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Qui vino indulget, quemque alea decoquit, ille
In venerem putret.

Satires, v.

("He who is given to drink, and whom the dice are despoiling, is the one who rots away in venery.")

Nevertheless, the Germans have a famous distich celebrating wine and women, and adding music as the third of a mystic triad necessary in every right scheme of manly education :

Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang,
Der bleibt ein Narr sein Lebelang.
("Who loves not woman, wine, and song,
Remains a fool his whole life long.")

This has often been attributed to Martin Luther, but without any authority. In substance it is credited to Soloris by Chevreau: "Soloris's philosophy did not seem to be of a very austere cast, when he said that wine, women, and the Muses constituted the pleasures of human life."

Wink, To tip the, a familiar colloquialism, meaning to give an order on the sly or in a mute fashion when a concerned third party is present. It Occurs frequently in Swift: thus, in a paper contributed by him to the Tatler (No. 20): "As often as I called for small beer the master tipped the wink, and the servant brought me a brimmer of October." Johnson's Dictionary quotes the following stanza from Swift:

The stock-jobber thus from Change Alley goes down
And tips you the freeman a wink:

Let me have your vote to serve for the town,
And here is a guinea to drink.

Wisdom. See with how little wisdom the world is governed. These words are attributed to Axel, Count Oxenstiern, Chancellor of Sweden (1583-1654). At the conclusion of the Thirty Years' War, in 1648, Oxenstiern's son was appointed to represent Sweden at the Peace Congress of Westphalia. The young man hesitated, pleading his ignorance and inexperience. But the Chancellor induced him to accept, saying, "An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regitur?” (“Dost thou not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?") The hard-headed old mother of the clever and restless Dutch politician Van Benningsen gave him the same assurance when he shrank from public office, fearing it would be too much for him. Lord Byron, referring to the Chancellor's words, weakens them by changing the mood. John Selden talks of "a wise Pope that, when one that used to be merry with him before he was advanced to the popedom refrained afterwards to come at him (presuming he was busy in governing the Christian world), sent for him, bade him come again, and (says he) we will be merry as we were before, for thou little thinkest what a little foolery governs the whole world." Lord Chatham, too, wrote to Lord Shelburne, "It calls to my mind what some Pope, Alexander VI. or Leo, said to a son of his afraid to undertake governing,-i.e., confounding the Christian world: 'Nescis, mi fili, quam parva sapientia hic noster mundus regitur." The Pope referred to by both Selden and Lord Chatham was probably Julius III. (1550-55), who, when a Portuguese monk pitied him for that he had the weight of the world upon his shoulders, replied, "You would be surprised if you knew with how little expense of understanding the world is ruled." It was a maxim of Turgot, "Do not govern the world too much."

Wisdom of our ancestors. Lord Brougham says it was Bacon who first used this well-known phrase. But he gives no reference to chapter and verse. In the absence of completer evidence, the phrase must be fathered

upon Burke, who in a speech on Conciliation with America, March 22, 1775, declared that he set out "with a perfect distrust of my own abilities, a total renunciation of every speculation of my own, and with a profound reverence for the wisdom of our ancestors.' The idea is, of course, a commonplace. That the elder days were wiser than our own-that, in the misused Biblical phrase, "there were giants in the earth in those days" (Genesis vi. 4), as compared with the pygmies of the present-has ever been one of the illusions of the conservative intelligence, and has stood in the way of every reform that threatened the extinction of a hoary abuse or a time-honored folly. Sydney Smith, in "Plymley's Letters," v., has admirably ridiculed the excesses of this popular superstition: "All this cant about our ancestors is merely an abuse of words, by transferring phrases true of contemporary men to succeeding ages. Whereas of living men the oldest has, cæteris paribus, the most experience, of generations the oldest has, cæteris paribus, the least experience. Our ancestors up to the Conquest were children in arms; chubby boys in the time of Edward I.; striplings under Elizabeth; men in the reign of Queen Anne; and we are the only white-bearded, silver-headed ancients, who have treasured up, and are prepared to profit by, all the experience human life can supply. . . . And yet whenever the Chancellor comes forward to protect some abuse, or to oppose some plan which has the increase of human happiness for its object, his first appeal is always to the wisdom of our ancestors; and he himself and many noble lords who vote with him are, to this hour, persuaded that all alterations and amendments on their devices are an unblushing controversy between youthful temerity and mature experience; and so in truth they are,only that much-loved magistrate mistakes the young for the old, and the old for the young, and is guilty of that very sin against experience which he attributes to the lovers of innovations." (See ANTIQUITAS SÆCULI Juventus MUNDI.)

Wise after the event. Chief-Justice Jervis, in an opinion quoted by Baron Bramwell (5 Jur., N. S., 658), said, "Nothing is so easy as to be wise after the event," which is a fairly literal rendering of the French proverb "Tout le monde est sage après coup." "Their hindsight is better than their foresight," is our American equivalent. In the same vein is Disraeli's "Many a great wit has thought the wit it was too late to speak," which is Disraeli's only in its verbal garb, the idea being a commonplace with jesters. Rivarol, summing up the matter, says, "One could make a great book of what has not been said." Concerning M. de Tréville, who was more fluent of speech than himself, Rivarol remarked, “He vanquishes me in the drawing-room, but surrenders to me at discretion on the stairs" (" I] me bat dans la chambre, mais il n'est pas plus tôt au bas de l'escalier que je l'ai confondu"). Goldsmith's epigram, "I always get the better when I argue alone," is an analogous expression.

Wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind. Francis Bacon:

A less striking on Poets:

So Pope characterizes

If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined,
The wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.

antithesis of the same kind may be found in Oldham's Satire

On Butler who can think without just rage?
The glory and the scandal of the age;

which Pope, again, has very closely imitated :

At length Erasmus, that great injured name,
The glory of the priesthood, and the shame.

Young remembered the antithesis when he said,—

Of some for glory such the boundless rage,
That they're the blackest scandal of the age.

Voltaire, an admirer of Pope, seems to have borrowed a part of the expres sion :

Scandale de l'église, et des rois le modèle.

Wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits, A, a famous line in Pope's "Dunciad," Book iv., l. 90, embodying an antithesis which is of constant recurrence in literature. Thus, since Pope's time Johnson has said of 'Lord Chesterfield, "This man I thought had been a lord among wits, but I find he is only a wit among lords" (BOSWELL: Life, vol. ii. ch. i.); Scott has said of Napoleon, "Though too much of a soldier among sovereigns, no one could claim with a better right to be a sovereign among soldiers" (Life of Napoleon); while Cowper alludes sarcastically to

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But long before Pope's time the sentiment may be found,—even in mediæval and ancient writers. Here are a few random instances:

Who, though I speak it before his face, if he be not fellow with the best king, thou shalt find the best king of good fellows.-SHAKESPEARE: King Henry V., Act v., Sc. 2.

Fuseli gave another turn to the phrase when Northcote asked him what he thought of his picture "Balaam and the Ass:" "My friend, you are an angel at an ass, but an ass at an angel."

This sort of mixed character, and indeed generally the antitheses in which Johnson delighted, were cleverly burlesqued by Andrew Erskine in one of his letters to Boswell, in which he tells him, "Since I saw you I received a letter from Mr. D- ; it is filled with encomiums upon you; he says there is a great deal of humility in your vanity, a great deal of tallness in your shortness, and a great deal of whiteness in your black complexion. He says there's a great deal of poetry in your prose, and a great deal of prose in your poetry. He says that as to your late publication, there is a great deal of Ode in your Dedication, and a great deal of Dedication in your Ode. He says there is a great deal of coat in your waistcoat, and a great deal of waistcoat in your coat, that there is a great deal of liveliness in your stupidity, and a great deal of stupidity in your liveliness. But to write you all he says would require rather more fire in my grate than there is at present, and my fingers would undoubtedly be numbed, for there is a great deal of snow in this frost, and a great deal of frost in this snow."


X, the twenty-fourth letter and nineteenth consonant in the English alphabet, used with its modern value in the Latin alphabet, where it was for a long time the last letter, coming after U or V, which were identical. In form the character was borrowed by the Latins from the Greek X, an addition to the Phoenician alphabet. This had originally a double value, that of kh and that of ks. The former alone survived among the Greeks; the latter was carried over to the Roman alphabet when the sign was adopted. Our letter follows the Roman usage in pronunciation, save for some slight exceptions when it is an initial it then comes very close in sound to the Greek §. In all respects the letter is, and always has been, a superfluous one.

X, XX, and XXX are signs used by brewers. The single X originally represented the ten shillings excise which beer of a certain quality had to pay, and so became a sign for that quality. Hence the other signs grew up as representing double or triple the strength of X ale.

Among policemen the "X" is a method of arrest used with desperadoes, which consists in getting a firm grasp on the collar, drawing the captive's hand over the holding arm, and pressing the fingers down in a peculiar way, so that the arm can be more easily broken than liberated.

Xmas, an abbreviation for "Christmas." X is the initial letter of the Greek name for Christ, Xplorós, and the coincidence of its cruciform shape led early to its adoption as a figure and symbol of Christ. In the Catacombs' X is frequently found to stand for Christ. The earliest Christian artists, when making a representation of the Trinity, would place either a cross or an X beside the Father and the Holy Ghost. But the extension of the symbol to compound or derivative words like Xmas and Xtianity is an affectation which, though sanctioned by long usage, cannot be commended.


Y, the twenty-fifth letter in the English alphabet, with both a vowel and a consonant value. (See U.) As a vowel it is useless, representing nothing that could not be denoted by i. Saxon origin which has merged into the Latin sign. And in the archaic forms As a consonant it is a totally different letter of ye, yat, etc., it represents a Saxon and Middle English sign for th, and should be pronounced like th in the.

Yankee, a term of dubious etymology and varied uses. accepted as most plausible by leading authorities makes it a slight corruption The derivation of the word " Yengeese," applied to the English by the Northern Indian tribes to whom they first became known,-a meritorious aboriginal attempt to pronounce "English." In Europe the word Yankee means an American from any portion of the United States; in the South it means an inhabitant of the Northern States; and in the North it retains its original specific application to the inhabitants of the New England States.


Z, the twenty-sixth character in the English alphabet, and the last there, as in the later Roman alphabet. It was the seventh sign in the Phoenician and the sixth in the Grecian system. In America it is usually called "zee,” in

England "zed." An older name, “izzard," still survives locally.

It has often been noticed that the stage names of female acrobats and circus-riders strangely affect the initial Z. C. G. Leland explains that names like Zazel, Zaniel, Zoe, are all derived from Hebrew or Yiddish words meaning "devil" or "goblin."

Zero, the figure o, which stands for naught in the Arabic notation. From its double capacity of representing nothing as an individual and a decimal multiple when put in the right sort of company, it has afforded lots of fun to the humorist. The sort of fun may be gathered from the French epigram made when La Bruyère was rejected by the Academy:

Quand La Bruyère se présente,
Pourquoi faut-il crier haro?
Pour faire le nombre de quarante
Ne fallait-il pas un zéro ?

("When La Bruyère presented himself, why object? To make up the number forty was not a zero necessary?")

A more elaborate form of the same kind of drollery is presented in the following story. There was at Amadan a celebrated Academy whose first rule was framed in these words: "The members of this Academy shall think much, write little, and be as silent as they can."

A candidate offered himself. He was too late: the vacancy had been filled. His merit was recognized, and all lamented their own disappointment in lamenting his. The president asked that the candidate should be introduced.

His simple and modest air was in his favor. The president rose and presented him with a cup of pure water, so full that a single drop more would have made it overflow. Not a word did he add to this emblematical hint, but his countenance betrayed his emotion.

The candidate understood that he could not be received because the number was complete. But, casting about him for a method of reply, he observed at his feet a rose. Picking it up, he detached a single petal, which he laid so gently on the surface of the water that not a drop escaped. The applause was universal. Every one recognized that he meant to imply that a supernumerary member would displace nothing, and would make no essential difference in the rule they had prescribed. He was at once presented with the register whereon successful candidates wrote their names. He wrote his name; then, as a delicate way of presenting thanks, he wrote on the slate the figures 100, representing the number of his new associates; then, putting a cipher before the 1, he wrote, "Their value will be the same,-o100." The courteous and ingenious president was not to be baffled. He took the slate in his turn, substituted the figure I for the added zero, and wrote, "They will have eleven times the value they had,-1100."

Zouaves, a famous French military corps. The word is corrupted from Zouaoua, a terrible welter of vowels, proudly borne as the name of a warlike Kabyle tribe in Africa. These had always maintained a practical independence. They made excellent mercenaries, selling valor and fidelity to their buyers at reasonable market rates. The first levy of Zouaouas was raised in 1830, by General Clausel. It consisted of two battalions, and was originally composed of native African soldiers, with French officers and soldiers. Gradually roving adventurers from Paris and other large cities crowded out the native soldiers. Finally all the European members of the corps other than French were removed from the Zouaves and were formed into the Foreign Legion. Later still, at the summons of Abd-el-Kader, large numbers of the native Zouaves deserted from the colors and joined the ranks of their compatriots; in consequence of which the proportion of Frenchmen in the corps was greatly increased. In 1841 a third battalion was raised, the corps was entirely remodelled, and it was decreed that thereafter there should be only one company of African natives in each battalion. From that time even that reduced proportion of natives steadily decreased, until in the end the Zouaves consisted of Frenchmen only.

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