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                      The Anglo - Saxon Rune Poem 
                           By:  Steph Parker

Anyway, here is the Anglo-Saxon Rune poem.  The OE version is in West
Saxon though the spelling hasn't been regulised (though I'm using the
standard 'ae' for 'ash' and 'th' for 'thorn' and 'eth').  The transla-
tion will be Anthony E. Farnham's from A Sourcebook in the History of
English as it's much too late for me to bother doing my own and I'll be
too busy over the next few days.

Where the number '7' appears that is the Old English equivalent of the
ampersand (&) and should be read as 'and' or 'ond'.

One last point - the poem here has not been proofread so there is a
chance that there are errors in the transcription (particularly with
ommission of the letter 'e' as there is a slight problem with my

Feoh byth frofur     fira gehwylcum -
sceal theah manna gehwylc     miclun hyt daelan
gif he wile for drihtne     domes hleotan.

(Wealth is a joy to every man -
    but every man must share it well
    if he wish to gain glory in the sight of the Lord.)

Ur byth anmod     7 oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor,     feohteth mid hornum,
maere morstapa:    thaet is modiy wuht!

(Aurochs is fierce, with gigantic horns,
    a very savage animal, it fights with horns,
    a well-known moor-stepper: it is a creature of courage!)


THorn byth thearle scearp,    thegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfyl,     ungemetun rethe
manna gehwylcun     the him mid resteth.

(Thorn is very sharp, harmful to every man
    who seizes it, unsuitably severe
    to every man who rests on it.)

Os byth ordfruma     aelcre spraece,
wisdomes wrathu     and witena frofur
and eorla gehwam     eadnys and tohiht.

(Os is the creator of all speech,
    a supporter of wisdom and comfort of wise men,
    and a blessing aand hope to every man.)

Rad byth on recyde     rinca gehwylcum
sefte, and swithhwaet     tham the sitteth onufan
meare maegenheardum     ofer milpathas.

(Journey is to every warrior in the hall
    pleasant, and bitingly tough to him who sits
    on a might steed over the mile-paths.)

Cen byth cwicera gehwam     cuth on fyre,
blac and beorhtlic,     byrneth oftust
thaer hi aethelingas     inne restath.

(Torch is to every living thing known by its fire;
    bright and brilliant, it burns most often
    where the princes take their rest within.)

Gyfu gumena byth     gleng and herenys,
wrathu 7 wyrthscype,     7 wraecna gehwam
ar and aetwist     the byth othra leas.

(Generosity of men is an ornament and praise,
    support and dignity, magnificence and existence
    to every suffering man, who is otherwise destitute.)

Wenne bruceth     the can weana lyt,
sares and sorge,     and him sylfa haefth
blaed 7 blysse     and eac byrga geniht.

(Joy he possesses who knows few woes,
    pain and sorrow, and has for himself
    prosperity and bliss, and also the abundance found in the fortified
dwellings of men.)

Haegl byth hwitust corna,     hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
wealcath hit windes scura,     weortheth hit to waetere syththan.

(Hail is the whitest of seeds, it comes down from the air of heaven,
    the gusts of wind toss it about, afterward it turns to water.)

Nyd byth nearu on breostan:     weortheth hi theah oft nitha bearnum
to helpe and to haele gehwaethre,     gif hi his hlystath aeror.


(Necessity is oppressive to the heart: yet it often becomes for the
children of men a help and salvation for each, if they have hearkened
unto it.)

Is byth oferceald,     ungemetum slidor,
glisnath glaeshluttur     gimmum gelicust,
flor forste geworuht,     faeger ansyne.

(Ice is extremely cold, excessively slippery,
    it glistens glass-clear, most like to gems,
    it is a floor wrought by frost, fair of sight.)

Ger byth gumena hiht,     thon God laeteth,
halig heofones cyning,     hrusan syllan
beorhte bleda     beornum and thearfum.

(Year (the growing season) is the hope of men, when God,
    holy king of heaven, causes the earth to give forth
    shining fruits to wealthy and to needy.)

Eoh byth utan     unsmethe treow,
heard hrusan faest,     hyrde fyres,
wyrtrumun underwrethyd,     wynn on ethle.

(Yew is a tree with unsmooth bark,
    hard and fast in the earth, keeper of fire,
    supported by roots, a joy in the land.)

Peorth byth symble     plega and hlehter
wlancum [and wisum],     thar wigan sittath
on beorsele     blithe aetsomne.

(Peorth is always sport and laughter
    to the noble [and the wise], where men sit
    together in merriment in the mead-hall.)

Eolhx secg eard haefth     oftust on fenne,
wexeth on wature,     wundath grimme,
blode breneth     beorna gehwylcne
the him aenigne     onfeng gedeth.

(Eolhx-sedge has its home most often in the marsh,
    it grows in the water, wounds cruelly,
    darkens with blood every man
    who touches it in any way.)

Sigel semannum     symble bith on hihte,
thonn hi hine feriath     ofer fisces beth,
oth hi brimhengest     bringeth to lande.

(Sun is always a hope to seamen,
    when they guide the sea-steed over the fish's bath
    until it carries them to land.)

Tir bith tacna sum:     healdeth trywa wel
with aethelingas,     a bith on faerylde
ofer nihta genipu,     naefre swiceth.


(Tir is a sign to remember: it holds faith well
    with princes, is always on course
    above the mists of the nights, it never wanders or deceives.)

Beorc byth bleda leas,     bereth efne swa theah
tanas butan tudder,     bith on telgum wlitig,
heah on helme     hrysted faegere,
geloden leafum,     lyfte getenge.

(Birch (referring to the poplar?) is seedless, yet without fruit it
    puts forth sprouts; it is beautiful with its branches,
    lofty in its crown, fairly adorned,
    sprung from shoots, pressing aloft.)

Eh byth for eorlum     aethelinga wyn,
hors hofum wlanc,     thar him haelethe ymb
welege on wicgum     wrixlath spraece,
7 bith unstyllum     aefre frofur.

(Horse in the presence of warriors is a joy to princes,
    a steed proud of its hoofs, where mounted men
    and wealthy exchange speech about him,
    and is ever a joy to the restless.)

Man byth on myrgthe     his magan leof -
sceal theah anra gehwylc     othrum swican;
fortham Dryhten wyle     dome sine
thaet earme flaesc     eorthan betaecan.

(Man in merriment is beloved of his fellow -
    yet shall every one betray the other;
    for this reason God wills by his decree
    that the unhappy flesh be committed to the earth.)

Lagu byth leodum     langsum gethuht,
gif hi sculun nethan     on nacan tealtum
7hi saeytha     swythe bregath
and se brimhengest     bridles ne gymeth.

(Sea is to men a thing which seems everlasting,
    if they must dare to venture on the unsteady and untrustorthy ship
    and the sea-waves greatly terrify them
    and the sea-steed cares not for its bridle.)

Ing waes aerest     mid Eastdenum
gesewen secgun,     oth he siththan est
ofer waeg gewat;     waen aefter ran.
THus Heardingas     thone haele nemdun.

(Ing was first among the East-Danes
    visible to men, until he later eastward
    departed over the sea; his chariot followed him.
    Thus did the Heardings invoke that hero.)

AEthel byth oferleof     aeghwylcum men,
gif he mot thaer rigtes     and gerysena on
brucan on bolde     bleadum oftast.

(Homeland is most precious to every man,
    if he may therein enjoy justice and courtesies
    in his house, in frequent and abundant prosperity.)

Daeg byth Drihtnes sond,     deore mannum,
maere Metodes leoht,     myrgth and tohiht
eadgum and earmum,     eallum brice.

(Day is the envoy of the Lord, dear to men,
    the great light of God, happiness and hope
    to blessed and to miserable, an enjoyment for all.)

Ac byth on eorthan     elda bearnum
flaesces fodor,     fereth gelome
ofer ganotes baeth:     garsecg fandath
hwaether ac haebbe     aethele treowe.

(Oak is for the children of men on earth
    a provider of meat (acorns are food for swine); it journeys
    over the bath of the gannet: Neptune the spearman proves
    if the oak keep faith in honorable fashion.)

AEsc bith oferheah,     eldum dyre,
stith on stathule,     stede rihte hylt
theah him feohtan on     firas monige.

(Ash (used for spears) is very tall, precious to men,
    stubborn in standing, holds its place well
    even though many men attack it.)

Yr byth aethelinga     7 eorla gehwaes
wyn and wyrthmynd,     byth on wicge faeger,
faestlic on faerelde,     fyrdgeatewa sum.

(Yr is for every prince and noble
    a joy and an hononr, it is fair on a horse,
    dependable on an expedition, a fine piece of military equipage.)

Ior byth eafixa,     and theah a bruceth
fodres on foldan;     hafath faegerne eard,
waetre beworpen,     thaer he wynnum leofath.

(Ior is of the river-fish, and yet always partakes
    of food on land; it has a fair home,
    surrounded by water, where it dwells in joy.)

Ear byth egle     eorla gehwylcun
thonn faestlice     flaesc onginneth
hraw colian,     hrusan ceosan
blac to gebeddan:     bleda gedreosath,
wynna gewitath,     wera geswicath.

(Earth is loathsome to every man
    when relentlessly the flesh, the carrion body,
    begins to cool, lividly to accept marriage
    to its fellow dust: blossoms fall,
    joys pass away, friendships fail.)

Wyrd wes eower weard.

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