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Letter to Brother Edward: A Student Edition


Mary Clayton, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin

[Online Note: The text presented here is by no means an "online edition," but rather a transcript of the work published in OEN. Apart from a few simplifications in the format, no special accommodations have been made for reading the text online. Readers should consult the accompanying .pdf file for a more user-friendly version.]



The short text edited here is made up of three sections: the first explains the biblical prohibition against eating blood, the second condemns Englishmen who have adopted Danish customs and fashions, and the third expresses disgust at the behavior of rural women who, during a feast, keep on eating and drinking while sitting on the toilet. The text was first edited in 1885 by F. Kluge. [1] Kluge printed the second and third sections as "fragments of an Anglo-Saxon letter"; he put the first section in a footnote because he did not believe it was connected to the other two sections. Kluge considered the text anonymous; in 1967, however, John C. Pope convincingly argued that the three sections were in fact one text by the homilist Ælfric. My edition in 2002 supported this with some further evidence. [2] Whatever its authorship, the text gives us a fascinating glimpse into contemporary life around the last millennium, preserving one person's reaction to cultural change and differences in customs.

Ælfric (ca. 950 - ca. 1010) was a prolific author of Old English and Latin works. He was educated in Winchester, where he became a monk and priest, then sent to the abbey of Cerne Abbas in Dorset, and in 1005 became abbot of Eynsham, near Oxford. Ælfric was part of the second generation of the tenth-century reform of English monasticism, known as the Benedictine Reform. He wrote Old English homilies and saints' lives, a Latin grammar written in Old English, translations and adaptations of some of the books of the Old Testament and pastoral letters commissioned by two bishops. His most famous works are two series of Catholic Homilies, each containing forty homilies arranged in the order of the church year and written in the 990s for both preaching and private reading.

Catholic Homilies I was written in plain prose, but at some point in the course of writing Catholic Homilies II, Ælfric developed a style that used alliteration and rhythm in a way that was modeled on Old English verse but which kept the word order and, for the most part, the diction of prose; he used this rhythmical style, with its pattern of two-stress phrases linked in pairs by alliteration, for most of his work from then on. There has been debate among critics as to whether this style should be considered prose or poetry; until very recently, there seemed to be a consensus that it was simply "rhythmical prose," but Thomas Bredehoft has now reopened the debate, arguing that Ælfric's style conforms to the laws of late Old English verse and that Ælfric is, therefore, "Anglo-Saxon England's most prolific poet." [3]

The first section of the Letter to Brother Edward is in plain prose, but the other two sections are written in a rhythmical style very similar to Ælfric's, even though they are printed here as regular lines of prose (all Old English manuscripts, whether prose or poetry, are written this way). Some editors have preferred to print Ælfric's rhythmical prose in verse lines, as in the following (lines 18–20 of this edition):

Ne secge ic na mare embe ða sceandlican tyslunge

buton þæt us secgað bec þæt se beo amansumod

þe hæðenra manna þeawas hylt on his life

and his agen cynn unwurþað mid þam.

Another feature of the Letter that is characteristic of Ælfric's style is the repetition of words or parts of words [4] in a pattern, as, for example, in lines 22-23: "þæt þu him an þing secge, gif ðu for sceame swaþeah hit him secgan mæge; me sceamað þearle þæt ic hit secge ðe."


The manuscripts

The Letter to Brother Edward is found in three manuscripts: R (Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 178 + Cambridge, Corpus Christi College MS 162, pp. 137-8), from the first half of the eleventh century; [5] P (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 115, fols. 60r-61r), from the second half of the eleventh century; [6] S (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 116, pp. 377-79), from the first half of the twelfth century. [7] The three manuscripts were all at Worcester in the thirteenth century. CCCC 178 (R) may have been written in Worcester or its vicinity or may have come to Worcester from elsewhere, but seems to have been there by the eleventh century. [8] Hatton 115 (P) has links with manuscripts from the southeast of England and is written in a hand that is different from the hands of contemporary Worcester manuscripts, [9] while Hatton 116 (S) is written in a hand typical of "twelfth-century manuscripts from West of England monastic houses." [10] All three manuscripts contain a very similar (though not identical) group of short texts, among which is the Letter to Brother Edward.

The manuscript contexts of the Letter all point to Ælfric's authorship. R consists of two books of twelve homilies each, plus six shorter pieces in the first book, including the first two sections of the Letter. All of the homilies are by Ælfric; the short pieces are almost certainly by him as well, though there has been some debate about whether Ælfric wrote the text edited here and another short piece on infant baptism. P contains a collection of homilies and tracts, all by Ælfric—if one includes this letter and the piece on baptism—with a few short pieces not by Ælfric added later. S is another collection of homilies, originally twenty-six, of which all but the first and last are by Ælfric; it contains the first section of the Letter as well as the piece on baptism.


The Nature of the Text: One Work or Two?

Of the three manuscripts, only P contains all three sections of the Letter. S has only the first section; R has the first two sections, followed by an erasure of the first five words of the third section—presumably the scribe was copying from a manuscript that had all three sections, began to write the third section, but then changed his or her mind. The title De sanguine was added in the margin of P by a later hand; in R the text is entitled DE SANGUINE PROHIBITO and in S it is titled (in red) DE SANGUINE. These titles refer only to the first section but in P, all three sections are presented very much as a unit—the second and third sections begin in the middle of a line, marked only by the kind of small colored initials which are numerous throughout the text. Similarly, R, which has the first two sections, begins the second section towards the end of a line and marks it with a small capital letter much like others in the text. So despite the fact that each manuscript contains a different amount of text, the manuscript layout of the Letter suggests that all three sections were considered part of one work.

The second section is addressed to someone named broðor Eadweard 'brother Edward', and the third section also addresses a broðor, presumably the same person; there is no question that these two sections belong together and form part of a text addressed to a single individual. [11] As both Kluge and Pope thought, they preserve part of a letter to this "brother Edward," though there is no formal epistolary beginning or conclusion. [12] The first section begins, much more impersonally, Her geswutelað on ðysum gewrite 'It is revealed here in this writing [or letter]'. Moreover it is written in plain prose while the second and third sections are in rhythmical prose. This difference in style, plus the fact that S (the latest manuscript) contains only the first section, raises the possibility that this section may have been composed separately and combined with the other two sections later. It is unlikely, however, that sections two and three were originally a complete text by themselves—section two begins Ic secge eac ðe, broðor Eadweard, nu ðu me þyses bæde 'I also say to you, brother Edward, now that you have asked me for this', which implies that something went before it. The first section (on eating blood) and the second section (on Danish fashions) are similar in that both practices could be associated with paganism; Ælfric was, as ever, anxious to maintain the distinction between the pagan Danes and the Christian English. These textual and thematic links suggest that all three sections form a single work, apparently a response to questions from Edward about some aspects of popular culture, since the second section alludes to Edward's having asked about Englishmen adopting Danish customs. At the beginning of the third section Ælfric asks something of Edward in return, presumably moved by his strong feelings about another popular custom which he viewed with the same disgust that he felt at the adoption of Danish ways.

If the text was originally a private letter, then the first sentence, which does not read as if it were part of a letter, might be the work of someone who adapted the text for public circulation, cutting off the initial greeting with which a letter would have begun and omitting the ending as well. As Pope puts it, the first sentence "is surely that of an excerptor, who thus acknowledges that he is selecting from, and perhaps at first abridging, a longer composition." [13] This excerptor may well have been Ælfric himself; he is known to have re-used parts of one work to compose another. Something similar occurs in the case of his letter to Wulfgeat: it is addressed to a single individual, but in the only manuscript in which it is preserved as a letter it has the heading Nis þis gewrit be anum men awriten, ac is be eallum 'this letter is not written about one man, but about all'. In two other manuscripts it is adapted as a homily, in one case probably by Ælfric himself. The piece edited by Pope as Wyrdwriteras (about the king leading—or not leading—his troops into battle), also found in Hatton 115 and part of the same group of short pieces, also seems to be an extract from a letter, though it too now begins without any greeting. [14] We know that Ælfric kept copies of the letters he sent out. The First Latin Letter to Wulfstan, also a private letter responding to a series of questions, is preserved in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Bibliothèque Municipale MS 63, a "copy of a collection which Ælfric himself assembled" (in other words, a copy kept by him as sender, not by Wulfstan as recipient). [15] The Wulfgeat and Wulfstan letters were addressed to individuals, but the fact that Ælfric kept copies of them suggests that he thought they might have wider application. The second section of the Letter to Brother Edward begins in the second person singular, "Ic secge eac ðe, broðor Eadweard, nu ðu me þyses bæde," but continues in the plural, "þæt ge doð unrihtlice"; Ælfric, always meticulous about grammar, seems to have been aware that his message to Brother Edward might also reach a larger audience.


Eating Blood

The first section of the Letter to Brother Edward consists of three prohibitions against eating blood. Two of these are somewhat shortened from Old Testament passages (Genesis 9:2-6 and Leviticus 17:10-14) and one, as Ælfric tells us, from 'canons'. Canons are rules promulgated by ecclesiastical councils and assembled into collections of canon law. This section of the text is very similar to Ælfric's First Latin Letter to Wulfstan, in which he responds to a series of questions put to him by Wulfstan. Section VII of the Latin letter begins:

God, with a terrible threat, forbade Noah and his sons to take blood in their food and similarly in the law of Moses, because blood is the life of animals and everyone who eats blood shall be cut off from his people…. [16]

The quotation from 'canons' which follows the Old Testament quotation in the Old English text is also paralleled in the Latin Letter, section VI:

For the canons teach that if someone cut off the ear or any other member of an animal about to be killed, nevertheless it will be carrion unless the blood of life run out from the innermost parts. [17]

This passage from the First Latin Letter, and the corresponding section in the Letter to Brother Edward, has parallels in two Irish collections of canons, the Hibernensis and the Canons of Adomnan. Chapter 5 of the Canons of Adomnan says: "A half-alive animal which is seized by sudden death is carrion if its ear or any other part is cut off', [18] and Chapter 20 discusses cases where the blood cannot be said to have run out but has instead lodged in the flesh. Similarly, the Canones Hibernensis, Book LIV, chapter 6, stipulates that a dead animal whose blood has not run out is carrion and not food. [19]

Prohibitions against eating blood are part of Jewish law and go back to the Old Testament, as the first section of this text makes clear with its quotations from Genesis and Leviticus. According to the Old Testament, blood contains the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17:11; 17:14); the person who ate blood along with the flesh of a bird or animal was to be punished by being cut off from his people. Kosher law still requires that animals be slaughtered in such a way that all of the blood runs out, and this blood cannot be consumed in any way. Animals that were not butchered in the prescribed fashion—including those killed by being caught in nets, killed by other animals, or that had died of natural causes—were deemed to be carrion and forbidden to be used for food.

The early Christian communities, composed of both Jewish and gentile believers, vigorously debated the extent to which they should abide by Jewish law, including these dietary restrictions; in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is said to declare that "it is not that which goes into the mouth of man that defiles him, but what comes out of his mouth" (Mt 15:11). In the Act of the Apostles the elders in Jerusalem reached a compromise on the question of dietary laws; non-Jewish Christians would be required only to "keep away from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from anything strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:29). St. Paul, however, refused to impose any ritual observances on his largely non-Jewish followers; his sole concern in this regard was to avoid causing scandal and dissension (1 Corinthians 8 and 10:23-31, Colossians 2:16-17).

In the early Church, the prohibition against eating blood seems to have been observed strictly; pagans put Christians to the test by offering them blood puddings to eat. [20] In the Western church this prohibition against blood seems to have fallen into disuse over the following few centuries. St. Augustine, for example, says that the prohibition in the Acts of the Apostles was appropriate when it was formulated, when there were many Jews in the Church and the prohibition was something that both Jews and Gentiles could observe easily, but was no longer necessary. In his own time, while acknowledging that a few people still avoided eating blood, he says that someone who refuses to eat a hare, for example, which has been clubbed to death, on the ground that its blood has not run out, is a laughing stock. [21] In the Eastern Church, however, the prohibition against blood did not fall into disuse and was explicitly renewed at the Trullan Synod in 692.

In the West, prohibitions against eating blood reappear in some canon law collections and in early penitentials, handbooks for confessors listing the penances assigned to different sins. [22] Penitentials appear to have originated in Ireland (the oldest is from the sixth century) and to have spread from there to England, where they were in use in the seventh century, and to the Continent; food prohibitions in general are very important in them. The revival of the prohibition against eating blood may have been due partly to Eastern influence—Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690, was a monk of Greek origin and observed the prohibition. In addition to penitentials and collections of canons, we also find the prohibition mentioned in commentaries on the Old Testament, such as Bede's Commentary on Genesis. Bede (d. 735) relates the blood prohibition to the giants that were said to have existed before the Flood (Genesis 6:4), saying that their worst transgression was that "they consumed flesh with blood; and so the Lord, once he had obliterated them in the Flood, permitted men to eat flesh, but forbade that they eat it with blood." [23] Similar prohibitions against eating blood are found in the Laws of Alfred and in Wulfstan; Fred Robinson has called eating blood an "almost obsessive concern" in Old English prose. [24]


Danish Fashion

The second section of the Letter deals with English men adopting Danish customs. Ælfric considers this shameful, and says that, according to books, anyone who practises the customs of heathen people and dishonors his own kindred by doing so will be cursed. He object in particular to those who tysliað eow on Denisc, ableredum hneccan and ablendum eagum. Tyslian is a rare word which means 'to dress'; ablered is otherwise unattested, but is connected to the word blere 'bald' by Bosworth and Toller and the Dictionary of Old English, and apparently means 'bare of hair'. The passage refers to Englishmen adopting a Danish style of haircut. There are other Anglo-Saxon texts which complain about heathen hairstyles; these may be the "books" to which Ælfric alludes. A passage in Wulfstan's Canon Law Collection decrees:

If a Catholic cuts his hair in the manner of the barbarians, he shall be considered a stranger from the church of God and from every Christian table until he correct his offence. [25]

Ælfric and Wulfstan were in close contact, and it is likely that Ælfric was familiar with this canon. [26] Ælfric's point here is a wider one than the question of hair, however: he is concerned with those who abandon their ancestral ways by embracing elements of heathen culture. This concern is similar to another text Ælfric probably knew, Alcuin's Letter to Ethelred, king of Northumbria (written in 793), where Alcuin (an English scholar who worked at Charlemagne's court) says:

Consider the dress, the way of wearing the hair, the luxurious habits of the princes and people. Look at your trimming of beard and hair, in which you have wished to resemble the pagans. Are you not menaced by terror of them whose fashion you wished to follow? What also of the immoderate use of clothing beyond the needs of human nature, beyond the custom of our predecessors? [27]

Alcuin too was writing at a time of Viking attacks; he too considered the adoption of a pagan hairstyle, because of its link with a foreign enemy, to be more than just a poor fashion choice; he too laments the abandoning of old customs. Yet another possible influence of Ælfric's statement is the report of the papal legates to Pope Hadrian after the English synod of 786, a document that was known to Ælfric's contemporary Wulfstan. This report complains:

Also you wear your garments according to the fashion of the Gentiles whom by the help of God your fathers expelled by arms from the country. It is a marvelous and dumbfounding thing, that you imitate the example of those whose life you have always detested. [28]

Neither Alcuin, the papal legates, not Wulfstan's Canon specifies which particular heathen fashion is indicated, but Ælfric's phrase ableredum hneccan and ablendum eagum 'with bared necks and blinded eyes', is very specific. It suggest a long fringe or bangs in front, and very short or shaved hair exposing the neck in back. This was very different from the way Anglo-Saxon men normally wore their hair. According to Gale Owen-Crocker's authoritative survey of Anglo-Saxon dress, Anglo-Saxon men of the tenth and eleventh centuries would usually have worn their hair short, and were commonly clean-shaven or had closely cropped beards, though kings are generally shown with moustaches and full beards. [29]

Eleventh-century manuscript depictions of men do not show any hairstyle resembling Ælfric's description; the Bayeux Tapestry, however, depicts something very similar in its portrayal of the Normans. [30] The Bayeux Tapestry (which is, strictly speaking, an embroidery rather than a tapestry) was probably made in England in the third quarter of the eleventh century; it depicts the events of Edward the Confessor's reign which led to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. On the tapestry many of the Normans are shown with their hair shaved at the neck and up the back of their heads and with a fringe protruding out over their foreheads—in other words, "with bared necks and blinded eyes." [31] The Bayeux Tapestry is, of course, considerably later than the Letter to Brother Edward, and the Normans are not Danes, but some Normans may well have assumed Danish styles because of their ancestry (the Normans, 'north men', were descended from the Vikings), and the fashion could have lasted for decades. Nicholas Brooks says that "[b]y adopting this grotesque style … the Normans were in fact proclaiming their Scandinavian 'roots'." [32]

In its passionate denunciation of English men who imitate Danes, the Letter to Brother Edward can be linked to another of Ælfric's texts, a homily dated ca. 1009 which attacks those English who went over to the Danes:

So many people turn with the chosen ones to the faith of Christ in his church that some of them, the evil ones, break out again and live their lives in error/heresy, as the English do who go over to the Danes and mark themselves for the devil, in allegiance to him, and do his works, and betray their own people to death. [33]

It may be too speculative to connect the phrase "mark themselves for the devil" with the kind of hairstyle attacked in the Letter to Brother Edward, but Pope, who edited this text, suggests in his glossary that the phrase gemearcod Gode 'marked for God' in another homily could mean 'tonsured'. [34] If this is the case, then 'to mark for the devil' could imply a kind of anti-tonsure, a hairstyle identified with heathens rather than with God. Pope glosses the word mearcian in the passage quoted above "with reference to signs (lit. or fig.) of a man's allegiance or servitude, to mark (almost brand)," and the text certainly suggests something visible on the bodies of those who go over to the Danes. Was it their hair?


Eating on the toilet

There is no known source for the third section of the Letter to Brother Edward, nor any parallels to its outrage at the eating habits of rural women. Indeed, unlike the other two sections which cite the Bible, canons and bec, this section does not appeal to any authority other than oral report. Ælfric depends on what he gehyrde oft secgan 'often heard said' and assumes to be true (and hit is yfel soð). This is highly uncharacteristic—it is far more usual for Ælfric to question what is merely said and to cite written authorities. [35]

This section begins by talking about women, but continues by saying that it is shameful that 'ænig man' should ever be so dissolute that 'he' should fill his mouth from above with food while at the other end the excrement should come out of him and that 'he' should drink both the ale and the stench so that they may satisfy his vile gluttony. Man is a masculine noun in Old English, and the masculine pronouns are in grammatical agreement with it, but it often means 'person' of either sex, and it is hard to read this passage without thinking that it refers to men as well as women. It is possible that this custom was practiced by both sexes, but Ælfric connects it particularly with women and focuses his disgust on them. He seems to imagine the scene taking place in some sort of communal outhouse or privy [36] to which the women bring food and drink from their feast, so that they do not have to interrupt their eating and drinking—perhaps even, given the emphasis on gluttony, so that they are able to consume even more. Ælfric piles up his condemnations in an extraordinary rhetorical display of disgust: bysmorlic dæd and mycel higeleast and huxlic bysmor. It is hard to know, however, whether this was ever a common or even a real custom; this part of the letter, with its hyperbole, its reliance on hearsay, and its emphasis on gross physicality, seems rather like a monastic fantasy about women and their bodies.

Nigel Barley points out that all three parts of this text are linked in their "desire to categorise and assign boundaries"; the first and third parts are further linked in their "concern for the symbolic load of bodily secretions and processes." [37] Eating blood would lead to the mixing of two life bloods, human and animal, blurring the distinction between the categories of human and non-human. The adoption of Danish customs by Englishmen is a similar confusion of categories and equally offensive; just as the person who eats blood must be considered cut off from his people, so the Englishman who crosses the cultural boundaries between Christian English and heathen Danes abandons his own people. As Barley points out, in the third section "dissolving the barrier between ingestion and excretion blends oppositions such as inside/outside, top/bottom, before/after, form/formlessness, positive/negative." [38] All three sections of the Letter, then, express a common anxiety over the transgression of boundaries and a strong feeling of disgust at such transgression.


The Date of the Text

Like most Old English texts, the Letter to Brother Edward is not dated, but we can infer an approximate date of composition from other evidence. If all three parts were written by Ælfric and intended to form part of a single text, the mixture of ordinary and rhythmical prose offers one clue. This is not the only letter composed in a mixture of styles—Ælfric's Old English Letter for Wulfsige shows the same combination; some of the texts in Catholic Homilies II and some of the non-hagiographical pieces in Skeat's edition of Lives of the Saints are similarly mixed in style. Peter Clemoes used the mixture of styles in the Letter for Wulfsige to date that text to the period soon after Catholic Homilies II, which was completed around 995. [39] The Letter to Brother Edward may date from the same period, the mid- to late-990s.

A date around the turn of the millennium is suggested by the similarity between the first section of the Letter and part of Ælfric's First Latin Letter to Wulfstan; in it, as discussed above, Ælfric treats the question of eating blood in terms very similar to the Old English letter. The Latin letter is dated by Peter Clemoes to between 1002 and 1005; the Letter to Brother Edward might have been composed around the same time. Another consideration in dating the Letter is the volatile relationship between the English and Danes in this period. Danish attacks, which had been suspended for most of the tenth century, began again with sporadic raids on England around 980 and culminated in the coronation of Cnut, a Dane, as king of England in 1016. The Battle of Maldon in 991 was an important defeat for the English, which led to the payment of tribute to the Vikings. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from these years is a long catalogue of English defeats, some blamed on English treachery and collusion with the Danes. It seems reasonable to assume that after a number of defeats and some years of close contact, some English men might begin to adopt aspects of Danish culture or fashion. The homily quoted above, in which Ælfric condemns English people who went over to the Danes, is dated by Pope to ca. 1009. The Letter belongs to this same cultural milieu, presumably that of the end of the 990s or the first decade of the new millennium. All evidence, therefore, suggests that the Letter to Brother Edward was composed around the turn of the millennium.


Who was Brother Edward?

It is difficult to know exactly who Brother Edward was, or the nature of his relationship to Ælfric. The term "brother" can be used of a blood relationship, as a term to designate a fellow human being, [40] or of a spiritual relationship, either as brothers within the church or as monastic brothers. [41] Ælfric's use of the word as a form of address combined with a proper name seems to be limited to monastic brothers or fellow-priests, e.g. broðor maure in Catholic Homilies II, xi [42] or broðor ðeodole in Catholic Homilies II, xviii (Pope Alexander addressing the priest Theodolus). [43] However, it does not seem from the Letter itself that Edward was a monk: the adoption of Danish hairstyles is seen as a betrayal of ancestral English customs, not ecclesiastical ones, and in any case a Benedictine monk would not have been in a position to adopt Danish fashions. Moreover, Ælfric is unlikely to have condoned any monk's being uppan lande mid wimmannum (though much depends on how one interprets the word 'oftor'; see the note to line 21 in the text). Ælfric's other writings, however, do not support the notion that Edward was simply a layman with whom he was in correspondence. In no other work does he address his lay patrons, or any other laymen to whom he writes, as "brother"; he always calls them leof or leof man. [44]

If Edward was neither a monk nor one of Ælfric's usual lay correspondents, then he could have been either a secular priest or Ælfric's actual sibling. If he were a priest, one might expect Ælfric to mention this fact, especially in connection with the adoption of Danish fashions—Ælfric addresses the topic of the appropriate style of dress for priests in his pastoral letters, [45] so it was evidently something that concerned him. The warnings against popular fashion and culture suggest that Edward was a layman in a position to be exposed to (and perhaps tempted by) such things; the tone and topic of the Letter—which is more frank and explicit than anything else Ælfric wrote—suggests that he was someone with whom Ælfric was on fairly intimate terms. The most likely explanation is that the Letter to Brother Edward is addressed to Ælfric's actual brother, and is, in fact, the only surviving evidence of Ælfric's communication with his family.



The text is based on the only full manuscript, Hatton 115 (P), fols. 60r-61r, with variants from the other two manuscripts R and S. Minor variations in spelling and inflectional endings have generally been omitted. Accent marks have not been reproduced, abbreviations have been silently expanded, and punctuation and capitalization have been modernized. Glosses by the Worcester scribe with the tremulous hand, who worked on all three copies of the text, have not been included here. The Old English characters ð and þ, both representing the sound th, have been retained, but the Old English character ƿ (wynn) has been transcribed as w. The abbreviation 7 has been replaced with and. [46]



[1] "Fragment eines angelsächsischen Briefes," Englische Studien 8 (1885): 62–3.

[2] Mary Clayton, "An Edition of Ælfric's Letter to Brother Edward" in Early Medieval English Texts and Interpretations: Studies Presented to Donald G. Scragg, edited by Elaine Treharne and Susan Rosser, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 252 (Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2002), pp. 263–83.

[3] Thomas Bredehoft, "Ælfric and Late Old English Verse," Anglo-Saxon England 33 (2004): 77–107

[4] See John C. Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, a Supplementary Collection. 2 vols. (Early English Text Society o.s. 259. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1967-68), I: 109–10.

[5] Described by N. R. Ker, A Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1957), no. 41a (the letter is item 13), and by Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, I:62–7. The letters used to refer to the manuscripts, called sigla, are those devised for Ælfric manuscripts by Peter Clemoes for Ælfric's Catholic Homilies: the First Series, Text (Early English Text Society s.s. 17. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) and adopted by Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, and by M. R. Godden, Ælfric's Catholic Homilies: the Second Series. Text (Early English Text Society s.s. 5. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).

[6] Ker, Catalogue, no. 332 (item 15); Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, I:53–9, describes it as a "miscellany of sermons and shorter bits of instruction and admonition" (p. 53).

[7] Ker, Catalogue, no. 333 (item 23); Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, I:67–70.

[8] Ker, Catalogue, p. 64; Godden, Ælfric's Catholic Homilies, p. lxx.

[9] Ker, Catalogue, p. 403; Godden, Ælfric's Catholic Homilies, p. lxviii.

[10] Clemoes, Ælfric's Catholic Homilies, p. 40; see Ker, Catalogue, p. 406.

[11] There are similar addresses, though without a name, in Ælfric's letters to Wulfgeat and to Sigefyrth: see, for example, line 8 of the Letter to Sigefyrth: "Nu secge ic þe, leof man, …" (Angelsächsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, ed. Bruno Assmann (Bibliothek der Angelsächsischen Prosa, III. Kassel: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1889; rpt. with an introduction by P. Clemoes, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1964), no. III.

[12] Patrick Wormald, "Engla Lond: the Making of an Allegiance," Journal of Historical Sociology 7 (1994): 1–24, at p. 18, seemingly unaware of Pope's attribution of the text to Ælfric, also considers the text to be a letter and the work of an anonymous author commenting on the court of Cnut, the Danish king of England from 1016 to 1035 ("a fragment of what may the sole surviving private letter from one relatively ordinary Anglo-Saxon to another").

[13] Pope I p. 57.

[14] See Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, I, 55 and II, 725-6; the text is in Pope, Homilies of Ælfric II, 728-33.

[15] See Clemoes, 'Supplement to the Introduction', p. CXXVII, in Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics in Altenglischer und Lateinischer Fassung, ed. B. Fehr (Bibliothek der Angelsächsischen Prosa, IX. Hamburg: Verlag von Henri Grand, 1914; rpt. with a supplement by P. Clemoes, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1966).

[16] "Sanguinem cum terribili comminatione prohibuit deus in cibos sumere Noe et filiis eius et similiter in lege Moysi, quia sanguis uita pecorum est, et omnis qui sanguinem commederit, delebitur de populo suo…." Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics, ed. Fehr, p. 223. The allusions in this passage are to Genesis 9:4, Deuteronomy 12:23 and Leviticus 17:10.

[17] "Nam et canones docent quod si quis abscidat aurem animalis morituri aut aliquod membrum, tamen morticinium erit, nisi uitalis sanguis ex intimis currat foras." Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics, ed. Fehr, p. 223, lines 12-15.

[18] Die Bussordnungen der abendländischen Kirche, edited by F.W.H. Wasserschleben (Halle: Graeger, 1851; rpt. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1958), p. 120. 'Animal semivivum subita morte praeraptum abscissa aure vel alia parte, morticinium est'.

[19] Die irische Kanonensammlung, edited by H. Wasserschleben, 2nd ed. (Leipzig: Bernard Tauchnitz, 1885), p. 216.

[20] See Marcel Simon, Verus Israel; A Study of the Relations between Christians and Jews in the Roman Empire (135-425), translated from the French by J. McKeating (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 334).

[21] See Augustine's Contra Faustum Manichæum translated by R. Stothert in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Vol. IV, ed. P. Schaff (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark; Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdman, 1887).

[22] See Pierre Bonnassie, 'Consommation d'aliments immondes et cannibalisme de survie dans l'occident du Haut Moyen Age' Annales: économies, Sociétés, Civilisations 44 (1989): 1036–56, and Rob Meens, 'Pollution in the Early Middle Ages: the case of the food regulations in penitentials', Early Medieval Europe 4 (1995): 3–19.

[23] Quoted by Andy Orchard, Pride and Prodigies: Studies in the Monsters of the Beowulf-Manuscript (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1995), p. 64. As Orchard notes, demons who were believed to have descended from these evil giants who inhabited the world before the Flood were also thought of as blood-eaters; in Beowulf, lines 742–43, we are told that the monster Grendel blod edrum dranc / synsnædum swealh 'drank blood from the veins, swallowed the sinful morsels'.

[24] F. C. Robinson, 'Lexicography and Literary Criticism: A Caveat' in Philological Essays: Studies in Old and Middle English Language and Literature in Honour of Herbert Dean Meritt, edited by J. L. Rosier (The Hague, Paris: Mouton, 1970), 99–110, at 102.

[25] Wulfstan's Canon Law Collection, edited by J. E. Cross and A. Hamer (Anglo-Saxon Texts 1. Woodbridge and Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 1999), p. 97 (Cf. Recension B, 156): 'Catholicus si capillos more totonderit barbarorum, ab ecclesie Dei alienus habetur et ab omni Christianorum mensa donec delictum emendet.' Correcting his offence would presumably have involved changing hairstyles as well as a penance.

[26] The source of the canon is, according to Cross and Hamer, the Canones Wallici, edited by Bieler as part of the Irish penitentials, but considered by him to be an early Welsh text (ca. 550-650), which had perhaps been brought to Brittany and reshaped there. See The Irish Penitentials, edited by L. Bieler (Scriptores Latini Hiberniae 5. Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1963), p. 7.

[27] Two Alcuin Letter Books, edited by C. Chase, Toronto Medieval Latin Texts 5 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1975), p. 55: 'Considerate habitum, tonsuram, et mores principum et populi luxuriosos. Ecce tonsura quam in barbis et in capillis paganis adsimilari uoluistis. Nonne illorum terror inminet quorum tonsuram habere uoluistis? Quid quoque inmoderatus uestimentorum usus ultra humane necessitatem nature, ultra antecessorum nostrorum consuetudinem?' D. Whitelock points to the connection in her brief introduction to a translation of the middle section of the Letter to Edward in her English Historical Documents I (London, Eyre Methuen, 1979), p. 895.

[28] Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents Relating to Great Britain and Ireland, edited by A.W. Haddan and W. Stubbs, 3 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1869-78), III, 458: 'Vestimenta etiam vestra, more gentilium, quos, Deo opitulante, patres vestri de orbe armis expulerunt, induitis: miranda res, et nimis stupenda; ut quorum vitam semper odistis exempla imitemini.'

[29] G. Owen-Crocker, Dress in Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1986), pp. 168–9.

[30] See the comment by D. Wilson, The Bayeux Tapestry (London: Thames and Hudson, 1985), p. 208: 'There appears to be some attempt to differentiate English and Norman by providing the former with long thin moustaches and giving the latter a strange haircut which leaves them clean-shaven over the whole of the back of their heads, but neither treatment is universal. (It is not without interest that there is a remarkable consonance between the bare-necked Normans of the Tapestry and a condemnatory description of Danish shaven necks in a late Old English letter.)' For examples of the hairstyle, see plates 9 and following in Wilson, The Bayeux Tapestry. I am grateful to Gale Owen-Crocker for pointing me in the direction of the Bayeux Tapestry.

[31] Hairstyles were regarded as a mark of ethnicity in the Middle Ages: see R. Bartlett, 'Symbolic Meanings of Hair in the Middle Ages', Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series 4 (1994): 43–60, and his The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change 950-1350 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993), pp. 197–8; he quotes, among other instances, English legislation against the adoption of Irish hairstyles by English settlers in Ireland ('the degenerate English of modern times who wear Irish clothes, have their heads half shaved and grow their hair long at the back').

[32] 'History and Myth, Forgery and Truth' in Anglo-Saxon Myths: State and Church 400-1066 (London and Rio Grande, OH: Hambledon Press, 2000), 1–9, at p. 2,

[33] Pope, Homilies of Ælfric, II, 521, lines 128–35:

Swa fela manna gebugað mid ðam gecorenum

to Cristes geleafan on his Gelaðunge,

þæt hy sume yfele eft ut abrecað,

and hy on gedwyldum adreogað heora lif,

swa swa þa Engliscan men doð þe to ðam Deniscan gebugað,

and mearciað hy deofle to his mannrædene,

and his weorc wyrcað, hym sylfum to forwyrde,

and heora agene leode belæwað to deade.

On Ælfric's attitude towards the Danes, see M. Godden, 'Apocalypse and Invasion in Late Anglo-Saxon England', in From Anglo-Saxon to Early Middle English: Studies Presented to E.G. Stanley, edited by M. Godden, D. Gray and T. Hoad (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 130–62.

[34] The tonsure is the monastic haircut; monks had to have the crowns of their heads shaved, leaving only a ring of hair.

[35] See the discussion by W. Busse, 'Sua gað ða lareowas beforan ðæm folce, & ðæt folc æfter: The Self-Understanding of the Reformers as Teachers in Late Tenth-Century England' in Schriftlichkeit im frühen Mittelalter, edited by U. Schaefer (ScriptOralia 53. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 1993), pp. 58–106.

[36] Such a privy features in an Old Norse story discussed by Carolyne Larrington, 'Diet, Defecation and the Devil: Disgust and the Pagan Past' in Medieval Obscenities, ed. Nicola McDonald (Woodbridge: York Medieval Texts, 2006), pp. 138–155.

[37] N. Barley, 'The Letter to Brother Edward', Neuphilologische Mitteilungen 79 (1978): 23–4, at 24.

[38] Barley, pp. 23–4.

[39] Peter Clemoes himself dated the completion of Catholic Homilies II to 992 but Malcolm Godden, who edited the series, dates it to 995.

[40] In Ælfric's Life of Swithun, for example, Swithun addresses 'sum eald þegn' as 'broðor': Ælfric's Lives of Saints, 4 vols, edited by W.W. Skeat (Early English Text Society o.s. 76, 82, 94, 114. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881-1900; rpt. as 2 vols, 1966), I, p. 462.

[41] Dictionary of Old English, s.v. 'ableran'

[42] Ælfric's Catholic Homilies, ed. Godden, p. 95, ll. 97-8.

[43] Ælfric's Catholic Homilies, ed. Godden, p. 178, l. 128.

[44] The Old English Version of the Heptateuch: Ælfric's Treatise on the Old and New Testament and His Preface to Genesis, ed. S.J. Crawford (Early English Text Society o.s. 160. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1922; rpt. with additions by N.R. Ker, 1969), p. 76; Ælfric's Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, p. 4; Angelsächsische Homilien und Heiligenleben, ed. Assmann, p. 13; The Old English Version of the Heptateuch, ed. Crawford, p. 74.

[45] Fehr, Die Hirtenbriefe Ælfrics, Brief 2, 175 (p. 54), and Brief II, 206 (p. 142).

[46] I would like to thank Roy Liuzza for suggesting this student edition and for his assistance.


De Sanguine

[1] Her geswutelað on ðysum gewrite hu God ælmihtig forbead mancynne ælces cynnes blod

to etenne. God cwæþ to Noe æfter þam mycclum flode: 'Þære sæ fixas and þære eorðan

nytenu ic sylle eow to bigleofan, buton þæt ge heora blod ne þicgon. Witodlice þæra nytena

blod ic ofgange æt eowrum handum, and þæs mannes lif þe ofslagen byð ic ofgange æt his

slagan. Swa hwa swa mennisc blod agyt, his blod byð agoten.' Eft cwæð God to Moysen: 'Ic

eom eower God ðe eow lædde of Egypta lande. Ne þicge ge nanes nytenes blod on eowrum

mettum ne fugela ne oðra nytena. Ælc ðæra manna ðe blod ytt sceal losian of his folce,

beo he inlenda, beo he ælðeodig, forþan ðe on þam blode is þæs nytenes lif. Swa hwa swa

fehð fugel oððe deor, þæra þe mannum to metum synd alyfede, ageote heora blod on ða

eorðan and swa hwa swa þæs blodes hent and him to mete macað he losað of his folce.' Eft

we rædað on canonibus þæt nan nyten þe to mete sceal ne byð clænlice acweald, buton þæt

incunde blod ðe anbutan þære heortan is ut yrne. Þeah hit beo geblodegod on sumum lime

and þæt liflice blod ut ne yrne, hit byð swaðeah to astorfenum geteald.


[14] Ic secge eac ðe, broðor Eadweard, nu ðu me þyses bæde, þæt ge doð unrihtlice þæt ge ða

Engliscan þeawas forlætað þe eowre fæderas heoldon and hæðenra manna þeawas lufiað,

þe eow ðæs lifes ne unnon, and mid ðam geswuteliað þæt ge forseoð eower cynn and eowre

yldran mid þam unþeawum þonne ge him on teonan tysliað eow on Denisc, ableredum

hneccan and ablendum eagum. Ne secge ic na mare embe ða sceandlican tyslunge buton

þæt us secgað bec þæt se beo amansumod þe hæðenra manna þeawas hylt on his life and

his agen cynn unwurþað mid þam.


[21] Ic bidde eac þe, broðor, forþam ðe þu byst uppan lande mid wimmannum oftor þonne ic

beo, þæt þu him an þing secge, gif ðu for sceame swaþeah hit him secgan mæge; me sceamað

þearle þæt ic hit secge ðe. Ic hit gehyrde oft secgan, and hit is yfel soð, þæt þas uplendiscan

wif wyllað oft drincan and furþon etan fullice on gangsetlum æt heora gebeorscipum,

ac hit is bysmorlic dæd and mycel higeleast and huxlic bysmor þæt ænig man æfre swa

unþeawfæst beon sceole þæt he þone muð ufan mid mettum afylle and on oðerne ende

him gange þæt meox ut fram and drince þonne ægðer ge þæt ealu ge þone stencg, þæt he

huru swa afylle his fracodan gyfernysse. Ic ne mæg for sceame þa sceandlican dæde, þæt

ænig mann sceole etan on gange, swa fullice secgan swa hit fullic is, ac þæt næfre ne deð

nan ðæra manna ðe deah.


Title] added by a later hand in the margin P; DE SANGUINE in red S, DE SANGUINE PROHIBITO R. 3 þæra] P reads gen. sg. 'þære'; R and S have the pl. 'þæra'. 7 nytena] this word is omitted, then added in the margin, in S 8 inlenda] R and S read 'inlende' 9 alyfede] R reads 'gesette and alyfede' ða] this word is omitted in S 10 macað] R reads 'deð' 12 anbutan] R and S read 'abutan' Þeah hit] S reads 'Þeah þe hit' 13 geteald] S ends here 15 eowre] R reads 'eower' hæðenra] R reads 'hæþera' 17 eow] this word is omitted in R 18 tyslunge] R reads 'tyslinga' buton þæt] R reads 'buton' 20 mid þam] R ends here, but part of a line has been erased; the words 'Ic bidde eac þe broþor' are still partly visible 24 fullice] the first 'l' seems to be erased



2-5 This passage is based on Genesis 9:2-6, in which God gives Noah every living thing as food, but forbids him to eat flesh with blood. The Latin Vulgate text reads "… omnes pisces maris manui vestrae traditi sunt, et omne quod movetur et vivit erit vobis in cibum quasi holera virentia tradidi vobis omnia, excepto quod carnem cum sanguine non comedetis. Sanguinem enim animarum vestrarum requiram de manu cunctarum bestiarum et de manu hominis de manu viri et fratris eius requiram animam hominis; quicumque effuderit humanum sanguinem fundetur sanguis illius.…"

5-10 The first sentence here occurs multiple times in the Bible, e.g. Leviticus 19:36: "ego Dominus Deus vester qui eduxi vos de terra Aegypti" (see also Leviticus 26:13, Numbers 15:41, Deutoronomy 5:6). The rest of this passage is based on Leviticus 17:10-14, in which God again forbids the consumption of blood. Anyone who eats blood, whether one of the people of Israel or a stranger, will be cut off from his people, God says, as the life of the animal is in the blood. If an animal or a bird is killed, then their blood must be poured out on the earth before the animal or bird may be eaten.

11-13 As noted in the introduction, this passage is based on the Canones Adomnani or the Collectio canonum Hibernensis.

21 In saying that Edward is upcountry with women oftor þonne ic 'more often than I am', Ælfric may mean, quite literally, that he himself only seldom ventures to these parts. But he may be using litotes or rhetorical understatement: instead of meaning that he is sometimes upcountry with women—which would be an odd thing for such a strictly observant monk in Anglo-Saxon England to declare—Ælfric may well mean that he is never upcountry with women.

24 This seems to refer to communal privies, where several people could be accommodated at one time.



The glossary is intended to be complete, though not all occurrences of some common words are not recorded. Weak verb classes are indicated by Arabic numerals, and strong verb classes by Roman numerals. Verbs are described by person, number, tense and, where necessary, mood, e.g., '3s pr. subj.' Adjectives are identified by case and number, nouns by case, number, and gender, e.g., ns. = 'nominative singular', 'nsn.' = 'nominative singular neuter'. The following common abbreviations are used:

acc. accusative

adj. adjective

adv. adverb

anom. anomalous

art. article

comp. comparative

conj. conjunction

d. dative

def. definite

dem. demonstrative

f. feminine

g. genitive


imp. imperative

ind. indicative

indef. indefinite

m. masculine

n. neuter or nominative

num. number

p. plural

p ptc past participle

pr. present (tense)

prep. preposition

pron. pronoun

pt. preterite (past tense)

rel. relative

s singular

subj. subjunctive

superl. superlative


ablendan 1 'to blind' I p ptc ablendum 'blinded' 18

abler(i)an 1 or 2 unique word, probably derived from blere, 'bald', and referring to a way of cutting the hair so as to leave the neck bare, p ptc ableredum 17

ac conjunction, 'but' 25, 29

acwellan 1 'to kill, put to death' p ptc acweald 11

æfre adv. 'ever' 25

æfter prep. 'after' 2

ægðer conj. followed by ge … ge, 'both … and' 27

ælc adj. and pron. 'each, every' ns. pron. ælc 7, gs. adj. ælces 1

ælmihtig adj. 'almighty' ns. 1

ælðeodig adj. 'foreign, alien' ns. 8

ænig pron. 'any' ns. 25, 29

æt prep. 'at, from' 4, 4, 24

afyllan 1 'fill' 3s pr. subj. afylle 26, 28

agen adj. 'own' as. agen 20

ageotan II 'shed (blood)' 3s pr. agyt 5, 3s pr. subj. ageote 9, p ptc agoten 5

alyfan 1 'permit' p ptc alyfede 9

amansumian 2 'exclude, excommunicate, curse' p ptc amansumod 19

an adj. 'one' as. 22

anbutan prep. with d. 'about' 12

and conj. 'and' 2, 4, 10, etc.

asteorfan III 'to die' p ptc used as substantive astorfenum 'that which has died, carrion' 13

biddan 5 'ask, entreat' 1s pr. bidde 21, 2s pt. bæde 14

bec see boc

beon anom. 'be', infin. beon 26, 1s pr. eom 6, 1s pr. beo 22, 2s pr. byst 21, 3s pr. is 8, 12, 25, 29; 3s pr. byð 4, 5, 11, 13; 3s subj. beo 8, 8, 12, 19; 3p pr. synd 9

bigleofa m.'sustenance, food' ds. bigleofan 3

blod n. 'blood' ns. blod 5, 12, 13; as. blod 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9; ds. blode 8; gs. blodes 10

boc f.'book' np. bec 19

broðor m. 'brother' ns. broðor 14, 21

buton prep. 'provided, unless, except' 3, 11, 18

bysmor n. or m. 'shame, disgrace' ns. 25

bysmorlic adj. 'shameful, disgraceful' ns. 25

canon m. 'canon, rule of church' Lat. dp. canonibus 11

clænlice adv. 'purely, cleanly' 11

cweþan V 'say, speak', 3s pt. cwæþ 2, 5

cynn n. 'kind, species' as. 'kindred, people, nation' 16, 20, gs. cynnes 1

dæd f. 'deed' ns. dæd 25, as. dæde 28

deah see dugan

denisc adj. 'Danish' on Denisc 'in a Danish fashion' 17

deor n. 'animal' as. 9

deð see don

don anom. 'do' 3s pr. deð 29, 3p pr. doð 14

drincan III 'to drink' inf. 24, 3s pr. subj. drince 27

dugan pret. pr. 'avail, be worthy' 3s pr. deah 30

eac adv. 'also' 14, 21

Eadweard m. 'Edward' ns. 14

eage n. 'eye' dp. eagum 18

ealu n. 'ale' as. 27

eft adv. 'likewise, again, afterwards' 5, 10

Egypte adj. 'Egyptian', gp. Egypta 6

embe prep. 'about, concerning' 18

ende m. 'end' as. 26

Englisc adj. 'English' ap. Engliscan 15

eom see beon

eorðe f. 'earth' as. eorðan 10, gs. eorðan 2

eow see þu

eower poss. adj. 'your' ns. 6, as. eower 16, np. eowre 15, ap. eowre 16, dp. eowrum 4, 6

etan V 'eat' inf. 24, 29; 3s pr ytt 7; infl. inf. etenne 2

fæder m. 'father' np. fæderas 15

fehð see fon

fisc m. 'fish' np. fixas 2

flod n. 'flood, sea' ds. flode 2

folc n. 'people, nation' ds. folce 7, 10

fon VII 'take, catch' 3s pr. fehð 9

for prep. 'on account of, because of' 22, 28; forþam ðe conj. 'because' 21, forþan ðe 8

forbeodan II 'forbid' 3s pr. forbead 1

forlætan VII 'abandon, relinquish, leave' 2p pr. forlætað 15

forseon V 'forsake, abandon' 2p pr. forseoð 16

fracod adj 'wicked, despicable' as. fracodan 28

fram prep. 'from' 27

fugel m. 'bird' as. fugel 9; gp. fugela 7

fullic adj. 'foul' ns. 29

fullice adv. 'foully, shamefully' 24, 29

furþon adv. 'even' 24

gang m. 'privy, lavatory' ds. gange 29

gangan VII 'go' 3s pr. subj. gange 27

gangsetl n. 'lavatory seat' dp. gangsetlum 24

ge see þu

gebeorscipe m. 'party, feast' dp. gebeorscipum 24

geblodigian 2 'make bloody, bloody' p ptc geblodegod 12

gehyran 1 'hear' 1s pt. gehyrde 23

geswutelian 2 'reveal' 3s pr. geswutelað 1, 3p pr. geswuteliað 16

getellan 1 'consider' p ptc geteald 13

gewrit n. 'writing, letter' ds. gewrite 1

gif conj. 'if' 22

God m. 'God' ns. 1, 2, 5, 6

gyfernyss f. 'greed, gluttony' as. gyfernesse 28

hæðen adj. 'heathen' gp. hæðenra 15, 19

hand f. 'hand' dp. handum 4

he m., hit n. pron. 'he/it' nsm he 8, 8,10, 26, 27, ds. him 10, 27, nsn. hit 12, 13, 23, 25, 29, asn. hit 22, 23; dp. him 17, 22, 22, poss. adj. his 4, 5, 7, 10, 19, 20, 28; poss. adj. 3p pl. heora 3, 9, 24

hentan 1 'take' 3s pr. hent 10

healdan VII 'hold' 3s pr. hylt 19, 2p pt. heoldon 15

heorte f. 'heart' ds. heortan 12

her adv. 'here' 1

higeleast f. 'folly' ns. 25

hit see he

hnecca m. 'neck' dp. hneccan 18

hu adv. 'how' 1

huru adv. 'indeed' 28

huxlic adj. 'contemptible' ns. 25

hwa m. indef. pron. 'whoever' ns. swa hwa swa 5, 8, 10

hylt see healdan

ic pron. 'I' ns. ic 3, 4, 4, 5, etc., as. me 14; ds. me 22; np. we 11; dp. us 19

incunde adj. 'inner, internal' ns. 12

inlenda m. 'native' ns. 8

lædan 1 'lead' 1s pt. lædde 6

land n. 'land' ds. lande 6, 21

lif n. 'life' ns. lif 8, as. lif 4, ds. life 19; gs. lifes 16

liflice adj. 'living, full of life, vital' ns. 13

lim n. 'limb' ds. lime 12

losian 2 'be lost' inf. 7, 3s pr. losað 10

lufian 2 'love' 2p pr. lufiað 15

macian 2 'make' 3s pr. macað 10

magan pret. pres. 'may, be able to' 1s pr. mæg 28, 2s subj. mæge 22

man(n) m. 'person, man' ns. man 25, mann 29, gs. mannes 4, gp. manna 7, 15, 19, 30, dp. mannum 9

mancynn n. 'mankind' ds. mancynne 1

mare adv. (compar. of micle) 'more' 18

mennisc adj. 'human' as. 5

meox n. 'dung, filth, excrement' ns. 27

mete m. 'food' ds. mete 10, 11; dp. mettum 7, 26, metum 9

mid prep. 'with, by means of' 16, 17, 20, 21, 26

Moyses m. 'Moses' ds. Moysen 5

muð m. 'mouth' as. 26

mycel adj. 'great' ns. mycel 25, ds. mycclum 2

na adv. 'no' 18

næfre adv. 'never' 29

nan adj. 'not one, no, none' ns. 11, gs. nanes 6; pron. ns. nan 30

ne particle 'not' 3, 6, 7, etc.

Noe m. 'Noah' ds. noe 2

nu adv. 'now' 14

nyten n. 'animal, beast' ns. 11, gs. nytenes 6, 8; ap. nytenu 3, gp. nytena 3, 7

of prep. 'out of, from' 6, 7, 10

ofgan anom. 'require' 1s pr. ofgange 4, 4

ofslean VI 'slay' p ptc ofslagen 4

oft adv. 'often' comp. oftor 21

on prep. 'in, on, at' 1, 6, 8, 9, etc.

oððe conj. 'or' 9

oðer adj. 'other' as. oðerne 26, gp. oðra 7

rædan 1 'read' 1p pr. rædað 11

f. 'sea' gs. 2

sceal see sculan

sceamian 2 with gen. object & dat. of person 'cause shame to, be ashamed' 3s pr. sceamað 22

sceamu f. 'shame, disgrace' ds. sceame 22, 28

sceandlic adj. as sceandlican 18, 28

sculan anom. 'must, should' 3s pr. sceal 7, 11, 3s pr. subj. sceole 26, 29

se m., seo f., þæt n. dem. and def. art. 'the, that, that one' nsm. se 19, asm. þone 26, 27, gsm. þæs 4; asf. ða 9, 18, 28, dsf. þære 12, gsf. þære 2, 2; nsn. þæt 11, 13, 27, asn. 27, gsn. þæs 8, 10, 16, dsn. þam 2, 16; ap. ða 14, gp. þæra 3, 7, 9, 30, dp. þam 17, 20

secgan 3 'say' inf. 22, 23, 29, 1s pr. secge 14, 18, 23, 3p pr. secgað 19, 2s pr. subj. secge 22

slaga m. 'slayer' ds. slagan 5

soð n. 'truth' ns. 23

stencg m. 'stench, odour' as. 27

sum adj. 'some, certain' ds. sumum 12

swa adv. 'so' 25, 28; swa … swa 'as … as' 29; swa hwa swa 'whoever' 5, 8, 10

swaðeah adv. 'nevertheless, however' 13, 22

syllan 1 'give' 1s pr. sylle 3

teona m. 'insult' ds. teonan 17

to prep. 'to, as' 2, 2, 3, 5, etc.

tyslian 2 'dress, put on' 3p pr. tysliað 17

tyslung f. 'dress' as. tyslunge 18

þæt conj. 'that' 3, 11, 14, 16, 19, 22, 23, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

þe rel. 'that, which, who' 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, 30

þes m., þeos f., þis n. dem. pron. & adj 'this' gsn. þyses 14, dsn. ðysum 1, apn. þas 23

þeah adv. 'although' 12

þearle adv. 'greatly' 23

þeaw m. 'custom' ap. þeawas 15, 15, 19

þicgan 1 'eat' 2s imp. þicge 6, 2p subj. þicgon 3

þing n. 'thing' as. 22

þonne conj. 'than' 21, 'when' 17; adv. 'then' 27

þu 2 pers. pron. 'you' ns. 14, 21, 22, 22, ds. ðe 14, 21, 23; np. ge 3, 6, 14, 14, 16, 17, ap. eow 6, 17, dp. eow 3, 16

ufan adv. 'above, at the top' 26

unnan pret. pr. 'grant' 3p pr. unnon 16

unrihtlice adv. 'unrighteously,wrongfully' 14

unþeaw m. 'evil custom, vice' dp. unþeawum 17

unþeawfæst adj. 'badly behaved, dissolute' ns. 26

unwurþian 2 'dishonour' 3s pr. unwurþað 20

uplendisc adj. 'upland, country, rural' np. uplendiscan 23

uppan prep. 'up' 21

us see ic

ut adv. 'out' 12,13, 27

we pron. see ic

wif n. 'woman' np. wif 24

wifmann m. 'woman' dp. wimmannum 21

willan anom. 'will, wish to, be accustomed to' 3p pr. wyllað 24

witodlice adv. 'truly, certainly, assuredly' 3

wyllað see willan

yfel adj. 'evil' ns. 23

yldra m. 'parent' ap. yldran 17

yrnan III 'run' 3s pr. subj. yrne 12, 13

ytt see etan