Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Greek

Greck

[ocr errors]

which had a radix that would not admit this conjunc- The derivation and formation of the middle and Language. tion, they hardened the h into x, as in tow, preterite passive voices, would certainly afford matter of curious Language.

To-X6, Axov-%%. Many other ways were contrived to speculation; but the labour necessary to investigate
facilitate this re-union. These are detailed in every this connection would greatly overbalance the benefit

152

Derivation Greek grammar, and so need not be mentioned. expected.

and furmaWhat has been said with respect to this configuration, However, to complete our plan, we shall subjoin a tion of the we offer as a pure conjecture, without the most remote few strictures with respect to the formation of the midle intention of obtruding it upon our readers.

middle voice, which was, in our opinion, immediately voice. If it is admitted, that the auxiliary ha formed the formed from the active. conjugating termination of the active verb aniong the We have seen already, that the active voice in its Greeks, it will likewise be admitted, that the radical original state was formed by annexing fragments of verb and the other made originally two distinct words: the substantive or auxiliary verb to the radix. The that, according to this scheme, the preterite would pro- same economy was observed in fabricating the flexible ceed thus, tey ha, said I have; asy has, said thou hast; parts of the verb of the middle voice.

To demon-
asy he, said he hath, &c. This process to us appears ra-

strate this, we shall first conjugate the present tense of
tional, elegant, and advantageous. The pluperfect was the auxiliary passive upon the principles above laid
not then invented, and therefore it does not come under down.
our consideration. The other tenses were all deduced Present, Eομαι, εεσαι, εεται, εομεθα, εεσθε, εoνται. Sach
from those described; and in forming these intermediate was the passive present of the auxiliary. We shall now
distinctive tenses, we believe that both critics and gram- take our example from the verb TUTTW ; second future
marians, and perhaps philosophers too, were employed. TUT-sofabli, struck I am, tut-, struck thou art, tuto
See GRAMMAR.

ET«, struck he is, &c. contracted Typovpels, TUAM, TUTEL-
The eastern nations have diversified their verbs, by The conjunction and formation bere is obvious.
affixing fragments of the personal pronouns to the ra. Perhaps, in the second person, o was inserted, which,
dix, by which they gained only the advantage of ex- however, is thrown out in the process of the persons.
hibiting the genders of the persons engaged in beicg, The future middle is clearly formed, by affixing the
acting, and suffering ; but a perpetual repetition of future-passive of the verb tw, only as a was introduced
these was unavoidable. The Greeks, by their artifi- into the language for e long, it was generally (T) substi-
cial combination of the radix with the two auxiliaries, tuted instead of that vowel in verbs ending in uw and w,
avoided the necessity of repeating their personal pro- and a for o in verbs ending in ow; the two vowels s and
nouns, as we and the other modern inhabitants of Eu- . being originally long as well as short, till , was
rope are obliged to do; and at the same time, by diver- adopted to denote the long sound of the former, and
sifying the terminations of their nouns and verbs, won- w that of the latter. In many verbs, before the con-
derfully improved the beauty and harmony of their junction of the radix and auxiliary, i was thrown out:

Plate
language. The arrangement above insisted on is so thue, τυπ- εσομαι became τυψομαι, λεγ-εσομαι, λεξομαι, ccccXVI.
very dillerent from that of the orientals, and so entirely &c.
Gothic, that we think there can be no doubt that the The preterite was deduced from that of the active by
Greeks borrowed this manæuvre from the Thracians. a very slight variation, so trifling, indeed, that it need
Every person moderately acquainted with the Greek not be mentioned ; only we may observe, that the aspi-
language will, upon examination, discover a wonderful rate h is never retained in this tense, which originally
coincidence between the structure, idioms, and phraseo- seems to have been the only distinguishing character by
logy, of the English and Greek languages ; so many which that tense of the middle voice differed from the
congenial features must engender a strong suspicion same tense of the active.
that there once subsisted a pretty intimate relation be- From the strict analogy between the mode of form-
tween them.

ing the three primary tenses of the active and middle
In the preceding deduction, we find ourselves obli- voice, we are led to suspect that what is now the niddle
ged once more to differ from the very learned author was originally the passive voice.
of the Origin and Progress of Language. As we took The immediate formation of the former, by annexing
the liberty to question his originality of the Greek the passive anxiliary, is obvious. The middle voice still
language, and at the same time presumed to attack partakes of the passive signification, since it has some-
the goodly structure raised by philosophers, critics, times a passive, though more frequently an active.
and grammarians ; so we now totally differ from that There are several parts of the present passive quite ana-
learned writer as to his theory of the creation of logous to the same tenses in the middle: and, lastly, it
verbs out of the inhabile matter of aw, sa, &c. This is the common progress, in the course of improvement,
whole fabric, in our opinion, leans on a feeble foun- to proceed step by step, and by approximation. What
dation.

is most simple and easy is the first object, then succeeds
The apparatus of intermediate tenses, of augments, what is only a little more difficult, and so on till we ar-
derivation of tenses, with their formation, participles, rive at the last stage, when human ingenuity can go
and idiomatical constructions, and other essentials or no farther. Now, it will readily be admitted, that
appendages, we omit, as not coming within the verge the passive voice is much more embarrassed and ina.
of the disquisition.

tricate in its texture than the middle; and, therefore,

the

(T) We say generally, because in verbs ending in sw, the sis sometimes retained, as TiAEW, Tisow, agrew-866.

Greek the fornier should hare been posterior in point of time to supply this defect. Thus we have Qezw-OltiW, tvirra, Greek J.anguage. to the latter.

nuoxe. 3d, They often formed present and imperfect Language. . We are well aware, that the very learned Kuster, and

tenses without any other tenses annexed: The poets in
most other moderns, deeply skilled in the origin, pro- particular seem to have fabricated these two tenses at
gress, and structure, of the Greek language, have thought pleasure.
otherwise. The general opinion has been, that the If this procedure was convenient for the poets, it
Greek middle voice answered exactly to the Hebrew was ceriainly most incommodious with respect to the
conjugation hithpachal, and in its pristine signification vulgar, as well as to forcigners who had an inclination
imported a reciprocality, or when the agent acts upon it. to learn the language. The vulgar, some ages after
self.

For our part, we only intended a few hints upon Homer and Hesiod, must have found it as difficult to
the subject, which our learned readers may pursue, ap- understand their poems as our people do to compre-
prove, or reject, at pleasure.

hend those of Chaucer and Spenser. By this disposi153 and of the

If we might pretend to investigate the formation of tion, too, the etymology of verbs w... almost entirely passive. the passive voice, we should imagine that the modern confounded. The present second future bcing, as has

present was formed from the ancient one, by inserting been observed, the ancient present, the attention of the
such letters as were found necessary for beauty, variety, curious etymologist was naturally diverted to the modern
energy, &c.; the first future from the second future present, where it was utterly impossible to discover the
middle of the verb tiones, once few. This future is radical word. A few examples will elucidate this point :
Broogtes; and, joined to the radix, always occupies that tuvw, to stretch, to extend, old present terw; tæv is the ra-
place, τι- θησομαι, τελεθησομαι, Φλιχθησομαι, τυφθησομαι, and dix, which at once appears to be a Persian word signi-
so of the rest : whether plat, fal, tao, which occur so fying a large tract of country. Hence Mauritania "the
frequently as the terminations of the middle and passive land of the Mauri," Aquitania, Bretania ; and with s
voices, are fragments of some obsolete verb, we will not prefixed, Hindo-stan, Chusi-stan, Turque-stan. The ob-
pretend to determine.

solete verb ofw, whence ortopext, is evidently derived
From verbs in aw, tw, ow, vw, are formed verbs in pei; from op, an F.gyptian name of the moon : pairw, second
which in the present, imperfect, and second aorist, as it future pærã, to show, from the Egyptian word phan or
is called, only have a different form, by assuming pot pan, a name of the sun: Tuttw, future second Tutã; TUT
with a long vowel preceding it, in the present active; is obviously the offspring of on, thaph," a drum or tim-
which vowel is preserved in each person singular. This brel," from beating or striking, &c. In such etymo-
collection of irregular verbs seems to be formed from logical researches, the student must be careful to tura
the verb espes, which in some dialects might be mees.

In- the Ionic m into the Doric «; because the Dores vyere
deed the imperfect mv, as, , scems to imply as much : in latest from the coast of Palestine, and consequently re-
this, however, we dare not be positive.

tained the largest share of the Phænician dialect : thus
In the whole of this analysis of the formation of wybow, to rejoice, turning ~ into a becomes gabew. This
verbs, we have laid down what to us appears most plau- word, throwing away the termination, becomes gath,
sible. That metaphysical critics may discover inaccu- plainly signifying a wine press (u). It is likewise to be
racies in the preceding detail we make no doubt; but observed, that the Æolians often change a into v, as rugs
our candid readers will doubtless reflect, that no lan- instead of ougš, &c.
guage was ever fabricated by philosophers, and that It is not our intention to enter into the

arrange-
the elements of language were hammered out by pea- ment and peculiar constructions of the Greek language.
sants, perhaps by savages. Critics have created a philo. There is, however, one, wbich we cannot well pass over
sophy of language we admit, and have a thousand times in silence. As that tougue is destitute of those words Greek in-
discovered wonderful acuteness and ingenuity in the which the Latins call gerunds, to supply this defect they

as
mechanism of words and sentences, where the original employ the infinitive with the article prefixed: thus, nouns.
onomathetæ never apprehended any, and which possibly E1s To tuvo avt8s Qongs, in order to their being friends :
never existed but in their own heated imagination. If απο τε ελεσθαι αυτους βασιλεία, from their haring elected a
our more enlightened readers should find any thing in king ; Εκ τε απο φευγειν αυτες εκ της πολεος, from their
the preceding detail worthy their attention, so much the flying out of the city. In these phrases the infinitive is
better; if the contrary should bappen, we presume they said to assume the nature of a substantive noun; agree-
will take up with the hackneyed system. We liave all ing with the article before it, exactly as if it were a noun
along neglected the dual number, because it regularly of the neuter gender. Idioms of this kind occur in our
follows the type of the other numbers.

own tongue; only with us the verb, instead of being
Be that as it may, before we drop this subject we expressed in the infinitive, is turned into the participle.
must take the liberty to subjoin an observation or two According to this arrangement, the first of the preced-
with respect to the consequences of the practice of new ing phrases, which, according to the Greek, would
modelling the present, and of course the imperfect, stand toward to be friends, in Englislı is, in order 10
tenses of verbs." Ist, After this arrangement they com- their being friends. This anomaly, then, if indeed it be
monly retained all the other tenses exactly as they had such, is of no manner of consequence. The French, if
stood connected with the primitive verb: this needs no we are not mistaken, would express it in the very same
example. 2d, They often collected the tenses of verbs, manner with the Greek, that is, pour etre amis.
whose present and imperfect were now obsolete, in order From treating of verbs, we should naturally proceed

151

Uu 2

to

(H) Hence it came to signify rejoicing, from the mirth and revelry attending the treading of the vine-press.

155

Greck to the consideration of adverbs, which are so denomina- vades all the dialects of the Gothic language. In this Greek
Language. ted, because they are generally the concomitants of manner we believe all these small words that occur so Language

verbs. Every thing relating to that part of speech, in frequently in the Greek tongue, and which have bither-
the Greek tongue, may be seen in the Port Royal or to been beld inexplicable, may be easily rendered in
any other Greek grammar. Instead therefore of dwel- significant terms : and were this done, we believe they
ling upon this beaten topic, we shall hazard a conjecture would add both beauty and energy to the clauses in
upon a point to which ihe critics in the Greek tongue, which they stand. But this discussion must be left to
as far as we know, have not bitherto adverted.
more accomplished adepts.

156 Greek par

The most elegant and most admired writers of We shall not explain the nature of prepositions, be. Prepositicles of

Greece, and especially Homer, and after him Hesiod, cause we are convinced that few people will take the tions, oriental extraction. abound with small particles, which appear to us pure trouble to peruse this disquisition who are not already

expletives, created as it were to promote barmony, or acquainted with their import in language. The Greek
fill up a blank without sense or signification. How prepositions are eighteen in number, which need not
those expletive particles should abound in that language be enumerated here. Most of these might be easily
beyond any other, we think, is a matter not easy to be shown to be particles, or fragments deduced from ori-
accounted for. It has been said by the Zoili, that if you ental or. Gothic words. The use of these words is to
extract these nonentities from the poems of that bard, connect together terms in discourse, and to show the
qui solus meruit dici poeta, a magnum inane, a mighty relation between them. In languages where, as in
blank, would be left behind. We would willingly do English, all these relations are expressed without any
justice to that pigmy race of words, and at the same change on the termination of the nouns to which they
time vindicate the prince of poets from that groundless are prefixed, the process is natural and easy. The whole
imputation. Plato likewise, the prince of philosophers, is performed by juxtaposition. But in the Greek and
has been often accused of too frequently employing Latin tongues, this effect is produced, partly by prefix-
these superfluous auxiliaries.

ing prepositions and partly varying the terminations of
Those particles were no doubt imported from the nouns. Had the Greeks been able to intimate all those
east. It would be ridiculous to imagine that any de- relations by varying the terminations, or had they mul-
scription of men, however enthusiastically fond they tiplied their prepositions to such a number as would have
might be of harmonious numbers, would sit down on enabled them to express these relations without the
purpose to fabricate that race of monosyllables purely casual variations, as the northern languages have done ;
to eke out their versea; mere sounds without significan- in either case their language would have been less em-
cy. In the first place, it may be observed, that there barrassing than it is in its present state. According to
is a very strict connection among the particles of all the present arrangement both prepositions and the casual
cognate languages. To this we may add, that the not variations are used promiscuously to answer that pur-
understanding the nature, relations, signification, and pose ; a method which appears to us not altogether uni-
original import of those seemingly unimportant terms, form. Though this plan might occasion little embar-
has occasioned not only great uncertainty, but num- rassment to natives, it must, in our opinion, have proved
berless errors in translating the ancient languages into somewhat perplexing to foreigners

. The difficulty would
the modern. The Greek language in particular loses be, as to the latter, when to adopt the one and when the
a considerable part of its beauty, elegance, variety, and other expedient.
energy, when these adverbial particles with which it is

Another inconveniency arises from the exceeding
replete are not thoroughly comprehended. An exact small number of prepositions in that language, which
translation of these small words, in appearance insig- bear too small a proportion to the great variety of re-
nificant, would throw new light not only on Homer lations which they are appropriated to express. This
and Hesiod, but even upon poets of a much posterior deficiency obliged them often to employ the same pre-
dạte. Particles, which are generally treated as mere position to denote different relations: For instance, Exi
expletives, would often be found energetically signifi, intimates, ist, upon; as 170 tx 1088, upon the stone; and
cant. It is however, altogether impossible to succeed then it takes the genitive. 2d, It denotes near upon ;
in this attempt without a competent skill in the He- as έπι το λιθων, and en it governs the dative. 3d, The
brew, Chaldaic, Arabian, Persian, and old Gothic lan-

same preposition signifies motion towards ; as Ericsy iga guages.

We shall bere take the liberty to mention a TOY dobov, he fell upon the stone. In these instances the few of these particles which are most familiar, one or same preposition intimates three different relations; and, other of which occur in almost every line of Homer, which is still more embarassing, each of these requires and which we believe are either not understood or mis- a different case. The difficulty in this instance is so understood. Such are A«, èn, per, nutos, pav, yi, egs; aça, considerable, that even the most accurate of the Greek gee, ysv. Ax is nothing else but the Chaldaic particle da, writers themselves often either forget or neglect the, the parent of the English the. It likewise signifies by true application. Many examples of this might be adturns, in your turn; en is the same word in the Ionic duced, did the limits assigned us admit such illustradialect ; peer

is a particle of the Hebrew affirmative inx tions. Every man who has carefully perused the Gre-
amen, fides, veritas. Mæv, a kind of oath by the moon, cian authors will readily furnish himself with examples. 157
called mana, almost over all the east; bence Dor. Mare; Again, some prepositions, which indicate different re- irregularly

, an oath by vice, that is, the earth; agae, another oath lations, are prefixed to the same case. Thus, et signifies used,
by the same element, probably from the oriental word from ; as, Ex Aros agxoueda, from Jupiter we begin; ás
of the same import ; qu is a fragment of agæ mentioned sulov Grov, from my life, or my course of life; Tigo Two
before ; 78v, of yece the earth, and or or ar, an Egyp- Bugar, before the doors ; ago vixns synapsov, an encomium
tian nanie of the sun ; as, as, a particle wbichi per before the victory; ayto ageba atodidoveo xaxa, to render

words in

rior ages.

Greek evil for good; arti rov, against you. In these examples, a critical investigation. We must therefore remain sa- Greek
Language, and indeed every where, those prepositions intimate dif- tisfied with such probable conjectures as the nature of the Language.

ferent relations, and yet are prefixed to the same cases. case, and the analogy of the language, seem to suggest.
Sometimes the same preposition seems to assume two The prepositions were originally placed before the
opposite significations: this appears from the preposition nouns, whose relations they pointed out. For ©xample,
eiti just mentioned, wbich intimates both for, instead of, let us take the quratiivnexsto tag dados, ke died along
and against or opposite to.

with the rest, or he died out of hans. along with the
What has been observed with respect to the preposi- others. These words were arraiged thus : anidroxilo
tions above mentioned, the reader will readily enough συν τοις άλλοις ; and απο-θνησκον συν τοις άλλοις. In this
apply to xata, peta, dice, Trigs. These incongruities manner the parts of every compound word were placed
certainly imply something irregular ; and seem to inti- separately, at least as much as other words which had no
mate that those anomalies were so deeply incorporated connection.

159 with the constitution of the language, that the subse- The first compound words of the Greek language The first quent improvers found it impossible to correct them. were the radical nouns with the article, and the radical compound Indeed to prefix a preposition to a case already distin- part of the substantive or auxiliary verb. The success

Greek. guished by the affixed termination, appears to us a su- of this experiment encouraged them to attempt the same perfluity at least, if not an absurdity; for certainly it in other words. By this noble invention they found would have been more natural to have said ex Zeus agro- themselves able to express, in one word, with ease and resbæ, than ix Asos ug xopita. Some very learned men, who significancy, what in other languages, and formerly in have inquired into the origin of lunguage, have been of their own, required a tedious ambages or circumlocution. opinion that prepositions were the last invented species In process of time, as their language was gradually melof words. If this opinion be well founded, we may sup- lowed, they increased the number of their compounds, pose (and we think that this supposition is not alto- till their language, in that respect, infinitely excelled getber improbable) that the casual terminations of the all its parent dialects. In this process they were careGreek language were first affixed to the radix, in the ful to unite such letters as not only prevented asperity manner above exhibited ; and that prepositions were and difficulty of pronunciation, but even promoted harafterwards fabricated and prefixed to the cases already mony and elegance. But this was the labour of postein use.

The syntax or construction of the Greek language The Greeks were entirely ignorant of the derivation does not, according to our plan, come within the com- or etymology of their language: for this we need only pass of our present inquiry. This the curious Greek consult Plato's Cratylos, Aristotle's Rhetoric, Demetristudent will easily acquire, by applying to the grammars us Pbalereus, Longinus, &c. In deducing patronycomposed for that purpose. We have already hazarded mics, abstracts, possessives, gentiles, diminutives, vera few conjectures with respect to the formation of the bals, &c. from radicals of every kind, they have shown most important and most distinguished classes of words the greatest art and dexterity. Examples of this occur into which it has been divided by the most able gram- almost in every page of every Greek author. But this marians, without, however, descending to the minutia extended no farther than their own language ; every of the language. As prepositions are the chief materials foreign language was an abomination to the Greeks. with which its other words, especially verbs, are com- But more of this in the sequel.

160 pounded, we shall briefly consider the order in wbich The original materials of the Greek tongue were un- Original they probably advanced in this process.

doubtedly rough and discordant, as we have described materials used in

Complex ideas are compounded of a certain number them above. They had been collected from different of the composi. or collection of simple ones. Of those complex no- quarters, were the produce of different countries, and

Greek lantion, tions, some contain a greater and some a smaller num

guage;

had been imported at very distant periods. It would ber of simple conceptions. In language, then, there therefore be an entertaining, if not an instructing, speare two ways of expressing those complex ideas, either culation, if it were possible to discover by what men by coining a word to express every simple idea sepa- and by what means, this wonderful fabric was foundrately, according to the order in which they stand in ed, erected, and carried to perfection. The writers of the mind; or by trying to combine two or more Greece allord us no light. Foreigners were unacquainsimple terms into one, and by that method to intimate ted with that originally insignificant canton. Every one complex idea by one single word. The Arabians, thing beyond Homer is buried in eternal oblivion. Ornotwithstanding all the boasted excellencies of their pheus is indeed reported to have composed poems; but language, have never arrived at the art of compound- these were soon obliterated by the hand of time. The ing their words, in order to answer this noble purpose; verses now ascribed to that philosophical hero are none and the sister dialects are but slenderly provided with of his *. Linus wrote, in the Pelasgic dialect, the a- * Pausan. this species of vocables. The Greeks, of all other chievements of the first Bacchus; Thamyris the Thra-lib. i. nations (except perhaps those who spake the Sanscrit cian wrote ; and Pronapides the master of Homer language), are unrivalled in the number, variety, pro- a celebrated poet. The works of all these bards did priety, elegance, energy, and expression of their com- not long survive ; and it is a certain fact that the Greek pound terms, The Greeks, like the Arabians, in the tongue was bighly polished even more early than the earliest stages of their language, had only a collection age in which these worthies flourished. Homer, no of radical disjointed words, consisting of the jargons doubt, imitated their productions, and some are of opinof the aboriginal Greeks, of the Pelasgi, Thracians, ion that he borrowed liberally from them. The Greeks &c. How these words were arranged and constructed, knew no more of the original character of their lanwe have no data remaining upon which we can found guage, than of the original character and complexion

of ..

158

was

cap. 22.

162

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Greek of their progenitors. They allowed, indeed, that their ventions. The chief of them were employed in the

Greek Language. language was originally barbarous and uncouth ; but temples of the gods; and the less illustrious, like our Language.

by what means or by what persons it was polished, en- minstrels of old, strolled about from place to place, and
riched, and finally arranged, was to them an impene- exercised their functions wherever they found employ-
trable secret.

ment.
We have already demonstrated that the Jonim or Among the ancient Greeks there was a numerous by the po-
aborigines of Greece were a race of barbarians; that tribe of men of the very same description who were ets, who

made a
consequently their language, or rather their jargon, at once poets and musicians, and whose office it was
was of the :ame contexture. The Pelasgi found both to celebrate the praises of the great, and to transmit
the people and their speech in this uncultivated state. their exploits to posterity in the most exaggerated en-

These people arrived in Greece about the year before comiums. These poetical vagrants were styled A cidos 161 Christ 1763. It was then that the language of Greece or songsters. Eome of these lived in the houses of great which was began to be cultivated. Before the age of Homer the men ; while others, less skilful or less fortunate, strolled carried to

work seems to have been completed. Nothing of con about the country in the manner above described. The its utmost perfection sequence was afterwards added to the original stock; more illustrious of these Aoidoi who were retained in the at a very

on the contrary, not a few moieties were deducted from temples of the gods, were certainly the fir-t improvers early pe

the Homeric treasure. The Pelasgi, as was said before, of the language of the Greeks. Among the Hebrews riod.

arrived in Greece an. ant. Chr. 1760. Homer is thought we find the first poetical compositions were hymns in ho.
to have been born an. ant. Chr. 1041; consequently nour of Jehovah, and among the Pagans the same prac-
the cultivation of the Greek tongue was completed in a tice was established. In Greece, wben all was consu-
period of about 700 years. But upon the supposition sion and devastation, the temples of the gods were beld
That Orpheus, Linus, Thamyris, &c. wrote long before sacred and inviolable. There the Aodor improved their
Ilomer, as they certainly did, that language had arrived talents, and formed religious anthems on those very mo-
nearly at tbe standard of perfection two centuries be- dels which their progenitors bad chanted in the east.
fore; by which computation the period of its progress The language of the Greeks was yet rugged and un-
towards its stationary point is reduced to şoo years.

mellowed : their first care was to render it more soft
But as the Pelasgi were a colony of foreigners, we and ore flexible. They enriched it with vocables
ought to allow them one century at least to settle and suited to the offices of religion ; and these, we imagine,
incorporate with the natives, and to communicate their were chiefly imported from the east. Homer every
language, laws, manners, and habits, to the aborigines wbere mentions a distinction between the language of
of the country. By ihis deduction we shall reduce the gods and men. The language of gods imports the

163

distinction term of cultivation to less than four centuries.

oriental terms retained in the temples, and used in between
During this period Greece was furiously agitated by treating of the ceremonies of religion ; the language the lan-
tumults and insurrections. That country was divided into of men intimates the ordinary civil dialect which sprung guage of
a number of independent states, which were perpetually from the mixed dialects of the country. The priests sods and
engaged in quarrels and competitions. The profession no doubt concurred in promoting this noble and impor-
of arms was absolutely necessary for the protection and tant purpose. From this source the strolling Addo drew
preservation of the state ; and the man of conduct and the rudiments of their art; and from these last the vul.
prowess was honoured as a demi.god, and his exploits gar deduced the elements of a polished style.
transmitted with eclat to posterity. The Greek tongue To these Aodos of the superior order we would ascribe
was then rough and unpolished ; because, like the an- those changes mentioned in the preceding part of this
cient Romans, the bravest men were more disposed to inquiry, by which the Greek tongue acquired that va-
act than to speak. Every language will take its colour riety and flexibility, from which two qualities it has de-
from the temper and character of those who employ it; rived a great share of tbat ease, beauty, and versatility,
and had it not been owing to one class of men, thé by which it now surpasses most other languages. The
Greek tongue would have continued equally rough to diversity of its terminations furnishes a most charming
the era of Homer as it had been a century after the ar- variety, while at the same time the sense is communi-
rival of the Pelasgi.

cated to the reader or hearer by the relation between
There has appeared among barbarous or half civilized them. By this economy the poet and orator are left at
people a description of men whose profession it has been liberty to arrange their vocables in that order which
to frequent the houses or palaces of the great, in order may be most sootbing to the ear, and best adapted to
to celebrate their achievements, or those of their ances. make a lasting impression on the mind.
tors, in the sublimest strains of heroic poetry. Accord- Few colonies have emigrated from any civilized coun-
ingly, we find that the Germans had their bards, the try without a detachment of priests in their train. The
Gauls their fads, the Scandinavians their scalds or scal- supreme powers, whoever they were, have always been
dres, the Irish their fileas, all retained for that very worshipped with music and dancing. The Hebrews,
purpose. They lived with their chieftaius or patrons ; Phænicians, and Egyptians, delighted in these musical
attended them to battle; were witnesses of their heroic andjocund festivals. The priests who attended the lones,
deeds; animated them with martial strains ; and cele- Dores, Æolians, Thebans, Athenians, &c. from the east,
brated their prowess, if they proved victorious ; or, if introduced into Greece that exquisite taste, those delicate
they fell, raised the song of woe, and chanted the musical feelings, which distinguish the Greeks from all
mournful dirge over their sepulchres. These bards the neighbouring nations. Hence that numerous race of
were always both poets and musicians. Their persons onomata peas, by which the Greek language is invested
were held sacred and inviolable. They attended pn- with the power of expressing almost every passion of the
blic entertainments, and appeared in all national con- human soul, in such terms as oblige it to feel and actually

1

of men

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »