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CHAUCER'S ROMAUNT OF THE ROSE.
There myghtest thou see flutours
Fol. 124. Ed. Keynes 1542. As miscellanies similar to this work are peculiarly calculated for the admission of detached pieces of criticism, I have the less hesitation in making a remark on the above cited passage; or rather on the following note of Tyrwhitt on the word timbestere. ding to the above description, it should seem that a timbestere was a woman (see note on v. 2019) who played tricks with timbres (basons of some sort or other) by throwing them up into the air, and catching them upon a single finger; a kind of Balance-Mistress." I take these timbres (Mr. Editor) to be the tambourines which you and I have with so much satisfaction frequently seen the “mimi et joculatores” use with so great dexterity in the front of the booths at Bartholomew fair. “Am I not i' the right, old Jeptha?”
The inferior class of people in Ireland have a peculiar quaintness and humour, truly characteristic; and which is often displayed to the infinite amusement of their hearers. When Lord Townshend, however, arrived there as lord lieutenant, he complained that he could not distinguish this particular quality, or the general dissimilarity of manners, of which he had previously heard a very entertaining account. The gentlemen around observed, that as his excel. lency never had any intercourse or spoke with the lower sort, he could not expect to be acquainted with their general manners : but advised him to converse personally with them, if he wished to form a correct opinion. His lordship, as a man of wit and whim, readily assented, and the same evening sallied forth incog. with several others. Passing along Ormond Quay, he went up to a man who
was selling some trifles, and after conversing very affably for some time, and remarking on a Highland regiment, then passing, bought what came to a few shillings. Having no silver, he pulled out his purse and requested change for a guinea. “For a guinea,” exclaimed Pat, staring him full in the face. “Arrah, by Jasus, now (pointing to the Highlanders) you might as well ask one of them for a puir of breeches ! ”
The smartness of the answer, and the propriety of the instantaneous comparison, forcibly excited his lordship’s risible faculties, and making Paddy a present of the guinea, he walked off to join his company.
ORPRI. The following anecdote is told by Lucian, in his treatise against an ignorant man who bought a number of books. When the Thracian Bacchanals tore Orpheus to pieces, they say that his harp was thrown into the river Hebrus, with his bleeding head upon it. While the head
sung lamentable elegy on the fate of its late proprietor, the harp, touched by the wind, accompanied it with a solemn strain; till swimming down the Ægean sea, the mournful concert arrived at Lesbos. The Lesbians taking them up, buried the head in the spot where, in Lucian's time, stood the temple of Bacchus: and hung up the lyre in the temple of Apollo. Neanthus, the son of Pittacus the tyrant, who had heard the wonderful qualities of this harp, that it tamed wild beasts and moved even trees and rocks, and that, since the time of Orpheus, it had never been touched, had a violent desire to try its effects. With this view he bribed the priest who had it in keeping,' to give it to him, and hang up one similar in its place. Neanthus wisely thought it was not proper to use it by day, nor in the city, lest he should bring the houses about his ears, but hiding it under his robe, went by night to try it in the environs. Being quite ignorant of music, he began scraping upon it at a strange rate, but with no small pride and satisfaction, as deeming himself the worthy heir of the music of Orpheus. The town dogs, who I suppose were all turned loose into the streets at night, as is now the custom in Turkey, came to the sound in crowds. Neanthus in transport imagined, now the beasts had come, the other effects would follow, and looked sharp round to see if a rock or a tree were coming toward him dancing a minuet. Poor man! he was wofully deceived ! The dogs had only come thinking the strange noise proceeded from a wolfe or a wild hog, and enraged by the horrid din, tore its unfortunate author to pieces.
A PROCLAMATION BY KING CHARLES THE FIRST.
I lately met with the following copy of a proclamation issued by this monarch, which to those who lament with me the decay of old English hospitality, will not prove an unacceptable curiosity. I am not such an enemy to British freedom as to contend for any such arbitrary restraint as King Charles thus imposed upon the higher order of his subjects; but, if our present nobility were to reside more on their estates, it were, perhaps, a consummation devoutly to be wished,” however the inhabitants of Brighton and Margate, &c, might exclaim against the proceeding.
A Proclamation commanding the repaire of Noblemen, Knights, and
Gentlemen of Quality, unto their Mansion Houses in the Countrey, there to attend their Services, and keepe Hospitalitie.
The King's most excellent Majestie, taking into his royal consideration the present state of the tymes; together with the great decaye of hospitalitie and good housekeeping, which in former ages was the honour of this nation; the too frequent resorte and ordinary residence of lords spiritual and temporall, knights and gentlemen of qualitie, unto citties and townes, especiallye into or neare about the citties of London and Westminster, and the manifold inconie veniences which ensue by the absence of soe manye persons of qualitie and authoritie froin theire countries, whereby those parts are lefte destitute both of reliefe and governemente, and the citties of London and Westminster are overburthened with inhabitants and resiants :
Hath thought fitt hereby to renewe the course formerlye begunne by his deere father of blessed memorie, and to publishe and declare, and he doth hereby publish and declare, his royall will and pleasure to bee, and doth by theise presents straightly charge and commaund, as well his lords spiritual and temporal, as alsoe all deputie lieutenants, justices of the peace, and gentlemen of qualitie, who have mansion houses in the countrie, wherein they and their families have usually dwelte (except such as are of his Highnes privie counsell, or beare office about the persons or courts of himselfe, or of his dearest consorte the queene) that they, and everie of
them, ymediatly upon the ende of this presente month of November, departe from the citties of London and Westminster, and other citties and places with theire families and servants, unto theire severall countries, to attende theire service there, and to keepe hospitalitie, as apperteineth to theire degree and calling; and that they, nor anye of them, make their aboade in any other citties or townes, where they shall live privately, but resorte to theire countrie houses, and ordinarie places of habitation, and there observe theise directions, upon paine not onely of his majesties most heavie indignation and displeasure, and disablemente to houlde
such places of trust under his majestie, but also of such further censure and punishmente as may bee inflicted upon them for theire disobedience and contempe, or neglect of this his royall commaundemente ;'whereof, as his majestie intendeth to take a stricte and severe accompte, soe hee doth hereby require and commaunde, as well the lords and other of his privy councill, as also his attorney generall, and all others his officers and ministers, whome itt shall anye waye concerne, to take order, that all such as shall offend may receive condigne punishmente, without toleration or connivencie,
Given att our courté at Whitehall, the twenty eigth day of November.
God save the King.
EXPLANATION OF THE WORD “COCKNEY,"
In a Letter to a Friend,
FROM SAMUEL PEGGE, ESQ. F. S. A.
Tuis word is confessed to be, of most others, the least defineable. Bailey, in his dictionary, and after him Dr. Johnson, give it as a term, the origin of which is much controverted. Glossarists have written about it and about it,—the game has been started; but not one of them has had the satisfaction of hunting it down.* Dr. Meric Casaubon would persuade us, as he attempts to do in most possible cases, that it and its article taken together, (a cockney) complete the Greek word—“ Oicogenes,” born and bred at home.t The
* The French have, at Paris, the word Badaud, according to Boyer, exactly in the same situation as our word cockney; this is confirmed by Mr. Menage. The French word, by the way, is equally obscure and unaccounted for. (Menage, Dictio. Daire Etymologique.)
+ De Lingua Saxonica.
learned doctor may not, indeed, be far from the meaning, however he may err in the etymon. · The Greek word, to be sure, is picturesque, and the combined sounds approximate : but, as far as derivation is concerned, I beg to take my leave. Dr. Hickes deduces it from the old French “ cokayne," now coquin,” to which last Cotgrave (among other senses of the word) gives us that of "a cockney;" and Cotgrave seems to have seen farther into the intrinsic meaning of the word than he here expresses, as will be shewn before we quit the subject. To obtain Dr. Hickes's point, the word “cokayne” must become a trisyllable ; but he gives no authority by accent in prose, or by metre in verse; though his conjecture may find support hereafter.
If, Sir, you will insist upon the vulgar and received opinion, as delivered by story-tellers, vivá voce, we learn that the word is compounded of cock and neigh; for that, once upon a time, a trueborn and true-bred Londoner went into the country, and, on first hearing a horse neigh, cried out-“How the horse laughs !” but, being told that the noise made by the horse was called neighing, he stood corrected. In the morning, when the cock crew, the cit immediately exclaimed, with confident conviction, that the cock neighed! This traditional history is mentioned by Dr. Skinner, who treats it, deservedly, as a mere forced conceit—“De quo,” says he,“ nota fabula est, reverà fabula."* It might have passed well enough among Dean Swift's jocular etymons.
Let us not, however, so rashly favour the story as to believe that the first exclamation produced the common term, “ a horse laugh,” for that expression, I think, rests upon different ground. Some etymologists contend that it is a corruption of hoarse laugh; but in such case it must be confined to those who either naturally have a very rough voice, or have got a violent cold, neither of which circumstances are absolutely necessary; for what we call a horse laugh depends rather upon loudness, rude vehemence, or vulgarity of manner. It seems to be, in fact, no more than an expression of augmentation, as the prepositive horse is applied variously, to denote several things large and coarse, by contra-distinction. Thus, in the vegetable system, we have the horse-radish, horse-walnut, and horse-chesnut. In the animal world there is the horse-emmet (or formica-leo) the horse-muscle, and the horse-crab; not forgetting that a fat, clumsey, vulgar woman is jocularly termed a horse-godmother,
* Etymologicon, in voce cockney.