Sneak Peak: Elaea: An Alliterative Epic, or Sigurd’s Lament

“Come, my friends, ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Ulysses


Of beginnings and Alfred’s swoon over the death of Edward, whereupon the King descends into dire illness.

1 Sing, O Bard, sit and tell, of benevolent hero bidding life, ascending to Avalonia, arising in grief, despairing death of dear kindred.

2 Sad ‘tis sung, sorrowfully waxed, of Edward’s cloak crimson stained and Gotlander’s grim offspring Gramarye’s truce breaking, reaping a doom reversed by none.

3 Sing, O Bard, sit and tell, of Sigurd’s actions, afterwards wrought: of marching on Caerpel, of marauders besetting, of loved ones low-brought, of lurid transgressions.

4 Scribe doth scribble, set in runes, the song now sung—Sigurd’s Lament. Drama in mezzo, midway begun: “Harken! from Sherwood, hither a rider breaks.”

5 Thus rises royalty, rides to greet the somber scout slowly plodding. Clad in cold armor crisply shinning, the rider reins, ‘fore royalty dismounts.

6 “Narrowly escaping, news I bring. Umbrian’s Captain, king ever-stately, replied to thy request, rebuffing diplomacy.” Breathing, gasping, Alfred’s liege breaks.

7 “Come, O Steward, converse now; expose truly, of Edward’s fairing!” The rider weeps, wracks and trembles, speech undone while sobbing furiously.

8 Fitfully composed, he fatefully utters: “Egil, the Umbrian, that unfit King, clutched thy cousin, cast him down. The Danelaw’s answer, drafted in crimson.”

9 Steadfast Alfred, of stateliness unmatched, clasps close his rider, constructs his speech; red eyes glowing, ruby with rage: “Lies thou tellest, lovely Edward liveth!”

10 “O merciful King,” the mastered man quakes, “Forswearing false speech faithfully I speak: Egil yearns ownership, enticed by ore; cast thy cousin down, cajoling thee to war.”


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