domingo, 16 de septiembre de 2012

The Fates of Men

Poema anónimo anglosajón. Aparece en el Project Gutenberg eBook of Old English Poems. Tiene un cierto toque a la canción Who By Fire de Leonard Cohen.

Full often through the grace of God it happens
That man and wife to the world bring forth
A babe by birth; they brightly adorn it,
And tend it and teach it till the time comes on
With the passing of years when the young child’s limbs
Have grown in strength and sturdy grace.
It is fondled and fed by father and mother
And gladdened with gifts. God alone knows
What fate shall be his in the fast-moving years.
To one it chances in his childhood days
To be snatched away by sudden death
In woeful wise. The wolf shall devour him,
The hoary heath-dweller. Heart-sick with grief,
His mother shall mourn him; but man cannot change it.
One of hunger shall starve; one the storm shall drown.
One the spear shall pierce; one shall perish in war.
One shall lead his life without light in his eyes,
Shall feel his way fearing. Infirm in his step,
One his wounds shall bewail, his woeful pains—
Mournful in mind shall lament his fate.
One from the top of a tree in the woods
Without feathers shall fall, but he flies none the less,
Swoops in descent till he seems no longer
The forest tree’s fruit: at its foot on the ground
He sinks in silence, his soul departed—
On the roots now lies his lifeless body.
One shall fare afoot on far-away paths,
Shall bear on his back his burdensome load,
Tread the dewy track among tribes unfriendly
Amid foreign foemen. Few are alive
To welcome the wanderer. The woeful face
Of the hapless outcast is hateful to men.
One shall end life on the lofty gallows;
Dead shall he hang till the house of his soul,
His bloody body is broken and mangled:
His eyes shall be plucked by the plundering raven,
The sallow-hued spoiler, while soulless he lies,
And helpless to fight with his hands in defense
Against the grim thief. Gone is his life.
With his skin plucked off and his soul departed,
The body all bleached shall abide its fate;
The death-mist shall drown him— doomed to disgrace.
The body of one shall burn on the fire;
The flame shall feed on the fated man,
And death shall descend full sudden upon him
In the lurid glow. Loud weeps the mother
As her boy in the brands is burned to ashes.
One the sword shall slay as he sits in the mead-hall
Angry with ale; it shall end his life,
Wine-sated warrior: his words were too reckless!
One shall meet his death through the drinking of beer,
Maddened with mead, when no measure he sets
To the words of his mouth through wisdom of mind;
He shall lose his life in loathsome wise,
Shall shamefully suffer, shut off from joy,
And men shall know him by the name of self-slayer,
Shall deplore with their mouths the mead-drinker’s fall.
One his hardships of youth through the help of God
Overcomes and brings his burdens to naught,
And his age when it comes shall be crowned with joy;
He shall prosper in pleasure, in plenty and wealth,
With flourishing family and flowing mead—
For such worthy rewards may one well wish to live!
Thus many the fortunes the mighty Lord
All over the earth to everyone grants,
Dispenses powers as his pleasure shall lead him.
One is favored with fortune; one failure in life;
One pleasure in youth; one prowess in war,
The sternest of strife; one in striking and shooting
Earns his honors. And often in games
One is crafty and cunning. A clerk shall one be,
Weighted with wisdom. Wonderful skill
Is one granted to gain in the goldsmith’s art;
Full often he decks and adorns in glory
A great king’s noble, who gives him rewards,
Grants him broad lands, which he gladly receives.
One shall give pleasure to people assembled
On the benches at beer, shall bring to them mirth,
Where drinkers are draining their draughts of joy.
One holding his harp in his hands, at the feet
Of his lord shall sit and receive a reward;
Fast shall his fingers fly o’er the strings;
Daringly dancing and darting across,
With his nails he shall pluck them. His need is great.
One shall make tame the towering falcon,
The hawk on his hand, till the haughty bird
Grows quiet and gentle; jesses he makes him,
Feeds in fetters the feather-proud hawk,
The daring air-treader with daintiest morsels,
Till the falcon performs the feeder’s will:
Hooded and belled, he obeys his master,
Tamed and trained as his teacher desires.
Thus in wondrous wise the Warden of Glory
Through every land has allotted to men
Cunning and craft; his decrees go forth
To all men on earth of every race.
For the graces granted let us give him thanks—
For his manifold mercies to the men of earth.

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