The first part of the elementarie vvhich entreateth chefelie of the right writing of our English tung, set furth by Richard Mulcaster.
Mulcaster, Richard, 1530?-1611.

The proportion of bissyllabs.

I call that a bissyllab, wherein there be two seuerall soūding vowells, as Asùr, rasùr, masùr, and why not lasur? farow, bo∣rough, thorough. Writing, biting. The proportion in this kinde also is verie commodious, bycause when ye haue found out one certain head all of the like sound maie be easilie reduced thereunto, onelesse som prerogatiue of priuat custom, or som respect to the originall stranger do interrupt the rank. If there be but one word in anie kinde, that one will serue for a gide, when anie mo afterward shall craue the help of the like con∣duct, as Whisper, bussard. If there be no president of the same sound, yet the like proportion in som other vowell, will lead his cosen soūd, as if there were no such word as badger, yet hed∣ger, wold lead vs to the like writing. Wherein I haue regard still to the English ear, reseruing the writing of enfranchised words in their own colours, to such as be skilfull. I will write for the common man, Aumner, aumrie, naie euen filosofie, and ortografie, and leaue Almoner, almonarie, naie Eleemosyner, & Eleemosynarie, philosophie and ortographie, to the discretion, Page  138 of such, as be learned, to vse or refuse as theie list. Wherein I follow the autoritie of a great master in speche, euen Tullie him self, who reseruing the misterie of speche and pen to himself, and his peres, did lend the peple, the vse and customarie there∣of. Now these bissyllabs be either naturall English as, ba∣uin,*crauin, rauin, or enfranchised foren, as Pallet, mallet, bal∣let. And again in both the kindes theie be either simple, as canell, panell, chanell, or compound, as waieward, toward, fro∣ward,*aside, asquint, astraie, except, reiect, conceiue, detaine. As for the compounds and enfianchisments theie haue the help of particular titles to direct them: for the simples and na∣turall English I am to deall in this place. Whereof I will set down but certain generall notes, bycause the table which fol∣loweth, shal contein so manie of ech sort, as I can well remēber, and euerie one of them so proportioned to my note in rule, as theie shall one answer another thoroughlie, as Cancell, chancell, hancell. Chalice, malice, Calice, amice, office. Lauer, fauer, sa∣uer. Iaueling, graueling, shaueling, raueling. Natur, statur, Measur, treasur. But I shall not nede to vse anie further enu∣meration, seing the endings be all one, and the former syllab is that which moueth matter of question in this place, which hath verie manie helps hereafter, whereby it maie be throughlie vn∣derstood deriuatiō somtime breading bissyllabs, as of time, time∣lie, witie, of wit, writer, of write, composition somtime, as break∣fast, thraldom, vauntgard, lastage, pondage, enfranchisment somtime, as Excuse, abuse, abase, reiect: distinctiō somtime no∣ting, them, as Amis, and amisse, ascent, assent, desert, and desért, and what not? Therefor the bissyllabs for this place shall contēt thēselues with these few notes. First that the silent, e, after, l, en∣creaseth not the number of syllabs, & that therefor Brable, sorā∣ble,*strample, wrangle, circle, whistle, gogle, trouble, & a nuber such be but monosyllabs. Barnacle, triacle, chronicle, tunicle, & manie such be but bissyllabs, Agreable, auailable, penetrable & a nūber, such be but of thré syllabs. Again, that the, e, passant in such words, as hastē, writē, bidē, threatē, frosen, cosen & such encreaseth * not the syllabs, & that therefor these, which I haue rehersed & such other be but mere monosyllabs. Abiden, forgoten, vnwriten, & such but bissyllabs. Again, that the English tūg is not length∣ned *Page  139 eueriewhere for position, & cōcourse of two or mo conso∣nants, and that therefor, the quikker time mostwhat dubleth the consonant in bissyllabs, as Fallow, sallow, yallow, tallow, swal∣low. Matter, platter, batter. Marie, tarie, carie, quarie, with the shorte time. Marie, charie, farie, with the long time, tho in neither the consonant be dubled. That both in bissylabs, * and polysyllabs tho the same writing be in the end which is in the monosyllab, yet the sound is far quikker, as in either of them the ending, ow, runneth but like a single, u, where as in the monosyllab, it wilbe heard full, as in Lów, knów, and bellow, mel∣low, yallow, the difference is sene. As concerning polysyllabs, theie be either English compounds or foren Enfranchisments, which will bewraie themselues in their own places, the simple words bringing their hole furniture in composition, as, ouerse∣ing, vndoing, whereupon, eueriewhere. And the foreners euer ap∣pealing * to their originall grounds, euen when theie be most fashioned to the English ear, as originall, to originalis, enfran∣chisment, chastisment to their own cuntries. And therefor I do not entend to saie much of them in this place, otherwise then by genenerall note, bycause both the comon table, and all the titles that follow concern bissyllabs, and polysyllabs most: as the generall rule, and the first part of proportion do most con∣cern monosyllabs. In which monosyllabs the naturall force of euerie letter is best perceiued, bycause the sound and strength thereof appeareth there fullest, where there is none to partici∣pat with them in sound; but themselues, which cannot be sene so well in words of mo syllabs, bycause theie hudle on euerie sound with more quiknesse, saue where the time or tune will command verie roundlie. The polysyllab therefor for the chefe girk of his sound riseth vpon the third syllab from the end, as the bissyllab doth of the second. And bycause the large doth al∣waie comprise the lesse within it, therefor the rules of the first & second syllabs, hold in the polysyllabs, where the companie of * mo syllabs causeth anie one to be the lest noted: onelesse som speciall occasion for difference sake make the verie last, or the last saue one to be thought on and noted, as in concordance, sur∣fitting, grassehopper and such, the second syllab short is a pro∣pertie of our tung contrarie to the commō rule of time, tho not Page  140 to the rule of tune. (For the Grekes do so in the like positions) and therefor causeth the last syllabs saue one in these words & in the like to be better noted. Again, in abiuring, adiuring, coniu∣ring,*periurie, the ods in the midle time maketh the deriuatiues of the same primitiues to be markt for that syllab. And again, on,* in the simple monosyllab, naie euen in the bisyllab soundeth vpon the, o, most, in the polysyllab vpon the, u, bycause the en∣franchising of such words, as circumscription, deuision, partition, comparison, declineson, kepeth the naturall, o, but giueth it the en∣franchisers, dy, in, u.

But to knit vp this title of proportion, (which is the great ma∣ster leader to all our whole tung, as Rule is the great Anatomist * of all the sounds and forces of our letters) when we haue don all that either sound maie require, or reason can enioy n, custom will haue a great stroke, and must make vp the trinitie in dire∣ction of speche. For what but custom hath won, in nation, deriua∣tion, deliberation, inclination, to kepe a, still, and to go so near the originall: and in declinson, comparison, •…duowson, and such to go so much astraie from the originall, declination, comparation, aduocation? Wherefor as sound hath somwhat to saie in our or∣tographie, and reason not nothing, so the custom of our cuntrie will try mastries for hir interest, which she must haue at his hand who so entendeth to handle this argument with liking, as who so douteth to write a word in English, must seke out the like sound in proportion.