Thursday 24 May 2012

The Saga of the White Ravens

I sing of the Saxons, spears shining brightly;
To British king's borders with battle to ride.
Gedriht and Geoguth, yearning for conquest,
'Neath wingèd Wyrm marching, to watchtower's fastness.
At Cynrig's command, came countless brave warriors,
To muster by moonlight, paying mind to Aelfwîne.

Five were there foremost, fearless in battle.
Swords all sharpened, spears of the thegns:

Léofwéald leading, long-legged banner bearer,
Red dragon raising, roaring defiance.

'Neath cross of the Christ-God, claiming his power,
Broadsword bearer, Bishop Oswulf.

Ecgfrith from East-lands, eyes of the Duguth;
Wild-maned warrior, with wolf-banner marching.

Young men, the Geoguth, with yellow-haired Wulfric,
Hungry, the hunters, hasten to battle.

Far-flung on the flank, for hidden ford searching,
Déorwine leads Duguth, on dappled horse riding.

Red beacon burning, blazing its warning,
Begging the Britons bring swords to their aid.
Strike fast the Saxons, swords and spears wielding,
Taking the tower, foemen turning to flee.
Shieldwall stand steady! Strike at the heathen!
Blade against blade, battle fresh joined.
Unlooked for, unheralded, under the pinewoods
Ride the White Ravens, reckless Déorwine.
Shoulder to shoulder, sharp spear points levelled,
Thegn's hoofbeats thunder, through dark woods they come.
Clash of charge, and clattered weapons,
Blade that bites, bright mail holding true.
Foemen falter, flee like their women,
Hooves trample, heedless; brave horses charge on.

I sing of the Saxons, spears shining brightly;
To British king's borders with battle to ride.
Rise the White Ravens! Ride, Déorwine!
Valiant, valourous, bringing victory close-fought.

For the full battle report, look out on Andy Hawes' blog later this week.

Translations for those not familiar with Age of Arthur/Saxon unit names:
Cynrig = King
Thegn = Thane (obviously enough)
Gedriht = hearthguard, elite warriors
Duguth = seasoned older warriors
Geoguth = younger warriors


  1. Superb, Mike, absolutely superb. I can hear the pound of the hooves of the White Ravens as I read it!

    1. I blame you for the couple of cracking Dux Britanniorum pieces a while back... definitely inspiring - thank you.

      It is, though, hard work - the songwriter in me keeps wanting to force it to scan, which is just NOT what it needs to do.


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