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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/254

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. xn. SEPT. n, im


GIRAFFE : CAMELOPABD. The following cutting from The Morning Post of 27 April last seems worthy of preservation in ' N. & Q.':

" What is a Camelopard, and why should the spelling of its name be of any importance to astronomers ? To answer the "second question first, we may point out that one of the starry constellations is spelt variably by astronomers in the three forms Camelopardalis, Camelopardalus, and Camelopard. Naturally persons of such exactness of mind as astronomy enforces would like to have this variability reconciled or explained , and the services of a classical scholar, Prof . Morgan, and of a naturalist, Mr. Agassiz, have been enlisted by Prof. Pickering in order to clear the matter up. The naturalist points out that the Camelo- pard is the vulgar name for the giraffe, and that the specific name, which has the sanction of every zoologist since Linnaeus, is Giraffa camelopardalis. The classical scholar says that the classic form of the word panther from Homer to Aristotle is TrapSaAis, though the ancients did not always distinguish between panther, leopard, and ounce, but used pardus and pardalis of any animal with

  • pots, while camelopardalis was the earliest

Greek and Latin word for giraffe. The Greek form is Ka/x^Ao7rapSaAts. It appears to be found first In the Alexandrine age, in the geo- grapher Agatharcides. Curiously enough, in the margin of the principal MS. there is a note in Greek by some unknown writer, who say that he ' once saw one of these creatures which had been sent to our King by the Ruler in Alex- andria, and the barbarian who brought the animal called it opa</>is.' Thus is preserved the original Arabic name, or at least an attempt at it ; for modern dictionaries refer ' Giraffe ' to Arabic ' Zurafa.' "

The word " giraffe " is undoubtedly derived from the Arabic zurdfah, but what did zurdfah originally mean ? The Arab lexicographers say that zurdfah means an assemblage of people, and that the giraffe is not one animal, but an assemblage of animals. For this reason it is called in Persian ushtur- gdo-palang, that is, " camel-ox-leopard." The giraffe is not a native of Asia, and zurdfah, which is not ref errible to any Arabic root, was probably an indigenous African word. It would be interesting to know if the barbarian who brought the animal to " our King " was an African or an Asiatic. If the former, he probably used the word by which the animal was known to his own people. Perhaps some correspondent could refer to the original passage in Agatharchides, and give some further information on this point, W. F. PBIDEAUX.

SNEEGKJM OB SNEEZUM SUBNAME. The invaluable Bardsley ('Dictionary of English Surnames ' ) gives Sneegum as an English surname, which he marks tentatively as " Local." I do not know this form at all, and have no doubt it is a " ghost word," or error of the press for Sneezum, a curious


old East Anglian family name, of which I recently came across an instance in Ipswich. Sneezum is the old local pronunciation of Snettisham in Norfolk. Just in the same way there is evidence to show that a similar name, Knettishall, in the same county, was anciently called Kneesall. The loss of the double t seems violent ; cf. Uxeter forllttox- eter. JAS. PLATT, Jun.

" STEW IN THEIB OWN JUICE." (See 4 S. vii. 187, 272, 379, 522; 7 S. iv. 366, 397, 475; 8 S. vi. 269, 318, 411; vii. 391). While still awaiting a reply to a query first put in ' N. & Q.' in 1871, and repeated by me in 1894, as to the occasion on which Bismarck used this phrase in regard to the French in Paris during the siege of 1870-71, I would call attention to a previously un- noted variant which comes from a much earlier date. Writing from Edinburgh on 16 Nov., 1706, to Sir David Nairne, and after describing the struggle in the Scottish Parliament over the Treaty of Union, the Earl of Mar said :

" Ther has a mob hapend at Glasgow, mostlie occasioned by the preaching of their ministers. .... I hope it will prove nothing, and quicklie be over .... In my opinione the best way is to lett them cool in the same skinn they grew hott in, as the proverb is, and after the stirr is over to punish the ringleaders, who are knowen." Historical MSS. Commission, ' Earl of Mar and Kellie's MSS.,' pp. 325-6.

ALFBED F. BOBBINS.

BISHOP HEBEB : " ONLY MAN is VILE." " Among European men of the world acquainted with Ceylon, the lines about that island in the Missionary Hymn

Though every prospect pleases, And only man is vue

are regarded as a huge joke. A Moslem jeweller of whom I was making some purchases, and who was fluent in English, told me that it was per- fectly well known there how Bishop Heber came to write those lines : a Eurasian Christian jeweller in Colombo sold Heber a big emerald, that when he got home turned out to be glass, so he sat down and wrote that man in Ceylon is vile. It is certain that in any great city of Christendom there is more crime in one day than Ceylon knows in a year." ' My Pilgrimage to the Wise Men of the East,' p. 119.

So wrote Mr. Moncure Conway, who had evidently greater faith in the truthfulness of a Moslem jeweller than in that of a bishop, though on p. 136 it is asserted that Heber's "word 'vile' means no more than the ' miserable sinners ' which pure English maidens and children call themselves in their Litany."

However this may be, Heber wrote " From Greenland's icy mountains " in 1819,