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Author Topic: Solstice poem  (Read 407 times)

Phyllis

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Solstice poem
« on: December 12, 2020, 05:00:33 PM »
Anyone fancy doing a joint translation of Susan Cooper's poem "The Shortest Day"? It's nearly the solstice and it would be nice to have a poem to read by the old Yule Log come 22nd December :)

Here's the first section with my suggested translation (ready for correction!), and the 2nd section for someone else to have a go at:

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.

Swa com se scortesta dæg and forþferde se gear
And æghwær geond þas geardagas þisre snawhwitan weorulde
Comon singende menn and hleapende
Þisse deorcnesse to adræfenne

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,

Phyllis

David

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2020, 09:52:00 AM »
The first section looks fine to me.
How about this for the second section?
 
Hīe ontendaþcandela on þæs wintres trēowum;
Hīe hōþ grēnnesse on heora hāmas;
Hīe bærnedon healsiendliċu fȳr ġeond niht
Ðone ġear cwic tō weardienne,

Phyllis

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2020, 10:49:48 AM »
Lovely!

(I assume there is a space in the first line between "ontendaþ candela"?)

My own version is much the same although with some variation, and some spelling differences. I am not sure if they are both acceptable or I have spelled things wrongly and probably declined verbs incorrectly. Anyway, here it is:

Hie lihtodon candela on wintrum treowum
Hie hangodon wintergrene beamas innan hierum husum (I prefer David's hamas actually!)
Nihtlanges bærndon hie halsigende fyr
Þisne gear cwice to healdenne


As time is ticking on here is the rest of the poem:

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—Listen!!

All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

I have had a quick stab at it but it's not quite ready yet so hopefully I can share that tomorrow - but please jump in if you want to do so!

And Happy Yule!
Phyllis

David

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2020, 06:15:33 PM »
Phyllis you are correct there should be a gap between ontendaþ and candela. I can never remember which is hōn and which is hangian. It looks as though I picked the wrong one and then put it in the wrong tense.
 
As you say our versions are similar but I do have a few queries in yours.
In your first line you appear to be using winter as an adjective. Was it an adjective in Old English?
In the second line I do not think that hiera declines.
In the third line, as fyr is neuter, I think that halsigend either has no suffix or has the suffix u.
In the fourth line why has cwic got a suffix e?

David

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2020, 10:33:37 AM »
Phyllis you are correct about halsiġende. I was thinking that the present participle was halsiġend whereas it is halsiġende.

Phyllis

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2020, 11:49:05 AM »
Thanks David - regarding your questions it was a a mixture of typos and just sheer ignorance on my part! I have made my excuses below.

In your first line you appear to be using winter as an adjective. Was it an adjective in Old English? I am not sure, I was thinking of "wintry" but you are probably right :)

In the second line I do not think that hiera declines. You are correct!

In the third line, as fyr is neuter, I think that halsigend either has no suffix or has the suffix u. Again, correct - I keep making nouns the worng gender and am too lazy to check. You could say I got burned this time  8)

In the fourth line why has cwic got a suffix e? Typo! Sigh
Phyllis

Phyllis

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Re: Solstice poem
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2020, 12:04:02 PM »
And here, including my slightly rushed translation of the remaining lines, is my attempt at the whole poem - have at it, all, and merry Yule!


Swa com se scortesta dæg and forþferde se gear
And æghwær geond þas geardagas þisre snawhwitan weorulde
Comon singende menn and hleapende
Þisse deorcnesse to adræfenne

Hie lihtodon candel on wintrum treowum
Hie hangodon wintergrene beamas innan hierum husum
Nihtlanges bærndon hie halsigende fyr
Þisne gear cwice to healdenne

And swa bladesode niwes geares sunne and aweahte
Swa hie hlude clipodon freolsiende,
Geond ealla frostiga þraga magon ge hieran
æfter us onscillende – gehlystaþ nu!

Swa ealle endlease onscillende sangas singaþ mid selfum gleame
On þissum scortestan dæge
Swa awecceþ gehat on þissum slæpendan lande

Hie galaþ and symblaþ and heriaþ
And gelufiaþ swiþe hiera friend
And wenaþ him friþ
Swa doþ we, her and nu,
On Þissum geare and eallum gearum.
Wilcuma Geol!
Phyllis