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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.

I.
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, gen.sg; which rel.ptc; I nom, 1.sg; own vb, 1.sg, pres.
'(May) nothing which I own (be) either stolen or hidden away'
 
þe ma ðe mihte any ptc, neut, inst.sg; more adv; which ptc; was-able 3.sg, pret.
Herod urne drihten. Herod masc, nom.sg; our masc, acc.sg; Lord masc, acc.sg.
'any more than Herod was able (to do) to our Lord.'
 
Ic geþohte sancte Eadelenan, I nom, 1.sg; recalled 1.sg, pret; Saint fem, acc.sg; Blessed-Elena fem, acc.sg.
and ic geþohte Crist on rode ahangen; and conj; I nom, 1.sg; recalled 1.sg, pret; Christ masc, acc.sg; on prep; cross fem, dat.sg; hanged past ppl.
'I recalled Blessed Saint Elena, and I recalled Christ hanged upon the cross'
 
swa ic þence thus adv; I nom, 1.sg, intend 1.sg, pres.
þis feoh to findanne, this neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg; 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.'
II.
Garmund, godes þegen: Garmund masc, nom.sg; God's masc, gen.sg; thane masc, nom.sg.
find þæt feoh, find 2.sg, imp; that neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg.
and fere þæt feoh, and conj; drive 2.sg, imp; that neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg.
'Garmund, God's servant:
find that livestock,
and drive that livestock,'
 
and hafa þæt feoh, and conj; have 2.sg, imp; that neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg.
and heald þæt feoh and conj; hold 2.sg, imp; that neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg.
and fere ham þæt feoh! and conj; drive 2.sg, imp; home adv; that neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg.
'and seize that livestock,
and hold that livestock
and drive that livestock home!'
 
þæt he næfre næbbe landes, that conj; he nom.sg; never adv; not-have 3.sg, pres. subj; land neut, gen.sg.
þæt he hit oðlæde, that conj; he nom.sg; it neut, acc.sg; lead-off 3.sg, 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, gen.sg; that conj; he nom.sg; it neut, acc.sg; drive-off 3.sg, pres. subj.
ne husa, þæt he hit oðhealde. not; houses neut, gen.pl; that conj; he nom.sg; it neut, acc.sg; keep-away 3.sg, pres. subj.
'nor (any) earth, that he may drive it away,
nor (any) buildings, that he may keep it away.'
III.
Gif hyt hwa gedo, if conj; it neut, acc.sg; who inter.pron, nom; do 3.sg, pres. subj.
ne gedige hit him næfre! not adv; prosper 3.sg, pres. subj; it nom.sg; him dat.sg; never adv.
'If anyone were to do this,
may it never benefit him!'
 
Binnan þrym nihtum within; three dat.pl; nights fem, dat.pl.
cunne ic his mihta, know 1.sg, pres; I nom, 1.sg; his powers fem, acc.pl.
his mægen and his mihta his strengths neut, acc.pl; and conj; his; powers fem, acc.pl.
and his mundcræftas. and conj; his; protection-powers masc, acc.pl.
'Within three nights
I shall know his powers,
his strengths and his powers
and his powers of protection.'
 
Eall he weornige, all adv; he nom.sg; waste-away 3.sg, pres. subj.
swa syre wudu weornie, as; rotten nom.sg; wood masc, nom.sg; waste-away 3.sg, pres. subj.
'May he waste away entirely,
waste away like rotten wood,'
 
swa breðel seo swa þystel as; brittle; be 3.sg, pres. subj; as; thistle masc, nom.sg.
se ðe ðis feoh oðfergean þence he nom.sg; who rel. ptc; this neut, acc.sg; livestock neut, acc.sg; to-drive-away inf; intend 3.sg, pres. subj.
oððe ðis orf oðehtian þence or conj; this neut, acc.sg; cattle neut, acc.sg; to-dispossess inf; intend 3.sg, 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)
adv.=adverb
conj.=conjunction
dat.=dative (case)
fem.=feminine (gender)
gen.=genitive (case)
imp.=imperative (mood)
inf.=infinitive (verb form)
infl.=inflected
inst.=instrumental (case)
inter.=interrogative (mood)
masc.=masculine (gender)
neut.=neuter (gender)
nom.=nominative (case)
pl.=plural (number)
ppl.=participle (verb form)
prep.=preposition
pres.=present (tense)
pret.=preterite (tense)
pron.=pronoun
ptc.=particle
rel.=relative
sg.=singular (number)
subj.=subjunctive (mood)
vb.=verb