Went one stern in battle — his weapon upheaved,
His shield for safety — and ‘gainst the chief strode
As resolute against him the earl did go,
Each to the other did evil intend.
Sent then the seafarer a southern dart,
And wounded was the warrior’s chieftain.
But he shoved with his shield — so that the shaft
And the spear broke, and it sprang away.
Wroth was the chieftain, he pierced with his spear
That proud Viking who gave him that wound.
Yet prudent was the chieftain; he aimed his shaft to
Through the man’s neck — his hand guided it
So that he reached his sudden enemy’s life.
Then he a second swiftly sent
That the breastplate burst — in the heart was he
Through the ring-harness — and at his heart stood
The poisoned point; the earl was the blither: —
Laughed then that high-heart — made thanks to God
For his day’s work — that his Saviour granted him.
A Second Viking Wounds Brithnoth
Loosed then one of the foeman a dart from his hands,
To fly from his fingers — that it rushed forth
Through the noble thane of Aetheired.
Close to his side stood a youth not yet grown
Wulfstan’s child — even Wulfmeer the younger.
He plucked from his chieftain that bloody spear
Then loosed the hard spear ‘gainst that other to go;
In ran the point — so that he on earth lay
Who ere had sorely wounded his chief.
When an armed Viking against the earl
Who wished the earl’s jewels to plunder,
His armour and rings — and well-adorned sword.
Then Brithnoth drew his sword from sheath
Broad and brown edged — and at his breast-plate
Too soon hindered him one of the seamen,
So that the earl’s arm he did injure.
Fell then to earth the fallow-hilted sword,
Nor could he hold the hard brand
Or wield his weapon.
Brithnoth’s Dying Words
Yet then this word did speak
The old warrior; cheered on his men
Ordered to go forward — his good brethren.
No longer could he firmly on his feet stand.
He looked up to heaven……..
"I thank Thee, Lord of all peoples
For all those joys that I on earth have know.
Now, my Maker mild — I have most need
That thou to my ghost should grant good.
That my soul to Thee may journey,
Into thy kingdom — O lord of the Angels,
May pass with peace — I do desire of Thee
That the hell-fiends may not hurt it."
Then hewed at him those heathen men
And at both those men that stood him beside,
Aelfnoth and Wulfmeer — both fell;
Then beside their Liege — their lives they yielded.