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To sell their liberty for charms
Of tawdry lace and glittering arms;
And when Ambition's voice commands,
To march, and fight, and fall in foreign lands.
I hate that drum's discordant sound,
CUEIOSITIES OF WORDS.—Archbishop Trench.
For notice of Archbishop Trench, see "Fourth Header," Public School Series, p. 162.
Frank.—What a record of great social revolutions—in nations and in the feelings of nations—the one word "frank " contains; which is used, as we all know, to express aught that is generous, straightforward, and free. The Franks, or " Free-Men," were a powerful German tribe, or association of tribes, which, at the breaking up of the Roman Empire, possessed themselves of Gaul, to which they gave their own name. They were the ruling, conquering people, honourably distinguished from the Gauls and degenerate Romans, among whom they established themselves, by their independence, their love of freedom, their scorn of a lie; they had, in short, the virtues which belong to a conquering and dominant race in the midst of an inferior and conquered one. And thus it came to pass that, by degrees, the name "frank," which may have originally indicated a national, came to involve a moral distinction as well; and a "frank" man was synonymous not merely with a man of -the conquering German race, but was an epithet applied to any man possessed of certain high moral qualities, which for the most part appertained to, and were found only in, men of that stock; and thus in men's daily discourse, when they speak of a person as being "frank," or when they use the words "franchise," "enfranchisement," to express civil liberties and immunities, their language here is the outgrowth, the record, and the result of great historic changes,—bears testimony to facts of history whereof it may well happen that the speakers have never heard.
Miscreant.—It is to the "intense hatred" which the Crusades roused throughout Christendom against the Mahometan infidels we owe "miscreant," in its present sense of one to whom we would attribute the vilest principles and practice. The word meant at first simply a "misbeliever," and would have been applied as freely, and with as little sense of injustice, to the royal-hearted Saladin as to the most infamous wretch that fought in his armies. By degrees, however, those who employed it tinged it more and more with their feeling and passion, more and more lost sight of its primary use, until they would apply it to any whom they regarded with feelings of abhorrence, resembling those which they entertained for an infidel; just as "Samaritan" was often employed by the Jews purely as a term of reproach, and with no thought whether the person on whom it was fastened was really sprung from that mongrel people or not; indeed, when they were quite sure he was not.
Cardinal.—The appropriation of this name to the parochial clergy of the city of Eome, with the subordinate bishops of that diocese, is an outgrowth, and, in itself, a standing testimony, of the measureless assumptions of the Eoman See. One of the favourite comparisons by which that See was used to set out its relations of superiority to all other churches of Christendom was this; it was the 'hinge' or 'cardo,' on which all the rest of the Church, as the door, at once depended and turned. It followed presently upon this that the clergy of Eome were 'cardinales,' as nearest to, and most closely connected with him who was thus the 'hinge' or cardo of all.
Dunce.—An inquiry into the pedigree of this word will lay open to us an important page in the intellectual history of Europe. We may all know what a "dunce" is, but we may not be as well acquainted with the quarter from which the word has been derived. Certain theologians in the Middle Ages were called Schoolmen, being so called because they were formed in the cloister and cathedral schools, which Charlemagne and his immediate successors founded—men not to be lightly spoken of, as they often are by those who never read a line of their works, and have not a tithe of their wit. At the revival of learning, however, their works fell out of favour; they were not written in classical Latin; the form in which their speculations were thrown was often unattractive; it was mainly in their authority that the Church of Eome found support for her perilled dogmas; on all which accounts it was considered a mark of intellectual progress and advance to have broken with them and altogether thrown off their yoke. Some, however, still clung to these Schoolmen, and to one in particular, Duns Scotus, the great teacher of the Franciscan order; and many times an adherent of the old learning would seek to strengthen his position by an appeal to its great doctor, familiarly called Duns; while the other would contemptuously rejoin, "Oh, you are a Dunsman!" or, more briefly, " You are a Duns!" or, "This is a piece of dunsery ;" and inasmuch as the new learning was ever enlisting more and more of the genius and scholarship of the age on its side, the title became more and more a term of scorn. "Remember ye not," says Tindal, "how within this thirty years, and far less, the old barking curs, Dunce's disciples, and like draff, called Scotists, the children of darkness, raged in every pulpit against Greek, Latin and Hebrew?" And thus from that long-extinct conflict between the old and the new learning, that strife between the mediaeval and the modern theology, we inherit the words " dunce" and "duncery." The lot of poor Duns was certainly a hard one, for, whatever may have been his merits as a teacher of Christian truth, he was certainly one of the keenest and most subtle-witted of men. He, the "Subtle Doctor," by pre-eminence, for so his admirers called him, "the wittiest of the School divines," as Hooker declares him, could hardly have anticipated, and as little as any man deserved, that his name should have been turned into a byeword expressive of stupidity and obstinate dulness.
Stipulation—Thrall And Thraldom—Lumber—Signing.— These words are worthy of notice :—
It is a signal evidence of the conservative powers of language that we may often trace in speech the records of customs and states of society which have now passed so entirely away as to survive nowhere else but in these words alone. For example, a " stipulation," or agreement, is so called, as many tell us, from "stipula," a straw, because it once was usual, when one person passed over landed property to another, that a straw from the land as a pledge or earnest of the property transferred, should be handed from the seller to the buyer, which afterwards was commonly preserved with, or inserted in, the title-deeds. "Thrall" and "thraldom" descend to us from a period when it was the custom to thrill or drill the ear of a slave in token of servitude, a custom in use among the Jews (Deut. xv. 17), and retained by our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, who were wont thus to pierce at the church door the ears of their bondservants.
By "lumber" we are, or might be, taught that Lombards wero the first pawnbrokers, even as they were the first bankers, in England; a "lumber "-room being a "Lombard "-room, or room where the pawnbroker stored his pledges.
Nor need I do more than remind you that in our common phrase of "signing our name" we preserve a record of a time when the first rudiments of education, such as the power of writing, were the portion of so few, that it was not, as now, the exception, but the custom, for most persons to make their mark or "sign," great barons and kings themselves not being ashamed to set their sign or cross to the weightiest documents. We more accurately express what we now do when we speak of " subscribing the name."
Composition.—Write a brief abstract of the etymology of the different words in this extract.
THE NEED AND BENEFIT OF THOUGHTFULNESS. John Ruskin.
John Ruskin, M.A., was born in 1819, and educated at Christ Church, Oxford. His first book, "Modern Painters," was published 1843—60, and gave him rank as the greatest living art-critic, and the master of a perfect English style. He is pre-eminently a poet and interpreter of Nature, which he paints in words, with matchless beauty. But he is still more. There is no purer, nobler, or more generous spirit among us at this time than his. Of late years he has devoted himself to what may be called the Morals of National Life, and has met with much opposition to his views. They are spoken of as too lofty and too unselfish, to be carried out, as if that were not their greatest glory and the nation's deepest shame!
The modern English mind has this much in common with that of the Greek, that it intensely desires, in all things, the utmost completion or perfection compatible with their nature. This is a noble character in the abstract, but becomes ignoble when it causes us to forget the relative dignities of that nature itself, and to prefer the perfectness of the lower nature to the imperfection of the higher; not considering that as, judged by such a rule, all the brute animals would be preferable to man, because more perfect in their functions and kind, and yet are always held inferior to him, so, in the works of man, those which are more perfect in their kind are always inferior