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A Cursory History of Swearing   By:

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A CURSORY HISTORY OF SWEARING.

A CURSORY HISTORY OF SWEARING.

BY JULIAN SHARMAN.

"Ha! this fellow is worse than me; what, does he swear with pen and ink?" The Tatler , No. 13.

LONDON: J. C. NIMMO AND BAIN, 14, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND, W.C. 1884.

CONTENTS.

PAGE

CHAPTER I.

At the Scufflers' Club A stranger at the gates A somnolent post office The best men in London A sing song "Damn their eyes!" "Qui s'excuse s'accuse" The philosophy of swearing A retrospect "When that I was and a little tiny boy" 1

CHAPTER II.

The son of discord Origin of swearing Decline of lying as an art Growth of swearing as a science The military oath Religious oath John the Marshall Fustian oaths Legislation begins "Moralité des Blasphémateurs" George Fox and Margaret Fell Oath of the King Maker Oath of the Bear garden 22

CHAPTER III.

"Odd's bodikins" In Socrates' thinking shop The British shibboleth Don Juan Beaumarchais Parny Joan of Arc a satirist of swearing La Hire Corbleu et Cie. "Jarnicoton" "[Greek: Ma ton]" 'Jurons de Cadillac' Little King Goddam Sir John Harrington 'Amends for Ladies' "Don't care a damn" 38

CHAPTER IV.

Why has a dog a bad name? Canine swearing "Jarnichien!" The cast of the die Dog oath of Socrates A nation of swearers Aristophanes The Rhodian cabbage "Mehercule" 'Ship of Fools' Amenities of Roman swearing 60

CHAPTER V.

Mediæval swearing The monastic teaching Cleric and lay Robert Crowley Mystery of the five wounds "God's bread!" In a Tuscan studio Stephen Hawes Thomas Becon 'Miroir du Monde' 'Handlyng Sinne' Chaucer's oaths Plantagenet swearing "Ventre Saint Gris" A royal scapegrace "Bismillah!" 77

CHAPTER VI.

The genius of antiquity A study in dust and cobwebs The why and the wherefore of swearing A swearing corps d'élite "Swear me, Kate, like a lady" The freemasonry of swearing Lord Thurlow Sir Thomas Maitland "By jingo!" 99

CHAPTER VII.

A bank of swearing Legislation at work "The sweirer's and the Devill" Aberdeen town records Across the border Before the footlights 'Magnetic Lady' The wits Colman the younger A swearing bureau Quarter Sessions Statute of William and Mary Convictions A carnival of swearing 115

CHAPTER VIII.

A saviour of society Joseph Addison A tradesman of the last century A clerical apologist Swearing in earnest and at play An explanation offered Blue laws of Connecticut Bobadil 'The Rivals' 'Covent Garden weeded' Brantôme's oaths Eccentricities of swearing "Old Harry" "The dickens" "The deuce" "Le diable de Biterne" 139

CHAPTER IX.

Utilitarian view of swearing One touch of nature The Shandean method Code of Ernulphus "Sacré froc d'Habacuc" Mr. William Barley Philosophy of imprecation "Bloody" In the Low Countries 'The Man of Mode' Swift without his waistcoat Sanglant Retrospect and ending 171

APPENDIX 193

A CURSORY HISTORY OF SWEARING.

CHAPTER I.

AT THE SCUFFLERS' CLUB.

"'Our armies swore terribly in Flanders,' said my uncle Toby, 'but nothing to this.'" Tristram Shandy.

It lay in the heart of Bohemia. It was approached through a labyrinth of streets that grew denser and darker as one neared the precincts of the club. Could any of the brother Scufflers have seen the neighbourhood by day, it would have presented an appearance dismal and sordid enough. Dealers in faded wardrobes, merchants in tinsel and rouge de théâtre , retailers of wigs and fleshings and all manner of stage wares, seemed one with another to have made the locality their home... Continue reading book >>




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