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Arthurian Audio Files


Layamon
from Brut

Read by Basil Cottle, Bristol University
Layamon: Brut
edited by G.L. Brook and R.F. Leslie
Oxford University Press for the Early English Text Society, 1963
page 2, ll. 1-5 (MS. Cotton Caligula A. IX version)

Layamon's Middle English is earlier than Chaucer's language, and sometimes sounds more Germanic, closer to Anglo-Saxon. The [y] in the name of the author and in the word "Ernleye" below is actually a "yogh," which looks like a flat headed 3 and for which there is no HTML code. It was probably still a velar sound in the early 13th-century, as you can hear in Prof. Cottle's reading, but the name is usually rendered "Layamon," occasionally "Lazamon" or "Lawman." In this text the þ "thorn" and ð "eth" represent a [th] sound. This recording was made in 1990 for The Chaucer Studio.


An preost wes on leoden, Layamon wes ihoten.
he wes Leouenaðes sone, liðe him beo Drihten.
He wonede at Ernleye, at æðelen are chirechen.
vppen Seuarne staþe; sel þar him þuhte.
on-fest Radestone, þer he bock radde.

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