Rime of King William

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The Rime of King William is an Old English poem about William the Conqueror from the Peterborough Chronicle.

Beware, this article: uses spellings which have had foreign influence reverted; uses native English third person pronouns.

The Writ

Old English

Castelas he let wyrcean, ⁊ earme men swiðe swencean. Se cyng wæs swa swiðe stearc, ⁊ benam of his underþeoddan manig marc goldes ⁊ ma hundred punda seolfres. Det he nam be wihte ⁊ mid micelan unrihte of his landleode, for littelre neode. He wæs on gitsunge befeallan, ⁊ grædinæsse he lufode mid ealle He sætte mycel deorfrið, ⁊ he lægde laga þærwið þet swa hwa swa sloge heort oððe hinde, þet hine man sceolde blendian. He forbead þa heortas, swylce eac þa baras. Swa swiðe he lufode þa headeor swilce he wære heora fæder. Eac he sætte be þam haran þet hi mosten freo faran. His rice men hit mændon, ⁊ þa earme men hit beceorodan; ac he wæs swa stið þet he ne rohte heora eallra nið. Ac hi moston mid ealle þes cynges wille folgian, gif hi woldon libban, oððe land habban, land oððe eahta, oððe wel his sehta. Walawa, þet ænig man sceolde modigan swa, hine sylf upp ahebban ⁊ ofer ealle men tellan. Se ælmihtiga god cyþæ his saule mildheortnisse, ⁊ do him his synna forgifenesse.

Anglish

Castels he had wrougt, ⁊ to arm men swink brougt. Þe king was so swiþ stark, ⁊ benum his underlings of hir marks. Boþ gold ⁊ silfer he num from his landleed, ⁊ for littel need. He was in yissing befallen, ⁊ wiþ greediness he was all in. He set muc deerfriþ, ⁊ he laid laws þerewiþ so þat hwoefer slew a hart or hind, þat he scold be made blind. He forbade þe harts, eke þe boars. So swiþ he lufed þe higedeer it were as if he were hir faþer. Eke he set for þe hares þat hy may freely fare. His ric men bemoaned it, ⁊ þe arm men mumbelled at it. Ack he was so stiþe þat he nefer recked hir niþe. Ack hy must follow þe kings will if hy wold lif, or haf land. Land ⁊ ougt, or þe kings saugt. Welaway, þat any man scold become so lonkful ⁊ heafe himself up ⁊ tell himself ofer all men. May þe almigty god kiþe his soul mildheartness, ⁊ do for him his sins foryeafeness.