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Old English Online

Lesson 1

Jonathan Slocum and Winfred P. Lehmann

Our selection is drawn from the major Old English poem Beowulf. It is the only surviving heroic epic of its era, and the lone early manuscript dates from ca. 1000 A.D. The date of the poem's composition is uncertain, but probably lies in the 7th or 8th century on the basis of its language. While the story in its legendary monster aspects is not factual, it is considered quite reliable in its historical details, for example concerning 6th century armor, weaponry, burial customs, and the names of Germanic tribal leaders. Set in a factual background, it might almost be considered historical fiction.

In the manuscript the work appears -- at first glance -- to be prose. However, analysis quickly shows that it is composed in Germanic alliterative verse, where [reconstructed] lines consist of two sections and have four major stresses, of which the third is most important. They are marked by alliteration; the consonants must be the same to alliterate, but the vowels may alliterate with one another as in lines 3, 6, and so on. The first half-line may have two alliterating syllables; the second rarely does. The alliterating words are generally substantives. The final stress is often filled by a verb, an indication that verbs were weakly stressed and that the typical sentence intonation was like that of modern English.

Reading and Textual Analysis

Our selection consists of the first 25 lines. This section of the poem relates the legendary arrival of Scyld as a baby on the Danish coast, where he grows up to become king of the Danes. He had a son whose name is assumed on the basis of metrical analysis to have been Beow, which was changed in the manuscript to Beowulf in keeping with the name of the hero of the poem, who does not appear until several hundred lines later; these lines deal with the Scyldings until the arrival of the hero, who then frees them from the monster Grendel, thereafter from Grendel's mother, and finally from a dragon who inflicts a mortal wound on Beowulf. Much of the poem relates the situation at the court, with its celebration of the death of monsters and Beowulf's recital of his adventures.

Our selection includes lines 1-25, found on pp. 1-2 in: Friedrich Klaeber, ed. (1950), Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg, 3rd edition, Boston: Heath. Our translation, as generally in our lessons, is prose rather than poetry, and tends to be literal.

HWT, W GR-DEna         in gardagum
odcyninga         rym gefrnon,
h elingas         ellen fremedon!

  • hwt -- interrogative pronoun; accusative singular neuter of <hw, hw, hwt> who, what -- Lo
  • w -- 1st person pronoun; nominative plural of <ic> I -- we
  • Gr-Dena -- proper noun, masculine plural; genitive of <gr-Dene> spear-Danes -- of Spear-Danes
  • in -- preposition <in> in, into -- in
  • gardagum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <gar-dg> lit. year-day -- days of yore
  • odcyninga -- noun, masculine; genitive plural of <od-cyning> lit. people-king -- of folk-kings'
  • rym -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <rymm> glory, renown -- prowness
  • gefrnon -- strong verb, class III; 1st person plural preterite of <gefrnan, gefrn, gefrnon, gefrnen> learn, hear of -- have heard
  • h -- adverbial conjunction <h> how -- how
  • -- definite article; nominative plural of <se, so, t> the -- the
  • elingas -- strong noun, masculine; nominative plural of <eling> nobleman, prince -- princes
  • ellen -- noun, neuter; accusative singular of <ellen> valor, courage -- deed(s) of valor
  • fremedon -- weak verb, class I; 3rd person plural preterite of <fremman, fremede, fremed> do, perform -- wrought

Oft Scyld Scfing         sceaena ratum,
monegum mgum         meodosetla oftah,
egsode eorlas,         syan rest wear
fasceaft funden;

  • oft -- adverb <oft> often, frequently -- often
  • Scyld Scfing -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Scyld Scfing> Scyld Scefing -- Scyld Scefing
  • sceaena -- weak noun, masculine; genitive plural of <sceaa> enemy, warrior -- of enemies
  • ratum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <rat> band, troop -- (from) bands
  • monegum -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <monig> many -- (from) many
  • mgum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <mg> tribe, nation -- tribes
  • meodosetla -- noun, neuter; genitive plural of <medu-setl> lit. mead-seat -- mead-benches
  • oftah -- strong verb, class II; 3rd person singular preterite of <ofton, oftah, oftugon, oftogen> deny, deprive -- wrested
  • egsode -- weak verb, class II; 3rd person singular preterite of <egsian, egsode, egsod> terrify -- terrified
  • eorlas -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <eorl> earl, nobleman, warrior -- earls
  • syan -- adverb <syan> afterwards -- since
  • rest -- adverb; superlative of <r> ere, before, formerly -- first
  • wear -- strong verb, class III; 3rd person singular preterite of <weoran, wear, wurdon, worden> become, happen -- (he) was
  • fasceaft -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <fasceaft> poor, destitute -- abandoned # as a baby
  • funden -- strong verb, class III; past participle of <findan, fond, fundon, funden> find -- found

        h s frfre gebd,
wox under wolcnum         weormyndum h,
o t him ghwylc         ymbsittendra
ofer hronrde         hran scolde,
gomban gyldan;

  • h -- 3rd person pronoun; nominative singular masculine of <h, ho, hit> he, she, it -- he
  • s -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <s, so, t> that -- for that
  • frfre -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <frfor> relief, solace, consolation -- consolation
  • gebd -- strong verb, class I; 3rd person singular preterite of <gebdan, gebd, gebidon, gebiden> remain; await; experience; attain -- received
  • wox -- strong verb, class VII; 3rd person singular preterite of <weaxan, wox, woxon, waxen> wax, grow -- (he) grew
  • under -- preposition <under> under -- under
  • wolcnum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <wolcen> sky, heaven -- the heavens
  • weormyndum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <weormynd> glory, honor, reverence -- honors
  • h -- strong verb, class I; 3rd person singular preterite of <on, h, igon, igen> thrive, prosper -- won
  • o t -- adverbial conjunction <o t> until -- until
  • him -- 3rd person pronoun; dative singular masculine of <h, ho, hit> he, she, it -- him
  • ghwylc -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <ghwilc> all, every -- all
  • ymbsittendra -- strong verb, class V; present participle; genitive plural of <ymbsittan, ymbst, ymbston, ymbseten> besiege, lit. sit round -- (of the) peoples
  • ofer -- preposition <ofer> over, across -- across
  • hronrde -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <hron-rd> sea, lit. whale-road -- the sea
  • hran -- weak verb, class I; infinitive of <heran, herde, hered> hear, obey; belong -- obey
  • scolde -- modal (preterit-present) verb, class IV; 3rd person singular preterite indicative of <sculan, sceal, sculon, scolde> shall, ought to -- had to
  • gomban -- weak noun, feminine; accusative singular of <gombe> tribute -- tribute # "weak feminine" is speculative
  • gyldan -- strong verb, class III; infinitive of <gieldan, geald, guldon, golden> yield, pay -- pay

        t ws gd cyning!

  • t -- demonstrative pronoun; nominative singular neuter of <s, so, t> that -- that
  • ws -- anomalous verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative of <wesan> be, happen -- was
  • gd -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <gd> good, excellent -- (a) good
  • cyning -- strong noun, masculine; nominative singular of <cyning> king -- king

m eafera ws         fter cenned
geong in geardum,         one God sende
folce t frfre;

  • m -- demonstrative used as 3rd person pronoun; dative singular masculine of <s, so, t> he, she, it -- (to) him
  • eafera -- weak noun, masculine; nominative singular of <eafora> son, heir -- a child
  • ws -- anomalous verb; 3rd person singular preterite indicative of <wesan> be, happen -- was
  • fter -- adverb <fter> after(wards), then -- then
  • cenned -- weak verb, class I; past participle of <cennan, cennede, cenned> beget, conceive, bring forth -- born
  • geong -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <geong> young -- a young (man)
  • in -- preposition <in> in, into -- in
  • geardum -- noun, masculine; dative plural of <geard> yard, enclosure; dwelling -- the court # singular in meaning
  • one -- demonstrative used as 3rd person pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <s, so, t> he, she, it -- him
  • God -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <God> God, Deity -- God
  • sende -- weak verb, class I; 3rd person singular preterite of <sendan, sende, sened> send -- sent
  • folce -- noun, neuter; dative singular of <folc> folk, people -- the people
  • t -- preposition <t> (in)to -- to
  • frfre -- noun, feminine; dative singular of <frfor> relief, solace, consolation -- for solace

        fyrenearfe ongeat,
he r drugon         aldorlase
lange hwle;

  • fyrenearfe -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <fyren-earf> dire distress -- the dire distress
  • ongeat -- strong verb, class V; 3rd person singular preterite of <ongietan, ongeat, ongaton, ongieten> grasp, understand -- (he) perceived
  • -- relative particle <e> that, which, who -- which # Klaeber reconstructs "" where MS has only ""
  • he -- 3rd person pronoun; nominative plural of <h, ho, hit> he, she, it -- they
  • r -- adverb <r> ere, before, formerly -- before
  • drugon -- strong verb, class II; 3rd person plural preterite of <drogan, drag, drugon, drogen> endure, suffer -- suffered
  • aldorlase -- noun, masculine <ealdor> elder, parent, prince + adjective; nominative plural masculine <las> without, bereft of -- lordless
  • lange -- adjective; accusative singular feminine of <lang> long -- (for a) long
  • hwle -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <hwl> while, time -- time

        him s Lffrea,
wuldres Wealdend         woroldre forgeaf,

  • him -- 3rd person pronoun; dative singular masculine of <h, ho, hit> he, she, it -- him
  • s -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive singular neuter of <s, so, t> that -- for that
  • Lffrea -- proper noun, weak masculine; nominative singular of <Lf-frea> lit. Life-lord -- the Lord of Light
  • wuldres -- noun, neuter; genitive singular of <wuldor> glory, praise -- of Glory
  • wealdend -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <wealdend> wielder, ruler, lord -- the Wielder
  • woroldre -- noun, feminine; accusative singular of <worold-r> worldly honor -- world honor
  • forgeaf -- strong verb, class V; 3rd person singular preterite of <forgifan, forgeaf, forgafon, forgiefen> give, grant -- gave

Bowulf ws brme         -- bld wde sprang --
Scyldes eafera         Scedelandum in.

  • Bowulf -- proper noun, masculine; nominative singular of <Bo-wulf> bear, lit. bee wolf -- Beowulf # Danish king, son of Scyld Scefing: not the hero of this poem
  • ws -- anomalous verb; 1st person singular preterite indicative of <wesan> be, happen -- was
  • brme -- adjective; nominative singular of <brme> famous, renowned -- renowned
  • bld -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <bld> blade, leaf -- the fame
  • wde -- adverb <wde> widely, far -- far
  • sprang -- strong verb, class III; 3rd person singular preterite of <springan, sprang, sprungon, sprungen> spring, burst forth, spread -- spread
  • Scyldes -- proper noun, masculine; genitive singular of <Scyld> Scyld -- (of) Scyld's
  • eafera -- weak noun, masculine; nominative singular of <eafora> son, heir -- son # nominative (?) according to Klaeber
  • Scedelandum -- proper noun, neuter; dative plural of <Scedeland> Danish land -- Danish lands
  • in -- preposition <in> in, into -- in

Sw sceal geong guma         gde gewyrcean,
fromum feohgiftum         on fder bearme,
t hine on ylde         eft gewunigen
wilgesas,         onne wg cume,
lode gelsten;

  • sw -- adverbial conjunction <sw> so, thus -- thus
  • sceal -- modal (preterit-present) verb, class IV; 3rd person singular present indicative of <sculan, sceal, sculon, scolde> shall, ought to -- should
  • geong -- adjective; nominative singular masculine of <geong> young -- (a) young
  • guma -- noun, masculine; nominative singular of <guma> man, hero -- man
  • gde -- adjective; dative singular neuter of <gd> good, excellent -- good # (i.e., a good outcome)
  • gewyrcean -- weak verb, class I; infinitive of <gewyrcan, geworhte, geworht> perform, achieve, accomplish -- accomplish
  • fromum -- adjective; dative plural feminine of <from> bold, brave, splendid -- (with) splendid
  • feohgiftum -- noun, feminine; dative plural of <feoh-gift> money-, lit. cattle-gift -- money-gifts
  • on -- preposition <on> on(to), upon -- (while) in
  • fder -- noun, masculine; genitive singular of <fder> father -- (his) father's
  • bearme -- noun, masculine; dative singular of <bearm> bosom, lap -- bosom
  • t -- conjunction <t> so/in order that -- so that
  • hine -- 3rd person pronoun; accusative singular masculine of <h, ho, hit> he, she, it -- him
  • on -- preposition <on> on(to), upon -- ...
  • ylde -- indeclinable noun, masculine plural; nominative of <ylde> men -- men
  • eft -- adverb <eft> afterwards, thereupon -- afterwards
  • gewunigen -- weak verb, class II; 3rd person plural present optative of <gewunian, gewunode, gewunod> remain with, stand by -- stand by
  • wilgesas -- noun, masculine; nominative plural of <wilges> dear companion -- dear companions
  • onne -- adverb <onne> then, when -- when
  • wg -- noun, neuter; nominative singular of <wg> war, strife -- war
  • cume -- strong verb, class IV; 3rd person singular present optative of <cuman, cwm, cwmon, cumen> come -- comes
  • lode -- noun, masculine; accusative plural of <lod> person, member of tribe -- the people # Klaeber, in error, reads 'np.' (nom.pl.)
  • gelsten -- weak verb, class I; 3rd person plural present optative of <gelstan, gelste, gelset> serve, stand by -- to serve

        lofddum sceal
in mga gehwre         man geeon.

  • lofddum -- strong noun, feminine; dative plural of <lof-dd> praiseworthy deed -- (by) praiseworthy deeds
  • sceal -- modal (preterit-present) verb, class IV; 3rd person singular present indicative of <sculan, sceal, sculon, scolde> shall, ought to -- is sure to
  • in -- preposition <in> in, into -- in
  • mga -- noun, feminine; genitive plural of <mg> tribe, nation -- (of the) nations
  • gehwre -- pronoun; dative singular feminine of <gehw> each, everyone -- all
  • man -- strong noun, masculine; nominative singular of <monn> man, person -- (a) man
  • geeon -- strong verb, class I; infinitive <geon, geh, geigon, geigen> thrive, prosper -- prosper

Lesson Text

HWT, W GR-DEna         in gardagum
odcyninga         rym gefrnon,
h elingas         ellen fremedon!


Oft Scyld Scfing         sceaena ratum,
monegum mgum         meodosetla oftah,
egsode eorlas,         syan rest wear
fasceaft funden;
        h s frfre gebd,
wox under wolcnum         weormyndum h,
o t him ghwylc         ymbsittendra
ofer hronrde         hran scolde,
gomban gyldan;
        t ws gd cyning!

m eafera ws         fter cenned
geong in geardum,         one God sende
folce t frfre;
        fyrenearfe ongeat,
he r drugon         aldorlase
lange hwle;
        him s Lffrea,
wuldres Wealdend         woroldre forgeaf,
Bowulf ws brme         -- bld wde sprang --
Scyldes eafera         Scedelandum in.
Sw sceal geong guma         gde gewyrcean,
fromum feohgiftum         on fder bearme,
t hine on ylde         eft gewunigen
wilgesas,         onne wg cume,
lode gelsten;
        lofddum sceal
in mga gehwre         man geeon.

Translation

Lo, we have heard of Spear-Danes in days of yore, of folk-kings' prowness, how the princes wrought deeds of valor.
Often Scyld Scefing wrested mead-benches from bands of enemies from many tribes -- terrified earls -- since first he was found abandoned. (He received consolation for that.) He grew under the heavens, thrived with honors until all peoples across the sea had to obey: pay him tribute. That was a good king!
Then a child was born to him, a young man in the court; God sent him to the people for solace. He perceived the dire distress which they suffered before, lordless for a long time. For that the Lord of Light, the Wielder of Glory, gave him worldly honor. Beowulf was renowned; the fame of Scyld's son spread far in Danish lands. Thus should a young man accomplish good with splendid money-gifts while in his father's bosom, so that afterwards men stand by him, dear companions to serve the people when war comes. In all nations, a man is sure to prosper by praiseworthy deeds.

Grammar

1. The Alphabet and Sound System

As noted in the Series Introduction, spelling in Old English (OE) was never fully standardized, but instead the "continental" sounds of the Latin alphabet determined how words were spelled -- and this varied from one dialect and time to another. Several letters were added to the Latin alphabet for sounds that were not covered by it, but one of them (wynn) is generally replaced by Latin 'w' to avoid confusing it with the look-alike thorn; further, modern editors have typically added long marks (macrons) over vowels to distinguish their pronunciation from short vowels.

Regarding pronunciation, there are no "silent" letters in Old English.

Consonant   Pronunciation   Comment/Environment
b   like b in 'boy'    
c   like c in 'cold'   before a consonant, or with guttural vowels;
    like ch in 'chin'   when word-final after i, otherwise depending on etymology.
d   like d in 'did'    
f   like f in 'fin'   initially, finally, in ff/fs/ft, and in strictly medial positions except...
    like v in 'have'   between vowels/voiced consonants (e.g., fre, ofer, sealfian).
g   like g in Ger. 'sagen'   with guttural vowels;
    like y in 'you'   with palatal vowels.
h   like ch in Ger. 'ach'   with guttural vowels;
    like ch in Ger. 'ich'   with palatal vowels.
k   like k in 'kite'   rarely used; see c
l   like l in 'land'    
m   like m in 'man'    
n   like n in 'night'    
p   like p in 'pin'    
q   like q in 'queen'   rarely used; see c
r   like trilled r in Sp. 'rueda'   [or perhaps merely flapped?]
s   like s in 'rising'   single letter between vowels;
    like s in 'sing'   otherwise.
t   like t in 'toy'    
  like th in 'that'   rarely distinguished in writing from
  like th in 'thorn'   rarely distinguished in writing from
v   like v in 'viper'   rarely used; see f
w   like w in 'work'    
x   like x in 'box'    
z   like z in 'zephyr'   rarely used (usually ts)

Some pairs of consonants (digraphs) have special pronunciation:

Digraph   Pronunciation
cg   like j in 'just'
gg   like g in 'go'
ng   like ng in 'finger'
qu   like qu in 'quick' (but rarely used)
sc   like sh in 'ship' (but originally like sk)
  like th in 'thorn' (never voiced)

The vowels have continental values:

Vowel   Pronunciation
a   like a in 'father'
  like aa in 'baah'
  like a in 'bat'
  like uy in 'buy'
e   like e in 'bet'
  like a in 'hate'
i   like i in 'bit'
  like ee in 'beet'
o   like o in 'pot'
  like oa in 'boat'
u   like u in 'put'
  like oo in 'boot'
y   early, like ü in Ger. 'füllen'; later, the y and i sounds merged
  early, like ü in Ger. 'fühlen'; later, the and sounds merged

Diphthongs are generally pronounced as the first vowel followed quickly by the second; for long diphthongs, lengthen the first vowel sound only.

2. Verb Inflection

Verbs are classed in two conjugations, weak and strong, in accordance with their means of producing the preterite (i.e. past) tense. This is produced by addition of a suffix -de (or -te) in weak verbs, e.g. here, herde 'hear, heard', or by internal vowel change called ablaut in strong verbs, e.g. binde, band 'bind, bound'. There are three classes of weak verbs, and seven classes of strong verbs; in addition there are six classes of preterite-present verbs, based on strong verb classes 1-6 in the present tense but incorporating weak verb suffixes in the preterite. These verb classes will be detailed in this and successive lessons.

As in modern English, there is only an active inflection; passives are formed with the auxiliaries bon 'be', wesan 'be', and also with weoran 'become' plus the infinitive. There are two tenses: present and preterite; three moods: indicative, subjunctive, and imperative, each with two numbers: singular and plural; the plural in each mood has one form throughout, except in the preterite subjunctive which may have two. There are also three "nominal" forms: the gerund, present participle, and past participle.

N.B. A fourth mood, the optative, is occasionally noted in our glosses and other reference works; it is quite similar to the subjunctive mood, and indicates a wish or hope. But as the optative was in the process of being lost from Germanic languages in general, and is seldom if ever categorically distinguished from subjunctive in OE -- older texts often use the term "optative" exclusively, while newer texts often use the term "subjunctive" exclusively -- it will be ignored as such in our verb conjugations and discussion.

The present indicative and subjunctive as well as the present participle are given here for the strong verb bindan 'bind, fetter', and the weak verb heran 'hear, obey' from our text.

Present   Strong   Weak
Infinitive   bindan 'bind'   heran 'hear'
         
Indicative        
1 Sg.   binde   here
2 Sg.   bindest/bintst   herst
3 Sg.   binde/bint   her
Pl.   binda   hera
         
Subjunctive        
Sg.   binde   here
Pl.   binden   heren
         
Participle   bindende   herende
3. The Preterite System of Verbs

Verbs have preterite (past tense) forms in the indicative and the subjunctive. As is clear from the examples below (again using bindan 'bind, fetter' and heran 'hear, obey'), the number of potential forms has been greatly reduced, especially in the subjunctive.

Preterite   Strong   Weak
Indicative        
1 Sg.   band 'bound'   herde 'heard'
2 Sg.   bunde   herdest
3 Sg.   band   herde
Pl.   bunden   herdon
         
Subjunctive        
Sg.   bunde   herde
Pl.   bunden   herden
         
Participle   bunden   hered
4. The Anomalous Verb wesan

So-called anomalous verbs have forms that are not always morphologically predictable (e.g., by adding inflectional suffixes), but are instead "suppletive," and hence must be learned ('supplied') by rote. They are, accordingly, neither weak nor strong. Modern English was, were provides a contemporary example of suppletion, which is commonly observed among Indo-European languages for the most basic verbs, pronouns, and a few other parts of speech.

Old English inherited from Proto-Germanic, its ancestral tongue, three different anomalous verbs for 'to be', none of them exhibiting [in surviving texts] a complete repertoire of forms. OE wesan (the infinitive) survives as a verb only in the two modern English forms was, were, although a relic is also observed in the word wassail, originally a salutation meaning 'be healthy'.

wesan 'be'   Preterite Indicative   Preterite Subjunctive   Imperative
1 Sg.   ws 'was'   wre    
2 Sg.   wre 'were'   wre   wes
3 Sg.   ws   wre    
Pl.   wron   wren   wesa

There are no present forms other than the participle wesende 'being'. As is often true in OE, forms of wesan were subject to alternative spelling, which includes in lesson 3 the 3rd person plural preterite indicative forms wran and wrun 'were'.

As in modern English, forms of the auxiliary wesan are used with the past participle to produce passives. An example in our lesson text is ws cenned 'was born' (Beowulf 12), where the past participle lacks the prefix ge-; examples in the lesson 3 text are ws geseted 'was appointed' and ws gedmed 'was deemed'. N.B. Passives can also be made with the auxiliary weoran 'become', cf. the use in German of werden for the passive, as in Beowulf 6-7 wear ... funden 'was found'.

The auxiliary wesan is also used as in modern English with the present participle to indicate ongoing action, as in ws gongende 'was going' and sprecende ws 'was speaking' (lesson 2).

5. Weak Verbs in Class I

As noted earlier, the weak preterite forms are produced by addition of the suffix -de (or -te) -- akin to modern English 'lived' formed from the infinitive 'live'. Here we begin to lay out full verb conjugations starting with Class I of the weak verbs. We use the same verb heran 'hear' that was introduced above, and other verbs with minor conjugational differences:

  • mtan 'meet' (see text in lesson 3) because, in a devoiced context, t appears in place of d in the preterite suffix;
  • werian 'wear' (also in lesson 3) because, for some verbs, the stem includes a residual -i- in certain forms;
  • fremman 'perform' (this lesson) because, in certain forms like the infinitive, the final stem consonant is geminated.

Barring certain verbs that are exceptional owing to their derivational history, the same stem (e.g., her-) is employed in every form of a weak verb, though possibly with residual -i- or gemination. The suffixes are all standard for their person, number, tense, mood, etc., with possible devoicing.

Class I   Normal   Devoiced   Residual -i-   Geminated
Infinitive   heran 'hear'   mtan 'meet'   werian 'wear'   fremman 'perform'
Inflected Infin.   heranne   mtanne   werianne   fremmanne
Imperative Sg.   here   mte   were   freme
Imperative Pl.   hera   mta   weria   fremma
Pres. Participle   herende   mtende   weriende   fremmende
Past Participle   hered   mted   wered   fremed
Gerund   herenne   mtenne   werenne   fremmenne
                 
Present Indicative   Normal   Devoiced   Residual -i-   Geminated
1 Sg.   here   mte   werie   fremme
2 Sg.   herst   mtst   werest   fremest
3 Sg.   her   mt   were   freme
Plural   hera   mta   weria   fremma
                 
Present Subjunctive   Normal   Devoiced   Residual -i-   Geminated
Singular   here   mte   werie   fremme
Plural   heren   mten   werien   fremmen
                 
Preterite Indicative   Normal   Devoiced   Residual   Geminated
1 Sg.   herde   mtte   werede   fremede
2 Sg.   herdest   mttest   weredest   fremedest
3 Sg.   herde   mtte   werede   fremede
Plural   herdon   mtton   weredon   fremedon
                 
Preterite Subjunctive   Normal   Devoiced   Residual   Geminated
Singular   herde   mtte   werede   fremede
Plural   herden   mtten   wereden   fremeden

The three "principal parts" of a weak verb are always its infinitive, its 1st/3rd person preterite singular, and its past participle. From these three forms, one may construct the complete conjugation.

A sampling of modern English verbs descended from other OE Weak I verbs found in our lesson texts includes deem, greet, leave, name, seek, send, set, think, wend, and work.

N.B. While conjugation tables like the above often attempt to list "all possible" forms of a verb, it is seldom the case that all such forms are attested in surviving OE texts. Rather, the forms are reconstructed using rules that have been deduced by [others] studying the verbs that are attested. Often, therefore, ignorance is being obscured. It is also true that attested verb forms may demonstrate exceptions to the rules: real languages are never so simple as linguists would have them be!