Anon.trans. Louis Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Ic seah in healle, þær hæleð druncon,
on flet beran, feower cynna:
wrætlic wudutreow, ond wunden gold,
sinc searobunden, ond seolfres dæl,
ond rode tacn, þæs us to roderum up
hlædre rærde, ær He helwara
burg abræce. Ic þæs beames mæg
eaþe for eorlum æþelu secgan:
þær wæs hlin ond acc, ond se hearda iw,
ond se fealwa holen. Frean sindon ealle
nyt ætgædre; naman habbað anne,
wulfheafedtreo, þæt oft wæpen abæd
his mondryhtne, maðm in healle,
goldhilted sweord. Nu me þisses gieddes
ondsware ywe, se hine on mede
wordum secgan hu se wudu hatte.

I saw in the hall, where heroes were drinking,
borne onto the floor, a thing of four kinds:
a wondrous wood-tree, wound with gold,
a subtly-bound treasure, silvered in part,
and His rood-symbol, who for us to the heavens
erected a ladder, ere He vanquished the fortress
of hell's denizens. I can easily describe
for men that tree's origin:
there were maple and oak, and the hard yew,
and the yellow holly. To the Lord they are all
useful together; they have one name,
wolf-head-tree, which weapon its liege lord
often besought, a heirloom in the hall,
a gold-hilted sword. Now let him reveal
this riddle's answer, who takes upon himself
to say in words what that wood is called.

Many solutions have been suggested: "shield", "scabbard", "gallows", "sword-rack", "cross", "harp" etc.

Transl. copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues, 1998 - publ. Llanerch Publishers

...buy this book
translator's next