The Battle of Finnesburh [fragment]

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last updated on 21-August-2002


'...                                ...{hor}nas byrnað?'

 

'...                                ...gables burning?'
{Hn}æf hléoþrode ðá      hea{þ}ogeong cyning:

 

Then proclaimed Hnaef,    the battle-young king:
'Né ðis ne dagað éast{a}n      né hér draca ne fléogeð

 

'This is not the eastern dawn    nor is a dragon flying here
né hér ðisse healle    hornas ne byrnað.

 

nor here does this hall's    gables burn.
Ac hér forþ berað <....>,    fugelas singað,

5

But here they bear forth,    birds screech,
gylleð gráeghama,    gúðwudu hlynneð,

 

the grey-coated wolf bays,    the war-wood clashes,
scyld scefte oncwyð.    Nú scýneð þes móna

 

the shield answers the shaft.    Now the moon shines,
waðol under wolcnum;    nú árísað wéadáeda

 

wandering under the clouds;    now woe-deeds come to pass
ðé ðisne folces níð    fremman willað.

 

which this people's hatred    desires to fulfil.
Ac onwacnigeað nú,    wígend míne,

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But awake now,    my warriors,
habbað éowre l{i}nda,    hicgeaþ on ellen,

 

grasp your linden-wood shields,    resolve upon courage,
win{n}að on orde,    wesað on móde.'

 

strive to the vanguard,    be high-spirited.'
Ðá árás mænig goldhladen ðegn,    gyrde hine his swurde;

 

Then arose many a gold-laden thane,    girded his sword
ðá tó dura éodon    drihtlice cempan

 

then moved to the door    the noble champions
Sigeferð and Éaha,    hyra sword getugon

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Sigeferth and Eaha,    drew their swords,
and æt óþrum durum    Ordláf and Gúþláf

 

and at the other door,    Ordlaf and Guthlaf
and Hengest sylf    hwearf him on láste.

 

and Hengest himself    came just behind them.
Ðá gýt Gárulf    Gúðere stý{r}de,

 

Then yet Garulf    directed Guthere
ðæt hé swá fréolíc feorh    forman síþe

 

that he so excellent a life    at the first journey
tó ðáere healle durum    hyrsta ne báer{e}

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to the doors of the hall,    armoured, should not venture
nú hyt níþa heard    ányman wolde

 

since now one hard in hatred    wished to take it away;
ac hé frægn ofer eal    undearninga

 

but he asked over all,    openly,
déormód hæleþ    hwá ðá duru héolde.

 

the daring-hearted hero,    who held the door.
'Sigeferþ is mín nama.' --cweþ hé--    'Ic eom Secgena léod,

 

'Sigeferth is my name.'    --said he-- 'I am a man of the Sedgean,
wrec{c}e{a} wíde cúð,    fæla ic wé{a}na gebád

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an adventurer widely known,    I have endured many misfortunes,
heordra hilda.    Ðé is gýt hér witod

fierce battles.    Even now appointed here for you

swæþer ðú sylf tó mé    sécean wylle.'

 

which (thing) for yourself from me    you will attain.'
Ðá wæs on healle    wælslihta gehlyn,

 

Then was in the hall    the tumult of carnage,
sceolde cel{lod} bor{d}    {c}énum on handa,

 

the round shield-board must    in the hands of the bold,
bánhelm berstan    -buruhðelu dynede-

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the bone-helm burst    -the planks of the fortress resounded-
oð æt ðáere gúðe    Gárulf gecrang

 

until in the battle    Garulf fell
ealra áerest    eorðbúendra

 

the first of all    of the dwellers in the land,
Gúðláfes sunu,    ymbe hyne gódra fæla

 

Guthlaf's son,    around him many good
hwearfl{í}cra hráe{w}.    Hræfen wandrode

 

mortals' carcases.    The raven hovered
sweart and sealobrún.    Swurdléoma stód

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dusky and shimmering-dark.    Sword-light stood
swylce eal Finn{i}sburh    fýrenu wáere.

 

as if all of Finnesburh    were in flames.
Ne gefrægn ic náefre wurþlícor    æt wera hilde

 

I have never heard that more worthily    in battle of men
sixtig sigebeorna    sél gebáera{n}

 

of sixty victory-warriors    bearing themselves better
né néfre sw{étne} medo    sél forgyldan

 

nor ever for sweet mead    making better requital
ðonne Hnæfe guldan    his hægstealdas.

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than to Hnaef gave    his retainers.
Hig fuhton fíf dagas,    swá hyra nán ne féol

 

They fought for five days,    as none of them fell,
drihtgesíða,    ac hig ðá duru héoldon.

 

the troop-companions,    but they held the doors.
Ðá gewát him wund hæleð    on wæg gangan,

 

Then the hero went wounded,    passing away,
sáede þæt his byrne    ábrocen wáere

 

he said that his byrnie    was broken apart,
heresceorp u{n}hrór    and éac wæs his helm ðýr{e}l.

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his war-garb weak    and also his helmet was pierced.
Ðá hine sóna frægn    folces hyrde,

 

Then immediately asked him    the protector of the people
hú ðá wígend hyra    wunda genáeson

 

how well the warriors their    wounds survived
oððe hwæþer ðáera hyssa....

 

or which of the young men....