And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

torsdag 29. august 2013

A poem for Harold Godwinson

Harold Godwinson is among the most maligned rulers of pre-norman England and his role as antagonist was an important element in the Normans' strategy of legitimisation in the years following 1066. In a sense Harold was the mirror-image of Edward the Confessor, whom the Normans revered as the man who had bequeathed the throne of England upon William of Normandy. For while Edward quickly rose to a prominent position in Anglo-Norman hagiography, Harold were to become a traitor, usurper and a son of a man who displayed Judas-like features. In a future blogpost I hope to expand more upon this treatment of Harold Godwinson, but for the time being I merely put up a short poem written with some sympathy for Harold as a ill-treated figure of Anglo-Norman historiography.

Harold Godwinsson

If, in the likeness of a black hound,
you come to revisit the ground
which gave you death and shelter

while the world was ravaged by winter storms,
come quietly, as in your regal form,
not in the helter-skelter

of the living, who do not yield their land,
or the light of day, by a king's hand
and therefore know not peace,

while you, pressed heavenward by the frost,
whom the living proclaimed as lost,
cast your patient shadow upon the binding seas.
- July 27 2013

The Battle of Hastings, Harold to the right with an arrow in his eye
From MS Ee.3.59, Estoire de Seint Edouard le Rei, England, mid-13th century
Courtesy of Cambridge University Library

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