Author unknown; written in Northeast Midlands English around 1285 AD.

Translated by Ken Eckert 

Middle English text from Herzman, Drake & Salisbury’s Four Romances of England (1999), Kalamazoo, MI

For educational use only.

Revised December 2013

 

Havelock Stone, Grimsby

Hear a sample of Havelock, lines 1-16. I could not find an existing recording and so this is my voice doing my best to reproduce the sound of English circa 1285.



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Herkneth to me, gode men -
Wives, maydnes, and alle men -
Of a tale that ich you wile telle,
Wo so it wile here and therto dwelle.
The tale is of Havelok imaked:
Whil he was litel, he yede ful naked.
Havelok was a ful god gome -
He was ful god in everi trome;
He was the wicteste man at nede
That thurte riden on ani stede.
That ye mowen now yhere,
And the tale you mowen ylere,
At the biginnig of ure tale,
Fil me a cuppe of ful god ale;
And wile drinken, her I spelle,
That Crist us shilde alle fro helle.
Krist late us hevere so for to do
That we moten comen Him to;
And, witthat it mote ben so,
Benedicamus Domino!
Here I schal biginnen a rym;
Krist us yeve wel god fyn!
The rym is maked of Havelok -
A stalworthi man in a flok.
He was the stalwortheste man at nede
That may riden on ani stede.
 It was a king bi are dawes,
That in his time were gode lawes
He dede maken and ful wel holden;
Hym lovede yung, him lovede holde -
Erl and barun, dreng and thayn,
Knict, bondeman, and swain,
Wydues, maydnes, prestes and clerkes,
And al for hise gode werkes.
He lovede God with al his micth,
And Holy Kirke, and soth ant ricth.
Ricthwise men he lovede alle,
And overal made hem for to calle.
Wreieres and wrobberes made he falle
And hated hem so man doth galle;
Utlawes and theves made he bynde,
Alle that he micte fynde,
And heye hengen on galwe-tre -
For hem ne yede gold ne fee!
In that time a man that bore
Wel fifty pund, I wot, or more,
Of red gold upon hiis bac,
In a male with or blac,
Ne funde he non that him misseyde,
Ne with ivele on hond leyde.
Thanne micthe chapmen fare
Thuruth Englond wit here ware,
And baldelike beye and sellen,
Overal ther he wilen dwellen -
In gode burwes and therfram
Ne funden he non that dede hem sham,
That he ne weren sone to sorwe brouth,
And pouere maked and browt to nouth.
Thanne was Engelond at hayse -
Michel was swich a king to preyse
That held so Englond in grith!
Krist of hevene was him with -
He was Engelondes blome.
Was non so bold louerd to Rome
That durste upon his bringhe
Hunger ne here - wicke thinghe.
Hwan he fellede hise foos,
He made hem lurken and crepen in wros -
The hidden hem alle and helden hem stille,
And diden al his herte wille.
Ricth he lovede of alle thinge -
To wronge micht him noman bringe,
Ne for silver ne for gold,
So was he his soule hold.
To the faderles was he rath -
Wo so dede hem wrong or lath,
Were it clerc or were it knicth,
He dede hem sone to haven ricth;
And wo dide widuen wrong,
Were he nevre knicth so strong,
That he ne made him sone kesten
In feteres and ful faste festen;
And wo so dide maydne shame
Of hire bodi or brouth in blame,
Bute it were bi hire wille,
He made him sone of limes spille.
He was the beste knith at nede
That hevere micthe riden on stede,
Or wepne wagge or folc ut lede;
Of knith ne havede he nevere drede,
That he ne sprong forth so sparke of glede,
And lete him knawe of hise hand dede,
Hu he couthe with wepne spede;
And other he refte him hors or wede,
Or made him sone handes sprede
And “Louerd, merci!” loude grede.
He was large and no wicth gnede.
Havede he non so god brede
Ne on his bord non so god shrede,
That he ne wolde thorwit fede
Poure that on fote yede,
Forto haven of Him the mede
That for us wolde on Rode blede -
Crist, that al kan wisse and rede
That evere woneth in any thede.
 The king was hoten Athelwold.
Of word, of wepne, he was bold.
In Engeland was nevre knicth
That betere held the lond to ricth.
Of his bodi ne havede he eyr
Bute a mayden swithe fayr,
That was so yung that sho ne couthee
Gon on fote ne speke wit mouthe.
Than him tok an ivel strong,
That he wel wiste and underfong
That his deth was comen him on
And saide, “Crist, wat shal I don?
Louerd, wat shal me to rede?
I wot ful wel ich have mi mede.
Hw shal now my douhter fare?
Of hire have ich michel kare;
Sho is mikel in my thouth -
Of meself is me rith nowt.
No selcouth is thou me be wo:
Sho ne can speke ne sho kan go.
Yif scho couthe on horse ride,
And a thousande men bi hire syde,
And sho were comen intil helde
And Engelond sho couthe welde,
And don hem of thar hire were queme,
And hire bodi couthe yeme,
Ne wolde me nevere ivele like,
Ne though ich were in heveneriche.”
Quanne he havede this pleinte maked,
Therafter stronglike quaked.
He sende writes sone onon
After his erles evereichon;
And after hise baruns, riche and poure,
Fro Rokesburw al into Dovere,
That he shulden comen swithe
Til him, that was ful unblithe,
To that stede ther he lay
In harde bondes nicth and day.
He was so faste wit yvel fest
That he ne mouthe haven no rest,
He ne mouthe no mete hete,
Ne he ne mouchte no lythe gete,
Ne non of his ivel that couthe red -
Of him ne was nouth buten ded.
 Alle that the writes herden
Sorful and sori til him ferden;
He wrungen hondes and wepen sore
And yerne preyden Cristes hore -
That He wolde turnen him
Ut of that yvel that was so grim.
Thanne he weren comen alle
Bifor the king into the halle,
At Winchestre ther he lay,
“Welcome,” he sayde, “be ye ay!
Ful michel thank kan I you
That ye aren comen to me now.”
Quanne he weren alle set,
And the king aveden igret,
He greten and gouleden and gouven hem ille,
And he bad hem alle been stille
And seyde that greting helpeth nouth,
“For al to dede am ich brouth.
Bute now ye sen that I shal deye,
Now ich wille you alle preye
Of mi douther, that shal be
Yure levedi after me,
Wo may yemen hire so longe,
Bothen hire and Engelonde,
Til that she be wman of helde
And that she mowe hir yemen and welde?”
He answereden and seyden anon,
Bi Crist and bi Seint Jon,
That th erl Godrigh of Cornwayle
Was trewe man wituten faile,
Wis man of red, wis man of dede,
And men haveden of him mikel drede -
“He may hire altherbest yeme,
Til that she mowe wel ben quene.”
 The king was payed of that rede.
A wol fair cloth bringen he dede,
And thereon leyde the messebok,
The caliz, and the pateyn ok,
The corporaus, the messe-gere.
Theron he garte the erl swere
That he sholde yemen hire wel,
Withuten lac, wituten tel,
Til that she were twelf winter hold
And of speche were bold,
And that she couthe of curteysye,
Gon and speken of lovedrurye,
And til that she loven muthe
Wom so hire to gode thoucte;
And that he shulde hire yeve
The beste man that micthe live -
The beste, fayreste, the strangest ok;
That dede he him sweren on the bok,
And thanne shulde he Engelond
Al bitechen into hire hond.
 Quanne that was sworn on his wise,
The king dede the mayden arise,
And the erl hire bitaucte
And al the lond he evere awcte -
Engelonde, everi del -
And preide he shulde yeme hire wel.
 The king ne moucte don no more,
But yerne preyede Godes ore,
And dede him hoslen wel and shrive,
I wot fif hundred sithes and five,
And ofte dede him sore swinge
And wit hondes smerte dinge
So that the blod ran of his fleys,
That tendre was and swithe neys.
He made his quiste swithe wel
And sone gaf it everil del.
Wan it was goven, ne micte men finde
So mikel men micte him in winde,
Of his in arke ne in chiste,
In Engelond, that noman wiste;
For al was yoven, faire and wel,
That him was leved no catel.
 Thanne he havede been ofte swngen,
Ofte shriven and ofte dungen,
“In manus tuas, Louerde,” he seyde,
Her that he the speche leyde,
To Jesu Crist bigan to calle
And deyede biforn his heymen alle.
Than he was ded, there micte men se
The meste sorwe that micte be:
Ther was sobbing, siking, and sor,
Handes wringing and drawing bi hor.
Alle greten swithe sore,
Riche and poure that there wore,
And mikel sorwe haveden alle -
Levedyes in boure, knictes in halle.
Quan that sorwe was somdel laten
And he haveden longe graten,
Belles deden he sone ringen,
Monkes and prestes messe singen;
And sauteres deden he manie reden,
That God self shulde his soule leden
Into hevene biforn his Sone,
And ther wituten hende wone.
Than he was to the erthe brouth,
The riche erl ne foryat nouth
That he ne dede al Engelond
Sone sayse intil his hond,
And in the castels leth he do
The knictes he mighte tristen to,
And alle the Englis dede he swere
That he shulden him ghod fey beren:
He yaf alle men that god thoucte,
Liven and deyen til that him moucte,
Til that the kinges dowter wore
Twenti winter hold and more.
 Thanne he havede taken this oth
Of erles, baruns, lef and loth,
Of knictes, cherles, fre and thewe,
Justises dede he maken newe
Al Engelond to faren thorw
Fro Dovere into Rokesborw.
Schireves he sette, bedels, and greyves,
Grith sergeans with longe gleyves,
To yemen wilde wodes and pathes
Fro wicke men that wolde don scathes,
And forto haven alle at his cri,
At his wille, at hise merci,
That non durste ben him ageyn -
Erl ne barun, knict ne sweyn.
Wislike for soth was him wel
Of folc, of wepne, of catel:
Sothlike, in a lite thrawe
Al Engelond of him stod awe -
Al Engelond was of him adrad,
So his the beste fro the gad.
 The kinges douther bigan thrive
And wex the fairest wman on live.
Of alle thewes was she wis
That gode weren and of pris.
The mayden Goldeboru was hoten;
For hire was mani a ter igroten.
 Quanne the Erl Godrich him herde
Of that mayden - hw wel she ferde,
Hw wis sho was, hw chaste, hw fayr,
And that sho was the rithe eyr
Of Engelond, of al the rike;
Tho bigan Godrich to sike,
And seyde, “Wether she sholde be
Quen and levedi over me?
Hwether sho sholde al Engelond
And me and mine haven in hire hond?
Datheit hwo it hire thave!
Shal sho it nevere more have.
Sholde ic yeve a fol, a therne,
Engelond, thou sho it yerne?
Datheit hwo it hire yeve
Evere more hwil I live!
She is waxen al to prud,
For gode metes and noble shrud,
That hic have yoven hire to offte;
Hic have yemed hire to softe.
Shal it nouth ben als sho thenkes:
Hope maketh fol man ofte blenkes.
Ich have a sone, a ful fayr knave;
He shal Engelond al have!
He shal king, he shal ben sire,
So brouke I evere mi blake swire!”
Hwan this trayson was al thouth,
Of his oth ne was him nouth.
He let his oth al overga.
Therof he yaf he nouth a stra,
Bute sone dede hire fete,
Er he wolde heten ani mete,
Fro Winchestre ther sho was,
Also a wicke traytur Judas,
And dede leden hire to Dovre,
That standeth on the seis oure,
And therhinne dede hire fede
Pourelike in feble wede.
The castel dede he yemen so
That non ne micte comen hire to
Of hire frend, with to speken,
That hevere micte hire bale wreken.
 Of Goldeboru shul we now laten,
That nouth ne blinneth forto graten
Ther sho liggeth in prisoun.
Jesu Crist, that Lazarun
To live broucte fro dede bondes,
He lese hire wit Hise hondes!
And leve sho mote him yse
Heye hangen on galwe tre
That hire haved in sorwe brouth,
So as sho ne misdede nouth.
 Say we now forth in hure spelle!
In that time, so it bifelle,
Was in the lond of Denemark
A riche king and swythe stark.
The name of him was Birkabeyn;
He havede mani knict and sweyn;
He was fayr man and wict,
Of bodi he was the beste knicth
That evere micte leden uth here,
Or stede on ride or handlen spere.
Thre children he havede bi his wif -
He hem lovede so his lif.
He havede a sone, douhtres two,
Swithe fayre, as fel it so.
He that wile non forbere,
Riche ne poure, king ne kaysere,
Deth him tok than he best wolde
Liven, but hyse dayes were fulde,
That he ne moucte no more live,
For gold ne silver ne for no gyve.
 Hwan he that wiste, rathe he sende
After prestes, fer an hende -
Chanounes gode and monkes bothe,
Him for to wisse and to rede,
Him for to hoslen an for to shrive,
Hwil his bodi were on live.
 Hwan he was hosled and shriven,
His quiste maked and for him gyven,
Hise knictes dede he alle site,
For thoru hem he wolde wite
Hwo micte yeme his children yunge
Til that he kouthen speken wit tunge,
Speken and gangen, on horse riden,
Knictes and sweynes by here siden.
He spoken theroffe and chosen sone
A riche man that under mone,
Was the trewest, that he wende -
Godard, the kinges owne frende -
And seyden he moucthe hem best loke
Yif that he hem undertoke,
Til hise sone mouthe bere
Helm on heved and leden ut here,
In his hand a spere stark,
And king been maked of Denemark.
He wel trowede that he seyde,
And on Godard handes leyde;
And seyde, “Here biteche I thee
Mine children alle thre,
Al Denemark and al mi fe,
Til that mi sone of helde be,
But that ich wille that thou swere
On auter and on messe gere,
On the belles that men ringes,
On messe bok the prest on singes,
That thou mine children shalt wel yeme,
That hire kin be ful wel queme,
Til mi sone mowe ben knicth.
Thanne biteche him tho his ricth:
Denemark and that ther til longes -
Casteles and tunes, wodes and wonges.”
 Godard stirt up and swor al that
The king him bad, and sithen sat
Bi the knictes that ther ware,
That wepen alle swithe sare
For the king that deide sone.
Jesu Crist, that makede mone
On the mirke nith to shine,
Wite his soule fro helle pine;
And leve that it mote wone
In heveneriche with Godes Sone!
 Hwan Birkabeyn was leyd in grave,
The erl dede sone take the knave,
Havelok, that was the eir,
Swanborow, his sister, Helfled, the tother,
And in the castel dede he hem do,
Ther non ne micte hem comen to
Of here kyn, ther thei sperd were.
Ther he greten ofte sore
Bothe for hunger and for kold,
Or he weren thre winter hold.
Feblelike he gaf hem clothes;
He ne yaf a note of hise othes -
He hem clothede rith ne fedde,
Ne hem ne dede richelike bebedde.
Thanne Godard was sikerlike
Under God the moste swike
That evre in erthe shaped was.
Withuten on, the wike Judas.
Have he the malisun today
Of alle that evre speken may -
Of patriark and of pope,
And of prest with loken kope,
Of monekes and hermites bothe,
And of the leve Holi Rode
That God himselve ran on blode!
Crist warie him with His mouth!
Waried wrthe he of north and suth,
Offe alle men that speken kunne,
Of Crist that made mone and sunne!
Thanne he havede of al the lond
Al the folk tilled intil his hond,
And alle haveden sworen him oth,
Riche and poure, lef and loth,
That he sholden hise wille freme
And that he shulde him nouth greme,
He thouthe a ful strong trechery,
A trayson and a felony,
Of the children for to make -
The devel of helle him sone take! 
Hwan that was thouth, onon he ferde
To the tour ther he woren sperde,
Ther he greten for hunger and cold.
The knave, that was sumdel bold,
Kam him ageyn, on knes him sette,
And Godard ful feyre he ther grette.
And Godard seyde, “Wat is yw?
Hwi grete ye and goulen now?"
“For us hungreth swithe sore” -
Seyden he, “we wolden more:
We ne have to hete, ne we ne have
Her inne neyther knith ne knave
That yeveth us drinke ne no mete,
Halvendel that we moun ete -
Wo is us that we weren born!
Weilawei! nis it no korn
That men micte maken of bred?
Us hungreth - we aren ney ded!"
Godard herde here wa,
Ther-offe yaf he nouth a stra,
But tok the maydnes bothe samen,
Al so it were up on hiis gamen,
Al so he wolde with hem leyke
That weren for hunger grene and bleike.
Of bothen he karf on two here throtes,
And sithen hem al to grotes.
Ther was sorwe, wo-so it sawe,
Hwan the children by the wawe
Leyen and sprawleden in the blod.
Havelok it saw and therbi stod -
Ful sori was that sely knave.
Mikel dred he mouthe have,
For at hise herte he saw a knif
For to reven him hise lyf.
But the knave, that litel was,
He knelede bifor that Judas,
And seyde, “Louerd, mercy now!
Manrede, louerd, biddi you:
Al Denemark I wile you yeve,
To that forward thu late me live.
Here hi wile on boke swere
That nevremore ne shal I bere
Ayen thee, louerd, sheld ne spere,
Ne other wepne that may you dere.
Louerd, have merci of me!
Today I wile fro Denemark fle,
Ne neveremore comen agheyn!
Sweren I wole that Bircabein
Nevere yete me ne gat.”
Hwan the devel herde that,
Sumdel bigan him for to rewe;
Withdrow the knif, that was lewe
Of the seli children blod.
Ther was miracle fair and god
That he the knave nouth ne slou,
But for rewnesse him witdrow -
Of Avelok rewede him ful sore,
And thoucte he wolde that he ded wore,
But on that he nouth wit his hend
Ne drepe him nouth, that fule fend!
Thoucte he als he him bi stod,
Starinde als he were wod,
“Yif I late him lives go,
He micte me wirchen michel wo -
Grith ne get I neveremo;
He may me waiten for to slo.
And if he were brouct of live,
And mine children wolden thrive,
Louerdinges after me
Of al Denemark micten he be.
God it wite, he shal ben ded -
Wile I taken non other red!
I shal do casten him in the she,
Ther I wile that he drench be,
Abouten his hals an anker god,
Thad he ne flete in the flod.”
Ther anon he dede sende
After a fishere that he wende
That wolde al his wille do,
And sone anon he seyde him to:
“Grim, thou wost thu art my thral;
Wilte don my wille al
That I wile bidden thee?
Tomorwen shal maken thee fre,
And aucte thee yeven and riche make,
Withthan thu wilt this child take
And leden him with thee tonicht,
Than thou sest the monelith,
Into the se and don him therinne.
Al wile I taken on me the sinne.”
Grim tok the child and bond him faste,
Hwil the bondes micte laste,
That weren of ful strong line.
Tho was Havelok in ful strong pine -
Wiste he nevere her wat was wo!
Jhesu Crist, that makede go
The halte and the doumbe speken,
Havelok, thee of Godard wreke!
Hwan Grim him havede faste bounden,
And sithen in an eld cloth wnden,
He thriste in his muth wel faste
A kevel of clutes ful unwraste,
That he mouthe speke ne fnaste,
Hwere he wolde him bere or lede.
Hwan he havede don that dede,
Hwat the swike him havede he yede
That he shulde him forth lede
And him drinchen in the se -
That forwarde makeden he -
In a poke, ful and blac,
Sone he caste him on his bac,
Ant bar him hom to hise cleve,
And bitaucte him Dame Leve
And seyde, “Wite thou this knave,
Al so thou wit mi lif save!
I shal dreinchen him in the se;
For him shole we ben maked fre,
Gold haven ynow and other fe:
That havet mi louerd bihoten me.”
 Hwan Dame Leve herde that,
Up she stirte and nouth ne sat,
And caste the knave so harde adoun
That he crakede ther his croune
Ageyn a gret ston ther it lay.
Tho Havelok micte sei, “Weilawei,
That evere was I kinges bern -
That him ne havede grip or ern,
Leoun or wlf, wlvine or bere,
Or other best that wolde him dere!"
So lay that child to middel nicth,
That Grim bad Leve bringen lict,
For to don on his clothes:
“Ne thenkestu nowt of mine othes
That ich have mi louerd sworen?
Ne wile I nouth be forloren.
I shal beren him to the se -
Thou wost that hoves me -
And I shal drenchen him therinne;
Ris up swithe an go thu binne,
And blow the fir and lith a kandel.”
Als she shulde hise clothes handel
On for to don and blawe the fir,
She saw therinne a lith ful shir,
Al so brith so it were day,
Aboute the knave ther he lay.
Of hise mouth it stod a stem
Als it were a sunnebem;
Al so lith was it therinne
So ther brenden cerges inne.
“Jesu Crist!” wat Dame Leve,
“Hwat is that lith in ure cleve?
Ris up, Grim, and loke wat it menes!
Hwat is the lith, as thou wenes?"
He stirten bothe up to the knave
For man shal god wille have,
Unkeveleden him and swithe unbounden,
And sone anon him funden,
Als he tirveden of his serk,
On hise rith shuldre a kynmerk,
A swithe brith, a swithe fair.
“Goddot!” quath Grim, “this ure eir,
That shal louerd of Denemark!
He shal ben king, strong and stark;
He shal haven in his hand
Al Denemark and Engeland.
He shal do Godard ful wo;
He shal him hangen or quik flo,
Or he shal him al quic grave.
Of him shal he no merci have.”
Thus seide Grim and sore gret,
And sone fel him to the fet,
And seide, “Louerd, have mercy
Of me and Leve, that is me bi!
Louerd, we aren bothe thine -
Thine cherles, thine hine.
Louerd, we sholen thee wel fede
Til that thu cone riden on stede,
Til that thu cone ful wel bere
Helm on heved, sheld and spere.
He ne shall nevere wite, sikerlike,
Godard, that fule swike.
Thoru other man, louerd, than thoru thee
Shal I nevere freman be.
Thou shalt me, louerd, fre maken,
For I shal yemen thee and waken -
Thoru thee wile I fredom have.”
Tho was Haveloc a blithe knave!
He sat him up and cravede bred,
And seide, “Ich am ney ded,
Hwat for hunger, wat for bondes
That thu leidest on min hondes,
And for kevel at the laste,
That in my mouth was thrist faste.
I was ther with so harde prangled
That I was ther with ney strangled!"
“Wel is me that thou mayth hete!
Goddoth!” quath Leve, “I shal thee fete
Bred an chese, butere and milk,
Pastees and flaunes - al with swilk
Shole we sone thee wel fede,
Louerd, in this mikel nede.
Soth it is that men seyt and swereth:
'Ther God wile helpen, nouth ne dereth.'”
 Thanne sho havede brouth the mete,
Haveloc anon bigan to ete
Grundlike, and was ful blithe.
Couthe he nouth his hunger mithe.
A lof he het, I woth, and more,
For him hungrede swithe sore.
Thre dayes ther biforn, I wene,
Et he no mete - that was wel sene!
Hwan he havede eten and was fed,
Grim dede maken a ful fayr bed,
Unclothede him and dede him therinne,
And seyde, “Slep, sone, with muchel winne!
Slep wel faste and dred thee nouth -
Fro sorwe to joie art thu brouth.”
Sone so it was lith of day,
Grim it undertok the wey
To the wicke traitour Godard
That was of Denemark a stiward
And saide, “Louerd, don ich have
That thou me bede of the knave:
He is drenched in the flod,
Abouten his hals an anker god -
He is witerlike ded.
Eteth he nevremore bred:
He lith drenched in the se.
Yif me gold and other fe,
That I mowe riche be,
And with thi chartre make fre;
For thu ful wel bihetet me
Thanne I last spak with thee.”
Godard stod and lokede on him
Thoruthlike, with eyne grim,
And seyde, “Wiltu ben erl?
Go hom swithe, fule drit-cherl;
Go hethen and be everemore
Thral and cherl als thou er wore -
Shaltu have non other mede;
For litel I do thee lede
To the galwes, so God me rede!
For thou haves don a wicke dede.
Thou mait stonden her to longe,
Bute thou swithe hethen gonge!”
 Grim thoucte to late that he ran
Fro that traytour, that wicke man,
And thoucte, “Wat shal me to rede?
Wite he him on live he wile bethe
Heye hangen on galwe tre.
Betere us is of londe to fle,
And berwen bothen ure lives,
And mine children and mine wives.”
Grim solde sone al his corn,
Shep with wolle, neth with horn,
Hors and swin, geet with berd,
The gees, the hennes of the yerd -
Al he solde that outh douthe,
That he evre selle moucte;
And al he to the peni drou.
Hise ship he greythede wel inow;
He dede it tere an ful wel pike
That it ne doutede sond ne krike;
Therinne dide a ful god mast,
Stronge kables and ful fast,
Ores gode an ful god seyl -
Therinne wantede nouth a nayl,
That evere he sholde therinne do.
Hwan he havedet greythed so,
Havelok the yunge he dede therinne,
Him and his wif, hise sones thrinne,
And hise two doutres that faire wore.
And sone dede he leyn in an ore,
And drou him to the heye see,
There he mith altherbeste fle.
Fro londe woren he bote a mile,
Ne were it nevere but ane hwile
That it ne bigan a wind to rise
Out of the north men calleth “bise,"
And drof hem intil Engelond,
That al was sithen in his hond,
His, that Havelok was the name;
But or he havede michel shame,
Michel sorwe and michel tene,
And yete he gat it al bidene;
Als ye shulen now forthward lere,
Yf that ye wilen therto here.
 In Humber Grim bigan to lende,
In Lindeseye, rith at the north ende.
Ther sat his ship upon the sond;
But Grim it drou up to the lond;
And there he made a litel cote
To him and to hise flote.
Bigan he there for to erthe,
A litel hus to maken of erthe,
So that he wel thore were
Of here herboru herborwed there.
And for that Grim that place aute,
The stede of Grim the name laute,
So that Grimesbi it calleth alle
That theroffe speken alle;
And so shulen men callen it ay,
Bitwene this and Domesday.
 Grim was fishere swithe god,
And mikel couthe on the flod -
Mani god fish therinne he tok,
Bothe with neth and with hok.
He tok the sturgiun and the qual,
And the turbut and lax withal;
He tok the sele and the hwel -
He spedde ofte swithe wel.
Keling he tok and tumberel,
Hering and the makerel,
The butte, the schulle, the thornebake.
Gode paniers dede he make,
On til him and other thrinne
Til hise sones to beren fishe inne,
Up o londe to selle and fonge -
Forbar he neyther tun ne gronge
That he ne to yede with his ware.
Kam he nevere hom hand-bare,
That he ne broucte bred and sowel
In his shirte or in his cowel,
In his poke benes and korn -
Hise swink he havede he nowt forlorn.
And hwan he took the grete lamprey,
Ful wel he couthe the rithe wei
To Lincolne, the gode boru;
Ofte he yede it thoru and thoru,
Til he havede wol wel sold
And therfore the penies told.
Thanne he com thenne he were blithe,
For hom he brouthe fele sithe
Wastels, simenels with the horn,
His pokes fulle of mele and korn,
Netes flesh, shepes and swines;
And hemp to maken of gode lines,
And stronge ropes to hise netes,
In the se weren he ofte setes.
 Thusgate Grim him fayre ledde:
Him and his genge wel he fedde
Wel twelf winter other more.
Havelok was war that Grim swank sore
For his mete, and he lay at hom -
Thouthe, “Ich am now no grom!
Ich am wel waxen and wel may eten
More than evere Grim may geten.
Ich ete more, bi God on live,
Than Grim an hise children five!
It ne may nouth ben thus longe.
Goddot! I wile with hem gange
For to leren sum god to gete.
Swinken ich wolde for my mete -
It is no shame for to swinken!
The man that may wel eten and drinken
Thar nouth ne have but on swink long -
To liggen at hom it is ful strong.
God yelde him, ther I ne may,
That haveth me fed to this day!
Gladlike I wile the paniers bere -
Ich woth ne shal it me nouth dere,
They ther be inne a birthene gret
Al so hevi als a neth.
Shal ich nevere lengere dwelle -
Tomorwen shal ich forth pelle.”
On the morwen, hwan it was day,
He stirt up sone and nouth ne lay,
And cast a panier on his bac,
With fish giveled als a stac.
Al so michel he bar him one,
So he foure, bi mine mone!
Wel he it bar and solde it wel;
The silver he brouthe hom ilk del,
Al that he therfore tok -
Withheld he nouth a ferthinges nok.
So yede he forth ilke day
That he nevere at home lay -
So wolde he his mester lere.
Bifel it so a strong dere
Bigan to rise of korn of bred,
That Grim ne couthe no god red,
Hw he sholde his meiné fede;
Of Havelok havede he michel drede,
For he was strong and wel mouthe ete
More thanne evere mouthe be gete;
Ne he ne mouthe on the se take
Neyther lenge ne thornbake,
Ne non other fish that douthe
His meyné feden with he mouthe.
Of Havelok he havede kare,
Hwilgat that he micthe fare.
Of his children was him nouth;
On Havelok was al hise thouth,
And seyde, “Havelok, dere sone,
I wene that we deye mone
For hunger, this dere is so strong,
And hure mete is uten long.
Betere is that thu henne gonge
Than thu here dwelle longe -
Hethen thou mayt gangen to late;
Thou canst ful wel the ricthe gate
To Lincolne, the gode boru -
Thou havest it gon ful ofte thoru.
Of me ne is me nouth a slo.
Betere is that thu thider go,
For ther is mani god man inne;
Ther thou mayt thi mete winne.
But wo is me thou art so naked,
Of mi seyl I wolde thee were maked
A cloth thou mithest inne gongen,
Sone, no cold that thu ne fonge.”
 He tok the sheres of the nayl
And made him a covel of the sayl,
And Havelok dide it sone on.
Havede he neyther hosen ne shon,
Ne none kines other wede:
To Lincolne barfot he yede.
Hwan he cam ther, he was ful wil -
Ne havede he no frend to gangen til.
Two dayes ther fastinde he yede,
That non for his werk wolde him fede.
The thridde day herde he calle:
“Bermen, bermen, hider forth alle!"
Poure that on fote yede
Sprongen forth so sparke on glede,
Havelok shof dun nyne or ten
Rith amidewarde the fen,
And stirte forth to the kok,
Ther the erles mete he tok
That he bouthe at the brigge:
The bermen let he alle ligge,
And bar the mete to the castel,
And gat him there a ferthing wastel.
Thet other day kepte he ok
Swithe yerne the erles kok,
Til that he say him on the brigge,
And bi him many fishes ligge.
The herles mete havede he bouth
Of Cornwalie and kalde oft:
“Bermen, bermen, hider swithe!"
Havelok it herde and was ful blithe
That he herde “bermen” calle.
Alle made he hem dun falle
That in his gate yeden and stode -
Wel sixtene laddes gode.
Als he lep the kok til,
He shof hem alle upon an hyl -
Astirte til him with his rippe
And bigan the fish to kippe.
He bar up wel a carte lode
Of segges, laxes, of playces brode,
Of grete laumprees and of eles.
Sparede he neyther tos ne heles
Til that he to the castel cam,
That men fro him his birthene nam.
Than men haveden holpen him doun
With the birthene of his croun,
The kok stod and on him low,
And thoute him stalworthe man ynow,
And seyde, “Wiltu ben wit me?
Gladlike wile ich feden thee:
Wel is set the mete thu etes,
And the hire that thu getes!"
 "Goddot!” quoth he, “leve sire,
Bidde ich you non other hire,
But yeveth me inow to ete -
Fir and water I wile you fete,
The fir blowe and ful wele maken;
Stickes kan ich breken and kraken,
And kindlen ful wel a fyr,
And maken it to brennen shir.
Ful wel kan ich cleven shides,
Eles to turven of here hides;
Ful wel kan ich dishes swilen,
And don al that ye evere wilen.”
Quoth the kok, “Wile I no more!
Go thu yunder and sit thore,
And I shal yeve the ful fair bred,
And made the broys in the led.
Sit now doun and et ful yerne -
Datheit hwo the mete werne!"
Havelok sette him dun anon
Al so stille als a ston,
Til he havede ful wel eten;
Tho havede Havelok fayre geten.
Hwan he havede eten inow,
He kam to the wele, water up drow,
And filde ther a michel so -
Bad he non ageyn him go,
But bitwen his hondes he bar it in,
Al him one, to the kichin.
Bad he non him water to fett,
Ne fro brigge to bere the mete.
He bar the turves, he bar the star,
The wode fro the brigge he bar,
Al that evere shulden he nytte,
Al he drow and al he citte -
Wolde he nevere haven rest
More than he were a best.
Of alle men was he mest meke,
Lauhwinde ay and blithe of speke;
Evere he was glad and blithe -
His sorwe he couthe ful wel mithe.
It ne was non so litel knave
For to leyken ne for to plawe,
That he ne wolde with him pleye.
The children that yeden in the weie
Of him he deden al here wille,
And with him leykeden here fille.
Him loveden alle, stille and bolde,
Knictes, children, yunge and holde -
Alle him loveden that him sowen,
Bothen heye men and lowe.
Of him ful wide the word sprong,
Hw he was mikel, hw he was strong,
Hw fayr man God him havede maked,
But on that he was almest naked:
For he ne havede nouth to shride
But a kovel ful unride,
That was ful and swithe wicke;
Was it nouth worth a fir-sticke.
The cok bigan of him to rewe
And bouthe him clothes al spannewe:
He bouthe him bothe hosen and shon,
And sone dide him dones on.
Hwan he was clothed, osed, and shod,
Was non so fayr under God,
That evere yete in erthe were,
Non that evere moder bere;
It was nevere man that yemede
In kinneriche that so wel semede
King or cayser for to be,
Than he was shrid, so semede he;
For thanne he weren alle samen
At Lincolne at the gamen,
And the erles men woren al thore,
Than was Havelok bi the shuldren more
Than the meste that ther kam:
In armes him noman nam
That he doune sone ne caste.
Havelok stod over hem als a mast;
Als he was heie, als he was long,
He was bothe stark and strong -
In Engelond non hise per
Of strengthe that evere kam him ner.
Als he was strong, so was he softe;
They a man him misdede ofte,
Neveremore he him misseyde,
Ne hond on him with yvele leyde.
Of bodi was he mayden clene;
Nevere yete in game, ne in grene,
With hire ne wolde he leyke ne lye,
No more than it were a strie.
Pay attention to me, good men,
Wives, maidens, and everyone else
To a tale that I will tell you
For whoever wants to stay and hear it.
The story is about Havelock,
Who when he was little went half-naked.
Havelock was a good man,
The best in every company.
He was the bravest man in need
Who might ride on any steed!
So that you may hear me,
And so that you might know the tale,
At the beginning of our story,
Fill me a cup of your best ale.
And let’s drink, while I tell it,
That Christ might shield us all from Hell!
May Christ protect us forever
So that we might come to Him,
And, so that it may be so,
Let us praise the Lord!
Here I'll begin the rhyme,
And may Christ give us a good end!
The rhyme is about Havelock,
A steady man to have in a group.
He was the hardiest man in need
Who might ride on any steed.
There was a king in days of old,
Who in his time made good laws
And observed them well.
He was loved by young, loved by old,
By earl and baron, vassal and retainer,
Knight, bondsman, and servant,
Widows, maidens, priests, and clerks,
And all for his good works.
He loved God with all his might,
And the holy church, and truth and justice.
He loved all righteous men,
And everywhere had them at his call.
He made traitors and robbers fail,
And hated them like men hate bitter drink.
Outlaws and thieves were bound,
Any that he might find,
And hung high on the gallows tree.
He took neither gold nor any bribe from them.
In that time a man who bore
Upwards of fifty pounds, I guess, or more,
Of red gold on his back,
In a pouch, white or black,
Would not meet anyone who would mistreat him,
Or lay hands on him with evil intent.
Back then merchants could travel
Throughout England with their wares,
And boldly buy and sell,
Anywhere they wanted to stay.
In fine towns and in the countryside
They would not meet anyone to cause them harm
Who would not soon be brought to ruin,
Made poor, and reduced to nothing for it.
England was at ease then.
There was much to praise about such a king
Who held England in such peace.
Christ in Heaven was with him;
He was England’s bloom!
There was no lord as far as Rome
Who dared to bring to his people
Hunger, invasion, or wicked causes.
When the king defeated his enemies,
He made them lurk and creep in corners.
They all hid themselves and kept quiet,
And did all his heart’s will.
But he loved justice above all things.
No man could corrupt him into wrong,
Not for silver or for gold,
So faithful was he to his soul.
To the orphaned he was their protector;
Whoever did them wrong or harm,
No matter if they were a cleric or knight,
Was soon brought to justice by him.
And as for anyone who did widows wrong,
There was no knight so strong
That he wouldn't soon have him thrown
Into fetters and fasten them tightly.
And as for whoever shamed a maiden
By her body, or brought her into blame,
Unless it was by her consent,
He made him lose some of his limbs.
The king was the best knight in need
Who might ever ride on a steed,
Or hold a weapon, or lead out an army.
He was never so afraid of any knights
That he would not spring forth like sparks from fire
And let them know by the deeds of his hand
How he could be victorious with a weapon.
With others he took their horses or fine clothes,
Or made them quickly spread their hands,
And cry loudly, “Mercy, Lord!"
He was generous and by no means stingy.
He never had bread so good
On his table or a morsel so fine
That he would not give it to feed
The poor who went on foot,
In order to receive from Him the reward
That He bled on the Cross for us to have—
Christ, who can guide and protect all
Who ever live in any land.
The king was called Athelwold.
With speech and weapons he was bold.
In England there was never a knight
Who better held the land in justice.
But he had fathered no heir
Except for a very fair maiden
Who was so young that she could not
Walk or speak with her mouth.
Then he was taken by a violent illness,
So that he knew well and understood
That his death was coming.
And he said, “Christ, what should I do?
Lord, how should I be advised?
I know full well I will have my reward,
But how will my daughter fare?
I have great concerns about her
And she is much in my thoughts;
I have no worries about myself.
It is no wonder for You that I am anxious.
She cannot speak, nor can she walk.
If she knew how to ride a horse,
With a thousand men by her side,
And she came to age,
She could rule England
And do to others as she pleased
And would know how to rule her body.
I would otherwise never be at ease,
Even if I were in Heaven’s realm.”
When he had made this plea,
He shivered strongly after.
At once he sent out writs
To his earls, each one of them,
And to his barons, rich and poor,
From Roxburgh through to Dover,
That they should come quickly
To him, as he was very ill,
To the place where he lay
In hard bonds, night and day.
He was so trapped in death’s grip
That he could have no rest.
He could take no food,
Nor might he have any comfort.
No one could advise him in his gloom,
For he was little more than dead.
All who obeyed the writs
Traveled to him in sorrow and grief.
They wrung their hands and wept bitterly,
And earnestly prayed for Christ’s grace,
That He would release him
From his illness which was so grim.
When they had all come
Before the king in the hall
Where he lay at Winchester,
“You are forever welcome!” he said.
“I give you great thanks
That you have come to me now.”
When they were all seated
And the king had greeted them,
They wept and wailed and mourned,
Until the king asked that they all be quiet,
And said, “Crying does nothing to help,
For I am brought to death.
But now that you see that I am dying,
I will ask you all now
About my daughter, who will be
Your sovereign lady after me.
Who will guard her for a time,
Both her and England,
Until she is a woman of age,
And can take care of and guide herself?"
They answered and said at once,
By Christ and by Saint John,
That Earl Godrich of Cornwall
Was a faithful man, without doubt,
A wise man in counsel, a wise man in deed,
And men had great deference for him.
“He can best take care of her,
Until she may be queen in full.”
The king was pleased with that advice.
He had a beautiful woolen cloth brought,
And laid the mass-book on it,
The chalice, and the Eucharist plate as well,
And the communion cloth and vestments.
Then he made the earl swear
That he would protect her well,
Without fail, without reproach,
Until she was twelve years old
And she was confident in speech
And could understand court etiquette
And the manners and speech of courtship,
And until she might love
Whoever she felt seemed best to her;
And that he would give to her
The highest man who might live,
The best, fairest, and the strongest as well.
All this the king had him swear on the book.
And then he would bestow
All of England into her hand.
When that was sworn in this way,
The king had the maiden rise,
And committed her to the earl
Along with all the land he ever owned,
Every part of England,
And prayed that he would keep her well.
The king could do no more,
But earnestly prayed for God’s grace
And took communion and confession,
Five hundred and five times, I know,
And repeatedly scourged himself severely,
And beat himself painfully with his own hands
So that the blood ran from his flesh,
Which had been so tender and soft.
He made his will out carefully,
And soon after had every part affirmed.
When it was executed, no man could find
So much as a burial sheet to wrap him in
Of his in any coffer or chest
That anyone knew of in England.
For everything was disposed of, fair and clear,
So that no possessions were left to him.
When he had been continually scourged,
Confessed, and beaten,
He said, “Into your hands, Lord,"
And set aside his words then.
He began to call on Jesus Christ,
And died before all of his noblemen.
When he was dead, men could see
The greatest sorrow that might be.
There was sobbing, sighing, and grief,
Hands wringing, and clutching of hair.
Everyone there wept bitterly,
All the rich and poor that were there,
And all had great sorrow,
Ladies in chambers, and knights in the hall.
When the mourning had subsided somewhat,
And they had wept a long time,
They soon after rang bells,
Monks and priests sang mass,
And they read out many psalm books,
Praying that God Himself would lead his soul
Into Heaven before His Son
To live with Them there without end.
After the king was delivered to the earth,
The powerful earl overlooked nothing
Until he soon had all of England
Seized into his hand.
He placed in the castles
The knights which he could trust,
And he forced all the English to swear
That they would act in good faith to him.
He gave men what seemed right to him,
To live and die as he saw fit
Until the king’s daughter was
Twenty years old or more.
When the earl had received this oath
From earls and barons, fair and foul,
From knights and laborers, free and bound,
He had new justices appointed
To travel through all England
From Dover into Roxburgh.
He ordained sheriffs, church officers, and reeves,
And peace sergeants with long lances,
To guard the wild woods and paths
From wicked men who would commit harm,
And to have all at his beck and call,
At his will, and at his mercy,
So that no one would dare be against him,
Not earl, baron, knight, or peasant.
To be sure, in truth, he had an abundance
Of people, weapons, and possessions.
Truly, in a short while,
All of England stood in awe of him;
All of England was afraid of him,
Like the cattle fears the prod.
The king’s daughter began to flower
And grew into the fairest woman alive.
She was wise in all manners
That were good and were cherished.
The maiden was called Goldeboro,
And for her many a tear would be wept.
When Earl Godrich heard about the maiden,
How well she was faring,
How wise she was, how chaste, how fair,
And how she was the rightful heir
Of England, of all the kingdom,
Then Godrich began to complain,
And griped, “Why should she be
Queen and lady over me?
Why should she have all England,
And me and what’s mine, in her hand?
Damn whoever lets her have it!
She will never see it happen.
Should I give a fool, a serving wench,
England, just because she wants it?
Damn whoever hands it to her
While I'm alive!
She has grown too proud
With the good food and royal clothes
That I have too often given her.
I have pampered her too well!
It is not going to end as she thinks.
Hope often makes a foolish man blind.
I have a son, a handsome boy;
He shall have all England!
He shall be king! He will be sire,
So long as I have a head on these shoulders!"
When this treason was all thought out,
His oath no longer meant anything to him.
He let his promise go entirely,
And after then did not care a straw for it.
But before he would eat another thing,
He ordered for her to be fetched
From where she was at Winchester,
And just like a wicked traitor Judas,
He had her sent to Dover,
Which stands on the seashore,
And had her kept there
In poverty and in wretched clothes.
He had the castle guarded
So that none of her friends
Might come to speak with her,
Anyone who might ever avenge her wrong.
We will now leave Goldboro for a while,
Who laments without ceasing,
Where she lies in prison.
May Jesus Christ, who brought Lazarus
To life from the bonds of death,
Release her with His hands!
And grant that she might see him
Hanging high on the gallows tree,
The man who brought her into sorrow,
Even though she had done no wrong.
Let us continue forth in our story.
In that time, as it so happened,
In the land of Denmark there was
A rich and very powerful king.
His name was Birkabeyn.
He had many knights and attendants;
He was a handsome and valiant man.
He was the best knight in body
Who ever might command an army,
Or ride a horse, or handle a spear.
He had three children by his wife,
And he loved them as much as his life.
He had a son and two daughters
Who were, as it happened, very beautiful.
But death, who spares no one,
Neither rich nor poor, king nor emperor,
Took him when he would rather live;
But his days were complete,
So that he could no longer remain,
Not for gold, silver, or any gift.
When the king realized this he quickly sent
For priests from near and far,
Canon priests and monks as well,
To counsel and advise him,
And to confess and absolve him
While his body was still alive.
When he was given the sacraments,
With his will made and given for him,
He had all his knights seated,
For through them he would know
Who might take care of his young children
Until they could speak with their tongues,
Walk and talk, and rise horses
With knights and attendants by their sides.
He spoke of this matter and soon chose
A powerful man who was the truest
Under the moon that he knew—
Godard, the king’s own friend—
And said he might care for them best
If he committed himself to them,
Until his son could bear
A helmet on his head and lead an army,
With a strong spear in his hand,
And be made king of Denmark.
The king believed what Godard said
And laid hands on him
And said, “I here entrust to you
Each of my three children,
All Denmark, and all my properties,
Until my son is of age.
But I want you to swear
On the altar and the church vestments,
On the bells that men ring,
And on the hymnal from which the priests sing,
That you will protect my children well,
So that their family will be satisfied,
Until my son can be a knight.
Then endow him with his right:
Denmark and all that belongs to it,
Castles, towns, woods, and fields.”
Godard rose and swore everything
That the king asked him, and afterward sat
With the knights who were there,
Who were all weeping very bitterly
For the king, who soon died.
May Jesus Christ, who makes the moon
Shine on the darkest night,
Protect his soul from Hell’s pains,
And grant that it may dwell
In Heaven with God’s Son!
When Birkabeyn was laid in his grave,
The earl immediately took the boy,
Havelock, who was the heir,
Swanboro, his sister, and Hefled, the other,
And he had them put in the castle,
Where none might come to them
From their relatives; there they were kept.
They cried there miserably,
Both from hunger and the cold,
Before they were even three years old.
He gave them clothes grudgingly;
He didn't care a nut about his oaths!
He didn't clothe or feed them properly,
Or provide them with a royal bedroom.
In that time Godard was surely
The worst traitor under God
Who was ever created on earth,
Except for one, the wicked Judas.
May he have the curse today
Of all who might ever pronounce them,
Of patriarchs and popes,
And of priests with buttoned cloaks,
Of both monks and hermits,
And by the beloved Holy Cross
That God Himself bled upon.
May Christ condemn him with His mouth!
May he be reviled from north to south,
By all men who can speak,
By Christ, who made the moon and sun.
For after then he had all the land,
And all the folk, tilled into his hand,
And all had to swear him oaths,
Rich and poor, fair and foul,
That they would perform his will,
And that they would not oppose him.
He worked up a villainous treachery,
A treason and a felony,
To carry out on the children.
May the devil soon take him to Hell!
When that was planned, he went on
To the tower where they were kept,
Where they wept for hunger and cold.
The boy, who had more courage,
Came to him and set himself on his knees,
And greeted Godard courteously.
Godard said, “What’s the matter with you?
Why are you all bawling and yowling?"
“Because we are bitterly hungry,” he said.
“We need more to eat.
We have no heat, nor do we have
Either a knight or a servant in here
Who gives us half the amount of food
Or drink that we could eat.
Woe is us that we were born!
Alas! Is there not even grain
That someone could make bread from?
We are hungry and we are nearly dead!"
Godard heard their plea,
And did not care a straw about it,
But lifted up both of the girls together,
Who were green and pale from hunger,
As if it were a game,
As if he were playing with them.
He slashed both of their throats in two,
And then cut them to pieces.
There was sorrow in whoever saw it
When the children lay by the wall,
Sprawled in the blood.
Havelock saw it and stood there.
The innocent boy was full of grief.
He must have been frozen in terror,
For he saw a knife pointed at his heart
To rob him of his life.
But the boy, who was so small,
Kneeled before that Judas,
And said, “Lord, have mercy now!
Lord, I offer you homage.
I will give you all of Denmark,
On the promise that you let me live.
I will swear on the Bible right here
That I will never bear against you
Shield or spear, Lord,
Nor any other weapon that might harm you.
Lord, have mercy on me!
Today I will flee from Denmark
And never come back again.
I will swear that Birkabeyn
Never fathered me.”
When the devil Godard heard that,
He felt a slight twinge of guilt.
He drew back the knife, which was warm
From the innocent children’s blood.
It was a miracle, fair and bright,
That he did not slay the boy,
But out of pity he held back.
He felt strong regret for Havelock,
And though he wished that he were dead,
Godard not could bring himself
To kill him with his own hand, the foul fiend!
Godard thought as he stood by him,
Staring out as if he were crazy,
“If I let him go alive,
He might cause me great trouble.
I will never have peace,
For he may bide his time to kill me.
And if his life were taken away,
And my children were to thrive,
After my time they might be
Lords of all Denmark!
God knows, he shall be killed.
I will take no other course!
I will have him thrown into the sea,
And there I'll have him drowned,
With a solid anchor about his neck,
So that he can't float in the water.”
From there he immediately sent for
A fisherman that he believed
Would do all his will,
And he said to him at once,
“Grim, you know you are my servant;
Will you do all my will
That I order you to?
Tomorrow I will free you
And give you property, and make you rich,
Provided that you take this child
And bring him with you tonight.
When you see the moonlight,
Go into the sea and throw him in it.
I will take on myself all the sin.”
Grim took the boy and tied him up tightly,
While the bonds might last,
Which were made of strong rope.
Then Havelock was in great pain;
He never knew before what torment was!
May Jesus Christ, who makes the lame walk
And the dumb speak,
Wreak revenge on Godard for Havelock!
When Grim had tied him up fast,
And then bound him in an old cloth,
He tightly shoved in his mouth
A gag of filthy rags,
So that he could not speak or snort out
Wherever he might carry or lead him.
When he had done that deed
And obeyed the traitor’s orders,
That he should take him out
And soak him in the sea
In a bag, big and black,
Which was the agreement they made,
He immediately threw him on his back
And took him home to his hut.
Grim entrusted him to his wife Leve,
And said, “Watch this boy
As if you were saving my life!
I will drown him in the sea.
Because of him we will be made free,
And have plenty of gold and other goods;
My lord has promised me this.”
When Dame Leve heard this,
She did not sit but jumped up,
And dropped the boy down so hard
That he banged his head
Against a great rock laying there.
Then Havelock might have been heard saying
“Alas that I was ever a king’s son!
If only he had fathered a vulture or eagle,
A lion or wolf, a she-wolf or bear,
Or some other beast to harm Godard back!"
So the child lay there until midnight,
When Grim asked Leve to bring a light
In order to put on his clothes:
“Don't you think anything of my oaths
That I have sworn to my lord?
I will not be ruined!
I will take him to the sea—
You know that’s what I have to do—
And I will drown him there in the water.
Get up quickly now and go in,
And stoke the fire and light a candle!"
But as she was about to handle his clothes
To put them on him and kindle the fire,
She saw inside a shining light,
As bright as if it were day,
Around the boy where he lay.
From his mouth a gleam stood out
As if it were a sunbeam.
It was as light inside the hut
As if candles were burning there.
“Jesus Christ!” exclaimed Dame Leve,
“What is that light in our hut?
Get up, Grim, and see what it means!
What do you think the light is?"
They both hurried up to the boy,
For people are naturally good-willed,
Ungagged him, and quickly untied him,
And then immediately found on him,
As they pulled off the boy’s shirt,
A royal birthmark on his right shoulder,
A mark so bright and so fair.
Grim said, “God knows, this is our heir
Who will be lord of Denmark!
He will be king, strong and mighty,
And he will have in his hand
All of Denmark and England!
He will bring Godard great grief;
He will have him hanged or flayed alive,
Or he will have him buried alive.
He will get no mercy from him.”
Grim said this and cried bitterly,
And then fell at Havelock’s feet
And said, “My lord, have mercy
On me and Leve, who is beside me!
Lord, we are both yours—
Your peasants, your servants.
Lord, we will raise you well
Until you know how to ride a steed,
Until you know well how to bear
A helmet on your head with shield and spear.
Godard, that foul traitor,
Will never know, for sure.
I will never be a free man, Lord,
Except through you.
You, my lord, will release me,
For I will protect and watch over you.
Through you I will have freedom.”
Then Havelock was a happy lad.
He sat up and asked for bread,
And said, “I am nearly dead,
What with hunger, what with the ropes
That you laid on my hands,
And at last because of the gag
That was stuck fast in my mouth.
With all that I was so tightly pressed
That I was nearly strangled!"
Leve said, “God knows, I'm just pleased
That you can eat. I will fetch you
Bread and cheese, butter and milk,
And meat pies and desserts.
We'll soon feed you well with these things,
My lord, in your great need.
It’s true what people say and swear;
'No one can harm whom God wishes to help.'"
When she had brought some food,
At once Havelock began to eat
Ravenously, and was very pleased;
He could not hide his hunger.
He ate a loaf, I know, and more,
For he was half-starved.
For three days before then, I guess,
He had eaten nothing—that was clear to see!
When he had eaten and was content,
Grim made him a comfortable bed,
Took his clothes off, and tucked him in,
And said, “Sleep, son, in great peace.
Sleep fast and do not be afraid of anything.
You have been brought from sorrow to joy.”
Soon it was the light of day.
Grim made his way
To the wicked traitor Godard,
Who was the steward of Denmark,
And said, “My lord, I have done
What you ordered me to do with the boy.
He is drowned in the water,
With a firm anchor around his neck.
He is surely dead.
He will never eat any more bread!
He lies drowned in the sea.
Give me gold and other goods
So that I may be rich,
And make me free with your signature.
You promised me these things in full
When I last spoke with you.”
Godard stood and looked at him
Thoroughly with stern eyes
And said, “So you want to be an earl?
Get home quick, foul dirt-serf!
Get out of here and be forever
A slave and peasant as you were before!
You will get no other reward.
So help me God, it would take little
For me to send you to the gallows.
You have done a wicked thing.
You stay here too long for your own good
Unless you get out of here fast!"
Grim thought, too late, as he ran
From that traitor, that wicked man
And pondered, “What will I do?
If he knows he’s alive, both of us will be
Hanged high on the gallows tree.
It would be better for us to flee the land
And save both of our lives,
And my children’s and my wife’s.”
Soon after Grim sold all of his grain,
Sheep with wool, cattle with horns,
Horses and pigs, goats with beards,
The geese, and the hens of the yard.
He sold all that could be sold,
Everything that had value,
And he converted it all to money.
He outfitted his ship well enough.
He gave it tar and a full coat of pitch
So that it would never fear inlet or creek.
He installed a fine mast in it,
Fastened firmly with strong cables,
Good oars, and a rugged sail.
Nothing inside lacked even a nail
That he should have put into it.
When he had equipped it so,
He put young Havelock in it,
Himself and his wife, his three sons,
And his two daughters, who were pretty girls.
And then he laid in the oars
And drew them out to the high sea
Where he might best flee.
He was only a mile from land,
And it was no more than a short while
When a breeze which men call
The North Wind began to rise
And drove them on to England,
Which would later all be in one hand,
And that man’s name would be Havelock.
But before then he would endure
Much shame, sorrow, and hardship.
And yet he got it all completely,
As you will all soon learn
If you wish to hear about it.
Grim came to land in the Humber,
In Lindsay, right at the north end.
There his fishing boat sat on the sand.
But Grim drew it up onto the land,
And built a little cottage there
For him and his company.
He began to live and work there,
In a little house made of earth,
So that in their harbor there
They were well-sheltered.
And because Grim owned that place,
It took the name of Grim’s stead,
So that everyone calls it Grimsby
Who speaks about the town.
And so men will always call it
Between now and Judgment Day.
Grim was a skillful fisherman
And knew the waters well.
He took plenty of good fish in,
Both with a net and with a hook.
He took sturgeons and whales,
And turbot and salmon as well.
He caught seals and eels,
And was often very successful.
He took cod and porpoise,
Herring and mackerel,
Flounder, plaice, and skate.
He made fine bread baskets,
One for him and another three
For his sons to carry fish in
To sell and collect money for upland.
He missed neither town nor farm
Wherever he went with his wares.
He never came home empty-handed
Without bringing bread and sauce
In his shirt or in his hood,
And beans and grain in his bag.
He never wasted his efforts.
And when he caught a great lamprey,
He knew the road very well
To Lincoln, the fine town.
He often crossed it through and through,
Until he sold everything as he wished
And had counted his pennies for it.
When he returned from there he was glad,
For many times he brought home
Cakes and horn-shaped breads,
With his bags full of flour and grain,
Ox-meat, lamb, and pork,
And hemp to make fishing lines,
And strong rope for his nets
Where he set them in the sea.
Thus Grim lived comfortably,
And he fed himself and his household well
For a good twelve winters or more.
Havelock knew that Grim worked hard
For his dinner while he lay at home.
He thought, “I am no longer a boy.
I am fully grown and can eat
More than Grim could ever get.
I eat more, by the living God,
Than Grim and his five children.
God knows, it can't go on like this.
I will go with them
To learn some useful skill,
And I will labor for my dinner.
It is no shame to work!
It is a foul thing for a man who eats
And drinks his fill who has not
Worked hard for it to lie at home.
God reward him more than I can
For having fed me to this day!
I will gladly carry the breadbaskets.
I know it won't do me any harm,
Even if they are a great burden,
As heavy as an ox.
I will no longer linger here.
Tomorrow I will hustle forth!"
In the morning when it was day
He got up at once and did not lie down,
And he threw a basket on his back
With fish heaped up like a stack.
He carried as much by himself
As four men, by my word.
He carried it firmly and sold it well,
And he brought home every bit of silver,
All that he got for it.
He did not hold back a penny’s edge.
He went out this way each day
And was so eager to learn his trade
That he never idled at home again.
But it so happened that a bad harvest
Brought a shortage of grain for bread,
So that Grim could find no good solution
To how he should feed his household.
He was very anxious about Havelock,
For he was strong and could eat
More than every mouth there could get.
Nor could Grim catch on the sea
Either cod or skate,
Nor any other fish that would serve
To feed his family.
He was very worried about Havelock
And how he might fare.
He did not think of his other children;
All of his thoughts were on Havelock,
And he said, “Havelock, dear son,
I fear that we must all die from hunger,
For this famine is so bad
And our food is long gone.
It would be better if you go on
Than to stay here for long.
You might leave here too late.
You know very well the right way
To Lincoln, the fine town,
For you have been there often enough.
As for me, my efforts aren't worth a bean.
It’s better that you go there,
For there are many good men in town
And you might be able to earn your dinner there.
But woe is me! You are so poorly dressed,
I would rather take my sail and make
Some clothing you can go in, son,
So that you need not face the cold.”
He took the scissors off the nail,
And made him a cloak from the sail,
And then put it on Havelock.
He had neither hose nor shoes,
Nor any other kind of clothing.
He walked barefoot to Lincoln.
When he arrived there, he was at a loss.
He had no friend to go to.
For two days he wandered there fasting,
For no one would feed him for his work.
The third day he heard a call,
“Porters, porters, come here, all!"
The poor who went on foot
Sprang forth like sparks from coals.
Havelock shoved aside nine or ten,
Right into the muddy swamp,
And started forward to the cook.
There he took charge of the earl’s food
Which he was given at the bridge.
He left the other porters lying
And delivered the food to the castle,
Where he was given a penny cake.
The next day again he eagerly kept
A lookout for the earl’s cook,
Until he saw him on the bridge
Where many fish lay beside him.
He had bought the earl’s provisions
From Cornwall, and continually called,
“Porters, porters, come quickly!"
Havelock heard it and was glad
That he heard 'porters' called.
He made everyone fall down
Who walked or stood in his way,
A good sixteen strong lads.
As he leaped up to the cook,
He shoved them down the hillside,
Hurrying to him with his basket,
And began to scoop up the fish.
He bore up a good cartload
Of squid, salmon, and broad flatfish,
Of great lampreys, and of eels.
He did not spare heel or toe
Until he came to the castle,
Where men took his burden from him.
When men had helped take down
The load off his shoulders,
The cook stood and smiled on him
And decided he was a sturdy enough man
And said, “Will you stay with me?
I will be glad to keep you.
The food you eat is well earned,
As well as the wages you get!"
Havelock said, “God knows, dear sir,
I will ask you for no other pay
But that you give me enough to eat.
I will fetch you firewood and water,
Raise the fire, and make it blaze.
I can break and crack sticks,
And kindle a fire expertly,
And make it burn brightly.
I know well how to split kindling
And how to skin eels from their hides.
I can wash dishes well,
And do all that you ever want.”
The cook said, “I can't ask for more!
Go over there and sit,
And I will bring you some good bread,
And make you soup in the kettle.
Sit down now and eat your fill.
Damn whoever begrudges you food!"
Havelock sat down at once,
As still as a stone,
Until he had fully eaten.
Havelock had done well then!
When he had eaten enough,
He came to the well, drew up the water,
And filled a large tub there.
He asked no one to go with him,
But he carried it in between his hands,
All by himself, to the kitchen.
He asked no one to fetch water for him,
Nor to bring provisions from the bridge.
He bore turf for fuel, and grass for kindling.
He carried wood from the bridge;
All that they might ever need,
He hauled and he cut.
He would never have any more rest
Than if he were a beast.
Of all men he was the most modest,
Always laughing and friendly in speech.
He was forever glad and pleasant;
He could fully hide his sorrows.
There was no boy so little
Who wanted to sport or have fun
That he would not play with him.
For all the children who came his way,
He did everything they wanted,
And played with them to their fill.
He was loved by all, meek and bold,
Knights, children, young, and old.
All took to him who saw him,
Both high and low men.
Word spread far and wide of him,
How he was great, how he was strong,
How handsome a man God had made him,
Except that he was almost naked.
For he had nothing to wear
Except a rough cloak,
Which was so dirty and foul
That it was not worth a stick of firewood.
The cook began to feel sorry for him
And brought him brand new clothes.
He bought him both hose and shoes,
And soon made him put them on.
When he was clothed, hosed, and in shoes
There was no one so handsome under God
Who was ever yet on earth,
No one that any mother ever bore.
There was never a man who ruled
A kingdom who looked so much
Like a king or emperor
As he appeared when he was clothed.
For when they were all together
In Lincoln at the games,
And the earl’s men were all there,
Havelock was taller by a head
Than the greatest who were there.
In wrestling no man grappled him
Whom he didn't soon throw down.
Havelock stood over them like a mast.
As high as he was, as long as he was,
He was just as hardy and strong.
In England he had no equal in strength
Among whoever came near him.
As much as he was strong, he was gentle.
Though other men often mistreated him,
He never insulted them
Or laid a hand on them in malice.
His body was pure of maidens;
Never in fun or in lust would he
Flirt or lie with a loose woman,
No more than if she were an old witch.
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1445



In that time al Hengelond
Th’erl Godrich havede in his hond,
And he gart komen into the tun
Mani erl and mani barun,
And alle that lives were
In Englond thanne wer there,
That they haveden after sent
To ben ther at the parlement.
With hem com mani chambioun,
Mani with ladde, blac and brown,
And fel it so that yungemen,
Wel abouten nine or ten,
Bigunnen the for to layke.
Thider komen bothe stronge and wayke,
Thider komen lesse and more
That in the boru thanne weren thore -
Chaunpiouns and starke laddes,
Bondemen with here gaddes,
Als he comen fro the plow.
There was sembling inow;
For it ne was non horse-knave,
Tho thei sholden in honde have,
That he ne kam thider, the leyk to se.
Biforn here fet thanne lay a tre,
And pulten with a mikel ston
The starke laddes, ful god won.
The ston was mikel and ek gret,
And al so hevi so a neth;
Grundstalwyrthe man he sholde be
That mouthe liften it to his kne;
Was ther neyther clerc ne prest,
That mithe liften it to his brest.
Therwit putten the chaumpiouns
That thider comen with the barouns.
Hwo so mithe putten thore
Biforn another an inch or more,
Wore he yung, wore he hold,
He was for a kempe told.
Al so the stoden and ofte stareden,
The chaumpiouns and ek the ladden,
And he maden mikel strout
Abouten the altherbeste but,
Havelok stod and lokede thertil,
And of puttingge he was ful wil,
For nevere yete ne saw he or
Putten the stone or thanne thor.
Hise mayster bad him gon therto -
Als he couthe therwith do.
Tho hise mayster it him bad,
He was of him sore adrad.
Therto he stirte sone anon,
And kipte up that hevi ston
That he sholde putten withe;
He putte at the firste sithe,
Over alle that ther wore
Twelve fote and sumdel more.
The chaumpiouns that put sowen;
Shuldreden he ilc other and lowen.
Wolden he nomore to putting gange,
But seyde, “Thee dwellen her to longe!"
This selkouth mithe nouth ben hyd:
Ful sone it was ful loude kid
Of Havelok, hw he warp the ston
Over the laddes everilkon,
Hw he was fayr, hw he was long,
Hw he was with, hw he was strong;
Thoruth England yede the speche,
Hw he was strong and ek meke;
In the castel, up in the halle,
The knithes speken therof alle,
So that Godrich it herde wel:
The speken of Havelok, everi del -
Hw he was strong man and hey,
Hw he was strong, and ek fri,
And thouthte Godrich, “Thoru this knave
Shal ich Engelond al have,
And mi sone after me;
For so I wile that it be.
The King Athelwald me dide swere
Upon al the messe gere
That I shude his douther yeve
The hexte that mithe live,
The beste, the fairest, the strangest ok -
That gart he me sweren on the bok.
Hwere mithe I finden ani so hey,
So Havelok is, or so sley?
Thou I southe hethen into Inde,
So fayr, so strong, ne mithe I finde.
Havelok is that ilke knave
That shal Goldeboru have!"
This thouthe with trechery,
With traysoun, and wit felony;
For he wende that Havelok wore
Sum cherles sone and no more;
Ne shulde he haven of Engellond
Onlepi foru in his hond
With hire that was therof eyr,
That bothe was god and swithe fair.
He wende that Havelok wer a thral,
Therthoru he wende haven al
In Engelond, that hire rith was.
He was werse than Sathanas
That Jhesu Crist in erthe stoc.
Hanged worthe he on an hok!
 After Goldeboru sone he sende,
That was bothe fayr and hende,
And dide hire to Lincolne bringe.
Belles dede he ageyn hire ringen,
And joie he made hire swithe mikel;
But netheless he was ful swikel.
He saide that he sholde hire yeve
The fayreste man that mithe live.
She answerede and saide anon,
By Crist and bi Seint Johan,
That hire sholde noman wedde
Ne noman bringen hire to bedde
But he were king or kinges eyr,
Were he nevere man so fayr.
 Godrich the erl was swithe wroth
That she swor swilk an oth,
And saide, “Whether thou wilt be
Quen and levedi over me?
Thou shalt haven a gadeling -
Ne shalt thou haven non other king!
Thee shal spusen mi cokes knave -
Ne shalt thou non other louered have.
Datheit that thee other yeve
Everemore hwil I live!
Tomorwe ye sholen ben weddeth,
And maugre thin togidere beddeth.
Goldeboru gret and yaf hire ille;
She wolde ben ded bi hire wille.
On the morwen hwan day was sprungen
And day-belle at kirke rungen,
After Havelok sente that Judas
That werse was thanne Sathanas,
And saide, “Maister, wilte wif?” “Nay,” quoth Havelok, “bi my lif!
Hwat sholde ich with wif do?
I ne may hire fede ne clothe ne sho.
Wider sholde ich wimman bringe?
I ne have none kines thinge -
I ne have hws, I ne have cote,
Ne I ne have stikke, I ne have sprote,
I ne have neyther bred ne sowel,
Ne cloth but of an hold whit covel.
This clothes that ich onne have
Aren the kokes and ich his knave!"
Godrich stirt up and on him dong,
With dintes swithe hard and strong,
And seyde, “But thou hire take
That I wole yeven thee to make,
I shal hangen thee ful heye,
Or I shal thristen uth thin heie.”
Havelok was one and was odrat,
And grauntede him al that he bad.
Tho sende he after hire sone,
The fayrest wymman under mone,
And seyde til hire, fals and slike,
That wicke thrall that foule swike:
“But thu this man understonde,
I shall flemen thee of londe;
Or thou shal to the galwes renne,
And ther thou shalt in a fir brenne.”
Sho was adrad for he so thrette,
And durste nouth the spusing lette;
But they hire likede swithe ille,
Sho thouthe it was Godes wille -
God that makes to growen the korn,
Formede hire wimman to be born.
Hwan he havede don him, for drede,
That he sholde hire spusen and fede,
And that she sholde til him holde,
Ther weren penies thicke tolde
Mikel plenté, upon the bok -
He ys hire yaf and she is tok.
He weren spused fayre and well,
The messe he dede, everi del
That fel to spusing, an god clek -
The erchebishop uth of Yerk,
That kam to the parlement,
Als God him havede thider sent.
Hwan he weren togidere in Godes lawe,
That the folc ful wel it sawe,
He ne wisten what he mouthen,
Ne he ne wisten what hem douthe,
Ther to dwellen, or thenne to gonge.
Ther ne wolden he dwellen longe,
For he wisten and ful wel sawe
That Godrich hem hatede - the devel him hawe!
And if he dwelleden ther outh -
That fel Havelok ful wel on thouth -
Men sholde don his leman shame,
Or elles bringen in wicke blame,
That were him levere to ben ded.
Forthi he token another red:
That thei sholden thenne fle
Til Grim and til hise sone thre -
Ther wenden he altherbest to spede,
Hem forto clothe and for to fede.
The lond he token under fote -
Ne wisten he non other bote -
And helden ay the rith sti
Til he komen to Grimesby.
Thanne he komen there thanne was Grim ded -
Of him ne haveden he no red.
But hise children alle fyve,
Alle weren yet on live,
That ful fayre ayen hem neme
Hwan he wisten that he keme,
And maden joie swithe mikel -
Ne weren he nevere ayen hem fikel.
On knes ful fayre he hem setten
And Havelok swithe fayre gretten,
And seyden, “Welkome, louered dere!
And welkome be thi fayre fere!
Blessed be that ilke thrawe
That thou hire toke in Godes lawe!
Wel is hus we sen thee on live.
Thou mithe us bothe selle and yeve;
Thou mayt us bothe yeve and selle,
With that thou wilt here dwelle.
We haven, louerd, alle gode -
Hors, and neth, and ship on flode,
Gold and silver and michel auchte,
That Grim ure fader us bitauchte.
Gold and silver and other fe
Bad he us bitaken thee.
We haven sheep, we haven swin;
Bileve her, louerd, and al be thin!
Tho shalt ben louerd, thou shalt ben syre,
And we sholen serven thee and hire;
And hure sistres sholen do
Al that evere biddes sho:
He sholen hire clothes washen and wringen,
And to hondes water bringen;
He sholen bedden hire and thee,
For levedi wile we that she be.”
Hwan he this joie haveden maked,
Sithen stikes broken and kraked,
And the fir brouth on brenne;
Ne was ther spared gos ne henne,
Ne the hende ne the drake:
Mete he deden plenté make;
Ne wantede there no god mete,
Wyn and ale deden he fete,
And hem made glade and blithe;
Wesseyl ledden he fele sithe.
On the nith als Goldeboru lay,
Sory and sorwful was she ay,
For she wende she were biswike,
That she were yeven unkyndelike.
O nith saw she therinne a lith,
A swithe fayr, a swithe bryth -
Al so brith, all so shir
So it were a blase of fir.
She lokede noth and ek south,
And saw it comen ut of his mouth
That lay bi hire in the bed.
No ferlike thou she were adred!
Thouthe she, “What may this bimene?
He beth heyman yet, als I wene:
He beth heyman er he be ded!"
On hise shuldre, of gold red
She saw a swithe noble croiz;
Of an angel she herde a voyz:
 "Goldeboru, lat thi sorwe be!
For Havelok, that haveth spuset thee,
He, kinges sone and kinges eyr,
That bikenneth that croiz so fayr
It bikenneth more - that he shal
Denemark haven and Englond al.
He shal ben king strong and stark,
Of Engelond and Denemark -
That shal thu wit thin eyne seen,
And tho shalt quen and levedi ben!”  Thanne she havede herd the stevene
Of the angel uth of hevene,
She was so fele sithes blithe
That she ne mithe hire joie mythe,
But Havelok sone anon she kiste,
And he slep and nouth ne wiste
Hwat that aungel havede seyd.
Of his slep anon he brayd,
And seide, “Lemman, slepes thou?
A selkuth drem dremede me now -
 Herkne now what me haveth met.
Me thouthe I was in Denemark set,
But on on the moste hil
That evere yete cam I til.
It was so hey that I wel mouthe
Al the werd se, als me thouthe.
Als I sat upon that lowe
I bigan Denemark for to awe,
The borwes and the castles stronge;
And mine armes weren so longe
That I fadmede al at ones,
Denemark with mine longe bones;
And thanne I wolde mine armes drawe
Til me and hom for to have,
Al that evere in Denemark liveden
On mine armes faste clyveden;
And the stronge castles alle
On knes bigunnen for to falle -
The keyes fellen at mine fet.
Another drem dremede me ek:
That ich fley over the salte se
Til Engeland, and al with me
That evere was in Denemark lyves
But bondemen and here wives;
And that ich com til Engelond -
Al closede it intil min hond,
And, Goldeborw, I gaf thee.
Deus! lemman, what may this be?"
Sho answerede and seyde sone:
“Jesu Crist, that made mone,
Thine dremes turne to joye
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
That wite thu that sittes in trone!
Ne non strong, king ne caysere
So thou shalt be, fo thou shalt bere
In Engelond corune yet.
Denemark shal knele to thi fet;
Alle the castles that aren therinne
Shaltou, lemman, ful wel winne.
I woth so wel so ich it sowe,
To thee shole comen heye and lowe,
And alle that in Denemark wone -
Em and brother, fader and sone,
Erl and baroun, dreng and thayn,
Knightes and burgeys and sweyn -
And mad king heyelike and wel.
Denemark shal be thin evere ilc del -
Have thou nouth theroffe douthe,
Nouth the worth of one nouthe;
Theroffe withinne the firste yer
Shalt thou ben king of evere il del.
But do now als I wile rathe:
Nim in wit lithe to Denemark bathe,
And do thou nouth on frest this fare -
Lith and selthe felawes are.
For shal ich nevere blithe be
Til I with eyen Denemark se,
For ich woth that al the lond
Shalt thou haven in thin hond.
Prey Grimes sones alle thre,
That he wenden forth with the;
I wot he wilen the nouth werne -
With the wende shulen he yerne,
For he loven thee hertelike.
Thou maght til he aren quike,
Hwore-so he o worde aren;
There ship thou do hem swithe yaren,
And loke that thou dwelle nouth -
Dwelling haveth ofte scathe wrouth.”  Hwan Havelok herde that she radde,
Sone it was day, sone he him cladde,
And sone to the kirke yede
Or he dide any other dede,
And bifor the Rode bigan falle,
“Croiz” and “Crist” bi to kalle,
And seyde, “Louerd, that all weldes -
Wind and water, wodes and feldes -
For the holy milce of you,
Have merci of me, Louerd, now!
And wreke me yet on mi fo
That ich saw biforn min eyne slo
Mine sistres with a knif,
And sithen wolde me mi lyf
Have reft, for in the se
Bad he Grim have drenched me.
He hath mi lond with mikel unrith,
With michel wrong, with mikel plith,
For I ne misdede him nevere nouth,
And haved me to sorwe brouth.
He haveth me do mi mete to thigge,
And ofte in sorwe and pine ligge.
Louerd, have merci of me,
And late me wel passe the se -
Though ihc have theroffe douthe and kare,
Withuten stormes overfare,
That I ne drenched therine
Ne forfaren for no sinne,
And bringe me wel to the lond
That Godard haldes in his hond,
That is mi rith, everi del -
Jesu Crist, thou wost it wel!”  Thanne he havede his bede seyd,
His offrende on the auter leyd,
His leve at Jhesu Crist he tok,
And at his swete moder ok,
And at the Croiz that he biforn lay;
Sithen yede sore grotinde awey.
 Hwan he com hom, he wore yare,
Grimes sones, for to fare
Into the se, fishes to gete,
That Havelok mithe wel of ete.
But Avelok thoughte al another:
First he kalde the heldeste brother,
Roberd the Rede, bi his name,
Wiliam Wenduth and Huwe Raven,
Grimes sones alle thre -
And seyde, “Lithes now alle to me;
Louerdinges, ich wile you shewe
A thing of me that ye wel knewe.
Mi fader was king of Denshe lond -
Denemark was al in his hond
The day that he was quik and ded.
But thanne havede he wicke red,
That he me and Denemark al
And mine sistres bitawte a thral;
A develes lime he hus bitawhte,
And al his lond and al hise authe,
For I saw that fule fend
Mine sistres slo with hise hend:
First he shar a two here throtes,
And sithen hem al to grotes,
And sithen bad in the se
Grim, youre fader, drenchen me.
Deplike dede he him swere
On bok that he sholde me bere
Unto the se and drenchen ine,
And wolde taken on him the sinne.
But Grim was wis and swithe hende -
Wolde he nouth his soule shende;
Levere was him to be forsworen
Than drenchen me and ben forlorn.
But sone bigan he forto fle
Fro Denemark for to berthen me.
For yif ich havede ther ben funden,
Havede he ben slayn or harde bunden,
And heye ben hanged on a tre -
Havede go for him gold ne fe.
Forthi fro Denemark hider he fledde,
And me ful fayre and ful wel fedde,
So that unto this day
Have ich ben fed and fostred ay.
But now ich am up to that helde
Cumen that ich may wepne welde,
And I may grete dintes yeve,
Shal I nevere hwil ich lyve
Ben glad til that ich Denemark se!
I preie you that ye wende with me,
And ich may mak you riche men;
Ilk of you shal have castles ten,
And the lond that thor til longes -
Borwes, tunes, wodes, and wonges.
  
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
In that time Earl Godrich
Had all of England in his hand,
And he ordered into the town
Many earls and many barons,
And all who were alive
In England then were there,
For they had been sent for
To be present at the parliament.
With them came many champions,
Many with servants of all sorts,
And so it happened that young men,
Well around nine or ten,
Began to play sports there.
Both the strong and weak came there.
Both the lesser and greater came
Who were there in the town then:
Heroes and rugged lads,
And bondsmen with their cattle prods
Who had just come from the plow.
The assembly was large enough,
For there was no stable boy
Who did not come to see the games,
Even if he should have been on duty.
Before their feet they laid a tree,
Where the strong lads, a good number,
Shot-put with a giant stone.
The stone was solid and huge as well,
And as heavy as an ox.
It would have to be a very hardy man
Who might lift it to his knees.
There was neither cleric nor priest
Who might bring it to his chest.
With it the athletes shot-put,
Those who had come with the barons.
Whoever there who could throw it
Further than an inch or more,
Whether he was young or old,
Was considered a hero.
And so they stood and watched intently,
The athletes and the lads as well,
And they made a heated argument
About who had made the greatest shot.
Havelock stood and looked at it
But he knew nothing about putting,
For he had never seen
Or thrown the stone before then.
His master told him to go try
As he was best able to do.
Though his master asked him,
He was sorely doubtful of himself.
With that, he got up quickly
And plucked up that heavy stone
Which he was supposed to put.
On the first try he threw it
Farther than anyone who was there,
Twelve feet and somewhat more.
When the champions saw that shot,
They jostled each other and laughed.
They would not put any more, only saying
“We've hung around here too long!"
This marvel could not be hidden for long.
Very soon the news was loudly told
About Havelock, how he threw the stone
Farther than each of the lads;
How he was handsome, how he was tall,
How he was manly, how he was strong.
Throughout England the news spread,
How he was mighty and gentle as well.
In the castle, up in the hall,
The knights talked about it all
So that Godrich heard it well.
They spoke of Havelock, every detail—
How he was a strong man, and high,
How he was strong and generous too,
And Godrich thought, “Through this peasant
I will have all England
For myself and for my son after,
For it’s my wish to have it happen.
King Athelwald made me swear
Upon all the mass finery
That I would give his daughter
The highest that might live,
The best, the fairest, and the strongest as well.
He made me swear that on the Bible.
Where could I find anyone so 'high'
As Havelock is, or so able?
If I searched from here to India,
I would not find someone so fair, so mighty.
Havelock is the very boy
That Goldeboro will have!"
He schemed this out with treachery,
With treason, and with felony,
For he surmised that Havelock was
Some peasant’s son and no more.
Nor would he get one furrow
Of England into his hand
With Godeboro, who was the rightful heir,
Who was both good and fair,
For he assumed that Havelock was a serf.
For this reason he planned to keep all
Of England, which was her right.
He was worse than Satan,
Who Jesus Christ locked in the earth.
He deserves to be hanged on an oak!
Soon after he sent for Goldeboro,
Who was both beautiful and courteous,
And had her brought to Lincoln.
He had bells for her rung alongside,
And made great celebration over her,
But nonetheless he was full of deceit.
He said that he would give her
The fairest man that might live.
She answered at once and said,
By Christ and by Saint John,
That she would wed no man,
Nor would any man bring her to bed
Unless he were a king or king’s heir,
No matter how fair he was.
Godrich the earl was furious
That she had sworn such an vow
And said, “Do you think you will be
Queen and lady over me?
You will have a beggar.
You will not have any other king!
You will marry my cook’s servant.
You will not have any other lord!
Damn whoever who gives you someone else
While I am alive!
Tomorrow you will be married
And bedded together, in spite of you!"
Goldeboro cried and was in distress.
She would have died if she had her will.
In the morning, when day had sprung
And the early bells at the church were rung,
That Judas, who was worse than Satan,
Sent for Havelock and said,
“Mister, would you like a wife?"
“No,” cried Havelock, “not by my life!
What could I do with a wife?
I cannot give her food, clothes, or shoes.
Where would I bring a woman?
I have nothing for a home.
I have no house, I have no cottage,
I have no sticks, I have no twigs for a fire,
I have neither bread nor sauce,
No clothing except an old white cloak.
These clothes that I have on
Are the cook’s, and I am his servant.”
Godrich jumped up and struck him
With hard and strong blows
And said, “Unless you take
Who I give you as a mate,
I will hang you very high,
Or I will gouge out your eyes!"
Havelock was alone and was afraid,
And agreed to all that he ordered.
Then Godrich sent for Goldeboro at once,
The fairest woman under the moon,
And said to her, false and slick,
That wicked oaf, that foul traitor:
“Unless you accept this man,
I will banish you from the land,
Or you will be rushed to the gallows,
And there you will burn in a fire.”
She was terrified, for he threatened her so,
And she dared not obstruct the marriage.
Though she was very unhappy,
She thought it was God’s will,
God, who makes the grain grow
And who created her to be born a woman.
When he had compelled them by fear
That he should marry and keep her,
And that she should hold to him,
There were thick piles of pennies counted,
A great plenty, upon the mass book.
He gave her tokens and she accepted his.
They were wedded fair and clear.
The mass was performed, every part
Related to marriage, by a good cleric—
The archbishop of York,
Who came to the assembly
As God had sent him there.
When they were joined under God’s law,
So that the people saw it fully,
Havelock did not know what to do,
Nor did he know where to turn for help,
Where to live, or where to go.
They could not stay there long,
For he understood and saw clearly
That Godrich hated them –the Devil take him!
And if they stayed there unprotected,
Havelock worried about foul play.
Men might shame his beloved,
Or else disgrace her reputation.
To him it would be better to be dead.
For this reason he took another course,
That they should flee from there
To Grim and his three sons.
He thought it best to hurry there
In order to clothe and feed themselves.
They took to the land on foot,
For he knew no other solution,
And they kept the right route
Until they came to Grimsby.
When they arrived Grim was dead.
Havelock had had no word about him.
But of his five children,
All were still alive
And took them in very courteously
When they learned that he had come,
And they made a great celebration.
They were never fickle to them!
They set themselves on their knees
And greeted Havelock elegantly,
And said, “Welcome, dear lord!
And welcome to your fair companion!
Blessed be that very moment
When you took her in God’s law!
It is good for us to see you alive.
We are yours to sell or give away.
You may both give us or trade us,
So long as you will stay here.
We have, lord, every good thing:
Horses and oxen, and a ship on the sea,
Gold and silver, and many things
That Grim our father left to us.
He told us to pass on to you
Gold and silver and all other goods.
We have sheep, we have pigs;
Remain here, lord, and all will be yours.
You will be lord, you will be sire,
And we will serve you and her.
And our sisters will do
All that she ever bids.
They will wash and dry her clothes,
And bring water to her hands.
They will make a bed for you and her,
If that is our lady’s will.”
When they had begun the celebration,
Kindling was cracked and split,
And the fire was stoked into flames.
There was no goose or hen spared,
Neither duck nor drake.
They prepared plenty of meat
And did not lack for any good food.
They fetched wine and ale,
And made the couple glad and at ease,
And drank to their health many times.
Yet during the night as Goldeboro lay in bed,
She continually felt sorry and sad,
For she thought she had been mistreated,
That she was married out of her kind.
But one night she saw in there a light,
So fair, and so clear—
As bright, as shining,
As if it were a blaze of fire.
She looked north and south as well
And saw it coming out of his mouth
As he lay by her in the bed.
It is no wonder that she was afraid!
She thought, “What does this mean?
He will be a nobleman yet, I believe.
He will be a nobleman before he is dead!"
On his shoulder, in red gold,
She saw a majestic cross.
From an angel she heard a voice:
“Goldeboro, let your sorrows pass!
For Havelock, who has married you,
Is a king’s son and a king’s heir.
That is the meaning of his fair cross.
It means more: that he shall
Have Denmark and all England.
He will be a king, strong and bold,
Of England and Denmark.
You will see this with your eyes,
And you will be a queen and lady!"
When she had heard the voice
Of the angel from Heaven,
She was glad so many times over
That she could not contain her joy,
But at once kissed Havelock,
Who slept and knew nothing
Of what the angel had said.
In a while he started out of his sleep
And said, “Dear, are you asleep?
I just dreamed an amazing dream;
Listen now to what happened.
It seemed as though I was in Denmark,
But on one of the highest hills
That I ever came to yet.
It was so high that it seemed to me
I could see all the world.
As I sat upon that summit,
I began to embrace Denmark,
The towns and the strong castles,
And my arms were so long
That I held everything in Denmark
At once with my long limbs!
And then I drew my arms back
Toward myself and to lift up
Everyone who ever lived in Denmark,
Holding them fast within my arms.
And all the strong castles
Began to fall to their knees,
And the keys fell at my feet.
I dreamed another dream too,
That I flew over the salty sea to England,
And everyone came with me
Who was alive in Denmark,
Except for bondsmen and their wives.
And when I came to England
I enclosed it all in my hand,
And Goldeboro, I gave it to you.
My God! Dear, what does this mean?"
She answered and soon explained,
“Jesus Christ, who made the moon,
Will turn your dreams to joy.
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
He who sits on the throne will lead you.
There are none so mighty, king or emperor,
As you will be, for you will wear
A crown in England yet.
Denmark shall kneel at your feet,
And you will, dear, win in full
All the castles that are in it.
I know it as well as if I had seen it.
High and low shall come to you,
And all who live in Denmark:
Uncle and brother, father and son,
Earl and baron, vassal and retainer,
Knights and townspeople and servants,
And you will be made king with great honor.
Denmark will be yours, every bit.
Do not have any doubt about it,
Not the value of a nut!
For within one year
You will be ruler of every part.
But now do as I will advise you:
Let’s both go to Denmark together
And don't put off this task.
Ambition and success go together!
For I will never be at peace
Until I see Denmark with my own eyes,
Because I know that all the land
Will be yours in your hand.
Insist to all three of Grim’s sons
That they journey forth with you;
I know they will not refuse.
They will go eagerly with the wind,
For they love you with all their hearts.
You can tell that they are quick to act,
Wherever in the world they might be.
Have them prepare the ship quickly,
And see that you don't delay.
Procrastinating often brings harm.”
When Havelock had heard what she counseled,
Soon it was day, soon he dressed himself,
And soon he went to the church
Before he did any other thing.
He fell before the Cross and began to
Call upon Cross and Christ,
And said, “Lord, who rules all,
Wind and water, woods and fields,
For the sake of Your holy kindness,
Have mercy on me now, Lord!
And avenge me yet on my foe
Whom I saw slaying my sisters
With a knife, before my own eyes,
And then would have taken my life,
For he ordered Grim
To drown me in the sea.
He holds my land with great wrong,
With great injustice, and with great harm,
For I never wronged him in any way
And he has brought me to sorrow!
He drove me to beg for my food
And to lie in constant sorrow and pain.
Lord, have mercy on me,
And though I have fears and worries,
Let me cross the sea safely
And pass over without storms
So that I will not be drowned in the water,
Nor shipwrecked because of any sin,
And bring me sound to the land
That Godard grips in his hand,
Which is my right, every bit.
Jesus Christ, You know it well!"
When he had said his prayer
And laid his offering on the altar,
He took his leave of Jesus Christ
And His sweet mother Mary also,
And of the Cross that he lay before.
Then he went away, weeping bitterly.
When he came home they were ready,
All of Grim’s sons, to set out
Into the sea to get fish
So that Havelock might eat well.
But Havelock had something else in mind.
First he called the eldest brother,
Robert the Red, by his name,
And then William Wende and Hugh Raven,
All three of Grim’s sons,
And said, “Listen now to me all!
Lordings, I will recount to you
Something about me you know well.
My father was king of Danish lands.
All of Denmark was in his hand
The day that he was alive and dead.
But then he followed wicked counsel,
So that I and all of Denmark
And my sisters were entrusted to a servant.
He trusted an instrument of the devil with us
And all his land and all that he owned,
For I saw that foul fiend
Slay my sisters with his hand!
First he cut their throats in two,
And then hacked them into bits,
And then ordered Grim, your father,
To drown me in the sea.
He had him solemnly swear
On the Bible that he would take me
Into the water and sink me in it,
And he would take on himself the sin.
But Grim was wise and kindly,
And he would not stain his own soul.
He would rather be falsely sworn
Than drown me and be damned himself.
At once he prepared to flee
From Denmark in order to protect me,
For if I had been found there,
He would have been slain or tightly bound,
And hanged high on a tree!
Neither gold nor money would have helped him.
For this he fled away from Denmark
And he kept me well and kindly,
So that unto this day
I have always felt protected and fathered.
But now I have come to the age
Where I may wield weapons,
And I may give great strokes.
I will never be glad
While I am alive until I see Denmark!
I ask you that you will go with me
And I will make you rich men.
Each of you will have ten castles,
And the land that belongs to it,
Boroughs, towns, fields, and villages!"

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Go to Part 2