Dr. Seuss’s Beowulf (A Fragment)

Beinnan morgen, hé cunnan …
… a sé Hwá mædencilda and cnihta
áwæcnedon ærmorgenum. Færræsum for plægdeden!
And aefter! O dyne! O dyne! Dyne! Dyne! Dyne!
Sé an færgryre þæs hete! O DYNE! DYNE! DYNE! DYNE!

James Brown — Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto

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4 Responses to Dr. Seuss’s Beowulf (A Fragment)

  1. braak says:

    Hahahahah! You can almost totally read it, huh? Maedencilda — “maiden-child”, maybe? Cnihta should be pronounced kunikta, which in English would look like “knight”–probably originally an Anglo-Saxon word for “youth,” right? “all the Who girls and boys.”

    “awaecnedon aermorgenum” actually *sounds* like “wake up in the morning”, “aefter” is probably just “after.”

    “Dyne” must mean noise, but I only know that because I recognize the passage (it’s the only part of the story where one word is repeated that many times).

    Man, it’s barely a different language!

  2. braak says:

    “Plaegdeden”…if the “g” is pronounced like a “y” (which often happened in the murky transitioning between Greek and Roman alphabets into the modern Roman-English alphabet) “play-deden” could easily mean “playthings” or “toys.” Which, now that I think on it, probably it was Seuss rhymed with “girls and boys.”

    Man, this is fun.

  3. Andrew Sackville-West says:

    I *knew* it!

  4. Jefferson Robbins says:

    If only it rhymed.

    My favorite part in Beowulf is the ripping out of Grendel’s arm. In Olde English, it reads as “seonowe onsprungon, burston bánlocan,” which just … sounds … awesome.

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