Wreccan wifes ged [The Wife's Lament; The Wife's Complaint]

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Traduzione inglese moderna di Richard Hamer (2002)

I draw these words from deep wells of wild grief,
care-worn, unutterably sad.
I can recount woes I've borne since birth,
present and past, till I was driven mad.
I have won, from my exile-paths, only pain
here on earth.

First, my lord forsook his kin-folk, left,
crossed the seas' wide expanse, abandoning our tribe.
Since then, I've known only misery ...
wrenching dawn-griefs, despair in wild tides;
where, oh where can he be?

Then I, too, left—a lonely, lordless refugee,
full of unaccountable desires!
But the man's kinsmen schemed secretly
to estrange us, divide us, keep us apart, divorced from hope,
unable to touch, and my heart broke ...

Then my lord spoke:
"Take up residence here."
I had few acquaintances in this alien region, none close.
I was penniless, friendless;
Christ, I felt lost!

I thought I had found a well-matched man—one meant for me,
but unfortunately he
was ill-starred and blind,
with a devious mind,
full of murderous intentions,
plotting some crime!

Before God we
vowed never to part, not till kingdom come, never!
But now that's all changed, forever—
our marriage is done, severed.
So now I must hear, far and near,
contempt for my husband.

Then other men bade me, "Go, live in repentance in the sacred grove,
beneath the great oak trees, in a grotto, alone."
Now in this ancient earth-cave I am lost and oppressed—
the valleys are dark, the hills strange, wild, immense,
and this cruel-briared enclosure—an arid abode!

Now the injustice assails me—my lord's absence!
Elsewhere on earth lovers share the same bed
while I pass through life dead,
in this dark abscess where I wilt in the heat, unable to rest
or forget the sorrows of my life's hard lot.

A young woman must always be
stern, hard-of-heart, unmoved, full of belief,
enduring breast-cares, suppressing her own feelings.
She must appear cheerful
even in a tumult of grief.

Now, like a criminal exiled to a far-off land,
moaning beneath insurmountable cliffs,
my weary-minded love, drenched by wild storms
and caught in the clutches of anguish, mourns,
reminded constantly of our former happiness.

Woe be it to them who abide in longing.

I sing this song about myself, full sad,
My own distress, and tell what hardships I
Have had to suffer since I first grew up,
Present and past, but never more than now;
I ever suffered grief through banishment.
For since my lord departed from this people
Over the sea, each dawn have I had care
Wondering where my lord may be on land.
When I set off to join and serve my lord,
A friendless exile in my sorry plight,
My husband's kinsmen plotted secretly
How they might separate us from each other
That we might live in wretchedness apart
Most widely in the world: and my heart longed.
In the first place my lord had ordered me
To take up my abode here, though I had
Among these people few dear loyal friends;
Therefore my heart is sad. Then had I found
A fitting man, but one ill-starred, distressed,
Whose hiding heart was contemplating crime,
Though cheerful his demeanour. We had vowed
Full many a time that nought should come between us
But death alone, and nothing else at all.
All that has changed, and it is now as though
Our marriage and our love had never been,
And far or near forever I must suffer
The feud of my beloved husband dear.
So in this forest grove they made me dwell,

Under the oak-tree, in this earthy barrow.
Old is this earth-cave, all I do is yearn.
The dales are dark with high hills up above,
Sharp hedge surrounds it, overgrown with briars,
And joyless is the place. Full often here
The absence of my lord comes sharply to me.
Dear lovers in this world lie in their beds,
While I alone at crack of dawn must walk
Under the oak-tree round this earthy cave,
Where I must stay the length of summer days,
Where I may weep my banishment and all
My many hardships, for I never can
Contrive to set at rest my careworn heart,
Nor all the longing that this life has brought me.
A young man always must be serious,
And tough his character; likewise he should
Seem cheerful, even though his heart is sad
With multitude of cares. All earthly joy
Must come from his own self. Since my dear lord
Is outcast, far off in a distant land,
Frozen by storms beneath a stormy cliff
And dwelling in some desolate abode
Beside the sea, my weary-hearted lord
Must suffer pitiless anxiety.
And all too often he will call to mind
A happier dwelling. Grief must always be
For him who yearning longs for his beloved.

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