The Orric Manuscript

This is an excellent example of a persona history done in a period style. It is reprinted from Rampant Lyin, the Thor's Mountain newsletter with the permission of the author, Master Orric of Romney, formerly of the Barony of Thor's Mountain, Kingdom of Meridies and now dwelling in the Barony of Storvik, Kingdom of the East. His presence is sorely missed by us.


Recently, RL was provided with a translation of an eleventh century manuscript. With the permission of the translator, it is our pleasure to present it to you at this time, complete with the translator's notes.

Wide have I wanderedaway from fair England
Over the wild seato dwell with the Danes
My homeland lies plunderedby honorless pirates
I am called Orrick.I sing now my death song
Schooled by fine mastersa 'scop' first became I
To shelter the wearywith word woven mantles
Graced by fair Fortunemy songs in his service
Earl Godwin acceptedI honor his household!
Swift like the swallowflew years before me
Godwin stood gravelya king but uncrowned.
Unshaken by times handuntil a tomb claimed him
Did I then sing forand entered his service.
Again as an arrowdid time pass before me
Harold of Wessex hunted the waters
Seeking seaís bountywith line and with sinker
On shore I guessedour ships did I guide.
Losing our waywe crossed the channel,
Landed in Normandywhere we met William.
By treacherous guilebought treasonís gain.
Obtaining an oathsworn under false colors
William the Wileywon hollow promises.
Sailing for homeat summer sunís height
Learned we that Edwardlay ill by his throne
Harold of Wessexby Witan was chosen
To be the new kingSucceeding Confessor.
Lo, in the Northlandlanded Norwegians
Lead by Hardrada,hard-counsel giver.
Harkened by warriorsof Harold of Wessex,
Their anger arousedby news of the Northmen,
Bitter the battleat the stream of Stanford,
Of our soil, six feetdid Hardrada inherit.
Felled by a blow, I fared ill in battle,
Staying at Stanfordas the king strayed southward,
Battered and feveredfrom the battle-sickness,
The House of Acleahhealed my wounds grievous.
Hearing that Haroldlay hewn from the conflict
Hurried from Englandthe House of Acleah, and
Sharing their small shipI sailed on the salt sea.
Arriving in DenmarkI wed with their daughter
Aethelthryth was she,a fine wife she made me.
Swift did the seasonssail in the Daneland,
Aged now am I...

Translator's Note: The discovery of a relatively intact Danish manuscript (c 1090) has caused much recent excitement among students of Medieval Scandinavia.* The above is the most complete translation to date. Sadly, the poem breaks off before completion. The final lines of the manuscript are missing, and would seem lost for all time.

*It is unique among primary sources in providing an explanation for Harold Godwinssonís journey to Normandy in 1064.

Back to Early Period #2 | Back to Early Period Index
Back to PastTimes