Song of the Shield Wall

Words: Malkin Gray (Debra Doyle)
Tune:Peregrynne Windrider (Melissa Williamson)
Source: Westerfilk Collection
A Filksong Folio
MIDI / NWC / PDF / Battle history
used with permission

Hasten, O sea-steed, over the swan-road,
Foamy-necked ship o'er the froth of the sea!
Hengest has called us from Gotland and Frisia
To Vortigern's country, his army to be.
We'll take our pay there in sweeter than silver,
We'll take our plunder in richer than gold,
For Hengest has promised us land for our fighting,
Land for the sons of the Saxons to hold!

Hasten, O fyrds-men, down to the river;
The dragon ships come on the in-flowing tide.
The linden-wood shield and the old spear of ash-wood
Are needed again by the cold waterside.
Draw up the shield-wall, O shoulder-companions;
Later, whenever our story is told,
They'll say that we died guarding what we call dearest,
Land that the sons of the Saxons will hold!

Hasten, O house-carls, north to the Danelaw;
Harald Hardrada's come over the sea!
His longships he's laden with baresarks from Norway
To claim Canute's crown and our master to be.
Bitter he'll find here the bite of our spear-points,
Hard ruling Northmen too strong to die old.
We'll grant him six feet - - plus as much as he's taller - -
Of land that the sons of the Saxons will hold!

Make haste, son of Godwin, southward from Stamford,
Victory's sweet and your men have fought hard,
But William the Bastard has landed at Pevensey,
Burning the land you have promised to guard.
Draw up the spears on the hill-top at Hastings,
Fight till the sun drops and evening grows cold,
And die with the last of your Saxons around you,
Holding the land you were given to hold!

used with permission

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