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of the forest, which we consider as beautiful ;
they are awful and majestic, they inspire a sort
of reverence/ Though i the excellence of a strong,
independent life, which is the exception among
flowers, is the rule among trees/ 2 there are cer-
tain of these latter, however, of a smaller stature,
and less harsh and rugged outlines, which par-
take more of the character of womanish softness
and pliability than of masculine sternness and in-



!P. 34. E.E.T.S.

2 Saturday Review, Oct. 2, 1869, p. 439, Tree v. Flowers.



96 vice.

flexibility. Such are the drooping willow, the
feathery larch, the limber sallow, the clinging
vine, the golden-chain laburnum, the soft-leaved
lilac, and many others of those which bear fruit
and flowers. These are suggestive of feminine
beauty and bending grace. Their characteristics,
for the most part, are weakness and buxomness,
contrasted with the strength and rough rigidity of
their forest brethren. The vine, as is well known,
was regarded by the Latin poets as standing to-
wards the supporting elm in the dependent rela-
tion of a wife wedded to a husband, and suggested
to the Psalmist a similar comparison (Ps. cxxviii.
3). So Spenser speaks of i the cedar proud
and tall/ but l the eugh obedient to the bender's
will.' 1

Again, it has been said that c no one can look
at the Norfolk Island pine without being angry
with it that so much beauty should be combined
with so much effeminacy. Perhaps we blame and
punish other weaknesses and unrobust idiosyncracies
with the same degree of reason and justice as we
should exercise in scolding the delicate araucaria

1 Faery Queen, I. i. 8, 9. Compare the following, which I ex-
tract from Mr Jacox's 'Shakspere Diversions :' — ' Lady Percy has
alone been characterised as one of those women that Shakspere has
painted — timid, restless, affectionate, playful, submissive — " a lovely
woodbine hanging on the mighty oak " (p. 336). Miss Broughton
pictures one of her characters as ' standing by the tea-table, slim
and willowy, ladling tea into the deep-bodied pot ' (Nancy, vol. i.
p. 64).



vice. 97

excelsa because it is not gifted with the obstinate
temper of a Norway fir.' l

And Mr Kuskin in a very similar passage ob-
serves that trees present the varying characteristics
of t fragility, or force, softness, and strength, in
all degrees and aspects ; unerring uprightness, as
of temple pillars, or undivided wandering of feeble
tendrils on the ground ; mighty resistances of
rigid arm and limb to the storm of ages, or wav-
ings to and fro with faintest pulse of summer
streamlet.' 2

If then that superior growth of tree be (as we
have shown above) notionally and nominally akin
to the virtue of moral strength, straightness, and
steadfastness, it is nothing strange if we shall find
that the inferior growth bears an analogous relation
to the ideas of moral weakness and instability, of
effeminacy and frailty.

Now vitis, the Latin name for ' the gadding
vine,' and vitex, the name of a species of willow,
contain the same radical as the word vitiutn, faulti-
ness, vice, the idea common to all three being that
of bendingness, pliability, weakness, deflection,
crookedness. 3 In German, whatever be the point



1 Quarterly Review, vol. xc. pp. 41, 42.

2 Modern Painters, vol. v. Pt. VI. i.

3 The difference of quantity in vitis and vitium is no valid objec-
tion to this approximation, as is proved by another word on the
same page of the dictionary, vltellus, evidently a diminutive of
vita, the life, quick, punctum saliens, or yolk of the egg.

G



98 VICE AND WICKED.

of contact (if any), rank is an evasion, shuffle, or
artifice, ranke the shoot of a vine.

Vitis, according to Columella, is from vieo (to
bind, twist, plait, tie), l either because it needs to
be tied to a prop in order that it may stand, or
(and this is the correct view) because it is pliant
and easily bent.' 1 Compare the Hebrew sorek, a
vine, from sdrak, to intertwine or plait. The vine,
says Cicero, is naturally apt to fall, and sinks to
the earth unless propped up. He notices also its
habit of manifold and erratic creeping, which
needs to be checked by the knife of the vine-
dresser. 2

Vitis, therefore, is literally the binding, twining
plant, from the verbal stem vit-, i bend,' seen in
vit-ex, the bending, pliant tree, the willow ; vit-ilis,
easy to bend, made of osiers, ' wattled ;' Greek
(v)it-6a (-FLT-ea) ; Eng. c withe,' ' withy ; ' A.-Sax.
widhig, Dan. vidie, Ger. weide, 0. H. Ger. wida,
Scand. vidhir, Goth, vithan? Also in Sanskrit
viti, a climbing-plant (le betel), vita, a bough (which
word < bough ' itself means l the bender '), Lith.



1 ' Vitis est a vieo, alligo, vincio, quia, ut stet, pedamento in-
diget cui adalligetur : vel quia lenta est, et facile flectitur.' So
the German rebe, a vine, is probably akin to the A.-Saxon roepan, to
bind.

2 ' Vitis qua? natura caduca est, et nisi fulta sit, ad terrara
fertur, . . . quam serpeutem multiplici lapsu et erratico, ferro
amputans ccercet ars agricolarum. '

3 See Pictet, Orig. Indo-Europ., vol. i. pp. 223, 253; vol. ii. p. 166.
Stokes, Irish Glosses, p. 47.



VICE AND WICKED. 99

roytis, branch, osier, wyti, to plait ; Sanskrit vetasa,
the calamus rotang, and perhaps vata, a rope,
Indian fig-tree, vat, to tie. 1

Vit itself seems to be a participial form from a
root 0t, to bend, plait, interweave, Sanskrit ve, to
weave, seen in the Latin vieo, to bend, plait, weave ;
vietus, bent, shrunken, withered ; vi-men, an osier ;
A. -Sax. we/an, to weave, weed (woven) clothes,
' weeds ;' Ger. weifen and weben, Goth, weipan,
0. Fr. guiper, i guipure ' lace.

Vitium, a fault, containing the same stem, would
originally mean something bent, crooked, or de-
flected from being straight and upright ; 2 a bending
or giving way of what should be firm and strong,
as a wall, one's limbs. Cicero tells us that it was
the proper term for a crookedness or deformity of
the latter. Vitium (appellant) quum partes cor-
poris inter se dissident, ex quo pravitas membrorum,
distortio, deformitas (Tusc. 4, 13, 29).

When we Englishmen would express a high
opinion of anything worthy to be relied on, we say
i as true as steel :' 1 for we know that the well-



1 From the same stem apparently comes Lat. vitare, to bend
aside from, avoid. Compare ' eschew,' Fr. eschever, to turn askew
(Dut. scheef), or bend away from. Sofugio, Gk. pheugo, to flee, is
identical with Sk. bhug. Goth, biuga, to bend, A.-Sax. bugan, to
bow, bend, also to avoid, flee, 0. Eng. bowen, e.g., ' Apology for
Lollards,' Camden Soc. p. 62 — ' Forsothe Jhesu boivvde him fro the
company,' John v. 13 (Wycliffe); ' Se Hselend sdthlice beah fram
dhaere gegaderunge (Ibid. A.-Sax. version).

2 Key, Philological Society Proceedings, vol. v. p. 94.



100 VICE AND WICKED.

tempered metal, bend as it may, will never break,
and so deceive ns, when put to the trial; and a
sword of such metal we call a ' trusty sword.' Our
ancestors, however, the early Aryans, framed a
finer comparison, as we have seen, when they con-
ceived * truth ' as bearing a resemblance in some
sort to the uncompromising rigidity of the forest
tree, the patient, stout-hearted giant which never
sways aside under any adverse influences, never
stoops to the storm, but holds itself erect, un-
changed, unshaken, in one generation of men as in
another.

On the other hand, the weakness of a timid,
time-serving spirit has found its type in the pliancy
of plants of a feebler growth, which bow their
heads without resistance to every passing breeze.
Instances are * the reed shaken by the wind ' in
the Gospel, the yielding bramble in the fable,
the vine, whose branches are in some provincial
dialects called ' Souple- Jacks.' Compare the fol-
io wins: from Howell's i Familiar Letters ' —



1 E.g. In Chaucer's ' Legend of Good Women,' where the poet is
charged that he

I Maketh men to women lesse trist,
That ben as trewe as ever was any stele.'

The Prologue.

' This abbes trowed hir ful wele,
And wend that scho war treu als stele.'

Eng. Metrical Homilies of the \Wi Century (ed. Small), p. 167.

I I am trew as steylle alle men waytt.'

Towneley Mysteries, Pastores.



VICE AND WICKED. 101

1 There being divers Bandy in gs and Factions at Court in his
[Marquis Pawlet's] Time, yet he was beloved by all Parties,
and being asked how he stood so right in the Opinion of all,
he answered, By being a Willow and not an Oak' l —

meaniDg that lie complied with all, and bent to
circumstances. With this we may contrast the
proverbial Latin expression for one made of more
stubborn stuff and of more steadfast character,
Ortus a quercu, non a salice, ' He is sprung from
the oak, and not from the willow ;' and may note
the use made of a similar comparison by the poet
Burns in the words wherewith he reproaches
< Dame Life ' for her want of stability and con-
stancy —

' Oh ! flickering, feeble, and unsicker

I've found her still,

Aye wavWing like the willow wicker,

'Tween good and ill.'

Foem on Life.

As we have seen that the stern virtue of * truth '
is akin to the sturdy '.tree,' so now we may per-
ceive that the yielding pliancy of 'vice,' Fr. vice,
Latin vitium, is own brother to vitis, the voluptuous,
drooping vine, which, by reason of the frailty of
its nature, cannot keep itself upright. 2 That the



1 Howell, Familiar Letters, p. 293, Bk. I. sec. 6, Letter 5i
(1644). Of. Bailey, Life of Fuller, p. 318.

2 The vine, regarded as a timber tree, and compared with all
other trees of the forest, was used as a byword for worthlessness:—

' The vine fruitless is of all trees most useless. ... If barren,
it is good for nothing ; not so much as to make a pin to hang



102 VICE AND WICKED.

transition of meaning from being weak, bent, or
twisted, to being wicked, vicious, or wrong, is one
of very frequent occurrence in all languages the
annexed instances will sufficiently prove. The
Romans used to speak of ' depraved legs' (depravata
crura), i a depravity of the feet or joints ' {pedum,
articulorum, depravatio), while we have now limited
the word altogether to moral crookedness and
deformity.

Similarly ' luxury,' which, in Shakspere and
his contemporaries, commonly bears the definite
meaning of wantonness, lewdness, lechery (the
Latin hixuria signifying the luxuriance and rank-
ness of vegetation, as well as the uncurbed extra-
vagance of riotous living), is the immediate
derivative of luxus, excess, originally a ' luxation '
or dislocation of a limb. The radical idea is
swerving or turning aslant from the line of recti-
tude, luxus being the Greek loxos, slanting. 1

When Hamlet is still labouring under the ex-



a hat on. Oaks and cedars are good for building, poplars for
pales, very bushes for hedging, doted wood for firing ; but the
fruitless vine is good for nothing.'

Adams, The Barren Tree.

1 The practice and use of all operative arts is all in all ; in
divinity, the chief of all, which else is as the vine, excellent only in
the sweet juice of it, otherwise fit not so much as for pin or peg.'
Ward, The Happiness of Practice. Cf. Ezek. xv.

1 If Mr/os, a withe, or willow-twig, a tree of the willow species, is
akin to loxds, that rapprochement would fall in admirably with the
subject of the present paper. Compare luglzd, to bend or twist,
Ger. liigen, to lie, and vide ' Lie ' infra, p. 105.



VICE AND WICKED. 103

citement of the supernatural disclosure that the
royal bed of Denmark had become

' A couch for luxury and damned incest,'

he exclaims —

' The time is out of joint ; cursed spite,
That ever I was born to set it right ! Hamlet, i. v.

Bishop Taylor, in his ' Life of Christ/ speaks
of a 6 luxation of a point of piety.'

' Wrong ' is primarily applicable to something
crooked, twisted, or wrung, when it should be
straight or right (rectus).

1 Crokyd or wronge, curvus, tortus, Crokyn', or makyh'
wronge, Curbo.' Prompt. Parvulorum.

Compare the following from Fuller : —

1 An act which the judicious behold, not as a crooked deed
bowing them, from their last, but as an upright one straighten-
ing them to their first and best, oath.'

Church History, vol. i. p. 304 (ed. 1842).

So l worse,' ' worst/ Goth, vairs, seems to answer
to the Latin versus (per-versus), turned aside,
twisted, or declined, from an original rectitude,
from verto, to turn.

Tort, a legal and Old English term for a wrong,
denotes a tortuous or crooked course of action,
being the French tort, Latin tortus, twisted, past
participle of torqueo, to twist. Spenser speaks of
some who were

' Long opprest with tort,
And fast imprisoned in sieged fort.'

Faerie Queen, I. xii. 4.



104 VICE AND WICKED.

' Twisted ' and ' twisty ' are provincial words for
a perverse, cross, or Wrong-headed person. Dutch
twistig, quarrelsome, from twist, a quarrel (the
original meaning, however, perhaps, being standing
at two or at variance, not at one).

6 Queer,' originally a cant term meaning bad,
naught, is the G-er. quer, oblique, athwart, cross,
Welsh gwyr, crooked. Compare Dutch dwars, 0.
Norse thwerr, A.-Sa.x. tkweor, cross, crooked,
bad. So the Dutch verkeerd, wrong, wicked, der
praved, is from verkeeren, to turn aside ; Eng.
' froward,' perverse, is ' fromward/ turned away,
that will not listen, just as i wayward' is 'away-
ward,' opposite to ' toward,' turned to one, tract-
able ; 1 Fr. revecke, harsh, intractable, cross, is the
Portuguese revesso, It. rivescio, from reversus,
turned away; and the Italian ritroso, stubborn,
is from the Latin retrorsus, i.e., relroversus, turned
away back (Diez).

To slant or slent in provincial and Old English
is to deviate from truth, to lie, equivocate, jest.
Thus Fuller speaks of one c using sometimes slent-
ing, seldome downright railing ' (Holy State, p.
60, 1648, 4to).

An interesting illustration of this word is afforded
by the deaf and dumb sign for truth and falsehood



1 In the provincial dialects, a person of reluctant, stubborn, or
contrary disposition is similarly described as awlc, awTcert, * awk-
ward,' or as tharf, tharth, ' thwart.'



VICE AND WICKED. 105

respectively, the former being denoted by moving
the finger straight forward from the lips, while to
signify a lie the finger is moved to one side.

The word ' lie ' itself, pro v. Eng. lig, A. -Sax.
leogan, Dut. liegen, Goth, Hug an, Ger. lilgen, has
its fundamental meaning exhibited in the cognate
Lettish word leeks, false, wrong, originally crooked,
from leekt, to bend, 1 Esthon. liig-paiatus, crooked
speech, falsehood, and all may no doubt be
traced to the Sanskrit root ling, to bend, seen
in Gk. lugizo, Lat. ligare, ob-liqu-us. Compare
Loxias, in Greek, the oracular god of indirect and
crooked (loxos) utterances.

' Insidious sly Report,
Sounding oblique, like Loxian oracles,
Tells double-tongued (and -with the self-same voice !)
To some new gladness, new despair to some.'

Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), Clytemnestra.

' Kam,' as in Shakspere's ' This is clean kam '
(Cor. iii. 1), i.e., altogether wrong (< Eebours ob-
likely, awry, quite contrary . . . cleane kamme ' —
Cotgrave) is the Irish cam, Welsh cam, crooked,
wry, wrong.

A.-Sax. wok, a bend, twist, or turning, is also
used for error, wrong, wickedness, depravity, and



1 Wedgwood, Origin of Language, p. 148. It is instructive to
compare with this the parallelism of ' lie,' to be recumbent, 0.
Eng. to ligge, A.-Sax. Megan, liggan, Dut. liggen, Ger. liegen, Goth.
ligan, Ir. luighim, Gk. legtimar, lechos, a bed, Lat. lectus, Goth.
liuga, marriage, all from a root form lanfi, la?). Vide Pictet, Orig.
Indo-Europ., vol. ii. p. 270.






106 VICE AND WICKED.

comes from the Sanskrit root va?ik, to be crooked,
move tortuously. 1

0. Eng. ' wrench/ a trick or deception, A.-Sax.
wrence, is a proceeding wrenched or wrung aside
from the straightforward course (traceable pro-
bably to the Sanskrit root vrij, to bend).

1 It [the world] ledes a man with wrenlces and wyles.'

Prick of Conscience, 1. 1360 (about 1340 a.d.)

(JTn Hebrew, dvdJi, to bend, twist, distort, also
signifies to act perversely, to s'mT)Pdthal, to twist,
in one of its moods means to be crafty, deceitful,
to act perversely, and its derivative jjethaltol (Deut.
xxxii. 5) is perverse, deceitful, ' twisty.'

Latin scelns, crime, wickedness, is akin to the
Greek shelos or skellos, crooked-legged, s/wlios,
crooked, and also unrighteous, wrong, skalcnos,
halting, limping. 2 Compare the North of England
shelled, warped, twisted, crooked, skelly? to look
awry ; A.-Sax. sceol-eged, scul-eaged, squinting or
scowling ; 0. Norse skoela, to twist awry ; all cog-



1 ' Wench ' a young woman, a word once free from the con-
temptuous implication now attaching to it, is from the same root,
being the A.-Sax. wencle, a maid, akin to wencel, a weakling ;
Prov. Eug. winkle, feeble ; A.-Sax. wincian, to bend one's self, to
' wince,' from the Sanskrit vank, to go crooked, to bend. The
primitive idea seems to have been that of a weak, pliant, and
buxom being.

2 Cockayne, Spoon, and Sparrow, p. 316.

3 Compare Cleveland shell, skeel, to tilt or turn obliquely (Atkin-
son) ; Cumberland shelled, distorted, awry, and shawl, to walk
crookedly, 0. Eng. shayle; all akin to Ger. schel, Dut. scheel,



VICE AND WICKED. 107

nate with the Sanskrit skhal, to stumble, fall, err,
go wrong, skhalana, a transgression.

' Slim,' with the provincial meaning of distorted,
worthless, sly, crafty, is the Dutch slim, slem,
transverse, oblique, distorted, bad, cunning ; Ba-
varian schlimm, wry, Old Norse sloemr, weak, worth-
less. Wedgwood thinks that the original meaning
of the word may be flagging, flaccid, then hanging
down, sloping, leading to the idea of obliquity
and depravity.

We have seen that vitis, the vine, as its name
imports, is the twisting or bending plant, being
cognate with the Anglo-Saxon wi%ie, our ' withy,'
which latter seems sometimes to have denoted any
tree of a crooked or twisted growth, for Stow in
his i Survey ' speaks of i the fetching in of a twisted
tree, or with, as they termed it . . . into the
king's house,' in the week before Easter. The
same root has been traced in the word vitium in
the sense of a crookedness or twist. It exists
also, it is more than probable, in the Persian bid
and bit (? the vine), Hindostani bed, the willow,
Persian bide. A curious parallel to the relation
between vitis and vitium is afforded by the kindred



crooked, 0. N. slccela, to turn awry. So Cumberland scafe, a wild
youth, a scamp, is connected with 0. Norse skeifr, Dan. skieve, (1)
to be askew or crooked, (2) to go wrong (Ferguson). Stem, in Cleve-
land, Dan., Swed., and Norse, Ger. schlimm, Dut. slim, bad, worth-
less, are akin to Swed. slimm, slemmer, crooked. Ir. fiar, (1)
crooked, (2) wicked.



108 VICE AND WICKED.

words in Persian. Bed not only means the willow
or aspen, but also worthless, useless ; bada is the
willow, and also wickedness; while bad is naughty,
wicked, < bad.' 1

Another plant deriving its name from its twin-
ing and winding habit is the ' vetch,' It. veccia,
Ger. ?vicke, Dan. vihhe, Lat. vicia, i.e., 6 the binder'
(compare ' wood-bine,' i.e., 6 wood-bind,' and ' bind-
weed), from the stem vie, to bind, seen in the Ger.
Tvickeln, to bind around, or wrap; Dan. vikle ; Lat.
vinca, pervinca, ' periwinkle ' (' the binder ') ; 0.
Eng. pervinkle ; Dan. vceger, a willow; vegre, a
pliant rod, a withy ; veg, pliant ; our ' wicker ; '
Swed. wika, to plait, fold, yield, give place to, turn
aside ; and probably the provincial English word
6 winkle,' meaning feeble. This stem vie, occurring
in Indo-European words, has been traced up to the
Sanskrit root vinch, and may be discerned in the
Greek (v)eikein (retfceiv), to yield ; Lat. vincere, to
cause to yield, to conquer ; vincire, to bind ; vic-is,



1 Some instances of the employment of bad in Persian are bad-
nam, a bad name, infamous; bad-dil (weak heart), cowardly,
timid ; bad-pidar (bad father), a step-father ; jdmasi bad, a torn
or worn-out garment. The resemblance of the two words in
Persian and English (far removed as are those languages) is cer-
tainly not a coincidence, but a real family likeness. Compare
as other instances Pers. band = Eng. 'band,' Pers. bud = Eng.
1 booth.'

At all events, if we repudiate the Persian bad, our English word
will stand perfectly isolated. As an instance of the unhappy shifts
that etymologists have been driven to, Matzner deduces ' bad' from
the A. -Sax. bedling, an effeminate person, one who keeps his bed.
(Ed. Miiller, s.v.)



VICE AND WICKED. 109

a turn ; * 0. H. Ger. wichan ; 0. Norse vikja, to
turn, give place; Swed. vika ; Dan. vige; Ger.
weichen ; A. -Sax. wican, to give way, yield, to be-
come soft or weak. With these latter words are
immediately connected Dan. veg, pliant ; Swed.
wek, yielding, soft, tender; Ger. welch; A. -Sax.
wac, yielding to pressure, ' weak y also c wicked,'
which is a collateral form of l weak/ 0. Eng. wik,
wicke, and only in comparatively modern times
distinguished from it as an independent word. 2

' Wick,' originally signifying weak, yielding,
pliant, opposed to that which is strong, steadfast,
and durable, came afterwards to be used of any
thing worthless, evil, or bad of its kind.

1 It [hell] sal be fulle of brunstane and pyk,
And of other thyng J>at es wyk'

Prick of Conscience (ab. 1340) 11. 6693-4.

' Grete stormes wex with weders wik.'

MS. Earl. 4196.



1 Cleasby is of opinion that the word ' week/ A. -Sax. wica, weoce,
Icel. vika, was adopted from the Latin vice. Compare the Gothic
in wikon kunyis seinis (Luke i. 8), said of Zacharias officiating
in his turn or course. It might be conjectured that the root vinch,
mentioned above, is a collateral form of the Sanskrit vank, to go
tortuously, be crooked, bend, seen in the Latin vacillare, vacuus,
vacare ; A. -Sax. wincian, wincel, wince, waeg, woy,&c.

2 Of kindred origin, and strikingly similar in their mutual rela-
tions, are the words following : — (1) Scot, sioack, limber, pliant,
weak ; Ger. schwa-/' ; Dut. sioack, easily bent, weak ; Dan. Swed.
svag, weak ; pro v. Eng. to sweg, sway ; 0. Norse sveigja, to incline,
bend, give way : cognate with (2), 0. Norse svigi, a twig : and
with (3), Dan. svig, 0. Norse svik, Scot, swick, A.-Sax. swic, mean-
ing fraud, deceit, treachery ; A.-Sax. swican, to weaken, deceive ;
Cumberland swyke, a thin, weak animal, a worthless, deceitful
person.



110 VICE AND WICKED.

' For tliilke grund that berith the wedis wyk
Berith eke thes holsom herbis.'

Chaucer, Troilus and Creseide, Bk. I., 1. 947.

* Til god men sal he [Christ] be quern,
And to the wik ful grisli sem.'

Eng. Metrical Homilies of the \4th Cent.
(ed. Small), p. 20.

1 Thou werm with thi wylys wyk.''

Coventry Mysteries, p. 29.

1 Hire hadde lever a knif
Thurghout hire brest, then ben a woman wikke.''

Canterbury Tales, 1. 5448.

1 Sire, I did it in no wikke entente.'

Id. 1. 15429.
4 Hit semeth that no wyght
Wot ho is worthi for wele other for wicke,
"Whether he is worthi to wele other to wickede pyne.'
Vision of P. Plowman (1393), Pass. XII.
1. 272 (Text C), E.E.T.S.

' Noght swa wikked man, noght swa,
Bot als dust that wind the erthe tas fra.
And therefor, wick in dome noght rise,
Ne sinfulle in rede of right wise.
For Louerd of right wise wot the way
And gate of wick forworth sal ay.'

Ancient Version of Ps. i. 4-6, quoted in Weever's
Funeral Monuments (1631), p. 154.

In c Havelok the Dane ' we meet the phrases
< wikke clothes ' and ' wicke wede ' (11. 2458 and
2825) for what in another place is called * feble
wede ' (1. 323), i.e., bad, poor, or mean clothing.



VICE AND WICKED. Ill

Compare the Icelandic sunde klasde, torn clothes,
from sund, synd'e, injured, broken, ' sundered/
near akin to synd, a breach of law, guilt ; Ger.
sunde, our ' sin ' (Wedgwood, s.v.) 1

' Wick ' or ' wik,' as used in all these passages,
corresponds to the provincial German week (soft,
mean), wiken ; Ger. weichen (e.g., Luther's version
of 1 Sam. xii. 20; Prov. v. 7); A. -Sax. wican, to
be soft, yielding, or 'weak 7 (A. -Sax. wcec, wac,
Ger. weick). 2

In 6 wicked,' therefore, we have an instance of a
great moral truth being implicit and wrapped up
in a word, and not so much, perhaps, as suspected
till that word be unfolded and laid bare to its very
central meaning. The ' wick ' or f wicked ' man is
in name as well as in nature, etymologically as
well as essentially, the l weak J man, the man who,


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Online LibraryAbram Smythe PalmerLeaves from a word-hunter's note-book → online text (page 7 of 21)