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to express infertility.— It may be worth while to examine how it was originally used.
In Ælfric's version of Genesis, ch,' i. ver. 1, the inanis et vacua of the Vulgate is rendered yde! sæntig: (idle and empty.). Now it is conceived that inanis never signifies: infertile, but useless, un profitable sand such ap, pears to be the meaning of idle: In two or three of the early Latinand English Dictionaries, inanis is rendered idle ; and in this sense the latter word is used by Shakspeare in Richard the third, Act iii. :
" You said that idle weeds were fast in growth It is clear that in the last instance infertility is out of the question ; but useless
, and unprofitable well denote the poet's meanings or rather that of the inventor of the proverb, which was afterwards corrupted into « ill weeds,". &c
'It is conceived therefore that Dr. Johnson is not accurate in his opinion, that idle in the before-cited Saxon translation is an epithet expressive of the infertility of the chaotic statę. Wickliffe has not adopted this term he has preferred vain ; but in the first page of the English Golden le rend, which contains a part of the first chapter of Genesis, we have-- the. erth was ydle and voyde." "Here Caxton th translator must have followed the Vulgate, corroborating what is already stated on the construction of idle.? pp. 267, 268.!!!
"The difficulty of keeping the public peace 'm úst surely have been great, wluen the youth of London, and indec i of most other cities, were accustodied to sally forth accquired with sword and buckler; and prided themselves their skill, and courage in the management of those weapons ; for the buckler was also a weapon of offence, having a long spike in the man dle of it. Stowe, the chronicler, relates, that about the twelfth or thirteenth of Elizabeth,
91112';, • Began long tucks and long rapiers, and he was held the greatest gallant that had the deepest ruffe and longest rapier; the offence to the eye of the one, and the hurt unto the life of the subject that came by the other, caused her majesty to make a proclamation against them both, and to place selected grave citizens at every gate to cut the suffes, and breake the rapiers proints of all passengers that exceeded a yeard in length of their rapiers, and a nayle of a yeard in depth of their ruffes. p. 64..
Nor was this all : for the servants of the noble families carried these weapons; and too often occasioned or perpetuated quarrels, which, like those of the Montagues, and Capulets, not un frequently involved their masters.
Stafforde; however, in his Briefe conceipt of English pollicy, 1581, complains that the custom of wearing heavy swords was declining, and deems it a proof of growing effeminacy in his countrymen.
I thinke (says he) wee were as much dread or more of our enemies, when our gentlemen went simply and our serving men plainely, without cuts or gards, bearing their heavy swordes' and buckelers on their thighes Vol. IV,
insted of cuts and gardes and light daunsing swordes; and when they rode carrying good speares in theyr hands in stede of white rods, which they cary now more like ladies or gentle women then men; all which delicacyes maketh our men cleane effeminate and without strength. p. 315,
The versatility of fashion is indeed a constant theme of daily observation : but it was no less observable and character. istic of our countrymen in the sixteenth century, than it is at present; we do not know, however, that Shakspeare alluded, in the speech of Benedict, to the talents of any contemporary prince for cutting out.
• BENE: -- now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet.
Randle Holme complained that in his time (1680), Englishmen were changeable as the moon in their dress, in which respect," says he, we, Are termed the Frenchmen's apes, imitating them in all their fantastick devised fashions of garbs.” Acad. of armory, book iž. ch. 5."
That the female sex should not be exempt from reprehen- , sion on this subject, may easily be supposed; and among the, most observable instances of their extravagance was the immensity of their ruffs. The pains taken to prepare them, andi the dexterity requisite in the management of the poking. sticks (used to put them in shape) can hardly be imagined by our notable dames, who iron their own laces and trimmings, at barely a hundredth part of the trouble. A curious account is given (p. 358.) of a satirical print in ridicule of this fashion.
Whatever occasion borrowers may have to complain, now, of the many shapes taken by usury to evade the statute, and of the destructive arts of adyertising money-lenders, yet in fact little improvement has been made in the conduct of this traffic since the days of our dramatist, unless, perhaps, in the art of advertisement and puff: and even this is doubtful, if we may judge from the account given of the posting bills used in his time by quacks and other impostors, (p. 162.) Mr. D. has however omitted to observe, in this note, the implied worthless ness of these commodities : "brown, i. e. discoloured paper; and old, i. e. decayed ginger.
Clo: First, here's young master Rash, he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger
The nefarious practice of lending young men money in the shape of goods which are afterwards sold át a great loss, appears to have been more i prevalent in the reign of Elizabeth than even at present. It is very strong ly marked in Lodge's Looking glasse for London and Englande, 1599, where a usurer being very urgent for the repayment of his debt is thus an. swered, I pray you, sir, consider that my losse was great by the commo, ditie I took up; you know, sir, 1 borrowed of you forty pounds, whereof I had ten pounds in money, and thirtie pounds in lute-strings, which when I came to sell againe, I could get but five pounds for them,
so had I, sir, but
into ink was
fifteene pounds for my fortie : In consideration of this ill bargaine, I pray you, sit, give me a month longer.” But this sort of usury is much older zhan Shakspeare's time, and is thus curiously described in one of the ser. mons of Father Maillard, a celebrated preacher at Paris at the end of the fifteenth century, and whose style very much resembles that of John [George] Weitfield. “Quidam indigens pecunia venit ad thesaurarium supra quem fuerunt assignata mille scuta ; dicit thesaurarius, Ego dabo tibi, sed pro nunc non habeo
expectes usque ad quindecim dies. Pauper dicit, Non possum expectare ; respondit thesaurarius, Dabo tibi. unam partem in argento et alia in mercantiis : et illud quod valebit çentum scuta, faciet valere ducenta. Hic est usura palliata." Sermo in feriam, iiii. de passione.”
The term fustian is well known to denote a kind of stuff, and to have been applied to a particular kind of literary style, according to the figurative idea of language as the dress of thoughts. It is not so well known that bombast has both these applications; it denotes, we apprehend, a better kind of bad style than fustian, as well as a better kind of stuff.
Bombast is from the Italian bombagia, which signifies all sorts of cotton wool. Hence the stuff called bombasine. The cotton put called bombase. « Need you any inke and bombase ? " Hollyband's Italian schole-maister, 1579; 12mo. sign. E. 3."
Mr. D. discountenances the suggestion of Horne Tooke, that the following words of Macbeth, “ If trembling 1 inhibit thee," should be read “ inhabit then;" yet this is the only explanation we have seen that suits even tolerably the tenor of the passage.**
It is singular enough that Mr. D. should fail in his interpre-, tation of phrases of the most obvious meaning in Taming the Shrew, Tranio speaks of “ tricks eleven and twenty long Mr. D. thinks “ eleven and twenty is the same as eleven score.” Wbereas, it alludes to tricks upon cards, whose pips, when they shew one and thirty, win the game. Shakspeare has the same allusion, in another place, when speaking of one of his female characters, whose age is “ two and thirty ;--a pip out.“
Mr. D. tells us, Vol. II. p. 42, on the expression of Buckingham (Hen. VIII.) • Buck. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on [out],
By dark’ning my clear sun. - It is no easy matter on some occasions, to comprehend the precise meaning of Shakspeare's metaphors, which are often careless and confused; and of this position the present lines are, doubtless, an example. We have here a double comparison. Buckingham is first made to say that he is but a shadow; in other terms, a dead man. He then adverts to the sud. den cloud of misfortune that overwhelms him, and, like a shadow, obscures: his prosperity.' pp. 42, 43.
To us there appears no confusion of metaphor; the speaker means to say..
I am the shadow of poor Buckingham: but a cloud coming between me and the sun, deprives even that shadow of all form, of all correspondence to that figure of which it was a resemblance as to shape, though not as to substance; the outline of this, shadow being now updistinguishable, by reason of the greater extent of the shadow projected by the cloud. • On the fine expression of Wolsey, Mr. D. quotes from Stowe's Chronicle the real-words that he uttered, 65 Yf I ! hadd served my God as diligently as I have done the kinge, he wolde not have given me over in my graye heares.” (Vol. ii. 50.) We fully agree with Mr. Douce and Mr. Malone in wishing, for'a correct edition of this valuable chronicle; and hope it may be facilitated by the encouragement which the public has given to the laudable undertaking of reprinting Holinshed and Hall.
At the end of his votes, Mr. D. gives an amusitig account of Shakspeare's anachronisms;
Midsummer Night's Dream. The scene of this play lies at Athens, in the time of Theseus, but we find the mention of guns, o
of French-crowns and French-crown-coloured beards ; of church-yards and coats in heraldry ; of clean linen, new ribbons ta pumps; and masks'; of Jack and Gill, the nine-mens morris, and blessing the bridal bed. Carols, inasmuch as they are applicable to songs in general, and, in an antiquated sense, to dances, may be doubtful, though the allusion was in all probability to Christmas carols. Hermia is made to speak of the fire which burned the Carthage queens' pp. 287,'
i st!; Troilus and Cressida. Hector quotes Anistotle ; Ulysses speaks of the büll-bearing Milo, and Pandarus of a man-born in April. Friday and Sunday and even minced-pies with dates in them are introduced.' p. 291, :
In the former of these, Mr. D. has omitted the menace of Theseus to make Hermia a nun.
We regret to pass over so much curious learning and ingenious remark'as is to be found in Mr. Douce's two dissertations, in one of which he classifies and describes, with especial reference to Shakspeare, the Fools, who were once the necessary appendage and favourite amusement of courts, and in the other details the history, the characters, and the forms of the Morris dance. It would be impossible to do justice to these amusing, though not very important subjects, in the narrow compass of a critique; and those whom they might particularly interest, will not repine at being referred to the work before us. The antiquary, the black-letter bibliographer and philologist, and the admirer of Shakspeare, will read it with avidity and delight. - It is "got up" with care ; it is adorned with several neat copper-plates of uncommon and interesting subjects; and
is still more enriched by the insertion of numerous wood-cuts representing implements, illuminations and old prints, and various other articles. This kind of illustration, which conveys clearer ideas of many subjects than could be communicated by whole pages of description, is worthy of adoption by those who may hereafter undertake, though with less qualification than Mr. Douce, to pourtray the manners of antiquity. Art. VIII. Considerations on the Practicability, Policy, and Obligation of com
municating to the Natives of India, the Knowledge of Christianity. With Observations on the “ Prefatory Remarks” to a Pamphlet published by Major Scott Waring. By a late Resident in Bengal. 8vo. pp. 100.
Price 3s. Hatchard. 1808. WHEN the question concerning the attempts to introduce
Christianity into India. was brought 'so formally before the public as to assume the character of a controversy, we were not without some apprehension that, before the conclu. sion, we should see talent and genius seizing so opportune an occasion for the indulgence of a little witty or eloquent impiety. We could indeed well imagine the abhorring disgust, with which the accustomed pride of impious talent must think of descending to make party with such abilities as those of the mover and seconder of the proposal for expelling Christian missionaries, if we had not seen, in many instances, that talent has a remarkable facility, when directed against religion, of divesting itself of some of the modes of its pride, and will often consent, for any chance of increasing the mos mentum of its opposition to that sacred cause; 'to ally and amalgamate itself with some of the lowest substances in the
From having repeatedly witnessed this kind of humility, we did think it very possible that some of our infidels of genius might be too much delighted at finding a new mode of attacking Christianity, to be deterred even by the idea of having their literary reputation associated with tħat of Messrs. Twining and Scott Waring.
It is needless to say that Christianity would have no general, or lasting injury to apprehend, from any possible exertions of depraved talents ; at the same time it is obvious, that any special plans for proinoting it, which are founded on a narrow basis of means, and by their nature dependent for their execution on the tolerance or disapprobation of the státe, must be liable to critical junctures, in which the dexterous sophistry or powerful declamation of a few able men," or even of one, might put them in hazard of abolition. If the full force pf a genius, equal to that of Bolingbroke or Burke, had been let loose against the Indian missions, we should not ihdeed