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The Fall of Adam and Eve

This reading is from a translation of the first several books of the Old Testament by two writers--one anonymous, the other Ælfric, pupil of St. Æthelwold, monk of Cerne, and later abbot of Eynsham. The present extract is from Ælfric's section of the work. For a facsimile of the magnificently illustrated manuscript, see C. R. Dodwell and P. A. M. Clemoes, ed., The Old English Illustrated Hexateuch (Copenhagen, 1974), and for a complete text see Samuel J. Crawford, ed., The Old English Version of the Heptateuch, Ælfric's Treatise on the Old and New Testament, and His Preface to Genesis (1922; repr. London, 1969).

If your class is using the Guide to Old English, compare the text in that book (printed from a different manuscript) with this one. Can you spot the substantive differences?

[1] Ēac swylċe sēo nǣddre wæs ġēapre ðonne ealle ðā ōðre nȳtenu ðe God ġeworhte ofer eorðan. And sēo nǣddre cwæð ðām wīfe: "Hwī forbēad God ēow ðæt ġē ne ǣton of ǣlcon trēowe binnan Paradīsum?"

[2] Þæt wīf andwyrde: "Of ðǣra trēowa wæstme ðe synd on Paradīsum etað:

[3] and of ðæs trēowes wæstme þe is onmiddan neorxnawange, God bebēad ūs ðæt ne ǣton, ne ðæt trēow ne hrepodon, ðī lǣs ðe swelton."

[4] Ðā cwæð sēo nǣdre eft ðām wīfe: "Ne bēo ġē nāteshwōn dēade, ðēah ðe ġē of ðām trēowe eton.

[5] Ac God wāt sōðlīċe ðæt ēowre ēagan bēoð ġeopenode on swā hwylċum dæġe swā ġē etað of ðām trēowe; and ġē bēoð ðonne englum ġelīċe, witende ǣġðer ġe gōd ġe yfel."

[6] Ðā ġeseah ðæt wīf ðæt ðæt trēow wæs gōd tō etenne, be ðām ðe hyre ðūhte, and wlitiġ on ēagum and lustbǣre on ġesyhðe; and ġenam ðā of ðæs trēowes wæstme and ġeǣt, and sealde hyre were: ǣt ðā.

[7] And heora bēġra ēagan wurdon ġeopenode: oncnēowon ðā ðæt nacode wǣron, and sȳwodon him fīclēaf and worhton him wǣdbrēċ.

[8] Eft ðā ðā God cōm and ġehȳrdon his stemne, ðǣr ēode on neorxnawange ofer midne dæġ, ðā behȳdde Adam hine, and his wīf ēac swā dyde, fram Godes ġesihðe onmiddan ðām trēowe neorxnawonges.

[9] God clypode ðā Adam, and cwæð: "Adam, hwǣr eart ðū?"

[10] cwæð: "Ðīne stemne ġehīre, lēof, on neorxnawange, and ondrǣde mē, for ðām ðe eom nacod, and behȳde mē."

[11] God cwæð: "Hwā sǣde ðē ðæt ðū nacod wǣre, ġyf ðū ne ǣte of ðām trēowe ðe ðē bebēad ðæt ðū ne ǣte?"

[12] Adam cwæð: "Ðæt wīf ðe ðū forġēafe ġefēran sealde of ðām trēowe, and ǣtt."

[13] God cwæð ðām wīfe: "Hwī dydestū ðæt?" Hēo cwæð: "Sēo nǣdre bepǣhte and ǣtt."

[14] God cwæð ðǣre nǣddran: "For ðan ðe ðū ðis dydest, ðū bist āwyrġed betweox eallum nȳtenum and wildēorum. Ðū gǣst on ðīnum brēoste and etst ðā eorðan eallum dagum ðīnes līfes.

[15] sette fēondrǣdenne betwux ðē and ðām wīfe and ðīnum ofspringe and hire ofspringe; hēo tōbrȳtt ðīn hēafod and ðū syrwst onġēan hire hō."

[16] ðām wīfe cwæð God ēac swylċe: "Iċ ġemænifylde ðīne yrmða and ðīne ġeēacnunga; on sārnysse ðū ācenst ċild, and ðū bist under weres anwealde and ġewylt ðē."

[17] Adame cwæð: "For ðan ðe ðū ġehȳrdest ðīnes wīfes stemne and ðū ǣte of ðǣm trēowe ðe ðē bebēad ðæt ðū ne ǣte, is sēo eorðe āwyrġed on ðīnum weorce. On ġeswyncum ðū etst of ðǣre eorðan eallum dagum ðīnes līfes.

[18] Ðornas and brēmelas hēo āspryt ðē, and ðū ytst ðǣre eorðan wyrta.

[19] On swāte ðīnes andwlitan ðū brȳċst ðīnes hlāfes oð ðæt ðū ġewende eorðan, of ðǣre ðe ðū ġenumen wǣre, for ðān ðe ðū eart dūst and dūste ġewyrst."