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the miner's language, nor take a voyage to per- fess that I fattered myself for awhile ; but now fect my skill in the dialect of navigation, nor begin to fear that I have indulged expectation visit the warehouses of merchants, and shops of which neither reason nor experience can justify. artificers, to gain the names of wares, tools and When we seen men grow old and die at a certain operations, of which no mention is found in time one after another, from century to century, books; what favourable accident or easy inquiry we laugh at the elixir that promises to prolong brought within my reach, has not been neglected; life to a thousand years; and with equal justice but it had been a hopeless labour to glean up may the lexicographer be derided, who being words, by courting living information, and con- able to produce no example of a nation that has testing with the sullenness of one, and the rough-preserved their words and phrases from mutaness of another.
bility, shall imagine that his dictionary can emTo furnish the Academicians della Crusca with balm his language, and secure it from corruption words of this kind, a series of comedies called and decay, that it is in his power to change subLa Fiera, or the Fair, was professedly written by lunary nature, and clear the world at once from Buonaroti; but I had no such assistant, and folly, vanity, and affectation. therefore was content to want what they must With this hope, however, academies have have wanted likewise, had they not luckily been been instituted, to guard the avenues of their lan80 supplied.
guages, to retain fugitives, and repulse intruNor are all words which are not found in the ders; but their vigilance and activity have hivocabulary, to be lamented as omissions. Of therto been vain; sounds are too volatile and the laborious and mercantile part of the people, subtile for legal restraints; to enchain syllables, the diction is in a great measure casual and mu- and to lash the wind, are equally the undertaktable; many of their terms are formed for some ings of pride, unwilling to measure its desires by temporary or local convenience, and though cur. its strength. The French language has visibly rent at certain times and places, are in others changed under the inspection of the Academy; utterly unknown. This fugitive cant, which is the style of Amelot's translation of Father Paul, always in a state of increase or decay, cannot be is observed by Le Courayer to be un peu passe ; regarded as any part of the durable materials and no Italian will maintain, that the diction of of a language, and therefore must be suffered to any modern writer is not perceptibly different perish with other things unworthy of preser- from that of Boccace, Machiavel, or Caro. vation.
Total and sudden transformations of a lan• Care will sometimes betray to the appearance guage seldom happen; conquests and migrations of negligence. He that is catching opportunities are now very rare; but there are other causes which seldom occur, will suffer those to pass by of change, which, though slow in their operation, unregarded, which he expects hourly to return; and invisible in their progress, are perhaps as he that is searching for rare and remote things, much superior to human resistance, as the revowill neglect those that are obvious and familiar: lutions of the sky, or intumescence of the tide. thus many of the most common and cursory Commerce, however necessary, however lucrawords have been inserted with little illustration, tive, as it depraves the manners, corrupts the because in gathering the authorities, I forbore 10 language; they that have frequent intercourse copy those which I thought likely to occur when with strangers, to whom they endeavour to acever they were wanted. It is remarkable that, commodate themselves, must in time learn a in reviewing my collection, I found the word sea mingled dialect, like the jargon which serves the unexemplified.
traffickers on the Mediterranean and Indian Thus it happens, that in things difficult there coasts. This will not always be confined to the is danger from ignorance, and in things easy, exchange, the warehouse, or the port, but will be from confidence ; the mind, afraid of greatness, communicated by degrees to other ranks of the and disdainful of littleness, hastily withdraws people, and be at last incorporated with the curherself from painful searches, and passes with rent speech. scornful rapidity over tasks not adequate to her There are likewise internal causes equally powers, sometimes too secure for caution, and forcible. The language most likely to continue again too anxious for vigorous effort; sometimes long without alteration, would be that of a nation idle in a plain path, and sometimes distracted in raised a little, and but a little, above barbarity, labyrinths, and dissipated by different intentions. secluded from strangers, and totally employed in
A large work is difficult because it is large, procuring the conveniences of life; either witheven though all its parts might singly be per- Jout books, or, like some of the Mahometan counformed with facility; where there are many tries, with very few: men thus busied and unthings to be done, each must be allowed its share learned, having only such words as common use of time and labour, in the proportion only which requires, would perhaps long continue to express it bears to the whole; nor can it be expected, the same notions by the same signs. But no that the stones which form the dome of a temple, such constancy can be expected in a people poshould be squared and polished like the diamond lished by arts, and classed by subordination, of a ring.
where one part of the community is sustained Of the event of this work, for which, having and accommodated by the labour of the other. laboured it with so much application, I cannot Those who have much leisure to think, will but have some degree of parental fondness, it is always be enlarging the stock of ideas; and natural to form conjectures. Those who have every increase of knowledge, whether real or been persuaded to think well of my design, will fancied, will produce new words, or combination require that it should fix our language, and put of words. When the mind is unchanged from a stop to those alterations which time and chance necessity, it will range after convenience; when have hitherto been suffered to make in it without it is left at large in the fields of speculation, it opposition. With this consequence I will con- I will shift opinions; as any custom is disused,
the words that expressed it must perish with it: in the other insurmountable distresses of hoas any opinion grows popular, it will innovate manity? It remains that we retard what we speech in the same proportion as it alters practice. cannot repel, that we palliate what we cannot
As by the cultivation of various sciences a Life may be lengthened by care, though language is amplified, it will be more furnished death cannot be ultimately defeated : tongues, with words deflected from their original sense; like governments, have a natural tendency to the geometrician will talk of a courtier's zenith, degeneration; we have long preserved our conor the eccentric virtue of a wild hero, and the stitution, let us make some struggles for our physician of sanguine expectations and phleg- language. matic delays. Copiousness of speech will give In hope of giving longevity to that which its opportunities to capricious choice, by which some own nature forbids to be immortal, I have dewords will be preferred, and others degraded ; voted this book, the labour of years, to the vicissitudes of fashion will enforce the use of new, honour of my country, that we may no longer or extend the signification of known terms. The yield the palm of philology, without a contest, tropes of poetry will make hourly encroach to the nations of the continent. The chief glory ments, and the metaphorical will become the cur- of every people arises from its authors: whether rent sense; pronunciation will be varied by levity I shall add any thing by my own writings to or ignorance, and the pen must at length com- the reputation of English literature, must be left ply with the tongue; illiterate writers will, at to time: much of my life has been lost under the one time or other, by public infatuation, rise into pressures of disease; much has been trifled away; renown, who not knowing the original import of and much has always been spent in provision for words, will use them with colloquial licentious- the day that was passing over me; but I shall ness, confound distinction, and forget propriety. not think my employment useless or ignoble, if As politeness increases, some expressions will by my assistance foreign nations and distant ages be considered as too gross and vulgar for the gain access to the propagators of knowledge, and delicate, others as too formal and ceremonious understand the teachers of truth; if my labours for the gay and airy; new phrases are therefore afford light to the repositories of science, and add adopted, which must, for the same reasons, be celebrity to Bacon, to Hooker, to Milton, and to in time dismissed. Swift, in his petty treatise Boyle. on the English language, allows that new words When I am animated by this wish, I look must sometimes be introduced, but proposes that with pleasure on my book, however defective, none should be suffered to become obsolete. But and deliver it to the world with the spirit of a what makes a word obsolete, more than general man that has endeavoured well. That it will agreement to forbear it? and how shall it be con- immediately become popular, I have not protinued, when it conveys an offensive idea, or re- mised to myself: a few wild blunders, and risi. called again into the mouths of mankind, when ble absurdíties, from which no work of such it has once become unfamiliar by disuse, and un- multiplicity was ever free, may for a time furpleasing by unfamiliarity ?
nish folly with laughter, and harden ignorance There is another cause of alteration more pre- into contempt; but useful diligence will at last valent than any other, which yet in the present prevail, and there never can be wanting some state of the world cannot be obviated. A mix- who distinguish desert; who will consider that ture of two languages will produce a third dis- no dictionary of a living tongue ever can be pertinct from both, and they will always be mixed, fect, since, while it is hastening to publication, where the chief parts of education, and the most some words are budding, and some falling away; conspicuous accomplishment, is skill in ancient that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax or in foreign tongues. He that has long culti- and etymology, and that even a whole life would vated another language, will find its words and not be sufficient : that he, whose design includes combinations crowd upon his memory; and whatever language can express, must often haste and negligence, refinement and affectation, speak of what he does not understand; that a will obtrude borrowed terms and exotic ex- writer will sometimes be hurried hy eagerness to pressions.
the end, and sometimes faint with weariness The great pest of speech is frequency of trans- under a task, which Scaliger compares to the lation. No book was ever turned from one labours of the anvil and the mine; that what is language into another, without imparting some-obvious is not always known, and what is known thing of its native idiom; this is the most mis- is not always present; that sudden fits of inadchievous and comprehensive innovation ; single vertency will surprise vigilance, slight avocawords may enter by thousands, and the fabric of tions will seduce attention, and casual eclipses the tongue continue the same; but new phrase- of the mind will darken learning; and that the ology changes much at once; it alters not the writer shall often in vain trace his memory at single stones of the building, but the order of the the moment of need, for that which yesterday columns. If an academy should be established he knew with intuitive readiness, and which for the cultivation of our style; which I, who will come uncalled into his thoughts to-morrrow. can never wish to see dependence multiplied, In this work, when it shall be found that much hope the spirit of English liberty will hinder or is omitted, let it not be forgotten that much likedestroy, let them, instead of compiling gram- wise is performed; and though no book was mars and dictionaries, endeavour, with all their ever spared out of tenderness to the author, and influence, to stop the license of translators, the world is little solicitous to know whence prowhose idleness and ignorance, if it be suffered ceed the faults of that which it condemns; yet to proceed, will reduce us to babble the dialect it may gratify curiosity to inform it, that the of France.
“English Dictionary” was written with little If the changes that we fear be thus irresistible, assistance of the learned, and without any what remains but to acquiesce with silence, as patronage of the great; not in the soft obscuri
TO THE FOURTH EDITION OF THE ENGLISH
dies of retirement, or under the shelter of acade- of such as aspire to exactness of criticism, or mic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and dis- elegance of style. traction, in sickness and in sorrow.
But it has been since considered that works repress the triumph of malignant criticism to of that kind are by no means necessary to the observe, that if our language is not here fully greater number of readers, who, seldom intenddisplayed, I have only failed in an attempt which ing to write or presuming to judge, turn over no human powers have hitherto completed. If books* only to amuse their leisure, and to gain the lexicons of ancient tongues, now immutably degrees of knowledge suitable to lower characfixed, and comprised in a few volumes, be yet, ters, or necessary to the common business of after the toil of successive ages, inadequate and life: these know not any other use of a dictiondelusive; if the aggregated knowledge and co-ary than that of adjusting orthography, and exoperating diligence of the Italian academicians, plaining terms of science, or words of infrequent did not secure them from the censure of Beni; if occurrence, or remote derivation. the embodied critics of France, when fifty years For these purposes many dictionaries have had been spent upon their work, were obliged to been written by different authors, and with difchange its economy, and give their second edi- ferent degrees of skill; but none of them have tion another form, I may surely be contented yet fallen into my hands by which even the lowest without the praise of perfection, which, if I expectations could be satisfied. Some of their could obtain, in this gloom of solitude, what authors wanted industry, and others literature; would it avail me? I have protracted my work some knew not their own defects, and others till most of those whom I wished to please have were too idle to supply them. sunk into the grave, and success and miscar For this reason a small dictionary appeared riage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it yet to be wanting to common readers; and, as I with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or inay without arrogance claim to myself a longer hope from censure or from praise.
acquaintance with the lexicography of our lan. guage than any other writer has had, I shall
hope to be considered as having more experiADVERTISEMENT
ence at least than most of my predecessors, and as more likely to accommodate the nation with
a vocabulary of daily use. I therefore offer to Many are the works of human industry, which
the public an Abstract or Epitome of my former
Work. to begin and finish are hardly granted to the same man. He that undertakes to compile a the same kind, it will be found to have several
In comparing this with other dictionaries of dictionary, undertakes that, which, if it com
advantages. prehends the full extent of his design, he knows
I. It contains many words not to be found in himself unable to perform. Yet his labours,
any other. though deficient, may be useful, and with the
II. Many barbarous terms and phrases by hope of this inferior praise, he must incite his which other dictionaries may vitiate the style, activity, and solace his weariness.
are rejected from this. Perfection is unattainable, but nearer and
III. The words are more correctly spelled, nearer approaches may be made; and finding partly by attention to their etymology, and partly my dictionary about to be reprinted, I have en- by observation of the practice of the best authors. deavoured, by a revisal, to make it less reprehensible. I will not deny that I found manyther from foreign languages or from native roots,
IV. The etymologies and derivations, wheparts requiring emendation, and many, more are more diligently traced, and more distinctly capable of improvement. Many faults I have noted. corrected, some superfluities I have taken away, V. The senses of each word are more copiand some deficiencies I have supplied. I have ously enumerated, and more clearly explained. methodised some parts that were disordered, and illuminated some that were obscure. Yet thors, such as Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton,
Ví. Many words occurring in the elder authe changes or additions bear a very small pro- which had been hitherto omitted, are here careportion to the whole. The critic will now
have fully inserted ; so that this book may serve as less to object, but the student who has bought a glossary or expository index to the poetical any of the former copies needs not repent; he writers. will not, without nice collation, perceive how
VII. To the words, and to the different senses they differ; and usefulness seldom depends upon of each word, are subjoined from the large diclittle things. For negligence or deficience, I have perhaps they have been used; so that the reader who
tionary the names of those writers by whom not need of more apology than the nature of the knows the different periods of the language, and work will furnish: I have left that inaccurate the time of its authors, may judge of the elewhich never was made exact, and that imperfect gance or prevalence of any word, or meaning of which never was completed.
a word ; and without recurring to other books,
may know what are antiquated, what are unPREFACE
usual, and what are recommended by the best authority.
The words of this Dictionary, as opposed to
others, are more diligently collected, more acHaving been long employed in the study and curately spelled, more faithfully explained, and cultivation of the English language, I lately more authentically ascertained. Ofan Abstract published a Dictionary like those compiled by it is not necessary to say more; and I hope it will the academies of Italy and France, for the use not be found that truth' requires me to say loas.
TO THE OCTAVO EDITION OF THE ENGLISH
TRAGEDY OF MACBETH:
WITH REMARKS ON SIR T. HANMER'S EDITION OF SHAKSPEARE.
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1745.
out soldiers, was, at the instance of the Empress Acr I. SCENE I.- Enter three Witches.
Placidia, put to death, when he was about to
have given proofs of his abilities. The empress In order to make a true estimate of the abili- showed some kindness in her anger by catting ties and merit of a writer, it is always necessary him off at a time so convenient for his reputato examine the genius of his age, and the opi- tion. nions of his contemporaries. A poet who should But a more remarkable proof of the antiquity now make the whole action of his tragedy de- of this notion may be found in St. Chrysostom's pend upon enchantment, and produce the chief book de Sacerdotio, which exhibits a scene of enevents by the assistance of supernatural agents, chantments not exceeded by any romance of the would be censured as transgressing the bounds middle age; he supposes a spectator, overlook. of probability, he would be banished from the ing a field of battle, attended by one that points theatre to the nursery, and condemned to write out all the various objects of horror, the engines Fairy Tales instead of Tragedies; but a survey of destruction, and the arts of slaughter. Au of the notions that prevailed at the time when κνότο δε έτι παρά τους εναντίοις και πετομένους ίππους this play was written, will prove that Shak- | διά τινος μαγγανείας, και οπλίτας δι' αέρος φερομένους, speare was in no danger of such censures, since ka ndonu yonteias dóvapiv kai Idéav. Let' him then he only turned the system that was then uni- proceed to shoro him in the opposite armies horses versally admitted to his advantage, and was far Aying by enchantment, armed men transported from overburdening the credulity of his au- through the air, and every power and form of madience.
gic. Whether St. Chrysostom believed that such The reality of witchcraft or enchantment, performances were really to be seen in a day of which though not strictly the same, are con- battle, or only endeavoured to enliven his defounded in this play, has in all ages and coun- scription, by adopting the notions of the vulgar, tries been credited by the common people, and it is equally certain, that such notions were in in most by the learned themselves. These phan- his time received, and that therefore they were toms have indeed appeared more frequently, in not imported from the Saracens in a later age; proportion as the darkness of ignorance has the wars with the Saracens, however, gave oco been more gross; but it cannot be shown, that casion to their propagation, not only as bigotry the brightest gleams of knowledge have at any naturally discovers prodigies, but as the scene of time been sufficient to drive them out of the action was removed to a greater distance, and world. The time in which this kind of credulity distance either of time or place is sufficient to was at its height, seems to have been that of the reconcile weak minds to wonderful relations. holy war, in which the Christians imputed all The reformation did not immediately arrive their defeats to enchantment or diabolical oppo- at its meridian, and though day was gradually sition, as they ascribe their success to the assis- increasing upon us, the goblins of witchcraft tance of their military saints; and the learned still continued to hover in the twilight. In the Mr. Warburton appears to believe (“Sup. to time of Queen Elizabeth was the remarkable the Introduction to Don Quixote”) that the first trial of the witches of Warbois, whose convicaccounts of enchantments were brought into this tion is still commemorated in an annual sermon part of the world by those who returned from at Huntingdon. But in the reign of King James, their eastern expeditions. But there is always in which this tragedy was written, many cirsome distance between the birth and maturity cumstances concurred to propagate and confirm of folly as of wickedness: this opinion had long this opinion. The king who was much cele existed, though perhaps the application of it had brated for his knowledge, had, before his arrival in no foregoing age been so frequent, nor the in England, not only examined in person a woreception so general. Olympiodorus, in Pho- man accused of witchcraft, but had given a very tius's Extracts, tells us of one Libanius, wbo formal account of the practices and illusions of practised this kind of military magic, and having evil spirits, the compacts of witches, the cerepromised χώρις οπλιτών κατά Βαρβαρων ενεργείν, to monies used by them, the manner of detecting perform great things against the Barbarians, with them, and the justice of punishing them, in his
dialogues of Dæmonologie, written in the Scot-| he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the tish dialect; and published at Edinburgh. This crown. The sense therefore is, forlune smiling book was, soon after his accession, reprinted at in his execrable cause, f-c. London; and as the ready way to gain King James's favour was to flatter his speculations,
NOTE III. the system of Dæmonologie was immediately If I say sooth, I must report they were adopted by all who desired either to gain pre
As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks, ferment or not to lose it. Thus the doctrine of
So they redoubled strokes upon the foe. witchcraft was very powerfully inculcated; and
Mr. Theobald has endeavoured to improve as the greatest part of mankind have no other the sense of this passage by altering the punctureason for their opinions than that they are in ation thus :fashion, it cannot be doubted but this persuasion
- They were made a rapid progress, since vanity and credu
As cannons overcharg'd, with double cracks lity co-operated in its favour, and it had a ten
So they redoubled strokes dency to free cowardice from reproach. The He declares with some degree of exultation, infection soon reached the parliament, who, in that he has no idea of a cannon charged with the first year of King James, made a law, by double cracks; but surely the great author will which it was enacted, ch. xii. that, “If any not gain much by an alteration which makes person shall use any invocation or conjuration him say of a hero, that he redoubles strokes with of any evil or wicked spirit; 2. Or shall consult, double cracks, an expression not more loudly to covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward be applauded, or more easily pardoned, than that any evil or cursed spirit to or for any intent or which is rejected in its favour. That a cannon is purpose; 3. Or take up any dead man, woman, charged with thunder or rith double thunders, may or child out of the grave,-or the skin, bone, or be written not only without nonsense, but with any part of the dead person, to be employed or elegance; and nothing else is here meant by used in any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, cracks, which in the time of this writer was a charm, or enchantment; 4. Or shall use, prac- word of such emphasis and dignity, that in this tise, or exercise any sort of witchcraft, sorcery, play he terms the general dissolution of nature charm, or enchantment; 5. Whereby any per- the crack of doom. son shall be destroyed, killed, wasted, consumed, There are among Mr. Theobald's alterations pined, or lamed in any part of the body; 6. That others which I do not approve, though I do not every such person, being convicted, shall suffer always censure them; for some of his amenddeath."
ments are so excellent, that, even when he has Thus, in the time of Shakspeare, was the failed, he ought to be treated with indulgence doctrine of witchcraft at once established by law and respect. and by the fashion, and it became not only unpo
NOTE IV. lite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expect
King. But who comes here? ed, witches were every day discovered, and mul
Mal. The worthy Thane of Rosse.
Lenor. What haste looks through his eyes? tiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall So should he look that seems to speak things strange. mentions a village in Lancashire, where their number was greater than that of the bouses.
The meaning of this passage as it now stands The Jesuits and Sectaries took advantage of this is, so should he look, that looks as if he told things universal error, and endeavoured to promote the strange. But Rosse neither yet told strange interest of their parties by pretended cures of things, nor could look as if he told them persons afflicted by evil spirits, but they were
Lenox only conjectured from his air that he had detected and exposed by the clergy of the esta- strange things to tell, and therefore undoubtedly blished church.
said, Upon this general infatuation Shakspeare -What haste looks through his eyes? might be easily allowed to found a play, espe
So should he look, that teems to speak things strange. cially since he has followed with great exactness He looks like one that is big with something such histories as were then thought true; nor of importance, a metaphor so natural, that it is can it be doubted that the scenes of enchant- every day used in common discourse. ment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both hy himself and his audience thought awful
NOTE V.-SCENE III. and affecting
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
180 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
2d Witch. Killing swine. -The merciless Macdonel,— from the Western Isles 3d Witch. Sister, where thou? or Kerns and Gallou-glasses was supply'd;
1st Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, And fortune on his damned quarry smiling,
And mounchi, and mouncht, and mounchi. Give mo, Show'd like a rebel's whore.
(1) Aroint thee, witch, the rump.fed ronyon cries. Kerns are light-armed, and Gallow-glasses Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o’ th' Tiger heavy-armed soldiers. The word quarry
But in a sieve I'll thither sail, sense that is properly applicable in this place,
And like a rat without a tail, and therefore it is necessary to read,
I'll do-I'll do-and I'll do.
2d Witch. I'll give thee wind. And fortune on his damned quarrel smiling. Quarrel was formerly used for cause or for the
1st Witch. I myself have all the other, occasion of a quarrel, and is to be found in that And the (2) very points they blow, sense in Hollingshead's account of the story of
All the quarters that they know,
P'th' Ship-man's cardMacbeth, who, upon the creation of the Prince
I will drain him dry as hay of Cumberland, thought, says the historian, that Sleep shall neither night nor day
1st Witch. Thou art kind.