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P ready

q it befits

r servants

$ herbs

wipp beore wæpenn alle bun,

swa summ itt birrḥ, wipp like. and ec þær zedenn wipp pe lic

full wel fif hunndredd þewwess," to strawwenn gode gresess þær,

patt stunnkenn swipe swete, biforenn þatt stinnkennde lic

þær menn itt berenn sholldenn. and tuss þegy alle brohhtenn himm

wipp mikell modiznesse till þær þær he pezzm haffde sezyd

þat tezy himm brinngenn sholldenn, swillcu mann wass patt Herode king

þatt let te chilldre cwellenn, for patt he wollde cwellenn Crist

amang hemm, giff he mihhte.

t where

u such


(About A.D. 1205.)


pe king Leir iwerde swa blac,
swilch hit a blac cloð weoren.
iwærð his hude and his heowe,
for he was supe ihærmed,
mid pære wræðde he wes isweved,
þat he feol iswowen ;
late peo he up fusde,
þat mæiden wes afeared,
pa hit alles up brac,
hit wes vuel þat he spac:
Hærne Cordoille,
ich pe telle wille mine wille;
of mine dohtren þu were me durest,
nu þu eært me alre lædes :

ne scalt þu næver halden
dale of mine lande;
ah mine dohtren
ich wille delen mine riche.
and pu scalt worden warchen,
and wonien in wanside,
for navere ich ne wende
þat þu me woldes pus scanden,
þarfore pu scalt beon dæd ic wene :
flig ut of min eæh-sene,
'pine sustren sculen habben mi kinelond,
and pis me is iqueme;
pe duc of Cornwaile
scal habbe Gornoille,
and pe Scottene king
Regan þat scone;
and ic hem zeve all þa winne
þe ich am waldinge over.
and al pe alde king dude

swa he hafvede idemed. The above lines are taken from Layamon's Brut, compiled, as it would seem, in Worcestershire about the year 1205. The proportion of Teutonic words, now obsolete, to the whole is the same as in the Ormulum. The poet has both hât and hôt for calidus ; but the words lond, hond, are written instead of land, hand, just as we find in the oldest Worcester charters printed by Kemble, Codex Dip. I. page 100. And this is also done by our kinsmen in Friesland.

We sometimes find in Layamon peo for the Old English hi; a token that he did not live to the South of

i Sir F. Madden's Layamon, i. 130. Layamon has added much of his own to the original in this story of King Lear; and the additions hare been copied by later writers, Shakespere among them.

the Thames. He prefers the old sc to the new sound sh, writing scawian, not shawian. The ch was not fully established in his Western shire, so far from London. We see swilc, such, and other varieties for talis. He, like Orrmin, sometimes gives us the old and the new sound of c (that is, k) in the same word ; thus, the old cycene now becomes kuchene, our kitchen.' He was the last Englishman who held fast to the old national diph. thong c, which was after his time, and indeed earlier, replaced by many combinations of vowels that still puzzle foreigners.

What Orrmin would have called o lande, Layamon calls a londe. He has for denique a new phrase, at þan laste,

We have already seen in the Homilies our contraction from the old latost. We keep both the forms, latest and last.

The old endlufon (undecim) is turned into allevene.

Layamon turns ne (the Latin nec) into no; we must wait 140

years He has the two phrases pene dæi longe and alle longe niht; whence come our all day long, &c.

He first used the Indefinite Article after many, as mony enne thing (many a thing). The word Hors (equi) is now changed to horses.-II. page 556.

In Verbs, Layamon turns some Strong ones into Weak. He says (I. 57), his scipen runden, where we more correctly say, his ships ran.

But the great corruption which England owes to him is the changed

I. page 160.

for nor.

1 The old cicen is turned into chicken in the Worcestor manuscript, quoted at page 85.

new sense

state of the Present Participle Active. It of old terminated in ende: this in the South became inde about the year 1100; and now, in 1204, it turns into inge; being doubtless confounded with the verbal nouns that of old ended in ung. We find berninge, fraininge, singinge, and waldinge, Participles all used by Layamon. A hundred years later still, this corruption was unhappily adopted by the man who shaped our modern speech.

The English word for volaverunt used to be flugon, but Layamon changes this into fluwen, our flew. This likeness to flowan (fluere) is rather confusing, to say nothing of fleon (fugere).

The Perfect of þýden (premere) was once pidde, but it now became þudde; hence our thud.

The old gyrdan (cingere) now gets a (cædere), ‘he gurde Suard on þat hæfd' (I. page 68); we still talk of girding at a man.

Plint had hitherto meant periculum ; it now takes the meaning of conditio, which we keep.

Swogan had meant sonare; it now got the sense of swoon. -1. page

130. At I. page 275 we see for the first time the word agaste (terruit), whence comes our aghast. For the origin of this word we must go so far back as the Gothic usgeisjan. Our ghostly and ghastly come from sources that have been long separate.

Instead of the Old English word for insula, Layamon employs æite (ait), a word well known to all Etonians. It is the Danish ey with the Definite Article tacked on to the end in the usual way, ey-it, eyt, as Mr. Dasent tells us. Layamon has mærcoden in the sense of videre ; of

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old, it had been used for ostendere: this is just the converse of what has happened in the case of the old sceáwian.

The word peáu had hitherto been applied to the mind only; it is now used of the body; though this new sense did not become common in England until three hundred years later.

later. We still talk of thews and sinews; Spencer used the word in its old sense.

Layamon forms an adjective from the Old English hende, in Latin prope. He says, in Vol. I. page 206 :

• An oder stret he makede swiðe hendi.' But he usually employs this adjective in the sense of courteous, and in this sense it was used for hundreds of years.

I give a list of many Norse words used by Layamon, which must have made their way to the Severn from the North and East; we shall find many more in Dorsetshire a few

years later.
Club, from the Icelandic klubba
Draht (haustus), from the Icelandic drattr
Hap (fortune), from the Icelandic happ, good luck 1
Hit, from the Icelandic hitta
Hustinge (house court), from the Norse hus and thing
Raken (rush), from the Swedish raka, to riot about 2
Riven, from the Icelandic rîfa (rumpere)
Semen (beseem), from the Norse sama, to fit

To-dascte (dash out), from the Danish daske, to slap Layamon has the word nook (angulus) which may

1 Hence happen, happy, came into England and supplanted older words.

2 Hence the Rake's Progress.

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