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The Battle of Maldon - Interlineal Old English and Translated Texts

1       ...brocen wurde. was broken.
2   Het þa hyssa hwæne   hors forlætan,
    He bade every warrior then   to leave his horse,
3   feor afysan,   and forð gangan,
    drive them far away   and go forth,
4   hicgan to handum   and to hige godum.
    trusting to his hand-strength   and to good courage.
5   Þa þæt Offan mæg   ærest onfunde,
    The kinsman of Offa   could soon see
6   þæt se eorl nolde   yrhðo geþolian
    that the earl did not wish   to endure cowardice,
7   he let him þa of handon   leofne fleogan
    from his hand he let   fly his beloved
8   hafoc wið þæs holtes,   and to þære hilde stop;
    hawk to the woods,   and strode to the battle;
9   be þam man mihte oncnawan   þæt se cniht nolde
    because of this a man might say   that the youth would not
10   wacian æt þam wige,   þa he to wæpnum feng.
    weaken in the fight,   that he would seize his weapon.
11   Eac him wold Eadric   his ealdre gelæstan,
    Eadric would also   attend his chieftain,
12   frean to gefeohte,   ongan þa forð beran
    follow his lord to the fight.   At once he went forth
13   gar to guþe.   He hæfde god geþanc
    with his spear to battle.   He had a good heart
14   þa hwile þe he mid handum   healdan mihte
    while he might hold   with his hands
15   bord and bradswurd;   beot he gelæste
    shield and broadsword;   he made good his boast
16   þa he ætforan his frean   feohtan sceolde.
    that he should fight   before his lord.
17        Ða þær Byrhtnoð ongan   beornas trymian,
         There Byrhtnoth at once   exhorted his men,
18   rad and rædde,   rincum tæhte
    rode among them and advised,   taught the warriors
19   hu hi sceoldon standan   and þone stede healdan
    how they should stand   and hold their station
20   and bæd þæt hyra randas   rihte heoldon
    and bade that their round-shields   be held upright
21   fæste mid folman,   and ne forhtedon na.
    firmly in their fists,   and to fear nothing.
22   Þa he hæfde þæt folc   fægere getrymmed,
    When he had nobly encouraged   that folk,
23   he lihte þa mid leodon   þær him leofost wæs,
    he alighted amid his people   where he was most loved;
24   þær he his heorðwerod   holdost wiste.
    there were his hearth-retainers   who were most loyal.
25   Þa stod on stæðe,   stiðlice clypode
    Then on the bank stood,   sternly called out
26   wicinga ar,   wordum mælde,
    the Viking messenger,   spoke words,
27   se on beot abead   brimliþendra
    announced boastfully   the sea-farers'
28   ærænde to þam eorle,   þær he on ofre stod:
    errand to the earl   where he stood on the other side:
29   "Me sendon to þe   sæmen snelle
    I have been sent to you   by the swift sea-men,
30   heton ðe secgan   þæt þu most sendan raðe
    they bid me to say   that you might soon send
31   beagas wið gebeorge;   and eow betere is
    rings as your defense;   and it is better for you
32   þæt ge þisne garræs   mid gafole forgyldon,
    that you avert this spear-rush   by paying tribute,
33   þon we swa hearde   hilde dælon.
    than that we should deal out   hard battle.
34   Ne þurfe we us spillan,   gif ge speaþ to þam;
    Nor need we destroy one another,   if you agree to this;
35   we willað wið þam golde   grið fæstnian.
    with the gold we will   confirm a truce.
36   Gyf þu þat gerædest,   þe her ricost eart,
    If you agree to that,   you who are most powerful,
37   þæt þu þine leoda   lysan wille,
    that you will loose [call off]   your people,
38   syllan sæmannum   on hyra sylfra dom
    give the sea-men   self-judgement [abide by their terms],
39   feoh wið freode,   and niman frið æt us,
    buy peace with us for a fee   and make truce with us,
40   we willaþ mid þam sceattum   us to scype gangan,
    we will go to the ship   and with that treasure,
41   on flot feran,   and eow friþes healdan."
    fare over the sea,   and you shall have peace."
42        Byrhtnoð maþelode,   bord hafenode,
         Byrhtnoth spoke,   grasped his shield,
43   wand wacne æsc,   wordum mælde,
    waved his slender ash-spear,   spoke words
44   yrre and anræd   ageaf him andsware:
    wrathful and resolute,   gave him answer:
45   "Gehyrst þu, saelida,   hwaet þis folc segeð?
    "Do you hear, sea-farer,   what this folk says?
46   Hi willað eow to gafole   garas syllan
    They will sell you spears   as tribute,
47   ættrynne ord   and ealde swurd,
    poisoned points   and ancient swords,
48   þa heregeatu   þe eow æt hilde ne deah.
    wargear with which   to slay you in battle.
49   Brimmanna boda,   abeod eft ongean,
    Messenger of the sea-men,   announce once again,
50   sege þinum leodum   miccle laþre spell,
    tell your people   these very hateful tidings,
51   þæt her stynt unforcuð   eorl mid his werode,
    that here stands an honorable   earl with his army,
52   þe wile gealgean   eþel þysne,
    who will defend   this country,
53   Æþelredes eard,   ealdres mines,
    Aethelred's land,   [the land of] my lord,
54   folc and foldan.   Feallan sceolon
    people and lands.   They shall fall,
55   hæþene æt hilde.   To heanlic me þinceð
    the heathens, in battle.   I think it too disgraceful
56   þæt ge mid urum sceattum   to scype gangon
    that you should go to your ship   with our treasure
57   unbefohtene,   nu ge þus feor hider
    unfought,   now that you have come here,
58   on urne eard   in becommon.
    on our land   have come [trespassed].
59   Ne sceole ge swa softe   sinc gegangan;
    Nor shall you easily   capture our treasure;
60   us sceal ord and ecg   ær geseman,
    point and edge   must first convince us,
61   grim guðplega,   ær we gofol syllon."
    grim war-play,   before we grant you tribute."
62        Het þa bord beran,   beornas gangan,
         Then he ordered that shields be lifted,   the men advance,
63   þæt hi on þam easteðe   ealle stodon.
    that they all stand   on the riverbank.
64   Ne mihte þær for wætere   werod to þam oðrum;
    Nor might one army get at the other   for the water there;
65   þær com flowende   flod æfter ebban
    there came flowing   the flood after the ebb [the tide turned]
66   lucon lagustremas.   To lang hit him þuhte,
    the sea-streams together.   They thought it too long
67   hwænne hi togædere   garas beron.
    before they brought   their spears together.
68   Hi þær Pantan stream   mid prasse bestodon,
    There by the river Panta   they stood amid the tumult,
69   Eastseaxena ord   and se æschere.
    the van of the East Saxons   and the [Danes'] spear-army.
70   Ne mihte hyra ænig   oþrum derian,
    Nor might either   harm the other
71   buton hwa þurh flanes flyht   fyl gename.
    but by the arrow's flight   deal death.
72   Se flod ut gewat;   þa flotan stodon gearowe,
    The flood subsided;   the sailors stood ready,
73   wicinga fela,   wiges georne.
    many Vikings,   eager warriors.
74   Het þa hæleða hleo   healdan þa bricge
    Then the protector of warriors asked   to hold the the ford
75   wigan wigheardne,   se wæs haten Wulfstan,
    a warrior stern in battle;   he was named Wulfstan,
76   cafne mid his cynne,   þæt wæs Ceolan sunu,
    a bold man of his kin,   who was Ceola's son.
77   Þe ðone forman man   mid his francan ofsceat
    The first man   he wounded with his spear
78   þe þær baldlicost   on þa bricge stop.
    who boldly stepped   there into the ford.
79   Þær stodon mid Wulfstane   wigan unforhte,
    There stood with Wulfstan   warriors unafraid,
80   Ælfere and Maccus,   modige twegen,
    Aelfere and Maccus,   both brave-spirited.
81   þa noldon æt þam forda   fleam gewyrcan,
    There was nothing that could cause them to flee   from the ford,
82   ac hi fæstlice   wið ða fynd weredon,
    but they firmly   warded against the foe,
83   þa hwile þe hi wæpna   wealdan moston.
    so long as they might wield   their weapons.
84   Þa hi þæt ongeaton   and georne gesawon
    When they [the Vikings] perceived that,   and clearly saw
85   þæt hi þær bricgweardas   bitere fundon,
    that these bridge-wardens   were found to be fierce,
86   ongunnor lytegian þa   laðe gystas
    they began to practice deceit.   Those hateful guests
87   bædon þæt hi upgang   agan moston,
    asked that they might   be allowed to approach,
88   ofer þone ford faran,   feþan lædan.
    to fare over the ford   leading their troop.
89        Ða se eorl ongan   for his ofermode
         Then soon the earl,   because of his pride,
90   alyfan landes to fela   laþere ðeode
    gave ground to the many   hateful people.
91   Ongan ceallian þa   ofer cald wæter
    He soon called   over the cold water,
92   Byrthelmes bearn   (beornas gehlyston):
    Byrthelm's son   (the warriors listened):
93   "Nu eow is gerymed,   gað ricene to us,
    "Now room is made for you,   come quickly to us,
94   guman to guþe;   god ana wat
    warriors to the battle;   God alone knows
95   hwa þære wælstowe   wealdan mote."
    who will control   this field of slaughter."
96   Wodon þa wælwulfas   (for wætere ne murnon),
    The slaughter-wolves advanced   (for the waters no longer troubled them),
97   wicinga werod,   west ofer Pantan,
    the Viking horde,   west over the Panta.
98   ofer scir wæter   scyldas wegon,
    Over the clear water   they carried their shields,
99   lidmen to lande   linde bæron.
    the ship-men bore the linden-wood [shields]   to land.
100   Þær ongean gramum   gearowe stodon
    There soon the fierce ones   stood ready
101   Byrhtnoð mid beornum;   he mid bordum het
    Byrhtnoth with his men;   he ordered those with shields
102   wyrcan þone wihagen,   and þæt werod healdan
    to form the war-hedge [shieldwall]   and that host to hold
103   fæste wið feondum.   Þa wæs feohte neh
    fast against the foe.   Then the fight was near,
104   tir æt getohte.   Wæs seo tid cumen
    glory in battle.   The time was come
105   þæt þær fæge men   feallan sceoldon.
    when those men who were fated   should fall.
106   Þær wearð hream ahafen,   hremmas wundon,
    There was raised a great noise,   the ravens wheeled,
107   earn æses georn;   wæs on eorþan cyrm.
    the eagle was eager for corpses;   there was clamor on earth.
108   Hi leton þa of folman   feolhearde speru,
    They threw from their fists   the file-hard spears,
109   gegrundene   garas fleogan;
    the sharp-ground   spears flew;
110   bogan wæron bysige,   bord ord onfeng.
    bows were busy,   shields stopped points.
111        Biter wæs se beaduræs,   beornas feollon
         Bitter was the battle-rush,   men fell
112   on gehwæðere hand,   hyssas lagon.
    on either hand,   young warriors lay [still].
113   Wund wearð Wulfmær,   wælræste geceas,
    Wulfmaer lay wounded,   chose the bed of slaughter,
114   Byrhtnoðes mæg;   he mid billum wearð,
    Byrhtnoth's kinsman;   he was [wounded] with a sword,
115   his swuster sunu,   swiðe forheawen.
    his sister's son,   strongly hewn down.
116   Þær wearð wicingum   wiþerlean agyfen.
    There were the Vikings   given compensation [for that slaying].
117   Gehyrde ic þæt Eadweard   anne sloge
    I heard that Eadweard   slew one
118   Swiðe mid his swurde,   swenges ne wyrnde,
    stoutly with his sword,   he did not withhold his slashes,
119   þæt him æt fotum feoll   fæge cempa;
    so that at his feet fell   the fated warrior;
120   þæs him his ðeoden   þanc gesæde,
    then his prince   gave him thanks,
121   þam burþene,   þa he byrde hæfde.
    [thanked] his chamberlain   when he had the chance.
122   Swa stemnetton   stiðhicgende
    Thus they took their turn at battle   stern of purpose,
123   hysas æt hilde,   hogodon georne
    in battle the warriors   eagerly intended
124   hwa þær mid orde   ærost mihte
    that they might be the first   in the midst with their weapons
125   on fægean men   feorh gewinnan,
    to take the lives   of fated men,
126   wigan mid wæpnum;   wæl feol on eorðan.
    the warriors with weapons;   the slain fell to the soil.
127   Stodon stædfæste;   stihte hi Byrhtnoð,
    They stood steadfast;   Byrhtnoth incited them,
128   bæd þæt hyssa gehwylc   hogode to wige
    bade that each warrior   intend to wage war,
129   þe on Denon wolde   dom gefeohtan.
    that from the Danes they would   wrest glory.
130   Wod þa wiges heard,   wæpen up ahof,
    He went forward in the hard fight,   raised up his weapon,
131   bord to gebeorge,   and wið þæs beornes stop.
    warded with his war-shield,   and went towards those men.
132   Eode swa anræd   eorl to þam ceorle,
    He went resolutely,   the earl to the carl,
133   ægþer hyra oðrum   yfeles hogode.
    each to the other   intended evil.
134   Sende ða se særinc   suþerne gar,
    Then sent the sea-man   a southern spear,
135   þæt gewundod wearð   wigena hlaford;
    that wounded   the warriors' lord;
136   he sceaf þa mid ðam scylde,   þæt se sceaft tobærst,
    he shoved his shield against it,   so that the shaft burst asunder,
137   and þat spere sprengde,   þæt hit sprang ongean.
    and the spear broke,   and sprang out again.
138   Gegremod wearð se guðrinc;   he mid gare stang
    Grim-minded was the warrior;   he stabbed with his spear
139   wlancne wicing,   þe him þa wunde forgeaf.
    the proud Viking   and gave him a wound.
140   Frod wæs se fyrdrinc;   he let his francan wadan
    Wise was the fyrd-warrior   he let his spear thrust
141   þurh ðæs hysses hals,   hand wisode
    through the warrior's neck,   guided by his hand
142   þæt he on þam færsceaðan   feorh geræhte.
    so that he struck the life   from the sudden foe.
143   Ða he oþerne   ofstlice sceat,
    Then another he   speedily shot,
144   þæt seo byrne tobærst;   he wæs on breostum wund
    so that [the Viking's] byrnie was burst,   and wounded him on the breast,
145   þurh ða hriglocan,   him æt heortan stod
    through the locked rings;   into his heart stood
146   ætterne ord.   Se eorl wæs þe bliþra,
    the poisoned point.   The earl was blithe,
147   hloh þa, modi man,   sæde metode þanc
    he laughed, the mighty-spirited man,   and thanked the Measurer:
148   ðæs dægweorces   þe him drihten forgeaf.
    for the day's work   he gave thanks to the Lord.
149        Forlet þa drega sum   daroð of handa,
         Some warrior threw   a spear from his hand,
150   fleogan of folman,   þæt se to forð gewat
    it flew from his fist   so that it went forth
151   þurh ðone æþelan   Æþelredes þegen.
    through the noble,   Aethelred's thane.
152   Him be healfe stod   hyse unweaxen,
    Beside him stood   one not full-grown,
153   cniht on gecampe,   se full caflice
    a youth in the fight   who full boldly
154   bræd of þam beorne   blodigne gar,
    drew from that man   the bloody spear --
155   Wulfstanes bearn,   Wulfmær se geonga
    Wulfstan's son,   Wulfmaer the Young --
156   forlet forheardne,   faran eft ongean;
    he threw it with great force   going back again;
157   ord in gewod,   þæt se on eorþan læg
    the point went in,   so that he laid on the earth
158   þe hie þeoden ær   þearle geræhte.
    the one who had vigorously struck   his prince before.
159   Eode þa gesyrwed   secg to þam eorle;
    An armed man came   to the earl
160   he wolde þæs beornes   beagas gefecgan
    he would seize   this man's bracelets,
161   reaf and hringas   and gerenod swurd.
    [take] spoils and rings   and ornamented sword.
162   Þa Byrhtnoð bræd   bill of sceðe,
    Then Byrhtnoth slid   his sword from its sheath,
163   brad and bruneccg,   and on þa byrnan sloh.
    broad and brown-edged,   and slashed at his byrnie.
164   To raþe hine gelette   lidmanna sum,
    Too soon he was slowed   by some ship-man,
165   þa he þæs eorles   earm amyrde.
    who restrained   the earl's arm.
166   Feoll þa to foldan   fealohilte swurd;
    To the ground fell   the golden-hilted sword;
167   ne mihte he gehealdan   heardne mece,
    nor might he hold   the hard blade,
168   wæpnes wealdan.   Þa gyt þæt word gecwæð
    wield his weapon.   Yet he could utter words.
169   har hilderinc,   hyssas bylde
    that hoary man of battle,   and encouraged the warriors,
170   bæd gangan forð   gode geferan;
    bade them go forward,   his good companions;
171   ne miht þa on fotum leng   fæste gestandan.
    nor might he for long on foot   stand fast.
172   He to heofenum wlat:    
    He looked to Heaven:    
173   "Geþancie, þe,   ðeoda waldend,
    "Let me thank You,   Ruler of People,
174   ealra þæra wynna   þe ic on worulde gebad.
    for all the joy   that I have met with in this world.
175   Nu ic ah, milde metod   mæste þearfe
    Now, most gentle Measurer,   I have the mightiest need
176   þæt þu minum gaste   godes geunne,
    that to my ghost [spirit]   you grant bliss,
177   þæt min sawul to ðe   siðian mote
    that my soul to You   might journey
178   on þin geweald,   þeoden engla,
    in Your power,   Prince of Angels,
179   mid friþe ferian.   Ic eom frymdi to þe
    fare with peace.   I am desirous of You
180   þæt hi helsceaðan   hynan ne mohton."
    that these hell-scathers   might not defeat us."
181        Ða hine heowon   hæðene scealcas
         Then they hewed him,   the heathen servants,
182   and begen þa beornas   þe him big stodon,
    and the two men   who stood near him,
183   Ælfnoð and Wulfmær   begen lagon.
    Aelfnoth and Wulfmaer   both fell.
184   ða onemn hyra frean   feorh gesealdon.
    close by their lord   they gave up their lives.
185   Hi bugon þa fram beaduwe   þe þær beon noldon.
    Then from the battle turned   those who were unwilling [to fight].
186   Þær wearð Oddan bearn   ærest on fleame.
    Then were the sons of Odda   the first to flee.
187   Godric fram guþe,   and þone godan forlet
    Godric [fled] from battle,   and forgot the goods [he had received],
188   þe him mænigne oft   mear gesealde;
    and the many times   a mare was given to him;
189   he gehleop þone eoh   þe ahte his hlaford,
    he leapt upon the horse   that was his lord's.
190   on þam gerædum   þe hit riht ne wæs,
    This course of action   was not fitting.
191   and his broðru mid him   begen ærndon,
    With him his brothers   both ran --
192   Godrine and Godwig,   guþe ne gymdon,
    Godrine and Godwig --   they did not give heed to the battle
193   ac wendon fram þam wige   and þone wudu sohton,
    but fled from the fight   and sought the forest,
194   flugon on þæt fæsten   and hyra feore burgon,
    fled to that fastness   and saved their lives,
195   and manna ma   þonne hit ænig mæð wære,
    and more men   than was at all correct
196   gyf hi þa geearnunga   ealle gemundon
    if they all remembered   the rewards
197   þe he him to duguþe   gedon hæfde.
    that [Byrhtnoth] had given them   to their benefit.
198   Swa him Offa on dæg   aer asæde
    So Offa once before   said to [Byrhtnoth]
199   on þam meþelstede,   þa he gemot hæfde,
    at the meeting-stead [place of assembly]   where he held moot [meeting or council],
200   þæt þær modiglice   manega spræcon
    that there many   might speak bravely
201   þe eft æt þearfe   þolian noldon.
    that later [in times of] need   would not endure.
202       Þa wearð afeallen    þæs folces ealdor,
         Thus was fallen   the lord of that folk,
203   Æþelredes eorl;   ealle gesawan
    Aethelred's earl;   all saw,
204   heorðgeneatas   þæt hyra heorra læg.
    the hearth-companions,   that their lord lay [dead].
205   Þa ðær wendon forð   wlance þegenas,
    Then there went forth   the proud thanes,
206   unearge men   efston georne;
    brave men   hastened eagerly;
207   hi woldon þa ealle   oðer twega,
    they all wished then   for one of two things,
208   lif forlætan   oððe leofne gewrecan.
    to leave life   or to avenge their dear [lord].
209   Swa hi bylde forð   bearn Ælfrices,
    Then they were encouraged onward   by the son of Aelfric,
210   wiga wintrum geong,   wordum mælde,
    a warrior young in winters   spoke those words.
211   Ælfwine þa cwæð,   he on ellen spræc:
    Aelfwine then said,   he bravely spoke:
212   "Gemunan þa mæla   þe we oft æt meado spræcon,
    "Remember the words   that we often spoke [while drinking] mead,
213   þonne we on bence   beot ahofon,
    when from the benches   we raised up boasts,
214   hæleð on healle,   ymbe heard gewinn;
    heroes in the hall,   concerning hard battle;
215   nu mæg cunnian   hwa cene sy.
    now we may test   who is bold.
216   Ic wylle mine æþelo   eallum gecyþan,
    I will make known to all   my noble lineage,
217   þæt ic wæs on Myrcon   miccles cynnes;
    that I am from Mercia   of a mighty kin;
218   wæs min ealda fæder   Ealhelm haten,
    my forefather was   named Ealhelm,
219   wis ealdorman,   woruldgesælig.
    a wise alderman,   rich with worldly goods.
220   Ne scealon me on þære þeode   þegenas ætwitan
    Nor should the thanes reproach me   among the people
221   þæt ic of ðisse fyrde   feran wille
    [saying] that I would flee   from this force,
222   eard gesecon,   nu min ealdor ligeð
    seek my homeland,   now that my lord lies
223   forheawen æt hilde.   Me is þæt hearma mæst;
    hewn down in battle.   Mine is that greatest of griefs;
224   he wæs ægðer min mæg   and min hlaford."
    he was both my kinsman   and my lord."
225        Þa he forð eode,   fæðe gemunde,
         Then he went forth,   remembered the fight,
226   þæt he mid orde   anne geræhte
    so that with his sword   he struck down one
227   flotan on þam folce,   þæt se on foldan læg
    a pirate of that people,   so that he lay on the ground;
228   forwegan mid his wæpne.   Ongan þa winas manian,
    he slew him with his weapon.   Again he urged his friends,
229   frynd and geferan,   þæt hi forð eodon.
    friends and comrades,   that they go forth.
230   Offa gemælde,   æscholt asceoc:
    Offa spoke,   shook his ash-shaft:
231   "Hwæt þu, Ælfwine, hafast   ealle gemanode
    "Lo, Aelfwine, you have   exhorted all
232   þegenas to þearfe,   nu ure þeoden lið
    the thanes as needed,   now our prince is laid low,
233   eorl on eorðan.   Us is eallum þearf
    the earl on the earth.   It is all our need
234   þæt ure æghwylc   oþerne bylde
    that we each one   encourage the other
235   wigan to wige,   þa hwile þe he wæpen mæge
    warriors to fight,   so long as our weapons we may
236   habban and healdan,   heardne mece,
    have and hold,   the hard blade,
237   gar and godswurd.   Us Godric hæfð,
    spear and good sword.   Godric,
238   earh Oddan bearn,   ealle beswicene.
    the cowardly son of Offa,   has deceived us all.
239   Wende þæs formoni man,   þa he on meare rad,
    Many men believed this,   When he rode [away] on the mare,
240   on wlancan þam wicge,   þæt wære hit ure hlaford;
    on that proud mount,   that it was our lord;
241   forþan wearð her on felda   folc totwæmed,
    thus it fared here on the field   that the folk were divided
242   scyldburh tobrocen.   Abreoðe his angin,
    the shield-bastion broken.   May all his beginnings fail,
243   þæt he her swa manigne   man aflymde!"
    he who made to flee   so many men!"
244        Leofsunnu gemælde   and his linde ahof,
         Leofsunu spoke,   shoved up his linden-shield,
245   bord to gebeorge;   he þam beorne oncwæð:
    defending with the shield;   he then said to the men:
246        "Ic þæt gehate,   þæt ic heonon nelle
         I make this vow,   that I will not from here
247   fleon fotes trym,   ac wille furðor gan,
    flee one foot-step,   but will advance further,
248   wrecan on gewinne   minne winedrihten.
    avenge in battle   my lord and friend.
249   Ne þurfon me embe Sturmere   stedefæste hælæð
    Nor need those near Sturmere,   steadfast heroes,
250   wordum ætwitan,   nu min wine gecranc,
    reproach me with words,   now that my friend has perished,
251   þæt ic hlafordleas   ham siðie,
    [saying] that I, lordless,   journeyed homeward,
252   wende fram wige,   ac me sceal wæpen niman,
    went from war,   for the weapon shall take me,
253   ord and iren."   He ful yrre wod,
    [spear-]point and iron [sword]."   He full wrathfully went,
254   feaht fæstlice,   fleam he forhogode.
    firmly to the fight,   he despised flight.
255   Dunnere þa cwæð,   daroð acwehte,
    Dunnere then spoke,   displayed his spear,
256   unorne ceorl,   ofer eall clypode,
    the old carl,   called out over all,
257   bæd þæt beorna gehwylc   Byrhtnoð wræce:
    bade that each man   avenge Byrhtnoth:
258   "Ne mæg na wandian   se þe wrecan þenceð
    "He may not hesitate   who thinks to avenge
259   frean on folce,   ne for feore murnan."
    the lord of our people,   nor care for his life."
260   Þa hi forð eodon,   feores hi ne rohton;
    Then they went forth,   without care for their lives;
261   ongunnon þa hiredmen   heardlice feohtan,
    the retainers began,   fiercely fought
262   grame garberend,   and god bædon
    the hostile spear-bearers   and asked God
263   þæt hi moston gewrecan   hyra windedrihten
    that they might avenge   their friend and lord,
264   and on hyra feondum   fyl gewyrcan.
    and on their foes   wreak destruction.
265   Him se gysel ongan   geornlice fylstan;
    The hostage soon   eagerly helped them;
266   he wæs on Norðhymbron   heardes cynnes,
    he was from Northumbria,   of a fierce kin,
267   Ecglafes bearn,   him wæs Æscferð nama.
    Ecglaf's son,   his name was Aescferth.
268   He ne wandode na   æt þam wigplegan,
    He did not waver   at the war-play
269   ac he fysde forð   flan genehe;
    but fast forth   the arrows flew;
270   hwilon he on bord sceat,   hwilon beorn tæsde,
    at times he struck shields,   sometimes he wounded men,
271   æfre embe stunde   he sealde sume wunde,
    almost every instance   he scored some wound
272   þa hwile ðe he wæpna   wealdan moste.
    so long as he might   wield his weapon.
273        Þa gyt on orde stod   Eadweard se langa,
         There yet in the forefront stood   Eadweard the Tall,
274   gearo and geornful,   gylpwordum spræc
    ready and eager,   spoke boastful words
275   þæt he nolde fleogan   fotmæl landes,
    that he would not flee   [even] a foot's length of land,
276   ofer bæc bugan,   þa his betera leg.
    or turn back   when his lord lay [dead].
277   He bræc þone bordweall   and wið þa beornes feaht,
    He broke the board-wall,   and with the bold men fought,
278   oðþæt he his sincgyfan   on þam sæmannum
    until, for his sharer-of-silver,   on the sea-men
279   wurðlice wrec   ær he on wæle læge.
    worthily wrought revenge   ere he was laid low in the slaughter.
280   Swa dyde Æþeric,   æþele gefera,
    So did Aetheric,   a noble comrade,
281   fus and forðgeorn,   feaht eornoste.
    striving forward, eager to advance,   fought desperately.
282   Sibyrhtes broðor   and swiðe mænig oþer
    Sibyrht's brother   and many other stout men
283   clufon cellod bord,   cene hi weredon;
    cleft shield-bosses,   they defended boldly;
284   bærst bordes lærig,   and seo byrne sang
    shield rims shattered,   and their byrnies sang
285   gyrreleoða sum.   Þa æt guðe sloh
    a terrible tune.   There in the battle
286   Offa þone sælidan,   þæt he on eorðan feoll,
    Offa slew a sea-farer,   then to earth he fell,
287   and ðær Gaddes mæg   grund gesohte
    and there Gadd's kinsman   sought the ground.
288   Raðe wearð æt hilde   Offa forheawen;
    Soon in the battle   Offa was hewn down;
289   he hæfde ðeah geforþod   þæt he his frean gehet,
    yet he had accomplished   what to his lord he'd vowed,
290   swa he beotode ær   wið his beahgifan
    as he boasted once   to his bracelet-giver,
291   þæt hi sceoldon begen   on burh ridan,
    that the twain should both   ride to the town,
292   hale to hame,   oððe on here crincgan;
    whole to home,   or in hard battle perish;
293   on wælstowe   wundum sweltan;
    on the field of slaughter   of their wounds expire;
294   he læg ðegenlice   ðeodne gehende.
    He lay as befits a thane,   near his prince.
295        Ða wearð borda gebræc.   Brimmen wodon,
         Then were the shield-boards broken.   The sea-men burst forward,
296   guðe gegremode;   gar oft þurhwod
    inflamed by the fighting;   A spear full often pierced
297   fæges feorhhus.   Forð þa eode Wistan,
    a fated man's form.   Forward then went Wistan
298   Þurstanes sunu,   wið þas secgas feaht;
    Thurstan's son,   with the [sea-]men he fought;
299   he wæs on geþrange   hyra þreora bana,
    within the throng   he was three men's bane,
300   ær him Wigelines bearn   on þam wæle læge.
    ere he, Wighelm's son,   lay among the slaughtered.
301   Þær wæs stið gemot;   stodon fæste
    That was a stern meeting;   they stood fast,
302   wigan on gewinne,   wigend cruncon,
    the warriors in the wild fight.   Warriors perished,
303   wundum werige.   Wæl feol on eorþan.
    wearied by wounds.   Warriors, slaughtered, fell to earth.
304   Oswold and Eadwold   ealle hwile,
    Oswold and Eadwold   all the while --
305   begen þa gebroþru,   beornas trymedon,
    both of them brothers --   emboldened the warriors,
306   hyra winemagas   wordon bædon
    their friends and kinsmen;   with words bade
307   þæt hi þær æt ðearfe   þolian sceoldon,
    that in their need   they should endure,
308   unwaclice   wæpna neotan.
    unwaveringly   wield their weapons.
309   Byrhtwold maþelode,   bord hafenode
    Byrhtwold spoke,   bore his shield,
310   (se wæs eald geneat),   æsc acwehte;
    (he was an old retainer),   shook the ash-spear;
311   he ful baldlice   beornas lærde:
    he full boldly   exhorted the brave men:
312   "Hige sceal þe heardra,   heorte þe cenre,
    "We shall hold our thoughts firmer,   our hearts more fierce,
313   mod sceal þe mare,   þe ure mægen lytlað.
    our courage shall be keener   as our strength dwindles.
314   Her lið ure ealdor   eall forheawen,
    Here lies our lord,   all hewn low,
315   god on greote.   A mæg gnornian
    a good man in the dust of the ground.   That kinsman will grieve
316   se ðe nu fram þis wigplegan   wendan þenceð.
    who now from this war-play   thinks to wander.
317   Ic eom frod feores;   fram ic ne wille,
    I am old in years;   I will not go from here,
318   ac ic me be healfe   minum hlaforde,
    but I will lay me   beside my lord,
319   be swa leofan men,   licgan þence."
    by these beloved men   I intend to lay me."
320   Swa hi Æþelgares bearn   ealle bylde
    Then Aethelgar's son   encouraged them all;
321   Godric to guþe.   Of the gar forlet,
    Godric called them to war.   Often he cast a spear,
322   wælspere windon   on þa wicingas,
    the slaughter-spear flew   straight at the Vikings.
323   swa he on þam folce   fyrmest eode,
    he was among that folk   accounted the foremost,
324   heow and hynde,   oðþæt he on hilde gecranc.
    hewing and defeating [enemies],   until he died in battle.
325   Næs þæt na se Godric   þe ða guðe forbeah...
    That was not the Godric   that fled from the fight...


Old English Texts

  • Dobbie, Elliott Van Kirk. "The Battle of Maldon". The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems. Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records VI. New York. 1942.

  • Mitchell, Bruce and Fred C. Robinson. A Guide to Old English. 4th ed. Oxford, 1986.

English Translations of The Battle of Maldon

  • Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Anglo-Saxon World. Woodbridge. 1982.

  • Kennedy, Charles W. An Anthology of Old English Poetry. New York. 1960.

Other Sources

  • Ball, C. "Byrhtnoth's Weapons." Notes and Queries 36 (1989), pp. 8-9.

  • Battaglia, Francis J. "Notes on Maldon: Toward a Definitive Ofermod." English Language Notes 2 (1964-65), pp. 247-49.

  • Breeze, Andrew. "Finnsburh and Maldon: celæs bord, cellod bord." Notes and Queries 39 (1992), pp. 267-69.

  • Britton, Geoffrey C. "The Characterization of the Vikings in The Battle of Maldon." Notes and Queries 210 (1965), pp. 85-87.

  • Cooper, Janet, ed. The Battle of Maldon: Fiction and Fact. London and Rio Grande, 1993.

  • Dickins, Bruce. "The Day of Byrhtnoth's Death and Other Obits from a Twelfth-Century Ely Calendar." Leeds Studies in English 6 (1937), pp. 14-24.

  • Frank, Roberta. "The Ideal of Men Dying with Their Lord in The Battle of Maldon: Anachronism or Nouvelle Vague." Festschrift for Peter Sawyer. Ed. N. Lund and I. Wood. Cambridge. 1991. pp. 95-106.

  • Gatch, Milton McCormick. Loyalties and Traditions: Man and His World in Old English Literature. New York. 1971.

  • Griffith, M. S. "Convention and Originality in the Old English 'Beasts of Battle' Typescene." Anglo-Saxon England 22 (1993). pp. 179-99.

  • Hooper, N. "The Housecarls in England in the Eleventh Century." Anglo-Norman Studies 7. Ed. R. Allen Brown. Woodbridge. 1985. pp. 161-76.

  • Scragg, Donald G., ed. The Battle of Maldon, AD 991. Oxford. 1991.

  • Woolf, Rosemary. "The Ideal of Men Dying with their Lord in the Germania and in The Battle of Maldon." Anglo-Saxon England 5 (1976), pp. 63-81.

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