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warden of the parish church of St. really married Caxton's daughter, that Margaret, the following article is in- he would have succeeded him in his serted. “ Item. The day of burey- business, which it is well known was inge of William Caxton for ij torches not the case.

It does not appear that and iiii tapers xx d.”

Caxton left any will, or at least, if he Mr. Caxton continued to pursue his did, that will cannot be found. A disbusiness with reputation and success, covery of this document would remove from this period, until the year 1491 or all doubts from this question, and 1492, during which intermediate years, enable us to know to whom he benumerous volumes issued from his queathed his property. press. But few rivals, however, ap- As a merchant, Caxton appears to peared to share his fame, or to divide have been a man of strict integrity; his emoluments. In the year 1483, no and as a tradesman, when he establishmore than four printing presses are ed printing, he was duly attentive to known to have been established in his business. His pointing was either England. These are, Caxton in West- a small stroke thụs /, or a small cross minster, Rood and Hunte in Oxford, at the end of every sentence +. His an anonymous one in St. Alban’s, and signatures were placed where the De Machlinia, London. During this catchword now stands in modern printsame year 1483, an act of Parliament ing. His paper was good; and his was passed, giving leave“ to any arti- ink has been found to retain its blackficer or merchant to bring into this ness, through the lapse of centuries. realm and sell any books whether So far as any memorials of Caxton's written or printed.” Another act states moral character have been preserved, as a reason for the former, that “ few the circumstances are much in his printers within this realm could well favour. He has uniformly been repreexercise the craft of printing.”

sented, as always having the fear of It appears, that Caxton continued God, and a deep sense of religion resthis employment at Westminster, but ing upon his mind. It is not, however

, not in the Abbey, until the time of his to be expected, that he should have death. This event took place, accord-risen above those fogs and clouds, ing to the account given by the church- which, prior to the Reformation, inwardens, and in Mr. Lewis's observa- volved the moral world in darkness. tions on it, between June 1491, and His attachment to the papal doctrine, June 1492. It is not improbable that and to the ceremonials of the Romish it was near the former period, as Mr. church, seemed always to partake of Ames has limited the time to 1491. sincerity, even when it led him to adOf the death and burial of William vocate the absurdities which prevailed. Caxton, the following memorial has In the crusades he found much to combeen preserved.

mend, and but little to blame ; and “ In Thaccompte of the Wardens of was ready on most occasions to defend the Parishe Churche of Seynt Marga- these fanatical expeditions, against all rete Westminster in the Shire of Mid- who presumed to question their prodlesex from the xxvij of May m. cccc. priety. To the pilgrimages of his day, Ixxxx. the v. of Henry vij. vnto the iij and to those of his ancestors, he was day of June .cccc. Ixxxxij. the vij of much devoted, though it does not apHenry vij.” are the following articles pear that he actually engaged in any in the second year of this “ accompte” of those painful journeys, which he viz. 1492. “ İtem. Atte bureyinge of seemed so much to admire in others. William Caxton for iiii torches vis. This, however, appears to have arisen vijid. Item, for the Belle at the same from the circumstances of his situation bureyinge vi d.”

in life; and it ought not to be consiMr. Lewis seems to think, as no dered as a proof of his insincerity. To mention is made either of Caxton's the writings of Chaucer he was much wife or children, that he was never attached ; and such was his friendship married. Palmer's continuator, how- for the poet, that he desired people to ever, says of R. Pynson, that “ he was pray for his soul, in which exercises son-in-law to Caxton;" but for this there can be no doubt that he also deassertion no evidence being produced, voutly engaged. There is written in a the fact has been much doubted. very old hand, in a Fructus Temporum Pynson it appears was a printer. And of Mr. Ballard's, of Camden in Glouit seems highly probable, if he had cestershire, the following note. ** Of

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Observations on the English Language.

206

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your charitee pray for the soul of excite others to give their ideas, occaMayster Wyllyam Caxton, that in hys sionally, upon this or similar subjects. tyme was a man of moche ornate and Every individual should possess some moche renommed wysdome and con- knowledge of what is called his mother nyng, and decessed full crystenly the tongue, or the language of the counyere of our Lord M.cccc. Ixxxxi.

try wherein he was born. He should Moder of Merci shyld hym from thorribul likewise endeavour to pronounce it in fynd.

such a way, as to be most easily unAnd bryng hym to lyff eternall that neuyr derstood, when he would convey his bath ynd.”

ideas to the mind of another. That proBut these superstitions may rather nunciation is said to be the best, and be considered as characteristic of the should be preferred, which gives to all age in which Caxton lived, than as pe- parts of the word a full and distinct arculiarities, exclusively applicable to ticulation. This was the judgment of himself. The books which he publish- that great critic Quintillian; whose ed were almost wholly of a moral ten- words are-—“ Every syllable of every dency, and the prefaces to several, that word, but especially the last syllable, he occasionally wrote, partook of the should be properly, distinctly, and clearsame spirit. His errors, therefore, ly pronounced.” But a practice, the very were rather those of the judgment than reverse of this, seems to be more and of the heart ; on which account they more prevalent in England every day. are more entitled to the sigh of pity The writer of this paper has for nearly than to the sneer of contempt. To sixty years remarked the changes that draw a line between vincible and in- have been taking place in this respect; vincible ignorance on all occasions, and he is grieved to observe, that the is not the province of mortals. This degeneracy has increased in almost a can only be done by that all-wise mathematical ratio, and that not merely Being, who, without the possibility of among the vulgar, but even the higher error, can always distinguish between classes of life. It is true, that all livinfirmity and vice; and whose good- ing languages are in continual flux ; ness arranges those various dispensa- and perhaps it is impossible to abridge tions under which his creatures are or prolong their duration. The change, placed.

though daily carried on, is almost imperceptible, and becomes observable

only at distant periods; so that the Miscellaneous Observations, respecting intermediate gradations elude the obthe English Language.

servation of the present age.

Our great commercial intercourse

with other nations, is one cause of the Sir,

degeneracy of our language. The To correct mistakes, either in theory longer any people live remote, or have or practice; to point out an error in little intercourse with others, the longer received opinions, on any subject, re- they retain the purity of their dialect, lating to Arts, Sciences, or Religion; or primitive tongue. But 'the chief can never be altogether useless, and cause of a defective or faulty pronunmay eventually tend to some improve- ciation, is placing the syllabic emphament. Some subjects, undoubtedly, sis on the first syllable, or very near are of much greater importance than the beginning of almost every word. others ; especially such as have a moral This, to a judicious ear, must produce or religious tendency, or are likely to the most discordant and inharmonious promote in some degree the culture of sounds; as the latter part of the word the human mind. Man is endowed is pronounced with precipitancy, and with various intellectual powers; but therefore is indistinct. I heard a genthere is need of exertion to put them tleman, in pronouncing the word oppoforth, to develop and mature them, nent, lay the accent on the first syllable; and to give them such a bias as may another laid it on the first syllable in promote the good of the individual, as diploma; another laid it on the second well as of the community at large. syllable in the word disrepute ; and

Though the following observations another on the second in compromise. may seem, comparatively, of little im- This was shocking and disgusting to port; yet, perhaps, some attention my ear; but there is a kind of contamay be paid to them, and they may gion in this respect, as well as in

TO THE EDITOR OF THE IMPERIAL

MAGAZINE.

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many other things; and it is to be early stages of youth. Therefore, let feared that the disease is not only epi- all teachers exert themselves to predemical, but almost incurable: for serve, as far as they can, the energetic Madam Custom is so imperious and and emphatic expression of their native dogmatical, that she will not listen tongue. But how shall they teach, to harmony, to reason, or to common unless they are instructed themselves ? sense; and in her procession she has They shut their ears against informaMiss Fashion to hold up her train. tion, and consider it as a kind of inWhen riding in a coach, I often per- sult, if any one attempt to correct ceive the lips of some persons move them. Some, when their fault is pointvery quickly, but scarcely to open, and ed out, excuse themselves by saying,à kind of indistinct sound issues, Why, it is very common. If it be somewhat like the chirping of a bird ; common, then it is so much the worse. so that I know not whether to mourn If we should not follow a multitude to or to laugh. We learn from Horace do evil, neither should we follow the how the ancient Greeks pronounced- common practice in speaking wrong. “ Graiis dedit ore rotundo Musa loqui :" From this consideration, we must not - but our country folks would do well be very sanguine in our hopes. But, to imitate them in this respect, by perhaps, some who would not bear opening the lips sufficiently, so as to personal reproof, may, by looking over give force and energy to the motions of this paper, be put upon self-examinathe mind. The Anglo-Saxon seems to tion in private, and then be induced to be capable of this, from its native sim- amend. plicity and majestic vigour: and most There are many other faults, in probably this pronunciation prevailed orthography and phraseology, which about a century ago, in the reign of have tended to debase our language, queen Anne. But, where feebleness or lessen its sterling value.

Diphof expression and phraseology creeps thongs have been lately omitted in in, there effeminacy of manners has most publications, and single vowels already begun, or will inevitably soon substituted in their stead. This has follow. This has been the case with arisen partly from the hurry of the Greece and Rome. The bold, ner- writer, and partly from the ignorance vous, and elegant Latin, has dwindled or laziness of the compositor. A genand sunk into the soft Italian and the tleman, when he scrawls a card, or finical French, &c.: and, alas! by our a kind of letter, is precipitate, and intercourse with these and other na- leaves out a vowel, and sometimes a tions, the noble Anglo-Saxon is dege- consonant; and others follow him, nerating apace.

supposing that, from his superior eduI seem to myself like one taking a cation, he must be correct. The comsolitary evening walk beside an ancient positor likewise is too indolent to look mansion, which I view with some at- out for a diphthong, when a single vowel tention. I remark many trifling or is at hand. But diphthongs are essenwhimsical alterations or additions, tially necessary, both on account of which the bad taste of late possessors the quantity of the syllable, and also has introduced. I perceive likewise to preserve the etymology as much as that some of the principal foundation possible, at least to the eye; and esstones have been removed, so as to pecially in words derived from Greek endanger the fabric, and portend its and Latin. Indeed, some of the conruin. I pause; and inquire, Can any sonants might be removed, as being skilful architects or judicious workmen redundant; yet even this should be be found, to set about a reparation, or done with a sparing hand ; because at least prevent further dilapidations they are like the principal timbers in a in the building ? If it be prudent in a building, which help to uphold it. It man to preserve his estate undiminish- seems that the letter c might be eradied, for the good of his family; so is it cated from many words in our lanlaudable that he should pay attention guage, if not from all ; as the sounds to his rising offspring, to have them which are usually attached to it may be instructed in such a way as to qualify very easily and properly expressed by them for some respectable station in the letters k and s. It was an unfortulife, If we may hope for any general nate circumstance, when the Normans good to be produced, in what is here introduced their barbarous dialect of hinted, it must be attended to in the the French here; and, among other

the c.

209
Singular Letter.-History of Astronomy.

210 things, gave the sound of s to the letter | CURIOUS ADVERTISEMENT, FROM THE e. It has been usual of late years, in

KENTUCKY REPORTER. words ending with ck, as publick, fa- Take notice, and beware of the swindbrick, &c. to suppress the k, and retain ler, Jesse Dogherty, who married me I would propose the reverse ;

in November last; and some time after i. e. to leave out the c, and retain the k, by which we shall come nearer to the marriage he informed me, that he had Greek ; and our language is already, vered the shock, the villain left me,

another wife alive ; and, before I recovery much enriched by abundance of and took one of my best horses. One Greek words. It has been the custom with some good as to follow him, take away the

of my neighbours, however, was so persons of late, to give verbs neuter an

The said active signification; or they seem not horse, and bring it back. to know the difference between a verb Dogherty is about 40 years of age; five active and a verb neuter.

feet ten inches high; round shouldered;

For instance: they substitute the verb lay, dark, and grey eyes. He is remark

has thick lips, complexion and hair which is active, instead of the verb lie, which is neuter : thus they speak non- of ardent spirits; and, by profession,

ably ugly and ill-natured; is very fond sense frequently in the common use of this verb; and they seem not willing warn all widows to beware of the

a notorious liar. This is, therefore, to to be informed; or their organs have swindler, as all he wants is their progot such an habitual bias, that they perty. The said Dogherty has a numfind it difficult to alter. In speaking ber of wives living, (perhaps eight or of a woman in child-birth, they say,“She lays in, or she has laid in.” By known; and he will, no doubt, if he

ten,) but the number is not positively asking the question, what? it will point out the absurdity or impropriety of the I believe that is the way he makes his

can get them, have eight or ten more. phrase. What does she lay in? or

living. what has she laid in? Has she laid in groceries, or stores ? The verb lie sig- Kentucky, Sept. 5th, 1817.

MARY DODD, Livington County. nifies a state of being, or the posture of the body; and it makes lain in the perfect tense : therefore they should say, “ She lies in;" or,

She has lain in.”_ In a certain law report it

(Continued from col. 134.) was said, “ The cause is to lay over

The Astronomy of the Egyptians.-It until the next term." You may inform is difficult to determine with any degree the lawyer, if he chance to cast his eye of probability, whether Astronomy on your Miscellany, that he has in this was first cultivated in Egypt or Chalinstance written stark nonsense.

dea. It has been already remarked, Many other instances of improper That it was disputed between the phraseology, as well as pronunciation, Egyptians and the Chaldeans, which might be pointed out; but some apo- of them first cultivated this science." logy is needful even for what is here Each nation asserted its priority ; and written: and these few hints are sub- attempted to support its claims by armitted, through the medium of your guments which were supposed to furpublication, to the consideration of nish incontestable evidence. It is very the candid and intelligent reader; and probable that both nations commenced to excite the inhabitants of Britain to the study of this exalted science nearly pay a little more attention to their at the same time. History warrants native tongue. Though much has been us in asserting, that the Egyptians irretrievably lost, with respect to pro- have been as early in the study of As

Their nunciation in colloquial intercourse ; tronomy as the Chaldeans. yet perhaps something may be done to country presenting them with every prevent a further debasement, if some advantage for astronomical observapersons of ability would lend their aid; tions, from its level situation, and from or if the masters of academies, and of its serene and generally cloudless sky. all schools, would lay the matter seri- And it is, says Dr. Long, " a fact which ously to heart, with a true patriotic no person can doubt, that they can

shew even to this day, in their pyräI am, Sir, yours,

mids, the most ancient monuments in April 24, 1819. ALPHA BETA. the world of their skill in practical No. 3.-VOL. I.

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HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY,

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Astronomy; for these are all situated | mese, for computing their celestial so that their several fronts face very phenomena. Thales appears to have exactly the four cardinal points, E. S. received from the Egyptians his meN. W.” To this inquisitive and intel-thod of predicting an eclipse of the ligent people, these stupendous obser Sun; and Diogenes Laertius asserts vatories would afford the greatest faci- as their opinion, that the earth had a lities for ascertaining the various phe- spherical form, and that the Moon was nomena of the heavens,—the periodi- eclipsed by plunging into its shadow. cal revolutions of the Planets,—the These facts, few and imperfect as eclipses of the Sun and Moon,-and they appear, are sufficient to impress the relative situations of the fixed us with a high sense of the astronomiStars. And, according to Macrobius, cal knowledge of the Egyptians; but the Egyptians were acquainted with whatever opinion we may entertain of the revolution of Mercury and Venus the extent of their attainments, and round the Sun, and the order which the antiquity of their observations, we the planets held in the system. It is must consider that enlightened countherefore probable, that Diodorus Si- try as the place from which science culus is correct in asserting, that they was diffused over Europe, and as the were acquainted with the stations and source from which Greece derived the retrogradations of the planets. most precious of her intellectual trea

Diogenes Laertius informs us, that sures. But how famous soever the the Egyptians maintain, that 48,863 old Egyptians had been for their skill years elapsed between the time of Vul- in Astronomy, nothing remained of it can and Alexander the Great, and in the time of Augustus ; for when that during this period they had ob- Strabo was there, they shewed him served 373 eclipses of the Sun, and indeed the large buildings where for832 of the Moon. These numbers re- merly the priests lived, and studied present pretty nearly the proportion Astronomy and philosophy; but he saw between the eclipses of the two lumi- no person who presided over those naries ; but Montucla and Bossut, ob- sciences then; the persons present ject to the credibility of this account, were those who attended the sacrifices, because the number of eclipses here and explained to strangers their relimentioned, might have occurred in the gious rites and ceremonies. They told shorter interval of twelve or thirteen him that Plato and Eudoxus had been centuries. It is probable, that these thirteen years in Egypt, and they 48,863 years, were only so many revo- shewed him the apartments where they lutions of the Moon, or lunar years. had studied with the priests. If this be admitted, there is little in- It is to be lamented, that the Egypconsistency in the account; but if it tians were as foolishly attached to jube not admitted, the statement is evi- dicial astrology as the Chaldeans; but dently a vain fiction, only intended to it may be remarked, that mankind raise the antiquity of the nation. Sim- have every where, and at all times, maplicius, who lived in the reign of the nifested so great a desire of looking Emperor Justinian, says, it was report into futurity, as easily to become the ed to him, that the Egyptians had dupes of such as pretended to foretell made observations on the stars for things to come. 2000 years past; which, if he reckoned Astronomy of the Persians and Phoefrom his own time, will carry us back nicians.—The Persians and Phoenito 1500 years before the birth of Christ. cians, who, from their geographical What these observations were, he does situation, must have had frequent innot mention ; but it seems highly pro-tercourse with Egypt and Chaldea, bable that they were too vague and seem to have drawn from these kinguncertain to be useful, since Hippar- doms a considerable portion of astrochus has made no use of them in de- nomical knowledge. The year of the termining the mean motions of the Persians consisted of 365 days; and, Sun and Moon.

as they were acquainted with the real Conon, the friend of Archimedes, period of the Sun, they added an incollected many eclipses of the Sun, tercalary month at the end of every which had been observed by the 120 years. This additional month fell Egyptians; and it is highly probable at the close of the twelfth month after that they employed formulæ resem- the lapse of 1440 years, which the bling those of the Indians and Sia- | Persians called their period of inter

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