Elene; Judith; Athelstan, or the Fight at Brunanburh; Byrhtnoth, or the Fight at Maldon; and the Dre

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Page 2

XI. Judith returns with the head of Holofernes to Bethulia. The
people meet her in crowds. She exhorts the warriors to
sally forth at dawn. They fall upon the Assyrians 49

XII. The Assyrians discover the death of Holofernes and become
panic-stricken. The Hebrews pursue them in flight, plunder
the slain, and bestow upon Judith the arms and treasure of
Holofernes 53

* * * * *


Athelstan and Edmund, with their West-Saxons and Mercians,
slaughter the Scots and Northmen. Constantine and his Scots flee
to their homes in the North. Anlaf and his Northmen flee across
the sea to Dublin. Athelstan and Edmund return home in triumph,
and leave the corpses to the raven, the eagle, and the wolf 57

* * * * *


* * * * * * * * * * *
Byrhtnoth and his East-Saxons are drawn up on the bank of the
Panta. The wikings' herald demands tribute. Byrhtnoth angrily
offers arms for tribute. Wulfstan defends the bridge. Byrhtnoth
proudly permits the wikings to cross. The fight rages. Byrhtnoth
is wounded. He slays the foe. He is wounded again. He prays to
God to receive his soul, and is hewn down by the heathen men.
Godric flees on Byrhtnoth's horse. His brothers follow him.

does Offa, who curses Godric. Leofsunu will avenge his lord or
perish. Dunnere also. Others follow their example. Offa is slain
and many warriors. The fight still rages. The aged Byrhtwold
exhorts them to be the braver as they become the fewer. So does
another Godric, not he who fled. * * * * 60

* * * * *


In the middle of the night the writer beholds the vision of a
cross decked with gold and jewels, but soiled with blood.
Presently the cross speaks and tells how it was hewn and set up
on a mount. Almighty God ascended it to redeem mankind. It bent
not, but the nails made grievous wounds, and it was moistened
with blood. All creation wept. The corse was placed in a
sepulchre of brightest stone. The crosses were buried, but the
thanes of the Lord raised it begirt with gold and silver, and it
should receive honor from all mankind. The Lord of Glory honored
it, who arose for help to men, and shall come again with His
angels to judge each one of men. Then they will fear and know not
what to say, but no one need fear who bears in his heart the best
of beacons. The writer is ready for his journey, and directs his
prayer to the rood. His friends now dwell in glory, and the rood
of the Lord will bring him there where he may partake of joy with
the saints. The Lord redeemed us, His Son was victorious, and
with a band of spirits entered His heavenly home 71


This translation of the ELENE was made while reading the poem with a
post-graduate student in the session of 1887-88, Zupitza's second
edition being used for the text, which does not differ materially from
that in his third edition (1888). It was completed before I received a
copy of Dr. Weymouth's translation (1888), from Zupitza's text; but in
the revision for publication I have referred to it, although I cannot
always agree with the learned scholar in his interpretation of certain

some passages. The line-for-line form has been employed, as in my

is unquestionably more serviceable to the student, even if I have not
been able to attain ideal correctness of rhythm. I plead guilty in
advance to any _lapsus_ in that respect, but I strongly suspect that I
have appreciated the difficulty more highly than my future critics. The

poetry on account of its style and its subject, which make the

_Grundriss der Geschichte der Englischen Litteratur_ (p. 47, 1887): "Die
ELENE eignet sich sowohl wegen ihres anmutigen Inhaltes, als auch, weil

statement is now the stronger for English readers because Zupitza's text
is in course of publication, edited with introduction, notes, and
glossary by Professor Charles W. Kent, of the University of Tennessee.
I have appended a few notes which explain themselves, and have
occasionally inserted words in brackets.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 10th Jul 2020, 12:26