Lines 1-40 from “Merlin” by Robert de Boron with approximate translation into modern English by flusteredduck

Now gyneth the devel to wraththen him sore
(as aftir scholen ȝe herkene & here wel more),
whanne that oure lord to helle wente,
and took owt Adam with good entente,
and also Eve, and ek others mo,
þat with him he likede forto han tho.
and whanne þe develis behelden this,
moche drede and merveille they hadden, i-wis.
So, as aftyrward longe be-felle,
to-gederis they conseilled, the develis, ful snelle,
and token hem to-gederis in parlement,
the maister-develis, be on assent,
and seiden: “what mester man is he, this,
that doth us here al this distress?
we mown not aȝens him maken defens,
whanne he is owht in owre presens,
and bynemeth us that we scholde have,
and for hym non thing mowen we kepen save.
For we supposede, ful verrayly,
that non man scholde he bom of wommans body,
that alle owre they weren be ryht,
but he hem benemeth us be his myht.
Sey, how was this ȝoman bore,
be whom owre ryht is thus forlore?”
thanne answerede anothir devel,
and, as him thowhte, he answerede wel:
“we haven herd, sein be prophecye
that God in Erthe here scholde dye
Forto saven the Synneris here,
that of Adam and Eve come in fere.
Anon wenten we thanne hem to prove,
and evere weren they stedfast jn goddis love,
and the more turment we diden hem do,
Evere the ferthere they weren us fro,
So that evere in here moste peyne
To hem aperede he, in certeygne,
and hem comforted so wondirly wel,
that owre tormentes greved hem nevere a del,
and evere in here moste distresse
he hem deliverede to Sikirnesse.”

Lines 1-40 from “Merlin”

Now began the devil to be sore wrathful
(as after you should listen and hear well more),
when that our lord to hell went,
and took out Adam with good intent,
and also Eve, and many similar others,
that he liked to struggle with,
and when the devils beheld this,
much dread and terror they had, I assume.
So, as afterward long befell,
together they counselled, the devils, full eagerly,
and arranged them together in parliament,
the master devils, by agreement,
and said: “what kind of man is he, this,
that causes us all here such distress?
we are unable to overcome him despite our defences,
when he is ever in our presences,
and takes away from us that we should have,
and no strike we deliver or anything we do overcomes him.
For we supposed, full truly,
that no man born of woman’s body,
that were not over us all by right,
but he overcame us by his might.
Say, how is this human born,
by whom our right is thus forfeited?”
then answered another devil,
and, as he thought, answered well:
“have not we heard, and has since be prophesised
that God on Earth should die
For to save the sinners here,
that since Adam and Eve come in fear.
Again and again they came here to be punished.
and even if they were steadfast in god’s love,
and the more we tormented them,
Ever the further they resisted us.
So that ever here in the most pain,
To them appeared he, in certainty,
and them comforted so wonderfully well,
that our torments grieved them never a deal,
and ever in here most distress,
he them delivered to tranquillity.”

From: Lovelich, Henry and Kock, Dr. Ernst A. (ed.), Merlin, A Middle-English Metrical Version of a French Romance, by Henry Lovelich, Skinner and Citizen of London (ab. 1450 A.D.), Part 1, 1904, Early English Text Society: London, pp.
(https://archive.org/details/merlinamiddleen00lovegoog)

Date: 12th century (original in French); 15th century (translation in English)

By: Robert de Boron (late 12th-early 13th century)

Translated by: Henry Lovelich (15th century)

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