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Early Middle English for today

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Sir Orfeo (lines 201-300)

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He cleped togider his barouns,
Erls, lordes of renouns,
And when t`ai al y-comen were,
"Lordinges," he said, "bifor y`ou here
Ich ordainy min heiy`e steward 205
To wite mi kingdom afterward;
In mi stede ben he schal
To kepe mi londes overal.
For now ichave mi quen y-lore,
The fairest levedi t`at ever was bore, 210
Never eft y nil no woman se.
Into wildernes ichil te
And live t`er evermore
Wit` wilde bestes in holtes hore;
And when y`e understond t`at y be spent, 215
Make y`ou t`an a parlement,
And chese y`ou a newe king.
Now dot` y`our best wit` al mi t`ing."
Tho was t`er wepeing in t`e halle
And grete cri among hem alle; 220
Unnet`e miy`t old or y`ong
For wepeing speke a word wit` tong.
Thai kneled adoun al y-fere
And praid him, y`if his wille were,
That he no schuld nouy`t fram hem go. 225
"Do way!" quat` he, "It schal be so!"
Al his kingdom he forsoke;
Bot a sclavin on him he toke.
He no hadde kirtel no hode,
Schert, ne no not`er gode, 230
Bot his harp he tok algate
And dede him barfot out atte y`ate;
No man most wit` him go.
O way! What t`er was wepe and wo,
When he t`at hadde ben king wit` croun 235
Went so poverlich out of toun!
Thurt` wode and over het`
Into t`e wildernes he get`.
Not`ing he fint t`at him is ays,
Bot ever he livet` in gret malais. 240
He t`at hadde y-werd t`e fowe and griis,
And on bed t`e purper biis,
Now on hard het`e he lit`,
Wit` leves and gresse he him writ`.
He t`at hadde had castels and tours, 245
River, forest, frit` wit` flours,
Now, t`ei it comenci to snewe and frese,
This king mot make his bed in mese.
He t`at had y-had kniy`tes of priis
Bifor him kneland, and levedis, 250
Now set` he not`ing t`at him liket`,
Bot wilde wormes bi him striket`.
He t`at had y-had plenté
Of mete and drink, of ich deynté,
Now may he al day digge and wrote 255
Er he finde his fille of rote.
In somer he livet` bi wild frut,
And berien bot gode lite;
In winter may he not`ing finde
Bot rote, grases, and t`e rinde. 260
Al his bodi was oway dwine
For missays, and al to-chine.
Lord! who may telle t`e sore
This king sufferd ten y`ere and more?
His here of his berd, blac and rowe, 265
To his girdel-stede was growe.
His harp, whereon was al his gle,
He hidde in an holwe tre;
And when t`e weder was clere and briy`t,
He toke his harp to him wel riy`t 270
And harped at his owhen wille.
Into alle t`e wode t`e soun gan schille,
That alle t`e wilde bestes t`at t`er bet`
For joie abouten him t`ai tet`,
And alle t`e foules t`at t`er were 275
Come and sete on ich a brere
To here his harping a-fine -
So miche melody was t`erin;
And when he his harping lete wold,
No best bi him abide nold. 280
He miy`t se him bisides,
Oft in hot undertides,
The king o fairy wit` his rout
Com to hunt him al about
Wit` dim cri and bloweing, 285
And houndes also wit` him berking;
Ac no best t`ai no nome,
No never he nist whider t`ey bicome
And ot`er while he miy`t him se
As a gret ost bi him te, 290
Wele atourned, ten hundred kniy`tes,
Ich y-armed to his riy`tes,
Of cuntenaunce stout and fers,
Wit` mani desplaid baners,
And ich his swerd y-drawe hold; 295
Ac never he nist whider t`ai wold.
And ot`erwhile he seiy`e ot`er t`ing:
Kniy`tes and levedis com daunceing
In queynt atire, gisely,
Queynt pas and softly; 300