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|Old English / Anglo-Saxon|
|Region||What is now England (except the extreme southwest and northwest), parts of what is now Scotland south of the Forth, and the eastern fringes of what is now Wales.|
|Extinct||developed into Middle English by the 12th century|
Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon, Englisc by its speakers) is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written in parts of what are now England and southern Scotland between the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century. What survives through writing represents primarily the literary register of Anglo-Saxon. It is a West Germanic language and is closely related to Old Frisian. It also experienced heavy influence from Old Norse, a member of the related North Germanic group of languages.
Old English was not static, and its usage covered a period of approximately 700 years – from the Anglo-Saxon migrations that created England in the fifth century to some time after the Norman invasion of 1066, when the language underwent a dramatic transition. During this early period it assimilated some aspects of the languages with which it came in contact, such as the Celtic languages and the two dialects of Old Norse from the invading Vikings, who were occupying and controlling large tracts of land in northern and eastern England, which came to be known as the Danelaw.
The most important force in shaping Old English was its Germanic heritage in its vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar which it shared with its sister languages in continental Europe. Some of these features were specific to the West Germanic language family to which Old English belongs, while some other features were inherited from the Proto-Germanic language from which all Germanic languages are believed to have been derived.
Like other West Germanic languages of the period, Old English was fully inflected with five grammatical cases ( nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and instrumental, though the instrumental was very rare), which had dual plural forms for referring to groups of two objects (but only in the personal pronouns) in addition to the usual singular and plural forms. It also assigned gender to all nouns, including those that describe inanimate objects: for example, sēo sunne (the Sun) was feminine, while se mōna (the Moon) was masculine (cf. modern German die Sonne vs. der Mond).
A large percentage of the educated and literate population (monks, clerics, etc.) were competent in Latin, which was the scholarly and diplomatic lingua franca of Europe at the time. It is sometimes possible to give approximate dates for the entry of individual Latin words into Old English based on which patterns of linguistic change they have undergone. There were at least three notable periods of Latin influence. The first occurred before the ancestral Saxons left continental Europe for Britain. The second began when the Anglo-Saxons were converted to Christianity and Latin-speaking priests became widespread. The third and largest single transfer of Latin-based words happened after the Norman invasion of 1066, after which an enormous number of Norman words entered the language. Most of these Oïl language words were themselves derived from Old French and ultimately from classical Latin, although a notable stock of Norse words were introduced, or re-introduced in Norman form. The Norman Conquest approximately marks the end of Old English and the advent of Middle English.
One of the ways the influence of Latin can be seen is that many Latin words for activities came to also be used to refer to the people engaged in those activities, an idiom carried over from Anglo-Saxon but using Latin words. This can be seen in words like militia, assembly, movement, and service.
The language was further altered by the transition away from the runic alphabet (also known as futhorc or fuþorc) to the Latin alphabet, which was also a significant factor in the developmental pressures brought to bear on the language. Old English words were spelt as they were pronounced; the "silent" letters in many Modern English words, such as the k in knight, were in fact pronounced in Old English. For example, the c in cniht, the Old English ancestor of the modern knight, was pronounced. Another side-effect of spelling words phonetically was that spelling was extremely variable – the spelling of a word would reflect differences in the phonetics of the writer's regional dialect, and also idiosyncratic spelling choices which varied from author to author, and even from work to work by the same author. Thus, for example, the word and could be spelt either and or ond.
Old English spelling can therefore be regarded as even more jumbled than modern English spelling, although it can at least claim to reflect some existing pronunciation, while modern English in many cases cannot. Most present-day students of Old English learn the language using normalised versions and are only introduced to variant spellings after they have mastered the basics of the language.
The second major source of loanwords to Old English were the Scandinavian words introduced during the Viking invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries. In addition to a great many place names, these consist mainly of items of basic vocabulary, and words concerned with particular administrative aspects of the Danelaw (that is, the area of land under Viking control, which included extensive holdings all along the eastern coast of England and Scotland). The Vikings spoke Old Norse, a language related to Old English in that both derived from the same ancestral Proto-Germanic language. It is very common for the intermixing of speakers of different dialects, such as those that occur during times of political unrest, to result in a mixed language, and one theory holds that exactly such a mixture of Old Norse and Old English helped accelerate the decline of case endings in Old English. Apparent confirmation of this is the fact that simplification of the case endings occurred earliest in the North and latest in the Southwest, the area farthest away from Viking influence. Regardless of the truth of this theory, the influence of Old Norse on the English language has been profound: responsible for such basic vocabulary items as sky, leg, the pronoun they, the verb form are, and hundreds of other words.
Traditionally, many maintain that the influence of Celtic on English has been small, citing the small number of Celtic loanwords taken into the language. The number of Celtic loanwords is of a lower order than either Latin or Scandinavian; distinctive Celtic traits have been argued to be clearly discernible from the post-Old English period in the area of syntax.
Old English should not be regarded as single monolithic entity just as Modern English is also not monolithic. Within Old English there was language variation. Thus, it is misleading, for example, to consider Old English as having a single sound system. Rather, there were multiple Old English sound systems. Old English has variation along regional lines as well as variation across different time periods. For example, the language attested in West Saxon during the time of Æthelwold of Winchester, which is named Early West Saxon (or Æthelwoldian Saxon), is considerably different from the language attested in West Saxon during the time of Alfred the Great's court, which is named Late West Saxon (or Classical West Saxon or Alfredian Saxon). Furthermore, the difference between Early West Saxon and Late West Saxon is of such a nature that Late West Saxon is not directly descended from Early West Saxon (despite what the similarity in name implies).
The four main dialectal forms of Old English were Mercian, Northumbrian (known collectively as Anglian), Kentish, and West Saxon. Each of those dialects was associated with an independent kingdom on the island. Of these, all of Northumbria and most of Mercia were overrun by the Vikings during the 9th century. The portion of Mercia and all of Kent that were successfully defended were then integrated into Wessex.
After the process of unification of the diverse Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in 878 by Alfred the Great, there is a marked decline in the importance of regional dialects. This is not because they stopped existing; regional dialects continued even after that time to this day, as evidenced both by the existence of middle and modern English dialects later on, and by common sense – people do not spontaneously develop new accents when there is a sudden change of political power.
However, the bulk of the surviving documents from the Anglo-Saxon period are written in the dialect of Wessex, Alfred's kingdom. It seems likely that with consolidation of power, it became necessary to standardise the language of government to reduce the difficulty of administering the more remote areas of the kingdom. As a result, paperwork was written in the West Saxon dialect. Not only this, but Alfred was passionate about the spread of the vernacular and brought many scribes to his region from Mercia in order that previously unwritten texts be recorded.
The Church was affected likewise, especially since Alfred initiated an ambitious programme to translate religious materials into English. In order to retain his patronage and ensure the widest circulation of the translated materials, the monks and priests engaged in the programme worked in his dialect. Alfred himself seems to have translated books out of Latin and into English, notably Pope Gregory I's treatise on administration, " Pastoral Care".
Because of the centralisation of power and the Viking invasions, there is little or no written evidence for the development of non-Wessex dialects after Alfred's unification.
Modern-day Received Pronunciation is not a direct descendant of the best-attested dialect, Late West Saxon. It is rather a descendent of a Mercian dialect — either East Mercian or South-East Mercian. Thus, Late West Saxon had little influence on the development of Modern English (by which is meant RP or some similar dialect) and the developments occurring in its antecedent, Middle English.
The inventory of classical Old English (i.e. Late West Saxon) surface phones, as usually reconstructed, is as follows.
|Stop||p b||t d||k g|
|Fricative||f (v)||θ (ð)||s (z)||ʃ||(ç)||(x) (ɣ)||h|
The sounds marked in parentheses in the chart above are allophones:
- [dʒ] is an allophone of /j/ occurring after /n/ and when geminated
- [ŋ] is an allophone of /n/ occurring before /k/ and /g/
- [v, ð, z] are allophones of /f, θ, s/ respectively, occurring between vowels or voiced consonants
- [ç, x] are allophones of /h/ occurring in coda position after front and back vowels respectively
- [ɣ] is an allophone of /g/ occurring after a vowel, and, at an earlier stage of the language, in the syllable onset.
|Close||i y||u||iː yː||uː|
|Mid||e (ø)||o||eː (øː)||oː|
The front mid rounded vowels /ø(ː)/ occur in some dialects of Old English, but not in the best attested Late West Saxon dialect.
|Diphthongs||Short ( monomoraic)||Long (bimoraic)|
|First element is close||iy||iːy|
|Both elements are mid||eo||eːo|
|Both elements are open||æɑ||æːɑ|
Unlike modern English, Old English is a language rich with morphological diversity and is spelled essentially as it is pronounced. It maintains several distinct cases: the nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and (vestigially) instrumental, remnants of which survive only in a few pronouns in modern English.
The word order of Old English is widely believed to be subject-verb-object ( SVO) as in modern English and most Germanic languages. The word order of Old English, however, was not overly important due to the aforementioned morphology of the language. So long as declension was correct, it didn't matter whether you said "My name is..." as "Mīn nama is..." or "Nama mīn is..."
Due to its similarity with Old Norse, it is believed that the word order of Old English changed when asking a question, from SVO to VSO; i.e. swapping the verb and the subject.
- "You are..." becomes "Are you...?"
- "Þū bist..." becomes "Bist þū...?"
Old English was first written in runes ( futhorc) but shifted to a (minuscule) half-uncial script of the Latin alphabet introduced by Irish Christian missionaries. This was replaced by insular script, a cursive and pointed version of the half-uncial script. This was used until the end of the 12th century when continental carolingian minuscule (also known as caroline) replaced the insular.
The letter yogh was adopted from Irish; the letter ðæt < ð > (called eth or edh modern English) was an alteration of Latin < d >, and the runic letters thorn and wynn are borrowings from futhorc. Also used was a symbol for the conjunction and, a character similar to the number seven (< ⁊ >, called a Tironian note), and a symbol for the relative pronoun þæt, a thorn with a crossbar through the ascender (< >). Macrons < ¯ > over vowels were rarely used to indicate long vowels. Also used occasionally were abbreviations for following m’s or n’s. All of the sound descriptions below are given using IPA symbols.
Conventions of modern editions. A number of changes are traditionally made in published modern editions of the original Old English manuscripts. Some of these conventions include the introduction of punctuation and the substitutions of symbols. The symbols < e, f, g, r, s > are used in modern editions although their shapes in the insular script are considerably different. The insular symbol that is substituted by modern < s > resembles the elongated esh < ʃ >. Insular < ȝ > is usually substituted with modern < g > (which is ultimately a carolingian symbol). Additionally, modern manuscripts often distinguish between a velar and palatal < c > and < ȝ > with diacritic dots above the putative palatals: < ċ >, < ġ >. The wynn symbol < ƿ > is usually substituted with < w >. Kentish < æ > is usually substituted with modern < ę >. Macrons are usually found in modern editions to indicate putative long vowels while they are usually lacking in the originals. The decision to add macrons is usually etymologically based as they are printed even when these vowels are in unstressed positions where are they would most probably be short.
The alphabetical symbols found in Old English writings and their substitute symbols found in modern editions are listed below:
|Symbol||Description and notes|
|a||Short /ɑ/. Spelling variations like < land ~ lond > "land" suggest it may have had a rounded allophone [ɒ] before [n] in some cases)|
|ā||Long /ɑː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < a > in modern editions.|
|æ||Short /æ/. Before 800 the digraph < ae > is often found instead of < æ >. During the 8th century < æ > began to be used more frequently was standard after 800. In 9th century Kentish manuscripts, a form of < æ > that was missing the upper hook of the < a > part was used. Kentish < æ > may be either /æ/ or /e/ although this is difficult to determine.|
|ǣ||Long /æː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < æ > in modern editions.|
|b||Represented /b/. Also represented [v] in early texts before 800. For example, the word "sheaves" is spelled < scēabas > in an early text but later (and more commonly) as < scēafas >.|
|c||Except in the digraphs < sc, cg >, either /tʃ/ or /k/. The /tʃ/ pronunciation is sometimes written with a diacritic by modern editors: most commonly < ċ >, sometimes < č > or < ç >. Before a consonant letter the pronunciation is always /k/; word-finally after < i > it is always /tʃ/. Otherwise a knowledge of the historical linguistics of the word in question is needed to predict which pronunciation is needed. (See The distribution of velars and palatals in Old English for details.)|
|cg||[ddʒ] (the surface pronunciation of geminate /jj/); occasionally also for /gg/|
|d||Represented /d/. In the earliest texts, it also represented /θ/ but was soon replaced by < ð > and < þ >. For example, the word "thought" was written < mōdgidanc > in a Northumbrian text dated 737, but later as < mōdgeþanc > in a 10th century West Saxon text.|
|ð||Represented /θ/ and its allophone [ð]. Called ðæt in Old English (now called eth in Modern English), < ð > is found in alternation with the thorn < þ > symbol (both representing the same sound) although it is more common in texts dating before Alfred. Replaced earlier < d > and < th > (along with < þ >). First attested (in definitely dated materials) in the 7th century. After the beginning of Alfred's time, < ð > was used more frequently for medial and final positions while < þ > became increasingly used in initial positions (although both still varied). Some moderns editions attempt to regularise the variation between < þ ~ ð > by using only < þ >.|
|ę||Either Kentish /æ/ or /e/ although this is difficult to determine. A modern editorial substitution for a form of < æ > missing the upper hook of the < a > found in 9th century texts.|
|ē||Long /eː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < e > in modern editions.|
|ea||Short /æɑ/; after < ċ, ġ >, sometimes /æ/ or /ɑ/.|
|ēa||Long /æːɑ/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < ea > in modern editions. After < ċ, ġ >, sometimes /æː/.|
|eo||Short /eo/; after < ċ, ġ >, sometimes /o/|
|ēo||Long /eːo/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < eo > in modern editions.|
|f||/f/ and its allophone [v]|
|g||Mostly absent in Old English works, but used as a substitute for < ȝ > in modern editions.|
|ȝ||/g/ and its allophone [ɣ]; /j/ and its allophone [dʒ] (when after < n >). In modern printed editions of Old English works, the symbol < g > is used instead of the more common < ȝ >. The /j/ and [dʒ] pronunciations are sometimes written < ġ > or < ȝ > by modern editors. Before a consonant letter the pronunciation is always [g] (word-initially) or [ɣ] (after a vowel). Word-finally after < i > it is always /j/. Otherwise a knowledge of the historical linguistics of the word in question is needed to predict which pronunciation is needed. (See The distribution of velars and palatals in Old English for details.)|
|h||/h/ and its allophones [ç, x]. In the combinations < hl, hr, hn, hw >, the second consonant was certainly voiceless.|
|ī||Long /iː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < i > in modern editions.|
|ie||Short /iy/; after < ċ, ġ >, sometimes /e/.|
|īe||Long /iːy/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < ie > in modern editions. After < ċ, ġ >, sometimes /eː/.|
|k||/k/ (rarely used)|
|l||/l/; probably velarised (as in Modern English) when in coda position.|
|n||/n/ and its allophone [ŋ]|
|ō||Long /oː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < o > in modern editions.|
|oe||Short /ø/ (in dialects with this sound).|
|ōe||Long /øː/ (in dialects with this sound). Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < oe > in modern editions.|
|qu||A rare spelling of /kw/, which was usually written as < cƿ > (= < cw > in modern editions).|
|r||/r/; the exact nature of r is not known. It may have been an alveolar approximant [ɹ], as in most Modern English accents, an alveolar flap [ɾ], or an alveolar trill [r].|
|s||A substitution for an insular symbol resembling < ʃ > that is used in modern printed editions of Old English works. It represents /s/ and its allophone [z].|
|sc||/ʃ/ or occasionally /sk/.|
|th||Represented /θ/ in the earliest texts but was soon replaced by < ð > and < þ >. For example, the word "thought" was written < mōdgithanc > in a 6th century Northumbrian text, but later as < mōdgeþanc > in a 10th century West Saxon text.|
|þ||An alternate symbol called thorn used instead of < ð >. Represents /θ/ and its allophone [ð]. Replaced earlier < d > and < th > (along with < ð >). First attested (in definitely dated materials) in the 8th century. Less common than < ð > before the Alfred's time. From the beginning of Alfred's time and onward, < þ > was used increasingly more frequently than < ð > at the beginning of words while its occurrence at the end and in the middle of words was rare. Some moderns editions attempt to regularise the variation between < þ ~ ð > by using only < þ >.|
|u||/u/ and also /w/ in early texts of continental scribes. The /w/ < u > was eventually replaced by < ƿ > outside of the north of the island.|
|uu||Short /w/ in early texts of continental scribes. Outside of the north, it was generally replaced by < ƿ >.|
|ū||Long /uː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < u > in modern editions.|
|w||/w/. A modern substitution for < ƿ >.|
|ƿ||Runic wynn. Represents /w/, replaced in modern print by < w > to prevent confusion with < p >.|
|x||/ks/ (but according to some authors, [xs ~ çs])|
|ȳ||Long /yː/. Rarely found in manuscripts, but usually distinguished from short < y > in modern editions.|
|z||/ts/. A rare spelling for < ts >. Example: /betst/ "best" is rarely spelled < bezt > for more common < betst >.|
Doubled consonants are geminated; the geminate fricatives ðð/þþ, ff and ss cannot be voiced.
Old English literature, though more abundant than literature of the continent before AD 1000, is nonetheless scanty. In his supplementary article to the 1935 posthumous edition of Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader, Dr. James Hulbert writes:
In such historical conditions, an incalculable amount of the writings of the Anglo-Saxon period perished. What they contained, how important they were for an understanding of literature before the Conquest, we have no means of knowing: the scant catalogs of monastic libraries do not help us, and there are no references in extant works to other compositions....How incomplete our materials are can be illustrated by the well-known fact that, with few and relatively unimportant exceptions, all extant Anglo-Saxon poetry is preserved in four manuscripts.
Old English was one of the first vernacular languages to be written down. Some of the most important surviving works of Old English literature are Beowulf, an epic poem; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a record of early English history; and Caedmon's Hymn, a Christian religious poem. There are also a number of extant prose works, such as sermons and saints' lives, biblical translations, and translated Latin works of the early Church Fathers, legal documents, such as laws and wills, and practical works on grammar, medicine, and geography. Still, poetry is considered to be the heart of Old English literature. Nearly all Anglo-Saxon authors are anonymous, with a few exceptions, such as Bede and Caedmon.
Comparison with other historical forms of English
Old English is often erroneously used to refer to any form of English other than Modern English. The term Old English does not refer to varieties of Early Modern English such as are found in Shakespeare or the King James Bible, nor does it refer to Middle English, the language of Chaucer and his contemporaries. The following timeline helps place the history of the English language in context. The dates used are approximate dates. It is inaccurate to state that everyone stopped speaking Old English in 1099, and woke up on New Year's Day of 1100 speaking Middle English. Language change is gradual, and cannot be as easily demarcated as are historical or political events.
450–1100 Old English (Anglo-Saxon) – The language of Beowulf.
1100–1500 Middle English – The language of Chaucer.
1650–present Modern English (or Present-Day English) – The language as spoken today.
The first example is taken from the epic poem Beowulf. The translation is quite literal and represents the original poetic word order. As such, it is not typical of Old English prose. The modern cognates of original words have been used whenever practical to give a close approximation of the feel of the original poem. The words in brackets are implied in the Old English by noun case and the bold words in parentheses are explanations of words which have slightly different meanings in a modern context. Notice how what was used by the poet where a word like lo or behold would be expected.
|Hwæt! wē Gār-Dena in geār-dagum,||What! We [of] Gar-Danes (lit. spear-danes) in yore-days,|
|þeod-cyninga, þrym gefrunon,||[of] people-kings, trim (glory) apried (have learned of by asking or "prying"),|
|hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.||how those athelings (princes) arm-strong feats framed (made).|
|Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,||Oft Scyld Scefing, [from] scathers (enemies) [in] threats (armed bands),|
|monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,||[from] many macths (clans, groups of sons, c.f. Irish Mac-), mead-settles took,|
|egsode eorl. Syððan ærest wearð||awed earls (leaders of men). Since erst (first) [he] worth (came to be)|
|feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,||fewshiped (helpless, with "fewship") founden, he thence (from then onward) in loving care abode (lived),|
|weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,||wex (waxed) under welkin (the clouds), mind's-worth (honour) got,|
|oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra||orthat (until that) him each [of] those umbe-sitting ("sitting" or dwelling roundabout)|
|ofer hronrade hyran scolde,||over whale-road ( kenning for sea) hear (obey) should (owed to),|
|gomban gyldan. Þæt wæs god cyning!||gifts [to] yield. That was [a] good king!|
The Lord's Prayer
This text of The Lord's Prayer is presented in the standardised West Saxon literary dialect:
|Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum,||Father ours, thou that art in heaven,|
|Si þin nama gehalgod.||Be thy name hallowed.|
|To becume þin rice,||Come thy rich (kingdom),|
|gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.||Worth (manifest) thy will, on earth also as in heaven.|
|Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,||Our daily loaf sell (give) us today,|
|and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.||and forgive us our guilts as also we forgive our guilty (lit. guiltants).|
|And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele. Soþlice.||And 'ne lead' (lead not) thou us in temptation, ac (but) loose (release) us of evil. Soothly.|
Charter of Cnut
This is a proclamation from King Canute the Great to his earl Thorkell the Tall and the English people written in AD 1020. Unlike the previous two examples, this text is prose rather than poetry. For ease of reading, the passage has been divided into sentences while the pilcrows represent the original division.
|¶Cnut cyning gret his arcebiscopas and his leod-biscopas and Þurcyl eorl and ealle his eorlas and ealne his þeodscype, twelfhynde and twyhynde, gehadode and læwede, on Englalande freondlice.||¶Cnut, king, greeteth his archbishops and his lay-bishops and Þyrchel, earl, and all his earls and all his peopleship, greater and lesser, hooded(ordained to priesthood) and lewd(lay), in England friendly.|
|And ic cyðe eow, þæt ic wylle beon hold hlaford and unswicende to godes gerihtum and to rihtre woroldlage.||And I kithe(make known/couth to) you, that I will be [a] hold(civilised) lord and unswiking(uncheating) to God's rights(laws) and to [the] rights(laws) worldly.|
|¶Ic nam me to gemynde þa gewritu and þa word, þe se arcebiscop Lyfing me fram þam papan brohte of Rome, þæt ic scolde æghwær godes lof upp aræran and unriht alecgan and full frið wyrcean be ðære mihte, þe me god syllan wolde.||¶I nam(took) me to mind the writs and the word that the Archbishop Lyfing me from the Pope brought of Rome, that I should ayewhere(everywhere) God's love(praise) uprear(promote), and unright(outlaw) lies, and full frith(peace) work(bring about) by the might that me God would(wished) [to] sell'(give).|
|¶Nu ne wandode ic na minum sceattum, þa while þe eow unfrið on handa stod: nu ic mid godes fultume þæt totwæmde mid minum scattum.||¶Now, ne went(withdrew/changed) I not my scot(financial support, c.f. scot-free) the while that you stood(endured) unfrith(turmoil) on-hand: now I, mid(with) God's support, that [unfrith] totwemed(separated/dispelled) mid(with) my scot(financial support).|
|Þa cydde man me, þæt us mara hearm to fundode, þonne us wel licode: and þa for ic me sylf mid þam mannum þe me mid foron into Denmearcon, þe eow mæst hearm of com: and þæt hæbbe mid godes fultume forene forfangen, þæt eow næfre heonon forð þanon nan unfrið to ne cymð, þa hwile þe ge me rihtlice healdað and min lif byð.||Tho(then) [a] man kithed(made known/couth to) me that us more harm had found(come upon) than us well liked(equalled): and tho(then) fore(travelled) I, meself, mid(with) those men that mid(with) me fore(traveled), into Denmark that [to] you most harm came of(from): and that[harm] have [I], mid(with) God's support, afore(previously) forefangen(forestalled) that to you never henceforth thence none unfrith(breach of peace) ne come the while that ye me rightly hold(behold as king) and my life beeth.|