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in Welsh, now assumed to be borrowed, are extensively used in derivation and composition. 2. A great proportion of the prepositions, words absolutely indispensible, are identical in both languages, and cannot be exotics in either, since neither Gael nor Cymro could possibly do without them. To this it may be added, that a considerable number of the most important prefixes and affixes, such as give their peculiar character to all synthetic languages, are of common origin in both tongues, and similarly employed. To shew that I do not make this assertion rashly, I subjoin a list of the principal prepositions and prefixes in Gaelic, with their equivalents in Welsh and Cornish. Gaelic.
I omit, for brevity's sake, a number of adverbial particles, as well as many adjectives and substantives, such as ceann, chief; leth, half; bith, everlasting; ion, right, very; lan, full; leor sufficient, &c. &c. employed extensively as prefixes in both languages. Indeed the above list is amply sufficient to prove my point; since, insignificant as the words may seem, they are in reality of the most vital importance. They must, from their very nature, be indigenous; and if they are essential in
Gaelic, which will hardly be denied, they are much more so in Welsh, because the latter is in a much higher degree a synthetic language. It would be impossible to find a page of Welsh composition without a number of the above particles, most of them necessary to the sense; and it is not too much to affirm that, if they were taken away, Welsh would, for all practical purposes, cease to be a language. Let any man take a page of Greek at random, and try the experiment of blotting out two-thirds of the prepositions, separate and in composition; he will then immediately appreciate the force of this argu
The originality of words in Welsh may be also ascertained by the derivatives formed from them, according to the peculiar characteristics of the language. Exotic words do not branch out into a multitude of native forms, any more than the tropical plants of our conservatories spread in our open fields. The terms adopted by the later Latin writers from the Greek stand perfectly isolated-while vernacular ones become parents of entire families of words. These two criteria of composition with particles and derivation, will help us to form some judgment of the relative claims to originality on behalf of the Welsh and Gaelic; and I am content to appeal to Mr. Forbes's brief specimens for the practical illustration of them. The first substantive in the Gaelic quotation-Thighearna (Lord), can as certainly be proved to be genuine Celtic as any word in the dictionaries. The corresponding Welsh is Teyrn, anciently written Tegyrn. A reference to Owen will shew fifty derivatives and compounds, having teyrn for their first member, nine of them being verbs and adjectives. The Highland Society's dictionary musters three substantives and one adjective, not quite in the ratio of one to twelve.
The next word which I shall notice is the W. orfoledded (exult over), compounded of gor (Gael. for) and moleddu, a derivative of moli (to praise
* The words marked * are obsolete, or nearly so.
† Some of the particles separable in Gaelic, are inseparable in Welsh, and viceverså.
Gael. mol.) Here again, we find upwards of thirty derivatives from moli, including a dozen verbs and adjectives, while mol has barely branched out into one substantive, and one adjective. To say therefore that the Welsh root is borrowed from the Gaelic, is like asserting that the Greek λéyw-with its host of descendants, came from the Latin lego.
We next find ngelynion (enemies), singular, gelyn. The Scottish Gaelic has, I believe, no corresponding term, but the ancient Irish has galam (O'Reilly's Dict.). It stands however perfectly* isolated, while gelyn is accompanied by ten derivatives. To prove, then, that it was originally adopted from the Irish, would, I conceive, be a difficult task, on more accounts than one.
It would be easy to collect many hundreds of similar instances, but I will content myself with observing, once for all, that when the same elements coexist in the two languages, the compounds and derivatives in Welsh generally exceed those in Gaelic, in the ratio of at least ten to one. If, therefore, the Welsh did actually borrow or steal the terms in question, it must be admitted that they have taken much better care of them than the original owners did.
The above words are perfectly identical in origin, as well as indigenous in both branches. A decisive proof that the Welsh have not borrowed in this case, is, that they alone possess the genuine root, viz. mal (like); in the other dialects lost, or corrupted into mar.
To bring then this tedious argument to a conclusion, 1 beg to express a most decided conviction that the converse of the proposition I advanced as to Gaelic, does hold with respect to Welsh, and in a much more eminent
degree. To take away all Gaelic elements from it, would make as sad havock with the language, as cutting off legs, arms, and tongues would with the persons of those who speak it. Even the little fragment adduced by Mr. FORBES would, if operated upon in this way, lose nine pronouns, four prepositions, and be subjected to the mutilation of three verbs, and at least as many nouns. Nay more, this conformity of words is not so strong a proof of affinity as the grammar and structure of the passage. The compound pronominal forms ynot (in thee), arnaf (over me), the preterite termination in ais (Irish as-eas), the passive form gwaradwydder (Lat. confundar), and above all the initial mutations in Nuw, ngelynion, answering to the Irish eclipses ndia, ngalan, are to me direct evidences of relationship, outweighing many pages of argumentation and assumption, however ingenious and plausible.
At the same time, I freely admit that a great proportion of Gaelic vocables are not to be identified in Welsh, as we now have it. But to assume that these are genuine Celtic, and the nonGaelic portion of Welsh not so, is clearly a two-fold begging of the question. Let it be remembered that the controversy really hinges on this point-Is Welsh a Celtic dialect? that is, is it allied to the language anciently spoken by those inhabitants of Gaul, Italy, and Germany, who called themselves Celts? It might turn out upon inquiry that Cymric and Armorican agree closely with the parent tongue in words and forms; while a great proportion of the Gaelic dialects has came from other sources. I myself have certainly an opinion upon the subject, and perhaps possess a little information, which I may one day lay before the public in a more extended form than is practicable in the pages of a Magazine. If Mr. FORBES is wrong, he will not be sorry to be set right; if his theory be sound, he will have cause to rejoice in case his opponent ventures to write a book. Yours, &c.
*It is not improbable that both words are from the root gal, enemy, also warfare, which has several derivatives in both languages. However, only one of them appears in the Scottish Gaelic, viz.-the obsolete term galach, valour.
DESCRIPTION OF AN ETRUSCAN SEPULCHRE, NEAR TUSCANIA, CALLED GROTTA DELLA REGINA; BY SIGNOR CAMPANARI.
(With a Plate.)
THIS grotto exists in the slope of a rock on the right hand of the river Marla, about half a mile from Toscanella, the ancient Tuscania. It has been excavated under a volcanic deposition, or lava, that forms the vault, and the walls are of the masso arenario. An irregular gallery, of forty feet in extent, gives access to a chamber sixteen feet broad and thirty feet long; but the wall next the entrance is not in a straight line, but sometimes diverges towards the interior of the chamber. One of these projections of the walls is cut like a quadrangular pilaster, having on its top a rough capital a good deal broken, forming a kind of gola rovescia, as represented in the engraving. About five feet on the right hand of that pilaster the entrance of another gallery presents itself, smaller than the former, and which forms in its course a half circular line. The same gallery divides itself in two after a little extent, but the water and soil have filled it so that it is impossible to describe it more accurately.
In the middle of the chamber are two pillars of peperino, one of them two feet in diameter, the other, with its plinth, eight feet. These columns, whose curvature is not always perfect, are placed on the ground without any base, and are formed of two separate pieces. The plinths are both different, as that of the lowest pillar is higher than that of the highest.
At a little distance from the abovementioned columns there is a part of another column overthrown on the ground, which, by its fall, occasioned that of the portion of the vault of the chamber which was supported by it. On the left hand of the chamber there is an aperture, which is, probably, the entrance to another chamber; but neither its form nor its extent is known, being entirely filled with earth and rubbish. In the first chamber there is also a portion of a sarcophagus of peperino, in which, probably, a dead body has been deposited.
All the line of the rock, where this
sepulchre has been excavated, presents uniformly the same formation of masso arenario and lava. It is evident that there are many other sepulchres, and this assertion is strengthened by the frequent apertures remarked in the superficies of the soil above the rock that are produced by the fall of the vault in the sepulchres below.
Indeed the construction of this sepulchre conveys to us the idea of the most irregular and careless architecture. It is apparent that no care has been taken to preserve symmetry; this is evinced by the rough pillar, without another like it, in the interior of the chamber; and its unfinished top, without any attempt at an ornamented capital. The two columns, in two separate pieces, although so short and unfinished, placed upright without a base, and the inequality and roughness of the plinths, indicate that they were not placed there for ornament, but merely to support the vault in a greater degree than could have been effected by the simple pillars, as they extend on all sides from the columns. From all these particulars we must conjecture that at that epoch the arts were in their infancy, and did not venture to attempt to proceed beyond the simple principles at that period understood. Some living authors have erroneously supposed that this sepulchre may be assigned to the later period of the nation; but such an opinion is confuted by the following reasons:
1. Because the enterprise of cutting such grottoes under a floor of lava (a very hard substance) denotes more strength of arm and power of intellect than that of excavating them in the tufo or masso arenario, which is more easily worked, and at less expense, and therefore more suited to the altered circumstances of the declining and impoverished state of Etruria.
2. Because we have in Tuscania many other sepulchres that are, undoubtedly, of the later epoch, which are always of a construction very different from the more ancient, and are never supported by pillars of the same 2 Y