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 ānhaga āre gebīdeð,
Metudes miltse, þēah þe hē mōdcearig
geond lagulāde longe sceolde
hrēran mid hondum hrīmcealde sǣ,
wadan wræclāstas: wyrd bið ful ārǣd.
Swā cwæð eardstapa earfeþa gemyndig,
wrāþra wælsleahta, winemǣga hryre:
"Oft ic sceolde āna ūhtna gehwylce
mīne ceare cwīþan: nis nū cwicra nān,
þe ic him mōdsefan mīnne durre
sweotule āsecgan. Ic tō sōþe wāt
þæt biþ in eorle indryhten þēaw,
þæt hē his ferðlocan fæste binde,
healde his hordcofan, hycge swā hē wille.
Ne mæg wērigmōd wyrde wiðstondan
ne se hrēo hyge helpe gefremman:
for ðon dōmgeorne drēorigne oft
in hyra brēostcofan bindað fæste.
Swā ic mōdsefan mīnne sceolde
oft earmcearig ēðle bidǣled,
frēomǣgum feor feterum sǣlan,
siþþan geāra iū goldwine mīnne
hrūsan heolstre biwrāh and ic hēan þonan
wōd wintercearig ofer waþema gebind,
sōhte sele drēorig sinces bryttan,
hwǣr ic feor oþþe nēah findan meahte
þone þe in meoduhealle (mīn) mine wisse,
oþþe mec frēondlēasne frēfran wolde,
wēman mid wynnum. Wāt sē þe cunnað
hū slīþen bið sorg tō gefēran
þām þe him lȳt hafað lēofra geholena:
warað hine wræclāst, nāles wunden gold,
ferðloca frēorig, nālæs foldan blǣd;
gemon hē selesecgas and sincþege,
hū hine on geoguðe his goldwine
wenede tō wiste: wyn eal gedrēas. ..."
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. ..."