Introduction by W.W. Skeat, continued

§ 21. The Story. To trace fully the history of the Lay of Havelok would almost require a volume to itself. All that I can give here is a mere outline. The question has been frequently discussed; for references, see § 35. The story has been influenced by various legends, told of various people. Thus the flame that appeared to issue from Havelok’s mouth as he lay asleep (591, 1256) reminds us of Servius Tullius, around whose infant head flames were seen to play in his slumbers (Ovid, Fasti, vi. 635).

As to the connexion between the story of Havelok and that of Hamlet (also a famous prince of Denmark), see the discussion in the Introduction (§§ 1, 2) to Hamlet in Iceland, by I. Gollancz. And Dr. Ward, following Storm, has shown that Habloc (which is the spelling of Havelok seen on the Grimsby seal) is a name of Welsh origin which, on account of its similarity, was sometimes transferred to the Scandinavian heroes of the name of Anlaf, a more original form of Olaf. ‘The Norse Ólafr, originally Anleifr, corresponds with the A.S. Anláf, the Irish Amlaib, pronounced Awlay, and the Welsh Abloc. Thus in the Welsh chronicle Brut y Tywysogion (ed. by the Rev. J. Williams ab Ithel, London, 1860), the predecessor of our Anlaf is named Abloyc (a.d. 942); we find, a.d. 960, the “meibion Abloec,” i.e. the sons of Abloc Cuaran; and a.d. 989, the death of Glumaine mab Abloyc noticed. And as Abloc is the Welsh form of Anlaf or Olave, thus Aveloc—in later English Havelok—must be the Anglo-Norman pronunciation of Abloc.’—G. Storm (Engl. Studien, iii. 534) As was also pointed out by Professor Storm at the same time, the most important hero for our present purpose is Anlaf (or Olaf), son of the Sihtric who married (as his second wife) the sister of king Athelstan, {xxxvii} grandson of Alfred the Great, in the year 925 (A.S. Chron.); see the account of him in the Dict. of National Biography, under the heading Olaf Sitricson. This Anlaf is distinguished from all others by the surname Curan, spelt Cwiran in the A.S. Chron., under the year 949 (MS. E). This surname is Celtic; and Anlaf Curan signifies ‘Anlaf with the brogue’; from the Irish and Gael. cuaran1, explained by Macleod as ‘a sock, a brogue of untanned leather or skin, commonly worn with the hairy side outwards’; cf. Welsh cwran, a buskin. The surname is easily explained from Anlaf’s connexion with Ireland. See further in § 29.

1 Probably allied to Lat. cu-tis, skin, E. hide; see Macbain, and Stokes-Fick, p. 89. The primitive Celtic type is *kouranos. The Icel. spelling is Kvaran; see Corpus Poeticum Boreale, ed. Vigfusson and Powell, ii. 111.

This epithet is important, as it is the very one applied to Havelok in the French versions of the story. Gaimar (cf. § 23) spells it Cuheran, and adds (l. 105)—’Cil Cuheran estait quistrun,’ i.e. This Cuheran was a scullion, or kitchen-servant; precisely as in our poem, ll. 903-970. The author of the other French version (§ 24) somewhat mistakes the matter, imagining that Curan had the meaning of ‘scullion,’, which is not the case2. He says (l. 258):—

2In modern Gaelic and Irish, cearn means not only’ a corner,’ but also ‘ a kitchen.’ Perhaps this helped on the mistake.

Cuaran l’appelloient tuit;
Car ceo tenoient li Breton
En lur language quistron.

i.e. All called him Cuaran; for the Britons, in their language, thus called a scullion. This is, of course, a slip; but the Celtic origin of the name is nevertheless perceived. It does not, however, occur in the English version.

§ 22. The above remarks render it easier to understand {xxxviii} how the story grew up. It may very well have been founded on a Welsh original, as expressly asserted below. And it received accretions from various souvices, the chief one, from an historical point of view, having regard to Anlaf Sihtricson, surnamed Curan, as noted above; who, by the way, was frequently confused with his cousin of the same name, Anlaf Godfreyson; see Two Saxon Chronicles, ed. Plummer, ii. 145. I now subjoin a detailed account of the oldest versions of the story.

§ 23. Geffrei Gaimar. The story appears in two Anglo-French versions, both derived from an earlier source that is now lost; for each contains circumstances that are not mentioned in the other, though there is often a close agreement. The older of these is probably that contained in ll. 37–818 (ed. T. Wright) of the poem entitled L’Estorie des Engles, written by Geffrei Gaimar, apparently between the years 1147 and 11511. In one place (l. 41) he cites Gildas as his authority, but no safe conclusion can be drawn from this vague reference. In another place (l. 758) he mentions a feast given by Havelok—’si cum nus dit la verai estoire’—i.e. as the true history tells us. There are three MS. copies of Gaimar’s version of the story, of which perhaps the best is the Royal MS. (Bibl. Reg. 13. A. xxi) in the British Museum; the two others belong respectively to the Dean and Chapter of Durham (its mark being C. iv. 27) and to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln (its mark being H. 18). The Royal MS. was printed in full by Mr. T. Wright for the Caxton Society in 1850. Portions of it have also been printed by M. Michel, in his Chroniques Anglo-Normandes, 8vo., Rouen, 1835; by Sir F. Madden, in his edition of Havelok (as above); and by Mr. Petrie in 1848, for which {xxxix} see Monumenta Historica Britannica, vol. i. p. 764. Notwithstanding the close resemblance between the story as told by Gaimar and the English Lay, most of the names of the chief actors are different. Thus, in Gaimar, king Athelwold is Adelbricht; his daughter Goldborough is Argentille, and Earl Godrich is Edelsie. King Birkabeyn is Gunter; Godard is Edelf; and Ubbe is Sigar. Only the names of Havelok and Grim remain the same.

1 Lines 1–36 really belong to another book by Gaimar, viz, his translation of The Brut, from Geoffrey of Monmouth.

It is also worth noting that Gaimar, after mentioning how Cynric succeeded his father Cerdic (in a.d. 534, according to the A.S. Chronicle), goes on to say that the Danes had been in Norfolk ever since the time when Havelok was king (l. 897). This absurd statement is to be explained by the fact that he actually confused the Constantine, king of the Scots, father-in-law of Anlaf (or Olaf) Sihtricson (§ 21), with the legendary British king Constantine, who succeeded king Arthur, as he himself tells us, at a much earlier period. For he states expressly that Adelbrict and Edelsie (mentioned above) were kings in Britain when Constantine was chief king; ‘and this Constantine was the nephew of Arthur who had the sword named Caliburc’; l. 45. This extraordinary confusion of names easily accounts for Gaimar’s placing the story about 400 years before its time, as well as for the wonderful statement in MS. Cotton, Calig. A. 2, fol. 107, back (see § 30,i), that, on account of Haueloke of Denmarke, the Danes laid claim to England ‘per cccc. annos postea.’ And hence it is that when Gaimar mentions ‘Anlas Quiran,’ i.e. Anlaf Curan, in his proper chronological place (l. 3550) as seizing Northumberland and holding it for three years, he is evidently ignorant of his connexion with the hero of our Lay.

§ 24. Le Lai d’Havelok. This Anglo-French version likewise belongs to the twelfth century, and gives a similar {xl} story, with some variations. There are two MS. copies, of which one belongs to the collection made by Sir T. Phillipps, and the other is known as the Arundel MS. (or the Norfolk MS.), and is preserved in the Heralds’ College, where it is marked E. D. N. no. 14. It was printed in Sir F. Madden’s edition of Havelok, pp. 105–146; in an octavo volume by M. Michel, Paris, 1833; in the Appendix to T. Wright’s edition of Gaimar; and by Sir T. D. Hardy (§ 34). In l. 18 we are told that Haveloc was surnamed Cuaran; and in l. 21 that the Britons made a lay about him: ‘Q’un lai en firent li Breton.’ In this version, like the former, the story is wrongly made to refer to the time of king Arthur. I here subjoin a brief sketch of its contents.

The Britons made a lay concerning King Havelok, who is surnamed Cuaran. His father was Gunter, King of the Danes. Arthur crossed the sea, and invaded Denmark. Gunter perished by the treason of Hodulf, who gained the kingdom, and held it of Arthur. Gunter had a fine castle, where his wife and son were guarded, being committed to the protection of Grim. The child was but seven years old; but ever as he slept, an odorous flame issued from his mouth. Hodulf sought to kill him, but Grim prepared a ship, and furnished it with provisions, wherein he placed the queen and the child, and set sail from Denmark. On their voyage they encountered pirates (’outlaghes’), who killed them all after a hard fight, excepting Grim, who was an acquaintance of theirs, and Grim’s wife and children. Havelok also was saved. They at last arrived at the haven, afterwards named ‘Grimesbi’ from Grim. Grim there resumed his old trade, a fisherman’s, and a town grew up round his hut, which was called Grimsby. The child grew up, and waxed strong. One day Grim said to him, ‘Son, you will never thrive as a fisherman; take your brothers with you, and seek service amongst the King’s servants.’ He was soon well apparelled, and repaired with his two foster-brothers to Nicole [Lincoln]. Now at that time there was a king named Alsi, who ruled over all Nicole and Lindesie1; but the country southward was governed by another king, named Ekenbright, who had married Alsi’s sister Orewen. These two had one

1The northern part of Lincolnshire is called Lindsey.

{xli} only daughter, named Argentille. Ekenbright, falling ill, committed Argentille to the care of Alsi, till she should be of age to be married to the strongest man that could be found. At Ekenbright’s death, Alsi reigned over both countries, holding his court at Nicole. Havelok, on his arrival there, was employed to carry water and cut wood, and to perform all menial offices requiring great strength. He was named Cuaran, which means—in the British language—a scullion. Argentille soon arrived at marriageable age, and Alsi determined to marry her to Cuaran, which would sufficiently fulfil her father’s wish—Cuaran being confessedly the strongest man in those parts. To this marriage he compelled her to consent, hoping thereby to disgrace her for ever. Havelok was unwilling that his wife should perceive the marvellous flame, but soon forgot this, and ere long fell asleep. Then had Argentille a strange vision—that a savage bear and some foxes attacked Cuaran, but dogs and boars defended him. A boar having killed the bear, the foxes cried for quarter from Cuaran, who commanded them to be bound. Then he would have put to sea, but the sea rose so high that he was terrified. Next she beheld two lions, at seeing which she was frightened, and she and Cuaran climbed a tree to avoid them; but the lions submitted themselves to him, and called him their lord. Then a great cry was raised, whereat she awoke, and beheld the miraculous flame. ‘Sir,’ she exclaimed, ‘you burn!’ But he reassured her, and, having heard her dream, said that it would soon come true. The next day, however, she again told her dream to a chamberlain, her friend, who said that he well knew a holy hermit who could explain it. The hermit explained to Argentille that Cuaran must be of royal lineage. ‘He will be king,’ he said, ‘and you a queen. Ask him concerning his parentage. Remember also to repair to his native place.’ On being questioned, Cuaran replied that he was born at Grimsby; that Grim was his father, and Saburc his mother. ‘Then let us go to Grimsby,’ she replied. Accompanied by his two foster-brothers, they came to Grimsby; but Grim and Saburc were both dead. They found there, however, a daughter of Grim’s, named Kelloc, who had married a tradesman of that town. Up to this time Havelok had not known his true parentage, but Kelloc thought it was now time to tell him, and said: ‘Your father was Gunter, the King of the Danes, whom Hodulf slew. Hodulf obtained the kingdom as a grant from Arthur. Grim fled with you, and saved your life; but your mother perished at sea. Your name is Havelok. My husband will convey you to Denmark, where you must inquire for a lord named “Sigar l’estal”; and take with you my two brothers.’ So Kelloc’s husband conveyed them to {xlii} Denmark, and advised Havelok to go to Sigar and show himself and his wife, as then he would be asked who his wife is. They went to the city of the seneschal, the before-named Sigar, where they craved a night’s lodging, and were courteously entertained. But as they retired to a lodging for the night, six men attacked them, who had been smitten with the beauty of Argentille. Havelok defended himself with an axe which he found, and slew five, whereupon the sixth fled. Havelok and his party fled away for refuge to a monastery, which was soon attacked by the townsmen who had heard of the combat. Havelok mounted the tower, and defended himself bravely, casting down a huge stone on his enemies1. The news soon reached the ears of Sigar, who hastened to see what the uproar was about. Beholding Havelok fixedly, he called to mind the form and appearance of Gunter, and asked Havelok of his parentage. Havelok replied that Grim had told him be was by birth a Dane, and that his mother perished at sea; and ended by briefly relating his subsequent adventures. Then Sigar asked him his name. ‘My name is Havelok,’ he said, ‘and my other name is Cuaran.’ Then the seneschal took him home, and determined to watch for the miraculous flame, which he soon perceived, and was assured that Havelok was the true heir. Therefore he gathered a great host of his friends, and sent for the horn which none but the true heir could sound, promising a ring to any one who could blow it. When all had failed, it was given to Havelok, who blew it loud and long, and was joyfully recognized and acknowledged to be the true King. Then with a great army he attacked Hodulf the usurper, whom he slew with his own hand. Thus was Havelok made King of Denmark.

1Hence the obvious origin of the legend of ‘ Havelok’s’stone,’ and the local tradition about Grim’s casting down stones from the tower of Grimsby church. See § 31.

But after he had reigned four years, his wife incited him to return to England. With a great number of ships he sailed there, and arrived at Carleflure2; and sent messengers to Alsi, demanding the inheritance of Argentille. Alsi was indeed astonished at such a demand as coming from a scullion, and offered him battle. The hosts met at Theford3, and the battle endured till nightfall without a decisive result. But Argentille craftily advised her lord to support his dead men by stakes,

2Possibly Saltfleet, suggests Mr. Haigh. Such, at least, is the position required by the circumstances.

3In the Durham MS. it is Tiedfort, i.e. Telford, not far from Horn-castle, in Lincolnshire.

{xliii} to increase the apparent number of his army1; and the next day Alsi, deceived by this device, treated for peace, and yielded up to his former ward all the land, from Holland2 to Gloucester. Alsi had been so sorely wounded that he lived but fifteen days longer. Thus was Havelok king over Lincoln and Lindsey, and reigned over them for twenty years. Such is the lay of Cuaran.

1This is an important parallel to a story told about Amleth (Hamlet) in the History by Saxo Grammaticus, bk. iv. ‘He resorts to a device to increase the apparent number of his men. He puts stakes under some of the dead bodies of his comrades, to prop them up,’ &c.—Gollancz, Hamlet in Iceland, p. xxviii.

2A name given to the S. E. part of Lincolnshire.

§ 25. Peter de Langtoft. The next mention of Havelok is in the Anglo-French Chronicle of Peter de Langtoft, of Langtoft in Yorkshire, who died early in the reign of Edward II, and whose Chronicle closes with the death of Edward I. Here the only trace of the story is the mention of ‘Gountere le pere Hauelok, de Danays Ray clamez’—Gunter, father of Havelok, called king of the Danes. He identifies this Gunter with the Danish invader defeated by Alfred the Great, who in the A.S. Chronicle is called Godrum. See the edition by T. Wright (Rolls Series), i. 318.

§ 26. Robert Manning, of Brunne. It is convenient to consider next (though somewhat out of chronological order) the translation of Peter Langtoft (§ 25, above) made by Robert Manning, of Brunne or Bourne in Lincolnshire, and completed in the year 1338. Manning is the well-known author of the poem entitled Handlyng Synne, written in 1303; and he was well acquainted with our poem, as he quotes it or imitates it at least three times; see notes to ll. 679, 819 (pp. 109, 112 below). The later portion of Manning’s translation was printed at Oxford by T. Hearne in 1725, in 2 vols.; and the first part (in shorter lines) has since been edited, for the Master of the Rolls, by Dr. Furnivall. When Manning comes to the above passage in Langtoft, {xliv} he translates the line in § 25 by ‘Hauelok fader he was, Gunter was his name’; where Hearne prints the former name as ‘Hanelok.’ Then follows the usual account, how Gunter (Godrum) made peace with Alfred, and submitted to be baptized, a.d. 878. After which we have the following interpolated passage, written by Manning on his own account. See ed. Hearne, i. 25:—

Bot I haf grete ferly, that I fynd no man,
That has written in story, how Hauelok this lond wan.
Noither Gildas, no Bede, no Henry of Huntynton,
No William of Malmesbiri, ne Pers of Bridlynton,
Writes not in their bokes of no kyng Athelwold,
Ne Goldeburgh his douhtere, ne Hauelok not of told,
Whilk tyme the were kynges, long or now late,
Thei mak no menyng whan, no in what date.
Bot that thise lowed men vpon Inglish tellis,
Right story can me not ken, the certeynte what spellis.
Men sais in Lyncoln castelle ligges ȝit a stone,
That Hauelok kast wele forbi euer ilkone.
& ȝit the chapelle standes, ther he weddid his wife,
Goldeburgh the kynges douhter, that saw is ȝit rife.
& of Gryme a fisshere, men redes ȝit in ryme,
That he bigged Grymesby Gryme that ilk tyme.
Of alle stories of honoure, that I haf thorgh souht,
I fynd that no compiloure of him tellis ouht.
Sen I fynd non redy, that tellis of Hauelok kynde,
Turne we to that story, that we writen fynde.

There cannot exist the smallest doubt, that by the ‘Ryme’ here mentioned ‘that lowed men vpon Inglish tellis,’ the identical English Romance, now before the reader, is referred to. We see also that, in 1338, the traditions respecting Havelok at Lincoln were so strongly preserved, as to point out various localities to which the story had affixed a name; and similar traditions connected with the legend, as we shall find hereafter, existed also at Grimsby. The doubts expressed by the Chronicler, as to their authenticity, or the authority of the ‘Ryme,’ are curious, but only of value so far as they prove that he was ignorant of the existence of a French {xlv} Romance on the subject, or of its reception in Gaimar’s historical poem.

§ 27. Interpolation in the Lambeth MS. ‘But (says Sir F. Madden) on consulting the Lambeth copy of Rob. of Brunne, in order to verify the passage as printed by Hearne from the Inner Temple MS., we were not a little surprised to ascertain a fact hitherto overlooked, and indeed unknown, viz. that the Lambeth MS. (which is a folio, written on paper, and imperfect both at the beginning and close) does not correspond with the Edition, but has evidently been revised by a later hand, which has abridged the Prologues, omitted some passages, and inserted others. The strongest proof of this exists in the passage before us, in which the Lambeth MS. entirely omits the lines of Rob. of Brunne respecting the authenticity of the story of Havelok, and in their place substitutes an abridged outline of the story itself, copied apparently from the French Chronicle of Gaimar1. The interpolation is so curious, and so connected with our inquiry, as to be a sufficient apology for introducing it here.’

1Not really from Gaimar, but from a source to which Gaimar had access. See § 28.

Forth wente Gounter & his folk, al in to Denemark,
Sone fel ther hym vpon, a werre styth & stark,
Thurgh a Breton kyng, tht out of Ingeland cam,
& asked the tribut of Denmark, tht Arthur whylom nam.
They wythseide hit schortly, & non wolde they ȝelde,
But rather they wolde dereyne hit wyth bataill y[n] the felde.
Both partis on a day, to felde come they stronge,
Desconfit were the Danes, Gounter his deth gan fonge.
When he was ded they schope brynge al his blod to schame,
But Gatferes doughter the kyng, Eleyne was hure name,
Was kyng Gounteres wyf, and had a child hem bytwene,
Wyth wham scheo scapede vnethe, al to the se with tene.
The child hym highte Hauelok, tht was his moder dere,
Scheo mette with Grym atte hauene, a wel god marinere,
He hure knew & highte hure wel, to helpe hure with his might,
{xlvi} To bryng hure saf out of the lond, wythinne tht ilke night.
When they come in myd se, a gret meschef gan falle,
They metten wyth a gret schip, lade wyth outlawes alle.
Anon they fullen hem apon, & dide hem mikel peyne,
So tht wyth strengthe of their assaut, ded was quene Eleyne.
But ȝyt ascapede from hem Grym, wyth Hauelok & other fyue,
& atte the hauene of Grymesby, ther they gon aryue.
Ther was brought forth child Hauelok, wyth Grym & his fere,
Right als hit hadde be ther own, for other wyste men nere,
Til he was mykel & mighti, & man of mykel cost,
Tht for his grete sustinaunce, nedly serue he most.
He tok leue of Grym & Seburc, as of his sire & dame,
And askede ther blessinge curteysly, ther was he nought to blame.
Thenne drow he forth northward, to kynges court Edelsie,
Tht held fro Humber to Rotland, the kyngdam of Lyndesye.
Thys Edelsy of Breton kynde, had Orewayn his sister bright
Maried to a noble kyng, of Northfolk Egelbright.
Holly for his kyngdam, he held in his hand
Al the lond fro Colchestre, right in til Holand.
Thys Egelbright tht was a Dane, & Orewayn the quene,
Hadden gete on Argill, a doughter hem bytwene.
Sone then deyde Egelbright, & his wyf Orewayn,
& therfore was kyng Edelsye bothe joyful & fayn.
Anon their doughter & here Eyr, his nece dame Argill,
& al the kyngdam he tok in hande, al at his owene will.
Ther serued Hauelok as quistron, & was y-cald Coraunt,
He was ful mykel & hardy, & strong as a Geaunt.
He was bold curteys & fre, & fair & god of manere,
So tht alle folk hym louede, tht anewest hym were.
But for couetise of desheraison of damysele Argill,
& for a chere tht the kyng sey, scheo made Coraunt till,
He dide hem arraye ful symplely, & wedde togydere bothe:—
For he ne rewarded desparagyng, were manion ful wrothe.
A while they dwelt after in court, in ful pore degre,
The schame & sorewe tht Argill hadde, hit was a deol to se.
Then seyde scheo til hure maister, of whenne sire be ȝe?
Haue ȝe no kyn ne frendes at hem, in ȝoure contre?
Leuer were me lyue in pore lyf, wythoute schame & tene,
Than in schame & sorewe lede the astat of quene.
Thenne wente they forth to Grymesby, al by his wyues red,
& founde tht Grym & his wyf weren bothe ded.
But he fond ther on Aunger, Grymes cosyn hend,
To wham tht Grym & his wyf had teld word & ende.
How tht hit stod wyth Hauelok, in all manere degre,
& they hit hym telde & conseilled, to drawe til his contre,
Tasaye what grace he mighte fynde, among his frendes there,
{xlvii} & they wolde ordeyne for their schipynge, and al tht hem nede were.
When Aunger hadde y-schiped hem, they seilled forth ful swythe,
Ful-but in-til Denemark, wyth weder fair & lithe.
Ther fond he on sire Sykar, a man of gret pousté,
Tht hey styward somtyme was, of al his fader fe.
Ful fayn was he of his comyng, & god help him behight,
To recouere his heritage, of Edulf kyng & knyght.
Sone assembled they gret folk, of his sibmen & frendes,
Kyng Edulf gadered his power, & ageyn them wendes.
Desconfyt was ther kyng Edulf, & al his grete bataill,
& so conquered Hauelok his heritage saunz faille.
Sone after he schop him gret power, in toward Ingelond,
His wyues heritage to wynne, ne wolde he nought wonde.
Tht herde the kyng of Lyndeseye, he was come on tht cost,
& schop to fighte wyth hym sone, & gadered hym gret host.
But atte day of bataill, Edelsy was desconfit,
& after by tretys gaf Argentill hure heritage al quit.
& for scheo was next of his blod, Hauelokes wyf so feyr,
He gaf hure Lyndesey after his day, & made hure his Eyr.
& atte last so byfel, tht under Hauelokes schelde
Al Northfolk & Lyndeseye, holy of hym they helde.
           MS. Lamb. 131, leaf 76.

§ 28. Relationships between the various versions of the story. We have now seen that the chief versions of the story are, first, that given by Gaimar (see § 23); secondly, Le Lai d’Havelok (§ 24); thirdly, the English Lay here printed; and fourthly, the Lambeth interpolation (§ 27). The relationships between these four versions have been discussed by Kupferschmidt (see § 35), and more recently by E. K. Putnam, who has re-examined Kupferschmidt’s conclusions. Mr. Putnam shows that we may arrange the versions as follows.

Denoting the original version (now lost) by X, we find that the English Lay (denoted by E) is derived from it in a form which does not immediately follow either G (Gaimar), L (Le Lai), or I (the Interpolation). Further, that I is not immediately from G (as Kupferschmidt supposed), though {xlviii} it closely resembles it; but that G, L, and I are all derived from Y, a lost French version in rhymed couplets, which is itself derived from X.

Again, we have seen that E cannot have been derived immediately from X, except perhaps as regards the principal contents of the story. There must have intervened, at the very least, a MS. which we may call E1, probably written in the Lincolnshire dialect, and if so, belonging rather to the earlier than the later part of the thirteenth century; and secondly, a MS. which we may call E2, almost certainly written in the South of England by a Norman scribe; and thirdly, a MS. which we may call E3, which may likewise have been a copy by a Norman scribe, but written in Lincolnshire and adding a few local interpolations to bring it up to date, perhaps as late as 1301. Of this, E seems to have been an unintelligent copy, made not many years afterwards by a somewhat careless scribe who tried to copy what he had before him. At this rate, the mutual relationships of all the versions may be thus represented.

X to Y to G, L and I; X to E 1 to E 2 to E 3 to E

The source or sources of X are of course unknown; but it was probably founded upon various legends and historical events; and of these the most important seems to have been an account of the romantic life of Anlaf Sihtricson (§§ 21, 29); who was certainly confused with Anlaf Godfreyson his cousin, and also with Gudorm or Guthorm, the famous Danish king who became Alfred’s godson. A very brief account of this Anlaf is all that can here be given; see the Dict. of National Biography and Gollancz, Hamlet in Iceland, p. xlv.

§ 29. Anlaf Curan. This Anlaf was the son of Sihtric (O.N. Sigtryggr), a Viking chief who came to Dublin in 888, gained and lost the kingship of Dublin, married the sister of the Saxon king Æthelstan in 924, and died in 925; Anlaf being the son of a former wife. Æthelstan drove out of Northumbria Godfrey, the brother of Sihtric, Anlaf the son of Godfrey, and Anlaf Curan, Godfrey’s nephew. Anlaf Curan repaired to the court of Constantine III, king of Scotland, whose daughter he subsequently married. In 937, a league was formed against Æthelstan by Constantine, the two Anlafs, and others; but their army was defeated by the Saxon king at Brunanburh; see the exultant song upon the occasion preserved in the A.S. Chronicle. Nevertheless, Anlaf Curan again came to York in 940 or 941, and was received as king by the Northumbrians and the Danes of Mercia and East Anglia, and by Wulfstan, Archbishop of York (cf. l. 1178). He was again driven out Of Northumbria in 944, but returned in 9491, and was again king for three years, till he was driven out, for the last time, in 952. His subsequent career as king of Dublin came to an end in 980, when he was utterly defeated at Tara by Malachy II; but escaped and became a monk at Iona, where he died in 981. One of the stories about him is that he visited Æthelstan’s camp in the disguise of a minstrel (Rob. of Gloucester, l. 5510). ‘There can be no doubt,’ says Mr. Gollancz, ‘that the romance of Havelok Cuheran is little more than a romance of the life of Anlaf Curan, or rather of the many legends fathered upon him, some belonging to ancient story, some derived from various episodes in Hiberno-Anglo-Danish history. The romance

1 ‘944. Her Eadmund cyning … aflymde ut … Anlaf Syhtrices sunu…’ ‘949. Her com Anlaf Cwiran on Norðhymbra land.’—A.S. Chron.

{l} must have originally been developed among a Welsh-speaking population, for Abloec or Abloyc (with voiced b, i.e. Avloc; cf. Habloc, the form on the Grimsby sea]) is the name given to Anlaf in the oldest Welsh annals1.’ Abloec is a native Welsh name, transferred to Anlaf owing to similarity of sound. Hence Anlaf Tryggvason, king of Norway (995–1000), is likewise called Haneloc [Haueloc] in the Chronicle of England, l. 797, in Ritson’s Metr. Romances, ii. 303; and again, one of these Anlafs appears as ‘the king of Denmarke, Auelocke’ in the ballad of Guy and Colebrande (Percy Folio MS., ii. 528).

1 See War of the Gaedhil, ed. J. H. Todd (1867), p. 283.

§ 30. Later versions. The various forms of the story later than the English Lay (with the exception of the Lambeth interpolation, § 27) are discussed by Sir F. Madden, but are not of much consequence. It seems to me sufficient to mention them. They are as follows.

(a) Le Bruit Dengleterre, or Le Petit Bruit, compiled in 1310 by Meistre Rauf de Boun for Henry de Lacy, earl of Lincoln. This actually cites the English Lay as l’estorie de Grimesby; and the author substitutes king Athelwold (cf. Havelok, l. 106) for the English king Eadred, who succeeded Eadmund in 946. A copy of the above Chronicle is extant in MS. Harl. 902.

(b) A Genealogy of the British and Saxon Kings, from Brutus to Edward II, entitled La Lignee des Bretons et des Angleis, &c. It identifies Athelwold (as above) with Æthelbald of Wessex, who died in 860. It occurs in the same MS. as Le Lai d’Havelok (§ 24).

(c) A metrical Chronicle of England; printed by Ritson, Metrical Romances, ii. 270. There are two copies; one in the Auchinleck MS., and the other in MS. Reg. 12. C. xii in the British Museum. The author seems to identify Havelok {li} with Olaf Tryggvason, who invaded England in 994, as he says that ‘Haueloc … sloh the kyng Achelred,’ i.e. Æthelred, who died in 1016. See § 29.

(d) The prose Chronicle called The Brute, the foundation of ‘Caxton’s Chronicle,’ which was printed by Caxton in 1480. It follows the French versions. There is a French text of this in MS. Reg. 20. A. 3; also in MS. Cotton, Domit. A. x; and in MS. Harl. 200. MS. Harl. 2279 contains the English version, much resembling Caxton’s Chronicle. Cf. MS. Harl. 63, which contains the same Chronicle, in an abbreviated form.

(e) The story appears in some interpolated copies of the Latin text of Higden’s Polychronicon; see MSS. Harl. 655; Cotton, Jul. E. 8; Reg. 13. E. 1. In an earlier form it occurs in MS. Cotton, Domit. A. 2.

(f) It occurs in a Chronicle in French prose called the Scala Cronica, or Scale Chronicon, composed about 1355–1362 by Thomas Gray. This was printed from MS. Corp. Chr. Coll. Cam. 132 by Stevenson for the Maitland Club in 1836. The passage relative to Havelok is translated in Leland, Collectanea, vol. i. pt. 2. p. 511.

(g) It also occurs in the Eulogium Historiarum, ed. Haydon, 1860, vol. ii. p. 378; written about 1366.

(h) Also in the history by Henry de Knyghton; borrowed from Le Bruit Dengleterre; see (a) above.

(i) A brief Chronicle contained in MS. Cotton, Calig. A. 2. At fol. 107 b is the passage referred to above (§ 23):—’Ethelwolde, qui generavit filiam de (sic) Haueloke de Denmarke, per quem Danes per cccc. annos postea fecerunt clameum Anglie.’ Some omission after the word de has turned this into nonsense, but we find here the claim of the Danes to the English crown by right of descent from Havelok. The remark is evidently introduced to account for the extra-{lii}ordinary leap from the time of Arthur to that of Athelstan, due to Gaimar’s confusion of Constantine of Britain with Constantine III of Scotland (§ 23). So also in MS. Harl. 63 (see (d) above) the king of Denmark sends to king Æthelstan—’to witte wheder he wold fynde a man to fight with Colbrande for the righte of the kyngdom Northumbre, that the Danes had claymed before by the title of kyng Haueloke,that wedded Goldesburghe the kyngis daughter of Northumbre’; fol. 19. See § 29.

(k) Caxton’s Chronicle; see (d) above.

(l) As suggested by Caxton’s Chronicle, the poet Warner introduced a ballad into his poem called Albion’s England (bk. iv. ch. 20), which refers to the story, but in no very direct manner. This ballad was reprinted in Percy’s Reliques of Ancient Poetry, with the title ‘Argentile and Curan.’ A sort of paraphrase of this appears in a poem by William

Webster, written in 1617 in six-line stanzas; entitled ‘ The most pleasant and delightful historie of Curan, a prince of Danske,’ &c. Fabyan, in his Chronicle, ed. Ellis, 1811, p. 82, alludes to the story as ‘a longe process’; he considers it as unauthentic, and says—‘ I passe it over.’

§ 31. Local traditions. We find that Camden briefly alludes to the story in a contemptuous manner (p. 353; ed. 8vo, Lond. 1587); but Gervase Holles is far from being disposed to regard it as fabulous. ‘In his MSS. collections for Lincolnshire’ (says Sir F. Madden) ‘preserved in MS. Harl. 6829, he thus speaks of the story we are examining1:—

1 ‘His account has been printed in the Topographer, V. i. p. 241, sq. 8vo, 1789. We follow’ (says Sir F. Madden) ‘the MS. itself, p. 1.’

And it will not be amisse, to say something concerning ye Common tradition of her first founder Grime, as ye inhabitants (with a Catholique faith) name him. The tradition is thus. Grime (say they) a poore Fisherman (as he was launching into ye Riuer for fish in his little boate vpon Humber) espyed not {liii} far from him another little boate, empty (as he might conceaue) which by ye fauour of ye wynde & tyde still approached nearer & nearer vnto him. He betakes him to his oares, & meetes itt, wherein he founde onely a Childe wrapt in swathing clothes, purposely exposed (as it should seeme) to ye pittylesse [rage] of ye wilde & wide Ocean. He moued with pitty, takes itt home, & like a good foster-father carefully nourisht itt, & endeavoured to nourishe it in his owne occupation: but ye childe contrarily was wholy deuoted to exercises of actiuity, & when he began to write man, to martiall sports, & at length by his signall valour obteyned such renowne, yt he marryed ye King of England’s daughter, & last of all founde who was his true Father, & that he was Sonne to ye King of Denmarke; & for ye comicke close of all; that Haueloke (for such was his name) exceedingly aduanced & enriched his foster-father Grime, who thus enriched, builded a fayre Towne neare the place where Hauelocke was founde, & named it Grimesby. Thus say some: others differ a little in ye circumstances, as namely, that Grime was not a Fisherman, but a Merchant, & that Hauelocke should be preferred to ye King’s kitchin, & there liue a longe tyme as a Scullion: but however ye circumstances differ, they all agree in ye consequence, as concerning ye Towne’s foundation, to which (sayth ye story) Hauelocke ye Danish prince, afterward graunted many immunityes. This is ye famous Tradition concerning Grimsby wch learned Mr. Cambden gives so little creditt to, that he thinkes it onely illis dignissima, qui anilibus fabulis noctem solent protrudere.’

And again, after showing that by is the Danish for town, and quoting a passage about Havelock’s father being named Gunter, which may be found in Weever (Ancient Funeral Monuments, fol. Lond. 1631, p. 749), he proceeds: ‘that Hauelocke did sometymes reside in Grimsby, may be gathered from a great blew Boundry-stone, lying at ye East ende of Briggowgate, which retaines ye name of Hauelock’s-Stone to this day. Agayne ye great priuiledges & immunityes, that this Towne hath in Denemarke aboue any other in England (as freedome from Toll, & ye rest) may fairely induce a Beleife, that some preceding favour, or good turne called on this remuneration. But lastly (which proofe I take to be instar omnium) the Common Seale of ye Towne, & that {liv} a most auncient one,’ &c. [Here follows a description of the seal.]

‘The singular fact,’ adds Sir F. Madden, ‘alluded to by Holles, of the Burgesses of Grimsby being free from toll at the Port of Elsineur, in Denmark, is confirmed by the Rev. G. Oliver, in his Monumental Antiquities of Grimsby, 8vo, Hull, 1825, who is inclined from that, and other circumstances, to believe the story is not so totally without foundation.’ There is also an absurd local story that the church at Grimsby, which has now but one turret, formerly had four, three of which were kicked down by Grim in his anxiety to destroy some hostile vessels. The first fell among the enemy’s fleet; the second dropped in Wellowgate, and is now Havelock’s stone; the third fell within the churchyard, but the fourth his strength failed to move. Perhaps amongst the most interesting notices of the story are the following words by Sir Henry Havelock, whose family seems to have originally resided in Durham. His own account, however, is this: ‘My father, William Havelock, descended from a family which formerly resided at Grimsby in Lincolnshire, and was himself born at Guisborough in Yorkshire1.’ So that the name of Havelock is famous still.

1 Quoted in Brock’s Biography of Sir H. Havelock, 1858; p. 9.

32. The Grimsby seal. The last evidence for the legend is the still-existing seal of the corporation of Great Grimsby. The copy of this seal, as it appears in the present edition, is due to the courtesy of J. Hopkin, Esq., of Grimsby, and I here subjoin a description of it, communicated by him, which was first printed, in a slightly different form, in Notes and Queries, 2nd Series, vol. xi. p. 41; see also p. 216.

‘The ancient Town Seal of Great Grimsby is engraven on a circular piece of brass not very thick; and on the back, {lv} which is rather arched, is a small projecting piece of brass, placed as a substitute for a handle, in order when taking an impression the more easily to detach the matrix from the wax. This seal is in an excellent state of preservation, and is inscribed in Saxon characters “Sigillvm Comunitatis Grimebye” and represents thereon Gryme (”Gryem”) who by tradition is reported to have been a native of Souldburg in Denmark, where he gained a precarious livelihood by fishing and piracy; but having, as is supposed, during the reign of Ethelbert1, been accidentally driven into the Humber by a furious storm, he landed on the Lincolnshire Coast near Grimsby, he being at this time miserably poor and almost destitute of the common necessaries of life; for Leland represents this “poor fisschar” as being so very needy that he was not “able to kepe his sunne Cuaran for poverty.” Gryme, finding a capacious haven adapted to his pursuits, built himself a house and commenced and soon succeeded in establishing a very lucrative Trade with Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Other Merchants having in process of time settled near him, attracted by the commercial advantages offered by this excellent Harbour, they jointly constructed convenient appendages for extensive Trade, and the colony soon rose into considerable importance, and became known at an early period by the name of Grimsby. For not only was Grimsby constituted a borough so early as the seventh century, but Peter of Langtoft speaks of it as a frontier Town and the boundary of a Kingdom erected by the conquests of Egbert in the year 827, which he states included all that portion of the Island which lay between “the maritime Towns of Grymsby and Dover.” So that even at that period, Grimsby must have been a place of peculiar strength and importance. Gryme is represented on the seal as a man of gigantic stature with comparatively short hair, a shaven chin, and a moustache, holding in his right hand a drawn sword and bearing on his left arm a circular shield with an ornate boss and rim. The sleeveless tunic above his under-vest is most probably the panzar or panzara of the Danes. Between his feet is a conic object, possibly intended for a helmet, as it resembles the chapelle-de-fer worn by William Rufus on his Great Seal, and which in the laws of Gula is distinguished as the Steel hufe. On the right hand of Gryme stands his protégé Haveloc (”Habloc”), whom, during one of his mercantile excursions soon after his arrival in Lincolnshire, Gryme had the good fortune to save from imminent danger of Shipwreck, and who proved to be the Son of Gunter, King of Denmark, and who was

1 Æthelbyrht of Kent reigned from about 565 to 616.

{lvi} therefore conveyed to the British Court, where he subsequently received in marriage Goldburgh, the Daughter of the British Sovereign. Above Gryme is represented a hand, being emblematical of the hand of providence by which Haveloc was preserved, and near the hand is the star which marks the point where the inscription begins and ends. Haveloc made such a favourable representation of his preserver at the British and Danish Courts, that he procured for him many honours and privileges. From the British Monarch Gryme, who had already realized an abundance of wealth, received a charter, and was made the chief governor of Grimsby; and the Danish Sovereign granted to the Town an immunity (which is still possessed by the Burgesses of Grimsby) from all Tolls at the Port of Elsineur. Gryme afterwards lived in Grimsby like a petty prince in his Hereditary Dominions. Above Haveloc is represented a crown and in his right hand is a battle-axe, the favourite weapon of the Northmen, and in his right hand is a ring which he is presenting to the British Princess Goldburgh (“Goldebvrgh”), who stands on the left side of Gryme and whose right hand is held towards the Ring. Over her head is a Regal Diadem, and in her left hand is a Sceptre. Sir F. Madden states that it is certain that this seal is at least as old as the time of Edward I (and therefore contemporaneous with the MS.) as the legend is written in a character which after the year 1300 fell into disuse, and was succeeded by the black letter, or Gothic.’