« הקודםהמשך »
king of the Hybernians and the adjacent isles, invited by Constantine king of the Scots, entered the river Abi or Humber with a strong fleet. Our Saxon king Athelstan, and his brother Eadmund Clito (ætheling], met them with a numerous army, near a place called Brunenburgh; and after a most obstinate and bloody resistance, drove them back to their ships. The battle lasted from day-break till the evening. On the side of Anlaff were slain five petty kings, and seven chiefs or generals. “King Adelstan, the glory of leaders, the giver of gold chains to his nobles, and his brother Eadmund, both shining with the brightness of a long train of ancestors, struck (the adversary) in war; at Brunenburgh, with the edge of the sword, they clove the wall of shields. The high banners fell. The earls of the departed Edward fell; for it was born within them, even from the loins of their kindred, to defend the treasures and the houses of their country, and their gifts, against the hatred of strangers. The nation of the Scots, and the fatal inhabitants of ships, fell. The hills resounded, and the armed men were covered with sweat. From the time the sun, the king of stars, the torch of the eternal one, rose chearful above the hills, till he returned to his habitation. There lay many of the northern men, pierced with lances; they lay wounded, with their shields pierced through: and also the Scots, the hateful harvest of battle. The chosen bands of the West-Saxons, going out to battle, pressed on the steps of the detested nations, and slew their flying rear with sharp and bloody swords. The soft effeminate men yielded up their spears. The Mercians did not fear or fly the rough game of the hand. There was no safety to them, who sought the land with Anlaff in the bosom of the ship, to die in fight. Five youthful kings fell in the place of fight, slain with swords; and seven captains of Anlaff, with the innumerable army of Scottish mariners: there the lord of the Normans (Northernmen] was chased: and their army, now made small, was driven Anglo Saxons, vol. i. p. 343. Anlaf, bishop of York, who united with Anlaf whom Athelstan bad expelled from the in his second attempt to recover his inkingdom of North-humbria, was in all heritance, would hardly have fought probability a Christian. Wulstan arch. under a Pagan banner. --Edit.)
to the prow of the ship. The ship sounded with the waves; and the king, marching into the yellow sea, escaped alive. And so it was, the wise northern king Constantine, a veteran chief, returning by flight to his own army, bowed down in the camp, left his own son worn out with wounds in the place of slaughter; in vain did he lament his earls, in vain his lost friends. Nor less did Anlaff, the yellow-haired leader, the battle-ax of slaughter, a youth in war, but an old man in understanding, boast himself a conqueror in fight, when the darts flew against Edward's earls, and their banners met. Then those northern soldiers, covered with shame, the sad refuse of darts in the resounding whirlpool of Humber, departed in their ships with rudders, to seek through the deep the Irish city and their own land. While both the brothers, the king and Clito, lamenting even their own victory, together returned home; leaving behind them the flesh-devouring raven, the dark-blue toad greedy of slaughter, the black crow with horny bill, and the hoarse toad, the eagle a companion of battles, with the devouring kite, and that brindled savage beast the wolf of the wood, to be glutted with the white food of the slain. Never was so great a slaughter in this island, since the Angles and Saxons, the fierce beginners of war, coming hither from the east, and seeking Britain through the wide sea, overcame the Britons excelling in honour, and gained possession of their landm.”
This piece, and many other Saxon odes and songs now remaining, are written in a metre much resembling that of the scaldic dialogue at the tomb of Angantyr*, which has been beautifully translated into English, in the true spirit of the original, and in a genuine strain of poetry, by Gray. The extemporaneous effusions of the glowing bard seem naturally to have
The original was first printed by Latin of Gibson, and of course shares Wheloc in the Saxon Chronicle, p. 555. the faults of its original.-EDIT. ] Cant. 1644. See Hickes. Thes. Præfat. • [The invocation of Hervor at the p. xiv. And ibid. Gramm. Anglo-Sax. tomb of her father Angantyr was trans
lated in prose by Dr. Hickes. It was [At the close of this Dissertation the republished with emendations by Dr. reader will find the original ode and a Percy in 1763, and has since been closely nearly literal version of it. The trans- and paraphrastically versified by Mr. lation in the text was made from the Mathias and Miss Seward.-PARK.]
fallen into this measure, and it was probably more easiy suited to the voice or harp. Their versification for the most part seems to have been that of the Runic poetry.
As literature, the certain attendant, as it is the parent, of true religion and civility, gained ground among the Saxons, poetry no longer remained a separate science, and the profession of bard seems gradually to have declined among them: I mean the bard under those appropriated characteristics, and that peculiar appointment, which he sustained among the Scandinavian pagans. Yet their national love of verse and music still so strongly predominated, that in the place of their old scalders a new rank of poets arose, called GLEEMEN or Harpers". These probably gave rise to the order of English Minstrels, who flourished till the sixteenth century.
And here I stop to point out one of the principal reasons, why the Scandinavian bards have transmitted to modern times so much more of their native poetry, than the rest of their southern neighbours. It is true, that the inhabitants of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway,—whether or no from their Asiatic origin, from their poverty which compelled them to seek their fortunes at foreign courts by the exercise of a popular art, from the success of their bards, the nature of their republican go vernment, or their habits of unsettled life,—were more given to verse than any other Gothic, or even Celtic, tribe. But this is not all: they remained pagans, and retained their original manners, much longer than any of their Gothic kindred. They were not completely converted to christianity till the tenth century'. Hence, under the concurrence however of some of the
* GLEEMAN answers to the Latin Jo- year 680, that female harpers were not CULATOR. Fabyan speaking of Blage- then uncommon. It is decreed that no bride, an antient British king, famous bishop, or any ecclesiastic, shall keep or for his skill in poetry and music, calls have CITHAREDAS, and it is added QUÆhim “a conynge musicyan, called of the CUMQUE SYMPHONIACA; nor permit plays Britons god of GLEEMEN.” CHRON. f. or sports, LUDOS VEL socos, undoubtedly xxxii. ed. 1533. This, Fabyan trans- mimical and gesticulatory entertainlated from Geoffrey of Monmouth's ac ments, to be exhibited in his presence. count of the same British king, “ut DEUS Malmesb. Gest. Pontif. lib. iii. p. 263. JOCULATORUM videretur.” Hist. Brit. edit. vet. And Concil. Spelman. tom. 1. lib. i. cap. 22. It appears from the injunc- p. 159. edit. 1639. fol. tions given to the British church in the See bishop Lloyd's Hist. Account of
causes just mentioned, their scaldic profession acquired greater degrees of strength and of maturity; and from an uninterrupted possession through many ages of the most romantic religious superstitions, and the preservation of those rough manners which are so favourable to the poetical spirit, was enabled to produce, not only more genuine, but more numerous, compositions. True religion would have checked the impetuosity of their passions, suppressed their wild exertions of fancy, and banished that striking train of imagery, which their poetry derived from a barbarous theology. This circumstance also suggests to our consideration, those superior advantages and opportunities arising from leisure and length of time, which they enjoyed above others, of circulating their poetry far and wide, of giving a general currency to their mode of fabling, of rendering their skill in versification more universally and familiarly known, and a more conspicuous and popular object of admiration or imitation to the neighbouring countries. Hence too it has happened, that modern times have not only attained much fuller information concerning their historical transactions, but are so intimately acquainted with the peculiarities of their character.
It is probable, that the Danish invasions produced a considerable alteration in the manners of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Although their connections with England were transient and interrupted, and on the whole scarcely lasted two hundred years, yet many of the Danish customs began to prevail among the inhabitants, which seem to have given a new turn to their temper and genius. The Danish fashion of excessive drinking, for instance, a vice almost natural to the northern nations, became so general among the Anglo-Saxons, that it was found necessary to restrain so pernicious and contagious a practice by a particular statute P. Hence it seems likely, that so popular an entertainment as their poetry gained ground; es
Church Government in Great Britain, p. 104.
P See Lambarde's Ar&c. chap. i. $. 11. 4to. Lond. 1684. chaionom. And Bartholin. ii. c. xii. And Crymog. Arngrim. L. i. cap. 10. p. 542.
pecially if we consider, that in their expeditions against England they were of course attended by many northern scalds, who constantly made a part of their military retinue, and whose language was understood by the Saxons. Rogwald, lord of the Orcades, who was also himself a poet, going on an expedition into Palestine, carried with him two Islandic bards. The noble ode, called in the northern chronicles the ELOGIUM OF Hacon', king of Norway, was composed, on a battle in which that prince with eight of his brothers fell, by the scald Eyvynd; who for his superior skill in poetry was called the Cross of Poets, [Eyvindr
9 Ol. Worm. Lit. Run. p. 195. edit. besprinkled and running down with 1636.
blood. At the sight of Odin, he cries * In this ode are these very sublime out, Ah! how severe and terrible does imageries and prosopopejas.
this god appear to me!” “ The goddesses who preside over bat “ The hero Brago replies, Come, thou tles come, sent forth by Odin. They go that wast the terror of the bravest warto choose among the princes of the illu- riors: Come hither, and rejoin thine strious race of Yngvon a man who is to eight brothers: the heroes who reside perish, and to go to dwell in the palace here shall live with thee in peace: Go, of the gods.
drink Ale in the circle of heroes." “ Gondula leaned on the end of her “ But this valiant king exclaims, I will lance, and thus bespoke her companions. still keep my arms: a warrior ought The assembly of the gods is going to be carefully to preserve his mail and helmet: increased : the gods invite Hacon, with it is dangerous to be a moment without his numerous host, to enter the palace of the spear in one's hand." Odin.”
« The wolf Fenris shall burst his “ Thus spake these glorious nymphs chains and dart with rage upon his eneof war: who were seated on their horses, mies, before so brave a king shall again who were covered with their shields and appear upon earth,” &c. helmets, and appeared full of some great Snorron. Hist. Reg. Sept. i. 163. thought.”
This ode was written so early as the “ Hacon heard their discourse. Why, year 960. There is a great variety and said he, why hast thou thus disposed of boldness in the transitions. An action the battle? Were we not worthy to have is carried on by a set of the most aweful obtained of the gods a more perfect vic- ideal personages, finely imagined. The tory? It is we, she replied, who have goddesses of battle, Odin, his sons Hergiven it thee. It is we who have pu mode and Brago, and the spectre of the thine enemies to flight."
deceased king, are all introduced,
speak“ Now, added she, let us push forward ing and acting as in a drama. The paour steeds across those green worlds, negyric is nobly conducted, and arises which are the residence of the gods. out of the sublimity of the fiction. Let us go tell Odin that the king is com [A somewhat different version of the ing to visit him in his palace,"
aboveode is printed in Percy's Five Runic « When Odin heard this news, he said, pieces. By the wolf Fenris, he observes, Hermode and Brago, my sons, go to the northern nations understood a kind of meet the king : a king, admired by all demon, or evil principle, at enmity with men for his valour, approaches to our the gods, who though at present chained
up from doing mischief, was hereafter to " At length king Hacon approaches; break loose and destroy the world. See and from the battle is still all Edda.-PARK. ]