The Oldest Known Writing in Siamese: The Inscription of Phra Ram Khamhæng of Sukhothai, 1293 A.D./Notes
N. B. References by numeral are to the numbered lines of the Text and of the Transliteration. With these also correspond the numbered lines of the Translation, so far as differences of idiom permit. References by letter are to publications named in the Bibliography, as follows:—
- B. Bastian: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1864.
- S. Schmitt: Deux Anciennes Inscriptions Siamoises, 1885.
- P. Pavie: Mission Pavie; Études Diverses II, 1898.
- RS. เรื่อง เมือง สุโขไท (Rüăng Sŭkhothăi,) Bangkok, 1908.
It has not been thought neccessary to perplex the reader with unfamiliar spellings, save in cases where the text itself is in question. Ordinarily, therefore, words are cited in their modern form.
1. The first word พ่ is of interest as showing that the names of the Siamese letters were pronounced then as they are now; that is, with the อ-vowel instead of with the ă-vowel of Indian usage. Simple อ-vowel final therefore is nowhere written in this text, it being inherent in the preceding consonant. But อ medial always appears. Thus we have บ่, ฏ่ 7, and ฃ 23; but น่อง, ท้อง 2, ฉอด 4. Other important points wherein the early usage of this letter is at variance with the present are illustrated in this same context, and will therefore be considered together here. a) The vowel ◌ื did not then require an อ 'supporter' after it any more than did any other simple vowel See ◌ื่ช (ชื่อ) 1, ◌ื่ซ (ซื่อ) 26, ◌ืถ (ถือ) 88. The อ must now be written after every open (final) ◌ื-vowel, but the usage is wholly anomalous. b) An initial vowel sound regularly required the อ-'supporter' then, as it always does now. But the second word in the Prince's title —◌ีนทรา for อินทรา—appears without it both here and in 98, suggesting that the theory was not then fully grasped. c) Another token of imperfect-mastery of the system is seen in the use of the letter in diphthongs of the เมือง type. In closed syllables with these diphthongs the อ appears, properly enough, as symbol of the vowel which forms the second element, or vanish". But contrary to the analogy of a) above, and contrary also to present usage, whenever the syllable is open, an extra อ must appear as 'supporter.' Thus we have ◌ืเสอง, ◌ืเมอง in 1, but ◌ืเผออ, ◌ืเม่ออ in 3. d) The cases of ◌ืเงอน (เงิน) 15, 29, of ◌ืเสอก, 31, and ◌ีเสก 114 (for ศึก), of ◌ีเถง (ถึง), 116, and of ◌ูจอง (for) จูง 20, may indicate uncertainty as to the spelling, or may point to a different pronunciation of those vowels.
The last word but one in the line is given as ทน in S. P corrects it rightly to บาน (บาล).
There is no doubt that the vigorous native idiom of these opening lines seems shockingly rude to the ordinary Siamese, accustomed to expect in such a document nothing but the artificialities and servilities of courtly speech. I fear that a certain squeamishness of this same nature lingers even among people who ought to know better, and that it may be largely responsible for the general lack of interest and pride the Siamese have hitherto shown in this record and in this man. Especially offensive to such is the uncompromising 1st personal pronoun กู of a time when both prince and subject, without insolence and without slavishness, could use the same "I". This word, with its companion of the second person, มึง is now entirely banished from courteous speech. The third of the group, มัน when used of persons now carries a distinct note of contempt. But the Prince applies it to his distinguished visitors, l. 30, and more surprisingly still, to a temple building, l. 66. In this, as in many other points, the Lao is much nearer the ancient—and in this case the more virile—type. The story of the debasement of the pronouns is too long to be told here; but with regard to one of them see below, l. 26.
2. The first word is plainly ◌ูต. S has it so in his text, but makes it 'phu' in his transliteration and translation. P boldly re-writes it to ◌ูก in his text. The word is a 1st personal pronoun now obsolete or provincial (Lao), and generally plural in sense, with a following appositive. (See Frankfurter: Siamese Grammar, p. 68.)
โสง is the numeral สอง, which form also occurs 95, 115. Similar uncertainty as to this medial vowel is found in other words:—โขง 42, ของ 100; โอก 48, 83, ออก 100 115; โนน 50, นอน 71, 74, 117, 121.
2—3. เผือ which occurs twice in this sentence, is the well-known sentimental 1st personal pronoun of the romances. S copies it rightly, but is quite at a loss what to do with it. In face of the explicit language of the text that "my elder brother who was first died from me while yet little," S renders: "Le frère qui suivit l'ainé (le cadet) mourut." P's text is right, and his understanding of the general drift of the passage; but troubled still by the memory of เผือ, he gratuitously adds: "le frère cadet m'est resté." The second เผือ S gets r1d of by transliterating it as เมื่อ, which gives an impossible syntax. In the second word beyond this S was puzzled by the unfamiliar แฏ่ (แต่), and writes the word แล in his text, and sẽ in his transliteration,—with no intelligible meaning in either case. RS gives a modern gloss ตั้ง แต่ for ตยม แต่, which no doubt gives the true meaning. But ตยม seems wholly obsolete.
The reader will notice that division of words at the end of a line caused the early scribe no difficulty whatever. The line simply ended with the last letter that could conveniently be included.
4. The word เข้า (rice) is here used as a measure of time equivalent to 'year'. It occurs again in the same sense in 82, 104, 105. The other word for year—ปี—is used also in this text, but only in connection with the name of the cyclic year of date:—80, 101, 106.
The words ขุน สาม ชน mean 'lord (prince) of three peoples'; and I understand them to be the chieftain's feudal title as overlord of three clans, while เจ้า เมือง ตาก names his civic authority and his stronghold. Both French versions, however, read "mandarin (or seigneur) de troisième rang", plainly understanding ช้นน instead of ชน of their own text. They thus imply an imperial organization of government wholly unknown in feudal Siam. Tak is now a ruined town a short distance above the modern Răhæng, and about forty miles west of Sŭkhothăi. Chawt has not been identified. ท่ here and in 14 we must understand to have been pronounced ท่อ as explained under 1 above. It is clearly the equivalent of ที่, and like it is an enclitic form, with specialized function, of the substantive ที่ 'place'.
5. The phrases หัวซ้าย หัวขวา are not now used in Siamese to designate direction, but are readily understood as meaning 'to the left', 'to the right'. The precise positions may not be very clear in this case, but there is nothing either in text or in context to support the 'rive gauche' and 'rive droit' of S. and P.
6. Uncertainty as to the sentence structure has made possible what I cannot but regard as an misunderstanding of the entire situation here described. Who was it that fled? All previous translators, looking only at the nearest phrase, พ่อ กู, have assumed that it was 'my father' who fled. But in the first place, the filial piety which the writer so earnestly claims just below, ll. 11—16, should have forbidden the parade of such cowardice on the part of his father, especially as there is not the slightest necessity for mentioning it here, even were it the fact. In the second place, the very next line seems plainly to imply that his father was not only there, but was actually pushing on to the encounter;—else how could the son "urge his elephant in ahead of his father"; that is, usurp his father's place in the impending duel? In the third place, the very number and variety of the words used to express the idea of fleeing, make it difficult to understand their application to a single subject like 'my father'. Far more naturally would such an inclusive and generalized predicate apply to the flight of a mass of men or of an army. Furthermore, the syntax does not by any means necessitate such a construction. พ่อ กู might without violence be regarded as standing in genitive construction with the phrase just preceding which I have comprehensively rendered 'people' (of which see further below), and then the whole phrase 'my father's people' would become subject of the verb-phrase of fleeing. There is no difficulty involved in leaving เข้า thus at the end of the preceding predicate—เกลื่อน เข้า='charged home'.
There remains still a difficulty, but it involves the one construction quite as much as the other. It lies in the phrase ไพร่ ผ้า หน้า ใส, and more particularly in its second member, to which it seems almost impossible to assign any meaning within the natural range of its terms which shall seem at all compatible with the situation described. ไพร่ ผ้า all agree in regarding as the antique form of the phrase now known as ไพร่ ฟ้า, meaning 'people of the realm'. หน้าใส 'faces bright' is also a phrase in current use as a poetic figure for 'glad' 'cheerful'. But there seems to be no way of justifying such untimely gladness in the face of imminent disaster, or of justifying its mention here at all, even if it were actually felt. The only way out, it seems to me, is to take the whole phrase as a stock expression in rhetorical or poetic style, equivalent perhaps to something like 'loyal subjects', taking the epithet as wholly conventional—in fact a poetic commonplace like Homer's 'blameless Ethiopians' and Virgil's 'pius Æneas'. This phrase, it should be noted, occurs again, l. 21, in a context where the epithet is almost as inexplicable as it is here. On this point see further Note, l. 23 below.
This last suggestion derives support from the marked tendency toward formal and conventional phrasing throughout this inscription. This earliest written speech in the language is as yet by no means free from the leading-strings of poetry. The theme itself is essentially a ballad theme. This very phrase is a striking example of the metrical form which continually recurs here, unmistakably marked as such by the curious internal rhyme, as well as by the formal balance of its members. The conventional character of these expressions, moreover is generally marked by some isolation or obscurity of meaning attaching to one or more of their members, due, as we may imagine both to exigencies of rhyme and to the use of antiquated diction. Another feature which connects them with the ballad-forms is their capacity for impromptu variation. Two examples in this text are plainly variations of this very phrase which we are considering; namely ไพร่ ผ้า ข้า ไท l. 23, and ไพร่ ผ้า หน้า ปก l. 32—33. Indeed the modern Siamese phrase for people of the realm, ไพร่ ฟ้า ข้า แผ่นดิน, is but another variant of the same original, in which all inherited obscurity in the second member is at last cleared up by the explicit meaning of its terms. Variation in the pattern itself, instead of variation in content, is illustrated in the last phrase of this line, หนี ญญ่าย พ่าย จแจ. The rhythm is here triple in both members, augmented as they are by the introduction of a short alliterative syllable in each before the main stress. For a general view of this subject of metrical forms in prose, the reader is referred to pp. 19—21 above.
The word ◌ีหน fled, near the end of the line, illustrates one of the difficulties growing out of the fact that when the vowels were given their place in the line, they were not also given their place in the sequence of letters in the syllable. Since the vowel ◌ี must appear at the beginning of the syllable in which it is used, no matter where in the syllable it is actually pronounced, it comes about that 'ni' fled, is spelled exactly as is 'hin' stone, ll. 82, 85. The return of this group of vowels to the places above and below, which they occupied in the Indian scheme, has obviated the difficulty in their cases—indeed, this difficulty may have hastened their return. But a similar uncertainty as to pronunciation still besets the prepositive vowels. Only the context can determine whether แหง spells 'hæng' or 'ngæ'; whether เพลา spells 'phlau' or 'phela'.
As regards the text, S has transformed the second word of l. 6 beyond recognition, and beyond possible pronunciation, by writing an extra ส bodily in place of the เ before the consonant. P leaves off the 'mai ek' both in this word and in ญ่าย further on. But omissions and even alterations of accents by P are far too frequent to call for individual notice. ผ้า is made into ฝ้า, which is probably right as a correction ; but it is not the reading of the stone. ฝ้า does appear once out of five occasions of the use of the word, in l. 21.
7. The vacant space at the beginning of this line was once occupied by some letter, for a trace of a part of its right hand stroke still remains. Whatever it was, it cannot be a part of the following word. S followed the obvious suggestion of making it a part of the previous word, and wrote in a ง—almost at random, it would seem, since it makes a word of no intelligible sense. P follows S both in text and transliteration. The word at the end of the previous line may be the equivalent of the modern แจ้, meaning 'dwarf' 'squat,' 'creeping'. In default of any better suggestion I have taken it so, and render it 'cowering'. RS inserts the sign of repetition, ๆ, which may possibly have been the missing character. But it hardly seems likely that such a clever clerical device should have been in use when writing was so new; and a repetition of the last syllable of the balanced phrase spoils the rhythm, which the Siamese never forgets. I leave the gap therefore as I find it.
The 7th word of this line is read by all the editors as บุก. The plain reading of the stone is เนก. The vowel is positively เ, and not ◌ุ. Tho only doubt about the consonant is as to whether a certain small break in the stone has obliterated the loop of a น, or whether there never was any loop there, and the letter was บ. In either case, to read บุก requires an alteration of the text which the scholar should be loth to make, but which has found favor only because of the obvious sense it gives—'J'ai percé la foule'. But the text gives good sense as it stands. All the other elephants that figure in in this writing appear under their proper names. It would be strange indeed if the hero's elephant alone, in the hero's only recorded exploit, were left nameless. Neka Phon—shortened as Dr. Frankfurter suggests from Aneka Phon, (a host of troops)—would seem a very suitable name for a war elephant, and such I take it to be.
The sort of treatment this text has suffered throughout at the hands of editors is well shown in this single line. Of the ง inserted at the head of the line, which has no other raison d'être than that for a quarter of a century it has served to conceal an editor's inability to do anything else with it than to fill an empty space, I have already spoken. Through mere carelessness it would seem, since no conceivable end is gained, S writes ท (or is it บา?) for บ่ (2nd word), and ม for น (7th word), neither change according with his own transliteration; and he omits four of the seven still legible accents of the line. P on the other hand, with deliberation, but with equal clumsiness, attempts by mere pen-stroke to make over เ into ◌ุ (7th word), with a result which resembles nothing whatever in Prince Ram Khămhæng's alphabet. In future I shall spare myself and my readers further illustration of this point, and shall confine myself to such alterations of the text as directly concern the sense.
8. พุ่ง 'to thrust with a weapon hurled'. It hardly can be "je sautai sur l'éléphant" of S, nor even "je combattis son éléphant" of P.
9. The second word seems to me to be a part of the elephant's name, มาศ เมือง "the city's gold, or treasure," and I take the next word แพ่ 'defeated' as expressing the result of the thrust. S and P, following only the cue of the word เมือง, take แพ่ for แพร่, the well known Lao city. But among some hundreds of elephant's names encountered in reading, I cannot recall a single monosyllabic one; and that city's name occurs in this text spelled แพล่ l. 121.
10. เพื่อ, 'because.' In modern Siamese the word is almost exclusively prospective 'with a view to,' 'in order that,' 'for.'
In this text the use of the nikhahit (◌ํ) seems quite unsettled. It was, of course, the 'anusvara' used in Indian writing to indicate a nasalized final short a. In modern Siamese and Lao, in combination with า—as in อำ—it is the regular spelling of the syllable am. Indeed the alternative spelling อัม almost never is seen save in the case of foreign words. In this text forms without า are as numerous as forms with it. Thus we have: คํแหง passim, ซํ้ 37, ดํ 53, บํเรอ 11, 16, 17, บงคํ 53, สํพาย 94; over against คำ 116, ค้ำ 23, จำ 86, ถ้ำ 93, 94, น้ำ 18, 41, 42, 94 พร่ำ 16. In each case the usage is quite consistent. But the sign seems to indicate an entirely different sound in สํ้=ส้ม acid 12, พํน perhaps พรรณ์ 49, 50, and ลุํบาจาย—115.
12. All the European editors so far seem quite unaware of the fact that หมาก was, and in the North still is, the generic name for any edible fruit, including of course the fruit par excellence, the areca-nut, but not by any means limited to that. "Sour" and "sweet", the terms applied to the word in this line, cannot without violence be applied to the areca-nut; yet B, S, and P, all feel compelled to attempt that violence. The generic meaning of 'fruit' obviates all difficulties both here and in 49. The specific sense is clearly intended in 24, 37, 69, as is indicated by its association with พลู (betel-leaf). The same word becomes a subordinate element with vanishing significance in compounds, as หมาก ม่วง, (mango), 39, หมาก ขาม (tamarind) 40, หมาก พ้ราว (cocoanut) 72, หมาก ลาง 73. Since the Prince's day loss of stress first shortened หมาก to มัก (still heard in the North), and lastly to มะ or ม, which has now become an integral part of the names of many fruit-bearing trees—as indeed it has in the case of the very ones just cited. All such require the addition of a new word meaning fruit, if fruit is distinctly intended .Thus we have ลูกมะม่วง 'a mango', but ตน มะม่วง 'a mango tree'. The last phrase exactly parallels our 'crab apple tree', as compared with the earlier and more idiomatic 'crab tree'. The history here sketched is no doubt that also of many other dissyllabic native Siamese words, whose compound nature is now entirely forgotten; as, for example, the large group of household and market utensils, and the still larger group of animal class-names beginning—according to euphonic conditions—with กระ, กะ, or ตะ.
The word 'lang' I have not succeeded in finding as the name of a fruit or a tree either south or north. A Lao friend recognizes it as a jingling pendant used with หมาก พร้าว 'cocoanut ' but not known to him separately from that. Here it would seem to be a different tree at together.
14. The second word is certainly ใด 'any', and not ดู 'look', S, nor กู 'I', P.
13—14. The phrase ตี หนัง วัง ช้าง has been the source of much perplexity to all students of this text, native as well as foreign. For what seems a very happy solution I am indebted to the kindness of Chau Suriyawong of Chieng Mai. The expression, he assured me, is a stereotyped phrase readily understood by the Lao, meaning 'to hunt wild elephants'. The apparent irrelevance of the terms used he explained as follows:—ตี is used in the same sense it still has in the phrase ตีเกลียว 'to lay up the strands of rope'. หนัง, of course, refers to the strands of rawhide used in making the riata for noosing the game, while วัง ช้าง should mean the place where the herd was assembled together. The metrical form with cæsural tie-rhyme certainly marks the phrase as conventional. See p. 20.
15. For the balanced phrasing see pp. 18—19. The elephant's trunk is esteemed a great delicacy among the northern tribes,—so much so that no common person would think of keeping it for his own use. It is prepared by roasting it in a deep pit, where it is kept covered up in hot earth for days. P's rendering 'des défences des éléphants' both here and in the previous line is odd enough; but it suggests the straits to which he was reduced.
16. Of 'je pleurai mon père, et n'ayant plus à soigner ce demier' (S), and of 'pleurant mon père' (P ), there is not the slightest hint in the text. พร่ำ means 'constantly', 'steadily'; and so both S and P render it at the last, in spite of their manifest impression that it ought to mean something else.
The second word is plainly ฎ่งง=ดั่ง 'as' and not งงง, nor 'rang' (S), nor ยงง (P), no one of which has any known meaning applicable here. The editors did not know the letter ฎ.
18. The first word is involved in a break in the stone, but enough of it remains to make sure that its second letter is ล, and that its first is a letter closed above like ก or ด. The word cannot be สี่ 'four' as B's rendering gives it. S in his text writes กล, which not only satisfies the requirements of the stone, but makes perfect sense in the prase ทั้ง กล, not yet obsolete, and equivalent to the modern ทั้ง นั้น 'altogether.' But S's transliteration reads 'phonla' and his translation follows suit with 'avec ses revenus'. P not only follows S in both, but has actually written the impossible ผํล into the text, where the penstroke with white ink betrays it.
The personal narrative ends here. The new section recounts in eloquent phrase and with dramatic circumstance the prosperity, freedom, generosity, and justice of the Prince's reign. Henceforth he is spoken of in the third person, either by his name, or by his office as Prince. Only once, l. 29, does the กู of the earlier narrative appear, betraying the fact that he is still the speaker. The characteristic metrical form of lyrical passages is encountered at once at the close of the general introductory statement.
All the European editors seem obsessed by the idea that in this section must be found the "Code" which has become, it would almost seem, the one indispensable element in every such inscription. P writes in flowing phrase, p. 177, "Il donne ensuite la constitution de son royaume, tant administrative que religieuse. Il a fait graver sur cette pierre la loi qui régit son royaume, pour que le peuple en prit connaissance . . . . Cette inscription est restée la base fondamentale de leur vie civile et religieuse." Unfortunately this strong prepossession of all the editors displays itself, in the large amount of intrusive material they find it necessary to import into their translations, and in the surprising liberties they take both with the grammar and with the natural sense of the text. If other "codes" with which of late we have been made familiar are no better grounded in the facts of speech than is this, it is safe to say they never could have been administered. From beginning to end of the section there is not found a single one of all those verbal phrase-forms and modal particles—permissive, mandatory, or prohibitive—without which, in an uninflected language, no "code" could possibly be known to be such. The only natural and obvious inference, both ft·om sentence form and from content, is that in his general survey of the conditions prevailing in his reign, the Prince, by a natural transition, and with natural and pardonable pride, passes from the visible prosperity, security, and happiness of his realm to speak of the kind and just government which has made these things possible. The features of that government he expounds concretely and dramatically, precisely as he has expounded the prosperity, by a series of illustrative examples or scenes—idealized of course. But with true human and true literary instinct he has refrained from marring their interest and weakening their force by attempting to make them prescriptive.
With this comprehensive statement, the value of which any one conversant with the language is invited to test for himself, I must dismiss this matter. I trust I may be excused from exhibiting tn detail what I cannot but regard as mere foibles on the part of scholars whom I sincerely respect, however much I disapprove of some of their methods —scholars my own obligations to whom I am ever ready to acknowledge.
21. The new topic is introduced by characteristic metrical phrases. The first dipody is identical with the one commented on in 6. Its second word is here written with ฝ instead of ผ,—which is probably correct. Its last word is certainly, ใส and not ใคร as S and P have it.
22. The opening of the line finds us in the midst of another metrical phrase, no doubt conventional as well. The first word is wholly uncertain. Its consonant may be either ส or ล, since small dependence can be placed upon the little horizontal stroke which alone distinguishes between them. The stroke is there, but the stone cutter has the habit of carving just such a stroke from the angle of the adjacent letter อ by way of a flourish. Not one of the known words which the letter might represent at all fits the sense. In such a case the native scholar is utterly at a loss to understand the European's remorseless pursuit of the individual word. It may have been, as he well knows. no word at all, but only an extemporized rhyme or a hazarded jingling pendant. For him all considered speech it Fine Art, quite as valuable for its sensuous effect and suggestion as for its logical and definable content. Fine Art it is too in that the whole is something far other and greater the mere sum of its parts. In such cases the native trusts himself absolutely to the total impression, and questions not the uncertain detail. And he is not wholly wrong. Who but pedants ever pursue the precise content of each illustration in one of Macaulay's dazzling flights, or question separately the logical definition of the words in Poe's haunting phrases? In the present case we have our cue in เชื่อ 'trusts' and ค้ำ 'props'. "Sympathizes and helps" is what the whole is felt to mean. It should be remembered also that because nearly all its words are monosyllables, the Siamese is fairly compelled to secure by some such means as these the needed rhetorical amplification of its otherwise highly condensed diction.
In the midst of this serious writing ช่าง sounds surprisingly like a bit of modern half-slang in the sense of "are great hands to" "are forever———". But there seems no escape from it. Nor need we flinch, I imagine, from the obvious suggestion of the set phrase which follows, that children and wives are sought in order to help in cultivating the fields. The suggestion is not universally abhorrent to human nature. The invariable precedence given to ลูก 'children' in the phrase ลูก เมีย, meaning 'family', is, I imagine, wholly a matter of euphony. The more sonorous เมีย is reserved for the final place and the heavy phrase-accent. See Note 2 p. 18. The introduction of the subject, ไพร่ ฝ้า ข้า ไท 'people of the realm', after the statement is apparently complete, is quite foreign to present literary usage, but is a frequent device of racy talk, and follows well the lead given by ช่าง above.
In the literal sense of 'father' the word พ่อ occurs thirteen times in the opening section of this inscription. As honorific prefix to the hero's name, it occurs later ten times, and in all of these I render it 'Prince'. Twice only, here and in l. 24, does it occur without any limiting word, and in both I render it 'the Prince', as suiting best both syntax and sense. B, S, and P, all choose the literal 'father', perhaps as lending itself better to the idea of a "code".
25. ผิ แล is an ancient conditional conjunction equivalent to ถ้า แล or ถ้า แม้น, 'if'—the แล curiously paralleling the 'an' or 'and' of the elder English 'an if'. Besides its ordinary function as the conjunction 'and', the word แล has some idiomatic uses in this writing which it may be well to notice here. 1) In 22 and 78, with circumflex accent, it is equivalent to '-soever' after the indefinite pronoun ใด. 2) In 51 it seems the equivalent of the modern distributive particle ละ 'every', so that แล ปีshould mean ' every year ' or better 'year by year'. 3) The แล which immediately follows this last may be the idiomatic sentence-closer still frequently heard in such locutions as นั้น แล and จบ บริบูรรณ แล, though I have rendered it by 'and' in the translation.
26. All the European editors assume that ข้า must be the pronoun 'me'. But the writer nearly everywhere else uses กู in this sense, even in this immediate context, l. 29. There is no assignable reason why he should change the pronoun here. Moreover it is very doubtful, to say the least, whether at the time of this writing the abject noun ข้า 'slave' had advanced so far in that series of changes which at last have made of it the haughty, self-assertive 'I' of modern speech to inferiors. ข้า is still courteous in the North. There is no evidence yet to show that at this time ข้า was a pronoun at all. I take it therefore in the meaning it has everywhere else in this text; namely, 'subject'.
28—31. This passage has proved a very perplexing one, and largely so because of the usual lack of explicit connection between its members. The difficulties mostly disappear if we regard it as illustrating the Prince's generosity in his treatment of visitors of rank, but at opposite ends of the scale of wealth and power. The customary gifts and courtesies are not neglected in the case of the one because he is poor and weak; nor, because he is now in the Prince's power, is advantage taken of the other to crush in him a possible rival.
31. ข้า ◌ืเสอก I take to be variant spelling of ข้า ◌ีเสก, l. 113—114, which plainly must be our modern ฆ่า ศึก 'enemy'. ข้า เสือ which follows it, is of course its alliterative pendant or echo, introducing no new idea. Cf. p. 19, and Note to l. 23 above.
The extremites to which editors have been driven under the tyranny of the code-idea may be seen in the following renderings of this passage:—" After the goods have been stapled up in the town and stored, there will be made an election of slaves and a rejection of slaves. Such as are clever in spearing, clever in fighting, shall not be killed, neither shall they be beaten." B. "Dans les condamnations à mort q'on fasse choix des chefs de bande, qui sont de vrais tigres, ne pas les tuer serait un mal." P.
32. หั้น is a demonstrative of place 'there' or 'yonder' still in use among the Lao. The device of a bell for securing the Prince's personal attention to an appeal for justice, crops up everywhere in the Orient. The classical version is no doubt the one in the Thousand and One Nights, where the hero is· none other than Haroun Al Raschid himself. It appears in classical Siamese in the work entitled สิบ สอง เหลี่ยม.
36. ซื่อ 'right' has been misread by B, S, and P, as ชื่อ 'name' both here and in 26 above.
41. In all my earlier attempts to read it, the first word of this line seemed hopelessly lost in the corrosion of the surface of the stone. The transliteration therefore left the space unfilled. A last exhaustive scrutiny of the writing, however, undertaken in the preparation of the plates, convinces me that S and P were right in reading กลาง. Traces which to the eye were completely lost, were brought out in a careful 'rub'. A similar gap, with similar uncertainty as to what should fill it, is found at the beginning of the next line. S and P insert ใส repeated from the preceding context. But it seems hardly logical to say 'clear as it is to drink water of the Khong.' Since I have no alternative suggestion to make, I prefer to leave the space unfilled, as does RS.
43. The gap noted above seems to have been caused by a drip of water, which has excavated a deep narrow channel that extends continuously some six lines further, and then with interruptions quite to the lower edge of this face of the stone. While in this line it has not entirely effaced any one of the three letters involved, it has left the reconstruction of the text more perplexed than ever. The real trouble is to discover anything that will make intelligible sense in the same phrase with ตรี at the end of 42. นี้ has definitely closed the adverbial phrase preceding ตรี, leaving that word to begin the subject phrase. That word is the Indian numeral 'three', likely to be used only in some compound name or title. The general sense, which fortunately is unmistakable, calls for something equivalent to 'circuit', or 'distance' or perhaps 'wall'. The fragmentary traces at the beginning of the line suggest บูร with a faint line which might be part of an ไ, making ได้ with the letter following. But no word fulfiling these conditions has yet been found. S and P read "tripura dai", and translate "les trois faubourgs compris". But the idea of faubourgs as constituent parts of a municipality seems wholly foreign to Siamese thought, nor would the Siamese apply to faubourgs separately the term 'pura' (buri) 'fenced city', which includes all its parts. RS reads ไป, which is within the possibilities of the stone, but which leaves ตรี entirely unaccounted for.
46. ทั้ง ชิ่น must be meant for ทั้ง ซิ่น 'all'. Letters of the ข-ช-ซ group are very uncertainly distinguished in this inscription.
49. พํน here and in the next line is a perplexing word. Like several others in this brief passage it is quite as much a stumbling block to native scholars as to foreign ones. Fortunately again the precise meaning of no one of them is essential to a comprehension of the vivid scenes here sketched. I follow, but which no assured conviction, the suggestion of a native friend that it stands for พรรณ์ 'sorts', 'kinds'. เบี้ย 'cowries' recalls the time when these shells were the chief currency in Siam. The term ดอก เบี้ย, 'cowrie-flower', is still the current word for 'interest'. P translates: "monceaux de gâteaux"
51. For แล ปี แล see Note l. 25. ลาน, a palm-leaf tablet containing the formula to be recited in making the offering. สูด both here and in 85, 86, is for สวด, to recite a formula. ญดด is for ยัติ.
51—53. อไร◌ิญก, which occurs twice here, and อร◌ิญญก of ll. 63—66, are undoubtedly variant spellings of the same word, and both probably name the very same object. The word was originally a Pali adjective, araññaka, derived from arañ 'forest' and meaning 'of or in the forest'. In Siamese it became a noun, and means 'a forest-monastery' The correct Siamese spelling now should be either อรัญญิก, with modified vowel, or อรัญญกะ, which is the precise equivalent of the Pali form. The discrepant spelling admits of complete explanation. The Sŭkhothăi scheme, it will be remembered, included no direct symbol for short a, but indicated that vowel by the device of doubling the consonant. The consonant here is already doubled; but the other vowel, ĭ, must precede its consonant, or precede both of them if there are two. So it had to be moved up to the front, and stand just after the r, giving us the spelling อร◌ิญญก of ll. 63, 66. On the other hand, the Pali nasal ñ has no equivalent sound in Siamese, and the letter is rendered variously y or n, or ny according to circumstances or according to convenience. If the speaker rendered it as y, and pronounced arayyik, the scribe, unless he happened to recall the Pali, would inevitably write araiyik, and that is precisely what he did in ll. 51, 53. B understood the word, and translated it correctly, twenty years before S discovered in it the sure foundation of the now famous theory of the Aryan settlement of the peninsla of Indo-China. S and P both suppress the word entirely in their translations of this passage, where the manifest sense makes it impossible to render it 'les Aryens' or 'des Aryikas', reserving these for the more tractable passages further on. Cf. S pp. 7, 8; and P pp. 171, 175, 188, 189, and elsewhere. As for this immediate passage, it is difficult to see how any of the European editors could have imagined that what they wrote was in any sense a translation, so few and rare are the points of contact between it and the text.
53. หัว ลาน ดำ 'Black Lan Head' probably the name of some hamlet on the road between the forest-monastery and the city. On reaching the word สยง (เสียง) in this line, the stone-cutter was evidently in doubt whether it should not be spelled with the written vowel—in fact as it has come to be spelled in modern Siamese. To assure himself, with the point of his graver he very lightly scratched the word so spelled in the vacant space below the last word he had cut. The look of it, and very likely a glance at วยง and รยง just above, convinced him that the spelling was wrong, and he proceeded to cut the word correctly. In spite of all the vicissitudes of time, and in spite of the rough handling this stone has encountered, that lightest trace of a passing thought in the stone-cutter's mind six centuries ago may still be clearly read. His doubt was not illogical. Why should not a spoken vowel have its symbol in the written word? The pressure of that ever-recurring question has at last not merely legitimized the i which he was forced to leave out, but has created a symbol unknown to the Prince's scheme for the hitherto unwritten short a. It has not accomplished the same service in the entirely parallel cases of the unwritten u of สวน, and the short o of คน.
The assistance which the parallelism and balance of Siamese writing may sometimes render the student in dealing with words unknown or lost from the text, is well illustrated in ll. 53—54. Two balanced pairs of words name a quartette of festive sounds:—พาดย์–พิณ–เลื่อน–ขับ. The third word is entirely unknown in any sense applicable here. The second pair is clearly marked as vocal by the ขับ 'singing' which we do know, as well as by the implied antithesis. เลื่อน may therefore safely be inferred to signify some form of vocalization. This inferance is presently confirmed by the appearance of the word, ll. 53—54, in a balanced triad of festive actions:—เล่น 'sporting,' หัว (เราะ), 'laughing,' and เลื่อน, 'carolling' (?).
56—58. ปาก ประตู here and in 32 distinguishes the gateway—the passage—from the leaves or doors used to close it. เทียร ย่อม is an old-time phrase meaning 'absolutely', 'wholly', or as in this case, it is merely a sign of the superlative degree. It occurs again in 10. Public illuminations and displays of fireworks, of course, are what is spoken of in 57. มี ดั่ง จะ แตก of 58 has caused editors infinite trouble. B reads "a gong split in halves". S, hopeless of the text draws wildly on his imagination:—"les routes se croisent". P quite as wildly reads "La villa de Sukhodaya est immense, l'est à s'y perdre" Both S and P have changed แตก of the text to แฝก, 'thatch', and as usual with no resultant advantage. Our Siamese scholars are quite as much at a loss. A solution seemed as hopeless as ever, when a Lao friend recognized in it a slangy colloquialism still current in the North, used in speaking of great numbers, amounts, and the like—comparable perhaps to such western slang as 'fit to bust', 'till you can't rest', etc.
59. อฎฐารศ is simply the Indian numeral eighteen used as a substantive designation of an image of standard dimensions, much as the Englishman says "a sixty-four pounder" or "a six-footer". B has rendered the word correctly. S reads "une bibliothèque". P reads "des statues en relief", and fortifies the rendering by the following foot-note:—"Attharça: par là les Thais désignent les statuettes et bas-reliefs: manque dans les dictionnaires".
60. Caught in the tangle of superfluous verbiage just here, the engraver has lost his cue, and has repeated at the beginning of this line the four words he had just cut at the end of the last one.
62. I strongly suspect that the second word นี่ is an error for มี, which syntax and sense and the balanced phrasing alike would lead one to look for here. An erosion at this point has obliterated all of the next word, or possibly of two short words, save a consonant at either end. B evidently understands สังฆราช, for he translates "high priest". S leaves the gap unfilled. P, for once does not write the word into his text, but transliterates "saingharâjas", as though there naturally should be more than one. It would be very convenient to read สงงฆราช here. The context apparently calls for the name of some ecclesiastical functionary. A tracing from 64 where the word, though badly worn, is clearly identified, fits the space very well. But the final letter still remaining on the st.one is the most serious obstacle in the way of this reading. True, the pronunciation would be the same in either case. But Pali words had then a long orthographic tradition behind them. The scribe would be far less likely to misspell one of them than one from his own hitherto untamed mother-tongue.
64. ปิฎกไตร the 'Three Baskets', name of the collected Buddhist Scriptures.
65. ลุก แต่ เมือง . . . . มา, a Lao idiom answering to the Siamese มา แต่ เมือง . . . . . . S displaces ทุก คน from its natural connection with the words before it, in order, as it would seem, that he may enlarge thereby the Aryan aristocracy which he has discovered in the word 'araññic'. His reading is:—"Tout les instituteurs de notre ville sont tous venus de la ville Çri Dharammarâya (sic) et demeurent avec les Aryens qui ont un temple etc. P reads:—Tous les immigrants venus de ville de Çri Dharmarâja vont, sans exception, s'installer dans le quartier des Aryyikas".
66. มน at the end is, of course for มนน=มัน. The engraver had not room for the second น at the end of this line, and forget to put it in when he began the next one. A similar omission, though not with the same excuse, occurs in l. 84, where we have ท้ง for ท้งง.
67—68. ลุก ◌ืยน 'rises up and stands ', 'stands erect'. The unexpected อ has sadly troubled the editors. B takes no notice whatever of the words. S discovers in them, of course, his protégés 'les Aryens', and reads Les aînés de leur race". P simply says—"Partant de Sukhodaya."!
70. The phrase at the end of the line is recognized in the North as งาม ดั่ง แกล้ง 'beautiful as if purposely made so'. The last word แกล้ง is frequently used in Siamese of actions done with 'malice prepense', or with misleading intention, but not in this particular connection. The final ง needed is supposably in the break at the head of the next line, the opening line of the third face of the stone, and is not the ง which appears just at the edge of the break. As in a number of other cases, the problem of filling this insignificant gap at the beginning of a line has proved surprisingly difficult. The previous sentence is apparently closed, and the new sentence begins with the next complete word after the break.
71. ตีน นอน is certainly 'north' and หัว นอน, l. 74, 116, is certainly 'south', however strange such orientation may seem, and however difficult it may be to account for the fact. It is affirmed that early sepulture among the Thais was always with the feet to the north. P has exactly reversed the compass-points here, though he has them right in 117, 121.
72. Two letters have been lost from the beginning of this line. They should be medial between initial ป at the end of 71, and final น, the first letter legible here. S, P, and RS read ปสาน=ประสาน, 'united', 'joined'—which may be right, though the word is an odd one in this context. Of อจน, plainly writ, neither etymology nor meaning are known. The presumption, however, is that it is the name of some image, since the term พระ in this text is nowhere else applied to any inanimate objects save images and relics of Buddha. Cf. 59, 60, 91, 93, 96, 101, 102, 103, 104. The engraver omitted the letters สา from the middle of the word ปราสาท, but by way of correction has supplied them in the interlinear space above.
75. สรีดภงส still puzzles all editors. B renders it 'a lake'; S, 'des eremites'; S, 'des célèbres pénitents'. I would suggest that สรี=สะรี is not an impossible variant of สระ, 'pool' or pond', from Pali sără, 'water', and that ดภงส may be for ตรพงง l. 41, 'spring'—which also seems to have been in B's thought.
76—80. The spirit worship touched upon in these lines, is a most significant feature of the life of all the northern tribes of this peninsula down to the present time. In the south, though less obtrusive, it lies not far below the surface, and crops up in unexpected quarters. It seems to be the survival of an aboriginal animism, long antedating both the Buddhist and the Brahmanical cults.
80. Having sketched his early life, his prosperous reign, the splendor of his capital and its surroundings, Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng tums to note what he considers the three most important events of his reign:—1) The preparation, consecration, and installation of four inscribed monuments of stone, of which we understand that our own was one. 2) The exhuming of the sacred relics of Buddha, their lying in state for the adoration of the faithful, the solemn reinterment of them, and the building of a great pagoda and temple to be their final resting place and shrine. 3) The invention of the art of writing. Highly significant of the measure and stature of the man himself is the choice he makes from among the achievements of what must have a stirring reign. Interesting too is his reversal of the order of time—already referred to, p. 9—to give the art of writing the place of honour at the end and climax of his story.
The era here used is not named, but it is certainly neither the Buddhist Religious Era nor the Little, or Civil, Era, which has prevailed in all civil records of later times. What is known of Sŭkhothăi history from other sources leaves no doubt that the Era is the Great Era, Măha Săkkărat, beginning in 79 A. D. For an account of the many eras which have had currency in this peninsula to the confusion of historical studies, see Phŏngsawădan Yonŏk, Introduction pp. 104—112. The date here given, (1293 A. D.) seems to be the real date of the inscription, though this is not distinctly said. The notes of time and sequence in the language—ได้ and จึ่ง, l. 82, make it clear that this was not the date of the planting of the palm grove, as B understands. S reads the last figure of the date wrongly 2 instead of 4. P has it right in his transliteration, but his translation reads 1314. The plain statement that 'the Prince planted these palm trees, S disposes of as follows:—"le seigneur de la célèbre ville de — — Sukkhothai, la reconstruisit à nouveau.'
86. ผิ has alreadly been noticed l. 25. ไช่ is regularly a word of affirmation 'it is' or 'it was'. By a singular turn it has become a word of negation as well. In deliberate speech and writing, when the sense is negative, a negative particle follows it at the end of the phrase: หา ไช่ เปน วัน นั้น ไม่, "it was not that day". Colloquially, however, the negative is often entirely omitted, so that the statement becomes ไช่ เปน วัน นั้น—which is precisely what we have here. The idiom strikingly parallels the French idiom with 'pas' and other words. S has missed it altogether, but P understands it correctly: "Cette lecture . . . ne se fait pas le jour où" etc. It is interesting to note that a writer on this same inscription in the Vajiraññana Magazine, p. 3576, l. 5, has exactly reversed S's mistake, making a positive clause negative. He glosses ll. 108—109 as follows: หา เปน ทาว เปน พระยา แก่ ไท ทั้งหลาย ไม่.
88—89. The ceremony here must have been akin to to the present ถือ น้ำ
89—90. S renders as follows: "Pendant un mois entier, selon la coutume, on fit des fêtes à installer l'éléphant blanc, qui fut nourri par les révoltés; on dora son beau palais. De même pour le taureau appelé Rupa Çri."—a somewhat surprising outcome from the two lines! กระพัด is probably what is now known as สาย สะพัด, the howdah-fastenings. ละยาง is probably provincial for ระยาง the hangings about the elephant's front. To this day central Lao either drops r altogether, or substitutes an l for it.
92. The reader will notice that the text nowhere distinctly says that the four inscriptions so abruptly spoken of here were engraved on the 'stone slabs' mentioned in l. 82. Yet unless we connect the writing with the slabs, there seems to be not the slightest reason for saying anything about either. But absolutely convincing on this point seem to be the words in l. 96: ขดาร หิน นี้—which can mean nothing else than the very stone and the very inscription we are now studying. No suspicion, however of any such idea crossed B's mind when he wrote "the flat stone called the Manangsila, in the form of an alms-bowl, is placed (as Dagob) above the relics, to close the foundation formed by the stone." The last clause is, of course, mere nonsense. Schmitt for a moment had a glimpse of the truth, and wrote: ' Cette pierre ci (la pierre de cette inscription même), nous appelons Manga (sic) -sila". But later, when he came to edit P, he renounced it all; for he had committed himself to the theory that there was but one stone, and it was "un trône en pierre", (l. 82). So he says here "la pierre qui ici sert de trône est appelée Mananga--Çila mâtra". This stone with its pyramid-top would make a "trône" less comfortable even than some we hear of now-a-days.
Of the places mentioned in this connection none have been identified save ชเลียง, which H.R.H. Prince Damrong tells me is the old name of เมือง ลอง, a town in the neighborhood of Năkhawnsăwăn, situated at what was then the confluence of the two main branches of the Menam.
97. มนัง, 'thought' should rightly appear in the case-form มโน. But the Siamese, with no cases of its own, is not at all particular about the cases of Pali or Sanskrit words, regarding them as variant forms of the same word, among which it is at liberty to choose whichever it likes, without reference to the construction. บาตร์ 'that which receives'—the word which has become specialized to mean the bowl in which the priest receives alms of food.
98. The lack of explicit connection—which has been noted before as a preplexing feature of this writing,—leaves it uncertain whether the statement which begins at the head of this line, is an independent one, or is dependent upon เหน 'see' as its object. If this last were the case, the proper connective would be ว่า 'that'. Indeed, that word may have been there, though now lost in the break at the end of 97. To me there seems little reason for mentioning again the Prince's parentage, and the scope of the allegiance he claimed, unless it were to state the purpose for which the inscription was set up. I have therefore supplied 'that' in the translation, and perhaps should have supplied its equivalent in the transliteration also.
99. กาว (แกว) and ลาว are well known names of northern peoples. มา I have not been able to identify. The river U is the great affluent from the north which falls into the Khong above Luang Phrăbang. P translates here: "Tant ceux qui habitent les rives des cours d'eau, que ceux qui habitent la brousse."
100. มา ออก is a very unusual phrase in such connection. B connects it with the preceding words, and translates: "were called out". S, assuming the same connection, but with different sense, says: "vinrent se réunir". P does not translate the words at all, evidently considering them as an introductory formula for the new date,—with which I heartily agree. Possibly we might save somewhat of the color of the expression if we were to say "When the year 1209 opened".
The nature of the Epilogue and the questions of its date and chirography have already been touched upon, pp. 15, 21, 23. The altered writing marks very visibly the opening of the new section in the middle of l. 108. The chief difficulties in the passage are those which concern the identification of places named. These have been for the most part satisfactorily solved, and the results so far attained have been embodied in the translation. There remain only ลุํบาจาย, สะคา and ฉอด. แพล่ is doubtless for แพร่, with the usual northern substitution of l for r. Phlua, which eluded earlier search, has been visited by Rev. Dr. McGilvary. It is now a little town on the upper reaches of the Nan river. ม่าน I am assured is found in old writings for น่าน—but that should not justify P's alteration of the word in the text.
The following verbal points should be noticed:—The third word of 112 is incomplete, and so far nothing has been made of it. Since, however, it is plainly coupled with รู้ 'knowledge' in the carefully balanced triad of ll. 112—113, one cannot be far wrong in rendering it by some such word as 'insight'. Similarly แคะ at the end of 112 I have rendered 'ability' or 'force'. รอด 'saved,' rescued' ll. 115, 117, 121, seems used here in some sense rather more technical, but not precisely made out. One of my Lao friends tells me that in such connection it is the equivalent of ถึง 'unto'. Much the same is the case of the phrase เปน ที (or should it be ที่ ?) of ll. 116, 119, 123. In both cases I have had to content myself with a gloss. แล้ว l. 123, may be introductory to the following statement—as S and P understand it,—instead of concluding to the preceding one, as I have considered it. In that case some word other than แล้ว will have to be found for the gap in l. 119, where I have supplied แล้ว as probably being part of a stereotyped recurrent phrase, identical with the one in l. 123.
I cannot think that the ringing eulogium of l. 111 ff., with its distinct personal note—placed as it is at the climax of this whole writing, and following without break upon what is said explicitly of Prince Khŭn Ram Khămhæng by name—could ever have been intentionally wasted upon a subject so vague and generalized as "Les habitants du pays des Thais". The syntax, moreover, is wholly against any such reference. The phrase with which it begins, แต่ คน อัน มี ใน เมือง ไท, cannot be the subject, since the introductory preposition แต่ marks it plainly as adverbial—"Of men that are in the Thai realm, . . . . find a man to equal [him] you cannot". Some pronoun, of course, our western idiom compels us to supply; but it should be supplied as all sound principles of interpretation direct, and as the native inevitably supplies it in his thought, from the subject last spoken of—that is, the Prince. No one who had not first determined to make "les Thais" and "les Aryens" synonymous terms, would ever have thought of thrusting the Prince out of the place of honor reserved for him in this peroration.