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The Exeter Book  


 

The Exeter Book, Exeter Cathedral Library MS 3501, also known as the Codex Exoniensis, is a tenth-century book or codex which is an anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry. It is one of the four major Anglo-Saxon literature codices, along with the Vercelli Book, Nowell Codex and the Cædmon manuscript or MS Junius 11. The book was donated to the library of Exeter Cathedral by Leofric, the first bishop of Exeter, in 1072. It is believed originally to have contained 131 leaves, of which the first 8 have been replaced with other leaves; the original first 8 pages are lost. The Exeter Book is the largest known collection of Old English literature still in existence.

History

The precise date when the Exeter Book was compiled and written down is unknown, but it is rightly acknowledged to be one of the great works of the English Benedictine revival of the tenth century, and proposed dates for it range from 960 to 990. This period saw a rise in monastic activity and productivity under the renewed influence of Benedictine principles and standards. At the opening of the period, Dunstan's importance to the Church and to the English kingdom was established, culminating in his appointment to the Archbishopric at Canterbury under Edgar and leading to the monastic reformation by which this era was characterised. Dunstan died in 998, and by the period's close, England under Æthelred faced an increasingly determined Scandinavian incursion, to which it would eventually succumb.

The Exeter Book's heritage becomes traceable from 1072, when Leofric, Bishop at Exeter, died.[2] Among the treasures which he is recorded to have bestowed in his Will upon the then-impoverished monastery, is one famously described as "mycel Englisc boc be gehwilcum þingum on leoð-wisan geworht" (i.e., "a large English book of poetic works about all sorts of things"). This book has been widely assumed to be the Exeter Codex as it survives today.

Some marginalia were added to the manuscript by Laurence Nowell in the sixteenth century and George Hickes in the seventeenth.[3]

| - - - -  

1-4 Treasures of the Anglo Saxons - YouTube

2-4 Treasures of the Anglo Saxons - YouTube

3-4 Treasures of the Anglo Saxons - YouTube

4-4 Treasures of the Anglo Saxons - YouTube


Hear the original language of the Angles - ...

The Wanderer (Anglo-Saxon poem, Old English) 

The Wanderer (Anglo-Saxon poem, Old English) YouTube

The Wanderer - Sung in Old English YouTube 

The Wanderer - in modern English - YouTube 

The Wanderer: The Anglo-Saxon Warrior Ideal in a Transitional Society

The Wanderer (Anglo-Saxon poem, Old English)  text translation

 

Oft him anhaga

Often the solitary one

 

are gebide,

finds grace for himself

 

metudes miltse,

the mercy of the Lord,

 

eah e he modcearig

Although he, sorry-hearted,

 

geond lagulade

must for a long time

 

longe sceolde

move by hand [in context = row]

4a

hreran mid hondum

along the waterways,

 

hrimcealde s

(along) the ice-cold sea,

 

wadan wrclastas.

tread the paths of exile.

 

Wyrd bi ful ard!

Events always go as they must!

     
 

Swa cw eardstapa,

So spoke the wanderer,

 

earfea gemyndig,

mindful of hardships,

 

wrara wlsleahta,

of fierce slaughters

 

winemga hryre:

and the downfall of kinsmen:

     

8a

Oft ic sceolde ana

Often (or always) I had alone

 

uhtna gehwylce

to speak of my trouble

 

mine ceare cwian.

each morning before dawn.

 

Nis nu cwicra nan

There is none now living

 

e ic him modsefan

to whom I dare

 

minne durre

clearly speak

 

sweotule asecgan.

of my innermost thoughts.

 

Ic to soe wat

I know it truly,

12a

t bi in eorle

that it is in men

 

indryhten eaw,

a noble custom,

 

t he his ferlocan

that one should keep secure

 

fste binde,

his spirit-chest (mind),

 

healde his hordcofan,

guard his treasure-chamber (thoughts),

 

hycge swa he wille.

think as he wishes.

 

Ne mg werig mod

The weary spirit cannot

 

wyrde wistondan,

withstand fate (the turn of events),

16a

ne se hreo hyge

nor does a rough or sorrowful mind

 

helpe gefremman.

do any good (perform anything helpful).

 

Foron domgeorne

Thus those eager for glory

 

dreorigne oft

often keep secure

 

in hyra breostcofan

dreary thoughts

 

binda fste;

in their breast;

 

swa ic modsefan

So I,

 

minne sceolde,

often wretched and sorrowful,

20a

oft earmcearig,

bereft of my homeland,

 

ele bidled,

far from noble kinsmen,

 

freomgum feor

have had to bind in fetters

 

feterum slan,

my inmost thoughts,

 

sian geara iu

Since long years ago

 

goldwine minne

I hid my lord

 

hrusan heolstre biwrah,

in the darkness of the earth,

 

ond ic hean onan

and I, wretched, from there

24a

wod wintercearig

travelled most sorrowfully

 

ofer waema gebind,

over the frozen waves,

 

sohte seledreorig

sought, sad at the lack of a hall,

 

sinces bryttan,

a giver of treasure,

 

hwr ic feor oe neah

where I, far or near,

 

findan meahte

might find

 

one e in meoduhealle

one in the meadhall who

 

mine wisse,

knew my people,

28a

oe mec freondleasne

or wished to console

 

frefran wolde,

the friendless one, me,

 

wenian mid wynnum.

entertain (me) with delights.

 

Wat se e cunna

He who has tried it knows

 

hu slien bi

how cruel is

 

sorg to geferan

sorrow as a companion

 

am e him lyt hafa

to the one who has few

 

leofra geholena:

beloved friends:

32a

wara hine wrclast,

the path of exile (wrclast) holds him,

 

nales wunden gold,

not at all twisted gold,

 

ferloca freorig,

a frozen spirit,

 

nals foldan bld.

not the bounty of the earth.

 

Gemon he selesecgas

He remembers hall-warriors

 

ond sincege,

and the giving of treasure

 

hu hine on geogue

How in youth his lord (gold-friend)

 

his goldwine

accustomed him

36a

wenede to wiste.

to the feasting.

 

Wyn eal gedreas!

All the joy has died!

     
 

Foron wat se e sceal

And so he knows it, he who must

 

his winedryhtnes

forgo for a long time

 

leofes larcwidum

the counsels

 

longe forolian:

of his beloved lord:

 

onne sorg ond sl

Then sorrow and sleep

 

somod tgdre

both together

40a

earmne anhogan

often tie up

 

oft gebinda.

the wretched solitary one.

 

ince him on mode

He thinks in his mind

 

t he his mondryhten

that he embraces and kisses

 

clyppe ond cysse,

his lord,

 

ond on cneo lecge

and on his (the lord's) knees lays

 

honda ond heafod,

his hands and his head,

 

swa he hwilum r

Just as, at times (hwilum), before,

44a

in geardagum

in days gone by,

 

giefstolas breac.

he enjoyed the gift-seat (throne).

 

onne onwcne eft

Then the friendless man

 

wineleas guma,

wakes up again,

 

gesih him biforan

He sees before him

 

fealwe wegas,

fallow waves

 

baian brimfuglas,

Sea birds bathe,

 

brdan fera,

preening their feathers,

48a

hreosan hrim ond snaw

Frost and snow fall,

 

hagle gemenged.

mixed with hail.

     
 

onne beo y hefigran

Then are the heavier

 

heortan benne,

the wounds of the heart,

 

sare fter swsne.

grievous (sare) with longing for (fter) the lord.

 

Sorg bi geniwad

Sorrow is renewed

 

onne maga gemynd

when the mind (mod) surveys

 

mod geondhweorfe;

the memory of kinsmen;

52a

grete gliwstafum,

He greets them joyfully,

 

georne geondsceawa

eagerly scans

 

secga geseldan;

the companions of men;

 

swimma oft on weg

they always swim away.

 

fleotendra fer

The spirits of seafarers

 

no r fela bringe

never bring back there much

 

cura cwidegiedda.

in the way of known speech.

 

Cearo bi geniwad

Care is renewed

56a

am e sendan sceal

for the one who must send

 

swie geneahhe

very often

 

ofer waema gebind

over the binding of the waves

 

werigne sefan.

a weary heart.

     
 

Foron ic geencan ne mg

Indeed I cannot think

 

geond as woruld

why my spirit

 

for hwan modsefa

does not darken

 

min ne gesweorce

when I ponder on the whole

60a

onne ic eorla lif

life of men

 

eal geondence,

throughout the world,

 

hu hi frlice

How they suddenly

 

flet ofgeafon,

left the floor (hall),

 

modge maguegnas.

the proud thanes.

 

Swa es middangeard

So this middle-earth,

 

ealra dogra gehwam

a bit each day,

 

dreose ond fealle;

droops and decays -

64a

foron ne mg weoran wis

Therefore man (wer)

 

wer, r he age

cannot call himself wise, before he has

 

wintra dl in woruldrice.

a share of years in the world.

 

Wita sceal geyldig,

A wise man must be patient,

 

ne sceal no to hatheort

He must never be too impulsive

 

ne to hrdwyrde,

nor too hasty of speech,

 

ne to wac wiga

nor too weak a warrior

 

ne to wanhydig,

nor too reckless,

68a

ne to forht ne to fgen,

nor too fearful, nor too cheerful,

 

ne to feohgifre

nor too greedy for goods,

 

ne nfre gielpes to georn,

nor ever too eager for boasts,

 

r he geare cunne.

before he sees clearly.

 

Beorn sceal gebidan,

A man must wait

 

onne he beot sprice,

when he speaks oaths,

 

ot collenfer

until the proud-hearted one

 

cunne gearwe

sees clearly

72a

hwider hrera gehygd

whither the intent of his heart

 

hweorfan wille.

will turn.

 

Ongietan sceal gleaw hle

A wise hero must realize

 

hu gstlic bi,

how terrible it will be,

 

onne ealre isse worulde wela

when all the wealth of this world

 

weste stonde,

lies waste,

 

swa nu missenlice

as now in various places

 

geond isne middangeard

throughout this middle-earth

76a

winde biwaune

walls stand,

 

weallas stonda,

blown by the wind,

 

hrime bihrorene,

covered with frost,

 

hryge a ederas.

storm-swept the buildings.

 

Woria a winsalo,

The halls decay,

 

waldend licga

their lords lie

 

dreame bidrorene,

deprived of joy,

 

dugu eal gecrong,

the whole troop has fallen,

80a

wlonc bi wealle.

the proud ones, by the wall.

 

Sume wig fornom,

War took off some,

 

ferede in forwege,

carried them on their way,

 

sumne fugel obr

one, the bird took off

 

ofer heanne holm,

across the deep sea,

 

sumne se hara wulf

one, the gray wolf

 

deae gedlde,

shared one with death,

 

sumne dreorighleor

one, the dreary-faced

84a

in eorscrfe

man buried

 

eorl gehydde.

in a grave.

 

Yde swa isne eardgeard

And so He destroyed this city,

 

lda scyppend

He, the Creator of Men,

 

ot burgwara

until deprived of the noise

 

breahtma lease

of the citizens,

 

eald enta geweorc

the ancient work of giants

 

idlu stodon.

stood empty.

     

88a

Se onne isne wealsteal

He who thought wisely

 

wise geohte

on this foundation,

 

ond is deorce lif

and pondered deeply

 

deope geondence,

on this dark life,

 

frod in fere,

wise in spirit,

 

feor oft gemon

remembered often from afar

 

wlsleahta worn,

many conflicts,

 

ond as word acwi:

and spoke these words:

     

92a

Hwr cwom mearg? Hwr cwom mago? 

Where is the horse gone? Where the rider?

 

Hwr cwom maumgyfa?

Where the giver of treasure?

 

Hwr cwom symbla gesetu?

Where are the seats at the feast?

 

Hwr sindon seledreamas?

Where are the revels in the hall?

 

Eala beorht bune!

Alas for the bright cup!

 

Eala byrnwiga!

Alas for the mailed warrior!

 

Eala eodnes rym!

Alas for the splendour of the prince!

 

Hu seo rag gewat,

How that time has passed away,

96a

genap under nihthelm,

dark under the cover of night,

 

swa heo no wre.

as if it had never been!

 

Stonde nu on laste

Now there stands in the trace

 

leofre dugue

of the beloved troop

 

weal wundrum heah,

a wall, wondrously high,

 

wyrmlicum fah.

wound round with serpents.

 

Eorlas fornoman

The warriors taken off

 

asca rye,

by the glory of spears,

100a

wpen wlgifru,

the weapons greedy for slaughter,

 

wyrd seo mre,

the famous fate (turn of events),

 

ond as stanhleou

and storms beat

 

stormas cnyssa,

these rocky cliffs,

 

hri hreosende

falling frost

 

hrusan binde,

fetters the earth,

 

wintres woma,

the harbinger of winter;

 

onne won cyme,

Then dark comes,

104a

nipe nihtscua,

nightshadows deepen,

 

noran onsende

from the north there comes

 

hreo hglfare

a rough hailstorm

 

hleum on andan.

in malice against men.

 

Eall is earfolic

All is troublesome

 

eoran rice,

in this earthly kingdom,

 

onwende wyrda gesceaft

the turn of events changes

 

weoruld under heofonum.

the world under the heavens.

108a

Her bi feoh lne,

Here money is fleeting,

 

her bi freond lne,

here friend is fleeting,

 

her bi mon lne,

here man is fleeting,

 

her bi mg lne,

here kinsman is fleeting,

 

eal is eoran gesteal

all the foundation of this world

 

idel weore!

turns to waste!

     
 

Swa cw snottor on mode,

So spake the wise man in his mind,

 

gest him sundor t rune.

where he sat apart in counsel.

112a

Til bi se e his treowe gehealde,

Good is he who keeps his faith,

 

ne sceal nfre his torn to rycene

And a warrior must never speak

 

beorn of his breostum acyan,

his grief of his breast too quickly,

 

neme he r a bote cunne,

unless he already knows the remedy -

 

eorl mid elne gefremman.

a hero must act with courage.

 

Wel bi am e him are sece,

It is better for the one that seeks mercy,

 

frofre to Fder on heofonum,

consolation from the father in the heavens,

 

r us eal seo fstnung stonde.

where, for us, all permanence rests.

 


The Seafarer (youtube)

The Seafarer adapts an Old English poem about the suffering and joy of the sea. The cellist runs from and eventually accepts the instrument itself, just as the narrator rejects and eventually embraces life on the sea. This piece can also be performed live by a single, acting cellist.

The Seafarer  (Translation Text)

 

     
 

Mg ic be me sylfum

I can make a true song

 

sogied wrecan,

about me myself,

 

sias secgan,

tell my travels,

 

hu ic geswincdagum

how I often endured

 

earfohwile

days of struggle,

 

oft rowade,

troublesome times,

4a

bitre breostceare

[how I] have suffered

 

gebiden hbbe,

grim sorrow at heart,

 

gecunnad in ceole

have known in the ship

 

cearselda fela,

many worries [abodes of care],

 

atol ya gewealc,

the terrible tossing of the waves,

 

r mec oft bigeat

where the anxious night watch

 

nearo nihtwaco

often took me

 

t nacan stefnan,

at the ship's prow,

8a

onne he be clifum cnossa.

when it tossed near the cliffs.

 

Calde gerungen

Fettered by cold

 

wron mine fet,

were my feet,

 

forste gebunden

bound by frost

 

caldum clommum,

in cold clasps,

 

r a ceare seofedun

where then cares seethed

 

hat ymb heortan;

hot about my heart --

 

hungor innan slat

a hunger tears from within

12a

merewerges mod.

the sea-weary soul.

 

t se mon ne wat

This the man does not know

 

e him on foldan

for whom on land

 

fgrost limpe,

it turns out most favourably,

 

hu ic earmcearig

how I, wretched and sorrowful,

 

iscealdne s

on the ice-cold sea

 

winter wunade

dwelt for a winter

 

wrccan lastum,

in the paths of exile,

16a

winemgum bidroren,

bereft of friendly kinsmen,

     
 

bihongen hrimgicelum;

hung about with icicles;

 

hgl scurum fleag.

hail flew in showers.

 

r ic ne gehyrde

There I heard nothing

 

butan hlimman s,

but the roaring sea,

 

iscaldne wg.

the ice-cold wave.

 

Hwilum ylfete song

At times the swan's song

20a

dyde ic me to gomene,

I took to myself as pleasure,

 

ganotes hleoor

the gannet's noise

 

ond huilpan sweg

and the voice of the curlew

 

fore hleahtor wera,

instead of the laughter of men,

 

mw singende

the singing gull

 

fore medodrince.

instead of the drinking of mead.

 

Stormas r stanclifu beotan,

Storms there beat the stony cliffs,

 

r him stearn oncw,

where the tern spoke,

24a

isigfeera;

icy-feathered;

 

ful oft t earn bigeal,

always the eagle cried at it,

 

urigfera;

dewy-feathered;

 

nnig hleomga

no cheerful kinsmen

 

feasceaftig fer

can comfort

 

frefran meahte.

the poor soul.

 

Foron him gelyfe lyt,

Indeed he credits it little,

 

se e ah lifes wyn

the one who has the joys of life,

28a

gebiden in burgum,

dwells in the city,

 

bealosia hwon,

far from terrible journey,

 

wlonc ond wingal,

proud and wanton with wine,

 

hu ic werig oft

how I, weary, often

 

in brimlade

have had to endure

 

bidan sceolde.

in the sea-paths.

 

Nap nihtscua,

The shadows of night darkened,

 

noran sniwde,

it snowed from the north,

32a

hrim hrusan bond,

frost bound the ground,

 

hgl feol on eoran,

hail fell on the earth,

 

corna caldast.

coldest of grains.

 

Foron cnyssa nu

Indeed, now they are troubled,

 

heortan geohtas

the thoughts of my heart,

 

t ic hean streamas,

that I myself should strive with

 

sealtya gelac

the high streams,

 

sylf cunnige --

the tossing of salt waves --

36a

mona modes lust

the wish of my heart urges

 

mla gehwylce

all the time

 

fer to feran,

my spirit to go forth,

 

t ic feor heonan

that I, far from here,

 

eleodigra

should seek the homeland

 

eard gesece --

of a foreign people --

 

Foron nis s modwlonc

Indeed there is not so proud-spirited

 

mon ofer eoran,

a man in the world,

40a

ne his gifena s god,

nor so generous of gifts,

 

ne in geogue to s hwt,

nor so bold in his youth,

 

ne in his ddum to s deor,

nor so brave in his deeds,

 

ne him his dryhten to s hold,

nor so dear to his lord,

 

t he a his sfore

that he never in his seafaring

 

sorge nbbe,

has a worry,

 

to hwon hine Dryhten

as to what his Lord

 

gedon wille.

will do to him.

44a

Ne bi him to hearpan hyge

Not for him is the sound of the harp

 

ne to hringege

nor the giving of rings

 

ne to wife wyn

nor pleasure in woman

 

ne to worulde hyht

nor worldly glory --

 

ne ymbe owiht elles

nor anything at all

 

nefne ymb ya gewealc;

unless the tossing of waves;

 

ac a hafa longunge

but he always has a longing,

 

se e on lagu funda.

he who strives on the waves.

48a

Bearwas blostmum nima,

Groves take on blossoms,

 

byrig fgria,

the cities grow fair,

 

wongas wlitiga,

the fields are comely,

 

woruld onette:

the world seems new:

 

ealle a gemonia

all these things urge on

 

modes fusne

the eager of spirit,

 

sefan to sie

the mind to travel,

 

am e swa ence

in one who so thinks

52a

on flodwegas

to travel far

 

feor gewitan.

on the paths of the sea.

 

Swylce geac mona

So the cuckoo warns

 

geomran reorde;

with a sad voice;

 

singe sumeres weard,

the guardian of summer sings,

 

sorge beode

bodes a sorrow

 

bitter in breosthord.

grievous in the soul.

 

t se beorn ne wat,

This the man does not know,

56a

sefteadig secg,

the warrior lucky in worldly things

 

hwt a sume dreoga

what some endure then,

 

e a wrclastas

those who tread most widely

 

widost lecga.

the paths of exile.

 

Foron nu min hyge hweorfe

And now my spirit twists

 

ofer hreerlocan,

out of my breast,

 

min modsefa

my spirit

 

mid mereflode,

out in the waterways,

60a

ofer hwles eel

over the whale's path

 

hweorfe wide,

it soars widely

 

eoran sceatas --

through all the corners of the world --

 

cyme eft to me

it comes back to me

 

gifre ond grdig;

eager and unsated;

 

gielle anfloga,

the lone-flier screams,

 

hwete on hwlweg

urges onto the whale-road

 

hreer unwearnum

the unresisting heart

64a

ofer holma gelagu.

across the waves of the sea.

 

Foron me hatran sind

Indeed hotter for me are

 

Dryhtnes dreamas

the joys of the Lord

 

onne is deade lif

than this dead life

 

lne on londe.

fleeting on the land.

 

Ic gelyfe no

I do not believe

 

t him eorwelan

that the riches of the world

 

ece stonda.

will stand forever.

68a

Simle reora sum

Always and invariably,

 

inga gehwylce

one of three things

 

r his tiddege

will turn to uncertainty

 

to tweon weore:

before his fated hour:

 

adl oe yldo

disease, or old age,

 

oe ecghete

or the sword's hatred

 

fgum fromweardum

will tear out the life

 

feorh oringe.

from those doomed to die.

72a

Foron bi eorla gehwam

And so it is for each man

 

ftercweendra

the praise of the living,

 

lof lifgendra

of those who speak afterwards,

 

lastworda betst,

that is the best epitaph,

 

t he gewyrce,

that he should work

 

r he on weg scyle,

before he must be gone

 

fremum on foldan

bravery in the world

 

wi feonda ni,

against the enmity of devils,

76a

deorum ddum

daring deeds

 

deofle togeanes,

against the fiend,

 

t hine lda bearn

so that the sons of men

 

fter hergen,

will praise him afterwards,

 

ond his lof sian

and his fame afterwards

 

lifge mid englum

will live with the angels

 

awa to ealdre,

for ever and ever,

 

ecan lifes bld,

the glory of eternal life,

80a

dream mid dugeum.

joy with the Hosts.

 

Dagas sind gewitene,

The days are gone

 

ealle onmedlan

of all the glory

 

eoran rices;

of the kingdoms of the earth;

 

nearon nu cyningas

there are not now kings,

 

ne caseras

nor Csars,

 

ne goldgiefan

nor givers of gold

 

swylce iu wron,

as once there were,

84a

onne hi mst mid him

when they, the greatest, among themselves

 

mra gefremedon

performed valorous deeds,

 

ond on dryhtlicestum

and with a most lordly

 

dome lifdon.

majesty lived.

 

Gedroren is eos dugu eal,

All that old guard is gone

 

dreamas sind gewitene;

and the revels are over --

 

wunia a wacran

the weaker ones now dwell

 

ond s woruld healda,

and hold the world,

88a

bruca urh bisgo.

enjoy it through their sweat.

 

Bld is gehnged,

The glory is fled,

 

eoran indryhto

the nobility of the world

 

ealda ond seara,

ages and grows sere,

 

swa nu monna gehwylc

as now does every man

 

geond middangeard.

throughout the world.

 

Yldo him on fare,

Age comes upon him,

 

onsyn blaca,

his face grows pale,

92a

gomelfeax gnorna,

the graybeard laments;

 

wat his iuwine,

he knows that his old friends,

 

elinga bearn

the sons of princes,

 

eoran forgiefene.

have been given to the earth.

 

Ne mg him onne se flschoma

His body fails then,

 

onne him t feorg losa

as life leaves him --

 

ne swete forswelgan

he cannot taste sweetness

 

ne sar gefelan

nor feel pain,

96a

ne hond onhreran

nor move his hand

 

ne mid hyge encan.

nor think with his head.

 

eah e grf wille

Though he would strew

 

golde stregan

the grave with gold,

 

broor his geborenum,

a brother for his kinsman,

 

byrgan be deadum

bury with the dead

 

mamum mislicum,

a mass of treasure,

 

t hine mid wille,

it just won't work --

100a

ne mg re sawle

nor can the soul

 

e bi synna ful

which is full of sin

 

gold to geoce

preserve the gold

 

for Godes egsan,

before the fear of God,

 

onne he hit r hyde

though he hid it before

 

enden he her leofa.

while he was yet alive.

 

Micel bi se Meotudes egsa,

Great is the fear of the Lord,

 

foron hi seo molde oncyrre;

before which the world stands still;

104a

se gestaelade

He established

 

stie grundas,

the firm foundations,

 

eoran sceatas

the corners of the world

 

ond uprodor.

and the high heavens.

 

Dol bi se e him his Dryhten ne ondrde:

A fool is the one who does not fear his Lord

 

cyme him se dea uninged.

-- death comes to him unprepared.

 

Eadig bi se e eamod leofa;

Blessed is he who lives humbly

 

cyme him seo ar of heofonum.

-- to him comes forgiveness from heaven.

108a

Meotod him t mod gestaela,

God set that spirit within him,

 

foron he in his meahte gelyfe.

because he believed in His might.

 

Stieran mon sceal strongum mode,

Man must control his passions

 

ond t on staelum healdan,

and keep everything in balance,

 

ond gewis werum,

keep faith with men,

 

wisum clne.

and be pure in wisdom.

 

Scyle monna gehwylc

Each of men must

 

mid gemete healdan

be even-handed

112a

wi leofne ond wi lane

with their friends and their foes.

 

* * * bealo.

?

 

eah e he hine wille

? though he does not wish him

 

fyres fulne

? in the foulness of flames

 

oe on ble

? or on a pyre

 

forbrnedne

? to be burned

 

his geworhtne wine,

? his contrived friend,

 

Wyrd bi swire,

Fate is greater

116a

Meotud meahtigra,

and God is mightier

 

onne nges monnes gehygd.

than any man's thought.

 

Uton we hycgan

Let us ponder

 

hwr we ham agen,

where we have our homes

 

ond onne geencan

and then think

 

hu we ider cumen;

how we should get thither --

 

ond we onne eac tilien

and then we should all strive

 

t we to moten

that we might go there

120a

in a ecan

to the eternal

 

eadignesse

blessedness

 

r is lif gelong

that is a belonging life

 

in lufan Dryhtnes,

in the love of the Lord,

 

hyht in heofonum.

joy in the heavens.

 

s sy am Halgan onc

Let there be thanks to God

 

t he usic geweorade,

that he adored us,

 

wuldres Ealdor

the Father of Glory,

124a

ece Dryhten,

the Eternal Lord,

 

in ealle tid. Amen.

for all time. Amen.

 


Anglo-Saxon poem "Deor" with Lyre - youtube

Deor: an Old English Poem, set to music by Will Rowan 
This kind of harp or lyre was played in Scandinavia, England, and continental Europe from about 500-1000 AD

Deor - Translation

 

Welund him be wurman

Weland himself, by means of worms (swords?),

 

wrces cunnade,

experienced agony,

 

anhydig eorl

the strong-minded noble

 

earfoa dreag,

endured troubles;

 

hfde him to gesie

he had for his companions

 

sorge and longa,

sorrow and longing,

4a

wintercealde wrce,

winter-bitter wrack,

 

wean oft onfond

he often found misery

 

sian hine Nihad on

after Nihad

 

nede legde,

put fetters on him,

 

swoncre seonobende

supple sinew-bonds

 

on syllan monn.

on the better man.

 

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.

     

8a

Beadohilde ne ws

Beadohild was not

 

hyre brora dea

as sad in mind

 

on sefan swa sar

for the death of her brothers

 

swa hyre sylfre ing,

as for her own trouble,

 

t heo gearolice

she had

 

ongietan hfde

clearly realized

 

t heo eacen ws;

that she was pregnant;

 

fre ne meahte

she could never

12a

riste geencan

think resolutely

 

hu ymb t sceolde.

of how that would have to (turn out).

 

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.

     
 

We t Mhilde

We heard that

 

mone gefrugnon

the moans of Matilda,

 

wurdon grundlease

of the lady of Geat,

 

Geates frige,

were numberless

16a

t hi seo sorglufu

so that (her) sorrowful love

 

slp ealle binom.

entirely deprived of sleep.

 

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.

     
 

eodric ahte

Theodric ruled

 

ritig wintra

for thirty winters

 

Mringa burg;

the city of the Mrings;

 

t ws monegum cu.

that was known to many.

20a

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.

     
 

We geascodan

We heard

 

Eormanrices

Ermanaric's

 

wylfenne geoht;

wolfish thought;

 

ahte wide folc

he ruled widely the people

 

Gotena rices;

of the kingdom of the Goths -

 

t ws grim cyning.

That was a grim king!

24a

St secg monig

Many a warrior sat,

 

sorgum gebunden,

bound up by cares,

 

wean on wenan,

woes in mind,

 

wyscte geneahhe

wished constantly

 

t s cynerices

that the kingdom

 

ofercumen wre.

were overcome.

 

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.

     

28a

Site sorgcearig,

He sits sorrowful and anxious,

 

slum bidled,

bereft of joy,

 

on sefan sweorce,

darkening in his mind,

 

sylfum ince

he thinks to himself

 

t sy endeleas

that (it) is endless

 

earfoa dl,

the (his) part of troubles;

 

mg onne geencan

then he can consider

 

t geond as woruld

that throughout this world

32a

witig Dryhten

the wise Lord

 

wende geneahhe,

always goes,

 

eorle monegum

to many men

 

are gesceawa,

he shows honour,

 

wislicne bld,

sure glory,

 

sumum weana dl.

to some a share of troubles.

     
 

t ic bi me sylfum

I, for myself,

 

secgan wille,

want to say this,

36a

t ic hwile ws

that for a while I was

 

Heodeninga scop,

the scop (bard) of the Hedenings,

 

dryhtne dyre;

dear to my lord;

 

me ws Deor noma.

my name was Deor.

 

Ahte ic fela wintra

I had for many winters

 

folga tilne,

a good position,

 

holdne hlaford,

a loyal lord,

 

o t Heorrenda nu,

until Heorrenda now,

40a

leocrftig monn,

a man skilful in songs,

 

londryht geah

has taken the estate

 

t me eorla hleo

that the protector (hleo) of warriors (eorla)

 

r gesealde.

before (r) gave to me.

 

s ofereode,

That was overcome,

 

isses swa mg.

so may this be.