Imagens das páginas

hast promised me, grant that the love of thee be all my | was the only part of Scripture which it was perdelight.

mitted to translate. In First-English days, not Pray for me, my dear sister. This have I written thee only was there a translation of the Psalms ascribed because that words often please the heart to think on our to Aldhelm, but there was translation by Ælfric of Lord. And therefore, when thou art in case, speak to Jesu, the Pentateuch, and the books of Joshua, Judges, and say these words; and think as though he hung beside part of the books of Kings, Esther, Job, Judith, thee bloody on the rood; and may he, through his grace, and the Maccabees. Also, as we have seen, the open thine heart to the love of him, and to ruth of his

Gospels were translated for the people and divided pain.?

into sections, that they might every year be read through in the churches. And now that they were

being read still, although in Latin, Brother Ormin's The English poem by Layamon, “ The Brut,” in

| care was to provide for the people in a sort of inore than 32,000 lines, which, at the beginning

rhythm, through which pleasant tales might be of the thirteenth century, developed Geoffrey of

told to them by the wayside and “on embereves Monmouth's “ History of the British Kings” into

and holy-ales," the whole series of those portions national poetry with enlargement of its Arthurian

| of the New Testament that were read in the daily traditions, will be described in the volume of this

offices of the Church, each Gospel being associated Library which treats of larger works not specially | with a little homily of explanation, doctrinal and religious. Produced, perhaps, a few years later than

practical, often containing ideas borrowed from Bede Layamon's “ Brut” (which was finished about the

or Ælfric. year 1205), and of about the same date as the

There is only one MS. of the “Ormulum," and “ Ancren Riwle,” and “ The Wooing of Our Lord,”

that is in the collection given by Francis Junius was a long religious work in verse, “ The Ormulum.”

to the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Though of conThis is named after its author, who calls himself at

siderable extent, it is but a fragment. Homilies the opening of his work, Orm

were written by Ormin for all, or nearly all, the “ This book is nemned Ormulum,

daily services of the year, and of these there are Forthi that Orm it wrote.”

left us only thirty-two. Ormin's verse is seldom

rhymed, and is without alliteration, imitating a But he evidently there writes only Orm to account | mediæval Latin rhythm in verses of fifteen syllables for the first syllable of Ormulum, since, at the close in two sections, the metrical point being placed at of the dedication, the lines immediately preceding the end of the eighth syllable, or fourth foot, and the those which open the poem itself were

fifteenth syllable unaccented, almost always a syllable

of inflection, e, en, or ed. In his writing Ormin used “I that this English have set

a device which was perhaps meant to help a NorEnglish men to lare,

man-English reader of his lines to such pronuncia· I was there there I christened was

tion of them as would be understood by the people Ormin by name nemned.

for whose benefit they were written. He always And I Ormin full inwardly

doubled the consonant after a short vowel in the With mouth, and eke with heart” .

same word, and avoided doubling it after a long

vowel. This duplication is, in fact, a special characBeg Christians who hear the book read or who read

teristic of the written English of the “ Ormulum." it, to pray for my soul. , What we know of Ormin we learn from himself;

Ormin's work was, then, a putting of the entire and as his work is not of a kind to yield internal

Gospel history into verse, with a running comevidence of date, there is only the language from

mentary of doctrine and exhortation, in a form that

would be welcome to the people's ears, and with which to infer the time when it was written. He was a canon regular of the order of St. Augustine,

provision that whoever recited any part of it for

their instruction should, as far as he could contrive, and at the request of Brother Walter, also an Augustinian canon, he planned and executed his

not make a dead language of its English, or take the

pleasantness out of his rhythm by pronouncing it work, of which the object was—as far as the Church allowed to bring the Gospel story, and the teaching

amiss. “And whoso,” he says to the copyists, “shall

will to write this book again another time, I bid founded on it, straight home, in their own tongue, to the understanding of the people. The English

him that he write it rightly, so as this book teacheth conscience never was at ease with a mere reading

him entirely as it is upon this first pattern, with of the Bible to the people in an unknown tongue.

all such rhyme as is here set, with just as mans If that Book was the foundation of their faith, it

words, and that he look well that he write a letter was felt that they should have it to build on.

twice where it upon this book is written in that

The honest fear of the Church was that if ignorant men

wise.” read the Bible for themselves they would interpret

Here is the whole of one of Ormin's metrical it blindly for themselves, and there would be ruin

Homilies. It is upon Christ's Teaching of Nicodemus of souls by the diffusion of heresies; therefore in

(St. John, chapter üi.). The opening of the homily I Oriin's time, and long after, the Book of Psalms

give in Ormin's English, with interlinear translation, and then modernise the rest, but without attempting

to reproduce, in our uninflected language, the weath 1 This translation is substantially that giren by Dr. Morris, with

fifteenth syllable once formed by an inflection, and the original text, in his excellent edition of “Old English Homilies.' already mentioned.

of which the music was often imitated by adding

an “O” or an "a"? to a line after the inflections disappearel :

“Sic Deus dilexit mundum ut filium suum unigenitum daret." —John iii. 16.


That tegg till mannkinn haffden,

That they had towards mankind,
To lesenn menn off defless band
To release men from bonds of the devil,

And ut off helle pine,

And out of the pain of hell,
That whase trowwenn shollde o Crist
That whoso should be icre on Christ
Wel shollde wurrthen borrghen.

Surely should be saved.
Whi seggde Crist to Nicodem
Why said Christ to Vicodemus

That Drihhtin Godd off heffne

That the Lord God of Heaven Swa lufede thiss middell ard, So loved this mid-earth,

Thiss werelld, tatt he sennde

This world, that he sent
Hiss aghenn Sune Allmahhtig Godd,
His own Son, Almighty God,

To tholenn dæth o rode,

To suffer death on the cross,
Als iff he shollde lesenn ut
So that he should deliver

The middell ard off helle :

The mid-earth from hell?
Thurrh whatt wass heffness whel forrgarrt
For what was heaven's wheel (the firmament) com-
To dreghen helle pine ?

To suffer pain of hell ?
And lifft, and land, and waterrflod,
And air, and land, and waterflood,
Hu wærenn thegg forrwrohhte

How were they condemned
To dreghenn wa withth mikell rihht
To suffer woe with much right
Inn helle withth the defell ?

In hell with the devil ?
Off thise fowre shaffte iss all
Of these four created things (elements) is all

Thiss middell werelld timmbredd,

This middle world built,-
Of heffness whel and off the lifft,
Of the firmament and of the air,
Off waters, and off erthe;

Of water and of earth;
And i tha fowre shafftess niss
And in these four elements is (not)

Nowwtherr,-ne lif ne sawle
Neither-nor life, nor soul

That mihhte gilltenn anig gillt
That might be guilty of any guilt
And addlenn helle pine.
And deserve pain of hell.

Thurrh thatt te Laferrd seggde - thuss
In that the Lord said thus

Till Nicodem withth worde:

To Nicodemus with word : Swa lufede the Laferrd Godd So loved the Lord God

The werelld tatt he sennde

The World that he sent
His aghenn sune Allmahhtig Godd
His own Son Almighty God

To wurrthen mann onn erthe

To become man on earth
To lesenn mannkinn thurrh hiss death
To release mankind through his death

Ut off the deless walde,

Out of the devil's power,
Thatt whase trowwenn shall onn himm
That whosoever shall beliere in him
Wel mughe wurrthenn borrghenu;

Surely 3 may become saved ;
Thar thurrh he dide Nicodem
By that he caused Nicodemus

To sen and unnderrstanndenn,

To see and understand
Thatt he wass Godd himm sellf, oft Godd,
That he was God himself, from God,
And Godess Sune ankennedd,

And God's Son acknowledged,
And wurrthenn mann o moder hallf
And become man on mother's side

Thurrh sothfasst herrsuminesse,

Through faithful obedience, Thurr-thatt his Faderr haffde himm sennd Because his Father had sent him And gifenn himm to manne,

And given him for man, To tholenn death o rode tre To suffer death on the cross Forr all mannkinne nede,

For all mankind's need, All thurrh thatt lufe, and thurrh thatt lusst All through that love and through that desire

That tegg till mannkinn haffdenn,

That they had towards mankind,
Forth withth thatt Hallghe Frofre Gast
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter

Thatt cumethth off hemm bathe,

That cometh of them both, All thurrh thatt lufe and thurrh thatt lusst All through that lore and through that desire



We ought to know now that for us

The World here signifies
Created thing that was condeinned

To suffer pain of hell.
The World here signifies for us

The race of man alone ;
And since man's body is made up

Of what is in the world :
Of heaven's fire, and of the air

Of water, and of earth :
And since man's Soul is through the world

Here surely signified,

1 The measure is (though without rhyme) that of the old song from which Autolycus sings in the “ Winter's Tale"

“A merry heart goes all the day

Your sad tires in a mile-a." Seggde. The italic g stands for the g softened to y or gh sound, ! and represented at one time by a letter like 3.

3 The old common use of the word well as an intensive, still found in idiomatic phrases as vell on in years,” or “well-nigh dend," or you may well say that," is so far weakened that its seuse is sometimes better given by another word.



Christ here hath told to Nicodeme

The one truth in these words : That whoso shall believe on him

He surely shall be saved. And that was said as if he thus

With open speech had said:
For this I have come down from Heaven

To be a man on earth,
That whoso shall believe in me

And shall obey my laws,
Worthy shall he be with me

To have eternal bliss.
But this Christ said to Nicodeme

That he might understand
That he himself was God and Man,

One person, that should save
Mankind from hell and give to men

To win the bliss of heaven.



[merged small][ocr errors]

For both of them fall into one

After the Greekish speech,
For Cosmos à all the world is called,

So as the Greeks explain,
Because it worthily is clothed

With sun and moon and stars All round about the firmament,

Through God that wrought it so; And eke it worthily is clothed,

That know'st thou well for sooth,
With air and land and water-flood

With creatures manifold,
The Soul, too, worthily is clothed

By God, after its kind,
With immortality, also

With wit and will and mind;
And therefore saith the Lord our God

The Soul is his likeness,
For that they both, the Soul and God,

Are ever without end,
And they have mind, and will and wit,

But not upon one wise:
For always God hath it in Him,

And ever and aye it had;
The Soul receives her excellence

All from the hand of God,
Where'er he shapeth Soul from nought

All as himself shall please.
And the World therefore in this place

But signifies mankind,
For both of them fall into one

Even as I have shown :
For either worthily is clothed,

But not upon one wise,
And yet the clothing of them both

Cosmos will signify.
And Man therefore thou mayest call

After the Greekish speech,
Microcosmos, the which we call

After the English speech,
The little World, and all for this:

Because the Soul of man
God has clothed worthily and well

With God and righteousness.
And even as this World is clothed

With creatures beautiful, The World also may signify

Mankind therefore the better, Because man's body is made up

And wrought of creatures four,Of heaven's fire, and of the air,

Of water, and of earth.
And therefore here the World must mean

Only the race of Man
That Word of God was sent by God

To loosen out of hell.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Man's PERIL AND SAFETY. From Cotton. MS., Tiberius, B. v.




And that the Lord hath there declared

With words to Nicodeme,
That the Almighty hath not sent

His Son that he should judge
This world, but that he should redeem

It from the Devil's power ;-
That said he then to cause him so

To see and understand
That he was sent and made as man

To rescue men from hell.
Through love he bore himself, and through

Love of his father too
And Holy Ghost, the Comforter,

Proceeding from them both,
Through that he was not come down then

To judge the people all, But in humility to save

The world by his own grace. And that he there to Nicodeme

Yet spake thus of himself : Whoso believeth upon him

That man is not condemned ;

And of the Son of Man, and Son

Also of God, of both,

i Cosmos. The Greek Kuopos means in the first instance order (from KOMÓW, I take care of), that which depends on thought and care ; order of dress, clothes (the sense on which Ormin here dwells); order of behaviour; order of private life; order of a state ; order or system of the universe. The range of the word is from the divine order that fills the world with beauty down to Livia's cosmetic

---"A light fucus To touch you o'er withal."

(Ben Jonson's “Sejanus.")




That I am by my Father sent,

Made Saviour on earth, And whoso shall through hate and scorn,

And through his pride of heart, My name all utterly despise

That calls me Saviour,-
The name that shall bring health to all

Who ever shall be healed,
The name that shall redeem all who

Shall ever be redeemed
Through me that am of God the Lord

Only begotten Son,
Son so begotten that I am

All one in Deity
With Father and with Holy Ghost

Withouten ord and end,
That am come to choose many for

My brethren upon earth
That cheerfully shall persevere

And do my Father's will,
So that he shall hold all of them

For children of His own
And give them to abide with me

Heirs of the heavenly realm,
That am the only son of Him

All one with him in kind,-
The man who wholly shall refuse

To trust this and believe,
That man is now condemned and set .

To suffer pain of hell,
Unless he can escape therefrom

Before he come to die, Believing that I am true God,

True Saviour on earth. .

That was as if he had thus said

To him with open speech :
The man that shall believe on me

And shall obey my laws,
That same man will not be condemned

To suffer pain of hell.
And that he there to Nicodeme
Yet spake thus of himself :

170 And whoso believes not in him

With full and willing truth
Already is condemned by God

To suffer pain of hell ;-
That was as if he had thus said

To him with open speech :
The man that believes not on ine

With full and willing truth,
But shall through haughtiness and hate
Reject all that I teach,

180 Already is condemned by me

To suffer pain of hell :
For since that I am truly God

Full easily I know
All those in whom I shall be pleased

Who earn the bliss of heaven,
And those by whom I shall be scorded

Who earn the pain of hell,
Of all the folk that from this day
To Doomsday shall be born.

190 For all the folk that ever was,

And all that yet shall be, It is already judged and set

In book, told, measured out, By God, and now he seëth all

That each one man shall find,
What meed shall be the recompense

Of each one for his deeds.
The Highest how the doom shall go
All knows, and ever knew,

200 For eye of God and wit of God

All sees, all learns, all knows,
Both that that was, and that that is,

And that that yet shall be ;
And if thou art redeemed that is

All through the Lord God's grace, And through thy labour to win that,

Strong with the Lord God's help. And if that thou art not redeemed, That is all through thy sin,

210 And through right doom thou'rt then condemned

To suffer pain of hell
According to what thou hast earned,

And neither less nor more.

[blocks in formation]

And that he there to Nicodem 3

Yet spake thus of himself :
That is the doom, that light and gleam

Is come upon the earth,
And men have no love for the light,

But love the darkness more,
Because that their own deed is all

Evil and all unclean ;-
That was as if he had said thus

To him with other words :
All that that any man shall be

Condemned to bear in hell,
All that shall be for that he shall

Neglect, scorn, and refuse
To come unto the Christendom

And to the right belief,
To know me and to follow me,

And in me to believe
That am true light of truth and right

And of the right belief. And, therefore, shall all those who are

Known by the name of men Because they follow their own flesh

In all its foul desires,


[blocks in formation]

i Ord and end, beginning and end. This is the original of our phrase “ odds and ends.” “Ord” was a First-English noun that meant “ beginning.” When it became obsolete, and the old phrase “ords and ends” still held its ground, the obsolete word was at last confounded with the nearest known word that resembled it. That is a not unusual process, to which we owe such phrases as “under the rose," " set the Thames on fire," &c.



And wholly put away and scorn

To do the Spirit's will;
And hate all that is dear to God

And love all evil ways,
Are ever lying deep in sin

In many kinds of way That are all openly enough

By darkness signified, Because that sins will ever draw

Towards the gloom of hell, Away from heaven's light and gleam,

The souls that follow them,Even as he that evil doth

Aye flies from light of day, For him is loth that man him see

Employed in his foul deeds, Therefore, shall all that wicked flock

Be sentenced to hell pain,
Because that all their life on earth

With darkness is beset
In all the evil that man doth

Through heathendom and wrong.


That they so long in heathendom

Had angered the true Lord.
And so they came into the light,

Into the right belief
In Jesus Christ our Saviour,

Whose name is Faithfulness :
For all that's ever true and right

And good, and pleases God, Salvation for His handiwork,

All comes by grace of Christ. And so they come into the light

To shew and to make known That their deeds have been done aright

By pattern of our Lord ; For all together did one thing

Both Christ and they themselves,Christ has rebuked them for their wrong

By teaching righteousness,
And they also rebuke their wrong

By shrift and penitence,
So all together did one thing

Both Christ and they themselves.
And so through that was plainly seen

That any good they did
Was all in God and all through God,

Effected by His help.
And God Almighty grant us here

To please Christ while we live,
All pure in thought and pure in word,

Pure mannered, pure in deed, So that we may be worthy found

To win the grace of Christ. Amen.




Before that our Lord Christ was come

To be a man on earth,
This middle world was wholly filled

With gloomy shades of sin,
Because that Christ, the world's true light,
. Was then not yet come down
With his rebuke for all mankind

Of heathendom and wrong,
And with his showing what was good

And what was evil deed,
And how a man might please his God

And earn the bliss of heaven,
And stand against the evil one,

And turn himself from hell.
And after our Lord Christ was come

To be a man on earth,
Thereafter was this middle earth

Filled full of heaven's light, Because that our Lord Christ himself

And his Disciples too,
Both what was right and what was wrong

Made known in all the lands,
And how a man might please his God

And earn the bliss of heaven.
And many peoples haughtily

Withstood and still denied, And turned them from the light of heaven

And from the heavenly lore, Because they rather chose to be

In darkness that they loved,
To follow lusts of their own flesh

In every kind of sin,
Because they rather hated light

That brought rebuke of sin.
And other peoples well received

The gift of heavenly lore,
And turned them to the Christendom

And to the right belief;
That is that very light and gleam

That leadeth man to heaven;
And it received full inwardly

By shrift and penitence, Accusing all their own misdeed

And punishing themselves,


Side by side with this faithful work there was much darkness gathering where light should have been brightest. At the beginning of the thirteenth century both the Dominican and the Franciscan brotherhoods were founded to meet needs of the time with higher spiritual effort than had come of late from the chief teachers in a church weakened by wealth and luxury. The founder of the Domini

cans was a Spaniard, Domingo, of the noble family of 330 Guzmans, in the valley of the Douro. He pitied the

poor. In a famine year he sold even his cherished books to relieve them. But he had learnt in his books that the way to heaven was along one narrow line of orthodox opinion; and when, after nine years of study at Osma, he travelled with his prior across a region of France cursed with the persecution of pure-minded heretics by orthodox priests who had neither knowledge wherewith to set forth, nor lives

that would recommend, the opinions of which they 340

sought brutally to compel acceptance, Dominic felt the need of a right power to convince of error thoughtful and well-meaning men whom he devoutly believed to be astray on a path leading to eternal punishment. Most of us now believe with Miltoni that there is more light in the world than shines in at our own windows. Few thought so then, and Dominic was profoundly sincere, true also in deeds of life to

his own deepest convictions, when he founded the 350 | order of Preaching Friars called after him Domini.

cans. They were not to be monks, named from a Greek word that implied life in seclusion, but Fratres

« AnteriorContinuar »