The Rudiments of Grammar
for the English Saxon Tongue
by Elizabeth Elstob

as I have before observ’d, it must be very difficult to imagin, how a Man can judge of a thing he knoweth nothing of, whether there can be occasion or no to consider it

It may seem surprising that the first Anglo-Saxon grammar in English was written by a woman. But consider:

On the one hand, the English universities of Elizabeth Elstob’s time didn’t admit women. The first would be London University in 1868, fully a century and a half in the future, followed by Oxford, Cambridge and Durham over the next few decades. And in each case, taking degrees—as opposed to sitting for examina­tions—came still later: 1878 for London, 1895 for Durham . . . and well into the 20th century for Oxford and Cambridge.

On the other hand, those same universities didn’t teach English—whether literature or the history of the language—and would not do so until late in the 19th century. So if your particular interest was the English language, it would have made no difference if you had a university education.

Enter Elizabeth Elstob (1683–1756). Limits on female education didn’t stop her from learning Latin and Greek, French and German. Opportunities expanded still more when she went to live with her clergyman brother—who did have the benefit of a university education. Unfortunately he died in the year her second scholarly work, the Anglo-Saxon Grammar, was published. She spent the rest of her life as a teacher, first running a small school and then as governess in the Duke of Portland’s household.

Anglo-Saxon Script

For the ebook, I have put all Anglo-Saxon—and, rarely, Gothic—into sans-serif type for consistency. (If this is your browser’s default for all text, you will simply have to pay close attention.)

The printed book used the letterforms found in manuscripts. Some are essentially the same as those used today; a few are significantly different. Font support for some of these characters is spotty. If your device can’t display the letters in the second column—or if archaic letters simply make your brain tired—use the modern-script version of this page instead. It is identical in every way except the letterforms.

insular d
insular f
insular g
insular r
insular s
insular tꞆ ꞇ
wynnǷ ƿ
thatꝤ ꝥ

The letter the author calls G is properly yogh, later to be written as ȝ (lower-case) and Ȝ (upper-case). The letter she calls “double u” is wynn; she may not have known the name. For capital letters other than and Ƿ, the printed book either uses modern letterforms, or a form that never made it into unicode at all (see page 3), so I’ve stuck with the modern forms.

There are also:

dotless iı
dotted y
ashÆ æ
ethÐ ð
thornÞ þ

but those should not cause trouble for anyone, so I have left them as printed. As far as I can make out, eth ð and thorn þ in Elstob’s book are absolutely and completely inter­changeable, although they ought to represent different sounds: voiced ð, unvoiced þ.

In the book’s font, wynn ƿ and p look very similar:

page image showing word “spew”

When in doubt, I checked against Bosworth-Toller, available online thanks to Prague’s Charles University.


I have silently simplified and regularized headings in inflectional tables. For example,

A. Me, me, from the Goth. 𐌼𐌹𐍂. Acc. Uꞅ, us. Acc. Ƿıꞇ, we two.
Ab. Me, for, or from me. Abl. Uꞅ, from us. Abl. Unc, unᵹe, & uncꞃum, for us two.

can perfectly well be expressed as

Acc. Me, me, from the Goth. 𐌼𐌹𐍂. Uꞅ, us. Ƿıꞇ, we two.
Abl. Me, for, or from me. Uꞅ, from us. Unc, unᵹe, & uncꞃum, for us two.

Finally, a few lists such as numbers and prepositions were printed as massive run-on paragraphs. I have broken them into line-by-line lists for readability.

This and That

“Dr. Hickes” is George Hickes (1642–1715), who died in the year Elstob’s Grammar was published. (Don’t be misled by the “Dr.” Academic doctorates in England were several centuries away; he was a Doctor of Divinity.)

I have supplied close-quotes where needed. As usual for its time, the book put an open-quote at the beginning of each line of a multi-line quotation, and dispensed with the close-quote.

Apostrophes are often omitted: “These Gentlemens ill Treatment” and so on.

Following the usage of the time, citations in German were printed in Fraktur. I have approximated the effect by putting them in blackletter instead.

The word “perfect” means, etymologically, “complete” or “fully done”.


This ebook is based on the 1715 edition—so far as I know, the only one there was—printed by W. Bowyer.

Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each section. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space.


Elstob’s Grammar had neither hide nor hair of a Table of Contents, Index, or any other aid to navigation. Here are the main sections:


for the

English-Saxon Tongue,
First given in English:
with an

For the Study of

Being very useful towards the understanding our
ancient English Poets, and other WRITERS.

By Elizabeth Elstob.

Our Earthly Possessions are truly enough called a Patrimony, as derived to us by the Industry of our Fathers; but the Language that we Speak is our Mother-Tongue; And who so proper to play the Criticks in this as the Females.

In a Letter from a Right Reverend Prelate to the Author.


Printed by W. Bowyer: And Sold by J. Bowyer at the Rose in Ludgate-street, and C. King in Westminster-hall, 1715.


picture of coin showing Caroline of Ansbach in profile

Her Royal Highness



THIS small Treatise, which the Author once hoped to have had the Honour of dedicating to Her Royal Highness the Princess SOPHIA, a Lady endowed with all Princely Accomplishments, and particularly a most Bounteous Patroness of Letters, begs leave now most humbly to offer itself to Your Royal Highness’s gracious Acceptance, who so undoubtedly inherit all the Royal and Illustrious Qualities of that Great Lady.

Madam, it addresses itself to Your Royal Highness, congratulating Your Auspicious Arrival into England, in a Language which bears a Name that is common both to the German and English Nations, the SAXON. This will not, I presume, make it a less agreeable Present to Your Royal Highness, in whose Royal Offspring the Saxon Line is to be continued, with encrease of all Princely and Heroick Virtues. If this may seem too much a Trifle, to deserve Admittance to Your Royal Highness, it being a Treatise of Grammar, Your Royal Highness will be pleased to remember, that it hath not only been thought worthy of their Protection, but even to employ the Pens of some great Emperors and Kings. Julius Cæsar writ three Books, de Analogia, and the Emperor Charlemaign, from whom so many Renowned Princes are descended, composed a Grammar for his own Language, the ancient Francick: which is the Mother of the present German, and of near Alliance with the Anglo-Saxon, all of them confessing their Original from the Goths.

Hoping it might yield some kind of Diversion to Your Royal Highness, I have here and there interspersed some Instances, of German, Francick, and Gothick Words, whereby that Affinity is declared. I am the more in hopes of Your Royal Highness’s kind Aspect upon this little Work, after the Precedent of such Great and Royal Examples, when I understand that His Majesty, Your Royal Father, Our most gracious Sovereign, who is a great Judge and Promoter of all good Learning, doth in a more particular manner recommend the cultivating the Study of the German Antiquities; in order to the right Understanding and Illustration of which, the Knowledge of the English-Saxon Language and Antiquities, is so very necessary. I have but one thing more to add, that this Present, worthless as it is, is the humble Tribute of a Female; the First, I imagin, of the kind that hath been offer’d to Your Royal Highness: Such as it is, it desires with all Submission, to be received into Your Royal Highness’s Favourable Protection, together with the Author, who with most hearty Prayers for Your Royal Highness, and Your whole Royal House, begs leave to subscribe her self,

May it please Your Royal Highness,

Your Royal Highness’s

Most Dutiful, and Most
Obedient Humble Servant,

Elizabeth Elstob.

Notes and Corrections: Dedication

the Author once hoped to have had the Honour of dedicating to Her Royal Highness the Princess SOPHIA
[Sophia of Hanover—granddaughter of James I/VI and mother of George I—holds the dubious distinction of being the oldest heir to the British throne. She died in June 1714, aged 83. If she had held on for another two months she would have succeeded Queen Anne; instead the crown went to her son. His son, the future George II, had married Caroline of Ansbach in 1705; she is the Princess of Wales to whom the book is dedicated.]

His Majesty, Your Royal Father
[Your royal father-in-law, that is.]

i B

decorative headpiece

to the

Reverend Dr. Hickes.


SOON after the Publication of the Homily on St. Gregory, I was engaged by the Importunity of my Friends, to make a Visit to Canterbury, as well to enjoy the Conversation of my Friends and Relations there, as for that Benefit which I hoped to receive from Change of Air, and freer Breathing, which is the usual Expectation of those, who are used to a sedentary Life and Confinement in the great City, and which renders such an Excursion ii now and then excusable. In this Recess, among the many Compli­ments and kind Expressions, which their favourable Acceptance of my first Attempt in Saxon, had obtain’d for me from the Ladies, I was more particularly gratified, with the new Friendship and Conversation, of a young Lady, whose Ingenuity and Love of Learning, is well known and esteem’d, not only in that Place, but by your self: and which so far indear’d itself to me, by her promise that she wou’d learn the Saxon Tongue, and do me the Honour to be my Scholar, as to make me think of composing an English Grammar of that Language for her use. That Ladies Fortune hath so disposed of her since that time, and hath placed her at so great distance, as that we have had no Opportunity, of treating farther on this Matter, either by Discourse or Correspondence. However though a Work of a larger Extent, and which hath amply experienced your Encouragement, did for some time make me lay aside this Design, yet I did not wholly reject it. For having re-assumed this Task, and accomplish’d it in such manner as I was able, I now send it to you, for your Correction, and that Stamp of Authority, it must needs receive from a Person of such perfect and exact Judgement in these Matters, in order to make it current, and worthy of Reception from the Publick. Indeed I might well have spared my self the labour of such an Attempt, after the elaborate Work of your rich and learned Thesaurus, and the ingenious Compendium of it by Mr. Thwaites; but considering the Pleasure I my self had reaped from the Knowledge I have gained from this Original of our Mother Tongue, and that others of my own Sex, might be capable of the same Satisfaction: I resolv’d to give them the Rudiments of that Language in an English Dress. However not ’till I iii B2 had communicated to you my Design for your Advice, and had receiv’d your repeated Exhortation, and Encouragement to the Undertaking.

The Method I have used, is neither entirely new, out of a Fondness and Affectation of Novelty: nor exactly the same with what has been in use, in teaching the learned Languages. I have retain’d the old Division of the Parts of Speech, nor have I rejected the other common Terms of Grammar; I have only endeavour’d to explain them in such a manner, as to hope they may be competently understood, by those whose Education, hath not allow’d them an Acquaintance with the Grammars of other Languages. There is one Addition to what your self and Mr. Thwaites have done on thus Subject, for which you will, I imagine, readily pardon me: I have given most, if not all the Grammatical Terms in true old Saxon, from Ælfrick’s Translation of Priscian, to shew the polite Men of our Age, that the Language of their Forefathers is neither so barren nor barbarous as they affirm, with equal Ignorance and Boldness. Since this is such an Instance of its Copiousness, as is not to be found in any of the polite modern Languages; and the Latin itself is beholden to the Greek, not only for the Terms, but even the Names of Arts and Sciences, as is easily discerned in the Words, Philosophy, Grammar, Logick, Rhetorick, Geometry, Arithmetick, &c. These Gentlemens ill Treatment of our Mother Tongue has led me into a Stile not so agreeable to the Mildness of our Sex, or the usual manner of my Behaviour, to Persons of your Character, but the Love and Honour of one’s Countrey, hath in all Ages been acknowledg’d such a Virtue, as hath admitted of a Zeal even somewhat extravagant. Pro Patria mori, used to be one of the great Boasts of iv Antiquity; and even the so celebrated Magnanimity of Cato, and such others as have been called Patriots, had wanted their Praise, and their Admiration, had they wanted this Plea. The Justness and Propriety of the Language of any Nation, hath been always rightly esteem’d a great Ornament and Test of the good Sense of such a Nation; and consequently to arraign the good Sense or Language of any Nation, is to cast upon it a great Reproach. Even private Men are most jealous, of any Wound, that can be given them in their intellectual Accomplishments, which they are less able to endure, than Poverty itself or any other kind of Disgrace. This hath often occasion’d my Admiration, that those Persons, who talk so much, of the Honour of our Countrey, of the correcting, improving and ascertaining of our Language, shou’d dress it up in a Character so very strange and ridiculous: or to think of improving it to any degree of Honour and Advantage, by divesting it of the Ornaments of Antiquity, or separating it from the Saxon Root, whose Branches were so copious and numerous. But it is very remarkable how Ignorance will make Men bold, and presume to declare that unnecessary, which they will not be at the pains to render useful. Such kind of Teachers are no new thing, the Spirit of Truth itself hath set a mark upon them; Desiring to be Teachers of the Law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, 1 Tim. I. 7. It had been well if those wise Grammarians had understood this Character, who have taken upon them to teach our Ladies and young Gentlemen, The whole System of an English Education; they had not incurr’d those Self-contradictions of which they are guilty; they had not mention’d your self, and your incomparable Treasury of Northern Literature in so cold v and negligent a manner, as betrays too much of an invidious Pedantry: But in those Terms of Veneration and Applause which are your just Tribute, not only from the Learned of your own Countrey, but of most of the other Northern Nations, whether more or less Polite: Who would any of them have glory’d in having you their Native, who have done so much Honour to the Original of almost all the Languages in Europe.

But it seems you are not of so much Credit with these Gentlemen, who question your Authority, and have given a very visible Proof of their Ingenuity in an Instance which plainly discovers, that they cannot believe their own Eyes. “The Saxons, say they, if we may credit Dr. Hickes, had various Terminations to their Words, at least two in every Substantive singular: whereas we have no Word now in use, except the personal Names that has so. Thus Dr. Hickes has made six several Declensions of the Saxon Names: He gives them three Numbers; Singular, Dual, and Plural: We have no Dual Number, except perhaps in Both: To make this plainer, we shall transcribe the six Declensions from that Antiquary’s Grammar.” I would ask these Gentlemen, and why not credit Dr. Hickes? Is he not as much to be believ’d as those Gentlemen, who have transcribed so plain an Evidence of the six Declensions to shew the positive Unreasonableness and unwarrantable Contradiction of their Disbelief? Did he make those six Declensions? or rather, did he not find them in the Language, and take so much pains to teach others to distinguish them, who have Modesty enough to be taught? They are pleased to say we have no Word now in use that admits of Cases or Terminations. But let us ask them, what vi they think of these Words, God’s Word, Man’s Wisdom, the Smith’s Forge, and innumerable Instances more, For in God’s Word, &c. is not the Termination s a plain Indication of a Genitive Case, wherein the Saxon e is omitted? for example, Goꝺeꞅ Ƿoꞃꝺ, Manneꞅ Ƿıꞅꝺom, Smıðeꞅ Heoꞃð. Some will say, that were better supplied by his, or hers, as Man his Thought, the Smith his Forge; but this Mistake is justly exploded. Yet if these Gentlemen will not credit Dr. Hickes, the Saxon Writings might give them full Satisfaction. The Gospels, the Psalms, and a great part of the Bible are in Saxon, so are the Laws and Ecclesiastical Canons, and Charters of most of our Saxon Kings; these one wou’d think might deserve their Credit. But they have not had Learning or Industry enough to fit them for such Acquaintance, and are forc’d therefore to take up their Refuge with those Triflers, whose only Pretence to Wit, is to despise their Betters. This Censure will not, I imagine, be thought harsh, by any candid Reader, since their own Discovery has sufficiently declared thew Ignorance: and their Boldness, to determine things whereof they are so ignorant, has so justly fix’d upon them the Charge of Impudence. For otherwise they must needs have been ashamed to proceed in manner following. “We might give you various Instances more of the essential difference between the old Saxon and modern English Tongue, but these must satisfy any reasonable Man, that it is so great, that the Saxon can be no Rule to us; and that to understand ours, there is no need of knowing the Saxon: And tho’ Dr. Hickes must be allow’d to have been a very curious Enquirer into those obsolete Tongues, now out of use, and containing nothing valuable, yet it does by no means follow (as is plain from what has been said) vii that we are obliged to derive the Sense, Construction, or Nature of our present Language from his Discoveries.”

I would beseech my Readers to observe, the Candour and Ingenuity of these Gentlemen: They tell us, We might give you various Instances more of the essential difference between the old Saxon and modern English Tongue; and yet have plainly made it appear, that they know little or nothing of the old Saxon. So that it will be hard to say how they come to know of any such essential difference, as MUST satisfy any reasonable Man; and much more that this essential difference is so great, that the Saxon can be no Rule to us, and that to understand ours, there is no need of knowing the Saxon. What they say, that it cannot be a Rule to them, is true; for nothing can be a Rule of Direction to any Man, the use whereof he does not understand; but if to understand the Original and Etymology of the Words of any Language, be needful towards knowing the Propriety of any Language, a thing which I have never heard hath yet been denied; then do these Gentlemen stand self-condemned, there being no less than four Words, in the Scheme of Declensions they have borrowed from Dr. Hickes, now in use, which are of pure Saxon Original, and consequently essential to the modern English. I need not tell any English Reader at this Day the meaning of Smith, Word, Son, and Good; but if I tell them that these are Saxon Words, I believe they will hardly deny them to be essential to the modern English, or that they will conclude that the difference between the old English and the modern is so great, or the distance of Relation between them so remote, as that the former deserves not to be remember’d: except by such Upstarts who having no Title to viii a laudable Pedigree, are backward in all due Respect and Veneration towards a noble Ancestry.

Their great Condescension to Dr. Hickes in allowing him to have been a very curious Inquirer into those obsolete Tongues, now out of use, and containing nothing valuable in them, is a Compli­ment for which I believe you, Sir, will give me leave to assure them, that he is not at all obliged; since if it signifies any thing, it imports, no less than that he has employ’d a great deal of Time, and a great deal of Pains, to little purpose. But we must at least borrow so much Assurance from them, as to tell them, that your Friends, who consist of the most learned sort of your own Countrey-men, and of Foreigners, do not think those Tongues so obsolete and out of use, whose Significancy is so apparent in Etymology; nor do they think those Men competent Judges to declare, whether there be any thing contain’d in them valuable or not, who have made it clear, that they know not what is contain’d in them. They wou’d rather assure them, that our greatest *Divines, and Lawyers, and Historians are of another Opinion, they wou’d advise them to consult our Libraries, those of the two Universities, the Cottonian, and my Lord Treasurers; to study your whole Thesaurus, particularly your Dissertatio Epistolaris, to ix C look into Mr. Wanleys large and accurate Catalogue of Saxon Manuscripts, and so with Modesty gain a Title to the Applause of having confest their former Ignorance, and reforming their Judgment. I believe I may farther take leave to assure them, that the Doctor is as little concerned for their Inference, which they think so plain from what has been said, that they are not obliged to derive the Sense, Construction, or Nature of our present Language from his Discoveries. He desires them not to derive the Sense and Construction of which they speak, in any other manner, than that in which the Nature of the things themselves makes them appear; and so far as they are his Discoveries only, intrudes them on no Man. He is very willing they should be let alone by those, who have not Skill to use them to their own Advantage, and with Gratitude.

* Archbishops Parker, Laud, Usher, Bishop Stillingfleet, the present Bishops of Worcester, Bath and Wells, Carlisle, St. Asaph, St. Davids, Lincoln, Rochester, with many other Divines of the first Rank.

The Lord Chief Justice Cook, Mr. Lambard, Selden, Whitlock, Lord Chief Justice Hales, and Parker, Mr. Fortescue of the Temple, and others.

Leland, who writes in a Latin Style in Prose and Verse, as polite and accurate as can be boasted of by any of our modern Wits. Jocelin, Spelman, both Father and Son, Cambden, Whelock, Gibson, and many more of all Ranks and Qualities, whose Names deserve well to be mention’d with Respect, were there room for it in this place.

But to leave these Pedagogues to huff and swagger in the heighth of all their Arrogance. I cannot but think it great Pity, that in our Considerations, for Refinement of the English Tongue, so little Regard is had to Antiquity, and the Original of our present Language, which is the Saxon. This indeed is allow’d by an ingenious Person, who hath lately made some Proposals for the Refinement of the English Tongue, That the old Saxon, except in some few Variations in the Orthography, is the same in most original Words with our present English, as well as with the German and other Northern Dialects; which makes it a little surprizing to me, to find the same Gentleman not long after to say, The other Languages of Europe I know nothing of, neither is there any occasion to consider them: because, as I have before observ’d, it must be very difficult to imagin, how a Man can judge of a thing he knoweth nothing of, whether there can be x occasion or no to consider it. I must confess I hope when ever such a Project shall be taken in hand, for correcting, enlarging, and ascertaining our Language, a competent Number of such Persons will be advised with, as are knowing, not only in Saxon, but in the other Languages of Europe, and so be capable of judging how far those Languages may be useful in such a Project. The want of understanding this aright, wou’d very much injure the Success of such an Undertaking, and the bringing of it to Perfection; in denying that Assistance toward adjusting the Propriety of Words, which can only be had from the Knowledge of the Original, and likewise in depriving us of the Benefit of many useful and significant Words, which might be revived and recalled, to the Increase and Ornament of our Language, which wou’d be the more beautiful, as being more genuine and natural, by confessing a Saxon Original for their native Stock, or an Affinity with those Branches of the other Northern Tongues, which own the same Original.

The want of knowing the Northern Languages, has occasion’d an unkind Prejudice towards them: which some have introduc’d out of Rashness, others have taken upon Tradition. As if those Languages were made up of nothing else but Mono­syllables, and harsh sounding Consonants; than which nothing can be a greater Mistake. I can speak for the Saxon, Gothick, and Francick, or old Teutonick: which for aptness of compounded, and well sounding Words, and variety of Numbers, are by those learned Men that understand them, thought scarce inferior to the Greek itself. I never cou’d find my self shocked with the Harshness of those Languages, which grates so much in the Ears of those that never heard them. I never perceiv’d in the xi C2 Consonants any Hardness, but such as was necessary to afford Strength, like the Bones in a human Body, which yield it Firmness and Support. So that the worst that can be said on this occasion of our Forefathers is, that they spoke as they fought, like Men.

The Author of the Proposal, may think this but an ill Return, for the soft things he has said of the Ladies: but I think it Gratitude at least to make the Return, by doing Justice to the Gentlemen. I will not contradict the Relation of the ingenious Experiment of his vocal Ladies, tho’ I could give him some Instances to the contrary, in my Experience of those, whose Writings abound with Consonants; where Vowels must generally be understood, and appear but very rarely. Perhaps that Gentleman may be told that I have a Northern Correspondence, and a Northern Ear, probably not so fine as he may think his own to be, yet a little musical.

And now for our Monosyllables. In the Controversy concerning which, it must be examin’d, first whether the Charge which is exhibited against the Northern Languages is true, that they consist of nothing but Mono­syllables; and secondly, whether or no the Copiousness and Variety of Mono­syllables may be always justly reputed a fault, and may not sometimes as justly be thought, to be very useful and ornamental.

And first I must assert, that the ancient Northern Languages, do not wholly nor mostly consist of Mono­syllables. I speak chiefly of the Gothick, Saxon, and Teutonick. It must be confest that in the Saxon, there are many Primitive Words of one Syllable, and this to those who know the Esteem that is due to Simplicity and Plainness, in any Language, will rather be judged a Virtue than a Vice: That is, that the first Notions of things should be exprest in the plainest and simplest xii manner, and in the least compass: and the Qualities and Relations, by suitable Additions, and Composition of Primitive Words*; for which the Saxon Language is very remarkable, as has been before observed, and of which there are numerous Examples, in the following Treatise of Saxon Grammar, and infinitely more might have been added.

* Of this the Greeks give us a fair Example, when they express the Original and Author of all Things, their Πατὴρ ἀνδρῶντε θεῶντε, by their Mono­syllable Ζεύς. As the Hebrews do by יה, the Goths the Ancestors of our Saxon Progenitors by the Word 𐌲𐍉𐌸, the Saxons, old Germans, Teutons, Francick, and English, in the Mono­syllable Goꝺ, the Germans Gott, and the French Dieu.

The second Enquiry is, whether or no the Copiousness and Variety of Mono­syllables may be always justly reputed a fault, and may not as justly be thought, to be very useful and ornamental? Were this a fault, it might as justly be charged upon the learned Languages, the Latin and Greek: For the Latin you have in Lilly’s Rules concerning Nouns, several Verses, made up for the most part of Mono­syllables, I mention him not as a Classick, but because the Words are Classical and Mono­syllables; and in the Greek there are several as it were, idle Mono­syllables, that have little Significancy, except to make the Numbers in Verse compleat, or to give a Fulness to their Periods, as the Verses of Homer and other Greek Poets plainly evidence: An Instance or two may suffice;

Ἐξ οὗ δὴ τα πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε.

Here are four Monosyllables in this Verse.

Τὴν δ’ ἐγὼ οὗ λύσω, πρίν μιν καὶ γῆρας ἔπεισιν.

Here are six Monosyllables, and one cutting off.


Ἀλλ’ ἴθι, μὴ μ’ ἐρέθιζε, σαώτερος ὥς κε νέηαι.

Ὅς ᾔδη τά τ᾽ ἐόντα τά τ᾽ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ᾽ ἐόντα,

Hom. Il. I. l. 70.

Here are seven Monosyllables; yet so far is Virgil from being angry with his Master Homer on this Account, that he in a manner transcribes his very Words, imitating him as near as the Latin wou’d permit;

Quæ sint, quæ fuerint, quæ mox ventura trahantur.

Here is the whole Sense of Homer exprest, and five Mono­syllables. But Mr. Dryden, who has exprest the Sense of Virgil with no less Accuracy, gives you the whole Line in Mono­syllables;

He sees what is, and was, and is to come.

Mr. Pope is equally happy in the Turn he has given to the Original, who as he is an exact Master of Criticism, so has he all those Accomplishments of an excellent Poet, that give us just Reason to hope he will make the Father of the Poets speak to us in our own Language, with all the Advantages he gave to his Works in that wherein they were first written, and the modest Opinion he prescribes to his own, and other Mens Poetical Performances, is no Discouragement to these Hopes;

Whoever thinks a faultless Piece to see,

Thinks what ne’er was, nor is, nor e’er shall be.

And Horace, while he is teaching us the Beauties in the Art of Poetry, gives no less than nine Mono­syllables in the compass of a Verse and a half;

Sed nunc non erat his locus: & fortasse cupressum

Scis simulare. Quid hoc si, &c.


Now if these are Beauties, as I doubt not but the politer Criticks will allow, I cannot see why our Language may not now and then be tolerated in using Mono­syllables, whew it is done discreetly, and sparingly; and as I do not commend any of our Moderns who contract Words into Mono­syllables to botch up their Verses, much less such as do it out of Affectation; yet certainly the use of Mono­syllables may be made to produce a charming and harmonious Effect, where they fall under a Judgment that can rightly dispose and order them. And indeed, if a Variety and Copiousness of Feet, and a Latitude of shifting and transposing Words either in Prose or Poetical Compositions, be of any use, towards the rendering such Compositions sweet, or nervous, or harmonious, according to the Exigencies of the several sorts of Stile, one wou’d think Mono­syllables to be best accommodated to all these Purposes, and according to the Skill of those who know how to manage them, to answer all the Ends, either of masculine Force, or female Tenderness; for being single you have a Liberty of placing them where, and as you please; whereas in Words of many Syllables you are more confined, and must take them as you find them, or be put upon the cruel necessity of mangling and tearing them asunder. Mr. Dryden, it is true, wou’d make us believe he had a great Aversion to Mono­syllables. Yet he cannot help making use of them sometimes in entire Verses, nor conceal his having a sort of Pride, even where he tells us he was forc’d to do it. For to have done otherwise would have been a Force on Nature, which would have been unworthy of so great a Genius, whose Care it was to study Nature, and to imitate and copy it to the Life; and it is not improbable, that there might be somewhat of a latent Delicacy and Niceness in this xv Matter, which he chose rather to dissemble, than to expose, to the indiscreet Management of meaner Writers. For in the first Line of his great Work the Æneis, every Word is a Mono­syllable; and tho’ he makes a seeming kind of Apology, yet he cannot forbear owning a secret Pleasure in what he had done. “My first Line in the Æneis, says he, is not harsh.

“Arms and the Man I sing, who forc’d by Fate.

“But a much better Instance may be given from the last Line of Manilius, made English by our learned and judicious Mr. Creech;

“Nor could the World have born so fierce a Flame.

“Where the many liquid Consonants are placed so artfully, that they give a pleasing Sound to the Words, tho’ they are all of one Syllable.”

It is plain from these last Words, that the Subject-matter, Mono­syllables, is not so much to be complain’d of; what is chiefly to be requir’d, is of the Poet, that he be a good Workman, in forming them aright, and that he place them artfully: and, however Mr. Dryden may desire to disguise himself, yet, as he some where says, Nature will prevail. For see with how much Passion he has exprest himself towards these two Verses, in which the Poet has not been sparing of Mono­syllables: “I am sure, says he, there are few who make Verses, have observ’d the Sweetness of these two Lines in Coopers Hill;

“Tho deep, yet clear; tho gentle, yet not dull;

“Strong without Rage, without o’erflowing full.


“And there are yet fewer that can find the reason of that Sweetness, I have given it to some of my Friends in Conversation, and they have allow’d the Criticism to be just.”

You see, Sir, this great Master had his Reserves, and this was one of the Arcana, to which every Novice was not admitted to aspire; this was an Entertainment only for his best Friends, such as he thought worthy of his Conversation; and I do not wonder at it, for he was acquainted not only with the Greek and Latin Poets, but with the best of his own Countrey, as well of ancient as of latter times, and knew their Beauties and Defects: and tho’ he did not think himself obliged to be lavish, in dispersing the Fruits of so much Pains and Labour at random, yet was he not wanting in his Generosity to such as deserved his Friendship, and in whom he discern’d a Spirit capable of improving the Hints of so great a Master. To give greater Probability to what I have said concerning Mono­syllables, I will give some Instances, as well from such Poets as have gone before him, as those which have succeeded him. It will not be taken amiss by those who value the Judgment of Sir Philip Sydney, and that of Mr. Dryden, if I begin with Father Chaucer.

Er it was Day, as was her won to do.


And but I have her Mercy and her Grace,

That I may seen her at the leste way;

I nam but deed there nis no more to say.

xvii D


Alas, what is this wonder Maladye?

For heate or colde, for colde of heate I dye,

Chaucer’s first Book of Troylus, fol. 159. b.

And since we are a united Nation, and he as great a Poet, considering his time, as this Island hath produced, I will with due Veneration for his Memory, beg leave to cite the learned and noble Prelate, Gawen Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld in Scotland, who in his Preface to his judicious and accurate Translation of Virgil, p. 4. says,

Nane is, nor was, nor zit sal be, trowe I,

Had, has, or sal have, sic craft in Poetry:

Again, p. 5.

Than thou or I, my Freynde, quhen we best wene.

But before, at least contemporary with Chaucer, we find Sir John Gower, not baulking Mono­syllables;

Myne herte is well the more glad

To write so as he me bad,

And eke my Fear is well the lasse.

To Henry the Fourth.

King Salomon which had at his asking

Of God, what thyng him was leuest crave.

He chase Wysedom unto governyng

Of Goddes Folke, the whiche he wolde save:

And as he chase it fyl him for to have,


For through his Witte, while that his Reigne laste,

He gate him Peace, and Rest, into his laste.


Peace is the chefe of al the Worldes Welth,

And to the Heven it ledeth eke the way,

Peace is of Soule and Lyfe the Mannes Helth,

Of Pestylence, and doth the Warre away,

My Liege Lord take hede of that I say.

If Warre may be lefte, take Peace on Hande

Which may not be without Gaddes Sande*.

* Besides the Purpose, for which these Verses are here cited, it may not be amiss to observe from some Instances of Words contain’d in them, how necessary, at least useful, the Knowledge of the Saxon Tongue is, to the right understanding our Old English Poets, and other Writers. For example, leuest, this is the same with the Saxon leoꝼoꞅꞇ, most beloved, or desirable. Goddes Folke, not God his Folk, this has plainly the Remains of the Saxon Genitive Case. Sande, this is a pure Saxon Word, signifying Mission, or being sent. See the Saxon Homily on the Birth Day of St. Gregory, p. 2. He ðuꞃh hıꞅ ꞃæꝺe ⁊ ꞅanꝺe uꞅ ꝼꞃam ꝺeoꝼleꞅ bıᵹᵹenᵹum æꞇbꞃæꝺ. He through his Counsel and Commission rescued us from the Worship of the Devil.

Nor were the French, however more polite they may be thought, than we are said to be, more scrupulous in avoiding them, if these Verses are upon his Monument;

En toy qui es fitz de Dieu le Pere,

Sauue soit, qui gist sours cest pierre.

This will be said to be old French, let us see whether Boileau will help us out, who has not long since writ the Art of Poetry;

xix D2

Mais moi, grace au Destin, qui n’ai ni feu ne lieu,

Je me loge où je puis, & comme il plaist à Dieu. Sat. vi.

And in that which follows,

Et tel, en vous lisant, admire chaque traité,

Qui dans le fond de l’ame, & vous craint & vous hait.

Let Lydgate, Chaucer’s Scholar also be brought in for a Voucher;

For Chaucer that my master was and knew

What did belong to sorting Verse and Prose,

Ne’er stumbled at small faults, nor yet did view

With scornful Eye the Works and Books of those

That in his time did write, nor yet would taunt

At any Man, to fear him or to daunt.

Tho’ the Verse is somewhat antiquated, yet the Example ought not to be despised by our modern Criticks, especially those who have any Respect for Chaucer.

I might give more Instances out of John Harding, and our good old Citizen, Alderman Fabian, besides many others: but out of that Respect to the nice Genij of our Time, which they seldom allow to others, I will hasten to the Times of greater Politeness, and desire that room may be made, and attention given to a Person of no less Wit than Honour, the Earl of Surrey, who at least had all the Elegancy of a gentle Muse, that may deserve the Praises of our Sex.

Her Praise I tune whose Tongue doth tune the Spheres,

And gets new Muses in her Hearers Ears.

Stars fall to fetch fresh Light from her rich Eyes,

Her bright Brow drives the Sun to Clouds beneath.



O Glass! with too much Joy my Thoughts thou greets.

And again upon the Chamber where his admired Geraldine was born;

O! if Elyzium be above the Ground,

Then here it is, where nought but Joy is found.

And Michael Drayton, who had a Talent fit to imitate, and to celebrate so great a Genius, of all our English Poets, seems best to have understood the sweet and harmonious placing of Mono­syllables, and has practised it with so great a Variety, as discovers in him a peculiar Delight, even to Fondness; for which however, I cannot blame him, notwithstanding this may be reputed the Vice of our Sex, and in him be thought effeminate. But let the Reader judge for himself;

Care draws on Care, Woe comforts Woe again,

Sorrow breeds Sorrow, one Griefe brings forth twaine,

If live or dye, as thou doost, so do I,

If live, I live, and if thou dye, I dye;

One Hart, one Love; one Joy, one Grief, one Troth,

One Good, one Ill, one Life, one Death to both.


Where as thou cam’st unto the Word of Love,

Even in thine Eyes I saw how Passion strove;

That snowy Lawn which covered thy Bed,

Me thought lookt white, to see thy cheeke so red,

Thy rosye cheeke oft changing in my sight,

Yet still was red to see the Lawn so white:


The little Taper which should give the Light,

Me thought waxt dim, to see thy Eye so bright.


Your Love and Hate is this, I now do prove you,

You Love in Hate, by Hate to make me love you.

And to the Countess of Bedford, one of his great Patronesses;

Sweet Lady yet, grace this poore Muse of mine,

Whose Faith, whose Zeal, whose Life, whose All is thine.

The next that I shall mention, is taken out of an ingenious Poem, entituled, The Tale of the Swans, written by William Vallans in blank Verse in the time of Queen Elizabeth; for the reprinting of which, we are obliged to that ingenious and most industrious Preserver and Restorer of Antiquities, Mr. Thomas Hearne of Oxford;

Among the which the merrie Nightingale

With swete, and swete (her Brest again a Thorne.)

In another Place,

And in the Launde, hard by the Parke of Ware.


To Ware he comes, and to the Launde he flies.


And in this Pompe they hie them to the Head.


I come now to the incomparable Spencer, against whose Judgment and Practice, I believe Scarce any Man will be so bold as to oppose himself;

Assure your self, it fell not all to Ground;

For all so dear as Life is to my Heart,

I deem your Love, and hold me to you bound.


Go say his Foe thy Shielde with his doth bear.


More old than Jove, whom thou at first didst breed.


And now the Prey of Fowls in Field he lies.

Nor must Ben. Johnson be forgotten;

Thy Praise or Dispraise is to me alike;

One doth not stroke me, nor the other strike.


Curst be his Muse, that could lye dumb, or hid

To so true Worth, though thou thy self forbid.

In this Train of Voters for Monosyllables, the inimitable Cowley marches next, whom we must not refuse to hear;

Yet I must on; what Sound is’t strikes mine Ear?

Sure I Fames Trumpet hear.

And a little after,

Come my best Friends, my Books, and lead me on;

’Tis time that I were gone.


Welcome, great Stagirite, and teach me now

All I was born to know.

And commending Cicero, he says,

Thou art the best of Orators; only he

Who best can praise thee, next must be.

And of Virgil thus,

Who brought green Poesy to her perfect Age,

And made that Art, which was a Rage.

And in the beginning of the next Ode, he wou’d not certainly have apply’d himself to WIT in the harsh Cadence of Mono­syllables, had he thought them so very harsh;

Tell me, O tell, what kind of thing is Wit,

Thou who Master art of it.


In a true Piece of Wit all things must be

Yet all things there agree.

But did he believe such Concord to be inconsistent with the use of Mono­syllables; he had surely banished them from these two Lines; and were I to fetch Testimonies out of his Writings, I might pick a Jury of Twelve out of every Page.

And now comes Mr. Waller, and what does he with his Mono­syllables, but,

Give us new Rules, and set our Harp in Tune.

And that honourable Peer whom he commends, the Lord Roscommon thus keeps him in Countenance;

Be what you will, so you be still the same;


And again,

In her full Flight, and when she shou’d be curb’d.

Soon after,

Use is the Judge, the Law, and Rule of Speech.

And by and by,

We weep and laugh, as we see others do,

He only makes me sad who shews the way:

But if you act them ill, I sleep or laugh.

The next I shall mention is my Lord Orrery, who, as Mr. Anthony Wood says, was a great Poet, Statesman, Soldier, and great every thing which merits the Name of Great and Good. In his Poem to Mrs. Philips, he writes thus;

For they imperfect Trophies to you raise,

You deserve Wonder, and they pay but Praise;

A Praise which is as short of your great due,

As all which yet have writ come short of you.


In Pictures none hereafter will delight,

You draw more to the Life in black and white;

The Pencil to your Pen must yield the Place,

This draws the Soul, where that draws but the Face.

But having thank’d these noble Lords for their Suffrage, we will proceed to some other Witnesses of Quality: And first I beg leave to appeal to my Lord Duke of Buckinghamshire, in bes Translation of The Temple of Death;

xxv E

Her Chains were Marks of Honour to the Brave,

She made a Prince when e’er she made a Slave.


By wounding me, she learnt the fatal Art,

And the first Sigh she had, was from my Heart.

My Lord Hallifax’s Muse hath been very indulgent to Mono­syllables, and no Son of Apollo will dare to dispute his Authority in this Matter. Speaking of the Death of King Charles the Second, and his Improvement of Navigation, and Shipping; he says,

To ev’ry Coast, with ready Sails are hurl’d,

Fill us with Wealth, and with our Fame the World.


Us from our Foes, and from our selves did shield.


As the stout Oak, when round his Trunk the Vine

Does in soft Wreaths, and amorous Foldings twine.

And again,

In Charles, so good a Man and King, we see,

A double Image of the Deity.

Oh! Had he more resembled it! Oh why

Was he not still more like; and cou’d not die?

My Lord Landsdown’s Muse, which may claim her Seat in the highest Point of Parnassus, gives us these Instances of her Sentiments in our Favour;

So own’d by Heaven, less glorious far was he,

Great God of Verse, than I, thus prais’d by thee.


Again on Mira’s singing,

The Slave that from her Wit or Beauty flies,

If she but reach him with her Voice, he dies.

In such noble Company, I imagin Mr. Addison will not be ashamed to appear, thus speaking of Mr. Cowley;

His Turns too closely on the Reader press;

He more had pleas’d us, had he pleas’d us less.

And of Mr. Waller,

Oh had thy Muse not come an Age too soon.

And of Mr. Dryden’s Muse,

Whether in Comick Sounds or Tragick Airs

She forms her Voice, she moves our Smiles or Tears.

And to his Friend Dr. Sacheverell,

I’ve done at length, and now, dear Friend, receive

The last poor Present that my Muse can give.

And so at once, dear Friend and Muse, fare well.

To these let me add the Testimony of that Darling of the Muses, Mr. Prior, with whom all the Poets of ancient and modern Times of other Nations, or our own, might seem to have intrusted the chief Secrets, and greatest Treasures of their Art. I shall speak only concerning our own Island, where his Imitation of Chaucer, of Spencer, and of the old Scotch Poem, inscribed the Nut-Brown Maid, shew how great a Master he is, and how much every thing is to be valued which bears the Stamp of his Approbation. And we shall certainly find a great deal to countenance the use of Mono­syllables in his Writings. Take these Examples;

xxvii E2

Me all too mean for such a Task I weet.


Grasps he the Bolt? we ask, when he has hurl’d the Flame.


Nor found they lagg’d too slow, nor flew too fast.

And again,

With Fear and with Desire, with Joy and Pain

She sees and runs to meet him on the Plain.


With all his Rage, and Dread, and Grief, and Care.

In his Poem in answer to Mrs. Eliz. Singer, on her Poem upon Love and Friendship,

And dies in Woe, that thou may’st live in Peace.

The only farther Example of Monosyllabick Verses I shall insert here, and which I cannot well omit, is what I wou’d desire the Author to apply to his own Censure of Mono­syllables, they are these which follow;

Then since you now have done your worst,

Pray leave me where you found me first.

Part of the seventh Epistle of the first Book of Horace imitated, and address’d to a noble Peer, p. ult.

After so many Authorities of the Gentlemen, these few Instances from some of our Female Poets, may I hope be permitted to take place. I will begin with Mrs. Philips on the Death of the Queen of Bohemia;

Over all Hearts and her own Griefs she reign’d.


And on the Marriage of the Lord Dungannon,

May the vast Sea for your sake quit his Pride,

And grow so smooth, while on his Breast you ride,

As may not only bring you to your Port,

But shew how all things do your Virtues court.

To Gilbert Lord Archbishop of Canterbury,

That the same Wing may over her be cast,

Where the best Church of all the World is plac’d.

Mrs. Wharton upon the Lamentations of Jeremiah;

Behold those Griefs which no one can repeat,

Her Fall is steep, and all her Foes are great.

And my Lady Winchelsea in her Poem entituled, The Poor Man’s Lamb;

Thus wash’d in Tears, thy Soul as fair does show

As the first Fleece, which on the Lamb does grow.

Sir, from these numerous Instances, out of the Writings of our greatest and noblest Poets, it is apparent, That had the Enmity against Mono­syllables, with which there are some who make so great a Clamour, been so great in all Times, we must have been deprived of some of the best Lines, and finest Flowers, that are to be met with in the beautiful Garden of our English Posie. Perhaps this may put our Countreymen upon studying with greater Niceness the use of these kind of Words, as well in the Heroick Compositions, as in the softer and more gentle Strains. I speak not this, upon Confidence of any Judgment I have in Poetry, but according to that Skill, which is natural to the Musick xxix of a Northern Ear, which, if it be deficient, as I shall not be very obstinate in its Defence, I beg leave it may at least be permitted the Benefit of Mr. Dryden’s Apology, for the Musick of old Father Chaucer’s Numbers, “That there is the rude Sweetness of a Scotch Tune in it, which is natural and pleasing, tho’ not perfect.”

Sir, I must beg your Pardon for this long Digression, upon a Subject which many will think does not deserve it: but if I have herein discover’d some of the greatest Beauties of our English Poets, it will be more excusable, at least for the respect that is intended to so noble an Art as theirs. But to suspect the worst, considering that I am now writing a Preface, I am provided with another Apology from Mr. Dryden, who cautions his Reader with this Observation, That the Nature of a Preface is Rambling, never wholly out of the way, nor in it. Yet I cannot end this Preface, without desiring that such as shall be employ’d in refining and ascertaining our English Tongue, may entertain better Thoughts both of the Saxon Tongue, and of the Study of Antiquities. Methinks it is very hard, that those who labour and take so much pains to furnish others with Materials, either for Writing, or for Discourse, who have not Leisure, or Skill, or Industry enough to serve themselves, shou’d be allow’d no other Instances of Gratitude, than the reproachful Title of Men of low Genius, of which low Genius’s it may be observed, that they carry some Ballast, and some valuable Loading in them, which may be despised, but is seldom to be exceeded in any thing truly valuable, by light and fluttering Wits. But it is not to be wonder’d, that Men of Worth are to be trampled upon, for otherwise they might stand in the way of these Assumers; and indeed were it not for the Modesty of their Betters, xxx and their own Assurance, they wou’d not only be put out of the way of those Expectations that they have, but out of all manner of Countenance. There is a Piece of History that I have met with in the Life of Archbishop Spotswood, that way not unfitly be remember’d on this Occasion, shewing that studious Men of a private Character are not always to be reputed Men of low Genius: “Nor were his Virtues (says the History) buried and confined within the Boundaries of his Parish, for having formerly had a Relation to the noble Family of Lenox, he was look’d upon as the fittest Person of his Quality to attend Lodowic, Duke of Lenox, as his Chaplain in that honourable Embassy to Henry the fourth of France, for confirming the ancient Amity between both Nations; wherein he so discreetly carried himself, as added much to his Reputation, and made it appear that Men bred up in the Shade of Learning might possibly endure the Sun-shine, and when it came to their turns, might carry themselves as handsomly abroad, as they (whose Education being in a more pragmatick way) usually undervalue them.”

But that of low Genius is not the worst Charge which is brought against the Antiquaries, for they are not allow’d to have so much as common Sense, or to know how to express their Minds intelligibly. This I learn, from a Dissertation on reading the Classicks, and forming a just Stile; where it is said, “It must be a great fault of Judgment if where the Thoughts are proper, the Expressions are not so too: A Disagreement between these seldom happen, but among Men of more recondite Studies, and what they call deep Learning, especially among your Antiquaries and Schoolmen.” This is a good careless way of talking, it may pass well enough for the genteel Negligence, in xxxi short, such Nonsense, as Our Antiquaries are seldom guilty of; for Propriety of Thoughts, without Propriety of Expression is such a Discovery, as is not easily laid hold of, except by such Hunters after Spectres and Meteors, as are forced to be content with the Froth and Scum of Learning, but have indeed nothing to shew of that deep Learning, which is the effect of recondite Studies. And there was a Gentleman, no less a Friend to polite Learning, but as good a judge of it as himself, and who is also a Friend to Antiquities, who was hugely pleased with the Humour of his saying Your Antiquaries, being very ready to disclaim an Acquaintance with all such Wits, and who told me the Antiquaries, were the Men in all the World who most contemn’d Your Men of Sufficiency and Self-conceit. But here his Master Horace is quite slipt out of his Mind, whose Words are,

Scribendi rectè, sapere est & principium & fons.

Rem tibi Socraticæ poterunt ostendere chartæ:

Verbaque provisam rem non invita sequentur.

Thus translated by my Lord Roscommon,

Sound Judgment is the ground of writing well:

And when Philosophy directs your Choice

To proper Subjects rightly understood,

Words from your Pen will naturally flow.

Horace’s Sapere, and my Lord Roscommon’s Proper Subjects rightly understood, I take to be the same as Propriety of Thought, and the non invita sequentur, naturally flowing, I take to import the Fitness and Propriety of Expression. I also gather from hence, that xxxii there is a very easy and natural Connexion between these two, and these same Antiquaries of OURS, must be either very dull and stupid Animals, or a strange kind of cross-grain’d and perverse Fellows, to be always putting a Force upon Nature, and running out of a plain Road. He must either insinuate that they are indeed such, or that Horace’s Observation is not just, or that for the Word invita we ought to have a better reading, for which he will be forc’d to consult the Antiquaries. I know not how some of the great Orators, he has mention’d, will relish his Compli­ments upon the Score of Eloquence, when he has said such hard things against Antiquaries; many of them, and those of chief Note, were his Censure just and universal, must of necessity be involv’d in it. For example, the late Bishop of Rochester, of whom he says, “He was the correctest Writer of the Age, and comes nearest the great Originals of Greece and Rome, by a studious Imitation of the Ancients.” So that, as I take it, he was an Antiquary: If he excludes English Antiquities, I desire him to remember the present Bishop of Rochester, of whom he has given this true Character, “Dr. Atterbury writeth with the fewest Faults, and greatest Excellencies of any who have studied to mix Art and Nature in their Compositions, &c.” He hath however thought fit to adorn the Subject of Antiquities with the Beauties of his Stile, without any Force upon Nature, or the being obliged to forsake her easy and unconstrain’d Method of applying proper Expressions to proper Thoughts. The Bishop of St. Asaph hath shewn his Skill in Antiquities, by more Instances than one; yet do I not find, that even in the Opinion of this Gentleman, it hath spoil’d his Stile. I shall add to these the late and present Bishops of Worcester, the former, xxxiii F Dr. Stillingfleet, is allow’d by all to have been one of the most learned Men and greatest Antiquaries of his Age; and for the present Bishop, who is also a learned Antiquary, take the Character which is given of his Skill and Exactness in the English Tongue from *Bishop Wilkins; “I must acknowledge my self obliged, saith he, to the continual Assistance I have had from my most learned and worthy Friend, Dr. William Lloyd, than whom (so far as I am able to judge) this Nation could not have afforded a fitter Person, either for that great Industry, or accurate Judgment, both in Philological, and Philosophical: Matters, required to such a Work. And particularly, I must wholly ascribe to him that tedious and difficult Task, of suiting the Tables to the Dictionary, and the drawing up of the Dictionary itself, which, upon trial, I doubt not, will be found to be the most perfect, that was ever yet made for the English Tongue.” I will only farther beg leave to mention, the Bishop of Carlisle, Your Self, and Dr. Gibson, who for good Spirit, masterly Judgment, and all the Ornaments of Stile, in the several ways of Writing, may be equalled with the best and most polite. To conclude, if this Preface is writ in a Stile, that may be thought somewhat rough and too severe, it is not out of any natural Inclination to take up a Quarrel, but to do some Justice to the Study of Antiquities, and even of our own Language itself, against the severe Censurers of both; whose Behaviour in this Controversy has been Such, as cou’d not have the Treatment it deserved in a more modest or civil manner. If I am mistaken herein, I beg Pardon: I might alledge that which perhaps xxxiv might be admitted for an Excuse, but that I will not involve the whole Sex, by pleading Woman’s Frailty. I confess I thought it would be to little purpose to write an English Saxon Grammar, if there was nothing of Worth in that Language to invite any one to the study of it; so that I have only been upon the Defensive. If any think fit to take up Arms against me, I have great Confidence in the Protection of the Learned, the Candid, and the Noble; amongst which, from as many as bear the Ensigns of St. George, I cannot doubt of that help, that true Chevalrie can afford, to any Damsel in Distress, by cutting off the Heads of all those Dragons, that dare but to open their Mouths, or begin to hiss against her. But, Sir, before I conclude, I must do you the Justice to insert an extract of two Letters from the Right Honourable D. P. to the Reverend Dr. R. Taylor, relating to your Thesaurus. Lingg. Vett. Septentrion. which indeed might more properly have been placed in the eighth Page of this Preface, had it come sooner to my Hands. It is as follows,

———“The Dean’s Present, which I shall value as long as I live for his sake. Dom. Mabillon was the first that told me of that Work, and said, that the Author was a truly learned Person, and not one of those Writers who did not understand their Subject to the bottom, but, said he, that learned Man is one of ten thousand.”

* See the Epistle to the Reader in the Essay towards a Real Character, p. 3.

And in another Letter to the abovemention’d Dr. Taylor———“When Dom. Mabillon first told me of it, he did not name the Author, so as I understood who he was, but the Elogium he made of him, was indeed very great, and I find that the Dean in one Word, has done that worthy Man Justice.” This high Elogium of your self, and of your great Work, xxxv from so renown’d an Antiquary, as it is a great Defence and Commendation of the Old Northern Learning, so is it the more remarkable, in that it was given by one, against whom you had written in the most tender Point of the Controversy, De Re Diplomatica, as may be seen in your Lingg. Vett Septentr. Thesaur. Præfat. General. p. xxxvi, &c.

Sir, I once more heartily beg your Pardon for giving you so much trouble, and beg leave to give you my Thanks for the great Assistance I have receiv’d in the Saxon Studies from your learned Works, and Conversation; and in particular for your favourable Recommendation of my Endeavours, in a farther cultivating those Studies, who with sincere Wishes for your good Health, and all imaginable Respect for a Person of your Worth and Learning, am,

  Your Most Obliged,
    Humble Servant,

Elizabeth Elstob.

Notes and Corrections: Preface

skip to Anglo-Saxon Grammar

Elizabeth Elstob’s contemporaries must really have had it in for monosyllables, or she would not have felt compelled to spend so many pages defending them. My personal favorite use of monosyllables for poetic effect came a century or so later:

And from that chasm with ceaseless turmoil seething

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing

A mighty fountain momently was forced

[vii] they will hardly deny them to be essential to the modern English
[The technical term “core vocabulary” was still far in the future.]

[viii Footnote] the present Bishops of . . . St. Asaph, St. Davids
[Both in Wales.]

[xiii] Hom. Il. I. l. 70.
[The first three lines were Iliad I.6, I.29 and I.32.]

[xvii] Nane is, nor was, nor zit sal be, trowe I
[Given the context, it’s a bit ironic to see the conventional rendering of yogh as z. It’s really “nor ȝit sal be”.]

[xxii] Nor must Ben. Johnson be forgotten;
spelling unchanged
[Spellings of earlier names wouldn’t be fully canonicalized until the late 19th century. In fact it’s surprising that the author names Cicero a page or two further along; in her time he was more often called Tully (using his nomen rather than his cognomen).]

[xxvii] Grasps he the Bolt? we ask, when he has hurl’d the Flame.
[The words “we ask” are often shown in parentheses, making it plain that they aren’t supposed to count toward the pentameter.]

[xxxiv] might more properly have been placed in the eighth Page of this Preface
[When she started talking about Dr. Hickes.]


group of men in robes



GRammar is the Art of Speaking and Writing, truly and properly. Speaking we use certain Signs, which are necessary to discover our Thoughts to one another. These Signs, are Sound, and Voice.

But besides, Sound, and Voice, by which we are able to converse with one another when present; There are other Signs have been invented, where these Sounds cannot be heard, to supply the want of them in such manner, as that we may both converse with one another at a distance, and communicate our Thoughts to future Ages.

The first of these Signs belongs properly to Speech, of unwritten Discourse. The latter are made use of in Writing.

Hence the Greeks, from whom we receiv’d the first Rudiments of this Art, have deliver’d down to us the 2 Names of these Signs in the Word γράμματα, from γράφω*, I write. The Latins in their Litera, from Lino, I mark, or draw a stroke: The Art itself the Greeks exprest by γραμματικὴ, the Latins by Grammatica and Literatura: Nor were our Saxon Ancestors destitute of a proper Term of Art whereby to express it, which we find in the Word Sꞇæꝼcꞃæꝼꞇ.

Voice and Sound, are either Articulate and Intelligible, such as are used by rational Creatures: or Inarticulate and Confused, such as we observe in Brutes or irrational Creatures to express their Inclinations and Desires.

The first of these the Saxons called anꝺᵹıꞇꝼullıc ꞅꞇemn; that is, a Sound, that may be fully and distinctly understood: For instance, Arms and the Man I sing.

The other ᵹemencᵹeꝺ ꞅꞇemn, a mixed, or confused Sound, by which our understanding of any thing is not so clear and distinct. As the lowing of an Ox, the neighing of a Horse, or the barking of a Dog.

* I cannot but bere observe the Similitude between this Word γράφω, and the Saxon aᵹꞃaꝼene, Exod. ch. xx. v. 4. translated by Ælfric: The Text runs thus, Ne ƿẏꞃc þu þe aᵹꞃaꝼene Goꝺaꞅ. Work not thou for thy self Graven Gods. It is very remarkable, that the Saxon Church in that Age, at least the good Archbishop Ælfric, were not for stifling this Passage.

Of Letters.

A Letter in Saxon ꞅꞇæꝼ, is the least part of any Book or Writing, and cannot be divided. A Book or Writing may be divided into Words, S. cƿẏꝺaꞅ, those Words into Parts, S. ꝺælaꞅ, those Parts into Syllables, S. ꞅꞇæꝼ ᵹeꝼeᵹaꞅ, and after­wards Syllables into ꞅꞇaꝼaꞅ Letters. Beyond this there is no farther Division. In 3 each Letter may be consider’d, its Name, S. Nama, its Figure, or Shape, S. hıƿ, the same as our hue, its Power, S. mıhꞇ, i.e. what Power Letters have being join’d together with one another.

The Saxon Language hath three and twenty Letters, which are thus described.

Last chance! If you can’t see the middle column of this table, use the modern-script version of the ebook instead.

Name. Figure. Power.
A A vowel. a A a
Be B b B b
Ce C c C c
De D D d
E E vowel. e E e
Ef F F f
Ge G G g
Ha H h H h
I I vowel. ı I i
Ka K k K k
El L l L l
Em M m M m
En N n N n
O O vowel. o O o
Pe P p P p
Er R R r
Es S S s
Te T t
V U vowel. u V u
Double u Ƿ ƿ W w
Ics X x X x
Y Gr. vowel much used in the Saxon. Y y
Za Z z Z z
Æ Æ æ Æ æ
Th Ð Þ þ ð Th th
That That that
And & and

page image: Anglo-Saxon alphabet


These Letters are divided into Vowels and Consonants.

A Vowel is a Letter that yields a Sound of itself, without having need of any other Letter to be join’d with it.

There are five Vowels, S. clẏpıᵹenꝺlıce, or ꞅẏlꝼ ꞅƿeᵹenꝺe, a, e, ı, o, u. , is Greek, though very much used in Saxon. It is very natural here to take notice of the Agreement there is between the German, or High-Dutch, and Anglo-Saxon, in their happy expressing the Grammatical Terms by Words of their own. I shall now and then give an Instance both from the modern German, and from the old Francick or Teutonick. What the Saxons called ꞅẏlꝼ ꞅƿeᵹenꝺe, sounding alone, i.e. Vowel, the Germans now write it Selbstlautende.

See Mr. King’s Compleat English Guide for the High-Germans, p. 2.

The Consonants, S. ꞅamoꝺ ꞅƿeᵹenꝺe, Germ. Mitlautende, sounding together, are such Letters, as to render their Sound, must needs be join’d with one of the five Vowels; these are either Semi-Vowels, S. healꝼ clẏpıᵹenꝺe, half Sounding, or Mutes, S. ꝺumbe.

The Semi-Vowels, so called because they have not so full a Sound as the five Vowels, are these seven, ꝼ, l, m, n, ꞃ, ꞅ, x; the first six, eꝼ, el, em, en, eꞃ, eꞅ, begin with the Letter e, and end the Sound in themselves; x, ıcꞅ, alone beginneth with the Vowel ı.

The Mutes, so named because they make but a little Sound, they are these six, b, c, ꝺ, ᵹ, p, ꞇ, these begin of themselves, and end in the Vowel e, as, be, ce, ꝺe, ᵹe, ꝼe, ꞇe; h, and k, and z, end in a, as, ha, ka, za.

Notes and Corrections: Of Letters

skip to next section

The Consonants, S. ꞅamoꝺ ꞅƿeᵹenꝺe, Germ. Mitlautende, sounding together
[Here she says the same thing in four different languages: Latin, Anglo-Saxon, German, English. In general she will be content with two or three.]

The Semi-Vowels, so called
[Today the term is more narrowly constrained to (in English) y and w. The consonants listed in this paragraph are continu­ants—except x, which of course isn’t a single phoneme at all.]

The Mutes, so named
[Today generally called stops.]

be, ce, ꝺe, ᵹe, ꝼe, ꞇe
text unchanged: error for ᵹe, pe, ꞇe

A Syllable ꞅꞇæꝼ ᵹeꝼeᵹ, is that which gives a Sound, by a single Letter, or by many Letters join’d together. 5 G Out of Syllables Words are made. Words make up Speech or Discourse.

Words are distributed into several kinds, which are called the Eight Parts of Speech.

Noun, Nama.

Pronoun, Naman ꞅpelıenꝺ; instead of, or supplying the Place of a Noun.

Verb, Ƿoꞃꝺ; which compleats its own Signification, with a full Sense or Meaning.

Participle, Dælnımenꝺ; Part taking, taking part from a Noun, and part from a Verb.

Participle, Dælnımenꝺ; Part taking, taking part from a Noun, and part from a Verb.
[It is interesting that she considers Participles a distinct part of speech, while lumping Adjectives under Nouns.]

Adverb, Ƿoꞃꝺeꞅ ᵹeꝼeꞃa; that which is join’d with a Verb, but has no meaning consider’d alone.

Conjunction, Geðeoꝺnẏꞅ, or Geꝼeᵹıncᵹ; it signifies nothing of itself, but joins together Nouns or Verbs.

Conjunction . . . joins together Nouns or Verbs
[Or any other part of speech you like: red and yellow, quickly or slowly, above but near.]

Preposition, Foꞃeꞅeꞇnẏꞅ; Placing before, and it serves either a Noun or Verb, always standing before them.

Interjection, Beꞇƿux aƿoꞃpennẏꞅ; it lies between other Words, and denotes the Commotions of the Mind.

Of these eight kinds of Words, four are varied, by different Terminations or Endings, which is called declining, S. ꝺeclınunᵹe*; the other four, without any Variation, are always found the same.

* This is a Latin Word Saxonized, for which they likewise used ᵹebeᵹunᵹ, or ᵹebẏᵹunᵹ, bowing, or inflexion.

These several kinds of Words, with their peculiar Variations and Circum­stances, shall be consider’d each in its proper place.

varied, by different Terminations or Endings, which is called declining
[I think today “declining” or “declension” is applied to nouns and adjectives, while verbs are conjugated. The generic term for everything you do to a word is “inflection”.]


And first of Nouns.

A Noun, S. Nama, is a word by which we name any thing, and by which one thing is distinguish’d from another; and these Names are such as express the several kinds of things, or the Singulars and Individuals of each kind.

The first of these are called Appellatives, or common Names, Gemænelıce*, as a Man, a Horse, a Dog; as Man is the common Name to every human Creature, and Horse to all of that kind, &c.

* Germ. Specie Gemein, as of the word Man, ’tis said, Bekomt allen Menschen insgemein. See Mr. King’s Compleat English Guide for High-Germans.

For the other, namely the Singulars or Individuals, Sẏnꝺeꞃlıce; by these Particulars of each kind are distinguished from one another; or else we may say, that this or that general Name is restrain’d, to this or thar particular Thing or Person; as amongst Men, when we say William, or Edward, we distinguish the single Person William, from that single Person Edward. So likewise when we say St. Paul’s, or St. Peter’s Church, we restrain the common Notion of Church to signifie this particular Church that is called St. Paul’s, or that particular Church which is called St. Peter’s. The Words by which such common and general Words and Names are thus limited and restrain’d, the Grammarians call proper Names.

Germ. Sonderlichen Nahmen, ibid.

Nouns may be consider’d either as giving Name or Signification to a thing, without any other relation or regard, or else as they include some necessary Relations and Circum­stances, which cou’d not be understood or signified without joining them to one of the former.

7 G2

These Self-significant Names, or independent, are stiled Nouns Substantives, Speꝺıᵹlıce.

The other, which always declare some Quality, Circum­stance, or Relation, are called Nouns Adjectives, Nameꞅ ᵹeꝼeꞃa.

An Instance of the first may be in this Noun Substantive Man, or Church, where nothing more is consider’d, than what is barely understood by the word Man, or Church.

An Instance of the second, viz. a Noun Adjective, is when somewhat is added to the Signification of the Noun Substantive, as when we say of Man, a good or virtuous Man, of the Church, holy Church, Church universal.

Concerning Nouns, these Things farther may be consider’d.

Of the Eight Parts of Speech above-mentioned, it hath been observ’d, that four are subject to variety of Termination or Ending, and are said to be declined; the others are not declined. Of the four first, three, namely, Noun, Pronoun, Participle, are declined with Cases, On ᵹebıᵹum. Verb, is declined by Moods, On ᵹemeꞇum, or, On þæꞃe ꞅpꞃæce ƿıᵹon, S.

The Cases of Nouns are Six.

1. Nominative, i.e. Nemnıᵹenꝺlıc, S. With this we name every thing, as, this Man lives.
2. Is Genitive, Geꞅꞇꞃınenꝺlıc, S. or, Geaᵹnıenꝺlıc. By this we signifie the producing or owning any thing, as, this Man’s Son, ðẏꞅeꞅ Manneꞅ Sunu; or this Man’s Horse, ðıꞅeꞅ Manneꞅ Hoꞃꞅ.
8 3. Dative, Foꞃᵹıꝼenꝺlıc. By this we signifie the giving: or bestowing any thing; I give this Man a Horse, ðıꞅum Mann ıc ꝼoꞃᵹıꝼe Hoꞃꞅ.
4. Accusative, Ƿꞃeᵹenꝺlıc, S. With this is declared how Men speak concerning any thing, as, this Man I accuse, þıꞅne Mann ıc ƿꞃeᵹe; this Man I love, þıꞅne Mann ıc luꝼıᵹe; this thing I perceive or apprehend, ðıꞅ þıncᵹ ıc ᵹelæhꞇe.
5. Vocative, Clẏpıᵹenꝺlıc oððe Gecẏᵹenꝺlıc. With this we call upon any Thing, or Person, as, O thou Man speak to me, eala þu Mann ꞅpꞃec ꞇo me.
6. Ablative, Æꞇbꞃeꝺenꝺlıc By this is declared, what we take or receive from others, or from whence we go, as, from this Man I received Money, ꝼꞃam ðıꞅum Mann ıc unꝺeꞃꝼenᵹ ꝼeoh; I rode from the City, ꝼꞃam ðıeꞅe Bẏꞃıᵹ ıc ꞃaꝺ.

Of Genders.

BY Genders, S. Cẏnn, the Names of things are distinguish’d according to their Sex, whether Masculine, S. Ƿeꞃlıc, that is He, or Feminine, S. Ƿıꝼlıc, that is She; and tho’ every thing is properly comprehended under one or the other of these Genders; yet the Grammarians, for some Reasons that shou’d favour their Art, have invented a Term which expresses neither kind, which is called Neuter, S. Naðoꞃ cẏnꝺ.

the Grammarians . . . have invented a Term which expresses neither kind
[Grammarians are responsible for for a lot of nonsense, but they can hardly be blamed for the Indo-European languages’ three-gender structure. I wonder what our author would say to languages that instead divide things into “animate” and “inanimate”.]


Of Number.

THere be two Numbers, the Singular, Anꝼealꝺ Geꞇel, and the Plural, Mænıᵹꝼealꝺ Geꞇel; sometimes there is a Dual, and this is a Circum­stance both of Nouns and Verbs, as, Ic ꞃæꝺe, I read, ƿe ꞃæꝺað, we read.

Of the Articles.

AS the Greeks and other Nations have had their Articles placed before their Nouns, so the Saxon Tongue hath used hers, both with Skill and Beauty. These are naturally to be consider’d according to their Cases or Endings, before we treat of the Nouns.

Singular Number. Plural Number.
Nom. ꝺe, ꞅeo , þaꞇ & þæꞇ, τό.   Ða, οἱ, αἱ, τά.
Gen. Þæꞅ, þæꞃe, þaꞅ & þæꞅ. Þæꞃa.
Dat. Þam, þæꞃe, þam. Þam.
Acc. Þone, þa, þaꞇ & þæꞇ. Þa.
Abl. Þam, þæꞃe, þam. Þam.

Se, ꞅeo, ꝥ, are not only placed before Appellatives, or common Names, but also before proper Names, and Individuals, as, ꞅe Man, the Man, ꞅeo Ƿıꝼman, the Woman, ꞅe Iohanneꞅ, John, ꞅeo Æþelꝼleꝺe, Ethelfleda.

The Agreement between the Anglo-Saxon, the old Francick, and the present German, may be seen in Dr. Hickes’s Francick Grammar, Chap. 2. De Articulis, p. 10.

AS the Greeks and other Nations have had their Articles placed before their Nouns
[We will not talk about Romanian, or the Scandinavian languages, whose definite articles are instead postpositive.]


Of Nouns Substantives.

NOuns Substantives have Six Declensions.

First Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Smið, a Smith.   Smıðaꞅ, Smiths.
Gen. Smıðeꞅ, of a Smith. Smıða, of Smiths.
Dat. Smıðe, to the Smith. Smıðum, to the Smiths.
Acc. Smıð, the Smith. Smıðaꞅ, the Smiths.
Voc. Eala þu Smıð, O thou Smith. Eala ᵹe Smıðaꞅ, O ye Smiths.
Abl. Smıðe, from the Smith. Smıðum, from the Smiths.

For Smıðaꞅ, the Dano-Saxons writ Smıðeꞅ, in the Nominative Plural.

Second Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Ƿıꞇeᵹa, a Prophet.   Ƿıꞇeᵹan, Prophets.
Gen. Ƿıꞇeᵹan. Ƿıꞇeᵹena.
Dat. Ƿıꞇeᵹan. Ƿıꞇeᵹum.
Acc. Ƿıꞇeᵹan. Ƿıꞇeᵹan.
Voc. Eala þu Ƿıꞇeᵹa. Eala ᵹe Ƿıꞇeᵹan.
Abl. Ƿıꞇeᵹan. Ƿıꞇeᵹum.

Acc.   Ƿıꞇeᵹan.   Ƿıꞇeᵹan.
text has , for final .

The Third Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Anꝺᵹıꞇ, Understanding.   Anꝺᵹıꞇu, -ꞇa, -ꞇo
Gen. Anꝺᵹıꞇeꞅ. Anꝺᵹıꞇa.
Dat. Anꝺᵹıꞇe, -ꞇa. Anꝺᵹıꞇum.
Acc. Anꝺᵹıꞇ. Anꝺᵹıꞇu.
Voc. Eala þu Anꝺᵹıꞇ. Eala ᵹe Anꝺᵹıꞇu.
Abl. Anꝺᵹıꞇe. Anꝺᵹıꞇum.
The Fourth Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Ƿoꞃꝺ, a Word.   Ƿoꞃꝺ, -ꝺe, -ꝺa.
Gen. Ƿoꞃꝺeꞅ. Ƿoꞃꝺa.
Dat. Ƿoꞃꝺe. Ƿoꞃꝺum.
Acc. Ƿoꞃꝺ. Ƿoꞃꝺ.
Voc. Eala þu Ƿoꞃꝺ. Eala ᵹe Ƿoꞃꝺ.
Abl. Ƿoꞃꝺe. Ƿoꞃꝺum.

So Beaꞃn, Cılꝺ, and Ƿıꝼ, make in the Plural Number, Beaꞃn, Cılꝺ, and Ƿıꝼ.

The Fifth Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Ƿıln, a Maiden.   Ƿılna, -ne, -no, -nu.
Gen. Ƿılne. Ƿılna.
Dat. Ƿılne. Ƿılnum.
Acc. Ƿıln. Ƿılna.
Voc. Eala þu Ƿıln. Eala ᵹe Ƿılna.
Abl. Ƿılne. Ƿılnum.

So Sƿuꞅꞇoꞃ, and Sƿeoꞅꞇoꞃ, a Sister, make in the Plural, Sƿuꞅꞇꞃa, Sƿeoꞅꞇꞃa, Geꞅƿeoꞅꞇꞃa, Sisters.

The Sixth Declension.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Sunu, a Son.   Suna.
Gen. Suna. Suna.
Dat. Suna, -nu. Sunum.
Acc. Suna, -nu. Suna.
Voc. Eala þu Sunu. Eala ᵹe Suna.
Abl. Sunu. Sunum.
Mr. Thwaites adds a Seventh.
Singular. Plural.
Nom. Fꞃeo, -eoh, a Free Man.   Fꞃeoꞅ.
Gen. Fꞃeoꞅ Fꞃea.
Dat. Fꞃeo. Fꞃeum.
Acc. Fꞃeo, -eoh. Fꞃeoꞅ.
Voc. Eala þu Fꞃeoh Eala ᵹe Fꞃeoꞅ.
Abl. Fꞃeo. Fꞃeum.

The whole Variety of declining Noun Substantives, may be reduced to these seven Rules of Declension, except these few following which are not so regular; as, Fæꝺeꞃ, Father, seldom alters in the Singular Number, but in the Plural it follows the Rule of the first Declension. Indeed the Dano-Saxons have it Fæꝺoꞃeꞅ, in the Genitive Singular. Geꞅcẏ, Shoes; Moꝺoꞃ, -eꞃ, Mother; Bꞃoþoꞃ, -eꞃ, Brother, are not declined; unless that Bꞃoþoꞃ, in the Plural Number, may be referr’d to the third Declension. But Boc, a Book, Bec, Books; Foꞇ, a Foot, Feꞇ, Feet; Man, a Man, Men, Men; Luꞅ, a Louse, Lẏꞅ, Lice; Muꞅ, a Mouse, Mẏꞅ, Mice; Cu, a Cow, Cẏ, Cows; Toþ, a Tooth, 13 H Ꞇeþ, Teeth, (sometimes ‘tis read Ꞇoþaꞅ;) Goꞅ, a Goose, Geꞅ, Geese: With the Number change the Vowel; Cealꝼ, a Calf, and Æᵹ, an Egg, make in the Plural Æᵹꞃu, Eggs, Cealꝼꞃu, Calves.

Nouns Substantives are either Simple or Compound; Hıƿe, a Family, Geꝺale, Division, Hıƿe-ᵹeꝺale, the Separation of a Family. There is a great Variety of Compound Nouns, a very copious Instance of which we have in this Description of Noah’s Ark by Cædmon, Meꞃe-huꞅ, a Sea House, Ƿuꝺu-ꝼæꞅꞇen, a wooden Castle, Meꞃe-cıeꞅꞇe, a Sea Chest, Sunꝺ-ꞃeceꝺ, a swimming Hall, Ƿæᵹ-boꞃꝺ, a floating Tabernacle, Ƿæᵹ-þele, a floating Chamber, Sꞇꞃeam-ƿealle, a Wall against the Stream, Hꞃoꝼ-ᵹeꝼoꞃ, a moveable Covering, or Roof. From which Instances, and an almost innumerable Company of others, that might be added, some of which will be occasionally disperst here and there in this Treatise; it appears that the Charge against all the Northern Languages, which is made by some, of their being made up of nothing else but of harsh Consonants and Mono­syllables, without any beautiful Composition of Words, is very unjust, and is urged by those who speak of them in this sort, as by Men who talk at random, and who are altogether ignorant of the Matter. The Terminations of Substantives are very numerous, it may not however be amiss here to note some of the most common.

Sunꝺ-ꞃeceꝺ, a swimming Hall
text has fwimming

Some end in ꝺom or ꝺom, which denotes Power, or Office, or some Quality or Condition of Life, either with Authority or Jurisdiction, or without it; as, Cẏneꝺome, the Power and Authority of a King, as also the Place in which he exercifes that Power; in English Kingdom.


Bıꞅceopꝺom, the Power and Office of a Bishop, Bishopdom.

Ƿıꞅꝺom, Prudence, Wisdom.

Fꞃeoꝺom, a State of Liberty, Freedom; of the same kind are these still retain’d in common use.

Popepom, Dukedom, Christendom, Thraldom, &c. Agreeable to this Termination in ꝺom, is the Francick duom and tuom, as from Rih, a King, Rihtuom, a Kingdom, from Her, a Lord, Hertuom, Dominion or Lordship, Wisduom, Wisdom, Jungarduom, the Stare or Relation of a Youth towards his Tutor.

Others end in ꞃıc, or ꞃıce, which signifies Power or Office; as,

Cẏnꞃıc, Kingdom.

Bıꞅceopꞃıce, Bishoprick, which word we still retain in the Bishoprick of Durham.

Not a few end in haꝺ, or haꝺe, as Pꞃeoꞅꞇhaꝺe, the Condition or Office of a Priest, &c.

Munuchaꝺe, the State of a Monk. Hence is deduced our Termination head, as Godhead, Manhed, which we meet with in Gawen Douglas Pref. to Virg. p. 9. l. 4.

Hence also our hood, as from Cılꝺ-haꝺ, Child-hood, Cnıhꞇ-haꝺe, Knight-hood. To this a Resemblance is born by the Francick heyd and hed, as Christan-heyd, Christianity, Heyder-hed, Brightness, Heusc-heyd, Civility. So Brotherhood, Neighbourhood.

And to this Class probably may be refer’d the Notation of the words Alodium and Feudum, so much controverted amongst Lawyers. Alodium, i.e. Allhaꝺe, or Allhoꝺe, signifying the free and perpetual Inheritance and Possession of an Estate, without any Service and Incumbrance. Feodum, or Feudum, Feohaꝺe, an Estate held under the Dominion of some superior Lord for a limited time, on Performance of certain Services and Conditions, as 15 H2 Mr. Somner conjectures: But Dr. Hickes seems better to derive the word from the Scano-Gothic lod, or lwd. See his Francick Grammar, p. 90.

Some Substantives end in ꞅcẏꞃ and ꞅcẏꞃe, which denotes Præfecture, Care, Office, Business and Employment; as Geꝼeꞃꞅcẏꞃ, Fellowship, Ꞇunꞅcẏꞃe, the Office or Employment of a Steward. The Footsteps of this Termination, are perhaps to be found in the word Englishery, Englischeria, a word well known in Bracton and Fleta, signifying the Birth-right or Condition of an Englishman. Nor is it altogether improbable by an easy Transposition of this Termination ꞅcẏꞃe, to derive the ending of several of our Words in RY, as, Yeomanry, Husbandry, Houswifry, Cookery, &c.

Others in ꞅcẏp and ꞅcẏpe, as, Geꝼeꞃꞅcẏp, Fellowship, Þeᵹenꞅcẏpe, Thainship, the Office and Dignity of a Thain, Ƿeoꞃðꞅcẏpe, Worship; thus Courtship, Lordship, Wardship, Workmanship, &c. With this we may compare the Francick skepe, skepi and skip, as, Landskepe, a Country, or Landskip, Gibodskip, a Commanding.

There are many Substantives that end in a, as Cempa, a Soldier, Geꞃeꝼa, an Earle, what we call our High Sheriff or Shrieve, Nama, Name: Many of these are made English by leaving out the a or changing it into e, as, Kemp or Kempe; Ox or Name. The same is observable in Words ending in a short derived from the Latin, both in English and French, as Muse, from Musa, secret, from secreta.

Words ending in a short derived from the Latin
text unchanged
[That is, words ending in short “a”. (At first I thought she had left out a word: “a short something”.)]

To encrease the Variety of Terminations, there are several Substantives that end in ꞃeꝺen, ꞃæꝺen, ꞃeꝺenne, ꞃæꝺenne, which signifies Law, or Counsel: So that words of this Composition do generally import somewhat of Regularity and Government, as, Geꝼeꞃꞃeꝺenne, 16 that Law or Rule by which any Society or Corporation is govern’d, Hıƿꞃeꝺenne, the Rule for managing a Family, Mæᵹꞃeꝺenne, the Rule of Alliance amongst Kindred, Ꞇeonꝺꞃeꝺenne, that Counsel by which we accuse, or go to Law with any one, Gecƿıꝺꞃeꝺenne, the Advice er Method made use of for making a Will or any Covenant.

Others end in elꝺe, as, Fæꞃelꝺe, a Journey.

elꞅ, Ræcelꞅ, Frankincense, Ræꝺelꞅ, a Riddle.

Some in ꞅceaꝼꞇ, as, Hẏᵹeꞅceaꝼꞇ, the Soul; this agrees with the Francick Hugiscefti, Thought, Geuuitschaf, a Testimony, Heidenskapht, Heathenism.

Some in cꞃæꝼꞇ, as, Ƿıᵹcꞃæꝼꞇ, Boc-cꞃæꝼꞇ. The old Germans were not unacquainted with this Termination, as may be seen in the word Megincraft and Mancraft. See the learned Dr. Eccard’s Notes upon the Great Hymn, or Te Deum, printed at Helmstad, 1713: Also his Chatechesis Theotisca, p. 148, printed the same year by Nicholas Forster, Bookseller to the Court of Hanover.

Likewise several Feminines end in ẏꞅꞅ, ıꞅꞅ, eꞅꞅ, ẏꞅꞅe, ıꞅꞅe, eꞅꞅe, and in neꞅ, neꞅꞅe, nıꞅ, nıꞅꞅe, (from the Gothic 𐌽𐌴𐍃) as, Cneoꞃıꞅꞅe, Generation, Þꞃıneꞅꞅe, the Trinity. The Francick also acknowledges these Terminations, as, Lutternisse, Clearness or Purity, Gelicnesse, Likeness.

Some in anᵹe, ınᵹe, onᵹe, unᵹe, ẏnᵹe, as, Leaꞅunᵹe, Lying.

Others in þ, or þe (Goth. 𐌸, 𐌸𐌰) as, Mẏꞃð, Mirth, Eoꞃð, Earth, Geꞅıhðe, Sight.

Some in eꞃ, and eꞃe, as, Goꝺꞅpelleꞃ, Evangelist, Fulluhꞇeꞃ, Baptist, Sæꝺeꞃe, a Sower. Words of this Termination are thought to be deriv’d from Ƿeꞃ, Goth. 𐍅𐌰𐌹𐍂, a Man. The Scots to this Day in Imitatation of the Saxons, use Lawwer, a Lawyer. The 17 Masculines in eꞃ have their Feminines in eꞅꞇꞃe, ıꞅꞇꞃe, or ẏꞅꞇꞃe, as, Sẏnᵹeꞅꞇꞃe, a Songster, Ræꝺẏꞅꞇꞃe, a Female Reader.

Diminutives, and many others end in lınᵹ, as, Cnæplınᵹ, a little Boy, Ræplınᵹ, a Captive. Some in leaꞅꞇ, or leꞅꞇe, as, Gẏmeleaꞅꞇ, Carelessness.

Words that denote Descent, Patronomica, Fæꝺeꞃlıce Naman, Names derived from the Father’s Name, end in ınᵹ, as, Cenꝼuꞅınᵹ, the Son of Cenfusa.

It must be observed, that Sunna, Sun, is of the Feminine, and Mona, Moon, is of the Masculine, and Ƿıꝼ is of the Neuter Gender.

Nouns are distinguish’d by their Articles, Adjectives, and Pronouns.

Of Adjectives.

AN Adjective, nameꞅ ᵹeꝼeꞃa; is either Simple, as, eaꝺıᵹ, happy, eꝼen, even or equal; or Compound, as, ꞇıꞃ eaꝺıᵹ, high in Power, eꝼen-ece, co-eternal, eꝼen-ꞅpeꝺelıc, equal in Substance.

Adjectives are declined after this Example.
Singular Number. Plural Number.
Nom. Masc. Neut. Fem.
Goꝺ, Good, bonus, -um. Goꝺe, bona. Goꝺe.
Gen. Goꝺeꞅ. Goꝺꞃe. Goꝺꞃa.
Dat. Goꝺum. Goꝺꞃe. Goꝺum.
Acc. Goꝺne, Goꝺ. Goꝺe. Goꝺe.
Voc. Goꝺa Goꝺe. Goꝺe, -an.
Abl. Goꝺum. Goꝺꞃe. Goꝺum.

Several Adjectives, besides their common Termination, receive a final a, which generally gives somewhat of a particular Emphasis, as, Goꝺcunꝺ, Divine, Goꝺcunꝺa, very Divine, or very Holy.

The Terminations of Adjectives are as follows.

Adjectives that signify Nation or Countrey, end in ıꞅc, as, Iuꝺeıꞅc; hence our ish, as, Jewish, Enᵹlıꞅc, English, Romanıꞅc, Romish, &c.

Many are form’d from Nouns Substantives, by adding leaꞅ or leaꞅe, signifying want or defect; from hence also our less is derived, as, ꞃeceleaꞅ, careless, ꞅcomleaꞅ, shameless, ꞅacleaꞅ, harmless: So fatherless, motherless, friendless, &c.

Others end in lıc, or lıce, from whence our Termination in like, and ly, as, heoꝼenlıc, heavenly, ᵹoꝺlıc, godlike, and godly.

Others, which signify the Matter out of which any thing is made, end in en, as, æꞅcen, ashen, from Æꞅc, an Ash, beoꞃcen, birchen, ꞅꞇænen, stony.

Many end in ıᵹ, as, heꝼıᵹ, heavy, ꝺꞃeoꞃıᵹ, dreery, sorry, mıꞃıᵹ, merry, ænıᵹ, any: This Termination is changed into our y.

Adjectives expressing Number, end after the same manner, as, ꞇƿenꞇıᵹ, ðꞃıꞇꞇıᵹ, and so on.

Some end in ꝼul, as, Ƿæꞇeꞃꝼul, full of Water, or dropsical.

Some in bæꞃ, as, ƿeꞅꞇmbæꞃ, fruitful, or bearing Fruit, luꞅꞇ bæꞃ, jocund, or bearing Joy.

Some in ꝼæꞅꞇ, as, ꞃæꝺꝼæꞅꞇ, fast to his Resolution.

Others end in ꞅum, as, lanᵹꞅum, very long or tiresom as we say, ƿınꞅum, very pretty, well favour’d: We retain the same ending in several words, as, handsom, wholesom, fulsom, toilsom.

Some in bæꞃ, as, ƿeꞅꞇmbæꞃ, fruitful
[I wouldn’t have been surprised if a vowel had gone astray, but Bosworth-Toller offers a wæstm-bǽre.]


Nouns Adjectives are to be consider’d, either as they have a positive Signification, or as they signify comparing one thing with another, by which Comparison we find, how things agree with, differ from, or excel one another. This is either in a less degree, or in the highest: That which expresses the less degree, is term’d Comparative, Ƿıðmeꞇenlıce, this denotes the measure by which a thiag is known to be greater or better than another. The other, the highest, is call’d the Superlative, Oꝼeꞃꞅꞇıᵹenꝺlıce, which signifies the most and the best, as if indeed it did exceed all degrees of Comparison.

The Termination of the Comparative degree, is in eꞃ, eꞃe, aꞃ, æꞃe, ıꞃ, oꞃ, uꞃ, ẏꞃ.

The Superlative in aꞅꞇ, æꞅꞇ, eꞅꞇ, ıꞅꞇ, oꞅꞇ, uꞅꞇ, ẏꞅꞇ; as, ꞃıhꞇƿıꞅe, righteous, ꞃıhꞇƿıꞅeꞃe, more righteous, ꞃıhꞇƿıꞅaꞅꞇ, -eꞅꞇ, -ẏꞅꞇ, most righteous; and when a greater Stress or Emphasis is put upon the Signification, it is usual to take a final a in both the degrees, as, ꞃıhꞇƿıꞅeꞃa, -aꞃa, &c. in the Comparative; ꞃıhꞇƿıꞅaꞅꞇa, -æꞅꞇa &c. in the Superlative. But all do not follow this order, as, ᵹoꝺ, good, beꞇeꞃe, -ꞃa, better, beꞇꞅꞇ, beꞇeꞅꞇa and ꞅeloꞅꞇ, best of all; ẏꝼel, evil, ƿẏꞃꞅ, worse, ƿẏꞃꞅꞇ, worst; mıcel, much, mæꞃe, mæꞃa, more, mæꞅꞇ, mæꞅꞇa, most; lẏꞇel, little, leꞅꞅe, less, læꞅꞇ, lest of all; uꞇꞇeꞃ, ẏꞇꞇꞃe, outer, or beyond, ẏꞇꞇꞃeꞅꞇ, ẏꞇemeꞅꞇ, ẏꞇemeꞅꞇa, utmost, or last of all.

Some are compared from Adverbs, as from æꞃ, before, æꞃeꞅꞇ, æꞃeꞅꞇa, from the Cimbric fyr, or fyrr, ꝼẏꞃmeꞅꞇ, ꝼẏꞃmeꞅꞇa; besides these there is ꝼoꞃma, ꝼoꞃmeꞅꞇ, ꝼoꞃmeꞅꞇa, foremost; ꝼuꞃðoꞃ, ꝼuꞃðuꞃ, ꝼuꞃðꞃe, ꝼuꞃðꞃa, further, beyond.


Of Pronouns.

THE Pronoun Primitive, Fꞃumcenneꝺ, or Fẏꞃmeꞅꞇ, of the first Person, is thus declined.

Singular. Plural. The Dual Number where two Persons are signified.
Nom. Ic, I. Ƿe, we. Ƿıꞇ, we two.
Gen. Mın, of me. Uꞃe, of us. Unceꞃ, of us two.
Dat. Me, to me. Uꞅ, to us. Unc, unᵹe, & uncꞃum, to us two.
Acc. Me, mec, from the Goth. 𐌼𐌹𐍂. Uꞅ, us. Ƿıꞇ, we two.
Abl. Me, for, or from me. Uꞅ, from us. Unc, unᵹe, & uncꞃum, for us two.

Acc. Me, mec, from the Goth. 𐌼𐌹𐍂.
“mec” unchanged: expected me

For the Primitive ƿe, we, the Dano-Saxons use ƿoe, and uꞅıh, as also uꞅıc, uꞅıch, uꞅıᵹ, for us.

The Pronoun Possessive, Geaᵹnıenꝺlıc, of the first Person, is thus declined.

Singular Number. Plural Number.
Nom. Mın, mıne, mın, meus, mea, meum.   Mine, mei, meæ, mea, those things which are mine.
Gen. Mıneꞅ, mınꞃe, mıneꞅ. Mınꞃa.
Dat. Mınum, mınꞃe, mınum. Mınum.
Acc. Mınne, mıne, mın. Mıne.
Voc. Mın, mıne, mın. Mıne.
Abl. Mınum, mınꞃe, mınum. Mınum.
21 I
Singular Number. Plural Number.
Noster, nostra, nostrum.
Nom. Uꞃe, uꞃe, uꞃe.   Uꞃe.
Gen. Uꞃeꞅ, uꞃꞃe, uꞃe. Uꞃꞃa.
Dat. Uꞃum, uꞃꞃe, uꞃum. Uꞃum.
Acc. Uꞃne, uꞃe, uꞃne. Uꞃe.
Voc. Uꞃe, uꞃe, uꞃe. Uꞃe.
Abl. Uꞃum, uꞃꞃe, uꞃum. Uꞃum.

For the Possessive uꞃe, is read uꞅe; uꞅeꞃ, and uꞅꞅeꞃ, uꞅꞅum, for uꞃum; uꞅꞅeꞅ, for uꞃeꞅ; uꞅꞅe, for uꞃne in the Danish Saxon.

Singular Number. Plural Number.
Noster, nostra, nostrum.
Nom. Unceꞃ, unceꞃe, unceꞃ.   Uncꞃe.
Gen. Uncꞃeꞅ, unceꞃꞃeꞅ, uncꞃeꞅ. Unceꞃꞃa.
Dat. Uncꞃum, unceꞃꞃe, uncꞃum. Uncꞃum.
Acc. Unceꞃne, unceꞃe, unceꞃne. Uncꞃe.
Voc. Unceꞃ, unceꞃe, unceꞃ. Uncꞃe.
Abl. Uncꞃum, unceꞃꞃe, uncꞃum. Uncꞃum.

The Pronoun Primitive of the second Person is thus declined.

Singular. Plural. Dual.
Nom. Ðu, thou. Ge, ye. * Gẏꞇ.
Gen. Þin. Eoƿeꞃ. Inceꞃ.
Dat. Þe. Eoƿ. Incꞃum & inc.
Acc. Þe, þec. Eoƿ. Inc.
Voc. Eala þu. Eala ᵹe. Eala inc.
Abl. Þe. Eoƿ. Incꞃum & inc.

* Incıꞇ, you two, is found for ᵹẏꞇ, as if it were ıncᵹẏꞇ; ᵹeoƿ for eoƿ; and ıuch, ıƿh, uıh, ıuıh, ıuıch, eoƿıc, ıoƿıh, ᵹeıoƿ, in the Dano-Saxon for eoƿ; and ıueꞃ, ıueꞃꞃe, ıuoꞃ for eoƿeꞃ, D. S.


The Pronouns Possessives of the second Person are Þin, and Eoƿeꞃ, and are thus declined.

Singular Number.
Tuus, tua, tuum.
Nom. Ðin, þine, þin; the rest, as, min, mine, min &c.
Sing. Numb. Plural.
Vester, vestra, vestrum.
Nom. Eoƿeꞃ, eoƿeꞃe, eoƿeꞃ.   Eoƿeꞃe.
Gen. Eoƿeꞃeꞅ, eoƿeꞃꞃa, eoƿeꞃeꞅ. Eoƿeꞃꞃa.
Dat. Eoƿeꞃum, eoƿeꞃꞃe, eoƿeꞃum. Eoƿꞃum.
Acc. Eoƿeꞃne, eoƿeꞃe, eoƿeꞃne. Eoƿeꞃe, &c.

For eoƿeꞃe eoƿꞃe is written &c. and for eoƿꞃum, D. S. ıuꞃꞃe; and ınceꞃ is declin’d like unceꞃ.

The Pronoun Primitive of the third Person is thus: declined.

Sing. Numb. Plural.
Nom. He, he.   , they.
Gen. Hẏꞅ. Hıꞃa.
Dat. Hım. Hım.
Acc. Hıne. Hı.
Abl. Hım. Hım.

Se is used for he; for , is found hıᵹ, and heo; for heoꞃa, is written hıoꞃa, and heoꞃum; for hıꞃa, heꞃ and heꞃe; heom also for hım, hı-heom, they themselves: Hıꞇ, hẏꞇ, is Neuter, of he and heo, and signifies that: He in D. S. often redundant; as, ðæꞅ he ꝼalꞅað, he blasphemeth.

23 I2
Sing. Numb. Plural.
Nom. Heo, she.   Hı.
Gen. Hıꞃe. Heoꞃa.
Dat. Hıꞃe. Hım.
Acc. Hı. Hı.
Abl. Hıꞃe. Hım.

The Pronoun Ðıꞅ, Þeoꞅ, Þaꞇ, is thus declined.

Singular. M. Feminine. Plural.
Nom. Ðıꞅ, ðeꞅ. Ðeoꞅ. Ðaꞅ.
Gen. Ðıꞅeꞅ, ðıꞅꞅeꞅ, þeꞅeꞅ, & þæꞅ. Ðıꞅꞅeꞃe. Ðıꞅeꞃa, þıꞅꞅeꞃa.
Dat. Ðıꞅum, & þıꞅ. Ðıꞅꞅeꞃe. Ðıꞅum.
Acc. Ðıꞅne, þıꞅ, þæꞅ. Ðæꞅ, þaꞅ, þeoꞅ. Ðaꞅ.
Abl. Ðıꞅum. Ðıꞅꞅeꞃe, þıꞅeꞃe. Ðıꞅum.
Sing. Numb. Neut. Plural.
Nom. Ðaꞇ.   Þa.
Gen. Þıꞅ, & þaꞅ. Þæꞃa.
Dat. Þam. Þam.
Acc. Þaꞇ. Þa.
Abl. Þam. Þam.

For ðıꞅ, ðeꞅ, are used ðaꞇ, ðæꞇ; ðẏꞅum and ðıꞅon, for ðıꞅum; ðıaꞅne, for ðıꞅne; ðıꞅꞅe and ðæꞃe, for ðıꞅꞅeꞃe; ðıꞅꞅa and ðıꞅꞅ for ðıꞅꞅeꞃa: Ðıꞅ, ðeꞅ, ðeoꞅ, ðaꞇ, signify isthic, isthæc, isthoc.


The Pronoun Relative Hƿılc, Hƿılce, is thus declined.

Sing. Numb. Plural.
Nom. Hƿılc, hƿılce, hƿılc, which.   Hƿılce.
Gen. Hƿılceꞅ, hƿılcꞃe, hƿılceꞅ. Hƿılcꞃa.
Dat. Hƿılcum, hƿılcꞃe, hƿılcum. Hƿılcum.
Acc. Hƿılcne, hƿılce, hƿılcne. Hƿılce.
Abl. Hƿılcum, hƿılcum, hƿılcum. Hƿılcum.

Hƿılc also signifies, who, of what Quality, any one is, Sƿa hƿılc ꞅƿa, whosoever. In the same manner is declin’d ælc, ælce, quisque, quæque, quodque; and æᵹhƿılc, æᵹhƿhılce (as ælc hƿılc) unusquisque, unaquæque, unumquodque; æᵹhƿılc, for ælchƿılc, as, æᵹhƿeꞃ, every where, for ælchƿæꞃ; anꞃa ᵹehƿılc, each one.

Se, ꞅeo, and þe, þeo, þaꞇ, put on the Nature of Pronouns Relative: Ðe being placed after Pronouns of all Persons; signifies who, as, ıc þe, ðu þe, ꞅe þe, I who, thou who, he who: For ꞅe ꝺe, is used ðe ðe.

Sẏlꝼ, self, is thus declined.

Masculine Sing. Numb. Plural Number.
Nom. Sẏlꝼ.   Sẏlꝼe.
Gen. Sẏlꝼeꞅ. Sẏlꝼꞃa.
Dat. Sẏlꝼum. Sẏlꝼum.
Acc. Sẏlꝼne. Sẏlꝼe.
Abl. Sẏlꝼum. Sẏlꝼum.
Feminine Sing Numb. Plural Number.
Nom. Sẏlꝼe.   Sẏlꝼe.
Gen. Sẏlꝼꞃe. Sẏlꝼꞃa.
Dat. Sẏlꝼꞃe. Sẏlꝼum.
Acc. Sẏlꝼe. Sẏlꝼe.
Abl. Sẏlꝼꞃe. Sẏlꝼum.

Sẏlꝼ, or ꞅẏlꝼe, are compounded with other Pronouns, ıc ꞅẏlꝼ, I my self, mın ꞅelꝼeꞅ, of my self, ƿe ꞅẏlꝼe, we our selves, uꞃe ꞅẏlꝼꞃa, of our selves, &c. And with Nouns, as, Peꞇꞃuꞅ ꞅẏlꝼ, Peter’s self, Cꞃıꞅꞇ ꞅẏlꝼ* ꞅanᵹ Paꞇeꞃ Noꞅꞇeꞃ æꞃoꞅꞇ, Christ himself first sang Pater Noster. From the word sang, may be observed the Antiquity of singing the Service in the Saxon Church, as was first observed in the Preface to the Homily on the Birth-day of St. Gregory, p. 36.

* It is worthy to observe how the Francick agrees with this, and what Dr. Eccard has said in his Notes upon his Catechesis Theotisca, p. 116.

Sing. Numb. Plural.
Masc. Fem. Neut.
Nom. Ẏlc, Ẏlce, Ẏlc,   ẏlce.
Gen. ẏlceꞅ, ẏlcꞃe, ẏlceꞅ, ẏlcꞃa.
Dat. ẏlcum, ẏlcꞃe, ẏlcum, ẏlcum.
Acc. ẏlcne, ẏlce, ẏlcne, ẏlce.
Abl. ẏlcum, ẏlcꞃe, ẏlcum, ẏlcum.

a added to ẏlc, gives it an Emphasis, as, ẏlca, that very Thing, or Person; and is thus varied.

Sing. Numb. Plural.
Nom. ẏlca.   ẏlcan.
Gen. ẏlcan. ẏlcꞃa.
Dat. ẏlcan. ẏlcan.
Acc. ẏlcan. ẏlcan.
Abl. ẏlcan. ẏlcan.

Se ẏlca, the very same, Masc. ꞅeo ẏlce, the very same, Fem. þaꞅ ẏlcan, is the Genitive Case, Masc. and Neut. þæꞃe ẏlcan, is Gen. Case, Fem.


Sƿılc, hƿılc, þıllıc, þẏlc, and þıꞅlıc, such, are all declined like ẏlc.

Hƿa, hua, Masc. Fem. and Neut, who: And hƿæꞇ, huæꞇ, what, are thus declined.

Singular Number.
Nom. Hƿa, hƿæꞇ, hƿaꞇ.
Gen. Hƿæꞅ.
Dat. Hƿam, hƿæm, hƿam.
Acc. Hƿæne, hƿone, hƿæne.
Abl. Hƿam, hƿæm, hƿam.

To this sort belongs hƿæꞇ huᵹu, hƿæꞇ hƿæᵹ, D. S. huoꞇ huoeᵹo, which signifies a little: hƿæꞇ hƿeᵹunınᵹa, hƿæꞇ hƿeᵹanunᵹeꞅ, something; æᵹ hƿa, æᵹ hƿæꞇ, (from ælc hƿa) every one, every thing; ꞅƿa hƿa ꞅƿa, whosoever, ꞅƿa hƿæꞇ ꞅƿa, whatsoever; ᵹe hƿa, any one, ᵹe hƿæꞇ, ᵹe hƿæꝺ, any thing; elleꞅ hƿæꞇ, somewhat else; hƿæne, hƿene, hƿon, a little.

Masc and Neut. ænıᵹ, any one, any thing.

Sing. Numb. Plural.
Nom. M. N. Ænıᵹ, ænıᵹe, F.   Ænıᵹe.
Gen. Ænıᵹeꞅ, ænıᵹꞃe. Ænıᵹꞃa.
Dat. Ænıᵹum, ænıᵹꞃe. Ænıᵹum.
Acc. Ænıᵹne, ænıᵹe. Ænıᵹe.
Abl. Ænıᵹum, ænıᵹꞃe. Ænıᵹum.

For ænıᵹ, is read ænı; ænıne, for ænıᵹne; (as ꝺẏꞅıne, for ꝺẏꞅıᵹne;) for ænıᵹum, is read ænᵹum; from ne, not, and ænıᵹ, any, is made nænıᵹ, none, or nothing; as likewise is ænlıƿıc, or ænlıƿıᵹ, each one; ænlıƿıᵹe, Feminine.

Singular Number.
Masculine. Feminine.
Nom. Ænlıƿıᵹ.   Ænlıƿıᵹe.
Gen. Ænlıƿıᵹeꞅ. Ænlıƿıᵹꞃe.
Dat. Ænlıƿıᵹum. Ænlıƿıᵹꞃe.
Acc. Ænlıƿıᵹne. Ænlıƿıᵹe.
Abl. Ænlıƿıᵹum. Ænlıƿıᵹꞃe.

Sum, some Person, or some Thing, and Sume, the Feminine, are declined thus.

Sing. Numb. Plur. Numb.
Nom. Sum, ꞅume.   Sume.
Gen. Sumeꞅ, ꞅumꞃe. Sumꞃa.
Dat. Sumum, ꞅumꞃe. Sumum.
Acc. Sumne, ꞅume. Sume.
Abl. Sumum, ꞅumꞃe. Sumum.

An, one, is sometimes put for ꞅum, some; for ꞅum, that signifies any one, the word man sometimes used.

Sing. Numb.
Masc. Neut. Fem.
Nom. An, æn, ane,
Gen. Aneꞅ, anꞃe,
Dar. Anum, anꞃe,
Acc. Anne, ane,
Abl. Anum. anꞃe.

In the same manner is nan, none, declined.

Aᵹen, and aᵹene, which signifies Propriety in any thing, or Possesion of it; for which at this Day is used own, and by the Northern English awn.

Singular Number.
Masc. and Neut. Fem.
Nom. Aᵹen.   Aᵹene.
Gen. Aᵹeneꞅ. Aᵹenꞃe.
Dat. Aᵹenum. Aᵹenꞃe.
Acc. Aᵹenne. Aᵹene.
Abl. Aᵹenum. Aᵹenꞃe.
Sing. Numb. Plur. Numb.
Masc. Fem. Neut.
Nom. Eall, ealle, eall, all.   Ealle.
Gen. Ealleꞅ, ealꞃe, ealleꞅ. Ealꞃa.
Dat. Eallum, ealꞃe, eallum. Eallum.
Acc. Ealne, ealle, ealne. Ealle.
Abl. Eallum, ealꞃe, eallum. Eallum.

Eall, æll or all, being compounded with another word, signify Excellence, Perfection or Fullness, as, Ællmıhıꞇıᵹ, Allƿealꝺa, thus in English, Almighty, All-governing.

Hƿæþeꞃ, ᵹehƿæþeꞃ, æᵹhƿæþeꞃ, either; ꞅƿahƿæþeꞃ, ꞅƿæhƿæþeꞃ, ꞅƿaþeꞃ, ꞅƿæþeꞃ, whethersoever; auþeꞃ, oþeꞃ, oƿþeꞃ, other; naþeꞃ, naƿþeꞃ, naþoꞃ, nahƿæþeꞃ, nohƿeþeꞃ, neither; æᵹþeꞃ, either, are declined in the common form of Pronouns in eꞃ, such as unceꞃ and eoþeꞃ

We will close the Series of Pronouns with aƿıhꞇ or aƿuhꞇ, contracted aƿhꞇ, auhꞇ, uhꞇ, by leaving out the a, ƿıhꞇ, ƿuhꞇ, any thing: From hence naƿıhꞇ, noƿıhꞇ, nauhꞇ, nahꞇ, nænıᵹƿuhꞇ, nothing, in English no-whit, in the Plural nauhꞇaꞅ.

29 K

Cardinal Numbers, Ꝥ ꞅınꝺ þa heaꝼoꝺ Geꞇel.

Þa Naman ðe ᵹeꞇacnıaþ Geꞇel, the Names that signify Number.

These Numbers, from four to a hundred, are of all Genders.

Enꝺebẏꞃꝺlıce Naman, Nouns that signify the Order of Things, as,

Add to these, ba, beᵹen, baꞇƿa, buꞇu, buꞇƿu, both, Nom. Ba, Gen. Beᵹꞃa, Dat. Bam, Acc. Ba, Abl. Bam; Ꞇƿın, ᵹeꞇƿın, Twins; eallꞅƿa ꝼela, so many; eallꞅƿa mıcel, so much; eꝼꞇꞅƿa mıcel, the same; hƿılceꞃe, how many; an-ꝼealꝺ, one-fold; ꞇƿẏ-ꝼealꝺ, two-fold; þꞃẏ-ꝼealꝺ, three-fold; ẏꞇemeꞅꞇa, last of all.

In numbering and reckoning up of Things, ꞅum and healꝼ, are of great use, as, þꞃıꞇꞇıᵹa ꞅum, some thirty, or about thirty, oþeꞃ healꝼ, one and a half, oþeꞃ healꝼ hunꝺ, a hundred and fifty. The Greeks and Latins likewise use the same way of Writing ἔβδομεν ἡμιτάλαντον, six Talents and a half: Sestertius (qu. semis tertius) two Pound and a half; the ancient note of which was LLS, now HS.

Notes and Corrections: Cardinal Numbers

skip to next section

The long lists of cardinal and ordinal numbers were each printed as a single run-in paragraph. I have opened them out for readability. If anyone can explain the connection she is drawing between eahꞇa and Greek ῆτα—other than the coinci­dence of homophony—I would like to hear about it.

hunꝺ eahꞇaꞇıᵹ . . . hunꝺ ꞇƿelꝼꞇıᵹ
[Bosworth-Toller tells me that the prefix hunꝺ, meaning something like “decade”, is used with numbers from 70 to 120. So our author could also have listed a hunꝺ ꞅeoꝼonꞇıᵹ, as she does with the ordinals.]

hunꝺ enꝺluꝼonꞇıᵹ, a hundred and ten
[I believe the form “eleventy” is found somewhere in The Hobbit.]

Of Verbs. Be FORDUM.

A Verb is a Part of Speech, with Time or Tense, and Person, but without Case.

There are eight Things belong to a Verb, first Signification, Geꞇacnunᵹ, signifying either somewhat done, ꝺæꝺlıc Ƿoꞃꝺ, Verb active; or somewhat suffer’d, þꞃoƿıᵹenꝺlıc Ƿoꞃꝺ, Verb passive; or neither, naþoꞃ, i.e. Neuter: Second Tense or Time, Ꞇıꝺ; Mood, Gemeꞇ; Kind, Hıƿ; Figure, Geꝼeᵹeꝺnẏꞅꞅ; Conjunction, Geþeoꝺnẏꞅ; Person, Haꝺ; Number, Geꞇel.

31 K2

Of Tense. Be ꞆIDE.

In general there are three Tenses, belonging to each Verb that is perfect; first the present Tense, anꝺƿeaꞃꝺ Ꞇıꝺ, as, ıc ꞅꞇanꝺe, I stand; the Præterit Tense, or time past, ꝼoꞃþᵹeƿıꞇen Ꞇıꝺ, ıc ꞅꞇoꝺ, I stood; the future Tense, or time to come, ꞇoƿeꞃꝺ Ꞇıꝺ, ıc ꞅꞇanꝺe nu ꞃıhꞇe, oþþe on ꞅumne ꞇıman, I shall stand by and by, or some time or other. The Præterit, or time past, is consider’d three ways; first as a time imperfectly past, unꝼulꝼꞃemeꝺ ꝼoꞃþᵹeƿıꞇen, as when a thing is begun, and not fully accomplish’d, ıc ꞅꞇoꝺ, I did stand: Secondly the Præter­perfect, or time perfectly past, ꝼoꞃþᵹeƿıꞇen ꝼulꝼꞃemeꝺ, ıc ꞅꞇoꝺ, I have stood: Thirdly the Præter­plusquam­perfect, the time more than perfectly past, ꝼoꞃþᵹeƿıꞇen maꞃe þon ꝼulꝼꞃemeꝺ, because it had been done a long time before, as, I stood long before, ıc ꞅꞇoꝺ ᵹeꝼẏꞃn.

Of Moods. Be GEMEꞆUM.

MOOD, Gemeꞇ, is the way or manner of speaking of any thing: There are six Moods, the Indicative, Gebıcnıᵹenꝺlıce; the Imperative, Bebeoꝺenꝺlıc; the Optative, Geƿıꞅcenꝺlıc, the Potential, Mæᵹenlıc; the Subjunctive, Unꝺeꞃþeoꝺenꝺlıc; the Infinitive, Unᵹe-enꝺıᵹenꝺlıc.

The Indicative, with this we declare what we our selves, or what other Men do; as, ıc ꞃæꝺe, I read, hereby is declared what I do. This Mood is perfect in all its Tenses and Persons, and for that reason is the first.


The Imperative; with this Mood we command other Men to do something, or suffer something, as; ꞃæꝺ þu, do thou read; ꞃæꝺe he, let him read; beꞅƿınᵹ þıꞅ Cılꝺ, whip this Child; ꞅẏ he beꞅƿunᵹen, let him be whipt. This Mood speaks of that which is to come, and has no Præter­perfect Tense, because no Man commands the doing what is done already; he speaks to some other, and not to himself, because every Man commands some other Person, and not himself.

The Optative; it has need of the help of some other word in order to make it perfect, as, Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc luꝼoꝺe Goꝺ, I wish I had loved God; Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc ꞃæꝺꝺe nu, O that I had read now. Eala ᵹıꝼ, is an Adverb, and it makes this Mood perfect after this manner.

The Subjunctive, or Conjunctive, because it is under the aforesaid Moods, and needs the help of another word, as, þon ıc ꞃæꝺe com ꞇo me, when I read come to me; þonne ıc ꞇæce þu leoꞃnaꞅꞇ, when I teach thou learnest.

The Infinitive, Unᵹeenꝺıᵹenꝺlıc, or without Ending, because that no Speech is ended without the Addition of three Things, Person, Tense, and Number, luꝼıan, to love; there is no knowing before-hand any thing by this manner of Speech, without saying ıc ƿẏlle luꝼıan, I will love. In these words, I will, is the First Person, Present Tense, Singular Number.

The Infinitive Mood is of two kinds, the one is called Primitive, as, luꝼıan, to love, ꞇæcan, to teach, ᵹeꞅeon, to see. The other derivative, ꞇo luꝼıenne, ꞇo ᵹeꞅeonne.


Of the Verb Substantive.

THE Verb Substantive, by the help of which the passive Voice is form’d, in Saxon is beon, to be.

The Indicative Mood Present Tense.

Sing. Eom, eam, am, om, beom, beo, aꞃ, ꞅẏ, ꞅı, I am; eaꞃꞇ, aꞃþ, bıꞅꞇ, eꞅ, ꞅı, thou art; ẏꞅ, ıꞅ, bẏþ, bıþ, ꞅı, he is.

Plur. Sınꝺon, ꞅenꝺon, ꞅıenꞇ, ꞅẏnꝺ, ꞅınꝺ, ꞅınꞇ, ꞅın, ꞅıen, ꞅeon, ꞅıe, ꞅẏnꝺon, ꞅınꝺun, aꞃon, bıþon, beoþ, bıþon, beoþ, we are, ye are, they are.

Plur. Sınꝺon, ꞅenꝺon . . . bıþon, beoþ, we are, ye are, they are.
[Er . . . Do all fifteen forms have all three meanings?]

The Præterimperfect Tense.

Sing. 1. Ƿæꞅ, I was; 2. ƿæꞃe, thou wert; 3. ƿaꞅ, ƿæꞅ he was.

Plur. 1, 2, 3. Ƿæꞃon, ƿæꞃun, we were, ye were, they were.

For ƿæꞃe, ƿæꞃon, in the D. S. we meet with ƿæꞅ; as also uueꞅ, uıeꞅ, uæꞅ, ƿeꞅ: But for ƿæꞃun, is read ƿæꞃum, or ƿoeꞃun.

The Future Tense.

Sing. 1. Beo, beom, bıom, I shall be; 2. bẏꞅꞇ, thou shalt be; 3. bẏþ, ƿæꞅ, he shall be.

Plur. 1, 2, 3. Beoþ, bıþon, we shall be, ye shall be, they shall be.

The Imperative Mood.

Sing. 2. Beo þu, ꞅı þu, or ꞅıᵹ þu, ƿæꞅ þu, be thou; 3. bẏþ he, ꞅẏ he, ꞅı he, ꞅıᵹ he, ꞅıenꝺe he, let him be.


Plur. 1. Beo ƿe, or ꞅın ƿe, let us be; 2. beoþ, beo ᵹe, or ꞅın ᵹe, ƿeꞅe ᵹe, ƿoꞅaꞅ ᵹe, ƿoꞅaþ ᵹe, be ye; 3. beon hı, or ꞅın hı, ꞅıen hı, let them be.

The Optative and Subjunctive Moods, Present Tense.

Sing. 1. Beo, ꞅı, ꞅẏ, may I be; 2. bẏꞅꞇ, ꞅı, mayest thou be; 3. beo, ꞅı, may he be.

Plur. 1. Beon, ꞅẏn, ꞅın, may we be; 2. beon, ꞅın, ꞅẏn, beoþ, may ye be; 3. beon, ꞅın, ꞅẏn, may they be.

For ꞅı and ꞅın, is often writ ꞅıo, ꞅeo, ꞅıᵹ, ꞅıe, ꞅe, ꞅıon, ꞅeon; and for beoþ, in D. S. beoþan.

The Imperfect, Perfect, Plusquamperfect and Future Tenses.

Sing. Ƿæꞃe, I might, could, would, should, or ought to be; have been, had been.

Plur. Ƿeꞃon, -an, -en, -un, ƿæꞃe, we, ye, they might, could, would, should, or ought to be; have been, had been.

The Infinitive Mood Present Tense, or Primitive.

Beon, bıon, bıan, bẏan, bıen, ƿæꞅan, to be; ƿoꞅa, ƿoꞅꞅa, ƿoꞅan, ƿeꞃe, ꞅıe, D. S. to be; ꞇo beonne, ꞇo bıonne, ꞇo ƿoꞅanne. This is the Infinitive Mood derivative, and answers to the Gerunds, Supines, and Participles; in Latin existendi, of being; existendo, in being; existendum, to be; futurus, shall be; hıꞇ ıꞅ ꞇıma ꞇo beonne, it is time to be, tempus est existendi; uꞅ ıꞅ heꞃe ꞇo beonne, existendum, vel manendum, est nobis hic, we must be here; ꞅe þe ꞅceal beonne, futurus, he that shall be; ꞇo ƿeaꞃꝺ, is the same; ꞅe þe ꞇo ƿeaꞃꝺ ıꞅ, he that is to come. Saxon Homil. on the beheading of St. John Baptist.


The Verb Ƿeoꞃþan Geƿeoꞃþan, to be, to be made or done, is formed after this manner.

The Indicative and Subjunctive Moods Present and Future Tense.

Sing. 1. Ic ƿeoꞃþe, ƿuꞃþe, ƿẏꞃþe, ƿuꞃꝺe, I am, I shall, or will be, I may be, I am made, I may be made; þu ƿeoꞃþeꞅꞇ, ƿuꞃþeꞅꞇ, ƿuꞃꝺeꞅꞇ, thou are, mayest, shalt, or wilt be, thou art made, thou shalt be made, thou mayest be made; he ƿeoꞃþe, ƿuꞃþe, ƿẏꞃþe, ƿeoꞃþeþ, ƿuꞃꝺe, he is, shall be, may be, he is made, he may be made, he shall be made.

Plur. Ƿe ƿeoꞃþon, ƿeaꞃꝺon, -an, -en, ƿeoꞃðaþ, ƿuꞃꝺaþ, we are, &c. ᵹe ƿeoꞃþe, ƿeoꞃðeþ, ƿeoꞃꝺeþ, -aþ, ye are, shall be, may be, &c. hı ƿeoꞃðon, ƿeoꞃꝺon, -an, -en, -un, ƿeoꞃðað, ƿuꞃðað, they are, &c..

The Future is sometimes exprest with the help of ꞅceal, as, ıc ꞅceal ƿeoꞃðan, I shall be, or shall be made.

The Præterperfect Tense.

Sing. Ic ƿeaꞃð, I was, or was made; ðu ƿeaꞃþeꞅꞇ, thou wert, or wast made; he ƿeaꞃþ, he was, or was made.

Plur. Ƿe ƿuꞃꝺon, -an, -en, ƿeoꞃꝺon, -an, -en, we were, &c. ᵹe ƿeꞃꝺeð, ye were, &c. hı ƿoꞃꝺon, -an, -en, ƿeoꞃꝺon, ƿeoꞃꝺon, -an, -en, they were, &c.

The Imperative Mood.

Sing. Ƿeoꞃða ðu, be thou, or be thou made; ƿeoꞃðe, ƿuꞃðe, ƿẏꞃðe he, be he, or let him be, or be made.

Plur. Ƿeoꞃðon, -an, -en, -un, ƿe, be we, or let us be, or be made; ƿeoꞃðe ᵹe, be ye, or be ye made; ƿeoꞃðe hı, be they, or let them be, or be made.

Plur. Ƿeoꞃðon, -an, -en, -un, ƿe, be we, or let us be, or be made
text has -en, -un, -ƿe with spurious hyphen


The Infinitive Mood.

Ƿeoꞃðan, ᵹeƿeoꞃðan, ƿoꞃþan, to be, or to be made; ꞇo ƿeoꞃþan, answerable to the Gerunds, of being, in being, to be, or must be: The Participle ƿoꞃꝺen, ᵹeƿoꞃꝺen, made.

Of the Verb Active Regular.

A Verb Active is either Regular, or Irregular. An Example of the Verb Active Regular is, Luꝼıan, to Love.

The Indicative Mood, Present, and Future Tense.

Sing. Ic luꝼıᵹe, I love; þu luꝼaꞅꞇ, -eꞅꞇ, -ꞅꞇ; he luꝼaþ, -eþ, -þ.

Plur. Ƿe luꝼıaþ, we love; ᵹe luꝼıaþ; hı luꝼıaþ.

When the Infinitive ends in an, having a Vowel going before it, then the Plural Endings are in ıaþ; as, hınᵹꞃıaþ, ƿẏꞃıaþ, þolıaþ, &c. But if they end in eon, then the Plural Endings are in eoþ; as, ᵹeꞅeoþ, from ᵹeꞅeon: But if a Consonant go before an, then they end in ; as, þẏꞃꞅꞇaþ, we, ye, they thirst. G before an, in the forming of Tenses, is often changed into an h, as from ƿæᵹan, to weigh, ƿæhþ.

The third Person Singular in Moods ending in ðan, and ꞇan, often end in ; as, ꝼæꝺan, to feed, ꝼeꞇ, he feedeth.

The Persons in the Plural Number often end after the same manner as the first Person Singular, as, hƿæꞇ eꞇe ƿe, what shall we eat, hu ꝼleo ᵹe, how shall ye fly. The same Persons end, as well in en, on, un, as in ; as, in ƿıꞇun, ƿıꞇaþ, ye know; nẏꞇon, nuuꞇon, 37 L nẏꞇaþ, ye know not: Sometimes it is read ƿuꞇaꞅ, ƿuꞇoþ, ye know, in the Poets. For the Poets often instead of , use the Termination oþ. The D. S. form this Present Tense, in a much different manner, as, ıc luꝼıᵹa, or, luꝼıᵹo, I love; þu luꝼıᵹeꞅ, or luꝼıᵹaꞅ; he luꝼıᵹa or luꝼıᵹaꞅ, -eꞅ, -ıꞅ; ƿe luꝼıᵹaꞅ, or luꝼıᵹeꞅ; ᵹe luꝼıᵹaꞅ, -eꞅ; hı luꝼıᵹaꞅ, or -eꞅ.

The Present Tense of the Indicative Mood, is form’d by the Auxiliar eom, and the Participle of the Present Tense; as, ıc eom ꞅıꞇꞇenꝺe, I am sitting, instead of I sit. Ð the Asperate in the Termination of the third Person Singular, is often changed into the soft , as, aꞃıꞅꞇ, he riseth, for aꞃıꞅeþ.

hı luꝼıᵹaꞅ, or -eꞅ.
hyphen missing

Ð the Asperate in the Termination of the third Person Singular, is often changed into the soft
[She means fricative, a word that didn’t exist until the middle of the 19th century. Aspiration isn’t phonemic in English—or, for that matter, in most Indo-European languages on this side of the centum:satem divide. It is probably a universal truth that every language, everywhere, distinguishes between “soft” and “hard” in a way that its speakers think is intuitively obvious.]

The Præterimperfect Tense.

Sing. Ic luꝼoꝺe, -eꝺe; þu luꝼoꝺeꞅꞇ; he luꝼoꝺe.

Plur. Ƿe luꝼoꝺon; ᵹe luꝼoꝺon; hı luꝼoꝺon.

Verbs having ꝼ, l, m, n, ꞃ, ꞅ, ꞇ, before the ending of the Infinitive Mood, often contract their Præter­perfect Tenses; as, beꞇẏnan, to shut, beꞇẏnꝺe. The Præter­perfect Tense ƿaꞇ, hath the same Signification of the Present Tense; as, ıc ƿaꞇ, I know; þu ƿaꞇꞅꞇ, thou knowest, qu. ƿaꞇeꞅꞇ; and ƿelꞅꞇ, ƿelꞇꞅꞇ, thou didst command, qu. ƿealꞇeꞅꞇ, ƿealꝺeꞅꞇ, from ƿealꝺan, to govern. The second Person Singular in the Præterimperfect Tense in the D. S. ends in eꞅ; as, ıneaꝺeꞅ, thou wentest in, for ıneoꝺeꞅꞇ.

The Præterimperfect Tense is otherwise form’d, by the Auxiliar ƿæꞅ, and the Participle of the Present Tense; as, ıc ƿæꞅ boꝺıenꝺe, I was preaching, for ıc boꝺoꝺe, I did preach.

The Præterperfect, and Præterplusquamperfect, are formed like the Præterimperfect Tense, as also by the Participle of the Present Tense, and the Auxiliar 38 hæbbe, i.e. have; hæꝼoꝺ, heaꝼoꝺ, had, from hæbben, to have.

The Præterperfect Tense.
Singular. Plural.
Ic hæbbe luꝼoꝺ, I have loved.   Ƿe hæbbað luꝼoꝺe, we have loved.
Ðu hæbbeꞅꞇ luꝼoꝺ. Ge hæbbaꝺ luꝼoꝺe.
He hæbbað luꝼoꝺ. Hı hæbbaþ luꝼoꝺe.

Haꝼa and haue, are used for hæbbe; haꝼaꞅꞇ, hauꞅꞇ, for hæbbeꞅꞇ; haꝼaþ, haueþ, for hæbbaþ; haꝼen, hauen, for hæbbaþ, in the Normanno-Saxon.

The Præterpluperfect Tense.
Singular. Plural.
Ic hæꝼoꝺ ᵹe heoꞃꝺ, I had heard.   Ƿe hæꝼꝺon ᵹe heoꞃꝺe;
Þu hæꝼoꝺeꞅꞇ ᵹeheoꞃꝺ. Ge hæꝼꝺon ᵹe heoꞃꝺe.
He hæꝼoꝺ ᵹeheoꞃꝺ. Hı hæꝼꝺon ᵹe heoꞃꝺe.

Hæꝺꝺon and heaꝼꝺon, are often used instead of hæꝼꝺon: But hæꝼꝺe is instead of hæꝼoꝺe, from which it is contracted.

He hæꝼoꝺ ᵹeheoꞃꝺ.   Hı hæꝼꝺon ᵹe heoꞃꝺe.
[Throughout this table, she seems undecided whether the element ᵹe- is a prefix or a separate word.]

The Future is form’d like the Present Tense, as above; and also by the Auxiliar ꞅceal and ƿılle, from the words ꞅceolꝺan, to owe, and ƿıllan, to will, in English, shall, and will.

Singular. Plural.
Ic ꞅceal ꝼæꞅꞇan, I shall fast.   Ƿe ꞅceolon, -un, -an, ꝼæꞅꞇan.
Þu ꞅcealꞇ ꝼæꞅꞇan. Ge ꞅceolon, -un, -an, ꝼæꞅꞇan.
He ꞅceal ꝼæꞅꞇan. Hı ꞅceolon, -un, -an, ꝼæꞅꞇan.
39 L2

For ꞅceolon is used ꞅculon, and ꞅchullen, N. S. The Auxiliaries ꞅceal and ƿılle, are often read with an Elleipsis, or leaving out of the Principal Verb; as, Ðıꞅ Goꝺꞅpel ꞅceal on Anꝺꞃæaꞅ-mæꞅꞅe ꝺæᵹ, This Gospel shall [be read] on the Feast of St. Andrew; here the words beon ᵹeꞃæꝺen must be understood: Nelle ıc nu næꝼꞃe hıonon, I will never go from hence; the word ꝼaꞃan, to go, is left out.

in English, shall, and will
text has Eng-/glish at line break

The Imperative Mood.

Sing. Luꝼa þu, love thou; luꝼıᵹe he, let him love.

Plur. Luꝼıon ƿe; luꝼıᵹe ᵹe; luꝼıon hı.

For luꝼıᵹe ᵹe, we meet with luꝼıaþ, as we do likewise ꝼaꞃaþ ⁊ axıaþ, go and ask, &c. and we read this irregular word ƿuꞃpen, throw it away. The second Plural in the D. S. ends in aꞅ or eꞅ; as, luꝼaꞅ, or luꝼeꞅ ᵹe, love ye; being a‑kin to the first in a, as, ᵹeꞅea, let us see, for ᵹeꞅeon.

The Optative Mood Present Tense.
Singular. Plural.
Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc nu luꝼıᵹe, I wish I may love.   Eala ᵹıꝼ ƿe nu luꝼıon, -an.
Eala ᵹıꝼ þu nu luꝼıᵹe. Eala ᵹıꝼ ᵹe nu luꝼıon, -an.
Eala ᵹıꝼ he nu luꝼıᵹe. Eala ᵹıꝼ hı nu luꝼıon, -an.
The Præterimperfect, Præterperfect, and Præterpluperfect Tenses.
Singular. Plural.
Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc nu luꝼoꝺe, I wish I might love.   Eala ᵹıꝼ ƿe nu luꝼoꝺon.
Eala ᵹıꝼ þu nu luꝼoꝺeꞅꞇ. Eala ᵹıꝼ ᵹe nu luꝼoꝺon.
Eala ᵹıꝼ he nu luꝼoꝺe. Eala ᵹıꝼ hı nu luꝼoꝺon.

The Future Tense is like the Present, only adding ᵹẏꞇ, as, eala þaꞇ ıc luꝼıᵹe ᵹẏꞇ.

The Subjunctive Mood is form’d after the same manner, only that instead of eala ᵹẏꝼ, it uses þonne, or þaþa, when.

The Subjunctive Mood Present Tense.
Singular. Plural.
Þonne ıc nu luꝼıᵹe, when I love.   Þonne ƿe nu luꝼıaþ.
Þonne þu nu luꝼaꞅꞇ. Þonne ᵹe nu luꝼıaþ.
Þonne he nu luꝼaþ. Þonne hı nu luꝼıaþ.
The Præterimperfect, Præterperfect, and Præterpluperfect Tenses.
Singular. Plural.
Þonne, or þaþa, ıc luꝼoꝺe.   Þonne ƿe, ᵹe, hı luꝼoꝺon.
Þonne þu luꝼoꝺeꞅꞇ.
Þonne he luꝼoꝺe.
The Future Tense.

Þonne ıc luꝼıᵹe ᵹẏꞇ, &c.

The Potential Mood is two-fold, either Simple, or Compound: Simple, when it is exprest by the Verb alone; 41 for example: Aꞅꞇıᵹe nu oꝼ ꞃoꝺe, ꝥ ƿe Geꞅeon ⁊ Gelẏꝼon, Come down from the Cross, that we may see and believe. The Compound does express the Power, Liberty, Inclination, or Necessity, of doing any thing, by the Aid or Addition of some other word, such as Mæᵹ, Mıhꞇ, Ƿolꝺ, Nolꝺ, Sceolꝺ, Moꞇ, Moꞅꞇ, exprest by our May, Might, &c. Mæᵹ is the Present Tense of the Indicative Mood, and Mıhꞇ the Præterimperfect Tense of the Verb Maᵹan, to be able, and is thus form’d.

Singular. Plural.
Ic mæᵹ.   Ƿe maᵹon, -an, -en, -un.
Þu mæᵹeꞅꞇ. Ge maᵹon, -an, -en, -un.
He mæᵹ. Hı maᵹon, -an, -en, -un.
Ic mıhꞇ.   Ƿe mıhꞇon.
Þu mıhꞇeꞅꞇ. Ge mıhꞇon
He mıhꞇ. Hı mıhꞇon.

Ƿolꝺ, is the Præterimperfect Tense of the Indicative Mood of the Verb Ƿıllan, to will, and is form’d as Mæg, and Mıhꞇ.

Nolꝺ is a Contraction of ne ƿolꝺ.

Sceolꝺe, is the Præterimperfect Tense of the Indicative Mood of the Verb Sceolꝺan, to owe.

Moꞇ, I am able, or it is lawful for me, is form’d thus.

Sing. Ic moꞇ; þu moꞇeꞅꞇ; he moꞇ.

Plur. Ƿe, ᵹe, hı, moꞇon.

The Reader may observe, that mæᵹ, and moꞇ, make the Present Tense; and mıhꞇ, nolꝺ, ꞅceolꝺ, moꞅꞇ, make the Præterimperfect Tense.

The Infinitive Mood, as before is observ’d, is two-fold, either Primitive or Derivative; Primitive, as, luꝼıan, 42 to love, ꞇæcan, to teach, ᵹeꞅeon, to see; Derivative, which answers to the Gerunds, Supines, and Participles, in the Latin Grammar, as, ꞇo luꝼıenne ꞇo ᵹeꞅeonne: Of which take the Examples following.

First, of Gerunds in di, Hıꞇ ıꞅ ꞇıma ꞇo ꞃæꝺanne, tempus est legendi, it is the time of reading, or time to read.
do, Ne elca þu ꞇo ᵹecẏꞃꞃanne ꞇo Goꝺe, ne sis tardus in convertendo ad Deum, be not slow in turning to God.
dum, Uꞅ ıꞅ ꞇo luꝼıenne, amandum est nobis, we are to love, or we must love.
Secondly, of Supines. First Supine, Com þu uꞅ ꞇo ꝼoꞃꞅpıllanne, venisti nos perditum, art thou come to destroy us?
Latter Supine, Hıꞇ ıꞅ eaþelıc ꞇo cƿeþanne, facile est dictu, it is easy to be said.
Thirdly, of Participles of the Future in rus, Eaꞃꞇ þu ꞅe þe ꞇo cumenne eaꞃꞇ, an tu is qui venturus es, art thou he that is to come?
dus, Foꞃ þeoꝼ, he bıþ ꞇo pꞃoꝼıanne, oþþe ꞇo ꞅleanne oþþe ꞇo alẏꞅanne, pro fure est accusandus, aut occidendus, aut liberandus, he must be proved a Thief, or slain as a Thief, or set free.

Of Participles.

PArticiples are either of the Present Tense, as luꝼanꝺ, luꝼıenꝺ, loving, or of the Præter­perfect Tense, luꝼaꝺ, luꝼeꝺ, luꝼoꝺ, loved.


There are some that do not answer this Rule, such as end in en, as, ᵹebunꝺen, bound, or bounden; oꝼeꞃƿꞃoh, covered; beoꞇ, beat, or beaten; aꝼeꝺ, fed; acƿanc, quenched, as will appear in the more general Collection of Irregular Verbs.

Of the Passive Voice.

THE Passive Voice is form’d of the Verb Substantive, and the Participle of the Present Tense, as,

Indicative Mood Present Tense.

Ic eom ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, I am loved; þu eaꞃꞇ, &c.

Præterimperfect Tense.

Ic ƿæꞅ ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, I was loved, &c.

In the same manner, is the Præterperfect, and Præterpluperfect form’d.

The Future Tense.
Ic beo ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, or, I shall, or will be beloved.
Ic ꞅceal beon ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, or,
Ic ƿılle beon ᵹeluꝼoꝺ.
The Imperative Mood.

Sı þu ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, be thou loved; sı he, &c.

The Optative Mood Present Tense.

Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc eom ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, I wish I be loved.

The Præterimperfect Tense.

Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc ƿæꞃe ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, I wish I were loved.


So is the Præterperfect and Præterpluperfect Tenses formed.

So is the Præterperfect and Præterpluperfect Tenses formed.
text unchanged

The Future Tense.

Eala ᵹıꝼ ıc beo ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, O that I may be loved hereafter.

After the same manner is the Subjunctive formed through all Tenses, by adding þonne, as,

Ðonne ıc nu eom ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, when I am loved, &c.

So likewise is the Potential, by the addition of one of these words, mæᵹ, mıhꞇ, moꞇ, moꞅꞇ, ƿolꝺ, ꞅceolꝺ; as,

Ic mæᵹ beon ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, I may be beloved, &c.

The Infinitive Mood is thus formed.

Beon ᵹeluꝼoꝺ, to be loved; ƿeꞅan ꝼulluhꞇoꝺ, to be baptized.

Here may not unfitly be subjoined a Collection of such Verbs, as agree not with the Rules here prescribed.

Irregular Verbs, Unemne Ƿorꝺ.

Acƿencan, to extinguish; acƿencꞇ, acƿanc, acƿınen, quenched, or put out.

Aꝺꞃeoᵹan, to suffer, to lead; aꝺꞃuᵹon, they have suffer’d.

Æꞇhꞃınan, to touch; æꞇhꞃan, he touched.

Aᵹan, to own, or possess; aᵹun, aᵹan, we, ye, have; ahꞇ, we have had; ahꞇon, they have had, or possest.

Ahebban, to lift up; ahoꝼ, he hath lifted up, unless ahoꝼ may be derived from ahaꝼan, to heave up, upahebban is the same.

Ahꞃeoᵹan, to rush; ahꞃeoᵹ, ahꞃuᵹ, he rushed; ahꞃuᵹon, they rushed.

45 M

Aꞃıꞅan, to rise; aꞃaꞅ, he arose, or raised himself.

Aꞅpanan, to entice; aꞅpon, he enticed; aꞅponnen, aꞅpanen, enticed; so ꞅpanıan.

Aþƿean, to wash; aꞅƿoh, he washed; so þƿean.

Aƿınꝺan, to wind; aƿanꝺ, he wound; aƿunꝺen, wound; so ƿınꝺan, to wind up.

Aƿꞃeon, to uncover; aƿꞃoh, he uncovered; so ƿꞃeon, to cover.

Beaꞇan, to beat; beoꞇ, he beat.

Beꝼꞃınan, to enquire; beꝼꞃan, he enquired.

Belᵹan, to be angry; bealh, he was angry; so ᵹebelᵹan, to be angry.

Beoꞃᵹan, to take heed, to have a care; beoꞃh, he took care.

Beƿæcan, to deceive; beƿæhꞇ, he deceived; likewise ƿæcan.

Bıꝺꝺan, to pray; bıꞇ, he prayed; bæꝺ, baꝺ, he prayed, or commanded.

Bıƿınꝺan, to wind up; bıƿanꝺ, he wound up; bıƿunꝺen, wound up.

Bꞃınᵹan, to bring; bꞃohꞇe, he brought.

Bꞃucan, to enjoy; bꞃeac, bꞃæc; he enjoyed.

Buᵹan, bıᵹean, to bow, or bend; beah, bıᵹꝺe, he bowed; beᵹꝺ, beᵹeꝺ; so abuᵹan, ᵹebuᵹan.

Bıcᵹean, to buy; bohꞇe, he bought; so bebıcᵹean, to sell.

Ceoꞅan, to chuse; ceaꞅ, he chose; also ᵹeceoꞅan.

Coman, cuman, cƿıman, to come; com, he came; comon, cumon, they came.

Cunnan, to know; can, I know; cuþe, he knew.

Delꝼan, to dig; ꝺulꝼ, ꝺıelꝼ, ꝺelꝼ, ꝺealꝼ, ꝺalꝼ, he dug; ꝺulꝼen, digged.

Don, to do, or make; ꝺo, I do; ꝺeꞅꞇ, ꝺẏꞅꞇ, thou dost; ꝺeð, ꝺẏð, he doth; ꝺoþ, we, ye, they do; ꝺıꝺ, ꝺıꝺe, ꝺẏꝺe, he did; ꝺo, ꝺon, let him do, let them do.


Dꞃeccan, to vex, or grieve; ꝺꞃohꞇ, he vexed; ꝺꞃohꞇon, they vexed.

Dꞃıꝼan, to drive; ꝺꞃaꝼ, he drove; so aꝺꞃıꝼan, be ꝺꞃıꝼan.

Dẏꞃꞃan, to dare; ꝺoꞃꞅꞇe, he dared.

Eꝺlæcan, to repeat, or renew; eꝺlæhꞇ, he repeated; so ᵹe eꝺlæcan, and æꝼenlæcan.

Emƿlaꞇıan, to look about; emƿlaꞇ, he looked about.

Faꞃan, to go; ꝼeꞃꝺe, ꝼoꞃ, he went; ꝼoꞃan, they are gone; so aꝼaꞃan, to go out; ꝼoꞃðꝼaꞃan, to dye.

Feallan to fall; ꝼeoll, he fell.

Fenᵹan, to take, ꝼenᵹ, ꝼoh, he took; also ꝼon, and be ꝼanᵹan, to take.

Feohꞇan, to fight; ꝼeahꞇ, he fought; ꝼuꞇon, they fought.

Fınꝺan, to find; ꝼanꝺ, he found.

Fleon, to fly; ꝼleh, ꝼleoh, fly.

Ganᵹan, or ᵹan, to go; eoꝺe, ᵹeoꝺe, I went, or did go; ᵹa, go thou; ᵹa ᵹe, go ye.

Gebınꝺan, to bind; ᵹebanꝺ, he bound; ᵹebunꝺen, bound; so bınꝺan, to bind.

Gelæcan, to approach, ᵹelıhꞇe, he came near.

Gemeꞇan, to find; ᵹemeꞇꞇe, he found.

Gemunan, to remember; ᵹemune, ᵹemunꝺe, it is remember’d; ᵹemunon, they are remember’d.

Geoꞇan, to pour out; ᵹuꞇ, he poured out; ᵹuꞇan, they poured out.

Geꞅean, ᵹeꞅeon, to see; ᵹeꞅaƿ, ᵹeꞅeah, ᵹeꞅeh, ᵹeꞅeaᵹ, ᵹeꞅaᵹ, he saw; ᵹeꞅeƿen, seen.

Geꞅƿınᵹan, to whip; ᵹeꞅƿanᵹ, he whipped; ᵹeꞅƿunᵹen, whipped.

Geꞇan, to obtain; ᵹeoꞇ, ᵹeoꞇꞇe, he obtained; ᵹeoꞇon, they obtained.

Geƿæccan, ᵹeƿeacan, ᵹeƿæcean, to afflict; ᵹeƿeahꞇe, ᵹeƿæhꞇe, he afflicted.

Gıꝼan, to give; ᵹaꝼ, he gave.

47 M2

Gꞃınꝺan, to grind; ᵹꞃanꝺ, he ground; ᵹꞃunꝺon, they ground.

Hanᵹen, to hang; hoh, he hung; so ahanᵹen, hanged.

Henᵹan, to hang; henᵹ, he hung; henᵹon, they hung.

Healꝺan, to hold; heolꝺ, he held.

Helpan, to help; hulpe, he helped; so ᵹehelpan.

Hlıhan, to laugh; hloh, he laughed.

Hnıᵹan, to stoop, or bow; hnah, hnaᵹ, as, in unꝺeꞃ hnaᵹ, I stooped, or went under.

Hƿeoꞃꝼan, to turn; hƿuꞃꝼ, he turned; hƿuꞃꝼan, they turned; so ahƿeoꞃꝼan.

Iecan, to encrease, or enlarge; ıhꞇ, enlarged.

Lıþan, to fail; lað, he faileth.

Lıxon, to shine; lıxꞇon, they shine; qu. lıxꝺon, lıxoꝺon.

Maᵹan, to be able; mıhꞇ, I had been able.

Nıman, to take; nam, he took; numen, taken; so ᵹenıman.

Oꝼeꞃƿꞃean, to cover; oꝼeꞃƿꞃoh, covered; so ƿꞃeon.

Oꝼꞅlean, to kill; oꝼꞅloh, he killed; also oꝼꞅlæᵹan, or oꝼꞅlaᵹan, makes oꝼꞅloᵹ.

Onᵹınnan, to begin; onᵹan, he began.

Onᵹıꞇan, to understand; onᵹeaꞇ, he understood; onᵹaꞇun, they understood; also ᵹẏꞇan, or ᵹeꞇan, to get, procure, or obtain.

Plæꞇan, to smite; plaꞇ, he smote.

Plıhꞇan, to give his word, or be a surety; plıhꞇ, he gave his word.

Reccan, to tell, to give an account; ꞃohꞇ, he told; ꞃohꞇon, they declared.

Rıꝺan, to ride; ꞃaꝺ, he rode; so likewise on ꞃıꝺan.

Sahꞇlan, to reconcile; ꞅæhꞇ, he reconciled, N. S.

Saƿan, to sow; ꞅeƿ, he sowed; ꞅaƿen, sowed.

Scınan, to shine; ꞅcean, he shined.

Scıppan, to create; ꞅceop, he created; so ᵹeꞅcıppan.


Secan, to seek; ꞅohꞇ, he sought; ꞅohꞇon, they sought; so ᵹeꞅæcan.

Secᵹan, ꞅæᵹᵹan, ꞅæcᵹan, to say; ꞅæcᵹꝺe, ꞅæꝺe, he said, qu. from ꞅæcᵹoꝺe; also ƿıðꞅecᵹan, ƿıðꞅaᵹan, to contradict.

Seꞇꞇan, to place; ꞅeoꞇꞇe, ꞅeꞇ, he placed.

Sınᵹan, to sing; ꞅanᵹ, he sung.

Sıꞇꞇan, to sit; ꞅæꞇ, he sate.

Slaᵹan, to kill, or slay; ꞅloh, he killed, qu. ꞅloᵹ, being turn’d into h.

Slıꞇan, to slit; ꞅlaꞇ, he did slit.

Spıƿan, to spue, ꞅpaƿ, he spew’d.

Sꞇanꝺan, to stand; ꞅꞇoꝺ, he stood; also ƿıþꞅꞇanꝺan, to withstand.

Sꞇꞃeccan, to stretch; ꞅꞇꞃehꞇ, he stretched; ꞅꞇꞃehꞇon, they stretched.

Sꞇıᵹan, to ascend, ꞅꞇaᵹ, ꞅꞇah, ꞅꞇıh, he ascended; also the Compounds, ᵹeꞅꞇıᵹan, aꞅꞇıᵹan, onꞅꞇıᵹan, nẏþeꞃꞅꞇıᵹan, to descend.

Sƿeꞃıan, to swear; ꞅƿoꞃ, he swore.

Sƿıᵹan, to be silent; ꞅuƿoꝺe, he was silent; ꞅuƿon, they were silent.

Ꞇæꞇan, to teach; ꞇæhꞇ, he taught; ꞇæc, teach.

Ꞇeon, to lead, or to draw; ꞇeh, ꞇuᵹe, he drew; ꞇeo, ꞇeoh, draw; hence tow, a word known amongst Sailors; so aꞇeon.

Ðencan, to think; ðohꞇ, ðohꞇe, he thought; ᵹeþencan.

Ꞇẏþıan, to give; ꞇẏþꝺe, ꞇẏꝺꝺe he gave.

Unnan, to give; uꝺꝺe, he gave.

Ƿacıan, to watch; ƿeahꞇe, watched; so aƿacıan.

Ƿeꝺan, to be mad; ƿeꝺꝺe, he was mad.

Ƿeoꞃcan, ƿoꞃcan, to build; ƿoꞃhꞇe, he built; ꝼoꞃƿẏꞃcan, to undo.

Yꞃnan, aꞃnıan, aꞃnan, to run; aꞃn, he ran; uꞃnon, they ran.

Notes and Corrections: Irregular Verbs

skip to next section

The terms “strong verb” and “weak verb” don’t seem to have been in use yet. (If the ngram viewer can be trusted, the pair showed up in the first half of the 19th century.) Most of the verbs listed aren’t really irregular; they just change their stem vowel between tenses.

Bıꝺꝺan . . . bæꝺ, baꝺ, he prayed, or commanded
[Comma between bæꝺ and baꝺ missing.]

Geoꞇan, to pour out
[In Joseph Moxon’s work on printing (published 1683, the year of Elizabeth Elstob’s birth) he defines a Geat as “the little Spout or Gutter made in the Brim of Casting Ladles”. It struck me at the time that the word must have some connection with the German verb giessen, to pour.]

Hanᵹen . . . Henᵹan, to hang
[Yes, but which of the two means “hang” as in hanging a picture, and which means “hang” as in hanged by the neck until dead?]

hnah, hnaᵹ, as, in unꝺeꞃ hnaᵹ, I stooped, or went under
[This looks like a mistake for “as, ıc unꝺeꞃ hnaᵹ”.]

Spıƿan, to spue, ꞅpaƿ, he spew’d.
[I’m awfully glad she included this verb, because it helps illustrate the difference between p and wynn.]


Of Adverbs.

ADverb, Ƿoꞃꝺeꞅ ᵹeꝼeꞃa, the Companion of a Verb; because it is always joined with a Verb, and has not its full Signification without it.

because it is always joined with a Verb
[Or adjective, ahem.]

There are three things belong to it: First Kind, Hıƿ. Primitive, Fꞃumcenneꝺ, as, ꝺıᵹellıce, secretly, ᵹelomlıce, often; or,
Derivative, Oꝼᵹanᵹenꝺe, as, ᵹelomlıcoꞃ, oftner, ᵹelomlıcoꞅꞇ, very often.
Secondly Figure, Geꝼeᵹeꝺnẏꞅꞅ. Either Single, anꝼealꝺ; or,
Compound, menıᵹꝼealꝺ.

Thirdly Signification, Geꞇacnunᵹ, and this is divided into several Significations, as,

1. Adverbs of Time, i.e. Ꞇıꝺlıce, or þa ðe ꞇıꝺa ᵹeꞇacnıað, those that signify Time, as, á, áá, ááá, always, or for evermore; ᵹeꝼẏꞃꞃ, heretofore; nıƿan, newly done, or of late; æꞃ, before; on æꞃan ꝺæᵹ, the other day; ᵹẏꞅꞇanꝺæᵹ, yesterday; ꞇo ꝺæᵹ, to day; ꞇo meꞃıᵹen, to morrow; nu, now; æꞇꞅumon cẏꞃꞃe, some time or other, &c.

á, áá, ááá, always, or for evermore
[Either the printer’s Anglo-Saxon font didn’t have accented (long) á, or the author forgot to mark it; the printed book simply has “á, áá, ááá” in ordinary Roman type.]

2. Adverbs of Place, Sꞇoƿlıce, local; hıꝺeꞃ, hither; þıꝺeꞃ, thither; and these are either such as express things in a place, as, heꞃ, here; ðæꞃ, there; hƿæꞃ, where; or from a place, ꝼꞃam ꞅꞇoƿe, as, heonon, hence; þanon, thence; hƿanon, whence.

3. Of denying; or forbidding, ꝼoꞃbeoꝺenꝺlıce, oððe mıꞅꞇıhꞇenꝺlıce; as, nohꞇ, nochꞇ, not; naꞇeꞅƿhon, in no wise, &c.


4. Some are of Confirmation, ꝼæꞅꞇnıᵹenꝺe, as, ıa ıc ꝺẏꝺe, yes I did; ƿıꞇoꝺlıce, truly; ᵹeƿıꞅlıce, that is to say.

5. Of Swearing, Sƿeꞃıᵹenꝺlıc; ðuꞃh, by; as, ıc ꞅƿeꞃıᵹe ðuꞃh Goꝺ, I swear by God; ðuꞃh mın heaꝼoꝺ, by my Head: And here I cannot help remarking what the pious Ælfric observes on this head, who makes this Observation. Our Saviour has forbid every kind of Oath, and commanded that our Speech shall be thus confirmed; Hıꞇ ıꞅ ꞅƿa, hıꞇ ıꞅ, it is so, it is; i.e. yea, yea; Nıꞅ hıꞇ ꞅƿa, hıꞇ nıꞅ, it is not so, it is not, nay, nay: There are many other Adverbs of Swearing; but why should we say any more, since we may not swear at all.

6. Some are of Exhorting or Encouraging, Ꞇıhꞇenꝺlıce; as, nu la; come on, go to; nu ᵹe la, take courage: This is sometimes exprest by the Imperative Mood; as, ꝺo þu, and ꝺo ᵹe.

7. Some are of Affirming or Asserting, Fæꞅꞇnıᵹenꝺe; as, ꞅoðlıce, truly; ꝼulꞅoð, most truly, or indeed and indeed: This word continues still in use in the word Forsooth, but the Sense is misunderstood: For whereas it is only a Note of Affirmation, it is used as a word of Compli­ment and Respect, which we find exacted with great Niceness from their Children, by the meaner sort in and about the City of London, where they are sure to be taught to say Forsooth Mother, and Forsooth Grandmother, &c.

8. Some are of Doubting, Ꞇƿınıᵹenꝺlıce; as, ƿen, ƿenunᵹe, it may be, probably, &c.

9. Of Quality, ðe ᵹeꞇacnıað hƿılcnẏꞅꞅe, which signifies Quality, or how a thing is done; as, ƿel, well; ẏꝼele, ill; ꝼæᵹeꞃe, fairly; ꞅnoꞇeꞃlıce, wisely; ꞅƿæꞅlıce, properly.


10. Of Quantity, ða ᵹeꞇacnıað mẏcelnẏꞅꞅe, oððe lẏꞇelnẏꞅꞅe, these denote much, or little; as, mıcel, much; lẏꞇel, little; nahꞇ, nothing.

11. Congregatives or Collectives, Gaꝺꞃıᵹenꝺlıce, these unite, or gather things together; as ꞅamoꝺ, at one; æꞇᵹeꝺeꞃe, together.

12. Discretives, Sẏnꝺꞃıᵹenꝺlıce; onꞅunꝺꞃon, apart, separately; ꝺıᵹellıce, secretly.

13. Of Likeness, Gelıcnẏꞅꞅe; as, ꞅƿaꞅƿa, even so; eal ꞅƿa and eac ꞅƿılce, in like manner; enꝺemeꞅ, the same.

14. Of Intention or Eagerness; ᵹeoꞃnꝼullıce, eagerly, or earnestly; ꞅƿıðe, very much; ðeaꞃle, over much; mıcclum, much.

15. Of Remission, Slacıᵹenꝺlıce, when the Sense is slacken’d; as, lẏꞇlum, by little and little; ꞅꞇunꝺmælum, by degrees; ꞅoꝼꞇe, easily, softly; hƿæꞇ huᵹu, hƿæꞇ hƿæᵹanunᵹeꞅ, moderately.

16. Of Order, Enꝺebẏꞃꝺlıce; as, þæꞃ-ꞃıhꞇe, immediately; ꞅıððan, since, or after­wards; nexꞇan, next, or at length; hƿẏꞃꝼꞇum, by turns.

17. Of Wishing, Geƿıꞅcenꝺlıce; as, eala ᵹıꝼ, O that.

18. Comparatives, Ƿıðmeꞇenꝺlıce; as, ꞅƿıðoꞃ, rather, or more; hƿonlıcoꞃ, less; beꞇ, better; ƿẏꞃꞅ, worse.

19. Superlatives, Oꝼeꞃꞅꞇıᵹenꝺlıce; as, ꞅƿẏðoꞅꞇ, most of all; hƿonlıcoꞅꞇ, least; hꞃæꝺlıcoꞅꞇ, soonest.

20. Diminutives, Ƿanıᵹenꝺelıce; as, ꝺıᵹellıce, secretly; hƿonlıcoꞃ ꝺıᵹellıce, a little more secretly.

21. Demonstratives, Æꞇeoƿıᵹenꝺlıce; as, eꝼne, lo; loca nu heꞃ, behold.

22. Interrogatives, Axıᵹenꝺlıce; hƿı, why? ꝼoꞃ hƿı, wherefore?


23. Relatives, Eꝺleꞅenꝺlıce; as, þa þa, ıc ƿæꞅ ᵹeonᵹ, when I was young.

24. Numerals, þa ðe ᵹeꞇacnıaꝺ ᵹeꞇel, those that signify Number; as, ænne, once; ꞇuƿa, twice; ðꞃıƿa, thrice, &c.

Of Conjunctions, Be GEÐEODNẎSSE.

COpulatives, Geþeoꝺenꝺlıce; anꝺ, onꝺ, [enꝺe, D. S.] and eac, ac, [oc, D. S.] and.

Disjunctives, Aꞅcẏꞃıᵹenꝺlıce; oþþe, or; ne ne, neither; ꞅƿa ꞅƿa, as, &c.

Discretives, Sẏnꝺꞃıᵹenꝺlıce; ac, but; ꞅoðlıce, but; ƿıꞇoꝺlıce, for, &c.

Causals, ꝼoꞃ ꞅuman ınꞇınᵹan, words spoken for some cause; ðẏ, because; that; ꝼoꞃðam, because; ꝼoꞃðan ðe, ꝼoꞃðı, because.

Exceptives, buꞇon, buꞇan, [buꞇa, D. S.] nẏmþe, nemne, unless; huꞃu þınᵹa, only.

Interrogatives, Axıᵹenꝺlıce; la, is it so? hƿı, hƿẏ, why? hunu, is it not?

Adversatives, Ƿẏþeꞃꞃeꝺlıce; þeah, altho’; þeah þe, altho’; æᵹðeꞃ ᵹe, either this or that; hƿæꝺeꞃ, hƿæþeꞃ, hƿæþeꞃe, nevertheless.

Illatives, or that infer the Reason of Things, ᵹeꞅceaꝺlıce; as, ꝼoꞃþı, therefore; aþẏ, the same.

Of Præpositions, Be FORESETNẎSSE.

PRæpositions may be consider’d either in Construction, or Composition.

In Construction they may be consider’d either as governing an Accusative Case, or an Ablative.

Throughout this section, each list of prepositions was printed as a single run-in paragraph. I have broken them up for clarity. (The tables were printed as shown.) For what it’s worth, I dimly recall a Greek instructor saying that it is inaccurate to speak of a preposition governing a case; it’s really the other way around.

53 N
Præpositions governing an Accusative Case.
Aᵹen, or aᵹean, against.   Aᵹen Manneꞅ Sunu, against the Son of Man.
Onᵹean. Onᵹean Galıleam, over against Galilee.
Ꞇoᵹeaneꞅ. Ꞇoᵹeaneꞅ hıne, against him.
Ꞇeh. Ꞇeh hıne þa ꝼeꞃꝺon, then they came against him.
Onꞇeonan. Anꝺ me onꞇeonan æꞇe, and against my will didst eat.
Ƿıð. Þe ƿıð uꞅ aᵹẏlꞇað, that trespass against us.

Be, in, to
[The text says Be, ın, ꞇo, all in Anglo-Saxon script, but I think this is what she meant. Ꞇo will be listed on the next page under Prepositions with the Ablative Case.]

Here I cannot forbear giving you a particular Instance, it being so highly valuable, and remarkable for the Matter it contains.

* Cꞃıꞅꞇ ƿæꞅ PRESBẎꞆER. Christ was a Priest,
Þa þa he nam hlaꝼ, When he took the Loaf,
Anꝺ heolꝺ beꞇƿux hıꞅ Hanꝺum, And held betwixt his Hands,
Anꝺ þone Calıc eac ꞅƿa, And the Chalıce also,
Anꝺ ꞇo Heoꝼonum beꞅeah, And to Heaven look’d up,
Anꝺ ꞇo hıꞅ Fæꝺeꞃ clẏpoꝺe, And to his Father call’d,
Anꝺ þancıenꝺe, And with giving Thanks,
Bleꞇꞅoꝺe ꞇo HUSLE, Blest it to Sacrifice,
54 Anꝺ ꞅẏððan hıꞇ hıꞅ Dıꞅcıpulum, And then to his Disciples,
Sealꝺe ꞇo þıcᵹanne, Gave it, that they might eat,
FOR HIS SẎLFES LICHAMAN, Instead of his Body,
AND FOR HIS AGEN BLOD. And For his own Blood.

* See Dr. Hickes’s Saxon Grammar in the Thesaurus, p. 63.

From the Gothic 𐌷𐌿𐌽𐍃𐌻, which signifies a Sacrifice. See Mr. Junius’s Glossary.

Præpositions governing the Ablative Case.

Several of these Præpositions govern both Cases, which will appear by comparing the foregoing Scheme.

an, in, for, on
comma after “for” missing

A Collection of Præpositions used in Composition.

Those which are seldom met with but in Composition are noted with an Asterisk.

Emn, equal, as, emn-ꞅcoleꞃe, School-fellow;
; invisible

ᵹeƿıꞇa, conscious
text has ᵹeƿı,/ꞇa at line break


Of Interjections.

INterjections, Beꞇƿux aleᵹeꝺnẏꞅꞅ; are either Interjections which signify Sorrow, þæꞅ moꝺeꞅ ꞅaꞃnẏꞅꞅe, the Grief of the Mind, as, ƿa ıꞅ me, woe is me; ƿa hım, alas for him; ƿelaƿa, well away; hıᵹla; thus the French helas, eala, alas; or,

Of Rejoicing, or being merry, as, hlıchenꝺe, laughing, as, ha ha, he he, ƿel me, as they say in the North to this Day, weles mothe, that is, well is me of thee.

Of Calling, as, eala, æla, æala, hola, O la la, come hither; la is both prefixed and affixed to Interro­gations.

Of Wishing, Geƿıꞅcenꝺlıce, as, eala ᵹıꝼ, O that; ƿa la, I wish.

Of Exhorting, Ꞇıhꞇenꝺlıce, as, ƿella, uꞇe, go to; uꞇon, go ye.

Of Admiring, Ƿunꝺꞃıᵹenꝺe, as, eala hu, O how.

Of Shewing, Æꞇeoƿıᵹenꝺe, as, heonu, eꝼne, see, behold! loca nu, see here!

Of Praising, Loꝼıᵹenꝺe, as, eala eala, very good, very well! ꞅelþe, the same!

Of Syntax.

Of the Construction and Ordering of Nouns and Verbs, Be ǷORDA ⁊ NAMENA Geꝼeᵹeꝺnẏꞅꞅe ⁊ Geenꝺebẏꞃꝺnẏꞅꞅe.

HAving spoken of Nouns and Verbs, and the other Parts of Speech, singly consider’d, we are now to 58 take notice of them as they are joined together to make up Sentences in Discourse: And, as in the Grammars of other Languages we find three noted Rules of Agreement, called, The three Concords, so these likewise are first to be observed in the Grammars of the Saxon Tongue.

The first is between the Nominative Case, and the Verb, which must always agree in the same Number, and the same Person. If the Nominative Case be in the Singular Number, and first Person, the Verb that is join’d with it, must accord with it in the same Number and Person, as, ıc ꝼullıᵹe eoƿ on Ƿæꞇeꞃe, I baptize you with Water: If in the second, so likewise, as, þu eaꞃꞇ mın ᵹeluꝼoꝺa Sunu, thou art my beloved Son: If in the third, in the same manner, as, he eoƿ ꝼullaþ on Halᵹum Gaꞅꞇe, he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost: If in the Plural Number, the same Method must be observed through all Persons, as, ƿe, ᵹe, hı ƿunꝺꞃoꝺon, we, ye, they wondred.

The second Rule of Agreement is that which concerns Nouns Substantives, and Nouns Adjectives. As the Rule touching the Nominative Case, and the Verb, required an Agreement between them in Number and Person, so here the Substantive and the Adjective, must not only agree in Number, but they must accord in Gender, or Sex, and in Case, or Termination: For the Adjective being a proper Attendant upon the Substantive, it hath been thought decent that it should not only be of the same Sex, that is, a Male to wait upon a Male, and a Female upon a Female, but likewise to appear in a Dress, or Habit, by which it may easily be discern’d to which Sex they belong. The first of these Answers, the Grammatical Term of Gender, the other, of Case: And by this it may be understood what is 59 meant, when it is said, that the Substantive, and the Adjective ought to agree, in Number, Gender, and Case: As for example, in the Masculine, the Accusative Case Singular Number, Dumbne Gaꞅꞇ hæbbenꝺe, having a dumb Spirit: In the Feminine Ablative Case Singular Number, as, oꝼ Ealꞃe þınꞃe Heoꞃꞇan, and oꝼ Ealꞃe þınꞃe Saƿle, with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul. The Neuter Gender, or that which is indifferent to either Sex, has its proper Terminations, as also its Adjectives, by which they shew their Relation to it. Participles observe the same Rule in agreeing with Substantives.

The third Rule of Concordance, is that which touches the Agreement of an Antecedent Noun, with its Relative Pronoun: For to avoid the tediousness of repeating the same word, or thing, the use of Pronouns was first invented; and this Agreement must not only be in Number, and in Sex, I might also say, in Case, but in Person too, as, Ƿa eoƿ Boceꞃaꞅ anꝺ Phaꞃıꞅeı Lıceꞇeꞃaꞅ, ꝼoꞃþam ᵹe ꞅẏnꞇ ᵹelıce hƿıꞇum Bẏꞃᵹenum, Woe be to you Scribes and Pharisees Hypocrites, for ye are like whited Sepulchres; Anꝺ ꞅe þe ꞅƿeꞃeþ on Ꞇemple, he ꞅƿeꞃeþ on hım, anꝺ on þam þe hım on eaꞃꝺıᵹaþ, He that sweareth by the Temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth in it.

When two Substantives come together, which signify different things, the latter shall be the Genitive Case, as, þæꞅ Hælenꝺeꞅ Lıchaman, the Body of Jesus; Goꝺeꞅ Rıceꞅ Goꝺꞅpel, the Gospel of God’s Kingdom. Sometimes the latter Substantive is a Dative Case, instead of a Genitive, as, ƿe habbaþ Abꞃaham uꞅ ꞇo Fæꝺeꞃ, we have Abraham to our Father.


But Substantives are sometimes put in the same Case by apposition, as, Caıuꞅ Iulıuꞅ Romana Caꞅeꞃe, Ælꝼꞃeꝺ Cẏnınᵹ, Rome buꞃh.

The Genitive Case is sometimes put alone, the former Substantive being understood by an Ellepsis, as, he ᵹeꞅeah Iacobum Zebeꝺeı, where Sunu is left out by an Ellipsis.

The Praise and Dispraise of a thing, is exprest by the Genitive Case, as, þa ƿæꞃon hƿıꞇeꞅ lıchaman, ⁊ ꝼæᵹeꞃeꞅ anꝺƿlıꞇan Men, they were of white Complexion, and Men of fair Countenance.

Ðeaꞃꝼ, which answers to the Latin word opus, will have a Dative, or an Ablative Case, as, þeaꞃꝼ ıꞅ þæꞃe boꞇe, there is need of Repentance, or making amends: But sometimes it is used as an Adjective, to signify what is necessary, as, mıcel ıꞅ nẏꝺ þeaꞃꝼ Manna ᵹehƿılcum, it is very necessary for every Man; ac ƿuꞇon ꝺon ꞅƿa uꞅ þeaꞃꝼ ıꞅ, but let us do as it is necessary for us.

Notes and Corrections: Of Syntax

Participles observe the same Rule in agreeing with Substantives
[Well, yeah. That would be because participles are adjectives.]

Ðeaꞃꝼ, which answers to the Latin word opus
[That is, in the construction opus est X, there is need for X.]

Of the Construction of Adjectives.

Adjectives governing a Genitive Case.

1. OF Comparison, as, Manna æꞃeꞅꞇ, the first of Men.

2. That signify Fullness, as, ꝼulle ꝺeaꝺꞃa bana, full of dead Mens Bones. These also have an Ablative Case, as, ꝼulle lıceꞇunᵹe ⁊ unꞃıhꞇƿıꞅnẏꞅꞅe, full of Deceit and Unrighteousness.

61 O
Adjectives that govern a Dative Case.

1. Such as signify Obedience or Disobedience, as, oððe he bıꝺ anum ᵹehẏꞃꞅum, ⁊ oðꞃum unᵹehẏꞃꞅum, or he will obey the one, and disobey the other.

2. Of Likeness or Unlikeness, as, heo ıꞅ ᵹelıc ꞅıꞇꞇenꝺum Cnapan on ꝼoꞃeꞇıᵹe, it is like to Children sitting in the Market-place.

3. That signify, Care or Desire, as, ꝥ ᵹe ne ꞅẏn ẏmbhẏꝺıᵹe, eoƿꞃe ꞅaƿle hƿæꞇ ᵹe eꞇon, ne eoƿꞃum lıchaman, mıꝺ hƿam ᵹe ꞅẏn ẏmbꞅcꞃẏꝺꝺe, be not careful for your Life, what ye shall eat, nor for your Bodies, what ye shall put on.

Adjectives that govern the Ablative Case.

1. That signify Worth, as, ꝺoð meꝺemne ƿæꞅꞇm þæꞃe ꝺæꝺboꞇe, bring forth fruits worthy of Repentance.

2. That signify Fullness, as, ꝼulle ealꞃe ꝼẏlðe, full of all filth.

3. That signify Guilt, as, ꝺome ꞅcẏlꝺıᵹ, guilty of Judgment; ᵹeþeahꞇe ꞅcẏlꝺıᵹ, in danger of the Council, or guilty before it.

The Interrogative, and that which answers to it, shall be in the same Case, as, hƿæꞅ ıꞅ þeoꞅ anlıcnẏꞅ ⁊ þıꞅ ᵹeƿꞃıꞇ? whose is this Image and Inscription? hı cƿeꝺon þæꞅ Caꞅeꞃeꞅ, they answered Cæsar’s.

Of the Construction of Verbs.

VErbs Substantives, and Verbs Passive, which signify Calling or Naming, will have a Nominative Case after them, as well as before them, as, ıc eom æꞃıꞅꞇ ⁊ lıꝼ, 62 I am the Resurrection and the Life; ꞅe hælenꝺ þe ıꞅ ᵹenemneꝺ Cꞃıꞅꞇ, Jesus which is called Christ.

ꞅe hælenꝺ þe ıꞅ ᵹenemneꝺ Cꞃıꞅꞇ
[hælenꝺ means healer, savior or—by obvious extension—Jesus. But this strikes me as a bizarre translation; it would only make sense if the Anglo-Saxon had used the actual name “Jesus”.]

Verbs that govern a Dative Case are such as Signify,
Commanding, as, ƿealꝺan, to command.   Ealꝺoꞃ Men ƿealꝺað hıꞃa ðeoꝺa, Princes govern their People.

In most of these Instances there is an Ellipsis of some word left out, as in words of

Words left out, and to be understood.
Suffering, as, þolıan, to suffer. Þolıᵹe hıꞅ hẏꝺeꞅ, let his hide suffer; ðolıᵹe hıꞅ ꝼꞃeoꞇeꞅ, let him lose his freedom. As, Ƿıꞇe, Punishment.
Helping, as, helpan, to help. Goꝺ Ælmıhꞇıᵹ helpe uꞃe, God Almighty be our help. Unꞇꞃumnẏꞅꞅe, Weakness.
Tasting, as, onbıꞇan, to taste. Nænıᵹ Man naneꞅ meꞇeꞅ onbıꞇe, let no Man taste any meat; Ƿıneꞅ onbẏꞃꝺe, he tasted Wine. Dæl, part, some, portion.
Praying or Asking, as, bıꝺꝺan, to ask, or desire. Gıꝼ he bıꞇ ꝼıꞅceꞅ, if he ask a Fish. Gıꝼe, the gift.
Compassionating, as, ᵹemılꞇꞅıan, to have mercy on.   Uꞃe ᵹemılꞇꞅoꝺ, having compassion for us. These sometimes have a Dative Case.
63 O2 Giving or Granting, as ꞇıþıᵹean, to grant or bestow. Fulluhꞇeꞅ ꞇıþıᵹe, let him give Baptism. Geꞃẏne, the Sacrament.
Of Touching, æꞇhꞃẏnan. Ne æꞇhꞃan þu mın, touch me not. Lıce, Body.
Of Meditating or Consulting, cepan, to intend.   He ꝼleameꞅ cepꞇ, he took care for, or provided for his flight.
Of Denying, æꞇꞅacan, to deny. þa æꞇꞅacað þæꞅ æꞃıꞅꞇeꞅ, who deny the Resurrection. Laꞃe or ᵹeleaꝼan, the Doctrine or Belief.

Where there is no Ellipsis, these Words are for the most part Transitives, and govern an Accusative Case.

Of Touching, æꞇhꞃẏnan. / Ne æꞇhꞃan þu mın, touch me not. / Lıce, Body.
[We will not talk about how long it took me to figure out that this construction has nothing to do with body lice.]

Verbs that govern a Dative Case.
1. Verbs put Acquisitively, as,   Gıꝼ hƿa hım ꞃıhꞇeꞅ bıꝺꝺe, if any one desire Justice, or Right to be done to him.
2. Verbs of Commanding or Obeying, as,   Þa beaꝺ he þam unclenan Gaꞅꞇe, then gave he his command to the unclean Spirit; Ƿınꝺaꞅ anꝺ Sæ hım hẏꞃꞅumıað, the Winds and Sea are obedient to him.

3. Verbs of Giving, ministring, restoring, serving, chiding, forbidding, favouring, declaring, answering, lending, trusting, judging, thanksgiving, tempting, hurting, &c. also the words ꝼılıan, and ꝼılıᵹean, as, Peꞇꞃuꞅ ꝼılıᵹꝺe þam hælenꝺe, Peter followed our Saviour.

Verbs that govern an Accusative Case.

Verbs Transitives, which are known when the Action passes, or is transfer’d from the Doer, upon some Person or Thing that receives that Action, as when I say, I honour my Parents, the Action of shewing Honour or Respect, passes from me to my Parents, whom I desire to receive that Honour and Respect, as has been observed: Some Verbs govern two Accusative Cases, of the Person, and of the Thing; Geꝺo hıne ꞃıhꞇeꞅ ƿẏꞃþe, let him have the Honour done him of what is right. There are many reciprocal Speeches in the Saxon Tongue; as, hıᵹ æꞇeoƿꝺon hıᵹ maneᵹum, they shew’d themselves to many; Cꞃıꞅꞇ hıne ᵹeꞃeꞅꞇ, Christ rested himself.

The Ablative Case is sometimes put absolutely, as; ᵹebıᵹeꝺum cneoƿum hım ꞇo cƿæð, upon his bended Knees he said to him; ꞅeoꝼon ꞅıþon, seven times. And sometimes the Genitive Case after the manner of the Greeks, as, ꞅona þæꞅ Ƿınꞇꞃeꞅ, early this Winter, suppose or understand anƿeaꞃꝺeꞅ, ἱσταμένου, vel ἀρχομένου χειμῶνος.

The Infinitive Mood will have an Accusative Case before it, as, ꞅƿa ᵹe ᵹeꞅeoð me habban, as ye see me to have; ða ꞅecᵹað hıne lıbban, they say that he is alive.

Note, That the Construction of Gerunds and Supines in the Latin, is perform’d in the Saxon by the Infinitive Mood.

Note also, That the Construction of the other Parts of Speech, viz. Adverb, Conjunction, Præposition, Interjection, hath been already accounted for, where we had occasion to speak concerning each of them.

And sometimes the Genitive Case after the manner of the Greeks
[Back when there were more cases, this would have been the Locative Absolute.]


Of the Dialects.

DR. Hickes and Mr. Thwaites have spoken very largely on this Subject, to whom I must refer my Readers for a more ample Account. I shall only beg leave to observe by the way, that before the distinction of Dano-Saxon, and Normanno-Saxon, there were doubtless several Dialects, or Proprieties of Speech introduced by those several Nations, of the Saxons, Angli, and Jutæ, or Geatæ, who took Possession of the Island, and of those other Colonies that were called out of Germany; which yet for the Space of four or five hundred Years, differ’d not so much amongst themselves, as not to be easily understood by one another. The Poets also had their peculiar Dialect, and set of Poetical Words and Phrases, the Danes, as well as the Saxons: And here I chuse to bring in the mutual Variation and Transposition of the Vowels and Consonants, which is placed at the beginning of Dr. Hickes’s Grammar, but could not so conveniently be placed at the beginning of this.

a, ae; ae, ea; ae, oe; ae, ẏ; e, ae; e, ı, ẏ; u, e; ẏ, u.

The wonderful Variety of changing the Vowels for one another, may be seen in this one word mæneᵹeo, signifying a Multitude, as, mæneᵹeo, mæneᵹo, mænıᵹeo, mænıᵹo, mænıᵹu, mænıo, mænıu, mænẏᵹeo, maneᵹeo, maneᵹu, manıᵹe, manıᵹo, meneᵹeo, meneᵹo, meneᵹu, menıᵹeo, menıᵹo, menıᵹu, menıo, menıu; twenty different ways.

The Saxon Points are thus marked, a Comma, or short Pause thus ( . ) a Period, or full Stop thus (see below) or (see below) an Interro­gation, thus (see below).

page image showing previous paragraph


Of the Saxon Poetry.

THE Saxon Poems are either such as are made up of words purely Saxon, or such as have some mixture of the Danish, and are called Dano-Saxon. The pure Saxon Verses are known by that Exactness of Grammatical Construction, which is to be observed in them; and from their Purity, in rarely admitting those forreign words with which the Cimbrick, Saxon, Dano-Saxon, and Francick Poets fill their Poems: Of which kind of words, a large account may be had in Dr. Hickes’s Thesaurus Ling. Vet. Septen. and in the Epitome of it by Mr. Thwaites, so that I need only to give you a short Specimen of them here.

Balo. Evil.
Beaꝺu-ꞃınc. A cruel Man.
Beoꞃn. A Man, a noble Man.
Bꞃeᵹo. A General, or a King.
Coꞃðꞃe. A Multitude.
Doᵹoꞃ. A Day.
Eaꝼoꞃa. Children, or Offspring.
Eᵹoꞃ. The Sea.
Feoꞃh, ꝼeꞃhð. The Soul.
Fıꞃaꞅ. Men, Rulers.
Folꝺ. The Earth.
Fꞃea. A Lord.
Goꝺ-ƿeb. Purple.
Gum-ꞃınc. A Soldier.
Haꝺꞃe, haꝺꞃo. Serene, clear.
Hæle, hæleð. A Hero.
Heaþo. High, the top.
Hılꝺ. War, a Fight.
67 Hꞃuꞅa. A Rock.
Laᵹo. The Sea.
Lıꞅꞇ. Knowledge, Skill.
Lıð, lıþa. A Ship.
Lıxan. To shine, to give light.
Maᵹo, Maᵹo-ꞃınc. A Kinsman.
Meca. A Sword.
Meꞇoꝺ. God, the Creator.
Molꝺ. The Ground, or the Earth.
Roꝺoꞃ. The Firmament.
Seꝼa. The Mind.
Sıᵹoꞃ. Victory.
Sınc. A Collection of Things.
Sunꝺ, ꞅunð. The Sea, hence the Baltick Sound.
Ðꞃaᵹo. Lasting.
Ꞇoꞃhꞇ. Illustrious, famous.
Ꞇẏꞃ. A Lord, Empire.
Uꞅꞅeꞃ, uꞅꞅıch. Us, we.
Ƿeꞃoꝺ, ƿeoꞃoꝺ. An Army.

As well in the Pure Saxon, as in the Dano-Saxon, there are certain Words, which denoting some particular State or Condition of Men, are set loose to signify Man in general, as,

Æþelınᵹ. Noble.
Beaꞃn. A Child.
Beoꞃn. A Nobleman.
Ealꝺoꞃ. An Elder, a Captain.
Eoꝼoꞃa. Children.
Eoꞃle. An Earl.
Geꝼeꞃa, ᵹeꞅıþ. A Companion.
Geꞃeꝼa. A Sheriff, or Ruler.
Leoꝺ, leoꝺa. One of the same Countrey.
68 Scealc, ꞅcalc. A Servant.
Þeᵹen. A Thain.
Ƿıᵹa, ƿıᵹenꝺ. Leader.
Ƿıne. A Friend.

Nouns of Multitude are used by the Poets to signify Men, or Mankind, as, Leoꝺ, Leoꝺa, a Nation, People; Ƿeꞃoꝺ, an Army; Folc, Folce, People; Eoꞃlaꞅ & Ceoꞃlaꞅ, noble and ignoble; Ƿeꞃaꞅ & Ƿıꝼ, Men and Women.

The Saxon Verses consist of three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or more Syllables, but for the most part of four or five Syllables, with which the Poets now and then intersperse Verses of fewer or more Syllables, as their fancy directs, without any seeming Exactness of Order or Regularity. Verses of four and five Syllables are most current, where the Warmth of the Poet hastens as it were, and precipitates the Vigour of his Stile.

As to the Quantity of Syllables, which are not visibly long by Position (as the Grammarians speak) it must be confest, that in a Language which has been so long disused, and the true Pronunciation whereof is uncertain to us, it can not be so easy to declare what Syllables are naturally long or short: it must be a good Ear, and a particular Genius, that can be able to judge well on this Subject. It is certain the Saxon Poets indulge themselves in a large Variety of Poetical Numbers, in which, perhaps, they were not exceeded even by the Scaldri, who, as Wormius reports, had cxxxvi several kinds of Verses, in which they took a liberty of using many bold Figures, and frequent transposition of words. Sometimes they use a kind of Rhime and Verses ending alike, as,

Aᵹene Bꞃoþoꞃ,

Anꝺ hıꞅ Moꝺoꞃ.

69 P

Mıꝺꝺan ᵹeaꞃꝺ,

Mancẏnneꞅ ƿeaꞃꝺ.

Sometimes they pleas’d themselves with Words beginning alike, as, Feoh ⁊ Fuᵹlaꞅ; Laðꞃa lınꝺ. Now and then they made their Verses with Words sounding alike, as, ƿıꝺe ⁊ ꞅıꝺe; ᵹleam ⁊ ꝺꞃeam. The Adonick Verse was not unknown to them, as, Roꝺeꞃa ƿalꝺenꝺ; and except the Hexameter and Pentameter Verses, there is perhaps no kind of Metre to be met with in the Greeks and Latins, which a Man of Curiosity and Sagacity might not discover in the Northern Poets.

Notes and Corrections: Of the Saxon Poetry

skip to next section

Eᵹoꞃ. The Sea.
[Has this got some connection with Latin aequor?]

Eoꞃlaꞅ & Ceoꞃlaꞅ . . . Ƿeꞃaꞅ & Ƿiꝼ
[In general, when the author uses an ordinary ampersand & rather than the Tironian ampersand , it means that the ampersand isn’t to be construed as part of the Saxon utter­ance. Here it isn’t so clear.]

Words beginning alike
[The OED’s earliest citation for the word “alliteration” is as recent as 1698.]

Words sounding alike
[I expected examples of assonance, but instead she proceeds directly to rhyme.]

The Adonick Verse was not unknown to them
[A five-syllable foot consisting of a dactyl followed by a trochee (dah dit dit dah dit). If the normal line was five syllables, it would be pretty striking if they didn’t come out with the occasional Adonic.]

Of Accent.

THE Tone, or Accent, which the Saxons made use of, is said to have been the Acute only, and it was chiefly made use of to distinguish Words of a doubtful meaning, as, Góꝺ, good, Mán, evil, to distinguith them from God and Man. To what other Purposes they served is not easily to be discerned from our printed Books, in which they seldom appear, tho’ nothing is more frequent in the Manuscripts, especially over words of one Syllable, and in words of more Syllables over that Vowel, or Syllable, upon which a greater Strength and Emphasis is to be laid.

I could not think of finishing this Treatise, without acknowledging how much I am obliged, both for Method and Materials, to the learned Mr. Thwaites’s most useful and ingenious Epitome of Dr. Hickes’s great Thesaurus, and to the Thesaurus itself: Of which learned Work too great Encomiums cannot be given, either for the amplitude of the Subject, or justness of the Performance. 70 An ingenious and exact Account of it has been given by Dr. Wotton in a Latin Treatise, entitled, Linguarum Vett. Septentrionalium Thesauri Grammatico-Critici, & Archæologici, Auctore Georgio Hickesio, Conspectus Brevis, which very well deserves to be reprinted, since I hear it is very scarce. As to the Thesaurus itself, which can produce as many Testimonies of learned Men in its Praise, as perhaps any Book has receiv’d that has ever been printed; yet it hath not indeed escaped the undeserved Censure of some Men, as being defective in some things: but I, who have had occasion strictly to peruse it, believe upon due Reflection, and a nearer Inspection into the Work, its most severe Censurers, will find reason rather to complain of their own, than of the Author’s Mistakes. However in a Work of so great bulk, illustrating so many Languages, it cannot be conceived, but that some things, might well escape the greatest Care, and exactest Judgment: The Author would be glad could she promise herself to have given as few occasions of blame in this little Book.

Dr. Wotton in a Latin Treatise . . . which very well deserves to be reprinted, since I hear it is very scarce
[Fortunately one of those scarce copies made its way to Harvard, where it has been scanned for the usual online sources.]


decorative tailpiece

A 20th-Century Assessment

In 1956, the Augustan Reprint Society republished the introduction to Elstob’s Grammar under her own descriptive title, An Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities (available from Project Gutenberg). As usual with Augustan Reprints, the text came with a new introduction, this one by Charles Peake of University College, London.

Attentive readers will note that the author is scrupulously referred to as “Miss Elstob”, because in 1956 nothing was more important than a woman’s marital status. In 1715 she would have been “Mrs. Elstob”, as befitted a grown woman putting her name on a scholarly work.

The answerers who rushed into print in 1712 against Swift’s Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue were so obviously moved by the spirit of faction that, apart from a few debating points and minor corrections, it is difficult to disentangle their legitimate criticisms from their political prejudices. As Professor Landa has written in his introduction to Oldmixon’s Reflections on Dr. Swift’s Letter to Harley and Mainwaring’s The British Academy (Augustan Reprint Society, 1948): “It is not as literature that these two answers to Swift are to be judged. They are minor, though interesting, documents in political warfare which cut athwart a significant cultural controversy.”

Elizabeth Elstob’s Apology for the Study of Northern Antiquities prefixed to her Rudiments of Grammar for the English-Saxon Tongue is an answer of a very different kind. It did not appear until 1715; it exhibits no political bias; it agrees with Swift’s denunciation of certain current linguistic habits; and it does not reject the very idea of regulating the language as repugnant to the sturdy independence of the Briton. Elizabeth Elstob speaks not for a party but for the group of antiquarian scholars, led by Dr. Hickes, who were developing and popularizing the study of the Anglo-Saxon origins of the English language—a study which had really started in the seventeenth century.

What irritated Miss Elstob in the Proposal was not Swift’s eulogy or Harley and the Tory ministry, but his scornful reference to antiquarians as “laborious men of low genius,” his failure to recognize that his manifest ignorance of the origins of the language was any bar to his pronouncing on it or legislating for it, and his repetition of some of the traditional criticisms of the Teutonic elements in the language, in particular the mono­syllables and consonants. Her sense of injury was personal as well as academic. Her brother William and her revered master Dr. Hickes were among the antiquarians whom Swift had casually insulted, and she herself had published an elaborate edition of An English-Saxon Homily on the Birthday of St. Gregory (1709) and was at work on an Anglo-Saxon homilarium. Moreover she had a particular affection for her field of study, because it had enabled her to surmount the obstacles to learning which had been put in her path as a girl, and which had prevented her, then, from acquiring a classical education. Her Rudiments, the first Anglo-Saxon grammar written in English, was specifically designed to encourage ladies suffering from similar educational disabilities to find an intellectual pursuit. Her personal indignation is shown in her sharp answer to Swift’s insulting phrase, and in her retaliatory classification of the Dean among the “light and fluttering wits.”

As a linguistic historian she has no difficulty in exposing Swift’s ignorance, and in establishing her claim that if there is any refining or ascertaining of the English language to be done, the antiquarian scholars must be consulted. But it is when she writes as a literary critic, defending the English language, with its mono­syllables and consonants, as a literary medium, that she is most interesting.

There was nothing new in what Swift had said of the character of the English language; he was merely echoing criticisms which had been expressed frequently since the early sixteenth century. The number of English mono­syllables was sometimes complained of, because to ears trained on the classical languages they sounded harsh, barking, unfitted for eloquence; sometimes because they were believed to impede the metrical flow in poetry; sometimes because, being particularly characteristic of colloquial speech, they were considered low; and often because they were associated with the languages of the Teutonic tribes which had escaped the full refining influence of Roman civilization. Swift followed writers like Nash and Dekker in emphasizing the first and last of these objections.

There were, of course, stock answers to these stock objections. Such criticism of one’s mother tongue was said to be unpatriotic or positively disloyal. If it was difficult to maintain that English was as smooth and euphonious as Italian, it could be maintained that its mono­syllables and consonants gave it a characteristic and masculine brevity and force. Monosyllables were also very convenient for the formation of compound words, and, it was argued, should, when properly managed, be an asset rather than a handicap to the English rhymester. By the time Swift and Miss Elstob were writing, an increasing number of antiquarian Germanophils (and also pro-Hanoverians) were prepared to claim Teutonic descent with pride.

Most of these arguments had been bandied backwards and forwards rather inconclusively since the sixteenth century, and Addison in The Spectator No. 135 expresses a typically moderate opinion on the matter: the English language, he says, abounds in mono­syllables,

which gives us an opportunity of delivering our thoughts in few sounds. This indeed takes off from the elegance of our tongue, but at the same time expresses our ideas in the readiest manner, and consequently answers the first design of speech better than the multitude of syllables, which make the words of other languages more tunable and sonorous.

It is likely that neither Swift nor Miss Elstob would have found much to disagree with in that sentence. Swift certainly never proposed any reduction in the number of English mono­syllables, and the simplicity of style which he described as “one of the greatest perfections in any language,” which seemed to him best exemplified in the English Bible, and which he himself practised so brilliantly, has in English a very marked monosyllabic character.

But in his enthusiasm to stamp out the practice of abbreviating, beheading and curtailing polysyllables—a practice which seemed to him a threat to both the elegance and permanence of the language—he described it as part of a tendency of the English to relapse into their Northern barbarity by multiplying mono­syllables and eliding vowels between the rough and frequent consonants of their language. His ignorance of the historical origins of the language and his rather hackneyed remarks on its character do not invalidate the general scheme of his Proposal or his particular criticisms of current linguistic habits, but they did lay him open to the very penetrating and decisive attack of Elizabeth Elstob.

In her reply to Swift she repeats all the stock defenses of the English mono­syllables and consonants, but, by presenting them in combination, and in a manner at once scholarly and forceful, she makes the most convincing case against Swift. Unlike most of her predecessors, Miss Elstob is not on the defensive. She is always ready to give a sharp personal turn to her scholarly refutations—as, for instance, when she demonstrates the usefulness of mono­syllables in poetry by illustrations from a series of poets beginning with Homer and ending with Swift. There can be little doubt that Swift is decisively worsted in this argument.

It is not known whether Swift ever read Miss Elstob’s Rudiments, though it is interesting to notice a marked change of emphasis in his references to the Anglo-Saxon language. In the Proposal he had declared with a pretense of knowledge, that Anglo-Saxon was “excepting some few variations in the orthography . . . the same in most original words with our present English, as well as with German and other northern dialects.” But in An Abstract of the History of England (probably revised in 1719) he says that the English which came in with the Saxons was “extremely different from what it is now.” The two statements are not incompatible, but the emphasis is remarkably changed. It is possible that some friend had pointed out to Swift that his earlier statement was too gross a simplification, or alternatively that someone had drawn his attention to Elizabeth Elstob’s Rudiments.

All writers owe much to the labors of scholarship and are generally ill-advised to scorn or reject them, however uninspired and uninspiring they may seem. Moreover when authors do enter into dispute with “laborious men of low genius” they frequently meet with more than their match. Miss Elstob’s bold and aggressive defense of Northern antiquities was remembered and cited by a later scholar, George Ballard, as a warning to those who underestimated the impor­tance of a sound knowledge of the language. Indeed, he wrote, “I thought that the bad success Dean Swift had met with in this affair from the incom­parably learned and ingenious Mrs. Elstob would have deterred all others from once venturing in this affair.” (John Nichols, Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth Century, 1822, IV, 212.)

Charles Peake
University College, London

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.