Opening lines from The Seafarer - three translations

May I for my own self song's truth reckon,
Journey's jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft...

trans. by Ezra Pound

I can sing a true song about myself,
tell of my travels, how in the days of tribulation
I often endured a time of hardship...

trans. by Kevin Crossley-Holland

This verse is my voice, it is no fable,
I tell of my travelling, how in hardship
I have often suffered laborious days...

trans. by Edwin Morgan

Mæg ic be me sylfum soðgied wrecan,
siþas secgan, hu ic geswincdagum
earfoðhwile oft þrowade...

from the 10th Century Exeter Book

(to Contents)


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