Correspondence with regard to the spelling of the School Motto, and the clearing up of the meaning of the last two words:
The Close, Salisbury,
21st November 1908.
MY DEAR Miss DOUGLAS,
On your Commemoration Day you asked me to investigate the School Motto. I began looking into the subject at once, and before very long I had got the following six versions:
(1) FRANCHE LEAL ET OYE.
(From the School Book Plate.)
(2) FRANC HA LEAL ETO GE.
(From the Book Plate of Lord Rialton, the son of the lst Earl Godolphin, early eighteenth cen¬tury, before 1712.)
(3) FRANCHA LEAL ET OGE.
(Debrett’s Peerage, 1841.)
(4) FRANCHA LEALE TOGE.
(Doyle’s Official Baronage.)
(5) FRANCHA CALL TOGE.
(Burke’s Armory, 1883.)
(6) FRANCO LEALE TOGE.
(Burke’s Armory, 1883, under the name Dolphin.)
You will notice that Nos. 2, 3, and 4 consist of the same letters differently divided into words, so the probability seemed to be that one of them was correct, and as no doubt Lord Rialton would have taken sonic pains to have his Book Plate inscribed correctly, I inclined to thinking that No. 2 was the right form, but I had not a notion of what it meant.
This week I have been to London, and this morning I went to the Society of Antiquaries, where we have a very good library containing a large number of books of the sort which I thought would help me, and, after searching for some time, I tried Polwhele’s History of Cornwall (the Godolphins being a Cornish family), and in Volume VI I found that he gives a Cornish-English vocabulary, and in it I found “ETTO GE, Thou art,” and he gives as an illustration:
“FRANC IIA LEAL GE-Frank and loyal thou art – Godolphin’s Motto.”
That, I think, settles the question. ETTO GE, or GE alone, meaning “thou art,” just as in Latin TU Es and ES both mean the same, “thou art.” I do not suppose it matters whether you use one “t” or two, ETTO or ETO, as the word was no doubt spelt phonetically (nor did spelling much matter till lately), and I am inclined to recommend the adoption of the form used by Lord Rialton on his Book Plate:
“FRANC HA LEAL ETO GE.”
Polwhele was the great authority on old Cornish, and is supposed to have known about it, at least as much as, if not more than, anyone else. The Cornish adopted many Norman words.
A. R. MALDEN.
This letter was sent to the Bishop of Worcester, a descendant of the Godolphin family, who replied as follows:
27th November 1908.
MY DEAR Miss DOUGLAS,
I am obliged for the sight of Mr. Malden’s very interesting letter. I fear I have no good evidence, but I should accept his. – Yours very truly,
Miss Edwards also talked the matter over with Dr. Joseph Wright, Professor of Comparative Philology in the University of Oxford, and he said there was no doubt that the Cornish ” ETTO GE,” or ” ETO GE,” was right.
All the trouble taken has resulted in getting a clear proof that our motto ought to be:
FRANC HA LEAL ETO GE
and that the meaning is: “Frank and loyal thou art.”
M. A. D.