Northumbrian eordu recension

A critical edition of the probable recension archetype

Based on Di with collations from Br[1], P1.

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    Nu [ƿ]ue sc[iu]lun[2] herga      hefunricaes [ƿ]ueard,

    metudaes mechti,      and his modgedanc[3],

    [ƿ]uerc [ƿ]uldurfadur      suae[4] he [ƿ]undra gihuaes,

    eci drichtin,      or astalde!

5     He aerist scoop      eordu[5] bearnum

    hefen[6] to hrofe,      halig sceppend;

    [ð]a[7] middu[n]geard[8],      moncinnes [ƿ]eard,

    eci drichtin,      aefter tiade

    firum on foldu,      frea allmechtig.


[1]None of the scribes responsible for copying this recension appear to have understood their text. See §§ 7.8 and 7.42 for a discussion of the editorial conventions used in establishing the text of this recension.

[2]sc[iu]lun] Wuest 1906 reads scuilun. Smith 1978, Dobbie 1937, O’Donnell 1996b read sciulun. See §§ 7.36, above; O’Donnell 1996b, 159; Cavill 2000, 513.

[3]modgedanc] Wuest 1906 and Dobbie 1937 have a medial <ð> in this word. Smith 1978 and O’Donnell 1996b both read <d>. See §§ 7.36-7.40, above; O’Donnell 1996b, 159-160; Cavill 2000, 513.

[4]suae] Howlett suggests that suae may be intended as an adverb (“thus”) rather than a causal conjunction (“as, because”). For a discussion of the evidence, see above, § C.9. The punctuation here assumes suae is a conjunction.

[5]eordu] Dobbie 1937 reads eorðu. Wuest 1906, Smith 1978, and O’Donnell 1996b read eordu. See §§ 7.36-7.40, above; O’Donnell 1996b, 159-160; Cavill 2000, 513.

[6]hefen] Wuest 1906, Dobbie 1937, and Smith 1978, none of whom had access to Br, omit the initial <h> on the authority of Di and P1. The letter is added here and in O’Donnell 1996b on the basis of the reading in Br. See §§ 7.41 above.

[7][ð]a] Wuest 1906, Dobbie 1937, and O’Donnell 1996b read ða; Smith 1978 reads da. See above, §§ 7.36-7.40, above; O’Donnell 1996b, 159-160; Cavill 2000, 513.

ða can be construed as either a causal conjunction (“when”) or an adverb (“then”). While the reading has considerable effect on our understanding of the poem’s structure and theology (see above, § C.9, and esp. Blockley 1998, 20-26), neither reading can be ruled out conclusively. The punctuation in this edition follows that of most modern editions in treating ða as an adverb.

[8]middu[n]geard] <um> for expected <un> may go back to the original exemplar of this tradition. Although as Cavill notes, “the addition of an extra minim in a sequence such as -un- is one of the commoner scribal mistakes” in this tradition (Cavill 2000, 519), this is the only example in the recension in which all surviving manuscripts agree in the error.