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not cited an instance of this use of the word quote, I may venture to concludié he had never met with one in any author.--I am, I must owi), inclined to suspect that for quoted we ought to read quoited. The omission of the i in the dipthong oi might easily happen through the negligence or inattention of a transcriber, a printer, or à corrector of the press; and some reasons may be given why this emendation ought not to be deemed a whimsical surmise. In the old quarto the word is coted; and I have a notion, that coit or quoit, in our ancient English writers, was oftener spelt indiscriminately with a c or a q, than quote. Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, also specifies the verb to quoit to be both of the active and neuter kind; it will be readily admitted that the words with speed and judgment are completely adapted to the diversion of coyting, so styled in the stat. of 33 of Hen. VIII. It may be further remarked, that in the same speech the same metaphor is pursued by Polonius, when he acknowledges,

6 Beshrew my jealousy;
It seems it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions,
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion." -

Quoited is undoubtedly a quaint expression, and therefore Shakespeare might with he greater propriety' let it fall from the tongue of a conceited and pedantic old courtier.--This conjecture is, however, thrown out by one who professes himself to be little skilled in the game of criticism; but if it falls short of the mark, it may be a direction to some expert player, and enable him with better speed and judgment to quoit the true meaning of the poet.

I am, Sir, yours, &c. 1776, Nov.

W. & D.

LXHL. On the Introduction of Letters into Greece.

MR. URBAN, THE learned Dr. Chandler, in his account of his late travels, tells us, that the Greek alphabet, as imported by Cadmus from Phænicia, consisted of sixteen letters; that Palamedes added four more, and Simonides the other four, Dre

Gregory Sharp, however, in his Origin and Structure of the Greek Tongue, gives a very different relation of this matter. We are informed, says the Doctor, by Diodorus, the Sicilian, that it was the opinion of some persons that letters were invented by the Syrians, from whom the Phænicians first learned their use, and then communicated them to the Greeks. Herodotus, declaring his own opinion, says, that the Phoenicians, under Cadmus, brought learning into Greece, and that the Greeks had not earlier the use of letters. This is contradicted by Diodorus, Pausanias, Zenobius, and others. Diodorus informs us, that Linus composed a book upon the acts of the first Dionysius, in Pelasgic characters; and that the same were used by Orpheus and by Pronepides, the preceptor of Homer.

Zenobius says, that Cadmus slew Linus, for teaching characters differing from his; and Pausanias, in his Attics, assures us, that he himself saw an inscription upon the tomb of Corcebus, who lived at the time when Crotopus, who was contemporary with Deucalion, was King of the Argives. Letters, therefore, were in use long before the arrival of Cadmus. Letters were first introduced into Greece and Italy by the Pelasgi; they were afterwards subjected to some considerable alterations by Cadmus, and further still by the Ionians. The Africans, Spaniards, Celts, and Etrurians, as well as the inhabitants of Greece and Italy, all made use of Pelasgic or Phænician letters. The Greeks, at first, had no more than sixteen: these, without the names of Alpha, Beta, &c. they received from the old Pelasgi. When Cadmus entered Greece, he gave them the names, and added to the old characters three more letters, Zeta, Eta, and Chi, and as many numeral characters, Bau, Sanpi, Koppa, all which are taken from the Phænician alphabet, as is evident from their names, their shape, and place and power. These, with the Pelasgic characters, complete the Phænician alphabet. Some other changes, also, it is probable, might have been made by Cadmus in the shape of some of the letters. That any of these characters were invented by Simonides or Palamedes, or any other Greek, is a fable that doth not deserve credit; since they were all

exactly in their proper place, as in the Hebrew, Syriac, or Phænician alphabet.' The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, added several letters to the Phænician alphabet. The present Greek alphabet is the Ionic, having five letters added to the end of that which they received from the Pelasgi and Phænicians.

Yours, &c. 1776, July.


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LXIV. Origin of Old Nick, MR. URBAN, NOBODY has accounted for the Devil's having the name of Old Nick. Keysler de Dea Nehaleunia, p. 33, and Antiq. Septentr. p. 261, mentions a deity of the waters worshipped by the ancient Gernians and Danes under the name of Nocca or Nicken, styled in the Edda Nikur, which he derives from the German nugen, answering to the Latin necare. Wormius, Mon. Dan, p. 17, says the redness in the faces of drowned persons was ascribed to this deity's sucking their blood out at their nostrils. Wasthovius, pref. ad Vit. Sanctor. and Loccenius, Antiq. Sueo-Goth, p. 17, call him Neccus, and quote, from a Belgo-Gallic Dictionary, Neccer, Spiritus Aquaticus, and Necce, necare. The Islandic Dict. in Hickes's Thes. P. III

. p. 85, renders Nikur, bellua aquatica. Lastly, Rudbekius, Atlant. p. 1. c. 7. $ 5. p. 192. and c. 30. p. 719. mentions a notion prevalent among

his countrymen, that Neckur, who governed the sea, assumed the form of various animals, or of a horseman, or of a man in a boat, He supposes him the same with Odin; but the above authorities are sufficient to evince that he was the Northern Neptune, or some subordinate sea-god of a noxious disposition. Wormius queries whether a figure said to be seen, 1615, on the river Lan, and called Wasser Nichts, might not be of this kind. Probably it was a sea-monster of the species called Mermen, and by our Spenser, Fairy-Queen, II. 12. 24.

The griesly Wasserman. It is not unlikely, but the name of this evil spirit might, as Christianity prevailed in these northern nations, be transferred to the father of evil.

If it would not be thought punning on names, I would hazard another conjecture.--St. Nicholas was the patron of mariners, consequently opponent to Nickur. How he came by this office does not appear. The Legend says, “Ung jour que aucuns mariniers perissoyent si le prierent ainsi a larmes, Nicolas, serviteur de Dieu, si les choses sont vrayes que nous avons ouyes, si les esprouve maintenant. Et tantot ung homme s'apparut a la semblance de luy, et leur dit, Veez moy, se ne m'appellez vous pas: & leur commenca a leur ayder en leur exploit: de la ne fet tantost la tempestate cessa. Et quant ils furent venus a son Eglise ila


se cogneurent sans demonstrer, et si ne l'avoient oncques

Et lors rendirent graces a Dieu et a luy de leur delivrance; et il leur dit que ilz attribuassent a la misericorde de Dieu et a leur creance, et non pas a ses merites.”—Then follow other miracles, not peculiarly appropriated to him under this character. We have afterwards, indeed, another story of his, delivering from an illusion of the Devil certain pilgrims qui alloient a luy a nage, which I understand to mean only by water. Legende d’Or. fol. viii. See also Blomefield's Hist..of Norfolk, II. p. 861. ; 1777, March


LXV. On the Crasis, a Grammatical Figure, CORRUPTIONS, by means of the figure we call a have had a great effect, I believe, in all languages; it is when the prefix adheres to the following word, which it often very easily and naturally does, in pronunciation, and afterwards is written or printed in that form. Thus the modern names of the city of Athens are Satinas and Satines, from is Tas "Alnæs; and that of Constantinople, Stamboul, from is lnu moniv. Hence cedépol, mehercule, &c. of the Romans; and, perhaps, our word endeavour, and rendevous, from the French en devoir, and rendez vous. Some attention, however, is necessary in the case, and some distinction should be made, for the Crasis is not concerned in all words that coalesce together, as otherwise, always, &c. which ought rather to be called compounds; for I esteem it no Crasis unless there be such a mixture or coalition of letters in the word as to make the word to seem different from itself, and to be obscured or deformed by it. Thus Birlady, a form of swearing by the blessed Virgin, much úsed formerly, and sometimes now, is a manifest jumble and corruption of By our Lady

It appears, from this short account of things, that vulgar, hasty, and inaccurate pronunciation has been the principal cause of this figure; which has been more applied in our language than, I presume, is commonly thought; and therefore I am in hopes that a regard had unto it cannot fail of giving light unto the sense and etymology of very many of our English words. The figure has also operated very remarkably in some of our English sirnames, as has been noted by our learned Camden, Remains, p. 122; we shall therefore insert those instances among the rest. I observe, lastly, before I proceed on my Alphabet, that it is surprising how prone the country people of the north and mid. land parts of England are to the use of this grammatical figure, especially in respect of the article The, which in the shape of T or Th they will join to words which begin with à consonant, or with more than one; causing thereby much roughness and harshness, and even difficulty of pronunciation; o'er th’bridge, or o'er th’brig, as they speak it, for over the bridge.

Now, the prefixes, or other particles, which usually coalesce with the words they belong to, so as to alter or disguise them, are these: A, An, Xl, Ap, By, Di, De, Do, 1, In, It, Mine, Ne, 0, Saint, The, Two, Three, and To. And these I propose to go through in their order.

A.--An Accomplice. The monkish historiaus perpetually use the word Complices in Latin; and Complice itself, as an English word, occurs in Weaver, Fun. Monuments, p. 266, and see Johnson. So that I suspect a Crasis here, and that it was first a Complice, corrupted afterwards to Accomplice, which in that case would require the article an to be prefixed. The word accomplice might facilitate the corruption with uns thinking people.

An.--A Nayword. This is a common expression for a by-word or proverb, and is probably a Crasis of an AyeWord; that is, a word, or saying, always and perpetually used, agreeable to the ancient use of Aye. If this be not the meaning and original of it, it will be difficult to account for it. A Narrow, id est, an arrow.

See Mr. Hearne and Gul. Neubrig. p. lxxxv. lxxxvi. The prefix has here evidently grown

and fastened itself to the noun. Jacke Napes, which Skelton gives us p. 160, seems to be Jack an Apes, as Littleton writes it; but I am doubtful about this, as Nape or Knape is the same as knave or servant. See Gloss, to Douglas's Virgil

. A Nogler. This is the name formerly given to those people who travelled the country with Sheffield wares; a practice now generally left off, insomuch that the name itself is falling into oblivion, as the original of the word has long since done. I take the etymon to be this: what we call an higler was once written an hagler, and so you will find it in Dr. Fuller's Worthies, p. 278. Now, an hagler is very easily turned into a nagler, and with a open, a nogler. Dr. Johnson omits the higler, and describes the hagler as one that is tardy in bargaining, from to haggle.

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