English and Medieval Studies, Presented to J. R. R. Tolkien on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday

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English and Medieval Studies, Presented to J. R. R. Tolkien on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday

Table of contents :
W. H. AUDEN / A Short Ode to a Philologist 11
A. CAMPBELL / The Old English Epic Style 13
A. J. BLISS / The Appreciation of Old English Metre 27
M. E. GRIFFITHS / King Alfred’s Last War 41
C. E. BAZELL / Six Questions of Old and Middle English Morphology 51
PAMELA GRADON / Studies in Late West-Saxon Labialisation and Delabialisation 63
N. R. KER / The Bodmer Fragment of Ælfrics Homily for Septuagesima Sunday 77
S. R. T. O. D’ARDENNE / A Neglected Manuscript of British History 84
R. W. BURCHFIELD / 'Ormulum': Words copied by Jan van Vliet from parts now lost 94
E. S. OLSZEWSKA / Alliterative Phrases in the 'Ormulum': some Norse Parallels 112
E. J. DOBSON / The Affiliations of the Manuscripts of 'Ancrene Wisse' 128
T. P. DUNNING / God and Man in 'Troilus and Criseyde' 164
W. MEREDITH THOMPSON / Chaucer s Translation of the Bible 183
NEVILL COGHILL / God’s Wenches and the Light that Spoke (Some notes on Langland’s kind of poetry) 200
C. S. LEWIS / The Anthropological Approach 219
ANGUS MCINTOSH / The Textual Transmission of the Alliterative 'Morte Arthure' 231
G. TURVILLE-PETRE / Thurstable 241
URSULA DRONKE / Art and Tradition in 'Skírnismál' 250
AUVO KURVINEN / Two Sixteenth-Century Editions of 'The Life of St Catharine of Alexandria' 269
J. A. W. BENNETT / Climates of Opinions 280
C. L. WRENN / Magic in an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery 306
NORMAN DAVIS / Man and Monsters at Sutton Hoo 321

Citation preview


ENGLISH AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES Presented to J . R. R. TO LK IEN on the Occasion o f his Seventieth Birthday EDITED BY N O R M A N D A V I S A N D C. L . W R E N N




F I R S T P U B L I S H E D IN I 9 6 2

T his hook is copyright under the Berne Convention . A part from any fa ir dealing fo r the purposes o f private study , research, criticism or review, as per m itted under the Copyright A c t 1956 , no portion may he reproduced hy any process without written per­ mission. Enquiry should he made to the publisher.


George A llen & Unwin L t d 1962




W. H. A U D E N

A Short Ode to a Philologist

page 1 1

A. C A M P B E L L

The O ld English E p ic Style


A. J . B L I S S

The Appreciation o f O ld English M etre


M. E. G R I F F I T H S

K in g A lfred ’s L a st W ar


C. E . B A Z E L L

S ix Questions o f O ld and M iddle English M orphology



Studies in L a te W est-Saxon Labialisation and Delabialisation


N. R . K E R

The Bodm er Fragm ent o f Æ lfr ic s H om ily fo r Septuagesima Sunday


S. R. T . O. d ’ a R D E N N E

A N eglected M anuscript o f B ritish H istory


R. W. B U R C H F I E L D

O rm ulum : W ords copied by Jan van V liet from parts now lost


E. S. O L S Z E W S K A

A lliterative Phrases in the O rm ulum : some N orse Parallels



The Affiliations

o f the M anuscripts

A ncrene W isse

of 128

T . P. D U N N I N G

G od and M an in T roilu s and C riseyde


W. M E R E D I T H T H O M P S O N

Chaucer s Translation o f the B ible




God’s Wenches and the L ig h t that Spoke (Some notes on Langland’s kind o f poetry) 200 C. S. L E W I S

The Anthropological Approach



The Textual Transmission o f the A llitera­ tive M orte A rth ure


G. T U R V I L L E - P E T R E




A rt and Tradition in Skírnismál



Two Sixteenth-Century Editions o f T h e L ife o f St Catharine o f Alexandria


J. A. W. B E N N E T T

Clim ates o f Opinions


C. L. W R E N N

M agic in an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery



M an and M onsters at Sutton Hoo



P lates J. R . R . T o lk ie n


T h e W o d en page o f MS. L iège U n iversity L ib rary 369 C facing page


T h e Sutton H oo plaque and the M oorea carving


Pare from Parangahau and R otorua


F igures T h e stemma o f the manuscripts o f Ancrene W isse T h e runes on the Caistor astragalus

P ag e

137 308


A SH O R T O D E T O A PH IL O LO G IST Die Sprache ist die Mutter, nicht die Magd des Gedankens Karl Kraus

Necessity knows no speech: not even Shakespeare can say W hat must be said so well as Frisch’s bees convey Vital instructions b y ballet, N or do Jack and Jill, like thrushes, Grow outspoken under May’s compulsion. A scream can be uncontrollable and yawning a rudeness One has to be excused, but free Speech is a tautology. W ho means Good-morning reveals he is not Napoleon or Napoleon’s cook but quite as bom , a first author, Ready in turn to answer for A story he cannot invent And must leave to others to tell with what Prejudice they prefer. Social charmers daren’t invite comment And a chatterbox doesn’t: in Speech, if true, true deeds begin. I f not, there’s International Babel, In which murders Are a sanitary measure and stockbrokers Integrity-ridden for sirs W ho think big, where noises abound For throats to hire whose doom is to compel Attention: Its V oid costs money, being flood-lit, wired for sound, W ith banner headlines guaranteed And applause pre-recorded.


ENGLISH AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES But Dame Philology is our Queen still, Quick to comfort Truth-loving hearts in their mother-tongue (to report On the miracles she has wrought In the U .K ., the N .E.D . Takes fourteen tomes): She suffers no evil, And a statesman still, so her grace prevent, may keep a treaty, A poor commoner arrive at The Proper Name for his cat. No hero is immortal till he dies N or is a tongue, But a lay o f Beowulf’s language, too, can be sung, Ignoble, maybe, to the young, Having no monsters and no gore T o speak of, yet not without its beauties For those who have learned to hope: a lot o f us are grateful for W hat J. R. R. Tolkien has done As bard to Anglo-Saxon.




It is a noteworthy common feature o f G reek and O ld English epic that both depict the recitation o f short lays1 as one o f the delights o f the heroic age, and give no hint that full-scale epic narrative was then know n.2 T h is implies that the poets were conscious that their own art was either a development o f com ­ paratively recent times, or that it was not know n to the social class depicted in their works. T h e Indo-European nations have produced only three independent epic conventions, the Greek, the Sanskrit, and the O ld English. T h e common feature o f G reek and O ld English epic just noticed appears the more remarkable when it is observed that Sanskrit epic does not share it, but regards full-scale epic narrative as already know n to the heroic age.3 It is an obvious question to ask w h y the short lay was replaced b y the full-style epic. Much ingenuity has been expended upon it in the case o f the Greeks,4 less in that o f the O ld English. F or them an answer is in any event ready to hand. N ew conditions were created b y the grow th o f A nglo-Saxon monasticism. Leisure and materials were now available to write on an ample scale, Latin verse narratives were at hand beside which the old lays would appear undeveloped and abrupt. Under these circum­ stances the new art o f epic narrative arose. T h e new epic style was developed from that o f the lays. Latin verse was not heavily drawn upon. There could be no greater contrast than the ease w ith which the influence o f V irgil can be 1 See Appendix I. 2 O n the distinction o f lay and epic see Appendix II. 3 F o r example, the ‘forest stories’ w ith which the heroes o f the Mahabkärata amuse themselves are in the full epic style.

4 See, for example, one solution well defended b y H . T . W ad e-G ery, The P oet o f the Ilia d (Cam bridge, 1952).



demonstrated in any reasonably long w ork o f the O ld English Latin poets, and the difficulty o f proving it in any vernacular poem.1 From this it follows that, i f the O ld English epic style is o f monastic origin, the native lays must have been familiar in the monasteries as well as in the secular halls. T h is is exactly what w e should have expected from the words o f A lcuin, w ho wrote in the late eighth century to a bishop o f Lindisfam e: ‘W hen priests dine together let the words o f G od be read. It is fitting on such occasions to listen to a reader, not to a harpist, to the discourses o f the fathers, not to the poems o f the heathen. W hat has Ingeld to do with Christ?’ 2 Here w e have definite evidence that ancient lays, thought to have arisen in heathen times, were know n in monasteries. T his is just what w e should have conjectured was the case from the monastic development o f a new poetic art based on that o f the lays. Religious poetry would be the first attempted in the new style. T h e solid scriptural narratives o f Genesis probably give a good idea o f what much o f it was like. T h e story o f Cædmon, though somewhat deceptive,3 shows what must have happened in many monasteries. But this story again points to a good knowledge o f secular verse among the monks. B y what other standard could the efforts o f the many Caedmons w ho first attempted religious 1 Attem pts to demonstrate the influence o f the

Aeneid on Beowulf have had no decisive

results, but have been regarded as having turned an obvious possibility into a proba­ bility: see the reviews o f T . B. Haber,

‘Æ neid'

A Comparative Study o f the ‘Beowulf9 and the Beowulf 3rd cdn, p. civ. T h e spiritual

(Princeton, 1931), listed b y Klaeber,

affinity o f the tw o poets stressed b y Professor Tolkien, ‘Beowulf. T h e Monsters and the Critics’,

Proc. B rit. Acad., xxii (1936), 24-25, has no doubt created the desire to find

parallels. F o r a very possible one, see p. 15, n. 3, below.

2 Mon. Germ. H ist., E pist. Carol., ii. 124. 1 quote the translation o f H . M. Chadwick, The Heroic Age (Cambridge, 1912), p. 41. 3 F . P. Magoun, Speculum, xxx (1955), 49 ff., demonstrates that Caedmon’s Hymn was composed in an already traditional O ld English religious verse. Hence Bede’s implicit claim that Cædmon founded a school o f religious poetry cannot stand. It follows also from Magoun’s study that Cædmon must have had opportunities o f steeping himself in religious poetry as practised in his monastery before his delayed inspiration. It cannot be too strongly emphasized that what w ould be regarded b y the scholars o f W h itb y as the grace o f G o d was not (as Bede implies) that one more labourer could ‘sing’, but that such a man was master o f the style which, developed from that o f the heroic verse which had delighted the Germanic warrior aristocracy, was now the medium o f verse which delighted a monkhood aristocratic at least in tradition. T h e above view o f Cædm on’s achievement is clearly put b y C . L . W renn, ‘T h e P oetry o f Cædm on’,

Proc. B rit. Acad.,

xxxiii (1946), 12; on the aristocratic background o f O ld English culture, both secular and lay, see H . M. Flasdieck, ‘Zur Charakteristik der sprachlichen Verhältnisse in altengl. Zeit’,

Beiträge %ur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur , xlviii (1923) ,376 ff.



verse at various centres be judged? W hen the new art developed it was sometimes applied to secular themes. T h e need for an occasional change from pious matter, which the O ld English monks evidently felt, would be met b y secular stories in the new style o f verse narrative,1 but a new spirit would permeate heroic stories told b y monastic poets. T h e ‘ Christian colouring’ o f B eow ulf is now well understood to be an original and integral element in the poem.2 D irect p ro o f o f the existence o f epics on heroic themes other than B eow ulf and W aldere is, o f course, wanting, but it can be reasonably assumed that these tw o were not isolated. There is no reason to think that the monastic heroic epic ever reached the secular hall.3 T h e old lays themselves and their heroes seem to have grow n less popular in the course o f the O ld English period. T h e contrast with Germany, where the lays survived to give subjects to m any epics o f the Middle H igh German period, is remarkable. A bou t a d i o o o an English poet describing the Battle o f Maldon makes it a Virgilian fight, consisting o f a suc­ cession o f incidents, quite unlike the more real contests o f the native epic, with their showers o f arrows sped from the string,4 their concerted rushes o f troops to attack or storm,56their clashing squadrons,5 and their indefinitely prolonged resistance.7 1 Alcuin deplores these heroic tales, but his view s on such matters were severe: he regretted his own love o f V irgil. O n ly in their development o f a vernacular secular epic were the O ld English monks unique. Interest in heroic themes was strong in Continental monasteries also, as is shown b y the large number o f surviving manuscripts o f Waltarius. 2 O f recent w ork on this aspect o f B eow ulf one m ight mention M. P. Hamilton, ‘T h e Religious Principle in Beow ulf

P .M .L .A ., lxi (1946), 309-30; M. E . Goldsmith, ‘T h e

Christian Them e o f B eow ulf', M edium Æ vum , xxix (i960), 8 1-10 1. 2 There is no evidence that Christian poetry ever reached the secular hall. T h e song o f creation b y Hrothgar’s scop ([Beowulf 90-98) is rather a literary elegance inspired b y V irgil (cf. Aeneid i. 742-6, and note how both passages come early in the respective poems) than a picture o f events in a Germanic hall. T h is in no w ay rules out an interest in bo o k poetry, secular or religious, b y individual lay persons or groups. Æ lfred’s early study o f poetry (later to bear fruit in the indifferent verse o f M etres) m ight here be quoted, and Æthelweard studied at least the poems o f the Chronicle. Professor D o ro th y W hitelock has argued that Beow ulf was addressed to a lay audience ( The Audience o f B eow ulf (O xford, 1951), pp. 19-20). She does not, however, dispute that the author was a monk, and hence her views are not incompatible w ith the present argument, that the O ld English epic is o f monastic origin. 4 Beow ulf 3117. 5 Beow ulf 2959-60 (a passage which undoubtedly has a lay behind it). 6 T h e mention o f these was a formula (Jiniton feþan,, see below). 7 See the last lines o f Finnesburg.



In seeking to particularize the developments o f metre and style which accompanied the grow th o f full epic from narrative lays, w e have a major help in O ld English, which is sadly lacking in Greek. T w o Germanic hero lays survive, although in a far from perfect state, the O ld English Finnesburg and the O ld H igh German Hildebrand. T h e heroic poems o f the O ld Norse P oetic Edda are also useful, even i f we dare use them only as con­ firmatory evidence, for some o f them are late, others are reflections o f early lays rather than those lays themselves. T h e poets o f the epic style practised a more precise attention to the natural accentuation o f their language than those o f the lays.1 T he most obvious result o f this was avoidance o f allowing a finite verb to alliterate in a half-line containing a noun, especially in the second half-line. In the forty-eight surviving Unes o f Finnesburg there are five second half-lines with this licence,2 but in the developed epic style it is practically limited in the second half-line to the recurrent formulae hreopan friccan, ‘heralds cried out’, þonne hnitonfeþan, ‘when squadrons clashed’, swa behead metod, ‘as the maker commanded’, us secgaþ bec, ‘books tell us’. T he first tw o o f these m ay be inherited from the lays, the second tw o are obvious additions o f the monastic epic. W e may suspect that B eow ulf 1441t», gyrede hine B eow ulf(allitera­ tion on g ) is another inherited formula, in which the hero’s name could be indefinitely varied. A part from these formulae, 1 It is a noteworthy remark o f Ritchie Girvan concerning the metre o f Finnesburg that ‘i f w e found similar practice in a non-heroic poem, few scholars w ould hesitate to stigmatize it as late and incorrect* (‘Finnsburuh’, Proc. B rit. Acad.y x x vi (1940), 7), for the characteristics o f the rise and the decline o f a precise technique w ill tend to be in part the same. I do not wish, however, to conflict w ith the view o f H . Kuhn (see refer­ ences below, p. 18, n. 2) that a high sensitivity to the form o f the opening o f the verse sentence was developed among ancient Germanic peoples, and is preserved, though w ith some weakening, in all surviving early W est Germanic poetry, and in much, though not in all, O ld Norse poetry. I differ from him in believing that the O ld English monastic poets represent an advance on the pre-literate poets in their attention to this matter, and to some other refinements. Kuhn regards B eow ulf as the most archaic G er­ manic poetry because it keeps his laws best. I w ould rather think that B eow ulf (and similar O ld English b ook epics) represent a tightening up o f these laws. T h is position is inevitably reached i f w e derive our picture o f the technical achievement o f the G er­ manic lay from the evidence w e have, i.e. the tw o early W est Germanic lays, and the poems o f the Edda,. These are all less perfect than Beow ulf W h y then should they be regarded as derived from a poetry technically equal to Beow ulf? T h is is to attribute to the ancient lay a perfection unknown in its descendants, and found only in a book poetry o f which it is only a partial ancestor. 2 Lines 7,


12, 13, 17.



second half-lines o f this type occur once or twice in most long poems,1 but it is an astonishingly high proportion when we find two, ii 2 8 b wunode m id Finne, and 1137h fundode wrecca, in the ninety lines o f B eow ulfdealing with the story o f Finn, and there can be little doubt that these come from the lays which the poet is following. Another, 2980k þa gebeah cyning, occurs in the account o f Ongentheow’s last battle, an obvious theme for a lay. W e m ay suspect that certain other licences o f metre to be observed occasionally in O ld English epic verse are survivals from the lays. O ne such licence is the alliteration o f the second element o f compound words or phrases in preference to the first. This is found in both the early Germanic lays which survive,2 and recurs in the lays o f the E dda? Survivals in B eow ulf are 707 synscaþa (alliteration on sc), 3056 manna gehyld (alliteration on h). Another such licence is the alliteration o f the second o f tw o words linked b y the substantive verb. This is found in Hildebrand4 and in the Edda? B eow ulf has 316s M ed is me to feran.6 A licence also occurring in the lays seems to have been to allow the alliteration o f the b-line to fall on a verb which would normally be unaccented because tw o accented words follow in the half-line. This occurs in Hildebrand 5, gurtun sih iro suert ana (alliteration on g ), and occasionally survives in the O ld English epic verse, e.g. B eow ulf 2717, seah on enta geweorc (alliteration on s). It is idle to attempt to scan such lines according to any normal system.7 It is well know n that in O ld English epic verse the adjectives o f indefinite quantity take the alliteration in preference to an immediately follow ing governed noun only in stock phrases which have practically become compounds, e.g. fela missera, feam wordum. O ne m ay suspect that this distinction is again a Guthlac 927 (sohtun on ðearfe), Juliana 728 (serifeð l i gewyrhtuni). wœlslihta gehlyn (alliteration on A), Hildebrand 51, in f i l e sceotantero (alliteration on sc). 2 E .g. A tlakviþa 19. 4, vin Borgunda (alliteration on b). 4 Line 44, tot is H iltibrant (alliteration on h). 5 E .g . Sigrdrifumál 23. 4, armr er vára vargr . 6 Contrast 2093, to lang is to reccenne (alliteration on /). 1 E .g .

2 Finnesburg 28,

7 Some further possible peculiarities o f the metre and style o f the ancient lays are suggested b y H . Kuhn in ‘Edda, Skalden, Saga*, in

Felix Gen^mer (Heidelberg, 1952), pp. 269-70.

Festschrift ium 70. Geburtstag von



refinement due to the monastic poets, but evidence to confirm this is unfortunately lacking.1 In matters where the lays had practised a fine attention to natural rhythmic tendencies, the epic style followed them faith­ fully. This is above all the case with regard to certain rules for the structure o f the opening o f the verse sentence formulated b y H. Kuhn.2 T h e whole o f B eow ulf has no certain breach o f these laws.3 W e can be sure that the lays would contain many obsolescent words, and the Finn episode o f B eow ulfshows their influence in vocabulary as well as metre, for in proportion to its length it contains a considerable number o f words o f which the meaning is now unknown: unflitm e, icge, and probably some w ord now hidden behind the corruption syððan in 1106b. T h e lays seem to have preserved the dvandva compound, a type otherwise unknown in Germanic. Hildebrand, has sunofatarungo, while B eow ulf has aþumsweoran (with slight emendation) and suhtergefcederan in passages relating to an obvious subject o f lays, the story o f Ingeld so deplored b y Alcuin, in which the strife o f ‘son-in-law and father-in-law’ made necessary the defence o f Heorot b y ‘nephew and uncle’. T h e latter compound recurs with reference to the same story in W idsith 46,4 where the source is, no doubt, the lay used b y the B eow ulf poet or a related one. In view o f the avoidance o f direct and obvious imitation o f Latin poetry mentioned above, a strong influence o f classical rhetoric is not to be expected in O ld English poetry, and the all-

1 Hildebrand has fohem uuortum 9, w ith alliteration on f

but this is one o f the formulae

which always permit alliteration o f the indefinite word. 2 These rules are fully discussed b y Kuhn in ‘Zur W ortstellung und -betonung im Âltgermanischen’,

Beiträge %ur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur , lvii (1933)» Transactions o f the Philological

1-10 9 , and are very briefly summarized b y D . Slay,

Society y 1 9 5 2 ,1 -1 4 . 3 A certain relaxation o f one principle is to be seen in fairly frequent sentences which

se alone in a dip, or sharing it with a preposition, þone cwealm gewracy m o a t þœm ade wees. (Strictly a verb, adverb (con­ junction), or pronoun should share such a dip, e.g. 1457 was þ a m haftmece, 86 6a se ellengasty 258 him se y Idesta.) T h is freedom is perhaps a personal peculiarity o f the Beowulf poet. He is supposed to indulge in it fourteen times, whereas it occurs on ly twice in Eleney which in proportion to the length o f the poem is a frequency less than half that o f Beowulf 4 In die form suhtorfadran . open with a form o f demonstrative

e.g. 107



pervading litotes is doubtless an ancient Germanic feature. Nevertheless we must not forget that the tropes and figures would be familiar enough in the monasteries where the book-epic arose, and a m onk o f the slightest culture would know he had produced zeugma in winaemes geweald,

ond him hæl ahead, {Beowulf 653-4)

while hyperbole rather than magic explains w h y B eow ulf’s helmet was impervious to swords.1 A recent study emphasizes the importance o f simile in O ld English poetry.2 M etonymy, or the interchange o f expressions for related things, should be kept in mind b y those w ho are tempted to draw over-exact dis­ tinctions between names o f similar things in poetry.3 Turning for the moment from epic poetry, we m ay wonder i f ingenuity is w isely expended in theorizing w h y a ‘Frisian woman’ appears in E xeter Gnomic Verses 95, and i f we need do more than recall the words o f Quintilian on epithet,4 and still more those o f Servius on Aeneid iii. 691, where he speaks o f the epithet ad implendum uersum positum . . . sine respectu negotii. Similarly, w e can save the author o f the little rhyme on the death o f Alfheah5 from the gross double absurdity o f calling the arch­ bishop ‘head o f England and o f Christianity’ b y attending to his elegant hendiadys: the meaning is ‘head o f English Christianity’ . T hat the epic style matched its fuller deployment o f material with more ample paragraphs than the lay had ever know n is practically certain, though adequate material for comparison is lacking.6 It is impossible to conceive o f a style suited to the 1 Lines 1 4 5 1-4 : ‘as in past days the weapon-smith had wrought it, formed it w on* drously, and set it round with boar-images, that after that no sword or battle-knife could ever cut through it*. (I quote the translation o f Professor C . L . W renn.) Since a helmet w ould naturally afford some protection, it is a modest hyperbole to say that it afforded complete protection. (Contrast the view o f Chambers, Beow ulf: an Introduction^ 2nd and 3rd edns, p. 359.) 2 E. G . Stanley, ‘O E . Poetic Diction*, Anglia, lxxiii (1955), 413-66, esp. 4 15 -16 . 3 H . Kuhn in ‘Altnordisch rekkr und Verwandte*, A rkiv fo r nordisk Filologi, lviii (1944), 105 ff., draws certain distinctions between words for ‘man* in Norse poetry, which may be justified. W hen he proceeds to attempt to do the same for Beow ulf he is on treacherous ground. 4 v in , 6, 40. 3 Preserved in the Chronicle (MSS. C , D , E), i o n . 6 See, however, A . Heusler*s remarks on the Bogenstil o f the English ecclesiastics, Deutsche Versgeschichte (Berlin, 1925), i. 262-4.



brief narrative o f the lays carrying long paragraphs, carefully built with a variety o f sub-clauses, such as are easily found in the O ld English epics, even b y one w ho does not place entire con­ fidence in the theories o f S. O . Andrew .1 One might suggest as an example B eow ulf 2836-42: Huru þæt on lande lyt manna ðah mægenagendra mine gefræge, þeah ðe he dæda gehwaes dyrstig wære, þæt he wið attorsceaðan oreðe geræsde, oððe hringsele hondum styrede, gif he wæccende weard onfunde buon on beorge.

These lines are quoted as an average long paragraph: those wishing to examine the structure o f an exceptional one should study the superb simile, Phoenix 424~42.2 A t the present time there is great interest in the formulaic nature o f much early verse, including that o f the O ld English period.3 W hat has been said in the last paragraph is sufficient to show that no surviving major O ld English poem was com­ posed in the expectation that it would be freely modified at almost every recitation, as is the case with primitive formulaic verse, like that o f the Serbian lays. T h e carefully w rought paragraphs o f the O ld English epic style were certainly intended for preservation, and it follows that the poems were composed for record in writing. It was, however, probably the elaborate development o f the art o f parallelism that distinguished most clearly the new style from the old. T h e simplest type o f parallel is the balanced one, where an element generally double is repeated b y one syn­ tactically equivalent and o f approximately equal bulk, e.g. Fitmesburg 44-45, byrne abrocen, heresceorp unhror\ Hildebrand 56-57, hrusti giwinnan, rauba birahanen. T h e simplest variation Syntax and Style in O ld English (Cambridge, 1940), and Postscript on Beowulf (Cambridge, 1948). 2 T h e whole passage should be punctuated as continuous. Is þon gelicast in 424 answers to swa da foregengan in 437. T h e main thought then is: ‘T h u s this bird’s journey 1 T h e y are developed in his

overdriven in

is very like the w ay in which our ancestors left the fair plain.* T h e only editor whose punctuation shows him to have understood the passage is Schlotterose (Bonn, 1908). 3 Recent w ork on this subject, and the sometimes excessive assumptions built upon it, are conveniendy set out in A . B. Lord,

The Singer o f Tales (Cambridge, Mass., i960).

Cf. the present writer's review in the Modern Language Review , lvii

(1962), 7 5 -7 6 .



upon this is to parallel only part o f an expression, and to add something new to replace what is omitted. F or example, in Finneshurg 25—26, weana gebad, heordra hilda, b y omitting to parallel gebad, the poet makes room to enlarge the parallel to weana to adjective and noun. This device is employed continu­ ously in the epic style, and is capable o f infinite variety. A few examples m ay be given: þa gedrefed wearð, onhrered hwælmere. Andreas 369-70 nysses þu wean aenigne dael, ðystra þæt þu þolian sceolde. Crist 1384-5 rihte gemearcod, geseted ond gesæd. Beowulf 1695-6 ond his bebodu læstan, æfnan on eðle. Guthlac 843-4 T h e epic poets also give endless variety even to balanced parallels b y internal grammatical variation. F or example, a compound w ord may be paralleled b y a two-w ord phrase, as liffrea b y wuldres wealdend; or an expression m ay be given a parallel equivalent in sense but not in syntax, as maton merestra ta : glidon ofer garsecg or ece dryhten: helm eallwihta. Another frequent device o f the epic poets is a summarizing parallel, an expression o f two parts o f which each is a compression o f a preceding phrase. F or example, in godcunde gife gastes mihtum, freondsped fremum, Genesis 2331-2 freondsped is parallel to godcunde gife, and fremum to gastes mihtum. W e have this device combined with its reverse in breostum inbryrded, halig hæþenne,

Heo þæt deofol teah, bendum fæstne, Juliana 534-6

where heo and þ a t deofol each receive expanded parallels, and then a new expression is made b y combining compressions o f the two expanded parallels. Many artifices o f word-order are also to be observed in connexion with parallelism. Frequendy, a parallel to the subject or object is placed between the elements o f a periphrastic verb, e.g.


ENGLISH AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES hwam þæt sweord geworht, irena cyst, ærest wære.

Beowulf 1696-7

Siððan fasten ongon mid þam cneomagum ceastre timbran.

Genesis 1056-7

Sometimes a subordinate clause is added to a main sentence, and a parallel to some part o f the main sentence is then added,1 e.g. ac he þcere magðe monwisan fleah, þeah þe he on þam lande Man scolde, facen and fyrene. Genesis 1939-41 ond þa longan god herede on heofonum, þær haligra sawla gesittað in sigorwuldre, dryhtnes dreamas. Guthlac 120-3 A gain, an expression m ay be divided, but its parallel m ay be undivided, e.g. G if soðfcestra þurh myrrelsan mod ne oðcyrreð, haligra hyge.

Juliana 337—9

Finally, it may be worth noting that a parallel m ay be uninflected i f the case is clearly indicated in the expressions which it parallels,2 e.g. Wuna in þære winbyrg, salu sinchroden.

wigendra hleo, Andreas 1672-3

T h e O ld English epic style is a remarkable instance o f the capacity o f the Germanic mind to express itself in an unexpected and individual manner, while giving only slight hints o f the 1 A failure to allow for this arrangement o f words has caused difficulty in tw o passages o f Beowulf. In 1083-5 H engeste is paralleled b y

þeodnes Segne, w ith an intervening clause ne þ a wealafe wige forþringan (the finite verb being supplied b y zeugma from mehte, 1082). In 3005, die old emendation o f Scildingas to Scilfingas is satisfactory without any transposition o f lines: the word is a parallel to hie in 3002, and this is not intolerably forced' (so Chambers), but good, because a relative clause ( þone S e ... hryre) intervenes, and a parallel to an element o f the main sentence m ay be afterwards added. Similarly, in

Exodus 103, fu s fyrdgetrum is (as Irving sees) parallel to werod in 100, a swa clause intervening. 2 O ther examples arefu s (d.s.n., E x. 129), geworht (a.s.m., Gen. 456), gemyndig (d.s.m., EL 213), gesoht (a.s.m., Guth. 1019), hwit (a.s.m., Brun. 63). Instances w ith pres, parts, like umhorwesende9 Beow . 46, lyftlacende, El. 795, are metrically indifferent, and un­ inflected forms occur in prose also. In Crist 1175, reade and þicce is parallel to blodigum tearum.



source o f its inspiration. T h e contrast is great between the obvious manner in which the Romans transplanted the Greek epic, and that in which the O ld English developed an epic style based on the native lays, but taking example from the more ample style o f Latin narrative verse. T h e Germanic capacity to develop in an individual manner hints received from outside is to be observed in other fields. Valhalla itself was not imagined without a hint from the many-doored amphitheatre.1 It is not even certain that the Germanic heroic lay arose without influence from classical poetry, for though Heusler declared that ‘Byzan­ tium and Rom e had nothing like it’,2 his own definition o f the Germanic lay as ‘a two-dimensional lay o f incident’3 well fits the method o f narration (narrative with dialogue) seen in some Hellenistic idylls on heroic themes. O ne m ight quote T h eo­ critus xxii, 27-134, on Polydeuces and the giant, and xxiv, 1-102, on the infant Heracles and the serpents. These Greek passages are on precisely the same scale as the Germanic heroic lay as w e are able to reconstruct it, and differ from it mainly b y adding a larger descriptive element to its tw o dimensions. In the face o f such considerations, all w ho seek to find Indo-European origins for things Germanic should, in each case, weigh the alternative possibility o f independent native development with hints from classical sources. This applies equally to the fields o f literature, religion, and institutions.










T h e chief place in Homer is Odyssey viii. O n the day follow ing the arrival o f Odysseus at the court o f Alcinous, the bard Dem odocus sings tw o hero lays (73-82, 499-520), which were 1 C f. M . Olsen, ‘Valhall med de mange dorer*, Acta philologica Scandinavica, vi (1931-2), 150-70. 2 J. Hoops, Reallexikon der germanischen Altertumskunde , under Dichtung . It should be remembered that Heusler’s search for parallels was limited b y the narrow date which he seeks to give for the origin o f the Germanic lay (fourth century a d ). T h is date is supported only b y the absence o f allusions in lays to historical persons o f an older period. 3 Loc. cit. :

doppelseitiges Ereignislied.



clearly brief treatments o f well-known incidents o f the latter part o f the Trojan war. It is clear that their performance took very little time. Dem odocus also sings a humorous lay o f the gods. T h e substance o f this is given in i o i lines (266-366) and there is no reason to think the actual lay would be longer than this account o f it. W hen Achilles sings the glorious deeds o f heroes {Ilia d ix. 188), it is no doubt similar short lays which the poet has in mind. In O ld English, the evidence is the tw o passages o f B eow ulf in which the scop sings o f Sigmund and Finn. In the first passage (867-97) he is said to have told all he knew about Sigmund. This would, accordingly, not be a lay o f one incident like Finnesburg, or Hildebrand, or the three lays described in Odyssey viii. It would rather be a summary review o f a hero’s life, or o f a large part o f it.1 It clearly does not occupy a very large part o f the day although treating so extensive a subject, and so it must o f necessity be assumed that it employed the brief technique o f lay, not the full technique o f epic. Similarly, the song about Finn (1069-1159) was only a part o f the proceedings o f the evening after the death o f Grendel. It is, however, far from clear what the relationship is o f the summary o f the story o f Finn in B eow ulf to the lays upon which it is based. It is not indeed clearly stated (as it is in the Sigmund passage) that the scop covered the whole ground o f the summary. Rather the mention o f a lay about Finn leads the poet o f B eow ulf on to give the substance o f a cycle o f lays about him. In this he alludes only briefly to the matter o f the surviving lay. APPEN D IX






T h e distinction o f lay and epic should be carefully observed. It is not a matter o f relative length but o f scale o f treatment. L a y 1

T h e question whether in the Germanic pre-literate period such a review w ould be

transmitted in a lay or simply as a story, which m ight at any time be made the subject o f a lay b y an individual scop, does not bear on any point in the present paper. F o r a

Miscellanea academica Berolinensia ii, i Festschrift Gen^mer as quoted above (p. 17, n. 7 ) ; cf. also F . Genzmer in Festschrift P au l Kluckhohn und Hermann Schneider gewidmet qu ihrem 60. Geburtstag (Tübingen, 1948), pp. 1 - 3 1. consideration o f this question see H . Kuhn in

(1950), 30-46, and in



employs a brief technique o f narrative, with compressed descrip­ tion and rapid conversation, while epic expands in all three fields. T h e point has been illustrated b y contrasting the descrip­ tion o f the messenger’s journey in A tlakviþa: Atli sent of old to Gunnar a skilled man at riding called Knefröth; to the dwellings of Gjuki he came, and to the hall of Gunnar, to the benches surrounding the hearth, and to the sweet beer,

with the 2 i i leisurely but vivid verses (B eow ulf 194-404) in which the journey o f B eow ulf to Denm ark and his entry into the hall o f Hrothgar are described. So one might contrast the one line Firmesburg 13, ‘then arose many a gold-decked thane, and girded himself with his sword’, with the manner in which the similar line, ‘they [the heralds] called their summons, and they [the warriors] rose right sw iftly’, is enlarged upon in Homer for some forty verses ([Iliad ii. 444-83). T h e contrast o f the long speeches o f B eow ulf and Homer to the sharp exchanges o f the Germanic lays or o f the humorous lay o f Dem odocus mentioned in Appendix I is obvious. From what has been said it will be plain that the lay is an entirely different form from the epic. T h ough an epic m ay well be short, the short epic differs from the full epic only in that it handles less material. Examples o f short epics are the B a ttle o f M aldon, in which one battle is described in 325 lines, and the Sack o f Ilion o f Tryphiodorus, which deals with the fall o f T ro y on much the same scale as A eneid ii, but treats it as a complete theme. T h e O ld English epic style did not reach the full develop­ ment seen in Greek and Indian epic. B eow ulf in scale most resembles the Orphic Argonautics which reduce the full-scale epic treatment o f the theme b y Apollonius Rhodius to about one third. T h e word ‘lay’ should in the cause o f clarity not be applied to material which has perhaps been incorporated in extant epics, but which was clearly not o f the nature o f lays in its postulated separate existence. Such material can no doubt be traced in Homer and the Indian epics. O ne might instance elaborate descriptive pieces (e.g. the shield o f Achilles in the Ilia d , or the



description o f A yod h yä in the Rämäyana), or the catalogues so traceable both in Homer and the Indian epics. A loose use o f die term ‘lay* for any material digested into epics is at the moment rife. T h e w ord should be applied only to those brief narratives, the technique o f which has been described above, and which are the only know n poetic amusement o f the warriors in hall in the G reek and Germanic heroic ages. So limited, it is equivalent to German lied in the technical sense usual since the late nineteenth century.



T h e student approaching O ld English poetry for the first time is likely to be alarmed and disconcerted b y the apparently alien and incomprehensible structure o f its verse-form ; apart from merely typographic differences, there is no rhyme, the lines are o f unequal length, and there is no perceptible rhythm, at least o f any kind to which he is accustomed. I f he dutifully approaches the recognized authorities on O ld English prosody he w ill be confronted, according to the authority he chooses, either with an array o f accents, macrons, breves, and multiplication signs, accompanied b y combinations o f letters, figures, and asterisks, or w ith equally unrewarding sequences o f musical symbols— crotchets, quavers, dots, bars, and rests. In either case he m ay feel that he is not much nearer understanding what O ld English metre is about, and it will not console him much to think that ‘an explanation o f the subtle and plastic freedom o f a fully expressive reading is the goal o f prosodic analysis, not its starting point*.1 Reading further, he w ill find that ‘ O ld English verse is really conditioned prose, i.e. the spoken language specially arranged w ith alliteration, but arranged in a w ay that does no violence to the spoken words’ ;2 that ‘the rhythm o f O ld English verse grew naturally out o f prose rhythm, b y a process o f heightening and lowering’3— whatever that may be; that ‘the prosodic patterns o f O ld English poetry were primarily a 1 F . Bracher, ‘T h e Silent F o o t in Pentameter Verse*, P .M .L .A ., lxii (1947), 110 0 -7; quotation p. 1101. 3


D aunt, ‘O ld English Verse and English Speech Rhythm*, Trans. P h il1 Soc.y

1946, 5 6 -7 2 ; quotation p. 57, the first clause italicized in the original.

3 K . Malone, ‘L ift Patterns in O ld English Verse’, E .L .H ., viii (1941), 74-80; quotation p. 74.



rhetorically emphatic and dignified selection o f patterns o f actual speech’.1 Feeling now that O ld English verse is really very little different from prose, he m ay w ell be astonished to discover that, after all, ‘the old alliterative measure gave to the poets an instru­ ment beside which the metrical devices o f later times (imported from the south) seem rather obvious or even crude’.2 Y e t it would indeed be strange i f there were nothing in common between the English poetry o f the A nglo-Saxons and that o f the modern period. T h e difficulty o f appreciating O ld English metre is real enough, but it can be attenuated and even eliminated without dogmatizing, and without committing ourselves to any one system o f prosodic analysis, either o f O ld English or o f M odem English verse. Verse o f all languages and o f all periods has one thing in common: it consists o f a selection o f natural speech-rhythms.3 In most types o f verse the metrical patterns are entirely arbitrary, and only those speech-rhythms are acceptable which can be fitted more or less well into these arbitrary patterns. Because the patterns are arbitrary, the m ajority o f speech-rhythms w ill not conform to them exacdy: so that any actual line o f verse will diverge to a greater or lesser degree from the theoretical pattem. It is in fact this divergence from the theoretical pattern which gives the verse its variety and interest; ‘in all good metre, no doubt, there should be some degree o f discrepancy, some room for play, between the pattem (the noise the words pretend, to make) and the natural pronun­ ciation’.4 Thus, in an accentual metre, there w ill be an ordered sequence o f metrical stresses, which w e m ay conveniendy call ictus, and there will also be a sequence o f natural stresses in the speech-material o f which the verse is composed; but ictus and stress w ill not always coincide. T h e accommodation o f speechrhythm to metrical pattern can be achieved in four wajrs: b y the displacement o f an ictus; b y the suppression o f an ictus;5 b y the 1 C . L . W renn, ‘ O n the Continuity o f English Poetry*, Anglia, lxxvi (1958), 4 1 -5 9 ; quotation pp. 5 1-5 2 . 2 Malone, op. d t., p. 80. 3 W e must allow here for the possible use in verse o f archaic speech-rhythms no longer current in normal usage.

4 C . S. Lewis, ‘T h e Fifteenth-Century Heroic Line*, Essays and Studies, x x iv (1938), 28-41 ; quotation p. 30. 5 According to some theories o f scansion an ictus in the metrical pattern m ay corre­ spond to a ‘rest* in the speech-rhythm; but such an ictus has in effect been suppressed.



suppression o f a stress; and b y the elevation o f a stress. It may sometimes be arguable whether an ictus has been suppressed or a stress elevated; but the readings resulting from the two supposi­ tions w ill not differ very w idely from each other. W hereas in most types o f verse the metrical patterns are arbitrary, in O ld English verse they are not: the metrical patterns are selected from among the rhythms which occur most com ­ m only in natural speech.1 Thus there can be no question o f accommodating the speech-rhythm to the metrical pattern: either a fragment o f speech-material has one o f the rhythms which are acceptable, in which case ictus and stress inevitably coincide; or else it cannot be used in verse at all.2 W e do not find the ‘degree o f discrepancy, some room for play’, which Lewis sees in all good metre, and it would seem at first glance that its absence means a substantial loss o f variety and flexibility; but in fact variety and flexibility are achieved in another w ay. It is the metrical patterns themselves which are varied and flexible; w e have not, as in most metres, a single arbitrary invariable pattern whose repetition in its strict form would be intolerably monotonous,3 but a constantly variable succession o f patterns which have unquestionably much in common, but whose diversity is more conspicuous than their uniformity. It is, o f course, true that ‘poetic rhythm consists o f divergences from a norm and our appreciation o f the poetic rhythm depends on a feeling for the norm, as the effective use o f syncopation in music depends on a feeling for the more usual rhythm’ ;4 and the norm o f O ld English verse is the doubly falling rhythm represented b y T y p e A .5 W hat is characteristic o f O ld English verse is that 1 C f. D aunt, op. cit., p. 59: ‘T h e “ five types" are language patterns, not metrical patterns/ 2 Some freedom is allowable in the subordination o f stresses where the metrical pattern requires a secondary stress; but the principle remains valid, since some degree o f subordination is inevitable in natural speech. 3 Outstanding examples o f such m onotony are the Ormulum in Middle English and K y d 's Spanish Tragedy in M odem English. 4 P. Gradon, ‘ C ynew u lf's Elene and O ld English Prosody', E . & G .S .y ii (1948-9), 10 -19 ; quotation p. 10. See also A . J. Bliss, The M etre o f Beow ulf ( O xford, 1958), p. 108.

5 T y p e A is the most frequent type in both the a-verse and the Averse o f the O ld English line; furthermore, the Anglo-Saxon poet has a tendency, conscious or uncon­ scious, to emphasize the norm b y combining verses in such a w ay that the number o f lines consisting o f one verse o f T y p e A and one verse o f another type is very much larger than the number to be expected if only chance were at work. T h is interesting


the divergences from the norm are to be found, not in the more or less exact accommodation o f the speech-material to the metrical pattern, but in the variation o f the metrical pattern itself.1 W e find, then, that O ld English verse consists o f a sequence o f metrical patterns selected from the rhythms o f natural speech, whereas in M odem English verse the speech-rhythms have to be accommodated to an arbitrary metrical pattem ; in each case the natural speech-rhythms are the materials o f which the verse is built. If, therefore, the rhythm o f English speech has remained substantially unaltered since A nglo-Saxon times, w e should expect to find much in common between O ld English and Modern English verse; so that it is o f the first importance to establish just how much the rhythm o f the language has changed. O n this point opinions differ widely. O n the one hand, ‘the widespread and deepseated changes which the English language underwent during die Middle English period render it exceed­ in gly implausible [that the fundamental structure o f O ld English verse is the same as that o f m odem English verse]’ ;2 on the other hand, ‘the basic grammatical structure o f the language has not changed, despite multifarious changes in meaning and the vast development o f its vocabulary through the overlaying o f mainly romance elements. N or has the system o f stress altered fundamentally. . . . T h e chief patterns o f stress in English have continued w ith relatively litde change all through its history.’3 T h e only linguistic changes which interest us in this context are those likely to affect the rhythm o f the language. A m on g the numerous changes since A nglo-Saxon times tw o are obvi­ ously relevant. T h e first is the gradual weakening and eventual disappearance o f a large number o f unstressed syllables: in parquestion will be discussed in detail in the forthcoming Second Edition o f m y M etre o f Beow ulf 1 It may seem that this is merely a question o f w ords: that the accommodation o f speech-material to metrical pattern in any metre could be described in terms o f the replacement o f a standard metrical pattern b y a variant to which the speech-material w ould conform exactly. H owever, a brief examination o f a passage o f O ld English poetry will show that the degree o f divergence from any conceivable metrical norm is far greater than w ould be permissible in any other form o f verse. There is a real difference o f principle. 2 Bliss, op. cit., p. 107. 3 W renn, op. cit., pp. 50 -51.



ticular, the disappearance o f the unstressed final syllable in paroxytones. T h e second is the introduction o f innumerable foreign words, m ainly o f French origin, m any o f which are oxytones. T h e result o f these tw o changes is the same: a sub­ stantial increase in the number o f oxytones in the language— in terms o f rhythm, an increase in the proportion o f rising rhythm s at the expense o f falling rhythms. But a change in the proportion o f the tw o rhythmical types does not mean that the rhythm o f the language as a whole has changed in any significant w a y: the rhythm o f English is now and always has been predom inantly falling; and rising rhythms are not infrequent in O ld English, particularly o f course in verses o f T y p e B .1 A much more important though less obvious sound-change has been noted b y K urylow icz.2 T h e phenomenon know n as ‘resolution’, whereby a group o f two syllables o f which the first is short is rhythm ically equivalent to a single long syllable, is common to Latin and O ld English metre. K urylow icz points out that there are tw o pre­ requisites for the occurrence o f this phenomenon in any language; (1) there must be no monosyllables ending in a short final vo w el; (2) there must be a distinction between single and double con­ sonants. T h e first condition has always been true o f English in historic times, but the second was eliminated from English and other Germanic languages b y the simplification o f double con­ sonants, concurrently with the lengthening o f short vow els in open syllables.3 Resolution is therefore impossible in Modern English: such words as bitter, river, pocket, habit, & c., are rhythm ically disyllabic.4 Perhaps the nearest analogy to resolution in Modern English is to be found in words like hour, flow er, fire , higher, which m ay be metrically m onosyllabic or disyllabic as convenience demands. A part from this one question o f resolution, there is no reason 1 In the sentence above no single polysyllabic word is oxytone; but it must be remem­ bered that in Modern English, as in O ld English, the number o f rising rhythms is gready augmented b y the frequency o f groups o f proclidc(s) + monosyllable. 2 J. Kurylowicz, ‘Latin and Germanic Metre’, E . & G .S ., ii (1948-9), 34-38. 2

From the point o f view o f structural linguistics the interdependence o f these tw o

sound-changes can scarcely be doubted; the date o f the second can fairly easily be established, and is a useful guide to that o f the first. 4

T h e rule o f O ld English verse whereby resolution is suspended when the preceding

syllable is long, apparently in defiance o f K urylow icz’s hypothesis, needs further investigation.



to suppose that the rhythm o f English has changed substantially since A nglo-Saxon times; and evidence has been collected to show that it has not. T h e basic unit o f O ld English metre (and, as w e have seen, O ld English metrical patterns correspond to natural speech-rhythms) consists o f a group o f at least four syllables, including tw o main stresses; and rhythmical groups o f exactly the same type are extremely common in English prose and spoken English o f all periods. Miss D aunt has studied this question at some length, and has shown that it is possible to divide into speech-groups corresponding to O ld English versepatterns not only ‘colloquial’ O ld English prose (Cædm on’s conversation w ith the angel and A lfred’s with Ohthere)1 but also M odem English advertisements, political catchwords, and private correspondence. Her conclusion is that ‘in so-called O ld English “ verse” w e are faced w ith a tidied form o f the spoken language, i.e. prose, and . . . the “ pattem ” is the pattem o f the natural language shapes . . . this rhythm has survived for centuries and is still largely the mould in which we cast our speech.’2 Miss D aunt might have referred to an earlier study in which the rhythmical patterns o f ‘phrasal idioms’ and titles o f w orks o f fiction had been studied at some length.3 T h e fictional titles are particularly interesting: not only does the distribution o f syllabic length correspond roughly to that o f the O ld English verse,4 but a very large proportion o f the titles studied follow one or other o f the O ld English verse types; o f the 878 four-syllable titles, for instance, only 81 fail to conform to the O ld English patterns.5 W e are therefore on safe ground i f w e assume that the speechmaterial o f which Modern English verse is made up closely resembles that which forms the basis o f O ld English metre; and a comparison o f O ld English metre with the Modern English pentameter or ‘blank verse’ line is very instructive. T h e basic 1 D aunt, op. d t., 6 2-63; f ° r a discussion o f the rhythmical prose o f Ælfiric and W ulfstan see A . McIntosh, ‘W ulfstan’s Prose*, Proc. B rit. Acad,1, xxxiv (1948). 2 Pp. 65-69. 3 F . N . Scott, ‘T h e Accentual Structure o f Isolable English Phrases*, P .M .L .A ., xxxiii (1918), 73-8 4 ; for tides o f works o f ficdon see also McIntosh, W ulfstan,, p. 11. 4 T h e main point o f difference is that more than 10 per cent o f the tides studied are o f less than four syllables, whereas in O ld English poetry the verse o f less than four syllables is so rare as to be suspect. 5 Pp. 82-84.



pattern o f the pentameter line is X ' X ' X ' X ÄX ' ( X ) ; but, as we have seen, the necessity o f accommodating speech-material to the pattern involves various modifications; in particular, one o f the metrical ictus is frequently reduced or suppressed. W e m ay therefore say that the M odem English pentameter line contains i o - i i syllables and 4-5 stresses. A lm ost exactly the same can be said o f the O ld English line: in B eow ulfthe average number o f syllables in a line is io - i i ,1 and the average number o f stresses is 4~5.2 T h e basic difference between the O ld English line and the M odem English pentameter line is that the number o f syllables and the number o f stresses in the pentameter line are more or less stable, whereas in the O ld English line they vary between wide limits— it is only on the average that they correspond. I f the O ld English Une and the M odem English pentameter are o f approximately the same length and are composed o f the same type o f speech-material, w e should expect that they would at least occasionally overlap— that is, that an O ld English line w ould occasionally make a good pentameter line, and vice versa; and in fact they do overlap to an extent that seems hitherto not to have been suspected.3 I f we accept only the three most common licences in the pentameter line, the reduction or suppression o f one ictus, the displacement o f the first ictus to initial position, and the addition o f a hypercatalectic syllable at the end o f the line, we find that no less than one line in sixteen in B eow ulf is a pentameter; and i f w e allow further licences, such as are not infrequent in the M odem English pentameter, the proportion is much higher. T h e follow ing illustrative list gives one example each o f twenty-nine different combinations o f types.4 Many m ight not be recognized as pentameters in their O ld English 1 T h e materials for the calculation are available in Bliss, pp. 12 3 -7 (Appendix C , T ab le II). T h e average number o f syllables calculated from this table is 9* 41 ; but the table takes no account o f the resolution o f stressed syllables. A sample count o f every tenth line in B eow ulf suggests that there are roughly three resolutions in every tw o lines (1 • 5 per line), so that the true number o f syllables per line is well over 10. 2 T h is figure, o f course, takes account o f secondary stresses; the exact figure is 4*25. 3 Because o f the sound-change noted b y K urylow icz no real comparison between O ld English and M odem English verse is possible; so w e shall have to count a resolved stress in O ld English as equivalent to tw o syllables in M odem English.

4 T h e notation used is that formulated in Bliss, pp. 8 1-84, the prefixed numbers denoting phrasing being omitted. T h e occurrence o f pentameters in O ld English verse has been noted before, but not the frequency o f their occurrence. Lew is, ‘Heroic Line’, p. 31, quotes Beow ulf 29, 115, 107; but o f these only the first w ould satisfy our criteria.




context, so to assist recognition they have been printed with an initial capital and without a medial space. a-A a-B a-C a-D a-E d-A d-C A -d A -A A -B A—C A -D A—E A*-d A *-A * A*-B A *-C A*-D A*-E B-B C-d C -A C-B C -C C-E D *-A E-B E -C E-E

Alegdon ða tomiddes mæme þeoden 3141 Ic wæs þær inné ond þæt eall geondseh 3087 Ða þæt onfunde se þe fela æror 809 Ðær git for wlence wada cunnedon 508 Ac him on hreþre hygebendum fæst 1878 Þæt mon his winedryhten wordum herge 3175 Gewat ða bymende gebogen scríðan 2569 Heard under helme. We synt Higelaces 342 Sæwudu sældon,— syrcan hrysedon 226 Flod æfter faroðe on Finna land 580 Gen ymbe Grendel, þæt ðu geare cunne 2070 Weras on wilsið wudu bundenne 216 Niceras nihtes, nearoþearfe dreah 422 Idel ond unnyt, siððan æfenleoht 413 Fylle gefægon; fægere geþægon 1014 Lixte se leoma ofer landa fela 311 Golde geregnad, þær þa graman wunnon 777 Secgan to soðe, selerædende 51 Mode geþungen medoful ætbær 624 Wið Grendles gryre. Ic þæm godan sceal 384 To medo modig, siþþan morgenleoht 604 No ðy aer sima sinum syllan wolde 2160 On grames grapum. Þæt wæs geocor sið 765 On sefa(n) sweorceð, ne gesacu ohwær 1737 Gemyne mærþo, mægenellen cyð 659 Locene leoðosyrcan laþan fingrum 1505 Fif nihta fyrst, oþ þæt une flod todraf 545 Sarigne sang, þonne his simu hangað 2447 Wynleasne wudu; wæter under stod 1416.

Similarly, a great many Modern English pentameters make perfect O ld English lines— and again recognition can be assisted b y typographical devices. A n excellent example is quoted b y Gummere:1 A*-B maiden and mistress of the months and stars. Lewis quotes from Paradise L ost:1 C-B while other animals

unactive range.

1 F . B. Gummere, ‘T h e Translation o f Beow ulf and the Relations o f Ancient and M odem English Verse*, A .J .P ., vii (1886), 73. Compare Beow ulf 2684: helpan a t hilde; was sio bond to strong; also Beow ulf 923, 1605, 2005, 2149, 2323> 252 eui^ > iuv^ and so one would be left, despite a divergence at the start, with just the same form as is supposed to lie behind O N . -ir and O H G . -i. (I say ‘supposed* since the O H G . form, i f not the O N ., has its difficulties.) But i f this is the bother, it is really astonishing that nobody has been puzzled at the O H G . nom.-acc. plural bruoder. O n just the same line o f argument, one would have expected bruodit*. I f -r prevented raising o f e to i when other factors were absent, it would still not (on the common view) have prevented the raising before final -i{. Y e t with stolid regularity all the handbooks old and new derive O H G . bruoder direcdy from IE. -eres* ( > eri f ) . I f their authors are surely w rong in not seeing a problem here, they m ay well be right in the derivation. F or it is difficult to see an alternative. It is most unlikely that -e- in nom.-acc. plural bruoder should be due to a paradigm-levelling. Such a levelling could not have taken place before the loss o f final -*({) i f the



raising was still automatic; it could hardly have taken place afterwards since the tendency was to differentiate plural from singular rather than to lose such differences as already existed; cf. such new forms zsfatera and (later) tohterün. I f we combine (i) the presumption that Ingvaeonic unstressed -e- shared its initial development before -r- with O H G ., (ii) the common assumption that the O H G . form just discussed is regu­ lar, and (iii) the hypothesis that Ingvaeonic developed -e- before u as before -r-; then eues > eui(f) > a ifi), and the result -a is just as expected. But it might be unwise not to anticipate the objection that the loss o f -i in the third syllable is common W est-Germ anic, whereas the peculiar development o f Ingvaeonic here assumed posits its retention at a ‘purely Ingvaeonic stage’. I cannot take this objection too seriously. I f there is a prior assumption that the most widespread changes are to be taken, ceteris paribus, as the earliest, then it is best to answer that here the ‘other things’ are not equal. Quantitative changes (whether lengthening, shortening, or loss) tend to be far more w idely spread than qualitative changes. N obody would argue that the loss o f final -e in English must be earlier than the divergent developments o f O ld English ä on the ground that the former is universal whereas the latter splits South from North. W ould anybody so have argued i f the facts had been less ready at hand?

II. W est-Saxon preterite indicative funde Friedrich K luge was probably the first to see that this form demands some explanation over and above the simple one o f analogy after the weak preterite. Such an analogy would be very hard to understand i f the form thereby replaced was the wellsupported fa n d which in fact later prevailed in Middle English. K luge supposed that the new form replaced fö þ * answering to Gothic fa n þ . But though the irregularity o f such an underlying form gives sense to an analogical re-formation, it does not really account for the particular analogy. T h e obvious analogy was again fa n d after band and wand. W h y did this not happen? ( O f course, if K luge was right, as I am going to suppose, it is



just what did happen in most dialects, though Middle English testifies to a wider area for funde than the O ld English docu­ ments do.) Since a formal analogy seems b y itself not to suffice, it is natural to look round for one which also has semantic support. A m ong the normal weak verbs, söhte is the obvious candidate. ‘Find* goes together with ‘seek* and consorts ill with ‘bind’, ‘wind’, and ‘grind’ ; whereas all these g o very well together (circular action, most often with the hand). But this is not nearly enough. Find and bind have at present the same conjugation, despite all semantic discrepancies. W hat w e must look for as a model for the analogical development is a verb which (i) had the same conjugation in the preterite as the newly formed funde. This is just a minimal condition, also fulfilled b y söhte, which fulfils no other condition except (iii). (ii) did not have this conjugation in the past participle. This condition is needed to explain w h y the ‘weak* conjugation o f funde did not spread to the past participle. (iii) was common enough to serve as a basis for analogy, but (iv) was later obsolescent. This is needed to explain w h y funde itself was later obsolescent. (v) had a phonological structure similar to funde. A ll conditions are fulfilled b y (ge-)munde. This, then, is the probable answer.1

III. Consonantal alternation in the declension o f O ld English sprcec Alternations o f the type dce'g dagas, which appear in the morpho­ logical chapters o f O ld English grammars, should really be 1 O ld Saxon has an isolated form antfunda (once in the Heliand). T h is must obviously have the same explanation as the O ld English form, even if it does not g o back to a common origin. T h e preterite o f -munan in O ld Saxon is (far-)monstay but this is doubt­ less a recent analogy after dorsta. It is perhaps o f interest that the single example o f funda should be a form with prefix, in view o f the fact that -munda and its W est-Saxon equiva­ lent occur only in forms with prefix. (It is b y no means impossible that semantic relations may have played a role here too : ‘remember* is related to ‘find* as ‘forget* to ‘lose* over a fair part o f their ranges, but this is not a point worth pressing.)



disposed o f once and for all under the phonology or morpho­ phonology, since the alternation remained purely automatic. (A little care would o f course have to be taken in drawing up the formula: the alternation fa ru fa re is automatic in the sense that the former can be derived from the latter; the reverse does not hold, for while a nominative fa ru* was still excluded b y the rules o f phoneme-combination, an oblique form fare*, though his­ torically ‘irregular’, would not have been: in fact fa re is the form o f the subjunctive o f fa r an.) O n the other hand the alternation sing, sprcec plural spräca, which O ld English grammars record neither in the phonology nor in the m orphology, should probably be given a place in the latter. Certainly it should be i f it is the assumption that these were the forms, and i f it is also the assumption that spräce (without assibilation or its historical antecedent) was (b y analogy) the form o f the preterite subjunctive o f sprecan. T h is is very probably the assumption, though I have very litde to g o on apart from the common pronunciation o f O ld English scholars (who would normally differentiate between acc. sing. spräce and subj. prêt, spräce)* and the recorded graphies o f Sweet and those who have been so hardy as to follow him in making the distinction whenever a form is cited. It cannot be too strongly stressed that such boldness (as it m ay have seemed then) is now no more than an elementary duty. O f course there are dubious cases, but there are also forms which are dubious in respect o f quantity. A cowardly grammarian should in all consistency confine himself to the textual forms, indicating neither vowel-quantity nor consonant-quality when these have no graphic representation. But is there perhaps some legitimate doubt about the con­ sonant-alternation spräche) spräca} T h e form o f the singular is o f course assumed in virtue o f the Middle English graphy— since it is the oblique form which survives, it proves nothing for 1 1 Phonologically o f course just the opposite should be expected. But it seems reason­ able to suppose that the preterite subjunctive had yielded to the analogy o f the rest o f the conjugation, as it so often did together w ith the preterite plural and past participle in the case o f forms arising b y V em er’s Law . In the present case the preterite plural and past participle gave no support to the consonant o f the subjunctive and it is difficult to believe that this could have survived w ithout such support.



the nominative, but nobody suspects that there was a difference here too. I f it were not for the subsequent forms, nobody would assume a front c, since it is against the sound-laws as generally formulated (according to which assibilation o f k, when not induced b y an umlaut-factor, took place only after i). There are notorious exceptions, such as Northumbrian bœcg, and it is rather a m ystery to me w h y even Luick, while concerned with such apparent exceptions, fails unaccountably to mention spm c (or bräc). Y e t there seems no reason to doubt the evidence o f the later periods (or to imagine that he may have done so). W hatever the explanation, we must put up with O ld English sprœc(e). W ould it be more reasonable to doubt O ld English spräca? T h ough a spelling sprcecea* seems not to occur, any individual occurrence o f the spelling sprceca is o f course open to the inter­ pretation sprach should one be so inclined. But the generality o f this spelling leaves little room for doubt, in view o f the fact that even such a relatively rare word as ofersprœca(n) is represented b y the distinctive spelling oferspracea(n) several times. It is therefore probable that the analogical form o f the plural is o f later date. IV . T h e preterite type bräk There is no problem about the w ay in which the singular pre­ terite type bräk was developed. A fter the vow el o f the singular had spread into the plural, and consequently had been lengthened, the vow el o f the plural in turn spread into the singular. This is barely disputed. A n alternative explanation1 m ay be mentioned only to be rejected. This sees in the long vow el o f the singular form not merely the vow el o f the plural but rather a generalization o f the vowel-length prevailing in all other forms o f the verb. But the vowel-length o f e and o due to the open syllable-position was not phonemic. This is quite certain for the language o f Chaucer and G ow er, w ho do not normally rhyme e and o b y lengthening with the etym ologically long open vowels. It is also confirmed 1 T h is was the explanation o f Jespersen, Modern English Grammar, v i (London, 1946), p. 59. I have the impression that his suggestion was not original, but he may have been die first to have expressed himself clearly on the subject.



for other dialects,1 b y the fact that whereas original long e and o are not infrequently represented b y the graphies ee and oo, original short e and o are never so represented. In open syllable, their length was merely an automatic variant o f the short vow el. In all probability the coalescence o f the lengthened and the long vowels first arose with the loss o f final -e. This would have left a phonemic distinction o f three long vowels in each middle series— an unusual and hence unstable situation. Indeed the first technically competent poet not to distinguish in general between the lengthened and the long vowels is the Gawain-poet. In his dialect there is also some evidence for the loss o f final -e, though the details o f this loss are inevitably rather obscure. Hence we can return with confidence to the conventional explanation. W e know just what happened. But w h y did it happen? It is surely all very odd. T h e general tendency was for the singular preterite or the pa st participle (in respect at least o f its vow el) to be generalized. There is no other instance o f a preterite plural as such replacing a preterite singular. W here the preterite plural survived in appear­ ance, it owed its survival to its identity with the singular, or with the past participle. T he primary tendency was the extension o f the vow el o f the singular preterite, which often prevailed even against the identity o f plural and past participle, as in the first conjugation. Since the form brak has ultimately the vow el o f the singular, it also bears indirect witness to this tendency. (Later on o f course the position was rather different. T h e increased preva­ lence o f ‘compound tenses’ encouraged generalization o f the vow el o f the participle on the analogy o f verbs in which this 1 A lso, some modem English dialects still keep the distinction, in the form o f different vowel-qualities. But it ought to be mentioned that the exact distribution o f the original vow el-quantities is still a matter for discussion. There is something to be said for the old view that vow els in open syllables before -i were nöt lengthened. It is difficult to see how such forms as M odem English body could have arisen b y analogy o f trisyllabic forms in which shortening was regular, when in fact these forms were in a grave minority. True, one does find such spellings as boody in fifteenth-century texts, and the M odem English spelling heavy attests an earlier lengthening. But perhaps such facts belong elsewhere— not with die general lengthening in open syllables w hich affected e, o, and a, but rather with the special lengthening which dialectally affected i and u. It is plausible to suppose that, when the latter lengthening took place, it also affected those instances o f e and o which had survived for other reasons. T h e material should be looked at again w ith this possibility in view.



position had already been established; hence m odem broke. A lso, in the sole case o f surviving singular-plural distinction, was were, a generalization in favour o f the plural is attested dialectally. T his is to be connected with the generalization o f you as a singular pronoun with retention o f were as its accompanying verbal form. Such a development left the singular and plural forms much more delicately balanced in respect o f frequency. Other dialects replaced you were in singular usage b y you was, which o f course is also well represented in early m odem literary w orks. In such dialects the distinction o f singular and plural, i f lost, was lost in favour o f the original singular form. I have put this too dogmatically, since I have found the material difficult to check. A n yw ay, it belongs to a period later than that under consideration.) N o w there is an all too obvious reason w h y singular brak should be replaced b y brak after plural brakein), rather than that the vow el o f the plural should be replaced b y that o f the singular. Granted that a levelling was to take place, it could have been in this direction only, for the simple reason that a plural brake was a phonological impossibility. W hile a long ä in closed syllables was already normal albeit rare in native words (e.g. mad), a short vow el in stressed open syllables was not. Can we leave it at this? Hardly, since the phonological posi­ tion just indicated, though not at all improbable on other grounds, has as best evidence precisely its ability to account for an other­ wise abnormal analogy. It is b y no means impossible (this analogy apart) that there was a phonemic distinction between short and long a in open syllables. There were plenty o f opportunties for such a distinction to arise. It could not have arisen phonologically before the loss o f unstressed -e-, and I suspect that it arose then and not before. It is, after all, far more frequent for new dis­ tinctions to arise as the result o f the loss o f old ones, than in any other w ay. I think that the obvious explanation o f our forms is the right one. But scholars w ho accept it must be w ary o f incon­ sistencies. I hope not to see this explanation in a Middle English grammar which blandly, on some other page, talks o f a Middle English säde on the model o f sad. H ow ever, a structural linguist m ight w ell raise the question



whether the analogy supposed is really feasible in the system supposed. He might urge— and I think he w ould be m aking a good point— that automatic alternations seldom have morpho­ logical relevance. German continues to distinguish between Bundes and buntes and the automatic identity o f the nominative bunt is ineffective: no analogy has arisen from any such identity. This is true, but I do not think that the cases are quite parallel. T h e class o f preterite under discussion was rather a small one, and small classes cannot be expected to show the same resistance to change. More important, the existence o f ä in closed syllables together with its comparative rarity provided just the situation in which new forms were likely to be created to fill the relative void. T h e fact that some previous homophones thereby became distinguished, e.g. stâ l ‘position’ and stä l ‘stole’, is not o f much importance, but it can serve b y w ay o f illustration. O nce a potential opposition has been established it tends to spread, and one would have to be profoundly ignorant o f the nature o f linguistic change to imagine that it is a genuine objection to such an interpretation i f som ebody points out that the previous homophones could anyway have given rise to no confusion in any normal speech-context. N ew oppositions do not tend to be created for their individual ‘usefulness’ within the language; there is a built-in tendency to differentiate which in any single instance may be irrelevant to, or even defeat, the general purpose o f differentiation. Much that has been written on oppositions, and m utatis mutandis on syncretisms, is surely based on too narrowly a utilitarian view o f linguistic development. O ne should lo ok for the overall function o f a tendency and not be surprised i f its instances sometimes do not perform this function at all. T h is m ay be one instance.

V . Northern thire ‘these’ In a review1 o f the earliest number o f the then recently initiated E nglish and Germanic Studies, I suggested, in reference to a contribution b y E. J. D obson on this problematic form, that thire could owe something to the analogy o f es ere : this thire is found Studies by Members o f the English Department, University o f Istanbul\ ii (1951).



only in the same area. I cited the admittedly rather remote parallel o f Italian egli eglino after ama amano. O n subsequent consideration I am inclined to stick to m y account o f the form with only a few reservations: o f which the first is that it was rather illogical1 to deny any validity to P ro­ fessor D obson’s account on the ground that there is no other example o f analogy operating between different cases in singular and plural: Professor D obson poses h is: hire = this: thirey which strikes me as odd, but i f there is no parallel within Middle English to support his suggestion, neither is there any to support mine. I f the pronominal cases o f singular and plural are generally unrelated, so also are the numbers o f noun and verb. A minor reservation concerns the matter o f quantity. In order for m y explanation to be convincing, the vowel-quantities in es ere: this thire must correspond. I have really disposed o f this question in the previous note, in which it is made probable that any quantitative difference between the initial vowels o f es and ere was purely allophonic. But I should like to think that the forms was wäre also played a role. Indeed it is just this relation which makes me confident that the basis o f m y explanation is correct. It is really too striking a coincidence that one should find this thire in only those regions in which there was a verbal alternation s-r in forms otherwise identical except perhaps for vow el-quality; while the correspondence o f present and pre­ terite in this respect was its e lf a coincidence. (A coincidence at least in so far as the borrowing o f Norse verbal forms was 1 However, part o f m y point was that this sort o f relation is extremely difficult to find anywhere in Indo-European, for the cases o f singular and plural seldom correspond. But where they do correspond, as in ‘Turanian’ languages and for that matter in the reduced system o f later Middle and M odem English, the correspondence is between the same cases o f singular and plural on both sides o f the analogy. D obson ’s suggestion does not conform to this condition; thire has indeed the same case as this, and hire the same case as his (if one accepts that the genitive plural hire survived at the period and in the dialect concerned), but still the analogy operates over tw o different cases in a curiously oblique fashion. O n e might be prepared to accept an analogy from singular to plural in the same case more readily if the models for the analogy were also in the same case. But they are not. Really I know o f no good parallel to such a development, and this is what I mean b y calling the suggestion ‘odd’. T h o u gh these remarks apply specifically to case and number they are meant to apply generally to any morphological categories i f similar relations happen to hold there in the language in question.



sporadic and the vowel-developm ent— retention o f ä— peculiar to the north. O f course one can argue that some o f the facts are connected. But i f they are then m y point has already been half w on. I f there is a connexion going beyond es ere and was wäre, what could be more natural than that there should have been an extension o f the relation to other paradigms?) It remains that wäre does not fit the quantitative relations needed for a proportional analogy; and it would be too easy a w ay out to appeal to the unstressed variant wäre (which no doubt existed) as affording a full solution to the question. A ll the same, it may be a partial solution. Wäre and wäre would not be mere variants in the same sense as ere and ere, even supposing that both alternations were entirely governed b y sentencestress. F or while the former difference was elsewhere phonemic, the latter was nowhere phonemic. I think therefore that this is still the line to take. I confess to being quite mystified at the later Scottish forms o f thire, but since they have not been used to throw doubt on the value o f the original form it is difficult to see their relevance. T h e y are surely quite a different problem. V I. West-Midland dative plural -es Professor d’Ardenne has suggested that the West-Midland dative (prepositional) plural in -es does not merely represent an extension o f the nominative ending as was previously supposed, but is rather due to the replacement o f -e b y -es in the genitive singular.1 This could have led to a similar replacement, in the dative plural, o f -e ( < urn) b y -es. Indeed it could have, but when Miss d’Ardenne goes on to suggest that this m ay have been the sole source o f the form, doubts arise. Her own plausible account o f the genitive singular in -e as being primarily derived from the genitive plural (via contexts in which number was irrelevant) is the first cause o f doubt. F or number is irrelevant most often in contexts which allow an adjectival interpretation o f the genitive. But as soon as a 1 S .T .R .O . d ’Ardenne, P e U flad e ant te Passiun o f Seinte Iuliene (Liège, 1936), p. 206.



genitive is used adjectivally it ceases to have quite the same dis­ tribution as the case proper. This fact cannot so well be illustrated b y the use o f the termination -e itself, since we naturally expect to find some substantival uses derived from its other origins. But it can easily be illustrated b y the use o f -ene ( < ena), where the development was similar while other origins are lacking. O ne has to search long for instances o f -ene that exclude an adjectival interpretation b y virtue o f the fact that the w ord so inflected itself carries a subordinate adjective, and these are the only crucial cases. Since -e {-ene) and -es were never really equivalent in the genitive singular, they can hardly have been the sole basis o f a dative plural equivalence e = es. A second doubt arises from the fact that an alternative explana­ tion is so readily available. Miss d’Ardenne relies on such forms as under hire fö tes to show that the prepositional plural was independent o f the nominative. But if -e ( < um) was being replaced b y -es in the favourite declension, what could be more natural than that it should come to be replaced b y the same form in such minority-paradigms as that o ffö t í T h e complete equiva­ lence in distribution o f older -e and newer -es in the prepositional plural is surely a much better basis for an analogy than the partial equivalence o f tw o ‘genitive’ forms, one o f which was no longer a genitive. There is a possible objection to this which I can certainly sympathize with. I f there was a tendency to replace the old dative plural b y the nominative, as the above account assumes (not perhaps too implausibly in view o f the general history o f English), w h y then was the distinction still maintained in a few words even after the original form o f the dative in such words had been lost? A tendency however strong may be expected to leave a few older forms untouched, but surely it is perverse to posit a tendency at all when the older forms are lost while those that replace them do not exhibit the supposed tendency. T h e only thing w rong with this argument is that it would also apply against explanations that are virtually certain. N obody doubts that the oblique cases o f O ld English bieldu have the same origin as the nominative, in that when after the older nominative bielde* ( < bieldi with final -i retained or restored on analogy



with the rest o f the paradigm) had been replaced b y bieldu on the model o f g iefii, the identity o f the older nominative (which still survived alongside the new one) w ith the oblique cases led to a substitution o f -u throughout the declension. T h is is a m ost paradoxical result. Certainly, i f in ignorance o f the ulterior development I had been informed b y some scholar o f the state o f affairs when the paradigm was nom. bielde (bieldu), oblique bielde, I would not only have asserted w ith confidence that the new form bieldu had come to stay (as it did) but also that its introduction would put an end to the independent existence o f the minority-declension. Y e t we find that the original relation o f identity between the cases o f this minority-declension re­ asserted itself, with the result that while none o f the original forms survived, the declension kept its independence. This is the usual view , and though I am indeed surprised that nobody else has expressed astonishment at the development, I see no good reason to dispute that it was roughly as assumed. But beside it, the development -es in die W est-Midland dative plural ceases to seem paradoxical at all.



T h e choice o f so large and difficult a subject for discussion in a short paper seems to require justification. T h e choice resulted partly from a study o f Æ lfric’s H om ily on the Assumption o f St John in the course o f which I became interested in the rela­ tionship between linguistic anomalies and textual transmission; partly because the publication o f N . R. K er’s Catalogue o f M anuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon (O xford, 1957) seemed to afford an opportunity to study the language o f some localized texts, especially those in the ‘Exeter hand’ o f which Mr K er has identified a number. F or the purposes o f this paper I have con­ centrated on tw o aspects o f the problem; firstly and primarily on the significance o f the y-spellings for z, and secondly, b y implication, on the problem o f the realization o f Late O ld English y (b y which, in contradistinction to ‘ O ld English y \ is meant etymological y and early W est-Saxon ie) and i in early Middle English.1 T h e problem can be shortly illustrated from the ‘Donations o f Leofric* written presumably, since Leofric was Bishop o f Exeter from 1046 to 1072, in the second half o f the eleventh century and preserved in two copies (MS. Bodley A uct. D . 2. 16 (B) and 1

F o r discussion o f this and related phenomena see: E. Sievers and K . Brunner

Altenglische Gram m atik (Halle, 1951), § § 22, 3 1; K . D . Bülbring, Altenglisches Elemen­ tarbuch (Heidelberg, 1902), §§ 161, n. 2, 163 n., 283, 306; K . Luick, H istorische Gram­ m atik (Leipzig, 1921-40), § § 263, 281, 287; A . Campbell, O ld English Grammar (Oxford, 1959), §§ 299, 300, 301, 325; H . Kügler, Ie und seine Parallelformen im A gs . (Berlin, Î916); M. A . Lewenz, ‘W est Germanic i in O ld English Saxon Dialects*, iii (1908), 278-86; R . A . Williams, ‘D ie Vokale der Tonsilben im Codex Wintoniensis*,

Anglic^ XXV (1902), 4 3 6 -7 ; K . W ildhagen, D er P salter des Eadwine von Canterbury (Halle, 1905), pp. 193 ff.



the Exeter Book (E), o f the same date written in an Exeter hand. T hough, in Forster’s opinion, neither is original,1 w e m ight expect that tw o nearly contemporary documents, written in the same place from a nearly contemporary original, would show some uniform ity o f language and spelling. A n analysis o f the text dispels the idea. T h e relevant forms are as follow s:2 (i) O ld English y is retained except in M orceshille 6; sidebirig (sydebirig) 8; clist? 9;3 litlum 20; dide 55; and before a palatal in rkghrcegel 26; various spellings appear in minstre B, mynstre E 2; minster E, mynster B 10; minstre E, mynstre B 15, 40; mynstre EB 19, 43; minster EB 58. T h e form hruðeru (EB 17) is probably, as Sievers-Brunner suggest (§ 289, 2), an unmutated form. (ii) Early W est-Saxon ie appears as i except in g yfii EB 59; and variously in gewilde E ; gewylde B 16; ciste E, cyste B 30; firdween B,fyrdw cen E 30. (iii) O ld English i is retained except in sidebirig E, sydebirig B 8.4 (iv) O ld English i is preserved except in m ycel E B 38; mycele EB 20, 21, 27. It appears variously in w B , p E 2, 4; is E f y s B 10, 12, 18; ðiderinn E, ôiderynn B 15, 19; þiderbirman B, þyderlynnan E 54. Since the publication o f W y ld ’s study o f the development o f place-names containing O ld E n glish ^ 5 it has been assumed that Devonshire tended to unround O ld English y . This theory would suggest that the spelling confusion in the ‘Donations o f Leofric’ is due to back-spellings. W y ld ’s theory, moreover, receives support from other Exeter texts. T h e examples which follow are restricted to cases o f unrounding o f O ld English y . Thus documents in MS. Cotton Tiberius B v (s. x ^ x i1) have 1 R . W . Chambers, M. Förster, R . Flower,

The E xeter Book o f O ld English P oetry

(London, 1933), p. 12 ff. 2 References are to the text in

The E xeter Book , pp. 18-30. Reference has generally

been made to a printed text for convenience, although forms have been checked wherever

I Catalogue unless otherwise stated. 3 F o r the etym ology see E. Ekwall, English R iver-N am es (O xford, 1928), p. 82. 4 Sidbury near Sidmouth, D evon . See Ekwall, Concise O xford D icnonary o f English Place-N am es (4th edn 1960), p. 421.

possible from manuscripts or facsimiles. F o r the dating and provenance o f manuscripts have used Ker’s

5 H . C . W yld , ‘ O ld English ÿ in the Dialects o f the South and South-W estern Counties in Middle English*,

Englische Studien , xlvii (19 13 -14 ), 145-66,



cing 623/1, 81 and unrounding is probably implied b y the spell­ ings mytting, m ittinge 613/9; 614/5.2 T h e surety and manu­ missions o f the Leofric Missal (MS. Bodley 579), probably ranging in date from before 1050 to c. 1070, also, show occa­ sional unroundings. F or example, tilde 1/234 ; scyldwirhta 1/10; 6 5 œlfgiðe 6/17; hrënahricge 269/14; but u in wulfivunne 6/33; wuncildes 6/36.* B y the end o f the eleventh and the beginning o f the twelfth century unrounding becomes common. Thus the Exeter Book Manumissions (s. xi-xü) usually show i for O ld English y except in the follow ing cases: kyb 631/1; 633/1, 16 & c .; cynges 636/31; kynges 635/20; kykebeauw 632/4;* (cf. alysde 637/28). T hat t h e y spellings for Late O ld English y and i are merely back-spellings is suggested b y MS. pynceune 631/5, a spelling no doubt, as T en gvik suggests, for pincerna* and b y A lw i K ya 646/19 which is perhaps for O ld English cio ‘daw’.7 T h e u in sixtuge 635/17 is probably due to lack o f stress. T h e twelfth-century W oodbu ry Guilds and Gedmer manumission in the Exeter B ook have i throughout for Late O ld English y and i except in K y tel (f. 771 7); Tyrri (O F . T ierriï) (f. 7v/8);

D iplom atarium Anglicum (London, 1865) and Codex D ip lo m a tics , vi (London, 1848), no. 1353. T h e references are to

1 T h e texts are printed in B. Thorpe, J. M. Kemble,

Thorpe, the line numbering from the beginning o f the relevant texts. 2 F o r sporadic raising before dentals see R . E. Zachrisson, English Place-N am es containing P G *vis, vask (Uppsala Universitets Arsskrift, 1926), pp. 54-55. 3 References are to F. E. Warren, The Leofric M issa l (O xford, 1883). 4 C f. O . S. Anderson, The English Hundred N am es. The South-W estern Counties (Lunds Universitets Arsskrift, 1939), pp. 98-99.

Anglia, lxii (1938), 67) cÿcen + beaw, T h e references are to Thorpe. C f. also B. Dickins, ‘T h e Beheaded Manumission in the Exeter Book', The E arly Cultures o f N orth -W est Europe 5 According to Förster (‘D ie Heilige Sativola oder Sidwell',

from O ld English

(Chadw ick Memorial Studies), ed. C . F o x and B. D ickins (Cambridge, 1950), pp. 3 6 1 -7 ;

R eport and Transactions o f the Devonshire Association , lxix (1937), 4 17-4 5 . T h is includes facsimile pages o f MS. Bodley F . R ose-Troup, ‘Exeter Manumissions and Quittances', 579, ff. iv, 2r, 377v .

O ld English Bynam es (Nomina Germanica 4, 1938), p. 264. Anglia, lxii, p. 66, w ho suggests derivation from O N . kýr, O ther Exeter texts show y for i in prevocalic position. F o r example, MS. C .C .C .C . 191 (s. xi third quarter) gehefygyon ( Rule o f Chrodegang, ed. A . S. Napier (E .E .T .S . 150, 1916)), 12/12; m yngyað 15/31; myngyenne 89/10; gemetecyon 89/27; tamcyan 96/18; MS. C .C .C .C . 190 halgyenne 298; licyað 329; wacyað 351; licye 359; MS. C .U .L . Ii. 2. 4 (s. xi third quarter) (K ing Alfred*s P astoral Care, ed. H. Sweet (E .E .T .S . 45, 1871)) uncwacyende 41/7; aslacyan 65/14; licye 71/23, & c . I am indebted 6 G . T en g v ik ,

7 T en g v ik , p. 363, but cf. Förster,

to the Cambridge University Library for providing photostats o f MS. Ii. 2. 4 and o f MSS. G g . 3. 28 and Ii. 1. 33 o f


The Assumption o f S t . John,



cyþ (f. Y / i i ) } Literary texts thus support the place-name evi­ dence o f the unrounding o f y in the region o f Exeter in the course o f the eleventh century. M oreover, corrections o f i to y in Exeter manuscripts m ay point in the same direction. These corrections cannot unfortunately be exactly dated but they w ould seem to be pointless i f not nearly contemporary with the manu­ script. T h e y are as follow s: (i) MS. C otton Cleopatra B x m (s. xi third quarter)2 nigon 16; w ille, wilnian 31; þanciende 32; Waci(g)e, wille 33V; lim a 37; þrinnesse 56; lifa ð 56*; (ii) MS. C .C .C .C . 190 (s. xi2) wile 299; gerip, riftras, geripes 308; gehirð, s ilf 309; bid 312; sindon, silfiim , wite 314; gerine, sin, licige 318 ;gehir(a)ð, sinnœ, forsihð, wiðstandað, nimað 351 ; eadmodnisse 352; giman, singode, gehirde, silfne 354; gehirsumnisse, ingehides, ifeles) swiðe, six , g it, nihstan, alisde, sinfullan, flim on, and tyd altered to tid 355; willan, g if, sinfiillan, gim de, hig, gim on, gehirsum nisse, ingekides 356; ifeles, silfne, gehirsumnisse, swiðe, m icele, wirðe, þissum 357; bliþelice, unbindan, wirðe, g if, sw ilce, w illes, alise, m icel, willan, m iclan, geswincfidlan, sind, alisede 358; belyfan altered to belifan, þissum , sinna, forgiferm isse, m icele, blisse, sin, swilce 359; MS. C .C .C .C . 421 (s. xi third quarter) cwide, witege, site, swiðran 8; þ n ttig , ästige 12; stiðne, willan 15; frið ie, sibbie 209; willan, hlistan, witan, wzZe, 210; þrim , scilfð, forgim an 211; wile 212; libban 213; //Me 214; frið es 217; ^r/re 224.3 A study o f Exeter texts thus seems to support the view that y-spellings for i in these documents are probably to be regarded merely as back-spellings. T his simple explanation, however, is not viable for another group o f texts to which I now wish to turn. MS. Cotton Titus D X X V I I o f Æ lfric’s D e Temporibus m ay be taken first. T h e manuscript was written at W inchester at the N ew Minster for Æ lfw ine, the D eacon early in the eleventh century. Here O ld 1 Partially printed in J. Earle, A Handbook to the L an d Charters and other Saxonic Documents (O xford, 1888), pp. 264-6, and b y Thorpe, Diplomatarium,f pp. 608-10.

2 The

uncorrected form is given in each case. W here a w ord has 1 twice the relevant

letter is left unitalidzed.


am indebted to the Master and Fellows o f Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,

for permission to consult the Corpus manuscripts referred to in this paper and for photostats o f the Corpus manuscripts o f

The Assum ption o f Su John . I should like to

thank the Librarian, also, for his generous assistance while I was w orking in the Parker Library. T h e references are to pages or folios in the manuscripts.



English y remains except in fo r fry ( o f uncertain etym ology) and before palatals; early W est-Saxon ie appears as y except before palatals. T h e only exceptions are syx and its derivatives and emnyht(e) as against z forms for the simplex. This represents a know n pattern with unrounding before palatals. O ld English z is not rounded but z, on the other hand, shows many y spellings in various phonetic contexts with i and y fluctuating even in the same word. T o explain these y-spellings as back-spellings is difficult for two reasons: first, because, since there are virtually no z spellings for Late O ld English y , except before palatals, it is to be presumed that unrounding had not taken place. Spelling archaism might be assumed but this should have preserved i as well a s y . Secondly, it is unclear how far back-spellings occur as the result o f phonemic split except when this creates con­ ditioned allophones or the new sounds are in complementary distribution. Thus i f /y/ splits into /i/ before palatals and /y/ in other positions, it is possible to interchange spellings within these contexts. But it is not clear that O ld English hitt for example, w ith etymological z, can be spelt hyt while p y tt still contains its original /y/ except, perhaps, b y a non-W est-Saxon scribe. T h e spelling would then be a ‘hyper-W est-Saxonism’ not a backspelling; that is to say, a scribe whose dialect had unrounding o f [y] but was aware that W est-Saxon had y where he had z' might substitutey for etymological z. T h e scribe o f MS. Titus, however, is writing in W inchester and carefully distinguishes between /i/ and /y/ for Late O ld English y in palatal and non-palatal con­ texts. He would therefore be unlikely to spell z’ with a graph which he carefully keeps for original y in non-palatal contexts.1 A similar situation appears in the nine manuscripts o f Æ lfric’s Assumption o f S t. John? A complete collation o f these manu1 T h e contemporary sections o f M S. Stow e 944 (s. xi1), the W inchester

L iber Vitae>

also usually preserve y except before palatals. But unrounding in this area seems to have occurred at a later date. Examples appear in the twelfth-century

Vision o f Eadwine in

Stow e 944 and in MS. Arundel 60, a W inchester manuscript. T h e W inteney Benedictine Rule, probably from Hampshire, o f the twelfth century, beside many examples o f retained y> has

i and u. In Middle English, i and u occur in The U sages o f W inchester. C f. B. Weber-Liel, D ie Sprache W inchesters im Spätm ittelalter (Jena, 1939). 1 (i) MS. R oyal 7 C xii (s. x ex.) (R ). (ii) MS. C .U .L . G g . 3. 28 (s. x/xi) (G ). (iii) MS.

C . C .C .C . 188 (s. xi1) (Q ); for these three manuscripts see K. Sisam, Studies in the H istory o f O ld English L iterature (Oxford, 1953), pp. 165 ff. (iv) MS. Cotton Vitellius C v (s. x/xi) (V ); this manuscript was damaged in the Cotton fire. It may be associated with



scripts reveals a situation comparable to that in the T itus manu­ script o f the D e Temporibus. T his is especially true o f the earliest manuscript R and almost equally true o f the slightly later G . It seems reasonable to assume that where nine manu­ scripts o f varied provenance, ranging in date from the late tenth century to the twelfth, show a remarkable uniform ity in over eight hundred forms in all, this uniform ity is due to the language o f the archetype. More particularly is this likely to be true when the language o f the earliest manuscript is the most consistent, and where deviation in other manuscripts can, in most cases, be explained as due to scribal interference. But since this pattern, as in the case o f the Titus manuscript, is characterized b y almost complete consistency in the treatment o f O ld English y , ie, i, and b y much greater variety in the treatment o f z, it w ill be convenient to treat the latter category separately. (a) O ld English y : This is retained except before palatals. Exceptions are (i) R B filigdojan 89, 100,1 G Q C I fili(g )don 89; (Jyligdon 100); manuscripts show fo rþ i 101 ( V W om it; C Jordan), 167 although R has forþ y at 182 and R Q B H have þylœ s, G W I þilces ( C V þelces) 6 1-6 2; C afiUede 177 beside the normal fy lla n , ajyUed; H litlere 116; unlibban 263—4, 268;2 (ii) Q B C H W I brycð 137; B C H I brycas 7 4 ,7 6 ; Q brycasjbricas’, W brecasfbrycas; T avistock, (v) M S. Bodley 340 (s. xi in.) (B ); for the association w ith Rochester see Sisam,

Studies, pp. 148 ff. (vi) M S. C . C . C . C . 198 (s. xi1) ( C ) ; the 'tremulous hand*

glosses indicate a connexion w ith W orcester in the early thirteenth century and M r Ker suggests that spellings in items 6 5 -6 7 indicate that these articles were written in the W est o f England in s. xi2. But it is probably South-Eastern in origin. C f. M. Angstrom ,

Studies in O ld English M anuscripts with Special Reference to the D élabialisation o f y to i (Uppsala, 1937), pp. 106-7, and Sisam, Studies, p. 155. (vii) M S. Hatton 113 (s. xi third quarter) (H ); glossed b y the ‘tremulous hand’, (viii) M S. C .C .C .C . 302 (s. xi/xii) (W ). (ix) MS. C .U .L . Ii. i. 33 (s. xii2) (I). MS. H arley 2110 (s. xi) is too short a fragment for our purposes. I am most grateful to D r Clem oes for the use o f his collation which has been an exceedingly useful check and addition to m y own. 1 T h e references are to the text in H . Sweet,

Anglo-Saxon Reader (14th edn O xford,

1959). O n ly relevant variants are quoted and in complete citations no reference is made to V where this manuscript is defective.

twynað R V Q 274; twynunge R G Q V 276 are o f uncertain origin. T h e y tweo (*twïhô) and tweogan ([*twïhôjan) with an infixed n. Campbell ( 4$/*7) but the etym ology o f the latter is uncertain (Mack, p. 102). Possibly here belong also, tohourde in a thir­ teenth-century Crediton text and gefyxse in the Bern MS. (no. 2). T h e former is derived b y Mörsbach from O ld English hired (L. Morsbach, Umschriften ags . Urkunden (Britan­ nica, 1929), p. 133), T h e latter Meritt derives from O ld English geficy but the form may East-Saxon influence. C f. C . W . Bouterwek, ‘Angelsächsische Glossen’, (1853), 401-530 and G . van Langenhove,

well be a back-spelling since there are signs o f unrounding in the text*



therefore, not surprising i f they sometimes also substitute y for l. T hat this use o f y was due to a genuine phonetic confusion and not merely to back-spelling seems to be suggested b y the sporadic use o f y for u in Late O ld English. F or example, MS. C .C .C .C . 383, a London document o f s. xi/xii, has Gyþrum for Guþrum} There seems no satisfactory explanation o f y d el except as a sporadic rounding which does not seem to have been main­ tained in Middle English. I have now shown that the language o f the Royal manuscript o f S t John is remarkably uniform in its treatment o f Late O ld English y and i. I have also suggested that variations in other manuscripts can be explained in most cases as scribal interference.2 It would seem, therefore, that a carefully written manuscript o f the late tenth century, nearly contemporary with its original, will probably show i for Late O ld English y before palatals but y in other positions, except perhaps finally, and the retention o f i even after w. T he treatment o f z, on the other hand, shows no such uniformity. Here the forms from the R oyal manuscript only will serve our purpose. There is indeed a tendency to prefer y before liquids and labials but consensus o f the manu­ scripts is evident only in jy rste 22; cf. nyten(d)an 81. O n the other hand, all have nimað 113; nim 276; sibbe 4; gewilnode 68, 307. Moreover, exceptions are common even in R. T h ey are as follows: (i) Rounding before consonants other than liquids and labials: byþ 142 (Jbiþ 64, 65, 66, 143, 144, 240, 275); cwyde 243; angynne 228; genyþerod 65; synd 130 ([sindfsint 73, 126, 132, 135, 185, 203, 225); syððan 15, 71, 265, 268, 284, 287, 329-30; þysne 78, 183, 334; þyses 108; þysum i, 170, 220, 243, 293, 323 (þisum í7 , 69, 328); þyssere 151; þyssera 109; in some cases an original long vow el has been shortened; thus gytsunge 140 (gitsiendum 1 A lfred and Guthrum, Prologue (Liebermann, G e s e tz i. 126). It w ould seem from this that the scribal substitution o f u for y may indicate merely that the scribe so understood the graph and not necessarily that he had rounding in his dialect. 2 A lthough conclusions based on the relationship o f the manuscripts must await the publication o f D r Clem oes’s edition, it seems clear, even from S t John, that B C H form a group and may, therefore, derive idiosyncrasies from a common original. More­ over, the bulk o f the manuscripts seem to derive from the R tradition rather than the G tradition and consequently the closely similar treatment o f Late O ld English i and y in G and R takes on an added significance.



200; gitsere 136, 138); ay diode y j\ adylegode 185.1 (ii) i before liquids and labials: g if 70, 74, 198, 237, 260, 274 (but gyftum 8, 9) ;2 gim stanas 82, 114 (but gymstanum 56, 60; gymstanas 73, 88, 112 -13 , 193, 195; gymstana 76, 109; gymmum 107; gym wyrhtan 112); hire 155, 158, 334 (but hyre 20, 45); hwilc 171; gehwilce 125; lifienddn 318 -19; -scipe 178, 234, 237, 295; swilce 51, 57; wile 136, 199 (but wylt 261 ; cf. cwyde above). F or reasons explained in connexion with the Titus manuscript o f Æ lfric’s D e Temporibus, they-spellings cannot be regarded as back-spellings. M oreover, the tendency in R to show variation between i and y in only a limited number o f words seems to witness against the assumption that the variation is random. Further, not only do the y-spellings show in some cases a remarkable consistency (for example, syððan appears in all occurrences except three, namely, C 69-70, 265, and G 268, which have siððari) but those words which show variation in R tend to appear with this variation also in the T itus manuscript o f die D e Temporibus. N or, since y-spellings for i appear already in the Hatton Pastoral Care, can progressive operation o f a sound change be held responsible.3 Certainly the spellings could be due to dialect admixture, but this still assumes that die spellings have phonetic significance.4 W e must, therefore, proceed to discuss the significance o f these spellings. T h e y present tw o problem s: firstly, the apparently random nature o f their distri­ bution and, secondly, the rarity o f «-spellings for O ld English i in Middle English.5 T w o explanations o f the random distribution 1 Luick, § 204.

g if as well as unrounding in þincan i f his notes in Studies, pp. 173 -4 . 3 P . J. Cosijn, Altwestsächsische G ram m atik (T h e Hague, 1883-6), p. 65. 2 Æ lfric m ay have had the form

MS. R are testimony. See Sisam,

4 It is perhaps worth noting that a probable D orset document, the letter o f Bishop Æ þelric o f Sherborne (c. 1006-12) in the Paris M S. B .N . f. latins 943, shows a lin­ guistic situation similar to that o f R . It preserves y but has y s , hyra , h yt9 syndon 9 beside biscopy icy gewitnysse 9 þises 9 bisceopas9 g if 9 willa 9 miceles. See Förster, Flussname Themse9 pp. 776-88 and R . Brotanek, T exte und Untersuchungen (Halle, 1913), pp. 29, 33-49. T h e Dorsetshire G uild to which Förster draws attention (E xeter Book 9 p. 53, n. 77) is unfortunately available on ly in T horpe’s and Kem ble's prints, but shows a similar

Diplom atarium 9 pp. 605—8; Codex D iplom aticus9 iv. no. 942. 5 C f. O .E .D . under church9 hither9 if 9 milce9 much9 nether, ship 9 whither. T o this material


m ay be added: R obert o f Gloucester’s Chronicle (ed. W . A . W right, Rolls Series, 1887): þuder(e) (M SS. London U niv. Lib. 278, T rin ity College, Cambridge, R.4.26) vol. ii, Appendix xx, 402, 412, & c.; w hode(r)w ard (MS. Huntington H M 126 and London U niv. Lib.) ibid., 167; K ing Horn (cf. J. Hall’s edn, O xford, 1901, p. xix) s(c)hup MS. C , 119,



suggest themselves: in some cases stress variation m ay be responsible;1 in others, doublets m ay have arisen under the influence o f back vowels. Since back vow els inhibit palatal mutation and thus produce doublets, such as Piht> Peohtas, they m ay also have favoured t h e y variants, thus givin g rise to grada­ tions such as þisy þyssum^ gyfit, giß» T h e erratic realization o f Late O ld English i and y in place-names m ay stem partly from such doublets, although other explanations are possible.2 A nother explanation that has been often advanced is that certain con­ sonants favour t h e y forms, but as we have seen, the influence is sporadic. T h e second problem is the phonetic value o f the y-spellings, T hat this was identical w ith that o f earlier O ld English y seems dubious in view o f the Middle English reflexes. T h e earliest examples o f «-spellings for O ld English y m ay be merely a mechanical substitution o f u f o r y , while the later ones m ay be due to Middle English roundings. T h e follow ing points, however, m ay be noted: (i) Late W est-Saxon develops from y an unrounded sound before palatals. There was thus a phonemic split o f ly j into /y/ and /i/ with complementary distribution o f the tw o sounds, (ii) e appears as a spelling for O ld English y in many parts o f the country where Kentish influence can hardly & c .; ßuder MS. C , 1424; Southern Legendary (ed, C . Horstmann, E .E .T .S . 87, 1887) ßwodere, p. 49; þusne (cf, S t John MS. Q þusum altered to þysum 328), p. 36; þudere9 þuderward) pp. 1, 6, 8, & c .; W lnteney Benedictine Rule (ed. M. M . A . Schröer (Halle, 1888)) g u f 9/2; nuþerstigende 31/24; nuþerstige 31/25. C f. L. Morsbach, M ittelenglisçhe G ram m atik (Halle, 1896), § 133. Some u forms m ight be due to back-mutation; e.g, Robert o f Gloucester, tulye, untuled\ lum e(s): cf. F . Pabst, D ie Sprache des Robert von Gloucester (Berlin, 1889) § 36; K ing Horn , hure, clupede, suððe. I am indebted to Miss A . M . Hudson for information about Robert o f Gloucester. But, o f course, some o f these forms m ay be the product o f Middle English roundings. It is striking that in placenames w-spellings for Late O ld English y often appear at a later date than forms w ith i and e. C f. R . Jordan, Handbuch der me. G ram m atik (Heidelberg, 1934) § § 36, 43, 62. F o r Late O ld English roundings cf. also W . Schlemilch, B eiträge zur Sprache und Ortho* graphie spätaltengU Sprachdenkmäler der Ü bergangszeit (Halle, 1914), pp. 9 -12 . 1 C f. W . Horn, Neue Wege der Sprachforschung (Frankfurt, 1939), pp. 12 ff.; Förster, Flussname Themse,, pp. 470 ff.; E. Sievers, Z ur englischen Lautgeschichte (Leipzig, 1930) and F estschrift fü r W ilhelm Braune (Dortm und, 1920), pp. 148-98. 2 See Anderson, H undred N am es, pp. 105 ff., 188, 191, 195-6, & c .; A . Fägersten, The Place-N am es o f D orset (Uppsala Universitets Ârsskrlft, 1933), pp. x x -x x i; M . G elling and D . M. Stenton, The Place-N am es o f O xfordshire (E .P .N .S ., 1953), p. xxxii; E . Ekwall, Contributions to the H istory o f O ld English D ialects (Lunds Universitets Arsskrift, 1916), pp. 40 ff.; H . Bohman attempted to explain the anomalies b y dialect mixture and scribal interference ( Studies

London , Gothenburg, 1944).

in the M iddle English D ialects o f Devon and



be assumed.1 (iii) Since Middle English rounding o f i is sparsely evidenced it m ay be that i and y did not fall together entirely in Late O ld English but became sufficiently similar to form a sharp contrast with the high vow el, /i/, developed before palatals. T h e spelling o f a and ce in O ld English suggests that comple­ mentary distribution does not necessarily prevent the use o f distinctive spellings. T h e general lack o f y for i, except after w, would support the view that y appeared only for the slacker vow el, since long vow els tend to be tenser than short ones, (iv) Some Southern texts in Middle English show u for O ld English eo, suggesting a convergence o f y and eo.2 I would, therefore, suggest that the development o f Late O ld English i and y m ay have been on the follow ing lines: in later O ld English, /y/ split into /i/ before palatals and /y/ in other positions, /y/ was then lowered to [ y ] in those areas where a rounded vow el was preserved. O ld English /i/ in unaccented syllables and non­ palatal contexts was opened and retracted to [i]. These two sounds were now sharply contrasted with /i/ and were thus both spelt w ith y . It is possible that in some areas e was slightly raised 1 C f. E . Ekwall,

Studies on English Place-N am es (Lund, 1936), pp. 115 fr. W yld ,

‘T h e Treatment o f O E . ÿ in the Dialects o f the Midland and S.E. Counties in M E /,

E . S t., xlvii (19 13 -14 ), 52-54. T h e sporadic spelling o f e w ith y may be relevant here. T h is may clearly be Kentish, as on ff. 203-18 o f MS. Bodley 342, written at Rochester, where

e appear, frequently corrected back to e, in both stressed and un­ e in unstressed syllables is frequent in the first hand o f MS. T rin ity College, Cambridge, R . 5. 22 o f the P astoral Care. T h is manuscript is many y-spellings for

stressed syllables. T h e spelling y for

associated with Sherborne and Salisbury but could have a Rochester antecedent descended from the copy sent to Bishop Swiðulf. Some forms in the manuscript w ould seem to

m yahte, scyal7 þinc 7 eornful7 geom . But the reading at 79/10 where this geornfulnysse but the Exeter manuscript, C .U .L . Ii. 2. 4, eornfulnysse,

support this, e.g, manuscript has

suggests rather that the form may derive from a common antecedent. There are, in fact, signs that the T rin ity manuscript might have Exeter connexions. It has many unround­ ings o f etym o lo gicaly, some corrected t o y . T h e sporadic use o f c-shaped accents could,

Catalogue,} p. xxxv). Exeter Book ia for ea7 and inorganic g (cf. Förster, E xeter

but need not, indicate Exeter connexions (cf. Ker, documents, also, show spellings w ith

Book , p. 45, n. 9). T h e spelling y for e in unstressed syllables appears also in the Bodmin A G ram m atical M iscellany offered to O tto Jespersen (Copenhagen and London, 1930, 77-9 9 ) and in the Cotton manuscript o f S t John which may be associated w ith Tavistock. (C f. S. J. Crawford, The H eptateuch t E.E .T .S.160, manumissions (ed. M. Förster in

1922, pp. 424-39). I am indebted to the Master and Fellow s o f T rin ity College for permission to consult T rin ity manuscripts and for photostats o f MS. R . 5. 22. 2 F o r example, the Crediton texts printed b y Morsbach, Urkunden f have bebude 1/1; sove 1/4; þru 1/13, isu 3/7, & c ., the W inteney Benedictine Rule has hurte i / 6 ;ysu n 5/12; b u i pi. 5/18; hurte 7/2; hurten 7/5; duf e i 7/5; hurde 15/17; mtesseprustes 127/7. C f. hyrte for heorte 27/2. C f. also Fägersten, D orset Place-N am es 7 p. xx, and W yld , E . S t ., xlvii, 153- 4 -



in unaccented syllables1 and thus converged on [1]. In some Southern areas, m oreover, the development o f /y/ seems to have converged into that o f eo and the e-spellings may reflect a con­ vergence at the point where eo was rounded to [o].2 Sporadic y spellings for eo m ay also reflect this stage.3 O ld English [1], on the other hand, remained and came to be contrasted w ith the now distinct Middle English u. In Devonshire /y/ m ay have developed to [1] when the am biguity o f the phoneme led to its identification with e, i, and y as in the case o f the O ld British m id-vowel [1] in place-name elements.4 T h e only fitting ending to so partial a study would seem to be a moral rather than a conclusion. W hat emerges clearly from a study o f these texts and their problems is the amount o f w o rk that remains to be done on the language o f the eleventh and twelfth centuries especially in relation to the mass o f material appearing from documents o f the twelfth century as the result o f place-name studies, the increasing knowledge o f the manu­ scripts o f the period, and new approaches to linguistic studies. In particular, it is necessary to study the eleventh and twelfth centuries as a whole in relation to each other and to A n gloNorman. It is now generally realized that the fifteenth century can only be understood in the light o f what follow s as well as o f what precedes. I f this study has suggested that this is equally true o f the eleventh century it has served its purpose. 1 C f. O . Jespersen, ‘Vem ers Gesetz und das W esen des Akzents*,

Linguistica (C open ­

hagen and London, 1933), p. 243, and Fägersten, p. xx, n. 5.

2 C f. W y ld , E . S t. y xlvii,pp. 49—51, and Ekw all, Studies on English Place - and Personal N am es (Lund, 1931), pp. 64-65. 3 It is worth noting that the W inteney Benedictine R ule spells O ld English eo w ith both u and eo and occasionally y , but also uses eo for e (e.g. anteofenum 53/28-29; todeoled 55/22). T h is w ould seem to suggest that O ld English y had a sound w hich could be confused w ith both u and e, possibly [y ]. T h e interpretation o f the e-spellings for Late O ld English y in place-names is difficult but it may sometimes represent an A n g lo Norm an spelling for a rounded sound. C f. O . von Feilitzen,

o f D om esday Book (Uppsala, 1937)» § 19. 4 See Förster, Flussname Themse,, p. 299.

Preconquest Personal N am es



T h e fragment printed here was until fairly recently the wrapper o f a small book, D om inico Mancini’s D e quattuor virtutibus, printed in London b y R . D exter in 1601,1 lot 29 in the Howard o f C o rb y sale at Sotheby’s, 1 A ugust 1934. E. P . Goldschmidt bought it in the sale, detached it from the Mancini, and sold it to W ilfred Merton, w ho, a few years later, kindly allowed me to copy it and to make the description o f it printed in m y Catalogue o f M anuscripts containing Anglo-Saxon} A fter Merton’s death it was bought b y Martin Breslauer and is no. 4 in his catalogue 90 (1:958), where lines 4-9 are reproduced (pi. III). It now belongs to D r Martin Bodmer o f Geneva. T w en ty out o f probably twenty-five lines remain on each side, the missing lines being the first five. T he condition is fairly good, except in three lines on the verso which was the exposed side o f the wrapper. These lines (32-34) came on the fold and have therefore been rubbed, so that some words and parts o f words are illegible. T h e date o f writing is probably the later eleventh century. T h e text m ay seem at first sight uninviting; a scrap o f a hom ily from the Second Series o f Æ lfric’s Catholic Homilies, which exists complete in nine other manuscripts; not early enough to be contemporary with Æ lfric himself, nor late enough to show many changes in the language. It is, however, more interesting than one would expect, because, unlike the other manuscripts o f the hom ily, it does not set out to be a faithful transcript o f what Æ lfric wrote.

1 Not in Short T itle Catalogue and not known to the editors of the revised S .T .C . (Oxford, 1957), p. 347» no. 285.




T h e fragment consists o f the greater part o f Æ lfric’s transla­ tion o f the parable o f the labourers in the vineyard, the Gospel for Septuagesima Sunday (Matthew xx. 1-16 ), and a few lines o f Æ lfric’s exposition.1 In this brief space there are over forty variations from Æ lfric’s w ording as it appears in the earlier manuscripts and, with very little change, in the later manuscripts. Most o f these alterations make no difference, or very little difference, to the sense and consist in the substitution o f one w ord or small group o f words for another, or the addition o f unimportant words like eft (8, 13), þa (19), ea ll (23), la (23), soðlice (26), heofonlican (34). T w o or three o f them are im prove­ ments: ‘þa worhton hig foreweard se hlaford and ða wirhtan w ið anum penege’ instead o f ‘þa gewearð þam hlaforde and þam hyrigmannum w ið anum penege’ (2-3); ‘þa underfeng heora ælc anne pening’ instead o f ‘þa underfengon hi ænlipige penegas* (20); the more vivid ‘hyraþ’ instead o f ‘hyrede’ (12). T w o omissions are acceptable (7, 27). O n the other hand in half-adozen places the new text is to the bad. T h e omission o f ‘twa tide’ (9) leaves no expression o f the time between three o’clock and evening when the owner hired his last batch o f labourers. T h e difficult ‘oððe þin eage is yfel forðam ic eom god?’ (‘W h y be jealous because I am kind?’ in the N ew English Bible) is bungled (24—25). ‘E ow to gehyrende’ instead o f ‘þam heorcnigendum’ would do well, i f eow were not out o f place here (30). ‘ Gesamnað’ is a poor substitute for ‘geagnað’ (36). B y a change o f singular to plural, the church becomes the owner o f the vineyard instead o f being equated with it (37). T he addition o f ‘Men þa leofostan’ after verse 15 makes it seem as though verse 16 is part o f the exposition and not o f the Gospel. These alterations were introduced to make an easier sermon. Presumably they were put into the margins and between the lines o f a manuscript which was the direct or indirect exemplar o f the present manuscript. T w o existing manuscripts which, in part, have this sort o f relationship are Bodley 342 and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 303, but neither they nor other 1 Edited b y B. Thorpe,

The Sermones Catholici or H om ilies o f Æ lfric (1844-6), ii.

72 .19 -7 4 .i from Cambridge University Library MS. G g . 3.28. T h e text o f the Gospel, omitted b y Thorpe, was printed from MS. Bodley 340 b y A . S. Napier in

Studium der neueren Sprachen , cii (1899), 31.

Archiv fu r das



eleventh- and twelfth-century manuscripts o f Æ lfric’s homilies have been altered so extensively as the Bodmer fragment. T o find an equal amount o f alteration we have to go to the homilies o f the First Series copied, c. 1200, in the Lambeth Homilies.1 T he fragment agrees with manuscripts from the south-west o f England in its spellings with i for y (wirhtan) and y for i (nontyde, gelyce) and in the use o f pcege for the relative and demon­ strative pronouns pe and pa (29, 38).2 In script it is remarkable only for the number o f abbreviations: civ for cwœð (every occurrence), hw for hwcet (18, but hwcet in full, 24), f for fo r- in forþan (every occurrence), þoh for pone (37), and § for ge (11) and for ge- and -ge_ (thirteen occurrences, against twelve o f geand ~ge in full). M for M en pa leofestem (25) is, like V for Leofan men, not uncommon in positions in which the scribe wished to save space.3 T h e ten other manuscripts o f the hom ily for Septuagesima Sunday appear to fall into tw o main groups which I have called A and B. T he A group consists o f Cambridge University Library G g. 3.28 (s. x/xi) and Ii. 4.6 (s. xi med.), Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 302 (s. xi/xii), and British Museum, Cotton Faustina A ix (s. xii1). T he B group consists o f three Corpus, Cambridge, manuscripts, 162 (s. xi in.), 198 (s. xi1), and 303 (s. xii1) and o f three Bodleian manuscripts, Bodley 340 (s. xi in.), 342 (s. xi med.), and 343 (s. xii2). T h e Bodmer fragment seems nearer the B group. I have therefore printed below it the relevant extract from MS. Bodley 340 which contains one peculiar reading (5). Several o f the manuscripts are derived from exemplars to which slight alterations had been made— the word gecigede (27) was par­ ticularly disliked— but the only one which is itself altered is Corpus 162. T h e alterations here are to the exposition (27-30, 32, 33, 36, 38): the gospel text has not been touched. T h e Bodmer fragment is printed line for line with the original 1 Ed. R . Morris, O ld English Homilies, First series (E .E .T .S . 29, 1868), pp. 8 7-10 1, 12 1-3 . 2 Max Förster noted twelve examples o f Late O ld English plural þcege and one example o f the feminine singular þcege in Anglia Beiblatt, lii (1941), 274-80, and liii (1942), 86-87, and in Z u r Geschichte des Reliquienkultus in Altengland (Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil. Hist. A b t., 1943, H eft 8), p. 75, n. 1. 3 F o r example in Bodleian MS. Hatton 113, f. i02y, and MS. Hatton 114, f. 30.



and this lineation is followed also in printing the extract from MS. Bodley 340. In the apparatus only verbal differences from the text o f Bodley 340 are noticed as a rule.

RECTO OF BODMER FRAGMENT 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

[. .]rgen & wolde hinan wirtan into his winearde. Þa worhton hig foreweard se hlaford & þa wirhta[.] wið anum penege.1 & eodon into þam winearde. Eft to unde[. .] tide eode þæs wingeardes hlaford út & gemette oððre hyrmen standan ydele. on þære stræt. & he cwceð heom to. gað into minum wingearde. & ic sylle eow þtet riht byð. Hig þa eodon into his worce. Eft embe midne dæg. & embe nontyde eode se hlaford út. & dyde hand swa gelyce. Eft ofer non tyde eode se hlaford ut & gemette ma wyrhtan stan dan. & him to cwað. Hwig stande ge ealne dæg ydele? Hig anM'swarodon. forþan þe us nan man ne hyrað. Se hia ford cwað gaþ into minum wingearde. Soþlice eft on æfen cwæð se hlaford to his wienere. Clypa þas wirhtan. & gyld heom on heora méde. Foh on þam æftemæstan. ob þæt ðu cume to þam fyrmæstan. Þa cómon þa endenextan þe tofóran æfne wæron gehyred. & heoNra/' ælc underfeng anne pening. Hw«t þa fyrmestan þe on æme morgen comon wendon ða þæt hig maran hyre habban sceoldon. þa underfeng heora ælc anne pening. swa swa þa oððr[.] 1

A ltered to peninge.



BODLEY 340 f. 87™ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

mengen & wolde hyrian wyrhtan into his winearde; Þa gewearð þam hlaforde & þam hyrigmannum wið anum peninge. & heo eodon into þam winearde; Eft ymbe undem dæges eode þæs wineardes hlaford út. & gemette ma hyrmenn standan idele on ðære stræt. & he cwæð him to; Gað into minum winearde. & ic sylle eow þæt riht bið; Hi eodon þa to his weorce be ðam gehate; Ymbe midne dæg. & on nontide eode se hiredes ealdor út. & dyde hand swa gelice; Æt nextan twa tide ofer non. eode se hlaford út & gemette ma wyrhtan stan dan. & him to cwæð; Hwi stande ge her ealne dæg æmtige? Hi andwyrdan; Forðan þe us nan man ne hyrede; Se hia ford cwæð; Gað into minum winearde; Witodlice on æfnunge cwæð se hlaford to his wienere. Clypa þas wyrhtan. & agyld him heora mede; Foh on ðam endenextum oððæt þu cume to ðam íyrmestum; Þa comon þa endenextan þe on æfnunge wæron gehyrede. & heora ælc underfeng ænne pæning; Hwæt þa íyrmestan þe on æme mengen comon. wendon þæt hi maran mede onfon sceoldon. þa underfengon hi ænlipige penegas. swa swa þa oðre; V A R I A T I O N S F R O M MS. B O D L E Y 340 I N O T H E R MSS., A N D A L T E R A T IO N S


altered to hyran. 198 hyran. om its ut. 343 be fo r þæs wineardes. A ll mss. except 340 oðre fo r ma.


A standende.

I. 4. 4.

162 hyrian



302, Faust, to heom.


A ða eodon.


A behate.


A on


A none.

9 -10 .

om itted. om itted. om itted.

343 & dyde . . . ut


A and 342 ut


343 andswerden.

after man.


343 us


G g , Faust,

1 5 -1 6 .



o ð ð æ t . . . endenextan gehyrede




G g , Ii




altered to hyrde. om itted.



altered to gehyrde. after wendon.

sceolden underfon mare mede.

Ii, Faust,




21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

[ . . . . ] une to anum peninge. Nym þine foreweard & ga þe forð. Ic wylle soðlice syllan þisum látemæstan eall swa mycel swa þam ærostan. Hú lá ne mot ic don loc hwæt ic wylle. Soðlice þin eage & þin heorte is yfel. forþan þe ic eom god. Men þa leofestan. þus gewurdon þa æftemestan fyrmest. & þa fyrmestan æftemest. Soþlice fela synd geclypode & feawa gecorene. Gregorius cwæð þíBí þis godspell hæfð lange rædiNn/ge on his trahtnung[.] þæge he wyle mid sceortere race belucan. þat hit to hefigtyme ne þince eow to gehyrende. Mine ge broðra gelome ic eow sæde. þœt heofonlice rice ge tacna[.......................... ] gelaþunge. fbrþan þe riht [ . . . .]a [ . . . . . ] gég[.]derung is gecweden heofona rice. S[.........]des ealdor ys ure heofeonlican scippend se þe gewylt eall \>œt he gesceop. & his gecorenan on þisum middanearde gésamnaþ swa swa hlaford his hyred on his healle. Hig habbaþ þone wineard gewislice ealle þæge þe on géleaffulre laþunge wunigaþ. Swa swa se witega cwœá isaias. Soðlice godes wineard ys israhela híwræden. mid þam naman ys geswu



BODLEY 340 f. 87v 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

wearð une to anum peninge? Nim þæt þin is & ga þe forð; le wille soðlice syllan þysum latestan swa micel swa þe; Hu ne mot ic don þæt ic wille? oððe þin eage is yfel forðam ic eom god? Þus wæron þa latestan fyrmesteV & þa fyrmeste endenexte; Feala synd gecigedeV & feawa gecorene; Gregorius se trahtnere cwæð þæt þis godspel hæfð langne tyge on his trahtnunge. þa he wile mid scortre race befon. þæt hit to hefigtyme ne þynce þam heorcnigendum; Mine ge broðra gelome ic eow sæde þaet heofonan rice ge tacnað þas andweardan gelaðunge^ forðanðe riht wisra manna gegaderung is gecweden heofonan rice; Se hiredes ealdor is ure scyppend se ðe gewylt þa ðe he gesceop. & his gecorenan on ðysum middanearde geagnað. swa swa hlaford his hired on his healle; He hæfð þone wíneard gewisdice. ealle þa geleaffullan gelaðunge swa swa se witega cwæð isaias; Soðlice godes wineard is israhela hiwræden; Mid þam naman is V A R I A T I O N S F R O M M S. B O D L E Y 340 I N O T H E R M SS., A N D A L T E R A T IO N S


302, Faust,


Ii þæs be fo r þæt.


G g , Ii forþan þe.


343 beoð.


302 gelaðode.


soðlice wille. 162, 303

swa fo r

303 geclepede.


343 idypode.

162 G reg o riu s. . . heorcniendum altered to Gregorius se haliga papa trahtnude þis godspel and cwæð.


343 cwæð fo r hæ fð [rie] and glte fo r tyge.


302 þe.

3 1-3 2 . 343 omits getacnað. 32.



162 gelaðunge altered to gesomnunge.



162 heofonrice altered to heofona rice.




162,198 o f fo r on.



162 deð added after hlaford.


A ll M S S . except 340 and Faust,


162 gelaðunge altered to gesomnunge.


343 ysaias cwæð.


Faust, wislice.

S. R. T. O. d ’ A R D E N N E


MS. Liège University Library 369 C 1 A few years ago Professor Tolkien presented the U niversity o f Liège with a philological gift, which he claimed to be ‘the first gift, perhaps, o fperfidia anglosaxonica to Gaul’.2 Gaul is happy to pay him in kind and agyfan amico anglosaxonico what is very likely the unique miniature o f W oden,3 in which the great god is represented as the ancestor o f the A nglo-Saxon kings. T o this quality another m ay be added, which, although not limited to England, will not displease Professor Tolkien, namely W oden’s close association with runes and magic. T h e miniature is found on folio 88v o f MS. 369 C o f the Liège University Library. H ow and when it came into its possession w e do not know . T h e name o f the generous benefactor w ho presented it w ill very likely never be discovered. T h e manuscript belongs to what is described as ‘L e Fonds Perdu’. It has escaped the attention o f scholars. It did escape mine, until one day, as I þa le a f wende . . . and heom leoflicke biheoldy m y eye caught the name Gilda Sapiente, written in red ink, and described as the author o f a R es Gesta Brittonum . 1 I wish to express m y gratitude to Mme Gobeaux-Thonet, the U niversity Librarian, for her generous help in enabling me to study the manuscript under the best conditions. M y obligations to the staff o f the library, especially to M . Sdennon, for help on palaeographical matters, Mile L avo ye and M . H oyou x are also large. Last, bu t certainly not least, m y thanks are due to Professor Norm an D avis for valuable remarks on the material here presented.

2 M iddle

English *Losenger\

in E ssais

de Philologie M oderne ( i$ 5 i)

(Liège, 1953),

p. 69. 3 D r W . O . Hassall, o f the Bodleian, w ho is com piling a catalogue o f all medieval illuminations in Bodleian manuscripts, kindly informs me that neither W oden nor W otan appears in the index, which n ow covers 400 manuscripts. T h e same negative answer was given to me b y m y colleague, M . Meyers, Keeper o f the Museums o f the Grand D u ch y o f Luxemburg, a distinguished specialist in W otan studies.



T h e manuscript consists o f 145 leaves containing an average o f 32 lines on each side, except those givin g long lists o f kings, archbishops, bishops, & c. A leaf has been cut out after f. 82, T h e quires are eights, with one exception, and were numbered b y the chief scribe at the bottom o f if. 8V and the rectos o f 9, 17, 25, 33, 41, 49, 57, 65; 130, 138. It looks thus as i f the manuscript consists o f tw o parts: the first running from f. 1 to f. 74 (inclusive), which leaves the last quire o f nine; and f. 130 to f. 145 plus a blank leaf. T h e second part runs from f. 75 to f. 129 (inclusive). Both parts are written b y contemporary hands, and apparently belong to the same scriptorium. A t least the capitals have been illuminated throughout the manuscript b y the same rubricator; and the same ligatures N -f- T , R + I, and N + R are found in both parts. T h e manuscript is written in Latin on parchment in a smooth round English form o f the Caroline minuscule. T h e scribes consistently use the typically insular abbreviation for post, frequently the ampersand, and ‘la forme spéciale de certains traits d’abréviation affectionnée, semble-t-il, par les scribes insulaires à partir du IX e siècle’.1 Scribblings, additional entries in lists o f archbishops, bishops, & c ., and notes made b y English scribes in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries indicate that the manuscript was still in English hands during that time. T h e tw o parts were probably bound together in the fourteenth century. T h e binding, which belongs to that century, is an extremely rare specimen (in fact, M. Stiennon informs me, the sole specimen found in Belgium) o f a ‘reliure à sac’ . Contrary to the view expressed in the Catalogue des M anu­ scrits,2 this manuscript belongs not to the twelfth century but to the early thirteenth. A m on g the chief features which support a later date it is enough for the present occasion to mention the consistent use o f the hyphen at the end o f a line to link letters belonging to the same w ords; sporadic shapes o f some letters, for instance W and A , which can only belong to the thirteenth century; sporadic spellings o f English place-names, as in Surreie


So M. Samaran (describing the Chartres MS.), quoted by Ferdinand Lot, Nennius (Paris, 1934), p. 31.

et VH i storia Brittonum

* Liège, 1875, pp. 330 and 357.



(.Surreiarri), Weramuthe, Neweburn, Angleseie; and finally the use o f Latin words or spellings first recorded in the thirteenth century or later, as ultionem, mutuo, feudatos, stipendiarios),1 to cite a few examples out o f many. T h e names o f the monas­ teries mentioned in the notes have been carefully erased,1 but M. Stiennon o f the Liège University Library has been able to recapture the follow ing entry, in a hand o f the thirteenth century, above the title o f Eutropius’ Breviarium on f. i r: Liber SÇanctï) . . . . tum estal or turmestal or tunnesdal. TunstaU is an English place-name o f common occurrence, especially in the north— Ekwall in his Concise D ictionary gives eleven examples. F or reasons which will appear presently TunstaU in Durham seems to be the likely place, though there was no reUgious house there.3 T h e tw o parts o f the manuscript contain the follow ing texts:



F . i r to f. 73r: a complete version o f Eutropius* Breviarium H istoriae Romanae, as printed b y Migne, P a ir. L a t., xcv, pp. 739 if. T h e full title reads: IN cip it liber, qu\ hystoria romanorum appellator, and in the margin secundum eutropium. It begins: P R IM U S in italia ut quibusdam placet regnauit ia N V S .. . . It ends : Cuius errori germanus patriarcha consentiens/, a pvopûa sede depulsus est. et «rus in loco anastasius presbiter ordinatus est (in a later hand: historia Aie deficit). References throughout the text to British and English events are carefully underlined or stressed in marginal notes, as on f. 24v, Britannia subicitur romano Im perio; f. 59r, Aduentus Anglorum ; f. 67v, 1 See J. H . Baxter and C . Johnson,

M edieval L atin W ord-L ist (London, 1934).

2 A n interesting example o f such erasures, w hich may prove useful in tracing back some English owners o f the manuscript, is found in a scribbling dated 1409 and written

Anno dom ini M °C C C C °ix° in die jancti gregorii /?ape intexuerunt F rater Robextus Aim elay & fra ter W illelm us Rawdon probatorium [erasure o f at least seven letters] quorum anime in pace requiescant Amen . Below this in another fifteenth-century hand is: Bolustaniensis ecce dies quo tinctus sanguine fieu Bolstone in Herefordshire is recorded as Bolestan in 1194 and 1200 (Ekwall, Concise O xford D ictionary o f English Place-N am es). 3 T h e only TunstaU in M edieval Religious Houses. England and W alesy b y D . Knowles on the fly-leaf at the end o f the manuscript. It runs as follow s:

and R . W . Hadcock (London, 1953) is in Lincolnshire, and the house was dissolved in 1189 (p. 172).



opposite the name o f Pope G regory, Conuetsio Anglorum ad fidem , i f. 85V, with a reference mark to the name o f Vttalianus a note (important for the localization o f the manuscript) at the top o f the page in a hand apparently o f the fourteenth century: theodorus archiepisco^us in angliom m issus, anno. ($68. Regnavit oswyu in nordanhymbria; and opposite the name o f Pope G regory, in the outer margin: beda flortàt. F, 73v to f. 74V: a summary o f the Roman emperors giving the numbers o f their regnal years. F . 130* to f. 142«': an unknown version o f the H istoria Brittonum belonging to the Gildasian group,1 the title o f which is JN cipit R E S G E S T A B R itto N V M à G ilD a Sa p iE N T e com poSiTa. . . . It begins: A P R IN C IP IO mundi usque ad diluuium . . . , and the last chapter, describing the marvels o f Britain, ends with the follow ing w ords: quamuis habitasset solus in extrem is finibus cosmi. T h e Liège version is closely related to the manuscripts designated b y L o t C D L P Q , but most nearly to C and P, which suggests a common source for the three. It reproduces the same errors and shows the same order in the list o f the P R iM a ciuitas brittannie and in the list o f its marvels (cf. the facsimile o f C published b y L ot), the same omission o f the genealogies o f the A nglo-Saxon kings, and the same order in the sequence o f the chapters. But several later correctors have emended many errors and tried to eradicate some contra­ dictions. It will suffice here to give an example. Manuscripts o f the Gildasian group make Silvius the son o f Ascanius and the grandson o f Aeneas, which is in contradiction to the next statement in which his w ife is described as Aeneas’ nurus. Things are made worse b y the ‘dédoublement de Silvius en Silvius-père et Postumus-fils’2 found in chapters 10 and 11. In the latter the Liège manuscript (f. I30v) reads Aèneas autem regnauit tribus am is apuà latinos, ascanius am is. X X X V II? Then a line has been erased, probably reading (as in the other versions), P o st quern Silvius, Aeneae filiu s, regnavit annis X I I , Postum us. . . . T h e late thirteenth-century corrector wrote instead & postumum fratrem 1 See L o t, Nennius, p. a. 3 A later hand has added


* Lot, p. i8. an additional minim, making the regnal years o f Ascanius



suum reliquit heredem. Postum us regnavit, which makes sense with the follow ing words, X X X IX a quo albanorum reges silu ii sunt apellati. cuius; here again, instead o f reading, probably, cuius frater erat B rito, the corrector erased that sentence and wrote (cuius) nepos erat B rito. T he list o f such emendations might be prolonged. T h e Liège text will have to be taken into account b y future editors o f the H istoria Brittonum . F . i43r to f. i45v : an unknown and unfinished version o f Geoffrey o f Monmouth’s Prophecies o f M erlin, including the dedicatory epistle to Alexander, Bishop o f Lincoln. It is close to the texts published b y Giles1 and b y Faral.2 Its tide is: Incipit propheeia m erlini. It ends: Que cum certamen inierit finget se defunctam & aprum .. . .



F . 75r to f. 87v : a history o f the Roman emperors starting from Octavius and ending in the year 1 1 io. It is followed b y a com ­ plete list o f the popes from the beginning up to the year m o with their regnal years. Its title: D e inperatore Octauiano. E t Cçteris Romanorum InpetatoR ibuS. It begins: A N N o im perii Octauiani augusti. X lii°. Regnante in iudea herodé^. christaf natus est. F . 88r to f. 99v : a history o f English kings illustrated b y the miniature o f W oden which I reproduce. It is in fact an unknown version o f the tract on the succession o f the kings o f the chief states o f the Heptarchy, as printed b y Thom as A rnold in an appendix to his edition o f Symeon o f Durham ’s H istoria Regum3 minus the list o f the Nom ina Comitatum (p. 382). M oreover as in MS. Cotton Caligula A v m the list o f the East-Saxon precedes that o f the Mercian kings (p. 380, note a ). A rnold labelled this tract Libellus de Prim o S axonum v el Normannorum Adventu, sive de eorundem Regibus, a heading which, in his ow n words, ‘is taken from a colophon at the end [my italics] o f an Abridgm ent o f Sym eon’s H istoria Regum which is join ed to the present tract as 1 GalfreJus Monumetensisy Historia Britonum (London, 1844). 2 L a Légende Arthurierme (Paris, 1930). 3 Symeonis M onachi Opera Omnia (Rolls Series, 1882—5), A p p . I, pp. 365-84.



form ing one work with it in Caligula A v m \ N ow , although this heading12 is not found in the Liège manuscript it describes accurately its contents. Moreover both Cottonian versions o f the tract commence in the same w ay as our Liège version: with the description o f Britain, taken from the H istoria Brittonum , that is B R IT T N N IA [ m ’c] a quodam consule romano Bruto dictum est. It is regrettable that Arnold thought that ‘it would serve no purpose to reprint it* (p. 366), and that ‘the Abridgm ent [see above] contains no new fact, and is not therefore given here*. A comparison o f both with the Liège version would have proved very useful indeed. It would probably have given further support to the impression I got when comparing the Liège version with the text printed b y Arnold, namely that the Liège and the Cottonian versions (especially Caligula) derive from a common source. Moreover the close relationship between Caligula and Liège is emphasized b y the fact that in both w e find an abridgement o f Symeon’s H istoria Regum, before the tract in Caligula (see above), after it in Liège. I regret that through lack o f time and opportunity I have not been able to examine Caligula. A nyhow , after the tract (88r to 94*) we find the genealogy o f K ing Alfred, which is in fact the genealogy o f his father Æ thelwulf, tracing his ancestry back to Adam , and which is based on Asser’s L ife o f K ing A lfred ? T o this genealogy a short list o f his successors up to Harold, filiu s Goduuini, has been added. It serves as a link to introduce a chronicle which begins with the year M Lxvi, and a brief mention o f the death o f Harold and his brothers G yrth and Leowine [j«r]; and W illiam’s coronation. But the genuine abridgement o f Symeon’s H istoria Regum commences on f. 95r with the year M lxxiii: In hoc anno omnia iuxta cursum solis & lune habentur sicut in anno xv . It ends on f. 99V with a reference to the Concilium Remense (1119) and the meeting o f Henry I and Pope Calixtus at Gisors, where the king impettauitqne ab eo ut omnes consuetu­ dines quas pater suus in anglia & in Normanniz habuerat. & maxime ut neminem aliquando legati ofiicio in anglia fu n gi perm itteret. 1 A t the bottom o f f. 88r w e find, however, written in a somewhat later hand, Iste tractatus Vlûm o penates. 2 E d . W . H . S te v e n so n (O xford, 1904), pp. 1-4 .



F. ioor to f. i29r: an unknown and abridged version (m ostly concerned with English history, and w ith the names o f English kings and queens carefully underlined and stressed in marginal notes) o f W illiam o f Jumièges’ D e Ducum Normannorum gestis, the title o f which is: Incipit epistola w illelm i cenobice ad w illûm um orUd\doxumx anglorum Regem in noRmannoR V M Ducum G entiS, It begins: P IO uictorioso atque orthodoxo sum mi regis nutu anglorum regi fFillehno gemmeticensis cenobita omnium cenobitarum indignissim us w illelm us. . . . It ends: Referuntur enim conflictu pugne multa anglorum m ilia corruisse. christ» illis uicem reddente ob aluredi fia tr is edwardi regis necem ab eis iniuste perpetratam . D e n iq u tfe li.. . . T h e sentence is left unfinished, and below a late hand w rote: Aistoria deficit. T h e second part o f the manuscript is obviously a supplement to the first, and the result thus achieved is to provide a serious background (for the Middle A ges) to the study o f contemporary English history, that is, from the remotest times up to the reign o f H enry I. A last w ord concerning the miniature o f W oden. It is quite in the spirit and style o f representations o f G od and Christian kings in manuscripts o f the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. T h e Norman influence is plainly seen in the shape o f the crown, and in the Greek key-pattern ornament. Similar crowns are well evidenced in English illuminated manuscripts o f these centuries, e.g. MS. Cotton Tiberius C v i (eleventh cen­ tury)2 f. 30v and Pierpont Morgan Library MS. 619 (twelfth century),3 both representing K ing D avid ; or the Shaftesbury A b b ey Psalter, MS. Lansdowne 383 (thirteenth century)/ f. i4 r and f. 165V, representing G od, and the V irgin and Child respectively. But whereas these crowns are adorned with the three (expected) fleur-de-lis,5 those adorning the Liège crown 1 to added in black b y a fifteenth-century hand. 2 See facsimile fig. i j in L a Tapisserie de Bayeux (Paris, 1957). 2 See E. G . Millar, English Illum inated M anuscripts (Paris and Brussels, 1926), plate 48.

4 Millar, plate 33 b, c.

3 O n Germanic crowns see P. E. Schramm, Herrschaftsçeichen und Staatssymbolik (Schriften der Monumenta Germaniae Historica 13, vol. i, Stuttgart, 1954). I ow e this reference to Professor Derolez. Particularly interesting for the present study and with reference to W oden is the view expressed b y Herbert M eyer (and refuted b y Schramm) according to which the Lilien were not flowers, but ‘drei Flammenzüngen, was den germanischen Ursprung des Stababzeichens der Könige beweise9«



are so stylized as to become mere strokes, the result o f which looks more like a rune than a fleur-de-lis. Here, I think, w e find another case o f the English compromise between paganism and Christianity, so well attested in O ld English. W oden looks like G od, his crown looks like G od’s crown, or like that o f a Chris­ tian king, but the fleur-de-lis are runes. N o w we know that W oden was the creator o f the runes;1 and runes were still know n in England in the thirteenth century, and later. Indeed fuþorcs were still copied in manuscripts o f the fifteenth century. More­ over the w ord rune was still well attested in association with G od in religious w orks o f the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as in Sawles W arde : ha [that is, the Elect] when aile Godes reades, his runes. . . . : ‘they know all G od’s purposes, His secret coun­ sels’. T h e next questions to be asked are: W hich rune? W hat is its meaning? W h y is it used in connexion with W oden and his A nglo-Saxon scions? W h y three? T h e A nglo-Saxon name o f the rune appears to be eolh(x). It occurs as the first member o f a compound in the Runic Poem : Eolhsecg, in the sense o f ‘some rush, species unknown’ .2 This is not the place to discuss the meaning o f that mysterious letter. I must refer to the works o f D erolez,3 Elliott,4 D ickins,2 and Schneider,5 among others. Y e t for the purpose o f a study o f our miniature Schneider’s identification o f eolhx with ‘swan’, hence the Symbolwert ‘ W alküren! (p. 404), demands attention. T h e close connexion o f the valkyries with fallen heroes, whom they carry to W oden in V alh çll, their great knowledge o f runes as certified in Sigrdrífiim ál and elsewhere, and the fact that they generally appear in groups o f three or multiples o f three, might explain the use o f the three runes in connexion with W oden and his A nglo-Saxon descendants. But W oden is not only the father o f the runes and creator o f the valkyries, he is also the god o f life, specifically o f breath. In Vçluspâ we are told that to A skr and Em blat çnd g a f Oþirm 1 See Hávam ál in Edda> ed. K , Hildebrand and H, Gering (4th edn PaderbQm, 1922), st. 140 ff. 2 B. D ickins, Runic and Heroic Poems (Cambridge, 1915), p. 17. 3 R . Derolez, Rurtica Manuscripta (Bruges, 1954).

4 R . W . V . Elliott, Runes (Manchester, 1959).

5 K.

Schneider, D ie germanischen Runennamen: Versuch einer Gesamtdeutung (Meisen­

heim, 1956).



(st. 18). A n d it is in that prerogative o f his that our miniature represents him, transmitting his divine breath to his A n glo Saxon scions. It helps us to understand the Germanic (and not Latin) origin o f the legend according to which the royal origin o f a human being was revealed b y the emission o f flames from his (or her) mouth. Thus H avelok the D ane was recognized as the legal heir o f K ing Birkabein because: of his mouth it stod a stem, als it were a sunnebem; also liht was it þerinne so þer brenden cerges inne.


So also in the French version: Totes les houres q’il dormoit Une flambe de lui issoit Par la bouche li venoit fors. Contrary to the view expressed b y Mossé1 this passage should not be referred to L iv y ‘w ho reports a similar fact about Servius Tullius’. A lthough there is some similarity in the circumstances in which the tw o boys are placed (the name Servius emphasizes it), yet the light was not emitted from Servius’ m outh, but caput arsisse ferunt multorum in conspectu,2 and described as a prodigium, and not as a sign o f royal birth. M oreover it is not, perhaps, without importance that H avelok was saved and pro­ tected b y a man called Grim, the very by-name given to W oden.3 In our miniature W oden is represented holding in his hands a scroll (on which, very likely, the names o f his Anglo-Saxon descendants are written) in the same style as seen in miniatures illustrating the Gospels. F or instance in the so-called ‘ Grimbald Gospels’ (British Museum MS. A dd. 34890 o f the early eleventh century)4 in a scene representing St Matthew writing an angel holds a scroll in his hands in exactly the same w ay as W oden does in our miniature.

1 Handbook o f M iddle English

(Baltimore, 1952), p. 368.

2 L iv y , B ook i, ch. 39. 3 C f. F . M. Stenton, 4 Millar, plate 17.

Anglo-Saxon England (2nd edn O xford, 1947), p. 100.

The Woden page of MS. Liège University Library 369 C

A NEGLECTED MANUSCRIPT a. V oden genuit Vectam. qui genuit Vittam , W ichtgils.

e. V oden genuit [Bealdeah.]

qui genuit.


qui genuit

qui genuit

qui genuit Freothegarum.

qui genuit Freawinum.

qui genuit Vittam.

Horsam & H engest.

qui genuit

[regem Cantuariorum]


qui genuit Eslam.

qui genuit Elesam

qui genuit Cerdic.

g . W od en genuit Feothulgeat.

qui genuit Vaga,



f. V oden genuit Beldei.

qui genuit W ich -


qui genuit Vermundum.

qui genuit

qui genuit Benoc.

qui genuit A loe,

qui genuit A n g e-

qui genuit O ð a. qui genuit Ongeltheou. qui



Esam, qui genuit Eopam.


qui genuit Icel.

qui genuit Inguui.

qui genuit qui genuit

qui genuit Cnibbam qui genuit Kinewaldum.


qui genuit Crydam.

qui genuit Bibbam.

a quo

reges Northamhimbrorum ceperunt

qui genuit



Pendam [regem Merciorum.

genuit Casere a quo regum Esta/zglorum Droeenies deriuatur.

•d. genuit W etelgeat a quo regum Estsexie prosapia sumpsit originem.] b. V oden genuit W egdam .

qui genuit Sigegarum. Sweabdegum.

qui genuit Seafugel.

qui genuit Westerfalcne. Vscfrea.

qui genuit

qui genuit Sigegeat.

qui genuit Seabaldum.

qui genuit W ilgils.

qui genuit Yffe.

qui genuit Elia,

qui genuit [regem Southsexie]

P r e notata serie generationum ex qua primi A n g lid generis reges prodierant/ sub notatur qui & u6i & quoto/

incarnationis anno regnauerint poet illorum ad-

uentum in Brittanniam. A n n o ab incarnatione domini,


Anglorum siue Saxonum gens in -

uitata a rege W urtigem o tribue longis nauibue Brittanniam aduehitur. apud locum qui dicitur Ypwinesfleot.

quasi pro patria pugnatura,

re autem uera

hanc expugnatura suscepit. Aduenerat autem de tribue Germanie, populis, fortioribus, id est Saxonibue. arii.

A nglis.


D e lutarum origine sunt Cantuarii & U ectu-

h o c est ea gens qug Uectam tenet insulam.

& ea qug usque hodie in prouin-

d a Ocddentalium Saxonum. lutarum natio nominatur, Uectam.

posita contra Insulam

D e Saxonibus id est ea regione quç nunc Antiquorum Saxonum co g ­

nominatur uenere Orientales Saxones.

Meridiani Saxones.

O cridui Saxones.

Porro de A n glis/

hoc est.

de illa pan ia q u f Angulus dicitur.

& ab eo tempore manare usque hodie desertu*



In M edium Æ vum , ix (1940), 1-22, N . R. K er provided a transcript1 o f excerpts on ff. 51-88 o f MS. Lambeth 783 (here designated L )2 compiled b y Jan van V liet (d. 1666) from Bod­ leian MS. Junius i, the manuscript containing the Ormulum. In this article, entitled ‘Unpublished Parts o f the Ormulum Printed from MS. Lambeth 783’, Mr Ker reproduced only those passages which van Vliet had taken from leaves o f the Ormulum now missing. He drew attention to the importance o f the word-list (which van V liet entitled ‘Glossarium Saxonicum’) on if. 43v- 5 i o f MS. Lambeth 783, which (as he said) together w ith the excerpts on if. 51-88 ‘contain a considerable number o f new or rare words, copied in an essentially correct form ’, but he did not print any part o f it. Indeed the list is in such a congested state that it w ould be very difficult to reproduce except in facsimile. In the present article3 an attempt is made to recover both from the excerpts and from the word-list all the new or rare words that van V liet copied into L from leaves o f MS. Junius 1 1 Details o f some minor errors in Ker’s transcript may conveniently be given here. Points not relevant to this article are left unnoticed. 96 Efenlike mete added in margin. o f o after first e. Judewishe. witthe

97 hi: M S . he.

126 Elysabeth: M S . Elysaheth.

314 f. þoling added in margin.

76 gemde: M S . gem(m)de. n o diesen: M S . has outlines 213 The word before prestes is

369 witthe little: sm all arable 2 above

and arabic 1 above litde indicate that they should be reversed.

M S , shulen. M S . útspringen.

399 bred: M S . bræd.

413 nite: M S . nile.

465 col. 75 added in margin.

p ed ld : M S . cnapechild.

384 shulden: 447 utspringen:

467 g h o : M S . 3I10.

477 cna-

524 note: M S . note.

2 I am indebted to the Librarian o f Lambeth Palace for his courtesy in allowing me to consult MS. Lambeth 783. 3 T h is article is offered as a tribute to Professor Tolkien, w ho supervised m y early w ork on the Ormulum and unfailingly suggested fruitful lines o f enquiry into its language. I hope that he will be indulgent to such imperfections as may flaw this small piece o f Ormiana, for m y w ork in recent years has been far removed from the medieval scene.

O R M U L U M : V A N V L I E T ’S W O R D S


which have subsequently been lost. N one o f this material was available to the compilers o f the standard edition o f the Ormulum , R. M. W hite and R. Holt (O xford, 1878). N or does it seem to have been taken into account in the sections so far published o f the M iddle English D ictionary. T h e Ormulum material occupies only a small part o f L , which contains a large number o f miscellaneous items in the hands o f van V liet and o f Junius. A . Campbell described the Frisian material in the manuscript in Frysk Jierboek (1937), pp. 31-34, and with J. H. Brouwer edited a diary and related papers b y van V liet which are found on if. 2 6 ir-69v o f the manuscript.1 In the above-mentioned article in M edium Æ vum , Mr K er gave brief details o f some Latin-Germ an glosses (which were copied into L b y Junius), o f an O ld English glossary (copied b y van Vliet), and some Gothic passages (copied b y Junius). There is abundant evidence in the manuscript to confirm that Jan van V liet was ‘one o f the most remarkable figures in the early history o f philological scholarship*.2 T h e word-list on if. 4 3 ^ 51 o f L is written in a casual and sometimes barely legible hand, the entries being crowded with strict econom y into the available space. W ords beginning with a given letter o f the alphabet are grouped together but are not strictly alphabetized under each letter. There is evidence that it was assembled in a hurried manner before van Vliet had fully mastered the orthography o f the original. Nevertheless, when the words are rearranged into strict alphabetic sequence it becomes apparent that the list falls little short o f being a complete record o f the words (though not o f the forms or occurrences) in the surviving parts o f the Ormulum, together with m any words which van Vliet listed, together with column-references, from columns now lost. O n the basis o f this copious word-list, together with the excerpts on if. 51-88 o f L (these being equivalent to the illus­ trative quotations o f a lexicographer) and a short list o f ‘Hom onyma’ on f. 42, and no doubt with frequent cross-refer­ ence to MS. Junius i itself (which he owned), van V liet started to 1 ‘T h e Early Frisian Studies o f Jan V an V liet’, M .L .R ., xxxiv (1939), 145-76. 2 A . Campbell, M .L .R ., xxxiv (1939), 147.



compile a detailed alphabetical glossary to the Ormulum. U nfor­ tunately only a fragment o f this survives, namely the entries for words in A - Æ on if. 89-91 o f L . T h e Ormulum part o f this seventeenth-century compilation then breaks off. In his description o f the material Mr K er rightly pointed out (pp. 2-3) that the ‘excerpts, except on if. 87, 88, have evidently no value for reconstituting an exact text*. Nevertheless, b y making allowance for van V liet’s method o f transcription and for his characteristic errors, it is usually possible to reconstruct the form o f individual words, b y comparison with words o f similar forma­ tion in MS. Junius 1 itself, and this has been attempted in the lists that follow. In the excerpts and word-list, van V liet’s modifications o f O rm ’s actual words are o f three main kinds: (a) M odernisation. He usually disregarded the doubled consonants o f the original, and also modernized O rm ’s spelling in other respects, as, for example, children 168, 182 (for J chilldre),1 Cam 521 (J caym), efill 6 (J ife ll), G ospell 18 (J goddspelt),2 hiper 49 (J hxderr\ not 63 (J nohht), mother 308 (J moderr\ went 481 (J wennd). O n f. 6 iv he copied henngedd J 1677 as hanged; it follows that bihanged in line 367 o f the excerpts cannot be assumed to represent a genuine form *bihanngedd in J. In fact the form actually found in J in another context (J 951) is bihenngedd.\ and van V liet’ s bihanged in line 367 o f the excerpts in L probably represents another instance o f this form. (b) M isunderstanding o f the original. Thus on f. 46V o f L there is an entry, ‘Mane, pro mæne vel mare 108. l[ine] i ’. A s column 108 o f J has survived we know that the line referred to is, ‘Þatt næfre ma ne shall he ben’ (J 4206), where ma ne represent ma ‘more’ and the negative particle respectively. Similarly on f. 89r o f L , van V liet lists ah as an exclamation (‘A h !’) whereas in fact (J 6777) it is the verb ah ‘possesses’ .3 (c) M 'iscopyings o f the surviving part o f J . Thus, for example, 1 Here and elsewhere in this article J signifies MS. Junius i. T h e line-numbers cited in this paragraph refer to those in Ker’s transcript. 2 In this and other words with a stop g O rm used a special flat-topped form o f g. A s no word, o f those discussed in this article, contains the affricate g , for which O rm used a different form o f letter, all occurrences are printed here w ith ordinary g . 3 A s an interjection, a occurs in lines 12808 and 13754 o f J.

O R M U L U M ' . V A N V L I E T ’S W O R D S


claþess J 892 was copied as clakes (L f. 5 i v), strennkedd J 1789 as strenckled (L f. 62v), Ann siþe ‘on one occasion’ J 1685 as A n sihte (L f. ó iv ),1 cwennkesst J 1190 and cwennkenn 1191 as crenckest and crencken (L f. 59). These characteristic features o f van V liet’s w ork have been taken into account in what follows.

Items o f linguistic interest from the excerpts and the word-list in L are presented below in three lists: A . W ords or forms not recorded in the surviving parts o f MS. Junius 1 o f which O rm ’s form can be reconstructed with reasonable certainty from van V liet’s material. B . Problematic and miscellaneous words. C. Additional evidence for words or forms which are rare in MS. Junius i.









M S.



Note: L = MS. Lambeth 783; J = MS. Junius 1; V = van Vliet. Each entry in list A consists of: (1) a reconstructed form, based on the spelling conventions of the extant part of J, followed in brackets by (2) van Vliet’s actual form preceded by a reference to the leaf in L on which the word occurred (thus for words in V ’s word-list) or to the line-number in Ker’s transcript of the excerpts, and followed by the number of the column in J in which V reports that he found the word (all the words cited in list A are from columns now missing); (3) part of speech and gloss, both supplied editorially (V’s own glosses, which he occasionally provides, are not cited except in a few instances but have been taken into account: e.g. he glosses am as ‘00m’); (4) occasionally comparison is made with forms found elsewhere in the Ormtdum or in other Middle English works: such comments are editorial; (5) etymology: editorial.

Words marked $ are not otherwise recorded in Middle English. abbotess, n.g.s. in abbotess wiketm (L f. 50r abbotes wiken, 223) office o f abbot. [O E. abbod\ abbot] 1 T h e thorn gave trouble in other words too. V an V liet several times wrote t where the original had þ : e.g. te r fL f. 49v , with a reference to column 47, corresponds to line 399 o f the excerpts where van V liet has written þ e r f [ = J þ errf]. C f. also L f. 48v Tweortut, with a reference to column 105, a surviving column, where only the form þweorrt lit occurs (J 4046).




am (L f. 44r Aem,

io i),

n. uncle.

[O E . earn]

ahktenn (L 273 ah(h)ten, 25), 3 p l.p t.


[O E . ähton pl.pt.]

allraness% (L 517 Alrænes, 100), adv. ? once and for all. J allraresst, first o f all. [O E . alra + cènes]

C f.

ani3 in fo rr antj þeyyre gfflte (L 248 F or anig þeggre gilte, 25). N o exact parallel in J for this construction, but cf. H oly Rood Tree (ed. Napier) 6/20: 3Íf ic ænÍ3 þare 3yfæ habbe þe ðu 3ymende bist. [O E . änig] a rrf (L f. 43V A rf & land, 139), n. cattle or inheritance. J arrfhame, heir, errfe, cattle. [O N . arfr] biggirmg (L f. 43V Digging, byggva + -ing]

182), n.

bigreterm (L f. 43V Bigreten, 198), v. bi- -j- grëtan] See gretenn.



to lament, bewail.

Cf. ON. [O E .

biheld (L 215 biheld, 22), 3 s.pt. signified. C f. J bihaldenn, inf., to behold 15663; bihallt, 3 s.pr., signifies 13408, 18006, 19615, 19623. [O E . biháldan] bilcefenn (L f. 43V Biswiken & bilaefen, 193), presumably p l.p t. abandoned. C f. J. b ila f 3 s.pt., 2391, 2773, 3160, & c . [O E . bilëfan] birryedd (L f. 43V Bi^ed, 197),/»/». I5254- [O E . byr(i)gan\ birrþenn (L 318 birþen, 27), n.



Cf. J birryerm, inf.,

[O E . lyrðen]

bistrennkedd\ (L 375 bistrenked, 45), pp. sprinkled. T h e form Bistrenken cited on f. 43v o f the word-list, with a reference to col. 45, m ay not represent a separate instance as V sometimes cites the infinitive when the context has a different part o f the verb. [f. bi- -j- ME. strenken (only Orm)] blecc (L 423 blec, 69), n.


[O N . blek]

blettcenn (L 261, 262 blet(t)cen, 25), inf. to bless. C f. J blettcenn, 3 pl.pr., 7181. W ith blettsedd (L 428 bletsed, 70) cf. J blettcedd 2289, 17193; blettsedd 4826. [O E . b/stsian] bocfell (L 423 Bocfel, 69), n. brœde : see bande brade.


[O E. bôc-felï\

O R M U L U M : V A N V L I E T ’S W O R D S carenn (L f. 42* Caren & so^ en, 202), v. [O E . carian] chcest (L 347 chæst, 27, 28), n.

to sorrow, be anxious.

strife, quarrelling.

charrenn (L f. 44v Charren, 202, 297), v.


to turn.

[O E . cëast] [O E. ccerran]

che(o)senn (L n o che-sen, 13-19), inf. to choose. Elsewhere the main hand in J invariably used forms with medial -e(not -eo-) in this word {Trans. P h il. Soc.} 1956, p. 81). [O E. cëosan] chuffere (L f. 44v Chuffere & swike, 188), ». impostor, deceiver. O n ly otherwise recorded in Tow neley Plays, and once as a nickname (see M .E .D .); the related vbl.sb. chujfmng occurs only in Orm . [Obscure] cnapelinng\. (L f. 44V cnapeling, 69), n. young boy, stripling. [O E . type *cnapaling\ cf. O E . geongling, youth] cwallm (L f. 42^ T o þ & dæþ & cwalm, 197), ». [O E . cwalm\

death, pestilence.

drecckenn (L 444 drecchen, 71), in f. see O .E .D .)]

[O E. dreccan (but

to delay.

ednewe\ (L f. 45* Ednewe, 183), adv. anew, or adj. new. [O E. ednëowe]


efennlike (L 109 and in margin beside line 96, efenlike, 13-19), adv. equally. [O E. efenlice] enngle ferd (L 506 engle ferd, 98), n. angel-host, host o f angels. T h e two elements o f this comb, are separately recorded in J ; cf. J enngle þed(e). fa (L 518 noht lit ne fa, 100), in d ef num. form is fiew e. [O N . fd -r]


O rm ’s usual

fa c\ (L 180 wac & fac, 21), adj. deceitful, false. [Appar. f. O E . fdcne, deceitful, wicked, on model o f O E . wdc, weak] See unnfakell. f q jn (L f. 45r Fa3n, 51), adj.


[O E .fceg{e)n]

fa jjn en n (L f. 451, Fa3nen, 202), v. to rejoice. V refers to Luke i. 4 1, where the Vulgate has exsultavit. [O E .feg{e)nian]



follhsum m nesse\ (L 349 folhsumnesse, 27), n. compliance, obedience. C f. follhsum m , obedient J 775°* [f* stem fo llh (imper, sg. o f folljhenn < O E . folgian, to follow ) -f- -summnessej cf. G . folgsam , obedient] forreldedd (L forealdian\

174 forelded, 21), pp.adj.

grow n old. [O E .

frem edd (L 460 fremed, 74), pp. accomplished. perfect, J 1576, & c . \OYL. fremrnari\ frofrinng (L f. 45r Frofring, 201), vbl.sb. fiôfn m g]

C f . fullfrem edd,

comforting. [O E .

geþenn\ (L 255 geþen, 25), v. to improve, remedy. gœða, cogn. w . L O E . gðdian > O rm ’s godenn] grafemi (L 306 grafen, 26), pp.


[O N .

[O E . grafan]

gretenn (L f. 45V Greten, 197), v. to cry. V glosses it ‘cry . . D . greden’. [O E. grëtan] See bigretenn. ßarrminng (L f. 46r 3arming, 193), vbl.sb. *gearmung] ßemerrlike (L f. 46r 3emerlike, 196), adv. gëomorlïce]


[O E .


[O E .

hare (L f. 42r hær & ha33re, no col. ref.), n. hare]


[O E .

haffre (L f. 42e hær & ha33re, no col. ref.), n. hairshirt. C f. Genesis and Exodus 1977 haigre, Cursor M undi 22510 hair v.rr. haire, hayre). [O E. haire, f. Med. Lat. haird\ hande brade (L 423 hande bræde, 69). ( o f a) hand’s breadth. [O E. hand + brada', cf. L O E . handbredpalmus (span)] hateþþ (L 62, 64, 67 hateþþ, 13-19), 3 s.pr. promises, vow s. A s in Unes 62 and 64 the word occurs in the final position in the septenar, the stem vow el must be long. [O E . hâtan] hejpl (L f. 45v He33l, 50), interj . Hail! V . C f. heßßlenn J 2814. [O N . heiä]

Glossed ‘hail, ave’ b y

hinndenn (L 350 hinden, 27), adv. (from) behind. C f. J bihinridenn. T h e simplex landen (O E . hindan) thus survived into ME. (see O .E .D ., H ind, a., adv.).

O R M U L U M '.



hirdeshipe (L. f. 45v Hirdescippe, i o i . F or V ’s double p cf. Biscoppes (list B), ». office o f a keeper o f cattle. [O E. hirde -scipe] ie{abel (L 3 Jezabel, 13-19)


kiress (L 108 kires, 13-19), n.g.s.

o f choice.

lassteþþ (L 68 lassteþþ, 13-19), 3 s.pr. This sense not in J. [O E. lästern]

(O E . eyre]

carries out, performs.

lejhe swe%ness% (L 359 le3(h)e swe33ness, 27), »./?/. hired servants. C f. lejhe menn J 6222. [O N . *leigu-sveinn', see O .E .D ., L ay, sb.2] lettenn (L 444 letten, 71), inf. to hinder, prevent. 3 s.pr., in J. [O E. letton] licckam elike (L 377 Licchamelike, 45), adv. the flesh. [O E. lichamlice\ lit (L 518 noht lit ne fa, 100), ».


O n ly letteþþ ,

in bodily form, in

[O E. lÿt]

marmenn (L f. 46v Martren, 19* (last fig. illeg.)), r . martyr of. C f. J marrtirdom. [O E. martyrian]

to make a

met (L 479 met & bun, 76), adj. becoming, proper. gemête, O N . mœtr', see O .E .D ., M eet, a.]

[O E.

m illceþþ (L 409 milceþ, 47), 3 s.pr. millcenn, inf., in J. [O E . mildstem]

O n ly

has mercy on.

m illcfiill or m illcefull (L f. 46v Milcfull, 138), adj. merciful. C f. J m ilice, mercy, millcenn, have mercy on. [O E. m ilts -f-fu ll] most (L 473 most, 75), 2 s.pr. are allowed; mossterm (L 402 mosten, 47), 3 p l.p t. were allowed. [O E. most, mðston] note men (L 524 note men, io i ; L f. 47r Note-men refers to the same context), n.pl. men in (useful) employment (cf. viri industrii, Gen. xlvii. 6). [Cf. O N . nytja-maðr, a useful, w orthy man; see O .E .D ., N ote, a., and N u t, a.] nowweinn (L f. 47r N ow cin, 203), ». naubsyn (see O .E .D ., Now cin).]

need, hardship.

[O N .

offte & offte (L f. 47* O fte & ofte, 98), adv. phr. very often. J has several examples o f offte & lome but not this phr.



onnfamge (L 90 onfange, 13-19), 3 s.pr.subj. m ay receive. J has the inf. ortnfanngenn and other parts o f the vb. rinenti (L 483 rinen, 97), v. J 15518. [O E. hrïnan]

to touch.

C f. ran, pt., touched

rohhtenn (L 533 rohten, 183), 3 p l.p t. rohton, pl.pt.] sar (L 5or Sar & serfull, 221), adj.

took heed of.


sefylike (L f. 5or Sem like, 182), adv. J 17318. [O E. sëliglïce] semenn (L f. 42r Liken & semen, 189), v. C f. J semeþþ, D ed. 6 6 . [O N . scema\

[O E .

[O E . sär\


C f. selilÿ

to be suitable to, befit.

semlike (L f. 48r Semlike, 72), adv. or adj. seemly, in a seemly manner. [O N . sœmiligr, adj.; scemiliga, adv.] shade (L f. 47v Shade, 71), n. [O E. sceadu\

shadow ( V glosses as ‘schadow’).

shœdwis% (L 507, 508, 509 shædwis, 99; also L f. 48r referring to cols. 99, 102, 142), adj. intelligent, discerning. C f. J shced, discernment. [O E. scëadwïs] sihbsummnesse (L 452 sibsumnesse, 7 1), n. [O E. sihsumnes\ sirnifherui (L f. 5ov Sin3en, 196), v. 3 s.pr., 3970. [O E. syngian\

to sin.

peace, concord. C f. sinnfheþþ,

skced% (L 532 skæd ne skil, 103), n. discernment. A lthough O rm ’s usual form is shœd (e.g. shced & sk ill J 5534), skced seems to be genuine as V gives it twice in the word-list (ff. 47V, 5ov) as well as in line 532 o f the excerpts. T h e y all refer to the same context in col. 103. [Appar. Scandinavianized form o f O E . scëad\ skrœm\ (L f. 5ov Skræm & ræm & w op & wa, 196), n. screaming, [f. O E . *scf%mani v. T h e verb is first recorded in ai200 Tw elfth Century H om ilies 128 Þær is ece eadi3nesse; þær eald ne graneð, ne child ne scræmeð. T h e first record o f the noun in O .E .D . is dated 1513.] slingestan (L f. 47V Slingestan, 101), n. stone cast b y a sling. [See O .E .Ð ., Sling-stone (which cites from Chaucer’s Troilus as the first occurrence).]



spewetm (L f. 50^ Spewen, 240), v. spïwan]


to spew.

[OE. spëowan,

sprcederm (L 448 spræden, 71), v. to spread. spredd is found in J. [O E. sprœdan]

O n ly the pp.

stone (L 421 stane, 69), n. after prep, J 4129. [O E. stän]

(of) stone.

Cf. o ff stan,

sur eßhedd% (L f. 47r Sure3ed, 157), adj. blear-eyed. [OE. (rare) sürëagede-, cf. O N . súr-eygr. Cf. also Shakespeare, Tem pest, iv. i. 20, Barraine hate, Sower-ey’d disdaine, and discord.] sweßßness: see leßhe sweßßness. swïke (L f. 44v Chuffere & swike, 188), n. [O E . swica\

traitor, deceiver.

swor (L 440 swor, 71), 3 s.pt. swore. J has only swëre, 2 s.pr.subj., 4480. [O E. swerian, pt. swor] tallkenn (L f. 49V Talken, 243), v. T alk , v.] tas (L f. 49v Tas, 278), n.pl.


to talk.

[See O .E .D .,

[OE. rä, pl. tän]

tawwnenn (L f. 49V Tawnen, 259 (V indicates that it occurred

twice)), v. to show, exhibit. This could represent an elided d ( = to) -j- awwnenn (cf. J tunnderrstanndenn, & c.), but the existence o f ME. taunen in the Bestiary and in Genesis and Exodus suggests that Orm also had tawwnenn. [See O .E .D ., Tawne.] tendess (L 274 tendes, 25), n.pl. and sb.] trahht\ (L f. 49V Traht, 260), n. J trahhtnenn (O E . trahtnian).


[See O .E .D .y Tenth , a.

text, passage, exposition. [O E. traht]

treßhe (L 314 tre3(h)e & tene & toþþ, 27), n. [O E . trega, O N . tregi] trume (L f. 49v Trum e, 224), n. [O E . truma] þiderrwarrd (L piderweard]



prifflic^. (L f. 49v þriflic, 197), adj.

C f.

pain, affliction.

troop (V glosses it ‘troup’). 45), thrifty.



[O N . prifligr]




þrowenn (L f. 49V þrowen o rode, 186), v. þrowinnge & pine, J 15205. [O E . þröwian]

to suffer.

ufenn (L 309 ufen, 26) in onn ufenn, prep., above. see d’Ardenne, Iuliene, p. 118.]

C f.

[O E. on ufan;

unnfakell\ (L 258 unfakel, 25), adj. not deceitful, [f. un- -fstem o f O E . fäcn, deceit -f- -o l (as hetol, malignant, wacol, watchful, & c .) ; cf. M .E .D .,fo k e l, adj.] S eefa c. unnfemesse (L 485 unfemesse, 97), n. incapacity, infirmity. C f. J fere, ability, power. [LO E . unfërnesse f. O N . ú-fœrr, disabled.] unnforrlejerm (L f. 49v Unforle3en & m ajde, 188), ppl.a. uncor­ rupted. C f. J forrlejenn. [O E. un- -j- forlegeri\ unnhiledd (L f. 49v Unhiled, 187, 188),/>/>. uncovered, revealed. Cf. J unnhilenn, inf. [f. un- + ON. hylja ; see O .E .Ð ., H ill, v.1, U nhill, v.] unnlajhe (L 316 unla3(h)e, 27), n. f. ON. ülçg\


unnomelike (L 528 Unornelike, 101), adv. unnomeliß (five times). [O E. unomelice] unnrihht (L 316 unriht, 27), n.


[L O E . unlagu plainly.

C f. J

[O E. unriht]

unnsahhte (L 246 unsahhte, 25), adj. at variance, hostile. C f. unnsahhtnesse J 7187. [LO E . *unsaht (beside unseht) f. O N . úsáttr.] unnsikerr (L 28, 38 Unsiker, 13-19), adj. [f. O E . un- -f- sicor] ütspringenn (L 447 útspringen, 71), v. [OE. üt- -J- springan]


C f. J sikerr.

to spring out, rise up.

wamodleßßc$ (L f. 5or W æm odlegge, 194), ». anger. w ëam ôdangry -j- O N . -leikr; cf. O E . wëamôdnes.]

[O E .

walawa (L f. 5ov W alawa, 196, 202), interj. an exclamation o f sorrow. [O E. wä-lä-wa\ See w ejjlaw ejj. waterr spring (L f. 49* Waterspring, 100), ». water-spring. First recorded in O .E .D . from c. 1440. [O E. water + spring]




we%lawe% (L f. 5 verri)] whilumm cer (L f. 49r W hilumær, 70 ( = L 432 wilum ær, without -A-, an erroneous form)), adv. formerly. [O E. hwilum cer B .-T ., s.v. hwilum); cf. O E . œr-hwïlttm> formerly.] wiferut (L 403, wifen, 47), v.intr.

to take a wife.

[O E. wifiari]

wiþþe (L 369 little witthe belles (see p. 94, n. 1), 28), n. chaplet. C f. wiþþess, willow-bands J 15563-823 (five times). [O E . wiþþe\ wrabbenn (L 351 wrabben, 27), v. to inform on. [O N . *wrabba > rabba (see C . T . Onions, M ed. Æ v., x (1941), 159 f.; G . V . Smithers, Archivum Linguisúcum , v i (1954), 74 ff.] wumme (L f. 5ov W um m e, 196), interj . w oe is me. o f O E . wä me (see d’Ardenne, Iuliene, p. 141)]





(i) Corruptions arising from van V liet’s misunderstanding or misreading o f the original. Some examples have already been given above on pp. 96-97. T o these may be added: Ansihte L 386: J A nn siþe befund L 25 : J bifundenn [bred L 399: see p. 94, n. 1] couþen L 221 : J cuþenn



fastnung L 116: J fasstinng Israelis þede L 152: J issraæle þede Judiske L 429: J iudisskenn minster L 373 : J minnstre [nite L 413: see p. 94, n. 1] [shulden L 384: see p. 94, n. 1] siþþer L 74: J siþþenn te L 422: J to (ii) W ords which cannot with certainty be reconstructed because there is insufficient evidence in L to identify their form, meaning, or part o f speech. In this list the head-words are van V liet’s actual forms, not reconstructions. agate (L f. 43v, col. 183, unglossed): perhaps the original had agate (recorded in M .E .D . in the sense ‘straightway’) < a-, pref. + O N . gata, w ay ( > O rm gate). It is unlikely to be an early instance o f MnE. agate (L. achates), for which no spelling with -g- is recorded in M .E .D . before 1500. beeiden (L f. 44r). T h e entry reads ‘Beiden, bejlden, beiden A .’ followed b y references to cols. 65, 85, 137, 143, and 312. O f these, cols. 65, 85, and 312 are accounted for b y J 2614, 3345, and 12964. A form bejßldenn ‘to make bold’ may therefore have occurred in either or both o f the missing cols. 137 or 143. I f a genuine form, it would be hard to account for the diph­ thong at this date: the -ei- forms cited in O .E .D . (under B ield ) and M .E .D . are late ME. B elte (L f. 43v) : no column reference given, and perhaps merely cited b y V as a synonym o f O rm ’s girrdell. Biscoppes (L 408): the double p is no doubt erroneous since J regularly has one p in the oblique cases {bisscopess J 1736, 3763, & c.). C f. the note on hirdeshipe (List A ). breste (L 319): possibly a genuine post-prepositional form ; the nom. sg. in J is brest (J 4774). bridigen (L f. 43v): V adds To. 1.27’, i.e. a reference to John i. 27, but unless it is a corruption o f bridgume ‘bridegroom ’, which occurs several times in J, the form is obscure.




Chistre (L 502) : in view o f V ’s marginal sic, J presumably had the erroneous form ckisstre here; cf. chesstre J 2736, 2758, 2766, & c ., the invariable form in J ; cf. also chestre L 494. O n f. 44v o f the word-list, V has ‘Chistre, idem, an error 99. f ’. cnewen (L f. 44v): the entry refers to cues ‘knees’ in col. 117 ( = J 4775) and continues ‘cnewen id. 160. p.’ . J may there­ fore have had a pi. form cnewwenn; but cf. o cnewwe J 6627, o cnewwess J 6467,7053,7137, 7151, suggesting that V ’s reading is corrupt. [Elysabeth (L 126): see p. 94, n .i. T h e normal form in J is elysabœþ (25 occurrences), beside elysabœth (J 231). T h e form with -beth occurs only in Latin T ex t V.] feorliß (L f. 45*, col. 101): ? represents fi(o)rrliß , adv. ‘far’, which is not recorded in J. g h ilt, ghilten: these represent J g illt ‘offence, sin’, gillterm ‘to sin’. V has a tendency to transcribe these words with initial gh (thus L 459 where g h ilt was first written and then altered to g ilt; g h ilt and ghilten also appear on f. 4SV o f L ; contrast g ilt L 520, gilte L 248, 317, gilten L 461, giltelces L 5). gum (L 536) : a corruption o f gramm ‘angry’ which occurs five times in J each time linked with g r ill (7145, 7159, 7197, 7201, I 9 ^5 9 )* N o doubt the reading in J was gramm (the italicized letters representing an ‘open’ a above the g , a regular abbrevia­ tion o f ra), as in J 7159. ßcemen (L 530) : 2 pl.pr., presumably for J ßernenn ‘take care of,

protect’. A form ßcemerm, influenced b y gcetenn (O N . gceta) o f the same meaning, with which it is frequently linked in J, is theoretically possible, but cannot be assumed without further evidence. C f. ßemen, inf., L 320. ßu (L 407, 527, 530): cf. ßuw L 295, 406, & c . In J ßu is found once (canc. 4535, but the reading is certain), beside 168 occurrences o f ßuw.

H olinng (L 314): perhaps ‘holly’ (O E . holegn\ for altered suffix see O .E .D ., ffo llin ); for self-punishment w ith holly cf. Afterene Riw le (MS. N ero, ed. D ay) 191/13 f. ne m id holie. ne m id breres. nene biblodge hire sulf. But V ’s marginal gloss ‘f.



þoling’ (see above, p. 94, n. 1) suggests that the original may have had þolim tg ‘suffering’, a more convincing reading. T h e verb þolerm is common in O rm and þolinng accords w ell with trejhe ‘pain, affliction’, the word with which it is con­ textually linked. hallen (L f. 46*): the entry reads ‘Kallen, D . roepe [?]’, but as there is no column reference it cannot be assumed that kattenn ‘to call’ occurred in J. Lhide (L f. 46V, col. 193, unglossed): probably represents J íhide ‘lid’ (O E . hlid) but as it is unglossed the form remains uncertain. lifigende (L f. 46V, col. 99, unglossed): this could represent J lif(i)^hermde ‘living’ (O E . lifgende; cf. J witejhtmnge, pro­ phecy < O E . wltegungi and for the pres. ppl. ending cf. J stinnkennde). But without further evidence the form remains uncertain. loh (L f. 46V, col. 202, unglossed): perhaps J loh ‘laughed’ (O E . hlôh), but not certainly identifiable without further evidence. ma^de (L f. 49V U n fo r ^ e n & ma3de, col. 188): i f genuine this would represent J m a^de ‘maid, virgin’ (shortened from O E . mcegden). But it may be a m iscopying b y V o f J’s usual form mafjdenn. oppard]owwardfunden (L 125): probably a corruption o f owwhar fitndenn ‘found anywhere’ in the original; cf. & tohh Jíét owwhar funde peer J 833; f f f p e jj haffdenn Crist Owwhar orm eorþe fimderm J 6509. A form *upparrd with assimilation o f pw to pp ( < O E . upweard > O rm ’s regular uppwarrd), though found in the A . Riw le texts (see d’Ardenne, Iuliene, p. 136, under uppart\ is unlikely to have existed in the Ormulum, and a sense ‘upwards’ is contextually improbable. sorgen (L f. 42e Caren & so^en, col. 202): presumably for serpen ( = J serrjhm ny which occurs in line 8950; also serrjhepp, 3 s.pr., J 1278). spcechen (L 350) : i f genuine this would represent J spcecherm ‘to speak’, but ME. parallels with -ch- are rare (cf. S . E . Legendary, ed. d’Evelyn and Mill, bispeche, 401/114). J’s regular forms are spekerm, v ., and spceche, sb.




sprangh (L 424) : presumably for sprang (cf. sprang J 10258). uþen (L 334) : probably a corruption o f uten ( = J titenn < O E . ütian ‘to drive out, expel, & c \ ), with substitution o f þ for t as in some other words in L (see p. 97, n. 1). I f so this w ould be a new word in the Ormulum vocabulary (see O .E .D ., O ut, V . , and B .-T . for O E . and ME. examples). wißße (L f. 49r, col. 143, unglossed): perhaps represents J wißße ‘man, warrior* (O E . wiga), but the absence o f a gloss leaves the form indecisive. It might be a corruption o f weßße ‘way*. JVriþ (L f. 49r, col. 98, glossed ‘schrift’): the original almost certainly had writt, V ’s form showing confusion o f t and þ as elsewhere (see p. 97, n. 1).









E T C .,




T h e follow ing list contains a selection o f words, forms, & c ., recorded in J only once (in a few cases twice), or o f other linguistic interest, which van V liet notes as occurring on leaves which were extant in the seventeenth century, but which are now missing. T h e figure(s) immediately follow ing the reconstructed form represent(s) the column(s) in J in which the w ord occurred. ægede 27 (L 355 ægede) apperrmod 237 (L f. 441) 1 arrfeþþ 197 (L f. 43v) attbrasst 13-19 (L 1) aþ 71 (L 440) baemennde 22 (L 201) becnedd, pp. 69 (L 422) becnenn, inf. 13-19, 20 (L 95, 161) brestlin 26 (L 303) cludi3 51 (L f. 44v) 1 See M ,Æ ,y xxi (1952), 38-39«



currsedd, pp. 13-19 (L 149,155) currsenn, inf. 25 (L 263, 264) epenn 260 (L f. 45r) erli3 ‘earthly’ 47 (L 405)1 forrhelenn 188 (L f. 49v) fullnaþe 189 (L f. 451} 2 3emmde 13-19 (L 76) hate ‘promise’ 13-19 (L 14)3 he3henn 25 (L 272)* herrfesstess ende 13-19 (L 9Ó)5 hinnderrçæpe 27-28 (L 345) hirdeflocc 97, 98 (L f. 45v) hirdemann 101 (L f. 45v) ho ‘she’ 158 (L f. 46e H o, pro 3I10)6 immess 187 (L f. 46r) kald, adj. as n. 27-28 (L 340) onndlæt 190 (L f. 47r) rædelike 98 (L 493)’ ræm 193, 197 (L f. 48«) reckelæs 25 (L 285) ros 16 (L f. 481) rosenn 16 (L f. 481) sari3 186 (L f. 50*) sikerr 13-19 (L 15, 61, 63) sperrenn 183, 195 (L f. 5or) 8 sur 47 (L 399) sware, adj. 185 (L f.42r Sware & hefÍ3) t°þþ 27 (L 314)9 1 C f. erlif J 3133, 6338 beside the more common form erþlij. 2 Œ fu lln á þ e J 18362 (
äxt eller bittert) is given in Svenska Akademiens Ordbok under Besk, a. i. 3 Ordbog til det aldre danske sprog, under B itter, a. 4 A modem example (beesk og bittert) is given in Dahlerup, Ordbog over det danske sprog, under Besk, a. 2.2. 5 A variant in early Swedish, besker oc biterliker, is illustrated in Söderwall, Ordbok öfver Svenska medeltids-sprâket, SuppL, under Besker%a.



da$3 ‘[not] to put o ff from one day to another’, the first verb is found elsewhere in Middle English in the sense ‘to delay’.1 T h e second verb is not recorded in O .E .D . in the same sense. A parallel use, though in a different construction, is found in one manuscript o f Seinte Iuliene (ed. S. T . R . O . d’Ardenne, Liège, 1936). T h e saint is trying to evade her marriage to her heathen suitor, w ho complains to her father: ‘He . . . feng on te teilen him. hu his dohter droh him from deie to deie’ (8/58-60). T h e editor translates droh as ‘put o ff’ (in her Glossary under drohen), and she attributes this sense to O ld Norse (p. 245, § 123, n. 2). T h e use o f the verb with the same adverbial phrase as in these two examples is found in early Swedish in a quotation to illustrate the sense ‘to delay’ in Söderwall (Suppl., under Dragha, v. 7): ‘A t thu thic ekke bätra, vtan draghir fran dagh oc til dagh.’ I know o f no other Middle English example o f the collocation o f the two verbs.2 I suggest that the coupling is due to Norse tradition,3 though the exact parallel is not at hand. T h e sense ‘to delay’ is sometimes expressed b y draga undan as well as draga in O ld W est Norse,4 and it is used with dvelja in the phrase dvelja ok draga undan. Examples o f this are found in religious prose: Postola Sogar 615/24: ‘Hans fyrirdæming er um nockura rið dvolð ok undan dregin’ ; Dunstanus Saga in Icelandic Sagas (ed. G . Vigfusson, Rolls Series, 1887), ii. 397/35: ‘A t fyrir sakir hátíðar væri pínan dvöld ok undan dregin til annars dags.’ T h e related nouns also appear in a combination o f synonyms. D vqI ok undandráttr is found in Thomas Saga Erkihyskups (ed. Unger, Christiania, 1869), 343/17: ‘Thomas erchibyskup tekr þui tomliga at faa honum ne eina borg. . . . Enn er konungrinn uirdir duol ok undandratt i fara, segiz . . .’ . Further the noun 1 T his sense is possibly due to Norse. In O ld English the verb used in similar contexts is leidem, e.g. ‘ne yldon wë nä fram dæge tö dæge, þæt wê tö G ode ne gecyrron* (Boswortb-Toller, Supply under Udari). A quotation in early Danish may serve to illus­ trate the Norse use: ‘H w i dwæles thu fran dagh oc till dagh ath wændhes till herren?’ (.M an ager Legende-H aan dskrift, ed. G . Knudsen, Copenhagen, 1917-30, 57/15).

2 C f. M o rte Arthure (ed. E. Björkman, Heidelberg, 1915), 3967-8: ‘A ! dowttouse derfe dede, þou duellis to longe! W h y drawes þou so one dreghe?’ 3 Another example o f Norse influence on O rm ’s phraseology appears earlier in the passage quoted above, in John the Baptist’s words (Luke iii. 9). B u la x e is a rare Norse loanword, and the sentence corresponds closely to the relevant passage in Jon s Saga B a ptista in P ostola Sögur (ed. C . R . Unger, Christiania, 1874), 876/332 *Nu er bolôx sett

við tria rætr.’

4 See Cleasby-Vigfusson,

Icelan dic-E nglish D ictionary ,

under D ra g a , v. A . IV and V .



drdttr ‘delay’, without prefix, is also combined with dvçl. A line in the Icelandic Ritnur runs: ‘H vôrki d v çl né dráttur varð á Dínús kóm u’ (Rimnasafiiy ed. F . Jónsson, Copenhagen, 1905-22, ii. 677, st. 51). In the examples above, it is to be noted that dvelja (or d vçl) is the first element in the phrase, as is dwellenn in the Ormulum} fa lls & flæ rd Þe33 Iætenn þatt te33 sekenn Crist Biforenn menness ehne, Acc þe33 ne findenn himra rihht nohht Till þe33re sawle berrhlessj Forr Crist forrwerrpeþþ falls & flærd. (7330 -4)

Forr itt [sc. their preaching] iss full off falls & flærd & full off hefi3 dwilde. (10 027-8)

& tatt te deofell se33de þær Till Crist uppo þe lawe, Þatt he þær mihhte 3ifenn himm All midellærdess riche, Þatt wass chuflmng, & falls, & flærd, & tære læh þe deofell. (12 17 3 -8 )

& siþþenn don þe33 [í c . the Devil and his servant] falls & flærd Amang þe gode lare, & all biswikenn swa þe folic Þurrh þe33re laþe wiless, Þurrh þatt te33 don hemm falls & flærd To lefenn & to folljhenn. (15 3 6 6 -7 1)

T h e phrase fa lls & fla r d is found only in the Ormulum. Both nouns here mean ‘falsehood, deceit* and the phrase is an emphatic 5I have not found an example o f the phrase in O ld East Norse. T o illustrate the use o f the verbs as synonym s I quote from Söderwall: ‘A t dödhin skulle äkke länge draghas’ (under Draghat v . 7 ) ; ‘thäktis gudhi at lata swa länge dwälias hänna dödh’ (dvälias 2y under Dväliciy v.).



coupling o f synonyms. A sixth example appears in van V liet’s transcript, 175 : ‘Þurh fais & flærd & trowthe w ac.’ T h e transcript also gives us an example— the only one in Middle English— o f flæ rd in the meaning ‘deceit* used independently o f a synonym : For manig man is ful of flærd & legeþþ þe for litel. (65-66) F ox and flerd , a phrase synonymous, in m y opinion, with fa lls & flæ rd, is recorded once in Middle English, in the B estiary : So was herodes fox & flerd. ðo crist kam in to ðis middel erd. he seide he wulde him leuen on. & ðogte he wulde him fordon.

(351-4)1 W e may translate line 351 as ‘Herod’s deceit was o f that nature’.2 E. Björkman34 *drew attention to the collocation o f fo x ‘fraud’ and flæ rô ‘deceit’ in O ld W est Norse in the legal phrase selja fo x ne flærð* applied to the sale o f fraudulent goods. He considered that this phrase was borrowed from Middle English fo x and fle rd (suggesting ‘deceiver’ and ‘deceit* as alternative meanings for both Middle English nouns), and th a tjb x was an English loan (from the name o f the animal) and possibly also flæ rÔ ? T h e tw o latter conclusions have not been generally accepted.6 O ld W est Norse flæ rô means only ‘falsehood, deceit’ .7 O ld 1

F a lls & flæ r d in 7334 is in a passage dealing with Herod.

2 O .E .D . under F o x , sb., has no entry for this passage. M .E .D . under F o x , sb. 3, gives f o x the sense ‘a crafty man’, and gives fle r d as ‘deceiver*.

3 N ordiska Studier tillegnade A d o lf N oreen (Uppsala, 1904), pp. 168-9. 4 Æ ld re G u lath in gs-L ov § 40 (in N orges Garnie L o v e, Christiania, 1846-95, i. 24)2 ‘E n gi várr seal selia oðrom fox. ne flærð/ 3 T o solve the difficulty in relating the vow els o f O ld English fle a r d and O ld W est N orse flæ rd . € O n f o x see F . Jónsson, N orsk-islandske K u ltu r - og Sprogforhold i ,9. og 10 . arh. (Copenhagen, 1921), p. 74. J. de Vries, Altnordisches etymologisches W örterhuch, how ­ ever, takes Bjorkman’s suggestion as probable. I note without comment the Icelandic proverb quoted b y Ðlöndal, Islensk-dönsk orðabók, under F o x , sb. 2 (his on ly example o f Ic. f o x applied to the animal) : f o x kann noga flæ rd . J. de Vries rejects Bjorkman’s suggestion for flæ rd . 7 C f. fla r , adj. and flæ rd r, ppl. adj. T h e standard etym ological dictionaries have different explanations o f the formation o f flæ rd and o f its possible relationship to O ld English (gd)fle a r d \




English flea rd has been given the meaning ‘deception, fraud’ in two passages. In neither case is this meaning certain.1 Though fa lls & flcerd is not recorded elsewhere in English, the corresponding phrase is well evidenced in Norse. In the Old Norwegian Laws fa is eða flœ rð, appearing later than fo x ne flœrðy is used in the same technical sense.2 In religious prose, however, Old West N o r s e okflœ rð* is an emphatic expression for ‘falsehood*. It appears in Barlaam s ok Josaphats Saga (ed. R . Keyser and C. R . Unger, Christiania, 1851) 75/28: ‘Þa finn ec at þetta allt er fais oc flærð, er her til hevi ec fylgt’ ; ibid., 70/1 and 134/34;* Stjom 78/4: ‘Fais ok flærð fær alldrigi godan aauôxt*. The variant flcerð ok fa is appears in Postola Sögur 706/24: ‘Þeir hófðu mik svikit með flærð ok falsi’ ; Barlaam s Saga 55/13 and 128/24; H eilagra M anna Sogar (ed. Unger, Christiania, 1877), i. 66/22. In this form it also occurs in Icelandic late medieval verse: Heilsudu hann med flærd og falsi falla aa kne og spea hann aller heill kuodu þeÍR kongr juda.5 T h e phrase is also found in East Norse. Söderwall has no example, though the adjectival phrase fa is ok flä rp a fu lt6 occurs in one quotation (under F ais, a. 2) : ‘Pradicaþe. huru fais ok ílarþa fuit ä(r a)lt þatta hems lif’. Fais oc flärdh is recorded in Barlaam 1 T h e first is T h e Northum brian P riests ’ L a w § 54; Professor D . W hitelock (E n glish H isto rica l D ocum ents c. 5 0 0 -10 4 2 ,, London, 1955, p. 438) translates it as ‘nonsense*.

T h e second is an Aldhelm gloss (see K . W . Bouterwek, Z . f . d. A ., ix (1853), 442) referred to b y E. Ðjörkman, Scandinavian Loan-w ords in M id d le E n glish (Halle, 1900-2), p. 160. H e takes fle a r de as ‘the translation o f Latin fra u d e , v e l deceptione, v el opprobrio’. These Latin words are a triple gloss to colludio . T h e arrangement o f the glosses in this passage is complicated (so Professor R . Derolez (Ghent) kindly informs me). Flearde may thus gloss colludio, and this may have been taken in the sense ‘sporting together’, which is close to the sense ‘frivolous behaviour’ in which gefleard is sometimes used. T h e sense ‘deceit’ is not present in other examples o f O ld English gefleard, fle a r dian, fle a r dere,

2 Norges Garnie Love, i. 295 (Hákonarbók § 1 1 8 ) : ‘E n gi varr skal oðrom selia fais eða


flærd’ ibid., 324

(Æ ldre Bjarkö-Ret § 108): fa is eða flœrð (three times) ;fa is ne fleerð is ne fleerð, ibid., ii. 156 (Nyere Lands-Lov viii § 10).

a variant reading for fo x

3 It is not given b y either Vigfusson or Fritzner. Flcerd is sometimes used in the plural in the phrase. 4 A lso ibid., 70/17 fa is eða fleer5 er, 169/$ fa is eða fleerð. C f. Thomas Saga Erkibyskups 246/1 : ‘ Upphafsmann mikils fais o k fullkominnar flærðar/ 5 Islen flt M idaldakveedi (ed. Jôn Helgason, Copenhagen, 1936-8) 1. ii. 309 ( G im steinn , st. 23, 11. 1 -3 ). 6 C f. O ld W est Norse fleer dafullr, fleer darfullr, and fu i o fflcerd above.



och Josaphat, in Prosadikter frân Sveriges M edeltid (ed. G . E. Klemming, Stockholm, 1887-9), 4 5 /I 4 > together with tw o examples o f flärdh oc f ils , 11/2 and 38/7. This text is, however, based to some extent on the O ld Norwegian Barlaam s Saga, 1 which uses the phrase in two o f the corresponding passages.2 T h e phrase is also recorded in technical legal use.3 Later examples o f fa is och flä rd are at hand in Svenska Akademiens Ordbok (under F ais, sb.1 and Flärd, sb. 1), chiefly in the phrase utan fa is och flä rd . Kalkar (under Flærd, sb.) gives a variant o f the phrase in early Danish: ‘for vdhen alskens falsk oc alskens flaer.*4 It seems unlikely that O rm ’s fa lls & flæ rd and the Norse phrase arose independently. O ld W est Norse fa is ok flæ rð m ay have been borrowed from English, which would be possible enough during the period o f English learned influence in N orw ay.5 I f it were found in other English texts, we could accept this pos­ sibility more readily. Fais ok fleer 6 cannot be early, as fa is is a loanword. I suggest that fa lls & flcerd may be an individual bor­ rowing b y Orm due to a familiarity with Norwegian speech or writings o f his ow n time, a time at which there was close intercourse between the English and Norwegian churches.6 flitte n & fa r enn Þurrh þatt te33 [í c . Christ’s disciples] i þiss middellærd Flittenn & farenn wide, Fra land to land, fra burrh to burrh, To spellenn to þe lede Off soþ Crist & off Crisstenndom. CPreface, 39-43) 1 See Prosadikter , p. 357. 2 In the third, Barlaam s Saga 6/39 ( = B arlaam och Josaphat 11/2) has fa is alone. 3 C . J. Schlyter, Sw eriges G am la L a g a r (Lund, 1877) xii. 218 § iii. : 'fais eller (v.r. oc) flærd . . . flerd oc fais/ C f. Söderwall (under F a is, a. 3): ‘rnedh fais wara ok flärd i köp om / 4 Another variant is found in early Swedish in H elige M ä n s L efverne (ed. R . Geete, Stockholm, 1902) 100/2: ‘Han hatadhe falskhet oc alia flärdh/ 3 C f. O ld W est Norse blek ok bôkfell\ see m y note in Sa ga-B ook o f the V ik in g Society , xii (1942), 240. G . Turville-Petre, O rigins o f Icelandic Literature (Oxford, 1953), p. 114, writes: ‘It is probable that the Norwegians, because o f their contacts with England, began to write homilies in their own language early in the twelfth century, i f not already in the eleventh century/ 6 See H. G . Leach, Angevin B ritain and Scandinavia (Cam bridge, Mass., 1921), p. 85 if.




Middle English flitten is a Norse loanword (: O ld W est Norse fly tja ) ; the intransitive use represents the reflexive fly tja sk . The phrase flitten n & farennx ‘to journey’, apparently only recorded in the Ormidum ,2 may be due to the collocation o f fly tja sk with fara in O ld W est Norse. Fara ok flytjask? is found in several religious works. Examples are: Byskupa Sogar (ed. G . Jónsson, I 9 5 3 ) hi* 180/17: ‘Sauðir guðs a f ýmissum héruðum fóru ok fluttust hann at Anna’ ; Gam al N orsk Homüiebok (ed. G . Indrebo, O slo, 1931) 89/18: ‘V ér monum fara ok flytiasc til guðs hus’ ; Heilagra M anna Sogar i. 139/28: ‘Þessi frægð for ok fluttiz viða’ ; Stjom 36/6: ‘Hann for ok fluttiz eptir midian dag um para­ dis’ ; ibid., 234/33, 249/32, and 456/21. It also occurs in Islen d fl Æ ventyri (ed. H. Gering, Halle, 1882-4) 1. 11 (ii/5): ‘Þ ví for hans nafn ok fluttiz um öll lönd.’ A ll these examples are in the order fara ok fly tja sk , but w e m ay assume that fly tja sk ok fa ra would also have been used.4 W hen fly tja is collocated with fiera , the causative o f fa ra , the usual order is indeed fly tja ok fiera as in M aria Saga (ed. C . R. Unger, Christiania, 1871) 13/32: [Hon] flytr ok foerir manninn til átta fagnaða.5 T h at the Norse element in the Ormulum may in part be due to special circumstances would explain the high proportion o f unique loanwords, and also the fact that the form o f some o f the loanwords indicates that they are late adoptions. T h e interesting form apperrmod was restored to the text o f the Ormulum b y R . W . Burchfield (M edium Æ vum , xxi (1952), 38); he explains it as a late adoption showing assimilation o f an original mp to pp. (His conclusion, ‘it was probably taken b y O rm from the speech o f the people o f his own area and time’, differs from m y suggestion above.) T h e adjective usell shows the late form o f the Norse negative prefix Ú-, which was probably still a nasalized vow el at the time o f the general borrowings and appears in them as un-.

1 Note the verse-accent. When the two alliterating words in a phrase are disyllabic, Orm often, however, inserts a monosyllabic word and then the verse-accent falls on the alliterating syllable, e.g. To lofenn himm & lutenn (1269), & cwennkesst wel & cwellesst (675 0 , T u ll sutell & fu ll sene (18862). 2 There is no example o f its use elsewhere in O .E .D ., M .E .D ., or J. P. Oakden, Alliterative Poetry in M iddle E n glish: A Survey o f the Traditions (Manchester, 1935). 3 N ot exemplified in either Fritzner or Vigfusson. 4 Cf. a quotation in early Swedish in Söderwall, Supply under Flytia, v. 2: ‘The äre kranck och wanför folk baden tw, swa ath the formechte jngenstades flytta eller fara/ 5 Flytja ok foera is a legal formula in O ld N orse; H . Vendell, Bidrag till Kärmedom om Alliterationer och R im i Skandinaviskt Lagsprdk (Helsingfors, 1897) gives examples in O ld W est Norse (pp. 10, 52) and early Swedish (p. 157). It is interesting that O rkn ey N o m had a legal phrase flittin g and fir in g ‘conveyance and transport* (see H . Marwick, The Orkney Norn (London, 1929), pp. O ld W est Norse formula.

43-44), which, I suggest, is borrowed from the



rowwst & reord Þe rowwst iss herrd off ænne mann Þatt epeþþ i þe wesste. Forr all swa summ þe reord gaþ Biforenn i þi spæche, & siþþenn fol^heþþ 833 þe word Swa summ þe reord itt ledeþþ, Rihht all allswa comm Sannt Johan Biforenn Crist to manne, Rihht allse he waere rowwst & reord, & Crist te word tærafiterr. (9 56 1-70 )

T h e Norse loanword rowwst (: O ld W est Norse raust) is rare in Middle English. In addition to the tw o instances in the passage above, it is found in the Ormulum in 1.9197, but 11.9197-8 are identical with 11. 9561-2 above, with one unimportant variation.1 T h e tw o nouns rowwst and reord, and the phrase rowwst & reord, are used synonym ously for ‘voice* (corre­ sponding to Latin vox), distinguished from word (Latin verbum )? A second example o f the phrase is recorded in the W ars o f Alexander'. [He] Did on him his dragon-hame & drafe thu^e þe sale, With slike a rowste & rend þe romance it wittnes, Þat nere had bernes for þat here bene bro3t out of witt.

(48t-9 )3 Reord (jrerid) represents Old English reord in form , but I do

not think the origin o f the phrase lies in a combination o f a native w ith a Norse word in Middle English. I suggest that the alliterative formula is borrowed from a Norse coupling o f the two synonyms, Old W est Norse roust and rçdd — Old W est Norse *raust ok rçdd —with the second noun accommodated rowwst w ith epeþþ is interesting, for epenn (used only in this context) is a c tp a \ and the same use is found in O ld Norse. In early Swedish w e may compare E tt Forn-Svenskt Legendarium (ed. G . Stephens, Stock­ 1 T h e use o f

unique N orse borrowing (O ld W est N orse

holm, 1847-74) i. 285/25: ‘T h a hordhus diaefla rostir opa til sin mæstara luciferum/ 2 See the editorial note to L 9563. 3 There is o n ly one M S. for this passage. N o other reference for the glossary o f the E .E .T .S . edition (ed. W . W . Skeat, e . s . 47,18 86).

rowste is given in




in form to the native cognate. A similar accommodation is found in other Middle English alliterative phrases o f Norse origin; cf. 3 ernenn in 3ernenn & gcetenn, trowwe in trigg & trowwe1 in the Ormulum, and gold in gold and gersurn, more in more and myrme elsewhere. T h e appropriate Norse phrase is at hand in early Danish, applied to the voice (or ‘language’) o f birds. It appears in the Lucidarius in E n Klosterbog fr a M iddelalderens slutning (ed. M. Kristensen, Copenhagen, 1928) 79/14: ‘Han . . . vnderstandhær fwlæ rost oc roodh.’2 sammtale & sahhte Forr þurrh þatt tatt tu læresst hemm To ben sammtale & sahhte To þeowwtenn an AllmahhtÍ3 Godd Wiþþ anfald rihhte læfe3 . . .

0534 -^7) Þe seoffiide seollþess ædÍ3le33c Iss gnþþ i manness herrte,. . . Swa þatt hiss bodÍ3 wiþþ hiss gast Sammtale & sahhte wurrþe, Swa þatt te33 baþe 3eomenn an & foll3henn an wiþþ wille.

(5724- 33) The phrase sammtale & sahhte1 ‘agreed’ is found only in the Ormulum. The adjective sahhte ‘reconciled, agreed’, well recorded in Middle English, is probably a Norse loan (: Old West Norse sdttr) . 5 Sammtale is found only in this text; it occurs inde­ pendently in a use similar to the second example above: Hiss a3henn bodi3 wiþþ hiss gast Sammtale inn aile gode. (6036-7)6 1 See m y note in E n glish an d Germ anic Studies , i

(1947-8), 88.

2 Q uoted b y Kalkar under R od, sb. C f. the synonymous fu g leru d and fu g lerest.

3 T h e MS. has

lafe .

4 W ith the verse-accent, cf. W urrþshipe & wullderr shollde ben


5 So O .E .D . under Sought, a. See also D . Hofmann, N ordisch-englische Lehnbetfehungen der W ikingerieit (Copenhagen, 1955), §


6 A second example is found in van V liet’s transcript, 498 : &

us birþ alle samen ben

Samtale in aile gode.



W ith sammtale w e may compare three words o f very limited distribution in Middle English. T h e first o f these, samentale ‘agreement’, appears once in a similar alliterative phrase, sachtnesse and somentale, in the Titus MS. o f the Ancrene Riw le (ed. F. M. Mack, E .E .T .S . 252, 1963); samentale, sb., is also found in Cursor M undi, together with samentale, adj., ‘agreeing’ and the synonymous s amertale.1 T h e etym ology given b y O .E .D . (under Sam tale, a.) for sammtale is ‘f. Same adj. and Tale sb.’. It seems more likely that it represents an O ld Norse compound with the prefix sam- } N o corresponding adjective is found in O ld W est Norse, but w e m ay compare the noun sam tal and the verb samtala. O ne o f the senses o f sam tal is ‘agreement’.3 Fritzner has one reference only for this sense;4 this is M ariu Saga 697/17 (where it is a variant reading for sáttm ál ‘covenant’). It is also found in Stjorn 129/24, appearing here in alliterative collocation with sdttm dl: ‘Baðir þeir festu medr suardôgum þar sitt sáttmaal ok samtal.’ 5 T h e verb samtalcP ‘to make an agreement’ is recorded in collocation with the synonymous scettask in Stjorn 187/18: ‘Medr þeima hætti skulum uær sættaz ok samtala medr oss . . . at huerr karlmadr a f ydr skiriz skurdarskirn.’7 W e thus have evidence in one O ld Norse text for the alliterative combination o f sam tal and samtala with words related to sdttr. It is possible, however, that the pattern o f O rm ’s adjectival phrase is due to an O ld W est Norse legal phrase in which sdttr is combined with the adjective sammdla {sam m dlif ‘agreeing’, which is synonymous with sammtale and close to it in form. Sdttir ok sammdla occurs in the metrical formula o f peace1 See O .E .D . under Sam entale , sb. and a. 2 Björkman does not discuss sam m tale. 3 So also in early Swedish (Söderwall, Su p p l., under Sa m ta l\ sb. 2). 4 T h is sense is not given b y Vigfusson. 5 V ery close to this use is an example in B arlaam s Saga

99/9 : ‘Þ u fant m i k . . . vtlagan

þræl firir guðs augliti. en n v hevir þ v sætt mik oc samþykt við minn skapara oc sva frammarllega minu male komet. at n v em ec i samtale með guðs sunum til erfða oc oðla i eilifri sælo.’ Vigfusson glosses sa m ta l in this passage as ‘a counting together* (similarly Fritzner). 6 Entered in Fritzner, but not in Vigfusson. 7 F o r sa m ta h a variant reading is saman tala. C f. Byskupa Sögur ii. 372/20-22: ‘Þ e i r . . . fóru jafnan milium þeira frænda um vetrinn at leita urn saettir, ok varð saman talat fyrir föstu.* W ith saman tala , v ., cf. Middle English somentale, sb., above. 8 C f. sammœli, sb., and sammœlask, v.




making know n as Trygðamal, o f which versions are preserved in the O ld Icelandic ‘Grágás’ and two sagas.1 I quote Heiðarvíga Saga xxxiii:2 ‘N ú eru vér sáttir ok sammála, hvar sem vér finnumsk á landi eða á legi, skipi eða á skíði, í hafi eða [á] hestbaki.* Another example is found in one manuscript o f Saga O láfs Konungs kins helga (ed. O . A . Johnsen and Jón Helgason, O slo, 1941) i. 510/3 v.r.: ‘Vilde viþ alla menn vera sattr oc sammali.’ Sammdla3 is only found in this phrase with sdttr. unnbedenn & unnbonedd Forrþi toc Crist forrþrihht anan Unnbedenn & unnbonedd Allræresst towarrd Nicodem To mælenn & to spellenn. (17080-3) T h e verb bonerm ‘to entreat* is recorded only in the Ormulum in Middle English.4 It may be regarded either as a formation on the Middle English noun bone (: O ld W est Norse bdn)7s or as an adoption o f the verb, O ld W est Norse bcena, with the substitu­ tion o f the unmutated stem-vowel o f the noun. In the phrase above the past participles o f biddenn and bonenn in combination express a single idea. I suggest that it is borrowed from O ld W est Norse biðja ok bernai Fritzner (under B ona, v.) gives 1 See E ddica M inora , ed. Á . Heusler and W . Ranisch (Dortmund, 1903), pp. d i-c v iii, 129-33. T h e reference for the phrase is 132/10. 2 In Borgfirðinga Sçgu r (ed. S. Nordal and Guðni Jónsson, Reykjavik,


p. 313/17. 3 O ld W est Norse sammála was borrowed into O ld English in the accommodated form sammœle as a legal term in bêon (weorßan) sam m äle . It is recorded at least four times, but in no case in an alliterative phrase. It apparently did not survive into Middle English. 4 A s in 5223: L e f faderr, icc þe bone, 3 iff me . . . ; 694; 7466. 3 So O .E .D . under B oon, v. 6 T h e use o f the phrase in the Orm ulum would therefore incline one to regard bonenn as an alteration o f O ld W est Norse bœna, rather than as a formation on the noun. A similar case is presented b y the verb layhenn ‘to make or bring low* in the O rm ulum . T h is may be regarded either as a formation on lah, adj. (: O ld W est Norse lâgr), or as an alteration o f O ld W est Norse Icegja. T h e latter seems probable at any rate in one use. Layhenn is several times combined with niþþrenn , as layhedd a ll & niþþredd (9636), and niþþrenn & lajhenn (18527 and 19214). T h is is probably a traditional coupling, for Icegja ok rubra is found in O ld W est Norse religious prose, as in Stjorn 35/1 : ‘Hann uar

i bóluaninni lægðr o k nidradr’, and B arlaam s Saga 201/12 and 209/32. A third borrowed verb, dowwnenn ‘to smelT (only in the O rm ulum ) has the stem -vowel o f O ld W est Norse daunn%not that o f the verb deyna— a borrowed noun is not recorded.



an example o f this phrase from a prayer in L eifar fornra kristinna frœ ða isk n fa a (ed. Þ . Bjamarson, Copenhagen, 1878). T h e passage runs:1 ‘Þ ik bœni ek at ek m e g i. . . til þín koma . . . A llt heilagt hýski guðs biði ok bœni fyrir mér’ (184/4-13). a ff occ f f f & Crist shall rixlenn 333 occ 333 Inn heoffness aerd. (2263-4) Icc shall beon 833 occ 833 wiþþ 3UW Whil þatt riss weorelld lassteþþ. (11557-8) T h e phrase 033 occ a ff ‘for ever and ever; constantly’ is frequent in the Ormulum, though it is not recorded elsewhere in Middle English.3 Apart from this phrase, O rm uses f f j (borrowed from Norse) and the native a .4 T h e connective occ (: O ld W est Norse ok) is confined to this phrase, which has been adopted as a whole from Norse. O ld W est Norse has ei ok ei (also ce ok ce)y and it m ay be significant that this is often found in religious prose, as in Postola Sogur 196/20: ‘Skamma stu n d m unek pindr v e ra ,e n siðan Ufaæ o k æ m e ð K ristikonungi minum’ ; Heilagra M anna Sogur i. 500/26: ‘E k laug, ek stal, ek var æ o k æ i ilium verkum dag ok nott.’ Other examples are Barlaam s Saga 5/31, 148/33; Byskupa Sögur ii. 407/24, iii. 313/26; Gam al N orsk Hom iliebok 2/10, 12/6; H eilagra M anna Sogur i. 228/14, 353/4; H om üiu-Bôk (ed. T . W isén, Lund, 1872) 25/9, 32/32; L eifar 158/41, 179IMI M ariu Saga 540/9, 1083/24; Postola Sogur 313/15, 600/25. ^ernenn & gcetenn I note another Middle English parallel to ^ernenn & gcetenn5 in 1 W ith

spelling normalized.

2 F o r various reasons I deal w ith this and the remaining phrases more briefly.

ay and ay occurs in the ‘R hym ing Charter o f Beverley*, Trans . Yorkshire D ialect Soc., IV. xxii (1921), 36 f.). 4 Note the phrase a hutenn ende. 3 : O ld W est Norse geyma ok geeta; see m y article in Saga-Book, xii (1942), 238 ff. 3 A partly anglicized form

1. 10 (see




the O rmulum. It occurs in Thomas Castelford’s Chronicle, edited b y F . Behre ( Göteborgs Högskolas A rsskrift, xlvi (1940)): Arthur, or he of britaine yiede, He gaf to his cosin modrede And to gainor, þe quene alsua, Alle britaines hile vnto þam tua, To yieme and gete in his assent. (219 25-9 )

Godd & gode menn Þa mihht tu Godd & gode menn Cwemenn. (5268-9)

& hire sune [j c . Jesus] wex & þraf I wissdom & inn elde, & he wass Godd & gode menn Well swiþe lef & dere. (8 973-6 )1

D r C . T . Onions2 has pointed out the Norse origin o f Middle English God & gode men; he gave examples o f the phrase in the Peterborough Chronicle, Minot, and P iers Plowman. I take this opportunity o f adding the Ormulum references and o f noting that the phrase is very frequent in O ld W est Norse religious prose. W ith the second Ormulum quotation, for example, w e may compare Stjorn 431/3 : ‘Samuel þroaðiz oc vox i goðvm lvtvm dag fra degi oc var þeckr gvð i oc goðvm monnvrn.’ Guð ok góðir menn is also found in B yshipa Sögur i. 68/19, ii. 81/22; Gam al N orsk Hom iliebok 36/34, 151/11; Heilagra M anna Sogar ii. 78/8, 136/7; Homüvu-Bôk 103/18, 104/3; M arkt Saga 732/32; Postola Sögur 124/8, 429/2; Stjorn 646/25; Thomas S a g a E rkilyskups 33/18, 206/9.3 1 W ex & þ ra fití this passage is a stereotyped expression; the Norse loanword þrifenn does not occur independently o f waxenn in the Ormulum; the other examples are 3182, 8853, 8973, 9112, and 10868. (I am indebted to M r R . W . Burchfield for g iv in g me the complete references.) T h is usage m ay reflect a similar coupling in Norse. W ith 8973-4 w e may compare, in early Swedish, the use in H eliga Birgittas Uppenbarelser (ed. G . £ . Klemming, Stockholm, 1857-62) ii. 320/25: ‘Jhesus threfs o k växste mz allom viisdom’, and Sialinna Threst 281/10: ‘Piltin wexte oc threfls j allom dyghdhom .’ 2 T .L .S ., 13 A u gust 1931, p. 621. 3 There is an example o f the phrase in L ilja , st. 2 5 , 1. 7 {Den norsk-islandske Skjaldedigtningy ed. F . Jónsson (Copenhagen, 19 12 -15 ), D.ii.397). In early Swedish religious prose, examples appear in E tt Forn-Svenskt Legendarium i. 268/13 and 470/3.


ENGLISH AND M EDIEVAL STU DIES meoc & m ilde, milde & meoc Ure Laferrd Crist Iss meoc, & milde, & bliþe. (10944-5)1 Forr cullfre iss milde, & meoc, & swét, & all wiþþutenn galle. (1258-9)2

The Norse loanword mek ( : Old West Norse mjúkr) is o f wide­ spread distribution in Middle English, and it is frequently collo­ cated with milde. The phrase may perhaps have arisen in Middle English, for there is little evidence o f its use in Norse. One sense o f mildr in Old West Norse is ‘mild’, and one o f mjúkry ‘meek’, but neither Fritzner nor Vigfusson has an example o f the adjec­ tives in collocation. I take this opportunity o f noting two examples o f Old West Norse mjúkr ok m ildr. It appears in the later Guðmundar Saga (of the fourteenth century) vii, in Byskupa Sogar iii. 166/16: ‘Þýðr ok þekkr í máli, öllum mjúkr ok mildr’, and in Islendqk Æ ventyri 1. 209 (lxxviii. 145): ‘Mjúkr ok milldr öllum sinum undirmönnum.’ The phrase with the elements in reverse order is used in an Icelandic poem from the late Middle Ages in Islen{k M iðaldakvaði ii. 194, st. 98: ‘Milldur og miuckur j lundu.’ In early Danish we have evidence for a similar set phrase, in which m ild is coupled, not with mjugy but with a form o f this adjective with a prefix, edmjug ( = O ld W est Norse auðmjúkr). T w o quotations, both from religious prose, in Kalkar (under 0 dmjug, a.) exemplify the phrase m ild oc odmjug. T w o additional examples are found in the M anager Legende-Haandshrifr. ‘Han [ j c . Crist] er myldh oc otm ygh aff hiærthæt’ (43/12); ‘ Fattighe mæn, ræthwiisæ, myldhe oc othmyghe’ (143/16). T h e same coupling is found in early Swedish. I quote from Svenska K yrkobruk under M edeltiden (ed. R. Geete, Stockholm, 1900) 11/10: ‘ Taken mit 00k a idher. oc minnens a m ik thz iak är ödhmiwker. oc milder.* T h e use in this passage ( = Matthew xi. 29) is interesting, for O rm ’s version o f it runs: 1 M eoc & milde also occurs in 667-8, 1313, 3606, 7754, 7920, 9931, 10947, 13315, X49I3> 15947* Urmmeoc & a ll urmmilde is used in 9880.

2 M ilde 10942.

& meoc also occurs in 1252, 1306, 2487, 2600, 4426, 4704, 4724, 4971, 8009,




Lemeþþ att me þatt icc amm wiss Rihht milde & meoc wiþþ herrte. (4970-1) serrjhe & sit Þiss mahhte tredeþþ unnderrfót, & drifeþþ fra þin herrte, All ílæshli3 care & serrée & sit Off illc eorþlike unnseollþe. (4850-3) To betenn þine sinnes, Wiþþ serrjhe & sít, wiþþ bitter wop. (7966-7) T h e Norse loanword sit is only found in the Ormulum in alliterative collocation with the synonymous serrjhe} T h e phrase sorj & sit ‘grief* is well recorded in Northern and N orth Midland texts in Middle English in alliterative and rhyming verse.2 It is borrowed from O ld W est Norse sorg ok sût. Professor E. V . Gordon pointed out that the phrase belongs to Scandi­ navian poetic tradition.3 It may be noted that it is often used in O ld W est Norse religious prose; Stjom , for instance, has at least thirteen examples (53/13, 143/23, 195/10,195/18, 265/16, 381/10, 437/4, 438/23, 499/16, 500/36, 515/30, 527/30, 651/28).4 W ith O rm ’s second example, im plying ‘contrition’, w e may compare Heilagra M anna Sogar ii. 369/10: ‘Liggiandi i ôsku ok haarklædi sva lengi med sorg ok sut, unz. . . .’ Additional references are Barlaam s Saga 138/24; Byskupa Sögur ii. 300/29; H eilagra M anna Sogar ii. 506/19; M ariu Saga 430/18, 1022/18; Postola Sogar 461/5; Thomas Saga Erkibyskups 338/34, 462/8.5 T h e reverse order, sût ok sorg, is also found in this type o f literature, though less frequently.6 1 It is in independent use elsewhere in Middle English; see O .E .D . under S ite, sb.1. 2 Attention may be drawn to the frequent use o f the phrase in Cursor M u n d i, e.g. in the Cotton MS. 6288, 9438, 9456, 23155, 23628, 23700, and to an example in H andlyng Synne 8466.

3 See his edition o f P e a r l (Oxford, 1953), p. 98.

4 A lso

in the form sût ok sorg in 536/8 and 649/27.

5 T h e phrase is used b y the seventeenth-century Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson : Það verkar sorg o g sût Þeim seka manni. ( Passíusálm ar (ed. Björn Magnússon, Reykjavik, 1950, p. 55) xii, st. 14). 6 E .g. G am al N o rsk H om iliebok 89/2: ‘Þar sculu þæir vera með dioflum. þar er ei ok ei myrer ok mæin ok sut ok sorg, hungr ok þorste.'

E. J . D O B SO N







When this volume o f essays in honour of Professor Tolkien was first proposed, it seemed to me that there could be nothing more fitting to offer than some study connected with the text which his own writing and teaching have done so much to illu­ minate; and I therefore began a collation o f the manuscripts o f Ancrene W isse, which the approach to completion of the E.E.T.S. series of editions of the several versions has made more prac­ ticable than it formerly was. The time has not sufficed for the complete collation that I had intended, and I have had to restrict myself to trial collations covering about two-fifths o f the com­ plete work, so chosen that all the manuscripts and versions were represented. What follows is therefore a sketch based on a partial collation only.1 1 More precisely I have collated from the beginning o f the text to the end o f Part II (f. 32a/ n in A ), portions o f Part I V to bring in G ( A f. 52a/ i6 -f. 59^/13 and f. 6 7*717f. 68*724), and the portion o f Part V III printed b y Hall, Early M iddle English (O xford, 1920), pp. 60 if. ( A f. i i 2 a/24 to end). M y collations o f T and V have been less systematic than those o f the other MSS. I use the following sigla: A = MS. C .C .C .C . 402 (ed. J. R . R . Tolkien, E .E .T .S . 249, 1962); C = MS. Cotton Cleopatra C v i; F = the French version o f MS. C otton Vitellius F v u (ed. J. A . Herbert, E .E .T .S . 219, 1944); G = MS. Gonville and Caius Coll. 234/120 (ed. R . M. W ilson, E .E .T .S . 229, 1954); L = the Latin version (ed. C , D 'E velyn , E .E .T .S . 216 ,19 4 4 ); N = MS. Cotton Nero A x i v (ed. M. D a y , E .E .T .S . 225, 1952); P = MS. Magdalene Coll., Cambridge, Pepys 2498 (ed. as The Recluse b y J. Pâhlsson, Lund, 1911); R =

MS. R oyal 8 C 1 (ed. A . C . Baugh, E .E .T .S . 232, 1956);

S = the second French version o f MS. T rin ity Coll., Cambridge R .14 .7 and other MSS. (ed. W . H. Trethew ey, E .E .T .S . 240, 1958); T = MS. C otton T itu s D x v m (ed. F . M. Mack, E .E .T .S . 252, 1963); V = Bodleian Vernon MS. I take no account o f the extracts, apparently retranslated from French, in the fifteenth-century Tretyse o f Loue (ed. J. H . Fisher, E .E .T .S . 223, 1945). I refer all citations to the text o f A , which is cited b y folio and line-number, except where A is lacking, when I refer them to the text o f N , cited b y the pages and linenumbers o f Miss D a y ’s E .E .T .S . edition (thus N

25/23). References to the other

versions, when made, are also b y page and line o f the relevant edition if one exists; i f not, to the folios o f the MSS. (for C and V ). References to any text other than A are



I start from the premise that it is dangerous and misleading to classify the manuscripts, even provisionally, by their contents. When omissions have been made from a basic text, either deliberately or accidentally, the fact that certain manuscripts share the same omissions will almost certainly indicate that they have a common original in which the omissions were first made. But when the case is one o f additions to a basic text— especially when it is likely, on grounds o f unity o f language, style, and thought, that the additions were written by the original author, as in the present instance— it must be apparent that the author o f the additions may well have taken steps to circulate them to the known owners o f copies; and scribes or owners who became aware that additions were in existence would be likely to seek to acquire copies. In the result the same additions might be inserted into manuscripts that were otherwise not at all closely related; and the affiliations o f the manuscripts in the added portions may be quite different from those in the basic text. I assume, therefore, that the first task is to determine the relation­ ships o f the manuscripts in the original parts o f the text (which constitute the great bulk o f the work) by the traditional process of analysing agreements in error. The additions are a separate problem, which can only be usefully examined in the light o f the information gained from the study o f the basic text. The first and most important feature o f the textual tradition o f A .JV . is that A represents an entirely distinct line o f descent. Though it has relatively numerous errors— for the most part slight and uncomplicated— only the merest handful recur in any other manuscript, and in no case is there any difficulty in assuming independent error.1 Still more significantly, there are preceded b y the siglum o f that text; those to A , w ithout preceding siglum. I use the title Anerene W isse to refer to the w ork as a whole, and do not follow the convention o f restricting it to the text o f A , in which I can see little if any point. In citing readings I ignore differences o f spelling or inflexional form which are not textually significant; readings common to a plurality o f MSS. are normally cited either in the form given b y the first-mentioned or b y the earlier MS. (i.e. generally speaking in the form nearest to the A B language). W hen the translations F S L are cited in support o f an English reading without further detail, it may be assumed that they give obvious literal renderings o f the English word or phrase. 1

T h e most noteworthy instance is at f. 57*723, where A 's luft ‘left’, which I assume

to be an error for lust ‘hearing* (as in G N S L ), recurs in C F V and (with further cor­ ruption) in T P . But lust and luft are so similar in the hands o f the MSS., and the occurrence o f luft ‘left* only tw o lines above so strongly favours the misreading, that the error




a number o f instances where A is right against all the other manuscripts that give the passage in question without excision or rewriting. As A is generally agreed to represent a revised state o f the text, it is not easy to distinguish superior readings in A that are due to revision from inferior readings in the other manu­ scripts that are due to corruption, and the element o f subjective judgement present in all textual criticism is especially obvious; clearly there is room for difference of opinion in individual cases. But the cumulative evidence seems to me conclusive; and I offer the following as instances in which, in my judgement, the readings o f the other manuscripts are due to the corruption of an original reading preserved in Á. (1) At f. 4a/28 A reads & spekeð o f euch hwet sunderlepes o rawe ‘and says something separately about each in turn’. But CFNVS read wit for hwet-, in the context, it is easy to understand how hwet could be corrupted into wit, but hardly conceivable that wit would be corrupted or revised to hwet. (2) At f. i4b/27, A reads herre ‘higher, above’, where N VT have er (FS avant). (3) At f. 2ib/i3 A reads 3 e f he walde, but CNVT 3et walde he (P wolde he ju tt, F Encore qil vousist, S Mes onkore si il uoudreit). The latter variant means ‘nevertheless if he would . . . ’, but in the context ‘never­ theless’ is otiose, and indeed spoils the argument. RL accordingly drop the je t (R wold he, L si isti vellent); but elsewhere these two related manuscripts correct inherited errors. (4) At f. 23^7 A hasfeor hare amie tungen ‘far from their poisonous tongues’, with the Old English use of feor with the dative (cf. B.-T., Diet, and Supp., s.v.); in place of feor CNVTR read from (FS de). A ’s is the difficilior lectio and somewhat better in sense. (5) At f. ^ /4 -6 , A reads rude ha nawtfolhiflesches lictmge efter willes lust, ne drohen in toward hire nan heaued sunne wið hire f i f wittes. In this the phrase efter willes lust ‘after the desire of the Will* is excellent sense and is strongly supported by the allegory of Sawles Warde; but CFNTS have efter wittes lustres), a reading which overdoes the references to the five wits in this sentence and makes its latter part repetitive— which is presumably why V omits efter wittes lust(es) and L omits all after licunge. (6) At f. 55®/19, A reads þeo þah ‘those however’, but G þeo þat, CNT þeo, V þulke (its regular substitute for þeo), and L illi. A ’s þah is required by the sense; G (as in other instances) shows a first stage of a corruption which is completed in the other manuscripts. (7) At f. H3b/6-7, A has ne ne neome ed earns to ludere disceplines temptatiuns forte acwenchen, where CNT read feole disciplines (F trop de disciplines). A ’s reading is clearly required by the argument of the carefully balanced sen­ tence: the anchoresses are not to take at any time to evil disciplines to m ight easily have occurred independently. Moreover, the readings here run counter to the normal affiliations, for S L g o against T P , and V against N ; on any view the case is a very special one.



quench temptations, any more than they are to make trial of unnatural medicines to cure natural diseases. The variant feole makes little or no sense, even if interpreted (with F) as meaning ‘too many*; the author’s objection is to the nature, not the number, of the disciplinary measures (all of them masochistic) which he has just forbidden. The original reading must have been uuele ‘evil’, corrupted to or misread as uele and respelt as feole}

Though in all o f the above examples one or more o f the manuscripts lack the reading in question, for various reasons, the instances collectively cover all the manuscripts other than A ; moreover even in such an example as the last, where only four manuscripts other than A have the reading, these manuscripts do not belong to a single group or sub-group. There is, in my judgement, sufficient evidence to show that all the manuscripts other than A descend from a common original, which I denote ß f which already contained corruptions. But the small number o f false readings shared by all j8’s descendants means— even when we have allowed for the fact that some manuscripts certainly correct inherited errors, and that others may have done so— that ß must, for so long a text, have been unusually correct; it would be a legitimate assumption that it was a fair copy prepared directly from the author’s draft. It follows that in determining the text, the evidence o f A weighs equally with that o f all the other manuscripts combined, and that agreement between A and any o f the descendants o f ß , in passages that formed part o f the original text, is conclusive unless there is definite reason to assume either that there has been independent error or that j8’s descendants have been collated with A or some lost congener o f A . This means that the task o f determining the interrelationships o f the ß manuscripts is comparatively easy, and involves much less subjective judgement than when we have to weigh A ’s evidence against the rest; for now we are setting one group o f ß manu­ scripts against another, and can call in A as an independent witness to decide between them. Subjective judgement is involved only if A ’s text has a lacuna,2 is revised, or is itself suspect; but in practice these conditions only rarely coincide with points o f difficulty in the ß tradition. 1 T h is assumes that A in revision replaced uuele b y luiere; cf. f. n 6 a/i7 , where the reverse substitution o cc u rs-A uuel for luiere in C N . 2 There is one o f four pages after f. i4 b.



Within this tradition C and F form a clearly marked group distinguished (in the portions collated) by over fifty shared errors or omissions;1 but as each has errors (including errors in F which must go back to its English original) which the other avoids they must be independent descendants o f a copy o f ß which I denote y. F is a much better representative o f the sense o f y than is C , and its English original must have been an excel­ lent manuscript; even with the errors developed in the trans­ mission of the French text (which are comparatively few), F remains the best witness to the sense o f the original after A. C was written by an unintelligent though over-conscientious scribe— one o f the worst combinations— and its exemplar in any case must have diverged further from y than F ’s; but as the only extant English manuscript o f the y group it is o f high importance as a witness to the original text, as well as being o f great signi­ ficance in other ways. The other manuscripts and versions are all descended from a second copy o f ß which I denote 8. An early offshoot from 8 was G, which consists only of extracts from A .JV . arranged in an idiosyncratic order and evidently intended for a different audience,2 but which follows the actual wording o f the text, in the passages included, very closely. The separate existence o f 8 is an assumption necessary to explain G’s normal avoidance of the errors o f what is distinguished below as the e group, and the rarer instances in which it shares errors with that group as a whole.3 As an English manuscript of early date which is inde­ pendent o f e, G has high value, for the parts which it includes, as a witness to the original text. The remaining manuscripts and versions N VTPSLR are 1 T h e following are simple and clear examples. A t f. i b/ n , for oþer C F read ordre; at f. 2b/4 C F omit swa monie . . . wise; at f. iob/io, for me haueB hwile y must have read me haueB wille (C wil haldeB altered to þet j e wulle B, F len ad en volunte) ; at f. 27*715, for o godes h a lf C reads neforhoje ich ham nocht, F ieo ne les refuse pas; at f. 57**/13, for eateliche ant keoruinde C reads atheliche coruinde, F pardurablement trenchantes (i.e. both omit anty and C ’s spelling atheliche explains the corruption echeliche which underlies F*s translation pardurablement). 2 T h e most obvious indication is the alteration o f mine leoue sustren to mine leoue frend. 3 Examples are f. 53*74, A swiBere, G T P swiBe, N V swuBest (L citius); f. 54*/14, A C þorn, G N V T P horn (L cornu vel spinam); f. 54b/8, A C stut, G N V T stunt; f. 55a/I 9> A C sulen, G N V T fu len; f. 56*726, A C ouerhohe iheortet (F dedeignani de queor), N V T ouerhehe ihertet

(S de trop haut quer, L elatos corde), G fo r hebe iheorted.




descended from a common original e, a cop y o f 8, which inherited or originated many textual errors and innovations (at least thirty-five in the portions collated).1 T h e e group sub­ divides into tw o main types, characterized roughly b y the differences between N and T , which have long been recognized and have formed the basis o f the description o f individual manu­ scripts as being o f ‘N ero type’ or ‘Titus type’. But these are in fact something o f misnomers, for V , in spite o f its late date, is a more faithful representative o f the ‘Nero type’ (i.e. o f the common original £ o f N and V ) than N is itself, i f allowance is made for certain modernizations o f vocabulary (m ostly but not always correct). N , on the other hand, though often regarded in some sense as the basic text o f the w ork (doubtless because it was the text chosen b y Morton for his edition), is an innovating manuscript, the most remote from the original o f all the thir­ teenth-century English texts— a manuscript written b y a fussy and interfering scribe, constantly archaizing the accidence, attempting to improve the syntax, word-order, and sentence construction (almost invariably with unhappy results), and padding out the phrasing. Collation with V (which undoubtedly goes with N , as is shown b y many detailed agreements in error)2 1 Except where G is running, it is impossible to distinguish the errors inherited b y e from ô from those which it originated. Examples are: (with G not running) f. 13V26, A jungre (F plus ioefnes but C jeunge), N V T P junge (S iofnes, L iuuenibus) ; f. 15^ 7, A C ahelich ‘respectable' (F honestè), but N heihliche, T hehlich, P R holy (S seint, L sanctos}, V f u i holi; f. i6 a/2, A C forwurðeð (F deuient), but N V T P hicumeð (S deuient, L fiunt); f. 23b/24, A nurð eorblich (F noise terriene but C eorðlich mirÔ), T V murhðe eorðlich, N worldlich murhðe (S mondeine ioie), P L om .; f. 31^/19, A hond (F main but C honderi), T honde, N V honden (L manus acc. pl., S ses mains); (with G running), f. 26b/ n , A C G spellunge (F oiant cuntant), but T V hercninge, N herunge, P oute herynge (S escutemenf), L om .; f. 54b/i8, A dearne (G aderne for ab dearnè), C and N V T P L om .; f. 56a/4, A C G chepeb, but N T P cheapeb lut, V chepeþ hire (S loffre a uendre but L offert venalem); f. 56*73, A C G bijete (F gaig), but N T P lure (S perte), which is clear nonsense emended b y V goode and L comodo (but Magdalen MS. incommodo); f. 59*73, A wis, C wise, F and N V T P L S om. It may be remarked that at f. 57*723 the reading askebaSie (and variant spellings; P haþ swich a bay for is his eskibah, in which bay is clearly due to misreading the þ o f -baþe as y ) is confined to the e MSS. N V T , whereas eskibah (eskebach, eskebah) comes in the independent MSS. A C G ; the latter, though more difficult to etymologize, must therefore be the true reading, and the former is e*s rationalization. 2 T h o u gh m y collation o f V is more incomplete than that o f the other MSS., I have already noted over fifty instances. Examples are: f. i4 b/i 1, A F T S M e surquide sire ( C M e sire), but N Mesurquiderie, V M e sirquiderie; f. I4b/i6 , A C F þes (T S þus), N was þus, V was; f. 20b/2 i, A C spearren ( T weren), N tunen, V tuyne; f. 2 ib/i4, A C F T R S walde he seggen uuel (P wolde he speken), N he nolde siggen non uuel, V nolde he non euel speke;



shows the extent o f the innovations introduced b y N (or some immediate predecessor). T is a much better representative o f the ‘Titus group*, though it has its individual peculiarities. P , a late and extensively rewritten version, nevertheless preserves enough o f the original wording to show clearly that it belongs with T ;* but it is not derived from T , for from time to time it preserves the true reading where T is in error. T he three manuscripts S, L , and R form a distinct sub-group. T h ey are all rewritten versions, and S and L are o f course translations. S is a sort o f Summa Confessorum, comprising five distinct parts called ‘compileisuns’ b y the redactor, for which A .W . served only as one o f a number o f sources; but the com­ piler, when he was using A .W ., followed his text very closely, and his rewriting consists m ostly o f expansion o f the phrasing, with a close rendering o f his original embedded in the expansions. T h e textual affiliations o f S are therefore very plainly demon­ strated. L , on the other hand, though faithful to the gist o f the original, tends to translate more freely than the different idiom o f Latin would o f itself require; its tendency is to omit and to compress, and in the process it often alters the phrasing at the very points where critical readings might be expected. R is a late fourteenth-century treatise based on Parts II and III o f A .W ., very much compressed and freely and crudely rewritten; in the circumstances it is surprising that it retains as many evidences as it does o f its textual affiliations. It is a consequence o f the nature o f the three versions that very often a reading that to all appearance descends from their common original A occurs, not f. 24*714, A C F S ondswerie 3 sg. pres. subj. ( T . onsweren infin., b y error fo r onswere), N V schal onswerien; f. 24*725, A C ha, T bade, b u t N V beon; f. 57*721, A F G T S echeliche ( P wonderlich fo r wotureaðe echeliche), b u t C N ateliche, V ferfulliche (m odern izin g N ) . 1 T h e r e are o v e r fo r ty agreem ents in error o r in n ovation (m an y ad m itted ly trivial) from th e poin t w here T enters (f. n */ i$ l) to th e end o f f. 22b ( T f. 2 5 ', col. b ). Perhaps the m o st strikin g instance o f T P in n ovation is at f. 114 *72 7-2 8 , w here for fowr siðen i

þe 3er T P read iþe 3er fiftene siðe(s)— a sharp increase in th e n um ber o f m an datory haircuts doubtless occasioned b y th e adaptation o f th e text fo r a m ale audience (sh o w n elsew here b y e .g . the substitution o f m asculine fo r fem inine pronouns, as at f. 20^/26, 2 7 ha . . . hire, T P R he . . . his) ; in consequence at f. 115 *71, fo r as ofte ileten hlod, T P read fowr siðe(s) ileten blod. A t f. 5 7^ 2 3 , fo r lust ‘h earing’ (v.r. luft), T has lu f and P loue (against S les oreilles, L auditus). O th e r exam ples are f. 1 1 * 7 2 -5 Toward . . . heren, T P o m .j f. 13V 23 totin, T P lokin; f. 14*722 cang ehnen, T pin ehe, P your« «tý«n, S vostre

oil', f. 1 5 *7 2 6 -2 7 nowðer ne ne cunne ow, T P S L o m . b y h a p lo g ra p h y; f. i 7 b/8 wummen, T S seruani, P seruaunt. See also p. 135, n. 3, b e lo w .




in all three, but only in tw o (generally S and either L or R ). In addition the group has been subjected to processes o f textual correction, which affect L more than R and S. T h e result o f the interaction o f these tw o factors is that S’s affinity w ith the ‘Titus type’ is much clearer, and was immediately recognized b y the late Hope Em ily A llen.1 But there is abundant evidence that the three manuscripts form a distinct sub-group,2 and that the sub­ group as a whole is related to T P .3 W hen T and P differ, S L R 1 C f. Professor T r e th e w e y ’s edition o f S, pp. x - x i. S ’s agreem ents w ith T are v e r y num erous






w h eth er




gro u n d s

fo r

assum ing a special T S lin k n o t shared b y L R . T h u s at f. 13 *7 1 5 -18 there is a series o f three T S agreem ents: th e y o m it


1 5 - 1 7 , ich write . . . sustren; instead o f fo r nabbe 3e

( 1. 17 ) T reads loke ß j e ne hauen and S E si garden ke vus neeç; and th e y o m it


1 7 -1 8 ,

ne ne . . . godd. B u t L om its the w h o le sentence, and R the passage in w h ich it com es. S im ilarly at f. 14*716, fo r þes T reads þus and S issi; b u t L R om it. S u ch instances o f the d estru ction o f evidence in L R recur con stantly. A t f. 14*724, fo r þ e wummen T (and C ) read þe wummon and S la fem me; R rew rites and om its, and L ’s mulieres is easily explicable as a correction derived from a better M S . Perhaps th e best instance in fa v o u r o f a special T S lin k is at f. 14*722, w here after ju n g wummon T adds þ is ß is nu seid limpes to wimmern

A h ase muche neod is wepman to wite wel his ehsihðe fra wimmenes sihðe, o f w h ich S has a literal translation. L R la ck the addition, b u t e ven i f th e y had n o t been collated w ith a m ore correct c o p y , th e y m ig h t w ell om it, in the process o f rew ritin g, so ill-con sidered and ta u to lo go u s an addition, w hich is d u e to T ’s concern to adapt a text w ritten fo r w o m e n fo r a male audience and sh o w s a com plete m isunderstanding o f the force o f the p revio u s sentence. 2 I cite here o n ly instances in w h ich the S L R reading is an in n o vatio n n o t fo u n d in either T

o r P . T h e fo llo w in g occu r in all three versio n s: f. 12*719 þe hali king godes

prophète, S du seint prophète, R o f so holy a prophet, L tam sancti regis, tam eximij prophète; N 27/30 (n o t in A ) þe wise askeð in his hoc (so C F N T ; P V wise man), S li sages horn

en eclesiastice enqidert e demande, R þ e wysman askyth ecclesiastici 31, L Ecclesiastici xxx j°.b queritur ; f. 17*713 greot oðer hweate, S ou forment ou bren, R wete or chaf ( L re­ w rites); ibid.,

11. 14

and 15 greoty S breny R ch af L paleas (in b o th places); f. i8a/ i7

hefden alles bigunnen ( T hefden ailes, P hadden y gönne), S comencierunty R begunnen p .t., L inceperunt ; f. 20a/ i7 silence longe (a d v.) ( A C T P : F silence longement)y S longe silencey R long silencey L silencium diuturnum (so also N ) ; f. 23*77 ower earen (n o t in P ) , S nos

oreillesy R oure eersy L aures . . .fidelium. T h e fo llo w in g instances o ccu r o n ly in S and L : f. i2b/23 alle [A 's error fo r a l ‘alth o u g h ’] beon ha lutley S L o m .; f. 13*720-21 ß almoncun

ifeleð, S sur tot humeine ligneey L toti posteritati; f. i4 b/8 $unge ancres, S ioefnes recluses ou ioefnes noneinesy L anachoritas uel moniales; f. 17*720 ower ehßur[l] sperret) toy S le oil du permis de uostre fenestre enserre£ bieny L

claudende su n t. . . fenestre; f. 56a/8 sar

ofþunchunge, S dolour et repentance, L dolor et penitencia (translating sar ant ofþunchungey a reading fou n d in no extant E n glish M S .) ; f. 58*75 I vitas patrumy S L transfer to fo llo w

þe engel hit schawde in


6. T h e fo llo w in g instances o ccu r o n ly in S and R : f. 13*711

aldey S primerey R first (b u t L omniumy cf. N P alre); f. I4a/i8, A as hit b u t ß hit (so C F N V T P ) , R as ityS si com (counte) ; f. I4b/ i3 he seolf ( P G o d . . . hym se lf N g o d su lf)y S deuy R god; f. 16*726 his sapey S son sauon e ses aguilesy R his sop & his nedyll (b u t L

smigma). 3 Instances occu r at f. 13*728 þeo deð (sg .), T ho dony P hij dony S eles funty L (senes)

faciunt; ibid, is, T arn, P ben, S sunt, L habentur; ibid. waty T when, P cunnen, S seuent ( L o m .); f. 14 V 2 7 ehrten, T P R sihðe, S regari ( L o m .); f. I4b/ n fo r his wide sleuen, T fo r his wide & his lokene sleue Qtode has been om itted after wide)

P fo r his wide



com m only go with T against P ,1 but there are instances where the reverse applies, even when P ’s reading is an innovation; it would therefore seem that A, though much more closely related to T , nevertheless had cross-agreements with a line o f descent which also affected P .2 W ithin the sub-group there is a special relationship between L and R , which must have a common original independent o f the English manuscript on which S is immediately based.3 W e thus arrive at the stemma shown b y the unbroken lines in the diagram on p. 137. But it would be idle to pretend that this hoode and longe sleuen, S pu r soen large chaperon e pur sa chape close, L si magnum capuctam habeant uel capam clausam, R . om. whole phrase; f. 14*723 onevnl, T f u l willesful,

S moût curius, L multum affectat (P R lack); f. 18*73-4 flodjeten, T flodgate (sg.), S la porte du flod\ R þ e flodegate (but L value pi.; P lacks); f.


wursel hwet o f þ e, T P S

om. b y haplography (R L rewrite, but L 21/6-9 seems freely based on the T P S type o f text); f.

2ib/28 þ e

gong þ u rl , T þ e gangehus ober þ e þ u r l S la longaigne au S a b le ou le

trout de ceo, R þ e fendes gonge (but L gumphum


gong þ u r lt; P lacks); f.



T P S L R om .; f. 22b/ n tria, T P S R duo (but L tria ) ; ibid, esse genera dixit, P genera S c i t esse, T sunt genera dicit, S sunt genera ut S c it, R sunt genera (but L as A ) ; ibid, beatus,

T P S L om. (R . om. beatus . . . uoluit); f. 23*715 an a id cwene, T an a id cheorl oder cwene, S un ueillard ou une ueille, L auum (so R V 1; Me cutem w ith e written over erasure, Ma auem— surely a corruption, though admitted to Miss D ’E velyn 's text), P R om.

1 Examples are f. 12*719 fro m dauið (so P), T S L R om .; f. 13*76 a l þe wa (so P), T a l þ e vuel, S tot le mal, R alle euel, L omne malum y f. I4a/I 5 ouerspreadde (so N ; P spred ouer), T ouerspreades, R ouerspredyth (so also V ), S corre (error for coure? cf.



L expandit ; f. 14V27 wummen (P oþer wymmeri), T R men, S les genç (but L mulieres); f. 22a/28 þ e þ e sg. (P he þ a t ), T þ a f , S ceux ke, R þ a y þ a t (L rewrites). 2 Examples are f. 14*77 ahelich ( T hehlich, so N ), P R holy, S seint, L sanctos ;


1& /4

sone (so T ) , P S L om .; f. i 6a/ 2 2 caue deouel ( T ludere deuel), P deuel, R fen d , L diabolus,

S m aufei s o u d i u a n f. 19a/18 þ is beod seint gregoires word (so T , but is for beod), P Seint Gregori . . . seiþ þ is , S E p u r ceo S t seint gregorie, R Seynt gregor seiþ , L Gregorius;

f. 22*724-25 ne þ e leaste (so T ) , P ne þou ne schalt noujth be þ e last , S ne H dereins ne serrer, L nec eris vltimus (but R ny


ne] þ e last); f. 22*722 hwen (so T ) , P and whan, S e quant,

L et cum (R lacks). 3 T h e most obvious sign o f the common origin o f L and R is that they alone regularly

and chapter (e.g. f. 12*714-15, L ij Regum vij° before text, R 2 Regum 7 after text; f. i8b/5, L Prouerbiorum xviij° before text, R prouerbiorum 18 after text). A t f. i8b/6-7, both L and R g iv e a reference to Proverbs xxi which is w rong; it should be to Proverbs xiii. 3 (hence Miss D ’E velyn ’s give references for scriptural quotations b y book

somewhat gratuitous emendation o f L , against the evidence o f all three MSS.), but the

23. O th er examples, God wat, L certe, R Certayn; ibid, ed his ehþurl, L in apertura oculi, R at þe wyndoe o f his ije; ibid, þurh a sihde . . . a bihaldunge, L quando v iS t Bersabee se lauentem, R qwen he beheld a fayre woman; f. 13*720 þ e dede, L effectus dampnabilis, R wyked dede; f. 13*728 & nawt, L non tamen, R bot not; f. 14V9 demde, L R om .; ibid, to leapen . . . ende, L sic prosilierunt in mortem, R wenten to hei (i.e. both replace the infin. b y a p.t. in consequence o f the loss o f demde); f. I7b/i5 chafleb, L molit verba vana, R rewrites but has vayn wordes (R 6/33). A t f. I2b/i7 & se wis & se war, where T S transpose the words wis and war, L R omit & se war, probably from the scribe w ho gave the reference undoubtedly intended Proverbs xxi.

o f a different sort, are the follow ing: f. 12*720

position it occupies in T S .




accounts for all the agreements in error or innovation o f the extant manuscripts. There have evidently been extensive and complex processes o f contamination o f the transmitted text b y cross-collation; indeed there is not a single manuscript descended from ß which has only the readings that might be expected to

N ote: T h e dotted lines are intended only to suggest the main cross-agreements o f the ß group, not to trace a detailed line o f descent from n .

come to it b y lineal descent. O f these processes o f collation the clearest evidence is the double readings which occur in various manuscripts, in which the inherited reading (whether true or false) is blended with another belonging to a different tradition; normally the two readings are fused into one or are joined b y



and, more rarely they are explicitly given as alternatives joined b y vel or oder. O f the first sort are examples at f. 7»/10 hali þrumnesse A C , v.r. holy trinite V P , for which N has holi þrumnesse trinite (blending trinite, the e reading, with the original þrutnnesse), and at f. 27a/17 ítm e A C T R , v.r. .wore G V , for which N has swote & swete (blending swote, which as it occurs in V m ight also be expected in N , with the original swete); o f the second a good example is the important instance at f. 56s/17 stingeð A F N V T P S L , v.r. stinkeð C , for which G has stinkeð uel stingeð. I have found instances o f such double readings in six ß manu­ scripts, F G N P S L ; they are especially common in N and S. Their evidence is o f great importance in elucidating the cross­ relationships o f the manuscripts, and instances w ill be cited in the further discussion below. There are even one or tw o cases in which an error which was immediately corrected in one manu­ script b y its scribe recurs in another as part o f a double reading.1 Another p ro o f o f cross-collation, o f a different sort, occurs at f. 2a/6, where the true reading is istald p.p. (so A , and C as corrected b y the reviser; F etablier for établie p.p.), but an error seems to have arisen b y misdivision, is tald (is clept V , nis heo italt C as originally written, nys itym ade P , si ne est trouee S). N originally read istold p.p. (but the / is an interlinear correction), which is the true reading, but was later altered b y the insertion o f nis and the deletion o f after in the previous line, a rather clumsy attempt to harmonize the true reading with the false. Similarly at f. i7 a/2-27 C seems to be conflating two texts, neither o f them correct. In 1. 26, where A has to gleadien hirefeire (similarly F T V ), C and PS omit feire; N corruptly has hire uere ‘her com ­ panion’. In 1. 27, for A ’s forte unsperren hire purl (similarly F N V T P S , with some variation o f phrasing), C has to gladien hire fere & forto ondsweren ed hire purl, in which to gladien hire fere is falsely repeated from the previous line in the corrupt form also found in N .2 1 A t N 27/14 (not in A ), for dead o f sawle C F V P S R the T scribe wrote dead o f helle but subpuncted helle and substituted sawle ; N reads dead o f helle & o f sawle. 2 C f. also f. 23b/24 þritng A C (F presse) but þin g N (S choses ; V schewyng b y some individual aberration); here T originally wrote þ in g and then deleted it and substituted þring — which may be an independent slip, but looks very much as though T had both

variants to choose from.




T h e most important manuscript for the understanding o f the cross-agreements in the ß tradition is C . It is a manuscript which has been much worked over at various times b y annotators, scribblers, and a later medieval glossator; but what is relevant here is the distinction between the ‘reviser* w ho made additions and occasional corrections to the text in the margins and between the lines and whose distinctive hand is certainly not that o f the original scribe, and the ‘correctors’ (rather alterers) w ho made changes in the original text (and one o f whom was gu ilty o f a number o f pointless erasures). Occasionally the ‘correctors’ made improvements in the text, but more often merely replaced one corruption b y another, or even altered the true text; and as the alterations from time to time turn up as readings in the manu­ scripts o f the e group,1 it is evident that the ‘correctors’ were not indulging in unaided attempts at textual criticism, but were (as one might expect) collating C as originally written with manuscripts other than its exemplar which gave different readings and which also, directly or indirectly, influenced the e manu­ scripts. But there are also very numerous and significant cross­ agreements between C as originally written and the manuscripts o f the e group. These are occasionally w ith the group as a w hole,2 but more often w ith individual manuscripts, especially N , P , and S (in that order o f frequency).3 T h e double readings o f certain 1 Examples o f agreement between C as corrected and the e M SS. are the follow ing: f. 13a/13 parlures A C N , parlures clað C reviser and V T S ; f. i7 b/7> after dahes C as corn adds iþe wike, and so P ; f.

/20fostrilt, C fostir corr. to fostir moderyso P ; f. 20b/26

idel is & unnet A C N V T (similarly R ; ociosum est L ), in C altered to idel speche is and so P ; f. 22a/18 heueð hit A F V T S (similarly N ), C heueð corr. to heueð him, and so P ; f. 22*719 ouerherung A C F V , in C altered to o f er muchel herunge, T ouer muche hereword\ f. 30b/i3 feorlich A N V T , C feorli scored through, P S L R om .; f. 3ob/ i 6 deaddre A C F V T , in C altered to tere deddre, N deadure 6ere, S plus morte en{ en talon; f. 31*714 hlodleten A C F (blodletunge N V P ) , in C altered to hlodleten mon, and so T S ; f. 32^/5 lust A C F T , C luste altered to lustesy N lustesy S les désirs. 2 These cases g ive rise to some suspicion that the error m ay have descended from ß and have been corrected in F , since in all the cases noted (which come from passages where G is not running) F is the only ß MS. which agrees w ith A . T h e examples I have so far found are f. n b/i3 i hwet A F , hwat C and N V T P ; f. 13*726 jungre A F , jeunge C and N V T P S L ; f. 2ob/2i þurles A ( fenestres F ), echþurles C T N , fenestres par out uostre oil garder porrei S, þe sihtes o f oure lokinges V (paraphrase o f ower echþurles?) ; f. 25b/ n swuch A F , nan swic\fi\ C and N V T S ; f. ^cf/iyfelde A F , hefde C and N V T S . 3 I have noted some seventy examples in the portions collated. Cases in volving N include the follow ing: f. 3*718-19 ne i þe blake cape ne in þe hwite rochet ne i þe greie cuuel A F V L S , but C and N omit cape and rochet; f. 7*77 aa ‘ever’, C and N P al; f. 9b/28 mi sorhey C and N mi muchele sorepe; f.

12*712-13 o f euch o f þe oþre A F V , but

C and N o f vh



e manuscripts (again N , P , and S) also point to a link with C .1 But it is virtually impossible that the e manuscripts have been systematically collated with C itself: they rarely adopt the reviser’s very obvious marginal additions;2 they much more often adopt false readings inconspicuously present in C as originally written than the more obvious interlinear alterations; and they adopt false readings which had been removed from C .3 Moreover there are instances in which, though C and e (N euericK) oder tide ( T o f euch an o f þe oðre tides); f. i2b/8 bode, C and N heste; N 25/9 (not in A ) ß e f ani unwrihe þe put V F L (similarly T P R S , with variation o f detail), but C j e f ani were vnwrijen, N j e f eni unwrie put were; f. 27b/i5 je ffe o r A F V T , but C & pack ha beon feor, N & ßifh eo (JbeoS) feor (so S), P & f i f it b efer; f. 52*724 stinginde A G P (cf. f. 56a/2, which confirms this reading), but stinhinde C and N V T S ; f. 52a/i6 ealdren A G V , but his aldre C and N T ; f. 56a/2, after teile G V T P S L add Latin citation (not in A ), C and N transfer to precede scorpiun three lines earlier (cf. N 92/3-5); f. 57*727-28 deoflen schulen A F G V T P S L , but deouel schal C and N ; ibid, hare grennunge A F G V T P L , but his{e) grimme grennunge C and N ; f. 57b/2i echeliche, C and N ateliche ( V ferfulliche) ; f. 67*724 breoste A F G V T L , but wombe C and N P S . Cases involving P , in addition to those already cited, include the follow ing: f. 5b/i5 iþe venite, C P om .; f. 6a/20 efter, C P et (both times); f. 7b/ n , where ß read pet ich mote purh hare bonen habben (so F , N w ith transference o f mote before habben, V w ith omission o f mote), C P replace pet ich mote by & ;

f. n b/i8 saluas fa c an[cillas tuas] A F N V , saluos fa c seruos tuos et ancillas tuas

C and T P ; f. 12*715 nawt ane, C P om .; ibid, ah do swiðe, C P & ; f. I2b/i4 wes, C and P S is; f. 52a/26 swiðe morde, C P feole; f. 59*724 hond, C P lont. Cases involving S, in addition to those already cited, include the follow ing: f. i2 b/i quia, C and S L quoniam; f. 28b/i3 hofles A N T (chose desauenante F, schome V ), hoher C , escharn S, ridiculum L ; f. 30b/ i—2 euch lim, C S om .; ibid, polede, C S he polede; f. 31*719 eise, C wille, S uolunte; f. 56a/22 hare streones, C an o f heore streones, S aucune de lour especes, L genimen aliquod eorum. Cases involving other e MSS., in addition to those already cited, include the follow ing: f. 7b/26 alle, C V hare alre; f. 2 ib/20 pes twa menestraws, C V peose twa manere meonestrales; f. 22b/2 peolkin, C polokkin w ith first o subpuncted, V plocken, R pluke; f. 56a/ n is, C hit is in, L est in; f. 58a/8 perwid A G V L , herwið C T ; f. H 7 b/3 godd hit wite A , god hit wot N , dieu le set C T (and also o f course F). 1 I have noted the follow ing examples: f. 7b/ i 7 best A F V , mest C , best & mest N ; f. 30b/ i - 2 euch lim . . . polede A F V T , he polede C S , euch lim . . . he polede N ; f. 53b/io inwið hire breoste A G N V T , inwið hire heorte C , in her breest, pat is, in her hert P ; f. I4b/i2 godes ahne deorling A C F N V L , godes prophète T S , goddes prophète a n d . . . his derlyng P (blend o f rj text prophète with true text, probably derived from C -ty p e in view o f previous instance); f. 25*711 - 1 2 toward tepurlclad A F N V T (L om .; not in P R ), towartpepurchpe clab C , vers le drapel du pertuis de uostre fenestre ou vers vus S. T w o instances occur in both N and S : f. 22a/9 fuleb A T {foule V ), suited C {suillent F ), soiled & file d N , soillent e ensalissent S ; f. 25*711 swa awed A {affole^ F ), swa wod C T {mad V ), so wod & so awed N , si forsane^ ou si ose^ S. 2 T hu s N has the final sentence Inoh meadful ich am pe bidde se lutel, which in C is the reviser’s marginal addition; but this is obviously a special case. Similarly V has the very first o f the additions, misplaced in a w ay that proves it is derived from C . 3 Instances are as follows: f. ib/2i inwit, C inwiS but corrected b y reviser, P inwip; f. ib/24 woh A V {obliquat L for makeb woh; woe N ), v.r. wrong (F tort, C wong), C corr. b y reviser to woh, scraggi, & unefne (latter tw o words glosses to explain sense?), but P wrong, S torte e bo{use, a double reading translating wrong ant woh (cf. mod. Fr. bossu





manuscripts share what is essentially the same corruption, the e manuscripts depart further from the true text than C does, so that obviously C cannot derive its false text from them ;1 and conversely there is at least one case in which there is a very distinctive corruption shared between C and N in which N gives what is plainly the earlier form o f the corruption and C an altered form, so that N cannot be derived directly from C .2 T h e link, therefore, must be indirect; and the cumulative evidence seems to leave no doubt that C as originally written already gave a mixed text, the result o f conflation (probably in C ’s exemplar) o f a y manuscript with one o f quite different type which also influenced the e manuscripts. But it is demonstrable that the manuscript used in this process o f conflation, and the different manuscript(s) used in the ‘correction’ o f C, were nevertheless related; in other words, that beside y and 8 there existed a third early cop y o f ß (which I shall call v) which itself gave rise to at least two lines o f descent, both o f which influenced the e manu­ scripts. A n apparent instance is at N 27/11-12, where the original text, on the concurrent evidence o f F (the best witness in the absence o f A ), T , and N (also in substance V R ), was Lauerd crut, as men walden steoke feste euch þ u rl,for hwon þ et heo mähten histeoken dead þrute; and as this is the text o f F and N V T , it follow s that it must also have been the text o f y and 8. But v ‘crooked’) ; f. 3b/2o C originally þ er fo r e ‘therefore’ corr. to þ er f o r ‘there (adv.) for (prep.)’ b y erasure, but V has þerfore (without further change) and N S w rongly add preceding clause to previous sentence and begin new sentence at 1. 20 with þereuore (N Pereuore m id onrednesse

. . S

M e s pu r ceo

. .

anrednesse om.) ; f. 6*723 & (before ure

lauerd), C originally om., ant added later, N om .; f. 8a/7 gederið A F V , þencheð vpo C

originally but corrected b y reviser to gederið, double reading þencheð & gedereð N ; N 26/21 (not in A ) þ e lauedi Chasteté C as corr., F V S (þ e lefdi o f chasteté N ), þ e lauedies chasteté C as originally written and

T ; N 27/32, after/ a a í

(v.r. fa ciet) F proceeds quoniam

v id it and so C as revised, but C originally quern for quoniam and so V (PS quam ); f. 27^18 þ is y C his corr. to þ is y N S R his; f. 31^24 bittrurey C bittere corr. to bitterere, T bittre,

N bitture. 1 A n example o f progressive corruption is that at f. 58ft/8, where for þerwið A G V L the reading herwið occurs in C T and her in N ; S conflates these to produce de ses richesces ( = þerw iS or herwið) isci ( = her). 2 A t f. 67h/11 A reads þeo schulen beo best edhalden ‘those shall be remembered best’, but ß appears to have had þeo wule(n) beon ‘those will be’ (cf. T wiln . . . beo, G þeo beoð (future), V þulke beoþ), which F translates as ceux serrunt and L (wrongly) as volunt (retineri). For this N reads þeo he wule ðet beon ‘those he desires that they be', retaining

the introductory þeo (vouched for b y G V as well as A F ), but C drops it and reads he wule j> beon ‘he desires that they be’ ; S, though it presumably follows an N -ty p e text,

simplifies in translation and so resembles C : (le derein m o t . . .) ueut i l m ieui estre retenu.



evidently altered men walden to mon walde, thus producing a discrepancy between the singular in the principal clause and the plural in the subordinate clause, which in tw o lines o f descent from it was removed in different ways. In the first mon was replaced b y euch mon, thus easing the transition to heo ‘they* in the next clause but creating the awkward repetition o f euch mon . . . euch þurl; this is the text followed b y C as originally written and b y P. In the other, mon was kept in the main clause and heo mähten was altered to the sg. he mahte to restore con­ cord with mon; this version is followed b y SL. Essentially the same course was also adopted b y the reviser o f C , w ho altered C ’s vch mon to a mon and subpuncted the n o f mähten, but omitted to subpunct the o o f heo. But cross-agreements with the e manuscripts are not confined to C ; they also occur in the two other ß manuscripts which are independent o f e, namely F and G . Apart from cases in which F and C agree and the error in question may therefore g o back to y ,1 F has almost as many cross-agreements in error w ith e manuscripts as C itself has, though on the whole they seem slighter; cases occur chiefly in N , P , and S, more rarely in the other manuscripts.* Evidently we must assume that the English 1 Instances are f. 6a/23 hwen, C F P f i f ; f. cf/4 þeo ‘those* A , þ e Misse C but corn to þeo Misse, celes ioie F, þ e Misse P N (V þ e meede) (but perhaps Misse was present in ß ) ;

f. 9*728 to Misse A P , to þ i Misse C F N V ; f. i i b/ i 6 we A N V , j e C F T P ; f. 14*714 ibroht A P S L R , ibrocht fo r ð C F N V T ; f. 20ft/28 heo, C N þeo, F cele; f. 24®/10 swote A (swete N V ) , C T muchele, F tresgrant, S grant ; f. 24728 witen, C F T S hit wite(n); f. 56725 teolunges A G N V , tollunges C , charmes F , takynges P ; f. 59a/24 leasen A , lesse P , leden

C F N V T L (perhaps a ß reading corrected in P ); f. 115 7 2 6 singinde A N , segginde C F T . C f. also the example at f. ib/24 cited in p. 140, n. 3. A

further instance is probably

f. 57V 23 lust ‘hearing* G N S L , but lu ft ‘left* C F V ( T luf, P loue), where A independently also has lu ft . I have noted some half-dozen minor examples. T h e effect o f these instances is to suggest that y itself may already have been influenced b y collation w ith n . 2 I have noted over sixty instances in the portions collated. O n ly one involves all the e MSS. running at the point in question; this is at f. 59V13 »w A {wise C ), F and N V T P S L

om. T h e most striking case involving N is the well-know n variation at f. 108V u , where ior bodi A C G T P S L there occurs bode in N and ofre in F ; that bodi is correct the collation alone makes clear, but cf. also Mr Shepherd’s note {Ancrene W isse, P a rts S i x and Seven , ed. G . Shepherd (London and Edinburgh, 1959), p. 63). O ther examples involving N are the following : f. 6*/i ed, F a cest mot, N et tisse worde; f. 7*/11 o f þ e þreo pater nosters ‘o f the three paternosters* A C (cf. f. 7 b/i, 8), F de vous. trois P a ter nostres, N o f þ e . þreo pater nosteres, V o f þ e : þre pater nostres ; f. 8 714 heorte A C , pensee F , þouhte N V ; f. 9 718 blescin A V ( blescin hire C ), seignei vous F, blesceð ou N P ; f. iob/i8 þ is ilkè ureisun ‘this

same course o f prayer* A C , ces or\pisons\ F , þeos vreisuns N V , þise fiu e orisouns P ; f.

I2b/ n

sonre þen A C V T S , si tost

. . .

come F , so sone so ( as) N P R ; f. 15724, before

Confiteor F S add dites, N siggeð ; f. 1 6 7 4 -5 inwardluker A C V T , parfondement F , inward -




prototype o f F , though more faithful to y than C , had neverthe­ less also been collated with some manuscript independent o f y which affected the e group, and there are indications that this manuscript resembled one used in the ‘correction’ o f C .1 G has cross-agreements with C ; the most striking is the double reading cited above, stinkeð uel stinged, in which G gives C ’s non­ sensical stinkeð, which is not shared b y F and therefore cannot have stood in y, beside the true reading stingeð which must certainly have stood in 8 (since it was transmitted to all the e manuscripts). But G also has cross-agreements with individual e manuscripts which by-pass e itself. T h e most interesting case is at f. 53b/8 ischapet oder iheowet A C V T L (P om. oder iheowet); here G reads isheped oþer ishowed, which allowing for the oddities o f its orthography reflects a corrupt reading ischapet oder ischeowet (b y false repetition o f the group sch), and this turns up in N as ischaped oþer iseowed (by ‘emendation’ o f the meaningless liehe N P , e[n]terienement S, intime L ; f. i8 b/9, before Q ui murum F N T add Gregorius, S E seint Gregorie Jit; f. i9 b / 1 7 -1 8 hire meidnes wombe A V T P ( C meidene fo r meidnesy L sua viscera)y le ventre de la pucelle F , þe meidenes wombe marie N , þe maydenes wombe R , le seint ventre de la beneite uirge S ; f. 20a/i8 there A C V T S , orra F , wule iheren N ; f. 25®/1 schulden A C T , auerunt F S , schulen N V ; f. 57*714 seið A C G V T , dit [Jerem]i F , seid ieremie N ; f. 58^/18, after mine men F adds ceo dity N he seiðy S fe t il; f. 68a/ i8 þe þridde A C G T (also P , R iht so V ) , le tier{ exemple F , þe þridde uorbisne is ðet N , li tier^ essample

est cest S. E xam ples in v o lv in g P , in addition to those already cited, in clud e: f. 8b/ i9 iunnen me A N , ivnnen C , volu F , wolde P , jwilned V ; f. 9a/22, after euch F adds de ces psalmes, P o f þise psalmes; f. i2 b/22 þe leaste . . . luuieðy F le miel^ . . . garder P witeþ wely S fetes . . . plus estreites; N 26/5 (n o t in A ) nunciusy F P inimicus; f. 22*724-25, after þe leaste F S add ne serrer P reads þou ne schalt noußth bey L nec eris; f. 22*727 wurst A C N V T L R , peioure qe nute des altres F , alderwerst P , li pires de trestouç les autres S ; f. 58^/5 hit neodeð A C G V L , li ne bosoigne F , it nedeþ to Mm P , Mre nedes T , il ne ad mester S. E xam ples in v o lv in g S, in addition to those cited a b o ve, in clud e: f. 14*715 ouerspredde A N (ofspradde C , spred ouer P ) , coeure F , ouerspredeþ V T R , corre (fo r coure}) S, expandit L ; f.


after edflohe me F adds il se est fu i de moiy S e sen est f u i de moiy f. 16*72-3

y e f he wule ihereny F si vous vole% qe si il voille oir (do u b le reading), S si vus uole^ sauer. I h a ve n oted n o clear exam ples confined to e M S S . oth er than N , P , and S. 1 I h a v e n o ted the fo llo w in g exam ples: f. io a/ i o þe eorðe A N (þe werIde P ) , C þeode altered to þe oðerey F les altres ( V þe oþere) ; ib id. L u

on heaued C N V ( A w r o n g ly o fi o t

ony P vpon þine heued)y C as altered sette þe on heaued ‘set on t h y head', F sur ta teste mist; f. 17*723, after silence C as altered adds holdety F adds tenei ( P holdeþ after euerey S deue^ uus • • • tenir); f. 19 ^ 2 5 him ifunde (p .p .) A C V T , C altered to fon d himy F le

troua (J* fonde hymyN hine ivondyS lui retroua); f. 1 9 ^ 2 7 beah A C V R , C altered to bouede himyF se humilia ( N P leih himy S se banduna); f. 20b/22 al uuel speche A C N V L , C altered to alle uuele speches, F toutes males paroles (so T S ) ; f. 30 ^25 seke A C V T , C altered to

sehe h a lf F p[art mal]ade (so N P S ) . N o te th at in each case excep t th e second the n o n ­ origin al reading to w h ich C is altered, and w h ich stands in F , also occurs in e M S S . (n o rm a lly N P S ) .



ischeowet)} But as C and V T L have the true text, the corruption cannot have stood in either y or 8 ; again w e have evidence o f a faulty manuscript with its own line o f descent that was independent o f both y and S. But as it would obviously be w rong to multiply hypotheses, and there must have been some limit to the number o f lines o f descent to which ß gave rise, w e must I think assume that the same influence accounts for G ’s and F ’s cross-agreements with the e manuscripts, and for G ’s cross­ agreements with C , as accounts for C ’s cross-agreements with the e manuscripts; i.e. that they are all due to tt and its descendants. It is a confirmation o f this hypothesis that there are some false readings in G which are shared both b y C or F and b y e manu­ scripts, though they were evidently not present in 8.2 There are also numerous and complex cross-agreements within the b group itself. Even N and T , whose differences have given rise to the terms ‘Nero type’ and ‘Titus type’, sometimes agree together in error against V P (and even occasionally against the S L R group, despite its normal kinship with T ), and there are double readings which associate them also.3 V , though closely 1 C f. C . A . Ladd, ‘A N ote on the Language o f the Ancrene R iw le\ N . & Q ., ccvi, 288-90, who cites this example, with one at f. 100*723 (G agast, N agest for i gast ), as showing ‘a particular kinship’ between G and N . But in fact neither illustrates a direct relationship, for neither is a S reading; both are cross-agreements, though significant ones, and G also has cross-agreements with P. Mr Ladd’s general argument is in accord­ ance with the views I have m yself formed: A is not modernizing the language o f a more archaic text. 2 T h e following false readings are shared b y C , G , and individual e MSS. : f. 26*728 þ i ‘thy* A V T S (F mon translating m i ‘m y’), þ e C G N ; f. 56*721-22 sunne (sg.) . . . sum A F T P L S , sunnen


summe C G N V ; f. 58*713 bismurlet V T {bismulret A ), bismeored C ,

bismured G , bismeoruwed N , bismered P ; f. 57a/24 b e

A F T P S , þ e muð mis C G N V L ;

f. 67*722 as þ e prude deð A , sicome fe [ t la\ orgoillouse F (MS. damaged), as þ e prude doð C G S L , as prude don V T {& prut N , o f pride P). T h e only case I have noted involving F , G , and ç MSS. is an alteration o f word-order (and perhaps therefore less significant) at f. 56*713, pater noster godchild A C V T (similarly P L ), godchild pater noster F G N S . But alterations o f word-order are often shared b y related MSS. 3 T h e following are examples: f. i4b/7 ahelich A C F , holy P S L R , f u i holi V , hehlich T , heihliche N ; N 25/11 (not in A ) dredful C P V , dredliche T N ; N 25/30 þ u jS vnwrisd C F V ,

þu þ a t , . . V y þ u f vnhules T but with ji subpuncted, þ u unhelest N ; N 26/26 dunricht C F V , is dunriht N T {fieri dreit ius S); f. i8a/i5 ed mulne A C V S R , at te milne cluses T , etter

(estone{ S, perhaps merely error for = tun ‘cask’, mistaken as ‘thunder* and altered to eston{n)er) ; f. 28*73 truiles . . . bitruileð A C F V , trufles . . .

mulne cluse N ; f. 26*79 turn A C F G V L , tuin T , tun N

tourney but possibly representing a formation tonner on tonne tonner

bitrufleð N T ; f. 30b/i9 adeadede p.t. A C F V (P R om.), muhte adeade N T {mortificaret L, p u e t.


mortifier S); f. 32a/ n his help A C F V (P om.), godes help N T {la deu aie S, D e i

adiutorio L , R rewrites).

D ouble readings associating T and N are the follow ing: f. 13*76 a l þ e wa A C V P (so




linked with N , has some cross-agreements with T ,1 and a few very significant ones with S L R .2 Between N and P there is a very well-marked cross-link, shown b y numerous and distinctive agreements; in a small minority o f cases (less than one-tenth o f the whole) the false reading is shared b y V , but normally N P cross-agreements occur when N diverges from V , and in nearly a quarter o f the cases one or more o f the S L R group (most often S) shares the false P N reading.3 W hen T and P differ, the unity o f the S L R group is sometimes broken and S diverges from L R .4 T h e S L R group as a whole has cross-agreements with N probably F before damage), a lße vuel T S L R , al ß vuel & al ß wo N ; f. 2 ia/i6 leas A C V » leasinge T R , leas & leasunge N (translations may be either); f. 22a/i wrið A C V , hules TP> heleð & wrihð N (translations again ambiguous). 1 V ’ s agreem ents w ith T against N are neither num erous n or im portant, b u t are clear. T h e fo llo w in g are exam ples: f. 1 3*/13 parlures A C N , parlures clað C as altered and V T S ; f. 14*724 ße wummert A P N , þe wummon C V T S ; N 25/23 vnlideð C F S L (openen P , unhelieð N R ) , unliden ham T , vnlydeß him V ; f. 2 ib/ n - i 2 Salomon . . . & cetera, V T transfer to fo llo w figit in

1. 7 ;

f. 2 i b/i3 pilewin A C ( pileken N ) , picken V T R ; f. 22a/20 mis (so N ) ,

V T uuel.

2 T h e following are examples: f. i6 a/2o kaue ‘jackdaw* A F N (keme P (a meaningless corruption), jeape T ) , knaue V , garcio L, le fi% sa mere S (on ‘one* R ); f. i6 a/25, after icakelet V adds þe pedelere goß crifinde neide and sope, ße riche marchaunt goß forß a l stilley and in 1. 26, for his sape A F V T P L , R has his sop & his nedyll, S has son sauon e ses aguiles; f. 24V2 leome, hrihtnesse V , gostely Irightnes R ; f. 56b/2 ß ich, ß is V , ke est S (L om.). 3 I h a ve n oted som e se ve n ty exam ples in all in the p ortion s collated. E xam p les in v o lv in g V are: f. i 2 b/9 liht A C F T S R , wilde N V P ; f. 13*724 earst, N V P o m .; N 25/16

feared C F T S , failed to N P , feleß V ; f. 31*/14 blodleten A C F L

(blodleten mon C as altered

and T S ) , blodletunge N V P . E xam ples n o t in v o lv in g V are: f. 8b/2 unum A C V , uinum N P ( L vnum in M e R b u t vinum in M a, w h ich M iss D * E v e ly n accepts, I th in k w r o n g ly ) ; f. io a/3, after ßruh N P add iseie ( P sei/) him; f. 13*711 aide A C V T , alre N P , omnium L ; f. i4 a/24, after wummen N P add o f ßere buruh; f. 22a/ i3 wurst A C V T R , alre wurste N P

(li plus mauueis de to% les autres S ) ; f. 24*72 leome A C F T S L (brihtnesse V R ) , luue N P ; f. 28b/5 deie A C F V T L ( S ) , heo ouh forto deien N , hij ouytten to dye P ; f. 5 5 V 1 0 fiuernesse A C G T (gredynesse V ) , fiuernesse ßet is glutunie N P ; ibid, gris A C G V (grises T ) , pigges N P ; f. 55 V 5 hal & fere A C G V T , clene & feir N , al clene fe r P ; f. $$h/i$ fundles A C G T ,

cundles N P . N P agreements are sometimes associated w ith cross-agreements w ith MSS. outside the e group: thus f. 17 b/6 umbriwiken A F V T S , vmbridei C , umbridawes N , ymbring dayes P ; f. 19*727 beak A C V T R (se humilia F , se banduna S), C altered to bouede him (later scribe), beih him N , boused him P ; f. 27*/15 his A F G V T S R , ß i C N P ; f. 58*75 after vitas patrum N P add hit telleð (fiat), and in next line G replaces hit schawde b y hit telleð (thus making nonsense). D o u b le readings associating N and P are: f. 22*719 ouerherung A V and C o rigin ally,

praysynge biforne him P , ouerpreisunge & herunge N ; f. 25*721 leofmon A C V T (dru S ), spouse P , spuse & leofmon N ; f. 68a/9 descumfit A F G V T S (toschunfit C ) , ouercomen P (cf. L vincuntur?), deskumfit ne ouerkumen N .

4 In

several instances S g o es w ith P w here L and/or R sh o w the norm al agreem ent

w ith T , th u s: f. 12*714 was A F N V T R , is C P , est S ; f. i2 b/ i 6 se ‘so* A F T R L (an C , b u t

swa added later; he so V ) , ße P , li S ; f.

14*714 brad A T

(brord N ) , ße brade C f V , a brode

R , gret P , si grant e . . . si leid S (dou b le reading?). In other instances the reverse seems to



which must show that A already had a link with N .1 R has occa­ sional cross-agreements with N and/or P against S L ; those with P seem rather more significant.2 L has a good many agreements with N which are peculiar to itself; some admittedly come in parts o f the text where S R are not running, but others occur against S or R when they are running, and must show a special link between L and N .3 There are also double readings which not only associate these two manuscripts, but also show that L apply, thus: f. I4a/X7 iacobes A C F V T S , was iacobes N , þ a t was Jacobes P R ; f. i4 b/8 nede as start, P L R om., but not T (S mistranslates but has com peri) ; N 25/9 eauer C F N V T S ,

P R om. (L rewrites); f. 58b/3 stinkeð sg. (so T , stinkes)y sty[ri\ken P, feten t L (through taking preceding felaw es as subject). Perhaps each o f these alone could be regarded as an independent alteration or omission, but taken together they suggest a link between P and L R . 1 Instances are not very numerous, probably because it is rare for all three MSS. to give a reading at the critical point, but they are clear. Examples are: N 25/5 monnes C F V T , monne N , des hommes S, virorum L , men (nom.) R ; f. 20a/ i7 silence longe (adv.) A C F V T P , longe (adj.) silence N S L R ; f. 2ob/25 (end o f line) attri A C F V T (þ e þ rid d P), attri speche N S R

( venenosum L , but cf.

ociosum for idel speche and turpe for f u i speche

earlier in same line) ; f. 22b/4 atter A C V T , porte venim F , heo berð atter N , beriþ venom R , portent uenim S ; f. 24*726 blisseð A C F T , blesceð N V , signe e beneit S, benedicentem L (R

rewrites); f. 25a/2 þ e oder A C F V T , þ e oder morhfiue N , la autre douarie S, alia dos L (not in R ); f. 27a/io wurdli A C F G , wurdi V T , deorewurde N , cara L , chere digne S (not in R ) ; f. 28b/6 dead A C F V T P , nodeleas dead N , e nekedent mort S, licet enim mors L (not in R ); f. 30a/ n þ e odre A F V T P ( þeode C ), þ e odre wittes N S L ; f. 30a/i3 best A C V T , meil[lour] F , þ e betere N , maiore L , la meilloure S ; f. 30b/4 wid A C V T (F before damage

probably od \pib(\y not od [ses oilf\ as Herbert conjectured on basis o f N ), m id his N S R (L om.). 2 Examples o f R*s agreements with N are: f.


wummon A C F V T P S L , wummen

N R ; f. i8b/3 moten A F V T S L , moten speken N R ; f. 24b/8 herunges A C F V T S L , herunge N R . Examples o f its agreements with P are: f. i6a/i9 ileidy leide an eye P R ; f. 22*725 let iwurdey go d mon (non cures, bone homo L, ne vous chalty prodhom S), lete g o d yworþe P, let go d alon man R ; f. 22b/i4 ah þ e leatere is wurse (so S ; L om.), þ e first is yuel, þ e latter

(P secund) is wers (R þ e wars) P R ; f. 22b/ i 6 speowed (so SL), seiþ P, spekiþ R . More rarely R shares a reading with both N and P against S L : f. 14*719 biheold wepmen A C F V T S L , biheold wepmeny auh ded wummen N , went out fo r to se meny bot f o r to se wemen R (P re­

writes confusedly but includes phrase ac it were wymmen) ; f. i4b/2i a sunful mon A C F V T S (L om.), a wrecche sunful mon N , synful wrecches P, a foleherdy wrech R (later in same line P has foole hardy for hardi). 3 Examples o f L ’s agreements with N are: f. i8b/i4 mom A C F V T yf o r many PS, auh moni N , sed multi L ; f. 23*714 onont A C F V T S (in R ), n outfor N , non in L ; f. 27b/6 þ e ham

‘the home* A G , þ e hus T P (la mesone FS


ham or hus)y heo (sc. þ e heortey 1. 5) C V , þ e

heorte N , cor L ; f. 5 3*/25 þ is A C G V T , þesne hweolp N , hunc catulum L ; f. 53b/4 lengest

A G V T (longe P), þ e lengure N , diucius L (not in SR ) ; f.


hire A C G V T (oþer P),

worldliche N , mundane L (not in SR) ; f. 55b/8 þ is deofles scorpiun A C G V T , þisse deouel scorpiun N , huius diabolici scorpionis L ; f.


ne fo r þing A C F V T , þ et fo r none þinge

N , et quod pro nullo L. Occasionally the N L reading also occurs in P : among other examples, cf. N 27/29, where after mord mon F V T S R read & y N P oþery L seuy and f. 55b/2, where C G V T place nule as in A , but N P transfer before i þ e muchele fu ld e (L wit before in magnam feditatem y non after).




is not derived from N , but that both are influenced b y another lost manuscript.1 Between S and N the cross-agreements are very numerous and distinctive indeed, and again there are double readings that associate the tw o.2 Plainly no simple neat formula can cover such diverse and complicated facts. But it cannot be coincidental (i) that irregularities o f behaviour o f the e manu­ scripts amongst themselves are often associated with cross­ agreements with C , F , or G ; (ii) that the three manuscripts N , P, and S, which have the most clearly-marked cross-agreements between themselves, are also the three which most often have 1 I have noted the following double readings connecting N and L : f. 30*721 sarre ‘sorer* A C F V T S , maior L , more & sarre N ; f. 54**/12 wes, þ er wes A C G V T , est, ibi est L , was oþer is, þer was oder w N j f . 54*713 (i.e. next line) neddre o f onde A C G T (neddre o f envye V ), neddre o f helle N immediately corrected b y scribe to neddre o f onde, serpens infernalis odij L.

2 I have noted over ninety examples, many o f them admittedly trivial (e.g. N S show a marked tendency to insert ant (e) before asyndetic phrases and clauses); many occur at points where for one reason or another neither L nor R gives the critical reading, so that the error in S may g o back to X, but many others show S goin g w ith N against L and/or R . Occasionally the error is shared b y P or V or b y a MS. outside the e group, but most are peculiar to N S . Examples are: f. ib/6 singen A C V L (gap in F ), liggen N P , gisir S ; f. 3b/3 þ e leaste A C F V P L , lutei N , petit S ; f. I2b/i4 blissed him & seid A C F T P {gaudens .



. .

dicit L ), blesseþ him and seiþ V , blescede him & seide N , le beneit i l e dit S ;

tis uuel o f dyna com A C F V T (similarly L ), þ is vel f com o f dina ne com N , cest

m a l ke en auint de dina nen tant S ; f. 23b/i2 he hered a l A V T ( C F om. he), he ihered & isihd a l þ e t tu dest N , e suieit e oit quanke vus pense^ fetes e parley S ; f. 24b/i8 swiftnesse

A C F V T , þ e t is swiftnesse N , cest asauoir uitesce S ; £ 25*713 wended ow A F V T ( wended anan C ), wended ow ant wenched N , uus desfoie{ e destorne{ S ; f. 25*714 (i.e. next line) ne maheye o none wise A C F T , N rearranges word-order and transfers before sawuin in 1.1 4 ,

S similarly rearranges word-order and transfers before mater = mahe ye b y ye ne schule neuere and transfers before ouercumen = wise at end; f. 26*71 ihurt A F G T , ihurt te N V , vus

. . .

maten, V replaces ne

maten, but keeps o none

blesce S ; f. 30*722 flo w en o teares

A C F T ( wepten f u l sore V ), fleoweden & melten a l o f teares N , totes decorrurent pur lui en larmes e fondirent S ; ibid, þ e oder A C F V T L , þ e t oder was N , li autre pointure . . . f u S ;

f. 30a/25 (three lines later) þ e þridde A C F V T L , þ e þridde Stiche N , la tierce pointeure ke i l out S ; f. 31*728 wone ‘lack* A C F T ( deade ne dotien & cwike worldes men, but subpuncted this and continued & unmete sullich wunder f deade men ne dotieð & wiðe quike wedeð þurch surme. T his is still nonsense, but from the two shots it is evident that C ’s exemplar must have had the true text (especially as F has a correct translation). Th en the reviser struck through both the subpuncted words and their replace­ ment, and wrote in the margin: p is ancre p is deat & as deat ielet [‘anointed’] & iput as i þr[uh] Ínwið hire ancre wahes^ sulli wunder is p heo seal adotien & wið cwike worldmen weden þurh sunne.1 N o w this is not a restoration o f the true text; it is an explana­ tion o f the true text b y someone w ho knew what it was but who also knew that the C scribe’s failure to copy correcdy was due to a failure to understand the meaning. Lastly we may notice that at A f. 23/25 (C f* 4 b/ i 4 ) the reviser inserts, above the line and into the margin, to follow his herre, the peremptory instruction 3 e ne schulen ic segge makie na ma uu{ (‘use’) o f feste biheastes. It must be rare for a man w ho is adding to someone else’s w ork to use the expression T say’. Clearly this reviser was a man o f unusual authority as well as o f unusual knowledge o f the meaning o f the text; and in addition, unlike the scribe o f C (who uses an individual modification o f the A B language, as the other ß scribes do), he used the A B language itself, except for a slight 1 T h e page is cropped at the right-hand edge, but probably nothing has been lost except uh from þruh and perhaps something (a hyphen rather than es) after world.




tendency to old-fashioned spelling (c for ch, sc for sch— features that occur sporadically in other manuscripts, including A and C , and m ay not be mere scribal errors). N ot to put too fine a point on it, I think he was either the author himself, or a trained secretary w orking to his direct dictation. Merely b y examination o f the text w e can build up a picture o f the sort o f community in which the nucleus o f the ß group must have developed. It had begun w ith a single unusually accurate, but not perfect, copy o f the text, from which it had made certainly two and probably three early transcripts. It valued the book, and took pains to secure the accuracy o f its text b y the only means know n to the Middle A ges, the collation o f one copy with another. It also had a need for an increasing number o f copies, and as they were multiplied the processes o f collation became more complicated. T h e community remained in touch with the author, and from him received additions to the basic text which were inserted, not very systematically, into indi­ vidual manuscripts, but were liable to drop out and be either lost or put back in the w rong places. T h e author also wrote additions and explanations in the margins o f individual manu­ scripts and even corrected their errors o f copying, which must im ply that he visited the community fairly regularly. O ne has only to state this to see that it fits what little we know o f the anchoresses’ community itself, which began with three members (f. 3 ib/i5, part o f the original text) but so increased in numbers that it became ‘twenty now or more’ (f. 69s/13, an addition o f A alone) and as prosperous in its w ay o f life ‘as i f you were a convent’.1 T he anchoresses were literate, and expected to know French as well as English (f. n a/22-23), and most were expected to know at least as much Latin as was needed for their services; they were to cause whatever orisons they did not know to be 1 T h e use o f the subjunctive ‘as if you were’ here in f. 69Y20 (cf. as an cuuent, 1. 25) shows that though their numbers and repute were comparable to those o f a nunnery in London, O xford, & c., the author o f the addition was not writing about or for a nunnery. He goes on (if. 69*727, 69*74, 8) to use cuuent more loosely to mean ‘society’ or ‘com­ munity’, which has suggested to some that this addition was written o f a different com­ munity from the original one. But the beginning o f the addition (f. 69^12) makes it quite explicit that the author is talking o f anchoresses, not nuns; and the phrase twenti nuðe ober ma can only im ply growth from a smaller number. T h e implication o f f.

69*726-28 is that other communities o f anchoresses are being established in imitation

of, and allied to, the original one.




written ‘on a scroll’ (f. io b/2i-22); and they acted as scribes o f their rule (f. i5 a/8, if habbeð is an auxiliary in ye habbeð iwriten in ower riwle). There can be little doubt that the ß group originated with manuscripts copied b y the anchoresses themselves; and o f the original nucleus o f the group C is a surviving example. W here, above, I referred to the scribe o f C , when it seemed impossible to avoid, as ‘he’, the proper pronoun would, I am convinced, have been ‘she’— one o f the anchoresses, industrious and devoted, but neither well trained nor very quick o f understanding. From all this busy process o f copying and cross-collation A stands apart. It is entirely independent o f the ß group, and its errors are its own. It gathers together additions that are scattered sporadically among the other manuscripts,1 revising and adapting them to improve their thought and style and to fit them better into the original text; it has many that are peculiar to itself; it omits some that the others have, especially those that are illconsidered or repetitive or plainly intended for the circumstances o f an individual manuscript or the understanding o f its owner; and it puts those that it adopts into their proper places. Its textual superiority is as marked as its linguistic purity, the demonstration o f which we owe to Professor Tolkien in the article, published over thirty years ago, which subsequent study has taken as its starting-point. In it he suggested that the expanded Corpus version ‘m ay even constitute a second edition within the know ­ ledge o f the author’.2 I f he erred, it was only on the side o f caution; I should m odify his judgement only to say that it is a close copy o f the author’s own final and definitive revision o f his w ork. 1 Additions originating as marginal notes in ß MSS. m ay have been incorporated in the revised text o f A ’s prototype in either o f tw o ways, (i) T h e author may have noted dow n additions which he thought suitable for preservation in his ow n copy, possibly from memory on his return home, (ii) O n deciding to make a revised edition, he may have borrowed from the anchoresses the MSS. in which additions had been made, and have transferred to his ow n master-copy, in revised form, any that he wished to preserve. T h e latter alternative seems the more likely guess. In either case certain minor additions and alterations which, as far as one can judge, were suitable for incorporation in the revised text (e.g. lahhen oder gabbin j e f him mistimed, or the alteration to the numbers o f E n v y ’s and W rath’s progeny) may have been forgotten or overlooked. 2 ‘Ancrene Wisse and H ali MeiShad’, Essays and Studies, xiv (1929), n o .

T. P. D U N N I N G



*... loue is þe leuest þing þat oure lord askiþ, And ek þe plante of pes. . . Z1

It is the purpose o f this paper to consider Chaucer’s Troilus as ‘a great poem in praise o f love’ and at the same time as very much more than that: to show that Chaucer is not indulging in ‘a temporary truancy’ when he describes the happiness o f the lovers, nor in a return to high seriousness at the end, when the bell has clanged ‘and the children. . . troop back to their master’.2 T h e ending o f Troilus and Criseyde is the culmination o f a study o f human love in the perspective o f D ivine Providence which presents its double aspect increasingly throughout the poem. Many scholars have viewed the whole poem in the light o f the Epilogue since Professor Lewis’s brilliant analysis first appeared, but in most o f such studies the importance o f the w ork as a poem in praise o f love has been seriously diminished.3 T o consider as ironic Troilus’s linking o f his passion with the force that moves the stars is, I think, to misrepresent Chaucer’s point o f view :4 this leads, inevitably, to a belittling o f T roilus’s character as Chaucer has conceived and represented him.5 T o explain the ‘palinode’ in one w ay or another as the final statement o f a choice between primary and secondary good is to leave out o f account the bulk o f the poem, and to ascribe to Troilus a perception o f a choice to be made which is in no w ay indicated 1 Piers Plowman,} A text, ed. G . Kane (London, i960), i. 136 -7. 2 C . S. Lewis, The Allegory o f Love (Oxford, 1938), pp. 197, 43. In recent years Mr R oger Sharrock has also reconsidered Professor Lew is’s views, and on some points our opinions coincide. However, m y approach to the poem and m y concerns here are quite different from his (‘Second T hou gh ts: C . S. Lewis on Chaucer’s Troilus', Essays in Criticism, viii (1958), 123-37). 3 N o t in D o ro th y Everett’s balanced and stimulating analysis in Essays in Middle English Literature (Oxford, 1955), pp. 115-38 . 4 H. R . Patch, The Tradition o f Boethius (O xford, 1935), p. 70. 5 Patch, On Rereading Chaucer (Cambridge, Mass., 1948), pp. 56-103.



b y Chaucer.1 T o stress Chaucer’s concern with the ‘historicity’ o f his material is at variance with his actual treatment o f his sources and aids, which is at all points artistic and never merely narrative or even purely interpretative.2 One cannot ignore the careful presentation throughout the w ork o f the courtly ideal at its highest, embodied not in abstractions but in a real love-affair between two people; however, to apply too readily the ‘double morality’ o f Andreas Capellanus to Chaucer’s complex study, even in a modified form,3 is, I believe, to misrepresent the unique quality o f his w ork, which certainly belongs to ‘those types o f discourse in which we make plain to each other and to ourselves the character o f human life and o f its predicaments’ .4 It seems clear from the text, first o f all, that Chaucer seeks to represent courtly love on tw o levels progressively through the poem ; and that he achieves this through the characters o f Troilus and Pandarus, both o f which (however much he m ay owe to Boccaccio for the general outline o f Troilus’s character and the details o f his behaviour) are Chaucer’s own creations.5 It has been said o f Troilus that in the history o f love poetry it ‘represents the crowning achievement o f the old Provençal sentiment in its purity’.6 F ully to appreciate Chaucer’s achievement in the w ork, several o f the questions which this statement begs must be considered. In the earliest Provençal poetry extant— e.g. in the lyrics o f the Count o f Poitou— love is still a frankly sensual passion, hardly to be distinguished from lust;7 while in the middle period o f the Provençal lyric, possession is eschewed, and what the poets teach is ‘the prolongation o f desire’, a refinement 1 Patch, O n R erea d in g C haucer, pp. 10 4 -2 2 . See also J. L . Shanley, ‘T h e T ro ilu s and Christian L o ve', E .L .H .y v i (1939), 2 7 1 - 8 1 , excellently characterized as ‘an over­ simplification o f the truth* (Everett, p. 136). 2 M . W . Bloomfield, ‘Distance and Predestination in T ro ilu s a n d C r ise y d e y P .M ,L .A .y Ixxii (19 5 7 ), 1 4 -2 6 . T h is admirable study has helped me to clarify m y ideas about T ro ilu s ; nevertheless, it will be found that m y ideas o f ‘distance* and ‘predestination* in the w ork differ significantly from those suggested b y Professor Bloomfield. 3 A . J. D e n o m y , ‘T h e T w o M oralities o f C h a u cer’ s T ro ilu s a n d C riseyd e\ T ra n sa ction s

o f th e R o y a l S o ciety o f Canada , x liv (1950), 3 5 -4 6 . 4 J. M . Cameron, P o e try a n d D ia le c tic (Leeds, 1961), p. 5.

5 See C . S. Lewis, ‘W hat Chaucer really did to I I F ilo stra to*, E ssa y s a n d S tu d iesy xvii (19 3 2 ); T . A . Kirby, C h a u cer's T ro ilu s (Baton R ouge, 1940), pp. 246-84. 6 A lleg o r y o f L o v e y p. 197.


7 L . Réau et G . Cohen, L 'A r t du M o y en A g e e t la civ ilisa tio n fra n ça ise (Paris, 1935), pp.





o f sentiment and appetite which has been shown to have its roots in the neo-Manichean heresy o f the Albigensians.1 There is no trace o f this view in Troilus. Transplanted to Northern France, the art o f love in its literary expression became more natural and human in the w o rk o f Chretien de T ro yes and his successors; and the new concept is finally established in Guillaume de Lorris’s part o f the Roman de la Rose, a manual for courtiers.2 Guillaume’s L over desires the Rose when he sees it in the Fountain, but he has to be taught, b y the god o f love and b y his experience, what love is. In the Troilus, Pandarus is the source o f this Northern French ‘doctryne’,3 and his influence over Troilus in Books i and n is profound. But as Troilus progresses in love, he comes to have his ow n view s: these are shown in B ook h i to be in striking contrast to those o f Pandarus; and in Books I V and v to be in conflict with them. Pandarus is a more ‘medieval’ figure than is T roilus: his teaching all through the poem is o f a piece, it is the ‘classical’ concept o f courtly love and the only one viable in the real w orld; and in a Christian world, this concept is essentially pagan, as he is uneasily aware.4 Troilus is the good pagan who— quite intelligibly— takes the highest possible view o f human love, relating it to the divine love which binds the universe, view ing his experience in the context o f G od’s government o f the world. T o him, therefore, its ch ief manifestation is fidelity o f the most absolute kind, a point o f view present in his mind from the beginning but most strikingly revealed in his interview with Pandarus in B ook iv (376-658). 1 D enom y, T h e H eresy o f C o u rtly L o v e (N ew Y o r k , 1947). 2 ‘E n effet, ce qu i G u illau m e de L o rris entend enseigner, c ’est à l’am ant la poursuite de la jeune fille . . . et à celle-ci l’art de ne se laisser con quérir que selon les form es de la cou rtoisie.’ (R éa u et C o h e n , p. 3 7 1 .) 3 A lle g o r y o f L o v e , pp. 1 9 1 - 3 .

4 See

A lle g o r y o f L o v e , p. 194. In the attitude o f Pandarus represented in Books iv

and v — ‘there are still good fish in the sea’— Chaucer is acknowledging both the con­ tradictions implicit in the code and the actual practice o f its adherents. Stability is possible only in marriage; and Chaucer had already brought ‘the old romance o f adultery’ beyond the frontiers o f die m odem ‘romance o f marriage* (A lle g o r y o f L o v e , p. 197) in T h e P a rlem en t o f F o u les, as D r Bennett has most convincingly shown (J. A . W . Bennett, T h e P a rlem en t o f F o u les (O xford, 1 9 5 7 )); a view he establishes more surely in the ‘Tales o f Marriage’ (see Bennett, ch. iv). In linking courtly love with Christian marriage, Chaucer was not even original: this was the original contribution to the theme made b y the English writers o f romance. (See Gervase Mathew, O .P ., ‘Marriage and A m o u r C o u rto is in Fourteenth-century England* in E ssa y s P r esen ted to C h a rles W illia m s (O xford,

1 9 4 7 ),

PP- 1 3 2 -4 -)


I &7

T h e complete difference between their conceptions o f love is finally established in B ook v. T he most beautiful and carefully constructed parts o f Book v are surely those incidents used b y Chaucer to evoke in the reader’s mind a strong impression o f Troilus’s constancy: the visit to Sarpedon; the subsequent days in T ro y , revisiting the scenes o f his love, where Chaucer is careful to point the contrast between Troilus’s hope and Pandarus’s knowledge o f the w ay the world goes (v. 1170-6). T h e pathos Chaucer seeks to evoke here in no w ay detracts from Troilus’s manliness or nobility o f character: it is founded, indeed, on those very qualities, for what Chaucer seeks here to com­ municate is a true sympathy with a good pagan’s misunderstand­ ing o f the human situation. Further, it will be noticed that Troilus’s experiences differ in a significant fashion from those o f the Lover in the Roman de la Rose. T he latter may be distinguished into tw o classes: the difficulties arising from the courtly lady’s own reactions to love (Danger, Shame, Fear); and the stimulus these receive from outside (Evil T ongue and Jealousy). It is clear that de Lorris is evoking the small world o f a court where nothing can be kept secret for long. But the approach o f Troilus to Criseyde is more direct. Pandarus talks about the dangers o f indiscretion; never­ theless, the attitude o f others in the Garden never becomes a reality. T h e evocation o f life in a court achieved b y personified abstractions in the Roman de la Rose is represented in Troilus only b y the banquet in Deiphebus’s house; and here we are merely made aware o f the necessity for secrecy in the situation o f the lovers, for no one suspects Troilus’s love. (T h e Garden in Troilus is the private garden o f Criseyde in Book 11.) Once the meeting o f the lovers has been brought about b y means o f this banquet, their union in Pandarus’s house follows naturally and soon, aided b y good fortune. N ow , it is largely the absence o f positive external difficulties, the fact that only Criseyde herself has to be w on over (a task which Pandarus assesses as not too difficult: I . 976-87), and an opportunity o f meeting engineered, which makes Pandarus a partly comic figure. F or the ‘doctryne’ he expounds to Troilus (in Books 1, 11, and especially in h i . 238-343), the care and attention to the rules o f the game which

16 8


he displays, are not completely relevant to the present situation; and when considered in relation to Troilus’s conception o f love which is made progressively deeper and clearer as the poem proceeds, seem more irrelevant still. Hence, I suggest, the impression o f ‘importunity’, o f ‘prolixity’ which Pandarus, the teacher, gives; and this is largely the reason w h y the ‘union o f garrulity and solemnity’ w ith which he delivers this teaching is felt to be laughable.1 T h e god o f love is very prolix in the Roman de la Rose, and solemn, too; but with more reason. F o r the concept o f love embodied in the w ork b y de Lorris has been normalized (from the excesses o f a Tristram or a Launcelot) and made the framework o f courtly life within doors, as it were, and courtly behaviour in the castle. That the concept o f love held b y Troilus is not an aberrant one (like that embodied in Launcelot or Tristram) is made evident, I think, b y the very definite moral character o f the man as created b y Chaucer; and chiefly b y means o f tw o predominant qualities o f his character, consistently displayed throughout the w ork. A lon g with his high conception o f love and his attitude to Criseyde which follows from it, w e find in him a common sense and firm grasp o f the other realities o f life, clearly in evi­ dence in the later books, in particular, in his discussion first with Pandarus in iv ; then in his meditation in the temple; and, at the end o f the Book, in his discussion o f the situation with Criseyde. (The only mistake he made on this level was his belief ‘That every word was gospel that ye seyde’, v . 1265.) More important than this, and more strongly stressed b y the poet, is Troilus’s sincere natural religion, a dominant feature o f his character which has never received the study it merits, and which is expressed, after he has seen Criseyde, in the earnest invocation o f G od’ s help in the achievement o f his love. He sees the gaining o f Criseyde’s love as the highest good he can perceive in life, and so invokes G od’s aid in the most natural fashion. Here is where the pagan element o f the story is superbly handled b y Chaucer as an essential feature o f his inventum, or objective correlative. This aspect o f Troilus’s character raises the whole question o f G od in the context o f the work. 1 A lleg o ry o f L o v e , p. 193.


16 9

There are many invocations o f G od all through the poem, and it would seem that Chaucer wrote them (or adopted them from Boccaccio) for two purposes. Many references to G od are made unthinkingly (chiefly b y Pandarus, less often b y Criseyde, rarely b y Troilus) : these are mere asseverations, the common coin o f medieval speech. T h ey constitute an element o f that ‘medievalizing’ o f the story to which critics refer. W e are not entitled to assume, however, that Chaucer wrote those words in his sleep, as some annotators seem to imply. A ll we may say about them is that Chaucer chose to write naturalistic dialogue in Troilus. H owever, side b y side with such references to G od as were part o f medieval English idiom, there are invocations and prayers which are manifestly in earnest and reflect belief in a Creator and in His government o f the universe. T h e first o f those occurs in Troilus’s song (1. 400), where, astonished and dismayed, he is exploring the feeling for Criseyde which has so suddenly awakened in him. Chaucer echoes his prayer when he begs G od to preserve him from the fire which is now con­ suming Troilus (1. 435). Troilus’s ‘wolde G od’ (459) is streng­ thened b y the frequent invocations at the end o f his soliloquy.1 Pandarus’s man-of-the-world references to ‘devocioun’, ‘sin’, ‘attricioun’, and ‘holinesse’ (555-tio) serve rather to deepen the reader’s impression o f Troilus’s earnestness in such prayers: the irony is intended to make Troilus angry, since Pandarus knew that b y all reports Ther nas a man o f gretter hardinesse Thanne he, ne more desired worthinesse.2

Troilus continues to invoke G od seriously all through this colloquy.3 Pandarus’s ‘Goddes apes’ and ‘grace o f G od’,4 like his earlier references to ‘attricioun’ and ‘sin’ are to be understood within a Christian rather than a pagan context; and b y now his contemporary reader must have been aware o f an ambivalent ‘ i- 517; 5 ! 9 ; 5 *; 5*8; 533. 2 i. 5 6 6 -7 . N o te how the distinction between the two men is here indicated at their

first meeting in the poem. Compare Joseph o f Exeter’s description o f Troilus (iv. 6 0 -6 3) and that o f Dares: cupidum virtutis. Chaucer’s portrait o f Troilus— mostly his own— in B ook V summarizes all the qualities he has displayed in action in i - v (v . 8 27-4 0 ).

3 I. 5 9 7 ;

612; 7 7 0 ; 824; 10 4 7; 1049; 1055.

* I. 9 1 3 ; 1005.



attitude towards his pagans on Chaucer’s part. Such suspicion is confirmed in B ook n , where Pandarus greets Criseyde as a Christian would, and both invoke G od freely and constantly and not always, the poet seems to indicate, through mere habit.1 T h e expressions o f thanks to G od that Hector and Troilus, champions o f the Trojans, are well, is in earnest at least on Criseyde’s side.2 Her reference to the ‘grace o f G od ’ is serious, and her adjuration ‘b y the love o f G od’ .3 Pandarus’s invocation o f the love o f G od is at least not unthinking, for he adds ‘and ek o f me’.4 Criseyde is very much in earnest when she says: ‘F o r His love, which that us bothe made’ (500). Pandarus’ s account o f Troilus’s behaviour as a lover includes further references to the sacrament o f Penance and an invocation o f Providence.5 In his plea to Criseyde, Pandarus continues to invoke G od and repeats her cry: ‘A nd for the love o f G od, that hath us w rought.’6 Her reply catches this note, and that ‘A s helpe me G od’ is not a mere exclamation is clear from her soliloquy when Pandarus leaves.7 Her ‘I am naught religious’ (i.e. a nun) again places us in a world at least m id-way between pagan T ro y and fourteenth-century England.8 W hen Troilus and Pandarus are again together, w e are at once made aware again o f Troilus’s attitude to life. Pandarus’s ‘b y G od and b y m y trouthe’ (958) casually but definitely sets the discussion within die context o f belief in G od and in His Provi­ dence. There it is maintained b y Troilus.9 A n d he is, as always, in earnest. T h e glib phrases used b y Pandarus serve at least to keep the discussion on that level.10 A s the story proceeds, the development o f the love-affair continues within this framework, which is b y now firmly established, never obtrusive but never left out o f mind. Consider, in particular, T roilus’s prayers to G od at the height o f his jo y in Book in ,11 and the many invocations and prayers o f Criseyde on the same occasion. T o continue merely with the analysis o f 11: Pandarus refers to 1 n . 8 5; 9 2; 96; 1x 3 ; 1 1 4 ; 1 1 5 ; 1 2 3 J 1 2 7 ; 1 3 3 ; 137. 2


3 i i . 243; 246.

. 1 5 5 ; 163.

* i i . 290. C f. i i . 356; 364;

3 8 1; 4 3 0 -1 .

5 i i . 5 2 5 -3 0 . C f. i. 5 2 5 -3 2 .

‘ II- 5 7 7 - C f. II. 563; 5 6 7 ;

58 2; 588.

7 II. 590; 7 4 4 ; 7 5 1 .

* II. 759-

* H- 9785 1060.


11 in . 1 2 8 7 -13 0 2 . C f. in . 1 5 2 7 ; 1649.

i i . 992; 9 9 5 J 1004; 1019.



G od when again with Criseyde, and she echoes his tone in a much more serious fashion.1 T roilus’s ‘T h orugh the m yght o f G od ’ later so affects Pandarus that he is m oved to say: ‘ G od hath holpen us!’2 Deiphebus is, in speech, a contemporary o f Chaucer; and the com pany at dinner in his house are brought nearer to Chaucer’s readers chiefly b y means o f expressions, however casual some o f them may be, o f belief in G od.3 But Pandarus’s earnest speech to Criseyde before she goes in to see Troilus refers to G od in a serious manner, in keeping with his reference to marriage— or, at least, to honourable love.4 Chaucer ends the B ook b y invoking G od, whose aid Troilus had so eam esdy besought in obtaining Criseyde’s love. B y now , even i f Chaucer is careful not to put specifically Christian sentiments into the mouths o f his characters (apart from Pandarus’s references to the sacrament o f Penance), he has considerably diminished the distance which period and belief have placed between them and his audience: the total effect o f those references to G od is to bring his characters nearer to himself and his contemporaries, to represent them as in many respects people w ho think and feel as they do, w ith this important excep­ tion, that to them love (as distinct from lust) outside marriage will not necessarily seem an evil thing. This is, indeed, the only aspect o f the pagan view o f life which is o f value to Chaucer in the story as the objective correlative o f his intuition. Instead, then, o f establishing and maintaining a distance between the characters and the narrator, Chaucer seems to me to be doing a much more subtle thing: to have brought about, b y the end o f B ook 11, a sympathy and understanding between his characters and his readers while being careful to keep one last fence separating them. This is kept in position chiefly b y infrequent but well spaced-out references to pagan rites, and b y reference to and invocation o f pagan gods (by no means as frequent as the invocations o f G od). Tow ards the end o f the tale, the reader is aware that Chaucer’s achievement has been even more subtle 1 II. IIO7; II26; II315 II38; 1200; I212-I3; I23O; I233; I237. 2 ii. 13 17; 1319« C f. 1363.

3 II. 1409; 1676; 1686; 1713; 1728. 4 i i . 173 1; 1735. T h at the ‘corounes tweyne* are nuptial crowns seems clear from i i . 1740, ‘whan ye be at oon\



than he had supposed. F or b y linking the cult o f Venus Citherea w ith the Boethian doctrine o f the chain o f love— and certain aspects o f the cult can be so linked in Christian philosophy— Chaucer has given substance and reality to T roilus’s absorption in Criseyde and to his conception o f love, and so has given sub­ stance, too, to certain forms and conventions o f the courtly code b y means o f which Troilus has expressed his love; and also, b y modelling the invocations made b y his characters to the god o f love on the O vidian addresses conventional in the contemporary expression o f courtly love, Chaucer has surely related the latter to pagan rites and a pagan background; and has in that w ay em­ bodied in his w ork as a whole the implication that the pursuit o f the Rose against Reason is a pagan attitude towards life, incongruous in a Christian society and in flagrant contrast with the straightforward and untroubled pursuit b y Troilus o f what he believes to be good.1 F or there is no hint whatever in the w ork that Troilus considers his love or its enjoyment sinful— quite the contrary: in iii , Chaucer is at some pains to distinguish Troilus’s feeling from lust (before he describes the physical pleasure o f the lovers) b y having Troilus clearly define his concept o f love as faithful service o f his lady until his death, aided b y the help o f G od.2 In this attitude towards love, a reli­ gious attitude for Troilus (though far removed from the god-oflove parody o f the Christian religion in some medieval writings), Troilus is a pagan in love, not a medieval courtly lover, ever uneasily aware o f the ‘double standard’ o f m orality implied in the courtly love ideal. It is within this framework o f natural religion that Troilus progresses towards a conception o f love on the highest natural level. In the beginning, he does not know whether it be good or wicked to serve, nor whether he serve a goddess or a woman.3 1 In S ir G aw ain a n d th e G reen K n ig h t one also observes a d istin ction b etw een co u r tly ideas and c o u rtly m anners: the con ven tion s o f co u rtly lo v e are accepted w ith in a co m ­ p letely C hristian fram ew ork o f ideas as the m ode o f beh avio u r o f p olite society.

2 i i i . 125 4 -3 0 2. 3 I. 400-26. C h a u cer’s develop m en t o f Petrarch’s sonnet— m ore suited to a pagan than a Christian— is interesting. H e d evelo p s the idea ‘I f it be w ik k e ’ and ‘i f that at m y n o w n e lu st I brenne’ and the clo sin g lines. T h e s e variants are in the form o f paraphrases, and are surely n o t due to

‘ C h a u cer’s m isunderstanding o f the Italian’ (R o b in so n ,

C h aucer (2nd edn B o sto n , 195 7), p. 8 15).


17 3

T h o u gh the fire o f love increases in intensity day b y day, his intention in regard to Criseyde is always ‘But that that m yghte sownen into goode’.1 His address to the god o f love as reported b y Pandarus to Criseyde in B ook 11 indicates the solution he has already found or will soon find to his first question, for he briefly links the power o f love with divine Providence in the govern­ ment o f the universe.2 A lthough the idea is briefly and very generally expressed here, the lines do recall prosa 6 o f Book 11 o f the D e Consolatione (as most editors note); and Chaucer will keep this key chapter o f Boethius well before our minds in what follows. A t the beginning o f Book in , Chaucer himself combines the tw o ideas in his proemium, here referring rather to metrum 8 o f Book il o f Boethius, another significant part o f the D e Conso­ latione which Chaucer w ill again bring to our minds. In this song, the expressions o f love mentioned b y Boethius within his ordered universe are friendship and marriage. This theme Chaucer chooses to im ply rather than state here. T h e proemium to Book in gathers together all the strands o f thought o f the poem up to this point into a harmony which is— for Chaucer’s audi­ ence— full o f contradictions: L ove, the binding force o f the universe; courtly lo ve;3 the implications o f the ‘sacrement o f manages o f chaste loves’ for those who remember their Boece will recall Pandarus’s equivocal references to ‘corounes tweyne’ and ‘at oon’ ; the invocation to Calliope takes Troilus firmly out o f the frame o f Romance and reaffirms its epic character; and the prayer to G od at the end to bring Troilus to the gladness o f love recalls his own serious invocations o f G od in Books 1 and 11, and in this context must seem ambiguous or at least puzzling to the Christian reader. This proemium, then, deliberately embodies antinomies which will be resolved as the poem proceeds. It is recalled first o f all in Troilus’s outburst in praise o f love when Criseyde has at last ‘Opned hire herte, and tolde hym hire entente’.4 These lines owe as much to Dante as to Boethius.5 It is surely noteworthy that Troilus links the god o f marriage w ith Venus Citherea: ‘A nd next that, Imeneus, I the grete.’6 ‘ !• 43S- 5SÎ i o $6 .

2 II. 523-8.

3 N ote that in 11. 23-26 the specific quality o f courtly love, its ennobling power, is indicated. See D enom y, ‘ Courtly L o ve and Courtliness’, Speculum,, xxviii (1953), 44. 4

h i.

1239; 1254-74.

5 Purg. i. 19; P ar. xxxiii. 14 if.


h i.




A n d when in the follow ing stanza Troilus at once introduces the Boethian universe celebrated b y Boethius in metrum 8 o f B ook n , one has the feeling that Chaucer hopes his more percipient readers will recall the place Boethius gives in that song to marriage. O ne also notes that Chaucer deliberately models lines 1262-7, the continuation o f the address to L ove, on lines 13-18 o f canto xxxiii o f the Paradiso, addressed to the Blessed V irgin. Since love, at this moment, is identified for Troilus with his near­ ness in b o d y and feeling to Criseyde (I do not think they ever come near in mind) and with his anticipation o f its proximate physical fulfilment, many o f Chaucer’s readers w ill have seen implied in those lines an indication o f Troilus’s attitude. A s a pagan, he does not know our L ad y: he honours Criseyde with the respect and affection Dante shows to the Mother o f G od. This impression is further strengthened a moment later when he asks to be taught how to serve Criseyde ‘for the love o f G od’.1 T h e fundamental error in his understanding o f human love, which is his overcharging it beyond the limits o f human nature, the elements o f truth and falseness in his intuition o f life and its purpose, are here implied. T h ey w ill be expressed more explicitly in his great song to love at the end o f Book h i . Before that comes, one notes a significant change which Chaucer makes in a Une taken from I I F ilostrato: D >amor sentiron Vultimo valore (ii. 32). Chaucer, whose mind in Troilus is much more in tune with Dante’s in the Paradiso than with Boccaccio’s in any o f his works, does not represent human love as Vultim o valore 1 ‘Felten in love the grete worthynesse.’2 W hen departing from Criseyde, at daybreak, Troilus again invokes G od, as does Criseyde, when he declares his constancy and seeks from her an assurance o f her fidelity.3 It is in the tight o f such expressions o f what love means to Troilus and his expressed relationship with G od at the very point o f its physical consummation that we must regard Chaucer’s own praise o f love:4 human love at this level is indeed linked with the force that binds the stars; and those w ho blame love are the misers and the avaricious, whose desire for w orldly goods 1 III. 1289- 302. 3 III. 1472-518.

2 4

III. 1316. III. I3 73-4 I4 -



keeps them tied to earth. Such praise, and Chaucer’s own refer­ ences to G od,1 maintain the seemingly contradictory attitude o f the Proem to B ook h i , but are intelligible in the context o f Troilus’s declarations and explained— to the Christian reader— b y Troilus’s song at the end o f Book m . T he Canticus Troiii2 finally establishes and combines the im­ pressions which Troilus’s conduct and motives have made on the reader’s mind from the beginning. It is surely significant that the song is Chaucer’s own. A s most editors note, it is ‘a close paraphrase’ o f metrum 8 o f Book n o f Boethius. However, there is more to it than that. First, the explicit reference to marriage (which Chaucer has accurately rendered in Boece) is couched here in more general terms: ‘A nd couples doth in virtue for to dwelle.’3 A nd secondly, the concluding stanza o f the song has no parallel in metrum 8. In fact, the lines point to prosa 6 o f Book I V (or metrum 6 , which summarizes the teaching o f the long preceding prosa). N ow , in this long discussion, concerned with ‘a matter which is most hardly found out’, as Philosophy explicitly says at the beginning, Boethius finally gives (a) the explanation o f how human love and desire form part o f the great chain o f love which binds the universe in the Providence o f G od; and (b) the answer to that problem o f freewill and predestination which will later torment Troilus in the temple and which he will be unable to resolve. It will be found that the relationship o f the last stanza o f Troilus’s song4 to this all-important discussion o f Boethius is as follows: only the first point mentioned above is here in concern; and we find Troilus praying to G od in a general w ay to do what Philosophy— in precise detail— tells Boethius what, in point o f fact, He does effect in His government o f men. Troilus’s prayer is made in the light o f his own experience: and we realize, i f we take heed o f the implications o f the lines, that he has reached a very high philosophical conception o f love, even i f only in general terms. That this good, but not exception­ ally intelligent, pagan will never on earth reach ‘the matter which is most hardly found out’ is made clear in B ook iv ; what 1 in . 1378; 1385; 1387; 1400. C f. in . 1058; 1185; 1224; 1246; 1326.

2 III. 174 4 -71. 3 III. 1749. 4 III. 176 5 -71.



is interesting here is that his experience o f love has led him to the heart o f the mystery. W ith this renewed reference to prosa 6 o f B ook iv o f D e Consolatione, w e m ight be said to be on the brink o f a resolution o f all the contradictory elements o f the proemium o f this Book. Y e t the doctrine taught in prosa 6 o f B ook iv is never fully revealed to Troilus during his lifetime; and Chaucer does not give it expression when telling his story. N o doubt Chaucer well knew the common teaching o f the Fathers and theologians that while, theoretically speaking, the good pagan could achieve a large measure o f understanding o f G od’s Providence b y the light o f natural reason, in fact he rarely did, as a result o f original sin: a few exceptionally gifted minds, advancing on the basis o f what their likes before them had reasoned, m ight come close to what Philosophy teaches Boethius in B ook iv , prosa 6; but never w ith the definiteness, precision, detail, clarity, and authority o f Philosophy’s exposition.1 This is the real meaning o f T roilus’s long debate in the temple, drawn directly from D e Consolatione. W hile it is carefully motivated b y the circumstances o f the narrative, its length, on the one hand, and its clearly derived character, on the other, w ith its stopping short at that very chapter o f Boethius which would have explained all T roilus’s difficulties, clearly establish for Chaucer’s audience the limits o f T roilu s’s natural knowledge and represent his mistake— o f over­ loading human love with more than it can bear: the full extent o f which is still to be revealed in B ook v — as a natural concomitant o f his position as a good pagan. A nd here, in keeping w ith his character as presented all through the w ork, although he cannot solve his problem, Troilus ends his meditation w ith a prayer to G od, so sincere that he even provokes Pandarus to join him. T hat the prayer is directed to ‘A lm yg h ty Jove in trone’ is a reminder that Troilus is a pagan, for Chaucer rarely makes Troilus refer to G od b y a pagan name. Here, Pandarus glosses ‘Jove’ as ‘ G od’ in his invocation.2 1 This is the main reason why it never occurred to the medieval doctors to question Boethius’s Christianity because o f the philosophical exposition o f God’s Providence in D e Consolatione, The qualities I have mentioned established it for them as a work o f Christian philosophy. 2 iv . 1086; cf. 1079.



It is b y another means that Chaucer resolves, in the course o f the narrative, the antinomies present in the w ork at its centre, which have been made to coalesce in the proemium o f Book h i , kept very present in our minds all through that Book, and recalled b y the Canticus T roili at its end. This means is the development o f the concept Fortune on both the speculative and the experiential levels. From the beginning, side b y side with the constant invocations o f G od made b y all the characters and especially b y Troilus, and w ith the progressive revelation o f T roilus’s idea o f love, Chaucer has introduced the notion o f Fortune, at first in the form it had in his time com m only assumed, the medieval topos o f the W heel (which he exemplifies in the M onk’s tale); and, as the w ork proceeds, he links this, too, with G od, enlarges and deepens the concept, until he has finally restored it to its Boethian context and exemplified it in his story as G od’s agent in teaching truth.1 Fortune is first mentioned early in the first book, where Chaucer, carefully evoking the environment o f his poem, refers to the varying fortunes o f the siege.2 A fter Troilus has fallen in love, he blames Fortune for his woe, introducing the familiar figure o f the wheel. Pandarus counters this point o f view with Boethian arguments in a passage o f some length3 which has no parallel or hint in I I Filostrato. Pandarus’s speech here is in character (both in sentiment and expression) and is motivated b y the narrative ; but it is also part o f the sentence o f the poem : Quod Pandarus, ‘Than blamestow Fortune F o r thow art wroth; ye, now at erst I see. W oost thow nat wel that Fortune is comune T o everi manere wight in som degree? . .

Here Pandarus relates Fortune to life: this major theme will be sounded throughout the poem. In B ook 11, Troilus’s brief reported reference to Providence suggests a development o f the idea o f Fortune even beyond the concept stated b y Pandarus, but it will take more experience o f life to establish this firmly in his mind. T he notion o f D estiny or Fate is strengthened b y Chaucer’s own reference to Necessity,5 which looks ahead to Troilus’s later 1 See D e Cons. 1. pr. 6 ; 11. pr. 8, where the theme o f the w ork as a w hole is stated.

2 I. 138 -4 0 .

3 I. 8 3 7 -5 6 .

4 i.

8 4 2 -4 .

3 ii.

6 2 1 -3 .



meditation in the temple. H owever, it is not until B ook hi that the tw o ideas, o f Fortune as the norm o f human life, and as the manifestation o f G od’s Providence in the government o f the world, are explicitly identified, the former shown to be an aspect o f the second, more fundamental, truth. In a formal address before the rain came and forced Criseyde to stay, Chaucer, as narrator, calls Fortune ‘executrice o f wierdes’ ; and those ‘influ­ ences o f thise hevenes hye* are our ‘hierdes’, ‘T h ough to us bestes been the causes wrye*.1 Fortune, then, in the Boethian sense (and in Dante’s) is associated with the mutual enjoyment o f the lovers from its beginning; and Chaucer stresses this idea constantly in his account o f their meetings in Pandarus’s house. ‘Fortune it wolde’ that they should be again together;2 and then Chaucer sums up that enchanted time in these heavily weighted lines: An d thus Fortune a tyme ledde in joie Criseyde, and ek this kynges sone o f Troie .3

W ithin this framework established b y the narrator, the lovers themselves, even in their happiness, come to a partial realization o f the human situation. That element o f the sentence expressed b y Pandarus in B ook 1— Fortune as the w ay o f the world— is here stated at some length b y Criseyde,4 w ho in more ways than one shows her kinship with her uncle. This implication o f the end o f the affair in its beginning is also contained in Troilus’s share o f the sentence o f the poem in B ook h i . W ith the appearance o f Fortuna maior in the East, after his first night with Criseyde, he already comes up against the facts o f human existence in the real world governed b y G od’s Providence (facts which also include at the moment the siege o f T ro y). His railing at the sun5 is fol­ lowed b y a passionate expression o f constancy and an urgent seeking for assurance from Criseyde o f a constancy like his:6 for only fidelity to one another can provide a permanency which will override those changing facts o f daily existence which cause their separation. A nd his parting words indicate an awareness— 1 III. 617-2O.

2 III. 1667. 3 III. I714-I5. * in . 813-36. She is echoed b y Pandarus in in . 1625-37, where he forebodes the future

in terms o f the real life he knows and represents.

5 h i . 1420-42.


h i.




deeper, perhaps, than we are to believe he is conscious o f at the moment— o f the framework within which they enjoy their love: ‘Ther G od us graunte sownde and soone to mete!’1 Cruel day again separates them at their second meeting, and again the lovers curse the day’s light.2 T h e com ing o f day mirrors the human situation without obtruding it, as the narrator narrows the perspective in Book iii to an idyllic existence in one room in T ro y. In B ook I V , the perspective is at once enlarged. Fortune with her wheel is immediately introduced in the proemium, and kept before our minds all through the book.3 Throughout this Book, Troilus’s character is developed b y Chaucer on tw o lines. First, his constancy is greatly stressed; and the true value o f his declarations after he has heard the decision o f the Trojan parlia­ ment4 is strikingly revealed in his cool, calm, and quite deter­ mined attempt to kill himself when he believes Criseyde to be dead.5 Secondly, his conception o f Providence is deepened so as to bring him still nearer its mystery. F or Troilus, w ho in his first woe cursed Fortune’s wheel, and later, in his happiness, invoked Providence, and later still came to understand that Providential government o f the universe chiefly in terms o f love, is now obliged, in his second woe, to enlarge his concept so as to acknowledge Fortune as the normal mode in which Providence operates in human life. His long meditation in the temple is not a digression, but is motivated b y the narrative and characterization at every level o f meaning.6 He reaches no conclusion except the acknowledgment o f G od’s supreme power, and he ends with a prayer to preserve a situation which he also believes to be part o f G od’s plan. W hen no help comes, he is driven to acknow­ ledge, although he has already given good reasons against such a course,7 that their love can be preserved only i f they take flight and are married: 1 III. 1526. 3 IV. 2 6 0 -8 7 ;

2 III. 1695 ff. 3 2 3 -6 (where Troilus wishes lovers high on Fortune’s wheel ‘ay love

o f stiel’) ; 2 8 3 -39 2 (where Pandarus reiterates that Fortune’s gifts are ‘comune* in much the same terms as in 1. 8 3 7 -5 6 ) ; 6 0 0 -2 ; 9 4 6-10 9 9 (Troilus in the temple); 118 9 fr.; 1 2 5 0 - 1 ; 1 2 8 6 -9 ; 1682. 4 IV- 43S“ 5 l8 -

6 I have already suggested the reason for its length.

7 IV.

5 4 7 -8 1 .

5 IV. 1 1 5 6 - 1 2 1 5 .

i So

ENGLISH AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES F o r evere in oon, as for to lyve in reste, M yn herte seyth that it w ol be the beste.1

T h e reasons he had given Pandarus earlier against such action are still cogent. O ne has the impression from the discussion w ith Criseyde that Troilus does not press this course precisely because his mind (not his heart) had not been w on over b y Pandarus’s cynical replies: Troilus still realizes that flight would be dishonourable in more than one respect. His common-sense analysis o f Criseyde’s pat plan is w holly admirable;* and he is w on to silence only when she twists his argument right round and begs him to be faithful to her.3 T h e equivocal character o f love outside marriage is surely implied here in T roilus’s dilemma; and the previous references to marriage, open and implied, recalled. Chaucer does not develop this aspect o f his theme for several reasons already obvious from his characterization and his conduct o f the story, reasons which become more explicit in B ook v. T h e double theme o f B ook v is Troilus’ s constancy and Criseyde’s faithlessness— I should prefer to say, her humanity. Its chief interest is the final characterization o f each, for w e know the end already. W hat love means to Troilus is again strikingly revealed in his behaviour and state o f mind as pre­ sented b y Chaucer here. Even when he knows that she has cast him clean out o f her mind, he still loves her best ‘o f any creature’ ; and to the expression o f this attitude the poet devotes a whole stanza, which contains some o f the most m oving lines in the poem: . . . and I ne kan nor may, F o r al this world, withinne myn herte fynde T o unloven y o w a quarter o f a d a y !4

— in spite o f the letter and the brooch. Troilus is the stuff o f which, in another dispensation, saints w ill be made; and it is to be doubted whether his ideal conception o f love would find continued fulfilment in marriage w ith any human being. Cer­ tainly not in marriage with Criseyde. She is no Beatrice. A ll 1 IV. 1602-3. 3 IV. 1639-52.

2 IV. 1450-526. 4 V. 1696-8.



through the poem she has been presented as a normal, very ordinary person, apart from her beauty. Her lament, when she hears o f the decision to exchange her for Antenor, is made deliberately conventional in the extreme, a woeful run o f clichés, which Chaucer draws to a close with an ironic remark.1 She takes her colour from her company. W hen Troilus swears constancy and means it, she echoes him; she echoes his curses o f the day (in B ook h i ). W hen Troilus is just saved b y her cry from killin g himself, she declares that she would have done the same (in B ook rv). In the discussion which follows that incident, it is clear that she is determined to go to the Greeks: she has her mind completely made up and a ready answer to all possible objections as she sees them. W hen Troilus’s common sense pulls to pieces those answers, she relies on the foolish idea that he is lord o f Fortune w ho cares not about her: if she had really wished to pit herself against Fortune, she should have adopted T roilus’s plan, for that was precisely what it entailed. T h e type o f mind here revealed is not out o f keeping with what w e already know o f her character, chiefly from B ook n : considerations o f vanity and self-interest at least entered her mind when she considered Troilus as a lover.2 So pat and thought-out is her plan at the end o f B ook iv that Chaucer finds need again to excuse her;3 and perhaps in those lines all he wishes to indicate is that she was a very human person, with all the limitations o f humankind. Her breeding and kinship become more apparent in B ook v. T h e letter recalls Pandarus’s strategems and her ow n twisting o f Troilus’s argument at the end o f B ook iv . She was w orthy o f love, certainly; but not w orthy o f the kind o f love that inflamed Troilus. It is because his conception o f love in the poem has been represented at the highest natural level that the only con­ clusion possible is the conclusion which Chaucer, in fact, gives: only G od can match such constancy in love. This conclusion is superbly prepared for all through B ook v. T h e selection o f events, their arrangement, the emphasis achieved, the comments o f the narrator, are all ordered to the characteriza­ tion o f Troilus and Criseyde, and to the expression o f this part o f the sentence, that Fortune is the w ay the world goes. It is 1 iv . 743-805.

2 ii. 703-40.

3 iv . 14 15 -2 1.

i 82


on this level Chaucer keeps the theme throughout the final book while Troilus is alive, for he is still in the predicament in which w e found him in the temple. A nd when he dies, Chaucer already begins his ending: ‘G o, litel bok. . . Then, suddenly, ‘the noble philosophical poete’ lifts the theme in a new w ay to the level to which Troilus had brought it in his song (at the end o f B ook h i ), and beyond. He first reiterates his subject, charged now w ith the significance it has achieved in his telling o f Troilus’s double w oe: ‘Swich fyn hath, lo, this Troilus for lo ve!’ Then he indicates the elements o f the poem’s sentence. He contrasts the ‘vanitee’ o f ‘This wrecched w orld’ with the ‘pleyn felicitee’ which ‘is in hevene above’ : this is the general idea emerging from the w ork. N ext he turns to the significant elements o f his inventum : he contrasts Troilus’s ‘worthynesse’ and his ‘noblesse’ with this ‘false worldes brotelnesse’, showing h ow the general idea has been embodied in the particular. Thus he leads to the only possible conclusion to the story as he, a Christian, has used it: ‘A nd loveth H ym . . . .’ F or it is the story o f Troilus. T h e theme o f the poem is his tragedy, as Chaucer clearly stated at the beginning, when in the epic manner he set forth his subject in the opening lines o f his w ork: ‘the double sorwe o f Troilus to teilen’. There he also adumbrated the conclusion, indicating the only place where one like Troilus can find rest: That L o ve hem bringe in hevene to solas.1 1

I. 31. T h e repudiation, in v . 1849-55, o f the pagan world to which Troilus belonged

is the repudiation o f a world in which such a mistake as he made could be made as he made it, praying to G od for help and trusting in Him. Troilus did not see any choice between G o d and man, between primary and secondary good, until he reached the spheres. A n d those lines are in the right order: they come after Chaucer has evoked the Christian dispensation explicitly in terms o f the sufferings o f the Redeemer, the great revelation o f G o d and proof o f His love.



T h e multitude o f biblical texts quoted b y Chaucer have not, as a body and as evidence o f his power as ‘grant translateur’, aroused much attention. Skeat listed some;1 but the few specific studies2 and the annotation o f separate lines have been mainly con­ cerned with sources, parallels and influences— with causes rather than effects. T o the distinguished medievalist whom this volum e honours I respectfully offer these further comments on Chaucer’s translation o f the Bible. These texts and the retelling o f biblical episodes, as in some o f the M onk’s tragedies, along with a host o f mere allusions, names, familiar phrases, and possible echoes, witness to Chaucer’s knowledge o f holy scripture. T h e many references where no particular verses o f the Bible are involved usually indicate, I think, no greater ability to draw names from a hat, and no greater preference for biblical names, than Chaucer shows for the nonbiblical and shares with most Christian writers o f his time. T h e quoting or im plying o f specific texts is stronger evidence. This he does from his earliest to his latest works, from the A B C (or the Romaunt) to the Retractation. There is no point, however, in winnowing these texts chronologically, really no question o f his grow ing fondness for the Bible. Quotations appear in very uneven distribution throughout his career. From early to late— accepting usual evidence and guesses as to dating: in the A B C (and the Romaunt), the M onk’s tale, M elibeus, Par­ doner’s tale, W ife o f Bath’s prologue, Summoner’s and Parson’ s tales, there are m any; in the contributions o f the Man o f Law , 1 Works (Oxford, 1894), vi. 381-4. 2 J. H. Ramsay, ‘ Chaucer and W ycliffe’s Bible’, Academy, xxii (1891), 4 35-6 ; C . Noble, ‘T h e Bible in Chaucer’, Faculty Corner (Grinnell, Iowa, 1901), 1 5 7 -6 7 ; Grace W . Landrum, ‘ Chaucer’s Use o f the Vulgate’, P .M .L .A ., xxxix (1924), 75-100.



Friar, Merchant, and N un’s Priest, there is a smaller but sig­ nificant leavening; in the rest o f Chaucer’s works there are fewer actual quotations or none, though the influence o f biblical passages may be variously evident. A rhetorical principle o f decorum probably accounts in part for this distribution. It would be as incongruous for Pandarus as it is appropriate for the Pardoner to cite much Christian scrip­ ture, and for the poet to do so in Troilus and Criseyde and the Pardoner’s tale. Y e t in the very secular M erchant's Tale there are some dozen Bible texts quoted or implied, while in the Second N un’s tale there are but three.1 N or is the devout Prioress nearly so biblical in reference as the profane Summoner, who, in Englishing the Vulgate (presumably), shows that more than ‘a fewe termes hadde he’ or, perhaps, more than usually ‘wel dronken hadde the w yn ’. But it is not necessary to defend Chaucer on this score. He was b y no means unwilling to make comic and serio-comic use o f scripture, as seen in the W ife o f Bath’s prologue and N un’s Priest’s tale; moreover, he had other ingenious devices for enhancing decorum. Miss Grace W . Landrum very ably argued that Chaucer had considerable knowledge o f the Vulgate, and probably, for some periods at least, had a copy o f it in his possession. A s her principal evidence she presented texts o f which his rendering is close to the Vulgate, closer, it may be, than an intermediate source he was following. It was b y no means exceptional that a cultured man o f Chaucer’s day should read upon the Vulgate, the ulti­ mate source o f most o f his biblical quotations. But the extent to which he used the Vulgate, itself, in translating them is another matter. Miss Landrum also noted that four great reposi­ tories o f biblical texts2— Pope Innocent’s D e Contemptu M undi? a French version o f Albertano o f Brescia’s Liber Consolationis et Consilii (and the original),4 St Jerome’s Epistola adversus 1 B y ‘text*, I mean quotation o f or allusion to specific verses as distinct from more general reference to parts o f the Bible. Since allusion is often debatable, precise statistics are often risky. References to Chaucer's works are to F. N . Robinson's second edn (Boston, 1957). References to Miss Landrum are to her P . M . L . A . article, as above. 2 T o which should be added the Roman de la Rose. 3 M ig n e, Patr. L a t.y ccxvii. 708 f. 4 Actually (see below) Renaud de Louens, Livre de Melübee et Prudence,, in W . F. Bryan and G . Dempster, Sources and Analogues o f Chaucer9s C .T . (London, 1941),



Jovinianum,! and the sources o f the Parson’s tale2— he used for the works more or less based on them,3 and did not as a rule (there are exceptions) return to them for more gleanings. T o this it m ay be added that about nine-tenths o f Chaucer’s texts are used once only. O f some forty repeated in different works— very few oftener than once— about three-quarters occur both in works based on these repositories and elsewhere. From other o f his sources, from homilies he heard, from the liturgy and hymns o f the Church,4 and from the uncountable books he nightly read ‘tyl fully daswed’, he could have culled all the quotations he used. W hat really matters is not Chaucer’s dependence on the Vulgate but the measure o f his independence from his immediate sources, his originality as a writer. His scriptural texts usually represent but one ingredient o f his ‘doctryn and sentence’ . That his sources were frequently altered or augmented in this respect is well known. It m ay nevertheless be useful to focus on the scriptural element, and to begin with a few works o f certain origin. But the Anelida, K night’s tale, Troilus, and Astrolabe will add little to a discussion o f biblical quotations; and most o f the Romaunt unfortunately is suspect. O f quotations in the remainder, it may be asked i f they are in the principal sources for the indi­ vidual w orks, or borrowed from other know n sources, including the Vulgate, and i f Chaucer’s translation o f them indicates that he looked beyond the exemplar immediately before him to some other version, most likely that o f the Vulgate. A m ong these works o f traceable lineage, the Tale o f M elibeus is, b y its nature and inheritance, most richly endowed with cita­ tions. Since Chaucer followed throughout the French L ivre de M eüibee et Prudence rather than Albertano’s Latin original, it is not remarkable that his ninety or so biblical texts are all (but tw o5) pp. 568 f. T h e Albertano is ed. b y T h o r Sundby (Chaucer Soc. 1873). T h at Renaud used a French verse translation o f the M elibeus (or o f the Bible?) appears in the follow ing (italics mine): ‘ Car Salemon dit, “ Mieux vault d l qui le fol reprent et qui lui monstre semblant d'ire, que lui loer quant il mesprent et de ses grans folies rire". E t dit après, “ Par la tristesse du visage corrige le fol son c o u r a g e (Bryan and Dempster, p. 607, 11. 1004-7.) C f. Eccl. vii. 4 -6 and M e L 1707-10. See p. 194, n. 1 below. 1 Migne, P a tr . Lat.> xxiii. 211 f. 2 See below, and Kate O . Petersen, T h e Sources o f the Parson9s T ale (Boston, 1901). 2 Respectively, M L P r o l , M e t , W B P r o l , P a r s T 4 A s in P r P r o l and S e c N P r o L

5 M e lj

1510, possibly from II C or. iv. 1 7 ; 1885-8, freely from I John i. 9.



in the French, and about one-third are not in the Latin at all. Moreover, though detailed evidence cannot be given here, his renderings again and again reveal their French background. Miss Landrum unfortunately did not have at her disposal the French version o f Renaud de Louens which Chaucer used, but that o f L e M enagier de P a ris} T o demonstrate Chaucer’s use o f the Latin source, she gave two examples which differ greatly in L e M enagier. T h e y are worth repetition beside Renaud:2 (1) A it enim Jhesu Sirac: Musica in luctu importuna narratio. Et Jhesu Syrac dit que musique em plour est ennuyeuse narracion. F or Jhesus Syrak seith, that musik in wepynge is a noyous thyng. (2) U bi non est auditus, non efïundas sermonem, et importune noli extolli in sapientia tua, Car Salemon dit, ‘La ou tu ne pourras avoir audience, ne t’efforce point de parler.’ F or Salomon seith, ‘T her as thou ne mayst have noon audi­ ence enforce thee nat to speke.* T hat Chaucer is closer to the French than the Latin is apparent. O ther works o f know n origin yield similar evidence, depend­ ing on the nature o f their sources and, generally speaking, on the relationship o f each w ork to its particular source. T h e A B C is another ‘close’ translation, and seven o f its eight texts are in the D eguilleville original.3 In the Man o f Law ’s prologue, all o f the biblical texts used, and three in his tale, are from D e Contemptu M undi. Otherwise in the tale, where one might expect numerous quotations on the subject o f Christian fortitude, these were not available in T rivet’s ‘historical’ prose (nor in G ow er’s brief telling); and Chaucer provides not quotations but allusions, that may have been within the memory o f an educated layman, 1 Ed.

J. Pichon (Paris, 1846).

2 (1) Ecclus. xxii. 6: Albertano (Sundby), p. 1 0 ,1. 29; Renaud (Bryan and Dempster), p. 5 7 2 ,11. 136 f.; M e l, 1045. (2) Ecclus. xxxii. 6: Albertano, p. 1 0 ,1. 24; Renaud, p. 573, 1. 140 f.; M el, 1047. 3 L e Pèlerinage de la Vie humaine, printed in Skeat, i. 261 f. T h e eighth (59 -6 1) is not close to the V ulg. wording, though elsewhere, ^s Miss Landrum noted, the V u lg. ancilla (109) is used for Deguilleville's chamberiere.



such as the Man o f L aw (?).1 But the Clerk’s reluctance to quote the Bible— unless he had betaken himself entirely to logic and Aristotle— is less in character. From Petrarch come two texts, a third possibly from the Roman de la R ose,2 beyond which there is one commonplace allusion to Job’s humility not derived from either Petrarch or Boccaccio.3 Beside this sober cleric, the W ife o f Bath, in her prologue, is boldly biblical. Nevertheless, o f just under three dozen texts she happens to remember, over a third are from Jerome’s E pistola adv. Jov. (and therefore do not necessarily go back to his Vulgate), one is found in the Roman de la Rose, another probably suggested b y Deschamps’ M iroir de M ariage, while the reference to Samson m ay possibly hark back to the M onk’s tale.4 O f the remainder no less than nine are derived from the famous treatment o f marriage in I C or. vii, to which three o f her texts via Jerome had already directed her. O f these nine, five and, among all her remaining texts, another five are allusions rather than quotations. T h is leaves only two additional texts which appear to translate the Bible; and they are from tw o o f the books which Chaucer knew best, Proverbs and Ecclesiasticus. In her tale, m oreover, lacking St Jerome’s prom pting, the W ife managed to produce but one possible allusion.5 A lthough these facts are usually to be explained b y other artistic considerations, they lend force to Tatlock’s marginal and unsupported comment that ‘the more one investigates Chaucer’s reading, the more convinced one becomes that his familiarity w ith 1 But in 11. 4 9 1-4 are fairly exact details from R ev. vii. 1 - 3 ; 1. 784 suggests John xiii. 27 and Ps. lv. 15 to Robinson (see his note to this line), but could derive from D om ulde’s having just called Constaunce ‘malueise espirit en fourme de femme* in the parallel passage in Trivet. ( Originals and Analogues, Chaucer Soc. 1888, 27.) 2 LI. 8 7 1 -2 ; Petrarch, D e Obedientia and the anon. L iv r e Griseldis (Bryan and D em p ster), p. 3 2 2 ,1.2 9 ; p. 32 3 ,11.4 2 -4 3 . For C I T , 1153 : ibid., p. 330,11.7 4 - 7 5 ; P* 3 3 »>Jl- 3 7 - 3 »C I T , 902-3 : cf. R om . 468-9. 3 T h e Second N un shares his reluctance: tw o texts in original parts o f her prol. (59 -6 1, 64); tw o in her tale (207-9, 386-90) which, regardless o f its immediate source, are found respectively in the versions b y Jacopus and Mombritius (Bryan and Dempster, pp. 672, 681). T h e beautiful ‘G ooth to the corone o f life that m ay nat faille* parallels Mombridus*s ‘Ite ad coronam vitae’ (V u lg. ‘corona iustitiae’). Otherwise, there is on ly a doubtful allusion (42) to Job xiii. 15. 4 LI.

10 7 -1 1: R R ,

1 1 3 7 5 -7 ; 11. 34 2-4 :

11. 18 7 7 -8 1 ; 11. 7 2 1 - 3 : M k T j 2063-70. 3 LI. 1 1 7 8 -9 : cf. II C or. viii. 9.

M iro ir

(Bryan and Dempster), p. 219,



the Bible (and other quotable literature, like Cato and Seneca) was largely at second-hand’.1 A nd it is just possible, also, that understandably he preferred translating French sources to Latin. H owever, in a number o f the M onk’s tragedies, especially those o f Samson, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Antiochus, it is most natural to assume from his frequent reproduction o f biblical details, phrases, or whole texts, in the right order, that he used the Vulgate in their composition, regardless o f minor influences.2 In the remaining biblical tragedies, this was scarcely necessary (Lucifer, Adam ) or is uncertain (Holofernes, Alexan­ der); and I think the extent o f Chaucer’s biblical knowledge revealed b y the M onk’s tale has been over-emphasized.3 Unfortunately, this is as far as it is possible to go on the firm ground o f known origins. T h e other works o f Chaucer pertinent to this discussion might be classified debatably according as they are relatively close or not close to probable source materials. Close, in all likelihood, is Chaucer’s greatest thesaurus o f quota­ tions, the Parson’s tale. Parallel passages o f Peraldus and Pennaforte present some but b y no means most o f the texts which are in corresponding parts o f Chaucer’s homiletic treatise.4 T h e y also present a great many texts which he did not use. T h e Parson’s tale reads like a translation rather than a paraphrase or a more original w ork. From what is apparent o f his methods elsewhere, one may reasonably conjecture that all or almost all o f its over 160 biblical texts— about one-third o f all there are in Chaucer— were found, and probably in the order in which they occur, in the immediate source or sources he actually used. T h at this m ay have been a French compilation based on Peraldus, Pennaforte, (and others?) has been suggested.5 In any case, since the Latinity 1 Development and Chronology (Chaucer Soc. 1907), p. 202, n. 4. 2 N one o f the biblical texts are derived from Boccaccio’s D e Casibus. T h e ‘errors’, esp. in Nebuchadnezzar’s tragedy, may indicate some additional source(s) or, more likely, Chaucer’s concern for vividness rather than accuracy. 3 E .g. ‘A minute examination o f all the parallel passages in Chaucer and Boccaccio reveals striking differences o f treatment, and throws in high relief Chaucer’s painstaking study o f the Vulgate, his ceaseless interest as he darts back and forth among the verses, his care to match phrase with phrase in his characteristic transpositions. T h at he must have had the V ulgate beside him for a considerable time is clear as daylight* (Landrum, p. 92). 4 See Petersen, Sources. 3 Bryan and Dempster: the latter’s chapter on this tale, p. 723 f.



o f his renderings has been insisted on, and in spite o f his very occasionally giving the Latin itself1— and making the Parson declare, ‘thilke precious fruyt that the book clepeth the hundred fruyt. I ne kan seye it noon oother weyes in Englissh, but in Latyn it highte Centesimus fructus’2— one may also observe the persistently Gallic quality o f the w ork. T h u s:3 (1) Eo quod in multa sapientia multa sit indignatio: et qui addit scientiam, addit et laborem. W hoso that hadde the science to knowe the peynes that been establissed and ordeyned for synne, he wolde make sorwe. (2) Infelix ego homo, quis me liberabit de corpore mortis huius? Allas, I ca ytyf man! w ho shal delivere me fro the prisoun o f m y caytyf body? (3) D iligite inimicos vestros, benefacite his qui oderunt vo s: et orate pro persequentibus et calumniantibus vos. Loveth youre enemys, and preyeth for hem that speke y o w harm, and eek for hem that yo w chacen and pursewen, and dooth bountee to hem that yo w haten. (4) Et in multis sermonibus invenietur stultitia. N o w comth janglynge . . . as seith Salomon, ‘It is a sygne o f apert folye’. Such examples m ay indicate no more than the large number o f French loanwords in Chaucer’s English; but, remembering the M elibeus, one wonders i f they do not point to an immediate source which was French. I f Tatlock, as quoted above, was right (and the evidence from w orks with known sources seems to bear him out), it is possible that the number, closeness o f translation, and linguistic flavour4 o f Chaucer’s biblical (and other) citations m ay help indicate the 1 T h e opening text and 11. 540, 597, 598, 639. 2 L . 869. 3 T exts from V u lg. and P a r sT .: (1) Eccl. i. 18 and 1. 229; (2) Rom . vii. 24 and 1. 344; (3) Matt. V . 44 and 1. 526; (4) Eccl. v. 2 and 1. 649.

4 A n d what might be called non-integral use and integral use, i.e. mere citation or free application to character, situation, & c .



kind o f sources he used where these have not yet been deter­ mined. In this connexion, however, considering the many factors involved, it would be hazardous to draw too definite conclusions from citations only. T h e other w orks noteworthy for scriptural texts are the tales o f the Friar, Summoner, Merchant, Pardoner, and N un’s Priest. Taken together, their biblical references, if not found elsewhere in Chaucer or in w orks other than the Bible itself, are mainly allusions, more or less full, rather than quota­ tions. But there are exceptions; and, at this stage in the study o f his sources, it may be supposed that for the comparatively small number o f remaining quotations in these tales he went to the Vulgate itself. H ow well, then, did Chaucer know the Bible? This question will probably never admit o f a complete answer. But i f know ing the Bible means calling up the names or, in a general w ay, the stories o f numerous, m ostly very familiar, biblical worthies and reference ranging from only possible allusion to full quotation o f hundreds o f specific texts wherever he go t them, then his know ­ ledge was considerable. M oreover his references are spread over most books o f the Bible including a number o f the Apocrypha; and his texts represent the O ld and N ew Testaments in roughly equal proportion. A bou t one-third o f the O ld Testament texts are from Genesis, Job, Psalms, and Ecclesiastes, another third from Proverbs; two-thirds o f the N ew Testament texts are from the Gospels (especially Matthew), Corinthians, and Revelation; most o f the Apocryphal texts are from Ecclesiasticus. It could therefore be conjectured that i f Chaucer owned or borrowed the Vulgate, he did not necessarily have all o f it; or (like most o f us) he gave his principal attention to some parts rather than others. But this distribution can be explained otherwise. A s to further influences on the actual phraseology o f Chaucer’s texts— that is, aside from particular sources (including the Vulgate) already discussed— the possibilities are bewildering in their variety: Jean de Meun, Dante, Boethius, Petrarch, Boc­ caccio, & c ., common proverbs in several languages, perhaps favourite classical authors like O vid or V irgil, and the vast unexplored areas o f medieval writing which he could have pillaged ‘somtyme in chyvachie’. O ne m ay often suspect the



over-zealousness o f scholars in finding remoter reminiscences in Chaucer’s phrase, but some cases are highly probable.1 Likewise, no evidence has thus far been accumulated to show the influence on his texts o f earlier English biblical translations or o f text-rich legends, homilies, and treatises from Anglo-Saxon onwards, though fortuitous agreement with his wording must occur.2 T h e most interesting question is whether Chaucer was influenced b y the W ycliffite Bible. T he first version o f this was completed in 1382, midway in the poet’s career, and, though the fact is probably not significant, before the composition o f those o f his works which contain the great majority o f his quotations. Tatlock argued the likelihood o f Chaucer’s acquaintance with W y c lif’s efforts and possibly w ith W y clif;3 but stated (in another unsupported footnote): ‘I should add that there is no evidence o f Chaucer’s having used the W yclifite Bible; J. H. Ramsay’s evidence is w holly unconvincing. W yclifite or not, he would have stuck to the Vulgate.’4 Miss Landrum agreed, and offered as one illustration o f the dissimilarity o f W y c lif and Chaucer some verses from I John where Skeat had suggested comparison o f the two authors, probably because o f their sim ilarity at this point.5 1 shall not reprint these passages; there are many others, when Chaucer is as close to the Latin as the W ycliffite rendering and when, using an allied dialect at about the same time, he is similar— or not similar.6 O n the whole, however, comparison o f all Chaucer’s texts with the W ycliffite Bible o f 1382 (or the later version o f 1397) does not produce a single clear-cut case o f stylistic borrowing on his part, for one reason that he is 1 F o r M e l, 1292, Skeat and Robinson suggest Rom . xii. 17, 1 Pet. iii. 9, 1 Thess. v. 15, I Cor. iv. 12. O ne might add Rom . xii. 18, 21 ; xiv. 19. 2 E .g. Miss Landrum finds no influence o f Rolle's translations o f the Psalms. I agree. 3 J. S. P. Tatlock, ‘ Chaucer and W yc lif', M . P ., xiv (1917), 257-68. Unless stated otherwise, m y comments refer to the W y c lif Bible completed in 1382. T h e 1397 version is too late to have had much influence, if any, on Chaucer. 4 Ibid., p. 67 n. 2. See p. 183, n. 2. 5 Works, v. 453, and Landrum, p. 85. T h e passages are Gen. iii. 1 - 7 and P a rsT y

3^ 5- 306 E .g., similar are (W yclif) Ps. xx. 4, Jer. iv. 2, Matt. v. 34-37, Phil. iii. 18 -19 and, respectively, M el,

1735, P arsT , 592, 588-90, 819-20; not similar are Job xx. 25,

Ps. lxxv. 6, Eccl. vii. 4 -6 , 1 Macc. iii. 18 -19 , Ecclus. xix. 8-9 and, respectively, P arsT , 191, M el, 193, 1707-10, 166 1-3, I I 4 I * Rarely, Chaucer's version o f a text could be pieced together from the wording o f both versions o f the W y c lif Bible: e.g. Job x. 20-22, Matt, xxxiv. 37 and, respectively, M el, 17 6 -7 , P arsT , 588-90, where the similarities are probably accidental.



com m only not so close to the Vulgate. T h e W ycliffite 1382 version o f the texts just given w ill serve to enforce this point: (1) F o r thi that in myche wisdam is myche indignacioun, and that addith kunnyng, addeth and trauaile. (2) I am w ooful man; w ho schal delyuere me fro the body o f this synne? (3) But Y say to 30U, loue 3ee 30ure enemyes, do 3ee wel to hem that haten 30U and preye 3ee for men pursuynge, and falsly chalengynge 30U. (4) A nd in manye wrdis shal ben founde folie. Beside these rather slavish translations, the independence, ease, and vigour o f the Chaucerian parallels, though they are perhaps not his most independent and lively, are manifest. In the follow ing text, characteristically extended, Chaucer is yet farther from the W ycliffite version.1 Induite vos ergo sicut electi D ei, sancti et delecti, viscera miseri­ cordiae benignitatem humilitatem, modestiam, patientiam. (Vulgate) Therfore clothe 30U as the chosun o f G od, and hooly, and the loued o f G od, the entrailis o f mercy, benygnite, and meknesse, and pacience. (W ycliffite) ‘ Clothe yo w , as they that been chosen o f G od, in herte o f misericorde, suffraunce, and swich manere o f clothynge’ ; o f which Jhesu Crist is moore apayed than o f heyres, or haubergeouns, or hauberkes. (Chaucer) Chaucer, it would seem, was not much influenced b y English writers, past or present. A t any rate, in no single instance as yet certified did he borrow a biblical text or its particular phrasing from an English work. Apparently he got most o f his texts from his immediate sources, some from his personal knowledge o f the Bible. T h e rendering o f them b y the greatest and most original o f all English medieval writers could but be his own. Moreover, his methods o f translation reveal much concerning his attitude to h oly scripture: and this, primarily, was not that o f a scholar, theologian, or preacher, but that o f a professional writer to whom all experience and all books, including the Bible, 1 Col. iii. 12 in the V ulg., W y c lif Bible, and P arsT , 1054.



were grist for the mill. This will explain most o f the occasional inaccuracies o f quotation— o f translation, attribution, and refer­ ence, or the frequent and free elaboration, or the blending together o f different citations;1 and it will explain passages which, in a later writer, might seem irreverent or in questionable taste.2 T o Chaucer and his contemporaries, whoso would ‘telle a tale after a man’ certainly did not hesitate to ‘feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe’. But, in Chaucer’s case, the sometimes incautious Biblist was ever the careful artist. He did not hesitate to choose for the manly m onk from the less edifying, more savage and sensational scriptural episodes, and deliberately, perhaps, to heighten them with such heretical details as the emasculation o f Samson alcoholically and o f Daniel actually.3 From beak o f bird and gap-tooth w idow pours forth an eloquence o f scriptural allusion— from the latter most often, recklessly out o f context, variously misapplied to her domestic rough-and-tumble, admixed w ith high bawdry and low comedy. Frequently biblical reference is meant to give greater significance to character or incident, as when Custance in her affliction brings to mind Jonah and St Mary o f E gypt, in her fortitude D avid and Judith (strangely enough), in her mother­ hood the Blessed Virgin. In general, it is the medieval habit o f citation, the favourite w ay to carry or clinch an argument, as Chantecler, Dame A lys, January, and the proponents o f weightier 1 Unintentional mistranslation, when determinable and not due to an intermediate

P a rsT , 281, defouled (V ulg. attritus ) ; 680, necligently fraudulenter) ; 898, without judge (V u lg. absque iugo). Errors as in B D , 1162, Tubal (for Jubal) ; Anel, 150, Lamek (for Jabal) ; M k T ', 2152, gelde (from D an. i. 3?); 2156, tweye (for three) could be mere slips o f memory. Misattribution is frequent,

source, is rare. Probable cases are: (V u lg.

especially in assigning (but not always) Ecclus. to Solomon rather than Jesus, son o f Sirach, an ancient error referred to b y Æ lfric and also in Chaucer’s sources. O ther

M el, 995, Syrak (for Salomon,, author o f P ro v.); 1676, James Seneca); JVBProl, 146, M ark (for John); P arsT , 115, Crist (for John B aptist ), & c .; and, in reference, P arsT , 189, Jer. (for I Sam.), & c. Blended quotations and allusions are probable in L G IV, 1879-82 (Matt. viii. 10, xv. 28, and Luke vii. 9); M L P ro l, 120 (Prov. xix. 7 and O vid , Tristia, i. 9, 5); W B Prol, 5 1-5 2 (I C or., 9 and 28); P a rsT , 854,

errors in attribution are: (for

(Prov. vi. 26-29,

2^y and Ecclus. xii. 13, 14, xiii. i, xxvi. 10), & c .; but, as in the last

o f these, the apparent eclecticism may only indicate modem editors* efforts, often unsuc­ cessful, to discover what the less meticulous Chaucer sometimes had in mind. 2 Perhaps the most striking example is the pun on Robinson’s note to

3 M kT, 4, 7, 14.


eructavit in SumT, 1934. See

SqT, 555.

2055; it was Samson’s mother w ho ‘nevere ciser drank ne w y n ’ ; cf. Judges xiii.

M k T , 2152: see p. 188 n. 2 and note 1 above.



matters ably demonstrate. It is the ‘doctryn and sentence’ dear to medieval audiences and medieval aesthetic. A few works it almost comprises: others it amplifies w ith cursory precept, example, and authority, which provide both stylistic ornament and moral enlargement o f the subject at hand. These familiar functions aside, it is less often function than form that makes Chaucer’s texts so memorable. T h ey have his usual elegance and ease, English plainness and Gallic precision and, despite unEnglish origins, are richly and sometimes robustly native. A s translations, they are quite often much wordier than their sources in Latin especially, or French. This is partly due to the demands o f the language and frequently o f metre and rhyme, partly to Chaucer’s engaging informality. Mainly it is due to creative originality and concern for vividness and clarity though it m ight be at the expense o f scholarly or even theological exactitude. There were times when, i f he could improve on the Bible, he did so. Numerous indeed are his expansions, where, as in the last example quoted above, though the quotation marks m ay strictly confine the actual quotation, the sentence and text go on. A nd there is often no sharp division between the citation and its following interpretation after the fashion o f the time. But when Chaucer faithfully and only translates the biblical text, he is still fond o f doublets to render single words in his source. T h is was mainly, no doubt, an artistic device; yet it is w orth noting that in many cases one and sometimes both words thus paired were evidently not too familiar or not long in English, and m ay have been introduced b y Chaucer for the first time.1 Finally, his variant versions o f the same text display his agility and freshness as translator. Many o f these features o f Chaucer’s 1 In doublets, in biblical texts only, are the following, acc. to O .E .D . and M .E .D . : (a) earliest instance,

1300-50: annoy (v), certain, contrary, correct, cover, devour,

dispose,, iniquity, misdoery misericorde, mishappen, negligence, rebuke, receive, revile, science, suffrance, touch (v ): ([b) 1350-1400: abridge, angry, confusion, debate, desperation, doctrine, embrace (v), injury, (c) earliest instance in Chaucer: blandish, concord, consider, credence, effect (n), establish, offence, savouring. Doublets are well illustrated in M el, 170 7-10 : ‘For Salomon seith, “ He is moore worth that repreveth or chideth a fool for his folye, shewynge hym semblant o f wratthe,/than he that supporteth hym and preyseth hym in his m ysdoynge, and laugheth at his folye.” /And this same Salomon seith afterward that “ b y the sorweful visage o f a man“ , that is to seyn b y the sory and hevy contenaunce o f a man,/“ the fool correcteth and amendeth hym self’V A good example o f Chaucer’s expansion o f texts: source quoted in p. 184 n. 4 above.



texts can be seen in his rendering o f the B ook o f Proverbs, given below. It is not enough to say that Chaucer’s quotations, taken together, constitute the finest biblical translation in English before the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. N o translation, it may be, can quite equal the K ing James Version; but none is more individual and, i f the term may be used, entertaining than Chaucer’s. W hatever views he may or may not have held about translating the whole Bible into die vernacular, what a p ity it was not Chaucer, rather than the W ycliffites, w ho did so! T o have a ‘Chaucer Bible’ we would gladly spare the Boethius, M elibeus, the Parson’s tale, and just possibly the W retched Engendering o f M ankind. T o show what it would have been like, I shall put down here: T he B ook o f Proverbs, as translated b y Chaucer1 1. In the dred o f G od man forleteth his synne. 2. W han the condicioun o f man is plesaunt and likynge to G od, he chaungeth the hertes o f the mannes adversaries and constreyneth hem to biseken hym o f pees and o f grace. 3. W ordes that been spoken discreetly b y ordinaunce been honycombes, for they yeven swetnesse to the soule and hoolsomnesse to the body. 4. T h e amyable tonge is the tree o f lyf, that is to seyn, o f ly f espiritueel; and soothly, a deslavee tonge sleeth the spirites o f hym that repreveth and eek o f hym that is repreved. 1 References to Proverbs and Chaucer: i. xvi. 6: P a r s T y 119 ; 2. xvi. 7 : M ely 1719 -2 0 ; 3. xvi. 24: M ely 1 11 3 ; 4. XV. 4: P arsT y 629; 5. x. 19: M ancTy 338; 6. xix. 2: M ely 1512; 7. xvi. 32: M ely 1 5 1 5 -1 6 ; 8. xix. 19: M e ly 1539; 9. xiv. 29: M ely 1513; 10. xv. 18: M ely 1514 ;

i i

. XX. 3: M ely 1485; 12. xxii. 24, 25: Sum Ty 2086-8; 13. xxix. 9: P arsT y 664;

14. xxvi. 17 : M ely 1542; 15. xxviii. 14: M ely 13 17 -18 , 1696; 16. xvii. 22: M ely 995; 17. XXV. 20: M ely 997; 18. xiv. 13: T r y iv. 836; 19. xv. 15: M L P r o ly 118 ; 20* xix. 7 : M L P r o ly 1 2 0 -1 ; 21. xiv. 20: M L P r o ly 1 1 5 -1 6 ; 22. xxviii. 19: M ely 15 9 0 -1; 23. xx. 4: M ely 1593; 24. XXV. 2 1: P arsT y 569; 25. xvii. 1: P arsT y 633; 26. xxii. 1: M ely 1638;

27. XXV. 16: M ely 1628-9; 28. xxviii. 20: M ely 1578; 29. xiii. 2: M ely 1579-80; 30. xix. 14: M erchTy 1 3 1 1 - 1 5 ; 31. xxvii. 15: P arsT y 631; 32. xxi. 9: W B P roly 7 7 8 -9 ; 33. xx. 21, 23: W B P roly 362-4, 3 6 6 -7; 34. xi. 22: W B P roly 784-5, P arsT y 156; 35. xx. 1: P a rsT y

549-50; 36. XXV. 16: M ely 1 4 1 6 -1 7 ; 37. xxxi. 4: M ely 1194; 38. xxii. 17: M ely 1162; 39. xii. 5: M ely 119 7; 40. xi. 14: M ely 1 1 7 1 ; 41. xxvii. 9: M ely 1158; 42. xvi. 29: P a rsT y 614; 43. xxix. 5: M ely 117 8 -9 ; 44. xxviii. 23: M ely 170 4 -5; 45. xxv. 18: P a rsT y 566; 46. xxviii. 15: P arsT y 568; 47. xi. 7 : P a rsT y 227; 48. viii. 17: P arsT y 709.



5. In muchel speche synne wanteth naught. 6. T h e doctrine and the w it o f a man is knowen b y pacience. 7. It is moore worth to be pacient than for to be right strong; and he that may have the lordshipe o f his owene herte is moore to preyse than he that b y his force or strengthe taketh grete citees. 8. He that is nat pacient shal have greet harm. 9. He that is pacient govem eth hym b y greet prudence. 10. T h e angry and wrathful man maketh noyses, and the pacient man atempreth hem and stilleth. 11. It is a greet worshipe to a man to kepen hym fro noyse and stryf. 12. N e be no felawe to an irous man, ne with no w ood man walke b y the weye, lest thee repente. 13. I f thou stryve with a fool, though the fool be w rooth or though he laughe, algate thou shalt have no reste. 14. He that entremetteth hym o f the noyse or strif o f another man is lyk to hym that taketh an hound b y the eris. 15. W eleful is he that o f alle hath drede; for certes, he that thurgh the hardynesse o f his herte, and thurgh the hardynesse o f hymself, hath to greete presumpcion, hym shal yvel bityde. 15. He that hath over-hard an herte, atte laste he shal myshappe and mystyde. 16. A man that is joyous and glad in herte, it conserveth florissynge in his age; but soothly sorweful herte maketh his bones drye. 17. Right as motthes in the shepes flees anoyeth to the clothes, and the smale wormes to the tree, right so anoyeth sorwe to the herte. 18. T h e ende o f blisse ay sorwe it occupieth. 19. A lle the dayes o f povre men been wikke. 20. I f thou be povre, thy brother hateth thee, and alle thy freendes fleen from thee, alias! 21. T h y selve neighebor w ol thee despise. I f thou be povre, farwel thy reverence! 22. He that travailleth and bisieth hym to tilien his land, shal eten breed; but he that is ydel and casteth hym to no bisynesse


23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

28. 29.


31. 32. 33.

34. 34. 35. 36.



ne occupacioun, shal falle into poverte, and dye for hunger. T h e ydel man excuseth hym in wynter b y cause o f the grete coold, and in somer b y enchesoun o f the greete heete. Fedeth hym that almoost dyeth for honger. Bettre is a morsel o f breed w ith joye than an hous ful o f delices with chidynge. Bettre it is and moore it availleth a man to have a good name, than for to have grete richesses. It is bettre to have a litel good w ith the love o f G od, than to have muchel good and tresour, and lese the love o f his Lord G od. He that hasteth hym to bisily to wexe riche shall be noon innocent. T h e richesse that hastily cometh to a man, soone and lightly gooth and passeth fro a man; but that richesse that cometh litel and litel, wexeth alwey and multiplieth. A w y f is Goddes yifte verraily; alle othere manere yiftes hardily, as londes, rentes, pasture, or commune, or moebles, alle been yiftes o f Fortune, that passen as a shadwe upon a wal. A n hous that is uncovered and droppynge, and a chidynge w yf, been lyke. Bet is . . . hye in the ro o f abyde, than with an angry w y f doun in the hous. T her been thynges thre, the whiche thynges troublen al this erthe, and . . . no w ight m ay endure the ferthe. . . . A n hateful w y f yrekened is for oon o f thise meschances. A fair womman, but she be chaast also, is like a gold ryng in a sowes nose. Likneth a fair womman that is a fool o f hire body ly k to a ring o f gold that were in the groyn o f a soughe. A lecherous thyng is w yn, and dronkenesse is ful o f stryvyn g and o f wrecchednesse. I f thou hast founden hony, ete o f it that suffiseth; for i f thou ete o f it out o f mesure, thou shalt spewe, and be nedy and povre. There is no privetee ther as regneth dronkenesse.



38. A xe alwey thy conseil o f hem that been wise. 39. T h e conseillyng o f wikked folk is alw ey ful o f fraude. 40. Salvacion o f thynges is where as ther been manye conseillours. 41. R ight as the herte o f a man deliteth in savour that is soote, right so the conseil o f trewe freendes yeveth swetnesse to the soule. 42. Flaterie is wors than detraccioun. 43. T h e wordes o f a flaterere is a snare to cacche with innocente. 43. He that speketh to his freend wordes o f swetnesse and o f plesaunce, setteth a net bifom his feet to cacche hym. 44. He that repreveth hym that dooth folye, he shal fynde gretter grace than he that deceyveth hym b y sweete wordes. 45. Bakbiteres . . . they han two swerdes w ith whiche they sleen hire neighebores. 46. Leon rorynge and bere hongry been like to the crueel lordshipes in withholdynge or abreggynge o f the shepe (or the hyre), or o f the wages o f servauntz, or elles in usure, or in withdrawynge o f the almesse o f povre folk. 47. T h e wikked man dyeth, and whan he is deed, he shal have noon hope to escape fro peyne. 48. W hoso wolde b y the m orwe awaken and seke me, he shal fynde. Thus, the counsels o f Solomon, A gu r, and Lem uel’s mother, transmuted in the old and beautiful language o f Chaucer. This is the largest group o f his quotations from any one b ook o f the Bible; and there are m any more instances o f less sure indebtedness or mere allusion to the same book. T h e majority o f these texts, it w ill be noted, are from compositions o f certain or probable, single non-biblical source, but not all; and they are spread fairly w idely throughout the w ork o f Chaucer. T h e y and the similarly large aggregate o f borrowings from Job, Ecclesiastes, Eccle­ siasticus, & c., as also much o f his favourite reading beyond the Bible, confirm the fondness o f Chaucer and his age for wisdom literature generally. It is not surprising, then, that the greatest number o f his quotations from Genesis to Revelation have connotations or contexts o f moral wisdom ; and it was no acci­ dent that he produced his M elibeus and Parson’s tale, the lost



W retched Engendering, and the Boethius. T h ey were evidently written at such different times in his career that he must always have been a man o f serious concern, with which his lighter jeux d’esprit are never really in conflict. T o hold that the Parson’s tale, as it comes last in the manuscripts (immediately preceded, how ­ ever, b y the Manciple’s tale), and Retractation represent final ‘repentance’ on Chaucer’s part is to take a sceptical view o f his lifelong moral integrity or accuse him, perhaps justly, o f senility. Chaucer’s scriptural texts can thus be regarded as one important index o f his mind. T hat this was the mind not only o f an artist and moralist but at the same time specifically Christian, a great many texts reveal and none confutes. A s a Christian mind, it was neither profound nor pietistic. It had interest in some important theological problems, and was also content to leave their solution to the ‘divynes’. V ery few o f the biblical quotations em body the more mystical and miraculous aspects o f Christianity. T h ey may be assumed to reveal the eminently practical faith o f a busy man o f this world, whose personal eschatology comprised the simple fundamentals o f salvation, heaven and hell, and not much more. It is no disparagement o f Chaucer to say that he was secular, in both original and derived senses o f the word. He belongs to the late fourteenth century and much o f its temper he represents— i f not its religious unorthodoxies, certainly its outspoken dis­ content w ith ecclesiastical practice. His biblical quotations, as they stand and however derived, reveal a Christian w ho is also a w orldly realist, a humanist in spite o f human folly, a man who is very wise and, in prospect o f the inevitable ironies o f existence, perhaps, like Job, or like Gandalf, at times a little weary.


G O D ’S W ENCHES A N D THE LIG H T T H A T SPOKE (Some notes on Langland’s kind o f poetry)


It was Y m agyn atyf who first recognized that Langland wrote poetry and he rebuked him for it. ‘T h o w medlest the with makynges,’ he said, ‘and mightest go sey thi sauter.’ 1 O ne may take this as the stricture upon him self o f a religiously minded man, looking back over five and forty winters o f a life he judged to have been largely wasted, ‘for there ar bokes ynow e to telle men what D ow el is, D obet and D obest bothe’. He had let himself play about with poetry, only to form an incurable and timeconsuming habit that led nowhere. He might have been better employed. A nd indeed there were books enough about the good life and the w ay o f salvation. W hat was unique in Langland’s was the w ay it was ‘made’. There had been dream-visions, allegories, pilgrimages, delineations o f the Seven Sins, discussions o f the Three Lives, satires and complaints before: nor was the rumbling grumble o f alliteration anything new: in fact there had been almost everything that seems to make his poem. Y e t it is un­ matched because o f the quite peculiar workings o f his mind— the workings o f Ym agynatyf, i f b y that phantom we m ay desig­ nate Langland’s modes o f memory,2 association o f ideas and images, sense o f perspective, and feeling for words. He had many o f the gifts that great poets com m only have: 1 B T e x t, Passus x ii, 16 -18 . 2 C f. H . S. V . Jones, Im agin atif in Piers Plowman*, J .E .G .P ., xiii (1914), 5 8 3 -8 .



magnitude o f design, passion, intuitions o f things natural and supernatural, moral intensity, an instinctive ease in seeing one thing in terms o f another, luck i f not cunning in language, an obsessive theme. There are passages when his genius seems to fail him, as he flounders in the troublesome debates in which his quest involves him: but that is neither here nor there. W hat matters is that he has a great poet’s stunning-power, and there are elements in it that I seem to meet nowhere but in him. T h e y are not easy to account for, or even to describe, for this very reason; he breaks all convention and cannot readily be accommodated b y the accepted language o f criticism. First among his unique creative gifts is a huge fluidity: P iers Plowman flows w ith powerful ease, up and down through Tim e and Space, with sudden tides that take unforeseeable directions without a w ord o f warning: they carry the reader, sometimes protesting, from inner to outer worlds, natural and supernatural, with the arbitrary energies o f a dream that has its secret purposes and destinations. In the end a reader perceives something o f their organic shape, though no map that he can make o f them is entirely satisfactory. T o give example o f the m obility o f which I am speaking, the poem opens with the world at w ork in a field, moves sw iftly to Westminster and back, undertakes a pilgrimage, but pauses to plough what is said to be a half-acre but seems to be another image for the w orking world. T h e Dreamer then awakes in the Malvern Hills, and turns inward into the life o f the mind, m oves once more to the life o f London, then to the life o f Nature in this middle-earth, and after many encounters in other places for the most part nameless, finds himself between Jericho and Jerusalem, stands at Calvary, descends into Hell, and returns thence to his cottage in C om hill in time for Easter Mass. Beyond that it moves into an indeterminate Christendom, centred b y implication in Rom e, but yet is soon without a centre o f any sort and is seen as a devastated area with no other confines than the w orld itself. In the course o f this astonishing pilgrimage o f his in space, the Dreamer is present at the coronation o f Richard II, confers w ith Abraham and Moses, is an eye-witness o f the Crucifixion, and o f the Harrowing o f Hell, and after watching the building o f H o ly Church, sees it tom down b y Antichrist.



Present, Past, and Future are as instantly present to him as are the varied regions o f his search, and though there is no logical pattern in these swift movements, there is a cogency in each as it happens. T h e fluidity and freedom o f these shifting tides o f dream result in a total form which could only come from a poet o f archetypal or m yth-creating power. H ow ever w e analyse the detail o f its structure, it has organic shape— the shape is o f a spiritual hunger o f search for some great epiphany that w ill show us what we are seeking, in a dream: the epiphany is granted and the Dream er stumbles upon glo ry: but when it has been given into his hands to hold for ever, it is taken from him b y an enemy and he is left in desolation and awake, w ith all his journey still to do. This is surely the shape o f a universal experience. P iers Plowman is often described as an allegory, even as the greatest o f English allegories,1 and that w ill do well enough for ordinary purposes: no one w ill be greatly misled. But the poem is so exceptional in its modes o f vision that when w e look at it closely we are forced to revise this general account o f it and consult our definitions. T h e most trenchant and authoritative description o f allegory I know is that o f C . S. Lew is, where he is speaking o f the equivalences or correspondences, perceived b y a poetic mind, between material and immaterial things: This fundamental equivalence between the immaterial and the material may be used by the mind in two w ays.. . . On the one hand you can start with an immaterial fact, such as the passions which you actually experience, and can then invent visibilia to express them. If you are hesitating between an angry retort and a soft answer, you can express your state of mind by inventing a person called Ira with a torch and letting her contend with another invented person called Patientia. This is allegory. . . . But there is another way of using the equivalence, which is almost the opposite of allegory, and which I would call sacramentalism or symbolism. If our passions, being immaterial, can be copied by material inventions, then it is possible that our material world in its turn is the copy of an invisible world. . . . The attempt. . . to see the archetype in the copy, is what I mean by sym­ bolism or sacramentalism.2 Pure allegory o f this kind is nowhere better seen than in the Psychom achia o f Prudentius, which Lewis instances. It must be 1 C . S. Lew is, The Allegory o f Love (O xford , 1936), p. 158.

* Ibid.,' pp.44—45.



am ong the finest o f the mechanical operations o f the spirit. A s it is all o f a piece throughout, a single quotation will suit m y present purpose: it is from the passage that describes the battle between Pudicitia and Sodomita Libido.* And now, at hand, next on the grassy field, Steps Virgin Chastity with shining shield, Whom Sodom-Lust, with home-grown torches girt, Assaults with flaming sulphur, pitch and dirt, And at the Maid’s chaste eyes she seeks to poke Her flaming pine, to blast them with foul smoke. Yet with a stone the Virgin’s fearless hand Strikes down the She-wolf’s arm and furious brand. Thus from her sacred face the flames she smote, Then with a sword she cut the Harlot’s throat. Piers Plowm an is a world and an age away from the Psychomachia. Gone are the modish rhetoric and the august Virgilian background, gone the notion o f the soul as an orderly battlefield for the passions, where decisive victories in epic style smash, rather than probe, its problems. W h o now can feel the manifold o f moral tensions in any sort o f temptation, sexual or other, in terms o f a straight fight between tw o strapping amazons, whose sex is predetermined b y purely grammatical considerations? Perhaps Prudentius and his early readers felt it so, but for us these equivalences no longer suffice: imagination must make some wider cast, like that o f Flaubert’s w ho, in bodying forth the temptations o f St A n ton y,2 anticipated those o f G ide:3 J’ai repoussé le monstrueux anachorète qui m’offrait, en riant, des petits pains chauds, le centaure qui tâchait de me prendre sur sa croupe,— et cet 1 Prudentius, Psychomachia, lines 40-50: exim gramineo in campo concurrere prompta virgo Pudicitia speciosis fulget in armis, quam patrias succincta faces Sodomita Libido adgreditur piceamque ardenti sulpure pinum ingerit in faciem pudibundaque lumina flammis adpetdt, et taetro temptat subfundere fumo, sed dextram furiae flagrantis et ignea dirae tela lupae saxo ferit inperterrita virgo, excussasque sacro taedas depellit ab ore. tunc exarmatae iugulum meretricis adacto transfigit gladio. (Loeb edn (Cam bridge, Mass., 1949), i. 282.) 2 L a Tentation Je Saint Antoine (Paris, 1954), p. 14. 3 S i le grain ne meurt (Paris, 1928), p. 345.



enfant noir apparu au milieu des sables, qui était très beau, et qui m'a dit s’appeler l’esprit de fornication. Prudentius, however, was more concerned to tell us that Lust was bad than to tell us what it was like, and consequently the more his ‘equivalence’ is elaborated, the more it disappears. A nd this is true o f his whole poem. W ith sturdy Latin steps he follows the ignis fatuus o f a literary formula, little thinking that it is the poet’s business to show us the forms o f things unknown, and rakes round the shelf-access o f his mind for images already invented. A s all are known, so all are predictable, and we watch the outcome o f their battles with that yawning expectation com m only accorded to a bombe surprise : it is cold, tasteless, and inevitable. Langland’s personified figures are o f a different kind and, at their best, give no sense o f having been fabricated: Glutton sounds as i f he had been seen not once but many times in some Colwall pub, and Coveytise at any W inchester fair: And thanne cam Coueytise, can I hym noughte descryue, So hungriliche and holwe sire Heruy hym loked. He was bitelbrowed and baberlipped also, With two blered eyghen, as a blynde hagge: And as a letheren purs lolled his chekes, Wei sydder than his chyn: thei chiueled for elde: And as a bondman of his bacoun his berde was bidraueled. (B v. 188-94) and, later, ‘Repentedestow the eure’, quod Repentance, ‘ne restitucioun madest?’ ‘Yus, ones I was herberwed,’ quod he, ‘with an hep of chapmen, I roos whan thei were arest, and yrifled here males.’ ‘That was no restitucioun,’ quod Repentance, ‘but a robberes thefte, Thou haddest be better worthy be hanged therfore Than for al that that thow hast here shewed.’ ‘I wende ryflynge were restitucioun’, quod he, ‘for I lemed neuere rede on boke, And I can no Frenche in feith, but of the ferthest ende of Norfolke.' (B v. 232-9) W here did Langland hear this enchanting joke? Could he have invented it? It has the ring o f natural authenticity. A n d w ho was Sir H ervy that looked so hungerly and hollow that he gave



Langland an idea o f covetousness? Skeat notes that b y Skelton’s time the name had become traditional for a picklock, and quotes 'H aruy Hafter, that wel coude picke a male’.1 But perhaps Skelton found the name in Langland, and Langland found it in life: Sir H ervy might have been some famished, covetous priest he knew, for Proust tells us that a creative writer uses all his acquaintance in imagining a character: . . . il n’est pas un geste de ses personnages, un tic, un accent, qui n’ait été apporté à son inspiration par sa mémoire, il n’est pas un nom de personnage inventé sous lequel il ne puisse mettre soixante noms de personnages vus, dont l’un a posé pour la grimace, l’autre pour le monocle, tel pour la colère, tel pour le mouvement avantageux du bras, etc.23 Y e t i f w e doubt the historicity o f Sir H ervy, there is always L ady M eed. Nowhere is she called A lice Perrers in the poem, but it is hardly possible that this woman did not sit (in Langland’s mind) for her portrait as the R ad ix M alorum , married to a fiend and feoffed with the Seven Sins. F or Langland she sym ­ bolized Graft. W hether we call L ady M eed an allegorical or a sym bolic character, she is, as imagery, simple enough, such as another poet, even a Prudentius, might have ‘invented’. But unique in Langland’s ‘making’ o f personified abstractions is the character o f Piers himself. T h e equivalences are kept shadowy and change­ able: P iers is not a plain label like Pudicitia. O n ly gradually do we become aware o f the significances the name includes and it is worth remarking that those w ho know the poem best differ among themselves over shades o f meaning in him— a sure sign (since no one attributes this to incompetence in Langland) that Piers is a living character that can be argued over like Falstaff, and not an unmistakable abstraction like Sodomita Libido, whose nature is not in doubt, in spite o f her grammatical sex. T h e meanings in Piers are the central meanings o f the entire poem and we see them dissolve into one another at every fresh epiphany, with accumulated and ascending richness. T h e solid, simple farmer, honest worker, faithful son o f the 1 W . W . Skeat, The Vision o f W illiam concerning Piers the Plowman (O xford, 1886), ii. 81, n o te to C

v ii.


3 L e Temps retrouvé (Paris, 1927), pp. 54-55.



Church, w ho alone knows the w ay to Truth, returns long after as the G ood Samaritan, a figure for Charity, and is seen at last in Christ, or Christ in him : into these meanings w e must also pour others which Langland found in the gloss and adumbrated in his retelling o f this parable: the man w ho fell among thieves is Fallen Man himself. T h e Priest and the Levite that passed b y on the other side are the Patriarchs. T h e G ood Samaritan is Christ in his humanity. T o this gloss, Langland added identifica­ tions: the patres antiqui o f H ugh o f St V ictor1 were to Langland Abraham and Moses, emblems o f Faith and H ope: what else then could the G ood Samaritan be but an emblem o f Charity? A ll these meanings pass into Piers when w e hear o f the entry o f Jesus into Jerusalem, to joust in Piers’ arms, humana natura, and when Christ rises in triumph out o f Hell, he still has some touch o f Piers about him: ‘Is this Iesus the luster?’ quod I, ‘that Iuwes did to deth? Or is it Pieres the Plowman? . . . ’ (B XXX. io- i i ) Later still we are told that Jesus, while on earth, lived the lives o f D ow el, D obet, and D obest:2 so these meanings, which are the quest-meanings o f the whole poem, also pass into Piers and w e are brought to realize that he has stood for them throughout and is their human custodian, the builder o f Christ’s church and Allegoriae in novum testamentum quoted b y D . W . Robertson Piers Plowman and Scriptural Tradition (Princeton, 1951),

1 See the passage from and




pp. 207-8. 2 See B X IX . 104-85: In his iuuente this Iesus atte Iuwen feste W ater into w yn toum ed, as h o ly w rit telleth, A n d there bigan G o d o f his grace to D ow el. For w y n is lykned to lawe and ly f o f holynesse. . . . [C f. Walafridus Strabus on John ii. 7 : 'Christus . . . maluit de aqua vinum facere, ut doceret se non solvere legem, sed implere, nec in Evangelio alia facere vel docere quam quae prophetia praedixit/ (Migne,

P a tr . L a t., cxiv. 363.)]

A n d whan he was woxen more, in his moder ab sence,. . . . . . he conforted carful, & caughte a gretter name, T h e whiche was D obet, where that he w e n t .. . . . . . 'A n d blessed mote thei alle be, in b o d y & in soule, T h a t neuere shal se me in sighte, as thow doste nouthe . . •

B eati qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, etc * A n d whan this dede was done, D obest he taughte, A n d y a f Pieres power and pardoun he graunted T o alie manere men mercy & fo r y y fn e s .. . .



House o f Unity. I f we are to ‘lerne to loue and leue o f alle othre’, which is the last advice o f Kynde,1 and sums the whole moral content o f the poem, and o f Christianity, we must seek Piers. N o wonder, where so many significances crowd in, i f critics differ in their emphasis when they interpret it! W hat I would at present stress, however, is not the meaning but the ‘making’ o f Piers: we recognize in him at first an allegorical figure, a visible, invented personification for an abstraction that we may call ‘D ow el’. Next, an abstraction still personified, he teaches the Dreamer about the Tree o f Charity. Then w e see him identified with the G ood Samaritan w ho is a figure from parable, not allegory, and in company with Abraham and Moses, w ho are neither abstractions nor fictions but historic people, used as symbols o f Faith and Hope. Then he is Christ’s humanity, visible and historical; the sum o f Charity seen in person. W hen we look to our definitions, w e see that all that is finest and most central in this figure is ‘made’ b y a coalescence or fusion o f allegory, parable, and sym bol, and that is the poetic fact that volts it with imaginative power, unmatched in its own region o f discourse. Langland is a visionary poet trying to discern the shape and meaning in our mortal predicament, through whatever kind o f imagery rises to and is accepted b y his mind, not an allegorical versifier at w ork upon a tidy little scheme, according to known rules. W e can see this same principle (the fusion o f allegory and symbol) giving vigour to his sense o f landscape, and even o f action. T o consider landscape first, the poem opens with one o f the most memorable in English poetry: it was once believed to be an allegorical scene, invented to suit the poet’s didactic intention. T o the east, on high, a T o w er o f Truth. Below and to westward, a D ungeon o f Care: in between, a fair field, full o f folk. In these every reader can recognize an allegory o f Heaven, Earth, and Hell, a fabricated theatrical set. But now it chances that this landscape has been identified and is as visible and as visitable as it ever was, in the Malvern hills.2 There stands the Herefordshire Beacon, high to the east; below it lies the dungeon1 B X X . 207. 2 A . S. Bright, New L ig h t on Piers Plowman (London, 1928), p. 45.



site o f O ld Castle, a little to the west: in between them the rolling fields o f Colw all parish. These were the visibilia which came, for Langland, to symbolize our human situation and the choice between one or other o f the eternities before us: many a church in Langland’s time had a like image o f D oom over its chancel arch: but Langland saw it in his native countryside. Y e t from this sym bolizing mountain in his poem there descends to the Dreamer a Lady, ‘in lynene yclothid’, w ho is an allegory, a figure invented to stand for H oly Church. A n allegory has issued from a symbol. This same mixture o f kinds can be seen in actions as well as in people and places. Another o f the memorable moments in the poem is the action o f Kynde when he ‘comes out o f the planets’ at the call o f Conscience to protect the House o f U nity, attacked b y Antichrist and the Seven Sins. It is hardly possible to imagine an occasion that could sound more obviously allegorical: this is the action taken b y K ynde: Kynd Conscience tho herde, and cam out of the planetes, And sent forth his foreioures, feures, & fluxes, Coughes, and cardiacles, crampes, and tothaches, Rewmes, and radegoundes, and roynouse scalles, Byles, and bocches and brennyng agues: Frenesyes, and foule yueles, forageres of kynde, Hadde yprikked and prayed polles of peple, That largelich a legioun lese her lyf sone. There was— ‘harrow and help!, here cometh Kynde With Deth that is dredful, to vndone vs alle!’ (B X X . 79-88) Skeat in fact believed this to be an allegory, invented to show how Nature w ill fail man and may even prove his enemy in his hour o f need: Conscience supposes that Nature, for love of Piers the Plowman, will assist men against spiritual foes. But the result is represented as being very different; for Nature also becomes man’s enemy, afflicting him with various bodily diseases.. . . Yet Nature is, at last, man’s true friend: see line 109.1 W hen we take up this reference, w e find line 109 to be as follow s: And Kynde cessede tho to seon the peuple amende. (C X XIII. 109: B X X . 108) Ed. d t., ii. 277, note on C x x m . 80.



But Skeat’s interpretation is mistaken. Langland was not inventing an allegory to show the caprices o f Nature, but show­ ing how Nature serves G od b y putting the fear o f death into man, i f he cannot be brought to repent b y any other means. Langland believed that he had witnessed a similar occasion in his own life­ time— in January 1362, to be precise1— and had no need to invent an allegory: he recorded a fact and interpreted it as a sym bol, ‘m tokenynge o f drede. That dedly synne at domesday shal fordon hem alle*: He preued that thise pestilences were for pure synne, And the southwest wynde on Saterday at euene Was pertliche for pure pryde, and for no poynt elles. Piries and plomtrees were puffed to the erthe, In ensample, ye segges, ye shulden do the bettere. Beches and brode okes were blowen to the grounde, Tomed vpward her tailles in tokenynge of drede, That dedly synne at domesday shal fordon hem alle. (B V. 13-20) K ynde, an allegorical figure, performs a sym bolic action: he is coming to man’s rescue on the D a y o f Antichrist b y warning him o f death. W hen he sees that the warning has been effective, he relents. U I f I have laboured this matter o f allegory and symbolism, it is not to deny the dichotomy, but to show that Langland, at his most Langlandian, and at the top o f his powers as a poet, obtains his effects b y blending or fusing them in his im agery: he may not have done this on purpose, but it was the w ay his mind worked. This is one o f the things that distinguishes his poem from a merely allegorical w ork, like Sawles Warde, The Abbey o f the H oly Ghosty L a Voie du Paradis, The Castle o f Lovey and so on. A s it seems certain that Langland read and used this lastmentioned poem in one o f its many versions, it is o f interest to notice the things in it that attracted him and what he did to turn them into poetry. 1 Ed.

d t., p. 64, note on C vi. 117.



The Castle o f Love is like something pinned out on a board, a blue-print for a poem o f piety. It begins with a versified account o f the Creation and the Fall o f Man and ends with the Incarnation and Passion o f Christ, the Harrowing o f Hell, the Resurrection and the Ascension. Inserted in this cosmic story, after the account o f Adam ’s expulsion from Eden, there comes the parable o f the K ing who had a Thrall that did amiss, and was put in prison: the K ing has four daughters who are concerned at this: tw o o f them, Mercy and Peace, plead for the Thrall’s release: their sterner sisters, Righteousness and Truth, demand his continued detention. T he K ing, however, also had a son, and he, b y offering to take the Thrall’s place, promises to pay the needed ransom: I sal take the clething o f that wretchid prison An d priuily for him sal I paye ransoun: O f his kynde wil I become An d for him wil y take d o m e .. . . On this maner sothfastnes and mercy Sal sone be made gode frendes verraly: Also pece and rightwisnes Thai sal kis with gret swetnes.1

This parable, which is much in the manner o f those in the Gesta Romanorum, is glossed in the expected w ay, and the poem makes, as it were, a fresh start and proceeds to the invention from which it takes its name, b y plunging into allegory. A Castle is prepared for the K ing’s Son and w e are told it is the body o f the V irgin M ary: This is the Maydenes bodi so freo; T h er neuer nas non bote heo That with so fele thewes iwamed wes So that swete mayden Marie wes .2

T h e Castle is built on a rock— two versions go so far as to call it a ‘cragg* grey and hard,3— which is the V irgin’s heart! Here indeed is a call upon us for the suspension o f our dis­ belief. T h e Castle has four crenellated turrets (the Four Cardinal 1 M onk o f Saw ley’s version o f Grosseteste’s Chasteau d*amour, printed in The M inor Poem s o f the Vernon M anuscript, Part I, ed. C . Horstmann (E .E .T .S . 98, 1892), p. 416, 11. 291-300. 2 Ibid., Vernon Version, p. 3 7 4 ,11. 7 6 1-4 . 3 Cursor Mündig G öttingen and C otton versions, 11. 9885-6 (E .E .T .S . 59, 1875), pp. 568-9.


21 1

Virtues), three baileys (Maidenhood, Chastity, and Espousal), and seven barbicans (Meekness, Charity, Abstinence, Chastity, Poverty, Patience, and G hostly Joy). From the midst o f the highest tower there springs a well that fills all the ditches. It is the well o f Grace. A fter its exposition o f the allegory, the poem returns to the outer narrative (following from the Fall) o f the Redemption, b y a brief account o f the Incarnation and Passion o f Christ and the Harrowing o f Hell. It ends with the Resurrection and Ascension: the story is closed with a brief prayer. O u t o f this rigid, frigid affair, Langland seems to have picked some elements in the structure o f his poem, enough, indeed, to make me feel certain that he knew it in one o f its several versions. He was struck b y the image o f an allegorical castle, for instance, and used it twice in his ow n w ork. O n one occasion he too made it serve as an allegory for the human body when he tells us o f the Castle o f Caro, the home o f Anim a. But instead o f pursuing it into crenellations, baileys, barbicans, and other allegorical absurdities, or basing it upon a heart o f rock, he leaves it airy and elemental. In this passage there is no touch o f sym­ bolism : it is purely in the tradition o f Prudentius, except that instead o f epic machinery he employs romance machinery, with a touch o f medieval science: O f erthe and eir it is mad, medlit togideris: With wynd and with watir wittiliche enioynede. Kynde hath closid thereinne, craftily withalle, A lemman that he louith lik to hymselue. Anima heo hatte: to hire hath enuye A proud prikere of Fraunce, Princeps huius mundi, And wolde wynne hire awey with wyles yif he mighte. Ac Kynde knowith this wel and kepith hire the betere.. . . (A X . 3-10) These are correspondences that w ork b y light suggestion, rather than b y didactic enumeration, and they are helped b y the ease and elegance o f the alliteration and rhythmic variableness: all the thoughts make part with the rest o f Langland’s poem, par­ ticularly the association o f Kynde with the Creator, and the cunning o f his creation, o f which we hear much more later:


ENGLISH AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES He is the pyes patroun and putteth it in hire ere, That there the thome is thikkest to buylden and brede.. . .




Princeps huius mundi throws in a neat allusion to the Gospels, yet one in keeping with the general feeling o f gallantry and panache that the imagery calls for, as w ell as w ith the serious under-thought. This is how an allegorical idea can be put to a fanciful, poetic use, without disaster. But Langland was also able to use it, crenellations and all, in a more visionary w ay: it comes immediately after a passage in which his fancy had failed him— the description o f the pilgrimage to T ruth through the T en Commandments. A journey through a landscape can be made to correspond w ith a pilgrimage in moral life, as Bunyan’s more successful im agery shows, but obedience to the Commandments cannot be worked into the scheme, because they are not features in scenery to be passed or by-passed in succession; they are supposed to be with us during the entire journey: for this reason, i f for no other, lines like these are otiose, one o f fancy’s failures: T w o stokkis there stonde, but stynte thou not there: Thei hote stele nought, ne sie nought: strik forth be bothe.1

(A vi. 63-64) But suddenly we come upon another castle; and here, since it is not an image for a human body, but o f the T o w er o f Truth, the architectural elements are brought into play and make imaginative correspondence: Thanne shalt thou come to a court, cler as the sonne. T h e mot is o f mercy the Maner al aboute, And alle the wallis ben o f w y t to holde w il theroute; T h e kimelis ben o f Cristendom that kynde to saue, An d boterasid with beleue so other thou best not sauid: Alle the housis ben helid, hallis and chaumbris, W ith no led but with loue and loughnesse, as bretheren o f o wombe. T h e tour there Treuthe is hymself is vp to the sonne: He may do with the day-sterre what hym dere likith: Deth dar not do thing that he defendith. Grace hattith the gateward.. . . ( A vi. 72-82) 1 Quotations from the A T e x t are taken from the edition b y G . Kane (London, i960), w ith spelling slighdy modified.



O nce again the language leaps easily from one alliteration to another w ith a varying dance and the opening o f the whole poem is recalled in the line ‘T h e tour there Treuthe is hym self is vp to the sonne’. In the lines that follow this w e have a kind o f pun that gives the double significance o f G od’s power over the stars themselves, and o f his control over Lucifer, Death, and Hell. W ith a character­ istic turn from the outer to the inner life, we are then admitted b y Grace to see that our pilgrimage to Truth is a pilgrimage into our own hearts: And if Grace graunte the to go in this wise, Thow shalt see in thi-selue Treuthe sitte in thine herte, In a cheyne of charyte, as thow a childe were.. . . (B V. 615-17) These are some o f the unique ways in which Langland’s mind worked in his ‘makings’— the unforeseeable turn inwards to find the Kingdom o f Heaven within, as well as in a court as clear as the sun, and the touching-off o f half-explicit echoes from the Bible or from other passages in his own poem. T h e chain o f charity recalls the bond o f peace, and the child-image reminds us that we must become as little children to enter the Kingdom o f Heaven. That T ruth and L ove are naturally seated in the human heart he has told us already: to know it instinctively ‘it comseth bi m yght, and in the herte there is the heuede and the heigh welle’ (B 1. 161-2). His treatment o f the Four Daughters o f G od gives us another glimpse o f P iers Plowman in the ‘making’. In The Castle o f Love (in whatever version) they are intolerable prigs; Mercy tells the king her father: ‘Vnderstond,’ quath heo, ‘fader myn! Thow wost that I am doughter thyn, And am ful of Boxumnes, O f Milce and of Swetnes, And al Ich habbe, fader, of the.’1 N o Pharisee in the Tem ple could have spoken better, no, nor Goneril or Regan. Langland does not make Daughters o f G od o f these four 1 Vernon version, 11. 325-9.



phantoms: he simply thinks o f them as ‘wenches’, while creating for their appearance an atmosphere o f darkness pierced b y supernatural light: o f all this the Dreamer is an eye-witness: What for fere of this ferly and of the fais Iuwes, I drowe me in that derkenesse to descendit ad inferno. And there I sawe sothely, secundum scripturas, Out of the west coste, a wenche, as me thoughte, Cam walkynge in the wey; to helle-ward she loked. Mercy hight that mayde, a meke thynge withalle, A ful benygne buirde and boxome of speche. Her suster, as it semed, cam softly walkynge, Euene out of the est, and westward she loked, A ful comely creature: Treuth she highte.. . . Eyther axed other of this grete wonder, O f the dyne & of the derknesse, and how the daye rowed, And which a lighte and a leme lay befor helle. (B XVIII. 110-24) Here, with the mixture o f allegory and symbolism, there is the further mixture o f a homely naturalism with m ystery. W hat more natural than tw o wenches meeting when they are out for a walk? W hat more mysterious than the light lying over the darkness o f Hell? Mercy and T ruth are allegories, East and W est are symbols. T h e choice o f the word wench is the daring o f poetry, to startle us with the familiar in the ambience o f the fantastic. It makes a gothic kind o f contrast, like the lewd m otif in some misericord, that heightens the solemnity o f a chancel, as i f b y shock-tactic. T h e w ay the wenches talk is in keeping with this idea: they talk slang: ‘That thow teilest,’ quod Treuth, ‘is but a tale of waltrot: For Adam and Eue, and Abraham with other Patriarkes and prophetes that in peyne liggen, Leue thow neuere that yone lighte hem alofte brynge, Ne haue hem out of helle. Holde thi tonge, Mercy 1’ (B XVIII. 142-6) T h e mixture o f high com edy with a high m ystery in the con­ versation o f these wenches is o f a piece with what we are told o f Abraham and Moses when they came upon the man w ho fell among thieves:

L A N G L A N D ’S K I N D O F P O E T R Y


Feith had first sighte o f hym, ac he flegh on syde, A n d nolde nought neighen hym b y nyne londes lengthe. Hope cam hippyng after, that hadde so ybosted . . . ; A c whan he hadde sighte o f that segge, asyde he gan him drawe, Dredfully, b y this day! as duk doth fram the faucoun. (B XVII. 57-62)

W ithin the perfect seriousness o f the story, the farce o f Hope hopping, o f Moses behaving like a duck, o f Abraham dodging the encounter b y nine ridges o f plough-land, makes a homeli­ ness in the holiness, as the wenches and their colloquialisms do in the mystery. It brings things down to earth. T h is may perhaps be the best w ay o f approaching the supernatural; it is at least a good w ay: we may see it in a m odem example: Vladimir: There’s a man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults o f his feet. (He takes off his hat again, looks inside it, feels about inside it, knocks on the crown, blows into it, puts it on again.') This is getting alarming. (Silence. Vladimir deep in thought, Estragon pulling at his toes.) One o f the thieves was saved. (Pause.) It’s a reasonable percentage.. . }

W hile he gives humanity to the Four Daughters b y slang, Langland gives transcendence to Christ b y thinking o f him as a voice in a light: light speaks in a darkness that comprehends it not: ‘W hat lorde artow?’ quod Lucifer, ‘quis est isteV

‘Rex glorie’, the lighte sone seide, ‘A n d lorde o f myghte & o f mayne and al manere vertues:

dominus virtutum: Dukes o f this dym place, anon vndo this yates, That C ryst may come in, the Kynges sone o f Heuene.’ A n d with that breth helle brake, with Beliales barres: F o r any w ye or warde, wide opene the yatis. Patriarkes and prophetes, populus in tenebris, Songen seynt Iohanes songe, ecce agnus dei. Lucyfer loke ne myghte, so lyghte hym ableynte. A n d tho that owre lorde loued, into his lighte he laughte. (B XVIII. 314-24)

Between the com edy that gives animation to the four wenches and the m ystery o f light that gives transcendence to Christ comes the strangest figure in the whole poem, a B ook, seen as a person. 1 S. Beckett, W aiting fo r Godot (London, 1956), p. 11.



T h e B ook is the Bible and, so far as that goes, is not an invention: it speaks an astonishing prosopopeia, some o f the most visionary lines in the poem: it appears from nowhere and disappears as soon as it has said its say, like a mystical Jack-in-the-Box: the Dreamer sees that it has something comic and treats it with the same earthy nonchalance as he treats G od’s wenches and at the same time with even more poetry in what it is given to say. It is a perfect illustration o f the grotesque in medieval art: partly ridiculous, partly sublime, even a little mad, b y our standards, perhaps: Thanne was there a wighte with two brode eyen, Boke highte that beupere, a bolde man of speche. ‘By Godes body,’ quod this Boke, ‘I wil here witnesse, That tho this bame was ybore, there biased a sterre . . . And alle the elementz,’ quod the Boke, ‘herof bereth witnesse, That he was God that al wroughte, the walkene firste shewed: Tho that weren in heuene token stella comata. And tendeden hir as a torche to reuerence his birthe: The lyghte folwed the Lorde into the lowe erthe.. . . (B XVIII. 228-39) In all that I have discussed in Langland’s w ay o f ‘making* there is a sense o f the union o f opposites, whether in space and time, allegory and symbol, familiar and fantastic, com ic and sublime: it also has some o f that solidity which Bunyan, in The A uthor's Apology fo r his Book that prefaces The P ilg rim s P ro­ gress, thinks fitting to religious poetry: Solidity indeed becomes the Pen O f him that writeth things divine to men. T h e divine is apprehended as reality through every image he could find or invent in his material and mental w orld, and he brings them all together in the only context that can effortlessly hold such contradictions, the context o f dreams. W hat he achieves is best expressed in terms o f what Blake has to say o f allegory and vision that is to be found among his additions to a catalogue o f his pictures for the year 1810, and which therefore antedates the publication o f Coleridge’s more famous utterance on what is virtually the same theme, in the thirteenth chapter o f the Biographia Literaria. Indeed it not only antedates, but goes

L A N G L A N D ’S K I N D O F P O E T R Y


beyond it: for although Coleridge makes a similar distinction between a w ork o f fancy and one o f imagination (and they might both have used Prudentius as an example o f the former and Langland as an example o f the latter) yet Blake adds an assertion that the Imagination shows us truth, a step which Coleridge is not so incautious as to take. It shows us something about the nature o f reality. For this further claim he might again have instanced Langland, had he known his poetry, with even more commendation than he gives to Bunyan, when he says: Vision or Imagination is a Representation o f what Eternally Exists, Really & Unchangeably. Fable or Allegory is Form ’d b y the daughters o f Memory. Imagination is surrounded b y the daughters o f Inspiration, who in the aggregate are call’d Jerusalem. Fable is allegory, but what the Critics call T h e Fable, is Vision itself. T h e Hebrew Bible & the Gospel o f Jesus are not Allegory, but Eternal Vision or Imagination o f A ll that Exists. Note here that Fable or Allegory is seldom without some Vision. Pilgrim’s Progress is full o f i t . . . but Allegory & Vision ought to be known as T w o Distinct Things, & so call’d for the Sake o f Eternal Life .1

Falstaff thought o f the sun as a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta: and I think Langland would almost have been capable o f such a flight o f fancy: but he would more readily have echoed Blake in saying: ‘What,* it will be Question’d, ‘W hen the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk o f fire somewhat like a Guinea?’ O no, no, I see an Innumerable company o f the Heavenly host crying, ‘H oly, H oly, H oly is the Lord G od Almighty.* I question not m y Corporeal or Vegetative E y e any more than I would Question a W indow concerning a Sight. I look thro’ it & not with it.2

It is perhaps necessary to add that Langland was a Christian poet (in fact the greatest o f English Christian poets) and that he was not writing, nor did he wish to write, ‘pure poetry’ (if there is such a thing). T h e tides that m ove in his writing are religious, which means that not all his powers are amenable to ‘aesthetic’ principles. T o be able to release the forces o f Christian feeling in poetry is not a common gift, as any one can see w ho reads Hym ns Ancient and M odern. N ot everyone that says ‘Lord, L ord’ can do it: but Langland could, and to read him as ‘pure 1 The W ritings o f W illiam Blakey ed. G . Keynes (London, 1925), iii. 145. 2 Ibid., p. 162.

2 I8


poetry* is like laying to read the Bible as merely literature, to hear the Sanctus o f the M ass in B M inor as merely music, or to take a Grünewald altar-piece from its altar and put it in a museum — that is, it is better than not reading it at all. In thinking o f these things it is well to ponder a phrase from the hym n, which, according to the Apocryphal Gospel o f S t John? was sung b y Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper, before they went out into the Mount o f O lives: Divine Grace is dancing, Dance ye all! Y e who are not dancing K now not what w e are knowing. 1 T h e passage here quoted is taken from the version made b y G u stav H olst for his Hymn o f Jesus. See also M . R . James, The Apocryphal N ew Testament (O xford , 1955), p. 2 5 3 -



It is not to be disputed that literary texts can sometimes be o f great use to the anthropologist. It does not immediately follow from this that anthropological study can make in return any valuable contribution to literary criticism. The attention now paid by medievalists to the mythical and ritual origins (real or supposed) o f the romances suggests a widespread belief that it can. I want to consider how far this is so. It is clear that an anthropological statement (supposing it to be a true one) can often explain some detail in a text. Thus Gawain’s property 1 o f growing stronger as the sun ascends can be explained as the last vestige o f a myth about the sun-god. But let us be quite clear in what sense we are using the word ‘explain*. W e mean ‘to account for causally’ (as in ‘we can easily explain his behaviour by the fact that he was drunk’). The word has a different meaning when we say that someone first ‘explained’ to us the Deduction o f the Categories or the beauties o f the V irgilian hexameter. To ‘explain’ in this second sense is to open our eyes; to give us the power o f receiving, or receiving more fully, what Kant or Virgil intended to give us. The causal explanation o f Gawain’s peculiarity ‘explains’, in this other sense, nothing whatever. That peculiarity remains, in Malory’s book, a complete irrelevance. Nothing leads up to it; nothing o f any importance depends on it. Apart from it there is nothing divine and nothing solar about Gawain. A ll that he does, suffers, or says elsewhere would have exacdy the same value if this odd detail had been omitted. The anthropological explanation may be true and it may have an interest o f its own; but it cannot increase our under­ standing or enjoyment o f one single sentence in the M orte. 1 The Works o f M alory, ed. E. V inaver (O xford, 1947), i. 161 (Bk. IV , 18), iii. 1216 -20 (Bk. X X , 2 1-2 2 ).



I proceed to a more complicated instance. R . S. Loom is stresses the ‘astonishing disharmony’, the offences against ‘common sense and ordinary morality’, the ‘absurdities’, and the ‘irrational freakish features’, in the literature o f the Grail. He concludes that ‘no procedure could be more reasonable than to seek the cause o f the sanctification o f the Grail legends in a series o f mis­ understandings’.1 N ow since the Grail (as distinct from various analogues to it in pagan stories) is fully sanctified in all the Grail stories we have, the ‘cause o f the sanctification’ means the cause o f its character in those stories— Chretien’s, W olfram ’s, and the rest. W e need not examine the theory that this is due to mis­ understandings, for we are here concerned not with its truth or falsehood but w ith its literary relevance. There are two ways in which w e could interpret Professor Loom is’s procedure. O ne is that he is leaving the literary quality o f these romances severely alone and is exclusively interested in the pagan myths from which he believes them to be derived. I f that is so, then he is doing something which, however legitimate in its own field, makes no contribution to literary criticism. Alternatively, if we give full force to the charges o f absurdity and freakishness which he brings, w e could take him to be saying in effect, ‘Here is a great deal o f shockingly bad fiction. I will explain how Chrétien and his fellows come to be guilty o f it. T h ey were led astray b y blunders— mistaking cors (a horn) for cors (a body) or sang real for saint graalJ I am m yself very disinclined to believe that this is the correct account o f Professor Loom is’s activity. Indeed, i f he gave this account o f it himself, I should venture to believe that he was misrepresenting his own experience and doing himself a grave injustice. T h e spectacle o f a great scholar spending a lifetime o f learning to discover w h y some bad literature was bad would be a portent that clamoured for explanation no less than the Grail itself. A n d i f this were what he was doing, this also would have hardly any critical interest. It is, though far more complex, essentially the same sort o f thing that a textual critic is doing when he explains a meaningless passage b y dittography. I f the Grail romances are nonsensical 1 ‘The Origin of the Grail Legends’, Arthurian Literature in the M iddle Ages (Oxford, * 9 5 9 ). PP- 2 7 4 - 9 4 , esp. p. 287.



this fault is neither lessened nor aggravated b y the discovery o f its causes. Meanwhile the specifically literary problem remains untouched. W hat we want to know as critics is how and w h y these romances, w ith all their elusiveness and m ystery, delighted so many medieval readers and delight so many today. Is it in spite o f this character or because o f it? W e must now make a distinction. T h e Celtic cornucopia, supposing it to be a source o f the Grail, is irrelevant for literature because the inward side o f the horn stories, their spirit and quality, is hardly at all present in the romances. H ow could it be, i f the romances so misunderstood their sources that they m istook a horn for a body? W here the parallel between the Grail romance and the Celtic analogue is most striking, the abyss between them in atmosphere and significance m ay be most emphatic. T h e question ‘T o whom shall this cup be given?’ in The Prophetic E cstasy1 is certainly in one w ay very like the question ‘whom does one serve with the Grail?’ But the first question is answered. Its literary function is to introduce a list o f the kings o f Tara. It has much the same purpose as the vision o f future heroes in A eneid v i or the figures on the shield in A eneid v m o r the phan­ toms in M acbeth (iv. i). T h e second question is not even asked. Perceval’s failure to ask it— which is the ganglion o f the whole episode— leads to mysterious and almost illimitable disaster. I f the medieval poet knew the Celtic story at all (which I need not deny), it has been to him merely a starting point from which he went on to invent something radically new, indeed incom­ mensurable. T hat new invention, not its trivial and external similarity to some earlier thing, is the proper object o f literary criticism. But this is only one possible relation between a literary text and an anthropological background. There is another. In the sagas, or H am let, the ethos o f a society where revenge was not, as with us, a passion, but an obligation, is operative throughout. A certain attitude to the dead is similarly operative throughout the Antigone. T o appreciate these w orks w e certainly need to grasp these ancient outlooks. But that is because they have more than a merely causal connexion with the works. T h e y 1 Loom is, p. 282.



are not antecedents but presuppositions, still immanent and alive in the completed product. T h e authors reckon on our under­ standing them. N ot merely on our know ing them externally as historical curiosities, but on our entering into them w ith imagina­ tive sympathy. A nd this fact usually enables us to dispense with anthropological study. T he authors themselves, speaking from within the archaic ethos, recreate it in our minds. A nthro­ p ology might have told us that such and such customs existed. But the authors do not need to tell; they show, they infect, they constrain. It is they w ho bring the anthropology to life, not vice versa. A nd surely this must always be so. It has been maintained that Bercilak in Gawain and the Green K night ‘is’— that is, was influenced b y— an eniautos daimon} L et us suppose, for purposes o f argument, that this is so. T he question is which o f the tw o, eniautos daimon or Bercilak, throws light on the other. Bercilak is as vivid and concrete as any image I have met in literature. He is a living coincidentia oppositorum; half giant, yet w holly a ‘lovely knight’ ; as full o f demoniac energy as old Karamazov, yet, in his own house, as jolly as a Dickensian Christmas host; now exhibiting a ferocity so gleeful that it is almost genial, and now a geniality so outrageous that it borders on the ferocious; half b o y or buffoon in his shouts and laughter and jumpings; yet at the end judging Gawain with the tranquil superiority o f an angelic being. There has been nothing really like him in fiction before or since. N o one w ho has once read the poem forgets him. N o one while reading it disbelieves in him. But what is the eniautos daimon? It is a concept; something constructed from the actual practices o f the ancient w orld and the conjectured practices o f óur own ancestors. I have never seen Jack in the Green. None o f us have, as believers, taken part in a pagan ritual. W e cannot experience such things from inside. W e m ay sometimes know , and sometimes guess, that certain myths were told and certain rites enacted. W e do not know what it felt like. That world-old religion, with its baffling mixture o f 1 1 J. Speirs, M edieval English Poetry• The Non-Chaucerian Tradition (London, 1957), pp. 218 ff.



agriculture, tragedy, obscenity, revelry, and clowning, eludes us in all but its externals. T o expect that the eniautos daimon should help us to under­ stand Bercilak is to expect that the unknown should illuminate the know n; as i f we hoped that a man would learn more about the taste o f oranges on being told that it is like the taste o f some other fruit which he has never eaten. T h e opposite process is the only rational one. T ell me that the unknown fruit is like an orange, and I have learned something. I learn nothing about the quality o f Bercilak from being told he is derived from the daimon; I m ay learn something about the daimon. Perhaps this rumbustious, irresistible figure has pre­ served for me just what anthropology can never penetrate; has given me knowledge-by-acquaintance (connaître) where anthro­ p olo gy could give me at best knowledge-about (savoir). I f this is so, then our poetic experience has helped us as anthropologists, but our anthropology has not helped us to read die poetry. W hen savage beliefs or practices inform a w ork o f art, that w ork is not a puzzle to which those beliefs and practices are the clue. T h e savage origins are the puzzle; the surviving w ork o f art is the only clue b y which we can hope to penetrate the inwardness o f the origins. It is either in art, or nowhere, that the dry bones are made to live again. Mr Speirs maintains the literary relevance o f such origins on two grounds. O ne is that they affect the poet; the other, that a knowledge o f them affects the reader. A fter quoting the place about the perilous fountain from Ywain and Gawain (325-42),1 he connects it conjecturally with a rain-making ritual. He then very properly asks what difference this makes to the poetry; especially since the poets m ay have know n nothing about the ritual origin. Part o f his answer is that, whether they knew the origin or not, ‘they surely inherited with such episodes something o f the traditional reverence towards them, a sense o f their mystery, a sense too o f the mystery o f all life’. N o w our only evidence for how the poet felt is what he wrote. This passage apparently makes Mr Speirs feel reverence and a 1 M edieval English

Poetry , p. 117.



sense o f m ystery; he infers that the poet had felt it too. Mr Speirs, whatever else he may be, is a very honest critic; i f he says that the passage makes him feel like that, we m ay be sure it does. But I am not equally sure that the consequences he wants us to draw w ill follow. F or one thing, as I shall suggest presently, Mr Speirs’s sensation may not result from the quality o f the poetry in the direct fashion he supposes; I can imagine a somewhat different process. But suppose it is the actual writing that has done the trick. A nd suppose, further, that the feelings an author arouses in a sensitive reader are always the same as he had himself. W e could then say: ‘T h e author o f this passage felt reverence and a sense o f m ystery.’ But where is the evidence that ritual origins are the only or commonest source o f such feelings or that such feelings always result from (even a forgotten) ritual origin? Might not the poet equally well be awed and mystified b y a mere unexplained magic fountain such as this purports to be? M ight he not have believed in such things? Is it not more probable he believed in them than that he cared about rain-rituals? O r, even without belief, might not the idea o f perilous adventures in enchanted forests have m oved him deeply? It moved Milton. This type o f criticism which always takes us away from the actual poem and the individual poet to seek the sources o f their power in something earlier and less known— which, in fact, finds the secret o f poetic pleasure anywhere rather than in talent and art— has lately received a dolorous stroke from Professor Vinaver.1 He has cured us, i f w e can be cured, o f the bad habit which regards the finished romances as mere rubble left over from some far statelier, non-existent building. T h is is the reverse o f the truth. T h e romance is the cathedral; the anthropological material is the rubble that was used b y the builders. He has shown as regards one particular story that every step away from the dark origins is an advance in coherence, in suggestion, in imaginative power. But I must now turn to the second part o f Mr Speirs’s theory — or rather to his second theory, for the tw o are independent. Besides doing something to the poets, the ritual origins, or the 1 ‘T h e Dolorous Stroke’, M edium Æ vum yxx v (1957), 175-80.



know ledge o f them, or the conjecture o f them, does something to the reader. T h e mere conjecture that the perilous fountain has something to do with rain-making means for Mr Speirs ‘ that the episode is more serious than simply a sport o f fancy’. It means ‘that we m ight have to correct our w ay o f taking these episodes as i f they belonged to something o f the order o f a b o y’s adventure story— taking them, that is, too easily’.1 Elsewhere he says that ‘anthropo­ logical facts or even guesses’ may make the reader o f medieval literature ‘alert to things which he might not otherwise have noticed’.2 T his is where Mr Speirs’s honesty is invaluable. He lets us see what is really going on in the minds o f some anthropologizing critics. But for anthropology ‘w e’ should have taken the ferlies in medieval romance like trivial excitements in a b o y’s blood. ‘W e’ should have taken them ‘ too easily’ . W ithout anthropo­ logical preparation ‘w e’ may leave some things unnoticed altogether. I have no doubt whatever that this is true to the experience o f Mr Speirs and o f many o f his generation. For them the garden o f marvellous romance is— as it was not either for medieval or for nineteenth-century man— a walled and locked-up garden to which anthropology is the only key. T h ey become free o f it only i f they carry the golden bough. This awakes in them a sensibility they otherwise lack. This being so, one understands for the first time w h y they value— w h y in a sense they are right to value— anthropology so highly. F or i f (to them) the only choice lies between taking the Grail as i f it were a mere surprise-packet out o f Boiardo or Munchausen and achieving an awed and solemn response with the aid o f some Celtic cauldron, it is certainly well that they should embrace the second alternative. W ith this, it may be said, I have conceded the whole position. A nthropology increases the sensibility, and even the attention, o f certain readers. Therefore it does throw light for them on litera­ ture. I admit it. But let us be sure exactly what w e mean. A nything that helps anyone to read more sensitively and atten­ tively is welcome. But there are helps o f different kinds. O n the 1 M edieval English H

Poetry , p. 1 17.

2 Ibid.,

pp. 23-24.



one hand they may consist o f knowledges or sympathies which enable the reader to enter more fully into the author’s intentions. H istory is often such a help. So is scholarship. So is experience; ceteris paribus we read love poetry and religious poetry more perceptively i f w e have had some experience o f love and o f religion. But there are other helps that have no intrinsic con­ nexion with the art or matter o f the book but merely dispose us psychologically to be pleased. T h e y are accidental in the sense that their necessity varies from one reader to another, and for the same reader from time to time, and the best readers need them least. Health, quiet, an easy chair, a full, but not too full, stomach, can all help in this w ay. Some approach a book receptively because it is recommended, others because it is forbidden. Children are attracted b y coloured pictures, adults b y fine paper and printing. O ne is attracted and another repelled b y the knowledge that ‘everyone is reading this’ . T o discover, exhibit, and supply helps o f the first kind is critically relevant and useful in the highest degree. But helps o f the second kind are more properly mentioned in an autobio­ graphy. T h ey are facts about this or that reader rather than about literature. There seem to me grounds for assigning to the second, or merely subjective, class the help which Mr Speirs and his contemporaries derive from anthropology. In the first place it is not universally necessary. A t a great price (in the w ay o f anthropological study) Mr Speirs obtains his freedom to respond deeply and solemnly to the romances; but earlier generations, including m y own, were free bom . W e never thought o f responding— never had power to respond— in any other w ay. T he ferlies, simply for what they are shown to be in the texts, conquered us at once and have never released us. W e stand amazed when our juniors think to interest us in the Grail b y connecting it with a cauldron o f plenty or a prehistoric burning glass,1 for the Grail as Chrétien or Malory presents it seems to us twenty times more interesting than the cauldron or the glass. Apparently there has grow n up a generation in whom , for reasons I will not discuss here, the direct response has been inhibited. T h e y find that anthropology releases the inhibition. I 1 L ad y Flavia Anderson, The Ancient Secret (London, 1953).



congratulate them. But it merely restores to them powers which humanity often has without any such preliminary askesis. T h e insight into romance which it gives them is new to them, not to men in general. T h e fact that they needed such therapy is a fact about them, not about the literary quality o f the romances. T o regard their anthropological approach as a discovery in literary criticism is like regarding insulin as a discovery in gastronomy. I am very glad diabetics now have insulin. But it is a medical, not a gastronomic, discovery. In the second place, it is clear that the therapeutic value o f the anthropological askesis does not depend on the fa c t o f ritual origins. T h e fact, if it is one, and i f it produces literary results, must have been doing so before anyone knew about it, just as poison will kill or alcohol intoxicate us whether we know we have taken them or not. I f a ritual origin worked that w ay, readers o f the romances would receive its exciting effect without know ing its existence. I f that were so, w h y should w e need to learn o f it before w e can fully enjoy the romances? A n d indeed Mr Speirs does not think w e need exactly ‘leam’ in the sense o f ‘com ing to know ’. T h e connexion between the perilous fountain and a rain-making ritual is, on his own showing, a ‘conjecture’.1 In M aiden in the mor lay the reference to a well-spring merely ‘suggests the possibility’2 that the poem is connected with wellworship. O bviously what does the therapeutic w ork is not the fact but the mere idea o f ritual origins; the idea, as an idea, not know n to be true, not affirmed, but simply entertained. T h e case is not like that o f a man w ho gets sick from eating poison or drunk from taking spirits. It is as i f a suggestible person felt sick or felt drunk simply at the idea o f having done so. I f he believes (however erroneously) that he has, or even i f without belief he dwells on the idea, the vom it or the euphoria w ill follow . It makes no difference to the utility Mr Speirs finds in his anthropo­ logical ideas whether they are true or false. Thirdly, the anthropological ‘softening’ is not the only one available. Others find their inhibitions similarly released b y the idea that ferlies are Jungian outcroppings from the collective unconscious. Others, though not in academic circles, can enjoy 1 M edieval English


p. 117.

2 Ibid.,

p. 63.



them b y thinking they are the hieroglyphs o f an ancient, but still living, esoteric wisdom. Since all three exercises serve the same purpose, it is natural to ask what they have in common. T h e answer does not seem to me to be very difficult. A ll are alike in suggesting that the ferly actually presented to us in the old poem or romance is the far-borne echo, the last surviving trace, the tantalizing glimpse, the veiled presence, o f something else. A nd the something else is always located in a remote region, ‘dim-discovered’, hard o f access. O n this its value depends, I think, in all three exercises; almost certainly, in the anthropological one. A re ancient rituals in themselves— rituals that lie in broad, historical daylight and need not be groped after— so m oving? I should be surprised i f all those w ho are m oved b y the idea that the Grail story ‘is really’ a ritual respond with equal excitement to the full-length descriptions o f ritual in the Aeneid or Leviticus. T h e whole pleasure comes from feeling, as they read o f the ferly, that ‘more is meant than meets the ear’, that they have surprised a long-kept secret, that there are depths below the surface, that something which the uninitiate might pass over as a triviality is big with meaning. T h ey must have the sense o f descending to ‘the Mothers’ . W h o would bother to pluck the golden bough unless it led you to res alta terra et caligine mersas? N o w all these sensations are in m y opinion pretty like those the authors meant to give you. T h e romancers create a world where everything may, and most things do, have a deeper meaning and a longer history than the errant knight would have expected; a world o f endless forest, quest, hint, prophecy. Alm ost every male stranger wears armour; not only that there m ay be jousts but because visors hide faces. A n y lady m ay prove a fay or devil; every casde conceal a h oly or unholy mystery. T h e hero is a sort o f intruder or trespasser; always, unawares, stumbling on to forbidden ground. Hermits and voices explain just enough to let us know how completely he is out o f his depth, but not enough to dissipate the overall mystery. T h e hard, ga y colours make this world very unlike that o f K afka, but it has some o f the same qualities. Y o u might call it inverted (or converted) K afka; a K afka w ho enjoyed the labyrinth.



Until our own age readers accepted this w orld as the romancers' ‘ noble and joyous’ invention. It was not, to be sure, w holly unrelated to the real world. It was invented b y and for men w ho felt the real world, in its rather different w ay, to be also cryptic, significant, full o f voices and ‘the m ystery o f all life’ . There has now arisen a type o f reader w ho cannot thus accept it. T h e tale in itself does not seem to him to provide adequate grounds for the feelings to which he is dim ly aware that he is being prompted. He therefore invents new grounds for them in his own life as a reader. A nd he does this b y building up round himself a second romance which he mistakes for reality. This second romance is a distorted version o f the first one. It also is a quest story, but it is he, not Perceval or Gawain, that is on the quest. T h e forests are not those o f Broceliande but those o f anthropological theory. It is he him self who quivers at the surmise that everything he meets m ay be more important, and other, than it seemed. It is to him that such hermits as Frazer and Miss W eston, dwelling in the heart o f the forest, explain the significacio o f the ferlies. Prompted b y them, he does not, like Perceval, omit to ask the all-important question. A nd he has his reward. He gets in the end an experience quali­ tatively not unlike the experience the romancers meant to give. T h e process is very roundabout. He rejects the fiction as it was actually written. He can respond to it only indirectly, only when it is mirrored in a second fiction, which he mistakes for a reality. T h is is better than nothing. But it might do a good deal o f harm to real literary and cultural history and even to anthropology itself i f it were taken as a serious contribution to any o f these disciplines. A n d to criticism it has already done some. Already there are students w ho describe as ‘enjoyment o f medieval literature’ what is really the enjoyment o f brooding upon things (m ostly hypothetical) in the dark past with which that literature is, often so doubtfully, connected in their minds. Mr Speirs him self would reassure us b y the proposition that in a poem ‘one cannot find what is not there’.1 But the instances o f thinking you have found what is not there are generally allowed to be pretty numerous. Is Mr Speirs him self quite sure that the allegory 1 O p . cit., p. 24.



Fulgentius found in V irgil, or the philosophy Chapman found in Homer, were really there? Is he absolutely convinced that the Song o f Solomon was really and truly about ‘T h e mutual love o f Christ and his Church’? T h e forest is after all enchanted: mares have built nests in every tree.



i T h e language o f the English texts in MSS. Lincoln Cathedral A .5.2 and British Museum Additional 31042 deserves closer investigation than it has so far received. A lm ost all these texts are preserved in the hand o f a single northern scribe1 but their language is far from being homogeneous. F or Robert Thornton was not b y habit a scribe w ho transformed or ‘translated’ his exemplars so thoroughly as to obliterate all those characteristics in them which were alien to his own.2 It is clear that many o f the texts he copied lay before him in a linguistic garb which was not northern, in the proper sense o f the word, at all. A nd even among those others which do seem to be basically northern, it is certainly possible to discover, through the veil o f Thornton’s transcription, marked differences o f scribal practice. A n exhaustive investigation would be necessary to establish how many different varieties o f Middle English are to be dis­ tinguished in the tw o manuscripts. But I wish to call attention here to two linguistically distinct groups o f texts neither o f which is fundamentally northern. T h e first and larger group3 m ay be said to be basically in a kind o f Middle English which 1 In what follows I shall proceed on the assumption that, with a few small and easily recognizable exceptions, the texts in these manuscripts are from the hand o f Robert Thornton. T h e evidence for this, which is not presented here, rests pardy on palaeographic examination, partly on the basis o f pervading and recurrent orthographic pecu­ liarities. F o r a view differing from m y own, see L. F. Casson, Sir Dégrevant (E .E .T .S .

221, 1949), p. ix. 2 T h e question o f Thornton's own linguistic habits is touched upon b y A . McIntosh, R .E .S ., XV (1939), 337. 2 T exts belonging to this group include Octavian9 Sir Isumbras, Diocletian,f The Abbey o f the H oly Ghost, Sir Perceval o f Galles, The Siege o f Melayne, The Parliament o f the Three Ages9 and Winner and Waster. T h is list is not exhaustive; nor is it implied that the language o f the different texts mentioned is identical.

*3 *


belongs somewhere not very far from where the counties o f Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire meet.1 Its interest in the present context is simply that it provides us with a large b o d y o f material from which to assess the degree to which Thornton allowed non-northern features to stand in texts he copied; a precise localization has no special relevance here. T h e second group consists, so far as I know , o f only tw o texts which (with the reservations made below) suggest a south-west Lincoln­ shire provenance;2 it is with these tw o texts that I shall mainly be concerned. T h e y are: 1. Bonaventura, The P riv ity o f the Passion, MS. Lincoln Cathedral A .5.2, ff. i79a-84a3 (B ). 2. T h e Alliterative M orte Arthure, ibid., ff. 53a~98a4 (M ). T h e language o f both these texts, as they have come dow n to us in Thornton’s rendering, is evidently, like that o f all the other basically non-northern texts, tinged w ith northem ism s; the observable common tincture is such that w e m ay as it were ‘peel o ff’ with some confidence the bulk o f the features likely to have been contributed to such texts b y Thornton himself. W hat he has superimposed, linguistically speaking, is relatively small compared to what he has allowed to stand unchanged; he has transmitted with sufficient fidelity the characteristics o f what lay before him for us to be in a position to learn a good deal about the language o f the texts from which he copied. 1 It is unfortunately not possible within the dimensions o f this paper to present detailed evidence for this and similar statements about provenance. T h e y rest on the basis o f a considerable bod y o f material which has been assembled over the past decade b y m yself and Professor M. L . Samuels in the course o f a large-scale study o f the dialects o f later Middle English, the results o f which are not yet published; I have discussed some o f the underlying theoretical problems in ‘T h e Analysis o f W ritten Middle English’, T rans. P h il. S oc ., 1956, pp. 26 ff. I should add that the localization suggested above is

based on a comparison o f the language o f the texts in question w ith others from that region, notably MS. Rylands Latin 179, which has associations w ith W elbeck A b b ey. W here such a localization is proposed, the point named represents what the evidence suggests as the m ost probable place o f origin. A s to the margin o f error in cases where I have ventured on a definite suggestion, I should be surprised i f the true localization turned out to lie beyond a circle o f tw enty miles radius around the point in question. 2 Some o f the evidence for this localization is given in p. 233, notes 1 and 2. 3 E d. C . Horstmann, Yorkshire W riters (London, 1895), i. 198 ff. 4 E d. E . Björkman, M o rte A rth u re (Heidelberg, 1915); other editions are cited there, p. xvii. F o r further references to the poem see E. Vinaver, T h e W orks o f S ir Thom as M a lo ry (O xford , 1947), iii. 1364-5.




T h e two texts o f the second group which Thornton had before him were probably the w ork o f a single scribe, whom I shall call S. A s they have come down to us in Thornton’s tran­ script, they display such underlying similarities o f language as certainly constrain one to associate both with places only a very small distance apart.1 But besides this, they have in common a number o f scribal oddities which can hardly have been super­ imposed b y Thornton himself, because they are not found in other texts copied b y him. Some o f these are quite unusual,2 and when taken together they smack o f personal idiosyncrasy. There is room for doubt on this point and further investigation might suggest that it would be more judicious to postulate tw o scribes o f very similar habits and locale. But this does not affect m y main argument, and I shall therefore ascribe the versions underlying Thornton to one person. These versions I shall call B x and M x. I have said that the linguistic evidence would suggest that S belonged to south-west Lincolnshire; the most dialectally com­ patible area would seem to be somewhere between Sleaford and Grantham. In the light o f the known association o f some branches o f the Thornton family with Lincolnshire, this raises interesting questions about the w ay in which texts came into Robert Thornton’s hands for copying. It is suggestive that the very district to which, on dialectal grounds, I should assign S, was 1 T h e common features which, when assessed as a complex, point to the localization I have suggested, include the follow ing: they , þ ey ‘they’ ; them, þem ‘them'; theire, þeire ‘their’ (in these pronouns the -e - forms preponderate heavily over -a -, -a i- forms); siche ‘such’ ; tike ‘each', are ‘are'; es ‘is'; sa il ‘shall' (the last four are quite regular in B

and so probably represent usages characteristic o f S) ; absence o f e - forms o f word for ‘after*; then, þen beside than, þan for both ‘then’ and ‘than'; occasional - eng(e) (beside ~yng{e)) for ending o f verbal noun. I have in fact taken account o f some tw o hundred

criteria altogether. 2 A n example is the uncommon use o f whas ‘was' occasionally in both texts. Another is the use o f cho ‘she’ ; this occurs only rarely in Middle English. It is found in Hand 3 (bottom o f f. 34* f f ) o f Harley 2394, in Hand 3 ( f f 204a- 2 2 i b) o f Huntington Library, H M 148 and (though only once) in Hand 2 (ff. 74-80) o f Harley 1022. N one o f these more northerly texts has close dialectal affinities with the texts w e are considering. But there is one North Midland scribe (contributing ff. i a- i 8 a o f MS. Cambridge University Library Additional 3039, the other hand o f which is clearly o f Lincolnshire provenance) w ho uses ehe as his normal form (beside occasional sehe) : he w ould appear on other grounds to belong somewhere quite close to S, but a little to the west, where -o forms o f the pronoun giv e w ay to -e forms. T h e form ehe is otherwise known to me only in tw o manuscripts o f N orfolk provenance.



one where members o f the Thornton fam ily are know n to have lived, at least around 1600.1 It must now be noted that despite m y ascription o f B x and M x to scribe S, there are certain marked dialectal differences between B and M . I f w e discount whatever modifications Thornton him self may have introduced more or less com m only into each, we may say with some confidence that B is, dialectally speaking, a rather consistent text, whereas though it has a sufficient nucleus o f features typical o f B for us to postulate an intimate connexion therewith, is nevertheless a mixed text. Certain forms characteristic o f an earlier stage o f transmission (which I shall call ikf2) seem to have survived through M x into the M version which has come down to us; there are no similar indications o f any dialectally distinctive version B x lying behind B x?


W e have here a situation o f some interest, the more so because M happens to be the sole surviving text o f a Middle English poem o f considerable importance. I wish therefore to consider what w e can hope, now or later, to learn about the anterior history o f the text o f the M orte Arthure. T h is is a matter o f some com plexity and what follows is no more than a tentative intro­ duction to it. Just as w e concluded earlier that Thornton transcribed B x and M x without very much tampering, so must w e now conclude that S transcribed M x with sufficient fidelity for his own overlay not to have obliterated strong traces o f an underlying language. 1 See M . S. O gden , Liber de D iversis M edicinis (E .E .T .S . 207,1938), p. xiii, n. 4, where further references are given. 2 Detailed analysis shows that B is in fact fairly consistent even without discounting probable modifications b y Thornton. Such an analysis therefore furnishes an indication, i f not proof, o f the relatively minor nature o f Thornton's superimpositions. Analysis similarly shows that M is not consistent, even allowing for possible modifications b y Thornton. W e may confidently assume, I think, that M has not been more severely tampered w ith b y him than B . It is o f course always possible to argue that S transmitted both B 2 and M 2 more or less exactly as he found them. In this case the characteristics w e are ascribing to S w ould then in fact be the w ork o f some previous scribe (R or even Q or P). T his, however, would not affect what I say beyond im plying one or more faithful transmissions between the modifications introduced b y R or Q or P and the final Thornton version.




T h e hypothesis that B substantially represents S’s own language then allows us to describe M x as consisting o f M 1 with an overlay o f S-language.1 T h e consistency o f B is o f central importance in any approach to our general problem. F or once we have established the con­ geries o f features which are characteristic o f its language, we are in a position to identify and assemble those features in M which violate it. Apart from those which we m ay in due course have reason to set aside as superimpositions o f Thornton’s doing, these violating features w ill then belong to a substratum underlying both M and M ly and be characteristic o f the language o f M 2 itself.2 T ill we have identified some o f these features, w e need not start wondering whether they point to an M 2 text which was itself dialectally consistent or to one which was itself a linguistic mixture. W e m ay begin our attempt to establish the special charac­ teristics o f M 2 b y listing certain features3 which occur in M but not in B .4 W e must, however, be careful to eliminate from our list any features in AT which m ay be absent from B sim ply b y chance. W e are safeguarded here to some extent b y sticking to rather common items. But there is the further safeguard o f being able to examine the characteristics o f other Middle English texts 1 T h e marked difference as to consistency between B and M may just possibly be due to a different policy adopted b y S towards the tw o texts (B 2 and A f2) h e was tran­ scribing. But it is much more likely to be because B 1 was itself already v ery close to S-language while M t was not. In odier words only a slight modification was sufficient to transform B 2 into the S-language o f B ± which Thornton substantially perpetuated in B ; a much greater modification would have been needed to transform M 2 into an M x which displayed equally consistent S-language* and this, whether aimed at or not, was certainly not achieved. 2 It might just be argued that the violating features are the result o f modifications made in a postulated version o f M 1 lying between that o f S and Thornton’s. I do not entirely rule out this possibility though it seems inherently rather unlikely. 3 It is not possible here to be exhaustive and I have worked on ly w ith a selection o f items. M ost o f the features considered relate to items which happen to be central to the study o f Middle English dialects mentioned earlier, and which can therefore be assessed in the broader setting o f that study; many others not here investigated may well turn out to be significant. 4 Features introduced into M b y Thornton are not likely to cause serious trouble here. F o r i f (as is prudent) w e stick to reasonably common items, these features w ill be likely to crop up in B as well as in M ; i f so they will not figure at all in our list. A n d even i f some few were to occur in M only, the risk o f erroneously listing any o f these as part o f the heritage from A f would not be great. For a familiarity w ith the tw o manuscripts as a whole makes it possible to recognize most ‘Thom tonism s' and so to discount them.



which have close linguistic affinities with B .x A n y features found in these texts which happen to occur in M but not in B should not be associated w ith the language o f M v A procedure o f this kind leaves us with a catalogue o f certain features which must have been taken over into M x (and thence into M ) from M v W e must in due course ask whether these non- 2 ? features in M can all be regarded as reconcilable relics o f a consistent A f 2-language; i f so w e must try to say something about the area with which this m ay most convincingly be associated. W orkin g thus w ith textual substrata w e are treading on dangerous ground, but it is proper to observe that the hazards are due as much to the rudimentary state o f available techniques as to deficiencies in the textual and other information at our dis­ posal. So i f our problems can only be tackled here in a tentative fashion, this does not mean that they are insoluble. Non-northern features which are not part o f S-language include swyche (swychyswiche) ; iche,yche ; myehe ; schall(e) ; þoghe, jo fe ‘though’ ; j i f ‘if’ ; ajayne1 ‘against’ ; dethe ‘death’ ; tkroughe, thrughte ‘through’ ; chirche ‘church’ ; -lyche, -Itch ‘-ly ’. I f w e wish to establish whether the whole set o f such features preserved from M 2 is dialectally consistent, the soundest preliminary m ove, in the absence o f any obvious indications to the contrary, is to assume that they are. In that case, experience w ith Middle English dialectology suggests that w e should be able to indicate one area, and one only, w ith which the use o f all these features is consistent. G iven the fairly considerable number o f criteria in one w ay or another involved, then i f w e can suggest one such area the probability is that the features are dialectally consistent and do not ‘fit’ there, and there only, b y mere accident.12 1 E .g . C .U .L . Additional 3039; cf. p. 233, n. 2. 2 I f w e cannot to our reasonable satisfaction propose any area, the probability is that these features are not, in their entirety, consistent w ith dialectal usage in any one place. But in such an event experience shows that there is in most ‘mixed* texts a majority o f features which are consistent in this sense; if these are sufficiently numerous w e may then still w ith some assurance suggest a locality o f which they are characteristic and regard the conflicting residue as relics o f some still lower substratum or else as later accretions. H o w much w e can say about these, in terms o f provenance, will depend on w hat and h ow numerous they are. T h e important point to stress is that few Middle English texts are so com pletely a hotch-potch that it is impossible to abstract sets o f features therefrom which represent layers each o f which is itself dialectally consistent.





A n investigation on these lines leads to the tentative conclusion that the great majority o f those non-2 ? characteristics in M about which we have any information are to be associated with Lindsey rather than with Kesteven; I m yself would regard the general neighbourhood o f Louth as being that with which the features o f M 2 most satisfactorily square,1 A n association, on linguistic grounds, o f a text o f the M orte Arthure with this part o f Lincoln­ shire receives some confirmation from another quite different angle, MS. Cambridge University Library D d . 11. 45 contains an unsigned draft (or less probably copy), in Lincolnshire dialect o f the fifteenth century, o f a letter written to someone in or near L yn n .2 It reads as follows: Worschipfull sir I commaund me vnto 30W wit all myn hert and thonkis 30W oft tymes all 30ur full gret kyndenes yat 3e hafe done to me vnforseruyd praying 30W hertly of contynuance. And for als myche as 3e said ye last tyme we partyd at 3e wold I sent 30W word how yat I fard, at ye wryttyng of yis lettir I was in gude hele of body God be thankid, ye same allway 1 T h e evidence for this rests on the similarities o f the language o f M 2 w ith certain localized texts from that area: 1. MS. Sidney Sussex A 5.3: associated w ith Theddlesthorpe. 2. Leicester, Museum and A r t Gallery, L .M u s.i.D .5 0 : the Seignory o f Castle Carleton, 1425 or later; tw o copies. 3. P .R .O . Ci/9/438. D ocum ent o f 1440 associated with Hagnaby. These texts link up linguistically w ith texts in three other manuscripts, not specifically localized, but all o f which have associations w ith Lincolnshire: 4. Parts o f B.M. A dd. 37790 (notably if. i8b-6 8 b). 5. Harley 1288: English in tw o hands (ff. i a-33% if. 4a-9 o a) closely related but not identical dialectally. 6. Bodley 68 (Summary Catalogue 2142, where inscription o f ownership from Louth is quoted). 2 T h e volum e is o f medica, mainly Latin, o f the second or third quarter o f the fifteenth century. Ff. I34b- i 3 9 b are signed ‘quod Bokenham’ ; this part contains some English which I have not examined thoroughly, but which is o f a kind suggestive o f N orth-w est N orfolk, E ly , or the extreme south o f Lincolnshire. T h e letter is written vertically up the left-hand side o f f. 142% a page which was subsequently filled w ith medical text in another hand continuing from f. i 4 i b. A bit o f this text runs over the last line o f the letter, the final words o f which are consequendy rather difficult to read. I am indebted to the Librarian o f the U niversity o f Cam bridge for permission to publish the letter, and to D r A . I . D o y le for much helpful information about this manuscript, as indeed about many others. H e has identified the John Salus (or Saluz) mentioned in the letter as a burgess o f L yn n c. 1426-45; Salus is mentioned in the Historical Manuscripts C o m ­ mission’s Report on the tow n archives, Report xi, Appendix, Part I I I (1887), pp. 159-60, 162, 164.



desiryng1 to here of 30ur persfon].2 Praying 30W yat 3e will resayfe and kepe to we speke samyn of Syr William Cuke preste of Byllesbe ane Inglische buke es cald Mort Arthur, as 3e may se wrytten of my hand in ye last end of ye buke. Also if 3e will ony word send vnto me at ony tyme, send itt be trew and tristy persons to John Salus house3 of Lyn, on of ye four and twenty wonyng in ye schekir. And if yar come ony tristy frendis of 30urs be-twise, I wold pray 30W to send me ye forsaid Inglische buke and ye lityll volvell at 3e resaifed of ye vicar of Byllfesbe] to ye forsaid John Salus house ais sone as 3e myght knawe ony tristy frendis4 come to Lyn ward. And if yor none come, kepe yaim styll 30m: seife to we speke samyn. And yat yus avysed sail be wit-in a fourten nyght aftir lammese if so I be in qwharte hele of body. And if so be yat wit-in xiiii days eftyr lammes 3e here no word fro me, trist yan yat I luke and abide sonde fro 30W lyk5 as 3e hight to me qwhen we last departíd. No more yis tyme I writt bot I pray 30W hertly commaund me to Palmar and to his wyfe, to Alyson, Agnes, and to my w(y)fe6 Agnes and to Sir William at es at burd with 30we and to all othir gude felows and 30W hafe euer in hise kepynge y[e] H(ol)y Trini(te). Amen. It so happens that w e have more material in the same hand and language as this letter, for if. I 3 ib- i3 4 a o f MS. D d . 11. 45 contain medica, a good part thereof in English, written b y the same scribe in what is to all intents and purposes identical lan­ guage. In the present state o f our know ledge it w ould be pre­ sumptuous to be over-dogm atic about the dialect o f the material which these tw o texts provide. But it m ay certainly be claimed w ith full confidence as belonging to Lincolnshire, and m y ow n analysis o f it, in relation to the language o f other texts from the same county, w ould embolden me to maintain that its charac­ teristics accord best w ith the hypothesis that it belongs some­ where not far north o f Lincoln, say in the general neighbourhood o f Market Rasen. W e cannot o f course be sure even that the ‘Inglische buke* was a cop y o f the alliterative poem. But it seems to me highly probable that it was. N or is it unreasonable to maintain that the surviving text o f the letter is the author’s ow n draft.7 I f this 1 g altered from d. 2 Square brackets enclose letters lost b y trimming o f manuscript.

3 hose deleted before house. 4 r altered from e. 5 O r lyk[ê\î— end o f line. 6 Round brackets enclose letters obscured b y overlying medical text. 7 O n e reason for taking this view is that the language o f the letter and o f the m edica is so nearly identical and so convincingly homogeneous from the dialectal point o f v ie w .




much is accepted, then we have very strong evidence associating a lost version o f the alliterative M orte Arthure with the same general area within Lindsey as that which quite independent evidence suggests for the place o f origin o f that very version M 2 which lay behind the copy which Thornton himself used.


T h e non-northern forms in the M orte Arthure have long been claimed as evidence for a W est Midland provenance.1 I f I am right in postulating two North-east Midland stages (M ly M {) in the transmission o f the M orte Arthure, it is clear that no Midland form can in itself be used as evidence o f a W est Midland proven­ ance; only such forms as would both be inconsistent with the dialectal characteristics o f these two stages and at the same time consistent with usage in a particular area o f the W est Midlands would be relevant here. In fact it is singularly difficult to find traces o f any specifically W est Midland forms.2 I f the original was from that area, its characteristics have been so covered over b y the time we reach the surviving version that there is virtually no trace o f them. G one is every sign o f a large number o f forms o f which we m ight expect to find at least one or two instances, for example h it ‘it’, such (or soche and séché) ‘such’, mon ‘man’, ben ‘are’.3 1 C f. S. O . Andrew, ‘T h e D ialect o f M o rte A rth u re9, R .E .S ., iv (1928), 418-23. It should be noted that some o f these forms, as they have come down to us, are specifically non-W est Midland. Perhaps the most striking (since it is not in B and cannot therefore be ascribed to S) is swyche

(■ swych,

swiche), for north o f the southern limit o f the present

indicative third singular in -(e )s (which is the on ly area in question) this sw -ch (-) type is encountered only in East Lincolnshire and in the north part o f E ly ; it is totally absent from the dozens o f N orth-w est Midland texts I have examined. 2 Much is made b y Andrew o f a single instance o f he (1. 3064), which he regards as an error for an original W est Midland ho ‘she*. Such an error is indeed more plausible than a miswriting o f scho, but there is certainly no corroboration o f this hypothesis from the alliteration, for the whole sequence 3062-5 alliterates on s. Andrew ’s other main argument, based on the assumption that present indicative plurals in - en are to be expected more com monly before h - or a vow el than before other sounds, and that emendation from

to A- in the relevant personal pronouns restores the expected proportion, is

ingenious but unconvincing. 3 T h e form mony , often regarded as exclusively W est Midland, does occur (3623, 3671). But it is attested in at least tw o East Lincolnshire texts from not very far to the south o f the area w ith which I associate M 2: a letter o f W illiam T ailboys o f K ym e,



This paper is not concerned with the provenance o f the original text o f the M orte Arthure, nor am I attempting to refute generally accepted views about this. But it must be said that a W est Midland origin has not been satisfactorily proven.1 T h e available evidence is such that one can hardly hope for any significant progress towards a solution o f this problem without making an exhaustive comparison o f the vocabulary o f the poem with that o f other texts from the N orth and N orth Mid­ lands. F or much o f the vocabulary o f the original, even if orthographically modified, must have been passed down through succeeding copies, i f only to preserve the alliteration. W ordgeographical criteria, which in one sense m ight be described as cruder than the more finicky formal minutiae which I have mainly dealt with, may well therefore turn out to provide the only practicable line o f attack.2 P aston L etters, ed. Gairdner (London, 1904), ii. no. 100 (i. no. 75 in earlier edns), and

the Petyt MS. o f M annyng’s Chronicle (Thom as Heame, P eter L a n g to ft's Chronicle, i. 178). T h e form thonkis ‘ (I) thank’ in the letter from D d . 11. 45 should also be noted. 1 It is not easy to obtain much help on this problem from M alory’s N oble T a le o f K in g A rth u r and the Em peror Lu ciu s (Vinaver, W orks, i. 18 1-2 4 7 ; cf. notes, vol. iii. 1360-97).

It is clear enough that M alory’s source was textually not very close to M (see Vinaver’s notes, e.g. to 196, 8 -9 ; 2 1 0 ,1 0 -1 6 ; 217, 2 -3 ; 231, 2 -4 ; 2 3 3 ,1 2 -1 3 ; 235, 19 -2 6 ; 238, 5 - 7 and 1 0 -1 1 ; 240, 2 1-2 2 ; 244, 20-21). But it is difficult to deduce much about the dialect o f that source, for M alory has obliterated most o f its linguistic characteristics which differed from his own. Just enough have escaped for us to be able to say that it was most probably in a N orth Midland dialect (e.g. present participle - and(e ) 196, 24; 200, 19, 20; 229, 3; 233, 20: present indicative in -y s, -is , - es 189, 3; 187, 20; 202, 17, & c .: the otherwise rare use o f m ykyll 204, 12; 205, 3; 234, 14: die forms hunderthes 196, 9; hundrethis 218, 19; hundretthis 243, 1). But o f specifically W est Midland features I can

find no trace, and the litde evidence w e have w ould square at least as well and perhaps rather better w ith the hypothesis o f a north-easterly provenance for his source. A minute comparison o f the language o f the N oble T a le with that o f the rest o f the Winchester manuscript might possibly throw some further light on this question. 2 C f. R o lf Kaiser, Z u r Geographie des m ittelenglischen W ortschatzes (Palaestra 20, Leipzig, 1937). There is much valuable information o f a word-geographical kind in this bo o k ; it is unfortunate that this kind o f enquiry has been so little followed up in the quarter-century since its publication.

G. T U R V I L L E - P E T R E


In his survey o f place-names in which memories o f heathendom are preserved, Sir Frank Stenton1 mentioned a large number which contain the name o f the god Thunor (Þunor). T h e most remarkable o f his findings was that these names were practically confined to Saxon and Jutish territories. T h e few names in Anglian territory which might contain this element were o f doubtful origin. Many o f the names compounded with Thunor are reminiscent o f those in Scandinavia compounded with Þ ó rr, particularly in the eastern regions, where the fertilizing powers o f this god were more strongly emphasized than they were in the west. T h e name o f Thunor is compounded with fe ld in Thunderfield in Surrey and Thunresfeld in W iltshire. These names may be compared with the eastern Scandinavian Þórsakr and Þórsvin, and they probably designated fields, places o f public worship dedicated to the god. In at least six instances the name o f Thunor is combined with leah, which may here be inter­ preted as ‘sacred grove’, and is thus comparable with the Swedish and Danish Þórslundr and the Irish coill Thomair near to D ublin.2 Names o f the type Þunores hlcew (Thunor’s mound), and Thundridge (Hertfordshire) could also be compared with the Norse Pórshaugr, Þórsáss, Þórsberg. O ne o f the most interesting o f the English place-names com­ pounded with Thunor is that o f the Essex hundred, or half­ hundred, Thurstable.3 This name is not recorded in any early text, but appears first in the form Thurestapl(e) (1067) and later 1

Tran s . R o y a l H is t . S oc., Ser. iv , xxiii (1941), 1-24 .

2 See C . Marstrander, R evue Celtique , xxxvi (1915), 244 ff. 3 T h e forms are listed b y P . H . Reaney, T h e P la ce-N a m es o f E s s e x (E .P .N .S . xii, 1935), p. 302; and b y O . S. Anderson, T h e E n glish H undred-N am es , ii (Lunds Uni* versitets Arsskrift, 1939), pp. 47-48.



as Thurstapel (1219) and Thurstapl (1227). P. H. Reaney noticed that there was probably a Hundredhouse in this district (1398), which would serve as a meeting place. O . S. Anderson remarks on a prisona regis de Thurstapl (1258). Stenton, A . H. Smith1 and other specialists agree that the name Thurstable was originally JÞunres stapol or ‘Thunor’s Pillar’. T h e loss o f n before r has many parallels in Late O ld English,2 and it is therefore not necessary to assume Scandinavian influence in the form Thurstable. W e may suppose that, in pagan times, there was a pillar in Thurstable hundred, dedicated to the god Thunor, and that this was a meeting place. Sacred pillars and trees are know n from many other sources. Tacitus (Germania^ 34) mentions ‘Pillars o f Hercules’ (H erculis columnas), said to be still standing in his day, and probably situated in Heligoland or on the Frisian coast.3 Pillars o f Hercules are also know n outside the Germanic world, in the straits o f Gibraltar, and on the Black Sea. T h e question remains what Tacitus meant b y Hercules when he wrote the passage last quoted from the Germania. He uses the name elsewhere, although he may not always designate the same figure. G oing into battle, he says (Germ .f 3), Germans used to sing the praises o f Hercules, whom they believed had once been am ong them, and they called him the first o f all strong men {primumque omnium virorum fortium ). In this passage it looks as if Hercules was the name which Tacitus applied to a German hero, perhaps to Arminius, or even to Sigfrid, whom many have identified with Arm inius.4 T h e songs m ight then be o f the same type as the heroic Bjarkamdly which St ó la fr ordered his poet to sing before the battle o f Stiklastaðir.5 T h e use o f the name Hercules for a mortal hero is also recorded in other regions.6 1

E n glish P la ce-N a m e Elem ents , ii (E .P .N .S . xxvi, 1956), pp. 146, 217.

a See A . Campbell, O ld E n glish Gram m ar (O xford, 1959), pp. 189-90. 3 O n the Pillars o f Hercules see H. M. Chadwick, T h e O rigin o f the E n glish N a tio n (Cambridge, 1907), pp. 228-9; E. Norden, D ie germanische Urgeschichte in Tacitu s G erm ania (Leipzig, 1920), pp. 470 ff.; D ie Germ ania des T acitu s , erläutert R . Much

(2nd edn rev. R . Kienast, Heidelberg, 1959), pp. 47 ff. 4 See especially G . Vigfússon and F. Y o rk Powell, Sig frid -A rm in iu s (O xford, 1886); further O . Höfler, S ieg fried A rm in iu s und die Sym bolik (Heidelberg, 1961), where details o f bibliography are given.


3 Snorri Sturluson, H eim skringla. O la fs Saga H elg a y ch. ccviii. ‘ See Norden, Urgeschichte in G erm ania , pp. 172 ff.



It is, however, plain that Tacitus also applied the name Hercules to a Germanic god. In his Annals (11. 12) he mentions a holy grove o f Hercules {silva H erculi sacra), in which various Germanic tribes used to meet. I f only because o f comparison w ith the Norse Þárslundr, this may lead us to suspect that b y Hercules, Tacitus meant Thunor or Þórr. H . M. Chadwick,1 w ho examined Tacitus's account o f the Pillars o f Hercules, arrived at the interesting conclusion that, b y Hercules, Tacitus in this last passage designated the obscure Germanic god Irmin. He gave strong arguments to support this view , although the existence o f a god Irmin has been questioned. In fact, Irm in is rarely found except as the first element o f a compound. In the L ay o f Hildebrand, A lm ighty G od is called Irm ingot ( 1. 30), and mankind is irmindeot ( 1. 13). O ld English supplies numerous examples o f the compounded element cormen-, e.g. eormencyn ‘mankind’, eormengrund ‘the wide earth’, eorm enlaf ‘a m ighty heritage’, eormenþeode ‘all peoples’. O ld Norse has also some examples o f this element. In the Grimrúsmál (str. 20), and again in Sturla Þórðarson’s Hrynhenda (str. 15), composed in 1262, the world is called Jçrmungrund} In Bragi’s Ragnarsdrdpa (str. 16) and in the V çluspd (str. 50) the W orld Serpent is called Jçrmungandr, which could mean no more than ‘the m ighty magic wand’. In the H austlçng (str. 18), Þjóðólfr o f H vin seems to refer to Þórr’s giant enemy as jçrm unprjôtr, although this reading is questionable.3 A gain jçrm uni (v. 1. aurmunt) appears as a poetic word for an ox,4 and as a name for a horse.5 A lthough this has been disputed, the last tw o words are probably based on the same root. Again, in the þulurp the simplex Jçrmunr (v. 1. Jçrundr) is given as a name for Ó ðinn. It is now generally agreed that the element irmin- has some sacral significance, and that its original meaning must be deeper than ‘big’ or ‘extensive’, although it had evidently faded and meant little more than this to the Christian poets o f England. 1 O rigin , pp.

228 ff.

2 See D en norsk-islandske Skjaldedigtning , ed. F. Jónsson (Copenhagen, 19 12 -15 ), B. ii. 1 17. 3 Ibid., A . i. 20; Ð. i. 18.

4 Ibid., B. i. 669; A . i. 675.

5 Ibid., B. i. 676; A . i. 685.

6 Ibid., B. i. 673; A . i. 682.



T h e names Ermanaric and (H)erm iniones must have meant something more than ‘the great king’, ‘the great people*. Evidence o f the sacral significance o f irm in- is found especially in the Saxon records about the Irm insul. It is plain that the Irtninsul was a place or an object held in veneration b y the pagan Saxons, but it is described in rather varying terms.12 3 A ccording to the Frankish Annals, Charles the Great burned down the chief seat o f Saxon heathendom, near Heresburg in W estphalia in a d 772, and this was called IrminsuL or Erm insul. It is stated in another text that Charles destroyed the temple (fanum ) o f the Saxons, quod vocatur Irm insuL Elsewhere the Irm insul is described as a famous grove (lucum famosum). From these quotations, it is evident that the Irm insul was thought o f as a temple, a holy grove, and an idol, but Rudolph o f Fulda goes into closer detail when he describes it. T h e Saxons used to worship leafy trees and wells, but, Rudolph goes on to say, they particularly worshipped a truncum quoque lig n i nan parvae magnitudinis in altum erectum. In the Saxon language this was called Irm insul, quod Latine dicitur universalis colum na, quasi sustinens om nia? From this last passage it appears that the Irm insul was a column or sacred pillar, believed to uphold the universe. T h is is borne out b y an obscure passage written b y the m onk W idukind about 968. A bou t the year 531,3 the Saxons had w on a victory over the Thuringians at Scheidungen, on the Unstrut. In the morning they placed their eagle at the eastern gate, and piled up an altar o f victory according to their traditional super­ stition, imitating b y the name o f Mars the Pillar o f Hercules. In his next sentence, W idukind shows that he was thinking o f an Irm insul.\ for he mentions the opinion that the Saxons descended from the Greeks, adding that Hirm in or Herm is is the Greek for Mars. T h e word Irm insul also appears in various forms in the O ld 1 A large number o f references to the Irm in su l were collected b y J. Grimm, Teutonic M ythology (tr. J. S. Stallybrass, London, 1900), i. 116 ff. See further J. de Vries, ‘La

Valeur religieuse du m ot germanique Irmin*, L e s Cahiers du Su d \ xxxix (1952), 18 ff. 2 E d. G . H. Pertz {M o n . G erm . H ist., Hanover, 1887), ii. 676. 3 In Scriptores rerum Germ anicarum in usum scholarum , ed. H .-E . Lohmann and P . Hirsch (Hanover, 1935), i. xii.



H igh German glosses; it is said to mean colossus, altissim a columna. T h e plural irm insuli is also glossed as pyram ides} I f we are not yet able to explain the first element o f the compound, the second is plain enough. It is related to the O ld English sy l (pillar, column) which, in the phrase Ercoles syla in the O ld English Orosius2 is applied to the Pillars o f Hercules (H erculis Columnae). It is, therefore, o f the same origin as O ld Norse súl, súla, meaning ‘pillar’. T h e O ld Norse compound gndvegisstila (generally in pi. çndvegissûlur) has a strong sacral significance. It is often trans­ lated as ‘pillars o f the high seat’, although this translation is mis­ leading. T h e origin o f the word çndvegi is disputed, but its first element probably means ‘opposite’, and the second may derive from vegr, ‘w ay’.3 H owever that may be, the çndvegi was the central place in the main room or hall, where the master o f the house would sit with chosen companions. It is most fully described b y the author o f the Fagrskinna,4 when speaking o f royal residences in N orw ay, Sweden, and Denmark. These buildings had a doorway at each end, and the king’s seat was on the middle o f the long bench or dais, facing the sun. Opposite it was the lower or second çndvegi (Jiitt óceðra, annat çndvegi), occupied in this case b y the king’s councillor, or b y the most distinguished guests. T h e farther their seat from the central place on each side, the less was the honour shown to its occupants. T he çndvegi was not a single seat, for we sometimes read o f several sitting in it together.5 It is told o f Harald Finehair that he esteemed his poets most o f all his retainers, and they occupied the second çndvegi.6 T h e çndvegi, as it seems, was marked o ff from the rest o f the hall b y the çndvegissûlur, the main supporting pillars, o f which there were probably four, tw o on each side. These were venerated because they supported the house, as the Irm insul supported the universe. 1 Grimm, M ythology , i. 1 15 -1 6 . 2 K in g A lfr e d ’s O rosius, ed. H. Sweet, i (E .E .T .S . 79, 1883), 8. 3 F o r various views see E. Birkeli, H o g sa tet (O slo, 1932), pp. u 8 f f . , and A . M. Sturtevant, Scandinavian Studies and N o tes , xviii (1944), 65 if. 4 Ed. F . Jónsson (Copenhagen, 1902-3), p. 306. 5 See


pp. 184 if.


Guðmundsson, Privatboligen p â

Isla n d (Copenhagen,


6 E g ils Saga Skalla-G rim ssonar, ch. viii.



T h e deep veneration in which the çndvegissûlur were held is emphasized in a great number o f stories about men w ho settled in Iceland in the ninth and tenth centuries, showing that these pillars were regarded as the abode o f tutelary gods, w ho w ould guide the settler to his new home. Ç gm undr Kormáksson,1 sailing from N orw ay to Iceland, threw his main pillars overboard and, when he made land in MiðfjQrðr, they had already come to shore. Þ órðr Skeggi Hrappsson settled at Bær, below Lónsheiðr in Austurskaptafellssýsla, where he lived for ten years or more. But after Þ órðr heard that his pillars had been found in Leiruvágr, below Mosfellsheiðr, he m oved house.2 Stories o f this kind are not uncommon, but in Iceland it was particularly the god Þórr w ho guided the supporting pillars, as is shown in many sources. In the Landnâm abôk* it is told o f a certain Hallsteinn that after taking possession o f ÞorskafjQrðr, he offered sacrifice to Þórr, and asked him to send some supporting pillars. Shortly afterwards a huge tree-trunk drifted ashore, and pillars were made o f it, not only for Hallsteinn’s house, but for nearly all the houses in the neighbourhood.4 A ccording to the version o f the Landnâmabôk in the Hauksbôk and to the longer version o f the G isla Saga* Hallsteinn had sacrificed one or more o f his sons for the pillars. T h e association between the main pillars and the god Þórr is brought out more strongly in the story o f Þórólfr Mostrarskegg, the father o f Hallsteinn, as it is told in the Eyrbyggja Saga (chs. iii-iv) and again in the Landnâmabôk.6 Þórólfr was originally called Hrólfr, but he was so devoted to Þórr, his patron and beloved friend (ástvtnr), that people called him Þórólfr. W hen he lived in N orw ay, on the island o f Mostr, he kept a temple dedicated to Þórr, and it was called Þ órshof (Þórr’s Tem ple). Þórólfr had to leave N orw ay because o f his enmity with Harald Finehair but, before he did so, he offered a 1 Kormáks Saga, ch. ii. 2 Landnâm abôk , ed. F. Jónsson (Copenhagen, 1900), pp. 9 (.Hauksbôk ) and 209

([Sturlubôk). 3 Ibid., p. 165. 5 Ed. F . Jónsson (Copenhagen, 1929), p. 54 n.

4 Ibid., p. 42. 4 Pp. 31 and 152.



sacrifice to Þórr, w ho directed him to Iceland. He took down the temple and shipped most o f the timbers, as well as the soil under the altar on which the idol had stood. A s he sailed west o ff Reykjaness, he threw the main pillars o f the temple overboard. O n one o f these, the image o f Þ órr was carved, and Þórólfr resolved that he would settle at the place where the god brought them to shore. T h e y sped sw iftly over the waves, and Þórólfr sailed into the Breiðafjgrðr. He made land in a creek afterwards called H ofsvágr (Tem ple Creek). A fter Þórólfr and his men had explored the surrounding country, they found the pillars on a prom ontory where Þórr had brought them. In the words o f the Eyrbyggjd Saga it looks as i f the god is nearly identified with the pillars: Þórr hafði á landkom it með súlurnar. There are some other stories which illustrate the close asso­ ciation between Þórr and the supporting pillars. It is told o f a settler in northern Iceland that, when he first sighted land, he refused to jettison his pillars, saying that he would rather invoke Þórr directly, and ask the god to show him where to land. I f the land were already occupied, he would fight for it.1 It is not told in the Norse sources that any god other than Þórr was patron o f the supporting pillars. In fact, they appear to be Þórr’s pillars. F or the settlers o f Iceland, Þórr was the chief god; he was the all-powerful god (him allm dttki dss), w ho upheld their houses, as he upheld their law and their traditional religion.2 O n these lines we m ay understand the significance o f T h urstable, or Thunor’s Pillar, in Essex. W e may suppose that it was the site o f a pillar sacred to the god Thunor. T h is pillar was probably believed to support the sky and thus the world, or at least the world o f those w ho venerated it. I f this hypothesis is correct, we m ay wonder what were the relations between Thunor’s Pillar in Essex, the Irm insul o f the Saxons and the Pillars o f Hercules, to which Tacitus alluded. From the arguments so far given, it seems that b y Hercules, Tacitus could just as well have* designated Irmin as Þórr (Thunor). In either case, he had good reason. Irmin and Þórr 1 Landnámabóky

pp. 65 and 187-8.



2 I have discussed this question briefly in Um Oðinsdýrkun á h ian d i (Studia Islandica, xvii, R eykjavik, 1958).



resembled Hercules in that all diree were gods o f supporting pillars. W hile the Irm instd supported the w orld o f the Saxons, Þórr, with his çndvegissûlur, upheld the house o f the Icelandic farmer, and with his stapol he assured the security o f the Essex hundred. In Greek myth, as is well known, it was the task o f Atlas to hold up the celestial globe. But on one occasion, when he went to fetch the apples o f the Hesperides, Herakles (Hercules) relieved Atlas o f his painful burden. Þórr, Irmin, Herakles, and Atlas were not the only gods whose task was to uphold the house, the sky, the universe. It was also the task o f Indra, filled with soma, as Þórr was filled with mead. In R . T . H. Griffith’s noble rendering o f the Rigveda'. High heaven in unsupported space he stablished: he filled the two worlds and the air’s mid-region. Earth he upheld, and gave it wide expansion. These things did Indra in the soma’s rapture.1 T h e remarkable similarities between Indra and Þórr have been emphasized often enough, and many have believed that they were originally identical.2 Just as Þórr is the son o f ó ð in n and o f Jçrô (Earth), Indra is sometimes said to be the son o f Heaven and Earth. This would not be the occasion to reopen the dis­ cussion o f the identity o f the tw o figures, although I hope to do so at another time. F or the present, it is enough to say that the tw o gods are o f the same type. W h o, then, is Irmin, i f the arguments that he is a god are accepted? It was noticed that in þulur the name jQrmunr was probably applied to Ó ðinn, although there were some doubts about the reading. A s Snorri observed,3 ó ð in n has more names than any other god. A great many o f these are no other than nicknames, based on one or another o f the adventures o f this sinister figure. He is Bdleygr (the fiery-eyed), Bçlverkr (the evil doer), H elblindi (the death blind). But some o f Ó ðinn’s names 1 R igveda (Benares, 1896-7), ii. 15.2. 2 F o r this view see esp. V . R ydberg, U ndersökningar i germ ansk M y th ologi (Stock­ holm, 1886-9), ii. 100 ff. T h e same view has been expressed in another form b y G . Dum ézil in many works, e.g. L e s D ie u x des Germ ains (Paris, 1959), pp. 106 ff., and L e s D ie u x des Indo-européens (Paris, 1952), ch. i.

3 Edda

Snorra Sturlusonar, ed. F. Jônsson (Copenhagen, 1931), p. 28.



do not appear to be nicknames, but rather the names o f forgotten gods, whose functions Ó ðinn has absorbed. O ne example might be Gautr> whose name suggests that he was originally a specialized fertility god, distinct from Ó ðinn.1 Irmin, since his pillar upholds everything, must have been conceived as a god o f the same type as Þórr, Herakles, Indra. It is, therefore, o f minor importance whether we identify the Germanic Hercules o f Tacitus with Þórr or with Irmin. Many have associated Irmin with the Indian Aryam an.2 Philological difficulties have been noticed in the identification Irm in-Aryam an, but such objections can rarely be decisive when applied to the names o f gods or heroes. Aryam an was also identified b y J. Vendryes3 and again b y G . Dum ézil4 with the Irish ancestor-hero Eremon.5 A lthough little is know n o f either o f these, they share certain remarkable features, apart from the general similarity o f their names. But the identification o f Irmin with Aryam an is more difficult, because there is little that we can deduce from the sources about Irmin’s place in religious life except that he upheld the world o f his worshippers. In that case, i f w e follow Dum ézil’s tripartite system, he would belong to the second, and not to the first class o f deities, as Aryam an is said to do. 1 I f the relationship o f the name G autr to the verb gjótay ‘to give birth ( o f certain animals), spawn, & c .’ is accepted. 2 O n this question see esp. J. de Vries in Cahiers du Sud, xxxix, 26 ff.

3 M ém oires de la Société de Linguistique de P a risy xx 4 Le

(1918), 269 ff.

Troisièm e Souverain (Paris, 1949), pp. 167 ff.

5 T h e name Aryam an is explained b y G . Dumézil, Indo-européens, pp. 100 ff., and entirely differently b y H. W . Bailey in Trans . P h il. S oc.y 1959, pp. 71 ff.



Freyr, the shining god o f fruitfulness and peace, has fallen in love with a giant’s daughter, G erðr.1 T h e sun no longer brings him jo y : the radiance o f her arms alone lights air and sea. His page, Skim ir, undertakes the perilous journey to w oo her for him. He offers her golden apples and a ring o f gold from which fresh rings fall. Gerðr scornfully refuses Freyr’s gifts and his person and defies the threat o f his sword. So Skirnir begins to utter a curse upon her, striking her with a ‘taming rod’ : she will be outcast, unsightly, tormented b y idiocy, lust, and grief, cowed by trolls, stunted and hungry, married to a monstrous ogre, creeping through life with the hatred o f the gods upon her, drinking goats’ urine, denied all sexual pleasure in men. H e begins to carve runes to implement his curse, and G erðr capitu­ lates: she will give her love to Freyr, and she appoints a meeting with him in the becalmed grove Barri, after a space o f nine nights. Freyr eagerly receives her message and groans at the delay she imposes: how can he endure his longing for so long? This is the only love-story told o f the god Freyr, and clearly it is no casual amour. Erotic escapades are attributed to Óðinn, but they differ greatly from Freyr’s w ooing. In H ávam ál Ó ðinn meditates sorely on his lack o f luck with Billingr’s daughter: ‘I sat in the reeds and waited for m y love: that wise maiden was b o d y and soul— hold ok hiarta— to me, but I have not w on her any the more for that. I found her asleep on her bed, fair as the sun— sólhvíta— I felt there could be no jo y for a man but 1

Sklrnism ál (Skm ) is in the C odex Regius o f the P o etic E d da and (up to verse 27) in

A M 748 I 4to. F o r bibliography see Islandica (Ithaca, N .Y .), xiii and xxxvii. Abbreviations frequently used in the following essay are: S n E d da for E d d a Snorra Sturlusonary ed. F. Jónsson (Copenhagen, 1931); de V ries for J. de Vries, Altgerm ardsche Religionsgeschichte (2nd edn Berlin, 1956-7).

often used as a guide to further bibliography.

For brevity, references to de V ries are

A R T A N D T R A D I T I O N IN S K Î R N 1 S M Â L


living with that fair form .’ His love is as passionate as Freyr’s. T h e girl tells him to come back at nightfall, so that no one shall know o f it. Believing her, doting, ó ð in n does as she tells him, but when he returns at night, he finds her house surrounded b y a guard o f men with flaming torches. He comes again towards morning. T h e guard has gone, the house is all sleeping, but a dog is tied to the girl’s bed: she has tricked and humiliated him in her prudent virtue.1 Ó ðinn is luckier when he sleeps with the giant’s daughter, G unnlçô, to get a drink o f the mead o f poetry: then it is she w ho is left heart-broken.2 T h e winning o f the maiden Rind is more difficult. She roundly refuses him for a husband. T h e story is told b y Saxo, in robust and tasteless style: ‘W hen he tried to kiss her, . . . she repulsed him so that he tottered and smote his chin upon the ground. Straightway he touched her with a piece o f bark whereon spells were written, and made her like unto one in frenzy.* Eventually he gains his will and begets upon her the son w ho shall avenge Baldr.3 In Hárbarðslióð Ó ðinn boasts that he has tricked wom en time and again, slept with seven sisters and been loved b y them, kept secret meetings with a radiant girl in the east, while Þórr has been battering the brides o f giants and berserks.4 These loves o f Ó ðinn, most complex o f the Norse gods, may once have related to aspects o f his nature as a god o f grow th and husband o f the earth,5 but, in their extant form, they are told without awareness o f this: they have become incidents— intrigues and deceptions— in the life o f the old, cynical god o f wisdom and magic. Traditions o f Freyr are more consistent. He is one o f the Vanir: like N içrôr, his father, he is god o f wealth and abundance. W hen he was lord, in the mythical golden age o f Sweden, there was lasting peace, the great Fróðafriðr, and the land was more fertile and the people more prosperous 1 H ávam ál {H à v) w . 96-101. 2 H d v w . 108-10. 3 Saxonis G esta D anorum , ed. J. O lrik and H. Ræder (Copenhagen, 1931), in . iv. 4, p. 71


T h e F ir st N in e B ooks o f the D an ish H istory o f S a xo Gram m aticus, tr. O . Elton

(London, 1894), p. 96 (here quoted). 4 H árharðslióð w . 18, 30; 23, 37. 5 D e V rie s §§ 393, 395, srtiH .V V a g n er/E in eirisch -a ltn o rd isch etep d sy d fjIO Z -E p iso d e*, B eiträge {ur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Litera tu r , lxxvii (1955), 348 ff.; D .

Strömbäck, S ejd (Uppsala, 1935), pp. 152 f.



than ever before.1 Freyr’s divine nature resembles that o f the goddess Nerthus, female counterpart o f NÍQrðr, Terra Mater o f the tribes o f the south Baltic shore. D uring her festivals peace reigned: ‘non bella ineunt, non arma sumunt; clausum omne ferrum; pax et quies tunc tantum nota, tunc tantum amata.’2 Like Nerthus, Freyr was borne in effigy through the land upon a cart, the car o f the sun that brings fertility.3 Adam o f Bremen relates that at Uppsala in the eleventh century the statue o f Freyr was worshipped, ‘pacem voluptatemque largiens mor­ talibus. Cuius etiam simulacrum fingunt cum ingenti priapo’ ; and offerings were made to Freyr there ‘si nuptiae celebrandae sunt’.4 T he divine nature o f Freyr is brilliantly and punctiliously reflected in the love-story o f Skim ism dI. Freyr offers Gerðr reconciliation and peace, desiring at vit sátt sém56 and fr ið at kaupaf and, through Skim ir, showering her with threats, nema þú mér sa tt segir, if she refuses to be reconciled. He offers her gold, the metal o f the sun,7 for he is auðugr sent NiçrÔr: golden apples, a symbol o f immortality and lo ve,8 and a golden ring, Draupnir, that drips new gold rings every ninth night, an image 1 YngUnga Sagay ch. x. 2 Tacitus, Germ ania , ch. xl. 3 D e Vries § 449; Flateyjarbôk, i (Christiania, i860), 338. In the O ld English Runic Poem (ed. B. Dickins, R u nic and H eroic P oem s (Cambridge, 1915)) v. 67, In g (i.e. Freyr) is accompanied b y a car: ween a fter ran : see G . Turville-Petre, ‘T h e C u lt o f Freyr in the evening o f Paganism’, P roc. L eed s P hilosoph . and L iu Soc.y h i , v i (1935), 322. F o r discussion o f the ritual car o f the sun see R . Forrer, ‘Les chars cultuels pré­ historiques et leurs survivances aux époques historiques’, Préhistoire,, 1 (1934), esp. 86 ff.; A . Szabô, ‘D er W agen des Amphiataos’, Paideum ay1 (1940), 327 ff. See also p. 265 below. 4 M a g istri A dam B rem ensis G esta H am m aburgensis E cclesiae Pontificum

(ed. B.

Schmeidler, 3rd edn Hanover and Leipzig, 1917), iv, ch. xxvi, xxvii. 5 ‘that w e should be reconciled’, Skm v. 7. W ith Boer, I read sá tt (Codex Regius sa t) in preference to sam t (A M sä t)y since a phrase vera sam t = vera saman is unparalleled and grammatically improbable. 6 ‘to purchase peace’, Skm v. 19. There is a play on fr ið r (1) ‘peace’ and (2) ‘love*, cf. H áv v. 90: fr ið r hvenna . K aupa fr id has legal associations (see Fritzner, O rdbog over det garnie norske sprogy under friðka u p) that sort well with sá tt and sa tt (v. 23).

7 R . J. Forbes, M etallu rgy in A ntiquity (Leiden, 1950), p.86. 8 C f. Iðunn’s apples, Skáldskaparm ál ch. ii, iii, xxxi ( S n E d da y pp. 79 f., n o if.); de Vries § § 3 1 0 , 313, 559; Pauly-W issow a, R eal-E ncyclopädie der classischen A lte r ­ tum sw issenschaft, under Hesperidem In the E chtra Condla (Lebor na h -U id rey tr. Zimmer,

Z . f d. A .y xxxiii (1889), 262 if.) the Irish hero Connla is given an apple o f love b y a fairy woman from the land o f perpetual youth and life.




o f constant renewal and resource.1 He him self is fecund, virile— fróðr,2 þroskr— and the calm grove Barri, where Gerðr says she w ill give her love to him, is the ideal place o f union for the god and his bride, for it was into a grove, remote and pure, castum nemus, that the goddess Nerthus entered when she descended to earth. A nd finally, Freyr, patron o f marriages, is himself ruefully bound to observe a human marriage custom, which he calls his hýnótt, a time o f chastity between the vow s and the consumma­ tion o f marriage.3 A period o f chastity may even have been ritually associated with the festival o f Freyr, as with the rites o f Ceres.4 Frazer notes that it is a common practice among many tribes to refrain from sexual intercourse for several nights at the season o f their planting or harvest festivals, in the belief that this w ill ensure the abundance o f the crop.5 T h e marriage o f Freyr, veraldar god, w ho, like the sun, governs the seasons, repeats the ancient pattern o f the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage o f Sky and Earth, Ouranos and Gaia, which recurs in so many m ythologies.6 Sahlgren argues in vain that 'Skírnism ál intet har at berätta om fruktbarhetskult’ .7 T h e bride o f Freyr is b y that very fact his partner in a sacred 1 T h e original significance o f Draupnir is disputed, as is that o f Baldr, w ith w hom it is closely linked; see de Vries § 394. But a ring that is burnt on a funeral pyre, then returns from the world o f the dead, and possesses such miraculous powers o f repro­ duction, is clearly at home in the treasury o f Freyr. Freyr may have inherited it from traditions o f Óðinn, but Ó ðinn w ould surely only have possessed such a ring because in certain respects, at some period, his nature resembled Freyr*s. See p. 267 below. 2 T h e same play on fróðr ‘wise’ and its rare hom onym meaning ‘fruitful* occurs in H âv V . 141 : Ó ðinn becomes fruitful in wisdom, þá nam ek frceva^

ok fróðr vera. F or

discussion o f fróðr and the names Fróðiy Frotho, in relation to Freyr, see Turville-Petre, Cult o f Freyry pp. 321 f. 3 D e Vries § 140; Handwörterbuch des deutschen Aberglaubens, iii, under Geschlechts­ verkehry pp. 739 f., also ii. 586. H ýnótt is a nonce word, and its etym ology disputed: most probably hý- is related to hjón ‘married couple* (cf. hýbýli). 4 See O v id , Amoresy i i i . ix; Metamorphoses, x . 431 ff. 5 The Golden Bough (3rd edn London, 1 9 1 1 -1 2 ). The M agic A rt, ii. 105. Sometimes the sexual restraint is intended to preserve the sacredness o f the vital season, sometimes to strengthen the procreative forces b y abstention. 6 See Hesiod, Theogony, 11. 1 3 2 ff.; for succinct discussion and bibliography, M . Eliade, Traité d'histoire des religions (Paris, 1948), ch. vii, L a terrey la fem m e et la fécondité. 7

J. Sahlgren,

‘Sagan om Frö och Gärd*, Nam n och Bygdy xvi (1928), 18: ‘. . . I have

demonstrated that Skm has nothing to tell us about fertility cults. It is a folktale spun out o f familiar narrative motifs. Freyr is made the hero o f the story because he was already well know n for his successes w ith the fair sex.* W hat successes are these? T ý r ’s words in Lokasenna v. 37 (see p. 266 below) im ply that sexual love, o f which Freyr is the divine personification, brings jo y to women, not that Freyr has had many love affairs.



marriage, and in the imagination o f those w ho worship him rep­ resents the terrestrial elements that he fructifies b y his divine spirit. T h e poet’s treatment o f the marriage in Skirnism ál leaves no doubt that he understood its potential significance, and his theme is unaffected b y the meaning o f her name, or her father’s, or her possible narrative origins.1 A s it stands, the poem undoubtedly describes a sacred marriage, but the question remains: is this a splendid piece o f antiquarian reconstruction on the part o f the poet himself, b y which he invents a m yth o f F reyr’s marriage that never actually existed in ancient Scandinavia, or is the poem based, however freely, upon native m ythological tradition? T h o u gh admiration for the poet’s w it m ight incline us to attribute all manner o f inventiveness to him, it seems more probable, in face o f what evidence there is, that he was basing his poem on native tradition. O u r knowledge o f rites connected with the cult o f Freyr is slight, but the theme o f his marriage seems to have played a part in his cult. He is the only god in Norse served b y priestesses, and in his ritual progress in his car, he is accompanied b y a priestess as his consort, just as the goddess Nerthus had her attendant priest.2 O f more particular significance are the hoards o f small gold tokens found in N orw ay (and to a lesser extent in Denmark) near places associated with the names o f Freyr, or Freyja, and N içrôr.3 These portray a betrothal or marriage: a yo u n g man, beardless, stands on the 1 M . Olsen, T r a gamm elnorskm yte o g kultus’, M a a l og M inne, i (1909), 21 f., interprets Gerðr as equivalent to ‘enclosed field* (she is the ‘field’s divine representative’), and Gymir, her father, as ‘Earth-Man’ (cognate w ith humus). Sahlgren points out that Gymir is a well-attested name for the sea, and attempts to relate Gerðr to kennings for the sea formed w ith -gardr (Nam n och Bygd\ xvi, 10 if.)* H e considers it ‘extremely likely that G ym ir and G erðr correspond to the king and princess o f the realm under the waves in Celtic legend’. T h e Celtic parallels are not convincing; in them the woman w oos the man, not vice versa. In any case the Vanir are also m ythologically associated w ith the sea (de Vries § 78, 454, 458; Eliade, Traité, ch. v , L es eaux et le symbolisme aquatique). K . Reichardt argues sensibly that ‘es kein Zufall ist, dass gerade der Fruchtbarkeitsgott Freyr, bei dessen K u lt erotische Phänomene verbreitet gewesen sind, im Skimirliede als der sich in L iebe verzehrende G o tt geschildert wird. U nd diese religionsgeschichtliche Tatsache w ürde bestehen bleiben, auch wenn es in Zukunft gelingen sollte, einen wirklichen Beweis fur irische Herkunft des M otivs der F ç r Skim is zu liefern* (‘D ie Liebesbeschwörung in F ç r Skimis*, J .E .G .P ., xxxviii (1939), 495)* 2 D e Vries § 466. 3 T h e follow ing account isofrom the description o f the finds b y M . Olsen and H . Shetelig in Bergens Museums Arbog, 1909, N o . 11 : D e to runestener fr a Tu og Klepp pd Jæderen. O n the T u stone are figures o f a man and woman which may represent the same m otif as the gold plates. See also M a a l og Minne> i. 31 ; de Vries § 466.




left, holding out his hand, on which there is a bracelet, towards a girl, w ho holds a tall plant. Her hair is braided or flowing down her hack, showing that she is unmarried. T h e tokens are o f very thin gold, o f no use for any practical purpose; they are not found in graves or on clothes, but simply buried close to old homesteads.1 It is suggested that these are amulets offered to Freyr, pictures o f his wedding with the earth, buried in the soil to ensure its richness in the com ing year. G old is Freyr’s metal, and it may have been a ritual requirement to have the tokens made in gold. These little plates are dated from the ninth to the tenth centuries and are the most carefully executed o f all V ikin g A g e pictures. It is possible that they represent the legend o f Freyr upon which Skirnism dl is based and record a ritual practice in his cult, the enactment o f his wedding.2 Skirnism dl, however, is more than a poetic version o f a hieros gamos. It is not simply a falling in love, a w ooing, an acceptance, with the imposition o f a maidenly delay, and the looking ahead to a calm, peaceful, prosperous union. Surprisingly, this M ay Queen refuses, flatly turns down the fruitful god o f peace and prosperity. This has led scholars to suggest that the poem is composite: the beginning and end represent the m yth o f Freyr’s wedding, the refusal and the curse are an intrusion drawn from quite unrelated traditions.3 This may be a correct analysis, but before considering it, I should like to look at the integrity o f the poem as it stands. Imagine the poem without the girl’s refusal: you will lack the fierce climax o f the curse, and with it the picture o f the alternative life that awaits the girl i f she persists in her refusal. T h is alternative life is a double picture, a picture o f feminine wretchedness— þ ik geð gripi4— and o f the physical barrenness o f the earth, kostalaus, kostavçn:5 frustration, 1 Perhaps such association with the farmer’s homestead, or garðr, accounts for the name G erdr. 2 Shetelig considered that the pictures represented some specific legend (Runestener, p. 18) \ . . tror jeg ikke at denne fremstilling er ahnen eller symbolsk. Jeg tror den sigter til et ganske besternt optrin fra sagnhistorien eller m ytologien’. 3 F . Niedner, ‘Skimis F ç r ’, Z . f d. A .,xxx ( i 886), 149; Reichardt, J .E .G .P ., xxxviii. 484. 4 MS. þ itu ‘M ay liking seize yo u .’ 3

Kostr may be used here with many connotations: ‘choice’, ‘opportunity’, ‘good

qualities or substance’ (especially o f land: allgóðir landskostir), ‘food’, ‘produce o f the earth’, ‘moral excellence’, ‘arrangement o f a marriage’ (liggja heim sem m ar til kosta). Gerðr will lack all o f these.



lack o f peace, lack o f joy, every human need unsatisfied. M unr— ‘love’, ‘liking’, ‘pleasure’, ‘ need’— echoes like a refrain through the poem: the poet uses it deliberately, w ith pun-like variations o f sense, to link the theme o f F reyr’s w ooin g and wedding with that o f the curse.12It is Freyr’s desires, or munr, pitted against G erðr’s; unless she is tamed to his munr, she w ill never enjoy munr o f her ow n: œðri drykkio fd þú aldregi, | truer, at þinom munom, mcer, at minom munom} She is regarded as a menace to human prosperity, like a thistle in the co m : m ay she be crushed in the threshing like the destructive weed she is.3 She is cursed as a most evil girl— -firinilla mcer— for her obstinate refusal o f F reyr; she is guilty o f blasphemy in refusing her natural fate, divinely imposed : þ ú fen g it hefir gambanreiði goða.4 I f she and the natural world she stands for reject Freyr, body and spirit become stultified and frenzied, sexual longing— ergi ok œði— becomes a mechanical affliction in a w orld o f horrors, that is no more than a ‘cistern for foul toads to knot and gender in’. In his curse, to depict this horrible travesty o f the natural world, the poet o f Skirnism dl has used the monstrosities that traditional legend and superstition provided, the underside o f the human world, the hell o f ogres and giants and trolls— þursar, içtnar, tramar. There is both aptness and awkwardness 1 Reichardt (pp. 486 f.) emphasizes the difference in vocabulary between the w ooin g story and the curse (though it seems appropriate that strange words, even hapax Ugomena, should pour out in imprecations), but he does not remark the unifying use o f munr and the fondness for playing upon the double sense o f words in both parts o f the poem, which indicate that the same poet is at work. 2 ‘Better drink (than goats' urine) shall you never have, girl, to suit your wishes, girl, to suit m y wishes'. 3 I follow the most obvious interpretation o f v. 31/6-8: ‘Be like the thistle that was crushed at the end o f the harvest.' W hether this relates to some specific piece o f harvest ritual magic, in which a thisde is crushed to sym bolize the destruction o f forces hostile to the harvest, cannot be determined w ithout more evidence (see O lsen, M a a l og M inne, i. 23; W . Mannhardt, W ald- und Feldkulte (Berlin, 1875), pp. 15, 69), but the w ord þ istill written in runic characters was certainly thought to have both malignant and exorcizing power: it is one o f six rhyming runic words follow ing Busla's curse (ßosa Saga ok HerrauÔSy ch. v), and it is carved (tistill (perhaps for kistill), m istill ok inn þriði þ istill) in Borgund Church, N orw ay, above the floor in the apse where the bodies o f premature infants were buried (probably to prevent their ghosts from haunting the living; Norges Innskrifter med de Yngre Runer, iv (O slo, 1957), pp. 173 -8 1. O lsen’s reading o f þiriþi, i.e. þriði, in the inscription, as an error for þirkþi ‘withered’ , is in­ correct). Pistill^ im plying ‘hated, malevolent thing’, m ight be written or spoken to give a man power over what he feared, or to bring fearful things upon an enemy. 4 ‘Y o u have brought on yourself the powerful anger o f the gods.’



in this. It is apt, succinct, integrating, to use the ogre-world as her hell, since proverbially Purs er kveruia kvçl, ‘ O gre is women’s torment’, Purs vceldr kvtnna kvillu, ‘ O gre causes women’s illness’. This is the motto applied to the /-rune in the Icelandic and Norwegian Runic Poems. Precisely what torment or illness o f women is meant can hardly be determined,1 nor w h y a þurs should cause it. But i f þurs is traditionally the rune that causes wom en’s torment— þurs rist ek þér— then Gerðr’s hell is properly Pursheim r. That is the aptness. T h e awkwardness is not to me an awkward­ ness, but it is so to some critics, notably Reichardt.2 Gerðr is a giant’s daughter: how can it be torment for her to live among giants— içtna ggrðom í ? W e cannot draw a distinction between þurs and içtunn (Grendel is both þyrs and eoteri), though clearly they have some different associations. But i f the roots o f this story o f Freyr go back to a m yth o f the wedding o f the earth with the god o f fecundity, then the girl personifying earth belongs neither to the gods nor to mankind. In what world is she to be localized? T h e earliest physical creation was the giants. T h e natural forces o f wind, fire, ocean, are theirs.3 T h e y have wealth. T h ey have the wisdom o f great age, the wisdom o f the world o f the dead.4 T h ey can tantalize and outwit the gods, who are descended from them. T h e y are not always savage and moronic ogres— until fear lends them at times that aspect. Gerðr would fit well into such an elemental giant world. Giants’ daughters are often beautiful5— Ó ðinn sleeps w ith them— and from giants the mead o f poetry or the secrets o f wisdom must be w on. Their w orld o f the dead is also the place o f resurrection, the source o f fertility:6 Persephone lives in Hades. But the simul1 See I. Reichborn-Kjennerud, ‘Eddatidens medisin’, A rkiv fo r Nordisk Filologi, xl (1924), 115 f. 2 P. 493.

3 D e Vries § § 177 f.

4 T h e vçlva in Baldrs Draumar is a þurs whom Ó ðinn raises from the dead. T h e giant V afþrúðnir has been through nine worlds to Niflhel, where the dead g o ( Vafþrúðnismál v . 43). A s Gerðr points out, v . 22, the giants are as rich as the Vanir (cf. G . Dum ézil, L a Saga de Hadingus (Paris, 1953), p. 92). 3 C f. the remarkable runic inscription (c. 1100) at Storhedder, N orw a y: ek vilda kiôsa mey þá er fegrst er i Þursheiminum ‘I should like to choose (as m y bride) the fairest maid in Pursheimr* (Norges Innskrifter med de Yngre Rimer, iii (1954), 57). 6 ‘Les morts comme les semences sont enterrés, pénètrent dans la dimension chthonienne à eux seuls accessibles’, Eliade, Traité, ch. ix, § § 134 f.; also b y the same author, ‘L a Terre-M ère et les hiérogamies cosmiques’, Eranos-J ahrbuch, xxii (1953), 94.



taneous conception o f giants as malevolent and monstrous, with hideous daughters— brides o f berserks, whom Þórr batters— inevitably colours and conceals the ancient dignity in their nature. Because the two notions o f giants were com m only held side b y side, a poet could use both notions without being aware o f any illogicality. In the curse, from verse 26 onwards, Gerðr is never called a giant’s daughter, but only mœry man, and clearly her common world is conceived o f in terms o f the human world. She will go where gumna synir will never see her. She w ill gaze out o f the world— heimi 6r, not içtunheim i or— towards hel (and Hel herself is a giantess). She will be cut o ff from any jo y in human intercourse : ek fy rirb ý ð . . . manna glaum mam} manna nyt mam. Reichardt considers this continual reference to human society an indication that the curse is not ‘original’ to Skim ism dl. A n d yet, i f the curse were originally an integral part o f the story, in what terms other than human could the poet express it? He is striking at realities, physical realities, and he speaks therefore in human terms that are directly comprehensible. He is not con­ cerned to give an accurate picture o f the torments o f a giant’s daughter and keep everything in harmony w ith that conception. His poem would then simply be a fantasy. He uses the giant-world to convey his meaning, not to confine it. That the curse does not properly belong to traditions o f the w ooing o f Freyr, and the poet o f Skím ism ál is the first to intro­ duce it, is, o f course, possible. I f so, then it is the measure o f his genius, for the curse leads deeper into the ancient m ythological elements o f the story, not away from them. N owhere else in Germanic literature can I find a curse associated with the culti­ vation o f the earth, though Frazer notes among other nations the habit o f cursing crops while ploughing or sowing.1 A ritual o f w ooing and cursing is recorded among the rites o f procreation in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad? T h e human act o f love re1 The Golden Bough. The M agic Arty i. 281; Spirits o f the Corn and o f the W ildy i. 108 f. 2 BUy vi. 4; see The Principal Upanishads, ed. and tr. S. Radhakrishnan (London, 1953). T h e translation cited below (paras. 6 -7 o f BUy vi. 4) is based partly on that o f A . K . Coomaraswamy (‘T h e Loathly Bride*, Speculumy xx (1945), 398), since his inter­ pretation o f S ri is more accurate than that o f other translators (Professor Zaehner has kindly comfirmed this for me).




enacts the hieros gamos, and a man who performs the act o f love, know ing the religious nature o f his act, gains in virtue. He must only approach the woman he has chosen when she is free o f the baleful impurity o f menstruation: ‘She is assuredly the very S ri o f women (Fortuna incarnate) when she removes the soiled garment (o f menstruation). Therefore let the man approach this glorious woman then, uttering a blessing; or, if she does not yield, he should bu y her with presents. I f she still does not grant him his desire, he should strike her with a rod or his hand, uttering the curse: “ I b y m y power and m y glo ry take thy glory to m yself” , and she becomes inglorious.1 I f she grants his desire, he says: “ W ith power and glo ry I give you glo ry.” Thus the tw o become glorious.’ Here, as in Skím ism ály is not only the curse upon the refusing woman, but the double potentiality o f her nature for glory and shame. Þursheim r resembles the banishment that primitive tribes impose upon a menstruating woman. In Coomaraswamy’s words,2 she is ‘baleful alike to men and crops, and she is often secluded where the light o f sun or moon cannot reach her (light is the progenitive power, and she must not beget at this time). W hat this seclusion implies is a temporary return to her primordial state, which is not, so to speak, human, but uncanny.’ D o such superstitions underlie the proverb Purs er kvetma k v çlï These Indian rites prove nothing about the traditions behind Skim ism ál, but they illuminate the poem b y showing that there once existed a coherent pattern o f ideas, rooted in universal and ancient belief, from which a poem such as Skírnism ál might have 1 T h is recalls the opening lines o f a curse upon a woman in the Atharva Veday i. 14: ‘I have taken unto m yself her fortune and glory, as a wreath from a tree* ( Sacred Books o f the E ast, xlii (O xford, 1879), 107, commentary pp. 252 ff.). A s H . Lommel pointed out (Z . f d. A .y lxxiii (1936), 245 if.), this curse bears a striking resemblance to Skím ir’s in certain respects. T h e woman is cursed (almost certainly b y a man, as Lom m el argues) to be unmarried in human society, but subjected as a concubine (or servant, according to Schrader), to Yama, G o d o f Death. Her jo y in love is to be taken from her, her organ o f love sealed up. T h e curse is implemented b y various magic rites (Kausika Sutra 36, 15 -1 8 ; translated b y W . Caland, Altindisches Zauberritual (Amsterdam, 1900), pp. 121 f.), including the burial o f objects (pieces o f the woman’s hair, & c .) in a mortar under stones. Lifting o f the curse is provided for (presumably if the woman yields) : the buried mortar (symbolically her organ o f love) is dug up again ‘with issue (o f children) and wealth*. Schrader’s objections ( Z . f d. A .y lxxviii (1940), 66 if.) to Lom m el’s arguments do not affect the main parallel with Skm9 and, in so far as they relate to the interpretation o f Skm itself, are worthless. 2 See p. 258, n. 2 above.



sprung. Because o f the Indian parallel, one cannot declare with such confidence that there could be no ancient connexion between the wedding o f Freyr and the curse with which his messenger threatens the refusing bride. She refuses to share his divinity, and her cursed life w ill be a parody o f the gods’ life: she w ill be mocked as a travesty o f Heimdallr, sitting in her uncouth hideousness on the edge o f hell, as he in his radiance sits at the edge o f heaven;1 she w ill be given goats’ urine to drink, while the gods drink the mead that flows from the udders o f the goat Heiðrún.2 Her life w ill be no life, but living death, in the pens o f the dead— -fyr nágrindr neðan, under the earth— d viðar rôtom. T h e terms o f Skim ir’s curse are not casually chosen. So far, the structure o f the poem seems excellent. T h e w ooing, the refusal, which elicits the curse, which opens up the horrors o f the alternative life-in-death that refusal w ill bring, in terms that cover her nature as a woman and as earth. A n d, finally, acceptance and choice o f life, with the calm promise o f peace and wealth and love. But within this framework, the poem is not without its complexities. W h y , for instance, does Gerðr say, when her maid tells her that a man is outside, M aÔr er hér üti, stigirm a f mars baki, that she fears her brother’s slayer has come— þ ó ek h in ôumk at hér ûti sé mirai bróðurbani? O ne explanation that is offered is that the hirðir w ho sits on the mound before Gerðr’s house is a giant and therefore G erðr’s brother, and Skirnir has killed him with the giant-slaying sword that Freyr has given him. A ll that Gerðr is saying, in that case, is that anyone w ho succeeds in approaching our halls must have killed the guard, m y brother. A s Gering notes, this is most unlikely.3 T h e reference to Gerðr’s hróðurbani recalls Lokaseraia, verse 17. L oki is insulting all the gods and goddesses, and he snarls at Iðunn that he considers her ‘o f all wom en the most thirsty for men, for you embraced with your bright-bathed arms your brother’s slayer’, . . . siqtu arma þína lagðir ítrþvegna um þirui bróðurbana. Iðunn keeps the apples which 1 Skm w . 27, 28 : interpreting ara þúfu á as equivalent to Hræsvelgr’s perch á himins enda ( Vafþrúðnismál v. 37).

2 Grlmnismál v. 25. 3 H. Gering, Kommentar

den Liedern der Edda, i (Halle, 1927), 223 f.; R . C . Boer,

D ie Edda9 ii (Haarlem, 1922), 74 f.




the gods eat to preserve their youth. A s goddess o f renewal, youth and fruitfulness, she is a counterpart o f Freyr and has affinities w ith the bride o f Freyr, to whom he offers, with the ring Draupnir, perpetual renewal and wealth. He m ay indeed be offering her the apples o f youth themselves, i f w e should read epli ellUyfs ‘apples o f the elixir for age’ instead o f the manuscript epli ellifo ‘eleven apples’, where ‘eleven’ has no discoverable significance (verses 19, 20). Iðunn is the maiden skilled in ellU yf dsa} I f G erðr and Iðunn are to be equated further, then G erðr’s bróðurbani must be Freyr, for it is he whom she is to embrace as her lover. But elsewhere Freyr is called B ella bani, B ella dólgr, and Beli is said to be a giant whom Freyr killed with a stag’s horn.2 A bride, the spring o f fruitfulness, w ho marries her brother’s slayer; a sun-god w ho slays— these tw o figures are fragments from another m ythological pattern, which has many variations in different lands. In the drama o f the seasons the old year is slain b y the new, the alternating divine brothers, tw o aspects o f one deity, in turn take the divine bride. Youthful Cuchulainn kills the gigantic Curoi and takes from him the Flower-Maiden, Blathnat, whom Curoi has carried off. Cuchulainn is a youn g C uroi: the solar deity whose aspects they reflect is alternately slayer and slain.3 T h e fragmentary myths o f Freyr represent him also as both a slayer, B ella bani, and a god w ho dies: it m ay not be fortuitous (as de Vries asserts) that Freyr is overcom e at Ragnarök b y a flaming fire-demon.4 Just as the m yth o f the 1 H a u stlç n g v . 9; Sn E d d a , pp. n o , 112 ; de Vries § 559. 2 V çlu spâ V. 53 ; H á ley gja ta l v. 5, D en norsk-islandske Skjaldedigtning, ed. F . Jónsson, Copenhagen, 1 9 12 -15 , A . i. 68; Sn E d d a p. 41. 3 F o r documentation and discussion o f this aspect o f the Curoi-Cuchulainn conflict see R . S. Loomis, C eltic M y th an d Arthurian Rom ance (N ew Y ork , 1927), ch. ii, iv, v , esp. pp, 12 if, 51, 55 if., 79 f. O n Curoi see also pp. 264—5 helow. 4 D e Vries § § 459, 460; compare Osiris, a god w ho dies, is buried, and joins the sun in its circuit: H . Frankfort, K ingsh ip an d the G ods (Chicago, 1948), pp. 184 f. T h a t Freyr should slay w ith a beast’s horn appears to be an ancient ritual feature, parallel to his ow n slaying (in the figure o f the Danish K in g Frotho) b y a tusk (de Vries § 462). I f the sun-glinting sword that Surtr wields against Freyr at Ragnarök ( V çlu spâ v. 52) is Freyr’s ow n sword [cf. S. N ordal, V çlu spâ (2nd edn R eykjavik, 1952) p. 137; though I do not agree w ith his conclusions, p. 138], is this a parallel to the legend that Curoi can only be killed b y his own sword? (cf. Loomis, C eltic M y th , pp. 14 ff.). A ccording to Lokasenna v. 42 and S n E d da p. 41, Freyr had no sword to meet Surtr with, because

he had given it aw ay to win Gerðr: it may be worth noting that Curoi’s sword falls into Cuchulainn’s hands because Blathnat steals it from him. Snorri’s explanation that Freyr



abduction o f the Flower-Bride survives as a romantic m otif in the Arthurian legends o f the abductions o f Guinevere, so the seasonal drama survives in Scandinavian heroic legend as a tragic m otif.1 T h e bride’s lover can only w in her either b y killing her kinsman, a father, brother, or both, or b y killing his own brother. T h e vestiges o f legend that remain show emphasis now on one aspect o f the drama o f brother-contest and bride-winning, n ow on another. In the remote w orld o f the Vanir, w ho married their sisters, the slayer o f the bride’s husband would also be her bróðurbani} There is, I think, no w ay o f accounting for G erðr’s mention o f her bróðurbani except b y reference to this background o f m yth. Gerðr has a prophetic sense that her destined w ooer is approaching. T h e mention o f her bróðurbani is an outcrop o f time-honoured legend properly, no doubt, linked w ith Freyr, retained in Skírnism ál perhaps as a traditional part o f the dialogue in the story o f his w ooing, despite the awkwardness that here it is not the bróðurbani himself w ho comes, but his emissary. Freyr’s role as bróðurbani o f his bride m ay have found its w ay into the originally distinct legend o f his hieros gamos because it motivated G erðr’s hostility towards him, a hostility that had probably become part o f the hieros gamos theme for quite different reasons. T h e poet o f Skirnism ál emphasizes that Freyr must be reconciled to G erðr: he must ka u pa friô and she segia sa tt. Her grudge against him seems to be o f long standing; she clearly disliked the Vanir even before Freyr’s w ooin g: þóhafða ek þ a t œtlat at myndak aldregi unna vaningia vel. Perhaps she scorned their luxurious nature (Hanunda refuses Frotho, Danish counterpart o f Freyr, as fam ae et claritudinis inopem )? but such a notion does not emerge in Skím ism ál. O n ly the Vanir marry giantesses, and both girls have a blood-feud on their hands: Gerðr has lost a brother, Skaði a father, and she marries N içrôr as part o f the payment for her father’s death. killed Beli with a stag’s horn because he had already given aw ay his sword looks like an attempt to make a logical story from unrelated fragments o f myth. 1 F o r example in H elgakviða H undingsbana II, H elgakviÔ a H içrva risson a r , the tale o f Hagbarthus and Signe in Saxo; see B. Philpotts, T h e E ld er E d d a and A n cien t Scandinavian D ra m a (Cambridge, 1920), ch. xiv, xv.

2 See Ynglinga Saga 9ch. iv, Lokasenna v. 36; Philpotts, E ld er E d d a 9p; 173.

2 Saxonis

G esta D an orum 9 V. i. 7, p. 106.



Shreds o f the ancient seasonal drama seem to cling to both V anir.1 G erðr’s refusal is one great obstacle to Freyr’s w ooing, but she is surrounded b y others. N ot only has she a viss vafrlogiy ‘cunning flickering flame’, about her hall, but she is also guarded by a watchman, hirðir d haugi, and, according to the connecting prose narrative, savage dogs are tied to the fence, just as a dog is tied to the bed o f Billingr’s daughter when Ó ðinn comes, and a dog and a bear guard the door o f Lathgertha against Ragnar.2 Such barriers usually surround a sleeping princess, a Sigrdrifa or a Brynhildr waiting for her Sigurðr. A re these obstacles literary borrowings in SJdrnismdl from tales o f Sigurðr or o f Óðinn? O r have they any ancient affinity w ith traditions o f Freyr? Freyr, veraldar goð, is the archetype o f the w ooer w ho wakes the sleeping princess. Like the sun, he penetrates the frozen barriers o f the earth w ith his revivifying rays, cuts through the stone circle to the centre o f the earth. His messenger, Skim ir ‘Shining O ne’, is an emanation o f himself. Skirnir’s name and function betray the ancient m ythological association between Freyr and the barriers round Gerðr.3 T h e flame-wall is the greatest barrier that Skirnir has to cross: it is the only obstacle that Gerðr mentions: hvl þú einn urn kamt eikinn fû r y fir ôr salkynni at sid?4 Skim ir summons his courage for the crossing like any mortal: w h y be a coward, he can only die once— eino dotgri mér vor aldr um skapaðr ok alt l i f um la g it* Skím ir’s dread is well-founded, for a flame-wall is traditionally the enclosure round the Otherworld, the world o f the dead, i f we may regard Scandinavian tradition as similar in this respect to Celtic and Near Eastern.6 In the Otherworld 1 This, o f course, is on ly one aspect o f the relationship between the Vanir and giants' daughters; on others, see Dumézil, L a Saga de H adingus, esp. pp. 91 ff. T h e obvious difference between the heroic legends in which a girl marries the killer o f her kinsman and the myths o f Skaði and Gerðr is that the giantesses are initially hostile to their wooers.

2 Saxonis

G esta Danorum^ ix . iv. 3, p. 25a.

3 F r e y r ’s influence can m iracu lou sly keep the g ro u n d green and unfrozen in w inter, de V ries § 4 6 5 ; see also § § 3 2 3 , 458; and C o o m a rasw am y, ‘T h e S u n -K iss', Journ. Am erican O rien tal Soc .9 lx (1940), 48.

4 ‘W h y have yo u come alone, over the raging fire, to see our home?' 5 ‘F o r a single day m y fate was fashioned, and all m y course o f life laid dow n.' E very life has only one


6 See A . H . Krappe, ‘W aberlohe', A rch iv fü r das Studium der neueren Sprachen,} clxxii



journey o f Maelduin, he sights an island ‘which was not large, and a fiery rampart was round about it and that rampart used to revolve round the island. N o w whenever the doorway would come in its revolution opposite to them, they used to see the whole island and all that was therein and all its indwellers, even human beings, beautiful, abundant, . . . feasting with golden vessels in their hands’.1 In Egyptian tradition at Hermopolis, the Primeval Hill (‘place o f sunrise and creation, and hence the place o f rebirth and resurrection’) was conceived o f as an Isle o f Flames, whose name ‘bears clear allusion to the glo w o f that momentous sunrise o f the First D a y ’.2 Krappe and Löhmann in their demonstration that the flame-wall is an ‘ Otherworld M otif’ do not ask the essential question: w h y should the barrier round the Otherworld be traditionally o f flame? T h e y are content to suppose that the m yth arises from the sight o f actual volcanoes emitting flames.3 It is more probable that the flame-wall forms part o f a coherent picture, that o f the sun entering each night the Otherworld o f the dead and rising each m orning Sol Invictus. T h e inflamed horizon is a wall o f flame through which he passes. T h e waters round the Primeval Hill or the Otherworld Island ‘become those waters o f death that, in the imaginations o f many peoples, separate the world o f the living from the world o f the dead’. Each night the sun sinks into the sea and into the Under­ world, and bathes as he rises each morning ‘in his red garments’. In the B ook o f the Dead, the Great Boat o f Ra passes over a circle o f bright flame in its journey through the Underworld.4 I f the Egyptian Isle o f Flames is part o f the conception o f the sun’s nightly course over the sea and through the Underworld, m ay not the same be true o f the flame-surrounded islands o f Celtic tradition? In Celtic legend also a supernatural boat leads to the Otherworld.5 Curoi, in some o f his various manifestations, (1937), 4 ff.; O . Löhmann, ‘Waberlohe als Märchenmotiv’, ibid., clxxiii (1938), 152 fr.; A . C . L . Brown, Iw ain (Boston, 1903), ch. 4.

1 Im ram

Curaig M aildu in (tr. W hitley Stokes, R evue Celtique, x (1889), 81). Stokes

notes, ‘I know o f no parallel to the revolving rampart o f fire’. 2 Frankfort, K ingship and the G ods, p. 154.

3 A rch iv y clxxii, p. 9 f. and clxxiii, p.


4 Frankfort, K ingship , pp. 154, 157; T h e B ook o f the D ea d , tr. E . A . W . Budge (London, 1901), pp. 4 11, 413. 5 F o r a convenient collection o f references see F. Paton, Studies in the F a iry M ythology o f Arthurian Rom ance (2nd edn N e w Y ork , i960), p. 16, n. 1.




emerges from the sea and returns to it;1 when he is visited one night, he is not at home, and his guests must wait until he should return ‘from his oriental expedition into Scythian territory’. His fortress revolves (like the fiery rampart o f Maelduin’s Otherworld Island) when, every night, wherever he may be, he chants a spell over it. T h e entrance to it is never to be found after sunset. W hen Curoi returns, it is morning.2 This journey to the east is the sun’s journey through night towards dawn, like the eastward journey o f Ing, w ho ‘departs over the w ave’ followed b y his solar car. T h e funeral cars and ships in Scandinavian graves accompany the sun on his w ay over the sea, through the Underworld, bearing the dead who are to be reborn with him.3 T h e vafilogi in Skírnism ál may well derive from an ancient solar motif, appropriate enough in myths o f Freyr, the solar deity, whose shining messenger penetrates Içtunheim r, Underworld o f the dead. Traditionally linked with the wall o f flames, in Celtic as well as Scandinavian legend, is the magic horse that crosses it.4 T h e horse, an animal sacred to Freyr,5 is most commonly in m ytho­ logies the drawer o f the car o f the sun;6 in Indian ritual, ‘the sacrificial horse is the sun in likeness’ and is made to snuffle at the fire-altar, breathing the breath o f life upon the earth, awaken­ ing it from its sleep o f death.7 It has been much disputed whether flame-wall and horse are ‘original’ to Skim ism ál\ or to Figlsvim um dl, or to the legend o f 1 F le d B ricren d (Irish T exts Society), ii. 99, 103; Brown, Iw ain, pp. 51 f t 2 F le d Bricrend,\ pp. 101, 103. T h e revolving fortress represents the sky: see R . S. Loomis, W ales and the Arthurian L eg en d (Cardiff, 1956), pp. 138 f. 3 See p. 252, n. 3 above. T his interpretation, accepted b y de Vries § 449, is more convincing than that the eastward journey o f Ing represents the spread o f his cult to Sweden (Turville-Petre, C u lt o f Freyr , p. 325). T h e bathing o f Nerthus is a ritual con­ nected with her solar nature. 4 Löhmann, A rch iv , clxxiii, pp. 155 f., 159. 5 Vatnsdcela Saga, ch. 34; Flateyjarbók i. 400-1 ; de Vries § 463 ; Turville-Petre, C u lt o f Freyr , p. 328; A . Mayer, ‘D as mantische Pferd in lateinischen Texten des Mittelalters’,

in L ib er Floridus; m ittellateinische Studien P a u l L eh m a n n . . . gewidm et (St Ottilien, 1950), pp. 13 2 -5 1. 6 Forrer, Préhistoire, i. pp. 94 f. : ‘D es chars tirés par des animaux, on passe aux véhicules transportant des quadrupèdes, où l’animal, disparaissant de l’attelage, devient passager lui-même, et se trouve promu au rang divin. . . . L ’an im al. . . fait partie de l’ensemble sacré et devient lui-même objet sacré, “ cheval solaire” .’ 7 Coomaraswamy, T h e S u n -K iss , pp. 46 ff., 65, n. 42.



Sigurðr.1 O ne can only point out that i f flame-wall and horse have been borrowed in Skím ism ál as picturesque motifs from other legends, then the borrower has restored both motifs to a m ythological context to which they originally belonged. T h e flame-wall can be said to be ‘original’ to all three legends in so far as all three contain themes that derive ultimately from the m yth o f the awakening o f the earth b y the sun, simultaneously a w ooing and a release o f new life from the world o f the dead, whose enclosure is traditionally o f flame. Even for a god the journey can be perilous: ‘E very sunrise is a victory over the darkness, every sunset a forcible entrance into the Netherworld where dangers crowd in upon the sun-god.’2 T h e poet o f Skirnism dl no doubt inherited from tradition, and did not invent, the notion that the god sends his angelos and does not venture himself to w oo his bride, like Sigurðr. But the poet develops this notion with a w it o f his own. Freyr is shown as melancholy and as inactive in his own love-affair as any Troilus. He wants to force Gerðr to give herself to him, but it would be utterly inappropriate i f he himself approached her with these terrible curses. In Lokasenna, verse 37, T ý r speaks up for Freyr: Freyr er be\tr allra ballriôa ása ggrðom í. M ey bann ne grœtir ne mannç kono ok leysir ór hçptom hvern^

‘. . . he causes no girl to weep, nor any man’s wife.. . . ’ The dirty work of threatening and cajoling must always be done by the go-between. Skirnir is as confident o f the rightness o f his cause— and as ruthless— as any Pandare. So the poet can play upon the theme o f the love-sick god— his irritable, withdrawn 1 Sahlgren considers that in Norse the flame-wall is original to Skirnism dl but bor­ rowed from Irish ( N am n och B y g d y xvi, p. 16). Krappe argues that since the flame-wall always seems to be associated in folktales with a release from enchantment or capture (originally an awakening from the dead) it must be a borrowed m otif in tales o f W o o in g where no release is involved; in the tales o f the w ooing o f Brynhildr, Gerðr, and M englgð, only that o f Brynhildr has contact with a Release tale, namely the Sigrdrifum dl; therefore the flame-wall is borrowed first b y the Brynhildr story, and thence into Skirnism dl and Fiçlsvinnsm dL T his argument rests upon an artificial distinction between

the W o o in g tale and the Release tale. 2 Frankfort, K ingship , p. 157.



gloom o f love, his reluctant revelation o f his secret— ‘w h y should I tell to you, young sir, the great grief o f m y spirit’— his restless excitement when Skirnir returns, and his lamenting cry at the end— ‘how can I wait nine nights till I possess her?’ Freyr is always waiting, longing, self-absorbed. Skirnir is the grumbling, bustling, active agent and confidant— a touch o f A riel, a touch o f Figaro, a touch o f L ok i about him. O ne last point may underline the complexity and sophisti­ cation o f the poem. T h e forcing o f the girl to bo w to Freyr’s w ill is achieved b y the threat o f runic spells. Freyr is not the god com m only associated with runic magic: the only other story o f threatening a woman b y the power o f runes is told o f Ó ðinn. B y runes carved on a piece o f bark he makes Rindr frenzied.1 Niedner suggested that in the ‘original’ legend o f the w ooing o f Gerðr, she was w on simply b y the giving o f the sword and o f gold; Snorri makes no mention o f any refusal on the girl’s part, or o f a curse.2 L oki in Lokaserma, verse 42, says only that Gerðr was bought with gold. Niedner concludes that the runic curse was introduced into an older lay o f Freyr and G erðr during the heyday o f the Odinic, V ik in g religion. W agner has pointed out, however, that the m yth o f Ó ðinn and Rindr and the swift birth o f their son (called in Saxo Bous, whom de Vries identifies as a fertility spirit) is probably a version o f the hieros gamos? In that case, in tw o legends o f a girl’s sacred marriage with a god, that o f Rindr and that o f Gerðr, a curse is a prelude to the god’s possession o f her. T h is strengthens the probability that the curse on the refusing woman was an integral part o f a version o f the hieros gamos know n in Scandinavia.4 I f the curse were original to traditions o f Ó ðinn and not to those o f Freyr, it would only have been borrowed into Skirnism ál because that also told o f a hieros gamos. Traditions o f the tw o 1 See p. 2 5 1 , n. 3 above.

2 Niedner, Z . f d. A ., xxx,

pp. 149 f.

3 W agner, Beiträge, lxxvii, 348fr.; de Vries § § 395, 516.

4 T h is

is not invalidated b y the possibility that the story o f Ó ðinn and Rindr m ay be

influenced b y Celtic legends in which a god begets a son upon a human queen. T h e Celtic parallels which W agner cites to support this thesis are unlike the story o f Rindr in important respects. T h e Irish ladies are married, and the magic involved in the birth o f the child is simply designed to guard their reputation. There is no threatened curse to make them com ply w ith the god. There is at least a strong native element in the story o f Rindr, especially where it resembles that o f Gerðr.



gods overlap in so far as their natures do. W hether the poet o f Skím ism ál inherited the tradition o f Skim ir’s curse as part o f Freyr’s w ooing, or whether he himself introduced it into his poem, what could be more natural than that he should model the curse on runic imprecations appropriate to ó ð in n , introducing the gambanteinn ‘magic tw ig’,1 the mesmeric eye— se^tu niðr— and the carving o f the rune-spell, much as E gill Skallagrimsson him self might have done? T h e heterogeneous narrative elements o f Skim ism dl show remarkable affinity: all relate, in one w ay or another, to the known m ythology o f deities o f sun and fruitfulness, deities such as Freyr. N o doubt that is w h y they have accumulated together in this legend o f Freyr. From this m ythological complex a brilliant poet has developed a lucid and coherent theme. H e illuminates the horrors o f the w orld without Freyr’s influence— the poverty, famine, and distortion o f beauty— the serenity, luxury, perpetuity o f life when Freyr is satisfied: the ‘welle o f Grace, T h er grene and lusty M ay shal ever endure* against the ‘sorweful were, T h er as the fish in prison is al drye’. T h e poet o f Skírnism ál plays with a m ythological theme, and, at the same time, shows its reality. His is a serious poem, delivered w ith the speed and lightness o f a je u d'esprit. 1 Hárbárðslióð v . 20; de Vries § § 229, 370.










Judging b y the number o f extant versions,1 The L ife o f S t Catharine o f Alexandria was a widely appreciated legend during the Middle English period— so much so that, as a famous philo­ logist once remarked to me, the production o f these lives became a national industry in England. But the popularity o f the legend survived the Middle A ges: for during the sixteenth century there appeared at least tw o editions o f it apart from the text included in the various editions o f the Golden Legend. T h e first o f the separate editions was probably printed b y R. Pynson in London about 1510.2 O n ly a very imperfect copy seems to be extant, now in the British Museum. It consists o f a single uncut sheet folded in quarto. A s the first leaf bears the signature a ii, the sheet was obviously meant to form the second, third, sixth, and seventh leaves o f the first gathering. This inference is confirmed b y the text, which is in two fragments. T he contents o f the sheet, or four leaves, are as follows. O n f. i r there is a woodcut o f St Catharine with the title The l i f o f saincte Katheryne, and both the picture and the title are repeated on f. i v. T he text begins on f. 2:3 Here begynneth the ryghte excellent and full gloryous lyfe and passyon of the ryghte blyssed virgyn and martyr saynte Katheryne. 1 N ine metrical versions are listed b y Brown and Robbins in The Index o f M iddle English Verse (N ew Y ork, 1943). But the extant versions include also the alliterative version, the prose synopsis in Mirk’s Festial and a group o f four prose versions, with reworkings, one o f which is Caxton’s text in his Golden Legend. 2 T h e British Museum Catalogue gives the name o f the printer and the date with a query. 5

In quotations from the printed texts, the spelling, capitals, and punctuation are

retained, but abbreviations, except for the ampersand, are expanded in italics and the oblique punctuation mark is printed as a comma.



This blyssed virgyn saynt Katheryn was by the dyscent o f the lyne and o f the noble kynrede o f the Emperoure o f Rome, as it shalle be declared more playnly here after, by a noble cronycle whiche moost blyssed lyfe and conuersacyon was write« of the sole/npne doctour Athanasius . . . and after by his wysdom he was made bisshop of Alisandre, & was a glorious pyler o f holy church, by the grace of oure lorde god & hir holy meritis, as we do fynde by credible cronycles for in the tyme o f themperour Dioclesian & maximian, so great & cruel tyranny was shewed in the worlde. — This fragment ends before the first chapter is brought to its close. T h e last words on f. 2V are: drew him towardes tho parties & in his comminge he ruled hym so b y his vertue & prudence.’ T h e second fragment contains part o f chapter v , chapter v i in full, and the beginning o f chapter v u . It begins on f. 3 with the words ‘wherfore we be in derkenes & tyl the light o f grace come w e may not se the clere w aye’, and ends on f. 4V with ‘and she sate so sadde in hir stody that she herde hym nat vnto the tyme that he kneled hym*. A lthough the attribution o f this edition to Pynson is doubtful, the w ork will, for the sake o f brevity, be referred to as Pynson’s edition. It is possibly o f this edition that the O xford stationer John D o m e (or Thorne)1 sold, according to his diary,2 four copies in 1520. T h e second o f the separate editions, entitled The life o f the glorious and blessed virgin and martyr Saine te Katheryne, was printed b y John W aley (or W alley) in London, as the colophon states: ‘Imprynted at London in Foster lane b y Jhon w aley.’ This edition bears no date, but it has been attributed to the year 1555.3 O ne copy is know n to be extant; it is a perfect copy and in the possession o f the British Museum. W aley’s edition is a quarto volum e consisting o f sixteen 1 Probably a Dutchman b y birth. See E. Gordon D uff, A Century o f the E n glish B ook Trade (London, 1948), p. 41.

2 Ed. b y F . Madan, ‘D a y -b o o k o f John D o m e ’, H . Bradshaw, C ollected


(Cambridge, 1889), pp. 4 2 1-5 1. C f. R . Kapp, H eilige und H eiligenlegenden in England. Studien zum 16. und 17. Jahrhundert, i (Halle, 1934), pp. 57-58.

3 T h is is the date given in the British Museum Catalogue. T h e edition is attributed to 1550 in S .T .C . under no. 4817, where it is erroneously entered under St Catharine o f Siena.


27 *

leaves in four gatherings, signed A , B , C, and D . T h e title is printed on f. i r. T h e text, if. iv- i 6v, is divided into seventeen chapters, beginning: Here beginneth the ryght excellent and full glorious life and passion of die ryghte blessed virgyn and martyr Saincte Katherine. If The fyrst Chapter. Thys blessed virgine saynte Katherine was by the dyssent of the lygne and of the noble kinred of the Emperoure of Rome, as it shal be declared more plainly here after by a noble cronicle, which most blessed lyfe and conuersacion was written of the solempne doctour Athanasius . . . and after by his wisedome he was made byshop of Alysander, and was a glorious pyller of holy churche by the grace of our lord god, her holy merites as we do find by credible cronicles. For in the tyme of the Emperoures Dioclesian and Maximian so great and cruel tyrannye was shewed in the world.. . . T h e text ends as follow s: . . . This virgin suffered death vnder Maxencius the Emperour which was a great tyraunt that began to reigne in the yere of our lord god .CC. and .ix. as it is expressed in the inuencion of the holy crosse how Maxencius was punyshed for hys felony and other mo with hym. FINIS. Here finysheth the lyfe of the ful glorious virgyn and martyr Saincte Katherine. W aley’s edition contains the follow ing themes o f the legend: Chapter i: Prologue and a historical introduction linking Catharine’s family w ith the Emperors Constantius and Constantine the Great. Chapter n : Catharine’s birth and education. Chapter iii - v : Parliament at which she is urged to marry. Chapters v i - x i : Her conversion and marriage to Christ. Chapters x ii - x v ii , beginning: Her martyrdom (as told in the Legenda aurea). Chapter x v ii, end: T h e finding o f her body. T h e tw o fragments o f Pynson’s edition contain the prologue and part o f the historical introduction o f chapter i, the end o f the parliament theme in chapter v , and the beginning o f



Catharine’s conversion in chapters v i and v u . T h e fragments cover about one-seventh o f W aley’s complete text. Pynson’s and W aley’s editions agree in the themes they contain, in their chapter division and very largely also in w ord­ ing. It is obvious that Pynson and W aley have published the same version, and on the basis o f its contents and w ording this version can be identified with Version b o f the fifteenth-century L ife o f S t Catharine ofA lexandria in prose.1 Version b is extant in the follow ing twelve manuscripts, which date from the middle or the second half o f the fifteenth century: A i — British Museum MS. Addit. 11565, ff. 2 i i - i 4 v, imper­ fect, with about one-third o f the text wanting at the end. A 2— British Museum MS. Addit. 35298, ff. 148-52^ D — Bodleian MS. D ouce 372, ff. i44-8v, imperfect at the beginning, with two leaves lost in the middle. E— British Museum MS. Egerton 876, ff. 28i v~90v. F — Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, MS. McLean 129, if. 1 - 3 1, imperfect, with four leaves, or almost one-ninth o f the text, lost after f. 2. H i— British Museum MS. Harl. 630, ff. 353v—4V. H2— British Museum MS. Harl. 4775, ff. 225^-33. K — Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 142, ff. 96v- io 6. L — MS. Lambeth 72, if. 339v-4 9 v. S— Stonyhurst Archives, MS. X L III, ff. i-2 0 v, with the first page largely illegible. T i — T rin ity College, D ublin, MS. 319, ff. 7 - 1 4V, 5—6V, 1-2 , imperfect at the beginning, over one-fourth o f the text being lost. T 2 — T rinity College, Cambridge, MS. O . 9 . 1 , ff. 9-24. T h e stemma o f the manuscripts has tw o branches: Branch S T i, marked b i, and Branch F - E H 1 - K L - A 1 - A 2 - D H 2 - T 2 , 1 T h e four principal versions, denoted b y a, b, c, and d> differ in their contents: the historical introduction and the finding o f the saint's b o d y are not included in Version a ; Version c contains only an individual ‘Prohemium', the saint's martyrdom, and the finding o f her b o d y ; and Version and capitals and punctuation are added, whereas the spelling o f the editions is retained. Minor variants within a group o f texts are pointed out in brackets, but such grammati­ cal variants as sh a l - shut are not noted. T h e abbreviation om . means ‘not found in' and refers to the preceding word. Occasionally the context o f a reading is given in brackets in the first quotation, but it is not repeated in the others whether the texts are in agreement or not. Pynson ’s and W aley’s editions are denoted b y P and W .



which W aley agrees w ith S, hut only one can be used as evidence since the others occur in the passage missing also from F : F bz: (ye ben the) grettist enheriter (anheritid, D H2; adverted, T2). S W : . . . grettest upon (in, W) erthe. O f the tw o b i manuscripts, T i is the one w ith which the printed texts agree the more closely. It is the only manuscript o f Version b with a regular chapter division, and from the imperfect chapter v i, where it begins, to the last, or seventeenth, chapter its chapters and their headings are the same as those o f W aley’s edition. A n d, as pointed out above, what remains o f Pynson’ s chapters x and v - v ii corresponds with W aley’s text. In the passage from chapters v i and v u found in all the three texts, Pynson and W aley agree half a dozen times with T 1 against the other manuscripts. A m ong indicative readings with both conjunctive and separative force are the follow ing: S F bz-. entryth in hardily. T i P W : enter in boldly. S F A i E H i K : He roos (arose, K) hym up. A2 D H2 L T2: Þan he aroos hym (om. T2) up. T i : Anone Adryane rose hym up. P W : And anone adrian rose him vp. S F bz: enteryd in at the dores (dore, T2) þat he sau3 (founde, A2) open, and passed (passid forthe, A2) fro (from, E) chambre to chambre. T i : entred in at the dores that he sawe opene ayenst hym, and so passyd forthe fro chambre to chambre. P W : entred in at (om. W) the dores the whyche opened ageynste hym, & so he yode from chamber to chaumber. In the part o f the text lacking in Pynson, W aley agrees w ith T i about 125 times against the other manuscripts. Their com m on readings are largely changes, omissions, or additions o f single words, but there are also examples o f changed phraseology and construction. O f the many examples o f indicative readings with conjunctive and separative force the follow ing may be cited: S F bn calle þi corage fro (from, T2) þi fais goddys. T i W : calle ayene thy corage fro (from, W) thy false goddes, whyche thow worshyppest, and worshyp the verrey God of heven, that made all thyng of nought.



S F 52: be as poudre befom þe wynd. T i : be but powder afore the face o f the wynde. W : be but ponder [mc] before thy face of the wind. S F hi: I schal teche þe true philosophye. T i W : I shall teche the the trowthe in (of, W) phylosophy. S F bi\ he . . . comaunded þat sehe schuld be dispoylyd and betyn (al to-bete, K L). T i : he . . . sayde than thus to hys mynysftrejs:1 ‘I commaunde yow that she be dyspoylyd and forbetyn.’ W : he . . . sayde to his mynysters. ‘I commaunde that she be spoyled and sore beten.’ S F bz: Phorfiri stale þe body. T i : Porphyry toke pryvyly the body. W : Purphery toke þe body preuely. S F bz: Þe most clere ly3t of oure feyth, ful (and fülle, A2 D H2 T2) o f wysdom. T i W : The moste clere lyghte and furst bryngar of (of vs to, W) owre feythe, whyche was ryght (om. W) full of wysdom. A lth ou gh Pynson’s and W aley’s editions are closely related to T i , they are not directly dependent on it. In the passage com m on to the three texts there are over forty readings in w hich Pynson and W aley differ from T 1, and in five o f them the reading o f T i is changed whereas the printed texts retain the w ording o f Version b; for instance: S F bz P W : neythir I know (knowe I, W ; om. A i ) þe cite ne þe w ey. T i : neyther I knowe the w a y ne the cyte. S F bz (except A 2 ) P W : sehe is a specyal chosen vessel o f grace. A 2 : she is a chosyn vesselle o f specialle grace. T i : she y s a specyall vessell chosyn o f grace. S F bz (except A i ) : þer was never noon like here (to hir, A 2 ). P W : was neuer none lyke to hir. T i A i : ther was never noon lyke.

From the point where Pynson’s text breaks o ff to the end there are over 700 differences in the readings o f W aley and T i . In about 550 cases W aley’s readings depart from Version b or are further removed from it than those o f T i , while T i gives a changed reading as against a better reading o f W aley in about 1 Part o f the w o rd is illegible.

276 .


seventy cases, the remaining hundred cases being incapable o f classification. A great many o f the changed readings o f T i are separative errors in T i against W aley; these errors include also a few lacunae such as the follow ing passages wanting in T i : S F hi W : *Wher se 3e þat (þaf mynster, W)?*— ‘ 3ondre in þe est’, sehe seyde. S F bi W : (here joye) þat conseyvyd and bare þe (this, W ; hym that is, A2) sovereyn joye (lorde, W). S F h W : but if (pm. W) sehe wold do sacrifice. S F bi W : my fayre love. Since neither Pynson nor W aley based his edition direedy on MS. T i, the three texts must be descended from an archetype now lost. T h e relation between Pynson’s and W aley’s editions is very close. In addition to the cases discussed above in which they agree with a manuscript or a group o f manuscripts, there are about 65 readings in which they agree against all extant manu­ scripts. A bou t 40 o f such readings occur in the passage lost from T i , and it is therefore possible that some or even all o f them were found in the archetype o f T i and the editions. Since, however, these readings include indicative errors w ith strong conjunctive force, a few examples are w orth citing:1 F bi'. Kateryne, whiche (in whiche, A ij the whiche, H2 T2) be discent of lyne was of þe (om. H i) noble kynrede. P W : Katheryne. The fyrst chaptre This blyssed virgyn saynt Katheryn was by the dyscent of the lyne and of the noble kynrede. F bi : oon of hir maisters in hir tender age or she were (was, A i E H i H2 K L T 2 ) convertid into (to, bi) the feithe (feith of Crist, L). P W : oone of hir maysters in hir tender age, and by the grace of the holy gost she was conuerted to the faithe. F bi: And aftir hir (hir tendir, A2) martirdom he was made (om. H2 T2) Bisshope of Alisaundre. P W : and after by his wysdom he was made bisshop of Alisandre. S F h : a lord of gret dygnyte of (and of, A2 H2 T2)þe counsel, that hy3t Constantyus (Constandus, F bi). P W : a lorde of greate dygnyte of the counseyle of highe constandus. 1 M S. S is not included in the first quotations since its first page is largely illegible.



S F D E H i H2 K T2: alle þe derk clowdes of ignoraunces (ignoraunce, D E Hi H i K T2). A i A2 L: al the derkenes of clowdes of ignoraunce. P W : the derk clothes of ignorance. S F èi: Adryan, qwyche (the which, A2) holy fadyr had served oure lord in þat (om. K L) desert the spase o f . . . P W : Adrian the which had serued oure holy fader almyghty god the space o f . . . In the passage found both in the imperfect MS. T i and in the fragmentary cop y o f Pynson, in length about one printed page, Pynson and W aley agree over twenty times against T i and the other manuscripts. A m ong indicative readings with con­ junctive and separative force are: T i S F (iz) answered dredefully in thys wyse, seying: P W : answered thus. F S (£2) : (Her meyne wille not suffre me) to come to hir presence; and though I dide, she wille not lefe me of my message but put me in dures. T i : . . . to come to her presence. And though I come to hyr presence, she wyll nat beleve me of my message but put me in duresse. P W : . . . to come vnto hir presence: and she woll nat byleue me of my message, but put me in duraunce. T i S F (£2): before all erthely wymmen that nowe lyvyn; wherfore. . . P W : before all other women wherfore . . . S T i F (bz): besyyng (bysying her, T i; travelyng, F) ful sore to fynde be here wyttes that (that that, T i F) wylle not be. P W : stodyinge full sore in hir wittis of that that woll nat be. T i S F bz: And she was so sad (hard, T2) in her study. P W : and she sate so sadde in hir stody. T h e high degree o f agreement between Pynson’s and W aley’s readings suggests that W aley m ay have based his edition on Pynson’s. In comparing the texts I noted, apart from slight differences in spelling, 51 differences between Pynson and W aley. In 38 cases Pynson gives either the reading o f Version b or a reading which is clearly nearer to Version b than is the reading o f W aley; in seven cases W aley’s readings are better than Pyn son ’s; while in six cases the readings o f the editions are 1 G roup £2 is given in brackets when its readings support the reading quoted but contain unimportant variants.



indifferent, neither o f the tw o being definitely closer to Version b than the other. Pynson’s deviations from the readings o f V er­ sion b, which are quoted in brackets from W aley, S and, when possible, T i , are these: afore (before, W ; beforn, S), that rebellyon (the rebellion, W S), neuer meue moore o f this mater {. . . matter to me, W ; never meve me o f þ is matere, S), cleped (called', W S), take hede toyou {take hede o f you, W S T i ) , ty ll that (tyll, W S T i ) , and Icneled hym {kneled, T i S W and most o f the b i MSS.). O f Pynson’s deviations, that rebellyon, ty ll that, and kneled hym are too slight and occur too frequently in related manuscripts and early editions to be regarded as indicative errors. W aley may well have made the changes or 'emendations’ himself, especially as he elsewhere used the definite article twice instead o f a demonstrative {that, tho) and once instead o f the indefinite article, and moreover omitted as many as seventeen phrases or words such as pronouns (three times), adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions (three times), which Pynson had retained. Similarly, seeing that W aley six times changed a w ord against the correct reading o f Pynson, namely mayne {meanes, P), it {hir herte), wold {,shulde), hye her {byd hir), vnto {to), and trayter {faytoure), he may also have replaced Pynson’s individual readings afore, cleped, and take hede to b y their common variants before, called, and take hede o f A nd finally, the words to me, which the context almost demands, may well have been supplied b y W aley; especially their position at the end o f the clause, and not after the verb as in Version b, supports the view that they were not found in W aley’s exemplar but were added b y him. Since it is quite possible that W aley changed every one o f the readings in which Pynson deviates from Version b, Pynson’s edition cannot be held to contain a single separative error against W aley. It is therefore highly probable that W aley based his edition solely on Pynson’s text. This conclusion is strongly supported b y the readings that Pynson and W aley have in common. In fact, W aley follows Pynson with remarkable fidelity even in obviously corrupt passages, reproducing errors such as was by the dyssent o f the lygne and o f the noble kinred {be discent o f lyne was o f þe noble kynrede, F b i), a lorde . . . o f the counsaile o f hygh Constandus



(a lord . . . o f þe counsel, that hyp Constantyus, S F bz), and clothes o f ignoraunce (clowdes o f ignorounces, S F ; . . . ignorounce, b i), which have been quoted above. A point worth noticing is that Pynson and W aley show no influence o f Caxton’s version o f the L ife o f S t Catharine included in his Golden Legend.

J. A. W. B E N N E T T


The figurative uses o f clim at, m ilieu , ambiance have in recent years attracted the notice o f several European philologists.1 But English applications o f these words, and the curious history o f English ‘climate’ in certain contexts, have escaped attention. The present essay, a by-product o f random reading rather than die fruit o f systematic search, is merely a tentative sketch o f some developments; a definitive study would take us into the history o f ideas. Clim a (G k. KÁífjLa) is found in Late Latin and usually with the sense ‘zone o f the sky, as divided b y astrologers’. Several descriptions o f these zones are cited in the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Each had a tutelary planet and corresponded with the belt o f the earth’s surface lying beneath it; hence a twelfthcentury poet writes, ‘In quo mundi climate, subque caeli signo’.2 Hence too the early extension o f meaning b y which clima comes to be almost identical with plaga , regio— as when Servius (Aeneid , vi. 724) reports Ptolemaeus ‘qui dicit translatum ad aliud clima hominem naturam ex parte mutare’— and to be used b y Isidore and G regory o f the four cardinal regions; cf. the scholiast’s gloss on Boreae, Hor. Odes, iii. 24, 38, as gelido elim atu Both o f the chief senses accompanied O F r. clim at when it was adopted into English in the fourteenth century. T h e astrological connotations are clear (pace the M iddle English D ictionary, which puts this instance under ‘region’) in Astronomyens also aren at here Wittes ende; O f that was calculed of the clymat the contrarye they findeth (Piers Plowman, C xviii. 105-6); 1 See L . Spitzer, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, iii (1942), 1—42, 169-218 ; K . Michaelsson, Studia Neophilologicay xii (1939), 9 1 -1 1 9 ; H . Nilssen-Ehle, ibid., xxix ( I 9S7)> 180-91 ; R . Burkart, Archivum Romanicum, xxi (1937), 185-99. 2 Poésies populaires latines du Moyen Agey ed. E . du Méril (Paris, 1847), p. 157.



and G ow er’s couplet on the planet Venus, The climat of hir lecherie, Is most commun in Lombardie (Confessio Amantis, vii. 799-800; cf. 903-4) illustrates the association o f ‘climate’ with a region. W hen D onne says *thy climate is heaven’ he clearly has in mind patriam caelestem (Hebrews xi. 14-16) ; and when Trapp translates et quo sub caelo tandem, quibus orbis in oris jactemur, doceas (Aen. i. 331-2) as ‘Instruct us on what climate w e are thrown’ (Aeneis (1717), i. 171) he is rendering in oris rather than sub quo caelo. T h e extension from the sense ‘region considered with regard to atmosphere or weather’ to ‘atmospheric conditions o f a region or country’ is w ell evidenced in Shakespeare; and Clarendon can write o f the advantages o f the English climate. Sir Thom as Browne, on the other hand, preserves the older technical sense, though in a context that points to the m odem use; Those national repugnances doe not touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice the French, Italian, Spaniard or Dutch; but where I find their actions in ballance with my countrymens, I honour, love and embrace them in the same degree; I was bom in the eighth Climate, but seeme to bee framed, and constellated unto all; I am no Plant that will not prosper out of a Garden. All places, all ayres, make unto me one Country; I am in England every where, and under any meridian. (Religio M edici (1642), 11 § i) T h e medieval reckoning o f seven climates corresponding to the seven known planets had b y this time been replaced b y a division into 24, Britain falling under those numbered 8 to 13, and London, Browne’s birthplace, in the first o f these;1 his use o f ‘constellated’ recalls the original planetary associations; but ‘ayres’ and the metaphor o f a plant suggest the atmospheric sense, which becomes important in later figurative developments. 1 John o f Sacrobosco (D e Spera, ed. L . Thorndike (Chicago, 1949)) after g ivin g full descriptions o f the seven climates, adds: ‘ Ultra autem huius septimi climatis terminum, licet plures sint insule et hominum habitationes, quicquid tamen sit, quoniam prave est habitationis, sub climati non computatur9 (p. 112). Robertus Anglicus agrees that ‘fere tota A nglia est extra clima9 but explains that this is because it was uninhabited when the divisions were made (ibid., p. 187).




There is ‘A Geography o f Religions as well as Lands’, says Browne (ibid., i § i ) ; ‘every Clim e is circumscribed b y their Doctrines and Rules o f Faith’. Joseph Glanvill, w ho cites ‘ingenious D r Browne’ with approval, might well have taken these words as the text for his V anity o f Dogm atizing (1661). T w o centuries later, as readers o f The Scholar G ipsy know , Glanvill’s title attracted the author o f Literature and Dogm a; and since A rnold’s day the appeal o f Glanvill’s scepsis scientifica has steadily increased. O f this scepticism Glanvill’s belief in ‘climates o f opinions’ is an integral part; which makes it the more ironical that writers w ho now elevate this belief in turn into a dogma usually miss the meaning o f his phrase, which must be read in its contexts: Thus opinions have their Climes and National diversities: And as some Regions have their proper Vices, not so generally found in others; so have they their mental depravities, which are drawn in with the common air of the Countrey. And I take this for one of the most considerable causes of the diversity of Laws, Customes, Religions, natural and moral doctrines, which is to be found in the divided Regions of the inhabited Earth. And therefore I wonder not at the Idolatry of the Jews of old, or of the several parts of the world to this day nor at the sensual expectations of the Musselmen nor at the fopperies of the superstitious Romanists [2nd edn Papists] nor the ridiculous devotions of the deluded Indians, (p. 122) T hat ‘clime’ is here used figuratively for ‘region’ (thus ante­ dating O .E .D .’ s first example o f such a use, Paradise L ost, xi. 708) and that ‘opinions’ denotes received and customary beliefs is clear from the follow ing passage: They that have had a view of other Regions, are not so confidendy perswaded of the precedency of that, they were bred in; they that never peep’t beyond the common belief in which their easie understandings were at first indoctrinated, are indubitably assur’d of the Truth, and comparative excellency of their receptions, while the larger Souls, that have travail’d the divers Climates of Opinions, are more cautious in their resolves and more sparing to determine, (pp. 126-7)

By education Glanvill was an Oxford man; but he lamented that his friends had not sent him to ‘the other university’ ; and his Cartesianism, his interest in natural phenomena, his admira­ tion o f the Royal Society, all link him with the Cambridge of his own and later times; and his appeal has been notably to Cambridge writers akin to him in rationalistic temper. Thus it



was Leslie Stephen w ho provided the first m odem biography (.D .N .B ., 1890), and the great Cambridge historian J. B. Bury devotes much space to him in The Idea o f Progress (1920). T h o u gh Bury nowhere cites the passages quoted above, their influence on his w ork is manifest from his opening pages: ‘Ideas have their intellectual climates, and I propose to show briefly in this Introduction that the intellectual climates o f classical antiquity and the ensuing ages were not propitious to the birth o f the doctrine o f Progress.’ A nd he opens his discussion o f Glanvill with a variation on the same figure: ‘W hen we turn from the obscurantism o f Hakewill to Glanvill’s P lu s U ltra w e breathe a different atmosphere’ (p. 92). Both Bury and Stephen would be familiar with the fullest account o f Glanvill available in their day— the 22 pages that J. R . Tulloch devotes to him in R ational Theology and Christian Philosophy in the Seven­ teenth Century (1872).1*In the second volum e o f this impressive w ork (pp. 447-8) Tulloch cites in full the passage relating to Climates o f Opinions, while another o f his quotations from Glanvill— ‘members o f a sect love one another for their opinionative concurrences’ (i.e. their agreement in matters o f belief)— would restrain a careful reader from givin g too m odem a sense to ‘opinions’. W hen Bury speaks o f ‘breathing a different atmosphere’ he is follow ing the arch-rationalist John Stuart Mill, w ho in his E ssay on Liberty (1859) had written that ‘ Genius can only breathe in an atmosphere o f freedom’. But Bury’s emphasis on the environment in which ideas and beliefs develop may owe less to Victorian rationalism than to Glanvill. B ury’s place as the historian o f ideas was taken b y another Cambridge man, A . N . Whitehead. W hitehead’s Low ell lectures at Harvard on Science and the M odern W orld (1925) were to have a far wider and more immediate influence (there were five English editions between 1926 and 1930) than anything Bury wrote. Y e t his statement o f intention seems to owe something to B ury: 1 T ulloch was probably directed to Glanvill b y L eck y’s History o f Rationalism,, i. 121, 175 (cf. pp. 2 8 8 -9 below) o f which he wrote a notable review. L eck y in turn was indebted to Hallam, w ho cites several passages ‘o f uncommon vivacity9 from Glanvill’s ‘rare w ork9 (Introd. to the Literature o f Europe (1839), iv. 263-78), but not those used b y Tulloch.



This study has been guided by the conviction that the mentality o f an epoch springs from the view of the world which is, in fact, dominant in the educated sections of the communities in question. . . . In every age each of these topics (science, aesthetics, ethics, religion) suggests a view of the world. . . . But each age has its dominant preoccupation. . . . Men can be provincial in time as well as in place. A fter this preface we are not surprised to find W hitehead using ‘the happy phrase o f a seventeenth-century writer “ a climate o f opinion” ’ at the very beginning o f his b ook (p. 4), and later quietly borrow ing B ury’s variant o f it: ‘Insofar as the intellectual climates o f different epochs can be contrasted, the eighteenth century in Europe was the complete antithesis to the Middle A ges.’ (p. 71.) N owhere does he mention G lanvill or his book b y name, so that later legions o f users o f the ‘happy phrase’ have some excuse for ignoring its original context and the change from its original meaning to that o f ‘view o f the world dominant at a particular time’, for which W hitehead was largely responsible. O n p. 51 he uses ‘climate’ in a context where it might be construed as an abbreviation either o f B ury’s phrase or o f G lanvill’s. His successors were to do likewise. W hat Whitehead himself understood b y the phrase (which he nowhere defines) we have to infer from various passages scattered throughout the book and not all easily equated w ith each other: e.g. ‘a widespread instinctive conviction’ [in the existence o f an order o f things] (p. 4); ‘the colouring o f some secret imaginative background, which never emerges explicidy into its trains o f reasoning’ (p. 9); ‘the particular conceptions o f cosm ology w ith which the European intellect has clothed itself in the last three centuries’ (p. 21). O nce only does he fall back on the older concept o f the Z eitg eist: ‘It is only in [certain periods] that the Age-Spirit can undertake any direct revision o f those final abstractions which lie hidden in the more concrete concepts from which the serious thought o f an age takes its start’ (p. 44). Here he seems to give the Age-Spirit a more dynamic role than can be assigned to ‘climate’. But on one point W hitehead is comparatively specific: these instinctive convictions and dominant conceptions do not easily or quickly change. ‘ General climates o f opinion persist for



periods o f about tw o to three generations, that is to say, for periods o f sixty to a hundred years’ (p. 21)— though he admits that there are ‘shorter waves o f thought’ . Spitzer, also, was to regard climate as ‘a comparatively constant factor’, and in this respect different from ‘atmosphere’. N othing in the recent history o f G lanvill’s phrase and its variants is more remarkable than the rapidity with which this timespan has been shortened; for in the view o f writers o f today changes in spiritual or intellectual climate can be almost as sudden as changes in temperature. Translated to Cambridge, Mass., W hitehead became at least as influential in America as in Europe. His imprint is clear, for example, on Louis I. Bredvold’s The Intellectual M ilieu o f John Dryden (1934), a study o f seventeenth-century scepticism (‘as complex and various as a climate’, p. 17) that draws repeatedly on Glanvill and notes propagandists’ sensitivity to ‘die new intellectual atmosphere’ (p. 85). W hitehead’s application o f Glanvill’s phrase was quickly taken up, and re-glossed— notably b y Carl Becker in his brilliant and persuasive Storrs Lectures at Yale, published in 1932 as The Heavenly C ity o f the Eighteenth Century Philosophers (eleven times reprinted). Becker’s very first chapter is headed ‘T h e Climates o f Opinion’, and commenting on this ‘much-needed phrase’ he says (with a bo w to W hitehead) : Whether arguments command assent or not depends less upon the logic that conveys them than upon the climate of opinion in which they are sus­ tained. What renders Dante’s argument or St Thomas’s definition meaning­ less to us is not bad logic or want of intelligence, but the medieval climate of opinion— those instinctively held conceptions in the broad sense, that Weltanschauung or world pattern which imposed upon Dante and St Thomas a particular use of the intelligence and a special type of logic, (issue of 1939, p. 5) Here ‘instinctively held conceptions’ seems to derive from W hitehead, though W eltanschauung (cf. ‘w orld pattern’, p. 15 and p. 286, n. 1 below) is an extension that in general W hitehead seems deliberately to avoid. But both glosses, like the references to Dante and St Thom as, show that Becker rightly understood ‘opinion’ in the Glanvillian sense. N o t till G lanvill’s phrase came into more common use did any serious danger o f mis­ reading it arise; but that Becker gives ‘climate’ its m odem sense



is clear from his variant— ‘the atmosphere which sustains our thought’ (p. 27). It is perhaps to Becker and his commendation as much as W hitehead and his prestige as a philosopher that GlanvilFs phrase owes its dissemination in American writing. In an unpub­ lished paper (read in 1937 and again in 1938) on ‘T h e Limitations o f Testim ony as a method o f establishing historical facts’ he applied it to the thinking o f historians themselves: ‘the pre­ conceived idea . . . is determined b y the climate o f opinion in which the historian lives.’ T h e nature o f his influence on Am eri­ can historians is sufficiently indicated b y the title o f Charlotte W atkins Smith’s monograph Carl Becker,* on history and the clim ate o f opinion (Ithaca, 1956)— though that study pays strangely little heed to its professed topic, beyond providing yet another instance o f the association o f the concept with Becker; w ho is said to have ‘worried about the disappearance o f the climate o f opinion which had developed and sustained demo­ cratic virtues’ (by 1956 it was de rigueur to use the verb ‘sustain* in such a context). In exploring the preconceptions o f the philosophes Becker was perhaps follow ing a lead given b y W hitehead in his chapter on the eighteenth century. But it was for the seventeenth century that Whitehead had reserved the tide ‘T h e Century o f Genius’. A n d whilst Becker was lecturing at Y ale, Basil W illey was furthering at Cam bridge (England) the rehabilitation o f seven­ teenth-century thought that W hitehead’s glow in g third chapter had begun. Early in the series o f lectures eventually published as The Seventeenth Century Background (1934), W illey has occasion to quote at length from that chapter; he confessedly follows W hitehead in his assessment o f Bacon (p. 36); and other parts o f the book m ay be regarded as a literary commentary on Science and the M odern W orld} Glanvill now has a whole chapter 1 C f. the reference to W hitehead in W illey ’s account o f ‘the world-picture in accord­ ance with which [W ordsworth’s] poetry was written’ ( 265 Robert, P., 290 n., 296, 297 Roe, H . M., 3 2 2 -3 , 329 romances, 2 1 9 -3 0 Roman de la Rose, 1 6 6 , 1 6 7 , 1 6 8 , 1 8 7 Roman remains in Britain, 306 Rudolph o f Fulda, 244 runes, 9 1, 26 7; on Caistor astra­ galus, 30 7 -2 0 ; various inscrip­ tions, 30 7 -8 , 309, 3 1 5 , 3 1 7 ; in manuscripts, 9 1, 308, 309, 3 1 7 ; rune-names, 9 1, 30 8-9 , 3 1 6 - 1 9 ; runic poems, 257, 3 1 5 , 316 , 3 18 -19 Ruthwell Cross, 309

Saga óláfs Konungs bins helga, 12 3 Sahlgren, J., 253 Sainte-Beuve, C . A ., 2 9 1, 295, 296 Salin, E ., 322, 32 8 -9 Santayana, G ., 290 Sawles Warde, 9 1, 209 Saxo Grammaticus, 2 5 1 Saxons, 244, 2 4 7 -8 Scanomodu inscription, 307, 309, 3 1 4 Scheidungen, 244 Schneider, K ., 9 1, 3 14 , 316 , 3 18 Scott, Sir W ., 289 seasonal myth, 2 6 1 - 2 , 263 semantics, o f climate, weather, atmo­ sphere, & c., 28 0 -30 5 Servius, 19, 280 Severn, 46, 47 Shaftesbury A b b ey Psalter, 90 Shakespeare, W ., 37, 2 8 1 ; Tempest, 103 ship-burial, 3 19



Shoebury, 46, 47

Sictlinna Throst, 1 1 3 Sigfrid, 242 Sigmund, 24 Sigrdrifa, 263

Sigrdrífumál, 91 Sigurðr, 263, 266 skaldic verse, 243 Skeat, W . W ., 1 8 3 , 19 1 , 205, 20 8-9 Skelton, L , 205 Skinner, H. D ., 3 2 7 Skimir, 250, 260, 263, 26 6 -8 Skírtúsmál, 250 -68 Smith, A . H ., 242 Smithers, G . V ., 105 Snorri, 248, 267 Snow, Sir C ., 292 Söderwall, K . F ., 114 , 1 1 7 Solomon and Saturn, 3 1 7 Song o f Solomon, 230 sortilege, 3 1 1 , 3 1 3

South English Legendary, 108 Speirs, J., 2 2 2 -3 0 Spitzer, L ., 285, 296, 297, 299, 303

sprœc, declension of, 53 Stenton, Sir F ., 4 1—49 passim, 2 4 1, 242 Stephen, L ., 283 Stiennon, M., 85, 86 Stiklastaðir, 242

Stjom, 1 13 , 1 17 , 1 19, 12 2 , 125, 1 2 7 Suffolk, 3 2 1 , 326

Suna, O E . nom.-acc. pi., 5 1 - 5 2 sun deities, 253, 2 6 3-6 , 268, 3 1 7 Sutherland, J. R ., 292 Sutton Hoo, finds, 313? 3 * 7 > purselid plague, 3 2 1 - 9

Tacitus, Germania, 242, 247, 249, 3 12 , 3 1 3 , 316 , 3 1 8 ; Annals, 243 Taine, H . A ., 2 9 5 ,2 9 6 T ap low cemetery, 30 7 Tatlock, J. S. P., 1 8 7 , 1 8 9 , 19 1 Tengvik, G ., 65 Thames, 42—48 passim Theocritus, 23 The Times, 29 3, 2 9 4 -5 , 2 9 9 -30 5

passim thire ‘these’, 58 -6 0 Thomas Saga Erkibyskups, 1 1 4 , 12 5 , 12 7 Thompson, W . Meredith, article by, 18 3 -9 9 T h o m ey Island, 44, 45 Thornton, R ., 2 3 1 - 9 Bórólfr Mostrarskegg, 2 4 6 -7 Bórr, 2 4 1, 243, 246 -9 , 2 5 1 , 258 Bórðr Skeggi Hrappsson, 246 Thunor, 24 1—3, 247 Thuringians, 244 Thurstable, 2 4 1 - 9 Tolkien, J . R . R ., 84, 163, 3 2 1 Torslunda, 3 2 3 -4 , 325, 3 2 6 ,3 2 8 ,3 2 9 Tow neley Plays, 99 Trapp, L , 281 Trivet, N ., 186 Troilus and Criseyde, 164—82 T r o y story, 23—26 Trygðamal, 123 Tryphiodorus, 25 Tulloch, J. R ., 283 Tunstall, 86 Turville-Petre, G ., article b y, 2 4 1 - 9 Twelfth Century Homilies, 102

Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, 1 1 8 Svenska Kyrkobruk under Medeltiden, 126

Upanishads, 2 5 8 -9 Uppsala, 252, 3 18

Sweden, 2 5 1 , 323, 326, 328 Swedish, 1 14, 1 18, 126 Sweet, H ., 54, 70 Swinnerton, F ., 293, 298

Valhalla, Valhçll, 23, 91 valkyries, 91

Symeon o f Durham, 88, 89

Urswick inscription, 309

van Hamel, A . G ., 3 1 1 Vanir, 2 5 1 , 2 6 2 -3

INDEX van Vliet, J., 94-111,116 Vendryes, J., 249 Venta Icenorum, 306 verse narrative, Latin, 13, 18, 23; OE., 14-16 Vigfusson, G., 126 Vinaver, E., 224 Virgil, 13, 190, 230; see Aeneid vocabulary: of OE. poetry, 18; of Ormulum, 94—127; of Chaucer’s translations, 189 Vçluspà, 91, 243, 318 von Friesen, O., 307 vowel-quantity in ME., 55-57,59-60 Wagner, H., 251 n., 267 Wakefield, G., 287 Waldere, 15 Waley, J., 270-9 Wars o f Alexander, 120 Webster, J., 37 Wessex, 41, 42, 49 Weston, J., 229 West Saxon, late, labialization and delabialization in, 63-76 White, R. M., 95


Whitehead, A. N., 283-6, 288, 300 Widsith, 18 Widukind, 244 Willey, B., 286-7, 292 William I, King, 89 William of Jumièges, 90 Wilson, A., 293 Winchester, New Minster, 66 Woden, 84,88,90,91, 309, 313,315, 317,318,319; see Oðinn Woodbury Guilds, 65 Worcester, legal MSS. connected with, 69 world-yew, 318-19 Wrenn, C. L., article by, 306-20 Wyatt, Sir T., 37 Wyclif, J., 191 Wycliffite Bible, 191-2 W yld,H . C.,64 Yggdrasill, 318-19 y-spellings for i in OE., 63 Y wain and Gawain, 223 Zeitgeist, 284

GEORGE ALLEN & U N W I N L T D L o n d o n : 4 0 M u se u m S tre e t, W .C .i A u c k la n d : 2 4 W y n d h a m S tr e e t B o m b a y : i 5 G ra h a m R o a d , B a lla r d E s ta te , B o m b a y 1 B u e n o s A i r e s : E s c r i t o r i o 4 5 4 — 4 5 9 , F lo r i d a i G 5 C a lc u t t a : l y C h it t a r a n j a n A v e n u e , C a lc u t t a 1 3 C a p e T o w n : 10 9 L o n g S tre e t H o n g K o n g : F i j 1 2 M ir a d o r M a n s io n s , K o w lo o n Ib a d a n : P .O . B o x 6 2 K a r a c h i: K a r a c h i C h a m b ers, M c L e o d R o a d M a d r a s : M o h a n M a n s io n , 3 8 c M o u n t R o a d , M a d r a s 6 M e x ic o : V illa lo n g in 3 2 - 1 0 , P i s o , M e x i c o 5 , D . F . N a ir o b i: P . 0 . B o x 1 2 4 4 6 N e w D e lh i: 1 3 - 1 4 A s a f A li R o a d , N e w D e lh i 1 S à o P a u l o : A v e n i d a 9 D e J u l h o 1 1 3 8 —A p . 5 i S in g a p o r e : 3 6 c P r in s e p S tr e e t, S in g a p o r e y S y d n e y , N .S .I V B r a d b u r y H o u se , 5 5 Y o r k S tre e t T o r o n t o : 9 1 W e lli n g t o n S t r e e t W e s t