.Ælfgifu. wrote:It might be just me, but if I were shouting a line from the Battle of Maldon in a life-or-death struggle, it would be:
'Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre,
mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað'
'Thought shall be the harder, heart the sterner,
Spirit shall be the more, as our might shrinks'
Which, besides being one of the best-known couplets in Old English poetry, is more to do with the actual struggle than the exchange of insults at the beginning. It's the one I've always imagined.
You have have a point there, AElfgifu. It's just that when I read a translation of the poem that rejoiner by Byrhtnoth stuck in my mind. Now that you mention it, Ransom is tiring physicaly at the point he recites the quote as he has the Un-Man pinned down. It could be my American sense of "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" that made me think of the counter-challenge line. You on the other hand are closer to the source of "The Battle of Maldon" and are more familair to the whole poem.
Does Lewis specify differently?
Nope, It's just a passing reference of the poem's title. I googled it and found all sorts of reference materials, including a map for a minature war game which I am tempted to re-enact with some of my small scale Midieval figures.
I found it interesting that although to poem was about a battle lost to the Viking raiders, the Anglo Saxon defenders are praised as heros, at least those who fought to the death rather than retreat.
so it goes...