Friday 23 October 2020

Anonymous Swedish poem 'Gamble man' (16th-17th century)


Gamble man 


Gamble man han lijknas

widh Barkelösa Ek,

Alle sine gräner

fäller hon från sigh,

hon Rotner i Röter,

hon faller nidher i tåpp,

Gamble mannen faller af,

then vnge wexer vp.


Fatigdom och siukdom

the ginge sigh om bÿ,

Mötte them sårgh oth quelle,

Så wåre the Sÿstrar tre,

The ladhe sin stempna

widh gamble mansens dör.

Herre Gudh nådhe then gamble man,

som ther bor innan före.


Gamble mannen strÿker

gråskallan sijn,

Ålderdomen frester

frenderna sijn,

Frender hafuer han månge,

och wenner hafuer han få,

Nådhe honom Gudh i himmelrijk,

som ther skal lijtha opå.


Gamble mansens näsa

böijes nidh som quist til Jordh,

werden är så suijkful,

Som ijsen ligger på flodh,

Han bräker och brakar

han brister och siunker i grundh,

Så går enom gamble man,

som lefuer en långan stundh.


Dödhen han lijknas

widh jägare tw

Han slepper vth sine raker,

Bijter han en roo,

han bijter wäll ene

han bijter wäll twå,

Han bijter wäll alle the diur som äre

bådhe store och små.

Old man


Old man he resembles

an oak with no bark:

sheds its many branches

till it stands stark,

its roots start to rot

it thins out on top.

Old man falling off,

young man coming up.


Poverty and Illness

the city would see,

at evening Grief met them,

then were they sisters three.

Arranged a meeting

at the old man’s door;

Almighty God spare the old man

who dwells within for sure.


The old man strokes 

his pate of grey hair,

old age tries the patience 

of his kin everywhere.

kinsmen he’s a-plenty,

precious few friends has he;

may God in heaven spare the one

whose trust in such must be.


The old man’s nose bends 

like a branch to the ground.

The world is as treacherous

as river-ice unsound;

it creaks and it cracks,

it breaks and sinks away:

so fares an old man

that lives for many a day.


Death he most resembles

a huntsman of stubborn mind:

his hounds he unleashes

to hunt a single hind,

he hunts perhaps just one,

it could be he hunts twain,

or maybe creatures one and all,

till all of them are slain.

No comments: