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“ I praise thy resolution: doff these links.”
Ode on the Nativity, lin. 33. JEMMIES. Hinges. Grose, in his Provincial Glossary, gives Jimmers, and a North-country word, in the same sense. In Somerset, I believe, the more common pronunciation to be jimmels, perhaps from the French jumelle, a twin, gemellus.
TO MOOCH, to play truant. Otherwise mich, or meech, Somers. “Shall the blessed son of heaven prove a micher, and eat black-berries.” Shakespeare, Hen. IV. Part I. Act 2. Grose has “michers, thieves, pilferers, Norf.”
MOILED, troubled, fatigued. Most likely from moile, or mayle, the ancient mode of writing; and the present West country mode of pronouncing the name of that laborious animal, the mule.
Nesh is used by Chaucer, I think, though I cannot now point out the particular passage; but I am certain, that I have met with it in some old author of note.
PLOUGH, for a waggon and horses, comes probably from plaustrum, or rather from the Italian, plaustro; the dipthong du being founded by the Italians like the English ou.
SCUTE, a reward. Bp. Fleetwood mentions a French gold coin, named a scute, of the value of Ss. 4d. current in England in 1427. See Chronicon Preciosum.
TIDY, neat, decent. Dol Tear-sheet calls Falstaff, “ thou whoreson little tydie Bartholomew Boar-pig.” Hen. IV. Po ii. Act 2. TINE, to light. As, tine the candle.
As, tine the candle. Thus Milton,
as late the clouds Justling, or push'd with winds, rude in their shock, Tine the slant light’ning."
Par. L. B. X. I. 1073.
TINE, to shut. Verstegan gives, “ betined, hedged about," in his list of old English words; and adds, “We use yet in some parts of England to say tyning for hedging." Antiquities, ed. 4to. 1634, p. 210. In Somerset an inclosed held is frequently called a tining, in opposition to a down or open common.
Twily. Perhaps a corruption of toily.-Certainly; for toil is always pronounced by the Western' rustics twile; spoil, spwile, &c. TUTT-WORK.
From the French tout. This is, probably, the true etymology; at least, it coincides with the notion which I have always entertained of its derivation; and it may be remarked, that such of our old provincial words as are not Saxon come for the most part from the French. There are very few among them, I believe, which are mere barbarous inventions, devoid of any signification; as some authors are fond of representing them. Many, doubtless, are so corrupted, that it is difficult, if not impossible, to trace them to their genuine original; but, to say that such an original does not, or did not, exist, is not only to draw an undue inference, but also to make an assertion in itself extremely improbable.
Yours, &c. 1793, Dec. 1794, Feb.
CIX. Critique on Virgil.
Jan. 3. At the conclusion of that stoical system of philosophy, concerning the origin and rotation of mankind (a sort of metempsychosis different from the Pythagorean and Indian), delivered by the good Anchises, we have these lines: Has omnes,
ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
Æn. VI. 748.
but, in my opinion, the two last lines have, by some means, been transposed, and the ut and et have consequently changed places; and the forgetfulness, induced by the River Lethe, should extend as well to the torments they had seen and suffered in the shades below as to their being reborn with any inuate notions or ideas of what they had known in their former state of existence here. Their desire of re. nascence should therefore take place before we are told of their being to be born without any remembrance. And so I
Has omnes, ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
A similar transposition has, I think, also happened in v. 567, of this same book, where of that sovereign judge Rhadamanthus, it is said,
Castigatque auditque dolos; subigitque fateri, &c. but, stern and severe as this judge is supposed to be, he must nevertheless have been just, to entitle him to his office; and yet it would be highly absurd and cruel in him, and extremely unjust, to punish a person before he had heard the cause, as Servius notes, and therefore would read it thus:
Audit, castigatque, dolos; subigitque fateri, &c. for then, indeed, if, after the conviction, the criminal should be made by torture, or any other means, to confess his guilt, there would be nothing much to be blamed, in respect to injustice, or wantonness of cruelty. However, it must be owned at last, that the common order of the words is ancient, as appears from Servius. 1794, Jan.
CX. Solecisms in the Works of English Authors,
July 16. IT is well know that the ancient Greeks and Romans took infinite pains to improve their respective languages. We have many remarkable instances of their labours to this effect in the writings of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the author who passes under the name of Demetrius Phalereus, Cicero, Quinctilian, Aulus Gellius, and others. The English reader will be surprised to see with what exactness they measured their periods, analyzed their phrases, arranged their words, determined the length of their syllables, and avoided all harsh elementary sounds, in order to give grace and harmony to their compositions. To this refinement we may, in a great measure, ascribe that inexpressible charm,
which every man of taste and learning discovers in some of the classics, and which is not to be found in the generality of modern compositions.
Such an attention to propriety and elegance of style is of the greatest importance, as no production can be read with pleasure, or transmitted to posterity with applause, if it is defective in this respect. It should likewise be considered, that the literary character of a nation will always depend on the accuracy and elegance of its publications.
Since the beginning of the present century the English language has been much improved and refined. Several able writers have examined its principles, and pointed out its beauties and defects, with a critical and philosophical investigation.
I must, however, observe, that many enormous solecisms still appear in almost all the productions of our English writers, such as,
You was. This expression sometimes occurs in books, is often heard in conversation, and frequently echoes through the caverns of Westminster-hall. The nominative case is the second person plural; and the verb, to which it is united, is the first or the third person singular.
More or most universal. Its success was not more universal, Gibbon, vol. II. p. 357. Money is the most universal incitement of human industry, id. vol. I. p. 356; vol. III. p. 66, &c. Company more universally acceptable, Zeluco, vol I. p. 398. That which pleases most universally is religion, Blair's Serm. vol. II. p. 168. What is universal cannot admit of augmentation.
Of all others. The profession, of all others, for which he was the fittest. Zeluco, vol. I. pp. 75, 110. The most precious of all others. Anachar. vol. III. p. 288. It is that species of goodness, with which, of all others, we are best acquainted. Blair's Serm. vol. II. p. 129. To collect a dictionary seems a work, of all others, least practicable in a state of blindness. Johnson's Life of Milton, p. 169. This expression resembles the following absurdity in Milton.
Adam, the goodliest man of men since born
B. iy. 323.
I would not attempt to vindicate Milton, as some have done, by pleading, that this is a figure of speech, or a poetic licence; I would rather say with Horace, it is one of the
“ Maculæ, quas aut incuria fudit,
Ar. P. 352.
No apology, however, can be made for the foregoing expression in prose.
Either side. Either sex and every age was engaged in the pursuits of industry. Gibbon, vol. I. 452. He retired with a multitude of captives of either sex, ib. IV. 281. Filled with a great number of persons of either sex. Ib. vol. II. 324: alibi passim. “In that violent conflict of parties he (Edward Smith] had a prologue and epilogue from the first wits on either side.” Johnson's Lives, vol. II. p. 248. Either signifies only the one or the other; and is improperly used instead of each in the singular number, or both in the plural.
We meet with innumerable writers who talk of looking into the womb of Time. But this expression suggests a grose and indelicate idea, and is in itself absurd; for, Time, according to the mythologists, is an old fellow, the Chronos or Saturn of the ancients, and consequently has no womb. All personifications ought to be consistent.
An accusative or objective case after a passive participle. He [Thomson] was taught the common rudiments of learning. Johnson's Lives, vol. IV. p. 252. He [Watts] was taught Latin by Mr. Pinhorne. Ib. p. 278. He [Milton) was offered the continuance of his employment. Ib. vol. I. 183. Thus I have been told the story. Telem. vol. I. p. 92, edit. 1795. It would be better to say, he was instructed in the rudiments of learning; he learned Latin under the tuition of Mr. Pinhorne; the king, or the ministry, offered to continue him in his former employment; thus I have heard the story; or, thus I have been informed. The author of these remarks has observed, with regret, the last of these expressions in a translation, which he wished to give the public in an unexceptionable style. But he has been long convinced, that no work was ever published without some inadvertencies of the author and printer.
Two highwaymen were hung this morning. This is a common vulgarism. We should rather say, two highwaymen were hanged. This verb should be used in the regular form, when it signifies to execute, and in the irregular, when it denotes only suspension: as, he was hanged, and afterwards hung in chains.
The eldest of the two. Her eldest son Esau, Gen. xxvii. 15. When only two things are mentioned, there cannot be