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ANGLO-SAXON, SEMI-SAXON, AND OLD ENGLISH LITERATURE.
1. Caedmon, A.d. 650. The Creation (Manual, p. 18).
(From Guest's English Rhythms, vol. ii. p. 32.)
2 Idel A. S. barren, idle. Deserts idle.-Othello. Idle pebbles.-Lear.
3 Seman is the active verb; semian, I believe, is always neuter. In Caedmon 4.
4 Wan, in the sense of dismal, was long known to our poetry;
Min is the drenching in the sea so wan.-Chau, Knightes Tale.
SP. ENG. LIT.
Metod engla heht,
(Lifes brytta) leoht forth cuman
Ofer wéstenne, swa se wyrhta bebead.
Bade the Angel-maker,
(The Life-dispenser) light to come forth O'er the wide abyss. Quick was fulfill'd The high King's hest-round him was holy light,
Over the waste, as the Maker bade.
2. Ohther's Narrative in King Alfred's Translation of Boethius (Manual, p. 20).
(From Marsh's Origin and History of the English Language, pp. 125-128.)
Fela spella him sædon tha Beormas, ægther ge of hyra agenum lande ge of thæm lande the ymb hy utan wæron; ac he nyste hwæt thæs sothes wær, forthom he hit sylf ne geseah. Tha Finnas him thuhte, and tha Beormas spræcon neah an getheode. Swithost he for thyder, to-eacan thæs landes sceawunge, for thæm hors-hwælum, forthæm hi habbath swythe athele ban on hyra tothum, tha teth hy brohton sume thæm cynincge: and hyra hyd bith swythe god to scip-rapum. Se hwæl bith micle læssa thonne othre hwalas, ne bith he lengra thonne syfan elna lang ; ac on his agnum lande is se betsta hwælhuntath, tha beoth eahta and feowertiges elna lange, and tha mæstan fiftiges elna lange; thara he sæde that he syxa sum ofsloge syxtig on twam dagum. He was swythe spedig man on thæm æhtum the heora speda on beoth, that is on wilddeorum. He hæfde tha-gyt, tha he thone cyninge sohte, tamra deora unbebohtra syx hund. Tha deor hi hatath hranas, thara wæron syx stæl-hranas, tha beoth swythe dyre mid Finnum, forthæm hy fod tha wildan hranas mid.
Many things him told the Beormas, both of their own land and of the land that around them about were; but he wist-not what (of-) the sooth was, forthat he it self not saw. The Finns him thought, and the Beormas spoke nigh one language. Chiefliest he fared thither, besides the land's seeing, for the horse-whales, for-that they have very noble bones in their teeth, these teeth they brought some (to-) the king and their hide is very good for ship-ropes. This whale is much less than other whales, not is he longer than seven ells long; but in his own land is the best whale-hunting, they are eight and forty ells long, and the largest fifty ells long; (of-) these he said that he (of-) six some slew sixty in two days. He was (a) very wealthy man in the ownings that their wealth in is, that is in wild-deer. He had yet, when he the king sought, (of-) tame deer unsold six hundred. These deer they hight reins, (of-) them were six stale-reins, these are very dear with (the) Finns, for-that they catch the wild reins with (them).
3. King Alfred's Translation of the Pastorale of St. Gregory
(From Wright's Biographia Britannica Literaria, Anglo-Saxon period, p. 397.)
Ælfred kyning hateth gretung Wulfsige bisceop his worthum luflice and freondlice, and the cythan hate, thæt me com swithe oft on ge-mynd, hwylce witan geo wæron geond Angel-cyn, ægther ge godcundra hada ge worldcundra, and hu ge-sæliglica tida tha wæron geond Angle-cyn, and hu tha cyningas the thone anweald hæfdon thæs folces, Gode and his æryndwritum hyrsumodon; and hu hi ægther ge heora sybbe ge heora sydo, and ge heora anweald innan borde gehealdon
Alfred the king greets affectionately and friendly bishop Wulfsige his worthy, and I bid thee know, that it occurred to me very often in my mind, what kind of wise men there formerly were throughout the English nation, as well of the spiritual degree as of laymen, and how happy times there were then among the English people, and how the kings who then had the government of the people obeyed God and his Evangelists, and how they both in their peace and in their war, and in their govern
and eac ut hira ethel rymdon; and hu him tha speow, ægther ge mid wige ge mid wisdome; and eac tha godcundan hadas hu georne hi wæron ægther ge ymbe lara ge ymbe leornunga, and ymbe ealle tha theow-domas thi hy Gode sceoldon, and hu man ut on borde wisdome and lare hider on land sohte, and hu we hi nu sceoldon ute begitan, gif we hi habban sceoldon. Swa clæne heo was othfeallen on Angelcynne that swithe feawa wæron beheonan Humbre the hira thenunge cuthon understandan on Englisc, oththe furthon an ærend-ge-writ of Ledene on Englisc areccan; and ic wene that naht monige be-geondan Humbre næron. Swa feawa heora wæron, that ic furthon anne ænlepne ne mæg ge-thencan besuthan Thamise tha tha ic to rice feng. Gode almightigum sy thanc, that we nu ænigne an steal habbath lareowa. For tham ic the beode, that thu do swa ic ge-lyfe that thu wille, that thu the thissa woruld thinga to tham geæmtige, swa thu oftost mæge, that thu thone wisdome the the God sealde thær thær thu hine befæstan mæge befæst. Ge-thenc hwilce witu us tha becomon for thisse woruld, tha tha we hit na hwæther ne selfe ne lufedon, ne eac othrum mannum ne lyfdon. Thone naman anne we lufdon that we Cristene wæron, and swithe feawa tha thea was. Tha ic this eal ge-munde, tha ge-mund ic eac hu ic ge-seah ær tham the hit eal forheregod wære and for-bærned, hu tha circan geond eal Angel-cyn stodon mathma and boca ge-fylled, and eac micel mæniu Godes theawa, and tha swithe lytle feorme thara boca wiston, for tham the hi hira nan thing ongitan ne mihton, for tham the hi næron on hira agenge theode awritene. Swilce hi cwædon ure yldran tha the thas stowa ær heoldon, hi lufedon wisdome, and thurh thone hi begeton welan and us læfdon.
ment, held them at home, and also spread their nobleness abroad, and how they then flourished as well in war as in wisdom; and also the religious orders how earnest they were both about doctrine and about learning, and about all the services that they owed to God; and how people abroad came hither to this land in search of wisdom and teaching, and how we now must obtain them from without if we must have them. So clean it was ruined amongst the English people, that there were very few on this side the Humber who could understand their service in English, or declare forth an epistle out of Latin into English; and I think that there were not many beyond the Humber. So few such there were, that I cannot think of a single one to the south of the Thames when I began to reign. To God Almighty be thanks, that we now have any teacher in stall. Therefore I bid thee that thou do as I believe thou wilt, that thou, who pourest out to them these worldly things as often as thou mayest, that thou bestow the wisdom which God gave thee wherever thou mayest bestow it. Think what kind of punishments shall come to us for this world, if we neither loved it ourselves nor left it to other men. have loved only the name of being Christians, and very few the duties. When I thought of all this, then I thought also how I saw, before it was all spoiled and burnt, how the churches throughout all the English nation were filled with treasures and books, and also with a great multitude of God's servants, and yet they knew very little fruit of the books, because they could understand nothing of them, because they were not written in their own language; as they say our elders, who held these places before them, loved wisdom, and through it obtained weal and left it to us.
4. Layamon's Brut, 1150-1250. The Dream of Arthur
(Manual, p. 26).
(From Sir F. Madden's Edition, vol. iii. pp. 118-121.)
To niht a mine slepe,
Ther ich laei on bure,
Me imaette a sweuen;
Ther uore ich ful sari aem.
To-night in my sleep (bed),
Where I lay in chamber,
I dreamt a dream,—
Therefore I am "full" sorry.