The Battle of Brunanburh
















Her æþelstan cyning,     eorla dryhten,
beorna beahgifa,     and his broþor eac,
Eadmund æþeling,     ealdorlangne tir
geslogon æt sæcce     sweorda ecgum 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,
hord and hamas.     Hettend crungun,
Sceotta leoda     and scipflotan
fæge feollan,     feld dænnede
secga swate,     siðþan sunne up
on morgentid,     mære tungol,
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,
werig, wiges sæd.     Wesseaxe forð
ondlongne dæg     eorodcistum
on last legdun     laþum þeodum,
heowan herefleman     hindan þearle
mecum mylenscearpan.     Myrce ne wyrndon
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, sweordum aswefede,     swilce seofene eac
eorlas Anlafes,     unrim heriges,
flotan and Sceotta.     þær geflemed wearð
Norðmanna bregu,     nede gebeded,
to lides stefne     litle weorode;
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 hilderin,     hreman ne þorfte
mæca gemanan;     he wæs his mæga sceard,
freonda gefylled     on folcstede,
beslagen æt sæcce,     and his sunu forlet
on wælstowe     wundun forgrunde,
giungne æt guðe.     Gelpan ne þorfte beorn blandenfeax     bilgeslehtes,
eald inwidda,     ne Anlaf þy ma;
mid heora herelafum     hlehhan ne þorftun
þæt heo beaduweorca     beteran wurdun
on campstede     cumbolgehnaste,
garmittinge,     gumena gemotes,
wæpengewrixles,     þæs hi on wælfelda
wiþ Eadweardes     afaran plegodan.
Gewitan him þa Norþmen     nægledcnearrum,
dreorig daraða laf,     on Dinges mere
ofer deop wæter     Difelin secan,
eft Iraland,     æwiscmode.
Swilce þa gebroþer     begen ætsamne,
cyning and æþeling,     cyþþe sohton,
Wesseaxena land,     wiges hremige.
Letan him behindan     hræw bryttian
saluwigpadan,     þone sweartan hræfn,
hyrnednebban,     and þane hasewanpadan,
earn æftan hwit,     æses brucan,
grædigne guðhafoc     and þæt græge deor,
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
Engle and Seaxe     up becoman,
ofer brad brimu     Brytene sohtan,
wlance wigsmiþas,     Wealas ofercoman,
eorlas arhwate     eard begeatan.
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 clove the shield-wall,
they hewed battle shields with the remnants of hammers,
the sons of Eadweard, as befitted their noble descent
from their ancestors, that they should often
defend their land in battle against every hostile people,
treasure and home. The enemy perished,
Scottish men and seamen,
they fell, fated to die. 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, until 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
throughout the day; in troops
they pursued the hostile people.
They hewed the fugitive grievously from behind
with swords ground sharp. 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 die in battle. Five lay dead
on the battle-field, young kings, by swords
put to sleep, likewise also seven
of Anlaf's earls, countless of the army,
sailors and Scots. There was put to flight
the North-men's chief, constrained by need
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--
grey-haired warrior. He had no reason to exult about
the great meeting; he was bereft of his kinsmen,
his friends killed on the battle-field,
slain in the strife; and his son he abandoned
in the place of slaughter, ground to pieces with wounds,
young for battle. That grizzle-haired warrior had no
reason to boast of sword-slaughter,
old deceitful one, nor Anlaf any more;
with their remnant of an army they had no reason to laugh
that they were better in deed of war
on the battle-field--collision of banners,
encounter of spears, encounter of men,
trading of blows--when they on the battle field
played against the sons of Eadweard on the battle field.
Departed then the Northmen in nailed ships.
The dejected survivors of the battle, leaving Dinges mere,
sought Dublin over the deep water,
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 the edges of swords: so they tell us in books,
old wisemen, since from the east
Angles and Saxons came up here
over the broad sea seeking Britain,
Proud war-smiths, they overcame the Welsh,
glorious warriors, they conquered the land.

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