Duke William in Battle
King Harold has been wounded and
his eye has been put out but how is the Norman leader faring?
pressed close upon the English with his lance, striving hard
to reach the standard with the great troop he led, and seeking
earnestly for Harold, on whose account the whole war was. The
Normans follow their lord, and press around him; they ply
their blows upon the English, and these defend themselves
stoutly, striving hard with their enemies, returning blow for
One of them was a man of great strength, a wrestler, who did
great mischief to the Normans with his hatchet; all feared
him, for he struck down a great many Normans.
The Duke spurred
on his horse, and aimed a blow at him, but he stooped, and so
escaped the stroke; then jumping on one side, he lifted his
hatchet aloft, and as the Duke bent to avoid the blow, the
Englishman boldly struck him on the head and beat in his
helmet, though without doing much injury.
He was very near
falling, however; but, bearing on his stirrups, he recovered
himself immediately; and when he thought to have revenged
himself upon the churl by killing him, he had escaped,
dreading the Duke's blow. He ran back in among the English,
but he was not safe even there; for the Normans, seeing him,
pursued and caught him, and having pierced him through and
through with their lances, left him dead on the ground.
Where the throng of the battle was greatest, the men of Kent
and Essex fought wondrously well, and made the Normans again
retreat, but without doing them much injury. And when the Duke
saw his men fall back and the English triumphing over them,
his spirit rose high, and he seized his shield and his lance,
which a vassal handed to him, and took his post by his