from "THE PHOENIX"lines 1-84
Anon.trans. Louis Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Hæbbe ic gefrugnen...... þætte is feorr heonan
eastdælum on...... æþelast londa
firum gefræge....... Nis se foldan sceat
ofer middangeard...... mongum gefere
foldagendra,...... ac he afyrred is
þurh Meotudes meaht...... manfremmendum.
Wlitig is se wong eall,...... wynnum geblissad,
mid þam fægrestum...... foldan stencum.
Ćnlic is þæt iglond,...... æþele se Wyrhta,
modig, meahtum spedig,...... se þæ moldan gesette.
Ðær bið oft open...... eadgum togeanes,
onhliden hleoþra wynn,...... heofonrices duru.
Þæt is wynsum wong,...... wealdas grene,
rume under roderum....... Ne mæg þær ren ne snaw,
ne forstes fnæst,...... ne fyres blæst,
ne hægles hryre,...... ne hrimes dryre,
ne sunnan hætu,...... ne sincieldu,
ne wearm weder,...... ne winterscur
wihte gewyrdan;...... ae se wong seomað
eadig and onsund....... Is þæt æþele lond
blostmum geblowen....... Beorgas þær ne muntas
steape ne stondað,...... ne stanclifu
heah hlifiað,...... swa her mid us,
ne dene ne dalu,...... ne dunscrafu,
hlæwas ne hlincas,...... ne þær hleonað oo
unsmeþes wiht;...... ac se æþela feld
wridað under wolcnum...... wynnum geblowen.
Is þæt torhte lond...... twelfum herra
folde fæðmrimes,......swa us gefreogun gleawe
witgan purh wisdom...... on gewritum cyþað,
þonne ænig þara beorga......þe her beorhte mid us
hea hlifiað,...... under heofontunglum.
Smylte is se sigewong,...... sunnbearo lixeð,
wuduholt wynlic:...... wæstmas ne dreosað,
beorhte blede,...... ac þa beamas a
grene stondað,......swa him God bibead;
wintres and sumeres...... wudu bið gelice
bledum gehongen;...... næfre brosniað
leaf under lyfte,...... ne him lig sceþeð
æfre to ealdre,...... ær son edwenden
worulde geweorðe....... Swa iu wætres þrymm
ealne middangeard,...... mereflod þeahte
eorðan ymbhwyrft,...... þa se æpela wong
æghwæs onsund...... wið yðfare
gehealden stod...... hreora wæga
eadig, unwemme,...... þurh est Godes:
bideð swa geblowen...... oð bæles cyme,
Dryhtnes domes,......þonne deaðræced,
hæleþa heolstorcofan,...... onhliden weorþað.
Nis þær on þam londe...... laðeniðla,
ne wop ne wracu,......weatacen nan,
yldu ne yrmðu,...... ne se enga deað,
ne lifes lyre...... ne laþes cyme,
ne synn ne sacu,......ne sar wracu,
ne wædle gewinn...... ne welan onsyn,
ne sorg ne slæp,...... ne swar leger,
ne wintergeweorp,...... ne wedra gebregd
hreoh under heofonum,...... ne se hearda forst
caldum cylegicelum...... cnyseð ænigne.
Þær ne hægl ne hrim...... hreosað to foldan,
ne windig wolcen,...... ne þær wæter fealleþ
lyfte gebysgad;...... ac þær lagustreamas,
wundrum wrættlice...... wyllan onspringað,
fægrum flodwylmum......foldan leccaþ,
wæter wynsumu......of þæs wuda midle,
þa monþa gehwam...... of þære moldan tyrf
brimcald brecað,...... bearo ealne geondfarað
bragum þrymlice:...... is þæt þeodnes gebod
þætte twelf siþum...... þæt firfæste
lond geondlace...... lagufloda wynn.
Sindon þa bearwas...... bledum gehongene
wlitigum wæstmum:...... þær ne waniað o
halge under heofonum...... holtes frætwe,
ne feallað þær on foldan......fealwe blostman,
wudubeama wlite;...... ac þær beoð wrættlice
on þam treowum symle...... telgan gehladene,
ofett edniwe...... in ealle tid.
On þam græswonge...... grene stondaþ
gehroden hyhtlice...... Haliges meahtum
beorhtast bearwa...... No gebrocen weorþeð
holt on hiwe,...... þær se halga stenc
wunap geond wynnlond;...... þæt onwended ne bið
æfre to ealdre,...... ær þon endige
frod fyrngeweorc,...... se hit on frymþe gesceop.

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................
I have heard tell there lies far hence,
in eastern parts, the loveliest of lands,
famed among folk. That expanse of earth
is not accessible to many potentates
across the ćorld; for, it is set apart
from sinful men through the might of God.
Lovely that land, delightfully dowered
with earth's sweetest scents;
matchless that isle; noble the Maker,
proud, rich in power, who stablished that land.
There Heaven's portals ever stand open
with songs of rapture revealed to the blest.
That plain is winsome: green woods spread
under the skies. There nor rain, nor snow,
nor frost's breath, nor fire's blast,
nor hail's fall, nor rime's fall,
nor sun's heat, nor ceaseless cold,
nor warm weather, nor wintry shower
work harm a whit, but the plain endures
unscathed and sound. That lovely land
blooms with blossoms. No hills or mountains
there stand steep, nor stony cliffs
rise high, as here with us:
no dells, no dales, no mouptain-caves,
no mounds, no dunes, nor aught unsmooth,
lie there; but that pleasant plain
thrives beneath the sky, blooms blissfully.
That radiant land, that region, is twelve
cubits higher (so sages from their studies
tell us wisely in their writings)
than any of the hills which here with us
rise brightly under the heavenly stars.
Serene is that plain: the sunny groves shine,
the winsome woods: fruits do not fall,
bright blossoms, but the trees ever
stand green, as God bade them.
Winter and summer alike the wood
is laden with fruit. Leaf shall not fade
under the sky nor fire scathe
ever, ere the end comes
to the world. As once the water's rush,
the sea-flood, whelmed all middle-earth,
earth's circuit, then that noble plain
by the grace of God stood all secure,
happy, unhurt, no whit harmed
by the billowy rush of those wild waves.
Thus it shall flourish, till the fire comes,
the Judgment of God, when graves
shall yawn. death-dwellings of men.
There is no loathsome foe in that land,
no weeping or pain or sign of woe,
no age or anguish or narrow death,
no loss of life or onset of evil,
no sin or strife or misery,
no pressure of want or lack of wealth,
no sorrow or sleep or sore disease,
no wintry squall or stormy weather
fierce under heaven; no bitter frost
with freezing icicles smites any man.
There no hail or hoarfrost falls to earth,
no wind-blown cloud; no water falls
driven by gusts, but there the streams,
wondrous strange, gush welling forth;
fair fountains, from the forests' midst,
winsome waters, irrigate the land;
every month from the earth's turf
they gush sea-cold, traverse the grove
gloriously in season. It is God's behest
that twelve times through that glorious land
the joyous water-floods should flow.
The groves are girt with blossoming,
beautiful fruits; the forest's ornaments.
holy under heaven, never wither there;
nor do fallow flowers that grace the trees
fall to earth; but there, in wondrous wise,
the boughs on the trees are ever lade
with fruit, fresh through all time,
Green on that grassy plain there stands,
gaily garnished by God's holy might,
the brightest of groves. No breach of hue
mars the holt; there sacred fragrance fills
the land; never shall it suffer change
to the fullness of time, ere He who first
shaped it shall end His ancient work.

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Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues, 1996 - publ. Llanerch Publishers


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