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his subject will, in nine cases out of has that been found to suffer in the ten, be one which is paramount, by hands of classical precisians, to whom its matter, to all considerations of the whole vocabulary of Christianstyle and manner. Physics, for ex- ity,-all the technical terms of its ample, in some one of its numerous divine economy, all its idioms* branches, mathematics, or some great such as grace, sanctification, sacrastanding problem of metaphysics. ment, regeneration, &.c., were so many Now, in such a case, if there be one stones of offence and scandal for the rule of good taste more pressing than terms, even where they did not reanother, it is this—to reject all
orna- ject the conceptions. Now, one law ments of style whatever,-in fact all of good sense is paramount for all style; for unless on a question which composition whatsoever, viz. that the admits some action of the feelings, subject, the very ideas, for the devein a business of the pure understand- lopement of which only any compo. ing, style-properly defined-is im- sition at all became necessary, must possible. Consequently, classical La. not suffer prejudice, or diminution, tin, whether of gold, of silver, or of from any scruples affecting the mere brass, is, in such a case, equally to accessories of style or manner. Where be rejected. The reason upon which both cannot co-exist, perish the style this rule stands is apparent.
- let the subject matter to use a Why is it that in law Latin we say, scholastic term) prosper ! murdravit, for he murdered,-war- This law governs every theme of rantizo,-homagium, and so forth ?- pure science, or which is capable of Simply because the transcendent a didactic treatment. For instance, matter in all legal discussions, the in Natural Philosophy, where the great interests of life and property mere ideas under discussion, the which law concerns, the over-ruling bodies, the processes, the experiimportance of the necessities to which ments, the instruments, are all alike law ministers, making intelligibility almost in a region unknown and unand distinction of cases to be the subjected to any jurisdiction of the absorbing consideration, cannot but classical languages,-how vain, how throw into the shade every quality puerile the attempt to fight up against of writing which does not co-operate these natural, and for us insurmountto that end; and for those quali- able difficulties, by any system of ties, which have a tendency even to clever equivocations, or ingenious clash with it, cannot but reduce compromises between the absolute them to the rank of puerile levities. barbarisms of the thing, and their The idea of felony, under its severe nearest classical analogies. By such and exclusive limitation, according misdirected slight-of-hand, what is to our jurisprudence, could not be effected ? We sacrifice one principle adequately reached by any Cicero- without propitiating the other. Scinian term whatsoever; and this once ence, defrauded of her exactness, admitted, it is evident that the file frowns; and the genius of classical igree frost-work of classical fastidi- elegance does not smile. Precision ousness must be allowed to melt at is wilfully forfeited; and no real once before the great domineering ornament is gained. Wheresoever a influences of life in its elementary man writes not for a didactic purinterests. Religion again, how much pose, but for effect, wheresoever the
l'pon this subject, in its relation not to Latin, but to classical English, we have an Essay in our own times from a writer of great talent, Mr Foster, the Baptist clergyman. It is strange to say, that the tendency of that essay is in direct hostility to his own peculiar views ; doctrinally, he contends earnestly for the peculiar tenets and mysteries of the Christian economy. Yet, on the other hand, as a man of taste, he would banish all the consecrated terms which express them. Now, this is contradictory. With the peculiar and characteristic language would vanish the peculiar and characteristic doctrines. But, apart from this consequence, it is strange that Mr Foster should overlook the analogical justification of a separate terminology, derived from so many similar cases of far less importance. For example, who complains of the Platonic theology for its peculiar vocabulary? Or, what reproach has it ever been to Jamblichus, to Proclus, to Plotinus, to Synesius, &c., that they wrote almost a sealed dialect to the profane ?
composition is not a mere means for of these rules to the humbler proconveying truths, but its own end vince of kitchengardens. Something and final object, there, and there was tried here, also, of the former only, it may be allowable to attempt devices for producing the pictua happy evasion of some modern resque; and the effects were unibarbarism by means of its nearest formly bad. Upon which two classes Roman equivalent. For example, in of critics arose, one who supposed a sepulchral inscription, one of the kitchengardens to be placed altogefinest modes of the serious epigram, ther out of the jurisdiction of taste, where distinction for the understand and another, who persisted in bringing is nothing, and effect for the na- ing them within it, but unfortunately tural sensibilities is all in all, Dr by means of the very same rules as Parr might be justified in saying that those which governed the larger and a man died by a ballista, as the near more irregular province of pleasure est classical weapon of offence to gardens. The truth lay between the that which was really concerned in two parties; the last were right in the fatal accident. But the same supposing that every mode of exhiwriter, treating any question of Na- biting objects to the eye had its own tural Philosophy, could never have susceptibilities (however limited) of allowed himself in so vague a term. beauty, and its own rules of good taste. To know that a man perished under The first, on the other hand, were a blow from some engine of war equally right in rejecting the rules acted on by a mechanical force, with- of the picturesque, as applicable to out distinguishing whether gun or arrangements in which utility and pistol, bomb, mortar, howitzer, or convenience presided. Beauty,"wild hand-grenade—might be all that was without rule or art, enormous bliss," required to engage the reader's sym- (that is, bliss which transcends all pathy. Some little circumstantiality, norma, or artificial measurements) some slight specification of details, which is Milton's emphatic summing is useful in giving direction and live up of the luxuries of Eden, obey a liness to a general tone of commise- much wider law, and in that propor. ration; whilst too minute an indivi- tion more difficult to be abstracted dualization of objects, not elevated than the elegance of trim arrangeenough to sustain any weight of ment. But even this has its own attention, would both degrade the appropriate law of ornament. And subject and disturb the natural cur the mistake is, to seek it by translarent of the feelings by the dispro- tion from some province, differing portionate notice it would arrogate essentially, and by its central prinunder the unwieldy periphrasis that ciple, from itself. Where it is posmight be necessary to express it. sible (as in ornamental gardening on But, on the other hand, in pure phy- the English plan it is) to appear as sics, the primary necessity of rigor an assistant, and in subordination to ous distinction would demand an nature, making her the principal artexact designation of the particular ist, and rather directing her efforts implement; size, weight, bore, mode than positively interfering with them of action, and quantity of resistance, there, it is certain, that the wild, might here all happen to be of fore- the irregular, the illimitable, and most importance. Something, in fact, the luxuriant, have their appropriate analogous to all this, for the case it force of beauty; and the tendency self, and for the law which it sug- of art is no more than simply to gests, may be found in the art of assist their developement, and to susgardening, under its two great divi- tain their effect, by removing whatsions of the useful and the orna ever is inharmonious. But in a sysmental. Taste was first applied to tem of which utility is the object, the latter. From the art of garden- utility must also be the law and ing, as cultivated for picturesque source of the beauty.
That same effects, laws and principles of har. convenience, which dictates arrangemonious grouping, of happy con ment and limitation as its own subtrast, and of hidden co-operation in sidiary instruments, ought to dicparts remote from each other, were tate these same principles as the soon derived. It was natural that presiding agents for the creation of some transfer should be attempted appropriate ornaments. Instead of
seeking a wild picturesque, which retorts, crucibles, and gas, in terms delights in concealing, or in reveals that might have delighted the most ing only by fits, the subtle and half delicate ears of Augustan Rome. evanescent laws under which it Leibnitz pays him some compligrows, good taste suggests impera- ments, as he could do no less, upon tively, as the object we should court, his superfine apparel; but evidently a beauty of the architectural kind, he is laughing in his sleeve at the courting order and symmetry, avow- hyperbolical pains and perspiration ing, not hiding its own artifices, and that each paragraph of his letters absolutely existing by correspond- must have cost him. This Italian simence of parts.
ply carried a pretty common mistake Latin composition falls into the to a ridiculbus excess. The notion is same or analogous divisions; and universal, that even in writing upon these divisions obey the same or scientific subjects, it is right to strive corresponding rules. The highest after classical grace, in that extent form of Latin composition, orna- to which it shall be found attainable. mented Latin, which belongs to a But this is false taste. Far juster, difficult department of the higher better, and more self-consistent, is belles lettres, clothes itself, by natu- the plain, unpretending Latin of the ral right, in the whole pomp and great heroes of philosophy - Lord luxury of the native Roman idiom. Bacon, Des Cartes, and Leibnitz.t Didactic Latin, of any class, in which They court no classical ornaments, the subject makes it impossible to no rhetorical phrases; yet the Latin sustain that idiom for two consecu- idiom, though not studiously courttive sentences, abandons it profess- ed, is never harshly violated. Philoedly, and creates a new law for it. sophic ideas, philosophic dogmas, of self. Even the art of annotation, a modern birth, are not antedated by very extensive branch of purely di- giving them pagan names. Terms dactic Latin, and cultivated by im- of modern science, objects of modern mense numbers of very able men, discovery, are not disguised in a rihas its own peculiar laws and pro- diculous masquerade of classical apprieties, which must be sought in proximations, presenting a conjecthe works of those who have prac- tural travesty, rather than a just and tised it with success.
responsible translation by fair equiFor an example, in support of what valents. The interests of the sense, we have been saying, and illustra- and the demands of the primary ting the ludicrous effect, which arises purpose, are everywhere made the from a fastidiously classical phrase- governing considerations; and whilst ology employed upon a subject of the barbarisms of some amongst the science, we might refer our readers schoolmen are never imitated, and to the collection of letters between no idioms positively modern are Leibnitz and various correspondents adopted, the pure Roman idiom is in different parts of Europe, pub- only so far courted as it favours the lished at Hanover by Feder, among ends of expedition and precision. which are some extra superfine let- In short, we shall not much err in ters by a certain Italian Abbé. making this general assertion, that a
It is really as good as a comedy, to philosophic Latin style, suited to the see the rope-dancing tricks of agility wants of modern speculation and by which this finical Italian petit- modern research, has gradually mamaitre contrives to talk of electricity, tured itself in the hands of the great
Amongst whom, by the way, Bentley stands foremost; whilst Porson is the least felicitous in giving a scholarlike expression to his notes.
+ We may add, as equal with the very foremost of them, Immanuel Kant, whose Latin is of the best philosophic character. He had studied as a fellow-pupil with the celebrated Latinist, Ruhnkenius, and had a true sense of elegance in this particular accomplishment. By the way, on this occasion we may observe, that Hobbes was a villainous writer of Latin ; and the common story of Lord Bacon's value for him in that character is undoubtedly false. Not a line of the Latin De Augmentis could have been written by Hobbes,
philosophic reformers; an ancient idiom, but came forward boldly as a language has bent to the pressure of performer on the great classical lyre new circumstances, and of modern of that majestic language,-we have revolutions in thinking; and it might said, that in our judgment he was a be shewn, that it has, in fact, thrown skilful performer: we will add, that, off a new and secondary idiom, nei- in spite of his own modest appreciather modern nor antique, and better tion of his own claims, he was much fitted for dispatch, though less shewy, more skilful than those who have than that of ancient Rome; and this been most accredited for this accomsecondary idiom has been created plishment in modern England: parin the same way, and by the same ticularly, he was superior, as a maslegitimate agency, as any language ter of Latinity, to Sir William Jones whatsoever, viz. by the instincts of and Bishop Lowth, the two most cefeeling, and the necessities of the lebrated English composers in Latin human mind. Voluntarily and con- through the course of the eighteenth sciously, man never did nor could century. create a language.*
Whilst thus limiting our compariThe great men we speak of, as all son of Parr to English competitors men engaged in that function, were for the same sort of fame, we are recontrolled by circumstances existing minded that Reiske, the well-known out of themselves, viz. the demands of editor of the Greek Orators, a hasty human thinking, as they have gradual- and careless, but a copious scholar, ly been unfolded, and the needs of and himself possessing a masterly experimental philosophy. In matu- command over the Latin language, ring their product, that neutral diction has pronounced a general censure of philosophy which is neither mo- (Preface to Demosthenes) of English dern nor ancient, they were them- Latinity. In this censure, after maselves controlled by the circum- king the requisite limitations, we constances we state: yet, again, as they fess that reluctantly we concur. Not started with a scholarlike knowledge that the continent does not keep us of the ancient Roman idiom, they in countenance by its own breed of have reciprocally so far reacted upon bald composers: but our English dethese circumstances, and controlled ficiences are the more remarkable their natural tendency, as not to suffer when placed in opposition to the untheir own vernacular idioms to im- questionable fact, that in no country press themselves
upon their new dic- upon earth have the gentry, both protion, or at all to mould its shape and fessional and non-professional, and character.
the majority even of the bigber arisInto these discursive notices we tocracy, so large a tincture of classihave allowed ourselves to wander, cal knowledge. What is still more from the interest which attaches to remarkable, some of our first-rate every phasis of so imperishable a mo- scholars have been our poorest masnument of Roman power as survives ters of Latinity. In particular, Tayfor all cultivated nations in the Ro- lor, the eminent vilian, and the able man language : and also from its near editor of Demosthenes, whose style connexion with our immediate sub- it was, to the best of our rememject. Recalling ourselves, however, brance, in connexion with some illinto that branch of our theme which natured sneer at Wolff, that furnishmore particularly concerns Dr Parr, ed the immediate provocation to who wrote little (if any thing) in the Reiske's remark, was a poor componeutral or didactic form of the Latin ser in Latin; and Porson, a much
Lord Bacon's style is so much moulded by his own peculiar plastic intellect, that it is difficult to separate the elements of the total compound, that part which represented indi. vidually himself, and that which belonged to his era, and position which he occupied as a revolutionary philosopher under a domineering influence of circumstances. But from the plainer and less splendid, though perhaps more sublime, mind of Des Cartes, we receive a diction which better reflects the general standard of his era. Of this diction we venture to pronounce, that though far removed from classical Latinity, it is equally far from the other extreme of barbarism, and has an indoles, or genius sui generis, and its own peculiar laws.
greater scholar than any of these tence; qualifications and restraints men, as a Latinist was below the added or omitted; and the whole meanest of them. In fact, he wrote thought, its succession, and conneLatin of any kind,-such Latin even xion altered, before it will be fitted to as was framed on his own poor ideal, receive a direct Latin version. with singular want of freedom and This part of our subject, and, in facility : so much we read in the very connexion with it, Dr Parr's singular movement of his bald disjointed style. command of the Latin idiom, we But (more than all that) his standard might easily illustrate by a few refeand conception of Latin style was rences to the Bellenden Preface; and originally bad, and directed to the there is the more propriety in a stuleast valuable of its characteristics. dious use of this preface, because Such an adventurous flight, and a Parr himself declared to one of his compass so wide as that of Parr, was friends, [Dr Johnstone's Memoirs, p. far beyond Porson's strength of pin- 263,] that “there are in the preface ion. He has not ventured, in any in- almost all the phraseological beaustance that we are aware of, to trust ties I know in Latin." himself through the length of three But this task we must reserve for sentences to his own impulses; but, a separate paper, which we meditate in his uniform character of annotator, on modern Latinity. For the pretimidly creeps along shore, attach- sent, we hasten to a class of the ed to the tow-line of his text, and Doctor's Latin compositions, in which ready to drop his anchor on the least his merits are even more conspicuous summons to stretch out to sea. In -because more characteristically his this, however, there is something equivocal: timidity of thinking may In the epitaphs of Dr Parr, as perhaps be as much concerned in bis amongst the epitaphs of this counextreme reserve, as penury of diction. try, where a false model has preBut one most unequivocal indication vailed—the lapidary style and arof incompetence as a Latin composer, rangement, and an unseasonable glitis to be found in the structure of his ter of rhetoric—there is a rare, alsentences, which are redolent of Eng- most a unique body of excellence. lish idiom. In reality, the one grave Indeed, from these inscriptions, we and mortal taint of English Latinity is believe it possible to abstract all the --that it is a translation, a rendering negative laws which should preside back, from an English archetype. In in this species of composition. The that way, and upon any such princi- sole defect is in the positive qualiple, good Latin never can arise. It ties. Whatsoever an epitaph ought grows up by another process. Good not to be, that too frequently it is; Latin begins, as well as terminates, in and by examining Dr Parr's in deitself. To write like an ancient Ro- tail, we shall find, by the uniformity man, a man must think in Latin. of his abstinence in those circumEvery translation out of an English stances which most usually offer the original must necessarily fail of be- matter of offence, that his abstinence coming good Latin by any mode of was not accidental; and that implitransmutation that an ordinary acti- citly, as the scholastic phrase is, that vity can ever hope to accomplish: is, by involution and silent implicafrom its English shape, the thoughts, tion, all the canons of a just theory on the connexions, the transitions, have this branch of art are there brought already received a determination this together and accumulated. This is no way or that, fitting them for the yoke light merit; indeed, when we reflect of an English construction. Even upon it, and consider how many and the most absolute fixtures (to use that how able men have failed, we begin to term) in an English structure, must think that Sam was perhaps a greater often be unsettled, and the whole man by the intention of nature, than framework of the period be taken to our villainous prejudices have alpieces and recast in a thoroughly La- lowed us to suppose. But with this tin composition. The interrogative concession to the negative merits of form must often be changed to the the Doctor, let it not be thought illiabsolute affirmative, and versa vice ; beral in us to connect a repetition of parenthetical intercalations must of. our complaint as to the defects of the ten be melted into the body of the sen- Tò affirmative in this collection. Eve