Sunday, 30 September 2012

Speak saxon: Charters and parting words

I visited the wonderful  Sir John Ritblat Gallery  at the British Library yesterday (free - it's fantastic - you should all visit). In the middle of the maps, Beatles paraphernalia and really, really old Gospel fragments, is an unimposing-looking post-conquest charter from the king to Christ Church, Canterbury. The details of the charter don't interest me here (that's for the chancery-fanatics to do). What I do want to tell you is a lovely way to say goodbye. The  charter is in Latin and Old English, and both versions end with simple but beautiful parting words:

God eow gehealde

(God keep you (plural))

["God yay-ow yu-hay-ald-uh"]


Next time you say goodbye to some dear, old friends: try it.

(here's the link to the Sir John Ritblat Gallery: http://www.bl.uk/whatson/permgall/treasures/index.html)



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