Monthly Archives: April 2017

Hildeburh’s Lament IX

Then one night the Jutes
Near the high hall
In the dim morning
Mustered their strength
Gathered in goldlust,
Those griefbringers!
Attack, then take
The treasure of the Danes —
Thus was their plan
But the prince of Friesland,
Finn the fearless
Fenland ruler,
Heard their council
And helmed and armed
Went forth to stop
Their false stealing.
Silently I watched
The storm clouds brewing,
With heart afraid
As friendship turned to hate,
While Fróda sought
His sword and fine net
Of rings wrought into
A rippling mailshirt.
Then the Danes seeing
The death tipped spears
And fearing the worst
Woke their young king.
He too saw the glint
Of greedy steel.
I heard much later,
he had laughed bitterly,
ʻʻThis is not the daylight in the East
Nor do dragons fly here
Nor are this here hall’s
Horns a-burning.
But war is upon us.
The warbirds sing,
Greycloaked they yell,
The grimwoods resound.
Shields shall be shaken
And shafts riven.
Now come weeks of mourning,
A moon of woe,
Because of this people’s
Petty greediness.
But awake now, my warriors,
Wake up and fight.
Uphold your spears,
Hold on to courage,
Be single minded
And seek the meed
Of great warriors,
The glory of war!ʼʼ
I hastened to stop
Most hateful war
But my voice was drowned
By drunken battle din.
The peaceweaver’s
Work and purpose
Torn to rags and
Robbed of splendour.

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Hildeburh’s Lament VIII

There was joy and drinking
Of jubilant toasts
At my brother’s welcome,
But weeping joy
From our deepest hearts,
Heaving our chests,
Broke loose and ran
In long rivers
Down our glad cheeks.
Glowing with pride
I saw my brother
A bold young king.
His mailcoat of
Cool silver rings
And his gilded strands
Of golden hair
Shone like two flames
Of fire and ice.
I longed to speak,
Laugh and embrace,
But, surrounded by retainers,
Wrapped up in duties,
He could not come yet,
Caring first for
His beasts and men.
Then bade Finn him welcome
And peace speeches
Were spoken by both parties.
At last our longing
To be alone and talk
Could be fulfilled.
On the fens we walked,
Unburdening our souls
Of the silent years.
He had grown stately
With spear born pride.
He spoke of battle
And skirmish and war,
I of Fróda and Finn
And Finnesburg’s
High pillared halls
Hung with treasures:
Wallhangings of
Wavecrested prows,
Stormy sea crossings
And silver water
Lit by the Moon’s
Mild beams of light.
We laughed and let
Our love rekindle.
Thus passed those days
In pleasant walks,
And the nights in feasting,
And fingers on harp,
The singing of stories
Of the stout hearted.

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