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Orthography Of Proper Names
by [?]

Another remarkable instance of this sort is the name of Sir Walter Rawley, which I am myself uncertain how to write; although I have discovered a fact which proves how it should be pronounced.

Rawley’s name was spelt by himself and by his contemporaries in all sorts of ways. We find it Ralegh, Raleigh, Rawleigh, Raweley, and Rawly; the last of which at least preserves its pronunciation. This great man, when young, subscribed his name “Walter Raweley of the Middle Temple” to a copy of verses, prefixed to a satire called the Steel-Glass, in George Gascoigne’s Works, 1576. Sir Walter was then a young student, and these verses, both by their spirit and signature, cannot fail to be his; however, this matter is doubtful, for the critics have not met elsewhere with his name thus written. The orthoepy of the name of this great man I can establish by the following fact. When Sir Walter was first introduced to James the First, on the King’s arrival in England, with whom, being united with an opposition party, he was no favourite, the Scottish monarch gave him this broad reception: “Rawly! Rawly! true enough, for I think of thee very Rawly, mon!” There is also an enigma contained in a distich written by a lady of the times, which preserves the real pronunciation of the name of this extraordinary man.

What’s bad for the stomach, and the word of dishonour,
Is the name of the man, whom the king will not honour.

Thus our ancient personal names were written down by the ear at a period when we had no settled orthography; and even at a later period, not distant from our own times, some persons, it might be shown, have been equally puzzled how to write their names; witness the Thomsons, Thompsons; the Wartons, Whartons, etc.

[Footnote 1:
The writer was Bancroft, who, in his Two Books of Epigrams, 1639, has the following addressed to the poet–

Thou hast so us’d thy pen, or shooke thy speare,
That poets startle, nor thy wit come neare.

[Footnote 2:
There can be little doubt now, after a due consideration of evidence, that the proper way of spelling our great dramatist’s name is Shakespeare, in accordance with its signification; but there is good proof that the pronunciation of the first syllable was short and sharp, and the Warwickshire patois gave it the sound of Shaxpere. In the earliest entries of the name in legal records, it is written Schakespere; the name of the great dramatist’s father is entered in the Stratford corporation books in 1665 as John Shacksper. There are many varieties of spelling the name, but that is strictly in accordance with other instances of the looseness of spelling usual with writers of that era; as a general rule, the printed form of an author’s name seldom varied, and may be accepted as the correct one. ]