If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane

Anna Z Skarzynska theania at freeuk.com
Sat May 3 11:33:39 EDT 2003


> >I vote for miscopying. I'd say it's extremely likely. (credentials: my
PhD
> >involved comparing MS versions of a tale, noting just such
inconsistencies
> >and extrapolating from the data)
>
> It's certainly a likely proposition, and I'm definitely not
> challenging your credentials!  OOH, there are a lot of varients of
> the L-WD, at least from what I saw on a cursory search last night,
> and surely it would make some difference that the MS would have been
> of a song, rather than a tale?   Just my 2 cent's worth question.
>
> Hallie.

I can't really see why- before typewriters, mass printing, and photocopying
etc, people would copy stuff by hand for their own use; most MSS of the tale
I edited contained a miscellany of other material, both prose and verse, in
addition to the tale. Whoever copied it may have seen flete and not
recognizing it thought it was slete w/ long s, and copied it as such,
perhaps even by then w/ short s. Any subsequent versions with that
miscopying as source would have slete in them. Puzzle over. What clinches
it, IMO, is the existence of the 'fire and flete' expression/term.
The metathesis which would have to occur for salt to turn into slet is a
very unlikely proposition, esp. as the vowel would have to change, too. Are
there any attested occurrences of spelling salt 'selt'? Not acc. to Skeat,
at any rate. There is also the question of the lenght of the vowel; flete
and slete appear to have a long e, the a in salt is short. All in all, if
this is the explanation, I'll eat my hat.

Ania




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