Saturday, January 18, 2020


Where Angels Fear to Tread

The Enlarged Rule of Chrodegang XII, lines 12-21, in Arthur S. Napier, The Old English Version of the Enlarged Rule of Chrodegang Together with the Latin Original. An Old English Version of the Capitula of Theodulf Together with the Latin Original. An Interlinear Old English Rendering of the Epitome of Benedict of Aniane (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1916), pp. 22-23:
Et tunc omnes sint preparati stantes in loco suo in choro per ordinem, ut cum nouissimum signum cessauerit, cum summa humilitate et honestate referant laudes Deo, in conspectu angelorum eius. Et si alicui frequens tussis aut flegma ex pectore aut naribus excrescit, post dorsum proiciat, aut iuxta latus, caute tamen et curiose, ut infirmis mentibus non uertatur in nausiam; et semper quod proicitur pede conculcetur, ut cum ad orationem curuantur, uestimenta eorum non sordidentur; et infra ecclesiam, et in omni conuentu, seu et in porticu, hoc obseruandum est, ut quod spuitur semper pedibus conculcetur.

⁊ syn ealle gearwe ⁊ standon on chore be endebyrdnysse, þæt swa se(o) æftemyste stund geendige, þæt hi sona mid miclere eadmodnysse ⁊ wynsumnysse herigeon heora Drihten on his engla gesihþe. ⁊ gif heora ænegum for unhæle hraca of breoste oððe snyflung of nosa derige, hræce ⁊ snyte bæftan him oððe adun be his sidan, ⁊ þæt fortrede, þe læs hit seocmodum broþrum ⁊ cisum wyrðe to wlættan; ⁊ wærlice tredon þæt, þe læs heora reaf wurðon þærof fule, þonne hi on gebedum licgeað. ⁊ on cyrcan ⁊ on portice ⁊ on ælcre stowe, swa hwæt swa ma him fram hræce oððe snyte, fortrede hit mid his fotum.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson, who translates the Old English thus:
Then let them all prepare themselves and stand in the choir in order so that at the last signal they might with humility and delight praise God in the sight of his angels. If any of them is infirm and has phlegm in his chest or is snivelling, let him hawk up or blow his nose behind himself or down by his side, and tread upon it, lest the sight of such things nauseate weak-minded or squeamish brethren. And they should tread upon it carefully so that their clothing is not befouled when they go to prayer. Inside the church, in the porch, and in all places, whatever anyone coughs up or sneezes must be trodden under foot.

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