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are invaluable, but they are obviously insufficient for the settlement of this question. In order to build upon a secure foundation, it would be necessary to collate the various manuscripts, or at least the most important families of manuscripts, to determine which were extant in Wyclif's time. The history of manuscripts should be traced, to discover, if possible, which ones were taken to England, and whether any of them were easily accessible to the Wycliffites. Such extensive preliminary labors are beyond my sphere, but there is opportunity for very interesting and valuable investigation in this direction.
The only hints which I could gather are from the work of M. Berger, and from the text of the Epistle to the Romans in the French Bible printed by Antoine Vérard in 1510. This edition, according to M. Berger, is substantially the same as the thirteenth-century version, the only complete French version known to be in existence at the time of Wyclif. There are, however, indications that the text had been modernized, so that, for a close comparison of diction, sentence-structure, and the like, the edition is useless.
Such is the baffling situation, and the English student can do nothing but wait until French scholarship has opened the way. The indications point to direct French influence upon the Wycliffite versions, but the available evidence is too slight to be brought into court. Some day the work must be done, if the problems connected with the influence of French upon Middle English are to be solved satisfactorily.
II. STUDIES IN VOCABULARY AND SYNTAX
A necessary step toward a full appreciation of the language of the Wycliffite versions is a thorough study of the historical development of the vocabulary and
syntax. This study is immediately fruitful in results. Phrases which seem awkward literal renderings, and words misapplied, become effective and luminous when seen in relation to current usage and historic association. Here the greatest difficulties are also encountered. One awaits with eager impatience the completion of the New English Dictionary, and longs for a grammar which shall do for the whole of Middle English what Einenkel (Streifzüge durch die Mittelenglische Syntax) has done for Chaucer. The great variety of the influences which have affected our composite English makes the study of its semantic changes almost equally fascinating and baffling.
It will be observed that the greater number of my illustrative examples are taken from the early part of the Epistle. I have noted each word or construction at its first occurrence; and, in a logical discussion, such as this epistle contains, it is to be expected that the significant words will be repeated many times. It is accordingly true that if the first three chapters are fully studied, there remains comparatively little new material in the rest of the book, although I have by no means, in these llustrations, exhausted any section of it.
Variant spellings of the Hexapla versions are here noted in every case, but the Authorized Version, in accordance with my practice throughout this work, is given in the modernized form. The reader should also be warned that, in order to avoid a constant succession of 'apparently,' ‘so far as records show,' and similar phrases, conclusions are stated categorically, especially negative conclusions (for example, that such and such a form does not occur in Wyclif), even when some doubt exists as to their absolute truth.
I. 1. clepid. Cf. 1. 6, 7, 8. 30, 9.7, etc. The verb, through the L. vocare, translates the Gr. xaléo, in the sense of 'to invite one to something. See Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, xahéo, 1. b. B, and wintós. Call, though occurring in this sense from ca. 1300, is not found in Wyclif.
departid. L. dividere, separare, discedere, distribuere, segregare are severally translated in LV, in the course of the Bible, by the single term 'departe,' in spite of the fact that 'divide,' 'discern,' 'part' were all in use at the time. This obsolete meaning of 'departe,' and the consequent misunderstanding, gave rise to a dispute in the Savoy Conference of 1661, met for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer. The Dissenters demanded, and the Bishops finally granted, ‘That these words, “till death us depart," be thus altered, “till death us do part.'
1. 2. bibote. Hex. promised. OE. behātan, 'to vow, promise. During its obsolescence in the 16th and 17th centuries, the word acquired, in poetic and archaic usage, the senses 'to command, to name,' still current in poetry.
tofore. EV bifore; T, C, G, AV afore; R before. OE. tõforan, ætforan, beforan became tofore, afore, before, of which tofore became obsolete in the 17th century; afore dropped out of literary use about the same time, but has been very generally retained in dialects to the present time. Afore is also kept in the Book of Com. Prayer, Athanasian Creed : 'In this Trinity none is afore, or after other.'
1. 3. bi. T, Gas pertayninge (perteynyng) to; C after ; R, AV according to. OE. bī, like æfter, was used to translate L. secundum, but is still very common in such phrases as ‘by your leave'; 'by birth he is English,' etc. See the discussion of astir in 2. 2.
1.4. vertu. So in l. 16, 1. 20, 8. 38, etc. Here the word means 'power. In other passages in both EV and LV, it signifies 'miracle,' 'moral excellence,' 'army,' 'order of angels. The same range of meaning is found in the mediæval Latin virtus (see Du Cange, Glossarium); all the above senses except 'army' and 'order of angels' are found also in OF. (see Godefroy, Dictionnaire). For in vertu, T, C, AV have with (wyth) power ; R in power ; G mightely.
1. 5. folkis. The earliest example given by NED. of the word 'Gentile' is 1380, in the Works of Wyclif. It is not
anywhere used in LV, so far as I am aware, but is used in EV some 24 times in the OT, 15 of them being in the book of Isaiah. In LV the rendering is ‘hethen (men),' 'folkis,' or 'naciouns.'
obeie to. When the intransitive L. obedire, through the French obeir, was taken into English in the 13th century, 'the English construction was either with a simple object, representing the dative, or with the preposition to. ... The construction with to has now become obsolete' (NED.). The latest example of the construction with to, so far as I can find, is Milton, Paradise Lost 1. 337: Yet to their General's voice they soon obeyed Innumerable.'
1.7. ben. So also 1. 32, 2.8, 2. 13, etc. The use of ben for the 3d plur. of the present indicative of the verb be was discontinued in the 16th century. It is not used in Hex., but Coverdale says, 1548, in Paraphrase of Erasmus 2. 40: And what thinges bene they?' 'Ben' or 'bin' is still used in several dialects (Wright, Eng. Dial. Dict.).
1. 10. if... Y haue a spedi weie. T, C, G that ... a prosperous jorney (iourney)... myght fortune me ; R if... I may... haue a prosperous journey; AV if... I might have a prosperous journey. The tendency of the language to substitute for the simple subjunctive a verb with an auxiliary is not marked until after W. Cf. I. 12, 1. 13, 1. 24, 1. 28, 1. 29, 2. 25, 2. 26, 3. 4, etc. In later English, the tendency has been checked somewhat by the influence of the AV and the Book of Com. Prayer: Luke 12. 13: ‘Speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me'; General Thanksgiving : "That we shew forth thy praise not only with our lips but in our lives.'
I. II. parten. T, C, G myght bestowe (amonge you); R, AV may impart(e) (unto you). Impart in the sense of 'share' was not introduced until Caxton, 1477.
1. 12. togidere. The same word is used twice in this verse, translating L. simul and invicem, and carries the two senses which are common in later use, 'at the same time,' and 'in co-operation or mutual action. The word is also found in 3. 12, 6.6, 6. 8, 12. IO, etc.
1. 13. nyle. The word is a survival from OE., and is not used in Hex., though it is found rather commonly until the beginning of the 17th century: Spenser, Shepheardes Calendar, May 151: 'If I may rest, I nill live in sorrowe'; 1650, Baxter, Saints' Rest, IV, IX: If it appeare evil to us, then we nill it.' It is still extant in dialects, especially in some form of 'willy-nilly', 'will he, nill he.'
I. 16. schame. OE. sceamian, 'to be ashamed,' or 'to cause shame.' The sense 'to be ashamed' was used as late as Shakespeare: As You Like It 3. 5. 18: 'I do not shame to tell you what I was. But the present is the only known instance of schame, meaning 'to be ashamed of, followed by a direct object.
heelthe. Hex. salvacion (salvacyon, -tion). The word salvation was in use as early as ca. 1225, Ancren Riwle, but apparently does not occur in Wyclif. In the Hexaplar Psalter, Coverdale and the Great Bible agree in using health where all the other versions use salvation, in Ps. 51. 14, 119. 123, 132. 16, etc. In Ps. 119. 166, 174, Coverdale and the Great Bible have saving health, the others salvation, while in Ps. 67. 2 all except Bishops' have saving health. This sense of health is also retained in several instances in the Book of Com. Prayer : in the General Confession : 'there is no health in us'; Prayer for the Clergy and People: ‘the healthful spirit of thy grace.' Milton uses saving health in the translation of Ps. 85. 13, 27.
1. 17. of feith into feith. T, C, G, AV from fayth (faith) to fayth (faith); R by faith into faith. The original sense of OE. of was ‘away, away from,' and, among other senses, the word was used as here to express the notion of 'starting-point, spring of action.' It rendered L. ab, de, ex, and its development has been very complex (NED.). From and off have taken over some of the earlier meanings of of.
I. 18. vnpite. T, C, G, AV ungodliness; Rimpietee. NED. says ‘The sense of L. pietas, piety,' was in late L. extended so as to include 'compassion, pity,' and it was in this sense that the word first appears in OF., in its two forms pitié and pieté. . . . . In ME., both pite and piete are found first