Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples/The Runic Poems/The Anglo-Saxon Runic Poem

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THE ANGLO-SAXON RUNIC POEM

1Feoh[1] byþ frofur    fira gehwylcum;
sceal ðeah manna gehwylc    miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne    domes hleotan.

4Ur[2] byþ anmod    ond oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor,    feohteþ mid hornum
mære morstapa;    þæt is modig wuht.

7Ðorn[3] byþ ðearle scearp;    ðegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfyl,    ungemetum reþe
manna gehwelcum,    ðe him mid resteð.

10Os[4] byþ ordfruma    ælere spræce,
wisdomes wraþu    ond witena frofur
and eorla gehwam    eadnys ond tohiht.

13Rad[5] byþ on recyde    rinca gehwylcum
sefte ond swiþhwæt,    ðamðe sitteþ on ufan
meare mægenheardum    ofer milpaþas.

16Cen[6] byþ cwicera gehwam,    cuþ on fyre
blac ond beorhtlic,    byrneþ oftust
ðær hi æþelingas    inne restaþ.

19Gyfu[7] gumena byþ    gleng and herenys,
wraþu and wyrþscype    and wræcna gehwam
ar and ætwist,    ðe byþ oþra leas.

22Wenne[8][9] bruceþ,    ðe can weana lyt
sares and sorge    and him sylfa hæfþ
blæd and blysse    and eac byrga geniht.

25Hægl[10] byþ hwitust corna;    hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
wealcaþ hit windes scura;[11]    weorþeþ hit to wætere syððan.

27Nyd[12] byþ nearu on breostan;    weorþeþ hi þeah oft niþa bearnum
to helpe and to hæle gehwæþre,    gif hi his hlystaþ æror.

29Is[13] byþ ofereald,    ungemetum slidor,
glisnaþ glæshluttur    gimmum gelicust,
flor forste geworuht,[14]    fæger ansyne.

32Ger[15] byþ gumena hiht,    ðonne[16] God læteþ,
halig heofones cyning,    hrusan syllan
beorhte bleda    beornum ond ðearfum.

35Eoh[17] byþ utan    unsmeþe treow,
heard hrusan fæst,    hyrde fyres,
wyrtrumun underwreþyd,    wyn on eþle.[18]

38Peorð[19] byþ symble    plega and hlehter
wlancum [on middum],[20]    ðar wigan sittaþ
on beorsele    bliþe ætsomne.

41Eolh-secg eard[21] hæfþ    oftust on fenne[22]
wexeð on wature,    wundaþ grimme,
blode breneð[23]    beorna gehwylcne
ðe him ænigne    onfeng gedeþ.

45Sigel[24] semannum    symble biþ on hihte,
ðonne hi hine[25] 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]. 

53. H. peak. 56. H. ymb. 59. H. deg inserted above man. 60. H. odrum. 64. H. nejnm. 66. H. gym. 48. Tir (Salzb. AS. TL Goth. Tyz). There can be no doubt that the original name of this letter was Ti (Tiw) from *Tiwaz, cf. ON. Tyr, pi. tivar. This word appears in glosses, e.g. Epinal-Erfort, 663, Corpus, 1293, Mars, Martis: Tiig, and most of the Teutonic peoples use it as a translation of Martis, in the third day of the week. It is natural therefore to suppose that Tir is a misreading for Tiw. If tacna SWOT = star, one would expect it to be the planet Mars <?; but the description of the poem is appropriate rather to " a circumpolar constellation" (Botkine). Possibly the poet had in his mind a word different from the original name of the letter. Cf. ON. tyri (?): lumen (Egilsson, Lexicon Poet. s.v.). E.g. LeiSarvisan, v. 14, harri heims tfyriss; "King of the light of the world."

61. Beorc (Salz. AS. berc, Goth, bercna; cf. ON. bjarkan). The customary meaning "birch" is here unsuitable; but according to the glossaries it can mean "poplar" too, e.g. Epinal-Erfurt, 792, populus: birciae. Corpus, 1609, populus: birce. Wright, Voc. i. 33. 2, 80.13, byre: populus. Anecdota Oxon., 56, 364, 365, byric: populus, betula. byp bleda leas. Doubless popular science. Cf. Evelyn, Silva (London, 1908), i. 128: " I begin the second class with the poplar, of which there are several kinds; white, black, etc., which in Candy 'tis reported bears seeds."

It is a fact, however, that poplars are almost always grown from slips or suckers. For instance, Mr H. J. Elwes declares that he has never found in England a poplar grown from seed either naturally or by nurserymen, that 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. 

73. H. blade. 74. H. mann inserted above dag. 67. Ing (Salzb. AS. Ing, Goth. Enguz), the letter for ng in the original alphabet; occasionally it is used for ing, e.g. Bir^ngu on the stone from Opedal, Norway; Ing is doubtless the epouym of the Ingwine, a name applied to the Danes in Beowulf, vv. 1044, 1319, where Hrothgar is styled eodor Ingwina, frean Ingwina. The earliest reference to Ing is to be found in the Ingaevones of Tacitus, c. ii., and Pliny, whom Professor Chadwick (Origin of the English Nation, pp. 207 ff.) has shown there is some reason for identifying with the confederation of Baltic tribes who worshipped Nerthus, id est Terra Mater, on an island in the ocean, perhaps the Danish isle of Sjaellnnd. But in later times the name is almost exclusively confined to Sweden; e.g. Arngrim J6nsson's epitome of the Skioldunga saga (Olrik, Aarb.f.n.O., 1894, p. 105): tradunt Odinum...Daniam...Scioldo, Sveciam Irtgoni filiis assignasse. Atque inde a Scioldo, quos hodie Danos, olim Skiolldunga fuisse appellatos; ut et Svecos ab Ingoni Inglin<ja. In Icelandic literature, e.g. the Ynglinga saga, the name Ynglingar is applied to the Swedish royal family, and the god Frey, their favourite divinity and reputed ancestor, is himself styled Yngvi-Freyr and Ingunar freyr (the lord of the prosperity of the Ingwine or the husband of Ingun). It is significant, moreover, that the name of his father Njo.r'Sr is phonetically equivalent to Nerthus, and his own cult as a god of peace and prosperity is evidently descended from that of the selfsame goddess (cf. Chadwick, O.E.N. p. 230 ff.). 69. wSn sefter ran, doubtless to be connected with the following passages, Tacitus, Germania, c. XL: They have a common worship of Rerthus, that is Mother Earth, and believe that she intervenes in human affairs and visits the nations in her car, etc., and the story of Gunnarr Helmingr in the Flateyjarb6k Saga of Olaf Tryg^vason, which relates that there was in Sweden an image of the god Freyr, which in winter time was carried about the country in a car, gera monniim drbdt, to bring about an abundant season for men; cf. Vigfusson and linger, Flateyjarb6k, i. 338, translated in Sephton's Saga of K. Olaf Tryggvason, p. 258 ff . 70. Heardingas, not elsewhere in AS., perhaps a generic term for "warriors" as in Elene, vv. 25, 130. It corresponds however to the ON. Haddingjar and the Asdingi, a section of the Vandals (from haddr, " a 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.

86. H. fyrdgeacewa. 87. H. eqfixa. 88. H. onfaldan. 91. fonn. At the end of Hickes' transcript there stand four runes to which no verses are attached, cw, cweorS '; c [coZc]; st, stan; g, gar. Two of these Runic letters, calc and gar, are found on the Buthwell Gross in the value of guttural c and g. 81. JSsc, identical in form with A (*amuz), the fourth letter of the older alphabet, since in the majority of cases original a became & in AS. 84. Yr (Salzb. yr). The Kunic passages in Cynewulf give no assistance and the meaning is much disputed. The new edition of Grein's Sprachschatz translates "horn," I know not upon what evidence unless it be the parallel phraseology of Biddle xv. Others have identified it with the ON. fir, "bow," cf. p. 32; but this corresponds to AS. eoh, p. 16. Is it possible to connect AS. yr with the word sexe-yre in the Chronicle 1012 E, translated by Plummer "axe-head," "axe-iron"? We might compare Yr er . . .brotgjarnt jam in the Icelandic poem, p. 32. 87. Hickes, lar (io) biff eafixa, and ffeah abrucep. Following Dom. A. ix. and Galba A. n., W. Grimm emends to lor. As it stands eafixa is a Gen. pi. with nothing on which to depend, and the addition of sum (Grein) would render the verse unmetrical. The final a of eafixa should therefore be deleted (Bieger). abrucef) Grimm, a brucej>, "always enjoys."

This letter is not in the Salzburg Codex. No such word as iar, ior exists; but the description here given is plainly that of some amphibious creature, usually taken as the eel (Grimm), though it might equally well be a lizard or newt (afexe, efe.te). It is worth remarking that the letter is used in a number of Scandinavian inscriptions from the seventh century onwards, e.g. Bjorketorp, Stentofte, Gommor (Blekinge) and Vatn (Norway), seventh cent.; Kallerup, Snoldelev, Flemlose (Denmark) and Orja (Skaane), early ninth cent., as a form of the letter dr (a). The original value of this was j; moreover it occurs in two English inscriptions: Dover, GISLHEABD; Thornhill HI, GILSUITH, with the value of palatal g, since palatal g and original j had fallen together at an early date in AS.


THE ANGLO-SAXON RUNIC POEM

F. (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.

U. (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.

Þ. (the thorn) is exceedingly sharp, an evil thing for any knight to touch, uncommonly severe on all who sit among them.

O. (?) is the source of all language, a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men, a blessing and a joy to every knight.

R. (? ) seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors and very courageous to him who traverses the highroads on the back of a stout horse.

C. (the torch) is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame; it always burns where princes sit within.

G. (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.

W. (bliss) he enjoys who knows not suffering, sorrow nor anxiety, and has prosperity and happiness and a good enough house.

H. (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.

N. (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.

I. (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.

moreover nogood description or illustration of the germination of poplars seems to have been published in England before that of Miss F. Woolward in 1907; of. Elwes and Henry, The Tree* of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. vn. pp. 1770 ff. (Edinburgh, 1913). The grey poplar (populut canetcent), indigenous to England and Western Europe, is a large tree attaining 100 ft or more in height (lyfte getenge) and 15 ft in girth. 66. Eh, as the Salzburg Codex. Of. Gothic aihwatundi, Lat. equut, Greek ftnrot; value E in the original alphabet and in AS. In Scandinavian, however, the word became jor and the letter disappeared, E being represented by I. Later still a dotted I was introduced to differentiate between E and I. 66. Hickes ymb, emended to ymbe,metri gratia (Sievers, P. B.B., x. 519). 69. Man (Salzburg AS. mon, Goth, manna). Gf. p. 32, 1. 1 (Icelandic poem), MaSr er maun* gaman ok moldar auki. Above the correct value m Hickes engraves d. deg., doubtless taken from Domit. A. ix. Of. v. 74, Dug. The Runic character for M is used fairly often in the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Bitnale of Durham, once too in the preface to the Rusliworth Gospela, FarM for Farman (e.g. Surteei Society, Stevenson, Rituale Eceleriae Duntlmentit, 1840; Stevenson and Waring, The Linditfarne and Riuhworth Ootpelt, 4 vols., 1854-1865). It is found moreover in the Exeter Book, e.g. Bain, v. 24, Mdreama, for mandreama. 68. Lagu, sea, cf. OS. lagu- in compounds, ON. lygr. (Salzburg Codex hS.lagu, Goth, laaz.) The name meaning is found in the Bunio passages of Cynewulf, Crist, T. 807, Elene, v. 1268, Fates of the Apostles, n. v. 7. 66. ne gym[ef]. Hickes, negym, the last two letters being doubtless illegible in the MS. 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.

coiffure "; of. Tacitus' account of the Suevi, Germ. c. xxxvin.). The term ikati Haddingja, " prince of the H.," is used in Kalfavisa (Skaldskaparmal, c. Lvin.), and is applied to Helgi, the reincarnation of Helgi Huudingsbani, in the prose which follows Helgakviba Huudin^sbana n. In two of the Fornaldar Sogur, Hr6mundarsaga Greipssonar, c. vi., and Orvar-Oddssaga, o. xiv., Haddingi is a personal name; and in Saxo, Bk i. (Holder, p. 19 ff.J, mention is made of a Hadingus, King of the Danes, whose visit to the nether world is probably alluded to in the phrase from Gu|>rtinarkvi|>a bin forna, c. xxiu., lands Haddingja dx tiskorit. It is worthy of note, moreover, that the verses (Gylf, c. xxin.) in which NJ9rSr and Skai bewail their incompatibility of temperament are by Saxo (Holder, p. 33) attributed to Hadingus and his wife. On the whole it seems most satisfactory to regard Htardingat as the name of a people or a dynasty, conceivably the North Suevi; for Saxo, at any rate, derives fictitious personages from national or dynastic names, of. Hothbroddug, Bk H. (Holder, p. 52), and the Heaffobeardan of Beowulf, vv. 2032 ff. 71. Ejxl (Salzburg AS. oedil, Goth, utal), originally perhaps *r>Jrila, the name of the letter in the original alphabet. Cf. Golden Horn of Gallehus (Jutland), HORNA TAWIDO; English coin from British Museum, 8KANOMODU. In AS. it became cej>el (WS. ef>el) and the letter changed its value to <z, e.g. Ruthwell Cross, LIMW(EKIGNJB. This letter is occasionally found in AS. MSB. as a grammalogue for ej>el, e.g. Waldhere, T. 81, Beowulf, v. 520, 913, 1702. 74. Day (Salz. AS. daeg, Goth. daaz). Hickes, following the ignorant scribe of Dom. A. ix., inserts m, iminn, above the correct value d. The Runic letter D is regularly found as a grammalogue for dag in the Rituale of Durham, occasionally too in the Lindisfarne Gospels. 77. Ac (<. * aik-), doubtless a ligature of A and I, the first of the characters introduced to express the sound-changes which differentiated AS. from the language of the earliest Northern inscriptions. elda bearnum Jlmteei fodor, acorns, as the food of swine, since pork was the flesh most commonly eaten in AS. times. For an illustration of swine feeding in an oak-forest, of. AS. calendar for September, Cott. Tib. B. v., Jul. A. vi. For the second part of the stanza, cf. Egill Skallagrimsson's HSfuflautn, str. i., "Drrfft eik d flat vif uabrot " (Egilssaga, o. ix.). 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.

There appears to be no reason for doubting that this is a survival of the twelfth letter (j) of the older alphabet. Is it possible then that tar (tor) is a corrupt form of the name gear? Of. v. 32 (Chadwick). In that case we mast of coarse assume that the poet had some other name in his mind, e.g. eel, newt. O. Ear (Salzb. tor, value eo); this word is only found in Runic alphabets. Orein compares ON. aurr, a poetical word which seems to mean loam or clay (of. V^luspa xix. 2, Alvissmal xn. 4, Bigs^ola z. 3, Qrottasongr zvi. 3), hence "ground" in the sense of "grave."

The letter is fairly common in inscriptions, e.g. Dover, GISLH.E JRD, Thames cramasax, B.C.4QNOTH, and often in Northumbria. In Northumbrian inscriptions it is used for eo as well as for ea, doubtless owing to the fact that these diphthongs were confused in Northumbria.


    characters, cole and gar, being invented to express the gutteral sounds. These later characters do not occur on the Thames scramasax or in any of the few inscriptions from the South of England, so it may be inferred that they were peculiar to Northnmbria.

    cole does not actually occur in Hickes, but is taken from Domit. A. ix. and Galba A.

    Hickes, blode breitef. The natural way would be to take it as " browns (stains) with blood " from brun; cf. Dante, Inferno xiu. 34, Da che fatto fu poi di tongue bruno; but no such verb occurs in AS. or ON. Brenef (from beornan), "burns with blood," makes no sense. A better interpretation is suggested by a passage in Wnlfstan, 183. 17 Drihtnet rod bif blode beurnen, "the cross of the Lord is covered with blood." Possibly we should emend to beernef (though this verb does not actually occur) rather than to beyrnelf.

  1. Feoh. Cf. AS. fech. Gothic fe from Salzburg Codex 140, a late copy of a Northumbrian text which there is some evidence for connecting with Alouin. Cf. Chadwick, Studies in Old English (Camb. Phil. Soc. 1899, p. 117). Cf. Wimmer. die Runenschrift, p. 85.
  2. Ur (Saltz. AS. ur, Goth. wraz). Cf. ON. úrr, OHG. urohso; bos taurus primgenius, the aurochs or buffalo, the gigantic wild ox described by Caesar, B. G. vi. 28, as inhabiting the Hereynian forest:
    Tertium est genus eorum qui uri appellantur. Hi sunt magnitudine paulo infra elephantos, specie et colore et figura tauri. Magna vis eorum est et magna velocitas, neque homini neque ferae quam conspexerunt parcunt… Amplitudo cornuum et figura et species multum a nostrorum boum differt.
    It is to be distinguished from the bison (e.g. Seneca, Phaedra, v. 68;

    Tibi dant variae pectora tigres,
    Tibi villosi terga bisontes,
    Latibus feri cornibus uri,

    and Pliny, Nat. Hist. viii. 15) with which it was confused in medieval Germany, cf. Albertus Magnus, De Animalibus, xxii. 2.
    "Its remains occur abundantly in the later Plistocene deposits of Britain, those from the brick-earths of Ilford, in Essex, being remarkable for their fine state of preservation and showing the enormous dimensions attained by this magnificent animal" (Lydekker, Wild Oxen, p. 11, London, 1898). In Western Europe, however, it was still found in the Middle Ages; in the sixth century it was hunted in the Vosges (Gregory of Tours, x. 10, Venantius Fortunatus, Misc. vii. 4. 19; cf. Nibelungenlied, str. 880), and doubtless in other thickly wooded regions, but was extinct by the end of the period. In Poland alone it persisted somewhat longer in the forest of Jakozowska (described and illustrated by von Herberstein, Rerum Moscovitarum Commentarii, Antwerp, 1557), where the last was killed in 1627. Cf. Lydekker, The Ox and its Kindred, pp. 37–67, pi. ii. iii. (London, 1912).
    The horns of the aurochs, occasionally 6½ feet in length with a capacity of well nigh a gallon, were much prized as drinking vessels in medieval Europe, cf. Egilssaga, c. xliv. 3, Saxo, Bk vi. (Holder, p. 168); and the poet, who is scarcely likely to have seen an aurochs in the flesh, may have used one brought to England from the continent.
    Hence oferhyrned, "with great horns," ofer being intensive as in vv. 29, 71, oferceald, oferleof.
  3. þorn, so in all AS. Runic alphabets and in most of the OHG. derivatives (cf. v. Grienberger, Ark. f. n. F. xv. p. 1 ff.). þ was adopted into the AS. book-hand and persisted throughout the ME. period, the last trace of it surviving in the archaistic ye (for the).
    The Scandinavian alphabets, however, have þurs (cf. AS. þyrs, a giant), and the Salzburg Codex Gothic thyth, which have no connection with each other or with AS. þorn.
  4. Os (Salzb. AS. os) < *ansuz, a god (cf. Jordanes, c. xiii., Gothi…proceres suos, quorum quasi fortuna vincebant, non puros homines, ted Ansis, id est semideos, vocaverunt, and the ON. óss), the name of A in the original alphabet. Cf. A(n)suᵹisalas of the Kragehul lance-shaft. But original a seldom remained in AS., and the character became the English Runic letter for æ (æsc). Accordingly a ligature of A and N was invented to express the ō, which arose from -an- followed by þ or s. Later, when the name of the original letter had become æðel, os was used for o in all cases, whatever might have been their origin.
    Os is a common element in AS. personal names, e.g. Oswald, Oswine, etc.; cf. A(n)suᵹisalas above, and its Gen. pl. esa used in the charm wið færstice (G.-W. i. 318)

    gif hit wære esa gescot oððe hit wære ylfa gescot
    oððe hit wære hægtessan gescot, nu ic willan þin helpan.

    Its precise meaning here is perhaps open to question, though the collocation æsir ok alfar is common in ON. mythological poetry.
    In the Icelandic poem óss, which likewise represents original *ansuz, = Othin, and it is just possible that this stanza refers to some such episode as that described in Gylfaginning, c. ix.; þá er þeir gengu með sævartröndu Borssynír (Óðinn, Vili and Vé), fundu þeir tré tvau ok tóku upp tréin ok sko̱puðu af men; gaf inn fyrsti ond ok líf, annarr vit ok hrœring. III ásjónu, mál ok heyrn ok sjón. But it is not very likely that the origin of human speech would be attributed to a heathen divinity, and on the whole it is preferable to assume that the subject of the stanza is the Latin os, mouth, which would be equally appropriate.
  5. Bad (Salz. AS. rada, Goth, reda), as in other alphabets. It is most satisfactory on the whole to take rad as " riding," cf. rseiif, reiff of the Norwegian and Icelandic poems.
    "Biding seems an easy thing to every warrior while he is indoors, and a very courageous thing to him who traverses the high-roads on the back of a stout horse," though it is doubtful whether byf> can mean "seems," and neither hw&t nor any of its compounds are used of things.
    Professor Chadwick has, however, suggested to me that the proper name of this letter is rada of the Salzburg Codex, corresponding to the ON. reiffi, "tackle (of a ship)," " harness," hence "equipment" generally. Here it would be used in a double sense, in the first half as "furniture" (cf. ON. reiffustol, "easy-chair," AS. rsadesceamu), in the second as "harness."
  6. Cen (Salzburg AS. cen, Goth, c/tozma?) found only as the name of the Hume letter C. Cf. OHG. kien, ken', pinus, fax, taeda, "resinous pinewood," hence "torch." Like the ON. K (kaun), it is descended from the K (<) of the earliest inscriptions. From the sixth century, at least, English and Scandinavian developed on independent lines, the point of divergence being marked by the lance-shaft from Kragehul (Fyn) and the snake from Lindholm (Skane), which has the same intermediate form of K (^) as the earliest of English inscriptions, the SKANOMODU coin and the scabbard-mount from Chessell Down. But in AS. c and g became palatal before front vowels, and the original letters were used for this sound, new
  7. Gyfu (Salzburg AS. geofu, Goth, geuua), gumena, abstract, "generosity."
  8. Hickes, wen ne.
  9. Hickes, Wen ne brucef, Se can weana lyt. Wenne, dat. sg. of wen, not wen (ef. Dona. A. ix.) f a Kentish form of the wyn of the Salzburg Codex, Galba A. n. etc. (Sievers, Anglia, xiu. 4). As the name of the Runic W, wyn suits admirably in the passage* of Cynewulf, e.g. Crist, v. 805, Elene, v. 1263, and is found elsewhere in AS. MSB., e.g. Elene, v. 1089, on vuldret W Kiddle XCL 7, modW; Ps. Cos. xcix. 1, Wsumia}>= jubilate. From the Runic alphabet wyn, like Jx>rn, was adopted into A3. script.
  10. llatgl (Salz. AS. haegil, Goth. haul). Cf. Hay all in the Norwegian and Icelandic poems. The first two Runic characters in Hickes are taken from Domit. A. ix., the third alone belongs to the poem; cf. Hempl. Mod. I'hiL i. 13.
  11. wealeaj hit windet icura; if tcur can be fern, as Goth, tkura (windis), ON. ik&r, tcura, N. pi., may be retained; otherwise it must be emended to euro*.
  12. Nyd (Salzb. AS. natd, Goth, noict?). Cf. Scandinavian poems and Elene, T. 1260: N gefera nearutorge dreah enge rune.
  13. geworulit.
  14. Ger (Salz. OE. gaer, Goth, gaar) = summer.
    Gear originally meant the warm part of the year (cf. Eussian flpl>, "spring-corn"), parallel to winter; this meaning is occasionally found in AS., e.g. Beowulf, v. 1134. Then both gear and winter were used for the whole year, though at a later time winter was restricted to its original significance.
    In Scandinavian dr came to denote the "products of the summer," hence "plenty, abundance," e.g. til drs okfri&ar, " for peace and plenty."
    In the older alphabet the letter stood for J; but the initial j, falling together with palatal g in AS., is almost invariably represented by the gyfu letter in inscriptions. Cf., however, v. 87, iar.
  15. H. Son.
  16. Eoh: except in Runic alphabets this word is written iw, se hear da iw of Riddle LVI. 9; but cf. OHG. iha beside iwa. The original form may have been *ihwiz. Hickes gives the value as eo, doubtless taken from Domit. A. ix. The value of the letter in the original alphabet is quite unknown; but the Salzburg Codex has ih with the values i and /;, and this agrees with the only intelligible inscriptions in England in which the letter occurs, viz. Dover: Gixlheard (value i); Ruthwell: Almehttig (value h); Thornhill II: Eateinne for Eadfiegne (value i).
    Eoh survived as yogh, yok, etc., the name of the 3 letter in Middle English. Cf. A. C. Panes, M. L. R. vi. 441 ff.
  17. H. wynan on eple.
  18. Peorff (Salzb. AS. peord, Goth, pertra). P was a rare sound in the parent language. It is absent from the earliest Northern Inscriptions, and in the alphabet from the Yadstena bracteate is represented by B. The brooch from Charnay, Burgundy, has in this place a letter much resembling the modern W, and in England it is found only in MS. lists of runic characters and on coins (e.g. Pada, Epa), never in inscriptions.
    PeorS is never found save as the name of the letter P, and no stress can be laid on any of the suggested meanings. Leo, At. Glossar. Halle, 1877, compares Slav. pizda= vulva, W. Grimm the Icelandic ptf, "a pawn in chess." This latter suggestion is not regarded with much favour bj H. J. B. Murray in his History of Chen, p. 420 (Oxford, 1913).
  19. on middum supplied by Grein.
  20. H. eolhx seccard.
  21. Hickes, Eolhx teccard hufp of tut t onfenne. Grimm emends to eolugtecg eard, Greiu to eolx tecg card and Bieger to eolh it eg eard, " the elk-sedge (sumpfgras als lager oder nahrung des elches) always grows in a marsh."
    This letter, originally t (which disappeared finally, and became r elsewhere in AS.), is a fossil found only in Bunic alphabets. An earlier form of the name is seen in Epinal-tirfurt, 781, papilmu: ilugsegg, ilugieg (cf. the ilcM of the Salzburg Codex), which cannot be connected with the word for elk, and Wright- Wiiiker, Foe. 286. 36, eolxtecg: papiluus, where papiluut probably =papyriu. Cf. Epinal-Erfurt, 795, paperum, papirum: earitc. Corpus, 1503, papirum: eoritc (bulrush). The subject of this stanza is therefore some ruah, species unknown. In this connection it is interesting to note that both tecg and the Lat. gladioltu, which it glosses in E.E. 463, and Corpus, 977, are derived from words for sword; cf. Skeat, Etymological Dictionary, p. 546 (Oxford, 1910).
  22. Sifri (Salxb. AS. tygil, Qoih. tugil) evidently "sun." Cf. Norwegian and Icelandic 6l. Moreover in the Exeter book it is found at the beginning and the end of Riddle vn., to which the answer ia " the sun." Cf. Tapper, Riddlet of the Exeter Book, p. 81, and Wyatt, Old Englith Riddle* (frontispiece 2, 8).
  23. hine, for heonan, hence, away; cf. Bede's Death Song, v. 1 Mr hit For the intrans. use of /man, cf. Maldon, v. 179, etc.