The Fitful Flog

Hrodulf

November 23, 2007

For the past ten years or so, this poem has lived on Professor Cathy Ball’s excellent Old English pages at Georgetown, but I noticed this year that her site is gone from their servers. (In web terms, 1996 was a long time ago — Hu seo þrag gewat, genap under nihthelm, swa heo no wære.) In order to preserve this trifle from the obscurity it deserves, I am placing it here.

(Oh, and it’s now under the same license as the origami, so feel free to spread the verse as widely as Hrodulf’s renown.)

Incipiunt gesta Rudolphi rangiferi tarandi

Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor —
Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas!
Glitenode and gladode godlice nosgrisele.
Ða hofberendas mid huscwordum hine gehefigodon;
Nolden þa geneatas Hrodulf næftig
To gomene hraniscum geador ætsomne.
Þa in Cristesmæsseæfne stormigum clommum,
Halga Claus þæt gemunde to him maðelode:
«Neahfreond nihteage nosubeorhtende!
Min hroden hrædwæn gelæd ðu, Hrodulf!»
Ða gelufodon hira laddeor þa lyftflogan —
Wæs glædnes and gliwdream; hornede sum gegieddode:
«Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor,
Brad springð þin blæd: breme eart þu!»

Explicit

In modern English:

Hrodulf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer —
That beast didn’t have unshiny nostrils!
The goodly nose-cartilage glittered and glowed.
The hoof-bearers taunted him with proud words;
The comrades wouldn’t allow wretched Hrodulf
To join the reindeer games.
Then, on Christmas Eve, bound in storms
Santa Claus remembered that, spoke formally to him:
“Dear night-sighted friend, nose-bright one!
You, Hrodulf, shall lead my adorned rapid-wagon!”
Then the sky-flyers praised their lead-deer —
There was gladness and music; one of the horned ones sang:
“Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer,
Your fame spreads broadly, you are renowned!”

—–

December 27, 2008

And some added value of dubious worth — a translation of the song sung by the Who’s down in Whoville: the original, the translation and the back translation. The Old English version can indeed be sung to the original tune, but I can’t say I recommend it; the voiced velar fricatives make it unpleasant.

Welcome Christmas

Dr. Seuss and Albert Hague

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas, come this way!
Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

Welcome, welcome! Fah who rahmus!
Welcome, welcome! Dah who dahmus!
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas! Bring your cheer!
Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome all who’s far and near!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas, come this way!
Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

Welcome, Christmas! Fah who rahmus!
Welcome, Christmas! Dah who dahmus!
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome Christmas! Bring your cheer!
Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!
Welcome all who’s far and near!

Sang Hwalinga: Wilcume, Cristmæsse

Fagung fægere, dagung Dorweardes
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, wend þissum wege!
Fagung fægere, dagung Dorweardes
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, Cristesmæssedæg!

Wilcume, wilcume, fea to wræccum!
Wilcume, wilcume, deaw on drygum!
Man hielt Cristesfreol in heortan
Þa þa in bogum he broðru bega!

Fah to fæhðe! Deað to dracan!
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, wyrce ðin wela!
Fah to fæhðe! Deað to dracan!
Geneahwa to niehstan ond nifaran!

Fagung fægere, dagung Dorweardes
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, wend þissum wege!
Fagung fægere, dagung Dorweardes
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, Cristesmæssedæg!

Wilcume, Cristesmæsse! For ær dæge
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse! Ond æfter dæge
Beoð þis dæg a butan ende
Hwonne we hæbben usic gehwone!

Fah to fæhðe! Deað to dracan!
Wilcume, Cristesmæsse, wyrce ðin wela!
Fah to fæhðe! Deað to dracan!
Geneahwa to niehstan ond nifaran!

December 12, 1997, 9:37AM

Song of the Wholings: Welcome Christmas

Beautiful dappledness, dawn of the Gatekeeper,
Welcome, Christmas, come this way!
Beautiful dappledness, dawn of the Gatekeeper,
Welcome, Christmas, Christmas day!

Welcome, welcome, joy to the wretched!
Welcome, welcome, dew upon the dry lands!
One keeps the feast of Christ in his heart
When he embraces his brethren!

Foe to enmity! Death to the dragon!
Welcome, Christmas, let thy weal be established!
Foe to enmity! Death to the dragon!
Draw nigh to near ones and to strangers!

Beautiful dappledness, dawn of the Gatekeeper,
Welcome, Christmas, come this way!
Beautiful dappledness, dawn of the Gatekeeper,
Welcome, Christmas, Christmas day!

Welcome, Christmas! Because from age…
Welcome, Christmas! …to age
This day will always be without end
So long as we have ourselves, everyone!

Foe to enmity! Death to the dragon!
Welcome, Christmas, let thy weal be established!
Foe to enmity! Death to the dragon!
Draw nigh to near ones and to strangers!

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