Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

And bis was idon ætforen (before) ure isworen rædesmen.

BONEFACE, Archebischop on Kanterbur'.
WALTER OF CANTELOP, Bischopon Wirechestr'

(Worcester).
SIM. OF MUNTFORT, Eorl on Leirchestre (Leicester).
Ric. OF CLAR, Eorl on Glowcestr' and on Hartford.
ROGER BIGOD, Eorl on Northfolk, and Marescal on

Engleloand.
PERRER (Peter) OF SAUUEYE.
WILL. OF Fort, Eorl on Warerik.
Joh. GEFFREES SUNE (Jeffrey's son).
PERRER OF MUNTFORT (Peter de Muntfort).
RIC. OF GREY.
ROGER OF MORTIMER.
JAMES OF ALDITHEL.

And ætforen obre moge (before many others).
And al on be ilche worden (all in the same words) is isend
(sent) in to ævriche obre schire over al þare (the) kuneriche on
Englene loand and ek in tel' (and also into) Irelonde.

CONTINUOUS TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE.” HENRY, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy, and of Aquitaine, Earl of Anjou, sends greeting to all his lieges, clergy and laymen, of Huntingdonshire.

This know ye well all, that we will and grant that what our counsellors, all or the major part of them, who are chosen by us, and by the land's people of our kingdom, have done and shall do, in honour of God and in allegiance to us, for the good of the land, by the ordinance of the aforesaid counsellors, be held steadfast and permanent in all respects time without end.

And we command all our lieges by the allegiance that they owe us, steadfastly, to hold and swear to hold and maintain, the ordinances that are made and to be made by the aforesaid counsellors, or by the major part of them, as before said.

(1) In tel. Intill is found in 0.E. for into, and also in the Scottish dialect.

(2) The translation above (slightly altered from Marsh, “Origin and History of the English Language," pp. 192-193) will furnish a good idea of the flow of the composition, which may itself, as Marsh remarks, be considered as a symptom of approximation to modern English. “The positional syntax had become established, and the inflectional endings had no longer a real value."

And that each should help the rest this to do by the same oath, against all men, right to do and to promote. · And that no one should seize on lands or goods whereby this ordinance may be hindered or impaired in any way. And if any man or woman oppose this ordinance, we will and command that all our lieges hold them as most deadly foes.

And because we will that this proclamation be steadfast and permanent, we send you these letters patent sealed with our seal, to keep among you in charge.

Witness ourselves at London, the eighteenth day of October, in the two-and-fortieth year from our coronation. And this was done before our sworn counsellors.

(Signatures.)

And before many others. And all in the same words is sent into every other shire over all the kingdom of England and also into Ireland.

IV. FOURTH STAGE. Middle Englisy, Second Division of Old English.

A.D. 1300—1550.

SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE.

'FROM "THE VOIAGE AND TRAVAILE OF SIR JOHN MAUNDEVILE, KT.,"

WRITTEN ABOUT A.D. 1370.)

1. PART OF THE PROLOGUE. AND for als moche (forasmuch) as it is longe tyme passed, that ther was no generalle Passage ne Vyage over the See; and many Men desiren' for to here speke of the holy Lond, and han" (have) thereof gret solace and comfort", İ, John Maundevylle, Knyght (alle be it, I be not worthi), (unworthy though I be), that was born in England, in the Town of Seynt

*** Mandeville is generally considered as the earliest English prose writer, and the leader, therefore, of English literature. His style is that of simple narrative, enlivened not unfrequently by naïve and characteristic remarks. He freely adopts the numerous words of French origin, which had by this time been engrafted into English, and probably added many from the same source himself. This incorporation of the Romance with the Teutonic element, carried on by Langland, Chaucer, and Gower, constitutes the Second great revolution in the English language. The first, already referred to, whereby its constructional character was entirely altered, is now supplemented by one which mainly affects its vocabulary, and prepares it to become the vehicle of the elevated thoughts and conceptions of our great authors; to become, in short, what it was not before-a literary language.

(1) Desiren. The A.S. pl. term. th, as seen in beoth, habbeth (see p. 20), of the 3rd stage, appears no more. The form of the pres. pl. now is we desiren, yee desiren, thei desiren.

(2) Comfort. In its French form, confort was one of the earliest importations into English, but in the literal sense of strength and encouragement. So Robert of Gloucester had used it before Mandeville, “ The kyng Aurely ys felowes comforted (the king Aurelius encouraged his followers) wel to fygte,” and Wiclif has (Is. xli. 7), “ He coumfortide (i.e. fastened) hym with nailes."

Albones (St. Alban's), passed the See, in the yeer of our Lord MCCCXXII, on the Day of Seynt Michelle; and hidre to (hitherto, up to this time) have ben (been) longę tyme over the See, and have seyn and gon thorghe (through) manye dyverse Londes, and many Provynces and Kingdomés and Iles, and have passed thorghe Tartarye, Percye (Persia), Ermoneye (Armenia), the litylle and the grete; thorghe Lybye, Caldee, and a gret partie' (part) of Ethiope ; thorghe Amazoyne, Inde (India), the lasse and the more, a gret partie ; and thorghe out many othere lles that ben abouten (ubout) Inde : where dwellen many dyverse Folkes, and of dyverse Maneres and Lawes, and of dyverse Schappes (shapes, .forms) of men. Of whiché Londes and Iles I schalle speke more pleynly hereaftre. And I schalle devise you” (relate to you) sum partie (part) of thinges that there ben", whan time schalle ben?, aftre it may best come to my myndet (memory); and specyally for hem (them), that wylle (wish) and are in purpos for to visite the Holy Citee of Jerusalem, and the holy Places that are thereaboute. And I schalle' telle the weye that thei schulle (shall) holden thidre. For I have often ty mes passed and ryden the way, with gode Companye of many Lordes : God be thonked.

And yee schulle (shall) undirstonde, that I have put this Boke out of Latyn into Frensche, and translated it agen out of Frensche into Englyssche, that every man of my nacioun may undirstonde it. But Lordes and Knyghtes and othere noble and worthi Men, that conne® (know) Latyn but litylle, and han ben (have been) beyonde the See, knowen and undirstonden, gif (if) I erre in devisynge (telling my story) for (on account of) forgetynge, or elles (anything else); that thei

(1) Partie, part, fr. Fr. partie, not directly fr. Lat. pars. This sense of the separate word is now obsolete, but it survives in the compounds party-coloured, party-wall.

(2) Devise, fr. Fr. deviser, to tell, chat about, relate. (3) Ben, ben. The first would have been in A.S., beoth, and the second, beon. The forms are here confounded.

(4) Mynde. From this, and many other passages in O.E., we see that mind originally meant memory. So now we speak of reminding another of something, i.e. recalling it to his memory, and one often hears a countryman say, “ I mind it well.”

(5) Schalle. In the 14th century, schal was thus conjugated :-) schal or schul, thou schal or schalt, he schalle or schal, we, ye, or they schulle or schullen.

(6) Conne. This verb, fr. A.S. cunnan, to know, has pret. and p.p. cuth, hence uncouth, unknown, and therefore strange, odd, barbarous.

mowe (may) redresse? it (set it right) and amende it. For thinges passed out of longe tyme from a Mannes mynde (memory) or from his syght, turnen sone (soon) into forgetyrge; bec; use that mynde of manne ne may not ben comprehended ne witheholden (because the memory of man cannot at will be arrested or retained) for (on account) the Freeltee ( frailty) of Mankynde (human nature).

2. THE DAUGHTER OF HIPPOCRATES.? Some men seyn (say) that in the ile of Lango3 is yit the doughtre of Ypocras (Hippocrates), in forme and lykenesse of a gret dragoun, that is an hundred fadme (fathoms) of lengthe, as men seyn (say); for I have not seen hire. And thei of thé iles callen hire, Lady of the lond. And sche lyeth in an old castelle, in a cave, and schewethe (appears) twyes or thryes in the yeer. And sche dothe non harmo to no man, but if (unless) men don (do) hire (to her) harm. And sche was thus chaunged and transformed from a fair Damysele5 (damsel) in to lykenesse of a dragoun, be (by) a Goddesse, that was clept Deane (called Diana). And men seyn, that sche schalle so endure in that forme of a dragoun, unto the tyme that a Knighte come, that is so hardy (Fr. hardi, bold) that dar (dare) come to hire and kisse hire on the mouthe; and then schalle sche turn agen to

(1) Redresse, fr. Fr. redresser, to set straight again. From the simple verb, dresser, wh. fr. Lat. dirigere, to set straight, put into a line, we have the order of the parade-ground, “ Dress!”

(2) A somewhat similar legend is found in the ballad of “Kempion," printed in Scott's “ Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.” The “monster" says:

“Out of my den I winna rise,

Nor flee it for the fear o' thee,
Till Kempion, that courteous knighte,

Come to the crag, and thrice kiss me.
He's louted him (stooped down) o'er the lofty crag,

And he has given her kisses three;
Away she gaed, and again she cam,

The loveliest ladye e'er could be ! ” (3) Lango, the modern island of Cos, where Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, was born.

(4) No harm, &c Two or more negatives—a usage common in French-were commonly employed for one at this time; a usage derived from the A.S.

(5) Da Ysole, fr. Fr., old form, damoiselle, mod. demoiselle, a supposed diminutive of dame, lady, fr, middle-age Lat. damicella or dameysella. Ital. damigella.

« AnteriorContinuar »