I utter this riddle about myself full miserable,
my very own experience. I can speak it,
what I endured of miseries, after I was grown,
both new and old, none greater than now.
Always I suffered the torment of my persecution. (ll. 1-5)
First my lord departed, hence from his people,
over the tossing of waves—I kept a sorrow at dawn
wondering where my chieftain might be.
Then I departed myself to venture, seeking his retinue,
a friendless traveler, on account of my woeful need.
They began to ponder, the kinsmen of that man,
by secret thought, to separate us two
so that we two, widest apart in the worldly realm,
should live most hatefully, and it sorrowed me. (ll. 6-14)
My lord ordered me to take up a wooded dwelling:
I have very few dear to me in this land,
very few loyal friends. Therefore my mind is miserable:
that I should find for myself a well-suited man
though misfortunate and mind-sorrowing,
concealing his mind, plotting a crime,
with a blithe demeanor. Very often we vowed
that none but death alone could separate us.
That soon changed—
now it is as if it had never been,
our friendship. I must, far and near,
endure the feuding of my dearly beloved. (ll. 15-26)
My husband ordered me to dwell in a woody grove,
under an oak-tree within an earthen cave.
Ancient is the earth-hall: I am so struck with longing—
dark are the valleys, the mountains so lofty,
bitter these dwellings, overgrown with thorns,
the habitation without joy. Very often the departure
of my lord seizes me with wrath here. (ll. 27-33a)
My friends are inside the earth, beloved
while they lived, now dwelling in death,
when I go forth alone in the darkness of daybreak
under the oak-tree beyond the earth-cave.
There I may sit a summer-long day,
where I can weep for my exiled path,
my many miseries—therefore I can never
rest from these my mind’s sorrowings,
nor from all these longings that seize me in this life. (ll. 33b-41)
A young man must always be sad at heart,
hard in the thoughts inside, also he must keep
a happy bearing, but also breast-cares,
suffering never-ending grief—
may he depend only upon himself for all his worldly pleasures,
may he be stained with guilt far and wide,
throughout the lands of distant folk,
so that my friend should sit under the stony cliffs,
rimed by storms, my weary-minded friend,
flowed around by waters in this dreary hall. (ll. 42-50a)
My companion suffers a great mind-affliction—
he remembers too often his joyful home.
Woe be to that one who must
wait for their beloved with longing. (ll. 50b-53)