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Sir Orfeo (lines 201-300)

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

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He_ cleped' to_`gader' his barouns,
Erls, la_ferdes of renouns,
And hwann' they al y`cumen wearen,
"La_ferdinges," he_ sayd', "be`foren yow he_re
Ic ordainy mi_n he_ge sti_ward 205
To_ witen mi_ kingdo_m after`ward;
In mi_ stede be_n he_ scal
To_ ke_pen mi_ landes ofer al.
For nu_ ic hafe mi_ cwe_n y`loren,
The fayerest leafdiy that eafer' was boren, 210
Neafer eft i_ nill na_ wim`man se_n.
Into_ wildernes ic wil' te_n
And lifen thear eafer`ma_re
With wi_lde bestes in holtes ha_re;
And hwann' ye_ under`standen that i_ be_ spent, 215
Maketh yow thann' a parlement,
And ce_seth yow a ne_we king.
Nu_ do_th yowr' best with al mi_ thing."
Tha_ was thear we_ping in the halle
And greate cri ama_ng hem alle; 220
Un`eathe mihte a_ld other yung
For we_ping speken a word with tung'.
They cne_leden a`du_n al i`fe_re
And praiden him, yif his wille weare,
That he_ na_ scold' noht fram hem ga_n. 225
"Do_th wey!" cwath he_, "It scal be_n swa_!"
Al his kingdo_m he_ for`so_k;
Bu_t' a sclavin on him he_ to_k.
He_ na_ hadde kirtel na_ ho_de,
Scirt', ne na_n o_ther go_de, 230
Bu_t' his harp' he_ to_k al`gate
And dide him bar`fo_t u_t at the yate;
Na_ man moste with him ga_n.
O wey! Hwat thear was we_pe and wa_,
Hwann' he_ that hadde be_n king with cru_n 235
Went swa_ poverli_c' u_t of tu_n!
Thurh wude and ofer heath
Into_ the wildernes he_ geath.
Na_`thing he_ fi_ndeth that him is ays,
Bu_t' eafer' he_ lifeth in great malais. 240
He_ that hadde y`wered the fa_ge and gris,
And on bed the purpur' bis,
Nu_ on hard heathe he_ liyth,
With leafes and grasse he_ him wri_hth.
He_ that hadd' hafed casteles and tu_rs, 245
River, forest, firhth' with flours,
Nu_, theah it comence to_ sni_wen and fre_sen,
This king mo_t maken his bed in me_se.
He_ that hadd' y`hafed cnihtes of pris
Be`foren him cne_lend', and leafdiyes, 250
Nu_ se_th he_ na_`thing that him li_keth,
Bu_t' wi_lde wurmes bi_ him stri_keth.
He_ that hadd' y`hafed plente
Of mete and drink, of ealc deynte,
Nu_ may he_ al day digen and wro_ten 255
Ear he_ fi_nde his fille of ro_te.
In sumer he_ lifeth bi_ wi_ld frut,
And beriyen bu_t' go_de li_te;
In winter may he_ na_thing fi_nden
Bu_t' ro_te, grasses, and the ri_nde. 260
Al his bodiy was on`wey dwinen
For missays, and al to_`cinen.
La_ferd! hwa_ may tellen the sorh
This king sufferd te_n year and ma_re?
His hear of his beard, blak and ru_h, 265
To_ his girdel-stede was gro_wen.
His harp, hwear`on was al his gle_,
He_ hidde in an holge tre_;
And hwann' the weder was clere and briht,
He_ to_k his harp to_ him wel riht 270
And harped' at his a_gen wille.
Into_ alle the wude the so_n gan scillen,
That alle the wi_lde bestes that thear be_n
For joie abu_ten him they te_n,
And alle the fugeles that thear wearen 275
Co_men and seaten on ealc a bre_re
To_ he_ren his harping a-fine -
Swa_ micel melody was thear`in;
And hwann' he_ his harping leaten wold',
Na_ beste bi_ him a`bi_den nold'. 280
He_ miht' se_n him be`si_des,
Oft in ha_t under`ti_des,
The king o' fairy with his rout
Com to_ hunten him al abu_ten
With dim cri and bla_wing, 285
And hu_ndes alswa_ with him berking;
Ak na_ beste they na_ no_men,
Na_ neafer' he_ nist' hwider they be`co_men
And o_ther hwi_le he_ miht' him se_n
Als a great host bi_ him te_n, 290
Wel atourned, te_n hundred cnihtes,
Ealc y`armed to his rihtes,
Of countenaunce stout and fers,
With maniy desplaid baners,
And ealc his swerd y`dragen ha_ldeth; 295
Ak neafer' he_ nist' hwider they wolden.
And o_ther`hwi_le he_ sah o_ther thing:
Cnihtes and leafdiyes co_men a`dauncing
In queint atire, giseli_ce,
Queint pas and softli_ce; 300