NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL FEB. M, 1903.
in a college cannot long stand out against popular feeling. In recent years one of the most important factors in the obliteration of arbitrary distinctions has been the rapid growth of the taste for athletic sports. It has spread upwards from the school playground to the university. The first race between college crews does not seem to date further back than the year of Waterloo, and the earliest Oxford and Cambridge cricket match was played some twelve years later. Football was introduced at a considerably later time.
The Literature of the Celts. By Magnus Maclean,
M.A., D.Sc. (Blackie & Son.) A VOLUME giving in moderate compass a complete survey of Celtic literature and the progress of Celtic studies was one to be desired, and Dr. Mac- lean, who possesses the needful enthusiasm and full knowledge of the subject, has filled the vacancy with more than a fair measure of success. Celtic poetry, as a rule, is little patient of transfusion into English, and seems to lose most of its spirit and aroma in the process. An exception might be made of Mr. Tom Taylor's spirited rendering of some of the Breton ballads such as ' Lord Nann and the Fairy,' quoted here, p. 242 but one should probably be a Celt born to be able to share in Dr. Maclean's rapturous admiration of the Gaelic poetry of the last two centuries, "as the most sensuous attempt to convey music in words ever made by man." But he says "it is absolutely impossible to convey the lusciousness of sound, richness of rhythm, and perfection of harmony in another language." To the Celt belongs the honour of having first invented rime, and to him also, in Matthew Arnold's opinion, English poetry is in- debted for its melancholy, its turn for style, and appreciation of the charm of nature. After this we learn with something of astonishment that the greatest poet Scotland has produced has never found a translator into the native Gaelic, except for two of his poems, 'Tarn o' Shanter' and ' Auld Lang Syne.' To the aboriginal Highlander Burns is an unknown foreigner. This is certainly the most remarkable proof of the truth of Tacitus's " incuriosi suorum that history can afford.
It has been computed that there are three millions of people still whose mother tongue is one or other of the Celtic forms of speech, but of these nearly half are to be found in Brittany. It is interesting to note that the race, the literary history of which Dr. Maclean traces back to the fifth cen- tury, was characterized from the first by intel- lectual versatility, fickleness, hospitable bonhomie, exaggerated language, and the love of fighting, often degenerating into personal feuds and factions, which still makes the House of Commons lively. At the same time, it is to the Celt that is due the delicate and chivalrous reverence for womanhood which softened the manners of the Middle Ages. The scarcity of Gaelic MSS. is attributed to the brutal vandalism of the Norsemen, hardly any surviving in the countries which they harried, and the great majority reposing safely in the continental monasteries of St. Gall, Bobbio, and Luxueil. Indeed, of MSS. prior to the eleventh century only seven are preserved in the British Isles, as against twenty scattered over the continent of Europe. The same Viking invasions which dispersed the documents and arrested literary development caused also, in Dr. Maclean's opinion, the differentiation of the original Celtic into Irish and Scottish Gaelic,
For two centuries the realms were kept apart, giving time for the language of each to harden into a distinct dialect.
A word of praise is due to the tasteful manner in which the cover and title-page of the book are made to assume a Celtic aspect. It is owing, we suppose, to the inadequacy of the tongue of the Sassenach that the author has to illumine his style with such Celticisms as the verb " druid," to bewitch, " dool," and "back and fore." We cannot say we admire them any more than the words "to enthuse," "to gift," and "slim" (= crafty).
Jesus Chriaten Evangelio Saindua S. Mattheuen
Araura. (Trinitarian Bible Society.) ALTHOUGH there is no prefatory or other notifica- tion of its provenance, this little volume is, we believe, a reprint of Lei9arraga's Basque version of St. Matthew as it appeared in his New Testament of 1571. We dp not pretend to criticize the fidelity of the translation, but as it has passed through the competent hands of Mr. E. S. Dodgson, of Oxford, we have no doubt every confidence may be placed in it. _
A COMPLETE record of the proceedings of the Committee of Claims appointed to investigate the rights of those persons who claimed to do services at the Coronation of King Edward VII. has been prepared by Mr. G. Woods Wollaston, of the Inner Temple, who was officially present at the Corona- tion as Fitzalan Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary. The work, which treats the subject both from its historical and legal aspects, will shortly be pub- lished by Messrs. Harrison & Sons, St. Martin's Lane.
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