Page:A Desk-Book of Errors in English.djvu/13

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ix
Introductory

In the King James Version of the Bible, quoted by some authorities as a standard of pure English, one may find the following, which occurs in Isaiah xxxvii. 36: "Then the angel of the Lord went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand; and when they arose early in the morning, behold they were all dead corpses." It can hardly be supposed that the translators meant to imply that the corpses arose early in the morning and found themselves dead. In the second act of "Julius Caesar," Shakespeare puts into the mouth of Ligarius the following: "I will strive with things impossible; yea, get the better of them." For power of perseverance Ligarius is to be commended. Hallam, author of the "Literature of Europe," declared that "No one as yet had exhibited the structure of the human kidneys, Vesilius having only examined them in dogs"—a declaration which implies that the dog must have bolted them whole. The London Times has occasionally perpetrated absurdities which equal, if they do not surpass, these. In an obituary announcing the death of Baron Dowse it said, "A great Irishman has passed away. God grant that many as great, and who shall as wisely love their country, may follow him." Here the intended wish is not that many great Irishmen may die but that there may be many to follow him who shall love their country as well as he did. An