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The seasons of the year in Old English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Earl R. Anderson
Cleveland State University


‘Feower tida synd getealde on anum geare’, Ælfric writes in De temporibus anni, translating a portion of Bede's De temporum ratione, and he enumerates the seasons together with their Latin counterparts: ‘Ver is lenctentid … Aestas is sumer … Autumnus is hærfest … Hiems is winter.’ Byrhtferth of Ramsey enumerates ‘Þa feower timan … lengten, sumor, hærfest and winter’, allegorizing them as symbols of childhood, adolescence, manhood and old age, of blood, choler, black bile and phlegm, and of air, fire, earth and water, and elsewhere he refers to ‘gewrixlunge Þæsra feower timan, Þæt ys lenctenis and sumoris and hærfestis and wintres’. From these passages, and others like them, it would appear that the Anglo-Saxons observed four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter. This conclusion seems obvious enough and represents the conceptual baseline for the Bosworth–Toller dictionary entries for lencten, and lenctentid, sumer, hærfest and winter, even though it is clear from their own citations that lencten and lenctentid often mean ‘Lent’ and hærfest often means ‘harvest’.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1997

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1 Ælfric's De Temporibus Anni, ed. Henel, H., EETS os 213 (London, 1942), 36 (TV. 36–40)Google Scholar; earlier, in Leecbdoms, Wortcunning, and Stareraft of Early England, ed. Cockayne, O., 3 vols., RS (London, 18641866) III, 250Google Scholar: ‘Four seasons are numbered in one year … Ver is lentenrime … Aestas is summer … Autumnus is harvest-rime … Hiems is winter.’ The source is Bede's De temporum ratione, ch. xxxv (‘De quatuor temporibus’), ed. Jones, C. W., Bedae Opera dt Temporibus (Cambridge, MA, 1943), pp. 246–8Google Scholar; see also Bede, De temporibus, eh. viii (ibid. p. 298).

2 Byrhtferth's Enchiridion, ed. Baker, P. S. and Lapidge, M., EETS ss 15 (Oxford, 1995), 12 and 112Google Scholar: ‘the four seasons … spring, summer, harvest and winter’; ‘the four seasons, namely spring, summer, fall and winter’.

3 An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Boswrth, ed. Toller, T. N. (Oxford, 1898), s.v.Google Scholar

4 Etymologiarum sive Originum Libri XX, ed. Lindsay, W. M., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1911), V.xxxv (‘De temporibus’).Google Scholar

5 Ascension [Christ II] 715–46a, in ASPR IIIGoogle Scholar; for discussion, see my Cynewulf. Structure, Style, and Theme in his Poetry (Madison, NJ, 1983), p. 50.Google Scholar

6 SirFrazer, J. G., The Golden Bough, abridged ed. (New York, 1951), pp. 367–9Google Scholar; for Scandinavia, see Davidson, H. R. E., Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions (Syracuse, NY, 1988), pp. 3940.Google Scholar

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19 The Phoenix, ed. Blake, N. F. (Manchester, 1964), lines 152, 162, 363, 420, 428 and 580Google Scholar; Beowulf and The Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Klaeber, F., 3rd ed. (Boston, 1950), lines 264a, 1724a, 1927b, 2114a, 2209a, 2428a, 2277a, 2733a, 2278a and 3050aGoogle Scholar; Genesis A, ed. Doane, A. N. (Madison, WI, 1978), p. 407 s.v. winter for line references.Google Scholar

20 See, for example, The Chester Mystery Cycle I, ed. Lumiansky, R. M. and Mills, D., EETS ss 3 (London, 1974), Noah's Ark (line 149)Google Scholar; Moses and the Ten Commandments (234); Nativity (135); and The Purification: Christ and the Doctors (3).

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25 The Wanderer, ed. Dunning, T. P. and Bliss, A. J. (London, 1969).Google Scholar For winter as symbolic of adversity, see Hanscom, E. D., ‘The Feeling for Nature in Old English Poetry’, JEGP 5 (19031905), 439–63, at 446–7Google Scholar; Moorman, F. W., The Interpretation of Nature in English Poetry from Beowulf to Shakespeare (Strassburg, 1905), pp. 2932CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pons, E., Le Thème et le sentiment de la nature dans la poésie anglo-saxonne (Strasbourg, 1925), pp. 16Google Scholar; Stanley, E. G., ‘Old English Poetic Diction and the Interpretation of The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and The Penitent's PrayerAnglia 73 (1956), 413–66, at 439, repr.Google Scholar in his Collection of Papers with Emphasis on Old English Literature (Toronto, 1987), pp. 257–8Google Scholar; Enlcvist, N. E., The Seasons of the Year: Chapters on a Motif from Beowulf to the Shepherd's Calendar (Copenhagen, 1957), pp. 89.Google Scholar

26 Deor, ed. Malone, K. (Exeter, 1977 (originally published London, 1933))Google Scholar: ‘winter-cold exile’… ‘that passed, so may this’.

27 Andreas and The Fates of the Apostles, ed. Brooks, K. R. (Oxford, 1961).Google Scholar

28 The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. Craig, H. (Chicago, 1951), p. 481.Google Scholar

29 ‘Therefore a man may not become wise, until he has a share of winters in the world.’

30 Stamm-Heyne's Ulfilas, ed. Wrede, F. (Paderborn, 1920).Google Scholar

31 Pokorny, , Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, pp. 293–7.Google Scholar

32 ASPR VI, 2830Google Scholar; Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples, ed. Dickins, B. (Cambridge, 1915), pp. 1223 [text and translation]Google Scholar: ‘Summer is a joy to men, when God, the king of heaven, suffers the earth to bring forth bright fruits for rich and poor.’

33 Chantraine, P., Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grècque: Histoire des mots, 2 vols. (Paris, 19681980), pp. 1303–4Google Scholar, on Greek ὦρος ‘year’,⋯ρα ‘time, season, spring’, Old Slavic jars, jara ‘spring’.

34 Grein, C. W. M., Sprachschatz der angelsächsischen Dichter, ed. Holthausen, F. and Köhler, J. J. (Heidelberg, 1912), p. 250Google Scholar, noted by Dobbie in ASPR VI, 155n.

35 The Old English Rune Poem, ed. Halsall, M. (Toronto, 1981), pp. 88–9 and 124–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

36 Lines 28–30, ed. Dickins, , Runic and Heroic Poems, p. 30Google Scholar: ar ‘is a blessing to men and good summer and abundant crops’; see also The Old English Rune Poem, ed. Halsall, , pp. 184–5.Google Scholar

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38 Guthlac B (quoted from ASPR III), lines 1272b–1278a: ‘flowing with honey in the summer season’; Daniel, in ASPR I.

39 Germania, ch. xxvi, in Tacitus, , Dialogues, Agricola, Germania, ed. Peterson, W. and Hutton, M. (London, 1920), p. 300Google Scholar: ‘For winter, spring and summer they [the Germans] have knowledge and a name; of autumn they are ignorant of both the name and the bounty [of harvest].’

40 Walafrid, Strabo, De cultura hortorum II. 25Google Scholar, in MGH, PLAC II, 336Google Scholar, and Carmina Salisburgensia (ibid. p. 644); Poeta, Saxo, in MGH, PLAC IV, 44.Google ScholarTuve, R., Seasons and Months: Studies in a Tradition of Middle English Poetry (Paris, 1933), p. 33Google Scholar, writes about Carolingian and Middle English examples of this theme but is unaware of its significance in Old English literature.

41 Ælfric, Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed Thorpe, B., 2 vols. (London, 18441846) I, 100, lines 2–3Google Scholar; Exameron Anglice, or The Old English Hexameron, ed. Crawford, S. J. (Hamburg, 1921, repr. Darmstadt, 1968), p. 42 (lines 114–15).Google Scholar

42 Bedae Opera de Temporibus, ed. Jones, , pp. 190–3Google Scholar; Ælfric, De temporibus, ed. Cockayne, , p. 237Google Scholar, and for vernal equinox as the Hebrew New Year, p. 246 (pp. 1618 in Henel's edition).Google ScholarThe Old English Martynlogy, ed. Herzfeld, G., EETS os 116 (London, 1900), 3848Google Scholar, identifies 18–24 March as the seven days of creation. In its surviving form this text makes no mention of lencten; however, a leaf is missing where 18 March would be presented, and it is possible that the prose Martynlogy also associated lencten with creation.

43 Leechdoms, ed. Cockayne, , p. 152Google Scholar: ‘the beginning of all the year, by right reckoning, [because] the Almighty God in this month created all creation’.

44 Menologium, in ASPR VI, 4955Google Scholar; in modern English translation: Malone, K., ‘The Old English Calendar Poem’, in Studies in Language, Literature, and Culture of the Middle Ages and Later, ed. Atwood, E. B. and Hill, A. A. (Austin, TX, 1969), pp. 193–9.Google ScholarLencten as a religious period is discussed by Tupper, F. J., ‘Anglo-Saxon Dæg-Mæl’, PMLA 10 (1895), 111241, at 218–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

45 ‘beautified the regions of earth with branches and leaves’. Klaeber, F., ‘Die christlichen Elemente im Beowulf’, Anglia 35 (1912), 111–36Google Scholar, includes the creation song among the Christian elements but does not explore this liturgical detail; so also Moorman, , Interpretation of Nature, p. 12Google Scholar, Whitelock, D., The Audience of Beowulf (Oxford, 1951), pp. 76–8Google Scholar, Enkvist, , Seasons of the Year, pp. 910Google Scholar, and others who have written about the creation song.

46 Catholicum Anglicum, ed. Herrtage, S. J. H. (London, 1882)Google Scholar; the OED first cites Palsgrave's, JohnL'Eclaircissement de la langue française [1530], ed. Génin, F. (Paris, 1852)Google Scholar; see Enkvist, , Seasons of the Year, pp. 198209.Google Scholar

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53 University of Michigan Middle English Dictionary collection, Additional 27944.

54 Boece I, metrum 5, in The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Robinson, F. N., 2nd ed. (Boston, 1957), p. 326Google Scholar; see also I, m. 6 (p. 328). Chaucer uses the word four times without glossing it.

55 Pickering, J., A Vocabulary or Collection of Words and Phrases Which Have Been Supposed To Be Peculiar to the United States of America (Boston, 1816), p. 91Google Scholar; Bartlett, J. R., The Dictionary of Americanisms (New York, 1849), p. 132.Google Scholar Pickering's information came from Dr J. E. Smith [President of the Linnzan Society] in an article on ‘Deciduous Leaves’ in Rees's Cyclopædia.

56 Standard Dictionary of the English Language, ed. Funk, I. K. (New York, 1895), s.v.fallGoogle Scholar

57 H. W. and Fowler, F. G., The King's English (London, 1906)Google Scholar, quoted and discussed by Mencken, H. L., The American Language, one-volume abridged edition ed. McDavid, R. I. Jr, (New York, 1980), pp. 41–2.Google Scholar

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59 Ælfric, Vita s. Martini episcopi, in Ælfnc's Lives of Saints, ed. Skeat, W. W., EETS os 76, 82, 94 and 114 (London, 18811900) II, 264 (lines 714–16)Google Scholar: ‘sometimes in the likeness of Jove, who is called Thor; sometimes in Mercury's, who men call Odin; sometimes in Venus's, the foul goddess, whom men call Fricg’.

60 Homilies of Ælfric, A Supplementary Collection, ed. Pope, J. C., 2 vols., EETS os 259–60 (Oxford, 1965) II, 681 (lines 99–178).Google Scholar

61 Wulfstan, De falsis deis, in The Homilies of Wulfstan, ed. Bethurum, D. (Oxford, 1957), p. 223 (sermo xii, lines 65–80).Google Scholar

62 De temporibus anni, ed. Henel, , pp. 72 and 74–6Google Scholar; ed. Cockayne, , pp. 272, 274 and 276Google Scholar; ‘zephyr in the Greek language, and in Latin books Favonius [is the wind that blows] from the west … boreas … which drives away [the cold that the] southern wind, auster [brings]’; Maclean, G., ‘Ælfric's Version of Alcuin's Interrogationes Sigeuulfi in Genesin’, Anglia 7 (1884), 159, at 12.Google Scholar

63 Ælfric, De temporibus anni, ed. Henel, , pp. 24–8.Google Scholar The signs of the zodiac are given using interpretado romana in the calendar of MS CCCC 422, ptd Wormald, F., English Kalendars before A.D. 1100, HBS 72 (London, 1934), 184–94.Google Scholar

64 The Uncarpentered World of Old English Poetry’, ASE 20 (1991), 6580.Google Scholar

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67 Lehmann, R. P. M., ‘Color Usage in Irish’, Studies in Language, Literature, and Culture of the Middle Ages and Later, ed. Atwood, and Hill, , pp. 73–9.Google Scholar

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69 Dal, I., ‘Gmc. brûn als Epitheton von Waffen’, Norsk Tidskrift for Sprogvidenskap 9 (1938), 219–30Google Scholar, argues that two separate words, one for hue and one for brightness, coalesce in brun, and Tremarne, H. P., ‘Beowulf's “Ecg Brun” and other Rusty Relics’, PQ 68 (1969), 145–50Google Scholar, argues that Anglo-Saxon weapons were treated chemically to give them a ‘brown’ appearance.

70 Secreta semtorum: Nine English Versions 1, ed. Manzalaoui, M. A. (Oxford, 1977), 152–5 (IV, xi–xv)Google Scholar; for discussion, see Tuve, , Seasons and Months, pp. 4670Google Scholar, and Enkvist, , Seasons of the Year, pp. 41–5.Google Scholar

71 Catholic Homilies, ed. Thorpe, I, 98100Google Scholar: ‘the Hebrew people at vernal equinox, the Greek at summer solstice, and the Egyptian people begin the reckoning of the year in autumn’. Ælfric's source is Bede, De temporum rations, ch. vi (ed. Jones, , Bedae Opera de Temporibus, p. 192).Google Scholar Yet another candidate for New Year's Day was 25 December, Christmas, said to mark the beginning of the year in the Old English Martyrology, ed. Herzfeld, , p. 2.Google Scholar

72 ASPR VI, 98104Google Scholar; ‘the first week of lent, in the month that is called March throughout the realm of the Romans’.

73 OE De temporibus, ed. Henel, , p. 26Google Scholar; ed. and trans. Cockayne, , p. 244Google Scholar: ‘Weeks and months are known to men according to their understanding, and though we should write them according to the sense of books, it will seem to unlearned men too deep and unusual.’

74 De consolatione Philosaphiae, ed. Fox, , p. 74 (ch. xxi)Google Scholar: ‘So has not Almighty God very wisely and very fitly appointed change to all his creatures. Thus spring and harvest. In spring it groweth, and in harvest it ripens. And again summer and winter. In summer it is warm, and in winter cold.’

75 Maxims II, 5b–9 (cited from ASPR VI, 55–7)Google Scholar: ‘Winter is coldest, spring frostiest (it is cold for the longest time), summer brightest with the sun (sun is hottest), autumn most glorious, brings to men the year's fruits, which God sends to them.’ For discussion, see Greenfield, S. B. and Evert, R., ‘Maxims II: Gnome and Poem’, in Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Essays in Appreciation, ed. Nicholson, L. E. and Frese, D. W. (Notre Dame, IN, 1975), pp. 337–54, at 341–2.Google Scholar

76 De temporibus anni, ed. Henel, , p. 38Google Scholar; ed. and trans. Cockayne, III, 252Google Scholar: ‘The lengthening day is cold, since the earth is pervaded by the wintry cold, and it is long before it is warmed again.’

77 Cynewulf's Elene, cited from ASPR II; a version of the Latin Vita Quiriaci appears in Elene, an Old English Poem, ed. Kent, C. W. (Boston, 1891)Google Scholar: ‘the fifth day before the nones of May [May 3]’. For the convergence of seasons, months and feast days, see Howe, N., The Old English Catalogue Poems (Copenhagen, 1985), pp. 76 and 81–2.Google Scholar

78 Æljric's Homilies, ed. Thorpe, I, 100Google Scholar: ‘March, which you call Hlyda.’

79 Bede, De temporum rations, ch. xv, ed. Jones, , Bedae Opera de Temporibus, pp. 211–13.Google Scholar See also Harrison, K., ‘The Primitive Anglo-Saxon Calendar’, Antiquity 47 (1973), 284–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar, who notes that the Anglo-Saxon year was complex, being based upon twelve lunar months (including the two double-months), but in certain years has thirteen lunar months depending upon the requirements of a given solar year.

80 Martyrology, ed. Herzfeld, , pp. 216, 12, 88 and 110, respectively.Google Scholar

81 Dobbie, , in ASPR VI, lxvGoogle Scholar; Hennig, J., ‘The Irish Counterparts of the Anglo-Saxon Menologium’, MS 14 (1952), 98106.Google Scholar

82 These are described by Fowler, J., ‘On Mediaeval Representations of the Months and Seasons’, Archæologia 44 (1873), 136–40Google Scholar, and again by Webster, J. C., The Labors of the Month in Antique and Mediaeval Art (Evanston, IL, 1938), pp. 53–6Google Scholar with illustrations, pls. xvii–xx. Cotton Julius A. vi was mentioned by Turner, S. in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, 2 vols. (London, 1828) II, 546Google Scholar, and both calendar series are mentioned in Backhouse, J., Turner, D. H. and Webster, L., The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art 966–1066 (London, 1984), pp. 75–6, 158 and 162.Google Scholar The Cotton Tiberius B. v illustration for October is reproduced as fig. 2 in Oggins, R. S., ‘Falconry in Anglo-Saxon England’, Mediaevalia 7 (1981), 173208, at 176.Google Scholar

83 MGH, PLAC I, 604–16, and II, 578–9Google Scholar with ‘labours of the month’ illustrations in the tenth-century Vatican codex Reg. 438; Ydioma minsium, in Carmina Salisburgensia (PLAC II, 644–5)Google Scholar; the illustrated manuscript from Munich is Staatsbibl. Clm. 210. For discussion of Wandalbert's De mensium, see Tuve, , Seasons and Months, pp. 2930.Google Scholar For discussions of the Salzburg illustrations, see Riegl, A., ‘Die mittelalterliche Kalendarillustration’, Mittheilungen des Instituts für österreichische Geschichtsforschung 10 (1889), 3740Google Scholar; Sénécal, J. le, ‘Les occupations des mois dans l'iconographie du moyen âge’, Bulletin de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie 35 (1924), 3557Google Scholar; Webster, , Labors of the Months in Antique and Mediaeval Art, pp. 3753.Google Scholar

84 Tuve, , Seasons and Months, p. 90Google Scholar; see also pp. 11–70. Willard, J. F., ‘Occupations of die Months in Mediaeval Calendars’, Bodleian Quarterly Record 7 (1932), 33–9Google Scholar omits the Anglo-Saxon examples.

85 ‘As ancient men reckoned it of old, ripe in wisdom.’

86 ‘A man old in winters must determine the holy days [Easter and Ascension] through knowledge of the cycle [or the zodiac].’

87 Ælfric's Homilies, ed. Thorpe, I, 99Google Scholar; for discussion, see Harrison, K., ‘The Beginning of the Year in England, c. 500–900’, ASE 2 (1973), 5170.Google Scholar

88 ‘As was heard throughout the middle earth; that glorious event was made known to the folk.’

89 The Phoenix, ed. Blake, N. E. (Manchester, 1964)Google Scholar includes an edition of the Carmen de avephoenice as Appendix I (pp. 8892)Google Scholar; ‘Moreover, neither summer nor winter approaches this source, / rather the sun pours the day from a spring sky.’

90 ‘The woods are equally hung with fruits [during] winter and summer.’

91 ‘Similarly, one brings home earth's fruits for sustenance, delightful food in the harvest, before the coming of winter, lest the rain shower destroy them under the clouds. There they [mankind] find support, sustenance and happiness when frost and snow with great force cover the earth with winter garments. From those fruits must once again be brought forth the prosperity of men through the natural properties of the corn; as soon as the pure seed is sown the sun's beam, life's token, awakens the world-treasures in the spring, so that the crops are afterwards brought forth, the fruit on earth. Just so the bird comes old after years, then young again, clothed with flesh.’

92 Seasons of the Year, p. 11.Google Scholar

93 Müllenhoff, K., ‘Der Mythus von Beowulf’, ZDA 7 (1849), 419–41Google Scholar, and again in Beowulf: Untersuchungen über das angelsächsische Epos und die älteste Geschichte der germanischen Seevölker (Berlin, 1889), pp. 1109Google Scholar; Sarrazin, G., Beowulf-Studien: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte altgermanischer Sage und Dichtung (Berlin, 1888)Google Scholar, and his review of Müllenhoff's, Beowulf: Untersuchungen in Englische Studien 16 (1892), 7185.Google Scholar Again, Moorman, , Interpretation of Nature, pp. 56 and 97Google Scholar, alludes to nature-myths and personification of seasons. The approach to Beowulf zs an allegory of the seasons was laid to rest by Lawrence, W. W. in Beowulf and Epic Tradition (Cambridge, MA, 1928), pp. 144–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

94 Seasons and Months, p. 91.Google Scholar

95 ‘Until another summer came in the yards, as it still does, as the season continually turns, gloriously bright weather. The winter was banished, the bosom of earth [became] fair.’

96 Njáls saga, ed. Jónsson, F. (Halle, 1908), chs. 2 and 6Google Scholar; Ayres, H. M., ‘The Tragedy of Mengest in Beowulf’, JEGP 6 (1917), 282–95, at 291.Google Scholar

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99 Beowulf and The Fight at Finnsburg, ed. Klaeber, , p. 175, note to lines 1134–1136a.Google Scholar

100 ‘Inner Weather and Interlace’, p. 83.Google Scholar

101 Puhvel, M., ‘The Melting of the Giant-Wrought Sword in Beowulf’, ELN 7 (1969), 81–4, notes Celtic parallels.Google Scholar

102 The Blickling Homilies, ed. Morris, R., EETS os 58,63 and 73 (London, 18741880), pp. 208–11.Google ScholarMalone, K., in ‘Grendel's Abode’, Studia Philologies et letteraria in honorem L. Spitzer (Bern, 1958), pp. 297308Google Scholar, proposes a literal identity of Grendel's mere with hell; Goldsmith, M. E., The Mode and Meaning of Beowulf (London, 1970), pp. 115–17Google Scholar, proposes instead a symbolic association.

103 Sedgefield, W. J., ‘The Scenery in BeowulfJEGP 35 (1936), 161–9, at 162Google Scholar; this solution is not a possibility, since bearwas means ‘woods’, not ‘trees’.

104 Beowulf and The Fight at Finnsburh, ed. Klaeber, , p. 183, note to line 1363.Google Scholar

105 Robertson, D. W. Jr, ‘The Doctrine of Charity in Mediaeval Literary Gardens: A Topical Approach through Symbolism and Allegory’, Speculum 26 (1951), 2449CrossRefGoogle Scholar, repr. in An Anthology of Beowulf Criticism, ed. Nicholson, L. E. (Notte Dame, IN, 1963).Google Scholar

106 Butts, R., ‘The Analogical Mere: Landscape and Terror in Beowulf’, ES 68 (1987), 115–21, at 115Google Scholar; contrast Sedgefield, ‘The Scenery’, and Lawrence, W. W., ‘The Haunted Mere in Beowulf’, PMLA 27 (1912), 208–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

107 The Seafarer, ed. Gordon, I. L. (London, 1960)Google Scholar: ‘spent the winter in the paths of exile’.

108 ‘Icelandic Runic Poem’, stanza 7, in Runic and Heroic Poems, ed. Dickins, , p. 30.Google Scholar

109 Lines 48–55a: ‘Woods take to blossoms, villages grow fair, fields beautify, the world hastens on; all these admonish the mind eager to go, the heart eager for the journey, for him who intends thus on the flood-paths to depart. So also the cuckoo admonishes with sad voice, the guardian of sumer sings, announces sorrow bitter in the breast.’

110 Early English Lyrics, ed. Chambers, E. K. and Sidgwick, F. (London, 1907), p. 8Google Scholar; for the variant, p. 329, and Varnhagen, H., ‘Zu mittelenglischen Gedichten’, Anglia 4 (1871), 207.Google ScholarAgain, The Harley Lyrics, ed. Brook, G. L. (Manchester, 1956)Google Scholar, no. 11, ‘Spring’, pp. 43–4.Google Scholar

111 These are the translations respectively of The Exeter Book II, ed. Mackie, W. K. (London, 1934), p. 5Google Scholar; Gordon, , Anglo-Saxon Poetry, p. 77Google Scholar; Kennedy, C. W., The Earliest English Poetry (New York, 1943), p. 106Google Scholar; Whitelock, D., ‘The Interpretation of The Seafarer’, The Early Cultures of North-WestEurope (H. M. Chadwick Memorial Studies), ed. Sir Fox, C. and Dickins, B. (Cambridge, 1950), pp. 259–72, at 263–4, repr.Google Scholar in Old English Literature: Twenty-Two Analytical Essays, ed. Stevens, M. and Mandel, J. (Lincoln, NE, 1968), pp. 198211, at 203Google Scholar; and Campbell, A. P., ‘The Seafarer: Wanderlust and our Heavenly Home’, Revue de l'Université d'Ottawa 43 (1973), 235–47, at 243.Google Scholar

112 Smithers, G. V., ‘The Meaning of The Seafarer and The Wanderer’, 28 (1959), 122 and 99104, at 7Google Scholar, and Cross, J., ‘On the Allegory of The Seafarer-Illustrative Notes’, 28 (1959), 104–6, at 104–5Google Scholar, citing Gregory's homily as published in PL 76, cols. 1077–81; Leslie, R. F., ‘The Meaning and Structure of The Seafarer’, The Old English Elegies: New Essays in Criticism and Research, ed. Green, M. (Madison, NJ, 1983), pp. 96122, at 106Google Scholar; Blake, N. F., ‘The Seafarer, Lines 48–9’, N & Q 207 (1962), 163–6.Google Scholar

113 Greenfield, S. B., ‘Sylf, Seasons, Structure and Genre in The Seafarer’, ASE 9 (1981), 199211, at 208, n. 38.Google Scholar This essay is repr. in his Hero and Exile: The Art of Old English Poetry, ed. Brown, G. H. (London, 1989), pp. 171–83.Google Scholar

114 ‘The shadow-walker came hastening in the dark night.’

115 Cited from Sir Gavain and the Green Knight, ed. SirGollancz, I., EETS os 210 (Oxford, 1940)Google Scholar: ‘a year passes very quickly’; ‘then autumn hastens, and quickly becomes severe’ [or, alternatively, ‘urges him (summer) on’].

116 ‘ages and withers’.

117 ‘Sylf, Seasons, Structure and Genre in The Seafarer’, p. 208.Google Scholar

118 Bately, J., ‘Time and the Passing of Time in “The Wanderer” and Related OE Texts’, Essays and Studies n.s. 37 (1984), 115, at 56.Google Scholar

119 The Husband's Message, lines 22–3, in Three Old English Elegies, ed. Leslie, R. F. (Manchester, 1961), p. 49Google Scholar; Alcuin's Conflictos veris et hiemis, in MGH, PLAC I, 270–1Google Scholar, trans. Alfred, W., ‘Dedicatory Poem: A Translation of Alcuin's “Debate of Spring with Winter”’, Franciplegius: Medieval and Linguistic Studies in Honor of Francis Peabody Magoun, Jr, ed. Bessinger, J. B. Jr, and Creed, R. (New York, 1965), pp. 1718Google Scholar; for the cuckoo as harbinger of spring, see Jackson, K., Early Celtic Nature Poetry (Cambridge, 1935), p. 23Google Scholar; for its role as symbolic of sorrow, sickness or death, see Sieper, E., Die altenglische Elegie (Strassburg, 1915), pp. 70–7Google Scholar; Wardale, E. E., Chapters on Old English Literature (London, 1935), p. 101Google Scholar; Anderson, O. S., ‘The Seafarer’, an InterpretationGoogle Scholar, Humanistika, K. Vetenskapssamfundets i Lund 1 (Lund, 19371938), 22–6Google Scholar; Henry, P. L., The Early English and Celtic Lyric (London, 1966), pp. 67 and 74Google Scholar; Pheifer, J. D., ‘The Seafarer, Lines 53–55’, RES n.s. 16 (1965), 282–4.Google Scholar In medieval Welsh poetry, the cuckoo is symbolic of hiraeth ‘longing’ and especially separation from loved ones: see Williams, I., Lectures in Early Welsh Poetry (Dublin, 1944), pp. 1213.Google Scholar

120 Early English Lyrics, ed. Chambers, and Sidgwick, , p. 4.Google Scholar

121 Wülker, R. P., Altenglisches Lesebuch, 2 vols. (Halle, 18741880) I, 44.Google Scholar

122 Early English Lyrics, ed. Chambers, and Sidgwick, , p. 3.Google Scholar

123 Harley Lyrics, ed. Brook, , no. 17 (p. 53).Google Scholar

124 Parliament of Fouls, lines 680–2, repeated as lines 685–6 and 690–2. Boece I, metrum 5, in The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Robinson, .Google Scholar

125 Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology, ed. Davies, R. T. (Chicago, 1964), p. 132n.Google Scholar; for the earlier lyrics, see pp. 50–1.

126 Chaucer, , Boece I, metrum 5, 23–6.Google Scholar

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