Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/69

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9 <s.x. JULY 26, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.



CONTENTS. -No. 239.

NOTES :" Corn- bote" in Harbour's 'Bruce,' 61 Landor on Singing Birds, 62 Thackeray and Homoeopathy "Hoping against hope" Shakespeare Allusions, 63 Boudicca : its Pronunciation Writing Lessons on Sand- Sale of the Old Prince of Wales's Theatre " From the lone shieling," 64 Scott's ' Woodstock ' Schoolboys' Rights at Weddings, 65 Pam=Knave of Clubs Born on the Field of Waterloo, 66.

QUERIES : References Wanted Hodgskin " I shall pass through this world" Beasley, Beesley, &c. Capt. Morris's Wife Spearing Governors of Public Schools, 67 "Charley" in Popular Rimes 'North- West Fox from the North- West Passage,' 1635 Gounod Duke of Brabant Legend of Lady Alice Lea Butler's ' Erewhon ' King's- taper "First love is a rank exotic "Almond Tree and Old Age, 68 Black Hole of Calcutta: Last Survivor Rockall Austria and the Isle of Man Lady Elizabeth Percy. 69.

REPLIES : Bruce and Burns, 69 Snodprass, 71 Cipher- Story Bibliography Napoleon's First laarriage Mourn- ing Sunday, 72 ' Dirty Old Man ' Likenesses of Jesus Iron Duke "In an interesting condition" German Letters, 73 'Comic Annual ' Crossing Knives and Forks Silhouettes of Children, 74 Greek Pronunciation Gender in German and Russian " Ote-toi de la," &c. Cliff ord-Braose Autograph Cottage Lady Morley, 75 " Barracked "Quant, 76 Lime-tree Baronets of Nova Scotia Papal Provisions May Cats Hour of Sunday Morning Service Dutch Refugees in London " Ye gods and little fishes ! " 77 Hebrew Incantations, 78" Return- Ing thanks," 79.

NOTES ON BOOKS: 'New English Dictionary The Encyclopaedia Britannica,' Vol. III.

"CORN-BOTE" IN BARBOUR'S 'BRUCE.' ACCORDING to 'The Bruce' (ed. Skeat, Scot. Text Soc., ii. 433) King Robert the Bruce at the battle of Methven in 1306, finding the fortunes of the day hopelessly adverse, directed his followers to retreat : Gud is we pass off thar daunger Till God us send eftsonys grace And jeyt may fall giff thai will chace Ouvt thaim torn but sum-dele we sail.

II. 435-8.

So the text reads in Prof. Skeat's canonical edition based upon two MSS., one at Cam- bridge and the other at Edinburgh. A foot- note marks the fact that in Andro Hart's print of ' The Bruce ' in 1616 the word combate takes the place of " torn but " in the above passage. Prof. Skeat in his notes interprets the last two lines thus : " And it may yet happen if they wish to pursue us we shall, however, to some extent requite them a turn." In his glossary he writes, "Torn, s., a turn ; quyt thaim torn, requite them a turn, repay them." Jamieson in his edition of 'The Bruce' also reads "torn but," and in his glossary writes : " Torn but, retaliation."

Decisive light and correction come from the alliterative ' MoHe Arthure. ' Beryll has been killed by the King of Lebe, and Cador declares he will have revenge :

" jone kynge," said Cador, "karpes full large Because he kyllyd this kene; Cnste hafe thi saule ! He sail hafe corne bote, so me Criste helpe \" Or I kaire of this coste we sail encontre ones."

LI. 1784-7.

In due course "Sir Cador the keen" rides at the king, and, striking him on the head- piece, leaves him dead on the field.

Than Sir Cador the kene crye3 full lowde,

" Thow has corn botte, sir kynge, thare God gyfe

the sorowe !

Thow killyde my cosyn, my kare es the lesse, Kele the nowe in the claye and comforthe thi

selfen ! " LI. 1836-9.

The context shows that corn-bate, not " torn- bote," is the true form, for the alliterations throughout are on the letters c and k. On the signification of the word I have little remark to offer, except that the explanation given by Mrs. Banks in the glossary of her pretty and admirably equipped edition of ' Morte Arthure ' appears substantially to meet the case :

" Bot, Botte, s., amends, compensation, 1786, 1837 qualified by ' corne,' perhaps as a compound ' corne bote.' alluding to some legal and technical definition of 'bote.'"

That corn-bote means some sort of quid pro quo in kind, some species of manifestation of the lex talionis, comes out very clearly from the three passages alfove quoted, in - which alone it has attracted attention. Nothing corresponding to the word occurs in the original reference to the death of " Borellus " in Geoffrey of Monmouth, amplified and varied by the alliterative genius.

One further point is to be made here. The fact that "torn but" is found in the two MSS. of The Bruce,' while "combate" appears in Hart's print, goes, with numerous other elements, towards proof of two things : (1) that the scribe or scribes of the Cambridge and Edinburgh MSS. did not understand the term he or they had to copy, and (2) that Hart's print (differing from the Cambridge and Edinburgh MSS. in the c, which is correct where these MSS. are wrong, and making one word where they make two) displays here, as so often elsewhere, the soundness of Prof. Skeat's method of regarding Hart's version as a clue to "excellent MSS. now lost." For almost every editorial purpose Hart's version has been accorded the rank of a MS., as it contains so many invaluable and independent readings without which the text drawn from the MSS. would not infrequently be un- intelligible.

Perhaps some of the learned word-hunters of 'N. & Q.' from whose laborious pastime we all have derived such continuous entertain-