Reference > Fiction > Nonfiction > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
From the ‘Chronicle’
Anglo-Saxon Literature
Selection from the entry for the year 897

Translation of Robert Sharp

THEN Alfred, the King, ordered long ships built to oppose the war-ships of the enemy. They were very nearly twice as long as the others; some had sixty oars, some more. They were both swifter and steadier, and also higher than the others; they were shaped neither on the Frisian model nor on the Danish, but as it seemed to King Alfred that they would be most useful.  1
  Then, at a certain time in that year, came six hostile ships to Wight, and did much damage, both in Devon and elsewhere on the seaboard. Then the King ordered that nine of the new ships should proceed thither. And his ships blockaded the mouth of the passage on the outer-sea against the enemy. Then the Danes came out with three ships against the King’s ships; but three of the Danish ships lay above the mouth, high and dry aground; and the men were gone off upon the shore. Then the King’s men took two of the three ships outside, at the mouth, and slew the crews; but one ship escaped. On this one all the men were slain except five; these escaped because the King’s ship got aground. They were aground, moreover, very inconveniently, since three were situated upon the same side of the channel with the three stranded Danish ships, and all the others were upon the other side, so that there could be no communication between the two divisions. But when the water had ebbed many furlongs from the ships, then went the Danes from their three ships to the King’s three ships that had been left dry upon the same side by the ebbing of the tide, and they fought together there. Then were slain Lucumon, the King’s Reeve, Wulfheard the Frisian, and Æbbe the Frisian, and Æthelhere the Frisian, and Æthelferth the King’s companion, and of all the men Frisians and English, sixty-two; and of the Danes, one hundred and twenty.  2
  But the flood came to the Danish ships before the Christians could shove theirs out, and for that reason the Danes rowed off. They were, nevertheless, so grievously wounded that they could not row around the land of the South Saxons, and the sea cast up there two of the ships upon the shore. And the men from them were led to Winchester to the King, and he commanded them to be hanged there. But the men who were in the remaining ship came to East Anglia, sorely wounded.  3

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