Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/480

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [ii s. XL JUNE 19, 1915.

1892 the seventh child proved a daughter. 'There was great relief, which explains the following item in The New York World for 14 Sept., 1892, p. 4, column 6: "The young Kaiser is overwhelmed with con- gratulations. It is a girl."

Perhaps some one can point to a con- .temporary record of the oracle in question.

ALBERT J. EDMUNDS. Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

SHAKESPEARE'S FRENCH. It has been said that " in * Henry V.' the dialogue, in many scenes, is carried on in French which is grammatically accurate." So Sir Sidney Lee, ' Life,' p. 15 ; no unbeliever in Shake- speare the man being the author of the plays. The " French " as it really is might be an argument for the playwright's part ignorance assuming that he composed the French scenes, and assuming that he wrote or dic- tated the French as it is now commonly corrected and published. For no correcting of spelling will make it all grammatically accurate. And as to its appearance in the First Folio, let the following extracts witness. Some of them do, indeed, look just like a copying down, according to sound in an ear ignorant of the language, e.g. :

IV. iv. 37, tout asture (tout a cette heure) II J. iv. 20 et de coudee (et le coude),

attempting the un-English final e sound-

And to such mistaking may be due :

.III. iv. 8. Je oublie, e doyt mays (j'oublie les

doigts ; rnais). .Te me souemeray (souvi-


.lb. 15. Coment appelie vous le ongles. lb. 40. N'ave vos y desia (deja) oublie. IV. ii. 8. Via les ewes et terre. IV. iv. 17. Le force ; as " le main " in III iv. Ib. 50. Les escues que vous layt a promets.

IV. v. 3. Mor Dieu ma vie.

V. ii. 122. Les langues des honimes sont plein de


Ib. 193. Le Francois ques vous parleis. Jb. 221. Mon tres cher et devin deesse. 76. 258. Je ne veus point que vous abbaisse

vostre grandeus.

However, no mistaking but the writer being ill at the grammar of French will well account for :

III. iv. 3. Je te prie m'ensigniez. lb. 30. Je men oublie.

IV. iv. 62. Saave (suivez) vous le grand capitaine. Still less for :

IV. iv. 33. II me commande a vous dire que vous

fnite vous prest.

V. ii. 118. Je suis semblable a les anges.

What then as to concluding from such French knowledge too hastily concerning Shakespeare's use of foreign literatures in -the original ? W. F. P. STOCKLEY.

University College, Cork.

"PoiLU." It would seem time for ' N. & Q.' to have some note on this nick- name Which the French soldier has bestowed upon himself. The men in the Argonne apparently first hit upon it, and used ac- curately, in their sense, it would seem to signify a soldier who has been at the front since last August, and to be withheld, in a sportive jealousy, from comrades, however far senior and respectable, who had the misfortune to arrive only in September. But such strictness hardly prevails now. The word has spread over France, and is the honorific epithet of every brave man in the trenches. There are purists among French journals as well as among ourselves, and one voice at least has been raised against " poilu " as a bit of vulgar slang. M. Maurice Don nay in a recent number of Les Annales takes up its defence, and, after pointing out that, as an equivalent for "man," it is not a "neologism " in slang, he gives the real reason which must compel its acceptance >" c'est le nom que nos braves soldats se sont donn6 eux-m ernes " and continues :

" Depuis des mois, sur un front de quatre cents kilometres, des milliers d'hommes vivent, dans les tranches, une vie souterraine et surhumaine : les balles siffient, les marmites e"clatent, 1'air est charg6 de probability inortelles et ces honimes disent simplement :

" Nous laissons pousser notre barbe.

" C'est admirable !

" Aujourd'hui, la femme la plus delicate, la plus ' petite bouche,' la plus ' pruneau de Tours,' la plus ' niflette,' comme on dit aux environs dc Grenoble, la Parisienne la plus fine ne balance pas a dire ' mon Poilu,' en parlant d'un <6poux ou d'un frere qui est au front, memo s'il se rase chaque jour, comme Stanley dans le desert, ou bien s'il se rase quelquefois, comme ce jeune lieutenant d'artillerie qui ecrivait a sa maman :

" ' a va tres bien, ce matin ; il fait du soleil et je peux enfin me raser, n'ayant qu'une jambe dans 1'eau, devant une petite glace attached a la queue de mon cheval.'

" Acceptons done ce mot de Poilu, prononcons- le, e"crivons-le, puisque, synonyme de he"ros, il est entre" dans 1'histoire. Le rejeter, ' ga ne serait pas dans le filon,' comme ils disent volontiers, ces m ernes Poilus."


LITERARY ACTIVITY OF Hus. It is just 500 years since the eminent Bohemian Church reformer Jan Hus perished at the stake at Constance on 6 July, 1415. His life and career belong to ecclesiastical more than to literary history, and the chief works he wrote were doctrinal, i.e., ' The Daughter : a Guide to the Right Way to Salvation,'