Obrazy na stronie

touched upon the important subject of enclitics and proclitics, and have said nothing on elision and the influence it exerts at times in the modification of accent, or on another topic where the prevalent German school in my mind is running somewhat wild. I refer to the doctrine put forward by Ritschl and his followers that uoluptatem, iuuentutem, habent, uxor, have at times in the old drama short syllables as here marked. This last question I hope soon to find an opportunity of discussing.

Meanwhile, I will conclude with the proposition that the best mode of dealing with the metres of the old Latin drama is to argue from the internal evidence which those writings supply. Here the old proverb may I think with effect be applied, that the proof of the pudding is in the eating; and I maintain that the vowel-law for which I have contended, finds its best proof in the fact that it leads us in the vast majority of cases to dispense with the intricate questions as to where a dactyl, anapest, etc., are admissible, and also with the various laws implied in the term caesura. Even in the chief metres of the Greek drama, if a beginner knowing the quantity of the vowels had no other rule to guide him but this vowel law, and once fixed it in his mind by uniformly so pronouncing words even in prose, reading for example πολεμιος as πόλ' μιος, κατα νομον as κάτ’νομον, he would with the rarest exceptions, learn from his own ear what the metre is. Although unable to define it in the technical terms of the learned, he would at once identify it with what he finds in his own language. Even in Terence and Plautus many of the lines run so smoothly that it is difficult for a novice not to feel what the metre is. Thus where the parasite, proud of having established the new Gnathonic school of philosophy, speaks of the worship he receives—

Salútant, ad-cenám-uocant, aduéntum gratulántur—

a reader must be very obtuse, if he does not perceive that he has before him the old familiar metre so well adapted to jocose subjects, which he has heard in: “Giovanni loves good wine and ale, Giovanni loves good brandy."



THE inquiry I propose to institute has not hitherto received much attention from our philologists. They have generally been contented with pointing out the obvious resemblance between some of our common words and their modern French equivalents, and have apparently forgotten that when the introduction of the Normans into England introduced their language also, that language was not, strictly speaking, French. It was, in fact, a dialect, derived equally with others from a common source, and holding equal rank with its collateral sister-dialects. The designation common to them all was the Langue d'Oil. Circumstances, mainly historical, at length gave one of these the pre-eminence, and it was developed into the French language; but in the 12th and 13th centuries, while the simultaneous competition was going on, no one could have positively predicted which would take the lead. There was, at least, a chance for the Norman, which, as Fallot? remarks, was the earliest formed, was characterized by great simplicity and energy, and was first distinguished by its literary productions.

The langue d'Oïl-the French spoken in those days north of La Rochelle-is comprehended by Fallot and Burguy3 under three dialects-1st., the Burgundian, that of the east and centre or heart of France, bounded in a general way by, and including, the Ile de France, Burgundy, Lorraine, and part of Anjou; 2nd., the Picardian, that of the north-east, including

1 It is important to say that the paper here printed differs in many respects from that which was read before the Society.

2 "Recherches sur les formes grammaticales de la langue française et de ses dialectes au xiiie siècle." Par Gustave Fallot. Paris, 1839.

3 "Grammaire de la langue d'Oïl, ou Grammaire des dialectes français aux xiie et xiiie siècles. Deuxième édition." In 3 vols., one of which is a very valuable Glossary. Berlin, 1869.

Picardy, Artois, Flandre, Hainault, Namur, the Walloon district of Liège, and part of Brabant; 3rd., the Norman, extending over Normandy, Brittany, Maine, part of Poitou, and of Anjou, and the Channel Islands. Of these three dialects, the Burgundian was accepted about the middle of the 14th century as the French language; the Picardian and Norman accordingly descended to the rank of patois-a position which, after many and great changes, they still hold.1

It is important here to insist on the distinction which is very clearly stated by Littré, in the Introduction to his noble French Dictionary, between a dialect and a patois—a distinction which we have not yet adopted in English. As long as a language is in process of formation, certain physical and historical circumstances render the speaking and writing of it in different localities characteristic, and mark off their areas from each other-so that while the language of the entire country is fundamentally the same, there are various local peculiarities of pronunciation, vocabulary, and idiom. These constitute the various dialects. As soon, however, as one of these provincial dialects takes the lead, it usually subordinates to its own many of the peculiarities of the others, and forms out of the whole the standard language. Its literature, too, becomes the standard of taste. The other dialects lose their literary character-if they had any-altogether, and those features which remain unabsorbed in the common language constitute the patois of special districts.2 Until, however, the question of precedence is settled, the leading dialects have equal rank. In this sense, Burgundian, Picardian, and Norman are separate and individual existences, founded, indeed, on a common basis, but having special features which ought not to be confounded. This distinction did not escape the acute observation of our renowned Roger Bacon, who, in his Opus Majus (as quoted by MM. Duméril,

In deference to the authority of Fallot and Burguy, I have given above their classification, but that of Littré is perhaps to be preferred. His is a fourfold division-(1.) Eastern, Burgundian; (2.) Western, Norman; (3.) Northern, Picard; (4.) Parisian, that of the Île de France as well as that of the Orléannais and Tourangeais. This last was the "French of Paris," which became "French."

2 "L'on définera le patois un dialecte qui n'ayant pas plus de culture littéraire, sert seulement aux usages de la vie commune."-Littré.

in their "Dictionnaire du Patois normand "), speaks of the "lingua gallicana (i.e. the French language in general) quæ apud Gallicos (meaning probably the inhabitants of the Île de France), et Picardos, et Normannos et Burgundos, multiplici variatur idiomate." "Et quod," he goes on to say, "proprie dicitur in idiomate Picardorum horrescit apud Burgundos, imo apud Gallicos viciniores." This, though written in the 13th century, is as clear and explicit as though Fallot or Burguy had written it, and shows beyond question that the distinction between the dialects was well understood and maintained at the period which we have to consider.

We may now proceed to notice that in these times Normans and Frenchmen, as well as the Norman and French languages, were considered as terms not only quite distinct from, but even as opposed to, each other. Wace, in the 12th century, speaks of "Norman (pl.) e Franceis," and Benoît de Sainte Maure, about the same time, says: "Toz tems voudrent Francheiz Normanz desheriter;" and in a Latin poem, with French lines intermingled, published by Wright ("Political Songs," Camden Society) and attributed to Henry III.'s reign, we find:

Sic ex veste vestem formant

Engleis, Tyeis (Germans), Franceis, Normant (pl).—p. 53. Whether the Norman, which had advanced side by side with the other dialects, and had even, in some respects, won a higher reputation than theirs in the 11th and 12th centuries by its literature,-for the "Vie de Saint Alexis" and the famous "Chanson de Roland" of the 11th, and the "Quatre livres des Rois" of the 12th century, all bear the Norman impress upon them,-began to be conscious of any inferiority to the French before the Norman Conquest, we cannot confidently say, but it is clear that the so-called AngloNorman writers of the 13th century were accustomed to apologize for their incompetence to write in the "French of Paris" Luces de Gast tells us that he knows little about French ("non mie pour ce que ie sache grantment francois"), inasmuch as his "langue" and "parleure" belong rather

"a la maniere dengleterre que a cele de france, comme cis qui fu en engleterre nez." William of Waddington, again, confesses that his French is abominable, but pleads nevertheless:

De le franceis vile ne del rimer

Ne me deit nuls hom blamer;
Kar en engletere fu ne

E norri, e ordine, e aleve.

Lastly, we find Gower, about the middle of the 14th century, writing in excuse for his French :

Et si jeo nai de francois la faconde,
Pardonetz moi qe jeo de ceo forsvoie,
Jeo sui englois, si quier par tiele voie
Estre excuse.

Balades, Pauli's edition of Gower, Introduction, p. xxviii.

The decadence once commenced went rapidly on, and accordingly we find special English localities early notorious for bad French. Mapes writes in the 12th century: "Cum vitiose quis illâ (i.e. Gallicâ linguâ) loquitur, dicimus eum loqui Gallicum Merleberga." It was not only Marlborough French, however, that had an indifferent reputation. Langland, in his "Vision of William concerning Piers the Plowman" (Passus V. Skeat's ed. Crowley Text), introduces "Coveitise," wilfully confounding the meanings of "riflynge" and "restitution," and accounting thus for his ignorance:

For I lernede nevere rede on boke;
And I can no frenche, in feith,

But of the ferthest ende of Norfolke.

Whether this Norfolk French was no French at all, as some think, or a particularly corrupt jargon, we have no means of ascertaining. The third instance that may be cited is that of the famous "scole of Stratford-atte-Bowe," the language taught in which was evidently something very different from "the Frenssh of Parys," though whether the difference consisted in a corruption of the idiom, or of the pronunciation, is by no means clear. It is, however, sufficiently obvious that the Norman of England, exposed to a variety of influences, from which that of the Continent was exempt, gradually changed its character. It is only necessary here to observe that it was for the most part this altered or corrupted Norman which ultimately became an integral part

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