Friday, April 14, 2006

Cool Quotes #9: For Lange Frigedæg

For Good Friday ("Long Friday" in OE), here's an excerpt (and loose translation) from the Dream of the Rood. I covered this part in my last podcast, for which see the link on the sidebar. (For the rest of the poem, I've decided to break up into two separate podcasts so I have more time to look at individual lines and words (by request). I had thought to get at least one up before Easter, but this whole podcast experiment, while fun and fruitful and totally worth it, is still a little more work than I planned, and anyway most of the rest of the poem is about the resurrection or afterwards anyway.)

Update (about 20 minutes later): I've colored the words in the translation that are alliterated in the original. As I mentioned in the last podcast, this may approximate the subtle way alliteration causes the words to be connected in the reader's mind. Sometimes the colors jump out, other times they're hardly visible; this just makes it match the effects of alliteration all the more.

Syllic wæs se sigebeam,     ond ic synnum fah,
forwunded mid wommum.     Geseah ic wuldres treow,
wædum geweorðode,     wynnum scinan,
gegyred mid golde;     gimmas hæfdon
bewrigene weorðlice     wealdendes treow.
Hwæðre ic þurh þæt gold     ongytan meahte
earmra ærgewin,     þæt hit ærest ongan
swætan on þa swiðran healfe.     Eall ic wæs mid sorgum gedrefed,
forht ic wæs for þære fægran gesyhðe.     Geseah ic þæt fuse beacen
wendan wædum ond bleom;     hwilum hit wæs mid wætan bestemed,
beswyled mid swates gange,     hwilum mid since gegyrwed.
Hwæðre ic þær licgende     lange hwile
beheold hreowcearig     hælendes treow...

      Gestah he on gealgan heanne,
modig on manigra gesyhðe,     þa he wolde mancyn lysan.
Bifode ic þa me se beorn ymbclypte.     Ne dorste ic hwæðre bugan to eorðan,
feallan to foldan sceatum,     ac ic sceolde fæste standan.
Rod wæs ic aræred.     Ahof ic ricne cyning,
heofona hlaford,     hyldan me ne dorste.
þurhdrifan hi me mid deorcan næglum.     On me syndon þa dolg gesiene,
opene inwidhlemmas.     Ne dorste ic hira nænigum sceððan.
Bysmeredon hie unc butu ætgædere.     Eall ic wæs mid blode bestemed,
begoten of þæs guman sidan,     siððan he hæfde his gast onsended.

Feala ic on þam beorge     gebiden hæbbe
wraðra wyrda.     Geseah ic weruda god
þearle þenian.     þystro hæfdon
bewrigen mid wolcnum     wealdendes hræw,
scirne sciman,     sceadu forðeode,
wann under wolcnum.     Weop eal gesceaft,
cwiðdon cyninges fyll.     Crist wæs on rode.
(ll. 13-25, 40b-56)

    *     *     *

Wonderful was that victory-tree     while I was spotted with sins,
maimed by my defilements.     I beheld that tree of glory
adorned with vestments     shining so beautifully
decked with gold;     gems had
honorably clothed     the tree of the Almighty.
Yet, through that gold,     I came to discern
the former strife of wretched men:     and that it first began
to bleed on its right side.     I was overcome with grief;
afraid before that fair vision.     I saw that noble symbol
change its robes and appearance:     now it was wet with blood,
drenched from its bloodflow,     now it was adorned with jewels.
I lay there yet     a long while
gazing in repentant sorrow     at the tree of the divine Healer...

      Up the high gallows He climbed,
bold, in the sight of so many,     for now mankind he meant to redeem.
I trembled then, as the hero embraced me;     yet I dared not bow to the ground,
dared not fall to the surface of the earth;     I was to stand firm.
A cross was I raised,     the powerful King I raised up,
the Lord of heaven;     I dared not bend.
With dark nails they ran me through,     my wounds visible to all,
open, treacherous wounds;     yet I dared not harm any of those fiends.
They derided both of us together.     I was drenched with blood,
which gushed from the side of the man,     when he had sent forth his spirit.

Often on that hill     I have had to endure
terrible deeds.     I beheld the Lord of hosts
stretched with violent force.     Darkness then
did cover with clouds     the corpse of the Lord,
a radiant twilight;     a shadow went out
strove under the clouds.     Then wept all creation,
mourning the fall of its king.     Christ was on the cross.

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