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English Past and Present
written by "Trench, Richard Chenevix, 1807-1886"
... by good authors. Thus Holland wrote ?cirque’, but we ?circus’; ?cense’, but we ?census’; ?interreign’, but we ?interregnum’; Sylvester ?cest’, but we ?cestus’; ?quirry’, but we ?equerry’; ?colosse’, but we still ?colossus’; Golding ?ure’, but we ?urus’; ?metropole’, but we ?metropolis’; Dampier ?volcan’, but this has not superseded ?volcano’; nor ?pagod’ (Pope) ?pagoda’; nor ?skelet’ (Holland) ?skeleton’; nor ?stimule’ (Stubbs) ?stimulus’. Bolingbroke wrote ?exode’, but we hold fast to ?exodus’; Burton ?funge’, but we ?fungus’; Henry More ?enigm’, but we ?enigma’; ?analyse’, but we ?analysis’. ?Superfice’ (Dryden) has not put ?superficies’, nor ?sacrary’ (Hacket) ?sacrarium’, nor ?limbeck’ ?alembic’, out of use. Chaucer’s ?potecary’ has given way to a more Greek formation ?apothecary’. Yet these and the like must be regarded quite as exceptions; the tendency of things is altogether the other way. Looking at this process of the reception of foreign words, with their after assimilation in feature to our own, we may trace, as was to be[65] expected, a certain conformity between the genius of our institutions and that of our language. It is the very character of our institutions to repel none, but rather to afford a shelter and a refuge to all, from whatever quarter they come; and after a longer or shorter while all the strangers and incomers have been incorporated into the English nation, within one or two generations have forgotten that they were ever ought else than members of it, have retained no other reminiscence of their foreign extraction than some slight difference of name, and that often disappearing or having disappeared. Exactly so has it been with the English language. No language has shown itself less exclusive; none has stood less upon niceties; none has ...

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