Thursday, February 18, 2010

Revisting Riddle 30

A little while ago, my post on Riddle 30 invited a comment asking for a more literal, less poetic translation of the Riddle. I'll reproduce three texts below: the original, my first translation, and my edited/poetic translation:

Riddle 30 – Verse Indeterminate Saxon

Ic eom legbysig,__lace mid winde,
bewunden mid wuldre,__wedre gesomnad,
fus forðweges,__fyre gebysgad,
bearu blowende,__byrnende gled.

Ful oft mec gesiþas__sendað æfter hondum,
þæt mec weras ond wif__wlonce cyssað.
þonne ic mec onhæbbe,__ond hi onhnigaþ to me
monige mid miltse,__ þær ic monnum sceal
ycan upcyme__eadignesse.

Riddle 30 – Literal Translation

I am beset by flames,__ sacrifice among wind
wrapped with glory,__storm assembled
eager for departure,__fire troubled
grove blooming,__burning ember.

Very often me companions__send after hand,
that myself husband and wife__ splendid kiss
then I myself exalt__and she bends down to me,
many with mercy,__ there I mankind must
increase up-springing__ of blessedness

Riddle 30 – Creative Translation

I am beset by flames,__sacrifice among wind
wrapped with glory,__storm assembled
eager for departure,__fire-troubled
grove-blooming,__burning ember.

Very often companions__send me after hand
that myself, husband,__and splendid wife kiss
then I exalt myself__and she bends down to me.
Many with mercy,__there I for mankind must
increase up-springing__of blessedness.

The differences between my two translations are not too astronomical; they are mainly shifts in word order to modern English patterns and a bit of re-arranging. Please also note that the "__" indicates a space where the caesura happens; for some reason, Blogger eliminates the tab and makes it a space instead -- hence the "__"

For these translations, and other work I've done in Old English, two texts were my main resources:
A Guide to Old English by Bruce Mitchell and Fred C. Robinson. This is an older text, and the edition I had was organized in a really strange way, but the explanations and glossary are solid.
Introduction to Old English by Peter S. Baker. This book is much more approachable and better for the beginner. It offers clearer grammar details and its organization is much more logical.

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