Posts tagged ‘anonymous’

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Song of the Man Who Was Weary of Life by Anonymous

This day is Death before my eyes
As when a man grown well again,
And rising from a bed of pain,
The garden sees

This day is Death before my eyes
Like fragrant myrrh’s alluring smell,
Like sitting ’neath the sails which swell
In favouring breeze

This day is Death before my eyes
Like water-bosomed lotus scent,
Or when, the traveller, worn and spent,
At last drinks deep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when the soldier glimpses home,
As pent-up garden-waters foam
Down channels steep.

This day is Death before my eyes
As when, mist clearing from the blue,
The hunter’s quarry leaps to view,
Like this is Death before my eyes
As when, the captive, bound in pain,
Yearns sore to see his home again,
Like this is Death
While we draw breath,
We seek life’s prize
The prize is – Death.

From: Sharpley, C. Elissa (ed.), Anthology of Ancient Egyptian Poems, 1925, John Murray: London, pp. 79-80.
(https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.60956)

Date: c1850 BCE (original in Egyptian hieroglyphs); 1923 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: George Anthony Armstrong Willis (1897-1972)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sick Wife by Anonymous

She had been ill for years and years;
She sent for me to say something.
She couldn’t say what she wanted
Because of the tears that kept coming of themselves.
“I have burdened you with orphan children,
With orphan children two or three.
Don’t let our children go hungry or cold;
If they do wrong, don’t slap or beat them.
When you take out the baby, rock it in your arms.
Don’t forget to do that.”
Last she said,
“When I carried them in my arms they had no clothes
And now their jackets have no linings.”

[She dies.]

I shut the doors and barred the windows
And left the motherless children.
When I got to the market and met my friends, I wept.
I sat down and could not go with them.
I asked them to buy some cakes for my children.
In the presence of my friends I sobbed and cried.
I tried not to grieve, but sorrow would not cease.
I felt in my pocket and gave my friends some money.
When I got home I found my children
Calling to be taken into their mother’s arms.
I walked up and down in the empty room
This way and that a long while.
Then I went away from it and said to myself
“I will forget and never speak of her again.”

From: Waley, Arthur, A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, 1918, Constable and Company: London, pp. 29-30.
(http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42290)

Date: 1st century BCE (original); 1918 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Arthur David Waley (1889-1966)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fowles in the Frith by Anonymous with rough rendering into modern English by flusteredduck

Fowles in the frith,
The fisshes in the flood,
And I mon waxe wood
Much sorwe I walke with
For beste of boon and blood.

Fowls in the wood,
The fishes in the flood,
And I must go mad
Much sorrow I walk with
For beast of bone and blood.

From: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/medlyric/fowles.php

Date: 13th-14th century

By: Anonymous

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Viking Terror by Anonymous

Fierce is the wind tonight,
It ploughs up the white hair of the sea
I have no fear that the Viking hosts
Will come over the water to me.

From: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2002-12/1041140151

Date: 7th or 8th century (original in Gaelic); 1949 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Fred Norris Robinson (1871-1966)

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Scholar and His Cat, Pangur Bán by Anonymous

I and Pangur Bán my cat,
‘Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

‘Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur’s way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

From: https://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/pangur-ban.html

Date: 9th century (original in Gaelic); 1934 (translation in English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Robin Ernest William Flower (1881-1946)

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Wife’s Lament by Anonymous

I make this song of myself, deeply sorrowing,
my own life’s journey. I am able to tell
all the hardships I’ve suffered since I grew up,
but new or old, never worse than now –
ever I suffer the torment of my exile.

First my lord left his people
for the tumbling waves; I worried at dawn
where on earth my leader of men might be.
When I set out myself in my sorrow,
a friendless exile, to find his retainers,
that man’s kinsmen began to think
in secret that they would separate us,
so we would live far apart in the world,
most miserably, and longing seized me.

My lord commanded me to live with him here;
I had few loved ones or loyal friends
in this country, which causes me grief.
Then I found that my most fitting man
was unfortunate, filled with grief,
concealing his mind, plotting murder
with a smiling face. So often we swore
that only death could ever divide us,
nothing else – all that is changed now;
it is now as if it had never been,
our friendship. Far and near, I must
endure the hatred of my dearest one.

They forced me to live in a forest grove,
under an oak tree in an earthen cave.
This earth-hall is old, and I ache with longing;
the dales are dark, the hills too high,
harsh hedges overhung with briars,
a home without joy. Here my lord’s leaving
often fiercely seized me. There are friends on earth,
lovers living who lie in their bed,
while I walk alone in the light of dawn
under the oak-tree and through this earth-cave,
where I must sit the summer-long day;
there I can weep for all my exiles,
my many troubles; and so I may never
escape from the cares of my sorrowful mind,
nor all the longings that have seized my life.

May the young man be sad-minded
with hard heart-thoughts, yet let him have
a smiling face along with his heartache,
a crowd of constant sorrows. Let to himself
all his worldly joys belong! let him be outlawed
in a far distant land, so that my friend sits
under stone cliffs chilled by storms,
weary-minded, surrounded by water
in a sad dreary hall! My beloved will suffer
the cares of a sorrowful mind; he will remember
too often a happier home. Woe to the one
who must suffer longing for a loved one.

From: https://web.utk.edu/~rliuzza/514/pdf/The%20Wife’s%20Lament.pdf

Date: c950 (original in Anglo-Saxon English); ?1990 (translation in modern English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Roy M. Liuzza (19??- )

Alternative Title: The Wife’s Complaint

Monday, 22 August 2016

Description of the Phoenix from “The Phoenix” by Anonymous

The bird is handsome of colouring at the front, tinted with
shimmering hues in his forepart about the breast. His head is
green behind, exquisitely variegated and shot with purple.
Then the tail is handsomely pied, part burnished, part
purple, part intricately set about with glittering spots. The
wings are white to the rearward, and the throat, downward
and upward, green, and the bill, the beautiful beak, inside
and out, gleams like glass or a gem. The mien of his eye is
unflinching, in aspect most like a stone, a brilliant gem,
when by the ingenuity of the craftsmen it is set in a foil of
gold. About the neck, like a circlet of sunlight, there is a
most resplendent ring woven from feathers. The belly below
is exquisite, wondrously handsome, bright and beautiful. The
shield above, across the bird’s back, is ornately yoked. The
shanks and the tawny feet are grown over with scales.

From: http://www.apocalyptic-theories.com/literature/phoenix/mephoenc.html

Date: 9th century (original in Old English); 1998 (translation in modern English)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Sidney Arthur James Bradley (1936- )

Sunday, 10 July 2016

A Bitter Lullaby by Anonymous with rough rendering into almost modern English by flusteredduck

Lullay, lullay, litel child, why weepestou so sore?
Needes most thou weepe, it was y-yarked thee yore
Evere to live in sorwe, and siken everemore,
As thine eldren dide er this, whil they alives wore
Lullay, lullay, litel child, child, lullay, lullow,
Into uncouth world ycomen so art thou.

Beestes and thise fowles, the fisshes in the flood,
And eech sheef alives, ymaked of boon and blood,
Whan they cometh to the world they dooth hemself som good—
Al but the wrecche brol that is of Adames blood.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, to care art thou bimet:
Thou noost nat this worldes wilde bifore thee is yset.

Child, if it bitideth that thou shalt thrive and thee,
Thenk thou were yfostered up thy moder knee;
Evere have minde in thyn herte of thise thinges three:
Whennes thou comest, what thou art, and what shal come of thee.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, child, lullay, lullay:
With sorwe thou come into this world, with sorwe thou shalt away.

Ne tristou to this world, it is thy fulle fo:
The riche it maketh poore, the poore riche also;
It turneth wo to wele and eek wele to wo:
Ne triste no man to this world whil it turneth so.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, the foot is in the wheele:
Thou noost whether it wol turne to wo other to wele.

Child, thou art a pilgrim in wikkednesse ybore;
Thou wandrest in this false world—thou looke thee bifore:
Deeth shal come with a blast out of a wel dim bore
Adames kinne down to caste—himself hath do bifore.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, so wo thee warp Adam
In the land of Paradis through wikkenesse of Satan.

Child, thou nart a pilgrim, but an uncouth gest:
Thy dayes beeth ytold, thy journeys beeth ycest
Whider thou shalt wenden, north other est,
Deeth thee shal bitide with bitter bale in brest.
Lullay, lullay, litel child, this wo Adam thee wrought
Whan he the apple eet, and Eve it him bitoughte.

A Bitter Lullaby by Anonymous

Lullay, lullay, little child, why weeps thou so sore?
Needs must thou weep, it was destined thee of yore
Ever to live in sorrow, and sigh ever more,
As thine elders did ere this, while they alive were
Lullay, lullay, little child, child, lullay, lullow,
Into a strange world so art thou come.

Beasts and fowls, the fishes in the flood,
And each creature alive, made of bone and blood,
When they come to the world, they do themselves some good—
All but the wretched brat that is of Adam’s blood.
Lullay, lullay, little child, to care art thou bound:
Thou knowest not that this world’s wilds before thee are set.

Child, if it betides that thou shall thrive and prosper,
Remember as thou were brought up at thy mother’s knee;
Ever have mind in thy heart of these things three:
Whence thou comes, what thou art, and what shall become of thee.
Lullay, lullay, little child, child, lullay, lullay:
With sorrow thou come into this world, with sorrow thou shall away.

Never trust to this world, it is thy full foe:
The rich it makes poor, the poor rich also;
It turns woe to well and changes well to woe:
Never trust no man to this world while it turns so.
Lullay, lullay, little child, thy foot is in the wheel;
Thou knowest [not] whether it will turn to woe or to well.

Child, thou art a pilgrim in wickedness born;
Thou wanders in this false world
thou look thee ahead:
Death shall come with a blast out of a very dim shadow
Adam’s kin down to cast
as himself hath done before.
Lullay, lullay, little child, such woe was for thee wove by Adam
In the land of Paradise through the wickedness of Satan.

Child, thou art not a pilgrim, but an unknown guest:
Thy days be numbered, thy journeys be determined
Whither thou shall wend, north or east,
Death thee shall betide with bitter pain in thy breast.
Lullay, lullay, little child, this woe Adam has for thee wrought
When he the apple ate, and Eve it him brought.

From: https://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/noa/pdf/15Lyrics_1_6.pdf

Date: Early 14th century

By: Anonymous

Alternative Title: Adult Lullaby

Friday, 25 March 2016

The Dream of the Rood by Anonymous

Listen! The choicest of visions I wish to tell,
which came as a dream in middle-night,
after voice-bearers lay at rest.
It seemed that I saw a most wondrous tree
born aloft, wound round by light,
brightest of beams. All was that beacon
sprinkled with gold. Gems stood
fair at earth’s corners; there likewise five
shone on the shoulder-span. All there beheld the Angel of God,
fair through predestiny. Indeed, that was no wicked one’s gallows,
but holy souls beheld it there,
men over earth, and all this great creation.
Wondrous that victory-beam – and I stained with sins,
with wounds of disgrace. I saw glory’s tree
honored with trappings, shining with joys,
decked with gold; gems had
wrapped that forest tree worthily round.
Yet through that gold I clearly perceived
old strife of wretches, when first it began
to bleed on its right side. With sorrows most troubled,
I feared that fair sight. I saw that doom-beacon
turn trappings and hews: sometimes with water wet,
drenched with blood’s going; sometimes with jewels decked.
But lying there long while, I,
troubled, beheld the Healer’s tree,
until I heard its fair voice.
Then best wood spoke these words:
“It was long since – I yet remember it –
that I was hewn at holt’s end,
moved from my stem. Strong fiends seized me there,
worked me for spectacle; cursèd ones lifted me.
On shoulders men bore me there, then fixed me on hill;
fiends enough fastened me. Then saw I mankind’s Lord
come with great courage when he would mount on me.
Then dared I not against the Lord’s word
bend or break, when I saw earth’s
fields shake. All fiends
I could have felled, but I stood fast.
The young hero stripped himself – he, God Almighty –
strong and stout-minded. He mounted high gallows,
bold before many, when he would loose mankind.
I shook when that Man clasped me. I dared, still, not bow to earth,
fall to earth’s fields, but had to stand fast.
Rood was I reared. I lifted a mighty King,
Lord of the heavens, dared not to bend.
With dark nails they drove me through: on me those sores are seen,
open malice-wounds. I dared not scathe anyone.
They mocked us both, we two together. All wet with blood I was,
poured out from that Man’s side, after ghost he gave up.
Much have I born on that hill
of fierce fate. I saw the God of hosts
harshly stretched out. Darknesses had
wound round with clouds the corpse of the Wielder,
bright radiance; a shadow went forth,
dark under heaven. All creation wept,
King’s fall lamented. Christ was on rood.
But there eager ones came from afar
to that noble one. I beheld all that.
Sore was I with sorrows distressed, yet I bent to men’s hands,
with great zeal willing. They took there Almighty God,
lifted him from that grim torment. Those warriors abandoned me
standing all blood-drenched, all wounded with arrows.
They laid there the limb-weary one, stood at his body’s head;
beheld they there heaven’s Lord, and he himself rested there,
worn from that great strife. Then they worked him an earth-house,65
men in the slayer’s sight carved it from bright stone,
set in it the Wielder of Victories. Then they sang him a sorrow-song,
sad in the eventide, when they would go again
with grief from that great Lord. He rested there, with small company.
But we there lamenting a good while
stood in our places after the warrior’s cry
went up. Corpse grew cold,
fair life-dwelling. Then someone felled us
all to the earth. That was a dreadful fate!
Deep in a pit one delved us. Yet there Lord’s thanes,
friends, learned of me,. . . . . . . . . . .
adorned me with silver and gold.
Now you may know, loved man of mine,
what I, work of baleful ones, have endured
of sore sorrows. Now has the time come
when they will honor me far and wide,
men over earth, and all this great creation,
will pray for themselves to this beacon. On me God’s son
suffered awhile. Therefore I, glorious now,
rise under heaven, and I may heal
any of those who will reverence me.
Once I became hardest of torments,
most loathly to men, before I for them,
voice-bearers, life’s right way opened.
Indeed, Glory’s Prince, Heaven’s Protector,
honored me, then, over holm-wood.
Thus he his mother, Mary herself,
Almighty God, for all men,
also has honored over all woman-kind.
Now I command you, loved man of mine,
that you this seeing tell unto men;
discover with words that it is glory’s beam
which Almighty God suffered upon
for all mankind’s manifold sins
and for the ancient ill-deeds of Adam.
Death he tasted there, yet God rose again
by his great might, a help unto men.
He then rose to heaven. Again sets out hither
into this Middle-Earth, seeking mankind
on Doomsday, the Lord himself,
Almighty God, and with him his angels,
when he will deem – he holds power of doom –
everyone here as he will have earned
for himself earlier in this brief life.
Nor may there be any unafraid
for the words that the Wielder speaks.
He asks before multitudes where that one is
who for God’s name would gladly taste
bitter death, as before he on beam did.
And they then are afraid, and few think
what they can to Christ’s question answer.
Nor need there then any be most afraid
who ere in his breast bears finest of beacons;
but through that rood shall each soul
from the earth-way enter the kingdom,
who with the Wielder thinks yet to dwell.”
I prayed then to that beam with blithe mind,
great zeal, where I alone was
with small company. My heart was
impelled on the forth-way, waited for in each
longing-while. For me now life’s hope:
that I may seek that victory-beam
alone more often than all men,
honor it well. My desire for that
is much in mind, and my hope of protection
reverts to the rood. I have not now many
strong friends on this earth; they forth hence
have departed from world’s joys, have sought themselves glory’s King;
they live now in heaven with the High-Father,
dwell still in glory, and I for myself expect
each of my days the time when the Lord’s rood,
which I here on earth formerly saw,
from this loaned life will fetch me away
and bring me then where is much bliss,
joy in the heavens, where the Lord’s folk
is seated at feast, where is bliss everlasting;
and set me then where I after may
dwell in glory, well with those saints
delights to enjoy. May he be friend to me
who here on earth earlier died
on that gallows-tree for mankind’s sins.
He loosed us and life gave,
a heavenly home. Hope was renewed
with glory and gladness to those who there burning endured.
That Son was victory-fast in that great venture,
with might and good-speed, when he with many,
vast host of souls, came to God’s kingdom,
One-Wielder Almighty: bliss to the angels
and all the saints – those who in heaven
dwelt long in glory – when their Wielder came,
Almighty God, where his homeland was.

From: http://lightspill.com/poetry/oe/rood.html

Date: ?8th century (original); 1982 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Jonathan A. Glenn (19??- )

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Excerpt from “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir” by Anonymous

Sorrow is the worst thing in life.
What life is not misery for us?
A grief which cannot be overcome is upon us;
it is difficult to set sorrow aside.

No one will live forever;
alas that my sorrow
which is akin to death has increased;
it is a great misery that it is only beginning.

From: Ó Cuív, Brian, “Elegy On Féilim Mac Maghnusa Méig Uidhir, Ob. 1487” in Celtica, 23, 1999, 261-268.
(https://www.dias.ie/images/stories/celtics/pubs/celtica/c23/c23-261.pdf)

Date: 1487 (original); 1999 (translation)

By: Anonymous

Translated by: Brian Ó Cuív (1916-1999)