Easter Song

(Old Frisian. Originally published on Ordgeþanc, 6/8/2012)

This one deserves some explanation. Based on comparative research, I strongly suspect that the Anglo-Saxon goddess Éastre / Éostre mentioned by Bede and the figure Gerðr from the Old Norse Skírnismál are the same figure. The line about Âstere baring her bosom hearkens back to Vedic hymns to Ushas, and comparative evidence linking those to Latvian dainas about Saules meita (Sun’s maiden), both of whom are reflexes of the same Indo-European dawn-goddess that Éastre (and Gerðr, I believe) is a Germanic reflex of. So, I’m drawing my ideas from all over the Indo-European world for this hymn, but I think the research is pretty solid.

Thruch nacht âk nêd· âk nevil-winter
threft ik thelde· âk thiûster swart
sôth ik sēke· and sunne ist forth.

Stemme ik withhebba· stênherta wintra
aska brand liâchtich· barnand liuchteth
thes waluberes wei· wither wandringe
dimma fora ûchte· in diunkre nacht.

Skîresta liâcht· skêneth âsta
luft forliuchteth· âk lagar alle
breid hia upbarath· bercht alsâ fior
wundersicht to âgum· thiu wîdkûthe
skînhande brêdeth· skînande ermar
âk gold-bâgade· thâ glîath sâ fior
Âstere in âsta· êst undhelith.

Sumures frouwe· sēlich famne
boda thî bringeth· bôle bilofthe
skînanda skêna· to skikkeda dore
breid kum thû ût· bercht-sîrige
achta on and êna· ermum bâgum
andlova applum· unaldinge mith
efter nigun fulle· nachtum bidinge
on nevil-môre· nachtum bidinge
bidadest in lange· blôma-lôvia
in lâ bidadest· lustebâra
bidadest thû breid· bercht tô himile.

On lustelika lâ· liâva mêtath
ermar thîne meiden· âuwe thû skêne
nû blezest thû breid· bôsem thînen
hlakkand springist· hlâpest blîthe
jerne gâ thû· tô gode bidande,
swâgerswester· Sunne stapith
hâge hlâpeth· ana halinge-dei.


Through night and danger and fog-winter
I suffer need and dim darkness
I seek sooth when the Sun is away.

I raise voice against stone-hearted Winter
like a shining brand lightens, burning,
the staff-bearer’s way against wandering
before the dim twilight, in dark night.

Clearest light opens the East,
lightens air and all seas
a bride reveals herself, bright as fire,
a wonder-sight to eyes, the widely-known one
spreads shine-hands, shining arms
and gold-ringed, that glow like fire,
Éastre in the East reveals kindness.

Summer’s lady, blessed woman,
beloved, a messenger brings you betrothal,
open the door to the shining emissary
bride, come out, bright-bedecked
with eight-and-one rings on arms
with eleven apples of un-aging
after nine full nights of waiting,
nights of waiting on the foggy moor,
waited long in the bloom-bower,
waited in the pleasant grove,
you waited, bride, bright to heaven.

Lovers meet in the pleasant grove
show your arms, beautiful maiden,
you bare, bride, your bosom,
laughing you spring, run blithely
go eagerly to a waiting god,
sister-in-law Sun steps,
leaps high on the wedding-day.

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