Page:The dialect of the southern counties of Scotland - Murray - 1873.djvu/42

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To the Scottish philologer this dialect is of importance in more respects than one. Not only does the aphasresis of initial th illustrate the similar forms in some Scottish dialects, but the same (or a similar) Celtic influence which has changed the hwo, hwose, hwat, hwan, hware, of Strongbow's English followers into fo, fose, faad, fan, far, has changed the hwa, hwas, hwat, hwan, hwar, of the Angles and Flemings of the north-east, and Norwegians of the north, into the faa, faa's, fat, fan, faar of Aberdeen, Caithness, Angus, and Moray. The same (or a similar) influence which has in Barony Forth produced loane, hoane, sthoan, eiloane from the old Southern English lond, hond, stond, ilond, has in Scotland produced laan', haan', staan', hielan's, wherever the Teutonic has come in peaceful contact with the Celtic, the original land, hand, stand, heelands, being retained in the old Angle area of the south-east. There is therefore as much to be said for the Celtic as for the Norse influence in at; and what has been shown with regard to at, may mutatis mutandis be shown, I believe, of much else that passes as Danish.

§ 11. From the fourteenth century onwards, Scotland presents a full series of writers in the Northern dialect,[1] which, as spoken

  1. Among the earliest connected specimens must be placed the fragments of Scottish songs relating to the siege of Berwick, 1296, and the battle of Bannockburn, 1314, preserved by the English chronicler Fabyan, which, although they have suffered somewhat in orthography, retain the characteristically Northern grammatical inflexions.

    What wenys kynge Edwarde, with his lange shankys,
    To have wonne Berwyk all our vnthankys?
    Gaas pykes hym
    And when he had it
    Gaas dykes hym.
    Maydins of England sore may ye morne,
    For your lemmans ye haue loste at Bannockysborne,
    Wyth heue a lowe,
    What wenyt the kynge of England
    So soone to have wonne Scotlande,
    Wyth rumbylow.

    To these may be added the well-known fragment, contrasting the peace and plenty of the reign of Alexander III. with the calamities of the interregnum and war with England, which followed his death, thus introduced by Wyntown into his Cronykil (Royal MS. 17 D. xx., leaf 1904, new numbering-Bk. VII., chap, x., 1. 521 of Macpherson's edition):—

    A boll off bere, for awcht or ten,
    In comowne pryse sawld wes þen;
    ffor Sextene a boll off qwhete,
    Or fore twenty, þe derth wes grete.
    Þis falyhyd fra he deyd suddanly;
    Þis sang wes made off hym for-þi:—
    "Quhen[f 1] Alysander oure kyng wes dede,
    pat Scotland led in luwe and le,
    Away wes sons off ale and brede,
    Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle ;
    Oure gold was changyd in to lede,
    Cryst borne in to virgynyte,
    Succoure Scotland, and remede
    Þat stad in his perplexyté."

    As a specimen of the language, however, these lines cannot, with certainty, be placed earlier than the date of the Cronykil (1430). Indeed every MS. of Wyntown gives us a different version of them, the variations being instructive as to the fate of poems handed down by popular tradition. Thus the Harleian MS. 6909 has :—

    Sen Alexander our king wes deid,
    Away wes sones of aill & bread,
    That Scotland left of lust & le,
    Of wyne and wax, of gamyr & gle.
    The gold wes changeit all in leid,
    The fruit failȝeit on evir ilk tre;
    Ihūm succour and send remeid,
    That stad is in perplexitie.

    1. Pronounce A'lsander or E'lshander, in three syllables, as still used in some parts of Scotland. Sons, fullness, abundance, the root of sonsy.