Excerpt from Castleford's Chronicle or the Boke of Brut


Excerpt from Castleford's Chronicle or the Boke of Brut

Wi3 samed to him an oste ful grete,
He entred þe schire of Someresete.
Qwen he com so ner Bathes cite
Þat alle þe sege he might ouerse,
Of þe Saxons þat his treu3 brak,
Þat alle might her, þis wordes he spak:
'Lo, þe Saxons, so fals of fame,
Of falsed and of weked name!
'Ful weked and fals þai mai be cald,
Treu3 to me þam dedeignes to hald!
'In þe fai3 I haf my Godde to queme,
Anens var treu3 I salle þam deme.
I anenter strengh salle me afors
Þis daie to venge me on þar cors -
I salle me venge þis ilke daie,
Manli in feld if þat I maie,
Of blodde schedde of my citisains,
Sen falsli þai rise me agains.
'Armes yow, men, armes yow now!
Lo, þe tratours er befor yow!
To fight on þam makes yow boune,
Haf na dout to ber þam doune.
Als tratoures treu3 haf þai broken,
And wikedlie opon vs w'r'oken.
'Þoru þe help of þe vertu
Of Criste of Heuen, of Lorde Ihesu,
Þe maistrie of þam sal we win -
Dotes yow noght on þam to rin!'

Her Britons and Saxons togedir yode;
Gret Scheddyng þar was of mannes blod. [VI.] xxxv

Qwen Arthur had þus said and doune,
Vp ras þan Saint Du[b]rice ful sone,
Þe archebishcope of Legions,
In resens of alle þe Britons.
He clame vpon a litel montaine
Þat for him was so eise and gaine;
Wi3 hegh voice, on þis maner
He cried þat alle þe folk might her:
'Yie Cristen men, in Britaine won,
Þat haldes Cristen profession,
Hafes in yow now reu3 and pete
Of our neghburs and þe contre,
Þat þoru treson of þe paigiens,
Þat yitte agains yow sustiens,
Wel ner yitte þoru your herd drifen,
In endelise sorow for to lifen,
Bot yie fight wi3 wapen in hende,
Your awn countre for to defende.
'For your contre wi3 wille yie fight,
On your famen dies for y'our' right!
Die for your right es victorie,
To your saul it es remedie.
'Qwaso hafes in wille and rede
For his broþer to suffer þe dede,
He offers himself wi3outen ende,
Qwilk sacrifice til Godde to wend.
'Criste he folghes in His traces,
Þat man in þis warld has þe graces
For rightwisenes stand in strif,
And for his broþer to gif his lif.
'If any of yow, qwatso he be,
In bataile die wi3 willes fre,
Þat ilke dedde he þis daie inrinnes,
Standes in penance of alle his sinnes.
I grant him absolucion
Bifor Ihesu Criste, Goddes Son,
Of alle þat he has done biforn
Sen he was of his moder born,
Qwarþoru he noght refuys þis daie
Die for his broþer, so I yow saie.'
Of þis in ded was na targing -
Þai tok þe haly manes blissing
And armed þam son, wi3 willes gode,
And vnto his biddyngs þai stode.
Kyng Arthur tok on ane auberk,
So lik a kyng of worthi werk,
And on his heid a helm of gold
In dragons forme, slik vse he walde,
And on his schuldres a scheld ful bright,
Þat name was Pridwen it heght -
Þe ymage þat in it was paint
Of Marie, Goddes moder so saint,
For haf her in memor he wald,
Sen in alle nedes to her he calde.
He tok his suerd hight Calborn,
Girde him þarwi3 he wald no3 Scorn,
Wroght in þe hile of Auelon;
And his sper þat was cald Ron,
In his right hande, lo, he it takes,
Wide wondes and brad in fight it makes.
Arthur he ordaind his oste,
In batailes he and þam asoste -
Ful hardelie he tok þe strete
Wi3 þe Saxons in feld to mete.
Togider strak, lo, þar batailes,
Aiþer on oþer harde dinttes deles;
Þe Britons harde opon þam yiode
And manli þai agains þam stode.
Þai laide on faste, gaf many a dinte,
Noþer oste for oþer wald stint,
Ilke man oþer to sla was boune,
Na man might knaw qweþer side yied doun.
Neuer þai ceds, bot euer þai fight
Alle þe lang daie, til it was night;
Aiþer on oþer þar wapen brak,
Noþer side, forso3, gaf bak,
Bot alle þe daie aiþer oþer sloght.
And qwen þe son to reste it droght,
To a montane neghum þai yiede
Þe Saxons sone it occupede,
Þai tok it þan for þar castelle,
Þe night þaron to hofe and duelle.
Of Saxons þan þe number so grete,
Fra þai þis ilke montane might gete,
Þam alle þaron þe night to halde.
Alle about þam þai ordained wache,
Harmes bi night fra þam cache.
And þe Britons þe vale þai tok
For þar resete; sum of þam wok.

Colgry[m] was sclane her wi3 his breþer;
Saxons was chast, now her, now þeder. [VI.] xxxvi

Þe night it paste. Son on þe morn
Þe son it ras, fair þam biforn.
Arthur biheld vnto his face -
Lo, he auised him of þe place.
Þe monte he bigan to ascende,
Þe Saxons þam for to defende.
Þoru fors he wald, and no3 þoru sleght,
Of þe montain win to þe heght,
Bot in vp clauering of his oste
Ful many of his men he loste -
Saxons doune fra on hegh þai ran,
Þai wondede and sloght ful many a man,
Sen better þai had donward fra hegh,
Þat Britons vp climbande might dregh.
Bot þe Britons, wi3 fors ful grete,
To þe heght of þe hille aboun þai gete.
Þar reght schuldres þai sette to thring,
To þar famen schuldres þai bring,
Saxsons þar bristes agains þam sette,
Win þe hille on þam for to do lette -
Schuldre to schulder, briste to briste,
In slik brussing fele many periste.
Britons vpward þoru fors þai wald,
Saxons donward þam for to halde -
Vpwarde, donwarde, þus þai thrang,
Aiþer folk on oþer, durand ful lang.
In þis maner alle daie þai faght,
And yitte þe hille to win in waght.
Qwen mikel of þe daie was paste,
Dedeing þught Arthur, at þe laste,
Þat þai þam sulde þe feld so warn
And þe maistre in point to tharn.
His suerde in hand out he drogh,
Hight Caliburn, aknawen anogh,
Þe nam of Saint Marie he criede,
And to þe thikeste prese he hiede -
Lo, qwar his enemise thikest preste,
To entre þar neuer he ceste.
He criede to God, wi3 willes gude,
And smate on alle befor him stude.
Of his enemise he spared nane,
Alle þase he toched þai fel doun slan;
To sla his famen neuer he stint,
Ilke man he toched dede of þe dint.
Wi3 Caliburn stik neuer he lefte
To he of fele þe lifes had refte -
Bi numbre he slogh þat tid of men
Four vndre3 and sextie and ten.
Britons sagh Arthur on þam gatte;
In thik batailes þai folgh in þatte.
Þai sued þar king wi3 ful gret ruth,
Þai slogh an dfeld doun all abouth -
Colgrim slane and Baldulf, his broþer,
And many thousandes of þe oþer.
Duk Cheldrik sagh þe gret perille,
His side yiod doun, he stod ful ille,
Wi3 þe oste þat lefte he tok þe flight,
Naui to gette if þat he might.
Additional Information:
See The Battle of Mount Badon page.