded <strong>the</strong> beacon of heaven.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> bright-shining sun o’er <strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>ms came going;<br />

The warriors hastened, <strong>the</strong> heads of <strong>the</strong> peoples<br />

Were ready <strong>to</strong> go again <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir peoples,<br />

The high-mooded farer would faraway <strong>the</strong>nceward<br />

Look for his vessel. The valiant one bade <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

<br />

To take his weapon, his well-beloved iron;<br />

He him thanked for <strong>the</strong> gift, saying good he accounted<br />

The war-friend <strong>and</strong> mighty, nor chid he with words <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The blade of <strong>the</strong> br<strong>and</strong>: ’twas a brave-mooded hero.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> warriors were ready, arrayed in <strong>the</strong>ir trappings,<br />

The a<strong>the</strong>ling dear <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Danemen advanced <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Page | 58


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

On <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> dais, where <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r was sitting,<br />

Grim-mooded hero, greeted King Hrothgar.<br />

Part XXVII<br />

<br />

“We men of <strong>the</strong> water wish <strong>to</strong> declare now<br />

<br />

<br />

Been welcomed <strong>and</strong> feasted, as heart would desire it;<br />

<br />

I am anywise able ever on earth <strong>to</strong><br />

Gain at thy h<strong>and</strong>s, ruler of heroes,<br />

Than yet I have done, I shall quickly be ready<br />

<br />

Learn I that neighbors alarm <strong>the</strong>e with terror,<br />

As haters did whilom, I hi<strong>the</strong>r will bring <strong>the</strong>e<br />

For help un<strong>to</strong> heroes henchmen by thous<strong>and</strong>s.<br />

I know as <strong>to</strong> Higelac, <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen,<br />

Though young in years, he yet will permit me,<br />

By words <strong>and</strong> by works, ward of <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

Fully <strong>to</strong> furnish <strong>the</strong>e forces <strong>and</strong> bear <strong>the</strong>e<br />

My lance <strong>to</strong> relieve <strong>the</strong>e, if liegemen shall fail <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

And help of my h<strong>and</strong>-strength; if Hrethric be treating,<br />

Bairn of <strong>the</strong> king, at <strong>the</strong> court of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen,<br />

<br />

Faraway countries he were better <strong>to</strong> seek for<br />

Who trusts in himself.” Hrothgar discoursed <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Making rejoinder: “These words thou hast uttered<br />

All-knowing God hath given thy spirit!<br />

Ne’er heard I an earlman thus early in life<br />

More clever in speaking: thou’rt cautious of spirit,<br />

Mighty of muscle, in mouth-answers prudent.<br />

I count on <strong>the</strong> hope that, happen it ever<br />

That missile shall rob <strong>the</strong>e of Hre<strong>the</strong>l’s descendant,<br />

Edge-horrid battle, <strong>and</strong> illness or weapon<br />

Deprive <strong>the</strong>e of prince, of people’s protec<strong>to</strong>r,<br />

And life thou yet holdest, <strong>the</strong> Sea-Geats will never<br />

<br />

Gem-ward of heroes, than thou mightest prove <strong>the</strong>e,<br />

If <strong>the</strong> kingdom of kinsmen thou carest <strong>to</strong> govern.<br />

Thy mood-spirit likes me <strong>the</strong> longer <strong>the</strong> better,<br />

Beowulf dear: thou hast brought it <strong>to</strong> pass that<br />

To both <strong>the</strong>se peoples peace shall be common,<br />

Page | 59


BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

To Geat-folk <strong>and</strong> Danemen, <strong>the</strong> strife be suspended,<br />

<br />

And also that jewels be shared while I govern<br />

The wide-stretching kingdom, <strong>and</strong> that many shall visit<br />

O<strong>the</strong>rs o’er <strong>the</strong> ocean with excellent gift-gems:<br />

The ring-adorned bark shall bring o’er <strong>the</strong> currents<br />

Presents <strong>and</strong> love-gifts. This people I know<br />

<br />

After ancient etiquette everywise blameless.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> warden of earlmen gave him still far<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Kinsman of Healfdene, a dozen of jewels,<br />

Bade him safely seek with <strong>the</strong> presents<br />

His well-beloved people, early returning.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> noble-born king kissed <strong>the</strong> distinguished,<br />

Dear-lovèd liegeman, <strong>the</strong> Dane-prince saluted him,<br />

And claspèd his neck; tears from him fell,<br />

<strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> gray-headed man: he two things expected,<br />

Agèd <strong>and</strong> reverend, but ra<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> second,<br />

That bold in council <strong>the</strong>y’d meet <strong>the</strong>reafter.<br />

The man was so dear that he failed <strong>to</strong> suppress <strong>the</strong><br />

Emotions that moved him, but in mood-fetters fastened<br />

The long-famous hero longeth in secret<br />

Deep in his spirit for <strong>the</strong> dear-beloved man<br />

Though not a blood-kinsman. Beowulf <strong>the</strong>nceward,<br />

Gold-splendid warrior, walked o’er <strong>the</strong> meadows<br />

Exulting in treasure: <strong>the</strong> sea-going vessel<br />

Riding at anchor awaited its owner.<br />

As <strong>the</strong>y pressed on <strong>the</strong>ir way <strong>the</strong>n, <strong>the</strong> present of Hrothgar<br />

Was frequently referred <strong>to</strong>: a folk-king indeed that<br />

Everyway blameless, till age did debar him<br />

The joys of his might, which hath many oft injured.<br />

Part XXVIII<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> b<strong>and</strong> of very valiant retainers<br />

Came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> current; <strong>the</strong>y were clad all in armor,<br />

In link-woven burnies. The l<strong>and</strong>-warder noticed<br />

The return of <strong>the</strong> earlmen, as he erstwhile had seen <strong>the</strong>m;<br />

Nowise with insult he greeted <strong>the</strong> strangers<br />

<br />

Said <strong>the</strong> bright-armored visi<strong>to</strong>rs vesselward traveled<br />

Welcome <strong>to</strong> Weders. The wide-bosomed craft <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Lay on <strong>the</strong> s<strong>and</strong>, laden with armor,<br />

With horses <strong>and</strong> jewels, <strong>the</strong> ring-stemmèd sailer:<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The mast up<strong>to</strong>wered o’er <strong>the</strong> treasure of Hrothgar.<br />

To <strong>the</strong> boat-ward a gold-bound br<strong>and</strong> he presented,<br />

That he was afterwards honored on <strong>the</strong> ale-bench more highly<br />

As <strong>the</strong> heirloom’s owner. Set he out on his vessel,<br />

To drive on <strong>the</strong> deep, Dane-country left he.<br />

<br />

A rope-fastened sail. The sea-boat resounded,<br />

<br />

Kept from its journey; <strong>the</strong> sea-goer traveled,<br />

<br />

The well-fashioned vessel o’er <strong>the</strong> ways of <strong>the</strong> ocean,<br />

<br />

The well-known headl<strong>and</strong>s. The wave-goer hastened<br />

Driven by breezes, s<strong>to</strong>od on <strong>the</strong> shore.<br />

Prompt at <strong>the</strong> ocean, <strong>the</strong> port-ward was ready,<br />

Who long in <strong>the</strong> past outlooked in <strong>the</strong> distance,<br />

At water’s-edge waiting well-lovèd heroes;<br />

He bound <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> bank <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> broad-bosomed vessel<br />

Fast in its fetters, lest <strong>the</strong> force of <strong>the</strong> waters<br />

Should be able <strong>to</strong> injure <strong>the</strong> ocean-wood winsome.<br />

Bade he up <strong>the</strong>n take <strong>the</strong> treasure of princes,<br />

Plate-gold <strong>and</strong> fretwork; not far was it <strong>the</strong>nce<br />

<br />

Hre<strong>the</strong>l’s son Higelac at home <strong>the</strong>re remaineth,<br />

Himself with his comrades close <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea-coast.<br />

The building was splendid, <strong>the</strong> king heroic,<br />

Great in his hall, Hygd very young was,<br />

Fine-mooded, clever, though few were <strong>the</strong> winters<br />

That <strong>the</strong> daughter of Hæreth had dwelt in <strong>the</strong> borough;<br />

But she nowise was cringing nor niggard of presents,<br />

Of ornaments rare, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> race of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen.<br />

Thrytho nursed anger, excellent folk-queen,<br />

Hot-burning hatred: no hero whatever<br />

’Mong household companions, her husb<strong>and</strong> excepted<br />

Dared <strong>to</strong> adventure <strong>to</strong> look at <strong>the</strong> woman<br />

With eyes in <strong>the</strong> daytime; but he knew that death-chains<br />

H<strong>and</strong>-wrea<strong>the</strong>d were wrought him: early <strong>the</strong>reafter,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>-strife was over, edges were ready,<br />

<br />

Murder-bale show. Such no womanly cus<strong>to</strong>m<br />

For a lady <strong>to</strong> practise, though lovely her person,<br />

That a weaver-of-peace, on pretence of anger<br />

A belovèd liegeman of life should deprive.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Soothly this hindered Heming’s kinsman;<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r ale-drinking earlmen asserted<br />

That fearful folk-sorrows fewer she wrought <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

<br />

Adorned with gold <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> war-hero youthful,<br />

<br />

<br />

She sought on her journey, where she afterwards fully,<br />

Famed for her virtue, her fate on <strong>the</strong> king’s-seat<br />

Enjoyed in her lifetime, love did she hold with<br />

The ruler of heroes, <strong>the</strong> best, it is <strong>to</strong>ld me,<br />

Of all of <strong>the</strong> earthmen that oceans encompass,<br />

<br />

Far <strong>and</strong> widely, by gifts <strong>and</strong> by battles,<br />

Spear-valiant hero; <strong>the</strong> home of his fa<strong>the</strong>rs<br />

He governed with wisdom, whence Eomær did issue<br />

For help un<strong>to</strong> heroes, Heming’s kinsman,<br />

Gr<strong>and</strong>son of Garmund, great in encounters.<br />

Part XXIX<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> brave one departed, his b<strong>and</strong> along with him,<br />

Seeking <strong>the</strong> sea-shore, <strong>the</strong> sea-marches treading,<br />

The wide-stretching shores. The world-c<strong>and</strong>le glimmered,<br />

The sun from <strong>the</strong> southward; <strong>the</strong>y proceeded <strong>the</strong>n onward,<br />

Early arriving where <strong>the</strong>y heard that <strong>the</strong> troop-lord,<br />

Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow’s slayer, excellent, youthful<br />

Folk-prince <strong>and</strong> warrior was distributing jewels,<br />

Close in his castle. The coming of Beowulf<br />

Was announced in a message quickly <strong>to</strong> Higelac,<br />

That <strong>the</strong> folk-troop’s defender forth <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> palace<br />

The linden-companion alive was advancing,<br />

Secure from <strong>the</strong> combat courtward a-going.<br />

The building was early inward made ready<br />

For <strong>the</strong> foot-going guests as <strong>the</strong> good one had ordered.<br />

He sat by <strong>the</strong> man <strong>the</strong>n who had lived through <strong>the</strong> struggle,<br />

Kinsman by kinsman, when <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> people<br />

Had in lordly language saluted <strong>the</strong> dear one,<br />

In words that were formal. The daughter of Hæreth<br />

Coursed through <strong>the</strong> building, carrying mead-cups:<br />

She loved <strong>the</strong> retainers, tendered <strong>the</strong> beakers<br />

To <strong>the</strong> high-minded Geatmen. Higelac ’gan <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Pleasantly plying his companion with questions<br />

In <strong>the</strong> high-<strong>to</strong>wering palace. A curious interest<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Tormented his spirit, what meaning <strong>to</strong> see in<br />

The Sea-Geats’ adventures: “Beowulf worthy,<br />

How throve your journeying, when thou thoughtest suddenly<br />

Far o’er <strong>the</strong> salt-streams <strong>to</strong> seek an encounter,<br />

A battle at Heorot? Hast bettered for Hrothgar,<br />

The famous folk-leader, his far-published sorrows<br />

Any at all? In agony-billows<br />

I mused upon <strong>to</strong>rture, distrusted <strong>the</strong> journey<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> belovèd liegeman; I long time did pray <strong>the</strong>e<br />

By no means <strong>to</strong> seek out <strong>the</strong> murderous spirit,<br />

<br />

Grappling with Grendel. To God I am thankful<br />

<br />

Beowulf answered, bairn of old Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow:<br />

“’Tis hidden by no means, Higelac chieftain,<br />

<strong>From</strong> many of men, <strong>the</strong> meeting so famous,<br />

What mournful moments of me <strong>and</strong> of Grendel<br />

<br />

On <strong>the</strong> Vic<strong>to</strong>ry-Scyldings sca<strong>the</strong>fully brought,<br />

Anguish forever; that all I avengèd,<br />

So that any under heaven of <strong>the</strong> kinsmen of Grendel<br />

Needeth not boast of that cry-in-<strong>the</strong>-morning,<br />

Who longest liveth of <strong>the</strong> loth-going kindred,<br />

Encompassed by moorl<strong>and</strong>. I came in my journey<br />

To <strong>the</strong> royal ring-hall, Hrothgar <strong>to</strong> greet <strong>the</strong>re:<br />

Soon did <strong>the</strong> famous scion of Healfdene,<br />

When he unders<strong>to</strong>od fully <strong>the</strong> spirit that led me,<br />

Assign me a seat with <strong>the</strong> son of his bosom.<br />

The troop was in joyance; mead-glee greater<br />

’Neath arch of <strong>the</strong> e<strong>the</strong>r not ever beheld I<br />

’Mid hall-building holders. The highly-famed queen,<br />

Peace-tie of peoples, oft passed through <strong>the</strong> building,<br />

Cheered <strong>the</strong> young troopers; she oft tendered a hero<br />

A beautiful ring-b<strong>and</strong>, ere she went <strong>to</strong> her sitting.<br />

Oft <strong>the</strong> daughter of Hrothgar in view of <strong>the</strong> courtiers<br />

To <strong>the</strong> earls at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>the</strong> ale-vessel carried,<br />

Whom Freaware I heard <strong>the</strong>n hall-sitters title,<br />

When nail-adorned jewels she gave <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> heroes:<br />

Gold-bedecked, youthful, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> glad son of Froda<br />

Her faith has been plighted; <strong>the</strong> friend of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings,<br />

The guard of <strong>the</strong> kingdom, hath given his sanction,<br />

And counts it a vantage, for a part of <strong>the</strong> quarrels,<br />

A portion of hatred, <strong>to</strong> pay with <strong>the</strong> woman.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Somewhere not rarely, when <strong>the</strong> ruler has fallen,<br />

The life-taking lance relaxeth its fury<br />

For a brief breathing-spell, though <strong>the</strong> bride be charming!<br />

Part XXX<br />

<br />

And each of <strong>the</strong> thanemen of earls that attend him,<br />

When he goes <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> building escorting <strong>the</strong> woman,<br />

That a noble-born Daneman <strong>the</strong> knights should be feasting:<br />

There gleam on his person <strong>the</strong> leavings of elders<br />

Hard <strong>and</strong> ring-bright, Heathobards’ treasure,<br />

While <strong>the</strong>y wielded <strong>the</strong>ir arms, till <strong>the</strong>y misled <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> battle<br />

Their own dear lives <strong>and</strong> belovèd companions.<br />

He saith at <strong>the</strong> banquet who <strong>the</strong> collar beholdeth,<br />

An ancient ash-warrior who earlmen’s destruction<br />

<br />

Sadly beginneth sounding <strong>the</strong> youthful<br />

Thane-champion’s spirit through <strong>the</strong> thoughts of his bosom,<br />

War-grief <strong>to</strong> waken, <strong>and</strong> this word-answer speaketh:<br />

‘Art thou able, my friend, <strong>to</strong> know when thou seest it<br />

<br />

In his latest adventure, ’neath visor of helmet,<br />

The dearly-loved iron, where Danemen did slay him,<br />

And brave-mooded Scyldings, on <strong>the</strong> fall of <strong>the</strong> heroes,<br />

<br />

E’en now some man of <strong>the</strong> murderer’s progeny<br />

Exulting in ornaments enters <strong>the</strong> building,<br />

<br />

Which thou shouldst wholly hold in possession!’<br />

So he urgeth <strong>and</strong> mindeth on every occasion<br />

With woe-bringing words, till waxeth <strong>the</strong> season<br />

When <strong>the</strong> woman’s thane for <strong>the</strong> works of his fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

The bill having bitten, blood-gory sleepeth,<br />

Fated <strong>to</strong> perish; <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r one <strong>the</strong>nceward<br />

’Scapeth alive, <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> knoweth thoroughly.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> oaths of <strong>the</strong> earlmen on each side are broken,<br />

When rancors unresting are raging in Ingeld<br />

And his wife-love waxeth less warm after sorrow.<br />

So <strong>the</strong> Heathobards’ favor not faithful I reckon,<br />

Their part in <strong>the</strong> treaty not true <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Danemen,<br />

Their friendship not fast. I fur<strong>the</strong>r shall tell <strong>the</strong>e<br />

More about Grendel, that thou fully mayst hear,<br />

Ornament-giver, what afterward came from<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The h<strong>and</strong>-rush of heroes. When heaven’s bright jewel<br />

<br />

<br />

Where wholly unharmed <strong>the</strong> hall we were guarding.<br />

To Hondscio happened a hopeless contention,<br />

Death <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> doomed one, dead he fell foremost,<br />

Girded war-champion; <strong>to</strong> him Grendel became <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> vassal distinguished, a <strong>to</strong>oth-weaponed murderer,<br />

The well-beloved henchman’s body all swallowed.<br />

<br />

The bloody-<strong>to</strong>o<strong>the</strong>d murderer, mindful of evils,<br />

Wish <strong>to</strong> escape from <strong>the</strong> gold-giver’s palace,<br />

But sturdy of strength he strove <strong>to</strong> outdo me,<br />

H<strong>and</strong>-ready grappled. A glove was suspended<br />

Spacious <strong>and</strong> wondrous, in art-fetters fastened,<br />

Which was fashioned entirely by <strong>to</strong>uch of <strong>the</strong> craftman<br />

<strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> dragon’s skin by <strong>the</strong> devil’s devices:<br />

He down in its depths would do me unsadly<br />

One among many, deed-doer raging,<br />

Though sinless he saw me; not so could it happen<br />

When I in my anger upright did st<strong>and</strong>.<br />

’Tis <strong>to</strong>o long <strong>to</strong> recount how requital I furnished<br />

For every evil <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> earlmen’s destroyer;<br />

’Twas <strong>the</strong>re, my prince, that I proudly distinguished<br />

Thy l<strong>and</strong> with my labors. He left <strong>and</strong> retreated,<br />

He lived his life a little while longer:<br />

Yet his right-h<strong>and</strong> guarded his footstep in Heorot,<br />

And sad-mooded <strong>the</strong>nce <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea-bot<strong>to</strong>m fell he,<br />

Mournful in mind. For <strong>the</strong> might-rush of battle<br />

The friend of <strong>the</strong> Scyldings, with gold that was plated,<br />

With ornaments many, much requited me,<br />

When daylight had dawned, <strong>and</strong> down <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> banquet<br />

We had sat us <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r. There was chanting <strong>and</strong> joyance:<br />

The age-stricken Scylding asked many questions<br />

And of old-times related; oft light-ringing harp-strings,<br />

Joy-telling wood, were <strong>to</strong>uched by <strong>the</strong> brave one;<br />

Now he uttered measures, mourning <strong>and</strong> truthful,<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> large-hearted l<strong>and</strong>-king a legend of wonder<br />

Truthfully <strong>to</strong>ld us. Now troubled with years<br />

The age-hoary warrior afterward began <strong>to</strong><br />

Mourn for <strong>the</strong> might that marked him in youth-days;<br />

His breast within boiled, when burdened with winters<br />

Much he remembered. <strong>From</strong> morning till night <strong>the</strong>n<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

Till <strong>the</strong> second night season came un<strong>to</strong> earth-folk.<br />

Then early <strong>the</strong>reafter, <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r of Grendel<br />

Was ready for vengeance, wretched she journeyed;<br />

Her son had death ravished, <strong>the</strong> wrath of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen.<br />

<br />

And with mighty mainstrength murdered a hero.<br />

There <strong>the</strong> spirit of Æschere, agèd adviser,<br />

Was ready <strong>to</strong> vanish; nor when morn had lightened<br />

<br />

Folk of <strong>the</strong> Danemen, <strong>the</strong> death-weakened hero,<br />

Nor <strong>the</strong> belovèd liegeman <strong>to</strong> lay on <strong>the</strong> pyre;<br />

<br />

<br />

Of pains that ever had preyed on <strong>the</strong> chieftain;<br />

By <strong>the</strong> life of <strong>the</strong>e <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>-prince <strong>the</strong>n me<br />

Besought very sadly, in sea-currents’ eddies<br />

To display my prowess, <strong>to</strong> peril my safety,<br />

Might-deeds accomplish; much did he promise.<br />

<br />

Horrible depth-warder. A while un<strong>to</strong> us two<br />

H<strong>and</strong> was in common; <strong>the</strong> currents were seething<br />

<br />

<br />

With huge-reaching sword-edge, hardly I wrested<br />

My life from her clutches; not doomed was I <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

But <strong>the</strong> warden of earlmen afterward gave me<br />

Jewels in quantity, kinsman of Healfdene.<br />

Part XXXI<br />

“So <strong>the</strong> belovèd l<strong>and</strong>-prince lived in decorum;<br />

I had missed no rewards, no meeds of my prowess,<br />

But he gave me jewels, regarding my wishes,<br />

Healfdene his bairn; I’ll bring <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>e, <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

But <strong>the</strong>e, dear Higelac!” Bade he in <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> carry<br />

The boar-image, banner, battle-high helmet,<br />

Iron-gray armor, <strong>the</strong> excellent weapon,<br />

In song-measures said: “This suit-for-<strong>the</strong>-battle<br />

Hrothgar presented me, bade me expressly,<br />

Wise-mooded a<strong>the</strong>ling, <strong>the</strong>reafter <strong>to</strong> tell <strong>the</strong>e<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The whole of its his<strong>to</strong>ry, said King Heregar owned it,<br />

Dane-prince for long: yet he wished not <strong>to</strong> give <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The mail <strong>to</strong> his son, though dearly he loved him,<br />

Hereward <strong>the</strong> hardy. Hold all in joyance!”<br />

I heard that <strong>the</strong>re followed hard on <strong>the</strong> jewels<br />

Two braces of stallions of striking resemblance,<br />

Dappled <strong>and</strong> yellow; he granted him usance<br />

Of horses <strong>and</strong> treasures. So a kinsman should bear him,<br />

No web of treachery weave for ano<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Nor by cunning craftiness cause <strong>the</strong> destruction<br />

Of trusty companion. Most precious <strong>to</strong> Higelac,<br />

The bold one in battle, was <strong>the</strong> bairn of his sister,<br />

And each un<strong>to</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r mindful of favors.<br />

<br />

Wonder-gem rare that Wealh<strong>the</strong>ow gave him,<br />

The troop-leader’s daughter, a trio of horses<br />

Slender <strong>and</strong> saddle-bright; soon did <strong>the</strong> jewel<br />

Embellish her bosom, when <strong>the</strong> beer-feast was over.<br />

So Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s bairn brave did prove him,<br />

War-famous man, by deeds that were valiant,<br />

He lived in honor, belovèd companions<br />

Slew not carousing; his mood was not cruel,<br />

But by h<strong>and</strong>-strength hugest of heroes <strong>the</strong>n living<br />

The brave one retained <strong>the</strong> bountiful gift that<br />

The Lord had allowed him. Long was he wretched,<br />

So that sons of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen accounted him worthless,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> liegemen loth was <strong>to</strong> do him<br />

Mickle of honor, when mead-cups were passing;<br />

They fully believed him idle <strong>and</strong> sluggish,<br />

An indolent a<strong>the</strong>ling: <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> honor-blest man <strong>the</strong>re<br />

<br />

The folk-troop’s defender bade fetch <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> building<br />

The heirloom of Hre<strong>the</strong>l, embellished with gold,<br />

So <strong>the</strong> brave one enjoined it; <strong>the</strong>re was jewel no richer<br />

In <strong>the</strong> form of a weapon ’mong Geats of that era;<br />

In Beowulf’s keeping he placed it <strong>and</strong> gave him<br />

Seven of thous<strong>and</strong>s, manor <strong>and</strong> lordship.<br />

Common <strong>to</strong> both was l<strong>and</strong> ’mong <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

Estate <strong>and</strong> inherited rights <strong>and</strong> possessions,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> second one specially spacious dominions,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> one who was better. It afterward happened<br />

In days that followed, befell <strong>the</strong> battle-thanes,<br />

After Higelac’s death, <strong>and</strong> when Heardred was murdered<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

With weapons of warfare ’neath well-covered targets,<br />

When valiant battlemen in vic<strong>to</strong>r-b<strong>and</strong> sought him,<br />

<br />

Of Hereric in battle. To Beowulf’s keeping<br />

Turned <strong>the</strong>re in time extensive dominions:<br />

<br />

<br />

A certain one ’gan, on gloom-darkening nights, a<br />

Dragon, <strong>to</strong> govern, who guarded a treasure,<br />

<br />

A path ’neath it lay, unknown un<strong>to</strong> mortals.<br />

Some one of earthmen entered <strong>the</strong> mountain,<br />

The hea<strong>the</strong>nish hoard laid hold of with ardor;<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

Part XXXII<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

He sought of himself who sorely did harm him,<br />

But, for need very pressing, <strong>the</strong> servant of one of<br />

The sons of <strong>the</strong> heroes hate-blows evaded,<br />

Seeking for shelter <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> sin-driven warrior<br />

Took refuge within <strong>the</strong>re. He early looked in it,<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * when <strong>the</strong> onset surprised him,<br />

He a gem-vessel saw <strong>the</strong>re: many of suchlike<br />

Ancient ornaments in <strong>the</strong> earth-cave were lying,<br />

As in days of yore some one of men of<br />

Illustrious lineage, as a legacy monstrous,<br />

There had secreted <strong>the</strong>m, careful <strong>and</strong> thoughtful,<br />

<br />

In <strong>the</strong> days of <strong>the</strong> past, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> one man moreover<br />

<br />

Was fain <strong>to</strong> defer it, friend-mourning warder,<br />

A little longer <strong>to</strong> be left in enjoyment<br />

Of long-lasting treasure. A barrow all-ready<br />

S<strong>to</strong>od on <strong>the</strong> plain <strong>the</strong> stream-currents nigh <strong>to</strong>,<br />

New by <strong>the</strong> ness-edge, unne<strong>the</strong> of approaching:<br />

The keeper of rings carried within a<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Ponderous deal of <strong>the</strong> treasure of nobles,<br />

<br />

“Hold thou, O Earth, now heroes no more may,<br />

The earnings of earlmen. Lo! erst in thy bosom<br />

Worthy men won <strong>the</strong>m; war-death hath ravished,<br />

Perilous life-bale, all my warriors,<br />

Liegemen belovèd, who this life have forsaken,<br />

Who hall-pleasures saw. No sword-bearer have I,<br />

And no one <strong>to</strong> burnish <strong>the</strong> gold-plated vessel,<br />

The high-valued beaker: my heroes are vanished.<br />

The hardy helmet behung with gilding<br />

Shall be reaved of its riches: <strong>the</strong> ring-cleansers slumber<br />

Who were charged <strong>to</strong> have ready visors-for-battle,<br />

And <strong>the</strong> burnie that bided in battle-encounter<br />

O’er breaking of war-shields <strong>the</strong> bite of <strong>the</strong> edges<br />

Moulds with <strong>the</strong> hero. The ring-twisted armor,<br />

Its lord being lifeless, no longer may journey<br />

Hanging by heroes; harp-joy is vanished,<br />

The rapture of glee-wood, no excellent falcon<br />

Swoops through <strong>the</strong> building, no swift-footed charger<br />

Grindeth <strong>the</strong> gravel. A grievous destruction<br />

No few of <strong>the</strong> world-folk widely hath scattered!”<br />

So, woful of spirit one after all<br />

Lamented mournfully, moaning in sadness<br />

By day <strong>and</strong> by night, till death with its billows<br />

Dashed on his spirit. Then <strong>the</strong> ancient dusk-sca<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Found <strong>the</strong> great treasure st<strong>and</strong>ing all open,<br />

<br />

Naked war-dragon, nightly escapeth<br />

<br />

Widely beheld him. ’Tis said that he looks for<br />

The hoard in <strong>the</strong> earth, where old he is guarding<br />

The hea<strong>the</strong>nish treasure; he’ll be nowise <strong>the</strong> better.<br />

So three-hundred winters <strong>the</strong> waster of peoples<br />

Held upon earth that excellent hoard-hall,<br />

Till <strong>the</strong> forementioned earlman angered him bitterly:<br />

The beat-plated beaker he bare <strong>to</strong> his chieftain<br />

And fullest remission for all his remissness<br />

Begged of his liegelord. Then <strong>the</strong> hoard5 was discovered,<br />

The treasure was taken, his petition was granted<br />

The lorn-mooded liegeman. His lord regarded<br />

The old-work of earth-folk—’twas <strong>the</strong> earliest occasion.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> dragon awoke, <strong>the</strong> strife was renewed <strong>the</strong>re;<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

The footprint of foeman; <strong>to</strong>o far had he gone<br />

With cunning craftiness close <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> head of<br />

<br />

Anguish <strong>and</strong> exile with ease who possesseth<br />

The favor of Heaven. The hoard-warden eagerly<br />

Searched o’er <strong>the</strong> ground <strong>the</strong>n, would meet with <strong>the</strong> person<br />

That caused him sorrow while in slumber reclining:<br />

Gleaming <strong>and</strong> wild he oft went round <strong>the</strong> cavern,<br />

All of it outward; not any of earthmen<br />

Was seen in that desert. Yet he joyed in <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

<br />

Sought for <strong>the</strong> gem-cup; this he soon perceived <strong>the</strong>n<br />

That some man or o<strong>the</strong>r had discovered <strong>the</strong> gold,<br />

The famous folk-treasure. Not fain did <strong>the</strong> hoard-ward<br />

Wait until evening; <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> ward of <strong>the</strong> barrow<br />

Was angry in spirit, <strong>the</strong> loathèd one wished <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> day was done as <strong>the</strong> dragon would have it,<br />

He no longer would wait on <strong>the</strong> wall, but departed<br />

<br />

To earls in <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>, as it early <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

To <strong>the</strong>ir giver-of-gold was grievously ended.<br />

Part XXXIII<br />

<br />

To burn <strong>the</strong> great manor; <strong>the</strong> blaze <strong>the</strong>n glimmered<br />

For anguish <strong>to</strong> earlmen, not anything living<br />

Was <strong>the</strong> hateful air-goer willing <strong>to</strong> leave <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

The war of <strong>the</strong> worm widely was noticed,<br />

The feud of <strong>the</strong> foeman afar <strong>and</strong> anear,<br />

How <strong>the</strong> enemy injured <strong>the</strong> earls of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen,<br />

Harried with hatred: back he hied <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> treasure,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> well-hidden cavern ere <strong>the</strong> coming of daylight.<br />

<br />

With br<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> burning; in <strong>the</strong> barrow he trusted,<br />

In <strong>the</strong> wall <strong>and</strong> his war-might: <strong>the</strong> weening deceived him.<br />

Then straight was <strong>the</strong> horror <strong>to</strong> Beowulf published,<br />

Early forsooth, that his own native homestead,<br />

The best of buildings, was burning <strong>and</strong> melting,<br />

Gift-seat of Geatmen. ’Twas a grief <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> good-mooded hero, <strong>the</strong> greatest of sorrows:<br />

The wise one weened <strong>the</strong>n that wielding his kingdom<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

’Gainst <strong>the</strong> ancient comm<strong>and</strong>ments, he had bitterly angered<br />

The Lord everlasting: with lorn meditations<br />

His bosom welled inward, as was nowise his cus<strong>to</strong>m.<br />

<br />

The fastness of warriors, <strong>the</strong> water-l<strong>and</strong> outward,<br />

<br />

Prince of <strong>the</strong> Weders, was planning <strong>to</strong> wreak him.<br />

The warmen’s defender bade <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> make him,<br />

Earlmen’s a<strong>the</strong>ling, an excellent war-shield<br />

Wholly of iron: fully he knew <strong>the</strong>n<br />

That wood from <strong>the</strong> forest was helpless <strong>to</strong> aid him,<br />

<br />

Must live <strong>the</strong> last of his limited earth-days,<br />

Of life in <strong>the</strong> world <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> worm along with him,<br />

Though he long had been holding hoard-wealth in plenty.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> ring-prince disdained <strong>to</strong> seek with a war-b<strong>and</strong>,<br />

With army extensive, <strong>the</strong> air-going ranger;<br />

He felt no fear of <strong>the</strong> foeman’s assaults <strong>and</strong><br />

He counted for little <strong>the</strong> might of <strong>the</strong> dragon,<br />

His power <strong>and</strong> prowess: for previously dared he<br />

A heap of hostility, hazarded dangers,<br />

War-thane, when Hrothgar’s palace he cleansèd,<br />

Conquering combatant, clutched in <strong>the</strong> battle<br />

The kinsmen of Grendel, of kindred detested.<br />

<br />

When <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen with clashings of battle,<br />

Friend-lord of folks in Frisian dominions,<br />

<br />

With battle-swords beaten; <strong>the</strong>nce Beowulf came <strong>the</strong>n<br />

On self-help relying, swam through <strong>the</strong> waters;<br />

He bare on his arm, lone-going, thirty<br />

<br />

The Hetwars by no means had need <strong>to</strong> be boastful<br />

<br />

Carried <strong>the</strong>ir war-shields: not many returned from<br />

The brave-mooded battle-knight back <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir homesteads.<br />

Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s bairn o’er <strong>the</strong> bight-courses swam <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Lone-goer lorn <strong>to</strong> his l<strong>and</strong>-folk returning,<br />

Where Hygd <strong>to</strong> him tendered treasure <strong>and</strong> kingdom,<br />

Rings <strong>and</strong> dominion: her son she not trusted,<br />

To be able <strong>to</strong> keep <strong>the</strong> kingdom devised him<br />

’Gainst alien races, on <strong>the</strong> death of King Higelac.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Yet <strong>the</strong> sad ones succeeded not in persuading <strong>the</strong> a<strong>the</strong>ling<br />

In any way ever, <strong>to</strong> act as a suzerain<br />

To Heardred, or promise <strong>to</strong> govern <strong>the</strong> kingdom;<br />

Yet with friendly counsel in <strong>the</strong> folk he sustained him,<br />

Gracious, with honor, till he grew <strong>to</strong> be older,<br />

<br />

Oh<strong>the</strong>re’s sons, sought him o’er <strong>the</strong> waters:<br />

<br />

The best of <strong>the</strong> sea-kings, who in Swedish dominions<br />

Distributed treasure, distinguished folk-leader.<br />

’Twas <strong>the</strong> end of his earth-days; injury fatal<br />

By swing of <strong>the</strong> sword he received as a greeting,<br />

<br />

Later departed <strong>to</strong> visit his homestead,<br />

When Heardred was dead; let Beowulf rule <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Govern <strong>the</strong> Geatmen: good was that folk-king.<br />

Part XXXIV<br />

He planned requital for <strong>the</strong> folk-leader’s ruin<br />

In days <strong>the</strong>reafter, <strong>to</strong> Eadgils <strong>the</strong> wretched<br />

Becoming an enemy. Oh<strong>the</strong>re’s son <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Went with a war-troop o’er <strong>the</strong> wide-stretching currents<br />

With warriors <strong>and</strong> weapons: with woe-journeys cold he<br />

After avenged him, <strong>the</strong> king’s life he <strong>to</strong>ok.<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>From</strong> his deeds of daring, till that day most momen<strong>to</strong>us<br />

<br />

With eleven companions <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen<br />

<br />

Inquiring he’d found how <strong>the</strong> feud had arisen,<br />

Hate <strong>to</strong> his heroes; <strong>the</strong> highly-famed gem-vessel<br />

Was brought <strong>to</strong> his keeping through <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong> of th’ informer.<br />

That in <strong>the</strong> throng was thirteenth of heroes,<br />

<br />

Captive <strong>and</strong> wretched, must sad-mooded <strong>the</strong>nceward<br />

Point out <strong>the</strong> place: he passed <strong>the</strong>n unwillingly<br />

To <strong>the</strong> spot where he knew of <strong>the</strong> notable cavern,<br />

The cave under earth, not far from <strong>the</strong> ocean,<br />

The anger of eddies, which inward was full of<br />

Jewels <strong>and</strong> wires: a warden uncanny,<br />

Warrior weaponed, wardered <strong>the</strong> treasure,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Old under earth; no easy possession<br />

For any of earth-folk access <strong>to</strong> get <strong>to</strong>.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> battle-brave a<strong>the</strong>ling sat on <strong>the</strong> naze-edge,<br />

While <strong>the</strong> gold-friend of Geatmen gracious saluted<br />

<br />

Death-boding, wav’ring; Weird very near him,<br />

Who must seize <strong>the</strong> old hero, his soul-treasure look for,<br />

Dragging aloof his life from his body:<br />

<br />

Beowulf spake, Ecg<strong>the</strong>ow’s son:<br />

<br />

Hours of onset: that all I remember.<br />

I was seven-winters old when <strong>the</strong> jewel-prince <strong>to</strong>ok me,<br />

High-lord of heroes, at <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s of my fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Hre<strong>the</strong>l <strong>the</strong> hero-king had me in keeping,<br />

Gave me treasure <strong>and</strong> feasting, our kinship remembered;<br />

Not ever was I any less dear <strong>to</strong> him<br />

Knight in <strong>the</strong> boroughs, than <strong>the</strong> bairns of his household,<br />

Herebald <strong>and</strong> Hæthcyn <strong>and</strong> Higelac mine.<br />

To <strong>the</strong> eldest unjustly by acts of a kinsman<br />

Was murder-bed strewn, since him Hæthcyn from horn-bow<br />

His sheltering chieftain shot with an arrow,<br />

Erred in his aim <strong>and</strong> injured his kinsman,<br />

One bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r, with blood-sprinkled spear:<br />

<br />

Sad <strong>to</strong> his spirit; <strong>the</strong> folk-prince however<br />

Had <strong>to</strong> part from existence with vengeance untaken.<br />

So <strong>to</strong> hoar-headed hero ’tis heavily crushing<br />

To live <strong>to</strong> see his son as he rideth<br />

Young on <strong>the</strong> gallows: <strong>the</strong>n measures he chanteth,<br />

A song of sorrow, when his son is hanging<br />

For <strong>the</strong> raven’s delight, <strong>and</strong> aged <strong>and</strong> hoary<br />

<br />

<br />

Is constant recalled: he cares not <strong>to</strong> wait for<br />

The birth of an heir in his borough-enclosures,<br />

Since that one through death-pain <strong>the</strong> deeds hath experienced.<br />

He heart-grieved beholds in <strong>the</strong> house of his son <strong>the</strong><br />

Wine-building wasted, <strong>the</strong> wind-lodging places<br />

Reaved of <strong>the</strong>ir roaring; <strong>the</strong> riders are sleeping,<br />

The knights in <strong>the</strong> grave; <strong>the</strong>re’s no sound of <strong>the</strong> harp-wood,<br />

Joy in <strong>the</strong> yards, as of yore were familiar.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Part XXXV<br />

“He seeks <strong>the</strong>n his chamber, singeth a woe-song<br />

One for <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r; all <strong>to</strong>o extensive<br />

Seemed homesteads <strong>and</strong> plains. So <strong>the</strong> helm of <strong>the</strong> Weders<br />

Mindful of Herebald heart-sorrow carried,<br />

Stirred with emotion, nowise was able<br />

To wreak his ruin on <strong>the</strong> ruthless destroyer:<br />

He was unable <strong>to</strong> follow <strong>the</strong> warrior with hatred,<br />

With deeds that were direful, though dear he not held him.<br />

Then pressed by <strong>the</strong> pang this pain occasioned him,<br />

He gave up glee, God-light elected;<br />

He left <strong>to</strong> his sons, as <strong>the</strong> man that is rich does,<br />

His l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> fortress, when from life he departed.<br />

Then was crime <strong>and</strong> hostility ’twixt Swedes <strong>and</strong> Geatmen,<br />

O’er wide-stretching water warring was mutual,<br />

Burdensome hatred, when Hre<strong>the</strong>l had perished,<br />

<br />

Wished not <strong>to</strong> hold <strong>to</strong> peace oversea, but<br />

Round Hreosna-beorh often accomplished<br />

Cruelest massacre. This my kinsman avengèd,<br />

The feud <strong>and</strong> fury, as ’tis found on inquiry,<br />

Though one of <strong>the</strong>m paid it with forfeit of life-joys,<br />

With price that was hard: <strong>the</strong> struggle became <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Fatal <strong>to</strong> Hæthcyn, lord of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen.<br />

Then I heard that at morning one bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

With edges of irons egged on <strong>to</strong> murder,<br />

Where Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow maketh onset on Eofor:<br />

<br />

Sword-smitten fell, his h<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n remembered<br />

<br />

The gems that he gave me, with jewel-bright sword I<br />

<br />

L<strong>and</strong> he allowed me, life-joy at homestead,<br />

Manor <strong>to</strong> live on. Little he needed<br />

<strong>From</strong> Gepids or Danes or in Sweden <strong>to</strong> look for<br />

Trooper less true, with treasure <strong>to</strong> buy him;<br />

’Mong foot-soldiers ever in front I would hie me,<br />

Alone in <strong>the</strong> vanguard, <strong>and</strong> evermore gladly<br />

Warfare shall wage, while this weapon endureth<br />

That late <strong>and</strong> early often did serve me<br />

When I proved before heroes <strong>the</strong> slayer of Dæghrefn,<br />

<br />

To <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> Frisians <strong>to</strong> carry <strong>the</strong> jewels,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The breast-decoration; but <strong>the</strong> banner-possessor<br />

Bowed in <strong>the</strong> battle, brave-mooded a<strong>the</strong>ling.<br />

No weapon was slayer, but war-grapple broke <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The surge of his spirit, his body destroying.<br />

Now shall weapon’s edge make war for <strong>the</strong> treasure,<br />

<br />

Boast-words uttered—<strong>the</strong> latest occasion:<br />

“I braved in my youth-days battles unnumbered;<br />

Still am I willing <strong>the</strong> struggle <strong>to</strong> look for,<br />

Fame-deeds perform, folk-warden prudent,<br />

If <strong>the</strong> hateful despoiler forth from his cavern<br />

Seeketh me out!” Each of <strong>the</strong> heroes,<br />

Helm-bearers sturdy, he <strong>the</strong>reupon greeted<br />

Belovèd co-liegemen—his last salutation:<br />

“No br<strong>and</strong> would I bear, no blade for <strong>the</strong> dragon,<br />

Wist I a way my word-boast <strong>to</strong> ’complish<br />

Else with <strong>the</strong> monster, as with Grendel I did it;<br />

<br />

<br />

Target <strong>and</strong> war-mail. The ward of <strong>the</strong> barrow<br />

<br />

At <strong>the</strong> wall ’twill befall us as Fate decreeth,<br />

Each one’s Crea<strong>to</strong>r. I am eager in spirit,<br />

With <strong>the</strong> wingèd war-hero <strong>to</strong> away with all boasting.<br />

Bide on <strong>the</strong> barrow with burnies protected,<br />

Earls in armor, which of us two may better<br />

Bear his disaster, when <strong>the</strong> battle is over.<br />

’Tis no matter of yours, <strong>and</strong> man cannot do it,<br />

But me <strong>and</strong> me only, <strong>to</strong> measure his strength with<br />

The monster of malice, might-deeds <strong>to</strong> ’complish.<br />

I with prowess shall gain <strong>the</strong> gold, or <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

<br />

The mighty champion rose by his shield <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Brave under helmet, in battle-mail went he<br />

<br />

Of one man alone: no work for a coward.<br />

Then he saw by <strong>the</strong> wall who a great many battles<br />

Had lived through, most worthy, when foot-troops collided,<br />

S<strong>to</strong>ne-arches st<strong>and</strong>ing, s<strong>to</strong>ut-hearted champion,<br />

Saw a brook from <strong>the</strong> barrow bubbling out <strong>the</strong>nceward:<br />

<br />

Not nigh <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> hoard, for season <strong>the</strong> briefest<br />

Could he brave, without burning, <strong>the</strong> abyss that was yawning,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

Caused <strong>the</strong>n that words came from his bosom,<br />

<br />

His battle-clear voice came in resounding<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> gray-colored s<strong>to</strong>ne. Stirred was his hatred,<br />

The hoard-ward distinguished <strong>the</strong> speech of a man;<br />

Time was no longer <strong>to</strong> look out for friendship.<br />

<br />

Vapory war-sweat, out of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ne-cave:<br />

The earth re-echoed. The earl ’neath <strong>the</strong> barrow<br />

Lifted his shield, lord of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen,<br />

Tow’rd <strong>the</strong> terrible stranger: <strong>the</strong> ring-twisted creature’s<br />

Heart was <strong>the</strong>n ready <strong>to</strong> seek for a struggle.<br />

<br />

The ancient heirloom, of edges unblunted,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> death-planners twain was terror from o<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

The lord of <strong>the</strong> troopers intrepidly s<strong>to</strong>od <strong>the</strong>n<br />

’Gainst his high-rising shield, when <strong>the</strong> dragon coiled him<br />

Quickly <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r: in corslet he bided.<br />

He went <strong>the</strong>n in blazes, bended <strong>and</strong> striding,<br />

Hasting him forward. His life <strong>and</strong> body<br />

The targe well protected, for time-period shorter<br />

Than wish dem<strong>and</strong>ed for <strong>the</strong> well-renowned leader,<br />

<br />

Famous in battle, as Fate had not willed it.<br />

The lord of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen uplifted his h<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

<br />

That bright on <strong>the</strong> bone <strong>the</strong> blade-edge did weaken,<br />

Bit more feebly than his folk-leader needed,<br />

Burdened with bale-griefs. Then <strong>the</strong> barrow-protec<strong>to</strong>r,<br />

<br />

<br />

Gleamed <strong>the</strong>n afar: <strong>the</strong> gold-friend of Weders<br />

Boasted no conquests, his battle-sword failed him<br />

<br />

Long-trusty weapon. ’Twas no slight undertaking<br />

<br />

The drake-cavern’s bot<strong>to</strong>m; he must live in some region<br />

O<strong>the</strong>r than this, by <strong>the</strong> will of <strong>the</strong> dragon,<br />

As each one of earthmen existence must forfeit.<br />

’Twas early <strong>the</strong>reafter <strong>the</strong> excellent warriors<br />

Met with each o<strong>the</strong>r. Anew <strong>and</strong> afresh<br />

<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

Who <strong>the</strong> people erst governed. His companions by no means<br />

Were b<strong>and</strong>ed about him, bairns of <strong>the</strong> princes,<br />

With valorous spirit, but <strong>the</strong>y sped <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> forest,<br />

Seeking for safety. The soul-deeps of one were<br />

<br />

Aught in him waver who well doth consider.<br />

Part XXXVI<br />

The son of Weohstan was Wiglaf entitled,<br />

<br />

Ælfhere’s kinsman: he saw his dear liegelord<br />

Enduring <strong>the</strong> heat ’neath helmet <strong>and</strong> visor.<br />

Then he minded <strong>the</strong> holding that erst he had given him,<br />

The Wægmunding warriors’ wealth-blessèd homestead,<br />

Each of <strong>the</strong> folk-rights his fa<strong>the</strong>r had wielded;<br />

He was hot for <strong>the</strong> battle, his h<strong>and</strong> seized <strong>the</strong> target,<br />

The yellow-bark shield, he unshea<strong>the</strong>d his old weapon,<br />

Which was known among earthmen as <strong>the</strong> relic of Eanmund,<br />

<br />

Weohstan did slay with sword-edge in battle,<br />

And carried his kinsman <strong>the</strong> clear-shining helmet,<br />

The ring-made burnie, <strong>the</strong> old giant-weapon<br />

That Onela gave him, his boon-fellow’s armor,<br />

Ready war-trappings: he <strong>the</strong> feud did not mention,<br />

Though he’d fatally smitten <strong>the</strong> son of his bro<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Many a half-year held he <strong>the</strong> treasures,<br />

The bill <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> burnie, till his bairn became able,<br />

Like his fa<strong>the</strong>r before him, fame-deeds <strong>to</strong> ’complish;<br />

Then he gave him ’mong Geatmen a goodly array of<br />

Weeds for his warfare; he went from life <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Old on his journey. ’Twas <strong>the</strong> earliest time <strong>the</strong>n<br />

That <strong>the</strong> youthful champion might charge in <strong>the</strong> battle<br />

Aiding his liegelord; his spirit was dauntless.<br />

Nor did kinsman’s bequest quail at <strong>the</strong> battle:<br />

This <strong>the</strong> dragon discovered on <strong>the</strong>ir coming <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Wiglaf uttered many a right-saying,<br />

Said <strong>to</strong> his fellows, sad was his spirit:<br />

“I remember <strong>the</strong> time when, tasting <strong>the</strong> mead-cup,<br />

We promised in <strong>the</strong> hall <strong>the</strong> lord of us all<br />

Who gave us <strong>the</strong>se ring-treasures, that this battle-equipment,<br />

Swords <strong>and</strong> helmets, we’d certainly quite him,<br />

Should need of such aid ever befall him:<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

In <strong>the</strong> war-b<strong>and</strong> he chose us for this journey spontaneously,<br />

Stirred us <strong>to</strong> glory <strong>and</strong> gave me <strong>the</strong>se jewels,<br />

Since he held <strong>and</strong> esteemed us trust-worthy spearmen,<br />

Hardy helm-bearers, though this hero-achievement<br />

Our lord intended alone <strong>to</strong> accomplish,<br />

Ward of his people, for most of achievements,<br />

Doings audacious, he did among earth-folk.<br />

The day is now come when <strong>the</strong> ruler of earthmen<br />

Needeth <strong>the</strong> vigor of valiant heroes:<br />

Let us wend us <strong>to</strong>wards him, <strong>the</strong> war-prince <strong>to</strong> succor,<br />

<br />

God wot in me, ’tis mickle <strong>the</strong> liefer<br />

The blaze should embrace my body <strong>and</strong> eat it<br />

With my treasure-bes<strong>to</strong>wer. Meseemeth not proper<br />

To bear our battle-shields back <strong>to</strong> our country,<br />

<br />

Long-hating foeman, <strong>to</strong> defend <strong>the</strong> life of<br />

The prince of <strong>the</strong> Weders. Well do I know ’tisn’t<br />

Earned by his exploits, he only of Geatmen<br />

<br />

Br<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> helmet <strong>to</strong> us both shall be common,<br />

Shield-cover, burnie.” Through <strong>the</strong> bale-smoke he stalked <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Went under helmet <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> help of his chieftain,<br />

<br />

Perform thou all fully, as thou formerly saidst,<br />

In thy youthful years, that while yet thou livedst<br />

Thou wouldst let thine honor not ever be lessened.<br />

Thy life thou shalt save, mighty in actions,<br />

A<strong>the</strong>ling undaunted, with all of thy vigor;<br />

I’ll give <strong>the</strong>e assistance.” The dragon came raging,<br />

Wild-mooded stranger, when <strong>the</strong>se words had been uttered<br />

<br />

<br />

With blaze-billows burned <strong>the</strong> board <strong>to</strong> its edges:<br />

<br />

To <strong>the</strong> youthful spear-hero: but <strong>the</strong> young-agèd stripling<br />

Quickly advanced ’neath his kinsman’s war-target,<br />

<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> warrior-king was careful of glory,<br />

He soundly smote with sword-for-<strong>the</strong>-battle,<br />

That it s<strong>to</strong>od in <strong>the</strong> head by hatred driven;<br />

Nægling was shivered, <strong>the</strong> old <strong>and</strong> iron-made<br />

Br<strong>and</strong> of Beowulf in battle deceived him.<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

’Twas denied him that edges of irons were able<br />

To help in <strong>the</strong> battle; <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong> was <strong>to</strong>o mighty<br />

Which every weapon, as I heard on inquiry,<br />

Outstruck in its stroke, when <strong>to</strong> struggle he carried<br />

The wonderful war-sword: it waxed him no better.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> people-despoiler—third of his onsets—<br />

<br />

<br />

Heated <strong>and</strong> war-grim, seized on his neck<br />

With teeth that were bitter; he bloody did wax with<br />

Soul-gore seething; sword-blood in waves boiled.<br />

Part XXXVII<br />

Then I heard that at need of <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> people<br />

The upst<strong>and</strong>ing earlman exhibited prowess,<br />

Vigor <strong>and</strong> courage, as suited his nature;<br />

He his head did not guard, but <strong>the</strong> high-minded liegeman’s<br />

H<strong>and</strong> was consumed, when he succored his kinsman,<br />

So he struck <strong>the</strong> strife-bringing strange-comer lower,<br />

Earl-thane in armor, that in went <strong>the</strong> weapon<br />

<br />

Later <strong>to</strong> lessen. The liegelord himself <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Retained his consciousness, br<strong>and</strong>ished his war-knife,<br />

Battle-sharp, bitter, that he bare on his armor:<br />

The Weder-lord cut <strong>the</strong> worm in <strong>the</strong> middle.<br />

<br />

Puissant prowess), <strong>the</strong> pair had destroyed him,<br />

L<strong>and</strong>-chiefs related: so a liegeman should prove him,<br />

A thaneman when needed. To <strong>the</strong> prince ’twas <strong>the</strong> last of<br />

His era of conquest by his own great achievements,<br />

The latest of world-deeds. The wound <strong>the</strong>n began<br />

Which <strong>the</strong> earth-dwelling dragon erstwhile had wrought him<br />

To burn <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> swell. He soon <strong>the</strong>n discovered<br />

That bitterest bale-woe in his bosom was raging,<br />

Poison within. The a<strong>the</strong>ling advanced <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

That along by <strong>the</strong> wall, he prudent of spirit<br />

Might sit on a settle; he saw <strong>the</strong> giant-work,<br />

How arches of s<strong>to</strong>ne streng<strong>the</strong>ned with pillars<br />

The earth-hall eternal inward supported.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> long-worthy liegeman laved with his h<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Far-famous chieftain, gory from sword-edge,<br />

Refreshing <strong>the</strong> face of his friend-lord <strong>and</strong> ruler,<br />

Sated with battle, unbinding his helmet.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Beowulf answered, of his injury spake he,<br />

<br />

He had lived his allotted life-days enjoying<br />

The pleasures of earth; <strong>the</strong>n past was entirely<br />

His measure of days, death very near):<br />

“My son I would give now my battle-equipments,<br />

Had any of heirs been after me granted,<br />

Along of my body. This people I governed<br />

Fifty of winters: no king ’mong my neighbors<br />

Dared <strong>to</strong> encounter me with comrades-in-battle,<br />

Try me with terror. The time <strong>to</strong> me ordered<br />

<br />

Sought me no snares, swore me not many<br />

Oaths in injustice. Joy over all this<br />

I’m able <strong>to</strong> have, though ill with my death-wounds;<br />

Hence <strong>the</strong> Ruler of Earthmen need not charge me<br />

With <strong>the</strong> killing of kinsmen, when cometh my life out<br />

Forth from my body. Fare thou with haste now<br />

To behold <strong>the</strong> hoard ’neath <strong>the</strong> hoar-grayish s<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

Well-lovèd Wiglaf, now <strong>the</strong> worm is a-lying,<br />

Sore-wounded sleepeth, disseized of his treasure.<br />

Go thou in haste that treasures of old I,<br />

Gold-wealth may gaze on, <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r see lying<br />

The e<strong>the</strong>r-bright jewels, be easier able,<br />

Having <strong>the</strong> heap of hoard-gems, <strong>to</strong> yield my<br />

Life <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>-folk whom long I have governed.”<br />

Part XXXVIII<br />

Then heard I that Wihstan’s son very quickly,<br />

These words being uttered, heeded his liegelord<br />

Wounded <strong>and</strong> war-sick, went in his armor,<br />

His well-woven ring-mail, ’neath <strong>the</strong> roof of <strong>the</strong> barrow.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> trusty retainer treasure-gems many<br />

Vic<strong>to</strong>rious saw, when <strong>the</strong> seat he came near <strong>to</strong>,<br />

Gold-treasure sparkling spread on <strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>m,<br />

Wonder on <strong>the</strong> wall, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> worm-creature’s cavern,<br />

<br />

Cups of <strong>the</strong> ancients of cleansers bereavèd,<br />

Robbed of <strong>the</strong>ir ornaments: <strong>the</strong>re were helmets in numbers,<br />

Old <strong>and</strong> rust-eaten, arm-bracelets many,<br />

Artfully woven. Wealth can easily,<br />

Gold on <strong>the</strong> sea-bot<strong>to</strong>m, turn in<strong>to</strong> vanity<br />

Each one of earthmen, arm him who pleaseth!<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

And he saw <strong>the</strong>re lying an all-golden banner<br />

High o’er <strong>the</strong> hoard, of h<strong>and</strong>-wonders greatest,<br />

Linkèd with lacets: a light from it sparkled,<br />

<br />

To examine <strong>the</strong> jewels. Sight of <strong>the</strong> dragon<br />

<br />

Then I heard that <strong>the</strong> hero <strong>the</strong> hoard-treasure plundered,<br />

The giant-work ancient reaved in <strong>the</strong> cavern,<br />

Bare on his bosom <strong>the</strong> beakers <strong>and</strong> platters,<br />

<br />

The brightest of beacons; <strong>the</strong> bill had erst injured<br />

<br />

Him who long had watched as ward of <strong>the</strong> jewels,<br />

<br />

Rolling in battle, in middlemost darkness,<br />

Till murdered he perished. The messenger hastened,<br />

Not loth <strong>to</strong> return, hurried by jewels:<br />

Curiosity urged him if, excellent-mooded,<br />

<br />

Mortally wounded, at <strong>the</strong> place where he left him.<br />

’Mid <strong>the</strong> jewels he found <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> famous old chieftain,<br />

His liegelord belovèd, at his life’s-end gory:<br />

He <strong>the</strong>reupon ’gan <strong>to</strong> lave him with water,<br />

Till <strong>the</strong> point of his word piercèd his breast-hoard.<br />

<br />

The old one in sorrow: “For <strong>the</strong> jewels I look on<br />

Thanks do I utter for all <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ruler,<br />

Wielder of Worship, with words of devotion,<br />

The Lord everlasting, that He let me such treasures<br />

Gain for my people ere death over<strong>to</strong>ok me.<br />

Since I’ve bartered <strong>the</strong> agèd life <strong>to</strong> me granted<br />

For treasure of jewels, attend ye henceforward<br />

The wants of <strong>the</strong> war-thanes; I can wait here no longer.<br />

The battle-famed bid ye <strong>to</strong> build <strong>the</strong>m a grave-hill,<br />

Bright when I’m burned, at <strong>the</strong> brim-current’s limit;<br />

As a memory-mark <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> men I have governed,<br />

Aloft it shall <strong>to</strong>wer on Whale’s-Ness uprising,<br />

That earls of <strong>the</strong> ocean hereafter may call it<br />

Beowulf’s barrow, those who barks ever-dashing<br />

<strong>From</strong> a distance shall drive o’er <strong>the</strong> darkness of waters.”<br />

The bold-mooded troop-lord <strong>to</strong>ok from his neck <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The ring that was golden, gave <strong>to</strong> his liegeman,<br />

<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

His collar <strong>and</strong> war-mail, bade him well <strong>to</strong> enjoy <strong>the</strong>m:<br />

“Thou art latest left of <strong>the</strong> line of our kindred,<br />

<br />

All of my kinsmen <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Crea<strong>to</strong>r’s glory,<br />

Earls in <strong>the</strong>ir vigor: I shall after <strong>the</strong>m fare.”<br />

’Twas <strong>the</strong> aged liegelord’s last-spoken word in<br />

<br />

The battle-waves burning: from his bosom departed<br />

His soul <strong>to</strong> seek <strong>the</strong> sainted ones’ glory.<br />

Part XXXIX<br />

It had wofully chanced <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> youthful retainer<br />

To behold on earth <strong>the</strong> most ardent-belovèd<br />

At his life-days’ limit, lying <strong>the</strong>re helpless.<br />

The slayer <strong>to</strong>o lay <strong>the</strong>re, of life all bereavèd,<br />

Horrible earth-drake, harassed with sorrow:<br />

The round-twisted monster was permitted no longer<br />

To govern <strong>the</strong> ring-hoards, but edges of war-swords<br />

Mightily seized him, battle-sharp, sturdy<br />

Leavings of hammers, that still from his wounds<br />

<br />

Hard by his hoard-house, hopped he at midnight<br />

Not e’er through <strong>the</strong> air, nor exulting in jewels<br />

<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> hero-chief’s h<strong>and</strong>work. I heard sure it throve <strong>the</strong>n<br />

But few in <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> of liegemen of valor,<br />

Though of every achievement bold he had proved him,<br />

To run ’gainst <strong>the</strong> breath of <strong>the</strong> venomous sca<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Or <strong>the</strong> hall of <strong>the</strong> treasure <strong>to</strong> trouble with h<strong>and</strong>-blows,<br />

If he watching had found <strong>the</strong> ward of <strong>the</strong> hoard-hall<br />

On <strong>the</strong> barrow abiding. Beowulf’s part of<br />

The treasure of jewels was paid for with death;<br />

Each of <strong>the</strong> twain had attained <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> end of<br />

Life so unlasting. Not long was <strong>the</strong> time till<br />

The tardy-at-battle returned from <strong>the</strong> thicket,<br />

The timid truce-breakers ten all <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Who durst not before play with <strong>the</strong> lances<br />

In <strong>the</strong> prince of <strong>the</strong> people’s pressing emergency;<br />

But blushing with shame, with shields <strong>the</strong>y be<strong>to</strong>ok <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

With arms <strong>and</strong> armor where <strong>the</strong> old one was lying:<br />

They gazed upon Wiglaf. He was sitting exhausted,<br />

<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> lord of <strong>the</strong> people, would rouse him with water;<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

No whit did it help him; though he hoped for it keenly,<br />

He was able on earth not at all in <strong>the</strong> leader<br />

Life <strong>to</strong> retain, <strong>and</strong> nowise <strong>to</strong> alter<br />

The will of <strong>the</strong> Wielder; <strong>the</strong> World-Ruler’s power<br />

Would govern <strong>the</strong> actions of each one of heroes,<br />

As yet He is doing. <strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> young one forthwith <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Could grim-worded greeting be got for him quickly<br />

Whose courage had failed him. Wiglaf discoursed <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Weohstan his son, sad-mooded hero,<br />

Looked on <strong>the</strong> hated: “He who soothness will utter<br />

Can say that <strong>the</strong> liegelord who gave you <strong>the</strong> jewels,<br />

The ornament-armor wherein ye are st<strong>and</strong>ing,<br />

<br />

Helmet <strong>and</strong> burnie, <strong>the</strong> prince <strong>to</strong> his liegemen,<br />

<br />

That he wildly wasted his war-gear undoubtedly<br />

When battle o’er<strong>to</strong>ok him. The troop-king no need had<br />

To glory in comrades; yet God permitted him,<br />

Vic<strong>to</strong>ry-Wielder, with weapon unaided<br />

Himself <strong>to</strong> avenge, when vigor was needed.<br />

I life-protection but little was able<br />

To give him in battle, <strong>and</strong> I ’gan, notwithst<strong>and</strong>ing,<br />

<br />

He waxed <strong>the</strong> weaker when with weapon I smote on<br />

<br />

Flamed from his bosom. Too few of protec<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

Came round <strong>the</strong> king at <strong>the</strong> critical moment.<br />

Now must ornament-taking <strong>and</strong> weapon-bes<strong>to</strong>wing,<br />

Home-joyance all, cease for your kindred,<br />

Food for <strong>the</strong> people; each of your warriors<br />

Must needs be bereavèd of rights that he holdeth<br />

In l<strong>and</strong>ed possessions, when faraway nobles<br />

Shall learn of your leaving your lord so basely,<br />

The dastardly deed. Death is more pleasant<br />

To every earlman than infamous life is!”<br />

Part XL<br />

Then he charged that <strong>the</strong> battle be announced at <strong>the</strong> hedge<br />

<br />

The whole of <strong>the</strong> morning, mood-wretched sat <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Bearers of battle-shields, both things expecting,<br />

The end of his lifetime <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> coming again of<br />

The liegelord belovèd. Little reserved he<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

But he truly discoursed <strong>to</strong> all that could hear him:<br />

“Now <strong>the</strong> free-giving friend-lord of <strong>the</strong> folk of <strong>the</strong> Weders,<br />

The folk-prince of Geatmen, is fast in his death-bed,<br />

By <strong>the</strong> deeds of <strong>the</strong> dragon in death-bed abideth;<br />

Along with him lieth his life-taking foeman<br />

Slain with knife-wounds: he was wholly unable<br />

To injure at all <strong>the</strong> ill-planning monster<br />

With bite of his sword-edge. Wiglaf is sitting,<br />

<br />

Earl o’er ano<strong>the</strong>r whose end-day hath reached him,<br />

Head-watch holdeth o’er heroes unliving,<br />

For friend <strong>and</strong> for foeman. The folk now expecteth<br />

A season of strife when <strong>the</strong> death of <strong>the</strong> folk-king<br />

To Frankmen <strong>and</strong> Frisians in far-l<strong>and</strong>s is published.<br />

The war-hatred waxed warm ’gainst <strong>the</strong> Hugmen,<br />

When Higelac came with an army of vessels<br />

Faring <strong>to</strong> Friesl<strong>and</strong>, where <strong>the</strong> Frankmen in battle<br />

Humbled him <strong>and</strong> bravely with overmight ’complished<br />

That <strong>the</strong> mail-clad warrior must sink in <strong>the</strong> battle,<br />

Fell ’mid his folk-troop: no fret-gems presented<br />

The a<strong>the</strong>ling <strong>to</strong> earlmen; aye was denied us<br />

Merewing’s mercy. The men of <strong>the</strong> Swedel<strong>and</strong>s<br />

For truce or for truth trust I but little;<br />

But widely ’twas known that near Ravenswood Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow<br />

Sundered Hæthcyn <strong>the</strong> Hrethling from life-joys,<br />

<br />

Seek <strong>the</strong> Geatmen with savage intentions.<br />

Early did Oh<strong>the</strong>re’s age-laden fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Old <strong>and</strong> terrible, give blow in requital,<br />

Killing <strong>the</strong> sea-king, <strong>the</strong> queen-mo<strong>the</strong>r rescued,<br />

The old one his consort deprived of her gold,<br />

Onela’s mo<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> Oh<strong>the</strong>re’s also,<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n followed <strong>the</strong> feud-nursing foemen till hardly,<br />

Reaved of <strong>the</strong>ir ruler, <strong>the</strong>y Ravenswood entered.<br />

Then with vast-numbered forces he assaulted <strong>the</strong> remnant,<br />

Weary with wounds, woe often promised<br />

The livelong night <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> sad-hearted war-troop:<br />

Said he at morning would kill <strong>the</strong>m with edges of weapons,<br />

Some on <strong>the</strong> gallows for glee <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> fowls.<br />

Aid came after <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> anxious-in-spirit<br />

At dawn of <strong>the</strong> day, after Higelac’s bugle<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

And trumpet-sound heard <strong>the</strong>y, when <strong>the</strong> good one proceeded<br />

<br />

Part XLI<br />

“The blood-stainèd trace of Swedes <strong>and</strong> Geatmen,<br />

The death-rush of warmen, widely was noticed,<br />

How <strong>the</strong> folks with each o<strong>the</strong>r feud did awaken.<br />

The worthy one went <strong>the</strong>n with well-beloved comrades,<br />

Old <strong>and</strong> dejected <strong>to</strong> go <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> fastness,<br />

Ongen<strong>the</strong>o earl upward <strong>the</strong>n turned him;<br />

Of Higelac’s battle he’d heard on inquiry,<br />

The exultant one’s prowess, despaired of resistance,<br />

With earls of <strong>the</strong> ocean <strong>to</strong> be able <strong>to</strong> struggle,<br />

’Gainst sea-going sailors <strong>to</strong> save <strong>the</strong> hoard-treasure,<br />

<br />

<br />

To <strong>the</strong> braves of <strong>the</strong> Swedemen, <strong>the</strong> banner <strong>to</strong> Higelac.<br />

<br />

When <strong>the</strong> Hrethling heroes hedgeward had thronged <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Then with edges of irons was Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow driven,<br />

The gray-haired <strong>to</strong> tarry, that <strong>the</strong> troop-ruler had <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

Wulf <strong>the</strong>n wildly with weapon assaulted him,<br />

Wonred his son, that for swinge of <strong>the</strong> edges<br />

The blood from his body burst out in currents,<br />

Forth ’neath his hair. He feared not however,<br />

<br />

The wasting wound-stroke with worse exchange,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> king of <strong>the</strong> thane-troop thi<strong>the</strong>r did turn him:<br />

The wise-mooded son of Wonred was powerless<br />

To give a return-blow <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> age-hoary man,<br />

<br />

<br />

Fell <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> earth; not fey was he yet <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

But up did he spring though an edge-wound had reached him.<br />

Then Higelac’s vassal, valiant <strong>and</strong> dauntless,<br />

When his bro<strong>the</strong>r lay dead, made his broad-bladed weapon,<br />

Giant-sword ancient, defence of <strong>the</strong> giants,<br />

Bound o’er <strong>the</strong> shield-wall; <strong>the</strong> folk-prince succumbed <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

Shepherd of people, was pierced <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> vitals.<br />

There were many attendants who bound up his kinsman,<br />

Carried him quickly when occasion was granted<br />

<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

This pending, one hero plundered <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

His armor of iron from Ongen<strong>the</strong>ow ravished,<br />

His hard-sword hilted <strong>and</strong> helmet <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r;<br />

The old one’s equipments he carried <strong>to</strong> Higelac.<br />

He <strong>the</strong> jewels received, <strong>and</strong> rewards ’mid <strong>the</strong> troopers<br />

Graciously promised, <strong>and</strong> so did accomplish:<br />

The king of <strong>the</strong> Weders requited <strong>the</strong> war-rush,<br />

Hre<strong>the</strong>l’s descendant, when home he repaired him,<br />

To Eofor <strong>and</strong> Wulf with wide-lavished treasures,<br />

To each of <strong>the</strong>m granted a hundred of thous<strong>and</strong>s<br />

In l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> rings wrought out of wire:<br />

None upon mid-earth needed <strong>to</strong> twit him<br />

With <strong>the</strong> gifts he gave <strong>the</strong>m, when glory <strong>the</strong>y conquered;<br />

And <strong>to</strong> Eofor <strong>the</strong>n gave he his one only daughter,<br />

The honor of home, as an earnest of favor.<br />

That’s <strong>the</strong> feud <strong>and</strong> hatred—as ween I ’twill happen—<br />

The anger of earthmen, that earls of <strong>the</strong> Swedemen<br />

Will visit on us, when <strong>the</strong>y hear that our leader<br />

Lifeless is lying, he who longtime protected<br />

His hoard <strong>and</strong> kingdom ’gainst hating assailers,<br />

Who on <strong>the</strong> fall of <strong>the</strong> heroes defended of yore<br />

The deed-mighty Scyldings, did for <strong>the</strong> troopers<br />

What best did avail <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>and</strong> fur<strong>the</strong>r moreover<br />

<br />

That <strong>the</strong> lord of liegemen we look upon yonder,<br />

And that one carry on journey <strong>to</strong> death-pyre<br />

Who ring-presents gave us. Not aught of it all<br />

Shall melt with <strong>the</strong> brave one—<strong>the</strong>re’s a mass of bright jewels,<br />

Gold beyond measure, grewsomely purchased<br />

And ending it all ornament-rings <strong>to</strong>o<br />

<br />

Flame shall cover, no earlman shall wear<br />

A jewel-memen<strong>to</strong>, nor beautiful virgin<br />

Have on her neck rings <strong>to</strong> adorn her,<br />

But wretched in spirit bereavèd of gold-gems<br />

She shall oft with o<strong>the</strong>rs be exiled <strong>and</strong> banished,<br />

Since <strong>the</strong> leader of liegemen hath laughter forsaken,<br />

Mirth <strong>and</strong> merriment. Hence many a war-spear<br />

<br />

Heaved in <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>, no harp-music’s sound shall<br />

Waken <strong>the</strong> warriors, but <strong>the</strong> wan-coated raven<br />

Fain over fey ones freely shall gabble,<br />

Shall say <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> eagle how he sped in <strong>the</strong> eating,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

When, <strong>the</strong> wolf his companion, he plundered <strong>the</strong> slain.”<br />

So <strong>the</strong> high-minded hero was rehearsing <strong>the</strong>se s<strong>to</strong>ries<br />

Loathsome <strong>to</strong> hear; he lied as <strong>to</strong> few of<br />

Weirds <strong>and</strong> of words. All <strong>the</strong> war-troop arose <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

’Neath <strong>the</strong> Eagle’s Cape sadly be<strong>to</strong>ok <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Weeping <strong>and</strong> woful, <strong>the</strong> wonder <strong>to</strong> look at.<br />

They saw on <strong>the</strong> s<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n soulless a-lying,<br />

His slaughter-bed holding, him who rings had given <strong>the</strong>m<br />

In days that were done; <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> death-bringing moment<br />

Was come <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> good one, that <strong>the</strong> king very warlike,<br />

Wielder of Weders, with wonder-death perished.<br />

First <strong>the</strong>y beheld <strong>the</strong>re a creature more wondrous,<br />

<br />

<br />

Ghostly <strong>and</strong> grisly guest in his terrors,<br />

<br />

Fifty of feet; came forth in <strong>the</strong> night-time<br />

To rejoice in <strong>the</strong> air, <strong>the</strong>reafter departing<br />

To visit his den; he in death was <strong>the</strong>n fastened,<br />

He would joy in no o<strong>the</strong>r earth-hollowed caverns.<br />

There s<strong>to</strong>od round about him beakers <strong>and</strong> vessels,<br />

Dishes were lying <strong>and</strong> dear-valued weapons,<br />

With iron-rust eaten, as in earth’s mighty bosom<br />

A thous<strong>and</strong> of winters <strong>the</strong>re <strong>the</strong>y had rested:<br />

That mighty bequest <strong>the</strong>n with magic was guarded,<br />

Gold of <strong>the</strong> ancients, that earlman not any<br />

The ring-hall could <strong>to</strong>uch, save Ruling-God only,<br />

Sooth-king of Vict’ries gave whom He wished <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

E’en <strong>to</strong> such among mortals as seemed <strong>to</strong> Him proper.<br />

Part XLII<br />

Then ’twas seen that <strong>the</strong> journey prospered him little<br />

Who wrongly within had <strong>the</strong> ornaments hidden<br />

Down ’neath <strong>the</strong> wall. The warden erst slaughtered<br />

Some few of <strong>the</strong> folk-troop: <strong>the</strong> feud <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>reafter<br />

Was hotly avengèd. ’Tis a wonder where,<br />

When <strong>the</strong> strength-famous trooper has attained <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> end of<br />

Life-days allotted, <strong>the</strong>n no longer <strong>the</strong> man may<br />

<br />

So <strong>to</strong> Beowulf happened when <strong>the</strong> ward of <strong>the</strong> barrow,<br />

Assaults, he sought for: himself had no knowledge<br />

How his leaving this life was likely <strong>to</strong> happen.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

So <strong>to</strong> doomsday, famous folk-leaders down did<br />

Call it with curses—who ’complished it <strong>the</strong>re—<br />

That that man should be ever of ill-deeds convicted,<br />

<br />

Punished with plagues, who this place should e’er ravage.<br />

He cared not for gold: ra<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> Wielder’s<br />

<br />

Wiglaf discoursed <strong>the</strong>n, Wihstan his son:<br />

“Oft many an earlman on one man’s account must<br />

Sorrow endure, as <strong>to</strong> us it hath happened.<br />

The liegelord belovèd we could little prevail on,<br />

Kingdom’s keeper, counsel <strong>to</strong> follow,<br />

Not <strong>to</strong> go <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> guardian of <strong>the</strong> gold-hoard, but let him<br />

Lie where he long was, live in his dwelling<br />

Till <strong>the</strong> end of <strong>the</strong> world. Met we a destiny<br />

Hard <strong>to</strong> endure: <strong>the</strong> hoard has been looked at,<br />

Been gained very grimly; <strong>to</strong>o grievous <strong>the</strong> fate that<br />

The prince of <strong>the</strong> people pricked <strong>to</strong> come thi<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

I was <strong>the</strong>rein <strong>and</strong> all of it looked at,<br />

The building’s equipments, since access was given me,<br />

Not kindly at all entrance permitted<br />

Within under earth-wall. Hastily seized I<br />

And held in my h<strong>and</strong>s a huge-weighing burden<br />

Of hoard-treasures costly, hi<strong>the</strong>r out bare <strong>the</strong>m<br />

To my liegelord belovèd: life was yet in him,<br />

And consciousness also; <strong>the</strong> old one discoursed <strong>the</strong>n<br />

Much <strong>and</strong> mournfully, comm<strong>and</strong>ed <strong>to</strong> greet you,<br />

Bade that remembering <strong>the</strong> deeds of your friend-lord<br />

<br />

Burial-barrow, broad <strong>and</strong> far-famous,<br />

As ’mid world-dwelling warriors he was widely most honored<br />

While he reveled in riches. Let us rouse us <strong>and</strong> hasten<br />

Again <strong>to</strong> see <strong>and</strong> seek for <strong>the</strong> treasure,<br />

The wonder ’neath wall. The way I will show you,<br />

<br />

And gold in abundance. Let <strong>the</strong> bier with promptness<br />

Fully be fashioned, when forth we shall come,<br />

And lift we our lord, <strong>the</strong>n, where long he shall tarry,<br />

Well-beloved warrior, ’neath <strong>the</strong> Wielder’s protection.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> son of Wihstan bade orders be given,<br />

Mood-valiant man, <strong>to</strong> many of heroes,<br />

Holders of homesteads, that <strong>the</strong>y hi<strong>the</strong>r from far,<br />

Leaders of liegemen, should look for <strong>the</strong> good one<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

<br />

Who <strong>the</strong> rain of <strong>the</strong> iron often abided,<br />

When, sturdily hurled, <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm of <strong>the</strong> arrows<br />

Leapt o’er linden-wall, <strong>the</strong> lance rendered service,<br />

Furnished with fea<strong>the</strong>rs followed <strong>the</strong> arrow.”<br />

Now <strong>the</strong> wise-mooded son of Wihstan did summon<br />

The best of <strong>the</strong> braves from <strong>the</strong> b<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> ruler<br />

Seven <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r; ’neath <strong>the</strong> enemy’s roof he<br />

Went with <strong>the</strong> seven; one of <strong>the</strong> heroes<br />

<br />

Bare in his h<strong>and</strong>. No lot <strong>the</strong>n decided<br />

Who that hoard should havoc, when hero-earls saw it<br />

Lying in <strong>the</strong> cavern uncared-for entirely,<br />

Rusting <strong>to</strong> ruin: <strong>the</strong>y rued <strong>the</strong>n but little<br />

That <strong>the</strong>y hastily hence hauled out <strong>the</strong> treasure,<br />

The dear-valued jewels; <strong>the</strong> dragon eke pushed <strong>the</strong>y,<br />

The worm o’er <strong>the</strong> wall, let <strong>the</strong> wave-currents take him,<br />

The waters enwind <strong>the</strong> ward of <strong>the</strong> treasures.<br />

There wounden gold on a wain was uploaded,<br />

<br />

The hero hoary, <strong>to</strong> Whale’s-Ness was carried.<br />

Part XLIII<br />

The folk of <strong>the</strong> Geatmen got him <strong>the</strong>n ready<br />

A pile on <strong>the</strong> earth strong for <strong>the</strong> burning,<br />

Behung with helmets, hero-knights’ targets,<br />

And bright-shining burnies, as he begged <strong>the</strong>y should have <strong>the</strong>m;<br />

Then wailing war-heroes <strong>the</strong>ir world-famous chieftain,<br />

Their liegelord beloved, laid in <strong>the</strong> middle.<br />

Soldiers began <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> make on <strong>the</strong> barrow<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Till <strong>the</strong> building of bone it had broken <strong>to</strong> pieces,<br />

Hot in <strong>the</strong> heart. Heavy in spirit<br />

They mood-sad lamented <strong>the</strong> men-leader’s ruin;<br />

And mournful measures <strong>the</strong> much-grieving widow<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

* * * * * * *<br />

The men of <strong>the</strong> Weders made accordingly<br />

A hill on <strong>the</strong> height, high <strong>and</strong> extensive,<br />

Of sea-going sailors <strong>to</strong> be seen from a distance,<br />

<br />

In ten-days’ space, with a wall surrounded it,<br />

As wisest of world-folk could most worthily plan it.<br />

They placed in <strong>the</strong> barrow rings <strong>and</strong> jewels,<br />

All such ornaments as erst in <strong>the</strong> treasure<br />

War-mooded men had won in possession:<br />

The earnings of earlmen <strong>to</strong> earth <strong>the</strong>y entrusted,<br />

The gold <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> dust, where yet it remaineth<br />

As useless <strong>to</strong> mortals as in foregoing eras.<br />

’Round <strong>the</strong> dead-mound rode <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> doughty-in-battle,<br />

Bairns of all twelve of <strong>the</strong> chiefs of <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

More would <strong>the</strong>y mourn, lament for <strong>the</strong>ir ruler,<br />

Speak in measure, mention him with pleasure,<br />

Weighed his worth, <strong>and</strong> his warlike achievements<br />

Mightily commended, as ’tis meet one praise his<br />

Liegelord in words <strong>and</strong> love him in spirit,<br />

When forth from his body he fares <strong>to</strong> destruction.<br />

So lamented mourning <strong>the</strong> men of <strong>the</strong> Geats,<br />

Fond-loving vassals, <strong>the</strong> fall of <strong>the</strong>ir lord,<br />

Said he was kindest of kings under heaven,<br />

Gentlest of men, most winning of manner,<br />

Friendliest <strong>to</strong> folk-troops <strong>and</strong> fondest of honor.<br />

1.5.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions<br />

1. Are Grendel <strong>and</strong> his mo<strong>the</strong>r symbolic? Do <strong>the</strong>y represent something <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> characters? Does <strong>the</strong> dragon at <strong>the</strong> end symbolize something else?<br />

2. What do each of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ries-within-<strong>the</strong>-s<strong>to</strong>ry add <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> overall <strong>the</strong>me of<br />

Beowulf? How do <strong>the</strong>y foreshadow later events?<br />

3. What is explicitly Christian in Beowulf, <strong>and</strong> what isn’t? How much does<br />

<br />

4. How does Beowulf represent ideas about family/kinship? What should<br />

<strong>the</strong> audience emulate, <strong>and</strong> are <strong>the</strong>re warnings about kin?<br />

5. Is Beowulf a good hero <strong>and</strong>/or a good king? To what extent in each case?<br />

Give evidence.<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

1.6 JUDITH<br />

Author unknown<br />

At least late tenth century, possibly earlier<br />

Old English / Anglo-Saxon<br />

Like Beowulf, <strong>the</strong> only copy of <strong>the</strong> poem Judith is found in one manuscript—<br />

<strong>the</strong> same manuscript as Beowulf. Unlike Beowulf, this poem is not <strong>the</strong> only extant<br />

version of <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry. The Book of Judith was removed from <strong>the</strong> Protestant Bible<br />

during <strong>the</strong> Reformation, but remains in <strong>the</strong> Roman Catholic Bible <strong>and</strong> Eastern<br />

Orthodox Bible. It is no coincidence that Judith <strong>and</strong> Beowulf are next <strong>to</strong> each o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

in <strong>the</strong> manuscript; as described in <strong>the</strong> poem, Judith is a female version of Beowulf,<br />

albeit a decidedly more Christian one. There may be “shield-bearing warriors”<br />

<br />

a warrior for God. Holofernes may be an Assyrian general, but both he <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Hebrew maiden Judith are described in ways that <strong>the</strong> Danish Beowulf or <strong>the</strong><br />

Anglo-Saxon audience for <strong>the</strong> poem would recognize: Holofernes is a “gold-friend<br />

<br />

any o<strong>the</strong>r warrior. The poem is written in alliterative verse, with two half-lines<br />

Beowulf <br />

<strong>the</strong> “gold-friend” mentioned above—<strong>the</strong> lord who gives his retainers gold); like<br />

The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood<br />

<br />

348 lines, <strong>the</strong> Anglo-Saxon poem is only a fragment of <strong>the</strong> complete s<strong>to</strong>ry found in<br />

<br />

s<strong>to</strong>ry makes Holofernes far less dangerous <strong>and</strong> Judith far less brave). In <strong>the</strong> poem,<br />

Judith’s war-like attributes are balanced with repeated descriptions of her as a<br />

holy woman. Judith’s beauty may be described in a vaguely pagan way as “elf-<br />

<br />

<br />

of a New Testament saint.<br />

1.6.1 Selections from Judith<br />

Part I<br />

[The glorious Crea<strong>to</strong>r’s] gifts doubted she [not]<br />

Upón this wide earth; <strong>the</strong>n found she <strong>the</strong>re ready<br />

Help from <strong>the</strong> mighty Prince, when she most need did have<br />

Of grace from <strong>the</strong> highest Judge, that her ’gainst <strong>the</strong> greatest terror<br />

The Lord of Creation should shield. That Fa<strong>the</strong>r in heaven <strong>to</strong> her<br />

<br />

Ín <strong>the</strong> Almighty ever. Then heard I that Holofernes<br />

Wine-summons eagerly wrought, <strong>and</strong> with all wonders a glorious<br />

<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

All his noblest thanes. Thát with mickle haste<br />

Did <strong>the</strong> warriors-with-shields perform; came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> mighty chief<br />

The people’s leaders going. Ón <strong>the</strong> fourth day was that<br />

After that Judith, cunning in mind,<br />

<br />

Part II<br />

They <strong>the</strong>n at <strong>the</strong> feast proceeded <strong>to</strong> sit,<br />

The proud <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> wine-drinking, all his comrades-in-ill,<br />

Bold mailèd-warriors. There were lofty beakers<br />

<br />

Full <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> hall-sitters borne. The fated par<strong>to</strong>ok of <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

Brave warriors-with-shields, though <strong>the</strong> mighty weened not of it,<br />

<br />

Gold-friend of men, full of wine-joy:<br />

He laughed <strong>and</strong> clamored, shouted <strong>and</strong> dinned,<br />

That children of men from afar might hear<br />

How <strong>the</strong> strong-minded both s<strong>to</strong>rmed <strong>and</strong> yelled,<br />

Moody <strong>and</strong> mead-drunken, often admonished<br />

The sitters-on-benches <strong>to</strong> bear <strong>the</strong>mselves well.<br />

Thus did <strong>the</strong> hateful one during all day<br />

His liege-men [loyal] keep plying with wine,<br />

S<strong>to</strong>ut-hearted giver of treasure, untíl <strong>the</strong>y lay in a swoon,<br />

He drenched all his nobles [with drink], as if <strong>the</strong>y were slain in death,<br />

Deprived of each one of goods. Thus bade <strong>the</strong> prince of men<br />

The sitters-in-hall <strong>to</strong> serve, untíl <strong>to</strong> children of men<br />

<br />

The blessed maiden with haste <strong>to</strong> fetch<br />

To his bed of rest, laden with jewels,<br />

Adorned with rings. They quickly performed,<br />

The attendant thanes, what <strong>the</strong>ir lord <strong>the</strong>m bade,<br />

<br />

In<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> guest-room, where <strong>the</strong>y Judith<br />

Wise-minded found, <strong>and</strong> quickly <strong>the</strong>n<br />

The warriors-with-shields began <strong>to</strong> lead<br />

The glorious maid <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> lofty tent<br />

Where <strong>the</strong> mighty himself always rested<br />

By night within, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Saviour hateful,<br />

Holofernes. There wás an all-golden<br />

<br />

Bed suspended, só that <strong>the</strong> hateful<br />

Was able <strong>to</strong> look through, <strong>the</strong> chief of warriors,<br />

Upon each one that <strong>the</strong>rein came<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> sons of heroes, <strong>and</strong> on him no one<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> race of men, unless <strong>the</strong> proud some one<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> strong-in-war bade <strong>to</strong> him nearer<br />

Of warriors for counsel <strong>to</strong> come. They <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong> him at rest brought<br />

Quickly <strong>the</strong> cunning woman; went <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ut-in-heart<br />

The men <strong>the</strong>ir lord <strong>to</strong> tell that <strong>the</strong> holy woman was<br />

Brought <strong>to</strong> his chamber-tent. The famous <strong>the</strong>n in mind<br />

Was glad, <strong>the</strong> ruler of cities; he thought <strong>the</strong> beautiful maiden<br />

<br />

Allow, <strong>the</strong> Keeper of honor, but him from that deed restrained<br />

The Lord, <strong>the</strong> Ruler of hosts. Went <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> devilish one,<br />

The wan<strong>to</strong>n [warrior-prince], with [mickle] b<strong>and</strong> of men,<br />

<br />

Quickly within one night; he had <strong>the</strong>n his end attained<br />

On earth ungentle [end], such as before he wrought for,<br />

The mighty prince of men, while ín this world he was,<br />

While he dwelt under roof of <strong>the</strong> clouds. Then fell so drunk with wine<br />

The mighty [chief] on his bed, as if he knew no rede<br />

Within his place of wit; <strong>the</strong> warriors stepped<br />

Oút from <strong>the</strong> chamber with mickle haste,<br />

<br />

Hateful folk-hater, had led <strong>to</strong> his bed<br />

For <strong>the</strong> very last time. Then was <strong>the</strong> Saviour’s<br />

Glorious maiden earnestly mindful<br />

How she <strong>the</strong> terrible most easily might<br />

Of life deprive before <strong>the</strong> lustful,<br />

The wan<strong>to</strong>n, awoke. The wrea<strong>the</strong>d-locked <strong>to</strong>ok <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

The Crea<strong>to</strong>r’s h<strong>and</strong>maid, a sharp-edged sword<br />

Hardened by war-strokes, <strong>and</strong> drew from its sheath<br />

<br />

By name she gan name, Saviour of all<br />

Dwellers-in-th‘ world, <strong>and</strong> this word she spake:<br />

“Thee, God of Creation, <strong>and</strong> Spirit of Comfort,<br />

Son of <strong>the</strong> Almighty, will I [now] pray<br />

For thine own mercy <strong>to</strong> me in my need,<br />

Trinity’s Glory. To me greatly now <strong>the</strong>n<br />

<br />

Sorely with sorrows oppressed; grant, Lord of Heaven, <strong>to</strong> me<br />

Vic<strong>to</strong>ry <strong>and</strong> faith without fear, that I with this sword may be able<br />

To hew down this dealer of murder; grant [<strong>to</strong>o] my safety <strong>to</strong> me,<br />

Strong-hearted Leader of men; ne’er in this world had I<br />

Of thy mercy more urgent need: avenge now, mighty Lord,<br />

Glorious Giver of honor, that I am so angry in mind,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

Quickly with courage inspired, as doth he [ever] each one<br />

Of dwellers here [upon earth], who him for help <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m seek<br />

With rede <strong>and</strong> righteous belief. Then roomy in mind she became,<br />

The holy one’s hope was renewed; <strong>the</strong>n <strong>to</strong>ok she <strong>the</strong> hea<strong>the</strong>n man<br />

Fast by his own [long] hair, with h<strong>and</strong>s him <strong>to</strong>wards her she drew<br />

With marks of contempt, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> baleful one<br />

With cunning laid down, <strong>the</strong> loathsome man,<br />

As she <strong>the</strong> accursèd most easily might<br />

Wield at her will. Struck <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> curly-locked<br />

The hostile foe with shining sword,<br />

The hateful-minded, that half-way she cut<br />

The [evil one’s] neck, that he lay in a swoon,<br />

Drunken <strong>and</strong> wounded. Not yet was he dead,<br />

Thoroughly lifeless; struck she <strong>the</strong>n earnestly,<br />

The maiden brave-minded, a second time<br />

<br />

<br />

Lifeless behind, went <strong>the</strong> spirit elsewhere<br />

Beneath <strong>the</strong> deep earth, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>re was disgraced,<br />

In <strong>to</strong>rment bound ever <strong>the</strong>reafter,<br />

Surrounded with serpents, with <strong>to</strong>rtures encompassed,<br />

<br />

After his death. He need never hope,<br />

Enveloped with darkness, that <strong>the</strong>nce he may go<br />

Out of that worm-hall, but <strong>the</strong>re shall he dwell<br />

Ever for ever without end henceforth<br />

In that dark home, of hope-joys deprived.<br />

Part III<br />

Then had she gained glorious honor,<br />

Judith in war, as God <strong>to</strong> her granted,<br />

The Ruler of Heaven, who gave <strong>to</strong> her vic<strong>to</strong>ry.<br />

The cunning maid <strong>the</strong>n quickly brought<br />

The army-leader’s head so bloody<br />

In that [very] vessel in which her attendant,<br />

The fair-faced woman, food for <strong>the</strong>m both,<br />

In virtues renowned, thi<strong>the</strong>r had brought,<br />

And it <strong>the</strong>n so gory <strong>to</strong> her gave in h<strong>and</strong>,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> thoughtful-in-mind <strong>to</strong> bear <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir home,<br />

Judith <strong>to</strong> her maid. Went <strong>the</strong>y forth <strong>the</strong>nce,<br />

The women both in courage bold,<br />

Until <strong>the</strong>y had come, proud in <strong>the</strong>ir minds,<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

The women triumphant, out from <strong>the</strong> army,<br />

So that <strong>the</strong>y plainly were able <strong>to</strong> see<br />

Of that beautiful city <strong>the</strong> walls [fair] shine,<br />

<br />

Upon <strong>the</strong> foot-path hastened <strong>to</strong> go,<br />

Until glad-minded <strong>the</strong>y had arrived<br />

At <strong>the</strong> gate of <strong>the</strong> wall. The warriors sat,<br />

The watching men were keeping ward<br />

Within that fortress, as before <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> folk,<br />

Sad in <strong>the</strong>ir minds, Judith had bidden,<br />

The cunning maiden, when she went on her journey,<br />

The s<strong>to</strong>ut-hearted woman. Then again was she come,<br />

Dear <strong>to</strong> her people, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n quickly ordered<br />

The wise-minded woman some one of <strong>the</strong> men<br />

To come <strong>to</strong> meet her from out <strong>the</strong> wide city,<br />

<br />

Through <strong>the</strong> gate of <strong>the</strong> wall, <strong>and</strong> this word she spake<br />

To <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>r-folk: “To you can I say<br />

A thought-worthy thing, that no longer ye need<br />

Mourn in your minds: your Crea<strong>to</strong>r is kind,<br />

Glory of kings: that ís become known<br />

Wide through <strong>the</strong> world, that <strong>to</strong> you is success<br />

Glorious at h<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> honor is granted<br />

<br />

Glad <strong>the</strong>n were <strong>the</strong>y, <strong>the</strong> dwellers-in-borough,<br />

After <strong>the</strong>y heard how <strong>the</strong> holy one spake<br />

O’er <strong>the</strong> high wall. The host was in joy.<br />

To <strong>the</strong> fortress-gate <strong>the</strong> people hastened,<br />

Men, women <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r, in troops <strong>and</strong> heaps,<br />

In crowds <strong>and</strong> throngs, hurried <strong>and</strong> ran<br />

To meet <strong>the</strong> Lord’s maid by thous<strong>and</strong>s <strong>and</strong> thous<strong>and</strong>s,<br />

Both old <strong>and</strong> young: <strong>to</strong> each one became<br />

Of men in <strong>the</strong> mead-city his mind rejoiced,<br />

After <strong>the</strong>y knew that Judith was come<br />

Again <strong>to</strong> her home, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n in haste<br />

<br />

Then bade <strong>the</strong> clever, with gold adorned,<br />

Her servant-maid, thoughtful-in-mind,<br />

The army-leader’s head <strong>to</strong> uncover,<br />

And it as a proof bloody <strong>to</strong> show<br />

To <strong>the</strong> city-folk how she speeded in war.<br />

Then spake <strong>the</strong> noble one <strong>to</strong> all <strong>the</strong> folk:<br />

“Here ye may clearly, vic<strong>to</strong>ry-blessed warriors,<br />

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Chiefs of <strong>the</strong> people, upón <strong>the</strong> most hateful<br />

<br />

On Holofernes deprived of life,<br />

Who chiefest of men wrought murders for us,<br />

Sorest sorrows, <strong>and</strong> that yet more<br />

Would he increase: but God him granted not<br />

<br />

<br />

By help of God. Now I every man<br />

Of <strong>the</strong>se city-dwellers will [earnestly] pray,<br />

Of shield-bearing warriors, that ye yourselves quickly<br />

<br />

The glorious King, shall send from <strong>the</strong> east<br />

Bright beams of light, bear forth your shields,<br />

Boards before breasts <strong>and</strong> coats-of-mail,<br />

Bright helmets [<strong>to</strong>o] among <strong>the</strong> foes,<br />

To fell <strong>the</strong> folk-leaders with shining swords,<br />

The fated chiefs. Your foes are now<br />

Condemned <strong>to</strong> death, <strong>and</strong> ye glory shall gain,<br />

Honor in battle, as <strong>to</strong> you hath be<strong>to</strong>kened<br />

The mighty Lord through mine own h<strong>and</strong>.”<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> b<strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> brave was quickly prepared,<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> bold for battle; stepped out <strong>the</strong> valiant<br />

Men <strong>and</strong> comrades, bore <strong>the</strong>ir banners,<br />

<br />

The heroes ’neath helmets from <strong>the</strong> holy city<br />

At <strong>the</strong> dawn itself; shields made a din,<br />

Loudly resounded. Thereat laughed <strong>the</strong> lank<br />

Wolf in <strong>the</strong> wood, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> raven wan,<br />

Fowl greedy for slaughter: both of <strong>the</strong>m knew<br />

That for <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> warriors thought <strong>to</strong> provide<br />

<br />

The dewy-winged eagle eager for prey,<br />

The dusky-coated sang his war-song,<br />

The crooked-beaked. Stepped forth <strong>the</strong> warriors,<br />

The heroes for battle with boards protected,<br />

With hollow shields, who awhile before<br />

The foreign-folk’s reproach endured,<br />

<br />

At <strong>the</strong> ash-spear’s play <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m all repaid,<br />

[All] <strong>the</strong> Assyrians, after <strong>the</strong> Hebrews<br />

Under <strong>the</strong>ir banners had [boldly] advanced<br />

To <strong>the</strong> army-camps. They bravely <strong>the</strong>n<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

Of battle-adders, óut from <strong>the</strong> horn-bows,<br />

Of strongly-made shafts; s<strong>to</strong>rmed <strong>the</strong>y aloud,<br />

The cruel warriors, sent forth <strong>the</strong>ir spears<br />

Among <strong>the</strong> brave; <strong>the</strong> heroes were angry,<br />

<br />

The stern-minded stepped, <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ut-in-heart,<br />

Rudely awakened <strong>the</strong>ir ancient foes<br />

Weary from mead; with h<strong>and</strong>s drew forth<br />

The men from <strong>the</strong> sheaths <strong>the</strong> brightly-marked swords<br />

Most choice in <strong>the</strong>ir edges, eagerly struck<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> [host of] Assyrians <strong>the</strong> battle-warriors,<br />

The hostile-minded; not one <strong>the</strong>y spared<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> army-folk, nor low nor high<br />

<br />

Part XII<br />

Thus <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> thanes in <strong>the</strong> morning-hours<br />

Pressed on <strong>the</strong> strangers unceasinglý,<br />

Until <strong>the</strong>y perceived, those who were hostile,<br />

The army-folk’s chiefest leaders,<br />

That upón <strong>the</strong>m sword-strokes mighty bes<strong>to</strong>wed<br />

The Hebrew men. They thát in words<br />

To <strong>the</strong>ir most noted chiefs of <strong>the</strong> people<br />

Went <strong>to</strong> announce, waked helmeted warriors<br />

And <strong>to</strong> thém with fear <strong>the</strong> dread news <strong>to</strong>ld,<br />

To <strong>the</strong> weary-from-mead <strong>the</strong> morning-terror,<br />

The hateful sword-play. Then learnt I that quickly<br />

The slaughter-fated men aroused from sleep<br />

Ánd <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> baleful›s sleeping-bower<br />

The saddened men pressed ón in crowds,<br />

To Holofernes: <strong>the</strong>y only were thinking<br />

<br />

Ere terror on him should take its seat,<br />

The might of <strong>the</strong> Hebrews. They all imagined<br />

That <strong>the</strong> prince of men <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>some maid<br />

In <strong>the</strong> beautiful tent were [still] <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Judith <strong>the</strong> noble <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> lustful one,<br />

<br />

Whó <strong>the</strong> warrior durst [<strong>the</strong>n] awake,<br />

Or durst discover how <strong>the</strong> helmeted warrior<br />

With <strong>the</strong> holy maid had passed his time,<br />

The Crea<strong>to</strong>r’s h<strong>and</strong>maid. The force approached,<br />

The folk of <strong>the</strong> Hebrews, courageously fought<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

By thát day’s work <strong>the</strong> glory diminished,<br />

The pride brought low. The warriors s<strong>to</strong>od<br />

’Round <strong>the</strong>ir prince’s tent strongly excited,<br />

Gloomy in mind. They <strong>the</strong>n all <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Began <strong>to</strong> groan, <strong>to</strong> cry aloud<br />

And gnash with <strong>the</strong>ir teeth,—afar from God,—<br />

<br />

Of joy <strong>and</strong> valor. The earls were thinking<br />

<br />

Then at last <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong>o late was one so bold<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> battle-warriors that <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> bower-tent<br />

He daringly ventured, since need him compelled:<br />

Found he <strong>the</strong>n on <strong>the</strong> bed lying deadly-pale<br />

His [own] gold-giver of breath bereft,<br />

Of life deprived. Then quickly he fell<br />

As<strong>to</strong>unded <strong>to</strong> earth, gan tear his hair,<br />

Excited in mind, <strong>and</strong> his garments <strong>to</strong>o,<br />

And this word he spake <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> warriors [brave],<br />

Who saddened <strong>the</strong>re were st<strong>and</strong>ing without:<br />

“Here is displayed our own destruction,<br />

The future be<strong>to</strong>kened, that it is <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> time<br />

Now amongst men almost arrived,<br />

When wé our lives shall lose <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

In battle perish: here lies with sword hewn<br />

Our lord beheaded.” They <strong>the</strong>n sad-in-mind<br />

Threw down <strong>the</strong>ir weapons <strong>and</strong> sorrowful went<br />

<br />

The mighty folk, till <strong>the</strong> greatest part<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> army lay, in battle struck down,<br />

On <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>r-plain, hewn down with swords,<br />

To wolves for pleasure, <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> slaughter-greedy<br />

<br />

The shields of <strong>the</strong>ir foes. Went on <strong>the</strong>ir tracks<br />

The Hebrews’ host, honored with vic<strong>to</strong>ry,<br />

<br />

<br />

They bravely <strong>the</strong>n with shining swords,<br />

S<strong>to</strong>ut-hearted heroes, a war-path wrought<br />

Through heaps of <strong>the</strong>ir foes, hewed down <strong>the</strong>ir shields,<br />

Cut through <strong>the</strong>ir phalanx: <strong>the</strong> warriors were<br />

<br />

The thanes at that time were much delighted<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

At <strong>the</strong> combat with spears. Here fell in <strong>the</strong> dust<br />

The highest part of <strong>the</strong> chiefest number<br />

Óf <strong>the</strong> Assyrians’ princely nobility,<br />

<br />

Alive <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir homes. The nobly-bold turned,<br />

Warriors retiring, among <strong>the</strong> slaughtered,<br />

<br />

For <strong>the</strong> dwellers-in-l<strong>and</strong> from <strong>the</strong> loathsome ones,<br />

Their ancient foes deprived of life,<br />

The gory booty, <strong>the</strong> shining trappings,<br />

Shields <strong>and</strong> broad swords, brown-colored helmets,<br />

Precious treasures. Gloriously had <strong>the</strong>y<br />

On thát folk-place <strong>the</strong>ir foes overcome,<br />

The defenders of home <strong>the</strong>ir ancient foes<br />

With swords put-<strong>to</strong>-sleep: behind <strong>the</strong>m rested<br />

Those who in life were most hateful <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m<br />

Of living races. Then all <strong>the</strong> people,<br />

Of tribes most renowned, for one month’s space,<br />

The proud twisted-locked, bore <strong>and</strong> carried<br />

To that bright city, Bethulia [named],<br />

Helmets <strong>and</strong> hip-swords, hoary byrnies,<br />

War-trappings of men adorned with gold,<br />

More precious treasures than any man<br />

Of <strong>the</strong> cunning-in-mind may be able <strong>to</strong> tell,<br />

All that <strong>the</strong> warriors with might had won,<br />

The bold under banners on <strong>the</strong> battle-place<br />

By means of Judith’s [most] clever lore,<br />

The moody maid’s. As meed for her<br />

<strong>From</strong> that expedition, <strong>the</strong>y brought for herself,<br />

The spear-strong earls, of Holofernes<br />

The sword <strong>and</strong> gory helm, likewíse <strong>the</strong> byrnie broad,<br />

Adorned with reddish gold, all that <strong>the</strong> warrior-chief,<br />

The brave, of treasure had, or individual wealth,<br />

<br />

The wise-in-mind, gave théy. For all that Judith said<br />

<br />

Fame in realm of earth, <strong>and</strong> meed in heaven <strong>to</strong>o,<br />

Reward in <strong>the</strong> glory of heaven, because true faith she had<br />

<br />

<br />

Glory for ever <strong>and</strong> ever, who made both wind <strong>and</strong> air,<br />

The heavens <strong>and</strong> roomy l<strong>and</strong>s, likewíse <strong>the</strong> rushing streams,<br />

<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

1.6.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions<br />

1. Why is Judith able <strong>to</strong> defeat Holofernes so easily? In what ways does she<br />

<br />

2. What do you think that <strong>the</strong> golden net around Holofernes’ bed might<br />

symbolize, <strong>and</strong> why?<br />

3. Research how Anglo-Saxons viewed elves. Why might <strong>the</strong>y have used <strong>the</strong><br />

description “elf-brilliant” for her?<br />

4. What are some examples of understatement in <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry, <strong>and</strong> why are<br />

<strong>the</strong>y <strong>the</strong>re?<br />

5. How does <strong>the</strong> depiction of religion in Judith compare <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> depictions<br />

of religion in Beowulf <strong>and</strong> The Dream of <strong>the</strong> Rood? What might be <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

1.7 THE WANDERER<br />

Author unknown<br />

At least late tenth century, possibly much earlier<br />

The W<strong>and</strong>erer is found only<br />

in <strong>the</strong> manuscript known as <strong>the</strong><br />

Exeter Book, which was copied<br />

in <strong>the</strong> late tenth century. The 115-<br />

line poem follows <strong>the</strong> usual Anglo-<br />

Saxon pattern of short alliterative<br />

half-lines separated by a caesura<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

alone in <strong>the</strong> world. Members of a<br />

lord’s comitatus, or war b<strong>and</strong>, were<br />

expected <strong>to</strong> die alongside <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

leader in battle; <strong>the</strong> w<strong>and</strong>erer is<br />

<br />

through <strong>the</strong> uncertainty, loneliness,<br />

<strong>and</strong> physical hardships of exile.<br />

The poem begins <strong>and</strong> ends with<br />

references <strong>to</strong> Christianity, with a<br />

kenning near <strong>the</strong> end of <strong>the</strong> poem<br />

with God as “Shaper of Men;” <strong>the</strong><br />

only certainty that <strong>the</strong> speaker has<br />

is that <strong>the</strong>re is a “safe home” waiting<br />

for him in heaven. The rest of <strong>the</strong><br />

Image 1.7 | First Page of The W<strong>and</strong>erer<br />

Artist | Unknown<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

License | Public Domain<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

poem focuses on what he has lost. Like The Ruin <strong>and</strong> The Seafarer, also found in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Exeter Book, The W<strong>and</strong>erer is what is known as an “ubi sunt<br />

“where has”). In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers, Aragorn recites a poem about<br />

Eorl <strong>the</strong> Young that begins “Where now <strong>the</strong> horse <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> rider? Where is <strong>the</strong> horn<br />

<br />

was drawn directly from The W<strong>and</strong>erer’s “Where has <strong>the</strong> horse gone? Where is <strong>the</strong><br />

man?” Because of its <strong>the</strong>me, The W<strong>and</strong>erer<br />

or lament for what has been lost.<br />

1.7.1 Bibliography<br />

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971.<br />

The Lord of <strong>the</strong> Rings: The Two Towers. Directed by Peter Jackson. New Line Cinema <strong>and</strong><br />

Wingnut Films. 2002.<br />

1.7.2 The W<strong>and</strong>erer<br />

Often <strong>the</strong> solitary man prays for favour, for <strong>the</strong> mercy of <strong>the</strong> Lord, though, sad<br />

at heart, he must needs stir with his b<strong>and</strong>s for a weary while <strong>the</strong> icy sea across <strong>the</strong><br />

watery ways, must journey <strong>the</strong> paths of exile; settled in truth is fate! So spoke <strong>the</strong><br />

w<strong>and</strong>erer, mindful of hardships, of cruel slaughters, of <strong>the</strong> fall of kinsmen:<br />

’Often I must bewail my sorrows in my loneliness at <strong>the</strong> dawn of each day;<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is none of living men now <strong>to</strong> whom I dare speak my heart openly. I know for<br />

a truth that it is a noble cus<strong>to</strong>m for a man <strong>to</strong> bind fast <strong>the</strong> thoughts of his heart, <strong>to</strong><br />

treasure his broodings, let him think as he will. Nor can <strong>the</strong> weary in mood resist<br />

<br />

often bind fast in <strong>the</strong>ir secret hearts a sad thought. So I, sundered from my native<br />

l<strong>and</strong>, far from noble kinsmen, often sad at heart, had <strong>to</strong> fetter my mind, when in<br />

years gone by <strong>the</strong> darkness of <strong>the</strong> earth covered my gold-friend, <strong>and</strong> I went <strong>the</strong>nce<br />

in wretchedness with wintry care upon me over <strong>the</strong> frozen waves, gloomily sought<br />

<br />

me in <strong>the</strong> mead hall or comfort me, left without friends, treat me with kindness. He<br />

knows who puts it <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> test how cruel a comrade is sorrow for him who has few<br />

dear protec<strong>to</strong>rs; his is <strong>the</strong> path of exile, in no wise <strong>the</strong> twisted gold; a chill body, in<br />

no wise <strong>the</strong> riches of <strong>the</strong> earth; he thinks of retainers in hall <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> receiving of<br />

treasure, of how in his youth his gold-friend was kind <strong>to</strong> him at <strong>the</strong> feast. The joy<br />

has all perished. Wherefore he knows this who must long forgo <strong>the</strong> counsels of his<br />

dear lord <strong>and</strong> friend, when sorrow <strong>and</strong> sleep <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r often bind <strong>the</strong> poor solitary<br />

man; it seems <strong>to</strong> him in his mind that he clasps <strong>and</strong> kisses his lord <strong>and</strong> lays h<strong>and</strong>s<br />

<strong>and</strong> head on his knee, as when erstwhile in past days he was near <strong>the</strong> gift-throne;<br />

<strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> friendless man wakes again, sees before him <strong>the</strong> dark waves, <strong>the</strong> sea-birds<br />

bathing, spreading <strong>the</strong>ir fea<strong>the</strong>rs; frost <strong>and</strong> snow falling mingled with hail. Then<br />

heavier are <strong>the</strong> wounds in his heart, sore for his beloved; sorrow is renewed. Then<br />

<strong>the</strong> memory of kinsmen crosses his mind; he greets <strong>the</strong>m with songs; he gazes on<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<strong>the</strong>m eagerly. The companions of warriors swim away again; <strong>the</strong> souls of sailors<br />

bring <strong>the</strong>re not many known songs. Care is renewed in him who must needs send<br />

very often his weary mind over <strong>the</strong> frozen waves. And thus I cannot think why in<br />

this world my mind becomes not overcast when I consider all <strong>the</strong> life of earls, how<br />

of a sudden <strong>the</strong>y have given up hall, courageous retainers. So this world each day<br />

passes <strong>and</strong> falls; for a man cannot become wise till he has his share of years in <strong>the</strong><br />

world. A wise man must be patient, not over-passionate, nor over-hasty of speech,<br />

nor over-weak or rash in war, nor over-fearful, nor over-glad, nor over-cove<strong>to</strong>us,<br />

never over-eager <strong>to</strong> boast ere he has full knowledge.) A man must bide his time,<br />

when he boasts in his speech, until he knows well in his pride whi<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> thoughts<br />

of <strong>the</strong> mind will turn. A wise man must see how dreary it will be when all <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

st<strong>and</strong>, blown upon by winds, hung with frost, <strong>the</strong> dwellings in ruins. The wine halls<br />

crumble; <strong>the</strong> rulers lie low, bereft of joy; <strong>the</strong> mighty warriors have all fallen in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

away over <strong>the</strong> high sea; one <strong>the</strong> grey wolf gave over <strong>to</strong> death; one an earl with sad<br />

face hid in <strong>the</strong> earth-cave. Thus did <strong>the</strong> Crea<strong>to</strong>r of men lay waste this earth till <strong>the</strong><br />

old work of giants s<strong>to</strong>od empty, free from <strong>the</strong> revel of castle-dwellers. Then he who<br />

has thought wisely of <strong>the</strong> foundation of things <strong>and</strong> who deeply ponders this dark<br />

life, wise in his heart, often turns his thoughts <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> many slaughters of <strong>the</strong> past,<br />

<strong>and</strong> speaks <strong>the</strong>se words:<br />

‘“Whi<strong>the</strong>r has gone <strong>the</strong> horse? Whi<strong>the</strong>r has gone <strong>the</strong> man? Whi<strong>the</strong>r has gone<br />

<strong>the</strong> giver of treasure? Whi<strong>the</strong>r has gone <strong>the</strong> place of feasting? Where are <strong>the</strong> joys<br />

of hall? Alas, <strong>the</strong> bright cup! Alas, <strong>the</strong> warrior in his corslet! Alas, <strong>the</strong> glory of<br />

<strong>the</strong> prince! How that time has passed away, has grown dark under <strong>the</strong> shadow of<br />

night, as if it had never been! Now in <strong>the</strong> place of <strong>the</strong> dear warriors st<strong>and</strong>s a wall,<br />

wondrous high, covered with serpent shapes; <strong>the</strong> might of <strong>the</strong> ash-wood spears<br />

<br />

s<strong>to</strong>rms beat upon <strong>the</strong>se rocky slopes; <strong>the</strong> falling s<strong>to</strong>rm binds <strong>the</strong> earth, <strong>the</strong> terror<br />

of winter. Then comes darkness, <strong>the</strong> night shadow casts gloom, sends from <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

kingdom of earth; <strong>the</strong> decree of fate changes <strong>the</strong> world under <strong>the</strong> heavens. Here<br />

possessions are transient, here friends are transient, here man is transient, here<br />

<br />

So spoke <strong>the</strong> wise man in his heart, <strong>and</strong> sat apart in thought. Good is he who<br />

holds his faith; nor shall a man ever show forth <strong>to</strong>o quickly <strong>the</strong> sorrow of his breast,<br />

<br />

seeks mercy, comfort from <strong>the</strong> Fa<strong>the</strong>r in heaven, where for us all security st<strong>and</strong>s.<br />

1.7.3 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions<br />

1. What are all of <strong>the</strong> kennings in <strong>the</strong> poem, <strong>and</strong> what do <strong>the</strong>y mean?<br />

2. Where is <strong>the</strong> w<strong>and</strong>erer? Is <strong>the</strong>re any symbolic meaning in <strong>the</strong> setting of<br />

<strong>the</strong> poem?<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

3. <br />

poem? Why or why not?<br />

4. What makes a man wise, according <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> poem? How is it an Anglo-<br />

Saxon perspective on wisdom, or is it?<br />

5. How much does shame play a role in <strong>the</strong> w<strong>and</strong>erer’s perspectives? Should<br />

he feel shame, in ei<strong>the</strong>r an Anglo-Saxon or a Christian context?<br />

1.8 THE WIFE’S LAMENT<br />

Author unknown<br />

At least late tenth century, possibly earlier<br />

The Wife’s Lament survives only in <strong>the</strong> Exeter Book, just as The W<strong>and</strong>erer<br />

does. It is one of two Old English elegies that are <strong>to</strong>ld from <strong>the</strong> perspective of a<br />

woman; instead of a retainer lamenting <strong>the</strong> loss of his lord, <strong>the</strong> women lament<br />

<br />

The W<strong>and</strong>erer, <strong>the</strong> 53-line poem is alliterative, with short half-lines divided by<br />

a caesura, or pause. The woman in The Wife’s Lament, however, does not talk<br />

about reuniting with her lord in heaven, as <strong>the</strong> narra<strong>to</strong>r does in The W<strong>and</strong>erer.<br />

The wife is focused on <strong>the</strong> anguish of <strong>the</strong> moment, since she does not know if her<br />

lord is dead. Both <strong>the</strong> wife <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> w<strong>and</strong>erer are in exile, but <strong>the</strong> w<strong>and</strong>erer’s exile is<br />

from <strong>the</strong> death of his lord, while <strong>the</strong> wife’s exile is from her family when she joins<br />

<br />

<br />

ambiguous) details she recounts in<strong>to</strong> a coherent s<strong>to</strong>ry. Scholars argue about how<br />

<strong>to</strong> interpret her circumstances. Has she been separated from her husb<strong>and</strong> by <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

thoughts)? Some scholars suggest that more than one man is involved; some<br />

suggest that she is cursing her husb<strong>and</strong>; still o<strong>the</strong>rs suggest that <strong>the</strong> “earth-hall” is<br />

actually a grave, <strong>and</strong> she is a ghost.<br />

1.8.1 The Wife’s Lament<br />

I make this song of my deep sadness, of my own lot. I can say that since I<br />

<br />

<strong>to</strong>rment of my exile. First my lord went hence from his people over <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>ssing<br />

waves. I had sorrow at dawn as <strong>to</strong> where in <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong> my lord might be. Then I<br />

set out, a friendless exile, <strong>to</strong> seek helpers in my woeful hard straits. The man’s<br />

kinsmen began <strong>to</strong> plot in secret thought <strong>to</strong> part us, so that we should live most<br />

wretchedly, most widely sundered in <strong>the</strong> world, <strong>and</strong> a yearning came upon me. My<br />

lord bade me take up my dwelling here; few dear loyal friends had I in this place;<br />

<strong>and</strong> so my mind is sad, since I found <strong>the</strong> man most mated <strong>to</strong> me unhappy, sad in<br />

heart, cloaking his mind, plotting mischief with bli<strong>the</strong> manner. Full often we two<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

pledged one ano<strong>the</strong>r that naught but death should divide us; that is changed now.<br />

Our friendship now is as if it had not been. I must needs endure <strong>the</strong> hate of my dear<br />

one far <strong>and</strong> near. They bade me dwell in <strong>the</strong> forest grove under <strong>the</strong> oak-tree in <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

high <strong>the</strong> hills, harsh strongholds o’ergrown with briers, dwellings empty of joy.<br />

Full often <strong>the</strong> departure of my lord has seized cruelly upon me. There are loving<br />

friends alive on <strong>the</strong> earth; <strong>the</strong>y have <strong>the</strong>ir bed; while alone at dawn I pass through<br />

this earth-cave <strong>to</strong> beneath <strong>the</strong> oak-tree, where I sit a long summer’s day. There I<br />

can mourn my miseries, many hardships, for I can never calm my care of mind,<br />

nor all that longing which has come upon me in this life. Ever may that youth be<br />

sad of mood, grievous <strong>the</strong> thought of his heart; may he likewise be forced <strong>to</strong> wear a<br />

<br />

joy in <strong>the</strong> world depend on himself only; may he be banished very far in a distant<br />

l<strong>and</strong> where my friend sits under a rocky slope chilled by <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm, my friend weary<br />

<br />

<br />

his loved one.<br />

1.8.2 Reading <strong>and</strong> Review Questions<br />

1. Compare <strong>the</strong> situation of <strong>the</strong> speakers in The W<strong>and</strong>erer <strong>and</strong> The Wife’s<br />

Lament<br />

2. Based on <strong>the</strong> information in <strong>the</strong> poem itself, why was <strong>the</strong> wife forced <strong>to</strong><br />

live in a cave? What are <strong>the</strong> possible reasons?<br />

3. Why does <strong>the</strong> poem contain so much deliberate ambiguity? What purpose<br />

might <strong>the</strong> multiple possible readings have, if any?<br />

4. Why must <strong>the</strong> wife appear <strong>to</strong> be cheerful, even if her heart is breaking?<br />

5. Based on <strong>the</strong> poem itself, what evidence suggests that <strong>the</strong> “earth-hall”<br />

might be a grave? What evidence appears <strong>to</strong> contradict that <strong>the</strong>ory?<br />

1.9 THE VENERABLE BEDE<br />

(c. 673-735 ACE)<br />

Cædmon’s Hymn<br />

called <strong>the</strong> Venerable Bede). Bede’s Ecclesiastical His<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong> English People,<br />

written in Latin, covers <strong>British</strong> his<strong>to</strong>ry from <strong>the</strong> Roman invasion <strong>to</strong> 731 ACE, <strong>the</strong><br />

year <strong>the</strong> his<strong>to</strong>ry was completed. In particular, Bede focuses on <strong>the</strong> conversion of<br />

<br />

Bede credits both Irish <strong>and</strong> Italian missionaries with doing all of <strong>the</strong> work <strong>to</strong> bring<br />

<br />

of conversion was still underway when Bede was writing. Early rulers would often<br />

convert, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n order <strong>the</strong>ir subjects <strong>to</strong> convert as well, so Bede is careful <strong>to</strong> record<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

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<strong>the</strong> his<strong>to</strong>ry of conquests: whoever controls a group potentially controls <strong>the</strong> religion.<br />

Bede’s work also features numerous miracle s<strong>to</strong>ries, which serve <strong>to</strong> remind readers<br />

both of <strong>the</strong> power of religion <strong>and</strong> a reason <strong>to</strong> convert. The most famous example<br />

is <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong> illiterate Caedmon, who is blessed one night with <strong>the</strong> ability <strong>to</strong><br />

compose poetry. Cædmon’s Hymn, composed in Anglo-Saxon <strong>and</strong> translated by<br />

Bede in<strong>to</strong> Latin, is considered one of <strong>the</strong> earliest example of Anglo-Saxon poetry.<br />

1.9.1 The S<strong>to</strong>ry of Cædmon <strong>and</strong> Cædmon’s Hymn<br />

Found in <strong>the</strong> Ecclesiastical His<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong> English People<br />

Completed 731 ACE<br />

Preface<br />

To <strong>the</strong> most glorious king Ceolwulf. Bede, <strong>the</strong> servant of Christ <strong>and</strong> Priest.<br />

I formerly, at your request, most readily sent <strong>to</strong> you <strong>the</strong> Ecclesiastical His<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

of <strong>the</strong> English Nation, which I had lately published, for you <strong>to</strong> read <strong>and</strong> judge; <strong>and</strong><br />

I now send it again <strong>to</strong> be transcribed, <strong>and</strong> more fully studied at your leisure. And<br />

I rejoice greatly at <strong>the</strong> sincerity<br />

<strong>and</strong> zeal, with which you not<br />

only diligently give ear <strong>to</strong> hear<br />

<strong>the</strong> words of Holy Scripture,<br />

but also industriously take care<br />

<strong>to</strong> become acquainted with <strong>the</strong><br />

actions <strong>and</strong> sayings of former<br />

men of renown, especially of<br />

our own nation. For if his<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

relates good things of good men,<br />

<strong>the</strong> attentive hearer is excited<br />

<strong>to</strong> imitate that which is good;<br />

or if it recounts evil things of<br />

wicked persons, none <strong>the</strong> less<br />

<strong>the</strong> conscientious <strong>and</strong> devout<br />

hearer or reader, shunning that<br />

which is hurtful <strong>and</strong> wrong,<br />

<br />

perform those things which he<br />

knows <strong>to</strong> be good, <strong>and</strong> worthy<br />

of <strong>the</strong> service of God. And as you<br />

have carefully marked this, you<br />

are desirous that <strong>the</strong> said his<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

should be more fully made<br />

Image 1.8 | Manuscript Image from Cædmon’s Hymn<br />

Artist | The Venerable Bede<br />

known <strong>to</strong> yourself, <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> those<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

over whom <strong>the</strong> Divine Authority License | Public Domain<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

has appointed you governor, from your great regard <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> common good. But <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> end that I may remove all occasion of doubting what I have written, both from<br />

<br />

<br />

My principal authority <strong>and</strong> aid in this work was <strong>the</strong> most learned <strong>and</strong> reverend<br />

Abbot Albinus; who, educated in <strong>the</strong> Church of Canterbury by those venerable <strong>and</strong><br />

learned men, Archbishop Theodore of blessed memory, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Abbot Hadrian,<br />

transmitted <strong>to</strong> me by No<strong>the</strong>lm, <strong>the</strong> pious priest of <strong>the</strong> Church of London, ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

in writing, or by word of mouth of <strong>the</strong> same No<strong>the</strong>lm, all that he thought worthy<br />

of memory that had been done in <strong>the</strong> province of Kent, or <strong>the</strong> adjacent parts,<br />

by <strong>the</strong> disciples of <strong>the</strong> blessed Pope Gregory, as he had learned <strong>the</strong> same ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

from written records, or <strong>the</strong> traditions of his predecessors. The same No<strong>the</strong>lm,<br />

afterwards went <strong>to</strong> Rome, <strong>and</strong> having, with leave of <strong>the</strong> present Pope Gregory,<br />

searched in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> archives of <strong>the</strong> Holy Roman Church, found <strong>the</strong>re some epistles of<br />

<strong>the</strong> blessed Pope Gregory, <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r popes; <strong>and</strong>, returning home, by <strong>the</strong> advice of<br />

<strong>the</strong> aforesaid most reverend fa<strong>the</strong>r Albinus, brought <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> me, <strong>to</strong> be inserted in<br />

my his<strong>to</strong>ry. Thus, from <strong>the</strong> beginning of this volume <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> time when <strong>the</strong> English<br />

nation received <strong>the</strong> faith of Christ, we have acquired matter from <strong>the</strong> writings of<br />

former men, ga<strong>the</strong>red from various sources; but from that time till <strong>the</strong> present,<br />

what was transacted in <strong>the</strong> Church<br />

of Canterbury by <strong>the</strong> disciples<br />

of <strong>the</strong> blessed Pope Gregory<br />

or <strong>the</strong>ir successors, <strong>and</strong> under<br />

what kings <strong>the</strong> same happened,<br />

has been conveyed <strong>to</strong> us, as we<br />

have said, by No<strong>the</strong>lm through<br />

<strong>the</strong> industry of <strong>the</strong> aforesaid<br />

Abbot Albinus. They also partly<br />

informed me by what bishops <strong>and</strong><br />

under what kings <strong>the</strong> provinces<br />

of <strong>the</strong> East <strong>and</strong> West Saxons, as<br />

also of <strong>the</strong> East Angles, <strong>and</strong> of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Northumbrians, received <strong>the</strong><br />

grace of <strong>the</strong> Gospel. In short, I was<br />

<br />

this work by <strong>the</strong> exhortations of<br />

<strong>the</strong> same Albinus. In like manner,<br />

Daniel, <strong>the</strong> most reverend Bishop<br />

of <strong>the</strong> West Saxons, who is still<br />

living, communicated <strong>to</strong> me in<br />

Image 1.9 | Memorial <strong>to</strong> Cædmon<br />

writing some things relating <strong>to</strong><br />

Artist | Rich Tea<br />

<strong>the</strong> Ecclesiastical His<strong>to</strong>ry of that<br />

Source | Wikimedia Commons<br />

License | CC BY-SA 2.0<br />

province, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> adjoining one<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

of <strong>the</strong> South Saxons, as also of <strong>the</strong> Isle of Wight. But how, by <strong>the</strong> ministry of those<br />

holy priests of Christ, Cedd <strong>and</strong> Ceadda, <strong>the</strong> province of <strong>the</strong> Mercians was brought<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith of Christ, which <strong>the</strong>y knew not before, <strong>and</strong> how that of <strong>the</strong> East Saxons<br />

recovered <strong>the</strong> faith after having rejected it, <strong>and</strong> how those fa<strong>the</strong>rs lived <strong>and</strong> died,<br />

we learned from <strong>the</strong> brethren of <strong>the</strong> monastery, which was built by <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>and</strong> is<br />

called Laestingaeu. Fur<strong>the</strong>r, what ecclesiastical matters <strong>to</strong>ok place in <strong>the</strong> province<br />

of <strong>the</strong> East Angles, was partly made known <strong>to</strong> us from <strong>the</strong> writings <strong>and</strong> tradition<br />

of former men, <strong>and</strong> partly by <strong>the</strong> account of <strong>the</strong> most reverend Abbot Esi. What<br />

was done with regard <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith of Christ, <strong>and</strong> what was <strong>the</strong> episcopal succession<br />

in <strong>the</strong> province of Lindsey, we had ei<strong>the</strong>r from <strong>the</strong> letters of <strong>the</strong> most reverend<br />

prelate Cynibert, or by word of mouth from o<strong>the</strong>r persons of good credit. But what<br />

<br />

from <strong>the</strong> time when <strong>the</strong>y received <strong>the</strong> faith of Christ till this present, I received<br />

not on <strong>the</strong> authority of any one man, but by <strong>the</strong> faithful testimony of innumerable<br />

witnesses, who might know or remember <strong>the</strong> same; besides what I had of my own<br />

knowledge. Wherein it is <strong>to</strong> be observed, that what I have written concerning our<br />

most holy fa<strong>the</strong>r, Bishop Cuthbert, ei<strong>the</strong>r in this volume, or in my account of his<br />

life <strong>and</strong> actions, I partly <strong>to</strong>ok from what I found written of him by <strong>the</strong> brethren of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Church of Lindisfarne, accepting without reserve <strong>the</strong> statements I found <strong>the</strong>re;<br />

but at <strong>the</strong> same time <strong>to</strong>ok care <strong>to</strong> add such things as I could myself have knowledge<br />

of by <strong>the</strong> faithful testimony of trustworthy informants. And I humbly entreat <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> truth, he will not lay <strong>the</strong> blame of it on me, for, as <strong>the</strong> true rule of his<strong>to</strong>ry<br />

requires, withholding nothing, I have laboured <strong>to</strong> commit <strong>to</strong> writing such things as<br />

I could ga<strong>the</strong>r from common report, for <strong>the</strong> instruction of posterity.<br />

Moreover, I beseech all men who shall hear or read this his<strong>to</strong>ry of our<br />

<br />

intercessions <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> throne of Grace. And I fur<strong>the</strong>r pray, that in recompense for<br />

<strong>the</strong> labour wherewith I have recorded in <strong>the</strong> several provinces <strong>and</strong> more important<br />

places those events which I considered worthy of note <strong>and</strong> of interest <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

Book I<br />

<br />

inhabitants<br />

Britain, an isl<strong>and</strong> in <strong>the</strong> Atlantic, formerly called Albion, lies <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> northwest,<br />

facing, though at a considerable distance, <strong>the</strong> coasts of Germany, France,<br />

<strong>and</strong> Spain, which form <strong>the</strong> greatest part of Europe. It extends 800 miles in length<br />

<strong>to</strong>wards <strong>the</strong> north, <strong>and</strong> is 200 miles in breadth, except where several promon<strong>to</strong>ries<br />

extend fur<strong>the</strong>r in breadth, by which its compass is made <strong>to</strong> be 4,875 miles. To <strong>the</strong><br />

south lies Belgic Gaul. To its nearest shore <strong>the</strong>re is an easy passage from <strong>the</strong> city<br />

of Rutubi Portus, by <strong>the</strong> English now corrupted in<strong>to</strong> Reptacaestir. The distance<br />

from here across <strong>the</strong> sea <strong>to</strong> Gessoriacum, <strong>the</strong> nearest shore in <strong>the</strong> terri<strong>to</strong>ry of <strong>the</strong><br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

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<br />

isl<strong>and</strong>, where it opens upon <strong>the</strong> boundless ocean, it has <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>s called Orcades.<br />

Britain is rich in grain <strong>and</strong> trees, <strong>and</strong> is well adapted for feeding cattle <strong>and</strong> beasts<br />

of burden. It also produces vines in some places, <strong>and</strong> has plenty of l<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> water<br />

<br />

springs. It has <strong>the</strong> greatest plenty of salmon <strong>and</strong> eels; seals are also frequently<br />

<br />

mussels, in which are often found excellent pearls of all colours, red, purple, violet<br />

<br />

scarlet dye is made, a most beautiful red, which never fades with <strong>the</strong> heat of <strong>the</strong> sun<br />

or exposure <strong>to</strong> rain, but <strong>the</strong> older it is, <strong>the</strong> more beautiful it becomes. It has both<br />

<br />

for all ages <strong>and</strong> both sexes, in separate places, according <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir requirements.<br />

For water, as St. Basil says, receives <strong>the</strong> quality of heat, when it runs along certain<br />

metals, <strong>and</strong> becomes not only hot but scalding. Britain is rich also in veins of metals,<br />

as copper, iron, lead, <strong>and</strong> silver; it produces a great deal of excellent jet, which is<br />

<br />

away serpents; being warmed with rubbing, it attracts whatever is applied <strong>to</strong> it,<br />

like amber. The isl<strong>and</strong> was formerly distinguished by twenty-eight famous cities,<br />

besides innumerable forts, which were all strongly secured with walls, <strong>to</strong>wers,<br />

gates, <strong>and</strong> bars. And, because it lies almost under <strong>the</strong> North Pole, <strong>the</strong> nights are<br />

light in summer, so that at midnight <strong>the</strong> beholders are often in doubt whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong><br />

evening twilight still continues, or that of <strong>the</strong> morning has come; since <strong>the</strong> sun at<br />

night returns <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> east in <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn regions without passing far beneath <strong>the</strong><br />

earth. For this reason <strong>the</strong> days are of a great length in summer, <strong>and</strong> on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

h<strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong> nights in winter are eighteen hours long, for <strong>the</strong> sun <strong>the</strong>n withdraws in<strong>to</strong><br />

sou<strong>the</strong>rn parts. In like manner <strong>the</strong> nights are very short in summer, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> days in<br />

winter, that is, only six equinoctial hours. Whereas, in Armenia, Macedonia, Italy,<br />

<strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r countries of <strong>the</strong> same latitude, <strong>the</strong> longest day or night extends but <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

There are in <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> at present, following <strong>the</strong> number of <strong>the</strong> books in which<br />

<br />

study <strong>and</strong> confession of <strong>the</strong> one self-same knowledge, which is of highest truth <strong>and</strong><br />

true sublimity, <strong>to</strong> wit, English, <strong>British</strong>, Scottish, Pictish, <strong>and</strong> Latin, <strong>the</strong> last having<br />

<br />

no o<strong>the</strong>r inhabitants but <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, from whom it derived its name, <strong>and</strong> who,<br />

coming over in<strong>to</strong> Britain, as is reported, from Armorica, possessed <strong>the</strong>mselves of<br />

<strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn parts <strong>the</strong>reof. Starting from <strong>the</strong> south, <strong>the</strong>y had occupied <strong>the</strong> greater<br />

part of <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, when it happened, that <strong>the</strong> nation of <strong>the</strong> Picts, putting <strong>to</strong> sea<br />

from Scythia, as is reported, in a few ships of war, <strong>and</strong> being driven by <strong>the</strong> winds<br />

beyond <strong>the</strong> bounds of Britain, came <strong>to</strong> Irel<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> l<strong>and</strong>ed on its nor<strong>the</strong>rn shores.<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, but could not succeed in obtaining <strong>the</strong>ir request. Irel<strong>and</strong> is <strong>the</strong> largest isl<strong>and</strong><br />

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next <strong>to</strong> Britain, <strong>and</strong> lies <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> west of it; but as it is shorter than Britain <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

north, so, on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r h<strong>and</strong>, it runs out far beyond it <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> south, over against <strong>the</strong><br />

nor<strong>the</strong>rn part of Spain, though a wide sea lies between <strong>the</strong>m. The Picts <strong>the</strong>n, as<br />

has been said, arriving in this isl<strong>and</strong> by sea, desired <strong>to</strong> have a place granted <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in which <strong>the</strong>y might settle. The Scots answered that <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> could not contain<br />

<strong>the</strong>m both; but “We can give you good counsel,” said <strong>the</strong>y, “whereby you may know<br />

what <strong>to</strong> do; we know <strong>the</strong>re is ano<strong>the</strong>r isl<strong>and</strong>, not far from ours, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> eastward,<br />

which we often see at a distance, when <strong>the</strong> days are clear. If you will go thi<strong>the</strong>r, you<br />

can obtain settlements; or, if any should oppose you, we will help you.” The Picts,<br />

accordingly, sailing over in<strong>to</strong> Britain, began <strong>to</strong> inhabit <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn parts <strong>the</strong>reof,<br />

for <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns had possessed <strong>the</strong>mselves of <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn. Now <strong>the</strong> Picts had no<br />

wives, <strong>and</strong> asked <strong>the</strong>m of <strong>the</strong> Scots; who would not consent <strong>to</strong> grant <strong>the</strong>m upon<br />

any o<strong>the</strong>r terms, than that when any question should arise, <strong>the</strong>y should choose a<br />

king from <strong>the</strong> female royal race ra<strong>the</strong>r than from <strong>the</strong> male: which cus<strong>to</strong>m, as is well<br />

known, has been observed among <strong>the</strong> Picts <strong>to</strong> this day. In process of time, Britain,<br />

besides <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Picts, received a third nation, <strong>the</strong> Scots, who, migrating<br />

from Irel<strong>and</strong> under <strong>the</strong>ir leader, Reuda, ei<strong>the</strong>r by fair means, or by force of arms,<br />

secured <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>mselves those settlements among <strong>the</strong> Picts which <strong>the</strong>y still possess.<br />

<strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> name of <strong>the</strong>ir comm<strong>and</strong>er, <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>to</strong> this day called Dalreudini; for, in<br />

<br />

Irel<strong>and</strong> is broader than Britain <strong>and</strong> has a much healthier <strong>and</strong> milder climate;<br />

for <strong>the</strong> snow scarcely ever lies <strong>the</strong>re above three days: no man makes hay in <strong>the</strong><br />

summer for winter’s provision, or builds stables for his beasts of burden. No<br />

reptiles are found <strong>the</strong>re, <strong>and</strong> no snake can live <strong>the</strong>re; for, though snakes are often<br />

carried thi<strong>the</strong>r out of Britain, as soon as <strong>the</strong> ship comes near <strong>the</strong> shore, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

scent of <strong>the</strong> air reaches <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong>y die. On <strong>the</strong> contrary, almost all things in <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

been bitten by serpents, <strong>the</strong> scrapings of leaves of books that were brought out of<br />

Irel<strong>and</strong>, being put in<strong>to</strong> water, <strong>and</strong> given <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> drink, have immediately absorbed<br />

<strong>the</strong> spreading poison, <strong>and</strong> assuaged <strong>the</strong> swelling.<br />

<br />

fowl; <strong>and</strong> it is noted for <strong>the</strong> hunting of stags <strong>and</strong> roe-deer. It is properly <strong>the</strong> country<br />

of <strong>the</strong> Scots, who, migrating from <strong>the</strong>nce, as has been said, formed <strong>the</strong> third nation<br />

in Britain in addition <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Picts.<br />

There is a very large gulf of <strong>the</strong> sea, which formerly divided <strong>the</strong> nation of <strong>the</strong><br />

Bri<strong>to</strong>ns from <strong>the</strong> Picts; it runs from <strong>the</strong> west far in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> l<strong>and</strong>, where, <strong>to</strong> this day,<br />

st<strong>and</strong>s a strong city of <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, called Alcluith. The Scots, arriving on <strong>the</strong> north<br />

side of this bay, settled <strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>the</strong>re.<br />

<br />

Britain<br />

Now Britain had never been visited by <strong>the</strong> Romans, <strong>and</strong> was entirely unknown<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m before <strong>the</strong> time of Caius Julius Caesar, who, in <strong>the</strong> year 693 after <strong>the</strong><br />

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foundation of Rome, but <strong>the</strong> sixtieth year before <strong>the</strong> Incarnation of our Lord, was<br />

consul with Lucius Bibulus. While he was making war upon <strong>the</strong> Germans <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Gauls, who were divided only by <strong>the</strong> river Rhine, he came in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> province of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Morini, whence is <strong>the</strong> nearest <strong>and</strong> shortest passage in<strong>to</strong> Britain. Here, having<br />

provided about eighty ships of burden <strong>and</strong> fast-sailing vessels, he sailed over in<strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

<br />

all his cavalry. Returning in<strong>to</strong> Gaul, he put his legions in<strong>to</strong> winter-quarters, <strong>and</strong><br />

gave orders for building six hundred sail of both sorts. With <strong>the</strong>se he again crossed<br />

over early in spring in<strong>to</strong> Britain, but, whilst he was marching with <strong>the</strong> army against<br />

<strong>the</strong> enemy, <strong>the</strong> ships, riding at anchor, were caught in a s<strong>to</strong>rm <strong>and</strong> ei<strong>the</strong>r dashed<br />

one against ano<strong>the</strong>r, or driven upon <strong>the</strong> s<strong>and</strong>s <strong>and</strong> wrecked. Forty of <strong>the</strong>m were lost,<br />

<br />

defeated by <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>re Labienus, <strong>the</strong> tribune, was slain. In <strong>the</strong> second<br />

engagement, with great hazard <strong>to</strong> his men, he defeated <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns <strong>and</strong> put <strong>the</strong>m<br />

<br />

enemy had posted <strong>the</strong>mselves on <strong>the</strong> far<strong>the</strong>r side of <strong>the</strong> river, under <strong>the</strong> comm<strong>and</strong><br />

of Cassobellaunus, <strong>and</strong> fenced <strong>the</strong> bank of <strong>the</strong> river <strong>and</strong> almost all <strong>the</strong> ford under<br />

water with sharp stakes: <strong>the</strong> remains of <strong>the</strong>se are <strong>to</strong> be seen <strong>to</strong> this day, apparently<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> bot<strong>to</strong>m of <strong>the</strong> river. This being perceived <strong>and</strong> avoided by <strong>the</strong> Romans, <strong>the</strong><br />

barbarians, not able <strong>to</strong> st<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> charge of <strong>the</strong> legions, hid <strong>the</strong>mselves in <strong>the</strong><br />

woods, whence <strong>the</strong>y grievously harassed <strong>the</strong> Romans with repeated sallies. In <strong>the</strong><br />

meantime, <strong>the</strong> strong state of <strong>the</strong> Trinovantes, with <strong>the</strong>ir comm<strong>and</strong>er Androgius,<br />

surrendered <strong>to</strong> Caesar, giving him forty hostages. Many o<strong>the</strong>r cities, following <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

example, made a treaty with <strong>the</strong> Romans. Guided by <strong>the</strong>m, Caesar at length, after<br />

<br />

<br />

this, Caesar returned from Britain in<strong>to</strong> Gaul, but he had no sooner put his legions<br />

in<strong>to</strong> winter quarters, than he was suddenly beset <strong>and</strong> distracted with wars <strong>and</strong><br />

sudden risings on every side.<br />

<br />

Britain, brought <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>s Orcades in<strong>to</strong> subjection <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Roman<br />

empire; <strong>and</strong> Vespasian, sent by him, reduced <strong>the</strong> Isle of Wight under<br />

<strong>the</strong> dominion of <strong>the</strong> Romans.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of Rome 798, Claudius, fourth emperor from Augustus, being<br />

<br />

upon war <strong>and</strong> conquest on every side, under<strong>to</strong>ok an expedition in<strong>to</strong> Britain, which<br />

as it appeared, was roused <strong>to</strong> rebellion by <strong>the</strong> refusal of <strong>the</strong> Romans <strong>to</strong> give up<br />

certain deserters. No one before or after Julius Caesar had dared <strong>to</strong> l<strong>and</strong> upon <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

or bloodshed, <strong>the</strong> greater part of <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> was surrendered in<strong>to</strong> his h<strong>and</strong>s. He also<br />

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added <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Roman empire <strong>the</strong> Orcades, which lie in <strong>the</strong> ocean beyond Britain,<br />

<strong>and</strong>, returning <strong>to</strong> Rome in <strong>the</strong> sixth month after his departure, he gave his son <strong>the</strong><br />

title of Britannicus. This war he concluded in <strong>the</strong> fourth year of his reign, which is<br />

<strong>the</strong> forty-sixth from <strong>the</strong> Incarnation of our Lord. In which year <strong>the</strong>re came <strong>to</strong> pass<br />

a most grievous famine in Syria, which is recorded in <strong>the</strong> Acts of <strong>the</strong> Apostles <strong>to</strong><br />

have been fore<strong>to</strong>ld by <strong>the</strong> prophet Agabus.<br />

Vespasian, who was emperor after Nero, being sent in<strong>to</strong> Britain by <strong>the</strong> same<br />

Claudius, brought also under <strong>the</strong> Roman dominion <strong>the</strong> Isle of Wight, which is<br />

close <strong>to</strong> Britain on <strong>the</strong> south, <strong>and</strong> is about thirty miles in length from east <strong>to</strong> west,<br />

<strong>and</strong> twelve from north <strong>to</strong> south; being six miles distant from <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn coast<br />

of Britain at <strong>the</strong> east end, <strong>and</strong> three at <strong>the</strong> west. Nero, succeeding Claudius in <strong>the</strong><br />

empire, under<strong>to</strong>ok no wars at all; <strong>and</strong>, <strong>the</strong>refore, among countless o<strong>the</strong>r disasters<br />

brought by him upon <strong>the</strong> Roman state, he almost lost Britain; for in his time two<br />

most notable <strong>to</strong>wns were <strong>the</strong>re taken <strong>and</strong> destroyed.<br />

<br />

<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 156, Marcus An<strong>to</strong>ninus Verus, <strong>the</strong> fourteenth from<br />

Augustus, was made emperor, <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r with his bro<strong>the</strong>r, Aurelius Commodus. In<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir time, whilst <strong>the</strong> holy Eleu<strong>the</strong>rus presided over <strong>the</strong> Roman Church, Lucius,<br />

king of Britain, sent a letter <strong>to</strong> him, entreating that by a m<strong>and</strong>ate from him he<br />

might be made a Christian. He soon obtained his pious request, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns<br />

preserved <strong>the</strong> faith, which <strong>the</strong>y had received, uncorrupted <strong>and</strong> entire, in peace <strong>and</strong><br />

tranquillity until <strong>the</strong> time of <strong>the</strong> Emperor Diocletian.<br />

<br />

that part of Britain which had been recovered.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 189, Severus, an African, born at Leptis, in <strong>the</strong> province<br />

of Tripolis, became emperor. He was <strong>the</strong> seventeenth from Augustus, <strong>and</strong> reigned<br />

seventeen years. Being naturally of a harsh disposition, <strong>and</strong> engaged in many wars,<br />

he governed <strong>the</strong> state vigorously, but with much trouble. Having been vic<strong>to</strong>rious in<br />

all <strong>the</strong> grievous civil wars which happened in his time, he was drawn in<strong>to</strong> Britain<br />

by <strong>the</strong> revolt of almost all <strong>the</strong> confederated tribes; <strong>and</strong>, after many great <strong>and</strong> severe<br />

<br />

from <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r unconquered nations, not with a wall, as some imagine, but with<br />

a rampart. For a wall is made of s<strong>to</strong>nes, but a rampart, with which camps are<br />

<br />

raised high above <strong>the</strong> ground, like a wall, having in front of it <strong>the</strong> trench whence<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong>re, at York, he fell sick afterwards <strong>and</strong> died, leaving two sons, Bassianus <strong>and</strong><br />

Geta; of whom Geta died, adjudged an enemy of <strong>the</strong> State; but Bassianus, having<br />

taken <strong>the</strong> surname of An<strong>to</strong>nius, obtained <strong>the</strong> empire.<br />

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<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 286, Diocletian, <strong>the</strong> thirty-third from Augustus, <strong>and</strong><br />

chosen emperor by <strong>the</strong> army, reigned twenty years, <strong>and</strong> created Maximian,<br />

surnamed Herculius, his colleague in <strong>the</strong> empire. In <strong>the</strong>ir time, one Carausius, of<br />

very mean birth, but a man of great ability <strong>and</strong> energy, being appointed <strong>to</strong> guard<br />

<strong>the</strong> sea-coasts, <strong>the</strong>n infested by <strong>the</strong> Franks <strong>and</strong> Saxons, acted more <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> prejudice<br />

than <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> advantage of <strong>the</strong> commonwealth, by not res<strong>to</strong>ring <strong>to</strong> its owners any of<br />

<strong>the</strong> booty taken from <strong>the</strong> robbers, but keeping all <strong>to</strong> himself; thus giving rise <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

When, <strong>the</strong>refore, an order was sent by Maximian that he should be put <strong>to</strong> death, he<br />

<strong>to</strong>ok upon him <strong>the</strong> imperial purple, <strong>and</strong> possessed himself of Britain, <strong>and</strong> having<br />

most valiantly conquered <strong>and</strong> held it for <strong>the</strong> space of seven years, he was at length<br />

put <strong>to</strong> death by <strong>the</strong> treachery of his associate Allectus. The usurper, having thus<br />

got <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> from Carausius, held it three years, <strong>and</strong> was <strong>the</strong>n vanquished by<br />

Asclepiodotus, <strong>the</strong> captain of <strong>the</strong> Prae<strong>to</strong>rian guards, who thus at <strong>the</strong> end of ten<br />

years res<strong>to</strong>red Britain <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Roman empire.<br />

Meanwhile, Diocletian in <strong>the</strong> east, <strong>and</strong> Maximian Herculius in <strong>the</strong> west,<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>ed <strong>the</strong> churches <strong>to</strong> be destroyed, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Christians <strong>to</strong> be persecuted <strong>and</strong><br />

slain. This persecution was <strong>the</strong> tenth since <strong>the</strong> reign of Nero, <strong>and</strong> was more lasting<br />

<strong>and</strong> cruel than almost any before it; for it was carried on incessantly for <strong>the</strong> space<br />

of ten years, with burning of churches, proscription of innocent persons, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

slaughter of martyrs. Finally, Britain also attained <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> great glory of bearing<br />

faithful witness <strong>to</strong> God.<br />

<br />

time shed <strong>the</strong>ir blood for our Lord.<br />

<br />

of Virgins, where he makes mention of <strong>the</strong> blessed martyrs that came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lord<br />

from all parts of <strong>the</strong> world, says:<br />

And fruitful Britain noble Alban rears.<br />

This Alban, being yet a pagan, at <strong>the</strong> time when at <strong>the</strong> bidding of unbelieving<br />

rulers all manner of cruelty was practised against <strong>the</strong> Christians, gave entertainment<br />

<br />

be engaged in continual prayer <strong>and</strong> watching day <strong>and</strong> night; when on a sudden <strong>the</strong><br />

Divine grace shining on him, he began <strong>to</strong> imitate <strong>the</strong> example of faith <strong>and</strong> piety which<br />

was set before him, <strong>and</strong> being gradually instructed by his wholesome admonitions,<br />

<br />

The aforesaid clerk having been some days entertained by him, it came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> ears<br />

of <strong>the</strong> impious prince, that a confessor of Christ, <strong>to</strong> whom a martyr’s place had<br />

not yet been assigned, was concealed at Alban’s house. Whereupon he sent some<br />

soldiers <strong>to</strong> make a strict search after him. When <strong>the</strong>y came <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> martyr’s hut, St.<br />

Alban presently came forth <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> soldiers, instead of his guest <strong>and</strong> master, in <strong>the</strong><br />

habit or long coat which he wore, <strong>and</strong> was bound <strong>and</strong> led before <strong>the</strong> judge.<br />

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It happened that <strong>the</strong> judge, at <strong>the</strong> time when Alban was carried before him, was<br />

<br />

much enraged that he should thus, of his own accord, dare <strong>to</strong> put himself in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

h<strong>and</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> soldiers, <strong>and</strong> incur such danger on behalf of <strong>the</strong> guest whom he had<br />

harboured, he comm<strong>and</strong>ed him <strong>to</strong> be dragged <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> images of <strong>the</strong> devils, before<br />

which he s<strong>to</strong>od, saying, “Because you have chosen <strong>to</strong> conceal a rebellious <strong>and</strong><br />

sacrilegious man, ra<strong>the</strong>r than <strong>to</strong> deliver him up <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> soldiers, that his contempt<br />

of <strong>the</strong> gods might meet with <strong>the</strong> penalty due <strong>to</strong> such blasphemy, you shall undergo<br />

all <strong>the</strong> punishment that was due <strong>to</strong> him, if you seek <strong>to</strong> ab<strong>and</strong>on <strong>the</strong> worship of our<br />

religion.” But St. Alban, who had voluntarily declared himself a Christian <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

persecu<strong>to</strong>rs of <strong>the</strong> faith, was not at all daunted by <strong>the</strong> prince’s threats, but putting<br />

on <strong>the</strong> armour of spiritual warfare, publicly declared that he would not obey his<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>. Then said <strong>the</strong> judge, “Of what family or race are you?”—“What does it<br />

concern you,” answered Alban, “of what s<strong>to</strong>ck I am? If you desire <strong>to</strong> hear <strong>the</strong> truth<br />

<br />

Christian duties.”—“I ask your name,” said <strong>the</strong> judge; “tell me it immediately.”—“I<br />

am called Alban by my parents,” replied he; “<strong>and</strong> I worship ever <strong>and</strong> adore <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

everlasting pains of hell for his reward.”<br />

The judge, hearing <strong>the</strong>se words, <strong>and</strong> being much incensed, ordered this holy<br />

confessor of God <strong>to</strong> be scourged by <strong>the</strong> executioners, believing that he might by<br />

stripes shake that constancy of heart, on which he could not prevail by words.<br />

He, being most cruelly <strong>to</strong>rtured, bore <strong>the</strong> same patiently, or ra<strong>the</strong>r joyfully, for<br />

our Lord’s sake. When <strong>the</strong> judge perceived that he was not <strong>to</strong> be overcome by<br />

<strong>to</strong>rtures, or withdrawn from <strong>the</strong> exercise of <strong>the</strong> Christian religion, he ordered<br />

him <strong>to</strong> be put <strong>to</strong> death. Being led <strong>to</strong> execution, he came <strong>to</strong> a river, which, with a<br />

most rapid course, ran between <strong>the</strong> wall of <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>wn <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> arena where he was<br />

<strong>to</strong> be executed. He <strong>the</strong>re saw a great multitude of persons of both sexes, <strong>and</strong> of<br />

divers ages <strong>and</strong> conditions, who were doubtless assembled by Divine inspiration,<br />

<br />

river, that he could scarce pass over that evening. In truth, almost all had gone out,<br />

so that <strong>the</strong> judge remained in <strong>the</strong> city without attendance. St. Alban, <strong>the</strong>refore,<br />

urged by an ardent <strong>and</strong> devout wish <strong>to</strong> attain <strong>the</strong> sooner <strong>to</strong> martyrdom, drew<br />

near <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> stream, <strong>and</strong> lifted up his eyes <strong>to</strong> heaven, whereupon <strong>the</strong> channel was<br />

immediately dried up, <strong>and</strong> he perceived that <strong>the</strong> water had given place <strong>and</strong> made<br />

way for him <strong>to</strong> pass. Among <strong>the</strong> rest, <strong>the</strong> executioner, who should have put him<br />

<strong>to</strong> death, observed this, <strong>and</strong> moved doubtless by Divine inspiration hastened <strong>to</strong><br />

meet him at <strong>the</strong> appointed place of execution, <strong>and</strong> casting away <strong>the</strong> sword which<br />

he had carried ready drawn, fell at his feet, praying earnestly that he might ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

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<br />

or, if possible, instead of him.<br />

Whilst he was thus changed from a persecu<strong>to</strong>r in<strong>to</strong> a companion in <strong>the</strong> faith <strong>and</strong><br />

truth, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r executioners rightly hesitated <strong>to</strong> take up <strong>the</strong> sword which was<br />

lying on <strong>the</strong> ground, <strong>the</strong> holy confessor, accompanied by <strong>the</strong> multitude, ascended a<br />

<br />

<br />

nowhere steep or precipi<strong>to</strong>us or of sheer descent, but with a long, smooth natural<br />

slope, like a plain, on its sides, a place al<strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r worthy from of old, by reason of<br />

its native beauty, <strong>to</strong> be consecrated by <strong>the</strong> blood of a blessed martyr. On <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>p of<br />

this hill, St. Alban prayed that God would give him water, <strong>and</strong> immediately a living<br />

<br />

that even <strong>the</strong> stream had yielded its service <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> martyr. For it was impossible<br />

that <strong>the</strong> martyr, who had left no water remaining in <strong>the</strong> river, should desire it on<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>and</strong> here he received <strong>the</strong> crown of life, which God has promised <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m that love<br />

him. But he who laid impious h<strong>and</strong>s on <strong>the</strong> holy man’s neck was not permitted<br />

<strong>to</strong> rejoice over his dead body; for his eyes dropped upon <strong>the</strong> ground at <strong>the</strong> same<br />

moment as <strong>the</strong> blessed martyr’s head fell.<br />

At <strong>the</strong> same time was also beheaded <strong>the</strong> soldier, who before, through <strong>the</strong> Divine<br />

admonition, refused <strong>to</strong> strike <strong>the</strong> holy confessor. Of whom it is apparent, that<br />

<br />

washing of his own blood, <strong>and</strong> rendered worthy <strong>to</strong> enter <strong>the</strong> kingdom of heaven.<br />

Then <strong>the</strong> judge, as<strong>to</strong>nished at <strong>the</strong> unwonted sight of so many heavenly miracles,<br />

ordered <strong>the</strong> persecution <strong>to</strong> cease immediately, <strong>and</strong> began <strong>to</strong> honour <strong>the</strong> death of<br />

<strong>the</strong> saints, by which he once thought that <strong>the</strong>y might have been turned from <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

day of June, near <strong>the</strong> city of Verulam, which is now by <strong>the</strong> English nation called<br />

Verlamacaestir, or Vaeclingacaestir, where afterwards, when peaceable Christian<br />

times were res<strong>to</strong>red, a church of wonderful workmanship, <strong>and</strong> al<strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r worthy <strong>to</strong><br />

commemorate his martyrdom, was erected. In which place <strong>the</strong> cure of sick persons<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> frequent working of wonders cease not <strong>to</strong> this day.<br />

<br />

many more of both sexes in divers places; who, after that <strong>the</strong>y had endured sundry<br />

<strong>to</strong>rments, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir limbs had been mangled after an unheard-of manner, when <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

warfare was accomplished, yielded <strong>the</strong>ir souls up <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> joys of <strong>the</strong> heavenly city.<br />

<br />

enjoyed peace till <strong>the</strong> time of <strong>the</strong> Arian heresy.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm of persecution ceased, <strong>the</strong> faithful Christians, who, during <strong>the</strong><br />

time of danger, had hidden <strong>the</strong>mselves in woods <strong>and</strong> deserts <strong>and</strong> secret caves, came<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

forth <strong>and</strong> rebuilt <strong>the</strong> churches which had been levelled <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> ground; founded,<br />

<br />

as if displaying <strong>the</strong>ir conquering st<strong>and</strong>ards in all places, celebrated festivals <strong>and</strong><br />

performed <strong>the</strong>ir sacred rites with pure hearts <strong>and</strong> lips. This peace continued in <strong>the</strong><br />

Christian churches of Britain until <strong>the</strong> time of <strong>the</strong> Arian madness, which, having<br />

corrupted <strong>the</strong> whole world, infected this isl<strong>and</strong> also, so far removed from <strong>the</strong> rest<br />

of <strong>the</strong> world, with <strong>the</strong> poison of its error; <strong>and</strong> when once a way was opened across<br />

<strong>the</strong> sea for that plague, straightway all <strong>the</strong> taint of every heresy fell upon <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>,<br />

<br />

At this time Constantius, who, whilst Diocletian was alive, governed Gaul <strong>and</strong><br />

Spain, a man of great clemency <strong>and</strong> urbanity, died in Britain. This man left his<br />

son Constantine, born of Helena, his concubine, emperor of <strong>the</strong> Gauls. Eutropius<br />

writes that Constantine, being created emperor in Britain, succeeded his fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

in <strong>the</strong> sovereignty. In his time <strong>the</strong> Arian heresy broke out, <strong>and</strong> although it was<br />

exposed <strong>and</strong> condemned in <strong>the</strong> Council of Nicaea, never<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong> deadly poison<br />

of its evil spread, as has been said, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Churches in <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>s, as well as <strong>to</strong> those<br />

of <strong>the</strong> rest of <strong>the</strong> world.<br />

<br />

Emperor in Britain, returned in<strong>to</strong> Gaul with a mighty army.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 377, Gratian, <strong>the</strong> fortieth from Augustus, held <strong>the</strong><br />

empire for six years after <strong>the</strong> death of Valens; though he had long before reigned<br />

with his uncle Valens, <strong>and</strong> his bro<strong>the</strong>r Valentinian. Finding <strong>the</strong> condition of <strong>the</strong><br />

commonwealth much impaired, <strong>and</strong> almost gone <strong>to</strong> ruin, <strong>and</strong> impelled by <strong>the</strong><br />

necessity of res<strong>to</strong>ring it, he invested <strong>the</strong> Spaniard, Theodosius, with <strong>the</strong> purple<br />

at Sirmium, <strong>and</strong> made him emperor of Thrace <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eastern provinces. At that<br />

time, Maximus, a man of energy <strong>and</strong> probity, <strong>and</strong> worthy of <strong>the</strong> title of Augustus, if<br />

he had not broken his oath of allegiance, was made emperor by <strong>the</strong> army somewhat<br />

against his will, passed over in<strong>to</strong> Gaul, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>re by treachery slew <strong>the</strong> Emperor<br />

Gratian, who in consternation at his sudden invasion, was attempting <strong>to</strong> escape<br />

<br />

<br />

res<strong>to</strong>red <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> empire, for Maximus <strong>the</strong> tyrant, being shut up in Aquileia, was<br />

<strong>the</strong>re taken by <strong>the</strong>m <strong>and</strong> put <strong>to</strong> death.<br />

<br />

impugned <strong>the</strong> Grace of God.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 394, Arcadius, <strong>the</strong> son of Theodosius, <strong>the</strong> forty-third<br />

from Augustus, succeeding <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> empire, with his bro<strong>the</strong>r Honorius, held it<br />

thirteen years. In his time, Pelagius, a Bri<strong>to</strong>n, spread far <strong>and</strong> near <strong>the</strong> infection of<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong>rein by his associate Julianus of Campania, who was impelled by an uncontrolled<br />

desire <strong>to</strong> recover his bishopric, of which he had been deprived. St. Augustine, <strong>and</strong><br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r orthodox fa<strong>the</strong>rs, quoted many thous<strong>and</strong> catholic authorities against<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, but failed <strong>to</strong> amend <strong>the</strong>ir folly; nay, more, <strong>the</strong>ir madness being rebuked was<br />

<br />

adherence <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> truth; which Prosper, <strong>the</strong> rhe<strong>to</strong>rician, has beautifully expressed<br />

thus in heroic verse:—<br />

They tell that one, erewhile consumed with gnawing spite, snake-like attacked<br />

Augustine in his writings. Who urged <strong>the</strong> wretched viper <strong>to</strong> raise from <strong>the</strong> ground<br />

his head, howsoever hidden in dens of darkness? Ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> sea-girt Bri<strong>to</strong>ns<br />

reared him with <strong>the</strong> fruit of <strong>the</strong>ir soil, or fed on Campanian pastures his heart<br />

swells with pride.<br />

<br />

were created tyrants in Britain; <strong>and</strong> soon after <strong>the</strong> former was slain in<br />

Britain, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> latter in Gaul.<br />

Honorius, <strong>the</strong> younger son of Theodosius, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fortyfourth<br />

from Augustus, being emperor, two years before <strong>the</strong> invasion of Rome by<br />

Alaric, king of <strong>the</strong> Goths, when <strong>the</strong> nations of <strong>the</strong> Alani, Suevi, V<strong>and</strong>als, <strong>and</strong> many<br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs with <strong>the</strong>m, having defeated <strong>the</strong> Franks <strong>and</strong> passed <strong>the</strong> Rhine, ravaged all<br />

Gaul, Gratianus, a citizen of <strong>the</strong> country, was set up as tyrant in Britain <strong>and</strong> killed.<br />

<br />

by his name, <strong>and</strong> without any worth <strong>to</strong> recommend him, was chosen emperor. As<br />

soon as he had taken upon him <strong>the</strong> comm<strong>and</strong>, he crossed over in<strong>to</strong> Gaul, where<br />

being often imposed upon by <strong>the</strong> barbarians with untrustworthy treaties, he did<br />

more harm than good <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Commonwealth. Whereupon Count Constantius, by<br />

<strong>the</strong> comm<strong>and</strong> of Honorius, marching in<strong>to</strong> Gaul with an army, besieged him in <strong>the</strong><br />

city of Arles, <strong>to</strong>ok him prisoner, <strong>and</strong> put him <strong>to</strong> death. His son Constans, a monk,<br />

whom he had created Caesar, was also put <strong>to</strong> death by his own follower Count<br />

Gerontius, at Vienne.<br />

Rome was taken by <strong>the</strong> Goths, in <strong>the</strong> year from its foundation, 1164. Then <strong>the</strong><br />

Romans ceased <strong>to</strong> rule in Britain, almost 470 years after Caius Julius Caesar came<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>. They dwelt within <strong>the</strong> rampart, which, as we have mentioned, Severus<br />

made across <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, on <strong>the</strong> south side of it, as <strong>the</strong> cities, watch-<strong>to</strong>wers, bridges,<br />

<strong>and</strong> paved roads <strong>the</strong>re made tes<br />

far<strong>the</strong>r parts of Britain, as also over <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>s that are beyond Britain.<br />

<br />

sought succour from <strong>the</strong> Romans, who coming a second time, built a<br />

<br />

aforesaid enemies, <strong>the</strong>y were reduced <strong>to</strong> greater distress than before.<br />

<strong>From</strong> that time, <strong>the</strong> <strong>British</strong> part of Britain, destitute of armed soldiers, of all<br />

<br />

by <strong>the</strong> rashness of <strong>the</strong> tyrants never <strong>to</strong> return, was wholly exposed <strong>to</strong> rapine, <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

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many years from <strong>the</strong> sudden invasions of two very savage nations from beyond <strong>the</strong><br />

sea, <strong>the</strong> Scots from <strong>the</strong> west, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Picts from <strong>the</strong> north. We call <strong>the</strong>se nations<br />

from beyond <strong>the</strong> sea, not on account of <strong>the</strong>ir being seated out of Britain, but because<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were separated from that part of it which was possessed by <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, two<br />

broad <strong>and</strong> long inlets of <strong>the</strong> sea lying between <strong>the</strong>m, one of which runs in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

interior of Britain, from <strong>the</strong> Eastern Sea, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r from <strong>the</strong> Western, though<br />

<strong>the</strong>y do not reach so far as <strong>to</strong> <strong>to</strong>uch one ano<strong>the</strong>r. The eastern has in <strong>the</strong> midst of<br />

it <strong>the</strong> city Giudi. On <strong>the</strong> Western Sea, that is, on its right shore, st<strong>and</strong>s <strong>the</strong> city of<br />

<br />

of that name.<br />

On account of <strong>the</strong> attacks of <strong>the</strong>se nations, <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns sent messengers <strong>to</strong> Rome<br />

with letters piteously praying for succour, <strong>and</strong> promising perpetual subjection,<br />

provided that <strong>the</strong> impending enemy should be driven away. An armed legion was<br />

immediately sent <strong>the</strong>m, which, arriving in <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> engaging <strong>the</strong> enemy,<br />

slew a great multitude of <strong>the</strong>m, drove <strong>the</strong> rest out of <strong>the</strong> terri<strong>to</strong>ries of <strong>the</strong>ir allies,<br />

<strong>and</strong> having in <strong>the</strong> meanwhile delivered <strong>the</strong>m from <strong>the</strong>ir worst distress, advised<br />

<strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> build a wall between <strong>the</strong> two seas across <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, that it might secure<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>ers building <strong>the</strong> wall which <strong>the</strong>y had been <strong>to</strong>ld <strong>to</strong> raise, not of s<strong>to</strong>ne,<br />

since <strong>the</strong>y had no workmen capable of such a work, but of sods, made it of no use.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong>y carried it for many miles between <strong>the</strong> two bays or inlets of <strong>the</strong><br />

sea of which we have spoken; <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> end that where <strong>the</strong> protection of <strong>the</strong> water was<br />

wanting, <strong>the</strong>y might use <strong>the</strong> rampart <strong>to</strong> defend <strong>the</strong>ir borders from <strong>the</strong> irruptions<br />

of <strong>the</strong> enemies. Of <strong>the</strong> work <strong>the</strong>re erected, that is, of a rampart of great breadth<br />

<strong>and</strong> height, <strong>the</strong>re are evident remains <strong>to</strong> be seen at this day. It begins at about two<br />

miles’ distance from <strong>the</strong> monastery of Aebbercurnig, west of it, at a place called in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Pictish language Peanfahel, but in <strong>the</strong> English <strong>to</strong>ngue, Penneltun, <strong>and</strong> running<br />

westward, ends near <strong>the</strong> city of Alcluith.<br />

But <strong>the</strong> former enemies, when <strong>the</strong>y perceived that <strong>the</strong> Roman soldiers were<br />

gone, immediately coming by sea, broke in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> borders, trampled <strong>and</strong> overran<br />

all places, <strong>and</strong> like men mowing ripe corn, bore down all before <strong>the</strong>m. Hereupon<br />

messengers were again sent <strong>to</strong> Rome miserably imploring aid, lest <strong>the</strong>ir wretched<br />

country should be utterly blotted out, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> name of a Roman province, so<br />

long renowned among <strong>the</strong>m, overthrown by <strong>the</strong> cruelties of foreign races, might<br />

become utterly contemptible. A legion was accordingly sent again, <strong>and</strong>, arriving<br />

unexpectedly in autumn, made great slaughter of <strong>the</strong> enemy, obliging all those that<br />

<br />

<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y could not for <strong>the</strong> future undertake such troublesome expeditions for<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir enemies, who could not prove <strong>to</strong>o powerful for <strong>the</strong>m, unless <strong>the</strong>y <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

were enervated by cowardice. Moreover, thinking that it might be some help <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

allies, whom <strong>the</strong>y were forced <strong>to</strong> ab<strong>and</strong>on, <strong>the</strong>y constructed a strong s<strong>to</strong>ne wall<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

from sea <strong>to</strong> sea, in a straight line between <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>wns that had been <strong>the</strong>re built for<br />

fear of <strong>the</strong> enemy, where Severus also had formerly built a rampart. This famous<br />

wall, which is still <strong>to</strong> be seen, was raised at public <strong>and</strong> private expense, <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns<br />

also lending <strong>the</strong>ir assistance. It is eight feet in breadth, <strong>and</strong> twelve in height, in a<br />

straight line from east <strong>to</strong> west, as is still evident <strong>to</strong> beholders. This being presently<br />

<br />

furnish <strong>the</strong>mselves with arms. Besides, <strong>the</strong>y built <strong>to</strong>wers <strong>to</strong> comm<strong>and</strong> a view of <strong>the</strong><br />

sea, at intervals, on <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn coast, where <strong>the</strong>ir ships lay, because <strong>the</strong>re also<br />

<strong>the</strong> invasions of <strong>the</strong> barbarians were apprehended, <strong>and</strong> so <strong>to</strong>ok leave of <strong>the</strong>ir allies,<br />

never <strong>to</strong> return again.<br />

After <strong>the</strong>ir departure <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own country, <strong>the</strong> Scots <strong>and</strong> Picts, underst<strong>and</strong>ing<br />

<br />

than <strong>the</strong>y had been before, occupied all <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn <strong>and</strong> far<strong>the</strong>st part of <strong>the</strong><br />

isl<strong>and</strong>, driving out <strong>the</strong> natives, as far as <strong>the</strong> wall. Hereupon a timorous guard<br />

<br />

dispirited day by day. On <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side, <strong>the</strong> enemy constantly attacked <strong>the</strong>m<br />

with barbed weapons, by which <strong>the</strong> cowardly defenders were dragged in piteous<br />

fashion from <strong>the</strong> wall, <strong>and</strong> dashed against <strong>the</strong> ground. At last, <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns,<br />

<br />

pursued, <strong>and</strong> forthwith followed a massacre more grievous than ever before; for<br />

<strong>the</strong> wretched natives were <strong>to</strong>rn in pieces by <strong>the</strong>ir enemies, as lambs are <strong>to</strong>rn<br />

by wild beasts. Thus, being expelled from <strong>the</strong>ir dwellings <strong>and</strong> l<strong>and</strong>s, <strong>the</strong>y saved<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves from <strong>the</strong> immediate danger of starvation by robbing <strong>and</strong> plundering<br />

<br />

broils, till <strong>the</strong> whole country was left destitute of food except such as could be<br />

procured in <strong>the</strong> chase.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Augustus, succeeded Honorius <strong>and</strong> governed <strong>the</strong> Roman empire twenty-six<br />

years. In <strong>the</strong> eighth year of his reign, Palladius was sent by Celestinus, <strong>the</strong> Roman<br />

<br />

third year of his reign, Aetius, a man of note <strong>and</strong> a patrician, discharged his third<br />

consulship with Symmachus for his colleague. To him <strong>the</strong> wretched remnant of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns sent a letter, which began thus:—“To Aetius, thrice Consul, <strong>the</strong> groans<br />

of <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns.” And in <strong>the</strong> sequel of <strong>the</strong> letter <strong>the</strong>y thus unfolded <strong>the</strong>ir woes:—<br />

“The barbarians drive us <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea; <strong>the</strong> sea drives us back <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> barbarians:<br />

between <strong>the</strong>m we are exposed <strong>to</strong> two sorts of death; we are ei<strong>the</strong>r slaughtered or<br />

drowned.” Yet, for all this, <strong>the</strong>y could not obtain any help from him, as he was <strong>the</strong>n<br />

engaged in most serious wars with Bledla <strong>and</strong> Attila, kings of <strong>the</strong> Huns. And though<br />

<strong>the</strong> year before this Bledla had been murdered by <strong>the</strong> treachery of his own bro<strong>the</strong>r<br />

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Attila, yet Attila himself remained so in<strong>to</strong>lerable an enemy <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Republic, that<br />

he ravaged almost all Europe, attacking <strong>and</strong> destroying cities <strong>and</strong> castles. At <strong>the</strong><br />

same time <strong>the</strong>re was a famine at Constantinople, <strong>and</strong> soon after a plague followed;<br />

<br />

ground. Many cities also went <strong>to</strong> ruin, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> famine <strong>and</strong> pestilential state of <strong>the</strong><br />

air destroyed thous<strong>and</strong>s of men <strong>and</strong> cattle.<br />

<br />

barbarians out of <strong>the</strong>ir terri<strong>to</strong>ries; <strong>and</strong> soon after <strong>the</strong>re ensued, along<br />

with abundance of corn, decay of morals, pestilence, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> downfall<br />

of <strong>the</strong> nation.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, <strong>the</strong> aforesaid famine distressing <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns more <strong>and</strong> more,<br />

<br />

of <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> submit <strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> depreda<strong>to</strong>rs; though o<strong>the</strong>rs still held out,<br />

putting <strong>the</strong>ir trust in God, when human help failed. These continually made raids<br />

<br />

losses on <strong>the</strong>ir enemies, who had been for so many years plundering <strong>the</strong> country.<br />

The bold Irish robbers <strong>the</strong>reupon returned home, intending <strong>to</strong> come again before<br />

long. The Picts <strong>the</strong>n settled down in <strong>the</strong> far<strong>the</strong>st part of <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> <strong>and</strong> afterwards<br />

remained <strong>the</strong>re, but <strong>the</strong>y did not fail <strong>to</strong> plunder <strong>and</strong> harass <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns from time<br />

<strong>to</strong> time.<br />

Now, when <strong>the</strong> ravages of <strong>the</strong> enemy at length abated, <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> began <strong>to</strong><br />

abound with such plenty of grain as had never been known in any age before;<br />

along with plenty, evil living increased, <strong>and</strong> this was immediately attended by<br />

<strong>the</strong> taint of all manner of crime; in particular, cruelty, hatred of truth, <strong>and</strong> love<br />

of falsehood; insomuch, that if any one among <strong>the</strong>m happened <strong>to</strong> be milder than<br />

<strong>the</strong> rest, <strong>and</strong> more inclined <strong>to</strong> truth, all <strong>the</strong> rest abhorred <strong>and</strong> persecuted him<br />

unrestrainedly, as if he had been <strong>the</strong> enemy of Britain. Nor were <strong>the</strong> laity only<br />

<br />

<br />

strife, envy, <strong>and</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r such sins. In <strong>the</strong> meantime, on a sudden, a grievous plague<br />

fell upon that corrupt generation, which soon destroyed such numbers of <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

that <strong>the</strong> living scarcely availed <strong>to</strong> bury <strong>the</strong> dead: yet, those that survived, could not<br />

be recalled from <strong>the</strong> spiritual death, which <strong>the</strong>y had incurred through <strong>the</strong>ir sins,<br />

ei<strong>the</strong>r by <strong>the</strong> death of <strong>the</strong>ir friends, or <strong>the</strong> fear of death. Whereupon, not long<br />

after, a more severe vengeance for <strong>the</strong>ir fearful crimes fell upon <strong>the</strong> sinful nation.<br />

They held a council <strong>to</strong> determine what was <strong>to</strong> be done, <strong>and</strong> where <strong>the</strong>y should<br />

seek help <strong>to</strong> prevent or repel <strong>the</strong> cruel <strong>and</strong> frequent incursions of <strong>the</strong> nor<strong>the</strong>rn<br />

nations; <strong>and</strong> in concert with <strong>the</strong>ir King Vortigern, it was unanimously decided<br />

<strong>to</strong> call <strong>the</strong> Saxons <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir aid from beyond <strong>the</strong> sea, which, as <strong>the</strong> event plainly<br />

showed, was brought about by <strong>the</strong> Lord’s will, that evil might fall upon <strong>the</strong>m for<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir wicked deeds.<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

<br />

weapons against <strong>the</strong>ir allies.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> year of our Lord 449, Marcian, <strong>the</strong> forty-sixth from Augustus, being<br />

made emperor with Valentinian, ruled <strong>the</strong> empire seven years. Then <strong>the</strong> nation<br />

of <strong>the</strong> Angles, or Saxons, being invited by <strong>the</strong> aforesaid king, arrived in Britain<br />

with three ships of war <strong>and</strong> had a place in which <strong>to</strong> settle assigned <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m by <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

of <strong>the</strong>ir country, whilst <strong>the</strong>ir real intentions were <strong>to</strong> conquer it. Accordingly <strong>the</strong>y<br />

engaged with <strong>the</strong> enemy, who were come from <strong>the</strong> north <strong>to</strong> give battle, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Saxons obtained <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry. When <strong>the</strong> news of <strong>the</strong>ir success <strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> fertility<br />

of <strong>the</strong> country, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> cowardice of <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, reached <strong>the</strong>ir own home, a more<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong>se, being added <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> former army, made up an invincible force. The newcomers<br />

received of <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns a place <strong>to</strong> inhabit among <strong>the</strong>m, upon condition that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

should wage war against <strong>the</strong>ir enemies for <strong>the</strong> peace <strong>and</strong> security of <strong>the</strong> country,<br />

whilst <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns agreed <strong>to</strong> furnish <strong>the</strong>m with pay. Those who came over were of<br />

<strong>the</strong> three most powerful nations of Germany—Saxons, Angles, <strong>and</strong> Jutes. <strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Jutes are descended <strong>the</strong> people of Kent, <strong>and</strong> of <strong>the</strong> Isle of Wight, including those in<br />

<strong>the</strong> province of <strong>the</strong> West-Saxons who are <strong>to</strong> this day called Jutes, seated opposite<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Isle of Wight. <strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong> Saxons, that is, <strong>the</strong> country which is now called Old<br />

Saxony, came <strong>the</strong> East-Saxons, <strong>the</strong> South-Saxons, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> West-Saxons. <strong>From</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Angles, that is, <strong>the</strong> country which is called Angulus, <strong>and</strong> which is said, from that<br />

time, <strong>to</strong> have remained desert <strong>to</strong> this day, between <strong>the</strong> provinces of <strong>the</strong> Jutes <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Saxons, are descended <strong>the</strong> East-Angles, <strong>the</strong> Midl<strong>and</strong>-Angles, <strong>the</strong> Mercians, all<br />

<strong>the</strong> race of <strong>the</strong> Northumbrians, that is, of those nations that dwell on <strong>the</strong> north side<br />

<br />

are said <strong>to</strong> have been <strong>the</strong> two bro<strong>the</strong>rs Hengist <strong>and</strong> Horsa. Of <strong>the</strong>se Horsa was<br />

afterwards slain in battle by <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, <strong>and</strong> a monument, bearing his name, is<br />

still in existence in <strong>the</strong> eastern parts of Kent. They were <strong>the</strong> sons of Victgilsus,<br />

whose fa<strong>the</strong>r was Vitta, son of Vecta, son of Woden; from whose s<strong>to</strong>ck <strong>the</strong> royal<br />

race of many provinces trace <strong>the</strong>ir descent. In a short time, swarms of <strong>the</strong> aforesaid<br />

nations came over in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> foreigners began <strong>to</strong> increase so much,<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y became a source of terror <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> natives <strong>the</strong>mselves who had invited <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Then, having on a sudden entered in<strong>to</strong> league with <strong>the</strong> Picts, whom <strong>the</strong>y had by<br />

this time repelled by force of arms, <strong>the</strong>y began <strong>to</strong> turn <strong>the</strong>ir weapons against <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

seeking an occasion of quarrel, protested, that unless more plentiful supplies were<br />

brought <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong>y would break <strong>the</strong> league, <strong>and</strong> ravage all <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>; nor were<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> h<strong>and</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> pagans, proved God’s just vengeance for <strong>the</strong> crimes of <strong>the</strong> people;<br />

not unlike that which, being of old lighted by <strong>the</strong> Chaldeans, consumed <strong>the</strong> walls<br />

<strong>and</strong> all <strong>the</strong> buildings of Jerusalem. For here, <strong>to</strong>o, through <strong>the</strong> agency of <strong>the</strong> pitiless<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

conqueror, yet by <strong>the</strong> disposal of <strong>the</strong> just Judge, it ravaged all <strong>the</strong> neighbouring<br />

<br />

without any opposition, <strong>and</strong> overran <strong>the</strong> whole face of <strong>the</strong> doomed isl<strong>and</strong>. Public<br />

as well as private buildings were overturned; <strong>the</strong> priests were everywhere slain<br />

<br />

<br />

had been thus cruelly slaughtered. Some of <strong>the</strong> miserable remnant, being taken in<br />

<strong>the</strong> mountains, were butchered in heaps. O<strong>the</strong>rs, spent with hunger, came forth<br />

<strong>and</strong> submitted <strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> enemy, <strong>to</strong> undergo for <strong>the</strong> sake of food perpetual<br />

<br />

beyond <strong>the</strong> seas. O<strong>the</strong>rs, remaining in <strong>the</strong>ir own country, led a miserable life of<br />

terror <strong>and</strong> anxiety of mind among <strong>the</strong> mountains, woods <strong>and</strong> crags.<br />

<br />

under <strong>the</strong> comm<strong>and</strong> of Ambrosius, a Roman.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> army of <strong>the</strong> enemy, having destroyed <strong>and</strong> dispersed <strong>the</strong> natives,<br />

had returned home <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir own settlements, <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns began by degrees <strong>to</strong><br />

take heart, <strong>and</strong> ga<strong>the</strong>r strength, sallying out of <strong>the</strong> lurking places where <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

concealed <strong>the</strong>mselves, <strong>and</strong> with one accord imploring <strong>the</strong> Divine help, that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

might not utterly be destroyed. They had at that time for <strong>the</strong>ir leader, Ambrosius<br />

Aurelianus, a man of worth, who alone, by chance, of <strong>the</strong> Roman nation had<br />

survived <strong>the</strong> s<strong>to</strong>rm, in which his parents, who were of <strong>the</strong> royal race, had perished.<br />

<br />

God, gained <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry. <strong>From</strong> that day, sometimes <strong>the</strong> natives, <strong>and</strong> sometimes<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir enemies, prevailed, till <strong>the</strong> year of <strong>the</strong> siege of Badon-hill, when <strong>the</strong>y made<br />

no small slaughter of those enemies, about forty-four years after <strong>the</strong>ir arrival in<br />

Engl<strong>and</strong>. But of this hereafter.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Some few years before <strong>the</strong>ir arrival, <strong>the</strong> Pelagian heresy, brought over by<br />

Agricola, <strong>the</strong> son of Severianus, a Pelagian bishop, had corrupted with its foul<br />

taint <strong>the</strong> faith of <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns. But whereas <strong>the</strong>y absolutely refused <strong>to</strong> embrace<br />

that perverse doctrine, <strong>and</strong> blaspheme <strong>the</strong> grace of Christ, yet were not able of<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>to</strong> confute <strong>the</strong> subtilty of <strong>the</strong> unholy belief by force of argument, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

bethought <strong>the</strong>m of wholesome counsels <strong>and</strong> determined <strong>to</strong> crave aid of <strong>the</strong><br />

Gallican prelates in that spiritual warfare. Hereupon, <strong>the</strong>se, having assembled a<br />

great synod, consulted <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>to</strong> determine what persons should be sent thi<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>to</strong> sustain <strong>the</strong> faith, <strong>and</strong> by unanimous consent, choice was made of <strong>the</strong> apos<strong>to</strong>lic<br />

prelates, Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, <strong>and</strong> Lupus of Troyes, <strong>to</strong> go in<strong>to</strong> Britain<br />

<br />

with <strong>the</strong> request <strong>and</strong> comm<strong>and</strong>s of <strong>the</strong> Holy Church, <strong>and</strong> put <strong>to</strong> sea. The ship sped<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

safely with favouring winds till <strong>the</strong>y were halfway between <strong>the</strong> coast of Gaul <strong>and</strong><br />

Britain. There on a sudden <strong>the</strong>y were obstructed by <strong>the</strong> malevolence of demons,<br />

who were jealous that men of such eminence <strong>and</strong> piety should be sent <strong>to</strong> bring back<br />

<strong>the</strong> people <strong>to</strong> salvation. They raised s<strong>to</strong>rms, <strong>and</strong> darkened <strong>the</strong> sky with clouds.<br />

The sails could not support <strong>the</strong> fury of <strong>the</strong> winds, <strong>the</strong> sailors’ skill was forced <strong>to</strong><br />

give way, <strong>the</strong> ship was sustained by prayer, not by strength, <strong>and</strong> as it happened,<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir spiritual leader <strong>and</strong> bishop, being spent with weariness, had fallen asleep.<br />

<br />

overwhelmed by <strong>the</strong> waves, was ready <strong>to</strong> sink. Then <strong>the</strong> blessed Lupus <strong>and</strong> all<br />

<strong>the</strong> rest, greatly troubled, awakened <strong>the</strong>ir elder, that he might oppose <strong>the</strong> raging<br />

elements. He, showing himself <strong>the</strong> more resolute in proportion <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> greatness of<br />

<strong>the</strong> danger, called upon Christ, <strong>and</strong> having, in <strong>the</strong> name of <strong>the</strong> Holy Trinity, taken<br />

<strong>and</strong> sprinkled a little water, quelled <strong>the</strong> raging waves, admonished his companion,<br />

encouraged all, <strong>and</strong> all with one consent uplifted <strong>the</strong>ir voices in prayer. Divine<br />

<br />

winds veering about set <strong>the</strong>mselves again <strong>to</strong> forward <strong>the</strong>ir voyage, <strong>the</strong> sea was soon<br />

<br />

thi<strong>the</strong>r from all parts, received <strong>the</strong> bishops, whose coming had been fore<strong>to</strong>ld by<br />

<strong>the</strong> predictions even of <strong>the</strong>ir adversaries. For <strong>the</strong> evil spirits declared <strong>the</strong>ir fear,<br />

<strong>and</strong> when <strong>the</strong> bishops expelled <strong>the</strong>m from <strong>the</strong> bodies of <strong>the</strong> possessed, <strong>the</strong>y made<br />

known <strong>the</strong> nature of <strong>the</strong> tempest, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> dangers <strong>the</strong>y had occasioned, <strong>and</strong><br />

confessed that <strong>the</strong>y had been overcome by <strong>the</strong> merits <strong>and</strong> authority of <strong>the</strong>se men.<br />

<br />

of <strong>the</strong>ir preaching <strong>and</strong> miracles; <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> Word of God was by <strong>the</strong>m daily preached,<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> way of amendment. Like <strong>the</strong> Apostles, <strong>the</strong>y acquired honour <strong>and</strong> authority<br />

through a good conscience, learning through <strong>the</strong> study of letters, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> power of<br />

working miracles through <strong>the</strong>ir merits. Thus <strong>the</strong> whole country readily came over<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir way of thinking; <strong>the</strong> authors of <strong>the</strong> erroneous belief kept <strong>the</strong>mselves in<br />

hiding, <strong>and</strong>, like evil spirits, grieved for <strong>the</strong> loss of <strong>the</strong> people that were rescued from<br />

<strong>the</strong>m. At length, after long deliberation, <strong>the</strong>y had <strong>the</strong> boldness <strong>to</strong> enter <strong>the</strong> lists.<br />

They came forward in all <strong>the</strong> splendour of <strong>the</strong>ir wealth, with gorgeous apparel, <strong>and</strong><br />

supported by a numerous following; choosing ra<strong>the</strong>r <strong>to</strong> hazard <strong>the</strong> contest, than<br />

<strong>to</strong> undergo among <strong>the</strong> people whom <strong>the</strong>y had led astray, <strong>the</strong> reproach of having<br />

been silenced, lest <strong>the</strong>y should seem by saying nothing <strong>to</strong> condemn <strong>the</strong>mselves. An<br />

immense multitude had been attracted thi<strong>the</strong>r with <strong>the</strong>ir wives <strong>and</strong> children. The<br />

people were present as specta<strong>to</strong>rs <strong>and</strong> judges; <strong>the</strong> two parties s<strong>to</strong>od <strong>the</strong>re in very<br />

<br />

on <strong>the</strong> one side piety, on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r pride; on <strong>the</strong> one side Pelagius, <strong>the</strong> founder of<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir faith, on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r Christ. The blessed bishops permitted <strong>the</strong>ir adversaries<br />

<br />

with meaningless words. Then <strong>the</strong> venerable prelates poured forth <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>rrent of<br />

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<strong>the</strong>ir eloquence <strong>and</strong> showered upon <strong>the</strong>m <strong>the</strong> words of Apostles <strong>and</strong> Evangelists,<br />

mingling <strong>the</strong> Scriptures with <strong>the</strong>ir own discourse <strong>and</strong> supporting <strong>the</strong>ir strongest<br />

assertions by <strong>the</strong> testimony of <strong>the</strong> written Word. Vainglory was vanquished <strong>and</strong><br />

unbelief refuted; <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> heretics, at every argument put before <strong>the</strong>m, not being<br />

able <strong>to</strong> reply, confessed <strong>the</strong>ir errors. The people, giving judgement, could scarce<br />

<br />

<br />

a tribune, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n coming <strong>to</strong> St. Alban, <strong>the</strong>re received of his relics, <strong>and</strong><br />

<br />

<br />

wife, <strong>and</strong> brought his blind daughter, a child of ten years of age, <strong>to</strong> be healed of <strong>the</strong><br />

bishops. They ordered her <strong>to</strong> be brought <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir adversaries, who, being rebuked<br />

by <strong>the</strong>ir own conscience, joined <strong>the</strong>ir entreaties <strong>to</strong> those of <strong>the</strong> child’s parents, <strong>and</strong><br />

besought <strong>the</strong> bishops that she might be healed. They, <strong>the</strong>refore, perceiving <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

adversaries <strong>to</strong> yield, poured forth a short prayer, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>n Germanus, full of <strong>the</strong><br />

Holy Ghost, invoking <strong>the</strong> Trinity, at once drew from his side a casket which hung<br />

about his neck, containing relics of <strong>the</strong> saints, <strong>and</strong>, taking it in his h<strong>and</strong>s, applied<br />

it in <strong>the</strong> sight of all <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> girl’s eyes, which were immediately delivered from<br />

<br />

<br />

fully obliterated from <strong>the</strong> minds of all, that <strong>the</strong>y thirsted for <strong>and</strong> sought after <strong>the</strong><br />

doctrine of <strong>the</strong> bishops.<br />

This damnable heresy being thus suppressed, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> authors <strong>the</strong>reof<br />

confuted, <strong>and</strong> all <strong>the</strong> people settled in <strong>the</strong> purity of <strong>the</strong> faith, <strong>the</strong> bishops went<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>mb of <strong>the</strong> martyr, <strong>the</strong> blessed Alban, <strong>to</strong> give thanks <strong>to</strong> God through him.<br />

There Germanus, having with him relics of all <strong>the</strong> Apostles, <strong>and</strong> of divers martyrs,<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r from divers countries, as <strong>the</strong>ir equal merits had procured <strong>the</strong>m admission<br />

<br />

<strong>and</strong> laid <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r, he <strong>to</strong>ok up a h<strong>and</strong>ful of dust from <strong>the</strong> place where <strong>the</strong> blessed<br />

martyr’s blood had been shed, <strong>to</strong> carry away with him. In this dust <strong>the</strong> blood had<br />

been preserved, showing that <strong>the</strong> slaughter of <strong>the</strong> martyrs was red, though <strong>the</strong><br />

persecu<strong>to</strong>r was pale in death. In consequence of <strong>the</strong>se things, an innumerable<br />

multitude of people was that day converted <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lord.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

As <strong>the</strong>y were returning <strong>the</strong>nce, <strong>the</strong> treacherous enemy, having, as it chanced,<br />

prepared a snare, caused Germanus <strong>to</strong> bruise his foot by a fall, not knowing that, as<br />

<br />

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<br />

broke out in a cottage neighbouring <strong>to</strong> that in which he was; <strong>and</strong> having burned<br />

down <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r houses which were thatched with reed, fanned by <strong>the</strong> wind, was<br />

<br />

entreating that <strong>the</strong>y might lift him in <strong>the</strong>ir arms, <strong>and</strong> save him from <strong>the</strong> impending<br />

<br />

himself <strong>to</strong> be removed. The whole multitude, in terror <strong>and</strong> despair, ran <strong>to</strong> oppose <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> crowd endeavoured <strong>to</strong> save, was destroyed; <strong>and</strong> what <strong>the</strong> sick <strong>and</strong> helpless<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

rejoiced at <strong>the</strong> miracle, <strong>and</strong> was gladly vanquished by <strong>the</strong> power of God. A great<br />

crowd of people watched day <strong>and</strong> night before <strong>the</strong> humble cottage; some <strong>to</strong> have<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir souls healed, <strong>and</strong> some <strong>the</strong>ir bodies. All that Christ wrought in <strong>the</strong> person of<br />

his servant, all <strong>the</strong> wonders <strong>the</strong> sick man performed cannot be <strong>to</strong>ld. Moreover, he<br />

<br />

clad in garments as white as snow, st<strong>and</strong>ing by him, who reaching out his h<strong>and</strong>,<br />

<br />

time his pain ceased, <strong>and</strong> he was so perfectly res<strong>to</strong>red, that when <strong>the</strong> day came,<br />

with good courage he set forth upon his journey.<br />

<br />

<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, <strong>the</strong> Saxons <strong>and</strong> Picts, with <strong>the</strong>ir united forces, made war<br />

upon <strong>the</strong> Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, who in <strong>the</strong>se straits were compelled <strong>to</strong> take up arms. In <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

terror thinking <strong>the</strong>mselves unequal <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir enemies, <strong>the</strong>y implored <strong>the</strong> assistance<br />

of <strong>the</strong> holy bishops; who, hastening <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m as <strong>the</strong>y had promised, inspired so<br />

<br />

been joined by a mighty army. Thus, by <strong>the</strong>se apos<strong>to</strong>lic leaders, Christ Himself<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>ed in <strong>the</strong>ir camp. The holy days of Lent were also at h<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> were<br />

rendered more sacred by <strong>the</strong> presence of <strong>the</strong> bishops, insomuch that <strong>the</strong> people<br />

being instructed by daily sermons, came <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r eagerly <strong>to</strong> receive <strong>the</strong> grace of<br />

baptism. For a great multitude of <strong>the</strong> army desired admission <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> saving waters,<br />

<strong>and</strong> a wattled church was constructed for <strong>the</strong> Feast of <strong>the</strong> Resurrection of our<br />

<br />

<br />

where arms had been deemed of no avail, <strong>the</strong>y looked <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> help of God. News<br />

<br />

of success, as if <strong>the</strong>y had <strong>to</strong> deal with an unarmed host, hastened forward with<br />

renewed eagerness. But <strong>the</strong>ir approach was made known by scouts. When, after<br />

<strong>the</strong> celebration of Easter, <strong>the</strong> greater part of <strong>the</strong> army, fresh from <strong>the</strong> font, began<br />

<br />

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picked out <strong>the</strong> most active, explored <strong>the</strong> country round about, <strong>and</strong> observed, in <strong>the</strong><br />

way by which <strong>the</strong> enemy was expected, a valley encompassed by hills of moderate<br />

height. In that place he drew up his untried troops, himself acting as <strong>the</strong>ir general.<br />

And now a formidable host of foes drew near, visible, as <strong>the</strong>y approached, <strong>to</strong><br />

his men lying in ambush. Then, on a sudden, Germanus, bearing <strong>the</strong> st<strong>and</strong>ard,<br />

exhorted his men, <strong>and</strong> bade <strong>the</strong>m all in a loud voice repeat his words. As <strong>the</strong> enemy<br />

advanced in all security, thinking <strong>to</strong> take <strong>the</strong>m by surprise, <strong>the</strong> bishops three times<br />

cried, “Hallelujah.”A universal shout of <strong>the</strong> same word followed, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> echoes<br />

from <strong>the</strong> surrounding hills gave back <strong>the</strong> cry on all sides, <strong>the</strong> enemy was panicstricken,<br />

fearing, not only <strong>the</strong> neighbouring rocks, but even <strong>the</strong> very frame of<br />

heaven above <strong>the</strong>m; <strong>and</strong> such was <strong>the</strong>ir terror, that <strong>the</strong>ir feet were not swift enough<br />

<br />

<br />

headlong in <strong>the</strong>ir fear, were engulfed by <strong>the</strong> river which <strong>the</strong>y had crossed. The<br />

Bri<strong>to</strong>ns, without a blow, inactive specta<strong>to</strong>rs of <strong>the</strong> vic<strong>to</strong>ry <strong>the</strong>y had gained, beheld<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir vengeance complete. The scattered spoils were ga<strong>the</strong>red up, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> devout<br />

soldiers rejoiced in <strong>the</strong> success which Heaven had granted <strong>the</strong>m. The prelates<br />

thus triumphed over <strong>the</strong> enemy without bloodshed, <strong>and</strong> gained a vic<strong>to</strong>ry by faith,<br />

<br />

res<strong>to</strong>red tranquillity by <strong>the</strong> defeat of <strong>the</strong> invisible foes, as well as of enemies in<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> blessed martyr Alban, obtained for <strong>the</strong>m a calm passage, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> happy vessel<br />

res<strong>to</strong>red <strong>the</strong>m in peace <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> desires of <strong>the</strong>ir people.<br />

<br />

<br />

strength <strong>to</strong> a lame youth, <strong>the</strong>n spiritual health <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> people of God,<br />

<br />

Not long after, news was brought from <strong>the</strong> same isl<strong>and</strong>, that certain persons<br />

were again attempting <strong>to</strong> teach <strong>and</strong> spread abroad <strong>the</strong> Pelagian heresy, <strong>and</strong> again<br />

<strong>the</strong> holy Germanus was entreated by all <strong>the</strong> priests, that he would defend <strong>the</strong> cause<br />

of God, which he had before maintained. He speedily complied with <strong>the</strong>ir request;<br />

<strong>and</strong> taking with him Severus, a man of singular sanctity, who was disciple <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

blessed fa<strong>the</strong>r, Lupus, bishop of Troyes, <strong>and</strong> at that time, having been ordained<br />

bishop of <strong>the</strong> Treveri, was preaching <strong>the</strong> Word of God <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> tribes of Upper<br />

Germany, put <strong>to</strong> sea, <strong>and</strong> with favouring winds <strong>and</strong> calm waters sailed <strong>to</strong> Britain.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, <strong>the</strong> evil spirits, speeding through <strong>the</strong> whole isl<strong>and</strong>, were<br />

constrained against <strong>the</strong>ir will <strong>to</strong> foretell that Germanus was coming, insomuch,<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

wasted <strong>and</strong> shrunk, so that <strong>the</strong> wi<strong>the</strong>red limb was denied <strong>the</strong> power <strong>to</strong> walk. All <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

multitude, whom <strong>the</strong>y blessed, <strong>and</strong> preached <strong>the</strong> Word of God <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m. They found<br />

<strong>the</strong> people constant in <strong>the</strong> faith as <strong>the</strong>y had left <strong>the</strong>m; <strong>and</strong> learning that but few<br />

had gone astray, <strong>the</strong>y sought out <strong>the</strong> authors of <strong>the</strong> evil <strong>and</strong> condemned <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

<br />

whose distress was visible <strong>and</strong> needed no words <strong>to</strong> express it. All were grieved,<br />

<br />

straightway <strong>the</strong> blessed Germanus, causing <strong>the</strong> youth <strong>to</strong> sit down, <strong>to</strong>uched <strong>the</strong><br />

bent <strong>and</strong> feeble knee <strong>and</strong> passed his healing h<strong>and</strong> over all <strong>the</strong> diseased part. At<br />

once health was res<strong>to</strong>red by <strong>the</strong> power of his <strong>to</strong>uch, <strong>the</strong> wi<strong>the</strong>red limb regained its<br />

vigour, <strong>the</strong> sinews resumed <strong>the</strong>ir task, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> youth was, in <strong>the</strong> presence of all <strong>the</strong><br />

people, delivered whole <strong>to</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r. The multitude was amazed at <strong>the</strong> miracle,<br />

<br />

were, in a sermon, exhorted <strong>to</strong> amend <strong>the</strong>ir error. By <strong>the</strong> judgement of all, <strong>the</strong><br />

exponents of <strong>the</strong> heresy, who had been banished from <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, were brought<br />

before <strong>the</strong> bishops, <strong>to</strong> be conveyed in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> continent, that <strong>the</strong> country might be<br />

rid of <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y corrected of <strong>the</strong>ir errors. So it came <strong>to</strong> pass that <strong>the</strong> faith in<br />

those parts continued long after pure <strong>and</strong> untainted. Thus when <strong>the</strong>y had settled<br />

all things, <strong>the</strong> blessed prelates returned home as prosperously as <strong>the</strong>y had come.<br />

But Germanus, after this, went <strong>to</strong> Ravenna <strong>to</strong> intercede for <strong>the</strong> tranquillity of<br />

<strong>the</strong> Armoricans, where, after being very honourably received by Valentinian <strong>and</strong><br />

his mo<strong>the</strong>r, Placidia, he departed hence <strong>to</strong> Christ; his body was conveyed <strong>to</strong> his<br />

own city with a splendid retinue, <strong>and</strong> mighty works attended his passage <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

grave. Not long after, Valentinian was murdered by <strong>the</strong> followers of Aetius, <strong>the</strong><br />

patrician, whom he had put <strong>to</strong> death, in <strong>the</strong> sixth year of <strong>the</strong> reign of Marcian, <strong>and</strong><br />

with him ended <strong>the</strong> empire of <strong>the</strong> West.<br />

<br />

invasions, wore <strong>the</strong>mselves out by civil wars, <strong>and</strong> at <strong>the</strong> same time gave<br />

<strong>the</strong>mselves up <strong>to</strong> more heinous crimes.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, in Britain, <strong>the</strong>re was some respite from foreign, but not from<br />

civil war. The cities destroyed by <strong>the</strong> enemy <strong>and</strong> ab<strong>and</strong>oned remained in ruins;<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> natives, who had escaped <strong>the</strong> enemy, now fought against each o<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Never<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong> kings, priests, private men, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> nobility, still remembering<br />

<strong>the</strong> late calamities <strong>and</strong> slaughters, in some measure kept within bounds; but when<br />

<strong>the</strong>se died, <strong>and</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r generation succeeded, which knew nothing of those times,<br />

<strong>and</strong> was only acquainted with <strong>the</strong> existing peaceable state of things, all <strong>the</strong> bonds<br />

of truth <strong>and</strong> justice were so entirely broken, that <strong>the</strong>re was not only no trace of<br />

<strong>the</strong>m remaining, but only very few persons seemed <strong>to</strong> retain any memory of <strong>the</strong>m<br />

at all. To o<strong>the</strong>r crimes beyond description, which <strong>the</strong>ir own his<strong>to</strong>rian, Gildas,<br />

mournfully relates, <strong>the</strong>y added this—that <strong>the</strong>y never preached <strong>the</strong> faith <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Saxons, or English, who dwelt amongst <strong>the</strong>m. Never<strong>the</strong>less, <strong>the</strong> goodness of God<br />

did not forsake his people, whom he foreknew, but sent <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> aforesaid nation<br />

much more worthy heralds of <strong>the</strong> truth, <strong>to</strong> bring it <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith.<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> throne, <strong>and</strong> reigned twenty-one years. In <strong>the</strong> tenth year of his reign, Gregory, a<br />

<br />

see of Rome, <strong>and</strong> presided over it thirteen years, six months <strong>and</strong> ten days. He, being<br />

moved by Divine inspiration, in <strong>the</strong> fourteenth year of <strong>the</strong> same emperor, <strong>and</strong> about<br />

<br />

servant of God, Augustine, <strong>and</strong> with him divers o<strong>the</strong>r monks, who feared <strong>the</strong> Lord,<br />

<strong>to</strong> preach <strong>the</strong> Word of God <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> English nation. They having, in obedience <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

pope’s comm<strong>and</strong>s, undertaken that work, when <strong>the</strong>y had gone but a little way on<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir journey, were seized with craven terror, <strong>and</strong> began <strong>to</strong> think of returning home,<br />

<br />

language <strong>the</strong>y were strangers; <strong>and</strong> by common consent <strong>the</strong>y decided that this was<br />

<strong>the</strong> safer course. At once Augustine, who had been appointed <strong>to</strong> be consecrated<br />

bishop, if <strong>the</strong>y should be received by <strong>the</strong> English, was sent back, that he might, by<br />

humble entreaty, obtain of <strong>the</strong> blessed Gregory, that <strong>the</strong>y should not be compelled<br />

<strong>to</strong> undertake so dangerous, <strong>to</strong>ilsome, <strong>and</strong> uncertain a journey. The pope, in reply,<br />

sent <strong>the</strong>m a letter of exhortation, persuading <strong>the</strong>m <strong>to</strong> set forth <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> work of <strong>the</strong><br />

Divine Word, <strong>and</strong> rely on <strong>the</strong> help of God. The purport of which letter was as follows:<br />

“Gregory, <strong>the</strong> servant of <strong>the</strong> servants of God, <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> servants of our<br />

Lord. Forasmuch as it had been better not <strong>to</strong> begin a good work, than <strong>to</strong> think of<br />

<br />

with all diligence <strong>the</strong> good work, which, by <strong>the</strong> help of <strong>the</strong> Lord, you have undertaken.<br />

Let not, <strong>the</strong>refore, <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>il of <strong>the</strong> journey, nor <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>ngues of evil-speaking men,<br />

discourage you; but with all earnestness <strong>and</strong> zeal perform, by God›s guidance, that<br />

which you have set about; being assured, that great labour is followed by <strong>the</strong> greater<br />

glory of an eternal reward. When Augustine, your Superior, returns, whom we also<br />

constitute your abbot, humbly obey him in all things; knowing, that whatsoever you<br />

<br />

God protect you with His grace, <strong>and</strong> grant that I may, in <strong>the</strong> heavenly country, see <strong>the</strong><br />

fruits of your labour, inasmuch as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake in<br />

<strong>the</strong> joy of <strong>the</strong> reward, because I am willing <strong>to</strong> labour. God keep you in safety, my most<br />

beloved sons. Given <strong>the</strong> 23rd of July, in <strong>the</strong> fourteenth year of <strong>the</strong> reign of our most<br />

religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, <strong>the</strong> thirteenth year after <strong>the</strong> consulship<br />

of our lord aforesaid, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fourteenth indiction.”<br />

<br />

<br />

The same venerable pope also sent at <strong>the</strong> same time a letter <strong>to</strong> Ae<strong>the</strong>rius,<br />

archbishop of Arles, exhorting him <strong>to</strong> give favourable entertainment <strong>to</strong> Augustine<br />

on his way <strong>to</strong> Britain; which letter was in <strong>the</strong>se words:<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

“To his most reverend <strong>and</strong> holy bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> fellow bishop Ae<strong>the</strong>rius, Gregory,<br />

<strong>the</strong> servant of <strong>the</strong> servants of God. Although religious men st<strong>and</strong> in need of no<br />

recommendation with priests who have <strong>the</strong> charity which is pleasing <strong>to</strong> God; yet<br />

<br />

letter <strong>to</strong> you, Bro<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>to</strong> inform you, that with <strong>the</strong> help of God we have directed<br />

thi<strong>the</strong>r, for <strong>the</strong> good of souls, <strong>the</strong> bearer of <strong>the</strong>se presents, Augustine, <strong>the</strong> servant of<br />

God, of whose zeal we are assured, with o<strong>the</strong>r servants of God, whom it is requisite<br />

<br />

your power. And <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> end that you may be <strong>the</strong> more ready in your help, we have<br />

enjoined him <strong>to</strong> inform you particularly of <strong>the</strong> occasion of his coming; knowing,<br />

that when you are acquainted with it, you will, as <strong>the</strong> matter requires, for <strong>the</strong><br />

sake of God, dutifully dispose yourself <strong>to</strong> give him comfort. We also in all things<br />

recommend <strong>to</strong> your charity, C<strong>and</strong>idus, <strong>the</strong> priest, our common son, whom we have<br />

transferred <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> administration of a small patrimony in our Church. God keep you<br />

in safety, most reverend bro<strong>the</strong>r. Given <strong>the</strong> 23rd day of July, in <strong>the</strong> fourteenth year<br />

of <strong>the</strong> reign of our most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, <strong>the</strong> thirteenth<br />

year after <strong>the</strong> consulship of our lord aforesaid, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fourteenth indiction.”<br />

<br />

Isle of Thanet <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> King of Kent, <strong>and</strong> having obtained licence from<br />

<br />

Augustine, thus streng<strong>the</strong>ned by <strong>the</strong> encouragement of <strong>the</strong> blessed Fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

Gregory, returned <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> work of <strong>the</strong> Word of God, with <strong>the</strong> servants of Christ<br />

who were with him, <strong>and</strong> arrived in Britain. The powerful E<strong>the</strong>lbert was at that<br />

time king of Kent; he had extended his dominions as far as <strong>the</strong> boundary formed<br />

by <strong>the</strong> great river Humber, by which <strong>the</strong> Sou<strong>the</strong>rn Saxons are divided from <strong>the</strong><br />

Nor<strong>the</strong>rn. On <strong>the</strong> east of Kent is <strong>the</strong> large Isle of Thanet, containing, according<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> English way of reckoning, 600 families, divided from <strong>the</strong> mainl<strong>and</strong> by <strong>the</strong><br />

river Wantsum, which is about three furlongs in breadth, <strong>and</strong> which can be crossed<br />

only in two places; for at both ends it runs in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea. On this isl<strong>and</strong> l<strong>and</strong>ed <strong>the</strong><br />

servant of <strong>the</strong> Lord, Augustine, <strong>and</strong> his companions, being, as is reported, nearly<br />

forty men. They had obtained, by order of <strong>the</strong> blessed Pope Gregory, interpreters<br />

<br />

from Rome, <strong>and</strong> brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured <strong>to</strong><br />

those that hearkened <strong>to</strong> it everlasting joys in heaven, <strong>and</strong> a kingdom that would<br />

never end, with <strong>the</strong> living <strong>and</strong> true God. The king hearing this, gave orders that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y should stay in <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong> where <strong>the</strong>y had l<strong>and</strong>ed, <strong>and</strong> be furnished with<br />

necessaries, till he should consider what <strong>to</strong> do with <strong>the</strong>m. For he had before heard<br />

of <strong>the</strong> Christian religion, having a Christian wife of <strong>the</strong> royal family of <strong>the</strong> Franks,<br />

called Bertha; whom he had received from her parents, upon condition that she<br />

should be permitted <strong>to</strong> preserve inviolate <strong>the</strong> rites of her religion with <strong>the</strong> Bishop<br />

Liudhard, who was sent with her <strong>to</strong> support her in <strong>the</strong> faith. Some days after, <strong>the</strong><br />

king came in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, <strong>and</strong> sitting in <strong>the</strong> open air, ordered Augustine <strong>and</strong> his<br />

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THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

companions <strong>to</strong> come <strong>and</strong> hold a conference with him. For he had taken precaution<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y should not come <strong>to</strong> him in any house, lest, by so coming, according <strong>to</strong> an<br />

ancient superstition, if <strong>the</strong>y practised any magical arts, <strong>the</strong>y might impose upon<br />

him, <strong>and</strong> so get <strong>the</strong> better of him. But <strong>the</strong>y came endued with Divine, not with<br />

magic power, bearing a silver cross for <strong>the</strong>ir banner, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> image of our Lord <strong>and</strong><br />

<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> Lord for <strong>the</strong> eternal salvation both of <strong>the</strong>mselves <strong>and</strong> of those <strong>to</strong> whom <strong>and</strong><br />

for whom <strong>the</strong>y had come. When <strong>the</strong>y had sat down, in obedience <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> king’s<br />

comm<strong>and</strong>s, <strong>and</strong> preached <strong>to</strong> him <strong>and</strong> his attendants <strong>the</strong>re present <strong>the</strong> Word of life,<br />

<strong>the</strong> king answered thus: “Your words <strong>and</strong> promises are fair, but because <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

new <strong>to</strong> us, <strong>and</strong> of uncertain import, I cannot consent <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m so far as <strong>to</strong> forsake<br />

that which I have so long observed with <strong>the</strong> whole English nation. But because you<br />

are come from far as strangers in<strong>to</strong> my kingdom, <strong>and</strong>, as I conceive, are desirous<br />

<br />

desire not <strong>to</strong> harm you, but will give you favourable entertainment, <strong>and</strong> take care<br />

<strong>to</strong> supply you with all things necessary <strong>to</strong> your sustenance; nor do we forbid you<br />

<strong>to</strong> preach <strong>and</strong> gain as many as you can <strong>to</strong> your religion.” Accordingly he gave <strong>the</strong>m<br />

an abode in <strong>the</strong> city of Canterbury, which was <strong>the</strong> metropolis of all his dominions,<br />

<strong>and</strong>, as he had promised, besides supplying <strong>the</strong>m with sustenance, did not refuse<br />

<strong>the</strong>m liberty <strong>to</strong> preach. It is <strong>to</strong>ld that, as <strong>the</strong>y drew near <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> city, after <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

manner, with <strong>the</strong> holy cross, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> image of our sovereign Lord <strong>and</strong> King, Jesus<br />

Christ, <strong>the</strong>y sang in concert this litany: “We beseech <strong>the</strong>e, O Lord, for Thy great<br />

mercy, that Thy wrath <strong>and</strong> anger be turned away from this city, <strong>and</strong> from Thy holy<br />

house, for we have sinned. Hallelujah.”<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

As soon as <strong>the</strong>y entered <strong>the</strong> dwelling-place assigned <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong>y began <strong>to</strong><br />

imitate <strong>the</strong> Apos<strong>to</strong>lic manner of life in <strong>the</strong> primitive Church; applying <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

<strong>to</strong> constant prayer, watchings, <strong>and</strong> fastings; preaching <strong>the</strong> Word of life <strong>to</strong> as<br />

many as <strong>the</strong>y could; despising all worldly things, as in nowise concerning <strong>the</strong>m;<br />

receiving only <strong>the</strong>ir necessary food from those <strong>the</strong>y taught; living <strong>the</strong>mselves in<br />

<br />

any adversity, <strong>and</strong> even <strong>to</strong> die for that truth which <strong>the</strong>y preached. In brief, some<br />

believed <strong>and</strong> were baptized, admiring <strong>the</strong> simplicity of <strong>the</strong>ir blameless life, <strong>and</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> sweetness of <strong>the</strong>ir heavenly doctrine. There was on <strong>the</strong> east side of <strong>the</strong> city,<br />

a church dedicated of old <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> honour of St. Martin, built whilst <strong>the</strong> Romans<br />

were still in <strong>the</strong> isl<strong>and</strong>, wherein <strong>the</strong> queen, who, as has been said before, was<br />

<br />

chant <strong>the</strong> Psalms, <strong>to</strong> pray, <strong>to</strong> celebrate Mass, <strong>to</strong> preach, <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong> baptize, till when<br />

<strong>the</strong> king had been converted <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith, <strong>the</strong>y obtained greater liberty <strong>to</strong> preach<br />

everywhere <strong>and</strong> build or repair churches.<br />

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When he, among <strong>the</strong> rest, believed <strong>and</strong> was baptized, attracted by <strong>the</strong> pure life<br />

of <strong>the</strong>se holy men <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir gracious promises, <strong>the</strong> truth of which <strong>the</strong>y established<br />

<br />

<strong>and</strong>, forsaking <strong>the</strong>ir hea<strong>the</strong>n rites, <strong>to</strong> have fellowship, through faith, in <strong>the</strong> unity of<br />

Christ’s Holy Church. It is <strong>to</strong>ld that <strong>the</strong> king, while he rejoiced at <strong>the</strong>ir conversion<br />

<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir faith, yet compelled none <strong>to</strong> embrace Christianity, but only showed more<br />

<br />

he had learned from those who had instructed him <strong>and</strong> guided him <strong>to</strong> salvation,<br />

that <strong>the</strong> service of Christ ought <strong>to</strong> be voluntary, not by compulsion. Nor was it<br />

long before he gave his teachers a settled residence suited <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir degree in his<br />

metropolis of Canterbury, with such possessions of divers sorts as were necessary<br />

for <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, Augustine, <strong>the</strong> man of God, went <strong>to</strong> Arles, <strong>and</strong>, according<br />

<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> orders received from <strong>the</strong> holy Fa<strong>the</strong>r Gregory, was ordained archbishop<br />

of <strong>the</strong> English nation, by Ae<strong>the</strong>rius, archbishop of that city. Then returning in<strong>to</strong><br />

Britain, he sent Laurentius <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong> priest <strong>and</strong> Peter <strong>the</strong> monk <strong>to</strong> Rome, <strong>to</strong> acquaint<br />

Pope Gregory, that <strong>the</strong> English nation had received <strong>the</strong> faith of Christ, <strong>and</strong> that<br />

he was himself made <strong>the</strong>ir bishop. At <strong>the</strong> same time, he desired his solution of<br />

<br />

questions, which we have also thought meet <strong>to</strong> insert in this our his<strong>to</strong>ry:<br />

The First Question of <strong>the</strong> blessed Augustine, Bishop of <strong>the</strong> Church of<br />

Canterbury.—Concerning bishops, what should be <strong>the</strong>ir manner of conversation<br />

<br />

altar are <strong>to</strong> be divided? <strong>and</strong> how <strong>the</strong> bishop is <strong>to</strong> act in <strong>the</strong> Church?<br />

Gregory, Pope of <strong>the</strong> City of Rome, answers.—Holy Scripture, in which we<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> Blessed Paul <strong>to</strong> Timothy, wherein he endeavours <strong>to</strong> show him what should<br />

be his manner of conversation in <strong>the</strong> house of God; but it is <strong>the</strong> cus<strong>to</strong>m of <strong>the</strong><br />

Apos<strong>to</strong>lic see <strong>to</strong> prescribe <strong>the</strong>se rules <strong>to</strong> bishops when <strong>the</strong>y are ordained: that<br />

all emoluments which accrue, are <strong>to</strong> be divided in<strong>to</strong> four portions;—one for <strong>the</strong><br />

bishop <strong>and</strong> his household, for hospitality <strong>and</strong> entertainment of guests; ano<strong>the</strong>r for<br />

<strong>the</strong> clergy; a third for <strong>the</strong> poor; <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> fourth for <strong>the</strong> repair of churches. But in<br />

that you, my bro<strong>the</strong>r, having been instructed in monastic rules, must not live apart<br />

from your clergy in <strong>the</strong> Church of <strong>the</strong> English, which has been lately, by <strong>the</strong> will of<br />

God, converted <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith, you must establish <strong>the</strong> manner of conversation of our<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>rs in <strong>the</strong> primitive Church, among whom, none said that aught of <strong>the</strong> things<br />

which <strong>the</strong>y possessed was his own, but <strong>the</strong>y had all things common.<br />

But if <strong>the</strong>re are any clerks not received in<strong>to</strong> holy orders, who cannot live continent,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y are <strong>to</strong> take wives, <strong>and</strong> receive <strong>the</strong>ir stipends outside of <strong>the</strong> community; because<br />

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BRITISH LITERATURE I<br />

THE MIDDLE AGES<br />

we know that it is written concerning <strong>the</strong> same fa<strong>the</strong>rs of whom we have spoken that<br />

a distribution was made un<strong>to</strong> every man according as he had need. Care is also <strong>to</strong><br />

be taken of <strong>the</strong>ir stipends, <strong>and</strong> provision <strong>to</strong> be made, <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>to</strong> be kept under<br />

ecclesiastical rule, that <strong>the</strong>y may live orderly, <strong>and</strong> attend <strong>to</strong> singing of psalms, <strong>and</strong>,<br />

by <strong>the</strong> help of God, preserve <strong>the</strong>ir hearts <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong>ngues <strong>and</strong> bodies from all that is<br />

unlawful. But as for those that live in common, <strong>the</strong>re is no need <strong>to</strong> say anything<br />

of assigning portions, or dispensing hospitality <strong>and</strong> showing mercy; inasmuch as<br />

all that <strong>the</strong>y have over is <strong>to</strong> be spent in pious <strong>and</strong> religious works, according <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

teaching of Him who is <strong>the</strong> Lord <strong>and</strong> Master of all, “Give alms of such things as ye<br />

have over, <strong>and</strong> behold all things are clean un<strong>to</strong> you.”<br />

Augustine’s Second Question.—Whereas <strong>the</strong> faith is one <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> same, are <strong>the</strong>re<br />

<br />

<strong>the</strong> holy Roman Church, <strong>and</strong> ano<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> Church of Gaul?<br />

Pope Gregory answers.—You know, my bro<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>the</strong> cus<strong>to</strong>m of <strong>the</strong> Roman<br />

Church in which you remember that you were bred up. But my will is, that if you<br />

have found anything, ei<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> Roman, or <strong>the</strong> Gallican, or any o<strong>the</strong>r Church,<br />

which may be more acceptable <strong>to</strong> Almighty God, you should carefully make choice<br />

of <strong>the</strong> same, <strong>and</strong> sedulously teach <strong>the</strong> Church of <strong>the</strong> English, which as yet is new in<br />

<strong>the</strong> faith, whatsoever you can ga<strong>the</strong>r from <strong>the</strong> several Churches. For things are not<br />

<strong>to</strong> be loved for <strong>the</strong> sake of places, but places for <strong>the</strong> sake of good things. Choose,<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore, from every Church those things that are pious, religious, <strong>and</strong> right, <strong>and</strong><br />

when you have, as it were, made <strong>the</strong>m up in<strong>to</strong> one bundle, let <strong>the</strong> minds of <strong>the</strong><br />

English be accus<strong>to</strong>med <strong>the</strong>re<strong>to</strong>.<br />

Augustine’s Third Question.<br />

on one who steals anything from a church?<br />

Gregory answers.—You may judge, my bro<strong>the</strong>r, by <strong>the</strong> condition of <strong>the</strong> thief,<br />

in what manner he is <strong>to</strong> be corrected. For <strong>the</strong>re are some, who, having substance,<br />

commit <strong>the</strong>ft; <strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong>re are o<strong>the</strong>rs, who transgress in this matter through want.<br />

<br />

some with more severity, <strong>and</strong> some more mildly. And when <strong>the</strong> severity is greater,<br />

it is <strong>to</strong> proceed from charity, not from anger; because this is done for <strong>the</strong> sake of<br />

<br />

behoves us <strong>to</strong> maintain discipline among <strong>the</strong> faithful, as good parents do with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

<br />

yet <strong>the</strong>y design <strong>to</strong> make those whom <strong>the</strong>y chastise <strong>the</strong>ir heirs, <strong>and</strong> preserve <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

possessions for those whom <strong>the</strong>y seem <strong>to</strong> visit in wrath. This charity is, <strong>the</strong>refore,<br />

<strong>to</strong> be kept in mind, <strong>and</strong> it dictates <strong>the</strong> measure of <strong>the</strong> punishment, so that <strong>the</strong><br />

mind may do nothing beyond <strong>the</strong> rule prescribed by reason. You will add <strong>to</strong> this,<br />

how men are <strong>to</strong> res<strong>to</strong>re those things which <strong>the</strong>y have s<strong>to</strong>len from <strong>the</strong> church. But<br />

let not <strong>the</strong> Church take more than it has lost of its worldly possessions, or seek<br />

gain from vanities.<br />

Augustine’s Fourth Question.—Whe<strong>the</strong>r two full bro<strong>the</strong>rs may marry two<br />

sisters, who are of a family far removed from <strong>the</strong>m?<br />

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Gregory answers.—Most assuredly this may lawfully be done; for nothing is<br />

found in Holy Writ on this matter that seems <strong>to</strong> contradict it.<br />

Augustine’s Fifth Question.—To what degree may <strong>the</strong> faithful marry with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

kindred? <strong>and</strong> is it lawful <strong>to</strong> marry a stepmo<strong>the</strong>r or a bro<strong>the</strong>r’s wife?<br />

Gregory answers.—A certain secular law in <strong>the</strong> Roman commonwealth allows,<br />

that <strong>the</strong> son <strong>and</strong> daughter of a bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>and</strong> sister, or of two full bro<strong>the</strong>rs, or two<br />

sisters, may be joined in matrimony; but we have found, by experience, that <strong>the</strong><br />

<br />

<strong>to</strong> “uncover <strong>the</strong> nakedness of his kindred.” Hence of necessity it must be <strong>the</strong> third<br />

or fourth generation of <strong>the</strong> faithful, that can be lawfully joined in matrimony; for<br />

<strong>the</strong> second, which we have mentioned, must al<strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r abstain from one ano<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

To marry with one’s stepmo<strong>the</strong>r is a heinous crime, because it is written in <strong>the</strong><br />

Law, “Thou shalt not uncover <strong>the</strong> nakedness of thy fa<strong>the</strong>r:” now <strong>the</strong> son, indeed,<br />

cannot uncover his fa<strong>the</strong>r’s nakedness; but in regard that it is written, “They twain<br />

<br />

<br />

It is also prohibited <strong>to</strong> marry with a sister-in-law, because by <strong>the</strong> former union she<br />

<br />

<strong>and</strong> obtained <strong>the</strong> crown of holy martyrdom. For, though he was not ordered <strong>to</strong><br />

deny Christ, <strong>and</strong> it was not for confessing Christ that he was killed, yet inasmuch<br />

as <strong>the</strong> same Jesus Christ, our Lord, said, “I am <strong>the</strong> Truth,” because John was killed<br />

for <strong>the</strong> truth, he also shed his blood for Christ.<br />

But forasmuch as <strong>the</strong>re are many of <strong>the</strong> English, who, whilst <strong>the</strong>y were still<br />

hea<strong>the</strong>ns, are said <strong>to</strong> have been joined in this unholy union, when <strong>the</strong>y attain <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> faith <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>to</strong> be admonished <strong>to</strong> abstain, <strong>and</strong> be made <strong>to</strong> know that this is a<br />

<br />

of <strong>the</strong>ir carnal desires, <strong>the</strong>y incur <strong>the</strong> <strong>to</strong>rments of eternal punishment. Yet <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are not on this account <strong>to</strong> be deprived of <strong>the</strong> Communion of <strong>the</strong> Body <strong>and</strong> Blood<br />

of Christ, lest <strong>the</strong>y should seem <strong>to</strong> be punished for those things which <strong>the</strong>y did<br />

through ignorance before <strong>the</strong>y had received Baptism. For in <strong>the</strong>se times <strong>the</strong> Holy<br />

Church chastises some things with zeal, <strong>and</strong> <strong>to</strong>lerates some in mercy, <strong>and</strong> is blind<br />

<strong>to</strong> some in her wisdom, <strong>and</strong> so, by forbearance <strong>and</strong> blindness often suppresses<br />

<strong>the</strong> evil that st<strong>and</strong>s in her way. But all that come <strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> faith are <strong>to</strong> be admonished<br />

not <strong>to</strong> presume <strong>to</strong> do such things. And if any shall be guilty of <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong>y are <strong>to</strong> be<br />

<br />

is, in some measure, <strong>to</strong> be <strong>to</strong>lerated in those who did it through ignorance, so it is<br />

<strong>to</strong> be rigorously punished in those who do not fear <strong>to</strong> sin knowingly.<br />

Augustine’s Sixth Question.—Whe<strong>the</strong>r a bishop may be consecrated without<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r bishops being present, if <strong>the</strong>re be so great a distance between <strong>the</strong>m, that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

cannot easily come <strong>to</strong>ge<strong>the</strong>r?<br />

Gregory answers.—In <strong>the</strong> Church of Engl<strong>and</strong>, of which you are as yet <strong>the</strong><br />

only bishop, you cannot o<strong>the</strong>rwise ordain a bishop than in <strong>the</strong> absence of o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

bishops. For when do bishops come over from Gaul, that <strong>the</strong>y may be present as<br />

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witnesses <strong>to</strong> you in ordaining a bishop? But we would have you, my bro<strong>the</strong>r, <strong>to</strong><br />

ordain bishops in such a manner, that <strong>the</strong> said bishops may not be far asunder, <strong>to</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> end that <strong>the</strong>re be no lack, but that at <strong>the</strong> ordination of a bishop o<strong>the</strong>r pas<strong>to</strong>rs<br />

<br />

by <strong>the</strong> help of God, bishops shall have been ordained in places near <strong>to</strong> one ano<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

no ordination of a bishop is <strong>to</strong> take place without assembling three or four bishops.<br />

<br />

be wisely <strong>and</strong> discreetly conducted. For surely, when marriages are celebrated in<br />

<strong>the</strong> world, some married persons are assembled, that those who went before in<br />

<strong>the</strong> way of matrimony, may also partake in <strong>the</strong> joy of <strong>the</strong> new union. Why, <strong>the</strong>n,<br />

at this spiritual ordinance, wherein, by means of <strong>the</strong> sacred ministry, man is<br />

joined <strong>to</strong> God, should not such persons be assembled, as may ei<strong>the</strong>r rejoice in <strong>the</strong><br />

advancement of <strong>the</strong> new bishop, or jointly pour forth <strong>the</strong>ir prayers <strong>to</strong> Almighty<br />

God for his preservation?<br />

Augustine’s Seventh Question.—How are we <strong>to</strong> deal with <strong>the</strong> bishops of Gaul<br />

<strong>and</strong> Britain?<br />

Gregory answers.—We give you no authority over <strong>the</strong> bishops of Gaul, because<br />

<strong>the</strong> bishop of Arles received <strong>the</strong> pall in <strong>the</strong> old times of my predecessors, <strong>and</strong> we<br />

must by no means deprive him of <strong>the</strong> authority he has received. If it shall <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

happen, my bro<strong>the</strong>r, that you go over in<strong>to</strong> <strong>the</strong> province of Gaul, you are <strong>to</strong> concert<br />

with <strong>the</strong> said bishop of Arles, how, if <strong>the</strong>re be any faults among <strong>the</strong> bishops, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

may be amended. And if he shall be lukewarm in keeping up discipline, he is <strong>to</strong><br />

<br />

your Holiness in Gaul, he should exert himself <strong>to</str