Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/202

This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. xn. AUG. 28, woo.

speaking mixties of Mahe. Now, I think, we can see how tiffar, &c., originated. The plural form of the name of the caste, viz. tivar, was evidently mistaken by Portu- guese from Europe, ignorant of the ver 1 nacular, for a verb, and they would there- fore naturally call the man who was accus- tomed to tivar a tivador (on the analogy of comprar, comprador). True, I can give no proof of this, having never met with such a word in any Portuguese writer on India ; but I think there can be no doubt in the matter. When the Dutch ousted the Portuguese from India and Ceylon, they evidently found the words tivar and tivador well established, and they adopted them, giving them, however, a Dutch form, tyfferen, and a semi-Dutch one, tiffidoor or tyffadoor. But the latter word reminding them too much of the hated Portuguese, they dropped it, and substituted a purely Dutch form, viz., tyfferaar.

A quite exceptional (and erroneous) use of tyfferen is found in a letter printed by Valentyn (op. cit., p. 378), the writer of which speaks of an " altoos-tyfferende wortel " (an ever-distilling root), the verb here being intransitive, and the (alleged) distillation (a delusion) being from the root of a bo tree or peepul (Ficus religiosa).

If I am right in my conjectures, we have here an instance (not unprecedented, doubt- less) of a most extraordinary change of sense in a word, a proper noun originally meaning " islanders " becoming ultimately an active verb meaning " to draw toddy." DONALD FERGUSON.


(Concluded from p. 103.)

SCARCELY equalled by the essay ' Of Ambition,' the anonymous author's thoughts on death form the noblest essay in the volume. Listen to the opening majestic paragraph :

" Nothing is more certain than Death, and nothing more uncertain than the time. Every man is to pay this debt, though few be ready at the day ; life is but lent us and the condition of the obligation is Death, yet not without a penalty, if in this wandering and uncertain state we make no preparation."

The following paragraph has a Baconian echo :

" A man's peregrination in this life should be employed, but as a harbinger for Death, nay, rather, life ; whilst we live, we die ; but live not till death. * Yet, good men may in a sort, religiously fear death, in respect of the cause of it. For the wages of sinne is death. In respect of not knowing the place of our being after

death (we, ourselves, being altogether unmeriting) r these, and the like considerations, may justly make death seem terrible."

Does not this remind us of the opening of Bacon's essay ' Of Death ' ?

" Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin and passage to another world, is holy and religious."

But, of course, this resemblance must not be pushed too far.

The extraordinary likeness of the close of this essay ' Of Death ' to Bacon's style warrants a quotation otherwise a trifle long . -

" Many men without the knowledge of Religion, have excellently expressed their contempt of Death, but that may be reduced to some of these causes ; peradventure they had a kind of uncer- tain opinion that some greater happiness followed, than accompanied this life ; or in respect of the daily examples of their mortalitie, custome extinguished fear ; or lastly, to perpetuate their memories, or publish their fame to succeeding ages, have for the liberation of their Country, or Friends, or Honour, voluntarily exposed them- selves to a certaine and present death."

One passage in the essay ' Of a Country Life ' reproduces the spirit of Bacon's essay ' Of Factions' :

" He is chiefly to take heed, that when factions be sided, his Greatness uphold not one faction, to the decay and ruin of the other ; but con- trarily to even and compound them in mutual amity and agreement."

So Bacon writes :

" Great men, that have strength in themselves* were better to maintain themselves indifferent and neutral."

I have not space here to go into a detailed analysis of this essay, but such an analysis would show many similarities in thought and expression between the two (?) authors.

Such a passage as the following from the essay ' Of Religion ' shows a use of anecdote very like Bacon's :

" And let no man persuade himself, that there is any action, or virtue, comparatively, in this world of equal estimation and power with Religion. It was the commendation St. Ambrose gave the Emperor Theodosius, that upon his deathbed, and in extremity of weakness, he took more care for the state of the Church and preservation of Religion, than of his own extreme dangers and infirmities. And Justinian, in the preface of his laws, disclaimed all confidence in the greatness of his Empire, numbers of Soldiers, advice of his Chief Commanders and Council, but relied only upon that providence and mercy of God, which Religion had taught him ; knowing the neglect of this duty would otherwise awake God's Justice and wrath : according to Horace : Dii multa neglecti dederunt Hesperice mala luctuosce. Inno- vations in Religion commonly precedes [sic] altera- tion in Government."

So says our anonymous author, and Bacon agrees with him. The essay ' Of Religion *