Layamon's Early history of Britain, midieval text

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Luigi
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Layamon's Early history of Britain, midieval text

Postby Luigi » Sat Jun 18, 2022 7:06 am

Very cool midieval text I found. Its in Middle English of the late 1200s. Unlike most Middle English, it does not do everything in its power to Frenchify everything. Rather, Layamon seems to have had some connection to the alliterative poetic traditions of the English tribes which is well known from Old English texts like Beowulf, as well as Old Norse, her sister tongue. Its pretty amazing such a text exists where this poetic tradition is preserved in English so late in history. The text is clear enough you can read a lot of it, but its just a bit too old to really be able to read properly. It doesnt have the simple pronoun system we do which is a mix of Anglo and Danish, rather it preserves the Old English pronoun system, which is confusing. Feels like Im reading German, and actually the whole syntax feels very German.

Its crazy to think this is only from 100 years before Chaucer, which is much easier to read, but I suppose it makes sense if the author is intentionally trying to preserve an old poetic tradition/style.

Lines 1 through 100
An preost wes on leoden; Laȝamon wes ihoten. 1
he wes Leouenaðes sone; liðe him beo Drihten. 2
He wonede at Ernleȝe; at æðelen are chirechen. 3
vppen Seuarne staþe; sel þar him þuhte. 4
on-fest Radestone; þer he bock radde. 5
Hit com him on mode; & on his mern þonke. 6
þet he wolde of Engle; þa æðelæn tellen. 7
wat heo ihoten weoren; & wonene heo comen. 8
þa Englene londe; ærest ahten. 9
æfter þan flode; þe from Drihtene com. 10
þe al her a-quelde; quic þat he funde. 11
buten Noe.& Sem; Iaphet & Cham. 12
& heore four wiues; þe mid heom weren on archen. 13
Laȝamon gon liðen; wide ȝond þas leode. 14
& bi-won þa æðela boc; þa he to bisne nom. 15
He nom þa Englisca boc; þa makede Seint Beda. 16
An-oþer he nom on Latin; þe makede Seinte Albin. 17
& þe feire Austin; pe fulluht broute hider in. 18
Boc he nom þe þridde; leide þer amidden. 19
þa makede a Frenchis clerc; 20
Wace wes ihoten; þe wel couþe writen. 21
& he hoe ȝef þare æðelen; Ælienor 22
þe wes Henries quene; þes heȝes kinges. 23
Laȝamon leide þeos boc; & þa leaf wende. 24
he heom leofliche bi-heold. liþe him beo Drihten. 25
Feþeren he nom mid fingren; & fiede on boc-felle. 26
& þa soþere word; sette to-gadere. 27
& þa þre boc; þrumde to are. 28
Nu bidde[ð] Laȝamon alcne æðele mon; 29
for þene almiten Godd. 30
þet þeos boc rede; & leornia þeos runan. 31
þat he þeos soðfeste word; segge to-sumne.
Page 4
32
for his fader saule; þa hine for[ð] brouhte. 33
& for his moder saule; þa hine to monne iber. 34
& for his awene saule; þat hire þe selre beo. Amen. 35
Nv seið mid loft-songe þe wes on leoden preost. 36
al swa þe boc spekeð; þe he to bisne inom. 37
þa Grickes hefden Troye; mid teone bi-wonen. 38
& þat lond iwest; & þa leoden of-slawen. 39
& for þe wrake-dome; of Menelaus quene. 40
Elene was ihoten. alðeodisc wif. 41
þa Paris Alixandre; mid pret-wrenche. bi-won. 42
for hire weoren on ane daȝe; hund þousunt deade. 43
Vt of þan fehte; þe was feondliche stor. 44
Eneas þe duc; mid erm[ð]en at-wond. 45
Nefede he boten anne sune; þe was mid him isund. 46
Asscanius was ihoten; nefede he bern no ma. 47
& þes duc mid his drihte; to þare sæ him droh. 48
of kunne & of folke; þe fulede þan duke. 49
of monne & of ahte. þe he to þare sæ brouhte. 50
& tuenti gode scipen. he guðliche fulde. 51
& þa scipen foren wide; ȝeon þare wintrede sæ. 52
mid wolcnen & mid wedere; heo þoleden wen-siðes. 53
ant mid muchelure care; heo to londe bicomen. 54
On Italiȝe heo comen to londe; þar Rome nou on stondeð. 55
fele ȝer under sunnan; nas ȝet Rome bi-wonnen. 56
& heuede Eneas þe duc; mid his driht-folcke. 57
widen iwalken. ȝend þat wide water. 58
moni lond umbe-rowen; redes him trokeden. 59
On Italiȝe he com on lond; þat him was iqueme. 60
A þon londe he fund mete; & he hine mid monscipe biwon. 61
& mid golde and mid gersume; & he griðliche spac. 62
I þere Tyure he eode alond; þer þa sea wasceð þat sond. 63
ful neh þan ilke stude; þar Rome nou stondeð. 64
Þe king was ihoten Latin; þe on þan londe wes. 65
hey wes and riche; & he wes redesful. 66
mid wintre he wes bi-weaued. swo hit wolde Godd. 67
Þar com Eneas; & grette þen alde king. 68
& he hine feire on-feng; mid allen his folke. 69
Muche lond he him ȝef; & mare him biheyte. 70
an-long þare sea;eacute; siden & widen. 71
Þare quene hit of-þouhte; noþeles heo hit þolede.
Page 5
72
Þe king heuede ane douter; þe him was swiþe deore. 73
Eneam he heo biheyte; to habben to wife. 74
& after his daye; al his drihliche lond. 75
for he nefde nenne sune; þe sarure was his heorte. 76
Þat maiden wes ihoten Lauine; seþen heo wes leodena quene. 77
feier wes þe wimmon; & wunsum hire monnen. 78
Ah Turnus was ihoten þat wes of Tuskanne duc; 79
þet lufede þet maiden; & hire monscipe bed. 80
þat he heo wolde habben; to heiȝen are quene. 81
Þa com þat word to him; þat was widene cuð. 82
þat þe king Latin; ȝef Lauine his douter. 83
Eneam to are brude; for heo wes his deore bearn; 84
Þa wes Turnus sari; & soruful on his mode. 85
for he heo heuede swiþe ilofe[d]; & luf-þing hire biheite. 86
Weorre makede Turnus; mid teonen he wes idrefe[d]. 87
wið Eneam he nom an feiht; þat wes feondliche strong. 88
hond wið honde; fuhten þa heȝe men. 89
Teone wes on compe; þar Turnus feol. 90
mid mechen to-heawen; his monscipe wes þe lasse. 91
Eneas nom Lauine; leofliche to wife. 92
he wes king & heo quen; & kine-lond heo welden. 93
inne griðe & inne friðe; & freoliche loueden. 94
Seoþen Eneas Lauine heuede inomen; & þa leodene bi-wnnen. 95
he makede enne stronge castel; mid starke ston walle. 96
Lauine hehte his leuemon; þene castel he clepede Lauinion. 97
þat wes for hire worðscipe; wel þat he hire uþe. 98
Feour winter he heuede þat wif; mid wrðscipe to welden. 99
after þa feourðe ȝere he was dead; his freonden hit of-þuhten. 100

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/LayCal ... w=fulltext

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Edge Guerrero
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Postby Edge Guerrero » Tue Jun 21, 2022 10:07 pm

Luigi wrote:Very cool midieval text I found. Its in Middle English of the late 1200s. Unlike most Middle English, it does not do everything in its power to Frenchify everything. Rather, Layamon seems to have had some connection to the alliterative poetic traditions of the English tribes which is well known from Old English texts like Beowulf, as well as Old Norse, her sister tongue. Its pretty amazing such a text exists where this poetic tradition is preserved in English so late in history. The text is clear enough you can read a lot of it, but its just a bit too old to really be able to read properly. It doesnt have the simple pronoun system we do which is a mix of Anglo and Danish, rather it preserves the Old English pronoun system, which is confusing. Feels like Im reading German, and actually the whole syntax feels very German.

Its crazy to think this is only from 100 years before Chaucer, which is much easier to read, but I suppose it makes sense if the author is intentionally trying to preserve an old poetic tradition/style.

Lines 1 through 100
An preost wes on leoden; Laȝamon wes ihoten. 1
he wes Leouenaðes sone; liðe him beo Drihten. 2
He wonede at Ernleȝe; at æðelen are chirechen. 3
vppen Seuarne staþe; sel þar him þuhte. 4
on-fest Radestone; þer he bock radde. 5
Hit com him on mode; & on his mern þonke. 6
þet he wolde of Engle; þa æðelæn tellen. 7
wat heo ihoten weoren; & wonene heo comen. 8
þa Englene londe; ærest ahten. 9
æfter þan flode; þe from Drihtene com. 10
þe al her a-quelde; quic þat he funde. 11
buten Noe.& Sem; Iaphet & Cham. 12
& heore four wiues; þe mid heom weren on archen. 13
Laȝamon gon liðen; wide ȝond þas leode. 14
& bi-won þa æðela boc; þa he to bisne nom. 15
He nom þa Englisca boc; þa makede Seint Beda. 16
An-oþer he nom on Latin; þe makede Seinte Albin. 17
& þe feire Austin; pe fulluht broute hider in. 18
Boc he nom þe þridde; leide þer amidden. 19
þa makede a Frenchis clerc; 20
Wace wes ihoten; þe wel couþe writen. 21
& he hoe ȝef þare æðelen; Ælienor 22
þe wes Henries quene; þes heȝes kinges. 23
Laȝamon leide þeos boc; & þa leaf wende. 24
he heom leofliche bi-heold. liþe him beo Drihten. 25
Feþeren he nom mid fingren; & fiede on boc-felle. 26
& þa soþere word; sette to-gadere. 27
& þa þre boc; þrumde to are. 28
Nu bidde[ð] Laȝamon alcne æðele mon; 29
for þene almiten Godd. 30
þet þeos boc rede; & leornia þeos runan. 31
þat he þeos soðfeste word; segge to-sumne.
Page 4
32
for his fader saule; þa hine for[ð] brouhte. 33
& for his moder saule; þa hine to monne iber. 34
& for his awene saule; þat hire þe selre beo. Amen. 35
Nv seið mid loft-songe þe wes on leoden preost. 36
al swa þe boc spekeð; þe he to bisne inom. 37
þa Grickes hefden Troye; mid teone bi-wonen. 38
& þat lond iwest; & þa leoden of-slawen. 39
& for þe wrake-dome; of Menelaus quene. 40
Elene was ihoten. alðeodisc wif. 41
þa Paris Alixandre; mid pret-wrenche. bi-won. 42
for hire weoren on ane daȝe; hund þousunt deade. 43
Vt of þan fehte; þe was feondliche stor. 44
Eneas þe duc; mid erm[ð]en at-wond. 45
Nefede he boten anne sune; þe was mid him isund. 46
Asscanius was ihoten; nefede he bern no ma. 47
& þes duc mid his drihte; to þare sæ him droh. 48
of kunne & of folke; þe fulede þan duke. 49
of monne & of ahte. þe he to þare sæ brouhte. 50
& tuenti gode scipen. he guðliche fulde. 51
& þa scipen foren wide; ȝeon þare wintrede sæ. 52
mid wolcnen & mid wedere; heo þoleden wen-siðes. 53
ant mid muchelure care; heo to londe bicomen. 54
On Italiȝe heo comen to londe; þar Rome nou on stondeð. 55
fele ȝer under sunnan; nas ȝet Rome bi-wonnen. 56
& heuede Eneas þe duc; mid his driht-folcke. 57
widen iwalken. ȝend þat wide water. 58
moni lond umbe-rowen; redes him trokeden. 59
On Italiȝe he com on lond; þat him was iqueme. 60
A þon londe he fund mete; & he hine mid monscipe biwon. 61
& mid golde and mid gersume; & he griðliche spac. 62
I þere Tyure he eode alond; þer þa sea wasceð þat sond. 63
ful neh þan ilke stude; þar Rome nou stondeð. 64
Þe king was ihoten Latin; þe on þan londe wes. 65
hey wes and riche; & he wes redesful. 66
mid wintre he wes bi-weaued. swo hit wolde Godd. 67
Þar com Eneas; & grette þen alde king. 68
& he hine feire on-feng; mid allen his folke. 69
Muche lond he him ȝef; & mare him biheyte. 70
an-long þare sea;eacute; siden & widen. 71
Þare quene hit of-þouhte; noþeles heo hit þolede.
Page 5
72
Þe king heuede ane douter; þe him was swiþe deore. 73
Eneam he heo biheyte; to habben to wife. 74
& after his daye; al his drihliche lond. 75
for he nefde nenne sune; þe sarure was his heorte. 76
Þat maiden wes ihoten Lauine; seþen heo wes leodena quene. 77
feier wes þe wimmon; & wunsum hire monnen. 78
Ah Turnus was ihoten þat wes of Tuskanne duc; 79
þet lufede þet maiden; & hire monscipe bed. 80
þat he heo wolde habben; to heiȝen are quene. 81
Þa com þat word to him; þat was widene cuð. 82
þat þe king Latin; ȝef Lauine his douter. 83
Eneam to are brude; for heo wes his deore bearn; 84
Þa wes Turnus sari; & soruful on his mode. 85
for he heo heuede swiþe ilofe[d]; & luf-þing hire biheite. 86
Weorre makede Turnus; mid teonen he wes idrefe[d]. 87
wið Eneam he nom an feiht; þat wes feondliche strong. 88
hond wið honde; fuhten þa heȝe men. 89
Teone wes on compe; þar Turnus feol. 90
mid mechen to-heawen; his monscipe wes þe lasse. 91
Eneas nom Lauine; leofliche to wife. 92
he wes king & heo quen; & kine-lond heo welden. 93
inne griðe & inne friðe; & freoliche loueden. 94
Seoþen Eneas Lauine heuede inomen; & þa leodene bi-wnnen. 95
he makede enne stronge castel; mid starke ston walle. 96
Lauine hehte his leuemon; þene castel he clepede Lauinion. 97
þat wes for hire worðscipe; wel þat he hire uþe. 98
Feour winter he heuede þat wif; mid wrðscipe to welden. 99
after þa feourðe ȝere he was dead; his freonden hit of-þuhten. 100

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/LayCal ... w=fulltext



- I can reconize some words, presume they turned more mescled when a culture was giving place to another. It's surprising how diferent our languege looked a century back.
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