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have examined ideas instead of phænomena, suppositions instead of facts. The only method of ascertaining in what manner speech originates, is to inquire historically into the changes which single words undergo ; and from the mass of instances, within the examination of our experience, to infer the general law of their formation. This has been the process of Mr. Horne Tooke. He first examined our prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs; all those particles of speech foolishly called insignificant, and showed that they were either nouns or verbs in disguise, which had lost the habit of inflection. He now examines our adjectives and abstract substantives, and shows that they too are all refer able to nouns or verbs, describing sensible ideas. ....
" Whether this opinion is strictly true, scarcely merits inquiry; it was never applied before on so grand a scale, and in so instructive a manner.”
After mentioning the suggestions of Schultens, Lennep, and Gregory Sharpe, the writer proceeds :-"Such scattered solitary observations may have prepared and do confirm the comprehensive generalizations of Mr. Horne Tooke ; but to him the English language owes the pristine introduction of just principles, and a most extensive, learned, and detailed application of them to the etymology of its terms. He has laid the groundwork of a good Dictionary.”. ......... itfl
"The good sense with which all the phænomena are explained, the sagacity with which the difficulties are in vestigated, the force of intellect displayed in every conjeca ture, these constitute the essence of the treatise, and will cause it to outlast the compilations of a more laborious erudition. This work is the most valuable contribution to the philosophy of language which our literature has produced : the writer may be characterized in those words which Lye applied to Wachter: ad ornandam, quam nactus est, Spartam, instructissimus venit in intima artis adyta videtur
penetrasse, atque inde protulisse quodcunque potuerit illustrando ipsius proposito inservire.”- p. 675.
VOL. I. p. 412.
ABOUT.-Mr. Tooke seems to have gone astray in his account of this word; and very strangely, as its history seems tolerably clear. He appears to have been put on a wrong scent by Spelman, who derives it from the French Bout and Abouter; and overlooking Skinner's derivation of it, which he quotes, and Junius's, which he omits, he says, in p. 414,“ Spelman, Junius, Skinner, and Menage all resort to Franco-Gall. for their etymology." This is certainly not true with regard to Junius and Skinner, however some of the passages as quoted by him from them may have this appearance. What is given from Junius relates to a different word, ' But, Scopus,' and has no reference to ABOUT; his account of which, being omitted by Mr. Tooke, I here insert:
“ABỌUT, circum, circa, A.-Saxones abutan vel abuton dicebant; quæ videri possunt facta ex illo embe utan quod occurrit Marc. 14. 47; An of Pam be þar embe utan stodon, Unus ex circumstantibus. Vide tamen Spelmanni Glossarium in Abuttare.”
Skinner, as will be seen in the first quotation from him, (p. 413.) which is the whole of what he says upon the word ABOUT, derives it unhesitatingly from A.S. abutan, ýmbutan. The other passages which Mr. Tooke quotes from Skinner treat of AButt and But, which he derives from the Franco-Gall. Bout, and have no reference whatever to ABOUT.
Skinner errs in compounding Abutan of the Latin preposition Ab and the Saxon utan; for analogy obviously leads us to consider the A as a contraction of the Saxon On (as Again, ongean; Away, on pez; Aback, on bæc, &e.) and
it is sometimes written with On, which requires butan, and not utan.
The word is found in the following forms : onbutan, onbuton, abutan, abuton; embe utan, embutan, Ýmbeutan, ġmbutan, jmbuton; all orthographical variations of two, onbutan and ymbutan; and these, though really distinct words, as being compounds of butan with the distinct prepositions On and Ym or Ymbe, yet seem to have coalesced in the course of time, not greatly differing in sense or sound, to form our present word ABOUT, which is the representative of both. Of this I think no one will doubt who attends to the idiomatic features in which it exactly resembles its progenitors, as the following phrases of King Alfred and the Saxon Chronicle will show: feorpan jmbuton, far about; þær ýmbutan, thereabouts ; nord Ýmbutan, north about; suð ýmbutan, south about.
A question may remain whether Ýmbutan be ým-butan, Ýmb-butan or Ýmb-utan; but this, from the identity of signification, is immaterial : and with regard to Onboda, I cannot imagine where Mr. Tooke got it, or how it could be connected with ABOUT.
Vol. I. p. 415. DOWN, ADOWN.--Mr. Tooke shows clearly that his predecessors had entirely failed in their endeavours to investigate the origin of this Preposition; and gives a new and ingenious conjecture, in the absence of any thing satisfactory.
I have given in the note to p. 420 what occurred to me, whilst employed upon that part of the work, as the true explanation of this preposition which has so much puzzled our etymologists. The most perplexing questions sometimes admit of a very simple solution. We must return for its origin to our substantive Down, A.S. Dune, a hill. Those indeed who looked to this source had been so much at a loss how to connect a preposition signifying depression with a substantive which denoted elevation, that the question must have seemed to Mr. Tooke quite open for fresh conjecture*. When, how ever, I met with Of dune in Anglo-Saxon, no doubt rex mained that the mystery was solved, and that all the obscurity had been occasioned by the disappearance of the particle prefixed. There is no need therefore any longer to torture Dune or Down, and to make it appear to signify the reverse of that which it really means, a hill; for as Of dune means Off or From Hill, it must imply Descent; and Down is only put for Adown or Of-dune by an elision of the prefix. As aduna, adune, with their compounds, are also found, we can have no doubt that the A in this case has arisen from the Of rapidly pronounced ; and instead of Adown being from a and the preposition down, as Dr. Johnson tells us, the fact is just the reverse,--Down is from Adown or Adune, and Adune is from Of-dunet.
As the instances which I have as yet found of the use of Of dune are but six, of which Lye gives references only to five, and those dispersed under different heads, and, unlike his general practice, without the context, I have thought it might be satisfactory if I furnished the reader with the fol. lowing :
Under Of dune, Deorsum, Lye only refers us to Op and Dun.
* “ Conjecture cannot supersede historical fact; and it ought never to be adopted in etymology, unless to explain those words of which the existence precedes record. Mr. Tooke, who had more intellect than northern lore, frequently advances a rash though always an ingenious conjecture: but Mr. Richardson pursues the same untracked course with still less caution, and often connects (like Mr. Whiter in his Etymologicon) words as obviously distinct in pedigree as a negro and a white."— Monthly Review, N. S. vol. Ixxii. p. 86.
+ So Declivis, from de and clivus.'' Pilotii ii' 1.5",
"Of. Of. De.”_"Of þam munte.” “Op heofonum, De cælo.” “Of dune. Deorsum ; Oros. 3. 5. Boet. 25.”
“Dun. dune. A down. Mons; Ælf. Gl. 18. gr. 5.. Matt. 24. 3. Ps. 67. 16.-of dune. Downward, down. Deorsum; Oros. 3.5. 'R. Luc. 4.9. Boet. c. 33. 220.127.116.11.”
“Adun: aduna. adune. Deorsum; Bed. 1. 12. C. Luc.. 4.9.".; to boli.i t :-“Adunarett. Depositus ; Bed. 4. 6." ..."
“Aduneastigan, adunestizan. Descendere ; C. Luc. 19.15. Ps. 71. 6. 87. 4.”,
"Adunepeand. Deorsum. C. Sax. 1083.";..', we Lisait irroi .....
, To which I subjoin so much of the context of the passages referred to as will be sufficient for the satisfaction of the reader...
· King Alfred's Orosius, 3. 5.-And hi leton heora hráezl of dune to fotum. And they let their garments down to their feet. * King Alfred's Boethius, 25.-Spa bið eac bam tpeopum de him zecýnde bip up heah to standanne. þeah du: teo hpelcne boh op dune to þære eonpan. spelce þu began mæge. spa þu hine alætst. spa sprincþ he up: I prizað pip his gecònder*. So it is also with the trees, to which it is natural to stand erect. Though thou tug each bough down to the earth with all thy might;, when thou lettest it go, then springeth it up, and stretcheth according to its nature. *. - - si savas idon ti bastant in t enzionament 2 -32128 91 V idic condam viribuie acte culorytu si la inapis 21
Pronum flectit virga cacumen; :91009 ... Hanc si curvans dextra remisit,
2 E etleplerenoypis 31 Recto spectat vertice cælum. De Consol. lib. 9. metr. 2. The yerde of a tre that is haled adowne by mightie strength boweth redily the croppe adown: but if that the hande that is bente let it gone againe, anon the croppe lokethe vpright to the heuen."-Chaucer's transl.