Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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Music of the Waters.              211
turf, where they had stationed an army. This was at Southwark, or, as they called it, Sudrviki, and between this and the castle (probably the site of the Tower of London) there was a bridge so broad that two waggons could pass each other upon it; on this were raised barri­cades, both towers and wooden parapets, in the direction of the river—namely, across the bridge—which were almost breast high ; and under the bridge were piles driven into the bottom of the river. King Ethelred, on hearing of the death of King Swend, the Danish king, came home imme­diately, and soon gathered an immense force about him, amongst whom were King Olaf and a troop of Northmen. They tried to get possession of the bridge, but the Danes firmly defended it. A council was called together to deter­mine how they should get the bridge broken down, and it was determined to lay their forces under the bridge. King Olaf ordered great platforms of floating wood to be tied together with hazel bands, and for this he took down old houses, and with these as a roof he covered over his ships so widely that it reached over their sides. Under this screen he set pillars so high and stout, that there both was room for swinging their swords, and the roofs were strong enough to withstand the stones cast down upon them. They rowed up the river when ready, but when they came near the bridge, there were cast down upon them so many stones and missile weapons, such as arrows and spears, that neither helmet nor shield could hold out against' them; and the ships themselves were so greatly damaged, that many retreated. But King Olaf and his men rowed quite up under the bridge, laid their cables around the piles which supported it, and then rowed off as fast as they could. The piles thus shaken were loosened under the bridge, and as the armed troops of the Danish stood thick upon it, together with heaps of stones and other weapons, the piles being loosened and broken, the bridge gave way, and a great part of the men fell into the Thames ; the rest fled, some into the castle, and some
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