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2 An bothe weren juste bisore God: goynge in alle the maundementis and justifyingis of the Lord withouten playin.

3 And thei hadden no child, for Flizabeth was bareyn and bothe weren of greet age in her dayes.

4 And it bifel that whanne Zacary. schould do the office of presthod in the ordir of his course to fore God.

5. Aftir the custom of the presthod, h wente forth by lot and entride into th temple to encensen. 6 And al the multitude of the pupi was without forth and preyede in the ou of encensying. 7 And an aungel of the Lord apperid to him : and stood on the right half of th auter of cncense. S And Zacarye seynge was afrayed and drede fel upon him. 9 And the aungel sayde to him, Z carye drede thou not: for thy preier herd, and Elizabeth thi wifschal bere thce a sone: and his nameschal be cler Jon. 10 And joye and gladyng schal be thee: and manye schulen have joye in natyvyte. 11 For he schal be great bifore t Lord: and he schal not drinke wyn sydyr, and he schal be fulfild with holy gost yit of his modir wombe.

12 And he schal converte manye the children of Israel to her Lord God

13 And he schal go bifore in spiryte and vertu of Helye : and schal turne the hertis of the fadris to sonis, and men out of beleeve : to prudence of just men, to make red perfyt puple to the Lord.

14 And Zacarye seyde to the aun wherof schal Y wyte this 2 for Y old : and my wyf hath gon fer in dayes.

15 And the aungel answerde and s to him, for Y am Gabriel that st nygh before Gyd, and y am sent to to speke and to evangelise to thee thingis, and lo thou schalt be doumb

16 And thou Schalt not mowe s] till into the day in which these ti schulen be don, for thou hast not be to my wordis, whiche schulen be in her tyme.

17 And the puple was abidyng. carye : and thei wondriden that he to in the temple.

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18 And he gede out and myghte not speke to hem: and thei knewen that he hadde seyn a visioun in the temple, and he bekenide to hem: and he dwellide stille doumbe. 19 And it was don whanne the dayes of his office weren, fulfillid: he wente into his hous. 20 And aftir these dayes Elizabeth his wif conseyvede and hidde hir syve monethis and seyde. 21 For so the Lord dide to me in the dayes in whiche he biheld to take awey my reproof among men. 22 But in the sixte monethe the aungel Gabriel was sent from God: into a cytee of Galilee whos name was Nazareth. 23 To a maydun weddid to a man; whos name was Joseph of the hous of Dauith, and the name of the maydun was Marye. 24 And the aungel entride to hir, and sayde, heil ful of grace the Lord be with thee: blessid be thou among wyminell. 25 And whanne sche hadde herd: sche was troublid in his word, and thoughte what manner salutacioun this was. 26 And the aungel seid to hir, ne drede not thou Marye: for thou hast founden grace anentis God.

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27 Lo thou schalt conseyve in wombe,

and schalt bere a sone and thou schalt
clepe his name Jhesus.
28 This schal be gret: and he schal
be clepid the sone of the higheste, and
the Lord God schal geve to him the seete
of Dauith his fadir.
29 And he schal regne in the hous of
Jacob withouten ende, and of his rewme
schal be noon ende.
30 And Marye seyde to the aungel, on
what maner schal this thing be don : for
Y knowe not man. -
31 And the aungel answerde and seyde
to hir, the holy Gost schal come fro
above into thee: and the vertu of the
higheste schal ouer schadowe thee: and
therfore that holy thing that schal be
borun of thee: schal be clepid the sone of
God.
32 And to Elizabeth thi cosyn, and
sche also hath conseyved a sone in hir
eelde, and this monethe is the sixte to
hir that is clepid bareyn.
33 For every word schal not be im-
possyble anentis God.
34 And Marye seide to the hond may-

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dun of the slord: be it doon to me aftir
|. word; and the aungel departide fro
IIs.
35 And Marye roos up in tho dayes
and wente with haste into the moun-
taynes into a citee of Judee.
36 And sche entride into the hous of
Zacarye and grette Elizabeth.
37 And it was don as Elizabeth herde
the salutacioun of Marye the young childe
it hir wombe gladide, and Elizabeth was
fulfild with the holy Gost.
38 And creyede with a grete voice
and seyde, blessid be thou among wym-
men and blessid be the fruyt of thy
wombe. -

30 And whereof is this thing to me, that the modir of my Lord come to me?

40 For lo as the vois of thi salutacioun was maad in myn eeris: the yong child gladide in joye in my wombe.

41 And blessid be thou that hast beleeved : for thilke thingis that ben seid 3. the Lord to thee schulen be parfytly Oil. 42 And Marye seyde, my soul magnifieth the Lord. 43 And ny spiryt hath gladid in God myn helthe. 44 For he hath behulden the mekenesse of his hand mayden: for lo for this alle generatiouns schulen seye that I am blessid. 45 For he that is mighti hath don to me grete thingis, and his name is holy. 46 And his mersy is fro kyndrede into kindredis to men that dreden him.

47 He made myght in his arm, h scateride proude men with the thought of his herte, 48 He sette doun myghty men fr seete and enhaunside meke men. 49 He hath fulfillid hungry men wit goodis, and he has lefte riche me voide. 50 He havynge mynde of his merc took up Israel his child, 51 As he hath spokun to oure fadri to Abraham, and to his seed into world

52 And Marye dwellide with hir as were thre monethis and turned again ill his hous.

53 But the tyme of beringe child w fulfillid to Elizabeth, and sche bar a st

54 And the neyghbouris and cosy of hir herden that the Lord hadde Ian.

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Of the Saron poetry some specimen is necessary, though our ignorance of the laws of their metre and the quantities of their syllables, which it would be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to recover, excludes us from that pleasure which the old bards undoubtedly gave to their contemporaries.

The first poetry of the Sarons was without rhyme, and consequently must have depended upon the quantity of their syllables; but they began in time to imitate their neighbours, and close their

verses with correspondent sounds.

The two passages, which I have sejected, contain apparently the rudiments of our present lyrick measures, and the writers may be justly considered as the genuine ancestors of the English poets.

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of oure God, in the which he springyng up fro on high hath visited us.

75 To geve light to them that sitten in derknessis, and in schadowe of deeth, to dresse oure feet into the weye of pees;

76 And the child weside, and was confortid in spiryt, and was in desert placis till to the day of his schewing to Ysrael.

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