The Northern Way

The Anglo-Saxon Metrical Charms

Metrical Charm 6: For Delayed Birth

The woman who cannot bring her child to term must go to a dead man’s grave, step three times over the grave and say these words three times:

This as my help against the evil late birth,
This as my help against the grievous dismal birth,
This as my help against the evil lame birth.

And when that woman is with child and she goes to bed with her lord, then she must say:

Up I go, I step over you
With a live child, not with a dying one,
With a full-born child, not with a doomed one.

And when the mother feels that the child is alive, she must go to church, and when she comes in front of the altar, then she must say:

Christ, I said, make this known!

The woman who cannot bring her child to term must take part of the grave of her own child, wrap it up in black wool and sell it to merchants. And then she must say:

I sell it,
you must sell it,
This black wool and the seeds of this grief.

The woman who cannot bring her child to term must take the milk of a cow of one colour in her hand, sip a little, and then go to running water and spit the milk in it. And then with the same hand she must take a mouthful of water and swallow it. Let her then say these words:

I carried this strong one with me everywhere,
Strong because of this great food;
Such a one I want to have and go home with.

When she goes to the stream she must not look round, nor again when she goes away from there, and let her go into a house other than the one from which she started, and there take food.

 

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