Friday, October 25, 2013


Too Many Graduate Students?

Richard Mulcaster (1531-1611), Positions Wherin Those Primitive Circumstances be Examined, Which are Necessarie for the Training vp of Children (London: Thomas Vautrollier, 1581), p. 134 (Chapter 36):
For the rowmes which are to be supplyed by learning being within number, if they that are to supply them, grow on beyound number, how can yt be but too great a burden for any state to beare? To haue so many gaping for preferment, as no goulfe hath stoore enough to suffise, and to let them rome helpeles, whom nothing else can helpe, how can it be but that such shifters must needes shake the verie strongest piller in that state where they liue, and loyter without liuing? which needeles superfluitie fleeting without seat, what ill can it but breede?
rowmes: rooms. See Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. room, sense 10.a: "An office, function, appointment; a post, situation, employment." According to the OED, this meaning is "[e]specially common in the 16th cent."
rome: roam
shifters: OED s.v. shifter, sense 3.a: "One who resorts to petty shifts or tricks, or who practises artifice; an idle, thriftless fellow; a trickster, cozener, etc."

Id., p. 143 (Chapter 37):
I dare not venture to allow so many the latin tungue nor any other language, vnlesse it be in cases, where their trades be knowne, and those toungues be founde to be necessarie for them. For all the feare is, though it be more then feare, where it still falleth out so, least hauing such benefits of schole, they will not be content with the state which is for them, but bycause they have some petie smak of their booke, they will thinke any state be it neuer so high to be low ynough for them.
least: lest
petie: petty, small
smak: smack, "A slight or superficial knowledge; a smattering" (OED, sense 3.b)

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