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The Norman Conquest destroyed the literary high culture of Anglo-Saxon England. The Middle English that was increasingly widely used again after about 1200 was grammatically much changed from Old English, and had absorbed many Norse and Anglo-Norman words. English was the usual language of most of the towns founded by Norman and English rulers in Wales. Large numbers of Middle English words passed into Welsh.This example of Middle English comes from the medieval romance 'Sir Cleges'. Sir Cleges is the tale of a spendthrift knight reduced to poverty and restored to prosperity, against a background of Christmas festivities.It was composed in the late 1300s/early 1400s, probably in the north-west Midlands. Trawsgrifiad o'r clip sainSir Cleges and his son gentThe right waye to Cardiffe wentUppon Cristemas Daye. To the castell he cam full rightAs they were to mete dyзt, At noun, the soth to saye. In Sir Cleges thowзt to goo, But in pore clothyng was he tho And in sympull araye. The portere seyd full hastyly:"Thou chorle, withdrawe þe smertly, I rede the, without delaye -'Ellys, be God and Seint Mari, I schall breke thyne hede on higзt! Go stond in beggeres rowзt. Yf þou com more inward, It schall þe rewe afterward, So I schall þe clowзt.''Good sir,' seyd Sir Cleges tho, 'I pray you lat me in gooNowe, without dowзt. The kynge I have a present browзttFrom hym þat made all thynge of nowзt; Behold all abowзt!' English translation:Sir Cleges and his fine son took the road straight to Cardiff on Christmas day. He went directly to the castle, as they were sitting down to eat, at noon to tell it true. Sir Cleges meant to go in, but he was poorly dressed then, and in simple costume. The porter very quickly said 'You churl, take yourself off smartly, I tell you, without delay, or by God and Holy Mary I'll break the crown of your head. Go and stand in the crowd of beggars. If you come further in, you'll regret it afterwards. I shall hit you so hard'. 'Good sir', said Sir Cleges then, 'I pray you, let me go in now, without doubt. I have brought the king a present from him who made everything from nothing. Look all around.'Source: D. Speed (ed) 1987, '4. Sir Cleges', Medieval English Romances Part One (Department of English, University of Sydney), 169-92.Middle English reading and translation by Professor John Hines, Cardiff University.

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