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"And how this noble camp of yours, of late
Besieged had this town, and in what sort,
And how you prayed him to participate
Of the last conquest of this noble fort.
In hardy Sweno opened was the gate
Of worthy anger by this brave report,
So that each hour seemed five years long,
Till he were fighting with these Pagans strong.
"And while the herald told your fights and frays,
Himself of cowardice reproved he thought,
And him to stay that counsels him, or prays,
He hears not, or, else heard, regardeth naught,
He fears no perils but whilst he delays,
Lest this last work without his help be wrought:
In this his doubt, in this his danger lies,
No hazard else he fears, no peril spies.
"Thus hasting on, he hasted on his death,
Death that to him and us was fatal guide.
The rising morn appeared yet aneath,
When he and we were armed, and fit to ride,
The nearest way seemed best, o'er hold and heath
We went, through deserts waste, and forests wide,
The streets and ways he openeth as he goes,
And sets each land free from intruding foes.
"Now want of food, now dangerous ways we find,
Now open war, now ambush closely laid;
Yet passed we forth, all perils left behind,
Our foes or dead or run away afraid,
Of victory so happy blew the wind,
That careless all the heedless to it made:
Until one day his tents he happed to rear,
To Palestine when we approached near.
"There did our scouts return and bring us news,
That dreadful noise of horse and arms they hear,
And that they deemed by sundry signs and shows
There was some mighty host of Pagans near.
At these sad tidings many changed their hues,
Some looked pale for dread, some shook for fear,
Only our noble lord was altered naught,
In look, in face, in gesture, or in thought.
"But said, `A crown prepare you to possess
Of martyrdom, or happy victory;
For this I hope, for that I wish no less,
Of greater merit and of greater glory.
Brethren, this camp will shortly be, I guess,
A temple, sacred to our memory,
To which the holy men of future age,
To view our graves shall come in pilgrimage.'
"This said, he set the watch in order right
To guard the camp, along the trenches deep,
And as he armed was, so every knight
He willed on his back his arms to keep.
Now had the stillness of the quiet night
Drowned all the world in silence and in sleep,
When suddenly we heard a dreadful sound,
Which deafed the earth, and tremble made the ground.
" `Arm, arm,' they cried; Prince Sweno at the same,
Glistering in shining steel leaped foremost out,
His visage shone, his noble looks did flame,
With kindled brand of courage bold and stout,
When lo, the Pagans to assault us came,
And with huge numbers hemmed us round about,
A forest thick of spears about us grew,
And over us a cloud of arrows flew:
"Uneven the fight, unequal was the fray,
Our enemies were twenty men to one,
On every side the slain and wounded lay
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