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last syllables; lay aside Punctuo and you have it in Bice.
“You see how subjects of this kind are to be managed ; it is not, however, in the power of every body to have such a command. Dr. Stukeley is in possession of a true Roman Securis; it is his companion, friend, and guard. He uses it upon all occasions: if he meets with but an odd word, he lays it down fairly transcribed in capitals, and with one slight chop divides it; whatever remains on the right of the securis, is the right word. He pursues this religious opinion of the Romans with great exactness. The Grecians, indeed, valued the left side most, but the Romans after a complete conquest, changed hands with them. This sort of torture is usual among critics, but never carried to so severe a degree before, as to treat words as Procrustes did men—This gentleman is in the same instant Judge, Jury, and executioner; even as soon as the learned juggler blows, Bice is turned into vice and vice into vies. So that all that is left of this unfortunate word Punctuobice is the tail, which is looked on, as in vipers, as the only sensible part. Mr. Pope seems to have pointed out such minute critics to the life in the following line,
“They catch the eel of science by the tail. An elderly gentleman, witness to this sad catastrophe, broke out into the following pathetic speech of condolence. ‘Alas, poor Punctuobice! thou who hadst lain untouched a thousand years, wrapt up in obscurity and dust, in the corner of a library of monks, wert at last dragged out of thy snug retirement, and impressed into an army of virulent Literati; but in a little time you disappeared, afterwards wert caught and brought out as a traitor upon the scaffold of criticism, without one friend to support thee, for thy own Ravennas was not known.—Thou wert executed by the order and hands of the Inquisitor-general of words. Thou hadst not the honor of being beheaded, for that is only reserved for capital bodies; but to be halved, the ignominious fate of diminutive ones. How do I commiserate and share thy grief, when I recollect thy fondness and regret for the poor miserable orphan thou hast left behind thee—mayst thou oh Bice, meet a better fate.' Thus ended these melancholy words, with the sad solemnity; the execution was performed at one blow: the priestly butcher retired to some invisible place, like a Druid—I beg pardon, I mean a Celtic, to his oak. However he repented, took care of the orphan, bred him up and put him out in the world after having properly bound him; for the poor thing had lost his father and mother, and had not any one relation left in the world, except one cousin-german, whose name was Pooghen, of whom you will hear something by and bye.
“The foundation of these painful lucubrations, which are humbly submitted to the reader's judgment, may be found in a book full of uncommon erudition, ycleped Itinerarium Curiosum at the 76th and 108th pages, composed at night under the influence of painful dreams by Master William Stevckele. This book has a great many divertizing things in it; there are maps and pictures and tail-pieces, but upon turning it very attentively over, I could not find in the whole book one single head-piece.
“My regard and veneration for this incomparable Doctor oblige me to wait upon him a little farther, to shew you how artfully he tries to extricate himself out of this unsurmountable puzzle. In another learned book written by him, we are informed that one William Baxter, a profound antiquary, a haberdasher of hard words, well skilled in his native language, Welsh, and possessed with a national itch for verbal criticism, was at an uncommon loss to account for this word Punctuo, and confessed his ignorance on his death-bed. This distress threw him into a sedentary life, and a steady train of meditation. Under this situation, he received a visit from his old friend Dr. Stukeley, who stalking in, very dirty, just after his return from Stonehenge, enquired into the occasion of his melancholy and dejection of spirits; and talked with him as an antiquary and a friend, and something like a physician. As soon as the Doctor found the cause of his disease, and that the seat of it was in his gizzard, he cried aloud "Poogh! the word comes from pooghen, which in German signifies an arduous work, as much as to say—the castle, which is said to have been the strongest in Europe.' Baxter did not acquiesce in this peremptory decision, but replied, that William of Malmesbury and Matthew Paris give this character to Roger's castle only, and never hinted the least at any other castle more ancient, upon the same spot of ground. Baxter kept his temper for the present, for his spirits were not high enough to rise immediately into a passion.—These two had been old friends and intimate acquaintances; formed nearly out of the same materials, their minds were much alike, so that they valued each other, as Virtuosos should do, for the antique cast of their manners, and the venerable rust that stuck close about them. They imparted to each other, the important discoveries that they had made, long before they went to the press. Their friendship was closely connected by a chain of hard words. They perpetually disputed, but never convinced; their disagreements served for a constant fund of conversation, and kept them as steady in their affections, as a court balance exactly poized by different parties. Thus they lived for years, till this fatal catastrophe happened, which was the unfortunate occasion of the death of poor Baxter, but evidently without any malice prepense. The Doctor made no other answer to Baxter's remonstrances, but cried aloud thrice contemptuously, Pooghen! A warm dispute ensued, and Baxter was treated with such unusual freedoms, and such an inveterate asperity for his ignorance in the German tongue, and want of faith in an infallible Doctor, that all his Welsh blood flew instantly up into his face. He puffed powerful protestations, and poured plenty of proverbial parallogisms with pestiferous perfumes, into poor Pill's physiognomy. The Doctor started, retreated and spewed ... · · · · · · · · ·
“When Baxter was dead, his friend reigned alone and commanded words. But words have natural rights as well as men; they do not care to be turned out of possession without the previous forms, and some reasons offered for an ejectment. It is but just that they should have their titles examined, and evidence heard, before judgment is given. They have often had good success in courts of justice, and have recovered large costs from their plaintiffs' misnomers. The Doctor, it must be confessed, in another place acknowledges himself in some distress about this cumbersome word Punctuobice, but like an old staunch hound, will not give it up. · Anonymous Ravennas,' says he, ‘may possibly call it Punctuobice, but we have no certainty that his copy remains uncorrupt, or that he transcribed it right, nor wbat alterations the Romans made in the original word Devizes, nor what was made in the later or barbarous times. However there seems enough therein, as well as in the present name of the town, to countenance our conjecture! You see at last he is not clear that the word ever was in Ravennas; and if it was, it might possibly have been altered by the Saxons, Goths, Vandals, or Franks; yet there is enough left to justify his conjecture; it is still therefore “vies” from vice, from bice, from Punctuobice. Did you ever see such a Welsh or rather Irish pedigree-does it not put you in mind of that of King Pepin ?
“The Doctor must be acknowledged to have been more fortunate in the following etymology, and very happy in the application of it. The Devizes is a town in the middle of Wansdyke, and very probably erected, among others, to secure the ditch or fortification. It seems to have been the capital fort or frontier town, and to have had its name from the King, as a trophy or monument of his power, built by him in person. A little below he adds .They tell us legendary tales about its being built by an old British King—Divisus was probably the name of this Belgic monarch, or Duiguis.
As Gluiguis King of Demetia in Wales is wrote Glivisus by Toland. And the termination may have been framed into Latin from the Celtic word Tæog i.e. dux. Whence perhaps the Etruscan “Tages' so much boasted of in their antiquities ; likewise the modern Doge' of Venice. So that Divitiacus may well be Divisus dux. Believe me sir, a most perspicuous and incontestible inference . . ...".
“As there are some things mentioned above in a catachrestic style, which I do not thoroughly apprehend, I took the liberty once of asking the Doctor the following questions. Is the town in the middle of the length of Wansdyke?— Yes, surely, it is but four miles west from it. Perhaps Doctor you mean that it stands opposite to the middle of the length of Wansdyke?—Yes, most assuredly, as does Newbury, and Kingston, and Rochester, &c.—Is it certain that this was a frontier town to the Dyke ?-As certain as that the Romans never built a station nearer to the place to be defended, than four miles.—Was it built as a trophy to the King's power?— As sure as Dido built Troy; and William the Conqueror, King's College Chapel—Was it built by the King in person ?Without all question, and by the very same King that erected Stonehenge with his own hands, for the Celtic Kings were hewers of wood and drawers of water, and bricklayers, and stone-cutters and free-masons. — Did the Celtæ ever build their towns so far from rivers ?-Often ; witness their metropolis at Stonehenge, and their large town upon Marlborough Down, called now the Grey Wethers; you ought to know that the characteristic of a Celt was to be patiens solis atque sitis."
“These answers quite silenced me, so that I have scarce more than one word left to say, that I am, Sir.”—&c. &c.
“In my last I was struck dumb. This taciturnity was attended with an amusing reverie, in which a method darted into my mind of propagating the species of this set of imcomparable writers. It is enclosed in the following short receipt,