MORRIS, Richard. Bermondsey, London 8.9.1833 — Harold Wood, Essex 12.5.1894. British Philologist, Scholar of Early English and Pāli. Born in a family of Welsh origin, attended Battersea Training College. He never studied in a university and was mainly self-taught. In 1871 obtained a curacy in Southwark. From 1875-88 Headmaster of Royal Masonic Institution for Boys at Wood Green in Middlesex, then briefly school master in Dedham, Essex, but retired because of illness. Until the 1870s he was mainly interested in English philology, but then, prompted by his friend Rhys Davids, started to work on Pāli. LL.D. 1870 Lambeth (procured by Archbishop Tait). Honorary M.A. 1874 Oxford.
Morris was one of the most active contributors of the P.T.S. during its early period. He could derive much use of his experience as an editor of early English texts and applied his knowledge of linguistic history to the problem of the position of Pāli between Sanskrit and NIA. His Chaucer edition was the standard text until 1894.
Publications: The Etymology of Local names. L. 1857; Lectures on the Excellency of the Bible. 1858; Historical Outlines of English Accidence. 16+378 p. L. 1872 and many edd.; Elementary Lessons in Historical English Grammar. 12+254 p. L. 1874.
– A number of text editions published by the Early English Text Society in the 1860s and 1870s, i.al. The Poetical Works of Chaucer. 1-6. L. 1866; The Works of Edmund Spenser. L. 1869.
– Long review of Rhys Davids’ Buddhist Suttas: Academy Oct. 1. 1881.
– Edited: Buddhavansa and Cariyāpitaka. L., P.T.S. 1882; Puggalapaññatti. 15+94 p. L., P.T.S. 1883; Aṅguttara-nikāya. 1-2. L. 1885-1896 (P.T.S. Text Series 3-4; continued by E. Hardy); “Saddhammopāyana”, JPTS 1887, 35-98.
– Edited with T. W. Rhys Davids: “Dāṭhāvaṁsa”, JPTS 1884, 109-151.
– “Folk-Tales in India, tr. from the Pāli Jātakas”, Folklore Journal 2, 304-310, 332-340, 370-377; 3, 56-79, 121-133, 242-256, 328-366; 4, 45-63, 168-182; “On Buddhaghosa and the Milindapañha”, IA 10, 1880 & 11, 1881, on MP also in Academy 12.1. & 24.12.1881; on Dhammapada 5, 83, Academy 25.4.1891; “Pāli, Sanskrit and Prakrit Etymologies”, Tr. of the 9th OC London 1892, 1, 1893, 466-517.
Sources: A.A. Macdonell, JRAS 1894, 607-610 (from Academy March 19th, 1894); J.S.C[otton], D.N.B. Suppl. 1901, 196 and as rev. by *J.D. Haig, Oxford D.N.B.; Wikipedia (quoting Lee, also when calling Pāli studies “probably the least appreciated of all the branches of philology”).
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