ページの画像
PDF
ePub

profound ignorance and superstition which could tolerate such gross caricature of all that was most sacred, and rendered the spectators blind to the practical impiety and blasphemy which abounded in such exhibitions. The most sacred personages, not excepting the Supreme himself, were brought upon the stage, and the actors who represented them were familiarly called by the names of the characters they personated. Take, for example, the following account of the expense of a certain exhibition given by the Smith's company of Coventry. We have some 'strange items,' as our author terms them; and if the sense of the ludicrous prevails at all over the sense of the blasphemous, it is only because it is quite certain that the ignorant writers did not intend to be blasphemous.

God's coat of white leather (6 skins).
• Cheverel (chevelure, peruke) for God.
·Girdle for God.
Paid to God 2s.
Item to Herod, 3s. 4d.
Item to Pilatt is wyffe, 2s.

* Item to the devyll and to Judas, 18d. are among the entries. Those of the Cappers are not less remarkable : • Item, payd to Pilate, 4d.

Item, payd to the 4 knights, 4s. 8d. • Item, payd to the 2 bysshopes, 2s. Item, payd to God, 20d. * Item, paide to the Sprytt of God, 16d.

Item, payd to the two Angelles, 8d. * Item, payd to the 3 Maryes, 2s. Item, payd to the Demon, 16d.'

– Vol. i., p. 201.

In one of these old plays occurs the following pirate-song, which is not without considerable merit; and is otherwise curious, as containing perhaps the most ancient specimen of nautical minstrelsy in the language :

Lustely, lustely, lustely let us saile forthe !

The wind trim doth serve us, it blowes from the North.
* All thinges we have ready, and nothing we want,

To furnish our ship that rideth hereby ;
Victals and weapons, thar be nothing skant,
Like worthie mariners ourselves we will trie.

Lustely, lustely, fc.

Her flagges be new trimmed, set floating alofte,

Our ship for swift swimming, oh she doeth excell !
We fear no enemies, we have escaped them ofte,
Of all ships that swimmeth, she beareth the bell.

Lustely, lustely, fc.

“And here is a maister excelleth in skill,

And our maister's mate, he is not to seeke;
And here is a boteswain will do his good will,
And here is a ship boye, we never had leeke.

Lustely, lustely, fc.

• If fortune then faile not, and our next voiage prove,

Wee will return merely, and make good cheare ;
And holde all together as friends linkt in love,

The cannes shal be filled with wine, ale, and beare.
-Ibid, p. 272.

Lustely, lustely, &c.

We must close our extracts by the two following amusing anecdotes of old John Skelton, the laureate, and one of our earliest dramatic writers :

• That Skelton was not much sooner silenced by Wolsey, might partly have been owing to his love of jesting, and to the favor with which it caused him to be regarded by king and nobles. For them he composed his · Merie Tales,' and we give two as proofs of the reputation of the jovial laureate.

"TALE I.

How Skelton came late home to Oxforde from Abington. • Skelton was a English-man borne, as Skogan was, and he was educated and brought uppe in Oxfoorde, and there was he made a poet laureat. And on a tyme hee had bene at Abbington to make mery, wher that he had eate salto meates, and he dyd come late home to Oxfoorde ; and he dyd lye in an ine named the Tabere, whyche is now the Angell, and he dyd drynke and went to bed. Aboute mydnighte he was so thyrstie or drye, that hee was constrayned to call the tapstere for drynke, and the tapstere heard hym not. Then he cryed to hys oste and hys ostess, and to the osteler for drynke, and no man would heare him. * Alacke,' sayd Skelton, 'I shall peryshe for lacke of drynke: what remedye?' At last he dyd crie out, and sayd, Fyer, fyer, fyer !'

* When Skelton harde every man bustled himself upward, and some of them were naked, and some were halfe asleepe, and amased, and Skelton dyd crye, Fyer, fyer !' (styll,) that everye man knew not where to resorte, Skelton dyd go to bed ; and the oste and the ostess, and the tapstere, with the osteler, dyd runne to Skelton's chambere wythe candles lyghted in theyr handes, saying, “Where, where, where is the fyer?' Here, here,' sayd Skelton; and poynted hys fynger to hys mouth, sayinge, 'fetch me some drynke to quenche the fyer, and the heate, and the drinesse of my mouthe:' and so they dyd. Wherfore, it is goode for every man to helpe hys owne selfe in tyme of nede wyth some policis or crafte, so be yt ther bee no deceit nor falshed used.'

"TALE II.
How Skelton dressed the Kendal-man in the sweat time.

On a tyme Skelton rode from Oxfoorde to London wyth a Kendalman, and at Uxbrydge they bayted. The Kendal-man layde hys cappe upon the borde in the halle, and he went to serue hys horse. Skelton took the Kendal-man's cappe, and dyd putte betwyxt the lyninge and the outer syde a dysh of butter. And when the Kendal-man had dreste hys horse, he dyd come yn to diner, and dyd putte on hys cappe. (That tyme the sweatynge sycknesse was in Englande.) At the laste, when the butter had taken heate of the Kendal-man's heade, yt dyd begynne to ron over hys face and aboute hys cheekes. Skelton sayd, ' Syr, you sweate soore; beware that you have not the sweatynge syckness. And the Kendal-man sayd, By the masse, I'se

wrang ; I mus go tyl bed.' Skelton sayd, 'I am skilled in physicke, and 'specially in the sweatynge sycknesse, that I wyll warrant anye man.' * In good fayth,' sayd the Kendal-man, do see, and I'se pay for your skott to London.' • Then,' said Skelton, “get you a kerchief, and I will bryng you abed.' The which was done. Skelton caused the cappe to be sod in boat lee, and dryed it. In the morning Skelton and the Kendal-man dyd ryde merily to London.'

The volume by Mr. Bell, on the English Poets, is certainly more judiciously executed than the three volumes which have passed under review. It comprises the lives of Michael Drayton, Abraham Cowley, Edmund Waller, John Milton, and Samuel Butler. The work is by no means deficient in research. But we think we have reason to complain here, as in the volumes just noticed, of the want of that enlarged, comprehensive, and elegant criticism which can alone do full justice to the lives and writings of names so illustrious. Still, as the work is unfinished, we forbear saying any more upon it at present.

Art

. VI. 1. The New Cratylus : or Contributions towards a more Accurate Knowledge of the Greek Language. By John William DONALDSON, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. London: Parker. 1839. 2. A Manual of Comparative Philology, in which the Affinity of the Indo-European Languages is Illustrated and Applied to the Pri. meval History of Europe, Italy, and Rome. By the Rev. W. B. WINNING, M.A. London: Rivington. 1838. 3. Article Language in the Penny Cyclopædia. THE appearance of the above works is an auspicious omen for

English scholarship. They expatiate in a field of research which till lately has been little visited by our countrymen, and

which we have the national vanity to conceive English scholars would cultivate with eminent success.

The Germans amass information, but do not methodise it; they dig deep, but their building is disorderly; they have the materials, but they want the talent of arrangement. Comparative Philology is a branch of linguistic science which has sprung up but recently, and which may be said to owe its origin to the discovery, as it has been called, of the Sanscrit language. And without some knowledge of this language the study can be prosecuted with very little success. The works of which the titles stand at the head of this article, are the first in this country which have dealt with the general subject at much length, and separately from other subjects.

Mr. Donaldson's book is a work of great merit, and the University of Cambridge cannot but congratulate itself that one who, though he did not gain the elemental notions and the spirit of sound philology within its walls, has attained some of its highest collegiate and academical distinctions, has devoted himself to the task of endeavouring to disseminate accurate as well as expanded views of classical etymology among those who are at present strangers to the subject. For what has passed under the name of etymology in our Universities, and in our books till lately, is undeserving of the name, taken up as it has been in the way more of an amusement than a study, as a sort of guesswork, a pastime or game, something like the solution of riddles, instead of science, requiring perhaps more learning, patience, and caution than any other that can be named, to be prosecuted successfully. There have hitherto been, and we believe we may say with truth, there are now at this moment, no systematic and scientific views of classical etymology taught publicly in the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. We say not that the tutors and lecturers never give or remark on the derivation of a word in passing, or never attempt to give a few instances of similar derivations; what we say is this, that there is no regular, consistent, scientific system of etymology taught or insisted on, and that those who come forth from such instruction have no clear, accurate, and consistent notions of the structural peculiarities and affinities of the languages in question. Individuals may have acquired sound views on these points, as undoubtedly the pupils of Mr. Donaldson and others of the same school, but we are now alluding to the public teaching of the class-room. Mr. Donaldson's book, and others to which he makes frequent reference, will, it is hoped, rouse a spirit of inquiry into the subject.

Mr. Donaldson observes, with truth, that the establishment of 'an English school of philology is to be referred to the opening of the London University, in 1828, and may truly be ascribed to the mode of teaching adopted by the first Greek Professor at

a

that institution.' Before that period there was in fact no English school of philology; the way bad been prepared by the translations of German authors, chiefly in the historical department, such as Müller's Dorians, Niebuhr's Rome, and a few others; but nothing original had yet been done. And the impulse which has been given to these pursuits within the last three years undoubtedly originated in the teaching of Professor Long, to whom Mr. Donaldson has dedicated his work as a pupil and a friend. The publication of the Quarterly Journal of Education, in which the views of the Greek and Latin Professors were partially unfolded, and to which the simple-minded, but earnest and zealous erudition of Rosen furnished contributions of great value, produced quite a movement in the studious world among us. There is more sound philology, clearly and systematically developed, in the ten volumes of that Journal, than in all our periodical literature before.

Of the nature and general scope of Mr. Donaldson's book, the reader will form a better idea from seeing a table of the contents, than from a mere description.

Book I. GENERAL INTRODUCTION. Chap. I. The utility of Philological studies.--Chap. II. The history and present state of Philology.-Chap. III. The Philosophy of language.--Chap. IV. Relative position of the Greek language in the Indo-Germanic family.- Chap. V. The theory of the Greek alphabet.--Appendix to Chap. V. Extracts from Bentley's MS. on the digamma. Chap. VI. The parts of speech.

Book II. PRONOMINAL WORDS. Chap. I. The personal and other pronouns.—Chap. II. The numerals.-Chap. I'll. The prepositions. Chap. IV. The negation and other particles.

Book III. The Noun. Chap. I. The roots of nouns and verbs.-Chap. II. The case-endings of the noun.-Chap. III. The pronominal terminations between the root and case-endings. Chap. IV. Nouns used as prepositions.-Chap. V. The adjectives. Chap. VI. Compound words.

Book IV. THE VERB. Chap. I. The person-endings.Chap. II. The tenses.-Chap. III. The moods and participles.Chap. IV. The conjugations.—Chap. V. The use of auxiliary verbs in Greek.

Mr. Winning's book cannot be better described than in the words of Mr. Donaldson (p. 36, note). The first and second parts of this work, which are composed in a great measure of well selected extracts and translations from other writers, with in'telligent criticisms on their opinions, are worthy of almost unqualified approbation. The third part is rather at variance with “the other two, and is deformed by references to Rabbinical autho‘rities, on which we do not place the slightest value. Both Mr. Donaldson's and Mr. Winning's books would be more useful if

« 前へ次へ »