The Handselling of Peace.
SAYS he, "Herewith I establish peace betwixt all men, but most of all betwixt all men and this same Guest who sits here, and so is named; that is to say, all men of rule, and goodly bonders, and all men young, and fit to bear arms, and all other men of the country-side of Heron-ness Thing, whencesoever any may have come here, of men named or unnamed. Let us handsel safety and full peace to that unknown newcomer, yclept Guest by name, for game, wrestling, and all glee, for abiding here, and going home, whether he has need to fare over water, or over land, or over ferry; safety shall he have, in all steads named and unnamed, even so long as needs be for his coming home whole, under faith holden. This peace I establish on behoof of us, and of our kin, friends, and men of affinity, women even as men, bondswomen, even as bondsmen, swains and men of estate. Let him be a shamed peacebreaker, who breaks the peace, or spills the troth settled; turned away and driven forth from God, and good men of the kingdom of Heaven, and all Holy ones. A man not to be borne of any man, but cast out from all, as wide as wolves stray, or Christian men make for Churches, or heathen in God's-houses do sacrifice, or fire burns, or earth brings forth, or a child, new-come to speech, calls mother, or mother bears son, or the sons of men kindle fire, or ships sweep on, or shields glitter, or the sun shines, or the snow falls, or a Finn sweeps on skates, or a fir-tree waxes, or a falcon flies the spring-long day with a fair wind under either wing, or the Heavens dwindle far away, or the world is built, or the wind turns
waters seaward, or carles sow corn. Let him shun churches, and Christian folk, and heathen men, houses and eaves, and every home but the home of Hell. Now shall we be at peace and of one mind each with the other, and of good-will, whether we meet on fell or foreshore, ship or snow-shoes, earth or ice-mount, sea or swift steed, even as each found his friend on water, or his brother on broad ways; in just such peace one with other, as father with son, or son with father in all dealings together. Now we lay hands together, each and all of us, to hold well this say of peace, and all words spoken in our settled troth: As witness God and good men, and all those who hear my words, and nigh this stead chance to stand."