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122


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. XL FEB. w, 1903.


modius. Is it not, therefore, all but certain that the area of Tara Hall was intended to be an exact actus quadratus ?

Not only in Great Britain and Ireland did the areas of buildings accord exactly with Roman measures of surface, but we find the same thing on the continent of Europe, have before* had occasion to quote a passage from Saxo Grammaticus in which the author mentions a Frisian building which was said to have been 240 feet in length, and to have contained twelve bays of twenty feet square each, so that the area of the building was 4,800 square feet, or half a modius. Saxo was a Zealander by birth, and is recorded to have died in 1208, his 'Historia Danorum' being brought down to the year 1185.

It may be noticed that the combined areas of the hall at Tara, the hall in Dublin Castle, and the building described by Saxo amount together to 28,800 square feet, or one juger. The contents of the various buildingst may be thus tabulated :

The area of Tara Hall = one actus quadratus.

The area of the hall in Dublin Castle = one modius.

The area of the building described by Saxo = half of a modius.

The area of the hall at Ludgershall = a quarter of a modius.

The area of the bishop's hall in ' Boldon Book ' = one-tenth of a modius.

The area of the bishop's chapel in ' Boldon Book '

one-sixteenth of a modius.

The area of the houses which the villani of many villages near Durham had to build = one-sixteenth of a modius each.

According to Boethius, in the sixth century both the surface of fields and the areas or sites of buildings continued to be measured by the square foot.}

With the exception of the chamber in Windsor Castle, the contents of the buildings which have been mentioned are either actual units of Roman measures of surface, as in the case of Tara Hall and the hall in Dublin Castle, or are aliquot parts of such units. Any of the buildings, except the chamber in Windsor Castle, could have been used as standards either of linear or superficial mea- surement. What is most remarkable about them is that they were so planned as to be models, so to speak, of larger areas which were also laid out on Roman methods. For

  • 9 th S. iv. 432.

t The chamber in Windsor Castle is excepted.

Hanum estquoda Gnecis dicitur epiuodou, a nobis autem constrati pedes ; quod per longitudi- nem latitudmemque consideratur ; ut agrorum plamties, et aedificiorum area?," &c. 'Boethii Geometria' in Lachmann's 'Gromatici Veteres,' Icfrio, l. 41o.


it will hardly be contended, even by the most robust disciple of the Germanist school of English historians, that there was one way of measuring the areas of buildings and another way of measuring the open plain.

I may say that I have had no opportunity of referring to Petrie's 'History and Anti- quities of Tara Hill,' 1839, and that I have never seen the remains at Tara.

S. O. ADDY.


THE BACON-SHAKESPEARE QUESTION.

(See 9 th S. ix. 141, 202, 301, 362, 423 ; x. 43, 124,

201, 264, 362, 463.)

THE following is a ' Promus ' entry : "1302. The launching of y e Impostlmme by him that intended murder."

Baconians linger lovingly over this entry, because Shakespeare, in 'Hamlet' (IV. iv. 29), has

This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace, That inward breaks, and shows no cause without Why the man dies.

The ' Promus ' note is perfectly explained in ' Euphues,' Arber, p. 330, which shows that it has particular reference to the attempt on the life of Jason :

"For as he that stroke Jason on the stomacke to kill him, brake his impostume with y e blow, whereby he cured him : so oftentimes it fareth with those that deale malitiously, who in steed of a sword apply a salve, and thinking to be ones Priest, they become his Phisition."

Now, it is quite certain from Lyly that Shakespeare was not referring to the subject of the 'Promus' entry; but a further refer- ence to Lyly and others will show that ' Hamlet ' and other passages in both Shake- speare and Bacon merely repeat a metaphor and phrasing that, strange as it may seem to Baconians to say so, is common in all Eliza- bethan writings.

In the essay of ' Seditions ' Bacon says : " He that turneth the humours back and maketh the wound bleed inwards endangereth malign ulcers and pernicious imposthumations."

Again, in May, 1610, on the 'Question of receiving the King's Message,' he says:

"Take away liberty of Parliament, the griefs of the subject will bleed inwards : sharp arid eager humours will not evaporate, and then they must exulcerate, and so may endanger the sovereignty itself."

Baconians imagine the phrase "to bleed in- wards " to be one of Bacon's inventions. Now, the idea of using the metaphor from the imposthume to sedition was not new when , Bacon employed it, nor did he invent the phrase to " bleed inwards," as the following will show. It is a quotation by Ben Jonson