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Welsh name Gwent was softened by the Anglo-Saxons into TV inte whence came Winceaster, that is Winchester. *
Names of places, as being proper nouns, are distinctive as well as descriptive. Thus Paris is the capital of the French empire Bat is there another Paris in the world? Our North American brothers have unsparingly given the names belonging to the old country, to places of recent foundation in the new country. In so doing they have caused many of our names of places to lose their distinctiveness. The name Boston once denoted the town in Lincolnshire so called. The name was distinctive. Another Boston has sprung up in Massachusetts. Now, then, wben we use the term, we are obliged to add some distinctive epithet, and call the one Boston in England, and the other Boston in the United States. Unless such an epithet is added, confusion must ensue. I have known a letter travel over a large part of England in search of the right Broughton, where lived the person for wbom it was intended.
I subjoin some examples of the meaning of names of places' in England.
Names of towns ending in mouth and ford.—Instances : Plymouth, Tynemouth, Yarmouth, Portsmouth; Oxford, Stratford, Romford, Salford.
The ending mouth denotes the mouth of a river, or the point where a river falls into the sea ; thus Tynemouth is the mouth of the river Tyne. Portsmouth, the mouth of the Port, originally denoted the projectiny land forming the narrow opening by which ships pass from the sca (Spithead) into the harbour. Ford, the German furt, signifies the part of a river or stream which, from its being shallow, may be forded, or passed dry-foot.
Names of towns ending in chester, caster, čester.-Instances : Dorchester, Porchester, Lancaster, Doncaster, Gloucester, Worcester, Leicester, Cirencester. These endings come from either the Roman castra or the Saxon caester, according as the one or the other may be considered as the original word ; not improbably the Saxon caester is a derivative from the Latin castra or castrulin. Castrum in Latin, as caester in Saxon, denotes a fort, a fortification, a castle, an encampment; hence a military settlement, and so a town or city ; for many of our towns were at the first military settlements.
Names of towns and villages in wich or wick.--Instances : Greenwich, Woolwich, Harwicht, Norwich, Nantwich, Berwick, Keswick,
Vich or wick denotes an inlet or creek formed by the bend of a river; then the land so enclosed, and then the collection of abodes fixed there ; and so a fortification, a village, or town,
The ending shire.--Instances : Yorkshire, Cardiganshire, Devonshire, Lancashire, Cheshire.
Shire, connected with the German scheren (Saxon, scir), to cut, to cut off, to divide, denotes a division of a country, a large dis
• Sec Proceedings of Philological Society, vol. 1. p. 9, &c.
trict; thus, Yorkshire is the district which belongs to the city of York, and of which that city is the (provincial) capital.
The ending sex.---Instances: Essex, Middlesex, Sussex, Wessex.
Sex is the remainder of the old Saxon term Seaxe, Saxe (Ger. man, Sachse), signifying Saxons ; so that Sussex means the south Saxons, &c.
The endings borough, burg (German burg, a castle), bury.-Instances: Peterborough, Queensborough, Edinburgh, Sudbury, Bury.
Borough, softened into burg and bury, is the German burg (Greek, purg), a fortified place, a town; borough, considered as a municipality, is a derived and comparatively recent application. Burg or Bury also signifies a bosom, that is, a vale environed with hills; hence the use of the word in relation to places situated as is Bury in Lancashire.
The ending or prefix Ham.-Instances: Frigham, Hampstead, Hampton, Oakham.
Ham, still continued as a separate word in the diminutive hamlet, denotes a dwelling, and hence à village.
The ending minster. -- Instances : Westminster, Exminster, War. minster.
Minster is a Saxon word signifying a monastery or settlement of monks; hence its application to some of our cathedrals, as the York Minster.
• COMPOSITION. Study, and, as well as you can, reproduce the following observations; and while you employ them as an exercise in composition, “ mark, learn, and inwardly digest,” so as to observe and follow their practical wisdom.
. THE EXERCISE OF THOUGIIT. A little hard thinking will supply the place of a great deal of reading, and an hour or two spent in this manner sometimes lead you to conclusions which it would require a volume to establish. The mind advances in its train of thought, as a restive colt pro, ceeds on the road in which you wish to guide him; he is always running to one side or the other, and deviating from the proper path, to which it is your affair to bring him back.
I have asked several men what passes in their minds when they are thinking; and I never could find any man who could think for two minutes together. Everybody has seemed to admit that it was a perpetual deviation from a particular path, and a return to it; which, imperfect as the operation is, is the only method in which we can operate with our minds to carry on any process of thought. It takes some time to throw the mind into an attitude of thought, or into any attitude; though the power of doing this, and in general of thinking, is amazingly increased by habit. We acquire, at length, a greater command over our associations, and are better enabled to pursue one object, unmoved by all the other thoughts which cross it in every direction.-Sydney Smith.
THE FOLLY OF UNIVERSAL ACQUIREMENTS. There is another foppery which is to be cautiously guarded
against-the foppery of universality,- of knowing all sciences and excelling in all arts,-chemistry, mathematics, algebra, dancing, history, reasoning, riding, fencing, Low Dutch, High Dutch, natural philosophy, and enough of Spanish to talk about Lope de Vega: in short, the modern precept of education very often is, “Take the admirable Crichton for your model; I would have you ignorant of nothing !” Now my advice, on the contrary, is, to have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything. I would exact of a young man a pledge that he would never read Lope de Vega; he should pawn to me his honour to abstain from Bettinelli, and his thirty-five original sonneteers; and I would exact from him the most rigid securities that I was never to hear anything about that race of puny poets who lived in the reigns of Cosmo and Lorenzo di Medici.-Sydney Smith.
NAMES OF PERSONS. Names of persons were originally descriptive; they had each a meaning, and that meaning set forth some individual peculiarity; something in the make, the form, the character, the history of the person to whom the name was given. Thus the first man was called Adam (in Hebrew, red earth) because he was formed out of the earth. And Adam called his wife woman, because she was the counterpart of man. In the Hebrew original the correspondence is well marked; woman is there called isha because she was taken out of ish, the former being the feminine form of the masculine noun ish, man. The derivation of woman has been disputed. Woman seems to be womb man; womb, denoting the feminine gender. Womb has been compared with the German weib, which is found in our wife. It is not unlikely that all these forms, namely wife, weib, womb, wo (man) are tracible to the phuo, fu of the Greeks, which is found in the fui (I was) of the Latins, and in their femina, a female. This view makes woman equivalent to wifeman, and so brings the English into a near resemblance to the Hebrew. The o in woman is no obstacle. In the plural theo becomes e or i in pronounciation. So was it written of old, e. g.,
" And the noumbre of men that eaten was fyve thousynd of men, out taken wymmen and litel children.”-Wiclif, Matthew xiv.
“And they that ate were in nombre aboute v, m. (five thousand) men, besyde wemen and children.”— Bible, 1551, ib. .
Richardson, however, in his “ New English Dictionary,” gives another view, which, though not approving it, I subjoin. « Woman a. s. (Anglo-Saxon) wife-man; man is a general term to include each sex (this is right), and the specific name wife-man is given to the female from her employment at the woof; and waepman to the male from his occupation in weapons of war.”
It is completely in unison with primaeval custom, that Adam is represented as changing his wife's name from woman to Eve (life) when she became a mother (Gen. iii. 20.)
In Anglo-Saxon, also, names of person had in each case a suitable signification. Thus our word Alfred means all-peace. I add other Anglo-Saxon names together with their meanings ;-Alwin, victorious ; Aldred, reverend; Bede, he that prayeth ; Botolph; help-ship; sailors were called botes carles, that is, boat-servants ; Cuihbert, bright in knowledge; Edmund, truth-mouth, truthspeaker ; Edward, truth-keeper, faithful; Frederic, rich-in-peace; Goddard, pious ; Godwin, beloved of God; Hengest, horse-man; Leofwin, win-love, amiable ; Osborn, house-bairn, house-child; Ranulph (now Randall), fair-help; Richard, rich in heart, benevolent ; Raymond, quiet, peace ; Thurston, most trusty.
With a little care you may see from these instances how closely the Anglo-Saxon resembles the English. Thus Alwin is simply our all-win; so Aldred is all-dread ; and Godwin, is God-win; and Leofwin, is love-win. Bede * too is found in beadroll, that is a rosary or string of prayers.
Originally persons had but one name each. This practice was very far removed from the modern absurdity presented in royal and noble families, in which single individuals have some four, some six, some eight or more names. Thus, besides what may be termed his orders and titles, the husband of Queen Victoria has at least five names, that is Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel. The Princess Royal also is called Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa. In the Bible, which is the oldest book in the world, and presents the best picture of primaeval life, you find only one name given originally to each individual. I subjoin with their meanings a list of Biblical names in use among ourselves.
weary. Jeremiah, grandeur of the Lord. Mary, lady of the sea.
the mercy of the Lord. Rachel, a sheep. Jonas, a dove.
Rebekah, fat. Joseph, increase.
Ruth, satisfied. Isaac, laughter.
Sarah, a princess.
* Bede, and bead Anglo-Saxon for prayer, is found in the German beten, to pray, and in the German nouns betfahrt, a journey for prayer, that is pilgrimage ; bethaus, prayer-house, &c. It is found too in the old signification of our verb bid (from bieten, biten) which meant to ask, intreat, pray. From bede or bead, a prayer, comes beadsman and beadle. Here is seen the error of Richardson, who makes the sense of bead as a prayer to arise thus, “because one (bead) was dropped down a string every time a prayer was said;" whereas the little globe was called a bead or prayer, because it reminded the worshipper of a prayer to be said, and so became the memento or symbol of a prayer. The rosary or chaplet (“ Virgin's Psalter”) was “ 150 Ave Maries and 15 Palers tacked together with jittle butions upon a string."
pe say a tree, and the tree. A proper noun is a noun which is proper or peculiar (proprium, Lat. peculiar) to an individual, as to a person, a place, a city, a nation. Thus Alfred is a proper noun; so is Lancashire, and London, and England.
The distinction between common and proper is not very satisfactory. If tree is a common noun because the term tree is com. mon to all trees, might not George be accounted a common noun because it is common to all the Georges ? And is not the name Tree as peculiar to the class Tree, as the name George is peculiar to the class of persons who bear this name? If, then, Tree is a noun peculiar to an individual and a class, and if George is the same, the distinction between common and proper does not appear determir.ate. In truth, the terms peculiar and common do not here essentially differ, for what is peculiar to each of a class, is common to all the members of that class.
The difficulty seems to arise from the multiplication of the objects which are considered as nouns proper. So long as there is but one London, the word London is strictly a proper or pecu. liar name. But let there be several cities so called, then a class is forined, and the original peculiarity is lost. What was once peculiar to an individual place, is now common to several places. Proper names, you thus see, pass into common names.
This want of fixedness and precision is an objection. Nevertheless, the classification of nouns as nouns common and nouns proper has so rooted itself in our grammar, that I think it better to retain it, than to propose another which might be scarcely free from exception.
Emerson has written a book on what he calls “ Representative Men." There are also representative nouns or names. Thus Solomon stands for a wise man, Croesus for a rich man, Judas for a traitor, Demosthenes for an orator, Cicero for the same, and Homer for a poet. Now mark how these are constructed, Shylock exclaims
“A Daniel come to judgment ! Yea, a Daniel.” And we also say of an eminent orator, “he is the Cicero of his age.” Daniel and Cicero, in themselves, are proper nouns. ln virtue of the articles they become common.
As proper nouns become common, so common nouns become proper, under the influence of the article. In the latter case, however, it is the definite article which produces the effect. A Strand is a river's bank. The Strand is a thoroughfare in London, so called because it runs alongside the Thames. So we speak of the Channel, the Downs, the United States, the Netherlands. We also say the Harbour ; but the Harbour is not a proper name, except at Portsmouth, where the Harbour means the particular harbour that is there; but the usage is local ; whereas it requires national usage to convert such a common noun into a proper noun. This fact is exemplified in the phrase the Lakes, which from national usage means the Lakes of Westmoreland. The Lakes, iherefore, has become the specific name for the whole district in