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Old English Fun

Today I’m reliving my semester of random, free, online Old English classes. Though it was many years ago, I still enjoy Old English. It is definitely one of my favorite languages! I’d probably trade it for modern English if I could get anyone to understand me…


A humorous backward translation of a limerick:

þǽr wæs se gamolferhð mann hwaes gegán

dydon hine to gebrúcan aet coney

Wænne hé gehæfd ǽt xviii hé cierede æltǽwelíce grene,

Æt þisne hé fode þone lífbrycgung

There was an Old Person whose habits

induced him to feed upon rabbits,

When he’d eaten eighteen he turned perfectly green,

Upon which he relinquished those habits.


My translation of Caedmon’s Hymn:

He first shaped          sons of earth

They cried to heaven,         holy Creator;

Everlasting Prince         afterwards made

For men the earth,             Christ almighty.

One of the lines from “The Battle of Maldon,” which has inspired my work/writing/living for many years:

“Hige sceal þe heardra,         heorte þe cenre,

Mod sceal þe mare þe          ure maegen lytlað.”


The Monday challenge: Can you translate it? Write your answer in a reply.

Published inMusings

One Comment

  1. I won’t spoil the fun, because I already know it. 😉 That’s one of my favorite old English quotes! And of course the limerick was the perfect culmination of proving our adept-ness in Old English at the end of the class. 😄 We thu hal, brother min!

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