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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~

 
Video: Embedded from YouTube. Music Copyright William Thomas Rowan, 2012.

Deor


Welund tasted misery among snakes.
The stout-hearted hero endured troubles
had sorrow and longing as his companions
cruelty cold as winter - he often found woe
Once Nithad laid restraints on him,
supple sinew-bonds on the better man.
That went by; so can this.

To Beadohilde, her brothers' death was not
so painful to her heart as her own problem
which she had readily perceived
that she was pregnant; nor could she ever
foresee without fear how things would turn out.
That went by, so can this.

We have learnt of the laments of Mathild,
of Geat's lady, that they became countless
so that the painful passion took away all sleep.
That went by, so can this.

For thirty years Theodric possessed
the Maring's stronghold; that was known to many.
That went by, so can this.

We have heard of Eormanric's
wolfish mind; he ruled men in many places
in the Goths' realm - that was a grim king.
Many a man sat surrounded by sorrows,
misery his expectation, he often wished
that the kingdom would be overcome.
That went by, so may this.

A heavy-hearted man sits deprived of luck.
He grows gloomy in his mind and thinks of himself
that his share of troubles may be endless.
He can then consider that throughout this world
the wise Lord often brings about change
to many a man, he shows him grace
and certain fame; and to some a share of woes.

I wish to say this about myself:
That for a time I was the Heodenings' poet,
dear to my lord - my name was "Deor".
For many years I had a profitable position,
a loyal lord until now that Heorrenda,
the man skilled in song, has received the estate
which the warriors' guardian had given to me.
That went by, so can this.

Translation Steve Pollington      Stevepollington.com

Notes:
"Deor" (or "The Lament of Deor") is an Old English poem, from the 10th century AD, preserved in the Exeter Book. The poem consists of the lament of the scop Deor, who lends his name to the poem, which was given no formal title. Modern scholars do not actually believe Deor to be the author of this poem.

In the poem, Deor's lord has replaced him. Deor mentions various figures from Germanic mythology and reconciles his own troubles with the troubles these figures faced, ending each section with the refrain "that passed away, so may this." The poem consists of 42 alliterative lines.

The Notes are taken from the Wikipedia article Deor  under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
 

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