The Song of the Nine Sacred Herbs

Listen to Raven's version sung: ninewyrts.mp3 (roughly 8MB)

Here is my translation of the Nine Herbs charm from the Lacnunga. For an explanation of what this is and how I use it, read the background information.

My version of the Old English:

Gemyne ðu, mugwyrt, hwæt þu ameldodest,

Hwæt þu renadest æt Regenmelde.

Una þu hattest, yldost wyrta.

ðu miht wið þre and wið þritig,

þu miht wiþ attre and wið onflyge,

þu miht wiþ þam laþan ðe geond lond færð.

My Modern English Translation:

Keep in mind, Mugwort, what you made known,

What you laid down at the great denouncing.

Una your name is, oldest of herbs,

Of might against three, and against thirty.

Of might against venom and the onflying,

Of might against the vile foe who fares through the land.

Ond þu, wegbrade, wyrta modor,

Eastan openo, innan mihtigu;

Ofer ðe crætu curran, ofer ðe cwene reodan,

Ofer ðe bryde bryodedon, ofer þe fearras fnærdon.

Eallum þu þon wiðstode and wiðstunedest;

Swa ðu wiðstonde attre and onflyge

And þæm laðan þe geond lond færð.

And you, Waybread (Plantain) mother of herbs,

Open from the east, mighty inside.

Over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode,

Over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted.

All of them you then withstood, you withstood them,

May you likewise withstand poison and the onflying,

And the loathsome foe roving through the land.

Stune hætte þeos wyrt, heo on stane geweox;

Stond heo wið attre, stunað heo wærce.

Stiðe heo hatte, wiðstunað heo attre,

Wreceð heo wraðan, weorpeð ut attor.

Stune (Watercress) is the name of this herb, it grew on a stone,

It stands up against poison, it stands against pain,

Stithe it is called, it withstands poison,

It wrecks the wrathful one, it casts out poison.

þis is seo wyrt seo wiþ wyrm gefeaht,

þeos mæg wið attre, heo mæg wið onflyge,

Heo mæg wið ðam laþan ðe geond lond færð.

Fleoh þu nu, attorlaðe, seo læsse ða maran,

seo mare þa læssan, oððæt him beigra bot sy.

This is the herb that fought against the snake,

It has power against poison, it has power against the onflying,

It has power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.

Put to flight now, Venom-loather (Viper's Bugloss), the great poisons you are less than,

The lesser poisons you are greater than, until the cure for both be with him.

Gemyne þu, mægðen, hwæt þu ameldodest,

Hwæt ðu geændadest æt Alorforda;

þæt næfre for gefloge feorh ne gesealde

Syþðan him mon mægðan to mete gegyrede.

Remember, Maythen (Chamomile), what you made known,

What you accomplished at Alorford,

That never a man should lose his life from infection

After Maythen was prepared for his food.

þis is seo wyrt ðe wergulu hatte;

ðas onsænde seolh ofer sæs hrygc

Ondan attres oþres to bote.

Stond heo wið wærce, stunað heo wið attre,

Seo mæg wið þre and wið þritig.

Wið feondes hond and wið færbregde,

Wið malscrunge manra wihta.

This is the herb that is called Wergulu (Nettle).

A seal sent it across the sea-right,

A vexation to poison, a help to others.

It stands against pain, it dashes against poison,

It has power against three and against thirty,

Against the hand of a fiend and against noble scheming,

Against the spell of vile creatures.

Fille and finule, felamihtigu twa,

þa wyrte gesceop witig drihten,

Halig on heofonum, þa he hongode;

Sette and sænde on nygon worulde

Earmum and eadigum eallum to bote.

Chervil (Sweet Cicely) and Fennel, two very mighty ones.

They were created by the wise one-eyed Lord,

Holy in heaven as he hung on the tree;

He set and sent them to the nine worlds,

To the wretched and the fortunate, As a help to all.

þær geændade æppel and attor,

þæt heo næfre ne wolde on hus bugan.

There the Apple accomplished against poison

That it would no more dwell in the world.

ðas nygon magon wið nygon attrum.

Wyrm com snican, toslat he man;

ða genam Woden nygon wuldortanas,

Sloh ða þa næddran, heo on nygon tofleah.

These nine have power against nine poisons.

A worm came crawling, it killed nothing.

For Woden took nine glory-twigs,

He smote the adder that it flew apart into nine parts.

Nu magon þas nygon wyrta wið nygon wuldorgeflogenum,

Wið nygon attrum and wið nygon onflygnum,

Wið ðy readan attre, wið ðy runlan attre,

Wið ðy hwitan attre, wið ðy wedenan attre,

Wið ðy geolwan attre, wið ðy grenan attre,

Wið ðy wonnan attre, wið ðy rudenan attre,

Wið ðy brunan attre, wið ðy basewan attre,

Now there nine herbs have power against nine fleers of glory,

Against nine poisons and against nine onflying:

Against the red poison, against the foul poison.

Against the white poison, against the blue poison,

Against the yellow poison, against the green poison,

Against the black poison, against the dark poison,

Against the brown poison, against the crimson poison.

Wið wyrmgeblæd, wið wætergeblæd,

Wið þorngeblæd, wið þystelgeblæd,

Wið ysgeblæd, wið attorgeblæd.

Against worm-blister, against water-blister,

Against thorn-blister, against thistle-blister,

Against ice-blister, against poison-blister.

Gif ænig attor cume eastan fleogan

oððe ænig norðan cume, oððe ænig suðan cume,

oððe ænig westan ofer werðeode.

Ic ana wat ea rinnende

þær þa nygon nædran nean behealdað;

Motan ealle weoda nu wyrtum aspringan,

Sæs toslupan, eal sealt wæter,

ðonne ic þis attor of ðe geblawe.

If any poison comes flying from the east,

Or any from the north, or any from the south,

Or any from the west among the people.

I alone know a running stream,

And the nine adders beware of it.

May all the weeds spring up new herbs,

The seas slip apart, all salt water,

When I this poison from you blow.

(This next part isn't sung; it's not part of the song but the directions on creating the healing salve. There is a lot of speculation on what it's for on a medicinal level, from smallpox to hemorrhoids. Should you want to try it, it's pretty harmless.)
Mugcwyrt, wegbrade þe eastan open sy, lombescyrse, attorlaðan, mageðan, netelan, wudusuræppel, fille and finule, ealde sapan. Gewyrc ða wyrta to duste, mængc wiþ þa sapan and wiþ þæs æpples gor. Wyrc slypan of wætere and of axsan, genim finol, wyl on þære slyppan and beþe mid æggemongc, þonne he þa sealfe on do, ge ær ge æfter. Sing þæt galdor on ælcre þara wyrta, III ær he hy wyrce and on þone æppel ealswa; ond singe þon men in þone muð and in þa earan buta and on ða wunde þæt ilce gealdor, ær he þa sealfe on do. Mugwort, plantain open from the east, lamb's cress, venom-loather, chamomile, nettle, crab-apple, chevil and fennel, old soap; pound the herbs to a powder, mix them with the soap and the juice of the apple. Then prepare a paste of water and of ashes, take fennel, boil it with the paste and wash it with a beaten egg when you apply the salve, both before and after. Sing this charm three times on each of the herbs before you prepare them, and likewise on the apple. And sing the same charm into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, before you apply the salve.