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LEAVES



WOKD-HUNTEK'S NOTE-BOOK,



PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.
EDINBURGH AND LONDON



LEAVES



WORD-HUNTER'S NOTE-BOOK



; onu Contributions to (Etujlisjj (Ktnmologtr.



BY



EEV. ABEAM SMYTHE PALMER, B.A.

SOMETIME SCHOLAR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN.



" Philologists, who chase
A panting syllable through time and space,
Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark,
To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark."

Cowper, Retirement.

' Polonius. What do you read, my lord ?
Handet. Words, words, words."

Hamlet, act ii. sc. 2.



LONDON:
TRUBNEE & CO., LUDGATE HILL.

1876.

[All rights reserved.']



EI CHARD CHENEVIX.



LORD ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN,



I DEDICATE



GTijis Book



IN TOKEN OF RESPECT.



isii



524



PREFACE.



In the following papers I have endeavoured to
give a full, and, so far as it lay in my power, an
exhaustive, examination of certain words in the
English language, the derivations of which, being
curious and recondite, present some special features
either of interest or of difficulty. With that ob-
ject I have freely availed myself of the labours of
my predecessors in the same field, and have tried
to concentrate in one view the results obtained by
many independent and scattered investigations.
Indeed, all the best authorities that lay within my
reach have been had recourse to. I may mention
the names of MM. Littre, Scheler, Pictet, and
Renan, among French philologists; of Benfey,
Diez, Diefenbach, Ebel, Grimm, Ed. Miiller, M.
Miiller, &c, among the German. The English
writers from whom I have received most help are
Cleasby, Farrar, Ferrar, Garnett, Haldeman, La-
tham, Morris, Skeat, Wedgwood, Monier Williams,
and the contributors to the < Philological Society's



Vlll PREFACE.

Transactions.' From the old dictionaries of Cot-
grave (French), Fiorio (Italian), Minsheu (Span-
ish), and the ' Promptormm Parvulorum ' (Eng-
lish), much latent word-lore of a valuable nature
has been dug out.

With lights so many and various coming to me
from different sources, it will not be thought, I
hope, that my ' word-hunting ' has been prose-
cuted altogether ' in the dark.' That in every
case I have been successful in running down my
quarry would be too much to expect. The most
enthusiastic lover of the chase must be prepared
for some blank days. This I may say, however,
that if I have not dogged every word which I
have started through all its doublings till it has
taken cover at last in ' Noah's ark,' I have at
least never desisted from the pursuit, nor rested
content till I have run it to earth in a Sanskrit
root ; and that, in the eyes of a philologist, is
pretty much the same as winning its brush.

It should be understood that, notwithstanding
my acknowledged obligations, many of the deriva-
tions here adopted are now advanced for the first
time, and differ from the conclusions arrived at by
previous writers. In most cases, I have adduced
copious illustrations from all periods of our litera-
ture, and confirmatory proofs from the cognate
languages, either in the way of verbal parallels or
analogous usages.



PREFACE. IX

In a few instances, where the evidence for two
conflicting etymologies seemed almost equally
balanced, I have stated both sides of the question
without prejudice, and left the decision to others.

I should perhaps apologise for printing here
the rather long chapter which treats of the super-
stitious beliefs connected with the West and
North as regions of darkness. That discussion,
though it belongs rather to the province of folk-
lore, was suggested by the preceding chapter on
the word ' Night,' and arose naturally out of it.
The interesting nature of the subject may perhaps
render its appearance excusable.

Every page of the volume, it will be seen,
bears witness to the title that these are truly
' Leaves from a Note-Book.' If, however, they
are found to be at all interesting, aud not devoid
of information, the candid reader will not be so
unjust as to condemn them for not being other
than they pretend to be.

Though I have striven to be accurate in my
quotations and references, some mistakes will,
in all probability, have escaped my observation.
These, when pointed out, I shall be thankful and
happy to correct.

St John's Hill,

Wandsworth Common.

February 12*/*, 1876.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

PAGE

THE WORDS ' BODY ' — ' CARCASS ' — ' COAT ' — ' HOOD ' — ' CHAS-
UBLE,' ETC 1

CHAPTER II.

THE WORDS ' FLIRT ' — ' FLUNKEY ' — ' SCORN ' .... 32

CHAPTER III.

THE WORDS ' TRY ' — ' FLATTER ' — ' ADULATION ' — ' SOOTHE ' —

'PERSUADE' — 'INDULGE,' ETC. 40

CHAPTER IV.

THE WORDS 'TREE' AND ' TRUE ' — 'VICE,' ' VITIUM,' AND ' VITIS*

— 'BAD ' — ' VETCH,' ' WICKER/ ' WEAK,' AND ' WICKED ' . 73

CHAPTER V.

THE WORDS ' DUPE ' — ' DOTTEREL ' — ' DUNCE ' — ' COWARD ' —

' POLTROON,' ETC. . . . . . . . .115

CHAPTER VI.

THE PHRASE ' HE HAS A BEE IN HIS BONNET ' — THE WORDS

' FRET ' — ' CHAGRIN ' ' TO NAG ' — ' NIGGARD ' — ' TEASE ' —

' BRUSQUE ' — ' CAPRICE ' — ' TO LARK ' — ' MERRY AS A GRIG '

— 'ETRE GRIS,' ETC 142

CHAPTER VII.

WORDS FOR THE ' PUPIL ' OF THE EYE — THE HUMAN TREE — THE

WORDS 'TOE' — 'DOTE,' ETC 174



XII



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE WORDS ' CHIGNON ' — ' NODDLE ' — ' PATE '
NUT ' — ' FOOL ' — ' BOAST ' — ' BUFFOON '



PAGE

-'skull' — 'coco-

-' FATUOUS,' ETC. 198



CHAPTER IX.

THE WORDS ' HEARSE ' — ' HOE ' — ' FURROW ' — NAMES OF MA-
CHINES DERIVED FROM ANIMALS — ' PULLEY,' ETC. — ' HATCH-
MENT ' — ' LOZENGE ' — ' BLAZON ' — ' TIMBRE ' — ' HALO ' —
' AUREOLE ' 223

CHAPTER X.

THE WORD 'CLEVER' 243

CHAPTER XI.

THE WORD ' NIGHT ' 259

CHAPTER XII.

THE WORDS 'WEST ' — ' EAST ' — ' AURORA ' — SUPERSTITIONS CON-
NECTED WITH THE WEST AND NORTH AS REGIONS OF DARK-
NESS — THE WEST THE LAND OF THE DEAD — THE NORTH THE

devil's quarter 27 G

INDEX 313



The following contractions have occasionally been used : —



A.S. or A. -Sax for Anglo-Saxon (i.e.,


Lat.


for Latin.


the oldest


form of the


English


L. Lat.


,, Low Latin.


speech).






Lett.


,, Lettish.


Cf.


for Compare.




Lith.


,, Lithuanian.


Dan.


,, Danish.




0. N.


„ Old Norse.


Dut.


,, Dutch.




0. H. G.


,, Old High German


Fr.


,, French.-




Pers.


,, Persian.


G. or Ger.


,, German.




Pg. or Portg.


,, Portuguese.


Gk.


„ Greek.




Prov.


,, Provencal.


Heb.


,, Hebrew.




Sk. or Sansk.


,, Sanskrit.


Ic. or Icel.


,, Icelandic.




Sp.


,, Spanish.


Ir.


,, Irish.




Sw.


,. Swedish.


It.


,, Italian.




W.


„ Welsh.



LEAVES



FROM A



WOBD-HUNTEE'S NOTE-BOOK



CHAPTER I.

THE WORDS ' BODY" — ' CARCASS ' — ' COAT' —
' HOOD ' — ' CHASUBLE,' ETC.

1 The derivation of words is like that of rivers —
there is one real source, usually small, unlikely,
and difficult to find, far up among the hills ; then,
as the word flows on and comes into service, it takes
in the force of other words from other sources, and
becomes itself quite another word after the junction
— a word, as it were, of many waters, sometimes
both sweet and bitter.' * If the origin of the
word be undiscovered hitherto, then, owing to this
confluence of vocables and commixture of meanings,
any attempt to mount the stream is attended with

1 Mr Ruskin in Fraser's Magazine, April 1863.

A



2 BODY.

perplexity as to which is the main river and which

is only the tributary. It is with words as with a

winding river ; not only do they change the colour

and characteristics which they once possessed when

near the fount, but often reverse the very direction

of their former current.

1 A word that comes from olden days,
And passes through the peoples ; every tongue
Alters it passing, till it spells and speaks
Quite other than at first.' x

Thus, when we are engaged in exploring the
hidden source of some word which has challenged
our attention, it sometimes happens that we do
not proceed far in our research until we find our-
selves brought face to face with an unexpected
difficulty. A divergent path presents itself which
branches away in two different directions, and the
puzzling thing is, that each of these directions
promises almost equally fair to lead us to the de-
sired object of our inquiry. It sometimes happens,
too, that the reasons in favour of adopting one of
these courses in preference to the other are so evenly
balanced, that an impartial investigator will feel
bound to suspend his judgment, and will hesitate
to pronounce an absolute decision in a case where
much may be advanced on either side of the ques-
tion, and definite certainty seems hardly attainable.
Such a difficulty meets us when we make the

1 Tennyson, Queen Mary, act iii. sc. 5. Thus the verbs
' blacken, ' ' blanch/ and ' bleach, ' are radically identical.



BODY. 3

word c body ' the subject of examination, and pro-
pose to ourselves to trace out its primary and
radical significance.

6 Body ' is (A. -Sax.) bodig, (Gaelic) bod/iag, (0.
Ger.) botah. In Bavarian, the words botic/i, pottich,
and potacka, which mean ' body/ are only different
forms of bottig, potig, potacka, which mean a
1 cask.' Wedgwood therefore suggests that our
6 body ' is etymologically akin to the German
bottich (a cask), and appeals to the parallel in-
stances of 'trunk'' and (Ger.) rump/, which
signify a hollow case as well as the body of an
animal. We may compare also the Spanish
barriga (the belly), identical with barrica (a
cask), French barrique, and we still call the
round part of a horse's body the 6 barrel.'
i Kedgy ' and ' kedge-belly ' in provincial Eng-
lish are used for a ' pot-bellied ' person (Wright),
literally, one whose stomach resembles a keg or
cask (Norse, kaggje).

The following quotation from the old chronicler
Speed, in which the word ' cask ' is used for ' body,
gives much probability to this derivation : —

' Onely the heart and soule is cleane, yet feares the taincture
of this polluted caske, and would have passage (by thy
reuenging hand) from this loathsome prison and filthy
truncke.' Speed, Hist. G. Britain, p. 379 (1611).

It may be noticed in confirmation that panze



4 BODY.

in Carinthian and panzl in Bavarian denote
both a cask and a paunch or stomach, and that
the Grisons buttatsck, stomach or belly, is from
butt, a barrel. Similarly, ' cqffre ' in French, and
' chest ' in English (It. casso), are used for the
breast or trunk ; areas in Spanish, a coffer, is also
'a man's chest or breast ' (Minsheu) ; and the word
breast itself (Ger. trust) means the box or trunk
in which the vitals are enclosed, being near akin
to (Prov.) brostia, brustia (a box). Compare also
6 bust,' 'busk,' (Fr.) buste, busck, connected with
(Sp.) buche (breast), bucka (a chest or box), (L.
Lat.) busta (a box). Shakspere frequently em-
ploys ' case ' for l body,' e.g., when speaking of the
lifeless Antony, " This case of that huge spirit
now is cold" (Antony and Cleop. iv. 15).

On the whole, then, we need not hesitate to
bring our word i body ' (Bavarian, bodi) into con-
nection with the Bavarian boding (a barrel), bottich,
&c, as meaning a round hollow vessel; cf, (Erse)
bodhaigh (body), (Irish) bold (a cask).

All these words Pictet (Orig. Indo-Europ., ii.
275) traces up to the Sanskrit bandha (1, a barrel,
2, a body), from bandh (to bind, tie, or hoop in). 1



1 The M&heswaras, a sect of the Hindus, term the living soul
pdsu, i.e.,/astened or fettered, conceiving it to be confined in bandha,
the bondage of sense (Colebrooke, Essays, vol. i. p. 431). In Per-
sian, bandha is (1) a binding or fetter; (2) a body ; (3) a building.
Another word for body in that language is badan. Cf. ' His soul is
wrapped in the truss of his senses ' ( Adams, Sermon on the



BODY. 5

Cf. i Thou hast fenced me with bones and
sinews' (Job x. 11), (A.-Sax.) feorh-loca, i life's
enclosure/ the body.

If the above account were not so satisfactory as
it is, we would be tempted to see in * body ' only
another form of ' bothy,' Gaelic, bothag, both (a
hut, cottage), Welsh, bod (a house), bwth (a booth).
In this case it would be connected with (Irish) buth,
both, (Ger.) bude, (0. H. Ger.) boda, (Polish) buda,
(Lith.) budd, (Scand.) bildh, (Dut.) boede, (Icel.)
bud, (Bohem.) bauda, budka, (Russ.) budka, (Pers.)
bud — all meaning a house, hut, or dwelling-place,
and traceable to the root bhu (to exist). — Pictet,
Origines Indo-Europeenes, ii. 239. Cf. German
leib (body), from leiben (to exist). The Welsh bod,
bodau, besides meaning a house, is also used for a
living being ; and there is no figure more common
than that by which the human frame is compared
to a building or mansion, in which the immortal
spirit has been placed to dwell as a tenant for life.
For instance, in Gen. ii. 22, where it is said
that God i made the woman,' the original says He
' builded ' her (Heb. banah). Compare Gk. demas,
dome (a body, Be'/ias, Bo/jlti) derived from demo (to
build, Befico), the Sanskrit dhaman, a house, also
the body ; and it will be remembered that St Paul

Soul's Sickness). In Sanskrit the body is also called deha, * what de-
files or envelopes ' the soul, from the root dih, cognate with which
are the Gothic leik, Ger. Iciche, 0. Eng. lich. See, however, M.
Miiller, Chips, iv.



6 BODY.

(2 Cor. v. 1) calls our body a tabernacle, house,
or building (cf. 2 Pet. i. 13, 14) ; and Eliphaz
long before had described men as * them that
dwell in houses of clay ' (Job iv. 19). Compare
Dryden's well-known lines —

* A fiery soul, which, working out its way,
Fretted the pigmy body to decay,
And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.'

Absalom and Achitophel, 11. 156-158.

The prophet Daniel, using a somewhat similar
figure, declares (ch. vii. 15) — ' I, Daniel, was
grieved in my spirit in the midst of its sheath '
(Heb. nidneh, A. V. c my body '), as if the active
working of his mind, like a sharp sword, was
wearing through the case that held it ; which re-
minds us of a saying recorded of the good George
Herbert, that his wit, ' like a penknife in too
narrow a sheath, was too sharp for his body.' 1
Compare also the following from Lilly's play of
1 Mother Bombie ' — c So faire a face cannot bee the
scabbard of a foolish mind ' (act ii. sc. 3). 2



1 Sidney Smith's bon-mot is not very different — ' There is my

little friend , who has not body enough to cover his mind

decently with ; his intellect is improperly exposed.'

a Was Dickens conscious of the plagiarism when he put these
almost identical words into the mouth of the redoubtable Mrs Harris
in one of his fragmentary sketches ? ' Your mind is too strong for
you, Sairey. It is useless to disguise the fact ; the blade is a wear-
ing out the sheets ' (sheath). Forster, Life of Dickens, vol. ii. p. 346.

Lord Byron in a letter says of himself that ' the sword is wearing
out the scabbard.' Carlyle, in his ' Life of John Sterling,' observes
that ' he wore holes in the outward case of his body ' by his restless
vitality, which could not otherwise find vent.



BODY. 7

la a similar manner the ' fur ' of an animal is
etyniologically the sheath in which it is comfort-
ably encased. It is the Spanish and Portuguese
forro, Icel. Jodr, and identical with the Gothic
fodr, It. fodero, Fr. fourreau, G-er. /utter, which
signify a sheath or scabbard.

Cotgrave gives the proverb, JS T, admirons lefour-
reau pour mespriser la lame, c Let not a faire
outside make the inside less esteemed of.'

How extensively the Scripture metaphor of the
body being a house has been adopted by our best
English writers will be seen by the quotations
which I now subjoin.

' It is commonly seen that misshapen trunks are houses of
the sharpest wits.' Thomas Adams ( Works, vol. i. p. 19).

1 Our great Landlord hath let us a fair house, and we suffer
it quickly to run to ruin. That whereas the soul might dwell
in the body as a palace of delight, she finds it a crazy, sickish,
rotten cabinet, in danger every gust of dropping down.'
Thomas Adams, DeviFs Banquet.

* The body is the soule's poore house, or home,
Whose ribs the laths are, and whose flesh the loame.'
Herrick, Hesperides (ed. Hazlitt), ii. 299.

Browning, in hi3 poem of 'The Statue and the Bust,' has the
same idea when he represents Duke Ferdinand as being
•Empty and fine, like a swordless sheath.'

So the term cullion for a long, lank, lubberly coward, a fool, Fr.
couillon, It. coglione, has been connected with the Lat. coleus, Gk.
KoKeos, a sheath, as much as to say, the outward semblance of a man,
a case without its treasure, a 'soulless clay.' The innuendo here,
however, may be different {vide Diez, s.vv. Coglione, Minchia).

Compare the Icelandic skauftir (A.-Sax. scea%, Ger. schote, Dan-
skede), meaning, first, 'a sheath,' and then, as a term of abuse, ' a
poltroon,' skavti, akin probably to our ' scut.'



8 BODY.

1 The Body indeed is not the Man, but the House or Taber-
nacle of the diuiner Spirit, and both together make up Man ;
the one as the Shell; the other, the Kernel. . . . One the Tene-
ment, the other the Tenant' Purchas,Microcosmus (1619), p. 18.

(God the Son)

* Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of clay.'

Milton, Ode on Christ's Nativity.
1 The body is domicilium animce, her house, abode, and
stay ; ... as wine savours of the cask wherein it is kept,
the soul receives a tincture from the body through which it
works.' Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 173.

(Winter)

' All unawares, with his cold-kind embrace,
Unhoused 1 thy virgin-soul from her fair hiding-place.'
Milton, On the Death of a Fair Infant.
1 If thou beest not so handsome as thou wouldst have been
... be glad that thy clay cottage hath all the necessary
forms thereto belonging, though the outside be not so fairly
plaistered as some others.' Fuller, Holy State, iii. c. 15.

' Lord, be pleased to shake my clay cottage before thou
throwest it down. May it totter a while before it doth
tumble.' Fuller, Good Thoughts, p. 19 (ed. Pickering).

' I hold from God this clay cottage of my body (a homely
tenement, but may I in some measure be assured of a better
before outed of this).' Ibid., p. 128.

' God . . . hath shaked the house, this body, with agues
and palsies, and set this house on fire, with fevers and calen-
tures, and frighted the Master of the house, my soule, with
horrors, and heavy apprehensions, and so made an entrance
into me.' Donne, Sermons (fol. 1640), p. 777.

When the good Sir Guyon found the fair lady
Amavia slain, and wallowing in blood,

1 Chaucer, if I remember right, somewhere uses the phrase,
' spirit changing house ' for dying. Cf. 2 Cor. v. 1.



BODY. 9

' He hoped faire
To call backe life to her forsaken shop.'

Faerie Queene, II. i. 43.
1 I looked upon my Body but as the Instrument, the Vehicu-
lum Animce, and not so much given for its own sake, as to be
an Engine for the exercise of my Soul, and a Cottage, wherein
it might inhabit and perfect itself.'

Sir Matt. Hale, Contemplations, p. 305 (1685).
' The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
Lets in new light, through chinks that time has made ;
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become,
As they draw near to their eternal home.'

Edmund Waller.

Compare —

" Through the chinks of an unhighted flesh we may read a
neglected soul." — Adams, 1629 (Works, vol. iii. p. 143).

The Sanskrit word for body, de/ia, meaning
literally that which envelopes the soul, is used
also for a rampart or surrounding wall. The root
from which it comes, dik, to shape, is seen also
in dehiy a wall, Gk. toichos, Pers. dik, a village.
Compare —

' Within this wall of flesh
There is a soul counts thee her creditor.'

Shakspere, King John, act iii. sc. 3.
' Weak cottage where our souls reside !

This flesh a tottering wall !
With frightful breaches gaping wide,

The building bends to fall.' x Br Isaac Watts.
1 A white, pure, innocent spirit may be shadowed under
the broken roof of a maimed corpse.'

Adams's /Sermons, The White Devil.
' The Soul, in the Body or out of the Body, differs no more

1 Compare Toplady's hymn, 'When languor and disease invade.'



10 BODY.

than the Man does from himself when he is in his House or
in open air.' Spectator, No. 90 (1712).

' How ruinous a farm hath man taken, in taking himself.
How ready is the house every day to fall down,' &c.

Dr Bonne's Devotions, xxii. (1624).

Hogarth, giving a humorous account of Mr
Wilkes, who was notoriously ugly, says —

' I believe he finds himself tolerably happy in the clay cot-
tage to which he is tenant for life, because he has learnt to
keep it in pretty good order. "While the share of health and
animal spirits which heaven has given should hold out, I can
scarcely imagine he will be one moment peevish about the out-
side of so precarious, so temporary, a habitation ; or will ever
be brought to our Ingenium Galbce male habitat : — Monsieur
est mal loge? Quoted in JSouthey's Doctor, p. 472.

Compare Spenser's c Hymne in Honour of Beau-
tie ' (passim), Globe ed. p. 59 6. x

I will finish this long list of illustrations with
these curious verses of Francis Quarles, prefixed as
a suitable introduction to that curious anatomical
poem, Fletcher's ' Purple Island ' —

1 Man's Body 's like a House : his greater Bones
Are the main Timber ; and the lesser ones
Are smaller Splints : his Ribs are Laths, daub'd o'er,
Plaster'd with Flesh and Blood : his Mouth 's the Door,
His Throat 's the narrow Entry ; and his Heart
Is the Great Chamber, full of curious Art.' 2



1 See also Bp. Andrewes' Sermon (1595) on John ii. 19, 'The
Temple of the Body,' a text which is itself an illustration ; and Dr
Donne's Works, vol. vi. p. 61 (ed. Alford).

5 * The House I Live in,' a popular account of the human body,
published by Parker, 1S46, treats the subject from the same point of
view, and has chapters on the Framework, the Sills, the Windows,
the Furniture, the Hinges, &c.



BODY. 11

The nose he makes the chimney, the eyes the
windows, the stomach the kitchen, &c. Cf. Pur-
chas, Microcosmus, v. ix.

Keaders of Spenser's ' Faerie Queene ' will re-
member his elaborate allegorical description of the
body as a goodly castle ' not built of bricke ne yet
of stone and lime,' inhabited by a virgin bright,
Alma (i.e., the soul, so called in the Italian,
Spanish, and Portuguese, Latin anima), with its
five bulwarks of the senses ever besieged by temp-
tations night and day. The head is the turret
ascended by ten alabaster steps, wherein ' two
goodly beacons, set in watches stead, gave light
and flamed continually.' The mouth is the
porch, in which l twise sixteen warders satt, all
armed bright and strongly fortifyde,' leading to
the hall, where ministered the steward Diet, and
the marshall Appetite. The stomach is the kitchen,
with its ' caudron wide and tall,' and ' fornace that
brent day and night, ne ceased not,' its ' maister
cooke 'Concoction, and ' kitchen clerke that hight
Digestion/ while a ' huge great payre of bellows '
(the lungs) ' did styre continually and cooling
breath, inspyre.' 1

In the Book of Ecclesiastes (xii. 3 seq.), the
frame which the spirit is ready to desert is repre-
sented under the image of a tottering house, of

1 Book II., cantos ix., xi.



12 BODY.

which the windows (the eyes) are darkened, the
doors (the ears) are shut, and the mill (the mouth)
lies idle with its grinders (the teeth). 1 A similar
idea is probably meant to be conveyed by ' the
golden bowl being broken ' (v. 6), the body being
conceived as the precious reservoir (as in Zech.
iv. 3), which contains the oil of life that keeps the
flame burning. 2

In Greek, tezichos, a vessel, is found with a like
signification.

All these passages make it probable that ' body '


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Online LibraryAbram Smythe PalmerLeaves from a word-hunter's note-book → online text (page 1 of 21)