1066 and All Saxon
Paul Jennings coined the term 'Anglish' with his three articles entitled '1066 and All Saxon'. They were published in the British satirical magazine 'Punch' on the 15th, 22nd, and 29th of June 1966, and were written for the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The following is a transcription of three essays.
Paul Jennings rewrites history in the language we should have had if the Normans had been defeated at Hastings; or so he and William Barnes (the Dorset poet who wanted us to say folkwain for omnibus) think.
Ful many folk unwitten what had been the tale of this our land if eke our maiden strand had been breached by some mighty, wel-found and strongly furbished ingang of lustry outlanders, such as might not be offstricken and worsted by our stout yeomen forebears together-standing in a hardy wappenshaw, for all their derring-do. And such, I ween, was never so like to broach and overwhelm us as the ungoodendlich ingang of William the Conquered.
Wel may the bells outclangen; wel may the folk and their childer be blithe and merry on a folkwide holyday, on this nine-hundredth yearday when we make wassail for our goodenlich offpushing of William the Conquered. For many a moon the Anglish have taken as granted and godspel truth, as a foregift and bottom-thing of our folkbeing, that never an outlander, from east ne west ne any other gau of the lodestone, has made conquest of this snugfast eyot ‘set in the silver sea’ as sang our greatest bard. And thus are we othermost and quite fromstanding out of all other folk of Europe, sith on the Mainland their blood, like their tongues, be naught but a hodge-podge of Frankish, Romish, Neustrian and many others, the outfall of many hundredyears’ turmoil, the twisted tale of ingang and outgang and endless othering of land-edges.
Yet for all this fair hap and outcome of the greatest tussle of our lore, the Clash of Hastings, the winning of it hung upon a thread. Al Anglish childer witten in their first lore-bokes that William was slain by an arrow in his eye; and therein lies the most of their kenning. Yet loresters’ seekwork of nowbetimes has shown we were within an inch of mighty sorer hap. For thus it was. Already in the king that forecame Harald, Edward the Shriver, was betokened a weakening of Anglish oneness and trust in their own selfstrength their landborn tongue and folkways, their Christian church withouten popish Latin. For Edward was upbrought in Normandy, and only when he came to the Anglish kingship was i put to him by homeborn, homebred elders and wisefolk in the kingsmoot that, he being childless (for in sooth he had been better suited as a holy bedesman than a king) it were most fitting the kingship should come down to a Saxon. Therefore did he pick (for at the end he saw the wisdom of their saying) Harald Godwinson to aftercome him.
And therefore did William the Bastard much harry Harald to pick him, and did even (for such was his over-running French pride) pen and shut up Harald until, under such wrongful overlording, he made an oath to help William to the kingship.
Now, when Edward was dead there was another Harald making trouble and ingang in the land, Harald Hardraada. William therefore bethought him that Harald and Harald, clouting and bashing each other like Tweedledum and Tweedledee, would leave him an open field, and enshipped with his host for Hastings (or, to speak true, Pevensey).
Now had the outlook for us all been hopelorn, had not the ties of northern blood and kingship outweighed the scantground feelings of againsthood in this altogether smaller, spotwise struggle. But even as the two Haralds mustered their hosts and glowered at each other over the field of Stamford Bridge, all straining for the dint and clang of ax on ax and spear on shield, the brunt and dreaful din of steel on steel, there fared a tidingsman hotfoot on foaming steed from the south, who told of William and the threat of ingang.
Straight therefore did the two againstmen leave their reading to fight, and fare southwards with their hosts to meet the both wise foe, with the outcome kenned of all. Sad and groansome is it to see that oneness lost so soon after the Anglish overcoming of William, sad to see how shortlived were the friendlike looks of Harald Godwinson and Harald Hardraada. For once the threat of William’s ingang was offpushed, they uptook their againsthood where they had left off, even to seeking the erstwhile chosen field of war; and Harald was by Harald killed. Yet other had been our tale if Stamford Bridge had been fought before Hastings instead of after.
In sooth the followhap and outcome of things mighty overcoming steered our folkpath for all the aftercoming tousand=year. How othergates would have been our lofe if William had conquered is easy to behold if we but look at the lore and nowbetimes suchness of the Betweensea Eyots of Guernset, Jerset and Sark (which William, thwarted of his topmost endwant, took as a booby-toen; for the Normans, forlorn backfairing from their undergang at Hastings, conquered here as wel they might, for it was foreseeable against so wee and unreckworthy a host as could be raised against them by the Betweensea Eyotsmen).
Straight then did William set on a huge and most allthinglich listing of all that lay within his conquest; taking into the Domesday Boke every man his house, his steading and holding, his wife and childer, his underlings both villein and free, his staks and stocks and stones, his beasts whether cow or goat or pig or dog, his goods, and ground, his stuff to the last firkin and hogshead, and all his tools, their gear and tackle and trim.
At first this was, beyond a naysay, all for a betterment in the task of overlordment, sith much that had before been scattered and untogether in Guernset, Jersey and Sark was brought under the hand of a strong middle overlording. Indeed, many Betweensea Eyot lorestores have given this as the whyground for the outcoming of the Threefold Kingdom of the Eyots as one of the first great strongfolk of the Middle Ages.
Yet in the long run this was reckoned for a weakening of the lusty eyotsmen, for all that up till the last hundredyear they held in thrall a goodly fourth of the earth. But now that they srand alone again with naught but their own folkdom, it can be seen that this so trueseeming oneness had no being; for, ever at the heart of the Betweensea Eyot folk after William’s ingang, was a scanthidden loathing and mislike between their upper kind, all from the conquering Frenchmen born, and the lower-kind carls and villeins, from the Saxon first inlivers of that land come down.
As has been shown by a skilful wordlorester, this cut or wound in the body of their folkdom has lasted even until now, and has been outshown even in their way of speech in every hundredyear. When their speech was in the making (and the Saxon part of it is like to ours) the lower kind made the words for the beasts - as cow, sheep, pig; and these be all of northern tongue, Teutonic and the like. Sith thiers was the lowly work of herding and looking after such beasts. Yet all the words for meats taken therefrom - beef from boeuf, mutton from mouton, pork from porc - are of outshoot from the upper-kind conquering French, who for hundreds of years have sat beguzzling and drinking all kings of delightful and toothsome food in their lordly houses, while the downtrodden lower-kind carls might do nothing but chew on grass and roots in their murky holes and hovels.
So it has been even up to our own hundredyear, when the main thought of the eyotsmen is given to the ongoing without end of this cut and sundering between upper kind and lower kind, or kind-strife as it was fitly called by Karl Marx; though to the more thoughtful of them it seems unbecoming and unfitting a folk of this hundredyear in which men go skyfaring by squirt aircraft, with the farclanger and the farseer in every home, and much talk even of starfaring.
Moreover the upper kind strive mightily to find the gold for their childer to go to learninghouses where they may be taught avove all, to speak otherlich from those of the lower kind; and they put great store to make them say luncheon for lunch, pudding for sweet, writingpaper for notepaper, lavatory for toilet, and many other such birdbrain, gormless, weightless, fiddlebum fidgetgimmicks…
But enough of the Betweensea Eyots. The sad hap and lost of Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, was for ever put off from this happy Angland by our doughty forebears, led by the two Haralds, in their ever-thought-of (but most of all in this ninth hundredyear wassail) overcoming of William the Conquered. Of how our tongue kept its strength, our folkways their oneness and craft, I shall tell in two more thingbits in this far-kenned merry tidings-sheet.
Onrunning next week
Endwant: object, aim
Middle overlording: central government
Wappenshaw: a show of weapons
Witten: to know
Paul Jennins rewrites history in the language we should have if the Normans had been defeated at Hastings; or so he and William Barnes (the Dorset poet who wanted us to say folkwain for omnibus) think.
In a foregoing piece (a week ago in this same mirthboke) I wrote anent the ninehundreth yearday of the Clash of Hastings; of how in that mighty russle, which othered our lore for coming hundredyears, indeed for all following aftertide till Domesday, the would-be ingangers from France were smitten hip and thigh; and of how, not least, our tongue remained selfthrough and strong, unbecluttered and unvedizened with outlandish Latin-born words of French outshoot. It is needful only to bethink us how, for showbit, the saying above, ‘smitten hip and thigh,’ might have been written if William the Conquered had been William the Conqueror: ‘percussed femur and scaro-iliac,’ or the like! What would then have become of our straight and forthcoming tongue, so fir not only for telling of doing, in tillage, trade, or war, but for the unseen inscape of the brain, the bodiless shapes given being by the bard and the thinker?
Our Anglish tongue, frown from many birth-ages of yeomen working in field or threshing-floor, ringing-loft, or shearing house, mead and thicket and ditch, under the thousand hues and scuddin clouds of our ever-othering weather, has been enmulched over the hundreadyears with many sayings born from everyday life. It has an unbettered muchness of samenoiselike and againclanger wordgroups, such as wind and water, horse and hound, block and tackle, sweet seveteen, harvest home blood and thunder, now or never, pie in the sky, hugger mugger, black and blue, bats in the belfry, lock, stock, and barrel, a pig in a poke…
As the great bookman, thinker, trypieceman, and jokesmith G. K. Chesterton wrote anent T. S. Eliot (who had upbraided him for too much againclanging), this is the selfstuff of our tongue. “Must I say,” he wrote, “I have got a pig in a receptacle?” If I wish to speak of one not quite well in his brain must I say he has bats in the campanile?” For so one must do if he lean over backwards to flee from our selfborn againclanging.The craft and insight of our Anglish tongue for the more cunning switchmeangroups, for unthingsome and overthingsom withtakings, gives a matchless tool to bards, deepthinkers and trypiecemen. Let us, for showbit, look at one of the best-kenned pieces in our bardicstorehouse:
To be, or not to be: that is the ask-thing:
Is’t higher-thinking in the brain to bear
The slings and arrows of outrageous dooming
Or to take weapons ‘gainst a sea of bothers
And by againstwork end them? To die; to sleep;
No more; and, by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand lifesome dints
That flesh is deathboon to: ti’s a withalling
Heartsomely wish’d for. To die; to sleep;
To sleep; mayhap to dream; ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this deathsome ring
Must give us halt. There’s the highdeem
That makes a woehap of so lasting life:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of tide,
The overgrinder’s wrong, the proud man’s scorn,
The pangs of backthrown love, the moot’s slow-fare,
The pride of stewardship, and all the spurns
That bearsome worth of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his own noise-end make
With a bare bodkin? Who would burdens bear
To grunt and sweat under a heavy life
But that the dread of something after death,
The unfreshfounden land from whose far bourn
No forthfarer comes back, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we ken not of?
Thus inthought does make fleefights of us all,
And thus the hereborn hue of doing-will
Is sicklied o’ver with the wan cast of thought
And undertakings of great pith and driving
With this onlook their flowings turn awry
And lose the name of doing.There has lately been an overleading of the works of the greater Anglish bards, such as Shakespeare, into the Betweensea Eyots (Guernset, Jersey, Sark, asf.). As we have seen these were clutched by William as a boobytaking after his undergang at Hastings, and ever since have ailed under a spilt-brain, twysome folktilth of lord and villein, conqueror and conquered, upper-kind and lower-kind. It is easy to see what a falling-off there is when Shakespeare is overled from his trueborn lusty Anglish into their bastard and mingle tongue. In the runningpiece againsaid above, the strong lifesome dints becomes the hueless natural shocks. The overgrinder’s wrong, the pround man’s scorn becomes The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, which not only weakens the thought but mars the fiver-footer beat (unless Betweensea Eyotsmen utter the word contumely as contuMELy, which seems unliekly). Most markworthy of all, Thus intought does make fleefights of us all becomes Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all. Truly, to overlead bardry from one tongue to another is a well-night undosome thing!
Towards the end of these pieces we shall come back to the Betweensea Eyots, that awful warning of what might have happened to our own dear Angland if our forebears had been overborne nine hundread years ago at Hastings. But first it is good to look on the moreward side, to see what happy doom and truceful oncoming ouver overgang, the once-and-for-all Saxon overgang, has brought to the world.
For the truth is that Northern Europe, whence grew the western folkway which is spread throughout the nowbetide world, might well have been spilt and sundered beyond hope, like its southern neighbours, the small French and Italian kingdoms, if the outcome of Hastings had been other, Sith Germany, Angland, and all the United States of Vinland, from Head Horn in the south to Alaska in the north, speak the same tongue, and follow the same folkways, choosing their own free folksmoot, we might be forgiven for think of this as foredoomed and lifesome.
Yes it is beyond askthink that in 1066 the world was still in the aftermath and shadow of the mighty Old Roman Overlording; and the strong leaning to look upon the Middlesea folks as the lifesome home and birthspring of all folktilth had already sown in the Germans the seed of a feeling that they were outsiders, cut off from the togetherness of Roman-lorded Europe, going their own way in the deep-wooded, unkenned lands beyond the Rhine.
If Angland had gone the way of the Betweensea Eyots there is every likeliehood that our lot would have fallen forever in the Middlesea ringpath, leaving Germany to the full ownsomeness of the outsider, with unforeseeable seeds of strige for aftercoming years.
But this threat was offturned at Hastings. Throughout the Middle Hundredyears Angland and Germany came ever more together, this being needful as an againstweight to the might of France. Angland joined the Hanseatic Brotherhood soon after its beginning, and this was the start of that Anglo-German sea strength which, at the great sea fight off Ostend in 1694, ended Lewis XIV’s try at world conquest. After the Truce of Dover in 1697 inside stresses led to the break-up of the French Overlording and the in some ways unhappy ‘balkanisation’ of southern Europe into many little Kingdoms, of which Languedoc and All Gaulle, now lorded by Charles the Tall, is a showbit.
It was this same seafaring lore which led to the great Anglo-German outfinding trips over the world, and freshfinding and settlement of Vinland and Southland. All the wheelthings, maketackles, and go-bits which brough the nowbetide world to birth were first upthought in Angland (the Spinning Jenny of Hargreaves, the steam railway of Stepheson, the strongflow of Faradat, the squirt aircraft of Whittle), Germany (the selfwain of Daimler-Benz, the diesel of Diesel) and Vinland (the turnscrew aircraft of the Wright Brothers, the farspeaker of Bell, the quickwriter of Scholes, Glidden, and Soule, the clangwriter of Edison).
Everywhere there is freedom of speech, of worship (as thousand-thousands of Aztecs in southern Vinland will witness) and of folksmoot-choosing. There is no upper kind and lower kind, but one happy folk. In the following (and end) piece next week we shall see, from the showbit of the Beweensea Eyots, how other it might have been for us.
Onrunning next week
Againsay: quote, repeat
Asf.: (abbrew.): and so forth
Clangwriter: (US) PhonegraphIn Eng., writeclang, gramophone
Folktilth: national culture
Moreward: positive. Cf. lessward, negative
Other: (v.), to alter
Runningpiece: passage or extract
Trypiecer: essay; -man, essayist
Paul Jennings rewrites history in the language we should have had if the Normans had been defeated at Hastings; or so he and William Barnes (the Dorset poet who wanted us to say folkwain for omnibus) think.
Although mighty few folk ever give thought to it (sith the outcome was settled ninehundred years ago) the Saxon Conquest was a near thing; there is hardly any forlook of our folkband, from the Chelsea Bloom Show and the Grail Endgame to the Talkmootsome workway, that would not be altogether othered if William the Conquered had won on that doomy day in 1066.
We have seen in foregoing pieces how our tongue was kept free from outlandish inmingling, of French and Latin-fetched words, which a Norman win would, beyond askthink, have inled into it. We have seen what a strength this has given to our world-kenned storehouse of bardry. We have seen, too, how the off-pushing of French might led to the nowbetide (and farbackstanding) brotherhood of Angland, Germany, and the United States of Vinland, sharing the same tongue, the same belief in folksway.
But mayhap even this is not enough to bring home to the inscape what a Norman conquest would have meant, and we are therefore lucky in having a showbit near to hand in the Betweensea Eyots of Guernsey, Jersey, and Sark.
When these were taken by William, as a boobytaking or soothewoe win-thing, after his undergang at Hastings, they underwent the full lustiness of Norman thoroughness in overlording (it is forthshowsome that even today Charles the Tall, King of Languedoc and All Gaulle, has said, in their tongue, that there are but three cultures in the world - agricultue, horticulture and French culture). From the beginning the ingagners, with their feudal ‘manors’ and strongholds, their lordship of lands and steadings, and most of all their tongue, rested asunder from the landborn inlivers; and even after nine hundred years the two skeins have never become a onelike yarn.
There were tides when their twysome suchness was reckoned a strength to them, when Norman warp and Saxon weft did indeed seem to make a third, freshborn stuff, a freshborn folk from the mingling of two lusty bloods. In their farback lore we may read of the Threefold Kingdom of Betweensea Eyots as the main strength of Europe - nay, of the wold. The French need to overlord, together with the hardihood of the landborn Saxon foot-warriors, has as end, at one tide, an overlording of a fourth breakbit of the world, stretching even to India.
But nowbetide, when the overlording of underfolk is thought a bad thing, it is not done by any land but Russia, the sundering between their upper and lower kinds, far from being healed, seems to have come back lengthend a hundredfold. The gap yawns wider than ever, and is the mainbottomstalk of their nowbetides wores with the evenstead of geldgiving. For the truth is that over the hundredyears Norman lord and Saxon villein have merely othered into boss-kind and working-kind. Although the Tacklework Quickturn began in these eyots, and has in other lands led straight to the outcoming of the nowbetides world, there under the headgeldsome workwaty, it led to even more gold for the boss-kind and even less for the working-kind, with the following kind-strife.
Thus, in this twentieth hundredyear, when geldcraft has outpushed warcraft as the mainspring of folkstrength, their working-kind still live in the nineteenth hundredyear. When they are asked to make more goods, for outsend, for the good of all the folk together, they will not do so, for they believe it is but for the good of the boss-kind. They are banded together against the boss-kind in Craft Bands, of which the main end is to see that no man does too much work, and to undertake strikes. In our land this word means a lusty blow, as of a man happily working and making - the blacksmith strikes the iron and the sparks fly, the softloudist strikes the keyboard and sweet sounds come forth - but there strike, in their tongue, has taken on quite the against meaning, for it means to do nothing, for spite. There are even tides when, the Craft Bands not willing to undertake a strike, the men do it themselves, even to mock moots and mock hanging of them that do not wish to strike, often driving them to feelstringsome breakdowns.
On their side the boss-kind do everything to sharpen this sundering of kings, from the beginning of their lives.From earliest childhood their offspring are sent to lordsome lerninghouses, where the very cast of their speaking is such to show their bossness; no longer, it is true, the French tongue, as in the days of their forebears, but a way of speaking breathsounds that straightway shows the speaker’s right to wear the Old Lerninghouse Neckband, which opens the door to many reeveships and stewardries in tacklework -- even though, by and large, the Old Lerninghouse Neckband crew know nothing about tacklework and worksmithcraft, but have merely a smattering of old tongues -- and, as we have seen, the right breathsounds.
It is still quite the greatest boast of such a man that his forebears ‘came over with the Conqueror’ (William). And another odd thing which has onlived to our own tide, is their belief that the horse is the showthing overlordship. Many years ago there was a leadingpiece in the Christian Knowcraft Warner in which it was said that North Vinland was the most folkswaysome land in the world from having the highest allotting of selfwains. In old folktilths (said the leadingpiece) the oerlord-kind took their deedsome names from the horse - the equitatus of Rome, the chevaliers of France, the caballeros of Spain, the Ritter or riders of Germany. The horseman high and overbreaing on his great beast had the overlordship of leagues of land, unlike the field-working underling, dibbling and scratching the same patch of earth with plough and hoe, lifting his forelock to the feather-hatted, soft-clad, many-hued, awesomely jingling shape of his lord as he clattered by. But with a Tin Lizzie Jack became as good as his lord, and as more men to a hundred had Tin Lizzies in Vinland than elsewhere…
Without going as far as this it is easy to see that something weird and overawesome still clings to the horse, and the boss-kind are loth to give it up. Their menfolk themselves do not much far on horseback, except when hunting -- a pass-time now often thrown into a hodge-podge of bunglement by hairy-chinned youngsters waving Against-Blood-Pass-times showcloths and scattering makestuff to drown the trackstink. But all boss-kind little girls do so. Moreover, undertown little girls, whose elders wish them to seem of the boss-kind, ride also; their greatest happiness being to have a horselet, horse-legwear, and a little ugly hard hat.
Now it is true that boss folk do like this anywhere in the world if they can. Even in Vinland, that home of folksway, you may see in their weekly reading-sheets showbits of their boss-kind on horseback, of their young maidens (in such towns as Boston) clad all in white, at old-tide stepfests, for their ‘coming-out’. They too have lordsome lerninghouses to which only the children of those with gold can go, and get ready for a birthborn overlordship.
But these are still only here-and-there fun-things, outcrops, not yet bits of their true folktilth (although growing and mayhap soon to become so). Vinland can geldfind such things, sith there are but 180 thousand-thousand folk in 3 thousand-thousand fourside thousand steps of land -- land uncropped for thousand-thousands of years, stuffed with sourcestone and smoothgush. Even Languedoc and Alle Gaulle, with 40 thousand-thousand penned in a scantlack, pinchbeck 97 thousand fourside thousandsteps, we are not in like hap. Everything hangs and hinges on outselling more than we inbuy. But, thanks to the Saxon Conquest, our hearts are high, we are beholden to no one in our brotherhood with Germany and Vinland. The skill and craft, not to speak of brain-cunning and knowcraft, which fathered the railway, the squirt aircraft, the hover craft and many other fresh findings of the nowbetide world, together with the brotherly striving together for the sake of all folk which is the pride of Saxon men, will see us through to many coming tides of happiness and well-doing.
For if we ever stop to askthink whether this may not be so, we have but to look at the luckless Betweensea Eyots to see what had been our plight if we had not this all-overcoming oneness -- it it had been taken from us, nine hundred years ago, by a Norman Conquest.
Craft band: trade union
Evenstead: balance. -of geldgiving, b. Of payments
Feelstring: nerve. -some, nervous
Folktilth: national culture
Grail endgame: cup final
Headgeld: capital. -some workway, capitalist system
Stepfest: a formal dance
Tacklework: industry. T. Quickturn, Industrial Revolution
Talkmoot: parliament. -some workway, parliamentary system
Thousandstep: mile (cf. Lat. mille passus)
Twysome: dual. -suchness, dual nature
Undertown: suburb (an).