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Danube. We procured ample entertainment for the eagle in that slaughter. Bloody sweat fell in the ocean of wounds. A host of men there lost their lives.
We fought with swords: we enjoyed the fight, when we sent the inhabitants of Helsing to the Hall of Odin. We sailed up the Vistula. Then the sword acquired spoils : the whole 1:
ocean was one wound: the earth grew red with reeking gore : the sword grinned at the coats of mail: the sword cleft the shields asunder.
We fought with swords : I well remember that no one fled that day into the battle, before in the ships Herauder fell. There does not a fairer warrior divide the ocean with his vessels. . . . This prince ever brought to the battle a gallant heart.
We fought with swords : the army cast away their shields. Then flew the spear to the © breast of the warriors. The sword in the fight cut the very rocks; the shield was all be
smeared with blood, before king Rafno fell, our foe. The warm sweat ran down from the heads on the coats of mail.
We fought with swords, before the isles of Indir. We gave ample prey for the ravens to rend in pieces; a banquet for the wild beasts that feed on flesh. At that time all were valiant; it were difficult to single out any one. At the rising of the sun, I saw the lances pierce ; the bows darted the arrows from them.
We fought with swords : loud was the din of arms, before King Eistin fell in the field. Thence, enriched with golden spoils, we marched to fight in the land of Vals. There the sword cut the painted shields. In the meeting of helmets, the blood ran from the cloven skulls of men.
We fought with swords, before Boring-holmi. We held bloody shields: we stained our spears. Showers of arrows brake the shield in pieces. The bow sent forth the glittering steel. Volnir fell in the conflict, than whom there was not a greater king. Wide on the shores lay the scattered dead : the wolves rejoiced over their prey.
We fought with swords, in the Flemings' land : the battle widely raged before king Freyr fell therein. The blue steel all reeking with blood fell on the golden mail. Many a virgin bewailed the slaughter of that morning. The beasts of prey had ample spoil.
We fought with swords, before Ainglanes. There saw I thousands lie dead in the ships : we sailed to the battle for six days before the army fell. There we celebrated a mass of weapons. At the rising of the sun Valdiofur fell before our swords.
We fought with swords, at Bardafurda. A shower of blood rained from our weapons. Headlong fell the pallid corpse, a prey for the hawks. The bow gave a twanging sound. The blade sharply bit the coats of mail : it bit the helmet in the fight. The arrow sharp with poison and all besprinkled with bloody sweat ran to the wound.
We fought with swords, before the bay of Hiadning. We held aloft magic shields in the play of battle. Then might you see men, who rent shields with their swords. The helmets were shattered in the murmur of the warriors. The pleasure of that day was like having a fair virgin placed beside one in bed.
We fought with swords, in the Northumbrian land. A furious storm descended on the shields : many a lifeless body fell to the earth. It was about the time of the morning when the foe was compelled to fly in the battle. There the sword sharply bit the polished helmet. The pleasure of that day was like kissing a young widow at the highest seat of the table.
We fought with swords, in the isles of the south. There Herthiofe proved victorious : there died many of our valiant warriors. In the shower of arms Rogvaldur fell : I lost my son.
In the play of arms came the deadly spear: his lofty crest was dyed with gore. The birds of prey bewailed his fall: they lost him that prepared them banquets.
We fought with swords, in the Irish plains. The bodies of the warriors lay intermingled. The hawks rejoiced at the play of swords. The Irish king did not act the part of the Eagle . . . Great was the conflict of sword and shield. King Marstan was killed in the bay: he was given a prey to the hungry ravens.
We fought with swords: the spear resounded, the banners shone on the coats of mail. I saw many a warrior fall in the morning: many a hero in the contention of arms. Here the
sword reached betimes the heart of my son: it was Egill deprived Agnar of life. He was a youth who knew not fear.
We fought with swords, at Skioldunga. We kept our words: we carved out with our weapons a plenteous banquet for the wolves of the sea (the fishes). The ships were all besmeared with crimson, as if for many days the maidens had brought and poured forth wine. All rent was the mail in the clash of arms.
We fought with swords, when Harold fell. I saw him struggling in the twilight of death; that young chief so proud of his flowing locks : he who spent his mornings among the young maidens: he who loved to converse with the handsome widows.
We fought wtth swords : we fought three kings in the isle of Lindis. Few had reason to rejoice that day. Many fell into the jaws of the wild beasts. The hawk and the wolf tore the flesh of the dead : they departed glutted with prey. The blood of the Irish fell plentifully into the ocean, during the time of slaughter.
We fought with swords, at the isle of Onlug. The uplifted weapon bit the shields. The gilded lance grated on the mail. The traces of that fight will be seen for ages. There kings marched up to the play of arms. The shores of the sea were stained with blood. The lances appeared like flying dragons.
We fought with swords. Death is the happy portion of the brave; for he stands the foremost against the storm of weapons. He, who flies from danger, often bewails his miserable life. Yet how difficult is it to rouse up a coward to the play of arms! The dastard feels no heart in his bosom.
We fought with swords. Young men should march up to the conflict of arms: man should meet man, and never give way. In this hath always consisted the nobility of the warrior. He who aspires to the love of his mistress, ought to be dauntless in the clash of
We fought with swords. Now I find for certain that we are drawn along by fate. Who can evade the decrees of destiny ? Could I have thought the conclusion of my life reserved for Ella, when almost expiring I shed torrents of blood ? When I launched forth with my ships into the deep? When in the Scottish gulfs I gained large spoils for the wolves?
We fought with swords ; this fills me still with joy, because I know a banquet is preparing by the father of the Gods. Soon in the splendid Hall of Odin, we shall drink beer out of the skulls of our enemies. A brave man sinks not at death. I shall utter no repining words, as I approach the palace of the Gods.
We fought with swords: Oh that the sons of Aslauga † knew ! Oh that my children knew the sufferings of their father! that numerous serpents, filled with poison, tear me to pieces ! Soon would they be here: soon would they wage bitter war with their swords. I gave a mother to my children, from whom they inherit a valiant heart.
We fought with swords. Now I touch on my last moments. I receive a deadly hurt from the viper. A serpent inhabits the hall of my heart. Soon shall my sons black their swords in the blood of Ella. They wax red with fury; they burn with rage. Those gallant youths will not rest till they have avenged their father.
We fought with swords. Battles fifty and one have been fought under my banners. From my early youth I learnt to dye my sword in crimson : I never yet could find a king more valiant than myself. The Gods now invite me to them. Death is not to be lamented.
"Tis with joy I cease. The goddesses of destiny are come to fetch me. Odin hath sent them from the habitation of the Gods. I shall be joyfully received into the highest seat, I shall quaff full goblets among the Gods. The hours of my life are passed away. I die laughing.
† Aslauga was the second wife of Regner.
TRANSLATED FROM THE LATIN AND ANGLO-SAXON ORIGINALS,
KEMBLE'S CODEX DIPLOMATICUS ANGLOSAXONICUS.
The following observations on the charters whether public or private which have come down to us from the Anglo-Saxon times are extracted from the Introduction to the Codex Diplomaticus Ævi Anglo-Saxonici, and render any further preliminary information unnecessary.
To these [i. e. the charters] we must look, for almost all our information respecting the law of real property; the descent and liabilities of lands ; the nature of tenure and service; the authority of the king, the nobility and the church; even the power of the popular councils. From the Anglo-Saxon Wills alone we derive a reasonable account of the household arrangements, and disposition of real and personal estate. From the records of the synods or councils and of the county courts, we gain our only insight into the nature and forms of process. CODEx, vol. i, p. 1.
That Augustine and his companions, when they introduced Christianity among the Saxons, introduced with it, writing, annals, an era, and the necessary forms of civilization, it is not unreasonable to believe. Some of the documents themselves (charters), which profess to belong to this very early period, bear the marks of a Roman and ecclesiastical origin. They differ in some material points from the forms afterwards current in Europe : while at the same time, in some very remarkable respects, they bear a resemblance to the most ancient papyri. That at the end of the seventh and commencement of the eighth centuries, lands were conveyed by charter in England, we learn froin Beda's letter to Ecgberht: his words are, “Ipsas quoque literas privilegiorum suorum, quasi veraciter Deo dignas, pontificum, abbatum, et potestatum sæculi obtinebant subscriptione confirmari (They got the writings which declared their rights, as being truly worthy of God, to be confirmed by the subscription of pontiffs, abbats, and the temporal powers.]” And these words, which evidently show that this was no new arrangement, appear to me to be applicable to the whole period between Augustine and Beda. For the extreme importance attached to the destruction of all remnants of heathendom, to which the symbolic transfers more especially belonged, rendered it from the very first necessary to sabstitute for them such forms as the Church had sanctioned; since in all times, the possession and transfer of land become one of the deepest foundations of the whole social polity. I therefore see no reason to doubt that land was transferred by documentary forms, either with or without symbolic forms, from the very first introduction of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons. Ibid. p. vi.
It would be unreasonable to expect us to decide with certainty upon a point involved so deeply in obscurity, as the relations of the manifold Saxon tribes during the continuance of the several kingdoms......... History knows little of the various reguli who within their petty territories exercised the regal power; and nearly as little of the extent and nature of the authority clainned or vindicated by the sons and brothers of ruling sovereigns. Oswine, rex Cantuariorum, if ever there were such a person, is known to us from these charters alone; and so little known to us from them, that the compiler of the chartulary in which they are found, confounds him with St Oswine of Northumberland, and notes discrepancies in the dates upon that supposition. Suaebhard, rex Cantuariorum, is mentioned as an intruder by various chroniclers; he himself in his charters asserts his paternal right to the throne. Sigired calls himself rex dimidiæ partis Cantiæ, at a time respecting whose events the annalists are silent. During the same period we find Èardwulf, and Heardberht, reges Cantuariorum : if mentioned in the chronicles at all, these persons must be taken to be intended by the reges exteri who rather plundered than ruled Kent. Aethelberht the second son of Wihtred, not only calls himself king of Kent, but grants lands by that title, during the later time of his father, and Eâdberht his elder brother. In one original charter he dates his reign from Wihtred's death in 725; twenty years before, according to the Chroniclers, he came to the throne. It is perhaps not impossible that in the very early periods of Anglo-saxon history, the name of king (cyning from cyil, generosus a genere) may have been assumed by the sons of sovereigns, whether or not accompanied with an appanage, rights and jurisdiction : just as at present in Germany all the children of a noble parent bear the title of the father. In rather later times, however, I should be inclined to confine it to such princes as were crowned in the lifetime of their father, and associated with him in the government.
Various kings appear to have used various titles in proportion as they extended their power and influence. Aethilbald styles himself sometimes king of the Mercians, sometimes of the Angles, sometimes of the Southangles : and this he might justly do, since the Mercians, whose king he was, were the most important of the English Angle tribes ; and the Southangles, if ever separated in their government, were an appanage of the reigning Mercian family : Peada, Penda's son, was during his father's lifetime king of the Middle and Southangles. Others add indefinitely cæterarumque gentium in circuitu persistentium, even though the first title were one (as rex Angulsaxonum) which comprised all the populations really subject to their rule: but this, whicb is undoubtedly of later growth, smacks of the bombast of Byzantium. The kings of Mercia after Coenuulf's second year, (viz. 798) take also the style of kings of Kent, which was an appanage to Mercia in the hands of Cathred, Cornuall's brother, till 305, became again an indepen
Ident kingdom under Baldred, and finally sank into an appanage for the sons and
brothers of the Westsaxon kings. These latter called themselves originally I kings of the Gewissas, their family tribe ; somewhat later, kings of the West
saxons ; later still kings of the Westsaxons and men of Kent. After the union of nearly all England in the person of Aethelstân, this style was in general abandoned for that of Rex totius Albionis, Rex et primicerius totius Brittanniae; or words of similar import.
As we have scarcely any Northumberland charters, a fact as strange as it is i much to be lamented, we can give no account whatever of the style adopted by be the kings of that country; it is probable however that they carefully maintained
the distinction between Deira and Bernicia, which has been unaccountably overlooked by many historians of Saxon England. The kings of Essex called themselves Reges Eastsexorum or Eastsaxonum as long as their kingdom lasted. Those of Eastanglia, probably Reges Eastanglorum, Orientalium anglorum, or merely Anglorum. The relations however of these kings is tbroughout obscure; and history has little recorded of them, from the murder of Aethilberht, till the
defeat and death of Eâdmund ; after whose fall Eastanglia never recovered its in: dependence, being held as a kind of province by the Danish invaders, or finally incorporated in the dominions of Wessex. IBID. p. xxii. few words
be said of the boundaries. I have not stated this as a distinct and substantive part of a Saxon charter, because it seems incidental to the grant, a definition in short of the place named. But very rarely is a Saxon
charter without a description of them ; in the earlier documents this is usually • incorporated with, in the later appended to, the grant. It would seem as if for : the most part it were added after the instrument was formally completed, as in
almost every case they are described in Anglo-Saxon, although the charter itself is drawn up in Latin. When the solemn cession had been made, it was probably left to the local officers, in conjunction with the grantee, to see that its limits were accurately defined. IBID. p. lxii.
That our pagan forefathers, previously to the arrival of the Roman missionaries, had some kind of date, some definite era from which they reckoned, is sufficiently obvious : but it is far from clear what description of date or era it was. Its inaccuracy and uncertainty are rendered evident to us by that which proves that something of the kind existed, viz. the scattered records of kings who reigned before the introduction of Christianity, and some leading events of their respective periods; but we are not allowed to judge in what these early fasti consisted, from what point they started, or what periods of time they embraced. But, whether they were merely the alliterative poems, which even in the time of Tacitus formed the sole history of the Teutonic tribes; or the more advanced records of a sacerdotal class, carved with Runic letters on blocks of wood and stone ; or the annals of individual kings, dating from the great festivals of the heathen year; they could present but little worthy of attention to the Christian and Roman monks whose habits had been formed in other climes and under other creeds. In all that these, the earliest historians of England, have left us, we have evidence of what unsatisfactory materials they bad to deal with. A majority of the kings recorded in their pages are mythic heroes common both to England and Germany; while the constant recurrence of particular num
l bers in the dates of their reigns are equally convincing proofs of mythic tradition. History has nothing to do with them; they fall into the circle of mythology. Even of those who approach somewhat nearer to historical periods, little more