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• Richards, in his Dictionary, sets down adyrcop, a spider; and cites Lhwyd as saying, “Gaiar iaith Lhychlyn ywhwn, a chorryn gwenwynllyd a arwyddocca : i. e. “this is a word of the language of Norway (or Denmark) and signifies a venomous spider.” It may however be observed that the general name for a spider in Welsh is pryfconnyn ; i. e. the worm, or insect, of the cieling : and a cobweb is gwe'r coppyn, i. e. the web of the top. Corpyn, however, simply, and by itself, not unfrequently denotes a spider. Conna, I apprehend, is ultimately from the Hebrew ha gaph, a summit ; but how, or when, it was adopted, either into the Welsh or Saxon, is not so easy to ascertain. The English term cobweb (most commonly pronounced cop-web in the North) very happily preserves the root of this remarkable word.
•Wachter derives cyter, gore, pus, corruption, from the German eiten, to burn ; a term that must be allowed to be particularly applicable to poisons.
• Atir and atry are also sometimes used in our northern dialect, thus uncompounded, to express purulent matter, or any thing bloody and filthy. Speaking of Poliphemus, Douglas says,
• Of his Edulpe the flowand blude and alir
neid, Book iii. p. 90. 1. 45.
• Black, hairy warts about an inch between,
Ross's Helenore, p. 35. • Then comeths of ire an atterly angre, whan a man is sharply amonested in his shrifte to leve his sinne : than wolle he be angrie, and answere hokirly and angerly, or defende or excuse bis sinne by unstedfastnesse of his feshe, or els he did it for to hold companie with wyse felowes, or els he saith the fende enticed him, or els he did it for his youth, &c. &c. Chaucer. The Parson's Tale, 201. col. 2. Urry.
Among Mr. B.'s remarks on the Scotch term abeigh, we expected to have found a reference to the expression at buy, which is common in England ; but we were disappointed.
His derivation of ABOUT from the French au bout, is plausible; but the meaning of our preposition is certainly not, when relating to time, at the moment by which the period is butted." Whether used singly, or with ihere prefixed to it, it always signifies somewhat near the place, time, or quantity, specified.
The old terms ADVOYD, and void, are not properly defined by our verb to leave. The instances to which Mr. B. sefers, shew that these words signify to clear, to vacate, or to renove out. Other inaccuracies of this nature occur.
“ Dr. Johnson," says our author, “ spells the word (ÆSTUARY) Estuary, but gives no authority for its use.” We are uncertain whether he had any other than that of common sense. This dictates that a word which is anglicised by receiving an English termination, ought to be wholly English in its orthography. The Latin diphthong Æ, is foreign to our language, and is therefore inadmissible in words that are na. turalized by us.
The term AFFECTEDLY is very improperly introduced, merely because a modern writer has chosen (very affectedly indeed) to use it in the sense of affectingly, or pathetically. Under ALMOUSE, or ALMESS ( Alms) is the following paragraph, which, as it is incomprehensible to us, we present, for a trial of skill, to our readers.
• In most, if not all, the cognate languages, this word is a dissyllable ; excepting, perhaps, in its Greek radix shenjoo uin, the Islandic olmusa, and the English alms. In the Saxon it is æluesse; in the German almosen ; in the Danish almisse ; in the Swedish almosa ; and in the Dutch almoese.'
After counting our fingers as often as a modern manufacturer of heroic versc, we can make neither more nor less than three syllables of either the Saxon, the German, the Danish, the Swedish, or the Dutch words for alms. If the author erroneously supposed the final e to be suppressed in any of these languages, as it is in ours, yet we cannot conceive how he could regard almosen, and almosa, as dissyllables. We suspect, therefore, that Mr. B. wrote trisyllables.
As Mr. B., like Matthew Paris, secms to have been ignorant of the origin of the term Assassins, first applied to the fanatical subjects of the celebrated Sheekh ul jibbel, or • Old Man of the Mountain, it may be proper to mention it. The founder of the Dynasty of Princes so called, which reigned in Persian Irak, from A. D. 1090 to 1255, was HASSAN Sabah; the term Hassanan, Hassanians, or Hassans, corrupted into Assassins, signifies no more than the men or descendants of Hassan. From their known character, the word acquired its present generic application.
The nature of this work has given occasion to frequent citations from Mr. Horne Tooke's ENEA NITEROENTA; but our author seldom implicitly acquiesces in the deductions of that fanciful and eccentric writer. Under the term ARETTE, it is indeed said, that
• This word may be considered as an additional illustration of Mr. Horne Tooke's ingenious and satisfactory etymology of the word right. See Diversions of Purley, vol. ii. sub voce.'
But as we understand, from the advertisement, that Mr. Boucher died in 1804, and as the second volume of Mr. H. T.'s work was not published till the next year, we presume that the injudicious compliment which we have quoted, is imputable to the Editor, not the Author, of the present work. Having (in our second vol. p. 248) exposed the fallacy of an etymology which he so highly approves, we have only to repeat our admonition against mistaking, what is so often the ignis fatuus of philology, the Diversions of Purley, for a literary guide. See also E. R. Vol. II. pp. 992--996.
We do not consider the defects above mentioned, as derogating materially from the merit of Mr. B.'s performance; and we hope that our remarks will operate solely as cautions or corrections, and by no means as discouragements, in the progress of its publication. On one subject, however, it is our indispensable duty to enter a more serious protest; and we carnewly wish that it may not be slighted. Researches into the ancient state of the English language, are very rarely. conducted with a due regard to that moral delicacy, which is the best ornament of modern literature. We trust that the deceased author of the valuable work before us, was of a very different character from the writer to whom we have alluded; yet, in one or two places, he has contracted some of the filth in which the objects of his research were buried. We hope that any farther remoustrance with the author's family, will not be requisite, to render them cautious against admitting extracts which must reflect dishongur on his memory
With this confidence, we cordially recommend their useful undertaking, to the patronage of all who desire to improre and extend a genuine acquaintance with the English language.
Art. IV. Select Icelandic Poetry: translated from the Originals ; with
Notes. (Part I.) Translations from the German, Danish, &c. To which is added, Miscellaneous Poetry. 8vo. pp. 128. 83. Reynolds. Longman
and Co. 1804. Art. V. Translations from the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, &c.
To which is added, Miscellaneous Poetry. --Select Icelandic Poetry: translated from the Originals ; with Notes. (Part II.) 8vo. pp. 112.89.
Longman and Co. * 1806. WHEN
men make gods, they make them in their own image, breathe into them their owvei spirit, and give them the passions, pursuits, and enjoyments, most indulged or desired among themselves. ' In fact, they only raise their idols above the standard of mortals, by giving them power to do evil, equal to that counteracted will which they find in their own bosoms. Idolatry is, in reality, man worshipping himself; for the divinities of all heathens are merely giants of the same species is their worshippers, existing only in fiction, yet by fiction portraying with accuracy the features of their prototypes, of their creators, of men in that particular state of soc ety in which such monsters are reputed gods. Hence correct pictures of the mythology of any pagan people, furnis' lively representations of the minds and manners of that people. What the Canaanites were, we learn from the bloody rites of their superstition: those ivho made their children pass through the fire to Moloch, sacrificed their offspring: to the Moloch in their own breast, to the human heart, hardened in iniquity beyond repentance toward God, and consea quently beyond all the compunctions of sympathy, and the yearnings of natural affection. In the carousals and contentions, the delights and debaucheries, of the gods of Greece and Rome, we discover the excesses of luxury, violence, and lust, that prevailed among the most enlightened heathens that ever existed. Mahomet himself, though he stole fire fron heaven, yet kindled with it an image of gross clay, and turned the grace of God, which he found in the scriptures, into ličena tiousness congenial with the passions and prejudices of his followers, sanctifying their very vices, by making the bliss of Paradise 'to consist in the pleasures of sin. In the Jewish and Christian revelation alone, do we behold the nature of God different from that of fallen man; the Bible alone teaches us that “ God is a spirit, and that they who worship bim must worship him in spirit and in truth ;” and there is this eternal, essential, unambiguous distinction, between the morality of false and true religion,—the former degrades God into the likeness of man ; the latter exalts man into the likeness of God. This slight hint on the striking resemblance between idols and idolaters, we throw out incidentally to our readers, who may investigate it more generally at their leisure ; but we request them to keep it particularly in view, in perusing the most interesting portions of these volumes, namelyynthe Translations of Icelandic Poetry,
* These various performances are printed uniformly, and sold under the title of Herbert's Miscellaneous Poetry, in 2 yols. price 165.
Here, in the gloomy, ferocious, and terrible characters, the wild and romantic atchievements, of the divinities and heroes of the North, we may trace the savage dispositions, the roving habits, the desperate spirit of adventure, which distinguished the Danes and Norwegians in former ages, when they harassed our Saxon ancestors on their coasts, and for generations disputed with them the sovereignty of this island. Concerning the plan and execution of this part of his work, Mr. Herbert shallspeak for himself, because we believe that he speaks the truth.
The following poems are closely translated, and unadorned ; with a few exceptions, they are rendered line for line ; and (I believe) as literally, as the difference of language and metrical rules would permit. For me the energetic harmony of these old poems has great charnis : the mos* ancient are the simplest and most beautiful; for the Icelandic poetry degenerated into affectation of impenetrable obscurity and extravagant metaphors. I conceive, that much of the value of these relicks consists in their peculiarities, and in the light they throw on the singular manners and persuasions of the northern nations ; which would be destroyed by any attempt to em. bellish them. The only merit
have aimed at, is that of accuracy; if I have judged wrong, I can only say in my defence, that it would have been much easier to adorn them, than to copy faithfully. The original "verses have no final rhymes, but regular alliteration and corresponding syllables. Such was the old metre of the north ; and, when rhymes
' were adopted, the rules of alliteration were still preserved.
• The ancient language of the north is at present known by the name
of Icelandic, because its use is confined to that island; though it once extended over a large part of Europe, and is the parent of the Swedish, the Danish, and many words in the English '
The Icelandic translations occupy the former part of the first volume, and the latter part of the second. Of these we think “ The Song of Thrym, or the Recovery of the Hammer, the most spirited and entertaining. The Northern natives de lighted in enormous eating and drinking ; the following proof of the god Thor's powers in this way amused us. Our readers ought to be informed that he was then disguised as “ a maiden fair," and consequently may be supposed very abstemious on this occasion :
The spouse of Sifia * ate alone
And drank three firkins of sparkling meed.' The Dying Songs of Asbiorn, (Vol. I. page 52,) and of Regner Lodbrock, (Vol. II. Second Part, page 35,) have great merit and interest, and strongly exhibit the sanguinary character of those romantic ages. In these pieces, the heroes, with their dying breath, like swans in classic fable, sing their lives away very melodiously, recounting their valorous atchievements. The two following stanzas are as many as we can conveniently quote from the Dying Song of Asbioru.
• Know, gentle mother, know,
When summer sweets return,
O whilom had I fondly vow'd
Now must my panting side be torg
: Not such those days of yore,
Stirring the storm of war,
Beneath his thundering falchion's stroke
And many a gallant warrior fell
To feed the wolves on Isa's shore.' The Dying Song of Regner abounds with rude but daring figures of speech, tiat almost rival oriental boldness of metaphor. Ships are called
• Winged steeds, that spurn the main,
Cleaving the lonely sea-fowl's reign. The following image will be singularly and dreadfully picMaresque to warin imaginations :
The assumed character of Thor.