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It is not,
for destroy in the Coventry Plays, viage in Bishop Hall and Middleton the dramatist, bile in Donne and Chrononhotonthologos, line in Hall, ryall and chyse (for choice) in the Coventry Plays. In Chapman's “All Fools” is the misprint of employ tor imply, fairly inferring an identity of sound in the last syllable. Indeed, this pronunciation was habitual till after Pope, and Rogers tells us that the elegant Gray said naise for noise just as our rustics still do. Our cornish (which I find also in Herrick) remembers the French better than cor. nice does. While, clinging more closely to the Anglo-Saxon in dropping the ģ from the end of the present participle, the Yankee now and then pleases himself with an experiment in French nasality in words ending in n. so far as my experience goes, very common, though it may formerly have been
Capting, for instance, I never heard save in jest, the habitual form being kepp'n. But at any rate it is no invention of ours. In that delightful old volume, “Ane Compendious Buke of Godly and Spirituall Songs,” in which I know not whether the piety itself or the simplicity of its expression be more charming, I find burding, garding, and cousing, and in the State Trials uncerting used by a gentleman. The n for ng I confess preferring
Of Yankee preterites I find risse and rize for rose in Middleton and Dryden, clim in Spenser, chees (ch/se) in Sir John Mandevil, give (gave) in the Coventry Plays, shet (shut) in Golding's Ovid, * het in Chapman and in Weever's Epitaphs, thriv and smit in Drayton, quit in Ben Jonson and Henry More, and pled in the fastidious Landor. Rid for rode was anciently
So likewise was see for saw, but I find it in no writer of authority, unless Chaucer's seie was so sounded. Shew is used by Hector Boece, Giles Fletcher, and Drummond of Hawthornden. Similar strong preterites, like snew, thew, and even mew, are
not without example. I find sew for sowed in Piers Ploughman. Indeed, the anomalies in English preterites are perplexing. We have probably transferred flew from flow (as the preterite of which I have heard it) to fly because we had another preterite in fied. Of weak preterites the Yankee retains growed, blowed, for which he has good authority, and less often knewed. His sot is merely a broad sounding of sat, no more inelegant than the common got for gat, which he further degrades into git. When he says darst, he uses a form as old as Chaucer.
The Yankee has retained something of the long sound of the a in such words as axe, wax, pronouncing them exe, wex (shortened from aix, wair). He also says hev and hed (hăve, hād) for have and had. In most cases he follows an Anglo-Saxon usage. In aix for axle he certainly does.
I find wer and aisches (ashes) in Pecock, and exe in the Paston Letters. Chaucer wrote hendy. Dryden rhymes can with men, as Mr. Biglow would. Alexander Gill, Milton's teacher, in his “ Logonomia cites hez for hath as peculiar to Lincolnshire. I find hayth in Collier's “ Bibliographical Account of Early English Literature under the date 1584, and Lord Cromwell so wrote it. Sir Christopher Wren wrote belcony. Our fect is only the O. F. faict. Thaim for them was common in the sixteenth century. We have an example of the same thing in the double form of the verb thra h, thresh. While the NewEnglander cannot be brought to say instead for instid (commonly 'stid where not the last word in a sentence), he changes the i into e in red for rid, tell for till, hender for hinder, rense for rinse. I find red in the old interlude of “ Thersytes,” tell in a letter of Daborne to Henslowe, and also, I shudder to mention it, in a letter of the great Duchess of Marlborough, Atossa herself! It occurs twice in a single ver e of the Chester Plays, which I copy as containing another Yankeeism :“Tell the day of dome, tell the beaines
• Cited in Warton's Obs. Faery Q.
From this word blou is formed blowth, which I heard again this summer after a long interval.
Mr. Wright* explains it as meaning "a blossom.”
With us a single blossom is a blow, while blowth means the blossoming in general. A farmer would say that there was a good blowth on his fruit-trees. The word retreats farther inland and away from the railways, year by year. Wither rhymes hinder with slender, and Shakespeare and Lovelace have
for rinse In “ Gammer Gurton” is sence for since; Marlborough's Duchess writes it, and Donne rhymes since with A mi”ns and patience, Bishop Hall and Otway with pretence, Chapman with citizens, Dryden with providence. Indeed, why should not sithence take that form? Dryden's wife (an earl's daughter) has teil for till, Margaret, mother of Henry VII., writes seche for siich, and our ef finds authority in the old form yeffe.
E sometimes takes the place of u, as jedge, tridge, bresh.
I find tredge in the interlude of “ Jack Jugler," bresh in a citation by Collier from “ London Cries" of the middle of the seven1eenth century, and resche for rush fifteenth century) in the very valuable " Volume of Vocabularies edited by Mr. Wright. Resce is one of the Anglo-Saxon forms of the word in Bosworth's A. S. Dictionary.
The Yankee always shortens the u in the ending turo, making tentur, natur, pictur, and so on. This was common, also, among the educated of the last generation. I am inclined to think it may have been once universal, and I certainly think it more elegant than the vile vencher, naycher, pickcher, that have taken its place, sounding like the invention of a lexicographer with his mouth full of hot pudding. Nash in his " Pierce Penniless" has ventur, and so spells it, and I meet it also in Spenser, Drayton, Ben Jonson, Herrick, and Prior. Spenser has turtreat. which can be contracted only from
tortur and not from torcher. Quarles rhymes nature with creator, and Dryden with sutire, which he doubtless pronounced according to its older form of satyr. Quarles has also torture and mortar. Mary Boleyn writes kreatur.
I shall now give some examples which cannot so easily be ranked under any special head.
Gill charges the Eastern counties with kiver for cover, and ta for to. The Yankee pronounces
too and to ta (like the tou in touch) where they are not emphatic. When they are, both become tu. Inold spelling, to is the common (and indeed correct) form of too, which is only to with the sense of in addition,
1 suspect that the sound of our too has caught something from the French tout, and it is possible that the old too too is not a reduplication, but a reminiscence of the feminine form of the same word (toute) as anciently pronounced, with the e not yet silenced.
Gill gives a Northern origin to geaun for gown and waund for wound (vulnus). Lovelace has waund, but there is something too dreadful in suspecting Spenser (who borealized in his pastorals) of having ever been guilty of geann! And yet some delicate mouths even careful to observe the Hibernicism of ge-ard for guard, and ge-url for girl. Sir Philip Sidney (credite posteri !) wrote furr for far. I would hardly have believed it had I not seen it in fac-simile. As some consolation, I find furder in Lord Bacon and Donne, and Wither rhymes far with cur. The Yankee, who omits the final d in many words, as do the Scotch, makes up for it by adding one in geound. The purist does not feel the loss of the d sensibly in lawn and yon, from the former of which it ha dropped again after a wrongful adoption (retained in laundry), while it properly belongs to the latter. But what shall we make of grit, yit, and yis ? I find yis and git in Warner's “Albion's England, yet rhyming with wit, admit, and fit in Donne, with wit in the " · Revenger's Tragedy,” Beaumont, and Sucklig, with writ in Dryden, and latest of is
• Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English.
with wit in Sir Hanbury Williams. Prior rhymes fitting and begetting. Worse is to come. Among others, Donne rhymes again with sin, and Quarles repeatedly with in. Ben for been, of which our dear Whittier is so fond, has the authority of Sackville, “Gammer Gurton” (the work of a bishop), Chapman, Dryden, and many more, though bin seems to have been the common forin. Whittier's accenting the first syllable of rom'ance finds an accomplice in Drayton among others, and though manifestly wrong, is analogous with Rom'ans. Of other Yankeeisms, whether of form or pronunciation, which I have met with I add a few at randoin. Pecock writes sowdiers (sogers, soudoyers), and Chapman and Gill sodder. This absorption of the l is common in various dialects, especially in the Scottish. Pecock writes also biyende, and the authors of “ Jack Jugler” and “Gammer Gurton” yender.
The Yankee includes "yon” in the same category,
“hither an' yen,” for “to and fro.” (Cf. German jenseits.) Pecock and plenty more have wrastlé. Tindal has agynste, gretter, shett, ondone, debytë, and scace. " Jack Jugler” has scacely (which I have often heard, though skurce is the common form), and Donne and Dryden make great rhyme with set. In the inscription on Caxton's tomb I find ynd for end, which the Yankee more often makes eend, still using familiarly the old phrase “right anend” for “continuously.” His“
stret (straight) along" in the same sense, which I thought peculiar to him, I find in Pecock. Tindal's debytë for deputy is so perfectly Yankee that I could almost fancy the brave martyr to have been deacon of the First Parish at Jaalam Centre.
Jack Jugler" further gives us playsent and sartayne. Dryden rhymes certain with parting, and Chapman and Ben Jonson use certain, as the Yankee always does. for certainly. The “Coventry Mysteries” have occapied, massage, nnteralle, materal(material), and meracles, — all excellent
Yankeeisms. In the “Quatre fils," Aymon (1504),* is vertus for virtuous. Thomas Fuller called volume volium, I suspect, for he spells ii volumne. However, per contra, Yankees habitually say colume for column. Indeed, to prove that our ancestors brought their pronunciation with them from the Old Country, and have not wantonly debased their mother tongue, I need only to cite the words scriptur, Israll, athists, and cherfulness from Governor Bradford's “ History." Bran, ptout Gurdon writes shet in a letter to Wine throp. So the good man wrote them, and so the good descendants of his lclow-exiles still pronounce them. Purtend (pretend) has cres: like a serpent into the “Paradise of Dainty Devices”; purvide, which is not so bad, is in Chaucer. These, of course, are universal vulgarisms, and not peculiar to the Yankee. Butler has a Yankee phrase, and pronunciation too, in, “ To which these carr'ings-on did tend." Langham or Laneham, who wrote an account of the festivities at Kenilworth in honor of Queen Bess, and who evidently tried to spell phonetically, makes sorrows into sorora. Herrick writes hollow for halloo, and perhaps pronounced it (horresco suggerens !) holla, as Yankees do.
Why not, when it comes from holà? I find ffelaschyppe (fellowship) in the Coventry Plays. Spenser and his queen neither of them scrupled to write afore, and the former feels no inelegance even in chaw and idee. 'Fore was common till after Herrick. Dryden has do's for dres, and his wife spells worse wosce. A feared was once universal.
Warner has ery for ever a; nay, he also has illy, with which we were once ignorantly reproached by persons more familiar with Murray's Grammar than with English literature. And why not illy ? Mr. Bartlett says it is “a word used by writ ers of an inferior class, who do not seem to perceive that ill is itself an ad verb, without the termination ly," and
* Cited in Collier. (I give my authority where I do not quote from the original book.)
quotes Dr. Messer, President of Brown Üniversity, as asking triumphantly, “Why don't you say welly ?”. I should like to have had Dr. Messer answer his own question. It would be truer to say that it was used by people who still remembered that ill was an adjective, the shortened form of evil, out of which Shakespeare ventured to make evilly. The objection to illy is not an etymological one, but simply that it is contrary to good usage, - a very sufficient reason. N as an adverb was at first a vulgarism, precisely like the rustic's when he says, “I was treated bad.” May not the reason of this exceptional form be looked for in that tendency to dodge what is hard to pronounce, to which I have already alluded? If the letters were distinctly uttered, as they should be, it would take too much time to say ill-ly, well-ly, and it is to be observed that we have avoided smally* and tally in the same way, though we add ish to them without hesitation in smallish and tallish. We have, to be sure, dully and fully, but for the one we prefer stupidly, and the other (though this may have come from eliding the y before as) is giving way to full. The uneducated, whose utterance is slower, still make adverbs when they will by adding like to all manner of adjectives. We have had dig charged upon us, because we use it where an Englishman would now use
great. I fully admit that it were better to distinguish between them, allowing to big a certain contemptuous quality; but as for authority, I want none better than that of Jeremy Taylor, who, in his noble sermon “On the Return of Prayer,” speaks of “Jesus, whose spirit was meek and gentle up to the greatness of the biggest example.” As for our double negative, I shall waste no time in quoting instances of it, because it was once as universal in English as it still is in the neo-Latin languages, where it does not strike us as vulgar.
I am not sure
that the loss of it is not to be regretted. But surely I shall admit the vulgarity of slurring or altogether eliding certain terminal consonants? I admit that a clear and sharp-cut enunciation is one of the crowning charms and elegancies of speech. Words so uttered are like coins fresh from the mint, compared with the worn and dingy drudges of long service, - I do not mean American coins, for those look less badly the more they lose of their original ugli
No one is more painfully conscious than I of the contrast between the rifle-crack of an Englishman's yes and no, and the wet-fuse drawl of the same monosyllables in the mouths of my countrymen. But I do not find the dropping of final consonants disagreeable in Allan Ramsay or Burns, nor do I believe that our literary ancestors were sensible of that inelegance in the fusing them together of which we are conscious. How many educated men pronounce the t in chestnut ? how many say pentise for penthouse, as they should? When a Yankee skipper says that he is “boun' for Gloster" (not Gloucëster, with the leave of the Universal Schoolmaster), he but speaks like Chaucer or an ola ballad-singer, though they would have pronounced it boon. This is one of the cases where the d is surreptitious, and has been added in compliment to the verb bind, with which it has nothing to do. If we consider the root of the word (though of course I grant that every race has a right to do what it will with what is so peculiarly its own as its speech), the d has no more right there than at the end of gone, where it is often put by children, who are our best guides to the sources of linguistic corruption, and the best teachers of its processes. Cromwell, minister of Henry VIII., writes worle for world. Chapman has wan for wand, and lawn has rightfully displaced laund, though with no thought, I
suspect, of etymology Rogers tells us that Lady Bathurst sent him some letters written to William III. by Queen Mary, in which she addresses him as “ Dear Husbar.”
• The word occurs in a letter of Mary Boley..
The old form expoun', which our farmers use, is more correct than the form with a barbarous d tacked on which has taken its place.
Of the kind opposite to this, like our gownd for gown, and the London cockney's wind for wine, I find drownd for drown in the “Misfortunes of Arthur” (1584), and in Swift. And, by the way, whence came the long sound of wind which our poets still retain, and which survives in “winding a horn, a totally different word from "winding" a kitestring? We say behind and hinder (comparative), and yet to hinder. Shakespeare pronounced kind kind, or what becomes of his play on that word and kin in Hamlet? Nay, did he not even (shall I dare to hint it?) drop the final d as the Yankee still does ? John Lilly plays in the same way on kindred and kindness.
But to come to some other ancient instances. Warner rhymes bounds with crowns, grounds with towns, text with sex, worst with crust, interrupts with cuds; Drayton, defects with sex ; Chapman, aminds with cleanse ; Webster, defects with checks ; Ben Jonson, minds with combines; Marston, trust and obsequious, clothes and shows; Dryden gives the same sound to clothes, and has also minds with designs Of course, I do not affirm that their ears may not have told them that these were imperfect rhymes (though I am by no
even of ihat), but ihey surely would never have tolerated any such had they suspected the least vulgarity in them. Prior has the rhyme first and trust, but puts it into the mouth of a landlady. Swift has stunted and burnt it, an intentionally imperfect rhyme, no doubt, but which I cite as giving precisely the Yankee pronunciation of burned. Donne couples in unhallowed wedlock after and matter, thus seeming to give to both the true Yankee sound; and it is not uncommon to find after and daughter. Worse than all, in one of Dodsley's Old Plays we have onions rhyming with minions, - I have tears in my eyes while I record it. And yet what is viler than the uni
versal Misses (Mrs.) for distress? This was once a vulgarism, and in “ The Miseries of Inforced Marriage the rhyme (printed as prose in Dodsley's Old Piays by Collier),
"To make my young mistress,
Delighting in kisses,' is put in the mouth of the clown. Our people say Injun for Indian. tendency to make this change where ? follows d is common. The Italian giorno and French jour from diurnus are familiar examples. And yet Injun is one of those depravations which the taste chailenges peremptorily, though 10 have the authority of Charles Cortonwho rhymes " Indies" with "cruges - and tour English lexicographers, beginning with Dr. Sheridan, bid is say invidgeous. Yet after all it is no worse than the debasement which all our terminations in tion and tience have undergone, which yet we hear with resig. nashun and payshunce, though it might have aroused both impat-i-ence and indigna-ti-on in Shakespeare's time. When Georse Herbert tells us that if the sermon be dull, “God takes a text and preacheth pati-ence." the prolongation of the word seems to convey some hint at the longanimity of the virtue. Consider what a poor curtal we have made of Ocean. There was something of his heave and expanse in o-ce-an, and Fletcher knew how to use it when he wrote so fine a verse as the second of these, the best deep-sea verse I know, “In desperate storms stem with a little rud.
der The tumbling ruins of the ocean." Oceanus was not then wholly shorn of his divine proportions, and our modern oshun sounds like the gush of smallbeer in comparison. Some other contractions of ours have a vulgar air about them. More 'n for more than, as one of the worst, may stand for a type of such. Yet our old dramatists are full of such obscurations (elisions they can hardly be called) of the th, making whe'r of whether, bro'r of