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An Anglo-Saxon Charm

From Readings in English History, by Edward P. Cheyney; Ginn and Company; Boston; 1922; pp. 45-6.

[Among the few remnants of early Anglo-Saxon literature that have come down to us a number of pieces are incantations or charms, to be recited in order to find lost cattle, to fertilize land, to collect a swarm of bees, or to cure snake bite. The following is a charm for bees. From Cook and Tinker, Specimens of Old English Poetry; trans. by W. O. Stevens.]

30. A charm
for bees
Take some earth, throw it with thy right hand, under thy right foot and say, ”I take under foot, I am trying what earth 46 avails for everything in the world and against spirits and against malice, and against the mickle tongue of man, and against displeasure.” Throw over them some gravel where they swarm, and say, —

“Sit ye, my ladies, sit,
  Sink ye to earth down;
  Never be so wild,
  As to the woods to fly.
  Be ye as mindful of my good as
  Every man is of meat and estate.”

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