HomeIndexthe runesthe runic poemsAnglo-Saxon Runic Poem

 

The Anglo-Saxon rune poem was composed in the 8th to 9th centuries and is featured on the 10th-century manuscript Cotton Otho B.x, fol. 165a-165b, kept in the Cottonian Library in London, England.
In 1731 the manuscript was lost in a fire; however, the poem was copied by George Hicks in 1705 in his “Linguarum veterum septentrionalium Thesaurus”, and all the later editions of the poem were based on his copy.
It consists of 29 short rooms, of two or five lines each, preceded by the description of the runic characters and their names.
It is assumed that the poem is dated to before the ninth century and derives, for some traces, from an ancient Scandinavian poem.

Anglo-Saxon Runic PoemAncient Anglo-Saxon

Feoh byþ frofur fira gehwylcum;
sceal ðeah manna gehwylc miclun hyt dælan
gif he wile for drihtne domes hleotan.

Ur byþ anmod ond oferhyrned,
felafrecne deor, feohteþ mid hornum
mære morstapa; þæt is modig wuht.

Ðorn byþ ðearle scearp; ðegna gehwylcum
anfeng ys yfyl, ungemetum reþe
manna gehwelcum, ðe him mid resteð.

Os byþ ordfruma ælere spræce,
wisdomes wraþu ond witena frofur
and eorla gehwam eadnys ond tohiht.

Rad byþ on recyde rinca gehwylcum
sefte ond swiþhwæt, ðamðe sitteþ on ufan
meare mægenheardum ofer milpaþas.

Cen byþ cwicera gehwam, cuþ on fyre
blac ond beorhtlic, byrneþ oftust
ðær hi æþelingas inne restaþ.

Gyfu gumena byþ gleng and herenys,
wraþu and wyrþscype and wræcna gehwam
ar and ætwist, ðe byþ oþra leas.

Wenne bruceþ, ðe can weana lyt
sares and sorge and him sylfa hæfþ
blæd and blysse and eac byrga geniht.

Hægl byþ hwitust corna; hwyrft hit of heofones lyfte,
wealcaþ hit windes scura; weorþeþ hit to wætere syððan.

Nyd byþ nearu on breostan; weorþeþ hi þeah oft niþa bearnum
to helpe and to hæle gehwæþre, gif hi his hlystaþ æror.

Is byþ ofereald, ungemetum slidor,
glisnaþ glæshluttur gimmum gelicust,
flor forste geworuht, fæger ansyne.

Ger byþ gumena hiht, ðonne God læteþ,
halig heofones cyning, hrusan syllan
beorhte bleda beornum ond ðearfum.

Eoh byþ utan unsmeþe treow,
heard hrusan fæst, hyrde fyres,
wyrtrumun underwreþyd, wyn on eþle.

Peorð byþ symble plega and hlehter
wlancum [on middum], ðar wigan sittaþ
on beorsele bliþe ætsomne.

Eolh-secg eard hæfþ oftust on fenne
wexeð on wature, wundaþ grimme,
blode breneð beorna gehwylcne
ðe him ænigne onfeng gedeþ.

Sigel semannum symble biþ on hihte,
ðonne hi hine feriaþ ofer fisces beþ,
oþ hi brimhengest bringeþ to lande.

Tir byþ tacna sum, healdeð trywa wel
wiþ æþelingas; a biþ on færylde
ofer nihta genipu, næfre swiceþ.

Beorc byþ bleda leas, bereþ efne swa ðeah
tanas butan tudder, biþ on telgum wlitig,
heah on helme hrysted fægere,
geloden leafum, lyfte getenge.

Eh byþ for eorlum æþelinga wyn,
hors hofum wlanc, ðær him hæleþ ymb[e]
welege on wicgum wrixlaþ spræce
and biþ unstyllum æfre frofur.

Man byþ on myrgþe his magan leof:
sceal þeah anra gehwylc oðrum swican,
forðum drihten wyle dome sine
þæt earme flæsc eorþan betæcan.

Lagu byþ leodum langsum geþuht,
gif hi sculun neþan on nacan tealtum
and hi sæyþa swyþe bregaþ
and se brimhengest bridles ne gym[eð].

Ing wæs ærest mid East-Denum
gesewen secgun, oþ he siððan est
ofer wæg gewat; wæn æfter ran;
ðus Heardingas ðone hæle nemdun.

Eþel byþ oferleof æghwylcum men,
gif he mot ðær rihtes and gerysena on
brucan on bolde bleadum oftast.

Dæg byþ drihtnes sond, deore mannum,
mære metodes leoht, myrgþ and tohiht
eadgum and earmum, eallum brice.

Ac byþ on eorþan elda bearnum
flæsces fodor, fereþ gelome
ofer ganotes bæþ; garsecg fandaþ
hwæþer ac hæbbe æþele treowe.

Æsc byþ oferheah, eldum dyre
stiþ on staþule, stede rihte hylt,
ðeah him feohtan on firas monige.

Yr byþ æþelinga and eorla gehwæs
wyn and wyrþmynd, byþ on wicge fæger,
fæstlic on færelde, fyrdgeatewa sum.

Iar byþ eafix and ðeah a bruceþ
fodres on foldan, hafaþ fægerne eard
wætre beworpen, ðær he wynnum leofaþ.

Ear byþ egle eorla gehwylcun,
ðonn[e] fæstlice flæsc onginneþ,
hraw colian, hrusan ceosan
blac to gebeddan; bleda gedreosaþ,
wynna gewitaþ, wera geswicaþ.

Translation

Fehu (Wealth) is a comfort to all men
However, every man must give it freely
if he wants to get honor at the sight of the Lord

Uruz (The Uro) is proud and has big horns
it’s a wild beast and fights with its horns
guardian of the moors
brave creature.

Thurisaz (The plug) is extremely pointed, one thing
wicked for every knight who touches her;
unspeakably painful is for all those
sit in thorns.

Ansuz (God) is the source of all languages
a pillar of wisdom and comfort for all wise men
a blessing and a joy for every knight

Raido is easy for any warrior while indoors
and it is very brave the one who crosses the streets
teachers on the back of his sturdy horse

Kano (The Torch) is known by every living being
for its clear and shining flame
and always burns wherever the knights sit

Gebo (The Generosity) brings credit and honor and supports
dignity of a person. Provides help
and subsistence to failed men who are deprived
of anything

Wunjo (The Joy)
doesn’t know the suffering the sorrows or the anxiety
prosperity and happiness reign in his home

Hagalaz (The Hail) is the whitest of the grains
A vortex descending from the turn of the heavens
and it’s slammed by gusts of wind until
melts in water

Nauthiz (The Affliction) oppresses the heart; And yet
it is often a source of help and salvation for children
man and those who care at the time

Isa (Ice) is very cold and extremely slippery
shines like glass and almost like gems
it’s a floor worked by frost
nice to look at

Jera (Summer) is a happiness for men
when God, the Holy King of Heaven, allows
the land to produce shining fruits
so for the rich as well as for the poor

Eihwaz (The Badger) is a tree with a rough bark
solid on the ground, supported by its roots
guardian of flame and joy for a farm

Perth (Chess) is a source of recreation and
fun when the warriors sit
cheerfully together in the banquet hall

Algiz (The Falasco) has a dwelling in the marshes
grows in water and causes horrific injuries
covering the warrior who touches him with blood

Sowelu (The Sun) is always a joy for sailors
(or in the hopes of sailors) when they
travel far on the fish bath
until the steed of the deep brings them back to the ground

Teiwaz (The God Tyr) is a star (guide); it’s good to have confidence
principles; it’s always on its way over the
brume of the night and never disappears

Berkana (The Birch) bears no fruit and, although without
semi, shows off his chickens, because he is
generated by its leaves. Its branches are
gorgeous and wonderfully adorned
its high peak to reach the sky

Ehwaz (The Horse) is a joy for princes and warriors
a proud and scalping steed
when the rich on horseback exchange words about him
always a source of comfort for the tireless

Mannaz (The Man) is dear to his relatives
with his companion, for the Lord
by his judgment, he will entrust to the earth
the wretched undress

Laguz (Water) appears interminable to men
if they venture on an unstable wood
and the waves of the sea terrify them
and the steed of the deep
doesn’t hold back his bridles

Inguz (The God Ing) was initially seen by men among
the Danes of the East, until he set off east riding
the waves followed by his chariot
So the Heardigas called the hero

Othila (The Property) is very dear to every man
If you can enjoy in your home in just and deserved
constant prosperity

Dagaz (The Day) the glorious light of the creator is sent
Lord; it is loved by men, a source of hope
and happiness for both the rich and the poor and useful
for everyone

Ac (The oak) fattens the meat (of the pork) for
children of man; often crosses the bathroom of the
sule and the ocean shows how the oak
can hold true in an honorable way

Aesc (Ash) is extremely high and valuable for
men. With its sturdy trunk it offers stubborn
resistance although many men try to affect it

Yr is a source of joy and honors for princes and knights
it’s fine on the back of the horse and it’s an equipment
fit for travel

Iar is a river fish and yet it always feeds
on earth; has a beautiful dwelling surrounded by water
where he lives happily

Ear (The Tomb) is a horrible thing for a knight
When the corpse quickly gets cold
And it is laid in the womb of the earth
Prosperity declines happiness fades
and relationships with all the other broken


read others runic poems

Leave a Reply