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1584. hezed. Gollancz (Mod. Lang. Rev. 14. 161) says 'heged = shouted, called aloud,' not ‘hied' (i. e. hastened); but where does he find this verb, ME. heze, 'shout'? Bateson's objection to the forms hezed, for higed, is unwarranted; cf. Knigge, p. 44.

1594. in lenbe of dayes. The expression occurs again at Pearl 416, translating, as Osgood notes, the Biblical'in longitudinem dierum,' Ps. 22. 6; 92. 5 (Vulg.).

1598. Cf. 1608 and 1627. The Vulg. has spiritum deorum sanctorum (Dan. 5. 11) and spiritum deorum (Dan. 5. 14).

1602. mony anger. Cf. 43 n.

1616. wayne. The verb wayne, which Skeat (Trans. Phil. Soc. 1885. 7. 365) considered a 'ghost-word,' a mere miswriting or misreading of wayue, certainly existed in ME., as it occurs in Pearl (131, 249) in rhyme. It is used in a variety of senses, the exact meaning being difficult to determine in particular instances, and has been derived from ON. vegna, ‘proceed,' OF. (Northern) waignier (gaaignier, the Central F. form borrowed later as gain), 'gain, acquire,' and finally from OE. *wægnan, found only in the cpd. bewegnan, Beowulf 1193, where it means 'offer.' From the apparent meaning of the word in this line (Pur. 1616) and 1701, it would seem that in some cases, at least, the word may be borrowed from OF. waignier (see Godefroy, s. v. gaaignier), an etymology which M. proposed in his glossary, but which Mätzner (Sprachproben) rejected with reference to Gaw. 264, in favor of *wegnan. The latter derivation seems to fit some of the instances in Gaw. better; but it is possible that two original independent words have coalesced in ME. wayne. As wayne in the poems of this group, at least, is always transitive (Gaw. 264, 984, 1032, 2456, 2459; Pearl 131, 249; Pat. 467), there is no good reason for appealing to ON. vegna. The easy confusion with wayue increases the difficulty of determining the exact meaning of the word.

1634. tede lettres. M. suggested that tede was an error for tene (=ten), but Gollancz explained tede as 'tied' (see report of paper read before the Philological Society in Athen. 1894. 2. 646). This is probably the correct explanation, as the lines paraphrase the Vulgate ligita dissolvere' (Dan. 5. 16), just as ‘unhyles uch hidde' of 1628 paraphrases ‘obscura interpretari' of the same verse. Cf. also the expression in Gaw. 35: 'With lel letteres loken.'

1638. Cf. Piers Plow. C. 1. 178: ‘Bere byges of brygt gold al aboute hure neckes'; cf. further, Introd., p. xxx.

1642. Cf. Introd., p. 61, for the omission of Dan. 5. 17.

1647-8. The Vulg. (Dan. 5. 19) makes no contrast here: Quos volebat, interficiebat; et quos volebat, percutiebat.' The Authorized and Revised Versions translate: 'Whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive, where the Wycliffite versions had 'smote.' The two renderings depend on the double meaning of the original Hebrew. The poet probably introduced the contrast of his own accord, since the parallel clauses of the Vulgate immediately following make it plain that a contrast is intended: 'Et quos volebat, exaltabat; et quos volebat, humiliabat' (translated, 1649-50).

1661. blasfemy on to blame. M.'s first reading blasfemy on is preferable to his second blasfemyon. For the position of on before the infin., compare ‘on to pyche,' 477 ; ‘on to sene,' Pearl 45.

1664-70. This reflects Dan. 4. 27-8. 1675. Cf. Pat. 392: 'Ne best bite on no brom, ne no bent nauber.'

1687. A puzzling line. M. glosses ‘His thighs grew thick,' and Miss Weston translates :

His thighs beneath his trunk waxed thick enow. This makes a modicum of sense, but I do not see how this meaning can be got out of the line as it stands. Accepting thyge as 'thighs,' the line runs literally: ‘By that time many thick thighs crowded about his flesh. But how can Nebuchadnezzar have many thick thighs? And if he did, how could they possibly brygt umbe his lyre'? I believe that thyge is not a noun at all, but the verb, the pret. 3 pl. of ME. the, OE. þēon, 'to grow, increase' (see NED., s. v. thee, v.') reflecting here the crescerent of Dan. 4. 30 which is being paraphrased in this passage (see Appendix for the Vulg. version); þrygt would then be a past participle used as an adjective or adverb (cf. the use of þrygt in 135). The bold use of mony þik without a noun, meaning 'many thick hairs or tufts of hair' (glossing Vulg. capilli), would at first sight seem a valid objection to this interpretation. But one may compare the equally bold absolute use of mony in 1692, where þer mony clyvy must mean 'where many (hairs) cling together.' The substantive use of adjectives is remarkable in Gawain (see Schmittbetz's Das Adjectiv in Syr Gaw., Engl. Stud. 32. 359-69). Among the examples cited by Schmittbetz may be noted particularly: zeþ mony, 284; mony ioylez, 542; also þe sylueren, 124, for the silver dishes'; þe scharp, 424, 1593, 1902, 2313, 2332, for the sharp weapon’; þe fresche, 122, for the fresh meat.' This construction accepted, the line would mean: ‘By that time many thick (tufts of hair) were growing about his fesh.'

1689. M. compares Morte Arth. 1078: ‘His fax and his foretoppe was filterede togeders.'

1690. sch[e]re-wykes. M., accepting the MS. schyre, defined 'bare,' a meaning which the word never has in the alliterative poems or elsewhere in ME. We should expect Nebuchadnezzar's hair to fall from his shoulders to the middle of his body. Now ME. schare, schere (OE. scearu) is the regular word for the groin, or private parts; ME. wyke, 'corner, angle' (ON. vik, OE. wic), is generally used with some qualifying word, referring to a part of the body; Bradley-Stratmann cites wike of þe eghe, Catholicon Anglicum, p. 417, and wykez, Gaw. 1572, where the word refers to the corners of the mouth (cf. ON. munnvik, and wick of modern English dialects). I assume, therefore, that the original word here was a compound schere-wykes, meaning ‘pubic corners' or 'groin.'

1694. His browes bresed. Bresed, 'bristled,' is here the pret. of the verb, as is plain from the context. NED. assumed that it was a part. adj., as in Gaw. 305, where the Green Knight 'bende his bresed brozez.' NED., which cites only these two examples, makes the word unnecessarily mysterious; it suggests no derivation nor etymologically connected word, and defines 'Perhaps: Bristly, shaggy, rough. That brese is really a verb meaning 'bristle' can hardly be doubted, since the corresponding noun bresse, 'bristle,' occurs in the alliterative Thomas à Becket, where it is said that the Boar will ‘nocht ster bresse for all þare sterne werdis' (128); the form brisse occurs in the same poem in l. 105, and Jamieson cites bress from Dunbar (Mätzner, s. v. bresed, compares Scot. bress). NED. gives one form with metathesis: brust, s. v. birse, sb., OE. byrst; but it should also have given these forms bresse, brisse from Thomas à Becket (c. 1360). None of the birs(e) forms (i e. forms without final -t) cited by NED. are earlier than the 16th century.

1695. campe hores. Chaucer uses the same expression in describing Lycurgus in the Knight's Tale 1276:

And lyk a griffon loked he aboute,

With kempe heres on hise browes stoute. 1697. paune.

Gollancz would read pauue (see textual notes), but the plural seems to be required by the context, and the spelling uu for w would be anomalous. The form paune is not impossible; cf. the analogical -en in trumpen, 1402.

1703. 1[0]ved. Knigge, p. 26, says: 'Ein interessanter Schreibfehler ist B 1703: laued für loued (lofjan). Der Schreiber sah our ov für den Diphth. ou an, und dafür schrieb er au. M. setzt unnötigerweise ein ? hinter sein mit Recht vermutetes loued.'

1772. Porros of Ynde. Porus of India does not, of course, appear in the Bible, but his association with Darius was familiar through the Alexander legend; compare, for example, Alex. C. 3182-3:

How þat ser Dary with his dukis eft drissis him to fizt,

Had prayd eftir powere to Porrus of ynde. 1776. sca[l]ed. MS. scaþed. This emendation, which is surely necessary, gives an earlier instance of scale than NED., whose first example is from Morte Arth. 3034: 'Skyftis his skotiferis and skaylis the wallis.'

1777. Neilson compares Destr. Troy 4751: ‘Layn ladders alengt & oloft wonnen.'

1805. upon þrynne wyses. Cf. Introd., p. xlv.


The glossary aims to record, with the exception of the articles, not only every word, but in all but the commonest words, every instance of each form of a word. No omission has been made unless the numbers are followed by 'etc. When the designations of mood and tense are omitted, supply pres. ind.; when the mood only, supply ind. When the preterite forms of weak verbs are not given, they end regularly in -(e)d. To save space, many verbal and nominal forms have been condensed by means of the hyphen. This division is merely a mechanical device, and does not mark the morphological ending. The dash always represents the form in black-face type, and never refers to the form immediately preceding, e. g. 'abyde

inf. 764; abide 856; 3 sg. -Z, 436,' simply means that the form in 1. 436 is abydez.

In order not to multiply cross-references unnecessarily, forms spelled with i are recorded under y without being listed under i. þ follows t; initial 3 follows y, but medial z follows g. It has not seemed advisable in the etymologies to attempt to define in each case the exact relationship of the Middle English word to the one from which it is derived or to which it is related; when the relationship is indirect, the etymon is preceded by 'Cf. Thus the unnecessarily elaborate statement that azly, adv., is from a ME. adj., azly, which is formed from a ME. n., age, which in turn is derived from ON. agi, is condensed into 'Cf. ON. agi.' No etymology is given for a word obviously derived from the one preceding or following, if the derivative is found only in Middle English. Similarly no etymology is given for a compound if it is found only in Middle English, and the simple word(s) occur in the text. Since most of the words derived from Old English come from Mercian forms, the Mercian form is generally given after the West Saxon, though it is only specially so marked in exceptional cases. The asterisk indicates a form differing from that of the manuscript. The definitions of words are of necessity sometimes purely contextual, since the alliterative verse frequently requires a considerable extension or modification of the original meaning of a word. The following abbreviations are used:

AN. Anglo-Norman.
Flem. Flemish.
Fris. Frisian.
LOE. Late Old English.
MDu. Middle Dutch.
MHG. Middle High German.
MLG. Middle Low German.
NF. Norman French.
Norw. Norwegian.
OF. Old French (Central).
OHG. Old High German.
OM. Mercian dialect of Old English.
ON. Old Norse (Icelandic).
ONth. Northumbrian dialect of Old English.
OS. Old Saxon.
OSw. Old Swedish.

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