Lay of Havelok the Dane

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Geffrei Gaimar (fl. c. 1136—1137) Anglo-Norman poet and historian



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A 13th‐cent. romance (before 1272) from Lincolnshire, in 3,000 lines of rhyming octosyllables. The story tells of the dispossessed Havelok, prince of Denmark, and his marriage to Goldborough, the dispossessed daughter of King Athelwold of England. Havelok is brought up at Grimsby by the eponymous fisherman Grim and becomes kitchen‐boy in the household of Godrich, the treacherous guardian of Goldborough. His noble origins are twice declared, once to Grim and once to Goldborough, by a mystical light that shines over his head. At the end all three return to Denmark, defeat and hang Havelok's usurping guardian Godard, and reclaim the throne. The story has parallels with events in English and Norwegian history, but most of its material and themes are legendary.

Subjects: Literature.

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