Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/280

This page needs to be proofread.


272


NOTES AND QUERIES. p* B. XL APML *, MOB.


been written by any intellectual lad, fresh from a course of Cowper and Bowles, who imagined he had a mission to fulfil in the world. In the 'Dedication' Coleridge struck a higher note, but to borrow the words of Mr. Dykes Campbell-

" it gives no hint nothing in the volume to which it is a prelude gives the least hint that Coleridge's hand was already on the latch of the magic case- ments which were to open on the perilous seas sailed by 'The Ancient Mariner,' and the fairy lands of 'Christabel' and ' Kubla Khan.'"- ' Samuel Taylor Coleridge,' p. 71.

To feel no great enthusiasm for these imma- ture effusions is not to be in a " condition of hopeless dyspathy towards Coleridge."* I do not pretend to offer literary judgments, but, like other men, I have my preferences. Coleridge was born in October, 1772, and his first volume of poetry was published in April, 1796, when he was in his twenty-fourth year. Keats was born in October, 1795, and his first volume of poetry was published in March, 1817, when he was in his twenty- second year. For two poems in this volume, the sonnet ' On First Looking into Chapman's Homer' and "I stood tip-toe upon a little hill," I would willingly give away the whole of the 1796 volume, and a great deal more. I am sorry my literary taste is not in accord with MR. HUTCHINSON'S, but this is not a matter to dispute about. As a modern poet sings,

Some like Poe,

And others like Scott ;

Some like Mrs. Stowe ; Some not.

Some like to laugh,

Some like to cry ;

Some like chaff; Not I.

W. F. PEIDBAUX.


THE KING'S WEIGH HOUSE (9 th S x 427 xi. 13, 56, 209). -Surely it will clear away a good deal of error if we can make out the word steelyard itself. I am now con- vinced that all we know about it with certainty is confined to the two essential points, viz, (1) that it has nothing at all to

o with steel and (2) that it has nothing at all to do with yard, except in popular mis- conception.

. A very slight investigation shows that it is not the old spelling. Blount's 'Glosso graphia (1681) calls it Stilyard or Steelyard,

  • The modern attitude towards Coleridge-in

which I am afraid I share-is admirably set forth m Dr. John Louis Haney's essay on ' The German UeCenm ' "


gives the etymology from steel and yard in the usual fashion, and then adds': " L. Herbert in Hen. 8 calls it the Stilly-art, but gives no reason for it." Hence, on Blount's own showing, it was Stilyard in the year 1681, and had been stilly-art previously. But in Cotgrave's ' French Dictionary ' we are well removed from both the imaginary parts of the word. S.v. Crochet, he gives as one of


"a Roman Beame, or Stelleere ; a beame of iron or wood [!] full of nicks or notches, along which a certain peize of lead, &c., playing, and at length setling towards the one end, shews the just weight of a commodity hanging by a hooke at the other end."

The preciseness of the description leaves little to be desired ; and we at once are enabled to grasp the fact that the original steelyard was made of wood, and later on of iron. Again, in Fabyan's 'Chronicle/ an. 1527-8, we have a mention of the "mar- chauntes of the styliarde" This gives us, with old spellings, the forms stillyart, styliarde, and stelleere, from which both steel and yard are absent.

The suffix -art or -ard is known to be French, and so is -eer ( = F. -ier\ see 'H.E D.' It is quite clear that the word is of French origin, though I am unable to give the O.F. form. I suspect it to be a derivative of the Latin hastile, the shaft of a spear ; and that the original " steelyard " was a wooden rod. If not from hastile it may be from some other derivative of hasta ; cf . Span, astil, the handle of an axe, the shaft of an arrow, the beam of a balance. WALTER W. SKEAT.

Without in any way touching the contro- versy raised in MR. J. HOLDEN MACMICHAEL'S contribution under the above heading as to the origin of the name of " The Steelyard " in London, may I venture to suggest that the word yard simply rod? It may mean a measuring rod 36 in. in length, but it only does so when specifically so applied. Chaucer's prioress, who wept over one of her "smale houndes " " if men smot it with a yerde smerte," had no care whether the "yerde" were three feet long or not ; and, as a familiar modern instance, a ship's yards are something more than that length. A steelyard is a measure of weight, not of length, and I imagine that the name simply implies that the graduated rod, along which the weight travels, is made of steel.

HOWARD S. PEARSON.

235, Bristol Road, Birmingham.

DUBLIN PARISH REGISTERS (9 th S. xi. 209). John Southerden Burn, in his ' History of