« PreviousContinue »
primis labiis, Persica rudimenta attigissent viri cætera præclasiffimi, quam facillime deprehendiffent vocem Azmudè nihil aliud effe, quam partic. paff. verbi azmuden, quod eft tentare, infligare. Unde notio particip. præt. tentats, inftigatus, nec non, pro Persicæ linguæ ingenio, tentans, instigator, tentator. Quam appellationem apprime diabolo convenire, nemo eft qui non videat.'
There are many criticisms in this part of the work, which are highly curious, and others of a more triling kind: we shall only select the following note, which will contribute to explain the origin of a very prevalent custom among ancient nations.
. Et cum puella sepulta viva interrogabitur. Zamachsharius ad hæc verba, immacem hunc priscorum Arabum vitium describens, fic loquitur : fama tenet, moris fuile, ut cum partui vicina effet gravida, follam effoderet, atquz fupra eam follum TERETUR. Quod fi filiain ederet, in folam projui, fin filium, tolli folitum fuille.
• Porro promigenia notio Arabici verbi, quod hic reddicur Latine per eniti, eft, utrem lactis agitare butyri cogendi ergo; atque hinc metaphorice ufurpatur de fæmina, quæ doloribus correpta et conculsa, parturit. Ita docet Geuharius, additque verbum hocce ejusdem effe poteftatis atque indolis cum alio Arab, verbo zabada [literæ sunt ze, be, dal] quod Hebræum quoque eft, et plane ejusdem fignificationis atque usas, quodque legitur Gen. xxx. 20. neque usquam alibi fefe offert. quinimo 1. Chaldaica et Syriaca, tefte cl. Schult. ne minimum quidem verbi hujus veftigium reliquit. Qui Anglicam S. C. verfionem elaborarunt Ixx sequuti sunt, ac veluti servum pecos, qua itur, non qua eundum erat, iverunt via. Verterunt igitur præfatum locum Gen. And Leah faid, God hath endued me with a good dowry. At veftram fidem interpretes ! exclamac cl. Schultens, cujus versionem hic apponere libet : utrem mibi meum optima agitavit Deus agitatione : nunc utique consuefict et babitabit mesum vir meus, quod jam fex ei partu etlidi filios : et appellavit eum Zebulon. Dedica opera, utrem posuit Schultens, cum 'uterum verecunde designet. Corrigendus itaque cl. Caitellus, qui in errorem quoque ab interpretibus conjecus eft.'
Then follow the more particular illustrations of the Old Testament, from the Arabic and Persian. These are, however, frequently of little importance; and, in some instances, our author seems to have looked too deep for a very obvious meaning. The testimonies of the learned, in support of the utility of the Oriental languages, next follow.
Five specimens of etymologies are subjoined, viz. those where the Arabic, &c. illultrates Latin, English, Spanish and Portuguese, Italian and French. Etymology is a fasci. nating science ; for it engages the imagination, and then leads
the reason captive: the mind, in pursuit of analogies, either fancied or real, seldom stops within its proper limits, but expatiates over every art and science till it finds, or creates, what it pursaed. That this censuse is not too severe, we feel from frequent experience ; for those whom etymology first affifted as a servant, it soon directs as a tyrant. This is the principal cause of its abuse; and it is supported by the many languages derived from a few parent stocks. A late author fancied that he found the Greek language to have been the origin of many English words; others look up to the Saxon and the German, but forget that they are only the offspring, sometimes coeval, of the original northern language, probably the Celtic. Our author has this advantage, that, in his .pursuit, he has advanced nearer to the source ; for the Arabic and the Persian are less distant from the Celtic than the Greek or the Ger. man. He has pursued his enquiries with great diligence, and (fhall we say too much ?) minuteness. In these fituations it is not easy to stop ; and an author, fond of his subject, is the last to perceive that he has proceeded too far in the pursuit. But we promised to examine the arguments M. Vieyra has adduced in juitification of his design.
Our author first alleges, and with great justice, that, by comparing the elements of the eaftern languages with thofe which we already know, and ascertaining the circumstances in which they agree, we shall, with little labour, attain the knowledge of many words, confessedly the most difficult part of the talk. He might, with equal reason, have added, that they will also be more indelibly fixed in our minds, than by the usual transitory methods. But he feels, and acknow"leges, the difficulty of the task ; and modestly owns, that he may have erred in some of his researches. In his next step, 'he seems rather to betray his own cause : we require etymologies, he thinks, to detect a word, among the various sounds it may acquire in circulation. We fear this has been a great 'source of abuse; for the sound often influences the orthography, and we are led by it to an erroneous etymology. The Temarks on the influence of climate on the organs of speech, and, from thence, on the pronunciation, quoted from M. Court du Gebelin, are very acute and ingenious, but visionary and erroneous. Milton told us that the cold, in these porthern regions, prevented us from opening our mouths to pronounce the a, like the Italians ; and it has been often repeated by those who never heard a Scotchman, the inhabitant of a climate equally cold, pronounce it. The most finelyspun fyftems on this subject are destroyed with equal eale, M. Vieyra, however, foon escapes from the conteft ; and,
with great policy and address, introduces M. Gebelin, M. de St. Palaye, and M. Salzer, to contend for him. The works of these authors are sufficiently known, and few will want fpecimens of the ingenuity and refinement of either. They have, indeed, stretched the cord till it has broken under the weight; and, by contending that etymology may be subservient to philosophy, to the hiftory of the human mind, and, the progress of manners, they have almost led us to doubt whether it is of any use. A juryman once remarked, with great shrewdness, after the ingenious counsellor had concluded a very subtle defence, • He has made what I know to be false so very probable, that I much doubt whether that which he has endeavoured to prove certain has any great foundation." In short, if etymology is conducted with caution and propriety, it may be still highly serviceable; and, as it is so subject to abuse, the attention muft be unremittingly exerted to guard against an intemperate pursuit. In the following passage, though it be just on the whole, we think the author totters on his hobby horse.
"Puto igitur vocem Celtæ affinitatem habere cum voce Geta, quo nomine nuncupati fuere Afiatici illi coloni, qui inter Danubium et montem Hemum sedem deiegere; quique poftea per totam Europam ufque ad promontorium Celticum Hiberniamque fese, ut mox dixi, diffudere.. Nec obftat hujufmodi derivationi littera l quae faepe interjici solet, ut in Hisp. voce florefta, Ang. foreft, quae a primitiva voce bar, far, &c. derivatur, et in aliis sane multis, ex quibus nonnullas invenies sub voce cera Ital.
• Roboratur autem hujusmodi conjectura ex eo quod Plinius Hif. Nat. Liv. liv. C. xi, ait, extitisse, nempe, inter Danubium pariter et montem Hemum gentes, quae Gaudæ appellabantur. Quis autem in hujusmodi appellatione affinitatem non agnofcat vocis Gothi cum voce Gaude? Mirum igitur esse non debet, fi vox Celtæ cum voce Getæ affinitatem quoque
habeat; Celtæque tandem et nomen et originem ex Getis acceperint.'
If he totters in this explanation, which is, however, well founded, he certainly falls in that which follows.
• Bread, brot Theuton. ab Orient. brout, cibus, alimenmentum. V. Caft. p. 431, ubi extat v. brê comedit. mandu. cavit, pafu fe refecit. Igitur bread (panis) cibus per excellentiam fuit appellatus. Quodfi vocis brout, mediam lit. nafalaveris; dentales cum. dentalibus ; labialesque tandem cum labialibuş commutaveris, orietur (quid profecto :) Lat. Prand-ere, innuens actionem fese lautius reficiendi; quae est etiam fignificatio Ar. v. brath, sc, epulatus eft amplo et lauto convivio. V. Cafte P: 451,'
Of the etymologies, I fear we may say with Martial, in the verse so often employed, Sunt bona, funt quædam mediocria funt mala plura,' yet our author has certainly added to the ftock ; and, from his acquaintance with the Spanish language, which contains many Arabic words; from his knowledge of fone other modern languages, as well as the Latin and Greek, he has illustrated many words, whose roots were either unknown, or imperfectly ascertained by conje&ture. We ought not to conclude our article without remarking, that we have not often seen modern Latin more clear and elegant, more precife and comprehensive.
Letters concerning the Northern Coast of the County of Antrim,
By the rev. William Hamilton, A. M. Fellow of Trinity
College, Dublin, 8vo. 45. Je wed. Robinson. SINCE INCE natural enquiries deservedly engage the attention of
every traveller, we are pleased to see that the objects of our own neighbourhood are found to have charms fufficient to attract the philosopher and the antiquary.. It is remarkable, that the itupendous columns, which form the chief subject of these pleating and interesting Letters, had been cursorily examined, and carelelly described, till the discovery of the balaltic colonnade in Vivarais had directed the eyes of the puilofopher to this subject. The ingenious and philofophic awthor of this work has, in a great degree, supplied the defeats of the English naturaliits : we shall examine che substance of his Letters, in their order.
Mr. Hamilton firit defcibes the northern coaft of the county of Antrim, and the little island of Raghery, more commonly called, in our maps, Raghlin. He thinks they have been once united ; indeed, we have frequently men. tioned our opinion, which every succeeding discovery strength. ens, that this coast was formerly connected not only with Raghery, but with the other Hebrides, with the ifles of Feroe, and, probably, with Iceland. In this part of the world, the admirers of Plato would find very sufficient foundation for the destruction of the Atlantica. The coast of Ireland, and of Raghery, are composed of limestone, which supports the basaltic columns, and is sometimes depressed by them : in many parts of it the columnar appearance is triling and imperfect; and, in others, is entirely absent. Commonly the columns are on the western coafts, and pretty generally on the promontories. The description of the manners of the islanders is extremely Neafing : their innocence, their integrity and fimplicity, form a picture of the fabulous ages;
and we fee, with delight, the human race mutually allifting each other, mutually receiving and conferring happiness. They love their country from, affection, rather than reason ; fince they know little of other fituations : the neighbouring main (for so Ireland may be comparatively called) they deteft ; but they seem to detect its invaders only, for in this part of it, the conquests and the cruelties of the Scots and English were most conspicuous.
• The tedious processes of civil law are little known in Rage hery; and indeed the affection which they bear to their landJord, whom they always speak of by the endearing name of mafter, together with their own fimplicity of manners, renders the interference of the civil magistrate very unnecessary. The Seizure of a cow or a 'horse for a few days, to bring the de. faulter to a sense of duty; or a copious draught of falt water from the surrounding ocean, in criminal cases, forms a greater part of the sanctions and punishments of the island. If the of. fender be wicked beyond hope, banishment to Ireland is the dernier resort, and soon frees the community from this pef. tilential member.
• In a fequestered island like this, one would expect to find bigotted superstition flourish successfully under the auspices of the Romith church; but the fimplicity of the islanders does not foster
any uncharitable tenets, and, contrary to one's exa pectation, they are neither grossly superstitious, nor rank bigots, but have been known to hold the unchristian doctrines of their late Spanish priest in great contemp-nay in cases of ne. cessity they do not lcruple to apply for aliistance to the protestant minister. Of their good-will to the establimed church they give an annual proof which ore rarely finds in any other
part of Ireland. , The minister's tythe amounts to about 100l. per annum, and when the islanders have got in their own harvett, they give the parson a day of their horses and cars, and bring the entire tythe home to his farm yard."
Between Ballycastle bay and Fairhead, lie the collieries. It has been discovered, by accident, that they were worked in very remote ages, probably before the use of pit-coal was known in England, fince a complete mine, with a regular gallery, branching off into different chambers, has been found, though even tradition is filent on the subject. This discovery, and the remains of the Brehun laws, contribute to de. monftrate, that there was a time when wood, and perhaps, peat, were scarce in that kingdom. The present bogs had, probably, then no existence : we know, as our author als leges, that the increase of these is rapid, and sometimes irresistible; and it may be added, that instruments of hufe bandry, and marks of cultivation, have been found below