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editor; and we are evidently given to understand, especially by the note of interrogation affixed to the words quid non, that every thing, in a manner, was to be learnt from this great author. l'enter not here into the merits of the dispute, about the universality of Homer's knowledge and learning, to wit, whether the whole Cyclopædia of the arts and sciences are to be found in him, or not; for I only mean to suggest to you, that Sir William has certainly mistaken the Roman author's meaning in that place, and that there is no occasion for him or any one else to be so greatly charmed with these two little words quid non. Quid non there does not carry the sense of our English phrase, what not? for the verb sit is understood, or rather is to be repeated from the beginning of the verse, along with the adjective utile; and the whole, were it to be filled up, would run thus quid sit utile, quid non sit utile, &c. And this agrees best with our author's design in this passage, where he is expressly speaking of the ethic documents of the Grecian poet, and the moral lessons which may be profitably drawn from thence, which he says are more ful and instructive than the precepts both of Chrysippus the stoic, and Crantor the academician. And it is remarkable in the case, that Homer makes the mischief and inconveniences of anger, so destructive in its consequences to the Greeks, the very subject of the Iliad, as appears from the invocation at the beginning, insomuch that the quid non utile, which, according to Horace, is taught us by Homer, is so obvious, that it cannot well be missed, and very principally alludes, no doubt, to anger and its fatal effects; I say principally, because I do not think it ought to be totally restrained to that, on account of the sequel of the epistle.
Yours, &c. 1757, Jume.
XXVII. Critique on a Passage in the Fairy Queen.
MR. URBAN, MR. WARTON, in his elegant observations on the Fairy Queen of Spencer, has taken occasion to offer an illustration of an expression in the Paradise Lost, which is equally new and satisfactory.
--The Galaxy, that milky way,
Powder'd with starsThat ingenious critic thus explains this passage. milky way, which every night appears to you like a circling zone, besprinkled or embroidered with stars.” He subjoins, “ To the majority of readers, I dare say, powder'd with stars, has ever appeared a very mean, or rather ridiculous meraphor." + That this was a signification of the verb powder, in ancient literature, he proves by an allegation of numerous authorities, from Spencer, Johnson, Sydney, Harrington, Chaucer, Sackville, and Sandys. In confirmation of the sense here assigned to the word in question, I shall beg leave, by means of your Miscellany, to add an example or two.
We find powder, in the sense embroider, latinised (unless it be, that the Latin gave rise to the English word) in Dugdale's Monasticon; in a recital of the relics, vestments, &c. belonging to the chapel of St. George, at Windsor. viz. Under the article Vucilla. “ Item duo V'e.rilla pondrata cum armis domini regis Anglie.”—“Also two banners embroidered with the arms of our Lord the King of England." I Again under the article Velum cum Ridellis." I "Item unum Velum quadragesimale, &c.--Et albi coloris cum garteris, et aquilis auro poudratis."'" Also one veil for Lent, &c. And another white veil with garters and eagles embroidered in gold.” Ş Again, under the article lape.--"Et alia de blodio satin pouderato cum arboribus aureis." 66 And another cope of red satin embroidered with golden trees.” 9 Again under the article panni.
.“ Unus de serico pouderato cum diversis avibus et floribus." -“ One cloth of silk embroidered with diverse birds and forcers."** And, in other passages of the same inventory.
The word likewise occurs in some original MS. collections, which I have lately consulted, relating to the treasury of the college of Stoke, by Clare, in the county of Suffolk, which were drawn from the registers of that college, about
* B. vii. v. 579.
Tom. iii. part. 2. Sub. Tit. Ecclesiæ Collegiat. Canonic. Sæcul. Edit. Sa voy, Londin. 1673. p. 87.
i Ridellum, is a curtain. Fr. Rideau., Du Fresne, Glossar. Vol. iii. p, 610.
** P. 82.
the time of its suppression, by its last dean, the memorable Matthew Parker, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, viz.
Thirdly, a chesable * of white cloth powderd with costly images and angels of gold, togidder with orphreys + of gold, having the Trinity in the back, the Holy Ghost being of pearl; and also, divers pearles in the other images, with two tunicles of the same suit powdred, and ecchone with mořses. I And three albes and amisses with their apparell; the stoll is differing : of the gift of Hen. Longforde, sometime treasurer.”
I remember also to have seen this word in Stowe's Chronicle, concerning a robe of Cardinal Wolsey; and in a description of the furniture of a magnificent masque exhibited before the court of Henry VIII.
I cannot dismiss this subject without recommending the rational and effectual method employed by Mr. Warton in explaining Spencer; which principally consists in examining those books which Spencer had most probably read, and in tracing out his several allusions to the manners and customs which were fashionable and familiar when he composed his poem. Unless this be carefully done in criticising an author of so remote a period, many beauties must necessarily be lost with the object to which they are united, “ As the figures Fanish, when the canvass has decayeds."
Yours, &c. 1758, Feb.
* Casula signifies a priestly vestment covering the whole body. Hence came Cassibula, which signifies the same, and occurs in the will of W. Longspee, Earl of Salisbury, printed by Dug. Monast. Tom. ii. p. 179,
He bequeaths ainong other things, “ Cassibulam de rubeo samito, et unam capam chori de rubeo samito." It is sometimes written Casubulæ, and is found in Faustus Monachus, in vit. S. Papponis Abbatis, Cap. xiv. No. 58. “ In celebratione missarum, Casubulam qua induebatur lacrymis humectabat.” Chasuble is an old French word for a priests habit, and hence the word Chesable in the text; which is frequently met with in monastic inventories.
+ Orphreys interpreted by Speght, Gloss. to Chaucer, “ Frizzled cloth of gold.” But it more properly signifies “gold fringe.” Lat. Aurifrisium, not the cloth it. self, but its appendage. Hence, by degrees it came to signify any border in general. vid. Dugd. Monast. Tom. iil. part 1. “ Two copes, having an orj hrey of red velvet.” p. 296.-" Tunicles with orphreys of needle-work." p. 297.“A narrow orphrey of pearles.” p. 293. Eccles. Cath. Lincoln.
Morses, Buckles. Lat. Morsus. Buckles were a striking decoration in the sacerdotal apparel. The curious reader may find various sorts of them described among the vestinents, &c. of the church at York, Monastic, vol. 3. part 1. p. 173, 174. And of St. Paul, p. 309. And of St. George's chapel at Windsor, part 2. p. 83.
§ Johnson's proposals for a new edition of Shakespcare, p, 4
XXVIII. Chaucer's Description of the Sleep of Plants.
THE botanists pretend to have made a new discovery, which they call by a very pretty metaphorical name, the sleep of plants. I, Sir, who am no botanist in the least, have been long impressed with a notion that plants, some more and some less, are naturally contracted in their petals and leaves, by the coldness of the evening air, and on the contrary are expanded again by the return of the genial warmth of the sun. That this is so, is agreeable to nature and matter of fact, and that it should be so, is as consonant to reason. The fact is remarkably observable in the daisy, which towards the evening always erects and brings close its petals, and in the day time as constantly displays them. And this observation, concerning this flower, is as old as the time of Jeffrey Chaucer, who in the proeme to the Legende of good women, has the following lines.
59. There lovith no wight hartyer alyve,
And whan that it is evyn I rynne belyve,
For fere of night, so hatith the darkenes,
Of the sonne for then it will unclose:
I have a MS. of this part of the author, from whence, to spare the trouble of reporting various readings, I have transcribed the above passage literatim. Those who are curious may compare it, if they please, with the printed copies of Chaucer, since there are some variations, which I think preferable to what at present are read in Mr. Urry; however there are none that concern the subject of this letter. I proceed therefore to remark, Ist. That the shutting and opening of the flower is very plainly noticed. 2dly, That the poet has even preoccupied the metaphor now used upon this occasion, going to rest, expressing very fully the modern term of the sleep of plants. 3dly. That this appearance is ascribed, by the author, to the flower's hating darkness and loving light, and not to the chilling cold of the evening and the warmth of the sun in the day. For darkness here is to be understood literally; the author having a particular notion of his own in this respect, as is plain from the etymology which he afterwards gives of its name. But before I transcribe that, I would note, that the author mentions again the opening of the flower in the morning, at v. 110, where he calls it its resurrection, and again at v. 117 and 123. Now, Sir, as to the etymon; he thinks it was called the daisy, quasi, the day's eye, oculus Diei; for so he writes at v. 180. as in my
The longe daie I shope me to abide
I doubt the author is not right in his conjecture, for the word daisy comes rather, according to Dr. Skinner, from the French dars or daiz, a canopy; this flower having something of a resemblance to a canopy of state.
But this is of no consequence in the present case, since the author deduces it very well for his purpose, which was to express in it an abhorrence of darkness and a love of light. However, the figure of a canopy, or crown, is so obvious in this flower, that this author could not avoid taking notice of it, though he gives to the word a different etymology, hence he writes, v. 212, as it is in the MS.
And fro me farre came walking in the mede
that a white crowne she bere
Considderith eke her fret of gold above.