HISTORY OF PROSE STYLE
Part 1: Old English
Preface to St. Gregory's
Pastoral Care. [Transcribed and translated by John F. Tinkler]
Aelfred kyning hateth gretan _____________ biscep his wordum
Alfred king bids greet bishop _____________ with his words
luflice ond freondlice; ond the cythan hate thaet me com
loving and friendly; and to thee bids make known that to me comes
swithe oft on gemynd, hwelce wiotan iu waeren giond
very often into remembrance, what wise men once were throughout
Angelcynn, aegther ge godcundra ge woruldcundra; ond hu
English-kind, both godly and worldly; and how
gesaeliglica tida tha waeron giond Angelcynn; and hu tha kyningas
happy times then were throughout English-kind; and how the kings
the thone onwald haefdon thaes folces Gode ond his aerendwrecum
who then power had over the people obeyed God and his errand-
hiersumedon; ond hu hie aegther ge hiora sibbe ge hiora siodu
bearers; and how both their peace and their morality
ge hiora onweald innanbordes gehioldon, ond eac ut
and their power within their borders they held, and also outside
hiora ethel rymdon; ond hu him tha speow aegther ge
their property enlarged; and how to him then was success both
mid wige ge mid wisdome; ond eac tha godcundan hadas hu giorne
in war and in wisdom; and eke then the godly -hood how eager
hie waeron aegther ge ymb lare ge ymb liornunga, ge ymb ealle tha
they were both about lore and about learning, and about all the
thiowotdomas the hie Gode don scoldon; ond hu man utanbordes
services they for God must do; and how men outside our borders
wisdom ond lare hieder on lond sohte, ond hu we hie nu
wisdom and lore hither in land sought, and how we them now
sceoldon ute begietan, gif we hie habben sceoldan. Swae claene
must from outside get, if we them must have. So complete was
hioe waes othfeallenu on Angelcynne thaet swithe feawe waeron
their falling off among English-kind that very few were
behionan Humbre the hiora theninga cuthen understondan on
behind the Humber who their services could understand in
Englisc oththe furthum an aerendgewrit of Laedne on Englisc
English or even an errand-writ from Latin to English [could]
areccean; ond ic wene thaette noghte monige begiondan Humbre.
translate; and I ween that not many were beyond the Humber.
Swae feawa hiora waeron thaet ic furthum anne anlepne ne me
So few of them were that I even an one cannot me
gethencean be suthan Temese tha tha ic to rice feng. Gode
think south of the Thames when I grasped rule. God
aelmihtegum sie thonc thaette we nu aenige onstal habbath
almighty be thanked that we now any supply have
lareowa. For thon ic the bebiode thaet thu do swae ic geliefe
of teachers. Therefore I thee command that you do as I believe
thu wille, thaet thu the thissa woruldthinga to thaem geaemetige,
you wish, that you from these worldly affairs disengage yourself,
swae thu oftest maege, thaet thu thone wisdom the the God sealde
as oftenest as you may, that you entrust the wisdom that God gave
thaer thaer thu hiene befaestan maege, befaeste. Gethenc hwelc
you wherever you may entrust it. Think what
witu us tha becomen for thisse worulde, tha tha we hit nowhaether
punishments upon us then came in this world, when we neither
ne selfe ne lufden, ne eac othorum monnum ne lefdon; thone naman
loved it ourselves, nor eke allowed it to other men; the name
aenne we lufedon thaette we Cristne waeron, ond swithe feawa tha
alone we loved that we were Christians, and very few [loved] the
Written by Aelfric
[c.950-1020] in Latin, and anonymously translated into Old English in the
early 1000s. The three versions here are (a) the Latin original; (b) the
Old English translation; (c) John F. Tinkler's plodding translation.
[Transcribed and translated by John F. Tinkler.]
Discipulus: Nos pueri rogamus te, magister, ut
Discipulus: We cildra biddath the, eala lareow, thaet
Student: We children bid thee, oh teacher, that
doceas nos loqui Latialiter recte, quia idiote sumus,
thu taece us sprecan rihte, for tham ungelaerede we syndon
thou teach us to speak rightly, for the unlearned we are
et corrupte loquimur.
and gewaemmodlice we sprecath.
and corruptly we speak.
Magister: Quid vultis loqui?
Magister: Hwaet wille ge sprecan?
Teacher: What will ye speak?
D: Quid curamus quid loquimur, nisi recta locutio sit,
D: Hwaet rece we hweat we sprecan, buton hit riht spraec sy
S: What care we what we speak, unless it right speech be
et utilis, non anilis, aut turpis?
and behefe, naes idel oththe fracod.
and [useful/]behooveful, not idle or wicked.
M: Vultis flagellari in discendo?
M: Wille ye beon beswungen on leornunge?
T: Will ye to be beaten in learning?
D: Carius est nobis flagellari pro doctrina, quam nescire;
D: Leofre ys us beon beswungen for lare thaenne hit ne cunnan;
S: Dearer it is to us to be beaten for teaching, than it not to
sed scimus to mansuetum esse, et nolle inferre
ac we witan the bilewitne wesan and nellan onbelaeden
know; but we know you kindly are and do not wish to inflict
plagias nobis, nisi cogaris a nobis.
swincgla us buton thu bi togenydd fram us.
blows on us, unless you are forced by us.
M: Interrogo te quid mihi loqueris. Quid habes operis?
M: Ic axie the, hwaet sprycst thu? Whaet haefst thu weorkes?
T: I ask thee, what say you? What have you of work?
D: Professus sum monachum, et psallam omni die septem sinaxes
D: Ic eom geanwyrde monuc, and ic sincge aelce daeg seofan tida
S: I am professed monk, and I sing each day seven times
cum fratribus, et occupatus sum lectionibus et cantu; sed
mid gebrothrum, and ic eom bysgod on raedinga and on sange; ac
with the brethren, and I am busied in readings and in song; but
tamen vellem interim discere sermocinari Latina lingua.
theah hwaethere ic wolde betwenan leornian sprecan on Leden-gereorde.
nevertheless I wish betweentimes to learn to speak in Latin-language.
[Transcribed and transalted by John F. Tinkler]
Aelfric gret eadmodlice Adelwerd ealdorman and ic saege
Aelfric greets humbly Adelwerd alderman and I say
the leof thaet ic haebbe nu gegaderod on thyssere bec thaera
to thee dear that I have now gathered in this book those
halgena thowunga the me to onhagode on englisc to
saints' sufferings that for me have been convenient in English to
awendene for than the thu leof swithost and aethelmaer swylcera
translate for that you most dear and Aethelmaer for such
gewrita me baedon and of handum gelaehton eowerne geleafan
writings me bade and from my hands received your faith
to getrymmenne mid thaere gerecednysse the ge on eowrum gereorde
to confirm with these accounts which you in your language
naefdon aer. Thu wast leof thaet we awendon on tham twam
had not before. You know dear that we translated in the two
aerrum bocum thaera halgena throwunga and lif the angel-cynn
earlier books those saints' sufferings and lives that the English
mid freols-dagum wurthath. Nu ge-wearth us thaet we thas boc
with feast-days honor. Now it happens to us that we this book
be thaera halgena throwungum and life gedihton the mynster-men
about the saints' sufferings and lives compose that minster-men
mid heora thenungum betwux him wurthiath.
with their services between themselves honor.
The sermon of "Wolf" to the
English when the Danes persecuted them most, which was in the year 1014
from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[Transcribed and translated by John F. Tinkler.]
Leofan men, gecnawath thaet soth is: theos woruld is
Beloved men, know what sooth is: this world is
on ofste, and hit nealaecth tham ende; and thy hit is on
on haste, and it neareth the end; and for it is in the
worulde a swa leng swa wyrse, and swa hit scael nyde
world ever so much longer, so much worse, and so it must needs
aer Antecristes tocyme yfelian swythe. Understandath
before Antichrist's arrival worsen greatly. Understand
eac georne thaet deofol thas theode nu fela geara dwelode
also clearly that the devil this people now many years has led
to swithe, and thaet lytle getrywtha waeron mid mannum,
astray too much, and that little faith was among men,
theah hi wel spaecan, and unrihte to fela ricsode on
though they well spoke, and wrongs too much have reigned on
lande. And naes a fela manna the hogade ymbe tha
land. And there was not ever many men that thought about the
bote swa georne swa man scolde, ac daeghwamlice man ihte
remedy as eagerly as men should, but daily they added
yfel aefter othrum and unriht raerde and unlaga manege
evil after other and injustice reared and many wrongs
ealles to wide gynd ealle thas theode.
all too widely throughout this nation.
during Alfred's reign, 871-901, with later continuations]
[Transcribed and translated by John F. Tinkler.]
893. Her on thysum geare for se micla here, the we gefyrn
Here in this year went the great host, that we previously
ymbe spraecon, eft of thaem eastrice wesweard to Bunnan,
spoke about, again from the east kingdom westward to Boulogne,
ond thaer wurdon gescipode, swa thaet hie asettan him on anne
and there were provided-with-ships, so that they crossed in one
sith ofer, mid horsum mid ealle, ond tha comon up on
journey over, with horses and all, and they came up in the
Limenemuthan mid ccl hunde scipa. Se mutha is on easteweardre
mouth-of-the-Lympne with 250 ships. This mouth is in Eastern
Cent, aet thaes miclan wuda eastende the we Andred hatath;
Kent, at the great wood's east end that we call Andred;
se wudu is eastlang ond westlang hundtwelftiges mila lang oththe
this wood east to west a hundred and twelve miles long or
lengra, ond thritiges mila brad; seo ea the we aer ymbe spraecon
longer, and thirty miles wide; the river that we before spoke
lith ut of thaem wealda; on tha ea hi tugon up hiora scipu oth
about flows out of that forest; on this river they towed their
scipu oth thone weald iiii mila from thaem muthan uteweardum,
ships to the forest 4 miles from the outside of the mouth,
ond thaer abraecon an geweorc; inne on thaem faestenne saeton
and there destroyed a fort; within that fortress lay
feawa cirlisce men on, ond waes samworht. Tha sona aefter thaem
a few churlish men, and was half-wrought. Then soon after this
Tha sona aefter thaem com Haesten mid lxxx scipa up on
Then soon after this came Haeston with 80 ships up in
Temesemuthan, ond worhte him geweorc aet Midddeltune, ond
the mouth-of-the-Thames, and wrought him a fort at Middeltune, and
se other here aet Apuldre.
the other army at Apuldre.
894. On thys geare, thaet was ymb twelf monath thaes the hie
In this year, that was about twelve months that they
on thaem eastrice geweorc geworht haefdon, Northymbre
in the eastern kingdom the fort had fortified, the Northumbrians
ond East Engle haefdon Aelfrede cyninge athas geseald, ond
and East Anglians had to Alfred king oaths given, and
East Engle foregisla vi; ond theh ofer tha
the East Anglians preliminary hostages six; and who against the
treowa, swa oft swa tha othre hergas mid ealle herige utforon
pledge, as often as the other forces with all force went forth
thonne foron hie, oththe mid, oththe on heora healfe on. Tha
then went they, either with, or in their own direction. Then
gegaderade Aelfred cyning his fierd, ond for thaet he
gathered Alfred king his army, and for that he
gewicode betwuh thaem twam hergum, thaer thaer he niehst rymet
camped between the two armies, there where he nearest room
haefte for wudufaestenne ond for waeterfeastenne, swa thaet
had for wood-protection and for water-protection, so that
he mehte aegtherne geraecan gif hie aenige feld secan wolden.
he might each seize if they any field would seek.
Tha foron hie siththan aefter thaem wealda, hlothum ond
Then went they after through the woods, in bands and
flocradum, bi swa hwatherre efes swa hit thonne fierdleas waes;
troops, at whichever edge where it then defenseless was;
ond him eac mid othrum floccum sohte maestra daga aelce, oththe
and them also with other troops sought almost every day, either
on daegd oththe on niht, ge of thaere fierde, ge eac of thaem
by day or by night, both from the army, and also from the
burgum; haefde se cyning his fierd on tu tonumen, swa thaet
cities; the king had his army in two divided, so that
hie waeron simle healfe aet ham, healfe ute, butan thaem
they were always half at home, half abroad, except those
monnum the tha burga healdan scolden.
men who must guard the cities.