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.
Oft him ánhaga áre gebídeð,
Metudes miltse, þéah þe hé módcearig
geond laguláde longe sceolde
hréran mid hondum hrímcealde sæ,
wadan wræclástas: wyrd bið ful áræd.
Swá cwæð eardstapa earfeþa gemyndig,
wráþra wælsleahta, winemæga hryre:
"Oft ic sceolde ána úhtna gehwylce
míne ceare cwíþan: nis nú cwicra nán,
þe ic him módsefan mínne durre
sweotule ásecgan. Ic tó sóþe wát
þæt biþ in eorle indryhten þéaw,
þæt hé his ferðlocan fæste binde,
healde his hordcofan, hycge swá hé wille.
Ne mæg wérigmód wyrde wiðstondan
ne se hréo hyge helpe gefremman:
for ðon dómgeorne dréorigne oft
in hyra bréostcofan bindað fæste.
Swá ic módsefan mínne sceolde
oft earmcearig éðle bidæled,
fréomægum feor feterum sælan,
siþþan geára iú goldwine mínne
hrúsan heolstre biwráh and ic héan þonan
wód wintercearig ofer waþema gebind,
sóhte sele dréorig sinces bryttan,
hwær ic feor oþþe néah findan meahte
þone þe in meoduhealle (mín) mine wisse,
oþþe mec fréondléasne fréfran wolde,
wéman mid wynnum. Wát sé þe cunnað
hú slíþen bið sorg tó geféran
þám þe him lýt hafað léofra geholena:
warað hine wræclást, náles wunden gold,
ferðloca fréorig, nálæs foldan blæd;
gemon hé selesecgas and sincþege,
hú hine on geoguðe his goldwine
wenede tó wiste: wyn eal gedréas. ..."
Often the wanderer prays for favor, God's mercy, although sorrowful he long had to stir with his hands the frosty sea across the water-way, travel paths of exile: fate is utterly inexorable. Thus said the wanderer mindful of hardships, of cruel carnage, of the deaths of dear kinsmen:
"Often I must bewail my sorrows alone every morning: none is now alive to whom I dare plainly speak my mind. I in truth know that it is a noble custom in a warrior, that he bind his heart fast, reserve his inner thoughts, think as he will. The spirit-weary may not avoid destiny nor the troubled mind offer aid: therefore (those) eager for renown often bury sadness deep in their hearts. So often, miserable, deprived of home, far from kinsmen, I had to bind my spirit in shackles, since years ago (I) covered my lord in the darkness of the earth and I, wretched, went away sorrowful over the band of the waves, sadly sought a hall, a giver of riches, where far or near I might find him who knew my mind in the mead hall, or would comfort me, friendless, treat (me) with kindness. He knows who seeks how cruel is grief as a comrade to him who himself has a small number of dear friends: the path of exile preoccupies him, not twisted gold, a cold body, not the life of earth; he thinks of retainers and receipt of treasure, how in youth his lord entertained him at feast: joy utterly perished. ..."