Shield

Translated from the Old English.

Iċ eom ānhaga īserne wund,
bille ġebennod, beadoweorca sæd,
ecgum wēriġ. Oft iċ wīġ sēo
frēcne feohtan. Frōfre ne wēne,
þæt mē ġēoc cyme gūðġewinnes,
ǣr iċ mid yldum eal forweorðe,
ac mec hnossiað homera lāfa,
heardecg heoroscearp hondweorc smiþa
bītað in burgum; iċ ābīdan sceal
lāþran ġemōtes. Nǣfre lǣċecynn
on folcstede findan meahte,
þāra þe mid wyrtum wunde ġehǣlde,
ac mē ecga dolg ēacen weorðað
þurh dēaðsleġe dagum ond nihtum.

Alone, wounded by iron, wounded
by the sword, replete with the deeds of battle,
I am weary of edges. I know what it’s like
to be right in the thick of it. I don’t expect help,
that I’ll be relieved of these pressures
before perishing, the marks of hammers
striking me, hard-edged, sword-sharp handwork
pierces each fortified place; I have to wait for
a more hateful meeting. Never a doctor
on the battlefield — not for me —
who healed gashes with herbs,
but for me the edge-wounds grow larger
through the deathblow, day and night.

 

Source: Introduction to Old English, third edition, by Peter S. Baker.