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Sa great annoy that they war effrayit
For Scottis, that them hard array it,
That than war in a schiltrumi' all.
Wha happent into that fight to fall,
I trow again he suld nought rise.
There men might see on mony wise
Hardiments * eschevit * doughtily;
And mony, that wight war and hardy,
Soon lyand under feet all dead,
Where all the field of Hud was red.
Armes and whites b that they bare
With blud war sa defoulit there,
That they might not descroyit be.c
Ah, mighty God! wha then might see
That Stewart, Walter, and his rout,
And the gud Douglas, that was sa stout,
Fechtand into that stalwart stour,d
He suld say • that till all honour
They war worthy, that in that fight
Sa fast pressit their fayes might,
That them rushit whar they yede.f
There men might see mony a steed
Fleand on stray,s that lord had nane.
Ah Lord! wha then gud tent had tane b
Till the gud Earl of Murrave1
And his, that sa great routes gave,
And faught sa fast in that batail,
TholandJ sic paines and travail,
That they and theirs made sic debat
That where they come they made them gat;k
» Supposed to mean a body of troops drawn up in a round' form.
d Fighting in that strong tumult of battle.
s Flying astray, at large.
1 Get? But the word is perhaps wrong. Dr. Jumicson,
« Hardy deeds.
Then might men hear enseignies1 cry,
And Scottis men cry hardily,
On them! On them! On them! They fail;
With that sa hard they gan assail,
And slew all that they might ower ta;m
And the Scottis archers alsua"
Engrievand them sa greatumly,p
That their covine was wer and wer;a
This, it must be allowed, if not quite a Homeric strain, is strenuous and valiant writing for a Scotish archdeacon, advanced in years, of the fourteenth century.
whose pointing frequently shows that he did not understand the text, affords us no light or assistance in any of its difficulties by the miserable glossary which he has appended to his edition.
1 Dr. Jamieson's only interpretation of the term is word of war. Here at least it seems rather to mean ensigns or standard-bearers, who raised the war-cry. m Overtake. "Also. • Nimbly, dexterously.
t Distressing them so greatly.
To this century belong the earliest specimens of English prose that have been preserved. Among Sir Henry Ellis's contributions to the Pictorial History of England are two very curious extracts from the Arundel MS., No. 57, in the British Museum, entitled 'Ayenbyte of Inwyt,' exemplifying the dialect of Kent in 1340. At the beginning of the MS. is this inscription :—" This boc is dan Michelis of Northgate, ywrite an Englis of his ozene hand; and is of the bochouse of Saynt Austine's of Canterberi under the letters CC." The first of the passages (which occurs on folio 48), is as follows:—
The yonge grihound thet is yet al novis that yernth efter eche beste that yernth bevore him, and ne maketh bote him weri and his time lyese. Ther of zet Ysopes the fable of the little hounde and of the lesse. The hond at eche time that he yherth his lhord cometh hom, he yernth to yens hym, and lharth about his zwere, and the lhord him maketh uayre chiere and him froteth, and maker him greate feste. The asse him be thozte thous ssolde ich do, and zuo wolde mi lhord me louie, beterre he ssolde me make joye thet ich serui eche daye thanne thise hounde thet him serueth of nazt. Hit ncs naz longe efterward thet the asse ne yzez his lhord come hom, he beginth to lheap and yernth to yens him, and him prauth the uet aboute his zuerc and beginth zinge grauntliche. The sergons thet hit y zeze nome steues and bycte than asse rizt to the uolle, and ther of thet he wende habbe worthssipe and guod he hedde ssame and harm.
The other passage (which occurs on folio 82, and which gives the date of the manuscript), comprises the Kentish version of the Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria, and Creed, after an introductory paragraph, which, it will be observed, although written as prose, is really in rhyme:—
Nou ich wille that ye ywryte hou hit is y went: thet this boc is ywrite mid Engliss of Kent. This boc is ymad uor lewede men, vor uader and uor modet and uor other ken ham uor to berze uram alle manyere zen that ine hare in wytte ne bleue ne uoul wen. Huo ase God is his name yred thet this boc made God him yeue thet bread of angles of heuene and ther to his red and onderuonge his zaule huanne thet he is dyad. Amen.
Ymende thet this boc is uolueld ine the cue of the holy apostles Symon and Judas of ane brother of the cloystre of Sauynt Austin of Canterberi ine the yeare of our lhordes beringe, 1340.
Pater Noster.—Vader oure thet art ine heuenes y halzed by thi name, cominde thi riche, y worthe thi wil ase in heuene and ine erthe, bread oure eche dayes yef ous to day, and uor let ous oure yeldinges ase and wo norleteth oure yelderes, and ne ous led nazt in to uondinge, ac vri ous uram queade. zo by hit.
Ave Maria.—Hayl Marie of thonko uol. H.. dby mid the, yblissed thou ine wymmen, and yblissed thet ouet of thine wombe. zuo by hit.
Credo.—Ich leve ine God uader almizti, makcre of heuene and of erthe, and ine Jesu Crist his zone onlepi our lhord, that ykend is of the holy Gost, ybore of Marie mayde, yryned under Pontis Pilate, ynayled a rode, dyade and be bered, yede down to helle, thane thridde day aros uram the dyade, steag to heuenes, zit athe rizt half of God the uader almizti, thanncs to comene he is to deme the quike and the dyade. Ich yleue ine the holy Gost, holy cherche generalliche, menesse of halzen, lesnesse of zennes, of ulesse arizinge, and lyf eurelestinde. zuo by hit.
The sound here represented by z in certain words, such as almizti, it should be noticed, appears to be a guttural, nearly, if not altogether identical with that afterwards indicated by gh. In fact the character is rather a g, or something between a g and a y, than a z.
Sir Henry adds that the Harlcian MS., No. 1022, contains several tracts in Northern English, of nearly the same age; among which is a poem on the Decalogue, translated from the Latin in 1357, at the request of Archbishop Horesley, by John de Taystoke, a monk of St. Mary's, York. "The reader," it is further stated, "who is inquisitive as to dialects will find among the Harleian manuscripts one, No. 221, which contains a Dictionary in English and Latin, the former language in the dialect of the East Country, compiled ninety years later by a friar preacher, a recluse at Lynne in Norfolk."
Our oldest prose author is Sir John Mandevil, whose voyages and travels, a singular repertory of the marvellous legends of the middle ages, have been often printed. The best editions are that published in 8vo., at London, in 1725, and the reprint of it in the same form in 1839, "with an introduction, additional notes, and a glossary, by J. O. Halliwell, Esq., F.S.A., F.R.A.S." The author's own account of himself and of his book is given in an introductory address, or Prologue:—
And, for als moch as it is long time passed that there was no general passage ne vyage over the sea, and many men desiren for to hear speak of the Holy Lond, and han * thereof great solace and comfort, I, John Maundeville, knight, all be it I be not worthy, that was born in Englond, in the town of Saint Albons, passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesu Christ 1322, in the day of Saint Michel; and hider-to have benb longtime over the