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embellish, flourish, nourish, punish, burnish, surnish, perish, finish, from the French verbs mourrir, fleurir, embellir, bannir, punir, finir, perir, sourmir, burnir (now brunir). They were made subject to the usages of English grammar, as if they had been true natives. Thus we find in Chaucer's Legende of Goode Women, the verb banish with the Saxon verbal prefix y-, as— “And Brutus hath by hire chaste bloode yswore, That Tarquyn shuld ybanysshed be therfore.’

French words in Chaucer and Gower will sometimes assume a form which is literatim identical with some common English word. For instance, the French verb burnir just cited appears in both these poets in the strangely English and absolutely misleading form of burned:—

‘. . . wrought al of burned steele.’
Knight's Tale, 2185; ed. Tyrw.

“An harnois as for a lustie knight
Which burned was as silver bright.”

Gower, Confessio Amantis.

And the French poulet, which then meant a young child, is Anglicised into something which looks like the participle of the verb to pull, in the Prologue 177 :“He yaf not of the text a pulled hen, Which saith that hunters ben not holy men.' The difference of look between the French initial gu and the English initial w often masks a French word. Thus, ward and warden are from the French verb guarder and the French noun guardien. In Chaucer the French word gateau (a cake), anciently gassel, takes the form of wastel. A large number of words which are thoroughly imbedded into our speech, and of which the foreign origin would not be readily suspected, might here be enumerated. In the following list of French words out of Chaucer some such may be


accept accord acquaint add advance adventure (aventure) adverse amiable array ascendant assay as: ent assize auditor awaunt azure banish beast beauty benign besiege blame blanc-mange boil


cape carpenter carry cattle cause celestial certain champion chance charm cheer chivalry chivalrous circuit

city Commission company compass compassion complain complexion

conclude conclusion conquest conscience consider content cook cope cordial coronation Countenance country courteous (curteys) Covenant cover coverchief cruel

cure custom dainties damn dance danger debate defence degree delight depart description desire destiny devour diet digestible diligent discreet discretion disdain dislodge dispite distress division doctor double doubt dress

effect enchantment endite endure engender ensample envy estate excellence exchange face faculty felicity felony figure flower folly forest form fortune fraternity gay gentle geometry governance grant harbour haste haunt honest honour horrible host

hour humble humour image increase infernal instrument intent jailor jangle jeopardy jewel jocund

join jolly (jolif) journey joy judge justice language large largess lineage madam magic malady Inanner mansion mantle marriage master matter measureable nheat memory mercenary merchant minister miracle mischief moist monster moral mortal natural Inote nourishing obstacle obstinate office officer opinion oppression ordain ordinance ostler (hostiler) pace paint pair parliament (parlement) parochial


pass patent patient perfect (parfite) person pestilence philosophy philosopher pity


plain please pleasant plenteous poignant pomp



pouch pound pourtray powder practiser prince princess prison


prize process promise prove purchase quit railson1 region rehearse remedy renown rent request restore reverence robe rote royally (realliche and roially) rude sanguine

Sauce Save school (scole)

scholar (scoler)

science Season sentence Servant service session siege

sign simple sire skirmish sober solace solemn sounding space special spend squire stable, adj. Statute story strait study substance superfluity supper table taWern

, tempest





treason tyranny tyrant


very victual (vitaille) virtue (vertu) virtuous


These words are still in our language, and beyond these there are large numbers of French words in Chaucer which have since been disused, or so much altered as to be of questionable identification. All such have been omitted from this list. Sometimes we meet with lines which are almost wholly French :— “Was verray felicitee parsite.' Prol. 34o “He was a verray perfit practisour.” Prol. 424. ‘He was a verray parfit gentil knight.' Prol. 72. “And sikerly she was of greet desport, And ful plesaunt and amyable of port; And peyned hire to countrefete chiere Of Court, and been estatlich of manere; And to been holden digne of reuerence.’ Prol. 137. But we have proofs of more intimate association with the French language than this amounts to. The dualism of our elder phraseology has already been mentioned. It is a very expressive feature in regard to the early relations of English with French. Words run much in couples, the one being English and the other French: and it is plain that the habit was caused by the bilingual state of the population. It is a very curious object of contemplation, and we will collect a few of them here : aid and abet. baile and borowe. a wel good wriht a carpentere. Prol. 614. uncouthe and strange. Chaucer's Dreme, vol. vi. p. 57; ed. Bell. nature and kind. Ibid. p. 55. disese and wo. Ibid. p. 102. mirth and jollity. huntynge and venerye. Canterbury Tales, 2308. steedes and palfreys. Ibid. 2495. chiere and face. Ibid. 2586.

Sometimes this feature might escape notice from the alteration that has taken place in the meaning of words. G

In the following quotation from the Prologue, there are two of these diglottisms in a single line:

‘A knyght ther was and that a worthy man,
That fro the tyme bat he first bigan
To ryden out, he loued chiualrye,
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisye,’

The last line contains four nouns to express two ideas. ‘Trouthe' is ‘honour, and ‘fredom” is ‘curteisye.” The formula, “I plight thee my troth,” is equal to saying, “I pledge thee my honour,’ only the former is a more solemn way of saying it—the word froth having been reserved for more impressive use. The word freedom employed in the sense of gentlemanlike manners, politeness, as the equivalent of courtesy, is to be found by a study of our early poetry. These examples may suffice to shew that this prevalent coupling of words, one English with one French, is not to be explained as a rhetorical exuberance. It sprung first out of the mutual necessity felt by two races of people and two classes of society to make themselves intelligible the one to the other. And it is, in fact, a putting of colloquial formulae to do the duty of a French-English and an EnglishFrench vocabulary. But the two languages became yokefellows in a still more intimate manner. Compounds of the most close and permanent kind were formed bilingually. Some of them exist in the present English. In besiege we have a Saxon preposition, of which much has been said above, linked to a French verb sièger, to sit; and the compound means to sit around a place. The old word which this hybrid supplanted was besitan, from which we still retain the verb to beset. So in like manner the genuine Saxon bewray was superseded by the hybrid betray. But there is a combination of a yet more intimate kind between the two languages. Old English words which were

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