Saturday, 23 January 2010

Speak like a Saxon #24: happiness

Ask most people and they'd say they'd rather be happy than sad. What's the key to happiness? Some might say love or friends or peace or God. What did the Anglo-Saxons think? Lots of the literature talks about how misleading and short-lived the things of the world are. Like cake. Once you've eaten your cake, it's gone (ok, maybe the Anglo-Saxons didn't specifically mention cake, but I like it). Or fancy clothes: they wear out. So, they key for the Anglo-Saxon was God. After all, Jesus said "I have come that men may have life, and life in it's fullest" (John 10:10). Sounds like a pretty happy thing to me.

Here are some phrases that an old archbishop, Wulfstan, said to his people:

'This world is in haste and nears its end' - ðeos woruld is on ofste and hit nealæcð þam ende ["they-oss wor-uld iss on off-stuh and hit ney-ah-lack-th tham end-uh"]

'Let's love God' - Uton God lufian ["oot-an God luff-ee-an"]

'Let's claim the glory and happiness that God has prepared' - geearnian us þa mæðe and þa myrðe þe God gegearwod ["ye-ey-ar-nee-an us tha may-r-thuh and tha moor-thuh they God ye-yay-ar-wod"]

No comments: