Texts & Preface

Texts

[Based on the Holt edition, ll. 335-42 – This comes just before the list of Latin pericopes]

All those Gospels that I can find here in this book, all of them I will name here by their first words, and I will place them by a number to make you understand how many Gospels in all are in this book.

Preface

[Based on the Holt edition, ll. 1-106]

This book is called Ormulum because Orm made it, and it is made from the quadriga, from the four Gospel books, from the quadriga of Amminadab, from Christ’s Gospel books. For Christ can be signified by Amminadab very well because Christ seized death on the rood-tree wholly by his complete will. And thus Amminadab in Latin speech is called Spontaneous in the Latin book, and in English speech [is called] that man who does some deeds wholly with his complete will.

Therefore, Christ can be signified very well through Amminadab because Christ seized death on the rood-tree wholly willfully. That wagon that has four wheels is called the quadriga, and the Gospel is that wagon because it is four books. And the Gospel is Jesus’ wagon that goes on four wheels because it is placed in a book by four Gospel writers.

And Jesus is Amminadab, just as I have shown, because he perished on the rood-tree wholly by his complete will. And the Gospel, for that same thing, is the Chariot of Solomon because, in this middle-earth, by the four Gospel writers, it bears the true Christ from land to land, by Christ’s disciples, by which they travel and go widely in this middle-earth, from land to land, from town to town to preach to the people about the true Christ, and of Christianity, and of the right faith, and of that life that leads people to heaven’s bliss. Thus, they bear the Savior as if they are four wheels of a cart because all the Gospels’ holy lessons are, as I have shown you, four Gospel books.

And because the Gospel can be Solomon’s cart very well, this is to say openly the Lord Christ’s cart, for Jesus Christ Almighty God, who wrought all creation, is certainly that true Solomon who put peace on earth between God and humans in that he gave his life on the rood to release humankind out of the devil’s power through his death.

And, thus, the true Christ can be signified through Solomon very well, for Solomon is in English that man who raises, among people, true concord and trust and true peace and love, and [Solomon] follows it with all his power through thought, though word, through deed.

All thus is that holy Gospel, which is in four books, called the chariot of Amminadab and the cart of Solomon because it bears Christ to people by the four Gospel writers, just as if it were that wagon that goes on four wheels. And, thus, Christ is called Amminadab through spiritual knowledge, for he seized death on the rood wholly with his complete will, and he is called Solomon, just as I have shown, because he put peace and love between heaven and earth, between God and humans, by seizing death on the rood in order to release humankind out of the devil’s power through his death.

And, thus, this English book is called Ormulum entirely in the quadriga of Amminadab, in the Chariot of Solomon, and I will reveal to you yet some part more of the Gospel; I will yet reveal to you why the Gospel is called the Gospel. And I will reveal to you how all the people may receive the soul’s happiness and the soul’s salvation by the Gospel, [those] who follow the Gospel entirely well through thought, through word, through deed.

6 Responses to Texts & Preface

  1. Maria says:

    Dear Carla, what a fantastic blog you have! It speaks volumes of your love for Orm.
    (btw, I’m Maria – you may remember me, as we met in K-zoo in May)
    I am also delighted to find that you’re translating the text into Modern English. It is really great! (have you ever thought of publishing it one day?) Right now I’m doing the same, only into Russian and on a smaller scale – just the Dedication and Preface parts combined. But I try to preserve Orm’s style and metre as much as possible, and it’s a challenge.
    I would also like to preserve his division into paragraphs with the help of the initial paragraphus signs. However, as I have no access to the MS or the facsimile, I’m not really sure where these should go. Do you preserve this division in your translation, perhaps? Or do you, by any chance, have a digital image of the Dedication?

  2. onlinemaria says:

    Dear Carla, what a fantastic blog you have! It speaks volumes of your love for Orm.
    (btw, I’m Maria – you may remember me, as we met in K-zoo in May)
    I am also delighted to find that you’re translating the text into Modern English. It is really great! (have you ever thought of publishing it one day?) Right now I’m doing the same, only into Russian and on a smaller scale – just the Dedication and Preface parts combined. But I try to preserve Orm’s style and metre as much as possible, and it’s a challenge.
    I would also like to preserve his division into paragraphs with the help of the initial paragraphus signs. However, as I have no access to the MS or the facsimile, I’m not really sure where these should go. Do you preserve this division in your translation, perhaps? Or do you, by any chance, have a digital image of the Dedication?

    • carlamthomas says:

      Hi, Maria! Nice to hear from you, and thank you. I think it’s fabulous that you’re translating the Ormulum into Russian while also trying to preserve the meter–I’m not trying anything so ambitious (just a prose translation).

      I have tried to maintain the paragraph separation based on the paraphs in the MS, but only part of what I’ve posted follow Orm’s separations. The rest I guessed based on context, but I know that Adrienne Boyarin has a digital copy of all the microfilm. You may want to contact her (she’s at the University of Victoria and she’s on Twitter). I’ve also noticed that Orm has different levels to his paraphs, which may signify different levels of separation, but I haven’t spent the time to figure it out yet. Another person who may be of help is Meg Worley (on Facebook and Twitter). She’s very interested in his grammar and structure. 🙂

      • onlinemaria says:

        Carla, thanks a lot for your answer (and sorry for my double posting). I will contact Adrienne then.
        Preserving the metre turned out to be extremely difficult, as Orm uses words with one or two syllables all the time, whereas the majority of Russian words is polysyllabic. But luckily I’m not doing this alone. My former student has a real gift for translating poetry. So, he’s doing the translation, and I’m doing the editing/suggesting alternative variants/commenting etc.
        I am glad to hear that you now have access to van Vliet’s notes. I hope that one day I will also have a glance on them (or at the very least Ker’s article). Btw, do you pronounce van Vliet with an intial [vl-] or [fl-]?
        On a side note, do you know, pehaps, if there will be a special session on the Ormulum in K-zoo next May? I remember discussing this possibility with several people there. ,
        I’m sorry, I’m jumping from one topic to another. It’s because I rarely happen to discuss Orm with anyone here. =)

      • carlamthomas says:

        Ah, yes, Orm does love his monosyllabic filler words. You pronounce Vliet with an initial [vl-]. I think I have the Ker article on my computer, so I could email that to you, if you’d like.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s going to be an Ormulum-specific session at K’zoo next year. We had one in 2013 that I wish you could have attended. Dorothy Kim is hoping to organize an Early Middle English conference of its own, though, so I’m sure we could ensure that an Ormulum panel was on the schedule for that.

        No worries. I feel the same way about getting a chance to talk to someone about Orm! I got to have lunch with both Adrienne and Meg in Oxford last week, and that was a special treat! 🙂

  3. onlinemaria says:

    > I think I have the Ker article on my computer, so I could email that to you, if you’d like.

    Dear Carla, that would be very kind of you,as our archive of MAe here starts only from 1980-s, unfortunately. So here’s my email: mary (dot) volkonskaya (a t) gmail (dot) com
    Oh, I wish I knew about it in 2013! But I hope I will find some session where I can talk about Orm next year in any case. And thanks a lot for reminding me about EMES – I have subscribed to their list now. =)

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