Wycliffe's Bible Translation

Below are two excerpts from the Wycliffe Bible (the Old Testament one translated by Nicholas Hereford). One has modern spelling, the other, the original.

Here is the every day speech of medieval folk seeking God's word in a language they can understand.

 

Genesis 1: 1 In the beginning God made of nought heaven and earth.

2 Forsooth the earth was idle and void, and darknesses were on the face of depth; and the Spirit of the Lord was borne on the waters.

3 And God said, Light be made, and the light was made.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good, and he parted the light from darknesses;

5 and he called the light, day, and the darknesses, night. And the eventide and the morrowtide was made, one day.

6 And God said, The firmament be made in the midst of waters, and part waters from waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and parted the waters that were under the firmament, from the waters that were on the firmament and it was done so.

8 And God called the firmament, heaven. And the eventide and the morrowtide was made, the second day.

9 Forsooth God said, The waters, that be under heaven, be gathered into one place, and a dry place appear; and it was done so.

10 And God called the dry place, earth; and he called the gatherings together of waters, the seas. And God saw that it was good;

11 and said, The earth bring forth green herb, and making seed, and an apple tree making fruit by his kind, whose seed be in itself, on earth; and it was done so.

12 And the earth brought forth green herb and making seed by his kind, and a tree making fruit, and each having seed by his kind. And God saw that it was good.

 

John  1:1 In the bigynnyng was the word, and the word was at God, and God was the word.

 

1:2 This was in the bigynnyng at God.

 

1:3 Alle thingis weren maad bi hym, and withouten hym was maad no thing, that thing that was maad.

 

1:4 In hym was lijf, and the lijf was the liyt of men; and the liyt schyneth in derknessis,

 

1:5 and derknessis comprehendiden not it.

 

1:6 A man was sent fro God, to whom the name was Joon.

 

1:7 This man cam in to witnessyng, that he schulde bere witnessing of the liyt, that alle men schulden bileue bi hym.

 

1:8 He was not the liyt, but that he schulde bere witnessing of the liyt.

 

1:9 There was a very liyt, which liytneth ech man that cometh in to this world.

 

1:10 He was in the world, and the world was maad bi hym, and the world knew hym not.

 

1:11 He cam in to his owne thingis, and hise resseyueden hym not.