from "THE WHALE"lines 1-56
Anon.trans. Louis Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Nu ic fitte gen ymb fisca cynn
wille woðcræfte wordum cyþan
þurh modgemynd bi þam miclan hwale.
Se bið unwillum oft gemeted,
frecne ond ferðgrim, fareðlacendum,
niþþa gehwylcum; þam is noma cenned,
fyrnstreama geflotan, Fastitocalon.
Is þæs hiw gelic hreofum stane,
swylce worie bi wædes ofre,
sondbeorgum ymbseald, særyrica mæst,
swa þæt wenaþ wægliþende
þæt hy on ealond sum eagum wliten,
ond þonne gehydað heahstefn scipu
to þam unlonde oncyrrapum,
sælaþ sæmearas sundes æt ende,
ond þonne in þæt eglond up gewitað
collenferþe, ceolas stondað
bi staþe fæste, streame biwunden.
Ðonne gewiciað werigferðe,
faroðlacende, frecnes ne wenað,
on þam ealonde æled weccað,
heahfyr ælað hæleþ beoþ on wynnum,
reonigmode, ræste geliste.
Þonne gefeleð facnes cræftig
þæt him þa ferend on fæste wuniaþ,
wic weardiað wedres on luste,
ðonne semninga on sealtne wæg
mid þa noþe niþer gewiteþ
garsecges gæst, grund geseceð,
ond þonne in deaðsele drence bifæsteð
scipu mid scealcum. Swa biþ scinna þeaw,
deofla wise, þæt hi drohtende
þurh dyrne meaht duguðe beswicað,
ond on teosu tyhtaþ tilra dæda,
wemað on willan, þæt hy wraþe secen,
frofre to feondum, oþþæt hy fæste ðær
æt þam wærlogan wic geceosað.
Þonne þæt gecnaweð of cwicsusle
flah feond gemah, þætte fira gehwylc
hæleþa cynnes on his hringe biþ
fæste gefeged, he him feorgbona
þurh sliþen searo siþþan weorþeð,
wloncum ond heanum, þe his willan her
firenum fremmað mid þam he færinga,
heoloþhehne biþeaht, helle seceð,
goda geasne, grundleasne wylm
under mistglome, swa se micla hwæl,
se þe bisenceð sæliþende
eorlas ond yðmearas. He hafað oþre gecynd,
wæterþisa wlonc, wrætlicran gien.
Þonne hine on holme hungor bysgað
ond þone aglæcan ætes lysteþ,
ðonne se mereweard muð ontyneð,
wide weleras; cymeð wynsum stenc
of his innoþe. þætte oþre þurh þone,
sæfisca cynn, beswicen weorðaþ, ...
.................
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Now a fitt about a kind of fish
I will frame by my wit, a song
with words about the mighty whale.
To their sorrow he is often found
by seafarers, fierce and cruel
to every man; this name is given
to the ocean-floater: Fastitocalon.
His shape is like a rough stone,
as if great sea-weeds, girt
by sandbanks, floated by the shore,
so that seafarers suppose
their eyes behold an isle;
and then secure their high-prowed ships
by anchor-ropes to that false land;
stall their sea-steeds at the water's edge,
and then go up into that isle,
stouthearted; their ships stand
fast by the shore, engirt by streams.
Then the weary mariners
encamp, expecting no harm;
on that isle, they kindle fire,
build a great blaze; the men,
worn out, gladly long for rest.
When he, skilled in treachery, feels
the sailors settled firm upon him,
encamped, enjoying the clear weather,
then suddenly the ocean-spirit
dives down with his prey
into the salt wave, seeks the depths,
and in the death-hall tries to drown
ships and crews. Such is the wont of demons,
the way of devils, that, living, they
betray men through dark might,
draw them to ruin of their good deeds,
entice them to pleasure; so that they seek
solace from foes, till they firmly choose
a dwelling with the devil there.
When from his hell-torment the false
impious fiend knows that any one
of the human race is firmly fixed
on his round form, he then becomes
the slayer by artful sleights,
of high and low, who, in wickedness,
work his will here; with these he quickly,
helmet-hidden, void of virtue,
seeks hell, the bottomless surge,
under misty gloom, even as the mighty whale
who sinks seafaring
men and ships. Bold water-rusher, he
has yet another wondrous trait.
When hunger harries him on the wave
and the creature craves for food,
then the sea-warden opens his mouth,
his wide lips; a winsome smell comes
from within him so that other kinds
of fish are thereby deceived.
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Transl. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues, 1996 - publ. Llanerch Publishers


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