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Thread: The Battle of Brunanburh Revisited

  1. #1

    Post The Battle of Brunanburh Revisited

    In honor of Earl Uhtred's presence in the Ting I do below present the The Battle of Brunanburh from the old poem (A.S. Chron. #937):

    Her æþelstan cyning, eorla dryhten,
    beorna beahgifa, and his broþor eac,
    Eadmund æþeling, ealdorlangne tir
    geslogon æt sæcce sweorda ecgum

    5 ymbe Brunanburh. Bordweal clufan,
    heowan heaþolinde hamora lafan,
    afaran Eadweardes, swa him geæþele wæs
    from cneomægum, þæt hi æt campe oft
    wiþ laþra gehwæne land ealgodon,

    10 hord and hamas. Hettend crungun,
    Sceotta leoda and scipflotan
    fæge feollan, feld dænnede
    secga swate, siðþan sunne up
    on morgentid, mære tungol,

    15 glad ofer grundas, godes condel beorht,
    eces drihtnes, oð sio æþele gesceaft
    sah to setle. þær læg secg mænig
    garum ageted, guma norþerna
    ofer scild scoten, swilce Scittisc eac,

    20 werig, wiges sæd. Wesseaxe forð
    ondlongne dæg eorodcistum
    on last legdun laþum þeodum,
    heowan herefleman hindan þearle
    mecum mylenscearpan. Myrce ne wyrndon

    25 heardes hondplegan hæleþa nanum
    þæra þe mid Anlafe ofer æra gebland
    on lides bosme land gesohtun,
    fæge to gefeohte. Fife lægun
    on þam campstede cyningas giunge,

    30 sweordum aswefede, swilce seofene eac
    eorlas Anlafes, unrim heriges,
    flotan and Sceotta. þær geflemed wearð
    Norðmanna bregu, nede gebeded,
    to lides stefne litle weorode;

    35 cread cnear on flot, cyning ut gewat
    on fealene flod, feorh generede.
    Swilce þær eac se froda mid fleame com
    on his cyþþe norð, Costontinus,
    har hilderinc, hreman ne þorfte

    40 mæca gemanan; he wæs his mæga sceard,
    freonda gefylled on folcstede,
    beslagen æt sæcce, and his sunu forlet
    on wælstowe wundun forgrunden,
    giungne æt guðe. Gelpan ne þorfte

    45 beorn blandenfeax bilgeslehtes,
    eald inwidda, ne Anlaf þy ma;
    mid heora herelafum hlehhan ne þorftun
    þæt heo beaduweorca beteran wurdun
    on campstede cumbolgehnastes,

    50 garmittinge, gumena gemotes,
    wæpengewrixles, þæs hi on wælfelda
    wiþ Eadweardes afaran plegodan.
    Gewitan him þa Norþmen nægledcnearrum,
    dreorig daraða laf, on Dinges mere

    55 ofer deop wæter Difelin secan,
    eft Iraland, æwiscmode.
    Swilce þa gebroþer begen ætsamne,
    cyning and æþeling, cyþþe sohton,
    Wesseaxena land, wiges hremige.

    60 Letan him behindan hræw bryttian
    saluwigpadan, þone sweartan hræfn,
    hyrnednebban, and þane hasewanpadan,
    earn æftan hwit, æses brucan,
    grædigne guðhafoc and þæt græge deor,

    65 wulf on wealde. Ne wearð wæl mare
    on þis eiglande æfre gieta
    folces gefylled beforan þissum
    sweordes ecgum, þæs þe us secgað bec,
    ealde uðwitan, siþþan eastan hider

    70 Engle and Seaxe up becoman,
    ofer brad brimu Brytene sohtan,
    wlance wigsmiþas, Wealas ofercoman,
    eorlas arhwate eard begeatan.

    OR for you non-A.S. speakers:

    In this year King Aethelstan, Lord of warriors,
    ring-giver to men, and his brother also,
    Prince Eadmund, won eternal glory
    in battle with sword edges
    around Brunanburh. They split the shield-wall,
    they hewed battle shields with the remnants of hammers.
    The sons of Eadweard, it was only befitting their noble descent
    from their ancestors that they should often
    defend their land in battle against each hostile people,
    horde and home. The enemy perished,
    Scots men and seamen,
    fated they fell. The field flowed
    with blood of warriors, from sun up
    in the morning, when the glorious star
    glided over the earth, God's bright candle,
    eternal lord, till that noble creation
    sank to its seat. There lay many a warrior
    by spears destroyed; Northern men
    shot over shield, likewise Scottish as well,
    weary, war sated.

    The West-Saxons pushed onward
    all day; in troops they pursued the hostile people.
    They hewed the fugitive grievously from behind
    with swords sharp from the grinding.
    The Mercians did not refuse hard hand-play to any warrior
    who came with Anlaf over the sea-surge
    in the bosom of a ship, those who sought land,
    fated to fight. Five lay dead
    on the battle-field, young kings,
    put to sleep by swords, likewise also seven
    of Anlaf's earls, countless of the army,
    sailors and Scots. There the North-men's chief was put
    to flight, by need constrained
    to the prow of a ship with little company:
    he pressed the ship afloat, the king went out
    on the dusky flood-tide, he saved his life.
    Likewise, there also the old campaigner through flight came
    to his own region in the north--Constantine--
    hoary warrior. He had no reason to exult
    the great meeting; he was of his kinsmen bereft,
    friends fell on the battle-field,
    killed at strife: even his son, young in battle, he left
    in the place of slaughter, ground to pieces with wounds.
    That grizzle-haired warrior had no
    reason to boast of sword-slaughter,
    old deceitful one, no more did Anlaf;
    with their remnant of an army they had no reason to
    laugh that they were better in deed of war
    in battle-field--collision of banners,
    encounter of spears, encounter of men,
    trading of blows--when they played against
    the sons of Eadweard on the battle field.

    Departed then the Northmen in nailed ships.
    The dejected survivors of the battle,
    sought Dublin over the deep water,
    leaving Dinges mere
    to return to Ireland, ashamed in spirit.
    Likewise the brothers, both together,
    King and Prince, sought their home,
    West-Saxon land, exultant from battle.
    They left behind them, to enjoy the corpses,
    the dark coated one, the dark horny-beaked raven
    and the dusky-coated one,
    the eagle white from behind, to partake of carrion,
    greedy war-hawk, and that gray animal
    the wolf in the forest.

    Never was there more slaughter
    on this island, never yet as many
    people killed before this
    with sword's edge: never according to those who tell us
    from books, old wisemen,
    since from the east Angles and Saxons came up
    over the broad sea. Britain they sought,
    Proud war-smiths who overcame the Welsh,
    glorious warriors they took hold of the land.

    Few realize that the A.S. always gave back as much violence as they received from the Norsemen. IMO, it was nearly always a war of equals.

  2. #2
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    Cheers, Suomut One of the truly decisive battles of our history.

    Never before was seen a greater slaughter on this island - folk felled at sword's edge - as the books tell us, old and wise; since hither from the East came over Angles and Saxons, sought out Britain over broad seas, proud war-smiths, noble seekers of glory overcame the Welsh to win the land.


    Are you familiar, btw, with 'Widsith' -

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    Re: The Battle of Brunanburh Revisited

    Soon to be a movie...hopefully.

    Brunanburh Movie?

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