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TWILY. Perhaps a corruption of toily.--Certainly; for toil is always pronounced by the Western rustics twile; spoil, spwile, &c.

TUTT-WORK. From the French tout. This is, probably, the true etymology; at least, it coincides with the notion which I have always entertained of its derivation; and it may be remarked, that such of our old provincial words as are not Saxon come for the most part from the French. There are very few among them, I believe, which are mere barba- rous inventions, devoid of any signification, as some authors are fond of representing them. Many, doubtless, are so corrupted, that it is difficult, if not impossible, to trace them to their genuine original; but, to say that such an original does not, or did not, exist, is not only to draw an undue inference, but also to make an assertion in itself extremely improbable.

Yours, &c.

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MR. URBAN, At the conclusion of that Stoical system of philosopl.y, concerning the origin and rotation of mankind (a sort of metempsychosis different from the Pythagorean and Indian), delivered by the good Anchises, we have these lines: Has omnes,

ubi mille rotam volvere per annos,
Lethæum ad Huvium deus evocat agmine magno.:
Scilicet immemores supera ut convexa revisant,
Kursus et incipiant in corpora velle reverti.

An. VI. 748.

But, in my opinion, the two last lines have, by some means, been transposed, and the ut and et have consequently changed places; and the forgetfulness, induced by the River Lethe, should extend as well to the torments they had seen and suffered in the shades below, as to their being res born with any innate notions or ideas of what they had known in their former state of existence here. Their desire of renascence should therefore take place before we are told uf their being to be born without any remembrance. And so I would read,

Has omnes, ubi mille rotam volvêre per annos,
Lethæum ad fluvium deus evocat agmine magno:
Rursus ut incipiant in corpora velle reverti,
Scilicet immemores supera et convexa revisant.

A similar transposition has, I think, also happened in v. 567 of this same book, where of that sovereign judge Rhadamanthus, it is said,

Castigatque auditque dolos; subigitque fateri, &c.

but, stern and severe as this judge is supposed to be, he must nevertheless have been just, to entitle him to his office; and yet it would be highly absurd and cruel in him, and extremely unjust, to punish a person before he had heard the cause, as Servius notes, and therefore would read it thus:

Audit, castigatque dolos; subigitque fateri, &c. for then, indeed, if after the conviction, the criminal should be made by torture, or any other means, to confess his guilt, there would be nothing much to be blamed, in respect to injustice, or wantonness of cruelty. However, it must be owned at last, that the common order of the words is ancient, as appears from Servius.

L. E.

1794, Jan.

CX. Solecisms in the Works of English Authors.

MR. URBAN, IT is well known that the ancient Greeks and Romans took infinite pains to improve their respective languages. We have many remarkable instances of their labours to this effect in the writings of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the author who passes under the name of Demetrius Phalereus, Cicero, Quinctilian, Aulus Gellius, and others. The English reader will be surprised to see with what exactness they measured their periods, analyzed their phrases, arranged their words, determined the length of their syllables, and avoided all harsh elementary sounds, in order to give grace and harmony to their compositions. To this refinement we may, in a great measure, ascribe that inexpressible charm,

which every man of taste and learning discovers in some of the classics, and which is not to be found in the generality of modern compositions.

Such an attention to propriety and elegance of style is of the greatest importance, as no production can be read with pleasure, or transmitted to posterity with applause, if it is defective in this respect. It'should likewise be considered, that the literary character of a nation will always depend on the accuracy and elegance of its publications.

Since the beginning of the present century the English language has been much improved and refined. Several able writers have examined its principles, and pointed out its beauties and defects, with a critical and philosophical investigation.

I must, however, observe, that many enormous solecisms still appear in almost all the productions of our English writers, such as,

You was. This expression sometimes occurs in books, is often heard in conversation, and frequently echoes through the caverns of Westminster-ball. The nominative case is the second person plural; and the verb, to which it is united, is the first or the third person singular.

More or most universal. Its success was not more univere sal, Gibbon, vol. II. p. 357. Money is the most universal incitement of human industry, id. vol. I. p. 356; vol. III. p. 66, &c. Company more universally acceptable, Zeluco, vol. I. p. 398. That which pleases inost universally is relia' gion, Blair's Serm. vol. II. p. 168.

What is universal cannot admit of augmentation.

Of all others. The profession, of all others, for which he was the fittest. Zeluco, vol. I. pp. 75, 110. The most precious of all others. Anachar. vol. III. p. 288. It is that species of goodness, with which, of all others, we are best acquainted. Blair's Serm. vol. II. p. 129. To collect a dictionary seems a work, of all others, least practicable in a state of blindness. Johnson's Life of Milton, p. 169. This expression resembles the following absurdity in Milton.

“ Adam, the goodliest man of men since born
His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve.”

B. iv. 323. I would not attempt to vindicate Milton, as some have done, by pleading, that this is a figure of speech, or a poetic licence ; I would rather say with Horace, it is one of the

" Maculæ, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura.

Ar. P. 352.

No apology, however, can be made for the foregoing expression in prose.

Either side. Either sex and every age was engaged in the pursuits of industry. Gibbon, vol. I. 452. He retired with a multitude of captives of either sex, ib. IV. 281. Filled with a great number of persons of either sex. Ib. vol. II. 324 : alibi passim. “ In that violent conflict of parties he [Edward Smith) had a prologue and epilogue from the first wits on either side.” Johnson's Livés, vol. II. p. 243. Either signifies only the one or the other; and is improperly used instead of each in the singular number, or both in the plural.

We meet with innumerable writers who talk of looking into the womb of Time. But this expression suggests a gross and indelicate idea, and is in itself absurd; for, Time, according to the mythologists, is an old fellow, the Chronos or Saturn of the ancients, and consequently has no womb. All personifications ought to be consistent.

An accusative or objective case after a passive participle. He [Thomson] was taught the common rudiments of learning. Johnson's Lives, vol. IV. p. 252. He [Watts] was taught Latin by Mr. Pinhorne. Ib. p. 278. He [Milton] was offered the continuance of his employment. Ib. vol. 1. 183. Thus I have been told the story. Telem. vol. I. p. 92, edit. 1795. It would be better to say, he was instructed in the rudiments of learning; he learned Latin under the tuition of Mr. Pinhorne; the king, or the ministry, offered to continue him in his former employment; thus I have heard the story; or, thus I have been informed. The author of these remarks has observed, with regret, the last of these expressions in a translation, which he wished to give the public in an utrexceptionable style. But he has been long convinced, that no work was ever published without some inadvertencies of the author and printer.

Two highwaymen were hung this morning. This is a common vulgarism. We should rather say, two highwaymen were hanged. This verb should be used in the regular form, when it signifies to execute, and in the irregular, when it denotes only suspension: as, he was hanged, and afterwards hung in chains..

The eldest of the two. Her eldest son Esau, Gen. xxvii. 15. When only two things are mentioned, there cannot be

what grammarian's sometimes call the third degree of comparison. In this case we should say, the younger, the elder, the wiser, the better, &c.

The conjunction nor is frequently used after an affirmative sentence very improperly, in this manner:

It was impossible that a soldier could esteem so dissolute a sovereign, nor is it easy to conceal a just contempt. Gibbon, vol. II. 5. Modern Europe has produced several illustrious women, who have sustained with glory the weight of empire ; nor is our own age destitute of such distinguished characters. Ib. 32. This treacherous calm was of short du ration; nor could the Christians of the East place any confidence in the character of their sovereign. Îb. vol. II. 487, alibi passim. He was young enough to receive new impressions; nor can he be supposed to have wanted curiosity. Johnson's Lives, vol. IV. 259. The Poet leads us through the appearances of things as they are successively varied nor is the Naturalist without his part in the entertainment. Ib. p. 273. The yersification is tolerable, nor can criticism allow it a biglier praise. Ib. p. 438. By the Spectator it has once been quoted, nor do I recollect much other notice from its publication till now. Ib, vol. I. p. 77. To put their materials to practical use is required an imagination capable of painting nature; nor is he yet a poet till, &c. ib. p. 235. All is general and undefined; nor does he much interest or affect the auditor. Ib. vol. II. p. 340. This ode is by far the best lyric composition in this collection; nor do I know where to find it equalled among the modern writers. Ib. p. 245. · It would, 'I think, be much better to begin the latter part of these sentences without this conjunction, which only seems to form a connection, but in reality has no corresponding negative. The simple independent word not would be preferable: he does not much interest; I do not even know, &c.

Among other expressions, equally correct and refined, we meet with the following sentence in the Preface to Maty's Sermons: 66 nor was he less esteemed than beloved :” which is just as proper as it would be to say, Mr. Maty was a good man, nor was he a bad preacher. In this passage the learned editors of these discourses have likewise given us a curious antithesis, a counterpoise of love and esteem, adjusted with as much care as the old woman balances her scales in the Iliad.

I have been more particular in noting this use of the conjunction nor, because it occurs very frequently. But vulgar usage can never justify an absurdity. The impropriety, I

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