from "THE WANDERER"from the EXETER BOOK
Anon.trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)
Oft him anhaga ....are gebideð,
Metudes miltse, .... þeah þe he modcearig
geond lagulade .... longe sceolde
hreran mid hondum .... hrimcealde sæ,
wadan wræclastas: .... wyrd bið ful aræd!
....Swa cwæð eardstapa, .... earfeþa gemyndig,
wraþra wælsleahta .... winemæga hryre:
....'Oft ic sceolde ana .... uhtna gehwylce
mine ceare cwiþan. .... Nis nu cwicra nán,
þe ic him modsefan .... minne durre
sweotule asecgan. ....Ic to soþe wat
þæt bib in eorle .... indryhten þeaw,
þæt he his ferðlocan .... fæste binde,
healde his hordcofan, .... hycge swa he wille.
....Ne mæg werig mod .... wyrde wiðstondan,
ne se hreo hyge .... helpe gefremman.
Forðon domgeorne .... dreorigne oft
in hyra breostcofan .... bindað fæste;
swa ic modsefan .... minne sceolde
(oft earmcearig, .... eðle bidæled,
freomægum feor) .... feterum sælan,
siþþan geara iu .... goldwine minne
hrusan heolster biwrah, .... ond ic hean þonan
wod wintercearig .... ofer waþema gebind,
sohte seledreorig .... sinces bryttan,
hwær ic feor oþþe neah .... findan meahte
þone þe in meoduhealle .... minne myne wisse,
oþþe mec freondleasne .... frefran wolde,
wenian mid wynnum. .... Wat se þe cunnað
hu sliþen bið .... sorg to geferan
þam þe him lyt hafað .... leofra geholena:
warað hine wræclast, .... nales wunden gold;
ferðloca freorig, .... nalæs foldan blæd;
gemon he selesecgas .... ond sincþege,
hu hine on geoguðe .... his goldwine
wenede to wiste. .... Wyn eal gedreas!
Forþon wat se þe sceal .... his winedryhtnes
leofes larcwidum .... longe forþolian.
Ðonne sorg ond slæp .... somod ætgædre
earmne anhagan .... oft gebindað,
þinceð him on mode .... þeat he his mondryhten
clyppe and cysse, .... ond on cneo lecge
honda ond heafod, .... swa he hwilum ær
in geardagum .... giefstoles breac:
....ðonne onwæcneð eft .... wineleas guma,
gesihð him beforan .... fealwe wegas,
baþian brimfuglas, .... brædan feþra,
hreosan hrim ond snaw .... hægle gemenged.
Þonne beoð þy hefigran .... heortan benne,
sare æfter swæsne .... --- sorg bið geniwad ---
þonne maga gemynd .... mod geondhweorfeð,
greteð gliwstafum, .... georne geondsceawað.
Secga geseldan .... swimmað eft on weg,
fleotendra ferð .... no þær fela bringeð
cuðra cwidegiedda .... --- cearo bið geniwad---
þam þe sendan sceal .... swiþe geneahhe
ofer waþema gebind .... werigne sefan.
............
............
The solitary one seeks oft the grace,
the mercy of the Measurer, though sad at heart
across the watery way he must a weary while
stir with his hands the rime-cold sea,
tread exile-tracks: full pitiless is fate!
.... Thus quoth a wanderer, mindful of woes,
cruel carnage, kinsmen dead.
.... Oft have I had in loneliness with every dawn
my sorrows to lament --- there is none living now
to whom I dare declare
openly my heart. I truly know
it is a noble custom for an eorl
to bind his thoughts fast in his breast,
treasure his broodings, let him think as he will.
.... Nor may the weary mind fight fate,
nor fierce heart be any help:
hence those ambitious ofttimes sad
fetter fast within their breasts,
as I should thoughts of mine
(oft careworn, of my native land deprived,
far from free kinsfolk) with shackles bind,
since long ago my lavish lord
in darkness earth enfolded, and I abject thence
fared winter-sad across the frozen waves,
sought gloomily a gold-giver's hall,
where I could find, or far or near,
him in mead-hall who would know my thought,
or comfort me left friendless,
treat me kindly. He who trial makes
of grief must know how cruel a comrade it can be
for one who has few dear friends:
the exile-track engrosses him, not twisted gold;
a frozen heart, not splendour of the earth;
he recalls retainers and receiving gifts,
how in his youth his lavish lord
was wont to feasting him --- that joy has perished quite!
This he knows who must his friendly lord's
beloved precepts long forego.
.... When together grief and sleep
the wretched recluse often bind,
it seems to him, in thought, his liege lord he
is clasping, kissing, laying upon his knee
his hands and head, as whilom he
in days of yore the gift-throne's boons enjoyed:
.... the friendless man then wakes again,
sees before him fallow waves,
bathing sea-birds preening wings,
frost and snow hail-mingled fall.
Heavier are the heart's wounds then,
for his beloved sore --- sorrow is renewed ---
when the memory of kinsmen comes to mind
he greets them gleefully, scans eagerly
his warrior comrades; they drift away again.
The sailors' souls there do not bring
many known songs --- care is renewed ---
to him who oft enough must send
across the frozen waves his weary heart.
............
............

Copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues - publ. Llanerch Publishers


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