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Their howl of despair, as they struggle to hide.
No guilty wretch shall refuge find,
Not one shall escape the scorching flame;
On all it shall seize, as it sweeps through the

It shall leap and run and ruthlessly bore
In the bowels of the earth, it shall burn aloft,
Till the ancient stains of earthly sin
By the purging billows are burnt away.


Piercing strong to the starry track.
Their music swells from the South and North,
From East and from West, o'er the world's

wide round. They wake from the dead to the day of judge

ment The children of men, with their challenge dread. Out of their ancient earth and mold, Forth from their sleep profound they wake

them. Howling with fear they shall huddle and flock, Moaning and groaning, aghast with terror, 891 Bewailing the deeds that were done in the body. Eye hath not seen a sight more awful, To men shall appear no portent more dread: Sinners and saints in strange confusion, 895 Mingled together shall mount from their

graves, The bright and the black: for both shall arise, Some fair, some foul, as foreordained To different home, of devils or angels.


From South and East o'er Sion's top, 900
In sudden radiance the sun shall flame
From the throne of God; more gleaming-bright,
Than man may imagine, or mind conceive.
Resplendent it shines, as the Son of God
Dazzling breaks through the dome of heaven.
Glorious appears the presence of Christ, 906
The King as He comes through the clouds in

the East,
Merciful and mild in mind to his

own, But with altered mood of anger toward the

wicked: Unlike His looks for the lost and the blest.



THE RUINI (Translated by STOPFORD A. BROOKE) Wondrous is its wall of stone. Weirds? have

shattered it! Broken are the burg-steads! Crumbled is the

giants' work. Fallen are the roof beams; ruined are the

towers; All undone the door-pierced towers; frozen dew

is on their plaster! Shorn away and sunken down are the sheltering

battlements, Undereaten of Old Age! Earth is holding in

its clutch These, the power-wielding workers; all forworn

are they, forlorn in death are they! Hard the grip was of the ground, while a hun

dred generations Move away of men. Long its wall abode Through the rule that followed rule, ruddy

stained, and gray as goat, Under storm-skies steady! Steep the court

that fell, Still it falleth ... (skilful ancient work it

was)! Strong in rede, 3 (the builder strengthened),

strong of heart, in chains he bound All the wall-uprights with wires, wondrous

wrought together! Brilliant were the burg-steads, burn-fed houses

many; High the heap of hornèd gables, of the host a

mickle sound, Many were the mead-halls, full of mirth of men, Till the strong-willed Wyrd whirled that all to

change! In a slaughter wide they fell, woeful days of

bale came on; Famine-death fortook fortitude from men; All their battle bulwarks bare foundations were! Crumbled is the castle-keep; those have cringed

to earth Who set up again the shrines! So the halls are

dreary, And this courtyard's wide expanse! From the

raftered woodwork 1 The Ruin here described is supposed to be that of one of the walled towns of Roman-Britain, probably Bath. The date of the poem is unknown, but its language is later than that of Cynewulf.

2 The Fates.
3 Counsel, judgment.

* Houses fed by springs of water. This passage, and the reference to the hot bathg in lines 34-35 support the view that the city was Bath, where the ruins of Roman baths may still be seen.



The greedy spirit of consuming flame
Shall leap o'er the land, and the lofty halls;
With the terror of fire shall fill the world.
The battle-thirsty flame shall blaze afar,
Devouring the earth, and all therein.
Strong-built walls shall split and crumble;
Mountains shall melt, and the mighty cliffs
That buttress the earth 'gainst battering waves,
Bulwarks upreared 'gainst the rolling billows,
Shall fall on a sudden. The sweep of the fire
Shall leave no bird nor beast alive.

The lurid flame shall leap along the world
Like a raging warrior. Where the waters flowed
In a bath of fire the fish shall be stifled;
Sundered from life, their struggles over,
The monsters of the deep no more shall swim.
Like molten wax the water shall burn.
More marvels shall appear than mind may con-

ceive, When tempest and whirlwind o'erwhelm the

earth, And rocks are riven by the roaring blast. Men shall wail, they shall weep and lament, Groan aghast with grovelling fear. The smoke-dark flame o'er the sinful shall roll, The blaze shall consume their beakers of gold, All the ancient heirlooms of kings. The shrieks of the living aloud shall resound Mid the crack of doom, their cry of fear,






(See) the roof has shed its tiles! To ruin sank the market-place,

25 Broken up to barrows; many a brave man there, Glad of yore, and gold-bright, gloriously

adorned, Hot with wine and haughty, in war-harness

shone; Saw upon his silver, on set gems and treasure, On his welfare and his wealth, on his winsome

jewels, On this brightsome burg of a broad dominion!There the stone-courts stood; hotly surged the

stream, With a widening whirling; and a wall enclosed

it all, With its bosom bright. There the baths were

set Hot within their heart; fit (for health) it was! 35





Who felt the love of the mead-hall, or who with

comforts kind Would comfort me, the friendless. 'Tis he

alone will know Who knows, being desolate too, how evil a

fere? is woe; For him the path of the exile, and not the

twisted gold; For him the frost in his bosom, and not earth

riches old. ‘O, well he remembers the hall-men, the treasure

bestowed in the hall; The feast that his gold-giver made him, the

joy at its height, at its fall; He knows who must be forlorn for his dear

lord's counsels gone, Where sleep and sorrow together are binding

the lonely one; When himthinks he clasps and kisses his leader

of men, and lays His hands and head on his knee, as when, in the

good yore-days, He sat on the throne his might, in the

strength that wins and saves. But the friendless man awakes, and he sees the

yellow waves, And the sea-birds dip to the sea, and broaden

their wings to the gale, And he sees the dreary rime, and the snow com

mingled with hail. 0, then are the wounds of his heart the sorer

much for this, The grief for the loved and lost made new by

the dream of old bliss. His kinsmen's memory comes to him as he lies

asleep, And he greets it with joy, with joy, and the

heart in his breast doth leap; But out of his ken the shapes of his warrior

comrades swim To the land whence seafarers bring no dear old

saws for him; Then fresh grows sorrow and new to him whose

bitter part Is to send o'er the frost-bound waves full often

his weary heart. For this do I look around this world, and cannot Wherefore or why my heart should not grow

dark in me. When I think of the lives of the leaders, the

clansmen mighty in mood; When I think how sudden and swift they

yielded the place where they stood. So droops this mid-earth and falls, and never a

man is found Wise ere a many winters have girt his life

around. Full patient the sage must be, and he that

would counsel teachNot over-hot in his heart, nor over-swift in his

speech; Nor faint of soul nor secure, nor fain for the

fight nor afraid;


THE WANDERER1 (Translated by Emily H. HICKEY) Still the lone one and desolate waits for his

Maker's ruthGod's good mercy, albeit so long it tarry, in

sooth. Careworn and sad of heart, on the watery ways

must he Plow with the hand-grasped oar-how long?

the rime-cold sea, Tread thy paths of exile, O Fate, who art

cruelty. Thus did a wanderer speak, being heart-full

of woe, and all Thoughts of the cruel slayings, and pleasant

comrades' fall: Morn by morn I, alone, am fain to utter my

woe; Now is there none of the living to whom I dare

to show Plainly the thought of my heart; in very sooth

I know Excellent is it in man that his breast he

straightly bind, Shut fast his thinkings in silence, whatever he

have in his mind. The man that is weary in heart, he never can

fate withstand; The man that grieves in his spirit, he finds not

the helper's hand. Therefore the glory-grasper full heavy of soul So, far from my fatherland, and mine own

good kinsmen free, I must bind my heart in fetters, for long, ah!

long ago, The earth's cold darkness covered my giver of

gold brought low; And 1, sore stricken and humbled, and winter

saddened, went Far over the frost-bound waves to seek for the

dear content Of the hall of the giver of rings; but far nor

near could I find 1 Date and author unknown. Attributed to the 8th or 9th century.




may be.




2 Companion.

Here is the passing of riches, here friends are

passing away; And men and kinsfolk pass, and nothing and

none may stay; And all this earth-stead here shall be empty

and void one day.” . .


as now men see




Nor ready to boast before he know himself well

arrayed. The proud-souled man must bide when he

utters his vaunt, until He know of the thoughts of the heart, and

whitherward turn they will. The prudent must understand how terror and

awe shall be, When the glory and weal of the world lie waste, On our mid-earth many a where, the wind

swept walls arise, And the ruined dwellings and void, and the

rime that on them lies. The wine-halls crumble, bereft of joy the war

riors lie, The flower of the doughty fallen, the proud

ones fair to the eye. War took off some in death, and one did a

strong bird bear Over the deep; and one-his bones did the grey

wolf share; And one was hid in a cave by a comrade sorrow

ful-faced. O, thus the Shaper of men hath laid the earth all

waste, Till the works of the city-dwellers, the works of

the giants of earth, Stood empty and lorn of the burst of the

mighty revellers' mirth. 'Who wisely hath mused on this wallstead, and

ponders this dark life well In his heart he hath often bethought him of

slayings many and fell, And these be the words he taketh, the thoughts

of his heart to tell: “Where is the horse and the rider? Where is

the giver of gold? Where be the seats at the banquet? Where be

the hall-joys of old? Alas for the burnished cup, for the byrnieds

chief to-day! Alas for the strength of the prince! for the time

hath passed awayIs hid 'neath the shadow of night, as it never

had been at all. Behind the dear and doughty there standeth

now a wall, A wall that is wondrous high, and with won

drous snake-work wrought. The strength of the spears hath fordone the

earls and hath made them naught, The weapons greedy of slaughter, and 'she, the

mighty Wyrd; And the tempests beat on the rocks, and the

storm-wind that maketh afeardThe terrible storm that fetters the earth, the

winter-bale, When the shadow of night falls wan, and wild is

the rush of the hail, The cruel rush from the north, which maketh

men to quail. Hardship-full is the earth, o'erturned when the

stark Wyrds say: 3 Byrnied chief, i. e., chief arrayed in his “byrnie," or war-shirt.


(Translated by HENRY MORLEY)
"I may sing of myself now
A song that is true,
Can tell of wide travel,
The toil of hard days;
How oft through long seasons 5
I suffered and strove,
Abiding within my breast
Bitterest care;
How I sailed among sorrows
In many a sea;
The wild rise

the waves,
The close watch of the night
At the dark prow in danger
Of dashing on rock,
Folded in by the frost,

My feet bound by the cold
In chill bands, in the breast
The heart burning with care.
The soul of the sea-weary
Hunger assailed.

Knows not he who finds happiest
Home upon earth
How I lived through long winter
In labour and care,
On the icy-cold ocean,

An exile from joy,
Cut off from dear kindred,
Encompassed with ice.
Hail flew in hard showers,
And nothing I heard
But the wrath of the waters,
The icy-cold way;
At times the swan's song;
In the scream of the gannet
I sought for my joy,
In the moan of the sea-whelp
For laughter of men,
In the song of the sea-mew
For drinking of mead.
Starlings answered the storm
Beating stones on the cliff,
Icy-feathered, and often
The eagle would shriek,
Wet of wing.
Not one home-friend could feel 45
With the desolate soul;
For he little believes
To whom life's joy belongs
In the town, lightly troubled
With dangerous tracks,

Vain with high spirit 1 The date and authorship are unknown. Some scholars think that the Seafarer is a dialogue between an old sailor and a young man who longs to go to sea, but as this is mere conjecture, no attempt has been made in the present version to indicate the respective parts.








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And wanton with wine,
How often I wearily
Held my sea-way.
The night shadows darkened,
It snowed from the north;
The rime bound the rocks;
The hail rolled upon earth,
Coldest of corn:
Therefore now is high heaving
In thoughts of my heart,
That my lot is, to learn
The wide joy of waters,
The whirl of salt spray.
Often desire drives
My soul to depart,
That the home of the strangers
Far hence I may seek.
There is no man among us
So proud in his mind,
Nor so good in his gifts,
Nor so gay in his youth,
Nor so daring in deeds,
Nor so dear to his lord,
That his soul never stirred
At the thought of seafaring,
Or what his great Master
Will do with him yet.
He hears not the harp,
Heeds not giving of rings,
Has to woman no will,
And no hope in the world,
Nor in aught there is else
But the wash of the waves.
He lives ever longing
Who looks to the sea.
Groves bud with green,
The hills grow fair,
Gay shine the fields,
The world's astir:
All this but warns
The willing mind
To set the

For so he thinks
Far on the waves
To win his way.
With woeful note
The cuckoo warns,
The summer's warden sings,
And sorrow rules
The heart-store bitterly.
No man can know,
Nursed in soft ease,
The burden borne
By those who fare
The farthest from their friends.

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High fortune is humbled;
Earth's haughtiness ages
And wastes, -as now withers
Each man from the world:
Old age is upon him
And bleaches his face;
He is grey-haired and grieves,
Knows he now must give up
The old friends he cherished,
Chief children of earth.
The husk of flesh,
When life is filed,
Shall taste no sweetness,
Feel no sore;
Is in its hand no touch;
Is in its brain no thought.
Though his born brother
Strew gold in the grave,
Bury him pompously
Borne to the dead,
Entomb him with treasure,
The trouble is vain:
The soul of the sinful




In the soul's secret chamber
My mind now is set,
My heart's thought, on wide waters,
The home of the whale;

It wanders away
Beyond limits of land:
Comes again to me, yearning


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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.



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(Translated by 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 " This poem appears originally in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 937. It celebrates a battle fought at Brunanburh, between the West Saxons led by King Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, and Edmund the Athling (or prince), and a combined force of Danes, Scots, and Britons led by Constantinus and Anlaf. The site of Brunanburh has never been satisfactorily established. The most likely place seems to be the old Brunne, now Bourne, in Lincolnshire. (See Ramsay's Foundations of England, I. 285.) Tennyson based his version of the poem upon his son's prose translation from the original Old English.


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