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Matth. Paris, p. 565, the word strepa apparently signifies a stirrop. See also Dr. Watts's Glossary there in voce.
St. Jerome, again, has strapia, for the same thing: and there is likewise such a word in Latin as struppus, for a string or thong; whence some, perhaps, may incline to fancy (the lovers, I mean, of etymology), that the word stirrop may have come to us from some of those barbarous Latin words*; that the strap and stirrop had the same original, and that they meant one and the same thing. Dr. Watts, I think, was of that opinion; and it is certain, that strepe, in Blount's Tenures, p. 33, signifies a stirrop, and that Dr. Littleton, in the word struppus, says,
“ Hinc Angl. a strap, a stirrup.” But now, as I esteem the orthography of the word to be stirrop (so Skelton writes it, p. 188), and not stirrup, as Dr. Littleton gives itt, it is more natural to think it took its name from a rope, formerly used instead of a leathern strap now in vogue, sti-rope meaning the rope by which they used to ascend or mount their horses. Thus, sty signifies to ascend, in the Mirrour of Magistrates, p. 402, where Sir Anthony Woodvile, Lord Rivers, says,
Then grew the king and realm to quiet rest,
Our stock and friends still stying higher and higher. And stee-hopping is playing the hobby-horse, that is, hop, ping high, in Somersetshire. Hence also the word stile, scalarium, scala, from the A. Sax. stigle, which word stile is pronounced, in Derbyshire, stee, the very name they give to a ladder in Yorkshire, the degrees of which are in many places called steles. Hence, again, the word stair comes from the Saxon stegher, gradus, which is derived from stigun, ascendere, as sty, stee, stile, or stigle, or steles, above-mentioned, all are. This etymology of the word stirrop is certainly much corroborated by the Saxon name of it, which I mentioned in my last paper, viz. stigerapa, plainly shewing, that it is an easy derivation from stighrope, and manifestly ought to have the preference before any of those barbarous words specified above.
I shall now take the liberty, Mr. Urban, to add a word on sallet-oil; a subject intimately connected with my late paper, but for which I had then no room. People are very apt to imagine, that this sort of oil is named from its being used in mixing sallads for eating, as if the true way of writing it was sallad-oil : but, Sir, the oil used in cookery was always of a better and sweeter sort than that rank stuff called salletoil. The truth is, the sallet was the head-piece in the times that defensive armour was so much in use, and sallet-oil was that sort of oil which was used for the cleaning and brightening it and the rest of the armour. Thus, you have “a sallet and ij sculles” in the inventory of Mr. Lawrence, Rector of Stavely, co. Derb. The word occurs again in the inventory of Pet. Tretchvile, Esq. anno 1581; and also in the description of the sarcastical coat of arms of Cardinal Wolsey,
* Slippa is used, in Blount's Ten ires, p. 31, for a stirrop; but I suspect it to be an error, for stippa, whicia occurs in Camden, Col. 1023.
# Dr. Plott also so writes it, Hisu, Staif. p. 377, and more corrup:ly, viz. sturrup, p. 376.
Arise up, Jacke, and put on thy salatt. In an indictment for an assault of the citizens of Canterbury, anno 1501, upon the people of Christ-Church there, it runs,
Brigenderis, jackys, salettis, scullis, & gauntelettis, &c." where the assault, mentioned likewise in English, stands thus, Brygandyrons, jakks, salets, sculles, and other armor.'
See also Dr. Cowel in voce, and Fabian, p. 404, whose words are, “and dyd on him hys bryganders set with gylt nayle, and his salet and gylte sporres. In sum, it is the French word salade, for which see the dictionaries, and Menage's Origine de la Lang. Franc. in voce. On the whole, you see, Sir, what is most to the point, that though the sals let is now entirely out of date, yet the oil retains the name, which is the very thing I proposed, in these short sketches, 'to illustrate.
I am, &c.
1774, June, July, Sept.
LXI. Auga Venales.----Pugna Porcorum,
MR. URBAN, As matters of singularity are sometimes received as proper subjects for your entertaining melange, I shall beg leave to introduce. one here. Hubald, a monk, who flourished A. D. 916, and consequently in the tenth century, otherwise called the obscure age, wrote a book, consisting of 300 hexameter verses, in praise of baldness, whereof every line began with C, and he addressed his work to Charles the Bald, or Carolus Calvus, the Emperor. This piece, which began,
“ Carmina clarisonæ calvis cantate Camænæ,
Comere condigno conabor carmine calvos, has been several times printed. This reminds one of what Jul. Capitolinus relates concerning the strange whim of the young Emperor Antonius Geta, who ordered for his dinner such dishes as began with the same letter. But as the passäge is curious, and not long, I will here transcribe it; “Habebat etiam istam consuetudinem, ut convivia et maxima prandia per singulas literas juberet, scientibus servis, velut, in quo erat anser, aprugna, anas; item pullus, perdix, pa+ vus, porcellus, piscis, perna, et quæ in eam literam genera edulium caderent; et item fasianus, farta, ficus, et talia."
But, to be ingenuous, Mr. Urban, I have a motive of my own for troubling you, at this time, with the above fanciful puerilities; for I really want some information and assistance in regard to a matter of the same kind, which I am just now, going to mention. There has come to my hand a small book in 24o, intitled,
Nugæ venales. Sive Thesaurus vivendi et jocandi. Ad gravissimos severissimosque viros, Patres Melancholiorum conscriptos. Anno 1648. Prostant apud neminem; sed tamen ubique.” It is a jest book in Latin, much like that of Nicodemus Frischlinus and Henricus Bebelius, printed together at Amst. 1631. Now, Sir, at the end of the book in question, there is a little piece with a new paging, but, as it has the same cut, and printed the same year, may be looked upon as a part, or an appendix to the former, inti.
Pugna Porcorum per P. Porcium, Poetam,
Paraclesis pro Potore.
Potando poteris placidam proferre poësin.' It is a satirical jumble of words aimed at the obesity and laziness of the prelates, and alluding to contentions between them and the inferior clergy, or laity, but whether to any particular contest I am at a loss to find out, and therefore, if any of your learned correspondents happen to know any thing of the story, or its author, I shall be obliged to them for their information. For my part, I have run the piece over, but can understand little or nothing of it, insomuch that I am under a necessity of intreating assistance from
elsewhere. However, to give the reader some imperfect notion of its whimsicalness and extravagance, I shall subjoin the Dedication prefixed in prose, as containing something like the argument of the performance, and after that a few of the lines.
“ Potentissimo Patrono Porcianorum, P. Porcius Poeta Prosperitatem precatur plurimam.
“ Postquam publice porci putamur, præstantissime Patrone, placuit porcorum pugnam poëmate pangere, potissime proponendo pericula pinguium prælatorum ; pugnant pigriter pusillanimi prælati propter pinguedinis pondus, porro potentius porcelli pauca proceritate perpoliti : propterea placeat precor puerile pöema perlegere porcorum porcellorumque pugnam propositionibus pictam paribus, perpræpostere."
The poem begins,
MR. URBAN, ON perusing your Magazine for Nov. 1776, wherein the ingenious Mr. Row has given an account of a singular publication, intitled “ Nugæ Venales;" it occurred to me that I could in some measure give him the information he desired respecting the author of the poem affixed as an appendix to the Joculatoria.
When at Oxford in the year 1774, I was favoured with a sight of the piece Mr. R. has described, which was delivered to me as a curious production of a music-master (I think a German) then in the university, a Mr. Lates. It begins with the lines given in your Magazine.
« Plandite Porcelli, Porcorum Pigra Propago
Progreditur"and consisted of about 350.
What might be the musician's intention of palming
the world, as his own, a composition incontestably the offspring of another, I will not pretend to say—But that it had been printed " as yet Mr. Lates
' image being unformed," is sufficiently clear from a review of “ Les Bigarrures du Seigneur des Accords,” and of the “ Amphitheatrum Sapientiæ Socratica" of Dornavius.-In both these the poem is ascribed to an “ Allemande, one Petrus Porcius, so nicknamed from the subject-matter he so laboriously, and fancifully dicussed, his real name being Petrus. Placentius.” This account is further confirmed by Baillet, in his tract " des Auteurs deguisez.” The passage relative to our author runs thus: “Enfin il s'est trouvé un poete, qui voulant decrire, un Combat de Porcs, s'est fait appeller Publius Porcins—son ouvrage estoit un de ces poemes que nous appellons Lettrisez ou Tautogrammes, et tous les Mots de la piece commençant par la Lettre P. Il n'auroit rien gaste de son economie, s'il s'estoit appellé Petrus Placentinus, qui estoit son nom, mais il luy prefera celuy de Porcius.”
To these authorities may be added that of Mr. Le Clerc, who hath given us the age in which the poet lived, with an account of his other publications, though he wholly differs from Dornavius and Baillet in his prænomen. Le Clerc says that his name was Johanues Leo Placentius, a Dominican monk, born at St. Imden, and lived in the 16th age, in 1536; that he composed an history of the bishops of Tongres, Mæstricht, and Liege, taken out of fabulous memoirs, and several poems, among the rest, one de Porcorum Pugna, all the words whereof begin with the letter P. imitating one Theobaldus, a monk of the order of St. Benedict, who (as your correspondent has remarked) flourished in the time of Charles the Bald, to whom he presented a Panegyric on Baldness, every word beginning with the letter C. From the matter of Placentius's poem, it appears to be written by one to whom the dignitaries of the church were obnoxious, being levelled, in a satirical strain, (as Mr. Row observes, against their obesity and indolence; though the contest between them and the inferior clergy may be referred, I should rather suppose, to the “Licentia Poetica,” than to any real occurrence, or probably to some incident in the fabulous memoirs above noticed. The catalogue of authors that have thus trifled away their time, might be numerously enlarged, whose compositions must have cost vast labour in the
production, and are equally useless and illaudable when composed.-For, as Martial says