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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.
THE PASSING OF ARTHUR.
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
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,
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
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,
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,
Even with these words,
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.
A BRITISH VIEW OF ATHELSTAN'S REIGN.
pa tiden comen sone,
to CadwaSlader kinge
}>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
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,
and how he set mote-ting,
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
Ice wass baer baer 1 cristnedd wass
I that this English have set
English men to lore,
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.
HOW TO SPELL.
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 uP°n '*" 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.
CHARACTER OF A GOOD MONK.
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