Wulf and Eadwacer

Old English Poem from the Exeter Book, translation unknown



1. Possibly whoever had given a gift to my tribe—
they would chew him up if he came with a company.
It is not like that with us.


Wulf is on one island, I am on another.
It’s strong there, surrounded by swamps.
Slaughter-fierce men crowd there—
they would chew him up if he came with a company.
It is not like that with us.


I wondered with hope on my Wulf’s wide wanderings
when there was rainy weather and I sat weeping,
when the battle-bold wrapped me up in his arms,
it was my delight — but it was hateful as well.


Wulf, my Wulf! My hopes for you have sickened, your seldom visits—
a mourning mind—I’m not hungry—


Do you hear me, Eadwacer?
Wulf bears our wretched whelp into the woods.


One may easily sever what was never bound fast,
our mutual riddling…