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stumped (OE translations)

This is from a confessional prayer.

Ic ondette æfste & tælnesse, twyspræcnesse & leasunge, ellenhete & nið, unnyttes gylpes bigong & idle glengas, uncyste & idelre oferhygde, orgello þe to mines lichoman unræde æfre gelumpe oððe ic agælde þæt to minre sawle frætwum belumpe & me to eces lifes earnunge gegan sceolde.

The first part is simple enough: "I confess envy and slander, double-speak and falsehood, jealousy and envy, the practice of useless boasts and frivolous adornments, vice and vain pride [oferhygde]..."

And this is where I get confused, starting with orgello.

Orgello is a form of orgel, pride. But I don't know what case it is.  Clark-Hall says orgello=orgel, but nothing else. Our verb is still "confess," so I'm tackling the clause before "or": /orgello þe to mines lichoman unræde æfre gelumpe/.  unraed is dat sing crime/mischief/plot/bad plan/evil counsel, if it's a noun (the dictionary says it's a noun, but I swear I've seen it as an adj somewhere), but I have too many nouns in that case ; so what's the damned object of ondette?  Does something happen "to my body," or...? gelumpe (happen, occur, come to pass, take place, befall) ought to be singular past subjunctive, so something befell or happened to the body of the speaker?  Does he confess the pride that ever befell his body, and if so what is "unraede" and how does pride happen to the body?  Or does he confess the crime/evil counsel/bad plan that befell his body, and if so, what is "orgello"?  Word order would suggest he confesses pride.  And this could maybe be something with "to" - if lichaman is dative? - would that construction be used to say "pride concerning my body" or "pride in my body"? For some reason I don't think so.  But I just don't have enough info to sort this. 

It doesn't get better.  Whatever he confesses related to his body, there's more, after "or": /ic agælde þæt to minre sawle frætwum belumpe/. agaelde is a problem: is it agaelan, hinder, occupy, detain, neglect, hesitate, be careless, retard, delay, or even profane, or agieldan, yield, pay, or render? And belumpe is the past part. of belimpan so could mean regarded or concerned, but could also mean befell, became, or befitted. For God's sake. fraetwum is dative plural, so ornaments/adornments (treasure is a possibility, but since it's plural I'm going with adornments).  "I neglected (or hindered) that which concerned (or befitted) my soul's adornments?" But how do I "connect" it to the previous clause?

So "I neglected that which concerned my soul's adornments and (that which) should have accomplished the merit of eternal life <to me>?" 

Really, I got nothing.


ETA: Much later (July 2012) I have found the following in Cotton Tib A.3: "Ic andette ælce gýsunga · & æfęst · & tælnýsse & twýspæcnessa. leasunga · & unriht gýlp · & idel word & unrihte cesta & ælcne ·glænge þe to mines lichaman unræde æfre belumpe." And there's a nearly identical parallel passage in CCCC 201, "Ic andette ælce gitsunga. & æfest · & tæl-nessa · & twispræcnessa · léasunga & unriht gilp · & idel word. & unriht cýsta & ælcne glængc · þe to mines lichaman unrǽde æfre belumpe," that Frantzen translates, "I confess all covetousness and envy, and calumnies and deceits, lies and evil boasts, and idle words and wrongful choices, and every ornament that has ever contributed to the injury of my body."  Now belimpan, in addition to "happen, occur, befall," can mean "concern, regard, pertain, appertain," so I can sort of get "contribute," and it's much easier for me to understand a construction of subject-belumpe-object. And if unræde is more at injury or mischief than at bad counsel, that removes my niggling worry about "whose counsel."  I think, given this and several other close parallels between my prayer and the texts Frantzen edits (penitential handbooks, some of which contain bits of confessional prayers), that it's safe to translate these lines as "pride that contributed to the unræde/harm of my body" - not because I'm utterly convinced that belimpan and gelimpan are just totally interchangeable, but because if I'm challenged by anyone, I can throw them Frantzen to pick on. So I am ok to leave it at that for now, though I am still concerned about my apparently deficient understanding of gelimpan-constructions.

Where confusion remains, however, is with "oððe."  If I confess all that stuff including pride that contributed to the harm of my body, what do I do with "oððe"?  "or I neglected that which concerned my soul's adornments and should have merited me the reward of eternal life"? How does that even work syntactically?  I am not confident enough of my OE to simply proclaim "this passage is defective," but I've never wanted to more than I do now.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2012 09:40 am (UTC)
I got nothing, but indulging in useless boasts and frivolous adornments certainly sounds like it could be fun! Maybe sleeping on it will help...
Feb. 17th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
Give it your best shot and chalk up inconsistencies to spelling mistakes on the part of the author. :)
Feb. 17th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
don't know how helpful this will be, but here goes. (not sure you have access to BT where you are, etc.)

BT says: "orgello." v. orgel: or-gilde. Add: v. un-gilde : or-hlet. v. or-hlyte: orhlíce. v. orgellíce.

for "orgel," BT even cites your prayer here:

orgel pride: -- Hwǽr is heora prass and orgol buton on moldan bebeaht and on wftum gecyrred? Wulfst. 148, 32. [Woreldes richeise wechetf orgel on mannes heorte, O. E. Homl. ii. 43, 17. The form orguil occurs, p. 63. Heó leapeðintohorel (orhel, MS. T. : orjel, MS. C. ), A. R. 224, 2. Cf. French orgeuil (to which Bracket assigns a German origin): Ital. orgoglio.] v. orgel-lic.

orgel. Add: orgello; f. :-- Ic ondette . . . unnyttes gylpes bigong, and idle glengas, uncyste and idelre oferhygde orgello, Angl. xi. 98, 28. [v. N. E. D. orgel.]

It might matter that there's no comma before orgello in the BT citation? that way you might translate oferhygde as something like "arrogance" or...some other synonym for pride. Would this help you? I don't know what case "orgello" is either, and I can't find that anywhere.
Feb. 17th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
What I mean is that perhaps orgello goes along with oferhydge rather than with the unræd portion. Maybe. Possibly.
Feb. 17th, 2012 09:54 pm (UTC)
This is edited only in Logeman's article in Anglia 11 - nobody else has ever taken a crack at it. He gives the points as they appear in the manuscript, so it goes:
Ic ondette æfste . ך tælnesse . twyspræcnesse . ך leasunge . ellenhete . ך nið . unnyttes gylpes bigong . ך idle glengas . uncyste . ך idelre oferhygde . orgello þe to mines lichoman unræde æfre gelumpe oððe . . .

so there is a point in the manuscript between oferhygde and orgello. That doesn't mean an emendation wouldn't help, but Logeman must have been able to make sense of it or he would probably have emended it (or at least made some note). Of course, for BT to omit it means they must have been able to make sense of the passage without it. Too bad they're all dead and I can't ask them how they would have parsed it.

So are you suggesting orgello is an adjective?

Feb. 17th, 2012 10:17 pm (UTC)
maybe? i can see how the point would give you pause, though (no pun intended, sorry, i can't figure out how to say that without the stupid pun). i am also not good enough with endings to say anything for sure, so that.
Feb. 17th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC)
Well, orgello isn't a normal noun, and -o isn't any normal adjectival ending either, so even having all the endings memorized wouldn't really help - orgello is a hapax acc. to the DOE Corpus. All I have found is "alternative form of orgel" which I am not even sure of the gender of, though BT seem to think orgello is fem even if they aren't sure about orgel. If my students weren't so freakin needy this semester I would go bug Ecghete about it during his office hours... or maybe I'll ask my MA advisor... b/c this sure doesn't play by the usual rules, Christ...
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