(Latin text taken largely from Garforth, F.W. Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica: a selection. London: Bell, 1967.)
based largely on the text of:
MS. Kk.v.16, University Library, Cambridge [=the 'Moore Bede', C.H. rec. M] (c. or after 737) [Gneuss 25]
(modern English translation of the Latin source from Bede, The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Book IV, translator not clearly indicated (But it seems to be L.C. Jane's 1903 Temple Classics translation), introduction by Vida D. Scudder, (London: J.M. Dent; New York E.P. Dutton, 1910).
Source: Medieval Sourcebook's version. Their permissions notice: "The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use. © Paul Halsall December 1997, [email protected]")
[unless otherwise indicated, notes on the Latin are taken from F.W. Garforth's Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica: a selection. London: Bell, 1967.]
3. divinis litteris: i.e. Holy Scripture, the Bible.
4. pusillum: understand tempus.
5. compunctione: The word means literally 'pricking' and was used in later Latin for pricking of conscience, remorse; it refers here to the effect (described in the next sentence) which Caedmon's poetry had on those who heard it.
7. saeculi: 'the world', i.e. this world, contrasted with vita caelestis.
11. per hominem: 'through human agency'
13. poematis: genitive depending on nihil.
15. in habitu saeculari...constitutus: Caedmon was not at this time a monk, nor need it be supposed that he was in any way connected with the monastery.
20. citharam: 'harp'.
21. repedabat: 'returned'.
22. dum: translate as cum.
24. competenti: 'proper', 'suitable'.
30. habes: 'have to', 'must', as in modern English.
32. creaturarum: 'creatures', 'created things'.
33. conditoris: 'the Creator'.
37. miraculorum: 'wonders', 'marvels'.
[note on difference between OE & Latin texts] here the OE translation omits this phrase - understandably since the OE translator presumably knew (or thought he knew - see Kiernan (1990)) the OE poem Bede based his Latin translation on. Or he knew the OE poem from an independent source. [note from B. Slade]
42. ad verbum
: 'literally'. The truth of Bede's comment in this clause is apparent to any who have attempted the translation of poetry.
: 'steward', 'bailiff' (of a farm), or possibly an official or magistrate of the town.
50. quid vel unde
: 'the nature and source'.
: for the classical ei
(dat.) after praecipio
: 'the rhythm of verse', or simply 'verse'.
: 'accepting', 'welcoming'.
: 'vow', 'rule'.
63. quasi mundum animal ruminando
: 'by chewing it over like a clean animal'. 'Clean' here refers to Hebrew law (see Leviticus
, XI, vv. 1-8) which permitted the eating only of those animals which were both ruminant and cloven-footed; these were 'clean', the rest 'unclean'.
: 'by repeating', literally, 'by echoing back'.
: gen. sing. of the reflexive pronoun.
67. in terram repromissionis
: 'the promised land'.
72. poenae gehennalis
: 'the punishment of hell'. Gehenna is the Jewish equivalent of hell as a place of torment; the name is derived from the valley of Hinnom on the south-west of Jerusalem, where the refuse of the city was burnt and children were once sacrificed to the god Moloch.
75. ad dilectionem...actionis
: 'to love and apply themselves to good deeds'. The meaning of sollertia
has shifted from the classical 'skill', 'ingenuity' to the application of it in action.
: adverb with religiosus
: 'of monastic rule'.
: 'zeal'; a Greek word.
: for the classical acc. of duration.
: 'near by'.
: n. pl., object of loquerentur
: for the classical num
, as also in l.97
: 'the Eucharist', intended by Caedmon to be his last sacrament, the viaticum
referred to in l.102.
: 'have to', 'likely to'.
: 'in good health'.
: gen. depending on ingressui
(which is dat. after paravit
103. quam prope
: 'how near'.
: 'the Creator'.
: 'uttered (literally, 'closed', 'finished') his final words'.