Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lijf goes on, dai after dai

Last evening, in the space of half an hour or so, the thunder roared and the lightning flashed and the rain poured down and poured down and poured down some more until my rain gauge contained 2.5 inches of the stuff. That is what we used to call in Florida "a light shower."

Maybe it was all that thunder and lightning and pouring rain, I don't know, but this morning I woke up thinking about the Bible that John Wycliffe translated into English from the Latin Vulgate in 1382.

I know. I'm weird.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you the first three chapters of Genesis from the Wycliffe Bible. It takes a little getting used to, but it is plainly recognizable as English, once you figure out that a u might be a v, a y in the middle of a word might be either a short i or a long i, and a y at the beginning of a word might even be a g. There might be an extra e at the end of some words. Hence, heuene and erthe becomes heaven and earth in today's English.

It's fascinating to behold and to consider how much the language has changed in six hundred years. It is still recognizable, but often barely, such as lyuynge is living and halewide is hallowed (the word "sanctified" was used instead in the King James Version of 1611). I enjoyed that the Lord God formede man of the sliym of erthe in Chapter 2 instead of the more familiar dust of the ground, but dust does appear in Chapter 3.

Some words are gone completely now -- clepide (called) and feller (more subtle) are examples -- and some take a little extra work to figure out, like conseyuyngis (conceivings) and hosebonde (husband) and myddis (midst).

Have some fun. Come in out of the rain. Try reading Wycliffe for yourself:

1 In the bigynnyng God made of nouyt heuene and erthe.
2 Forsothe the erthe was idel and voide, and derknessis weren on the face of depthe; and the Spiryt of the Lord was borun on the watris.
3 And God seide, Liyt be maad, and liyt was maad.
4 And God seiy the liyt, that it was good, and he departide the liyt fro derknessis; and he clepide the liyt,
5 dai, and the derknessis, nyyt. And the euentid and morwetid was maad, o daie.
6 And God seide, The firmament be maad in the myddis of watris, and departe watris fro watris.
7 And God made the firmament, and departide the watris that weren vndur the firmament fro these watris that weren on the firmament; and it was don so.
8 And God clepide the firmament, heuene. And the euentid and morwetid was maad, the secounde dai.
9 Forsothe God seide, The watris, that ben vndur heuene, be gaderid in to o place, and a drie place appere; and it was doon so.
10 And God clepide the drie place, erthe; and he clepide the gadryngis togidere of watris, the sees. And God seiy that it was good;
11 and seide, The erthe brynge forth greene eerbe and makynge seed, and appil tre makynge fruyt bi his kynde, whos seed be in it silf on erthe; and it was doon so.
12 And the erthe brouyte forth greene erbe and makynge seed bi his kynde, and a tre makynge fruyt, and ech hauynge seed by his kynde. And God seiy that it was good.
13 And the euentid and morwetid was maad, the thridde dai.
14 Forsothe God seide, Liytis be maad in the firmament of heuene, and departe tho the dai and niyt; and be tho in to signes, and tymes, and daies, and yeeris;
15 and shyne tho in the firmament of heuene, and liytne tho the erthe; and it was doon so.
16 And God made twei grete liytis, the gretter liyt that it schulde be bifore to the dai, and the lesse liyt that it schulde be bifore to the niyt;
17 and God made sterris; and settide tho in the firmament of heuene, that tho schulden schyne on erthe,
18 and that tho schulden be bifore to the dai and nyyt, and schulden departe liyt and derknesse. And God seiy that it was good.
19 And the euentid and the morwetid was maad, the fourthe dai.
20 Also God seide, The watris brynge forth a `crepynge beeste of lyuynge soule, and a brid fleynge aboue erthe vndur the firmament of heuene.
21 And God made of nouyt grete whallis, and ech lyuynge soule and mouable, whiche the watris han brouyt forth in to her kyndis; and God made of nouyt ech volatile bi his kynde. And God seiy that it was good;
22 and blesside hem, and seide, Wexe ye, and be ye multiplied, and fille ye the watris of the see, and briddis be multiplied on erthe.
23 And the euentid and the morwetid was maad, the fyuethe dai.
24 And God seide, The erthe brynge forth a lyuynge soul in his kynde, werk beestis, and `crepynge beestis, and vnresonable beestis of erthe, bi her kyndis; and it was don so.
25 And God made vnresonable beestis of erthe bi her kyndes, and werk beestis, `and ech crepynge beeste of erthe in his kynde. And God seiy that it was good; and seide,
26 Make we man to oure ymage and liknesse, and be he souereyn to the fischis of the see, and to the volatilis of heuene, and to vnresonable beestis of erthe, and to ech creature, and to ech `crepynge beest, which is moued in erthe.
27 And God made of nouyt a man to his ymage and liknesse; God made of nouyt a man, to the ymage of God; God made of nouyt hem, male and female.
28 And God blesside hem, and seide, Encreesse ye, and be ye multiplied, and fille ye the erthe, and make ye it suget, and be ye lordis to fischis of the see, and to volatilis of heuene, and to alle lyuynge beestis that ben moued on erthe.
29 And God seide, Lo! Y haue youe to you ech eerbe berynge seed on erthe, and alle trees that han in hem silf the seed of her kynde, that tho be in to mete to you;
30 and to alle lyuynge beestis of erthe, and to ech brid of heuene, and to alle thingis that ben moued in erthe, and in whiche is a lyuynge soule, that tho haue to ete; and it was doon so.
31 And God seiy alle thingis whiche he made, and tho weren ful goode. And the euentid and morwetid was maad, the sixte day.

1 Therfor heuenes and erthe ben maad perfit, and al the ournement of tho.
2 And God fillide in the seuenthe dai his werk which he made; and he restide in the seuenthe dai fro al his werk which he hadde maad;
3 and he blesside the seuenthe dai, and halewide it; for in that dai God ceesside of al his werk which he made of nouyt, that he schulde make.
4 These ben the generaciouns of heuene and of erthe, in the day wherynne the Lord God made heuene and erthe,
5 and ech litil tre of erthe bifore that it sprong out in erthe; and he made ech erbe of the feeld bifore that it buriownede. For the Lord God had not reyned on erthe, and no man was that wrouyte erthe;
6 but a welle stiede out of the erthe, and moistide al the hiyere part of erthe.
7 Therfor the Lord God formede man of the sliym of erthe, and brethide in to his face the brething of lijf; and man was maad in to a lyuynge soule.
8 Forsothe the Lord God plauntide at the bigynnyng paradis of likyng, wherynne he settide man whom he hadde formed.
9 And the Lord God brouyte forth of the erthe ech tre fair in siyt, and swete to ete; also he brouyte forth the tre of lijf in the middis of paradis, and the tre of kunnyng of good and of yuel.
10 And a ryuer yede out fro the place of likyng to moyste paradis, which ryuer is departid fro thennus in to foure heedis.
11 The name of the o ryuer is Fyson, thilke it is that cumpassith al the lond of Euilath, where gold cometh forth,
12 and the gold of that lond is the beste, and there is foundun delium, that is, a tree of spicerie, and the stoon onychyn;
13 and the name to the secounde ryuer is Gyon, thilke it is that cumpassith al the loond of Ethiopie;
14 forsothe the name of the thridde ryuer is Tigris, thilke goith ayens Assiriens; sotheli the fourthe ryuer is thilke Eufrates.
15 Therfor the Lord God took man, and settide hym in paradis of likyng, that he schulde worche and kepe it.
16 And God comaundide to hym and seide, Ete thou of ech tre of paradis;
17 forsothe ete thou not of the tre of kunnyng of good and of yuel; for in what euere dai thou schalt ete therof, thou schalt die bi deeth.
18 And the Lord God seide, It is not good that a man be aloone, make we to hym an help lijk to hym silf.
19 Therfor whanne alle lyuynge beestis of erthe, and alle the volatils of heuene weren formed of erthe, the Lord God brouyte tho to Adam, that he schulde se what he schulde clepe tho; for al thing that Adam clepide of lyuynge soule, thilke is the name therof.
20 And Adam clepide bi her names alle lyuynge thingis, and alle volatils, and alle vnresonable beestis of erthe. Forsothe to Adam was not foundun an helpere lijk hym.
21 Therfore the Lord God sente sleep in to Adam, and whanne he slepte, God took oon of hise ribbis, and fillide fleisch for it.
22 And the Lord God bildide the rib which he hadde take fro Adam in to a womman, and brouyte hir to Adam.
23 And Adam seide, This is now a boon of my boonys, and fleisch of my fleisch; this schal be clepid virago, `for she is takun of man.
24 Wherfor a man schal forsake fadir and modir, and schal cleue to his wijf, and thei schulen be tweyne in o fleisch.
25 Forsothe euer eithir was nakid, that is, Adam and his wijf, and thei weren not aschamed.

1 But and the serpent was feller than alle lyuynge beestis of erthe, whiche the Lord God hadde maad. Which serpent seide to the womman, Why comaundide God to you, that ye schulden not ete of ech tre of paradis?
2 To whom the womman answerde, We eten of the fruyt of trees that ben in paradis;
3 sothely God commaundide to vs, that we schulden not eate of the fruyt of the tre, which is in the myddis of paradijs, and that we schulden not touche it, lest perauenture we dien.
4 Forsothe the serpent seide to the womman, ye schulen not die bi deeth;
5 for whi God woot that in what euere dai ye schulen ete therof, youre iyen schulen be opened, and ye schulen be as Goddis, knowynge good and yuel.
6 Therfore the womman seiy that the tre was good, and swete to ete, and fair to the iyen, and delitable in bi holdyng; and sche took of the fruyt therof, and eet, and yaf to hir hosebande, and he eet.
7 And the iyen of bothe weren openid; and whanne thei knowen that thei weren nakid, thei sewden the leeues of a fige tre, and maden brechis to hem silf.
8 And whanne thei herden the vois of the Lord God goynge in paradijs at the wynd after myddai, Adam and his wijf hidden hem fro the face of the Lord God in the middis of the tre of paradijs.
9 And the Lord God clepide Adam, and seide to hym, Where art thou?
10 And Adam seide, Y herde thi vois in paradijs, and Y drede, for Y was nakid, and Y hidde me.
11 To whom the Lord seide, Who forsothe schewide to thee that thou were nakid, no but for thou hast ete of the tre of which Y comaundide to thee that thou schuldist not ete?
12 And Adam seide, The womman which thou yauest felowe to me, yaf me of the tre, and Y eet.
13 And the Lord seide to the womman, Whi didist thou this thing? Which answerde, The serpent disseyued me, and Y eet.
14 And the Lord God seide to the serpent, For thou didist this, thou schalt be cursid among alle lyuynge thingis and vnresonable beestis of erthe; thou schalt go on thi brest, and thou schalt ete erthe in alle daies of thi liif;
15 Y schal sette enemytees bitwixe thee and the womman, and bitwixe thi seed and hir seed; sche schal breke thin heed, and thou schalt sette aspies to hir heele.
16 Also God seide to the womman, Y schal multiplie thi wretchidnessis and thi conseyuyngis; in sorewe thou schalt bere thi children; and thou schalt be vndur power of the hosebonde, and he schal be lord of thee.
17 Sothely God seyde to Adam, For thou herdist the voys of thi wijf, and hast ete of the tree, of which Y comaundide to thee that thou schuldist not ete, the erthe schal be cursid in thi werk; in traueylis thou schalt ete therof in alle daies of thi lijf;
18 it schal brynge forth thornes and breris to thee, and thou schalt ete eerbis of the erthe;
19 in swoot of thi cheer thou schalt ete thi breed, til thou turne ayen in to the erthe of which thou art takun; for thou art dust, and thou schalt turne ayen in to dust.
20 And Adam clepide the name of his wijf Eue, for sche was the moder of alle men lyuynge. And the Lord God made cootis of skynnys to Adam and Eue his wijf, and clothide hem; and seide, Lo!
22 Adam is maad as oon of vs, and knowith good and yuel; now therfore se ye, lest perauenture he putte his hond, and take of the tre of lijf, and ete, and lyue with outen ende.
23 And the Lord God sente hym out of paradijs of likyng, that he schulde worche the erthe, of which he was takun.
24 And God castide out Adam, and settide bifore paradis of lykyng cherubyn, and a swerd of flawme and turnynge aboute to kepe the weie of the tre of lijf.


  1. I love this it sounds like Trump.
    Seriously it is pigeon Latin for the most part and not worth the bother. The bible in the King James version provides equal entertainment. That is modern but very bad.
    All serious messiahs and their acolytes have preached fear and salvation. Translating rubbish from rubbish is just silly. It's merely a way of of earning a living. Jesus was great at it but came to a sticky end.

    1. Adrian, it most certainly is NOT "pigeon Latin" -- I defy you to find much of anything Latin in there. English is a Teutonic language and Anglo-Saxon became Old English which morphed into Middle English about the time of Chaucer a century or so before Wycliffe. The church had their Latin Bibles used by the priests but the people certainly didn't speak it. It was only after William the Conqueror defeated Harold T the Battle of Hastings in 1066 that the Normans began bringing French and Latinate words into Britain. And even then only the court crowd used them. The peasants and serfs spoke their own NATIVE language, the form of English that Wycliffe employed so that the common people could hear in their own tongue what the Bible contained. Definitely not Latin-like in any way, shape, or form. (Aside to Yorkshire Pudding: How am I doing? And all without referring to notes of any kind!)

  2. I guess the jackalopes must have bred like crazy during your storm: "Now the jackalopes are able to make their own little jackalopes. They are still very rare because they mate only in a storm. Lightning is an essential ingredient to successful mating."

    The preceding was from this blog: http://mdleaves.blogspot.com/2016/08/where-dear-and-jackalope-play.html

    Here, it’s drought as always in summer, only worse. Why is it that God drowns some places and dehydrates others? Original sin, I suppose.

    1. we don't have jackalopes east of the Mississippi River, silly, they're all out west where you are, the ones that migrated from Wyoming anyway. Back here we go snipe hunting, but only on moonless nights.

    2. That last reply should have been addressed to Snowbrush.

  3. The three chapters were enlightening. It took me a while to read them because I was constantly trying my best to translate. Thank you for mentioning the jackalopes. Perhaps someone will provide a picture on e day. We also hunt snipe here in Iowa, rhymeswithplague. I suppose we will need a flash attachmenrt to get a picture of them.

  4. How are you doing? In my ever so humble opinion, you are doing very well with regard to arguing the case... but rather less well in relation to your future friendship with Adrian. I found these chapters surprisingly easy to read even though the content is of course just fabulous balderdash.

  5. By the way, whatever happened to Putz in Utah?

  6. Emma Springfield, nice to make your acquaintance all the way from Iowa! I used to have a reader that I referred to as Jeannelle of Iowa, not to be confused with Eleanor of Aquitaine. I haven't heard from her in a very long time, but I discovered her again on Facebook where she goes by the name of Lois. So is your real name something like Marguerite? I jest. My dad grew up in Cedar Rapids, but I am one generation removed from your fair state, and speaking of one generation removed I have, or rather had until he was killed in an automobile accident, a first cousin once removed who was an adjunct professor of mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa in Waterloo. Anyway, welcome, welcome, there's always room for another new friend.

  7. Yorkshire Pudding, how very interesting that immediately after using the phrase "fabulous balderdash" you inquired about Putz in Utah! He was a master of the stuff, wasn't he? So much so that I rarely knew what he was talking about but I could discern his mental processes nonetheless. Blogging makes strange bedfellows, present company excepted. His last post was in January 2014 and I do not know if he is still on planet earth. I know that his wife was not at all keen on his hobby of blogging. I found his email address in a comment from our friend All Consuming on that same post:
    but I haven't worked up the courage to send him/them a note. Maybe I just really don't want to know. Let sleeping dogs lie.

  8. We are back home after our …challenging trip to California. I am pleased it rained while we were away so that our little flowers, planted in several pots, did not die. I tried reading some of your Bible sentences, but frankly, it is too difficult for my French mind to understand. I think I understand English well enough as a 3rd language, but the text you showed is altogether in another tongue, plus not a subject that has much interest for me, I have to admit.

  9. I enjoy that the various Romance languages are so alike in many ways and so different in others. Maybe you could blog some day about how the French language developed through the centuries. I for one would be riveted!