The Battle of Maldon, lines 230-325 [end]

Offa speaks, saying the Godric has doubly betrayed them all, as some of the English, seeing Byrhtnoth’s horse riding away, think that the Ealdorman had given a signal for retreat. It is now obvious that the Vikings will own the day. But Leofsunu swears not to step back one foot from the battle but instead will fight to the death. Other men also refuse to leave.

Byrhtwold, the old retainer, then utters the most famous lines in Old English poetry:

The heart must be braver, courage the bolder

Mind the stronger, as our strength lessens.

He, and the rest, stay fighting by the side of their dead lord. The poem ends by mentioning another Godric who was killed fighting, not the cowardly one who had fled.

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