Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/473

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ii s. XL JUNE 12, i9i5.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


of Samson is fully treated, and the author's wide reading and methodical habits are displayed in the number of exact references given in the foot-notes. There does not appear to be any specific reference to the phallic meaning of the Lion and Honey emblem. The honey in this story probably repre- sents the fertility which comes forth after the sun- god has overcome the period of sterility. The bee is an emblem of the ambrosia or dew distilling from the moon, and ambrosia or water of life is essentially phallic.

An appendix deals with 1. Heroes Mytholo- gized ; II. Herakles, the Greek Samson ; III. Cuchulainn, the Celtic Samson ; IV. Gautama and other Samsons. Aniong the last, Zipanea Told, the hero of the Quiche Indians of Guatemala as recorded in the ' Popul Vuh,' seems to have escaped mention. Zipanea Told was captured by his enemies, placed in a pit, and, according to the tradition, pulled down the buildings in which his captors had assembled, killing four hundred of them.

The book may be recommended as elucidating a difficult portion of the Old Testament, and will prove of interest to students of folk-lore or com- parative religion and mythology.

A Guide to the English Language : Us History, Development, and Use. Written by Dendy Agate, Henry Alexander, E. Classen, E. Both- well Maye, Roland Edwards, Austin K. Gray, A. S. Neill, and A. E. Stirling, under the Editorship of H. C. O'Neill. (T. C. & E. C. Jack, 5s. net.)

THIS is a big volume packed with useful informa- tion well and systematically arranged. In his Preface the editor says : " No small ambition has inspired the ' Guide to English.'. . . .[It] attempts not only to give the rules which measure correct and fine expression, but also to go behind these rules and see what diverse and honourable elements have gone to their shaping." With this object the book has been arranged in four main divisions, treating respectively of ' The Com- position of the English Language,' ' Vocabulary,' and ' Style,' the fourth being ' Miscellaneous.'

Each of these divisions is composed of a number of essays or short treatises dealing with special branches of the subject, and written by one or other of the contributors named on the title-page. Thus Mr. A. K. Gray and the Rev. Dendy Agate deal with ' The History of the English Language ' ; Mr. H. Alexander with ' English Philology ' ; and Miss Ethel Bothwell Maye with ' Enlargement of Vocabulary ' and ' Errors in Vocabulary.' The longest section, extending to nearly 70 double-column large pages, is devoted to ' Com- position and Style,' and is by Dr. Ernest Classen. The literary articles are provided with numerous illustrative quotations in prose and verse, the authorities cited extending from ' Beowulf ' and the ' English Chronicle ' to R. L. Stevenson and Mr. Rudyard Kipling ; and the philological articles have diagrams showing the sequence of sound- changes, and tables of the changes undergone by words in passing from one language to another,

In addition, the volume contains ' A Dictionary of Synonyms-' ; collections of ' Familiar Quota- tions,' ' Foreign Words and Phrases,' and ' Ab- breviations ' ; and a list of ' Printer's Technical Terms,' with specimens of the various sizes of type and a diagram of proof-corrections. The large amount of information brought together is

made easily accessible by two admirable analytical indexes one of ' Subjects,' and the other of ' Authorities and Sources Quoted.'

The ideal of a work of reference is that it should be correct in every detail ; tnit the first edition of a bulky volume can hardly be exempt from slips, and it is with the idea of making the second edition still better that we call attention to certain points. The object of the book being bo teach the writing of good English, the editor- in his Preface should hardly have used the phrase " a more irresistible appeal " (p. vi). Sentences; introducing the words " one of the . . . .which . . . . " often lead to grammatical error, as in the case of Mr. A. J. Balfour noted on p. 108 ; but the sentence on p. 123b, "It is one of those icords that cannot be translated Without a distinct loss in its force and delicacy of meaning," is equally faulty. " Whose " is most unfortunately used on p. 32 8b : " There is a beautiful metaphor in Alfred No yes ichose beauty is completely spoilt by the careless use of one inappropriate word."

The following sentences also need considerable amendment to make their meaning clear :

" Upon the majority of the remaining elements which do allow of analysis in the examination of that mysterious thing after which writers un- consciously and would-be writers consciously hanker." P. 117.

" The outcome is that, now that Latin com- prises the main body of our literary language, while our everyday vocabulary, more especially that of the less educated, is of Old English stock." P. 121.

" Both the exaggerated use of adjectives [?J ' dreadfully,' ' terribly,' ' frightfully,' in case* where the objects referred to do not require such strong expressions." P. 206.

" In many ways English has a happier knack, or perhaps it should be, say, more capability for terseness than some foreign tongues." P. 207b.

It is to be regretted that the editor did not exercise a closer supervision over some of his contributors, as the instances we have cited are distinct blemishes in a guide to good English. We have also noted certain other grammatical slips, and two or three misspellings of proper names ; and these memoranda are at the service of the publishers if, as we hope will be the case, a second edition is called for. In conclusion, we congratulate editor and publishers on having produced, at a very moderate price, a volume that should be useful to all who wish to speak and write their mother tongue correctly.

IN The Burlington Magazine for June, under the heading of 'Reconstructions,' Mr. Robert C. Witt gives some account of an important addition to the collection at the National Gallery a picture at- tributed to Vermeer, of which the left-hand portion was presented in 1900 by Mr. Fairfax Murray, to be joined ten years later by the right-hand portion, discovered in Paris. As a consequence, ' The Lesson ' Cso the first half of the picture was catalogued) can no longer remain under its previous attribution, and Mr. Witt suggests Michael Sweerts of Amsterdam as the author. Some of its points of similarity with other portraits by Sweerts can be followed in the reproductions that accompany Mr. Witt's remarks. Further details are given of the collection of furni- ture in the Geffrye Museum at Shoreditch. Mr. Herbert Cook throws some new lighten Baldassare d'Este, a hitherto little-known Ferrarese painter,