« AnteriorContinuar »
page but one of the Preface to the English Parnassus, by Josua Poole, M. A., of Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1657, and
<rT' assayle some Heard, the Desart pasturing neare,
Nor neuer leaue till they their Chattell cleare."
Drayton's Queen Margaret, p. 85, Ed. 1627.
And remembering the pronunciation of ' beseech,' shown above, see "speech," "beseech," and "seech" [seek], rhyming together in Sidney's Arcadia, Ed. 1605, p. 385. K is a letter of such unmistakable and unvarying force, that its use leaves no doubt as to the sound of the letters in the place of which it stands; but there is corroborative evidence in the frequent introduction of t before ch in some words, as if to insure the soft instead of the hard sound of the latter letters. Such are ritch, sutch, mutch, portch, reatch, coatch, toutch, breatch, the instances of which are of such common occurrence as to make citation superfluous. In these words, too, it is important to observe, that, according to my observation, k never appears in the place of ch; as in those previously noticed t is never introduced before ch. If we go back much farther than Shakespeare's time, wre find indications that this pronunciation of ch is in some cases a consequence of a former guttural pronunciation; as for instance, pertryclie and pertryke, (partridge :) in the same sentence of Juliana Berners, Sig. b, i, b.
In Love's Labour's Lost, Act V. Sc. 1, (Yol. III. p. 407,) we have an indication that ch was pronounced sometimes like sh; else " chirra," would there have been written shirrah. See the Note upon this passage, and that below upon the pronunciation of su.
The e in the preterit was rigorously pronounced, unless the contracted form was indicated. This was the case even in verbs ending in le, as in the following examples : —
"Now whilst yon purple'd hands do reek."
Mius Caesar, Act III. Sc. 1, Ed. 1623.
*< When we have shuffeVd off this mortal coil."
Hamlet, Act III. Sc. 1, Ibid.
where the contraction shows that the usual pronunciation was purple&d and shuffiedd. As to monosyllabic verbs ending in ie, usage was in a period of transition. Gabriel Harvey, a friend of Spenser, and a critic of some repute in his day, says, "For you shall as well and as ordinarily hear fayer as faire, and aier as aire, and both alike, not only of dyvers and sundrie persons, but often of the very same; otherwhiles using the one, otherwhyles using the other; and so died or dyde, spied or spide, tryed or tride, fyer or fire, myer or myre, with an infinite number of the same sorte, sometime monosyllaba, sometime polysyllaba." E final of a word inflected or augmented, though not pronounced in the simple form, was often heard in the new word. See, for instance, —
"And on her bosome cold she layeth clothes hot."
Romeus and Juliet, Ed. Collier, p. 38.
"Then on her brest she crost her armes long and small."
Ibid. p. 71.
"But to proceed in bloud he thought no safetie to find." Albion's England, Chap. 94. And see the Notes on "happely," Vol. III. p. 128; "owles," lb. p. 211; and "commandement," Vol. IV. p. 371, and Vol. XI. p. 198. This is the remnant of a usage with which the reader of Chaucer is familiar.
This diphthong had generally the name sound oi a, rhyming with may and play, and sometimes the broad Italian sound of the same vowel, as in card, hard. A contrary opinion is expressed in the Note on "how most sweetly 'a will swear," Vol. III. p. 460. Into this error I was led by following one of those jacko'-lanterns which lead philological speculators sometimes into the mire, and rarely to any thing better than a mare's nest. It is not necessary that I should trouble the reader with telling him how I retraced my steps. I will only say, for my own sake, that I was beguiled by a theory, not led astray by an ignorance of facts. The volume was hardly printed before I saw that, though on the right road, I had gone the wrong way, and so had reached the converse of the true conclusion. The fact seems to be that the Irish pronunciation of ea is not a provincial corruption, but a relic of the best usage at the brightest period of our language and literature. This is shown by the following rhymes and spellings: "Seas" with "ways," Seneca's Ten Tragedies, 1581, fol. 104; "sea" with "delay,"
YOL. XII. A A
Ibid,; "iveare" and "hayre," Ibid. fol. 114 5; "hayres" and "tears" Ibid. fol. 50 and fol. 107 b; liseas" and "days," ZfoYZ. fol. 115; "siveaing" (swaying), Ibid. fol. 151 6; "teare" (from the eye) and "weare," Lilly's Gallathea, Act IV. Sc. 2; "the veale [vail] of love," Romeus and Juliet* Ed. Collier, p. 10, Idem, Ibidem, p. 47; "sea" with "play," Habington's Castara, 1639, p. 81, and the same word in the same author passim with 'way,' 'sway,' 'away,' « obey ;' 'slea' (slay), Golding's Ovid, 1587, fol. 153, and also in Ed. 1612, fol. 146. "Drayton furnishes the following examples among many others: "cleane" with "maintaine," Battaile of Agincourt, Bd. 1627, p. 27; "great" and " treat " writh "receite," (see the note below on EI,) Queen Margaret, Ibid. p. 68; "pay," "sea," and " day," Baron's Warres, Can. IV. st. 17; "prevayling" and "healing," Nymphidia, Ed. 1627, p. 129; "stay" with "sea," Moon Calfe, 3. p. 173; "seas" with "days," Elegies, lb. p. 202; "nature" with "creature," Heroical Epistles, 1619, p. 118; "bewayle" with "heal," Ibid.-p. 160; "teares" with "pray'rs," Ibid. p. 207; "avail" and "repeal," Ibid. 247; and passim the same author rhymes "despairs" with "teares," "rayes" with "disease," "chaine" with "leane," "aide" with "plead" "leane" with "swaine." "Flay" was as often spelled flea as flag. In Albion's England, Ed. 1602, we have, on p. 180, 'aim' twice spelled "eame;" and it is quite common to find 'hair' spelled kaire, heare, and hayre, in the same book. Throughout Browne's Pastorals, 1613, we have such rhymes as "sea" and "way," "rayes "and "seas," "creature'* and "nature," and "teares" and "theirs;" and Shakespeare rhymes "ear" with "hair," and "hairs" with "tea?*s," in Venus and Adonis; "tear" (noun) with "hair," in Lucrece; and, "sea" with "play," Henry VIII. Act III. Sc. I.
Such examples as these would seem to leave no doubt as to the point upon which they bear; for there is no uncertainty about the pronunciation of the words with which those in ea are made to rhyme, or of those which are spelled with this combination instead of another. It is not as if we inferred that « wound' must have been pronounced woivnd because it is found rhyming with 'found' and 'sound.' * Still ea had in many cases the sound which it has at the present day, which was given to it by some authors in some of the very words above cited. Two words in ea are remarkable for a pronunciation in Shakespeare's day different from that which they have now —- «thread' and 1 instead.' These I believe to have been universally pronounced threed and insteed. The instances of this spelling, or the equivalent threde and instede, are countless, and may be found in all authors. Sometimes, indeed, but with extremest rarity, we find thred; but that may be the result of careless printing, which its rhyming with need and like words, (as, for instance, in Aleyn's Crescy, 1633, p. 5,) would seem to show.
* See in Marsh's "Lectures on the English Language," pp. 477-481, this view as to the a sound of ea set forth and sustained, but by an entirely different mode of reasoning. There seems to be no room for question that Mr. Marsh has hit upon the sound indicated by the old spelling 6e and Gill's #.
In 'heart,' * heard,' ' earth,' ' dearth,' and * hearth,' ea appears to have had, in general usage, the broad sound of a — hart, hardy arth, and so forth, as could easily be shown by numerous citations. The first and the last are still preserved, and the others linger among the uncultivated. But 'heard' and « earth' were conformed to analogy by some speakers and writers, and pronounced haird and airth; and this usage is not yet extinct in New England. « Beard' appears to have had four sounds: beerd (rarely), haird (the most usual), bard, and burd — the sound of the same letters in «heard' at this day,
Ea had sometimes the separate force of both vowels, as the rhythm shows in the following passage from Albion's England: —■
"Minerva suffreth violence when Phao makes her faire, May such be disarithmetickt his Creatures that are."
Chap. 101, p. 400, Ed. 1606.
And until about the middle of the seventh century both the e and the a appear to have been heard in the last syllable of 'ocean,' the frequent dissyllabic pronunciation of which was probably regarded as a contraction. See the rhythm in the following lines : — "Unless thou let his silver waters keep A peaceful progress to the ocean."
K. John, Act II. Sc. 1.
"His reign of peace upon the Earth began,
Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean" St. 5.
See also "ocean" rhyming with "run" in Browne's Pastorals^ Vol. I. p. 25, Ed. 1772.
Ea had the sound of e short in 'leaped/ and perhaps 'heaped,' in the contracted form.
The Note on "thieves of the day's beauty," Vol. VI. p. 387, is too decided in its terms in regard to the pronunciation of beauty. It was often pronounced with the French sound of eau, but not " quite generally," I think. Of the conclusion to which I had arrived as to a prevalent affectation of a French pronunciation in England during the Elizabethan era, I afterwards found direct confirmation in Brown's Grammar, 1633, pp. 27 and 28.
In the pronunciation of this diphthong we have also an instance of the preservation in Ireland of the best, if not of the universal Elizabethan usage. I do not remember an instance in which spelling or rhyme indicates unmistakably the pure sound of e; but in favor of the pure sound of a (which ei still preserves in several words) such spelling and such rhymes as the following are numberless: In Daniel's poems kay and key interchangeably; «' conceipt" rhyming with '* weight," Musophilus, 1599, Sig. E.; the same word with "bait," in the first Sonnet of The Passionate Pilgrim; "deceit" with "retraite," Daniel's Letter of Cleopatra, St. 36. In Drayton, "deceits" with "baites," Queen Margaret, 1627, p. 66; "receit" with "great," lb. p. 68; "conceive" with " clave," Sirena, Ib.y. 145; "deceit" with "wait," Barons' Wars, Can.IV. St. 14; "seize" with "raise " and " daies," Cromwell, Eel. 1619, p. 371. Browne, in his Pastorals, rhymes "seize" with "lays," I. 126, and "key" with "lay," II. 139. Milton spells * straight' "streit" in L'Allegro■, 1673, p. 37, and 'strain' "strein" in the Hymn on the Nativity, lb. p. 2. Churchyard constantly spells « conceit' and * deceit,' "consait" and "desalt" 'Heinous ' is commonly spelled haynous, as it is now pronounced by the best speakers; see, for instance, Coryat's Crudities, 1611, the Comical History of Francion, 1655, and Guazzo's Civil Conversation, 1581, passim; and in the latter book, "perto'ning," fol. 19, "pemt," fol. 42, and " contend," fol. 37 b. Instances like stele, for 'stay,' Haven of Health, 1584, p. 109, are not uncommon, and k weird' as' we have seen, Vol. X. p. 515, was often spelled toayward; while . " wayward" = wilful, set in his own way, was as often spelled toelward or iveyward.