Response Paper to Waldere by Austin Evans
… He spurned both treasure and precious vessels,
many treasures; now that the lord must leave
this fight without either, he must return
to his own fair country, or else sleep here,
if he then chooses to face you. Brave Walther,
you are so opposed to that brutish man I cannot
help but feel he exists solely to degrade you.
Your highs are his lows, your courage his cowardice,
your charm his repulsion. Indeed, the only field
in which you two are well-met is on the battlefield,
but I do not think for a second that you shall
fall to him there. I have faith that you will meet
him there and leave the victor, for with God
by your side you cannot possibly fail!’
Her speech ended abruptly as the sound of
chattering hooves stormed the worn forest path
they had been standing on. Walther pulled himself
in front of Hildegund, his broad frame shielding
her from the dust kicked up by the dark steed
before them. Atop it sat the dark lord Guthhere,
staring down at them like a hawk peering into
a field mouse’s den. But he found no mice
looking back at him; indeed if there were any
vermin at that scene, it would be he who
sat atop that horse. He glared down at them,
daring Walther to look away and break his resolve.
Walther, the brave hero that he was, refused.
Nevertheless Guthhere carried on, talking down
to his adversary as though he were staring down
an invader storming his castle gates:
‘Well met, young Walther! I must confess
I am surprised to see you both out so far
away from your graves! The rumours, oh how
quickly they spread, tales of how the treacherous
maiden and her rough-headed lover
were cut down by assassins. But what a relief,
I must say, to see you two here. Let it be known
that I am a champion of truth, and despise seeing
falsehoods spread across the kingdom like fire
through a kindling. Now that I have you two here
before me, I will be able to tell the people
the truth about your untimely demise.’
Walther’s rage flared up at the mention of
Hildegund’s death, but remained outwardly cool.
He stared his foe dead in the eye and addressed him
with all the respect the king deserved:
‘Guthhere, you pile of worm-food!
Your words speak quite highly yet cannot
force your actions to match. You’ve come here
expecting to find me wounded from my encounter
with the assassins, but as you can see I am
no more injured than the day I was born.’
The king scowled at him, showing his
irritation with the young lord’s brashness.
‘I expect no such weakness from you,
my dear Walther. I have heard legends of
God’s mighty soldier, clad in his sacred war-gear
and wielding the sword known as Mimming.
One could say the weapon may exceed the man,
for tales of the mighty Mimming are more prevalent
then those of the man who wields it. It is
a blade better
than all but one which, however, I have here
in its jewelled sheath, sleeping quietly…’
How to cite this research:
Evans, Austin. "Response Paper to Waldere." In Reading the Middle Ages, supvr. Teresa Russo, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS), Brock University, March 2021, Niagara (Response Paper to Waldere by Austin Evans · Reading the Middle Ages: Oral and Literate Cultures · Brock University Library). Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL), Tim Ribaric and Daniel Brett.
In The Writer's Own Words Series:
Evans, Austin. "The Purpose of this piece on 'Waldere'." In Reading the Middle Ages, supvr. and ed. Teresa Russo, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS), Brock University, March 2021, Niagara (Response Paper to Waldere by Austin Evans · Reading the Middle Ages: Oral and Literate Cultures · Brock University Library), Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL). Tim Ribaric and Daniel Brett.