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that whenever an alphabet had been formed from the figures, and the inscriptions could be turned by it, figure by figure, into words and sentences which could be translated, he should think the correct meaning had been discovered. This was, in his lordship's opinion, the only trustworthy test of the correct rendering of inscriptions in a previously unknown character.
It is obvious that such a test is very likely to secure the truth: still it is not conclusive; for where there is no division between words, and letters may or may not have a vowel understood, it occasionally happens that an inscription may be turned into different words, and yet an intelligible meaning may be given to each version. This is the case in the great Phoenician inscription on the sarcophagus of Esmunazar, King of Sidon, where, though every letter is known, the inscription has in some parts been turned into different Hebrew words, and nevertheless an intelligible rendering has been obtained in each case. C. S. GREAVES.
PRAYER FOUND IN THE TOMB OF OUR
(4th S. ii. 105.)
The following also may interest many of your readers. I transcribe it from the same old manuscript:
"The Golden Fridays of the Year.
"Whosoever fasteth on the Golden Fridays, and eats but one meal of bread and water each Friday, and prays devoutly on each of them days as followeth shall have five gifts.
"First, he shall not die a sudden death, nor he shall not die without the holy rites of the church; nor the devil will have power over him. He shall see the glorious Virgin Mary with his own corporeal eyes before his death; he shall see our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross forty days before his death.
and say three Pater Nosters in honour of the Holy "1. The Friday after the first Sunday in Lent to fast Trinity.
"2. The Friday before the Annunciation of the Blessed Lady, which is the 25th of March, and to say twelve Pater Nosters in honour of the Twelve Apostles.
"3. On Good Friday to say fifty-two Pater Nosters in honour of the Crown of Thorns.
"4. The Friday before Ascension Day to say forty Pater Nosters in honour of the forty days that our Saviour fasted.
5. The Friday before Pentecost to say thirty Pater Nosters in honour of the Holy Ghost.
"6. The Friday after Pentecost to say twelve Pater Nosters in honour of the Twelve Apostles.
"7. The Friday before St. John the Baptist to say thirty-three Pater Nosters in honour of our Lord's Passion.
"8. The Friday before SS. Peter and Paul to say fiftythree Pater Nosters in honour of Jesus Christ.
"9. The Friday before the first day in harvest to say four Pater Nosters in honour of our Saviour's hands and feet.
10. The Friday before the second Lady Day, in harvest, to say five Pater Nosters in honour of the five wounds of our Saviour.
11. The Friday before All Saints five Pater Nosters in
"12. The Friday before Christmas to say Pater Noster in honour of the Tokens that will come before Dooms
I have seen and read the prayer referred to by MR. W. SPARROW SIMPSON. It has been widely circulated among the Irish people, who have much faith in its efficacy in preserving those who carry it about them from dangers and accidents. The prayer is usually printed on paper or linen; sometimes it is written. It is usually sewed in an envelope of cotton, silk, cloth, &c., and is suspended honour of Five Apparitions of our Saviour after his refrom the neck by a tape. I do not look upon it as a charm; on the contrary, I believe the people generally regard it as an efficacious appeal to the Deity to preserve them from sudden perils. A similar prayer appears to have been found on General Sheldon after the battle of Aughrim, whom, however, it did not preserve from death. (See Story's Continuation of the Wars of Ireland.) I regret that I have not a copy of the prayer at hand to send you; I may be able to procure a copy. But in an old Irish manuscript volume now before me I find the following, which was written in English on a blank page by a person named Timothy Denaher, in whose possession the old MS. appears to have been. I give it to you for circulation through your columns :
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of
the Holy Ghost.-Amen.
"When Jesus saw the cross whereon he was to be crucified, he trembled and shook. The Jews asked him, Have you fever or ague, or do you shake for fear of us?' Jesus answered, I have neither fever nor ague, nor do I shake for fear of you. But whosoever carries these lines in mind or in writing for my sake, shall have neither fever nor ague.' Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, save and protect thy servant Timothy Denaher."
The efficacy of these prayers may be supposed to depend upon the faith of those who use them; but they prove at least that the Irish have been a people of great faith, which, we have the highest authority for stating, is a great virtue at all times. MAURICE LENIHAN.
THE ST. CHRISTOPHER" CALLED "OF 1423." (4th S. ii. 265.)
MR. HOLT having shown that the woodcut of produced by means of a printing-press, with "St. Christopher" in the Althorp library was printing ink and on paper like that ordinarily used by Martin Schön and Albert Dürer between 1480 and 1500, it remains for those who would contend for "1423" being the year when it was executed, to prove that it is a later impression from an old block. That is a question, however, with which
I do not intend to interfere.
The purpose of the present communication is rather to put together a few notes on the subject of MR. HOLT's remark that the woodcut is divisible into two distinct parts-the saint and the legend, the date being on the legend; and to suggest a possible reason of the date 1423 being added to it. The legend runs as follows: "Cristofori faciem die quacunq tueris millesimo cccco. Illa nempe die morte mala non morieris : xx° terno." The superstition embodied in this legend, which is more briefly described in a distich quoted by Sir Thomas Browne
'Christophorum videas, postea tutus eris,"
attention is the term in which the representation of the saint is described.
Erasmus, in his Militis Confessio, makes his soldier put his chief trust in the image of St. Christopher:
Thrasymachus. Sed precipua spes erat in divo Christophoro, cujus imaginem quotidie contemplabar. Hanno. In tentoriis? Unde illic divi? Th. Carbone pinxeramus illud in velo. Han. Nimirum haudquaquam ficulnum, ut ajunt, præsidium erat carbonarius ille Christophorus, &c."
And in his Epistle to Gaverus (Epis. 671) (a reference for which I am indebted to Mr. Nichols's interesting little volume on Pilgrimages "simulacrum Christophori as a supposed preservative against sudden death.
is one of much earlier date than 1423. Chaucer to Walsingham and Canterbury), he speaks of the describes the Yeoman as wearing
"A Cristofre on his brest of silver schene," and the gigantic wooden statue of the saint in the church of Notre Dame at Paris, which was only removed in 1785, was erected there in 1413. The "Christopher" of the Yeoman, like the "vernicle" of the Pardoner
"A vernicle hadde he sowed on his cap,"belong clearly to the class of pilgrim tokens, signs, or jubilee medals, the tin and leaden figures with which Erasmus describes the pilgrims as being covered - -"stanneis ac plum beis imaginibus oppletus undique "; as indeed the author of Piers Ploughman had done before him.
The legend we have quoted, and which might well have been inscribed round such a pilgrim's "Cristofre" as that worn by Chaucer's Yeoman, suggests two points for consideration.
The first is the date 1423. Was there in that year the likelihood of any special demand for such protections for pilgrims as these Cristofres were supposed to supply? I cannot show this decidedly, but the year 1423 was probably observed by many as a year of jubilee, and if so, such Cristofres would be sure to meet with a ready sale. In the year 1389, Urban VI., by a bull-following the example of Clement VI., who had reduced the jubilees from every hundred years to fifty years-further reduced them to thirty-three years, and commanded the year 1390 to be observed as a jubilee.
The bull recites:
"Ut omnis jubilæus per Clementem VI. de centesimo anno ad quinquagesimum reductus, deinde in futurum de tricessimo tertio anno in tricessimum tertium annum semper institueretur, et ut annus nativitatis Domini proxime venturus, videlicet 1390, esset jubilæus, quo eum commovit tempus vitæ Domini nostri Jesu Christi in humanitate, quod totum postquam natus est de Virgine (per cujus mortem thesaurus Ecclesiæ, unde indulgentiæ peccatorum omnes emanant, cumulatus) triginta trium annorum curriculo completum fuit."
It will be noticed that Erasmus, speaking of the figure of St. Christopher, uses the words "imago and "simulacrum," both clearly applicable to the figure of St. Christopher; the legend, on the other hand, uses facies, which would rather apply not to the figure, but to the face of the saint, and is better suited to the woodcut of St. Christopher in The Nuremberg Chronicle, which does not descend below the bust, than to the whole-length figure of the Althorp woodcut.
The questions raised by Mr. Holt are very important; their solution must involve much inquiry and discussion; and I venture to print these jottings as a small contribution towards the literary history of the St. Christopher, in hopes of thereby eliciting further information upon the subject. WILLIAM J. THOMS.
P.S.-Since the foregoing was written, I have recollected that in the Monnoies des Evêques des Innocens, des Fous, &c., was a medal of the face of St. John; and upon turning to that work I find it figured on plate 20 and described at 88. p. It represents a priest between two acolytes bearing the head of St. John; and in the opinion of the author, judging from the style of the characters and the design, it is of the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The inscription round it is as follows:
"HIC EST SIGNUM: FACIEI BEATI JOHAVNIS BAVTISTE."
Here, it will be seen, the word facies is used in the sense, not of image or figure, but simply face. Having referred to this work, I cannot resist quoting the following few lines, as applicable to the points I have brought forward:
"Avant que l'invention de la gravure en bois ait permis de reproduire avec facilité les images de Dieu et des saints, et de les multiplier de manière à satisfaire à tous les besoins, il ne devait pas exister de moyen moins dispendieux, plus à la portée du peuple, d'avoir les représentations des objets de son culte, que les images de
Presuming this bull to have been acted upon, the second jubilee held by it would be the year plomb qu'on pouvait attacher au bonnet ou placer au
1423, the date of the legend.
The second point to which I would briefly call
chevet du lit. Ces images ont dû être moins employées dans le cours du xve siècle, lorsque les gravures sur
papier devinrent communes; mais il est à croire qu'elles avaient été d'un usage général," &c.
Can any reader of "N. & Q." inform me of the existence of any books or papers in literary journals on the special subject of these signacula, pilgrims' tokens, or jubilee medals?
ASSESSMENTS IN AID (4th S. ii. 296.)-These are commonly called rates in aid, and are made for the relief of the poor in a parish or parishes other than that in which the rate is levied. Under the statute 43 Eliz. ii. 3, the whole power under the act was given to two justices, i. e. to petty sessions; and a most arbitrary and unguarded power it was, as may be seen in the law cases on the question, collected in Burn's Justice, "Poor's Rate," ii. 11. For example, the justices could charge any of the inhabitants of the aiding parish, instead of a fair rate on the whole. They could act on their power whenever they should "perceive" that any parish could not raise enough for its own purposes. The clause is still in force, but I doubt if it has been acted on since the new poor law. It might possibly be sometimes necessary to enforce it, but if so it would have to be done with great caution and in a very clear case. LYTTELTON.
THE "BLOCK Books" (4th S. ii. 267.)—I confess I am somewhat amused at the wonder expressed by your correspondent J. C. J. that I can attempt to found any argument upon the absence of names, dates, &c. in the publications in Germany of the fifteenth century- and at his supposition that it would, for such reason, have been unusual and extraordinary if the "Block Books' had formed an exception. Let me rather beg him to explain by what process of reasoning it is that he in the nineteenth century ventures to assign positive periods of publication to those books quoted by him which bear no date. I presume he is prepared to support his authority by argument, and that he does not wish me to conclude his dates to be the mere result of a fruitful imaginative creation, or founded on the inconclusive, and oftentimes absurd, views of Dr. Dibdin. I may observe, that although I draw a distinction between the "books printed with moveable type" and the "Block Books" being published without date, place, or printer's name, I will nevertheless in due course endeavour to make the
reasons for that practice clear and conclusive. In the mean time I may inform J. C. J. and those who take an interest in the subject, that (according to my view) the explanation of the seeming mystery may be easily found under a paradox, viz., the absence of a date in the "Block Books proves the date; and the omission of the printer's, artist's, or publisher's name clearly indicates the true reasons which rendered such a mode of publication absolutely necessary.
6, King's Road, Clapham Park.
HENRY F. HOLT.
WYCHERLEY AND BURNS (4th S. ii. 285.)-Let me offer my thanks to your correspondent C. for his kind correction of my opinion that "it was not perhaps very likely that Burns had read Wycherley's Plays." I confess that I was entirely unaware of the interesting passage in Burns's correspondence to which C. has directed attention. I apprehend that his citation refers to a letter from Burns to Mr. Hill, dated Ellisland, 2nd March, 1790. In this he writes:
"I want copies of Otway's Dramatic Works, Ben Jonson's, Dryden's, Congreve's, Wycherley's, Vanbrugh's, Cibber's, or any dramatic works of the more modernMacklin, Garrick, Foote, Colman, or Sheridan."
To this he adds a wish to have the best French dramatic authors, but comic authors chiefly, and concludes with
"I am in no hurry for all or any of these; but if you accidentally meet with them very cheap, get them for me."
Now we must concur with C. and Cunningham that this shows that Burns had a decided dramatic taste, and was inclined to attempt the victory of dramatic honours. Yet I trust that, without indulging any tendency to quibble, and in candour admitting both the force and the fairness of C.'s inference, I may say that the proof as regards Wycherley and Burns seems almost as much presumptive as conclusive. The books were ordered in 1790, and the order is very comprehensive. Burns says, "He is in no hurry for all or any," &c. Now the song, "Is there for honest poverty," is dated January, 1795, and whether within that period Burns had obtained his books and had read them so as to reflect any idea or thought, may be perhaps an open question. Cunningham, in a note to the letter cited, adds also a quotation from a letter to Lady Harriet Don (undated) in which Burns writes, "I have got Shakespeare, and begun with him." Perhaps C. could trace some "undesigned coincidences" between the two. Burns's mind, like that of all the gifted sons of genius, was manysided, and he sought, perchance, in the drama fresh studies of human nature, and a wider experience of character. It would be of interest to see how Shakespeare and Burns may have reflected a thought common to both. Amid the
Che paia il giorno pianger che si more," heard amid and above the excitement of the populous cities of the plain. S. H.
KATTERN'S DAY (4th S. ii. 201, 233.)—Although Miss Baker, in her Northamptonshire Glossary, states that this holiday was observed only at Peterborough, it is known to have been kept, for several generations, throughout the whole of the Northamptonshire lace-making districts, as well as in those of Bedfordshire. By some it is called "candle-day," from its forming the commencement of the season for working at lacemaking by candle-light. At Peterborough, according to Miss Baker, the workhouse children used to walk in procession on that day through the town.
"They were all attired in white, and decorated with various-coloured ribbons, principally scarlet; the tallest girl was selected to represent the queen, and was adorned with a crown and sceptre. The procession stopped at the houses of the principal inhabitants, and they sung the following rude ballad, begging for money at every house as they passed along:
"Here comes Queen Catherine, as fine as any queen,
"Some say she is alive, and some say she is dead,
"Old Madam Marshall she takes up her pen,
"All you that want employment, though spinning is but small,
Come list and don't stand still, but go and work for all: And a spinning, &c.
"If we set a spinning, we will either work or play; But if we set a spinning we can earn a crown a day; And a spinning, &c.
"If there be some young men, and I suppose there's
We'll hardly let them stand alone upon the cold stone: And a spinning, &c."
The popular tradition is, that "Queen Katherine was a great friend to the lacemakers," but which of Henry VIII.'s two queens was the one to whom the tradition refers, it seems impossible to ascertain. Katherine of Arragon, after her divorce, resided at Fotheringay in Northamptonshire, which was given to her by Henry as a kind of semi-prison. Catherine Parr was born at Grafton, in the same county, where her father, Sir Thomas Parr, possessed a stately residence. Her mother, Maud Green, was a Northamptonshire woman, being a native of Green's Norton.
I remember seeing a full-length portrait of Catherine Parr, said to be by Holbein, at Glendon Hall, near Kettering. It is probable, from the intimate manner in which the Parr family were associated with the history of Northamptonshire, that the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr was the Queen Katherine referred to in the tradition. JOHN PLUMMER.
VAN DUNK (4th S. i. 268, 424.)-MR. JOHN ADDIS has furnished a note on the position and reputation of one of the Van Dunks in 1623. I would add to this an old belief of mine that, but for the discovery of a man where a man ought not to have been, we should have heard the name in a fragment of what was evidently a popular drinking song quoted in Webster's and Dekker's Northward Ho!-a play printed in 1607. I also take the opportunity of correcting a printer's error in my note (3rd S. ix. 506) on corrections in Webster's plays. The passage, as I would read it, runs thus (Act II. Sc. Î): –
"Hans. O mine schönen vro, we sall dance 'lanteera tee-ra,' and sing[Dances and sings. Ich drincks to you, Mynheer Van,'
Wat man is dat, vro?
Hans. Wat hondsfoot is dat, Dorothy?"
The Elizabethan soldiery probably became acquainted with the Van Dunks in the Low Countries, and some of the family may have come over to England with them. Some Dutch families still, I think, take donk as the final syllable of their names. BRINSLEY NICHOLSON.
STOUND (4th S. ii. 133.)-This word, derived from the Anglo-Saxon stond, or stund, is equivalent to the word "instant," as meaning a short period of time. R. F. W. S.
WEDDING RINGS (4th S. i. 592.)-William Durandus, sometime Bishop of Mende, and who died in 1296, wrote a very curious work, which, in 1843, was very ably edited by the Revs. J. M. Neale and Benj. Webb-a work now very rarely met with. It is entitled The Symbolism of Churches and Church Ornaments: a translation of the First Book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum. Now, under the head of "Sacraments (chapter ix. pp. 185-195), I find the following observations upon the wedding-ring, which, be it remembered, were written in the thirteenth century:
* Brincks, ed. Dyce.
"The sacrament of choice only is matrimony; and it is said to be of choice because any one may be saved without it. Indeed, a man seeking to marry is not inclined to tend towards the kingdom of heaven. According to S. Isidore (of Seville), women wear veils when they are married, so that they may know that they must always be subject to their husbands; and because Rebecca, when she saw Isaac, veiled herself. Also in that at the beginning of the ceremony the husband giveth a ring to the bride, this is done as a sign of mutual love, or rather in order that their hearts may be united by the same pledge. And the same ring is put on the fourth finger, because (as some say) a certain vein runneth through it which reacheth to the heart. Also one Protheus is said to have first made a ring of iron as a pledge of love, and to have enclosed an adamant therein: and from this he founded the custom of betrothing brides, because, as iron subdueth all things, so doth love conquer all things, since nothing is more violent than its ardour. And as an adamant cannot be broken, so love cannot be overcome for love is as strong as death. Therefore also he founded the custom of putting the ring on the finger through which a vein passeth to the heart. Afterwards, however, golden rings were substituted for iron, and were set with gems instead of adamant, because, as gold excelleth other metals, so doth love excel all other blessings. And as gold is set off by the gems, so is conjugal love by other virtues."
For other descriptions of the wedding-ring, in works more easily attainable, see Fosbroke's Encyclopædia of Antiquities (1825, pp. 212-214 and 691), and the Catalogue of the Loan Collection, South Kensington Museum, 1862, pp. 614-634, including the introductory remarks by E. Waterton, Esq., F.S.A. T. C. N.
SKELP: SCUD (4th S. i. 485.)-There can be no doubt that Jamieson's definition, No. 1, is the correct meaning of this word. Skelp, taken absolutely, certainly means in the south of Scotland a blow on the breech with the open hand; but, notwithstanding your remark, I have hundreds of times heard the expression, "a skelp on the side of the head" or "on the lug."
Scud is not quite synonymous. In the same district it is in very common use, meaning lashes. Mactaggart, in his Gallovidian Encyclopædia, defines it as lashes, and says "it is the same as scults"-a word I have rarely or never met with in colloquial parlance. T. G.
GIANTS OF SCRIPTURE (3rd S. viii. 207, 271, 356, 400, &c.)—
"I do not quite understand," observes MR. DALTON, "what MR. BUCKTON means by these words: Augus tine (St.) was much interested in keeping up the notion
of ancient men being of excessively great stature, and seems to have made it a point of religious doctrine. What particular passage in his De Civitate Dei bears out MR. BUCKTON's view?'"
Tornielli, in his Annales Sacri, refers to Theodoret, quæst. 48, in Genes., where he says the ordinary short stature of men was designed by God to teach them humility:
"Beatus autem Augustinus," he continues, "lib. xv.
tum generatione causam affert, dicens: Quos propterea creare placuit Creatori, ut etiam hinc ostenderetur, non solum pulchritudines, verum etiam magnitudines et fortitudines corporum non magni pendendas esse sapienti, qui spiritualibus atque immortalibus, longe melioribus atque firmioribus, et bonorum propriis, non bonorum malorumque communibus, beatificatur bonis: quam rem alius Propheta," etc.
For a comment on F. C. H.'s remark
"If this explanation (of the Hebrew text) is denied, profane history must be equally on this point discredited; for many ancient writers speak of giants, and of having seen their remains,”—
consult Zuingeri Theatrum Humanæ Vitæ, vol. ii. lib. 2, in principio. BIBLIOTHECAR. CHETHAM.
EPIGRAM ON FRIENDS (4th S. ii. 275.)-This is a translation of an epigram of Claude Mermet, who was born at Saint-Rambert in Savoy about A.D.1550, and who died about A.D. 1601. His best works are a tragedy, Sophonisbe, and
"Le Temps passé; œuvre poétique, sententieuse et morale, pour donner profitable récréation à toutes gens qui aiment la vertu.'
Édouard Fournier, in his L'Esprit des Autres (p. 228), gives it thus:
"Les amis de l'heure présente
Ont le naturel du melon,
Il faut en essayer cinquante
And he adds: —
"Pour tout vous dire, il faut vous apprendre, d'après une note de la Monnoye. à l'article de Claude Mermet dans la Bibliothèque de Du Verdier, que notre Savoi-ien avait empruntée la pensée de son épigramme à une satire de Pietro Nelli la ixe du livre 11."
The epigram is found, according to Fournier, at P. 42, ed. Lyon, 1601. CRAUFURD TAIT RAMAGE. SKETCHING CLUB OR SOCIETY (3rd S. iv. 248.) This excellent idea was long put into practice both in London and in Paris with very satisfactory results. I recollect that highly gifted and most amiable artist, the late lamented C. R. Leslie, R.A., telling me many years ago that, to his great delight, he and several of his distinguished brothers of the brush used alternately to meet at each whose turn it was to receive his friends proposed other's dwellings of an evening, and that the one a subject for composition he had previously reflected on, when one and each set to work in right good earnest (one of the quickest and cleverest amongst whom, Mr. Leslie said, was A. E. Chalon, R.A.) These first flights of imagination, although frequently but rough sketches, sometimes became admirable pictures. They were always left with mine host, who in return offered supper to his friends —
"When we are fill'd
De Civit. Dei, c. 23, prope finem capitis, aliam de gigan- and very pleasant meetings they must have been