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dominant power, it is not very irregular to call the whole nation briefly Saxon.
§ 2. Domestic relations. 18. We have no contemporary account of the Saxon colonisation. The story which Bæda gives us in the eighth century, is, that there were people from three tribes, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. The latter were said to be still distinguishable in Kent and the Isle of Wight; but, except in this statement, we have lost all trace of the Jutes. The Angles and Saxons long stood apart and distinct from one another ; they had each a corner of their own. The Anglians occupied the north and east of England, and the Saxons the south and west. The line of Watling Street, running from London to Chester, may be taken as the boundary line between these races, whom we shall sometimes speak of separately, and sometimes combine, according to prevalent usage, either under the joint name of Anglo-Saxons, or under the dominant name of Saxons.
When the Anglo-Saxons began to make themselves masters of this island, they found here a population which is known in history as the British race. This people spoke the language which is now represented by the Welsh. It was an ancient Keltic dialect somewhat tinctured with Latin. The Britons had been in subjection to Roman dominion for a space of between three and four centuries. This would naturally have left a trace upon their language. And hence we find that of the words which the Saxons learnt from the Britons, some are undoubted Latin, others are doubtful whether they should be called Latin or Keltic. Of the first class are those elements of local nomenclature, -chester, from castrum, a fortified place—Saxon form, CEASTER: street, from strata, i. e. 'via strata' = a causeway–Saxon form, STRÆT. Port, a word derived from the Latin porta, a gate, signified in Saxon times just 'a town, a market-town:' this is the sense of it in such a compound as Newport Pagnell. Wall, Saxon WEALL, is through the same filtered process a descendant of the Latin vallum, a rampart: mile, Saxon mil, from the Latin "milia passuum,' a thousand paces, has lived through all the ages to our day, and we are the only people of Western Europe who'still make use of this Roman measure of distance. The French keep to their league (lieue), the measure which they had in use before the Romans troubled them, the old Keltic leuga. In Saxon poetry we find the old highways called by the suggestive name of milpaðas, the mile-paths. CARCERN, a prison, is the Latin carcer, with the Saxon word ERN, a building, mingled into the last syllable : TIGOL, a tile, is the Roman tegula. At this time, too, we must have received the names of many plants and fruits, as PYRIGE,
Latin pyrus. 19. Many of the words which pertain to the personal and social comforts of life, were in this manner learnt at secondhand from Roman culture: as disc, a dish; from his handing of which a royal officer all through the Saxon period bore the title of DISC-ÞEGN, dish-thane.
When we consider that there was much originally in common between the Latin and the Keltic, it is no matter of surprise that after so long a period we should find it difficult to sift out with absolute distinctness the words which are due to the British. The most certain are those names of rivers and mountains, and some elements in the names of ancient towns, which have been handed on from Keltic times to
Thus the river-name Avon is unquestionably British, and it is the common word for river in Wales to this day. So again with regard that large class of river-names which are merely variations of the one name Isca-Usk, Ux, Wisa (in Wisbech), The Wash, Axe, Exe, Esk (in the Lothians), Ouse:- all these are but many forms of one Keltic word, uisg, water ; which is found in usquebagh, the Irish for eau-de-vie, and in the word whiskey. There are however, on our map, a great many names of rivers and cities and mountains, of which, though so precise an account cannot be rendered, it is generally concluded that they are British-because they run back historically into the time when British was prevalent --because they are not Saxon-because, in short, they cannot otherwise be accounted for. Such are, Thames, Tamar, Frome, Derwent, Trent, Tweed, Severn, and the bulk of our river-names.
20. In like manner of the oldest town-names, and some names of districts. The first syllable in Winchester appears, through the Latin form of Venta, to have been the same as the Welsh gwent, a plain or open country. The first syllable in Manchester is probably the old Keltic man, place; just as it probably is in the archaic name for Bath, Ake-manchester. York is so called from the Keltic river-name Eure; from an elder form of which came the old Latin form of the city.name Ebur-acum. But often where the sense cannot be so plainly traced, we acquiesce in the opinion that names are British, because their place in history seems to require it. Such are, for instance, Kent, London, Gloucester.
We will add a few words that have a fair Keltic reputation, basket, bran, breeches, clout, crag, crock, down, den, hog, manor, paddock, park, wicket. The word moor, for wild or waste land, I imagine to be Keltic, but naturalised by the Saxons on the continent before the immigration.
It is very probable that a few Keltic words are still living on among us in the popular names of wild plants. The cockle of our corn-fields has been with great reason attributed
to the Britons. The Saxon form is coccel, but the word is not found in the kindred dialects. This is the more markable, because most of the tree and plant names are common to us with the German, Dutch, Danish, &c. The words alder, apple, ash, aspen, beam, bean, beech, bere, birch, bloom, blossom, bramble, clover, corn, elm, flax, grass, holt, leek, lime, moss, nightshade, oak, radish, reed, root, rye, shaw, thistle, thorn, tree, waybread, weed, wheat, wood, wormwood, wort, yarrow, yew,-are more or less common to the cognate languages. This is not the case with cockle, and therefore it may perhaps be British. Another plant-name, which is probably British, is willow. This may well be traced to the Welsh helig as its nearer relative, without interfering with the more distant claims of saugh, sa salix. Whin also, and furze, have perhaps a right here. With strong probability also may we add to this botanical list the terms husk, haw, and more particularly cod, a word that merits a special remark. In Anglo-Saxon times it meant a bag, a purse or wallet 1.
Thence it was applied to the seedbags of plants, as pease-cod. This seems to be the Welsh cwd. The puff-ball is in Welsh cwd-y-mwg, bag of smoke. Owen Pughe quotes this Welsh adage - Egor dy gwd pan gaech borchell’; i. e. 'Open thy bag when canst get a pig!'-an expression which for picturesqueness must be allowed the palm over our English proverb · Never say no to a good offer.' What establishes the British origin of this word is the large connection it has in Welsh, and its appearance also in Brittany. Thus in Welsh there is the diminutive form cydyn, a little pouch, and the verb cuddio, to hide, with many allied words ; in Breton there is kód, pocket.
1 See a spirited passage in the Saxon Chronicle of Peterborough, A.D. 1131, and my note there.
The compound cock-boat is probably a bilingual compound, of which the first part is the Welsh cwch, a boat, a word which has several derivatives in Welsh.
Bard is unquestionably British, and so is glen, and likewise flannel; but then these made their entry later, and do not belong to the present subject, which is the immediate influence of the British on the Saxon.
21. We can never expect to know with anything like precision what were the relations of the British and Saxon languages to each other and to the Latin language, until each has been studied comparatively to a degree of exactness beyond anything which has yet been attempted. All the Gothic dialects must be taken into comparison on the one hand, and all the Keltic dialects on the other. The interesting question for us is—How far the British population at large was Romanised ? Some think that habits of speaking Latin were almost universal, and they appeal to the rude inscribed stones of the earlier centuries which are found in Wales, and which are in a Latin base enough to be attributed to illiterate stonemasons. These stones are called in evidence to shew that a knowledge of Latin was diffused through the whole community. On this view, which receives support also from the number of Latin words in Welsh, the arrival of the Saxons prevented this island from becoming the home of a Romanesque people like the French or Spanish.
22. The British language as now spoken in Wales is called, by those who speak it, Cymraeg; but the AngloSaxons called it Wylsc, and the people who spoke it they called Walas, which we have modernised into Wales and Welsh. So the Germans of the continent called the Italians and their language Welsch. At various points on the frontiers of our race, we find them giving this name to the