The Rowley Poems - NOTES TO THE APPENDIX.

NOTES TO THE APPENDIX.

1. I have chosen this part of the internal evidence, because the arguments, which it furnishes, are not only very decisive, but also lie within a moderate compass. For the same reason of brevity, I have confined my observations to a part only of this part, viz, to words, considered with respect to their significations and inflexions. A complete examination of this subject in all its parts would be a work of length. Back.

2. Of these varieties all, except the first, are more properly varieties of style than of language. The local situation of a writer may certainly produce a provincial dialect, which will often differ essentialty from the language used at the same time in other parts of the same country. But this can only happen in the case of persons of no education and totally illiterate; and such persons seldom write. It is unnecessary however to discuss this point very accurately, as nobody, I believe, will contend, that the poems attributed to Rowley are written in any provincial dialect. If there should be a few words in them, which are now more common at Bristol than at London, it should be remembered that Chatterton was of Bristol. Back.

3. It is not surprizing that Chatterton should have been ignorant of a peculiarity of the English language, which appears to have escaped the observation of a professed editor of Chaucer. Mr Urry has very frequently lengthened verbs in the singular number, by adding en to them, without any authority, I am persuaded, even from the errors of former Editions or MSS. It might seem invidious to point out living writers, of acknowledged learning, who have slipped into the same mistake in their imitations of Chaucer and Spenser. Back.

4. This is a point so material to the following argument, that, though it has never hitherto, I believe, been made a question, it ought not perhaps to be assumed without some proof. It may be said, that Chatterton was only the transcriber of the Glossary as well as of the Poems. Is to such an assertion we were to answer, that Chatterton always declared himself the author of the Glossaries, we should be told perhaps, that with equal truth he always declared Rowley to have been the author of the Poems. But (not to insist upon the very different weight, which the same testimony might be allowed to have in the two cases) it has happened luckily, that the Glosssary to the Poem, entitled Englysh Metamorphosis, was written down by Chatterton extemporally, without the assistance of any book, at the desire and in the presence of Mr. Barrett. Whoever will compare that Glossary with the others, will have no doubt of their being all from the same hand. Back.

5. Printed at London, MDCLXXI. The part, which Chatterton seems to have chiefly consulted,is that, which begins at Sign. Uuuu, and is entitled "Etymologicon vocum omnium antiquarum Anglicarum, quæ usque a Wilhelmo Victore invaluerunt, &c." Back.

6. I will state shortly some of those words, which have been cited above, as either not ancient or not used in their ancient sense, with their corresponding articles in Skinner.

ABESSIE; Humility. C. -- Abessed; -- Humilitatus. Sk.
ABORNE; Burnished, C. -- Borne; Burnish. Sk. It was usual with Chatterton to prefix a to words of all sorts, without any regard to custom or propriety. See in the Alphabetical Gloss. Aboune, Abrewe, Acome, Aderne, Adygne, Agrame, Agreme, Alest, &c.
ABOUNDE. This word Chatterton has not interpreted, but the context shews that it is used in the sense of good. So that I suspect it was taken from the following article in Skinner. Abone. -- a Fr. G. Abonnir; Bonum facere.
ABREDYNGE; Upbraiding. C. -- Abrede, exp. Upbraid. Sk.
ACROOL; Faintly. C. -- Crool, exp. Murmurare. Sk. See the remark upon ABORNE.
ADENTE, ADENTED; Fastened, annexed. C. -- Adent; -- Configere, Conjungere. Sk.
ALUSTE has no interpretation; but it is used in the sense of raise. Perhaps it may have been derived from a mistaken reading of Ayust, which is explained by Skinner to mean Tollere. See the remarks upon Alyse and Bestoiker, above.
DERNE, DERNIE; Woeful, lamentable, cruel. C. -- Derne; Dirus, crudelis. Sk.
DROORIE; Modestly. C. -- Drury; Modestia. Sk.
FONS, FONNES; Fancys, Devices. C. -- Fonnes; Devises. Sk.
KNOPPED; Fastened, chained, congealed. C, -- Knopped; Tied, Sk.
LITHIE; Humble. C. -- Lithy; Humble. Sk. But in truth I do not believe that there is any such word. Skinner probably found it in his edition of Chaucer's Cuckow and Nightingale, ver. i. where ths MSS, have LITHER (wicked), which is undoubtedly the right reading. Back.

THE END