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The Zincali - An Account of the Gypsies of Spain by George Borrow

Part 5 out of 6

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My bantling in my rear,
And in my hand my musket hold,
O how they quake with fear.

Pray, little baby, pray the Lord,
Since guiltless still thou art,
That peace and comfort he afford
To this poor troubled heart.

The false Juanito, day and night,
Had best with caution go,
The Gypsy carles of Yeira height
Have sworn to lay him low.

There runs a swine down yonder hill,
As fast as e'er he can,
And as he runs he crieth still,
Come, steal me, Gypsy man.

I wash'd not in the limpid flood
The shirt which binds my frame;
But in Juanito Ralli's blood
I bravely wash'd the same.

I sallied forth upon my grey,
With him my hated foe,
And when we reach'd the narrow way
I dealt a dagger blow.

To blessed Jesus' holy feet
I'd rush to kill and slay
My plighted lass so fair and sweet,
Should she the wanton play.

I for a cup of water cried,
But they refus'd my prayer,
Then straight into the road I hied,
And fell to robbing there.

I ask'd for fire to warm my frame,
But they'd have scorn'd my prayer,
If I, to pay them for the same,
Had stripp'd my body bare.

Then came adown the village street,
With little babes that cry,
Because they have no crust to eat,
A Gypsy company;
And as no charity they meet,
They curse the Lord on high.

I left my house and walk'd about,
They seized me fast and bound;
It is a Gypsy thief, they shout,
The Spaniards here have found.

From out the prison me they led,
Before the scribe they brought;
It is no Gypsy thief, he said,
The Spaniards here have caught.

Throughout the night, the dusky night,
I prowl in silence round,
And with my eyes look left and right,
For him, the Spanish hound,
That with my knife I him may smite,
And to the vitals wound.

Will no one to the sister bear
News of her brother's plight,
How in this cell of dark despair,
To cruel death he's dight?

The Lord, as e'en the Gentiles state,
By Egypt's race was bred,
And when he came to man's estate,
His blood the Gentiles shed.

O never with the Gentiles wend,
Nor deem their speeches true;
Or else, be certain in the end
Thy blood will lose its hue.

From out the prison me they bore,
Upon an ass they placed,
And scourg'd me till I dripp'd with gore,
As down the road it paced.

They bore me from the prison nook,
They bade me rove at large;
When out I'd come a gun I took,
And scathed them with its charge.

My mule so bonny I bestrode,
To Portugal I'd flee,
And as I o'er the water rode
A man came suddenly;
And he his love and kindness show'd
By setting his dog on me.

Unless within a fortnight's space
Thy face, O maid, I see;
Flamenca, of Egyptian race,
My lady love shall be.

Flamenca, of Egyptian race,
If thou wert only mine,
Within a bonny crystal case
For life I'd thee enshrine.

Sire nor mother me caress,
For I have none on earth;
One little brother I possess,
And he's a fool by birth.

Thy sire and mother wrath and hate
Have vow'd against me, love!
The first, first night that from the gate
We two together rove.

Come to the window, sweet love, do,
And I will whisper there,
In Rommany, a word or two,
And thee far off will bear.

A Gypsy stripling's sparkling eye
Has pierced my bosom's core,
A feat no eye beneath the sky
Could e'er effect before.

Dost bid me from the land begone,
And thou with child by me?
Each time I come, the little one,
I'll greet in Rommany.

With such an ugly, loathly wife
The Lord has punish'd me;
I dare not take her for my life
Where'er the Spaniards be.

O, I am not of gentle clan,
I'm sprung from Gypsy tree;
And I will be no gentleman,
But an Egyptian free.

On high arose the moon so fair,
The Gypsy 'gan to sing:
I see a Spaniard coming there,
I must be on the wing.

This house of harlotry doth smell,
I flee as from the pest;
Your mother likes my sire too well;
To hie me home is best.

The girl I love more dear than life,
Should other gallant woo,
I'd straight unsheath my dudgeon knife
And cut his weasand through;
Or he, the conqueror in the strife,
The same to me should do.

Loud sang the Spanish cavalier,
And thus his ditty ran:
God send the Gypsy lassie here,
And not the Gypsy man.

At midnight, when the moon began
To show her silver flame,
There came to him no Gypsy man,
The Gypsy lassie came.


THE Gitanos, abject and vile as they have ever been, have
nevertheless found admirers in Spain, individuals who have taken
pleasure in their phraseology, pronunciation, and way of life; but
above all, in the songs and dances of the females. This desire for
cultivating their acquaintance is chiefly prevalent in Andalusia,
where, indeed, they most abound; and more especially in the town of
Seville, the capital of the province, where, in the barrio or
Faubourg of Triana, a large Gitano colon has long flourished, with
the denizens of which it is at all times easy to have intercourse,
especially to those who are free of their money, and are willing to
purchase such a gratification at the expense of dollars and

When we consider the character of the Andalusians in general, we
shall find little to surprise us in this predilection for the
Gitanos. They are an indolent frivolous people, fond of dancing
and song, and sensual amusements. They live under the most
glorious sun and benign heaven in Europe, and their country is by
nature rich and fertile, yet in no province of Spain is there more
beggary and misery; the greater part of the land being
uncultivated, and producing nothing but thorns and brushwood,
affording in itself a striking emblem of the moral state of its

Though not destitute of talent, the Andalusians are not much
addicted to intellectual pursuits, at least in the present day.
The person in most esteem among them is invariably the greatest
MAJO, and to acquire that character it is necessary to appear in
the dress of a Merry Andrew, to bully, swagger, and smoke
continually, to dance passably, and to strum the guitar. They are
fond of obscenity and what they term PICARDIAS. Amongst them
learning is at a terrible discount, Greek, Latin, or any of the
languages generally termed learned, being considered in any light
but accomplishments, but not so the possession of thieves' slang or
the dialect of the Gitanos, the knowledge of a few words of which
invariably creates a certain degree of respect, as indicating that
the individual is somewhat versed in that kind of life or TRATO for
which alone the Andalusians have any kind of regard.

In Andalusia the Gitano has been studied by those who, for various
reasons, have mingled with the Gitanos. It is tolerably well
understood by the chalans, or jockeys, who have picked up many
words in the fairs and market-places which the former frequent. It
has, however, been cultivated to a greater degree by other
individuals, who have sought the society of the Gitanos from a zest
for their habits, their dances, and their songs; and such
individuals have belonged to all classes, amongst them have been
noblemen and members of the priestly order.

Perhaps no people in Andalusia have been more addicted in general
to the acquaintance of the Gitanos than the friars, and pre-
eminently amongst these the half-jockey half-religious personages
of the Cartujan convent at Xeres. This community, now suppressed,
was, as is well known, in possession of a celebrated breed of
horses, which fed in the pastures of the convent, and from which
they derived no inconsiderable part of their revenue. These
reverend gentlemen seem to have been much better versed in the
points of a horse than in points of theology, and to have
understood thieves' slang and Gitano far better than the language
of the Vulgate. A chalan, who had some knowledge of the Gitano,
related to me the following singular anecdote in connection with
this subject.

He had occasion to go to the convent, having been long in treaty
with the friars for a steed which he had been commissioned by a
nobleman to buy at any reasonable price. The friars, however, were
exorbitant in their demands. On arriving at the gate, he sang to
the friar who opened it a couplet which he had composed in the
Gypsy tongue, in which he stated the highest price which he was
authorised to give for the animal in question; whereupon the friar
instantly answered in the same tongue in an extemporary couplet
full of abuse of him and his employer, and forthwith slammed the
door in the face of the disconcerted jockey.

An Augustine friar of Seville, called, we believe, Father Manso,
who lived some twenty years ago, is still remembered for his
passion for the Gitanos; he seemed to be under the influence of
fascination, and passed every moment that he could steal from his
clerical occupations in their company. His conduct at last became
so notorious that he fell under the censure of the Inquisition,
before which he was summoned; whereupon he alleged, in his defence,
that his sole motive for following the Gitanos was zeal for their
spiritual conversion. Whether this plea availed him we know not;
but it is probable that the Holy Office dealt mildly with him; such
offenders, indeed, have never had much to fear from it. Had he
been accused of liberalism, or searching into the Scriptures,
instead of connection with the Gitanos, we should, doubtless, have
heard either of his execution or imprisonment for life in the cells
of the cathedral of Seville.

Such as are thus addicted to the Gitanos and their language, are
called, in Andalusia, Los del' Aficion, or those of the
predilection. These people have, during the last fifty years,
composed a spurious kind of Gypsy literature: we call it spurious
because it did not originate with the Gitanos, who are, moreover,
utterly unacquainted with it, and to whom it would be for the most
part unintelligible. It is somewhat difficult to conceive the
reason which induced these individuals to attempt such
compositions; the only probable one seems to have been a desire to
display to each other their skill in the language of their
predilection. It is right, however, to observe, that most of these
compositions, with respect to language, are highly absurd, the
greatest liberties being taken with the words picked up amongst the
Gitanos, of the true meaning of which the writers, in many
instances, seem to have been entirely ignorant. From what we can
learn, the composers of this literature flourished chiefly at the
commencement of the present century: Father Manso is said to have
been one of the last. Many of their compositions, which are both
in poetry and prose, exist in manuscript in a compilation made by
one Luis Lobo. It has never been our fortune to see this
compilation, which, indeed, we scarcely regret, as a rather curious
circumstance has afforded us a perfect knowledge of its contents.

Whilst at Seville, chance made us acquainted with a highly
extraordinary individual, a tall, bony, meagre figure, in a
tattered Andalusian hat, ragged capote, and still more ragged
pantaloons, and seemingly between forty and fifty years of age.
The only appellation to which he answered was Manuel. His
occupation, at the time we knew him, was selling tickets for the
lottery, by which he obtained a miserable livelihood in Seville and
the neighbouring villages. His appearance was altogether wild and
uncouth, and there was an insane expression in his eye. Observing
us one day in conversation with a Gitana, he addressed us, and we
soon found that the sound of the Gitano language had struck a chord
which vibrated through the depths of his soul. His history was
remarkable; in his early youth a manuscript copy of the compilation
of Luis Lobo had fallen into his hands. This book had so taken
hold of his imagination, that he studied it night and day until he
had planted it in his memory from beginning to end; but in so
doing, his brain, like that of the hero of Cervantes, had become
dry and heated, so that he was unfitted for any serious or useful
occupation. After the death of his parents he wandered about the
streets in great distress, until at last he fell into the hands of
certain toreros, or bull-fighters, who kept him about them, in
order that he might repeat to them the songs of the AFICION. They
subsequently carried him to Madrid, where, however, they soon
deserted him after he had experienced much brutality from their
hands. He returned to Seville, and soon became the inmate of a
madhouse, where he continued several years. Having partially
recovered from his malady, he was liberated, and wandered about as
before. During the cholera at Seville, when nearly twenty thousand
human beings perished, he was appointed conductor of one of the
death-carts, which went through the streets for the purpose of
picking up the dead bodies. His perfect inoffensiveness eventually
procured him friends, and he obtained the situation of vendor of
lottery tickets. He frequently visited us, and would then recite
long passages from the work of Lobo. He was wont to say that he
was the only one in Seville, at the present day, acquainted with
the language of the Aficion; for though there were many pretenders,
their knowledge was confined to a few words.

From the recitation of this individual, we wrote down the
Brijindope, or Deluge, and the poem on the plague which broke out
in Seville in the year 1800. These and some songs of less
consequence, constitute the poetical part of the compilation in
question; the rest, which is in prose, consisting chiefly of
translations from the Spanish, of proverbs and religious pieces.


I with fear and terror quake,
Whilst the pen to write I take;
I will utter many a pray'r
To the heaven's Regent fair,
That she deign to succour me,
And I'll humbly bend my knee;
For but poorly do I know
With my subject on to go;
Therefore is my wisest plan
Not to trust in strength of man.
I my heavy sins bewail,
Whilst I view the wo and wail
Handed down so solemnly
In the book of times gone by.
Onward, onward, now I'll move
In the name of Christ above,
And his Mother true and dear,
She who loves the wretch to cheer.
All I know, and all I've heard
I will state - how God appear'd
And to Noah thus did cry:
Weary with the world am I;
Let an ark by thee be built,
For the world is lost in guilt;
And when thou hast built it well,
Loud proclaim what now I tell:
Straight repent ye, for your Lord
In his hand doth hold a sword.
And good Noah thus did call:
Straight repent ye one and all,
For the world with grief I see
Lost in vileness utterly.
God's own mandate I but do,
He hath sent me unto you.
Laugh'd the world to bitter scorn,
I his cruel sufferings mourn;
Brawny youths with furious air
Drag the Patriarch by the hair;
Lewdness governs every one:
Leaves her convent now the nun,
And the monk abroad I see
Practising iniquity.
Now I'll tell how God, intent
To avenge, a vapour sent,
With full many a dreadful sign -
Mighty, mighty fear is mine:
As I hear the thunders roll,
Seems to die my very soul;
As I see the world o'erspread
All with darkness thick and dread;
I the pen can scarcely ply
For the tears which dim my eye,
And o'ercome with grievous wo,
Fear the task I must forego
I have purposed to perform. -
Hark, I hear upon the storm
Thousand, thousand devils fly,
Who with awful howlings cry:
Now's the time and now's the hour,
We have licence, we have power
To obtain a glorious prey. -
I with horror turn away;
Tumbles house and tumbles wall;
Thousands lose their lives and all,
Voiding curses, screams and groans,
For the beams, the bricks and stones
Bruise and bury all below -
Nor is that the worst, I trow,
For the clouds begin to pour
Floods of water more and more,
Down upon the world with might,
Never pausing day or night.
Now in terrible distress
All to God their cries address,
And his Mother dear adore, -
But the time of grace is o'er,
For the Almighty in the sky
Holds his hand upraised on high.
Now's the time of madden'd rout,
Hideous cry, despairing shout;
Whither, whither shall they fly?
For the danger threat'ningly
Draweth near on every side,
And the earth, that's opening wide,
Swallows thousands in its womb,
Who would 'scape the dreadful doom.
Of dear hope exists no gleam,
Still the water down doth stream;
Ne'er so little a creeping thing
But from out its hold doth spring:
See the mouse, and see its mate
Scour along, nor stop, nor wait;
See the serpent and the snake
For the nearest highlands make;
The tarantula I view,
Emmet small and cricket too,
All unknowing where to fly,
In the stifling waters die.
See the goat and bleating sheep,
See the bull with bellowings deep.
And the rat with squealings shrill,
They have mounted on the hill:
See the stag, and see the doe,
How together fond they go;
Lion, tiger-beast, and pard,
To escape are striving hard:
Followed by her little ones,
See the hare how swift she runs:
Asses, he and she, a pair.
Mute and mule with bray and blare,
And the rabbit and the fox,
Hurry over stones and rocks,
With the grunting hog and horse,
Till at last they stop their course -
On the summit of the hill
All assembled stand they still;
In the second part I'll tell
Unto them what there befell.


When I last did bid farewell,
I proposed the world to tell,
Higher as the Deluge flow'd,
How the frog and how the toad,
With the lizard and the eft,
All their holes and coverts left,
And assembled on the height;
Soon I ween appeared in sight
All that's wings beneath the sky,
Bat and swallow, wasp and fly,
Gnat and sparrow, and behind
Comes the crow of carrion kind;
Dove and pigeon are descried,
And the raven fiery-eyed,
With the beetle and the crane
Flying on the hurricane:
See they find no resting-place,
For the world's terrestrial space
Is with water cover'd o'er,
Soon they sink to rise no more:
'To our father let us flee!'
Straight the ark-ship openeth he,
And to everything that lives
Kindly he admission gives.
Of all kinds a single pair,
And the members safely there
Of his house he doth embark,
Then at once he shuts the ark;
Everything therein has pass'd,
There he keeps them safe and fast.
O'er the mountain's topmost peak
Now the raging waters break.
Till full twenty days are o'er,
'Midst the elemental roar,
Up and down the ark forlorn,
Like some evil thing is borne:
O what grief it is to see
Swimming on the enormous sea
Human corses pale and white,
More, alas! than I can write:
O what grief, what grief profound,
But to think the world is drown'd:
True a scanty few are left,
All are not of life bereft,
So that, when the Lord ordain,
They may procreate again,
In a world entirely new,
Better people and more true,
To their Maker who shall bow;
And I humbly beg you now,
Ye in modern times who wend,
That your lives ye do amend;
For no wat'ry punishment,
But a heavier shall be sent;
For the blessed saints pretend
That the latter world shall end
To tremendous fire a prey,
And to ashes sink away.
To the Ark I now go back,
Which pursues its dreary track,
Lost and 'wilder'd till the Lord
In his mercy rest accord.
Early of a morning tide
They unclosed a window wide,
Heaven's beacon to descry,
And a gentle dove let fly,
Of the world to seek some trace,
And in two short hours' space
It returns with eyes that glow,
In its beak an olive bough.
With a loud and mighty sound,
They exclaim: 'The world we've found.'
To a mountain nigh they drew,
And when there themselves they view,
Bound they swiftly on the shore,
And their fervent thanks outpour,
Lowly kneeling to their God;
Then their way a couple trod,
Man and woman, hand in hand,
Bent to populate the land,
To the Moorish region fair -
And another two repair
To the country of the Gaul;
In this manner wend they all,
And the seeds of nations lay.
I beseech ye'll credence pay,
For our father, high and sage,
Wrote the tale in sacred page,
As a record to the world,
Record sad of vengeance hurl'd.
I, a low and humble wight,
Beg permission now to write
Unto all that in our land
Tongue Egyptian understand.
May our Virgin Mother mild
Grant to me, her erring child,
Plenteous grace in every way,
And success. Amen I say.


I'm resolved now to tell
In the speech of Gypsy-land
All the horror that befell
In this city huge and grand.

In the eighteenth hundred year
In the midst of summertide,
God, with man dissatisfied,
His right hand on high did rear,
With a rigour most severe;
Whence we well might understand
He would strict account demand
Of our lives and actions here.
The dread event to render clear
Now the pen I take in hand.

At the dread event aghast,
Straight the world reform'd its course;
Yet is sin in greater force,
Now the punishment is past;
For the thought of God is cast
All and utterly aside,
As if death itself had died.
Therefore to the present race
These memorial lines I trace
In old Egypt's tongue of pride.

As the streets you wander'd through
How you quail'd with fear and dread,
Heaps of dying and of dead
At the leeches' door to view.
To the tavern O how few
To regale on wine repair;
All a sickly aspect wear.
Say what heart such sights could brook -
Wail and woe where'er you look -
Wail and woe and ghastly care.

Plying fast their rosaries,
See the people pace the street,
And for pardon God entreat
Long and loud with streaming eyes.
And the carts of various size,
Piled with corses, high in air,
To the plain their burden bear.
O what grief it is to me
Not a friar or priest to see
In this city huge and fair.


'I am not very willing that any language should be totally
extinguished; the similitude and derivation of languages afford the
most indubitable proof of the traduction of nations, and the
genealogy of mankind; they add often physical certainty to
historical evidence of ancient migrations, and of the revolutions
of ages which left no written monuments behind them.' - JOHNSON.

THE Gypsy dialect of Spain is at present very much shattered and
broken, being rather the fragments of the language which the
Gypsies brought with them from the remote regions of the East than
the language itself: it enables, however, in its actual state, the
Gitanos to hold conversation amongst themselves, the import of
which is quite dark and mysterious to those who are not of their
race, or by some means have become acquainted with their
vocabulary. The relics of this tongue, singularly curious in
themselves, must be ever particularly interesting to the
philological antiquarian, inasmuch as they enable him to arrive at
a satisfactory conclusion respecting the origin of the Gypsy race.
During the later part of the last century, the curiosity of some
learned individuals, particularly Grellmann, Richardson, and
Marsden, induced them to collect many words of the Romanian
language, as spoken in Germany, Hungary, and England, which, upon
analysing, they discovered to be in general either pure Sanscrit or
Hindustani words, or modifications thereof; these investigations
have been continued to the present time by men of equal curiosity
and no less erudition, the result of which has been the
establishment of the fact, that the Gypsies of those countries are
the descendants of a tribe of Hindus who for some particular reason
had abandoned their native country. In England, of late, the
Gypsies have excited particular attention; but a desire far more
noble and laudable than mere antiquarian curiosity has given rise
to it, namely, the desire of propagating the glory of Christ
amongst those who know Him not, and of saving souls from the jaws
of the infernal wolf. It is, however, with the Gypsies of Spain,
and not with those of England and other countries, that we are now
occupied, and we shall merely mention the latter so far as they may
serve to elucidate the case of the Gitanos, their brethren by blood
and language. Spain for many centuries has been the country of
error; she has mistaken stern and savage tyranny for rational
government; base, low, and grovelling superstition for clear,
bright, and soul-ennobling religion; sordid cheating she has
considered as the path to riches; vexatious persecution as the path
to power; and the consequence has been, that she is now poor and
powerless, a pagan amongst the pagans, with a dozen kings, and with
none. Can we be surprised, therefore, that, mistaken in policy,
religion, and moral conduct, she should have fallen into error on
points so naturally dark and mysterious as the history and origin
of those remarkable people whom for the last four hundred years she
has supported under the name of Gitanos? The idea entertained at
the present day in Spain respecting this race is, that they are the
descendants of the Moriscos who remained in Spain, wandering about
amongst the mountains and wildernesses, after the expulsion of the
great body of the nation from the country in the time of Philip the
Third, and that they form a distinct body, entirely unconnected
with the wandering tribes known in other countries by the names of
Bohemians, Gypsies, etc. This, like all unfounded opinions, of
course originated in ignorance, which is always ready to have
recourse to conjecture and guesswork, in preference to travelling
through the long, mountainous, and stony road of patient
investigation; it is, however, an error far more absurd and more
destitute of tenable grounds than the ancient belief that the
Gitanos were Egyptians, which they themselves have always professed
to be, and which the original written documents which they brought
with them on their first arrival in Western Europe, and which bore
the signature of the king of Bohemia, expressly stated them to be.
The only clue to arrive at any certainty respecting their origin,
is the language which they still speak amongst themselves; but
before we can avail ourselves of the evidence of this language, it
will be necessary to make a few remarks respecting the principal
languages and dialects of that immense tract of country, peopled by
at least eighty millions of human beings, generally known by the
name of Hindustan, two Persian words tantamount to the land of Ind,
or, the land watered by the river Indus.

The most celebrated of these languages is the Sanskrida, or, as it
is known in Europe, the Sanscrit, which is the language of religion
of all those nations amongst whom the faith of Brahma has been
adopted; but though the language of religion, by which we mean the
tongue in which the religious books of the Brahmanic sect were
originally written and are still preserved, it has long since
ceased to be a spoken language; indeed, history is silent as to any
period when it was a language in common use amongst any of the
various tribes of the Hindus; its knowledge, as far as reading and
writing it went, having been entirely confined to the priests of
Brahma, or Brahmans, until within the last half-century, when the
British, having subjugated the whole of Hindustan, caused it to be
openly taught in the colleges which they established for the
instruction of their youth in the languages of the country. Though
sufficiently difficult to acquire, principally on account of its
prodigious richness in synonyms, it is no longer a sealed language,
- its laws, structure, and vocabulary being sufficiently well known
by means of numerous elementary works, adapted to facilitate its
study. It has been considered by famous philologists as the mother
not only of all the languages of Asia, but of all others in the
world. So wild and preposterous an idea, however, only serves to
prove that a devotion to philology, whose principal object should
be the expansion of the mind by the various treasures of learning
and wisdom which it can unlock, sometimes only tends to its
bewilderment, by causing it to embrace shadows for reality. The
most that can be allowed, in reason, to the Sanscrit is that it is
the mother of a certain class or family of languages, for example,
those spoken in Hindustan, with which most of the European, whether
of the Sclavonian, Gothic, or Celtic stock, have some connection.
True it is that in this case we know not how to dispose of the
ancient Zend, the mother of the modern Persian, the language in
which were written those writings generally attributed to
Zerduscht, or Zoroaster, whose affinity to the said tongues is as
easily established as that of the Sanscrit, and which, in respect
to antiquity, may well dispute the palm with its Indian rival.
Avoiding, however, the discussion of this point, we shall content
ourselves with observing, that closely connected with the Sanscrit,
if not derived from it, are the Bengali, the high Hindustani, or
grand popular language of Hindustan, generally used by the learned
in their intercourse and writings, the languages of Multan,
Guzerat, and other provinces, without mentioning the mixed dialect
called Mongolian Hindustani, a corrupt jargon of Persian, Turkish,
Arabic, and Hindu words, first used by the Mongols, after the
conquest, in their intercourse with the natives. Many of the
principal languages of Asia are totally unconnected with the
Sanscrit, both in words and grammatical structure; these are mostly
of the great Tartar family, at the head of which there is good
reason for placing the Chinese and Tibetian.

Bearing the same analogy to the Sanscrit tongue as the Indian
dialects specified above, we find the Rommany, or speech of the
Roma, or Zincali, as they style themselves, known in England and
Spain as Gypsies and Gitanos. This speech, wherever it is spoken,
is, in all principal points, one and the same, though more or less
corrupted by foreign words, picked up in the various countries to
which those who use it have penetrated. One remarkable feature
must not be passed over without notice, namely, the very
considerable number of Sclavonic words, which are to be found
embedded within it, whether it be spoken in Spain or Germany, in
England or Italy; from which circumstance we are led to the
conclusion, that these people, in their way from the East,
travelled in one large compact body, and that their route lay
through some region where the Sclavonian language, or a dialect
thereof, was spoken. This region I have no hesitation in asserting
to have been Bulgaria, where they probably tarried for a
considerable period, as nomad herdsmen, and where numbers of them
are still to be found at the present day. Besides the many
Sclavonian words in the Gypsy tongue, another curious feature
attracts the attention of the philologist - an equal or still
greater quantity of terms from the modern Greek; indeed, we have
full warranty for assuming that at one period the Spanish section,
if not the rest of the Gypsy nation, understood the Greek language
well, and that, besides their own Indian dialect, they occasionally
used it for considerably upwards of a century subsequent to their
arrival, as amongst the Gitanos there were individuals to whom it
was intelligible so late as the year 1540.

Where this knowledge was obtained it is difficult to say, - perhaps
in Bulgaria, where two-thirds of the population profess the Greek
religion, or rather in Romania, where the Romaic is generally
understood; that they DID understand the Romaic in 1540, we gather
from a very remarkable work, called EL ESTUDIOSO CORTESANO, written
by Lorenzo Palmireno: this learned and highly extraordinary
individual was by birth a Valencian, and died about 1580; he was
professor at various universities - of rhetoric at Valencia, of
Greek at Zaragossa, where he gave lectures, in which he explained
the verses of Homer; he was a proficient in Greek, ancient and
modern, and it should be observed that, in the passage which we are
about to cite, he means himself by the learned individual who held
conversation with the Gitanos. (66) EL ESTUDIOSO CORTESANO was
reprinted at Alcala in 1587, from which edition we now copy.

'Who are the Gitanos? I answer; these vile people first began to
show themselves in Germany, in the year 1417, where they call them
Tartars or Gentiles; in Italy they are termed Ciani. They pretend
that they come from Lower Egypt, and that they wander about as a
penance, and to prove this, they show letters from the king of
Poland. They lie, however, for they do not lead the life of
penitents, but of dogs and thieves. A learned person, in the year
1540, prevailed with them, by dint of much persuasion, to show him
the king's letter, and he gathered from it that the time of their
penance was already expired; he spoke to them in the Egyptian
tongue; they said, however, as it was a long time since their
departure from Egypt, they did not understand it; he then spoke to
them in the vulgar Greek, such as is used at present in the Morea
and Archipelago; SOME UNDERSTOOD IT, others did not; so that as all
did not understand it, we may conclude that the language which they
use is a feigned one, (67) got up by thieves for the purpose of
concealing their robberies, like the jargon of blind beggars.'

Still more abundant, however, than the mixture of Greek, still more
abundant than the mixture of Sclavonian, is the alloy in the Gypsy
language, wherever spoken, of modern Persian words, which
circumstance will compel us to offer a few remarks on the share
which the Persian has had in the formation of the dialects of
India, as at present spoken.

The modern Persian, as has been already observed, is a daughter of
the ancient Zend, and, as such, is entitled to claim affinity with
the Sanscrit, and its dialects. With this language none in the
world would be able to vie in simplicity and beauty, had not the
Persians, in adopting the religion of Mahomet, unfortunately
introduces into their speech an infinity of words of the rude
coarse language used by the barbaric Arab tribes, the immediate
followers of the warlike Prophet. With the rise of Islam the
modern Persian was doomed to be carried into India. This country,
from the time of Alexander, had enjoyed repose from external
aggression, had been ruled by its native princes, and been
permitted by Providence to exercise, without control or reproof,
the degrading superstitions, and the unnatural and bloody rites of
a religion at the formation of which the fiends of cruelty and lust
seem to have presided; but reckoning was now about to be demanded
of the accursed ministers of this system for the pain, torture, and
misery which they had been instrumental in inflicting on their
countrymen for the gratification of their avarice, filthy passions,
and pride; the new Mahometans were at hand - Arab, Persian, and
Afghan, with the glittering scimitar upraised, full of zeal for the
glory and adoration of the one high God, and the relentless
persecutors of the idol-worshippers. Already, in the four hundred
and twenty-sixth year of the Hegeira, we read of the destruction of
the great Butkhan, or image-house of Sumnaut, by the armies of the
far-conquering Mahmoud, when the dissevered heads of the Brahmans
rolled down the steps of the gigantic and Babel-like temple of the
great image -

[Text which cannot be reproduced - Arabic?]

(This image grim, whose name was Laut,
Bold Mahmoud found when he took Sumnaut.)

It is not our intention to follow the conquests of the Mahometans
from the days of Walid and Mahmoud to those of Timour and Nadir;
sufficient to observe, that the greatest part of India was subdued,
new monarchies established, and the old religion, though far too
powerful and widely spread to be extirpated, was to a considerable
extent abashed and humbled before the bright rising sun of Islam.
The Persian language, which the conquerors (68) of whatever
denomination introduced with them to Hindustan, and which their
descendants at the present day still retain, though not lords of
the ascendant, speedily became widely extended in these regions,
where it had previously been unknown. As the language of the
court, it was of course studied and acquired by all those natives
whose wealth, rank, and influence necessarily brought them into
connection with the ruling powers; and as the language of the camp,
it was carried into every part of the country where the duties of
the soldiery sooner or later conducted them; the result of which
relations between the conquerors and conquered was the adoption
into the popular dialects of India of an infinity of modern Persian
words, not merely those of science, such as it exists in the East,
and of luxury and refinement, but even those which serve to express
many of the most common objects, necessities, and ideas, so that at
the present day a knowledge of the Persian is essential for the
thorough understanding of the principal dialects of Hindustan, on
which account, as well as for the assistance which it affords in
communication with the Mahometans, it is cultivated with peculiar
care by the present possessors of the land.

No surprise, therefore, can be entertained that the speech of the
Gitanos in general, who, in all probability, departed from
Hindustan long subsequent to the first Mahometan invasions,
abounds, like other Indian dialects, with words either purely
Persian, or slightly modified to accommodate them to the genius of
the language. Whether the Rommany originally constituted part of
the natives of Multan or Guzerat, and abandoned their native land
to escape from the torch and sword of Tamerlane and his Mongols, as
Grellmann and others have supposed, or whether, as is much more
probable, they were a thievish caste, like some others still to be
found in Hindustan, who fled westward, either from the vengeance of
justice, or in pursuit of plunder, their speaking Persian is alike
satisfactorily accounted for. With the view of exhibiting how
closely their language is connected with the Sanscrit and Persian,
we subjoin the first ten numerals in the three tongues, those of
the Gypsy according to the Hungarian dialect. (69)

Gypsy. Persian. Sanscrit. (70)

1 Jek Ek Ega
2 Dui Du Dvaya
3 Trin Se Treya
4 Schtar Chehar Tschatvar
5 Pansch Pansch Pantscha
6 Tschov Schesche Schasda
7 Efta Heft Sapta
8 Ochto Hescht Aschta
9 Enija Nu Nava
10 Dosch De Dascha

It would be easy for us to adduce a thousand instances, as striking
as the above, of the affinity of the Gypsy tongue to the Persian,
Sanscrit, and the Indian dialects, but we have not space for
further observation on a point which long since has been
sufficiently discussed by others endowed with abler pens than our
own; but having made these preliminary remarks, which we deemed
necessary for the elucidation of the subject, we now hasten to
speak of the Gitano language as used in Spain, and to determine, by
its evidence (and we again repeat, that the language is the only
criterion by which the question can be determined), how far the
Gitanos of Spain are entitled to claim connection with the tribes
who, under the names of Zingani, etc., are to be found in various
parts of Europe, following, in general, a life of wandering
adventure, and practising the same kind of thievish arts which
enable those in Spain to obtain a livelihood at the expense of the
more honest and industrious of the community.

The Gitanos of Spain, as already stated, are generally believed to
be the descendants of the Moriscos, and have been asserted to be
such in printed books. (71) Now they are known to speak a language
or jargon amongst themselves which the other natives of Spain do
not understand; of course, then, supposing them to be of Morisco
origin, the words of this tongue or jargon, which are not Spanish,
are the relics of the Arabic or Moorish tongue once spoken in
Spain, which they have inherited from their Moorish ancestors. Now
it is well known, that the Moorish of Spain was the same tongue as
that spoken at present by the Moors of Barbary, from which country
Spain was invaded by the Arabs, and to which they again retired
when unable to maintain their ground against the armies of the
Christians. We will, therefore, collate the numerals of the
Spanish Gitano with those of the Moorish tongue, preceding both
with those of the Hungarian Gypsy, of which we have already made
use, for the purpose of making clear the affinity of that language
to the Sanscrit and Persian. By this collation we shall at once
perceive whether the Gitano of Spain bears most resemblance to the
Arabic, or the Rommany of other lands.

Hungarian Spanish Moorish
Gypsy. Gitano. Arabic.

1 Jek Yeque Wahud
2 Dui Dui Snain
3 Trin Trin Slatza
4 Schtar Estar Arba
5 Pansch Pansche Khamsa
6 Tschov Job. Zoi Seta
7 Efta Hefta Sebea
8 Ochto Otor Sminia
9 Enija Esnia (Nu. PERS.) Tussa
10 Dosch Deque Aschra

We believe the above specimens will go very far to change the
opinion of those who have imbibed the idea that the Gitanos of
Spain are the descendants of Moors, and are of an origin different
from that of the wandering tribes of Rommany in other parts of the
world, the specimens of the two dialects of the Gypsy, as far as
they go, being so strikingly similar, as to leave no doubt of their
original identity, whilst, on the contrary, with the Moorish
neither the one nor the other exhibits the slightest point of
similarity or connection. But with these specimens we shall not
content ourselves, but proceed to give the names of the most common
things and objects in the Hungarian and Spanish Gitano,
collaterally, with their equivalents in the Moorish Arabic; from
which it will appear that whilst the former are one and the same
language, they are in every respect at variance with the latter.
When we consider that the Persian has adopted so many words and
phrases from the Arabic, we are at first disposed to wonder that a
considerable portion of these words are not to be discovered in
every dialect of the Gypsy tongue, since the Persian has lent it so
much of its vocabulary. Yet such is by no means the case, as it is
very uncommon, in any one of these dialects, to discover words
derived from the Arabic. Perhaps, however, the following
consideration will help to solve this point. The Gitanos, even
before they left India, were probably much the same rude, thievish,
and ignorant people as they are at the present day. Now the words
adopted by the Persian from the Arabic, and which it subsequently
introduced into the dialects of India, are sounds representing
objects and ideas with which such a people as the Gitanos could
necessarily be but scantily acquainted, a people whose circle of
ideas only embraces physical objects, and who never commune with
their own minds, nor exert them but in devising low and vulgar
schemes of pillage and deceit. Whatever is visible and common is
seldom or never represented by the Persians, even in their books,
by the help of Arabic words: the sun and stars, the sea and river,
the earth, its trees, its fruits, its flowers, and all that it
produces and supports, are seldom named by them by other terms than
those which their own language is capable of affording; but in
expressing the abstract thoughts of their minds, and they are a
people who think much and well, they borrow largely from the
language of their religion - the Arabic. We therefore, perhaps,
ought not to be surprised that in the scanty phraseology of the
Gitanos, amongst so much Persian, we find so little that is Arabic;
had their pursuits been less vile, their desires less animal, and
their thoughts less circumscribed, it would probably have been
otherwise; but from time immemorial they have shown themselves a
nation of petty thieves, horse-traffickers, and the like, without a
thought of the morrow, being content to provide against the evil of
the passing day.

The following is a comparison of words in the three languages:-

Hungarian Spanish Moorish
Gypsy.(72) Gitano. Arabic.

Bone Cokalos Cocal Adorn
City Forjus Foros Beled
Day Dives Chibes Youm
Drink (to) Piava Piyar Yeschrab
Ear Kan Can Oothin
Eye Jakh Aquia Ein
Feather Por Porumia Risch
Fire Vag Yaque Afia
Fish Maczo Macho Hutz
Foot Pir Piro, pindro Rjil
Gold Sonkai Sonacai Dahab
Great Baro Baro Quibir
Hair Bala Bal Schar
He, pron. Wow O Hu
Head Tschero Jero Ras
House Ker Quer Dar
Husband Rom Ron Zooje
Lightning Molnija Maluno Brak
Love (to) Camaba Camelar Yehib
Man Manusch Manu Rajil
Milk Tud Chuti Helib
Mountain Bar Bur Djibil
Mouth Mui Mui Fum
Name Nao Nao Ism
Night Rat Rachi Lila
Nose Nakh Naqui Munghar
Old Puro Puro Shaive
Red Lal Lalo Hamr
Salt Lon Lon Mela
Sing Gjuwawa Gilyabar Iganni
Sun Cam Can Schems
Thief Tschor Choro Haram
Thou Tu Tucue Antsin
Tongue Tschib Chipe Lsan
Tooth Dant Dani Sinn
Tree Karscht Caste Schizara
Water Pani Pani Ma
Wind Barbar Barban Ruhk

We shall offer no further observations respecting the affinity of
the Spanish Gitano to the other dialects, as we conceive we have
already afforded sufficient proof of its original identity with
them, and consequently shaken to the ground the absurd opinion that
the Gitanos of Spain are the descendants of the Arabs and Moriscos.
We shall now conclude with a few remarks on the present state of
the Gitano language in Spain, where, perhaps, within the course of
a few years, it will have perished, without leaving a vestige of
its having once existed; and where, perhaps, the singular people
who speak it are likewise doomed to disappear, becoming sooner or
later engulfed and absorbed in the great body of the nation,
amongst whom they have so long existed a separate and peculiar

Though the words or a part of the words of the original tongue
still remain, preserved by memory amongst the Gitanos, its
grammatical peculiarities have disappeared, the entire language
having been modified and subjected to the rules of Spanish grammar,
with which it now coincides in syntax, in the conjugation of verbs,
and in the declension of its nouns. Were it possible or necessary
to collect all the relics of this speech, they would probably
amount to four or five thousand words; but to effect such an
achievement, it would be necessary to hold close and long
intercourse with almost every Gitano in Spain, and to extract, by
various means, the peculiar information which he might be capable
of affording; for it is necessary to state here, that though such
an amount of words may still exist amongst the Gitanos in general,
no single individual of their sect is in possession of one-third
part thereof, nor indeed, we may add, those of any single city or
province of Spain; nevertheless all are in possession, more or
less, of the language, so that, though of different provinces, they
are enabled to understand each other tolerably well, when
discoursing in this their characteristic speech. Those who travel
most are of course best versed in it, as, independent of the words
of their own village or town, they acquire others by intermingling
with their race in various places. Perhaps there is no part of
Spain where it is spoken better than in Madrid, which is easily
accounted for by the fact, that Madrid, as the capital, has always
been the point of union of the Gitanos, from all those provinces of
Spain where they are to be found. It is least of all preserved in
Seville, notwithstanding that its Gitano population is very
considerable, consisting, however, almost entirely of natives of
the place. As may well be supposed, it is in all places best
preserved amongst the old people, their children being
comparatively ignorant of it, as perhaps they themselves are in
comparison with their own parents. We are persuaded that the
Gitano language of Spain is nearly at its last stage of existence,
which persuasion has been our main instigator to the present
attempt to collect its scanty remains, and by the assistance of the
press, rescue it in some degree from destruction. It will not be
amiss to state here, that it is only by listening attentively to
the speech of the Gitanos, whilst discoursing amongst themselves,
that an acquaintance with their dialect can be formed, and by
seizing upon all unknown words as they fall in succession from
their lips. Nothing can be more useless and hopeless than the
attempt to obtain possession of their vocabulary by inquiring of
them how particular objects and ideas are styled; for with the
exception of the names of the most common things, they are totally
incapable, as a Spanish writer has observed, of yielding the
required information, owing to their great ignorance, the shortness
of their memories, or rather the state of bewilderment to which
their minds are brought by any question which tends to bring their
reasoning faculties into action, though not unfrequently the very
words which have been in vain required of them will, a minute
subsequently, proceed inadvertently from their mouths.

We now take leave of their language. When wishing to praise the
proficiency of any individual in their tongue, they are in the
habit of saying, 'He understands the seven jargons.' In the Gospel
which we have printed in this language, and in the dictionary which
we have compiled, we have endeavoured, to the utmost of our
ability, to deserve that compliment; and at all times it will
afford us sincere and heartfelt pleasure to be informed that any
Gitano, capable of appreciating the said little works, has
observed, whilst reading them or hearing them read: It is clear
that the writer of these books understood



'So I went with them to a music booth, where they made me almost
drunk with gin, and began to talk their FLASH LANGUAGE, which I did
not understand.' - Narrative of the Exploits of Henry Simms,
executed at Tyburn, 1746.

'Hablaronse los dos en Germania, de lo qual resulto darme un
abraco, y ofrecerseme.' - QUEVEDO. Vida dal gran Tacano.

HAVING in the preceding article endeavoured to afford all necessary
information concerning the Rommany, or language used by the Gypsies
amongst themselves, we now propose to turn our attention to a
subject of no less interest, but which has hitherto never been
treated in a manner calculated to lead to any satisfactory result
or conclusion; on the contrary, though philosophic minds have been
engaged in its consideration, and learned pens have not disdained
to occupy themselves with its details, it still remains a singular
proof of the errors into which the most acute and laborious writers
are apt to fall, when they take upon themselves the task of writing
on matters which cannot be studied in the closet, and on which no
information can be received by mixing in the society of the wise,
the lettered, and the respectable, but which must be investigated
in the fields, and on the borders of the highways, in prisons, and
amongst the dregs of society. Had the latter system been pursued
in the matter now before us, much clearer, more rational, and more
just ideas would long since have been entertained respecting the
Germania, or language of thieves.

In most countries of Europe there exists, amongst those who obtain
their existence by the breach of the law, and by preying upon the
fruits of the labours of the quiet and orderly portion of society,
a particular jargon or dialect, in which the former discuss their
schemes and plans of plunder, without being in general understood
by those to whom they are obnoxious. The name of this jargon
varies with the country in which it is spoken. In Spain it is
called 'Germania'; in France, 'Argot'; in Germany, 'Rothwelsch,' or
Red Italian; in Italy, 'Gergo'; whilst in England it is known by
many names; for example, 'cant, slang, thieves' Latin,' etc. The
most remarkable circumstance connected with the history of this
jargon is, that in all the countries in which it is spoken, it has
invariably, by the authors who have treated of it, and who are
numerous, been confounded with the Gypsy language, and asserted to
be the speech of those wanderers who have so long infested Europe
under the name of Gitanos, etc. How far this belief is founded in
justice we shall now endeavour to show, with the premise that
whatever we advance is derived, not from the assertions or opinions
of others, but from our own observation; the point in question
being one which no person is capable of solving, save him who has
mixed with Gitanos and thieves, - not with the former merely or the
latter, but with both.

We have already stated what is the Rommany or language of the
Gypsies. We have proved that when properly spoken it is to all
intents and purposes entitled to the appellation of a language, and
that wherever it exists it is virtually the same; that its origin
is illustrious, it being a daughter of the Sanscrit, and in
consequence in close connection with some of the most celebrated
languages of the East, although it at present is only used by the
most unfortunate and degraded of beings, wanderers without home and
almost without country, as wherever they are found they are
considered in the light of foreigners and interlopers. We shall
now state what the language of thieves is, as it is generally
spoken in Europe; after which we shall proceed to analyse it
according to the various countries in which it is used.

The dialect used for their own peculiar purposes amongst thieves is
by no means entitled to the appellation of a language, but in every
sense to that of a jargon or gibberish, it being for the most part
composed of words of the native language of those who use it,
according to the particular country, though invariably in a meaning
differing more or less from the usual and received one, and for the
most part in a metaphorical sense. Metaphor and allegory, indeed,
seem to form the nucleus of this speech, notwithstanding that other
elements are to be distinguished; for it is certain that in every
country where it is spoken, it contains many words differing from
the language of that country, and which may either be traced to
foreign tongues, or are of an origin at which, in many instances,
it is impossible to arrive. That which is most calculated to
strike the philosophic mind when considering this dialect, is
doubtless the fact of its being formed everywhere upon the same
principle - that of metaphor, in which point all the branches
agree, though in others they differ as much from each other as the
languages on which they are founded; for example, as the English
and German from the Spanish and Italian. This circumstance
naturally leads to the conclusion that the robber language has not
arisen fortuitously in the various countries where it is at present
spoken, but that its origin is one and the same, it being probably
invented by the outlaws of one particular country; by individuals
of which it was, in course of time, carried to others, where its
principles, if not its words, were adopted; for upon no other
supposition can we account for its general metaphorical character
in regions various and distant. It is, of course, impossible to
state with certainty the country in which this jargon first arose,
yet there is cogent reason for supposing that it may have been
Italy. The Germans call it Rothwelsch, which signifies 'Red
Italian,' a name which appears to point out Italy as its
birthplace; and which, though by no means of sufficient importance
to determine the question, is strongly corroborative of the
supposition, when coupled with the following fact. We have already
intimated, that wherever it is spoken, this speech, though composed
for the most part of words of the language of the particular
country, applied in a metaphorical sense, exhibits a considerable
sprinkling of foreign words; now of these words no slight number
are Italian or bastard Latin, whether in Germany, whether in Spain,
or in other countries more or less remote from Italy. When we
consider the ignorance of thieves in general, their total want of
education, the slight knowledge which they possess even of their
mother tongue, it is hardly reasonable to suppose that in any
country they were ever capable of having recourse to foreign
languages, for the purpose of enriching any peculiar vocabulary or
phraseology which they might deem convenient to use among
themselves; nevertheless, by associating with foreign thieves, who
had either left their native country for their crimes, or from a
hope of reaping a rich harvest of plunder in other lands, it would
be easy for them to adopt a considerable number of words belonging
to the languages of their foreign associates, from whom perhaps
they derived an increase of knowledge in thievish arts of every
description. At the commencement of the fifteenth century no
nation in Europe was at all calculated to vie with the Italian in
arts of any kind, whether those whose tendency was the benefit or
improvement of society, or those the practice of which serves to
injure and undermine it. The artists and artisans of Italy were to
be found in all the countries of Europe, from Madrid to Moscow, and
so were its charlatans, its jugglers, and multitudes of its
children, who lived by fraud and cunning. Therefore, when a
comprehensive view of the subject is taken, there appears to be
little improbability in supposing, that not only were the Italians
the originators of the metaphorical robber jargon, which has been
termed 'Red Italian,' but that they were mainly instrumental in
causing it to be adopted by the thievish race in various countries
of Europe.

It is here, however, necessary to state, that in the robber jargon
of Europe, elements of another language are to be discovered, and
perhaps in greater number than the Italian words. The language
which we allude to is the Rommany; this language has been, in
general, confounded with the vocabulary used among thieves, which,
however, is a gross error, so gross, indeed, that it is almost
impossible to conceive the manner in which it originated: the
speech of the Gypsies being a genuine language of Oriental origin,
and the former little more than a phraseology of convenience,
founded upon particular European tongues. It will be sufficient
here to remark, that the Gypsies do not understand the jargon of
the thieves, whilst the latter, with perhaps a few exceptions, are
ignorant of the language of the former. Certain words, however, of
the Rommany have found admission into the said jargon, which may be
accounted for by the supposition that the Gypsies, being themselves
by birth, education, and profession, thieves of the first water,
have, on various occasions, formed alliances with the outlaws of
the various countries in which they are at present to be found,
which association may have produced the result above alluded to;
but it will be as well here to state, that in no country of Europe
have the Gypsies forsaken or forgotten their native tongue, and in
its stead adopted the 'Germania,' 'Red Italian,' or robber jargon,
although in some they preserve their native language in a state of
less purity than in others. We are induced to make this statement
from an assertion of the celebrated Lorenzo Hervas, who, in the
third volume of his CATALOGO DE LAS LENGUAS, trat. 3, cap. vi., p.
311, expresses himself to the following effect:- 'The proper
language of the Gitanos neither is nor can be found amongst those
who scattered themselves through the western kingdoms of Europe,
but only amongst those who remained in the eastern, where they are
still to be found. The former were notably divided and disunited,
receiving into their body a great number of European outlaws, on
which account the language in question was easily adulterated and
soon perished. In Spain, and also in Italy, the Gitanos have
totally forgotten and lost their native language; yet still wishing
to converse with each other in a language unknown to the Spaniards
and Italians, they have invented some words, and have transformed
many others by changing the signification which properly belongs to
them in Spanish and Italian.' In proof of which assertion he then
exhibits a small number of words of the 'Red Italian,' or
allegorical tongue of the thieves of Italy.

It is much to be lamented that a man like Hervas, so learned, of
such knowledge, and upon the whole well-earned celebrity, should
have helped to propagate three such flagrant errors as are
contained in the passages above quoted: 1st. That the Gypsy
language, within a very short period after the arrival of those who
spoke it in the western kingdoms of Europe, became corrupted, and
perished by the admission of outlaws into the Gypsy fraternity.
2ndly. That the Gypsies, in order to supply the loss of their
native tongue, invented some words, and modified others, from the
Spanish and Italian. 3rdly. That the Gypsies of the present day
in Spain and Italy speak the allegorical robber dialect.
Concerning the first assertion, namely, that the Gypsies of the
west lost their language shortly after their arrival, by mixing
with the outlaws of those parts, we believe that its erroneousness
will be sufficiently established by the publication of the present
volume, which contains a dictionary of the Spanish Gitano, which we
have proved to be the same language in most points as that spoken
by the eastern tribes. There can be no doubt that the Gypsies have
at various times formed alliances with the robbers of particular
countries, but that they ever received them in considerable numbers
into their fraternity, as Hervas has stated, so as to become
confounded with them, the evidence of our eyesight precludes the
possibility of believing. If such were the fact, why do the
Italian and Spanish Gypsies of the present day still present
themselves as a distinct race, differing from the other inhabitants
of the west of Europe in feature, colour, and constitution? Why
are they, in whatever situation and under whatever circumstances,
to be distinguished, like Jews, from the other children of the
Creator? But it is scarcely necessary to ask such a question, or
indeed to state that the Gypsies of Spain and Italy have kept
themselves as much apart as, or at least have as little mingled
their blood with the Spaniards and Italians as their brethren in
Hungaria and Transylvania with the inhabitants of those countries,
on which account they still strikingly resemble them in manners,
customs, and appearance. The most extraordinary assertion of
Hervas is perhaps his second, namely, that the Gypsies have
invented particular words to supply the place of others which they
had lost. The absurdity of this supposition nearly induces us to
believe that Hervas, who has written so much and so laboriously on
language, was totally ignorant of the philosophy of his subject.
There can be no doubt, as we have before admitted, that in the
robber jargon, whether spoken in Spain, Italy, or England, there
are many words at whose etymology it is very difficult to arrive;
yet such a fact is no excuse for the adoption of the opinion that
these words are of pure invention. A knowledge of the Rommany
proves satisfactorily that many have been borrowed from that
language, whilst many others may be traced to foreign tongues,
especially the Latin and Italian. Perhaps one of the strongest
grounds for concluding that the origin of language was divine is
the fact that no instance can be adduced of the invention, we will
not say of a language, but even of a single word that is in use in
society of any kind. Although new dialects are continually being
formed, it is only by a system of modification, by which roots
almost coeval with time itself are continually being reproduced
under a fresh appearance, and under new circumstances. The third
assertion of Hervas, as to the Gitanos speaking the allegorical
language of which he exhibits specimens, is entitled to about equal
credence as the two former. The truth is, that the entire store of
erudition of the learned Jesuit, and he doubtless was learned to a
remarkable degree, was derived from books, either printed or
manuscript. He compared the Gypsy words in the publication of
Grellmann with various vocabularies, which had long been in
existence, of the robber jargons of Spain and Italy, which jargons
by a strange fatuity had ever been considered as belonging to the
Gypsies. Finding that the Gypsy words of Grellmann did not at all
correspond with the thieves' slang, he concluded that the Gypsies
of Spain and Italy had forgotten their own language, and to supply
its place had invented the jargons aforesaid, but he never gave
himself the trouble to try whether the Gypsies really understood
the contents of his slang vocabularies; had he done so, he would
have found that the slang was about as unintelligible to the
Gypsies as he would have found the specimens of Grellmann
unintelligible to the thieves had he quoted those specimens to
them. The Gypsies of Spain, it will be sufficient to observe,
speak the language of which a vocabulary is given in the present
work, and those of Italy who are generally to be found existing in
a half-savage state in the various ruined castles, relics of the
feudal times, with which Italy abounds, a dialect very similar, and
about as much corrupted. There are, however, to be continually
found in Italy roving bands of Rommany, not natives of the country,
who make excursions from Moldavia and Hungaria to France and Italy,
for the purpose of plunder; and who, if they escape the hand of
justice, return at the expiration of two or three years to their
native regions, with the booty they have amassed by the practice of
those thievish arts, perhaps at one period peculiar to their race,
but at present, for the most part, known and practised by thieves
in general. These bands, however, speak the pure Gypsy language,
with all its grammatical peculiarities. It is evident, however,
that amongst neither of these classes had Hervas pushed his
researches, which had he done, it is probable that his
investigations would have resulted in a work of a far different
character from the confused, unsatisfactory, and incorrect details
of which is formed his essay on the language of the Gypsies.

Having said thus much concerning the robber language in general, we
shall now proceed to offer some specimens of it, in order that our
readers may be better able to understand its principles. We shall
commence with the Italian dialect, which there is reason for
supposing to be the prototype of the rest. To show what it is, we
avail ourselves of some of the words adduced by Hervas, as
specimens of the language of the Gitanos of Italy. 'I place them,'
he observes, 'with the signification which the greater number
properly have in Italian.'

Robber jargon Proper signification of
of Italy. the words.

Arm { Ale Wings
{ Barbacane Barbican
Belly Fagiana Pheasant
Devil Rabuino Perhaps RABBIN, which,
in Hebrew, is Master
Earth Calcosa Street, road
Eye Balco Balcony
Father Grimo Old, wrinkled
Fire Presto Quick
God Anticrotto Probably ANTICHRIST
Hair Prusa (73)
{ Elmo Helmet
Head { Borella (74)
{ Chiurla (75)
Heart Salsa Sauce
Man Osmo From the Italian UOMO,
which is man
Moon Mocoloso di Wick of the firmament
Sant' Alto
Night Brunamaterna Mother-brown
Nose Gambaro Crab
Sun Ruffo di Sant' Red one of the firmament
Tongue { Serpentina Serpent-like
{ Danosa Hurtful
Water { Lenza Fishing-net
{ Vetta (76) Top, bud

The Germania of Spain may be said to divide itself into two
dialects, the ancient and modern. Of the former there exists a
vocabulary, published first by Juan Hidalgo, in the year 1609, at
Barcelona, and reprinted in Madrid, 1773. Before noticing this
work, it will perhaps be advisable to endeavour to ascertain the
true etymology of the word Germania, which signifies the slang
vocabulary, or robber language of Spain. We have no intention to
embarrass our readers by offering various conjectures respecting
its origin; its sound, coupled with its signification, affording
sufficient evidence that it is but a corruption of Rommany, which
properly denotes the speech of the Roma or Gitanos. The thieves
who from time to time associated with this wandering people, and
acquired more or less of their language, doubtless adopted this
term amongst others, and, after modifying it, applied it to the
peculiar phraseology which, in the course of time, became prevalent
amongst them. The dictionary of Hidalgo is appended to six
ballads, or romances, by the same author, written in the Germanian
dialect, in which he describes the robber life at Seville at the
period in which he lived. All of these romances possess their
peculiar merit, and will doubtless always be considered valuable,
and be read as faithful pictures of scenes and habits which now no
longer exist. In the prologue, the author states that his
principal motive for publishing a work written in so strange a
language was his observing the damage which resulted from an
ignorance of the Germania, especially to the judges and ministers
of justice, whose charge it is to cleanse the public from the
pernicious gentry who use it. By far the greatest part of the
vocabulary consists of Spanish words used allegorically, which are,
however, intermingled with many others, most of which may be traced
to the Latin and Italian, others to the Sanscrit or Gitano,
Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and German languages. (77) The
circumstances of words belonging to some of the languages last
enumerated being found in the Gitano, which at first may strike the
reader as singular, and almost incredible, will afford but slight
surprise, when he takes into consideration the peculiar
circumstances of Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. Spain was at that period the most powerful monarchy in
Europe; her foot reposed upon the Low Countries, whilst her
gigantic arms embraced a considerable portion of Italy.
Maintaining always a standing army in Flanders and in Italy, it
followed as a natural consequence, that her Miquelets and soldiers
became tolerably conversant with the languages of those countries;
and, in course of time, returning to their native land, not a few,
especially of the former class, a brave and intrepid, but always a
lawless and dissolute species of soldiery, either fell in or
returned to evil society, and introduced words which they had
learnt abroad into the robber phraseology; whilst returned galley-
slaves from Algiers, Tunis, and Tetuan, added to its motley variety
of words from the relics of the broken Arabic and Turkish, which
they had acquired during their captivity. The greater part of the
Germania, however, remained strictly metaphorical, and we are aware
of no better means of conveying an idea of the principle on which
it is formed, than by quoting from the first romance of Hidalgo,
where particular mention is made of this jargon:-

'A la cama llama Blanda
Donde Sornan en poblado
A la Fresada Vellosa,
Que mucho vello ha criado.
Dice a la sabana Alba
Porque es alba en sumo grado,
A la camisa Carona,
Al jubon llama apretado:
Dice al Sayo Tapador
Porque le lleva tapado.
Llama a los zapatos Duros,
Que las piedras van pisando.
A la capa llama nuve,
Dice al Sombrero Texado.
Respeto llama a la Espada,
Que por ella es respetado,' etc. etc.

HIDALGO, p. 22-3.

After these few remarks on the ancient Germania of Spain, we now
proceed to the modern, which differs considerably from the former.
The principal cause of this difference is to be attributed to the
adoption by the Spanish outlaws, in latter years, of a considerable
number of words belonging to, or modified from, the Rommany, or
language of the Gitanos. The Gitanos of Spain, during the last
half-century, having, in a great degree, abandoned the wandering
habit of life which once constituted one of their most remarkable
peculiarities, and residing, at present, more in the cities than in
the fields, have come into closer contact with the great body of
the Spanish nation than was in former days their practice. From
their living thus in towns, their language has not only undergone
much corruption, but has become, to a slight degree, known to the
dregs of society, amongst whom they reside. The thieves' dialect
of the present day exhibits, therefore, less of the allegorical
language preserved in the pages of Hidalgo than of the Gypsy
tongue. It must be remarked, however, that it is very scanty, and
that the whole robber phraseology at present used in Spain barely
amounts to two hundred words, which are utterly insufficient to
express the very limited ideas of the outcasts who avail themselves
of it.

Concerning the Germania of France, or 'Argot,' as it is called, it
is unnecessary to make many observations, as what has been said of
the language of Hidalgo and the Red Italian is almost in every
respect applicable to it. As early as the middle of the sixteenth
century a vocabulary of this jargon was published under the title
of LANGUE DES ESCROCS, at Paris. Those who wish to study it as it
at present exists can do no better than consult LES MEMOIRES DE
VIDOCQ, where a multitude of words in Argot are to be found, and
also several songs, the subjects of which are thievish adventures.

The first vocabulary of the 'Cant Language,' or English Germania,
appeared in the year 1680, appended to the life of THE ENGLISH
ROGUE, a work which, in many respects, resembles the HISTORY OF
GUZMAN D'ALFARACHE, though it is written with considerably more
genius than the Spanish novel, every chapter abounding with
remarkable adventures of the robber whose life it pretends to
narrate, and which are described with a kind of ferocious energy,
which, if it do not charm the attention of the reader, at least
enslaves it, holding it captive with a chain of iron. Amongst his
other adventures, the hero falls in with a Gypsy encampment, is
enrolled amongst the fraternity, and is allotted a 'mort,' or
concubine; a barbarous festival ensues, at the conclusion of which
an epithalamium is sung in the Gypsy language, as it is called in
the work in question. Neither the epithalamium, however, nor the
vocabulary, are written in the language of the English Gypsies, but
in the 'Cant,' or allegorical robber dialect, which is sufficient
proof that the writer, however well acquainted with thieves in
general, their customs and manners of life, was in respect to the
Gypsies profoundly ignorant. His vocabulary, however, has been
always accepted as the speech of the English Gypsies, whereas it is
at most entitled to be considered as the peculiar speech of the
thieves and vagabonds of his time. The cant of the present day,
which, though it differs in some respects from the vocabulary
already mentioned, is radically the same, is used not only by the
thieves in town and country, but by the jockeys of the racecourse
and the pugilists of the 'ring.' As a specimen of the cant of
England, we shall take the liberty of quoting the epithalamium to
which we have above alluded:-

'Bing out, bien morts, and tour and tour
Bing out, bien morts and tour;
For all your duds are bing'd awast,
The bien cove hath the loure. (78)

'I met a dell, I viewed her well,
She was benship to my watch:
So she and I did stall and cloy
Whatever we could catch.

'This doxy dell can cut ben whids,
And wap well for a win,
And prig and cloy so benshiply,
All daisy-ville within.

'The hoyle was up, we had good luck,
In frost for and in snow;
Men they did seek, then we did creep
And plant the roughman's low.'

It is scarcely necessary to say anything more upon the Germania in
general or in particular; we believe that we have achieved the task
which we marked out for ourselves, and have conveyed to our readers
a clear and distinct idea of what it is. We have shown that it has
been erroneously confounded with the Rommany, or Gitano language,
with which it has nevertheless some points of similarity. The two
languages are, at the present day, used for the same purpose,
namely, to enable habitual breakers of the law to carry on their
consultations with more secrecy and privacy than by the ordinary
means. Yet it must not be forgotten that the thieves' jargon was
invented for that purpose, whilst the Rommany, originally the
proper and only speech of a particular nation, has been preserved
from falling into entire disuse and oblivion, because adapted to
answer the same end. It was impossible to treat of the Rommany in
a manner calculated to exhaust the subject, and to leave no ground
for future cavilling, without devoting a considerable space to the
consideration of the robber dialect, on which account we hope we
shall be excused many of the dry details which we have introduced
into the present essay. There is a link of connection between the
history of the Roma, or wanderers from Hindustan, who first made
their appearance in Europe at the commencement of the fifteenth
century, and that of modern roguery. Many of the arts which the
Gypsies proudly call their own, and which were perhaps at one
period peculiar to them, have become divulged, and are now
practised by the thievish gentry who infest the various European
states, a result which, we may assert with confidence, was brought
about by the alliance of the Gypsies being eagerly sought on their
first arrival by the thieves, who, at one period, were less skilful
than the former in the ways of deceit and plunder; which kind of
association continued and held good until the thieves had acquired
all they wished to learn, when they left the Gypsies in the fields
and plains, so dear to them from their vagabond and nomad habits,
and returned to the towns and cities. Yet from this temporary
association were produced two results; European fraud became
sharpened by coming into contact with Asiatic craft, whilst
European tongues, by imperceptible degrees, became recruited with
various words (some of them wonderfully expressive), many of which
have long been stumbling-stocks to the philologist, who, whilst
stigmatising them as words of mere vulgar invention, or of unknown
origin, has been far from dreaming that by a little more research
he might have traced them to the Sclavonic, Persian, or Romaic, or
perhaps to the mysterious object of his veneration, the Sanscrit,
the sacred tongue of the palm-covered regions of Ind; words
originally introduced into Europe by objects too miserable to
occupy for a moment his lettered attention - the despised denizens
of the tents of Roma.


Those who have done me the honour to peruse this strange wandering
book of mine, must frequently have noticed the word 'Busno,' a term
bestowed by the Spanish Gypsy on his good friend the Spaniard. As
the present will probably be the last occasion which I shall have
to speak of the Gitanos or anything relating to them, it will
perhaps be advisable to explain the meaning of this word. In the
vocabulary appended to former editions I have translated Busno by
such words as Gentile, savage, person who is not a Gypsy, and have
stated that it is probably connected with a certain Sanscrit noun
signifying an impure person. It is, however, derived immediately
from a Hungarian term, exceedingly common amongst the lower orders
of the Magyars, to their disgrace be it spoken. The Hungarian
Gypsies themselves not unfrequently style the Hungarians Busnoes,
in ridicule of their unceasing use of the word in question. The
first Gypsies who entered Spain doubtless brought with them the
term from Hungary, the language of which country they probably
understood to a certain extent. That it was not ill applied by
them in Spain no one will be disposed to deny when told that it
exactly corresponds with the Shibboleth of the Spaniards, 'Carajo,'
an oath equally common in Spain as its equivalent in Hungary.
Busno, therefore, in Spanish means EL DEL CARAJO, or he who has
that term continually in his mouth. The Hungarian words in Spanish
Gypsy may amount to ten or twelve, a very inconsiderable number;
but the Hungarian Gypsy tongue itself, as spoken at the present
day, exhibits only a slight sprinkling of Hungarian words, whilst
it contains many words borrowed from the Wallachian, some of which
have found their way into Spain, and are in common use amongst the



'TACHIPEN if I jaw 'doi, I can lel a bit of tan to hatch: N'etist
I shan't puch kekomi wafu gorgies.'

The above sentence, dear reader, I heard from the mouth of Mr.
Petulengro, the last time that he did me the honour to visit me at
my poor house, which was the day after Mol-divvus (79), 1842: he
stayed with me during the greater part of the morning, discoursing
on the affairs of Egypt, the aspect of which, he assured me, was
becoming daily worse and worse. 'There is no living for the poor
people, brother,' said he, 'the chokengres (police) pursue us from
place to place, and the gorgios are become either so poor or
miserly, that they grudge our cattle a bite of grass by the
wayside, and ourselves a yard of ground to light a fire upon.
Unless times alter, brother, and of that I see no probability,
unless you are made either poknees or mecralliskoe geiro (justice
of the peace or prime minister), I am afraid the poor persons will
have to give up wandering altogether, and then what will become of

'However, brother,' he continued, in a more cheerful tone, 'I am no
hindity mush, (80) as you well know. I suppose you have not forgot
how, fifteen years ago, when you made horseshoes in the little
dingle by the side of the great north road, I lent you fifty
cottors (81) to purchase the wonderful trotting cob of the
innkeeper with the green Newmarket coat, which three days after you
sold for two hundred.

'Well, brother, if you had wanted the two hundred instead of the
fifty, I could have lent them to you, and would have done so, for I
knew you would not be long pazorrhus to me. I am no hindity mush,
brother, no Irishman; I laid out the other day twenty pounds in
buying ruponoe peamengries; (82) and in the Chonggav, (83) have a
house of my own with a yard behind it.


Well, dear reader, this last is the translation of the Gypsy
sentence which heads the chapter, and which is a very
characteristic specimen of the general way of speaking of the
English Gypsies.

The language, as they generally speak it, is a broken jargon, in
which few of the grammatical peculiarities of the Rommany are to be
distinguished. In fact, what has been said of the Spanish Gypsy
dialect holds good with respect to the English as commonly spoken:
yet the English dialect has in reality suffered much less than the
Spanish, and still retains its original syntax to a certain extent,
its peculiar manner of conjugating verbs, and declining nouns and


Moro Dad, savo djives oteh drey o charos, te caumen Gorgio ta
Romany Chal tiro nav, te awel tiro tem, te kairen tiro lav aukko
prey puv, sar kairdios oteh drey o charos. Dey men to-divvus moro
divvuskoe moro, ta for-dey men pazorrhus tukey sar men for-denna
len pazorrhus amande; ma muk te petrenna drey caik temptacionos;
ley men abri sor doschder. Tiro se o tem, Mi-duvel, tiro o zoozlu
vast, tiro sor koskopen drey sor cheros. Avali. Ta-chipen.


Batu monro sos socabas ote enre ye char, que camele Gacho ta Romani
Cha tiro nao, qu'abillele tiro chim, querese tiro lao acoi opre ye
puve sarta se querela ote enre ye char. Dinanos sejonia monro
manro de cata chibes, ta estormenanos monrias bisauras sasta mu
estormenamos a monrias bisabadores; na nos meques petrar enre
cayque pajandia, lillanos abri de saro chungalipen. Persos tiro
sinela o chim, Undevel, tiro ye silna bast, tiro saro lachipen enre
saro chiros. Unga. Chachipe.


OUR Father who dwellest there in heaven, may Gentile and Gypsy love
thy name, thy kingdom come, may they do thy word here on earth as
it is done there in heaven. Give us to-day our daily bread, (84)
and forgive us indebted to thee as we forgive them indebted to us,
(85) suffer not that we fall into NO temptation, take us out from
all evil. (86) Thine (87) is the kingdom my God, thine the strong
hand, thine all goodness in all time. Aye. Truth.


The following short sentences in Hungarian Gypsy, in addition to
the prayer to the Virgin given in the Introduction, will perhaps
not prove unacceptable to the reader. In no part of the world is
the Gypsy tongue at the present day spoken with more purity than in
Hungary, (88) where it is used by the Gypsies not only when they
wish to be unintelligible to the Hungarians, but in their common
conversation amongst themselves.

From these sentences the reader, by the help of the translations
which accompany them, may form a tolerable idea not only of what
the Gypsy tongue is, but of the manner in which the Hungarian
Gypsies think and express themselves. They are specimens of
genuine Gypsy talk - sentences which I have myself heard proceed
from the mouths of the Czigany; they are not Busno thoughts done
into gentle Rommany. Some of them are given here as they were
written down by me at the time, others as I have preserved them in
my memory up to the present moment. It is not improbable that at
some future time I may return to the subject of the Hungarian

Vare tava soskei me puchelas cai soskei avillara catari.
Mango le gulo Devlas vas o erai, hodj o erai te pirel misto, te
n'avel pascotia l'eras, ta na avel o erai nasvalo.
Cana cames aves pale.
Ki'som dhes keral avel o rai catari? (89)
Kit somu berschengro hal tu? (90)
Cade abri mai lachi e mol sar ando foro.
Sin o mas balichano, ta i gorkhe garasheskri; (91) sin o manro
parno, cai te felo do garashangro.
Yeck quartalli mol ando lende.
Ande mol ote mestchibo.
Khava piava - dui shel, tri shel predinava.
Damen Devla saschipo ando mure cocala.
Te rosarow labio tarraco le Mujeskey miro pralesco, ta vela mi anao
tukey le Mujeskey miro pralesky.
Llundun baro foro, bishwar mai baro sar Cosvaro.
Nani yag, mullas.
Nasiliom cai purdiom but; besh te pansch bersch mi homas slugadhis
pa Baron Splini regimentos.
Saro chiro cado Del; cavo o puro dinas o Del.
Me camov te jav ando Buka-resti - cado Bukaresti lachico tem dur
drom jin keri.
Mi hom nasvallo.
Soskei nai jas ke baro ful-cheri?
Wei mangue ke nani man love nastis jav.
Belgra sho mille pu cado Cosvarri; hin oter miro chabo.
Te vas Del l'erangue ke meclan man abri ando a pan-dibo.
Opre rukh sarkhi ye chiriclo, ca kerel anre e chiricli.
Ca hin tiro ker?
Ando calo berkho, oter bin miro ker, av prala mensar; jas mengue
Ando bersch dui chiro, ye ven, ta nilei.
O felhegos del o breschino, te purdel o barbal.
Hir mi Devlis camo but cavo erai - lacho manus o, Anglus, tama
rakarel Ungarica; avel catari ando urdon le trin gras-tensas -
beshel cate abri po buklo tan; le poivasis ando bas irinel ando
lel. Bo zedun stadji ta bari barba.

Much I ponder why you ask me (questions), and why you should come
I pray the sweet Goddess for the gentleman, that the gentleman may
journey well, that misfortune come not to the gentleman, and that
the gentleman fall not sick.
When you please come back.
How many days did the gentleman take to come hither?
How many years old are you?
Here out better (is) the wine than in the city.
The meat is of pig, and the gherkins cost a grosh - the bread is
white, and the lard costs two groshen.
One quart of wine amongst us.
In wine there (is) happiness.
I will eat, I will drink - two hundred, three hundred I will place
Give us Goddess health in our bones.
I will seek a waistcoat, which I have, for Moses my brother, and I
will change names with Moses my brother. (92)
London (is) a big city, twenty times more big than Colosvar.
There is no fire, it is dead.
I have suffered and toiled much: twenty and five years I was
serving in Baron Splini's regiment.
Every time (cometh) from God; that old (age) God gave.
I wish to go unto Bukarest - from Bukarest, the good country, (it
is) a far way unto (my) house.
I am sick.
Why do you not go to the great physician
Because I have no money I can't go
Belgrade (is) six miles of land from Colosvar; there is my son.
May God help the gentlemen that they let me out (from) in the
On the tree (is) the nest of the bird, where makes eggs the female
Where is your house?
In the black mountain, there is my house; come brother with me; let
us go to my house.
In the year (are) two seasons, the winter and summer.
The cloud gives the rain, and puffs (forth) the wind.
By my God I love much that gentleman - a good man he, an
Englishman, but he speaks Hungarian; he came (93) hither in a
waggon with three horses, he sits here out in the wilderness; (94)
with a pencil in his hand he writes in a book. He has a green hat
and a big beard.


[This section of the book could not be transcribed as it contained
many non-european languages]



IT is with the view of preserving as many as possible of the
monuments of the Spanish Gypsy tongue that the author inserts the
following pieces; they are for the most part, whether original or
translated, the productions of the 'Aficion' of Seville, of whom
something has been said in the Preface to the Spurious Gypsy Poetry
of Andalusia; not the least remarkable, however, of these pieces is
a genuine Gypsy composition, the translation of the Apostles' Creed
by the Gypsies of Cordova, made under the circumstances detailed in
the second part of the first volume. To all have been affixed
translations, more or less literal, to assist those who may wish to
form some acquaintance with the Gitano language.


BATO Nonrro sos socabas on o tarpe, manjirificado quejesa tute
acnao; abillanos or tute sichen, y querese tute orependola andial
on la chen sata on o tarpe; or manrro nonrro de cata chibel
dinanoslo sejonia, y estormenanos nonrrias bisauras andial sata
gaberes estormenamos a nonrros bisaraores; y nasti nes muques
petrar on la bajanbo, bus listrabanos de chorre. - Anarania.

FATHER Our, who dwellest in the heaven, sanctified become thy name;
come-to-us the thy kingdom, and be-done thy will so in the earth as
in the heaven; the bread our of every day give-us-it to-day, and
pardon-us our debts so as we-others pardon (to) our debtors; and
not let us fall in the temptation, but deliver-us from wickedness.
- Amen.

Panchabo on Ostebe Bato saro-asisilable, Perbaraor de o tarpe y la
chen, y on Gresone desquero Beyio Chabal nonrrio Erano, sos guillo
sar-trujatapucherido per troecane y sardana de or Chanispero
Manjaro, y purelo de Manjari ostelinda debla; Bricholo ostele de or
asislar de Brono Alienicato; guillo trejuficao, mule y cabanao; y
sundilo a los casinobes, (95) y a or brodelo chibel repurelo de
enrre los mules, y encalomo a los otarpes, y soscabela bestique a
la tabastorre de Ostebe Bato saro-asisilable, ende aoter a de
abillar a sarplar a los Apucheris y mules. Panchabo on or
Chanispero Manjaro, la Manjari Cangari Pebuldorica y Rebuldorica,
la Erunon de los Manjaros, or Estormen de los crejetes, la repurelo
de la mansenquere y la chibiben verable. - Anarania, Tebleque.

I believe in God, Father all-powerful, creator of the heaven and
the earth, and in Christ his only Son our Lord, who went conceived
by deed and favour of the Spirit Holy, and born of blessed goddess
divine; suffered under (of) the might of Bronos Alienicatos; (96)
went crucified, dead and buried; and descended to the
conflagrations, and on the third day revived (97) from among the
dead, and ascended to the heavens, and dwells seated at the right-
hand of God, Father all-powerful, from there he-has to come to
impeach (to) the living and dead. I believe in the Spirit Holy,
the Holy Church Catholic and Apostolic, the communion of the
saints, the remission of the sins, the re-birth of the flesh, and
the life everlasting. - Amen, Jesus.


O Debla quirindia, Day de saros los Bordeles on coin panchabo: per
los duquipenes sos naquelastes a or pindre de la trejul de tute
Chaborro majarolisimo te manguelo, Debla, me alcorabises de tute
chaborro or estormen de sares las dojis y crejetes sos menda
udicare aquerao on andoba surdete. - Anarania, Tebleque.

Ostebe te berarbe Ostelinda! perdoripe sirles de sardana; or Erano
sin sartute; bresban tute sirles enrre sares las rumiles, y bresban
sin or frujero de tute po. - Tebleque.

Manjari Ostelinda, day de Ostebe, brichardila per gaberes
crejetaores aocana y on la ocana de nonrra beriben! - Anarania,

Chimuclani or Bato, or Chabal, or Chanispero manjaro; sata sia on
or presimelo, aocana, y gajeres: on los sicles de los sicles. -

O most holy Virgin, Mother of all the Christians in whom I believe;
for the agony which thou didst endure at the foot of the cross of
thy most blessed Son, I entreat thee, Virgin, that thou wilt obtain
for me, from thy Son, the remission of all the crimes and sins
which I may have committed in this world. - Amen, Jesus.

God save thee, Maria! full art thou of grace; the Lord is with
thee; blessed art thou amongst all women, and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb. - Jesus.

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