As a followup to this post:

þys is efne to secgenne
Ic æt
þa pluman
þe wæron
þære iscieste
and þe
þu eallmæst cuþice
for morgenmete
Forgief me
hie wæron smæcclice
swa swete
and swa cealde

This gem is from Hwæt!: a little Old English anthology of American modernist poetry, translated and edited by Peter Glassgold (which I will obviously have to find a copy of); it was quoted by a commenter in a wonderful thread at Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Making Light. Don’t read the comments until you’ve at least tried to identify the Old English texts in the post!

There are some wonderful things in the comments, too; for instance, John Emerson (whose erudite and fanciful comments frequently grace this site as well) provides some modern Icelandic equivalents for place names:
Scarborough (England) = Skörðuborg
Istanbul = Tyrkjagarður (Mikligarður — old name)
Dardanelles = Hellusund
Bosporus = Sjávíðarsund
These come from a site that tries to provide (mostly invented) Icelandic equivalents for every place name! (“The hyperpurists of the ‘Nýyrðasmiðja’ regard the total icelandicization of all existing geographical names as an ultimate necessity. We are not ashamed to go this far…”)
Oh, and all of this has led me to the online version of Bosworth and Toller’s 1898 Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Splendid, hwæt?


  1. John Emerson says

    One of the later commentators inserted the Icelandic names into the song “Istanbul, not Constantinople”. Alas, Babelfish doesn’t do Icelandic. Maybe one of your readers will be able to help.

  2. That thread is intriguing and promising of delights. How does an outsider who can’t afford university learn the pronunciation of Anglo-Saxon? Any online aids or ISBN references, please?

  3. Here you go!

  4. I recall the one about the plums in the fridge being featured in Poems on the Underground; but can’t remember who wrote it.

  5. William Carlos Williams. Here‘s the original text.

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