Ða Engliscan Gesiðas Gegaderung is an online forum for Anglo-Saxonists. In 2003 and 2004 they ran a Christmas carol quiz. The game is simple: identify the Christmas carol (or seasonal recording) from its first line in Anglo-Saxon. Both years’ quizzes are reproduced below, with permission of the authors.
Ruth did it the first year, saying “Here are a few Christmas carols to guess. If you want to improve or add, please do (some of them match the tunes, and some don’t). As before, try to strike the balance between lofgeorn and downright grædig …”
1. Eall se ðe me is niedþearf on Geole bið twegen teð…Horsfreond (Philip?) did it the year after:
2. Hwæt, cumaþ, ge treowlic, eadig, and sigefæstan…
3. Se forma Noel se þe sungon se ar…
4. Cwæþ se lyttel lamb to se sceaphyrde-cniht, Hærest þu se ðe ic hiere?
5. Forstig, se snawceorl, wæs se gliwgeorn, eadig mann…
6. O halig niht! þa tunglu beorhte scinaþ. Seo niht is cennes ure leofan Nergendes.
7. On geardagum on Beþleheme, swa cweðeð se halig æ, Mara lyttle cniht-cild wæs geboren on Cristenmæsse dæge…
8. We of eastfolcan cyningas þrie giftberende faraþ feorr…
9. Hwonne sceaphyrdas weardiað heord nihterne, gesettan eall on grunde…
10. Se holen and se ifig, þonne hie beð full geweaxen, of eall treowum on wudum, se holen bereþ corona…
1: Ic seah ðreo scipu segliende in, on Cristesmaesse daegum, on Cristesmæsse daegum.“To strike the balance between lofgeorn and downright grædig” is to balance greed against desire for fame; i.e., if you can read these all straight off, go ahead and post a few solutions, but leave the rest to be prizes for those who have to work harder, or who aren’t on line right now.
2: Ic seah modor cyssan Sanct Niclas …
3: On Cristmæsse forman dægum, sende min deorling me …
4: Ymbhoþ þa healla mid holenes twige
Fa la la la la la la la la
Hit is se sæl to beonne bliþe
Fa la la la la la la la la
5: Hlim, hlem myriglice on heanese; ða Geolan bellan hlynnaþ
6: Aweg on binne. ne crib for His bedde
Se lytel Cristdryhten dunlæg His swete heafd
7: Wynn to ðære worulde; her is se Dryhten;
Sceal eorðe hire cyning onfon.
8: Hwæt! þa engelbodan singaþ; tir biþ to þæm niwcendum cyninge.
9: Ic swefnie of hwite Cristmæsse, mid ælcum Geoles runstæfe ceorfe ic.
10: Engelas from wuldores rice, lacaþ eower lyftgelac ofer middangeard.
Oh, damn. This post wasn’t supposed to go public. I must have misconfigured it. I put it into the entry queue months and months ago, back when I was trying to track down someone I could ask for permission to re-post the quizzes at Christmas. I hadn’t gotten anywhere with that search as of this past July, when life got busy and thereafter stayed that way.
There’s no use trying to unpublish an entry that’s grown a comment thread; as I know from experience, the “recent comments” list will still access it. Deleting the entry is worse, unless you leave an empty entry in order to preserve the comment thread.
So: I hereby tender my abject apologies to the authors of the quizzes, wherever they may be. (Does anyone know?) If this comes to their attention, I hope they’ll contact me. What happens after that can only be their call. My preference would be to heap praise and full credit on their heads; but it has to be their call.