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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Irene E. Jerome., In a fair country, Water-Lilies (search)
can hardly expect to get out again without some slight entanglement in philology. Lily-pads. Whence pads? No other leaf is identified with that singular monosyllable. Has our floating Lotus-leaf any connection with padding, or with a footpad? with the ambling pad of an abbot, or a paddle, or a paddock, or a padlock? With many-domed Padua proud, or with St. Patrick? Is the name derived from the Anglo-Saxon paad or petthian, or the Greek patew All the etymologists are silent; Tooke and Richardson ignore the problem; and of the innumerable pamphlets in the Worcester and Webster Controversy, loading the tables of schoolcommittee-men, not one ventures to grapple with the lily-pad. But was there ever a philological trouble for which the Sanscrit could not afford at least a conjectural cure? A dictionary of that extremely venerable tongue is an ostrich's stomach, which can crack the hardest etymological nut. The Sanscrit name for the Lotus is simply Padma. The learned Brahmins call
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Irene E. Jerome., In a fair country, Snow (search)
nity of cold, its fingers are feeling after us, and even if they do not clutch us, we know that they are there. The sensations of such days almost make us associate their clearness and whiteness with something malignant and evil. Charles Lamb asserts of snow, It glares too much for an innocent color, methinks. Why does popular mythology associate the infernal regions with a high temperature instead of a low one? El Aishi, the Arab writer, says of the bleak wind of the Desert (so writes Richardson, the African traveller), The north wind blows with an intensity equalling the cold of hell; language fails me to describe its rigorous temperature. Some have thought that there is a similar allusion in the phrase, weeping and gnashing of teeth,—the teeth chattering from frost. Milton also enumerates cold as one of the torments of the lost,— O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp; and one may sup full of horrors on the exceedingly cold collation provided for the next world by the Norse