And So It Was!
And so it was
The English had forgotten who they were
Lost in darkness and shadow confused and uncertain
For what is a man without his past?
Hear then the deeds of your ancestors
I Æthlflæd, Lady of Mercia, stand before you
I have crossed the Rainbow Bridge
To tell you who you are.
Clear and insistent,
The bard’s song echoed through the mead hall
Tales of heroes, gods and giants told in the dusk of evening
They listened and were entranced
Seated at their benches
Around the brightness of the laughing, dancing fire
Warriors and farmers dreamed the same dream
Good land to till, homes for their families.
From Denmark and Germany
A North Sea people, skilled seafarers
They knew the fame of rich Britannia
Sailed the sea paths
In their high prowed ships,
The legions all departed
The invaders reached the shore,
Few in number but determined.
Then who has heard the tale?
It was Vortigern, a British King
The Chronicles recall
Hounded by the Picts, sent for help to Angle
Three ships came to Ebbsfleet
A brave war band
Engaged in savage conflict
Won honour and glory and were victorious.
King Vortigern rewarded these mercenaries
Was generous with his gifts
Buckles finely wrought, gold rings, sharp edged swords and land.
Then came a mighty host
Men of three tribes, Saxons, Jutes and Angles
Bound by kinship and loyalty
To their lords – Hengest and Horsa
These warriors fought but did not obey this king.
Sword on shield clashed, axes rose and fell
Many were slain in bloody battle,
Hengst and Horsa took land for their trouble.
The Jutes, Kent, for their homes
Great craftsmen these, and traders
Saxons and Angles to the east and middle country
Others saw their chance and followed
Over the wide grey sea.
Villages were built, houses of wattle, daub and thatch.
Not town dwellers these Anglo Saxons
Lovers of the open land, dark pine forests and wide rivers.
Their settlements tuns and hams
The Roman towns deserted, haunted, cold harbours.
Warriors hung up their war gear now
Listened to the bard as he sang in the mead hall
In the land of the Angles, their new land of England.
And so the fates who weave the threads of all men’s lives
Created a wondrous tapestry for these people;
Green, sea blues and greys
Blood red, gleaming gold, silver and purple
Skilled farmers, seafarers, brave warriors, great kings.
These were your ancestors.
[And So It Was – was kindly written by a friend and supporter of Northants English Welfare Society, March 2013]