Timothie Bright.

Characterie : an arte of shorte, swifte, and secrete writing by character online

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of Ihorte, fvviftc,
and fccrete wri-
ting by Charac-
Jnuaited by Timothe
Bright, Dodlor of

ywprinied at London by

T. Windct, the afsignc

of Tim. Bright.


^um Privilegio Regijt Maieftatis.

^orbiddivg all other to print

the favie.


The celebration last year of the
iercentenary of Dr. Bright's work
on Characterie, the first English
Shorthand, has given such an
impttus to the study of stenographic
history and development, and excited
so great an interest in the birth ol
Modern Shorthand, that I need ofTcr
no excuse for reprinting so rare a
book, only one copy of which is
known to be in existence.

In every detail I have followed
the original, preserving the exact
spacing and pagination, as well as
the quaint old-style spelling, using
also an almost identical fount oi
letters specially obtained for the
purpose, but substituting engraved
characters for the rapidly fading pen
and ink stenograms in the original,
that mv fellow laborers in shorthand


research may have the same ficility
of examinini( the work, as would be
afforcied by visiting and procuring
admission as readers of the Bodleian
Library at Oxford.


Reporttrt' Journal Office,

27, Chancery Lane, London, W.C.
26th July, 1888.

\* This reprint is limited to 100


h I'gh , and 77t ighty p 7'inct,

Elizabeth, by the grace
of God, of England, Fraunce, and
Ireland, Queene : Defen-
der of the Faith

11^;^^*^ I c e r o did a c c -

IK^J ^^^^^t it wor-
thie his labour,

a n d no 1 e f s p r o -
iitable to the Roman com-
mon weale (mod gracious
Soucraigne,) to inuent a
Ipecdic kinde of wrvting
by character, as Plu-
Az tarch


tarch reportcth in the life
of CA TO the yongcr. This
inuention was increafcd
afterward by SENECA: that
the number of charaders
grue to 7000. Whether
through iniurie of time, or
that men gaue it over for
tedioufnes of learning, no-
thing remaineth extant of
CiCEROEs inuention at this
day. Upon confideration
of the great vfe of fuch a
kinde of writing, I haue
inuented the like; of fewe
charadters, fliort and eafy,
cuery charafter anfwe-


riiiii ci word : mv inuenti-
on mcere Englilh, without
precept, or imitation of a-
ny. , The vfes are diuers :
iliort, that a fwift handc
may therewith write orations
or publike actions of
fpeach, uttered as becom-
nieth the grauitie of fuch
adlions, verbatim. Se-
crete, as no kinde of wrv-
ting like, and herein (befides
other properties) excelling
the wryting by '\ lett-
ers, and alphabet, in that,
nations of ilrange langua-
ges, may hereby communi-
A3 cate

The Epiille

cate their meaning toge-
ther in writing, though of
liindrie tongues, it is repor-
ted of the people of Chi-
na, that they have no o-
ther kinde, and so traf-
fike together many Pro-
uinces of that kingdom, ig-
norant one of an others
fpeach. Their charadlers
are very long, and harde
to make, that a doufen of
mine, may be written as
foone as one of theirs ; Be-
lides, they wanting an al-
phabet, fal into an infinite
number, which is a thing



that greatlie chargctli me-
mory, and may difcourage
the learner.

This mv inuentlon I
am emboldened to dedicate
vnto your maieftv, in that
among other your prince-
lie vertues, your maieftv
is woont to approue of euc-
rie good and profitable in-
uention of learning: and in
duetie of thankefulncisc
;im I much more boundc
thereunto, from whome
I haue receiued afsurance
of the fruite of mv ftu-
dies, by your maiefties
A4 moft

The Epiftle

moft gracious Priuiledge.
And this my inuention be-
ing altogether of Englilli
yeeld, where your maicllie
is the ladie of the foyle it
appertayneth of right to
you onely. So, niooucd hy
duetie, and encouraged by
\'our inaiertics hiuoura-
b!c difpolition to the ver-
tuous, df learned indeuors
of your faithful fubicdts,
I haue pre fumed to publifh
my charadtery vnder tlie
protection of your maie-
iHes name. It is like a ten-
der plant, young c;' ftrange,



fo it refteth.

If it may be fo happy, as
to inioye the influence of
your maicllies fauoure,
and good hking, I doubt
not, but it will growe vp,
be embraced, & yeeld pro-
fitable fruite vnto many,
and I my felfe thereby ihal
haue atteined for my par-
ticular refpect, that which
in a lower degree, many
ihall enioy by the vfc of this
my inuentio, which I hope
(be it laid with modeftie)
wanteth little to equall
it, with that olde deuife
As of

The Epiftle

of Ciceroes, but your ma-
ieftics alowance, c3^ Cice-
roes name. The later as I
can eaiily fpare, fo without
the former my chara(!:tcric
dareth prefume no farther,
but liueth, or dieth, accor-
ding to your maiefties ac-
count, whofc blefscd Ihitc,
as it is to all your loyall
fubieftes an other life, be-
fides the naturall, fo to this
new fprong ympe, (^ to nie
the parent thereof, nothing
can be more comfortable
than you maiefties grati-
ous expedtation, by whom



all the land flouriflieth, cf is
at the very heart cheered.

The eternall blefse your
maieftie with increafe of
all happinefse to your com-
fort, and your faithful fub-
iefts, that (vnder the great
maieftie of God) onely de-
pend vpon you.

Your Maiefties faithful

Timothe Bright.

An Instruftion to the

Reader, how the art is

to be learned.

Hon hast here gen-
tle reader, an art
of (hort, and lb of
fpeedie wryting,
plainly delivered vnto thee.
So as by thine own indultry,
thou maieft attain unto it, if
thou wilt but one month
take paines therein,
and by continuance
of an other month,
maieft thou attain to great
readinefs. For thy better in-
ftrud:i6,thou art firft to learne
the charad:erie words by
heart, and therewith the ma-
king of the figure to the cha-
racter, to doo it readily, and
cleane, then, to be able to
joyne euery chara(fter to the


To the Reader

word pronounced, without
book or light of any pattern
before thee. This done, thou
art farther to proceed, and to
learn how to refer eyther
words of like fignification,or
of the fame kinde, or contra-
ries into thofe that be quite
charadlerie. Here becaufe e-
uery man by his own reach
can not confider how to refer
all words, thou haft in this
book an Engliih dictionary,
with words of refercce alrea-
dy thereto adioyned to help
suchasof thcfelues can not fo
difpofe the. The words wh ich
are called appelatiue, if they
fignifie things that have di
ftinct parts : thofe parts are to
be written on the one fide,and
the things and all the fortes ot


To the Reader

that kind, on the other, and
where there be many of a kind
for cleererdiflinftion, part the
into diuers fides. Likewife, as
thou maieft fee in the table of
the more particularly. Inftead
of much laborious writing ;
for thy fpeedie exercife, and
eafe, thou maieft caufe one
to read the didlionarie to thee,
while thou writeft it, and fo
in that fmall quantity of paper
haft thou to exercife thee
more, the if thou shouldeft
write whole volumes. And if
thou wilt take pains to caft
the charadferie words into
fome difcourfe, as liketh thee
beft, fo haft thou a means
of reteyning the art, and
keeping it without al dan
ger of forgetting.


To the Reader

Moreover, thou maieft ex
ercilc this art after a while
learning, as well by reading
without writing as if thou
diddeft write, by calling the
charafter to thy minde, and
the worde of reference. So
hall thou the art of ihort,
fwifte, and fecrete writix^g,
none comparable.



Haradterie is an art
of writing brieflic.
It hath two parts.
The firfl: parte is
concerning the making of the

The fecond is concerning
the value, and fignificationoi:

The charadler is a brief
mark of a word.

To charadlers doe belong
two thinges : figure, and loy-

The figure ought to be ea-
fie, and brief.

The ioyning of characters
confilteth of fituation, and di


The Arte of

The fituation of charafter
ought tobe one diredlly under
the other.

The diftincftion ought tobe
made with a prick fette under
the charadler, at every brea-
thing,orpause of thefentence
as ^

Thefe are properties be
longing to all charadlers.
The kinds of charadlers are
two: fimple or compound.

The fimple one is a charac-
ter made of no other, and is
varied by euery kinde of
pofition, hanging or lying.

It is either a ftraight line,or

A ftraight line hanging
direct, as, | or bias as/ \ lying,
thus, —



A crooked line, is either
half circle or whole, hanging
thus, 3 c lying thus n,^ The
whole circle thus o

The compounded charac-
ters are fuch as be made of the

The compound character
hath two parts : the one is the
body of the chanxfler, and the
other is an addition to it.

The body of the character
is a fmgle ftraight charafter,
& by it is varied the pofition ol
the charadler compounded

The addition is to either
fide of the body, to the head
or to the foot.

The addition is either An-
gle, or compound.

Single, when the addition


The Arte of

isof one lineonly: andthatey-
ther ftreight, or croked.

Streight line to the head of
either lidc, thus : u n i r to
the foote, thus : Ji H

A crooked Hne to the head,
thus ; 1 r n 1 r 1 P to the foot,
thus: JL JUL

A compound addition is
when the addition confifleth
of two Hues.

The compound addition is
oftvvo forts: cither of the fame
kind of hnes, as two crooked
as ?, or one ftreight and the o-
ther crooked, at the head
thustt, at the foot thus J I

Hetherto of the parts of firai^ht line

charaflffs, and the properties

belonging to them.


A ftraight Hne copound



is multiplied by varying ^
pofition, firll — then / and j

A ftraight line characfler is -^
cither limple compounded, r
or double compound.

Simply compat head thu :
from £ * anfwcring the alpha- p
bet iauing k, q, and y, which i
are anfwered with c, and i,

Pofition /-y-\ at the feet
thus: JL n JL J L JU'. pofi-
tion -^ ^ ^ -y / \.
Do uble com pounds are fuch,
as hauc additions both at head
and foot, as )j)}-)J]J J) 6cc,
and fo the reft, the i 2. feetc
added. Pofition thus ^'^^)

Thefe are all the ftraight li-
ned characters.

Thus much concerning
the charadler, and of the
firft part of charaftery.

The Arte of

The fecond pari of Cha-
racter ie^ touching the sig-
7iification of the

THe fignification of the
charader is of two forts,
folitary or accom-
The foHtary fignification is
that, which a fohtary charac-
ter exprefseth.

That is, certain words
whereto all other may bee re-
ferred, called charaftericall.
The charadlericall words,
are a number that have nei-
ther agreement, nor contrar-
ity together: butftand indif-
ferently affeded.

Thefe are all contained in
the table following, with the



charafter adioyned to each

Let a fhort crook, ferve
an ufual and fhort word: and a
long one a long word : except
the order in the alphabet dif-
pofed for memory, caufe alte-

A word of the fame found,
though of diuerfe fenfe, is
written with the fame: as,faft,
for abftinence from meat, for
fwiftnefs,and furenefs: foif it
much differ not,as whore,and
hore, whole, and hole.

Of the properties belon-
ging to words. .

THE properties belonging
to words, are (hewed by
plain exprefsing them: or are
gathered by nature of the
^each. They

The Arte of

They are exprefsed by
pricks on to the lidc of the

They are common to all
words, or peculiar unto cer-

The common is, to be pri-
mitiue, or derived.

Of pri})iitiucs, or

Primitiues and deriuatiues
are known by the language :
as, he is a virtuous man, not a
virtue man : fear God, honor
the king: not fearful, fo not

Deriuatiue words that end
in er, require two prickcs at
the right fide of thecharafter:
as, labourer is deriucd of
labour. }.

Such as end in ihip, as


friendfliip, or hood, as neigh-
hourhood, require in the
word written, the charafterof
iliip to be placed underneath:
and whether it, or hood be to
be read, the language will
plainly deliver. For no man
will read either ncighbour-
fliip, or friendhood.

Such be written with the
the left fide, as: I

Thus much of primatiues and de

riualiucs : which are common

to all words.

Nozo of peculiar


THe peculiar to nownes are
nomber and comparilbn
Of number.
A; goingbeforethe word,de-
clareth the Angular number:
as, a man, not, a men.

B. When

The Arte of

Whe the, goeth before, place
a prick at the fide of the cha-
rafter following, to note its
plural nomber, as I the ages.
The charafter of this requi-
reth a prick on the fide, to fig-
nify thus. ^

The reft is declared by the
language: as, two men, not
two man.

Of comparifon.

The comparative degree is
known from the other, by
than, following : as. Gold is
better than filver, not good
than filver, nor beft.

The fuperlative degree is
declared by of, following: as,
Gold is beft of mettalls.

When comparifon is be-
twixt two, of, fignifieth the
comparativedegree: as,bcttcr
of twain. Hethci to


Hetherto of properties belonging to

nownes : it follouieth of juch

as belong to verbsy as

tenccy or time.

Of Tence.

If the time be partedfrothe
word, as, I will againft fuch a
day, do this: then make the
mark of the time at the fide
of the perfon: as, .!.t)

if it be part, and is fignified by
haue: let the charadler for
haue, be written.

If had, doe fignify it, make
a prick in the charafter of
haue, on the left hand. \

If did, make the like prick
in the charadler of do, on the
fame fide. -"^

For where, write the char-
after true of where.

If the word by reafon of
B2 tence

The Arte of

tence end in ed, as, I lived,
then niakeaprickinthechar-
adlier of the word, on the left
fide, i.

The time tocomerequireth
a prick on the right fide.

When would is to be ex-
prefsed, write the charadler
of well for it, and read it
would: and for (hould,make a
prick on the right fideofwell.

The prefent tence wantcth
a prick,and fo is knowen from
other tences.

A word of doing, that en-
deth in ing, as, eating, drink-
ing, 6cc, requireth two pricks
diredl under the body of the
charader, as v-c

Other times or tences, de-
ped upon thefe,andareplainly
difcerned bv the nature of the
language. A


A note of Nombers, &
proper names.

NOmbers are written by
the heads of the com-
pound charafters, with a
(Ireight bodie hanging, and
take increafe by place, as
cyphers in arithmetike.

Proper names,if they be fig-
nificant,are written by char-
adter: as field,day, dfc. other-
wife the head of the character
bearing the figure of a letter
added alfo to the foot, and fo
joyned in one figure, may
ferve for two letters: asabl^ ac
; adu acsj ba^ be^ c&'candfo
other two, till all the word, or
as much as necefsary, fhall be
written : with a mark at the
fide of the firft charadler, to
(how that it is a name.

B3 He

The Arte of

Hethtrto concerning the

(olttary f: unification, 7vith properttei

belonging to words ft fol

laiueth of the accbpc

nied fignification .

The accompanied figiuh-
cation is that which the cha-
rafter exprcfsed by an addi-
tion to it.

This addition, is the heads
of ftreight charaders, each
anlXvcring a letter in the al-

Thcfe additions carry the
firfi: letter of the accompanied
fignification, to declare what
it is.

cation have two words of like
beginning as ledde, and la-
tine, take two of the firrt:
letters made into one charac-
ter, as before any names, for
differece. If

If two, be like, (which is ve-
ry rare)leaue the vowel,orthe
and take that which may
make the difference.

The accompanied fignih-
cation is of two kindes.

Either when the very word
lb fignihed or the fenfe only.

The very word, when the
prefife word is tobefignified.

d Ihortening of writing.

Firft, when and, or, any,
orfuchcuiundlions come be-
twixt two words that are of
Hkefignificati6,or contraries:
then: inflcadof the characflcr
of the fecund, place the addi-
tion inferting the iirft letter of
that word, to the fide of the


The Arte of

And if many fynominaes, or
contraries be uttered notcou-
pled by any coniundtion,
make a pricke inftead of the
coniunftion, and note thofe
lynominaes, or contraries,
with their marks, as before is
faid, as part whole ; lumpe,
peece, thus: ^h The fecond
iliortening is in repititions.

If the repitition be of An-
gle wordes, the figure of the
nomberhowoftit is repeated
is to be added to the left fide of
the charadler of the repeated
word, or fo many pricks, as
earth, earth, earth, hear the
word of the Lord. }.i


part thereof, place a circle on
the right fide of the firft re-
peated woordes charadler.


Thus : In perils of waters, in
perils of robbers, in perils of
the fea, write thus, i\^t-?

?^ Q-C.

The accompanied fignifi-
cation in exprefs word, is of
two forts. Either of like, and
confenting fignificatio with
thefolitary: or of difsenting.

requireth the mark on the left

is of two kinds.

When the accompanied
fignification is a fyonima to
the folitary, or a kind of it.

Synonima, as anger, rage,
fury, - ^ p ^ 1 -^

A kind as mettall, brafse,
tinne, ledde. '^1 ^ -f ^-o f u-d


The Arte of

Thus much of the confen-
ting fignification: the follow-

eth of the difsenting.
The difsenting fignification
is when the accompanied
difsenteth from the fohtary.
Here the addition is to be
placed on the right fide, as :

When it is a mere denying
it hath only a dafh through
the charadler, whofe word it
denieth,as,is, is not: good,not
good. _^-Kt Hi-
Here place the fhortening
on the right fide, as life, and
death, neither good nor
badde. ^^'

When such a contrarie is
teyned in the title of charac-
tery wordes,then write it with
the addition, and let thecon-


iundlion be accopanied with
che mark on the left fide, as
death and life. \}^

Which mark is a pricke if it
is to be written, otherwife a

Hcthcrio cbfernino the accompanied

fignification of tlu exprejs words

it foUo^iveth of the jcnje.

The fenfe only is to be ta-
ken with the charad:er, whe
befides that we defire to be
fwift, the very exprefs worde
is not necefsary. That is, when
they do but fill the fpeach, or
otherwife are not 6f the fub-
ftance matter: as, circum-
locutions, and purpofes.

Of the firft fort is, when we
leue out the fpecial,and pecu-
Har properties: as, high hea-
uen, eternal God. Hereleaue


The Table

/ Booke
y Borrow
/'' Both
J Bottome
/ Bread
(/ Breake
/ Breede
^ Brother



(^ Can




C Caue




(:; Change

C Church

C Com pan ie

r Continue


C Condition

/ Contained

C Confider



e^ Conftant


^ Content





^ Corrupt





ko Counfel


S» Count




S Cuellion





7 Draw





J Day


t Danger


^ Deceiue

6 Drop

t Declare


j Dedicate


I Deere


^ Defend

C^ Edge


J Depriue




.^ Defcend



C Enough









^ 'Differ





'- Euery

- Fifh

"^ Example




' Exercife


^ Except

-i' Fling

^ Expert



^ Folow

^ pace
' . ^ Faith

^^ Ford

^ Force

^ Fair

-x Out
^T^ Outward

3 pacient


^ Part

^^ Pafse

3 Peace

'^ People

3 Perfeft



The Table

\ Perfwade

^ Phyficke

% Place

^ Plague

% Playe

-^ Playne

- Plead
~' Pledge
-• Poynt
-^ Pofsible


-^ Praife

- Preach

-^ Prejudice

-\. Prepare

-p Prefent

_y Pretend

(^ Preuayle

^ Preuent

/ Pricke

J Prince

I Promis

; Prophefy

,''' Proportion

y Profper

/' Proue

i/ Pulpit

I Punifti

. Purge
f "p ace
p ■'■^ Raigne
^' Rebuke
r Reche
" Recover

r Ready
; Reioyce
[^ Religion
^ Remember
-N Repent
- Refon
-/ Refolve
- Reft
-. Reftore
-: Reuile
T Riche
c Right
Tr Ripe
2^ Robbe



Z' Rodd
f^ Roote
J Rough
/ Rub
f Rule
C Rufh




\ Seede
\ Seeme
^-\ Side
^ Sinke
^ Singe
^ Sitt

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Online LibraryTimothie BrightCharacterie : an arte of shorte, swifte, and secrete writing by character → online text (page 1 of 6)