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Histoire de la langue anglaise

Sylvie Hancil

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1Anno 449. Hēr Martiānus and Valentīnus onfēngon rīce, and rīcsodon seofon winter. And on hiera dagum Hengest and Horsa, fram Wyrtgeorne gelaþode, Bretta cyninge, gesōhton Bretene on þǣm stede þe is genemned Ypwines-flēot, ǣrest Brettum tō fultume, ac hīe eft on hīe fuhton.

2Se cyning hēt hīe feohtan ongēan Peohtas; and hīe swā dydon, and sige hæfdon swā hwǣr swā hīe cōmon. Hīe þā sendon tō Angle, and hēton him sendan māran fultum; and hēton him secgan Bret-wēala nāhtnesse and þæs landes cyste. Hīe þā sendon him māran fultum. Þā cōmon þa menn of þrim mǣgum Germanie: of Eald-seaxum, of Englum, of lotum.

3(At this date Martianus and Valentinus received sovereignty and ruled seven winters. And in their days, Hengest and Horsa, invited by Vortigern, [the] British king, came to Britain in the place that is named Ebbsfleet, first to help [the] British, but later they fought against them.

4 The king ordered them to fight against the Picts; and they did so, and achieved victory wherever they came. They then sent [messengers] to [the] Angles, and ordered [a] greater force to be sent to them; ordered them (the messengers) to tell of [the] Britons’worthlesness and this land’s excellence.

  • 1 Cité d’après William Vantuomo, Old and Middle English Texts with Accompanying Textual and Linguist (...)

5 They (the Angles) then sent them [a] greater force. Then from Germany came the men of three tribes: of Old-Saxons, of Engles, of Jutes1.)


6Wið þā blegene, genim nigon ǣgra and sēoð hig fæste, and nim þā geolcan and dō þæt hwite aweg; and mera ðā geolcan on ānre pannan and wring þæt wōs ūt þurh ænne clāð. And nim eall swā fela dropena wīnes swā ðǣra ǣgra bēo, and eall swā fela dropena unhālgodes eles, and eall swā fela huniges dropena; and of finoles more eall swā fela dropena genim þonne, and gedō hit eall tōsomne and wring ūt þurh ǣnne clāð, and syle þām menn etan. Him byð sōna sēl.

  • 2 Cité d’après Norman Davis, Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer, 9th ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1953, p.  (...)

7(Against the ulcers, take nine eggs and boil them thoroughly, and take the yolks and put away the whites; and purify the yolks in a pan and wring out the juice through a cloth. And take just as many drops of wine as there are eggs, and just as many drops of unconsecrated oil, and just as many drops of honey; and then take of the root of fennel just as many drops and put it all together and wring [it] out through a cloth, and give [it] to the man to eat. He will soon be well2.)


8Bēowulf maþelode, bearn Ecgþēowes:

9‘Hwæt, þū worn fela, wine mīn [U]nferð,

10Bēore druncen ymb Brecan sprǣce,

11Sægdest from his sīðe! Sōð ic talige,

12Þæt ic merestrengo māran āhte,

13Earfeþo on yþum, ðonne ǣnig ōþer man.

14Wit þæt gecwǣdon cnihtwesende

15Ond gebeotedon—wǣron bēgen þā gīt

16On geogoðfēore—þæt wit on gārsecg ūt

17Aldrum nēðdon, ond þæt geæfndon swā.

18Hæfdon swurd nacod þā wit on sund rēon,

19Heard on handa; wit unc wið hronfixas

20Werian þōhton. Nō hē wiht fram mē

21Flōdyþum feor flēotan meahte,

22Hraþor on holme; nō ic fram him wolde.

23Ðā wit æsomne on sǣ wǣron

24Fif nihta fyrst oþþæt unc flōd tōdrāf,

25Wado weallende, wedera cealdost,

26Nīpende niht, ond norþanwind

27Heaðogrim ondhwearf; hrēo wǣron yþa.

28Wæs merefixa mōd onhrēred;

29Þǣr mē wið lāðum līcsyrce mīn,

30Heard hondlocen, helpe gefremede,

31Beadohrægl broden on brēostum læg,

32Golde gegyrwed. Mē tō grunde tēah

33Fāh fēondscaða, fæste hæfde

34Grim on grāpe; hwæþe mē gyfeþe wearð

35Þæt ic āglæcan orde gerǣhte,

36Hildebille; heaþorǣs fornam

37Mihtig meredēor þurh mīne hand.

  • 3 Cité d’après George Jack (éd.), Beowulf. A Student edition, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994, p. 60-6 (...)

38(Beowulf spoke, the son of Ecgtheow: “Well, my friend Unferth, drunk with beer you have spoken a great many things about Breca—told about his adventures. I maintain the truth that I had more strength in the sea, hardship on the waves, than any other man. Like boys we agreed together and boasted—we were both in our first youth—that we would risk our lives in the salt sea, and that we did even so. We has naked swords, strong in our hands, when we went swimming; we thought to guard ourselves against whalefishes. He could not swim at all far from me in the flood-waves, be quicker in the water, nor would I move away from him. Thus we were together on the sea for the time of five nights until the flood drove us apart, the swelling sea, coldest of wheathers, darkening night, and the north wind battle-grim turned against us: rough were the waves. The anger of the sea-fishes was roused. Then my body-mail, hard and hand-linked, gave me help against my foes; the woven war-garment, gold-adorned, covered my breast. A fierce cruel attacker dragged me to the bottom, held me grim in his grasp, but it was granted me to reach the monster with my sword-point, my battle-blade. The war-stroke destroyed the mighty sea-breast—through my hand3.”)



39Henri, þurȝ Godes fultume King on Engleneloande, Lhoaverd on Yrlanoande, Duk on Normandi, on Aquitaine, and Eorl on Anjow, send i-gretinge to alle hise holde, i-lærde and i-leawede on Huntendoneschire. Þæt witen ȝe wel alle þæt we willen and unnen þæt þæt ure rædesmen, alle oþer þe moare dæl of heom þæt beoþ i-chosen þurȝ us and þurȝ þæt loandes folk on ure kuneriche, habbeþ i-don and schullen don in þe worþnesse of Gode and on ure treowþe, for þe freme of þe loande, þurȝ þe besiȝte of þan toforen i-seide redesmen, beo stedefæst and i-lestinde in alle þinge abuten ænde.

  • 4 Cité d’après Fernand Mossé (éd.). A Handbook of Middle English, Baltimore, The John Hopkins Press, (...)

40(Henry, through the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy, of Aquitaine and Earl of Anjou, sends greetings to all his subjects, educated and uneducated of Huntingdonshire. Be it known to all of you that we wish and desire that what our counsellors—all or the majority of them who are chosen through us and through the people of the land of our kingdom—have done and shall do in the worthiness of God and our truth, for the advantage of the land, through the provision of those aforesaid counsellors, is steadfast and everlasting in everything without end4.)


41Ah neomeð nu ȝeme, mine leoue sustren, hu efter bitternesse kimeð swetnesse. Bitternesse buð hit, for as þet godspel teleð, þeose þreo Maries bohten swote smeallinde aromaz to smirien ure lauerd. Þurh aromaz þe beoð swote, is understonden swotnesse of deuot heorte: þeos Maries hit buggeð, þet is, þurh bitternesse me kimeð to swotnesse. Bi þis nome Marie, nim eauer bitternesse. Þurh Maries bone wes, ed te neoces, weater iwent to wine, þet is to understonden, þurh bone of bitternesse þet me drehed for Godd, þe heorte þe wes weattri, smechles, ne ne felde na sauur of Godd namare þen i weater, schal beon iwent to wine, þet is, ifinden smech in him swete ouer alle wines. For þi seið þe wise, Usque in tempus sustinebit patiens, & postea redditio iocunditatis: þe þolemode þolie bitter ane hwile, he schal sone þrefter habben ȝeld of blisse.

  • 5 Cité d’après Geoffrey Shepherd (éd.), Ancrene Wisse. Parts Six and Seven, University of Exeter, 19 (...)

42(But take now hed, my dear sisters, how after bitterness come sweetness. Bitterness buys [sweetness], because as the gospel tells, these three Maries bought smelling spices to anoint Our Lord. By the spices that are weet is understood the sweetness of a devout heart: these Maries buy it, that is, through bitterness one reaches sweetness. By the name Mary, understand always bitterness. Through Mary’s petition—at the wedding feast—water was turned to wine, that is to understand, through the petition of bitterness that one endures for God, the heart, which was watery, tasteless, and did not feel the savour of God anymore than in water, shall be turned into wine, that is, shall find taste in him sweeter than all wines. Therefore the wise says, Usque in tempus sustinebit patiens, & postea redditio iocunditatis: the long suffering endures bitterness for a time, he shall soon afterwards have the recompense of bliss5.)


43A good wif was ther of biside Bathe,

44But she was somdel def, and that was scathe.

45Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt

46She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.

47In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon

48That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;

49And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she

50That she was out of alle charitee.

51Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;

52I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound

53That on a Sunday weren upon hir heed.

54Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,

55Ful streit yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.

56Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.

57She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:

58Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,

59Withouten oother compaignye in youthe—

60But therepf nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.

61And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;

62She hadde passed many a straunge strem;

63At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,

64In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.

65She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.

66Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.

67Upon an amblere esily she sat,

68Ywympled wel, and on hir hed an hat

69As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;

70A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,

71And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.

72In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.

73Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,

  • 6 Cité d’après Larry D. Benson (éd.), The Riverside Chaucer, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987,(...)

74For she koude of that art the olde daunce6.


75To my worshepefull housbond W. Paston be þis lettere takyn.

76Dere housbond, I recommaunde me to yow, & c. Bc. Blyssyd be God, I sende yow gode tydynggys of þe comyng and þe brynggyn hoom of þe gentylwomman þat ye wetyn of fro Redham þis same nyght, acordyng to poyntmen þat ye made þer-for yowre-self. And as for þe furste aqweyntaunce beþwhen John Paston and þe seyde gentilwomman, she made hym gentil chere in gyntyl wyse and seyde he was verrayly yowre son. And so I hope þer shal nede no gret treté ne-twyxe hym.

77Þ parson of Stocton toold me yif ye wolde byin here a goune, here moder wolde yeue ther-to a godely furre. Þe goune nedyth for to be had, and of couloure it wolde be a godely blew or ellys a bryghte sanggueyn.

78I prey yow do byen for me ij pypys of gold. Yowre stewes do weel.

79The Holy Trinité have yow in gouernaunce. Wretyn at Paston in hast þe Wednesday next after Deus qui errantibus, for defaute of a good secretarye, & c.

  • 7 Cité d’après Norman Davis (éd.), Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, Part. I, Oxfo (...)

80Yowres, Agnes Paston7



81 A proclamation for resysting and withstandyng of most dampnable heresyes / sowen within this realme / by the disciples of Luther and other heretykes / peruerters of Christes religion

  • 8 Cité d’après A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of Engli (...)

82The kyng our souerayne lorde / of this most vertuous and gratious disposytion / consydring that this his noble realme of Englande / hath of long tyme contynued / in the true Catholike fayth of Christes relygion / And that his most noble progenytours / kynges of this his sayd realme / hath before this tyme made and enacted / many deuout lawes / statuses and ordynaunces / for the mayntenaunce 7 defence of the sayd faith / agayne the malycious and wicked sectes of Heretykes and Lollardes / who by peruersion of Holy scripture / do enduce erronyous opynions soweth sedicion among Christen people / and finally do disturbe the peace and tranquilite of Christen realmes / as late happened in some partes of Garmany / where by the procurement and sedicion of Martyn Luther / and other Heretykes / were slayne an infynite nombre of Christen people. Consydring also / that as well by the corruption and malyce of indiscrete preachers / sautours of the said erronyous sectes / as by certayne hereticall and blaspemous bokes / lately made and priuely sent into this realme / by the disciples / sautours / and adherentes of the sayd Marthyn Luther 7 other Heretikes: Where by the kynges subiectes be likely to be corrupted / onlesse his highnesse / (as Defensor of the Faith) do put to his most gratious helpe 7 authorite royall / to the due 7 spedy reformation therof. His highnesse therof / lyke a most gratious prince / of his most blessed and vertuous disposition / for the incomparable ȝele / whiche he hath to Christes religion and Faith / 7 for the singuler loue and affection that he beareth to all his good subjects of this his realme / 7 specially to the saluation of their soules / accordyng to his office 7 dutie in that behalfe. Wylleth and intendeth to prouyde with all conuenyent expedicion / that this his noble realme may be preserued from the said pestiferous / cursed / 7 seditious errours. And for asmoch as his highnesse is credibly enformed / that some of the said errours be alredy sowen 7 spredde within this his realme / partely by the corruption of indiscrete preachers / partely by erronyous bokes: compyled / printed and written / a well in the Englysshe tong / as in latyn 7 other langages / replete with most venomous Heresyes / blasphemies 7 sclaunders intollerable / to the clene eares of any good Christen man: His highnesse therefore / lyke a most gratious 7 Christen prince / only entending the safegard of this his real / the preseruation of his subiectes 7 saluation of their soules / wylleth to put now in execution / with all diligence possyble: all good lawes / statutes 7 ordinaunces / concernyng the premysses before this tyme prouyded / made / 7 ordayned by his most noble progenitours / kynges of Englande / for that purpose 7 entent: Whiche lawes 7 statutes by our said soueraigne lorde 7 his most honorable counsayle / by long 7 delyberate aduyse / for thextirpacion / suppressyng 7 withstandyng of the said heresies / have ben sene 7 examyned / and by them in euery parte / thought good 7 necessary to be put in execution. Wherefore his highnese chargeth 7 straitly commaundeth / all and euery hsi lordes spiritual 7 temporall / Juges / Justices of the peace / Shiriffes / Mayres / bayliffes / Constables / and all other his officers / mynistres / and all his true 7 louyng subiectes: that all fauour / affection 7 parcialite layd aparte / they effectually with all dilygence and spedy / er deuoir them selfes substancially / to thexecutyng of all 7 euery the articles herafter ensuyng / without dissimilation / interruption or excuse / as they wyll auoyde his highe indignation and displeasure8.


83 Hamlet. […] I will speak to this fellow. Whose grave’s this, sirrah?

84 Clown. Mine, sir.

85[Sings] “[O], a pit of clay for to be made [For such a guest is meet].”

86 Hamlet. I think it be thine indeed, for thou liest in’t.

87 Clown. You lie out on’t, sir, and therefore ‘tis not yours; for my part, I do not lie in’ t, yet it is mine.

88 Hamlet. Thou dost lie in’t, to be in’t and say it is thine. ‘Tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.

89 Clown. ‘Tis a quick lie, sir, ‘twill away again from me to you.

90 Hamlet. What man dost thou dig it for?

91 Clown. For no man, sir.

92 Hamlet. What woman then?

93 Clown. For none neither.

94 Hamlet Who is to be buried in’t?

95 Clown. One that was a woman, sir, but, rest her soul, she’s dead.

96 Hamlet. How absolute the knave is! We must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the Lord, Horatio, this three years I have took note of it: the age is grown so pick’d that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. How long hast thou been grave-maker?

97 Clown. Of [all] the days i’th’year, I came to’t that day our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

98 Hamlet. How long is that since?

99 Clown. Cannot you tell that? Every fool can tell that. It was that very day that young Hamlet was born—he that is mad, and sent into England.

100 Hamlet. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?

101 Clown. Why, because ‘a was mad. ‘A shall recover his wits there, or if ‘a do not, ‘tis no great matter there.

102 Hamlet. Why?

103 Clown. ‘Twill not be seen in him there, there the men are as mas as he.

104 Hamlet. How came he mad?

105 Clown. Very strangely, they say.

106 Hamlet. How strangely?

107 Clown. Faith, e’en with losing his wits.

108 Hamlet. Upon what ground?

109 Clown. Why, here in Denmark, I have been sexton here, man and boy, thirty years.

110 Hamlet. How long will a man lie i’th’erth ere he rot?

111 Clown. Faith, if ‘a be not rotten before ‘a de—as we have many pocky corses, that will scarce hold the laying in—’ a will last you some eight year or none year. A tanner will last you nine year.

112 Hamlet. Why he more than another?

  • 9 Cité d’après G. Blackmore Evans (éd.), The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, dans The Riversid (...)

113 Clown. Why, sir, his hide i so tann’d with his trade that ‘a will keep out water a great while, and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body9.


114VII. Iudge not, that ye be not judged. 2. For with what judgment ye iudge, yee shall be iudged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you againe. 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother eye, but considerest not the beame that is in thine owne eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let mee pull out the mote out of thine eye, and beholde, a beame is in thine owne eye? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beame out of thine owne eye: and then shalt thou see clearely to cast out the mote out of thy brothers eye. 6. Giue not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearles before swine: lest they trample them under their feete, and turne againe and rent you. 7. Aske, and it shalbe giuen you: seeke, and ye shall finde: knocke, and it shalbe opened unto you. 8. For euery one that asketh, receiueth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shalbe opened. 9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his sonne aske bread, will hee giue him a stone? 10. Or if he aske a fish, will hee giue him a serpent? 11. If ye then being euill, know how to giue good giftes unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heauen, giue good things to them that aske him? 12. Therefore all things whatsoeuer ye would that men should doe to you, doe ye euen so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.

  • 10 Cité d’après William Aldis Wrights (éd.), The Authorised Version of the English Bible 1611, Matthe (...)

115(VII. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. 2. For as you judge others, so you will yourselves be judged, and whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt to you. 3. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, with never a thought for the plank in your own? 4. How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, when all the time there is a plank in your own? 5. You hypocrite ! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s. 6. Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls to the pigs: they will only trample on them, and turn and tear you to pieces. 7. Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. 8. For everyone who asks receives, those who seek find, and those who knock, the door will be opened. 9. Would any of you offer his son a stone when he asks for bread, 10. or a snake when he asks for a fish? 11. If you, bad as you are, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him! 12. Always treat others as you would like them to treat you: that is the law and the prophets10.)

116(Texte cité d’après William Aldis Wrights, (éd.), The Authorised Version of the English Bible 1611, Matthew 7.1-12, Cambridge University Press, 1909. The Revised English Bible, OUP and CUP, 1989.


1171. The first and most general Observation is, That Electrical Bodies draw not unless they be warm’d; which Rule though I have now and then found to admit of an Exception, (whereof I elsewhere offer an account,) yet, as to the generality of common Electricks, it holds well enough to give much countenance to our Doctrine, which teaches the effects of Electrical Bodies to be perform’d by Corporeal Emanations. For ‘tis known, that Heat, by agitating the parts of a fit Body, solicites it as it were to send forth its (Effluvia), as is obvious in odoriferous Gums and Perfumes, which, being heated, send forth their fragrant steams, both further and more copiously than otherwise they would.

1182. Next, it has been observ’d, that Amber, & c. warm’d by the fire, does not attract so vigorously, as if it acquire an equal degree of heat by being chaf’d or rub’d: So that the modification of motion in the internal parts, and in the Emanations of the Amber, may, as well as the degree of it, contribute to the Attraction. And my particular Observations incline me to adde, that the effect may oftentimes be much promoted, by employing both these ways successively; as I thought I manifestly found when I first warm’d the Amber at the fire, and presently after chaf’d it a little upon a piece of cloth. For then a very few rubbings seem’d to excite it more than many more would otherwise have done: As if the heat of the fire had put the parts into a general, but confus’d, agitation; to which ‘twas easie for the subsequent Attrition (or Reciprocation of Pressure) to give a convenient modification in a Body whose Texture disposes it to become vigorously Electrical.

1193. Another Observation that is made about these Bodies, is, That they require Tersion as well as Attrition; and though I doubt whether the Rule be infallible, yet I deny not but that weaker Electricks require to be as well wip’d as chaf’d; and even good ones will have their Operation promoted by the same means. And this is very agreeable to our Doctrine, since Tersion, besides that it is, as I have sometimes manifestly known it, a kind or degree of Attrition, frees the Surface from those adherences that might choak the pores of the Amber, or at least hinder the emanation of the steams to be so free and copious as otherwise it would be.

1204.’Tis likewise observ’d, That whereas the Magnetical Steams are so subtile, that they penetrate and perform their Operation through all kind of Mediums hitherto known to us; Electrical Steams are like those of some odoriferous Bodies, easily check’d in their progress, since’tis affirm’d by Learned Writers, who say they speak upon particular Trial, that the interposition of the finest Linnen or Sarsnet is sufficient to hinder all the Operation of excited Amber upon a Straw or Feather plac’d never so little beyond it.

  • 11 Cité d’après le Helsinki Corpus of English Texts. File CESCIE3B: Robert Boyle, Electricity & Magne (...)

1215. It has been also observed, that the effects of Electrical Attraction are weaken’d if the air be thick and cloudy; and especially if the Southwind blows: And that Electricks display their vertue more faintly by night than by day, and more vigorously in clear weather, and when the winds are Northerly11.


122 L. C. J. How came you to know the way to the Stable then?

123 Dunne. Because I had been there before, my Lord.

124 L. C. J. Thou had’st need to know it very well, for it seems thou wentest without a Candle or any thing in the World, and put in thy Horse. Did’st thou see that Man Carpenter the Bailiff that thou spokest of?

125 Dunne. Mr Carpenter gave my Horse Hay.

126 L. C. J. Was there any Light in the Stable?

127 Dunne. Not when I put my Horse first.

128 L. C. J. Who brought the Light thither?

129 Dunne. Goodman Carpenter.

130 L. C. J. Did not he give thy Horse Hay?

131 Dunne. Yes, he did.

132 L. C. J. And did he not give him Oats too?

133 Dunne. No, my Lord, he did not.

134 L. C. J. Did not he conduct you into the House?

135 Dunne. Who, my Lord?

136 L. C. J. That same Goodman Carpenter.

137 Dunne. No, my Lord.

138 L. C. J. Did you see any body else but that Girl you speak of?

139 Dunne. My Lord, I did see the Girl there.

140 L. C. J. But you Blockhead, I ask you whether you did see any body else?

141 Dunne. I do not know but I might see Goodman Carpenter.

142 L. C. J. Why, thou said’st he brought the Light, and gave they Horse Hay; but I see thou art set upon nothing but Prevarication: Sirrah, tell me plainly, did you see no body else?

143 Dunne. No, my Lord.

144 L. C. J. Not any body?

145 Dunne. No, my Lord, nor any one.

146 L. C. J. Did you not drink in the House?

147 Dunne. No, my Lord, not a drop.

148 L. C. J. Did you not call for Drink?

149 Dunne. No, my Lord, I did not, I had nothing but my Cake and Cheese that I brought thither my self.

150 L. C. J. Who went up to the Chamber with you?

151 Dunne. The girl, my Lord.

152 L. C. J. And no body else?

153 Dunne. No, my Lord.

154 L. C. J. Was the Bed made?

155 Dunne. Yes, my Lord, it was.

156 L. C. J. You eat nothing in the House, you say?

157 Dunne. Nothing but my own Cake and Cheese, my Lord.

158 L. C. J. But you did not drink in the House at all?

159 Dunne. No, my Lord, I did not.

160 L. C. J. Did you drink at Marton, where you did call upon Fane.

161 Dunne. Yes, I did, but not afterwards.

162 L. C. J. Did you see anybody there the next Morning before they were taken?

163 Dunne. No, my Lord; but after the House was beset, I saw my lady and Mr. Hicks, and I think I saw Goodman Carpenter.

164 L. C. J. They and you were taken there together, were not you?

165 Dunne. Yes.

166 L. C. J. Did you see Carpenter’s Wife, upon your Oath, that Night?

167 Dunne. My Lord, I did not.

168 L. C. J. Nor no Woman-kind besides the Girl you speak of?

169 Dunne. No, my Lord.

170 L. C. J. Nor no Man besides Carpenter?

171 Dunne. No, my Lord.

172 L. C. J. You are sure of this?

173 Dunne. I am so, my Lord.

174 L. C. J. You are sure you did not drink there?

175 Dunne. I am, my Lord.

176 L. C. J. and you say he brought the Light into the Stable, and your Horse Hay?

177 Dunne. He did, my Lord.

178 L. C. J. Now prithee tell me truly, where came Carpenter unto you? I must know the Truth of that; remember that I gave you fair Warning, do not tell me a Lye, for I will be sure to treasure up every Lye that thou tellest me, and thou may’st be certain it will not be for thy Advantage: I would not terrify thee to make thee say anything but the Truth: but assure thy self I never met with a lying, sneaking, canting Fellow, but I always treasur’d up Vengeance for him: and therefore look to it, that thou dost not prevaricate with me, for to be sure thou wilt come to the worst of it in the end?

  • 12 Cité d’après F. Hargrave, The Trial of the Lady Alice Lisle, at Winton for High-Treason, August 27 (...)

179 Dunne. My Lord, I will tell the Truth as near as I can12.


180In Congress, July 4, 1776.

181The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

182When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

183We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

184He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

185He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

186He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

187He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

188He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

189He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

190He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

191He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

192He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

193For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

194For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

195For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

196In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

197Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

  • 13 Cité d’après The National Archives and Records Administration, (...)

198We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor13.


  • 14 Cité d’après James A. H. Murray (éd.), A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Oxford, (...)

199The Vocabulary of a widely-diffused and highly-cultivated living language is not a fixed quantity circumscribed by definite limits. That vast aggregate of words and phrases which constitutes the Vocabulary of English-speaking men presents, to the mind that endeavours to grasp it as a definite whole, the aspect of one of those nebulous masses familiar to the astronomer, in which a clear and unmistakable nucleus shades off on all sides, through zones of decreasing brightness, to a dim marginal film that seems to end nowhere, but to lose itself imperceptibly in the surrounding darkness. In its constitution it may be compared to one of those natural groups of the zoologist or botanist, wherein typical species formning the characteristic nucleus of the order, are linked on every side to other species, in which the typical character is less and less distinctly apparent, till it fades away in an outer fringe of aberrant forms, which merge imperceptibly in various surrounding orders, and whose own position is ambiguous and uncertain. For the convenience of classification, the naturalist may draw the line, which bounds a class or order, outside or inside of a particular form; but Nature has drawn it nowhere. So the English Vocabulary contains a nucleus or central mass of many thousand words whose “Anglicity” is unquestioned; some of them only literary, some of them only colloquial, the great majority at once literary and colloquial,—they are the Common Words of the language. But they are linked on every side with other words which are less and less entitles to this appellation, and which pertain ever more and more distinctly to the domain of local dialect, of the slang and cant of “sets” and classes, of the peculiar technicalities of trades and processes, of the scientific terminology common to all civilized nations, of the actual languages of other lands and peoples. […] Yet practical utility has some bounds, and a Dictionary has definite limits: the lexicographer must, like the naturalist, “draw the line somewhere”, in each diverging direction. He must include all the “Common Words” of literature and conversation, and such of scientific, technical, slang, dialectal and foreign words as are passing into common use, and approach the position or standing of “common words”, well knowing that the line which he draws will not satisfy all his critics. For to every man the domain of “common words” widens out in the direction of his own reading, research, business, provincial or foreign residence, and contracts in the direction with which he has no practical connexion: no one man’s English is all English. The lexicographer must be satisfied to exhibit the greater part of the vocabulary of each one, which will be immensely more than the whole vocabulary of any one14.


1 Cité d’après William Vantuomo, Old and Middle English Texts with Accompanying Textual and Linguistic Apparatus, New York, Peter Lang, 1994, p. 4.

2 Cité d’après Norman Davis, Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer, 9th ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1953, p. 95.

3 Cité d’après George Jack (éd.), Beowulf. A Student edition, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994, p. 60-61 (traduction: E. Talbot Donalson, Beowulf. A New Prose Translation. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1966, p. 10).

4 Cité d’après Fernand Mossé (éd.). A Handbook of Middle English, Baltimore, The John Hopkins Press, 1952, p. 217-218.

5 Cité d’après Geoffrey Shepherd (éd.), Ancrene Wisse. Parts Six and Seven, University of Exeter, 1985, p. 15, lignes 12-27.

6 Cité d’après Larry D. Benson (éd.), The Riverside Chaucer, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987, The Canterbury Tales, Fragment I, General Prologue, vers 445-476.

7 Cité d’après Norman Davis (éd.), Paston Letters and Papers of the Fifteenth Century, Part. I, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971, p. 26.

8 Cité d’après A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475-1640, 2d ed., W. A. Jackson, F. S. Ferguson and K. F. Pantzer (éd.), London, The Bibliographical Society, 1986, t. 1, texte 1529.

9 Cité d’après G. Blackmore Evans (éd.), The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, dans The Riverside Shakespeare., Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997, t. 2, acte V, lignes 117-172.

10 Cité d’après William Aldis Wrights (éd.), The Authorised Version of the English Bible 1611, Matthew 7.1-12, Cambridge University Press, 1909. Traduction: The Revised English Bible, OUP and CUP, 1989.

11 Cité d’après le Helsinki Corpus of English Texts. File CESCIE3B: Robert Boyle, Electricity & Magnetism, 1675-1676), R. W. T. Gunther (éd.), Oxford University Press, « Old Ashmolean Reprints, 7th Series », 1927, p. 8.1-38.30 [fac-similé].

12 Cité d’après F. Hargrave, The Trial of the Lady Alice Lisle, at Winton for High-Treason, August 27, 1685, dans A Complete Collection of State-Trials and Proceedings for High-Treason, and other Crimes and Misdemeanours. From the Reign of King Richard II. To the End of the Reign of King Georg I, 2d edition, London, Printed from J. Walthoesen, 1730, vol. iv, p. 113.

13 Cité d’après The National Archives and Records Administration,

14 Cité d’après James A. H. Murray (éd.), A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1888, t. 1, « General Explanations ».

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