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Then called Arthur, noblest [boldest] of kings: 'Where be ye, my Britons, my bold thanes [knights] t 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!' 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 \> and S, 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 bald heom alle tha la^en,

tha habbeoth istonden a mine da;en:

and alle tha lajeu gode,

tha bi Vtheres dajcn stode.

And ich wulle uaren to Aualun,

to uairest aire maidene;

to Argante there quene,

aluen swithe sceone:

and heo seal mine wunden,

niakien alle isunde,

Then was there no more

in that fight left alive,

out of 200,000 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 Uthers 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 ha1ewei3e drencher). And seothe ich cumen wulle to mine kineriche: and wunien mid Brutten, mid muchelere wunne. JEfne than worden, ther com of se wenden, that wes an sceort bat lithen, sceouen- mid vthen: and twa wimmen therinne, wunderliche idihte: and heo 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 weore unimete care, of Arthures forth fare.

Bruttes ileueth 3ete, that he beo on liue, and wnnnie in Aualun mid fairest aire aluen: and Iokieth 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 preserved.

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 /herein,
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 tier the sea.


Line 31981.

pa tiden comen sone,

to CadwaSlader kinge

into Brutaine,

}>er J)ar he wunede

mid Alaine kinge,

)>e wes of his cunne.

Me dude him to understonde

of al J)isse londe;

hu ASelstan her com liSen,

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 tvas of his kin.

Men did him to understand

all about this land;

how Atheist an had here embarked,

coming out of Saxon parts;

and how he all England

set on his own hand;

and hu he sette moting,
& hu he sette husting;
and hu he sette sciren,
and makede friS of deoren;
& hu he sette halimot,
& hu he sette hundred;
and fa nomen of fan tunen,
on Sexisce runen:
and Sexis he gan kennen,
ba nomen of ban monnen:
and al me him talde,
ba tiden of bisse londe.
Wa wes Cadwaladere,
bat he wes on Hue.

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 I
Wo was to Cadwalader,
that he was alive.

49. The Ormulum may be proximately dated at A.d. I 215. 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.

Ice batt tiss Ennglish hafe sett
Ennglisshe men to lare,

Ice wass baer baer 1 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.

piss boc iss nemmnedd Orrmulum This book is named Ormulum

Forrbi batt Orrm itt wroghte. Because that Orm it wrought.

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 entiglissh. 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.


And whase wilenn shall |>iss boc And whoso shall purpose to make

efft oberr sibe writenn another copy of this book, I bee him

hmmbidde ice bat he t write rihht ,0 wfUt ,., ^^ fls ^ book

swa sumni piss boc him taechebb ,. , , , , , , „

and tatt he loke well batt he directeth; and that he look well

an bocstaff write twiggess lhat ** wnU a le"er twlce ">>*rever

eggwhzr bset itt uppo bbs boc un '*" 00°* " '« ■written in lhat

iss writen o batt wise. wise. Let him look carefully that

loke well batt he't write swa, he write it so, for else he cannot

for he ne magg nohht elless wriie it correctly in English—that

on Ennglissh writenn rihht te word, kmw he rf for cerlain ,

batt wite he well to sope.

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

1 agg affter pe Goddspell stannt and aye after the Gospel standeth

jpatt tatt te Goddspell menebb. that which the Gospel meaneth.

Here the stannt 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 birr)) beon full clene maun,

and all wij)butenn ahhte, Buttan )>att mann himm findenn shall

unnorne mete and waede. And tar iss all J)att eor(>Hg J)ing

J)att minnstremann birrb aghenn WiJ)])utenn cnif and shaebe and camb

and nedle, giff he't geornebj). And all biss shall mann findenn himm

and wel himm birrb itt gemenn; For birr]) himm noww])err don ])serorY,

ne gifenn itt ne sellenn. And himm birrf> sefre standenn inn

to lofenn Godd and wurrj>en, And agg himm birr]) beon fressh bserto

bi daggess and by nihhtess; And tat iss harrd and Strang and tor

and hefig lif to ledenn. And forbi birrb wel clawwstremann

onnfangenn mikell mede, Att hiss Drihhtin Allwaeldennd Godd,

forr whamm he mikell swinnkebb. And all hiss herrte and all hiss lusst

birrb agg beon towarrd heoffne, And himm birr]) geornenn agg batt an

hiss Drihhtin wel to cwemenn, Wibb daggsang and wibb uhhtennsang

wibj) messess and wi]>J> 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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