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Éadig béo þu
Old English – Tolkien

   ⸱   
Éadig béo þu, góda mann!
Good luck to you, good man,
   ⸱   
Éadig béo þu, léofe wíf!
and to you, dear woman.
    
Langre lisse ic þe ann –
I give you lasting joy,
     
hafa lof and líþe líf!
have praise and pleasant life.
      ⸱
Hé þe hér swa sáre swanc,
He who worked you here so hard,
    ⸱
rúna rǽdde and fyrngewrit,
expounded runes and ancient texts,
   ⸱    ⸱
hál béo hé, on sálum wlanc,
may he be happy too, merry at his feasts,
     
healde láre and wís gewit!
and keep up good sense and learning.

      
Éadge béo we eft swa nú!
May we be happy later as we are now,
   ⸱  
Dréam ne dréose, drync genóg
may joy not fail, and drink enough
      ⸱
flówe on fullum síþ swa iú –
flow in the cups in times to come as times gone by -
  ⸱   
fyllaþ wǽge, fyllaþ cróg!
fill the cups and fill the pitchers!
      
Byrla! byrla! medu scenc!
Waiter, waiter, give us mead!
       :
Dóm is feor þeah dóm sie strang.
Doom is far enough though doom be strong,
      
Swanc forlǽt and géot ús drenc!
give up work and pour us drink.
   ⸱   :
Lust is lýtel, earfoþ lang.
Joy is little and labour long.

    ⸱
Uton singan scírne sang,
Let’s sing a cheerful song,
     ⸱
herian Beorc and byrcen cynn,
praise the Birch and birch’s race,
   ⸱  ⸱
láre and láreow, leornungmann –
the teacher, the student and the subject,
       
sie ús sǽl and hǽl and wynn!
may we all have health and joy and happiness.
     
Ác sceal feallan on þæt fýr
The oak will fall into the fire,
 ⸱  ⸱   
lustes, léafes, lífes wan!
losing joy and leaf and life.
     ⸱
Beorc sceal ágan langne tír,
The birch shall keep its glory long,
    
bréme glǽme glengan wang!
shine in splendour over the bright plain.

Éadig béo þu “Good luck to you” is a poem composed by J. R. R. Tolkien and included in a collection called Songs of the Philologists. It is a scholars’ amusement made of comical verse - satirical poems, famous tunes, drinking songs – composed or translated in early Germanic languages. It was published privately in 1936 for Tolkien and his colleague and friend E. V. Gordon. A few have been published in T. A. Shippey’s critical essay The Road to Middle-earth, including this one with the modern translation given here. It is intended to be sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.

The poem alludes to the rivalry in departments of English studies between “language” and “literature” courses. Tolkien disliked those names, found them inappropriate, and preferred to call the courses “lit.” and “lang.” or even better “A” and “B”. He ultimately thought that this opposition was silly and damaging, and advocated for a mixed approach: this can be seen for instance in his Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford, published in The Monsters and the Critics and other essays. Yet when pressed into a camp, he unsurprisingly sided firmly with “lang.” or “B.”: indeed in this poem, beorc (the birch, but also the name of the Anglo-Saxon rune corresponding to a B) flourishes on, while ác (the oak, but also the name of the Anglo-Saxon rune corresponding to a A) ends up into the fire!

We added to the text a few missing acute accents.

The text is transcribed in tengwar or “letters of Fëanor”. Tolkien created two different adaptations of the general use of the Third Age to Old English, presented in Sauron Defeated p. 318-327. We especially attempted here to emulate the mode of the so-called “Text II”. We made use of Måns Björkman Berg’s typeface Tengwar Eldamar.  Open this mode in Glaemscribe

Shippey, Thomas Alan. The Road to Middle-earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien created a new mythology. London: Grafton, 1992. 337 p. ISBN 0-261-10275-3.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. London: HarperCollins, 2006. 256 p. ISBN 0-261-10263-X.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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