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they offer solemn general prayers, so composed that every man may privately apply to himself that which is commonly spoken of all. They thank God for all their blessings and especially for placing them in that state and religion which seemeth to be best. At the same time they pray that if there be any other better state or religion God will reveal it unto them of His goodness, and will after death take them unto Himself. The prayers ended they again prostrate themselves, and presently afterwards rise and go forth and spend the rest of their day in 'plays and exercise of chivalry.'

Thus does More in his imaginary republic suggest remedies for the evils most rife in his day. He longed to see more thought taken for the labouring classes and their toil lessened, he wished that selfishness and greed and the making haste to be rich should be abated. He had perfect faith in the blessings of education, and so would have every one to partake in them ; and feeling that a sound mind could only exist in a sound body he would force due regard to be paid to conditions of health in the cities of the land and the homes of the people. He was ever desirous that wars should cease, and that the essentials in • religion should be most dwelt upon as likely to lead to unity, while for the sake of non-essentials there should be no schism. His book therefore has a living interest for the people of to-day, for the same desires and aims fill the minds of the best among men at the present time; but it is a homily on the hopelessness of labour in this field, that most schemes which are put forward for the advancement of these noblest ends are doomed to be as little accepted as were More's in his time, and generally come to be classed under a title drawn from his essay, and to be styled 'Utopian.'




His birth (7th Feb.)

1477 His life at Oxford .

1492—3 His studies at New Inn.

1494—5 He enters at Lincoln's Inn

1496 More first meets Erasmus He enters Parliament

1502 Temporary retirement from public life .

1504 First Marriage

1505 Death of Henry VII. and accession of Henry VIII. 1509 More made Undersheriff

1509 Death of his first wife

1511 or 1512 Second Marriage.

1515 Second part of 'Utopia' written


1516 His life at Court commences

1518 League of Cambray

1529 He is made Lord Chancellor

1529 Resigns his office.

1532 His execution (6th July)


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First part



FROM the irregularity which characterizes all the orthography in works of this date it is impossible to draw from them any conclusions about the pronunciation of words or on the main peculiarities of English inflexions in the Tudor period. Sometimes, for example, an e final is preserved where the older language would have preserved it, but in almost as many cases it is omitted, and so there can be no certainty whether such final letters were sounded or not. It is therefore only possible for us to notice in the matter of language some few usages which are of frequent occurrence in this version.

It is a favourite practice of the translator to give two English words for one in the Latin text, and frequent instances of this have been recorded in the notes. It would seem as though Robynson had felt that he was not able to bring out by one English word the whole of what was contained in his original. And this must often be the case with translators, for no two languages ever entirely run on all fours, and it is therefore easy to account for Robynson's duplicate renderings. The same sort of double translation is a marked feature in King Alfred's version of Gregory's • Pastoral Care.'

In some few instances the French orthography has exercised its influence upon his English spelling. Thus we have avauncement (3. 10), endevoire (3. 22), royalme (31. 1), perfet (105. 30), aventure (141. 16), and several others.

Among purely English words the only one of which the spelling is not easy to account for is skasely or scasely (68. 13 ; 82. 30; 129. 11) for scarcely. It would almost appear as though


in pronunciation there had been in Robynson's time a dropping of the liquid, but yet the r is preserved when he writes skarsnes.

To is very frequent for too, as 3. 5; 12. I, &c., and conversely too for to, as 23. 5, but this is no doubt due to the absence of all rule about spelling, and the same may be said of where=were (3. 6).

It may have been some singularity of pronunciation which produced harde (5. 3) and hard (52. 19) as the past tense of the verb hear. The older form was hyrde.

But it is in the use of the pronouns that the greatest peculiarities may be noticed. Sometimes they are omitted, as 2. 16, “Whiche busie labour ... when Diogenes sawe ... immediately girded about him his phylosophicall cloke, where the long parenthesis in the sentence may perhaps account for the omission of he before girded. Another example will be found 25. 6, where except by the help of the Latin it is difficult to catch at first the meaning of the sentence, 'There be ynow of them that sue for great mens frendshippes; and therefore thinke it no great hurte if they have not me &c.,' where thinke is really= think thou, Lat. ne putes. So 35. 30, 'as please them' is for 'as it may please them,' and 29. 32, "These men as sone as their mayster is dead, or be sicke themselfes’ is for 'or they be sicke themselfes.'

Again a pronoun is inserted where we should not now use it. Thus 9. 4, “The faultes, I doubt not, but thou wilt wink at them.' So 42. 13, to conceal suche an enterpries it is death.” Similar superfluous pronouns will be found 46. 12; 59. 9; 60. 14; 83. 33, &c.

The objective case of myself is not unfrequently written ine self, as 3. 17; 5. 6, &c., and the selfe is found 106. 33; 107.4, but the other forms are also quite as common.

The own is a rendering of Lat. suus, where we should now say its own. But in the language of Robynson its had no existence. So we have 101. 29, ‘Of the owne nature a thinge so unprofytable,' anå 113. 29, ‘Shal it not know the owne wealthe,' and 147. 10, the trueth of the own powre would come to lyghte.'


So 77.

With Robynson other is plural as well as singular when used without a noun and = other persons. Thus 5. 16, 'this man with divers other,' and 29. 22, 'to live of that whiche other have laboured for,' and in many more places.

In the same way whosoever is a plural in 98. 19 ‘Finally whosoever for anye offense be infamed, by their eares hange rynges of golde.'

He uses that for that which not unfrequently, as 23. 23, 'I am determined to reherse onely that he tolde us.' 10, 'When he hath rashely spoken that commeth to his tonges ende.'

The which is found in the same sense 53. 12, 'there is no waye so proffitable, nor more honorable, as the whyche hathe a shewe and coloure of justice.'

He employs very they where we should now say those very men, as 129. 25, yea even very they that avaunce themselves authours of lyke counsell.'

In the form whomewyth (136. 23)=with whom, we have an imitation of the Latin quicum, by placing the preposition as a suffix to the pronoun governed by it.

Beside these pronominal peculiarities there are in the text a few peculiar forms of adverbs.

In the older English we often find adverbs formed by the possessive cases of nouns as nedes i.e. needs=of necessity, of need. Of the like form though not derived from nouns are such words as towards, forwards, of which we have the duplicates toward and forward. After this form we have in the Utopia hedlonges=headlong 59. 32 ; and amonges=among 21. 15, while togethers=together is of constant occurrence, as 6. 12; 9. 9; 10. II &c.

The use of double negatives is not uncommon as 67. 22, "The sea is not roughe nor mounteth not with great waves,' and 141. 12, Nor do they not set drudgeis and slaves aworke about it,'

We find now and then an instance of the case absolute, as (107. 25), ' These laws not offended, it is wysdome that thou looke to thine own wealthe.'

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