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Literary Blunders by Henry B. Wheatley

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and the audacies of the American people.

``Asia, the cradle of the human kind,
represents the volupty and the sensualism.
Her posture, the expression of her figure,

render well the abandonment of the passion
with the oriental people.

``Africa represented by a figure of a
woman in a timid attitude, is well the
symbol of the savage people enslaved by
the civilisation.

``Australia finally is figured by a woman
buttressed on herself, like an animal not
yet tamed, ready to throw itself on its
prey, without waiting to be attacked. . . .

``Above Asia and Africa, the Love and
the Sleep, in the shade of a floating
drapery. Finally, between Europe and
America, a young girl symbolises the

The author commences the account
of his first walk as follows: ``Thus we
begin, at present as we have let him see
these two wonderworks which fly at the
eyes, the Tower and the fountain, to return
on his steps to retake with order this walk
of recognition which will permit him,
thanks to our watchfulness, to see all in
a short time.''

``The History of the human dwelling''
is introduced thus: ``It is the moment
or never to walk among the surprising

restitution, of which M. Garnier the
eminent architect of the Opera has made
him the promoter. On our left going
along the flower-beds from the Tower till
here, the constructions of the History of
the human Dwelling is unfolded to our
eyes. The human Dwelling in all countries
and in all times, there is certainly
an excellent subject of study. Without
doubt the great works do not fail, where
conscientious plates enable us to know
exactly in which condition where living
our ancestors, how their dwellings where
disposed in the interior. But nothing
approaches the demonstration by the
materiality of the fact, and it is struck
with this truth that the organisators of
the Exhibition resolved to erect an
improvisated town, including houses of all
countries and all latitudes.''

The author finishes up his little work
in the same self-satisfied manner, which
shows how unconscious he was that he
was writing rubbish:--

``There is finished our common walk,
and in a happy way, after six days which
we dare believe it did not seem to you

long, and tiresome, your curiosity finding
a constant aliment at every step which we
made you do, in this exhibition without
rivalry, where the beauties succeed to
the beauties, where one leaves not one
pleasure but for a new one. As for us,
our task of cicerone is too agreeable
to us, that we shall do our best to
retain you still near us, in efforcing us
to discover still other spectacles, and to
present you them after all those you
know already.''

If it be absurd to give information to
Englishmen in a queer jargon which it is
difficult for him to understand, what must
be said of those who attempt to teach a
language of which they are profoundly
ignorant? Most of us can call to mind
instances of exceedingly unidiomatic
sentences which have been presented to
our notice in foreign conversation books;
but certainly the most extraordinary of
this class of blunders are to be found in
the _New Guide of the Conversation in
Portuguese and English_, by J. de Fonseca
and P. Carolino, which created some
stir in the English press a few years

ago.[14] The authors do not appear to
have had even the most distant acquaintance
with either the spoken or written
language, so that many of the sentences
are positively unintelligible, although
the origin of many of them may be
found in a literal translation of certain
French sentences. One chapter of this
wonderful book is devoted to _Idiotisms_,
which is a singularly appropriate title
for such odd English proverbs as the

[14] A selection from this book was printed by
Messrs. Field & Tuer under the title of _English
as she is spoke_.

``The necessity don't know the low.''

``To build castles in Espaguish.''

``So many go the jar to spring, than at
last rest there.''

(A little further on we find another
version of this well-known proverb: ``So
much go the jar to spring that at last it
break there.'')

``The stone as roll not heap up not

``He is beggar as a church rat.''

``To come back at their muttons.''

``Tell me whom thou frequent, I will
tell you which you are.''

The apparently incomprehensible sentence
``He sin in trouble water'' is explained
by the fact that the translator
confused the two French words _pcher_,
to sin, and _pcher_, to fish.

The classification adopted by the
authors cannot be considered as very
scientific. The only colours catalogued
are _white, cray, gridelin, musk_ and _red_;
the only ``music's instruments''--_a
flagelet, a dreum_, and a _hurdy-gurdy_.
``Common stones'' appear to be _loadstones,
brick, white lead_, and _gumstone_.
But probably the list of ``Chastisements''
is one of the funniest things in this Guide
to Conversation. The list contains _a fine,
honourable fine, to break upon, to tear off
the flesh, to draw to four horses_.

The anecdotes chosen for the instruction
of the unfortunate Portuguese youth are
almost more unintelligible than the rest
of the book, and probably the following
two anecdotes could not be matched in
any other printed book:--

``The Commander Forbin of Janson,

being at a repast with a celebrated
Boileau, had undertaken to pun upon
her name:--`What name, told him, carry
you thither? Boileau: I would wish
better to call me Drink wine.' The poet
was answered him in the same tune:--
`And you, sir, what name have you choice?
Janson: I should prefer to be named
John-meal. The meal don't is valuable
better than the furfur.'''

The next is as good:--

``Plato walking one's self a day to the
field with some of their friends. They
were to see him Diogenes who was in
water untill the chin. The superficies
of the water was snowed, for the rescue
of the hole that Diogenes was made.
Don't look it more told them Plato, and
he shall get out soon.''

A large volume entitled _Poluglssos_ was
published in Belgium in 1841, which is
even more misleading and unintelligible
than the Portuguese School Book. The
English vocabulary contains some amazing
words, such as _agridulce, ales of troops,
ancientness sign, bivacq fire, breast's pellicule,
chimney black money, infatuated compass,

iug_ (vocal), _window, umbrella_, etc. At
the end of this vocabulary are these

``Look the abridged introduction
exeptless for the english editions, foregoing
the french postcript, next after the title
page. Just as the numbers, the names
of cities, states, seas, mountains and
rivers, the christian names of men and
woman, and several synonimous, who
enter into the composition of many
english words, suppressed in the former
vocabulary, are explained by the respective
categorys and appointed at the general
index, look also by these, what is not
found here above.''

``_Version alternative_. See for the shorter
introduction exeptless for the english
editions, foregoing the french postscript
next after the title page. Just as the
numbers &c. . . . their expletives are
be given by the respective categorys, and
appointed at the general index, to wich
is sent back!''

We are frequently told that foreigners
are much better educated than we are,
and that the trade of the world is slipping

through our fingers because we are not
taught languages as the foreigners are.
This may be so, but one cannot help
believing that the dullest of English
clerks would be able to hold his own
in competition with the ingenious youths
who are taught foreign languages on the
system adopted by Senhors Fonseca
and Carolino, and by the compiler of

Guides to a foreign town or country
written in English by a foreigner are
often very misleading; in fact, sometimes
quite incomprehensible. A contributor
to the _Notes and Queries_ sent to that
periodical some amusing extracts from a
Guide to Amsterdam. The following few
lines from a description of the Assize
Court give a fair idea of the language:--

``The forefront has a noble and sublime
aspect, and is particularly characteristical
to what it ought to represent. It
is built in a division of three fronts in
the corinthic order, each of them consists
of four raising columns, resting upon a
general basement from the one end of
the forefront to the other, and supporting

a cornish, equalling running all over the

[15] _Notes and Queries_, First Series, iii 347.

When it was known that Louis XVIII.
was to be restored to the throne of France,
a report was circulated that the Duke of
Clarence (afterwards William IV.) would
take the command of the vessel which was
to convey the king to Calais. The people
of that town were in a fever of expectation,
and having decided to sing _God save
the King_ in honour of their English visitor,
they thought that it would be an additional
compliment if they supplemented it with
an entirely new verse, which ran as

``God save noble Clarnce,
Who brings our King to France,
God save Clarnce;
He maintains the glor
Of the British nav,
Oh God, make him happ,
God save Clarnce.''[16]

[16] _Ibid_., iv. 131.

In continuation of the story, it may be
said that the Duke did not go to Calais,

and that therefore the anthem was not

The composer of this strange verse
succeeded in making pretty fair English,
even if his rhymes were somewhat deficient
in correctness. This was not the case
with a rather famous inscription made by
a Frenchman. Monsieur Girardin, who
inscribed a stone at Ermenonville in
memory of our once famous poet Shenstone,
was not stupid, but rather preternaturally
clever. This inscription is
above all praise for the remarkable manner
in which the rhymes appeal to the eye
instead of the ear; and moreover it shows
how world-famous was that charming
garden at Leasowes, near Halesowen,
which is now only remembered by the

``This plain stone
To William Shenstone.
In his writings he display's
A mind natural.
At Leasowes he laid
Arcadian greens rural.''

Dr. Moore, having on a certain occasion
excused himself to a Frenchman for using

an expression which he feared was not
French, received the reply, ``Bon monsieur,
mais il mrite bien de l'tre.'' Of these
lines it is impossible to paraphrase this
polite answer, for we cannot say that they
deserve to be English.


Adder _for_ nadder, 7.
Afghan _for_ Anglican, 148.
Agassiz, _Zoological Biography_, blunder in, 64.
Alison's (Sir Archibald) blunder, 34.
Ampulle (Sainte), 35
Amsterdam, Guide to, 210.
Anderson (Andrew), his disgraceful printing of the Bible, 141.
Apostrophe, importance of an, 121.
Apron _for_ napron, 7.
_Arabian Nights_, translations of, 45.
Arden (Pepper), 60.
Arlington (Lord), his title taken from the village of Harlington, 8.
Artaxerxes, 54.
Ash's Dictionary, 9, 10.
Averrhoes, 54.

Babington's (Bishop) _Exposition of the Lord's Prayer_, 92.
_Bachaumont, Mmoires de_, 33.
Baly's (Dr.) translation of Mller's _Physiology_, 51.

Barcelona Exhibition (1883), 194
Barker (Robert) and Martin Lucas fined for
leaving _not_ out of the Seventh Commandment, 136.
Bellarmin, misprints in his works, 79.
Benserade's joke, 97.
Bible, blunders in the printing of the, 135.
----incorrect translations of passages in, 58.
----the ``Wicked'' Bible, 136.
_Bibliographical Blunders_ 63 - 77
Bismarck's (Prince) endeavours to keep on good
terms with all the Powers, 145.
Blades's (W.) _Shakspere and Typography_, 104.
Blunder, knowledge necessary to make a, 2.
Blunders, amusing mistakes, 1.
_Blunders in General_, 1-30.
----_of Authors_, 31 -46.
----_of Translators_, 47-62.
----(_Bibliographical_), 63-77.
----(_Schoolboys_'), 157-187.
Boehm's tract on the Boots of Isaiah, 71.
Boyle (Robert) becomes Le Boy, 72.
Brandenburg (Elector of) and Father Wolff, 20.
Brathwaite's (R.) _Strappado for the Divell_, 94.
Breton's (Nicholas) tracts, 81.
----_Wit of Wit_, 93.
_Bride (La) de Lammermuir_, 49.
Brigham le jeune _for_ Brigham Young, 67.
Britton's _Tunbridge Wells_, 37.
Broch (J. K.), an imaginary author, 64.
Buckingham's (J. Silk) anecdote of a wilful
misprint, 140.

Bulls, a sub-class of blunders, 24.
----made by others than Irishmen, 25.
----(Negro), 26.
Burton (Hill) on bulls, 29.
Butler's (S.) allusion to corrupted texts, 135.
----misprints in his lines, 127.
Byron's _Childe Harold_, persistent misprint in, 134.

Csoris (Mr. C. J.), 73.
Calamities _for_ Calamites, 116
Calpensis (Flora) not an authoress, 68.
Campbell's (Lord) supposed criticism of _Romeo and Juliet_, 46.
_Campion, Death and Martyrdom of_, 81.
Camus, an imaginary author, 65.
Canons _for_ chanoines, 48.
Capo Basso, 48.
Cardan's treatise _De Subtilitate_ without a misprint, 97
Careme, _Le Patissier Pittoresque_, 74.
Cartwright (Major), 60.
Castlemaine's (Lord) _English Globe_, 87.
Chaucer's works, misprints in, 153.
Chelsea porcelain, 43.
Chernac's _Mathematical Tables_, 144.
Cicero's (Mr. Tul.) _Epistles_, 72.
----_Offices_, 51.
Cinderella and the glass slipper, 57.
Classification, blunders in, 73.
Clement XIV. (Pope), 26.
Clerk (P. K.) _for_ Rev. Patrick Keith, 69.
Cockeram's _English Dictionarie_, 11.

Collier (John Payne), blunder made in a
newspaper account of his burial, 127.
Contractions, ignorant misreading of, 124.
Coquilles, specimens of, 147.
Correspondence, etymology of, 9.
Cow cut into _calves_, 129.
Cowley's allusion to corrupted texts, 135,
Cromwells, confusion of the two, 169.
Cross readings, 24.
Cruikshank's (George) real name supposed to be
Simon Pure, 70.
Curmudgeon, etymology of, 10.

_Damn et Calive_, 49.
Darius, 54
Dekker's _Satiro-Mastix_, errata to, 80.
Deleted _for_ delited in Shakespeare, 115.
De Morgan, on authors correcting their own
proofs, 89.
D'Israeli's _Curiosities of Literature_, 68, 69.
Do part _for_ depart, 8.
Donis (Nicholas), an imaginary author, 66.
Dorus Basilicus, an imaginary author, 65.
Dotet in trouble, 55.
Drayton, misreading of, 6.

Edgeworth's _Essay on Irish Bulls_, 28.
Emendations of editors, 23.
_English as she is Spoke_, 206.
_English as she is Taught_, 160.
Enrichi de Deux Listes (Mons.), 68.
Erekmann-Chatrian's _Conscript_, 56.

_Errata (lists of_), 78-99.
Estienne's (Henri) joke over a misprint, 152.
Etymologies (absurd), 9.
Ewing's (Bishop) _Argyllshire Seaweeds_, 74.
Examined, blunders of the, 157.

Faith, definition of, 158
Faraday (_Sir_ Michael), 41.
Featley's (Dr. Daniel) _Romish Fisher Caught in
his own Net_, 96.
Field the printer's blunders, 139.
_Finis Coronat opus_, 61.
Fitzgerald (Fighting), 32.
Fletcher's _The Nice Valour_, 96.
Fonseca and Carolino, _Guide of the Conversation_, 205.
_Foreigners' English_, 188-213.
Foulis's edition of Horace, 98.
French kings, anointing of the, 35.

Galt's _Lives of the Players_, 45
Garnett's _Florilegium Amantis_, 75.
Gascoigne's (George) _Droomme of Doomes Day_, 91.
Ghost words, 2.
Girardin's epitaph on Shenstone at Ermenonville, 212.
Gladstone's (Mr.) _Gleanings of Past Years_, 38.
Glanvill's (Joseph) _Essays_, 86.
``God save the King,'' new verse by a Frenchman, 211.
Goldsmith's blunders, 31,

Goldsmith's _Deserted Village_, translation of a line in, 56.
Gordon (J. E. H.) and B. A. Cantab, 69.
Greatrakes (Valentine), blunder in his name, 118.
Greeley's (Horace) bad writing, 126.
Grolier not a binder, 19.

Haggard 's (Rider) _King Solomon's Mines_, 74.
Hales's (Prof.) observations on misprints, 131.
Hall's (John) _Hor Vaciv_, 117.
Halliwell-Phillipps' _Dictionary of Misprints_, 80, 101.
Harrison's (Peter) bull, 29.
Henri II. not a potter, 19.
Herodote et aussi Jazon, 49.
Heywood's (Thomas) _Apology for Actors_, 83.
Hirudo _for_ hirundo, 48.
_Hit or Miss_, 53.
Holy Gruel _for_ Holy Grail, 149.
Homeric poems, author of the, 158.
Hood's lines on misprints, 151.
Hood (Thomas), _Geometricall Instrument called a Sector_, 82.
Hook's (Dean) bad writing, 123.
Hooker's _Ecclesiastical Polity_, corrections by the author, 93.
Hopton's (Arthur) _Baculum Geodticum Viaticum_, 83.
Horse-shoeing husbandry _for_ horse hoeing, 149.
Hotel-keepers' English, 192.
Howell's (J.) _Deudrologia_, 75.
Huet, ``ancient'' Bishop of Avranch, 51.

Hugo's (Victor) translation, 50.
Hunt's (Leigh) specimens of misprints, 148.
Hyett s{sic} _Flowers from the South_, 74.

Ibn Roshd = Averrhoes, 54
Immoral _for_ immortal, 120.
_Independent Whig_, 53.
``Indifferent justice,'' 42.
Insurrection _for_ resurrection, 133.

Jefferies (Judge) said to have presided at the trial
of Charles I., 37.
Job's wish that his adversary had written a book, 58.
Jonson's (Ben) _Every Man in his Humour_, 95.
Juvenal, edition of, with the first printed errata, 78.

Lamartine's _Girondins_, translation of, 54.
Lamb's _Tales from Shakespeare_, 45.
Lane's (E. W.) good writing, 123.
La Rochefoucauld _as_ Ruchfucove, 53.
Layamon's Brat _for_ Brut, 149.
Le Berceau, an imaginary author, 67
Leigh's (Edward) table of errata, 79.
Leviticus supposed to be a man, 17.
Leycester's (Sir Peter) _Historical Antiquities_, 97.
Littleton's Latin Dictionary, 10.
Lodge's (Prof. Oliver) series of examination papers 174
Logotypes, 113.

London (William) not a bishop, 67.
Louis XIV., blunder of, 171.
----_Secret Memoirs of the Court of_, blunder in 55
_Louis XVIII., Mmoires de_, blundes in, 33.
_Love's Last Shift_, 52.

Macaulay's blunder as to the _Faerie Queene_, 39.
----opinion of Goldsmith's blunders, 31.
Malherbe's epitaph on Rosette, 145.
Mantissa, an imaginary author, 67.
Marmontel's _Moral Tales_, 51.
Maroni's (P. V.) _The Opera_, 73.
Marriage Service, misprint in, 8.
Marvell's _Rehearsal Transprosed_, 122.
_Men of the Time_, misFrint in, 155.
Mnage on bad writirlg, 122.
Mephistopheles, 151.
Milton said to have written the _Inferno_, 42
_Misprints_, 100-156.
----(intentional), 155.
Mispronunciations, 22.
Misquotations, 21.
_Miss ac Misselis Anatomia_, 1561, book with
fifteen pages of errata, 79.
_Mistakes, A New Booke of_, 1637, 24.
Monosyllabic titles, 40.
Morgan's (Silvanus) _Horologiographia Optica_, 85.
Morton's _Natural History of Northamptonshire_, 89.
_Mourning Bride_, 52.
Murray's (Dr.) ghost words, 6.

Murrell's _Cookery_, 1632, 112.
Musical Examinations, blunders in, 164

Napier's bones, 38.
Napoleon III. said to be Consul in 1853, 35
Nash's _Lenten Stuffe_, 93.
Nicholson (Dr. Brinsley) on authors correcting
their own proofs, go, 95.
Nicolai a man not a place, 65.
Nova Scotia _for_ New Caledonia, 51.

Oxford Music Hall supposed to be at Oxford, 17.

Paine (Tom) confused with Thomas Payne, 67.
Paris Exhibition 1889, English guide to, 200.
Passagio (G.) not an author, 68.
Peacham's (Henry) _The Mastive_, 95.
Pickle (Sir Peregrine), 34.
Picus of Mirandula, edition of his works has the
longest list of errata on record, 78.
Playford's John) _Vade Mecum_, 87.
Poluglossos, 208.
Pope's lines, misprint in, 125.
Porcelain, etymology of, 9.
Porson's _Catechism of the Swinish Multitude_, 130.
Printers' upper and lower cases, 110, 111.
Proofs corrected by authors in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, 89.

Prynne's _Brevia Parliamentaria_, 60.
Pythagoras as Peter Gower, {no page #}

Rabelais' blunder, 146.

Raleigh (Sir Walter), 171.
Ray's (John) _Remains_, 118.
Render, a bad translator; 47.
Richardson's (S.) etymology of correspondence, 9
Ridings of Yorkshire, 7, 191.
Robertson's _Scotland_, translation of, 49.
Robinson (Otis H.), on ``Titles of Books,'' 75.
Roche's (Sir Boyle) bull of the bird that was in
two places at once, 29.
Rogue Croix _for_ Rouge Croix, 130.
Ruskin's _Notes on Sheepfolds_, 73.

Saints (Imaginary), 13.
Sala's (Mr.) opinion on misprints, 128.
San Francisco, Florence, mistaken _for_ San
Francisco, California, 18.
Saroom (Jean), 66.
_Schoolboys' Blunders_, 157-187,
Scot's _Hop-Garden_, 90.
Scott (Sir Walter), ghost word. 5.
----his real name said to be William, 71.
Scylla and Charybdis, 43.
Shakespeare's text improved by attention to the
technicalities of printing, 105, 113.
Sharp's (William) misprint, 120.
Shelley's _Prometheus Unbound_, a copy in whole calf, 72.
Shenstone, epitaph on, by a Frenchman, 212.
Shirley's lines, misprints in, 125.
Sinclair's (Archdeacon) anecdote of an examination, 172.

Sixtus V. (Pope), misprints in his edition of the
Vulgate, 135.
Skeat's (Prof.) ghost words, 2.
----On misprints in Chaucer's works, 153.
Skimpole (Harold), 34.
Smith's (Sydney) ghost word, 4.
Souza's edition of Camoens, 98.
Stanyhurst's translation of Virgil (1582), 59, 91.
Stevens (Henry) on the ``Wicked'' Bible, 136.
Susannah called a maiden, 41.
Swinburne's _Under the Microscope_, 73.

Tellurium, supposed magnetic qualities of, 52.
``Thisms'' _for_ this MS., 119.
Tongs, strife of, 150.
Topography _for_ typography, 121.
Translations, humorous, 61.
Translators said to be traitors, 47
Tressan (Comte de), 47.
Trinity (Master of), 60.
Twain (Mark) on schoolboys' blunders, 160.

Unite _for_ untie, 149.
Ussher (Archbishop), 141.

Vagabond (Mr.) _for_ Mr. Rambler, 60.
Vedast (St.), _alias_ Foster, 13.
Venus _for_ Venns, 130.
Viar (S.), 16.
Vieta's _Canon Mathematicus_, 144.
Virtuous Rocks _for_ Vitreous Rocks, 150.
Viscontian snakes, 48.

Vitus (Saint), 16.

Wade's (Marshal) roads, 26.
_Walker, London_, 53.
Walpole's (Horace) specimen of a bull, 29.
Wlsch _for_ Welsh, 51.
Warburton's (Bishop) blunder in quoting _Cinthio_ 34.
Watt's _Bibliotheca Britannica_, blunder in, 63.
Welsh rabbit, 52.
Wigorn (Bishop), 66.
William IV. when Duke of Clarence, 211.
Winton (George), 66.
Witt's (Richard) _Arithmetical Questions_, 90.
Words that never existed, 3.
Writing (bad) of authors, 122.

Xerxes, 54.
Xinoris (Saint), 13.

Ye _for_ the, 6.
Yonge's _Dynevor Terrace_, misprint in, 120.
_Yvery, History of the House of_, 19.

Zoile (Mons.) et Mdlle. Lycoris, 59.
Zollverein, 40.

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