Tuesday, August 20, 2013


A Little Hic, Haec, Hoc

R.D. Blackmore (1825-1900), Cradock Nowell, chapter VI (Very Careful Grounding):
They were now to go to Oxford, and astonish the natives there, by showing that a little hic, haec, hoc, may come even out of Galilee; that a youth never drawn through the wire-gauge of Eton, Harrow, or Rugby, may carry still the electric spark, and be taper and well-rounded. Half their learning accrued sub dio, in the manner of the ancients. Uncle John would lead them between the trees and down to some forest dingle, the boy on his right hand construing aloud or parsing very slowly, the little spark at his left all glowing to explode at the first mistake. Δεξιόσειρος made the running, until he tripped and fell mentally, and even then he was set on his legs, unless the other was down upon him; but in the latter case the yoke-mate leaped into the harness. The stroke-oar on the river that evening was awarded to the one who paced the greatest number of stades in the active voice of expounding. The accuracy, the caution, born of this warm rivalry, became at last so vigilant, that the boy who won the toss for the right-hand place at starting, was almost sure of the stroke-oar.

So they passed the matriculation test with consummate ease, and delighted the college tutor by their clear bold writing. They had not read so much as some men have before entering the University, but all their knowledge was close and firm, and staunch enough for a spring-board. And they wrote most excellent Latin prose, and Greek verse easily flowing.
out of Galilee: "out of Galilee ariseth no prophet" (John 7:52).
sub dio: "under the open sky, in the open air" (Lewis & Short, s.v. divus II.B)
Δεξιόσειρος, sc. ἵππος: "right-hand trace-horse in team of four, which did the hardest work: hence, generally, vigorous, impetuous" (Liddell-Scott-Jones).

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