A Conversation for Anglo-Saxon (Old English)

The translation isn't quite correct.

Post 1


The poem, like all Anglo-Saxon poems starts with 'hwæt' which is 'What' and actually sounds more or less the same. 'gar-dena' sounds alot like 'spear-danes' and doesn't look too different either. 'dag' (in geardagum) is recognisable as 'day', 'cyn' (in cyninga) is obviously 'kin'.

"Hwæt we gar-dena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon."


"What (we) spear-danes, nation-kin,
in days of yore, understood (or asked)
How then noblemens' (king's blood or sons) strength (or power,vigour, valour, courage, fortitude) fremedon(?)."

The Francis Gummere keeps the feel of the poem and makes sense but it cannot accurately show how much English has changed:

"Lo, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honour the athelings won!"

The translation isn't quite correct.

Post 2

Gnomon - time to move on

Hwaet gives us the modern English word what, but it doesn't mean the same thing, as it is a single word sentence in the original, and not a question. There's no equivalent, but Lo isn't a bad one. I prefer Seamus Heaney's translation myself, but wasn't able to quote it as it is still in copyright.

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