Monday, October 14, 2013



Samuel Butler (1613-1680), Characters and Passages from Note-Books, ed. A.R. Waller (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1908), p. 286:
The Greek Tongue is of little use in our times, unless to serve Pedants and mountebanks to smatter withall; to coyne foolish Titles for Medcines and Bookes of all Languages, and furnish Preachers with Sentences to astonish the Ignorant, and loose time withall in translating it over again into the vulgar and Nonsense. It is in itself a very untoward Language that abounds in a Multitude of Impertinent Declinations Conjugations Numbers, Times, Anomulas and formings of verbes, but has little or no Construction. And though no language is so Curious in the Contrivance of long and short vowels, yet they are so confounded by the Accent, that they are render'd of no use at all, And in verse, the Accent is again so confounded by the quantity of the Syllable, that the Language becomes another thing.
Declinations: declensions (OED, sense 10)
Times: tenses (OED, sense 25)
Anomulas: anomalies

Samuel Butler (1613-1680), Hudibras (London: Printed by T.N. for John Martyn and Henry Herringman, 1674), p. 4 (Part I, Canto I, lines 51-58):
Beside 'tis known he could speak Greek
As naturally as Pigs squeek;
That Latine was no more difficile,
Then to a Blackbird 'tis to whistle,
Being rich in both he never scanted
His bounty unto such as wanted;
But much of either would afford
To many that had not one word.

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