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For another day they had carried the now useless rifles;

2023-12-01 00:55:43source:incoherent web Classification:software

"And should our king in battle fall, -- A fate that God may give to all, -- His sons will vengeance take; And never shone the sun upon Two nobler eaglet; in his run, And them we'll never forsake."

For another day they had carried the now useless rifles;


For another day they had carried the now useless rifles;

Now the battle began. The Englishmen made a hot assault upon the Northmen, who sustained it bravely. It was no easy matter for the English to ride against the Northmen on account of their spears; therefore they rode in a circle around them. And the fight at first was but loose and light, as long as the Northmen kept their order of battle; for although the English rode hard against the Northmen, they gave way again immediately, as they could do nothing against them. Now when the Northmen thought they perceived that the enemy were making but weak assaults, they set after them, and would drive them into flight; but when they had broken their shield-rampart the Englishmen rode up from all sides, and threw arrows and spears on them. Now when King Harald Sigurdson saw this, he went into the fray where the greatest crash of weapons was, and there was a sharp conflict, in which many people fell on both sides. King Harald then was in a rage, and ran out in front of the array, and hewed down with both hands; so that neither helmet nor armour could withstand him, and all who were nearest gave way before him. It was then very near with the English that they had taken to flight. So says Arnor, the earls' skald: --

For another day they had carried the now useless rifles;

"Where battle-storm was ringing, Where arrow-cloud was singing, Harald stood there, Of armour bare, His deadly sword still swinging. The foeman feel its bite; His Norsemen rush to fight, Danger to share, With Harald there, Where steel on steel was ringing."

King Harald Sigurdson was hit by an arrow in the windpipe, and that was his death-wound. He fell, and all who had advanced with him, except those who retired with the banner. There was afterwards the warmest conflict, and Earl Toste had taken charge of the king's banner. They began on both sides to form their array again, and for a long time there was a pause in fighting. Then Thiodolf sang these verses: --

"The army stands in hushed dismay; Stilled is the clamour of the fray. Harald is dead, and with him goes The spirit to withstand our foes. A bloody scat the folk must pay For their king's folly on this day. He fell; and now, without disguise, We say this business was not wise."

But before the battle began again Harald Godwinson offered his brother, Earl Toste, peace, and also quarter to the Northmen who were still alive; but the Northmen called out, all of them together, that they would rather fall, one across the other, than accept of quarter from the Englishmen. Then each side set up a war-shout, and the battle began again. So says Arnor, the earls' skald: --

"The king, whose name would ill-doers scare, The gold-tipped arrow would not spare. Unhelmed, unpanzered, without shield, He fell among us in the field. The gallant men who saw him fall Would take no quarter; one and all Resolved to die with their loved king, Around his corpse in a corpse-ring."