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The Dream of the Rood

The Dream of the Rood is part of the 10th centuryVercelli Book, but the text itself is older. Part of it is chiselled as runic text onto the Ruthwell Cross of Northumbria, which stems from the early eighth century. The image on the left is a photograph of the cross, and the text can be seen as lines in the frames around the reliefs. ccording to !eenan, the poem "shows an affinity with #lene in that both are disco$eries of the cross. The disco$ery in Elene is pseudo%historical& that in the 'ream is $isionary." (n fact, the Dream of the Rood is the earliest #nglish dream%$ision. (t is di$ided into three parts % the $ision of the Cross, its speech and the concluding reflections of the dreamer. The role of the Cross formulates an interesting paradox) The Cross ser$es as a faithful retainer, but in order to obey its *ord, it has to become his slayer. The poem has +uite a few apocalyptic elements. ,ne of those is the idea of the Cross as a sal$atory instrument before -udgement. The $ersion used here is #laine Treharne"s translation in the Old and Middle English Anthology. 1 *isten, ( will tell the best of $isions, what came to me in the middle of the night, when $oice%bearers dwelled in rest. (t seemed to me that ( saw a more wonderful tree . lifted in the air, wound round with light, the brightest of beams. That beacon was entirely cased in gold& beautiful gems stood at the corners of the earth, li/ewise there were fi$e upon the cross%beam. ll those fair through creation 10 ga0ed on the angel of the *ord there. There was certainly no gallows of the wic/ed& but the holy spirits beheld it there, men o$er the earth and all this glorious creation. 1ondrous was the $ictory%tree, and ( stained with sins, wounded with guilts. ( saw the tree of glory, 1. honoured with garments, shining with -oys, co$ered with gold& gems had co$ered magnificently the tree of the forest. Ne$ertheless, ( was able to percei$e through that gold the ancient hostility of wretches, so that it first began 20 to bleed on the right side. ( was all drenched with sorrows. ( was frightened by the beautiful $ision& ( saw that urgent beacon change its co$ering and colours) sometimes it was soa/ed with wetness, stained with the coursing of blood& sometimes adorned with treasure. 3et as ( lay there a long while 2. ( beheld sorrowful the tree of the 4a$iour, until ( heard it utter a sound&

it began to spea/ words, the best of wood) 5That was $ery long ago, ( remember it still, that ( was cut down from the edge of the wood, 60 ripped up by my roots. They sei0ed me there, strong enemies, made me a spectacle for themsel$es there, commanded me to raise up their criminals. 7en carried me there on their shoulders, until they set me on a hill, enemies enough fastened me there. ( saw then the 4a$iour of man/ind hasten with great 0eal, as if he wanted to climb up on me. 6. There ( did not dare, against the word of the *ord, bow or brea/, when ( saw the corners of the earth tremble. ( might ha$e felled all the enemies& e$en so, ( stood fast. 8e stripped himself then, young hero % that was 9od almighty % :0 strong and resolute& he ascended on the high gallows, bra$e in the sight of many, when he wanted to ransom man/ind. ( trembled when the warrior embraced me& e$en then ( did not dare to bow to earth, fall to the corners of the earth, but ( had to stand fast. ( was reared a cross. ( raised up the powerful !ing, :. the *ord of hea$en& ( did not dare to bend. They pierced me with dar/ nails& on me are the wounds $isible, the open wounds of malice& ( did not dare to in-ure any of them. They moc/ed us both together. ( was all drenched with blood poured out from that man"s side after he had sent forth his spirit. .0 ( ha$e experienced on that hillside many

cruelties of fate. ( saw the 9od of hosts $iolently stretched out. 'ar/ness had co$ered with clouds the Ruler"s corpse, the gleaming light. 4hadows went forth .. dar/ under the clouds. ll creation wept, lamented the !ing"s fall. Christ was on the cross. 3et there eager ones came from afar to that noble one& ( beheld all that. ( was all drenched with sorrow& ne$ertheless ( bowed down to the hands of the men, ;0 humble, with great eagerness. There they too/ almighty 9od,

lifted him from that oppressi$e torment. The warriors forsoo/ me then standing co$ered with moisture& ( was all wounded with arrows. They laid the weary%limbed one down there, they stood at the head of his body, they beheld the *ord of hea$en there, and he himself rested there a while, ;. weary after the great battle. They began to fashion a tomb for him, warriors in the sight of the slayer& they car$ed that from bright stone, they set the *ord of $ictories in there. They began to sing the sorrow%song for him, wretched in the e$ening%time& then they wanted to tra$el again, weary from the glorious *ord. 8e rested there with little company. <0 Ne$ertheless, weeping, we stood there a good while in a fixed position, after the $oice departed up of the warriors. The corpse grew cold, the fair li$e%dwelling. Then men began to fell us all to the ground) that was a terrible fate. <. 7en buried us in a deep pit& ne$ertheless the *ord"s thanes, friends, disco$ered me there, adorned me with gold and sil$er. Now you might hear, my belo$ed hero, that ( ha$e experienced the wor/ of e$il%doers, =0 grie$ous sorrows. Now the time has come that ( will be honoured far and wide by men o$er the earth and all this glorious creation& they will pray to this beacon. ,n me the 4on of 9od suffered for a while& because of that ( am glorious now, =. towering under the hea$ens, and ( am able to heal each one of those who is in awe of me. >ormerly ( was made the hardest of punishments, most hateful to the people, before ( opened for them, for the $oice%bearers, the true way of life. ?0 *isten, the *ord of glory, the 9uardian of the /ingdom of hea$en, then honoured me o$er the forest trees, -ust as he, almighty 9od, also honoured his mother, 7ary herself, for all men, o$er all woman/ind.


Now ( urge you, my belo$ed man, that you tell men about this $ision) re$eal with words that it is the tree of glory on which almighty 9od suffered for man/ind"s many sins

100 and dam"s ancient deeds. 'eath he tasted there& ne$ertheless, the *ord rose again with his great might to help man/ind. 8e ascended into hea$en. 8e will come again to this earth to see/ man/ind. 10. on doomsday, the *ord himself, almighty 9od, and his angels with him, so that he will then -udge, he who has the power of -udgement, each one of them, for what they themsel$es ha$e earned here earlier in this transitory life. 110 Nor may any of them be unafraid there because of the words which the 4a$iour will spea/) he will as/ in front of the multitude where the person might be who for the *ord"s name would taste bitter death, -ust as he did before on that tree. 11. @ut then they will be fearful and little thin/ what they might begin to say to Christ. Then there will be no need for any of those to be $ery afraid who bear before them in the breast the best of trees. @ut by means of the rood each soul 120 who thin/s to dwell with the Ruler must see/ the /ingdom from the earthly way." ( prayed to the tree with a happy spirit then, with great 0eal, there where ( was alone with little company. 7y spirit was 12. inspired with longing for the way forward& ( experienced in all many periods of longing. (t is now my life"s hope that ( might see/ the tree of $ictory alone more often than all men, to honour it well. 7y desire for that is 160 great in my mind, and my protection is directed to the cross. ( do not ha$e many wealthy friends on earth& but they ha$e gone forward from here, passed from the -oys of this world, sought for themsel$es the !ing of glory& they li$e now in hea$en with the 8igh >ather, 16. they dwell in glory. nd ( myself hope each day for when the *ord"s cross,

The Battle of Maldon

Manuscript: @ritish *ibrary, 74 Cotton ,tho .xii Adestroyed by fire in 1<61B. The printed text of Thomas 8earne A1<2;B remained until recently the only /nown source for the poem. Ca. 1?6., a transcript of the Cotton 74 by Cohn #lphinston was found in ,xford, @odleian 74 Rawlinson @ 206. The date of the composition is uncertain, but on linguistic e$idence 4cragg places the poem as we ha$e it in the late tenth or early ele$enth century A2=B. Editions:'obbie, #lliot Dan !ir/, ed. The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems 4PR ;. New 3or/) Columbia EP, 1?:2. 4cragg, '. 9., ed. The Battle of Maldon 7anchester) 7anchester EP, 1?=1. >or the purpose of re$iewing earlier criticism of the poem, #. D. 9ordon"s 1?6< edition, republished in 1?<; with a supplement by 4cragg, is most helpful.

Commentary Composed soon after the battle A ' ??1B and told from the retainers" point of $iew. AEse this lin/ for maps of the region and of the battle site.B The poem is aristocratic) 5Maldon is of the same school as Beo!"lf and nearer toBeo!"lf in heroic art and social feeling than any other ,ld #nglish poem5& and, again, 5Maldon is e$en more directly in the heroic tradition than Beo!"lf& it is indeed the only purely heroic poem extant in ,ld #nglish, since #innes$"rh and %aldere are too fragmentary for their general scope and +uality to be gauged5 A#. D. 9ordon 26%2:B. The poem is characteri0ed by restraint A1B in representation of action and A2B in style) 5Maldon has less ornament than any other ,ld #nglish poem, and aims at se$ere simplicity and directness. . . . The $erse of Maldon accordingly lac/s the richness ofBeo!"lf or of Cynewulf"s poetry, but it is swifter, more forcible, and no less suitable for its purpose than the technically more "correct" $erse of Beo!"lf 5 9ordon notes that indi$idual action 5often has symbolical significance, representing the action of many5 and claims that 5there is not a poetically wea/ passage in the whole poem5 A2<%2?B. 4cragg, in his supplement to the 1?<; edition of the poem, re$iews criticism between 1?6< and 1?<; and finds three critical positions) A1B emphasis on @yrhtnoF"s >ault AofermodB) critics ha$e argued about the meaning of the word and on both sides of the issue& A2B seeing the poem as an ironic comment on the heroic ethos Abut note that the authorial comment is straightforwardly in fa$or of the heroic and that the irony in the poem is of a clear sortB& A6B seeing the poem not as a heroic celebration but as one about Christian faith Aprobably not a strong positionB.

Outline G@eginning missing.H




@yrhtnoF arrays his troops A1%2.B . The gallant stops haw/ing @. The fyrd "army" is arrayed C. @yrhtnoF -oins his &eor'!erod "hearth%troop& the body of hearth%companions" Challenges #xchanged A2;%;2B . %icinga ar "Di/ing messenger" @. @yrhtnoF AscornfullyB) &i !illa' eo! to gafole garas syllan "they will to you as tribute gi$e spears" A:<B The standoff A;6%?.B . Neither troop can reach the other @. Di/ing"s guile) They as/ safe passage to land Aappeal to 5fair play5B. C. @yrhtnoF"s pride) Ia se eorl ongan for his ofermode alyfan landes to fela laJere Feode& ongan ceallian Ja ofer cald wKter @yrhthelmes bearn Abeornas gehlystonB) "Nu eow is gerymed) gaF ricene to us guman to guJe. 9od ana wat hwa JKre wKlstowe wealdan mote." A=?%?.B GThen the earl for his arrogance left too much land to a hostile people. Then o$er cold water @yrhthelm"s son began to call Amen listenedB) 5Now you ha$e room) come +uic/ly to us, warriors to war. 9od alone /nows who may master this battlefield.5H



The @attle A?;%1=:B . 5@attle%8edge5 set up& @irds of @attle @. >ighting described as a series of single combats Awhich stand for more general conditionsB. listair Campbell considers this e$idence of classical influence. C. 'eath of @yrhtnoF) his dying words of than/s to 9od and encouragement to his &yssas "youths" #olc Tot!(med "fol/Lpeople di$ided" A1=.%2?:B . >light of 9odric, 9odwine, and 9odwig) the traitors @. Beot of the loyal retainers A206 ff.B hi woldon Ja ealle oFer twega lif forlKten oFFe leofne gewrecan. A20<%0=B Gthey all wished, then, one of two things%% to lea$e life or lo$ed one to a$enge.H C. ,ffa"s death Athe final strawB RaFe wearF Kt hilde ,ffa forheawen. 8e hKfde Feah geforJod JKt he his frean gehet, swa he beotode Kr wiF his beahgifan JKt hi sceoldon begen on burh ridan, hale to hame, oJJe on here crincgan, on wKlstowe wundum sweltan. 8e lKg Fegenlice Feodne gehende. A2==%?;B


GMuic/ly at fight ,ffa was hewn& he had, though, furthered what he promised his lord, as he boasted before with his ring%gi$er, that they should both into burg ride hale home or in battle fall, on the corpse%field with wounds perish. 8e lay thegnly, his lord near.H D(. *ast desperate stand about @yrhtnoF"s body A2?:%62.B @yrhtwold"s famous last words) 8ige sceal Je heardra, heorte Je cenre, mod sceal Je mare, Je ure mKgen lytlaF. A612"16B GThought must be the harder, heart be the /eener, mind must be the greater, while our strength lessens.H G#nd missingH

Text . . . would be bro/en. [ 1 ] Then he commanded each young man To lea$e his horse, to dri$e it far off, and to go forth, with mind turned to strong hands and good thoughts. Then ,ffa"s /insman first disco$ered that the great earl suffered no slac/ness& he let from his hand, then, lo$ed one fly, haw/ to the holt, and he stepped to battle. [ ! ] 4o one could /now that the lad wished not1" to wea/en in war, when he sei0ed weapons. nd as for him, #adric would follow his prince, his lord to the fight& he bore forth, then, spear to the battle. 8e had good thought as long as he with hands could hold [ # ]1 board [ $ ] and bright sword) his boast he performed when to the fight he came with his lord. [ ] Then @yrhtnoth began to array men there, rode and ga$e counsel, taught warriors how they must stand and that stead [ % ] hold,!" bade them their round%shields rightly hold fast with hands, not at all frightened. 1hen he had fairly arrayed that fol/,

he dismounted among them where it most pleased him, where he /new his hearth%band [ & ] most loyal.! Then on the ban/ stood a Di/ing messenger, called out stoutly, spo/e with words, boastfully [ ' ] brought the seafarers" errand to that land"s earl where he stood on shore) 54eamen sent me +uic/ly to you,#" ordered me tell you to send rings at once, wealth for defense) better for all of you that you with tribute this spear%rush forgo [ ( ] than that we share so bitter a war. Nor need we /ill each other if you perform it&# for gold we will fasten a truce with you. (f you determine it, the mightiest here, that you for your people ransom will pay%% gi$e to the seamen at their own choosing wealth for a truce and ta/e peace from us%%$" we with that payment shall to our ships, on ocean fare, hold peace with you.5 @yrhtnoth spo/e, lifted shield, shoo/ slender ash%spear, with words spo/e, angry and one%minded ga$e him answer)$ 58ear you, seafarer, what this fol/ saysN 4pears will they gi$e you, ash%spears as tribute, poisonous point, old sword%% an armor%tax useless to you in war. 4eamen"s messenger, bear word bac/ again& " tell your people much loathlier tale) that here stands a good [ 1" ] earl with his war%band, who will defend this homeland, ethelred"s land, land of my prince, fol/ and fold. [ 11 ] t battle, now, heathen must fall. Too shameful it seems that you, unfought, should go to ship bearing our wealth, now that thus far you ha$e come into our land. Not so softly shall you carry off riches)%" point must, and edge, reconcile us first, grim battle%play, before we gi$e tribute.5 8e bade them ta/e shield then, go so that warriors all stood on the ban/. ,ne band could not to the other for water)%

there came flowing the flood after ebb%tide& streams loc/ed. Too long it seemed till they might bear spears together. 1ith tumult [ 1! ] they stood along Pante"s stream, the $an of the #ast%4axons and the ash%army [ 1# ]&&" nor might any bring harm to the other, but those who through flane%flight [ 1$ ] too/ death. The flood went out. The seamen stood ready, many a Di/ing, eager for war. Then bade men"s protector to hold the bridge& a war%hardened hero%%he was called 1ulfstan%% who with his spear slew the first man who most boldly there on the bridge stepped. There with 1ulfstan stood warriors unfrightened, elfere and 7accus, bra$e twain,'" who would not at the ford flight wor/, but fast against fiends defended themsel$es, the while they could wield weapons. 1hen they percei$ed and saw clearly that they found the bridge%wards there bitter,' those loathly strangers [ 1 ] began to use guile, as/ed for free landing, passage to shore, to fare o$er the ford leading foot%troops. Then the earl for his arrogance [ 1% ] left too much land [ 1& ] to a hostile people.(" Then o$er cold water @yrhthelm"s son began to call Amen listenedB) 5Now you ha$e room) come +uic/ly to us, warriors to war. 9od alone /nows who may master this battlefield.5 [ 1' ]( 4laughter%wol$es waded then, heeded not water& the Di/ing band, west o$er Pante, o$er bright water, bore their shields& seamen to land linden [ 1( ] bore. There against anger [ !" ] @yrhtnoth stood ready,1"" surrounded by warriors. 8e bade them with shields build the battle%hedge, hold that troop fast against foes. Then was the fight near, glory in battle. The time had come when fey men must fall there.1" Clamor was raised there. Ra$ens circled, eagles, eager for carrion. [ !1 ] There was uproar on earth.


>rom hands then they released file%hard spears& ground spears G,grim ones,H flew. [ !! ] @ows were busy& shield too/ spear%point.11" @itter that battle%rushO 1arriors fell& on either hand young men lay. 1ounded was 1ulfmaer, chose slaughter%bed, @yrhtnoth"s /insman& he was with swords, his sister%son, badly hewn.11 There to the Di/ings re+uital was gi$en) ( heard that #adweard slew one fiercely with sword, withheld not its swinging, that at his feet a fey warrior fell& for that his lord than/ed him,1!" his bower%thegn, when he could. 4o the stout%thin/ers stood firm, young men at battle, eagerly $ied who with spear%point soonest might in fey man life con+uer there,1! warrior with weapons. 4lain fell on earth. 4teadfast they stood. @yrhtnoth directed them, bade each young man thin/ on the battle, who against 'anes would win glory in fight. Then one strode, battle%hard, lifted his weapon, 1#" his shield as defense, and against that man stepped. 4o the earl mo$ed toward the churl) either to other e$il intended. Then hurled the sea%warrior a southern spear [ !# ] so that wounded was warrior"s lord.1# 8e sho$ed then with shield so the shaft burst%% the spear bro/e and sprang bac/. #nraged was that warrior) he with spear stung the proud Di/ing who ga$e him the wound. 1ise was that fyrd%warrior [ !$ ]) he let his spear wade1$" through the youth"s nec/, hand guided it, so that it reached life in the ra$ager. Then he another speedily shot so that the byrnie burst& he was wounded in breast through the ring%loc/ed mail& in him at heart stood1$ poisoned point. The earl was the blither) the bra$e man laughed then, said than/s to 7etod [ ! ] for the day%wor/ 9od ga$e him. Then a certain warrior let a hand%dart fly from his hand, so that it went forth1 "


through that noble, ethelred"s thegn. @y his side stood an ungrown youth, a lad in the battle, who full $aliantly drew from the man the bloody spear, 1ulfstan"s son, 1ulfmaer the 3oung.1 8e let tempered shaft fare bac/ again) the point san/ in so he on earth lay who had his lord so grie$ously reached. n armed man then went to the earl) he wished to fetch wealth of that warrior%%1%" spoil and rings and adorned sword. Then @yrhtnoth drew his bill [ !% ] from its sheath, broad and bright%edged, and struc/ against byrnie. Too +uic/ly one of the seamen stopped him when he marred the earl"s arm.1% Then to the ground fell the fallow%hilt sword, nor could he hold hard blade, wield weapon. Then yet this word spo/e that hoar battler, encouraged the young men, bade them go forth with good company. 1&" 8e could not stand fast on foot any longer& he loo/ed to the hea$ens [ !& ]) 5( than/ thee, 1ielder of peoples, for all those -oys ( had in the world. Now ha$e (, mild 7easurer, most need1& that you grant to my spirit goodness, that my soul may -ourney now to thee, into thy wielding, *ord of the angels, depart in peace. ( am entreating thee that no hell%scathers harm it.51'" Then heathen men hewed him, and the men who had stood by him, elfnoth and 1ulfmaer, both lay there, when close to their lord they their li$es ga$e. Then they turned from battle who wished not to be there)1' there were ,dda"s sons first in flight) 9odric turned from battle and left that good one who many a horse often ga$e him. 8e leapt on a horse which his lord owned, on those trappings where he had no right,1(" and his brothers both ran with him, 9odwin and 9odwig, heeded not battle but turned from that war and the woods sought,


fled to that fastness, their li$es sa$ed, and more men than was fitting1( if they all remembered those fa$ors that he for their profit had done. 4o ,ffa earlier that day had said to him in the methel%stead, [ !' ] when he held moot, [ !( ] that many spo/e boldly there!"" who after, at need, would not endure. Then was the fol/"s prince fallen, ethelred"s earl. ll saw there, his hearth%companions, that their lord lay. [ #" ] Then $aliant thegns went forth there,!" men undaunted eagerly hastened) they all wished, then, one of two things%% to lea$e life or lo$ed one a$enge. 4o the son of elfric boldened them forth, winter%young warrior words spo/e,!1" elfwine spo/e then, $aliantly said) 5Remember the speeches we spo/e at mead, when we our boast on the bench raised, heroes in hall about hard fight) now ( may test who is /een. [ #1 ]!1 ( will ma/e my nobility /nown to all, that ( was of great /in among 7ercians& my old%father [ #! ] #alhhelm was called, wise aldorman, [ ## ] world%happy. Nor among the people shall thegns blame me!!" that ( from this fyrd wish to flee, see/ home, now that my prince lies hewn at the fight. That harm is most to me) he was both my /in and my lord.5 Then he went forth, mindful of battle,!! with spear%point pierced one, a seaman among the fol/, that he on fold lay, destroyed with his weapon. 8is friends he exhorted, friends and companions, that they go forth. ,ffa answered, shoo/ ash%wood)!#" 5(ndeed, you, elfwine, ha$e all thegns exhorted at need. [ #$ ] Now that our lord lies, earl on earth, to all of us need is that each of us embolden the other, warrior to war, the while he weapon may!# ha$e yet and hold, hard blade, spear and good sword. Es 9odric has,


,dda"s cra$en son, betrayed altogether. 1hen he on horse rode, on proud steed, too many men thought that it was our lord.!$" Therefore here on field the fol/ was di$ided, shield%defense bro/en. >ail his beginningO [ # ] since he so many men put to flight.5 *eofsunu spo/e and his linden raised, shield for safety& to ,ffa he said)!$ 5( $ow it, that hence ( will not flee a foot"s length, but will ad$ance, a$enge in strife my lord%friend. 4teadfast heroes need not reproach me with words around 4turmere, now my friend fell, [ #% ]! " that ( -ourneyed home lordless, turned from the battle& but weapon must ta/e me, spear%point and iron.5 8e went full angry, fought stoutly, flight he re-ected. 'unnere spo/e then, brandished a dart,! the humble churl [ #& ] o$er all called, bade that each man a$enge @yrhtnoth) 58e may not flinch, who thin/s to a$enge his lord among fol/, nor for fear mourn.5 Then they went forth, rec/ed nothing of fear.!%" 8ousehold retainers began to fight stoutly, fierce spear%bearers, and prayed 9od they might a$enge their lord%friend, and a fall [ #' ] wor/ on their foes. The hostage began eagerly helping them&!% he was of bra$e /in among the Northumbrians, #cglaf"s son& escferth was name to him. 8e flinched not at battle%play, but again and again shot forth arrow) sometimes he shot against shield, sometimes a man tore& !&" e$er and anon he inflicted some wound while he could weapons wield. Then yet in the $an stood #adweard the *ong, ready and eager, $aunting words spo/e, that he would not flee a foot%space of land,!& bend at all bac/ when his better lay slain. 8e bro/e the shield%wall and fought with those warriors, until on those seamen his wealth%gi$er he worthily wrea/ed, before he with the slain lay. 4o did etheric, noble companion,!'"


eager and forth%yearning, fought earnestly, [ #( ] 4igebyrht"s brother, and many others, clo$e cellod [ $" ] shield, /eenly defended them. 4hield"s rim burst, and the byrnie sang a terrible song. [ $1 ] Then ,ffa at battle!' struc/ the seaman, that he on earth fell, and there 9adda"s /insman sought ground. Muic/ly at fight ,ffa was hewn& he had, though, furthered what he promised his lord, as he boasted before with his ring%gi$er,!(" that they should both into burg [ $! ] ride hale [ $# ] home or in battle fall, on the corpse%field with wounds perish. 8e lay thegnly, his lord near. Then there was shield"s clash. [ $$ ] 4eamen ad$anced,!( burning with battle%rage. 4pear often pierced through a fey one"s soul%house. >orth then went 1istan, Thurstan"s son, fought against warriors. 8e was in throng the bane of three of them, before 1igAhBelm"s son lay slain with him. #"" There was a harsh meeting. They stood fast, warriors in conflict. 1arriors fell, weary with wounds. The slain fell on earth. ,swold and #adwold all the while, both those brothers, strengthened the men,#" with words bade their /in%friends that they should endure at need, unwea/ly use weapons. @yrhtwold spo/e, raised his shield%% he was an old retainer%%shoo/ his ash%spear&#1" full boldly he taught warriors) 5Thought must be the harder, heart be the /eener, mind must be the greater, while our strength lessens. [ $ ] 8ere lies our prince all hewn, good one on grit. 8e may always mourn#1 who from this war%play thin/s now to turn. 7y life is old [ $% ]) ( will not away& but ( myself beside my lord, by so lo$ed a man, thin/ to lie.5 4o ethelgar"s son emboldened them all,#!" 9odric to battle. ,ften he let spear, slaughter%spear, speed into those Di/ings& so among fol/ he went first,


hewed and humbled, [ $& ] until he in fight fell. AThat was not the 9odric who fled from battle.B#! ..................................... Translation copyright P 1?=2, Conathan . 9lenn

)nnotations [ 1 ] 1e are missing up to three lea$es at the beginning of the poem and something li/e one leaf at the end. GReturn to textH [ ! ] *attle+ The poem uses a $ariety of words%%some e$idently full synonyms, others indicating shades of meaning%%for warLbattleLfight) $ead") $ead"r(s) *ge+feoht) garr(s) g"',lega) hild) !ig) !ig,lega) *ge+!in Clearly N# does not offer this range of sound and subtle meaning difference. GReturn to textH [ # ] as lon, + + + hold+ This formula Aand $ariations of itB functions throughout the poem, indicating the warriors" complete de$otion to lord and land. GReturn to textH [ $ ] *oard+ ,# $ord is one of se$eral words used in the poem for "shield." GReturn to textH [ ] -hen + + + lord+ *iterally, 5when he had to fight before his lord,5 i.e., was re+uired by law to perform military ser$ice. GReturn to textH [ % ] stead+ s in homestead& the word means "place." GReturn to textH [ & ] hearth.*and+ ,# heor'!erod "the body of household retainers," i.e., his personal followers as distinguished from the folc Asee 4cragg 21%22 for a +ualification of the importance of this distinctionB. GReturn to textH [ ' ] *oastfully+ ,# on $eot may also mean "threateningly." GReturn to textH [ ( ] for,o+ ,# forgyldon "foryield" Afor which see the OEDB or "buy off." GReturn to textH [ 1" ] ,ood+ This translates ,# "nforc"' "reputable, honorable, noble, bra$e, undisgraced." GReturn to textH [ 11 ] fold+ ,# folde "earth, land." GReturn to textH [ 1! ] tumult+ 4cragg glosses this "array, military force." GReturn to textH [ 1# ] ,f the ,# (schere, here translated literally, 9ordon notes) 5the here or raiding force from the (scas, distincti$ely 4candina$ian ships built of ash wood. The ,# word is an anglici0ation of ,N askr. The askr was the usual 4candina$ian warship. . . .5 (n ,# poetry the word (sc most fre+uently means "ashA%spearB." GReturn to textH [ 1$ ] flane.fli,ht+ ,# flanes flyht "flight of an arrow." GReturn to textH [ 1 ] loathly stran,ers. ,# la'e gystas "loathed guests." GReturn to textH [ 1% ] arro,ance+ ,# ofermod, the most discussed word in the poem. great deal of critical discussion of the poem in the past fifty years or so has been de$oted to arguing whether the poem $iews @yrhtnoth as blameworthy for his action. GReturn to textH


[ 1& ] too much land+ ,# landes to fela Tol/ien argued that this meant that @yrhtnoth should ha$e yielded no land at all to the Di/ings. GReturn to textH [ 1' ] *attlefield+ ,# !(lsto!e "corpse%place." GReturn to textH [ 1( ] linden+ 4hields were often made of linden wood. ,# poetry often designates items by synecdoche) (sc for spears made of ash wood, lind for shields made of linden wood, rond for round shields, etc. GReturn to textH [ !" ] an,er+ ,# gram"m "fierce, angry AonesB." GReturn to textH [ !1 ] Ra/ens + + + carrion+ This is the traditional @irds Aor @eastsB of @attle 7otif. >re+uently a !"lf is mentioned as well. 4ee Beo!"lf 602:%2<. GReturn to textH [ !! ] ,round + + + fle-+ The line is defecti$e in the original. #ditors ha$e supplied grimme"grim" at the beginning of the first half%line for metrical reasons. GReturn to textH [ !# ] southern spear+ (.e., of southern A#nglish or >renchB ma/e A9ordonB. GReturn to textH [ !$ ] fyrd.-arrior+ The fyrd was the national le$y or army, or any military expedition. GReturn to textH [ ! ] Metod+ *it. "measurer" Ai.e., fateB. GReturn to textH [ !% ] *ill+ This is the original term here and apparently simply $aries s!"rd. 4ee 4tone"s-lossary of the .onstr"ction) Decoration) and /se of Arms and Armor A1?2:& rpt. New 3or/) Cac/ @russel, 1?;1B for its more exact denotation of one of the family of pole arms. GReturn to textH [ !& ] half%line is missing here. GReturn to textH

[ !' ] methel.stead+ The term means "spea/ing place, counsel chamber." GReturn to textH [ !( ] moot. ,# gemot "meeting, council, assembly." GReturn to textH [ #" ] lay+ (.e., lay slain. GReturn to textH [ #1 ] 0een+ ,# cene "bra$e." GReturn to textH [ #! ] old.father+ ,# ealda f(der "grandfather." GReturn to textH [ ## ] alderman+ ,# ealdorman designates a nobleman of the highest ran/. GReturn to textH [ #$ ] at need+ ,# to 0earfe "at need& for AtheirB good& for AthisB need." GReturn to textH [ # ] 1ail his *e,innin,+ ,# a$reo'e his angin "may his beginning fail," i.e., 5may his conduct ha$e an e$il end5 A9ordonB. GReturn to textH [ #% ] fell+ ,# gecranc, a much better Aat least strongerB word than N# fell for disaster in battle. GReturn to textH [ #& ] churl+ ,# ceorl "freeman, yeoman, peasant." GReturn to textH [ #' ] fall+ ,# fyl "fall, death, destruction." GReturn to textH


[ #( ] earnestly+ ,# eornoste "earnestly, courageously." GReturn to textH [ $" ] cellod+ Nobody /nows what this word means. @osworth%Toller glosses it "shaped li/e a shield." GReturn to textH [ $1 ] a terri*le son,+ ,# gryreleo'e s"m "a certain one of terrible songs." GReturn to textH [ $! ] *ur,+ ,# $"rh Probably @yrhtnoth"s chief residence& possibly 7aldon itself A9ordonB. GReturn to textH [ $# ] hale+ n ad-ecti$e, as in 5hale and hearty.5 GReturn to textH [ $$ ] clash+ ,# ge$r(c, possibly "brea/ing." GReturn to textH [ $ ] Thou,ht + + + lessens+ Probably the most famous lines in ,# and, thus, e$en more difficult than others to translate satisfactorily. The ,# text reads) 58ige sceal Je heardra, heorte Je cenre, L mod sceal Je mare, Je ure mKgen lytlaF.5 GReturn to textH [ $% ] My life is old+ *it. "( am old of Aor as regardsB life." GReturn to textH [ $& ] hum*led+ ,# hynde "crushed, felled, insulted, humbled."