Battle Of Hastings - II
OH Truth! immortal daughter of the skies,
Too lyttle known to wryters of these daies,
Teach me, fayre Saincte! hy passynge worthe to pryze,
To blame a friend and give a foeman prayse.
The fickle moone, bedeckt wythe sylver rays,
Leadynge a traine of starres of feeble lyghte,
With look adigne the worlde belowe surveies,
The world, that wotted not it coud be nyghte;
Wyth armour dyd, with human gore ydeyd,
The sees Kynge Harolde stande, fayre Englands curse and pryde.
With ale and vernage drunk his souldiers lay;
Here was an hynde, anie an erlie spredde;
Sad keepynge of their leaders natal daie!
This even in drinke, toomorrow with the dead!
Thro' everie troope disorder reer'd her hedde;
Dancynge and heideignes was the onlie theme;
Sad dome was theires, who lefte this easie bedde,
And wak'd in torments from so sweet a dream.
Duke Williams menne, of comeing dethe afraide,
All nyghte to the great Godde for succour askd and praied.
Thus Harolde to his wites that stoode arounde;
Goe, Gyrthe and Eilward, take bills halfe a score,
And search how farre our foeman's campe doth bound;
Yourself have rede; I nede to saie ne more.
My brother best belov'd of anie ore,
My Leofwinus, goe to everich wite,
Tell them to raunge the battel to the grore,
And waiten tyll I sende the hest for fyghte.
He saide; the loieaul broders lefte the place,
Success and cheerfulness depicted on ech face.
Slowelie brave Gyrthe and Eilwarde dyd advaunce,
And markd wyth care the armies dystant syde,
When the dyre clatterynge of the shielde and launce
Made them to be by Hugh Fitzhugh espyd.
He lyfted up his voice, and lowdlie cryd;
Like wolfs in wintere did the Normanne yell
Girthe drew hys swerde, and cutte hys burled hyde;
The proto-slene manne of the fielde he felle;
Out streemd the bloude, and ran in smokynge curles,
Reflected bie the moone seemd rubies mixt wyth pearles.
A troope of Normannes from the mass-songe came,
Rousd from their praiers by the flotting crie;
Thoughe Girthe and Ailwardus perceevd the same,
Not once theie stoode abashd, or thoghte to flie.
He seizd a bill, to conquer or to die;
Fierce as a clevis from a rocke ytorne,
That makes a vallie wheresoe're it lie;
Fierce as a ryver burstynge from the borne;
So fiercelie Gyrthe hitte Fitz du Gore a blowe,
And on the verdaunt playne he layde the champyone lowe.
Tancarville thus; alle peace in Williams name;
Let none edraw his arcublaster bowe.
Girthe cas'd his weppone, as he hearde the same,
And vengynge Normannes staid the flyinge floe.
The sire wente onne; ye menne, what mean ye so
Thus unprovokd to courte a bloudie fyghte?
Quod Gyrthe; oure meanynge we ne care to showe,
Nor dread thy duke wyth all his men of myghte;
Here single onlie these to all thie crewe
Shall shewe what Englysh handes and heartes can doe.
Seek not for bloude, Tancarville calme replyd,
Nor joie in dethe, lyke madmen most distraught;
In peace and mercy is a Chrystians pryde;
He that dothe contestes pryze is in a faulte.
And now the news was to Duke William brought,
That men of Haroldes armie taken were;
For theyre good cheere all caties were enthoughte,
And Gyrthe and Eilwardus enjoi'd goode cheere.
Quod Willyam; thus shall Willyam be founde
A friend to everie manne that treades on English ground.
Erle Leofwinus throwghe the campe ypass'd,
And sawe bothe men and erlies on the grounde;
They slepte, as thoughe they woulde have slepte theyr last,
And hadd alreadie felte theyr fatale wounde.
He started back; and was wyth shame astownd;
Loked wanne wyth anger, and he shooke wyth rage;
When throughe the hollow tentes these wordes dyd sound,
Rowse from your sleepe, detratours of the age!
Was it for thys the stoute Norwegian bledde?
Awake, ye huscarles, now, or waken wyth the dead.
As when the shepster in the shadie bowre
In jintle slumbers chase the heat of daie,
Hears doublyng echoe wind the wolfins rore,
That neare hys flocke is watchynge for a praie,
He tremblynge for his sheep drives dreeme awaie,
Gripes faste hys burled croke, and sore adradde
Wyth fleeting strides he hastens to the fraie,
And rage and prowess fyres the coistrell lad;
With trustie talbots to the battel flies,
And yell of men and dogs and wolfins tear the skies.
Such was the dire confusion of eche wite,
That rose from sleep and walsome power of wine;
Theie thoughte the foe by trechit yn the nyghte
Had broke theyr camp and gotten paste the line;
Now here now there the burnysht sheeldes and byll-spear shine;
Throwote the campe a wild confusionne spredde;
Eche bracd hys armlace siker ne desygne,
The crested helmet nodded on the hedde;
Some caught a slughorne, and an onsett wounde;
Kynge Harolde hearde the charge, and wondred at the sounde.
Thus Leofwine; O women cas'd in stele!
Was itte for thys Norwegia's stubborn sede
Throughe the black armoure dyd the anlace fele,
And rybbes of solid brasse were made to bleede?
Whylst yet the worlde was wondrynge at the deede.
You souldiers, that shoulde stand with byll in hand,
Get full of wine, devoid of any rede.
Oh shame! oh dyre dishonoure to the lande!
He sayde; and shame on everie visage spredde,
Ne sawe the erlies face, but addawd hung their head.
Thus he; rowze yee, and forme the boddie tyghte.
The Kentysh menne in fronte, for strenght renownd,
Next the Brystowans dare the bloudie fyghte,
And last the numerous crewe shall presse the grounde.
I and my king be wyth the Kenters founde;
Bythric and Alfwold hedde the Brystowe bande;
And Bertrams sonne, the man of glorious wounde,
Lead in the rear the menged of the lande
And let the Londoners and Suffers plie
Bie Herewardes memuine and the lighte skyrts anie.
He saide; and as a packe of hounds belent,
When that the trackyng of the hare is gone,
If one perchaunce shall hit upon the scent,
With twa redubbled fhuir the alans run;
So styrrd the valiante Saxons everych one;
Soone linked man to man the champyones stoode;
To 'tone for their bewrate so soone 'twas done,
And lyfted bylls enseem'd an yron woode;
Here glorious Alfwold towr'd above the wites,
And seem'd to brave the fuir of twa ten thousand fights.
Thus Leofwine; today will Englandes dome
Be fyxt for aie, for gode or evill state;
This sunnes aunture be felt for years to come;
Then bravelie fyghte, and live till deathe of daie.
Thinke of brave Ælfridus, yclept the grete,
From porte to porte the red-haird Dane he chasd,
The Danes, with whomme not lyoncels coud mate,
Who made of peopled reaulms a barren waste;
Thinke how at once by you Norwegia bled
Whilste dethe and victorie for magystrie bested.
Meanwhile did Gyrthe unto Kynge Harolde ride,
And tolde howe he dyd with Duke Willyam fare.
Brave Harolde lookd askaunte, and thus replyd;
And can thie say be bowght wyth drunken cheer?
Gyrthe waxen hotte; fhuir in his eyne did glare;
And thus he saide; oh brother, friend, and kynge,
Have I deserved this fremed speche to heare?
Bie Goddes hie hallidome ne thoughte the thynge.
When Tostus sent me golde and sylver store,
I scornd hys present vile, and scorn'd hys treason more.
Forgive me, Gyrthe, the brave Kynge Harolde cryd;
Who can I trust, if brothers are not true?
I think of Tostus, once my joie and pryde.
Girthe saide, with looke adigne; my lord, I doe.
But what oure foemen are, quod Girth, I'll shewe;
By Gods hie hallidome they preestes are.
Do not, quod Harold, Girthe, mystell them so,
For theie are everich one brave men at warre.
Quod Girthe; why will ye then provoke theyr hate?
Quod Harolde; great the foe, so is the glorie grete.
And nowe Duke Willyam mareschalled his band,
And stretchd his armie owte a goodlie rowe.
First did a ranke of arcublastries stande,
Next those on horsebacke drewe the ascendyng flo,
Brave champyones, eche well lerned in the bowe,
Theyr asenglave acrosse theyr horses ty'd,
Or with the loverds squier behinde dyd goe,
Or waited squier lyke at the horses syde.
When thus Duke Willyam to a Monke dyd saie,
Prepare thyselse wyth spede, to Harolde haste awaie.
Telle hym from me one of these three to take;
That hee to mee do homage for thys lande,
Or mee hys heyre, when he deceasyth, make,
Or to the judgment of Chrysts vicar stande.
He saide; the Monke departyd out of hande,
And to Kyng Harolde dyd this message bear;
Who said; tell thou the duke, at his likand
If he can gette the crown hee may itte wear.
He said, and drove the Monke out of his syghte,
And with his brothers rouz'd each manne to bloudie fyghte.
A standarde made of sylke and jewells rare,
Wherein alle coloures wroughte aboute in bighes,
An armyd knyghte was seen deth-doynge there,
Under this motte, he conquers or he dies.
This standard rych, endazzlynge mortal eyes,
Was borne neare Harolde at the Kenters heade,
Who chargd hys broders for the grete empryze
That straite the hest for battle should be spredde.
To evry Erle and knyghte the worde is gyven,
And cries a guerre and slughornes shake the vaulted heaven,
As when the erthe, torne by convulsyons dyre,
In reaulmes of darkness hid from human syghte,
The warring force of water, air, and fyre,
Brast from the regions of eternal nyghte,
Thro the darke caverns seeke the reaulmes of lyght;
Some loftie mountaine, by its fury torne,
Dreadfully moves, and causes grete affryght;
Now here, now there, majestic nods the bourne,
And awfulie shakes, mov'd by the almighty force,
Whole woods and forests nod, and ryvers change theyr course.
So did the men of war at once advaunce,
Linkd man to man, enseemed one boddie light;
Above a wood, yform'd of bill and launce,
That noddyd in the ayre most straunge to syght.
Harde as the iron were the menne of mighte,
Ne neede of slughornes to enrowse theyr minde;
Eche shootynge spere yreaden for the fyghte,
More feerce than fallynge rocks, more swefte than wynd;
With solemne step, by ecchoe made more dyre,
One single boddie all theie marchd, theyr eyen on fyre.
And slow the greie-eyd morne with vi'lets drest,
Shakyng the dewdrops on the flourie meedes,
Fled with her rosie radiance to the West:
Forth from the Easterne gatte the fyerie steedes
Of the bright sunne awaytynge spirits leedes:
The sunne, in fierie pompe enthrond on hie,
Swyfter than thoughte alonge hys jernie gledes,
And scatters nyghtes remaynes from oute the skie.
He sawe the armies make for bloudie fraie,
And stopt his driving steeds, and hid his lyghtsome raye.
Kynge Harolde hie in ayre majestic raysd
His mightie arme, deckt with a manchyn rare;
With even hande a mighty javlyn paizde,
Then furyouse sent it whystlynge thro the ayre.
It struck the helmet of the Sieur de Beer;
In vayne did brasse or yron stop its waie;
Above his eyne it came, the bones dyd tare,
Peercynge quite thro, before it dyd allaie;
He tumbled, scritchyng wyth hys horrid payne;
His hollow cuishes rang upon the bloudie pleyne.
This Willyam saw, and soundynge Rowlandes songe
He bent his yron interwoven bowe,
Makynge bothe endes to meet with myghte full stronge,
From out of mortals syght fhot up the floe;
Then swyfte as fallynge starres to earthe belowe
It slaunted down on Alfwoldes payncted sheelde;
Quite thro the silver-bordurd crosse did goe,
Nor loste its force, but stuck into the feelde;
The Normannes, like theyr sovrin, dyd prepare,
And shotte ten thousande floes uprysynge in the aire.
As when a flyghte of cranes, that takes their waie
In householde armies thro the flanched skie,
Alike the cause, or companie or prey,
Is that perchaunce some boggie fenne is nie.
Soon as the muddie natyon theie espie,
Inne one blacke cloude theie to the erth descende;
Feirce as the fallynge thunderbolte they flie;
In vayne do reedes the speckled folk defend:
So prone to heavie blowe the arrowes felle,
And peered thro brasse, and sente manie to heaven or helle.
Ælan Adelfred, of the stowe of Leigh,
Felte a dire arrowe burnynge in his breste;
Before he dyd, he sente hys spear awaie,
Thenne sunke to glorie and eternal reste.
Nevylle, a Normanne of alle Normannes beste,
Throw the joint cuishe dyd the javlyn feel,
As hee on horsebacke for the fyghte addressd,
And sawe hys bloude come smokynge oer the steele;
He sente the avengynge floe into the ayre,
And turnd hys horses hedde, and did to leeche repayre.
And now the javelyns, barbd with deathhis wynges,
Hurld from the Englysh handes by force aderne,
Whyzz dreare along; and songes of terror synges,
Such songes as alwaies clos'd in lyfe eterne.
Hurld by such strength along the ayre theie burne,
Not to be quenched butte ynn Normannes bloude;
Wherere theie came they were of lyfe forlorn,
And alwaies followed by a purple floude;
Like cloudes the Normanne arrowes did descend,
Like cloudes of carnage full in purple drops dyd end.
Nor, Leofwynus, dydst thou still estande;
Full soon thie pheon glytted in the aire;
The force of none but thyne and Harolds hande
Could hurle a javlyn with such lethal geer;
Itte whyzzd a ghastlie dynne in Normannes ear,
Then thundryng dyd upon hys greave alyghte,
Peirce to his hearte, and dyd hys bowels tear,
He closd hys eyne in everlastynge nyghte;
Ah! what avayld the lyons on his creste!
His hatchments rare with him upon the grounde was prest.
Willyam agayne ymade his bowe-ends meet,
And hie in ayre the arrowe wynged his waie,
Descendyng like a shafte of thunder fleete,
Lyke thunder rattling at the noon of daie,
Onne Algars sheelde the arrowe dyd allaie,
There throghe dyd peerse, and stycke into his groine;
In grypynge torments on the feelde he laie,
Tille welcome dethe came in and clos'd his eyne;
Distort with peyne he laie upon the borne,
Lyke sturdie elms by stormes in uncothe wrythynges torne.
Alrick his brother, when hee this perceevd,
He drewe his swerde, his lefte hande helde a speere,
Towards the duke he turnd his prauncyng steede,
And to the Godde of heaven he sent a prayre;
Then sent his lethale javlyn in the ayre,
On Hue de Beaumontes backe the javelyn came,
Thro his redde armour to hys harte it tare,
He felle and thondred on the place of fame;
Next with his swerde he 'sayld the Seiur de Roe,
And braste his sylver helme, so furyous was the blowe.
But Willyam, who had seen hys prowesse great,
And feered muche how farre his bronde might goe,
Tooke a strong arblaster, and bigge with fate
From twangynge iron sente the fleetynge floe.
As Alric hoistes hys arme for dedlie blowe,
Which, han it came, had been Du Roees laste,
The swyfte-wyngd messenger from Willyams bowe
Quite throwe his arme into his syde ypaste;
His eyne shotte fyre, lyke blazyng starre at nyghte,
He grypd his swerde, and felle upon the place of fyghte.
O Alfwolde, saie, how shalle I synge of thee
Or telle how manie dyd benethe thee falle;
Not Haroldes self more Normanne knyghtes did slee,
Not Haroldes self did for more praises call
How shall a penne like myne then shew it all?
Lyke thee their leader, eche Bristowyanne foughte;
Lyke thee, their blaze must be canonical,
Fore theie, like thee, that daie bewrecke yroughte.
Did thirtie Normannes fall upon the grounde,
Full half a score from thee and theie receive their fatale wounde.
First Fytz Chivelloys felt thie direful force;
Nete did hys helde out brazen sheelde availe;
Eftsoones throwe that thie drivynge speare did peerce
Nor was ytte stopped by his coate of mayle;
Into his breaste it quicklie did assayle;
Out ran the bloude, like hygra of the tyde;
With purple stayned all hys adventayle;
In scarlet was his cuishe of sylver dyde.
Upon the bloudie carnage house he laie,
Whylst hys longe sheelde dyd glem with the sun's rysing ray.
Next Fescampe felle; O Chrieste, howe harde his fate
To die the leckedst knyghte of all the thronge!
His sprite was made of malice deslavate,
Ne shoulden find a place in anie songe.
The broch'd keene javlyn hurld from honde so stronge
As thine came thundrynge on his crysted beave;
Ah! neete avayld the brass or iron thonge,
With mightie force his skulle in twoe dyd cleave;
Fallyng he shooken out his smokyng braine,
As witherd oakes or elmes are hewne from off the playne.
For, Norcie, could thie myghte and skilfulle lore
Preserve thee from the doom of Alfwold's speere;
Couldste thou not kenne, most skyll'd After la goure,
How in the battle it would wythe thee fare?
When Alfwolds javelyn, rattlynge in the ayre,
From hande dyvine on thie habergeon came,
Oute at thy backe it dyd thie hartes bloude bear,
It gave thee death and everlastynge fame;
Thy deathe could onlie come from Alfwolde arme,
As diamondes onlie can its fellow diamonds harme.
Next Sire du Mouline fell upon the grounde,
Quite throughe his throte the lethal javlyn preste,
His soule and bloude came roushynge from the wounde;
He closd his eyen, and opd them with the blest.
It can no be I should behight the rest,
That by the myghtie arme of Alfwolde felle,
Paste bie a penne to be counte or expreste,
How manie Alfwolde sent to heaven or helle;
As leaves from trees shook by derne Autumns hand,
So laie the Normannes slain by Alfwold on the strand.
As when a drove of wolves withe dreary yelles
Assayle some flocke, ne care if shepster ken't,
Besprenge destructione oer the woodes and delles;
The shepster swaynes in vayne theyr lees lement;
So foughte the Brystowe menne; ne one crevent,
Ne onne abashd enthoughten for to flee;
With fallen Normans all the playne besprent,
And like theyr leaders every man did slee;
In vayne on every syde the arrowes fled
The Brystowe menne styll ragd, for Alfwold was not dead.
Manie meanwhile by Haroldes arm did falle,
And Leofwyne and Gyrthe encreasd the slayne;
'Twould take a Nestor's age to synge them all,
Or telle how manie Normannes preste the playne;
But of the erles, whom recorde nete hath slayne,
O Truthe! for good of after-tymes relate,
That, thowe they're deade, theyr names may lyve agayne,
And be in deathe, as they in life were, greate;
So after-ages maie theyr actions see,
And like to them æternal alwaie stryve to be.
Adhelm, a knyghte, whose holie deathless sire
For ever bended to St. Cuthbert's shryne,
Whose breast for ever burnd with sacred fyre,
And een on erthe he myghte be calld dyvine;
To Cuthbert's church he dyd his goodes resygne,
And lefte hys son his God's and fortunes knyghte;
His son the Saincte behelde with looke adigne,
Made him in gemot wyse, and greate in fyghte;
Saincte Cuthberte dyd him ayde in all hys deedes,
His friends he lets to live, and all his fomen bleedes.
He married was to Kenewalchae faire,
The fynest dame the sun or moone adave;
She was the myghtie Aderedus heyre,
Who was alreadie hastynge to the grave;
As the blue Bruton, rysinge from the wave,
Like sea-gods seeme in most majestic guise,
And rounde aboute the risynge waters lave,
And their longe hayre arounde their bodie flies,
Such majestie was in her porte displaid,
To be excelld bie none but Homer's martial maid.
White as the chaulkie clyffes of Brittaines isle,
Red as the highest colour'd Gallic wine,
Gaie as all nature at the mornynge smile,
Those hues with pleasaunce on her lippes combine,
Her lippes more redde than summer evenynge skyne,
Or Phœbus rysinge in a frostie morne,
Her breste more white than snow in feeldes that lyene,
Or lillie lambes that never have been shorne,
Swellynge like bubbles in a boillynge welle,
Or new-braste brooklettes gently whyspringe in the delle.
Browne as the fylberte droppyng from the shelle,
Browne as the nappy ale at Hocktyde game,
So browne the crokyde rynges, that featlie fell
Over the neck of the all-beauteous dame.
Greie as the morne before the ruddie flame
Of Phebus charyotte rollynge thro the skie,
Greie as the steel-horn'd goats Conyan made tame,
So greie appeard her featly sparklyng eye;
Those eyne, that did oft mickle pleased look
On Adhelm valyaunt man, the virtues doomsday book.
Majestic as the grove of okes that stoode
Before the abbie buylt by Oswald kynge;
Majestic as Hybernies holie woode,
Where sainctes and soules departed masses synge;
Such awe from her sweete looke forth issuynge
At once for reveraunce and love did calle;
Sweet as the voice of thraslarkes in the Spring,
So sweet the wordes that from her lippes did falle;
None fell in vayne; all shewed some entent;
Her wordies did displaie her great entendement.
Tapre as candles layde at Cuthberts shryne,
Tapre as elmes that Goodrickes abbie shrove,
Tapre as silver chalices for wine,
So tapre was her armes and shape ygrove.
As skyllful mynemenne by the stones above
Can ken what metalle is ylach'd belowe,
So Kennewalcha's face, ymade for love,
The lovelie ymage of her soule did shewe;
Thus was she outward form'd; the sun her mind
Did guilde her mortal shape and all her charms refin'd.
What blazours then, what glorie shall he clayme,
What doughtie Homere shall hys praises synge,
That lefte the bosome of so fayre a dame
Uncall'd, unaskt, to serve his lorde the kynge?
To his fayre shrine goode subjects oughte to bringe
The armes, the helmets, all the spoyles of warre,
Throwe everie reaulm the poets blaze the thynge,
And travelling merchants spredde hys name to farre;
The stoute Norwegians had his anlace felte,
And nowe amonge his foes dethe-doynge blowes he delte.
As when a wolfyn gettynge in the meedes
He rageth sore, and doth about hym slee,
Nowe here a talbot, there a lambkin bleeds,
And alle the grasse with clotted gore doth stree;
As when a rivlette rolles impetuouslie,
And breaks the bankes that would its force restrayne,
Alonge the playne in fomynge rynges doth flee,
Gaynste walles and hedges doth its course maintayne;
As when a manne doth in a corn-fielde mowe,
With ease at one felle stroke full manie is laide lowe.
So manie, with such force, and with such ease,
Did Adhelm slaughtre on the bloudie playne;
Before hym manie dyd theyr hearts bloude lease,
Ofttymes he foughte on towres of smokynge slayne.
Angillian felte his force, nor felte in vayne;
He cutte hym with his swerde athur the breaste;
Out ran the bloude, and did hys armoure stayne,
He clos'd his eyen in æternal reste;
Lyke a tall oke by tempeste borne awaie,
Stretchd in the armes of dethe upon the plaine he laie.
Next thro the ayre he lent his javlyn feerce,
That on De Clearmoundes buckler did alyghte,
Throwe the vaste orbe the sharpe pheone did peerce,
Rang on his coate of mayle and spente its mighte.
But soon another wingd its aiery flyghte,
The keen broad pheon to his lungs did goe;
He felle, and groand upon the place of fighte,
Whilst lyfe and bloude came issuynge from the blowe.
Like a tall pyne upon his native playne,
So fell the mightie sire and mingled with the slaine.
Hue de Longeville, a force doughtre mere,
Advauncyd forwarde to provoke the darte,
When soone he founde that Adhelmes poynted speere
Had founde an easie passage to his hearte.
He drewe his bowe, nor was of dethe astarte,
Then fell down brethlesse to encrease the corse;
But as he drewe hys bowe devoid of arte,
So it came down upon Troyvillains horse;
Deep thro hys hatchmcnts wente the pointed floe;
Now here, now there, with rage bleedyng he rounde doth goe.
Nor does he hede his mastres known commands,
Tyll, growen furiouse by his bloudie wounde,
Erect upon his hynder feete he staundes,
And throwes hys mastre far off to the grounde.
Near Adhelms feete the Normanne laie astounde,
Besprengd his arrowes, loosend was his sheelde,
Thro his redde armoure, as he laie ensoond,
He peercd his swerde, and out upon the feelde
The Normannes bowels steemd, a dedlie syghte!
He opd and closd hys eyen in everlastynge nyghte.
Caverd, a Scot, who for the Normannes foughte,
A man well skilld in swerde and soundynge strynge,
Who fled his country for a crime enstrote,
For darynge with bolde worde hys loiaule kynge,
He at Erle Aldhelme with grete force did flynge
An heavie javlyn, made for bloudie wounde,
Alonge his sheelde askaunte the same did ringe,
Peercd thro the corner, then stuck in the grounde;
So when the thonder rauttles in the skie,
Thro some tall spyre the shaftes in a torn clevis flie.
Then Addhelm hurld a croched javlyn stronge,
With mighte that none but such grete championes know;
Swifter than thoughte the javlyn past alonge,
Ande hytte the Scot most feirclie on the prowe;
His helmet brasted at the thondring blowe,
Into his brain the tremblyn javlyn steck;
From eyther syde the bloude began to flow,
And run in circling ringlets rounde his neck;
Down fell the warriour on the lethal strande,
Lyke some tall vessel wreckt upon the tragick sande.
Where fruytless heathes and meadowes cladde in greie,
Save where derne hawthornes reare theyr humble heade,
The hungrie traveller upon his waie
Sees a huge desarte alle arounde hym spredde,
The distaunte citie scantlie to be spedde,
The curlynge force of smoke he sees in vayne,
Tis too far distaunte, and hys onlie bedde
Iwimpled in hys cloke ys on the playne,
Whylste rattlynge thonder forrey oer his hedde,
And raines come down to wette hys harde uncouthlie bedde.
A wondrous pyle of rugged mountaynes standes,
Placd on eche other in a dreare arraie,
It ne could be the worke of human handes,
It ne was reared up bie menne of daie.
Here did the Brutons adoration paye
To the false god whom they did Tauran name,
Dightynge hys altarre with greete fyres in Maie,
Roastynge theyr vyctualle round aboute the flame,
'Twas here that Hengyst did the Brytons slee,
As they were mette in council for to bee.
Neere on a loftie hylle a citie standes,
That lyftes yts scheafted heade ynto the skies,
And kynglie lookes arounde on lower landes,
And the longe browne playne that before itte lies.
Herewarde, borne of parentes brave and wyse,
Within this vylle fyrste adrewe the ayre,
A blessynge to the erthe sente from the skies,
In anie kyngdom nee coulde fynde his pheer;
Now rybbd in steele he rages yn the fyghte,
And sweeps whole armies to the reaulmes of nyghte.
So when derne Autumne wyth hys sallowe hande
Tares the green mantle from the lymed trees,
The leaves besprenged on the yellow strande
Flie in whole armies from the blataunte breeze;
Alle the whole fielde a carnage-howse he sees,
And sowles unknelled hover'd oer the bloude;
From place to place on either hand he slees,
And sweepes alle neere hym lyke a bronded floude
Dethe honge upon his arme; he sleed so maynt,
'Tis paste the pointel of a man to paynte.
Byghte sonne in haste han drove hys fierie wayne
A three howres course alonge the whited skyen,
Vewynge the swarthless bodies on the playne,
And longed greetlie to plonce in the bryne.
For as hys beemes and far-stretchynge eyne
Did view the pooles of gore yn purple sheene,
The wolsomme vapours rounde hys lockes dyd twyne.
And dyd disfygure all hys semmlikeen;
Then to harde actyon he hys wayne dyd rowse,
In hyssynge ocean to make glair hys browes.
Duke Wyllyam gave commaunde, eche Norman knyghte,
That beer war-token in a shielde so fyne,
Shoulde onward goe, and dare to closer fyghte
The Saxonne warryor, that dyd so entwyne,
Lyke the neshe bryon and the eglantine,
Orre Cornysh wrastlers at a Hocktyde game.
The Normannes, all emarchialld in a lyne,
To the ourt arraie of the thight Saxonnes came;
There 'twas the whaped Normannes on a parre
Dyd know that Saxonnes were the sonnes of warre.
Oh Turgotte, wheresoeer thie spryte dothe haunte,
Whither wyth thie lovd Adhelme by thie syde,
Where thou mayste heare the swotie nyghte larke chaunte,
Orre wyth some mokynge brooklette swetelie glide,
Or rowle in ferselie wythe ferse Severnes tyde,
Whereer thou art, come and my mynde enleme
Wyth such greete thoughtes as dyd with thee abyde,
Thou sonne, of whom I ofte have caught a beeme,
Send mee agayne a drybblette of thie lyghte,
That I the deeds of Englyshmenne maie wryte.
Harold, who saw the Normannes to advaunce,
Seizd a huge byll, and layd hym down hys spere;
Soe dyd ech wite laie downe the broched launce,
And groves of bylles did glitter in the ayre.
Wyth showtes the Normannes did to battel steere;
Campynon famous for his stature highe,
Fyrey wythe brasse, benethe a shyrte of lere,
In cloudie daie he reechd into the skie;
Neere to Kyng Harolde dyd he come alonge,
And drewe hys steele Morglaien sworde so stronge.
Thryce rounde hys heade hee swung hys anlace wyde,
On whyche the sunne his visage did agleeme,
Then straynynge, as hys membres would dyvyde,
Hee stroke on Haroldes sheelde yn manner breme;
Alonge the fielde it made an horrid cleembe,
Coupeynge Kyng Harolds payncted sheeld in twayne,
Then yn the bloude the fierie swerde dyd steeme,
And then dyd drive ynto the bloudie playne;
So when in ayre the vapours do abounde,
Some thunderbolte tares trees and dryves ynto the grounde.
Harolde upreer'd hys bylle, and furious sente
A stroke, lyke thondre, at the Normannes syde;
Upon the playne the broken brasse besprente
Dyd ne hys bodie from dethe-doeynge hyde;
He tournyd back; and dyd not there abyde;
With straught oute sheelde hee ayenwarde did goe,
Threwe downe the Normannes, did their rankes divide,
To save himselse lefte them unto the foe;
So olyphauntes, in kingdomme of the sunne,
When once provok'd doth throwe theyr owne troopes runne.
Harolde, who ken'd hee was his armies staie,
Nedeynge the rede of generaul so wyse,
Byd Alfwoulde to Campynon haste awaie,
As thro the armie ayenwarde he hies,
Swyfte as a feether'd takel Alfwoulde flies,
The steele bylle blushynge oer wyth lukewarm bloude;
Ten Kenters, ten Bristowans for th' emprize
Hasted wyth Alfwoulde where Campynon stood,
Who aynewarde went, whylste everie Normanne knyghte
Dyd blush to see their champyon put to flyghte.
As painctyd Bruton, when a wolfyn wylde,
When yt is cale and blustrynge wyndes do blowe,
Enters hys bordelle, taketh hys yonge chylde,
And wyth his bloude bestreynts the lillie snowe,
He thoroughe mountayne hie and dale doth goe,
Throwe the quyck torrent of the bollen ave,
Throwe Severne rollynge oer the sandes belowe
He skyms alofe, and blents the beatynge wave,
Ne stynts, ne lagges the chace, tylle for hys eyne
In peecies hee the morthering theef doth chyne.
So Alfoulde he dyd to Campynon haste;
Hys bloudie bylle awhap'd the Normannes eyne;
Hee fled, as wolfes when bie the talbots chac'd,
To bloudie byker he dyd ne enclyne.
Duke Wyllyam stroke hym on hys brigandyne,
And sayd; Campynon, is it thee I see?
Thee? who dydst actes of glorie so bewryen,
Now poorlie come to hyde thieselfe bie mee?
Awaie! thou dogge, and acte a warriors parte,
Or with mie swerde I'll perce thee to the harte.
Betweene Erle Alfwoulde and Duke Wyllyam's bronde
Campynon thoughte that nete but deathe coulde bee,
Seezed a huge swerde Morglaien yn his honde,
Mottrynge a praier to the Vyrgyne.
So hunted deere the dryvynge hounds will slee,
When theie dyscover they cannot escape;
And feerful lambkyns, when theie hunted bee,
Theyre ynfante hunters doe theie oft awhape;
Thus stoode Campynon, greete but hertlesse knyghte,
When feere of dethe made hym for deathe to fyghte.
Alfwoulde began to dyghte hymselse for fyghte,
Meanewhyle hys menne on everie syde dyd slee,
Whan on hys lyfted sheelde withe alle hys myghte
Campynon's swerde in burlie-brande dyd dree;
Bewopen Alfwoulde fellen on his knee;
Hys Brystowe menne came in hym for to save;
Eftsoons upgotten from the grounde was hee,
And dyd agayne the touring Norman brave;
Hee graspd hys bylle in syke a drear arraie,
Hee seem'd a lyon catchynge at hys preie.
Upon the Normannes brazen adventayle
The thondrynge bill of myghtie Alfwould came;
It made a dentful bruse, and then dyd fayle;
Fromme rattlynge weepons shotte a sparklynge flame;
Eftsoons agayne the thondrynge bill ycame,
Peers'd thro hys adventayle and skyrts of lare;
A tyde of purple gore came wyth the same,
As out hys bowells on the feelde it tare;
Campynon felle, as when some cittie-walle
Inne dolefulle terrours on its mynours falle.
He felle, and dyd the Norman rankes dyvide;
So when an oke, that shotte ynto the skie,
Feeles the broad axes peersynge his broade syde,
Slowlie hee falls and on the grounde doth lie,
Pressynge all downe that is wyth hym anighe,
And stoppynge wearie travellers on the waie;
So straught upon the playne the Norman hie
* * * * * * * * * *
Bled, gron'd, and dyed; the Normanne knyghtes astound
To see the bawsin champyon preste upon the grounde.
As when the hygra of the Severne roars,
And thunders ugsom on the sandes below,
The cleembe reboundes to Wedecesters shore,
And sweeps the black sande rounde its horie prowe;
So bremie Alfwoulde thro the warre dyd goe;
Hys Kenters and Brystowans slew ech syde,
Betreinted all alonge with bloudless foe,
And seemd to swymm alonge with bloudie tyde;
Fromme place to place besmeard with bloud they went,
And rounde aboute them swarthless corse besprente.
A famous Normanne who yclepd Aubene,
Of skyll in bow, in tylte, and handesworde fyghte
That daie yn feelde han manie Saxons sleene,
Forre hee in sothen was a manne of myghte;
Fyrste dyd his swerde on Adelgar alyghte,
As hee on horseback was, and peersd hys gryne,
Then upwarde wente: in everlastynge nyghte
Hee closd hys rollyng and dymsyghted eyne.
Next Eadlyn, Tatwyn, and fam'd Adelred,
Bie various causes sunkwn to the dead.
But now to Alfwoulde he opposynge went,
To whom compar'd hee was a man of stre,
And wyth bothe hondes a myghtie blowe he sente
At Alfwouldes head, as hard as hee could dree;
But on hys payncted sheelde so bismarlie
Aslaunte his swerde did go ynto the grounde;
Then Alfwould him attack'd most furyouslie,
Athrowe hys gaberdyne hee dyd him wounde,
Then soone agayne hys swerde hee dyd upryne,
And clove his creste and split hym to the eyne.
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(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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