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was

more

With speed the seeress; then went the

stout-souled Their prince to apprise that the holy

maid Was brought to his bower-tent. Then

was the burg-lord, The brave in heart, blithe; the bright

virgin meant he With foulness and filth to pollute; the

Dispenser of fame would not, Guardian of splendor, suffer that, but

stayed him from it, Wise Wielder of hosts. The wicked

one passed thence, The wanton caitiff, begirt with war

riors, The baleful his bed to seek, where life

he should lose In a single night; shocking the end He awaited on earth, though this he

had wrought out, The dread king of men, while here he

yet dwelt In this world under welkin. So wine

drunken fell The regal to rest, that no rede now re

mained In the cell of his sense: the soldiers

paced forth Out of the hall with mickle haste, The wine-sated warriors, who the

word-breaker, The terrible tyrant, to bed had at

tended For the last time. Then the Lord's

servant, The matchless maiden, wholly

mindful How most lightly to rob of life That wicked one before he awoke, The carnal caitiff. The curly-locked Seized a sword of might, the Master's

maiden, Sharp from scouring, and drew from

the sheath With her right hand. The Ruler of

Heaven By name she besought, the Savior of

all Who dwell in the world, and spake

these words: "O God of beginnings, and Giver of

comfort, The Almighty's Son, I seek for thy

mercy;

Be now benignant to me in need,
O Power of the Trinity. Terribly

now My heart is heated, and heavy my soul, Sore troubled with sorrows; vouch

safe, Lord of Heaven, True faith and full triumph, that I

may o'erthrow With this steel the destroyer; bestow

on me weal, O masterful Monarch, for ne'er of thy

mercy My need

vast: revenge, mighty Lord, Splendid glory-dispenser, the rage of

my spirit, In my bosom the burning. The high

est and best Judge Straight dowered her with daring, as

each one he doth Of those dwelling here who seek for

his help With reason and right faith. Her spirit

dilated, To the holy new hope came; she

seized then the heathen Hard by the hair; with her hands she

there haled him Disdainfully toward her, the treacher

ous man, And laid him along, the bulk unlovely, As she most meetly the wretch could

manage, The woful one wield. Then did the

wavy-haired Smite the foeman with flashing sword, The hostile-minded, so that his head Was half-way sundered, and he lay

swooning, Dire-wounded and drunken.

was he dead, Bereft of his soul; again she smote, The valiant virgin, with

and vigor, The heathen hound, so that his head

rolled Forth on the floor; the body so foul Lay lifeless behind, but the soul sped

away, Sank beneath the abyss, and there was

abased, Ever thereafter pinioned with pangs, Bewound by serpents and bound by tor

ments, Fastened firm in the Aaming of hell,

was

Not yet

nerve

Since hence he removed. Nor may he

hope ever That he shall evade from that vault of

vipers, But, drowned in darkness, there shall

dwell, Ever for ages without end, In that black abode, bereft of bliss.

SO

By fight there gained she glory re

nowned, By stoutness in strife, as God vouch

safed her, Guardian of Heaven, granting her

speed. Then the prudent damsel promptly car

ried The bold war-chieftain's head

bloody, Shut in that scrip in which her servant, The fair-cheeked woman proficient in

virtue, Thither had brought the bread of them

both. To her maid she gave it, the gory head, To the hand of the helpful to bear it

home, To her junior, Judith. Then went they

joyful, Brave women both, and bold of spirit, Till the proud-souled and prosperous

maids Trode forth in triumph out from the

troops, And saw unveiled before their vision The gleaming walls of the glorious city, Bethulia. Then the bracelet-decked

To come from the mighty burg and meet

her, Then in great haste to hurry them in Through the gate of the wall. These

words then spake To the triumphing people: 'Now can

I tell you A mindworthy thing, that mournful of

mood Ye no longer may be: the Lord is

blithe toward you, The Splendor of kings; it is now spread

abroad, Far and wide through the world, that

victory wondrous And radiant awaits you; renown shall

be wrought For dole and distress which long ye en

dured.' Then were blithe the dwellers in burg When they had heard how the holy

one spake Over the high wall. The host was joy

ful; To the fortress-gate hastened the folk Men and women in multitudes many, In throngs and bands, thousands in

number. They swarmed and surged towards the

servant of God, Elders and youths: of every man In the mead-city the mind was cheered, As soon as they heard that to her home Judith was come; full quickly then In lowly wise they let her in. Then the adroit one, adorned with gold, Called to her servant, clever in mind, The head to unhide of the leader of

hosts, Blood-stained as it was, and bear as a

sign How in battle she fared, to the dwell

ers in burg. Then the noble one spake to the peo

ple unnumbered : 'Here can ye clearly, conquering heroes, Leaders of legions, gaze on the loath

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some

now

Head of the heathen Holofernus,
Lacking life, and alarming no longer.
He, most of all men, wrought us mur-

ders and crimes, Harrowing hardships, and higher had

heaped them,

men

These galling griefs, but God youch

safed him No longer life, that he might vex us With thrilling throes: I thrust him to

death Through the succor of God. Now will

I beseech Each buckler-bearer, each burgess

among you, To busk and bown him without delay, Go forth to the fight; when the Maker

of first things, The King transcendent, hath sent from

the East The lustrous light, bring your linden

shields, Breast-shielding bucklers and byrnie

coats, Helmets aflame to the phalanx of foe

men, There to fell the folk-leaders with

flashing swords, The death-fated captains. Doomed are

your haters, Destined to die, while to you will re

bound The boast of battle, as he had boded, The Master of might, by this my hand.' Then the host of the swift ones

speedily harnessed, The dauntless to conflict; the daring

ones stepped forth, Brave soldiers and comrades, bore ban

ners emblazoned, Fared to the fight forth by the straight

road, Heroes with helms from that holy city, At the day-dawning; shields loudly

dinned, Rang and resounded. Then reveled the

Linden-shields curved, who a little be

fore Had suffered the scoff and the scorn

of the stranger, The hiss of the heathen; hard was the

guerdon Paid the Assyrians with play of the

ash-spears,
After the host of the Hebrew people,
Gonfalon-guided, onward had gone
Against the camp. Then they with

courage
Sharply let fly the showers of shafts,
Battle-adders from bows of horn,
Stoutest of

arrows; loudly they stormed, The warriors wrathful, winging their

spears At the horde of the hardy; the heroes

were ireful, The dwellers in land, 'gainst the dire

ful race; Marched the stern-souled ones, the

stout of heart Fiercely o'erwhelmed their long-stand

ing foemen, Drowsy with mead; then drew they

with hand Forth from their sheaths their finely

decked swords, Trusty of edge; tirelessly slew they The Assyrian chosen champions all, Nerved with malice; none did they

spare Among the myrmidons,

mighty, Of living men whom they might mas

ter.

was

mean

nor

lank one,

The wolf in the wood, with the wan

bird, the raven, Greedy of prey: well they both guessed That to them the fighters meant to fur

nish A feast on the fated; then flew the

eagle Hunger-driven, with hornéd beak, Dewy-pinioned and dusk of apparel, Sang the war-slogan. The soldiers

marched forward, The barons to battle, warded with

bucklers,

So the retainers at morning-tide Harassed the strangers through the

whole season, Till at length they felt, the furious foe

men, The chiefest champions of the army, That sturdy were the sword-strokes

dealt them By Hebrew heroes. They hurried off The princeliest vassals to apprise, Inform with words; they woke the

chieftains, And timidly told them the tidings of

fear, To the wearied by mead the woes of

the morning,

was

no

and,

The direful sword-play. Straightway

I learned That the slaughter-dooméd roused them

from sleep, The men with heart-throes hastened in

throngs To the pavilion of him the revengeful, Holofernes; they hoped forthwith The battle to bode to the baleful prince, Ere upon him fell the force of the He

brews, The dread of their down-rush. For so

they all deemed, That the lord of men and the lovely

maid In the gorgeous tent together were, Judith the worthy and he, the wanton, Frightful and fierce; found

man Who dared the warrior to awake, Or seek to know how they had sped, The martial of mood and the holy vir

gin, The maid of God. In their might they

drew nigh, The Hebrew folk, and fiercely they

fought With hard-tempered weapons; they

hotly repaid Their former feuds with hostile fal

chions, Their grudges deep-grounded; Assyria's

glory Was weakened and wasted by that day's

work, Its haughtiness humbled. The heroes

stood Round their ruler's tent mightily

roused, Woful in mind. Then one and all By God forsaken, began to storm, Loudly to noise, and eke to gnash, With their teeth enduring wrath; here

ended their triumph, Their prosperous prowess. The heroes

proposed Their ruler to rouse; success was not

wrought them. At length one ventured, though late his

valor, A battle-man, to enter the bower-tent, Nerved for the peril, since prompted by

need; There found he his gold-lord lorn of

his ghost,

Stretched on his pallet, pallid of hue, Relinquished by life. Then fell he be

live Agrised to the ground, ungoverned of

mood, Gan tearing at once his hair and at

tire, And spake this word unto the warriors, Who, sombre of spirit, were waiting

outside: “Here is predicted our own perdition, Tokens are toward that near is the

time Full of afflictions, and now pressing

forward, When we shall lose our lives together, Sink in the strife: hewn with the sword

here Lies headless your chief.' Cheerless

they then Hurled down their

weapons, weary at heart, Hurried to flight. Behind them were

fighting The mighty people, until the most part Of the pagan legion lay low in the bat

tle On the conquest-plain, carved by the

sword, At the will of the wolves, and none the

less welcome To ravening ravens. Away fled the

remnant Of hostile shield-soldiers. Behind them

pursued The troops of the Hebrews, enhanced

by their triumph, And graced with new glory; their God

gave them help, Became their ally, the Lord Almighty. Gallantly then with gleaming blades The high-souled heroes hewed out a

war-path Through forces of foemen, shore down

the phalanx, Shivered the shields; the shooters were Embittered by battle, the Hebrew bar

ons; The thanes at that time were mightily

thirsting For death-play with darts. There fell

in the dust The principal part of all their poll, The high in rank of the hostile race, Assyrian soldiers : to their own soil

Came back few survivors. The valiant

ones wheeled, The conquerors returned through the

midst of the carnage, Through blood-reeking bodies; away

they could bear, The dwellers in land from those un

living, Their old-time foes, baleful and odious, Bloody booty and trappings brilliant, Bucklers and broadswords and brown

hued helmets, Treasures of price. Powerfully had

they On that folkstead their foes overcome, The home-defenders their haters of old Had slain with the sword: in their

footsteps they stayed. Those who in life were to them most

malign Of living races. The whole array, The most noted of nations, for fully a

month, The lordly and curly-locked carried

and led To Bethulia, the brightest of burgs, Helmets and hip-swords and hoary

corselets, The deckings of fighters, adorned with

gold, Costlier treasures than could be re

counted By any man of those who are mindful; All that the doughty by daring won, Brave under banners amid the battle,

Through the wise judgment of Judith

their guide, The mettlesome maid. They brought

as her meed, From the foray afar to the virgin fair, The spear-stanch

men, Holofernes' sword, His blood-stained helmet and broad

spreading hauberks, Graced with red gold, and all that the

great prince, The haughty of mood, had of treasure

or hoard, Of bracelets or bright gems, this to the

bright damsel They gave, to the prudent. Judith

praised for all this Him, Sabaoth's Lord, who bestowed

on her honor, On earth highest worship, reward eke

in Heaven, Meed of triumph in glory, because she

had true faith Ay in the Almighty; at the end no

doubt made she Of the long-desired guerdon. For this

to the loved Lord Be world-during glory, who wind and

air wrought, Rolling skies, roomy plains, with raging

streams, And Heaven's mirth, through his own

mild mercy! [Attributed, by Prof. ALBERT S. Cook, whose version is here followed (1904), to SwitHUN, Bishop OF WINCHESTER, about 856 c. E.]

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