Alcuin’s Description of York

Roman power first founded this great city with its walls and towers

And called, as partners and companions in the task, only the native British peoples

(For at that time fertile Britain endured as kings the Romans,

Who deservedly held sway over the world)

In order to make York an emporium for trade by land and sea alike;

One that would be a sure stronghold of their rule for its leaders,

A glory of their dominion and a terror to hostile attacks,

A host for ships coming from the farthest ports of the sea.

To there the sailor hastens, exhausted from the waves,

now makes fast the prow with its long tow-rope.

The fish-rich Ouse flows through York with its waters,

Its banks stretching past flowery fields on both sides.

The land is lovely there with slopes and woods all about,

And this beautiful salubrious place, with its noble setting,

Would have many settlers because of its fruitfulness.

To York, gathered from many kingdoms they come,

With hope of gain, seeking for themselves the riches of the rich land:

Fortune, home and hearth

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