An Old English poem
by Philip Chapman Bell


incipit gestis Rudolphi rangifer tarandus

Hwaet, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor --
naefde thaet nieten unsciende naesthyrlas!
Glitenode and gladode godlice nosgrisele.
Tha hofberendas mid huscwordum hine gehifogodon;
nolden tha geneatas Hrodulf naeftig
to gomene hraniscum geador aetsomne.
Tha in Cristesmaesseaefne stormigum clommum,
Halga Claus thaet gemunde to him mathelode:
Neahfreond nihteage nosubeorhtende!
Min hroden hraedwaen gelaed thu, Hrodulf!
Tha gelufodon hira laddeor tha lyftflogan --
waes glaednes and gliwdream; hornede sum gegieddode:
Hwaet, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor,
Brad springth thin blaed: breme eart thu!

Here begin the deeds of Rudolph, Tundra-Wanderer

Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer --
That beast didn't have unshiny nostrils!
The goodly nose-cartilage glittered and glowed.
The hoof-bearers taunted him with proud words;
The comrades wouldn't allow wretched Hrodulf
To join the reindeer games.
Then, on Christmas Eve bound in storms
Santa Claus remembered that, spoke formally to him:
'Dear night-sighted friend, nose-bright one!
You, Hrodulf, shall lead my adorned rapid-wagon!'
Then the sky-flyers praised their lead deer --
There was gladness and music; one of the horned ones sang
'Lo, Hrodulf the red-nosed reindeer,
Your fame spreads broadly, you are renowned!'


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