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The organism theory of language in England from 1570 to 1700 Baker, Ronald James 1953

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THE ORGANISM THEORY OF LANGUAGE is mourn FROM 1570 TO I?OO by ROHALD JAMES BAKER A THESIS SUBMITTED 11 PAHTIAL FWmWOS OF THE REQUIREMEHTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MAS^-^OF ARTS ia the Department of ENGLISH We accept tale thesis as conforming to the standard required from candidates for the degree of MASTER OF AHTS. Members of the Department of ENGLISH THB UNIVERSITY, OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1953 Abstract From 1570 u n t i l the early seventeenth century the dominant vlev of language in England i s embodied in the image which represents a language as an organism, an organism following an inevitable cycle of growth, perfection, and decay. This organism theory of language, since the Elizabethans believe that English i s in the f i r s t stage of the cycle, leads to a willing acceptance of neologisms,a, readiness to experiment with language, and a. concentration on l i t e r a r y production (literature being the "flower" of the language plant) at the expense of grammar and dictionaries. During the seventeenth century the organism theory of language i s weakened by the new science, antiquarianism, and the belief that English i s now i n , or close to, the period of perfection. It does, however, remain strong enough to lead to a desire to f i x the language and to a. h o s t i l i t y to neologisms. Table of Contents. Preface Chapter I Chapter II Chapter III The method of the thesis. Examples of the organism theory of language from 1570 to 1700. A. Reasons for the rise of the theory. I). B. Elizabethan linguistic assumptions and their connexion with the organism theory: 1. A language follows a l i f e cycle li k e that of a plant. 2. Languages can be evaluated. 3. Individuals can guide their language to perfection. The effect of the organism theory on the history of the language during the Elizabethan period: A. The willing acceptance of neologism. B. The readiness to experiment. C. General lack of interest i n grammar. Chapter IV Chapter V Appendix. Seventeenth-century influences working against 3y the organism theory of language: A. Science. B. Ant i quariani sm . C. The organism theory i t s e l f once men believe their language i s perfect. The effect of the organism theory on the history U of the language during the seventeenth century: A. The attempt to f i x the language. B. The h o s t i l i t y to neologism. A refutation of P. W. Bateson's account of l i n - 5~3> guistic theory i n England during the Elizabethan period and the seventeenth century. Bibliography Preface Ideas are dangerous and for more reasons than that they upset the status quo. I f the historian "begins with a thesis about the material he i s to work on, he i s l i k e l y to find just what substantiates his thesis, no matter how honestly he attempts to work. His eye "becomes selective, and he sees evidence of his thesis wherever he looks. And,the danger of such myopia i s pro-portional to the originality of his thesis. I f he digs i n those mines of knowledge where the pit-props have already been put i n , the tramlines l a i d , and from which the f i r s t ore has been refined, he i s relatively safe from error. But i f he i s prospecting, dangers beset him, worst of a l l that of developing an attractive, symetrical theory which because i t i s based on highly selected material f a i l s to be the stuff of history. And the danger of building such a theory i s increased when one i s working with a limited amount of primary materials. It may happen that there i s just that material which supports the thesis, although the material available else-where may destroy i t utterly. What, then, i s to be done to avoid being fettered by limited sources? One answer, I suggest, i s that the source materials be limited to a group of representative works, and that particular care be taken to use a l l the evidence in those works, whether i t i s for or against the thesis. This answer, however, immediately raises the new problem of what i s representative, a problem whose answer must depend on the nature of the material i n question. This thesis deals with i i two studies, the history of ideas and the history of a. language, and both of them have special disciplines for limiting their material. The history of ideas i s concerned not with the history of individual pioneers but with climates of opinion, with, i n fact, the ideas of that group which holds the dominant opinions of any period. And, second, i t i s concerned not with received opinion but with the opinion of the group which comes between the individual pioneer of an idea, and the mass of readers. Let us consider an example. In 1650 John Wallis condemned those who "bring our language too much to the Latin norm...and so introduce many useless principles concerning the cases, genders, and declensions of nouns, and the tenses,moods, and conjugations of verbs...and many other like things, which are altogether alien 1 to our language...." But Wallis would not be considered by the historian of ideas; he was too far ahead of his time. On the 2 other hand a textbook currently used at this university persists that i n English "there are four grammatical genders /of nouns/: masculine, feminine, neuter and common," persists, that i s , i n the dogma attacked by Wallis three hundred years ago. They,too, would be by-passed by the historian of ideas; they are too far behind dominant linguistic opinion. The historian concerned with 1 Quoted i n Jones, The Triumph of the English Language, p. 290. 2 Newman B.Birk and G. B. Birk, Understanding and Using English, revised and enlarged, Hew York, Odyssey, 1951* i i i contemporary ideas, to take one more example, would maintain that the dominant cosmological concept today i s Einstinian, i n spite of the fact that someone may have already proposed the concept which w i l l eventually oust Einstein's, that the vast majority i n the Western world undoubtedly s t i l l thinks i n Newtonian terms, and that a few (like the Chicago fundamentalist minister Whose congregation recently sent him round the world to prove that i t i s f l a t ) s t i l l accept some form of the Ptolemaic theory. For the purposes of this thesis, therefore, we have to find a group of works which i s l i k e l y to represent the major and dominant ideas about language i n the period under discussion, roughtly that from 1570 to the end of the seventeenth century. We shall not, except i n passing, be concerned with the work of men like Wallis; he was so far ahead of his time that he had no followers and l i t t l e influence. Consequently, I propose that the method used i n this thesis, that of limiting source material to three anthologies, was valid. The anthologies chosen, Gregory Smith's Elizabethan C r i t i c a l Essays, Joseph Spingarn's C r i t i c a l  Essays of the Seventeenth Century, and W. P. Ker's Essays of  John Dryden were a l l published in the f i r s t decade of this century and have been accepted without dispute as representative of c r i t i c a l thought of the period. Whether or not they are representative of linguistic thought i s more disputable, but there can be l i t t l e doubt that they represent the group we demanded, the group which comes somewhere between the original pioneer and the mass of readers. i v They contain, that i s to say, the linguistic ideas which were common to the advanced thinkers of the period. One qualification, however, of this r i g i d restriction of source material must be made. Although the thesis was developed using only these anthologies, i t has since been re-inforced by the material contained i n Richard Foster Jones, The  Triumph of the English Language, which was published when i t was near completion. The result of Jones' thirty years of research into the history of ideas about the English language between 1^76 and 1800 was too comprehensive to pass by, and the debt I owe to him i s obvious throughout. The thesis could, I s t i l l believe, have been upheld without Jones' work, but the evidence for i t would have been less substantial than i t now i s . Chapter I This thesis maintains (l) that from about 1570 u n t i l the Restoration one of the most widespread and important attitudes to language i s embodied i n the image which, i n i t s several varieties, represents a language as a l i v i n g organism, (2) that this image determines to a large extent the linguistic assumptions of the Elizabethans, and (3) that there i s a close connexion between the l i f e and death of this image and the history of the English language during the same period. The exact nature of the connexion i s often d i f f i c u l t to determine. We have no way of knowing when the image governed lin g u i s t i c assumptions and when i t merely represented them. It i s reasonable to assume, however, that during the late E l i z a -bethan period the image (and as always, of course, the state of the language) determined the lin g u i s t i c assumptions; but that as the state of the language changed during the seventeenth century and new attitudes to language developed, the image became less and less appropriate and played less and less part i n determining linguistic assumptions. Since, therefore, the thesis rests on the organism image, this f i r s t chapter must establish i t s existence - no matter how du l l a mere catalogue of quotations i s . Ascham i s the f i r s t 1 to use the image, and he uses i t i n one of i t s clearest and most 1 The f i r s t i n the material upon which this thesis i s based. Since the material was limited at the beginning, a l l statements like the above need qualification, and henceforth such qualification i s assumed. developed forms. However much some of the later examples may he suspected of being dead metaphors, there i s no doubt of i t s l i f e when Ascham says: The Latin tong, concerning any part of purenesse of i t , from the spring to the decay of the same, did not endure moch longer than i s the l i f e of a well aged man, scarse one hundred yeares from the tyme of the last Scipio Africanus to the Empire of Augustus.... Ana good cause why: for no perfection i s durable. Encrease hath a time, and decay likewise, but a l l p e r f i t reipeness remaineth but a moment: as i s plainly seen i n f r u i t s , plummes...and yet trewlie i n a l l greater matters. For what naturallie can go no hier must naturallie yeld and stoupe againe. 2 Later he talks of the time when Latin "did faire blome and blossome," 3 when i t was " f u l l i e ripe," before i t began to "fade and stoupa." There i s no doubt that his attitude towards language i s dominated by his image. Apart from such obvious images as "spring to the decay", "encrease" and "reipeness," there are the p a r t i a l l y con-4 cealed metaphors i n "yeld and stoupe" and "fade and stoupe." The implication i s that a language, lik e a plant or other l i v i n g organism, grows, reaches perfection, and decays; and by a meta-phorical transfer of ideas, the " f r u i t " that i s borne, or "yielded," during the time of perfection i s literature. Other forms of the image found i n Smith are E.K.'s Z 2 Ascham, The Scholemaster, Smith, vol.1, p.26. 3 Ibid., p.35. k One of the Elizabethan meanings of "yeld" was "to hear f r u i t . " (O.E.D.) ; 5 reference to English as "hare and Darrein"; and Chapman's des-cription of"good neighbourly borrowing" of words as an "infusion of fresh ayre and nourishment of hewe blood i n s t i l l growing 6 bodies...."; Webbe's "our English speeehe, i n some of the wysest 7 mens iudgements, hath neuer attained to anie sufficient ripenes" 7 and his wanting to "weed" our English tongue of error. Were there no more evidence, the fact that only one other linguistic image, 8 Chapman's "ceaseless flowing riuer of our tongue," appears i n the eight hundred or so pages of Smith would indicate that the organism image was the dominant one of the period, particularly when i t i s remembered that Chapman used i t as well as the river Image. But there i s other evidence, and i t i s here that I turn to Jones to support what was deduced from Smith alone. Writing i n 1573, Golding wants to "dense" English from the noisome weede Of affectation which hath ouergrowne Ungraciously the good and natiue seed.... 9 5 E.K., Epistle Dedicatory to "The Shepheards Calender". Smith, vol. 1, p. 129. 6 Chapman, A Defence of Homer, Smith, vol. 2, p. 305. 7 William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetrie, Smith, vol. 1, p.227. 8 Chapman, A Defence of Homer, Smith, vol. 2, p. 305. 9 Quoted i n Richard Foster Jones, The Triumph of the English  Language, London, Oxford University Press,"1953, p. 122, footnote kh. 10 11 Delamothe i n 1595 and F.B. i n 1598 point out that a language must go through a cycle of growth, perfection and decay; and Camden, to be copied by L'Isle i n 1623, sets down various earlier trans-lations of the Lord's Prayer so that the reader may see how "by degrees our tongue i s risen, and thereby coniecture how i n time 12 i t may alter and f a l l againe." Most important of a l l , considering his influence, i s Mulcaster, who,according to Jones: ...saw an active force ceaselessly at work carrying a tongue from i t s primitive form to i t s highest development and then into degeneration. 13 Mulcaster calls that element of a language which produces change i t s "prerogative" and says that i t i s the: verie l i f e blood /of a language/ which preserueth tungs i n their naturall best from the f i r s t time that theie grew to account, t i l l theie com to decaie...lU Minor forms of the image, particularly of the Elizabethan interpretation of i t which sees literature as the "flower" of the language, may be seen i n the many t i t l e s similar to 10 The French Alphabet, p . l l 8 . In Jones, Triumph, p. 265, footnote 62. 11 Letter to Speght, prefixed to the latter*s edition of Chaucer, 1598. In Jones, Triumph, p. 265, footnote 62. 12 Remaines, 1605, p.15. In Jones, Triumph, p. 267. 13 Triumph, p. 160. lU In Jones, Triumph, p. 165. He goes on to postulate cycles of growth, perfection and decay following each other, thus introducing a variant of the image, a variant that became very popular during the seventeenth century, and one which i n more recent times and turned to the history of civ i l i z a t i o n s has been held by men like Vico and Spengler. 5-Gascoigne' s A Hunclreth Sundrie Flowres.. .gathered partely (by translation) i n the fyne outlandish Gardins of Euripides. Quid. Petrarcke, Arisosto. and others; arid partly by inuention, out of our owne f r u i t e f u l l Orchardes i n Englande; i n the rhetorical term florilegium; i n such comments as Hart's that the court and London 15 speech i s the "flower" of English; and i n the continuing use of 16' the medieval "flowers of rhetoric." Finally, though I hesitate to offer what i s purely conjecture, there i s the new meaning of posy (a syncopated form of poesie ). Its f i r s t recorded use with the meaning of a bouquet occurs i n 1573• Ho single example from the preceding paragraph would be sufficient to prove that this image dictated attitudes to language. The semantic change of posy i s easily explained by the fact that mottos were wound round nosegays; or by the analogy of anthology; "flowers of rhetoric" and "florilegium" may simply be a result of the study of scholastic rhetoric; and any one of the minor forms of the image I have l i s t e d may have be«n conventional, and a dead metaphor. But when a l l the examples are taken together, i n conjunction with the clear statements of the f u l l image by men l i k e Ascham and Mulcaster, there can be no doubt that the metaphor of language as a l i v i n g organism, usually a plant, was widespread from 1570 to the end of the century. This conclusion i s reinforced by the absence 15 A Methode, 1570, sig. B i . In Jones, Triumph, p. 1^ 9, footnote Ik. 16 For example, Holinshed's "there i s no one speache vnder the sonne spoken i n our time, that hath or can haue...floures of elo-quence.... "(Complete Works,ed. Grosart,II, 6l. In Jones, Triumph, p. 178, footnote 20.); and Peachem's The Garden of Eloquence con- teyning the Figures of Grammer and Rhetorick, from whence maye bee  gathered a l l manner of Flowers.... 6. (with the one exception already noted) of any other image i n Smith or i n the mass of quotations cited by Jones. During the seventeenth century, however, the matter i s not so clear cut. Certain aspects of the image gradually weaken, particularly that which sees literature as the flower of a language. Moreover other linguistic ideas appear, some, like Alexander's 17 language-as-a-conduit-for-thought, or Temple's language (like the 18 world^-in progressive-corrupUon, quite different from the organism 19 image; others, lik e Hakewill's language i n cycles of growth, perfection and decay, merely modifications of i t , resulting i n many similar assumptions. In addition to the new ideas, each of which weakens the dominance of the image, new attitudes towards English arise (as the result of the growth of science, criticism, anti-quarianism, and history, to mention only a few causes) and the ' image cannot represent them. Consequently, as i s to be expected, i t appears less and less i n our "advanced" group. In fact, though i t i s found elsewhere, i n the control group of representative opinion upon which this thesis i s based, i t does not appear at a l l i n a relatively pure form after 1650, although some of the assumptions which stem from i t continue. 17 Sir William Alexander, Anacrisis, Spingarn, vol. 1, p . l 8 2 . 18 Sir William Temple, An Essay upon the Ancient and Modern  Learning, Spingarn, vol. 3 . This idea runs throughout Temple's essay. He shifts occasionally into the idea of language as an organism, but the basic assumption i s that the world i s i n a state of progressive decay. . 19 George Hakewill, An Apologie of the Power and Providence of God  i n the Government of the World. In Jones, Triumph, pp.297"^•footnote 5« 7 In the early part of the seventeenth century, Elizabethan attitudes continue. Jonson, for example, emphasizing that part of the image which saw literature as the flower of a language, uses i t implicitly when he discusses Bacon, who hath f i l l ' d up a l l numbers and performed that i n our tongue which may be compar'd or preferr'd either to insolent Greece or haughty Rome. In short, within his view and about his times were a l l the wits borne that could honour a language or helpe study. Now things daily f a l l ; wits grow downe-ward and Eloquence growes back-ward: So that hee may be named and stand as the mark and of our language. The point of view has changed since Ascham and Mulcaster - they looked forward to perfection, Jonson looks backward - but the concept of language i s the same. The similarity i n Jonson's and Ascham's li n g u i s t i c assumptions i s even more apparent when one examines, as we shall later, their view of the relation between language "corruption" and moral corruption, a view which stems from the language as organism image. Jonson, moreover, continues 21 to use the terms "barren" and "flowers" when talking of language, and that the "flowers" i s more than a conventional rhetorical term i s shown by the explici t analogy i n his dictum that: Some words are to be cull'd out...as wee gather flowers to straw houses or make Garlands; but they are better when they grow to our style, as In a Meadow, where though of the meere grasse and greennesse delights, yet the variety of flowers doth heighten and beautifie. 22 20 22 21 Timber, Spingarn, v o l . 1, p. 27. IhlL., p. 3h. Ibid., p. 38. 8 Jonson was sparing and careful i n his use of images; i t i s unlikely that this comparison of the right words for literature and the 23 flowers of the linguistic f i e l d s i s unconscious. From Jonson to Davenant there i s l i t t l e discussion of language - perhaps because the times demanded more rigorous themes. Only one work, Henry Reynold's Mythomystes, contains what can be called an attitude to language per se» and that attitude i s one of those new to the seven-teenth century, namely, that language, together with everything else, i s slowly declining from what i t was "for the world hath lost his Si-youth, and the times begin to waxe old." Reynolds does not focus his attention upon language, but his general position clearly implies a view of i t quite different from that of the Elizabethans. The Elizabethan image had not died out, but i t had become one of several major views of language, of a l l things human i n fact. As Jones points out: Three views of the course followed by things human on this earth struggled for mastery i n the seventeenth century. One was the theory of nature's decay, which dominated the latter half of the reign of Elizabeth 2 5 and the early years of the seventeenth century, and which was held almost exclusively by 23 Edmund Bolton expresses similar views i n "Prime Gardens for gathering English according to the true Gage or Standard of the Tongue, about 15 or 16 years ago." Hypercritica, Spingarn, v o l . 1, p. 82. Like Jonson, he praises Bacon and condemns Spenser. He speaks of"the best Garden-plots out of which to gather English language." Ibid..p.107. 2k Spingarn, vol. 1, p. ihh. 25 Though not, as has been shown, where language i s concerned. 9 the conservatives and the admirers of antiquity. It envisaged, of course, a progressive decline i n the excellence of a l l things. Another was the incipient idea of progress/ which derived i t s chief support from the forward-looking s p i r i t of Bacon,2°and which was largely held by the Baconians or progressives. Then there was a view which mediated between the two by assertfag that everything passed through a cycle of youth, development, perfection, and decay. I t was given elaborate and Influential expression by George Hakewill i n An Apolbgie of the Power and Providence  of God i n the.Government of the World, 1627, i n which i t Is termed "circular" progress.... I t was largely, though not exclusively, held by the progressives. It was this view that entered most frequently into the ideas of li n g u i s t i c mutability. L'Isle speaks of the long process by which the English language progressed from i t s rude Saxon origins to i t s perfect-ion i n his own day /1623/. Francis Gouldman says, "To Languages as well as Dominions (with a l l other things under the Sun) there i s an appointed time: they have had their infancy, foundations and beginnings; their growth and increase, i n purity and perfection, as also i n spreading and propagation; their state of consis-tency, and their old age, declinings and decays...." (A Copious Dictionary, lo64. preface.) In the preface to his English Grammar, 1688, Guy Miege says, i n respect to the mutability of the English tongue, " ' t i s well known, that Languages, as States, have their Infancy, and Age, their Wax and Wane." In his essay On Ancient and Modern Learning, Sir William Temple introduces the idea.../but/ by Sir William's time i t had become t r i t e . 27 As Jones* last sentence shows by the end of the century the idea was held mainly by such hopeless conservatives as Temple. I t can be considered dead as far as the history of ideas i s concerned, though 26 That Jones' statement must be modified when considering linguistic attitudes Is shown by the fact that Bacon - i n spite of fathering the theory of progress - believed that "these modern languages w i l l play the bankrupt with books." 27 Jones, Triumph, pp. 297-8, footnote 5. 1 0 . not, as we shall see, as far as the history of the language i s concerned. To return to Spingarn and Ker, however, and to fi n i s h cataloguing the evidence for what i s now the decline of the image -we find that i t s last appearance i n anything l i k e an expanded and explicit form i s Davenant's: Language, which i s the onely Creature of Man's creation, hath lik e a Plant seasons of flourishing and decay, like Plants i s remov'd from one soile to another, and by being so transplanted doth often gather vigour and increase. 2 8 The idea, of the growth and perfection of language, although not that 2 9 of i t s inevitable corruption, appears i n Sprat, but he i s working from what he conceives to be his t o r i c a l knowledge rather than from an image - naturally enough for a man who detested "this trick of 30 Metaphors." Some Elizabethan assumptions remain with the historian of the Royal Society, but the image which originally stimulated them has gone. And so i t i s with the rest of the material collected 3 1 by Spingarn. Some terms remain (florilegium with Evelyn, for example), but they are few and they are not used i n contexts dominated by the Image. Dryden mentions that "Ovid lived when the Roman tongue was In 2 8 Sir William Davenant, Preface to Gbndibert, An Heroick Poem, Spingarn, v o l . 2 , p. 6 . 2 9 Thomas Sprat, History of the Royal Society, Spingarn, v o l . 2 , P. 1 1 3 . 3 0 Ibid., p.1 1 7 . 3 1 John Evelyn, Letter to Sir Peter Wyche, Spingarn, vol. 2 , p. 3 1 1 . 11 . 32 i t s meridianj Chaucer, i n the dawning of our language," hut he does not regard growth or decay inevitable. When he says "I rather fear a declination of the language, than hope an advancement of 33 i t i n the present age," he i s preaching vigilance towards the present language, and such a sermon i s alien to the fateful cycle of growth, perfection anddecay. And nowhere in his many dis-cussions of language does he refer to the cyclic theory. When we sum up this survey, then, and when we remember that i t i s based on a. given amount of material and not merely on suitable extracts from an unrepresentative grab-bag of works which suit our purposes, we can say that from 1570 to the early seventeenth century the organism image represents a dominant attitude to language; that u n t i l 1650 i t appears frequently but i n competition with other attitudes; and that from 1650 u n t i l the end of the century i t appears only i n Temple, an extreme conservative plagiarizing most of his material from earlier works. 32 Dedication of the Aeneis, Ker, vol. 2 , p. 256 33 A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire, Ker, v o l . 2 , p.110 Chapter II Before we consider the linguistic assumptions that the Elizabethans derived from the organism image, i t i s worth while speculating as to why this image became dominant when i t did. I f we can suggest reasonable causes for i t s adoption after 1 5 7 0 , we strengthen the case for i t s influence; and however circuitous such a procedure seems logically, i t i s j u s t i f i e d when studying the history of ideas, where cause merges into effect, effects reinforce original causes, and stimulation of ideas becomes inseparable from representation of them. Consequently a l l the strands of cause, effect and representation are valid when we are trying to explain a particular set of ideas. Original ideas arise frequently, but their widespread acceptance depends upon a suitable environment. If we examine the linguistic environment about 1 5 7 0 , we can see why the organism image was accepted. F i r s t , the E l i z a -bethans were extremely aware of the fact that something had happened to English. They were not sure just what had happened, but they did know that their language was no longer that of Chaucer and s t i l l less that of the author of Piers Plowman. Although i t i s doubtful that they realized the great extent to which their vocabulary, for 13. 1 example, had changed, there i s no doubt that they did knov that i t was increasing at an unprecedented rate, as i s shown by the many discussions of borrowing, compounding and reviving. Second, they had almost no his t o r i c a l knowledge of the language, those few who did recognize Its Anglo-Saxon origin believing that Anglo-Saxon was monosyllabic, and the majority preferring to cherish a Trojan-British origin rather than a "barbarous" Teutonic one. With such an attitude to the past of their language, and with their general prejudices against the "superstitious" middle ages; with 1 Bateson has estimated, on the basis of ho pages of the O.E.D., that of every 100 words in use i n l600, 39 were introduced between 1500 and 160O. (English Poetry and the English Language.Oxford University ,Press, 193^ , p.31.) And E. L. Thorndike has shown the rate of permanent additions of new words in the following graph: 3 Ui 08 *\ til fi et •J J of OF OCj> 1 * 4-VSop \fe00 ( * » 0 SvCCCiS \ M c . 4-0- VfcftfL 9 £ R t O j S U4-<f>0- V *feo) Reproduced i n George A. Miller, Language and Communication, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1951, p. 193. their feeling that l i t t l e or no worthwhile literature had been produced i n English and with their new-found patriotism, i t was almost inevitable that they should regard the changes which had. taken place as improvements. Third, they were very much aware of the "corruption" of Latin from class i c a l times to the middle ages, and since they thought of the descendant of Latin as medieval scholastic Latin (rather than as the romance languages), they were convinced that nothing good had come from Latin since i t s "ripeness" i n antiquity. Finally, and this i s one of those causes which immediately becomes an effect, they always confused language with literature, language with the use of language, l a langue with l a 2 parole i n De Saussure's terms. Consequently, they saw that Latin literature had passed from a meagre "spring" to a classical "ripe-ness" and f i n a l l y to a medieval "decay", and they concluded that the Latin language per se had done likewise. But English literature -and therefore the English language - was meagre at best. Unless they were to decide that English would never have a worthwhile literature - an unlikely decision for arrogant Elizabethans - i t was again inevitable that they should consider their literature and language as growing. In view of such reasons for the adoption of the organism image and i n view of i t s widespread use, there can be no doubt that i t represented Elizabethan linguistic assumptions. 2 Ferdinand de Saussure, "Linguisique de l a langue et linguistique de l a parole," Cours de Linguistique Generale, kth ed., Paris, Payot, 19h9 (copyright 1913), PP.3&-39. 1 5 . The degree to which i t stimulated those assumptions which i t represented:is harder to establish. It w i l l be well, therefore, to look at the main assumptions before we try to establish their exact relationship to the image. The f i r s t i s that which i s e x p l i c i t l y represented i n the image, namely, that languages follow l i f e cycles similar to those of plant; the second, that languages can he evaluated one against another; the third, that individuals can consciously guide their language towards perfection. The assumption that languages can be evaluated 3 existed before the Elizabethans and s t i l l exists i n some cir c l e s . It need not, therefore, have any connexion with the image, and since i t i s an assumption which can be made to f i t almost any k linguistic attitude, i t may seem that there i s no point i n trying to connect i t with the image. That such i s not the case, however, i s shown by the particular turn which the search for the perfect language took. The Elizabethans wanted to find out what was "good" in language not merely to satisfy their patriotism (although that was a contributary cause) but because they f e l t that they could thereby guide their language to perfection; the second assumption, that i s to say, i s connected directly with the f i r s t and third. 3 In particular among the followers of Jespersen, who maintain that a language i s "better" or "worse" i n so far as i t i s analytic or not. k In the "progressive corruption" theory, for example, earlier stages of the language are better than later; i n the "progressive improvement" theory the "oldest" languages are the better, because they have had longer to improve. 16. Before the poets could rest content, they had to solve the problem of quantitative or accentual verse, a problem which to many of them seemed the same as that of defining linguistic excellence. Before the translators could concentrate on the peculiar probl-erAs* of their task, they had to solve the problem of what kind of English to translate into, again a problem of linguistic excellence. Before the orthographers could " f i x " the language, they had to decide what language to f i x . And so i t was with everyone else who had anything to do with language; there was always the problem of what was good language. With no accepted literature, the men of letters had to establish the linguistic c r i t e r i a themselves; and by turning to other literatures, as many of them did, they doubled their problem. Net only did they have to find out what was the best English, but also whether English was capable of doing what Latin, French and Italian had done - whether English was as "good" as Latin. The third assumption, that individuals can con-sciously guide their language to perfection appears, at f i r s t sight, to be antipathetic to the organism image; i f the cycle of growth, perfection and decay i s inevitable, how can individuals affect the language? The antipathy i s only apparent, however. The individual can hasten either the growth or the decay of his language. Other systems of thought, both the Miltonic and the Marxist, for example, have combined concepts i n a similar way. Eden i s perfect, but Adam and Eve s t i l l find i t necessary to tidy up; the f a l l of capitalism 17. i s inevitable, but i t s roots should be severed to hasten the end. And the particular point of connexion between the third assumption and the image, literature, i s a natural one for the period. Of the groups which are usually considered to influence language -grammarians, lexicographers, teachers and writers - the Elizabethans had only writers. Teachers and grammarians were concerned with Latin, and lexicographers of English were non-existent. The third assumption, therefore, i s compatible with the image, even though i t does not directly derive from i t . And the fact that i t i s compatible must reinforce the image and the general attitude to language represented by i t . In summary we can say, then, that the f i r s t and second assumptions stem directly from the image, and that the third assumption i s intimately related to i t . Having established the relationship between the image and Elizabethan linguistic assumptions, l e t us examine the assumptions i n more de t a i l . ; The Elizabethan attempts to evaluate languages are many, and the c r i t e r i a used range from the sensible to the ludicrous. The failure to distinguish between la. langue and l a parole led, as might be expected, to many extra-linguistic c r i t e r i a , some moral, some patriotic and some li t e r a r y . Not unnaturally, the earlier attempts rely more on extra-linguistic c r i t e r i a than the later, for i n general i t may be said that objective and sc i e n t i f i c study of language does not appear u n t i l the middle of the seventeenth century, and then i t appears only i n the works of a few pioneers lik e Wallis. The Elizabethans were pioneers themselves - they were 18. the f i r s t to take seriously the English language - but they were not s c i e n t i f i c pioneers. Ascham, for example, the f i r s t of our c r i t i c s to attempt to evaluate languages, begins with a mixture of moral and lit e r a r y judgments. Although he admits that "rudeness of 5 common and mother tonges i s no bar for wise speaking," his heart i s not i n the qualification. His emphasis i s on the fact that "good" 6 language and "good" morality and literature go together. The Goths were rude, therefore their language was rude. God i n his wisdom 7 keeps bad opinions i n rude utterance, but i n the classical languages we always find good matter and good utterance. Finally, when Latin and Greek began to be corrupted, their cultures were corrupted: whan apte and good wordes began to be confounded, than also began i l l deedes to spring, strange maners to oppresse good orders, newe and fond opinions to striue with olde and trewe doctrine, f i r s t i n Philo-sophie and after i n Religion...,° Going from different languages to different dialects, Ascham assumes 5 The Scholemaster, Smith, vol. 1, p.5. 6 We can see the result of such assumptions i n the various attempts to explain the origin of rime (which was despised because i t was non-existent in the revered classics). The common explanation i s that i t came from the rude Goths. Another, Puttenham's, based upon the same assumption, i s that i t was brought by soldiers from the camp. 7 The Scholemaster, Smith, v o l . 1., p.7« 8 Ibid.. p.6. 19 . 9 that the "best" dialect i s that of the best and wisest people, "best" in i t s e l f , that i s , not, as we would say, best for social reasons. We find echoes of Ascham throughout the period. 10 Puttenham chooses as the "best" dialect that of the court or towns; Campion remarks that: Learning, after the declining of the Romaine Empire and the pollution of their language through the conquest of the Barbarians lay most p i t i f u l l y deformed... H 12 Hoby, following Aristotle, wants to banish a l l "vyle" words, and 13 Sidney speaks of the "noblest nations and languages." Only Daniel appears to be working towards a distinction between language and i t s products, and he does not pursue his idea. He does point out, however, that: We admire them /the Latins and Greeks/ not for their smooth-gliding words, not for their measures, but for their inuentions; which treasure i f i t were to be found i n Welch and Irish, we should hold those languages i n the same estimation. ^ And he goes on to say that "they may thanke their sword that made l l * their tongues so famous and uniuersall." - a. foreshadowing of many modern concepts of what makes a language important. There were attempts, however, to find linguistic 9 Ibid., p. 2 10 Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, Smith, vol. 1, p. l"+9. 11 Campion, Observations i n the Art of English Poesie, Smith, vol. 2 , P. 329-12 Hoby, Translation of Coignet's "Politique Discourses", Smith, vol. 1, p. 3k3. 13 Sidney, An Apologie for Poetrie, Smith, vol. 1, p. I 5 I . Ik Daniel, A Defence of Ryme, Smith, vol. 2 , p. 3&k 20. c r i t e r i a . Some were merely deductions from the supposed excellences of Latin. Because Latin had many "rules" (and because, Latin was accepted for i t s literature), i t was often assumed that the number of rules was a criterion. Puttenham pa t r i o t i c a l l y points out that "our language.../admits/ no fewer rules and nice diuersities then 15 theirs...", and Harvey wants a regular orthography so that a grammar 16 may be framed. But others, and here we get the beginnings of analytic linguistics, t r i e d to base their c r i t e r i a on the function of language. It was generally agreed that the purpose of language was communication, to "expresse the meaning of our mindes to ech 17 other" as Carew put i t , and there was, therefore, some attempt to find out what aided communication. Sidney assumed that i f he could show that English had a l l the "virtues" of other languages, he could prove that English was "superior". Thus he thought that English was f i t for both stressed and quantitative metre, that i t kept a balance between the abundance of vowels i n Italian and the abundance of consonants in Dutch, and that i t could use masculine, feminine and what he calls Sdrucciola rimes, whereas no other lan-18 guage had a l l three. Furthermore, i t had word composition, a device that must, he thought, add to i t s usefulness. Puttenham 15 Puttenham, (Smith), vol. 2, p.5. 16 Harvey, Of Reformed Versifying, etc.. Smith, vol. 1, p. 102. 17 Carew, The Excellency Of The English Tongue, Smith, v o l . 2, p. 286. 18 Sidney, An Apologie For Poetrie, Smith, vol. 1, p. 205. 21. 19 found other c r i t e r i a , including "copie", "subtiltie of deuice" and 20 c l a r i t y of pronunciation. Like most of his contemporaries, he assumed that barbaric people spoke barbaric languages and had d i f f i -culty i n understanding one another. But i t was l e f t for Carew to make the most sensible c r i t e r i a for language - and to apply them most foolishly. He begins well by giving as his c r i t e r i a : SIgnificancye, 21 Easynes, Gopiousness and Sweetnes, a l l of which could be (though they are not of course) purely linguistic c r i t e r i a for a. language. But when he applies his theory to English he uses ridiculous examples. For example, English i s both "significant" and ^copious" because 21 some words mean one thing spelt forward and another backward. In addition, as he proudly points out, some English sentences mean 22 different things according to the order of the words. Thus he con-cludes that English can express more "significancye" with fewer words than other languages. Had he been motivated less by patriotism, that frequent obstacle on the road to truth, he might have found that users of a l l languages appear to be able to communicate equally well and that no language represents the structure of re a l i t y better than another. Finally, we come to the third major Elizabethan assumption about language, that the individual can guide his language to perfection. This assumption i s compatible with Elizabethan ideas 19 Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, Smith, vol. 2, p. 62. 20 Ibid., p. 77. 21 Carew, Smith, vol. 2, p. 286. 22 Ibid., p. 288. 22. about the origin of language. Undoubtedly the Elizabethans would accept divine origin as a f i r s t cause, but their ideas of succeeding causes are surprisingly modern. As Puttenham puts i t : Speach i s not naturall to man sauing for his onely ha b i l i t i e to speake, and that he i s by kinde apt to vtter a l l his conceits with sounds and voyces diuersified many maner of wayes, by meanes of the many and f i t instruments he hath by nature to that purpose.... 3 Language i s , moreover, accepted by the consent of the country; i t i s i n no way inherent i n the natives. As Ascham says, and with the magic word Imitation we see the way i n which this attitude to the origin of language developed and won acceptance: . . . a l l languages, both learned and mother tonges, be gotten, and gotten onlie by Imitation. For as ye vse to heare, so ye learne to speake; i f ye heare no other, ye speake not your self: and whome ye onlie heare, of them ye onlie learne.^ From a theory of conscious acceptance of language, i t i s only a short step to that of conscious control, and, i f need be, of conscious change, of language. Consequently, we find the many attempts by Elizabethans to improve English, to bring i t to per-fection. By and large, they start with a sound premise: that the primary material of language i s speech. Unlike linguists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, who were bedevilled by the idea that writing i s language, who, i n fact, thought that writing i s "better" language than speech, the Elizabethans began with what they 23 Puttenham, Smith, vol. 2, p. lk$ 2h Ascham, Smith, vol. 1, p.5. 2 3 . heard, not vhat they read. As Stanyhurst says, "thee eare, not 25 ortographie, must decyde thee quantitie as neere as i s possible." 26 27 28 29 James, Gascoigne, Harvey, and Puttenham a l l agree. They may, l i k e Stanyhurst and Harvey, want a fixed orthography which w i l l regulate their followers, but that orthography i s to be based on speech, on 30 "vniuersal consent" rather than any "Grammer Schoole Beuice" as Harvey puts i t when discussing the quantity of vowels. And as the discussion of an English prosody had led to this conclusion, i t led to an extension of i t i n Stanyhurst*s comment "that as euery countrye hath his peculiar law, so they /grammatical 31 Precisians/ permit euerye language too vse his particular loare." But the fact that they recognized the rule of usage did not stop Elizabethans believing that they could f i x the lan-guage, or change i t according to their desires. Much of the belief i n individual control of language comes from the confusion of language and literature. Thus, when Puttenham praises those who 32 beautify our English tongue, he i s thinking of literature. 25 Stanyhurst, Translation of the Aeneid, Smith, v o l . 1, p. 146 26 King James VI, A Short Treatise on Verse, Smith, vol. 1, p.213 27 Gascoigne, Certayne Motes of Instruction, Smith, vol. 1, p. 4 9 . 28 Harvey, Smith, vol. 1, p . 117 . 29 Puttenham, Smith, v o l . 2 , p . l l 8 . 30 Harvey, Smith, v o l . 1, p.121. 31 Stanyhurst, Smith, vol. 1, p.144. 32 Similarly, we have Harvey's praise of Spenser's enriching and polishing our tongue. 2k. But some similar comments are independent of this confusion. He speaks of those who "invented" the three pauses of the comma, colon, 33 and period, and i t i s clear that he i s talking not of mere marks of punctuation hut of the actual pauses i n speech. He, with others, believes, moreover, that the ancient poets fixed the quantity of 3k the vowels i n their languages, and this belief i s implicit i n Harvey's statement that "we BEGINNERS haue the start and aduantage of our Followers, who are to frame and conforme both their Examples 35 and Precepts according to that President which they haue of us...." Beneath these various attitudes to language, however, we always find the three main assumptions, that a language has a l i f e cycle similar to that of a plant, that languages can be evaluated, and that individuals can guide their languages to per-fection. Puttenham may want rules and Sidney praise English for lacking them, but they are working on the same assumption, that languages can be evaluated, that i t can be said that this language structure i s superior to that. In fact, to dig even further into basic assumptions, we may say that Elizabethan linguistic assumptions are embodied i n the organism image. 33 Puttenham, Smith, vol. 2 , p i 7 7 . It i s of interest to note that the idea that man invented language i s developed by the Port-Royal grammarians, who dominated French linguistic theory from l 6 6 o . Guy Harnois, i n his Les Theories Au<: Language en France de l 6 6 o "a 1821. points out that "L'idee que les hommeB ont invente le language est tout a f a i t caracteristique de l a Grammaire de Port-Royal." Harnois stresses the effect of Cartesian!sm on these grammarians, but the attitude of the Elizabethans indicates before Descartes that there was a general belief i n the invention of language by man. 3k mttenham,, Smith, v o l . 2 , p. 122 . 35 Harvey, Smith, v o l . 1, p. 103. Chapter III We have,then, established the existence of the image of language as an organism, and we have examined Elizabethan linguistic assumptions and their relation to the image. When we try to relate the image and assumptions to the history of the language, however, we run into serious d i f f i c u l t i e s . F i r s t , there i s the problem of whether or not images ever have widespread effects. Are we ever safe i n saying that a figure of speech - used i n works which at best could have been read by a small minority of the population - had a discernible social effect? I think that we are, and that the social effect of figures of speech, or at least ef systems of thought embodied i n and generated by figures of speech, can be proved by one example, that of the image which represents a nation as an organism, and which results, therefore, i n the belief that nations have honour which can be slighted and must be defended. The effects of one variant of such an image, and of i t s resultant blood and race mythology, are too recent to need amplification. The Hitler Youth who died i n the last days of World War II for the honour of "ein Reich" and "ein Volk" were, i n a way, victims of a figure of speech. Second, there i s the d i f f i c u l t y of proving such an intangible as the relationship between a. figure of speech and the history of a language. At best, I think, we can show that the image leads logically to certain things which did i n fact happen, and con-clude that the image was one of the reasons for their happening. 26. We must begin by establishing what was the state of the language during the Elizabethan period. Its phonology, morphology and syntax had been, by and large, stablized, but i t s vocabulary was growing at an unprecedented rate. More new words came into the language from 1580 to 1620 than i n any other equal period i n the history of the language with the exception of that from 1820 to i860, and more established words took on new meanings 1 than i n any other period. And i n addition to i t s acceptance of neologisms, the English of this period i s characterized by a freedom from rule, a freedom to experiment, to use "nouns" as "verbs," verbs as nouns, any one part of speech as any other i n fact. I f , then, the linguistic assumptions of the period and the organism image which embodied them have any effect on the language, we are most l i k e l y to find the effect i n those aspects of i t which were most characteristic of the period, a willing acceptance of neologisms and a readiness to experiment. The willing acceptance of neologisms has to be discussed against the background of the needs of the language at the time and methods available for satisfying those needs. The Renaissance had impressed the English, at least those concerned with the arts and sciences, with the need for a larger vocabulary. Words simply did not exist i n English to express the new ideas found i n French and Italian and s t i l l more i n the newly revived classics, 1 See Thorndike's chart reproduced on page 13. 27. and the Elizabethans proposed three main ways of augmenting their vocabulary: by borrowing, by reviving, and by compounding existing words. As we know, borrowing - i n spite of attacks on i t - was the method which was most used, and there are his t o r i c a l reasons why i t should have succeeded where compounding and reviving f a i l e d . English had a long tradition of borrowing from other languages, and, moreover, the structure of the language made i t easy to assimilate foreign words. They were not so easily re-cognized as they would be i n a more homogeneous or a more highly inflected language. But the hi s t o r i c a l reasons are not sufficient to explain the overwhelming victory of borrowing over compounding and reviving, particularly when we remember that the greatest borrowing occurred at the time when Elizabethan nationalism was at i t s height and that borrowing, logically, was not nearly as satisfactory a solution to the problem of an inadequate vocabulary 2 as compounding. One of the greatest needs for new words existed, 3 for example, when translations were being made. As Jones shows, the major motive of the translators was that of making foreign and classic a l works - and of course the Scriptures - available to the uneducated public. Consequently, compounding would have been a much more common sense way of finding more words. If the translator used 2 Reviving had l i t t l e but nationalistic appeal. It assumed with no j u s t i f i c a t i o n that an adequate vocabulary for the new ideas had existed i n an;/ earlier stage of the language. 3 Jones, Triumph, p. 96 et passim. 28. an anglicised version of a foreign word, he was not helping the audience at which his work was aimed. If they knew the original word, they did not need the translation; i f they needed the translation, they would not understand the neologism. A compound of two existing words, however, gave the uneducated the chance to arrive at the meaning by examining the root words. Moreover, English had some traditions of compounding, and the method worked successfully i n cognate Germanic languages. But i n spite of these powerful reasons for preferring compounding to neologizing, nationalism, common sense, p o s s i b i l i t y and example, compounding hardly l e f t a mark in the history of the language of this period. Lever's suggestions of compounds i n place of traditional rhetorical terms, for example, were never adopted and now have only the interest of what might have been. He suggested: bounder for terminus endsay " conclusio ifsaye " propositio conditional!s naysay " negatio shewsay " propositio saywhat " definitio 4 In view of the objections, logical and otherwise, to borrowing, why, then, was i t so widely practised and so extremely successful? One reason, I suggest, i s that the fundamental attitude of the period to language, expressed as we have seen i n the organism image, made borrowing the l o g i c a l method of enlarging the vocabulary. The very willingness to enlarge the vocabulary i s compatible with k Jones, Triumph, p. 129 29. the image. If i t i s believed that the language i s i n i t s springtime, growth i s desirable, a new word may be one of the buds of the flowers of perfection. Each of the three linguistic assumptions of the period leads to the acceptance of borrowing rather than that of reviving or compounding. The seminal assumption, that languages follow cycles of growth, perfection and decay, leads, i f you believe that your language i s i n the f i r s t stage of the cycle, to a willingness to expand, and i t favours borrowing as a method of expansion. If you believe that the earlier stages of your language were barbarous, rude and inadequate, you are not l i k e l y to seek i t s expansion by returning to a period when the language was even more inadequate than you find i t at the moment. Con-sequently, reviving has l i t t l e appeal as a method of expansion. Compounding suffers similarly, though not so much as reviving. If you compound, you do not increase the number of basic units i n the language; you merely increase the numbers of ways i n which you combine them. You do not, to use the Elizabethan term, increase the "copie" of the language. Borrowing, on the other hand, does increase the "copie" and does give the impression of growth; i t does, that i s to say, help the language towards i t s perfection. The second assumption, that languages can be evaluated one against the other, with i t s concomitant confusion of language arid the use of language, of language and literature, also lends weight to borrowing rather than to reviving or compounding. The 30 main criterion of a language was i t s literature, and the only criterion for literature the Elizabethans had was eloquence, eloquence as i t existed i n the classical languages and as i t was defined by the medieval rhetoricians. Consequently, one way of obtaining some of the eloquence and excellence of the classics was to use their words. The universal opinion that earlier stages of English were "uneloquent" worked against the acceptance of reviving and compounding just as the idea that the language was growing and needed to expand worked against i t . The problem of obtaining necessary words had become that of obtaining the proper words for l i t e r a r y excellence, but the solution to the problems, borrowing, was the same. The third assumption, that the individual can guide his language to perfection, leads to the same method of increasing the vocabulary and for similar reasons,. Moreover, as no doubt the Elizabethans found i n their practice though not i n their theory, about the only way i n which the individual can influence his language i s that of adding to i t s vocabulary. The structure of the language i s beyond the reach of the individual; and eradicating words from the vocabulary, the reverse of adding to i t , i s rarely successful - as the vain attempts of purists from Swift to the present day show. Consequently, those individuals anxious to guide English to perfection had, i n actuality, only one way of doing so, that of increasing the vocabulary by borrowing. It may be objected,to the foregoing suggestion that 31. the lin g u i s t i c assumptions led logically to borrowing,that there was strenuous opposition to "ink-horn" terms, and that much of the opposition came from the very men used to develop this thesis, 5 men l i k e Ascham and E.K. As Jones points out, however, the traditional view of their opposition i s i n error. Borrowing per se was very rarely attacked. Even Cheke, who i s usually held up as the sworn foe of borrowing, who says that "our tung shold be written cleane and pure, vnmixt and vnmangled with 6 borrowing of other tunges," accepted necessary borrowing. The attacks, almost without exception, were on unnecessary and affected borrowing. Borrowing was, i n Jones' words, "both fre-quently approved and widely practiced. The opposition to i t sprang from antipathy to affectation, and from a realization of the need of simplicity and clearness to meet the demands of the 7 audience addressed." Our case need not, however, depend on Jones for support. The fact i s that the language did accept borrowing on an unprecedented scale, and we are trying to relate the facts of the history of the language to the linguistic assumptions. The other characteristic of the language of the period, the willingness of writers to experiment with i t and the general feeling of freedom from prescription, i s , by i t s nature, 5 Jones, Triumph, p. 100 f f . 6. In Jones, Triumph, p. 102 7 Jones, Triumph, p. 100 32. d i f f i c u l t to connect with li n g u i s t i c assumptions i n any certain way. The period was characterized by a freedom from restraint and a willingness to venture i n more things than language. New worlds as well as new words were to be won by the adventurous, and there was no lack of daring. At least, we can say that the lin g u i s t i c assumptions of the period are not incompatible with the s p i r i t of adventure; and at most we can say the the image embodying the assumptions was one of the reasons for the verbal adventures and general lack of restraint. The belief that the language was i n i t s springtime, that i t was getting better and needed help to improve more rapidly, would encourage writers to attempt new things with i t . Instead of looking backwards to a period of perfection, a period that must be copied, slavish-l y by the timid, cautiously by the brave, men looked forward to the time when the language would be better than i t was. Any change, any innovation, might help the language improve. A fixed and ruled language, i s desirable, but the language must be fixed at i t s best, and the Elizabethans were confident that their language had not yet reached i t s best. Finally, i t may be added, that as well as con-ditioning the.opinion of the times to borrowing and to experimentation, the organism theory of language helps to explain the healthy emphasis on usage and speech, and the general lack of grammars, 33. 8 dictionaries and interest i n the earlier history of the language* With no earlier period of perfection to look back to, usage and speech are inevitably taken as standards. If the language i s thought of as being i n a state of rapid progress, there i s not much point i n fixing i t , particularly i n fixing i t i n an imperfect state. And l a s t l y , i f the farther you go back In the history of your language, the more barbarous, rude and inadequate i t becomes, there i s not much point i n studying i t s history, particularly vhen there i s the present language to be improved by translations from the classics, by new plays, new poems, a whole new literature i n fact - a l l waiting to be written. 8 There was no attempt to l i s t a l l of the words i n the language u n t i l Nathaniel Bailey's Universal Etymological English Dictionary of 1721. The earliest dictionary of English, containing only about three thousand hard words, was Robert Cawdrey's Table Alphabetical!  of Hard Words. 160U. (Mario Pel, The Story of English, New York, Lippincott, 1953, p. 97.) It i s hard to date the " f i r s t " English grammar because of the gradual transition from Latin grammars to grammars of Latin written i n English to grammars of English. Bullokar, a nationalistic r e v i v a l i s t , incidentally, and therefore out of the main stream of linguistic thought, published his Bref Grammar for  English i n 1586. In general, i t may be said, that the Elizabethans were not interested-ta^grammaB. Sidney, for example, thought that English was better for not being subject to grammatical regulation (Smith, v o l . 1, p. 20k); and Mulcaster doubted that i t could be confined within s t r i c t l i m i t s . English grammar comes into i t s own i n the seventeenth century. See Jones, p. 277ff. Chapter IV We have seen how the organism image and the view, of language which I t embodied dominated the Elizabethan period, and we have seen, i n chapter I, how the image was used less and less as the seventeenth century progressed. To explain why the image was accepted i n the Elizabethan period, we examined the state of the language, and we concluded that there was every reason for i t s acceptance. To explain i t s decline, however, we cannot turn to the state of the language i n the seventeenth century for the very good reason that the language was substant-i a l l y the same then as i t was during the Elizabethan period. We* have to turn instead to the new influences on lin g u i s t i c thinking, the rise of science, and the rise of antiquarianism and i t s con-comitant Saxonism, influences which led to ways of looking at language very different from those embodied i n the organism image. And we also have to turn to the image i t s e l f , to the conclusions which followed from i t s acceptance once men agreed that the English language was at, or had passed, i t s period of perfection. In this chapter, therefore, we shall examine the effect of the new Influences on the l i f e of the organism image and the linguistic assumptions that the Elizabethans derived from i t . The f i r s t and most important of the new Influences of the seventeenth century i s that of the ri s e of science. It has two effects on the organism view of language, one direct and one indirect, and as so 3 5 . often happens the indirect i s by far the greater. The direct effect of the new scie n t i f i c method i s to turn men from studying language by means of a. p r i o r i principles, and to make them ob-serve language, study i t s mechanics. Consequently, men like John Wallis, the mathematician, attack the forcing of English t into Latin patterns and attempt to analyse English i t s e l f . They try to make scien t i f i c studies of the sounds of English, Wallis himsel f p u b l i s h i n g what he r i g h t l y considers the f i r s t important 1 treatment of the phonetics of English. Such scie n t i f i c studies lead inevitably to the disrepute of the organism view, and that they have a wider circulation than similar studies today is shown by Wotton's appeal to Wallis's work in his Reflections Upon 2 Ancient and Modern Learning, one of the major combatants i n the Battle of the Books. The effect of such works, however, i s small compared with the indirect effects of the rise of science, most of which worked against the organism view of language. Whereas the Elizabethans place great value on language, propose i n fact that one of the main motives for 1 Be Ldquela, Tractatus Grammaticb-Physicus, prefixed to his Grammatics. Linguae Atiglicanae (I653). See Jones, Triumph, p. 286. 2 Spingarn, vol. 3 , p. 225. 36. 3 literature i s the gl o r i f i c a t i o n of language, the men influenced by Bacon and the new science distrust i t . Bacon reveals an anti-pathy to language in his frequent opposing of nature and books, and of the "Idols" that hinder knowledge, he considers the Idols of 1+ the Market-place, language, the most troublesome. Words for him were invented to satisfy inferior intellects; they either stand for things that do not exist at a l l , or inaccurately represent the truths of nature. Obviously, the organism view of language, with i t s assumption that literature i s the flower of a language, i n Ascham the flower of a culture as well, does not appeal to him. Moreover, the early Baconians distrust language, and Latin i n particular, because of the difference between their method of acquiring knowledge, the observation of nature, and that of the old science, the use of class i c a l authorities. The Baconians rebel against traditional science, and they become indifferent or even hostile to Latin and Greek. The Elizabethan love of words 3 Jones says that "The refinement and adornment of the mother tongue were themselves considered the goal of literature. In other words, literature was considered instrumental to language, not language to literature. Writers are more frequently praised for what they have done for the medium of their expression thsn for the in t r i n s i c value of their compositions...." Triumph, p. 183. h Since my discussion of the impact of the new science on language i s taken almost entirely from Richard Foster Jones, "Science and Language in England of the Mid-seventeenth Century," The  Seventeenth Century, California, Stanford University Press, 1951, I shall only give references for such material as does not appear there. 37. gives way to suspicion of them. Bacon condemns the time when 5 "men "began to hunt more after wordes than matter," Sprat attacks 6 "this vicious abundance of phrase," and Glanvill calls for "plain 7 words." Such men w i l l not accept i n toto a view of language which praises growth and "copie" above a l l else, which uses as i t s main evidence the example of the history of Latin, which sees literature, instead of "knowledge", as the flower of a. language, and which works against the gradually developing theory of progress with a belief i n inevitable decay. To show how far the depreciation of linguistic studies goes, Jones quotes from Edward Bernard, a man who devoted his l i f e to them, and who admits that with the exception of mathematics his study i s l i t e r a l / i . e . , l i n g u i s t i c / , and so beside the fame and regard of this age and inferior, in the nature of the thing, i f I may speak as f i t s the schools, to real learning. In an attempt to depreciate the value of Latin, some of the new philosophers try to show that Latin, generally considered the most perfect of tongues, Is exceedingly defective. Wilkins, for example, takes great pains to point out the inconsistencies, i l l o g i c a l i t i e s , anomalies, and complexities of Latin. Obviously he w i l l not accept a view of language based on the perfection of Latin, 5 The Advancement of Learning, Spingarn, vol. 1, p. 2 . 6 History of the Royal 'Society, Spingarn, vol. 2 , p. 117 7 An Essay Concerning Predching, Spingarn, vol. 2 , p. 273. 38. or follow any attempts to guide English to the supposed perfection of that tongue. Moreover, the whole s t y l i s t i c attitude of the scientists as revealed by Sprat, the attempt to reduce their style to"a. Mathematical! plainness," i s antagonistic to a theory which produced the c r i t e r i a of Carew, by which English i s praised because many words have more than one meaning. The scientists want a. one to one correspondence between word and thing. And, above a l l , the new antipathy to metaphor w i l l damn a theory openly based on metaphor. As we shall see later, some Elizabethan linguistic assumptions linger on, but they are divorced from the image which stimulated them, and are, perhaps, accepted for new reasons. ' . The various attempts to create an a r t i f i c i a l , uni-versal, and of course s c i e n t i f i c , language reveal disbelief i n the theory that natural languages inevitably reach a. period of perfection. Some.men advocate various reforms in language, but they have not the confidence of the Elizabethans that a golden age of language i s ahead, and the reforming committee proposed by the Royal Society met only a. few times. The sc i e n t i f i c attitude, however,is not entirely antipathetic to the linguistic assumptions arising from the organism image. The scientists!'theory of - inevitable progress coincides with that part of the image which deals with inevitable growth, and the desire to f i x language coincides with the demands of the organism 3 9 . image once i t i s "believed that the language has reached perfection. Certain aspects of the organism view of language continue therefore, but there i s no doubt that the new science works against the acceptance of the image i t s e l f , even though i t can adopt some of the assumptions deriving from i t . The new science, however, i s not the only force working against the image in the seventeenth century. The interest i n antiquarianism, which i s a l l i e d i n many ways to the interest i n experimental science, also works against i t . The Elizabethans are able to accept the organism view of language because i t t a l l i e s with their own lack of interest i n the past history of English, i n particular i n i t s Saxon origins, but the antiquarians begin with an interest i n the past and are less willing than the Elizabethans to dismiss earlier stages of the language as worthless. The anti-quarians, moreover, come under the influence of a movement common 8 to most of the Germanic countries, a movement which g l o r i f i e s the Teutonic past and praises extravagantly anything Germanic. The peak of this movement on the Continent i s seen i n the work of Joannes Goropius Becanus, who maintains that German was the language of Eden, by expounding the simple syllogism that the language before the F a l l 8 The discussion of antiquarianism which follows derives from Richard Foster Jones, "The Ancient Language," The Triumph, pp. 214-271, and a l l examples are taken from i t . The connexion.between antiquarian views of language and the death of the organism view of language, however, i s my own. ko. must have "been the best of a l l languages, that German i s the best language known, and that German, therefore, must have been the language of Eden. Few of his followers go quite so far as Goropius, but praise of the German language i s common, and the English antiquarians join their Continental fellows i n singing i t . As Jones says: The Continental praise of the German race and language was loudly echoed in England, where there was almost as much interest in comparative philology as i n Europe. And i n the midst of their praise English writers awoke to a fact which had been only passively perceived before, namely, that they and their language were originally derived from the Saxons, the noblest of the Teutonic peoples.9 Camden i n his Remaines and Verstegen i n his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence popularize the new attitude to things Germanic, and they do not lack followers. Whereas the Elizabethans attribute nothing but e v i l to the influence of the "Barbarians" (they blame the Goths for introducing rime, for example), the seventeenth century antiquarians begin to praise them for their strength and vigour, and their language for similar qualities. The new respect for the Germanic origin of English 10 and the new interest i n earlier stages of the language can only work against the organism view of language. If German were the language 9 Triumph, pp. 218 - 219. 10 A lectureship i n Anglo-Saxon was established at Cambridge in 1623, poems were written i n i t by Wheloc, and a lexicon was compiled. More-over, men lik e Junius and Cotton were at work. hi before the F a l l , a l l linguistic changes since must be corruptions, and language comes under the influence of the progressive decay theory. The words which the Elizabethans had borrowed from the Romance and Classical languages with such abandon become for the antiquarians alien influences corrupting the once pure and glorious Germanic tongue. Instead of trying to gaide the language to a future perfection, the antiquarian interest leads to attempts by purists to return the language to a past perfection. As with the influence of science, the influence of antiquarianism i s directed mainly against the organism image i t s e l f . Some El i z a -bethan assumptions, that of evaluating languages, for example, are s t i l l acceptable, but the f u l l organism theory, as expressed by Ascham, cannot be accepted. Whereas the new science leads to a, theory of progress, however, antiquarianism tends to lead to a theory of progressive decay, the theory that was to be taken up with great force by the defenders of the ancients i n the Battle of the Books, the Battle between Ancients and Moderns. Science and antiquarianism are opposed i n many things, therefore, but they come together i n their weakening of the organism view of language. The attitude most destructive of the organism image, however, comes from within the image i t s e l f . The Elizabethans are not dismayed by the thought of the inevitable decay of their 1*2. language because they are too busy concentrating on i t s growth; they assume, that i s to say, that English i s at the beginning of the language l i f e cycle. During the seventeenth century, however, men begin to think that English i s at, or has passed, i t s perfection. To mention only Dryden and those writers collected by Spingarn, we find Jonson and others already looking back at perfection. In Bacon's time, he says, "were a l l the 11 wits borne that could honour a language...." Edward Phi l l i p s attacks an archaic style and maintains that "nothing, i t seems, relishes so well as what i s written i n the smooth style of our 12 present language, taken to be of late so much refined." Rymer thinks that the language "did not shine and sparkle t i l l Mr. 13 Waller set i t a running," implying that i t was near or at per-fection with Waller. And Dryden says: "I am apt to believe the English language i n them /Beaumont and Fletcher/ arrived to i t s 14 highest perfection." Elsewhere he talks of "the improvement of 15 our language since Fletcher's and Johnson's days," but we do not have to reconcile such inconsistency. Dryden i s apt to suit his argument to the occasion. I f he wants to praise English, he does 11 Timber, Spingarn, vol. 1, p. 27. 12 Preface to Theatrum Poetarum, Spingarn, vol. 2, p. 263. 13 Short View of Tragedy, Quoted in the notes to Ker, vol.2, p.308. ll * An Essay of Dramatic Poesy, Ker, vol. 1, p. 81.. 15 Preface to An Evening's Love, Ker, vol. 1, p. 13!*. * 3 . so; i f he i s presenting and excusing a. translation from the classics, he laments that English can never compete with Latin. If he i s defending the English playwrights against the French, the language of Fletcher i s English at perfection; i f he i s praising the writers of his own age, the language i s much improved since Fletcher. But these inconsistencies need not bother us; we are anxious to establish only that Dryden thought that English was at, or had past, i t s period of perfection. He does t e l l us, moreover, that many are of the opinion"that the English tongue was then i n the height of i t s perfection; that from Johnson's 16 time to ours i t has been i n a continual declination...." Moreover, there i s ample evidence elsewhere to support the con-tention that Jonson, P h i l l i p s , Rymer and Dryden represent a major attitude of the time, that English was close to i t s period of perfection. The seventeenth century, therefore, and i n part i -cular the latter part of the century, has another reason to discard the organism image of language, a reason stemming from the image i t s e l f . If men believe that a language follows an inevitable cycle of growth, perfection and decay and that their own language i s close to i t s period of perfection, and yet also look forward to the future with confidence (as the neo-classical period did), either the confidence or the view of language must disappear. The 16 Defence of the Epilogue. Ker, vol. 1, p. l 6 U . kk. confidence of the period i s strong enough to displace the organism view of language. If men keep i t , they have nothing to look forward to hut the inevitable decay of their language. If they keep i t , a l l their hopes for a great classical literature, for native epics and a drama to r i v a l that of the ancients w i l l have to be forgotten, and the greatest l i t e r a r y achievements i n their tongue w i l l have been the work of the Elizabethans, work they already look at disparagingly. Inevitably the organism image and the view of language embodied i n i t weaken and event-ually disappear, but not without one last effect on the language, i t s fixation i n grammars, dictionaries, and, above a l l , i n the minds of those who speak i t . At least three influences, therefore, are at work during the seventeenth century to weaken the organism view of language. Science and antiquarianism work from without to destroy i t , and i t s own strength becomes weakness as men assume that the perfection of English i s at hand. It i s not surprising, then, that we find so l i t t l e use of the image after 1 6 5 0 . Chapter V When we turn from the reasons for the decline of the organism image to i t s f i n a l effects on the language, we find that only one development i n the seventeenth century can be related to i t with any certainty, the great desire to f i x the language and the progress made towards fixing i t by means of grammars, dictionaries, and, something more intangible, the cautious attitude towards new borrowings. And we must say of even this effect, that the organism view of language i s only one cause among many. That i t i s one cause, however, i s hardly to be doubted. George Snell, one of the earlier writers to c a l l for the "gram-1 matizing" of English, thinks that English has i n his own day reached i t s highest point of development and i s , therefore, ready to be fixed. Grammars and dictionaries have fixed Latin; l e t them do the same for English. Some Elizabethans make the same demands, of course, but the difference between the Elizabethans and the men of the seventeenth century i s that the latter try to carry out what they c a l l for. Whereas grammarians of English are almost non-existent i n the Elizabethan period, they abound i n the seven-teenth century, and not only abound, but leave definite marks on the language. We are s t i l l fighting the effects of such seventeenth century "grammatical rules" as that which forbids prepositions at 1 Snell's work, The Right Teaching' of Useful Kriowledg to f i t Scholars for som honest Profession...., 1649, i s discussed i n Jones, Triumph, pp. 2 9 3 - 3 0 0 . 46. the end of sentences. Snell makes the connexion between the organism image and the desire to f i x the language explicit, and the general a t t i -tude to language embodied i n the organism image i s probably behind other dematfls that the language be fixed. As we have seen, there i s a widespread feeling that English has reached perfection, and the natural consequence of this belief i s a desire to f i x the language. The desire for regulation has been commented on too often to make proof of i t s existence i n the seventeenth century necessary, but some examples may be noted from our control group of Smith, Spingarn and Ker - i f only to show that the anthologies are representative. Sprat calls for "sober and judicious men" to take "the whole Mass of our Language into their hands...and set a mark on the i l l Words, correct those which are to be retain'd, admit and establish the good, and make some emendations in the Accent and Grammar." He also talks of establishing an English 2 Academy. Evelyn l i s t s a. set of proposals that such an Academy might follow: 1. I would therefore humbly propose that there might f i r s t be compli'd a Gram'ar for the praecepts, which (as did the Roman, when Crates transferr'd the art to that c i t y , follow'd by Diomedes, Priscianus, and others who undertooke i t ) might only i n s i s t on the rules, the sole meanes . to render i t a. learned and learnable tongue. 2. That with this a more certaine Orthography were introduc *d.... 2 History of the Royal Society, Spingarn, vol. 2, pp.112-114. hi. 3 . That there might be invented some new periods and accents...to assist, i n s p i r i t , and modifie the pronunciation of sentences, & to stand as markes before hand how the voice and tone i s to be govern'd.... k. To this might follow a Lexicon...of a l l pure English words by themselves...so as no innovation might be us'd or favour'd, at least ' t i l l there should arise some necessity of providing a new edition, & of amplifying the old upon mature advice. 5. That...some were appointed to collect a l l the technical words...nut this must be gleaned from shops, not bookes.... 7. That a f u l l catalogue of exotic words, such as are daily minted by our Logodbeldali, were exhibited, and that i t were resolved on what should be sufficient to render them current.... 8. Previous to this i t would be enquir'd what particular dialects, idiomes, and proverds were i n use i n every several county of England; for the words of ye present age being properly the vernacula, or classic rather, special reguard i s to be had of them, and this consideration admits of i n f i n i t e improvements. 9. And happly i t were not amisse that we had a collection of ye most quaint and courtly expressions, by way of florilegium,.... 1 0 . And since there i s likewise a manifest rotation and c i r c l i n g of words, which goe i n & out like the mode & fashion, bookes would be consulted for the reduction of some old layd aside words...for our language i s i n some places st e r i l e and barren by reason of this depopulation, as I may c a l l i t ; and therefore such places should be new cultivated, and enrich*d either wth the former ( i f significant) or some other. 3 And Dryden, i n addition to serving on the Royal Society's committee to discuss an Academy that would set standards for the language, almost equates language perfection with the possession of a. grammar h and a dictionary. Since, as we have seen, he thought that English 3 Letter to Sir Peter Wyche, Spingarn, vol. 2 , pp. 310 - 313. k "...we have yet no English prosodia, not so much as a tolerable dictionary, or a grammar; so that our language i s i n a, manner barbarous." Original and Progress of Satire, Ker, vol, 2 , p . 1 1 0 . ko was near perfection, his desire to f i x the language i s under-standable . He i s sorry, he says, "that (speaking so noble a. language as we do) we have not a. more certain measure of i t , as they have in France: , where they have an Academy erected for 5 that purpose." Elsewhere he l i s t s the "grammatical errors" made by the Elizabethans - such things as ending a sentence with a preposition, redundancy, archaism, the double comparative and 6 unidiomatic syntax - and the type of errors he gives indicates the influence of the grammarians, as do his corrections to later 7 editions of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy. Furthermore, i n addition to these demands to f i x the language, there runs from Bacon, through Hobbes and Temple, to Pope the fear of the i n s t a b i l i t y of English. With the example of a fixed Latin before them,these men are perhaps not influenced by the organism theory of language, but we suspect that they are when we read Hobbes' statement that Latin and Greek "have put of 8 . ' flesh and blood," a statement wbich implies that normally languages 5 Epistle Dedicatory of The Rival Ladies. Ker, v o l . 1, p. 5. 6 Defence of the Epilogue; or an Essay on the Dramatic Poetry  of the Last Age, Ker, v o l . 1, p. I67 f f . 7 For example: "as those with which the fourth Act of Pompey w i l l furnish me" i n place of "as the fourth act of Pompey w i l l furnish me with." Ker, v o l . 1, p. 2k, "my Lord, you have yet youth and time enough to give part of i t " i s replaced by "to give part of them." Ker, vol. 1, p. 25. 8 Answer to Davenant's Preface to Gondibert, Spingarn, vol.2,p. 103. ^9. decay; they can last unchanged only when they cease to obey laws which govern l i v i n g language organisms. It i s not necessary, of course, that the writers we have quoted are aware of the assumptions underlying their statements. Some explanation of their desire to f i x the language i s necessary, however, particularly i n view of the fact that they did not consider that they had passed through the classical age of English literature, normally, men want to f i x their language i n the state which produced i t s greatest literature. The writers of the Restoration, however, rather despise the Elizabethans. Dryden. pays great tribute to Shakespeare and does say that the English language reached i t s perfection with Beaumont and Fletcher, but he i s c r i t i c a l of their productions and obviously looks to the future for England's greatest literature, a literature free from the crudity and barbarity of the Elizabethans. His belief that English i s near or past perfection must be based on something other than a belief that English literature i s near or past perfection, and one probable source of his desire to f i x the language i s the assumption lingering from the heyday of the organism image, the assumptions that a language follows a cycle of growth, perfection and decay, the assumption, i n particular, that English has passed i t s period of perfection and that vigorous attempts should be made to prevent i t s decay. The organism image has one other possible effect 50. on the language of the seventeenth century, that of making men hostile to new words, hut i t i s d i f f i c u l t to estimate i t s actual effect. We saw that i t probably influenced the Elizabethan attitude to borrowing, that i t made men think that their language was in a period of growth and made them,therefore, receptive to new words. Once men believe that the language i s i n the second stage of the cycle, they become hostile to new words, because any change from perfection must be a change towards decay. If seventeenth-century reasoning does follow this pattern, there i s no explicit evidence for i t i n the works on which this thesis i s based. The fact i s , however, that compared with the Elizabethan period the later seventeenth century i s hostile to new words, and i t i s not unreasonable to propose that one reason for this new h o s t i l i t y comes from .a belief that the language i s i n the second stage of the cycle. Of the later history of the image we can only say, then, that as men come to believe that their language i s past i t s period of growth, the image leads to a desire to f i x the language at i t s point of perfection and perhaps leads to a h o s t i l i t y to new words. And we may note that once the image i s used i n this way, i t i s doomed by i t s own strength. Sooner or later men who use i t w i l l look for some new basic attitude to language; they are unlikely to accept the logical conclusions of the image and wait patiently while their language decays. We may sum up the l i f e of the organism theory of language quite b r i e f l y . It arises about 1570, influences Elizabethan 51. attitudes to language considerably and influences the history of the language during the Elizabethan period i n so fir as vocabulary i s concerned. It i s weakened during the seventeenth century by such things as the r i s e of science and the popularity of anti-quarianism, but i t continues long enough to give rise to demands that the language be fixed. Its major influence, perhaps, i s that i t gives the Elizabethans the belief that the language and l i t e r -ature are growing, and thereby reinforces an adventurous attitude towards language and literature. In addition to tracing-the history of the organism image of language and Its effects, this thesis does, I believe, help to explain two things. F i r s t , It explains why the E l i z a -bethans are not troubled, by and large, by the belief that their language may die. Jones, speaking of the Elizabethan fear of the mutability of language, says: Logically it/the belief i n the mutability of languages/ could have dampened the a r t i s t i c enthusiasm and undermined the conviction of literary immortality which were characteristic of the Elizabethans....9 Had the Elizabethans believed merely i n the mutability of language, logically they might have been influenced i n the way Jones suggests. I hope, however, that I have shown that the Elizabethans held a particular theory of the mutability of language, a theory which encourages rather than discourages l i t e r a r y expression. 9 Triumph, p. 265. 52. Second, the thesis presented here helps to explain why, i n the words of A. C. Baugh, "English.in the Renaissance, 10 at least as we see i t i n hooks, was much more plastic than now." He characterizes written English of the period: Men f e l t freer to mould i t to their w i l l s . ...It /the age/ was i n language, as i n many other respects, an age with the characteristics of youth, - vigor, a willingness to venture, and a disposition to attempt the untried. The s p i r i t which animated Hawkins, and Drake, and Raleigh was not foreign to the language of their time. 1 0 Ko doubt the s p i r i t of the age did influence artists; but an examination of linguistic theory such as we have made points to an influence more concrete, that of the organism theory of language. 10 A . C Baugh, History of the English Language, New York, Appleton-Century, 1935, p . 310. Appendix Since I was able to discover only two books which dealt even remotely with the topic of this thesis, i t i s worth-while indicating the relationship between them and my own work. In English Poetry and the English language (Oxford, 193^), F. ¥. Bateson develops what Jones rightly calls an "ambitious theory" the theory that i n any given period attitudes towards languager determine, i n English at least, the kind of poetry written during that period. There i s no need here to go into Bateson's theory, but his description of Elizabethan and seventeenth century attitudes to languages does concern us. He maintains that the Elizabethans were dominated i n matteis of language by a theory of gradual corruption, and he quotes Chapman's image of "The ceaselesse flowing river of our tongue" as expressing exaitly the Elizabethan point of view. About 1590, according to Bateson, the theory of gradual corruption disappeared i n favor of a. theory of language as progress, and towards the middle of the seventeenth century the theory of progress was i n turn superseded by a theory of cycles. Bateson says "Sir William Davenarit was the f i r s t to define the new theory," andLhe quotes Davenant's "language...hath like a. Plant seasons of flourishing and decay." I believe that this thesis shows categorically that Bateson i s wrong. Nearly a l l of the meagre evidence that he pro-duces i s taken from exactly the same sources as those on which this thesis i s based, Smith, Spingarn and Ker, yet his two main examples, Chapman and Davenant, can be refuted from the same material. i i Chapman's image i s the only example of the language as flux theory i n the 800 or so pages of Smith; Davenant's image i s the last of a series of similar images i n Smith and the three volumes of Spingarn. I suspect that Bateson's theory led him to he extremely selective i n his examples. The second hook, Jones* Triumph of the English  Language t of which much use has been made i n this thesis and to which I am greatly indebted, contains a discussion of Bateson. Jones comments that Bateson*s theory i s "hardly val i d , " and points out that Snell*s expression of the organism theory antedates "' Davenant's, and adds that Hakewill had popularized the general cyclic theory earlier s t i l l . He also mentions Mulcaster's application of the theory to language, hut he f a i l s to point out that the theory i s to be found i n Ascham and others. Since Jones i s primarily concerned with ideas about English, however, and i s merely disposing of BateBon i n a passing footnote, there i s no reason why he should give extensive evidence to disprove Bateson's theory, and there i s no reason to believe that he thinks that the examples of the organism theory he quotes are the earliest. Bibliography Bateson, F. W., English Poetry and the English Language, Oxford University Press, 1934. de Saussure, Ferdinand, Coufs de Linguist!que Generale, 4th ed., Paris, Payot, 1949 (copyright 1913). Jones, Richard Foster, and others, The Seventeenth Century, California, Stanford University Press, 1951. Jones, Richard Foster, The Triumph of the English Language, London, Oxford University Press, 1953. Ker, W. P., ed., Essays of John Dryden, Oxford University Press, 1900, 2 vols. Miller, George A., Language and Communication, Nev York, McGraw-H i l l , 1951. Smith, G. G., ed., Elizabethan C r i t i c a l Essays, Oxford University Press, 1904, 2 vols. Spingarn, J. E., ed., C r i t i c a l Essays of the Seventeenth Century, Oxford University Press, 1909, 3 vols. 

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