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Schiller in Greek or a Ritschl to supply the lacune in Plantus; but, as Milton concludes, “ these are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose or the plucking of untimely fruit." And yet, after all their true British boasting, the schools of England must be very defective in the matter of classical training, if we may judge by recent disclosures.* Scholars, who ignore Greek accents and are unacquainted with the composition of words of frequent occurrence and evident structure, are strangely misnamed. We, for our part, would apply in their favour the educational observation of the worthy South: “Stripes and blows are the last and basest remedy, and scarce ever fit to be used but upon such as carry their brains in their backs, and have souls so dull and stupid as to serve for very little else but to keep their bodies from putrefaction.”
Reprints of American school. books, translations of German works, editions prepared by Germans, for the English market, do not constitute a national philology; and we, therefore, pass over to a brief notice of the Neo-Hellenistic school, under the leadership of Prof. Blackie, who has recently entered upon his high career as Professor of Greek in the University of Edinburgh. This distinguished scholar bids fair to furnish as long a succession of "heads” as any philosophic school of Athens could boast. We are to look,
* We have especial reference to an article in the Westminster Review for October, 1853, from which we extract the following morsel. “On one occasion, when urging the importance of erymology on the attention of a principal of a most respectable school, we said that a boy ought not to pass through his Greek studies without knowing the derivation of such a word as sarcasm (the word which occurred to us at the moment). His answer was: 'I am not asharned to confess that I myself do not know.' Yet he was a superior scholar, and a man of great intelligence. An eininent Hellenist, now dead, whom we knew, in like manner did not know the derivation of paraphernalia. How niany classical scholars are there who cannot tell the real meaning of so common a word as squirrel, detect cura in proxy, or show that galaxy and lettuce are, at base, one word!" The first two instancess of crassa ignorantia are so crass, 'hat were they related of any respectable teacher in our country, we would reply, if not by the lie direct, at least by the reproof valiant. To find yada in yalačias and lactc in lactuca, requires nc superhuman exertion. Prozy (a contraction for procuracy) is not a fair instance, while the etymology of the shadow-tailed squirrel (okiovgos) is as celebrated in its way as those of fox and cucumber in theirs.
forsooih, for a revival of the study and general diffusion of the literature of ancient Greece, from a more intimate acquaintance with the Sclavonic tribes, which inhabit the seats of the ancient Hellenes, and which have received the mantle of their great predecessors in tatters.* The name of this professor is mentioned with great deference in the Westminster Review, and a fervent follower of the new school has had the hardihood to publish, in the North British Review, t an article on the Literature and Language of Modern Greece, which savours strongly of Romaic anthologies, and which we shrewdly suspect to be the production of some Edinburgh or Glasgow studeni, who has spent six months in Greece, and has derived his limited knowledge of the ancient tongue in that short space of time, from some of the illustrious professors whom he delights to honour. “Greek,” they triumphantly maintain, “is not a dead language ;” and point to this and that purely classic word. It would require a close observer to tell the difference between an empty nut and a full one, between bark growing on its tree and that which has been stripped off. The difference is in the continuance of organic life. Latin was not more certainly a dead language in the middle ages than Greek is now. The ancient spirit, and, consequently, the ancient syntax and constructive power, are gone forever. The language of modern Greece is essentially a modern language, its syntax is loose and shambling, its composite words are the laughing stock of educated Europe. Its sentences run into the straight channels of modern construction, and only here and there a classic idiom reappears, as a fossil relic of a dead antiquity. The absurdities of this system of learning ancient Greek are, indeed, so glaring, that it would be an insult to the intelligent reader to pursue the subject much farther. The Romaic language, it is true, is undergoing a process of reconstruction, and, in the course of time, an approach will, no doubt, be made to the external semblance of ancient Greeks.
* The boasts of our Greek friends never fail to remind us faithfully of Lessing's bitter fable, (b. 1, fab. 16,) founded on the text of Ælian (de nat. animal. 1, 28), ** Ιπποσ ερριμμενος σφηκών γίνεσις εστιν.»
+ Nov., 1853.
Words of foreign origin have been resolutely plucked out, and others derived from the ancient language, or composed of Greek elements, have been substituted. The time will come vhen the eye and taste will no longer be offended by a lingua franca in Greek characters. But, as yet, the strug. gle has been chiefly with the vocabulary. The next step will be to reinodel the syntax, an undertaking which, we venture to say, is hopeless. Words, the symbols of ideas, may be exchanged with comparative ease. But to alter the syntax, to change the sequence of men's thoughts, with the structure of their sentences and the conrection of their words, is nothing short of raising up children unto Abraham from the stories of the causeway. A modern Greek philologian told the writer, that since his school-boy days at least a thousand words, which were then culled carefully from dictionaries and committed to memory, had found their way not only into the written, but also into the spoken language. A thousand years must elapse before the Greeks give up their vi for ive, or restore the dative to its full rights, and bring back the optative and infinitive. What little literary merit there is in Greece is modern in its cast, and must be read with modern eyes and modern feelings. When the ancient models are held up over against these modern productions, and the Hellenist is forced, as he is by these stony advocates of “living Greek,” to compare them, the only emotion excited is that of disgust. A single wild ballad, which jumbles Hercules, Alexander the Great and Themistocles, into one category, is far more pleasing to us than all the would be eloquent speeches of the wordy representatives of the Parliament of the Ionian Islands.
We have taken leave of our English school-masters and English sciolists with joy, and not with grief, recommending, as a motto for their future productions, the words of Sir Andrew Aguecheek_“I am a great eater of beef, and, I believe, that does harm to my wit.”
“The history of sciences,” says Goethe, “is a grand fugue, in which the voices of the peoples come in one by one." The Germans are now dominant in the science of classical philology, and we must harmonize with them or make a
senseless discord. To characterize German philology at once, briefly and satisfactorily, is impossible. To understand its present state and influence, we must go back to the Alexandrians, and trace the history of the ancient grammutica in its genesis, developement, flower and decay. We must sympathize with the ardent enthusiasm of the Italian period, and admire both the varied condition of the French school, and the patient industry of the plodding Dutch, as
“Stuffed the head
We must, also, take note of individuals, such as are called, in our day, “representative men,” because they cannot find representatives; we must mark Scaliger's genius and Bentley's method. For, as the last great German school of philosophy boasts that it has absorbed and appropriated all the essential elements of its predecessors, so does the last great school of philology embrace, in its universality, the warmth of the Italian period, the material knowledge of the French school, the geniality of Scaliger, the method of Bentley, the accumulative perseverance of the Dutch. The results lie plainly before us. The science of textual criticism may now be regarded as complete. The irregular and empirical, thoughi, at times, surpassingly ingenious attempts of former schools, have given way to a systematic treatment. The mechanical collation of manuscripts has been succeeded by an intellectual classification. Nor has the science of Hermeneutics been neglected. Less attractive in its nature, and more chary of flattering rewards than its twin-science, it has, notwithstanding, received great and increasing attention. Under the influence of a more expanded philosophy, departments, once considered as the mere auxiliaries of classical learning, have been drawn into the circle of philological study, and subjected to the same searching investigation and acute analysis. The history of ancient literature has been raised to a higher power; and a closer scrutiny into the latter, and a deeper penetration into the spirit of history, in its wider sense, are the legitimate results of a more profound and intellectual criticism. Niebuhr is the consequence of Wolf. The numerous shoots which classical philology has put forth, derived their vigour from the parent stem. The experience and the thought of centuries, go to aid the youthful sciences of comparative and oriental philology. Lachmann and Haupt are, alike, celebrated in the criticism of German and Latin authors. An encyclopædia of classical philology is now possible. The expansion of the study has contributed to its unity.
Until within a few years our philological, or rather pedagogical labours, were eclectical in their character, or rather want of character. The methods varied according to the individuality of the teacher. The Westminster Grammar was used in our country in times not beyond the memory of man, nor indeed beyond the memory of the writer. Adams is still extensively employed, and the Dauphin editions, with their corrupt texts, defective commentaries, and, strange to say, excellent indexes, are still in demand. But, on the whole, we have shown a willingness to receive, and a readiness to apply, the teachings of Germany, wbich contrasts favourably with the obstinacy of the English. Unfortu. nately, however, this receptivity has been, thus far, confined to a wholesale appropriation of the results, instead of an adoption and application of the method. Piracy is no more a reproach among our editors, than it was among the ancient Greeks. Anthon is the great fugleman of all these literary fillibusters. This Review has always entered its protest against the blind admiration with which he was once regarded, and can, therefore, speak plainly, now that his reputation is declining, without fear of reprehension. In all that Anthon has translated, compiled and copied, for the quarter of a century over which his literary activity extends, there is not a single contribution of real worth. Not even one half-pennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack. His most useful works are his compilations, and the composite parts of these are not always chosen from the proper authorities, or graduated according to a proper measure. His classical dictionary is a map, in which Rhode