John Palsgrave as Renaissance Linguist: A Pioneer in Vernacular Language Description

By Gabriele Stein | Go to book overview

10
A Picture of Palsgrave's World

We shall in this chapter attempt to draw a tentative picture of Palsgrave and his world as they emerge from his choice of verbs and examples. This does not mean that we take the content of all his examples as autobiographical, and we need to be aware of the ambiguity created by the frequent use of first-person singular forms. We shall first outline examples that seem to relate to more general aspects of him as a chaplain to the king, a man of the Church, and a sixteenth-century individual with personal principles and views, and then look in more detail at various domains of life which, through the number and/or content of examples, appear more prominent in the work.

A recurrent theme that seems central in the verb illustrations and that reflects on the author of the work is the grace of God:

. . . All thyng consumeth
but the grace of god: Toute chose se
consume forsque la grace de dieu . . .
. . . All thynges come to naught
sauyng grace of god: Toutes cho-
ses deuiennẽt a riens forsque la grace
de dieu.
(III, fo. c.xcvi: I Cõsume) (III, fo. cc.iiv: I Come to naught)

How could Palsgrave have seen his position in this world? The first example which he provides for the verb longe 'to belong' is rather striking:

. . . I longe
to the king: Ie suis au roy, ie ap
partiens au roy . . .
(III, fo. cc.lxxxivv: I Longe to one)

His attitude toward his superiors may be reflected in the only example for to disobey:

. . . I wyll
neuer disobey my prce nor my bys
shoppe: Iamays ne desobeyray a mon
prince ne a mon euesque.

(III, fo. cc.xiiii: I Disobey)

-386-

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