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Then called Arthur, noblest [boldest] of kings: “Where be ye, my Britons, my bold thanes [knights]? The day it forth goeth; this folk against us standeth. Cause we to glide to them sharp darts enow, and teach them to ride the way towards Rome l’ Even with the words that Arthur [then] said he [they] sprang forth on steed [upon steeds], as spark doth of fire. Fifty

thousand were following him.

47. In the second specimen, which is from the elder text, th has been substituted for p and 8, to accommodate the unpractised reader.

Line 28582.

Tha nas ther na mare,
i than fehte to laue,
of twa hundred thusend monnen,
... tha ther leien to-hawen;
buten Arthur the king one,
and of his cnihtes tweien.
Arthur wes forwunded
wunderliche swithe.
Ther to him com a cnaue,
the wes of his cunne;
he wes Cadores sune,
the eorles of Cornwaile.
Constantin hehte the cnaue;
he wes than kinge deore.
Arthur him lokede on,
ther he lai on folden,
and thas word seide,
mid sorhfulle heorte.
Constantin thu art wilcume,
thu weore Cadores sune :
ich the bitache here,
mine kineriche:
and wite mine Bruttes,
a to thines lifes :
and hald hedm alle tha lasen,

tha habbedth istonden a mine da;en:

and alle tha lažen gode,
tha bi Wtheres daşen stode.
And ich wulle uaren to Aualun,
to uairest alre maidene;
to Argante there quene,
aluen swithe sceone :
and heo scal mine wunden,
makien alle isunde,

Then was there no more in that fight left alive, out of 2Co,000 men, that there lay cut to pieces; but Arthur the King only and two of his knights. Arthur was wounded dangerously much. There to him came a youth who was of his kin; he was son of Cador, the earl of Cornwall. Constantin hight the youth; to the king he was dear. Arthur looked upon him, where he lay on the ground, and these words said, with sorrowful heart. Constantine thou art welcome, thou wert Cador's son : I here commit to thee, my kingdom: and guide thou my Britons aye to thy life's cost: • * and assure them all the laws, that have stood in my days: and all the laws so good, that by Uther's days stood. And I will fare to Avalon, to the fairest of all maidens; to Argante the queen, elf exceeding sheen: and she shall my wounds, make all sound,

al hal me makien, mid haleweise drenchen. And seothe ich cumen wulle to mine kineriche: and wunien mid Brutten, mid muchelere wunne. AEfne than worden, ther com of se wenden, that wes an sceort bat lithen, sceouen mid vthen : and twa wimmen therinne, wunderliche idihte: and hed nomen Arthur anan, and aneouste hine uereden, and softe hine adun leiden, and forth gunnen hine lithen.

Tha wes hit iwurthen, that Merlin seide whilen; that wedre unimete care, of Arthures forth fare.

Bruttes ileueth 3ete, that he beo on liue, and wunnie in Aualun mid fairest alre aluen: and lokieth euere Bruttes 3ete, whan Arthur cume lithen.

48. A third specimen shall be taken from near the close of this voluminous work, where the elder text only is


all whole me make,
with healing drinks.
And sith return I will,
to my kingdom :
and dwell with Britons,
with mickle joy.
Even with these words,
there came from sea-ward wending,
that was a short boat sailing,
moving with the waves :
and two women therein,
of marvellous aspect :
and they took Arthur anon,
and quickly bore him off,
and softly him down laid,
and forth with him to sea they gan
to move away.
Then was it come to pass
what Merlin said whilome;
that there should be much curious care,
when Arthur out of life should fare.
Britons believe yet,
that he be alive,
and dwelling in Avalon,
with the fairest of all elves:
still look the Britons for the day
of Arthur's coming o'er the sea.


Line 31981.

pa tiden comen some,
to Cadwablader kinge
into Brutaine,
per par he wunede
mid Alaine kinge,
pe wes of his cunne.
Me dude him to understonde
of al pisse londe;
hu Aöelstan her com ličen,
ut of Sex londen;
and hu he al Angle lond,
sette on his agere hond;

The tidings came soon
to Cadwalader king
into Britanny,
where he was dwelling
with Alan the king,
who was of his kin.
Men did him to understand
all about this land;
how Athelstan had here embarked,
coming out of Saxon parts;
and how he all England
set on his own hand;

and bu he sette moting,
& hu he sette husting;
and hu he sette sciren,
and makede frið of decren;
& hu he sette halimot,
& hu he sette hundred;
and pa nomen of pan tunen,
on Sexisce runen:
and Sexis he gan kennen,
pa nomen of pan monnen:
and al me him talde,
ba tiden of pisse londe.
Wa wes Cadwaladere,
pat he wes on liue.

and how he set mote-ting,
and how he set hus-ting ;
and how he set shires,
and made law for game;
and how he set synod
and how he set hundred;
and the names of the towns
in Saxon runes /
and in Saxish gan he ken,
the names of [British] men :
and so they told him all
the tidings of this land 1
Wo was to Cadwalader,
that he was alive.

49. The Ormulum may be proximately dated at A.D. 1215. This is a versified narrative of the Gospels, addressed by Ormin or Orm to his brother Walter, and after his own name called by the author ‘Ormulum'; by which designation it is commonly known. Icc patt tiss Ennglish hase sett Ennglisshe men to lare,

Icc wass par par I cristnedd wass
Orrmin bi name nemmedd.

I that this English have set
English men to lore,

I was there-where I christened was
Ormin by name named.

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In this poem we find for the first time the word “English ’ in the mature form. Layamon has the forms englisc, englis, anglis, anglisce; but Orm has enngliss, and still more frequently the fully developed form ennglissh. The author is lavish of his consonants.

50. This is a constant feature of the Ormulum. For Orm was one of Nature's philologers, and a spellingreformer. He carefully puts the double consonant after the short vowel. Had his orthography been generally adopted, we should have had in English not only the mm and nn with which German is studded, but many other double consonants which we do not now possess. How great a study Orm had made of this subject we are not left to gather from observation of his spelling, for he has emphatically called attention to it in the opening of his work.

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eggwhaer pact itt uppo piss boc upon this book it is written in that iss writen o patt wise. wise. Let him look carefully that loke well patt he’t write swa, he write it so, for else he "cannot

for he ne magg no.hht eless write it correctly in English—that on Ennglissh writenn rihht te word, know he well for certain patt wite he well to sope.

51. There is another point of orthography which is (almost) peculiar to this author. When words beginning with / follow words ending in d or 1, he generally (with but a few, and those definite exceptions) alters the initial / to 1. Where (for example) he has the three words /att and /ai/ and /e succeeding one another continuously, he writes, not /a///aff /e, but /a/ fast se. One important exception to this rule is where the word ending with the d or f is severed from the word beginning with / by a metrical pause ; in that case the change does not take place, as—

T agg affter be Goddspell stannt and aye after the Gospel standeth patt tatt te Goddspell menepp. that which the Gospel meaneth.

Here the stammt does not change the initial of the next word, because of the metrical division that separates them. Other examples of these peculiarities may be seen in the following eXtraCt.


Forr himm birrp beon full clene mann, and all wipputenn ahhte, Buttan patt mann himm findenn shall unnorne mete and wade. And taer iss all patt eorplig ping patt minnstremann birrh aghenn Wipputenn cnif and shape and camb, and medle, giff he’t geornepp. And all piss shall mann findenn himm and wel himm birrp itt gemenn; For birrp himm nowwperr don paeroff, ne gifenn itt ne sellenn. And himm birrp afre standenn inn to lofenn Godd and wurrpen, And agg himm birrp beon fressh paerto bi daggess and by nihhtess; And tat iss harrd and strang and tor and hefig lif to ledenn, And forbi birrp wel claww.stremann onnfangenn mikell mede, Att hiss Drihhtin Allwaldennd Godd, forr whamm he mikell swinnkepp. And all hiss herrte and all hiss lusst birrp agg beon towarrd heaffne, And himm birrp geornenn agg patt an hiss Drihhtin wel to cwemenn, Wipp daggsang and wipp uhhtennsang wipp messess and wipp beness, &c.


For he ought to be a very pure man and altogether without property, Except that he shall be found in simple meat and clothes. And that is all the earthly thing that minster-man should own, Except a knife and sheath and comb and needle, if he want it. And all this shall they find for him, and it is his duty to take care of it, For he may neither do with it, neither give it nor sell. And he must ever stand in (vigorously) to praise and worship God, And aye must he be fresh thereto by daytime and by nights; And that's a hard and stiff and rough

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