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ERRONEOUS BIBLE QUOTATIONS.
The apple is a fruit never connected in Scripture with the fall of man; Eve was not Adam's helpmate, but merely a help meet for him; Absalom's long hair, of which he was so proud, and which has consequently so often served “to point a moral and adorn a tale,” had nothing to do with his death, his head itself, and not the hair upon it, having been caught in the boughs of the tree.
The following fine lines form the "Chorus Sacerdotum," at the end of Lord Brook's Mustapha. (See his Works, fol. 1633, p. 159.)
O wearisome condition of humanity!
There should be a collected edition of the works of the two noble Grevilles, Fulke and Robert, Lords Brook; the first the friend of Sir Philip Sidney, the second the honored of Milton. The little treatise on Truth of the latter, which Wallis answered in his Truth Tried, is amply sufficient to prove that he possessed powers of no common order.
SWEARING OF THE ENGLISH,
The revolting habit of swearing, which of late years has happily diminished, has been a marked characteristic of the English for many centuries; and the national adjuration which has given us a nick-name on the continent, appears to have prevailed at an earlier period than is generally supposed.
“ The English,” observes Henry, “were remarkable in this period (between 1999 and 1485) among the nations of Europe, for the absurd and impious practice of profane swearing in conversation.” Of this the trial of Joan of Arc (ann. 1429) affords us a distinct proof. One of the witnesses, Colette, being asked who “ Godon" was, made answer that the term was a nickname generally applied to the English on account of their continual use of the exclamation, “G-d -n it," and not the designation of any particular individual. This fact from Sharon Turner's Hist. Middle Ages, 8vo. edit. vol. ii. p. 555.
The Count of Luxemburg, accompanied by the Earls of Warwick and Stafford, visited the Maid of Orleans in her prison at Rouen, where she was chained to the floor and loaded with irons. The Count, who had sold her to the English, pretended that he had come to treat with her about her ransom. After addressing him with contempt and disdain, she turned her eyes towards the two Earls, and said, "I know that you English are determined to put me to death, and imagine that, after I am dead, you will conquer France : but though there were a hundred thousand G-dammees more in France than there are, they will never conquer that kingdom.” So early had the English got this odious nickname by their frequent and common use of that horrid and disgusting imprecation.
Swearing is, however, no longer considered essential to good breeding, but is now quite discountenanced in good society. Yet the army and navy continue to keep up its respectability, and prevent it becoming utterly vulgar.” They have made it professional and official; in fact, part of their uniform. A sentence in conversation not rounded by an oath is unworthy the dignity of either Mars or Neptune, and an order not endorsed with a curse or shotted with a damn is scarcely valid, and certainly not so efficacious.
The severe epigram of Sir John Harrington is but too just :
In older times, an ancient custom was,
The only work expressly on the subject that I have heard of is, Remarks on the Profane and Absurd Use of the Monosylla ble Damn, by the Rev. Matthew Towgood, 1746, 8vo.
Byron notices it in the 11th Canto of Don Juan :
Juan, who did not understand a word
Of English, save their shibboleth, “God damn!”
He sometimes thought 'twas only their “ Salām,"
Or “God be with you!" and 'tis not absurd
To think so: for half English as I am, (To my misfortune) never can I say, I heard them wish “God with you" save that way.-Stanza XII.
See also Stanza XLIII, of the same Canto.
Our sovereigns had each their favorite oath; thus, William the Conqueror swore by the splendor of God; William Rufus, by St. Luke's face; John, by God's tooth. Elizabeth's ordinary oath was peculiarly impious and irreverent. Lord Herbert of Cherbury gives the following extraordinary excuse for James I.'s habit of cursing :
It fell out one day that the Prince of Condé coming to my house, some speech happ'ned concerning the King my master, in whom, tho' he acknowledged much learning, knowledge, clemency, and divers other virtues, yet he said he had heard that the king was much given to cursing ; I answered that it was out of his gentleness : but the Prince demanding how cursing could be gentleness? I replied yes; for tho' he could punish men himself, yet he left them to God to punish: which defence of the King my master was afterwards much celebrated in the French Court.
We cannot assert that Shakspeare, in the Tempest, had any particular island in view as the scene of his immortal drama, though by some this has been stoutly maintained. Chalmers prefers one of the Bermudas. The Rev. J. Hunter, in his Disquisition on the Scene, dc., of the Tempest, endeavors to confer the honor on the Island of Lampedosa. In reference to this question, a statement of the pseudo-Aristotle is remarkable. In his work “Tepi Javuariwv ákovouátwv," he mentions Lipara, one of the Æolian Islands, lying to the north of Sicily, and nearly in the course of Shakspeare's Neapolitan fleet from Tunis to Naples. Among the mollà reparúen found there, he tells us :
Εξακούεσθαι γάρ τυμπάνων και κυμβάλων ήχον γέλωτά τε μετά θορυβου και κροτάλων εναργώς. λέγουσι δέ τι τερατωδέστερον γεγονέναι περί το σπή
If we compare this with the aerial music heard by Ferdinand (Tempest I. 2), especially as the orchestra is represented by the genial burin of M. Retsch in the fifth plate of his well-known sketches (Umrisze), it will appear probable that Shakspeare was acquainted with the Greek writer either in the original or through a translation.
EARLY DELIGHTS OF PHILADELPHIA,
In Gabriel Thomas's Description of the Settlement of Philadelphia occurs the following passage :
In the said city are several good schools of learning for youth, for the attainment of arts and sciences, also reading and writing. Here is to be had, on any day in the week, cakes, tarts, and pies; we have also several cookshops, both roasting and boiling, as in the city of London : happy blessings, for which we owe the highest gratitude to our plentiful Provider, the great Creator of heaven and earth.
Most of these are either English words that have become obsolete in the mother-country, or words and phrases used in a way that is now out of use there. The words guess and reckon, used to signify suppose or think, are instances.
Locke, in his Essay on Education, in sect. 28, says, “ Once in four-and-twenty hours is enough, and nobody, I guess, will think it too much."
In sect. 167: “But yet, I guess, this is not to be done with children whilst very young."
And in sect. 174: “And he whose design it is to excel in English poetry would not, I guess, think the way to it was to make his first essay in Latin verses.'
Where the New Englander, or resident of the Middle States, says I guess, the Virginian says I reckon, and in this he has the