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men's things, either property or clothes; and do not receive the church vestments or the chalice, unless compulsion or great fear cause you to do so; for of such custody has come great evil oftentimes.

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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, 26
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
Bi the se side,
Ase he was woned 32 ride.22
He fond bi the stronde,
Arived on his londe,
Schipes fiftene,

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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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"property

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receive

chalice unless 6 strength, necessity

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make, cause 8 or fear 10 such a guarding

come

14 oft-times 15 they 16 listen 17 in the west was named 9 fairer

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13 evil

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might none be 20 nor any rain rain upon

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shine After this line other MSS. insert two other lines. kingdom

companions 26 led 27 fellows two was named 30

sport wont

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like 25

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as

31 in his

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A payn

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With Sarazins kene.1
He axede what hi sohte 2
Other to londe brohte.

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 ? rigt anon;
Ne schaltu 8 todai henne à gon.”
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

gunne 12 gripe
And to-gadere smite.
Hy smyten 13 under schelde,
That sume hit yfelde.14
The king hadde al to fewe
Togenes so vele schrewe.15
So fele i6 mihten ythe 17
Bringe hem ihre 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 ne the sibbe,
Bute hi here lawe asoke 25
And to here 28 toke.

Of alle wymmanne
Wurst was Godhild thanne.
For Murri heo weop
And for Horn yute more.
He 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;
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 flen. 38

Of Saracens full bold.
He asked them what they sought
Or else to land brought.

44
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,

52 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. 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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sore

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Gef his fairnesse nere,
The children alle aslawe 2 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 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;
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,
Wringinde here honde,19
Into schupes borde
At the furste worde.
Ofte hadde Horn beo wo,20
Ac 21 nevere wurs than him was tho.22
The se bigan to flowe
And Hornchild to rowe.
The se that schup so faste drof,
The children dradde ther of;
Hi wenden to-wisse 23
Of here lif to misse,
Al the day and al the niht
Til hit sprang dai liht,
Til Horn say

on the stronde
Men gon in the londe.
"Feren," 11 quath he, “yinge,
Ihc 25 telle you tithinge.
Ihc here fogeles singe
And that gras him springe.
Blithe beo we on lyve,
Ure schup is on ryve.'
Of schup hi gunne funde 28
And setten fout 29 to grunde.30

Bi the se side

They brought the boys to the shore, Wringing their hands full sore. On shipboard they thrust them, No longer would they trust them. Oft had Horn suffered woe, But never worse than he then did know. 122 The sea began a-flowing And Horn Child a-rowing.

I 28 The sea so fast the ship did drive, No hope the boys had to survive. They thought without a doubt Their lives would soon go out, 132 All the day and all the night Till there sprang daylight, Till Horn saw on the strand Men walking in the land. “Comrades," said he, “true, Good news I tell to you. I hear the birds a-singing And the grass a-springing.

140 Let us be glad once more, Our ship has come to shore.” From the ship they went to land And set foot upon the strand.

144 By the water side

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Hii 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 : kyng,
Jesu Cristes withering,
That ihc 5 am hol and fer 6

5
On this lond arived her;
And seie that hi ? schal fonde 8
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 Suddenè 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
Sende me in to bure.
With the speke ihc schołde;
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
In secret after meat
Rymenhild to greet.
Speeches very bold
In heart thou shalt hold.
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!

412 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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Rymenhild up gan stonde
And tok him by the honde.

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Heo sette him on pelle, 1
Of wyn to drinke his fulle.2
Heo makede him faire chere
And tok him abute the swere. 3
Ofte heo him custe,
So wel so hire luste.5

426
“Horn,” heo sede, “withute strif, 437
Thu schalt have me to thi wif.
Horn, have of me rewthe,
And pligt ’ me thi trewthe.”

Horn tho him bithogte
What he speke migte.
“Crist," quath he, “the wisse, 8
And yive" the hevene blisse

444
Of thine husebonde,
Wher he beo in londe!
Ihc am ibore to lowe
Such wimman to knowe.
Ihc am icome of thralle,
And fundling bifalle. 10
Ne feolle 11 hit the of cunde 12
To
spuse 13 beo me bunde. 14

452
Hit nere no fair wedding
Bitwexe a thral and a king."

Tho gan Rymenhild mis-lyke,
And sore gan to sike.15
Armes heo

gan buge;
Adun he 17 feol iswoge.18

Horn in herte was ful wo,
And tok hire on his armes two.

hire for to kesse,
Wel ofte mid ywisse. 19
“Lemman,” 20 he sede, “dere,
Thin herte nu thu stere.21

464
Help me to knigte,
Bi al thine migte,
To my lord the king,
That he me yive dubbing.
Thanne is mi thralhod
Iwent 22 in to knigthod,
And i schal wexe more,
And do, lemman, thi lore.'' 23

472
Rymenhild, that swete thing,
Wakede of hire swowning. 24
“Horn," quath heo, "wel sone
That schal beon idone;
Thu schal beo dubbed knigt
Are come seve nigt.
Have her this cuppe,

skin, rug ’ fill 3 neck 4 kissed 5 pleased 6 pity ? plight s direct 'give 10 chanced 11 it would not suit nature spouse 14 bound 15 sigh 16 did bow

Rymenhild up did stand And took him by the hand.

420 On couch she set him fine, To drink his fill of wine; She gave him welcome true And arms about him threw; Full oft she did him kiss, Her joy was most in this. “Horn,” she said, “without all strife, 437 Thou shalt have me as thy wife. Horn, have of me ruth And plight to me thy truth.”

440 Horn in his heart did seek What words he then might speak. “May Christ," said he, “now guide thee ! And heaven's bliss betide thee 444 Of thy husband free, Where'er in land he be! But I am born too low Such a woman's love to know. I come of thralls, God wot; A foundling's was my lot. Befits thee not by kind Thyself to me to bind.

452 It were no fit wedding Betwixt a thrall and a king.”

Rymenhild was grieved thereby
And sore began to sigh.
Her arms slipped strengthless down,
And there she fell a-swown.

Horn such woe could nowise brook
And in his arms the maiden took.
And then he did her kiss,
Full oft and oft, i-wis.
“Sweetheart,” said he, “dear,
Thy heart now must thou steer.

464
Help me become a knight,
Truly, with all thy might,
To my lord, the king,
That he me grant dubbing.
Then shall my thrallhood
Be changed to knighthood,
And I grow greater still,
And do, sweetheart, thy will.” 472

Rymenhild, that sweetest thing,
Wakened then from her swooning.
“Horn," quoth she, "full soon
That shall all be done;
Thou shalt be dubbed a knight
Within this sevennight.
This cup do thou now bear

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He gan

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a-swoon

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very often indeed sweetheart

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direct, control

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22 turned

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