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.
Ðá wearð borda gebræc; brimmen wódon,
gúðe gegremode; gár oft þurhwód
fæges feorhhús. Forð þá éode Wístán,
Þúrstánes sunu, wið þás secgas feaht;
hé wæs on geþrange hyra þréora bana,
ær him Wígelmes bearn on þám wæle læge.
Þær wæs stíð gemót: stódon fæste
wigan on gewinne; wígend cruncon,
wundum wérige; wæl féol on eorþan.
Óswold and Ealdwold ealle hwíle,
bégen þá gebróþru, beornas trymedon,
hyra winemágas wordon bædon
þæt hí þær æt ðearfe þolian sceoldon,
unwáclíce wæpna néotan.
Byrhtwold maþelode, bord hafenode,
sé wæs eald genéat, æsc ácwehte,
hé ful baldlíce beornas lærde:
'Hige sceal þé heardra, heorte þé cénre,
mód sceal þé máre, þé úre mægen lýtlað.
Hér líð úre ealdor eall forhéawen,
gód on gréote; á mæg gnornian
sé ðe nú fram þís wígplegan wendan þenceð.
Ic eom fród féores: fram ic ne wille,
ac ic mé be healfe mínum hláforde
be swá léofan men licgan þence.'
Swá hí Æþelgáres bearn ealle bylde
Godríc tó gúþe: oft hé gár forlét,
wælspere windan on þá wícingas,
swá hé on þám folce fyrmest éode,
héow and hýnde, oð þæt hé on hilde gecranc;
næs þæt ná se Godríc þe ðá gúðe forbéah.
Then there was a breaking of shields; seamen advanced, enraged by battle; often spear pierced a doomed body. Then Wistan went forth, Thurstan's son, (and) fought against the men; he was the slayer of three of them in the throng, before Wigelin's son lay among the dead. There was a brave meeting: fighters stood fast in the strife; warriors died, exhausted by wounds; the slain fell to earth. Oswold and Ealdwold all the while, both the brothers, encouraged the men, beseeched their kinsmen by words that against need they should endure there, (and) unwaveringly use their weapons.
Byrhtwold spoke, (and) raised his shield; he was an old retainer; he shook his ash spear (and) full boldly exhorted the men: "Thought must be the sterner, heart the bolder, mood must be the stouter, as our strength lessens. Here lies our lord all cut down, brave on the ground; forever may he lament who thinks now to run away from this battle. I am old in life: I will not (go) away, but I resolve to lie myself beside my lord, by the man so loved." So Aethelgar's son Godric cheered them all in battle: often he loosed spear, deadly spear to spin into the Vikings, as he went foremost into the host; he killed and injured, until he fell in battle; that was not the Godric who fled from the fight.