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Brithnoth: The Battle of Maldon (991 A.D.) - text

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Then he ordered each of his warriors his horse to loose
Then did Brithnoth begin his men to bestow -
He rode up and counselled them - his soldiers he taught
Then stood forth on the strand and sternly spake
The messenger from the Sea men, delivered his tidings;
Brithnoth made answer - his buckler he grasped,
Brandished his slender spear - and spoke.
Bade he then to bear the shields, the warriors to go,
So that they on the river's bank all stood.
So stood firm the stout-hearted
Warriors in the war - they did keenly strive
Who with his point first should be able
From fey men to win life.
Warriors with weapons; They stood steadfast;
Brithnoth stirred them!
Thou messenger of the seamen, back with thy message.
There stands here a good earl in the midst of his men,
Who will this country ever defend,
The kingdom of Aethelred, mine overlord,
The folk and the ground - but they shall fall,
Nor shall ye so softly carry off our riches.
Sooner shall point and edge reconcile us,
Grim warplay indeed - before we give tribute.

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