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R “is for the—No;—That's the dog's name,” ROMEO AND JULIET, ii. 4. 203. Even in the days of the Romans, R was called the dog's letter from its resemblance in sound to the snarling of a dog. Lucilius alludes to it in a fragment, which is quoted with various corruptions by Nonius Marcellus, Charisius, and Donatus on Terence, and which Joseph Scaliger amended thus,
“Irritata canes quod, homo quàam, planiu' dicit” (“canes” being the nom. sing. fem.); and Persius has
“Sonat hic de nare canina
Litera.” Sat. i. 109. Ben Jonson, in his English Grammar, says that R “Is the dog's letter, and hurreth in the sound; the tongue striking the inner palate, with a trembling about the teeth.” Works, vol. ix. p. 281, ed. Gifford ; and various passages to the same effect might be cited from our early authors.

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