See, it all comes down to motivation. Ignoring the watering, the guinea pigs, the dinner, the dust, and a letter from the local council which requires me to reply, I parse slowly through the next Old English poem, consulting two online dictionaries and two paper glossaries and propping myself up with Treharne’s parallel translation, mouthing aloud like a 45 rpm single being played at 33. And I’m still battling with the inflected endings. For word-fanciers, the rewards are considerable.
maðm (treasure) seemed strangely familiar until I found and remembered Tolkien’s mathoms
breostcofa (breast chamber, heart)
Occasional phrases are beginning to pop into meaning without dictionary, sometimes carried to sense by their cadence:
fæst is þæt eglond fenne beworþen (that island is secure, surrounded by fens)
ne swete forswelgan ne sar gefelan (not taste sweetness nor feel pain)
bihongen hrimgicelum; hæl scurum fleag (hung about with icicles; hail showers flew)
Occasionally a word knocks me back because of modern English’s Romance language inheritance. I know it means ‘splendidly adorned with gold’ or perhaps ‘proud’ or ‘stately’, but when I read ‘wlonc’ … it just comes out as wlonc.