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Sir Orfeo (lines 1-100)

in a normalised Early Middle English (East Midland dialect c 1200)

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We_ readen oft and fi_nden y`writen,
and this clerkes wel it witen
Layes that be_n in harping
Be_n y`fu_nden of fearlic thing.
Sum be_n of werre and sum of wa_, 5
And sum of joie and mirhthe alswa_,
And sum of trecherie and of gile,
Of a_ld aventours that fe_llen hwi_le,
And sum of bourdes and ribaudy,
And maniy thear be_n of fairy. 10
Of al thinges that men se_n,
Meast of lufe, for so_the, they be_n
In Breteyne this layes wearen wroht
First y`fu_nden and forth y`broht
Of aventours that fe_llen bi_ dayes, 15
Hwear`of Bretouns makeden here layes.
Hwanne kinges mihten eay`hwear he_ren
Of a_niy mervailes that thear wearen
They to_ken an harp in gle_ and gamen
And makeden a lay and yeafen it name. 20
Nu_ of this aventours that wearen y`fallen
I_ can tellen sum, ak noht alle.
Ak herkneth, la_ferdinges that be_n tre_we
Ic wille yow tellen of Sir Orfewe
Orfeo meast of a_niy thing 25
Lufede the gle_ of harping.
Siker was eafric go_de harper'
Of him to_ hafen micel honour.
Him`self he_ lernede for to_ harpen
And leyde thear`on his wittes scarp; 30
He_ lernede swa_ thear na_`thing was
A beter harper' in na_ plas.
In al the wereld was na_ man boren
That a_nes Orfeo sat be`foren,
And he_ mihte of his harping he_ren, 35
Bu_te he_ scolde thencen that he_ weare
In a_ne of the joies of Paradis,
Swilce melody in his harping is.
Orfeo was a king,
In Engle`land an he_h la_ferding, 40
A stalwurthe man and hardi ba_;
Large and curteys he_ was alswa_.
His fader was cumen of King Pluto,
And his mo_der of King Juno,
That sum ti_me wearen als godes y`ha_lden 45
For aventours that they diden and ta_lden.
This king sojourned in Thrace,
That was a cite of noble defens,
For Win`cester was cleped tha_
Thrace, withu_ten na_. 50
The king hadde a cwe_n of pris
That was y`cleped Dame Eurydice,
The fayerest leafdiy, for then a_nes,
That mihte ga_n on bodiy and ba_nes,
Ful of lufe and go_denesse; 55
Ak na_ man may tellen hire fayernesse.
Be`fe_ll swa_ in the comessing of May
Hwanne miriy and ha_t is the day,
And on`wey be_n winter-scu_res,
And eafric fe_ld is ful of floures, 60
And blostme bre_me on eafric bo_h
Ofer al waxeth miriy i`no_h,
This ilke cwe_n, Dame Eurydice
To_k to_ maydenes of pris,
And wende in an under`en`ti_de 65
To_ pleyen bi_ an ort`yard-si_de,
To_ se_n the floures spreaden and springen
And to_ he_ren the fugeles singen.
They setten hem du_n al thre_
Under a fayer impe-tre_, 70
And wel so_ne this fayer cwe_n
Fe_ll on sle_pe upon the gre_ne.
The maydenes dursten hir' noht a`waken,
Bu_t' le_ten hir' liggen and reste taken.
Swa_ sce_ sle_p til after no_ne, 75
That under`ti_d was al y`do_n.
Ak, als so_ne als sce_ gan a`waken,
sce_ crid', and la_thlic beare gan maken;
sce_ froted' hir' handes and hir' fe_t,
And skracced' hir visage - it bledde weat, 80
Hir' ri_ce robe sce_ al to_`ritte
And was reveyd u_t of hir' wit.
The twa_ maydenes hir' bi_`si_de
Na_ dursten with hir' na_ leng a`bi_den,
Bu_t' urnen to_ the palays ful riht 85
And ta_lden ba_the squier and cniht
That here cwe_n a`we_den wolde,
And bad hem ga_n and hir' at`ha_lden.
Cnihtes urnen and leafdiyes alswa_,
Damisels sex`tiy and ma_. 90
In the ort`yard to_ the cwe_n hi_ co_men,
And hir' up in here arm`es no_men,
And brohten hir' to_ bed at latest,
And he_ld hir' thear fine fast.
Ak eafer' sce_ he_ld in a_n cri 95
And wolde up and on`wey.
Hwanne Orfeo he_rde that ti_ding
Neafer' him nas wers for na_`thing.
He_ com with cnihtes te_n
To_ chaumber, riht be`foren the cwe_n, 100