The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
(in Modern English)
- Wealth is a comfort to all men;
- yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.
- The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
- it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.
- The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
- an evil thing for any knight to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.
- The mouth is the source of all language,
- a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.
- Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
- and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.
- The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
- it always burns where princes sit within.
- Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
- it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.
- Bliss he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety,
- and has prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.
- Hail is the whitest of grain;
- it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water.
- Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
- yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
- Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
- it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.
- Summer is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven,
- suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits
for rich and poor alike.
- The yew is a tree with rough bark,
- hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.
- Peorth is a source of recreation and amusement to the great,
- where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.
- The Eolh-sedge is mostly to be found in a marsh;
- it grows in the water and makes a ghastly wound,
covering with blood every warrior who touches it.
- The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
- when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.
- Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
- it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.
- The poplar bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
- for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.
- The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.
- A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.
- The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;
- yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,
since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.
- The ocean seems interminable to men,
- if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the courser of the deep heed not its bridle.
- Ing was first seen by men among the East-Danes,
- till, followed by his chariot,
he departed eastwards over the waves.
So the Heardingas named the hero.
- An estate is very dear to every man,
- if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.
- Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord;
- it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all.
- The oak fattens the flesh of pigs for the children of men.
- Often it traverses the gannet's bath,
and the ocean proves whether the oak keeps faith
in honourable fashion.
- The ash is exceedingly high and precious to men.
- With its sturdy trunk it offers a stubborn resistance,
though attacked by many a man.
- Yr is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight;
- it looks well on a horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey.
- Iar is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land;
- it has a fair abode encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.
- The grave is horrible to every knight,
- when the corpse quickly begins to cool
and is laid in the bosom of the dark earth.
Prosperity declines, happiness passes away
and covenants are broken.
Original Anglo-Saxon version
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