Ich was in one sumere dale;
In one suže di3ele hale
Iherde ich holde grete tale
An Hule and one Ni3tingale.
Žat plait was stif & stare & strong,
Sum wile softe & lud among.
An aižer a3en ožer sval
& let žat vvole mod ut al;
& eižer seide of ožeres custe
Žat alre worste žat hi wuste.
& hure & hure of ožeres songe
Hi holde plaiding suže stronge.
Že Ni3tingale bigon že speche
In one hurne of one breche,
& sat up one vaire bo3e
Žar were abute blosme ino3e!
In ore uaste žicke hegge
Imeind mid spire & grene segge.
Ho was že gladur uor že rise,
& song a uele cunne wise.
Bet žu3te že dreim žat he were
Of harpe & pipe žan he nere,
Bet žu3te žat he were ishote
Of harpe & pipe žan of žrote.
Žo stod on old stoc žarbiside,
Žar žo Vle song hire tide;
& was mid iui al bigrowe.
Hit was žare Hule eardingstowe.
Že Ni3tingale hi ise3,
& hi bihold & ouerse3,
& žu3te wel vv1 of žare Hule,
For me hi halt lodlich & fule.
'Vnwi3t!', ho sede, 'awei žu flo!
Me is že vvrs žat ich že so.
Iwis, for žine vvle lete
Wel oft ich mine song forlete.
Min horte atfliž & falt mi tonge,
Wonne žu art to me ižnmge.
Me luste bet speten žane singe
Of žine fule 3o3elinge.'
Žos Hule abod fort hit was eve.
Ho ne mi3te no leng bileue,
Vor hire horte was so gret
Žat wel ne3 hire fnast atschet;
& warp a word žarafter longe:
'Hu žincže nu bi mine songe?
Wenst žu žat ich ne cunne singe,
Že3 ich ne cunne of writelinge?
Ilome žu dest me grame,
& seist me bože tone & schame.
3if ich že holde on mine uote
So hit bitide žat ich mote!
& žu were vt of žine rise,
Žu sholdest singe anožer wise!'
Že Ni3tingale 3af answare:
'3if ich me loki wit že bare
& me schilde wit že blete,
Ne reche ich no3t of žine žrete;
3if ich me holde in mine hegge,
Ne recche ich neuer what žu segge.
Ich wot žat žu art unmilde
VViž hom žat ne mu3e from že schilde,
& žu tukest wrože & vuele,
VVhar žu mi3t, over smale fu3ele.
Vorbi žu art lož al fuelkunne
& alle ho že driuež honne,
& že bischrichež & bigredet
& vvel narewe že biledet;
& ek forbe že sulue mose
Hire žonkes wolde že totose.
Žu art lodlich to biholde,
& žu art lož in monie volde:
Ži bodi is short, ži swore is smal,
Grettere is žin heued žan žu al;
Žin e3ene bož colblake & brode
Ri3t svvo ho weren ipeint mid wode.
Žu starest so žu wille abiten
Al žat žu mist mid cliure smiten.
Ži bile is stif & scharp & hoked
Ri3t so an ovvel žat is croked.
Žarmid žu clackes oft & longe,
& žat is on of žine songe.
Ac žu žretest to mine fleshe,
Mid žine cliures woldest me meshe:
Že were icundur to one frogge,
Žat sit at mulne vnder cogge:
Snailes, mus & fule wi3te
Bož žine cunde & žine ri3te.
Žu sittest a dai & fli3st a ni3t.
Žu cužest žat žu art on vnwi3t.
Žu art lodlich & unclene
Bi žine neste ich hit mene
& ek bi žine fule brode:
Žu fedest on hom a wel ful fode.
Vel wostu žat hi dož žarinne:
Hi fulež hit up to že chinne;
Ho sittež žar so hi bo bisne.
Žarbi men segget a uorbisne:
"Dahet habbe žat ilke best
Žat fulež his owe nest."
Žat ožer 3er a Faukun bredde;
His nest no3t wel he ne bihedde.
Žano žu stele in o dai,
& leidest žaron ži fole ey.
Žo hit bicom žat he ha3te,
& of his eyre briddes wra3te,
Ho bro3te his briddes mete,
Bihold his nest, ise3 hi ete;
He ise3 bi one halue
His nest ifuled uthalue.
Že Faucun was wrož wit his bridde,
& lude 3al & sterne chidde:
"Segget me, wo hauet žis ido?
Ov nas neuer icunde žarto.
Hit was idon ov a lož custe.
Segget me, 3if 3e hit wiste!"
Žo quaž žat on, & quad žat ožer:
"Iwis, hit was ure o3e brožer,
Že 3ond, žat haued žat grete heued,
Wai žat he nis žarof bireued!
VVorp hit ut mid že alre wrste,
Žat his necke him toberste!"
Že Faucun ilefde his bridde,
& nom žat fule brid a midde,
& warp hit of žan wilde bowe,
Žar pie & crowe hit todrowe.
Herbi men segget a bispel
Že3 hit ne bo fuliche spel
Also hit is bi žan ungode
Žat is icumen of fule brode
& is meind wit fro monne;
Euer he cuž žat he com žonne,
Žat he com of žan adel eye
Že3 he a fro nest leie:
Že3 appel trendli fron žon trowe
Žar he & ožer mid growe,
Že3 he bo žarfrom bicume,
He cuž wel whonene he is icume.'
(O&N, Vv.1-139)

I was in a summer's dale;
In a very hidden nook
I heard an owl and a nightingale
Having a passionate debate.
That pleading was heated, violent and strong
Sometimes soft and then loud again.
And each puffed up against the other
And let out all its evil mood;
And each said of the other's character
The very worst that she knew.
And again and again about the other's singing
They quarreled very ardently.
The Nightingale began the pleading
In a corner of a fallow field
Sitting on a fair branch
There were lots of blossoms around
In a thick and huge hedge,
Grown up with rushes and green sedge.
She was pleased with the twig
And sang many kinds of song.
The melody seemed better as if it were
by harp and pipe than as if it were not;
It seemed better, as if it were shot
From a harp or a pipe than a throat.
There was an old stock nearby
From which the Owl sang her hours,
It was all overgrown with ivy.
This was the Owl's dwelling place.
The Nightingale noticed her
and looked and eyed down at her,
Regarding the Owl in an evil way,
Because people consider her loath and foul.
'You wretch,' she said, 'fly away!
I feel sick when I see you.
Indeed, because of your evil ways
Very often I give up singing.
My spirit flees away and my tongue is blocked,
When you approach me.
I am more inclined to spit than sing
Because of your foul wailing.'
The Owl waited until dusk,
She could no longer hold back.
As her heart had swollen so much
That her breath almost shot out;
And thereafter she threw out a long speech:
'How do you like my song now?
Do you think that I do not know how to sing,
Only because I cannot chirp?
Very often you do harm to me,
telling me both grief and shame.
If I held you in my hooks
May it happen that I could!
And you were out of your twig,
You would sing a different song!'
The Nightingale gave an answer:
'If I guard myself against the open field
And protect me from being exposed,
I do not care about your threat;
If I keep to my hedge,
I do not care at all about what you say.
I know that you are not gentle
To those that cannot guard themselves against
And you tousle with wrath and evil,              [you,
Wherever you can, the little birds.
Therefore you are hated by all birdkind
And everyone drives you away
And screech around and cry out against you,
And mob you very closely;
And because of this even the titmouse
In her thoughts would like to tear you to pieces.
You are horrible to look at
And you are loathsome in many respects:
Your body is short, your neck is small,
Your head is bigger than any other part of you;
Your eyes are coalblack and large
As if they were painted with woad.
You stare around as if you wanted bite
Whatever you might clutch with your talons.
Your bill is hard and sharp and hooked
Just like an awl that is crooked.
Therewith you clack often and long,
And that is one of your songs.
But you threaten my life,
You want to crush me with your talons;
You are closer related to a frog
That sits by the millwheel under the cog:
Snails, mice and foul animals
Are your relatives and rightful companions.
You hang around by day and fly at night
You make it known that you are a wretch.
You are loathsome and unclean
I speak about your nest,
And also about your filthy brood:
You feed them a dirty and filthy food.
You know very well what they do therein:
They pile up dirt up to their chins;
They sit there as if they were blind,
Therefore men say a proverb:
"May ill luck befall such a beast
that fouls its own nest."
The other year a Falcon bred;
He did not watch well over his nest.
Thereto you stole on a certain day,
And laid therein your foul eye.
When it had happened that he had hatched
And brought to life birds from the eggs
He brought food to his birds,
Watched over his nest and saw them eat;
He noticed on one side
That the nest was filthy from the outside.
The Falcon was angry with his breed
And yelled loud and sternly chid:
"Tell me, who has done this?
You were never used to do so.
This has been done by a filthy character,
Tell me, if you know it!"
First spoke one and then the other:
"Indeed, it was our own brother,
That one there that has got this big head,
What a pity that he was not deprived of it!
Throw him out with the very worst
So that he breaks his neck!"
The Falcon believed his young
And seized the foul bird at its middle
And threw it out from the wild branch,
Where Magpie and Crow tore it asunder.
About this people tell a fable
although it is not a complete story
Just as it is with the lowborn man
Who come from foul breeding
And is brought together with wellborn men,
He will always show where he comes from,
That he comes from an addled egg
Although he lies in a noble nest:
Though an apple may roll from the tree
Where it and others with it grew up,
Though it may have got away from there,
It clearly reveals from where it has come.'

Specimen: Owl and Nightingale
Owl and Nightingale