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Cornell university Library 
PR 1508.H17 
Judith, Phcenix, and other Ang.^^^^^^^ 

3 1924 013 338 516 

Cornell University 

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the Cornell University Library. 

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Copyright, 1902, 
By silver, burdett and company. 

In Hoijing IHemorg 


E. G. H. 



Preface vii 

Judith 3 

Phcenix i8 

Battle of Maldon 43 

Battle of Brunnanburh 56 

Andreas, a Legend of St. Andrew 60 


Since the very kind reception of my Translation of Beowulf (1892), I 
have always intended to continue my work in translating Anglo-Saxon poetry, 
but did not hurry until urged by friends well known in the department of 
English philology. I now submit a second volume to those that have kindly 
praised my Beowulf. 

I have selected five of the best known and most important Anglo-Saxon 
poems. Three of these have been well rendered by my friend, Professor 
James M. Garnett, with whom I have already measured swords in no ungen- 
erous emulation. A fourth one, Andreas, has been put before English readers 
in iambic blank verse by Mr. R. K. Root ; but, from my point of view, that 
measure is unsuitable for translating Anglo-Saxon poetry. The Phcenix is 
almost unknown to the English reader, and it is my devout hope that this 
volume may do something toward adding that ancient gem to the treasures 
of our modern literature. 

The present writer does not claim to have settled the question how Anglo- 
Saxon poetry should be translated. He still holds the views expressed in the 
preface, to the Translation of Beowulf (1892), and finds himself in good 
company. Of prose translations, Stopford Brooke says : " Of all possible 
translations of poetry, a merely prose translation is the most inaccurate. . . . 
Prose no more represents poetry than architecture does music." As to 
rhyming measures and blank verse, also, Brooke's preface to his Early English 
Literature, p. viii, expresses our views exactly. 

Since 1892, the C and D types of Anglo-Saxon verse have grown upon the 
writer, and quite a large number of them will be found in this volume. 

Vowel-quantities have not been marked in the foot-notes. Only scholars 

would care for them, and they do not need them. The different kinds of 

marks used in our college text-books is a serious drawback to the student 

of Anglo-Saxon, and we gladly dispense with all whenever it is possible to 

do so. 


Williamsburg, Virginia, 

April 1$, 1902. 


A.-S. = Anglo-Saxon. 

B. = Baskervill's Andreas. 

Br. = Stopford Brooke's Early English Literature. 
Bri.= Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader. 
BT. = Bosworth-T oiler Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. 

C. = Coo\i's Juditk and Anglo-Saxon Reader. 
Ett. = Ettmiiller's Scopas. 

Gar. = Garnett's translations of Judith, Maldon, and Brunnanburh. 
Gr. = Grein's Bibliothek, Dichtungen, and Sprachschatz. 
G.-W. = Grein-Wulker Bibliothek. 

W. = Wiilker's Notes in the G.-W. Bibliothek. 



[This " noble fragment " is found in the same manuscript that contains 
Beowulf. Its author, its date of composition, and the place where it was 
composed, are all alike unknown, and are subjects of varied conjecture and of 
conflicting theories. 

Some scholars attribute it to Caedmon, the monk of Whitby, of whom 
" the Venerable Bede " tells us that " he wrote poetry by divine aid and 
inspiration," and that " he did not learn the art of poetry from men but from 
God." Others, however, think that the poem, though not composed by 
Csedmon himself, belongs to the " Caedmon cycle," Professor A. S. Cook, who 
has studied Judith more critically than any other scholar known to us, thinks 
that it is more likely to be by Cynewulf, or some disciple of his, than to 
emanate from the "school" of Caedmon. Some go further than this, and 
attribute it to Cynewulf himself. The most definite theory as to the author- 
ship of Judith, advanced and argued at considerable length by the American 
Cook, mentioned above, is as follows : " The poem was composed by Swithhun, 
Bishop of Winchester, the teacher and confidential friend of Ethelwulf, 
father of Alfred, and was composed in or about the year 856, in honor of 
Judith, the young wife of Ethelwulf, and in gratitude for the deliverance of 
Wessex from the fury of the heathen Northmen." 

As to the date of composition, also, there is wide difference of opinion. If 
composed by Caedmon, it would date from the seventh century, probably 
between the years 660 and 680. If Cynewulf wrote it, we may reasonably 
ascribe it to the second half of the eighth century. Brooke "roughly 
dates " it about the middle of this century, and ten Brink says that it " arose 
probably during the eighth or in the beginning of the next century." 
Professor Cook, we have seen, assigns it to about the middle of the ninth cen- 
tury. Others, associating it with Brunnanburh (937) or with the Battle of 
Maldon(99l') ,hnng it down to the last half of the tenth century, or even later. 

The place of authorship, most scholars regard as Northumbria, the birth- 
place of Enghsh song. We have seen, however, that Cook assigns it to 
Wessex, the later centre of early English culture. The few that date it from 


4 Judith. 

the latter half of the tenth century would no doubt assign it a West-Saxon 

As to the merits of this poem, scholars are almost unanimous. Morley 
characterizes it as "a noble fragment"; Sweet, as "one of the noblest 
[poems] in the whole range of Old English poetry " ; Wright, as " one of the 
finest specimens of Anglo-Saxon " ; and Ettmilller, the eminent German 
scholar and translator, as " omnium hujus generis facile pulcherrimum.'' 
Thorpe, Rieger, Korner, ten Brink, and other English and German scholars 
speak with equal enthusiasm. Professor Cook, however, is a little guarded 
in his expression of opinion, saying that " the poem displays an elevation char- 
acteristic of the noblest poetry." Brooke, with still less enthusiasm says: 
"Judith is a good, ringing piece of English verse, but I cannot agree with 
those who place it in the highest rank." 

The old poem moves me beyond expression. 

The 350 lines preserved to us are quite generally thought to constitute the 
last quarter of the whole poem. 

The poem in its original form was probably based closely upon the story 
of Judith as recorded in the apocryphal book that bears her name. The 
fragment, however, rests mainly upon that part of the book beginning with 
the 33d verse of the 8th chapter, and ending with the ist verse of the closing 
chapter. The last chapter, as a whole, was not available material to a poet of 
such eminent ability. A smaller man would have undertaken to reproduce or 
to paraphrase the noble psalm (w. 2-17) sung by Judith and her people. 
Our poet, however, tells us in a few noble words of his own that she " gave 
glory to the Lord God of Hosts," and he concludes by urging us to do the 
same. Nor did he need the last eight verses of the chapter; for they tell us, 
in unvarnished Hebrew, Latin, or English — wKat he never hints at — that 
Judith was a widow, and that she "waxed old," living to the age of 105; 
neither of which facts would add to the romantic value of the story with an 
audience of his era. 

The text of the poem is easily accessible in Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader 
and in Cook's critical edition; while extracts can be found in Cook's First 
Book in Old English, and in Hall's poetical appendix to Baskervill & Harri- 
son's Anglo-Saxon Reader. Less accessible is the Grein-Wulker Bibliothek 
der Angels'dchsischen Poesie, on which this translation is based (II, pp. 294- 

314) ■ 

Complete translations in English have been put within reach of all by Prof. 
A. S. Cook and Prof. J. M. Garnett ; while translations of special passages can 
be found in Brooke's History of Early English Literature.'] 



* * * * She his gifts doubted (not) 
On this broad-stretching earth ; early found she, then, 
Defence from the famous King, when she felt most need of 
The almighty Judge's favor, that from terror the greatest 
God the Creator would free her ; the Father in heaven 
Glorious did grant her this boon, since the greatest faith she 
Ever reposed in the Lord almighty. Olofernes, 'tis told me, 
A wine-feast ^ gladly proclaimed, and a wondrously sumptuous 
Banquet he bade to be spread : all the best of his thanemen 
The leader of armies did summon. They early anon 
Did as he bade, shield-bearing men ; to the mighty war- 
The chiefs of the folk came flocking. The fourth day^ this 

Since the gracious Judith, sagacious in spirit, 
Elf-lovely ^ lady, the leader first sought for. 

Judith trusts in 
the God of her 

Holofernes, the 
Assyrian leader, 
invites his 
thanes to a great 


They anon to the fpast, then, fared, and were seated. 
Proud to the wine-drinking, his woe-comrades all. 
Mail-warriors doughty. There were deep bumpers 
'Long the benches borne full oft, and beakers and flagons 
Full to the feasters : they, fated,* did drain them, 
20 Shield-warriors doughty, though the mighty one weened not 

1 The poet portrays a typical A.-S. wine-feast. Judith is a typical A.-S. lady, 
and many of the stock phrases of the primal poetry are applied to her 

^ See Book of Jud, xii : 10. 

' The wonderful beauty of this young widow plays an important part in the 
plot of the Hebrew story. 

* As in the poetry based upon A.-S. subjects, many of the actors in the 
drama are doomed (faege). 

6 Judith. 

Horrible ruler of heroes. Then, Holofernes grew joyful, 
Gold-friend of warriors, glad o'er his wine-cups ; 
Laughed he, shouted he, raised clamor and uproar, 
That the children of men might hear in the distance 
How the stern-mooded leader stormed and bellowed, 
How, insolent, mead-drunk,^ he mightily urged the 
Braves on the benches to bear themselves well.^ 
Thus did the evil one all day long, now, 
Deluge with drink his doughty companions, - 

30 The bold-mooded giver of gems, till they lay in a stupor, 
Outstretched his troopers all drunk, as if death had blasted 

Of all their good things deprived. So bade, then, the prince 

of warriors 
Liegemen fill for the revellers, till lowering night shades 
The dranken Closed in on the children of men. Then, the monster of evil 

Assyrian leader Bade the holy handmaid ^ of Heaven be speedily 

Judith be Brought to his bed, the bracelet-adorned one, 

brought to his Sparkling with rings. They readily did, then, 

Obedient liegemen, as their lord had bidden them, 

1 We are told in the book of Judith that Holofernes's heart was ravished 
with her, and that, thinking she had drunk freely with him, he drank more 
wine than he had ever drunk in one day in all his life. 

2 This translation sounds " tame," but follows closely nearly all the author- 
ities. C, however, glosses vociferate, shout aloud, which sounds better. 
We think it really means that H. bade his " servants " to make themselves 
merry and have a good time. 

' Here and elsewhere, we have avoided the words maid, damsel, virgin, 
used by all the editors and translators up to this time. Nor can we accept the 
statement of Professor Cook that the A.-S. poet endows Judith with " virginal 
purity." Our reasons for this departure are : (i) Though endowing her with 
virginal purity would enhance her charms with a mediaeval audience or 
reader, the fact of Judith's being a widow would be too well known to a 
large proportion of his readers and hearers for any writer to use such a device. 
(2) The names applied to her in the poem are used in the literature to 
denote women in general, whether virginal or othehvise. (3) Words like 
maeden and f aemne, which apply to virgins and damsels exclusively, are never 
applied to Judith in the poem. 


Judith. 7 

Atheling of earlmen : instantly went they 
40 To the guest-hall, where Judith wise-mooded found they, 
And quickly, then, shield-warriors 'gan to conduct the 
Illustrious lady to the lofty pavilion 
Where the mighty one ever was wont to recline. 
Within by night, Olofernes 
Hateful to God. There a gold-fashioned fly-net, 
Beauteous, was hung o'er the bed of the leader. 
That the monster of evil might easily look through, 
50 AtheUng of earls, at each that came in there 

Of the children of heroes, and on him no creature 

'Mid all of the sons of men, 'less summoned the proud one 

Some one of troopers tried in the battle 

To come to his tent as a counsellor. Quick to his bed 

Led they the wise-mooded woman ; went, then, stout-hearted 

Heroes, to announce to their prince that the pure-souled 

Was brought to his tent. Then, waxed the illustrious one, 
Ruler of boroughs, blithe, thought the bright-souled woman 
With foulness and shame to corrupt; the righteous Glory- 
60 Intervened, Shepherd of Honor, prevented him from it, God win not 

The Lord God, Ruler of Hosts. The loathed, devilish creature ?"""'' >!'; ■"'^'■= 

' handmaid to be 

Went, then, wanton of spirit, by his war-band attended, dishonored. 

Wicked, to look for his bed, where his Ufe he should forfeit 

Forthwith 'twixt sunset and dawn ; such end terrible 

He had met on the earth as erstwhile he merited, 

Mighty leader of men, while he remained in this world here 

'Neath the spacious dome of the heavens. So the mighty 

one, drunken with wine, 
Down on his couch then fell that unconscious he lay there Hoiofemes faiu 
Long in a stupor ; Hegemen then hastened dratken^tl" or 

70 Out from the room off speedily. 

Wine-sated troopers, who the truce-breaking man, 
The tyrant abhorred, for the last time now had 
Brought to his bed. Then, the bright, peerless 



The heroic 
Judith, after 
pondering a 
while, determines 
to kill the brutal 
wretch with his 
own sword. 

She offers a noble 
and devout 
prayer to her 

Handmaid of God mused and pondered 
How the terrible earl she most easily then might 
From his life sunder, ere the lecherous creature 
Crime-stained awoke. Then, the curly-locked lady. 
The Lord's dear servant, took a keen-edgfed falchion. 
Hard from the forging ( ?) ,' forced it from the scabbard 
So With her own right hand ; heaven's great Warden 
By name she besought. Saviour of all that 
Dwell on the earth, and uttered this prayer : 
" Oh, God of Creation and Spirit of Comfort, 
Oh, Son of the Highest, I beseech thee hear me, 
Oh, Might of the Trinity,^ and thy mercy grant me. 
So sorely needing it. Mightily my heart is 
Stirred up within me and anxious my spirit, 
Exceedingly troubled with sorrows ; grant me. Sovereign of 

Victory and faith unswerving, that I with this sword may be 

90 To slay this dispenser of slaughter ; safe do thou keep me. 
Puissant Prince of Heroes : ne'er had I more pressing need of 
Thy all-protecting mercy : avenge now, mighty Lord, 
Splendid Dispenser of Glory, the pain that my spirit endureth. 
The grief that gnaweth my heart." ^ The Most High Judge, 

Early with courage inspired her, as he ever doth those of 
Dwellers on earth that ask his assistance 
With wisdom and right belief. Then, her spirit rose within her, 

1 This translation is merely conjectural. The phrase scurum heardne (1. 
79) occurs only once in A.-S. poetry, so that its meaning may never be fully 
understood. Some other conjectures are : hardened by war-strokes (?) ; sharp 
from scouring; hardened by blows (of hammers) ; hardened in (standing) 
water. Our translation keeps pretty close to Gr.'s and BT.'s lexicons. 

2 Those who think that " Cortez " spoils Keats's great sonnet, will, no 
doubt, be horrified that our poet makes Judith pray to the second and third 
persons of the Trinity. 

'The poet expands her prayer from a short sentence to II J lines: "The 
prayer is nobly wrought," says Br. 

Judith. 9 

The holy one's hope was renewed; she took, then, the She is nerved and 

heathen warrior strengthened for 

the great deed. 

Fast by the hair of his head, drew him with her hands 
towards her 
100 With scorn, and the evil designer artfully laid she. 

The hated brute, where best she might handle him. 

Take care of the creature. Then, the curly-locked lady 

With flashing ' falchion smote the foeman detested. 

The hostile-hearted one, that she half cut through, then 

Severed his neck, that swooning he lay there 

Drunken and wounded. Not dead was he yet, now, 

Nor gave up the ghost ; again ^ vehemently. 

With might and main, the mood-valiant woman 
no Smote the heathen hound that his head whirled rapidly 

Forth on the floor ; lay the foul carcase 

Lifeless behind, his spirit departed 

Down 'mid the damned' in dire abasement. 

Ever thereafter in agony fettered. 

With serpents bewound, in torments bound. 

Firmly fastened in the flames of perdition. 

When death took him off. Not e'er might he hope, now. 

Encompassed with darkness to come away thence, 

Leave that dragon-hall, but shall dwell in its horrors 
120 Forever and ever, in endless perdition. 

In that horrid home, hopeless, wretched.^ 

1 Most authorities render thus, but Sweet glosses hostile (?); cf. 1. 194, 
below, for plural form. 

" The poet shows considerable dramatic power at this point by increasing 
the suspense : the Bible narrative simply says, " She smote twice upon his 
neck with all her might, and she took away his head from him." 

2 Other renderings are: under the deep earth; beneath the abyss; to hell. 
The phrase in the A.-S. means literally under the deep headland, and may con- 
tain a valuable piece of unexplained folklore. 

* The poet gladly consigns the Assyrian monster to this happy clime. 




They return to 
the Hebrew host, 
bearing the 
monster's head as 
a trophy. 

Preeminent honor had earned, then, in battle 

Judith the brave, as the Lord God gave, 

King of the Heavens, who crowned her with victory. 

The handmaid of Heaven hastily brought, now. 

The bold battle-leader's blood-gory head 

•In the selfsame sack that her servant devoted, 

The fair-cheeked ^ woman, their food ^ had brought thither in, 

Excellent-mooded one, out to the field, 

130 And the head so gory she gave anon to her, 

To the thoughtful of spirit, homeward to bear it, 
Judith to her follower. Forthwith departed, then, 
The dear ones both, dauntless, brave-hearted. 
Till exultant, triumphant, out from the host, 
God's handmaidens came, and clearly might look on 
The walls glistening of the lovely city, 
Bethulia the beautiful. They, flashing with rings, 
Hurried apace forth on their way, then, 

140 Till, happy-hearted, the holy ones came to 
The gate of the wall. Warriors were sitting. 
War-heroes watching their ward were holding there 
Inside the fortress, as erstwhile the folk-troop, 
Mournful of spirit, Judith had bidden, 
Wise-mooded woman, when she went on her mission, 
Brave handmaid of Heaven. Home she was come now. 
Dear to her people, and then quickly commanded 
The wise-mooded woman one of the heroes 
From the spacious city to speed forth and meet her, 

150 And early thereafter therein to admit her 

Through the gate of the wall, and this word spake she 
To the folk triumphant : " I am able to tell you 

1 Sometimes rtnietti pale- cheeked. 

^ The poet naively informs us that they put the monster's head in their 
' lunch-basket." 



A note- worthy thing, that ye need not longer, now, 

Grieve in your spirit : God loveth you, 

The Glory of Kings ; 'tis known to all races, 

Through the world widely, that wondrous and spacious 

Honor shall be given you and glory be yours 

For the baleful burdens ye have borne so long now." ' 

Joyful of mood were the men of the city 

i6o When they heard how the handmaid of Heaven addressed 
O'er the town-wall high. The war-host was joyous : 
Tow'rds the fortress-gate the folk-troop hurried, then, 
Both men and women, in multitudes thronging, 
In crowds and companies crushed and jostled 
Tow'rds the handmaid of God in hundreds and thousands. 
Both old and young : for each man there 
In that mead-borough fair the mood was the blither, 
When they heard the good tidings that Judith was come 
Back to her home again, and hastily anon 

170 They received her therein with humble obeisance. 
Then the wise one bade, embellished with jewels. 
Her handmaiden thoughtful the head of the chieftain 
To uncover, and gory to display to the burghers 
As a proof how splendidly she had sped at the battle. 
Spake, then, the noble one to all of the folk-throng : 
" Here ye may easily, triumphant heroes, 
Leaders of liegemen, look with your eyes on 
The head of this hatefulest heathen war-captain, 

180 Olofernes lifeless, who of earthmen foremost 
Deeds devilish hath done to our people. 
Grim grievances, and greater ones purposed 
To add to our agony ; but the All- Father granted him 
No longer life-days, with loathsome miseries 
To be able to torture us : I tore his hfe from him 
By the help of the Lord. Each of the warriors, 

^ The poet shows great skill in his omissions; in this art, he is almost 
unequalled among our early poets. 

The Hebrews are 
filled with joy. 

Showing them 
the head, she 
encourages them 
to attack and 
destroy the 
Assyrian army at 
the dawn of day. 



In the early 
dawn, the 
Hebrews fall 
upon their 
enemies. The 
wolf, the raven, 
and the eagle are 

The Hebrews re- 
quite the Assyri- 
ans for all their 
scorn and abuse. 

Brave-mooded burghers, I will beg earnestly, 
Shield-bearing comrades, that ye quickly make ready, 
Gear you for the grapple ; when the God of Creation, 

190 The merciful King, from the east sendeth 
His light luminous, your lindens bear forward. 
Your boards 'fore your breasts and your battle-corslets, 
Your helmets a-flashing, 'mid the heaps of the foemen, 
The folk-leaders felling with falchions a-gleaming, 
The war-chieftains fated. Your foes are already 
Doomed to death now, and double glory, 
Eminent honor, ye shall earn in the battle, 
_;.^ As the mighty Lord through my hand hath betokened." 
The throng of the fearless was forthwith prepared, then, 

200 Bold ones for battle ; bravely marched, then, 

Earlmen and comrades, bare their ensigns forward. 
To the fight faring, forthwith advancing, 
Heroes under helmets from the holy city 
At the break of the dawn ; battle-shields clattered. 
Loudly did rattle. So the lank wolf ^ was 
Glad in the wood, and that wan bird, too. 
The ravenous raven : they reckoned full surely 
That the excellent earlmen were eager to furnish them 
A feast on the fated ; and there flew behind them 
[0 The eagle, that glutton, dewy-feathered one. 
The sable-suited one sang, then, his war-song. 
The horny-beaked one. The heroes went forward. 
Braves ones to battle with bucklers protected. 
With their hollow shields, they who erstwhile had suffered 
The biting jests and jibes of the strangers. 
The scorn of the heathen^; 'twas hotly requited 

1 The A.-S. poet could hardly depict a battle-scene without introducing the 
wolf, the raven, and the eagle. 

^ The reader will recall that the Jews had long been trodden underfoot by 
conquering armies from Egypt, Syria, Babylon, and Assyria. The old poet 
now wishes us to understand that the brave Hebrews, in this campaign, 
acquitted themselves heroically, and also got a good day's vengeance. 




At the play of the ash-spears all the Assyrians, 

When the Hebrew heroes had hurried 'neath banners 

On to their camp. Courageously hurled they 

Showers of arrows off from their bow-strings, 

Battle-adders out from their horn-bows. 

Strongest of arrows ; angry warriors 

Bellowed and bawled, their battle spears hurling 

'Mid the band of the brave ; bitter were the heroes. 

Land-dwellers doughty, 'gainst the loathfed people. 

Stepped, then, the stern-mooded, the stout-hearted warriors 

Did their enemies-of-old stir up rudely. 

Weary from wassailing : warriors drew, then. 

With their hands from the sheaths well-fashioned sword-blades, 

Tried in their edges, eagerly smote, then. 

The flying fighting-men of the folk of Assyria, 

Ill-planning evil ones, not any spared they 

Of that harrying host, then, nor high nor low 

Of living beings that they were able to conquer. 


So the kinsmen-thanes, through the hours of the morning, 

Untiringly followed the trail of the strangers, 

Till the chiefs of the folk-troop, the fierce-mooded, saw 

340 That the Hebrew heroes hewed with a terrible 

Swipe of the sword-blade. Soon they apprised of this 
The foremost folk-thanes, the fighting-men rousing, 
Told the mead-weary wassailers the morning-terror, 
The horrible sword-play. Soon, as 'tis told me. 
The slaughter-doomed men from their sleep upstarted. 
And [mournful-mooded ones] ' in multitudes hastened 
And thronged to the tent of the monster of evil, 

250 Olofemes ; their only design 

Was to show their lord they were loyal thanemen,^ 

The pursuit 

The Assyrians 
throng to the tent 
of their leader, 
but are afraid to 
awake him. 

1 Our text has a gap here ; but we follow the emendations of Sweet, C, 
Gr., and others. ^ We follow the G.-W. text, hyldo not hilde. 

14 Judith. 

Ere the terror of battle burst down upon him, 
The Hebrews' onset. All of them weened, now. 
That the atheling of earls and the eminent woman 
Were together yet in the gorgeous pavilion, 
Judith the lofty and the lecherous-mooded. 
Fierce, evil one; of earls there was no one 
So bold as to wake that war-chief from slumber. 
Or would e'en ask then how the armored warrior 

260 Had agreed and decided ' with the servant of God;, 

The immaculate woman. The mighty host came, then. 

The folk of the Hebrews, fought valiantly 

With keen-edgfed cutlasses, 'quited with sword-blades 

Their quarrels-of-old, with edges a-gleaming 

Their long-standing hate ; Assyria's glory 

From the work of that day waned mightily, 

Her pride was humbled. 'Round their atheling's tent 

Stood, then, the warriors, stirred exceedingly, 

Mournful-mooded. Lamenting together, 

270 They, one and all, then, wailed (?)'' mournfully. 
And, God-forsaken,' gritted their teeth, then. 
Writhing with wrath ; their riches and prowess. 
Their glory was gone. The grieving warriors 
Thought to waken their lord : they little sped at it. 
Weary of waiting, one of the liegemen, 
A dauntless earlman, dared, then, to enter 
The tent of the mighty one, as need urged him : 

1 My reasons for differing at this point from C, Gar., and others, can be found 
in a long footnote to my Translation of Beowulf, p. 55; we have practically 
the same idiom. 

2 Other readings are stormed, groaned, blustered, coughed, cleared the throat. 
All are conjectural. — Br. says, in regard to their waking H. up: "Too much 
is made, at this crisis, of this poor motive " ; but we cannot accept this 
dictum. The poet wishes us to see how much H. was feared and hated even 
by his own people, and thus increase our disgust. 

^ Most authorities translate as above ; but BT. renders destitute of all good 
things. The same difference of opinion exists as to Andreas, line 406, See 
note I, p. 76. 



On the bed found he ghastly lying 

His gold-friend gracious who had given up life-joys, 

280 Shorn of his spirit. Shivering fell he 
To the earth speedily, wretched- mooded, 
His hair tore he, and his raiment together, 
And this word did speak to the warrior-liegemen 
Who anxious and sad without were standing : 
" Here we read plainly our ruin impending. 
Betokened as imminent, that the hour approacheth, 
That day of darkness, is drawing a-nigh us. 
To lay down our lives ^ and lose them together. 
Fall in the battle : felled by the sword, 

290 Our lord lies headless." Lorn-mooded, threw they 
Their weapons away, weary in spirit 
To flight betook them. On their track followed 
The war-host mighty, till well-nigh the whole of 
The enemy's army lay humbled in battle. 
On the victory-plain, hewed down with edges. 
To please the wolves and for pleasure to all the 
Ravenous birds, too. The survivors fled, then, 
/ The shields of the hated ones. Hot on their trail came 
The throng of the Hebrews adorned with victory, 

300 In grandeur and glory ; God was helping them 
With outstretched arm, almighty Ruler. 
With falchions a-flashing, they fearlessly onward, 
The unquailing conquerors, carved out a war-path 
Through the force of the foemen, felled battle-shields. 
Fought through the phalanx ; the fighting heroes were 
Bitterer for battle, braves of the Hebrews ; 
Thanes of that era thirsted no little 
For the onset, of armies. To the earth fell there 
Well-nigh the whole of the host of invaders, 

310 Leaders and liegemen of the land of Assyria, 
The loathed folk : few ever came of them 

1 In the A.-S., 11. 287 and 288 are defective : we have filled in according to 
the emendation of Gr. , Sweet, C, and others. 

One warrior ven- 
tures in, and finds 
his captain' s gory 

He predicts the 
utter ruin of the 
Assyrian army. 

God fought for 



The Hebrews 
gather rich booty 
on the battle- 

Judith receives a 
generous share of 
the spoils. 

Alive to their homes. Came the nobly-bold back, 
Folk-troops faring, to the field of the dead, then, 
'Mid the seething slain ; soon to the land-dwellers 
Was occasion given to strip from the loathed ones, 
From their foemen-of-old on the field dead there^ 
Battle-spoils bloody, bright-shining jewels. 
Shields and broadswords, their brown helmets, 
Precious treasures. Gloriously had they 

320 On the field of battle their foes all beaten, 

Their old-time enemies had the excellent home-guards 
Soothed with the sword's-edge : they slept in their tracks 

Who were in life loathest of all living races 
'Neath the high dome of heaven. Then the whole people. 
Preeminent race, for all a month's space. 
Curly-locked' conquerors, carried and led 
To the glorious city, gleaming Bethulia, 
Helmets and hip-swords, hoar-grayish burnies, 
Brave ones' battle-gear embellished with gold, 

330 Ornaments grander than any man living. 

Though never so wise, could name or could tell of; 
So much did the men-of-war mightily 'complish 
Bold under banners on the battle-field gory 
Through the wise, clever counsel of Judith, 
Mood-valiant woman. For her meed brought they, 
Spear-brave earlmen, from the journey fetched, then, 
Holofernes's battle-grim blade and blood-gory helmet,^ 
His war-burnie spacious and splendid, sparkling and shining 
And red with its gold, and all that the ruler of heroes, 

340 Arrogant, of treasure did own or of heirlooms a -precious. 
Of rings and rarest of gems, they this to the radiant Judith, 

'^'Curly-locked^ is a stock epithet as applied to the fair women in A.-S. 
literature ; but, this time, the poet may be actually describing the race, as their 
hair is frequently wavy. 

2 These long lines are thought by some to mark passages of unusual eleva- 
tion and sublimity. About fifty of them occur in this poem. See pages 8, 9, 1 7. 

Judith. . 17 

To the wise-of-counsel did give.' For all this gave, then, 

Glory to the Lord God of Hosts, who had given her honor, Judith's psan of 
Worship 'mid men of this world, and, likewise, reward in the *anksgiving. 

Meed in the mansions of glory, for keeping unminished her 

On the Almighty fixed for aye ; forsooth, at the end she 

doubted not 
The reward that she long had wished for. For this to the 

well-lovfed Lord God 
Be glory for ever and ever, who made the air and the wind, The poet's dox- 
Firmament and far-spreading wolds, and, likewise, the foam- ° °^' 

dashing waters^ 
350 And the raptures of heaven by his own great mercy. 

' We are told in the Book of Jud. that she presented this as an offering 
to God. 

^ Br. remarks that the introduction of this passage in this connection 
shows how deep the passion for nature was in the hearts of our early poets. 


[This beautiful allegory is generally regarded as one of the finest products 
of the Anglo-Saxon poetical genius. It is less known to the cultivated, non- 
technical student than several other poems of our early literature; and one 
aim of the present volume is to supply this deficiency, and put this noble poem 
before that kind audience who have listened patiently to our earlier experi- 
ments in the Old English field. 

As to the high literary merits of the Phoenix, there is no dissenting voice. 
Sweet says that it has " all of Cynewulf 's grace and harmony of thought and 
language." Brooke and ten Brink speak of it in terms of high praise; and 
Professor J. W. Bright, who has studied the poem in all its phases, says : " In 
grace and simplicity of style, in the elaboration and clearness of figure,, in lyric 
beauty, and in richness of description, this poem must be classed with the best 
productions of Anglo-Saxon times." 

As to the authorship, there is more diversity of opinion. Brookfe and 
ten Brink attribute it to Cynewulf [a.d. 725 (?) — c. 800 (?)]. Sweet thinks 
that there is " little doubt "that he wrote it. Professor J. W. Bright, on the other 
hand, says that "it is almost certainly not to be attributed to Cynewulf." 
Gaebler, a German scholar, after an exhaustive study of its vocabulary, phrase- 
ology and grammatical structure, assigned it to him; while a detailed and 
laborious study of its metres led two other scholars, Cremer and Mather, to a 
contrary conclusion. More recently, Professor Edward Fulton, an American 
scholar, after weighing carefully and sifting the arguments of the three last 
named, and studying the poem on the side of style, decides against its Cyne- 
wulfian authorship. 

It is quite generally thought that the poem belongs to the Northumbrian 
cycle, and to the " school " of Cynewulf. 

Most scholars think that the Anglo-Saxon poet took his subject from the 
Latin poem Carmen de Phcenice, attributed to Firmianus Lactantius, who was 
tutor to Crispus, son of the Emperor Constantine the Great, and whom Jerome 
speaks of as a poet. (This Latin poem can be found in Bright's Anglo-Saxon 
Reader, pp. 189-193.) Our poet, however, if he used this poem, expanded, 
embellished, glorified it. The poem of Lactantius has 380 lines; his, 677. 
Lactantius tells us of the fabled bird of the east that rose from its ashes; the 
old English poet, starting with this fabled bird and its delightsome land, tells 


The Phoenix. 


us of the Christian who, refined and purified by fiery trials, rises from his ashes 
to a new hfe here and a life of immortal joys in the world to come, and also of 
the Divine Phcenix, who soars high through the heavens followed by throngs of 
blissful and triumphant spirits of just men made perfect. 

Our poet may never have read or even heard of the poem attributed to 
Lactantius. The Phcenix legend, or saga, is almost as old as the human race. 
A fabled bird, under various names, was familiar in ancient Egyptian hymns 
and incantations as the symbol of the sun. Herodotus made it well known to 
the Greek imagination. Pliny, Tacitus, and others tell us that it was no stranger 
to the Romans. St. Ambrose and Bede show us how the great bird captured 
the imagination of the early church, and was regarded as a symbol of the Sun of 
Righteousness, who arose with healing in his wings.^ Certainly no subject 
could more readily have inspired a pious poet of any era of English literature. 

The complete Anglo-Saxon text is readily accessible in Bright's Anglo-Saxon 
Reader, and less so in the Grein-Wulker Siblioihek, Vol. Ill, pp. 95-116. 
One of the choicest passages is given in Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader. 

Translations are not accessible; a few fine passages are rendered with grace 
and beauty in Brooke's Hist, of Early Eng. Lit. (See index).] 

In legend and lay, I have learned that eastvi^ard 

Far away hence is the fairest of countries 

Known to the races. That region of midearth 

'Neath the arch of the ether not ever is reached of 

Folk-leaders many, but is far sundered 

From ill-doers' evil by All- Father's power. 

'Tis a beauteous expanse, resplendent with pleasures, 

'Mid odors fragrantest that earth ever breatheth : 

Peerless is the island, the Creator noble, 

Most mighty, lofty, who that land established. 

There ever and aye eminent melodies 

Await the redeemed, heaven's gate open. 

'Tis a delightsome land, there living-green forests 

Stretch far under heaven. There nor rain nor snow, 

Nor breath of the frost, nor blast of the fire. 

Nor fall of the hail, nor bite of the rime. 

Nor the sun's heat weary, nor ceaseless chill. 

The poet de- 
scribes the 
Happy Land 
where the 
Phcenix lives. 

1 Is the prophet Malachi (iv : 2) referring to the promised Messiah under the 
figure of the fabled bird of the east ? 

20 The Phoenix. 

Nor warm weather, nor winter's shower. 
May anywise injure, but ever the place is 

20 Blessed, perfect : that noble land 

Bloometh and blossometh. Nor boulders nor mountains 

Do steep stand there ; no stone-cliffs precipitous 

Tower aloft, as here so oft, 

Nor dales nor vales, nor darksome caverns, 

Nor mounds nor hills, nor slopeth^ there ever 

Aught of ruggedness : but the excellent plain 

Blossometh under heaven, blooming joyous : 

30 As wise men of old in their books have told, 

From research have written, that region glorious, 
That beauteous land, is a twelve- fathom higher 
Than the loftiest heights that lift their heads up 
High heavenward here 'neath the welkin. 
Placid the plain is, the pleasant forest, 
The bright grove, gleameth : glorious blossoms, 
Fruits, never fall there ; but, foliage-clad, 
As God-Father bade, the trees stand ever. 
Winter and summer, the wood ever is 
Laden with blossoms : the leaves never 
• Fall to the earth there, no fire shall injure them 

40 Forever and ever, till the end of the world shall 
Come in the ages. As the ocean's might. 
The tumbling currents, once covered the earth o'er, 
land. ' O'er the round world rolled, wrapping and folding it 

In their big embraces, when this beauteous plain, 
This spacious expanse, spared by the waters. 
Stood firm 'gainst the flood of the far-dashing billows, 
Blessed, unmarred, through the mercy of Heaven : 
So it bideth blooming till the blaze cometh 
Of the day of the Lord, when graves shall open 
And the dark caverns of heroes their dead shall surrender. 

1 BT. = Nor does aught unstnooth rest there. — Gr. = noch erhebt sich da unsilssei 
irgend. — Br. = lean, incline, slope ; we follow him. — Lactantius has nee 
tumulus crescit. 

The Flood did 
not injure this 

The Phoenix. 21 

50 In that land of bliss, no foe harasseth, 
Nor tears nor trouble, no token of sorrow. 
Age, penury, nor death the narrow, 
Nor the loss of life, nor the loathed foe's coming, 
Sin, dissension, sore tribulation. 
No wrestling with want, of riches no lack there. 
Nor sorrow, nor sleep,^ nor sickness grievous. 
Nor the winter's storm, nor the wind's raging. 
Bleak under heaven, and the biting frost 
Not any one striketh with icicles freezing. 

60 There hail and hoarfrost from heaven fall not, 
Nor windy cloud, there no water falleth. 
Lashed by the air : but living streams. 
Fairest of fountains, freely gush there, 
Laving earth's bosom with billows of loveliness. 
Winsome waters from the wood's-heart flowing. 
Which sea-cold bubble from the bosom of earth as 
The moons move on, compass anon 
The whole wood grandly : 'tis the Lord's behest that 
This land of glory the beautiful waters 

70 Shall twelve times traverse. The trees bend there 
With fruits fairest : there fade not ever 
Holy under heaven the holt's ornaments. 
Fallow blossoms fall not to earthward. 
The wood's garniture : but wondrously there 
On the boughs ever the branches are laden, 
Oft and anon new fruit blossometh. 
On the grass-plain green, glorious in verdure, 

80 Stands the fairest of groves decked joyously 

1 That the A.-S. poet is inspired partly by the last two chapters of the book 
of Revelation, the reader need not be told; but it may be mentioned that the 
poets have apparently inferred that there is to be no sleep in heaven, since 
there is no night and no sin. — For an interesting discussion of the passage 
before us (1. 56), see articles by Professors J. M. Hart and A. S. Cook, 
Modern Language Notes, May and November, 1899. — Lactantius does not 
mention ' sleep,' but " sleepless cares." 


The Phoenix. 

By the might of the Wielder. The wood is nowise 

Shorn of its beauty, where the blessed fragrance 

Is diffused o'er that joy-land ; that ne'er shall be changed 

Forever and ever, till All-Knowing God 

Who erstwhile created shall that old- work demolish. 


The guardian of 
the wood. 

The great bird 
watches the sun. 

The ward of that wood is a wondrous-beautiful, 

Fleet-winged bird Phoenix entitled. 

There the feathery hermit hath his lone dwelling, 

Brave bideth ^ there : in that blessfed place 

Death shall ne'er injure him while the earth standeth. 

90 He must watch and ward the world-candle's^ journey 
And go forth greeting God's bright lantern,^ 
The glittering jewel,^ gladly watching 
When the noblest of stars ^ climbeth the heavens 
From the east shining sheen o'er the waters, 
The All- Father's old- work ^ in ornaments gleaming, 
God's bright token.^ The stars are hidden, 
Gone 'neath the ocean off to the westward, 
Bedimmed in the dawn, and the dark night lurid 
Fleeth the firmament : then, the Phoenix bird. 
Mighty of motion, marketh the ocean, 

100 Exultant of wing, watcheth the mountain-stream. 
Eagerly looketh aloft when there cometh 
Up from the east o'er the ocean gliding 
The Lord's bright lantern lavishing lustre. 
So the noble bird remains at the fountain. 
Brilliant in beauty, bides at the water. 
Where twelve times the glorious one bathes in the current, 
Ere God's bright beacon glides o'er the earth-ways, 

1 Some high authorities treat drohtaS' (1. 88) as a substantive; others, as 
a verb. We follow the latter. 

2 The A.-S. poet draws freely upon his stock of epithets for the sun. 

The PhosHix. 23 

The torch of the ether, and as oft quaffeth he 
no Ocean-cold draughts from those excellent fountains 

When he dips in those waters. His wave-sportings done, 

To a tall tree-top he betaketh him proudly 

Where most easily eastward he is able to watch 

The sun's journey when the taper of heaven 

O'er the boiling billows brilliantly glimmereth, 

Luminous with lustre. Lands are embellished, 

The world made beauteous, when the bright gem of 

O'er the ocean's paths, through earth and her regions, 

Grandest of stars, the ground illumines. 
120 As ^ soon as the sun o'er the salt-streams riseth. 

High overtow'rth them, the tawny-winged bird 

Glorious leaves the tree of the forest, 

Through the firmament flieth on fleet wing upward, 

Chanteth and singeth as he soars heavenward. 

The bird's demeanor ^ is so comely and pleasing. 

His spirit inspired, then, sparkling with joyance ; 

More wondrously raiseth he the tones of his music. 

His glorious voice, than the children of men 

E'er heard under heaven, since high-ruling God, 
130 Wielder of Glory, the world founded. 

The earth and the heavens. The sound of his voice is such music b 

Sweeter, more beautiful than song ever uttered, ^'^"'" ^^^'^ 

among men. 

Wmsomer far than any of melodies ; 
Nor trumpets nor horns can equal that music, 
Nor the harp's harmony, nor heroes' voices 
Any on earth, nor organ's melody, 

^ Commenting on the passage II. 120-144 in our text, Br. says, "I wonder 
that there are still folk who think that there is no poetry in early Eng- 

2 We have followed BT. and Gr., though the context, by expatiating upon 
the tones of the bird, might justify us in translating ' cries ' ; i.e., ' The cries 
cf the bird are so beautiful' etc. Moreover, Lactantius dwells with great 
emphasis upon the " song," " voice," etc. 

24 The Phoenix. 

Nor bagpipe's notes/ nor swan's feathers,^ 
Nor any harmony that Heaven created 
For men's merriment in this mournful existence ! 
140 So sings he and chants with joys bUssful, 

Till the sun southward sinks 'neath the welkin : 
He listeneth in silence, his head bowing, then, 
Wise, firm-mooded, and his fleet pinions 
Thrice fluttereth : the Phoenix is silent. 
Twelve times ever, the hours marketh he 
Of day and of night. So the bird is the forest's 
Dweller and denizen deemed, that he enjoyeth 
The place at his pleasure, its plenty, riches, 
150 Its life and delights, the land's ornaments, 

Till the guard of the grove hath gone through a thousand * 
Of this world's winters. 'Neath the weight of age, then, 
The dusky-feathered one droops for a season, 
Old, agfed one : the excellent bird, then, 
Flieth away, the green earth leaveth. 
The fields blossoming, to find him a spacious 
Kingdom of earth where not any of men have 
In this secluded Home and fatherland. There, high over bird-kind, 

^ongas^kingof Mighty, iUustrious, dominion he wieldeth, 

birds. 160 'Mid that folk preeminent, aijd awhile along vnth them 

The waste places wardeth.* Then, west goeth he, 
Mighty of motion, with many years burdened, 

^ Our translation follows quite closely the G.-W. text; but this passage 
(136 (b)-i37 (a)) is rendered differently by some scholars; e.g., organ's 
tone, song's melody ; nor organ's tone, nor harmonious lay ; nor the organ tone, 
nor the singing of the sackbut, etc., etc. 

^ The swan's singing his death-song is familiar ; but the singing of the 
feathers is unusual. For valuable note, see Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader, 
p. 228. 

" Bri. and some others say thousands ; but Lact. has mille. Also cf. 1. 364, 

* Gr. construed him (1. 160) as sing., and weardaff (1. 161), as plu., and 
translated : a while with him they inhabit the waste places. Weardaff, how- 
ever, is a sing., and its subj. is he (1. 158). 

The Phoenix. 


On fleet wing flying, the feathery tribe 

Throng the noble one : each of them fain 

Would be liegeman and thane to the illustrious atheling, 

Till he himself seeketh the Syrians' land 

With the greatest of retinues. Thither the pure one 

Hies him hurriedly, and holds in the shade, 

In the grove inhabits, a gloomy, desolate 

170 Place that is hidden from heroes a-many. 
Where in a lofty tree, he lives in the forest, 
A firm-rooted tree 'neath the dome of the heavens. 
Which folk on the earth Phcenix entitle 
From the name of the bird. The renowned Glory-King, 
Creator of Earthmen, I ever have heard, 
Hath that tree granted that it and it only 
Of all trees on earth upward a-towering 
Bloometh most beauteously : nor blight nor blast 

180 May anywise harm it, but, ever protected, 
It abideth uninjured while the earth lasteth. 

God blesses this 
tree for the bird's 



Then, the wind lulleth, the weather is calm, 

The pure gem of heaven holy shineth, 

The clouds disperse, the expanse of waters 

Do stand still there, the storms utterly 

Soothed under heaven, from the south shineth 

The weather-torch warrn, for world-folk beameth : 

Then, the bird in the boughs his building beginneth, 

His nest fashioning ; he must needs speedily 

Old age quicken by ardor of spirit. 

His youth renew. From near and from far, then, 

He gathereth and gleaneth the goodliest of winsome 

Plants and wood-blooms up in his dwelling-place. 

Each excellent odor from herbs fragrant, 

From sweet things on earth that the Sovereign of Glory, 

The Creator of all things, on earth fashioned 

The Phoenix now 
gathers the 
choicest plants 
and herbs, and 
builds a nest. 

26 The Phoenix. ^ 

For the honor of earth-folk. Up to that tree, then, 
200 He early beareth the excellent treasures ; 

The wild bird 'gins, then, to build in the desert 
In a tall tree's boughs a biding-place lovely, 
An abode beautiful, and abideth therein. 
Far aloft liveth, in the leafy shade 
Batheth and steepeth his body and plumage 
On all sides fully with odors holy. 
And the noblest blooms and blossoms of earth. 
He sitteth there anxious and eager for the journey. 
When, in the summer season, the sun at its hottest 
210 O'er the shade shineth, sheen gem of heaven, 
Fulfils its destiny ^ and the world surveyeth : 
His home grows hot through the heat of the sun, then, 
The herbs warm up, the excellent dwelling 
Breathes and exhaleth the sweetest of odors, 
And the bird with its nest through the fire's clutches 
Bums in the blaze : the bale-fire is kindled ; 

The nest and the Then, the blazc embraces the abode of the sad one, 

bird are con- ■ jg cruelly busy,^ the yellow flame 

sumcd in the j j t j 

flame. Eats it, and the Phoenix ancient of days 

In the fire burneth. Then, the blaze swalloweth 
220 His frail body, his life departeth. 

The doomed one's spirit, when the death-fire burneth 
His flesh and his bones. There shall come again, nathless, 
In the lapse of the years new life to the Phoenix. 
Again thereafter, the ashes begin to 
Gather together, when the great fire is over, 
A ball fashioning, when fully consumed in 
The flame's grapple the greatest of nests is. 
The brave one's abode : his body cooleth, 
His bone-house is broken, and the blaze subsideth. 
230 From the pyre's ashes, thereafter appeareth 

1 This peculiar phrase is literally taken from the A.-S., and is so rendered 
by Bri., Gr., BT. 

2 Grein says, Das Feuer ist im Zuge ; we follow BT., and Bri. glossary. 

The Phoenix. 27 

The image of an apple ^ issuing marvellous, The regeneration 

Whence a worm ' waxeth wondrously beautiful, ofthcbirdbegins. 

As if forth from an egg it had sprung into being. 

From a shell, beauteous ; in the shade groweth it, 

Till at first it resembleth a fair young bird, 

The chick of an eagle; then, on liveth it The stages of its 

Longer in hfe-joys, till it is hke in form to growth. 

The old eagle, and thereafter anon is 

Furbished with feathers as at first it had been, 
240 Brilliantly blooming : then, the bird (?)^ waxeth 

Youthful again, is from sins parted. 

Like as' one beareth the fruits of the earth 

Homeward at harvest, health-giving nourishment. 

For life's sustenance, at the time of the reaping. 

Ere winter appfoacheth, lest the pouring rain-storms 

On the earth injure them ; thereafter, plenty. 

Board-joys they find there, when frost and snow 

With might overmastering mantle earth's bosom 
250 In the garments of winter ; from those fruits afterward 

Must earth-folk's riches be reaped, harvested 

By the sprouting of grain, which springeth from pure 

Seed erstwhile sown, when the sun's radiance. 

The symbol of hfe, in the spring season 

1 This is only one of the numerous forms that this legend assumed during 
its long course through Egyptian, Roman, and mediaeval periods. — Lact. has 
seminis ins tar. 

^Brasd (1. 240) is not understood. We follow Gr.'s translation, and the 
conjecture of Bri., J. R. C. Hall, and others. 

3 We here enter upon an unusually long, labored simile; so long, indeed, 
that the poet can hardly maintain his equilibrium. Several eminent textual 
critics have tried to patch up this passage ; but the results are not yet entirely 
satisfactory. We have kept close to the G.-W. text, but found Bri.'s punctuation 
more helpful than W.'s — The Beowulf ^o&t, whoever he is, seems to break 
down in the middle of a simile about as long as this. Cf. Hall's Trans, of B., 
pp. 82-83, note. — The Phienix poet is clearing the way to tell us that the bird 
is the symbol of the new life in the Christian soul ; but first he mijst exhibit 
him as " the symbol of the sun." 


The Phoenix. 

The regeneration 
of the Phoenix is 
compared to the 
growth of the 
grain, which " is 
not quickened 
except it die." 


Folk-wealth awaketh, so that the fruits of the land, 

The earth's ornaments, by their own germination 

Are brought forth thereafter : so the old bird waxeth 

Young after years, his youth reneweth 

With flesh again furnished. No food taketh he. 

Naught to eat on earth, save only a portion 

Of honey-dew^ tasteth he, which at midnight often 

On the blossoms falleth : thus the fearless bird 

His life feedeth till his former dwelling-place, 

His own home, again, thereafter seeketh he. 


Then, proud of his plumage, with plants surrounded 
The bird is now grown, his life renewed is, 
Young, full of gifts, in the ground seeks he 
His agile body which the blaze had erst eaten. 
The leavings of fire collecteth together, 
270 With skill gathereth the bones that had crumbled 
In the fire's fury, and fetcheth together 
Early thereafter ashes and bones. 
The pyre's remnants, and with plants surroundeth 
The spoils of the slaughter^ splendidly garnished. 

Phoenix is him- Hc is ready to look for his own land again, then, 

self again. The leavings of fire with his feet seizeth. 

With his claws clutcheth, and his country one more 
His sun-bright seats, seeks joyfully 
His happy home. Wholly renewed, then, 
280 Are his life and his plumage, as at first he had them. 
When God all-glorious in the beginning placed him 

^This has sometimes been rendered as mildew, but, as that would not 
bring- up pleasant associations, we adopt the conjectures of J. R. C. Hall, 
Bri., and others. The Latin has ambrosias calesti nectare rores, which the 
A.-S. poet puts into one word. Probably 'nectar' is the word we need. 

^ W£el-reaf (1. 273). BT. says ' exuvias suas,' Gr, Leichenraub. J. R. C. 
Hall and Bri. say spoil of the slain. 

The Phosnix. 29 

In that noble region. His bones there, then, 

Which the fire's fervor in flame on the barrow 

Had eaten, brings he and the ashes together : 

Then, the bones and the embers all on that island 

The brave one burieth. Back to life cometh 

The sun's symbol,' when the sheen heaven-torch, 

The gladdest of gems, from the east shineth 
290 Up o'er the ocean, orb preeminent. 

Phoenix is in front fair to look upon. The bird is de- 

His bosom embellished with a blending of colors : scnbed m detail. 

On the back of his head, green and crimson ^ 

Blend together in beauty and harmony. 

The tail of the bird is beautifully mingled. 

Brown and purple, with plashes of brightness 

Beauteously embellished. The bird's wings are 

White at the tips, his neck green both 

Above and beneath, and his neb glisteneth 
300 Like glass or gem, his beak fair to look on 

Within and without. His eyeball ( ?) ' is strong. 

In form and in shape a stone resembling, 

A glittering jewel, when in golden vessel 

By the craft of the smiths 'tis set cunningly. 

^ The clause Bi8f . . . segn [287(b)-288(a)] has long perplexed editors and 
translators. The MS. has J»egn, retained by Grundtvig and Gr. If biU him 
edniwe be rendered is himself again, then the whole clause = i'.4f thane of the 
sun is himself again (when his lord, the sun, appears, etc.). Cf. 1. 165, where 
the birds wished to be his thanes and servants; now he is the sun's thane. 
This exegesis enables us to keep close to the MS. Thorpe and Ett., however, 
suggest ' segn,' which W. and Bri. adopt. Now, Tacitus and others speak of 
the Phoenix as " the symbol of the sun," and J^aere sunnan segn would 
exactly represent that epithet. Adopting this, the clause would read, " The 
symbol of the sun is himself again," etc., etc. Gr. in his Dichtungen, gave a 
very free translation. 

^ Wurma (1. 294) is variously glossed purple, crimson, scarlet, purplish red. 
Color words are very vague in A.-S. 

' It is not certain whether the whole ball of the eye or merely the pupil is 
meant. Gr.'s translation and lexicon differ; the latter takes the A.-S. word as 
an abstract noun = nature-of-the-eye, power-of-sight. 

30 The Phoenix. 

His neck encircling, like the sun's halo, 
Is the brightest of rings woven of feathers. 
Beauteous his belly is, bright and gleaming, 
Marvellous sheen. The shield, above, on the 
Back of the Phoenix is joined with ornaments. 
310 The legs of the bird are with scales covered, 
His fallow feet. The Phoenix is wholly 
Lovely to look on, likest the peacock 
Blooming in bliss, as the books tell us. 
The bird is not slow, sluggish of motion. 
Inert, indolent, like others of bird -kind 
Which on dull, numb wing move through the air : 
But he is quick and swift-going, exceeding agile, 
Beauteous and winsome, marked with glory : 
^^ternal is the Prince who happiness giveth him ! 
320 Early thereafter, he his old haunts seeketh. 
From this land flieth, to that fair place hieth. 
As the bird soareth, is seen, then, of earthmen. 
Of folk not a few, far through middle-earth. 
Multitudes They assemble themselves from southward and northward, 

throng to see the From eastward and westward, eagerly thronging. 

Come from far and near in numberless multitudes, 
Where the Creator's gift they do all see, now. 
In the bird clearly, as the King of Victories 
In the beginning gave him a goodlier nature, 
330 More excellent ornaments, than others of bird-kind. 
Then, men o'er the earth marvel and wonder 
His coming is At his beauty and form, and their books ' tell us. 

On tablets of marble mark with their hands, too. 
When the day and the hour to earth folk showeth 
The swift-flier's ornaments. Myriads of birds, then, 
From far and near flock in multitudes. 
From all sides moving, in the air raise 

1 Some read gewritum (1. 332) = in books tell us. We follow our text, 
based upon the MS. ; the meaning is the same in both cases. The Egyptians, 
Romans, and others wrote no little of this wonderful bird. 

■ made a matter of 


The Phoenix. 31 

Their psean of praise, with puissant voices 
Laud the great hero, and wheeling in midair 
340 Encompass the holy one : in the midst, Phoenix 
Is surrounded by throngs. Races look on, now. 
Bewildered wonder how the willing retinue 
The wild bird worship, in wide multitudes 
Proclaim him lustily, and as king honor 
The liegelord belovfed, lead joyfully 
The atheling homeward, till the eminent hermit 
Swift-winged fleeth, till the throng of rejoicing ones 
No longer can follow him, when the pride of multitudes 
From this earth soareth, his own land seeking. 

350 So the blessfed Phoenix, his death-hour over, 
His dear old home once again seeketh. 
That land of delight ; lorn of mood, then. 
Back from the brave one do the birds turn them 
To their land once more, when the mighty atheUng 
Young is at home. High God only ^^^ ^,^_^^ 

Knoweth his nature,' omnipotent Ruler, knoweth the 

Whether woman or man : this wot not any . "ly^^-y ofhis 

■' birth. 

Of all men of earth but the Creator only. 
In how marvellous a manner he made this creature, 
360 ,Jg.ow great the decree that gave him his being ! 
There the blessfed bird may in bHss enjoy his 
Home and the currents that course through the forests. 
On that beauteous plain the bird may remain 
A thousand of winters : then, his life's end cometh ; 
The pile covers him through the blaze of the fire : 
Yet, wakened marvellously, he cometh to life . 
Once more wondrously. So, when, wan and drooping. 
He death dreadeth not, its dire agony, 

1 Some render ' sex^ but we follow Bri. 


The Phosnix. 

He does not fear 
death, knowing 
that he shall rise 

370 Who knoweth ever that renewal of hfe shall 

The flame's fury follow assuredly, 

Life after death, when in bird-form he riseth 

Early thereafter from his ashes springing, 

Reneweth his youth 'neath the shelter of heaven. 

He is son and sire to himself, and is heir 

Forever thereafter to his old inheritance. 

The mighty Maker of Man granted him 

To live so wondrously his life again over, 
380 Covered with feathers, though the fire had swallowed him.^ 


The Christian, 
also, shall rise 
from his ashes. 

The poet tells of 
the fait of man. 

So each saint seeketh, after sore tribulation. 
Life everlasting 'mid the Lord God's chosen, 
Through the darkness of death,^ that, his days here over. 
He the gracious gifts of God may enjoy in 
Rapture unending, and forever and ever. 
As a meed of his labors, live in glory. 
This bird's nature may well be likened to 
The elect servants of the dear Lord Jesus 
390 Here under heaven, how, through the help of the Father, 
They keep in this world their joy unfading 
In these days of danger, and undying glory 
In the celestial land lay up forever. — 
The Almighty, we have heard, by his marvellous power 
Made man and woman, and placed them in earth's 
Choicest region, which the children of men 
Paradise call, where no pleasure failed them 
While they minded to keep the command of the Eternal, 

^ From this point the poet draws on his imagination and Christian sym- 

''■ The A.-S. is dark death. On line 52, above, the phrase the narrow death 
is used. The great poet-laureate's words in The Two Voices may be para- 
phrased : No sound man that breathes with Anglo-Saxon breath hath ever 
truly longed for death. 

The Phcenix. 33 

400 The word of the Holy One, in their new delight. 

There the old-foe's envy injured them bitterly, 

The arch-fiend's enmity, who offered the tree's 

Fruit for food to them, that foolishly both of them 

Ate of the apple, angering God, 

Forbidden things tasted. There bitter grief to them 

Came from that eating, to their offspring proved it, 

To their sons and daughters, a sorrowful banquet : ^ 

Their busy^ teeth were bitterly punished 

For their guilt grievously ; they had God's anger, 

Bitter agony ; anguish suffered 
410 Their offspring afterward for eating that morsel 

'Gainst God's command. So, mournful in spirit, 

Their delightsome home they must leave, abandon, 

Through the serpent's hatred, when in days agone 

He our grandparents beguiled artfully. 

With treachery foul, so that far away thenceward 

They sought a sojourn in that sorrowfiil death-vale, 

Dismaler dwellings. The dear life of rapture 

Was hidden in darkness, and the holy places 

Were shut fast in their faces, through the foeman's cunning 
420 Many weary winters, till the Wielder of Glory ,^ Like a faithful 

The Toy of Mankind,^ by his coming hither homiiist he teiu 

•' ^ -^ of the Only Hope-.' 

Again opened them. Comfort of the Weary ^ for sinful men. 

And the Only Hope,' to all his holy ones. 


And most like this, as men of learning 
In words do tell us and writings inform us, 

^ Symbel (1. 406) was rendered as an adv. by Gr. in his translation. BT., 
Br. , and others treat it as a noun = banquet. 

2 Idge (1. 407) is not understood. We follow BT. — For a helpful note, 
see Bri., p. 228. 

^ These parallelisms are a regular feature of A.-S. poetry, though we do not 
often have as many as four together. Of course these refer to Christ. 


The Phoenix. 

As this aged bird 
leaves his home, 
and goes to an- 
other land to find 
new life, 

so our first 
parents had to 
leave theirs in 
Paradise, and 
seek a home 
among enemies. 

The faithful 
Christian is 
building his nest 
in a high tree. 

Is this bird's journey, wlien agfed he leaveth 
His own land and country and old is waxen, 
Departeth sorrowful oppressed with winters, 
Where the grove's shelter lofty he findeth, 

430 And therein buildeth, of herbs and branches 

Noblest that are known, a new place of dwelling, 

A nest in the grove : he greatly desireth 

That young once more he again may receive through 

The fire's burning life after death, 

May renew his youth and his old haunts visit. 

His sun-bright seats set out to look for, 

When his fire-bath is finished. So our first parents. 

Our elders of old, gave up, abandoned 

The land of delight, and left behind them 

440 Their dwelling of glory, went a long journey 

Into hostile ones' hands, where hateful ones often, 
Accursfed creatures, cruelly harassed them. 
There were many, nathless, who with holy practices 
Heeded under heaven the behests of the Father, 
With glorious deeds, so that God smiled on them. 
Great King of Heaven, with gracious approval. 
The high tree is this that the holy saints now 
Have their pure homes in, where hateful ones nowise 
Are able with poison to injure his people, 

450 With token of treachery, in that time of great peril, 
Where by deeds illustrious the Lord's good warrior 
His nest fashion eth 'gainst every oppression. 
When alms giveth he to the poor and the needy, 
To all wretched ones, and for aid on the Lord God, 
On the Father calleth, forth hasteneth, 
Atones the offences of this fleeting existence. 
Its deeds of darkness, and the dear law of God 
Holds firm in his bosom, his prayers seeketh' 
With pure, clean thoughts, and his knees oft bendeth 

1 We follow BT. and Bri. — Gr. has almost the same translation : {er) Zum 
Gehet sich wendet. 

The Phoenix, 35 

460 Noble to earth, all- ill deeds fleeth, 

All foul offences, for the fear of the Lord God, 

Strives eagerly to do the most of 

Good deeds and gracious : God shieldeth him 

In all of his ways, Wielder of Victories, 

Lord God of Hosts. These are the herbs, then, His good deeds 

The blooms of the plants, which the blessed Phoenix "'f' F''^'f"V 

^ ' herbs with which 

From far and wide doth fetch under heaven, he encompasseth 

Brings to his biding-place, where he buildeth his nest soon himself. 

All fast and firm 'gainst foemen's oppressions. 
470 So the heroes of heaven his behests follow 

With mood and with might in their mortal dwellings. 

Fame-deeds perform : the Father almighty will 

Assuredly give them blessed requital. 

From these herbs, dwellings shall hereafter be built them 

In the city of glory, their good works rewarding. 

Seeing they held to his holy commandments. 

And love the dear Lord with unlagging ardor 

By day and by night, fervent in spirit, 

With faith luminous the Belovfed One choosing 
480 'Bove the wealth of this world : they ween not of happiness 

By long living this life so fleeting. 

Thus, the blessfed man doth bliss eternal, 

A home in the heavens, with the High-King eminent 

Earn valiantly, till the end cometh of 

His measure of days, when death off-taketh 

Each one from life-joys, eager-toothed warrior 

Armed with his weapons,^ and to earth's embraces 

Speedily pusheth the perishing bodies 

From their souls sundered, where, 'neath the sod mouldering, 
490 They shall long remain till the last fire cometh. 

To the Great Meeting ^ shall many be led, then, 

1 Literally, The warrior greedy for slaughter (and) armed with weapons. 
This is thoroughly characteristic. 

2 The gathering of the nations at the Day of Judgment is conceived as a 
great Gemot, summoned by the Great King. 


36 The Phoenix. 

TheDayofjudg- Of the racc of mortals : the Father of Angels, 

Very- King of Victories, shall convene an assembly,^ 

Lord God of Hosts, shall judge in righteousness. 

All men of earth out from the grave, then, 

Shall come once more, as the King almighty. 

The Angel-Prince, summons them o'er sea and o'er land, 

Saviour of men, at the sound of the trumpet : 

500 Then, death the dark is done for the blessfed 

By the might of the Lord God : the noble ones come 

In multitudes pressing, when this present world. 

Sinful and guilty, is consumed in shame. 

Eaten in flame. Each one waxeth, now, 

Frantic with fear, when the fire swalloweth 

His fleeting possessions, the flame ravenously 

Devours earth's riches, the embossed gold-work 

Eagerly graspeth, greedily swallows 

All the land's ornaments. At that open hour, then, 

510 This bird's token,^ beautiful and joyous. 
Is plain to the eyes of all humanity. 
When the might of the Lord all things restoreth. 
From burial-barrows the bones gathereth. 
The body and members and the guest of the fire ' 
At Christ's footstool : the King gloriously 
From his high seat in heaven on his holy ones shineth,^ 
Grand Glory-Gem. Good for the man who 
At that sorrowful season is received of the Father ! 

1 See footnote 2, p. 35. 

^ This means : The symbolical character of the bird . . . is manifest to all 
men, etc. Tacen (1. 510) is a popular word in the homilectic literature, and 
is used in this poem frequently. 

8 We follow the G.-W. text, and the translations of Thorpe and GoUancz. 
Other readings are : (i) life's guest; (2) life's spirit; (3) the flame's spirit. 

* This idea is repeated in 11, 590-591, below. 

The Phcenix. 37 


There the bodies of saints from sins set free, then, 

Speed joyfully, spirits return to 
520 Their caskets of clay, when climbeth the fire The Resume- 

High to the heavens. Hot is for many "°°' 

That fearful fire, when, affrighted, trembling, 

Each soul of earthmen reenters its body, 

Both of saint and of sinner, ascendeth the tomb 

To the Judge's doom. The fire rageth 

Burneth wickedness. There the blest redeemed ones. 

Their agonies over, shine out in their good works. 

In. their own actions : such the excellent plants. 

The herbs a-winsome, that the wild bird Phoenix 
530 On every side encircles his nest with. 

So that quickly ablaze it burneth, flameth 

'Neath the sun suddenly and himself therewith, 

And, the flame-burning over, he receiveth his life back 

Anew and afresh, then. In robes of flesh, then. 

Are all men reclad, most comely, youthful. 

Who of their own will here bring it to pass that 

The great Glory- King granteth them mercy 

At the solemn assembly. Then, sanctified spirits, 
540 The souls of the saints, sing in unison. 

Lift up their voices, elect, holy ones, BiessM are the 

In choruses chant the King's praises, dead that die in 

• Go up to glory gleaming in beauty, and 

With good deeds fragrant. Refined from dross, then. 

Are the souls of men, made sweet and pure ' 
SChrough the purging of fire. — Let no one believe,^ now. 

Of all men on earth that Zam fashioning 

With words that are lying this lay of the Phoenix, 

1 Other readings are: brightly adorned; gl'dnund gekVdrt. Ours is a free 
translation, but rests upon high authority. — The poet believes in purgatory, and 
refers to it naturally. 

2 The poet here strikes a personal, subjective strain. 


The Phoenix. 

[I am not utter- 
ing poetical rhap- 
sodies, but am 
following Job, an 
'inspired singer.] 

As the noble bird 
gathers up his 
ashes and bones, 
and seeks the 
presence and 
society of his 
god, the sun. 

Am writing rhapsodies ! you may read the prophecy, 

550 The songs ' of Job ! Stirred in his bosom, 
Inspired by the Spirit, spake he out boldly. 
Adorned with honor, he uttered this word : 
" In the deeps of my bosom, I disdain not the thought 
That I shall choose in my nest my death-bed, and thenceward, 
Mood-weary man mournful depart on 
My long journey from past deeds unhappy. 
Covered with clay, to the clasp of the earth, and. 
My death-day done, through the dear Lord's goodness, 
Like the great bird Phoenix, shall iind once more 
On rising again renewal of life-joys, 

560 BHss with the Lord, where the beloved throng do 
Praise the dear Father. I can never attain to 
The limit of life through the long ages 
Of brightness, blissfulness : though my body must moulder 
In the grave's gloom-vaults for glee unto worms, 
Yet the Lord God of Hosts, after the horrible death-hour, 
Shall my soul deliver and awake it to glory. 
A firm hope and faith ne'er fails in my bosom, 
Of perpetual joy in the Prince of the Angels." ^ 

570 Thus sang a seer in cycles of old. 
Spake sagaciously, God's messenger, 
Of his rising again unto life eternal, 
That we, in this era, might well conceive the 
Glorious token that the great bird Phoenix 
Through his burning brings us : the bones' fragments. 
The ashes and embers all he coUecteth, 
When the fire is finished, in his feet, thereafter, 
The bird bringeth them to the abode of the Lord God, 
Out tow'rd the sun, where he afterward liveth 

580 Years numberless, renewed in form and 

1 Utterances, prophecies, some render. We follow BT. 

"^ The poet paraphrases Job xxix. 18 and xix. 25, 26, 27, except that, in the 
former passage, he reads " Phoenix " where the K. J. Bible has " sand." 
See Bri., p. 228. 

The Pkosnix. 

Wholly young again, where 'niong all that people 
Not any can ever with ills threaten him. 
So, now, after death, by the dear Lord's power. 
Souls with their bodies journey together, 
Like the blessfed bird beauteously decked with 
Excellent odors, in eminent rapture. 
Where the faithful sun flashes in beauty 
O'er hosts of the happy in the heavenly city. 


so, after the 
resurrection, the 
souls of the just, 
purified as by 
fire, seelc the 
presence and 
fellowship of 


590 There, high through the heavens, the holy Saviour 
Brightly beameth o'er blessfed spirits, 
Beautiful birds in bliss exulting 
-Restored gloriously gladly follow him 
In that land of light, elect spirits. 
Forever and ever, where with evil and treachery 
No false and impious foeman can harm them : 
But they live there for aye in light apparelled, 
Like the great bird Phoenix 'neath God's protection, 
Grandly in glory. The good work of each of them 
Brightly beameth in the blissful home 

600 In the everlasting Lord's belovfed presence, 
In peace alway, like the light of the sun where 
The glittering garland,^ from glistening jewels 
Wondrously woven, is worn on the head of 
Each of the happy ones. Their heads shine, then, 
Covered with glory ; the crown of the Lord 
Excellent adorns each of the faithful 
With lustre in the life where the long rapture 
Endless and perennial not e'er diminisheth. 
But they in beauty abide abundant in glory, 

610 With the Father of Angels in ornaments fair. 
They shall know in that land naught sorrowful, 

^ Crown would be more conventional; but, for the sake of alliteration, we 
follow BT. 

After the Judg- 
ment, Christ flies 
through the air 
followed by re- 
joicing spirits. 

The good deeds 
of the righteous 
shine brightly 

The Joys of the 


40 The Pkoznix. 

Nor harm nor want nor days of contention, 

Nor hunger the hot nor horrible thirst, 

Nor age nor penury : the excellent King to them 

All good things giveth, where the great throng of spirits 

Laud their Saviour and the heavenly King's 

Greatness glorify, to God singing praises. 

The peaceful throng, 'round the throne of the Father 

Holy in heaven wake harmonies mighty. 

Clear-sounding choruses ; in common with angels, 

620 The blissful ones blithely bless the excellent 
Wielder of Worlds, with one voice crying : 
The Song of the " Peace to thee, true God, and perfect wisdom, 

And thanks be to thee enthroned in glory 
For every new gift and all of thy bounty, 
Immense, measureless is thy might and thy power. 
High and holy ! The heaven of heavens, 
Father almighty, is filled beauteously. 
Splendor of splendors, with thy spacious glory 
Up 'mid the angels and on earth together ! 

630 Protect us, thou Author of all things ! thou art almighty Father 
God in the highest. Guardian of Heaven ! " 
Thus say the righteous ransomed from sin in 
The city of glory, sing of his majesty ; 
The host of the happy in heaven e'er raise 
The Emperor's ^ praise : " Endless worship 
Is his only forever ; he not e'er had beginning. 
Commencement of might ! though, 'mong men in the earth 

In the form of a child he was born and nurtured, 

640 As man on this midearth, yet his mighty power 
High o'er the heavens holy continued. 
Undiminished his majesty ! though mortal agony, 
Torment and torture, on the tree of shame 

1 The poet conceives of God as the divine Caesar, or Kaiser. — In reading, 
we must project ourselves back into this early period when these words were 
not hackneyed by centuries of use, but were still filled with august meaning. 

The Phoznix. 


He was doomed to endure, he the third day following 
The fall of his body ^ rose from the dead again 
Through the help of the Father. So Phoenix betokeneth, 
Young in the world, the God-Son's power. 
When up from his ashes uninjured in form he 

650 Leaps into life again. So our Lord and Saviour 
Through the fall of his body afforded us help, 
Life everlasting, as the lofty bird his 
Wings fiUeth full of fragrant, winsome 
Herbs of the forest, when eager for flying, 
^arth-fruits delicious." Such are the words, then, 
The songs of the saints (as sacred books ^ tell us) 
Whose holy spirits aspire unto heaven, 
In the joy of all joys, to the gentle World-Father, 
Where to God for a gift the goodly fragrance 
Of words and of works ^ they willingly offer, 

660 To the great Creator, in the glorious creation, 
The life of light. Laud him forever. 
World without end, give him honor and glory. 
Majesty, dominion, in the mighty, celestial 
Kingdom of heaven ! He is rightly Sov'ran 
Of the whole of the earth and all of the heavens, 
Encircled with glory in the city of beauty. 
The Creator of Light hath to us granted 
To earn on the earth here his unending raptures. 
By good deeds to gain glory in heaven, 

670 Where we men are permitted the mightiest kingdoms 
To seek and to hold, on seats alofty 
Live in the delights of life and of peace. 
To hold the homes of happy blessedness. 
Have pleasures perpetual, see the peaceful, merciful 

Even in heaven 
the noble bird is 
glorified as a type 
of the risen 

The poet himself 
praises God. 

1 We follow BT. 

2 Such men as Bede, St. Ambrose, and other allegorical writers of the 

^ See Bible concordance under " savour," especially " sweet-smelling savour." 
Also cf. " the odor of sanctity." 

42 The Phoenix, 

Lord of Victories, look on him alway 
And his songs of praise unceasingly raise, 
Blessfed 'mid angels. Alleluia ! 

[The last eleven lines of the poem are part Latin and part Anglo-Saxon, 
which we have tried to represent below by leaving the Latin. Stopford Brooke 
suggests that possibly Cynewulf may have chosen to end the poem in this 
" fantastic way," instead of signing with runes as in some others.^] 

Hath allowed us graciously lucis auctor. 

In this mortal Hfe mereri'^ 

By deeds of goodness gaudia in celo. 

Where we men are permitted maxima regna 

To seek and possess, sedibus altis 

To live in the delights lucis et pads, 

Earn the abodes almcB ' letitice, 

Have abundant blessings, blandem et mitem, 

Victory-Lord see sine fine. 

And laud him loudly laude perenne, 

Happy with angels. Alleluia. 

' With all deference to this eminent scholar, I do not see the remotest 
connection between this way of ending a poem and Cynewulf s runic inser- 
tions, unless it should turn out that he has hidden his signature somehow, a 
la Donnelly, in the Latin. 

2 Some read merueri; one emendator, meruisse ; another, merere. 

' Some read alma. 



[This fine torso came near perishing by fire in 1 731 ; but, fortunately, Hearne 
had copied it in 1726. It is now accessible to students in the Grein-Wiilker 
Bibliothek der Angehdchsischen Poesie (Vol. I, pp. 358-373), and still more 
accessible in Sweet's and Bright's Anglo-Saxon Readers ; and to these the stu- 
dent is referred for the original text. Our translation is based upon the Grein- 
Wiilker text above referred to. 

As to the merits of this ancient " ballad," as it is often called, there is great 
unanimity among scholars. We have elsewhere quoted an American critic as 
saying that, in this poem and Brunnanburh, we hear the last full strains of the 
Anglo-Saxon harp. Sweet says: "Although the poem does not show the high 
technical finish of the older works, it is full of dramatic power and warm feel- 
ing." Professor J. W. Bright says : " In dramatic incident and in patriotic fervor, 
this poem is unsurpassed in Anglo-Saxon literature." The German scholar 
ten Brink says : " Byrhtnoth's Death is one of the pearls of Old English poetry, 
full, as it is, of dramatic life and of the fidelity of an eye-witness. . . . The 
style is simple, pithy, noble. . . The idea of the comitatus and its heroic 
spirit retain their full strength and influence." Freeman characterizes it as 
" the longest and the grandest of our old songs." 

Brief references to the battle or short accounts of it can be found in such 
easily accessible works as the Encyl. Brit. (s.v. Brihtnoth), the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle, and Henry of Huntingdon (both in Bohn's Library^), and in Gar- 
diner's and Knight's histories of England; while more detailed accounts will 
be found in Guest's and Freeman's histories of England, and in ten Brink's 
History of Early English Literature (Bohn's Library or Kennedy's trans- 

Translations accessible to the general reader have been made by Freeman 
{Old English History) ja-nihy Professor J.M.Garnett, an American scholar; and 
those who have access to more technical books of reference can find Sims's 
admirable translation in modern ballad measures, in the Modern Language 
Notes for May, 1892. 

Maldon, the site of the battle, is a very ancient town, first mentioned in A.D. 



The Battle of Maldon. 




913, when Edward the Elder encamped near it, to impede the progress of the 
Danes, It is still a municipal and parliamentary borough and seaport town of 
Essex, England, and is situated on an acclivity rising from the south side of the 
Blackwater, 44 miles northeast of London. (^Encyl. Brit,, 9th ed.) 

The origin of the song is ascribed by ten Brink to " one of the many battles 
with the Danes which shook England during the pernicious reign of the 
second ^thelred. A band of Normans (i.e. Northmen) under Justin and 
Guthmund, made, in the year 991, an incursion into the eastern coast of Eng- 
land, and, after plundering Ipswich, penetrated into Essex as far as Maldon on 
the Panta river. Near this town, the river divides into two branches; the south- 
erly arm washes the northern declivity of the hill upon which Maldon lies. 
The Danish ships seem to have taken their position in this branch, while the 
• warriors occupied the space between the two arms of the river. Then the 
East-Saxon ealdorman, Byrhtnoth, ad vanced f rom the north with a hastily col- 
lected band, and halted on the north arm of the Panta, on whose shores ensued 
the conflict celebrated in the song oi Byrhtnoth' s Death." (Kennedy's trans., 
pp, 92-93,) 

This poem, though composed in a period of confusion and of metrical 
decline, is full of charm and of power, retaining no little of the ancient epic 
vigor, and is extremely valuable to the student of our early customs and insti- 
tutions, because it brings vividly before us a typical Teutonic lord with his 
comitatus : he alights from his horse and fights valiantly among liegemen that 
he knows to be tried and trusty, and these, in turn, with the exception of a 
few branded by name as nithings and as infamous forever, would rather lie 
by their dear lord dead on the battle-field, than go home alive without their 
beloved leader.] 

[The opening 
part being lost, 
this is very 
abrupt and 

***** was broken ; 
He bade each liegeman, then, leave his good charger, 
Speed away far, forward advancing, 
Trust his arms and armor ^ and his own mighty courage. 
Then, the kinsman of Offa very quickly discovered 
That the brave-hearted earl would bear with no cowardice ; 
He let fly from his hands his fond-loved hawk, then. 
Afar to the forest, faring battle-ward ; 
From this one might know that ne'er would the younker 
10 Quail in the conflict when he clutched his good weapons ; 
And Eadric also would aid his dear captain, 

1 We follow BT. quite closely. Gar. says. Be mindful of might. Bri. trans- 
lates, Be active and of good courage. 

The Battle of Maldon. 




His folk-lord in fight ; forward his javelin 

He bare to the battle : he was bold, resolute, 

The while he in hand could hold, grapple 

His buckler and broadsword : his boast accomplished he 

When his time came to fight in his friend-lord's sight. 

Early did Byrhtnoth egg on his liegemen, then. 

Rode around rousing them, directing his warriors 

How to stand sturdy and steady in battle, 

And bade them their bucklers boldly to grapple 

Close in their clutches, unquailing, intrepidly. 

When he fully had roused his folk-troopers' mettle, 

From his steed he dismounted where he most desired, 

Where his friends faithfuUest he found on the battle-field. 

On the shore stood, then, shouting sturdily 

The vikings' messenger, called out fearlessly. 

Who in flaunting words flung to the earl, then. 

The sea-kings' message, where he stood on the shore : 

" The bold sea-farers sent me to thee. 

Urged me to tell thee, thou early must send them 

Rings for defence ; it is far better now 

That the onset of battle ye buy off with tribute 

Than that we deal dauntlessly death and destruction. 

We need not grapple now if ye give us the treasure ; ^ 

For the gold gladly we'll give you a truce. 

If thou counsellest this who art chief of this war-band. 

To ransom thy people and pay to the sailors. 

Their goodwill to gain,' the gold that they ask for 

And establish truce with us, with the treasure gladly 

We'll off to our sea-boats, o'er the ocean sailing, 

Keeping the peace with you." Quoth, then, Byrhtnoth, 

His shield shaking, shouted defiantly. 

Brandished his battle-lance, brave-mooded, angry, 

Byrhtnoth en- 
courages his war- 

One of the vik- 
ings brings an 
insolent message. 

Pay us, and we'll 
go away. 

1 This is a free translation of line 34 of the A.-S. Gar. We need not each 
spill {destroy) if ye speed to this. BT. We need not destroy one another if 
you succeed in doing this. Skeat translates the second clause : Jf ye are good 
for that amount. 


The Battle of Maldon. 

Byrhtnoth scorn- 
fully refuses to 

Instead of 
money, we'll 
give you the 
spear and the 

The two armies 
are separated by 
the river Panta. 

Hurled him this answer : " Hark thou, sea-farer. 

This people's response : spears for payment, 

The poisonous point and piercing old battle-swords, 

Those arras they will give you that ne'er 'vailed you in battle. 

Messenger of the pirates, bear back this answer, 

50 To thy people publish less pleasant a story, 

That here stands an excellent earl ^ with his war-troop, 
Who will fight for fatherland, the folk-land of .^Ethelred, 
Land-prince beloved, will lay down my life for 
This people and country : the heathen are doomed to 
Bow in the battle. 'Twere base, methinketh, 
That ye board your boats and bear off our tribute 
With none hindering, since hither thus far ye 
Through our own dear land now have adventured. 
Not so easily ought ye to earn treasure now : 

60 Spear-point and sword-edge shall sooner make friends of us, 
Grim battle-play, ere we give any tribute." 
Then his earls ordered he onward to fare. 
Their bucklers to bear, till bold-mooded all of them 
On the bank stood, then. Neither band 'gainst the other 
Could cross o'er the current : there came a-flowing, then, 
The flood after ebb-tide, the waters were mingled ; 
No short time it seemed to them till their shafts were 

Then, the waters of Panta they proudly (?) ^ encompassed, 
The flower ' of the Essexmen and the fleet of the pirates ; 

70 Not any could injure another, save haply 

Some earlman should fall by the flight of an arrow. 
Ebbed the tide out, then ; eager the pirates were, 

' Byrhtnoth is a typical English military leader of the A.-S. era. He was 
ealdorman (alderman) of the East Saxons. 

2 Prass (1. 68) is not thoroughly understood. It is often followed by an 
interrogation point in the books; but in the passages cited by Sweet, BT, and 
others, it undoubtedly means pomp, proud array. 

' The word rendered 'flower ' might sat^-a front-line or chief, and is some- 
times so translated. 

The Battle of Maldon. 47 

Throngs of vikings were thirsting for battle. 

Bade the shield of heroes a dauntless warrior 

Wulfstan by name, brave 'mid his kindred. 

The bridge to hold firmly : 'twas the bairn of Ceola 

That felled with his dart the first man that dared to 

Step on the bridge, most boldly advancing. 

With Wulfstan ' stood there war-heroes dauntless, 
80 ^Ifhere and Maccus, mood-valiant pair ; 

At the ford they would flee not a foot's-breath, but rather 

The foe facing firmly stood, then, 

The while they could wield weapon and shield. 

This quickly they saw, then, clearly perceiving, 

That bridge-keepers bitter were blocking the way there : 

The loathed guests, then, 'gan to dissemble. 

Asking, urging that onward, forward they 

Might fare o'er the ford, their foot-troopers leading. 

Then the earl of the Essexmen, overcourageous, 
90 Was minded to grant too much of land to the 

Loathed people, the son ^ of Byrhthelm 

O'er the cold river shouted, heroes listened, then : 

" Your way is clear, now : quickly come over, Byrhtnoth, over- 

Men to the grapple : God alone knoweth 

Who the field falleth to." Forward advanced 

The wolves of the battle-field, for water they cared not, 

The war-host of pirates went over Panta, 

O'er the clear currents carried their war-shields, 
. ^ Their bucklers to the bank bare, then, the sea-dogs. 
100 There the foe facing, firmly did stand 

Byrhtnoth with his band. He bade them to form, then, 

A war-hedge " of battle-shields and the band to hold 

'Gainst the foes firmly : then the fight was imminent, 

1 Freeman compares Horatius holding the bridge. 

2 i.e. Byrhtnoth. 
8 The Anglo Saxons used this " war-hedge," or " shield-defence," a great 

deal; by means of it Harold kept the Normans back all day long until 
William resorted to a stratagem to break the phalanx. 

confident, lets 
the pirates cross 


The Battle of Maldon. 

The raven and 
the eagle are 
eager for prey. 

nephew is slain. 


A viking 
" churl " attacks 
the East-Saxon 
" earl." 

Glory in combat ; come was the hour 

That doomed ones must die there. There was din, hubbub, 

Around flew the ravens, the ravenous eagle : 

On the earth uproar. Out from their hands, 

They sent then a-flying file-hardened lances, 

Bitter-edged battle-spears : bows were all busy,' 

Shield received ash-spear : the onslaught of battle 

Was eager, vehement, earlmen fell, then. 

In the dust dead there, down lay good heroes. 

Wulfmaer lay prone, the kinsman of Byrhtnoth 

Sought his slaughter-bed : he with sword's edge keen. 

His sister's son,^ was slashed in the battle. 

To the men of the creeks requital was given : 

Heard 1 that Edward hewed down one of them 

With his falchion fiercely, refused not the blow. 

That there fell at his feet the fated battle-knight ; 

For this deed, his lord thanks rendered him. 

When occasion was offered, honored his liegeman. 

So stood staunch, then, strenuous-mooded 

Earls in the battle ; eagerly thought they 

Well-equipped warriors, who with weapon' s-point first might 

Stretch on the field some fated war-hero : 

The dead bit the dust, then. Undaunted they stood ; 

Byrhtnoth urged them, bade each of his thanemen 

To brace up for battle, he who brave-mooded minded 

To drive out the Danemen. Doughtily forward 

Went, then, a warrior, his weapon uplifted. 

His shield 'fending him, and fared tow'rds the hero : 

The earl as fearlessly fared tow'rds the churl : 

Each for the other evil was planning. 

Sent, then, the seaman a southerly' spear 

1 The Teutonic warrior personifies his weapons. 

2 Freeman mentions the fact that a sister's son was held almost as near as a 
man's own son. This relationship is thought worthy of special mention in 
the ballad of Chevy Chase. 

3 i.e. proceeding from the south. The Danish forces are to the south of 
the East Saxons. 


s^ e-" 


The Battle of Maldon. 


That the lord of warriors was wounded in battle. 
With his shield shoved he till the shaft crackled 
And the battle-lance shivered till backward it sprang ; 
The warrior was raging : he reached with his javelin 
The proud-mooded pirate who had pierced him so sorely. 

140 The warrior was skilful : his war-lance he drove, then, 
Through the neck of the younker, his hand guided it 
That the unlooked-for and loathed one from life sundered he.* 
Then, early thereafter, another shot he 
That the battle-sark burst : in his breast he was wounded 
Through his hauberk of iron, in his heart rankled 
The poisonous point ; the more pleased was the earl, 
Laughed, then, the noble one, the Lord God thanking 
For the good day's work that the Wielder had granted him. 
From his hand, then, a henchman hurled forth a battle-dart, 

150 Let it fly from his fingers, till forward sped it 
And the excellent earlman of ^thelred pierced. 
By his side stood there a stripling-warrior, 
A boy in the battle, who the bloody spear 
From the brave one's body boldly did pluck forth, 
The son of Wulfstan, Wulfmaer the youthful. 
Let the biting spear back again speed, then : 
The point went in, to the earth felling 
Him who erstwhile had ruthlessly reached his dear liegelord. 
There went to the earl, then, an armor-clad man : 

160 He would fain fetch away the folk-leader's jewels. 
His embellished battle-sword, his burnie and rings. 
Byrhtnoth drew, then, his brand from the scabbard, 
Broad, brown-edg^d, on the battle-sark smote : 
One of the seamen too soon hindered him. 
When the excellent earl's arm he disabled : 
The fallow-hilted falchion fell to the earth, then : 
He no longer could hold the hard-edged sword-blade, 
Could not wield his weapon. The word, then, uttered 

1 Literally, reached life on the sudden enemy. The old A.-S. phrase reach 
life is, I am told, still used in whalers' dialect on our coast. 

Byrhtnoth is 

A pirate wishes 
to rob the 
wounded earl of 
his jewels, 
sword, and war- 

The wounded 
hero fights to the 


The Battle of Maldon. 

Byrhtnoth's last 

He dies. 

Nithings flee. 

The base Godric 
and his brothers 
run away ; others 

The hoary hero-knight, his henchmen to cheer, 
170 Urged his good earlmen right onward to hasten : 
No longer on his feet could he firm stand, now, 
The earl looked heavenward, uttered this prayer : 
"Thanks do I render thee. Ruler of Nations, 
For the numberless joys I have known under heaven. 
Now, gracious God, my greatest of needs is 
That thou grant my spirit thy goodness and favor. 
That my soul soon may soar unto thee-ward. 
To thy care and keeping. King of the Angels, 
In peace go upward : I earnestly beg thee 
180 That horrible hell-fiends may not harm nor scathe it." 
The heathen knaves, then, hewed down the noble one. 
And both the braves that were by him in the battle, 
^Ifnoth and Wulfmser lay dead on the field, then : 
Along with their lord, they laid down their lives there.' 
Then, they went from the battle who wished not to bide 

there ; 
The sons of Odda earliest fled, 
Godric off sped, the good one forsaking 
Who excellent steeds often had given him : 
He the horse leaped on that his lord had erst ridden 
190 In the housing and harness that he had no right to. 
And his brothers also both fled away, 
Godwin and Godwy,^ gave up the battle. 
From the field fled, then, the forest did seek for. 
Sped to the fastness, their lives saving. 
And many more men than to me seemeth proper. 
Had they all remembered the many boons that 
He had oft done them to their honor and service. 
So Offa on a day erstwhile had told him 
On the place of assembly when he summoned the people, 

' Compare line 294 of this poem : the two contain the very quintessence of 
Teutonic knighthood, the loyalty of liegeman to his lord. 

2 The old poet holds up these three brothers to the utmost contempt of his 
hearers and readers; they are nithing forevermore. 

The Battle of Maldon. 5 1 

200 That mighty proudly they had many things promised 

Which in the storm and stress they would not stand up to. 

In the dust dead, then, lay the dear-lov6d leader. 

Earl of ^thelred ; all the good hearth-friends 

Saw alas ! too well that their liegelord had fallen. 

Went, then, forward the war-thanemen proud. 

The high-hearted heroes hastened eagerly : 

All of them wished, then, one or the other, 

To lay down their lives or their lord to avenge there. 

So the son of ^Ifric egged them on boldly, 
210 A stripling-earlman, exhorted his fellows, 

^Ifwinfe quoth, then, spake dauntlessly : The brave mi- 

"Remember the times when o'er mead-cups we chattered, '''"* "y*' " ' 

When, on benches lolling, we bragged lustily, J.z.yr'" ^™ 

Heroes in hall, of the hard-fought battle ! 

Who is true and trusty, we can tell soon, now. 

My noble birth ^ to all I will tell now, 

Of illustrious lineage in the land of the Mercians : 

My honored grandsire ^ was Ealhelm entitled, 

A wise alderman, abundant in riches. 
220 Not me in the mote shall men ever sneer at, 

That / from this army ever will hasten. 

My land looking for, now my liegelord lieth 

Fallen in battle ; ' 'tis the basest of evils ! 

He was not only my kinsman but also my lord."^ 

Forth he fared, then, the-feud forgetting not. 

So that one of the sailors with his sword-point he pierced 

That he lay on the earth slain with his weapon ; 

Then, his friends urged he on, battle-ward, 

^^Ifwine is not boasting of his pedigree in the same spirit as some of our 
day; but he means to say, " I just can't afford to run, because I have my family 
name and honor to maintain." Some fine soldiers of our day tell us that the 
same considerations kept them from running away when times were warm. 

2 This may mean ancestor, though it is generally rendered grandfather here. 

^ He has double claims upon me. 


The Battle of Maldon. 

Offa commends 
XMtt'mk, and 



Leofsunu says 
that he'll never 
flee a foot's- 


Dunherfe urges 
the warriors to 
avenge their lord. 

His fellows and comrades. OfFa discoursed, then, 

His shaft shaking : " Thou, sure, ^Ifwinfe, 

Hast us all exhorted, earlmen fittingly : 

Now our liegelord belovfed lieth dead here, 

The earl on the earth, to us all 'twere beseeming 

That each one of us the other warrior 

Embolden for battle, while broadsword and target 

He may have and hold,^ hard-edged weapon. 

Spear and falchion. Godric, cowardly 

Offspring of Odda, hath to all turned traitor : 

Hence many a one weened when he mounted his war-horse. 

His proud battle-steed, thought 'twas our liegelord ; 

So here on the field our folk-troop was scattered. 

Our phalanx disordered. His design perish,^ 

That he made so many men to forsake us ! " 

Leofsunu spoke and lifted his war-shield, 

His targe for protection, the trooper he answered : 

" I make thee this promise, that I hence will never 

A foot's-length flee, but further will onward. 

Avenge in battle my dear lord and comrade. 

Never at Sturmerfe may sturdy war-heroes. 

Now my friend-lord hath fallen, fling this taunt at me, 

That my lord left I when he lay on the battle-field. 

Went home without him ; but the edge shall take me, 

The point and the iron." Full angrily went he, 

Fought fearlessly, flight never thought of. 

Quoth, then, Dunhere, his dart shaking, 

The simple-bom swain ^ said to his fellows. 

Bade that each warrior take vengeance for Byrhtnoth : 

" He cannot aught shrink now who is eager to avenge 

^ ( To) have and (Jo) hold is one of the oldest phrases in our language, and 
survives in the marriage ceremony in the Prayer Book. 

2 We follow the authorities; but the hemistich really plague take hitnl 
or something stronger. 

^ Unorne (1. 256) is more frequently rendered old, aged ; but we prefer to 
follow BT., which says simple, plain, humble, etc. We see no reason for old. 

The Battle of Maldon. 53 

His lord on the folk, nor his life consider." 
260 Forward they fared, then, fearing death little : 

The loving liegemen lustily fought, then, 

The ash-bearers angry, and asked of the Lord God 

Grim vengeance to grant them for their good old friendly-lord, 

Death and destruction on the dire-mooded foeraen. 

Then, the hostage '■ heartily help did render them : 

Of a staunch and sturdy stock in Northumbria, 

The son of Ecglaf, ^scferth his name was : 

In the onset of edges, not e'er did he flinch, but 

Hurled from his bow an abundance of arrows ; 
270 Now a shield shattered he, now he shot through a hero : 

Oft and anon, an enemy pierced he. 

While he could hold and wield weapon and shield. 

At the front stood, then, Edward the long. 

Ready, not afraid, he boastfully said 

That he'd flee not a foot's-length from the front of the battle, 

Nor fall back farther, since his folk-lord was slain. 

He broke through the battle-line and beat down the foemen, 

For his ring-giver's fall wreaking his vengeance 

On the seamen gloriously, ere he sank on the battle-field. 
280 And so ^Ethelric, excellent friend did. Several other 

Eager and on-mooded, he earnestly fought with trave men are 

Sibert's brother and many another, p^^' ^ 

They burst the battle-shield, bravely grappling : 

The shield's edge shivered, and the sheen battle-mail 

A terror-song sang. Offa in battle 

The seaman slew, then, that he sank to the earth. 

And the kinsmen of Gadd the ground sought there. 

Early in the onset was Offa hewn down, then ; 

He had performed, nathless, what his friend-lord he promised, 
290 As he had erstwhile boasted with his ornament-giver. 

That back to the borough they both should ride again, 

1 Who the hostage is we do not know; probably he was already mentioned 
in the lost part of the poem. — I am inclined to believe that se is used with the 
value of an indefinite article here, as it seems to be occasionally elsewhere. r. 


The Battle of Maldon. 

As our numbers 
diminish, the 
survivors must 
wax braver. 

Not the base 
Godric who ran 

All safe and sound or sink in the struggle, 

Die of their wounds on the red field of battle ; 

He lay like a liegeman by his lord's side, now. 

There was breaking of bucklers : battle-angry. 

The sea-farers forwarded ; the fated one's body 

The dart pierced often. Onward Wistan went, 

Thurstan's son, then, fought with the warriors : 

In the strife of the struggle he stretched out three of them, 

300 Ere Wigelin's ^ bairn in the battle had fallen. 

There was grim grappling, in the grisly encounter 

Warriors stood firm ; fighting-men perished, 

Sated with sword-wounds, the slain bit the dust, then. 

Oswold and Eadwold ever, incessantly, 

Both the brothers emboldened the heroes. 

Urged and exhorted all their kinsmen-friends 

In the storm and stress to stand sturdily. 

And like warriors wield weapon and shield. 

Lifting his linden-shield, loud spake Byrhtwold ; 

310 He was an old comrade ; his ashen-spear shook he,' 
The bold-mooded battle-earls he bravely exhorted : 
" Our mind must wax braver, our mood become bolder. 
Our spirit' grow sturdier, as our force ^ lessens. 
Here Kes our liegelord low on the battle-field. 
Good in the dust ; he may grieve forever 
Who thinks now of turning his face from this battle. 
I am old and gray : / will not away. 
But along by my lord will lie on the field, now. 
In the dust dead here by so dear-loved a man." 

320 So the son of .^thelgar did them all encourage, 
Godric, to fight : oft flung he a javelin, 

1 Wigelin seems to have been another name for Thurstan, 1. 298, above. 

2 Scholars are divided as to the meaning of maegen, (1. 313). Freeman and 
Bri. translate strength ; while ten Brink, Sweet, BT., and Gr. prefer force, 
forces (exerciius). — In either case, the idea is heroic; but it seems to us that 
Byrhtwold is arguing that, as some have been killed and some have fled, the 
rest must wax braver, etc. 

The Battle of Maldon. 55 

A lance launched he 'gainst the loathed vikingmen : 
So at the front of the folk he fared valiantly, 
Lashing and slashing, till he sank in the struggle. 
'Twas not the foul Godric who had fled from the battle — 


[This spirited battle-song is found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under the 
year A.D. 937, and has long been familiar to Englishmen in Tennyson's 

The original is accessible to students of Anglo-Saxon in Bright's Anglo- 
Saxon Reader, in the present writer's appendix to Baskervill and Harrison's 
Anglo-Saxon Reader, in Crow's Maldon and Brunanburh, and less accessible 
in the Grein-Wiilker Bibliothek der Angelsachsischen Poesie, Vol. I, pp. 374 ff. 
Upon this last text the following translation is based. 

Scholars and critics differ somewhat as to the merits of this old poem. 
Stopford Brooke, the eminent author of the History of Early English Litera- 
ture, characterizes it as " a war-song written when poetry had decayed, but 
which has attained a high reputation because its happens to be one of the 
few pieces of Anglo-Saxon poetry known to Englishmen." Ten Brink, a 
German authority in the same field, says : " The poem lacks the epic percep- 
tion and direct power of the folk-song, as well as invention. The patriotic 
enthusiasm, however, upon which it is borne, the lyrical strain which pervades 
it, yield their true effect. The rich resources derived from the national epos 
are here happily utilized, and the pure versification and brilliant style of the 
whole stir our admiration." Guest, in his History of English Rhythms, says, 
" The song which celebrated the victory is worthy of the effort that gained it." 
Professor F. L. Pattee, a most competent American critic, says : " In this poem 
and the one on the battle of Maldon, we catch the last full strains of the 
Anglo-Saxon harp." 

Details of the battle can be found in many books easily accessible; e.g.y 
Green's, Freeman's, Knight's, Gardiner's, and Hume's histories of England, 
and some references in the Ency. Brit, (see general index); also in the 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Chronicle of Henry of Huntingdon (Bohn 
Library'). Some of these have to be read cautiously, as the names, the 
facts, and the translations are often inaccurate. 

Prose translations can be found in ten Brink's History of Early English 
Literature (Kennedy's translation), and in the Bohn editions of the Chronicle 
and of Henry of Huntingdon, and in Freeman's Old English History. A 
line-for-line translation can be found in Professor J. M. Garnett's Elene. All 


Battle of Brunnanburh. 


these are now accessible to students of literature. The translation by Tenny- 
son, already referred to and found in all complete editions of his works, is 
really a re-creation of the poem, remarkable and charming in itself, but more 
rapid and precipitate in movement than Anglo-Saxon verse. 

The site of Brunnanburh is not known. Freeman says, " Somewhere in the 
north, but no one knows exactly where." Bosworth, the antiquarian and 
lexicographer, says, " About five miles southwest of Durham, or on the plain 
between the river Tyne and the Browney." 

The details of the battle are given in most of the books already mentioned. 
We quote from two accounts : " In the year 937, was fought the battle of 
Brunanburh — a battle that involved more important interests than any that 
has ever yet been fought within this island. It was indeed a battle between 
races. . . . Round the banner of Athelstan were ranged 100,000 Englishmen, 
and before them was the whole power of Scotland, of Wales, of Cumberland, 
and of Ireland under Anlaf, King of Dublin, led by 60,000 Northmen." 
(Guest.) " Five Danish kings, seven earls, and the son of the King of Scots, 
were killed, while Constantine (king of Scots) and Anlaf escaped. Then 
Athelstan and Edmund (the Atheling, his brother) went back in triumph to 
Wessex." (Freeman, except the parentheses.) 

This poem and the Battle of Maldon are often spoken 'of as Anglo-Saxon 

Athelstan king, ruler of heroes, 

Ring-lord of earlmen, with Edmund his brother, 

The atheling, aiding him, earned in the battle 

Unending glory with edges of sword-blades 

At ^ Brunnanborough ; they battered down the shield-wall. 

The scions of Edward swept down linden-shields 

With leavings of hammers ; 'twas, in sooth, fitting 

Great earls' offspring that oft in battle 'gainst 

All their enemies they their own land should fight for 

Their homes and their treasures. Foes bit the dust, then, 

Folk of the Scots and men of the waters, too. 

Fell fated there : the field ran red ^ with the 

King Athelstan 
and his brother 
Edmund lead the 
Saxons against 
the invaders. 

1 The prep, embe is, by different lexicographers and translators, rendered 
near, by, at, round. 

^ Dennade (1. 12) is variously rendered became slippery ; became firm, 
smooth; resounded; was stained. Ours is a free translation and, like the rest, 


Battle of Brunnanburh. 

The men of 
Wessex and 
Mercia do their 

Aniaf and Con- 
stantinus flee for 
their lives. 

Blood of the brave, when the beacon of heaven 
Upmounted at morning, the marvellous orb, 
When clear-bright on high the candle of God, the 
Lord everlasting, luminous glided. 
Till the beauteous being in his abode settled. 
On the ground prone lay good heroes many 
From darts dead there, doughty northerners," 

20 And Scotchmen in shoals o'er their shields wounded. 
War-sated, weary. The Wessexmen onward 
With the flower of their folk-troop followed the track of 
The hated people the whole day through, then ; 
With keen-edgfed cutlasses close in the rearward they 
Mowed down the fugitives. The Mercians refused there 
Fierce battle-play to few of the heroes that 
With Anlaf, o'er the ocean's angry commotions, 
Had come to their country on the craft's bosom. 
For the fight fated. Five young kings, too, 

30 Soothed with the sword's-edge slept on the battle-field. 
Licking the dust there, and likewise seven of the 
Earls of King Anlaf, an army numberless. 
Seamen ' and Scotchmen. The Norse leader, then. 
Was in flight driven ; from direst necessity 
With a handful of henchmen hied to his ship's-prow ; 
The craft seaward bounded, the king departed, 
On the fallow flood fled for his life, then ; 
There the agfed one also, old Constantiims, 
To his home northward hurried and scurried. 
The hoar-headed warrior needed not to boast of 

40 The clashing of weapons : kinsmen lost he. 

Was of friends fleeced, too, on that field of destruction. 
Was beaten in battle, his bairn leaving 
In the dust dead there, done for with spear-points, 
Young in the combat. Of the clashing of swords 
The grizzle-haired hero little could boast, 

^ The gen. plu. flotena, proposed by Ett., clears up this passage. 

Battle of Brunnanburh. 59 

Old and crafty,' nor Anlaf the more : 

'Mid the remnants of slaughter they had small need to laugh, 

To brag they were better in battle-encounters. 
On the field of combat, in conflict of banners, 
50 The mingling of lances, the meeting of troopers. 

The wrangling of weapons, when they rashly clashed with 

The royal bairns of Edward on the red field of carnage. 

In their nailed ships, then, the Norsemen departed. The Norse 

Dreary leavings of darts over Dyne's waters (?),^ pirates flee across 

•^ ° ■' ° ^ " the water toward 

O'er the floods foaming faring to Dublin, Dublin. 

Chapfallen pirates, chased back to Ireland, 

And both brothers, then, blithely together soon 

Came to their country, king and atheling, 

Boasting of battle back to West Saxonland. 
60 Behind, left they, to prey on the fallen. 

The sable-suited one, the swart raven,^ 

Crooked of beak, and the dusky-coated. 

White-tailed eagle, to eat at the feast, too, 

The goshawk greedy and that gray beast, too, 

The wolf in the weald. Worse slaughter of 

Folk on the field few ever heard of 

Erst on this island with edges of swords done 

As far as the books say, writers of eld, 
70 Since eastward hither the Angles and Saxons 

Up o'er the ocean came over to Britain, 

Since the proud war-smiths o'er the Welshmen triumphed. 

The earls greedy for glory gained them a country. 

1 Our rendering follows BT.; the form inwitta (1. 46) has puzzled 
scholars. Possibly it is a gen. plu. limiting eald = old in his tricks, guile. 

2 Dyng may be a man's name, or the phrase may mean the sea of noise ; 
cf. modern ding-dong. 

3 In the heroic poetry of the Anglo-Saxons, the eagle, the wolf, and the 
raven are regular attendants' of the battle. 



[This is one of the most important monuments of the Anglo-Saxon era. 
Brooke devotes fifteen or more pages to it in his History of Early English 
Literature. Kemble, Grimm, Grein, and others in foreign countries have 
studied it laboriously, and edited it, and Baskervill and Cook, among our 
own countrymen, have edited it either in full or in part. 

In some aspects, Andreas is closely allied to the heroic poetry of the Anglo- 
Saxons, reminding us of Beowulf; in others, it is highly typical of the religious 
poetry of the oldest English period. Jacob Grimm said that, next to Beowulf, 
Andreas and Elene are the oldest and most instructive productions of Anglo- 
Saxon poetry. 

The authorship and date of Andreas are both unknovi'n. Grimm suggested 
Ealdhelm, bishop of Sherborne, who lived about A.D. 700. Grein, Deitrich, 
ten Brink, Gollancz, and others have assigned it to Cynewulf, who is thought 
to have lived in the eighth century. Sievers, Fritzsche, and Brooke think this 
poem was written by some imitator or follower of Cynewulf, which would 
probably put it in the early part of the ninth century. Professor Thomas 
Arnold regarded it as a West-Saxon poem of the eighth century. 

The most definite theory of authorship is this : The Fates of the Apostles 
(Gr.-WUlk. Bibliothek, II, pp. 87-91) is the epilogue to the Andreas, and 
contains the signature which Cynewulf put in Elene, Christ, and Juliana, and 
the lack of which has kept scholars hitherto from feeliiig certain of Cynewulf 's 
authorship. Brooke, after weighing all the arguments brought to bear by 
Gollancz to support this theory, dismisses it as " a happy suggestion," but not 

The source of the legend is the Acts of Andrew and Matthew in the Acta 
Apostolorum Apocrypha. An Anglo-Saxon prose version of the legend can be 
found in Bright's and in Baskervill and Harrison's Anglo-Saxon Readers. 
Zupitza's theory is that both the prose and the poetical versions are based, 
not upon the Greek, but upon a lost Latin translation of the Greek legend. 
This theory is quite generally accepted by scholars. 

The " schauplatz," or scene of action, is generally thought to be the modern 
Crimea, known in ancient times as the Tauric Chersonesus. In that land, long 


Andreas. 6 1 

famous for savagery, St. Matthew was held captive, and St. Andrew was sent 
to his assistance from Achaia, thought by high authorities to have been on the 
eastern coast of the Black Sea. 

The complete text of the Andreas is easily accessible in Professor W. M. 
Baskervill's edition in the Library of A. S. Poetry (Vol. Ill), and less accessi- 
ble in the Grein-Wiilker Bibliothek der Angel. Poesie, Vol. II, pp. 1-86. The 
editions of Thorpe, Kemble, and other early editors are not within the reach 
of the general reader. A fine extract of about 375 lines is given in Cook's 
First Book in Old English. 

Few translations are accessible. Grein's German translation and Kemble's 
in English are rare. Very accessible, however, is Mr. R. K. Root's version in 
decasyllabic blank verse. Choice passages are well rendered by Brooke, in 
his monumental work often mentioned in this volume. 

The story is as follows : Matthew is in prison among the Mermedonians, a 
race of cannibals, who are waiting impatiently for his appointed day to come. 
To Andrew, who is laboring in Achaia, the command is given by God to go to 
his brother's {sic) aid. After parleying with the Almighty, Andrew goes to 
the seashore with his disciples, where he finds a vessel all ready and manned 
by three sailors. They agreed to take him and his disciples to Mermedonia 
with them. Long conversations take place between Andrew and the principal 
sailor, who is none other than God himself, though the apostle does not know 
it. Andrew is miraculously fed, and, after sailing a considerable distance and 
meeting stormy weather, he and his young men are miraculously transported 
to Mermedonia, and laid by the city walls. Christ appears to him in the form 
of a young man, promises him support, and escape from the cannibals. Then 
Andrew enters the city, miraculously gains entrance into the prison, and rescues 
Matthew and two or three hundred other captives. The devil appears upon 
the scene, and stirs up hatred against Andrew. The apostle is reviled and 
tortured by the multitude and by seven devils, but is saved and restored to 
bodily soundness by God's intervention. By stupendous miracles, the cannibals 
are converted to Christianity. A church is built, a bishop consecrated, and a 
regular organization perfected among these once cruel and barbarous but 
now gentle and pious people. After a few days, the apostle bids adieu to his 
dear converts, who, weeping and wailing, follow him to the shore, and sing 
a doxology as he embarks on his journey to Achaia, where " he life-departure, 
violent death endured."] 




The apostles, 
twelve eminent 
warriors, go out 
to war. 

One of them is 
Matthew, who 
wrote the first of 
the four gospels. 

Matthew is sent 
to the country of 
the cruel Merme- 

Lo ! ' of twelve eminent earls ^ under heaven, 

The Lord's liegemen, who lived in the yore-days, 

We have learned ^ often : in onset of battle 

They were mighty men of valor when banners were clashing, 

After far they had parted, as the Sovereign of Heaven, 

The Lord God himself, the lot * apportioned them. 

They were men of renown, known o'er the earth far, 

Brave battle earls and bold in the combat. 

Highly-famed heroes, when hand and shield 

On the blood-red field the helmet protected, 

On the bloody field of battle. The blessfed St. Matthew 

Was one, he who first 'mid the Hebrews recorded 

The gospel in words with wonderful power ; 

The holy Lord his lot 'portioned him 

Out on that island where not any foreigner 

Had e'er been able erstwhile to joy in 

Home and happiness ; oft the hand of murderers 

On the gory battle-field grimly harassed him. 

That country was wholly compassed with murder, 

Folk-stead of men, through the foe's treachery. 

Home-land of heroes : in that hapless clime, 

Nor abundance of bread blessed humanity, 

1 The interjection hwset ! quite frequently introduces poems of the epic 
genre in A.-S. hterature; e.g. Beowulf, Exodus, Dream of the Rood, and 
Juliana. For metrical reasons, we translate it lo ! but it might well be 
rendered in truth, sure, indeed. 

2 The poet regards the apostles as twelve heroes going forth to battle, under 
the leadership of their great Lord or Atheling. 

^ / {we') have heard {learned by inquiry) is a common epic formula, found 
at the opening of several other poems of the epic class ; e.g.' Beowulf, 
Phcenix, Juliana. It often occurs in the body of these poems, taking 
frequently the form mine gefreege. 

* In the homilies we read that the apostles divided the world into twelve 
parts, to be assigned by lot, and that each one (remained?) in that part which 
he got by lot. 



Nor brooks of water : but blood and skin, 
The flesh of their fellows from far lands coming, 
They ate in that land. 'Twas their loathsome custom, 
That every and each incoming stranger. 
All who that island from without sought for, 
They gave to eat to all that were hungry. 
Such was the people's peaceless token,^ 
30 The savage ones' fury, that the sight of the eyes^ 
The head-jewel precious, they put out angrily, 
Battle-grim foes, with the points of their javehns : 
Thereafter, magicians with their arts bitterly 
Mingled together a murderous potion, 
Which the mind of men, their mood, perverted 
In their inmost bosom ; so altered the mind was 
That they cared no more for men's enjoyments, 
Blood-thirsty heroes, but for hay and grass,^ 
Weary ones, harassed by want and hunger. 

The barbarous 
customs of these 


40 The blessed Matthew to the borough came, then. 
To the city illustrious ; there was loud clamor 
Through all Mermedonia, a horde of wicked ones, 
A hubbub of hell-thanes, when the henchmen of Satan 
Heard early thereafter of the atheling's arrival. 
Then, adorned with spears, sped they to seek him, 
Under shields speedily, and the spear-bearers grim 
Lingered but little looking for battle. 
They both hands bound, then, of the blessed apostle 
And fastened them firmly by the foeman's cunning, 

The natives are 
enraged at the 
apostle's coming. 

^ The word tacen (tacn), so popular with homiletic writers, is borrowed 
frequently by the religious poets. It occurs quite often in the Phcenix. 

" The effect of this potion seems to be the same disease common around 
the Adriatic Sea, and known as lycanthropy, possibly the form of insanity 
with which Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted. 

64 Andreas. 

50 Hellward-bound heroes, and his head's sun/ too, 

Put out with the edge of the sword. Nathless, in his inner- 
most heart, 
In his bosom praised he the Prince of the Heavens, 
Though the poisonous drink he deadly had taken, 
Blessed, brave-hearted : he boldly 'gan, then, 
In words praising the Prince of Glory, 
The Guardian of Heaven, with holy voice from 
The depths of his dungeon ; in the deeps of his bosom 
Were Christ's praises imprinted firmly. 
Matthew, weeping, then, did with weary tears, 
60 With plaintive words, implore his Victory- Lord, 
The King of Men call on, with cries of sorrow, 
The kind Lord of Hosts, in words speaking : 
The apostle calls " Behold how thesc strangers their chain of malice, 

upon God for Their snares set for me ! incessant, tireless, 


I was ever eager in all things, thou knowest. 
To work thy dear will : woful in spirit. 
Must I do thy deeds now like the dumb cattle ! 
To thee. Lord, alone are all thoughts known, 
Oh, Maker of Men, the mood in the bosom : 

70 If it be thy will, Wield er of Glory, 

That impious enemies, with edges of weapons. 
With swords kill me, I am now ready 
To bear whate'er thou, blessfed Creator, 
Bliss-Lord of Angels, to me exiled, wretched, 
Deed- Prince of Hosts, shalt deem best for me ! 
Grant me graciously, God Almighty, 
Light in this life, lest, ere long, haply. 
Blinded in the boroughs, after bitterest sword-hate 

80 Through the insults and curses of enemies ruthless, 
I must longer bear the abuse and the scorn of 
Foemen detested ! On thee, Lord, alone, 

^ Cf. 1. 31, above, where eyesight is called head-jewel precious. These are 
thoroughly typical of the poetry. 

Andreas. 65 

Oh, Guardian of Earth, ray mood-thought I fasten, 

Fix my affections, and, Father of Angels, 

Will beg thee this boon, bright Glory-Dispenser, 

Not to assign me 'mid my savagest foes, 

'Mid accursed criminals, to the cruelest form of 

Death on the earth, oh. Judge of the Heavens ! " 


When these words were uttered, came an omen of glory God comes to the 

90 Holy from the heavens, hastening to the prison, aid of his apostle 

Like the sun in its splendor : 'twas seen clearly, then. 

That the holy Heaven-King help was affording him. 

Then, the Lord God's voice was heard resounding 

Wondrous under heaven, the sound of the voice of 

The Eminent Prince ; to his excellent liegeman. 

The valiant one, offered he salvation and comfort 

In tones sublime in the vaults of his dungeon : 

" My peace give I thee, precious Matthew, 

On the earth ever ! be not anxious in spirit. 

In thy bosom grieve not ! I will abide with thee 
100 And free thy limbs from the fetters that shackle them. 

Arid all the multitude remaining with thee 

In cruel captivity. The kingdom of heaven. 

Brightest of joys, is thy beauteous dwelling. 

The happiest of homes is with holy might to thee 

Opened glorious, where thou goest hereafter 

To dwell forever in honor and rapture. 

Bear the tortures of men ! the time is but short now 

That with chains of torment treacherous foemen 

May by crafty arts afflict thee sinfully, 
no The excellent Andrew, I ere long shall send thee, God promises to 

To this heathen city, for help and for solace : 

He will give thee relief from this grim persecution. 

The time of thy torment and torture is brief, now, 

No more, truly, than twenty and seven 

send Andrew to 
his assistance. 

66 Andreas. 

Thou Shalt suffer Of days, till ccssation of sorrow be granted thee 

only twenty- With carcs cncompassed, till, crowned with victory, 

seven days r j t j 7 

longer. Thou from grief shalt go under God's protection." 

Went, then, the holy Helm of the Universe, 
Creator of Angels, to the upper kingdom, 

120 The realms of rapture : he is rightly King, 
Unchangeable Lord of lands and of peoples. 
The good man Matthew was mightily cheered, then. 
Anew for the conflict. Night's-curtain lifted. 
Off-glided early : thereafter, the light came. 
The march of the morning. The multitude gathered : 
The heathen hero-thanes hastened in throngs, then, 
Their battle-mail rattled, they brandished their lances, 
'Neath the cover of shields fiercely advancing : 
They would fain learn, then, if the folk were yet living 

130 Who, fast fettered and confined in the dungeon. 
Had sometime abode in their sorrowful dwelling. 
And which of them they first migiit from life-joys sunder 
And slit into slivers when the set time came. 
They had written in runic writing and figures, ' 
Had blood-thirsty marked the men's day of slaughter. 
When each should be eaten by all hungry ones 
Of that ravenous race, be ruthlessly butchered. 
They stormed savagely, surging, thronging, 
Their cruel counsellors cared not for justice, 

140 The mercy of God; their mood often fell under 
Dimness and darkness by the Devil's lore 
When they trusted the might of beings accursfed. 
They soon saw, then, the exceeding-wise, 
Holy hero in the horrible dungeon. 
Battle-famed biding what the bright King of Heaven, 
Creator of Angels, thereafter would grant him. 

1 The Greek original says that, when the cannibals captured a stranger, 
they marked him in such a way that they might know exactly when his thirty 
days' respite expired. For the runic rhyme ( = rime) in modern literature, c£ 
Poe's Bells. 



Then, the time was past of the period allotted, 

The limit assigned, save three days only. 

As in runes written by the ravenous war-wolves, 

150 When they minded to break his bone-rings to atoms. 
Utterly to sunder his soul and his body, 
And deal out thereafter to older and younger 
The fated one's carcass as food for men, then, 
And feast refreshing : the flesh-eager war-thanes 
For the soul cared not, how the course of the spirit 
Might be ordained, settled, when death overtaketh ! 
So the man-eaters met monthly, at intervals. 
Gathered together : they greatly hankered 
To slit into slivers and consume greedily 

160 The bodies of men with their blood-gory grinders. 

In three days 
more Matthew is 
to be killed and 



forgotten his 
faithful thane. 

Then, the Mighty One minded who this midearth established Christ has not 

With his strong right hand, how, 'mid strangers and foemen. 

He in wretchedness bided, bound, limb-fettered. 

Who, for love of him, from Hebrew tormentors 

Suffered, when stoutly he withstood the magic 

And arts of the Jews. Then, a ^ voice sounded. 

Was heard out of heaven, where the holy man, 

Dear-lovfed Andrew, dwelt in Achaia '' ; 

He taught there eternal truth to the people. 

To him bold in decision, then, the blessfed Glory-King, 

Andrew receives 
a divine com- 
mand to go to 
Matthew's assist- 

1 The article in line 167 is treated as definite by Grain, but we have always 
felt that it had the indefinite value. Cf. note, p. 53. 

2 Tradition says that St. Andrew labored in Scythia, Greece, and Thrace, 
and that he was crucified at Patrse, now Patras, on the Gulf of Patras. In the 
New Testament, and in post-apostolic days, Achaia was the name of all Greece 
outside of Macedonia; the Romans called Greece the province of Achaia. In 
line 1700, below, the poet says that Andrew suffered martyrdom in Achaia, and 
this, taken with the tradition above referred to, establishes a strong presump- 
tion that Achaia was not, as some assert, on the eastern coast of the Black 



1 80 

Andrew urges 
that an angel be 
sent instead of 


God rebukes 
Andrew for his 
lack of faith. 

The Maker of Men, his mood-treasure opened, 
The Lord God of Hosts, in words thus speaking : 
" Thou shalt go, Andrew, my peace bearing. 
Come to a clime where cannibals ravenous 
Live in the land, by loathsome devices 
Hold their possessions. 'Tis their horrible folk-law 
To deny unto all aliens and foreigners 
Life in that land, when the loathed ill-doers 
In Mermedonia ^ meet with a friendless one : 
Death follows, then, foe of humanity. 
There, I know, languisheth thy brother victorious 
Fast fettered, now, 'mid the folk of that city : 
But three days more, oh, Andrew, and there 
By the hand-blow of heathen, his holy spirit, 
Ready to speed, thy brother shall yield up 
Through the spear's clutches, 'less quickly thou reach him ! " 
Forthwith Andrew answer rendered him : 
" How can I, Lord, o'er the deep courses 
Accomphsh the journey to the faraway shore. 
As soon as thou sayest. Sovereign of Glory, 
Creator of Heaven ? Thy angel from above can 
Easily do this ! the ocean he knoweth, 
The salt sea-streams and the swan-road spacious, 
The wave-tumults and the terror of waters, 
The ways o'er the wide-lands : not well-known to me 
Are the earls of those far-lands, not anywise know I 
200 The hearts of the heroes there, and the highways of ocean 
O'er the cold currents, I ken but httle of! " 
Eternal God answer did render : 
" Ah, Andrew, that ever thou wert able to prove thee 
So slow for the journey, nor eager to make it ! 
It is, in sooth, easy for almighty God 
To 'complish on earth that the city come hither 

1 This is generally thought to be in what is now called the Crimea, known 
in ancient history as the Tauric Chersonesus, and made famous in literature by 
Euripides and Goethe in the story of Iphigenia. 



And be set speedily in this selfsame region, 

'Neath the course of the heavens, the king's-seat eminent. 

And its men, if commanded by the mighty Glory- King. 

Thou in sooth canst not shrink from the journey. 

Nor in mood waver, if thou well resolvest 

To keep good faith with thy King and Defender, 

The token of truth. Betimes be ready : 

Thine urgent errand not an hour delay. 

Thou shalt 'complish the journey, and to the clutches of God 

Shalt bear thy life, where the clashing of weapons. 
The war-strength of warriors, shall well confront thee 
Through the heathen enemies' onslaught of terror. 
Forthwith, at the first flush of the morning 
As the day is breaking, by the sea's margin 
A keel climb thou, and on cold water 
Break o'er the bathway : my blessing bear thou 
All the earth over, wherever thou goest ! " 
Set out, then, the holy Sovereign and Ruler, 
Creator of Angels, his own home seeking, 
Guardian of Earth, the eminent land where 
The souls of the righteous, after the body perisheth, 
In life eternal do rest from their labors. 

Andrew that he 
will reach the 
land of the Mer- 

God returns to 


230 Then, the great mission was given in the borough 
To the noble warrior : naught wavered he. 
But was firm, resolute for the heroic achievement, 
Doughty, dauntless, no dastard in war,' but 
For the great strife ready, for God's fight steady. 
He went, then, at dawn, as the day first glimmered. 
O'er slopes sandy to the seashore faring,^ 

1 Lit., not late for the battle. We use a phrase made classic by Walter Scott. 

2 From the vigorous sea-phrases and the fine sea-scenes that occur in this 
poem, Br. and others have inferred and argued that the poet was either an old 

Andrew, the 
noble warrior, 
sets out on his 
great adventure. 



He finds a ship 
ready, and three 
sailors aboard, 
but does not 
know who they 



Andrew accosts 
the sailors, and 
asks whence they 

The bold-mooded brave and his battle-earls with him, 

On the gravel going ; grumbled the ocean, 

The waves dashed high ; the hero was glad when 

Brave-mooded found he a broad-bosomed vessel 

At the seashore riding. Then, the radiant morning,* 

Brightest of beacons, o'er the breakers glided ; 

From its hiding-place holy, the heaven-torch sparkled, 

O'er the great deep shone. Shipmasters three, then, 

He saw sitting there, sea-thanes eminent, 

Earlmen courageous, eager for sailing, 

In the vessel seated, as if o'ersea they had journeyed ; 

'Twas the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah in person, 

The Eternal, Almighty One, with two of his angels. 

From their garb, seemed they sailors, mariners, 

The earls were clad like carles of the ocean when 

In the billows' embrace they are borne on their far-way 

O'er the cold currents in keels journeying. 

He who stood on the sand the three greeted, then. 

On the seashore ready, said questioning : 

" From what country come ye in your keel traveUing, 

In your ocean-speeder, ye expert mariners, 

Lonegoing sailors?^ whence did ocean bring you 

O'er the mingling of waters ? " The Almighty responded. 

But so ' that the saint that sought for an answer 

Wist not what speaker the man on the ship was 

That he there talked with on the strand of the ocean : 

" From the Mermedonians' faraway region 

sailor, or lived near the sea, especially in Northumbria. Would not such a 
line of argument, however, rob the great poets of inventive genius and im- 
agination ? 

^ The nature-phrases in this poem, as in other A.-S. works, go to prove that 
the great writers of the English race have usually been close observers of 
nature, and that eras in which the poetry ignores her are exceptional. 

^ We follow high authority here ; but others translate ane aagflotan your 
lonely ship. 

2 In such a way that A. did not suspect that it was God. The Greek says, 
" Jesus was hiding his godhead." 




We have hither been brought ; the high-prowed bark hath 
Borne us with the billows o'er the broad whale-road, 
The sea-stallion swift encircled with speed, 
That long till we came to the land of these races, 
By the waves driven, as the wind impelled us." 

270 Andrew humbly, then, answer rendered him : 

" I would ask and urge thee, though not any of rings, 

Excellent ornaments, I am able to give thee. 

On the lofty boat to bring us speedily 

O'er the home of the whale on thy high-beakfed ship to 

Faraway folk ! The Father will 'quite thee. 
If thou graciously aid us as we go on our journey ! " 
The Guardian of Athelings again answered him. 
The Creator of Angels, from his ocean-vessel : 
" Of folk from afar, few can abide there. 
Strangers and aliens not ever thrive there, 

280 But all newcomers thither venturing 

Suifer death soon in that city of darkness ! 
And wouldst thou, indeed, o'er the deep waters 
Thy life lose now in that lair of destruction?" 
Then, the excellent Andrew answer rendered him : 
" Great zeal urgeth us on to that country, 
A fervent desire, to that far-famous city. 
Most beloved leader, if thou'lt lend us thine aid 
Gracious and good, as we go o'er the waters." 

ago The Prince of the Angels answer vouchsafed him, 
Saviour of Men, from the prow of his vessel : 
" Gladly, freely, we'll bear thee along with us, 
O'er the fish's bath to that faraway region 
Thou would'st fain seek for, as soon as ye give in 
Your fare,^ and pay us the appointed tribute 
That the masters, messengers,^ demand o'er the ship's-side." 

He would fain go 
with them, but 
has no money nor 
treasure to pay 
his way. 

Though the 
sailors tell him of 
the terrors that 
beset strangers 

he is anxious to 

1 The Greek says passage money. 

2 Scholars differ as to the interpretation of this clause. Instead of aras 
(1. 298) some would read ara, gen. plu. with the verb unnan. Line 296 



Wilt thou go on 
this voyage with- 
out food and 
drink ? 

Andrew is 
wounded, and re- 
minds the sailor 
that he is to 
*' entertain 


Andrew early, then, answered in words, 

300 Said to the sailor, sad, friendless one ; 

" I've no plates of gold nor precious treasures. 

Nor riches nor food, nor spangles of wire, 

No land nor twisted rings, to kindle thy longing desire, 

Thy wish in the world, as in words thou sayest." 

Then, the Sovereign of Men, where he sat on the -gangway. 

Answered Andrew o'er the ocean's surging : ^ 

" What made thee resolve, dearest of comrades. 

To seek the precipitous sea-mountains perilous. 

The bounds of the oceans, and, utterly penniless, 

310 O'er the cold cHffs, too, climb on a vessel? 

Hast thou, for sustenance on the sea-paths spacious. 

No abundance of bread, nor bright, glimmering 

Drink ^ to strengthen thee ? 'Tis a dire strain to him 

Who trieth the tedious tracks of the ocean ! " 

Then, the excellent Andrew, answer rendering him. 

Wise in his wit, his word-treasure opened : 

" It behooveth thee little, since Heaven hath allotted thee 

Food and plenty and prospered thee greatly, 

To seek a reply proudly, haughtily, 

320 An answer with arrogance ! to each it is better 
That in kindly manner he the stranger greet 
And courteously meet, as Christ' commanded us, 

would then mean, So (then) the shipmasters will grant you honor(J) {or 
favors), etc. — Ofer yffbord is doubtful also. 

' We follow BT. C. suggests the smiting of the shores. 

2 The poet well knows that no " eminent earl " of his race would go off on a 
long voyage without " bright, glimmering" mead or ale or wine, or all three; 
so he naively puts the same thought into the mind of the Divine Sailor. — So 
in lines 301 fl., the presents Andrew would like to bring are those that the A.-S. 
liegeman loved to receive from his lord. 

' The poet no doubt has in mind many passages of the New Testament such 
as, " / was a stranger, and ye took me in " ;■ "Be not forgetful to entertain 
strangers " ; " Be pitiful, be courteous." We have tried to keep close to the 
phraseology of the K. J. version. 

Andreas. 73 

Illustrious Lord ! We his liegemen-thanes are, 
Select battle-knights : he is rightly King, 
Creator and Governor of eminent glory. 
One eternal God of the whole creation, 
As with might unaided he all comprehendeth, 
Heaven and earth with his holy power, 
Supreme Conqueror.' He clearly commanded us, 
330 Father of all, bade us early go forth 

Into all the world, winning souls for him : 

' Go ye through all the earth and her regions,^ 

As far and wide as the water encircleth her, 

Or the fixed plains lie near the roadway ! 

Preach through the boroughs, o'er the bosom of earth, 

The glorious gospel ! I will guard and keep you. 

Nor jewels nor gems for the journey need ye, Our Master bade 

Nor gold nor silver : with gifts bountiful us to take ijeither 

" " gold nor silver in 

I will bless you abundantly, as best ye could wish them.' our purse. 
34b Thyself thoughtful canst hear of our journey, now : 
I must early find out what aid thou wilt render us." 
Then, the eternal God returned him this answer : 

" If ye are servants of him who exalted his glory if ye are indeed 

O'er all the earth, as ye erstwhile told me, Christ's servants, 

^ I will gladly take 

And have heeded heartily what the Holy One bade you, you over the sea, 

I will bear you joyfully on your blessfed journey 
O'er the cold currents as ye crave earnestly ! " 
The bold-mooded battle-earls on the bark mounted, 
350 Mighty men of valor : in each man's bosom, 
O'er the sea speeding, his spirit was joyful. 
O'er the ocean's eddying, Andrew began, then, 
To the Prince of Glory to pray for mercy 

1 For sigora selost (1. 329), C. suggests sigora sellend=^ra«r of victories, 
which is found several times in the poetry, while our reading is not found else- 
where. Our canon, however, is to stick to the Ms. as read by experts that 
have had access to it. Both W. and B. give the reading sigora selost, which 
we take to mean eminent in victories. 

^ A paraphrase of the " Great Commission." 



Andrew prays for 
the sailor. 

On the seafaring sailor/ saying these words then : 

" May God grant thee glory exceeding, 

Bliss in this world and blessedness in heaven, 

Maker of Men, as to me lavishly 

Thou hast shown friendship in this faraway journey ! ' 

Andrew is mi- 
raculously fed. 

A storm arises, ^70 

terrifying the 
disciples of 


By the Sea- Warden's side sat, then, the 'holy one, 
360 Noble by Noble : never was told me ^ 
Of a keel laden in comelier fashion 
With eminent ornaments ! Therein sat heroes. 
Lords illustrious, liegemen beautiful. 
Then, the mighty Lord commanded his angel. 
Eternal, omnipotent, bade him soon depart, then, 
His servant distinguished, and sustenance bear 
To solace the sad one o'er the surging of waters. 
That, o'er the clashing and crashing currents they easier' 
Might endure their condition. Then, the deeps tumbled, 
Ocean rumbled : the hornfish gambolled. 
Glided o'er the waters, and the gray sea-mew 
Swooped ravenous ; the sun grew dark, 
The winds whistled fierce, the floods crashed and rattled, 
The currents were howling, the cordage was growling. 
Wet with the waters ; ^ the waves in battalions 
Mast-high mounted : the men of the sea, then, 

^Gr. and C. construe this as plural; but the context seems to us to demand 
the singular. 

2 This passage is strikingly like one in Beowulf (\\. 38-40^^), which may be 
rendered thus: Never was told me of a keel laden in comelier fashion with bills 
and burnies. 

3 1 always feel that eaff, (1. 368), is compar. in value, though not so recorded. 
This feeling is further confirmed by Grein's um so besser, by Sievers, § 323, 
first sentence, and Cook's First Book in 0. E., § 77 and p. 218, note 9. 

*We follow K., and BT. under gewsetan. The latter under another word 
contradicts itself Other renderings are : the wet weeds {sails) ; waves swelled. 
This is a crux. 



Trembled with terror ; trusted few of them 
Of all who with Andrew on the ocean travelled, 
Who the good ship had looked for, that alive they should see 

380 Their own land ever : not any one wist, then. 

Who that ship piloted o'er the paths of the ocean. 

The holy Andrew, on the high-sea faring, 

Leal-hearted thane, his thanks uttered, then. 

O'er the mingling of oars, to the Mighty Counsellor, 

To his faithful Defender, when the food had strengthened him : 

" For this food so refreshing, the faithful Creator, 

The Light- Prince of Life, lend thee requital. 

The Lord God of Hosts, and give thee for nourishment 

The heavenly food, as Thy favor to me-ward, 

390 Thy friendship, thou far o'er the floods provedst ! 
My loyal liegemen no little are troubled, 
My young battle-thanes : the billows are roaring. 
The heavens ^ down pouring : the sea-deeps are stirred. 
To their depths ruffled ; my brave men are troubled. 
My war-band of heroes harassed exceedingly." 
From the ocean answered the Creator of Heroes : 
" Let us guide our bark back to the land, now, 
Our craft o'er the currents, and thy comrade-heroes, 

400 Thy thanemen, there await thy returning." 
Forthwith the earlmen answer did render, 
Men of endurance (they thought not willingly 
Their beloved master to leave on the vessel, 
On the prow of the ship, while on shore they waited) : 
" Whither shall we go leaderless men,^ 

The shipmaster 
proposes that 
Andrew's disci- 
ples leave the 
boat and wait on 
shore till he re- 
turns from Mer* 

1 Several eminent authorities change Ms. heofon to geofon ; but we follow 
the G.-W. text, which is based upon the Ms. both here and in 1. 1508 below. 
W. very wisely sticks to the Ms, in both cases, but asks what geofon geotende 
would mean : the plain answer is the over/lowing (^overwhelming) ocean 
(Chr. 1052). 

2 Andrew's disciples are typical A.-S. thanemen, who would scorn to 
desert their lord for a moment in the hour of danger. The whole passage, 



But they vehe- 
mently protest, 
saying that such 
a deed would 
brand them for- 

Grieved in spirit, God-forsaken,^ 
With our sins wounded, if thee we abandon? 
We shall be loathed ever in all lands and regions. 
Of the folk despised, when the children of men 
410 Courageous in spirit render decision 

Which of them alway aided most doughtily 
His lord in the fight, when the hand and the shield. 
Beat down with broadswords on the battle-field gory. 
In the storm and stress great straits suffered." 


The Divine 
Sailor, still con- 
cealing his iden- 
tity, asks the 
apostle to tell him 
something about 
the Prince of 
Glory and his 

The puissant Prince in reply spake, then, 

The ever-true Atheling answer now rendered : 

" If thou in sooth be a servant, as thou sayest in words. 

Of the Prince of Glory supremely exalted. 

Solve me the mysteries, how the sons of men^ 

420 He taught under heaven ! Tedious the voyage 
O'er the floods fallow : thy followers cheer, 
Their mood comfort now ! there is much yet to travel 
Of the way o'er the waters, the wished-for haven 
Far yet to seek ; the sand greatly mingled, 
■ The abyss with the strand : God easily 
Can render aid to ocean-voyagers." 
Wisely in words his well-loved followers. 
Glorious earls, Andrew did comfort : 
" Ye in mood minded, when ye mounted the ocean, 

430 That 'mid folk fierce-hating ye would fare with your lives and 
For the love of the Lord would lay them down there. 
Your souls yield up in the Ethiopians' 
Faraway fatherland. I feel and know 

" Whither • ■ • suffered" is original with the A.-S. poet, and represents the 
idea of comitaius. 

1 See note to Judith, 1. 271 (p. 14 of this volume). The argument of 
BT., sub voce orfeorme, is not convincing. 

2 We should prefer to say, How he {as) a man taught on earth ! 

Andreas. 77 

That the Creator of Angels will ever protect us, 

The Lord God of Hosts : the terror of waters Andrew comforts 

Shall be reproved, rebuked by the Mighty King, KUin 'tow' '"'' 

The sea's surging be soothed and quieted. Christ stiued the 

So it happened of yore, we were trying the waters, tempest. 

440 O'er the surges sailing in our sea-vessel trusty : 

The watery ways seemed wild, terrible. 

The ocean-shoals 'gainst the shores were beating ; 

Deep called unto deep, the dreadful billows ' 

Answered each other : up rose, anon, then, 

On. the breast of the bark from the bosom of ocean. 

Terror o'er the sea-boat. Almighty there, then,^ 

The Maker of Men remained in the vessel, '- 

Illustrious lying : his liegemen were fearful, 

Mournful-mooded, for mercy yearning. 

Help from the Famous One. The multitude 'gan, then, 
450 In the keel calling ; the King arose soon. 

The Bliss-Giver of Angels did quiet the tempests, 

The weltering of waters, the winds rebuking : 

The sea subsided, soon waxed gentle 

The boundaries of ocean. Then, exulted our spirit. 

When our eyes beheld 'neath the arch of the heavens 

The winds and the waves and the watery-terrors 

So filled with fright for the fear of the Lord-God. 

And so, soothly, I say fearlessly 

That ever-living God not e'er forsaketh 
460 A hero under heaven, if he hold out bravely ! " ' 

Thus the holy hero his henchmen addressed, 

lAU through this poem and the Phcenix we see the influence of the Bible 
upon the poet's conceptions and upon his language. At this special point, 
we are forcibly reminded of Ps. 42, verse 7. 

2 No reader need be pointed to the familiar Bible passages describing Christ's 
stilling of the tempest. 

'In Beowulf (\\. 572 ff.), we read, " Wyrd often saveth the undoomed earl 
■when his prowess avails." The Christian poet of the Andreas recasts this 
heathen formula, clothing it in Christian language. 



Unceasingly thoughtful his thanes taught, then, 

The blessed champion cheered his good earlmen, 

Till in sleep suddenly sank they together 

By the mast weary, then. The waters subsided, 

The eddying of ocean early quieted. 

The fierce holm-currents : the holy one's soul 

After the time of woe was once more joyful. 



Andrew compli- 
ments the sailor 
on his seaman- 


and begs him to 
give him some 
instruction in 
that art. 


Prudent of spirit, spake he further, now. 

Wise in his wit, his word-treasure opened : 

"Saw I not ever sea-farer better,^ 

More skilled in sea-craft, as seemeth to me. 

More excellent oarsman, more expert in counsel, 

In words wiser ! But one petition. 

Excellent earl, only one prayer 

I would fain prefer now : though but few bracelets 

I am able to offer thee, ornament-jewels. 

No treasures of gold, yet thy true friendship. 

Oh, eminent atheling, as my own possession 

I gladly would gain ! Grace thou shalt win for it. 

And holy hope in the heavenly kingdom. 

If thou art good and gracious in granting instruction 

To a weary wayfarer.^ I would well learn, now, 

Eminent atheling, one art from thee, 

Since God hath granted thee glory and might. 

Creator of Earthtrien, that thou early show me 

How the wave-floater winsome, wet with ocean-surf. 

The steed of the ocean, on its course thou guidest ! 

I have chanced to sail sixteen voyages,^ 

Of old and of late, on an ocean-goer, 

1 The poet at times skilfully brings our thoughts back to the sea. 

2 Gr. construes as plu., but the context justifies sing. 

8 Possibly, says Br., the poet himself is a sailor, and is giving us a personal 

Andreas. 79 

With freezing hands stirring the waters, 

The weltering waves : one more this is, 

Yet not any man else ever beheld I 

Resembling thee, mighty young hero,' 

O'er the stern steering ! The stream-surges roar. 

Beat on the shore : this boat is full speedy. 

Foamy-necked fareth as flieth a bird, 

Glideth the waters. I know assuredly 

That not e'er have I seen on the ocean's pathway 
500 More excellent art in any of sailors : 

It, forsooth, seemeth as if safe on the shore 

It still standeth where no storm may move it. 

No tempest toss it, no terror of waters 

Break o'er the bright-prowed, yet the billows it glideth 

Under sail swiftly ! Thou thyself art youthful, 

Defender of warriors, few are thy winters : 

O'er the seas speeding, in thy spirit thou hast 

An earl-like answer, of each word knowest 

The wisest of meanings that world-men can read." 
510 The Eternal Lord rendered him answer : 

" It oft happeneth that, on oversea-journeys. 

We break o'er the bathway in barks with our henchmen, 

With our steeds of the sea, when the storm lowereth : 

At times, troubles betide us on the water. 

Sorrow on the sea, though safely at last 

The peril is past. Powerless the flood is The sea cannot 

To injure at all any of heroes. 

If God be for him : he hath power of life who ^ 

Bindeth the billows, the brown waters 

1 Of course Andrew has no idea that the sailor is God; he is making him- 
self agreeable to the stranger, and asks him to explain his art as a seaman. 

2 The distinguished Brooke, in arguing against the Cynewulfian authorship 
of this poem, says that this poet never breaks out in " rapturous outbursts " 
voicing his own sentiments. Though not committing ourselves as to the 
authorship question, we think that such passages as this help to refute that 
particular argument. 

harm the servant 
of God. 



Thou thyself art 
evidently the 
servant of God, 
and the sea ^aw 
thee and became 

The apostle 
praises God. 

520 Reproves and rebukes ; with perfect justice 

He shall rule o'er the races who reared the firmament 

And made it fast with his mighty hand-strength, 

Fashioned it, fixed it, filling with glory 

His bright abiding-place ; so the abode of the angels 

Was blessed abundantly through his boundless might. 

And so is the truth seen, manifest. 

To all men evident, thou art the excellent liegeman 

And thane of the King that sitteth in majesty ; 

Since straightway, forsooth, the sea apprehended, 

530 The ocean-expanses, that thou barest the gift of 
The Holy Spirit : the splashing of currents. 
The sea subsided ; soothed was the terror, 
The wide-bosomed wave, the waters grew calmer, 
As soon as they saw that the encircling care of 
God was over thee, who with outstretched arm 
Had abundantly 'stablished the blessing of glory." 
Then, the brave-mooded hero in holy accents 
Spake earnestly, honored the King, 
The Wi elder of Worship, in words answering : 

540 " Praised be thy name. Prince of the Nations, 
Lord and Saviour ! thy might is eternal. 
Afar and anear is thy name holy, 
'Mid races and peoples resplendent with glory. 
Eminent in mercies ! On earth there is no man 
'Mid the whole race of heroes, 'neath heaven's expanses. 
That knoweth the number or can nearly reckon, 
Oh, Prince of all peoples, how proudly, lavishly. 
Oh, Saviour of Souls, thou sendest thy blessings ! 
It is seen, soothly, Saviour of Spirits, 

550 Thou art kind and friendly become to this hero. 
And with gifts didst honor the excellent youth, 
With words of wisdom and wise-heartedness ! 
In one of his years ne'er yet found I 
Greater wisdom and caution of spirit." 



From the ship responded the'Splendor of Kings, then, 
The Alpha and Omega ' earnestly questioned ; 
"Wise-mooded thane, say, if thou canst now. 
How 'mong earthmen it happened that the impious men, 

560 The folk of the Hebrews, by arts and cunning 
Hurled their sneers and slanders malicious. 
Heroes pernicious, 'gainst the Son of the Highest ! 
The blood-thirsty, bitter ones Winded their eyes to 
Their Great Source of Life, nor received him as God, 
Though miracles many 'mong men performed he. 
In the sight of multitudes : sinners could nowise 
Apprehend and know the noble-child set for 
A Hope and a Help to the whole race of heroes, 
■ To all men of earth. The Atheling grew, then, 

570 In word and wisdom, and, wielding great power. 
In that stubborn people's presence wrought he 
Many a marvel and miracle ever." 
This answer, Andrew, then, early rendered him : 
" How, pray, could it happen 'mid people on earth 
Thou hast never heard of the might of the Saviour, 
Dearest of men, how his grace ^ he made known 
All the earth over. Son of the Highest ? 
The dumb he made speak, the deaf ears he opened, 
Cheering the hearts of the halt and the leper. 
Those who long had been lame, Umping, hobbling, 

580 Infirm and crippled, fast-bound in tortures : 
He opened blind eyes all through the cities. 
As on earth many a man among heroes 
He from death awoke by the word of his power. 

1 We have retained the phrase familiar to Bible readers for centuries, instead 
of translating literally 'beginning and end,' as is often done. 

2 The form gif., (1. 575), though often found in compounds, occurs no- 
where else as a simplex ; this led Gr. to propose gife, though he afterwards 
withdrew the emendation. W. is satisfied with gif. 

The sailor ques- 
tions Andrew 
further as to the 
life of Christ on 

Andrew is glad 
of the oppor- 
tunity to tell of 
his Divine 
Master's mighty 



The sailor draws 
Andrew out still 

And many a miracle more performed he, 
Eminent Atheling, by his own great might : 
In the throng at Cana, with a word hallowed he 
Wine out of water, and, wishing men's pleasure. 
He bade it turn to a better substance ; 
Likewise fed he from fishes twain 

590 And five small loaves no fewer of earthfolk 
Than thousands five : foot-wanderers sat, then, 
Mournful-mooded, from the march a-weary, 
Their tired limbs resting, the men on the sward 
Eating their food, then, as each found pleasantest. 
Thou art able to learn, now, most belovfed of heroes. 
How by words and works the Warden of Glory 
In his life loved us, by his lore drew us 
To that blessedness above where, unburdened of sorrows, 
They happy with angels may that home abide in 

600 Who the Lord look for when their life-days are over." 
The Ward of the Way his word-treasure opened. 
The man o'er the gangway boldly did speak then : 
" Art thou able to tell me, that the truth I may know now. 
If thy great Creator openly wrought 
For men's welfare the wonderful deeds that 
He did 'mid the folk no few times but often. 
Where high-priests and scribes and councillors plotted. 
Sitting in conclave ? It seemeth to me that 

610 From spite venomous they devised their plots. 
Seduced by deep error and the Devil's devices ; 
The hellward- bound heroes heeded too gladly 
The false perjurers ; Fate ' deceived them, 
Mistaught and betrayed them : torment unending. 
Accursed 'mid the accursed, they quickly must suffer 
Bitter burning in the embrace of the murderer ! " 

1 The original has Wyrd; she, in the religion of our forefathers before their 
conversion to Christianity, was the goddess of destiny, and presided over the 
fates of men and of gods. She, of course, still rules the affairs of these un- 
converted cannibals. 

Andreas. 83 


Then, the excellent Andrew answer rendered him : 
" I tell thee in truth that, times numberless, 
'Fore the very faces of folk-rulers, wrought he 

620 Sign after sign, in the sight of thousands ; 
Likewise in secret the Lord God of men. 
For their peace planning, the people did benefit." 
The Defender of Athelings answer, then, made him ; 
" Art thou able, O wise man, in words to tell me. 
Mighty man of valor, of the marvels he wrought, 
The bold one, in secret, when ye sat with the Lord God, 
The King of the Heavens, in council so often? " 
The excellent Andrew answer, then, gave him : 

630 " Why pliest thou me with marvellous questions, 
My dearest lord, and knowest the truth of 
Every event ^ through thine excellent wisdom ? " 
Then, the Ward of the Waves his word-treasure opened : 
" I ask not reproachfully, nor insults to offer 
Here on the high-sea, but my heart gloweth, 
With joy blossometh, at the blessfed, excellent 
Words thou hast spoken ! Not for me only. 
But for all under heaven, the heart is hghter, 
The spirit brighter, whoever, far or near. 
In his mood remembereth what the Man did on earth here, 

640 The Son of the Highest : souls departed 
Sought eagerly the raptures of heaven, 
The home of the angels, through his excellent power." 
Early Andrew, then, answer rendered him : 
" Since I see in thyself signs evident 
That a wise spirit, wondrous in power. 
And victory are thine, and thy bosom with prudence 
Bloometh and blossometh with bliss most glorious, 

1 In 1. 630, we have the word wyrd used with the meaning of incident, 




I will gladly tell thee the beginning and end, 

As I heard for myself in the assembly of men, 

Oft and anon from his own lips falling, 

The wisdom and words of the wide-famous Atheling. 

Andrew, finding 
that the sailor is 
deeply inter- 
ested, enters into 
details of the life 
of Christ. 


" Oft gathered together great multitudes, 

Countless thousands to the council of God, 

Where they heard and hearkened the Holy One's teaching. 

Then, the Helm of Athelings thereafter departed, 

Bright Giver of Bliss to a building elsewhere,* 

Where praising the Lord many did greet him. 

Clever councillors came forth to meet him, 

660 Earls glad-hearted, were ever joyful 

When the Ward of the Borough back again journeyed. 
So it erstwhile happened the triumphant Judge, 
The mighty Lord fared : of his followers with him. 
Of his men no more on the march attended him 
Than eleven chosen champions-in-battle. 
Liegemen illustrious, the Lord was twelfth. 
In our march reached we the royal city,^ then. 
Where the temple of God towered heavenward, 
Spacious and pinnacled, splendid, glorious, 
Well-known to world- folks. With words of bitterness 

670 And craft artfulest, the high-priest began to 
Mock scornfully, his mood-treasure opened. 
Weaving his malice : in his mind knew he 
That we followed the footsteps of the Faithful and True One, 
Practised his precepts ; opposing voice, then, 
Mingled with railing he raised speedily : 
' Ye are indeed wretched more than all others, 

' Gr. translates to another place, but in his lexicon gives no such definition 
as ' place.' 

2 Of course, Andrew is referring to Jerusalem, and the magnificent Temple 
beautified and enlarged by Herod. 

Andreas. . 85 

O'er the earth wander, undergo many a The high-priest 

Dire danger, the doctrines follow ""if "= '""' 

° ' our Master. 

Of an exile and alien from Israel's folk-law, 
680 Hopeless of happiness hail him as king, 

Saying in sooth that the Son of the Highest 

Is your daily companion ! to the people ^ 'tis known, now. 

Whence this eminent atheling's origin springeth. 

In this very region, was he reared, nourished, 

As a babe born here 'mid his blood-kinsmen ; 

His father and mother, at home residing. 

Are called by name, as we know assuredly 

From wise questioning, Mary and Joseph : 

In his family also were two other bairns, 
690 Two boys born there, in brotherly-kinship, 

Sons of Joseph, Simon and Jacob.' 

The leaders of heroes on this wise spake, then, The rulers of the 

Ambitious lords, thought to obscure the obsc!re"i'sfame'. 

Creator's power : their ill-deeds returned, then. 

Their endless evil, where they erstwhile began. 

Then, the Prince departed from the place of assembly 

Strengthened with might, his Hegemen attending him, 

Lord God of Hosts, sought a land secluded : 

By manifold marvels in the midst of the desert, 
700 By signs showed he clearly he was King in right. 

Strengthened with might, the whole earth over. 

Maker and Governor of glory and majesty, 

One eternal God of the whole creation ; 

Moreover, he showed other numberless 

Marvels and miracles where men might behold them. 


" Thereafter set out the Atheling glorious 
With a mighty throng on another journey, 

1 We might translate rulers instead of people, but prefer to follow Gr. and 
BT. Notice the biting irony of the high-priest in 1. 683. 

86 Andreas. 

Till he stood in the Temple. His tones resounded 
Through the high building ; the Holy One's teaching 
710 Sinners received not, though signs many 

And true he had wrought where they well could behold them. 
Our Master went Likewise a splendid, wondrously carven 

one day into the Image of his angcls ^ the Atheling saw, then, 

"^^ "' The Wielder of Victories, on the wall of the building, 

To the right and the left, richly embellished, 
Beauteously graven ; the Blessed One spake, then : 
' Behold, now, the image of the angel races 
Most famed in this city : Seraphim and Cherubim 
720 'Mid the hosts of heaven on high their names are ; 
In the eternal God's gracious presence 
They stand resolute, praise with their voices 
In holy hymns the Heaven- King's puissance, 
God's protection. Engraven clearly, 
On the wall fashioned is the form of the holy ones. 
The henchmen of Heaven, through handicraft wondrous.' 
The Lord God of Hosts opened his word-hoard, 
The Heaven- Holy Spirit spoke to the multitude : 
' I bid and command that a beacon appear now, 
730 In the multitude of men a marvel be 'complished. 
That, the earth seeking, this image descend from 
The wall in its beauty and in words declare now, 
Set forth fully (so folk in the land must 
Needs believe it) whence is my origin ! ' 


"Then, durst not the marvel before men conceal the 
Word of the Wielder ; from the wall leaped, then. 
The old- work of ancients, till on earth it stood, 
The stone from the stone : strongly the voice 
Through the rock rang, then, all round sounded, 

^ Br. says, " I do not know whence this legend is derived." 



740 Cried out with words (wonderful seemed, now, 

The deed of the stone to the stubborn-mooded ones), 
By manifest tokens teaching the priests, then, 
Warning them wisely, and in words speaking ; 
' Ye are evil and base from ill devising, 
With snares deceived or, soul-perverted, 
Sin from ignorance ! ye despise the eternal 
Son of the Highest, him who sea and land, 
Heaven and earth, and the angry waters, 
The sea-streams salt and the circuit of heaven 

750 Did erst mark out with his own great fingers ! 
He is none but the selfsame God almighty 
That in former days your fathers did worship ; 
To Abram and Isaac and, after, to Jacob 
His grace gave he, with good things blessed them. 
To Abraham first in words promising 
To send the Messiah,^ from his seed raising 
The God of Glory ; the great Fulfilment ^ 
Is to all evident, with your eyes ye can see, now, 

760 The God of Victory, the Guardian of Heaven.' 

and, at his word, 
one of the Cheru- 
bim came down 
from the wall, 
and bare witness 
that he was the 
Son of God. 


" When these words were finished, the multitude hearkened 
' Through the broad building, breathless they all were. 
Early thereafter, the elders began, then. 
To say, sinful ones — they saw not the truth — 
That by arts of magic it was all accomplished, 
■By sorcery base, that the bright-shining marble 
Spake before men ; evil flourished, now. 
In the bosom of earthmen, burning hatred 
770 In their breasts boiled, too, bitterest venom. 

The woe-bringing worm ; through words of mockery, 
Their doubting mood was clearly revealed, then, 

1 We have kept quite close to Gr.'s des Edelen Verheissung. 

2 We have not departed far from the meaning of wyrd = event, occurrence. 

The people were 
amazed, but the 
rulers and elders 
said that it was 
the work of a 



Christ com- 
manded the 
image to go afar 
o'er the earth, 
and call the 
patriarchs out of 
their graves. 

The image goes 
to Mamre, 

and sends the 
three patriarchs 
forth preaching 
the one true God. 

The blindness of men blended with murder. 

The King commanded the mighty-work to go, then, 

The stone from its station, the streets to traverse. 

And to fare onward, the earth-ways treading. 

The green grass-plains, and God's messages 

With their blest-lore bear to the bounds of the nations, 

To the people of Canaan, in the King's name, also. 

To command Abraham early to rise again, 

780 Soon from the sepulchre with his son and his grandson 
To leave their land-couch, their limbs gathering, 
Their souls receive, and be seen young again. 
The wise old sages once more returning 
Out to their earth-dwellings and to all men declaring 
What manner of God they had known by his wonders. 
The stone set out, then, as the almighty Lord God, 
Creator of all men, had erstwhile commanded. 
O'er the broad border-paths, till brightly gleaming 
It to Mamre ^ came, -as God had bidden it, 

790 Where the bodies had long lain in the sepulchre. 
The bones of the patriarchs had buried been lying. 
It bade speedily from the dead rise, then, 
Abraham and Isaac, and of athelings third 
Jacob from the grave to God's assembly. 
Promptly from sleep profound ; bade them prepare for the 

To God's conclave to go : to the folk they must give instruc- 
As to who in the ages of old created and fashioned 
The all-green earth, and o'er it the heavens, 
And where the Lord God lived who laid their foundations. 

800 They dared not delay longer fulfilling 

The word of the King of Glory : bravely to go o'er the 

lln Gen. xxiii : 17, we read that Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah, 
" which was before Mamre," as a burial-place for his family. 
2 Notice the long lines. 

Andreas. 89 

Departed the prophets three, left the dark pit behind them, 

The sepulchre open ; they would early proclaim, then. 

The Father of all things. The folk, then, was greatly 

Awed and confounded, when the athelings three The people of 

Did the King of Glory in words honor. '''^' '^"'' ="■= 

amazed and cod- 

Then, the Ward of the Kingdom quickly did take them founded. 

Back to blessedness, bade them once more, then, 

To seek in peace the pleasures of heaven, 

And enjoy its raptures forever and ever. 

Thou art able to learn, now, beloved hero. 

How marvels a-many by his commands wrought he, i could tell you 

Though mood-blinded men his miracles scouted, "^"y °'^" """' 

T T • 1 ■ -1 T 11 ■^^Is wrought by 

His teachmgs received not. I saw and know other my Master, but 

Great signs and wonders that the Son of Man wrought here, y°" '==''"°' '^°'^- 

King of the Heavens, but thou canst not now bear' them, ^o^™ 
Nor in mind comprehend, though thy mood be clever." 


Thus, the whole day long, the belov^d^Andrew 
The precepts explained ^ of the Prince of Glory, 
820 Till sleep suddenly settled down on him 

As, close to the King, on the current he journeyed. 

Then, the Giver of Life gave his angels 

Command to take o'er the tumult of waters 

His belovfed gently to the Lord God's keeping, 

In their embraces bear him o'er the billows of ocean, 

While sleep still encircled the sea-farers weary. 

Through the air moving, erelong came he 

On land to the city that the Sovereign of Angels 

■Jit ^(t 'ff: ^ ^ ^K ^ 

830 On the heaven-way happy, their dear home to visit, 
By the highway left they the holy one lying 

1 St. John (xvi : 12) tells us that Christ used these very words to his apostles 
on one occasion. ^ We follow BT., B. and W., all close to the Ms. 



The heavenly 
sailors leave 
Andrew and his 
disciples asleep 
near the wall of 
the city of the 

When Andrew 
awakes, he 
arouses his dis- 

and tells them 
that the sailor of 
_ yesterday was 

In peace sleeping 'neath the vault of the heavens, 

Waiting calmly near the wall of the borough, 

Near his fierce enemies, all night long, then, 

Till God sent forth the candle of day to 

Shine luminous : the shadows vanished. 

Wan 'neath the welkin ; the weather torch came, 

The heaven-light beaming, high aloft gleaming. 

The war-brave awoke, then, o'er the wide fields gazing, 

840 'Fore the' borough-gates bluffs declivitous. 
Hills rose aloft ; 'round the hoary cliffs 
Turrets uptowered, tile-covered buildings. 
And wind-swept walls. The wise one knew, then, 
He had reached the land of the Mermedonians, 
Faring had found it, as the Father had bidden him. 
When the Creator of All erstwhile directed him. 
His sleeping disciples he saw on the ground, there. 
Bold battle-earls, by him reposing. 
In sleep slumbering ; soon 'gan he, then, 

850 To waken the warriors, in words saying : 
" I am able to tell you the truth evident, 
That, yesterday, o'er the dashing currents. 
The domain of oars, an Atheling brought us : 
In that good ship sailed the Glory of Kings, then. 
The Wielder of World-folk ; ^ his word knew I, 
Though his form he had hidden." From the deeps of their 

The noble young athelings answer rendered him : 
"Excellent Andrew, we early shall tell thee 

860 The events of our sailing, that thyself mayst be able 
To think o'er them wisely in the thoughts of thy spirit ! 
Seaweary sailors, sleep overcame us : 
Eagles came, then, o'er the ocean's tumult 
In the air flying in feathery triumph. 

^This hemistich is based upon W.'s text and note; but others follow the 
Ms. closely, and translate, The Ruler honored us. 



Our souls snatching as in slumber we lay there, 

Then, with glee on high glided through the sky. 

With joyful noise, gentle happy ones, 

Loving them fondly and lavishing praises : 

There was fulness of song 'neath the firmament along, 

870 A legion of loveliness, an illustrious band. 

All 'round the Noble One, angels were standing, 

In throngs of thousands as thanes 'round their Atheling, 

Sang glory in the highest with holy voices 

To the Lord of Lords : no limit their joy knew. 

The holy patriarchs were present before us, 

And of martyrs a multitude mighty and glorious : 

The throng of the righteous rendered the Victory-Lord 

Praise unfeigned ; David was with them. 

Blessed champion, child of Jesse, 

880 Come before Christ, King of the Hebrews. 
And so we saw 'fore the Son of the Highest 
Exalted in honor all of you standing. 
Twelve great-hearted glorious heroes ; 
Holy archangels eminent in majesty 
Rendered you homage : happy the man who 
May gain these glories with God in the heavens. 
There was the gladness of glory, the glitter of heroes. 
Eminent honor : ^ not any had anguish. 
His shall be exile, hell awaiting him, 

890 Who must hold aloof from these heavenly raptures, 
In woe wander, when away he departeth ! " 

The disciples of 
Andrew had 
dreams while 
sailing to Mer- 

Transported to 
heaven, we saw 
patriarchs, mar- 
tyrs, apostles, 
around the 
throne of God. 


Then, the holy one's heart was holpen mightily, 
Cheered in his bosom, when his thanemen had heard 
The welcome word that the Wielder of Glory would 

1 The translators differ widely as to this hemistich, 
flicts with itself. 

The BT. dictionary con- 



Andrew is 
greatly cheered, 
but he is dis- 
tressed when he 
remembers that 
he had talked 
familiarly with 
God as an equal, qqq 


God appears to 
Andrew in the 
form of a young 


God again chides 
Andrew for being 
so loath to come. 


O'er all other earthmen ever esteem them, 
And the warden of warriors these words uttered : 
" O Lord, my God, I have learned and know, now, 
That Thyself on the paths of the sea wast near me. 
Glory of Kings, when I clomb on my vessel. 
Though the Atheling of Angels, on the ocean currents. 
The Saviour of Souls, I saw not, knew not ! 
Almighty Maker, have mercy upon me, 
Be kind, great King ! On the currents of ocean 
I spake overmuch, but well do I know now 
Who with eminent honor on the ocean-vessel 
O'er the floods sped me : 'tis the Spirit of Comfort 
The Help of all earth-folk ; there is aid ready, 
Mercy from the Mighty for men numberless, 
Victory assured, if from him they seek it ! " 
'Fore his eyes came, then, clearly forthwith. 
Appeared plainly the Prince of the Heavens, 
The King of all flesh in the form of a stripling. 
Then, in words spake he, the Wielder of Glory : 
" Hail to thee, Andrew, and thy henchmen devoted, 
Be of good courage ! I'll keep thee in safety, 
That ill-doers evil not aught may harm thee. 
Nor crime-workers cruel crush thy dear spirit." 
He to earth fell, then, the wise-spoken hero 
Begged for protection, his Friend- Lord questioning : 
" How did it happen, Most High World-Lord, 
'Gainst the Saviour of Souls himself offending. 
That friend so gracious I failed to know 
O'er the floods faring, where I foolishly spake in 
My Maker's own presence more than was proper ? " 
All-ruling God, then, answer rendered him : 
" Thy offence, soothly, was far less grievous 
Than loudly alleging, in the land of Achaia, 
That thou couldst not fare on a faraway journey 
Nor come to this city in three days' travel 
Thy brother to meet as I bade thee seek him 



O'er the ways wearisome. Thou wottest better, now, 
That I easily can aid my own and further them 
Going wherever / may command them. 
Arise quickly now, be ready-mooded, fearless,' 
Excellent man, as the Eminent Father 
Forever and ever with honor shall crown thee, 
With strength and might. This city enter now, 

940 'Neath the bars and bolts, where thy brother lieth ! 
I wot that Matthew at wicked ones' hands is 
From swords suffering, with snares thy belovfed 
Kinsman is compassed : thou shalt quickly seek him. 
Deliver the loved one from the loathed ones' hatred 
And the men that with Matthew remain in the prison. 
Folk from far- lands fettered in dungeons. 
Bound cruelly. They ^ shall quickly find, now. 
Relief in the world and reward in glory, 
As to themselves solacing, I sometime promised. 

950 Now, excellent Andrew, thou must early adventure 

Into cruel ones' clutches : there is conflict appointed thee. 

With sword-blows bitter must thy body be severed, 

Wax like water from wounds gory. 

Thy blood flow in billows. Thy body they may not 

Give o'er to death, though stripes thou suffer. 

Blows, from the base ones. Bear thou that sorrow, 

Permit not the might of the Mermedonians, 

Their grim grappling, from God to turn thee. 

From thy Saviour to sway thee ! seek thou for glory ! 

960 Bear thou in mind how, to men numberless 
In many a land 'tis widely heralded 
That wretched men ruthlessly mocked me 
Fastened in fetters, flung their taunts at me. 
Smote me and swinged me ! sinners were powerless 

1 This hemistich is a crux of the first water; it probably means, Be not afraid, 
but maintain your composure. 

2 We follow Gr. in using the plural pron. in this sentence; the him (11. 947 
and 949) and the context would warrant sing, pronouns. 

God commands 
Andrew to go 
into the city to 
the aid of Mat- 
thew and other 

Be faithful ; I will 
sustain thee 
through thy 
torture, and 
crown thee with 
glory hereafter. 

I myself endured 
taunting, blows, 
and death, to 
teach my fol- 
lowers patience 
and humility. 



Through words of taunting the truth to proclaim, then ; 
When I hung on the cross 'mong the Jews, thereafter, 
And the rood was upreared, a ruthless warrior 
Poured out the blood from my pierced body. 
The gore to the ground. Grievous sorrows, 

970 On the earth bare I : to all my followers, 
By gracious mood would I give an example 
To be known afar 'mid folk of the races. 
Folk not a few in this famous city 
Thou shalt lead in my name to the light of heaven. 
Though ill-deeds many they erstwhile committed." 
Went, then, the Holy One the heavens seeking, 
The King of all Kings, kindly upward 
To the pure home above : there help waiteth for 

980 Each one of earthmen able to find it ! 


Andrew enters 
the city. 

The saint comes 
close by the 
prison, and the 
guards fall dead. 

Then, the hero hardy the behest regarded. 
Brave battle-thane ; ^ to the borough, speedily. 
Endowed with might, came the champion dauntless, 
High-hearted hero, God's henchman devoted. 
On the street went, then, as the way guided him. 
That not any of earthmen was able to know him. 
No sinful one see ^ him : the Sovereign of Victories 
In the town on the plain had protectingly shielded 
The lief land-prince with his love and favor. 
990 The eminent atheling early pressed in, 
Christ's champion, close to the prison. 
A horde of heathen beheld he gathered there, 
'Fore the grated gate guards standing, then, 
Seven together : death snatched all of them, 

' Andrew is continually depicted as a brave liegeman fighting under his 
Divine Liegelord. 

2 Andrew is invisible to the Devil and the cannibals. At 1. 1 21 2, he is com- 
manded to show himself, and let the power of God be manifested in him. 

Andreas. 95 

They fell fameless : the fury of slaughter 
Grabbed blood-gory heroes. The holy one prayed to 
The Father of Mercies in the deeps of his bosom, 
Praising on high the power and the goodness 
1000 Of the True-King of Heaven. At the touch of the hand of The door miracu- 

^v lously opens. 

Andrew enters. 

Holy Spirit,' flew the door open, then. 

And therein entered the excellent-doughty 

Hero a-hardy : the heathens were sleeping there. 

Drunken with blood, the death-plain reddened they. 

Saw he, then, Matthew in the mournful dungeon. 

Valiant hero in the vaults of darkness 

Singing glory to God, giving all honor to 

The Lord of the Angels. Lonely sat he. 

Sad, sorrowful, in the cell of misery ; 

Saw he alive, then, his belovfed companion, 
loio Holy one, holy one : hope was quickened. 

He arose greeting him, God thanking that The two apostles 

All safe and sound they might see each other othir™' "" 

Once more among men. Mutual was love, then. 

To both of the brothers, bliss was renewed ; 

Each with his arm the other encircled. 

Kissing and clipping : to Christ both of them 

Were beloved in spirit. A light shone round them 

Holy and heaven-bright ; their hearts in their bosoms 

Welled up with rapture. In words 'gan, then, 
1020 Andrew the earliest his excellent comrade, 

The godly, greeting in the gloom of the dungeon. 

With words befitting, spake of the war impending, 

The fight of the foemen : " Thy folk is now joyful, 

1 There being little or no capitalization in the Ms., the haliges gastes, 
(1. 1000), is sometimes referred to Andrew; but we take it that the miracle is 
referred to the third person in the Godhead, either directly or through the 
medium of A.'s fingers. 

96 Andreas. 

The two saints When thesc words were uttered, the excellent glory-thanes, 

''"''■ Both the dear brothers, bowed prayerfully. 

Sent their petition to the Son of the Highest : 
The holy one, likewise, in the loathfed dungeon 
1030 His God called upon, craving his help, 
His Saviour's assistance, ere sank his body 
Through the hateful heathens' hostile assault and 
Led, then, from prison to the Lord's protection. 
From the dungeon, all told, two and seventy 
And a hundred souls ^ 

From hatred delivered : left he there no one 
'Neath the bars and bolts bounden in fetters, 
And of women likewise along with the men 

Matthew leads Fearful-oues freed, then. They were fain of the journey, 

the throng of g^^j ggj ^^ ^j^g j^^^g ^^ j^^jjjg 

captives out of ^ 

the dungeon. In the woful dwelling awaited no loiiger. 

Went, then, Matthew, the multitude leading 
Under God's guidance, as the good saint had bade him. 
On their wished-for journey, in clouds enveloped. 
Lest enemies cruel should come harming them. 
Inveterate foes, with a volley of arrows. 
Where the bold-mooded saints took counsel together, 
1050 Faithful companions, ere they parted asunder : 
Each of the earls for the other strengthened 
The hope of heaven, hell's pains did they 
Ward off with words. So the warriors with them. 
The liberated Hcroes a-hardy, did with holy voices, 

God"^ '""'"' '^"^'^ battle-men, the Truth-King laud, then. 

The Wielder of Fates, whose fame and glory 
Shall ever 'mid earth-folk endless continue. 

1 This passage is defective, and G.-W. leaves 1. 1036 half blank. The prose 
version of the legend says there were 248 men and 49 women. 




Went Andrew, then, in to the borough, 

Going gladly, where a gathering of foemen, 

A horde of hostile ones, he had heard were assembled, 

1060 Till anon saw he, nigh to the roadway, 

A brazen column, near the highway standing. 

By its side sat he, soared his thoughts upward. 

In love unbounded, to the bhss of the angels : 

'Neath bars and bolts, then, bided he calmly 

What battle-achievements should chance to befall him. 

Then, the leaders of liegemen collected together 

Multitudes great, the gang of perjurers 

Went with their weapons to the wan prison, 

1070 Heathen warriors, where erstwhile the captives 
In the dark dungeon endured tribulation. 
The hostile-hearted ones hoped and weened, now. 
To make a repast on the men from afar there. 
The prescribed meal : but the hope failed them, 
When the spear-warriors angry open found there 
The door of the prison as they pressed thitherward. 
Found the handwork of hammers hanging wide open, 
The doorkeepers dead. Down-hearted, turned they. 
Sundered from pleasure, the ill-news heralding : 

1080 Apprised the multitude that of men from afar. 
Aliens and strangers, not any remaining 
Alive in the prison had looked at or met them, 
But that begrimed, gory, the guards lay prone. 
In the dust dead there, the doomed ones' bodies 
From their souls severed. At the sudden tidings 
No few folk-chieftains feared and trembled, 
Wan-mooded, woful, waiting for hunger, 
Pale table-guest.' They knew of naught better 

1090 Than the eating of dead men for their own sustenance, 

Andrew enters 
the city of the 
cannibals, and 
sits by a column 
of brass. 

A throng of 
hungry cannibals 
now come to the " 
prison, expecting 
a repast. 

The cannibals > 
are crestfallen 
and awe-stricken 
at what they see. 

1 Br. renders, thai pale table-ghost. 



In their hunger 
and desperation 
they cast lots 
which of them 
shall be eaten 
instead of the 

The lot falls upon 
a well-known 
councillor, who, 
in his dread and 
despair, offers 
his son in his 
place. This offer 
is gladly ac- 

The crunching of corpses : by cruel misfortune, 

For each of the door- thanes was the deathbed appointed, 

That all of the watchmen at once should perish. 

Then heard I that hastily the host was summoned. 

Burghers were bidden : braves gathered, then, 

A band of bold ones on battle-steeds going, 

Heroes on horses, holding high conclave. 

Exultant with ash-spears. All of the folk, then, 

To the meeting hied, let the lot decide 

Which of them first as food for the others 

Should lay down his life-joys ; cast lots then hellishly, 

'Mid heathen gods counted. The- horrible rod^ 

Fell upon one old well-known companion, 

A clever councillor in the concourse of earls at the 

Front of the folk-troop. Fettered, thought he 

Early thereafter to end his dear life-joys : 

Fierce-mooded cried he, calling mournfully, 

Promised forsooth the son of his body. 

His own young lad, to their loathsome hands if 

His own life were spared him. Eagerly took they 

His gift gratefully : ^ the grief-stricken multitude 

For food craved, then, cared not for jewels. 

Hoped not for hoard- treasure ; by hunger were sorely 

To dire straits driven, as the dread ravager 

Ruled savagely. For the sad boy's life. 

Many a man, then, was moved inwardly. 

Many stout-hearted men were stirred battleward. 

The warning of woe widely was published. 

Through the borough were bidden burghers a-many 

To come thronging to the death of the stripling, 

Receive for eating each one his portion 

^ Tacitus says : " Augury and -divination by lot, no people practise more 
diligently. The use of the lots is simple. A little bough is lopped off a fruit- 
bearing tree, and cut into small pieces ; these are distinguished by certain 
marks, and thrown carelessly and at random over a white garment." 

" Br. suggests that they were probably glad of the exthange. 



Both older and younger. Early the heathen 

Guards of the shrine gathered the burghers 

By hundreds and thousands : hubbub arose, then. 

'Gan, then, the stripling with gloomy wailings, 

Bound 'fore the war-host, his woe-song a-singing, 

Forlorn, friendless, longing for succor : 

The mournful young man no mercy could find, then, 
1 130 No grace from the grim ones to grant him his life-joys. 

From death to deliver him ; the loathed monsters had 

Sought for the battle, the sword's-edge bitter 

By blows hardened^ from the hand of the foeman. 

With fire-marks colored, must require his life-blood. 

To Andrew seemed it an evil most heinous, 

A grievous iniquity not easy to bear, that 

The youth guiltless should give up suddenly, 

Forfeit, his life-joys. Fierce was the multitude's 

Hatred, and harassing : heroes raged, then, 
1 140 Brave battle-thanes were burning for slaughter, 

Mighty-mooded were minded firmly to 

Mangle the head_ of the captive-stripling, 

With spears butcher him. God shielded him. 

Holy on high, from the heathen-folk, then : 

Bade the missiles of men in the midst of the struggle 

'Most like wax, then, to melt utterly. 

Lest enemies ill should be able to harm him 

With the brunt of battle-swords, base-hearted foemen. 

And so was the son saved from the folk-wrath, 
1150 The stripling from anguish. For all,, thank God, 

The Lord of Lords, who lavisheth honor 

On men each and all that aid from him do 

Seek for with wisdom ! there waits evermore 

Unending peace ^ for all that can find it. 

^ For scurheard, (I. 1133). various renderings are offered by scholars: 
hardened by blows (of battle) ; hardened by blows {of the smith') ; hardened by 
scouring; sharp; cutting like a storm. The meaning is still unsettled. 

2 Some editors adhere very closely to the Ms., and translate this hemistich 

Andrew would 
fain save the 
youth from their 
hungry clutches. 

God hy a miracle 
saves the strip- 
ling's life. 




Famine and de- 
spair prevail in 
the city. 

The cannibals 
look at each other 
in despair, hop- 
ing for advice. 

Satan makes his 
appearance, and 
tells them that 
the great ca- 
lamity is due to 
the presence of 

There was dire lamenting in the dwellings of men, 
High folk-shouting heard, heralds cried out, then, 
Moaned for the famine, mournfully standing, 
Captives of hunger ; horn-buildings empty were, 
Wassail-halls waste : warriors needed not 

1160 Riches for revelling in that wretched hour. 
In secret session, sat sagacious ones, 
Musing their miseries : no more had they home-joy. 
One warrior another often questioned : 
" Let no one hide it who hath knowledge worth hearing, 
Great sagacity ! 'Tis a good time to share it, 
Bitterness is boundless : there is abundant need now 
That the words of the wise we well hearken to." 
In the sight of the people, Satan appeared,' then. 
Black, foul-visaged, had the form of a monster.^ 

1 1 70 The king of all evil accused Andrew, then, 
The hell-limper horrible, the holy apostle. 
These words hissing, hate-bitter foeman -: 
" There is landed here from a long journey, 
A certain atheling, within, in the city, 
A far-comer hither, whom I heard folk calling 
By the name of Andrew ! lately he harmed you. 
When through the doors led he and forth from the prison 
Of the folk far more than was fitting or proper. 
Ye are able easily for these ill-bringing deeds, now, 

1180 To punish the authors : let the point of the weapon. 
The hard-edgfed iron, hew down the life-house,^ 

an eternal friend; in this case, the ' it ' at the end will refer back to ' aid,' 
two lines above. 

1 In such poems as this we can easily see the germs of the Miracle Plays and 
Mysteries of a later era. 

2 The prose version says in the form {image") of a lad. 

^Eadorgeard, (1. 1181), is not understood. Various conjectures are (i) 
dwelling of life ; {2) body ; {^^ house of veins ; i.e. body. 



The doomed one's life-hoard ! go valiantly 

Till ye beat in the battle your bitter antagonist ! " 

The excellent Andrew answer rendered him : 

" Why teachest thou the folk fearlessly, urging them 

Boldly battleward ? know'st the burning torment 

Hot down in hell for thee, yet a host preparest, 

An army to fight ? God's enemy art thou, 

1 190 Great Judge of Angels. Why add to thy wretchedness. 
Dart of the devil? deeply did God 
In hell humble thee, hurled thee into darkness. 
Where the King of Kings cast thee into fetters 
And ever thereafter all that could discern of 
The Law of the Lord have Lucifer called thee." 
Then, the Foe of Mankind urged zealously 
The folk to the fight, with a fiend's craftiness : 
" The foemen of heroes ye hear yourselves now 
Who most of harms on this host hath done here ! 
It is Andrew himself that argues against me 

1200 With wonderful words 'fore the war-band of heroes." 
Soon was the sign ' to the citizens given : 
The battle-brave ran with the roar of a war-throng. 
And warriors rushed, to the wall-gates thronging, 
Bold under banners to the battle-contention 
In a multitude mighty with missiles and war-shields.^ 
The Lord God of Hosts to his henchman spoke, then, 
God high and great, to his good young hegeman : 
" Thou shalt do great deeds,^ dear-lovfed Andrew ! 
Fear not the multitude, but thy mood unflinching 

1210 Gird up 'gainst mighty ones. The time is approaching 
When cruel, crafty ones shall cramp thee in tortures, 
In cold shackles. Show thyself* now. 

Andrew answers 

Satan stirs the 
against Andrew. 

God bids his 
apostle to neiVe 
himself for the 

1 Cf. the Fiery Cross in Canto III, Lady of the Lake. 
^ The language would fitly describe the marshalling of an A.-S. army. 
^ The phrase used here (ellen fremman) is one of the stock-phrases of 
the A.-S. heroic poetry. 

* Andrew is commanded to reveal himself, and " endure hardness." 

I02 Andreas. 

Harden thy hero-mood, let thy heart stand sturdy, 
That men may know that my might is with thee ! 
Crime-stained, guilty, they cannot and may not. 
If I be unwiUing, give thy dear body 
Into death's clutches, though scourging thou suffer, 
Buffetings evil ; I will be with thee ! " 


Andrew is tor- There Came thereafter a countless multitude, 

"''^'^- 1220 Crafty counsellors with a concourse of shield-men, 

Angry-mooded, they bare out speedily 
And bound the hands of the holy apostle. 
When the eminent atheling was openly shown to them, 
And they could see with their eyes the ever-victorious one 
Fearless before them. Not a few heroes 
Of the men of that folk on the field of battle 
Craved for the conflict : they cared little, then, 
What reward for their crimes should come to them afterward. 
They bade hale, then, hither and thither, 
1230 Oft and anon, their enemy loathed, 

Pull him where fiercest fiends could devise it. 
They dire-mooded dragged him by darksome caverns. 
O'er cliffs declivitous, cruel-hearted ones, 
As far and wide as the ways extended, 
The old giant-work inside the boroughs. 
The streets stone-covered. Storm, hubbub, then, 
Arose in the town, a tumult and uproar 
Of the host of the heathens. The holy one's frame 
Burned with body-wounds, with blood-gore streaming, 
1240 His bone-house was broken : the blood-waves bubbled, 

Andrew is fear- Hot from battle-gore. He had in. his bosom 

less and sinless. Fortitude fearless ; free from all sin was 

His excellent mood, though anguish so bitter 
From fell wound-blows he perforce must suffer. 
So, all day long, till eve came radiant 

Andreas. 103 

Was the apostle beaten : pain again entered 
The heart of the hero, till the heaven-bright orb was 
Gone down a-glistening and glode to its setting. 
Their fierce-hated foe the folk led, then, 
1250 Back to the prison : to Christ, nathless, 

He was precious in spirit ; his mood shone bright, now. 

Holy near his heart, his hero-mind dauntless. 

In the dark dungeon, the dear Andrew, then. He meditates 

Battle-brave earl, all night long did , 7'=''y ^" "'«'" 

' ° ° long in nis 

Meditate wisely.^ Snow decked the earth ^ with dungeon. 

Tempests wintry ; the weathers were bleak 

With hail-showers heavy, and hoarfrost and rime, 

Hero-thanes hoary, did the home-land of warriors. 

Men's dwellings, lock up ; the earth was frosty 
1260 And icicle-laden ; the glory of water 

Shrank o'er the rivers, ice bridged across the 

Pale water-road. The puissant earl 

Mood-bright remained, then, mindful of valor, 

Was daring, dauntless in his dire tribulation 

Through the nipping night-cold, nowise surrendered, 

From fear frantic, his firm resolution 

To give unto God glory and honor, 

With words exalt him, till the eminent jewel 

Arose radiant. Rushed, then, heroes 
1270 To the dark dungeon, a demon-like throng. 

Slaughter-fierce surging, with the sound of a war-band. 


Early thereafter, the atheling bade they, Again the saint 

The loyal liegeman, to be led into foes'-hands. is handed over to 

Then, as erstwhile, again, he all day long was te t"memet '" 

1 Gr. translates, full of wisdom-thoughts. BT. in one place says, beset with 
snares ; in another, beset with various thoughts. 

2 " Here follows an heroic picture in which the saint is set in a frame made 
by the description of a bitter night of frost." 

I04 Andreas. 

Beaten with blows : the blood-waves bubbled 
Through his dwelling of bone, drinking up fragments ' ( ?) 
Of his vitals all-gory ( ?) ; his wound-weary body was 
Unconscious of suffering.^ A cry of great sorrow, 
A moan, burst, then, from the breast of the hero, 
1280 A stream welled in waves, and in words spake he : 
Andrew commits " See now, Lord God, my great tribulation, 

himself to God's Benefactor of Races ! Thou fully knowest 


All of the ills that each man endureth. 
I trust in thee ever, Author of Life-joys, 
Saviour of Men, that in mercy and glory 
Thou wilt never forsake me. Almighty, Eternal ; 
So, while life lasteth me, Lord, on the earth here, 
1290 I shall swerve little from thy sweet commandments. 
Thou art a shield of defence 'gainst the foe's weapons 
For thine own, oh, eternal Author of Happiness ; 
Permit not the murderer of mankind to slander. 
The firstborn of evil, through the arts of the fiend. 
With his abuse to burden, them that bear thy praises ! " 
There appeared soon, then, the Apostate Spirit, 
The perfidious foe ; the fiend from hell, then, 
Satan again eggs Damned to agony, egged on the warriors 

ont emu 1 u e. -^^ front of the folk-throng, these fierce words saying : 

1300 " Fetch the foul-raooded foe of the people 

A blow in his mouth, since too much he hath gabbled ! " 

The strife and struggle was stirred afresh, then. 

Again was aroused, uprose the great clamor. 

Till the sun, in his setting, to his seat glided 

'Neath the headland deep : darkness hung, then, 

Lurid did lower, o'er the lofty mountains. 

And Heaven's holy one was haled to the building, 

Glory-eager, earnest ° to the gloomy prison ; 

In the dismal dungeon, the dauntless, faithful one 

1 A very difficult passage ; our rendering is only a guess at its meaning. 

2 He had swooned from the brutal treatment. 

^ Several authorities emend so as to read ' dear ' in our translation. 



1310 In that noisome place must the night-watches pass, then. 
Then the monster of malice, mindful of wickedness, 
With six^ fellow-demons fared to the building, 
Crowned king of criminals, clad in grim darkness, 
Dire-mooded devil, dead to all goodness. 
. With contempt and taunting tried he the holy one : 
" Why so eager, Andrew, for oversea journey 
Into foes' grapple? Thy glory, what is it. 
That with heart so haughty thou a-high rearedst. 
When our gods' grandeur thou greatly didst humble ? 

1320 For thyself alone, thou hast laid claim to 
All lands and races, like thy royal master : 
The one called Christ a King's might wielded 
All the world over, while able to do it ! 
Herod, anon, of his life reft him. 
The King of the Jews o'ercame him in battle. 
His kingdom conquering, to the cross nailed him, 
That he gave up the ghost on the gallows a criminal. 
So I now command my mood-valiant children, 
Bold-mooded braves, in battle to humble thee, 

1330 His liegeman, in fight. Let the lance's point, now. 
The poisonous arrow, pierce deeply the 
Doomed one's vitals ! advance boldly 
To beat down the boast of the battle-thane mighty ! " 

Seven devils now 
taunt the blessM 
apostle, and ridi- 
cule Christ. 

Satan commands 
his liegemen to 
attack Andrew, 


They raged savagely, swept on him rapidly 
With grim grappling : God shielded him. 
With strong arm steadfastly stood by his liegeman. 
When the frantic ones saw on the saint's face, then. 
The cross ^ of Christ clearly depicted. 
They, trembling with terror, from the attack shrank, then, 
1340 Fearful, affrighted, to flight betook them. 

^ The prose version says " seven other devils." 

2 God had put the sign of the cross on Andrew's face. 

The demons 
rage furiously, 
but are terrified 
by the sign of the 
cross on the 
apostle's face. 



Satan tries to 
rally his hench- 

One of the devils 
thinks that dis- 
cretion is the bet- 
ter part of valor. 

Satan tells 
Andrew that he 
has been jug- 
gling too long, 
and had better 

Again, as before, the grisly foeman. 
Hell-captive horrible, 'gan howling his woe-song : 
"What befell you so famous, my fellow-adventurers, 
So ill to succeed, excellent comrades ? " 
One of the wretched ones rendered reply, then, 
A fiend fierce-mooded, his father did answer : 
" We are unable to do him injury quickly. 
With snares to slay him : seek him thyself, now ! 
A fierce fight, then, thou shalt find speedily, 

1350 A perilous struggle, if thou further darest to 
Look for the lone one and thy life adventure ! 
We are able easily, earl most beloved. 
At the bitter battle better to counsel thee. 
Ere thou tempt truly the trial of combat. 
The terror of war : watch how thou-farest 
In the onset of arms ! Early let us, then. 
Go back and jeer at the Jew fast fettere 
With his miseries mock him ! make ready now with 
Well-chosen words for the wicked impostor ! " 

1360 In a loud voic6, the loathfed one cried, then. 
In anguish and agony uttered these words : 
" With evil arts thou, Andrew, hast long been 
Overfamiliar ! many a people 

Hast deceived, betrayed ! Thou canst not deal now 
More in such magic : miseries grievous 
For thy deeds are appointed thee ; wretched-mooded. 
Sad, comfortless, thou shalt suffer great woe, 
Direst death-torture ! My dear-loved warriors 
Are ready for battle, who by brave deeds speedily, 

1370 With little delay, shall of life bereave thee. 

What man is that mighty in middle-earth's regions. 
Of all earth's denizens, that is able to loose you 
Out of your fetters, if /be unwilling? " 
Excellent Andrew answer, then, made him • 
" In sooth, easily can God Almighty, 
Saviour of Men, who in sorrows long ago 



Firmly fastened thee, in fetters of yore, 
Where, ever thereafter, in anguish chained, 
1380 Thou hast chafed under punishment, forfeited glory, 

Since the Heaven-King's behest in heart thou despisedst ; 

There evil began, the end of thy punishment 

Cometh never ! Forever and ever 

Thou shalt add to thine anguish : forever and aye. 

From day to day more drear thy existence.'' 

Then off fled he who, ages ago, 

'Gainst God began the grimmest contention.^ 

Andrew boldly 
replies that the 
mighty God who 
put Satan in 
chains and fire 
can save bis 

Satan flees. 


There drew near at dawn, as the day broke, then, 

A host of the heathens, the holy one seeking 
1390 With a throng of thanemen, for the third time bade they 

The long-suffering liegeman be led forth to torture ; 

They wished utterly the eminent hero's 

Mood to melt, then : that might not be. 

Again, as before, their fury was stirred, then, 

Bitter, battle-grim. The blessed apostle 

Was bound basely, beaten cruelly. 

Pierced through with wounds while the daylight lasted. 

Grieved 'gan he, then, upon God calUng 

In holy accents, earnest from prison, 
1400 Wept wearily, and these words uttered : 

" Ne'er have I suffered, by God's permission, 

Severer lot 'neath the vault of the heavens, 

Where the Law of the Lord I must deliver to men ! 

My Umbs totter, torn is my body, 

My bone-house bloody, boiling my wounds are. 

Gory my gashes. Lo ! Giver of Victories, 

Dear Lord Jesus, a day's length ^ thou didst 

1 These two lines in the original are almost matchless for their concentrated 
power and vigor; they are a Paradise Lost in embryo. 

2 Andrew pleads with his Divine Master that he (A.) has been suffering 

For the third 
time, the mob of 
persecutors tor- 
ture Andrew. 

Andrew pleads 
with Christ to 
save him from 

io8 Andreas. 

Suffer in sorrow 'mid the sons of Jacob, 
The while from the cross, God everUving, 

1410 Thou, dear Lord of all, on the Father didst call, 
Oh, Glory of Kings, crying aloud thus : 
' Father of Angels, I will ask sadly. 
Light- Prince of Life, why leavest thou me ? ' 
And three long days, now, dire agonies 
I have had to endure? Dear Lord of Hosts, I 
Pray thee grant me to give up my spirit. 
Feeder of Souls, into thine own keeping ! 
By thy holy word, thou gavest the promise. 
When us twelve apostles thou erstwhile calledst, 

1420 That foes' hatred should harm us never. 

No piece at any time be plucked from our bodies. 
No sinew nor bone be left behind us, 
No lock be lost from thy loved ones' heads, if 
We'd hold faithfully to thy holy teachings. 
My sinews are burst, now, my blood sprinkled, 
My locks lying o'er the land scattered. 
My hair on the ground. I had much liefer 
Lay down my life, than live in this agony ! " 
Him, eamest-mooded, answered the voice of the 

1430 Great Glory- King, greeted with words thus : 
" Bewail not thy woe, well-loved Andrew ! 
Christ promises Thou art able to bear it : /will be with thee, 

to sustain him. With my stretched-out arm's strength will sustain thee. 

Power over all things in earth and in heaven 
And glory are given me : in the Great Assembly 
On the day of doom, doubtless many will 
Say and declare that this beauteous creation, 
Heaven and earth, shall pass away, 

1440 Ere any one word that / have e'er spoken 

three days, while Christ did not endure one day's torture without imploring 
his Father's mercy. Gr. shows that he saw this antithesis, for he translates by 
an einem Tage, with stress and alliteration on einem. Others, however, neglect 
this point entirely. The prose version is equally clear. 

Andreas. 109 

Shall fail of fulfilment or fall to the ground.^ 
See now thy track, where thy blood forth spouted, 
From the breaking of bones, the blood-gory traces, 
From thy body-bruises ! With blows of lances. 
No more injury they'll be able to do thee 
Who have harmed thee most by harshness and cruelty." 
The beloved liegeman looked, then, behind him. 
As the King of Glory had given command : 
He saw standing there trees blooming. 
Beauteous with blossoms, where his blood he had shed. 
1450 The shelter of earlmen uttered these words, then : 
" Thanks and praise to thee, Ruler of Nations, 
World without end worship in heaven. 
For that me in my misery, my mighty Victory- Lord, 
Thou didst leave not alone, a forlorn stranger ! " 
So the doer of deeds his dear Lord did praise, then. 
In holy accents, till the heaven-bright sun had 
'Neath the seas sunken, to its setting in splendor. 


The fierce folk-chieftains for the fourth time haled, then, 
I^oathsome enemies, the atheling dragged to his 
1460 Darksome dungeon ; the doughty spirit. 

The dauntless courage, of the dear-lovfed counsellor 

Would quell in the night-time. Came, then, the Lord God, 

Glory of Heroes, going prisonward. 

And the great World-Father in words greeted his 

Friend and apostle, promised him comfort. 

The Master of Life bade his body become again 

All safe and sound : " In sorrow no longer 

Thou shalt bear the abuse of bloody-thirsty warriors." 

1 The Bible reader will readily see that this is a paraphrase of very familiar 
words recorded in the gospels. These religious poems were often used, along 
with prose homilies, for purposes of instruction. 

no Andreas. 

Andrew's body is 1470 Freed from the baleful bondage of torturc/ 
midc wei?L "^^^ mighty one rose, then, his Creator thanking : 

sound. Unblemished his beauty, no bit of his raiment 

Was aught loosened, nor a lock from his head, 
Nor a bone broken, nor bloody wound 
Along of his body, no limb from cruel 
Sword-cuts suffering and seething with blood-gore, 
But he was ever as erstwhile, through God's excellent might. 
His songs-of-praise singing and sound bodily. 


[The poet makes I,^ in sooth, for a seasoH, the saint's blest teaching, 

a personal aiiu- rpj^g ^^ q£ ^jjg pj-jises of his puissant dccds have 

sion, and says ° * 

that he cannot do 1480 Been Weaving in words, a well-known story, 
justice to this There is more yet to say, exceeding my powers,' 

lofty theme.] , . 1 • 1 ■ /• 1 rr j 

A long reading, what m life he suffered. 
From youth to old age ! I trow that a wiser 
Man on the earth than / deem me 
Must find in his heart fully to know of 
All the sore ills he underwent bravely. 
The grim grapplings. We must go yet farther, 
Nathless, and piecemeal a part of the story 
Add to our song ! * 'Tis an oft-told tale how he 
1490 Countless, numberless cruelties suffered. 

Bitter battles, in that borough of heathendom. 
By the wall saw he massive pillars 

1 There are several possible translations of this passage, all turning upon 
the syntax of heardra wita. Is this gen. dependent upon hal, haefte, or 
)>anc? We have followed the second possibility. 

^ This personal passage introduces the fourth main division of the poem. 
The poet again uses the hwaet ! to catch attention. 

' Br. thinks the poet is speaking with " proud humility." We once heard a 
good old deacon refer to Christians that were " proud of their humility." 

* Br. thinks that Cynewulf would have given us a voluble passage of personal 



Fashioned firmly and fixed in tlie earth deep, 

Columns storm-beaten standing before him, 

Old giant-work. Early to one of them 

Mood-brave, mighty, his mouth opened he. 

Most wondrous-wise, at once addressing it : 

" Mark thou, O marble ! the commands of the Lord God, 

In whose mighty presence man and creation 

1500 Shall be filled with fear, when the Father glorious 
Of earth and of heaven they behold seeking,* 
With the mightiest of multitudes, men of all races ! 
From thy base send forth now floods issuing,^ 
A river to run ; the Ruler almighty. 
Monarch of Heaven, commands that speedily 
Thou forth spout now on this folk so stubborn 
A rushing river, for the ruin of men, 
A streaming heaven ! ^ In truth, thou art nobler 
Than gold or treasure ! the True-King wrote on thee,^ 

1510 The God of Glory gave forth in words his 
Mysteries awful, and the only true Law 
Betokened and told in ten commandments. 
The mighty Maker to Moses did give it. 
As excellent, earnest ones thereafter held it. 
High-hearted heroes, his holy kinsmen,' 

Andrew performs 
another miracle. 

The marble pillar, 
sends forth a 
stream to drown 
the stubborn 

God had honored 
the stone ages 
ago by writing 
upon it with his 

1 We leave W. here, and follow Gr. and Ett. 

2 In the prose version, he sees a column surmounted by an image, and this 
image pours forth water from its mouth. 

2 Some eminent authorities read geofon for heofon again, and translate 
a streaming {rushing, weltering) ocean. W., as usual, keeps close to the Ms., 
Cf. note to 1. 393, above. 

* Br., in his charming analysis of the poem, assumes that there are two 
columns and that they are tables of the Law; but the poet does not say how 
many columns there are, and what would tables of the Law (of Moses, or of 
God) be doing in this wild heathen city? No; they are parts of the prison, 
and the poet tells the stone that it was honored ages ago when God used it to 
write his commandments on. 

* Gr. says men of God. The poet thinks all the old Hebrew characters are 
related to each other in the bonds of sibb. 



God-fearing men, Tobias and Joshua. 
Thou canst perceive readily that the Sovereign of Angels 
In days of yore adorned thee more 
With gifts eminent than any of jewels : 
1520 At his holy behest, thou shalt here speedily 

Show what knowledge thou hast of thy heavenly Maker ! ' 

The stream 
rushes forth and 
engulfs a num- 
ber of the 


So blithely obeyed the obedient marble 
That the stone shivered : a stream forth issued, 
O'er the fields flowing ; foaming billows 
At the dawn of day dashed o'er the earth, then ; 
The flood rose higher : fear and horror 
Followed the feast-day. Folk-warriors armed 
From their sleep started : stirred to its bottom 
Sea swallowed earth up. The multitude cowered 
1530 From fear of the flood ; fated ones perished. 
The battle-rush seaward swept off" youths in the 
Crashing of currents. 'Twas a crushing sorrow, 
A bitter beer-drinking : ^ obedient henchmen, 
Ale-pourers tarried not ; for each was soon ready 
From the dawn of day drink in abundance ! ^ 
The water's-might waxed, then : war-troopers moaned, 
Old heroes groaned ; off they would hasten, 

^ Br. says: "The whole of this comparison of the Flood to a drinking-feast 
is detestable. Fortunately it stands alone {sic). But it reveals the sensation- 
alist who is searching for violent effects." That may be true from Brooke's 
modern point of view, but not from that of the poet and his audience. In 
Beowulf (\. 770) we have what some eminent authorities consider a parallel 
figure, though not expanded as here. The poet of Andreas, then, may be 
using a metaphor as familiar to his audience as some of Shakespeare's are 
to us. But shall we continue to measure our early poets by the standards of 
Tennyson, etc.? 

2 This is a continuation of the comparison discussed in the note above. 
The poet means that they all got enough to drink for once at least. Grim 



The fallow-streanj flee from, fly for their lives and 
Seek them a sojourn safe in some cavern, 

1540 Rest for their footsoles. An angel withstood them. 
Who compassed the borough with blazes luminous. 
Flames fierce-burning. The foaming billows ' 
Raged in the borough : no band of war-troopers 
Was able to flee from that awe-stricken fortress. 
The waves waxed, then, Vood snapped and crackled, 
The fire-brands were flying, the flood in waves gurgled. 
It was easy to find, then, inside the borough 
Sad measures sung, sorrow bemoaning. 
Many hearts fearful, funeral dirges : 

1550 The awful fire was of all beheld, then, 
Dire devastation,^ the dreadful confusion ; 
The flames of the fire, fanned by the wind, 
The walls compassed, the waters rose higher : 
Weeping and wailing widely resounded. 
Sad tumult of mortals.^ A man began, then, 
A gloomy warrior, to gather the folk-throng. 
Mourning, moaning, lamentingly spake he ; 
" Ye yourselves can see now, in sooth, easily, 
That wrongly, unrighteously, the wretched stranger 

1560 We with chains loaded in the loathsome dungeon, 
With horrible fetters ! Hard, battle-grim 
Fate is pursuing us : few but can see it ! 
'Twere well, methinketh, with one mind to free him 
From his fetters and shackles (the earlier the better) 
And beseech the saint his assistance to lend us. 
Aid and comfort ! Peace after sorrow 
Shall be soon sent us, if we seek it from him." 
Andrew divined, then, the acts of the folk-throng 

1570 Down in his mood-depths, when the doughty ones' might. 
The proud folk's power, was put to the blush there : 
The billows embraced them, blithe the waves were. 
The torrents tossed, till the tumbling breakers 

1 The old poet glories in a scene like this. ^ We follow BT. here. 

An angel com- 
passes the city 
with flaming fire. 

A Mermedonian 
warrior advises 
his fellow-towns- 
men to free 

114 Andreas. 

O'er the bosom clorab to the shoulders of earlmen. 
The apostle stills The athcling bade, then, ocean be peaceful, 

the tempest. jjjg gtorm be Still round the stony declivities. 

The hero invincible advanced hastily, 
God's dear one wise left, then, his prison : 
1580 There was soon opened him a path through the waters ; 
Calm was the victory-plain, the ground alway 
Dry from the flood, where his foot fell upon it. 


The borough-burghermen blithe were in spirit, 

Happy of heart. Help came to them 

Soon after sorrow : the sea-deeps ' grew calm at 

The behest of the holy one, unheard were the waters, 

The sea subsided. Then, severed the mountain, 

The earth-cavern awful, therein permitted 

The flood to flow, the fallow currents, 

1590 The abyss swallowed up the bubbling commotion : 
Not the waves alone in its womb drowned it. 
But the worst of the war-throng went to the bottom, 
Fourteen accursed crime-doers 'mong them 
With the wave went, then, the way of perdition 
To the pit bottomless. Then, were palsied with terror, 
No few souls affrighted of the folk that were left there : 
They expected the ruin of men and of women, 
Of storm and stress a still sadder era. 
Since, crimson with crime, the cruel-hearted 

1600 Though brave battle-earls 'neath the abyss had perished. 
With one consent said, then, all of them : 
" We well wot, now, that the one true Creator, 

1 Here we feel compelled to leave W. and B., though the Ms. sustains 
them. (l) The alliteration, which is very regular in this poem, demands 
geofon. (2) The idea involved in geofon swaffrode is hammered in by two 
hemistichs closely following. (3) The weight of authority is largely in favor 
of the change. 




The Lord of All, ruleth mightily, 

Who this henchman of his hither hath sent for 

An aid unto earth-folk ! There is urgent need, now, 

That high-mindedly and heartily we heed the message 

The good saint 'gan, then, greatly cheering 

The man, and the war-hosts with words encouraging : 

" Be not overanxious, though the evil race have 

Sought their own ruin, have suffered death. 

Their well-earned punishment ! the light of glory 

Gleaming is given you, if the good part ye choose now, 


All of the 
heathen confess 
that Andrew is 
the servant of the 
true God. 


He sent forth his prayer to the Son of the Highest, 

Asked the Holy One his aid to render 

To the young of that folk who, in the flood's clutches, 

Had lost their lives but late in the waters, 

So that, God-forsaken,^ their sorrowful spirits 

Sundered from glory had gone down to ruin. 

Fastened in foes'-clutches to the fire of torment. 

1620 Then, the earnest prayer to the All-wielding God, 
Ruler of Races, rose acceptably 
As the Holy Spirit had spoken in promises : 
He bade uprise, then, all of the youth that 
The sea had erst swallowed, sound from the earth. 
There stood up straightway, as the story relateth 
In legend and lay, a large assembly 
Of stripling-bairns : body and soul were 
Again united, though the time was but short since 
In the clasp of the current they had come to destruction ; 

1630 They to baptism came and the covenant of blessing, 
The pledge of glory, perfect through sufferings. 

Andrew asks 
God to spare the 

The youth are 
restored to life. 

1 We follow BT. and Gr.'s translation in construing gumcystum as advl. 
instr. Some take it as dat. with hyran = to follow the right. 

^ See note to 1. 406, above. BT. renders destitute of good (things). 



They are bap- 
tized, and a 
church is built 
on the spot where 
the miracle was 

Great throngs re- 
ceive baptism. 

The Christian 
church is for- 
mally estab- 
lished, and a man 
named Platan 
consecrated as 
bishop of the 

The apostle de- 
termines to leave 

The protection of God.^ Then, the brave one commanded, 

The King's builder, a church to be founded, 

A temple of God, where the youth arose 

Through the Father's baptism and the flood forth issued. 

There gathered together in great throngs, then. 

Folk through the borough, from far and wide. 

Men of one mind, with their maidens and women ; 

Promised they would heartily heed and follow, 

1640 In the baths of baptism bathe speedily 
For the love of the Lord, and leave utterly 
Their ancient shrines and the altars of devils. 
Then, the gift of baptism was given that race, 
Pure 'mid the people, and the perfect Law^ 
Of the Lord set up, his ordinance established 
'Mong the folk in the land, a church was hallowed. 
There God's apostle appointed an eminent 
Man that was wise in word and in action 
In the beautiful borough, as bishop and father, 

1650 And set him apart 'fore the host of warriors 

Through his power as apostle (he was Platan entitled), 

To feed that flock, and firmly exhorted them 

To hear and heartily heed his instruction. 

Their souls'-good seeking. He said he would early 

Go from the gold-city, give up, abandon the 

Hall-joy of heroes, their hoard of treasure-gems. 

1 The translators and lexicographers differ quite widely here; we have kept 
close to BT. 

^ This passage has caused much discussion among distinguished editors, and 
even Grein seems to have failed to catch its full meaning. W. suggests that 
1. 1 65 1 belongs before 1650; and it doubtless does in sense, though the old 
writers are not so precise in forming sentences as to place their phrases with 
great accuracy. We follow W.'s exegesis, adopt BT.'s definitions, using 
" hallowed " instead of the technical " consecrated " of the modern English 
church, and believe that our results will satisfy all concerned. A good deal 
depends upon the phrase ]»urh apostolhad, which baffled some. It no 
doubt means that Andrew, by virtue of his apostolic power, " hallowed " or 
consecrated Platan bishop of the Mermedonians. 

Andreas. 117 

The bright bracelet-halls and a boat seek for 
At the ocean's shore, a ship to embark on. 


To the whole host, then, 'twas a heavy affliction 
1660 That the beloved leader no longer was able 

To bide in their land. As the blessed one journeyed, God commands 

The God of Glory greeted him from heaven ^'^^'"^ '° "'- 

main m Merme- 

And the Lord God of Hosts these words spake, then : donia seven days 

»*»*»*» longer. 

'" The folk from their ill-deeds. They are eager for death 

now (?), 
Go mournfully, both men and women 
Their woes waihng over : their weeping goes forth, now, 
Their lamenting mood * * * * 

Leave not shepherdless the sheep so early 
1670 In their new-found joy, but my name in their bosoms 
Fix firmly now ! Defender of warriors,' 
Bide in the borough in their buildings adorned 
Seven days longer ; then my peace shall go with thee." 
Set he out soon — 'twas the second time, then, — 
Mighty of mood, the Mermedonians' The church 

City coming to. The Christians grew there among the Mer- 

" " medonians is 

In word and in wisdom, when the World-King's messenger, strengthened by 
The servant of glory, they saw with their eyes, then. Andrew's teach- 


1680 In the way of faith, the folk counselled he, 
To the saints' honor added mightly. 
Guiding to glory a great multitude. 
To the holy home of the heavenly kingdom. 
Where Father and Son and Spirit of Comfort 

^ The poet naively makes God address Andrew as an Anglo-Saxon king 
would address a noble thane; indeed, God is the Divine Atheling, and 
Andrew his faithful liegeman. 



Satan is 
chagrined and 
sorrowful at los- 
ing his power in 
that city. 

The apostle 
leaves Merme- 
donia, and goes 
back to Achaia. 

The Merme- 
donian Chris- 
tians bid him a 
sad farewell. 

Reigneth in might o'er mansions of glory, 
Great Three in One forever and ever ; 
Likewise, the saint insulted their altars, 
Their idols drove out and their errors abolished. 
'Twas a sore sorrow that Satan ^ must bear, then, 

1690 Mighty mood-burden, when the multitude saw he 
Turn happily from hell's buildings, 
Through the good Andrew's gracious teachings, 
To the beauteous bliss where base spirit never 
In the land walketh, nor loathed fiend stalketh. 
The time by the Lord God allotted was gone, then, 
The days in their number as God commanded him 
To bide in the storm-burg. He was bound for the journey. 
Exultant, triumphant, on the excellent wave-rusher 
Would himself seek for — ('twas the second time, then) — 

1700 The land of Achaia, where his life's severing. 
Death, suffered he : the wan murderer ''■ 
Enjoyeth no jesting, to the jaws of hell 
Headlong he fell, and friendless, bitter. 
Not ever thereafter knew aught of solace. 
I have heard that heavy-hearted heroes led, then. 
Their precious master to the prow of the boat with a 
Throng of thanemen : the thoughts of many there 
Hot in the heart heaved tumultuously. 

1 710 Aboard brought they the brave-mooded warrior 

At the edge of the sea ; on the ocean-shore stood they 

Lamenting, mourning the man that was leaving them, 

The while on the ocean the hope of athelings 

O'er the seal-fords sailing they might see in the distance. 

And praise did upraise to the Prince of Glory, 

With one voice sang, sayiftg in unison : 

" One is the eternal God of all creatures ! 

1 Satan is the defeated foe, conquered by the Divine Atheling and his noble 

^ The poet consigns the murderer of St, Andrew to a place where he will 
never laugh. 

in unison. 

Andreas. 119 

His might and majesty are magnified greatly They praise God 

All the earth over, and his eminent lustre 
1720 In the holy glory of the heavens gleameth 
World without end wondrous in splendor, 
Everlasting 'mid angels : — an illustrious King ! " 

Classic English — Prose and Verse 



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Milton's Select Minor Poems. Thomas. 

Pa., 30c. CI., 48c. 
Pope's Essay on Man and Essay on 

Criticism. Seabury. Pa., 20c. CI., 

Pope's Translation of Homer's Iliad. 

Books I., VI., XXll., XXIV. Twombly. 

Pa., 20c. CI., 30C. 
Pope's The Rape of the Lock. Eaton. 

Pa., 15c. CI., 25c. 
Raskin's Sesame and Lilies. Cook. 

Pa., 25c. CI., 35c. 
Scott's Ivanhoe. Alexander. CI., 60c. 
Shakespeare's Macbeth. Pattee. Pa., 

25c. CI.,, 40c. 
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(In press.) 
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(In press.) 
Southey's Life of Nelson. Twombly. Pa., 

30C. CI., 40c. 
Spenser's Faerie Queen. Stempel. (In 

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Tennyson's The Princess. Chalmers. 

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Monument. Twombly. Pa., 15c. 

CI., 25c. 
Wordsworth's The Excursion. (With 

short poems.) Seabury. (In press ) 
A Collection of Old English Ballads. 

KiNARD. (In press.) 
Ballads of American Bravery. Scol- 

LARD. CI., 50c. 

Sprague's Studies in English Classics 


Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield. 
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Shakespeare's As Vou Like It. 

Pa., 30c.; CI 


Shakespeare's Hamlet. 
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Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. 
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Other Publications of 
Silver, Burdett ^ Company 

Ballads of American Bravery. 

A Collection by Clinton Scollard. 230 fp-, '/j cents, 

A stirring and unexcelled collection of the bravest lyrics w ich celebrate deeds of Amer- 
ican courage and patriotism. The ballads are chosen with signal discrimination and are 
edited with extensive historical notes. 

Songs of the Nation. 

Compiled by Col. Charles W, Johnson, j6o pp., y^c 

A superb collection, embodying the patriotic songs most in demand; songs fo- anniver- 
saries and occa:ions; American folk songs; a group of religious favorites; the best college 
songs, etc. 

Ha*waii and its People. 

By Alexander S. Twombly. 3^4PP-'i 75 tUustrathm, $1,00, 

A graphic description of our new possession, timely, accurate and spirited. The book 
gives views of the heroic, legendary period, and the authentic history since 1778; it illus- 
trates present conditions and opportunities. 

American Writers of To-day. 

By Henry C. Vedder. 34^ PP-j $^-So- 

Critical and sympathetic analysis of nineteen recent American authors and their books, 
interwoven with graphic personal details. 

The Old Northwest. 

The Beginnings of Our Colonial System. By B. A. Hins- 
dale, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor in the University of Mich- 
igan. Netv edition, re-vised. ^20 pp.; $I-7S' 
The only adequate monograph on the development of a section which is Hd ihuch a his- 
toric unit as New England. 

Historic Pilgrimages in New England. 

By Edwin M. Bacon. 476pp., iji illustrations. $i,jo. 

The narrative of early New England and its high-souled founders, told picturesquely to 
readers who are supposed to be standing on the very spots where the stirring Colonial drama 
was enacted. Of keenest interest to all lovers of Yankee-land. 

The Rescue of Cuba. 

An Episode in the Growth of Free Government, By 
Andrew S. Draper, LL-D., President of the University of 

Illinois. igs pp. Elegantly and profusely illustrated. $i.J0. 
A judicious and inspiring presentation of the War with Spain as another and important 
step in the world's movement towards human liberty. The best book on the War, and the 
problems it has left for our solution. "It reads like a novel," says Lyman Abbott. "It is 
accurate," says Gen. Wesley Merritt. 

These books are sold by Booksellers^ or will be mailed^ postpaid^ on receipt of price, 

^iWstx, Burtiett antj Company 

Valuable Helps for Teachers 


By Daniel Putnam, A.M., Professor of Psychology and Pedagogy in the 
Michigan State Normal School. 330 pp. Price, f 1.50. 

*'A conservative and forceful application of psychology to the science and art of 
teaching."— H. M. Beardshear, H.D., President Iowa State College. 

' ' It places in a fresh psychological light some of the older and valid pedagogical 
conceptions, . . . The student is constantly confronted with essential funda- 
mental questions."— E. F. Buchner, Ph.D., Instructor in Pedagogy, Yale University. 


By Sarah Louise Arnold, Supervisor of Schools, Boston. 276 pp. 
Price, $1.25. 

A book of delight and inspiration for all teachers, full of suggestions and illustra- 
tions, developing the ideal aims and principles of teaching in a practical manner. 


By Sarah Louise Arnold. 2S8 pp. Price, $r.oo. 

"The most helpful book on the subject that has come to my notice. . . . Every 

gage brings to the humblest teacher, along with high professional inspiration, direct 
elp in the lowliest phases of her work. Every suggestion is warmed by a sympathy 
which is sure to encourage the teacher, and luminous with directions that cannot fail 
to set her free from the trammels of a spiritless routine."— W. N. Hailmann, Super- 
intendent of Instruction, Dayton, Ohio. 


By Andrew Thomas Smith, Pd.D., Principal of the Pennsylvania State 
Normal School. 366 pp. Price, $1.50. 

A work designed to rationalize and harmonize teaching processes, careful and 
systematic in treatment and application to school work. 

"Suggestive, interesting, and helpful work on Methods." — Joseph Walton, 
Ph.D., Principal Friends' Central School, Philadelphia. 


By Gen. THOMAS J. Morgan, late United States Commissioner of Indian 
Affairs, late Principal of the Rhode Island State Normal School. 355 pp. 
Price, $1.75. 

"The book is one from which every teacher, whatever his grade or department, 
might draw both help and inspiration.''— CA^-w/zaw Inquirer. 


By George H. Martin, A.M., Supervisor of Schools, Boston. 97 pp. 
Price, 48 cents. 

A forceful presentation of principles and methods most helpful to teachers in in- 
stilling into their pupils a patriotic appreciation of the duties, rights, and responsi- 
bilities of citizenship.