be easily seen that to translate correctly into such a language, must be a work of no small difficulty, and require no little discrimination.

It is a peculiar feature of the Karen language to use words in pairs in the signification of one of the words used. Thus frog, fish, are used in the signification of fish; horse, elephant, in the signification of elephant; plant, immerse, in the signification of plant. Often the coupled non-significant word seems to be chosen from some connection between the object it properly denotes and the word with which it is coupled. Thus paddy, rice are used to signify rice; boiled water, rice, to signify boiled rice; and tree, bamboo, to signify tree. Sometimes the couplet is a foreign word signifying, in the language from which it is taken, the same thing as the Karen word with which it is coupled. Thus, ti and nó are used in the signification of ti, water, where nó is the Siamese word for water, nam; in Pgho, me and thwa are used in the signification of me, tooth, where thwa is the Burman word for tooth; and in Sghau, wi and man are used for wi, prophet, where man is the Pgho word for prophet. The coupled word frequently serves to distinguish the different significations of the same root. Thus with yeu signifies exist; but with so, remain; kai with lo signifies become; but with káu, be in health; and șă with pau signifies star; but with kaù, animal. The vocables of the language often seem to point to an occidental origin. The monosyllabic roots by which the

גד קט גן כס יקץ Hebrews expressed the idea of cutting are

in, on, yn; ra; 72, 7; and ; and excepting wo, her, sghan and dau to mince, cut into small pieces; ghai, to cut open, and loo, to shave, all the Karen words by which this idea is expressed contain the initial of one or other of the above


Thus koo, to fell as trees; koo, reap; ku, strip bark of trees; kháu, cut into form; klo, hew out; kwăi, scratch, make slight incisions; pă, divide; păi, clear land; pghăi, rip up; pla, hew with an edge; păi, chop; ploo, chop to pieces; blu, split; beu, hew; blaú, chop to pieces; thwáu, cut right and left; and thwai, cut to a point. In like manner, the Hebrew makes the words to beat, bruise from the monosyllabic root ; and most of the words signifying to strike, beat, are made in Karen from this initial or its corresponding mute. Thus, dai, slap; dó, beat, as a drum; dwá, strike a thing, as


in passing; taù, strike; tò, beat as paddy in a mortar; ți, beat as cymbals; tó strike with the fist; and twa, shove, push. There are some resemblances in the pronouns. Of the first person singular, Nordheimer says, "The principal vowel is ior y, which occurs in the Indo-European languages, e. g. Russ., ya, Span., yo, Dan. yeg." In Karen, it is yeй and ya. "The principal element," he adds, "of the second person is n, th, or t," and the plural of this person in Karen is thú. With the third person, Heb. and wi, Pers. may be compared the Karen forms au, and eú, wai. Many other coincidences might be produced, but enough has been offered for a specimen, and perhaps more than will interest most readers. No sketch, however, of the Karen language can be deemed complete without some notice of the poetry. Karen poetry is usually written in lines of seven syllables, a common measure in Chinese. For example:

Miss T-ú, her feet are small,

She lives at home, dusts the house.
Miss T-ú, her feet are weak,

She lives at home, dusts the couch.*

Occasionally the lines consist of five syllables only; as,

We love not to die;

The Great treats us thus.

We love not to go:

The Great makes us mad.

It is essential to Karen poetry that it be written in rhyme, another feature in common with Chinese.

Children, be happy and play,

The mountain a plain yet will be.

Children, bid sorrow away,

We yet shall be happy and free.

For instance:

In common, also, with Chinese, the lines are often made to rhyme with the same word. Thus:

The waters will be destroyed, the earth rise;

The lands will be destroyed, the earth rise.

The same word is often repeated in the same line, for the sake of euphony; as,

The men of peace, the men of peace,

Shall dwell in the town, in the city.

*This is Karen poetry, though there is an evident allusion to Chinese habits.

Karen poetry, unlike that of the Chinese, and other transgangetic nations, is written in parallel lines. Sometimes the second line corresponds to the first; as,

God, about to return, commanded,

God, about to go, commanded.

Often the third line corresponds to the first, and the fourth to the second. Thus:

The great dragon took yellow fruit,

Gave to eat to God's male child and daughter.

The great dragon took white fruit,

Gave to eat to God's son and daughter.

Sometimes there is a parallelism of stanzas, as well as of the lines in each stanza; as,

The Salwen, that runs back,
The Sitaing, that runs back.
He that can make crooked is God,
He that can make straight is God.

The Salwen that turns back,
The Sitaing that turns back.

He that can make crooked is Thau-yi,
He that can make straight is Thau-yi.

Sometimes the second stanza contains the interpretation of the figure in the first; as,

The measure of traps for animals is seven hand-breadths,

The measure of traps for quadrupeds is seven hand-breadths,
That for which there is no measure is the turtle,

He runs, runs, and reaches his bed.

The measures of traps for animals are seven hundred,

The measures of traps for quadrupeds, are seven hundred.
Those for whom there is no measure, are we,

We run, run, and reach our beds.

Sometimes the only difference in the parallel lines is a difference in their arrangement, the words being the same in both. Thus :

He smote the massy rock with a bamboo;
The massy rock he smote with a bamboo.
He smote the massy rock, the rock ascended,
The massy rock he smote, the rock ascended.

More usually there is a change of a single word, of the same signification, one being the couplet of the other; as,

The wind blows, the Casnarina leaf trembles;
The Mascas deceives the Alligator.

The wind blows, the Casnarina leaf shakes,
The Mascas deceives the Dragon.

The word dragon is here the couplet to alligator, and the signification, the same as if alligator were used in both lines. Again:

The elders anciently ate the branch of heaven,
The elders anciently ate the branch of earth.

Here the word earth is the couplet of heaven, and the signification the same as if heaven were used in its place. There is often a slight change in the words, without any change in the sentiment; as,

They transgressed the words of God,
God turned his back on them.

Having transgressed the words of God,
God afterwards turned his back on them.

Sometimes the sentiment is varied a little; as,

The wooden pestle, the wooden mortar,

Paddy shall beat itself clean.

The bamboo fan, the bamboo mat,

Paddy shall spread itself out to dry.

Rice shall cook itself,

We dwell, we sleep, we eat.

Without having to grind or cook,

We shall have every thing ready to eat.*

Sometimes one distich is connected with the preceding, by repeating one or more of its words. Thus:

The great God comes down, comes down;
The mighty God comes down, comes down.
He comes blowing the horn,

He comes blowing the trumpet.

He blows and obtains men as the Areca flowers,

He sounds and obtains men as the wild Areca flowers.

In closing a piece of composition the last line or couplet departs from the parallelism: as,

When the generation arrives, the time comes,
When the age arrives, the time comes,
Woman will obtain two husbands,

Man will obtain two wives.

It will not meet the mind of God,

He will strike the thunder, the earth will quake.

*That is in the Karen Millennium.


The glory, the angels of heaven,

The glory, the messengers of heaven,

When God comes, blowing the great trumpet,
The great will strike the golden harp.

Much of the poetry has a dialogue character, and a single specimen shall close this article; a specimen that came from the lips of as wild a Karen as ever trod the forest; yet, "rough hewn" though it be, it would not disgrace a divinity hall.


Q. Sparrows, black and red,

To the happy land, which way is your mind?
Sparrows, black and white,

Which way is your mind, to the happy land?

A. Sparrows, black and white,

Happiness is with the one God:

Sparrows, black and red,

Happiness is in the presence of God.



DIVINE truth is the instrument by which the Holy Spirit is to sanctify the church. Through no other means do we expect spiritual life to be either communicated or sustained. The church of Christ, therefore, can truly prosper, only as she is nourished by the sincere milk and the strong meat of God's word. In proportion as any of the doctrines of the gospel are withheld, she is deprived of the means of spiritual growth and strength; if these doctrines are mingled with error, poison is mingled with her daily food, which either occasions debility and languor, or operates as a false stimulant, exciting a feverish and unnatural action, which is no more a sign of spiritual vigor, than the hectic flush is of natural health.

Few, perhaps, will formally dissent from this sentiment; yet a zeal for the purity of Christian doctrine is by no means a

* Men are here intended.

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