Stone of stumbling and rock of offense (wordweaverlynn) wrote,
Stone of stumbling and rock of offense
wordweaverlynn

NPM: Poem of the Day

from "THE WIFE'S LAMENT" from the EXETER BOOK
Anon. trans. Louis J. Rodrigues (from Anglo-Saxon)

Full sadly this song I sing of myself,
of my own experience. I can assert
what trials I bore, since I grew up,
or new or old, were never more than now.
Ever I suffer the pain of my exile.
.... First my lord from his folk hence
over the wild waves went. Dawn-cares I had
as to where in the land my lord might be.
When I set out a retinue to seek,
a friendless exile, for my woeful plight,
that man's people began to plot,
through secret schemes, to sunder us,
so that most widely in this world apart
we should dwell wretched; I was ill at ease.
.... My lord bade me here my dwelling to hold;
loved and loyal friends in this land I
owned few; for this my soul is sad.
.... When I had found a well-matched man,
ill-starred, melancholy-minded,
his dissembling heart was plotting homicide
with pleasant mien. Full oft we pledged,
save death alone, naught should divide
us else; that is altered now.
Now is destroyed, as though it never were,
our friendship. Far or near I must
endure the feud of my much-loved one.
.... They bade me dwell in a wooded grove,
under an oak-tree, in this earth-cave.
Old this earth-hall; I all longing-filled.
.... Dales are dim, hills high,
cities choked with bitter briars,
dwellings joyless. Here I am full oft beset
by my lord's going. Friends there are on earth,
lovers living, who lie abed,
when I, at daybreak, walk alone,
under oak-tree, through these earth-caves.
There I must sit the summer's day long,
where my exile-ways I mourn,
my many woes, for I never can
my careworn self compose,
nor all the longing in me that this life begat.
Ever shall that youth be sad of mood,
pained his brooding heart; he shall sustain,
besides a cheerful mien, breast-cares as well,
endure incessant griefs; let him depend upon himself
for all his worldly joy. Let him be cast adrift,
afar in a distant land, that he, my friend, may sit
neath stony slopes, by storms berimed,
my evil-minded comrade, water drenched
in drear dwelling. My comrade will endure
great grief; too often he will think
upon a happier home. Woe is it to him
who out of longing must abide love.


(Wikipedia actually has some interesting background on this.)
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