« 前へ次へ »
DIALOGUES, POEMS, SONGS,
BY VARIOUS WRITERS,
WESTMORELAND AND CUMBERLAND
NOW FIRST COLLECTED:
OF WORDS PECULIAR TO THOSE COUNTIES.
JOHN RUSSELL SMITH,
4, OLD COMPTON STREET, SOHO.
PERHAPS no other two counties in England can boast of having so many pieces, both in prose and verse, illustrative of the manners and customs of the inhabitants, and written in their own dialect, as the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland. Many of those pieces are not only interesting to the general reader, on account of the graphic sketches which they contain of popular manners, or the simple expression of natural feelings and sentiments, but are also valuable to the philologist, from the numerous examples that they afford of words and modes of expression, which are either obsolete in the general language of England, or which appear to have been peculiar to those two counties from time immemorial.
To present the public, in a collected form, with some of the most interesting of those pieces, both as regards provincial manners, and the use of peculiar words and phrases, has been the object of the publisher of the present volume. In the Glossary will be found not only all the principal words that are contained in the Glossaries appended to the se- · parate publications of Mrs. Wheeler, the Rev. Josiah Relph, and Robert Anderson, but also many additi
onal words which have either been collected from other works relating to the two counties, or been supplied by the kindness of friends. The greatest assistance, in this respect, has been derived from a Manuscript Glossary, compiled by Mr. J. Sanderson, of Kirkby Stephen, for the loan of which the publisher is indebted to Mr. Sanderson's son. For several pieces of poetry by Robert Anderson, hitherto unpublished, his acknowledgments are due to a nephew of the Cumbrian Bard.
In the present collection, the Dialogues illustrative of the Westmoreland Dialect, by Mrs. Ann Wheeler, are the most difficult to be understood, not only by general readers, but also by natives of the county. This difficulty is not so much occasioned by any great number of obsolete or peculiar words which they contain, as by the affectedly uncouth manner in which many of the words, in general use throughout England, are spelled. In order to write the word as pronounced, Mrs. Wheeler has frequently obscured the sense, without succeeding in her attempt to convey a correct idea of the sound. From her apology for her orthography, she seems to have been conscious that it was liable to objection. In her attempts to rival “Tim Bobbin” in uncouthness of spelling, she has frequently misrepresented the pronunciation of her native county.
Having thought it necessary to say thus much on Mrs. Wheeler's orthography, it is but just to bear testimony to the general excellence of her sketches
of country life, though she seems, occasionally, too fond of alluding to cases of female frailty and masculine insinuation. Ladies, however, of higher rank, have, in more recent times, shown their great partiality to expatiate on what they are pleased to term “unfettered, sentimental love," but to which “liberal shepherds give a grosser name.” In a fashionable annual, published about four years ago, the ground-work of nearly every one of the tales contributed by ladies, was either a case of sentimental spouse-breach, or of simple libertinism.
On the dialect of Cumberland, which is much less uniform than that of Westmoreland, the writer, from a consciousness of his own incompetence, forbears to make any remarks; but contents himself with giving the following extract from the Rev. Jonathan Boucher's Introduction to his Glossary, published in 1833. “ Westmoreland is remarkably uniform in its speech; it would puzzle even an attentive and observant stranger to point out much difference between the dialects of Kendal and Appleby : everywhere they are distinguished for a plain, perfectly intelligible simplicity. Not so in Cumberland, of which dialect it may be supposed that I am most competent to speak with some confidence.* What Bishop Nicolson said of the Borderers in general, that they spokė “a leash of languages,' is now true only as applied to this county. The speech of the people in general, in
* Mr. Boucher was a native of Cumberland.