An Old English Advent Excerpt

 

Eala wifa wynn geond wuldres þrym,
fæmne freolicast ofer ealne foldan sceat
þæs þe æfre sundbuend secgan hyrdon,
arece us þæt geryne þæt þe of roderum cwom,
hu þu eacnunge æfre onfenge
bearnes þurh gebyrde, ond þone gebedscipe
æfter monwisan mod ne cuðes.
Ne we soðlice swylc ne gefrugnan
in ærdagum æfre gelimpan,
þæt ðu in sundurgiefe swylce befenge,
ne we þære wyrde wenan þurfon
toweard in tide. Huru treow in þe
weorðlicu wunade, nu þu wuldres þrym
bosme gebære, ond no gebrosnad wearð
85mægðhad se micla. Swa eal manna bearn
sorgum sawað, swa eft ripað,
cennað to cwealme. Cwæð sio eadge mæg
symle sigores full, sancta Maria:
“Hwæt is þeos wundrung þe ge wafiað,
90ond geomrende gehþum mænað,
sunu Solimę somod his dohtor?
Fricgað þurh fyrwet hu ic fæmnan had,
mund minne geheold, ond eac modor gewearð
mære meotudes suna. Forþan þæt monnum nis
cuð geryne, ac Crist onwrah
in Dauides dyrre mægan
þæt is Euan scyld eal forpynded,
wærgða aworpen, ond gewuldrad is
se heanra had. Hyht is onfangen
þæt nu bletsung mot bæm gemæne,
werum ond wifum, a to worulde forð
in þam uplican engla dreame
mid soðfæder symle wunian.” *

 

Normally, I would provide my own translation, but Christmas is today and all that, so I’m falling upon the grace of Professor Aaron Hofstetter’s translation below (to which I have made a few tweaks).

Hail, joy of women through the majesty of glory,
noblest of virgins across every corner of the earth
of which sea-dwelling men have ever heard spoken —
tell us the mysteries which came to you from the heavens;
how you ever took on your increasing, through the birth of a child,
never knowing any kind of union that the minds of men
would understand. Truly, we have never learned
of such a thing like this happening in the days gone by,
that you should take hold of this in your special grace,
nor need we look that event occurring any time ahead.

Indeed, that truth dwelt worthily within you,
now that you have borne that majesty of glory
within your breast, and your mighty virginity
was not corrupted. And as all children of men
have sown in their sorrows, so after shall they reap—
begetting as destruction.

So spoke the blessed maid, holy Mary
filled always with her victory:

“What is this miracle at which you all
stand amazed, and mourning grieve your cares,
O son of Salem and his daughter too?
Yearning, inquire how I kept my virgin state
and my trust and also became the mother
of the sublime Creator’s Son. For this is not
a mystery knowable by men, but Christ revealed
how in David’s dear kinswoman
the guilt of Eve is removed,
her curse cast down, and the lowly glorified.
Hope is received so that a blessing may abide
in both men and women together, now
and always for all time to come in the highest
delight of angels with the True Father.”**

 

Merry Christmas!

*Old English text from http://faculty.virginia.edu/OldEnglish/aspr/a3.1.html (Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records).

**A. Hofstetter’s translation of the entire cycle known as the Advent Lyrics (Christ A, B, C) can be found at https://anglosaxonpoetry.camden.rutgers.edu.

 

One thought on “An Old English Advent Excerpt

  1. I love it. Merry Christmas my dear. I tried to leave a comment but it wdnt let me.

    LOVE, M

    On Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 7:07 AM Trapped in the Scriptorium L. R. Smith posted: ” Eala wifa wynn geond wuldres þrym, fæmne freolicast > ofer ealne foldan sceat þæs þe æfre sundbuend secgan hyrdon, arece us þæt > geryne þæt þe of roderum cwom, hu þu eacnunge æfre onfenge bearnes þurh > gebyrde, ond þone gebedscipe æfter monwisan mod” >

    Liked by 1 person

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