Anglo-Saxon Grammar and Exercise Book - with Inflections, Syntax, Selections for Reading, and Glossary
by C. Alphonso Smith
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80. Paradigm of gd, good:

Masculine. Feminine. Neuter.

Sing. N. gd gd gd G. gdes gdre gdes D. gdum gdre gdum A. gdne gde gd I. gde —— gde

Plur. N.A. gde gda gd G. gdra gdra gdra D.I. gdum gdum gdum

81. If the stem is short, -u is retained as in giefu (39, (1)) and hofu (33, (1)). Thus gld (27, Note1), glad, and til, useful, are inflected:

Masculine. Feminine. Neuter. Sing. N. { gld gladu gld { til tilu til

Plur. N.A. { glade glada gladu { tile tila tilu

(b) Polysyllables.

82. Polysyllables follow the declension of short monosyllables. The most common terminations are -en, -en; -fst, -fast; -full, -ful; -las, -less; -lc, -ly; -ig, -y: h:-en (h: = heath), heathen; stede-fst (stede = place), steadfast; sorg-full (sorg = sorrow), sorrowful; cyst-las (cyst = worth), worthless; eor-lc (eore = earth), earthly; bld-ig (bld = blood), bloody. The present and past participles, when inflected and not as weak adjectives, may be classed with the polysyllabic adjectives, their inflection being the same.

Syncopation occurs as in a-stems ( 27, (4)). Thus hlig, holy, ble, blithe, berende, bearing, geboren, born, are thus inflected:

Masculine. Feminine. Neuter. Sing. N. { hlig hlgu hlig { ble blu ble { berende berendu berende { geboren geborenu geboren

Plur. N.A. { hlge hlga hlgu { ble bla blu { berende berenda berendu { geborene geborena geborenu

(2) Weak Declension of Adjectives.

83. The Weak Declension of adjectives, whether monosyllabic or polysyllabic, does not differ from the Weak Declension of nouns, except that -ena of the genitive plural is usually replaced by -ra of the strong adjectives.

Masculine. Feminine. Neuter. 84. Sing. N. gda gde gde G. gdan gdan gdan D.I. gdan gdan gdan A. gdan gdan gde

All Genders. Plur. N.A. gdan G. gdra (gdena) D.I. gdum


Adjectives agree with their nouns in gender, number, and case; but participles, when used predicatively, may remain uninflected (139, 140).


dad, dead. eall, all. hl,[1] whole, hale. heard, hard. t hors, horse. lof, dear [as lief]. ly:tel, little. micel, great, large. monig, many. niman, to take [nimble, numb]. nwe, new. rce, rich, powerful. s, true [sooth-sayer]. stlwiere,[2] serviceable [stalwart]. swe, very. s tn, town, village. s egn, servant, thane, warrior. t ing, thing. s weg, way. ws, wise. wi (with acc.), against, in a hostile sense [with-stand]. s ilca, the same [of that ilk].

[Footnote 1: Hlig, holy, contains, of course, the same root. "Ifind," says Carlyle, "that you could not get any better definition of what 'holy' really is than 'healthy—completely healthy.'"]

[Footnote 2: This word has been much discussed. The older etymologists explained it as meaning worth stealing. A more improbable conjecture is that it means worth a stall or place. It is used of ships in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. As applied to men, Skeat thinks it meant good or worthy at stealing; but the etymology is still unsettled.]


I. 1. s scipu ne sind swe swift, ac he sind swe stlwieru. 2.So gde cwn gief :lcum egne moniga giefa. 3.s wsa cyning hf monige micele tnas on his rce. 4.N:nig mon is ws on eallum ingum. 5.y: ilcan dge (98, (2)) mon fond (found) one egn e mnes wines bc hfde. 6.Ealle secgas e swift hors habba rda wi one bonan. fend sind mne frend. 8.S micela stn one e ic on mnum hondum hbbe is swe heard. 9.He scea :m ealdum horsum. 10.Uton niman s tilan giefa ond he beran t rum lofum bearnum.

II. 1. These holy men are wise and good. 2. Are the little children very dear to the servants (dat. without t)? 3.Gifts are not given (70, Note1) to rich men. 4.All the horses that are in the king's fields are swift. 5.These stones are very large and hard. 6.He takes the dead man's spear and fights against the large army. 7.This new house has many doors. 8.My ways are not your ways. 9.Whosoever chooses me, him I also (ac) choose. 10.Every man has many friends that are not wise.



88. Numerals are either (a) Cardinal, expressing pure number, one, two, three; or (b) Ordinal, expressing rank or succession, first, second, third.

(a) Cardinals.

89. The Cardinals fall into the three following syntactic groups:


1. n 2. twgen [twain] 3. re

These numerals are inflected adjectives. n, one, an, a, being a long stemmed monosyllable, is declined like gd (80). The weak form, na, means alone.

Twgen and re, which have no singular, are thus declined:

Masc. Fem. Neut. Masc. Fem. Neut. Plur. N.A. twgen tw tw (t) re ro ro G. twgra twgra twgra rora rora rora D. { tw:m tw:m tw:m rm rm rm { (twm) (twm) (twm)


4. fower 5. ff 6. siex 7. seofon 8. eahta 9. nigon 10. ten 11. endlefan 12. twelf 13. rotene 14. fowertene 15. fftene 16. siextene 17. seofontene 18. eahtatene 19. nigontene

These words are used chiefly as uninflected adjectives: on gewitscipe rora oe fower bisceopa, on testimony of three or four bishops; on siex dagum, in six days; n n:dre e hfde nigon hafdu, a serpent which had nine heads; eling eahtatene wintra, a prince of eighteen winters.


20. twntig 21. n ond twntig 30. rtig 40. fowertig 50. fftig 60. siextig 70. hundseofontig 80. hundeahtatig 90. hundnigontig 100. hund 200. tw hund 1000. send 2000. tw send

All these numbers are employed as neuter singular nouns, and are followed by the genitive plural: Nfde h ah m onne twntig hry:era, and twntig scapa, and twntig swy:na, He did not have, however, more than twenty (of) cattle, and twenty (of) sheep, and twenty (of) swine; He hfdon hundeahtatig scipa, They had eighty ships; tw hund mla brd, two hundred miles broad; :r w:ron seofon hund gfanena genumen, there were seven hundred standards captured; n send monna, a thousand men; Hannibales folces ws tw send ofslagen, Of Hannibal's men there were two thousand slain; He curon endlefan send monna, They chose eleven thousand men.

NOTE 1.—Group III is rarely inflected. Almost the only inflectional endings that are added are (1)-es, a genitive singular termination for the numerals in -tig, and (2)-e, a dative singular for hund. (1)The first is confined to adjectives expressing extent of space or time, as, eald, old; brd, broad; hah, high; and long, long: t is rtiges mla long, that is thirty miles long; H ws rtiges gara eald, He was thirty years old. (2)The second is employed after mid: mid tw:m hunde scipa, with two hundred ships; mid rm hunde monna, with three hundred men; :r wear ... Regulus gefangen mid V hunde monna, There was Regulus captured with five hundred men.

The statement made in nearly all the grammars that hunde occurs as a nominative and accusative plural is without foundation.

NOTE 2.—Many numerals, otherwise indeclinable, are used in the genitive plural with the indefinite pronoun sum, which then means one of a certain number. In this peculiar construction, the numeral always precedes sum: fowera sum, one of four (= with three others); H s:de t h syxa sum ofslge syxtig, He said that he, with five others, slew sixty (whales); H ws fowertigra sum, He was one of forty.

NOTE 3.—These are the most common constructions with the Cardinals. The forms in -tig have only recently been investigated. Astudy of Wlfing's citations shows that Alfred occasionally uses the forms in -tig (1)as adjectives with plural inflections: mid XXXgum cyningum, with thirty kings; and (2) as nouns with plural inflections: fter siextigum daga, after sixty days. But both constructions are rare.

(b) Ordinals.

92. The Ordinals, except the first two, are formed from the Cardinals. They are:

1. forma, :resta, fyrsta 2. er, fterra 3. ridda 4. fora 5. ffta 6. siexta 7. seofoa 8. eahtoa 9. nigoa 10. toa 11. endlefta 12. twelfta 13. rotoa 14. fowertoa 15. fftoa etc. 20. twntigoa 21. n ond twntigoa 30. rtigoa etc.

NOTE.—There are no Ordinals corresponding to hund and send.

With the exception of er ( 77), all the Ordinals are declined as Weak Adjectives; the article, however, as in Mn.E., is frequently omitted: Brtus ws s forma consul, Brutus was the first consul; Hr enda so :reste bc, ond onginne so er, Here the first book ends, and the second begins; y: fftan dge, on the fifth day; on :m toan gare hiera gewinnes, in the tenth year of their strife; Ho ws twelfte, She was twelfth; S ws fora from Agusto, He was fourth from Augustus.




93. (1) Adverbs are formed by adding -e or -lce to the corresponding adjectives: s, true; se or slce, truly; earmlc, wretched; earmlce, wretchedly; wd, wide; wde, widely; micel, great; micle (micele), greatly, much.

(2) The terminations -e and -lce are replaced in some adverbs by -(l)unga or -(l)inga: eallunga, entirely; f:ringa, suddenly; grundlunga, from the ground, completely.

NOTE 1.—In Mn.E. headlong, darkling, and groveling, originally adverbs, we have survivals of these endings.

(3) The genitive case is frequently used adverbially: seweardes, southwards; ealles, altogether, entirely; dges, by day; nihtes, by night; s, from that time, afterwards. Cf. hys (=his) weges in onne rde :lc hys weges, Then rides each his way.

NOTE 2.—The adverbial genitive is abundantly preserved in Mn.E. Always, crossways, sideways, needs (= necessarily), sometimes, etc., are not plurals, but old genitive singulars. The same construction is seen in of course, of a truth, of an evening, of old, of late, and similar phrases.

(4) Dative and instrumental plurals may be used as adverbs: hwlum, at times, sometimes [whilom]; stundum (stund = period), from time to time; miclum, greatly. Especially common is the suffix -m:lum (m:l = time, measure [meal]), preserved adverbially in Mn.E. piecemeal: dropm:lum, drop by drop; styccem:lum (stycce = piece), piecemeal, here and there.

(5) The suffix -an usually denotes motion from:

hr, here. hider, hither. heonan, hence. :r, there. ider, thither. onan, thence. hw:r, where? hwider, whither? hwonan, whence? noran, from the north. astan, from the east. hindan, from behind. feorran, from far. tan, from without.

(6) The adverb rihte (riht = right, straight) denotes motion toward in norrihte, northward, due north; astrihte, due east; srihte, due south; westrihte, due west.


94. The nominative is the only case in O.E. that is never governed by a preposition. Of the other cases, the dative and accusative occur most frequently with prepositions.

(1) The prepositions that are most frequently found with the dative are:

fter, after. :t, at. be (b), by, near, about. betwonan (betuh), between. btan (bton), except. for, for. from (fram), from, by. mid, with. of, of, from. t, to. tforan, before. tweard, toward.

(2) The following prepositions require the accusative:

geond, throughout [be-yond]. ofer, over, upon. o, until, up to. urh, through. ymbe, about, around [um-while, ember-days].

(3) The preposition on (rarely in), meaning into, is usually followed by the accusative; but meaning in, on, or during, it takes the dative or instrumental. The preposition wi, meaning toward, may be followed by the genitive, dative, or accusative; but meaning against, and implying motion or hostility, the accusative is more common.

(4) The following phrases are used prepositionally with the dative:

be noran, north of. be astan, east of. be san, south of. be westan, west of. t acan, in addition to. on emnlange (efn-lang = evenly long), along. t emnes, along.

(5) Prepositions regularly precede the noun or pronoun that they introduce; but by their adverbial nature they are sometimes drawn in front of the verb: And him ws mycel menegu t gegaderod, And there was gathered unto him a great multitude. In relative clauses introduced by e, the preceding position is very common: so scr ... e h on bde, the district, ... which he dwelt in (=which he in-habited); H ws swy:e spdig man on :m :htum e hiera spda on bo, He was a very rich man in those possessions which their riches consist in; ny:hst :m tne e s dada man on l, nearest the town that the dead man liesin.


95. (1) The most frequently occurring conjunctions are:

#ac, but. :r, before, ere. btan (bton), except that, unless. ac, also [eke]. for :m, } for :m e, } because. for on, } for on e, } for y:, therefore. gif, if. hwer, whether. ond (and), and. oe, or. t, that, so that. ah, though, however.

(2) The correlative conjunctions are:

:ger ge ... ge, both ...... and. :ger ...... er } either .... or. oe ....... oe } n ......... n, neither ... nor. sam ........ sam, whether ... or. sw ........ sw { the ....... the. { as ........ as. ......... } when ...... then. onne ...... onne }




96. (1) Adjectives are regularly compared by adding -ra for the comparative, and -ost (rarely -est) for the superlative:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. earm, poor earmra earmost rce, rich rcra rcost sml, narrow smlra smalost brd, broad brdra (br:dra) brdost swift, swift swiftra swiftost

(2) Forms with i-umlaut usually have superlative in -est:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. eald, old ieldra ieldest long, long lengra lengest strong, strong strengra strengest geong, young giengra giengest hah, high herra hehst

(3) The following adjectives are compared irregularly:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. gd, good betra betst ly:tel, little, small l:ssa l:st micel, great, much mra m:st yfel, bad wiersa wierst

(4) The positive is sometimes supplied by an adverb:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. feor, far fierra fierrest nah, near narra nehst :r, before :rra, former :rest, first

(5) The comparatives all follow the Weak Declension. The superlatives, when preceded by the definite article, are weak; but when used predicatively they are frequently strong: s l:sta d:l, the least part; onne cyme s man s t swiftoste hors hafa t :m :restan d:le and t :m m:stan, Then comes the man that has the swiftest horse to the first part and to the largest. But, t by:ne land is asteweard brdost (not brdoste), the cultivated land is broadest eastward; and (hit) bi ealra wyrta m:st, and it is largest of all herbs; Ac hyra (=hiera) r is m:st on :m gafole e Finnas him gylda, But their income is greatest in the tribute that the Fins pay them.

(6) The comparative is usually followed by onne and the nominative case: S hwl bi micle l:ssa onne re hwalas, That whale is much smaller than other whales; # wunda s mdes bo dgelran onne wunda s lchaman#. The wounds of the mind are more secret than the wounds of the body.

But when onne is omitted, the comparative is followed by the dative: re lesend, e mra is ond m:rra eallum gesceaftum, Our Redeemer, who is greater and more glorious than all created things; n ongeat h n hiene selfne betran rum gdum monnum, nor did he consider himself better than other good men.


97. (1) Adverbs are regularly compared by adding -or for the comparative and -ost (rarely -est) for the superlative:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. georne, willingly geornor geornost swe, very, swor, more swost, most, chiefly severely :r, before :ror, formerly :rest, first nor, northwards noror normest[1]

(2) The comparatives of a few adverbs may be found by dropping -ra of the corresponding adjective form:

Positive. Comparative. Superlative. longe, long leng lengest micle, much m m:st wel, well bet betst

[Footnote 1: This is really a double superlative, m being itself an old superlative suffix. Cf. Latin opti-m-us. In Mn.E. northmost and hindmost, -m-est has been confused with -most, with which etymologically it has nothing todo.]

Expressions of Time.

98. (1) Duration of time and extent of space are usually expressed by the accusative case: Ealle hwle e t lc bi inne, All the time that the body is within; twgen dagas, for two days; ealne weg, all the way, always.

(2) Time when is more often expressed by the instrumental case when no preposition is used: y: ilcan dge, the same day; :lce gare, each year; y: gare, that year; :lce dge, each day.

(3) Time or space within which is expressed by on and the dative: on sumera, in summer; on wintra, in winter; on ff dagum, in five days; on ff mlum, in five miles; on issum gare, in this year; on :m tman, in those times. Sometimes by the genitive without a preceding preposition: :s gares, in that year.


t gefylce [folc], troop, division. t lond (land), land. so ml, mile. er ... er, the one ... the other; the former ... the latter. s sige, victory. sige[2] habban, to win (the) victory. sprecan, to speak. t swn (swy:n), swine, hog. wste, waste.

[Footnote 2: Sige usually, but not invariably, precedes habban.]


I. 1. H hf ro swe swift hors. 2. Ic hbbe nigontene scap ond m onne twntig swna. 3.So gde cwn cest tw hund monna. 4.Uton feohtan wi Dene mid rm hunde scipa. 5.Ond he w:ron on tw:m gefylcum: on rum ws[3] Bchsecg ond Halfdene h:nan cyningas, ond on rum w:ron eorlas. 6. spricst slce. 7.onne rt :lc mon his weges. 8.fter monigum dagum, hfde lfred cyning[4] sige. lond is wste styccem:lum. 10.s feld is fftiges mla brd. 11.lfred cyning hfde monige frend, for :m e h ws :ger ge ws ge gd. 12. hwalas, e ymbe spricst, sind micle l:ssan rum hwalum. 13.Ho is ieldre onne hiere swuster, ac mn bror is ieldra onne ho. 14.W cuma t :m tne :lce gare. 15. men e swiftostan hors h:fdon w:ron mid :m Denum fower dagas.

II. 1. Our army (werod) was in two divisions: one was large, the other was small. 2.The richest men in the kingdom have more (m) than thirty ships. 3.He was much wiser than his brother. 4.He fights against the Northumbrians with two ships. 5.After three years King Alfred gained the victory. 6.Whosoever chooses these gifts, chooses well. 7.This man's son is both wiser and better than his father. 8.When the king rides, then ride his thanes also. 9.The richest men are not always () the wisest men.

[Footnote 3: See p.100, note on gefeaht.] [[Linenote 100.8]]

[Footnote 4: The proper noun comes first in appositive expressions: lfred cyning, Sidroc eorl, Hahmund bisceop.]



Syntax of Moods.

101. Of the three hundred simple verbs belonging to the O.E.Strong Conjugation, it is estimated[1] that seventy-eight have preserved their strong inflections in Mn.E., that eighty-eight have become weak, and that the remaining one hundred and thirty-four have entirely disappeared, their places being taken in most cases by verbs of Latin origin introduced through the Norman-French.

NOTE.—Only the simple or primitive verbs, not the compound forms, are here taken into consideration. The proportionate loss, therefore, is really much greater. O.E. abounded in formative prefixes. "Thus from the Anglo-Saxon flwan, to flow, ten new compounds were formed by the addition of various prefixes, of which ten, only one, oferflwan, to overflow, survives with us. In a similar manner, from the verb sittan, to sit, thirteen new verbs were formed, of which not a single one is to be found to-day." Lounsbury, ib. Part I, p.107.

[Footnote 1: Lounsbury, English Language, Part II, 241.]

102. Class I: The "Drive" Conjugation.

Vowel Succession: , , i, i.


Drf-an drf drif-on gedrif-en, to drive.

Indicative. Subjunctive.


Sing. 1. Ic drf-e Sing. 1. Ic } 2. drf-st (drf-est) 2. } drf-e 3. h drf- (drf-e) 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } (drf-a) 2. g } drf-en 3. he } 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic drf Sing. 1. Ic } 2. drif-e 2. } drif-e 3. h drf 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } drif-on 2. g } drif-en 3. he } 3. he }

Imperative. Infinitive. Present Participle.

Sing. 2. drf drf-an drf-ende Plur. 1. drf-an 2. drf-a

Gerund. Past Participle.

t drf-anne (-enne) gedrif-en

Tense Formation of Strong Verbs.

103. (1) It will be seen from the conjugation of drfan that the present stem in all strong verbs is used throughout the present indicative, the present subjunctive, the imperative, the infinitive, the gerund, and the present participle. More than half of the endings, therefore, of the Strong Conjugation are added directly to the present stem.

(2) That the preterit singular stem is used in only two forms of the verb, the 1st and 3d persons singular of the preterit indicative: Ic drf, h drf.

(3) That the preterit plural stem is used in the preterit plural indicative, in the second person of the preterit singular indicative, and in the singular and plural of the preterit subjunctive.

(4) That the stem of the past participle (gedrif-) is used for no other form.

Syntax of the Verb.

104. The Indicative Mood[2] represents the predicate as a reality. It is used both in independent and in dependent clauses, its function in O.E. corresponding with its function in Mn.E.

[Footnote 2: Usage sanctions mood, but the better spelling would be mode. It is from the Lat. modus, whereas mood (= temper) is O.E. md.]

105. The Subjunctive Mood represents the predicate as an idea.[3] It is of far more frequent occurrence in O.E. than in Mn.E.

1. When used in independent clauses it denotes desire, command, or entreaty, and usually precedes its subject: Se n nama gehlgod, Hallowed be Thy name; Ne swerigen g, Do not swear.

2. In dependent clauses it denotes uncertainty, possibility, or mere futurity.[4] (a) Concessive clauses (introduced by ah, though) and (b) temporal clauses (introduced by :r, :r :m e, before) are rarely found with any other mood than the subjunctive. The subjunctive is also regularly used in Alfredian prose (c) after verbs of saying, even when no suggestion of doubt or discredit attaches to the narration.[5] "Whether the statement refer to a fact or not, whether the subject-matter be vouched for by the reporter, as regards its objective reality and truth, the subjunctive does not tell. It simply represents a statement as reported"[6]: ah man sette twgen f:tels full eala oe wteres, though one set two vessels full of ale or water; :r :m e hit eall forhergod w:re, before it was all ravaged; H s:de t Normanna land w:re swy:e lang and swy:e sml, He said that the Norwegians' land was very long and very narrow.

[Footnote 3: Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar, 255.]

[Footnote 4: Thus when Alfred writes that an event took place before the founding of Rome, he uses the subjunctive: :r :m e Rmeburh getimbrod w:re = before Rome were founded; but, fter :m e Rmeburh getimbrod ws = after Rome was founded.]

[Footnote 5: "By the time of lfric, however, the levelling influence of the indicative [after verbs of saying] has made considerable progress."—Gorrell, Indirect Discourse in Anglo-Saxon (Dissertation, 1895), p.101.]

[Footnote 6: Hotz, On the Use of the Subjunctive Mood in Anglo-Saxon (Zrich, 1882).]

106. The Imperative is the mood of command or intercession: Ihannes, cum t m, John, come to me; And forgyf s re gyltas, And forgive us our trespasses; #Ne drf s fram #, Do not drive us from thee.

107. (1) The Infinitive and Participles are used chiefly in verb-phrases (138-141); but apart from this function, the Infinitive, being a neuter noun, may serve as the subject or direct object of a verb. Htan (tocommand, bid), l:tan (tolet, permit), and onginnan (tobegin) are regularly followed by the Infinitive: Hine rdan lyste, To ride pleased him; Ht b:re settan, He bade set down the bier;[7] L:ta ly:tlingas t m cuman, Let the little ones come to me; # ongann h sprecan#, then began he to speak.

(2) The Participles may be used independently in the dative absolute construction (animitation of the Latin ablative absolute), usually for the expression of time:[8] Him gy:t sprecendum, While he was yet speaking; gefylledum dagum, the days having been fulfilled.

[Footnote 7: Not, He commanded the bier to be set down. The Mn.E. passive in such sentences is a loss both in force and directness.]

[Footnote 8: Callaway, The Absolute Participle in Anglo-Saxon (Dissertation, 1889), p.19.]

108. The Gerund, or Gerundial Infinitive, is used:

(1) To express purpose: t ode s swere his s:d t swenne, Out went the sower his seed to sow.

(2) To expand or determine the meaning of a noun or adjective: Sy:mn, ic hbbe t secgenne sum ing, Simon, Ihave something to say to thee; Hit is scondlc ymb swelc t sprecanne, It is shameful to speak about such things.

(3) After bon (wesan) to denote duty or necessity: Hwt is n m ymbe is t sprecanne, What more is there now to say about this? onne is t geencenne hwaet Crst self cw, then it behooves to bethink what Christ himself said.

NOTE.—The Gerund is simply the dative case of the Infinitive after t. It began very early to supplant the simple Infinitive; hence the use of to with the Infinitive in Mn.E.As late as the Elizabethan age the Gerund sometimes replaced the Infinitive even after the auxiliary verbs:

"Some pagan shore, Where these two Christian armies might combine The blood of malice in a vein of league, And not to spend it so unneighbourly." —King John, V, ii, 39.

When to lost the meaning of purpose and came to be considered as a merely formal prefix, for was used to supplement the purpose element: What went ye out for to see?[9]

[Footnote 9: This is not the place to discuss the Gerund in Mn.E., the so-called "infinitive in -ing." The whole subject has been befogged for the lack of an accepted nomenclature, one that shall do violence neither to grammar nor to history.]



109. Class II: The "Choose" Conjugation.

Vowel Succession: o, a, u, o.


cos-an, cas, cur-on gecor-en, to choose.

Indicative. Subjunctive.


Sing. 1. Ic cos-e Sing. 1. Ic } 2. cest (cos-est) 2. } cos-e 3. h cest (cos-e) 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } cos-a 2. g } cos-en 3. he } 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic cas Sing. 1. Ic } 2. cur-e 2. } cur-e 3. h cas 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } cur-on 2. g } cur-en 3. he } 3. he }

Imperative. Infinitive. Present Participle.

Sing. 2. cos cos-an cos-ende Plur. 1. cos-an 2. cos-a

Gerund. Past Participle.

t cos-anne (-enne) gecor-en

[Footnote 1: A few verbs of Class II have instead of o in the infinitive:

brcan, brac, brucon, gebrocen, to enjoy [brook]. bgan, bag, bugon, gebogen, to bend, bow.]

[Footnote 2: By a law known as Grammatical Change, final , s, and h of strong verbs generally become d, r, and g, respectively, in the preterit plural and past participle.]

110. Class III: The "Bind" Conjugation.

Vowel Succession: {i,e}, a, u, {u,o}.

The present stem ends in m, n, l, r, or h, + one or more consonants:

m: belimp-an, { belomp }, belump-on, belump-en, to belong. { belamp }

n: bind-an, { bond }, bund-on, gebund-en, to bind. { band }

l: help-an, healp, hulp-on, geholp-en, to help.

r: weor-an, wear, wurd-on, geword-en, to become.

h: gefeoht-an, gefeaht, gefuht-on, gefoht-en, to fight.

NOTE 1.—If the present stem ends in a nasal (m, n) + a consonant, the past participle retains the u of the pret. plur.; but if the present stem ends in a liquid (l, r) or h, + a consonant, the past participle has o instead of u.

NOTE 2.—Why do we not find *halp, *war, and *faht in the pret. sing.? Because a before l, r, or h, + a consonant, underwent "breaking" to ea. Breaking also changes every e followed by r or h, + a consonant, to eo: weoran (< *weran), feohtan (< *fehtan).

111. Indicative. Subjunctive.


Sing. 1. Ic bind-e Sing. 1. Ic } 2. bintst (bind-est) 2. } bind-e 3. h bint (bind-e) 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } bind-a 2. g } bind-en 3. he } 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic bond Sing. 1. Ic } 2. bund-e 2. } bund-e 3. h bond 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } bund-on 2. g } bund-en 3. he } 3. he }

Imperative. Infinitive. Present Participle.

Sing. 2. bind bind-an bind-ende Plur. 1. bind-an 2. bind-a

Gerund. Past Participle.

t bind-anne (-enne) gebund-en


t gefeoht, fight, battle. so gerecednes, narration [reccan]. t gesceap, creation [scieppan]. so hergung ( 39, (3)), harrying, plundering [hergian]. s medu (medo) ( 51), mead. so meolc, milk. s middangeard, world [middle-yard]. s munuc, monk [monachus]. so my:re, mare [mearh]. h s:de, he said. he s:don, they said. so spd, riches [speed]. spdig, rich, prosperous [speedy]. so td, time [tide]. unspdig, poor. s westanwind, west-wind. t wn, wine.

rsan, rs, rison, risen, to arise. bdan, bd, bidon, gebiden, to remain, expect (with gen.) drogan,[3] drag, drugon, gedrogen, to endure, suffer. drincan, dronc, druncon, gedruncen, to drink. findan, fond, fundon, gefunden, to find. geswcan geswc, geswicon, geswicen, to cease, cease from (with gen.) iernan (yrnan), orn, urnon, geurnen, to run. onginnan, ongonn, ongunnon, ongunnen, to begin. rdan, rd, ridon, geriden, to ride. singan, song, sungon, gesungen, to sing. wrtan, wrt, writon, gewriten, to write.

[Footnote 3: Cf. the Scotch "to dree one's weird" = to endure one's fate.]


I. 1. fter issum wordum, s munuc wrt ealle gerecednesse on nre bc. 2. eorlas ridon p :r :m e Dene s gefeohtes geswicen. 3.Cdmon song :rest be middangeardes gesceape. 4.S cyning ond rcostan men drinca my:ran meolc, ond unspdigan drinca medu. 5.Ond h rs ond s wind geswc. 6.He s:don t he :r westwindes biden. 7.Hwt is n m ymbe s ing t sprecanne? 8. secgas ongunnon geswcan :re hergunga. 9. bag t lond :r astryhte, oe so s: in on t lond. 10.s lond belimpa t, :m Englum. 11.ah Dene ealne dg gefuhten, get hfde lfred cyning sige. 12.Ond s (afterwards) ymbe nne mna gefeaht lfred cyning wi ealne one here t Wiltne.

II. 1. The most prosperous men drank mare's milk and wine, but the poor men drank mead. 2. Isuffered many things before you began to help me (dat.). 3.About two days afterwards (s ymbe twgen dagas), the plundering ceased. 4.The king said that he fought against all the army (here). 5.Although the Danes remained one month (98, (1)), they did not begin to fight. 6.These gifts belonged to my brother. 7.The earls were glad because their lord was (indicative) with them. 8.What did you find? 9.Then wrote he about (be) the wise man's deeds. 10.What more is there to endure?




[The student can now complete the conjugation for himself ( 103). Only the principal parts will be given.]

114. Class IV: The "Bear" Conjugation.

Vowel Succession: e, , :, o.

The present stem ends in l, r, or m, no consonant following:

l: hel-an, hl, h:l-on, gehol-en, to conceal. r: ber-an, br, b:r-on, gebor-en, to bear.

The two following verbs are slightly irregular:

m: { nim-an, nm (nam), nm-on (nm-on), genum-en, to take. { cum-an, c(w)m, c(w)m-on, gecum-en, to come.

115. Class V: The "Give" Conjugation.

Succession of Vowels: e (ie), , :, e.

The present stem ends in a single consonant, never a liquid or nasal:

met-an, mt, m:ton, gemet-en, to measure, mete. gief-an, geaf, gaf-on, gegief-en, to give.

NOTE 1.—The palatal consonants, g, c, and sc, convert a following e into ie, into ea, and : into a. Hence giefan (< *gefan), geaf (< *gf), gafon (< *g:fon), gegiefen (<*gegefen). This change is known as Palatalization. See 8.

NOTE 2.—The infinitives of the following important verbs are only apparently exceptional:

biddan, bd, b:d-on, gebed-en, to ask for [bid]. licgan, lg, l:g-on, geleg-en, to lie, extend. sittan, st, s:t-on, geset-en, to sit.

The original e reappears in the participial stems. It was changed to i in the present stems on account of a former -jan in the infinitive (bid-jan, etc.). See 61. To the same cause is due the doubling of consonants in the infinitive. All simple consonants in O.E., with the exception of r, were doubled after a short vowel, when an original j followed.

116. Class VI: The "Shake" Conjugation.

Succession of Vowels: a, , , a.

scac-an, scc, scc-on, gescac-en, to shake. far-an, fr, fr-on, gefar-en, to go [fare].

117. Class VII: The "Fall" Conjugation.

Vowel Succession: {,:}, , , {,:}; or {ea,a,}, o, o, {ea,a,}.

(1) ht-an, ht, ht-on, geht-en, to call, name, command. l:t-an, lt, lt-on, gel:t-en, to let.

(2) feall-an, foll, foll-on, gefeall-en, to fall. heald-an, hold, hold-on, geheald-en, to hold. haw-an, how, how-on, gehaw-en, to hew. grw-an, grow, grow-on, gegrw-en, to grow.

NOTE 1.—This class consists of the Reduplicating Verbs; that is, those verbs that originally formed their preterits not by internal vowel change (ablaut), but by prefixing to the present stem the initial consonant + e (cf. Gk. le-loipa and Lat. dĕ-di). Contraction then took place between the syllabic prefix and the root, the fusion resulting in or o: *he-hat > heht > ht.

NOTE 2.—A peculiar interest attaches to htan: the forms htte and htton are the sole remains in O.E. of the original Germanic passive. They are used both as presents and as preterits: htte = I am or was called, he is or was called. No other verb in O.E. could have a passive sense without calling in the aid of the verb to be (141).

Contract Verbs.

118. The few Contract Verbs found in O.E. do not constitute a new class; they fall under Classes I, II, V, VI, and VII, already treated. The present stem ended originally in h. This was lost before -an of the infinitive, contraction and compensatory lengthening being the result. The following are the most important of these verbs:


I. on (< *han), h, ig-on, { geig-en }, to thrive. { geung-en } II. ton (< *tohan), tah, tug-on, getog-en, to draw, go [tug]. V. son (< *sehwan), seah, sw-on, gesew-en, to see. VI. slan (< *slahan), slh, slg-on, geslg-en, to slay. VII. fn (< *fhan), fng, fng-on, gefong-en, to seize [fang].

119. The Present Indicative of these verbs runs as follows (see rules of i-umlaut, 58):

Sing. 1. Ic o to so sla f 2. hst tehst siehst sliehst fhst 3. h h teh sieh slieh fh

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } o to so sla f 3. he }

The other tenses and moods are regularly formed from the given stems.


so :ht, property, possession [gan]. aweg, away [on weg]. so fierd, English army [faran]. s here, Danish army [hergian]. on gehwre hond, on both sides. sige niman (= sige habban), to win (the) victory. so spr:c, speech, language. t rce fn, to come to the throne.[1] t wl [Val-halla] } slaughter, carnage. s wlsliht, } s weall, wall, rampart. t wildor, wild beast, reindeer. s wngeard, vineyard.

brecan,[2] brc, br:con, brocen, to break down. cwean, cw, cw:don, gecweden, to say [quoth]. geson, geseah, geswon, gesewen, to see. grwan, grow, growon, gegrwen, to grow. ofslan, ofslh, ofslgon, ofslgen, to slay. sprecan, sprc, spr:con, gesprecen, to speak. stelan, stl, st:lon, gestolen, to steal. stondan, std, stdon, gestonden, to stand. weaxan, wox, woxon, geweaxen, to grow, increase [wax].

[Footnote 1: Literally, to take to (the) kingdom. Cf. "Have you anything to take to?" (Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV, i,42).]

[Footnote 2: Brecan belongs properly in Class V, but it has been drawn into Class IV possibly through the influence of the r in the root.]


I. 1. fter :m slce (indeed) ealle men spr:con ne (one) spr:ce. 2.Ond h cw: "is is n folc, ond ealle he spreca ne spr:ce." 3.On sumum stwum wngeardas grwa. 4.H ht n:dran ofslan. 5. Engle br:con one longan weall, ond sige nmon. 6.Ond t s:d grow ond wox. 7.Ic ne geseah one mon s e s cnapan adesan stl. 8.H ws swy:e spdig man on :m :htum e hiera spda on[3] bo, t is, on wildrum. 9.Ond :r wear (was) micel wlsliht on gehwre hond. 10.Ond fter issum gefeohte cm lfred cyning mid his fierde, ond gefeaht wi ealne one here, ond sige nm. 11.os burg htte[4] scesdn (Ashdown). 12.:re cwne lc lg on :m hse. 13.Ond s d:l e :r aweg cm ws swy:e ly:tel. 14.Ond s rotene dagas ered t rce fng.

II. 1. The men stood in the ships and fought against the Danes. 2.Before the thanes came, the king rode away. 3.They said (s:don) that all the men spoke one language. 4.They bore the queen's body to Wilton. 5.Alfred gave many gifts to his army (dat. without t) before he went away. 6.These men are called earls. 7.God sees all things. 8.The boy held the reindeer with (mid) his hands. 9.About six months afterwards, Alfred gained the victory, and came to the throne. 10.He said that there was very great slaughter on both sides.

[Footnote 3: See 94, (5).]

[Footnote 4: See 117, Note 2.]



122. The verbs belonging to the Weak Conjugation are generally of more recent origin than the strong verbs, being frequently formed from the roots of strong verbs. The Weak Conjugation was the growing conjugation in O.E. as it is in Mn.E.We instinctively put our newly coined or borrowed words into this conjugation (telegraphed, boycotted); and children, by the analogy of weak verbs, say runned for ran, seed for saw, teared for tore, drawed for drew, and growed for grew. So, for example, when Latin dictre and brevire came into O.E., they came as weak verbs, dihtian and brfian.

The Three Classes of Weak Verbs.

123. There is no difficulty in telling, from the infinitive alone, to which of the three classes a weak verb belongs. Class III has been so invaded by Class II that but three important verbs remain to it: habban, to have; libban, to live; and secgan, to say. Distinction is to be made, therefore, only between Classes II andI. Class II contains the verbs with infinitive in -ian not preceded by r. Class I contains the remaining weak verbs; that is, those with infinitive in -r-ian and those with infinitive in -an (not -ian).

Class I.

124. The preterit singular and past participle of Class I end in -ede and -ed, or -de and -ed respectively.

NOTE.—The infinitives of this class ended originally in -jan (= -ian). This accounts for the prevalence of i-umlaut in these verbs, and also for the large number of short-voweled stems ending in a double consonant (115, Note2). The weak verb is frequently the causative of the corresponding strong verb. In such cases, the root of the weak verb corresponds in form to the preterit singular of the strong verb: Mn.E. drench (= to make drink), lay (= to make lie), rear (= to make rise), and set (= to make sit), are the umlauted forms of dronc (preterit singular of drincan), lg (preterit singular of licgan), rs (preterit singular of rsan), and st (preterit singular of sittan).

Preterit and Past Participle in -ede and -ed.

125. Verbs with infinitive in -an preceded by ri- or the double consonants mm, nn, ss, bb, cg (=gg), add -ede for the preterit, and -ed for the past participle, the double consonant being always made single:

ri: neri-an, ner-ede, gener-ed, to save. mm: fremm-an, frem-ede, gefrem-ed, to perform [frame]. nn: enn-an, en-ede, geen-ed, to extend. ss: cnyss-an, cnys-ede, gecnys-ed, to beat. bb: swebb-an, swef-ede, geswef-ed, to put to sleep. cg: wecg-an, weg-ede, geweg-ed, to agitate.

NOTE.—Lecgan, to lay, is the only one of these verbs that syncopates the e: lecgan, legde (lde), gelegd (geld), instead of legede, geleged.

Preterit and Past Participle in -de and -ed.

126. All the other verbs belonging to Class I. add -de for the preterit and -ed for the past participle. This division includes, therefore, all stems long by nature (10, (3), (a)):

d:l-an, d:l-de, ged:l-ed, to deal out, divide [d:l]. dm-an, dm-de, gedm-ed, to judge [dm]. grt-an, grt-te, gegrt-ed, to greet. her-an, her-de, geher-ed, to hear. l:d-an, l:d-de, gel:d-ed, to lead.

NOTE 1.—A preceding voiceless consonant (9, Note) changes -de into -te: *grt-de > grt-te; *mt-de > mt-te; *ec-de > ec-te. Syncope and contraction are also frequent in the participles: gegrt-ed > *gegrt-d > gegrt(t); gel:d-ed > gel:d(d).

NOTE 2.—Ban, to dwell, cultivate, has an admixture of strong forms in the past participle: ban, bde, gebd (by:n, gebn). The present participle survives in Mn.E. husband = house-dweller.

127. It includes, also, all stems long by position ( 10, (3), (b)) except those in mm, nn, ss, bb, and cg (125):

send-an, send-e, gesend-ed, to send. sett-an, set-te, geset-ed, to set [sittan]. sigl-an, sigl-de, gesigl-ed, to sail. spend-an, spend-e, gespend-ed, to spend. tredd-an, tred-de, getred-ed, to tread.

NOTE.—The participles frequently undergo syncope and contraction: gesended > gesend; geseted > geset(t); gespended > gespend; getreded > getred(d).

Irregular Verbs of Class I.

128. There are about twenty verbs belonging to Class I that are irregular in having no umlaut in the preterit and past participle. The preterit ends in -de, the past participle in -d; but, through the influence of a preceding voiceless consonant (9, Note), -ed is generally unvoiced to -te, and -d to -t. The most important of these verbs are as follows:

bring-an, brh-te, gebrh-t, to bring. byc-gan, boh-te, geboh-t, to buy. sc-an, sh-te, gesh-t, to seek. sell-an, seal-de, geseal-d, to give, sell [hand-sel]. t:c-an, t:h-te, get:h-t, to teach. tell-an, teal-de, geteal-d, to count [tell]. enc-an, h-te, geh-t, to think. ync-an, h-te, geh-t, to seem [methinks]. wyrc-an, worh-te, geworh-t, to work.

NOTE.—Such of these verbs as have stems in c or g are frequently written with an inserted e: bycgean, scean, t:cean, etc. This e indicates that c and g have palatal value; that is, are to be followed with a vanishing y-sound. In such cases, O.E. c usually passes into Mn.E. ch: t:c(e)an > to teach; r:c(e)an > to reach; strecc(e)an > to stretch. Sc(e)an gives beseech as well as seek. See 8.

Conjugation of Class I.

129. Paradigms of nerian, to save; fremman, to perform; d:lan, to divide:



Sing. 1. Ic nerie fremme d:le 2. nerest fremest d:lst 3. h nere freme d:l

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } neria fremma d:la 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic nerede fremede d:lde 2. neredest fremedest d:ldest 3. h nerede fremede d:lde

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } neredon fremedon d:ldon 3. he }



Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } nerie fremme d:le 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } nerien fremmen d:len 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } nerede fremede d:lde 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } nereden fremeden d:lden 3. he }


Sing. 2. nere freme d:l

Plur. 1. nerian fremman d:lan 2. neria fremma d:la


nerian fremman d:lan


t nerianne (-enne) t fremmanne (-enne) t d:lanne (-enne)

Present Participle.

neriende fremmende d:lende

Past Participle.

genered gefremed ged:led

NOTE.—The endings of the preterit present no difficulties; in the 2d and 3d singular present, however, the student will observe (a) that double consonants in the stem are made single: fremest, freme (not *freemmest, *freemme); enest, ene; setest (setst), seete (sett); fylst, fyl, from fyllan, to fill; (b) that syncope is the rule in stems long by nature: d:lst (< d:lest), d:l (< d:le); dmst (< dmest), dm (< dme); herst (< herest), her (< here). Double consonants are also made single in the imperative 2d singular and in the past participle. Stems long by nature take no final -e in the imperative: d:l, her, dm.

Class II.

130. The infinitive of verbs belonging to this class ends in -ian (not -r-ian), the preterit singular in -ode, the past participle in -od. The preterit plural usually has -edon, however, instead of -odon:

eard-ian, eard-ode, geeard-od, to dwell [eore]. luf-ian, luf-ode, geluf-od, to love [lufu]. rcs-ian, rcs-ode, gercs-od, to rule [rce]. sealf-ian, sealf-ode, gesealf-od, to anoint [salve]. segl-ian, segl-ode, gesegl-od, to sail [segel].

NOTE.—These verbs have no trace of original umlaut, since their -ian was once -jan. Hence, the vowel of the stem was shielded from the influence of the j (= i) by the interposition of .

Conjugation of Class II.

131. Paradigm of lufian, to love:

Indicative. Subjunctive.


Sing. 1. Ic lufie Sing. 1. Ic } 2. u lufast 2. } lufie 3. h lufa 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } lufia 2. g } lufien 3. he } 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic lufode Sing. 1. Ic } 2. lufodest 2. } lufode 3. h lufode 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } lufedon (-odon) 2. g } lufeden (-oden) 3. he } 3. he }

Imperative. Infinitive. Present Participle.

Sing. 2. lufa lufian lufiende Plur. 1. lufian 2. lufia

Gerund. Past Participle.

t lufianne (-enne) gelufod

NOTE 1.—The -ie (-ien) occurring in the present must be pronounced as a dissyllable. The y-sound thus interposed between the i and e is frequently indicated by the letter g: lufie, or lufige; lufien, or lufigen. So also for ia: lufia, or lufiga; lufian, or lufig(e)an.

NOTE 2.—In the preterit singular, -ade, -ude, and -ede are not infrequent for -ode.

Class III.

132. The few verbs belonging here show a blending of Classes I and II. Like certain verbs of Class I (128), the preterit and past participle are formed by adding -de and -d; like Class II, the 2d and 3d present indicative singular end in -ast and -a, the imperative 2d singular in -a:

habb-an, hf-de, gehf-d, to have. libb-an, lif-de, gelif-d, to live. secg-an, s:d-e (sg-de), ges:d (gesg-d), to say.

Conjugation of Class III.

133. Paradigms of habban, to have; libban, to live; secgan, to say.



Sing. 1. Ic hbbe libbe secge 2. hfst (hafast) lifast sgst (sagast) 3. h hf (hafa) lifa sg (saga)

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } habba libba secga 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic hfde lifde s:de 2. hfdest lifdest s:dest 3. h hfde lifde s:de

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } hfdon lifdon s:don 3. he }



Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } hbbe libbe secge 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } hbben libben secgen 3. he }


Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } hfde lifde s:de 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } hfden lifden s:den 3. he }


Sing. 2. hafa lifa saga Plur. 1. habban libban secgan 2. habba libba secga


habban libban secgan


t habbanne (-enne) t libbanne (-enne) t secganne (-enne)

Present Participle.

hbbende libbende secgende

Past Participle.

gehfd gelifd ges:d



Anomalous Verbs. (See 19.)

134. These are:

bon (wesan), ws, w:ron, ——, tobe. willan, wolde, woldon, ——, to will, intend. dn, dyde, dydon, gedn, to do, cause. gn, ode, odon, gegn, togo.

NOTE.—In the original Indo-Germanic language, the first person of the present indicative singular ended in (1) or (2)mi. Cf. Gk. lu-, ei-mi, Lat. am-, su-m. The Strong and Weak Conjugations of O.E. are survivals of the -class. The four Anomalous Verbs mentioned above are the sole remains in O.E. of the mi-class. Note the surviving m in eom I am, and dm I do (Northumbrian form). These mi-verbs are sometimes called non-Thematic to distinguish them from the Thematic or -verbs.

Conjugation of Anomalous Verbs.

135. Only the present indicative and subjunctive are at all irregular:



Sing. 1. Ic eom (bom) wille d g 2. eart (bist) wilt dst g:st 3. h is (bi) wille d g:

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } sind(on) willa d g 3. he }



Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } se wille d g 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } sen willen dn gn 3. he }

NOTE.—The preterit subjunctive of bon is formed, of course, not from ws, but from w:ron. See 103,(3).

Preterit-Present Verbs. (See 19.)

136. These verbs are called Preterit-Present because the present tense (indicative and subjunctive) of each of them is, in form, astrong preterit, the old present having been displaced by the new. They all have weak preterits. Most of the Mn.E.Auxiliary Verbs belong to this class.

witan, { wiste, } wiston, gewiten, to know { wisse, } [to wit, wot]. gan, hte, hton, gen (adj.), to possess [owe]. cunnan, ce, con, { gecunnen, } to know, can { c (adj.), } [uncouth, cunning]. durran, dorste, dorston, —— to dare. sculan, sceolde, sceoldon, —— shall. magan, { meahte, meahton, } —— to be able, may. { mihte, mihton, } mtan, mste, mston, —— may, must.

NOTE.—The change in meaning from preterit to present, with retention of the preterit form, is not uncommon in other languages. Several examples are found in Latin and Greek (cf.nvi and oida, Iknow). Mn.E. has gone further still: hte and mste, which had already suffered the loss of their old preterits (h, mt), have been forced back again into the present (ought, must). Having exhausted, therefore, the only means of preterit formation known to Germanic, the strong and the weak, it is not likely that either ought or must will ever develop distinct preterit forms.

Conjugation of Preterit-Present Verbs.

137. The irregularities occur in the present indicative and subjunctive:



Sing. 1. Ic wt h con (can) 2. wst hst const (canst) 3. h wt h con (can)

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } witon gon cunnon 3. he }

Sing. 1. Ic dear sceal mg mt 2. dearst scealt meaht mst 3. h dear sceal mg mt

Plur. 1. w 2. g durron sculon magon mton 3. he



Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } wite ge cunne 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } witen gen cunnen 3. he }

Sing. 1. Ic } 2. } durre scule (scyle) mge mte 3. h }

Plur. 1. w } 2. g } durren sculen (scylen) mgen mten 3. he }

NOTE 1.—Willan and sculan do not often connote simple futurity in Early West Saxon, yet they were fast drifting that way. The Mn.E. use of shall only with the 1st person and will only with the 2d and 3d, to express simple futurity, was wholly unknown even in Shakespeare's day. The elaborate distinctions drawn between these words by modern grammarians are not only cumbersome and foreign to the genius of English, but equally lacking in psychological basis.

NOTE 2.—Sculan originally implied the idea of (1)duty, or compulsion (= ought to, or must), and this conception lurks with more or less prominence in almost every function of sculan in O.E.: Dryhten bebad Moyse h h sceolde beran earce, The Lord instructed Moses how he ought to bear the ark; :lc mann sceal be his andgietes m:e ... sprecan t he spric, and dn t t h d, Every man must, according to the measure of his intelligence, speak what he speaks, and do what he does. Its next most frequent use is to express (2)custom, the transition from the obligatory to the customary being an easy one: S byrdesta sceall gyldan ffty:ne meares fell, The man of highest rank pays fifteen marten skins.

NOTE 3.—Willan expressed originally (1)pure volition, and this is its most frequent use in O.E.It may occur without the infinitive: Nylle ic s synfullan da, ac ic wille t h gecyrre and lybbe, I do not desire the sinner's death, but I desire that he return and live. The wish being father to the intention, willan soon came to express (2)purpose: H s:de t h at sumum cirre wolde fandian h longe t land norryhte l:ge, He said that he intended, at some time, to investigate how far that land extended northward.

Verb-Phrases with habban, bon (wesan), and weoran.

Verb-Phrases in the Active Voice.

138. The present and preterit of habban, combined with a past participle, are used in O.E., as in Mn.E., to form the present perfect and past perfect tenses:


Sing. 1. Ic hbbe gedrifen Sing. 1. Ic hfde gedrifen 2. hfst gedrifen 2. hfdest gedrifen 3. h hf gedrifen 3. h hfde gedrifen


Plur. 1. w } Plur. 1. w } 2. g } habba gedrifen 2. g } hfdon gedrifen 3. he } 3. he }

The past participle is not usually inflected to agree with the direct object: Norymbre ond astengle hfdon lfrede cyninge as geseald (not gesealde, 82), The Northumbrians and East Anglians had given king Alfred oaths; ond hfdon miclne d:l ra horsa freten (not fretenne), and (they) had devoured a large part of the horses.

NOTE.—Many sentences might be quoted in which the participle does agree with the direct object, but there seems to be no clear line of demarcation between them and the sentences just cited. Originally, the participle expressed a resultant state, and belonged in sense more to the object than to habban; but in Early West Saxon habban had already, in the majority of cases, become a pure auxiliary when used with the past participle. This is conclusively proved by the use of habban with intransitive verbs. In such a clause, therefore, as o t he hine ofslgenne hfdon, there is no occasion to translate until they had him slain (= resultant state); the agreement here is more probably due to the proximity of ofslgenne to hine. So also ac h hfdon hiera stemn gesetenne, but they had already served out (sat out) their military term.

139. If the verb is intransitive, and denotes a change of condition, a departure or arrival, bon (wesan) usually replaces habban. The past participle, in such cases, partakes of the nature of an adjective, and generally agrees with the subject: Mne welan e ic o hfde syndon ealle gewitene ond gedrorene, My possessions which I once had are all departed and fallen away; w:ron men uppe on londe of gne, the men had gone up ashore; ond re w:ron hungre cwolen, and the others had perished of hunger; ond ac s micla here ws :r t cumen, and also the large army had then arrived there.

140. A progressive present and preterit (not always, however, with distinctively progressive meanings) are formed by combining a present participle with the present and preterit of bon (wesan). The participle remains uninflected: ond he alle on one cyning w:run feohtende, and they all were fighting against the king; Symle h bi lciende, n sl:p h n:fre, He is always looking, nor does He ever sleep.

NOTE.—In most sentences of this sort, the subject is masculine (singular or plural); hence no inference can be made as to agreement, since -e is the participial ending for both numbers of the nominative masculine (82). By analogy, therefore, the other genders usually conform in inflection to the masculine: w:ron ealle doflu clypigende nre stefne, then were all the devils crying with one voice.

Verb-Phrases in the Passive Voice.

141. Passive constructions are formed by combining bon (wesan) or weoran with a past participle. The participle agrees regularly with the subject: he w:ron benumene :ger ge s capes ge s cornes, they were deprived both of the cattle and the corn; h bo blende mid :m ostrum heora scylda, they are blinded with the darkness of their sins; and s wlhrowa Domicinus on m ylcan gare wear cweald, and the murderous Domitian was killed in the same year; ond elwulf aldormon wear ofslgen, and thelwulf, alderman, was slain.

NOTE 1.—To express agency, Mn.E. employs by, rarely of; M.E. of, rarely by; O.E. from (fram), rarely of: S e Godes bebodu ne gecn:w, ne bi h oncnwen from Gode, He who does not recognise God's commands, will not be recognized by God; Betwux :m wear ofslagen adwine ... fram Brytta cyninge, Meanwhile, Edwin was slain by the king of the Britons.

NOTE 2.—O.E. had no progressive forms for the passive, and could not, therefore, distinguish between He is being wounded and He is wounded. It was not until more than a hundred years after Shakespeare's death that being assumed this function. Weoran, which originally denoted a passage from one state to another, was ultimately driven out by bon (wesan), and survives now only in Woe worth (= beto).


Beormas, Permians. Deeniscan, the Danish (men), Danes. Finnas, Fins. t gewald, control [wealdan]. so s:, sea. so scr, shire, district. so wlstw, battle-field. gan wlstwe gewald, to maintain possession of the battle-field. s wealdend, ruler, wielder.

gefleman, geflemde, geflemed, to put to flight. gestaelian, gestaelode, gestaelod, to establish, restore. gewissian, gewissode, gewissod, to guide, direct. wcian, wcode, gewcod, to dwell [wc = village].


I. 1. Ond r ws micel wl geslgen on gehwre hond, ond elwulf ealdormon wear ofslgen; ond Deniscan hton wlstwe gewald. 2.Ond s ymb nne mna gefeaht lfred cyning wi ealne one here ond hine geflemde. 3.H s:de ah t t land se swe lang nor onan. 4. Beormas hfdon swe wel gebd (126, Note2) hiera land. 5.Ohthere s:de t so scr htte (117, Note2) Hlgoland, e h on (94, (5)) bde. 6. Finnas wcedon be :re s:. 7.Dryhten, lmihtiga (78, Note) God, Wyrhta and Wealdend ealra gesceafta, ic bidde for nre miclan mildheortnesse t m gewissie t num willan; and gestaela mn md t num willan and t mnre swle earfe. 8. sceolde h :r bdan ryhtnoranwindes, for :m t land bag :r sryhte, oe so s: in on t land, h nysse hwer. 9.For y:, m ync betre, gif ow sw ync, t w ac s bc on t geode wenden e w ealle gecnwan mgen.

II. 1. When the king heard that, he went (= then went he) westward with his army to Ashdown. 2.Lovest thou me more than these? 3.The men said that the shire which they lived in was called Halgoland. 4.All things were made (wyrcan) by God. 5.They were fighting for two days with (=against) the Danes. 6.King Alfred fought with the Danes, and gained the victory; but the Danes retained possession of the battle-field. 7.These men dwelt in England before they came hither. 8. Ihave not seen the book of (ymbe) which you speak (sprecan).





I. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

This famous work, a series of progressive annals by unknown hands, embraces a period extending from Csar's invasion of England to 1154. It is not known when or where these annals began to be recorded in English.

"The annals from the year 866—that of Ethelred's ascent of the throne—to the year 887 seem to be the work of one mind. Not a single year is passed over, and to several is granted considerable space, especially to the years 871, 878, and 885. The whole has gained a certain roundness and fulness, because the events—nearly all of them episodes in the ever-recurring conflict with the Danes—are taken in their connection, and the thread dropped in one year is resumed in the next. Not only is the style in itself concise; it has a sort of nervous severity and pithy rigor. The construction is often antiquated, and suggests at times the freedom of poetry; though this purely historical prose is far removed from poetry in profusion of language." (Ten Brink, Early Eng. Lit.,I.)

II. The Translations of Alfred.

Alfred's reign (871-901) may be divided into four periods. The first, the period of Danish invasion, extends from 871 to 881; the second, the period of comparative quiet, from 881 to 893; the third, the period of renewed strife (beginning with the incursions of Hasting), from 893 to 897; the fourth, the period of peace, from 897 to 901. His literary work probably falls in the second period.[A]

The works translated by Alfred from Latin into the vernacular were (1)Consolation of Philosophy (DeConsolatione Philosophiae) by Bothius (475-525), (2)Compendious History of the World (Historiarum Libri VII) by Orosius (c.418), (3)Ecclesiastical History of the English (Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum) by Bede (672-735), and (4)Pastoral Care (DeCura Pastorali) by Pope Gregory the Great (540-604).

The chronological sequence of these works is wholly unknown. That given is supported by Turner, Arend, Morley, Grein, and Pauli. Wlker argues for an exact reversal of this order. According to Ten Brink, the order was more probably (1)Orosius, (2)Bede, (3) Bothius, and (4)Pastoral Care. The most recent contribution to the subject is from Wlfing, who contends for (1) Bede, (2)Orosius, (3)Pastoral Care, and (4)Bothius.

[Footnote A: There is something inexpressibly touching in this clause from the great king's pen: gif w stilnesse habba. He is speaking of how much he hopes to do, by his translations, for the enlightenment of his people.]


[From the Chronicle, Parker MS. The event and date are significant. The Danes had for the first time invaded Wessex. Alfred's older brother, Ethelred, was king; but to Alfred belongs the glory of the victory at Ashdown (Berkshire). Asser (Life of Alfred) tells us that for a long time Ethelred remained praying in his tent, while Alfred and his followers went forth "like a wild boar against the hounds."]

[[page 99]]

1 871. Hr cum[1] s here t Radingum on Westseaxe, 2 ond s ymb iii niht ridon ii eorlas p. a gemtte he

[[page 100]]

1 elwulf aldorman[2] on Englafelda, ond him :r wi gefeaht, 2 ond sige nam. s ymb iiii niht ered cyning 3 ond lfred his brur[3] :r micle fierd t Radingum 4 gel:ddon, ond wi one here gefuhton; ond :r ws 5 micel wl geslgen on gehwre hond, ond elwulf 6 aldormon wear ofslgen; ond a Deniscan hton wlstwe 7 gewald.

8 Ond s ymb iiii niht gefeaht ered cyning ond 9 lfred his brur wi alne[4] one here on scesdne. 10 Ond he w:run[5] on tw:m gefylcum: on rum ws 11 Bchsecg ond Halfdene h:nan cyningas, ond on 12 rum w:ron eorlas. Ond gefeaht s cyning 13 ered wi ra cyninga getruman, ond :r wear s 14 cyning Bgsecg ofslgen; ond lfred his brur wi 15 ra eorla getruman, ond :r wear Sidroc eorl ofslgen 16 s alda,[6] ond Sidroc eorl s gioncga,[7] ond sbearn eorl, 17 ond Fr:na eorl, ond Hareld eorl; ond hergas[8] bgen 18 geflemde, ond fela senda ofslgenra, ond onfeohtende 19 w:ron o niht.

20 Ond s ymb xiiii niht gefeaht ered cyning ond 21 lfred his brur wi one here t Basengum, ond :r 22 a Deniscan sige nmon.

23 Ond s ymb ii mna gefeaht ered cyning ond 24 lfred his brur wi one here t Meretne, ond he 25 w:run on tu:m[9] gefylcium, ond he bt geflemdon, ond 26 longe on dg sige hton; ond :r wear micel wlsliht 27 on gehwere hond; ond Deniscan hton wlstwe

[[page 101]]

1 gewald; ond r wear Hahmund bisceop ofslgen, 2 ond fela gdra monna. Ond fter issum gefeohte cum[1] 3 micel sumorlida.

4 Ond s ofer astron gefr ered cyning; ond h 5 rcsode v gar; ond his lc l t Wnburnan.

6 fng lfred elwulfing his brur t Wesseaxna 7 rce. Ond s ymb nne mna gefeaht lfred cyning 8 wi alne[4] one here ly:tle werede[10] t Wiltne, ond hine 9 longe on dg geflemde, ond Deniscan hton wlstwe 10 gewald.

11 Ond s gares wurdon viiii folcgefeoht gefohten wi 12 one here on y: cynerce be san Temese, btan m e 13 him lfred s cyninges brur ond nlpig aldormon[2] ond 14 cyninges egnas oft rde onridon e mon n ne rmde; 15 ond s gares w:run[5] ofslgene viiii eorlas ond n cyning. 16 Ond y: gare nmon Westseaxe fri wi one here.


No note is made of such variants as y (y:) or i () for ie (e). See Glossary under ie (e); occurrences, also, of and for ond, land for lond, are found on almost every page of Early West Saxon. Such words should be sought for under the more common forms, ond, lond.

[1] = cwm. [2] = ealdormon. [3] = bror. [4] = ealne. [5] = w:ron. [6] = ealda. [7] = geonga. [8] = heras. [9] = tw:m. [10] = werode.


100.8. gefeaht. Notice that the singular is used. This is the more common construction in O.E. when a compound subject, composed of singular members, follows its predicate. Cf. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. See also p.107, note on ws.] [[Linenote 107.14-15]]

100.18. ond fela senda ofslgenra, and there were many thousands of slain (91).

101.12: btan m e, etc., besides which, Alfred ... made raids against them (him), which were not counted. See 70, Note.]


[With this characteristic prayer, Alfred concludes his translation of Bothius's Consolation of Philosophy. Unfortunately, the only extant MS. (Bodleian 180) is Late West Saxon. Ifollow, therefore, Prof. A.S. Cook's normalization on an Early West Saxon basis. See Cook's First Book in Old English, p.163.]

[[page 102]]

1 Dryhten, lmihtiga God, Wyrhta and Wealdend ealra 2 gesceafta, ic bidde for nre miclan mildheortnesse, 3 and for :re hlgan rde tcne, and for Sanct Marian 4 mghde, and for Sancti Michaeles gehersumnesse, and 5 for ealra nra hlgena lufan and hera earnungum, t 6 m gewissie bet onne ic worhte t ; and gewissa 7 m t num willan, and t mnre swle earfe, bet onne 8 ic self cunne; and gestaela mn md t inum willan and 9 t mnre swle earfe; and gestranga m wi s dofles 10 costnungum; and fierr fram m flan glnesse and 11 :lce unrihtwsnesse; and gescield m wi mnum wierwinnum, 12 gesewenlcum and ungesewenlcum; and t:c m 13 nne willan t wyrceanne; t ic mge inweardlce 14 lufian tforan eallum ingum, mid cl:num geance and 15 mid cl:num lchaman. For on e eart mn Scieppend, 16 and mn Alesend, mn Fultum, mn Frfor, mn Trownes, 17 and mn Thopa. Se lof and wuldor n and 18 , t worulde btan :ghwilcum ende. Amen.


3-4: Marian ... Michaeles. O.E. is inconsistent in the treatment of foreign names. They are sometimes naturalized, and sometimes retain in part their original inflections. Marian, an original accusative, is here used as a genitive; while Michaeles has the O.E. genitive ending.

17: Se lof. See 105, 1.]


[Lauderdale and Cottonian MSS. These voyages are an original insertion by Alfred into his translation of Orosius's Compendious History of the World.

"They consist," says Ten Brink, "of a complete description of all the countries in which the Teutonic tongue prevailed at Alfred's time, and a full narrative of the travels of two voyagers, which the king wrote down from their own lips. One of these, aNorwegian named Ohthere, had quite circumnavigated the coast of Scandinavia in his travels, and had even penetrated to the White Sea; the other, named Wulfstan, had sailed from Schleswig to Frische Haff. The geographical and ethnographical details of both accounts are exceedingly interesting, and their style is attractive, clear, and concrete."

Ohthere made two voyages. Sailing first northward along the western coast of Norway, he rounded the North Cape, passed into the White Sea, and entered the Dwina River (nmicela). On his second voyage he sailed southward along the western coast of Norway, entered the Skager Rack (wds:), passed through the Cattegat, and anchored at the Danish port of Haddeby (tH:um), modern Schleswig.

Wulfstan sailed only in the Baltic Sea. His voyage of seven days from Schleswig brought him to Drausen (Trs) on the shore of the Drausensea.]

[[page 103]]

Ohthere's First Voyage.

1 there s:de his hlforde, lfrede cyninge, t h 2 ealra Normonna normest bde. H cw t h bde 3 on :m lande norweardum wi Wests. H s:de 4 ah t t land se swe lang nor onan; ac hit is 5 eal wste, bton on fawum stwum styccemlum wcia 6 Finnas, on huntoe on wintra, ond on sumera on fiscae 7 be :re s:. H s:de t h t sumum cirre wolde 8 fandian h longe t land norryhte l:ge, oe hwer 9 :nig mon be noran :m wstenne bde. fr h 10 norryhte be :m lande: lt him ealne weg t wste 11 land on t storbord, ond wds: on t bcbord re 12 dagas. ws h sw feor nor sw hwlhuntan 13 firrest fara. fr h get norryhte sw feor sw 14 h meahte on :m rum rm dagum gesiglan. bag 15 t land :r astryhte, oe so s: in on t lond, h 16 nysse hwer, bton h wisse t h :r bd westanwindes 17 ond hwn noran, ond siglde ast be lande 18 sw sw h meahte on fower dagum gesiglan. 19 sceolde h :r bdan ryhtnoranwindes, for :m t 20 land bag :r sryhte, oe so s: in on t land, h 21 nysse hwer. siglde h onan sryhte be lande

[[page 104]]

1 sw sw h mehte[1] on ff dagum gesiglan. lg :r 2 n micel a p in on t land. cirdon he p in on 3 a, for :m he ne dorston for b :re a siglan for 4 unfrie; for :m t land ws eall gebn on re healfe 5 :re as. Ne mtte h :r nn gebn land, sian h 6 from his gnum hm fr; ac him ws ealne weg wste 7 land on t storbord, btan fiscerum ond fugelerum nd 8 huntum, ond t w:ron eall Finnas; ond him ws 9 wds: on t bcbord. Beormas hfdon swe wel 10 gebd hira land: ac he ne dorston :r on cuman. Ac 11 ra Terfinna land ws eal wste, bton :r huntan 12 gewcodon, oe fisceras, oe fugeleras.

[1] = meahte, mihte.


104.6: from his gnum hm. An adverbial dative singular without an inflectional ending is found with hm, dg, morgen, and :fen.

104.8: ond t w:ron. See 40, Note 3.]

13 Fela spella him s:don Beormas :ger ge of hiera 14 gnum lande ge of :m landum e ymb he tan w:ron; 15 ac h nyste hwt s ses ws, for :m h hit self ne 16 geseah. Finnas, him hte, ond Beormas spr:con 17 nah n geode. Swost h fr ider, t acan s 18 landes scawunge, for :m horshwlum, for :m he 19 habba swe ele bn on hiora[2] tum— t he brhton 20 sume :m cyninge—ond hiora hy:d bi swe gd t 21 sciprpum. S hwl bi micle l:ssa onne re hwalas: 22 ne bi h lengra onne syfan[3] elna lang; ac on his gnum 23 lande is s betsta hwlhunta: bo eahta and fowertiges 24 elna lange, and m:stan fftiges elna lange; 25 ra h s:de t h syxa sum ofslge syxtig on twm 26 dagum.

[2] = hiera. [3] = seofon.


104.15: hwt s ses ws. Sweet errs in explaining ses as attracted into the genitive by s. It is not a predicate adjective, but a partitive genitive after hwt.

104.25: syxa sum. See 91, Note 2.]

[[page 105]]

1 H ws swy:e spdig man on :m :htum e heora[2] 2 spda on bo, t is, on wildrum. H hfde gy:t, 3 h one cyningc[5] shte, tamra dora unbebohtra syx hund. 4 dor h hta 'hrnas'; ra w:ron syx stlhrnas; 5 bo swy:e dy:re mid Finnum, for :m hy: f 6 wildan hrnas mid. H ws mid :m fyrstum mannum 7 on :m lande: nfde h ah m onne twntig hry:era, 8 and twntig scapa, and twntig swy:na; and t ly:tle 9 t h erede, h erede mid horsan.[4] Ac hyra r is m:st 10 on :m gafole e Finnas him gylda. t gafol bi 11 on dora fellum, and on fugela feerum, and hwales bne, 12 and on :m sciprpum e bo of hwles hy:de geworht 13 and of soles. :ghwilc gylt be hys gebyrdum. S byrdesta 14 sceall gyldan ffty:ne meares fell, and ff hrnes, 15 and n beren fel, and ty:n ambra fera, and berenne kyrtel 16 oe yterenne, and twgen sciprpas; :ger sy: syxtig 17 elna lang, er sy: of hwles hy:de geworht, er of soles.[6]

[2] = hiera. [4] = horsum. [5] = cyning. [6] = soles.


105.2: on bo. See 94, (5).]

18 H s:de t Normanna land w:re swy:e lang and 19 swy:e sml. Eal t his man er oe ettan oe erian 20 mg, t l wi s:; and t is ah on sumum 21 stwum swy:e cldig; and licga wilde mras wi astan 22 and wi pp on emnlange :m by:num lande. On :m 23 mrum eardia Finnas. And t by:ne land is asteweard 24 brdost, and symle sw noror sw smlre. astewerd[7] 25 hit mg bon[8] syxtig mla brd, oe hwne br:dre; 26 and middeweard rtig oe brdre; and noreweard h 27 cw, :r hit smalost w:re, t hit mihte bon rora 28 mla brd t :m mre; and s mr syan,[9] on sumum

[[page 106]]

1 stwum, sw brd sw man mg on twm wucum oferfran; 2 and on sumum stwum sw brd sw man mg 3 on syx dagum oferfran.

[7] = -weard. [8] = bon. [9] = sian.


105.19: Eal t his man. Pronominal genitives are not always possessive in O.E.; his is here the partitive genitive of hit, the succeeding relative pronoun being omitted: All that (portion) of it that may, either-of-the-two, either be grazed or plowed, etc. (70, Note).]

4 onne is temnes :m lande seweardum, on re 5 healfe s mres, Swoland, o t land noreweard; 6 and temnes :m lande noreweardum, Cwna land. 7 Cwnas hergia hwlum on Normen ofer one mr, 8 hwlum Normen on hy:. And :r sint swe micle 9 meras fersce geond mras; and bera Cwnas hyra 10 scypu ofer land on meras, and anon hergia on 11 Normen; hy: habba swy:e ly:tle scypa and swy:e 12 leohte.


106.11-12: scypa ... leohte. These words exhibit inflections more frequent in Late than in Early West Saxon. The normal forms would be scypu, leoht; but in Late West Saxon the -u of short-stemmed neuters is generally replaced by -a; and the nominative accusative plural neuter of adjectives takes, by analogy, the masculine endings; hwate, gde, hlge, instead of hwatu, gd, hlgu.]

Ohthere's Second Voyage.

13 hthere s:de t so[1] scr htte Hlgoland, e h on 14 bde. H cw t nn man ne bde be noran him. 15 onne is n port on seweardum :m lande, one man 16 h:t Sciringeshal. yder h cw t man ne mihte 17 geseglian on num mne, gyf man on niht wcode, and 18 :lce dge hfde ambyrne wind; and ealle hwle h 19 sceal seglian be lande. And on t storbord him bi 20 :rest raland, and onne gland e synd betux ralande 21 and issum lande. onne is is land, o h cym 22 t Scirincgeshale, and ealne weg on t bcbord Norweg.

[[page 107]]

1 Wi san one Sciringeshal fyl swy:e mycel 2 s: p in on t land; so is brdre onne :nig man ofer 3 son mge. And is Gotland on re healfe ongan, and 4 sian Sillende. So s: l mnig[2] hund mla p in on 5 t land.

[1] = so. [2] = monig.

6 And of Sciringeshale h cw t h seglode on ff 7 dagan[3] t :m porte e mon h:t t H:um; s stent 8 betuh Winedum, and Seaxum, and Angle, and hy:r in 9 on Dene. h iderweard seglode fram Sciringeshale, 10 ws him on t bcbord Denamearc and on 11 t storbord wds: ry: dagas; and , twgen dagas :r 12 h t H:um cme, him ws on t storbord Gotland, 13 and Sillende, and glanda fela. On :m landum eardodon 14 Engle, :r h hider on land cman.[4] And hym ws 15 twgen dagas on t bcbord gland e in on 16 Denemearce hy:ra.

[3] = dagum. [4] = cmen.


107.7: t H:um. "This pleonastic use of t with names of places occurs elsewhere in the older writings, as in the Chronicle (552), 'in :re stwe e is genemned t Searobyrg,' where the t has been erased by some later hand, showing that the idiom had become obsolete. Cp. the German 'Gasthaus zur Krone,' Stamboul = es tn plin." (Sweet.) See, also, Atterbury, 28, Note3.

107.14-15: ws ... gland. The singular predicate is due again to inversion (p.100, note on gefeaht [[linenote 100.8]]). The construction is comparatively rare in O.E., but frequent in Shakespeare and in the popular speech of to-day. Cf. There is, Here is, There has been, etc., with a (single) plural subject following.]

Wulfstan's Voyage.

17 Wulfstn s:de t h gefre of H:um, t h w:re 18 on Trs on syfan dagum and nihtum, t t scip ws 19 ealne weg yrnende under segle. Weonoland him ws

[[page 108]]

1 on storbord, and on bcbord him ws Langaland, and 2 L:land, and Falster, and Scng; and s land eall 3 hy:ra t Denemearcan. And onne Burgenda land ws 4 s on bcbord, and habba him sylfe[1] cyning. onne 5 fter Burgenda lande w:ron s s land, synd htene 6 :rest Blcinga-g, and More, and owland, and Gotland 7 on bcbord; and s land hy:ra t Swom. And Weonodland 8 ws s ealne weg on storbord o Wsleman. 9 So Wsle is swy:e mycel a, and ho[2] tl Wtland and 10 Weonodland; and t Wtland belimpe t Estum; and 11 so Wsle l t of Weonodlande, and l in Estmere; 12 and s Estmere is hru fftne[3] mla brd. onne cyme 13 Ilfing astan in Estmere of m mere, e Trs stande 14 in ste; and cuma t samod in Estmere, Ilfing astan 15 of Estlande, and Wsle san of Winodlande. And 16 onne benim Wsle Ilfing hire naman, and lige of :m 17 mere west and nor on s:; for y: hit man h:t 18 Wslema.

[1] = selfe. [2] = ho. [3] = fftene.


108.1-4: him ... s. Note the characteristic change of person, the transition from indirect to direct discourse.]

19 t Estland is swy:e mycel, and :r bi swy:e manig 20 burh, and on :lcere byrig bi cyning. And :r bi 21 swy:e mycel hunig, and fiscna; and s cyning and 22 rcostan men drinca my:ran meolc, and unspdigan 23 and owan drinca medo.[4] :r bi swy:e mycel 24 gewinn betwonan him. And ne bi :r n:nig ealo[5] 25 gebrowen mid Estum, ac :r bi medo genh. And :r 26 is mid Estum aw, onne :r bi man dad, t h l 27 inne unforbrned mid his mgum and frondum mna, 28 ge hwlum twgen; and cyningas, and re hahungene 29 men, sw micle lencg[6] sw h mran spda 30 habba, hwlum healf gar t h bo unforbrned, and

[[page 109]]

1 licga bufan eoran on hyra hsum. And ealle hwle 2 e t lc bi inne, :r sceal bon gedrync and plega, 3 o one dg e h hine forbrna. onne y: ylcan dge 4 e h hine t p:m de beran wylla, onne td:la h 5 his feoh, t :r t lfe bi fter :m gedrynce and :m 6 plegan, on ff oe syx, hwy:lum on m, sw sw s fos 7 andfn bi. lecga hit onne forhwga on nre mle 8 one m:stan d:l fram :m tne, onne erne, onne 9 one riddan, o e hyt eall ld bi on :re nre mle; 10 and sceall bon s l:sta d:l ny:hst :m tne e s dada 11 man on li. onne sceolon[7] bon gesamnode ealle 12 menn e swyftoste hors habba on :m lande, forhwga 13 on ff mlum oe on syx mlum fram :m fo. onne 14 rna hy: ealle tweard :m fo: onne cyme s man 15 s t swiftoste hors hafa t :m :restan d:le and t 16 :m m:stan, and sw :lc fter rum, o hit bi eall 17 genumen; and s nim one l:stan d:l s ny:hst :m 18 tne t feoh gerne. And onne rde :lc hys weges 19 mid :m fo, and hyt mtan[8] habban eall; and for y: 20 :r bo swiftan hors ungefge dy:re. And onne his 21 gestron bo us eall spended, onne byr man hine t, 22 and forbrne mid his w:pnum and hrgle; and swost

[[page 110]]

1 ealle hys spda hy: forspenda mid :m langan legere 2 s dadan mannes inne, and s e hy: be :m wegum 3 lecga, e fremdan t rna, and nima. And t 4 is mid Estum aw t :r sceal :lces geodes man 5 bon forbrned; and gyf r[9] man n bn finde unforbrned, 6 h hit sceolan[7] miclum gebtan. And :r is mid 7 Estum n m:g t h magon cyle gewyrcan; and y: 8 :r licga dadan men sw lange, and ne flia, t 9 hy: wyrca one cyle him on. And ah man sette 10 twgen f:tels full eala oe wteres, hy: ged t 11 :ger bi oferfroren, sam hit sy: sumor sam winter.

[4] = medu. [5] = ealu. [6] = leng. [7] = sculon. [8] = mton. [9] = :r.


109.2: sceal. See 137, Note 2 (2).

109.7: lecga hit. Bosworth illustrates thus:

vi v iv iii ii i 1 2 3 4 5 6 X XX X X XXX XX XX X X - XXXX XXX XXX XX XX X e d c b a Where the horsemen The six parts of the property assemble. placed within one mile.

"The horsemen assemble five or six miles from the property, at d or e, and run towards c; the man who has the swiftest horse, coming first to 1 or c, takes the first and largest part. The man who has the horse coming second takes part 2 or b, and so, in succession, till the least part, 6or a, is taken."

110.5-6: man ... h. Here the plural h refers to the singular man. Cf. p.109, ll.18-19, :lc ... mtan. In Exodus xxxii, 24, we find "Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off"; and Addison writes, "Ido not mean that I think anyone to blame for taking due care of their health." The construction, though outlawed now, has been common in all periods of our language. Paul remarks (Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte, 3d ed., 186) that "When a word is used as an indefinite [one, man, somebody, etc.] it is, strictly speaking, incapable of any distinction of number. Since, however, in respect of the external form, aparticular number has to be chosen, it is a matter of indifference which this is.... Hence a change of numbers is common in the different languages." Paul fails to observe that the change is always from singular to plural, not from plural to singular. See Note on the Concord of Collectives and Indefinites (Anglia XI, 1901). See p.119, note on ll.19-21.]


[From the so-called Alfredian version of Bede's Ecclesiastical History. The text generally followed is that of MS. Bodley, Tanner 10.Miller (Early English Text Society, No. 95, Introd.) argues, chiefly from the use of the prepositions, that the original O.E.MS. was Mercian, composed possibly in Lichfield (Staffordshire). At any rate, O.E. idiom is frequently sacrificed to the Latin original.

"Cdmon, as he is called, is the first Englishman whose name we know who wrote poetry in our island of England; and the first to embody in verse the new passions and ideas which Christianity had brought into England.... Undisturbed by any previous making of lighter poetry, he came fresh to the work of Christianising English song. It was a great step to make. He built the chariot in which all the new religious emotions of England could now drive along." (Brooke, The History of Early English Literature, cap.XV.) There is no reason to doubt the historical existence of Cdmon; for Bede, who relates the story, lived near Whitby, and was seven years old when Cdmon died (A.D. 680)].

[[page 111]]

1 In ysse abbudissan mynstre ws sum bror syndriglce 2 mid godcundre gife gem:red ond geweorad, for on 3 he gewunade gerisenlce lo wyrcan, e t :festnisse[1] 4 ond t rfstnisse belumpon; sw tte sw hwt sw 5 h of godcundum stafum urh bceras geleornode, t h 6 fter medmiclum fce in scopgereorde mid m:stan 7 swtnisse ond inbryrdnisse geglengde, ond in Engliscgereorde 8 wel geworht for brhte. Ond for his losongum

[[page 112]]

1 monigra monna md oft to worulde forhogdnisse ond t 2 geodnisse s heofonlcan lfes onbrnde w:ron. Ond 3 ac swelce[2] monige re fter him in Ongelode ongunnon 4 :feste lo wyrcan, ac n:nig hwre him t gelce 5 dn ne meahte; for on h nls from monnum n urh 6 mon gel:red ws t h one locrft leornade, ac h 7 ws godcundlce gefultumod, ond urh Godes gife one 8 songcrft onfng; ond h for on n:fre nht lasunge, 9 n dles loes wyrcan ne meahte, ac efne n t 10 :festnisse[1] belumpon ond his :festan tungan gedafenode 11 singan.

[1] = :fstnesse. [2] = swilce.


111.1: ysse abbudissan. The abbess referred to is the famous Hild, or Hilda, then living in the monastery at Streones-halh, which, according to Bede, means "Bay of the Beacon." The Danes afterward gave it the name Whitby, or "White Town." The surroundings were eminently fitted to nurture England's first poet. "The natural scenery which surrounded him, the valley of the Esk, on whose sides he probably lived, the great cliffs, the billowy sea, the vast sky seen from the heights over the ocean, played incessantly upon him." (Brooke.)

Note, also, in this connection, the numerous Latin words that the introduction of Christianity (A.D. 597) brought into the vocabulary of O.E.: abbudisse, mynster, bisceop, L:den, prost, stel, mancus.

112.4-5: The more usual order of words would be ac n:nig, hwre, ne meahte t dn gelce him.

112.10-11: ond his ... singan, and which it became his (the) pious tongue to sing.]

12 Ws h, s mon, in weoruldhde[3] geseted o tde e 13 h ws gely:fdre ylde, ond n:fre n:nig lo geleornade. 14 Ond h for on oft in geborscipe, onne :r ws blisse 15 intinga gedmed, t ho[4] ealle sceolden urh endebyrdnesse 16 be hearpan singan, onne h geseah hearpan him 17 nalcan, onne rs h for scome from :m symble, 18 ond hm ode t his hse. h t sumre tde 19 dyde, t h forlt t hs s geborscipes, ond t ws

[[page 113]]

1 gongende t nata scipene, ra heord him ws :re 2 nihte beboden; h :r on gelimplcre tde his 3 leomu[5] on reste gesette ond onslpte, a std him sum 4 mon t urh swefn, ond hine hlette ond grtte, ond hine 5 be his noman nemnde: "Cdmon, sing m hwthwugu." 6 ondswarede h, ond cw: "Ne con ic nht singan; 7 ond ic for on of yssum geborscipe t ode ond hider 8 gewt, for on ic nht singan ne ce." Eft h cw s e 9 wi hine sprecende ws: "Hwre meaht m singan." 10 cw h: "Hwt sceal ic singan?" Cw h: "Sing 11 m frumsceaft." h s andsware onfng, 12 ongon h sna singan, in herenesse Godes Scyppendes, 13 fers ond word e h n:fre ne gehy:rde, ra endebyrdnes 14 is is:

[3] = woruldhde. [4] = he. [5] = limu.


112.14-15: blisse intinga, for the sake of joy; but the translator has confused laetitiae caus (ablative) and laetitiae causa (nominative). The proper form would be for blisse with omission of intingan, just as for my sake is usually for m; for his (ortheir) sake, for him. Cf. Mark vi, 26: "Yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her," for :m e, ond for :m e him mid s:ton. For his sake is frequently for his ingon (ingum), rarely for his intingan. ingon is regularly used when the preceding genitive is a noun denoting a person: for my wife's sake, for mnes wfes ingon (Genesis xx,11), etc.

112.18-19: t ... t h forlt. The substantival clause introduced by the second t amplifies by apposition the first t: When he then, at a certain time (instrumental case, 98, (2)), did that, namely, when he left the house. The better Mn.E. would be this ... that: "Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison" (Luke iv,20).

113.1-2: ra ... beboden. This does not mean that Cdmon was a herdsman, but that he served in turn as did the other secular attendants at the monastery.

113.13-14: ra endebyrdnes is is. Bede writes Hic est sensus, non autem ordo ipse verborum, and gives in Latin prose a translation of the hymn from the Northumbrian dialect, in which Cdmon wrote. The O.E. version given above is, of course, not the Northumbrian original (which, however, with some variations is preserved in several of the Latin MSS. of Bede's History), but a West Saxon version made also from the Northumbrian, not from the Latin.]

15 N sculon herigean[6] heofonrces Weard, 16 Metodes meahte ond his mdgeanc, 17 weorc Wuldorfder, sw h wundra gehws, 18 ce Drihten r onstealde.

[[page 114]]

1 H :rest scop eoran bearnum 2 heofon t hrfe, hlig Scyppend; 3 middangeard monncynnes Weard, 4 ce Drihten, fter tode 5 frum foldan, Fra lmihtig.

[6] = herian.


113.15: N sculon herigean, Now ought we to praise. The subject w is omitted in the best MSS. Note the characteristic use of synonyms, or epithets, in this bit of O.E. poetry. Observe that it is not the thought that is repeated, but rather the idea, the concept, God. See p.124. [[Poetry: Structure]]

113.17: wundra gehws. See p.140, note on cnra gehwylcum [[Beowulf 769]].]

6 rs h from :m sl:pe, ond eal e h sl:pende 7 song fste in gemynde hfde; ond :m wordum sna 8 monig word in t ilce gemet Gode wyres songes 9 tgeodde. cm h on morgenne t :m tngerfan, 10 s e his ealdormon ws: sgde him hwylce gife h 11 onfng; ond h hine sna t :re abbudissan gel:dde, 12 ond hire t cy:de ond sgde. heht ho gesomnian 13 ealle gel:redestan men ond leorneras, ond him 14 ondweardum ht secgan t swefn, ond t lo singan, 15 t ealra heora[7] dme gecoren w:re, hwt oe hwonan 16 t cumen w:re. ws him eallum gesewen, sw sw 17 hit ws, t him w:re from Drihtne sylfum heofonlc

[[page 115]]

1 gifu forgifen. rehton heo[4] him ond sgdon sum hlig 2 spell ond godcundre lre word: bebudon him , gif h 3 meahte, t h in swnsunge losonges t gehwyrfde. 4 h hfde wsan onfongne, ode h hm t 5 his hse, ond cwm eft on morgenne, ond y: betstan 6 loe geglenged him song ond geaf t him beboden 7 ws.

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