Maxims II

trans. Bernard William Mackey (TCD)

Cyning sceal rice healdan. Ceastra beoð feorran gesyne,
orðanc enta geweorc, þa þe on þysse eorðan syndon,
wrætlic weallstana geweorc. Wind byð on lyfte swiftust,
þunar byð þragum hludast. þrymmas syndan Cristes myccle,
wyrd byð swiðost. Winter byð cealdost,
lencten hrimigost (he byð lengest ceald),
sumor sunwlitegost (swegel byð hatost),
hærfest hreðeadegost, hæleðum bringeð
geres wæstmas, þa þe him god sendeð.
Soð bið switolost, sinc byð deorost,
gold gumena gehwam, and gomol snoterost,
fyrngearum frod, se þe ær feala gebideð.
Wea[x]1 bið wundrum clibbor. Wolcnu scriðað.
Geongne æþeling sceolan gode gesiðas
byldan to beaduwe and to beahgife.
Ellen sceal on eorle, ecg sceal wið hellme
hilde gebidan. Hafuc sceal on glofe
wilde gewunian, wulf sceal on bearowe,
earm anhaga, eofor sceal on holte,
toðmægenes trum. Til sceal on eðle
domes wyrcean. Daroð sceal on handa,
gar golde fah. Gim sceal on hringe
standan steap and geap. Stream sceal on yðum
mencgan mereflode. Mæst sceal on ceole,
segelgyrd seomian. Sweord sceal on bearme,
drihtlic isern. Draca sceal on hlæwe,
frod, frætwum wlanc. Fisc sceal on wætere
cynren cennan. Cyning sceal on healle
beagas dælan. Bera sceal on hæðe,
eald and egesfull. Ea of dune sceal
flodgræg feran. Fyrd sceal ætsomne,
tirfæstra getrum. Treow sceal on eorle,
wisdom on were. Wudu sceal on foldan
blædum blowan. Beorh sceal on eorþan
grene standan. God sceal on heofenum,
dæda demend. Duru sceal on healle,
rum recedes muð. Rand sceal on scylde,
fæst fingra gebeorh. Fugel uppe sceal
lacan on lyfte. Leax sceal on wæle
mid sceote scriðan. Scur sceal on heofenum,
winde geblanden, in þas woruld cuman.
þeof sceal gangan þystrum wederum. þyrs sceal on fenne gewunian
ana innan lande. Ides sceal dyrne cræfte,
fæmne hire freond gesecean, gif heo nelle on folce geþeon

þæt hi man beagum gebicge. Brim sceal sealte weallan,
lyfthelm and laguflod ymb ealra landa gehwylc,
flowan firgenstreamas. Feoh sceal on eorðan
tydran and tyman. Tungol sceal on heofenum
beorhte scinan, swa him bebead meotud.
God sceal wið yfele, geogoð sceal wið yldo,
lif sceal wið deaþe, leoht sceal wið þystrum,
fyrd wið fyrde, feond wið oðrum,
lað wið laþe ymb land sacan,
synne stælan. A sceal snotor hycgean
ymb þysse worulde gewinn, wearh hangian,
fægere ongildan þæt he ær facen dyde
manna cynne. Meotod ana wat
hwyder seo sawul sceal syððan hweorfan,
and ealle þa gastas þe for gode hweorfað
æfter deaðdæge, domes bidað
on fæder fæðme. Is seo forðgesceaft
digol and dyrne; drihten ana wat,
nergende fæder. Næni eft cymeð
hider under hrofas, þe þæt her for soð
mannum secge hwylc sy meotodes gesceaft,
sigefolca gesetu, þær he sylfa wunað.

A king shall keep a kingdom. Cities appear from afar,
Cunning work of giants, which are on this earth,
wondrous wall-stone work. Wind is swiftest in air,
thunder is at times loudest. Christ’s glories are great.
Fate is strongest. Winter is coldest.
Spring frostiest— it is the longest cold;
summer splendid with sunshine, heaven is hottest;
Autumn most glorious: to men it brings
the year’s fruits which God sends to them.
Truth is trickiest; treasure is most precious,
each man’s gold; and elder is wisest,
wise with former years, many previously weathered.
Woe is wondrously clinging. Clouds wander.
A young earl must be encouraged by good companions
to battle and bestowing of rings.
A nobleman shall be courageous; sword with helmet shall
experience battle. A hawk belongs on a glove,
remaining wild; a wolf belongs in the wood,
bleak and solitary; a boar belongs in the brake
strong in tusk-strength. A good man in his native land
shall practice judgement. A projectile shall be held in hand,
gold stained spear. A gem shall stand on a ring
both high and broad. A stream shall travel toward waves
mingle with the sea-tide. Mast shall be on ship,
abiding in the sail-yard. Sword shall be on lap,
a most distinguished iron. Dragon shall on mound,
be old, proud in ornaments. A fish in water
shall spawn. A king in hall shall
distribute rings. A bear shall be in heath,
aged and terrible. A river shall down-hill
sea-grey travel. An army together shall
be a famous troop. Faithful shall be a warrior,
wise a man. A wood shall in soil
bloom with blossoms. The hill on earth
stands green. God shall in heaven
judge deeds. A door shall be in hall,
a spacious building’s mouth. Shield-boss shall on shield
protect strong fingers. A fowl shall be up
sporting in the air. A salmon shall be in pool
wandering with the trout. A storm shall from heaven,
muddled with the wind, come into this world.
Thief shall go in shadowed weather. Ogre shall in fen abide
alone in that land. Woman shall with secret craft,
as a maiden seek her lover out— if she is unwilling to succeed with the community—
so that a man must secure her with rings. The salt sea shall surge,
mist and waters flow about all the land,
with mighty streams. Cattle on earth shall,
propagate and produce. A star in heaven shall,
shine clearly, as Creator has commanded it.
Good companion to evil; youth companion to age;
life companion to death; light companion to darkness;
army companion to army; enemy companion to another,
foe companion to foe, fighting concerning land,
accusing the other of offence. Always shall the wise man meditate
concerning the conflict in this world; the criminal shall hang
and suitably atone for that crime he previously performed
against man-kind. The Creator alone knows
whither the soul shall journey after life,
and all the spirits that to God journey
after the day of their death, awaiting judgement
in the Father’s embrace. The future is
concealed and secret; the Lord alone knows,
the saving Father. None return again
hither under the heavens, that here truly
might tell men, what might be the decree of the Creator;
the home of victorious people— there He Himself dwells.