The Battle of Maldon, lines 1-99

In preparation for battle, a warrior sets his hawk free to fly to the forest. Likewise the warriors send their horses to the rear.

Byrhtnoth, the Ealdorman, arranges the young men who have come to fight [the untrained youths of the Essex levy, it seems], teaches them how to hold sword and shield and where to stand. Then he goes to the company of his hearth companions who will be in the vanguard of the fight.

The Viking herald calls across the water, offering to accept tribute for peace and not to fight.

Byrhtnoth scornfully refuses.

The English and the Vikings are not able to attack each other, save with arrows, while the water flows between them. Then, when the narrow causeway becomes passable, the English have the advantage, and no Vikings can gain the shore.

The Vikings call for Byrhtnoth to allow them to cross to have a more even fight, and then the Eorl, on account of his ofermod, allows them to come across the water.

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