Imágenes de páginas

those at home. Had I met the same persons in Denmark or Norway, it would never have entered my mind that they were foreigners. Now and then I also met with some whose taller growth and sharper features reminded me of the inhabitants of South Jutland or Sleswick, and particularly of Angeln, districts of Denmark which first sent colonists to England. It is not easy to describe peculiarities which can be appreciated in all their details only by the eye; nor dare I implicitly conclude that in the above-named cases I have really met with persons descended in a direct line from the old Northmen. I adduce it only as a striking fact, which will not escape the attention of at least any observant Scandinavian traveller, that the inhabitants of the north of England bear, on the whole, more than those of any other part of that country, an unmistakable personal resemblance to the Danes and Norwegians.” 1 This is very interesting and instructive. It would have been still more

so had the writer been able to extend his • observations to the shepherds in the vales of the Teviot,

the Ettrick, and the Yarrow, and in the uplands of the Tweed. I do not doubt but that after the long lapse of the centuries he would have found there a good many types of the class which he observed in the north of England. He thus sums up the physical characteristics of the north of England people as distinguished from the Lowlander of the south: “The form of the face is broader, the cheek-bones project a little, the nose is somewhat flatter and at times turned a little upwards,

1 The Danes in England, 79, 80.

the eyes and hair are of a lighter colour, and even deepred hair is far from being uncommon. The people are not very tall in stature, but usually more compact and strongly built than their countrymen towards the south.” 1 We know with certainty that the Fin Gall or Finn Gennti, the White Strangers or Norwegians, obtained a permanent settlement near the Tees and in York, under Eric of the Bloody Axe, son of Harald Harfagr. They were favoured by Aethelstan, that they might protect the coast against their own northern neighbours the Dubh Gall or Dubh Gennti, the Black Strangers or Danes.

Mr Worsaæ might have found among the hills of Ettrick and Yarrow as perfect types of the fair or Norwegian blood as any to be met with in the north of England. And as for surnames of persons, the pure Scandinavian sön or sen is frequent, as in Anderson, Johnson, and many others, among “the braw lads ” of Ettrick and Gala. Johnson, a bold, brave name in the Lowlands, is a true Norse name, the most common in Iceland, as it is one of the most common in the Lowlands of Scotland, and there associated with deeds of personal daring among the roughest in Border history. In the beginning of this century there might have been seen any day on the braes of Yarrow a shepherd-lad with features, hair, and frame of body as like Worsaæ's description of the typical Scandinavian as could well be found. In him, too, there were thrilling ideals and weird imaginings, such as might have moved in the heart of any Skald; and he bore a name which might very fairly be regarded

1 The Danes in England, 79.

as indicating the Norwegian blood; for the Ettrick Shepherd was not named from the hog of the hillside, but from the haug or haig of the old northern tongue, as the lairds of Bemerside carried it honourably through the long centuries of Scottish story.





THE examination of the local names of the district carries us far back beyond the period alike of Scandinavian and of Anglo-Saxon immigration, for we find a large number of Celtic local names and generic appellations. Of these, some belong equally to different branches of the Celtic language. They are found, for example, in the Irish or Gaelic, and in the Cymric divisions. But, apart from these, there is a large and highly distinctive class of British or Cymric words.

The names of the principal streams, of the higher and more remote hills, are not Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian; they are not Gaelic, they are Cymric or British.

We find the same generic appellations as occur in Wales, in Cornwall, and Devonshire, and even across the Channel in Brittany. In broken and modified forms the same roots appear in the names of the principal rivers and mountains in large portions of Europe, particularly in Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. Thus of names of rivers the following must be regarded as Celtic, probably Cymric—viz., Allan

or Alwin (found also in Flint, Dorset, and Cornwall); Aln, Alne, or Ale, Cayle, Caddon, Eden, Esk, Gad or Jed (in Hertford); Gala (Gwala in Pembrokeshire); Leader (in Carnarvon); Lid (in Cornwall and Devon); Ouse, Rule, Tarth, Teviot (in Cardigan, Devon, Glamorgan); Tweed (in Cheshire); Yarrow (in Lancashire); Yair (in Devon). It is here we touch on the earliest race known to history who peopled the valley of the Tweed, that wave of population which at a remote period flowed from Asia over the greater part of Europe, preceding Slavonic and Teutonic alike.

It is somewhat difficult to classify those old names, and to assign each to its special branch of the Celtic. But we may yet make an approximation to this, and in several cases we have complete certainty as to the particular branch to which a root belongs. The two great divisions of the Celts are of course the Gaels and the Cymri. Whether they were thus divided before they came into Europe, or whether the bifurcation took place after this event, it is difficult to say. In Germany at least there seems evidence of the fact that the Gaels were there first, and that the Cymri followed them. There is some evidence for the supposition that the Gaels passed over into Britain from the valleys of the Rhine and the Moselle ; while the Cymri appear to have come into the island from the remoter Alps. The language of the Gael is represented by that of Ireland and the Scoto-Gaelic of the Highlands of Scotland ; that of the Cymri by the Armorican of Brittany, the Cornish, and the Welsh. The Cornish is extinct as a spoken

1 Cf. Jeffrey, Roxburghshire, i. 156.

« AnteriorContinuar »