Battle Of Brunanburgh

Alfred Lord Tennyson

       Athelstan King,
       Lord among Earls,
       Bracelet-bestower and
       Baron of Barons,
       He with his brother,
       Edmund Atheling,
       Gaining a lifelong
       Glory in battle,
       Slew with the sword-edge
       There by Brunanburh,
       Brake the shield-wall,
       Hew'd the lindenwood,
       Hack'd the battleshield,
   Sons of Edward with hammer'd brands. 

       Theirs was a greatness
       Got from their Grandsires--
       Theirs that so often in
       Strife with their enemies
   Struck for their hoards and their hearths and their homes. 

        Bow'd the spoiler,
        Bent the Scotsman,
        Fell the shipcrews
        Doom'd to the death.
    All the field with blood of the fighters
        Flow'd, from when first the great
        Sun-star of morningtide,
        Lamp of the Lord God
        Lord everlasting,
    Glode over earth till the glorious creature
        Sank to his setting.
        There lay many a man
        Marr'd by the javelin,
        Men of the Northland
        Shot over shield.
        There was the Scotsman
        Weary of war. 

        We the West-Saxons,
        Long as the daylight
        Lasted, in companies
     Troubled the track of the host that we hated;
     Grimly with swords that were sharp from the grindstone
     Fiercely we hack'd at the flyers before us. 

        Mighty the Mercian,
        Hard was his hand-play,
        Sparing not any of
        Those that with Anlaf,
        Warriors over the
        Weltering waters
        Borne in the bark's-bosom,
        Drew to this island:
        Doom'd to the death. 

       Five young kings put asleep by the sword-stroke,
     Seven strong earls of the army of Anlaf
     Fell on the war-field, numberless numbers,
     Shipmen and Scotsmen. 

        Then the Norse leader,
        Dire was his need of it,
        Few were his following,
        Fled to his warship;
     Fleeted his vessel to sea with the king in it,
     Saving his life on the fallow flood. 

        Also the crafty one,
        Crept to his north again,
        Hoar-headed hero! 

        Slender warrant had
        He to be proud of
        The welcome of war-knives--
        He that was reft of his
        Folk and his friends that had
        Fallen in conflict,
        Leaving his son too
        Lost in the carnage,
        Mangled to morsels,
        A youngster in war! 

        Slender reason had
        He to be glad of
        The clash of the war-glaive--
        Traitor and trickster
        And spurner of treaties--
        He nor had Anlaf
        With armies so broken
        A reason for bragging
        That they had the better
        In perils of battle
        On places of slaughter--
        The struggle of standards,
        The rush of the javelins,
        The crash of the charges,
        The wielding of weapons--
        The play that they play'd with
        The children of Edward. 

        Then with their nail'd prows
        Parted the Norsemen, a
        Blood-redden'd relic of
        Javelins over
     The jarring breaker, the deep-sea billow,
     Shaping their way toward Dyflen again,
        Shamed in their souls. 

        Also the brethren,
        King and Atheling,
        Each in his glory,
     Went to his own in his own West-Saxonland,
        Glad of the war. 

        Many a carcase they left to be carrion,
     Many a livid one, many a sallow-skin--
        Left for the white-tail'd eagle to tear it, and
        Left for the horny-nibb'd raven to rend it, and
        Gave to the garbaging war-hawk to gorge it, and
        That gray beast, the wolf of the weald. 

        Never had huger
        Slaughter of heroes
        Slain by the sword-edge--
        Such as old writers
        Have writ of in histories--
        Hapt in this isle, since
        Up from the East hither
        Saxon and Angle from
        Over the broad billow
        Broke into Britain with
        Haughty war-workers who
        Harried the Welshman, when
        Earls that were lured by the
        Hunger of glory gat
        Hold of the land. 

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