dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #789

Gill Othen gill at othen.fslife.co.uk
Sun Feb 8 17:23:28 EST 2004


Charlie asked:

>>Calling all Old English specialists! I've spent a lot of time over the
last
couple of days unsuccessfully trying to remember the source and exact form
of a tag from an Anglo-Saxon poem. I think it's set in a battle (a doomed
one, naturally) but I may be wrong. The speaker remembers all the other
disasters that have taken place in the past, and comforts himself that 'That
sorrow passed; so may this." Or words to that effect.<<

After a quick and unscientific skim through my collection (of two) books of
Anglos-Saxon poetry, I came up with "Deor", which is basically a list of
disasters with a repeated refrain. (I know, repetition is what refrains are
for.<g>) It may be what you are after:

Þæs ofereode,    þisses swa mæg.

The book translates this as "That passed away, and so may this from me.",
though I can't say I can see "from me" anywhere in the above. It's
twenty-five years plus since I did any A/S seriously, but my translation
would be more like : That passed over/away and this also may."

OTOH, I found a different version online, with the A/S:

 Þæs oferéode,     ðisses swá mæg.                              That passed
away,      so may this.

     http://www.heorot.dk/deor.html

Hope this helps.

Gill

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