« AnteriorContinuar »
any persons who met together to subscribe a peti-
literary existence. Mr. Singer's History of Play-
including, as they do, papers on curious points
THE FIRST PUBLIC MEETING.
One of the first acts passed after the Restoration (13 Car. II. cap. v.) was directed against "tumultuous and disorderly preparing petitions," and the preamble somewhat naïvely refers to them
In Buckle's History of Civilization (vol. i. p. 394) I find it asserted that "in 1769 there was held the first public meeting ever assembled in England, the first in which it was attempted to enlighten"having been a great means of the late unhappy Englishmen respecting their political rights." It confusions and calamities of this nation." By this is no doubt true that this form of political agita- Act it was made necessary to obtain the consent tion became very common during the unpopular of three justices of the peace for any petition to Grafton administration; but the assertion that which it was proposed to obtain upwards of twenty public meetings date their origin from this period signatures. A glance, however, at a file of newsis surely altogether wrong, and an example of that papers of the first half of the last century, will intense hostility to the laudator temporis acti show that this law did not prevent the holding of which on more than one occasion has led the meetings to petition Parliament upon any subject accomplished author astray. I am inclined to which greatly agitated the public mind-notably think that a little research would afford proof that the Excise Bill, and the laws relating to the at no period of English history_were political woollen trade. meetings absolutely unknown. But the public meeting in its modern form is unquestionably the birth of that memorable period of civil dudgeon which ushered in the civil wars. Every reader of the literature of that time will be familiar with the meetings for addressing the king or petitioning Parliament, held throughout the country in 1641-2, which appear to have differed but little from those of the present day, except that it was customary for every person present to sign the petition or resolutions. And these assemblies were declared legal. Clarendon expressly mentions that, owing to the attempted suppression of a meeting in Southwark (1641) by the Under Sheriff of Surrey, the House ordered that no proceedings were to be taken "upon any inquisition that might concern
With these precedents at hand, not dug up from musty archives, but lying, as it were, upon the surface, it is difficult to account for Mr. Buckle's statement.
There are other assertions in the same chapter which also require revision. In the summary view of the state of literature, it is said that reviews were unknown before the accession of George II., the fact being that at least three journals of this description were published during the reign of William III. C. ELLIOT BROWNE.
The enclosed leaves from a note-book may be acceptable at this Christmastide :—
THE "BORRU," AN AFRICAN PLANCHETTE."From the wood of the Sarcocephalus Russegeri, which they call damma,' a little four-legged stool is made, like the benches used by the women. The upper surface of this is rendered perfectly smooth. A block of wood of the same kind is then cut, of which one end is also
made quite smooth. After having wetted the top of the stool with a drop or two of water, they grasp the block, and rub its smooth part backwards and forwards over the level surface with the same motion as if they were using a plane. If the wood should glide easily along, the conclusion is drawn that the undertaking in question will assuredly prosper; but if, on the other hand, the motion is obstructed, and the surfaces adhere together-sary to connect "lest," in some way, with "when if, according to the Niam-niam expression, a score of I do it." The verb "do" is a pro-verb, repremen could not give free movement to the block-the senting the verb "think" implied in "thoughts"; warning is unmistakable that the adventure will prove and the clause "when I do it" is a loose way of a failure."-Schweinfurth's Heart of Africa, vol. ii. p. 32. saying "when I think, or indulge in, sweet thoughts "KARRA," THE MAGIC TUBER.— of my mistress." Now the mode in which his most busy labours are refreshed by sweet thoughts of his mistress is indicated by "I forget," that is, he is rendered oblivious to them.
"I also found a very peculiar creeper, with a double horny or finger-shaped tuber attached to the axils of the leaves, like the edible helmia, to which genus of plants it doubtless belongs. It is transplanted by the natives from the woods, and trained in the neighbourhood of the huts, and is known under the name of Karra. Among the Niam-niam these tubers are looked upon as a sort of charm, and it is believed that a good show of them upon the leaves is an infallible prediction of a prolific hunting season. It was, moreover, affirmed that if a huntsman wants to render his bow unerring in its capabilities, he has only to hold it in his hand while he slaughters' one of the tubers over it, that is, takes a knife and cuts off the end and cuts it in pieces."Ibid., vol. ii. p. 400.
AUGURIES FROM COCKS AND HENS.
"There are other auguries common to the Niam-niam with various negro nations, and which are considered as of equal or still greater importance. An oily fluid, concocted from a red wood called 'bengye,' is administered to a hen. If the bird dies, there will be misfortune in war; if the bird survives, there will be victory. Another mode of trying their fortune consists in seizing a cock, and ducking its head repeatedly under water until the creature is stiff and senseless. They then leave it to itself. If it should rally, they draw an omen that is favourable to their design; whilst if it should succumb, they look for an adverse issue."-Ibid., vol. ii. p. 33.
proper bearing of "even" has been recognized.
If the interpretation thus far is correct, there must be an idea veiled in "lest," which reflects or points to "I forget," as a consequence of "when I do it." That idea is revealed by the change of The word should be "lost," one letter, e for o. in the sense of being completely absorbed in anything, and oblivious to all other things. Lady Macbeth says to her husband, "Be not lost so poorly in your thoughts."
The passage might be paraphrased thus: "But these sweet thoughts do refresh even my most busy labours, lost, as I am, to myself and to those labours, when I indulge in them." I would punctuate as follows "But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours Most busy,-lost, when I do it."
The Cornell University.
"KING LEAR," Act iv. sc. 2, ll. 50-60 :-
See thyself, devil.”
Who is this "slayer"? Not France, for he is
But let us look back to Act iii. sc. 7, ll. 14-20:
Hot questrists after him, met him at gate;
Goneril hears this, and, exaggerating and dressing it up, relates to her husband what she has heard, namely, that even her father begins threats; but a certain uncourteous feeling prevents her from calling him "My father"-she says in a rather spiteful and contemptuous tone, "This Lear."
Perhaps you will concede that an inarticulate and swift pronunciation of the words, "this Lear," might easily be exposed to a misunderstanding for "thy slayer." And after Goneril has spoken so disdainfully of her father, it is not more than natural that Albany calls her a devil.
Finally, let us not forget that "thy slayer" is not elsewhere to be found in Shakspeare.
F. A. LEO.
(5th S. vi. 405.)-The undersigned ventures to suggest that those words ought to be printed thus: I could not do with all." So many honourable ladies sought his love that he could not pay court, or attention, to them all. He denying that attention which they required, they fell sick and died. Maybe it is intended that the verb "do" should carry a meaning which may not appear on the pages of "N. & Q." Perhaps the above suggestion has been made by others; if so, it is wholly unknown to, and, indeed, cannot now be found out by, R. &
Much as I am pleased to accept the explanation of the phrase, "I could not help it," it has sometimes occurred to me that in the passage F. J. V. quotes from The Merchant of Venice the meaning is "I could not do with all," i.e. Portia, she and Nerissa, "accoutred like young men," finding "How honourable ladies sought her love, which she denying, they fell sick and died," meant to assign as the reason that she could not "do with all"; in other words, could not marry all. DAVID WOTHERSPOON.
(De Léris.) Dictionnaire portatif des Théâtres. Paris, 1763, sm. 8vo.
Escudier (Marie et Léon). Les Cantatrices célebres. Paris, Dentu, 18mo.
Etienne et Martainville. Histoire du Théâtre Français, depuis le Commencement de la Révolution jusqu'à la Réunion générale. Paris, 1802, 4 vols. 12mo.
Fournel (V.). Les Contemporains de Molière. Didot, 3 vols. 8vo.
Gautier (Th.). Histoire de l'Art dramatique en France depuis vingt-cinq ans. Paris, Hetzel, 1859, 6 vols. 18mo. Hallays-Dabot. Histoire de la Censure théâtrale.
Paris, Dentu, 18mo.
Houssaye (Arsene). Princesses de Comédie et Déesses d'Opéra. Paris, Furne et Jouvet, 8vo., plates.
Lemazurier (P. D.). Galerie historique des Acteurs du Théâtre François, depuis 1600 jusqu'à nos Jours. Paris, 1810, 2 vols. 8vo.
Loire (L.). Anecdotes Théâtrales. Paris, Dentu, 18mo. Parfait (Frères). Histoire du Théâtre François, depuis son Origine jusqu'en 1721. Paris, 1745-49, 15 vols. 12mo. Ricord aîné. Les Fastes de la Comédie Française, et portraits des plus célèbres acteurs. Paris, 1821, 2 vols. 8vo.
Royer (A.). 'Histoire universelle du Théâtre, depuis les Origines jusqu'à la fin du XVIIIe Siècle. Paris, 1869-70, 4 vols. 8vo.
Allaci (Leone). Drammaturgia continuata sino all' anno 1755. Venezia, 1755, 4to.
Arteaga (Stef.). Le Revoluzioni del Teatro musicale italiano, della sua Origine fino al presente. Bologna, 1785, 3 vols. 8vo.
Baretti (Gius.). Italian Library, containing an Account
of the Lives and Works of the valuable Authors of Italy. London, 1757, 8vo.
Haym (N. Fr.). Biblioteca italiana. Milano, 1771,
2 vols. 4to.
German. Clodius (H. Jonath.). Primæ lineæ bibliothecæ lusoriæ. Lipsia, 1761, 4to.
Klein (J. L.). Geschichte des Dramas. Leipzig, 1865-70, 8 vols. 8vo.
Lessing (G. E.). Hamburgische Dramaturgie. Leipzig, 1856, 12mo.
Schlegel (A. W.). Vorlesungen über dramatischer Kunst und Literatur. Heidelberg, 1846, 2 vols. 12mo.
Literatur. Biographisch-Kritisches Lexicon deutscher Wolff (O. L. B.). Encyclopädie der deutschen National Autoren, nebst Proben aus ihren Werken. Leipzig, 1835,
8 vols. 4to.
SPECIALISTS UPON BOOKS.
It appears to me that an instructive book might be compiled with some such title as the above, the object being to collect from all quarters the opinions and critical dicta of men, distinguished in any line of study, upon other great authors in general literature, who have treated more or less fully upon the subjects to which the said specialists
have devoted the study of a life. One is glad to hear that a noted metallurgist has passed a high encomium on the scientific value of Swedenborg's remarks on metals. I should like to know what a man of the calibre of John Hunter would have to say upon the medical value of Bishop Berkeley's views on tar-water, as set forth in his Siris. Dr. Bucknill, or some medical writer, has called Coleridge "the poet's poet." The remark was made before in reference to Spenser; but it is interesting to get the record of a medical mind under the excitation of a poet's work expressing its critical appreciation of value in poetry. One is pleased to have Prof. Martyn's botanical commentary on the Georgics, &c., of Virgil, and Lord Bacon's comments on his profundity as a politician. I was glad to find in Frank Buckland's clever book, Curiosities of Natural History, when treating of frogs as barometers, that he quotes the line, "Et veterem in limo ranæ cecinere querelam," from the Georgics, and adds his competent and valuable testimony to the high reputation of Virgil as "a good observer of nature." In another place (p. 273), in treating of the barbel, which he calls "a regular fresh-water pig," he compliments Hood for so aptly recording this grubbing propensity of the fish, styling him "that most observant of poets, Hood." It would be charming to know what Cuvier thought of Goldsmith's Animated Nature; what Boyle thought of Paracelsus. One likes to see Pascal tackle Montaigne, criticizing his Raimonde de Sebonde. Or, if you could get Spinoza's notions on the Talmud; or what Palestrina thought of the song of birds, or of the music of the rhythm of Dante; what Avicenna thought of Hindoo medicine, or of the pharmaceutics of Homer; what Philo-Judæus would have said to the cosmogony of Hesiod; what Columbus judged of the astronomy and navigation of the ancients, which he so profoundly studied. It would be finer than turtle to an alderman to have a sharp cracksman's commentary on Hotten's last Slang Dictionary. It would be pleasant to get a timbermerchant's notions about the forestry of Spenser ; or Mr. Hancock the jeweller's views upon The Stones of Theophrastus, as commented by Sir J. Hill.
I think enough is said already to show what a book might be made, and what splendid results and discovery might follow on, from bringing all the clear diamond light of now-hidden intellect in contact with the stores of precious treasure already gathered in the mine of knowledge, but which remain in darkness because there is not enough of pure brain-light invited to make its objects stand out in colour and perspective as a landscape at noontide. Very much could be done very easily, and it is worth an effort. If there were many Frank Bucklands, it could be done quickly. C. A. WARD.
WESLEY IN "THE DUNCIAD."-It is well known that in the first and, so called, surreptitious edition of The Dunciad, printed in 1728, in part i. line 115, occurs the passage—
"A Gothic Vatican of Greece and Rome,
Well purg'd and worthy W-y, W-8, and BI—.” And that there might be no doubt who was meant, it was stated in The Key to the Dunciad, printed the same year,
Page 7, line 116, Mr. Westly, Mr. Wats, Mr. Blome, In the first authentic edition, 4to., 1729, this line was altered into
"Well purg'd and worthy Withers, Quarles, and Blome,"
and the note is subjoined—
"It was printed in the surreptitious editions W-ly, [Sam. Wesley senior] writ the life of Christ in verse; the who were persons eminent for good life: the one other [J. Watts] some valuable pieces in the lyrick kind on pious subjects. The line is here restor'd according to its original."
It is, however, to be observed that this correction
"PANTACLE.”—In Damon and Pythias, by Richard Edwards (Ancient British Drama, i. 87), the two pages, Jacke and Wyll, quarrel, and Jacke says:
"If you play Jacknapes in mocking my master and de-
Even here with a pantacle I will you disgrace;
Subsequently he says:
"Take this at the beginning," to which Wyll replies "Prayse well your winning: my pantacle is as readie as
The editor supposes that by "pantacle" Jacke means pantofle, a slipper, and Nares writes to the same effect; but this explanation can hardly be admitted. I would suggest that pantacle stands for pentacle, which properly is a magical figure having five angles, and is here jocularly used for the hand with its five fingers; cp. the German,
einen Fünf-thaler-schein auf das Gesicht schreiben.
"Here lieth the body of Peter Isnell (30 years clerk of this parish). He lived respected as a pious and a mirth ful man, and died on his way to church to assist at a wedding, on the 31st day of March, 1811, aged 70 years. The inhabitants of Crayford have raised this stone to his cheerful memory, and as a tribute to his long and faithful services.
The life of this clerk was just threescore and ten,
was not at Clapham Common, as has been stated in some of the papers, but was recently built at his house in Grafton Street; and it is not easy to describe the excessive foppery with which his books were ornamented. The present is the age for illustrating books, by fitting in all manner of prints and drawings analogous to the subject. Mr. Thornton bestowed this embellishment in a way the most expensive. His Suetonius, for example, he illustrated by having miniature portraits, in oil, by the best masters, of the Twelve Cæsars, framed and glazed, inlaid in one cover, while twelve of the principal Roman ladies, painted to match, were in the other, both guarded with crimson velvet. His bindings were all in the most sumptuous style, and many of them curious by their devices. His Johnston's History of Highwaymen, for instance, was ornamented by the Count de Chaumont (an emigrant, who did not disdain to employ his talent, creditably for himself, in bookbinding during the exile of the noblesse) with emblems of the fate that robbers ought to come to, viz. the gallows, on the four corners!" -Edinburgh Annual Register, 1814, "Chronicle," p. cxxxi.
WILLIAM GEORGE BLACK.
ENILORAC. THE DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.-I have before "The Passage of the Mountain Saint Gothard, a Poem, by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire," a finely printed quarto of 48 pages, 1802, with an accompanying French translation by M. l'Abbé de Lille, and an inserted portrait represented to me to be that of the authoress, but cut close, and therefore without the inscription it no doubt bore. It is an oval, seven by five and a half inches, representing a lady seated before a pillar; small, thin side face looking to the left, in morning wrapper, her right hand resting on a book; hair brushed back and tied with a ribbon, and a lock falling on each shoulder.
I can trace no resemblance between the portrait and that of the abducted charmer lately bewitching the town. Perhaps some one having an intact copy will say if this is really Georgiana, the authoress, and if she is, notwithstanding, identical with the beauty, but drawn probably by a less masterly hand than that of Gainsborough.
THE ISLAND OF BARATARIA.-Every one knows that the island, to the governorship of which Sancho Panza was advanced by the favour of the duke, was called Barataria; but it is not so well known that there is a place, I believe an island, on the coast of North America, State of Louisiana, of this name. The question arises, Was one of these places called after the other, and was the real Barataria so called in honour of the fictitious one? Cervantes says, in the translation I have :
"The splendid library of Mr. Robert Thornton, who lately failed in his gambling speculations in the funds,
"Sancho then, with all his attendants, arrived at a town containing about a thousand inhabitants, which was one of the largest and best the duke had. They gave him to understand that it was called the Island of of the place, or because he obtained the government of it Barataria, either because Barataria was really the name
at so cheap a rate";
and a translator's note says, "Barato is the adjec tive opposed in Spanish to caro, dear, and is expressed by our word cheap." I see that on October 10, 1814, Commodore Daniel Patterson addresses a letter from New Orleans to the Secretary of the U.S. Navy, acquainting him of the Barataria and the destruction of their establishsuccess of his expedition against the pirates of ment at the islands of Grandterre, Grand Isle, and Cheniere. Perhaps some American contributor can say how this place got its name.
W. H. PATTERSON.
RIGHT OF WAY.--There had always been a path through the churchyard of Walpole St. Peter, near Lynn Regis, and when the new church was built, in the time of Henry VI., the edifice extended almost to the verge of the churchyard, thus obstructing the path. The parishioners being
MR. ROBERT THORNTON.-The following ac
count of a library of some splendour may not be unwilling to give up their path, a vaulted way was constructed under the chancel, which caused uninteresting to your readers:the altar to be approached by ten steps.