The Battle of the Eastern Field

Ho, rattles sound your warnote!
Ho, trumpets loudly bray!
The clans will strive and gory writhe
Upon the field to-day.
To-day the wall and the blackboards
Are hung with flaunting script,
From Atlas on the staircase
To Bogey’s darkling crypt.
Each knight is robed in scarlet,
Or clad in olive green;
A gallant crest upon each breast
Is proudly heaving seen.
While flows our Yellow River,
While stands the great Pavil,
That Thursday in the Lenten Term
Shall be a beanfeast still.


Thus spake the Green-clad Chieftain
To the foe in Scarlet dight,
“Shall no one wrest the silver grail
Nor dare another fight!”
And the doughty foeman answer’d —
“Ay, the goblet shall be won,
And on a famous field of war
Great deeds of prowess done!”
So hard by Brum’s great river
They bade the hosts to meet,
Array’d upon the Eastern Field
For victory or defeat.


Now greyly dawns that fatal day
Upon the Eastern Field,
That Thursday in the Lenten Term
With honour ever sealed.
Nor without secret trouble
Does the bravest mark his foes,
For girt by many a vassal bold
Each mighty leader shows.
Around the Green-clad Chieftain
Stands many a haughty lord,
From Edgbastonia’s ancient homes,
From Mosli’s emerald sward;
Towers Ericillus of the sands;
Glowers Falco of the Bridge.
But noblest stands that Chiefest Lord
From the Fountain’s lefty ridge.
Among the blood-red ranks were seen
‘Midst many an honour’d name
Great Sekhet and those brethren
The Corcii of fame.


Now straight the shrill call sounded
That heralds in the fray,
And loud was heard the clamour
Of the watchers far away.
Swiftly rushed out that Chiefest Lord,
And fiercely onward sped,
His corslet girt about his waist,
His close helm on his head.
Now round in thickest throng there pressed
These warriors red and green,
And many a dashing charge was made,
And many a brave deeds seen.
Full oft a speeding foeman
Was hurtled to the ground,
While forward and now backwards,
Did the ball of fortune bound:
Till Sekhet mark’d the slaughter,
And toss’d his flaxen crest
And towards the Green-clad Chieftain
Through the carnage pressed;
Who fiercely flung by Sekhet,
Lay low upon the ground,
Till a thick wall of liegemen
Encompassed him around.
His clients from the battle
Bare him some little space,
And gently rubbed his wounded knee,
And scanned his pallid face.



…meanwhile in the centre
Great deeds of arms were wrought,
Where Cupid ran on cunning foot,
And where the Hill-lord fought.
But Cupid lo! outrunning
The fleetest of the hosts,
Sped to where beyond the press,
He spied the Great Twin Posts;
He crossed the line…



Then tenfold from the watchers
The shouts and din arose,
Like the roar of the raucous signal
When the dinner-hour bull blows,
Now backward and now forward,
Rocked furious the fray,
When sudden came the last shrill call
Which marked the close of play.


Then cried the kind Mensura,
“Ho, henchman lade the board,
With tankards and with viands rare
From out thy toothsome hoard;
For never, I ween, shall warriors,
Who have fought a noble fight,
All thirsty and a hungering,
Depart without a bite.
So let the war-worn clansmen
Of banner green or red,
Sip my steaming cup of peace,
And friendly break my bread.”
So at Mensura’s bidding,
Was straight a feast array’d
And thither limped the men of war,
And thirst and hunger stay’d.
When so, they put forth from them
The lust of meat and drink,
Though ne’er from food or foemen,
Did any even shrink,
Before them many a king and lord
Held speech, and many a cheer
Was raised for all those men of heart,
To whom brave war is dear.

„Битката на източните поля”. В „Училищна хроника на „Кинг Едуард””, Бирмингам, том 26, № 186 (март 1911), стр. 22–26. (Поема. Публикувано отново в „Маллорн” № 12 (1978), стр. 24–28)

Първата известна поема на Толкин. Представлява пародия на „Ле за Древен Рим” на Томас Бабингтън Маколи.