Bright's Anglo-Saxon Reader/Alfred's Preface to the Pastoral Care

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[The Preface to the Alfredian version of Gregory's De Cura Pastorali, according to the Hatton MS. (Hatton 20, Bodl. Lib.), with variants from C (= C.i = MS Cotton Tiberius B. xi. Brit. Mis.).]

Ælfrēd kyning hāteð grētan Wærferð biscep his wordum luflīce ond frēondlīce; ond ðē cȳðan hāte ðæt mē cōm swīðe oft gemynd, hwelce wiotan īu wǣron giond Angelcynn, ǣgðer ge godcundra hāda ge woruldcundra; ond hū gesǣliglīca tīda ðā wǣron giond Angelcynn; ond hū ðā kyningas ðe ðone onwald hæfdon ðæs folces on ðām dagum Gode ond his ǣrendwrecum hērsumedon; ond hū hīe ǣgðer ge hiora sibbe ge ge hiora siodo ge hiora onweald innanbordes gehīoldon, ond ēac ūt hiora ēðel gerȳmdon; ond hū him ðā spēow ǣgðer ge mid wīge ge mid wīsdōme; ond ēac ðā godcundan hādas hū giorne hīe wǣron ǣgðer ge ymb lāre ge ymb liornunga, ge ymb ealle ðā ðīowotdōmas ðe hīe Gode dōn scoldon; ond hū man ūtanbordes wīsdōm ond lāre hieder on lond sōhte, ond hū wē hīe nū sceoldan ūte begietan, gif wē hīe habban sceoldan. Swǣ clǣne hīo wæs oðfeallenu on Angelcynne ðæt swīðe fēawa wǣron behionan Humbre ðe hiora ðēninga cūðen understondan on Englisc oððe furðum ān ǣrendgewrit of Lǣdene on Englisc āreccan; ond ic wēne ðætte nōht monige begiondan Humbre nǣren. Swǣ fēawa hiora wǣron ðæt ic furðum ānne ānlēne ne mæg geðencean be sūðan Temese, ðā ðā ic tō rīce fēng. Gode ælmihtegum sīe ðonc ðætte wē nū ǣnigne onstāl habbað lārēowa. Ond for ðon ic ðē bebīode ðæt ðū dō swǣ ic gelīefe ðæt ðū wille, ðæt ðū ðē ðissa woruldðinga tō ðǣm geǣmetige; swǣ ðū oftost mæge, ðæt ðū ðone wīsdōm ðe ðē God sealde ðǣr ðǣr ðū hiene befæstan mæge, befæste. Geðenc hwelc wītu ūs ðā becōmon for ðisse worulde, ðā ðā wē hit nōhwæðer nē selfe ne lufodon, nē ēac ōðrum monnum ne lēfdon: ðone naman ānne wē lufodon ðætte wē Crīstne wǣren, ond swīðe fēawe ðā ðēawas.

Ðā ic ðā ðis eall gemunde, ðā gemunde ic ēac hū ic geseah, ǣr ðǣm ðe hit eall forhergod wǣre ond forbærned, hū ðā ciricean giond eall Angelcynn stōdon māðma ond bōca gefylda, ond ēac micel menigeo Godes ðīowa, ond ðā swīðe lȳtle fiorme ðāra bōca wiston, for ðǣm ðe hīe hiora nānwuht ongietan, ne meahton, for ðǣm ðe hīe nǣron on hiora agen geðīode āwritene. Swelce hīe cwǣðen: 'Ūre ieldran, ðā ðe ðās stōwa ǣr hīoldon, hīe lufodon wīsdōm, ond ðurh ðone hīe begēaton welan, ond ūs lǣfdon. Hēr mon mæg gīet gesīon hiora swæð, ac wē him ne cunnon æfter spyrigean, ond for ðǣm wē habbað nū ǣgðer forlǣten ge ðone welcan ge ðone wīsdōm, for ðǣm ðe wē noldon tō ðǣm spore mid ūre mōde onlūtan.'

Ðā ic ðā ðis eall gemunde, ðā wundrade ic swīðe swīðe ðāra gōdena wiotona ðe gīu wǣron giond Angelcynn, ond ðā bēc ealla be fullan geliornod hæfdon, ðæt hīe hiora ðā nǣnne dǣl noldon on hiora āgen geðīode wendan. Ac ic ðā sōna eft mē selfum andwyrde, ond cwæð: 'Hīe ne wēndon þætte ǣfre menn sceoldon swǣ rēccelēase weorðan, ond sīo lār swǣ oðfeallan; for ðǣre wilnunga hīe hit forlēton, ond woldon ðæt hēr ðȳ māra wīsdōm on londe wǣre ðȳ wē mā geðēoda cūðon.'

Ðā gemunde ic hū sīo ǣ wæs ǣrest on Ebrēisc geðīode funden, ond eft, ðā hīe Crēacas geliornoden, ðā wendon hīe hīe on hiora āgen geðīode ealle, ond ēac ealle ōðre bēc. Ond eft Lǣdenware swǣ same, siððan hīe hīe geliornodon, hīe hīe wendon ealla ðurh wīse wealhstōdas on hiora āgen geðīode. Ond ēac ealla ōðra Crīstena ðīoda sumne dǣl hiora on hiora āgen geðīode wendon. For ðȳ mē ðyncð betre, gif īow swǣ ðyncð, ðæt wē ēac suma bēc, ðā ðe nīedbeðearfosta sīen eallum monnum tō wiotonne, ðæt wē ðā on ðæt geðīode wenden ðe wē ealle gecnāwan mægen, ond gedōn swǣ wē swīðe ēaðe magon mid Godes fultume, gif wē ðā stilnesse habbað, ðætte eall sīo gioguð ðe nū is on Angelcynne frīora monna, ðāra ðe ðā spēda hæbben ðæt hīe ðǣm befeolan mægen, sīen tō leornunga oðfæste, ðā hwile ðe hīe tō nānre ōðerre note ne mægen, oðone first ðe hīe wel cunnen Englisc gewrit ārǣdan: lǣre mon siððan furður on Lǣdengeðīodes ǣr ðissum āfeallen wæs giond Angelcynn, ond ðēah monige cūðon Englisc gewrit ārǣdan, ðā ongan ic ongemang ōðrum mislīcum on manigfealdum bisgum ðisses kynerīces ðā bōc endan on Englisc ðe is genemned on Lǣden 'Pastoralis,' ond on Englisc 'Hierdebōc,' hwīlum word be worde, hwīlum angit of angiete, swǣ swǣ ic hīe geliornode æt Plegmunde mīnum ærcebiscepe, ond æt Assere mīnum biscepe, ond æt Grimbolde mīnum mæsseprīoste, ond æt Iōhanne mīnum mæsseprīoste. Siððan ic hīe heliornod hæfde, swǣ swǣ ic hīe forstōd, ond swǣ ic hīe andgitfullīcost āreccean meahte, ic hīe on Englisc āwende; ond tō ǣlcum biscepstōle on mīnum rīce wille āne onsendan; ond on ǣlcre bið ān æstel, sē bið on fīftengum mancessa, Ond ic bebīode on Godes naman ðæt nān mon ðone æstel from ðǣre bēc ne dō, ne ðā bōc from ðǣm mynstre; uncūð hū longe ðǣr swǣ gelǣrede biscepas sīen, swǣ swǣ nū, Gode ðonc, wel hwǣr siendon. For ðȳ ic wolde ðætte hīe ealneg æt ðǣre stōwe wǣren, būton sē biscep hīe mid him habban wille, oððe hīo hwǣr tō lǣne sīe, oððe hwā ōðre bī wrīte.