[Ads-l] Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Mon Sep 14 03:58:37 UTC 2015

On 9/12/2015 12:17 PM, Joel Berson wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Help reading a 1721 Boston newspaper
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I would be grateful for help (ideally from more than one person) in reading=
>   a line from the Boston Gazette of 1721 (Aug.. 28 to) Sept. 4.=C2=A0 On pag=
> e three there is a letter "To the Author of the Boston Gazette".=C2=A0 Its =
> second paragraph contains the text "but whether a ? loose wild pedantick Sc=
> hool Boy performance ..."
> The letter is signed "W. Anti-inoculator" (William Douglass).=C2=A0 I am no=
> t able to identify the writer characterized as a "School Boy" performer.
> I have two possible readings for the questioned word, "Bombard" (n. 1.a or =
> 1.c) or "Bombast" (n. 3.a).=C2=A0 "Bombast" seems more likely to me given t=
> he context (speech) and the appearance of the next-to-last letter (more lik=
> e a long s than an r).

Me, I can't actually see the text in question.

Why not "bombast" [adjective]?

(I guess this adjective is no longer usual. To check whether it was used 
in the period in question, one can search for (e.g.) <<"the most 
bombast">>, incidentally at the same time maybe somewhat distinguishing 
"adjective" from "attributive noun".)

Incidentally, I see the sentence in question mentioned in Perry Miller's 
"The New England Mind" (Google Books: search for (e.g.) <<bombast "loose 
wild" "perry miller">>).

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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