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Welcome to Readings in Early English

This website consists of a set of readings of illustrative texts to accompany chapters 3 - 5 inclusive of Jeremy Smith's Essentials of Early English. The texts are divided into three Sections: Section A (Old English Texts), Section B (Middle English Texts) and Section C (Early Modern English Texts). However, it should be noted that texts spanning the transition between OE and ME, and between ME and EModE, are also included. For pedagogic reasons, the editorial principles adopted vary from text to text, and between sections.

Texts are drawn for the most part from standard editions and readers, with some modifications and emendations to enable them better to serve the purposes of beginners. Some in Section C are drawn from early printed books contemporary with the authors.

Students will find it useful to supplement these texts with others in order to find their own examples. Particularly recommended as a source-book is Burnley 1992.

For references to grammatical structures, see the Thematic Index in Part III of Essentials of Early English.

The readings are all by Professor Smith.