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whereas the latter form amatus fueram, and amatus fui, &c. signify the thing without the least mixture of the imperfect, though in all grammars they are put down with the former, as equivalent.
I shall now only beg leave to add one caution to my fellowlabourers, to the youth of the universities, and to the studious in the dead languages, (for whose service I have communicated my thoughts, and to whose judgment I submit them) that in their trial of what I have advanced, they be aware, that the true time of an action or passion, is in some cases, exceedingly hard to determine exactly. That the transition between contiguous tenses, and between the perfect and imperfect state of the same tense, is nearly like that of light and shade, in painting. For instance, it is often the same thing, whether you make use of the perfect or præterimperfect tense of the grammars. The difference between time present in its perfect state, and time past, in its imperfect state, being almost imperceptible. But the mistake hitherto has been in taking the perfect tense of the grammars to be the more perfect time of the two; whereas, in reality, it is only the present perfect, and the other as it is rightly termed, the præter-imperfect. So jusserat, dixerat, finierat, &c. when they occur, after some speech in authors; though they are used in the form of the præter-perfect, yet may best be turned into English by the Aörist or Indefinite, viz. he ordered, he spoke, he ended; which is the sense of the præter-imperfect. For the Latins being without Aörists, make use of this tense and the præter-perfect of the grammars for that purpose.
I have added, to the active voice, the passive sign, with the English participle in ing, for the assistance of ushers; to whom I should by all means recommend the practice of accustoming their youth, sometimes to write the verbs in that form, which will obviate a very common mistake, namely, its being taken by them for the passive voice.
The form of the infinitive Mood is altered, and the accusative case put before it, to show, that, like an impersonal, it is capable of being applied to all the persons, by the addition of the personal pronoun.
Thus much of my grammatical collection I have been prevailed upon to offer to the public, hoping it may be of general use. With the rest I have resolved not to trouble it, as being not all iny own, but collected from a great number of authors. By the channel of your Magazine it will be far diffused; and to such as are wedded for life to old forms, cost no more than the trouble of reading: And my
design will be fully answered, if it either contributes satisfactorily to the clearing up this most intricate and nice part of grammar; or excites some other person, of more penetration and leisure to do it better.
I am, Sir, yours, &c. Ashford, in Kent, April 2.
S. BARRETT. 1754, April
XI. Proverbial Saying explained. MR. URBAN, DR. FULLER died while he was writing that extensive work, intitled, the History of the Worthies of England, for which reason, amongst others, that book is not so complete as one could wish. In some counties he has registered the proverbial sayings peculiar to them, in others he has omitted them, and yet those counties no doubt affording some, though the doctor could not recollect them. One saying we have in the Northern parts, omitted by him, which is there very common, but perhaps wants some explanation; it is this, as cunning as Crowder. Now a crowd is a fiddle, and a crowder is a fiddler, both which words, to go no further, you will find in Dr. Littleton's Dictionary: Hence Crowdero is the fiddler in Hudibras. Cant. II. But why, as cunning as Crowder? I answer, we have two senses of the word cunning, one implying craft and subtilty, and often in an ill sense ; and the other implying art and skill, and always in a good
Hence cining and coning, rex, from Anglo-Saxon connen, scire. King is an abreviation of cining and imports prudens, sciens, or the knowing one, the first kings or monarchs among the Saxons, being chosen into their office (which was not hereditary then) on account of their greater and more consummate knowledge in the administration of affairs, especially the military. But I observe that the word in this latter use, was very commonly applied to skill or knowledge in music, of which I will here produce you an instance or
1 Sam. xvi. 16, 17, 18, “ Seek out a man who is a cunning player upon a harp. And Saul said unto his servants provide ine now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, behold, I
have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing,” &c.
i Chron. xxv. 7. “ So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the Lord, even all that were cunning, was two hundred four score and eight."
Ps. lviii. 5. " Which will not hearken to the voice of the charmers, charming never so wisely.” According to the margin, “be the charmer never so cunning;” whereupon it must be observed, that this charming of serpents here alluded to, was supposed to be effected by music. Ps. cxxxvii
, 5. " If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." This is spoken by King David, the same person, who, above by the prophet Samuel, is stiled a cunning player on the harp, and by the late learned Mr. Johnson, is very well paraphrased thus. “If I do not retain my natural affection for thee, O Jerusalem, the city of the living God, and the divine services which are there to be performed; if I forget to perform my part in those solemn devotions, let my hand quite lose its skill in touching the harp.” See also Bishop Patrick. In all these passages the substantive means skill, and the adjective skilful, but particularly in the science of inusic.
To come then to the point; I suppose there was a time formerly, when minstrels were so scarce, that it denoted great parts and great application to be able to play on a violin in these parts at least: to be as cunning as Crowder, imported consequently a person of skill and abilities; and if ever the phrase is used of craft and artifice, it is by cata. chresis, or an abuse of speech, as happens very commonly in language.
I am, Sir, yours, &c. 1754, May.
MR. URBAN, MR. GEMSEGE has given a very pretty account of the saying As cunning as Crowder, it may be a true one; but the same saying in the N. W. part of England, (perhaps not so ancient as his) came from the following story : one Samuel Crowder, a carrier, was desired to bring a pound of tobacco for a neighbour, accordingly he buys the tobacco,
and packs it up in the mouth of a sack of salt; it being wet weather, and the salt being moist, breaks through the paper in which the tobacco was contained, and next day, when Crowder and his wife were unpacking, to their great surprise, they found the tobacco and some of the salt mixed together; his wife Mary made great lamentations to have so much tobacco and salt spoiled, which must certainly be paid for by them; but Samuel, wondering at his wife's simplicity, told her he had thought of a method of separating them immediately, and ordered her to fetch a pail' of water, which was done; he then emptied the tobacco and salt into the water. says he to his wife, “ there is a quick thought of mine, you fool! you see all the tobacco swims at the top, and all the salt falls to the bottom.” So when any person does not act quite so smart as he should, he is said to be as cunning as Crowder.
BRITANNICUS. 1754, June.
XII. A Proverbial Saying explained.
MR. URBAN, WE have a proverbial saying current through the whole kingdom, peculiar, I believe, to this nation, of which the sense is generally well enough understood, but the reason and foundation of it are so greatly obscured by a corrupt pronunciation, that I presume they are known to few The adage meant is, to turn cat i'th' pan, of which every one knows the meaning, and probably has remarked many examples of it; but their being no connection between a cát and a pan, the rise of the phrase is very intricate, all owing as I said to a corruption of speech, for the word no doubt is cate, which is an old word for a cake or other aumalette, which being usually fried, and consequently turned in the рап, does therefore very aptly express the changing of sides in politics or religion, or, as we otherwise say, the turning one's coat, :. I will now produce some authorities for this word; offer a conjecture concerning its etymon; and then shew by a similar instance the facility and probability of the corruption.
When the cowherd's wife upbraids King Alfred, in Speed, for letting the cake at the fire burn, the author observes, she little suspected him “to be the man that had been served with far more delicate cates.” Speed's Hist. p. 386. here it signifies a cake, but in general it means any dainty or delicacy, as in the example following, and as Dr. Littleton well notes when he Latinizes it in his Dictionary cibi delicati. In the Moresco feast called Ashorah, Dr. Lanc. Addison tells us, the Moors eat nothing but “ dates, figs, parched corn, and all such natural cates as their substance can procure,” Addison's account of West Barbary, p. 214. In Taylor's Play, the hog hath lost his pearl; Lightfoot says of King Cræsus in the shades below, that he is there,
Feasting with Pluto and his Proserpine
Dodsley's Old Plays, Vol. iii. p. 227. So in Heywood's Woman Killed with Kindness, Anne says.
for from this sad hour
Ibid. Vol. iv. p. 139. In Lylie's Euphues, Euphues says, “be not dainty mouthed, a fine taste noteth the fond appetites that Venus said her Adonis to have, who seeing him to take his chief delight in costly cates, &c.” Lylie's Euphues, p. 242. Here it apparently signifies delicacies, and indeed 'I take the word to be no other but the last syllable of the word delicate, for the last cited author, p. 356, uses the word delicate in the very same sense, when he says of the English ladies, “ drinking of wine, yet moderately: eating of delicates, yet but their ears full," and perhaps from this word cater and a caterer, which are both of them English and not French terms.
Now that this is the true original of this saying is very clear from a similar corruption in the word salt-cat. A saltcat is a cake well impregnated with brine, and laid in a pigeon house, in order to tempt and entice the birds, who are exceedingly fond of it; and cat is here used for cate, in the sense of a cake, just as it is in this proverbial saying which we are now explaining.
I am, Sir, yours, &c. 1754, Feb.