Teleri (telerib) wrote in oneaweek,

Wulf and Eadwacer, Rough Draft

This Community was just the kick in the pants I needed to finally try this translation.

Wulf and Eadwacer is one of the more ambiguous poems in the Anglo-Saxon corpus. It's also only one of two told from the feminine voice (unless you count some of the riddles). I've read up on it, and the interpretations are legion: Wulf is the husband and the speaker is abducted by Eadwacer; Eadwacer is the husband, and Wulf is the outlawed lover; Wulf is a son dead or dying in battle; even that it's about a misplaced manuscript or a canine love song. I translated with the slant that it's some sort of love-triangle, but who's the husband is still an open question.

There are some very good translations out there already, but none of them hold to the Anglo-Saxon metric restrictions. I'm not entirely sure mine does, but I am sure that it *mostly* does. Also the alliteration restrictions.

I got information on the poetic scheme from Building Blocks of Old English Poetry. You don't have to read it to comment on the poem, but those are the rules I'm trying to follow.

Here is another translation of the same poem, as well as a grainy copy of the original. I've got a bunch more links, but will just post one more, which I thnk is better poetry than mine and comes closest to the flavor of A-S alliterative verse. Just so you can do some comparison shopping, if you like. :-)

I would *love* suggestions for the last line. The original is "uncer giedd geador." "Giedd" is a song, story, tale, or narrative. "Geador" is "together." The accented syllables should alliterate, so "tale together" doesn't really work. Trouble is, I really like "Our song together"... :-p

Wulf and Eadwacer
To my people, he is like      a present one gives
Him they will kill      if come he with men
It is unalike for us.
Wulf on one island      I on another
Fast is that island      by fens surrounded
Bloodthirsty men      abide on that island
Him they will kill      if come he with men
It is unalike for us.
My thoughts and hopes      far-traveled to Wulf
When weather was rainy      wailing I sat
When battle-bold man      bore me in his arms
That was joy to me      but that was pain also
Wulf, my Wulf!      It was wishing for you
That made me sick;      Your seldom-comings
Made my mind troubled,      not missing meals
Hearest thou, Eadwacer?      Our wretched whelp
A wolf bears to the woods.
One easily tears apart      what united never was:
Our song together
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