from "MAXIMS" I - Bfrom "MAXIMS" I - B
Anon.trans. Louis Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Forst sceal freosan, fyr wudu meltan,
eorþe growan, is brycgian,
wæter helm wegan, wundnun lucan
corþan cibas. An sceal inbindan
forstes fetre felameahtig god;
winter sceal geweorpan, weder eft cuman,
sumor swegle hat, sund unstille.
Deop deada wæg dyrne bið lengest;
holen sceal inæled, yrfe gedæled
deades monnes. Dom biþ selast.
Cyning sceal mid ceape cwene gebicgan,
bunum ond beagum; bu sceolon ærest
geofum god wesan. Guð sceal in eorle,
wig geweaxan, ond wif geþeon
leof mid hyre leodum, leohtmod wesan,
rune healdan, rumheort beon
mearum ond maþmum, meodorædenne
for gesiðmægen symle æghwær
eodor æþelinga ærest gegretan,
forman fulle to frean hond
ricene geræcan, ond him ræd witan
boldagendum bæm ætsomne.
Scip sceal genægled, scyld gebunden,
leoht linden bord, leof wilcuma
Frysan wife, þonne flota stondeð
biþ his ceol cumen ond hyre ceorl to ham,
agen ætgeofa, ond heo hine in laðaþ,
wæsceð his warig hrægl ond him syleþ wæde niwe,
liþ him on londe þæs his lufu bædeð.
Wif sceal wiþ wer wære gehealdan, oft hi mon wommum
fela bið fæsthydigra, fela bið fyrwetgeornra,
freoð hy fremde monnan, þonne se oþer feor gewiteþ.
Lida biþ longe on siþe; a mon sceal seþeah leofes wæenan,
gebidan þæs he gebædan ne mæg. Hwonne him eft gebyre
ham cymeð, gif he hal leofað, nefne him holm gestyreð,
mere hafað mundum mægð egsan wyn.
Ceap eadig mon cyning wic þonne
leodon cypeþ, þonne liþan cymeð
wuda ond wætres nyttaðb, þonne him bið wic alyfed,
mete bygeþ, gif he maran þearf, ærþon he to meþe weorþe.
Scoc se biþ þe to seldan ieteð þeah hine mon on sunnan læde,
ne mæg he be þy wedre wesan, þeah hit sy wearm on sumera,
ofercumen bið he, ær he acwele, gif he nat hwa hine cwicne
Mægen mon sceal mid mete fedan, morþor under eorþan
hinder under hrusan, þe hit forhelan þenceð
ne biþ þæt gedefe deaþ, þonne hit gedyrned weorþeð.

Frost shall freeze, fire consume wood,
earth produce growth, ice form a bridge,
water wear helm, wondrously confine
the young sprouts of earth. One shall unbind
the fetters of frost, God Almighty.
Winter shall pass, fair weather return,
summer hot with sun. Unquiet the sound.
The deep, dead wave, is longest hid.
Holly shall be kindled, the legacy
of a dead man be divided. Glory is best.
A king shall buy his queen with goods,
with beakers and bracelets. First they must both
be generous with gifts. Warlike valour grown
strong in an eorl, the woman shall thrive,
loved by the tribe. She shall be cheerful,
keep counsel, and be liberal
with horses and treasures. At the mead-drinking
always everywhere before the band of comrades
she shall greet the protector of athelings first;
quickly offer the first cup to the prince's hand
and know wise counsel for the two of them
together in their household.
The ship shall be nailed, the shield be bound,
the linden targe light. Dear is the loved one
to his Frisian wife, when the fleet docks.
His vessel has come, and her man is at home,
her own provider; and she bids him come in,
washes his sea-stained gear, gives him fresh weeds,
grants him on land what his love demands.
A wife shall keep faith with her man. Woman is often accused
of vice.
Many are constant, many are curious,
loving strange men when the other fares afar.
Long is the sailor away on the voyage, yet one shall ever await
a beloved,
await what he cannot hasten for. When he is given the chance,
he will come home again, if he lives unharmed, unless the sea
stays him,
the ocean has him in its clutches. A maid is the joy of her
A wealthy man will sell his goods, and the king quarters
to a man when he comes sailing in.
He has use of wood and water when a dwelling is granted him;
he buys food, if he need more, ere he grow too faint.
He who eats too seldom will be ill. Though he be led into the
he cannot endure the open air; though it be wann in summer,
he is overcome ere he die, if he knows no one to keep him alive
with food.
Strength shall be nourished with meat; murder be laid
down beneath the earth, by him who thinks to hide it.
That is no seemly death when it is kept secret.


Transl. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues, 1993 - publ. Llanerch Publishers this book
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