REH Word of the Week: buckler



1. a small round shield held by a handle at arm’s length; a shield worn on the left arm

[origin: 13th century; Middle English bocler, from Anglo-French bucler, from bocle]


Ship sides and decks were shattered, like drunkards they did reel;
War-axe clashed with buckler, steel rang loud on steel.
All through the fierce battle raged Harald and Hasting the Dane;
Their keen and bloody sword blades were many a warrior’s bane.
They boarded one of Eric’s long serpents, to slay and burn and wreck;
Ten vikings closed on Hasting, he left them dead on the deck.

Harald engaged the captain, the viking Sven the Red;
He ran Sven through the body and cleft Jens Larsen’s head.
His foes went down before him like chaff before the blast;
With a rush he gained the quarterdeck and hewed down the tall main-mast.
The long ship raised her battered side and sank beneath the main,
But Harald and his vikings were on their own ship again.

[from “Eric of Norway”; to read the complete poem see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 536; A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 76 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 389]