« AnteriorContinuar »
Greater than 1,-isn't that your cry?
And I shall live to see it.
And if it be so, so be it.
But this is the time of hollies,
I hate the spites and follies It is pleasant to note in conclusion that the feud, so bitter and rancorous while it lasted, was healed long before the death of Bulwer.
Indeed, the poet-romancer might have paraphrased an old saying attributed to many famous men, by asserting that Lord Lytton did not remember the enmities of Bulwer.
By the time he had become Lord Lytton he was a wealthy man, a man of fashion, of political and titular eminence,-a sort of golden link between literature and the aristocracy.
He honestly strove to gain the good will of his literary fellow.laborers, even those who had formerly abused him. With such adjuncts, it was not difficult to succeed. Thackeray apologized for Yellowplush and Bulwig. The critics were gained over. A mutual admiration sprang up between the Laureate and the Lord, and in a speech made at Hertford, October 9, 1862, Lord Lytton made an amende honorable for his ill-considered verses when he said publicly, “We must comfort ourselves with the thought so exquisitely expressed by our Poet-Laureate, that the Prince we lament is still
The silent father of our kings to be." New World, America, the Western Hemisphere. There is a tradition that Ferdinand and Isabella, at some date unspecified, granted to Columbus as a legend for his coat of arms the motto
A Castilla y á Leon Nuevo mundo dió Colon. (“To Castile and Leon
Columbus gave a new world."') It is added that when the discoverer's bones were removed to Seville, the motto, by Ferdinand's orders, was placed on his tomb. There is no historical foundation for this story. It is first mentioned by Oviedo in 1535, who gives the motto a somewhat different turn :
Por Castilla y por Leon
Nuevo mundo halló Colon. But the other form was preferred by Ferdinand Columbus, who about 1535, or earlier, had adopted it on his arms, and on whose tomb in the cathedral at Seville it may still be read. Evidently legend transferred to the father the motto adopted, if not invented, by the son. The phrase "New World” as applied to the recent discoveries was unknown to Columbus and his contemporaries. The true significance of these discoveries had not yet dawned upon voyager or writer. Columbus died in the belief that he had found a new route to the l' dies by sailing west. Nobody was looking for a new world, and when it at last came to be realized that America was not Asia it was looked upon merely as a barrier in the way to Asia. The main object of the explorers who entered its navigable streams was to ascertain if these might not prove to be arms of the sea separating the mass of land in two, and so leading to the longed-for haven. The phrase New World was first used by Amerigo Vespucci in a letter to Lorenzo de' Medici, written from Lisbon in March or April, 1503. “It is proper to call them a new world,” he says, referring to the tract of Brazilian sea-coast, south of the equator, which he
had discovered on his third voyage. In 1504 a Latin version of the letter was published under the title “Mundus Novus,” Its daring assertion of the existence of a populous land beyond the equator and unknown to the ancients (whose omniscience had not yet been questioned) excited great curiosity. The pamphlet was a great success. It familiarized Europe with the title New World as applied to a great continent detached from Asia. Not yet, however, was any connection fancied between the discoveries of Columbus and those of Vespucci. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller pub. lished a little treatise in which the suggestion was made that the Quarta Pars, or New and Fourth Part of the earth's surface, discovered by Ameri. cus Vespucius, should be called America. The suggestion was accepted without a word of protest, even from Ferdinand Columbus, the devoted son of the great navigator, himself an accomplished geographer. That he owned a copy of the book of Waldseemüller's, that he had it for eighteen years in his possession, and that he annotated it with fulness and care, these are known facts. Nevertheless, Ferdinand Columbus inade no comment upon the passage in which the discovery of a new world is attributed to Vespucius. This silence is absolutely decisive. It proves that Ferdinand Columbus shared Waldseemüller's opinion that the Fourth Part meant something very different from what we mean when we speak of Amer. ica, and that whereas Christopher Columbus had discovered the eastern coast of Asia, or, in other words, a section of the Old World, it was to Vespucius that the discovery of a New World south of the equator belonged. By the time geographers had comprehended that Brazil pertained to the same continent revealed by Columbus and Cabot, the terms Quarta Pars, New World, and America had become interchangeable and synonymous; and thus, not for the first time in history,—the extension of the term Africa is another example,-the part gave a name to the whole. See Fiske's “Discovery of America," chap. vii., “Mundus Novus."
Newcastle, To carry coals to, a proverbial expression for unnecessary gifts or supererogatory favors, Newcastle being the greatest coal-mart in the world. The trade in coal seems to have been important from the beginning of the town. In 1239 the burgesses received from Henry III. a license to dig cuals within the borough, and by the reign of Edward I. the business had increased so rapidly that Newcastle paid an annual revenue of two hundred pounds. In 1615 the trade employed four hundred ships, and extended to France and the Netherlands. Analogous expressions abound in every language, -viz. :
To send owls to Athens, box to Cyprus, a clod to the ploughed field; to add a farthing to the millions of Crasus, -Greek.
To give fruit to Alcinous (whose orchards were famous for bearing fruit all the year round: to take wood to the forest. - Latin.
To carry oil to the City of Olives.--Hebrew.
A familiar proverb in the Middle Ages was, To send indulgences to Rome. Johannes Garlandius, a poet of the eleventh century, begins his “Opus Synonymorum" with a list of similar proverbial sayings :
Ad mare ne videar latices deferre, camino
Ad veterum curas curo superaddere nostras. Burton says, “ To enlarge or illustrate the power and effect of love is, to set a candle in the sun." (Anatomy of Melancholy, Sec. 2, Memb. 1, Subsec. 2.)
But the most noteworthy example in poetry of similar metaphors occurs in Shakespeare, in the familiar lines,
To guard a title that was rich before,
King John, Act iv., Sc. 2. Newcome, Johnny, a nickname particularly applied to a young, unpractised officer in the British army, and more generally to any raw, inexperienced youth.
“A' comes o' taking folk on the right side, I trow," quoth Caleb to himself, "and I had ance the ill hap to say he was but a Johnny Newcome in our town, and the carle bore the family an ill will ever since.”-SIR WALTER Scott.
Newland, Abraham. A Bank-of-England note used to be called an “Abraham Newland," from the name of the cashier, fifty or sixty years ago, to whose order the notes of the bank were made payable. The notes are celebrated thus in the words of a song of the period :
For fashion and arts, should you seek foreign parts,
It matters not wherever you land,
If you haven't an Abraham Newland. News. It is popular to say that this word is derived from the initial let. ters of the four points of the compass arranged in a device in the form of a cross and placed at the top of some of the earlier news-sheets to indicate that their contents were derived from all quarters. But it is easy to show that this is purely fanciful. First, the earliest English newspaper dates from 1662, and we find the word news, exactly in its modern sense, in Shakespeare, who died nearly fifty years earlier,-namely, in 1616. Thus, we have “ How now? What news ?” (Macbeth, Act i., Sc. 7;) “But let time's news be known !" (Winter's Tale, Act iv., Sc. 1 ;) “Even at that news he dies" (King John). This list, which might be extended indefinitely from Shakespeare and other old writers, would alone be sufficient to dispose of the northeast-west-south theory: but a reference to the equivalent words in the tongues to which English is most nearly allied will further show its fallacy. In German the initials of the points of the compass read in this order, N. O. W. S., while the word for news is neuigkeiten, obviously impossible of derivation from these four litters, while it is derived from the word for new. Again, in French the initials are N. E. O. S., while the word for news is nouvelles, which is simply the plural iorm of the word for new.
The true derivation does not seem difficult to trace. Some take it directly from the German das Neue, which is an abstract noun signifying “the new, and equivalent to our news. The genitive is neues, and the phrase “ Was giebt's neues?" renders the exact sense of our “ What's the news?” Moreover, the old German spelling is new, genitive newes. Yet this, pla it looks, is not the origin of the word. When we find in Anglo-Saxon such a phrase as hwat niwes? (“what news ?”') we can be at no loss to determine that the word is of pure Low German or native English origin, although the French nouvelles may have influenced its use. The fact that the word is often used in the singular confirms this. Thus, we have in John Florio's “World of Words" (1597) “Novella, a tale, a newes." In “The Wits' Recrea. tion,” published in 1640, we have the following epigram :
When news doth come, if any would discuss
And comes to us from north, east, west, and south.
Skeat says that newes is not older than 1500, and cites Berners's translation of Froissart, “Desyrous to here newes," and Surrey's translation of Virgil, “ What news he brought." But at least one earlier instance is to be found in “The Siege of Rhodes,” translated by John Kay, and printed by Caxton about 1490.
News, Ill. All nations agree that “Ill news travels fast,” which is the English form of the proverb. Its corollary, “No news is good news," is found also in French and Italian. Here are some foreign proverbs of the same kind :
Bad news always comes too soon.-German.
Good news is rumored, bad news fies.-Spanish and Portuguese.
MILTON: Samson Agonistes, l. 1538.
DRYDEN: Threnodia Augustalis. Ill news flies with eagles' wings, but leaden weights are wont to clog the heels of gladsome tidings.-ROBERT CHAMBERLAIN : Nocturnal Lucubrations (1638).
Ill news, madam, are swallow-winged, but what's good walks on crutches.-MASSINGER: The Picture, Act ii., Sc. 2.
Though it be honest, it is never good
SHAKESPEARE. Nightmare is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words neht, " night,” and mara, a “spectre," which, in Runic mythology, placed itself on the breast of the sleeping and deprived them of the powers of motion and utterance. (Low German, nagt-moor ; German, nacht-mahr; Dutch, nacht-merrie.)
The mara was also believed to be the guardian of hidden treasures, over which it brooded as a hen over eggs, and the place where it sat was called its nidus, or nest. Hence the term mare's-nest.
In North German and Norwegian traditions the mara generally assumes the form of a beautiful woman. Like other supernatural beings, she can enter through the smallest hole, and sets herself across her victims to torment them. Many curious methods are given to get rid of her. One is to wrap a knife in a cloth, and let it turn three times round the body while repeating certain rhymes. Another is to turn one's shoes with the toes outward from the bed. The mistletoe is also recommended as a remedy.
Nightmare of Europe, one of the many appellatives of Napoleon Bonaparte, given him by awed and appalled contemporaries in Europe when, after his stupendous military successes, he seemed to sit heavily on the helpless continent, as a nightmare on the breast of a troubled sleeper, helpless under its weight.
Nil admirari (L., “to admire” or “wonder at nothing'), a phrase from Horace (Epistles, I., vi. 1). Dr. Arnold, in a letter to an old pupil, quoted in "Arnold's Life and Correspondence,” calls it “the devil's favorite text," and the best he could choose "to introduce his pupils into the more esoteric part of his doctrine. ... I have always looked upon a man infected with the disorder of anti-romance as on one who has lost the finest part of his nature, and his best protection against everything low and foolish.” He adds that such men may well call him mad, but he thinks their party are not yet strong enough to get him fairly shut up, and until they are “I shall take the liberty of insisting that their tale is the longest."
Nimini pimini, affected simplicity in young ladies. In Burgoyne's comedy of “The Heiress” (Act ii., Sc. 2), Lady Emily tells Miss Alscrip, “ The way to acquire the correct Paphian mimp is to stand before the glass and pronounce repeatedly ‘nimini pimini.' The lips cannot fail to take the right ply." Dickens has borrowed the conceit, where in “Little Dorrit” Mrs. General tells Amy Dorrit, “Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism are all very good words for the lips : especially prunes and prism. You will find it serviceable, in the formation of a demeanor, if you sometimes say to yourself in company,-on entering a room, for instance,- Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism, prunes and prism."
Nine days' wonder, an old phrase for a short-lived sensation. It may be found in Chaucer :
Eke wonder last but nine deies newe in toun.
Troilus and Creseide, Book iv., Stanza 80. Alternate readings give nyghtes for deies, and never for newe. The expres. sion undoubtedly dates back to the Novendiale Sacrum of the Romans, which, according to Livy, Book i. chap. 310, took its rise from the fact that just after the defeat of the Sabines a thick shower of stones fell from heaven on the Alban Mount, and a voice was heard recalling the Albans to the observance of the ancient religious rites, which they had discontinued. “A festival of nine days was instituted publicly by the Romans also on account of the same prodigy, either in obedience to the heavenly voice sent from the Alban Mount (for that, too, is stated) or by the advice of the aruspices ; certain it is that it continued a solemn observance that whenever the same prodigy was announced a festival for nine days was observed.”
Nine of Diamonds is called the curse of Scotland. The expression goes back at least as far as 1745, for a caricature dated October 21 of that year represents the Young Chevalier attempting to lead a herd of bulls, laden with papal curses, etc., across the Tweed with the nine of diamonds lying before them. Perhaps the most satisfactory explanation is that which refers it to the massacre of Glencoe. The order for this cruel deed was signed by the Earl of Stair, John Dalrymple, Secretary of State to Scotland, who was instrumental in bringing about the union of England with Scotland. The coat of arms of the Dalrymple faniily bears nine lozenges, resembling diamonds, in its shield, and it appears to have been with reference to them that the nine of diamonds was called the curse of Scotland. The other reasons that have been suggested for this expression are:
That during the reign of Mary a thief attempted to steal the crown from Elizabeth Castle, and succeeded in abstracting nine valuable diamonds there. from. To replace these a heavy tax was laid upon the people, which was termed the curse of Scotland.
That when the game of comète was introduced into the court at Holyrood, the nine of diamonds, being the winning card, got this name because of the number of courtiers ruined by the game.