Notes and Queries, Number 50, October 12, 1850 online

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"When found, make a note of." - CAPTAIN CUTTLE.

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No. 50.] SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12, 1850 [Price Threepence. Stamped Edition 4d.

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NOTES: - Page

A Note on "Small Words". 305
Gray's Elegy, by Bolton Corney. 306
Gray's Elegy in Portuguese. 306
Further Notes on the Authorship of Henry VIII. 306
Queen Elizabeth and Sir Henry Nevill, by Lord
Braybrooke. 307
Minor Notes: - Whales - Bookbinding - Scott's
Waverley - Satyayrata. 307

The Black Rood of Scotland. 308
Minor Queries: - Trogus Pompeius - Mortuary
Stanzas - Laird of Grant - Bastille, Records of, - Orkney
under Norwegians - Swift's Works - Pride of the
Morning - Bishop Durdent and the Staffordshire Historians - Pope and
Bishop Burgess - Daniel's Irish New Testament - Ale Draper - Eugene
Aram - Latin Epigram - Couplet in Defoe - Books
wanted to refer to - Watermarks in
Writing-paper - Puzzling Epitaph - Cornish MSS. - Bilderdijk
the Poet - Egyptian MSS. - Scandinavian
Priesthood - Thomas Volusemus. 309

Curfew. 311
Engelmann's Bibliotheca Scriptorum Classicorum. 312
Crozier and Pastoral Staff, by Rev. M. Walcott. 313
Parsons, the Staffordshire Giant, by E.F. Rimbault,
L.L.D. 314
Wormwood Wine, by S.W. Singer, &c. 315
Replies to Minor Queries: - Feltham's Works - Harefinder - Fool
or a Physician - Papers of Perjury - Pilgrim's
Road - Capture of Henry VI. - Andrew
Beckett - Passage in Vida - Quem Deus - Countess
of Desmond - Confession - Cayell, Meaning of, - Lord
Kingsborough's Mexico - Aërostation - Concolinel - Andrewes's
Tortura Torti, &c. 315

Notes on Books, Sales, Catalogues, &c. 319
Books and Odd Volumes Wanted. 319
Notices to Correspondents. 319
Advertisements. 320

* * * * *



"And ten small words creep on in one dull line."

Most ingenious! most felicitous! but let no man despise little words,
despite of the little man of Twickenham. He himself knew better, but
there was no resisting the temptation of such a line as that. Small
words he says, in plain prosaic criticism, are generally "stiff and
languishing, but they may be beautiful to express melancholy."

The English language is a language of small words. It is, says Swift,
"overstocked with monosyllables." It cuts down all its words to the
shortest possible dimensions: a sort of half-Procrustes, which lops but
never stretches. In one of the most magnificent passages in Holy Writ,
that, namely, which describes the death of Sisera: -

"At her feet he bowed, he fell: at her feet he bowed, he fell,
he lay down: where he bowed, there he fell down dead."

There are twenty-two monosyllables to three of greater length, or rather
to the same dissyllable thrice repeated; and that too in common parlance
proncounced as a monosyllable. The passage in the Book of Ezekiel, which
Coleride is said to have considered the most sublime in the whole
Bible, -

"And He said unto me, son of man, can these bones live? And I
answered, O Lord God, though knowest," -

contains seventeen monosyllables to three others. And in the most grand
passage which commences the Gospel of St. John, from the first to the
fourteenth verses, inclusive, there are polysyllables twenty-eight,
monosyllables two hundred and one. This it may be said is poetry, but
not verse, and therefore makes but little against the critic. Well then,
out of his own mouth shall he be confuted. In the fourth epistle of his
_Essay on Man_, a specimen selected purely at random from his works, and
extending altogether to three hundred and ninety-eight lines, there are
no less than twenty-seven (that is, a trifle more than one out of every
fifteen,) made up _entirely_ of monosyllables: and over and above these,
there are one hundred and fifteen which have in them only one word of
greater length; and yet there are few dull creepers among the lines of

The early writers, the "pure wells of English undefiled," are full of
"small words."

Hall, in one of the most exquisite of his satires, speaking of the
vanity of "adding house to house, and field to field," has these most
beautiful lines, -

"Fond fool! six feet shall serve for all thy store,
And he that cares for most shall find no more!"

"What harmonious monosyllables!" says Mr. Gifford; and what critic will
refuse to echo his exclamation? The same writer is full of monosyllabic
lines, and he is among the most energetic {306} of satirists. By the
way, it is not a little curious, that in George Webster's _White Devil,
or Vittoria Corombona_, almost the same thought is also clothed in two
monosyllabic lines: -

"His wealth is summed, and this is all his store:
This poor men get, and great men get no more."

Was Young dull? Listen, for it is indeed a "solemn sound:" -

"The bell strikes one. We take no note of time
Save by its loss, to give it then a tongue
Was wise in man."

Was Milton tame? Hear the "lost archangel" calling upon Hell to receive
its new possessor: -

"One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in _itself_
Can make a heav'n of hell, - a hell of heav'n.
What _matter_ where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be; all but less than he
Whom _thunder_ hath made _greater_? Here at least
We shall be free; the _Almighty_ hath not built
Here for his _envy_; will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign _secure_; and in my choice
To reign is worth _ambition_, though in hell:
_Better_ to reign in hell, than serve in heav'n!"

A great conjunction of little words! Are monosyllables passionless?
Listen to the widowed Constance: -

"Thou mayst, thou shalt! I will not go with thee!
I will _instruct_ my _sorrows_ to be proud;
For grief is proud, and makes his _owner_ stout;
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings _assemble_; for my grief's so great,
That no _supporter_ but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and _sorrow_ sit;
Here is my throne: bid kings come bow to it."

Six polysyllables only in eight lines!

The ingenuity of Pope's line is great, but the criticism false. We
applaud it only because we have never taken the trouble to think about
the matter, and take it for granted that all monosyllabic lines must
"creep" like that which he puts forward as a specimen. The very
frequency of monosyllables in the compositions of our language is one
grand cause of that frequency passing uncommented upon by the general
reader. The investigation prompted by the criticism will serve only to
show its unsoundness.


* * * * *


If required to name the most popular English poem of the last century, I
should perhaps fix on the _Elegy_ of Gray. According to Mason, it "ran
through eleven editions in a very short space of time." If he means
_separate_ editions, I can point out six other impressions in the
life-time of the poet, besides those in miscellaneous collections viz.
In _Six Poems by Mr. T. Gray_, London, 1753. Folio - 1765. Folio - and in
_Poems by Mr. Gray_, London, 1768. small 8o. - Glasgow 1768. 4o. - London.
A new edition, 1768. small 8o. A new edition, 1770. small 8o. So much
has been said of translations and imitations, that I shall confine
myself to the text.

Of the _first_ separate edition I am so fortunate as to possess a copy.
It is thus entitled: -

"_An elegy wrote in a country church-yard_. LONDON: printed for
R. Dodsley in Pal-mall; and sold by M. Cooper in
Pater-noster-row, 1751. Price six-pense. 4o six leaves.


"The following POEM came into my hands by accident, if the
general approbation with which this little piece has been
spread, may be call'd by so slight a term as accident. It is
this approbation which makes it unnecessary for me to make any
apology but to the author: as he cannot but feel some
satisfaction in having pleas'd so many readers already, I
flatter myself he will forgive my communicating that pleasure to
many more.


The history of this publication is given by Gray himself, in a letter to
Walpole, dated in 1751, and needs no repetition; but I must observe, as
a remarkable circumstance, that the poem was reprinted _anonymously_, in
its separate form, as late as 1763.

I have collated the editions of 1751 and 1770, and find variations in
stanzas 1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 23, 24, and 27. All the amendments, however,
were adopted as early as 1753, except the correction of a grammatical
peccadillo in the ninth stanza.

I make this communication in the shape of a note, as it may interest men
of the world not less than certain _hermits_.


* * * * *


In several numbers of the "NOTES AND QUERIES" mention is made of various
translations into foreign languages of GRAY'S _Elegy in a Country
Church-yard_. P.C.S.S. begs leave to add to the list a very elegant
translation into Portuguese, by the Chevalier Antonio de Aracejo
(afterwards Minister of Foreign Affairs at Lisbon and at Rio de
Janeiro), to whose friendship he was indebted many years ago for a copy
of it. It was privately printed at Lisbon towards the close of the last
century, and was subsequently reprinted at Paris in 1802, in a work
called _Traductions interlinéaires, en six Langues_, by A.M.H. Boulard.


* * * * *


The Gentleman's Magazine for the present month contains a letter from
Mr. Spedding, the author of the essay which appeared in the August {307}
number of that magazine on the authorship of _Henry VIII._ After
expressing himself "gratified but not surprised" by the coincidence
between his views and those of Mr. Hickson in "NOTES AND QUERIES" (Vol.
ii., p. 198.), Mr. Spedding proceeds:

"The resemblance of the style, in some parts of the play, to
Fletcher's, was pointed out to me several years ago by Alfred
Tennyson (for I do not know why I should not mention his name);
and long before that, the general distinctions between
Shakspeare's manner and Fletcher's had been admirably explained
by Charles Lamb in his note on the _Two Noble Kinsmen_, and by
Mr. Spalding in his Essay. And in respect to this I had myself
derived additional light, more, perhaps, than I am aware of,
from Mr. Hickson himself, if he be (as I suppose he is) the S.H.
of the _Westminster Review_. But having been thus put upon the
scent and furnished with principles, I followed the inquiry out
by myself, without help or communication. That two independent
inquirers should thus have arrived at the same conclusions upon
so many particulars, must certainly be considered very singular,
except upon one supposition; viz., that the conclusions are
according to reason. Upon that supposition, nothing is more
natural; and I must confess, for my own part, that I should have
been more surprised if the coincidence had been less exact."

We will borrow one more paragraph from Mr. Spedding's communication
(which is distinguished throughout by the liberality of tone of a true
scholar), and we doubt not that the wish expressed at its conclusion is
one in which our readers join as heartily as ourselves: -

"I hope, however, that Mr. Hickson may be induced to pursue his
own investigation further, and to develop more fully the
suggestion which he throws out as to a difference of style
discernible in the scenes which he attributes to Shakspeare. If
I understand him rightly, he sees traces in this play of the
earlier as well as the later hand of both poets. I cannot say
that I perceive any indications of this myself, nor, if it be
so, can I well make out how it should have come to pass. But I
should be glad to hear more about it."

It will be seen by the following extract from Mr. Emerson's
_Representative Men_, for which we are indebted to our correspondent
A.R., that the subject had attracted the attention of that distinguished
writer. -

"In _Henry VIII._, I think I see plainly the cropping out of the
original rock on which his (Shakspeare's) own finer stratum was
laid. The first play was written by a superior, thoughtful man,
with a vicious ear. I can mark his lines, and know well their
cadence. See Wolsey's Soliloquy, and the following scene with
Cromwell, where, instead of the metre of Shakspeare, whose
secret is, that the thought constructs the tune, so that reading
for the sense will best bring out the rhythm; here the lines are
constructed on a given tune, and the verse has even a trace of
pulpit eloquence. But the play contains, through all its length,
unmistakeable traits of Shakspeare's hand; and some passages, as
the account of the coronation, are like autographs. What is odd,
the compliment to Queen Elizabeth is in the bad rhythm."

* * * * *


Many years ago I copied the following note from a volume of Berkshire
pedigrees in the British Museum, my reference to which is unluckily

"Queen Elizabeth, in her first progress at Maidenhithe Bridge,
being mett by all the Nobility, Kn'ts, and Esquires of Berks,
they kneeling on both sides of her way, shee alighted at the
bridge foot, and walked on foote through the midst, and coming
just agaynst Sir Henry Nevill of Billingbear, made a stay, and
leyd her glove on his head, saying, 'I am glad to see thee,
_Brother Henry_.' Hee, not pleased with the expression, swore
she would make the court believe hee was a bastard, at which
shee laughed, and passed on."

The masquing scene in _Henry VIII._, as described by Holinshed, perhaps
furnishes a clue to the Queen's pleasantry, though Shakspeare has
omitted the particular incident relating to Sir Henry Nevill. The old
chronicler, after giving an account of Wolsey's banquet, and the
entrance of a noble troop of strangers in masks, amongst whom he
suspected that the king made one, proceeds as follows: -

"Then the Lord Chamberlain said to the Cardinal, Sir, they
confesse that among them there is such a noble personage whom,
if your Grace can appointe out 'from the rest, he is content to
disclose himself and to accept your place.' Whereupon the
Cardinal, taking good advisement among them, at the last quoth
he, 'Me seemeth the gentleman in the black beard should be even
he.' And with that he arose out of his chaire and offered the
same to the gentleman in the black beard, with his cap in his
hand. The person to whom he offered the chaire was Sir Edward
Nevill, a comelie knight, that much more resembled the king's
person in that mask than anie other. The King perceiving the
Cardinal so deceived, could not forbear laughing, and pulled
down his visor and Maister Nevill's too."

Sir Edward Nevill of Aldington, in Kent, was the second surviving son of
George Nevill, Lord Abergavenny, and the father of Sir Henry Nevill
above mentioned, who laid the foundation-stone and built the body and
one wing of Billingbear House, which still belongs to his descendant.
Sir Edward Nevill was beheaded for high treason in 1538, his likeness to
Henry VIII. not saving him from the fate which befell so many of that
king's unhappy favourites.


Audley End.

* * * * *


_Whales._ - Tychsen thinks the stories of whales mistaken for islands
originated in the perplexities of inexperienced sailors when first
venturing from {308} the Mediterranean into a sea exposed to the tides.
I think Dr. Whewell mentions that in particular situations the turn of
the current occurs at a sufficient interval from the time of high or low
water to perplex even the most experienced sailors.


_Bookbinding._ - While the mischief of _mildew_ on the _inside_ of books
has engaged some correspondents to seek for a remedy (Vol. ii., 103.
173.), a word may be put in on behalf of the _outside_, the binding. The
present material used in binding is so soft, flabby, and unsound, that
it will not endure a week's service. I have seen a bound volume lately,
with a name of repute attached to it; and certainly the _workmanship_ is
creditable enough, but the _leather_ is just as miserable as any from
the commonest workshop. The volume cannot have been bound many months,
and yet even now, though in good hands, it is beginning to rub _smooth_,
and to look, what best expresses it emphatically, _shabby_, contrasting
most grievously with the leather of another volume, just then in use,
bound some fifty or seventy years ago, and as sound and firm as a drum's
head - _common_ binding too, be it observed - as the modern _cover_ is
flabby and washy. Pray, sir, raise a voice against this wretched
_material_, for that is the thing in fault, not the workmanship; and if
more must be paid for undoctored outsides, let it be so.


_Scott's Waverley._ - Some years ago, a gentleman of my acquaintance, now
residing in foreign parts, told me the following story: -

"Once upon a time," the great unknown being engaged in a
shooting-match near his dwelling, it came to pass that all the
gun-wadding was spent, so that he was obliged to fetch _paper_
instead. After Sir Walter had come back, his fellow-shooter
chanced to look at the succedaneum, and was not a little
astonished to see it formed part of a tale written by his
entertainer's hand. By his friend's urgent inquiries, the Scotch
romancer was compelled to acknowledge himself the author, and to
save the well nigh destroyed manuscript of _Waverley_.

I do not know whether Sir Walter Scott was induced by _this_ incident to
publish the first of his tales or not; perhaps it occurred after several
of his novels had been printed. Now, if any body acquainted with the
anecdote I relate should perchance hit upon my endeavour to give it an
English garb, he would do me a pleasure by noting down the particulars I
might have omitted or mis-stated. I never saw the fact recorded.


_Satyavrata._ - Mr. Kemble, _Salomon and Saturn_, p. 129., does not seem
to be aware that the Satyavrata in question was one of the forgeries
imposed on, and afterwards detected, by Wilford.


* * * * *



Can any of your correspondents give me any information on the following
points connected with "the Black Rood of Scotland?"

1. What was the history of this cross before it was taken into Scotland
by St. Margaret, on the occasion of her marriage with Malcolm, king of
Scotland? Did she get it in England or in Germany?

2. What was its size and make? One account describes it as made of gold,
and another (_Rites of Durham_, p. 16.) as of silver.

3. Was the "Black Rood of Scotland" the same as the "Holy Cross of
Holyrood House?" One account seems to make them the same: for in the
_Rites of Durham_, p. 16., we read, -

"At the east end of the south aisle of the choir, was a most
fair rood, or picture of our Saviour, _in silver_, called the
_Black Rood of Scotland_, brought out of Holyrood House by King
David Bruce, and was won at the battle of Durham, with the
picture of our Lady on the one side, and St. John on the other
side, very richly wrought in silver, all three having crowns of
gold," &c. &c.

Another account, in p. 21 of the same work, seems to make them
different; for, speaking of the battle of Neville's Cross (18th October,
1346), it says -

"In which said battle a _holy Cross_, which was taken out of
Holyrood House, in Scotland, by King David Bruce, was won and
taken," &c., p. 21.

And adds, -

"In which battle were slain seven earls of Scotland.... and also
lost _the said cross_, and many other most worthy and excellent
jewels ... together with the Black Rood of Scotland (so termed)
with Mary and John, made of silver, being, as it were, smoked
all over," &c., p. 22.

4. If they were the same, how is the legend concerning its discovery by
the king, upon Holyrood day, when hunting in a forest near Edinburgh, to
be reconciled with the fact of its being taken by St. Margaret into
Scotland? If they were not the same, what was the previous history of
each, and which was the cross of St. Margaret?

5. How is the account of Simeon of Durham, that the Black Rood was
bequeathed to Durham Priory by St. Margaret, to be reconciled with the
history of its being taken from the Scotch at the battle of Neville's

6. May there not be a connexion between the legend of the discovery of
the "Holy Cross" between the horns of a wild hart (_Rites of Durham_, p.
21.), and the practice that existed of an offering of a stag annually
made, on St. Cuthbert's day, in September, by the Nevilles of Raby, to
the Priory of Durham? May it not have been an acknowledgement {309} that
the cross won at the battle of Neville's Cross was believed to have been
taken by King David from the hart in the forest of Edinburgh? In the
"Lament for Robert Neville," called by Surtees "the very oldest rhyme of
the North" we read -

"Wel, qwa sal thir hornes blaw
Haly rod thi day?
Nou is he dede and lies law
Was wont to blaw thaim ay."

7. Is it known what became of the "Holy Cross" or "Black Rood" at the
dissolution of Durham Priory?



* * * * *


_Trogus Pompeius._ - In Hannay and Dietrichsen's _Almanuck for the Year_
1849, I find the following statement under the head of "Remarkable
Occurrences of the Year 1847:" -

"July 21. A portion of the history of Trogus Pompeius (the
author abridged by Justin) is discovered in the library of
Ossolinski at Berlin."

Not having noticed any contemporary account of this occurrence, I should
be glad of any information respecting the nature and extent of the


_Mortuary Stanzas._ - Could any of your readers supply me with
information respecting the practice of appending mortuary stanzas to the
yearly bills of mortality, published in many parishes; whether there are
any extant specimens of such stanzas besides those memorable poems of
Cowper written for the parish clerk of Northampton; and whether, also,
the practice is still kept up in any parts of the country?

[Greek: Philopatris].

_Laird of Grant._ - In the north of England, I have repeatedly heard the
_auld wife_ remark, on observing any unwonted act of extravagance, such
as burning more than the ordinary number of candles, &c. &c., - "Who is
to be Laird of Grant next year?" As this saying appears to be used only
in the north, I have no other medium at present than to seek a reply
through the aid of your valuable little work.


[A similar "saw" was formerly current in the metropolis, - "What,
three candles burning! we shall be Lord Mayor next year."]

_Bastille, MS. Records of._ - Are there amongst the MSS. of the British
Museum any documents relating to spies, or political agents, employed by
the French and English governments from 1643 to 1715, who were
incarcerated in the Bastille?


_Orkney under the Norwegians._ - Torfæus (_Orcades_), under the
transactions of the year 1430 (p. 182-3.), has an incidental mention of
the Orkneys as among the forbidden islands, "vetitæ insulas," of which
the commerce was forbidden to strangers, and confined to the mother
country, as to this day it is with Denmark and her possessions of the
Faroe Islands and Iceland, both mentioned in the paragraph of the
historian among the islands whose commerce was restricted. It would be
very desirable to know of the social state of Orkney under the
government of Norway and its native Jarls of the Norwegian race, and or

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