Edgar Allan Poe.

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before parting that

) shall stand for a


* d





i or j











u or v











Now the following note is to be communicated- -
" We must see you immediately upon a matter of
great importance. Plots ha^e been discovered, and
the conspirators are in our hands. Hasten!"
These words would be written thus


.t&t[] :). (- *. ] t .-.*) *[ : .

This certainly has an intricate appearance, and
would prove a most difficult cipher to any one not



conversant with cryptography. But it will be
observed that a, for example, is never represented
by any other character than ) , b never by any other
character than (, and so on. Thus by the discovery,
accidental or otherwise, of any one letter, the party
intercepting the epistle would gain a permanent and
decided advantage, and could apply his knowledge
to all the instances in which the character in question
was employed throughout the cipher.

In the cryptographs, on the other hand, which
have been sent us by our correspondent at Stoning-
ton, and which are identical in conformation with
the cipher resolved by Berryer, no such permanent
advantage is to be obtained.

Let us refer to the second of these puzzles. Its
key-phrase runs thus.

Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re.

Let us now place the alphabet beneath thia phrase,
letter beneath letter

utalv i tjelr i nlmjo

We here see that

k 1



P qjr|s t



a stands for
d "




g, u, and z

e, i, s and w

j and x
1, n, and p
h, q, v, and y

f, r, and t


In this manner n stands for two letters, and e, o, and
t for three each, while i and r represent each as many
as four. Thirteen characters are made to perform
the operations of the whole alphabet. The result
of such a key-phrase upon the cipher is to give it
the appearance of a mere medley of the letters
e, o, t, r, and i, the latter character greatly pre
dominating through the accident of being employed
for letters, which, themselves, are inordinately
prevalent in most languages we mean e and t.

A letter thus written being intercepted, and the
key-phrase unknown, the individual who should
attempt to decipher it may be imagined guessing,
or otherwise attempting to convince himself, that a
certain character (i, for example), represented the
letter e. Looking throughout the cryptograph for
confirmation of this idea he would meet with nothing
but a negation of it. He would see the character in
situations where it could not possibly represent e.
He might, for instance, be puzzled by four z s forming
of themselves a single word, without the intervention
of any other character, in which case, of course,
they could not be all e s. It will be seen that the
word wise might be thus constructed. We say this
may be seen now, by us, in possession of the key-
phrase, but the question will no doubt occur, how,
without the key-phrase, and without cognizance ol
any single letter in the cipher, it would be possible
for the interceptor of such a cryptograph to make
anything for such a word as iiii?

But again. A key-phrase might easily be con
structed in which one character would represent
seven, eight, or ten letters. Let us then imagine the
word iiiiiiiiii presenting itself in a cryptograph to
an individual without the proper key-phrase, or, if
this be a supposition somewhat too perplexing, let


us suppose it occurring to the person for whom the
cipher is designed, and who has the key-phrase.
What is he to do with such a word as iiiiiiiiii? In
any of the ordinary books upon Algebra will be found
a very concise formula (we have not the necessary
type for its insertion here) for ascertaining the
number of arrangements in which m letters may be
placed, taken n at a time. But no doubt there are
none of our readers ignorant of the innumerable
combinations which may be made from these ten
fc s. Yet, unless it occur otherwise by accident, the
correspondent receiving the cipher would have to
write down all these combinations before attaining
the word intended, and even when he had written
them he would be inexpressibly perplexed in selecting
the word designed from the vast number of other
words arising in the course of the permutation.

To obviate, therefore, the exceeding difficulty of
deciphering this species of cryptograph, on the part
of the possessors of the key-phrase, and to confine
the deep intricacy of the puzzle to those for whom the
cipher was not designed, it becomes necessary that
some order should be agreed upon by the parties
corresponding some order in reference to which
those characters are to be read w r hich represent more
than one letter and this order must be held in view
by the writer of the cryptograph. It may be agreed,
for example, that the first time an i occurs in the
cipher it is to be understood as representing that
character which stands against the first i in the
key-phrase, that the second time an i occurs it must
be supposed to represent that letter wiiich stands
opposed to the second i in the key-phrase, etc., etc.
Thus the location of each cipherical letter must be
considered in connection with the character itself
in order to determine its exact signification.


We say that some preconcerted order of this kind
is necessary lest the cipher prove too intricate a lock
to yield even to its true key. But it will be evident,
upon inspection, that our correspondent at Stoning-
ton has inflicted upon us a cryptograph in which no
order has been preserved, in which many characters
respectively stand, at absolute random, for many
others. If, therefore, in regard to the gauntlet we
threw down in April, he should be half-inclined to
accuse us of braggadocio, he will yet admit that we
have more than acted up to our boast. If what we
then said was not said suaviter in modo, what we
now do is at least done fortiter in re.

In these cursory observations we have by no means
attempted to exhaust the subject of Cryptography.
With such object in view a folio might be required.
We have indeed mentioned only a few of the ordinary
modes of cipher. Even two thousand years ago
^Eneas Tacticus detailed twenty distinct methods,
and modern ingenuity has added much to the science.
Our design has been chiefly suggestive, and perhaps
we have already bored the readers of the Magazine.
To those who desire further information upon this
topic we may say that there are extant treatises by
Trithemius, Cap. Porta, Vignere, and P. Niceron.
The works of the two latter may be found, we
believe, in the library of the Harvard University.
If, however, there should be sought in these dis
quisitions, or in any, rules for the solution of cipher,
the seeker will be disappointed. Beyond some hints
in regard to the general structure of language, and
some minute exercises in their practical application,
he will find nothing upon record which he does not
in his own intellect possess.



UNDER the head of "Random Thoughts,"
"Odds and Ends," "Stray Leaves,"
"Scraps," "Brevities," and a variety of
similar titles, we occasionally meet, in periodicals
and elsewhere, with papers of rich interest and value,
the result in some cases of much thought and more
research, expended, however, at a manifest dis
advantage, if we regard merely the estimate which
the public are willing to set upon such articles. It
sometimes occurs that in papers of this nature may
be found a collective mass of general but more
usually of classical erudition, which, if dexterously
besprinkled over a proper surface of narrative,
would be sufficient to make the fortunes of one or two
hundred ordinary novelists in these our good days,
when all heroes and heroines are necessarily men and
women of "extensive acquirements." But for the
most part these "Brevities," etc., are either piece
meal cullings at second-hand from a variety of sources
hidden or supposed to be hidden, or more audacious
pilferings from those vast storehouses of brief facts,
memoranda, and opinions in general literature, which
are so abundant in all the principal libraries of
Germany and France. Of the former species the
Koran of Laurence Sterne is, at the same time, one
of the most consummately impudent and silly,
and it may well be doubted whether a single para
graph of any merit in the whole of it may not be
found, nearly verbatim, in the works of some one of
his immediate contemporaries. If the Lacou of Mr.


Colton is any better, its superiority consists al
together in a deeper ingenuity in disguising his
stolen wares, and in that prescriptive right of the
strongest, which, time out of mind, has decided upon
calling every Napoleon a conqueror, and every Dick
Turpin a thief. Seneca, Machiavelli,* Balzac, the
author of "La Maniere de Bien Penser," Bielfeld the
German, who wrote in French " Les Premiers Traits
de 1 Erudition Universelle, " Rochefoucault, Bacon,
Bolingbroke, and especially Burdon, of "materials
for thinking" memory, possess among them indis
putable claims to the ownership of nearly everything
worth owning in the book.

Of the latter species of theft we see frequent
specimens in the continental magazines of Europe,
and occasionally meet with them even in the lower
class of periodicals in Great Britain. These speci
mens are usually extracts, by wholesale, from such
works as the " Biblioth^que des Memorabilia Liter-
aria," the "Recueil des Bon Pensees," the "Lettres
Edifiantes et Curieuses," the "Literary Memoirs"
of Sallengre", the "Melanges Literaires" of Suard
and Andre", or the "Pieces Interessantes et Peu
Connues" of Laplace. D Israeli s "Curiosities of
Literature," "Literary Character," and "Calamities
of Authors," have of late years proved exceedingly
convenient to some little American pilferers in this
line, but are now becoming too generally known to
allow much hope of their good things being any longer
appropriated with impunity.

Such collections as those of which we have been
speaking are usually entertaining in themselves, and

* It is remarkable that much of what Colton has stolen from
Machiavelli was previously stolen by Machiayellli from Plutarch
A MS. book of the Apophthegms of the Ancients, by this latter
writer, having fallen into Machiavelli s hands, he put them
nearly all into the mouth of his hero, Castrucio Castracani.


for the most part we relish everything about them
save their pretentions to originality. In offering
ourselves something of the kind to our readers, we
wish to be understood as disclaiming in a great
degree every such pretention. Most of the following
article is original, and will be readily recognised as
such by the classical and general reader; some por
tions of it may have been written down in the words,
or nearly in the words, of the primitive authorities.
The whole is taken from a confused mass of marginal
notes and entries in a commonplace book. No
certain arrangement has been considered necessary,
and indeed so heterogeneous a farrago it would
have been an endless task to methodise. We have
chosen the heading Pinakidia or Tablets, as one suffi
ciently comprehensive. It was used for a somewhat
similar purpose by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

The whole of Bulwer s elaborate argument on the
immortality of the soul, which he has put into the
mouth of "The Ambitious Student," may be
confuted through the author s omission of one
particular point in his summary of the attributes of
Deity a point which we cannot believe omitted
altogether through accident. A single link is
deficient in the chain, but the chain is worthless
without it. No man doubts the immortality of
the soul, yet of all truths, this truth of immortality
is the most difficult to prove by any mere series of
syllogisms. We would refer our readers to the
argument here mentioned.

" The rude, rough, wild waste has its power to please,"

a line in one, Mr. Odiorne s poem, " The Progress of
Refinement," is pronounced by the American author


of a book entitled "Antediluvian Antiquities" "the
very best alliteration in all poetry."

Lipsius, in his treatise, "De Supplicio Crucis,"
says that the upright beam of the cross was a fixture
at the place of execution, whither the criminal was
made to bear only the transverse arm. Consequently
the painters are in error vho depict our Saviour
bearing the entire cross.

The tale in Plato s "Convivium," that man at
first was male and female, and that, though Jupiter
cleft them asunder, there was a natural love towards
one another, seems to be only a corruption of the
account in Genesis of Eve s being made from
Adam s rib.

Corneille has these lines in one of his tragedies:

" Pleurez, pleurez, mes yeux, et fondez vous en eau,
La moitie de ma vie a mis 1 autre au tombeau."

which may be thus translated,

" Weep, weep my eyes! It is no time to laugh,
For half myself has buried the other half."

Over the iron gate of a prison at Ferrara is this
inscription "Ingresso alia prigione di Torquato

The Rabbi Manasseh published a book at Amster
dam entitled " The Hopes of Israel." It was founded
upon the supposed number and power of the Jews in
America. This supposition was derived from a
fabulous account by Montesini of his having found a
vast concourse of Jews among the Cordilleras.

The word "assassin" is derived, according to
Hyle, from Hassa, to kill. Some bring it from


Hassan, the first chief of the association; some from
the Jewish Essene; Lemoine from a word meaning
"herbage"; De Sacyand Von Hammer from "hash
ish " the opiate of hemp leaves, of which the assassins
made a singular use.

The origin of the phrase "corporal oath" is to be
found in the ancient us^ge of touching, upon occa
sion of attestation, the corporate or cloth which
covered the consecrated articles.

Montgomery, in his lectures on Litera .ire (!), has
the following "Who does not turn with absolute
contempt from the signs, and gems, and niters, and
caves, and genii of Eastern Tales as from the trinkets
of a toy shop, and the trumpery of a raree show?"
What man of genius but must answer " Not I?"

There is no particular air known throughout
Switzerland by the name of the Ranz des Vaches.
Every canton has its own song, varying in words,
notes, and even language. Mr. Cooper, the novelist,
is our authority.

The Abb de St. Pierre has fixed in his language
two significant words viz. bienfaisance, and the
diminutive la gloriole.

"Incidis in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim"
is neither in Virgil nor Ovid, as often supposed, but
in the " Alexandrics " of Philip Gualtier, a French
poet of the thirteenth century.

The psalter of Solomon, which contains eighteen
psalms, is a work which was found in Greek in the
library of Augsburg, and has been translated into



Latin by John Lewis de la Cerda. It is supposed
not to be Solomon s, but the work of some Hellenistic
Jew, and composed in imitation of David s psalms.
The psalter was known to the ancients, and was
formerly in the famous Alexandrian MS.

It is probable that the Queen of Sheba was Balkis,
that Sheba was a kingdom in the southern part of
Arabia Felix, and that the people were called
Sabasans. These lines of Claudian relate to the
people and queen:

" Medis, levibusque Sabasis
Imperat hie sexus; reginarumque sub armis
Barbarian pars magna jacet."

Sheridan declared he would rather be the author
of the ballad called "Hosier s Ghost," by Glover,
than of the Annals of Tacitus.

The word Jehovah is not Hebrew. The Hebrews
had no such letters as J or V. The word is properly
Jah, Uah, compounded of Jah, essence, and Uah,
existing. Its full meaning is the self-existing essence
of all things.

The "Song of Solomon," throwing aside the heading
of the chapters, which is the work of the English
translators, contains nothing which relates to the
Saviour or the church. It does not, like every other
sacred book, contain even the name of the Deity.

The word translated slanderers " in i Timothy
iii. 2, and that translated "false accusers" in Titus
ii. 3, are "female devils" in the original Greek of the
New Testament.

The Hebrew language contains no word (except
perhaps Jehovah) which conveys to the mind the idea


of eternity. The translators of the Old Testament
have used the word "eternity" but once (Isa. Ivii.

A version of the Psalms was published in 1642
by William Slatyer, of which this is a specimen :

" The righteous shall his sorrows scan,
And laugh at him, and say, Behold!
What hath become of this here man,
That on his riches was so bold. "

Milton, in "Paradise Lost," has this passage:

" When the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Call us to penance;"

Gray, in his "Ode to Adversity," has:

" Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and torturing hour
The bad affright."

Gray tells us that the image of his bard, where

" Loose his beard, and hoaiy hair
Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air,"

was taken from a picture by Raphael : yet the beard
of Hudibras is also likened to a meteor :

"This hairy meteor did denounce
The fall of sceptres and of crowns."

Dryden, in his "Absalom and Achitophel," has
these lines .

" David for him his tuneful harp had strung,
And heaven had wanted one immortal song;"


Pope, in his "Epistle to Arbuthnot," has:

" Friend of my life, which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song."

In Suidas is a letter from Dionysius, the Areopag-
ite, dated Heliopolis in the fourth year of the 202d
Olympiad (the year of Christ s crucifixion), to his
friend Apollophanes, in which is mentioned a total
eclipse of the sun at noon. "Either," says Dion
ysius, "the author of nature suffers, or he sympa
thises with some who do."

A curious passage in a letter from Cicero to his
literary friend Papirius Paetus, shows that our
custom of annexing a farce of pantomime to a tragic
drama existed among the Romans.

In Hudibras are these lines :

" Each window, like the pillory, appears
With heads thrust through, nailed by the ears;"

Young, in his " Love of Fame, has the following :-~

" An opera, like a pillory, may be said
To nail our ears down and expose our head."

Goldsmith s celebrated lines,

" Man wants but little here below
Nor wants that little long,"

are stolen from Young, who has

" Man wants but little, nor that little long."

Archbishop Usher, in a manuscript of St. Patrick s
Life, said to have been found at Lou vain as an original
of a very remote date, detected several entire pas
sages purloined from his own writings.


"The Slipper of Cinderella," says the editor of the
new edition of Wharton, "finds a parallel in the
history of Rhodope." Cinderella is a tale of universal
currency. An ancient Danish ballad has some of
the incidents. It is popular amongst the Welsh
also among the Poles in Hesse, and in Servia.
Schottky found it among the Servian fables. Roll-
enbagen, in his Froschmauseler, speaks of it as the
tale of the despised Aschenpossel. Luther mentions
it. It is in the Italian Pentamerone under the title
of Cenerentola.

Boileau is mistaken in saying that Petrarch,
" qui est regarde comme le pbre du sonnet," borrowed
it from the French or Provencal writers. The
Italian sonnet can be traced back as far as the year
1200. Petrarch was not born until 1304.

Dante gives the name of sonnet to his little canzone
or ode beginning

" O voi che per la via d Amor passate.V

The lines

" For he that fights and runs away
May live to fight another day,
But he that is in battle slain
Will never rise to fight again."

are not to be found, as is thought, in Hudibras.
Butler s verses ran thus:

" For he that flies may fight again,
Which he can never do that s slain."

The former are in a volume of "Poems" by Sir
John Mennes, reign of Charles the Second. The
original idea is in Demosthenes. A^/> 6 <pevy<*w /cc iraXtj

uo \rifferat.


The noble simile of Milton, of Satan with the rising
sun, in the first book of the "Paradise Lost," had
nearly occasioned the suppression of that epic; it
was supposed to contain a treasonable allusion.

Campbell s line

" Like angel visits, few and far between,"

is a palpable plagiarism. Blair has

" Its visits,
Like angel visits, short and far between."

The character of the ancient Bacchus, that
graceful divinity, seems to have been little under
stood by Dryden. The line in Virgil

"Et quocunque deus circum caput egit honestum"
is thus grossly mistranslated,

" On whate er side he turns his honest face."

Macrobius gives the form of an imprecation by
which the Romans believed whole towns could be
demolished and armies defeated. It commences
"Dis Pater sive Jovis mavis sive quo alio nomine fas
est nominare," and ends, "Si haec ita faxitis ut ego
sciam, sentiam, intelligamque, turn quisquis votum
hoc faxit recte factum esto, ovibus atris tribus,
Tellus mater, teque, Jupiter, obtestor."

The Courtier of Baldazzar Castiglione, 1528, is the
first attempt at periodical moral essay with which
we are acquainted. The Nodes Attica of Aulus
Gellius cannot be allowed to rank as such.

These lines were written over the closet-door of
M. Menard:


" Las d espe rer, et de me plaindre
De 1 amour, des grands, et du sort
C est ici que j attends la mort
Sans la desirer ou la craindre."

Martin Luther, in his reply to Henry the Eighth s
book, by which the latter acquired the title of
"Defender of the Faith," calls the monarch very
unceremoniously "a pig, an ass, a dunghill, the
spawn of an adder, a basilisk, a lying buffoon dressed
in a king s robes, a mad fool with a frothy mouth
and a whorish face."

"An unshaped kind of something first appeared,"

is a line in Cowley s famous description of the

The "Turkish Spy" is the original of many similar
works, among the best of which are Montesquieu s
"Persian Letters," and the "British Spy" of our
own Wirt. It was written undoubtedly by John
Paul Marana, an Italian, in Italian, but probably
was first published in French. Dr. Johnson, who
only saw an English translation, supposed it an
English work. Marana died in 1693.

Corneille s celebrated "Moi" of Medea is borrowed
from Seneca. Recine, in "Phaedra," has stolen
nearly the whole scene of the declaration of love
from the same puerile writer.

The peculiar zodiac of the comets is comprised in
these verses of Cassini:

Antinous, Pegasusque, Andromeda, Taurus, Orion,
Procyon, atque Hydrus, Centaurus, Scorpius, Arcus.

A religious hubbub, such as the world has seldom
seen, was excited, during the reign of Frederick II.,


by the imagined virulence of a book entitled "The
Three Impostors." It was attributed to Pierre des
Vignes, chancellor of the king, who was accused
by the Pope of having treated the religions of Moses,
Jesus, and Mahomet as political fables. The work
in question, however, which was squabbled about,
abused, defended, and familiarly quoted by all
parties, is well proved never to have existed.

Theophrastus, in his botanical works, anticipated
the sexual system of Linnaeus. Philolaus of Crotona
maintained that comets appeared after a certain
revolution and^Ecetes contended for the existence
of what is now called the new world. Pulci, "The
Sire of the Half Serious Rhyme," has a passage
expressly alluding to a western continent. Dante,
two centuries before, has the same allusion:

" De vostri sensi ch fe del rimanente
Non vogliate negar 1 esperenza,
Diretro al sol, del mondo sensa gente."

The "Lamentations" of Jeremiah are written,
with the exception of the last chapter, in acrostic
verse ; that is to say, every line or couplet begins in
alphabetical order, with some letter in the Hebrew
alphabet. In the third chapter each letter is
repeated three times successively.

The fullest account of the Amazons is to be found
in Diodorus Siculus.

Cicero makes finis masculine, Virgil feminine.
Usque ad eum finem Cicero. Qua finis standi?
Haze finis Priami fatorum Virgil.

Dante left a poem in three languages Latin,
Provencal and Italian. Rambaud de Vachieras left
one in five.


Marcus Antoninus wrote a book entitled TM* eavro*

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