Jumping into spring: it’s the time when folk long to go on pilgrimages and in addition to seeking the blissful holy martyr, medievalists like to share their love of language with the world. Thanks to Chaucer Doth Tweet, the event this year is called #WhanThatAprille16 so check out the hashtag for more audio delights.
Here’s the original and then the modern translation of Riddle 20 from the Exeter Book (Krapp&Dobie 9): can you guess what it is?
|Mec on þissum dagū deadne ofgeafum
fæder ⁊ modor ne wæs me feorh þa gen
ealdor in innan þa mec ongon
welhold me gewedum weccan
heold ⁊ freoþode hleosceorpe wrah
snearlice swa hire agen bearn
oþþæt ic under sceate · swa min gesceapu wæron
ungesibbum wearð eacen gæste
mec seo friþemæg fedde siþþan
oþþæt ic aweox widdor meahte
siþas asettan heo hæfde swæsra þy læs
suna ⁊ dohtra þy heo swa dyde
left me for dead: there was no life yet,
no life within me. Then a kindly kinswoman
faithfully covered me with her own clothing,
held me and cherished, kept me warmly,
even as gently as her own children—
until beneath her, as my destiny willed,
I waxed into life with my alien fellows.
My friend and protector nourished me then
till I grew and grew able to go forth by myself.
Because of this now her own dear children,
sons and daughters, were fewer, alas.