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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/389

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i2ax.An.22,i922.j NOTES AND QUERIES. 319 their spirit into a foreign language ; the brevity of the narrative keeps all the outlines clear, and the wildness and strangeness of the incidents speak for themselves. When Marko is going forth on his war-horse Sharatz he always hangs a wineskin full of wine at the saddle-bow on the left hand, and on the right hand hangs his heavy mace, that the saddle may not slip this way or that. This might serve as a symbol of the construction of the ballads, of their fine balance like that which makes the strength of a good short story. Mr. Low's translation (which is in prose, but printed line by line from the original, with a plain carefulness in the choice of words that keeps these from obtruding either by excess or defect), does absolute justice to the construction, and thereby retains the most possible of the vigour of the original. It is curious, to our mind, that having so truly seen Marko and the world Marko moves in he shoxild compare him this king's son with his half-savage, half-knightly princeliness to Robin Hood. No two, in the way of fighters, could be further apart. Marko belongs to an older, vyilder world, of an ethos far unlike that of medieval England. It is curious to reflect that the historic Marko who reigned in Prilep from 1371 to 1304, and whose "brother" was Milosh Obilitch, the slayer of Amurath after Kossovo actually lived some two centuries after the date of Robin Hood. He is nearer, indeed, to the Iliad and the Odyssey, and even to the older strata of these, as Sharatz, his great piebald wonder-horse, who cries out to his master in man's language in moments of peril, is kin to the horses of Achilles. Sharatz alone is enough to make these ballads entrancing. The savagery in them exceeds that of Homer ; it is deepened by the strange Slav insistence on dismemberment. On the other hand, as Mr. Low points out in this discussion of the character of Marko, faithfulness, justice, generosity, the recognition of an equal or superior foe, and gentleness towards the weak with a rough humour besides temper and steady his ferocity. The other characters are in reality not less noteworthy : Marko 's old mother who did an heroic deed as a girl, and whom her son obeys and loves to the end is a reverend figure full of grace ; all the appearances of women have great, though sometimes sinister, charm ; the supernatural or fantastic beings have that clearness of outline and a certain moderate- ness which distinguish them in a classic or true folk-tale from their imitations in pseudo-fairy-tales. After allowing oneself to read and absorb these ballads in the spirit in which they were originally sung and heard, one must turn to the literary and historical side of the question. Interest in Serbian folk-poetry began nearly a century and a half ago, and about its inception are found the great names of Grimm, of Herder, and of Goethe himself. The ballads of which the Marko ballads form one group were first systematically collected by Vuk Karadzich, whose own story, which may be read here in outline, is itself of no little interest. In 1825 appeared a translation of them into German by Friiulein von Jacob (Talvj), a sort of offering to the aged Goethe, who encouraged her in the enterprise. Goethe himself had been attracted to Serbian folk-literature through Italian trans- lations, and the fruit of that attraction remains in his ' Klaggesang von der edlen Frauen des Asan Aga.' In France, from the end of the eighteenth century onwards, attention had been bestowed on this subject, which culminates in the * Poesies populaires serbes ' of Auguste Dozon. If read first purely for enjoyment as a boy would read them as they certainly should be and then for their literary and poetical quality and for their characterization, these ballads will be read again and again for the countless curious matters they contain. It is much to be hoped that the other cycles will ere long be given to us in some such form as this. S.P.E. Tract No. VII. English Influence on the French Vocabulary. By Paul Barbier. Tract No. VIII. What is Pre French? By Matthew Barnes. (Oxford, the Clarendon Press.) T. E Editor of the S.P.E. Tracts has no difficulty in justifying the inclusion of Prof. Barbier's paper among these ; and we agree with him in regarding it as a peculiarly valuable contribution. English influence on French, which till the seventeenth century had been nil, becomes perceptible after the lively interest of Frenchmen in the marriage of Henrietta Maria ; but is hardly worth noticing till the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, wh<*n the Huguenot refugees, in their enthusiasm for English institutions, began to make English words also familiar to their fellow-countrymen. The first groups of words are political, and the majority of them find their use only in direct reference to England. Thus " rump " occurs in the translation of Clarendon, which was published in the first decade of the eighteenth century ; but Prof. Barbier has noticed that a translation and adapta- tion of it, chanibre irronpion, appears in recent journalism. The influence of English on the French religious vocabulary was, we are told, considerable at the end of the seventeenth century, but has not yet been fully worked out. The instances supplied h<re, however, indicate the truth of the statement. Words relating to food, drink, d^ess and games open up many amusing problems for example, that of the origin of jrac and cTiale. Cli'biste was accepted by the Acadomy in 1798, as were also confidents I and insignifiant. Finance, commerce and weights and measures are repre- sented by some seventy words ; and English naval terms by about thirty. An interesting word accepted by the Academy in 1835 (when reps, calicot, colonisation, continental, decoiirageant and inddlicat were also accepted) is banquise, which Hatzfeld and Darmesteter curiously derive from F. bane and E. ice. Dada a favourite project OP favourite subject appears first in 1776 in Fi-enais's translation of ' Tristram Shandy ' as the rendering of Sterne's " hobby horse." Inconsistance the equivalent of our " inconsistency " was accepted by the Academy only in 1878, at which date in- justifiable, inddniable and providentiel were also let through. The earliest words of English provenance noted here as thus officially adopted into the French language are moraliste, post-script urn and sensorium. The form re"publicismc, which was used in the period of the first French B 'volution, gave way later to the English form re'pblicanisme, which is. however, found as early as J 750. On