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funded, and ungrateful for ingrateful, &c. whereas impatient, and ingrateful, would not only better preserve the etymology, but afford us a clearer notion of the thing or person meant to be expressed*. What I propose therefore is, that un should never be used in such compounds, but always in, either literally retained, or softened, euphoniæ gratia, into im or il, as impertinent, illiberal, &c. and that all our future English Dictionaries should correct our orthography in this respect, the better to preserve analogy, and to give to readers a truer and more adequate sense of the respective words. 1791, April.

L. E.

CV. Pope's Imitation of a Passage in Silius Italicus.

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Jan. 4. The following celebrated passage in Pope's Temple of Fame, exhibits a familiar, and, at the same time, a very pleasing and poetical image.

“ As, on the smooth expanse of crystal lakes,
The sinking stone at first a circle makes;
The trembling surface, by the motion stirr'd,
Spreads in a second circle, then a third;
Wide, and more wide, the floating rings advance,
-Fill all the wat'ry plain, and to the margin dance:
Thus ev'ry voice and sound, when first they break,
On neighb’ring air a soft impression make;
Another ambient circle then they move;
That, in its turn, impels the next above;
Thro’ undulating air the sounds are sent,
And spread o'er all the fluid element.”

Ver. 436.

In his Essay on Man, the author introduces the same image, with equal propriety:

“ Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
As the small pebble stirs the peaceful lake;

* Mr. Knox, vol. III. p. 225, writes, an unoffending individual ; whereas the common word inoffending, or inoffensive, rather, would be equally as proper.

The centre mov'd, a circle strait succeeds,
Another still, and still another spreads;
Friend, parent, neighbour, first it will embrace;
His country next, and next all human race;
Wide, and more wide, th' o'erflowings of the mind
Take ev'ry creature in, of ev'ry kind;
Earth smiles around, with boundless bounty blest,
And Heav'n beholds its image in his breast.”

Ep. IV. 363.

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In these two passages the image is beautifully enlarged and extended; is adorned with many striking circumstances, and is not abruptly, but gradually withdrawn from the reader's imagination. In this mode of conducting a simile, there is no poet, I think, superior, or even equal to Pope.

We have a ludicrous view of the same object in the Dudciad.

“ As what a Dutchman plumps into the lakes,
One circle first, and then a second makes;
What DULNESS dropt among her sons, imprest
Like motion from one circle to the rest.
So from the midmost the nutation spreads
Round, and more round, o'er all the sea of heads."

B. II. 405.

It has been supposed, that this similitude is taken from the following passage in Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth:

“ Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.”

Part I. of Henry VI. act I. sc. II.

The circular undulations, described by Shakespeare and Pope, might easily occur to any poet, accustomed to derive his similitudes from natural objects; yet it is, I think, very evident, that Pope has imitated the following passage in Silius Italicus:

Signa reportandi crescebat in agmine fervor.
Sic ubi perrumpit stagnantem calculus undam,
Exiguos format per prima volumina gyros;

Mox tremulum vibrans motu gliscente liquoreni,
Multiplicat crebros sinuati gurgitis orbes;
Donec postremo, laxatis circulus oris,
Contingat geminas patulo curvamine ripas."

Lib. XIII. 23.


The classical reader will observe, that Pope has followed the Latin poet more closely in the passage quoted from the Temple of Fame, than in the two other citations. This natural. The Temple of Fame was written in 1711, when the author was only 23 years of age; and had been accustomed " not so much to strike out new thoughts of his own, as to improve those of other men" by an easy and elegant versification.

The Dunciad was written in 1726; the Essay on Man, in 1.729. It is said, that Pope first became acquainted with the Works of Virgil and Ovid, by the translations of Ogilby and Sandys. If this be true, we may naturally imagine, that he would have the curiosity to read the Translation of Silius Italicus, by Thomas Ross, Esq.* printed in 1662. I shall present the reader with this gentleman's humble version:

“Desire in ev'ry breast
To bear their ensigns back again, increast :
As when a stone the water breaks, it makes
At first, small rings; but as its motion shakes
The trembling liquor, while it still descends,
The numerous orbs increase, till it extends
The curling circle, every way, so wide,
That it may touch the banks on either side."

While I have Silius Italicus before 'me, I'cannot forbear citing another beautiful passage, in which the author des, cribes the martial spirit of young Hannibal, when he formed the idea of penetrating into Italy, and avenging the cause of his country within the walls of Rome. His father, who carried him, when he was but nine years old, into Spain, made him solemnly swear, at the foot of an altar, that he would never be reconciled to the Romans.

In the mean time, says the poet,

* Ross stiles himself “ Keeper of his Majesty's Libraries, and Groom of his most honourable Privy-chamber."

“ Dat mentem Juno, ac laudum spe corda fatigat.
Jamque aut nocturno penetrat Capitolia visu;
Aut rapidis fertur per summas passibus Alpes.
Sæpe etiam famuli, turbato ad limina somno,
Expavere trucem per vasta silentia vocem,
Ac largo sudore virum invenere futuras
Miscentem pugnas, et inania bella gerentem.”

Lib. I. 63.

These two quotations may serve to shew, that Silius Italicus is not so despicable a poet as the elder Scaliger and others have represented him; and that there are passages in his poem De BELLO PUNIco, which would not disgrace the Æneid.

Yours, &c. 1792, Jan.


CVI. Pen and Pin defined.

MR. URBAN, PEN and Pin seem to be the same word; a pen is an inclosure of any kind, a shippen, a cow-house in Lancashire, quasi sheep pen; a hen-pen, to keep and fatten fowls in here. Ás to pin, it is used in Derbyshire of impounding such cattle as are found trespassing; and the pound is called the pinfold, and the petty officer that is appointed to the service, the pindar, i. e. pinner, d being inserted euphonia gratia; and so a pin, acicula, is named from its fastening whatever it is used for. A pen in Jamaica is a farm or plantation, but that I esteem to be of a different original; the Spaniards once occupied that island; so that I take it to be the Spanish word Pennas, Rupes, Collis, (Stevens, Dict. or Du Fresne in v.); as these plantations are chiefly on the hills, and distant from the bays and coasts frequented by the merchants, and inhabited by the settlers, or proprietors.

Yours, &c. 1792, June.

L. E.

CVII. Etymology of PONTIFEX.


Sep. 10. It seems to be far more easy to discover what was not, than to determine what was, the etymology of pontifer*. Against the opinion of its originating from the Pontifices of Roine having built the bridge Sulpitius, pursuant to the directions of an oracle, possibly it may be deemed an objection, not destitute of weight, that in the derivatives from this word there is not any allusion to the constructing of a bridge. I write this upon the credit of Ainsworth and Stephens; and if, in their Dictionaries, there are omissions of passages that ought to have been specified, I doubt not of their being supplied by some of your learned correspondents. The like observation will hold good, though not be of equal force, with respect to derivatives used by Latin authors of the middle ages. Pontifico, pontificatio, pontificium, pontificalia, and others, all denote the episcopal office, dignity, habit, &c. without the least reference to the building or repairing of bridges, or to taxes imposed for that work. By an unwarrantable Latinism, if in this instance the term may be allowed, Milton, in his description of the bridge raised over the chaotic expanse by Sin and Death (Paradise Lost, book X.), has applied two derivatives as pertinent to bridgemaking, viz. pontifical, v. 313, and pontifice, v. 348. Dr. Johnson, in his Dictionary, believes that this sense of the words was peculiar to Milton, and perhaps was intended as an equivocal satire on Popery. Dr. Warburton (Newton's edit. not.) properly styles it a bad expression, adding, “ yet to suppose a pun would be worse, as if the Roman priesthood were as ready to make the way easy to hell, as Sin and Death did.” After an attentive perusal of the whole paragraph, I

* “ Latinis placuit et pontificem appellare eum qui rebus sacris præesset: et, cum plures essent apud veteres, unum qui omnibus præerat maximum pontificem dixerunt. Unde vero deductum noinen pontificis, non satis constat. Q. Mutius Scævola a posse et facere appellatos existimat pontifices: at Mar. Varro a ponte et facio maluit, eo quod ab bis primum pons sublitius factus ac sæpe restitutus esse perhibeatur, ut refert Fenestella, lib. 1. de Romanorum Magistratibus.Hyperius in Epist. Pauli ad Heb. cap. ii. ver. 1. "Nomen ambiguum est, et in. terdum stricte sumitur, interdum lale: stricte designat summum sacerdotum qualis fuit Aaron, et qui ei successere in sacro hoc munere. Late, et sic illi focantur spx spīss qui crant capita familiarum sacerdotalium,Spanhemius de dubiis Evangelicis. Vide Grotium in Mat. ii. 5. “Princeps sacerdotum pontifex 'maximus; princeps etiam sive caput familiarum sucerilutulium." Gerh. in Harm.

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