The Charter Fragment and Pascon agan Arluth

Yma daswel gans Kyle Odgers awoles. / There is a review by Kyle Odgers below.

Tas ha Mab ha’n Spyrys Sans,

– why a bÿs a leun-golon –

re wrauntyo dhywgh grâss ha whans

dhe wolsowes y Bassyon,

ha dhymmo grâss ha skians

dhe dherivas par dell wòn,

may fo dhe Dhuw dh’y wordhyans

ha selwans dhe’n Gristenyon.

Edited and translated by Nicholas Williams

Facsimile and palaeographic manuscript transcription by Michael Everson

Introduction by Alan M. Kent

This volume presents two of the earliest pieces pf Middle Cornish literature. The first, The Charter Fragment, is concerned with the question of marriage. It is only 41 lines in length and was probably part of a play. The second, Pascon agan Arluth 'The Passion of our Lord', is a magnificent poem of 259 stanzas composed c. 1375, which deals with the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Christ.

The original texts are provided in facsimile. There is a palaeographic manuscript transcription, a modern transcription into Kernowek Standard, and an English translation.

Published by Evertype 2020

Price on Amazon UK as at 21 July 2020

£35.76 Hardcover New



An English version appears below.

The Charter Fragment and Pascon agan Arluth. Corpus Textuum Cornicorum Volume 1. Nicholas Williams, Michael Everson, Alan M. Kent. Evertype 2020. Aden gales, 385 folen. ISBN 978-1-78201-182-8.

An lyver yw dynyak desempys in y worher lenter du ha gwydn: an kensa kevrol in steus tôwlednys dhe gomprehendya pùb text istorek in Kernowek Cres. Otta Tebmyk an Chartour ha Passyon Agan Arlùth presentys yn compassus hag in udn gevrol. Dysqwedhys yw an mamdextow avell copy kewar, ha gansans warbarth yma gwel degê a bùbonen a’n deg delînyans lywys. Yma cowl-dreusscrif paleografyk gwrës gans Michael Everson. Provies yma treusscrif arnowyth inwedh, gans Nicholas Williams, in Kernowek Standard, ha trailyans dhe’n Sowsnek wàr an folen adâl. Hag yma menegva leun a’n spellyansow gwredhek.

Stap a vry yw an lyver-ma: avauncyans in rag a’n dyllansow kyns. An dhew dext obma yw an samplys moyha avarr in oll an vardhonieth Kernowek, nyns yw hedna chalynjys; saw yma controversyta brâs ow tùchya myns ha maner may tal dhedhans shâpya Kernowek Dasvewys: gerva, gramer, orgraf dhe bùb jorna. An treusscrif gans Nicholas Williams in Kernowek Standard yw asnodhow nowyth ha wolcùm dhe’n re nag usy seruster spellyans ‘Kernewek Kemmyn’ ow plêsya, dell veuva ûsys i’n treusscrif gans Ray Edwards a’n vledhen 1993. Dywysycter Michael Everson, hag ev ow jùnya mabmdext kewar dhe dreusscrif paleografyk ha menegva, y fëdh uhel y valew dres ehen rag kettep pedn whensys dhe studhya an defnyth yn town teg.

Yma an raglavar marthys dâ gans Alan Kent ow ry scav-wolok hudol i’n textow aberverth, owth helerhy aga istory, gwredhen ha devedhyans: kevrednow aswonys dhe’n Kernowek moy adhewedhes, lymnans consydrys, kettesten examnyes. Hùmbrynkys on ny dre nebes a’n argùmentys scolhygol a veu gorrys dres lies bledhen. Settya dew dhevyn hevelep in mes a dextow dyvers, an eyl ryb y gela, yma hedna ow tyscudha dyffransow, kefrës ha’n pëth yw evolùcyon, martesen, i’n tavas. Yma Michael Everson ow profya kerdh gedyes der an mamspellyans, ha’n ûsadow cresosek ha’y formys treys kelyon. Gweres gwir yw an tâbel a sînys rag an dornscrefa ha’y redyans. Ha’n treusscrifow yw dysplêtyes kempen, ha spâss wàr bùb folen rag anôtyans.

Comendys yw an lyver-ma yn tobm, ha my ow tesky lower tra dredho; comendys dhe bùb huny mayth eus les i’n tavas Kernowek pò les i’n istory a Gernow ha’y gonysegeth.

Kyle Odgers

Kyle Odgers yw Caderyor Agan Tavas.

Versyon Sowsnek / English version

The Charter Fragment and Pascon agan Arluth. Corpus Textuum Cornicorum Volume 1. Nicholas Williams, Michael Everson, Alan M. Kent. Evertype 2020. Hardback 385 pages. ISBN 978-1-78201-182-8.

This book, instantly attractive in its sleek black-and-white binding, is the first in a planned series to encompass all the historical texts of Middle Cornish. Here we find The Charter Fragment and Pascon Agan Arluth (the ‘Passion Poem’) comprehensively presented in a single volume. The original texts appear in facsimile, along with close-up views of the ten coloured drawings. There is a full palaeographic transcription by Michael Everson. Then Nicholas Williams has provided a modern transcription into Standard Cornish, with an English translation on each facing page. The original Cornish spelling is displayed for comparison on each double-page spread. And the original spellings are fully indexed.

The book marks a significant advance on previous editions. It is undisputed that these texts are the earliest surviving examples of Cornish verse, but there is much controversy over the manner and degree to which they should influence the everyday vocabulary, grammar, and orthography of revived Cornish. The transcription by Nicholas Williams into Standard Cornish is a welcome new resource for those who dislike the artificiality of Common Cornish spelling, as employed in the 1993 transcription of the Passion Poem by Ray Edwards. Michael Everson’s diligence in bringing together facsimile originals with palaeographic transcription and indexing will be of enormous value to everyone wishing to study the material in depth.

Alan Kent’s wonderful introduction contains some fascinating insights into the texts, tracing their history, origins and provenance: links to later Cornish, illustrations discussed, context examined. We are led through some of the scholarly arguments that have been made over the years. Juxtaposing similar passages from several texts reveals variation, and what is possibly the evolution of the language. Michael Everson’s guides the reader through the original orthography, including mediaeval scribble forms and spelling conventions. The table of characters is hugely helpful for reading the manuscripts. And the transcriptions are well laid out, with enough space on each page for annotation.

I am learning a lot from this book, and I warmly recommend it to anybody with a serious interest in the Cornish language or the history and culture of Cornwall.

Kyle Odgers

Kyle Odgers is the Chair of Agan Tavas.