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By this alteration, the words of the Poet remain almost entirely unviolated; the beautiful picture of the loving, wandering, lingering, depicted pair is preserved; they are represented as gradually proceeding from the garden, through the adjoining region, into the worid at large; and are finally leit, as they ought to be left, under the guidance and protection of Providence. 1791, Jan,
CIV. On the Particle Un.
Feb. 21. THE English language has of late years been so much studied, as to have received great improvement, and also to be more perfectly understood. Most of our writers, consequently, that compose in it, are found to acquit themselves with far more precision, perspicuity, and grammatical accuracy, than formerly they were wont to do. All this must be admitted; but still the use of the preposite particle un, which, I presume, never occurs but in compound words, seems to require some further consideration and elucidation; and I beg leave to submit the following observations concerning this monosyllable to the judgment of the public, through the channel of your Magazine. It is a business of greater importance in my eye, than to many, perhaps, at first sight may appear, as it most materially affects a very large portion of our words, substantives, adjectives, and adverbs, as may be seen by turning into Dr. Johnson's Dictionary.
The particle un, in coinpound words, implies a thing's being put into a different state or condition from what it was in before, as to undo, untic, unlock, &c.*; or displaced from its former situation, as unthronedt, unhorsed, unparadised!, &c. But now, Sir, in a very large catalogue of our words, this natural and original idea of un is in a manner abandoned and lost, by its being confounded with in, and made convertible with it, so as merely to signify not, Thus, for instance, we have unpatient for impatient, Psalm xxxix. 3.; and many will say and write unfunded, for not
Dr. Johnson, 0. “ un."
funded, and ungrateful for ingrateful, &c.; whereas impa. tient, and ingrateful, would not only better preserve the etymology, but afford, us a clearer notion of the thing or person meant to be expressed* What I propose therefore is, that un should never be used in such compounds, but always in, either literally retained, or softened, euphoniæ gratia, into im or il, as impertinent, illiberal, &c. and that all our future English Dictionaries should correct our orthography in this respect, the better to preserve analogy, and to give to readers a truer and more adequate sense of the respective words.
CV. Pope's Imitation of a Passage in Silius Italicas,
Jan. 4. The following celebrated passage in Pope's Temple of Fame, exhibits a familiar, and, at the same time, a very pleasing and poetical image,
As, on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes,
In his Essay on Man, the author introduces the same image, with equal propriety:
" Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
* Mr. Knox, vol. III. p. 225, writes, an unoffending individual; whereas the common word inoffending, or inofensive, sather, would be equally as proper.
The centre mov'd, a circle strait succeeds,
Ep. IV. 363.
In these two passages the image is beautifully enlarged and extended; is adorned with many striking circumstances, and is not abruptly, but gradually withdrawn from the reader's imagination. In this mode of conducting a simile, there is no poet, I think, superior, or even equal to Pope.
We have a ludicrous view of the same object in the Dunciad.
“ As what a Dutchman plumps into the lakes,
B. II. 405.
It has been supposed, that this similitude is taken from the following passage in Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth:
“ Glory is like a circle in the water,
Part I. of Henry VI, act I. sc. II.
The circular undulations, described by Shakespeare and Pope, might easily occur to any poet, accustomed to derive his similitudes from natural objects; yet it is, I think, very evident, that Pope has imitated the following passage in Silius Italicus:
“ Signa reportandi crescebat in agmine fervor.
Mox tremulum vibrans motu gliscente liquorem,
Lib. XIII, 23.
The classical reader will observe, that Pope has followed the Latin poet more closely in the passage quoted from the Temple of Fame, than in the two other citations. natural. The Temple of Fame was written in 1711, when the author was only 23 years of age; and had been acă customed “not so much to strike out new thoughts of his own, as to improve those of other men” by an easy and elegant versification.
The Dunciad was written in 1726; the Essay on Man, in 1729. It is said, that Pope first became acquainted with the Works of Virgil and Ovid, by the translations of Ogiiby and Sandys. If this be true, we may naturally imagine, that he would have the curiosity to read the Translation of Silius Italicus, by Thomas Ross, Esq.* printed in 1662. "I shall present the reader with this gentleman's humble version:
“ Desire in ev'ry breast
touch the banks on either side."
While I have Silius Italicus before me, I cannot forbear citing another beautiful passage, in which the author describes the martial spirit of young Hannibal, when he formed the idea of penetrating into Italy, and avenging the cause of his country within the walls of Rome.
His father, who carried him, when he was but nine years old, into Spain, made him solemnly swear, at the foot of an altar, that he would never be reconciled to the Romans.
In the mean time, says the poet,
* Ross stiles himself “ Keeper of his Majesty's Libraries, and Groom of his most honourable Privy-chamber."
« Dat mentem Juno, ac laudum spe corda fatigat.
Lib. I. 63.
These two quotations may serve to shew, that Silius Italicus is not so despicable a poet as the elder Scaliger and others have represented him, and that there are passages in his poem DE BELLO PUNICO, which would not disgrace the Eneid. •
Yours, &c. 1792, Jan.
CVI. Den and Pin defined.
June 10. PEN and Pin seem to be the same word; a pen is an inclosure of any kind, a shippen, a cow-house in Lancashire, quasi sheep pen; a hen-pen, to keep and fatten fowls in here. As to pin, it is used in Derbyshire of impounding such cattle as are found trespassing; and the pound is called the pinfold, and the petty officer that is appointed to the service, the pindar, i.e. pinner, d being inserted euphonie gratia ; and so a pin, acicula, is named from its fastening whatever it is used for. A pen in Jamaica is a farm or plantation, but that I esteem to be of a different original; the Spaniards once occupied that island; so that I take it to be the Spanish word Pennas, Rupes, Collis, (Stevens, Dict. or Du Fresne in v.); as these plantations are chiefly on the hills, and distant from the bays and coasts frequented by the merchants, and inhabited by the settlers, or proprietors.