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ENGLISH PROSE AND POETRY

EARLY MIDDLE ENGLISH

THE ANGLO-SAXON CHRONICLE (c. 1154)

A MONK OF PETERBOROUGH

FROM THE RECORD FOR 1137

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This gære i for? the king Stephne ofer sæ This year went King Stephen over the sea to Normandi, and ther wes * underfangen, to Normandy and was received there, befor-thi-that 6 hi ? uuenden 8 that he sculde cause they thought that he was going to ben 10 alsuic 11 alse 12 the eom wes,

and for 6 be just such as his uncle was, and because he hadde get 14 his tresor; ac

15 he to-deld 16 it he still had his uncle's treasure; but he disand scatered sotlice. 17 Micel 18 hadde Henri persed it and scattered it foolishly. Much king gadered gold and sylver, and na god had Henry the king gathered of gold and ne dide me 21 for his saule 22 tharof.23

silver, and no good did anyone for his soul by

means of it. Tha 24 the king Stephne to Englalande When King Stephen came to England, then com,

25 tha 26 macod 27 he his gadering at he made his assembly at Oxford; and there Oxeneford; and thar he nam

29 the biscop

he seized the bishop Roger of Salisbury and Roger of Sereberi,39 and Alexander biscop of Alexander, bishop of Lincoln, and the ChanLincol and te 31 Canceler Roger his neves, 32 cellor Roger, his nephews, and put them all and dide 33 ælle in prisun til hi’ iafen 34 un in prison till they gave up their castles. here 35 castles. Tha 24 the suikes 36 under- When the traitors perceived that he was a gæton that he milde man was and softe and mild man and soft and good, and enforced no god 20 and na justise ne dide, tha 26 diden justice, then did they all wonders. They hi 7 alle wunder.39 Hi ? hadden him

had done homage to him and sworn oaths. red 41 maked 27 and athes 42

but they kept no troth. But they were all 19 treuthe ne heolden. 44 Alle he forsworn and their troths were entirely weron 45 forsworen, and here 35 treothes for- abandoned; for every powerful man built

46 for ævric 47 rice 48 man his castles "his castles and held against him, and they makede, 49 and agænes 50 him heolden, 51 and filled the land full of castles. They opfylden 52 the land ful of castles. Hi suencten 53 pressed grievously the wretched men of the suythe 54 the uurecce 55 men of the land mid 56 land with castle-building. castel weorces. 57

Tha 24 the castles uuaren 45 maked, tha 58 When the castles were built, then they fylden hi mid deovles and yvele

filled them with devils and evil men. Then namen 60 hi tha 61

men the 62 hi wenden 63 they seized the men who they thought had that ani god 64 hefden,65 bathe 66 be 67 nihtes any property, both by night and by day,

36 1 year ? went 3 sea was 5 received 6 because

traitors perceived 38 justice, punishthey & weened, thought should 10 be 11 just such 39 strange things, evils 40 to him 41 homage 12 as 13 uncle 14 yet 15 but 16 dispersed

17 foolishly

42 oaths 43
sworn 44 kept 45

were entirely abanmuch good 21 anyone 22 soul 23 on account doned 47 every 48 powerful 49 built 60 against 51 held of it 24 when 25

made
28 assembly
52 fiiled 53 oppressed 54 greatly

55 wretched

with 29 seized 3 Salisbury 31 the 32 nephews (i.e. the son works then evil seized those 2 who and nephew of Roger of Salisbury) 33 put 34 gave 63 weened, thought 64 property 65 had 66 both 67 by

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man

43 suoren

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hi nan

loren;

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men.

Tha 58

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men and women also, and thrust them in prison for gold and silver, and tortured them with unspeakable tortures, for never were any martyrs so tortured as they were. They were hanged up by the feet and smoked with foul smoke. They were hanged by the thumbs, or by the head, and coats of mail were hung on their feet. Knotted strings were put about their heads and twisted till they penetrated to the brains. They put them in dungeons in which were adders and snakes and toads, and killed them thus. ...

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on 21

and be dæies, carlmen and wimmen, and diden ? heom 3 in prisun efter 4 gold and sylver, and pined 5 heom untellendlice 6 pining," for ne uuæren 8 nævre nan martyrs swa 19 pined alse 11 hi wäron. Me 12 henged 13 up bi the fet 14 and smoked heom mid ful 15 smoke. Me henged bi the thumbes, other 16 bi the hefed, 17 and hengen 18 bryniges

fet. Me dide 2 cnotted strenges abuton 22 here 20 hæved 17 and uurythen 23 to 24 that it gæde 25 to the hærnes 26 Hi dyden heom in quarterne 27 thar 2 nadres 29 and snakes and pades wæron inne, and drapen heom swa.10 I ne can ne I ne mai 32 tellen alle the wun

ne alle the pines 34 that hi diden wrecce

36 this land; and that lastede tha .xix. wintre 37 wile 38 Stephne was king, and ævre 39 it was uuerse 40 and uuerse.

her 20

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der 33

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men

on

I cannot and I may not tell all the wonders nor all the tortures that they did to wretched men in this land; and that lasted the nineteen years while Stephen was king, and ever it was worse and worse.

FROM THE POEMA MORALE, OR MORAL ODE (c. 1170)

(Unknown Author)

Ich 41

æm elder then ich 41 wes, a wintre and a

lore; 12

45

50 eom

Ic 41 wælde 43 more thanne ic dude, 44 mi wit ah *

to ben more. Wel lange ic 41 habbe 46 child ibeon 47 a weorde and ech 48

a dede; Theh 49 ic beo 50 a wintre eald,51 to ying 52 I

a rede.53 Unnut 54 lyf ic habb ilæd,55 and yiet, 66 me

thincth, ic lede; Thanne ic me bethenche, 57 wel sore ic me

adrede.58 Mest 59 al thæt ic habbe ydon

ys idelnesse and chilche; Wel late ic habbe me bit hoht, bute

do milce.63 Fele 6 ydele word ic habbe iqueden 65 syth

then 66 ic speke cuthe,67 And fale 64

yunge 68 dede ido, thet me ofthinchet 69 nuthe.70

I am older than I was in winters and in

lore; I govern more than e'er I

my wisdom should be more. Full long time have I been a child in word

and eke in deed; Though I be in winters old, too young am I

in rede. Useless is the life I lead, and long, methinks,

have led; When I remember me of this, full sore am I

a-dread. Nearly all that I have done is childish and of

naught; But, save God show me mercy now, too late

is this my thought. Many idle speeches have I spoken since

speech to me was lent; And many a foolish deed have done, that I

must now repent.

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me God

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never 13

45 ought

46 have

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as

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47 been

43 also 53 counsel

54 useless

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1 men ? put 3 them 4 after (i.e. to obtain) 6 tortured unspeakable 'torture

one (i.e. they indefinite) hanged

15 foul 16 or head hung 19 corselets (as weights) 20 their 21 cords 22 about 23 twisted went,

prison

may 33 evils 34 tortures

35 wretched

36 in

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ever

41 | 42 in years and in knowledge govern

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though am 51 old 52

young 56

still 58 I am frightened

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almost ishness

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years

mercy many 66 since 67 could 68

young, silly 69

repents

70 now

55 led

57 bethink 60 done

61 child65 spoken

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24 till 28 where

penetrated

26 brains 30 toads

31 killed

62 unless

29 adders

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ne

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All too often have I sinned in deed and eke

in word; All too freely have I spent, too little laid in

hoard. Almost all I now mislike of things I liked of

yore; Who follows over-much his will, betrays him

self the more. Had fortune only favored me, I might have

done more good; Now for weakness and for age, I may not,

though I would. Old age is stolen me upon, ere that I it wist; I could not see before me for the smoke and

for the mist. Timid we are in doing good, in evil all too

bold; More awe of man than awe of Christ doth

every person hold. Who doth not well, the while he may, shall

often rue it sore, When comes the time to mow and reap what

he has sown before. Do ye for God the best ye may, the while ye

are in life; And let no man hope overmuch in child nor

yet in wife. He who doth himself forget for wife or else

for child Shall come into an evil place save God to him

be mild. Let each some good before him send, the while

he may, to heaven; For better is one alms before than afterward

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Al to lome ' ic habbe agult ? a weorche 3 and

ec * a worde; Al to muchel ic habbe ispend, to litel yleid 5

an horde. Mest 6 al thet me licede? ær, nu hit' me

mislicheth; 10 The 11 mychel 12 folyeth 13 his ywil, him sulfne

he biswiketh.14 Ich mihte habbe bet 15 idon, hadde ic tho 16

yselt he; 17 Nu ic wolde, ac 18 ic ne mei 19 for elde 20

for unhelthe; Ylde 20 me is bistolen on, ær ic hit awyste; Ne mihte ic iseon 23 before me for smeche 24

ne for miste. Ærwe 25 we beoth 26 to done god, and to yfele 27

al to thriste; More æie stent man of manne thanne him

do of Criste. The 11 wel ne deth 31 the hwile he mei,32 wel

oft hit hym scæl ruwen, 33 Thænne 34 hy mowen sculen 36 and ripen, 37

ther 38 hi ær seowen.39 Don ec 40 to Gode wet ye muye,

32 the hwile ye a life; Ne hopie no man to muchel to childe ne to

wyfe; The 11 him selve foryut 43 for wife other for

childe, He sceal cume an uvele stede 44 bute 45 hym

God beo milde. Sende ach 46 sum god biforen hym, the hwile

he mei, to heovene; Betere is an elmesse 47 bifore thenne beon æfter

seovene. Ne beo the leovre 48 thene the sulf thi mei 49 ne

50 Sot 51 is the 11 is othres mannes freond betre thene his aye. 52

30 Ne hopie 63 wif to hire were,54 ne wer

to his wife; Beo 55 for him sulve ævrich 56 man, the hwyle

he beo 57 alive. Wis 58 is the 59 him sulfne bithencth 60 the

hwile he mote 61 libbe, 62 For sone 63 wulleth 64 him foryite 65 the

fremde 66 and the sibbe.67

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buth 26

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are seven.

thi maye

own.

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And hold not dearer than thyself thy kins

man or thy son; Foolish to be another's friend rather than thine

30 And let no wife in husband hope, nor husband

in his wife; Be each man for himself alone, the while he

is in life. Wise is who bethinks himself the while he

liveth yet ;

For him will stranger - ay, and friend, soon

enough forget.

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