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 Fight at Finn’s Stronghold

“……………………. the gables are burning."

Then Hnaef, the king young in war, spoke out:

"That is not the dawn in the east, nor does a dragon

fly here, and the gables of this hall are not burning;

but here men bear forth arms, birds cry out,

the grey-coated one howls, the spear resounds,

shield answers shaft.


                                    Now the moon shines,

wandering amongst the clouds; now deeds of woe

rise up to be enacted by the hostility of this people.

So awake now, my warriors! grasp your linden

shields and think of valour; strive in the fight's

front and be of good courage!"


Then arose many a thane adorned in gold,

girded on his sword; the noble champions

Sigeferth and Eaha drew their swords and

went to the door, and to the other door went

Ordlaf and Guthlaf, followed by Hengest himself.


Meanwhile, Guthhere restrained Garulf from bearing

so excellent a life and armour to the door of the

hall at the first onslaught, now that one so hardy

in battle was waiting to take it.


                                               But the brave warrior

who held the door shouted clearly above the tumult,

"It is I, Sigeferth," he said, "a warrior of the Secgan

and a hero widely known: I have endured many

woes and, fierce battles. Now, is your appointed

hour to find your destiny with me, win or lose."


Then the din of slaughter broke out within the hall,

the bossed shield in the hands of the brave was made

to smash the bone-helmet, so that the hall floor resounded,-

until Garulf, the son of Guthlaf, fell in that battle,

the first of all the men, and round him fell

many a good warrior with active body.

The raven circled, black and dark-brown.

Swordlight gleamed as if all Finnsburg

were in flames. Never have I heard of sixty

victorious warriors bearing themselves better

or more worthily in the battles of men, and never

did young men make better return for the white mead

than these young retainers repaid Hnaef.


The warriors fought for five days, but none

of them fell, and they held the door.


Then a wounded warrior departed from them,

said that his corselet was broken,

his armour useless, and that, moreover, his helmet

was pierced through.  Then the guardian of

the people asked him at once how their

warriors had survived their wounds, or

which of these young men ..............