The Rune Poems

Translations from the Rune Primer

These verses are shown in the Rune Primer, with translator's notes, alongside the original text.




 Elder Futhark

Old English, Old Norwegian, and Old Icelandic Rune Poems
 Feoh: Money is a comfort to humans all; but each one should deal it out abundantly, if he wants before the Lord to chance judgement.  Fe: Money causes kinsmen's quarrel; the wolf is reared in the forest.  Fe: Money is kinsmens' quarrel/ and flood-tide's token/ and necromancy's road.


 Ur: Aurochs is single-minded and over-horned, a very dangerous animal - fights with horns - a notorious moor-treader; that is an intrepid being!  Ur: slag is from bad iron; oft lopes the reindeer over frozen snow.  Ur: drizzle is the clouds' tears/ and the harvest's ruin/ and the herder's hate.


 Thorn: Thorn is extremely sharp, for any warrior to grab it, evil; excessively fierce to any man who amongst them rests.  Thurs: giants cause women's sickness; few are made cheerful by adversity.  Thurs: giant is womens' illness/ and a cliff-dweller/ and Vardhrun's husband.


 Os: Deity/Mouth is the origin of every language, Wisdom's support and counsellors' consolation and to any warrior gladness and confidence.  Oss: estuary is the way for most on journeys; and the scabbard is the sword's.  Ass: god (Ódhinn) is progenitor/ and Ásgardh's chief/ and Valhall's leader.


 Rad: Riding is, in the hall, for every man easy, and very hard for him who sits upon a powerful horse over miles of road.  Reidh: riding they say is for horses worst; Reginn hammered out the best sword.  Reidh: riding is sitting joyful/ and a speedy trip/ and the horse's toil.


 Cen: Lamp is to the living all, known by its flame, pale and bright; it burns most often where the noble folk within relax.  Kaun: sore is the disfiguring of children; adversity renders a person pale.  Kaun: sore is childrens' illness/ and a battle journey/ and putrescence's house.


 Gyfu: Gift for men is adornment and complement, support and dignity; and for all the dispossessed forgiveness and sustenance, who would otherwise have nothing.    


 Wynn: Joy is had by one who knows few troubles, sores or sorrow, and has for himself reputation and happiness, and also a fine secure home.    


 Haegl: Hail is the whitest of seeds; it spins out of heaven's air, rolling with the wind's blows; it is turned into water thereafter.  Hagall: hail is the coldest of seeds; Christ shaped the world (the heavens) in fore times.  Hagall: hail is cold seed/ and a sleet shower/ and snake's illness.


 Nyd: Need is tight in the breast; but it often happens for humans' children to help and to save each, if they listen to it early.  Naudh: need renders little choice; the naked will freeze in the frost.  Naudh: need is a bondswoman's yearning/ and a difficult circumstance/ and, drudging work.


 Is: Ice is over-cold, extremely slippery; it glistens glass-clear, most like gems; it is a floor wrought by frost, fair to look upon.  Iss: ice is called a bridge broad; the blind need to be led.  Iss: ice is a river's bark/ and a wave's thatch/ and doomed men's downfall.


 Ger: Year/Harvest is men's hope, when God, holy heaven's king, lets the earth give shining fruit to the warriors and the poor.  Ar: harvest is men's bounty; I guess that generous was Fródhi.  Ar: harvest is men's bounty/ and a good summer/ and a full-grown field.


 Eoh: Yew is on the outside an unsmooth tree, hard in the earth holding fast, fire's keeper, by roots buttressed, a joy on the estate.  Yr: yew is the winter-greenest wood; and is found wanting, when it burns, to ignite.  Yr: yew is a bent bow/ and fragile iron/ and arrow's Farbauti.


 Peorth: Peorth is ever play and laughter to the proud (missing), where warriors sit in the beer-hall merrily together.    


 Eolhx: Elk-sedge is native most often in the fen, it grows in water; it wounds grimly, burning with blood any warrior who, in any way, grabs at it.    


 Sigel: Sun/sail for seamen is ever cause for hope, when they ferry it over the fishes' bath, until the sea-stallion brings them to land.  Sol: the sun is the land's light; I bow to holy judgement.  Sol: sun is the clouds' shield / and a shining ray/ and ice's old enemy.


 Tir is a particular token; it holds trust well with noble folk; it is ever on a journey over nights' mists; it never deceives.  Tyr is a one-handed god; oft will a smith be blowing.  Tyr is a one-handed god/ and wolf's leftovers/ and the temple's chief.


 Beorc: Birch is lacking fruit; it bears even so sprouts without seed; its boughs beautiful, high on top, fairly decorated; grown with leaves, close to the sky.  Bjarkan: birch is leaf-greenest of limbs; Loki bore treachery's fortune.  Bjarkan: birch is a leaf covered limb/ and a slender tree/ and a spritely wood.


 Eh: Horse is, before warriors, the joy of noble folk, a horse hoof-proud, when the warriors around it, wealthy on steeds, exchange speech; and it is, to the wanderer, ever a benefit.    


 Monn: Man is, in his mirth, to his kinfolk dear; yet shall each disappoint the other, accordingly the Lord wills, by his law, that the poor flesh be entrusted to the earth.  Madhr: man is mould's increase; great is the grip of the hawk.  Madhr: man is man's pleasure/ and mould's increase/ and a ship's embellisher.


 Lagu: Sea is by folk thought wide indeed, if they should dare to go in a ship unsteady, and the waves terribly frighten them, and the sea-stallion heed not its bridle.  Logr: water is, when falling out of a mountain, a cascade; and costly ornaments are of gold.  Logr: sea is a welling water/ and a wide kettle/ and a fish's field.


 Ing: Ing was first with the East-Danes seen they say, until he later east over the sea departed; wagon followed after; thus warriors named that hero.    


 Daeg: Day is the Lord's herald, dear to men, the great Judge's light, merriment and hope to the fortunate and the poor, enjoyed by all.    


 Ethel: Homestead is over-dear to each man, if he may there justice and courtesies enjoy in a mansion in frequent prosperity.