[Page 21]



ARISE, O son of Harald the Black, for the son of Syrric sleeps upon the mountain, under the mossy rock; prepare thy silver lance, shake the clotted gore of the wolf from thy spreading shield; Fingal of the brown lake, whose sword divides the lofty pine, whose spear is ever moist with the blood of the slain, will assist thy arm. Cullisin who sleeps on the brow of the mountain, whose feet are swift as the days of mirth, will draw forth his troops from the forest. The lions of the plain, Morvor and Essyr, will swell thy army, as the falling rain swells the silver brook: they wait for thy presence, as the brown meadow for the spring; they will shoot out in blood, and blossom in victory.

[Page 22]

Godred Crovan, son of Harald the Black, whose name has put to flight armies, arise.

Godred arose; he met the chiefs on the plain; they sat down, and feasted till the evening: there sat Cochlin with the long spear, whose arm is a thunderbolt: on the banks of the sea he fought an host, and rained blood on the plain of Mervor: brown is his face as the sun-burnt heath; strong his arm as the roaring sea: he shook his black locks like clouds tossed by the winds: he sings the song of joy. Godwin of the rushy plain lay upon the skin of the wolf; his eyes are stars, his blows are lightning. Tatwallin sat by his side, he sung sweet as the birds of spring, he fought like the angry lion.

O Tatwallin! sing the actions of Harold the Swift.

Tatwallin arose from his seat, the horn of mirth graced his right-hand.

Hear, ye sons of blood, whilst the horn of mirth is refreshing your souls, the actions of Harald the Swift.

[Page 23]

"The wolf of Norway beat his anlace on his silver shield; the sons of war assembled around him: Swain of the cleft-hill shook the spear on his left; and Harald the Black, the lion of Iceland, on his right, dyed in gore. Fergus of the spreading hills was cased in black armour; his eyes shone with rage, his sword sported with the beams of the sun.

"Warriors, said the chief of the host, let us assault the foe; swift as the hawk let us fly to the war; strong as the bull, fierce as the wolf, will we rage in the fight: the followers of Harold, the son of Godwin, shall melt away as the summer clouds; they shall fall like the flowers of the field; their souls will fade with the blasting of our valour.

"Swain prepares for war; he sounds the brazen helmet, his followers lift high the deadly spear.

"The son of Godwin appears on the bridge, his banner waves in the wind; like a storm he scattered the troops of Swain.

"Edmund shot the arrows of death.

[Page 24]

"Madded by defeat, Swain plunged into his band: the sword of Edmund sounded on his helmet; their silver shields were heard upon the stream: the sword of Edmund sunk to the heart of the son of Egwin; he bit the bloody sand at his feet.

"Harald the Black stood on the bridge, he swelled the river with gore: he divides the head of Edmund, as the lightning tears the top of the strong rock: armies melted before him, none can withstand his rage. The son of Godwin views him from the hill of death; he seized the flaming banner, and sounds the silver shield.

"Girth, Leofric, and Morcar, pillars of the war, fly to his shadow: with a troop of knights, fierce as evening wolves, they beset Harald the Black; like a tempest they rage, like a rock he repels their assault: hills of the slain arise before him, the course of the stream is turned aside.

"Warriors, said the son of Godwin, though we rage like a tempest, like a rock he repels our assault. Morcar, let one of thy knights descend beneath the bridge, and pierce him through the back with a spear.

[Page 25]

"Selwyn, swift as a salling meteor, shot beneath the wave; the sharp spear pierces through the back of Harald the Black; he falls like a mountain in an earthquake; his eyes shot fire, and his teeth gnashed with rage: he dies.

"The hopes of Norway are no more; Harold the Swift led his troops to the bridge; they started at the sight of the mighty body, they wept, they sled.

"Thee, Godred, only thee! of all the thousands of the war, prepared thy sword for battle; they dragged thee from the field.

"Great was the sorrow of the sons of Norway."

Tatwallin ended his song, the chiefs arose from the green plain; they assemble their troops on the banks of Lexy.

Ceormond, with the green spear, martialled his band: he deduced his lineage from Woden, and displayed the shield of Penda. Strong as the tower of Pendragon on the hill, furious as the souls of the unburied warriors; his company were all chiefs. [Page 26]Upon the high hills he encountered Moryon; like dashing waves, they rushed to the war; their swords rained blood to the valley beneath. Moryon, wild as the winter's wind, raged in the fight; the pointed javelin quivered in his breast, he rolled down the high hill. Son of Woden, great was thy might, by thy hand the two sons of Osmor fell to the valley.

How are thy warriors stretched upon the bank of the Lexy, like willows!

Ealward, of the brown rock, who dyes his anlace in the blood of the wolves of the hill, whose spear, like a star, blasts the souls of the foe; see he sleeps with the chiefs upon the skin of the wolf; the battle is raging in his fancy; he grasps the bloody spear; his enemies fly before him; joy and rage dance on his brow: thus sleeping, he is as the sun slightly covered with a cloud.

Dugnal, who inhabits the isles, whose barks are swifter than the wind, stands on the bank of the stream; his eyes are bent on the spangling wave; his hands press the silver-headed spear; he is a lion in the war, in the council wise as the ancient priests.

[Page 27]

Wilver stands on the right-hand of Godred; he is a rock, unmoved by the tempest of war.

Lagman is a young oak; he flourishes in the heat of the glory of his fire: the warriors are like the stars of the winter night.

The noise of a multitude is heard from the hills: Godred sets his troops in order for war; they are seen on the brow of the hill. Many are the foes of Godred; great is the courage of his warriors.

Raignald of the isles attends the chiefs of his foes; his arm is strong as the flourishing oak; his wisdom deep as the black lake; his swift ships slew over the waves; he defied to battle the prince of the mountains.

Bladdyn fell by his hand; he burnt the palace of the wood: the horn, embossed with gold, graced his spoils; he returned to his castle over a sea of blood.

Dunhelm bears the banner of the foe; he is the dragon of the mossy plain; he kept the water of the seven springs. Wynfylt, and his warriors, sought[Page 28] to bear away the water in the horn of hospitality. Dunhelm arose from his strong fort; his anlace glittered over his head.

Children of the hills, said the son of Olave, restore the water to the gently-running stream.

The son of Meurig answered not: the anlace of Dunhelm divided his head; his blows fell like the stones of hail, when the loud winds shake the top of the lofty tree; the warriors fled like the clouds of night, at the approach of the sun.

Elgar, from the borders of Northumberland, was among the enemies of Godred Crovan, son of Harald the Black: he led his troop down the hill, and began the fight with Ospray: like the raging of the lake of blood, when the loud winds whistle over the sharp cliffs of the rock, was the noise of the battle.

Summerled rose in the sight like the rays of the morning; blood beamed about him; his helmet sell from his head; his eyes were like the lights upon the billows.

Octha, who fought for Godred, opposed the passage of his rage: his shield was like the rising sun,[Page 29] his spear the tower of Mabyn: the spear of Summerled sounded on the shield of Octha; he heard the shrill cry of joy, as the broken weapon fell to the ground: his sword fell upon the shoulder of Summerled; he gnashed his teeth, and died.

Ospray, like a lion, ravages the band of Elgar. Octha follows behind him, dying his long white robe in blood.

Elgar flies to the son of Vorti; his spear sounds upon his helmet; the sword of Octha divides the shield of Elgar: the Northumbrian warrior retires to his band. Dunhelm drives his long spear through the heart of Octha; he falls to the ground. Wilver sets his foot upon his breathless corpse, and buries him beneath the bodies of the foe.

Raignald, with his band, flies to the relief of Dunhelm: the troops of Wilver and Ospray slowly retire. Dunhelm falls by the javelin of an unknown warrior; so falls the eagle by the arrow of the child.

Raignald rages like the fires of the mountain; the troops of Dugnal and Ceormond melt before him.

[Page 30]

Dugnal lifts high his broad shield against the breast of Raignald; his sword hangs over his head: the troops of Raignald retire with their chief. Ealward, and the son of Harald the Black, fly to the war: the foe retire before them. Raignald encourages his men: like an eagle he rages in the fight.

The troops of Godred halt; the bands of Dugnal and Ceormond forsake their leaders.

Godred retires to the bank of the Lexy; the foe followed behind, but were driven back with shame. On the bank of the Lexy the warriors are scattered like broken oaks.

Godred sounds the silver shield; the chiefs assemble round his tent.

Let us again to the war, O chiefs, and drive the foe over the mountains.

They prepare for war; Dugnal leads the wolves of the isle; with a loud voice they began the fight. Ealward falls by the sword of Raignald. Cullisin scatters the javelins of fate. Fingal rages in the fight, but sell by the sword of Elgar.

[Page 31]

Cochlin heard the dying groans of his friend; his sword pierced the heart of Elgar, he fell upon the body of Fingal.

Morvor and Essyr raged like sons of blood, thousands fell around them. Godwin scattered slaughter through the host of the soe. Tatwallin sweeps down the chief of the battle; like the noise of torrents rolling down the high mountains, is the noise of the fight; the feet of the warriors are wet with blood; the sword of Cochlin is broken, his spear pierces through the foe like lightning through the oak: the chiefs of Godred fill the field with the bodies of the dead: the night approaches, and victory is undecided: the black clouds bend to the earth, Raignald and Godred both retire.

The chiefs of Godred assembled at the tent of council: Tatwallin, arose and sung,

"When the flowers arose in the verdant meadows, when the birds of spring were heard in the grove of Thor, the son of Victa prepared his knights for war; strong as the mossy tomb of Ursic were the warriors he had chose for his band; they issued out to the war. Wecca shook the crooked anlace at their head.

[Page 32]

"Halt, said the son of Victa, let the troops stand still: still as the silent wood, when the winds are laid asleep, the Saxons stood on the spreading plain.

"Sons of blood! Said the immortal Wecca, the foe against whom we must fight are stronger than the whole power of our king; let the son of Henna, with three hundred warriors, be hid in the darkbrown wood; when the enemy faint in the battle, let them spread themselves like the bursting cloud, and rain a shower of blood; the foe will be weakened, astonished, and fly.

"The warriors held their broad shields over the head of the son of Victa; they gave him the chaplet of victory, and sang the song of joy.

"Hennack, with the flower of the war, retired to the dark-brown wood: the sun arose arrayed in garments of blood; Wecca led his men to the battle: like bears they raged in the fight; yet the enemy fled not, neither were they moved: the fight continued till noon; the troops of the son of Victa fought like the dragons of the mountain, the foe sainted, they were weakened, yet they fled not.

[Page 33]

"The son of Henna drew forth his band to the plain; like a tempest they fell upon the foe; they were astonished; they fled.

"Godred Crovan, son of Harald the Black, the lion of Iceland, and all the warriors who fight in his cause, let us pursue the same method; let the mountain of Secafull conceal Dugnal and three hundred chosen warriors from the eyes of Raignald; when he is spent in the fight, let them issue to the war."

Godred arose from his throne, he led Tatwallin to a seat at his right-hand.

Dugnal prepares his troop; sing, O Tatwallin, the actions of Hengist and Horsa.

Tatwallin arose from his seat:

"When the black clouds stooped below the tops of the high hills, when the wolf came forth from the wood, when the branches of the pine perished, when the yews only smiled upon the russet-heath, the sons of Woden led the furious warriors to the bank of the swift stream; there[Page 34] sat the horse of the hill, whose crooked sword shone like the star of the evening.

"Peada was the banner of the hills: when he waved his golden torce upon the bodies of the slain, the hearts of his companions beamed with victory: he joined the numerous bands of the sons of Woden; like a swelling stream they enter the borders of the land of Cuccurcha.

"Locca of the brown valley sounds the shield; the king of Urrin hears the sound, he starts from his seat: assemble the lions of war, for the enemy are upon the borders.

"Sons of Morven, upon whose shields are seen the hawk and the serpent, swift as the wind fly to the warriors of Abon's stream: sons of war, prepare the spreading shield, the sword of fire, the spear, the azure banner made sacred by the God.

"Cuccurcha issues to the war, as an enemy's wolf to the field.

"Selward, whose face is a summer cloud, gleaming with the recent lightning of the storms, shakes the broad anlace.

[Page 35]

"Eadgar and Emmieldred, sons of the mighty Rovan, who discomfitted Osniron with his steeds of fire, when the god of war, the blood stained Woden, pitched his tent on the bank of the wide lake, are seen in the troop.

"Creadda, whose feet are like those of the horse, lifts high the silver shield.

"On the plain, near the palace of Frica, he encountered with Egward; their swords rained blood, shields echoed to the valley of slaughter.

"These were the warriors of Cuccurcha, the lions of the war.

"Hengist and Horsa met them on the sandy plain; the shafts of death clouded the sun, swift as the ships of Horsa, strong as the arm of Suchullin: Peada ravaged the band of Cuccurcha like a mountain. Eadgar sustained the blow of Hengist; great was the fury of Emmieldred, his spear divided the broad shield, his anlace sunk into the heart: the sword of Anyoni pierced the breast of Cuccurcha, he fell like an oak to the plain.

[Page 36]

"Creadda rages in the battle, he is a wild boar of the wood: the anlace of Horsa sounds on his round helm, he gnashes his teeth, he churns the smoaking gore, he dies. Locca reclines on his long spear, he is wearied with dealing death among his foes: the anlace of Hengist alights on his back, he falls to the ground.

"The men of Urrin sled to the forest: the lions of war, Hengist and Horsa, throw the spears of flight; they burn up the souls of the flying foe; the great image is red with blood; the flame lights the stars; the moon comes forth to grace the feast; the chaplet of victory hangs on the brow of the warriors."

Tatwallin ended his song,

The morning crept from the mountains, Dugnal with his troops retired to the forest on the mountain of Scoafull.

Godred Crovan, son of Harald the Black, the lion of Iceland, prepares for battle. Raignald came down to the plain: long was the fight and bloody.

[Page 37]

Godred Crovan beat his anlace on the shield; the warriors upon the mountain heard the sound of the silver shield; swift as the hunted stag they fly to the war, they hear the noise of the battle, the shout of the onset swells in the wind, the loud din of the war increases, as the thunder rolling from afar; they fly down the mountains, where the fragments of the sharp rock are scattered around; they ascend like the vapours, folding up the high hill, upon the borders of Osloch; their helmets sweep the dawn of the morning; the saffron light shines on the broad shield; through the dark dells they cut a passage, through the dells where the beams of the sun are never seen.

On the rushy moor of Rossin they astonish the foe, and join in the war.

There fought Godred Crovan, death sat on his sword, the yelling breath of the dying foe shook his banner; his shield, the stream of Lexy, which urrounds the dark-brown wood, and shines at the noon of day; his anlace dropped blood, and tore through the helmets of the foe like the red lightning of the storm.

[Page 38]

Dugnal, chief of the mountain warriors, who drove Rygwallon from his chariot of war, lifted his shield and spear through the heart of Morval; the weapon persorated, he yelled like a wolf of the mountain, he died.

Weolmund, of the white rock, arose in the fight; like the fires of the earth he burnt up the ranks of the foe; his spear a blasted oak, his shield the sea when the winds are still, he appeared a hill, on whose top the winter snow is seen, and the summer sun melts it up: victory sat on his helmet, death on his anlace.

Wilver, who supports the tottering rocks, who flies like the bird of summer over the plain, shakes the crooked sword as he rages upon the hills of the slain, and is red with living gore: the spears of the foe are gathered about him, the sharp javelins sound on his shield; he looks around the field, the savage Edwin flies to his aid; like two wolves they rage in the war, their shields are red with blood.

The bear of the north throws his lance: the furclad Godard Syrric displays his starry shield, the[Page 39] chiefs fall at his feet, he rises on the breast of Rynon, storms of blood surround his sword, blood flows around him.

When the storm rages in the sky, the torrents roll to the plain, the trees of the wood are borne away, the castle falls to the ground, such was the fury of the fight on the moor of Rossin: the chiefs fell, our foes halt, they fly swift as the clouds of winter. Ospray throws the spear of Chaso; swift as their fear he flies to the pursuit; the soul of Godred melted, he rolled the blue banner, wrought with gold, round the crimson stream: his warriors dance around him, they sing the song of Harald the Black; they hail him king; the golden sandal is thrown over his helmet. May the Gods grant this war for empire be his last.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): GODRED CROVAN, A POEM.
Genres: prose poem; imitation; translation; paraphrase

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Source edition

Chatterton, Thomas, 1752-1770. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse; by Thomas Chatterton, the supposed author of the poems published under the names of Rowley, Canning, &c. London: printed for Fielding and Walker, Pater-Noster Row, MDCCLXXVIII., 1778, pp. 21-39. xxxii,245,[3]p.,plates; 8⁰. (ESTC T39457; OTA K039720.000)

Editorial principles

The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Thomas Chatterton