skip to content

englesaxe

Early Middle English for today

full menu

The Owl and the Nightingale (lines 301-400)

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

view original text
"That with the fu_le hafeth i`meane,
ne cumeth he_ neafer' fram him cleane."
We_nest thu that hafek be_ the werse
thoh cra_we be`greade him bi_ the mersce, p30
and ga_th to_ him mid hire cirme 305
riht swa_ hyo wille with him skirmen?
The hafek folgeth go_de reade,
and fle_hth his wey and leateth him greaden."
"Ye_t thu_ me_ seyst of o_ther thinge,
and tellst that ic ne can noht singen, 310
ak al mi rerde is wa_ning,
and to_ i`he_ren grislic thing.
That nis noht so_th, ic singe efene,
mid fulle dreame and lu_de stefene.
Thu_ we_nest that ealc sa_ng be_ grislic, 315
that thi_ne pi_pinge nis i`li_c.
Mi_ stefene is ba_ld and noht un`orne,
hit is i`li_c a_ne greate horne,
and thi_n is i`li_c a_ne pi_pe,
of a_ne smale we_de un`ri_pe. 320
Ic singe bet than thu_ de_st:
thu_ chater`est swa_ do_th a_n I_risc pre_st.
Ic singe on e_fen a rihte ti_me,
and siththe hwann hit is bed-ti_me,
the thridde si_the at middel-nihte: 325
and swa_ ic mi_ne sa_ng a`dihte
hwanne ic i`se_ a`ri_sen ferre
other day-rim other day-sterre.
Ic do_ go_d mid mi_ne throte,
and warne men to_ here note. 330
Ak thu_ singest alle la_nge niht,
fram e_fen for`to_ hit is day-liht,
and eafere seyst thi_n a_n sa_ng
swa_ la_nge swa_ the niht is la_ng:
and eafere cra_weth thi_n wrecce cri, 335
that he_ ne swi_keth niht ne day.
Mid thi_ne pi_pinge thu_ a`dinest
the mannes earen thear thu_ wunest,
and makest thi_ne sa_ng swa_ un`wurth
that me ne tellth of thear noht wurth. 340
Eafric mirhthe may swa_ la_nge i`lasten
that hit scal li_ken wel un`wreaste:
for harpe, and pi_pe, and fugeles sa_ng
mis`li_keth, yif hit is to_ la_ng.
Ne be_ the sa_ng neafer' swa_ miriye, 345
that hit ne scal thinke wel un`miriye
yif hit i`lasteth ofer un`wille:
swa_ thu_ miht thi_ne sa_ng a`spille.
For hit is so_th, Alfred hit seyde,
and me hit may inne bo_ke readen: 350
"Eafric thing may le_sen his go_d`ha_de
mid un`meathe and mid ofer`de_de."
Mid e_ste thu_ the_ miht ofer`quaten,
and ofer`fill maketh wla_ten:
and eafric mirhthe may a`ga_n 355
yif me hit ha_ldeth eafere forth in on,
bu_ten a_ne, that is Godes ri_ce,
that eafere is swe_te and eafere i`li_ce:
theah thu_ nime eafere of that leape,
hit is eafere ful bi_ heape. 360
Wunder hit is of Godes ri_ce,
that eafere spendeth and eafer is i`li_ce.
ye_t thu_ me_ seyst an o_ther scame,
that ic am on mi_ne e_gen lame,
and seyst, for that ic fle_ge bi_ nihte, 365
that ic ne may i`se_n bi_ lihte.
Thu_ le_gest! on me_ hit is i`se_ne
that ic habbe go_de se_ne:
for nis na_n swa_ dim the_sternesse
that ic eafer' i`se_ the leasse. 370
Thu_ we_nest that ic ne mihte i`se_n,
for ic bi_ daye noht ne fle_ge.
The hare lu_teth al day,
ak na_`the`leas i`se_n he_ may.
Yif hu_ndes ernen to_ him-ward, 375
he_ gength wel swi_the a`wey-ward,
and ho_keth pathes swi_the narwe,
and hafeth mid him his blences yarwe,
and hoppeth and starteth swi_the ca_fe,
and se_ceth pathes to the gra_fe: 380
ne scolde he_ for ba_the his e_gen
swa_ do_n, yif he_ the bet ne i`seage.
Ic may i`se_n swa_ wel swa_ a_n hare,
theah ic bi_ daye sitte and dare.
Thear ohte men be_n in werre, 385
and faren ba_the ne_h and ferre,
and ofer`faren fele the_de,
and do_n bi_ nihte go_de ne_de,
ic folge the ohte manne,
and fle_ge bi_ nihte in here banne." 390
The nihte`gale in hire thohte
at`he_ld al this, and la_nge thohte
hwat hyo thear`after mihte seggen:
for hyo ne mihte noht a`leggen
that the u_le hadde hire i`seyd, 395
for he_ spak ba_the riht and read.
And hire of`thuhte that hyo hadde
the spe_ce swa_ for forth i`ledde,
and was a`feard that hire andswere
ne wurthe noht a`riht i`faren. 400