Imágenes de página

bætte án hearpere wæs, on bære beode be Thracia hatto?

that a harper (there) was in the nation that Thrace was called, sio wäsa on Creca ríce.3 Se hearpere wæs ungefræglice which was on (in) Greeks' kingdom. The harper was extraordinarily gód. Đæs nama wæs Orfeus. He hæfde4 án swite ænlic good. His name was Orpheus. He had a very one-like (unique) wít. So web haten Eurydice. Đa onganno monn7 wife. She was hight (calied) Eurydice. Then began man (one, people) secgan be bam hearpere, bæt he mihte hearpian to say regarding that harper, that he might (could) harp bæt se wudu wagode, and ba stánashi (so) that the wood wagged (waved, moved), and the stones themselves styredon for bam swege, and wild-deor bær

'stirred for (at) the sound, and wild beasts there (thither) woldon to-irnan 10 and standan, swilce hi tame wäron,

would run-to and stand as if they tame were, swa stille, beah hi men of He húndas11 wifi eodon13. þæt hi 80 still, though them men or hounds against yode (went), that they

leasing ( falsehood)," Psalm v.), and the term. less, as A.S. fultumleas, helpless; fr. spell, history or tale, A.S. gódspell, or yospel, good story, and bíspell, a story set beside something else, as example or illustration-a parable.

(1) Hatte, pret. of hátan, to have a name, be called; hence old Eng. hight, as “ Geraldine she hight(i.e. was called).

(2) Wæs, pret. of wesan, to be. See Introd.
(3) Rice; hence the term. ric, as bishopric, the dominion of a bishop.

(4) Hæfde, pret. of halban, to have. Hæfde became in Sem. Sax. hadde, and in mod. Eng. had. See Introd.

(5) Háten, or geháten, p.p. of hátan, to be called; geháten became in Sem. Sax. stage, ihaten and ihote.'

(6) Ongann, pret. of onginnan, p.p. ongunnen. In mod. Eng. we have begin, began, begun.

(7) Monn, as Ger. “ man sagt,” Fr.“ on dit," and Eng. “one says,” or “they


(8) Mihte, pret. of magan, to be able; hence mod. Eng. may and might. (9) Deor (Ger. thier). “Mice and rats, and such small deer.” (Shakspere.) (10). Irnan. In Somersetshire they still say hirn, or urn, for run.

(11) Aúndas, nom. and acc. pl. of húnd, gen. húndes, dat. húnde. In the Sem. Sax. stage the term. as became es, so that the gen. sing. and the acc. pl. were the same in form. Lastly, in mod. Eng. es of the gen. sing. became 's, and es of the pl. simply s.

(12) With; hence the prefix with in withstand, stand against.

(13) Eodon, pret. sing. of gán or gangan, to go, ic eode. we eodon. In Sem. Sax. youe. The p.p. is gegan; hence Sem. Sax, igon, and mod. Eng. ago.


hi na no onscutedon.

Đa sædon
Đa sedon hi vot Ps

hi baet bane them not not (not at all) them

ascunedon. not not (not at all) shunned. Then said they that the hearperes wíf sceolde acwelan', and hire sawle mon sceolde

harper's wife should die (died),' and her soul man (they) should lædan’ to helle. Da sceolde se hearpere weorban swa lead (led) to Hades. Then should the harper b e 80

sárig,“ bæt he ne mihte on gemongo ofrum mannum sorry (sorrowful) that he not could among other men bion, ac teabe to wuda, and sæt on bam muntum," to be, but took to (the) woods, and sat on the mountains,

ægberge dæges8 ge nihtes, weop and hearpode, bæt either (both) by day and by night, wept and harped, '(so) that ba wudas bifodon, and ba ea stódon, and nán heort ne the woods trembled, and the rivers stood still, and none hart not onscunode nænne leon, ne nán hara nænne hund, ne nán

shunned none (no) lion, nor none hare none (no) hound, nor none

neat nyste nænne ándan ne nænne ege to odrum, neat (beast) knew not none hate nor none awe (dread) to others,

. for bere mirhbe bes gones. Đã Xem hearpere ba for (because of) the mirth (joy) of the sound. When to the harper then

(1) Acwelan, standan, &c. This term, an was soon after changed into en; next the n was dropped, and the e sounded (as in Chaucer), and then this too was dropped altogether, as in mod. Eng. From cwelan come quell and hill.

(2) Sceolde lædan. The former word is the pret. of scealan (defective), to owe, be under obligation, which is the original meaning of shall. I shall go," means properly, "I have to go," or "I must go." Observe that may, shall, will, &c., are followed by the inf., shown by the term. an. The mod. construction is the same, though the inf. now has no inflection. I may go, means I may (or, am able) to go. The use of sceolde above, in forming the indirect construction (the “obliqua oratio" of the Latin), should be noticed.

(3) W'eorthan (Ger. werden). “Woe worth the day" (i.e. woe is to the day).

(4) Sárig, sorry, fr, sár, sore, the g being softened into y, as in so many other instances both at the beginning and end of words ; so dæg becomes day, and gear year.

(5) Gemong, Sem. Sax. ymong, mod. Eng. among.

(6) Teah, prel. of teón, to take, in exact analogy with seón, to see, which makes seah, saw.

(7) Muntum, dat. pl. of munt, a mountain; a remarkable instance of a Lat. word, neither of military nor ecclesiastical origin.

(8) Deyes, nihtes. These genitives (?) indicate the time when, and hence the origin of the mod, idiom, " he used to go of a night(i.e. by night). The ordinary genitive of niht is however nihte.

búhtel þæt hine ba nánes pinges ne lyste? on bisse it seemed that him then of none (no) things not it listed (pleased) on (in) this worulde, ba bóhte he þæt he wolde gesecan helle gatu, and world; then thought he that he would seek

Hades' gate,

and onginnan him oleccan mid his hearpan, and biddan“ æt

begin to them to flatter with his harp, and to bid (beg) that hi him ageafan eft his wíf. they to him should give back his wife.



Đa ha ha lange and lange hearpode,” ba clipodeo When he then long

and long harped, then called hellwarana? cyning, and cwær, Uton-agifan baem the Hades-inhabitants' and quoth (said), Let us give

to the his wif, forbam he hi hæfte geearnodo mid young fellow his wife, for that (because) he her hath earned with his hearpunga. 20 Bebead him þa, þæt he geara" wiste, his harping. He commanded him then (what he before wist),




(1) Thúhte, pret. of thincan, to seem (as in methinks, it seems to me, preto methought). It is to be distinguished from thóhte, which occurs just after, and is pret. of thencan, to think.

(2) Lyste, pret. of lystan, to desire, be pleased with. The meaning is :“ When the harper seemed to have no pleasure in anything in this world, then thought he," &c. Cf. “ The wind bloweth where it listeth.

(3) Him. This word, which is dat. sing. and pl., at a later stage became the objective now in use, the proper acc., hine, being dropped.

(4) Biddan, pret. bæd, to beg or bid, hence beadsman, a beggar, and “ bidding prayer.”

(5) Hearpode, clipode, dc. This term. ode, in pl. odon, is changed in Sem. Sax. into ede and eden, and ultimately into our ed for both sing. and pl. It is the usual term. of weak verbs.

(6) Clipode, pret. of clipian, to call or name; p.p. geclipod; hence old Eng. yclept, or iclept, named. Even in the Sem. Sax. stage, not only does entirely, but comparatively few words with the softened prefix y or i are found.

(7) Hellwar-ana, irr. for ena, which is the true form, Hell is from helan, to cover or hide, hence applied to the grave and the invisible world. The term. war denotes collectively inhabitants, as Rómware, Romans.

(8) Hæfth, pres. of habban. Hath is a contraction of this word.

(9) Geearnod, p.p of earnian, to earn. By softening the ge into y, we have varned, a common provincialism.

(10) Hearpung. This term. ung is the origin of the Eng. substantive term. ing, as in “walking is pleasant.” The ing of the pres. part., as in “I saw him walking in the garden,” has a different origin, as will be shown hereafter.

(11) Geara, and gió (see p. 1), if pronounced with the g softened into y, suggest a connection with the modern word yore.

(12) Wiste, pret. of witan, to know; pres. ic wat (I wot), we witon, &c.

ge vanish

bæt hine neafre underbæc ne besawe, sibban he that himself never backward (he) not should besee (look) after that he

ononweard wäre, and sæde, gif he hine underbæc therceward (on his way out) should be, and said, if he himself wackward

besawe, bæt he sceolde forlætan þæet wíf. Ac ba besaw (looked ), that he should lose the woman. But then lufe mon mæg swide uneade? forbeodan. Wei la wei!" love man (one) may very difficultly (hardly) forbid. Well-a-way (alas)

Hwaet, Orfeus ba lædde his wif mid him, ofte he com What (well !) Orpheus then led his wife with him, until he came on Pet gemere leohtes and beostro. Đa eode ket wif after to the boundary of light and darkness. Then went the wife after him. Đa he forb on bet leoht com, ba beseah he line him. When he forth to the light came, then besaw (looked) he himself underbec wi8 bes wifes ;o ba losede heo him sona.

back towards the woman; then was lost she to him soon (directly). Đas leasan spell læraf? gehwilcne man, bara

These false (fabulous) stories teach every man, of those te wilnay helle biostro to Alionne, and to bas sobes that have a desire Hades' darkness for fleeing (to flee), and to the true

(1) Besawe, fr. beseon, to see; hine beseon, to look ; literally, to besee himself.

(2) Uneathe (lit. not easily), in Sem. Sax. uneathes, unnethe; in old Eng. stage (see Chaucer), unnethe, and unnetnis; now uneasy.

(3) Forbeodan, fr. for (like Ger, ver, undoing the action indicated by the simple verb), and beódan, to command, enjoin, or bid. This peculiar use of for is handed down to us in forget, forgive, &c. For seems to mean forth, away, or off. To forget is to get forth, or away, what the mind had got ; to forgive, to give forth, or give up, the charge which had been brought; and forbid, to bid off, or order away, what had been ordered or allowed.

(4) Wei la wei, see extract from Ælfric.

(5) Theostro, fr. theostru, or thýstru. This word is traceable in the Sem. Sax, thuster, dark, and thisternesse, darkness. Cf. Ger. düsterkeit, gloominess, darkness.

(6) Wifes, gen. of wif. This term. es is that which still survives in the 's of our possessive, wife's. See note 11, p. 2.

(7) Lærath, fr. læran, to teach, which is fr. lár, lore. The derivative, leornian, means to be taught, to learn.

(8) To flionne, fr. flion or fleon, to flee. This form, which in A.S. is not the infin, but the gerund or dat. of the infin., is the origin of our infinitive with the sign to, and means literally, for fleeing; so to cumenne, for coming. The A.S. infin, took no particle before it, but was indicated by the term. an or on.

[ocr errors]


Godes lionte to cumenne, pæt he hine ne besio

God's light for coming (to come), that he himself not should besee (look) to his ealdum yfelum, swa þæt he hi eft swa fullice to his old evils (vices), that he them after

fully fulfremme, swa he hi ær dyde;' forbam swa-hwa-swa, should practise so as he them ere (before) did; for that whosoever, mida fullon willan, his mód went to þam yflum be he with full his mind turns

those vices that he



ær forlet, and hi bonne fulfremet, and he him bonne ere (before) forsook, and them then practises, and he in them then fullice licia, and he hi næfre forlætan ne bency,

fully likes (takes pleasure) and he them never to forsake not thinketh, bonne forlyst he eall his ærran gód, buton he hit eft then loses he all his former good, except

he it afterwards gebete. betters (amends).

CONTINUOUS TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE." It happened in old times that there was a harper in the country that was called Thrace, which was in the kingdom of Greece. The harper was very remarkably good.

His name was Orpheus. He had a singularly good wife, and her name was Eurydice. Then people began to say about the barper, that he played on the harp so well that the woods waved, and the stones stirred themselves at the sound, and that wild beasts rushed to the place where he was, and stood still as if they were tame; so still, that even though men and hounds went against them, they shunned them not. They said also that

(1) Dyde, pret. of dón, to do, pp. oedón. Some grammarians (Latham and Grimm for example) consider this form dyde or did as an instance of a reduplicated preterite, like Lat. tetigi fr. tango, or Gr. Tétuda fr. TÚTTW.

(2) Mid, with, has been displaced in mod. Eng. by with, which originally meant, against. See note 12, p. 2. Md, however, is still heard among the provincials of the north ;-“Come mid (or mit) me.”

(3) Went, fr. wendan, to wend, go, turn. The Eng. verb go has borrowed went for its preterite.

(4) To make the above passage more intelligible, a close but continuous translation is appended. The simplicity of the style, like that which would be used by a father teaching his children, shows, as Taine (“: Histoire de la Literature Anglaise ") remarks, how entirely uneducated the literary taste of the English of Alfred's time was.

« AnteriorContinuar »