Old English Rune Poem

Eald Anglisc Rún Léoþ/Old English Rune Poem
(Original text followed by Þórbeorht Línléah’s translation)

I
Feoh byþ frófor     fíra gehwylcum
Sceal ðéah manna gehwylc      miclan hyt dælan
gif hé wile for drihtne      dómes hléotan.

Fee-cattle beeth a benefit      for all men.
Shall though every man     mickel deal it,
if he will, before the Drighten [Wóden],     doom’s lots cast.

II
Úr byþ ánmód     and oferhyrned
felafrécne déor     feohteþ mid hornum
mære mórstapa     þæt is módig wuht

Auroch beeth one-minded     and horned over-head.
The greatly greedy beast     fighteth with horns.
Infamous moor-stepper;     that is a moody wight.

III
Þorn byþ ðearle scearp     þegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfel     ungemetum réþe
manna gehwylcum     ðe him mid resteð.

Thorn beeth severely sharp     for all thanes
It is evil to grasp,     terrible without mete,
for all men     that mid them resteth.

IV
Ós byþ ordfruma     ælcre spræce
wísdómes wráþu     and wítena frófor
and eorla gehwám     éadnys and tóhiht

Ós [Wóden] beeth the spear-ruler     of all speech
wisdom’s stay,     and the witty-ones’ help
and every earl’s     happiness and hope.

V
Rád byþ on recyde     rinca gehwylcum
séfte and swíþhwæt     þám þe sitteþ onufan
méare mægenheardum     ofer mílpaþas

Ride beeth in the hall     for all warriors
soft, and swith-bold     for them that sitteth upon
a main-hardy mare      over mile-paths.

VI
Cén byþ cwicera gehwám     cúþ on fýre
blác and beorhtlic     byrneþ oftust
ðær hí æþelingas     inne restaþ

Torch beeth to all that is quick     couth (known) on fire
beaming and brightly     it burneth oftest
where the Athelings     resteth inside.

VII
Gyfu gumena byþ     gleng and herenys
wraþu and wyrþscype     and wræcna gehwám
ár and ætwist     ðe byþ óþra léas

Gift beeth to men     adornment and praise
stay and worship     and for all wretches
honor and well-being     beeth they otherwise without.

VIII
Wynne brúceþ     ðe can wéana lýt
sáres and sorge     and him selfa hæfþ
blæd and blysse     and éac byrga geniht

Joy brooketh     he who kens lite want
of sores and sorrow     and himself haveth
bounty and bliss     and eke a burg’s abundance

IX
Hagol byþ hwítost corna     hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte
wealcaþ hit windes scúra     weorþeþ hit tó wætere syððan

Hail beeth the whitest of corns     whirleth it from heaven’s loft
The wind’s showers walketh it     wortheth it to water thereafter.

X
Níed byþ nearu on bréostan,     weorþeþ hit ðéah oft níþa bearnum
tó helpe and tó hæle     gif hí his hlystaþ æror

Need beeth narrow on the breast     though it oft wortheth for the bairns of men
to help and to heal,     if they ere listeneth to it.

XI
Ís byþ oferceald     ungemetum slidor
glisnaþ glæshlúttur     gimmum gelícust
flór forste geworuht     fæger ansýne

Ice beeth over-cold     slippery without mete,
glisteneth glass-clear     likest gems
a floor wrought of frost,     a fair sight

XII
Gér byþ gumena hiht     ðonne god læteþ
hálig heofones cyning     hrúsan sellan
beorhte bléda     beornum and ðearfum.

Year beeth the hight (hope) of men,     when god letteth,
heaven’s holy king,     Earth to sell
bright blades [of barley]     to bairns and beggars.

XIII
Éoh byþ útan     unsméþe tréow,
heard, hrúsan fæst     hyrde fýres,
wyrtruman underwreþyd     wynan on éþle

Yew beeth without     an unsmooth tree
Hard earth fast,     herder of fires,
with wort-roots underheld,     a wynn (joy) on ancestral land.

XIV
Peorð byþ symble     plega and hlehtor
wlancum on wisum     ðár wígan sittaþ
on béorsele     blíþe ætsomne.

Pear-wood [hearp or tafl] beeth ever     play and laughter
amid the boastful and wise     where warriors sitteth
in beer-hall     blithe together.

XV
Eolhxsecg eard hæfþ     oftust on fenne
weaxeð on wætere     wundaþ grimme
blóde breneð     beorna gehwylcne
ðe him ænigne     onfeng gedéð.

Elk-sedge haveth a home     oftest in the fen
waxeth on water     woundeth grim
by blood burneth     every warrior
who in any way     layeth hold it.

XVI
Sigel sémannum     symble biþ on hihte
ðonn híe hine fériaþ     ofer fisces beþ
oþ hí brimhengest     bringeþ tó lande

Sun to seamen     ever beeth a hight (hope)
when they fareth it     over the fish’s bath
till they, the brim-stallion,      bringeth to land.

XVII
Tír biþ tácna sum     healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas     á biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu     næfre swíceþ

Star beeth some token     that holdeth trow well
with athelings;     ever beeth on faring
over night’s clouds,     never betrayeth.

XVIII
Beorc byþ bléda léas     bereþ efne swá ðéah
tánas bútan túdder     biþ on telgum wlitig
héah on helme     hrysted fægere
geloden léafum     lyfte getenge

Birch beeth without blossom,     beareth it even so though
tines without fruit.     Beeth it fair in branches,
high in helm     adorned fair,
laden with leaves     and nigh the sky-loft.

XIX
Eh byþ for eorlum     æþelinga wyn
hors hófum wlanc     ðær him hæleþas ymbe
welege on wicgum     wrixlaþ spræce
and biþ unstyllum     æfre frófur

Steed beeth for earls     the wynn (joy) of athelings,
a horse proud of hoofs     around where the heroes,
wealy upon steeds,     trade speech;
and beeth it for the unstill (traveling)     ever a comfort.

XX
Mann byþ on myrgþe     his mágan léof
sceal þéah ánre gehwylc     óðrum swícan
for ðám dryhten wyle     dóme síne
þæt earme flæsc     eorþan betæcan

Mann beeth in mirth     beloved of his kinsman
though each one shall     abandon the other,
for them the Drighten wills     by his doom
the vulnerable flesh     to beteach (commit) to Earth.

XXI
Lagu byþ léodum     langsum geþúht
gif hí sculun néþan     on nacan tealtum
and hí sæýþa     swýþe brégaþ
and se brimhengest     brídles ne gýmeð

Water beeth to folk     thought longsome
if they shall dare it     on tilting ship
and the sea-waves     greatly frighten,
and the brim-stallion     heeds not the bridle.

XXII
Ing wæs ærest    mid Éast-Denum
gesewen secgun     oþ hé siððan eft
ofer wæg gewát     wæn æfter ran
ðus heardingas     ðone hæle nemdon

Ing was erst,     mid the East Danes
seen by sedge-dwellers.     Then he went eft
over the wave.     His wain ran after him.
Thus the Heardings     named the hero.

XXIII
Éðel byþ oferléof     æghwylcum men
gif hé mót þær rihtes     and gerysena on
brúcan on bolde     bléadum oftast.

Ancestral land beeth over-dear     for all men
if he might there, rights     and honor,
brook in his dwelling,      with bounty oftest.

XXIV
Dæg byþ drihtnes sond     déore mannum
mære metodes léoht     myrgþ and tóhiht
éadgum and earmum     eallum bríce

Day beeth the Drighten’s sending,     dear to men
He-who-metes’s mighty light,    mirth and hight (hope)
for the wealthy and the poor,     needful for all.

XXV
Ác byþ on eorþan     elda bearnum
flæsces fódor     fereþ gelóme
ofer ganotes bæþ     gársecg fandaþ
hwæþer ác hæbbe     æþele tréowe.

Oak beeth on earth     for the bairns of men
flesh’s fodder,     fareth it frequent
over the gannet’s bath;     Gársecg [a sea god] testeth
whether oak holds     noble trow.

XXVI
Æsc biþ oferhéah     eldum dýre
stíþ on staþule     stede rihte hylt
ðéah him feohtan on     fíras monige

Ash is over-high     dear to men,
stith in staddle,     rightly holds stead
though against him fight     many men.

XXVII
Ýr byþ æþelinga     and eorla gehwæs
wyn and weorþmynd     byþ on wicge fæger
fæstlíc on færelde     fyrdgeatewa sum

Bow beeth for athelings     and every earl
wynn (joy) and worthmind;     beeth it fair on steed,
fastly on expedition     tis some fyrd-armament.

XXVIII
Íor byþ éafixa     and ðéah á brúceþ
fódres on foldan     hafaþ fægerne eard
wætre beworpen     ðær hé wynnum léofaþ

Grass snake beeth a river-fish     and though it always brooketh
of fodder on fold (land)     it haveth a fair home
surrounded by water     there it liveth in wynn (joy).

XIX
Éar byþ egle     eorla gehwylcun,
ðonn fæstlíce     flæsc onginneþ
hráw cólian     hrúsan céosan
blác té gebeddan     bléda gedréosaþ
wynna gewítaþ     wéra geswícaþ

Grave beeth grievous     to each earl
when fastly     flesh beginneth
corpse to cool,     to choose earth,
bleakness to bed,     fruit faileth,
wynn (joy) departeth,     oaths giveth way.