500 NOTES AND QUERIES. 1922. ' The Nut-brown Maid ' by the repetition of its pretty refrains. It is " to be sung in merry pastime by bachelors and maidens," says the title, and contains four speakers ; the refrains mentioned are : and " More sweeter then the honey That comes from the bee.' ! " And fresher then the blossom es That bloome upon the tree." We wish we had room to quote it all ; it is much the daintiest ballad in the collection. " With jigs and rural dance resort " we remember in
- Comus ' ; as we remember also the " merry wakes
and pastimes," which seem to recall the very title of this jig. Thus even on the grave muse of Milton do we seem able to trace the influence of the ballad ; for its influence on Shakespeare our editor points definitely to a religious ballad of 1607, entitled
- Caleb Shillock's Prophecy ; or, The Jew's Pre-
diction,' whence perhaps Shakespeare took the name of Shylock. For the rest one cannot be too thankful for Dr. Rollins's industry in rescuing these racy compositions of " merry London " from their long and undeserved oblivion. It may well be, as he says, that he has given us the flower of the collection here ; but we hope that he will be able, as he appears to suggest, to prosecute his re- searches further in Pepys's accumulation, and we hope also that he will continue to have the support of the authorities at Magdalene and of the Cam- bridge University Press. Nature and Other Miscellanies. By Ralph Waldo Emerson. (Oxford University Press. 2s. 6d. net.) Two volumes of Emerson have previously appeared in the World's Classics, and it is a pleasure to re-read these lectures in a form so superior to the cheap edition by which one made one's first ac- quaintance with them. The question arises of how many at the present day are likely to be attracted to the American sage by the opportunity the Oxford University Press supplies. A general answer must be that there are always ] people, young and old, ready to accept a fair i chance of reading the classics of their language, ' and Emerson long ago was elevated to that rank by popular esteem. Properly speaking, we suppose, a classic is an author whose position i has been assured by time. It is in the other and looser sense that Emerson deserves the name ; he is a thinker whose authority has transcended the limits of his own period. For that reason alone he is entitled to the study he does un- doubtedly still get. That the readers who come fresh to him will be obliged to put forth some effort is likely enough. His philosophic outlook is about as different as could be from that which now prevails in England and America if any can be safely said to prevail in either country. ' ' How absolute the knave is J " we can fancy the new-comer exclaiming, as he misses that larger consideration for the earthiness of mortals which distinguishes a popular few of the later inoralizers. Emerson, indeed, does not argue ; he tells you. Yet, in spite of his rather close companionship with the stars, he is a very bracing thinker, and a very human. There are whole passages in his * work not so much in this volume, perhaps, as in, say, ' Representative Men ' which bring faint but unmistakable reminders of so different an essayist as Montaigne. The thought is not Montaigne's, but the accents are ; and the accents are the expression of a similar undercurrent of ironic perception. If the comparison should strike those who have not lately looked into Emerson as forced, we would suggest that they give him another glance or two. The Laws of the Earliest English Kings. Edited and translated by F. L. Attenborough. (Cam- bridge University Press. 15s. net.) IN 1840, B. Thorpe, completing the work of Richard Price, published an edition of these Laws, under the title of ' Ancient Laws and Institutes of England.' No other English edition has appeared since. The monumental work on the subject, the standard authority, is F. Lieber- mann's ' Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen ' (1903- 1916), but there is room for an English version, and this present volume will be welcomed by students of our early social and constitutional history. As the editor and translator points out, the " Laws of JEthelberht [about 600] are of special interest as being the earliest document written in the English language. . . . No other Teutonic language possesses any original records of equal antiquity, apart from short inscriptions." King Alfred's laws stand by themselves in import- ance. He collected the " most just " of the laws of Ine, Off a, and ^Ethelberht, not daring " to presume to set down in writing many of my own, for I cannot tell what [innovations of mine] will meet with the approval of our successors." That these ordinances throw a strong light upon the mind and manners of our forefathers need not be emphasized ; a knowledge of them is indispensable to an understanding of the period. This edition is furnished with introductions and notes. THE Publisher would be pleased to hear from any subscriber who may have a copy of the Index to vol. vi., 12th Series, to spare. JJottcetf to EDITORIAL communications should be addressed to " The Editor of ' Notes and Queries ' " Adver- tisements and Business Letters to " The Pub- lisher " at the Office, Printing House Square, London, E.G. 4 ; corrected proofs to The Editor, ' N. & Q.,' Printing House Square, London, E.G. 4. ALL communications intended for insertion in our columns should bear the name and address of the sender- not necessarily for publication, but as a guarantee of good faith. WE cannot undertake to answer queries privately. WHEN answering a query, or referring to an article which has already appeared, correspondents are requested to give within parentheses immediately after the exact heading the numbers of the series, volume, and page at which the con- tribution in question is to be found.