aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Ancient beauty

I was reading Tolkien's Valedictory Address upon his retirement from Oxford, and he quoted these lines at the end. I don't know their source in OE poetry, but I recognize what use he had made of them. He cribbed these lines to describe Eorl the Young in "King of the Golden Hall," The Two Towers.

Hwær cwom mearh, hwær cwom mago? Hwær cwom maððumgyfa?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Hwær sindon seledreamas?
Eala, beorht bune! Eala, byrnwiga!
Eala, þeodnes þrym! Hu seo þrag gewat,
genaþ under niht-helm, swa heo no wære!

Where is the horse gone, where the young rider?
Where now the giver of gifts?
Where are the seats at the feasting gone?
Where are the merry sounds in the hall?
Alas, the bright goblet! Alas, the knight and his hauberk!
Alas, the glory of the king!
How that hour has departed, dark under the shadow of night,
as had it never been!

x-posted to old_english

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