« AnteriorContinuar »
To guess, know fully. Raade, udtyde.
Back, ridge of a house. Ryg, rygning.
To revive (injuries). Rippe op.
To split, tear asunder. Rive (splitte).
Without suit, guiltless. Sageslös.
Blacksmith's shop. Smedie.
Young horse, bullock. Stod.
1 "Wherein that sackless knight was slain.”—Old Ballad.
2 Trows, “a curious sort of double boat, which is used in spearing salmon in parts of a river where they cannot be taken with a net.”— Brockett, Glossary of North Country Words, sub voce. Also applied to boats for crossing a river held together by a cross-pole. VOL. I.
English. Unrid or unred. Disorderly. Uphold.
To maintain. Wan or wand.
Rod. War and war.
Worse and worse. Wark, to mak a wark. Ache, to complain. Yard.
Garden. Yen or yin.
To these are still to be added various terms relating to pastoral life which are distinctively Norse. Thus, both in Cumberland and the Scottish Lowlands, we have for a two-year-old sheep twinter (twy-winter), for a threeyear-old trinter, for a female sheep after its first shearing gimmer. A female lamb is a gimmer-lamb; in Icelandic lamb-gymbern, in Danish gimmerlam. Lug-mark is from the Icelandic lögg-mark.?
The twinter and trinter are explained by the fact that the ancient Norwegians computed by winters,—two winters, three winters. In this they were followed by the Lowland Scots :
“Five twynteris brynit he as was the gyis." Wedder is properly wether, Icelandic vedr, Anglo-Saxon wether.
There is thus evidence of a larger Norse or Scandinavian population on the Tweed in the old times than has been generally supposed. At the same time it must be admitted that the names of places due to the northern Teutons are few as compared with those of the same origin in Cumberland and Dumfries. We have on Tweedside itself neither beck, garth (a large farm), nor wald, so common in counties to the south and south-west
1 Gawain Douglas, Virgil. Cf. Brockett, Glossary, sub voce, and Ferguson, Cumberland, x. 152.
d here is equivalent to th.
Kell, a spring, Danish-Norwegian, survives in Kellhead and Kells in Dumfriesshire ; but it is not found on Tweedside. The Danish toft (field) is found pretty frequently. But we have no trace of thorpe (a village), thwaite (a cleared and isolated piece of land), unless perhaps in Moorfoot, with (forest), force (waterfall), or tarn, as in the eastern, midland, and northern counties of England.
The facts that the most of the Scandinavian words now found in the valley of the Tweed belong to the ordinary vernacular speech of the people, and that the names of places attributable to the languages of the northern Teutons are much fewer than the Anglo-Saxon, seem to point to a late popular immigration, when the localities had already received fixed appellations. This may have taken place in the eleventh century, when the Danish dynasty in England was overthrown by the Norman William, and when it was likely that the Dane, loving democracy and hating feudalism as much as the Anglo-Saxon, would coalesce with him and seek, as he did, an asylum in the north under the line of the kings sprung from the Saxon Margaret. At the same time it seems obvious from the Scandinavian names of places and natural features, that long before this period, probably in the ninth century, the Norwegians had spread northwards from Cumberland and Dumfries. They penetrated apparently by the vales of the Liddel and the Esk to the watershed of the Cheviots, and to the heights about the head of the Ettrick. They found
1 Murethwayt is in Border Laws, 219.
their way up Annandale, and diverging by the Moffat Water to the east, they passed into the vale of the Yarrow and even the southern feeders of the Tweed. And following the course of the Evan upwards from the same dale, they formed a thin line round the north-eastern watershed of the Tweed, and occupied the glens that slope northwards to Upper Clydesdale. They passed to some extent westwards in Dumfriesshire beyond the valley of the Esk and the Annan; but when we come to the Nith and the country beyond, we find ourself among a preponderating number of Gaelic names.
It might be somewhat hazardous to attempt a distribution of the Scandinavian names among the branches of that language. Worsaæ, however, is inclined to regard as Norwegian dale, force, fell (fjall), tarn (old Norwegian, tjörn, tjarn), and haugh. “ Exactly similar names," he tells us, “ are met with to this day in the mountains of Norway, whilst they are less common, or altogether wanting, in the flat country of Denmark. In fact, as a rule, the Norwegians in emigrating preferred a mountainous country like their own. And this may account partly for their choice of Cumberland and the valleys of the Esk and the Liddel, and for the names they have left in the uplands of Tweeddale. This view is strengthened by the absence in those districts of thwaite and thorpe, properly Danish forms.
This Scandinavian population has certainly left its impress on the unwritten compositions of the north of England and the Lowlands of Scotland, and through these now on the literature of our time. The Saxon
1 The Danes in England, 72, 73.
had neither, as has been well said, “ the pathos which inspires the bardic songs of the vanquished Cymri, the exulting imagination which reigns in the sagas of the north, nor the dramatic life which animates everywhere the legendary tales that light up the dim beginnings of a people's history." The Scandinavian genius, on the other hand, was essentially bardic; and it sung of action, of deeds of daring, and of battle. That intense ballad spirit, which loved and celebrated personal deeds, to the exclusion nearly of all else, through the middle period of Scottish history, and which was pre-eminently developed in the north of England, the Scandinavian area of settlement, and in the Lowlands of Scotland, seems to have been an outcome mainly of the Danish and Norwegian blood. The frame of the old ballad even, as well as its animating soul, was a legacy of the ardour, the life, and the idiosyncrasy of the Northmen who left their descendants in our glens. And several of the refrains which have come down to us through the years, and from what we suppose are our Scottish ancestors, are really runes that were chanted long ago by the bards of the sea-lords from Scandinavia, when they sung of loyalty to hero and successful chief.1
The question arises, Have we now any traces of the blood and appearance of those Scandinavians in the district, be they old Norse, Norwegian, or Danish ? Let us hear what Mr Worsaæ says of his experience in the north of England: “In the midland, and especially in the northern part of England, I saw every moment, and particularly in the rural districts, faces exactly resembling
1 Compare Worsaæ, The Danes in England, 89.