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1. 25. to ken all the crafte, to know all the particulars. to ken is here to know; in l. 1452, to be known or discovered; and in 1. 8746, known it also means to be seen, or, to the sight, as in 1. 1567. The word is still used in Scotland with all these meanings, and with another, to make known, to instruct, to tell, as in Morte Arthure, 2619,
"Wille thow for knyghthede kene me thy name?"
The part. kennyng is used as a 8. meaning knowledge, as in 1. 2837 of this work; but it also means a very little, in the least degree, as in Burns's Address to the Unco Guid,'
"Then gently scan your brother Man,
Tho' they may gang a kennin wrang,
1. 29. fele yeres, many years: fele is an adv. in l. 1884. fele vertus, very or intensely virtuous; and in 1. 2400 it is used as a s. the fairest of po fele, the fairest of the band, lit, of those many. The word is still
1. 30. myn hit, to recollect for the purpose of telling: I thinke, I intend, or, I expect to be able, as in Wolsey's 'Speech to Cromwell,' "Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries;"
Myn, which occurs frequently in the above sense, also means to speak of, to tell of, as in 1. 431,
"This Medea the maiden þat I mynt first."
It is a good example of a peculiarity of the language of this work which cannot fail to be noticed, the dropping of the d and t sounds in certain words, as in comaund (= commanded), 11. 2557, 2564, graunser, 1. 2169, a practice which is still very common in the West of Scotland, as aul' for auld, baul' for bauld, caul' for cauld, callan for callant, buhher for butter, wahher for water, hree for three, &c. &c. readers of Burns's Poems will be able to supply many examples. (See note to 1. 347 of William of Palerne, E. E. Text edit.)
1. 32. for lernyng of vs, for our instruction. Note the peculiar use of learn this is the sense in which it is still most frequently employed in Scotland.
1. 35. pan hom maister were, than they had authority for: maister has here the same meaning as in the phrase, “he was master of his subject."
1. 36. lympit of the sothe, fell short of the truth: as a lame foot in walking falls short of the full step.
1. 37. menye, company, set (of poets): in this sense the word is used by Wickliffe, Langland, Barbour, Douglas, and Henryson; but a more common sense is, armed men, followers, from its original meaning of domestics, retainers. (See Glossary to Douglas's Virgil, Ruddiman's edition, and Wedgwood's Etym. Dict. s. v. Meiny.)
1. 38. haithill of dedis, prince of poets, lit. noble in (such) works:
haithill, hathell, occurs frequently in this work as a s., as also in Morte Arthure, and Poems on Sir Gawain, meaning a noble; but it is properly an adj., and as such is used in all these works. It also occurs
under the form athil A.S. apel.
1. 42. traiet pe truth, betrayed the truth: trust ye non other, believe not otherwise, or, take my word for it,-a form of asseveration still in use.
1. 45. folke as pai were, as if they were men.
1. 46. vnable, impossible.
onest were ay,
1. 48. othir, others: a form of plural still used. were always truthful and trustworthy: see note on onestly, 1. 281.
1. 49. verrit for nobill, approved for honour.
1. 54. graidly hade soght, had thoroughly inquired into: graidly and greidly represent the pronunciation of graithly, a pronunciation of th very common in the Lowlands of Scotland, and in the North of England. Burns, in his 'Address to a Haggis,' says,—
"Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
Graithe, Graithly, Graithnes, as used in this work, and as still used, express the idea of skill, ability, care, and consequently, preparation, determination, completeness, success. See Glossary for examples. 1. 55. weghes he hade, authors he possessed: as one may say, “I have got Shakespere."
1. 57. euper, each of them. saule, assault, siege; so in Barbour, VI. 871. assemely, battle or battlefield: the word occurs in different forms, semblé, semely, semle (representing varieties of pronunciation still existing), and is applied to a gathering, a council, a battle, a battlefield: see Glossary. see with pere een, saw with their own eyes.
1. 60. Dares and Dytes, Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis, reputed authors of histories of the Destruction of Troy. A fair idea of the value of the works may be had from the account of how and where the manuscripts were found: still they must have made a deep impression on the early French writers, whose works, through the influence of the Crusades, were scattered over Western Europe. Le Roman de Troie' of Benoit de Sainte-More, which Guido de Colonna so unblushingly appropriated and merely rendered into second-rate Latin, is the fruit of Dares and Dictys, and was the great romance of the Middle Ages. A splendid edition of Benoit's work was issued by Prof. Joly of Caen in 1870: the Introduction to this book is a fine specimen of learned and exhaustive editing.
1. 63. tothyr, prop. the other, but here used for other, and still so used in Scotland, where it is pronounced tother and tither. a Tulke a man, a soldier,-originally a talker, an interpreter, a mediator, as in Danish tolk: an adj. form of the word still exists in Scotland in tulchane, the name applied to the imitation calf which the milkmaid employs to entice the cows to yield their milk.
1. 69. ouerraght, overhauled: it occurs again in 1. 13898, as
mastered, and is used by Douglas in his Virgil, 139, 28. & right hom hym-seluyn, and wrote (a history) from them himself; but, as the next lines inform us, the story was too much condensed.
1. 71. for likyng to here, to make it pleasing to hear: thus likyng is used in the Houlate, III. 15, and in 'Chrysts-Kirk o the Grene,' 13. 8; but in 1. 75 it means pleasure, delight, as in Barbour, Book I. 226: "Fredome mayss man to haiff liking."
1. 76. Gydo it gate, Guido de Colonna got it: where he got it and how he used it any one may satisfy himself who compares Guido's 'Historia Trojana' with the works of Dares and Dictys, and the 'Roman de Troie' of Benoit de Sainte-More. Altogether it is one of the most wonderful and most successful cases of literary robbery the world has ever known. See Introduction to 'Le Roman de Troie,' by Prof. Joly, Paris, 1870. Dictys was edited in 1833, and Dares in 1835, by Andreas Dederich of Bonn,
1. 80. How the groundes first grew how the causes of the war originated; ground is still used in this sense, as, the grounds of their quarrel.
1. 81. torfer and tene = mischief and sorrow: þat hom tide aftur that befel them afterwards. tene is, properly, wrath, anger, but it also means the origin, the purpose, the carrying out, or the result of the wrath or anger. Golagros and Gawane, 1. 876, has "Ye sall nane torfeir betyde: " and Morte Arthure, l. 1976, has ". to tene and torfer for ever." 1. 84. derfje, daring, intrepid: doughty implies courage and endurance; derf, daring and intrepidity. Both words occur in Barbour, Blind Harry, and Douglas, and are still used in Scotland.
1. 88. thedur droghe assembled there. The use of d for th is frequent in this work, as in fader, moder, ledur, leddrit, &c., and is still common in some of the rural districts of the Lowlands: it may be noted in the works of Burns and Hogg.
1. 90. buernes (A.S. beorn), chiefs, but often throughout this work it means men, soldiers, knights.
1. 92. throughe dynttes of hond. A peculiar phrase, suggestive of encounters in the ring rather than in a famous siege, but in alliteration the poet requires the utmost license. This phrase occurs frequently in the Morte Arthure and in this Troy Book, and is one of the proofs that they are the work of the same poet. For examples in the Morte Arthure we find,
ffor thow salle dye this day thurghe dynt of my handez ! Thow salle dy this daye thorowe dyntt of my handez ! Be gret Gode, thow salle dy with dynt of my handys! Many dowghty es dede be dynt of his hondes! and in this Troy Book we have,
And mony deghit þat day þurgh dynt of his hond.
In these examples, and in many others where the word dynt occurs, as in the phrases "derfe dyntes," "dynttes of swerdes," "derit hom with dynttes," &c., the similarity is not confined to the phrase, it extends to the whole sentence and even to the turn of it. Dynt occurs often in Barbour's Bruce, as in Bk 1. 1. 769; 2. 427; 2. 532; 6. 139, &c.: it is still in use and often confounded with dunt; but dynt represents a sharp blow as with a stick or a sword, while dunt represents a blow as with the fist, or in a collision, and is used to express the palpitation of the heart. It is so used in Ross's Helenore, and in Poems in the Buchan Dialect.
1. 95. all the ferlies pat fell all the note-worthy events that happened: ferly is properly a wonder, but it is also used to express any sight, incident, or event that is unusual or that attracts attention; thus two friends meeting will say "let us walk thro' the toun and see the ferlies." The word is used in both senses in this work, and is still so used. unto the ferre ende, on to the very close (of the struggle): the far end is still a common expression in speaking of the close of a series or undertaking which is only begun, or proposed: see l. 2247.
1. 97. frayne will I fer and fraist of þere werkes, now I shall search out and speak of their works. Fraist appears as fraite in l. 10714 with the sense of to try, to find out; both forms imply to make attempt upon.
1. 98. mater, subject of discourse, or, the materials of which it is composed, or, the story itself: the word is still used in all these senses. RUBRIC. Pelleus exit Iason, Pelias enticed Jason: az is still used in the sense of to ask, to ask eagerly, and, to entice.
See note on 1. 8.
1. 105. walit, selected. 1. 106. Tetyda, Thetis. In O.E. the names of people very often followed the accusative form: as explained in Specimens of English from 1394-1579, by Skeat; p. 448, note to 1. 4506.
1. 110. ne etill will I ferre, nor will I further attempt (to tell): etill or ettle, to aim, to take aim, to attempt to propose, to purpose, to design, is still used. Ramsay has in 'The Gentle Shepherd,'
"If I but ettle at a sang, or speak,
They dit their lugs, syne up their leglins cleek."
It is also used as a s., as in 'Tam o Shanter,' where Burns says of the witch Nannie, that she
"Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
1. 111 refers to the story of Eacus, who, having lost his subjects through a pestilence, entreated Jupiter to re-people his kingdom; and, according to his desire, all the ants which were in an old oak were changed into men, and called by Eacus Myrmidons, from μvoμnă,
1. 113. prudest, most powerful, strongest so Wyntown has it, IIII. 8. 50, and so it occurs again and again in this work: for its other meanings see Glossary.
1. 114. born or hym-seluyn, born before himself, or, older than himself or is still used in this sense.
1. 117. stightill the Realme, guide or govern the realm: stightill implies nerve and power sufficient to control and guide, in short stitheness in the same sense it occurs in Golagras and Gawane, 1. 460. "Schipmen our the streme thai stithil full straught."
1. 121. erdand, lingering, abiding: in 1. 923 it has the sense of still found, and in 1. 2217, under the form erdyng, it means living, abiding in 1. 4233 we have erdis : abides, makes abode. See Ovid, Heroides, Epist. xii.
1. 123. Eydos. 1. 127. semly to wale, comely to look upon, or, as comely as one could look upon: semliche berynes comely bairns, occurs in Morte Arthure, 1. 655, and is a common phrase still.
1. 129. fellist, fiercest, deadliest.
1. 130. mery of his wordys, hearty, kindly of speech: in 1. 3745 Aganiemnon is described as,
Meke as a maiden, mery with all;
and in 1. 3941 Eneas is
A man full of mekenes & mery of his chere.
1. 133. inwones aboute, (that) dwell thereabout. Perhaps it ought to be in wones aboute' = in dwellings around, like the phrase, in entris aboute,' 1. 1600; 'in cuntre aboute,' Piers Pl. (A) ii. 129.
1. 136. as pof, as though, or, as if; pof has also the sense of although.
1. 138. lorde as he were, as if he were ruler: so Burns used as,— "The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last."-Tam o' Shanter.
1. 139. for doute pat might falle, being afraid of what might happen, -lit. for fear of what might befall: doute is fear or apprehension, or the ground of fear or apprehension. Thus, in The Bruce, Bk 5, 1. 291 (Jamieson's ed.),
"Quhen thai saw me assailyet with thre
and in Bk 9, 1. 82 of the same work,
yone men will all wyn or de
1. 147. full thicke, full frequently, full earnestly: thicke is still so used. throo (A.S. pra). Cf. Scot. thraw, thrawn.
1. 149. Of a fame þat fer, of a rumour that was current.
1. 150. for a bare aunter, as a great wonder: bare has here, and still has, the sense of pure, simple, and at the same time uncommon.
1. 160. pride has here the sense of strength, prowess. elde, old age: as in the old proverb, Eild and poortith 's sair to thole;' 'palsied eld,' Meas. for Meas., Act 3, Sc. 1; used also by Chaucer and Spenser.
1. 170. A nelue should be a nelne = an elne: so in l. 153, a nyle = an yle: cf. note to 1. 83 of William of Palerne, E. E. T. ed.