THE PANTHERTHE PANTHER
Anon.trans. Louis Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Monge sindon geond middangeard
unrimu cynn, þe we æpelu ne magon
ryhte areccan ne rim witan;
þæs wide sind geond world innan
fugla ond deora foldhrerendra
wornas widsceope, swa wæter bibugeð
þisne beorhtan bosm brim grymetende
sealtyþa geswing. We bi sumum hyrdon
wrætlice gecynd wildra secgan
firum freamærne feorlondum on
eard weardian, eðles neotan
æfter dunscrafum. Is þæt deor pandher
bi noman haten, þæs þe niþþa bearn,
wisfæste weras on gewritum cyþað
bi þam anstapan. Se is æghwam freond,
duguða estig, butan dracan anum,
þam he in ealle tid ondwrað leofaþ
þurh yfla gehwylc þe he geæfnan mæg.
Ðæt is wrætlic deor, wundrum scyne
hiwa gehwylces; swa hæleð secgað,
gæsthalge guman, þætte Iosephes
tunece wære telga gehwylces
bleom bregdende, þara beorhtra gehwylc
æghwæs ænlicra oþrum lixte
dryhta bearnum, swa þæs deores hiw,
blæc brigda gehwæs, beorhtra ond scynra
wundrum lixeð, þætte wrætlicra
æghwylc oþrum, ænlicra gien
ond fægerra frætwum bliceð,
symle sellicra. He hafað sundorgecynd,
milde, gemetfæst. He is monþwære,
lufsum ond leoftæl, nele laþes wiht
ængum geæfnan butan þam attorsceaþan,
his fyrngeflitan, þe ic ær fore sægde.
Symle fylle fægen, þonne foddor þigeð,
æfter þam gereordum ræste seceð
dygle stowe under dunscrafum;
ðær se þeodwiga þreonihta fæc
swifeð on swefote slæpe gebiesgad.
Þonne ellenrof up astondeð,
þrymme gewelgad, on þone þriddan dæg,
sneome of slæpe. Sweghleoþor cymeð,
wopa wynsumast þurh þæs wildres muð.
Æfter þære stefne stenc ut cymeð
of þam wongstede, wynsumra steam,
swettra ond swiþra swæcca gehwylcum,
wyrta blostmum ond wudubledum,
eallum æþelicra eorþan frætwum.
Þonne of ceastrum ond cynestolum
ond of burgsalum beornþreat monig
farað foldwegum folca þryþum,
eoredcystum, ofestum gefysde,
dareðlacende; deor efne swa some
æfter þære stefne on þone stenc farað.
Swa is dryhten god, dreama rædend,
eallum eaðmede oþrum gesceaftum,
duguða gehwylcre, butan dracan anum,
attres ordfruman. Þæt is se ealda feond,
þone he gesælde in susla grund,
ond gefetrade fyrnum teagum,
biþeahte þreanydum, ond þy þriddan dæge
of digle aras, þæs þe he deað fore us
þreoniht þolade, þeoden engla,
sigora sellend. Þæt wæs swete stenc,
wlitig ond wynsum geond woruld ealle.
Siþþan to þam swicce soðfæste men
on healfa gehwone heapum þrungon
geond ealne ymbhwyrft eorþan sceata.
Swa se snotra gecwæð sanctus Paulus:
'Monigfealde sind geond middangeard
god ungnyðe þe us to giefe dæleð
ond to feorhnere fæder ælmihtig,
ond se anga hyht ealra gesceafta,
uppe ge niþre.' Þæt is æþele stenc.
Throughout middle-earth there are many
kinds of creatures, whose nature we cannot
rightly recount or know the number;
so widely scattered throughout the world
are the multitudes of birds and beasts
that move on the earth, even as water,
the roaring sea, the salt waves' swell,
girds this bright bosom. We have heard tell
of the wondrous nature of one wild beast
that, in a far land famous among men,
bides in a dwelling, holds his domain,
amid mountain caves. That beast is called
Panther by name, as the sons of men,
men of wisdom, have told us in writings
about that lone-stepper. He is a friend to all,
gracious in gifts, save only the serpent,
with whom he always lives in hostility
for every evil which he can effect.
That is a beauteous beast wondrously radiant
in all his hues; just as heroes,
men holy in spirit, say that Joseph's
coat shimmered in colours
of every dye, each of which, brighter
and more splendid than the other, shone
among the sons of men, so this beast's hue,
brighter and more brilliant in its variety,
shines wondrously, so that each was more
marvellous than the others, yet more unique
and fairer in its beauty,
always much rarer. He has a strange nature,
mild, slow to wrath. He is gentle,
loving, and kind; he will do no harm
to anyone save that venomous foe.
his old enemy, of whom I spoke before.
Ever pleased with plenty. when he consumes food,
he seeks rest after feasting,
a secret spot in the mountain-caves;
there, for three nights, the great warrior
drowses in slumber, sunk in sleep.
Then, valiant, enriched with strength,
on the third day he rises up
swiftly from sleep. A melody comes forth,
sweetest of songs, from the beast's mouth.
After that voice an odour issues
from the place, a breath more pleasant,
sweeter and stronger than all the scents
of flowering herbs and forest fruits.
more excellent than all the treasures of earth.
Then from cities and royal seats
and castle-halls many crowds of men,
troops of men, traverse earth-tracks,
javelin-throwers in troops
impelled by haste; animals, too,
after the voice, are drawn to the smell.
Thus is the Lord God, Giver of joys,
gracious of every gift to all
other creatures save only the serpent,
the author of venom. That is the ancient fiend
whom He bound in the abyss of torments,
and fettered with fiery chains,
loaded with misery; and, on the third day, He
rose from His secret spot, Prince of angels,
Giver of victories, after He suffered death
for us three nights. That was a sweet smell,
fair and winsome, throughout the whole world.
Later pious men to that perfume
hastened in hosts on every hand
over all the extent of the regions of earth.
T'hus spoke St Paul in his wisdom:
'Manifold and generous throughout the world
are the good things granted us as a gift
to save our lives by the Father Almighty,
the only Hope of all created beings
above and below.' That is an excellent smell.

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


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