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Battle Of Brunanburgh Analysis

Author: Poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson Type: Poetry Views: 440

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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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