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1.6. Of the languages spoken in this Iland. Cap. 6.

Of the languages spoken in this Iland. Cap. 6.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 _WHat language came first withBritish. Samothes and afterward with Albion, and the giants of his companie, it is hard for me to determine, sith nothing of sound credit remaineth in writing, which may resolue vs in the truth hereof. Yet of so much are we certeine,Small dif|ference be|tweene the British and Celtike lan|guages. that the speach of the ancient Britons, and of the Celts, had great affinitie one with another, so that they were either all one, or at leastwise such as ei|ther nation with small helpe of interpretors might vn|derstand other, and readilie discerne what the speaker meant. Some are of the opinion that the Celts spake Greeke, and how the British toong resembled the same, which was spoken in Grecia before Homer did reforme it: but I see that these men doo speake without authori|tie and therefore I reiect them, for if the Celts which were properlie called Galles did speake Gréeke, why did Cesar in his letters sent to Rome vse that lan|guage, because that if they should be intercepted they might not vnderstand them, or why did he not vnder|stand the Galles, he being so skilfull in the language without an interpretor? Yet I denie not but that the Celtish and British speaches might haue great affini|tie one with another, and the British aboue all other with the Greeke, for both doo appéere by certeine words, as first in tri for three, march for an horsse, & trimarchia, whereof Pausanias speaketh, for both. Atheneus also wri|teth of Bathanasius a capitaine of the Galles, whose name is méere British, compounded of Bath & Ynad, & signifieth a noble or comelie iudge. And wheras he saith that the reliques of the Galles tooke vp their first dwelling about Isther, and afterward diuided them|selues in such wise, that they which went and dwelled in Hungarie were called Sordsai, and the other that EEBO page image 4 inhabited within the dominion of Tyroll) Brenni, whose seate was on the mount Brenhere parcell of the Alpes, what else signifieth the word Iscaredich in Bri|tish, from whence the word Scordisci commeth, but to be diuided? Hereby then, and sundrie other the like testi|monies, I gather that the British and the Celtish spea|ches had great affinitie one with another, as I said, which Cesar (speaking of the similitude or likenesse of religion in both nations) doth also auerre , & Tacitus in vita Agricolae, in like sort plainlie affirmeth , or else it must needs be that the Galles which inuaded Italie and Greece were meere Britons, of whose likenes of speech with the Gréeke toong I need not make anie triall, sith no man (I hope) will readilie denie it. Appianus tal|king of the Brenni calleth them Cymbres , and by this I gather also that the Celts and the Britons were in|differentlie called Cymbri in their owne language, or else that the Britons were the right Cymbri, who vnto this daie doo not refuse to be called by that name. Bodinus writing of the meanes by which the originall of euerie kingdome and nation is to be had and discer|ned, setteth downe thrée waies whereby the knowledge thereof is to be found, one is (saith he) the infallible te|stimonie of the sound writers, the other the description and site of the region, the third the relikes of the anci|ent speech remaining in the same. Which later if it be of any force, then I must conclude, that the spéech of the Britons and Celts was sometime either all one or ve|rie like one to another, or else it must follow that the Britons ouerflowed the continent vnder the name of Cymbres, being peraduenture associat in this voiage, or mixed by inuasion with the Danes, and Norwegi|ens, who are called Cymbri and Cymmerij, as most writers doo remember. This also is euident (as Plutarch likewise confesseth In vita Mary ) that no man knew from whence the Cymbres came in his daies, and ther|fore I [...]eeue that they came out of Britaine, for all the maine was well knowne vnto them, I meane euen to the vttermost part of the north, as may appeare fur|thermore by the slaues which were dailie brought from thence vnto them, whom of their countries they called Daui for Daci, Getae for Gothes, &c for of their con|quests I need not make rehearsall, sith they are com|monlie knowne and remembred by the writers, both of the Greekes and Latines.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The British toong called Camberaec dooth yet re|maine in that part of the Iland,British corrupted by the La|tine and Saxon spee|ches. which is now called Wales, whither the Britons were driuen after the Sarons had made a full conquest of the other, which we now call England, although the pristinate integritie thereof be not a little diminished by mixture of the Latine and Saxon speaches withall. Howbeit, manie poesies and writings (in making whereof that nation hath euermore delited) are yet extant in my time, wher|by some difference betwéene the ancient and present language may easilie be discerned, notwithstanding that among all these there is nothing to be found, which can set downe anie sound and full testimonie of their owne originall, in remembrance whereof, their Bards and cunning men haue béene most slacke and negli|gent. Giraldus in praising the Britons affirmeth that there is not one word in all their language, that is not either Gréeke or Latine . Which being rightly vnder|standed and conferred with the likenesse that was in old time betwéene the Celts & the British toongs, will not a little helpe those that thinke the old Celtish to haue some fauour of the Gréeke. But how soeuer that matter standeth, after the British speach came once o|uer into this Iland, sure it is, that it could neuer be ex|tinguished for all the attempts that the Romans, Saxons, Normans, and Englishmen could make a|gainst that nation, in anie maner of wise.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Petigrées and genealogies also the Welsh Britons haue plentie in their owne toong,The Bri|tons dili|gent in pe|tigrees. insomuch that manie of them can readilie deriue the same, either from Brute or some of his band, euen vnto Aeneas and other of the Troians, and so foorth vnto Noah without anie maner of stop. But as I know not what credit is to be giuen vnto them in this behalfe, although I must néeds con|fesse that their ancient Bards were verie diligent in there collection, and had also publike allowance or sa|larie for the same; so I dare not absolutelie impugne their assertions, sith that in times past all nations (lear|ning it no doubt of the Hebrues) did verie solemnelie preserue the catalogs of their descents, thereby either to shew themselues of ancient and noble race, or else to be descended from some one of the gods. But

Stemmata quid faciunt? quid prodest Pontice longo
Sanguine censeri? aut quid auorum ducere turmas? &c.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Next vnto the British speach,Latine. the Latine toong was brought in by the Romans, and in maner generallie planted through the whole region, as the French was after by the Normans. Of this toong I will not say much, bicause there are few which be not skilfull in the same. Howbeit, as the speach it selfe is easie and d [...]le|ctable, so hath it peruerted the names of the ancient ri|uers, regions, & cities of Britaine in such wise, that in these our daies their old British denominations are quite growne out of memorie, and yet those of the new Latine left as most vncertaine. This remaineth also vnto my time, borowed from the Romans, that all our déeds, euidences, charters, & writings of record, are set downe in the Latine toong, though now verie barba|rous, and therevnto the copies and court-rolles, and processes of courts and leets registred in the same.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The third language apparantlie knowne is the Sci|thian or high Dutch,The Saxon toong. induced at the first by the Saxons (which the Britons call Saysonaec, as they doo the spea|kers Sayson) an hard and rough kind of speach, God wot, when our nation was brought first into acquain|tance withall, but now changed with vs into a farre more fine and easie kind of vtterance, and so polished and helped with new and milder words, that it is to be aduouched how there is no one speach vnder the sunne spoken in our time, that hath or can haue more varietie of words, copie of phrases, or figures and floures of elo|quence, than hath our English toong, although some haue affirmed vs rather to barke as dogs, than talke like men, bicause the most of our words (as they doo in|déed) incline vnto one syllable. This also is to be noted as a testimonie remaining still of our language, deri|ued from the Saxons, that the generall name for the most part of euerie skilfull artificer in his trade endeth in Here with vs, albeit the H be left out, and er onlie in|serted , as Scriuenhere, writehere, shiphere, &c: for scri|uener, writer, and shipper, &c: beside manie other re|likes of that spéech, neuer to be abolished.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 After the Saxon toong,The French toong. came the Norman or French language ouer into our countrie, and therein were our lawes written for a long time. Our children also were by an especiall decrée taught first to speake the same, and therevnto inforced to learne their constructions in the French , whensoeuer they were set to the Grammar schoole. In like sort few bishops, abbats, or other clergie men, were admitted vnto anie ecclesiasticall function here among vs, but such as came out of religious hou|ses from beyond the seas, to the end they should not vse the English toong in their sermons to the people. In the court also it grew into such contempt, that most men thought it no small dishonor to speake any English there. Which brauerie tooke his hold at the last likewise in the countrie with euerie plowman, that euen the ve|rie carters began to wax wearie of there mother toong, & laboured to speake French, which as then was coun|ted no small token of gentilitie. And no maruell, for e|uerie French rascall, when he came once hither, was taken for a gentleman, onelie bicause he was proud, and could vse his owne language, and all this (I say) to EEBO page image 14 exile the English and British speaches quite out of the countrie. But in vaine, for in the time of king Edward the first, to wit, toward the latter end of his reigne, the French it selfe ceased to be spoken generallie, but most of all and by law in the midst of Edward the third, and then began the English to recouer and grow in more estimation than before; notwithstanding that among our artificers, the most part of their implements, tooles and words of art reteine still their French denomina|tions euen to these our daies, as the language it selfe is vsed likewise in sundrie courts, bookes of record, and matters of law; whereof here is no place to make any particular rehearsall. Afterward also, by diligent tra|uell of Geffray Chaucer, The helpers of our Eng|lish toong. and Iohn Gowre, in the time of Richard the second, and after them of Iohn Scogan, and Iohn Lydgate monke of Berrie, our said toong was brought to an excellent passe, notwithstanding that it neuer came vnto the type of perfection, vntill the time of Quéene Elizabeth, wherein Iohn Iewel l B. of Sarum, Iohn Fox, and sundrie learned & excellent wri|ters haue fullie accomplished the ornature of the same, to their great praise and immortall commendation; although not a few other doo greatlie séeke to staine the same, by fond affectation of forren and strange words, presuming that to be the best English, which is most cor|rupted with externall termes of eloquence, and sound of manie syllables. But as this excellencie of the Eng|lish toong is found in one, and the south part of this I|land; so in Wales the greatest number (as I said) re|taine still their owne ancient language, that of the north part of the said countrie being lesse corrupted than the other, and therefore reputed for the better in their owne estimation and iudgement. This also is proper to vs Englishmen,Englishmen apt to learne any forren toong. that sith ours is a meane language, and neither too rough nor too smooth in vtte|rance, we may with much facilitie learne any other language, beside Hebrue, Gréeke & Latine, and speake it naturallie, as if we were home-borne in those coun|tries; & yet on the other side it falleth out, I wot not by what other meanes, that few forren nations can right|lie pronounce ours, without some and that great note of imperfection, especiallie the French men, who also seldome write any thing that sauoreth of English tru|lie. It is a pastime to read how Natalis Comes in like maner, speaking of our affaires, dooth clip the names of our English lords. But this of all the rest dooth bréed most admiration with me, that if any stranger doo hit vpon some likelie pronuntiation of our toong, yet in age he swarueth so much from the same, that he is woorse therein than euer he was, and thereto peraduen|ture halteth not a litle also in his owne, as I haue séene by experience in Reginald Wolfe, and other, whereof I haue iustlie maruelled.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The Cornish and Deuonshire men,The Cor|nish toong. whose countrie the Britons call Cerniw, haue a speach in like sort of their owne, and such as hath in déed more affinitie with the Armoricane toong than I can well discusse of. Yet in mine opinion, they are both but a corrupted kind of British, albeit so far degenerating in these daies from the old, that if either of them doo méete with a Welsh|man, they are not able at the first to vnderstand one an other, except here and there in some od words, without the helpe of interpretors. And no maruell in mine opi|nion that the British of Cornewall is thus corrupted, sith the Welsh toong that is spoken in the north & south part of Wales, doth differ so much in it selfe, as the En|glish vsed in Scotland dooth from that which is spo|ken among vs here in this side of the Iland, as I haue said alreadie.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 The Scottish englishScottish english. hath beene much broader and lesse pleasant in vtterance than ours, because that na|tion hath not till of late indeuored to bring the same to any perfect order, and yet it was such in maner, as Englishmen themselues did speake for the most part beyond the Trent, whither any great amendement of our language had not as then extended it selfe. How|beit in our time the Scottish language endeuoreth to come neere, if not altogither to match our toong in fine|nesse of phrase, and copie of words, and this may in part appeare by an historie of the Apocrip [...]a translated into Scottish verse by Hudson, dedicated to the king of that countrie , and conteining sixe books, except my me|morie doo faile me.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 Thus we sée how that vnder the dominion of the king of England, and in the south parts of the realme, we haue thrée seuerall toongs, that is to saie, English, Bri|tish, and Cornish, and euen so manie are in Scotland, if you accompt the English speach for one: notwith|standing that for bredth and quantitie of the region, I meane onelie of the soile of the maine Iland, it be some|what lesse to see to than the other. For in the north part of the region, where the wild Scots,The wild Scots. otherwise called the Redshanks, or rough footed ScotsRedshanks. Rough foo|ted Scots. (because they go bare footed and clad in mantels ouer their saffron shirts af|ter the Irish maner) doo inhabit,Irish scots. Irish speech. they speake good Irish which they call Gachtlet, as they saie of one Gathelus, whereby they shew their originall to haue in times past béene fetched out of Ireland: as I noted also in the cha|piter precedent, and wherevnto Vincentius cap. de insulis Oceani dooth yéeld his assent, saieng that Ireland was in time past called Scotia; Scotia eadem (saith he) & Hiber|nia, proxima Britanniae insula, spatio terrarum angustior, sed si|tu foecundior; Scotia autem à Scotorum gentibus traditur appella|ta, &c. Out of the 14. booke of Isidorus intituled Origi|num , where he also addeth that it is called Hybernia, be|cause it bendeth toward Iberia. But I find elsewhere that it is so called by certeine Spaniards which came to seeke and plant their inhabitation in the same, wher|of in my Chronologie I haue spoken more at large.

Compare 1577 edition: 1 In the Iles of the Orchades, or Orkeney, as we now call them, & such coasts of Britaine as doo abbut vpon the same, the Gottish or Danish speach is altogither in vse, and also in Shetland, by reason (as I take it) that the princes of Norwaie held those Ilands so long vn|der their subiection, albeit they were otherwise reputed as rather to belong to Ireland, bicause that the verie soile of them is enimie to poison, as some write, al|though for my part I had neuer any sound experience of the truth hereof. And thus much haue I thought good to speake of our old speaches, and those fiue languages now vsuallie spoken within the limits of our Iland.

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