Eald Englisc, or Old English

Some of you may have noted my sporadic posting as of late, but I have good reasons. First, the spring semester was filled with the challenges associated with teaching a new class, and, therefore, took more of my time than it will if I teach it in the future. Second, my hope to be back on track for the summer was derailed by the amounts of time required for my Old English class. My father used to say in his Texas-influenced, Alabama drawl, “A pur excuse is bedder’n none atall.” Therefore, you now have my poor excuses, and I also present to you a bit of the Old English on which I have been spending my time.

Baker indicates in The Electronic Introduction to Old English that EO peotry had specific rhythmic patterns related to stressed, unstressed, and lightly stressed syllables known as lifts-/, drops-x, and half-lifts-\. Each line was divided into two verses by a caesura, and the first stressed syllable of the second verse of each line carried alliteration with one of the stressed syllables in the first.

I have attempted to use several of the basic forms suggested by Baker: I first use C pattern (drop, lift, lift, drop), then I use A twice (lift, drop, lift, drop), then E (lift, half-lift, drop, lift). I kept in mind that the drops can be multiple syllables and tried to follow some of the patterns for line length in Solcom’s analyses. While I don’t think I have been perfectly successful, I am happy with the results.

I look forward to reading your comments.

þēos wordmēċe                             wyrcð Þā lēafa on ǣfen

x            /     /  x                   |                /        x    /   x   x   \  x

þa boceras on morgenne           brecan þone sōþ

x    /   x    x   x      /    x    x      |        /    \     x  x    /

The word-sword                              works the pages in the evening

The scholar in the morning         opens the truth



  1. Is it really wrong to mildly enjoy the short-termed agony of others, especially suffering one knows is not permanent and will pass in just a few weeks?

    1. Yes, Rabbit. Yes.

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