Imágenes de páginas

(for there are two or three courts in that inne), there is written this pretty French poesie: 'On ne loge céans à crédit; car le crédit est mort, les mauvais payeurs l'ont tué.' The English is this: Here is no lodging upon credits; for credit is dead, ill payers have killed him.'' common inscription in front of Neapolitan wine- and macaroni-houses is, "Domani si fa credenza, ma oggi no" ("To-morrow we give credit, but not to-day").

Truth. What is truth? In the New Testament this question asked by Pontius Pilate of Jesus Christ remained unanswered, for Pilate immediately left the room. But in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, chapter iii., verses 10-14, the conversation between Pilate and Christ is thus given :

Pilate said, Art thou a King, then? Jesus answered. Thou sayest that I am a King; to this end I was born, and for this end came I into the world and for this purpose came, that I should bear witness to the truth; and every one who is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith to him, What is truth? Jesus said, Truth is from heaven. Pilate said, Therefore truth is not on earth. Jesus saith to Pilate, Believe that truth is on earth among those who, when they have the power of judgment, are governed by truth and form right judgment. One of the most ingenious anagrams ever made is the following transposition of Pilate's question into its answer: "Quid est veritas ?" "Est vir qui adest."

Truth and Error. No stanza in all Bryant's poems is better known than this in "The Battle-Field:"

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,

The eternal years of God are hers;

But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,
And dies among his worshippers.

Charles Mackay has a faint reflex of the thought:

But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;

And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

Eternal Justice.

A closer parallel is in Milton's "Areopagitica :"

Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do ingloriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple: who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter? Elsewhere in the same tract Milton says, "Who knows not that Truth is strong next to the Almighty?"

Chaucer has,

Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.

The Frankeleines Tale, 1. 11,789.

Among the classic authors Seneca said, "Veritas nunquam perit" ("Truth never perishes"), which Sophocles supplements with the corollary, "A lie never lives to be old" (Acrisius, Frag. 59). The same Greek author says,The truth is always the strongest argument. Phædra, Frag. 737.

Truth is stranger than fiction, a common English proverb, possibly a reminiscence of:

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.Twelfth Night, Act iii., Sc. 2.

Daniel Webster, also, has said,—

There is nothing so powerful as truth,—and often nothing so strange.-Argument on the Murder of Captain White.

Tumblers. The glasses now known by this name drinking-vessels to which the name was first applied.

differ widely from the These appear to have

been of metal or wood, and from their peculiar shape served as perpetual reminders to " pass the bottle." One authority says they were called "tumblers" because "they could not be set down, except on the side, when empty," and another derives their name from "their original shape, rounded at the bottom, so that they tumbled over unless they were carefully set down." Professor Max Müller possesses a set of silver tumblers which when emptied and placed on the table mouth downward immediately revert to their original position, as if asking to be refilled. They must be constructed upon the same principle as the toy known as the tombola, or Chinese mandarin, which, having the centre of gravity in the base, will always try to regain its original position, however much the equilibrium is disturbed. Tumblers were probably introduced into England from Germany, for goblets of wood, rounded at the base, so that they readily tumble over, are still made in that country, and often bear an inscription which may be translated

Lay me down when empty,

I'll stand again when full.

Tune the old cow died of. In America this phrase is used merely to characterize a grotesque or unpleasant song or tune. Among the peasantry of Scotland and the north of Ireland it usually retains its original meaning of a homily in lieu of alms, and is a reference to the old ballad of the cowherd who, having no fodder for his cow, sought to assuage her hunger by a comfortable and suggestive tune. This is how the ballad begins:

Jack Whaley had a cow,

And he had naught to feed her;
He took his pipe and played a tune,
And bid the cow consider.

Or, as another version runs,

There was an old man, and he had an old cow,
And he had nothing to give her ;

So he took up his fiddle and played her a tune,
Consider, good cow, consider,

This is no time of year for the grass to grow,
Consider, good cow, consider.

On her part, to do her justice,

The cow considered very well,

And gave the piper a penny
To play the same tune over again,
And corn riggs are bonny."

Nathless, despite the cow's resignation, the experiment of the tuneful philosopher shared the fate of that of the economist who tried to make his horse happy with shavings by putting green spectacles on the beast. The old cow died of hunger. At a sale of the library of the Rev. Thomas Alexander in 1874 there was sold a poem in the handwriting of Thomas Carlyle which sounds like a playful parody of the above, embodying as it does a favorite moral of the sage's:

There was a piper had a cow,

And he had nocht to give her;

He took his pipe and played a spring,

And bade the cow consider.

The cow considered wi' hersel'

That mirth wad never fill her : "Give me a pickle ait strae,

And sell your wind for siller."

Turncoat, an apostate, a renegade. The term is said to have been first applied to Emmanuel, one of the earliest dukes of Savoy. His territories lay inconveniently open to attack from both France and Spain, and it was

necessary for him to curry favor with whichever happened to be the dominant power. But the balance shifted so frequently that the duke, in humorous desperation, had a coat made, blue on one side and white on the other, which might be worn indifferently either side out. Blue was the Spanish color, white the French: hence by simply turning his coat he could at a moment's notice signify his adhesion to either country. This explanation is not accepted by serious etymologists, although they do see in the word a general metaphorical allusion to clothes as representing principles.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee, a colloquial phrase applied to a distinction without a difference, which took its rise in the following epigram written at a time when Handel and Bononcini were rivals for popular favor in London:

Some say, compared to Bononcini,
That Mynheer Handel's but a ninny;
Others aver that he to Handel

Is scarcely fit to hold a candle.

Strange all this difference should be

'Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

The last two lines have frequently been attributed to Swift, and also to Pope (they are included in Scott's edition of the former and in Dyce's edition of the latter), but there seems no reason to doubt the claim put forward by their contemporary Dr. John Byrom: "Nourse asked me if I had seen the verses upon Handel and Bononcini, not knowing that they were mine." (Byrom's Remains (Chetham Soc.), vol. i. p. 173.)

Half a century later the famous quarrel between the Gluckists and Piccinists in Paris provoked the following cognate epigram from the Chevalier de Ruthières :

Est-ce Gluck, est-ce Piccini,
Que doit couronner Polymnie?
Donc, entre Gluck et Piccini
Tout le Parnasse est désuni;
L'un soutient ce que l'autre nie,
Et Clio veut battre Uranie.
Pour moi, qui crains toute manie,
Plus irrésolu que Babouc,
N'épousant Piccini ni Gluck,

Je n'y connais rien; ergo, Gluck.

Twin relics of barbarism,-i.e., slavery and polygamy, so called by Charles Sumner in a famous oration in the United States Senate.

Twisting the British lion's tail, a proceeding often resorted to by certain members of Congress to curry favor with and attract to themselves or their party the votes of American citizens of Irish birth. It consists in seizing every opportunity to launch abuse and vituperation against the British government and the English, under the impression that everything that seems like a hostile demonstration against either will please their Irish-born constituents. The practice was rife during the heated Home Rule agitation for Ireland after the fall of the Gladstone government, a time when the sympathies of the Irish in America were keenly aroused and their thoughts anxiously turned to their old home. It was at this time that the above ludicrous phrase was invented.

Two sides to every question. When those redoubtable disputants, Tom Touchy and Will Wimble, appealed to Sir Roger de Coverley to settle a controversy between them, the good knight listened with patience, “and, having paused some time, told them, with the air of a man who would not give his judgment rashly, that much might be said on both sides." (ADDISON:

Spectator, No. 122.) Probably Sir Roger did not know that he was echoing Protagoras, who, according to Diogenes Laertius, asserted that "there were two sides to every question, exactly opposite to each other." (Protagoras, iii.) But in spirit, at least, he had followed the advice of the old Latin saw, "Audi alteram partem" ("Listen to the other side"). Sydney Smith was equally careful. He was a guest one evening in a house where Blomfield, Bishop of London, was expected. Before dinner a note arrived, saying that the bishop was unable to keep his appointment, a dog having rushed out of the crowd and bitten him in the leg. When the note was read aloud, Smith observed, "I should like to hear the dog's account of the story."


The famous apologue of the two shields is directly in point. It runs, in substance, as follows. In the days of knight-errantry and paganism a British prince set up a statue to the goddess of Victory at a point where four roads The outside of her shield was of gold, the inside of silver. One day two knights arrived here simultaneously from opposite parts of the country. They greeted each other in a friendly manner, till one spoke about the gold shield of the statue. ""Tis silver!" said the other. "Gold!" And so from words they came to blows. Both fell to the ground at the first shock, and lay in a trance by the roadside. A countryman passing that way brought them to, explained the matter to them, and entreated them "never to enter into any dispute, for the future, till they had fairly considered both sides of the question." This story was first published in "Beaumont's Moralities" (1753), Sir Harry Beaumont being the assumed name of the Rev. Joseph Spence, of anecdote fame. It has been translated into several languages, and is often looked upon as a genuine bit of folk-lore.

An artful juryman, addressing the clerk of the court while the latter was administering the oath, said, "Speak up: I cannot hear what you say." "Stop," said Baron Alderson from the bench; "are you deaf?" "Yes, my lord, of one ear." "Then you may leave the box, for it is necessary that jurymen should hear both sides."

Two strings to his bow, a popular proverb, which may be found in Hooker's "Polity," Book v., ch. lxxx., in Chapman's "Bussy D'Ambois," Act ii., Sc. 3, and in many other places. It applauds the thoughtfulness which provides a reserve fund of any sort on which to draw in an emergency. The same idea is put into another form by Plautus:

Consider the little mouse, how sagacious an animal it is which never intrusts his life to one hole only,-Truculentus, Act iv., Sc. 4;

-a phrase which Chaucer has imitated:

I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke,

That hath but on hole for to sterten to.

Canterbury Tales: The Wif of Bathes Prologue, l. 6154.

Pope re-words Chaucer as follows:

The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole

Can never be a mouse of any soul.

Paraphrase of the Prologue, 1. 298.

That "two heads are better than one" is a saw which may be found in Heywood's "Proverbs," but the same authority does not hold that there is always safety in duality,-e.g., in the following line:

While betweene two stooles my taile goes to the ground,

Proverbs, Part I., ch. iii.;

-a proverb that appears in substantially the same form in Rabelais, Book i., ch. ii., and in "Les Proverbes de Vilain," a manuscript in the Bodleian, circa 1303.

Twopenny Damn, a favorite oath with the Duke of Wellington, who was accustomed to convey in this form of speech his estimate of the persons and things he held in contempt. When asked by the government of the day what he thought of the proposal on the part of the French government to be allowed to remove Napoleon's bones from St. Helena, he replied, "Well, I don't see why they should not have his bones if they want them. Why should we object? They'll say we're afraid. But I don't care what they say. Who cares what they say? I don't care a twopenny damn what they say." An effort has been made to emasculate this famous phrase by explaining that damn in this connection is simply a corruption of the name of a very harm. less Indian coin, a dám, which bore different values at various dates and in differing localities, but which was originally a sixteenth part of a gold mohur. But, as the duke was no scholar, he was probably not aware of this fantastic origin; and even if he had been, and were anxious to avoid the imputation of swearing, he would surely have taken the precaution of writing the word dám. And he certainly would not have written "twopenny dám," for, whatever the original value of the dám, it had so far back as the time of Akbar (1542-1605) ceased to be worth more than the fortieth part of a rupee, and consequently in the duke's time was of far less value than twopence: so that "twopenny damn" would have conveyed precisely the opposite meaning to that which he intended to convey. The St. James Gazette was in recent times dubbed "the Twopenny Damn" on account of the intensity of its language and sentiments, especially where Mr. Gladstone and what it called "the latter-day Radicals" were concerned.

Typographical Errors. Nothing can be so disheartening to a writer as to find his pet phrases turned into nonsense by the intelligent compositor. "The printer of Longfellow's Dante," says Colonel T. W. Higginson, "told me that the poet had looked forward with eager anticipation to its appearance, and when the first volume of the sumptuous book was laid upon the breakfast-table he opened at once upon-a misprint. It was many weeks, my informant said, before the poet could revert with any satisfaction to what he then regarded as his greatest work." Baron Grimm, in his memoirs, relates the not improbable story of a French writer who died in a fit of anger when he found that his favorite work, revised by himself with great care, had been printed with more than three hundred errors, half of them made by the corrector of the press. But it is a little more difficult to swallow the unauthenticated anecdote of the Italian poet who, when on his way to present a copy of verses to the Pope, found a mistake of a single letter, which broke his heart of chagrin, so that he died the day after.

We can sympathize with the author of a religious work mentioned by D'Israeli, which consisted of only one hundred and seventy-two pages, of which fifteen were devoted to errata. We can even pardon the vanity which led him to imagine that Satan, fearful of the influence which the book might wield, had tampered with the types, and that the very printers had worked under the same malign influence.

Nevertheless, it is easy to find a less startling explanation for the ordinary typographical errors. Blunders of this sort may be roughly grouped under three heads errors of the ear, errors of the eye, and errors arising from what printers call "a foul case."

A compositor while at work reads over a few words of the copy and retains them in his memory until his fingers have picked up the necessary types. While the memory is thus repeating a phrase, it is only natural for certain words to be supplanted by others similar in sound: thus, "mistake" might in type be turned into "must take," as, in fact, it was in the first folio of Hamlet," Act iii., Sc. 1, "idle votarist" (Timon, Act iv., Sc. 3) into "idol

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