Codex Junius 11 HTML version

Liber I.30
(ll. 2096-2106) Southward the tidings of battle were borne to the people of
Sodom: news of their fierce foes' flight. The lord of the folk, bereft of earls and
desolate of friends, went out unto Abraham, to meet him. And with him journeyed
Salem's treasure-warden, Melchizedek the mighty, the bishop of the folk. He
came with gifts, gave Abraham fair greeting, the lord of armed men, and blessed
him with God's blessing, and said:
(ll. 2107-2120) "Well hast thou borne thee among men, before His eyes who
gave thee glory in the battle -- that is, God the Lord, who brake the power of thy
foes, and let thee hew thy way to safety with the sword, regain the spoil, and fell
thine enemies. They perished in the track of their retreat. The marching host
throve not in battle, but God put them to flight. With His hands He shielded thee
against the force of greater numbers in the battle because of the holy covenant
which thou dost keep with the Lord of heaven."
(ll. 2121-2125) And the prince laid his hand upon him and blessed him, and
Abraham gave a tenth part of all the booty unto the bishop of God. Then unto
Abraham spake the battle-king, the prince of Sodom, bereft of his warriors (he
had need of favour):
(ll. 2126-2135) "Restore me now the maidens of my people whom thou hast
rescued with thy host from evil bondage. Keep thou the twisted gold that was my
people's, the wealth and treasure. But let me lead again in freedom to their native
land and wasted dwellings the children of my people, the women and lads and
widows in their affliction. Our sons are dead and all our nobles, save a few only
who must guard with me the marches of our land."
(ll. 2136-2138) And straightway, crowned with valour and victory and glory,
Abraham made answer before the earls. Right nobly spake he:
(ll. 2139-2160) "I say to thee, O prince of men, before the Holy Lord of earth and
heaven, there is no worldly treasure I will take, nor scot nor shilling of what I have
redeemed for thee among the bowmen, great prince and lord of men, lest that
thou afterward shouldest say that I grew rich with the riches of Sodom and its
olden treasure. But thou mayest take hence with thee all that booty which I won
for thee in battle, save only the portion of these lordly men, of Aner, and of
Mamre, and of Eshcol. I will not willingly deprive these warriors of their right, for
they upheld me in the shock of battle and fought to thine advantage. Depart now,
taking home the well-wrought gold, and lovely maidens, the daughters of thy
people. Thou needest not to dread the onrush of thy foes, or war of the
Northmen, but the blood-stained birds of prey are resting on the mountain slopes,
gorged with the slain of their armies."