PROVERBS

1555

PRUSSIA

law, custom and trade established themselves, the language followed. In this way the inhabitants of northern Italy, Spain, France (Gaul) and parts of Switzerland received a new tongue. The language which came into common use in these places, however, was the low Latin of the provinces, a colloquial form of Latin, lacking much of its grammatical precision. This low Latin, mingling with the languages or dialects of various places, produced, in time, a number of new languages having the same background but little else in common. Writers distinguish six such Romanic languages: Italian, Moldavian, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Provenšal, the latter a dialectic language of the south of France, whose use extended from Lake Geneva to the Bay of Biscay and to the Mediterranean. This section of France had not only a language of its own but a literature, which in the 12 th and 13th centuries was especially rich in poetry. It was in this language the songs of the troubadours were mostly composed, so that Provenšal and troubadour are often used as synonymous terms The conquest of southern France by northern France in the 13th century, reduced the old Provenšal tongue to the level of a mere dialect; nevertheless, its effect upon the language which has superseded it is marked, and the relation of the two affords a battleground for modern philologists. In the poems of Mistral, however, Provenšal still is a living language.

Prov'erbs are very hard to define; but nearly everybody knows one when he sees or hears it. Perhaps the best description is that of Cipriano de Valera: "Proverbs are short sayings, sententious and true, and long since accepted as such by common consent." The distinctive characteristic of the proverb is that it is a popular current saying, adopted as a convenience by the community. It must indeed have shortness, sense, salt, pith and other qualities, but it also is necessary that these should be so combined that it will strike the popular fancy and thereby come into general use. It has been well-said that no one man ever made a proverb. It has equally well been said that "the proverb' is the wisdom of many and the wit of one." He may have made an original saying, but the proverb is a creature of popular suffrage. Not only is this the case, but they pass from one nation to another and become the property of the race; and for this reason it is impossible to determine even the nationality of some of our best and most popular proverbs. The office of the proverb is to "hit the nail on the head," to "put the matter in a nutshell," to speak the last word, to settle the issue without further argument or discussion. Of all national groups of proverbs the Spanish contains the greatest number, 25,000 or 30,000; and they

I are as racy as numerous. Among oriental proverbs the Arabic ones hold the first place in quantity and perhaps also in quality, but the Persian and Hindustani proverbs also are excellent, and in the Turkish there sometimes is a vein of poetry that is very striking. It is a question whether the tender beauty of our proverb: "God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb " is not rivaled by its Turkish parallel : "God makes Ó nest for the blind bird."

Prov'idence, R. I., a seaport and capital of Rhode Island. It is the second city of New England in wealth and population, and is an important center for manufacturing and shipping and for its railroad and financial interests. It is celebrated for its manufacture of jewelry and silverware. It also produces tools, stoves, engines, locomotives, cottons, woolens, corset-laces, shoe-laces, lampwicks etc., and has many bleaching-works. It is situated at the head of navigation on an arm of Narra-gansett Bay (called Providence River), 35 miles from the Atlantic and 44 from Boston. Among the many notable public buildings and institutions are a city-hall of granite, costing $1,000,000, with the state soldiers' monument facing it ; the state-house, customhouse and postoffice; the AthenŠum; the buildings of the Rhode Island Historical Society; the Arcade and Butler Exchange; a great number of churches, schools, libraries, hospitals and asylums, including a noble charity known as Dexter Asylum for the poor; the Quaker College; and Brown University ((jr. v.). Providence was settled in 1636 by Roger Williams. Population 224,326.

Prunes are the dried fruit of a certain variety of plum-trees, largely prepared in France and exported from that country. Considerable quantities also come from Bosnia, Servia and California.

Prun'ing, the removal of branches from trees and shrubs to add to their health, increase their production of fruit or render them more ornamental. Forest-trees are sometimes pruned to increase the size of the trunk for timber purposes. In pruning it is necessary to understand the particular nature of the tree or shrub to be pruned, but it may be laid down as a general rule that the branches cut off should be small in proportion to the size of the trunk. The proper season must be known, pruning for some trees can be done only in the resting season, of others in the time of full growth The cut should be smooth, care being taken that the wound shall heal rapidly. Large cuts must be covered with a preservative.

Prussia (prŭsh'-ă), the largest and most important state in the German Empire, is bounded on the north by the German Ocean, Jutland and the Baltic ; on the east by Russia; on the south by Austria, Saxony, the Thuringian states, Bavaria, Hesse-Darm