Wednesday, October 16, 2019


Kin Folk Kin Tongued

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), "The Pity of It," Collected Poems (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1920), pp. 509-510:
I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like "Thu bist," "Er war,"

"Ich woll," "Er sholl," and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.

Then seemed a Heart crying: "Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we,

"Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly."

April 1915
F.B. Pinion, A Commentary on the Poems of Thomas Hardy (London: The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1976), p. 158:
Hardy believed that 'the group of oligarchs and munition-makers whose interest is war' had 'stirred' the German people 'up to their purposes' (cf. ORFW. 166, 177). As an example of how the kinship between the Germans and the English was still to be heard in the English language, he drew attention to Grammer Oliver's use of ''Ch woll' (W.xvii).

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