19 NOVEMBER 1870, Page 25

A Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. By E. C. Brewer,

LL.D. (Cassell and Co.)—It is best to give a specimen of this book, for the title is not very intelligible, though it would not be easy to suggest a better. Here are some of the contents of a page taken at random. We are told how Chilminar and Balbec were two cities built by the pre-Adamite Genii ; what the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds is; how the word Chimera comes to have its meaning ; the equivalents of "chin" in Greek, Latin, Persian, &c. ; the meaning of the word Chinese ; a brief account of Fennimore Cooper's Chingachcook, &e. There is an abundance of curious information and some learning collected together in the volume, which is certainly better put together, and shows more taste and scholar- ship than many of its kind. But it is not perfect. In literary matters, for instance, Dr. Brewer might improve his acquaintance with Dryden, who in "Absalom and Achitopel " certainly represents Shadwell under the name of Og, but as certainly never "calls him McFlecnoe." McFlecnoe is the speaker in the satire so called, and nominates Shadwell as his successor on the throne of dullness. Patroclus was not slain, but wounded by Euphorbus ; Hector certainly got the credit and paid the penalty. Post facto is not Latin without the ex, which Dr. Brewer omits, nor can it be said that Thebes "was the Thebaid of Egypt."