Hwæt, wē gefrūnan on fyrndagum
twelfe under tunglum tīrēadige hæleð,
þēodnes þegnas. Nō hira þrym ālæg
cam<p>rǣdenne, þonne cumbol hneotan,
syððan hīe gedǣldon swā him dryhten sylf,
heofona hēahcyning, <h>lyt getǣhte.
þæt wǣron mǣre men ofer eorðan,
frome folctogan ond fyrdhwate,
rōfe rincas, þonne rond ond hand
on herefelda helm ealgodon
on meotudwange; wæs hira Māthēus sum,
sē mid Iūdēum ongan godspell ǣrest
wordum wrītan wundorcræfte.
Þām hālig god hlyt getēode
ūt on þæt īgland, þǣr ǣnig þā gīt
ellþēodigra ēðles ne mihte
blǣdes brūcan; oft him bonena hand
on herefelda hearde gescēode.
Eal wæs þæt mearcland morðre bewunden,
fēondes fācne, folcstede gumena,
Listen, we have heard tell from ancient days
of twelve illustrious heroes under the stars,
thanes of the King. Never did their power fail
in combat engagement when standards clashed,
once they had dispersed, as the Lord Himself,
High-King of Heaven, showed them by lot.
These were renowned men on earth,
brave captains and keen for campaign,
cheerful warriors, when shield and arm
on the field of plunder kept helmet safe
on the plain of doom. One of them was Matthew,
who was the first among Jews to begin
to write the Gospel in words with wondrous skill.
For him did Holy God fashion the lot
out to that land by water where no man
from the homeland of foreigners could yet
enjoy happiness: him often hands of slayers
on the field of plunder cruelly harmed.
All bound in murder was that border country,
with devil's crime that habitation of men,
hæleða ēðel; næs þǣr hlāfes wist
werum on þām wonge, ne wæteres drync
tō brūconne, ah hīe blōd ond fel,
fira flæschoman, feorrancumenra,
ðēgon geond þā þēode. Swelc wæs þēaw hira
þæt hīe ǣghwylcne ellðēodigra
dydan him tō mōse meteþearfendum,
þāra þe þæt ēaland ūtan sōhte;
swylc wæs þæs folces freoðolēas tācen,
unlǣdra eafoð, þæt hīe ēagena gesīhð,
hette<n>d heorogrimme, hēafodgimmas,
āgēt<t>on gealgmōde gāra ordum.