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~ Poetry by me ~


The Lay of Hildebrand

I heard it told that between two armies
two challengers met, chosen for duel:
Hildebrand old against Hadubrand rode,
to fight each other, came father and son.

Hildebrand spoke, for he was the elder one:
"How are you called, what kinfolk is yours?
If you tell me but one, I can tell you the others:
All names of renown are known to me well."

"Hardly ever I“ve hidden my name:
I am called Hadubrand, Hildebrand“s son."
"Then, by the High Ones in heavens above,
ne'er you held counsel with a closer kinsman!"

Heavy gold rings, gifts by the Hun-King,
he wound from his arms and offered to Hadubrand:
"Take these as token of truth between us,
as favor shown you by father to son."

"I spurn your gold, you spy of the Huns!
With cunning words you want to deceive me.
I won“t be tricked, no truce will you get:
Folks have told me my father is dead!

"For my host I will win, your helmet I“ll cleave,
below to the ground your life-blood shall flow.
To witness I call the warriors around us:
A coward you are if you cringe from the fight."

"Woe, ye Gods, ill wyrd now happens!
That I should be the bane of my son,
or I lie hewn by the hand of my child -
no were-gild ever could outweigh the sorrow."

They buckled their belts, they brandished their weapons,
hurled the sharp ash-spears, hewed at the shields,
struck mighty blows, hacked byrnies and helmets,
their swords rang in the roar of the fight.

The young one was quicker, more crafty the old one,
long lay uncertain the luck of the fight,
till Hildebrand“s sword found the heart of his son
and the bitter blade drank the blood of his life.

The greening ground with gore was stained
when killed by kin, kinsman lay slain.
The army cheering, the champion silent
with grief untold, between the two hosts.

© 2006 Michaela Macha

License: This poem may be freely distributed, provided it remains
unchanged, including the copyright notice and this License:

This work by Michaela Macha (www.odins-gift.com) is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

Poetic form: Fornyršislag (Old Meter).
There“s a deviation from the meter in one line. Can you spot it?