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Genesis A: the Flood

Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old English with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old English Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old English language and its speakers' culture.

Genesis A: the Flood

Him þa Noe gewat,         swa hine nergend het,
under earce bord         eaforan lædan,
weras on wægþæl         and heora wif somed;

and eall þæt to fæsle         frea ælmihtig
habban wolde         under hrof gefor
to heora ætgifan,         swa him ælmihtig
weroda drihten         þurh his word abead.

Him on hoh beleac         heofonrices weard
merehuses muð         mundum sinum,
sigora waldend,         and segnade
earce innan         agenum spedum
nergend usser.
        Noe hæfde,
sunu Lameches,         syxhund wintra
þa he mid bearnum         under bord gestah,
gleaw mid geogoðe,         be godes hæse,
dugeðum dyrum.
        Drihten sende
regn from roderum         and eac rume let
willeburnan         on woruld þringan
of ædra gehwære,         egorstreamas
swearte swogan.
        Sæs up stigon
ofer stæðweallas.
        Strang wæs and reðe
se ðe wætrum weold;
        wreah and þeahte
manfæhðu bearn         middangeardes
wonnan wæge,         wera eðelland;

hof hergode,         hygeteonan wræc
metod on monnum.
        Mere swiðe grap
on fæge folc         feowertig daga,
nihta oðer swilc.
        Nið wæs reðe,
wællgrim werum;
yða wræcon         arleasra feorh
of flæschoman.
        Flod ealle wreah,
hreoh under heofonum         hea beorgas
geond sidne grund         and on sund ahof
earce from eorðan
        and þa æðelo mid,
þa segnade         selfa drihten,
scyppend usser,         þa he þæt scip beleac.


Then Noah went, as the Savior commanded him, to bring his sons on board the ark, men into the ship and their wives also; and all that the Lord Almighty would have for progeny. And he went under the roof as their provider, as the Almighty, the Lord of hosts, bade him by His word. Behind him the Ward of the kingdom of heaven shut the door of the ark with His hands, the Lord of victories, and blessed (those) within the ark with His own riches, our Savior. Noah, Lamech's son, had [was] six hundred years [old] when he climbed on board with (his) children, the wise with the young, at God's behest, with (his) beloved family. The Lord sent rain from the heavens and also abundantly allowed well-springs to throng into the world from channels everywhere, dark currents to roar. Seas rose up over shore-walls. Strong and fierce was He who directed the waters; covered and hid wickedness, the children of the world with dark billow, the land of men; the Creator ravaged dwelling place, wreaked havoc on men. The sea firmly seized upon doomed people forty days (and) another such of nights. Anger was fierce, cruel to men; the waves of the King of Glory drove wicked life from body. The flood, savage under the heavens, covered all the high mountains on earth and on the water lifted up from the earth the ark and that noble race within, that the Lord himself blessed, our Creator, when he closed up that ship.

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