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Hál wes þú Maria
English
Old English
Runes

ᚻᚪᛚ ᚹᛖᛋ ᚦᚢ᛫ ᛗᚪᚱᛄᚪ᛫ ᛗᛁᛞ ᛄᛁᚠᛖ ᛄᛖᚠᚣᛚᛖᛞ᛫
Hál wes þú [Maria] mid gife gefylled,
Hail Mary, full of grace,
ᛞᚱᚣᚻᛏᛖᚾ ᛗᛁᛞ ᚦᛖ᛫
Dryhten mid þé;
the Lord is with thee;
ᚦᚢ ᛠᚱᛏ ᛒᛖᛏᚹᛇᛉ ᚹᛁᚠᚢᛗ ᛄᛖᛒᛚᛖᛏᛋᚩᛞ᛫
þú eart betweox wífum gebletsod,
blessed art thou amongst women,
ᚪᚾᛞ ᛄᛖᛒᛚᛖᛏᛋᚩᛞ ᚣᛋ ᚦᛁᚾᛖ ᛁᚾᚩᚦᛖᛋ ᚹᚫᛤᛗ᛫ ᛄᛖᛏᛋᚢᛋ᛬
and gebletsod ys þíne innoðes wæstm [Iésus].
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.



ᚪᛗᛖᚾ᛬
[Amen.]
Amen.

Commentary
Hail Mary only achieved its present form in the 16th century, half a millenium after the end of the Old English period. This prayer is therefore not found in the corpus of this language. However, the antiphon that forms its first part (the salutation to the Holy Virgin) was in use much earlier. Its wording derives from the Gospel of Luke, and associates the words of the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation (Luke 1,28) with the words of Elisabeth at the Visitation (Luke 1,42), supplemented with the names of Mary and Jesus. Since translations of the Gospels into Old English have fortunately come down to us, it is possible to reconstruct an Old English form of the antiphon. We used the Wessex Gospels in the West Saxon dialect of the late 10th century, as edited in 1842 by Benjamin Thorpe. The words that are not in the Gospel text are in brackets.

The translation is the English version of the prayer.

The text is transcribed in Anglo-Saxon runes, also called Futhorc, used in England from the 5th to the 11th century, and exemplified by J. R. R. Tolkien in the foreword of The Hobbit. We made use of Robert Pfeffer’s typeface Pfeffer Mediæval.

References
Thorpe, Benjamin. Ða Halgan Godspel on Englisc: the Anglo-Saxon version of the holy Gospels. London: J. F. G. and J. Rivington, 1842. 256 p. 🌍 Internet Archive.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
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