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~ Historical & Classical Poetry ~


The Two Merseburg Charms

Dating from the pre-Christian Germanic period, they were written down in Merseburg/Germany in the 9th century,
into a codex containing clerical texts (Cod. 136, S. 85 und 85r). Both are in alliterative long verse, in an East Frankish Dialekt.

Original in Old High German

Eiris sazun idisi, sazun hera duoder
suma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidun
suma clubodun umbi cuoniouuidi:
insprinc haptbandun, inuar uigandun.

Phol ende Uuodan uuoron zi holza.
du uuart demo Balderes uolon sin uuoz birenkit.
thu biguol en Sinthgunt, Sunna era suister;
thu biguol en Friia, Uolla era suister;
thu biguol en Uuodan, so he uuola conda:
sose benrenki, sose bluotrenki,
sose lidirenki:
ben zi bena, bluot zi bluoda,
lid zi geliden, sose gilimida sin.

Modern English Translation

Once sat Idisi, sat here and there;
Some fastened fetters; some hindered the army, 
Some loosed the bonds around:
Leap forth from the fetters, escape from the foes. 

Phol and Wodan were in the woods,
There Balder's foal got its foot sprained.
There charmed it Sinthgunt, sister of Sunna;
There charmed it Frija, sister of Volla;
There charmed it Wodan, as he well could:
As bone-sprain, so blood-sprain,
so limb-sprain:
Bone to bone, blood to blood,
Limb to limb, as though they were glued.

Translations Michaela Macha (as literal as possible).