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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~


The Nine Herbs Charm
In Modern English

Remember, Mugwort, what you made known,
What you arranged at the Great proclamation.
You were called Una, the oldest of herbs,
you have power against three and against thirty,
you have power against poison and against infection,
you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.

And you, Plantain, mother of herbs,
Open from the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,
over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.
You withstood all of them, you dashed against them.
May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.

'Stune' is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,
it stands up against poison, it dashes against poison
Nettle (?) it is called, it attacks against poison,
it drives out the hostile one, it casts out poison.
This is the herb that fought against the serpent, 
it has power against poison,  it has power against infection,
it has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Put to flight now, Venom-loather, the greater poisons,
though you are the lesser, until he is cured of both.

Remember, Chamomile, what you made known,
what you accomplished at Alorford,
that never a man should lose his life from infection
after Chamomile was prepared for his food.

This is the herb that is called 'Wergulu'.
A seal sent it across the sea-right,
a vexation to poison, a help to others.
it stands against pain, it dashes against poison,

A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.
For Woden took nine glory-twigs,
he smote the the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.
There the Apple accomplished it against poison
that she [the loathsome serpent] would never dwell in the house.

Chervil and Fennell, two of much might,
They were created by the wise Lord,
holy in heaven as He hung;
He set and sent them to the seven worlds,
to the wretched and the fortunate, as a help to all.
It stands against pain, it fights against poison,
it avails against 3 and against 30,
against foes hand and against noble scheming,
against enchantment of vile creatures.

Now there nine herbs have power against nine evil spirits,
against nine poisons and against nine infections:
Against the red poison, against the foul poison,
against the white poison, against the pale blue poison,
against the yellow poison, against the green poison,
against the black poison, against the blue poison,
against the brown poison, against the crimson poison,
against worm-blister, against water-blister,
against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,
against ice-blister, against poison-blister,

If any poison comes flying from the east,
or any from the north, [or any from the south,]
or any from the west among the people.
Christ stood over diseases of every kind.

I alone know a running stream,
and the nine adders beware of it.
May all the weeds spring up from their roots,
the seas slip apart, all salt water,
when I blow this poison from you.

Mugwort, plantain open form the east, lamb's cress, venom-loather, camomile, nettle, crab-apple, chevil and fennel, old soap; pound the herbs to a powder, mix them with the soap and the juice oaf the apple.
Then prepare a paste of water and of ashes, take fennel, boil it with the paste and wash it with a beaten egg when you apply the salve, both before and after.
Sing this charm three times on each of the herbs before you (he) prepare them, and likewise on the apple. And sing the same charm into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, before you (he) apply the salve.
Nigon Wyrta Galdor 
In Old English

Gemyne u, mucgwyrt, hwt u ameldodest,
hwt u renadest t Regenmelde.
Una u hattest, yldost wyrta.
u miht wi III and wi XXX,
u miht wi attre and wi onflyge,
u miht wi am laan e geond lond fr.

Ond u, wegbrade, wyrta modor,
eastan openo, innan mihtigu;
ofer e crtu curran, ofer e cwene reodan,
ofer e bryde bryodedon, ofer e fearras fnrdon.
Eallum u on wistode and wistunedest;
swa u wistonde attre and onflyge
and m laan e geond lond fere.

Stune htte eos wyrt, heo on stane geweox;
stond heo wi attre, stuna heo wrce.
Stie heo hatte, wistuna heo attre,
wrece heo wraan, weorpe ut attor.
is is seo wyrt seo wi wyrm gefeaht,
eos mg wi attre, heo mg wi onflyge,
heo mg wi am laan e geond lond fere.
Fleoh u nu, attorlae, seo lsse a maran,
seo mare a lssan, ot him beigra bot sy.

Gemyne u, mge, hwt u ameldodest,
hwt u gendadest t Alorforda;
t nfre for gefloge feorh ne gesealde
syan him mon mgan to mete gegyrede.

is is seo wyrt e wergulu hatte;
as onsnde seolh ofer ss hrygc
ondan attres ores to bote.
as VIIII magon wi nygon attrum.

Wyrm com snican, toslat he man;
a genam Woden VIIII wuldortanas,
sloh a a nddran, t heo on VIIII tofleah.
r gendade ppel and attor,
t heo nfre ne wolde on hus bugan.

Fille and finule, felamihtigu twa,
a wyrte gesceop witig drihten,
halig on heofonum, a he hongode;
sette and snde on VII worulde
earmum and eadigum eallum to bote.
Stond heo wi wrce, stuna heo wi attre,
seo mg wi III and wi XXX,
wi feondes hond and wi frbregde,
wi malscrunge manra wihta.
Nu magon as VIIII wyrta wi nygon wuldorgeflogenum,
wi VIIII attrum and wi nygon onflygnum,
wi y readan attre, wi y runlan attre,
wi y hwitan attre, wi y wedenan attre,
wi y geolwan attre, wi y grenan attre,
wi y wonnan attre, wi y wedenan attre,
wi y brunan attre, wi y basewan attre,
wi wyrmgebld, wi wtergebld,
wi orngebld, wi ystelgebld,
wi ysgebld, wi attorgebld,

gif nig attor cume eastan fleogan
oe nig noran cume
oe nig westan ofer wereode.
Crist stod ofer adle ngan cundes.

Ic ana wat ea rinnende
r a nygon ndran nean behealda;
motan ealle weoda nu wyrtum aspringan,
ss toslupan, eal sealt wter,
onne ic is attor of e geblawe.

Mugcwyrt, wegbrade e eastan open sy, lombescyrse,
attorlaan, magean, netelan, wudusurppel, fille and finul,
ealde sapan. Gewyrc a wyrta to duste, mngc wi a
sapan and wi s pples gor. 
Wyrc slypan of wtere and of axsan, genim finol, wyl on re slyppan and bee mid ggemongc, onne he a sealfe on do, ge r ge fter. 
Sing t galdor on lcre ara wyrta, III r he hy wyrce and on one ppel ealswa; ond singe on men in one mu and in a earan buta and on a wunde t ilce gealdor, r he a sealfe on do.