Page images

Sir Chr. Hatton, with whom I thinke I shall stay a monthe. I intreate you to see for what more deedes or other things of consequence you have to fitt me with; and after my returne I shall be bold to see you. Thus, wishing you all health and prosperitye, doe with my best respects remembered, rest, at your service,

“ Wm. DUGDALE, Blanch Lyon.”

This great Antiquary was also visiting his said friend in May preceding, as appears by his neat copy of a curious deed before me, thus inscribed: “ Ex autographo, penes Chr. Hatton, miln. baln. Maij. 3°, 1639.” It is Robert Earl of Leicester's grant to the monastery of Alcester, in Warwickshire, as printed in the Monasticon, tom. I. p. 471. This copy contains several explanatory notes, by Burton, of places in Leicestershire, &c. 1798, Dec.

S. S.

CXIII. On the Authenticity of the Arabian. Tales, by Dr. Russell.


Feb. 22, HAVING remarked that several of your correspondents have solicited information concerning the Arabic MSS. of the Arabian Nights Entertainments now in England, and finding my name occasionally introduced with that of Mr. Professor White, I sit down to cummunicate what I know of the matter, in hopes that the learned Professor, as well as others who have it in their power, may be induced to answer the queries of your correspondent in a manner much more satisfactory.

In a note, in the last edition of the Natural History of Aleppo, I have asserted, “ that the Arabian Tales, a Thousand and One Nights, is a scarce book at Aleppo; that, after much inquiry, I found only two volumes, containing 286 Nights, and with difficulty obtained leave to have a copy taken. I was shewn (1771) more than one complete copy in the Vatican library; and one at Paris in the King's library, said also to be complete.” It may be proper to add here, that what is said of the Vatican and Parisian MSS, of which I had only a transient view, rests on the authority of the librarians.

The first three volumes of M. Galland's translation contains 238 Nights; in the succeeding three volumes, each

The story

story proceeds uninterruptedly. The repetition of the Dialogue between the two sisters at the beginning and conclusion of each Night, which is continued throughout the MS. was intentionally omitted by M. Galland, after the first volume.

From the beginning to the 75th Night, with some slight variation in the division of Nights, the MS. and the translation agree.

of the three Calenders terminates in the MS. in the 75th Night: in the translation in the 69th.

The story of Sinbad, which occupies from the 70th to the 91st Night in the translation, is entirely wanting in my MS. the story of three Apples following immediately that of the Calenders, and terminating in the 79th Night: whereas in the translation, the story of the Apples terminates in the 93d Night, on account of the intervening story of Sinbad.

From the 93d Night in the translation (MS. 80) to the 210th (MS. 200) the stories, with little variation, proceed in the same series : but after that there is a total deviation from the order preserved in the MS. ; for, the story of Noureddin Aly, which in the MS. is continued from Night 200 to 229, does not appear in the French translation till the beginning of the 4th volume, and is followed by the story of Bider Prince of Persia, which in the MS. commences in the 229th Night, and ends in Night 272. Part of the story of Camaralzaman, from Night 272 to 281, finishes the MS. while that story, in the translation, is found in the 3d volume, comprehended in 17 Nights, from 211 to 228. The stories related in the other ten Nights of that volume are not in the MS.

From the foregoing detail, there seems no ground to doubt that M. Galland translated from a copy similar to the MS. now in my possession. In the conduct of the principal incidents, as well as in the termination of the tales, there is no material disagreement. The variation remarked in the division of the Nights, and arrangement of the stories, may easily be accounted for.

In general, with respect to the translation, no doubt great liberty, in accommodation to French manners, has been taken with the original. A reason for omitting the stanzas and elegies, which occur so frequently throughout the MS. has been assigned in M. Galland's Preface: and a few scenes, too licentiously described in the original, have with propriety been softened or suppressed : but other descriptions, though expressive of Oriental costume, have with less reason been omitted, particularly two Nights in vol. II. p. 155. It may be remarked also, that M. Galland is sometimes exuberant far beyond the original, and inserts in the narrative what is rather a commentary for the European reader than suitable to the characters of the drama.

Mr. Richardson, in his excellent Grammar, has observed, respecting the story of the barber's fifth brother, “that the deviation from the original is greater than even a free translation seemed to require ;" a remark which may justly be extended to many other parts of the translation, after every allowance is made for variation in the MSS.

The MS. from which Mr. Richardson translated the story of Alnaschar, must, like mine, have wanted the story of Sinbad, the story of Alraschar beginning in both MSS. in the 162d Night; but in M. Galland's translation (on account, as before observed, of Sinbad's adventures intervening) it begins in the 176th Night.

In a considerable number of separate tales which I collected in the East, I find but few contained in M. Galland's translation. Among these are the first eight Nights of the Arabian Nights, with this variation, that the fable of the ass, the ox, and the labourer, in Galland's vol. I. p. 25, is related by the third old man, instead of a story in favour of the merchant. These eight Nights stand under the title of the Merchant and the Genie; but the narrative is uninterrupted, and without any intimation whence it was borrowed. There is another story, under the title of the Khalif and the Fisherman, a fragment much abridged and mutilated, evidently also from the Arabian Nights, without any acknowledgement. There is one more, “The story of the fair Persian" (Galland, vol. IV.); which, though rather more full

, agrees in general with the MS. of the Arabian Nights; but is remarkable on account of its mention of coffee, which I do not recollect meeting with in any part of the Arabian Nights; the genuine tales being probably of an older, date than the introduction of the use of coffee into Arabia.

I suspect, therefore, that this last circumstance, as wel as some introduced by way of amplification in other places, to be modern additions; and this the rather, from having remarked that, in copies made from my own MS. the scribes were little scrupulous in abridging descriptions, changing words and adding decorations, as fancy happened to lead; a licence not assumed in MSS. of serious import, which are always carefully compared and corrected.

In respect to the continuation of the Arabian Nights, published in 1792, I find, in my miscellaneous collection abovementioned, the three first stories in the first volume ; the third story in the second; and the first and thirteenth of, the third volume. They are totally unconnected, have each their distinct preface, and may very possibly belong to the large collection mentioned by M. Galland. On the supposition of the French translation being made from MSS. not very different from mine, the liberty assumed of amplification seems to me, on a cursory perusal, far to exceed that of M. Galland in his version of the Arabian Nights.

Yours, &c. 1799, Feb.


[ocr errors]

CXIV. Dissertation on Accents.

MR. URBAN, Wadham College, Oxford, June 28. « Qui cavet, ne decipiatur, vix caret, cum etiam cavet; Etiam cum cavisse ratus est, sæpe is cautor captus est.”

Plaut. Capt. A. 2. s. 2.

I KNOW few subjects of classical inquiry upon which we have attained to less certainty, than the doctrine of accent and quantity; and yet there are probably few subjects more interesting to the accomplished scholar. Accent and

quantity are generally presumed to be things totally different in themselves; but there are not wanting critics, and those of high name, who doubt this complete difference. Accents are these; the acute, and the grave, simple signs of sound; and the circumflex, compounded of both. The two first are frequently placed upon short syllables without altering their quantity. Yet how this should in reality be the case, I cannot readily comprehend.

A short syllable is, by custom and authority, pronounced in as short à time as is consistent with distinction of sound. If, therefore, a note of accent make any alteration in such a syllable, what, I would ask, must the alteration be? Certainly not to accelerate the pronunciation. But it will possibly be objected, that, though accents do not accelerate the pronunciation, yet they evidently increase the tone and energy of the syllable. But can the tone and energy of a short syllable be increased without increasing the time? If any learned reader will try the experiment, I believe he will find the undertaking somewhat difficult.

There are many words in the learned languages of which the modern pronunciation appears to be scarcely consistent with the rules of quantity. For reasons well known to scho



lars,' the accent cannot with propriety be thrown farther back than the antepenultima even in the longest words. This, in polysyllables, will often occasion the stress or elevation of the voice to be placed upon those menibers of a word which are by nature or position short.

In the words Pontifices, Hermione, Urceolus, Filiolus, and, indeed, all others consisting of a choriambic under one combination, accent and quantity are worse friends than becometh such near neighbours. The following passage of Juvenal places the stress of the sound upon a short syllable. Frigida circumagunt pigri sarraca Bootæ.”

Sat. V. l. 23. Again, in Virgil*, we find, “ Emicat Euryalus, et munere victor amici.”

Æn. V.I. 337.

Similar instances every where abound. What shall we say then? Does the accent upon a short syllable produce any variation in the time? And, if so, in what consists the essential difference between accent and quantity ? This is a question much easier to propose than to answer.

Port Royal Grammar upon the Latin tongue, and Dr. Forster upon Greek accent, are critics of unexceptionable merit; and yet observe how widely they differ upon this subject. The former says,

“ As accents were invented for no other purpose than to mark the tone of the voice, they are therefore, no sign of the quantity:t of syllables,

* How are we to reconcile the following contradictory quantities of the same verb, from high authority? I fear we must have recourse to that powerful classic lever, a licence, to remove the difficulty. “Stridere apes utero, et ruptis effervere costis."

Georg, IV. 1, 556. “Cogaris, pressoque diu stridere molari.”

Juv. Sat. V. l. 160.

* This reasoning appears close and conclusive; yet if we examine it atten. tively, we shall discover, I think, a latent fallacy. As the profound and ex. cellent author elsewhere admits a variation of time, conformable with accent, amongst those syllables that are marked short, may not the same variation also exist amongst those that are marked long? In polysyllables, where the penultima is long, the accent, he observes, lies upon it: but in similar words, where both penultima and antepenultima are short, the accent is placed upon the antepenultima, because two short syllables are equivalent to one long one. Here then the accent is placed according to time; if not according to the outward measure, certainly according to the inward computation.

« PreviousContinue »