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Anglicized word order in Old English continuous interlinear glosses in British Library, Royal 2. A. XX

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Joseph Crowley
Auburn University Montgomery


The Old English interlinear glosses in the prayerbook London, British Library, Royal 2. A. XX frequently render certain Latin verb phrases and noun phrases into Old English with English word order rather than Latin, in contrast to almost all other surviving Old English interlinear glosses of the same prayers. Investigation of the occurrences of similar syntactic tendencies in all other Old English continuous interlinear glosses (the thirteen Old English interlinear glosses to the psalms, the eleven glosses to canticles of the psalter, the two interlinear glosses to the gospels and the thirty other numbered entries under ‘continuous interlinear glosses’ in Angus Cameron's ‘A List of Old English Texts’) reveals that such anglicization is restricted to relatively few texts from various centuries and places. Analysis of the features and conditions of these few witnesses reveals that neither scribal education, region, century nor other particular of situation is a factor common to all witnesses. The scribe of the Old English glosses in Royal 2. A. XX appears to have had deficiencies in Old English grammar, yet confidence in Old English phrasings of the prayers. His gloss was probably not made for students learning Latin grammar; it was more likely intended simply to help laypeople or less-than-well-educated religious persons to understand the Latin prayers. The context is clearer when we consider the Latin prayers in the margins (and a few interlinear glosses in Greek) that were added by the same hand.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2000

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1 In A Plan for The Dictionary of Old English, ed. Frank, R. and Cameron, A. (Toronto, 1973), pp. 25306, at 224–30.Google Scholar

2 Lowe, E. A. dated the Royal prayerbook to s. viii2, in Codices Latini Antiquiores II. Great Britain and Ireland, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1972), no. 215.Google ScholarDumville, D. dated it as c. 800, in Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History of Late Anglo-Saxon England (Woodbridge, 1993), p. 101.Google Scholar J. Morrish argued for 818–30 on the basis of its common elements with the Book of Cerne, in Dated and Datable Manuscripts Copied in England during the Ninth Century: a Preliminary List’, MS 5 (1988), 512–38, at 512–14.Google Scholar M. P. Brown has found Royal 2. A. XX and British Library, Harley 2965 to represent a stage of development between BL, Harley 7653 (s. viii/ix) and the Book of Cerne (Cambridge, University Library, LI. 1.10, c. 820–40), in The Book of Cerne: Prayer, Patronage, and Poiver in Ninth-Century England (London, 1996), pp. 153 and 169.Google Scholar For a full description of the manuscript, see Doane, A. N., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile, I (Binghamton, NY, 1994), no. 283 (pp. 52–9).Google Scholar

3 Ker, N., Catalogue of Manuscripts Containing Anglo-Saxon (Oxford, 1957), no. 248.Google Scholar J. Zupitza, in his 1889 edition of the glosses, thought that the Old English names of the Apostles plus cwæþ on 12r and the glosses on 44r were in a hand different from that of the rest, but contemporaneous: Mercisches aus der HS Royal 2 A 20 im Britischen Museum’, ZDA 33 (1889), 4766, at 47, 60 and 66.Google Scholar Ker, however, found that although the marginalia on 12r and 44r are in blacker ink than the usual brown of the other Old English glosses, there is no reason to think they are by a different hand (Catalogue, p. 318).Google ScholarMy observations and those of Doane, A. N., Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts I, p. 52, also find but one hand.Google Scholar

4 Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum bibliothecae Wigorniensis, made in 1622—23 by Patrick Young, Librarian to King james I, ed. Atkins, I. and Ker, N. R. (Cambridge, 1944), no. 309.Google Scholar

5 Sims-Williams, P., Religion and Literature in Western England, 600–800, CSASE 3 (Cambridge, 1990), 281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 ‘Mercisches’, pp. 47–9.

7 Psalters A, C, D, E, F, G, I, J, K and L in Pulsiano, P., ‘Psalters’, The Liturgical Books of Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Pfaff, R. W., OEN Subsidia 23 (Kalamazoo, MI, 1995), 6185, at 70.Google Scholar The printed editions of the Old English glosses examined are those cited at pp. 61–70 and 76.

8 That the syntactic tendencies considered here are common, even regular, in Old English is supported in Mitchell's, B.Old English Syntax, 2 vols. (Oxford, 1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, Quirk, R. and Wrenn's, C. L.An Old English Grammar, 2nd ed. (London, 1957) and in studies of specific syntactic constructions or of the syntax of particular texts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

9 Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) order is typical of the main elements in Old English dependent clauses (Mitchell, , Old English Syntax, § 3911Google Scholar; Quirk, and Wrenn, , An Old English Grammar, § 147Google Scholar; Brown, W. H., A Syntax of King Alfred's Pastoral Care (The Hague, 1970), p. 37)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and is common in non-dependent clauses when the object is a pronoun (Quirk, and Wrenn, , An Old English Grammar, § 146).Google Scholar

10 With forms combining a finite auxiliary and a participle, in the Old English Orosius and the translation of Gregory's Pastoral Care, E. M. Liggins and W H. Brown found that auxiliary preceding participle was much the preferred order in dependent clauses, but less frequent in independent clauses – with some variation of ratios from section to section. See Liggins, , ‘Syntax and Style in the Old English Orosius’, Studies in Earlier Old English Prose, ed. Szarmach, P. (Albany, NY, 1986), pp. 245–73, at 260–1Google Scholar, and Brown, , A Syntax, p. 61.Google Scholar

11 The regular position for a single attributive adjective is before the noun headword (Mitchell, , Old English Syntax, § 159).Google Scholar

12 The occurrence of a genitive form before the noun headword seems gradually to become more regular during the Old English period (Mitchell, , Old English Syntax, § 1305Google Scholar; Timmer, B. J., ‘The Place of the Attributive Noun-Genitive in Anglo-Saxon’, ES 21 (1939), 4972).Google Scholar This tendency is evident in the revision of Werferth's translation of Gregory's Dialogues (Worcester, s. x/xi) and in the ‘West Saxon’ interlinear translation of Matthew's Gospel (c. 1050). For Werferth, see Yerkes, D., Syntax and Style in Old English (Binghamton, NY, 1982), pp. 52–3Google Scholar, and for the ‘West Saxon’ Matthew, see Nunnally, T., ‘Man's son/son of man: Translation, Textual Conditioning, and the History of the English Genitive’, History of Englishes: New Methods and Interpretations in Historical linguistics, ed. Rissanen, M., Ihalainen, O., Nevalainen, T. and Taavitsainen, I. (New York, 1992), pp. 359–72, at 366–7.Google Scholar

13 The regular position of a possessive pronoun is before the headword (Mitchell, , Old English Syntax, § 294Google Scholar; Brown, , A Syntax, pp. 4050).Google Scholar

14 Types 3, 4 and 5 of these anglicizations in RoyGl are the sorts of grammatical adjustment in translation, ‘at the level of the Noun Phrase’, that E. Wiesenekker neatly describes as ‘rearrangement of elements from Latin {Head + Modifier} to Old English {Modifier + Head}, the modifier being either a possessive pronoun, a noun genitive, sometimes an adjective’. Wiesenekker finds these adjustments marginally employed in the Vespasian and Regius glosses, but ‘Very frequently used in Lambeth’, which this study also finds to be the case. Wiesenekker, E., ‘Word be Worde;Andgit of Andgite’: Translation Performance in the Old English Interlinear Glosses to the Vespasian, Regius, and Lambeth Psalters (Huizen, 1991), p. 45.Google Scholar

15 The placement here of the elements of the Old English phrase over the elements of the Latin they gloss should not be taken to represent exactly the locations in the manuscript, but where the Old English elements are not placed squarely over the Latin, they approximately reflect the manuscript situation.

16 This is the word order of glosses in psalters E and I.

17 bodum, rather than bondum, is the manuscript form.

18 This is the word order of glosses in psalters K and L.

19 These gloss forms in the manuscript, gefyð hio, do not make sense, but look most like a noun + possessive. The form gefyð occurs nowhere else in Old English (according to A Microfiche Concordance to Old English), ed. Venezky, R. L. and Healey, A. di Paolo (Toronto, 1980).Google Scholar

20 Oxford, Bodleian Library, Auct. D. ii. 19 (Yorkshire WR, s. x): The Four Gospels in Anglo-Saxon, Northumbrian, and Old Mercian Versions, ed. Skeat, W., 4 vols. (Cambridge, 18711887).Google Scholar

21 London, Lambeth Palace Library, 427 (Winchester, s. xi1): Der Lambeth-Psalter ed. Lindelöf, U., 2 vols. Acta Societaris Scientiarum Fennicae 35.1 and 43.3 (Helsinki, 19091914).Google Scholar

22 London, British Library, Add. 37517, (Canterbury, s. xex/xiiin): ‘Die altenglischen Glossen im Bosworth-Psalter (Brit. Mus. Ms. Addit. 37517)’, ed. Lindelöf, U., Memoires de la Societe Neo-Philologique de Helsinki 5 (1909), 139231.Google Scholar

23 Cambridge, Trinity College R. 17. 1 (Canterbury, s. xiimed): Eadwine's Canterbury Psalter, ed. Harsley, F., EETS os 92 (London, 1889).Google Scholar

24 London, British Library, Arundel 60 (New Minster, Winchester, s. xi2): Der altenglische Arundel-Psalter, ed. Oess, G., Anglistische Forschungen 30 (Heidelberg, 1910).Google Scholar

25 For the seven instances of anglicized word order on RoyGl 12r, 12v and 13v, no prose version of the same prayers is extant. The Latin deponent verbs are rendered in the West Saxon gospels with simple past forms, and the (Latin) text of the Benedictus translated as part of the West Saxon gospels did not, apparently, include the phrase DATURUM SE NOBIS, for which no Old English equivalent is given.

26 Based on slight differences in letter form/size and word alignment, the second witgena (302) might possibly have been written at a different time from the first; the preceding his (300) and witgna (302) might possibly have been squeezed in after the neighbouring words, but not necessarily.

27 I have not noticed this sort of repetition occurring much in other interlinear glosses. Some examples, however, are found in the gloss to the Regula S. Benedicti in Cotton Tiberius A. iii, such as the following: The Rule of St. Benet. Latin and Anglo-Saxon Interlinear Version, ed. Logeman, H., EETS os 90 (London, 1888): p. 23Google Scholar, line 5: se for[ma] witodlice eadmodnes se forma stæpe ans PRIMUS ITAQUE HUMILITATIS GRADUS EST

p. 48, line 2: is to recanne is; p. 54, line 2: godes bebodum godes RECITANDA EST MANDATA DEI.

28 Pulsiano, P., ‘The Latin and Old English Glosses in the “Blickling” and “Regius” Psalters’, Traditio 41 (1985), 79115, at 112–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

29 This view of the RoyGl writer was expressed by Birch, W. de Gray, An Ancient Manuscript of the Eighth or Ninth Century: Formerly Belonging to St. Mary's Abbey, or Nunnaminster, Winchester (London, 1889), p. 113; but Birch did not explain what evidence this conclusion was based upon.Google Scholar

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35 The Four Gospels, ed. Sketa.

37 Though Farman here does not change the word order, he does shift the genitive inflection to the firstword.

37 sic MS (Skeat, , The Four Gospels, pp. 47 and 248).Google Scholar

39 See Nagucka, R., ‘Glossal Translation in the Lindisfarne Gospel according to Saint Matthew’, Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 31 (1997), 179201, at 181–2.Google Scholar

40 Cambridge, Pembroke College 312 C + Haarlem, Stadbibliotheek, 188 F 53 + Sondershausen, Schlossmuseum, Br. 1 consist of fragments from a Psalterium Gallicanum, s. ximed, from Ps. VI–VII, LXXIII, LXXIV, LXXVII and CXIX–CXXII; printed editions are Dietz, K., ‘Die ae. Psalterglossen der Cambridger Pembroke College 312’, Anglia 86 (1968), 273–9Google Scholar; Derolez, R., ‘A New Psalter Fragment with O.E. Glosses’, ES 53 (1972), 401–8Google Scholar; and Gneuss, H., ‘A Newly-found Fragment of an Anglo-Saxon Psalter’, ASE 21 (1998), 273–87.Google Scholar London, British Library, Cotton Tiberius C. vi (Old Minster, Winchester, s. ximed) consists of Ps. I-CXIII; The Tiberius Psalter, ed. Campbell, A. P. (Ottawa, 1974).Google Scholar Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 27 (?Winchester, s. x1) consists of Ps. II.4 to CXLIV.6; Der altenglische Junias-Psalter, ed. Brenner, E., Anglistische Forschungen 23 (Heidelberg, 1908).Google Scholar

41 See above, n. 23.

42 Der Lambeth-Psalter, ed. Lindelöf, .Google Scholar On its Winchester provenance, see O'Neill, P. P., ‘Latin Learning at Winchester in the Early Eleventh Century: the Evidence of the Lambeth Psalter’, ASE 20 (1991), 143–66, esp. 162–6.Google Scholar

43 U. Lindelöf reported, less precisely, similar findings in his edition (Der Lambeth-Psalter II, 27).Google Scholar

44Word be Worde’ p. 51.

45 Pulsiano, P., ‘The Scribes and Old English Gloss of the Eadwine's Canterbury Psalter’, Proc. of the PMR Conference 14 (1989), 223–60, at 236Google Scholar; Webber, T., ‘The Script’, The Eadwine Psalter. Text, Image, and Monastic Culture in Twelfth-Century Canterbury, ed. Gibson, M., Heslop, T. A. and Pfaff, R. (London, 1992), pp. 1821.Google Scholar

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47 Berghaus, F.-G., Die Verwandtschaftsverhältnisse der altenglischen Interlinearversionen des Psalters und der Cantica (Göttingen, 1979).Google Scholar This study is cited and examined, along with others, in Pulsiano, ‘The Scribes’, pp. 224–30.

48 Pulsiano, , ‘The Scribes’, p. 230.Google Scholar

49 Catalogue, no. 335; Der altenglische junius-Psalter, p. vii.

50 Der Lambeth-Psalter II, 10 and 31.Google Scholar

51 Ibid. pp. 3–10, esp. 3.

51 Wiesenekker, , ‘Word be Worde’, p. 302.Google Scholar

52 Ibid. p. 303.

54 The thirty-seven editions cited are those cited in Cameron's ‘List’ (cited above, n. 1) for each item in question, with the exception of the four editions made since 1972.

55 I count each edition as one text, with the exception that the following pairs each count as one text: Napier 1889 and 1900, Holthausen 1941 and Campbell 1963, Zupitza 1877 and 1878. Thompson, A. H. and Lindelöf's, U. edition of Rituale Ecclesiae Dunelmensis (Durham, 1927) is counted here as one text though it includes three different kinds of texts listed separately by Cameron: ‘commonplaces’, hymns and the Ritual proper.Google Scholar

Some of the gloss texts examined do not provide very pertinent evidence. The two Lorica glosses are poetry, which often does not conform to the word order patterns of language in full-sentenced conversation or prose, and, furthermore, the poems mostly list body parts to be covered by Christ's protection. The glosses to Prosper are largely glosses to single words; of the four or five phrases, only one is pertinent (on sceortam gedeorfe = LABORE BREUI). The glosses to the Durham proverbs sometimes depart from the Latin in the order of elements that are not pertinent to this study, and even the very few pertinent anglicizations perhaps should be considered as required in the rendering of brief proverbs, e.g. no. 5:

Beforan his freonde biddeþ se þe his wædle mæneþ


The glosses to Proverbs and Alcuin are not part of continuous glosses, but gloss individual words and phrases.

56 The Durham Proverbs, ed. Arngart, O. (Lund, 1956).Google Scholar

57 Förster, M., ‘Die altenglischen Beigaben des Lambeth-Psalters’, ASNSL 132 (1914), 328–35.Google Scholar

58 H. Wanley, Librorum veterum septentrionalium catalogus, vol. II of Hickes, G., Linguarum veterum septentrionalium thesaurus (Oxford, 1705; repr. Hildesheim, 1970).Google Scholar

59 Zupitza, J., ‘Kentische Glossen des neunten Jahrhunderts’, ed. Zupitza, J., ZDA 21 (1877), 159Google Scholar; idem, Zu den kentischen Glossen ZS. 21,1 ff’, ZDA 22 (1878), 223–6Google Scholar; Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies, ed. Wright, T., 2nd ed. by Wülcker, R. P. (London, 1884), cols. 55–88.Google Scholar

60 The Rule of St. Benet ed. Logeman, H., EETS 90 (London, 1888).Google Scholar

61 The Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church: a Study and Edition of the ‘Durham Hymnal’, ed. Milfull, I., CSASE 17 (Cambridge, 1996).Google Scholar

61 Catalogue, p. 343.

61 See above, p. 139.

64 Förster, , ‘Die altenglischen Beigaben’, p. 329Google Scholar; O'Neill, , ‘Latin Learning’, p. 145.Google Scholar

65 Such atypical (non-classical) word order in Latin phrases of the sorts we are examining occurs frequendy in some other eleventh-century texts whose glosses we have considered: Abbo of Saint-Germain, Bella Parisiacae urbir, BL Harley 3271, 115v–118 and Oxford, St John's College 154, fols. 221–2; Epitome of Benedict of Aniane, Prognostics and Regularis Concordia: Tiberius A. iii, fols. 164—8, 32v–35v and 3r–27v; Hymns edited by Gneuss, H. (1965): Julius A. vi. and Vespasian D. xii.Google Scholar

66 Smith, T., Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum bibliothecae Cottonianae (Oxford, 1696)Google Scholar, repr. Early English Books 1641–1700 (microfilm, Ann Arbor, MI, 1950), 1122:11.Google ScholarWanley, H., Librorum veterum, p. 232.Google Scholar

67 Wanley, , Librorum vetertum, p. 232.Google Scholar

68 Catalogue, no. 169.

69 Religion and Literature, p.281.

70 See Mitchell, , Old English Syntax, æ 158.Google Scholar

71 Catalogue, p. 269.

72 Ibid. p. 240.

73 The Rule of St Benet, ed. Logeman, , pp. xxxix–xli.Google Scholar

74 And conversely, although the gloss in the Arundel Psalter shows many mistakes of inflection, it follows Latin word order exactly. See Der altenglische Arundel-Psalter, ed. Oess, , pp. 515.Google Scholar

75 Old English Prose Before and During the Reign of Alfred’, ASE 17 (1988), 93138, at 111, n. 111.Google Scholar

76 See above, p. 145.

77 Yerkes, , Syntax and Style, pp. 52–3.Google Scholar

78 Ibid. p. 9.

79 For the Greek interlinear glosses, see Crowley, J., ‘Greek Interlinear Glosses from the Beginnings of the Monastic Reform in Worcester: B.L. Royal 2. A. XX’, Sacris Erudiri 37 (1997), 133–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Thirty-three of the Latin prayers added to the margins of Royal have been edited by Alicia, Corrêa, ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts of Oswald's Houses’, St Oswald of Worcester, ed. Brooks, and Cubitt, , pp. 285324.Google Scholar

80 The hand referred to is the main hand. Thirty-five Latin prayers were added in the margins of the Royal prayerbook. Although Warner, G. and Gilson, J., in their Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Old Royal and Kings Collections, 4 vols. (London, 1921) II, 35—6Google Scholar, noted three or four other hands of Latin marginalia, in addition to the hand of the vast majority of those prayers, which hand they assigned to the tenth century, my analysis and that of Michelle P. Brown, Curator of Manuscripts, the British Library (correspondence, 11 1994) find only two hands distinct from the main hand: one of both the corrupt prayer in the bottom margin of 26v and the agnus dei on the slip fol. 29*, and the other of the two prayers on 37v and 38v. The latter parts of the Greek interlinear glosses on 18v and 28r may well be by the same hand as the prayers added on 26v and 29*.Google Scholar

81 Catalogue, no. 248.

82 Professors Susan Keefe, Sarah Keefer and Mary Richards, whom I first consulted about these two scripts, agreed that they could well be by the same hand. This identity has recendy been confirmed by David, Dumville, English Caroline Script and Monastic History (Woodbridge, 1993), p. 77, n. 350Google Scholar, by A. N. Doane, Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Facsimile, I 52 and by Michelle P. Brown (correspondence, Nov. 1994). Warner and Gilson in 1921 examined the Latin hand and Ker in 1957 examined the Old English, but neither compared the Latin, Greek and Old English hands or discussed the issue of identity. Nor did A. Corrêa in her edition of the Latin prayers in the margins of Royal 2. A. XX: ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts’.

83 ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts’, p. 289.Google Scholar

84 Letter (14 02 1994) from Professor Keefe, of Duke University Divinity School.Google Scholar

85 See above, p. 124.

86 Dumville, D., ‘English Square Minuscule Script: the Background and Earliest Phases’, ASE 16 (1987), 147–79.Google Scholar

87 Liturgy and the Ecclesiastical History,.pp. 7 and 101–2.Google Scholar

88 English Caroline Script (Woodbridge, 1993), p. 143.Google Scholar

89 ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts’, p. 288.Google Scholar

90 Correspondence, 11. 1994.Google Scholar

91 ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts’, p. 291.

92 See above, p. 149.

93 Liturgy, p. 102, n. 33.

94 ‘The Liturgical Manuscripts’, pp. 291 and 307.

95 See Nightingale, J., ‘Oswald, Fleury and the Continental Reform’, St Oswald of Worcester, ed. Brooks, and Cubitt, , pp. 2345.Google Scholar

96 See, for example, Ker, Catalogue, pp. xxvi–xxvii; The Benedictine Office: an Old English Text, ed. Ure, J. (Edinburgh, 1957), p. 60Google Scholar; Keefer, S. L., Psalm-Poem and Psalter-Glosses: the Latin and Old English Psalter-Text Background to ‘Kentish Psalm 50’ (New York, 1991), pp. 22–4.Google Scholar

97 I wish to thank Helmut Gneuss for years ago first suggesting work with the glosses in Royal 2. A. XX, the late Ashley Crandall Amos for later encouraging my getting started, the National Endowment for the Humanities' Summer Seminars for College Teachers programme for the opportunity to gather sources in the Harvard University Library, Auburn University Montgomery for granting leave with pay to work on this project, Mary P. Richards, Sarah Keefer and Michelle P. Brown for helping with questions about the tenth-century Old English and Latin gloss scripts, Susan Keefe for help with the Latin marginal prayers and Daniel Donoghue, Michael Lapidge and, especially, Phillip Pulsiano for giving encouragement, information and many valuable suggestions for the improvement of this article in the later stages of the project.

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