ページの画像
PDF
ePub

squinted at Grævius, Gronovius, and masters of Europe, none could, in other Dutch professors of humanity those days, stand forward as compeon a ponderous scale. And, omit titors in point of scholarship with ting scores of other cases, we could Parr. Scholars more eminent, doubtbring in illustration, even in our own less, there had been, but not among day, the worthy George III., thinking those who wielded the ferule; for it would be well to gain the impri the learned Dr Burney, junior, of matur of his own pocket university Greenwich, and the very learned Dr of Göttingen, before he made up his Butler of Shrewsbury, had not then mind on the elementary books used commenced their reigns. How pointin the great schools of England, dis ed, then, was the insult, in thus patched a huge bale of grammars, transferring the appeal from a goldlexicons, vocabularies, fables, selec en critic at home to a silver one tions, exercise-books, spelling-books, abroad: or rather, how strong the and Heaven knows what all, to that prejudice which could prompt such most concinnous and most rotund of a course to one who probably mediprofessors-Mr Heyne. At Cæsar's tated no insult at all. And let no command, the professor slightly in man say, on this occasion, that Parr, spected them; and having done so, being a Jacobin, could not be decenthe groaned at the quality of the su ly consulted on the scruples of a perb English paper, so much harder, king; for Heyne was a Jacobin also, stiffer, and more unaccommodating until Jacobinism brought danger to to domestic purposes than that soft his windows. If the oracle at Hatton German article, prepared by men of philippized, the oracle of Göttingen feeling and consideration in that land philippized no less, and perhaps of sentiment, and thereupon (we with much less temptation, and cerpretend not to say how far in conse taiply with less conspicuous neglect quence thereof) be drew up an an of his own interest. Well for him gry and vindictive verdict on their that his Jacobinism lurks in pondecollective merits. And thus it hap rous Latin notes, whilst Dr Parr's pened that his Majesty came to have was proclaimed to the world in but an indifferent opinion of English English! school literature. Now, in this in It is fitting, then, that we people stance, we see the John Bull mania of England should always keep a pushed to extremity. For surely man or two capable of speaking Dr Parr, on any subject wbatever, with our enemies in the gate, wben barring Greek, was as competent a they speak Latin; more especially scholar as Master Heyne.* And when our national honour in this on this particular subject, the jest is particular is to be supported against apparent, that Parr was, and Heyne a prejudice so deep, and of standing was not, a schoolmaster. Parr had so ancient. These, however, are cultivated the art of teaching all local arguments for cultivating Lahis life; and it were hard indeed, if tin, and kept alive by the sense of labours so tedious and heavy might wounded bonour. But there are not avail a man to the extent of ac

other considerations more perma. crediting bis opinion on a capital nent and intrinsic to the question, question of his own profession. which press equally upon all cultiSpeaking seriously, since the days of vated nations. The language of anBusby--that great mant who flog- cient Rome has certain indestructiged so many of our avi-abavi ble claims upon our regard: it has atavi—and tritavi, among the school a peculiar merit sui generis in the

* We cannot fancy Heyne as a Latin exegetes. The last time we opened a book of his, (perhaps it was his Virgil,) some sixteen years ago, he was labouring at this well-known phrase—“ regiune viarum." As usual, a rhapsody of resemblances, more or less remote, was accumulated; but if we may be believed, that sole menning of the word regio which throws light upon the expression, that meaning which connects it with the word rego in the mathematical sense, [i. e. to drive a strait line,) w

was unnoticed. All the rest meant nothing. We closed the book in disgust.

+ " Dr Busby! a great man, sir, a very great man! he flogged my grandfather.” -Sir Rog. de Coverley,

2

race.

first place; and secondly, circum- great Asiatic family of nations from stances have brought it into a singu. Teheran, or suppose from Constanlar and unprecedented relation to tinople and Cairo (which are virtuthe affairs and interests of the human ally Asiatic) to Pekin and the re

motest islands on that quarter of Speaking carelessly of Latin, as Asia, had someone common language one of two ancient languages, both through which their philosophers included in the cycle of a perfect and statesmen could communicate education, and which jointly com. with each other over the whole vast pose the entire conservatory of all floor of Asia! Yet this sublime maancient literature that now survives, sonic tie of brotherhood we ourwe are apt to forget that either of these selves

possess, we members of languages differs from the other by Christendom, in the most absolute any peculiar or incommunicable pri- sense. Gradually, moreover, it is vilege: and for all the general ad- evident that we shall absorb the vantages which can characterise a whole world

into the progress of cilanguage, we rightly ascribe the pre- vilisation. Thus the Latin language ference in degree to the Greek. But is, and will be still more perfectly, a there are two circumstances, one in bond between the remotest places. the historical position of the Latin Time also is connected as much as language, and one in its own inter- space; and periods in the history of nal character, which unite to give it man, too widely separated from each an advantage in our esteem, such as other (as we might also have imagino language besides ever did, or, in ned) to admit of any common tie, are, the nature of things, ever will pos. and will continue to be, brought into sess. They are these :- The Latin connexion by a vinculum so artificial language has a planetary importance; (and, generally speaking, so fluctuait belongs not to this land or that ting) as a language. This position land, but to all lands where the hu- of the Latin language with regard to man intellect has obtained its rights the history of man, would alone sufand its developement. It is the one fice to give it an overpowering intesole Lingua Franca, that is, in a ca- rest in our regard. As to its intrintholic sense, such for the whole hu- sic merits, the peculiarity of its strucmanized earth, and the total family ture, and the singular powers which of man. We call it a dead language. arise out of that structure, we must But how? It is not dead, as Greek leave that topic undiscussed. We is dead, as Hebrew is dead, as Sans- shall say only, that, for purposes of crit is dead-which no man uses in elaborate rhetoric, it is altogether its ancient form in his intercourse unrivalled ; the exquisitely artificial with other men. It is still the com- mould of its structure, gives it that mon dialect which binds together advantage. And, with respect to its that great imperium in imperio—the supposed penury of words, we shall republic of letters. And to express mention the opinion of Cicero, who, in a comprehensive way the relation in three separate passages of his which this superb language bears to works, maintains, that in that point man and his interests, it has the same it has the advantage of the Greek. extensive and indifferent relation to Many questions arise upon the quaour planet, which the moon has lities of Parr's Latin in particular, amongst the heavenly bodies. Her and upon the general rules of style light, and the means of intercourse which he prescribed to himself. The which she propagates by her influ- far-famed author of the “ Pursuits ence upon the tides, belong to all of Literature,” has stigmatised the nations alike. How impressive a preface to Bellenděnus* (we befact would it appear to us, if the seech you, courteous reader, to pro

* William Bellenden, a Scotch writer, flourished at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and is said to have been a Professor in the University of Paris. At Paris he published, in 1608, his Cicero Princeps, a singular work, in which he extracted from Cicero's writings detached remarks, and compressed them into one regular body, containing the rules of monarchical government, with the line of conduct to be adopted, and the virtues proper to be encouraged by the Prince himself; and the treatise, when biwished, he dediVOL. XXIX. NO, CLXIX.

3D

nounce the penultimate short, that intervals through the “ sound and is, lay the accent on the syllable fury" of his political vaticinations, lend) as a cento of Latin quota merits which sufficed to propel that tions ;" in which judgment there is bulky satire through nearly a score a double iniquity; for, beyond all of editions,-yet, at this day, it canother human performances, the “Pur not be denied, that the “Pursuits of suits of Literature” is a cento, and in Literature” was disfigured by much any fair sense, Parr's preface is not. extravagance of invective, much lie In fact, with all its undeniable ability, cense of tongue, much mean and imall its cloudy amplifications, tortuous potent spite, (see his lying attempt energy of language, and organ notes to retort the jest of Colman* by raiof profounder eloquence pealing at sing a Greek dust,) but above all, (and

cated, from a principle of patriotism and gratitude, to the son of his master, Henry, then Prince of Wales. Four years afterwards (namely, in 1612) he proceeded to publish another work of a similar nature, which he called Cicero Consul, Senator, Senatus Romanus, and in which he treated the nature of the consular office, and the constitution of the Roman Senate. Finding the works received, as they deserved, with the unanimous approbation of the learned, he conceived the plan of a third work, De Statu Prisci Orbis, which was to contain a history of the progress of government and philosophy, from the times before the flood, to their various degrees of improvement, under the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. He had proceeded so far as to print a few copies of this work in 1615, when it seems to have been suggested, that his three treatises, De Statu Principis, De Statu Republicæ, De Statu Orbis, being on subjects so nearly resembling each other, there might be a propriety in uniting them into one work, by re-publishing the two former, and entitling the whole, Bellendenus de Statu. With this view, he recalled the few copies of his last work that were abroad, and after a delay of some months, he published the three treatises together, under their new title, in the year 1615.

In the British Museum, one copy of the book De Statu prisci Orbis, dated in 1615, still exists, which the author had probably sent into England as a present, and could not recall; and in all the others the date appears, ou a nice inspection, to have been originally MDCXV., and to have had an I afterwards added, on the alteration of the author's plan. The editor has shewn great ingenuity in clearing up this typographical difficulty. The great work being now completed, Bellenden looked forward with a pretty well-grounded expectation for that applause which his labour and his ingenuity deserved; but his views were disappointed by one of those events that no art of man can foresee or remedy. The vessel in which the whole impression was embarked was overtaken by a storm before she could reach the English coasts, and foundered with all her cargo.

A very few copies only, which the learned author either kept for his own use, or had sent as presents by private hands, seem to have been preserved from the destruction which awaited the others; and this work of Bellendenus has, therefore, from its scarcity, often escaped the notice of the most diligent collectors.

It is not to be found in the library of the Duke of Argyle, nor in that of the late Dr Hunter; neither Morhoffius nor Fabricius had ever seen it; the Observationes Literariæ at Frankfort in 1728, which treat learnedly and copiously on scarce books, makes no mention of it. In a word, the single treatises are so rare, that not above ten of them are to be found in all the libraries of England. And of the larger work, it does not appear that more than six copies are known to exist; one in the public library at Cambridge, a second in that of Emanuel College in the same university, long admired as a well-chosen collection of excellent books; a third in All-Souls' Library at Oxford, and two in the possession of the editors.

Colman had said, that the verse in the Pursuits of Literature was only “ a peg to hang the notes upon.” Too obvious, perhaps, but also too true, for the irritable author, who had the meanness, amongst some impotent attempts at affecting a grin of nonchalance, to tell his readers that the jest was stolen--and stolen from Pindar! Great was our curiosity on hearing this. A Pindaric jest! What could it be, and where? Was it an Olympic, or a Pythic jest? Why, Pindar, it seems, " said long before Mr Colman, ata warrane pogueustae iaBs.” And what then? He took down his harp from a peg; that is to say, a literal harp from a literal peg. What earthly connexion could that have with Mr Colman's jest ? Now this, though in re lecissima, we regard as a downright villainy.

There is another in the library of Shrewsbury School, left by Dr Taylor, editor of Demosthenes, to that fuundation,

in a degree which took all colour of than really became it as an avowed propriety from his sneers at Parr,) bravura of rhetorical art, deliberately by a systematic pedantry, without unfolding its “ dazzling fence” in parallel in literature. To Parr it passages of effect, and openly chalwas open, at least, to have retorted, lenging admiration as a solemn agothat in no instance had he left it a nistic effort of display and execumatter of doubt what language it was tion. What probably misled the unthat he professed to be writing, whe- friendly critic were the continued ther it were Greek enamelled upon references in the margin to Cicero, or an English ground, or a substratum of other masters of Latinity. But these Greek tesselated by English. That were often no acknowledgments boast was something: more by a for obligations, but simply sanctions good deal than the learned satirist for particular uses of words, or for could pretend to. Such a mosaic questionable forms of phraseology. as his hyper-Menippean satire, was In this Dr Parr was even generous ; never seen by man; unless, indeed, for though he did sometimes leave it were in one imitation (thé Millen- traps for the unwary-and this he nium) where the author, apparently acknowledged with a chuckling laugh determined to work in more colours - still in many more instances he than his master, had strewed his saved them from the snares which pages with Arabic and Persic, and were offered by these suspicious cases actually pressed upon the particular in Latinity. and indulgent notice of the Lord Dismissing, however, in his own Mayor, and aldermen in common contemptuous words, this false and council assembled, various interest- malicious exception to Dr Parr's ing considerations in Coptic. preface,“ Quare suo, per me licet,

By such an accuser, then, Parr sale nigro ii delectentur, suæque sum could not justly be placed upon de- perbiæ morem gerant, qui me dicti. fence. But really at any bar he did tant, veluti quendam ludimagistrum, not need a defence. Writing pro ex alienis orationibus librum meum fessedly as a rhetorician, he caught at composuisse,” it is very possible that the familiar commonplaces of Ro- there may be others with better founman rhetoric, and golden ornaments dation. Amongst these there is one, of Ciceronian mintage, just as in which we have heard most frequentEnglish we point our perorations ly pressed in conversation, and it is with the gorgeous tropes of Jere- connected with a quæstio vezatissima miah Taylor, relieve the austerity of on the general principles of modern our didactic speculations with the Latin diction; was not the style hygreat harmonies of Milton, or lock brid, that is a composite style, ownup our sentences with massy key- ed by no one age in particular, but stones of Shakspearian sentiments made up by inharmonious contribuThus far the famous Preface was no tions from many? We answer firma further arrayed in borrowed plumage lyNo. Words there are, undoubt

For the “ absolute silliness," amongst many hundred passages of pure trifling, or exqui. site nonsense, let the reader look to his long note upon Mr Godwin, and his “ gun of generation;" where, under an impression that he was lashing some peculiar conceit, or caprice of that gentleman, the satirist had unconsciously engaged himself with Hume, and his Doctrine of Causation.

We say so much upon this author, because, (though almost forgotten at present,) in our younger days, he had a splendour of success, not much surpassed even by the most popular writers of this present more literary generation ; and because, spite of his bad taste, his pedantry, and his mystical affectations, he had a demon of originality about him, which makes him, after all, worthy of preservation.

A strange fact it is, in Dr Parr's literary history, that this same malicious satirist, from whom he received insults so flagrant and so public, at an after period became his all but idolized friend. In saying this, we assume it as a thing admitted universally, and now scarcely needing a proof, that Mr Mathias, and the satirist in question, were one and the same person. Letters from this Mr Mathias are spoken of by Dr Parr in another period of his life, with a fervour of devotion, such as a Roman Catholic limits to the very boliest class of reliques.

ears.

edly-single words, and solitary Fierce sectarianism bred fierce latiphrases, and still oftener senses and tudinarianism. Was a writer Ciceroacceptations* of words, which can nian in his words and phrases? That, plead no Ciceronian authority. But for some critics, was the one demand. the mould—the structure—the TUTOS On the other hand, many piqued of the sentence, that is always Ro- themselves on throwing off a restricman, always such as Cicero would tion so severe, and for many subjects have understood and countenanced. so disadvantageous. Some valued Nay, many passages there are which themselves on writing like Tacitus ; Cicero could not have beat for his some, with larger and more natural

Every sentence or period taste, like Livy. Some even were moves upon two principal determi- content with a model as modern as nations : its external connexion in Lipsius or Strada. the first place—how does it arise, In such disputes all turns upon the upon what movement of the logic or particular purpose which a writer the feeling from the preceding pe- has in using the Latin idiom. Why, riod? And, secondly, its own inter on what considerations, honouring nal evolution. These moments (to what old prescriptive usage, or lookspeak dynamically) in the construc- ing to what benefit, has an author tion of sentences according to their used Latin at all? For evidently, in treatment, (but, above all, in a lan- foregoing his own mother tongue, he guage the most exquisitely artificial has wilfully forfeited much ease and that human necessities have created,) some power. His motives, therefore, become the very finest tests of their must be verydeterminate in a choice so idiomatic propriety. In the manage- little for his own immediate interest. ment of these primary elements in If, which is the commonest case, he the art of composition, Parr is a mas writes Latin merely as a lingua franter. As to words, or separable parts, ca—as the general language of the which a stroke of the pen can remove literary commonwealth of Christenand supply, the effect, upon the dom, and, therefore, purely to create whole, is little, and to modern ears, an extended circulation for his untrained by colloquial use to ap- thoughts,-it is probable that his subprehend spontaneously the discor- ject in these days will be derived dant association of archaisms and from some branch of science, or, at neologisms, scarcely any at all. Yet it all events, some theme treated didacis observable, that, to words only, tically; for, as an orator, an essayist, and single phrases, the purists in La- or, generally, as a fine writer, he can tin composition have most unwisely find no particular temptations in a directed their attention.

language, which, whilst it multiplies Above all, the Ciceronian purists his difficulties, must naturally limit were famous in their day; a volume his audience. On a mere calculation might be written on their history. of good sense, we may predict that

* Dr Parr, but on what particular sense of necessity, we pretend not to conjecture, has used the words textus for text, and margo for margin ; and he apologizes for them in the following words

" Quod textum et marginem, et alia istiusmodi verba sine ulla præfatione, et quasi wafungia usurpavi, id ne bilem moveat inter eos," (for inter eos we should have substituted istis,] “ qui limatulum præ cæteris et politulum habere judicium sibi videantur.” And he goes on to say, that spiteful critics of shallow discernment make these cavils, which possibly they would not make if aware of the answer made to them by Henry Stephens : "Rem vir ille doctus et ingeniosus huc deduxit,” “ nimium sane fuerint delicatæ aures, quæ talia vocabula ferre non poterunt, quum præsertim alia desint.”' Well, let the question then be rested on that footing, and so decided. Nobody in the world, as the reader will collect from another part of this paper, has less sympathy than ourselves with idle cavillers, or less indulgence towards the scruples which grow out of excessive puritanism in style. Yet in these instances we do not perceive that the scruples are of that character. For we cannot perceive that the questionable words are protected by the reservation of Stephens quum alia desint. Surely ora libri express margin, and orationis perpetuitas, or continuitas sermonis, might serve to express the idea of text, (for the body of the composition, as contradistinguished from its notes.)

« 前へ次へ »