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Published on Sep 27, 2009
Wulf & Eadwacer is an Anglo Saxon poem composed between 960 and 990 AD. Of famously difficult interpretation, it has been variously characterised, (modernly) as an elegy, (historically) as a riddle, and (in speculation on the poem's pre-history) as a song or ballad with refrain. The only extant copy is found in the Exeter Book.
Old English text: Leodum is minum swylce him mon lac gife; willað hy hine aþecgan, gif he on þreat cymeð. Ungelic is us. Wulf is on iege, ic on oþerre. Fæst is þæt eglond, fenne biworpen. Sindon wælreowe weras þær on ige; willað hy hine aþecgan, gif he on þreat cymeð. Ungelice is us. Wulfes ic mines widlastum wenum dogode; þonne hit wæs renig weder ond ic reotugu sæt, þonne mec se beaducafa bogum bilegde, wæs me wyn to þon, wæs me hwæþre eac lað. Wulf, min Wulf, wena me þine seoce gedydon, þine seldcymas, murnende mod, nales meteliste. Gehyrest þu, Eadwacer? Uncerne earne hwelp bireð Wulf to wuda. þæt mon eaþe tosliteð þætte næfre gesomnad wæs, uncer giedd geador.