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Early Indo-European Texts

Old English

Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old English with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old English Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old English language and its speakers' culture.

Cynewulf and Cyneheard

Ond ongeat se cyning t, ond h on duru ode, ond unhanlce hine werede o h on one eling lcude, ond t rsde on hine ond hine miclum gewundode; ond he alle on one cyning wrun feohtende o t he hine ofslgenne hfdon. Ond on s wfes gebrum onfundon s cyninges egnas unstilnesse, ond ider urnon sw hwelc sw onne gearo wear, ond radost. Ond hiera se eling gehwelcum feoh ond feorh gebad, ond hiera nnig hit geicgean nolde; ac he simle feohtende wran o he alle lgon btan num Bryttiscum gsle, ond s swe gewundad ws.

on morgenne geherdun t s cyninges egnas, e him beftan wrun, t se cyning ofslgen ws, ridon he ider, ond his aldormon src, ond Wfer his egn, ond men e h beftan him lfde r, ond one eling on re byrig mtton r se cyning ofslgen lg -- ond gatu him t belocen hfdon -- ond rt odon. Ond gebad h him hiera genne dm fos ond londes, gif he him s rces on; ond him cdon t hiera mgas him mid wron, e him from noldon. Ond cudon he t him nnig mg lofra nre onne hiera hlford, ond he nfre his banan folgian noldon. Ond budon he hiera mgum t he gesunde from odon; ond he cudon t tt ilce hiera gefrum geboden wre e r mid m cyninge wrun. cudon he t he he s ne onmunden 'on m e owre gefran e mid m cyninge ofslgene wrun.' Ond he ymb gatu feohtende wron o t he rinne fulgon ond one eling ofslgon; ond men e him mid wrun, alle btan num, s ws s aldormonnes godsunu; ond h his feorh generede, ond ah h ws oft gewundad.


When the king grasped this, he went to the door and nobly protected himself until he looked upon the prince, and then rushed out to him and severely wounded him; then they all were fighting against the king, until they had slain him. Then, upon his lady's outcries, the king's attendants discovered the disturbance, and ran there, whoever got ready the quickest. The prince offered each one of them money and life, but not one of them would accept it; and they went on fighting until they all lay dead except for one British hostage, and he was severely wounded.
When in the morning the king's thanes, who were behind him, heard that the king was slain, they rode thither, with his nobleman Osric, and Wiferth his thane, and the men who he previously left behind him; they met the prince at the stonghold where the king lay slain -- they had locked the gates against them -- and they went there. Then he offered to them their own choice of money and land, if they granted the kingdom to him; they revealed to them that their kinsmen were with them, they who wouldn't (go) away from them. But they said that no kinsman was more dear to them than their lord, and they never would follow his slayer. Then they offered to their kinsmen, that they could walk away unharmed; but they said that the same thing would be offered to their comrades which were before, with the king. Then they said that they did not think themselves worthy of this "any more than your companions who were slain with the king." And then they were fighting at the gates until they penetrated therein and slew the prince, and the men who were with him, all but one, who was his nobleman's godson; and he saved his life, though he was much wounded.