Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

þuhte me þæt ic gesawe syllicre treow
on lyft lædan, leohte bewunden,
beama beorhtost.
(It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree born aloft, wound round by light, brightest of beams)

The Dream of the Rood, Anglo-Saxon poem, 7th century









3 comments:

Chasman said...

Forgive the other hand, but (from somewhere in The Ruin, of similar vintage):

"Their temples turned to wilderness; the idols and
the holy men who tended them were
toppled from the air"

Mike C. said...

The Anglo-Saxons did love that mood, didn't they? (sometimes referred to as "ubi sunt?" = "where are they now?").

N.B. what translation is that? It doesn't quite match the text of "The Ruin" (which you can see in both AS and modern English on Wikipedia). My favourite bit of that poem might be translated as "Steaming water was channelled into a hot bath-house: talk about convenient!"

Watch this space for some upcoming posts on Anglo-Saxon, esp. the famous "sparrow flying through the mead-hall" from Bede.

Mike

Chasman said...

My translation, rendered freely. Just how freely I've only just recalled on reviewing my tortured gloss from 1992:

"their temples became waste places,/the city decayed. The tenders fell,/idols to earth."

Probably inaccurate, but I was trying to recreate the groove rather than the notes. And yes that lot did love to find a moral in the mortal. An aspect of vestigial paganism, I always thought.

I look forward to hearing from the venerable one!