Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

augment, but in some respect vary, the sense of the words, to which they are attached. These plural terminations may, with reference to this view of them, be subdivided into those of Nouns, and those of Adnouns or Adjectives. The former are of a diminutive character, implying either endearment or contempt: the latter are such as give to plural adnouns the force and quality of nouns. The following are examples of the first of these.

Dynion, men :-Dynionos, little men.-Dynionach, poor little

men,

Thus the poet,

Dowch y pydron dynionach.

Come ye corrupt frail mortals.
Plant, children,

Plantos, dear little children,
Meibion, sons,

Meibionain, puny sons. Thus, too, Gweision becomes Gweisionain, as in the following line,

Wrth Wen gweisionain oeddynt.

Compared to Gwen they were puny striplings. Other instances might easily be selected, but these are sufficiently illustrative of the quality above noticed : we may therefore proceed to exemplify the second subdivision under the last mentioned class, wherein plural adjectives assume the functions of nouns, as, Dynawl, human,

Dynolion, human beings.
Daiarawl, terrestrial, Daiarolion, terrestrials.
Nerawl, celestial,

Nevolion, celestials.
Marwawl, mortal,

Marwolion, mortals.
Cain, splendid,

Ceinion, splendid things, jewels.
Man small,

Manion, small particles. The Singular Terminations, which form the third Class under the preceding arrangement, are such as give to words a diminutive sense, similar to that conveyed by some of the plural affixes just noticed. And these are of three kinds, being formed, first, on a singular noun,-secondly, on a singular adjective,-and, thirdly, on a plural noun. A few instances of these will here be given in the order, in which they have now been mentioned. And it may be premised, with respect to the first sub-division, that the feature is common to the Latin and Italian, and, in some degree also, to the French : and it has always been considered in those tongues as a source of particular beauty and delicacy. Why, therefore, is not the same merit to be conceded to it in Welsh, and that too, as it deserves, to a far greater extent ?

FIRST SUBDIVISION. Dyn, a man :-Dyno, a manikin, also Dynyn, (masc.) Dynen, (fem.) Dynan, (neut.) Min*, a mouth,

Minws, a tiny mouth. Mant, the region of the lips, Mantach, a shrivelled mouth, Had, seed.

Hedyn, a grain of corn. Yd, corn,

Yden, a grain. Aur, gold,

Euryn, a piece of gold. Tan, fire,

Tanen, a spark of fire. Oen, a lamb.

Oenen, a lambkin. To this subdivision may also be referred several diminutive proper names, as Bedo, Deio, Mocyn, Meigen, Cynar, and others.

SECOND SUBDIVISION. Mwyn, kind :-Mwynyn, (masc.) a kind one, Mwynen, (fem.) Mwynan, (neut.) Rhudd, red,

Rhudden, a ruby.

THIRD SUBDIVISION. Myrion, emmets,--Myrionyn, (masc.) an emmet, Myrionen, (fem.).

Grugion, the same, Grugionyn, (masc.) the same, Grugionen; (fem.).

Meillion, trefoils, Meillionen, (fem.) a trefoil.

The fourth general Class, embracing Comparisons of Adjectives, possesses a feature, peculiar, perhaps, to the Welsh language. In addition to the three degrees of comparison, which it possesses, in common with other languages, and expresses alike by auxiliary words, as in English, and by terminations, as in the ancient and some modern tongues, it has also a degree, denoting equality or co-equality, and which is farther capable of being adapted to other modes of speech, as the following examples will evince,

Pell, far,-Pellach, farther,--Pellas, farthest.

Pelled, so far as, or Cybelled, equally as far as. * It may be curious to observe, with respect to the word min, that its simple and proper meaning is an edge or rim, as the edge of a sword, or the rim of any orifice, whence it came to denote the lip, and, by an extension of the idea, the inouth. Accordingly, mir-rin means edge to edge and lip to lip. This may help to explain the beld Hebrew metapbor, by which Pi, a mouth, is applied to the edge of a sword, and translated the “mouth of a sword.” And the Greek doçopeas, or two-mouthed, is also applied to a two-edged sword. There are in Welsh other names for mouth, as ceg, genau, mant, apd savn : the first is used when our conversation has reference to eating, the second when applied to the organ of speech, the third to the form of the mouth. The fourth is, more strictly, the internal part or hollow of the mouth, and is generally used for the mouth of animals. Min occurs, inust commonly, in an 2.natory acceptation.

The last of these forms of comparison may also be used as an exclamation; as, Tirioned yw !

How pleasant it is!
Truaned !

How wretched !
O waned !

O how weak!
Ogased!

O how odious ! Or, to shew the copious resources of the Welsh tongue, this mode of speech may also be expressed by an auxiliary word, as in other languages. Mor dirion, yw !

How pleasant it is!
Mot druan !

How wretched !
O mor wan!

O how weak !
O mor gås!

O how odious ! It is impossible not to perceive and to admire thc niceties of expression, of which the peculiar degree of comparison, above noticed, is capable. At least it must be admitted, that it avoids, by a happy brevity, the tedious circumlocution, adopted in other tongues, to arrive at the same end.

The last description of ornamental adjuncts, under consideration, is that belonging to Pronouns and pronominal Prepositions, and which will be seen to involve phenomena, not less worthy of attention than any of the preceding classes. And here again we have another feature, of which, it is probable, the Welsh tongue only can boast, in those delicate discriminations of persons and situations, which are embraced by its demonstrative Pronouns, and for which, in other languages, we are compelled to resort to a circuitous, and often ambiguous, mode of expression. This will be sufficiently exemplified in the following instances, Masc.

Fem.

Neut.
Hwn, this.

Hon.

Hyn.
Hwna, that one present.

Hona.

Hyna.
Hwnw, that one absent. Hono.

Hyny.
Hwnyma, this here.

Honyma, Hynyma.
Hwnyna, this there.

Honyna. Hynyna. A few familiar phrases will, perhaps, illustrate the agency of these respective Pronouns more clearly *.

The examples, that follow, are extracted from the excellent Grammar prefixed to Mr. Owen Pughe's Welsh Dictionary. And the writer of this Essay has farther to thank the learned author of that work for his able assistance on the present occasion.

A weli di hwn?-Dost thou see this male?

Gwelav: a hwnw, a hona hefyd.-1 do: and that male and that female also.

Pera i hona vyned at hono.-Bid that female present go to that female absent.

Mae yn rhaid i hwn, a hwnyma, a hwna, a hwnyna vyned at hwnw.- It is necessary for this male and this here, and that, and that there to go to that male absent.

In addition to the foregoing the following pronouns may also be noticed, as possessing, by means of their terminal adjuncts, those qualities of discrimination, which are at once the source of precision and elegance. Minnau, I also.-Tithau, Thou also. -Yntan, He also.--Hithau, She also.-Ninnau, We also.Myvinnau, I myself also.-Tydithau, Thou thyself also.-Nynninnau, We ourselves also.

The other ornamental property, included in the last class, arises from the union of personal Pronouns and Prepositions, accordingly called Pronominal Prepositions, a mode of combination known, though not to an equal extent, to Italian, and always considered a particular beauty in that tongue. The Prepositions, that admit of such a combination in Welsh, are in number three and twenty *, and therefore afford to this feature of the language a far greater variety than is possessed by the correspondent quality in Italian. The few examples, that follow, may serve to illustrate this peculiarity.

Imi, to me, iti, to thee, iddo, to him.
Atav, towards me, atat, towards thee, ato, ati, &c.
Arnav, upon me, arnat, arno, &c.
Amdav, or Amdanao, about me.
Erov, for me, or for my sake, erot, &c.
Canov, with me : Trwyov, through me.
Oddiamdanav, from about me.

Trosov, over me : Rhyngoo, between me.
But it may be more pleasing to have recourse again to the poets.

A dydd brawd y daw atam ni yma. Taliesin.
And in the day of doom he will come again to us here.

Ti hebov nid hebu oedd tau :

Mi hebod ni hebav innau. Cynddelw. Thou without me, no converse was to thee : I without thee, I also do not converse.

* These are the following :-am, ar, at, er, heb, dar, hyd, i, idd, han, hox, can, o, odd, tan, tros, trey, oldiar, odditan, rhag, rhwng, wrth, yn.

Dybryd yn, veirdd byd, bod dalar arno,

Ac arnan ei alar!-- Llywelyn. P. Moch. Melancholy to us, bards of the world, there being earth upon

him, And upon us his mourning.

Hiraeth a'm dug amdenyw.-D. ab Gwilym. Grief has taken hold of me about him.

Such are, principally, the ornamental characteristics of the Welsh language, as they result from the use of prefixes and terminations; and these, upon a candid examination, will be allowed to contribute in an essential manner to its force and its harmony. The opportunities, thus afforded for the invigoration or embellishment of style, are, in the hands of a master, incalculable: and, if they have not often been turned to the best advantage, it is, perhaps, because even Welsh writers themselves, and they too of celebrity, have not been sufficiently aware of the elementary construction of their native tongue*. However, it is not, therefore, less true, that it possesses these singular attributes, which are the strongest testimonies, as well to the primitive simplicity of its origin, as to the boundless variety, of which its phraseology is susceptible.

THE TRIADS.-No. XI.

TRIADS OF THE ISLE OF BRITAIN. LI. The three Atrocious Assassinations of the Isle of Britain : the slaying of Aneurin of flowing eulogy, the supreme of bards, by Eiddyn, the son of Einygan; the slaying of Aväon, the son of Taliesin, by Llawgad Trwm Bargawd ; and the slaying of Urien, the son of Cynvarch, by Llovan Law Dino. They were three bards, who were slain by those three men.

[In the first series of Triads, the second assassin is called Llawgad Trwm Bargawd Eidyn; and the third is called Llovan Llawddino. Urien, the son of Cynvarch, is the same with Urien of Rheged,

Perhaps there is no work, which exhibits the Welsh tongue to greater advantage in this particular, than the recent translation of Milton's Paradise Lost (Coll Gwynfa) by Mr. Pughe, as it also is the happiest illustration of the powers and resources of the language in every other respect.

† Arch. of Wales, vol.ii. p. 65. Tr. 47-50.

VOL. II,

« ПредишнаНапред »