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

Waldere

………….. eagerly she encouraged him:

Truly, Weland's work will not fail any man

who can handle the sharp Mimming; often

warrior has fallen in battle, blood-stained

and sword-slashed.


                                 Champion of Attila, do not

let your courage decline now, at this day,

your bravery [fail]*. The day has now come

when, son of Ælfhere, you shall certainly either

lose your life or win lasting fame among men!

Never, my lover, shall I blame you with words

that I saw you ignominiously avoid the onset

of any man in the clash of swords, or flee

to the wall to save your life though many

a hated foe struck at your corselet with his sword;

but you always tried to fight on, sought battle

beyond the limits; therefore I feared for your

fate because too fiercely you sought to fight in

the hostile encounter, in the battle with another man.


                                      Win honour for yourself

by noble deeds, while God protects you!  Have no

misgivings about that sword; a precious treasure


*  Interpolation due to textual lacuna



without equal has been given to you to help us;

with it you will humble the boasts of Guthhere

because he set out to seek battle

against you unjustly. He refused the sword,

and the precious vessel, and the many rings;

now shall the lord turn from this battle ringless

to seek his own homeland, or die here first

if he .............................



II


..................... a better sword

except for one which I also have,

laid at rest in its jewelled sheath.

I know that Theodoric had thought

of sending it to Widia himself, and

in addition to the sword, much precious

treasure, and many other things decked with gold;

Nithhad's kinsman, Widia the son of Weland,

received the reward long due for rescuing

Theodoric from captivity so that he hastened

forth through the kingdom of the giants.


Waldere spoke, the daring warrior –

he had a comfort in battle, grasping

a sword in his hand - he spoke aloud:

"What, friend of the Burgundians, did you really

believe that Hagena's hand had done battle

with me, and put an end to my combat on foot?

I am weary from fighting, but fetch, if

you dare, the grey corselet from me!

Here it lies on my shoulders, Ælfhere's heirloom,

good and broad-bossed, adorned with gold,

in every way a glorious garment for a prince

to wear, when his hand protects his life from

his foes; and it will not be hostile to me

when treacherous kinsmen attack again, beleaguer

me as you have done.


                                          Yet victory may

be given by the one who is always wise and swift

to perform what is right, for he who trusts

in the Holy God for help and succour, finds

it ready if first he is determined to deserve it.

Then the proud can distribute their riches,

rule their possessions; that is ............