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Southern English. Northern English.
The Northern men of the year 800 said, doema strong and longmod,' where the Southerners would have put 'déma strang and langmod.' We find no used just as the Scotch now use it, 'gif ic no fore-settu,' where na would have been used in the South. One of the most remarkable things in this Psalter is the first appearance of our them, used as a Pronoun, not as an Article. See Psalm cxlv. 6: 'All da in doem sind.' This is found but seldom; the settlers soon to come from Denmark would recognise it as a form akin to their own."
Much about the time that the Northumbrian Psalter was compiled, the Norsemen began to harry unhappy England. The feuds of near kinsmen are always the bitterest; and this we found true in the Ninth Century. Soon the object of the heathen became settlement in the land, and not plunder. The whole of England would have fallen under their yoke, had not a hero come forth from the Somersetshire marshes.
In A.D. 876, we read in the Saxon Chronicle that the Danish king, "Nordhymbra land gedælde, and
' I will point out an odd mistake of the Translator's. He found the Low Latin substantive singularis (whence the French sanglier and the Italian cinghiale) in Psalm lxxix. 14. This he took for an adjective, and translated syndrig, making great nonsense.
hergende weron and heora tiligende wäron. In the next year, the outlandish host 'gefor on Myrcena land, and hit gedældon sum.' In 880, 'for se here on Eastængle and geset pat land and gedælde.' Here we find many English shires, once thriving and civilised, parcelled out within four years among the Norsemen. The Angles were now under the yoke of those who four hundred years earlier had been their neighbours on the mainland. Essex seems to have been the only Saxon shire that Alfred had to yield to the foreigner. Now it was that the Orms, Grims, Spils, Osgods, and Thors, who have left such abiding traces of themselves in Eastern Mercia and Northumbria, settled among us. They gave their own names of Whitby and Derby to older English towns, and changed the name of Roman Eboracum from Eoforwic to Iorvik or York.
The endings by, thwaite, ness, drop, haugh, and garth, are the sure tokens of the great Danish settlement in England ; fifteen hundred of such names are still to be found in our North Eastern shires. The six counties to the North of Mercia have among them 246 places that end in by; Lincolnshire, the great Norse stronghold, has 212; Leicestershire has 66; Northamptonshire 26; Norfolk and Notts have rather fewer.
The Danes were even strong enough to force their preposition amell (inter) upon Northumberland, where
* At the head of the Yarrow is a mountain, called of old by the Celtic name Ben Yair. To this the Romans prefixed their Mont, and the Danes long afterwards added their word Law. The hill is now called Mountbenjerlaw; in it hill comes three times over. -Garnett's Essays, p. 70.
it still lingers. Our verbs bask and busk are Middle verbs, compounded of the Icelandic baka and bua with the ending sik (self)." York and Lincoln were the great seats of Norse influence, as we see by the numbers of Norse money-coiners who are known to have there plied their trade. English freedom was in the end the gainer by the fresh blood that now flowed in. When Doomsday book was compiled, no shire could vie with that of Lincoln in the thousands of its freeholders ; East Anglia was not far behind. Danish surnames like Anderson, Paterson, and, greater than all, Nelson, show the good blood that our Northern and Eastern shires can boast. Thor's day was in the end to replace Thunresday. Another Norse God, he of the sea, bearing the name of Egir, still rushes up English rivers like the Trent and the Witham, the water rising many feet: the eagre is a word well known in Lincolnshire. The Norse felagi is a compound from fee and lay, a man who puts down his money, like the member of a club. This became in England felaze, felawe, fellow. So early as 1525 it had become a term of scorn; but the fellows of our Colleges will always keep alive the more honourable meaning of the word.
The next specimen in my Appendix is the book called the Rushworth Gospels, the English version of which Wanley dates at the year A.D. 900, or thereabouts; one of the translators was a priest at Harewood, in Yorkshire. I give a few words to show
1 Dr. Morris was the first to point this out.
how much nearer it is to our speech than the West Saxon is :
Foerde 1 Drincan
Drinca, drince Sealde
All iara 2
· Here we have a Strong Verb turned into a Weak form, a corruption which has been going on ever since. Thus crope, used by Tyndale, after his time became crept.
? We see the hard g already softened into y, both here, and in the earlier Psalter.
In the last example we see the Norse n making its way into the Old English numeral. There are other remarkable changes. In Matthew ii. 4 we find heom employed for hig, just as we say in talking, 'I asked 'em.' The Norse Active Participle is often used instead of the Old English, as gangande for gangende: and this lingered on in Scotland to a very late date. The Norsemen, in this instance, brought English speech nearer to Sanscrit than it was before. The Infinitive, as will be seen in the above table, has already been clipped.
The Southern geworden became in Yorkshire award; where in England the old prefix ge lingers in our days, it commonly takes the form of a. The cases of Substantives and Adjectives, so carefully handled in the South, are now confused in the North; the Dative Plural in um often vanishes altogether. The letter h is sometimes put in or dropped, the most hideous of all our corruptions ; k and ch are found instead of c.
Sio (our she) for heo and ih for ic are most remarkable; in the latter form we go nearer to the Sanscrit ahan than to
the Latin ego.
Few of England's children have done her better service than Alfred's son and daughter, whose deeds are written in the Saxon Chronicle. King Edward's reign was one steady war against the Danish lords of