THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.
The text of the 'Creation', the Cornish drama now printed, was, like the poem of the 'Passion', which forms part of our last volume, thrust forth on the world by
Mr. Davies Gilbert. In the case of the 'Creation', as in that of the 'Passion', Mr.
Gilbert interpaged the Cornish text with an English version by John Keigwin.* So erroneous is Mr. Gilbert's book, in text as well as in translation, that no argument seems needed to justify the Philological Society in printing a corrected edition of the only important relic of Cornish literature which, since the late publication of the Passion, has been unattainable in a trustworthy form.
Mr. Edwin Norris, in his Cornish Drama, II, 441, good-naturedly observes that the average number of errors in Mr. Gilbert's edition of the 'Creation' is not more than twenty in a page. Two or three examples will give some notion of the nature, though not of the number, of these mistakes:
- Pp. 2, 3.
Try Person yn idne Dewaes
ow kys rayny a bys vickar
"Three Persons in one Godhead
Do reign of the world sovereign."
The same, rightly read and translated:-
Try person yn idn dewges ow kys raynya bys vickan
"Three Persons in one Godhead,
Reigning together for ever."
* The title of Mr. Gilbert's edition of the
• Creation is as follows:- The Creation of the World, with Noah's Flood; written in Cornish in the year 1611, by
William Jordan; with an English translation, by John Keigwin. Edited by Davies
Gilbert, F. R. S., F. S. A. &c. London, 1827.
• * *
...Passing from the language to the subject matter we may remark that the author imitates and often copies the ordinale called 'Origo Mundi', which stands first in
Mr. Norris's Cornish Drama, Some parts, however, are his own; for example the fall of Lucifer and his angels, Cain's death, Enoch's translation, Seth's prophecy and erection of the pillars. Who the author was remains uncertain. The William
Jordan mentioned at the end may well have been only the transcriber, and the occurrence in the stage - directions of such forms as sortis, beastis, garmentis,
every ch-on 'every one' and car[i]eth 'they carry' seems to indicate a date prior to
1611, when Jordan completed his manuscript. The author's mention of limbo,
too, may tend to shew that the play was composed before the Reformation.
The text has been transcribed for press and the translation and notes written,
during a voyage to India, apart from books and philological friends. This circumstance will, I trust, induce Celtic scholars to deal leniently with the errors and defects which they will probably find in the following pages.
E. L S. 'Clarence' lat. 39° 27' S. long. 10° 25' W.
August 21, 1862, Whitley Stokes