The other day I was thinking about staffs and cudgels...

Those being the weapons I would be least likely to injure myself with in some hypothetical defense of the church and her statues against the vandals (the post is here)-- ought one to write staves? the Dictionary nods yes, one can, but staffs is also acceptable-- and by coincidence the new essay of Dr Eleanor Parker (A Clerk of Oxford) for this week is about a poem whose narrator thanks God and the heavenly host for, inter alia, 'the victory-rod I carry'. The 'rod', gyrd, he is talking about is, in the first place, a staff or sturdy stick to fight with, to defend himself; the sigegyrd may be the Cross. A few lines of her translation:

I protect myself with this rod,
and commit myself into God’s keeping,
against the sore stabbing pain, against the sore blow,
against the fierce horror,
against the great terror which is hateful to all,
and against everything hateful which comes into this country.
A victory-charm I chant, a victory-rod I carry,
victorious in words and works. May it help me;
may no nightmare afflict me nor powerful man harm me,
nor anything fearsome befall me in my life.

The poem is written in the margin of an Old English version of St Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica. Everyone ought go to Dr Parker's Patreon site and investigate the riches there; this particular essay is entitled 'Forth will I fare'; today's date.



Post a Comment