One way to find out is actually to do it. So here, to begin with, are the opening eight lines of the Iliad in Anglo Saxon. Assuming I haven’t perpetrated any ghastly howlers, Old-English-wise. Which I daresay I have. To quote Anglo-Saxon George III: hwæt-hwæt?
Ábylgnesse æðelinges Achilleses, sing þu gyden,[UPDATE: Tuesday 17th June 2014. Here are lines 8-21 of the Homeric original:]
Maegan mága Peleuses þæt mannmyrringe gewrecen
Hildewulfas an héape tō Hades forsendede
Ábær Achaeanum weáan al unárímede
Hereréafa hunda ond þá herefuglas beadwe;
Þus Goddes geþoht gefullforðed wæs
þā Agamemnon æðelcyning þā rόfan Achilles
scearp sundrodedon wǣron ádæledon in sacum.
[Lines 1-7] Sing of the anger of Prince Achilles, O goddess, the mighty son of Peleus whose wrath sent down to Hades many valiant souls of heroes and brought woes all unnumbered upon the Achaeans, and made them spoil for dogs and the birds that haunt the battlefield; thus the plan of Zeus came to fulfilment, and the noble king Agamemnon and brave Achilles were first parted in sharp strife.
Hwilc god gielda brōhton on geador[UPDATE 2: Wednesday 18th June 2014. I'm going to keep adding to this post, as and when I get the odd moments necessary to turn these lines into Anglo-Saxon. A lull this afternoon resulted in the following stab at lines 22-32. Subsequent verse paragraphs will be added in other days.]
Þǣra twa gára gúðrincas sæccan geornlich?
Hit wǣs hyse Latones ond híehþe God;
séocnes he sendede in hine strong irre
ond Þe folc hie forfóron sē fela ácwælon.
Be Atreuses æðeling dede æpsenys æt Chryse,
Túnpréost Troyan. Cóm tilan to Achaeanum
Ond to him scipum swiftum unlíesan swéte dóhter.
Geþingsceat goldes ábær, ond godeswriða Apollan
Habbede in hande, Þe god hnæppaþ from feorwege
On ān gefýstlaþ gullisc. Gebæd he Þe Achaeanas
Ond Þe twa telgan Atreuses, teoha dryhtenweardas:
‘Atreuses æðelinges! ond oþres Achaeanes bangebeorgen
Be goddes ásitteaþ Alympian áhýðedest þu al Troyan
Ond æthwurfen earda æfter! Ac mīn fréobearn ábirmē,
Þige þis þanc weoroidlean in áre þrýþ-líc Apollan!’
[lines 8-21] Which of the gods was it that brought these two armed warriors eagerly to contend? The son of Leto together with the greatest God; for in his strong anger he sent sickness throughout the land, and the people began to perish, because the son of royal Atreus wrought dishonour upon the Trojan priest Chryses. For he came to the Achaeans and their swift ships to free his lovely daughter, bearing a golden ransom; and in his hands he held the holy wreath of Apollo who strikes from afar, on a staff of gold; and he implored all the Achaeans, and (especially) the two sons of Atreus, the marshallers of the troops: ‘Sons of Atreus, and other greave-clad Achaeans: by the gods who dwell in Olympus, may you sack the city of Troy, and afterwards return to your homes! but give my child back to me, and accept the ransom out of reverence for mighty Apollo!'
Swā hréopon ælfaru Achaeanes geÁtan þis héah æweweard[Sat. 21st June. This'll do me for now, I think.]
Geþicgan þis greát geþingsceat; gíet Agamemnon geunblissede,
Ac ágénsendede he him ond ábéonn him áforlic:
“betst þu bēo ne here bī þǣm hóle bátas,
Ealda, ne nū ne náwa, ofnime þē stæf nīwgoldfyld
Ond þē wræd gedwolgod weorne on þē andwlitan.
Hīe ic ne nyllað aheorde onealde hīe in mīn hám
Æt Argos al feorþéode! ic þe ágend!
Onstepee hie ombeht mīn oft aet lám, ond
Fūs in forligerbedd! Ne fýsest mīn irre!
Greme mē no: gǣst-þu, gif þu wille tō géanhwierfan.”
[22-32] Then all the host of the Achaeans shouted assent, agreeing with this holy priest, to accept this great ransom, yet the thing did not please Agamemnon, but he sent him away harshly, and harshly commanded him: "Let me not find you, old man, by these hollow ships, not now not ever, lest your new-gilded staff not protect you and the wreath of the god wither on your brow. Her I will not set free. May she grow old in my home, in Argos, far from her native land, I her owner, as she walks to and fro as my slave, before the loom and eagerly serves my bed. Do not rouse up my anger! Go now, if you ever wish to return."
Swā he sægde óht slæhtede þē ealdan
éaðmódede ond ēodon; on his eft-sið
bi swinsunglic sǣ al in sálnesse.
Ánfald þē ealda ábæd ac æðel Apollan
godbearn geboren to hwítloces Letoan:
“Heorcne, heofondéma! hláford bogan seolfrenes
Chrysen ond Cillan bewacende cynehláford Tenedosan
If ealltæw ic hréfede hearge þīn, Sminthiane,
Ac gebær þu bernelác bulena ond gætenua,
Andsware mīn orlegsceaft æfne bén mīn:
Ásende arwan ac sé attorsceaða Danaanum".
[33-42] So he spoke, and the old man was seized with fear and obeyed his word. He made his way beside the loud-resounding sea in silence. When he was alone, the old man prayed to the lord Apollo, the godchild born to glad fair-haired Leto: "Hear me heavenly one, lord of the silver bow, who stand over Chryse and holy Cilla, and rule mightily over Tenedos, Sminthian god, if ever I roofed over a temple to your pleasing, or if ever I made burnt-offerings of bulls and goats, fulfill this prayer for me: let the Danaans pay for my tears by your arrows."
Swā ábæd he: Apollo andswarede him líhting.
Ágrýndede from Alympe wiþ ánhýdig stræde
háthiertede in heortan hangelle on sculdran
flánboga ond bogefódder. Ábrasledon þe flánas
eāc þe gealg godde ēodon cóm nihtbealu.
Settede bī scipum: scéat he ān arwe,
Þréalic ond þéowwracu wæs hire flyhtdyn þurh.
Forma hradendlic hundas he hearmde forman
manþwæree múlas ac æfter menn—
wið stingende sceaftum slæhtedon, befylledon.
Á áburnon ádas ásprungenra.
[43-51] So he prayed, and bright Apollo answered him. He descended Olympus with resolute stride, angered at heart, his bow and quiver hanging from his shoulders. The arrows rattled in time with the stride of the angry god as he moved, and his coming was like the night. Then he sat down beside the ships and shot off an arrow: terrible was the rush of the arrows’s flight. At first he harmed the swift dogs and the harmless mules, but then the men themselves—shot down with his stinging shafts, and struck; and constantly burned the pyres of the dead.