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If Richard his life-blood foully sought,
murdered, appears to have fallen on a Thursday, and the anniversary of that event, in 1485, was the battle of Bosworth field, on the same day of the week.
London locust, or caterpillar as the original signifies, meaning the venal citizens of London.
† The Welsh expression of which this is a literal translation signifies grasshopper.
I “Simon Magus.” The old legends represent Simon Magus, after have ing obtained the power of working miracles, to have come to Rome, and there to have ascended into the air in a chariot, accompanied by two angels: but, upon the intercession of St. Peter and St. Paul, he was thrown down, and broke his legs in the fall.
$ The Bard, who was attached to the Lancastrians, on account of Henry VII.'s Welsh origin, treats the Yorkists as Saxons.
ll Henry VII. landed at Milford liavel, and passed through Wales in his way to Bosworth Field.
A Plea for the Mother Tongue.
“Si quid novisti vectius istis, Candidus imparti, si pon, his utere mecum."
WITHOUT presuming to detract from the transcendent merits of our great English lexicographer, it must be admitted, that his Dictionary is more deficient in his Welsh etymologies than in any other part of that immortal work. Dr. Johnson either passes over, without tracing to their source, a great number of words unquestionably derived from the ancient British, or he ascribes to them another origin from the Saxon, French, Dutch, or Danish languages.
This seems the more extraordinary, as the doctor has himself informed us that he was aided in this portion of his laborious compilation by the assistance of a native of the Principality, who had already distinguished himself by the publication of a collection of Welsh Proverbs. The Cambrian compiler, however, has manifested an evident, but unwarranted, partiality for Saxon derivations.
The Welsh were unquestionably the aboriginal inhabitants of this island. It is among them, then, that we must naturally seek for the fountain head of the English language. The AngloSaxon was little more than a conduit-pipe through which the rich stream of the ancient British flowed into the modern English, corrupted, indeed, in its course, by a forced and heterogeneous mixture with the Danish and the Norman-French. The Welsh is the only mother-tongue of Great Britain; and yet in England, upon all occasions, we observe a marked predilection in favor of Anglo-Saxon literature to the prejudice of the Welsh. The last century has seen an Anglo-Saxon professor installed in his academic chair in the University of Oxford; but no literary honours, no encouragements, have yet been offered for the study of the mother-tongue. The eastern languages have not been thus neglected. In addition to the other Oriental professors in both our Universities, the late Colonel Boaden, by a most liberal and laudable benefaction in his will, has recently founded at Oxford a professorship of the Sanscrit, between which, by the by, and the Welsh, there seems a very striking resemblance, as is known to be the case between it and the Hebrew, and all the derivative languages of the East. A more intimate connexion than is generally imagined will be found to exist between the
Coelbren of the Druids and the Shasta and Veda of the Hindoo Brahmins.
The author of the English Dictionary, throughout the whole of his work, always leans in favor of a Saxon etymology, though in cases of doubt, a preference ought to have been given to the Welsh, as the most ancient, according to all the rules of philological deduction.
Under the letters B and c only, there may be traced no fewer than 200 errors or omissions of this description. Now, presuming that in every other letter of the alphabet an equal number might be discovered, the aggregate would amount to more than 2000 words, the derivation of which may be reclaimed by the Welsh!
To substantiate these claims to their full extent, it would be necessary to adduce in print the whole of the list we have made. But this would be encroaching too much on the space which could be allowed in our Miscellany to such disquisitions, and indeed would be converting its more entertaining pages into a dry etymological dictionary. We are therefore necessarily obliged to constrain ourselves to the citation of only a small portion of these derivatives, and in this we are governed solely by hazard, without making any selection for the purpose.
We anticipate a twofold objection to these etymologies. In the first place, it will, perhaps, be contended, that those Welsh words which approximate the nearest to the modern English were in fact borrowed by the inhabitants of the Principality from their Saxon neighbours, instead of having been, according to our hypothesis, adopted vice versá by the latter from the former. And again, it may possibly be urged on the other hand, that those derivations which seem palpably to differ either in sound, sense, or spelling, from their assigned roots, are too fanciful and too far-fetched to satisfy any judicious philologist.
We shall endeavour to answer this double objection by observing, in the first place, that although all etymological disquisition must necessarily be founded, in a great measure, on conjecture, yet, in the nomenclature of these etymologies, there will be found none which are not quite as probable as the majority of those given by Johnson and other lexicographers, according to all the rules of orthoepical and orthographical induction. And secondly, to obviate the cavil arising from the objection that the words which most resemble the English were always originally Saxon, we may assert, that we have taken great care to introduce none into our list which are not warranted by the authority of the more ancient Welsh writers. This high antiquity places their national originality above the reach of attack.
In the course of these researches we cannot but be struck
with the extraordinary flexibility, with the peculiar plastic property of the Welsh language, arising as well from the great number of its “Prefixes” and “Affixes," as from the continual changes of the initial letters of words according to their juxtaposition or collocation in a sentence. This felicity, or, if you please, this versatility of character, has enabled our ancient British poets so to modulate an almost continued consonance of sweet sounds, as to give their verse an harmonious softness and exquisite delicacy of expression, inimitable in any other tongue, except the Italian, and not exceeded even in that “ Regina linguarum,” that queen of modern languages. Indeed, there is that connection between the Welsh and the Italian, that the earliest Welsh grammar in print bears the impress of Milan on the title-page. But what surprises us most in the Welsh, are its two very opposite characters of extreme simplicity, and of the most exquisitely complicated refinement.
Paradoxical as this assertion may seem, a very few words will suffice to prove its truth. To demonstrate the simplicity of the ancient British language, I need only cite the following sentence from Mr. Edward Davies's “Celtic Researches,” page 257,
“Ea o e le."
“He proceeds out of his place.” Here we have an entire, complete sentence of five words, consisting only of five vowels, with the exception of the initial liquid consonant of the last. The English language is said to abound in monosyllables, but this Celtic period is not merely monosyllabic, but monoliteral. It has the advantage of expressing in six letters that which requires twenty three in English, remarkable as is the latter for its terse and energic brevity.
On the other hand there is no language, not even the Greek, which so readily and elegantly amalgamates, and incorporates together into one sonorous and expressive composite term, so many component words as the Welsh. In proof of this, its sesquepedalian beauty, and as a striking contrast to that Celtic simplicity of monoliteral character of which we have just cited an example, I would instance what Humphry Prichard has said on this subject, in the reign of Elizabeth, in his Latin Preface to Dr. Rhys's Welsh Prosody:"
“Another cause, says he, which suggested the idea of this work, was the singular præexcellence of the language, which, in copiousness and apposite elegance of diction, is inferior to none of her sisters. It is a language, beyond all question, so rich in its derivations, composition, construction, aptness of terms, and peculiar felicity of expression, that nothing can be ever wished for, or imagined more happily adapted to the explanation of any of the fine arts and sciences. In other languages, even in the Hebrew and the Greek, it is not easy, perhaps, to form a combination of any com
posite term exceeding four words, but the Welsh incorporates most beautifully (pulcherrime ) not only four, but five and six, and sometimes even a greater number of words in one term of art, as *Cymhletheurgrwydrgeindorch. Hexameter.
and ‘Gorlathrgeindegbhwyn. Pentameter.' “These and many other words of the same kind occur in Mabinogius, and in the “ History of the Giants."
Beautiful and melodious as these two Welsh words undoubtedly are, when properly accented, it must be admitted that they are as difficult to be pronounced by a Saxon as the names of many
of the Polish or Russian generals.
One is here naturally led to inquire whether there exists any modern translation of "The History of the Giants.” At this time, when there prevails so decided a taste for works of fiction, an edition of the “Stories of the Mountain Giants” would be very desirable. We can easily conceive some cambrian Cuchullin of colossal stature, the hero of the Epopea with this advantage, however, over Ossian's heroes, that our Welsh giants, if we may judge from the above specimens, seem to have had a peculiarly grandiloquent and gigantic language of their own, abounding in words of such vast amplitude as to be almost too much for the pigmy mouths of the degenerate Saxons to grasp.
But to return to our Welsh etymologies, viz.
Banner. The English dictionary ascribes the derivation of this word to the French “ Banniere," but we should in vain seek for its elements in that language. For this purpose we must have recourse to the Welsh, and we find it derived from “ Banniar," “ Bannaer,” “ Baner,” a standard, composed of “ Bann," high, &c. and “Aer," battle, slaughter, that is, elevated high in the air above the battle, or as a modern poet has described the British standard having stood
“ A thousand years
The battle and the breeze.” The single word, “ Banner," as thus analyzed, conveys the whole of the poetic imagery of the "Battle and the Breeze." So also “ Standard" probably from “ystang," a pole; “dart," a spear, the flag being displayed on the point of an elevated lance. What further strengthens the probability of this etymology is the great similarity between the old French word “Estendart," from which Johnson deduces the derivation of Standard, and our Welsh "ystangdart,” or “ ystandart," a spear fixed in the upper extremity of a long pole.
Bar : is deduced by Johnson from the French “ Barre," but both are taken from the ancient British“ Barr,” vectis, repagulum, pessulum, clathrum; and hence also “spar,” a bar of wood, a small