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HORN-BOOK, a name originally applied to a sheet containing the letters of the alphabet, which formed a primer for the use of children. It was mounted on wood and protected with transparent horn. Sometimes the leaf was simply pasted against the slice of horn. The wooden frame had a handle, and it was usually hung at the child's girdle. The sheet, which in ancient times was of vellum and latterly of paper, contained first a large cross the criss-crosse from which the horn-book was called the Christ Cross Row, or criss-cross-row. The alphabet in large and small letters followed. The vowels then formed a line, and their combinations with the consonants were given in a tabular form. The usual exorcism " in the name of the Father and of the Sonne and of the Holy Ghost, Amen " followed, then the Lord's Prayer, the whole concluding with the Roman numerals. The horn-book is mentioned in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, v. i, where the ba, the a, e, i, o, u, and the horn, are alluded to by Moth. It is also described by Ben Jonson " The letters may be read, through the horn, That make the story perfect."

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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