Monday, June 21, 2004

The Anglo-Saxons had a word for it

And the word was utfus, meaning outbound or eager to be on the way. Most students of Old English (e.g., me in Prof. Harper's class years ago) encounter it in Beowulf, at the ship-burial of Scyld, forebear of Hrothgar, whose mead hall, Heorot, will be invaded by the savage monster, Grendel. (I suspect that the Old English letters thorn and edth will not display for everyone.)

Þr æt hyðe stod hringedstefna,
In the roadstead rocked a ring-dight vessel,
isig ond utfus, aæþelinges fær.
ice-flecked, outbound, atheling's barge:
Aledon þa leofne þeoden,
there laid they down their darling lord
beaga bryttan, on bearm scipes,
on the breast of the boat, the breaker-of-rings,
mærne be mæste. þr wæs madma fela
by the mast the mighty one. Many a treasure
of feorwegum, frætwa, gelæded;
fetched from far was freighted with him.

I feel utfus now, ready for a quick trip across the Atlantic. Blogging will resume in early July on my return.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never comment but I read you, uh.. religiously. :) Look forward to you picking up where you left off come July. Safe travel.

2:59 PM  

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