In diplomacy it often happens that the candidates who, because of their wealth or accidental knowledge of foreign languages-- especially French--, already think that that is a reason for their preferment, and therefore behave to their superiors in an even more demanding and critical way than other candidates. Their knowledge of foreign languages, like that possessed by a headwaiter, easily created for us [Germans] a foundation for their own belief in their vocation to diplomacy, especially so long as our envoys' reports, particularly those to the sovereign, had to be written in French, as had not always been the case, but which was the official policy in force before I became Minister. I have known many of our older envoys who, with no understanding of politics, were promoted to the highest positions solely because of their excellent French; and they also said nothing in their reports that was not available to them in French. In 1862 in Saint Petersburg I still had to write my reports in French, and the envoys who wrote even their private letters to the Minister in French were seen as especially called to diplomacy because of this, even if they were known to be politically clueless.
In der Diplomatie kommt dazu, daß diejenigen unter den Aspiranten, welche Vermögen oder die zufällige Kenntniß fremder Sprachen, namentlich der französischen, besitzen, schon darin einen Grund zur Bevorzugung sehn und deshalb der obern Leitung noch anspruchsvoller und zur Kritik geneigter gegenübertreten als Andre. Sprachkenntnisse, wie auch Oberkellner sie besitzen, bildeten bei uns leicht die Unterlage des eignen Glaubens an den Beruf zur Diplomatie, namentlich so lange unsre gesandschaftlichen Berichte, besonders die ad Regem, französisch sein mußten, wie es die nicht immer befolgte, aber bis ich Minister wurde amtlich in Kraft stehende Vorschrift war. Ich habe manche unter unsern ältern Gesandten gekannt, die, ohne Verständniß für Politik, lediglich durch Sicherheit im Französischen in die höchsten Stellen aufrückten; und auch sie sagten in ihren Berichten doch nur das, was sie französisch geläufig zur Verfügung hatten. Ich habe noch 1862 von Petersburg französisch amtlich zu berichten gehabt, und die Gesandten, welche auch ihre Privatbriefe an den Minister französisch schrieben, empfahlen sich dadurch als besonders berufen zur Diplomatie, auch wenn sie politisch als urtheilslos bekannt waren.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century the German scientist Alexander von Humboldt arrived in South America....Humboldt and his companion... would spend five years exploring....Having spent a few months in the coastal lowlands around the small city of Caracas, the two men ventured by foot, mule, and canoe into the vast interior. Before Humboldt, no European or North American had realized what an incredible diversity of animal and plant life flourished in the tropics. In what would soon become Venezuela, Humboldt found pristine forests, broken occasionally by Indian settlements....
Only forty-seven Indians were left at the village of Atures when Humboldt... arrived there....San Juan Nepomuceno de los Atures, to give the place its full title, had been built in 1748, taking the last of its names from the Indian people of the region. Barely half a century later, the Atures had disappeared. Humboldt found that the families living in the wretched settlement spoke languages called Guahibo and Maco. According to a Guahibo tradition, the Atures, hunted by yet another people, ... had fled to an island in the Orinoco. There they died out....
In the village of Maypures, Humboldt was delighted to see ... "tame macaws around the huts of the Indians, and flying to the fields like our pigeons...These macaws, whose plumage glows with vivid tints of purple, blue and yellow, are a great ornament to the Indian farmyards"....
Amid the shadows of the huts in Maypures, Humboldt was shown a talking parrot. It too was a trophy of sorts....It was an old bird, a feathered survivor. But the local people insisted that "they could not understand what it said." When Humboldt asked why, he was told that the parrot "spoke the language of the Atures"....The Atures language had died out among humans. It was last heard coming from a bird's beak.
A fo gâr iddo ei hun a gaiff pob un arall yn gâr iddo.
He who is his own friend will have the friendship of others.
A fo ysgawn galon, ef a gân.
The light-hearted will sing.
A fyno barch, bid gadarn.
A fyno Duw derffid.
A fyno ei fodd porthed amynedd.
A fyno wrandaw, bid gymhan.
A fyno flaenori, bid wybodgar.
A fyno glod, bid farw.
A fyno iechyd, bid lawen.
A gano yn y gwely, a gria cyn cysgu.
A garer ac a gasêir a welir o bell.
A ystyrio, gwnaed.
Adail dedwydd yn ddiddos.
Adar o'r unlliw a hedant i'r unlle.
Adar y nos.
Adfyd a bair i rai edrych o'u dentu.
Adfyd a phall a wnant ddyn yn gall.
Adwaen laeth can nis dyfnwyf.
Addaw y môr a'r mynydd.
Addef y tewi.
Ail natur yw greddf aferiad.
Allan o olwg, allan o feddwl.
Am y tywydd goven tewi.
Aml bai lle ni charer.
Aml gnoc a dyr y garreg.
Amlwg câs a chariad.
Ammod a dyr ddefod.
Anaml lles o rodio'r nos.
Angen a dyr ddeddf.
Anghwanegid mefl mawrair.
Ar ddiwedd y mae barrui.
Ar ni roddo a garo, ni chaiff a ddymano.
Arf glew yn ei galon
Arglwydd gwan gwae ei was.
Asgre lân diogel ei pherchern.
Ateb araf gan ddysgedig.
Blwyddyn o eira, blwyddyn o lawndra.
Bo tynaf bo y llinyn cyntaf y tyrri.
Bum gall unwaith, hyny oedd llefain pan ym ganed.
I was wise once, that was in crying when I was born.
Byr ei hun, hir ei hoedl.
--I copied these proverbs from an old book many years ago at Sterling Library. The book was at least a hundred years old then. Unfortunately I did not write down its name, or have time to write down all the translations. If anyone knows the rest of the translations, could you send them in? They would be much appreciated.
The letters in red are the ones I was not sure of when reading my old handwriting.
The last O'Sullivan Mor* died at Tomies in 1762. He left an illegitimate son, whose grandson is a fisherman at Killarney. This grandson told me that when a gossoon [boy] some thirty years ago, he went to see his grandfather lying dead at Tomies. He saw not only his departed ancestor, but also a great pile of old papers, "maybe three feet high, mostly written on skins in Latin and Irish; and faith I was in dread they might fall into the hands of the Mahonys or some other new people in the country, and they might get more of the old O'Sullivan estates, so I burned them all myself!--[R. O'C]**
The gentlemen and inhabitants of this country are all of them remarkable for their hospitality to strangers, generosity and courteous carriage, which characters, should I refuse them, must be attributed to the highest ingratitude ; and lastly, there are few among them but whose breeding and parts, and I might say learning also, are eminently more conspicuous than in many other places in this kingdom; notwithstanding, Ireland may vie in this respect with most of the civilized countries of Europe. It is well known that classical reading extends itself even to a fault among the lower and poorer kind in this country, many of whom, to the taking them off from more useful works, have greater knowledge in this way than some of the better sort.
The common people are extremely hospitable and courteous to strangers. Many of them speak Latin fluently, and I accidentally arrived at a little hut in a very obscure part of this country where I saw some poor lads reading Homer, their master having been a mendicant scholar at an English grammar school at Tralee.
In 1790, the Abbé Grégoire sent out a questionnaire asking which languages people spoke [in the French countryside]. The answers he received (at any rate those he could understand) were alarming. Large parts of France "were barely French at all": two hundred and fifty years after the Ordinances of Villers-Cotterêts, which had made the dialect of Paris and the Île-de-France the language of official documents, six million citizens still couldn't speak the national language.