Saturday, March 21, 2015


Presbyterian versus Popistic Latin

Archibald Pitcairn (1652-1713), The Phanaticks, ed. John MacQueen (Woodbridge: The Scottish Text Society, 2012), pp. 56-57 (fol. 173v, from Act V, Scene i, with asterisks omitted):
Novell: The Dauphin is happie in this, that he hath learned his Latine er he came, for I'm perswaded he would have bein under ane ill Mr for that quhill under Salathiel's tutorie, who is so professed ane enimie to poor Prisciane (God help him!) as he is to K. James, and hes no true Latine to himselfe.
Visioner: No Latine! — why, that's a Mistack. Did you not hear him speak ane oratne halfe-an-houer long, all Greek and Latine, just the othr day?
Novell: All the Latine and sense both in it myht have bein so in a much shorter tyme. Ther wes never a sentence of Roman Latine in it.
Visioner: Roman Latine, qoth he — I know quhair I should find you. A presbyterian, protestant man to speack filthie Roman popish Latine!
Novell: I say that barbarous Ignorance. I' Gad, thou understands not. I mean such Latine as the auntient Romans spock.
Visioner: Still worse! That's my positne, that a presbyterian ought to speack presbyterian Latine, and ther should be ant act of the assemblie against all Roman Latine, The language of the whore. I hop in God to heir non of it spak except K. James come back again, quhilk God for his owne glory will not permitt.
Novell: Who cane endure this? What think you of this Latine, Si aliquis virus colebit fasum Deum aut verum Deum, ut non scryptum est, iste virus est guiltus Idolatrie?
Visioner: That may be good enough presbyteriane Latine. Ye may as soon Induce him to Mass as to speack Roman popistic Latin.
Novell: Damn me! Si aliquis virus speackes such Latine, iste virus should be hanged. But what think you of Biblia potest apprehendi cum mediis extraordinaribus et supenaturalibus?
Visioner: Why, that's easie understood. Biblia, 'the Bible', potest apprehendi, 'cane be apprehended', cum mediis extraordinaribus et supernaturalibus, 'with supernaturall & extraordinarie means'. It wes ay good Latine that runs smooth with -bus & -orum & sounds weall.
Hat tip: Ian Jackson.

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