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قراءة كتاب Notes and Queries, Number 85, June 14, 1851 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc.

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Notes and Queries, Number 85, June 14, 1851
A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc.

Notes and Queries, Number 85, June 14, 1851 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc.

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is necessary to take in the whole context. Arviragus and Dorigene live in wedded happiness, until the former, leaving his wife, takes shipping

—— "to gon and dwelle a yere or twaine

In Englelond, that cleped was eke Bretaigne."

Dorigene, inconsolable at his loss, sits upon the sea-shore, and views with horror the "grisly, fendly, rockes," with which the coast is studded, in every one of which she sees certain destruction to her husband in his return. She accuses the gods of injustice in forming these rocks for the sole apparent purpose of destroying man, so favoured in other respects, and she concludes her apostrophe in these words,—

"Than, semeth it, ye had a gret chertee

Toward mankind; but how then may it be

That ye such menēs make, it to destroyen,

Which menēs don no good but ever anoyen?"

Undoubtedly, in the third of these lines, "menes" seems to have a perfectly good meaning in the sense of instrument, or means to destroy. But, in the last line, the same sense is not so obvious—"means to destroy" must necessarily be destructive, and Chaucer would never be guilty of the unmeaning truism of repeating—"means which do no good but ever annoy."

Moreover, I am not aware that the accent is ever thrown upon the silent e where the signification of "mene" is an instrument—

"She may be Goddēs mene and Goddēs whippe"—

but in the lines under discussion the last syllable in both cases is accented, agreeing in that respect with the Armorican sound—"menez."

Let us now examine whether the Armorican sense is capable of giving a perfect meaning to both lines? That sense is, a rocky ridge or emerging summit. Let us substitute the word rockēs for menēz, and then try what meaning the passage receives.

"If, quoth Dorigene, ye love mankind so well ——

—— —— —— how then may it be

That ye such rockēs make, it to destroyen,

Which rockēs don no good but ever anoyen?"

Here the sense is perfect in both lines—a sense, too, that is in exact keeping with Dorigene's previous complaint of THE USELESSNESS of these rocks—

"That semen rather a foule confusion

Of werk, than any faire creation

Of swiche a parfit wisē God and stable;

Why have ye wrought this work unreasonable?

For by this werk, north, south, ne west, ne est,

There n'is yfostred man, ne brid, ne best;

It doth no good, to my wit, but anoyeth."

I therefore propose the following as the true reading of the passage in question: viz.,

—— "Ye had a great chertee

Toward mankind; but how then may it be

That ye swiche menez make, it to destroyen,

Which menez don no good, but ever anoyen?"

And if I have succeeded in making good this position we no longer stand in need of a precedent for the same reading in the case of—"In menez libra."

A. E. B.

Leeds, May 31. 1851.

P.S. I have been favoured, through the publisher of "NOTES AND QUERIES," with an obliging note from S.S.S. (2), communicating some authorities, of which the most germane to this subject are—

1. From Archæologia Britannica (Edward Lhuyd. Oxford, 1707): "Armoric, Men, a stone; menez, a mountain."

2. From Walter's Welsh Dictionary: "Welsh, Maen, a stone; maen terfyn, a boundary stone; maen mawr, a large stone."

FOLK TALK: "EYSELL", "CAPTIOUS."

If folk lore be worthy of a place in your columns, folk talk should not be shut out, and that the etymological solutions, gathered from this source, which I have previously forwarded, have not appeared, is doubtless attributable to some other cause than indifferentism to the authority. I have found many inexplicable words and phrases, occurring in the older writers, rendered plain and highly expressive by folk talk definitions; and a glance at the relative positions of the common people of this day, and the writers of the past, to the educated and scholarly world of the nineteenth century, will suffice to show good reasons for a discriminative reference to the language of the one, for the elucidation of the other's expression. In common with the majority of your readers, as I should think, I found the notes and replies on "eysell" and "captious" to be highly interesting, and of course applied to the folk talk for its definition. In the first case I obtained from my own experience, what I think will be a satisfactory clue to its meaning, and something more in addition. There is a herb of an acid taste, the common name for which—the only one with which I am acquainted—is green-sauce; and this herb is, or rather was, much sought after by children in my boyish days. At a public school not a dozen miles from Stratford-on-Avon, it was a common practice for we lads to spend our holidays in roaming about the fields; and among objects of search, this green-sauce was a prominent one, and it was a point of honour with each of us to notify to the others the discovery of a root of green-sauce. In doing this, the discoverer, after satisfying himself by his taste that the true herb was found, followed an accepted course, and signified his success to his companions by raising his voice and shouting, what I have always been accustomed to write, "Hey-sall." I have no knowledge of the origin of this word; it was with us as a school-rule so to use it; and I have no doubt but that "ey-sell" was in Shakspeare's time the popular name for the herb to which I allude.

Mixing much with the rural population of Warwickshire, I have, on many occasions, seen the word "captious" used in the sense of carping, irritable, unthankfulness, and self-willed; and, in my humble opinion, such a rendering would be more in accordance with the character of the fiction, and the poet's early teaching, than any definition I have yet seen in your pages.

EMUN.

AN OLD MAN WHOSE FATHER LIVED IN THE TIME OF OLIVER CROMWELL.

[We are indebted to the kindness of the Rev. THOMAS CORSER for the opportunity of preserving in our columns the following interesting notice, from the Manchester Guardian of the 19th August, 1843, of the subject of his communication in our No. for May 31. (No. 83, p. 421.)]

Having heard of the extraordinary circumstance of an old man named James Horrocks, in his hundredth year, living in Harwood, about three miles from Bolton, whose father lived in the time of Oliver Cromwell, we took an opportunity, a few days ago, of visiting this venerable descendant of a sire who was contemporary with the renowned Protector. Until within the last few years he resided at Hill End, a small estate left him by an uncle when he was about twenty-six years old; but both his surviving daughters being married, and himself growing feeble, and his sight failing him, he left the land and went to reside with his eldest daughter, Margaret, and his son-in-law, John Haslam, at a place called "The Nook," near the Britannia, in Harwood. Here we found the old man, surrounded with every comfort which easy circumstances and affectionate friends can afford, and, to use his own language, "neither tired of living, nor yet afraid to die." He is a remarkably

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