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surface of the whole globe with her possessions and military posts, whose morning drum-beat, following the sun, and keeping company with the hours, circles the earth with one continuous and unbroken strain of the martial airs of England.-Speech, May 7, 1834, p. 110.

The martial airs of England
Encircle still the earth.


It has been pointed out that the boast applies as well to the United States as to England. The sun never sets on American soil. When it is 6 P.M. at Attoo Island, Alaska, it is 9.36 A.M. the next day on the eastern coast of Maine.

Sun, To worship the rising, a figure of speech meaning to pay court to the powers that are gaining the ascendency, just as to turn your back on the setting sun means to desert a lost cause, or a benefactor who has fallen into disgrace. Both phrases were known to the Romans, and are first met with in Tacitus :

He [Tiberius] upbraided Macro, in no obscure and indirect terms, "with forsaking the setting sun and turning to the rising."-Annals, vi. 52 (46).

Suns, Heaven cannot support two, nor the earth two masters, the reply of Alexander the Great when Darius, before the battle of Arbela, sent to offer terms of peace and a division of his empire. (PLUTARCH: Life.) Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere, Nor can our England brook a double reignOf Harry Percy and the Prince of Wales.

Henry IV., Part I., Act v., Sc. 4.

Supra Grammaticam (L., “Above Grammar"), a sobriquet of Sigismund I., Emperor of Germany. We are told by Suetonius, in his treatise on Grammar, that Marcellus the Grammarian had the temerity to rebuke even the mighty and malevolent Tiberius for a solecism in grammar, and when one Ateius Capito suggested, in a courtier-like way, that if the word were not yet good Latin it would be so in future, Marcellus gave Capito the lie, and, turning to the emperor, cried, "Tu enim, Cæsar, civitatem dare potes hominibus, verbis non potes" ("Cæsar, you can grant citizenship to men, to words you cannot"). Hence the saying, "Cæsar non super grammaticos" ("Cæsar is not above the grammarians"), which Molière refers to in the line "La grammaire, qui sait régenter jusqu'aux rois” (“Grammar, which lords it even over kings") (Femmes Savantes, Act ii., Sc. 6). But Sigismund I. disdained any such limitations of imperial authority. At the Council of Constance (1414) he replied to a prelate who had ventured to criticise his grammar, "Ego sum Rex Romanus et supra grammaticam" ("I am King of the Romans and above grammar").


Superfine Review, a sobriquet applied to the Saturday Review by Thackeray in his "Roundabout Papers." Here is one of several instances. occurs in his paper "De Juventute:"

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He has a paper on his knees. Read the name. It is the Superfine Review. It inclines to think that Mr. Dickens is not a true gentleman, that Mr. Thackeray is not a true gentleman, and that when one is pert and the other arch, we, the gentlemen of the Superfine Keview, think, and think rightly, that we have some cause to be indignant. The great cause why modern humor and modern sentimentalism repel us, is that they are unwarrantably familiar. Now, Mr. Sterne, the Superfine Reviewer thinks, was a true sentimentalist, because he was above all things a true gentleman." The flattering inference is obvious: let us be thankful for an elegant moralist watching over us, and learn, if not too old, to imitate his high-bred politeness and catch his unobtrusive grace. If we are unwarrantably familiar, we know who is not. If we repel by pertness, we know who never does. If our language offends, we know whose is always modest.

And here is how the Saturday Review hit back at Mr. Thackeray:

Throughout these Roundabout Papers Mr. Thackeray betrays the most astonishing sen. sitiveness to criticism, and an almost personal feeling of dislike to all who take upon themselves to find fault with them. The Saturday Review is a kind of béte noire with him. Sometimes he speaks of us by name,-sometimes, by a pleasing stroke of satire, he calls us the "Superfine Review." He is indignant that his name should be introduced, even indirectly, and that an American paper which took upon itself to tell stories about him should be laughed at for its folly and ignorance. He cannot stand a purely literary discussion as to the degree of reserve that ought to accompany humor. In spite of all his experience of men and writers, he seems to believe in his own case what he would know to be absurd in the case of any one else in his position, and persuades himself that his superfine critics are evil-minded envious persons who want to run down an established reputation. . . . There is something rather unsatisfactory in a writer like Mr. Thackeray crying out because he has remarks made about him. If they are really made by mean, uneducated, snarling natures, the decorous course for a man who has won his standing is to pass such an attack by in contempt. If the criticism is only that which Mr. Thackeray would, we suppose, call "superfine," there is no need to be sore about it even if the author thinks it mistaken, provided there is nothing in the casual remarks of the critic inconsistent with a permanent, but tacit, recognition of the author's real literary and social standing.

Swallow. One swallow does not make a summer, a proverb of great antiquity. It may be found in Aristotle in this form: "One swallow maketh not a spring, nor a woodcock a winter." (Ethic. Nicom., lib. i.) In Attica the children were given a holiday when the swallow first appeared. Horace connects the zephyrs of spring with the arrival of the swallow. In Italy and Spain the proverb still runs, "One swallow does not make a spring." But in more northern latitudes the swallow appears later, and their proverbial literature denies that a single swallow makes a summer. In Northbrooke's "Treatise against Dancing" (1577) the proverb reads, "One swallow proveth not that summer is near." Shakespeare, in "Timon of Athens," Act iii., Sc. 6, says, "The swallow follows not the summer more willing than we your lordship."

Swan-song. There is an old superstition that the swan, which is voiceless through life, breaks out into song at the approach of death. Plato in the “Phædo" (85 B.C.) makes Socrates say, "I think men are all wrong when they say that the swans before death sing sadly bewailing their end. They sing then most and most sweetly, exulting that they are going to their God. They sing then not out of sorrow or distress, but because they are inspired of Apollo, and they sing as foreknowing the good things their God hath in store for them." Cicero says of Lucius Crassus that he spoke with the divine voice of a swan about to die. The idea was doubtless derived from the Pythagorean notion that the souls of poets pass after death into the bodies of swans, retaining all their powers of harmony. Virgil was called the Swan of Mantua, and Shakespeare in modern classic times the Swan of Avon. But the burden of proof lies with those who assert that swans "expire with the notes of their dying hymn." Scaliger ridicules the idea of the poets, and the throat and vocal organs of the swan are so constructed as to resemble the trumpet more than any other musical instrument. But the ancients were not naturalists at all in our sense of that word. The booming of the bittern was enough to satisfy Pliny that there was a god in the marshes of Southern Gaul who took the form of an ox. One ancient notion was that the music of the swan was produced by its wings and inspired by the zephyr: Sir Thomas Browne alludes to this:

Not in more swelling whiteness sails
Cayster's swan to western gales,
When the melodious murmur sings,
'Mid her slow-heaved voluptuous wings.

Still, there is a swan which may be said to sing, and the ancients may have heard it or heard of it. Mr. Nicol in his valuable account of Iceland thus describes the Cygnus musicus which frequents the rivers and lakes of Iceland: "The wild or whistling swan with pure white plumage, five feet long and eight

feet broad with extended wings. Some remain in Iceland all winter, and during the long dark nights their wild song is often heard, resembling the tones of a violin, though somewhat higher and remarkably pleasant." Henderson says of the river Nordura in Iceland, "The bleakness of the surrounding rocks was greatly enlivened by the number of swans that were swimming and singing there most melodiously." Erman in his "Travels in Siberia," translated by Cooley, says of the Cygnus olor, "This bird when wounded pours forth its last breath in notes most beautifully clear and loud."

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Othello, Act v., Sc. 2.

There, swan-like, let me sing and die.

BYRON: Don Juan, Canto iii., Stanza 86.

Swans sing before they die: 'twere no bad thing
Did certain persons die before they sing.

Sweetness and light, a favorite phrase of Matthew Arnold's, who borrowed it with due credit from Swift, and rang the changes on it so persistently that it has come to be looked upon as the key-note of his moral and literary creed. Here is the passage in which it first occurs: "The Greek word euphuia, a finely-tempered nature, gives exactly the notion of perfection as culture brings us to conceive it; a harmonious perfection, a perfection in which the characters of beauty and intelligence are both present, which unites 'the two noblest of things,'-as Swift, who of one of the two, at any rate, had himself all too little, most happily calls them in his Battle of the Books,''the two noblest of things, sweetness and light.' The euphues, I say, is the man who tends towards sweetness and light; the aphues, on the other hand, is our Philistine." (Culture and Anarchy.) Swift put the words into the mouth of Æsop, who, pleading the cause of ancient authors, likens them to bees, and says that "instead of dirt and poison (such as are collected by modern authors, or spiders) we have rather choose [sic] to fill our hives with honey and wax, thus furnishing mankind with the two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light."

TO THE EDITOR OF THE Times:-I should like, with your permission, to point out a literary coincidence which strikes me as not a little remarkable and interesting. Among the many happy phrases which we owe to the late lamented Matthew Arnold, none is more familiar than Sweetness and light." I have been told, indeed, that he was not the author of the phrase, and that he himself acknowledged he was indebted for it to Swift; but, at any rate, if the mint were not his, he it was that made it a part of the current coin of literature. But the remarkable thing is that the same association of ideas, though expressed by means of verbs instead of nouns, is to be found in an author from whom I suppose it is quite certain Swift could not have borrowed it. I was startled when I came upon the passage in Philo Judæus. Philo is speaking of the manna which was the food of the Israelites in the wilderness, and, as is his wont, gives it a mystical signification. It means, he says, the food of the soul; it is a Divine word, whence flow all the nurture and discipline of the soul, all its wisdom and virtue in perennial stream. And then he asks, "What is the bread?" (which Moses gave the children of Israel to eat), and the answer is, "It is the word which the Lord ordained, and this Divine ordinance imparts both light and sweetness to the soul which has eyes to see." Philo's order is more logical, for the "light" must precede the "sweetness." Probably in English the rhythmical balance of the words decided the order "sweetness and light," not "light and sweetness." On the other hand, it may be said that the natural order is in the Greek also the rhythmical. This is an instance in which even a trick of the memory is out of the question. Swift, I take it, never read a line of Philo. I only regret that, though I lighted upon the discovery before Matthew Arnold's death, I omitted to tell him of it. No one would have been more interested than he in such a literary coincidence.-London Times, 1887.

Swim, In the, a slang term, equivalent to the French "dans le mouve ment,' ," "dans le train," meaning in the current movement, whether in politics, literature, or society, abreast of the times, in the inner circle, etc. The figure is undoubtedly derived from a "swim" or school of fish.

Swinging round the circle, a phrase by which President Andrew Johnson described his Western trip in 1866 during his quarrel with Congress. The ostensible objective point was Chicago, whither he had been invited to attend the laying of the corner-stone of the monument to Stephen A. Douglas. He was attended by a large party, and made stops at all the larger cities, delivering political speeches, not always in good taste or sufficiently good temper, according to his adversaries. The phrase was turned against him by his opponents, who used his own words in a condemnatory way of describing his


Swinish multitude. In his "Reflections on the Revolution in France," vol. iii. p. 335, Burke pictures a period when "learning will be cast into the mire, and trodden down under the hoofs of a swinish multitude." His enemies caught up the phrase as meaning that Burke actually looked upon the people at large as no better than swine, and the catch-words "the swinish multitude" were echoed from one end of the country to the other to excite popular indignation. But, indeed, even if he had meant to bring this sweeping charge, he would not have been more haughtily undemocratic than many other intellectual princes. The "Odi profanum vulgus et arceo" ("I hate the profane and vulgar herd and keep away from it") of Horace (Odes, III., i. 1) has been echoed and re-echoed. The "many-headed multitude" of Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney, in itself a hardly complimentary phrase, becomes intensified into the “many-headed monster" of Massinger and Pope : There still remains to mortify a wit The many-headed monster of the pit.

Satires, Ep. i., Book ii., I. 304.

A far more unpleasant phrase, "the unwashed," or "the great unwashed," is sometimes attributed to Burke, probably through a confusion with "the swinish multitude." In fact, it seems to have been a gradual evolution from the Shakespearian line uttered by Hubert de Burgh,—

Another lean unwashed artificer.

King John, Act iv., Sc. 2.

This line, humorously applied to special members of the artisan class, led to the designation of the entire class as unwashed, and so, by a natural extension, the phrase drew in all the masses.


T, the twentieth letter, and the sixteenth consonant, of the English alphabet. In the Phoenician alphabet it was the twenty-second and last letter. The succeeding letters in our alphabet, as in the Latin and the Greek, were gradual accretions.

T. It suits to a T. The T, T-square or T-rule, is an instrument (so called from its resemblance to a capital T) used by mechanics and draughtsmen where great exactness and nicety are required, especially in making angles true and obtaining perpendiculars on paper or wood. Hence the expression "It suits to a T" means that a certain thing is exactly right in every way, as a piece of workmanship would be when measured by the T-square.

Another explanation of the phrase is that, as is the final letter of the word suit, "suits to a t" means suits completely and absolutely.

T. D. Pipe, a cheap clay pipe, said to take its name from Timothy Dexter, an eccentric capitalist, who in his will left a large sum of money to be expended in the erection of a factory where such pipes were to be manufactured. He was born at Malden, Massachusetts, in 1793, and at an early age apprenticed to a tanner. On attaining the age of twenty-one he went into business for himself, and amassed a fortune. He then moved to Newburyport and styled himself Lord Timothy Dexter. He adorned his grounds with wooden statues costing fifteen thousand dollars, dressed in a half-military, half-classic style, and rode in a coach that imitated the cars of the heathen deities. He wrote a book, "Pickle for the Knowing Ones; or, Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress." It was entirely without punctuation in the first edition. On the last page of the second edition he inserted this note:


Fourder mister printer the Nowing ones complane of my book the fust edition had no stops put in A nuf here and they may pepper and salt it as they plese.

Here follows a quantity of all sorts of punctuation-marks. His life has been written by Samuel L. Knapp.

Take a back seat, To, in American slang, to retire into obscurity, to withdraw from public notice as a confession of failure. Though the phrase was current before Andrew Johnson's Presidency, it was he who gave it a "sendoff" in his famous saying that in the work of reconstruction traitors should take back seats.

Who will say that the Britishers are not a forbearing and forgiving race, and the inhabitants of Stratford-on-Avon don't by any means take a back seat in that line? Ignatius Donnelly actually visited the birthplace of Shakespeare and wasn't lynched! Far from it; he was hospitably received and entertained.—Texas Siftings, 1888.

Taking a sight, the common name for a gesture which is thus described by Rabelais, Book ii., chap. xix. : "Panurge suddenly lifted up in the air his right hand, and put the thumb thereof into the nostril of the same side, holding his four fingers straight out." The gesture is a very old one. Captain Marryat, in his "Jutland," gives it a quasi-divine origin: "Some of the old coins found in Denmark represent the god Thor,-and what do you imagine he is doing? Why, applying his thumb to the end of his nose, with his four fingers extended in the air. If so, there can surely be nothing profane in the story of the English bishop who remonstrated with a clergyman for driving tandem. The latter admitted the offence, but refused to see any harm in it. "I drive two horses," he said, "so does your lordship, only yours are abreast, while one of mine goes ahead of the other. The difference is a mere form."

"True," replied the bishop, "it is a matter of form, but then form is so much, after all. For instance, in pronouncing the benediction, if you spread the hands so" (making the usual gesture as he spoke), "you are perfectly right; but if you were to spread them so" (making another gesture with thumb to nose and hands tandem-fashion), "it would hardly be the same thing.'

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The gesture was at one time known as "Queen Anne's Fan." The above term is more recent: for a suggested origin see WALKER. It is a matter of dispute whether in Shakespeare's time the act was known as biting one's thumb. If so, the following passage acquires a new meaning:

Abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

Sampson. I do bite my thumb, sir.

Abraham. Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?

Sampson. No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir.

Romeo and Juliet, Act i., Sc. 1.

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