He then told those heroes: “hold back the horses,
send them far off for we're going forward,
think now of your hands, and of God on High.”
It was then that Offa's clan first found-out,
that their famous earl was fully fearless.
He freed from his wrist his much-loved flier
his hawk sent over the hedges, hurried himself on.
So that more might understand young men show no
weakness at war when they wield weaponry.
Eadric resolved to go with his elders,
forth to the fight; facing forward with his
spear at that skirmish: he gave special thanks,
that while his hand held hard on his
buckler and broadsword he was fulfilling his boast,
to stand firm with his friends when the fighting came.
Then Byrhtnoth began deploying his battallions,
rode out to rally them, readied his soldiers
said how they should stand and hold steady,
shouldering their round-shields staying strong
fast amongst fellows, feeling no fright.
When he had his troops trimmed and tight
he dismounted in the middle amongst those who loved him,
where his household guard stood heart-loyal.
Suddenly, on the strand, loud on that far shore,
was a Viking warrior, wild with his words,
boasting, as is the way with those wave-wanderers
a statement sent to the Earl stood on the other side:
“I've been selected by certain brave seamen;
to convey this command: you must quickly compensate
us with tribute for a truce. For truly it's better
that battle be bought-off with a bribe,
than that we should hand-out the hard hurt of war.
No need to spill blood, if you send us a sweetener:
give us gold and we will agree a good peace.
Roll-out your revenue, let the richest among you
lighten their load and release their lucre,
send the sea-warriors something for themselves
treasure for peace-treaty, and we'll take the truce,
we will accept such settlement go back to our ships,
sail across the sea with a sealed pact between us.”
Byrhtnoth shouted back, shaking his shield,
waving his ash-spear, shaping his words,
wrathfully, resolutely replying to that man:
“Do you hear, sailor-boy, what these soldiers say?
they want to send you sharp spears as tribute,
quick-pointed, and a clutch of cutting swords,
gifts of war-gear that will do you no good.
Go back to your boatpeople with this bulletin:
bring to your betters this belittling reply: 
that here stands an honourable earl with his army,
who'll hold hard to his homeland,
Æthelrēd's earth, my own ancestor,
my folk and freehold; you shall fall,
heathens, in the heat of battle. Hot the shame, I'd say,
if you swaggered to your ships and sailed away
uncontested, now you've come this far
into our land as interlopers.
Nor shall you seize any such soft treasure.
Spearpoint and sharp-edged sword shall settle this,
grim gore-play before we ever give away our gold.”
Told his soldiers to shift their shields, assume positions,
beside the stream they all stood.
The water was in the way between those warriors;
fast as a flowing flood after the ebb,
two locked longstreams. A long wait, he thought,
until belligerents could be brought to battle.
The River Pant restricted those rivals,
Eastsaxons here and ash-ship others there.
Neither could destroy or do harm to their adversary,
except those that fell to fast-fletched arrows.
Then the tide turned. Troops stood ready,
vigorous vikings avid for war.
The headman told one hero to hold the bridge:
a war-hardened warrior called Wulfstān,
courageous amongst his kin (he was Cēolan's son)
He felled the first man with a French-forged spear
who was bold enough to step on that bridge.
Waiting with Wulfstān were two warriors,
Ælfere and Maccus, mighty twins,
they would never flee from the work at that ford,
but would fiercely fight against those foreigners,
all the while they were able to wield their weapons.
When the seamen surveilled and saw with certainty
that those bridge-wardens were battling them back,
they began to use guile those loathly guests,
asked for permission to pass to dry ground,
to fare over that ford with their footsoldiers.
This the Earl allowed in an over-mood
leased too much land to those loathed men.
He called out across the cold water
Byrhtelm's boy (both sides heard him):
“Now you have space, come swiftly to us,
let enemies engage; God alone knows
how this crucial combat will come to its conclusion.”
So the war-wolves waded (getting wet didn't worry them),
Viking warriors walking west over the Pant,
through shining water shouldering shields
of linked linden planks, bearing them landward.
There, to stop such savages solidly stood 
Byrhtnoth and his best men. He bade them block
shields into a solid wall, stop those soldiers
stand fast against the foe. The fight fell on them,
keen combat, The time had come
when the fellows fated to fall would do so.
The roar of battle was raised. Ravens circled,
those eagles of carrion. The earth itself cried out.
Flung from both sides file-hardened spears,
came grinding down grim fliers;
bows were busy, shields bore the brunt.
Bitter was the battlerush, brave men falling
on either hand heaped heroes lay.
Wounds wore-down Wulfmaer: he chose war's sleep.
Byrhtnōth's kin was bashed about,
he and his sister's son struck with many swords.
At least they gave the Vikings violent reverse.
I heard that huge Edward hacked one down hard
slew him with a sword, swung it without ceasing,
until at his foot one fellow met his fate;
for which his good lord gave much gratitude,
that borough-thane, big with thanks.
So they stood firm in their strength
young braves at battle; buoyant at heart
who there might strike down with their spearpoints
those who were fated to die and win fame,
warriors with weapons; wearing down the enemy.
They stood steadfast; it was Byrhtnōth's strategy
that each warrior would work-out how best
to engage the Danes to deal with the danger.
Then one warrior walked up, his weapons held high,
buckler before him, bravely stepping to those boys;
against him stood our Earl, facing that churl:
each to the other intended to do evil.
The seafarer hurled a southern-forged spear,
and it badly wounded our warband's lord;
he shoved with his shield, so the shaft of it broke,
and the spear shattered, sprang back again.
This set one soldier seething. He stung with his spear
the vanity of that Viking, gave him a vicious wound.
Savvy of that squaddie, stabbing with his spear
at that knight's neck! —nudging with his hand
frittering the life-force of that fierce foe.
Then he sent a second speedy shot off,
making a battler bleed, bursting through his breast
chopping through his chainmail, cutting the chest
and hacking his heart. His earl was happy,
guffawed at such good-work, gave thanks to God
for this day's daring decreed by destiny.
But then some dangerman directed a dart,
hurled it from his hand: it hurtled over 
lanced through that leader Æthelrēd's lord.
Beside him in that strife stood a strong adolescent
little more than a boy, who most bravely
shucked from his torso the blood stained shaft,
Wulfstān's boy, Young Wulfmǣr it was
who sent that steely spear flying back;
it entered that other knocked him over on the earth
the guy who'd so grievously gashed our general.
One enemy jogged across approached that earl;
to fetch back the finery of that fallen fighter,
his raiment, rings of gold and rich sword.
Byrhtnoth brought out his blade from its sheath,
broad and bright-edged, struck out at this battler:
though the invader avoided the blow, advanced
and in return injured the earl's own arm;
who let go to the ground his gold-handled sword,
nor might he hold on to that hardened hilt,
or wield his weapon. So he spoke these words,
that grey-haired harrier, to help the others,
bade them go forward a good garrison;
though he couldn't keep his feet or stand fast;
but looked to heaven:
“Grateful to you, Gatherer of Peoples,
for all that I have won in my time in this world.
Now I, gentle Judge, have utmost need
as I give up my ghost to God's goodness,
send my soul to you soaring upwards
into your grace, Guardian of Angels,
departing in peace if it please you
and that no hell-snatchers harm my soul.”
Then the heathen hordes hacked him down
and both the battlers that stood beside him,
Ælfnōth and Wulmǣr fell near him,
gave up their lives for their loved lord.
Some now backed-out of battle those who couldn't bear it.
Off went Oddan's first-born fleeing the fight,
Godric—got right out of there quitting his good lord
that had so often sent him superb steeds.
He hopped onto the horse that had been his lord's,
used that riding-gear to which he had no right,
and his brothers ran too, abandoning the battle,
Godrinc and Godwīg, giving up the grind,
running away from the war and into the woods,
scurrying off to security, to save their own lives,
and many more ran, most improperly,
when you think of the fine full favours he'd done them,
that good lord's many gifts graciously given.
Offa had himself said earlier on that day,
in the assembly-hall, where all met in audience,
that though many men made major claims 
in the aftermath all would not endure.
There he lay, killed the people's king,
Æthelrēd's earl; all had seen his end
his hearth-followers beheld that here a hero lay.
So they went forth those ferocious officers
unalarmed men eagerly marching:
they all held one of two hopes:
to lose their lives or avenge their beloved lord.
One encouraged then onwards Ælfrīc's offspring,
not many winters old, but speaking unweak words,
Ælfwine was his name, and now he announced:
“I remember what we men mouthed over our mead,
bundled together on benches and all boasting
how (in that hall) we were heroes, ready to win hard;
now we can see whose courage is still keen.
I'll blab my bloodline make it obvious to all,
that I'm from famous Myrcon's fine family;
that my grandfather was Ealhelm the Great,
a wise alderman, and worldhappy.
No-one shall say of me —none of our seniors—
that I ever failed, fled from a fight,
hurried home hatefully now my lord has fallen
since he's slain in the skirmish; that would shame me:
he was my kin and he was my king.”
So he moved forward, his mind on the mêlée,
and spear-wounded one of the sea-wanderers
fully felled him, so that he lay in that field
wiped-out by that weapon. This encouraged his war-band,
his friends and comrades into that combat.
And Offa shouted, shaking his ash spear:
“Well done Ælfwine! you've inspired your elders,
rightly roused them: now our royal lord is dead,
now earth's claimed our earl we should all make the effort
each should attempt to embolden the others
warriors at war, while we hold our weapons
have them at hand, these hardened maces,
our gear, good swords. For Godric
—Odda's boneless boy— has betrayed us all:
many a brave man, who saw him mounted on that mare,
was misled into thinking, that our own lord was leaving;
it created confusion on the field of combat,
broke-up the shield-wall: a bad beginning,
that sent so many soldiers scurrying away!”
Leofsunu spoke aloud lifting his linden-shield,
his body's bulwark, bellowed these words:
“I hereby swear, that I'll not swerve
not flee so much as a foot, but will forge onward,
find revenge in this fight for my fallen friend.
None should smear me at Stūrmer with steadfast
demeaning words, of my lord's debacle, 
that I left this place lordless and loped away home,
walked away from this war? Better let some weapon take me,
any edge of iron.” He advanced full of ire,
rushed at the raiders, repudiated all retreat.
Dunnere soon spoke, shaking his deadly spear:
though only a commoner he called-out the uppercrust,
bade all the high-born avenge bold Byrhtnōth:
“None can veer away if they hope for vengeance
for our fallen lord, nor give in to fear!”
So they lunged forward, made light of their fear;
household retainers hurrying into the heart of the fight,
goring with their spears, and begging God
that they might wreak a right revenge,
and aim at their enemies annihilation.
Even the hostage helped fighting heartily:
—he was a Northumbrian from a noble family,
Ecglaf's offspring, by name Æscferth:
he never winced at this wild war-work,
but again and again aimed his arrows;
sometimes he struck a shield, sometimes a soldier;
over and over he opened wounds on some enemy,
all the while he could work war with his weapons.
A long way behind stood Edward Longshanks,
ready, raring to go, speaking rousing words,
he'd not surrender so much one single foot of soil,
neither bend nor go back, over where his better lay.
He broke through the shield-wall, and battled the enemy,
until he'd settled his debt with those seamen
paid-back his prince, and, in doing so, perished.
The same did Ætheric, noble accompanier,
fierce and forward-looking he fought in earnest,
Sibyrhte's brother and so many suchlike
severed the circular shields, put-up sharp defence;
snapped the board's rim, made the armour sing
its brutal music. Then brave in that battle
Offa struck-down a sailor, who suddenly fell,
and there Gaddes' group sought-out ground:
soon enough in that fight. Offa fell;
but he had accomplished what he had come for,
what he'd previously promised to his noble patron
that they should both ride back to their borough,
home again happy, or else halt all life
on this corpse-cluttered clearing cut-down with wounds:
he lay at last, loyally beside his lord.
A clashing of shields! The seamen were coming,
burning with battle-fury. Their bayonets broke open
soldier's soul-houses. Wistan set out,
(he was Thurstene's son) struggling with assailants:
in any tussle he could take-down three of them,
Wigelin's strong son too until he was slaughtered. 
It was savage strife; soldiers standing fast
each fellow fighting until all fighters fell,
wounded and weary; warriors littering the earth.
Oswold and Ealdwold all the while
brothers in that battle bore-up their men
their drinking-buddies with daring words
declaring they'd endure dire desperation
without any weakness and wield their weapons.
Byrhtwold shouted, shouldered his shattered shield,
(he was an old soldier), shook his ash-spear;
and with big boldness bellowed to his comrades:
“Heads be held higher, hearts shall be keener,
mood shall mount-up as our might lessens.
Here lies our leader all laid low,
a good man on the ground; all should grieve
to witness him gone away from this war-play.
I've lived long enough; I'll not leave this location,
but will stop here, stay with my slain sovereign:
beside my loved leige is where I'll lie down.”
So did Æthelgāre's son send their spirits soaring. 
Godric going to war threw a great many spears
javelins veering towards the Vikings,
firmly into those foreigners he went, front-line
hewing and hurting them, until he was himself killed.
Not the same Godric, this, who'd slunk away from the slaughter.