Runic Signature for Cynewulf’s “Fates of the Apostles”

By Cynewulf Cynewulf

Translated from the Anglo Saxon and Futhork runes by Robert Hasenfratz & V. Penelope Pelizzon Read the translator's notes

You who please      your keenness with poems,
read closely here:      can you discover
this verse’s framer?       finishes.
Nobles enjoy it on earth,      but not without end,
worldly ones.       must fail  
 in our strongholds      once our bodies scatter
their loaned treasure,      like  trickling through fingers.
Then  and ear      require  skill
in night’s narrow cell;       drives your craft,
a kingly servitude.      Now can you see
who shrewd words have      shown to men?
             Remember my name,      O you who admire
the sound of this song;      help succor me
and pray for my comfort.      Soon I must pass
alone, away      to look for a dwelling,
must travel so far      (no telling where!)
beyond this world      to a yet-unknown
place in the earth.      So must each person,
unless he is granted      God-sent grace.
            Let us call to God      again, more eager,
begging his blessing      in this bright creation:
may we be welcomed      to his warm halls,
his home on high.      There is holiest happiness,
there the king of angels      crowns the pure
with a perishless prize.      Now his praise endures
masterful and marvelous,      and his might extends
endless and ageless      over all creation.      finit.

Source: Poetry (June 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011


Cynewulf is one of the four Anglo-Saxon poets known by name whose work still survives.

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SUBJECT Living, Death, The Body, Time & Brevity, Religion, Christianity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

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