Page images


Thieves rise by night that they may cut men's throats.

to be as well rewarded) as our late Poet Laureat; who, upon the following passage of Milton's Comus,

« And sits as safe as in a Senate house," adds this fagitious note :

Not many years after this was written, Milton's FRIENDS Thewed “ that the safety of a Senate house was not inviolable. But when the people “ turn Legislators, what place is safe against the tumults of innovation, and " the insults of difobedience.”

I believe our late Laureat meant not so much to cavil at Milton's expression, as to seize an impertinent opportunity of recommending himfelf to the powers which be, by a cowardly insult on the dead and persecuted author's memory, and on the aged, defenceless constitution of his country.

A critic who should really be displeased at Milton's expression, would rather shew its impropriety by an event which had happened before it was used, than by an event which the poet could not at that time foresee. Such a critic adverting to the 5th of November, 1605, and to the 4th of January, 1641, might more truly fay—“ Not many years both before and after « this was written, WHARTON'S FRIENDS shewed that the fafety of a Senate « house was not inviolable."

With equal impertinence and malignity (pages 496, 538.) has he raked up the ashes of Queen Caroline and Queen Elizabeth ; whose private characters and inoffensive amusements were as little connected with Milton's poems, as this animadversion on Wharton is with the subject I am now treating Perhaps, after all, the concluding line of Milton's epitaph,

“ Rege fub augufto fas fit laudare Catonem,” is artfully made by Mr. Wharton the concluding line also of his Notęs; in order to account for his present virulence, and to foften the resentment of his readers, at the


of his



Thieves may cut men's throats, (for) THAT (purpose) they rise by night.

After the same manner, I imagine, may all sentences be refolved (in all languages) where the Conjunction THAT (or its equivalent) is employed : and by such resolution it will always be discovered to have merely the same force and signification, and to be in fact nothing else but the very same word which in other places is called an Article or a Pronoun.


For any thing that immediately occurs to me, this may perhaps be the case in English, where that is the only Conjunction of the same signification which we employ in this manner. But your last example makes me believe that this method of resolution will not take place in those languages which have different Conjunctions for this same purpose. And if so, I suspect that your whole reasoning on this subject may be without foundation. For how can you resolve the original of your last example; where (unfortunately for your notion) Ut is employed, and not the ueuter Article QUOD ? “ Ut jugulent homines surgunt de nocte latrones.” N 2

I suppose I suppose you will not say that ut is the Latin neuter Article. For even Sanctius, who struggled so hard to withdraw Quod from amongst the Conjunctions, yet still left ut amongst them without molestation

H. You

It is not at all extraordinary that ut and quod should be indifferently used for the same conjunctive purpose: for as ut (originally written uti) is nothing but alo: So is QuoD (anciently written QUODDE) merely Kæv 077o. Quodde tuas laudes culpas, nil proficis hilum.”


(See Note in Havercamp's and Creech's Lucretius ; where QUODDE is mistakenly derived from oltids.) Qu, in Latin, being founded (not as the English but as the French pronounce Qu, that is) as the Greek K; Kær (by a change of the character, not of the found) became the Latin Que, (used only enclitically indeed in modern Latin). Hence Kao 677. became in Latin Qu' otti-Quoddi-Quodde-Quod. Of which if Sanctius had been aware, he would not have attempted a distinction between ut and QUOD: since the two words, though differently corrupted, are in substance and origin the fame.

The perpetual change of r into D, and vice versa, is so very familiar to all who have ever paid the smallest attention to Language, that I should not think it worth while to notice it in the present instance; if all the etymological canonists, whom I have seen, had not been remarkably inattentive to the organical causes of thofe literal changes of which they treat.

Skinner (who was a Physician) in his Prolegomena Etymologica, speaking of the frequent transmutation of s into z, says very truly" Sunt “ fanè literæ sono ferè eædem."

But H.

You are not to expect from me that I should, in this place, account etymologically for the different words which


But in what does that ferè confift? For s is not nearer in found to z, than p is to B, or than I is to D, or than F is to v, or than k is to G, or than th (©) in Thing, is to TH (Đ) in That, or than sh is to the

French J.

(N. B. th and sh are simple consonants, and should be marked by single letters. J, as the English pronounce it, is a double confonant; and should have two characters.) For these seven couple of simple consonants, viz.

P า 2


With the

Without the




SH differ each from its partner, by no variation whatever of articulation ; but singly by a certain unnoticed and almost imperceptible, motion or comprefsion of or near the Larynx ; which causes what Wilkins calls “ some kind « of murmure.This compression the Welch never use. So that when a Welchman, instead of

“ I vow, by God, Đat Jenkin iz a Wizzard,” pronounces it thus, « I fow, py Cot, Oat Shenkin iss a Wiffart;"



some languages (for there are others beside the Latin) may sometimes borrow and employ in this manner instead of their own common Article. But if you should hereafter exact it, I shall not refuse the undertaking: although it is not the easiest part of Etymology: for Abbreviation and Corruption are always busies with the words which are most frequently in use. Letters,

Letters, like soldiers, being very apt to desert and drop off in a long march, and especially if their passage happens to lie near the confines of an enemy's country

Yet I doubt not that, with this clue,

[ocr errors]

he articulates in every other respect exactly as we do; but omits the compression nine times in this sentence. And for failing in this one point only, changes seven of our consonants: for we owe seven additional letters, (i. e. seven additional sounds in our language) solely to the addition of this one compression to seven different articulations.

* “ Nous avons deja dit, que l'alteration du derivé augmentoit à mesure

que le temps l’eloignoit du primitif ; & nous avons ajouté toutes choses d'ailleurs egales,-parceque la quantité de cette alteration depend aufli “ du cours que ce mot a dans le public. Il s'use, pour ainsi dire, en

passant dans un plus grand nombre de bouches, sur tout dans la bouche “ du peuple : & la rapidité de cette circulation equivaut à une plus longue “ durée. Les noins des Saints & les noms de baptême les plus communs, en font un exemple. Les mots qui reviennent le plus souvent dans les “ langues, tels que les verbes Etre, faire, vouloir, aller, & tous ceux qui “ fervent à lier les autres mots dans le discours, sont sujets à de plus grandes “ alterations. Ce sont ceux qui ont le plus besoin d'etre fixes par la langue « ecrite." Encyclopedie (Etymologie) par M. DE BROSSES.


« PreviousContinue »