CHARM FOR A SUDDEN STITCH

text and facing translation

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last updated on 28-August-2002


Wið færstice feferfuige and seo reade netele, ðe þurh ærn inwyxð, and wegbrade; wyll in buteran.

 

Against a sudden stitch: feverfew and the red nettle which grows in through a building, and waybread [plantain]; boil in butter.
  Hlude wæran hy, la, hlude,      ða hy ofer þone hlæw ridan,

 

  Loud were they, lo, loud,      as they rode over the barrow,
  wæran anmode,      ða hy ofer land ridan.

 

  they were determined,      as they rode over the land.
  Scyld ðu ðe nu, þu ðysne nið      genesan mote.

 

  Shield yourself now, that this strife you      may escape.
  Ut, lytel spere,      gif her inne sie!

 

  Out, little spear,      if herein it be!
  Stod under linde,      under leohtum scylde,

5

  (I) stood under linden,      under a light shield,
  þær ða mihtigan wif      hyra mægen beræddon

 

  where mighty women      proclaimed their power
  and hy gyllende      garas sændan;

 

  and, yelling, they      sent spears;
  ic him oðerne      eft wille sændan,

 

  To them another I      wish to send back,
  fleogende fla{ne}      forane togeanes.

 

  a flying dart      against (them) in return.
  Ut, lyte{l} spere,      gif hit her inne sy!

10

  Out, little spear,      if herein it be!
  Sæt smið,      sloh seax,

 

  A smith sat,      hammered a knife,
  lytel iserna,      wund swiðe.

 

  small iron,      serious wound.
  Ut, lytel spere,      gif her inne sy!

 

  Out, little spear,      if herein it be!
  Syx smiðas sætan,      wælspera worhtan.

 

  Six smiths sat,      they forged slaught-spears.
  Ut, spere,      næs in, spere!

15

  Out, spear,      be not in, spear!
  Gif her inne sy      ise{r}nes dæl,

  If herein be      a piece of iron,
  hægtessan geweorc,      hit sceal gemyltan.

 

  witches' work,      it must melt.
  Gif ðu wære on fell scoten      oððe wære on flæsc scoten

 

  If you were shot in the skin      or were shot in the flesh
  oððe wære on blod scoten,      <oððe wære on ban scoten,>

 

  or were shot in the blood,      or were shot in the bone,
  oððe wære on lið scoten,      næfre ne sy ðin lif atæsed;

20

  or you were shot in the limb,      may your life never be injured;
  gif hit wære esa gescot      oððe hit wære ylfa gescot

  if it were gods' shot      or it were elves' shot
  oððe hit wære hægtessan gescot,      nu ic wille ðin helpan.

 

  or it were witches' shot,      now I will to help you.
  Þis ðe to bote esa gescotes,     ðis ðe to bote ylfa gescotes,

 

  This is to you the remedy for gods' shot,      this is to you the remedy for elves' shot,
  ðis ðe to bote hægtessan gescotes;     ic ðin wille helpan.

 

  this is to you the remedy for witches' shot;      I will help you.
  Fle{oh} þær <....>     on fyrgenh{ea}fde.

25

  Fly there      into the mountain-head.
  Hal westu,      helpe ðin drihten!

 

  Be whole (now)!      may the Lord help you!
Nim þonne þæt seax, ado on wætan.

 

Then take the knife, place in the liquid.