Friday 31 May 2013

The Anglo-Saxons...and King Canute - (Final) Part Nine

Ethelred "the Unready" 978-1016
...They came back when one Ethelred
Was ruler of this land.
It didn't take them very long
To gain the upper hand.

The king's tag - "the Unready" -
Is an ancient mistranslation*,
(Though he really wasn't well-prepared,
When Danes attacked our nation.)

Thus the efforts of the Danish
Were to very soon bear fruit.
One of them seized England's crown:
His name was King Canute.

To start with, he was rubbish,
But then, it's understood,
Discovered Christianity
And did a lot of good.

King Cnut (Canute) 1016-1035
His achievements may, for many,
All now seem a little hazy,
And for most who can recall him,
It's for doing something crazy.

His advisors, wanting favour,
Said, "You're mighty and you're strong:
You surely can command the sea."
He sought to prove them wrong.

He set off to the seaside
With his sycophantic pack.
He sat just at the water's edge
And told the waves, "Go back!"

The advisors learnt a lesson
They were never to forget.
The tide advanced towards the king,
Whose feet got very wet.

In all, three Danes ruled England
But could not fail to ignore,
Trouble in their homeland.
Anglo-Saxons reigned thrice more.

A turning point was looming,
And Hastings was its name.
The Normans conquered England.
Things would never be the same.

* Unraed means "bad counsel" in Old English

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