There are passages I read that, for whatever reason, stay with me. This speech from an Anglo-Saxon poem comes back again and again. Byrhtwold faces his death in battle and yet encourages those around him to stand fast. “Hige sceal…Heart must be stronger, spirit keener/ mind the greater as our might lessens.” It’s like the closing lines of Tennyson’s “Ulysses” What the hell…
Byrhtwold maþelode, bord hafenode
(se wæs eald geneat), æsc acwehte
he ful baldlice beornas lærde
"Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað.
Her lið ure ealdor eall forheawen,
god on greote. A mæg gnornian
se ðe nu fram þis wigplegan wendan þenceð.
Ic eom frod feores; fram ic ne wille,
ac ic me be healfe minum hlaforde,
be swa leofan men, licgan þence.”
“Battle of Maldon” ll 309-19