Page:The Sources of Standard English.djvu/285

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The Sources of Standard English.

of the Midland was working down Southwards towards London and Oxford all through the Thirteenth Century. Its influence may be seen so early as the Essex Homilies of 1180; many years later we find a still clearer token of the change. In some hundred Plural substantives that had been used by Layamon soon after 1200, the Southern ending in en was replaced by the Midland ending in es, when Layamon's work came to be written out afresh after 1250. East Midland works became popular in the South, as may be seen by the transcript of the Havelok and the Harrowing of Hell. In the Horn, a Southern work, we find the Present Plural en of the Midland verb replacing the older Plural in eth. In the Alexander (perhaps a Warwickshire work) the Midland I, she, they, and beon encroach upon the true Southern ich, heo, hi, and beoth. Even in Kent we find marks of change: in the sermons of 1290 the contracted forms lord and made are seen instead of louerd and maked. Already mid (cum) was making way for the Northern with. This was the state of things when the Handlyng Synne was given to England soon after 1303; it was believed, though wrongly, to be the translation of a work of Bishop Ro­bert's, and it seems to have become the great pattern; from it many a friar and parson all over England must have borrowed the weapons wherewith the Seven Deadly Sins (these play a great part in English song) might be assailed. Another work of Robert Manning's is entitled Medytacyuns of the Soper of our Lorde, a translation from Buonaventura, the well-known oracle of Franciscans abroad.[1] The popularity of these works of the Lincoln-

  1. Why has not this work been printed long ago?