At nonus pugnae Helmnod successit, et ipse
insertum triplici gestabat fune tridentem,
quem post terga quidem socii stantes tenuerunt,
consiliumque fuit, dum cuspis missa sederet
in clipeo, cuncti pariter traxisse studerent, 5
ut vel sic hominem deiecissent furibundum;
atque sub hac certum sibi spe posuere triumphum.
nec mora, dux totas fundens in bracchia vires
misit in adversum magna cum voce tridentem
edicens: “Ferro tibi finis, calve, sub isto!” 10
Qui ventos penetrans iaculorum more coruscat,
quod genus aspidis ex alta sese arbore tanto
turbine demittit, quo cuncta obstantia vincat.
Quid moror? umbonem sciderat peltaque resedit.
Clamorem Franci tollunt saltusque resultat, 15
obnixique trahunt restim simul atque vicissim,
nec dubitat princeps tali se aptare labori.
Manarunt cunctis sudoris flumina membris.
Sed tamen haec inter velut aesculus astitit heros
quae non plus petit astra comis quam Tartara fibris, 20
contempnens omnes ventorum immota fragores.
Certabant hostes hortabanturque viritim,
ut, si non quirent ipsum detrudere ad arvum
munimen clipei saltem extorquere studerent,
quo dempto vivus facile caperetur ab ipsis. 25
Waltharii Poesis 982-1006
(Excerpts from Ekkehard's Waltharii Poesis, available online in four parts here. )
(Click here to see a shield boss. Will open in a new window.)
1. What tone does the meter of line 1 establish?
2. What is the correct scansion of the first four feet of
3. What figure of speech occurs in line 4?
4. What is the rather unusual plan that Walther’s
enemies concoct (4-6)?
to plant spears across the field
to throw their shields as a distraction
to “play” tug-of-war with their enemy
to turn raging men against each other
5. What figure of speech occurs in line 7?
synchesis (interlocking word order)
6. What does Helmnod allege about Walther (line 10)?
He is red-haired.
He is cowardly.
He is bald.
He is cold as iron.
7. What is the purpose of the simile about the spear
It is like a woodman killing a snake in the forest.
It goes off target like a snake caught in a whirlpool
or a tree in a whirlwind.
It darts like a snake onto its victim.
It plummets down like a falling tree.
8. Identify the grammatical construction quo . . .
vincat (line 13).
9. What is the result of Helmnod’s spearcast (line
It sticks to Walther’s shield.
It strikes Walther.
It bounces off Walther’s shield.
10. What is the reaction of the Franks to the
spearcast (lines 15-16)?
They are disheartened.
They try to pull down Walther.
They take turns attacking Walther.
They head for the forest.
11. What is unexpected about about their leader's
reaction (line 17)?
He doubts their actions.
He never ordered them to act.
He doesn’t remain on the sidelines, but joins in.
He is unsuited for combat.
12. What two figures of speech occur in line 18?
chiasmus and syncope
synchesis (interlocking word order) and
synecdoche and hyperbole
syncope and hyperbole
13. What do we learn of Walther’s opponents (line
They try to flee by swimming the river.
They have all wounded.
Their antagonist is wearing them out.
They must stay there because it is late.
14. How does the tree simile connect to the duel
Walther’s foes are being chopped down.
An exhausted Walther is like a tottering tree.
Walther stands firm against his attackers.
The forces aligned against Walther are growing
15. What figure of speech occurs in line 20?
16. What do Walther’s enemies hope (lines 22-25)?
that they will soon rest
that the contest will be won by encouraging
that Helmnod will plow Walther down
that Walther will be vulnerable without his shield