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Author Topic: Abraham's Daughter  (Read 6500 times)


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Abraham's Daughter
« on: June 20, 2016, 02:24:52 PM »

Abraham’s Daughter
Abrahámes Dohtor

Arcade Fire

Abraham took Isaac’s hand
Abrahám nam Isaáces hand
 And led him to the lonesome hill

And lædede hine þǽm ánhyll
 While his daughter hid and watched

Ðá hwíle þe his dohtor hýde and waċede
 She dare not breathe, she was so still

Héo ne dearre éþian, héo wæs swá stille
 Just as an angel cried for the slaughter

Efne swá án engel béad þæt wæle.
 Abraham’s daughter raised her voice

Abrahámes dohtor hóf hiera stefne.

Then the angel asked her what her name was,
Ðá ascode sé engel híe hwæt hiere nama béo,
She said, “I have none.”
Héo cwæþ, “Iċ næbbe nánne.”

 Then he asked, “How can this be?”

Ðá ascode hé, “Hwá mæġe þís?”
 “My father never gave me one.”
“Mín fæder nǽfre mé nánne ne geaf.”
And when he saw her, raised for the slaughter
And þá seah hé híe, ġeræred for þǽm wæle.
 Abraham’s daughter raised her bow

Abrahámes dohtor hóf hiera bogan
“How darest you, child, defy your father?”
 “Hwá dearst þú, ċild, spurnan þín fæder?”

“You’d better let young Isaac go.”
“Ðú bet forlǽtest ġeong Isaác.”


Régine Chassagne, T Bone Burnett and Win Butler.

The above popped up over the end credits to the original Hunger Games film, which I was surprised to find worthy of the book. I am far too fogey to know any more about the song and an arcade fire sounds like a foolish and irresponsible prank. I just caught the Biblical theme amongst that telluric snare beat ( then found I liked Kingdom Come by the Civil Wars too) leaving me intrigued enough to buy the CD, Songs from District 12 and Beyond. And not, as some people seem to think, for some hit by Taylor Swift.  Who I’ve only lately stopped calling Taylor Smith and actually find Safe and Sound gets a bit irritating after prolonged listening.

Anyhow, here it all is in the hope that other ġesíþas will like the music and even share my perverse curiosity as to how it scans in Old English.

As usual, spare my grammar etc. no criticism. For the moment I’m under the impression that, a) bet is the adverbial incarnation of ‘better’ and that betera is a comparative adjective and so, presumably, ought only to qualify nouns, and b) that éþianneed not, and had better not, be *néþian

Yet if there are other positions on those, I’d be glad to hear how they go.
The moral right of the author to be identified as the streaker who stopped the Hunger Games has been asserted.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2016, 02:05:36 PM by Bowerthane »


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2016, 07:39:00 PM »

I really wanted to respond to Bowerthane’s posts but I am just starting a busy time so cannot give them the attention they deserve. However these comments might be of some help.
I wondered whether “And when he saw her” was correct – might it be “And when she saw him”. Then in its translation I do not know the word “þāseah”.
In the order they appear I would make the following changes
ānhyll  à ānhylle
waċede à wacode
dearre à dearr
wæle à wæl
bēo à wæs
þīn à þīnne
ġeong à ġeongne


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2016, 02:39:01 PM »
I am just starting a busy time so cannot give them the attention they deserve.

Tell me about it! You’ve given me lots to think about, though *þāseah is nothing but the uploading process stripping out the en-spaces between words, which I hope I have fully rectified his time.  Nonetheless I’ve re-checked with what Reginé Chassagne ( presumably) seems to sing and three different online versions of the lyric ( the CD has no lyric sheet) and they seem unanimous that it’s “he saw her”.

However, my leafleting for the you-know-what-endum is ended so maybe I’ll bend my brows to this, and your Christmas carol lyrics, over the weekend.


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2016, 12:01:14 PM »

If I had not been rushed it would have been obvious that “þāseah” was “þā seah”.
I do not know the song but just reading it I thought that “she saw him” made more sense.
You did a good job leafletting as there was a high turn out.
I have just started marking A level mathematics which limits my time on ġegaderung. However I have already translated Away in a Manger so I can feed that in


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2016, 02:25:42 PM »
ānhyll   ānhylle
 waċede  wacode
 dearre  dearr
 wæle  wæl
 bēo  wæs
 þīn  þīnne
 ġeong  ġeongne
I am still chasing these up, thanks again David!  So far you seem to be quite right about wacode and dearr, but I have yet to trace/ remember what I thought I was doing with the others.
However, do I guess aright that you are treating the ‘young’ in Ðú bet forlǽtest ġeong Isaác as a strong adjective in the accusative?  Quite rightly quite possibly, but I declined it weak because I understand the line to be the daughter’s, somewhat defiant reply to her father’s ( or possibly the angel’s) demand in the line above, the flourish on which the drama ends.  So I plumped for treating it as a “defining or demonstrative situation” and quite possibly a vocative phrase to boot, so I declined it weak.  Re-reading my Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer where I got that idea I see that the latter is not a set-in-concrete rule so much as the commonest practice: þú yfla þéow and sláwa! is one example of this, but the example of the exception is iċ bidde þé, léof eldormann which is also in an accusative kinda position. 

So... the accusative trumps all other considerations?  Or what?

[ PS: I, er, did do a good job leafleting, didn’t I?  Wonder which leaflet of mine it was that made all the difference ǽr útgang lá slóg þá fann... ]


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2016, 02:10:53 PM »

Ooh, ooh, ooh ::)  this hurts.  Try this on for the definition of frustration.  I already had checked out the dative singular of hyll and got it right, the first time! >:(

Now that I find time to check, I realise that the line By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow from my developing rendition of the chapter In the House of Tom Bombadil already runs Be  wætere, wuda and hylle, be þǽm  hréod and wíþig.

So all I’ve got to do now is work out what the *£%? I thought I was doing, translating And led him to the lonesome hill as *And lædede hine þǽm ánhyll...

::) ::) ::)


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Re: Abraham's Daughter
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2016, 08:49:00 AM »

Shouldn’t hrēod and wiþig be hrēode and wiþiġe.