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O CHRYSTE, it is a grief for me to tell;
HOW manie a nobil erle and valrous knyghte
In fyghtynge for Kynge Harrold noblie fell,
Al sleyne in Hastyngs feeld in bloudie fyghte.
O sea! our teeming donore han thy floude,
Han anie fructuous entendement,
Thou wouldst have rose and sank wyth tydes of bloude,
Before Duke Wyllyam's knyghts han hither went;
Whose cowart arrows manie erles sleyne,
And brued the feeld wyth bloude as season rayne.
And of his knyghtes did eke full manie die,
All passyng hie, of mickle myghte echone,
Whose poygnant arrowes, typp'd with destynie,
Caus'd manie wydowes to make myckle mone.
Lordynges, avaunt, that chycken-harted are,
From out of hearynge quicklie now deparle;
Full well I wote, to synge of bloudie warre
Will greeve your tenderlie and mayden harte.
Go, do the weaklie womman inn mann's geare,
And scond your mansion if grymm war come there.
Soone as the erlie maten belle was tolde,
And sonne was come to byd us all good daie,
Bothe armies on the feeld, both brave and bolde,
Prepar'd for fyghte in champyon arraie.
As when two bulles, destynde for Hocktide fyghte,
Are yoked bie the necke within a sparre,
Theie rend the erthe, and travellyrs affryghte,
Lackynge to gage the sportive bloudie warre;
Soe lacked Harroldes menne to come to blowes,
The Normans lacked for to wielde their bowes.
Kynge Harrolde turnynge to hys leegemen spake;
My merrie men, be not caste downe in mynde;
Your onlie lode for aye to mar or make,
Before yon sunne has donde his welke, you'll fynde.
Your lovyng wife, who erst dyd rid the londe
Of Lurdanes, and the treasure that you han,
Wyll falle into the Normanne robber's honde,
Unlesse with honde and harte you plaie the manne.
Cheer up youre hartes, chase sorrowe farre awaie,
Godde and Seyncte Cuthbert be the worde to daie.
And thenne Duke Wyllyam to his knyghtes did saie;
My merrie menne, be bravelie everiche;
Gif I do gayn the honore of the daie,
Ech one of you I will make myckle riche.
Beer you in mynde, we for a kyngdomm fyghte;
Lordshippes and honores echone shall possesse;
Be this the worde to daie, God and my Ryghte;
Ne doubte but God will oure true cause blesse.
The clarions then sounded sharpe and shrille;
Deathdoeynge blades were out intent to kille.
And brave Kyng Harrolde had nowe donde hys saie;
He threwe wythe myghte amayne hys shorte horse-spear,
The noise it made the duke to turn awaie,
And hytt his knyghte, de Beque, upon the ear.
His cristede beaver dyd him smalle abounde;
The cruel spear went thorough all his hede;
The purpel blonde came goushynge to the ground;
And at Duke Wyllyam's feet he tumbled deade:
So fell the myghtie tower of Standrip, whenne
It felte the furie of the Danish menne.
O Afflem, son of Cuthbert, holie Sayncte,
Come ayde thy freend, and shewe Duke Wyllyams payne;
Take up thy pencyl, all hys features paincte;
Thy coloryng excells a synger strayne.
Duke Wyllyam sawe hys freende sleyne piteouslie,
Hys lovynge freende whome he muche honored,
For he han lovd hym from puerilitie,
And theie together bothe han bin ybred:
O! in Duke Wyllyam's harte it raysde a flame,
To whiche the rage of emptie wolves is tame.
He tooke a brasen crosse-bowe in his honde,
And drewe it harde with all hys myghte amein,
Ne doubtyng but the bravest in the londe
Han by his soundynge arrowe-lede bene sleyne.
Alured's stede, the fynest stede alive,
Bye comelie forme knowlached from the rest;
But nowe his destind howre did aryve,
The arrowe hyt upon his milkwhite breste.
So have I seen a ladie-smock soe white,
Blown in the mornynge, and mowd downe at night.
With thilk a force it dyd his bodie gore,
That in his tender guttes it entered,
In veritee a fulle clothe yarde or more,
And downe with flaiten noyse he sunken dede
Brave Alured, benethe his faithfull horse,
Was smeerd all over withe the gorie duste,
And on hym laie the recer's lukewarme corse,
That Alured coulde not hymself aluste.
The standyng Normans drew theyr bowe echone,
And broght full manie Englysh champyons downe.
The Normans kept aloofe, at distaunce stylle,
The Englysh nete but short horse-spears could welde;
The Englysh manie dethe-sure dartes did kille,
And manie arrowes twang'd upon the sheelde.
Kynge Haroldes knyghts desir'de for hendie stroke,
And marched furious o'er the bloudie pleyne,
In bodie close, and made the pleyne to smoke;
Theire sheelds rebounded arrowes back agayne.
The Normans stode aloof; nor hede the same,
Their arrowes woulde
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"Battle Of Hastings - I" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Oct. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/36204/battle-of-hastings---i>.