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swa gefungen láreow ba burh eallunge forlete, and

80 revered (a) teacher the burgh (city) altogether should leave, and swa fyrlen wræcsi genáme. so distant (a) journey should take.

CONTINUOUS TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE. Then it happened at a certain time, as still it often does, that English chapmen brought their wares to Rome; and Gregory went along the street to the Englishmen, looking at their things. Then saw he placed amongst the wares boys for sale, who had white bodies, and fair countenances, and noblé heads of hair. Gregory then beheld the beauty of the boys, and asked out of what country they were brought. Then said they to him, that they were from England, and that the race of that land was so beautiful! Again then Gregory inquired, whether the people of that land were Christians or heathens ? They told bim that they were heathens. Gregory then fetched deep sighs out of his inmost heart, and said, “ Alas! alas ! that men of so fair a skin should be subjects of the black devil.” Again he asked, wbat the name of that nation that they came from was? It was answered him that they were named Angles. Then said he, “ Rightly are they called Angles, for they have the beauty of angels, and it is befitting for such to be companions of angels in heaven." Yet again Gregory inquired, what the name of the division of the country was out of which those boys were brought. They told him that the men of that province were called Dere. Gregory answered, “Well are they called Dere” (i.e. de ira, from wrath), for they are saved from wrath and invited to Christ's mercy.” Yet again he inquired, “ What is the name of the king of that people?" He was answered that the king was called Ælla. Then Gregory played with his words at the name, and said, “ It is befitting that Alleluia be sung in that land, to the praise of the Almighty Creator." Gregory then immediately went to the pope of the apostolic See, and begged him to send some teachers to the English people, to convert them to Christ, and said that he hiniself was ready, with God's help, to undertake that work, if the pope so pleased. But the pope could not sanction that, though he very much wished it, because the Roman people would not allow that so learned a man and so revered a teacher should leave the city altogether and take so distant a journey.

(1) Gethungen, p.p. of thingan, to have weight; then to have moral weight, be revered.

(2) Gename, subj. mood of geniman, to take; hence the slang term nim, in Shakspere ("Merry Wives of Windsor").

Very Early Englisy, or Semi-Saxon.

(A.D. 1100—1250.)




HI s wencten' swife be wrecce men THEY (the Norman nobles) oppressed greatly the wretched men (i.e. the

of be land mid castelweorces.3 Đa the castles English) of the land with castleworks. When the castles waren maked,ba fylden: hi mid deoules and yuele were made, then filled they (them) with devils and evil

*** The language, it will be observed, has gone through a wondrous change since A.D. 990—the date of Ælfric's Homilies. It is on its passage from the condition of a synthetic, or inflected, to an analytic, or non-inflected language ; and this is, properly speaking, the transition stage. It deserves notice that though a century has passed since the Conquest, the vocabulary is pure English; scarcely a Norman word can be found. See Introd., " Second Stage.

(1) Swencten, fylden. These words would have been in A.S., swencton, fyldon. This change in term. lasted long, and is the usual form in Chaucer, who wrote weren (they were), comen (they came). Suencan passed into the old Eng. form swincen, to toil, and was used even-though as an ancient word-by Milton. “And the swinkt (fatigued) hedger at his supper sat.(Comus.)

(2) Wrecce. The A.S. had, as the Ger, now has, a distinction between the definite and indefinite forms of the adjective, which is already lost in the Sem. Sax., as appears above. Alfred would have written, Thá wreccan menn.”

(3) Of the land. This use of a prepos. instead of a case is the sign of a great change. In A.S. it must have been the gen. thies landes. So in A.S., the dat. pl. castel-weorcum must have come after mid.

(4) Castles, for A.S. castelas. See note 11, p. 2.

(5) Maked, for A.S. macod, or gemacod, fr. macian, to make. Made is a contraction of maked.

men. Đa namen hi ba men the hi wenden bet ani men. Then took they those men that they wened (thought) that any gód hefden, baðe be nihtes and be dæies, carl-men? goods had, both by niglt and by day, churl-men (peasant men) and wimmen, and diden heom in prisun efter gold and

and women, and did (put) them in prison after (for their) gold and sylver, and pineda heom untellendlice pining, for ne

silver, and pined (tormented) them (with) unspeakable torment, for not waren næure nan martyrs swa pined alse hi wäron. were never none (no) martyrs 80 tormented as they were.

Me henged up bi the fét and smoked heom mid fúl Men (they) hanged (them) up by the feet and smoked them with foul smoke: me henged bi the bumbes, other bi the hefed'.

smoke,' they hanged (them) by the thumus, others by the head, and henged bryniges on her fót. Me dide cnotted? and hanged burning things on their feet. They put knottad strenges abuton here hæued and uury ben to-that it gæde®

strings about their head and writhed (twisted) till it went to be hærnes.' Hi diden beom in quarterne thar nadreglo to the brain. They put them in dungeons (?) where adders

(1) Carl-men, fr. A.S. czorl, a peasant, and hence rustic, rude, &c. So we get the mod, churl and churlish. “Charles's wain" is a corruption of ceorles wen, peasant's or farmer's waggon.

(2) Pined. To pine is still in the northern dialect, to starve with hunger or cold, or generally to torment and ill-treat.

(3) Me for man, used indefinitely. See note 7, p. 2.

(4) Henged. Very noticeable as not even retaining the term. en of the pl. It is, indeed, the mod. form. The A.S. word to hang, is hón, pret. heng. Out of this pret, the above word seems to have been clumsily formed. They hanged, in pure A.S., would have been hengon.

(5) Hefed and haved, fr. A.S. heafod, derived, as some think, from heafan, to heave or lift up; hence the head would be the lifted up, or elevated, part.

(6) Bryniges. Some translate this, “ coats of mail.” (7) Cnoit d, for A.S. cnottede, the mark of the pl., the final e being omitted. (8) Gæde, pret of gon, as if yoeil (Scottice yaeu), for A.S. eode, pret. of gán.

(9) Hernes. A word of uncertain origin, not known, it is believed, in A.S.: fonnd afterwards in old Eng. stage, and in Scottish harns.

“ And of hys hede did brake the bone.

The harnes lay upon the stone."-MS. quoted by Halliwell. (10) Nadres, fr. A.s. nædure, an adder. A.S., pl. næddran, not nadres. Analogously with nadder, adder, we have nawi, nale, nonce, newt, and awl, ale, once, ent or eft.

and snakes and pades? wäron inne, and drapen heom’ and snakes and toads were in, and destroyed them

swa. 80.

Mani husen hi drapeno mid hungær. I ne canne, and pe

Many thousands they slew with hunger. I not can, and not mai tellen, alle be wundes, ne all be pines bæt hi may tell (reckon up) all the wounds, nor all the pains (torments) that they diden wrecce men on this land. And þæt lastide ba xix did (to) wretched men in this land. And that lasted the nineteen

wintret wile Stephne was king, and æure it was uuerse winters (years) while Stephen was king, and ever it was worse and uuerse. Đa was corn dære, and flecs and cæse and and worse. Then was corn dear, and flesh and cheese and

butere ; for nan ne wæs o the land. Wrecce men sturuen butter; for none not was in the land. Wretched men starved (died)

of hungær. Sumo ieden? on almes be waren sum of hunger. Some yode (went) on alms 9 who were (had been) some

wile rice men. Sum flugen ut of lande. Wes while (a while ago) rich men, Some fled out of (the) land. Was

(1) Pades, fr. A.S. pad, or pada, a toad; hence paddoch, a large toad, the term. ock denoting increase as well as decrease of size.

(2) Heom, acc. pl. of pron., instead of A S. hi ; a great innovation, for in A.S., heom or him is the dat. sing. and pl. Later we find heom becoming hem, and surviving still in 'em, as, “ give it 'em well.” See the A.S. forms in the Introd.

(3) Drapen, fr. lrepen, pret. drap, p.p. dropen, fr. A.S., drepan, to kill or slay, pret. drep, p.p. dr pen.

(4) Wintre. The reckoning by winters instead of years continued in use until late in the 16th century.

(5) Flec, fles, fris, and flæsc, the last virtually the same as the mod. word, were all in use during the .em. Sax. stage.

(6) Sturren, pret. of sterfen, to die, pret. starf, pl. sturven, p.p. storven, fr. A.S. steorfan, pret. strerf, pl. sturfon, p.p. storfen. To die of hunger was not the original meaning of the word. Cf. Ger. sterben, to die.

(7) lide, youe, eode, the last the same as A.S., are all found in Sem. Sax. as pret. of gon, to go.

(8) Ælmes, fr. A.S. ælmesse, wh. fr. Gr. elenuocúm. This, with castel, deofule, prisun, ma, tyr, quarterne (of wl:ich no account can be found), biscop, abbot, munec, clerek, together with circe and the compound cyrceiard, are probably the only foreign words in the passage, and four-fifths of them are ecclesiastical, introduced with Christianity.

(9) leden on ælmes, i.e. betook themselves to alms or begging.

næure gæt mare wreccehed on land, ne næure hepen men

never get more wretchedness in (the) land, nor never heathen men werse ne diden ban hi diden. For over sifon ne worse not did than they did. For after (a) time not

forbaren hi noufer circe ne cyrceiærd, oc nam al be forbore (spared) they neither church nor churchyard, but took all the

gód þæt þar inne was, and brendena syben be good (property) that therein was, and burnt afterwards the cyrce and altegædere. Ne hi ne forbaren biscopes land, church and all together. Nor they not forbore (spared) bishop's land, ne abbotes, ne preostes, ac ræueden3 muneces and nor abbot's, nor priest's, but reaved (robbed) monks and

clerekes. clerks (learned men).




ON MARY AND MARTHA. MARIE and Marthe ba (both) were sustreno (sisters), ach (but) here (their) life sundreð (goes different ways); ge (ye) ancren

*** This passage is very noticeable on many accounts. It even looks, in some respects, more antique than that from the Saxon Chronicle. It contains, short as it is, three Romance words—that is, words derived, indirectly, from Roman or Latin-baret, mester or meoster, povre. The entire work contains a considerable infusion of such words, amounting, perhaps, to four or five per cent.

(1) Wreccehed. The term. hed, fr. A.S. hád, is the head and hood of mod. Eng., as godhead, childhood, &c., denoting state or condition.

(2) Brenden, pret. of brennen, to burn, fr. A.S. bærnan, pret, bærnde,

(3) Ræueden, fr. ræven, to rob; hence bereave, and also rove, rover, and rob itself, fr. A.S. reáfian, pret. reáfode. Cf. Ger. rauben.

(4) Ancren Riwle, Nuns' Rule or Guide. Ancron is a shortened form of ancrena, gen. pl.

(5) Were, A.S. weron. It is remarkable to find this word without any termi. nation. In old Eng. (Chaucer) we constantly find weren.

(6) Sustren, ancren, thinges, clothes, showing that the pl. term, was unsettled.

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