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Frea moncynnes,
Fæder and scippend.
Se thære sunnan leoht
Seleth of heofonum, 20
Monan and thysum mærum

Se gesceop men on eorthan,
And gesamnade
Sawle to lice,
Æt fruman ærest,

Folc under wolcnum
Emn æthele gesceop,
Æghwilone mon.
Hwy ge thonne æfre,
Ofer othre men,

Buton and weorce,
Nu ge unæthelne
Ænig ne metath?
Hwy ge eow for æthelum 35
Up ahebben nu ?
On tham mode bith

Monna gehwilcum
Tha riht æthelo
The ic the recce ymb; 40
Nales on them flæsce
Ac nu æghwile mon,
The mid ealle bith
His untheawum.

Underthieded ;
He forlæt ærest
Lifes frum-sceaft,
And his agene
Æthelo swa selfe ;

And eac thone fæder,
The hine æt fruman gesceop.
Forthæm hine anæthelath
Ælmihtig God,
That he unæthele

A forth thanan
Wyrth on weorulde,
Towuldre ne cymth.

All men and all women on earth

Had first their beginning the same,
Into this world of their birth

All of one couple they came :

Alike are the great and the small; ;

No wonder that this should be thus ;
For God is the Father of all,

The lord and the maker of us.

He giveth light to the sun,

To the moon and the stars as they stand; The soul and the flesh He made one,

When first he made man in the land.

Wellborn alike are all folk

Whom He hath made under the sky;
Why then on others a yoke

Now will ye be lifting on high ?

And why be so causelessly proud,
As thus


find none are illborn ?
Or why, for your rank, from the crowd

Raise yourself up in such scorn ?

In the mind of a man, not his make,

In the earth-dweller's heart, not his rank, Is the nobleness whereof I spake,

The true, and the free, and the frank.

But he that to sin was in thrall,

Illdoing wherever he can,
Hath left the first lifespring of all,

His God, and his rank as a man :

And so the Almighty down-hurl’d

The noble disgraced by his sin,
Thenceforth to be mean in the world,

And never more glory to win.

Unless one were to forage about for parallel passages, or to descant upon Alfred's good philosophy as texts; or to furnish tables of the words identical to both English and Anglo-Saxon, or to speculate upon the possibilities of metre, there really seems little reason to disturb the patient reader with many notes; let him, instead, have the satisfaction of knowing that our verse is no loose paraphrase, but a close rendering, and that several of these metres seem to be analogous with the short and tripping lines of early minstrelsy. It will be remembered that the true ballad line (as in Macaulay's Lays of Rome), though sometimes written longwise, is in truth an eight-syllable stanza of short lines, and not a four-syllable of long ones: that great German epic, the Niebelungenlied (lately translated with uncommon ability and closeness by William Nanson Lettsom esq.) is an instance strictly in point: and further on (see Metre XXVIII) we have rendered Alfred in a similar measure.


Habet omnis hoc voluptas, Stimulis agit furentes,


Eala thæt se ysla,
Unrihta gedeth,
Wratha willa
Thæt he mid ealle gedræfth, 5
Anra gehwylces
Monna cynnes
Mod fulneah thon !
Hwæt sio wild beo,
Theah wis sie,

Eall forweorthan,
Gif hio yrringa
Awuht stingeth.
Swa sceal sawla geh wilc
Siththan losian,
Gif se lichoma
Forlegan weortheth
Bute him ær cume
Hreow to heortan,
Ær he hionan wende.


10 Anunga sceal,


Alas that the evil unrighteous hot will
Of lawlessly wanton desire should still

Be a plague in the mind of each one !
The wild bee shall die in her stinging, tho'shrewd,
So the soul will be lost if the body be lewd,
Unless, ere it wend hence, the heart be imbued

With grief for the deed it hath done.


Eheu, quam miseros tramite devio, Abducit ignorantia !

Eala thaet is hefig dysig,
Hygeth ymbe se the wile,
And frecenlic,
Fira geh wilcum,
That tha earman men 5
Mid ealle gedwæleth
Of thæm rihtan wege,
Recene alæded !
Hwæther ge willen
On wuda secan

Gold thæt reade,
On grenum triowum ?
Ic wat swa theah,
That hit witеna nan
Thider ne seceth;

15 Forthæm hit thær ne wexth, Ne on wingeardum Wlitige gimmas. Hwy ge nu ne settan On sume dune

20 Fisc net eowru, Thonne eow fon lysteth Leax oththe cyperan? Me gelicost thincth. That te ealle witen, 25 Eorth-buende, Thoncolmode That hithær ne sint. Hwæther ge nu willen Wæthan mid hundum 30 On sealtne sæ, Thonne eow secan lyst Heorotas and hinda Thu gehycgan meaht Thæt ge willath tha 35 On wuda secan Oftor micle, Thonne ut on sæ. Is thaet wundorlic Thaet we wítan ealle 40 Thaet mon secan sceal Be sae-warothe, And be ea-ofrum, Æthele gimmas, Hwite and reade,

45 And hiwa gehwæs ? Hwæt hi eac witon,

Hwær bi ea-fiscas
Secan thurfan,
And swylcra fela

Weoruld-welena :
Hi thæt wel doth,
Geornfulle men,
Geara geh wilc.
Ac thaet is earmlicost 55
Ealra thinga,
Thaet tha dysegan sint
On gedwolan wordene,
Efne swa blinde,
Thæt hion breostum ne magon
Eathe gecnawan,
Hwær tha ecan good,
Sotha gesaeltha
Sindon gehydda :
Forthaem hi aefre ne lyst 65
Æfter spyrian,
Secan tha gesaeltha.
Wenath sam wise,
Thaet hi on this laenan mægen
Life findan

70 Sotha gesaeltha, Thaet is selfa God. Ic nat hu ic maege Naenige thinga Ealles swa swithe,

75 On sefan minum, Hiora dysig taelan Swa hit me don lysteth : Ne ic the swa sweotole Gesecgan ne maeg.

80 Forthaem hig sint earmran, And eac dysegran, Ungesæligran, Thonne ic the secgan mæge. Hi wilniath

85 Welan and aehta, And weorthscipes To gewinnanne ; Thonne hi habbath thaet Hiora hige seceth,

90 Wenath thonne, Swa gewitlease, Thaet hi tha sothan Gesaeltha haebben.

Oh! it is a fault of weight,

Let him think it out who will,
And a danger passing great
Which can thus allure to ill

Careworn men from the right way,
Swiftly ever led astray.

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seek within the wood
Red gold on the green-trees tall ?
None, I wot, is wise that could,
For it grows not there at all :

Neither in winegardens green

Seek they gems of glittering sheen. Would

ye on some hill-top set, When


list to catch a trout
Or a carp, your fishing-net ?
Men, methinks, have long found out

That it would be foolish fare,
For they know they are not there.

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