Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER VIII.

SCRAPS FROM ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS, ILLUSTRATING THE

ANGLO-NORMAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.

FROM what has been said in the preceding chapter it is evident that, in order to form a just idea of the changes that can be traced to Norman influence, we must know something of the language whose contact has so deeply affected the native speech of England. The Normans spoke French; but the French they brought with them in the eleventh century resembled that of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries as little as the latter resembled the French of the present day. A mere knowledge of modern French, therefore, would be of little avail to explain the elder forms of Norman French in England, and still less to account for the many. Latin terms that subsequently have found their way into the English language. The literary or classical Latin, it must be observed, had its origin in the unwritten languages and dialects of Italy. When the former ceased to be a living language, the latter still survived, and, modified by contact with the idioms and dialects of Gaul, became there a new language, which shows itself independent of the Latin from the ninth century. It is therefore only by going back to the origin of the language, and by studying its history from the time of the Roman conquest of Gaul down through the Middle Ages, that we shall be able to understand correctly the nature of the changes which transformed Latin into French, and to determine the real share of the Anglo-Norman French in transforming the ancient speech of England into modern English. For this purpose we devote a special part of our work to this subject in Appendix, a previous perusal of which will not only secure a correct understanding of the following specimens of Anglo-Norman French, but also assist in the solution of many etymological problems, which will undoubtedly be noticed by the student as containing the key for the solution of similar problems in his own language.

THE LORD'S PRAYER.

From the Psalter of William the Conqueror.
Li nostre pere ki ies ès ciels
saintefiez seit li tuens nums
Seit faite la tue voluntet
si cum en ciel e en la terre
avienget li tuns regnes
li nostre pan cotidian dun a nus oi
e pardunes a nus les detes essi cume nus pardununs a nos

deteurs
Ne nus mener en tentation
mais delivre nus de mal. Amen.

LAWS OF WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR. After the Oaths of Strasburg, found on page 600, and the poem on Sainte Eulalie, found on page 602, the eldest monument, written in Langue d'oil, and of which the age is clearly indicated, is the Laws of William the Conqueror, which were promulgated in 1069. This document is, by its antiquity, one of the most important as well as interesting, not only for the study of the language, but also for that of history and of Middle-Age jurisprudence. The entire code comprises sixty sections. As a specimen, we give here the introduction and the first three sections, as found in Fell's Rerum anglicarum scriptores; Historia Ingulphi, the original of which distinctly sets forth that the Laws as copied were in the very idiom in which they were promulgated, stat. ing even the reason why the Normans used their own language and not the Anglo-Saxon."

· Tantum tunc Anglicos abominati sunt (Normanni) ut quantocunque merito pollerent, de dignitatibus repellerentur; et multo minus habiles alieni. genæ, de quacunque alia natione quæ sub cælo est, extitissent, gratanter assumerentur. Ipsum etiam idioma tantum abhorrebant quod leges terre, statutaque anglicorum regum lingua gallica tractarentur; et pueris etiam in scholis princi. pia litterarum grammatica gallice, ac non anglice, tractarentur; modus etiam scribendi anglicus omitteretur, et modus gallicus in chartis et in libris omnibus admitteretur.-Hist. Ingulph., i, p. 70.

Attuli eadem vice mecum de Londoniis in meum monasterium leges æquissimi regis Edwardi quas dominus meus inclytus rex Wilhelmus authenti. cas esse et perpetuas, per totum regnum Angliæ inviolabiliter tenendas sub pænis gravissimis, proclamarat, et suis justiciariis commendarat, eodem idiomate quo editæ sunt; ne per ignorantiam contingat, nos vel nostros aliquando, in nostrum grave periculum, contraire, et offendere ausu temerario, regiam majes. tatem, ac in ejus censuras rigidissimas improvidum pedem ferre contentas (sic, contemtas) sæpius in eisdem, hoc modo .. etc. - Ibid., p. 83.

The Historia Monasteria Croylandensis attributed to Ingulphus, a writer of the eleventh century, was for a long time accepted as genuine, and also regarded as one of the most valuable sources of historical information, inasmuch as it includes, in addition to the history of the monastery, much that relates to the kingdom at large. In proportion to the estimation in which this work was held, was the amount of error of which it was productive, it being since proved to be con

of the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The Laws of William, however, are admitted to be copied correctly.

ORIGINAL TEXT.

TRANSLATION. Ces sount les leis et les cus- Ce sont les lois et les coutu. tumes que li reis William grentat mes que le roi Guillaume assura a tut le puple de Engleterre à tout le peuple d'Angleterre, apres le conquest de la terre. après la conquête du pays, celIce les meismes que li reis Ed- les-là mêmes que le roi Édouward sun cosin tint devant ard, son cousin, maintint avant lui.

lui. ço est a saveir :

C'est à savoir :

I.

I. Pais à saint Yglise. — De quel Immunité de la sainte Église. forfait que home out fait en cel -Quelque crime qu'un homme tens, e il pout venir a sainte ait fait en ce temps, s'il peut se yglise, out pais de vie e de mem- réfugier en sainte église, qu'il ait bre; e se alquons meist main sûreté pour sa vie et pour la en celui qui la mere Yglise re- conservation de ses membres ; quireit, se ceo fust u evesqué, u et si quelqu'un mit la main sur abbeïe, u yglise de religiun, ren- celui qui aurait eu recours à dist ceo que il i avereit pris, e notre mère l'Église, que ce fût cent solz de forfait; e de mere dans une cathédrale, ou dans yglise de paroisse, xx solz; e de une abbaye, ou dans une église chapele, x solz.

de communauté, qu'il rende ce qu'il y aura pris, et qu'il paye cent sous d'amende ; si ce fut dans la principale église d'une paroisse, vingt sous, et dans une

chapelle, dix sous. E qui enfraint la pais le rei en Et qui enfreint la paix du roi MERCHENELAE,3 cent solz les est passible, dans la loi des Mer

1 Of William's cousin, Edward the Confessor, and of his revival of the ancient Anglo-Saxon laws, Beneoît de Sainte-More says:

Mult ama Deu e saint Iglise,
E mult fist biens en mainte guise ;
Ententis fu à povres genz ;
Les leis e les viez testamenz
Del ancien accostomance
Mist en novele remembrance.

Chron. des ducs de Norm., tom. iii, p. 84. · Pais d saint Yglise, in low Latin, pax sancta Ecclesia, originally meant the safety which the Church offered to criminals who sought a refuge at the foot of the altar, and later on, the immunity or privilege granted by the kings to the Church to give an asylum to criminals proceeded against by justice. La pais le rei meant the public safety resulting from the protection of life and property by royal authority, and in course of time it came to mean the royal protection itself, the royal safeguard, the laws and regulations by means of which order is maintained. In English, “the king's peace."

3 Merchenelae, Anglo-Saxon, from Mercna, Mercian, and lah, law. Lex Merciorum.

amendes; altresi de HEMFARE' ciens, de cent sous d'amende; e de aweit prepensed.

de même pour HEMFARE et pour guet-apens.

II. Icez plaiza afierent a la coroune le rei,

Et se alquens, u quens, u provost mesfeist as homes de sa baillie, e de ço fuist atint de la justice lu roi, forfait fust u du. ble de ce que altre fust forfait.

II. Ces causes appartiennent à la couronne royale.

Et si quelqu'un, ou comte, ou prévôt, préjudicia aux hommes de sa juridiction, et que de ce il fût convaincu par la justice du roi, il fût puni au double de ce qu'un autre aurait été puni.

III.

III. E qui en DANELAE: fruisse Et dans la loi les Danois, qui la pais le roi vıı vinz liverez e enfreint la paix du roi est pasmi les amendez; e lez forvaiz sible de cent quarante-quatre [le roi] qui afierent al vescunte livres d'amende ; et pour les XL solz en MERCHENELAE et L

cas royaux qui appartiennent solz en WESTSEXENELAE. E

au vicomte, quarante sous dans cil frans hoem qui aveit sac, e la loi des Merciens, et cinquante soc, e tol,' e TEM,' e INFAN- sous dans la loi de Westsex.

5

1

num.

Hem fare, Anglo-Saxon, from hem, ham, heim, home, dwelling; see pages 190–193, and fare, aggression, from the verb faran, to go; to go against." This word is thus explained in the laws of Henry I, section 80. Hamsocna est vel Hamfare si quis præmeditate ad domum eat ubi suum hostem esse scit, et ibi eum invadit. Hem fare, therefore, means housebreaking ;' burglary," which itself is an old French word from bourg, “town," and larron, "robber."

9 Plaiz or plaids. In the latter form the word occurs in the Oath of Strasburg; see page 601, Appendix, from the Latin placitum ; placere. Cases to be settled amicably, “quod placet consentientibus." They said prendre plaid as we now say prendre un arrangement.

8 Danelae, Anglo-Saxon from Dane and lah. Lex Danorum.
Westsexenelae, Anglo-Saxon from West-Seaxe and lah. Lex Westsaxo-

Sac, Anglo-Saxon sac, sace, sache, a case ; a lawsuit. Sac was the right vested in the lord to call up cases and to impose fines.

Soc, Anglo-Saxon soc, soca, soce, soche, was the right vested in the lord to bring suit before his own court. Soc est secta de hominibus in curia domini, secundum consuetudinem regni. (Anc. MS., quoted by Spelmann.) Soca est quod si aliquis quærit aliquid in terra sua, etiam furtum ; sua est justicia, si inventum an non.-Laws of Edward the Confessor, sect. xxiii.

"Tol or thol was the lord's privilege of exemption from all duties of transfer, purchase, and sale. Thol, quod nos dicimus tolonium, est scilicet quod habeat libertatem vendendi et emendi in terra sua. — Laws of Edward, ch. xxiv. Toll, estre quitte de turnus; c'est costume de marché.- Formula angl. Thom. Madox, p. 47.

8 Tem, team, them, theam, in Anglo-Saxon, meant the right of a freeman over all the children born of serfs in his domain. Such children were called serfs natifs. Theam est regale privilegium quo qui fruitur habet villam et

6

GENETHEOF,' se il est in plaidé Et l'homme libre qui a sac, et e seit mis en forfait en le counté, soc, et TOL, et TEM, et INFANafiert al forfait a oes le vescunte GENETHEOF, s'il est accusé et XL ORES en DENELAE, e de mis à l'amende en cour comaltre home qui ceste franchise tale, il appartient, pour amende, nen ad XXXII ORES. De ces quarante ores au vicomte, dans XXXII ORES, avrat le vescunte a la loi les Danois, et pour tout oes le roi X ORES, e cil qui li autre homme qui n'a point cette plait avrat dereined vers lui xil franchise, trente-deux ORES. Sur ORES, et le seignur en ki fiu il ces trente-deux ores, le vicommaindra x ORES. Ço est en te retiendra dix Ores pour le DENELAE.

roi; celui qui aura soutenu l'accusation contre le coupable aura douze ORES, et le seigneur dans le fief de qui demeurera le coupable, dix ORES. Ceci est dans la loi des Danois.

HENRY I. Duke of Normandy and King of England. This prince, called le Beau Clerc, was the son of William the Conqueror, and a pupil of Lanfranc. He must have attained great proficiency under such a master to be named clerc, as, in the twelfth and thirteenth century, this title was synonymous with that of learned, in the same way as the word clergie then meant "science.” Mathilda, of Scotland, his first queen, was celebrated by the historians for her love of poetry, and Adelaide of Leuven, his second wife, also patronized the Norman and Anglo-Norman poets ; so that the love of those two queens for poetry, and the king's own taste for letters, made his court an asylum for the muses. Many manuscripts in the libraries of France and England bear the name of this prince as their author. Among others, there exists a poem of his called Urbanus ou l'home poly, in which he lays down certain rules of con. duct and behavior for the higher classes. It is a kind of “ Book of Etiquette" for the use of good society of that time, and forms a very interesting little work illustrating the manners of the age. One of its first precepts is that of speaking French, which he recommends as part of the accomplishments of a well bred gentleman.

Soiez debonere 1 et corteis ; ?
taches surtout, parler franceis.

a

propaginem ; id est potestatem habendi nativos, bondos et villanos in feudo aut manerio suo.- Rastall, art. Theam.

* Infanganetheof or infangenthef, in Anglo-Saxon, meant the right of the lord to judge and condemn a robber found on his domain in possession of the stolen goods. Infangentef hoc est, latrones capti in dominio, vel in feodo vestro, et de suo latrocinio convicti, in curia vestra judicentur. (Will. Thorn, p. 2030.) The word is composed of in, fangen, " to catch," and theof or thef, a thief."

. Ore, Anglo-Saxon dr, “one of the native minerals." "Hit is eac berende on wecga drum árcs and isernes." It is fertile also in ores of lumps of brass and iron. (Alfred, transl. of Bede, lib. i, c. 1.) In William's time the ore was a coin of the value of about forty cents.

« VorigeDoorgaan »