« PreviousContinue »
approaching him, ask to be instructed. He says that
Tautology” means a repetition of the same meaning
"in different words"; and that "a repetition of “the same word or words is another matter. “That is merely 'repetition', and is not at all “tautology. And to call it tautology', as Mr. “Moon does, is to betray ignorance of the mean
“ing of the word”. Had I not the most unbounded confidence in the thoroughness of Mr. Gould's learning, I should imagine that he had accepted, with unquestioning faith, the erroneous opinion of some lexicographer in whom he has implicit confidence, and had not taken the trouble to analyze the word for himself. But as I know that he never does anything “superficially”, I at once banish the idea, and trust that, in compassion for my “ignorance", he will condescend to let me know by what ingenious process of reasoning he arrived at the conclusion that havroloyla does not mean “the same words”. Richardson-but who is Richardson ? Edward S. Gould is the great authority on matters relating to Greeknevertheless, Richardson says; “TAUTOLOGY. Gr. Tautodoyla, the same words, or words
“ of the same signification. A repetition or re
“peated use of the same word or words of the
same or equivalent signification." See the quo“tation from Warburton ;-'A repetition of this “kind, made in different words, is called a pleo
nasme: but when in the same words (as it is in “the text in question, if there be any repetition
". at all) it is then a tautology.' See also what Goold Brown says: “The repetition of the word degree, in saying, “The
“superlative degree increases or lessens the “positive to the highest or lowest 'degree', is a disagreeable tautology.”—Grammar of English
Grammars, page 279. Again :“ To say, 'The numbers must agree in number with
“substantives', is tautological":-Page 316. Mr. Gould concludes by saying ;“I hope that Mr. Moon will henceforth keep quiet
on 'tautology”.” I do not doubt that the readers of * Round Table' will, equally with myself, believe in the sincerity of this expression of hope from Mr. Gould. It must have been prompted by the most disinterested of motives. Possibly, he feared that I should bring upon myself the overwhelming derision of scholars.
He has my warmest acknowledgments; and, if I further
rashly expose my “ignorance”, I trust that, whatever opinion others may entertain of the act, he will believe that I am influenced only by a desire not to be outdone in disinterestedness, seeing that I am still willing to let my darkness be the foil that shall best set off the lustre of his thoughts.
I do not consider tautology,—and by" tautology" I mean a repetition of the same word or words,to be always a blemish in composition; on the contrary, I consider it to be often a beauty and a power, and that it frequently gives eloquence to the utterance, and force to the reasoning. In the following passage from my work, ‘The Dean's * English', page 110, I have, myself, used the word “language” eleven times in one sentence; and yet, I have not, I believe, used it once too often. The passage is on the neglect of the study of English, and is as follows:
“What a disgrace to us as Englishmen is this !—that our noble language,—the language “of our prayers to the Throne of Heaven; the "language of the dearest and holiest relation
ships of life; the language of the maternal lips " which have blessed us and are now silent in the grave; the language of our sorrows and our
“joys, our aspirations and our regrets; the "language in which we breathe our consolations “to the dying, and our farewells to those whom “we love; the language in which are embalmed “the stirring appeals of our patriots, and the “thrilling battle-cries of our warriors; the “ language of our funeral dırges over those who “have fallen in defence of our homes, our children, and our liberties; the language in “which have been sung our pæans of triumph " in hours of victories which have made England “great among the nations; that this language, “—the language of Shakspeare, of Milton, and “ of the Bible, should be utterly ignored as a
study in our schools and our colleges! This “ is indeed a disgrace such as the barbarians of “ Greece and of Rome never incurred; and a
disgrace, upon which, men in future ages of “the world will look back with wonder."
Mr. Gould tells us that he is availing himself of the advice of his friends. I hope that none of them will be so indiscreet as to advise him to discontinue his letters to The Round Table'. They will certainly establish for him a reputation which will last as long as the English language is spoken. Go on, Mr. Gould, in the path which you have chosen; rewards, far greater than any which you have yet received, await you in the future. But as there may be a wearying delay before we shall be able to congratulate you on the possession of those honours which you covet, you will not, I am sure, object to our whiling away a portion of the time by indulging in a little innocent mirth at your expense.
“Care to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt;
every burst of laughter draws one out.” A man who begins to build, and is not able to finish, has always been regarded as a proper object at which to point the finger of ridicule. Mr. Gould began to build a formidable battery, on which he purposed to mount one of the heaviest of his little guns, and then tempt me to storm the position, that he might-do, I don't know what!
He said, as I have previously remarked ;“ I would like to ask why Mr. Moon uses the adjective
• strange for the adverb strangely, in this sentence :-Mr. Gould's plea respecting a "first 666 edition'
sounds very strange to those who "remember,' etc. As Mr. Moon informs me “that carelessness admits of no excuse', I trust “that he will not plead carelessness' in answer"ing this second enquiry.”