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Danegyth's lament

The lament for the death of King Harold

Lament, lament, I heard upon a day

Ealdgyth mourning, mourning her lost Lord

and the cry went up when he was lost

and could not be found.

 

So they came to us, the monks.

A Christian burial they said,

but none could say which was him

so bloody had it been at the end.

 

I shall not forget the stench,

and did not think we could bear it.

But for love of him, she did,

and for love of her, I did.

 

That bloody field at Senlac Hill

where old England died

and the houscarls fought 

to a bitter end with no hope.

 

So we imitated them. We walked

with no hope. But where the fight

had been thickest, there we searched

amidst the shambles and the blood.

 

At length, as the shadows began to fall

she found what was left of him.

The great scar on his chest told us

it was her lost love, great Harold.

 

And she kissed the remains, she shed

bitter tears, and wept as the sun

went down the sky and

the stars began to shine.

 

We knelt the long night with him

in that cold dark place, or what

there was left, after the brutes

had hacked and cut and thrust.

 

She wept, and I wept, and the salt

tears marked us as we kissed

and I cared not who saw, for I knew

that God is love and I love her.

 

We stood, we two, as they buried him

near Senlac Hill

where all fell into the eternal dark

and all hope was lost forever.

 

We embraced, we two, and we cried

for in him died all our hopes, and our

fears were but half of what really came

after that bitter day.

 

But we had done our duty,

our love had prevailed

oh but that stench and those

sights will haunt me to the end.

 

The days of men are short,

and no bards will tell his tale,

for the victors sing and the

vanquished are silent

 

But there will come a day when

Harold will be remembered as a great

and lordly king. But we knew him as Lord

and as Lover, and that is best.

 

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