Originally Posted by Umm ul-Shaheed
Old English is another term for Anglo-Saxon, which looks like this:
(The opening of Beowulf
Here is roughly what's written on that page:
Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,
egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð
feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad,
weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah,
oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra
ofer hronrade hyran scolde,
Middle English was spoken in the Middle Ages, and looks like this:
(The opening of The Knight's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer)
Iamque domos patrias Scithice post aspera gentis prelia laurigero &c. Thebaid, xii, 519.
Heere bigynneth the knyghtes tale.
1 Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
2 Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
3 Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
4 And in his tyme swich a conquerour,
5 That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
6 Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne,
7 What with his wysdom and his chivalrie;
8 He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
9 That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
10 And weddede the queene Ypolita,
11 And broghte hir hoom with hym in his contree,
12 With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
13 And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
It's worth comparing the two types of writing. Look at the Anglo-Saxon, and it's quite hard to identify it as English. It even uses letters that we don't use any more. Look through the Middle English text, though, and you'll see lots of words popping out at you that are either the same or very similar to their modern English equivalents.
Hope this helps.