The Northern Way

The Complete Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Poetry

The Fortunes of Men
Verse Indeterminate Saxon

Ful oft þæt gegongeð, mid godes meahtum,
þætte wer ond wif in woruld cennað
bearn mid gebyrdum ond mid bleom gyrwað,
tennaþ ond tætaþ, oþþæt seo tid cymeð,
5
gegæð gearrimum, þæt þa geongan leomu,
liffæstan leoþu, geloden weorþað.
Fergað swa ond feþað fæder ond modor,
giefað ond gierwaþ. God ana wat
hwæt him weaxendum winter bringað!
10
Sumum þæt gegongeð on geoguðfeore
þæt se endestæf earfeðmæcgum
wealic weorþeð. Sceal hine wulf etan,
har hæðstapa; hinsiþ þonne
modor bimurneð. Ne bið swylc monnes geweald!
15
Sumne sceal hungor ahiþan, sumne sceal hreoh fordrifan,
sumne sceal gar agetan, sumne guð abreotan.
Sum sceal leomena leas lifes neotan,
folmum ætfeohtan, sum on feðe lef,
seonobennum seoc, sar cwanian,
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murnan meotudgesceaft mode gebysgad.
Sum sceal on holte of hean beame
fiþerleas feallan; bið on flihte seþeah,
laceð on lyfte, oþþæt lengre ne bið
westem wudubeames. þonne he on wyrtruman
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sigeð sworcenferð, sawle bireafod,
fealleþ on foldan, feorð biþ on siþe.
Sum sceal on feþe on feorwegas
nyde gongan ond his nest beran,
tredan uriglast elþeodigra,
30
frecne foldan; ah he feormendra
lyt lifgendra, lað biþ æghwær
fore his wonsceaftum wineleas hæle.
Sum sceal on geapum galgan ridan,
seomian æt swylte, oþþæt sawlhord,
35
bancofa blodig, abrocen weorþeð.
þær him hrefn nimeþ heafodsyne,
sliteð salwigpad sawelleasne;
noþer he þy facne mæg folmum biwergan,
laþum lyftsceaþan, biþ his lif scæcen,
40
ond he feleleas, feores orwena,
blac on beame bideð wyrde,
bewegen wælmiste. Bið him werig noma!
Sumne on bæle sceal brond aswencan,
fretan frecne lig fægne monnan;
45
þær him lifgedal lungre weorðeð,
read reþe gled; reoteð meowle,
seo hyre bearn gesihð brondas þeccan.
Sumum meces ecg on meodubence
yrrum ealowosan ealdor oþþringeð,
50
were winsadum; bið ær his worda to hræd.
Sum sceal on beore þurh byreles hond
meodugal mæcga; þonne he gemet ne con
gemearcian his muþe mode sine,
ac sceal ful earmlice ealdre linnan,
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dreogan dryhtenbealo dreamum biscyred,
ond hine to sylfcwale secgas nemnað,
mænað mid muþe meodugales gedrinc.
Sum sceal on geoguþe mid godes meahtum
his earfoðsiþ ealne forspildan,
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ond on yldo eft eadig weorþan,
wunian wyndagum ond welan þicgan,
maþmas ond meoduful mægburge on,
þæs þe ænig fira mæge forð gehealdan.
Swa missenlice meahtig dryhten
65
geond eorþan sceat eallum dæleð,
scyreþ ond scrifeð ond gesceapo healdeð,
sumum eadwelan, sumum earfeþa dæl,
sumum geogoþe glæd, sumum guþe blæd,
gewealdenne wigplegan, sumum wyrp oþþe scyte,
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torhtlicne tiir, sumum tæfle cræft,
bleobordes gebregd. Sume boceras
weorþað wisfæste. Sumum wundorgiefe
þurh goldsmiþe gearwad weorþað;
ful oft he gehyrdeð ond gehyrsteð wel,
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brytencyninges beorn, ond he him brad syleð
lond to leane. He hit on lust þigeð.
Sum sceal on heape hæleþum cweman,
blissian æt beore bencsittendum;
þær biþ drincendra dream se micla.
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Sum sceal mid hearpan æt his hlafordes
fotum sittan, feoh þicgan,
ond a snellice snere wræstan,
lætan scralletan sceacol, se þe hleapeð,
nægl neomegende; biþ him neod micel.
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Sum sceal wildne fugel wloncne atemian,
heafoc on honda, oþþæt seo heoroswealwe
wynsum weorþeð; deþ he wyrplas on,
fedeþ swa on feterum fiþrum dealne,
lepeþ lyftswiftne lytlum gieflum,
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oþþæt se wælisca wædum ond dædum
his ætgiefan eaðmod weorþeð
ond to hagostealdes honda gelæred.
Swa wrætlice weoroda nergend
geond middangeard monna cræftas
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sceop ond scyrede ond gesceapo ferede
æghwylcum on eorþan eormencynnes.
Forþon him nu ealles þonc æghwa secge,
þæs þe he fore his miltsum monnum scrifeð.


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