[Spellyans] Lavar an Jydh #95

Nicholas Williams njawilliams at gmail.com
Tue Nov 10 19:33:51 GMT 2015

I have just noticed the following tweet from Cornish Language:
A wra an pyst fest a a-rag.
He who plays the fool goes well ahead.

This is based on a misunderstanding of a passage in Bewnans Ke. The manuscript reads: 
pan deseffsan bos an lorden pour galarak grassa the Christ Ar an pyst fest A arak BK 719-24. 
Graham Thomas and I emended that to
pan deseffsan bos an lorden pour galarak grassa the Christ a re an pyst fest da arak ‘When I would have thought that the villain would have been very sorrowful, the idiot was thanking Christ very well continually’. 

We have emended Ar an to a re an and fest A arak to fest da arak. Neither is a major emdendation and together they make good sense.
However one construes this passage, there appears to be nothing in it about pretending to be a fool. It refers to Kea’s joy at being harshly treated for the sake of Christ. It cannot, I believe, bear the sense given to it by the Kowethas tweet. 

If one really wanted to say ‘He who plays the fool goes well ahead’ one would probably say something like:

A omwrello pyst â fest dâ in rag.

It is unwise to base any idiom upon such an obscure an almost certainly corrupt passage.


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