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A. Richard Diebold Center for Indo-European Language and Culture

Indo-European Texts

Old English

Douglas Simms and Jonathan Slocum

A Charm against Theft of Cattle

MS. 41, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Text from Dobbie, E.V.K., ed. The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records. v. 5. The Anglo-Saxon Minor Poems. Originally prepared and translated by Douglas Simms; edited by Jonathan Slocum. Each bold word/phrase in a gloss corresponds to a single word in the source; non-bold terms indicate grammatical information.

Ne forstolen ne forholen nanuht, not adv; stolen past ppl; not adv; hidden past ppl; nothing
þæs ðe ic age, of-that rel.pron, neut,; which rel.ptc; I nom,; own vb,, pres.
'(May) nothing which I own (be) either stolen or hidden away'
þe ma ðe mihte any ptc, neut,; more adv; which ptc; was-able, pret.
Herod urne drihten. Herod masc,; our masc,; Lord masc,
'any more than Herod was able (to do) to our Lord.'
Ic geþohte sancte Eadelenan, I nom,; recalled, pret; Saint fem,; Blessed-Elena fem,
and ic geþohte Crist on rode ahangen; and conj; I nom,; recalled, pret; Christ masc,; on prep; cross fem,; hanged past ppl.
'I recalled Blessed Saint Elena, and I recalled Christ hanged upon the cross'
swa ic þence thus adv; I nom,, intend, pres.
þis feoh to findanne, this neut,; livestock neut,; to find infl.inf.
næs to oðfeorgeanne, by-no-means adv; to drive-away infl.inf.
'Likewise I intend to find this livestock, (and) not at all to drive (it) away,'
to witanne, næs to oðwyrceanne, to protect infl.inf; by-no-means adv; to destroy infl.inf.
to lufianne, næs to oðlædanne. to love infl.inf; by-no-means adv; to lead-off infl.inf.
'to protect (it), (and) not at all to destroy (it),
to love (it), (and) not at all to lead (it) away.'
Garmund, godes þegen: Garmund masc,; God's masc,; thane masc,
find þæt feoh, find, imp; that neut,; livestock neut,
and fere þæt feoh, and conj; drive, imp; that neut,; livestock neut,
'Garmund, God's servant:
find that livestock,
and drive that livestock,'
and hafa þæt feoh, and conj; have, imp; that neut,; livestock neut,
and heald þæt feoh and conj; hold, imp; that neut,; livestock neut,
and fere ham þæt feoh! and conj; drive, imp; home adv; that neut,; livestock neut,
'and seize that livestock,
and hold that livestock
and drive that livestock home!'
þæt he næfre næbbe landes, that conj; he; never adv; not-have, pres. subj; land neut,
þæt he hit oðlæde, that conj; he; it neut,; lead-off, pres. subj.
'(so) that he may not have (any) land,
that he may lead it away,'
ne foldan, þæt he hit oðferie, not; earth fem,; that conj; he; it neut,; drive-off, pres. subj.
ne husa, þæt he hit oðhealde. not; houses neut,; that conj; he; it neut,; keep-away, pres. subj.
'nor (any) earth, that he may drive it away,
nor (any) buildings, that he may keep it away.'
Gif hyt hwa gedo, if conj; it neut,; who inter.pron, nom; do, pres. subj.
ne gedige hit him næfre! not adv; prosper, pres. subj; it; him; never adv.
'If anyone were to do this,
may it never benefit him!'
Binnan þrym nihtum within; three; nights fem,
cunne ic his mihta, know, pres; I nom,; his powers fem,
his mægen and his mihta his strengths neut,; and conj; his; powers fem,
and his mundcræftas. and conj; his; protection-powers masc,
'Within three nights
I shall know his powers,
his strengths and his powers
and his powers of protection.'
Eall he weornige, all adv; he; waste-away, pres. subj.
swa syre wudu weornie, as; rotten; wood masc,; waste-away, pres. subj.
'May he waste away entirely,
waste away like rotten wood,'
swa breðel seo swa þystel as; brittle; be, pres. subj; as; thistle masc,
se ðe ðis feoh oðfergean þence he; who rel. ptc; this neut,; livestock neut,; to-drive-away inf; intend, pres. subj.
oððe ðis orf oðehtian þence or conj; this neut,; cattle neut,; to-dispossess inf; intend, pres. subj.
'May (he) be as brittle as a thistle,
he who might intend to drive away this livestock
or (who) might intend to dispossess this cattle.'
Amen. Amen

Key to gloss abbreviations:

Abbrev. Meaning
1.=1st (person)
2.=2nd (person)
3.=3rd (person)
acc.=accusative (case)
dat.=dative (case)
fem.=feminine (gender)
gen.=genitive (case)
imp.=imperative (mood)
inf.=infinitive (verb form)
inst.=instrumental (case)
inter.=interrogative (mood)
masc.=masculine (gender)
neut.=neuter (gender)
nom.=nominative (case)
pl.=plural (number)
ppl.=participle (verb form)
pres.=present (tense)
pret.=preterite (tense)
sg.=singular (number)
subj.=subjunctive (mood)