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wailing,' or 'lamenting ;' in other words, it always points to the vocal expression of grief, in contradistinction to dolere, which is the proper term for mental sorrow. But we learn from Festus (s. v. plorare), that the oldest signification of plorare was 'exclamare,' to shout simply, or make a noise without


attached notion of sorrow or pain, and as authority for this statement, he produces a passage from the laws of Servius Tullius : “Si parentem puer verberit, ast olle plorasit*, puer divis parentum sacer esto.” The proof afforded by this passage is not decisive, since plorasit here may evidently express a cry or shout, occasioned by the blows or injury received, and therefore approximates to its ordinary usage.

We are however enabled to confirm Festus's assertion in another way. All the Latin verbs in -oro with a long penultimate are immediately derived from a primitive substantive in -os or -or of the third declension; thus we have

amoro, which is presupposed by amorabundus . . amor.
decoro .



moro, which exists in moratus




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roro .


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vapor. * I

may remark in passing, that this requirement of vociferation as a legal test of an injury committed, is similar to the enactments relative to the seduction and rape of a betrothed damsel, in Deut. xxii. vv. 23–27. Both parties in the former case are to be put to death, 'the damsel because she cried not, being in the city'; while in the latter, the betrothed damsel is to be acquitted because she cried and there was none to save her. And in more modern times, a Lord Chancellor of England (Thurlow) has decided that a contract for sale cannot be rescinded on account of inadequacy of price, unless such inadequacy be so gross as to elicit an exclamation from any man of common sense, as soon as the terms of the contract are stated to him. Had Thurlow lived in the days of Ulpian, his dictum would probably have come down to us embalmed in the Digest under some such oracular form as'Si nuncupato pretio sanus plorassit, tunc obligationem uterque solvito.'

And there may possibly be some others. The only exceptions are ignoro from ignarus, and our ploro, for which analogy would lead us to assume a radical plos; and then the only remaining question will be, as to the meaning to be affixed to this assumed substantive. I think that the parallels I am about to adduce will leave but little doubt that plos must originally have meant 'sound' or 'noise,' with probably a primary reference to the kind of sound produced by percussion. We have in Erse, blor, a voice; blosc, a clear voice; blosgadh, a sound; plosgail, a sound, noise; and plosg, a sigh or groan: in Gaelic, plaosg, a sudden noise; pleasg, a noise or crack: and in Welsh, bloedd, a shout; bloeddian and bloeddio, to keep shouting, to shout; and bloesg, a broken noise, to lisp or falter : cf. the A.S. plips, a stammerer. These Keltic instances are important for our purpose, on account of the aboriginal connexion between Keltic and Latin; but the investigation may be extended to other languages. We find in Lapp, plusketet, to mutter; Wallachian, plesnescu, to utter a sound; and in German, plotz, a sudden noise, as of a fall; in English, blare, a word generally appropriated to express the sound of a trumpet, blore, to bellow (Halliwell), and bloryne, to weep (Prompt. Parv.). Going back to the more ancient tongues, Hesychius gives us Bpavõsa=kekpayuia and Bpavkaváaolat, which expresses the noise of a crying child; while in Sanskrit we get the roots brú, to speak, and ru, to utter a sound, the prefixed labial having disappeared in the latter; while for the interchange of the liquids l and r in composition with other consonants, compare Bremealvw and βρεμεαίνω, κλάζω and κράζω, κλαδάω and κραδάω, φλάω, Khaw, or Oráw, with frango, and the English clash and crash. But besides all these words, signifying 'sound' only, there is another large and important family which contain the root (Thary), and convey the idea of striking or beating; and the line of derivatives originating from this root runs parallel with that which we have been hitherto discussing, and in many instances appears to unite with it. This is only what might, à priori, have been expected, since percussion evidently furnishes the simplest and readiest mode of producing sound;

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I need hardly refer to the great antiquity of the drum and tambourine as a proof of this. The philological result of this connexion of ideas is, that in many words, such as plango; plash; Germ. plumpen; Eng. flack, &c., it is doubtful whether the notion of sound or blow preponderates, and to this class of ambiguous words I believe that plos belongs. For besides ploro, we have another secondary verb in Latin derived from the same source, plaudo or plodo, to clap with the hands, to clatter; cf. Germ. plaudern, to chatter, and hence to applaud. As sound may be the expression both of joyful and mournful feelings, the two verbs plaudo and ploro were logically necessary; and in the former the cognate notion of striking comes out clearly, though it is concealed or lost in the latter. Further, with plos or plaus, and plodo or plaudo (for the diphthong and vowel are convertible), compare laus and laudo, which, in fact, I believe to be nothing more than by-forms of the former words. The rejection or assumption of a consonant before a liquid, and especially l, is a phænomenon familiar to every philologist: compare Tlatús, latus ; precor and procus with rogo; pluo and Louw; Brds and laxus ; 0.Eng. lisse with bliss; and lausus or lessus actually occurs both in the Twelve Tables* and in Plautus, in the sense of ploratus, ejulatus. The general result, therefore, is favourable to the assertion of Festus ; and all that remains to be done is, to trace the connexion between the idea of simple vociferation represented by ploro, and that of investigation expressed by its compound derivative; to reconcile, in fact, the apparent discrepance of meaning in the two words with their obvious and close affinity in external form.

Philology has had its turn, and we must call in Analogy to complete the case. Every one knows what the public crier in an English town is, and what his duties are; and many also know, that this functionary was in the days of our ancestors a personage of considerably more importance than he is now. Penny newspapers and cheap printing have sadly interfered with his vocation, and it is only in old cathedral towns and quiet unsophisticated villages that he is considered

* See the Fragment in Ortolan's 'Histoire du Droit Romain,' p. 102.

to be, and perhaps is, a necessity. Among his numerous functions, one consists in making known all losses of articles of property, which takes place in the following manner :First comes a premonitory prelude on a large bell; then a recitative in monotone, whereby all persons are informed that a stick, or umbrella, or parasol, or purse of a peculiar description has been lost—or, perhaps, that a favourite dog or cat has absented itself ever since a certain day from its master or mistress and never been heard of since; then comes the promise of a reward to any one who shall restore the lost article or animal to the owner, with a solemn invitation to all welldisposed persons to assist in the quest; and the speaker closes his harangue as he began it, with a brief scherzo on the bell, by way of finale. Here we have clearly an instance of a process of discovery originated by vociferation or vociferated speech; and with this agrees the distinction drawn by Festus (s. v. Explorator) between the Speculator and the Explorator, the former of whom works in silence- hostilia silentio

perspicit;' the latter employs shouting—pacata clamore cognoscit. A similar association of ideas occurs in the treatise of Artemidorus on Dreams. He lays it down that to dream of playing the trumpet is an auspicious omen to those who have lost slaves or domestics; for the grandeur of tone possessed by this instrument is of great efficacy in bringing the thing which is hidden to light-τα γάρ κρυπτα ελέγχει διά Meryalópwvov*. And a further illustration may be found in the expedient usually adopted by a company of men who are compelled to thread their way through the mazes of an unknown forest in single file; not one of them perhaps can see the man immediately ahead of him through the dense masses of underwood, and in a short time the whole body would be straggling in all directions and be infallibly lost, were they not to keep up a regular sequence of shouts passing down the line. This device enables them to explore their way' by the aid of their ears at times when circumstances preclude their eyes from assuming the direction. To sum up the argument in a few words, it stands thus :

* Artemid. Oneirocrit. i. c. 56, ed. Rigalt.

That ploro originally meant to shout' or 'vociferate' simply -a statement for which Festus is our sole authority; that such statement might be true, although no completely unequivocal instance can be produced, because it agrees with the ordinary and more restricted sense of ploro and all but one of its derivatives, (which said restriction itself is in complete accordance with the universal tendency of language to contract the significational area of individual words by apportioning it between several derivatives); and lastly, that such statement must be true, because it is only by an assumption of its truth that the difficulty at first sight presented by the exceptional case (viz. that of exploro) can receive an adequate solution.


[Read December the 3rd.] The following passage in Shakespeare's 'King Lear,' Act iv. Sc. 6, never having been properly explained, I beg to offer what I think is the meaning.

“ Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presageth snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head

To hear of pleasure's name;" In Malone's 'Variorum Shakespeare,' 1821, vol. x. p. 227, these two notes are given :

«« Whose face between her forks. The construction is not, whose face between her forks,' &c., but, 'whose face presageth snow between her forks.' So, in Timon,' Act iv. Sc. 3:

· Whose blush doth thaw the consecrated snow

That lies on Dian's lap.'--EDWARDS. “To preserve the modesty of Mr. Edwards's happy explanation, I can only hint a reference to the word fourcheure in Cotgrave's Dictionary.-STEEVENS."

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