dȳrling

dȳrling, m.n: a darling. (“duhr-leeng”)

Not only is today Midsummer, it is the Feast of St John the Baptist, a.k.a. “the Lord’s darling”.

                              Þænne wuldres ϸegn

ymb ϸreotyne,   ϸeodnes dyrling,

Iohannes in geardagan   wearð acenned

tyn nihtum eac.   We ϸa tiid healdað

on midne sumor   mycles æϸelum.

—The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium), lines 115b-119

Then, after thirteen and ten nights, the thegn of heaven, the Lord’s darling, John (the Baptist) was born in the days of old. We celebrate the feast with great respect at the summer solstice.

—trans. by Kazutomo Karasawa

Further information from Kazutomo Karasawa’s The Old English Metrical Calendar (Menologium) (D. S. Brewer: Cambridge, 2015):

“The Nativity of John the Baptist and the summer solstice […] coincide with each other on 24 June. The official date of the summer solstice based on the revised Julian calendar is 20 June […]. The poet, on the other hand, follows the original Julian calendar, where the day falls on 24 June, the mid-point of summer. Although the summer solstice is listed against 20 June in many Anglo-Saxon calendars, there are also some listing it against 24 June. […] According to Luke 1.36, Elizabeth, the mother of St John the Baptist, was already six months pregnant at the time of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is exactly nine months before Christmas. Thus the Nativity of St John the Baptist is traditionally celebrated on 24 June, three months after the Annunciation.” (pp. 106-107)

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