« AnteriorContinuar »
rope about his neck and a taper in his hand, and then led him to the court, where the culprit asked pardon of God, of the king, and of the court. It was abolished in 1791, reintroduced in cases of sacrilege in 1826, and finally abrogated in 1830.
American. Who reads an American book? This famous query was originally propounded by Sydney Smith in a notice of Adam Seybert's "Statistical Annals of the United States" (Edinburgh Review, January, 1820), included in Sydney Smith's collected Essays. The query created a storm of sufficiently humorous indignation on this side of the Atlantic, and was quoted and requoted only to be furiously combated in every Yankee-doodle article that attempted to blazon forth the literary glories of the New World. Of recent years, since our literary men have really begun to be a glory to the land of their birth, since the "American Wordsworth" and the "American Milton" and the "American Goldsmith" have been succeeded by American writers sufficiently native and original to stand on their feet, and to be themselves, and not the fancied shadows of foreigners,-since that time the query has been suffered to go the same road as Father Bouhours's equally memorable question, "Can a German have wit [esprit]?" Here is the full context of the question, which occurs at the conclusion of the article. It will be seen that not only the literature but also the arts and sciences of our forefathers are attacked. But it was chiefly the literary men who raised their voices in indignant protest:
'Such is the land of Jonathan,--and thus has it been governed. In his honest endeavors to better his situation, and in his manly purpose of resisting injury and insult, we most cordially sympathize. We hope he will always continue to watch and suspect his government as he now does,-remembering that it is the constant tendency of those intrusted with power to conceive that they enjoy it by their own merits and for their own use, and not by delegation and for the benefit of others. Thus far we are the friends and admirers of Jonathan. But he must not grow vain and ambitious, or allow himself to be dazzled by that galaxy of epithets by which his orators and newspaper scribblers endeavor to persuade their supporters that they are the greatest, the most refined, the most enlightened, and the most moral people upon earth. The effect of this is unspeakably ludicrous on this side of the Atlantic,-and even on the other, we should imagine, must be rather humiliating to the reasonable part of the population. The Americans are a brave, industrious, and acute people; but they have hitherto given no indications of genius, and made no approaches to the heroic, either in their morality or character. They are but a recent offset indeed from England, and should make it their chief boast, for many generations to come, that they are sprung from the same race with Bacon and Shakespeare and Newton. Considering their numbers, indeed, and the favorable circumstances in which they have been placed, they have yet done marvellously little to assert the honor of such a descent, or to show that their English blood has been exalted or refined by their republican training and institutions. Their Franklins, and Washingtons, and all the other sages and heroes of their Revolution, were born and bred subjects of the King of England,—and not among the freest or most valued of his subjects. And, since the period of their separation, a far greater proportion of their statesmen and artists and political writers have been foreigners than ever occurred before in the history of any civilized and educated people. During the thirty or forty years of their independence, they have done absolutely nothing for the sciences, for the arts, for literature, or even for the statesman-like studies of politics or political economy. Confining ourselves to our own country, and to the period that has elapsed since they had an inde pendent existence, we would ask, Where are their Foxes, their Burkes, their Sheridans, their Windhams, their Horners, their Wilberforces?-where their Arkwrights, their Watts, their Davys?-their Robertsons, Blairs, Smiths, Stewarts, Paleys, and Malthuses?-their Porsons, Parrs, Burneys, or Blomfields?-their Scotts, Campbells, Byrons, Moores, or Crabbes?—their Siddonses, Kembles, Keans, or O'Neils?-their Wilkies, Laurences, Chantrys?-or their parallels to the hundred other names that have spread themselves over the world from our little island in the course of the last thirty years, and blest or delighted mankind by their works, inventions, or examples? In so far as we know, there is no such parallel to be produced from the whole annals of this self-adulating race. In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? What does the world yet owe to American physicians or surgeons? What new substances have their chemists discovered? or what old ones have they analyzed? What new constellations have been discovered by the telescopes of Americans? What have they done in mathematics? Who drinks out of American glasses? or eats from American plates? or wears American coats
or gowns? or sleeps in American blankets? Finally, under which of the old tyrannical gov. ernments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow-creatures may buy, and sell, and torture?
Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas (L., "Plato is dear to me, but truth is still dearer"). This phrase is a gradual evolution from a passage in the "Phædo" of Plato (ch. 91), where Socrates is reported as saying to his disciples, "I would ask you to be thinking of the truth, and not of Socrates; agree with me if I seem to you to be speaking the truth; or, if not, withstand me might and main, that I may not deceive you as well as myself in my enthusiasm.". Paraphrasing this sentiment, Aristotle was wont to say, "Socrates is dear to me, but the truth is still dearer,"-this on the authority of his biographer Ammonius, who wrote in Latin, and whose Latinized version became proverbial. But in course of time "Plato" was substituted for Socrates," and so the phrase comes down to us. Cicero does not seem to have accepted the lesson of the maxim, for he expressly says, "Errare malo cum Platone quam cum istis vera sentire" ("I would rather err with Plato than think rightly with these"),-i.e., the Pythagoreans. And in this very saying, curiously enough, he endorsed a Pythagorean rather than a Platonic method. For while Plato evidently approved of Socrates's preference of the truth over the individual, the disciples of Pythagoras adopted as their motto, "The master has said it." Cicero's sentiment was echoed in the modern line,—
Better to err with Pope than shine with Pye.
Ampersand (also ampusand, amperzand, etc.), an old name for &, formerly, the contracted sign of et and. The name is a corruption of “and per se and,"-i.e., "& by itself and," the old way of spelling and naming the character. Similarly, A, I, O, when representing words and not merely letters, were read in spelling-lessons, "A per se A," etc. These were similarly corrupted into apersey, etc. The amateur etymologist has done some excellent guessing at the derivation of the word. Here is an example: "The sign & is said to be properly called Emperor's hand, from having been first invented by some imperial personage, but by whom deponent saith not."— The Monthly Packet, vol. xxx. p. 448.
Anagram (Gr. άváypaμμa; άvá, up, or back, and yoάuua, a letter). A rearrangement of the letters of a name, a word, or a sentence. In order to be perfect, the result should be a word or words reacting upon the original as a comment, a sarcasm, a definition, or a revelation. Thus, the pessimist rejoices to find that if the component letters of LIVE be committed to the smelting-pot of the anagram, they may reissue either as evil or vile; the nonargumentative mind smiles calmly when LOGICA (logic) yields caligo (darkness); and the conservative is delighted to find the sinister epithets love to ruin wrapped up in REVOLUTION and rare mad frolic in RADICAL REFORM. Those who attach themselves scrupulously to the rules of the anagram permit no change, omission, or addition of letters therein. Others, less timid, take an almost poetical license, and, besides occasionally omitting or adding a letter, think themselves justified in writing, when they find such a change desirable and that the resulting sense falls aptly, e for æ, v for w, s for z, c for k, and vice versa. Nevertheless, the orthodox anagrammatist frowns upon this heretical license and characterizes its results as impure.
Although the anagram has fallen upon evil days, and is now relegated to the children's column, along with the riddle, the enigma, and the rebus, it once boasted a high estate and taxed the reverence of the wise, the learned, and the devout. The Hebrews held that there was something divine in this species of word-torture. Nay, some Rabbins assert that the esoteric law given to Moses, to be handed down in the posterity of certain seventy men, and
therefore called Cabbala, or traditional, was largely a volume of alphabetary revolution or anagrammatism. The Greeks, and especially the scholiasts of the Middle Ages, echoed the opinions of the Hebrews, believing that there was a mystic correspondence between things and their names, and that by the study of names, by the intense consideration and the turning inside-out of the m's and n's of which they are composed, these correspondences might be evolved and nature made to flash out her secrets. Men sought in one another's names, and in the names of things of high public import, those prophetic indications of character, of duty, or of destiny which might possibly lurk in them.
Lycophron, the father of the anagram in Greece, and one of the "Pleiads" of the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus, said to have earned high favor with his prince by finding the words ἀπὸ μέλιτος (out of honey) in the name Πτολεμαῖος, and the words iov "Hpas (violet of Juno) in 'Apoion, the name of Ptolemy's queen. Both these anagrams are exact or pure, and, as such, are the earliest examples that have survived to our day. Another famous historical anagram refers to the siege of Troy by Alexander. That monarch was about to abandon the enterprise in despair, when he had a dream of a Satyr leaping before him, whom eventually, after many elusions, he caught. This dream his sages converted into a prophetic anagram: "Zúrupoç" (Satyr), said they, 'why, certainly, oa Túpos" (Tyre is thine). This put heart in the king, and Tyre was taken. But, though good in its way, this is one of the illegitimate forms of anagram, arising not from the rearrangement or transposition of letters, but only from their redivision or resyllabification. Another instance is that of Constantine III., son of the Emperor Heraclius, who on the eve of battle dreamed that he took the way through Thessalonica into Macedonia. Relating the dream to one of his courtiers, the latter divided Thessalonica into syllables, finding in it, "Leave the victory to another :"
Θεσσαλονίκην, : Θὲς ἄλλῳ νίκην.
The emperor took no notice of the warning, and was badly beaten by the enemy. But this might rather be called a species of paronomasia or pun. Patriot resolved into Pat-riot is an even poorer instance.
The Romans seem to have despised this sort of literary trifling. Latin anagrams are generally of modern origin. Yet among these are some of the best anagrams ever made, notably that admirable one which discovers in Pilate's question, QUID EST VERITAS? (What is truth?) its own answer, Est vir qui adest (It is the man before you). A famous cento of Latin anagrams was made in honor of young Stanislaus Leczinski, afterwards King of Poland. On his return from his travels, all the family of Leczinski assembled at Lissa, to celebrate his arrival with appropriate festivities. The most ingenious compliment of all was paid by the College of Lissa. A heroic dance was presented by thirteen young warriors, each holding a shield on which was engraved one of the thirteen letters in the name Domus Lescinia. The evolutions were so arranged that at each turn the row of bucklers formed different anagrams in the following order:
The poet Jean Dorat, sometimes known as the French Lycophron, found two notable anagrams in the Latinized form of his own name, JOANNES AURATUS:
Ars vivet annosa (My art will live long), and Ars en nova vatis (Behold the new art of the bard). The Latin language, indeed, lends itself readily to the anagram, being free from the ugly assortment of j's, w's, and y's that disfigure most modern tongues and prove so great a stumbling-block in the way of the word-poser. No means so ready for writing up a friend or writing down an enemy as that of turning Smith into Smithius and proving that Smithius is the verbal equivalent either for spirit of health or goblin damned. Thus, Calvin, wroth at the hearty licentiousness of Rabelais, anagrammatized the Latin form RABELASIUS into Rabie Læsus (Bitten-mad). This was rash in Calvin, for, of all things on earth, to think of fighting Rabelais with his own weapons, or, for that matter, with any weapons, must needs be the most hopeless. And so it proved. All Europe lay still and breathless waiting the sure response. 'Twas the calm before the thunderstorm. It came at last. "So I am Rabie Laus, Master John? And pray what are you? Let me see: CALVIN: Jan Cul; yes, that's about it!" And over Europe rushed the jest, as it had been a scavenger in the sky; and Calvin, we fancy, did not come out for a week.
Perhaps, even in the time of the Reformation, when the anagram was largely laid under contribution for purposes of billingsgate and satire, no finer controversial use was ever found for it than in that example which sought to turn the very title of the Pope into a denial of his claims, as thus: SUPREMUS PONTIFEX ROMANUS: O non super Petram fixus (O! not founded upon Peter).
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, anagrams were quite in fashion as pen-names. Thus, CALVINUS (Calvin) became Alcuinus, FRANÇOIS RABELAIS, Alcofrinas Nasier, and AGOSTINO COLTELINI, Ostilio Contalegni. More modern examples are HORACE WALPOLE, Onuphris Muralto, the very imperfect anagram under which he published his "Castle of Otranto," and the equally imperfect BRYAN WALLER PROCTER, Barry Cornwall, Poet. But the most famous case, and one in which the anagram has entirely overshadowed the original name, is furnished by Voltaire. This was not the family cognomen of the great Frenchman, but simply an anagram of his right name, AROUET, with the two letters L. J. (le jeune, or "the younger") superadded,―an anagram concocted by himself in a freak or deliberately, and so familiarized by his use of it that he was known thereafter universally as Voltaire, and will be so for
One of the most amusing applications of the anagram is that on Lady Eleanor Davies, wife of Sir John Davies, Attorney-General in Ireland to King James I. This lady, a fanatic who fancied herself possessed by the prophetic spirit of Daniel, grounded her belief on an anagram which she made on her name, viz., ELEANOR DAVIES-Reveal, O Daniel! And though the anagram had too much by an / and too little by an s, yet she found Daniel and Reveal in it, and that served her turn. Whereupon she pestered the world with her prophecies, gaining great repute among the unlearned by a lucky guess here and there, until a prediction of the approaching death of Archbishop Laud caused her arrest. When brought before the Court of High Commission, all appeals to reason and to Scripture proved futile. At last one of the deans seized a pen and hit upon this excellent anagram : DAME ELEANOR DAVIES, Never so mad a ladie. The unhappy woman, finding her own argument turned against her, renounced all claims to supernatural powers.
This story is related with much gusto by Heylin in his "Cyprianus Anglicanus" (1719). Doubtless it is true in all essential features, but, as the device on which the lady founded her pretensions had been known for years, it seems more than likely that the acute lawyer invented the shell which blew up her
ladyship in the quiet of his own chamber, and chose the most dramatic moment for exploding it.
Though the art of the anagrammatist may be despised as puerile, none can deny its difficulty. Where the letters are few the field is indeed circumscribed within comparatively easy limits of transposition; but the possible changes on a large series of letters exceed all but a mathematician's belief.
A bare dozen of letters, for example, will admit of more than 729,000,000 transpositions. Literally, it is mind on the one hand against chaotic infinity on the other. The patience of Penelope herself would be exhausted in such assiduous doing and undoing as the process seems to require. The vexation of oft-repeated effort and proximate success resulting in fruitless labor is racily expressed by Camden: "Some have been seen to bite their pens, scratch their heads, bend their brows, bite their lips, beat their board, tear their paper, when they were fair for somewhat and caught nothing herein." dison, who numbers anagrams among his examples of false wit, tells with unnecessary jubilance the story of a lover who, having retired from the world to wrestle anagrammatically with his mistress's name, emerged after several months pale and worn, but triumphant. His chagrin, however, at finding that his lady's name was not what it appeared to be on the surface, not Chumley, in short, but Cholmondeley, was so great that he went mad on the spot, and finished in Bedlam what he had commenced in Boeotia.
From all which it may readily be understood why it is that after centuries of endeavor so few really good anagrams have been rolled down to us. may assert that all the really superb anagrams now extant might be contained in a pill-box. Such a pill-box we shall aim to present to our readers. first we offer an alphabetical group of the aptest anagrams on places, things, and persons in general:
CATALOGUES: Got as a clue.
CHRISTIANITY: I cry that I sin.
CONGREGATIONALIST: Got scant religion.
CRINOLINE: Inner coil.
DEMOCRATICAL: Comical trade.
DETERMINATION: I mean to rend it.
ELEGANT Neat leg.
FRENCH REVOLUTION: Violence run forth.
FUNERAL: Real fun.
GALLANTRIES: All great sins.
IMPATIENT: Tim in a pet.
IS PITY LOVE?: Positively.
LA SAINTE ALLIANCE: La Sainte Canaille.
LAWYERS: Sly ware.
MATRIMONY: Into my arm.
MELODRAMA: Made moral.