Rune poems

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Rune poems  (1915) 
Anonymous, translated by Bruce Dickins
1915 translation

The Norwegian Rune Poem[edit]

ᚠ Fé vældr frænda róge;
føðesk ulfr í skóge.

ᚢ Úr er af illu jarne;
opt løypr ræinn á hjarne.

ᚦ Þurs vældr kvinna kvillu;
kátr værðr fár af illu.

ᚬ Óss er flæstra færða
fǫr; en skalpr er sværða.

ᚱ Ræið kveða rossom væsta;
Reginn sló sværðet bæzta.

ᚴ Kaun er barna bǫlvan;
bǫl gørver nán fǫlvan.

ᚼ Hagall er kaldastr korna;
Kristr skóp hæimenn forna.

ᚾ Nauðr gerer næppa koste;
nøktan kælr í froste.

ᛁ Ís kǫllum brú bræiða;
blindan þarf at læiða.

ᛅ Ár er gumna góðe;
get ek at ǫrr var Fróðe.

ᛋ Sól er landa ljóme;
lúti ek helgum dóme.

ᛏ Týr er æinendr ása;
opt værðr smiðr blása.

ᛒ Bjarkan er laufgrønstr líma;
Loki bar flærða tíma.

ᛘ Maðr er moldar auki;
mikil er græip á hauki.

ᛚ Lǫgr er, fællr ór fjalle
foss; en gull ero nosser.

ᛦ Ýr er vetrgrønstr viða;
vænt er, er brennr, at sviða.

Translation of Norwegian Rune Poem[edit]

ᚠ Fe
Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.

ᚢ Ur
Dross comes from bad iron;
the reindeer often races over the frozen snow.

ᚦ Thurs
Giant causes anguish to women;
misfortune makes few men cheerful.

ᚬ As
Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.

ᚱ Reidh
Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.

ᚴ Kaun
Ulcer is fatal to children;
death makes a corpse pale.

ᚼ Hagall
Hail is the coldest of grain;
Christ created the world of old.

ᚾ Naudhr
Constraint gives scant choice;
a naked man is chilled by the frost.

ᛁ Isa
Ice we call the broad bridge;
the blind man must be led.

ᛅ Ar
Plenty is a boon to men;
I say that Frodi was generous.

ᛋ Sol
Sun is the light of the world;
I bow to the divine decree.

ᛏ Tyr
Tyr is a one-handed god;
often has the smith to blow.

ᛒ Bjarkan
Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.

ᛘ Madhr
Man is an augmentation of the dust;
great is the claw of the hawk.

ᛚ Logr
A waterfall is a River which falls from a mountain-side;
but ornaments are of gold.

ᛦ Yr
Yew is the greenest of trees in winter;
it is wont to crackle when it burns.

The Icelandic Rune Poem[edit]

ᚠ Fé er frænda róg
   ok flæðar viti
   ok grafseiðs gata
   aurum fylkir. 
ᚢ Úr er skýja grátr
   ok skára þverrir
   ok hirðis hatr.
   umbre vísi 
ᚦ Þurs er kvenna kvöl
   ok kletta búi
   ok varðrúnar verr.
   Saturnus þengill. 
ᚬ Óss er algingautr
   ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
   ok valhallar vísi.
   Jupiter oddviti. 
ᚱ Reið er sitjandi sæla
   ok snúðig ferð
   ok jórs erfiði.
   iter ræsir. 
ᚴ Kaun er barna böl
   ok bardaga [för]
   ok holdfúa hús.
   flagella konungr. 
ᚼ Hagall er kaldakorn
   ok krapadrífa
   ok snáka sótt.
   grando hildingr. 
ᚾ Nauð er Þýjar þrá
   ok þungr kostr
   ok vássamlig verk.
   opera niflungr. 
ᛁ Íss er árbörkr
   ok unnar þak
   ok feigra manna fár.
   glacies jöfurr. 
ᛅ Ár er gumna góði
   ok gott sumar
   algróinn akr.
   annus allvaldr. 
ᛋ Sól er skýja skjöldr
   ok skínandi röðull
   ok ísa aldrtregi.
   rota siklingr. 
ᛏ Týr er einhendr áss
   ok ulfs leifar
   ok hofa hilmir.
   Mars tiggi. 
ᛒ Bjarkan er laufgat lim
   ok lítit tré
   ok ungsamligr viðr.
   abies buðlungr. 
ᛘ Maðr er manns gaman
   ok moldar auki
   ok skipa skreytir.
   homo mildingr. 
ᛚ Lögr er vellanda vatn
   ok viðr ketill
   ok glömmungr grund.
   lacus lofðungr. 
ᛦ Ýr er bendr bogi
   ok brotgjarnt járn
   ok fífu fárbauti.
   arcus ynglingr.

Translation of Icelandic Rune Poem[edit]

   Fé - Wealth
   Source of discord among kinsmen
   and fire of the sea
   and path of the serpent.
   Úr - Shower
   Lamentation of the clouds
   and ruin of the hay-harvest
   and abomination of the shepherd.
   Thurs - Giant
   Torture of women
   and cliff-dweller
   and husband of a giantess.
   Óss - God
   Aged Gautr
   and prince of Ásgardr
   and lord of Vallhalla.
   Reid - Riding
   Joy of the horsemen
   and speedy journey
   and toil of the steed.
   Kaun - Ulcer
   Disease fatal to children
   and painful spot
   and abode of mortification.
   Hagall - Hail
   Cold grain
   and shower of sleet
   and sickness of serpents.
   Naud - Constraint
   Grief of the bond-maid
   and state of oppression
   and toilsome work.
   Iss - Ice
   Bark of rivers
   and roof of the wave
   and destruction of the doomed.
   Ár - Plenty
   Boon to men
   and good summer
   and thriving crops.
   Sól - Sun
   Shield of the clouds
   and shining ray
   and destroyer of ice.
   Tyr
   God with one hand
   and leavings of the wolf
   and prince of temples.
   Bjarken - Birch
   Leafy twig
   and little tree
   and fresh young shrub.
   Madr - Man
   Delight of man
   and augmentation of the earth
   and adorner of ships.
   Lögr - Water
   Eddying stream
   and broad geysir
   and land of the fish.
   Yr - Yew
   Bent bow
   and brittle iron
   and giant of the arrow.


The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem[edit]

ᚠ Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;
   sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
   gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan. 
ᚢ Ur byþ anmod ond oferhyrned,
   felafrecne deor, feohteþ mid hornum
   mære morstapa; þæt is modig wuht. 
ᚦ Ðorn byþ ðearle scearp; ðegna gehwylcum
   anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetum reþe
   manna gehwelcum, ðe him mid resteð. 
ᚩ Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce,
   wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur
   and eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht. 
ᚱ Rad byþ on recyde rinca gehwylcum
   sefte ond swiþhwæt, ðamðe sitteþ on ufan
   meare mægenheardum ofer milpaþas. 
ᚳ Cen byþ cwicera gehwam, cuþ on fyre
   blac ond beorhtlic, byrneþ oftust
   ðær hi æþelingas inne restaþ. 
ᚷ Gyfu gumena byþ gleng and herenys,
   wraþu and wyrþscype and wræcna gehwam
   ar and ætwist, ðe byþ oþra leas. 
ᚹ Wenne bruceþ, ðe can weana lyt
   sares and sorge and him sylfa hæfþ
   blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht. 
ᚻ Hægl byþ hwitust corna; hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
   wealcaþ hit windes scura; weorþeþ hit to wætere syððan. 
ᚾ Nyd byþ nearu on breostan; weorþeþ hi þeah oft niþa bearnum
   to helpe and to hæle gehwæþre, gif hi his hlystaþ æror. 
ᛁ Is byþ ofereald, ungemetum slidor,
   glisnaþ glæshluttur gimmum gelicust,
   flor forste geworuht, fæger ansyne. 
ᛄ Ger byþ gumena hiht, ðonne God læteþ,
   halig heofones cyning, hrusan syllan
   beorhte bleda beornum ond ðearfum. 
ᛇ Eoh byþ utan unsmeþe treow,
   heard hrusan fæst, hyrde fyres,
   wyrtrumun underwreþyd, wyn on eþle. 
ᛈ Peorð byþ symble plega and hlehter
   wlancum [on middum], ðar wigan sittaþ
   on beorsele bliþe ætsomne. 
ᛉ Eolh-secg eard hæfþ oftust on fenne
   wexeð on wature, wundaþ grimme,
   blode breneð beorna gehwylcne
   ðe him ænigne onfeng gedeþ. 
ᛋ Sigel semannum symble biþ on hihte,
   ðonne hi hine feriaþ ofer fisces beþ,
   oþ hi brimhengest bringeþ to lande. 
ᛏ Tir biþ tacna sum, healdeð trywa wel
   wiþ æþelingas; a biþ on færylde
   ofer nihta genipu, næfre swiceþ. 
ᛒ Beorc byþ bleda leas, bereþ efne swa ðeah
   tanas butan tudder, biþ on telgum wlitig,
   heah on helme hrysted fægere,
   geloden leafum, lyfte getenge. 
ᛖ Eh byþ for eorlum æþelinga wyn,
   hors hofum wlanc, ðær him hæleþ ymb[e]
   welege on wicgum wrixlaþ spræce
   and biþ unstyllum æfre frofur. 
ᛗ Man byþ on myrgþe his magan leof:
   sceal þeah anra gehwylc oðrum swican,
   forðum drihten wyle dome sine
   þæt earme flæsc eorþan betæcan. 
ᛚ Lagu byþ leodum langsum geþuht,
   gif hi sculun neþan on nacan tealtum
   and hi sæyþa swyþe bregaþ
   and se brimhengest bridles ne gym[eð]. 
ᛝ Ing wæs ærest mid East-Denum
   gesewen secgun, oþ he siððan est
   ofer wæg gewat; wæn æfter ran;
   ðus Heardingas ðone hæle nemdun. 
ᛟ Eþel byþ oferleof æghwylcum men,
   gif he mot ðær rihtes and gerysena on
   brucan on bolde bleadum oftast. 
ᛞ Dæg byþ drihtnes sond, deore mannum,
   mære metodes leoht, myrgþ and tohiht
   eadgum and earmum, eallum brice. 
ᚪ Ac byþ on eorþan elda bearnum
   flæsces fodor, fereþ gelome
   ofer ganotes bæþ; garsecg fandaþ
   hwæþer ac hæbbe æþele treowe. 
ᚫ Æsc biþ oferheah, eldum dyre
   stiþ on staþule, stede rihte hylt,
   ðeah him feohtan on firas monige. 
ᚣ Yr byþ æþelinga and eorla gehwæs
   wyn and wyrþmynd, byþ on wicge fæger,
   fæstlic on færelde, fyrdgeatewa sum. 
ᛡ Iar byþ eafix and ðeah a bruceþ
   fodres on foldan, hafaþ fægerne eard
   wætre beworpen, ðær he wynnum leofaþ. 
ᛠ Ear byþ egle eorla gehwylcun,
   ðonn[e] fæstlice flæsc onginneþ,
   hraw colian, hrusan ceosan
   blac to gebeddan; bleda gedreosaþ,
   wynna gewitaþ, wera geswicaþ.

Translation (Dickins 1915)[edit]

From Runic and heroic poems of the old Teutonic peoples (1915)

Feoh
Wealth is a comfort to all men;
yet must every man bestow it freely,
if he wish to gain honour in the sight of the Lord.

Ur
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.

Thorn
The thorn is exceedingly sharp,
an evil thing for any knight to touch,
uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.

Os
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.

Rad
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.

Cen
The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
it always burns where princes sit within.

Gyfu
Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else.

Wynn
Bliss he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety,
and has prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.

Haegl
Hail is the whitest of grain;
it is whirled from the vault of heaven
and is tossed about by gusts of wind
and then it melts into water.

Nyd
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.

Is
Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery;
it glistens as clear as glass and most like to gems;
it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to look upon.

Ger
Summer is a joy to men, when God, the holy King of Heaven,
suffers the earth to bring forth shining fruits
for rich and poor alike.

Eoh
The yew is a tree with rough bark,
hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots,
a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.

Peordh
Peorth is a source of recreation and amusement to the great,
where warriors sit blithely together in the banqueting-hall.

Eolh
The Eolh-sedge is mostly to be found in a marsh;
it grows in the water and makes a ghastly wound,
covering with blood every warrior who touches it.

Sigel
The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers
when they journey away over the fishes' bath,
until the courser of the deep bears them to land.

Tir
Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.

Beorc
The poplar bears no fruit; yet without seed it brings forth suckers,
for it is generated from its leaves.
Splendid are its branches and gloriously adorned
its lofty crown which reaches to the skies.

Eh
The horse is a joy to princes in the presence of warriors.
A steed in the pride of its hoofs,
when rich men on horseback bandy words about it;
and it is ever a source of comfort to the restless.

Mann
The joyous man is dear to his kinsmen;
yet every man is doomed to fail his fellow,
since the Lord by his decree will commit the vile carrion to the earth.

Lagu
The ocean seems interminable to men,
if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the courser of the deep heed not its bridle.

Ing
Ing was first seen by men among the East-Danes,
till, followed by his chariot,
he departed eastwards over the waves.
So the Heardingas named the hero.

Ethel
An estate is very dear to every man,
if he can enjoy there in his house
whatever is right and proper in constant prosperity.

Dæg
Day, the glorious light of the Creator, is sent by the Lord;
it is beloved of men, a source of hope and happiness to rich and poor,
and of service to all.

Ac
The oak fattens the flesh of pigs for the children of men.
Often it traverses the gannet's bath,
and the ocean proves whether the oak keeps faith
in honourable fashion.

Æsc
The ash is exceedingly high and precious to men.
With its sturdy trunk it offers a stubborn resistance,
though attacked by many a man.

Yr
Yr is a source of joy and honour to every prince and knight;
it looks well on a horse and is a reliable equipment for a journey.

Ior
Iar is a river fish and yet it always feeds on land;
it has a fair abode encompassed by water, where it lives in happiness.

Ear
The grave is horrible to every knight,
when the corpse quickly begins to cool
and is laid in the bosom of the dark earth.
Prosperity declines, happiness passes away
and covenants are broken.

The Abecedarium Nordmannicum[edit]

(There are various readings of this difficult manuscript. The following is the reading given by Dickins, Runic and heroic poems of the old Teutonic peoples, published 1915 and thus free of copyright. Cursive letters are emendations by Dickins.)

Feu forman
Ur after
Thuris thritten stabu,
Os is himo oboro,
Rat endost ritan
Chaon thanne cliuôt.
Hagal, Naut hab&
Is, Ar endi Sol
Tiu, Brica endi Man midi
Lagu the leohto,
Yr al bihabet.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).