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spoiled of life, so scathed had left him
Heorot's battle. The body sprang

when after death it endured the blow,
sword-stroke savage, that severed its head.





In the Beginning

(From the Paraphrase)
Most right it is that we praise with our words,
Love in our minds, the Warden of the Skies,
Glorious King of all the hosts of men;
He speeds the strong, and is the Head of all
His high creation, the Almighty Lord.
None formed Him, no first was nor last shall be
Of the Eternal Ruler, but His sway
Is everlasting over thrones in heaven.
With powers on high, soothfast and steadfast, He
Ruled the wide home of heaven's bosom spread
By God's might for the guardians of souls,
The Son of glory. Hosts of angels shone,
Glad with their Maker; bright their bliss and rich
The fruitage of their lives; their glory sure,
They served and praised their King, with joy gave praise
To Him, their Life-Lord, in whose aiding care
They judged themselves most blessed. Sin unknown,
Offence unformed, still with their Parent Lord
They lived in peace, raising aloft in heaven
Right and truth only, ere the Angel Chief
Through Pride divided them and led astray.





(From Christ, Part I, “ The Nativity ")
Hail, heavenly beam, brightest of angels thou,
Sent unto men upon this middle-earth !


Thou art the true refulgence of the sun,
Radiant above the stars, and from thyself
Illuminest for ever all the tides of time.
And as thou, God indeed begotten of God,
Thou Son of the true Father, wast from aye,
Without beginning, in the heaven's glory,
So now thy handiwork in its sore need
Prayeth thee boldly that thou send to us
The radiant sun, and that thou come thyself
To enlighten those who for so long a time
Were wrapt around with darkness, and here in gloom
Have sat the livelong night, shrouded in sin;
Death's dark shadow had they to endure.




The Choice of Mortals
(From the same, Part II, “ The Ascension ")
Lo! we have heard now how the Saviour-Child
Dispensed salvation by His advent hither,
How He, the Lord's great Son, freed and protected
Folk 'neath the clouds, so that each mortal now,
While he is dwelling here alive, must choose,
Be it hell's base shame, or heaven's fair fame,
Be it the shining light, or the loathsome night,
Be it majestic state, or the rash ones' hate,
Be it song with the Lord, or with devils discord,
Be it pain with the grim, or bliss with cherubim,
Be it life or death, as it shall liefer be
For him to act while flesh and spirit dwell
Within the world. Wherefore let glory be,
Thanks endless, to the noble Trinity.


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Preface to the Ecclesiastical History I, Beda, servant of Christ and priest, send greeting to the well-beloved king Ceolwulf. And I send you the history, which I lately wrote about the Angles and Saxons, for your

self to read and examine at leisure, and also to copy out and 5 impart to others more at large; and I have confidence in your zeal, because you are very diligent and inquisitive as to the sayings and doings of men of old, and above all of the famous men among our people. For this book either speaks

good of the good, and the hearer imitates that, or it speaks 10 evil of the evil, and the hearer flees and shuns the evil. For

it is good to praise the good and blame the bad, that the hearer may profit. If your hearer be reluctant, how else will he gain instruction? I have written this for your

profit and for your people; as God chose you out to be 15 king, it behoves you to instruct your people. And that

there may be the less doubt whether this be true, I will state the sources of

my narrative

Coming of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes

(From the Ecclesiastical History, Book I, Chap. XV) It was 449 years after our Lord's incarnation, when the emperor Martianus succeeded to the throne, which he occupied for seven years. He was the forty-sixth from the emperor Augustus. At that time the Angles and Saxons 5 were called in by the aforesaid king, and arrived in Britain with three great ships. They received settlements on the east side of the island by order of the same king, who had invited them here, to fight as for their country. They at

once took the field against the foe, who had often before 10 overrun the land from the north; and the Saxons won the

victory. Then they sent home messengers, whom they bade to report the fertility of this land, and the cowardice of the Britons. Immediately a larger fleet was dispatched

here, with a stronger force of warriors; and the host when 15 united overpowered resistance. The Britons gave and as

signed to them settlements among themselves, on condition of fighting for the peace and safety of their country and

resisting their enemies, while the Britons also provided them with a maintenance and estates in return for their labours.

20 The new-comers were of the three strongest races of Germany, namely, Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. Of Jutish origin are the men of Kent, and the Wihtsætan; that is the tribe dwelling in the Isle of Wight. From the Saxons, that is from the people called Old Saxons, came the East Saxons, 25 the South Saxons, and the West Saxons; and from the Angles came the East Angles and the Middle Angles, Mercians, and the whole race of the Northumbrians. This is the land which is named Angulus, between the Jutes and Saxons, and it is said to have lain waste, from the time they 30 left it, up to this day. Their leaders and their commanders were at first two brothers, Hengist and Horsa, sons of Wihtgils, whose father was called Witta, whose father was Wihta, and the father of Wihta was called Woden. From `his race the royal families of many tribes derived their origin. Then 35 without delay they came in crowds, larger hosts from the tribes previously mentioned. And the people, who came here, began to increase and multiply to such an extent, that they were a great terror to the inhabitants themselves, who originally invited and called them in. Later on, when occa- 40 sion offered, they entered into alliance with the Picts, whom they had previously driven out by arms. And the Saxons sought excuse and opportunity for breaking with the Britons.

So they publicly announced to the Britons and declared, that, unless they gave them a more liberal maintenance, 45 they would take it for themselves by force and by plundering, wherever they could find it. And they soon carried their threats into execution: they burned and plundered and slew from the sea on the west to the sea on the east; and now no one withstood them. Their vengeance was not unlike that 50 of the Chaldees, when they burned the walls of Jerusalem



and destroyed the royal palace by fire for the sins of God's people. So then here almost every city and district was

wasted by this impious people, though it was by the just 55 judgment of God. Buildings both public and private col

lapsed and fell; by every altar priests and clergy were slain and murdered. Bishops and people, without regard for mercy, were destroyed together by fire and sword; nor was

there anyone who bestowed the rites of burial on those so 60 cruelly slaughtered. Many of the miserable survivors were captured in waste places, and stabbed in heaps.

Some through hunger surrendered themselves into the enemy's hands, and engaged to be their slaves for ever in return

for a maintenance; some in sorrow went beyond the sea; some 65 timidly abode in the old country, and with heavy hearts

ever lived a life of want in wood and wilds and on lofty rocks. Then when the host returned to their home after expelling the inhabitants of the island, the latter began little by little

to rouse up their strength and courage: issuing from the 70 obscure retreats in which they had hidden themselves, they

began all with one consent to entreat heaven's aid, that they might not utterly and everywhere be annihilated. At that time their general and leader was Ambrosius, also called

Aurelianus : he was of Roman origin, and a man of courage 75 and moderation. In his time the Britons recovered heart

and strength, and he exhorted them to fight and promised victory; and by God's help in the fight they did win the victory. And then from that time now the Britons, now

again the Saxons were victors, till the year in which Mount 80 Badon was beset; there was made a great carnage of the

Angles, about forty-four years after the arrival of the Angles in Britain.

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