You are on page 1of 7

[Of the Freedom of all the Frisians]

[with normalized spelling]



Key:

Modern English [first line]
Old Frisian [second line]
Old English [third line]


[long vowels NOT indicated]


It was at the time that king Charles (Charlemagne) began to rule.
Thit was to there stunde tha thi kening Kerl riuchta bi-gunde.
Hit ws to re stund a se cyning carl ricsian be-gan.

Then there was in the district of the Saxons Liudingerus, a very strong lord.
Tha waster ande there Saxinna merik Liudingerus en hera fele steric.
a ws on re Seaxena mearc Leodingerus an hearra fela stearc.

He wanted to equip himself so strongly
Hi welde him tha gethan alsa waldelike
He wolde him a getan swa wealdlice

that he would get king Charles' empire.
ther hi [fon riuchta] scolde bi-halda tha kening Kerlis kaisrlica rike.
t he of rihte scolde be-healdan se cyning Carles caserlican rice.

But he wanted to do more; he wanted to bring the strong Frisians under his authority.
Ac welde hi ma duan; hi welde tha sterka Fresan under sine tegetha tian.
Ac wolde he ma don; he wolde a stearca Fresan under his tyge teon.

He ordered in whole his realm that he should be called [the] mighty king.
Hi bi-badit efter alle sine rike thet ma hine heta scolde kening waldelike.
He gebad fter ealle sine rice t [ma] hine htan scolde cyning weald-lice.


As soon as king Charles understood this, he was angry inside.
Tha thi kening Kerl thit under-stod, tornig was him hir umbe si mod.
a se cyning Carl hit under-stod, gebolgen ws he binnan mod sinne.

He announced to the Frisians if they with him would start a fight against the new king.
Hi let hit tha Fresum tha kundig duan hodir hia thene nia kening mith him mith strida
welde bi-stan.
He gecyode m Fresum hwer hie one niwa cyning mid him mid strie
wolde be-standan.

The Frisians were come together; upon this message they took a good decision.
Tha Fresen [werin] gadere komin; uppa thit bodisscip se anne god red ge- nomin.
a Fresan wron togdere gecomon; uppon es gebodscipe hia an god rd ge-nomon.

The Frisians very strongly went to the district of the Saxons.
Thi Fresa fele sterka hia for tha and tha Saxinna merka.
a Fresan fela stearc [hie] for a on a Seaxena mearc.

When the Saxon lords became aware of that, they came to meet the Frisians on the field.
Tha [tha] Sassiska heran thit for nomin, up tha felda hia [tha] Fresum to ionis komin.
a a Seaxisce hearran hit for-nomon, uppon se feld hie a Fresum to ongegn[as] comon.

Then they fought so grimly [that] they slew the Saxons, both the poor and the rich.
Tha fugtin se alsa grimlike [thet hia] of-slogma tha Saxum [bethe] thene erma and thene
rika.
a fuhton hie swa grimlice t hie of-slogon a Seaxum, ge one earma ge one rice.

But at last they caught the best of the Saxon lords and knights.
Thag to tha lesta feng [hia] ma of tha Saxum heran [and ridderan] tha besta.
eah to a latest fengon hie ma of a Seaxum hearra and riddarum a betste.

Those they tied so much with strong fetters. Then they led them by force
Hia band ma alsa sere mith ene sterka mere. Hia latten se tha waldelike
Hie band [ma] swa sar mid an stearca [gemre]. Hie geldde hem a wealdlice

where they found king Charles in his realm.
alder hia thene kening Kerl ur-nomin ande sine rike;
r hie one cyning Carl *or-nomon on rice sinne;

When he heard that to him the Saxon lords were come all bound, he was very glad in his mind;
Tha hi thet fornom thet him thi Saxinna hera alle bundin kom[in], wel was him ande
sine hei.
a he t fornom t him a Seaxena hearra ealle bundon comon, gld ws him on mod
sinne.


He bade the brave Frisians Good day! He then took them in his palace and served them both
Thi bad tha stulta Fresa godne dei! Hi nom se tha ande palas sin [and] hi scanctum bethe
He bad a cene Fresa godne dg! He nom a hem into his palent and hem scencte ge

mead and wine.
mede ande win.
medo ge win.

Then the Frisians left the kings court, and arrived in their country with high praise.
Tha Fresan forin utes keningis howe to hier londe hia weder komin mith halika lowe.
a Fresan foron ut [s] cyninges hofe to hiera londe hie wier-comon mid heahlice lofe.

Thus you have understood how the strong Frisians fared then against the Saxons.
Aldus heb hi ur-sten hu tha sterka Fresa is with thene Saxa tha forgen.
us habba eow under-stodon hu a stearca Fresan is wi one Seaxe a foron.

It happened thereafter at a time, that the Roman lords began a fight against king Charles.
Thit sce ther na to ener stunde, thet tha Romera [heran] with thene kening
Kerl strida bi-gunden.
Hit swa gelamp r-fter to anra stund, t a Romena hearran mid one cyning
Carl strie ongunnon.

They wanted recklessly to keep the tax of the kingdom.
Hia weldin stultlike thene tins bihalda fon tha keninglika rike.
Hie woldon *recceleaslice one tyge be-haldan of a cyninglice rice.

The king severely announced this in all his kingdom.
Thi kening thit serlike kundegia let [ande] alle sine keningrike.
Se cyning t sarlice cydde laet [on] ealle his cyningrice.

They came all together who were in his realm, relatives and foreigners.
Hia komin alle to samene ther werin ande sine rike, sibbe ande framede.
Hie comon ealle to samod e wron on rice sinne, gesibb and fremde.

As the Frisians heard this news, to the kings court uninvited they came.
Tha [tha]Fresan thit mere for nomin, to thes keningis howe vnelathadis se [ther] komin.
a a Fresan is spell fornomon, to s cyninges hofe ungelaodas hie r comon.

They were there needful and good, because they bore the courage of a brave lioness.
Hia werin ther nette ande god, wand hia drogin enir stultere lauwa mod.
Hie wron r nytt and god, foron hie drogun anra ellen-riste leo mod.

There they spoke before the king heroically[that]
Hia sprekin ther to fara tha keninge wigandlike [thet]
Hie sprcon r to-foran a cyninge wigendlice [t]

they would fight alone against the Roman lords for the empire.
hia welde [allena] fiugta with tha Romera [heran] fore thet kaisrlike rike.
hie wolde feohtan wi a Romena hearran for t caserlice rice.

They took the sharp swords in their hands and stood themselves before the fortress.
Hia nomin tha scerpa suerd and hiera honda hia gengin to fara there burig stonda.
Hie nomon a scearpe sweord and hiera honda hie gengon to faran re byrig standan.

[When] the lords inside the fortress saw this, they went to fight against the Frisians on the field.
Tha [tha] heran binna there burig thit ge segin, uppa thene feld, ion tha fresan to stride
tha tegin.
a a hearran binnan re byrig is gesawon, uppon one feld, ongegn a fresan to strie
a *bewinnan.

An ordeal was there begun; many a dear [costly] fighter was then slain under there.
En ordil warth ther upgehewin. Monig diore wigand warth nither [tha there] geslagin.
An ordal wear r *upge[hofon]. Manig deore wigend wear nier a r geslogon.

Then at that moment the Frisians violently began to fight upon the lords.
Tha to there stunde thi Fresa hastelike [on tha heran] fiugta bi gunde.
a to re stunde a Fresan *hstelice on a hearran feohtan be-gan.

Frightened the lords then looked back and all of them flew quickly to the castle.
Serlike tha heran umbe tha segin. Alle balde se to there burig flegin.
Sarlice a hearran ymbe a sawon. Ealle bealde hie to re byrig flugon.

The Frisians followed with determined mind, how that they would win the castle with force.
Thi fresa folgade mith vntuiuilika sinne, hu hia tha burg kreftlike [welde] wnne.
Se fresa folgode mid *untweofullice mod, hu hie a byrig crftlice wolde gewinnan.

But at last they won the castle and the best of the lords.
Thag uppa thet leste wnnin hia tha burg and heran tha besta.
eah uppan t latest wunnon hie a byrig and hearran a betste.

The gates began to be closed, but king Charles and his troops were outside.
Tha porta gundtma bi sluta, [ac] thi kening kerl mith sine folke waster abuta.
a portas ongunnon belucan, ac se cyning carl mid his folce wron r butan.

The Frisians took a decision; they would give king Charles both castle and garrison.
Hia fundent and hiera rede: hia welde tha kening kerle iowa [bethe] burg ande liude.
Hie fundon on hiera rede: hie wolde se cyning carle giefan begen byrig and leode.

The king thought to himself how he should repay the brave Frisians for this enormous action
Thi kening thogte ande sine mode hu hi tha stulta fresa [thisse waldelika deda] lania
Se cyning ohte binnan his mod, hu he a stulta fresa [isse wealdlice dd] leanian

with some goods.
scolde mith eniga gode.
scolde mid nige gode.


First of all he gave them a great gift. Twenty coins of fiery red gold
Hi iof him mitha allera arista iefta tha masta. Tuintech merka fon brondrada golde
He geaf hem mid ealra resta gifu a msta. Twentig mearca of brondreade golde

that the Frisians should give the empire yearly as tax.
ther thi Fresa [hiera hec] tha kaisrscipe to tegetha iowa scolde.
r a Fresa hiere lc a caserdom to tyge giefan scolde.

That gift that he gave the Frisians, that should always and forever endure.
Thiu iefte ther hi hede tha Fresum gedan thiu moste emmer and emmermar evelika stan.
Seo gifu r he hfde a Fresum gedon, seo moste and fre awalice standan.

Besides he commanded imperially that no lord should force them by power.
ther hi ta bad kaisrlike thet se ne scolde nen hera thuwingga waldelike.
eah he to bead caserlice t hie ne scolde nan hearra *wingan wealdlice.

Unless it were that they would do it by their own free will that they would accept a lord.
Hit ne were thet hia bi [iera goda] willa welde thet dua, thet se anne hera welde und fa.
Hit ne wre t hie bi hiera goda willa wolde t don, t hie ane hearra wolde on fon.

But I don't think to myself, that they by [their] own will would recognize a lord.
Thag ne wen ik ande mine sinne thet hia bi willa angne hera [welde] gewinne.
eah ne wen ic on min mod t hie bi willa agenne hearra wolde gewinnan.

The king was not satisfied with this order, the authority of the holy pope he added to it.
Nowet allena tha keninga and thisse bode nogade, thes heliga pawis [Gregorius] weld hi
hirto fogade.
Na-wiht se cyninga on is gebod genog, s hliges papes Gregorius [tyge] he
her-to-eacan [dyde].

He then asked it of the pope that he would put the Frisians under clerical rule.
Hi bed hit ita pawis tha thet hi tha Fresan mitha gastelika riuchte welde bi fa.
He bad hit papes a t he a Fresan mid gastlican gerihte wolde gefon.

He forever excommunicated all those that caused the Frisians any trouble.
Hewelike alle hi to bonne se dede ther tha Fresum to brogte enige nede.
Awalice ealle he to [bann] hie dd r a Fresum to brohte nige nied.

There commanded king Charles publicly that the Frisians should choose new judges every year.
Alder bi bad hit thi kening Kerl opinbere thet fresan hiera hec nige redian him kere.
r het hit se cyning Carl openlice t [a] Fresan hiere lc niwe *ingige hem ceas.
He put the imperial crown on their head, therefore he ordered to shave them.
Tha kairslika crona hi uppa hiera huwid sette, alder umbe hi se scera lette.
a caserlice [corona] he uppon hiera heafod st, for y ymbe he hie scieran let.

But if they did not want to do that, they were allowed to let their hair grow freely,
Thag ief se thet ne welde nowet dua ut mostin se [him] hiera her leta frilike waxa,
eah gif hie t ne wolde na-wiht don ut moston hie hem hiere her ltan freolice weaxan,

that all people might see then that he has made them free.
thet hit alle liude magte tha sian thet hi se fri hede gedan.
t hit ealle leode mihte a seon t he hie freo hfde gedon.

He commanded them then kingly, all the Frisians that were strong and rich,
Hi bibad hit him tha keninglike alle thi Fresa ther were sterik and rike,
He gebad hit him a cyninglice ealle se Fresa e wre stearc and rice,

that they should receive an accolade on their white neck; after that he should always be knight.
thet hia anne slag and hiera witta hals scolde [him] und fa; ther efter moste hi ridder biliwa.
t hie ane [gifu] on hiere hwita heals scolde hie onfon; r-fter moste he ridda belibban.

He should carry a very nice weapon; on his shield he should paint the royal crown.
Wepin scolde hi [ther efter] drega alle scone, and [up] sine scelde moste hi melia tha
keninglica crona.
Wpen scolde he r- fter dragan ealle scyne, and uppon scylde moste he [ ] a
cyninglice [corona].

That he this gift to the Frisians had for ever given, he kings and dukes to
Thet hi thissa iefta tha Fresum hede evelike dan, ther hi kenigan and hertigan to
t he eos gifu m Fresum hfde awalice gedon, r he cyningan and hearran to

witness took, and many other high men.
witscipe up nom, and [ondris] monege halike man.
witness up nom, and ores manige heahlice menn.

But at last, that the descendents should know forever,
Thag to lesta hu hit tha efterkumanda evelike wiste,
eah to latest hu hit a ftergengcum awalice wiste,

in the letters it was written about the gifts, that nothing should remain forgotten.
Ande tha brewm hit ma biscref fon tha ieftum, ther [abuta] nowet urietin bilef.
on a gewritum hit [ws] wreoton of a gifum, r butan na-wiht forgiton [ ].





The seal was of fiery red gold, that all people should know that this gift should exist forever.
Thet insigil thet was fon tha brondrada golde hu hit alle liude wiste thet thius ief ewelike
stonda scolde.
t insegl t ws of t brondreade gold hu hit ealle leode wiste t eos giefu awalice
standan scolde.

This letter they gave the free Frisian in his hand. With pride and with honour he went back
Thisse bref ma tha fri Fresa iof and sine hond. Mith dole and mith harum hi wider for
is gewrit [ma] se freo Fresa geaf on hond sinne. Mid modignyss ge mid ar he for ongegn

to his own free country.
and sine ain frilike lond.
into his agenne freolice lond.

In this way all people may understand that king Charles the Frisians
Aldus mugin hit alle liude forstan thet thi kening Kerl thene Fresa
us magon hit ealle leode under-standan t se cyning Carl one Fresa

because of that strong fight has made free.
[vmbe thet kreftlike strid] fri hewet ge dan.
[for y t crftlice stri] freo hf gedon.