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or writ he much." Perhaps also it is to that work that reference is made, when he speaks of "soothfastnesse '—a special characteristic of the Destruction of Troy being its soothfastness, as shown by the author's constant reference to Dites whom he follows, and in his earnest care to say nothing but "as the Boke tellis ;" and in this he copies the prominent characteristic of Benoit, as shown by Mons. Joly, and of his translator Guido, who also was especially careful, like Benoit, to back his statements with the testimony of Dites and Dares.
That Wyntown was well acquainted with our poem appears from his Prologue, the commencement of which has been evidently composed with that of our author in view.
“Quhar-for off swylk antyqwyteys,
Gest or story for to wryte,
Wytht queynt and curyous circumstance,
And the heraris tyll excyte
Be wyt, or wyll, tyll thaire delyte.
"To rays hartis in plesance, And the heraris tyll excyte," is uncommonly like our author's "boldyng of hertes ;" and Wyntown's remarks on Omere, Vyrgylle, and Dares, are not unlike what is 'brevit' much more fully in our 'boke.' Like other early writers, Wyntown was in the practice of cutting short his narrative and of referring his readers to other authors and their works, when the matter had already been described. Keeping this practice in view, it is most instructive to note what he gives and what he withholds in his chapter on the Amazons. Commencing with a portion of
· history which does not appear in our poem, he abruptly breaks off
Hyr douchtyr and hyr ayre offale
And true enough Penthesilea and her 'gret douchtynes' are very fully set forth in the Stately Poem. The following chapter on "The Assegis of Troye" is not less suggestive of Wyntown's acquaintance with that poem.
The Troy Book, it may easily be seen by simply putting it down side by side with the E. E. T. Society's Morte Arthure, has not been in all cases to such an extent disguised or overlaid by the Midland or other forms, from which it has been concluded, somewhat hastily, we consider, that the work was Midland. The Scottish past tense and perfect participle are found in the Troy Book ending in it, yt, or et, very generally, indeed quite as generally as they are so met with in Barbour and in the Lowland Scotch of the present day, while the present participles in -and have been more frequently tampered with, and appear sometimes in -ond and sometimes in -aund. If y, as a prefix to the past or perfect participle, is a mark of a Southern dialect, then it never occurs once from the beginning to the end of the poem; and just so, en marking the infinitive is never met with either. The final en of the past participle, sometimes as yn, and sometimes as on, occurs on every page; for example, that art founden, be holdyn, thou be takon;1 and so thai, thaire, thaim, &c., and indeed almost all the peculiarities specified in Morris's Specimens of Early English, as indicating a work to be Northern rather than Southern, are exemplified more or less frequently throughout the whole poem.
On comparing different portions of the Glossary to Wyntown with corresponding portions of the Glossary to our poem, the proportion of common words of the same spelling and meanings was found to vary. In one instance, out of 122 words in the former 56 were found represented in the latter; which, considering the difference of the two works, is a large proportion. On comparing the words and phrases of the Awntyrs of Arthure and Golagros and Gawane, ascribed to Clerk of Tranent, with those of the Stately Poem, we find the proportion of such as are common and identical to be higher still, almost every word of some stanzas appearing in our Glossary. Very many of these common words appear, as was to be expected, in the Glossaries of Northern works, not so many in that of William of Palerne. It is note-worthy, however, that in not a few of those common in our poem and William of Palerne, there is yet a difference showing the Northern origin of the former. For example, Ayre, an heir, is the word used in our poem, the form to be found in Scottish writers and our city Records, while it is eyre, or eir, in William of Palerne. Similarly, Burde, a table, is borde, and ettle is attle in the latter. Abide and alight, in the latter, have usually the Northern or Scottish forms bide and light in our poem. When the words are precisely the same, as mar, or marre, to harm, the inflection is different-marred in the one being marrit, or mart, in the other. If kepe and keppe are the same, then the latter has in our poem meanings not found elsewhere, viz. to catch, meet, or stop.
If we are correct in the conclusion, already adverted to, viz. that the more carefully written portions of our MS. were copied leisurely from an earlier and, perhaps, the original Scottish one, then we should expect to find that in the portions thus copied more unchanged Scottish words and more of Scottish forms of words would occur than do in those portions more carelessly or hurriedly written to dictation. Such forms, in fact, would be occasionally copied by the transcriber, per incuriam, so to say, even were he minded to modify, change, or modernize his work. The very first passage of the kind, that was tried to discover whether the fact would turn out so, gave precisely the result one would have expected. The passage occurs at the bottom of page 389, and extends to page 396, with perhaps
The very common if not peculiar or idiomatic Scottish words, of which there are not a few in this passage, are spelt almost invariably as we find them in the pages of Barbour, Dunbar, Douglas, and other Scottish writers. Such are
Graith, graithet, swithe, dere, walt, dite, dole, ertid, wale (v. and adj.), etlid, stithe, stithely, tene, tenyt, trist, warpit, lak, here, laithis, laithyt, fere, graidly, burd or burde, wode, pyne, fele, speryng, braid, wyn, merk (to devote), gyrd, skath, &c.
Then with respect to Scottish forms and constructions, we meet with
Gedryt and gedrit, hir aune (awne), wan, haldyn, takyn, ffele dayes bedene, tothir or tothyr, lady had leuyt, ordant, thai dang hir to dethe, &c., as in Barbour, yates or yatis, noght, strawet and strenklit, britnet, sterte, on seand, gret, launchand lowes, wroght, soght, thoght, broght, mony, ynogh, saule, lause, noqwere, qwile, beseke, &c.;
almost all of which are unchanged Scottish to this day. The past tenses and perfect participles almost invariably end, as we have said, in it, yt, or et,-as russhit, disseruyt, murtheret, &c. At the end of 1. 12111 we have wyn to with its peculiar Scottish sense; and at 1. 12056 we have childur, while at 1. 12130 we have brethir, both undeniably Scottish forms.1 At 1. 12089 we have to an end, but at 1. 12103 the older Scottish form has taken its place, and we read led tell hir last end. The transcriber at 1. 12112 has ho for she, and it occurs twice again within the next three lines, but at find the original scho, and twice again within four lines. bete hom bitturly" we have the past tense of to bite as it is still to be heard pronounced everywhere in Scotland. follow, are also yet quite common.
Strok and lad, that
It is curious that, while generally throughout the work we find the adv. and conj. then written "than," in this passage it has been, as if by design, carefully changed into "then." Immediately before, and throughout the passage, we have such expressions as—
No soune herd, light up a lowe, puttyn to dethe, hedit no harme ne no hate thoght, noght dred thai, dungyn doun yatis, ertid his harme, etlid to bide, withouten dyn more, the lovet wele, se hit leme on a lowe, gert for to send, teghit hir hondis, steynyt hir to dethe, graithet a toumbe, myn hit for ever;
1 Henry, Wyntown, Bellenden, Scot. Burgh Laws, &c.
expressions peculiarly and idiomatically Scottish, to be heard unchanged to this day, while they are to be met with in every page of the undoubted Scottish poems of the period.1
With one of those we have compared portions of our Troy Book, and been still more conclusively satisfied of its Scottish origin. This is the Knightly Tale of Golagrus and Gawane, reprinted in 1827, by Mr David Laing, and of which he thus remarks,
"This very ancient and singular romance belongs to a class of compositions usually regarded as peculiar to Scotland. The language of this romance, which appears to have obtained no inconsiderable share of popularity, is so remarkably uncouth, and the structure of the verse so singular, as to warrant us in assigning it to a very early period of our literature, certainly to some time prior to the middle of the 14th century."
"It would be a fruitless endeavour to enter into any discussion with regard to its author, since we possess no direct evidence bearing on the subject. Two of the ancient Scottish poets-Clerk of Tranent, and Hucheon of the Aule Ryale, are celebrated as having written the Adventures of Gawane; but whether the present romance be that which is alluded to, must remain, we fear, a matter of conjecture." "The only thing," says Dr Leyden, "which can be affirmed with certainty is that Sir Gawan was a favourite character with the Scottish poets; a circumstance accounted for by his northern origin, and his reputation for ancient courtesy, especially among the Welsh, by whom he is denominated Gwalchmai, the golden-tongued."
Very many lines from this poem of Golagrus and Gawane, such
"And he gudly furth gaes, and graithet his geir,
And buskit hym to battell without mair abaid
might with a very slight change take their place in the Troy Book, and not be distinguished from others; while similarly not a few lines of the Troy Book might be transferred to Golagrus and Gawane with the same result. In both poems we find the same words, the same forms, and the same phrases or expressions—the same peculiar character of verse, and the same alliterations. Glossary of the Troy Book is, so far as we have tried it, quite sufficient for the Knightly Tale, and with all these in common, we
1 The various other similar passages doubtless, if carefully gone over, will yield the same results; and that these purer Scottish portions, if we may so call them, may be compared with others, they will be indicated at the end of the Notes.