THE OLD POETIC

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TRANSLATIONS OF OLD ENGLISH POETRY

By Rupert Granville Glover  |  M.A. (Hons), LL.B. Hons (Cantuar)

 

The Poems

The Ruin

Splendid is this wall of stone, broken by

events; the city crumbled; the work of giants decays.

Roofs have fallen in, towers lie in ruins,

the barred gates have been plundered, hoar frost

is on the cement, the ruined roofs undermined

by age, are no shield from the rain.

The earth has the master-builder in its grip,

perished and gone, the hard grip of the ground,

until a hundred generations of men depart.

Often the wall endured, lichen-grey

and rusty-red, from kingdom to kingdom,

remained standing under storms; the high

arch perished. The wall still [crumbles,

cut down by storms]* , collapsed in a heap,

fell [decayed]*.  [This]* monument of skill,

ancient work, [crusted with]* mud, fell.

The spirit exhorted to swift purpose;

the mind, ingenious, resolutely bound the foundations

with rings, wondrously bound them together with wire.

The city dwellings were beautiful, the bath-houses

numerous, with a profusion of high gables,

much martial sound, many a meadhall full

of the merriment of men, until mighty fate

changed that.


Days of pestilence came,

the stricken died everywhere; death took

its plunder of valiant swordsmen; their

fortress became a wasteland. The city crumbled;

the builders died, the warriors returned to the earth.

Thus those buildings decayed and the curved red

tiles fell from the vaulted roof. The ruins

have crumbled to the plain, broken into piles

of stone, where long ago many a warrior

happy and goldbright, adorned in splendour,

proud and flushed with wine, shone in his war-trappings;

he used to gaze at his treasure - the silver, the

precious gems, at prosperity and possessions, at the

jewelry, at the bright dwelling in the broad kingdom.

Stone houses used to stand, a hot spring once gushed,

surging across the ground; the wall clasped everything

to its bright bosom; the baths used to be there,

giving warmth to the heart; that was convenient.


* Interpolations due to textual lacunae