Codex Junius 11 HTML version

Liber I.29
(ll. 2018-2038) For a certain man who survived the battle and the sword came
running unto Abraham, the Hebrew prince, and told him the disaster, the fate of
Lot, and how the men of Sodom, and their strength, were sorely smitten. And
Abraham told these tidings to his friends; the faithful man besought his well-loved
comrades, Aner and Mamre and Eshcol, to bear him aid, saying that it was
grievous to his heart and greatest of all sorrows, that his brother's son should
suffer thraldom. He bade those valiant men devise a plan to free his kinsman,
and his wife with him. And quickly the three brothers spake, and healed the
sorrow of his heart with manful words, and pledged their faith to Abraham to aid
him, and avenge his wrath upon his foes, or fall in death.
(ll. 2039-2059) Then the holy man bade his hearth-retainers take their weapons.
Three hundred and eighteen wielders of the ashen spear he gathered, loyal-
hearted men, of whom he knew that each would stoutly bear his linden shield to
battle. And Abraham went out, and the three earls who had pledged their faith,
together with a great company of their people. He would fain redeem his
kinsman, Lot, from his distress. Brave were the warriors, stoutly bearing their
bucklers upon the march. And when these war-wolves had journeyed nigh unto
the camp, the son of Terah, wise of heart, bespake his captains (great was his
need that they should wage grim war on either flank, and hard hand-play against
the foe) and said that easily the Holy, Everlasting Lord could speed their fortunes
in the spear-strife.
(ll. 2060-2083) Then, in the shades of night, as I have heard, the warriors dared
the battle. In the camp rose din of shields and spears, death of bowmen, crash of
battle arrows. Bitterly the sharp spears pierced the hearts of men. In throngs their
foemen, warriors and comrades, fell in death, where laughing they had borne
away the spoil. And victory and glory of war forsook the strife of the Northmen.
No twisted gold did Abraham offer in ransom for his brother's son, but battle; he
smote and slew the foe in war. And the Lord of heaven smote in his behalf. Four
armies fled, the kings and captains of the folk. Behind them lay the goodly host of
hearth-retainers, cold in death, and in their track lay those who sacked the
homes of Sodom and Gomorrah, and bore away the young men and the gold.
Lot's uncle gave them grim requital! And the lords of the army of Elam, shorn of
their glory, continued in flight until they came nigh unto Damascus.
(ll. 2083-2095) Then Abraham betook him to the track of their retreat, and beheld
the flight of the foe. Lot was redeemed, and his possessions; the women
returned with joy. Far and wide upon the field of slaughter the birds were tearing
at the bodies of those foemen of the free. And Abraham brought the treasure of
the Southmen, their wives and children, unto their homes again, and maidens to
their kinsmen. Never did any man of living men with tiny band go forth more
worthily to battle than those who rushed against that mighty host.