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was formerly the knee, hence to knuckle under meant simply to kneel in submission. From a modern misapprehension of the expression to knuckle under arose the practice of knocking under the table with the knuckles (suiting the action to the word) as a sign of submission, and thence the phrase as we now have it.
Knocked into a cocked hat, a slang phrase, signifying the demolition of an antagonist, either physically or figuratively by argument, etc. The usual derivation of the phrase is the obvious one that it means to be so beaten as to be limp enough to be doubled up and carried flat under the arm, like the cocked hat of an officer.
Another explanation is suggested, which seems better, since it is derived from a figure less unfamiliar to Americans than an officer's cocked hat. A “cocked hat," in the game of bowls or tenpins, is a figure in which only the two corner pins and the head pin are left standing, forming a triangle. Any one at all acquainted with the game knows that to roll down with a single ball all the tenpins of a frame except the three indicated-i.e., to knock them into a cocked hat-would be a feat sufficiently remarkable to become the foundation for a by-word.
Know. To know her was to love her. Fitz-Greene Halleck's lines on his fellow-poet Drake have imperishably embalmed the memory of both :
Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake.
She was good as she was fair,
None none on earth above her!
Jacqueline, Stanza 1.
But to see her was to love her,
Ae Fond Kiss.
Though her mien carries much more invitation than command, to behold her is an immediate check to loose behavior ; to love her was a liberal education.-Tatler, No. 49.
One of Michael Angelo's sonnets to Vittoria Colonna is not unlike Steele's prose in its opening sentiment. Here is Hartley Coleridge's version :
The might of one fair face sublimes my love,
For it bath weaned my heart from low desires.
She teaches in her dancing ; 'tis indeed
The Faithful Friends. Know, All you. There is a jest current especially among the ingenuous youth of America, and known also in England, which assumes the most protean forms, from the distinctly American “ I've got a spare minute ; tell me all you know," or “There's a half-dollar ; quick, tell me all you know, and give me the change,” to the Anglo-American gibe thus recorded in Southey's “Doctor :" " Some of my contemporaries may remember a story once current at Cambridge, of a luckless undergraduate who, being examined for his degree and failing in every subject upon which he was tried, complained that he had not been questioned upon the things that he knew. Upon which the examining master, moved less to compassion by the impenetrable dulness of the man than to anger by his unreasonable complaint, tore off about an inch of paper, and, pushing it towards him, desired him to write upon that all he knew.” The jest has a venerable antiquity. For all we know, it may have been the retort made to the First Man when he endeavored to teach his gorilla grandmother how to suck eggs. Two well-known variations are the rebuke of the clergyman to the young man who said he would believe nothing which he could not understand, “Then, young man, your creed will be the shortest of any man's I know," and the reply of Dr. Parr to the youth who tauntingly asked him why he did not write a book : "Sir," said the doctor, “I know how I could soon write a very large book.” “How so?” “Why, sir, by putting in all that I know and all that you do not know.”
Know nothing, I know that I. Socrates, in his “Apology” to the court of his fellow-citizens who condemned him to death for impiety, ex. claimed,
He is wisest among you, O citizens, who, like Socrates, has come to know that he is in truth worth nothing as regards wisdom.-Plato: The Apology of Socrates.
This phrase has usually been condensed into “I know only that I know nothing." Thus, Sir Thomas Browne says, “ Heads of capacity, and such as are not full with a handful, or easy measure of knowledge, think they lanow nothing till they know all ; which being impossible, they fall upon the opinion of Socrates, and only know they know not anything ;" and Congreve, “ You read of but one wise man, and all that he knew was that he knew nothing.” Congreve's reference may be to Solomon, but the nearest approach to the sentiment in Ecclesiastes is in chap. i. v. 17 : “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly : I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.” Later on (ii. 13, 14) thé Preacher expressly says, “I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness.” Nevertheless, as the end of both is death, he conceives that all is vanity. To the Socratic mind the only difference between a wise man and a fool is that the former at least knows that he knows nothing.
Numerous echoes of this doctrine of universal nescience are found in all literature. Thus, Diogenes Laertius, in his Life of Pyrrho, tells us that Xenophanes speaks thus :
And no man knows distinctly anything,
And no man ever will, and that Democritus says, “But we know nothing really; for truth lies deep down." The 598th maxim of Publius Syrus runs, “He bids fair to grow wise who has discovered that he is not so."
In Shakespeare the thought takes this turn:
The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.-As You Like It, Act v., Sc. 1.
Owen Feltham, in his once-popular “Resolves,” says, in his twenty-seventh essay, on “Curiosity in Knowledge,”—
Our knowledge doth but show us our ignorance. Our most studious scrutiny is but a discovery of what we cannot know; and Pope, in his “ Essay on Man,” Epistle iv., I. 258,
In parts superior what advantage lies?
To see all others' faults, and feel our own; and Voltaire,
I am ignorant how I was formed, and how I was born. I was perfectly ignorant, for a quarter of my life, of the reasons of all that I saw, heard, and felt, and was a mere parrot, talking by rote in imitation of other parrots. When I looked about me and within me, I conceived that something existed from all eternity. Since there are beings actually existing, I concluded that there is some being necessary and necessarily eternal. Thus the first step which I took to extricate myself from my ignorance overpassed the limits of all ages--the boundaries of time. But when I was desirous of proceeding in this infinite career, I could neither perceive a single path, nor clearly distinguish a single object; and from the flight which I took to contemplate eternity, I have fallen back into the abyss of my original ignorance.
But the finest expression it finds is that put into the mouth of Faust by Goethe, in the soliloquy which opens the drama:
I've studied now Philosophy
And see that nothing can be known. Goethe owns that his drama is founded on the old puppet-play, one version of which was also utilized by Marlowe. “The puppet-play," says Goethe, "echoed and vibrated in many tones through my mind. I also had gone from one branch of knowledge to another, and was early enough convinced of the vanity of all.” Bayard Taylor translates several of the early versions of Faust's soliloquy, showing that Goethe followed the words very closely, only casting them in a rhythmical and more spirited form.
It is probable that the author of the following lines had drawn inspiration from the old puppet-play, and also from Shakespeare :
Yet all that I have learn'd (huge toyles now past)
By long experience, and in famous schooles,
London, fol., 1637, p. 7. In another place Goethe acknowledges in effect that it was only his youthful ignorance that made him a poet : “ Had I earlier known how many excellent things have been in existence for hundreds and thousands of years, I should have written no line ; I should have had enough else to do.” Michael Angelo, in his last days, made a design of himself as a child in a go-cart, with this motto under'it : “I am yet learning." Macaulay, the year before his death, wrote in his diary, “Alas, how short life, and how long art! I feel as if I had
just begun to understand how to write, and the probability is that I have very nearly done writing.” Rubens made the same complaint in regard to painting, and Mozart in regard to music. St. Jerome tells us that Theophrastus at one hundred and seven years of age lamented that he was obliged to quit life at a time when he had just begun to be wise. Let us conclude with an Arabian proverb which only partially agrees with the foregoing :
He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not; he is a fool, shun him.
Know thyself. Diogenes Laertius tells us that when Thales was asked what was difficult he answered, “To know thyself," and what was easy, “To advise another.” Thales was one of the so-called Seven Wise Men of Greece. The maxim “Know thyself” has also been attributed to Chilo, Plato, Pythag. oras, Cleobulus, Socrates, and others. Juvenal (Satires, xi. 27) says the precept descended from heaven. It was inscribed upon the temple of Apollo at Memphis with that other famous saying, Mndév ủyav, better known to us in the Latin form Ne quid nimis (q. v.). Many moderns have echoed Thales's saying,--.g.: Full wise is he that can himselven knowe.
CHAUCER: Monkes Tale, 1. 1449.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan :
Pope: Essay on Man, Ep. ii. The highest point to which man can attain is the consciousness of his own sensations and thoughts, the knowledge of himself.--GOETHE: Table-Talk.
But Montaigne held that the saying was luckily impossible of fulfilment: “Nature, that we may not be dejecied with our deformities, has wisely thrust the action of seeing outward.” “In vain," says Xavier de Maistre, “are looking-glasses multiplied around us which reflect light and truth with geometrical exactness. As soon as the rays reach our vision and paint us as we are, self-love slips its deceitful prism between us and our image and presents a divinity to us. And of all the prisms that have existed since the first that came from the hands of the immortal Newton, none has possessed so power. ful a refractive force, or produced such pleasing and lively colors, as the prism of self-love. Now, seeing that ordinary looking-glasses record the truth in vain, and that they cannot make men see their own imperfections, every one being satisfied with his face, what would a moral mirror avail? Few people would look at it, and no one would recognize himself.” “Oh, the incomparable contrivance of Nature,” exclaims Erasmus, “who has ordered all things in so even a method that wherever she has been less bountiful in her gifts, there she makes it up with a larger dose of self-love, which supplies the former defects and makes all even.” “Could all mankind," says John Norris, "Jay claim to that estimate which they pass upon themselves, there would be little or no difference betwixt lapsed and perfect humanity, and God might again review his image with paternal complacency, and still pronounce it good.” “Blinded as men are as to their true character by self-love, every man,” says Plutarch,“ is his own first and chiefest flatterer, prepared therefore to welcome the flatterer from the outside, who only comes confirming the verdict of the flatterer within." Evidently these gentlemen would not echo the prayer of Burns :
Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us
To a Louse. One of Dr. Holmes's most ingenious paradoxes is that wherein he makes his Autocrat announce to the startled breakfast-table that when John and Thomas, for instance, are talking together “it is natural enough that among the six there should be more or less confusion and misapprehension." He calms all suspicion as to his sanity by enumerating them, as follows:
1. The real John; known only to his Maker.
2. John's ideal John ; never the real one, and often very unThree Johns. like him.
3. Thomas's ideal John; never the real John, nor John's
John, but often very unlike either.
( 1. The real Thomas. Three Thomases. 2. Thomas's ideal Thomas.
( 3. John's ideal Thomas.
“Only one of the three Johns is taxed ; only one can be weighed on a plat. form-balance ; but the other two are just as important in the conversation. Let us suppose the real John to be old, dull, and ill-looking. But, as the Higher Powers have not conferred on men the gift of seeing themselves in the true light, John very possibly conceives himself to be youthful, witty, and fascinating, and talks from the point of view of this ideal.” So, likewise, with the three Thomases. “It follows that, until a man can be found who knows himself as his Maker knows him, or who sees himself as others see him, there must be at least six persons engaged in every dialogue between two. Of these the least important, philosophically speaking, is the one that we have called the real person." Now, the central meaning of this passage is thus summarized by Alphonse Karr: “Every person has three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.” The Frenchman and the American may have hit upon the same idea independently, but the likeness is certainly startling. The idea finds a predecessor, too, in a sermon of Adam Littleton's (circa 1678): “Every person is made of three Egos, and has three Selfs in him," and this appears “in the reflection of Conscience upon actions of a dubious nature, while one Self accuses, another Self defends, and the third Self passes judgment upon what hath been so done by the man.” This he adduces as among various “mean and unworthy comparisons, whereby to show that though the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity far exceeds our reason, there want not natural instances to illustrate it.” The passage is quoted by Southey in “ The Doctor.” Here the analogy is less complete than that between Holmes and Karr, but it is still interesting enough to be noted.
Know ye the land. One of the most remarkable similitudes in literature is in the following stanzas, the first from Byron and the latter from Goethe:
Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime ,
The Bride of Abydos, Canto i., Stanza 1.
Mignon's Song, in“Wilhelm Meister." Byron, of course, is the plagiarist. But he has produced a passage equal in beauty to the original, and the beauty of it is essentially Byronic. It is not a question of improving on a great original, -Goethe's lines are unsurpassable,-but of producing a different and equal beauty out of a parallel idea.
Knowledge is power. The coinage of this phrase is generally and perhaps justly attributed to Lord Bacon. The sentence which has been thus rendered into English occurs in his “Meditationes Sacræ : De Hæresibus," thus : “Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est," and it is in accord with the whole teachings of his philosophy. In his essay “Of Studies" he says, “Expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of, particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshalling of affairs, come best from those that are learned." Three hundred years before Bacon, however, the Persian Saadi uttered the same sentiment:
Knowledge is a perennial spring of wealth, and if a man of education ceases to be opulent, yet he need not be sorrowful, for knowledge of itself is riches.-GULISTAN: Of the Effects of Education, Tale ii.
This is nothing remarkable, as it is only the expression of an opinion of the wise of all ages. “Crafty men,” continues Bacon in his essay, "contemn