Page images

apt to imagine, that this sort of oil is named from its being used in mixing sallads for eating, as if the true way of writing it was sallad-oil; but, Sir, the oil used in cookery was always of a better and sweeter sort than that rauk stuff called salletoil. The truth is, the sallet was the head-piece in the times that defensive armour was so much in use, and sallet-oil was that sort of oil which was used for the cleaning and brightening it and the rest of the armour. Thus, you have “a sallet and ij sculles" in the inventory of Mr. Lawrence, Rector of Stavely, co. Derb. The word occurs again in the inventory of Pet. Tretchvile, Esq. anno 1581; and also in the description of the sarcastical coat of arms of Cardinal Wolsey,


Arise up, Jacke, and put on thy salatt. In an indictment for an assault of the citizens of Canterbury, anno 1501, upon the people of Christ-Church there, it runs, “ Brigenderis, jackys, salettis, scullis, & gauntelettis, &c.” where the assault, mentioned likewise in English, stands thus, “ Brygandyrons, jakks, salets, sculles, and other ar

See also Dr. Cowel in voce, and Fabian, p. 404, whose words are, “and dyd on him hys bryganders set with gylt

nayle, and his salet and gylte sporres." In sum, it is the French word salade, for which see the dictionaries, and Menage's Origine de La Lang. Franc. in voce. On the whole, you see, Sir, what is most to the point, that though the sallet is now entirely out of date, yet the oil retains the name, which is the very thing I proposed, in these short sketches, to illustrate.

I am, &c. 1774, Sept.

T. Row,

LXI. Nugæ Venales.-Pugna Porcorum.


matters of singularity are sometimes received as proper subjects for your entertaining Melange, I shall beg leave to introduce one here. Hubald, a monk, who Aourished A. D. 916, and consequently in the tenth century, otherwise called the obscure age, wrote a book, consisting of 300 hexameter verses, in praise of baldness, whereof every line began with C, and he addressed his work to Charles

the Bald, or Carolus Calvus, the Emperor. This piece,

which began,

“Carmina clarisonæ calvis cantate Camænæ,

Comere condigno conabor carmine calvos," has been several times printed. This reminds one of what Jul. Capitolinus relates concerning the strange whim of the young Emperor Antonius Geta, who ordered for his dinner such dishes as began with the same letter.

But as the passage is curious, and not long, I will here transcribe it; “Habebat etiam istam consuetudinem, ut convivia et maxima prandia per singulas literas juberet, scientibus servis, velut in quo erat anser, aprugna, anas; item pullus, perdix, pavo, porcellus, piscis, perna, et quæ in eam literam

genera edulium caderent; et item fasianus, farta, ficus, et talia.”

But, to be ingenuous, Mr. Urban, I have a motive of my own for troubling you, ạt this time, 'with the above fanciful puerilities; for I really want some information and assistance in regard to a matter of the same kind, which I am just now going to mention. There has come to my hand a small book in 24°, intitled,

“ Nugæ venales. Sive Thesaurus vivendi et jocandi. Ad gravissimos severissimosque viros, Patres Melancholiorum conscriptos. Anno 1648. Prostant apud neminem; sed tamen ubique.It is a jest book in Latin, much like that of Nicodemus Frischlinus and Henricus Bebelius, printed together at Amst. 1651. Now, Sir, at the end of the book in question, there is a little piece with a new paging, but, as it has the same cut, and printed the same year, may be looked upon as a part, or an appendix to the former, inti- . tled, Pugna Porcorum per P. Porcium, Poetam.

Paraclesis pro Potore.
Perlege porcorum pulcherrima prælia, Potor,

Potando poteris placidam proferre poësin.' It is a satirical jumble of words aimed at the obesity and laziness of the prelates, and alluding to contentions between them and the inferior clergy, or laity, but whether to any particular contest I am at a loss to find out, and therefore, if any of your learned correspondents happen to know any thing of the story, or its author, I shall be obliged to them for their information. For my part, I have run the piece over, but can understand little or nothing of it, insomuch that I am under a necessity of intreating assistance from



elsewhere. However, to give the reader some imperfect notion of its whimsicalness and extravagance; I shall subjoin the Dedication prefixed in prose, es containing something like the argument of the performance, and after that a few of the lines.

“ Potentissimo Patrono Porcianorum, P. Porcius Poeta Prosperitatem precatur plurimam.

Postquam publice porci putamur, præstantissime Patrone, placuit porcorum pugnam poëmate pangere, potissime proponendo pericula pinguium prælatorum; pugnant pigriter pusillanimi prælati propter pinguedinis pondus, porro potentius porcelli pauca proceritate perpoliti: propterea placeat precor puerile poema perlegere porcorum porcellorumque pugnam propositionibus pictam paribus, perpræpostere."

The poem begins,
“ Plaudite porcelli, porcorum pigra propago
Progreditur, plures porci pinguedine pleni.
Pugnantes pergunt, pecudum pars prodigiosa
Perturbat pede petrosas plerumque plateas,
Pars portentose populorum prata profanat,
Pars pungit populando potens, pars plurima plagis
Prætendit punire pares, prosternere parvos,” &c.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.

T. Row.

1776, Nov.

MR. URBAN, ON perusing your Magazine for Nov. 1776, wherein the ingenious Mr. Row has given an account of a singular publication, intitled “Nugæ Venales;" it occurred to me that I could in some measure give him the information he desired respecting the author of the poem affixed as an appendix to the Joculatoria.

When at Oxford in the year 1774, I was favoured with a sight of the piece Mr. R. has described, which was delivered to me as a curious production of a music-master (I think a German) then in the university, a Mr. Lates. It begins with the lines given in your Magazine,

Plaudite Porcelli, Porcorum Pigra Propago

Progreditur”. and consisted of about 350.

What might be the inusician's intention of palming on

the world, as his own, a composition incontestably the offspring of another, I will not pretend to say—But that it had been printed “as yet Mr. Lates's image being unformed," is sufficiently clear from a review of " Les Bigarrures du Seigneur des Accords,” and of the “ Amphitheatrum Sapientiæ Socraticæ” of Dornavius.-In both these the poem is ascribed to an “ Allemande, one Petrus Porcius, so nicknamed from the subject-matter he so laboriously and fancifully discussed,-his real name being Petrus Placentius." This account is further confirmed by Baillet, in his tract “ des Auteurs deguisez." The passage relative to our author runs thus: “Enfin il s'est trouvé un poëte, qui voulant decrire un Combat de Porcs, s'est fait appeller Publius Porcius--son ouvrage estoit un de ces poëmes que nous appellons Lettrisez ou Tautogrammes, et tous les mots de la piece commençant par la Lettre P, il n'auroit rien gasté de son economie, s'il s'estoit appellé Petrus Placentinus, qui estoit son nom, mais il luy préféra celuy de Porcius."

To these authorities may be added that of Mr. Le Clerc, who hath given us the age in which the poet lived, with an account of his other publications, though he wholly differs from Dornavius and Baillet in his prænomen. Le Clerc says that his name was Johannes Leo Placentius, a Dominican monk, born at St. Imden, and lived in the 16th age, in 1536; that he composed a history of the bishops of Tongres, Mæstricht, and Liege, taken out of fabulous memoirs, and several poems, among the rest, one de Porcorum Pugna, all the words whereof begin with the letter P, imitating one Theobaldus, a monk of the order of St. Benedict, who (as your correspondent has remarked) Aourished in the time of Charles the Bald, to whom he presented a Panegyric on Baldness, every word beginning with the letter C. From the matter of Placentius's poem, it appears to be written by

to whom the dignitaries of the church were obnoxious, being levelled, in a satirical strain, (as Mr. Row observes) against their obesity and indolence; though the contest be. tween them and the inferior clergy may be referred, I should rather suppose, to the “ Licentia Poetica," than to any real occurrence, or probably to some incident in the fabulous memoirs above noticed. The catalogue of authors that have thus trifed away their time, might be numerously enlarged, whose compositions must have cost vast labour in the production, and are equally useless and illaudable when composed.--For, as Martial says

Turpe est difficiles habere nugas,

Et stultus labor ineptiarum.I cannot quit the subject without remarking, that the ingenious Mr. Addison has hamourously ridiculed the writers of this stamp, in the 59th and 63d Nos. of his Spectator ; among others, Tryphiodorus, deservedly known to the world by a poem intitled, jatOT AANEIE, the Destruction of Troy, being a sequel to the Iliad of Homer, translated by the late learned Mr. Merrick.

I am, Sir, yours, 1777, Feb.

J. P.

LXII. Conjecture on an obscure Passage in Shakespeare


Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

Hamlet, Act III. Sc. 2. THE incongruity of metaphors in these well-known wordshas exercised the pens of many a critical admirer of Shakespeare; but there is another passage in the same play, which has not been so frequently noticed, though, according to the present reading, the images in it seem to be rather improperly blended. The lines to which I refer are in Act II. Scene 2. where Polonius, having d scovered his want of sagacity in advising Ophelia to discountenance Hamlet's addresses, because he thought the prince only trifled with his daughter, delivers himself as follows:

“That hath made him mad.
I'm sorry, that with better speed and judgment

I had not quoted him." Dr. Warburton peremptorily pronounced quoted to be nonsense, and said it appeared, though he shewed not how, that Shakespeare wrote noted; and Dr. Johnson, not approving of this alteration, was willing to believe, that quote here signifies to reckon, to take an account of, to take the quotient or result of a computation. However, as this very learned editor, notwithstanding “his longer acquaintance with the lexicography of our language than any other writer," has

« PreviousContinue »