Posted by Barbara Barrett on 15th July 2013
The River Great Ouse is crossed by the Watling Street
1. The Great Ouse is a river in the United Kingdom, the largest and longest of several British rivers bearing this name. It has a course of 143 miles (230 km) mostly flowing north and east and is the fourth longest river in the United Kingdom. It rises in Northamptonshire and then flows northwards—finally entering the North Sea at the Wash, close to King’s Lynn. North of Cambridge, it merges with the River Cam and then, shortly after, is joined by the River Little Ouse to Brandon Creek; it is at this point that the Great Ouse flows into Norfolk. The river then flows through the heart of the Norfolk Fens.
[origin: Celtic or pre-Celtic Udso-s and probably means simply *water* or slow flowing river. ]
This is the tale of a nameless fight,
In a land forgot to dream and sight,
And a people lost in the gloom and night.
King Geraint ruled the western land
From the Roman Wall to Channel’s sand;
The Saxons held the eastern coast
By high-beaked galley and spear-tipped host.
They reached their hands from the eastern shore
And flooded the land with fire and gore.
King Geraint marched on the Watling Road,
Along the Ouse his banners showed.
Few his warriors but fierce his lords,
Dipped and reddened their worn swords.
He had scoured the land a-near and far,
He had sold his crown for the thews of war.
Knight and warrior and man-at-arms,
Yeoman drawn from the ravished farms,
Each was armed to suit his need,
Each one rode on a goodly steed.
The hoof-beat thunder sounded far—
So Geraint rode to his last red war.
[from “The Ballad of King Geraint”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 73 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 359]