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NOTES TO SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.
THE Sir Roger de Coverley papers are taken from the Spectator, and well exhibit the elegant style and delicate humor of Addison.
1. Humor = disposition. Fr. humeur
to be moist. Cf. humid.
Lat. humorem, from humere,
2. An hedge. - Addison frequently uses an before a sounded h.
Cf. Ger. Knecht. 4. Valet-de-chambre = a body servant or personal attendant. Pronounced vǎl-ã dě shäm-br.
5. Privy-councillor = a member of the privy council; one of the distinguished persons selected by a sovereign to advise in the administration of the government. Equivalent to our cabinet officer.
10. Tinged slightly colored. Lat. tingere, to dye.
II. Insulted, etc.
Sir Roger, in common with the country gentlemen of the time, made but little pretension to learning.
The common etymology derives it from the Welsh
bach, little, and cammon, a battle.
13. Parsonage = the benefice or church living of the parish; not the house used as a residence by pastors.
14. Digested = distributed or arranged methodically.
15. Divinity theology, or the science which treats of God, his laws,
and moral government.
16. These were distinguished divines, three of whom, Tillotson, South, and Barrow, still deserve to be studied.
1. Habits == attire, dress.
Exchange; that is, the place where the merchants, brokers, and bankers of a city meet at certain hours to transact business. 3. Churchman = = an Episcopalian as distinguished from a Presbyterian or Congregationalist.
= a thick mat for kneeling in church.
peculiarities, individual characteristics. polished, refined.
anything that serves to set off another thing to advantage.
8. Chancel =
the part of a church between the communion table and the railing that encloses it. O. F. chancel, an enclosure, from Lat. cancellus, a grating.
9. Flitch the side of a hog salted and cured.
10. Clerk: = a parish officer, being a layman who leads in reading the responses of the Episcopal Church service.
II. Parson: = a clergyman. Parson and person are the same word, from Lat. persona. Blackstone says: "A parson, persona ecclesiæ, is one that hath full possession of all the rights of a parochial church. He is called parson, persona, because by his person the church, which is an invisible body, is represented.' "This reason may well be doubted," says Skeat, "but without affecting the etymology."
A tithe is the tenth part of the increase arising from the profits of land and stock, allotted to the clergy for their support. 13. Very hardly with great difficulty.
In a previous number of the Spectator Addison tells us of Sir Roger's visit to London.
Westminster Abbey: = a famous cathedral in London, in which the British sovereigns are crowned, and in which many of them are buried. Addison made it the subject of the twenty-sixth paper in the Spectator.
2. Baker's Chronicle. - Sir Richard Baker was born in 1568; and his book, the full title of which is "Chronicle of the Kings of England,” was popular in the last century.
3. Sir Andrew Freeport was a member of the imaginary club, to which the Spectator and Sir Roger belonged.
4. Widow Trueby's water = a strong drink said to have been much used by the ladies as an exhilarant. From what we know of Addison's bibulous habits, we may conclude that his dislike is only assumed for effect.
5. Sickness the plague, which prevailed at Dantzic in 1709.
6. Hackney-coach = a coach kept for hire.
7. Jointure = an estate settled on a wife, and which she is to enjoy after her husband's decease.
8. Virginia: = a common name for tobacco in Addison's time.
9. Trophies = representations in marble of a pile of arms taken from a vanquished enemy.
10. Sir Cloudesley Shovel. - The visitors passed by his monument. A distinguished British admiral, commander-in-chief of the British fleets. Returning to England in 1707, his ship struck on the rocks near Scilly and sank with all on board. The body of Sir Cloudesley Shovel was found next day, and buried in Westminster Abbey.
II. Richard Busby was for fifty-five years, from 1640 to 1695, headmaster of Westminster School. It has been said that he "bred up the greatest number of learned scholars that ever adorned any age or nation." He was equally noted for his learning, assiduity, and application of the birch.
12. Little chapel, etc. = the chapel of St. Edmund. In cathedrals, chapels are usually annexed in the recesses on the sides of the aisles. 13. Historian = the guide who shows visitors through the Abbey. 14. Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, was born in 1550 and died in 1612. In 1608 he was made Lord High Treasurer. A man of immense energy and far-reaching sagacity- the best minister of unscrupulous.
his time, but cold, selfish, and
15. Martyr, etc. This is described as 66 an elaborate statue of Elizabeth Russell of the Bedford family-foolishly shown for many years as the lady who died by the prick of a needle." Goldsmith characterizes the story as one of a hundred lies that the guide tells without blushing.
16. Coronation chairs two chairs in the Chapel of Edward the Confessor used at the coronation of the sovereigns of Great Britain. The more ancient of the two contains the famous "Stone of Scone," on which the kings of Scotland were crowned. The stone was brought to England by Edward I. in 1304. The other coronation chair was placed in the Abbey in the reign of William and Mary.
17. Forfeit, that is, for sitting in the chair.
18. Trepanned = ensnared, caught.
trapan. From Fr. trappe, a trap.
Another form of the verb is
19. Will Wimble is described in one of the Coverley papers as "younger brother to a baronet. . . . He is now between forty and fifty, but being bred to no business, and born to no estate, he generally lives with his elder brother as superintendent of his game. He hunts a pack of dogs better than any man in the country, and is very famous for finding out a hare," etc. He was a neighbor and friend of Sir Roger.
20. Edward III. was born in 1312 and died in 1376. He gained many victories, including that of Crecy. During his reign many salutary laws were enacted, and art and literature flourished. The Black Prince was
21. Edward the Confessor, king of the Anglo-Saxons, was born in 1004 and died in 1066, the year of the Conquest.
22. The evil: a scrofulous disease known as "king's evil." It was formerly believed that the touch of a king would cure it.
23. Henry IV. was born in 1366 and died in 1413, after a troubled reign of fourteen years.
24. The monument in question was that of Henry V., the hero of Agincourt. He was born in 1388 and died in 1422. The head of the effigy, which was of silver, was stolen at the time of the Protestant Reformation.
1. Captain Sentry was Sir Roger's nephew and heir.
2. The widow lady captivated Sir Roger in his early manhood. A full account of the circumstances will be found in the Spectator No. 113. Elsewhere Sir Roger says: "When I reflect upon this woman, I do not know whether in the main I am the worse for having loved her; whenever she is recalled to my imagination, my youth returns, and I feel a forgotten warmth in my veins. This affliction in my life has streaked all my conduct with a softness, of which I should otherwise have been incapable.”
= a coarse woollen cloth with a nap on one side.
4. Quorum justice-court.
5. Quit-rent = a rent reserved in grants of land, by the payment of which the tenant is quieted or quit from all other service.
THE greatest literary character of this period is Alexander Pope. In his life we find much to admire and much to condemn; but we cannot deny him the tribute of greatness. With his spiteful temper and habitual artifice we can have no sympathy; but we recognize in him the power of an indomitable will supported by genius and directed to a single object.
He triumphed over the most adverse circumstances. lowly birth cut him off from social position; his Roman Catholic faith brought political ostracism; and a dwarfed, sickly, deformed body excluded him from the vocations in which wealth and fame are usually acquired. Yet, in spite of this combination of hostile circumstances, he achieved the highest literary distinction, attracted to him the most eminent men of his day, and associated on terms of equality with the proudest nobility.
Alexander Pope was born in London in 1688, the memorable year of the Revolution. His father, a Roman Catholic, was a linen merchant; and shortly after the poet's birth, he retired with a competent fortune to a small estate at Binfield in Windsor Forest.
Though delicate and deformed, the future poet is represented as having been a sweet-tempered child; and his voice was so agreeable that he was playfully called the "little nightingale." Excluded from the public schools on account of his father's faith, he passed successively under the tuition of three or four Roman priests, from whom he learned the rudiments of Latin and Greek. In after years he thought it no disadvantage that his education had been irregular; for, as he observed, he read the classic authors, not for the words, but for the sense.