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Author Topic: Old English Tattoos?  (Read 158 times)


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Old English Tattoos?
« on: June 20, 2022, 11:34:51 PM »
Me and my bright ideas again.  Isn’t it funny that, so ill-written and knotty was a manuscript I proofread earlier this year, I dug out my DVD set of the Comic Strip to play in the background thinking that, and not Vlad the Invader’s bloody-handed brinksmanship, was why I needed something to keep my spirits up?
Quaint though that idea seems now, however, that’s what I did.  Reminding myself how funny Five go mad in Dorset was until, reaching Mr Jolly Lives Next Door in which dear old Peter Cook played the title role ( “Just because my name’s Jolly doesn’t mean I have to be jolly”) I was struck by the following suggestion.
Too stupid to understand an instruction to a hitman to “Take out Nicholas Parsons” Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, partners in the Dreamytime Escort Agency, end up having dinner at the Dorchester with ( the real) Nicholas Parsons.  Having got nissed as pewts there, lit his fart in Rik Mayall’s case and, in Adrian Edmondson’s case, getting his forehead tattooed with the words I’VE BEEN OUT WITH NICHOLAS PARSONS in big blue capitals ( only it actually says “I been out with Nichola Parsons” and I’ve slow-reeled it to check) afterwards, they accompany Nicholas back to his ( real) home.  There, when they’re not breaking his furniture, trying to play sex games and Nicholas isn’t on the phone to his agent, Adrian Edmondson catches sight of himself in a mirror.
Since that reverses the writing, he screams, “The stupid bastards!  They put it on the wrong way round!!!”
Whereupon I was stricken by a mighty brainwave...
Would not the right kind of tattoos, in Old English genuinely appeal to certain kinds of people?  As well as being one way to popularise and publicise our favourite subject?
I take care to say the right kind of tattoos because I’m presuming that, to see any special reason to have any tattoo or written part thereof in any funny old language, there would have to be some point or joke, some piquant point or something fun to explain, inherent to what it actually says.  Granted we can agree upon a selection, this can be emailled to tattoo parlours or even, if the Witan thinks it advisable, have a webpage on our website.  Now I come to think of it, some of the purely visual designs from Old English manuscripts and artefacts ought to make interesting and attractive tattoos, if only tattooists were aware of them and granted tattoo-wearing types think likewise, at all.
At any rate, as far as bare words are concerned, my best suggestions so far include:
Iċ wulfhwistliġe Bēowulf     “I wolfwhistle Beowulf”
Mōdor mē heht ġewyrcan   “Mother had me made” ( round a belly button?)
Hangode ġelīce Bēowulf  “Hung like Beowulf”
Drīege eald lēoþ and swīþswēge  “Enjoy an old herioc lay”
Weornas oþþe lā nāwiht   “Lots or none at all” ( below the waistline?)
Læt dō swā þū wilt wes ællagu.   Let do as you will be the whole of the law” ( as above)
Gūðnunfæmne  “Warrior Nun” ( check out Sister Areala and the upcoming TV adaptation.  It was that or Gūðmynecen.)
Bifode iċ þā mē se beorn ymbclypte   I trembled as the warrior embraced me ( from Dream of the Rood. If youre that kinda gal?)
Wīf sceal wiþ wer wære ġehealdan.   Wife shall be true to the man she hath wedded” or A woman must keep faith with her man” ( As above?)
Blōstmewield   “Flower Power”
Lōce / Beseoh/ Beheald beōre ne flascan.  “Look at the beer not at the bottle” ( ġesīþas may like to suggest why this should be funny in translation.  Long winters ago, as a teenage jobseeker in the pub opposite Victoria Coach Station in London, I got chatty with an attractive young German lady mit denen ich mein Deutsch übe during which she put me straight on a few points, such as not needing the herum on herum hubfungen in my rendition of Kate Bushs The Kick Inside. When she expressed her regret that she had no make-up, my nineteen-year-old advice included this proverb as Schau auf das Bier nicht auf das Flasche and, for no reason I have managed to put my finger on from that day to this, that really creased her up.  I had a collapsing-giggling blonde Fraulein on my hands in a crowded bar and getting funny looks, including from the barman.  I dont see how it can be my German grammar as I checked that then and since, so I never knew just what it was.  Dare I hope I ever will..?).

Friġes bletsung    “Frey’s blessing” ( for NeoPagans)

Ēastres bletsung   “Easter’s blessing” ( as above)
Ġif þū ġeondfērst helle, fēr forþ   If you’re going through hell, keep going”, Sir Winston Churchill
( Or:  Ġif þū ġeondfērst helle, forþhield.   Id be especially glad to hear ġesīþas’ opinions on this one. )
Steorrum þurh ġeswinge  Per ardua ad astra” ( The motto of the dear old RAF)
And þū scealt æxe habbende   “And you shall have my axe”
Hangode ġelīce plōhoxa  “Hung like a plough-ox”
Bigger than Jesus  "Miċelra hǣlende" ( one of John Lennons, if my understanding serves).
Ne dēm bōc be hire ymbfenge   Dont judge a book by its cover
Climb Ġesēðedlic DūClimb Mount Improbable
I am enough  “Iċ ēom ġenug
That encompasses just about a much as I may or fail to understand about the kinds of taste to which any tattoo may appeal.  Speaking for myself, it’s not a taste that ever made much sense.  I’m aware that some young ladies have tattoos ( as well as these studs-and-that) these days, which sounds a bit sad to me.  Yet maybe we can cultivate the taste if ġesīþas with a clearer understanding as to what people see in it can suggest anything?
The moral right of the author to self-identify as lots of posters. Consider the Ġegaderung revived!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2022, 09:40:43 PM by Bowerthane »


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Re: Old English Tattoos?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022, 09:37:35 PM »

Correction.  It was Adrian Edmondson who lit his fart:


Apologies to all concerned.