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lowing passage : " He put those lies into print unlawfully, which he coin'd in hugger-mugger : and others opposite to his humour will have their lies lie open manifestly, if it be but to shew that they dare put in for the whetstone, and make as lowd lies as Martin the forman.' In Faultes Faults, and Nothing else but Faultes, by Barnabie Rich, 1606, p. 13, the author, speaking of lying and slandering, says: “Most execrable creatures, whose depraving tongues are more persing than the point of a sword, and are whetted still with scandalous and lying reports."
In Vaughan's Golden Grove, also 1608, b. i. chap. 32, “Of Lies,” is the following passage : “Papists, assure yourselves that for all your falsehoods and lies you shall, at the last, in recompence have nought els save the whetstone.” So, in Walter Costelow's Charles Stuart and Oliver Cromwell united, 8vo. 1655, p. 92: “Of a like nature was one heard, praying in the pulpit for a reformation, in those over-active times, dispairingly say, “How can we hope for it to God's glory, when there is not one in our universities or cathedrals but what are factors for that whore of Babylon ? Sure he was never there ? he was so ignorant; mistake me not, I mean the university: if otherwise, give him the whetstone, having thus preached for it.” Among Ray's Proverbial Phrases, 8vo. Lond. 1768, p. 70, we have the following :“A lier. He deserves the whetstone.” There are two allusions to something of this kind in the common version of the Psalms. Ps. li. 2: “Thy tongue-like a sharp razor, working deceitfully." Ps. lxiv. 3 :“Who whet their tongue like a sword.”
In the library of Mr. Douce is preserved a Pake of Knaves, i. e. a pack of bad characters, certainly out of Hollar's school, if not engraved by his own burin, consisting of eighteen in number. This appears to have been the first, and most fully illustrates the whetstone as an emblem of lying. The last line of the inscription attempts to account for its having been so :
“ An edge must needs be set on every lie.” In an extract from the Berkeley Mss. read to the Society of Antiquaries of London, Thursday, June 4th, 1801, in an account of a sanctuary man at Westminster, who had behaved himself with great treachery and falsehood, it is stated on his detection that (vol. ii. p. 568), “ upon his own confession, the abbot decreed him to bee had to an open place in the sanctuary of punishment and reproofe, and made him to bee arrayed in papires painted with signes of untroth, seditione, and doublenesse, and was made to goe before the procession in that array, and afterwards soe set him in the stocks that the people might behold him."
The curious tract entitled a Ful and Round Answer to N. D., alias Robert Parsons, already quoted, furnishes a notice of some other modes of punishing liars. P. 280 :“For this worthy place therefore thus falsely alledged, this worthlesse fellow is worthy to have a paper clapped to his head for a falsary.” Ibid. p. 223 : “ While he continued in Bailiol Colledge, one Stancliffe, his fellow-burser did charge him with forgery, and with such favour he departed, that no man seemed desirous he should remaine in the colledge any longer. I thinke he may remember that he was rung with belles out of the house, which was either a signe of triumph, or else of his dismall departure out of the world.” Ibid. p. 279 : “ Would not this fellow then have a garland of peacocke's feathers for his notorious cogging, and for his presumption in falsely alledging and belying the fathers ?” Ibid. p. 250. “I will here bestow on him a crowne of fox tayles, and make him king of al renegate traitors ; and doubt not, if he come into England, but to see him crowned at Tiburne, and his quarters enstalled at Newgate and Moorgate.” Ibid. p. 355 : “And so for his pride I give Parsons a crowne of peacocke's feathers, and leave him to be enstalled kard-foole at Tyburne.”
Mr. Punshon informed me that, among the colliers at Newcastle there is a custom of giving a pin to a person in company, by way of hinting to him that he is fibbing. If another pitman outlies him, he in turn delivers the pin to him. No duels ensue on the occasion. “Take my cap" appears to have been formerly a taunt for
In a Trip through the Town, 8vo. p. 17, we read : “A Yorkshire wench was indicted at the Old Bailey for feloniously stealing from her mistress a dozen of round-eared laced caps, of a very considerable value. The creature pleaded not guilty, insisting very strenuously that she had her mistress's express orders for what she had done. The prosecutrix being called upon by the court to answer this allegation, said: • Mary, thou wast always a most abominable lyar.' Very
true, madam, replies the hussey, ‘for whenever I told a round lye, you was so good as to bid me take your cap. The court fell into a violent fit of laughter, and the jury acquitted the prisoner.”
TO BEAR THE BELL.
A WRITER in the Gent. Mag. i. 515, says: “A bell was the common prize : a little golden bell was the reward of victory in 1607 at the races near_York; whence came the proverb for successe of any kind, .To bear the bell.' In Ray's Collection of English Proverbs we find 'to bear away the bell,' which seems to be the more genuine reading.” A writer, ibid. li. 25, inquires “ If the proverb 'Bearing away the bell’ does not mean carrying or winning the fair lady (belle).” In Dudley Lord North's Forest of Varieties, p. 175, we read:
"Jockey and his horse were by their master sent
To put in for the bell-
They are to run, and cannot misse the bell.” In Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems, by R. H., 1664, p. 4, speaking of women, the author says: “Whoever bears the bell away, yet they will ever carry the clapper.”
TO PLUCK A CROW, &c. In the second part of Dekker's Honest Whore, 1630, I find the following passage : “We'll pull that old crow my father.” The subsequent occurs in the Workes of John Heiwood, 1598:
“ He loveth well sheep's flesh, that wets his bred in the wull.
If he leave it not, we have a crow to pull." A jealous wife is speaking concerning certain liberties which her husband is always taking with her maid. In Howell's Proverbs, fol. London, 1659, p. 2, we read : “I have a goose to pluck with you : viz. I have something to complain of.”
À writer in the Gent. Mag. li. 367, inquires after the origin of the phrase “I found everything at sixes and sevens, as the old woman left her house."
Dr. Pegge, in the Gent. Mag. for Sept. 1767, xxxvii. 442, derives the word dab, in the phrase of “a dab at such or such a thing," as a vulgar corruption of the Latin adeptus; “a cute man,” in like manner, from the Latin acutus; and the word spice, when meaning a jot, bit, small portion, or least mixture (as “there is no spice of evil in perfect goodness”), from the French word espèce : thus Caxton, in his Mirrour of the World,
· God's bounte is all pure, without ony espece of evyll.” The French espèce is derived from the Latin species.
A writer under the signature of G. S., in the same work for March 1775, xxv. 115, says : “ Spick and span new is an expression, the meaning of which is obvious, though the words want explanation : and which, I presume, are a corruption of the Italian spiccata della spanna, snatched from the hand; opus ablatum incude ; or, according to another expression of our own, fresh from the mint; in all which the same idea is conveyed by a different metaphor. Our language abounds with Italicisms.”
He adds : “ There is another expression much used by the vulgar, wherein the sense and words are equally obscure : dn't please the pigs. Pigs is most assuredly & corruption of pyr, the vessel in which the host is kept in Roman Catholic countries. The expression, therefore, means no more than Deo volente ; or, as it is translated into modern English by coachmen and carriers, God willing.”
So the phrase corporal oath is supposed to have been derived—“not from the touching the New Testament, or the bodily act of kissing it, but from the ancient use of touching the corporale or cloth which covered the consecrated elements.”
In Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, iï. 380, the minister of Applecross, in the county of Ross, speaking of his parish, says : “ This parish, like some of the Western Isles, hath its characteristical expressions : the Leabharfein of Sky, i. e. by the book itself, meaning the Bible; the Danish Mhoirc of Lewes, i. e. by the great sabbath ; and the Ider of Applecross, i. e. by St. Iderius ; are so characteristical of the natives of these several places, that, when talking the Gaelic language, they can, with few exceptions, be easily distinguished in any part of the globe. They are the remnants of Popish oaths, which, having lost their original meaning, are now used merely as expletives in conversation.”
EPPING STAG HUNT. [“On Monday last Epping Forest was enlivened, according to ancient custom, with the celebrated stag hunt. The road from Whitechapel to the Bald-faced Stag, on the Forest, was covered with Cockney sportsmen, chiefly dressed in the costume of the chace, viz. scarlet frock, black jockey cap, new boots, and buckskin breeches. By ten o'clock the assemblage of civic hunters, mounted on all sorts and shapes, could not fall short of 1200. There were numberless Dianas also of the chace, from Rotherhithe, the Minories, &c., some in riding habits, mounted on titups, and others by the sides of their mothers, in gigs, tax-carts, and other vehicles appropriate to the sports of the field. The Saffron Waldon stag-hounds made their joyful appearance about half after ten, but without any of the Mellishes or Bosanquets, who were more knowing sportsmen, than to risque either themselves, or their horses, in so desperate a burst! The huntsman having capped their halfcrowns, the horn blew just before twelve, as a signal for the old fat one-eyed stag (kept for the day) being enlarged from the cart. He made a bound of several yards, over the heads of some pedestrians, at first starting-when such a clatter commenced, as the days of Nimrod never knew. Some of the scarlet jackets were sprawling in the high road a few minutes after starting --so that a lamentable return of maimed ! missing! thrown ! and thrown-out ! may naturally be supposed.”Chelmsford Chron., 15th April, 1805.]
WILL WITH A WISP. This phenomenon is called Will or Kitty with a wisp, or Jack with a lantern. To these vulgar names of it may be added, Kit of the canstick (i. e. candlestick), for so it is called by Reginald Scot, p. 85.
(And it was also termed Peg-a-lantern, as in the following extract:
“ I should indeed as soon expect