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monnes thinges, ne eihte, ne clothes; ne nout men's things, either property or clothes; and ne undervo2 ye the chirche vestimenz, ne do not receive the church vestments or the thene 3 caliz,4 bute-yif á strencthe 6 hit makie, chalice, unless compulsion or great fear cause other 8 muchel eie ; . vor of swüche 10 witunge 11 you to do so; for of such custody has come is ikumen 12 muchel üvel 13 ofte-sithen.14 great evil oftentimes.

FROM KING HORN (c. 1250)

(Unknown Author)

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Alle beon he 15 blithe That to my song lythe ! 16 A sang ihc schal you singe Of Murry the kinge. King he was bi weste 17 So longe so hit laste. Godhild het 18 his quen; Fairer ne mihte non ben.19 He hadde a sone that hét 18 Horn; Fairer ne mihte non beo born, Ne no rein upon birine,20 Ne sunne upon

bischine 21
Fairer nis non thane he was;
He was brigt so the glas,
He was whit so the flur,
Rose-red was his colur.22
In none kinge-riche 23
Nas non his iliche.24
Twelf feren 25 he hadde
That he with him ladde,
Alle riche mannes sones,
And alle hi were faire gomes
With him for to pleie.
And mest he luvede tweie; 28
That on him het 29 Hathulf child,
And that other Fikenild.
Athulf was the beste
And Fikenylde the werste.

Hit was upon a someres day,
Also 30 ihc you telle may,
Murri the gode king
Rod on his pleing 31
Bi the se side,
Ase he was woned 32 ride.22
He fond bi the stronde,
Arived on his londe,
Schipes fiftene,

Joy to none be wanting
Who listens to my chaunting !
A song I shall you sing
Of Murry the king.
King he was i'th' west
While his rule did last.
Godhild was his queen;
Fairer might not be seen.
He had a son whose name was Horn;
Fairer might there none be born,
Nor rain rain on such a one,
Nor upon such shine the sun.
None is fairer than he was;
He was bright as the glass,
As the flower he was white,
Red as rose his color bright.
Within no kingdom great
Could be found his mate.
Twelve companions had he
That ever with him led he;
Each was a noble's son,
And each was a fitting one
To share in his playing.
Two loved he beyond saying;
The one was called Hathulf

child,
And the other Fikenild.
Athulf was the best
And Fikenild the worst.

It was upon a summer's day,
As I to you the story say,
Murry the noble king
Rode in his pleasuring
By the water-side,
As he was wont to ride.
He found by the strand there,
Arrived in his land there,
Ships fifteen all told

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nor any rain rain upon 21 shine 22 After this line other MSS. insert two other lines. 23 kingdom 24 like 25 companions 26 led 27 fellows 28 two 29 was named 30 as 31 in his sport 32 wont

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With Sarazins kene.1
He axede what hi sohte 2
Other to londe brohte.
A payn 3 hit of herde 4
And hym wel sone answerde,
“Thi lond-folk we schulle slon 5
And alle that Crist leveth 6 upon,
And the selve 7 rigt anon;
Ne schaltu 8 todai henne ogon."
The kyng ligte of his stede,
For tho 10 he havede nede,
And his gode knigtes two;
Al to fewe he hadde tho.10
Swerd hi 11 gunne 12 gripe
And to-gadere smite.
Hy 11 smyten 13 under schelde,
That sume hit yfelde.14
The king hadde al to fewe
Togenes so vele schrewe.1
So fele 16 mihten ythe
Bringe hem thre to dithe.18

The pains 19 come to londe
And neme 20 hit in here honde.
That folc hi gunne quelle 21
And churchen for to felle.
Ther ne moste libbe 22
The fremde 23 ne the sibbe, 24
Bute hi here lawe asoke 25
And to here 25 toke.

Of alle wymmanne
Wurst was Godhild thanne.
For Murri heo weop 3 sore
And for Horn yute 28 more.29
He 30 wenten ut of halle,
Fram hire maidenes alle.
Under a roche of stone
Ther heo 30 livede alone.
Ther heo 30 servede Gode,
Agenes the paynes 31 forbode; 32
Ther he 30 servede Criste,
That no payn hit ne wiste. 33
Evere heo bad 34 for Horn Child
That Jesu Crist him beo myld.

Horn was in paynes honde
With his feren 35 of the londe.
Muchel was his fairhede, 36
For Jhesu Crist him makede.
Payns him wolde slen 37
Other al quic fen.38

Of Saracens full bold.
He asked them what they sought
Or else to land brought.
A pagan there beside
At once to him replied:
"All thy people we shall slay
And all who hold with Christ this day, 48
And thyself without delay;
Hence shalt thou not go away.”
The king sprang from his steed then,
For surely he had need then,

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And with him true knights two
Of men he had too few.
Swords in hand they took
And together struck.
They smote so under shield
That some fell in the field.
The king had all too few
Against this evil crew.

60 So many might easily Put to death these three.

The pagans came to land And seized it in their hand. The people they did kill And churches spoil at will. There none alive might go, Kinsman no more than foe,

68 But who his faith forsook And that of pagan took.

Of all earthly women Saddest was Godhild then.

72 For Murry wept she sore And for Horn yet more. She went out of the hall,

77 Leaving her maidens all. Under a rock of stone There lived she all alone.

80 To serve God was she glad, Though the pagans it forbade; And there she served Christ too, And naught the pagans knew. Ever she prayed for Horn Child That Jesus Christ be to him mild.

Horn was in pagans' hand With his fellows of the land.

88 Beauty great had he, As Christ would have it be. The pagans wished to slay him Or else alive to flay him.

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1 bold ? they sought 3 pagan 4 heard 6 believe ? thyself 8 thou shalt not hence then 11 they 12 did 13 smote 14 felled 15 against so many wicked 16 many 17 easily 18 death 19 pagans 20 took 21 did kill 22 there might not live 23 foreigner

24 kinsman 25 unless they forsook their faith theirs she wept

29 See note on I. 16. 30 she 31 pagans' 32 prohibition 33 knew 34 prayed companions

36 fairness slay 38 fay alive

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Gef his fairnesse nere,
The children alle aslawe ? were.

Thanne spak on Admirald,
Of wordes he was bald,»
"Horn, thu art wel kene,
And that is wel isene; 5
Thu art gret and strong,
Fair and evene long..
Thu schalt waxe more ?
Bi fulle seve 8 yere,
Gef thu mote 9 to live 10 go
And thine feren 11 also.
Gef hit so bi-falle,
Ye scholde slen 12 us alle;
Tharvore thu most to stere,13
Thu and thine ifere; 11
To schupe schuile ye funde 14
And sinke to the grunde.
The se you schal adrenche; 16
Ne schal hit us noht of-thinche, 17
For if thu were alive,
With swerd other with knive
We scholden alle deie,
And thi fader deth abeie." 18

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Had he not been so fair,
The children all had perished there.

An admiral then foretold,
In speaking he was bold :
“Horn, valour is in thee,
As any man can see;
Thou art now large and strong,
Fair and of body long.
Thou shalt grow ever greater
For seven years or better,
If thou alive may go —
And thy comrades also.
If so it should befall,
You would surely slay us all;
Therefore thou must to sea,
Thou and thy company;
To ship now shall you go,
And sink to the ground below;
The sea shall you swallow;
Nor shall remorse us follow,
For if we gave you life,
With sword or else with knife
We all should soon be dead,
And thy sire's death repaid.

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The children hi brohte to stronde,

They brought the boys to the shore, Wringinde here honde,19

Wringing their hands full sore. Into schupes borde

On shipboard they thrust them, At the furste worde.

No longer would they trust them. Ofte hadde Horn beo wo,20

Oft had Horn suffered woe, Ac 21 nevere wurs than him was tho.22 122 But never worse than he then did know. 122 The se bigan to flowe

The sea began a-flowing
And Hornchild to rowe.

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And Horn Child a-rowing.

I 28 The se that schup so faste drof,

The sea so fast the ship did drive, The children dradde ther of;

No hope the boys had to survive. Hi wenden to-wisse 23

They thought without a doubt Of here lif to misse,

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Their lives would soon go out, 132 Al the day and al the niht

All the day and all the night Til hit sprang dai liht,

Till there sprang daylight, Til Horn say 24 on the stronde

Till Horn saw on the strand Men gon in the londe.

Men walking in the land. "Feren,” 11 quath he, “yinge,

"Comrades,” said he, "true, Ihc 25 telle you tithinge.

Good news I tell to you. Ihc here fogeles 26 singe

I hear the birds a-singing And that gras him springe. 140 And the grass a-springing.

140 Blithe beo we on lyve,

Let us be glad once more, Ure schup is on ryve.

Our ship has come to shore." Of schup hi gunne funde 28

From the ship they went to land And setten fout 29 to grunde.30 144 And set foot upon the strand. 144 Bi the se side

By the water side 1 if it were not for his beauty ? slain 3 bold

wringing their hands 20 been sad brave 5 very evident 6 of good height 'greater 21 but 22 then See note on I. 16. 23 they expected & seven 'mayst 10 alive companions 12 slay certainly 24 saw 25 I 26 birds 27 shore 28 did go 13 go to ship 14 go bottoni drown

repent

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Hi1 leten that schup ride.
Thanne spak him Child Horn,
In Suddene he was iborn,
“Schup, bi the se flode
Daies have thu gode;
Bi the se brinke
No water the na drinke. 2
Gef thu cume to Suddenne,
Gret thu wel of myne kenne;
Gret thu wel my moder,
Godhild, quen the gode.
And seie the paene 3 kyng,
Jesu Cristes withering,
That ihc 5 am hol and fer 6
On this lond arived her;
And seie that hi 7 schal fonde
The dent of myne honde.”

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They let the ship ride.
Then up spake Child Horn,
In Suddénè he was born:
“Ship, by the sea flood
May thou have days good;
By the sea brink
May thee no water sink.
To Suddénè if thou come,
Greet well my kin at home;
Greet well my mother dear,
Godhild, queen without peer.
And tell the pagan king,
Hateful to Christ in everything,
That I am whole and sound
Landed on this

ground; And say that he shall feel The blow my hand shall deal.”

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Aylbrus wende hire fro;
Horn in halle fond he tho 10
Bifore the kyng on benche
Wyn for to schenche. 11
"Horn," quath he, "so hende,12
To bure 13 nu thu wende 14
After mete stille
With Rymenhild to duelle.15
Wordes suthe 16 bolde
In herte thu hem holde.
Horn, beo me wel trewe;
Ne schal hit the nevre rewe.17

Horn in herte leide
Al that he him seide.
He yeode 18 in wel rigte
To Rymenhild the brigte.
On knes he him sette,19
And sweteliche hure grette.20
Of his feire sigte
Al the bur gan ligte.
He spac faire speche;
Ne dorte 21 him noman teche.
“Wel thu sitte and softe,
Rymenhild the brigte,
With thine Maidenes sixe
That the sitteth nixte ! 22
Kinges stuard ure 23
Sende me in to bure.
With the speke ihc scholde;
Seie 24 me what thu woldest.
Seie, and ich schal here,
What thi wille were."

Aylbrus went from her to the hall,
Where Horn did serve before them all
To the king upon the bench
Wine his thirst to quench.
“Horn,” said he, “my friend,
To bower must thou wend

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In secret after meat
Rymenhild to greet.
Speeches very bold
In heart thou shalt hold.

396 Horn, to me be true, And ne'er shalt thou it rue.”

Horn in heart has laid All he to him said.

400 In he went forthright To Rymenhild the bright. He knelt there at her feet, And sweetly did her greet.

404 Of his lovely sight The bower grew all bright. He spoke with courteous speech Him needed no man teach: “Sit thou in weal aright, Rymenhild the bright, With handmaidens twice three That ever sit with thee!

41 2 The steward of our king A message did me bring : To bower should I seek To hear what thou wouldst speak. Speak and tell to me Thy will, whatso it be.”

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1 they ? drown : pagan enemy 5 I sound 7 he experience I went 10 then 11 pour 12 courteous 13 bower 14

remain, be very 17 repent

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sit nearest thee 23 our 24 tell

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Rymenhild up gan stonde

Rymenhild up did stand And tok him by the honde.

And took him by the hand. Heo sette him on pelle,

On couch she set him fine, Of wyn to drinke his fulle.?

To drink his fill of wine; Heo makede him faire chere

She gave him welcome true And tok him abute the swere.3

And arms about him threw; Ofte heo him custe,

Full oft she did him kiss, So wel so hire luste.5

Her joy was most in this.

426 “Horn,” heo sede, “withute strif, 437 “Horn,” she said, “without all strife, 437 Thu schalt have me to thi wif.

Thou shalt have me as thy wife. Horn, have of me rewthe,

Horn, have of me ruth And pligt 'me thi trewthé."

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And plight to me thy truth." 440 Horn tho him bithogte

Horn in his heart did seek What he speke migte.

What words he then might speak. “Crist," quath he, “the wisse, $

"May Christ,” said he, “now guide thee ! And yive the hevene blisse 444 And heaven's bliss betide thee

444 Of thine husebonde,

Of thy husband free, Wher he beo in londe !

Where'er in land he be! Ihc am ibore to lowe

But I am born too low Such wimman to knowe.

Such a woman's love to know. Ihc am icome of thralle,

I come of thralls, God wot; And fundling bifalle.10

A foundling's was my lot. Ne feolle 11 hit the of cunde 12

Befits thee not by kind To spuse 13 beo me bunde. 14 452 Thyself to me to bind.

452 Hit nere no fair wedding

It were no fit wedding
Bitwexe a thral and a king.”

Betwixt a thrall and a king."
Tho gan Rymenhild mis-lyke,

Rymenhild was grieved thereby
And sore gan to sike.15

And sore began to sigh. Armes heo gan buge ;

Her arms slipped strengthless down, Adun he 17 feol iswoge.18

And there she fell a-swown.
Horn in herte was ful wo,

Horn such woe could nowise brook And tok hire on his armes two.

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And in his arms the maiden took. 460 He gan hire for to kesse,

And then he did her kiss, Wel ofte mid ywisse. 19

Full oft and oft, i-wis. "Lemman,” 20 he sede, "dere,

“Sweetheart,” said he, "dear, Thin herte nu thu stere. 21

464 Thy heart now must thou steer. 464 Help me to knigte,

Help me become a knight, Bi al thine migte,

Truly, with all thy might, To my lord the king,

To my lord, the king, That he me yive dubbing.

That he me grant dubbing. Thanne is mi thralhod

Then shall my thrallhood Iwent 22 in to knigthod,

Be changed to knighthood, And i schal wexe more,

And I grow greater still, And do, lemman, thi lore." 23 472 And do, sweetheart, thy will.” 472 Rymenhild, that swete thing,

Rymenhild, that sweetest thing, Wakede of hire swowning 24

Wakened then from her swooning. “Horn,” quath heo, “wel sone

“Horn," quoth she, "full soon That schal beon idone;

That shall all be done; Thu schal beo dubbed knigt

Thou shalt be dubbed a knight Are 25 come seve nigt.

Within this sevennight. Have her this cuppe,

This cup do thou now bear 1 skin, rug ? fill 3 neck 4 kissed 5 pleased 6 pity 17 she 18 a-swoon 19 very often indeed sweetplight s direct 'give 10 chanced 11 it would not heart 21 direct, control 22 turned 23 teaching suit 12 nature 13 spouse 14 bound 15 sigh 16 did bow 24 swooning 25 ere

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