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countries, soon amalgamated, and gradually extended tlieir joint sway over the whole island, except the more inaccessible provinces of Northern and Western Britain.
Such are the traditional accounts of the Anglo-Saxon conquest, as detailed by the Saxon Chronicle, and other native annals, and they have been received, without suspicion or inquiry, by most succeeding historians. But the evidence on which these supposed facts rest, is of too doubtful character to command, by any means, implicit belief. The real bistory of this period is wrapped in the darkest obscurity, and we can hardly say that any thing is certain beyond the simple fact, that before the close of the sixth century after Christ the most important portion of Great Britain had been subdued, and was possessed, by Gothic tribes known to the indigenous populations as Saxons. There is no historical proof by which we can identify the Anglo-Saxon language, and the people who spoke it, with any Continental dialect and nation; nor, on the other hand, by which we can establish a diversity of origin or of speech between the Anglian and the Saxon colonists of Great Britain. But there is linguistic evidence of a great commingling of nations in the body of intruders. The Anglo-Saxon, in its obscure etymology, its confused and imperfect inflections, and its anomalous and irregular syntax, appears to me to furnish abundant proof of a diversity, not of a unity, of origin. It has not what is considered the distinctive character of a modern, so much as of a mixed and ill-assimilated speech, and its relations to the various ingredients of which it is composed are just those of the present English to its own heterogeneous sources. It borrowed roots, and dropped endings, appropriated syntactical combinations without the inflections which made them logi.
cal, and had not yet acquired a consistent and barnonious structure when the Norman conquest arrested its development, and imposed upon it, or, perhaps we should say, gave a new stimulus to, the tendencies which have resulted in the formation of modern English. There is no proof that AngloSaxon was ever spoken anywhere but on the soil of Great Britain ; for the Heliand, and other remains of old Saxon, are not Anglo-Saxon, and I think it must be regarded, not as a language
which the colonists, or any of them, brought with them from the continent, but as a new speech resulting from the fusion of many separate elements. It is, therefore, indigenous, if not aboriginal, and as exclusively local and national in its character as English itself.*
But independently of such internal evidence, it is very improbable that, at a period when there existed little political, or, so far as we have reason to believe, linguistic unity in any considerable extent of maritime territory occupied by the Gothic race, any one branch, or any one dialect, of that race, could have supplied a sufficient number of emigrants for so extensive conquest and occupation. The dialects of the islands and south-eastern coasts of the North Sea, are at this day extremely numerous and discordant,t the population very mixed and diversified in blood; and there is no reason to suppose that there was less diversity of language or of origin among the inhabitants of those shores, at the rude and remote period of the conquest of Britain. To determine, therefore, the relative share of different tribes and different dialects in the formation of the Anglo-Saxon people and the Anglo-Saxon speech, would be a hopeless and an unprofitable task; but we may safely adopt the general conclusion, that in both the Teutonic element predominated over the Scandinavian.*
* See Lecture vi. /
The dialects referred to in the text are generally grouped under the common denomination of Frisic or Frisian, but they vary so much both in structure and vocabulary, that, in many instances, they cannot be considered as having much direct relationship with each other. In no part of Europe are there so many speeches within the same area, which are mutually unintelligible to those who employ dialects held to be cognate. At least five principal varieties or patois are recognized in modern Frisic, and each of these is subdivided into several local jargons. No Frisic literature can be said to exist, for neither the ancient legal codes, nor the few modern rhymes, constitute a body of writings sufficiently various and comprehensive to be dignified with such an appellation. Accidences and partial vocabularies of several Frisic dialects have been com
piled, but as, in spite of these and occasional dilettantisms in the way of verse, written Frisic is never employed for any practical purpose, the language has no orthography, and is, philologically speaking, an unwritten tongue. It is therefore subject to all the uncertainty and vacillation of other languages, which exist only in the mouth of the people; nor is there any satisfactory evidence to show that it was ever much more consistent and homogeneous, as an independent speech, than it is at this hour. The data are too insufficient in amount, and too vague and uncritical in character to serve as a basis for speculation upon the relations between Frisic as a whole, and other tongues; and we might almost as well build arguments concerning the grammatical system of the Latin upon the modern patois of Normandy, Gascony, and Provence; or construct a theory of the Anglo-Saxon inflections and syntax from a comparison of Tim Bobbin's dialogues, the mercantile jargon of Canton, and the Talkee-talkee of the negroes of Surinam. See Lecture xviii.
* German and Germanizing philologists appear to me to make Frisic too exclusively Teutonic. Take for example the argument from the frequent termination of the names of places in um, as Hus u m and others, which is said to be in all cases a contraction of heim. Now there are, in unequivocally Scandina. vian districts, local names ending in um, which in these instances are taken from the dative plural of the original appellation of the locality. Thus, in Old Northern, Upsal was a plural, Uppsalir; at or in Upsal, á or í Uppsölum. In speaking of towns, we use in English most frequently the objective with the prepositions at or in, and in like manner in Old Northern, the dative, as á or i, Húsum, would occur oftener than any other case of the name of that town. When the inflections were dying out, as in the confused mixture of rices in Schleswig-Holstein and its borders, they did very early, the case oftenest in use would survive all others, and become the indeclinable name of the town, just as, in Danish and English, Holum is the only form for all the cases of the Ice landic H olar, the name of a place in northern Iceland, remarkable as having long possessed the only printing press in the island. In the case of Húsum, the dative plural, which would mean at the houses or at the village, is a much more probable etymology than Húshjem, (II a us-heim,) which would be pleonastic. These instances in the modern Scandinavian dialects are precisely analogous to the formation of Stanchio from és tày Kw, and other similar names in modern Greek, the accusative in that language supplying the place of the dative, which is obsolete. See, further, Appendix, 4.
There is, moreover, pretty satisfactory evidence that An. gles formed some portion, at least, of the new population, and though we have no reliable direct proof of the emigration into Britain of any tribe that had called itself Saxon while resident on Germanic soil, yet, apart from tradition, we are authorized to infer such an emigration from the loca! names Sussex, Essex, Wessex, and Middlesex, (South Sax. ons, West Saxons, East Saxons, and Middle Saxons ;) from the fact that all the intruders alike were named Saxons by the native Celts; and from the further, circumstance, that after the language was reduced to writing, it was called by those who spoke it Saxon as well as English. How then did England become the exclusive appellation of the country, English of the language? We have no evidence whatever of the application of any general or collective name to the people, the country, or the speech, before the introduction of Christianity into England. The new inhabitants of the isl. and became first known to the Roman see through Anglian captives who were carried to Rome in the sixth century. The name of their tribe, in its Latinized form, Angli, we may suppose was bestowed by the Romans upon the whole people, and the derivative, Anglia, upon the territory it occupied. The Christian missionaries who commenced the conversion of Britain would naturally continue to employ the name by which the island had become known anew to them, and their converts, especially if no general name had been already adopted, would assume that which their teachers brought with them. This, in the absence of any satisfactory proof that the Angles were a particularly numerous or powerful element in the population, appears the most proba
The names of the two brothers, Hengist and Horsa, who are said to have beaded the most eventful incursion of the invaders, are words in one or another form common to all the Scandinavian and the Teutonic dialects. Both are names of the genus horse, but in most localities hengst is appropriated to the male, while in some, and particularly in Schleswig, borsa or hors is confined to the female animal. J. G. Kohl informs us that both the proper names are still current in the district from which the ancient conquerors are reported to have emigrated. A Danish colonel told the traveller that in a company of his regiment there were two privates bearing these names; and it happened, odd. ly, that in this case Hengist and Horsa, like Castor and Pollux, were still inseparably united, the places of the two soldiers being side by side in the ranks. Inseln u. Marschen Schlesw-Holst. i., 290.
, ble reason that can now be assigned, why a people, who, in large proportion, retained for themselves and their several provinces the appellation of Saxon, and who were known to neighboring nations by no other name, should have surrendered this hereditary designation, and given to their language the name of English, to their country that of England, or the land of the Angles.
The language itself, in the earliest existing remains of the native literature, whether composed in Latin or in the vernacular, is generally called English, but sometimes Saxon. These remains are all of later date than the adoption of Christianity by the English people, and, of course, however prevalent the use of English as a national appellative may be in them, nothing can be thence inferred as to the extent to which the term was applied at earlier periods. The compound term, Anglo-Saxon, first occurs in the life of Alfred, ascribed to his contemporary, Asser, who calls that prince Angul-Saxonum Rex, king of the Anglo-Saxons. The