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other words. As to terms which were to be built into the English Bible fourscore years later, we find Jewry, ensaumple, sutil, enquire, according to; these had been in use much earlier.
The great change we owe to Pecock is a new phrase that took off a part of the heavy load thrown upon but. The source of our unless is now seen. In the Repressor (page 51), he speaks of the Lollards, 'whiche wolen not allowe eny governaunce to be the lawe and service of God, inlasse than it be grondid in Holi Scripture.' It was hundreds of years before this word could be used freely; in our New Testament it comes but once ; unless ye
hare believed in vain.' Pecock uses his new phrase four times in his Repressor. Another word, common in our mouths, is seen for the first time in a Lancastrian ballad of 1458: acros the mast he hyethe travers.' This is not found once in our Bible.?
At this time English prose rose high above English poetry; and herein the Fifteenth Century stands alone. That one short passage of Mallory's, pronouncing Sir Lancelot's elegy, outweighs many pages of later poets, such as Barclay, Skelton, and Hawes. Civil war is commonly thought to forebode evil to literature; England for forty years after Duke Humphrey's death was harassed by risings of the Commons, or was divided between the Red and the White Roses, as many a bloody field bore witness. Yet this is the
| Archeologia, XXIX. 326.
2 England was, as a general rule, very different from France; the prose of Molière and Vo
aire far above their poetry, and no rim. ing Frenchman has come near Bossuet or Pascal.
precise time when English prose was handled with wonderful skill. Theology, chivalry, law, and homely life found the best of representatives in Pecock, Mallory, Fortescue, and Caxton. This was the time when our inflections were almost all driven out; there is a great difference between the Bishop's writings and those of the Printer thirty years later. At this latter date, few inflections remained. Pity it was that the printing press did not come to England a few years earlier; we might then have kept the old Plural ending of the Verb in en. Ben Jonson long afterwards bemoaned this heavy loss.
About the time that the Red Rose was withering, the Northern words their and them drove out the Sauthern her and hem. King Henry VI. uses the former in a proclamation, put forth at York a fortnight before Towton field. There are other words, common in our mouths, which we owe to Yorkshire. Robert of Brunne had written
syn instead of the old siðdan; but in a Knaresborough petition of 1441, we find a formation from this syn, the new synnes or since; this we have kept. We also see my verray good maister' in a letter of 1462: this very (valdè) was not well established in Standard English until sixty years later, when it unhappily almost wholly drove out right.? The ending of verbs are clipped in these Yorkshire letters, and
· If we must subdivide New English prose, the decisive periods seem to be 1470, when many inflections were dropped by Caxton ; 1650, when Cowley and Baxter began to write ; 1740, when Johnson was becoming known; 1800, when Cobbett was making his mark.
? Chaucer talks of 'a rerray parfit gentil knight, but here the verray is an adjective.
corruption soon spread Southward. In a letter of 1464, the old Northern Plural of the Present Tense in s is seen ; and Robert of Brunne's holy (integrè) is changed into wholie, a wretched corruption which we are still doomed to write.! In the same letter, we see far (procul) replacing the old ferre, as it did in the Northern Psalter. I give the Knaresborough wedding formula of 1450 : Here I take the ... to my wedded wife to hold and to have, att bed and att bord, for farer or Jather, for better for warse, in sicknesse and in hele, to dede us depart, and thereto I plight the my trouth.'?
Salop, like Yorkshire, has had some influence upon Standard English. In 1426, an old blind monk, known as 'Syr Ion Audlay,' was compiling his poems, striking at Lollards and worthless priests alike. Ho lived on the border land between the Northern and the Southern varieties of English speech, as we could tell from a few lines in
And vii aves to our lady,
That heo wyl fore me pray.
The Salopian shows us that the old lewd (indoctus) was getting its bad modern meaning, when at page 3 he brands the wicked lives of the clergy of his time. He
? I have ventured on writing rime instead of rhyme; but I must leave to bolder men to write hole instead of whole, coud instead of could.
2 Plumpton Letters (Camden Society), LIV., LXXVII. 1, 11, 233.
3 Percy Society, No. 47. The Sir, applied to a priest, lasted two hundred years, down to Sir Hugh Evans.
pronounced one (unus) much as we do : in page 35 we
thai serven won Lord.'
This won was to be brought into the English Bible, a hundred years later, by another Western man. What Chaucer called a persone, Audlay calls a parsun; he also tries to Latinize the old siker (securus), writing it secur.
We must glance at Audlay's shire thirty years after he wrote; in this interval, the Southern speech seems to have been losing gronnd. There is hardly a spot, throughout England, so closely linked both to our history and to our literature, as that Salopian stronghold, Ludlow Castle. Here it was that Richard Duke of York (he held also Sandal in Yorkshire) brought up his children ; from hence in 1454 was written the joint letter of the future King Edward IV. and of the boy Rutland, who was soon to fall at Wakefield. This letter is most unlike in its forms (geve replaces geve) to the language Bishop Pecock would have used at Paul's Cross before his London hearers ; it shows us the clipped English that must have been learnt in childhood by King Edward and his sister, the future wife of Charles the Bold. When the Sun of York was making glorious summer in England, more Northern forms came in ; the conqueror's diction may be studied in some of the Paston Letters.? Now it was, if ever, that Kings brought
All inflections are here clipped, much as they are in 1873. The letter is in Gairdner's Paston Letters, I. cxi.
2 Do., I. 298, (here the word adoo (negotium) comes ; 325, lxxvii. The rightful g is here beginning to replace the usurping yo influence to bear upon England's tongue. After 1460, the clipped inflections of Ludlow and Sandal must have become familiar in the ears of the ladies and knights that begirt Edward IV. and the Kingmaker at the Court of London. But it was abroad, more than at home, that change was at work. Caxton, a Kentish man, whose grandfather must have been born about the time that the Ayenbite of Inwit was compiled, lived long in London; and then about 1440 betook himself to the Low Coun. tries, where he printed the first English book in 1471. We might have expected, from his birth and breeding, that he would have held fast to the old Southern forms and inflections, at least as much as Bishop Pecock did. But Caxton had come under another influence. In 1468 be had begun translating into English the Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye ; and in the same year King Edward's sister was given to Charles the Bold. The new Duchess took an interest in the work of her countryman, who had sickened of his task after writing five or six quires. In 1470, "she commanded me,' says Caxton, 'to shew the said five or six quires to her said grace. And when she had seen them, anon she found defaute in mine English, which she commanded me to amend.' She bade him (he had a yearly fee from her) go on with his book; and this work, the first ever printed in our tongue, came out in 1471. It was 'not
Mr. Earle tells us (Philology of the English Tongue, p. 97) that 'a French family settled in England and edited the English language;' he means the Plantagenets. I suspect that the Queen's English owes more to a Lincolnshire monk, on whom I have bestowed some pains, than to all our Kings put together who have reigned since the year 901,