The Ormulum and Havelok the Dane

My final two texts were written in the thirteenth century and also come from the Lincolnshire-East Midland area, the Ormulum around the year 1200 (roughly 50 years after the Peterborough Chronicle), and Havelok the Dane around 1280. I shall again focus on case structure, the definite article, plural forms, adjective inflections and borrowings from the Scandinavian and the French:[1]

Prologue of The Ormulum[2] Nu, brofierr Wallterr, brofierr min Affterr fee flxshess kinde;

Annd brofierr min i Cristenndomm burrh fulluhht annd fiurrh trowwfie; Annd brofierr min i Godes hus,

3et o. fee feride wise, Yet in the third way

Beginning of Havelok the Dane Herkneth to me, gode men,

Wiues, maydnes, and alle men.

Of a tale ich you wil telle,

Hwo-so it wile here, and fier-to dwelle. be tale of Hauelok is i-maked;

Hwil he was litel, he yede ful naked.

Surrh ^att witt hafenn takenn ba An re3hellboc to foll3henn,

Unnderr kanunnkess had annd lif,

Swa summ Sannt Awwstin sette;

Icc hafe don swa summ ^u badd,

Annd for^edd tepin wille,

Icc hafe wennd inntill Ennglissh Goddspelless hall3he lare,

Affterr ^att little witt tatt me Min Drihhtin hafe?>^ lenedd.

Su ^ohhtesst tatt itt mihhte wel Thou thought that it might well Till mikell frame turrnenn,

3iff Ennglisshe follk, forr lufe off Crist, Itt wollde 3erne lernenn,

And foll3henn itt, annd fillenn itt Wi?>^ ^ohht, wi?>^ word, wi?>^ dede. Annd forr^i 3errndesst tu ^att icc Siss werrc ^e shollde wirrkenn;

Annd icc itt hafe for^edd te,

Acc all ^urrh

Annd uncc birr^ ba^e ^annkenn Crist Satt itt iss brohht till ende.

Icc hafe sammnedd o ^iss boc Sa Goddspelless neh alle,

Satt sinndenn o messeboc Inn all 3er att messe.

Annd a3 after Goddspell stannt Satt tatt te Goddspell mene^?>,

Satt mann birr^ spellenn to follc Off be33re sawle nede; of Annd 3et tsr tekenn mare inoh Su shallt tsronne findenn,

Off ^att tatt Cristess hall3he ^ed Birr^ trowwen wel annd foll3henn.

Icc hafe sett her o ^iss boc Amang Goddspelles wordess,

All ^urrh me sellfenn, mani3 word Se rime swa to fillenn;

Acc ^u shallt finndenn ^att min word, Ma33 hellpenn ^a ^att redenn itt All ^ess te bettre hu fre33m birr^

Se Goddspell unnderrstanndenn;

Annd forr^i trowwe icc ^att te birr^ Wel ^olenn mine wordess,

Hauelok was a ful god gome, < gumi: man He was ful god in eueri trome,

He was ^e wihtest man at need Sat ?>urte riden on ani stede.

Sat ye mowen nou y-here,

And ^e tale ye mowen y-lere.

At ?e biginning of vre tale,

Fil me a cuppe of ful god ale;

And y wile drinken, er y spelle,

Sat Crist vs shilde alle fro helle!

Krist lat us euere so to do

Sat we moten comen him to;

And with-^at it mot ben so,

Benedicamus domino!

Here y schal biginnen a rym,

Krist us yeue wel god fyn!

The rym is maked of Hauelok,

A stalwor))i man in a flok;

He was ^e wihtest man at need Sat may riden on ani stede.

It was a king in are dawes,

Sat in his time were gode laws He dede maken, and ful wel holden;

Him louede yung, him loueden olde,

Erl and barun, dreng and thayn,

Knicht, and bondeman, and swain, Widues, maydnes, prestes and clerkes, And al for his gode werkes.

He louede god with al his miht,

And holi kirke, and soth, and riht; Riht-wise men he louede alle,

And oueral made hem forto calle; Wreieres and robberes made he falle, Vtlawes and theues made he bynde,

Alle that he mihte fynde,

And heye hengen on galwe-tre;

For hem ne yede gold ne fe.

In ^at time a man ^at bore Wel fifty pund, y wot, or more,

Of rede gold up-on his back,

In a male hwit or blac,

Ne funde he non ^at him missseyde,

Ne hond on him with iuele leyde.

Sanne mihte chapmen fare

E33whsr fisr flu shallt finndenn Hemm. Eurhut Englond with here ware,

And baldelike beye and sellen,

Oueral fler he willen dwellen,

In gode burwes, and fler-fram Ne funden he non flat dede hem sham, flat he weren to sorwe brought, And pouERe marked, and brought to nought.

In the Ormulum, only one definite article pa (in the noun phrase pa Goddspelless) is inflected, the original plural form of the article, here governing the plural noun Goddspelles (Gospels). Every other definite article is now the uninflected form pe. In Havelok inflected definite articles are nonexistent, and, as we have seen, this leads inevitably to the complete erasure of grammatical gender in the determiner system of the language. In both texts, apart from frequently used nouns with the umlaut plural (here man/men), the plural forms are universally with the s-suffix indicating that the tendency already evident in the Second Continuation of the Peterborough Chronicle has ousted other plural forms.

Dative nouns in prepositional phrases still show possible remnants of the old dative case in the final e-suffix (e.g. affterr pe flrnshess kinde, o pe pride wise, te pin wille [although here we would have expected a remnant of the dative in pin, e.g. as pine], till mikell frame, till ende and att messe), but we could also argue that the e-suffix might have been used for prosodic reasons. There is even a remnant of the old genitive case in off pe55re sawle need, but again it might have been used for prosodic reasons. Otherwise there are no remaining dative case nouns. By the time we reach Havelok, all trace of the dative has disappeared (except, of course, in the personal pronoun system). Two other features are marginally significant in the Ormulum. As with the second scribe in the Peterborough Chronicle, the author (Orm) has a strong tendency to vary between and , and there are a few clear influences from the Danish in the form of the third-person plural pronoun (and the preposition till). In Havelok the Dane we also find that adjectives, whether predicative or attributive have largely lost their inflections. Exceptions in the text are gode (three occurrences) andpouere, rede and olde (one occurrence each). But here, as in the Ormulum, we can just as easily argue for their retention on the basis of prosody and rhyme. There are also a relatively small number of borrowings from the Danish variety of Old Norse (gome, kirke, vtlawes, tre and bondeman), but only one from French (pouere, from pauvre). In the Ormulum, too, only one word is derived from Anglo-Norman French (kanunnkess, from canun).

It is of course true that the percentage of words in texts from the fourteenth century shows a marked increase of French borrowings. It could also be argued that this brief outline of simplifications in the noun phrase displays only a small and selective cross-section of constructions from Anglo-Saxon into early Middle English, but it can hardly be denied that they represent a significant section of the grammar, which is almost always referred to by those supporting the creolisation hypothesis. Neither can it be denied from the texts presented here that those changes in the East Midland area were in evidence in the first half of the eleventh century before the advent of French influence and reached completion well before the flood of French borrowings in the fourteenth century. The borrowings from Old Norse and from Anglo-Norman French (and later from other varieties of French) appear to have had little or nothing to do with simplification processes from Anglo-Saxon into Middle English, whether or not these were speeded up by the koi'neisation of Anglo- Saxon and Old Norse in the area of the Danelaw.

  • [1] Single underlining indicates occurrences of the uninflected definite article fee in place of an inflectedform. Double underlining indicates used in place of . Thick underlining (e.g. fie55m) indicates borrowings from Scandinavian (i.e. the Danish variety of Old Norse). Small caps indicate borrowings from Anglo-Norman French. Bold, italic typeface indicates use of the s-plural. A noun phase (mostly in prepositionalphrases) in italics indicates possible remnants of the dative case. Bold typeface with single underlining indicatespredicative and attributive adjectives with no inflection. Bold typeface with double underlining indicatesadjective inflection in -e (in most cases dictated by the prosody).
  • [2] The monk who is credited with writing the Ormulum, Orm by name, has a peculiar but phonologically helpful habit of doubling all his consonants following short vowels, as he did in the first line, with brofeerrWallterr.
 
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