|from "THE WIFE'S LAMENT"||from the EXETER BOOK|
|Anon.||trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)|
Ic þis giedd wrece .... bi me ful geomorre,|
minre sylfre sið. .... Ic þæt secgan mæg
hwæt ic yrmþa gebad .... siþþan ic up [a]weox,
niwes oþþe ealdes, .... no ma þonne nu;
a ic wite wonn .... minra wræcsiþa.
.... Ærest min hlaford gewat, .... heonan of leodum
ofer yþa gelac; .... hæfde ic uhtceare
hwær min leodfruma .... londes wære.
Ða ic me feran gewat .... folgað secan,
wineleas wræcca, .... for minre weaþearfe,
ongunnon þæt þæs monnes .... magas hycgan
þurh dyrne geþoht, .... þæt hy todælden unc,
þæt wit gewidost .... in woruldrice
lifdon laðlicost: .... ond mec longade.
.... Het mec hlaford min .... her eard niman;
ahte ic leofra lyt .... on þissum londstede,
holdra freonda; .... forþon is min hyge geomor.
.... Ða ic me ful gemæcne .... monnan funde,
heardsæligne, .... hygegeomorne,
mod miþendne, .... morþor hycgend[n]e,
bliþe gebæro. .... Ful oft wit beotedan
þæct unc ne gedælde .... nemne deað ana,
owiht elles. .... Eft is þæt onhworfen;
is nu [fornumen] .... swa hit no wære,
freondscipe uncer; .... s[c]eal ic feor ge neah
mines felaleofan .... fæhðu dreogan.
.... Heht mec mon wunian .... on wuda bearwe,
under actreo .... in þam eorðscræfe;
eald is þes eorðsele, .... eal is eom oflongad.
.... Sindon dena dimme, .... duna uphea,
bitre burgtunas .... brerum beweaxne,
wic wynna leas. .... Ful oft mec her wraþe begat
fromsiþ frean. .... Frynd sind on eorþan,
leofe lifgende, .... leger weardiað,
þonne ic on uhtan .... ana gonge
under actreo .... geond þas eorðscrafu.
Þær ic sitta[n] mot .... sumorlangne dæg,
þær ic wepan mæg .... mine wræcsiþas,
earfoþa fela, .... forþon ic æfre ne mæg
þære modceare .... minre gerestan,
ne ealles þæs longaþes .... þe mec on þissum life begeat.
.... A scyle geong mon .... wesan geomormod,
heard heortan geþoht; .... swylce habban sceal
bliþe gebæro, .... eac þon breostceare,
sinsorgna gedreag. .... Sy æt him sylfum gelong
eal his worulde wyn. .... Sy ful wide fah
feorres folclondes, .... þæt min freond siteð
under stanhliþe, .... storme behrimed,
wine werigmod, .... wætre beflowen
on dreorsele. .... Dreogeð se min wine
micle modceare; .... he gemon to oft
wynlicran wic. .... Wa bið þam þe sceal
of langoþe .... leofes abidan.
Full sadly this song I sing of myself,|
of my own experience. I can assert
what trials I bore, since I grew up,
or new or old, were never more than now.
Ever I suffer the pain of my exile.
.... First my lord from his folk hence
over the wild waves went. Dawn-cares I had
as to where in the land my lord might be.
When I set out a retinue to seek,
a friendless exile, for my woeful plight,
that man's people began to plot,
through secret schemes, to sunder us,
so that most widely in this world apart
we should dwell wretched; I was ill at ease.
.... My lord bade me here my dwelling to hold;
loved and loyal friends in this land I
owned few; for this my soul is sad.
.... When I had found a well-matched man,
his dissembling heart was plotting homicide
with pleasant mien. Full oft we pledged,
save death alone, naught should divide
us else; that is altered now.
Now is destroyed, as though it never were,
our friendship. Far or near I must
endure the feud of my much-loved one.
.... They bade me dwell in a wooded grove,
under an oak-tree, in this earth-cave.
Old this earth-hall; I all longing-filled.
.... Dales are dim, hills high,
cities choked with bitter briars,
dwellings joyless. Here I am full oft beset
by my lord's going. Friends there are on earth,
lovers living, who lie abed,
when I, at daybreak, walk alone,
under oak-tree, through these earth-caves.
There I must sit the summer's day long,
where my exile-ways I mourn,
my many woes, for I never can
my careworn self compose,
nor all the longing in me that this life begat.
Ever shall that youth be sad of mood,
pained his brooding heart; he shall sustain,
besides a cheerful mien, breast-cares as well,
endure incessant griefs; let him depend upon himself
for all his worldly joy. Let him be cast adrift,
afar in a distant land, that he, my friend, may sit
neath stony slopes, by storms berimed,
my evil-minded comrade, water drenched
in drear dwelling. My comrade will endure
great grief; too often he will think
upon a happier home. Woe is it to him
who out of longing must abide love.
Copyright © Louis J. Rodrigues - publ. Llanerch Publishers