Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

constitutions scarcely betray a symptom of its effects till long after : but though far more peaceably disposed than ourselves under a tolerably strong stimulant of this kind, and inclined to gaiety rather than to differences or quarrels, as with us, yet when carried to the extreme of inebriety the former is far the more dangerous character, while the worse humours of the latter appear to have worked themselves off. In intoxication the extravagance of the Englishman, generally speaking, is frolic, that of the Frenchman frenzy. The characteristics of the two nations are ever the antipodes of humanity.

At a loss for amusement the sailors first propose throwing the ladies out of the window; but as this expedient is declined by the parties chiefly interested, they pile up the bodies of their insensible comrades, thirty-five in number, with straw-hats, scarfs, towels, cudgels, and chair-bottoms heaped round them, in order to smoke-dry them by setting fire to the whole mass. This frantic task is arrested at the moment of execution by a violent knocking at the door. Giromon goes to the balcony.

An immense crowd, grotesquely habited, as clowns, satyrs, fauns, with Herod, Plato, Proserpine, and the Virgin, all led by a ragged, filthy, bearded, gigantic clown under the guise of the Queen of Sheba, surround the house with torches, and attempt to force the door. They are hailed by Giromon with the broken neck of a bottle by way of speaking-trumpet; they charge bim and his comrades with having robbed and beaten their worthy friend Marius. A table is thrown down and crushes several of the assailants : they take to the two fire-arms they have brought, and Giromon receives a ball in the throat and dies, bequeathing his wife and daughter to a comrade. We must offer a specimen of

every kind.

“ Avast, resumed Giromon with difficulty, you perceive I'm running aground. Good bye, my old hearties (Aambarts). Our time is all up, d'ye see: our flag's losing colour ; the English are boarding us :-I am going to see aloft if their ships have stays and royals. Good bye, my hearties. Heave me overboard d'ye hear; and tie a thirty-six pounder to my legs ;-its a sailor's grave. Good bye, good bye, Parisian ! Love my poor daughter a little, and don't beat my wife too much; and zds, you wont speak against me, all of you : so long live the Emperor !'

- And he fell, dead." We need not detail the horrible scene of drunken and infuriate contest that ensues between the two parties. The Queen of Sheba is stabbed by one of the sailors, but these are overwhelmed by numbers, and on the point of utter destruction when a fresh party, sent to make up the complement of the Salamandre,

arrives, (headed by La Joie and Paul, the lieutenant's son; the Provencaux are vanquished and bound with ropes.

We cannot but give our praise to M. Sue for the force and spirit with which he has pourtrayed this revolting scene.

But we are glad to turn from it; and fain would ask if such a state of things is possible in civilized France ? England assuredly has ample cause to blush for outrages committed at home, and deeds of violence and fraud: but the discipline of our navy seems to have infused a spirit of moderation, to a certain degree, into even the common sailors. M. Sue is a Frenchman, writing of Frenchmen; and if his tale is, as we imagine it must be, the exaggeration of a novelist, we at least cannot give him the credit of seeking to elevate the character of his countrymen. Monstrosity is the favourite resource of one school of writers in France; but we doubt if a single Englishman could be found to outrage so extravagantly his country's navy.

As a sequel to our remarks we light, curiously enough, upon a contrast between French and English sailors.

« • You treat your men too gingerly ;--the English'

"The English, the English, sir-have not French blood in their veins. You bring them into action with the cat-of-nine-tails; and that is a poor courage, sir, which fights only when placed between two dangers, or gorged with rum and wine (!) I have only given the rope's-end eleven times in nine years, sir ; I have seen my old shipmates (Alambarts) under fire, and I know what they can do.'”

To do M. Sue justice, however, this is almost the only passage we have met with that reflects on the courage of our seamenthey can freely afford him the sneer. The French themselves admit that the sea is repugnant to their habits ; and even if our author be correct, it only proves how feeble is that boasted moral courage which has so often struck its flag to this courage of the Cat.

a very

in

Art. IX.-1. Scripturæ Linguaque Phæniciæ Monumenta quot

quot supersunt inedita et edita ad autographorum optimorumque Exemplorum fidem edidit, additisque de Scriptura et Lingua Phænicum Commentariis illustravit Guil. Gesenius. 4to Lip

siæ, 1837. 2. Paläographische Studien über phönizische und punische

Schrift. Herausgegeben von D. Wilhelm Gesenius. "Enthaltend, imo. Franz Perez Bayer über Schrift und Sprache der Phönizier, aus dem Spanischen, von H. Hóllmunn, mit Anmerkungen von W. Gesenius ; 2do. W. Gesenius über die punischnumidische Schrift, und die damit geschriebenen grösstentheils

unerklärten Inschriften und Münzlegenden. 4to. Leipzig. 1835. A CONSIDERABLE number of years have elapsed since the attention of the learned was first directed to the study of teresting branch of archæology and philology, that of Phænician antiquities. When we reflect what a vast extent of territory the enterprising and commercial spirit of the Tyrians and Carthaginians led them to explore and colonize, we shall be only the more astonished at the comparatively small number of monuments of those great nations which time has spared us.

What is left consists of a few inscriptions and coins, found principally not where we should a priori anticipate, namely, at the chief cities themselves, but at their distant colonies. The neighbourhood of the few huts which constitute the present Tyre has furnished us with almost nothing to attest the pristine magnificence of the city of the waves.

Carthage indeed affords us somewhat more, and the various colonies on the shores and in the islands of the Mediterranean, each furnish us with a small relic of the very interesting nation from whence they sprung. The extreme rarity and obscurity of these monuments adds largely to their interest. It was long ere the utmost sagacity of the learned could decipher and explain their inscriptions. Éxcepting these and the few verses in the Poenulus of Plautus, nothing whatever remains to give us the most remote idea of the language spoken by the Phænicians. Their whole literature has perished. We know nothing of it but at second hand through the medium of the Greek and the Latin. We are scarcely acquainted with more than the names of some of their writers, and with but few of those. Sanchuniathon, Theodotus, Hypsicrates, Mochus, Mago, Hamilcar, Hanno, Himiles, Hannibal, and Hiempsal, form the whole catalogue, In this extraordinary dearth the few monuments that do remain acquire a tenfold interest. Many and varied have been the attempts

[ocr errors]

at interpreting them, but the first inquiries were certainly any thing but successful, and their results to the last degree absurd and extravagant. No fixed principles were ascertained, the power of each letter awarded to it in the most arbitrary manner. An utter disregard was shown to the idiom and genius of the Hebrew language, which it was agreed on all hands* afforded the only key to their explanation. The degree of elucidation attained may be guessed when an inscription on a triumphal arch is interpreted by Hamaker to mean “ut precatio propter defectum canalium;" by Lindberg, "torcular reginæ in loco perenni;" by another, “ locus ducum Romæ excelsæ,” while according to Gesenius it is “principatus imperii Romani stat in æternum. was not till Bayer and Akerblad entered the field of inquiry that we find any thing like accuracy resulting. The reasons for these discrepancies are manifest. Gesenius well remarks, that there are four causes in addition to the difficulties inseparable from the nature of the inquiry. The first is the paucity of the means of information, as even now there are not altogether more than about eighty inscriptions and sixty coins, and those moreover scattered through the different museums of Europe. The second cause is the inaccuracy of the copyists in furnishing fac-similies of the inscriptions; and whether that proceeded from haste or negligence, still their integrity and fidelity remained for a long time undoubted : it was only by an examination of the monuments themselves that Gesenius has been enabled to discover the mistakes which led Hamaker and others of his predecessors in the field of Phænician archæology astray: he did not find a single edited inscription which did not swarm with errors. The third cause he states to be the want of any complete exposition of Phoenician palæography. Kopp indeed and Lindberg had made some progress, still there was no great advance to boast of, and the student who addressed himself to this pursuit launched himself upon a sea without pilot or compass to direct him. The fourth and last cause arises from the renewed discussion as to the nature of the dialects spoken at Tyre and Carthage and their dependencies. For although since Bochart's time the learned world had almost universally allowed that the Phænician language was, with few exceptions, identical with the Hebrew, Hamaker has lately put forth what Gesenius might well call

perversam istam et temerariam opinionem;" that it is a com

* We must except the lucubrations of Vallancey, strongly as he has been lately supported by Sir W. Betham, as both consider that the Phænician and Carthaginian language still survives in the Irish. Some little regard must be paid to the pretensions of the Maltese that their idiom is the relic of the language of Tyre.

In both cases we conceive a portion unquestionable, but not at all to the extent asserted. -Ed

pound of all the various dialects of the Semitic branch. Whether this be correct or not, must of course be determined by an attentive and careful examination of the monuments that remain, and we shall see in the sequel that Hamaker’s notion is entirely without foundation.

Under these circumstances, then, it became absolutely necessary, in order to arrive at any accurate knowledge, to revise thoroughly the labours of those who had gone before; and without rejecting any valuable hint and suggestion which they might have thrown out, to submit each individual monument, whether even papyrus or inscription, to a searching, and, as far as possible, a personal examination ; this in a great measure Dr. Gesenius has accomplished. We shall endeavour to present our readers with a condensed account of the results of his labours.

As early as the year 1576, Goltzius had given to the public figures and descriptions of various coins having what were deemed Punic inscriptions, in his Historia Siciliæ et Magnæ Græciæ ex numismatibus illustratis. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, indeed, present us with a respectable number of writers on the medals and coins found in Sicily, Spain, Syria; among them may be mentioned the names of Albrete, Agostino, Gesner, Irselith, and Lord Pembroke. Still, however, but little progress had been made : it is true, indeed, a number of attempts had been tried to form something like an alphabet from the legends on the coins ; yet so far from these attempts being at all successful, not one coin became in the smallest degree more intelligible than it was before. In fact, the alphabets were not Phænician at all, but, on the contrary, Samaritan, such as is seen on the coins of the Maccabees. It is not until the beginning of the eighteenth century, that the slightest good fortune seems to have crowned the random guesses that were made; and the first probable explanation was put forth by Rhenferd, in his Periculum Phoenicium s. litteraturæ Phoeniciæ specimine; and Montfaucon was the first to make the lucky guess that the legend on the Sidonian coins : must be read 1735. Further than this, no progress had been made until Swinton in this country, and Barthelemy in France, turned their attention to the bilingual inscription found at Malta in the year 1735, and those discovered in Cyprus by Pococke, and described by him* in the year 1745. These two

* The following are the titles of Barthelemy's and Swinton's treatises :

Barthelemy Réflexions sur quelques Monumens Phéniciens et sur les Alphabets qui en resultent. Mémoires de l'Acad. des Inscriptions. Tom. xxx. p. 405.

Lettre à M. le Marquis d'Olivieri ou sujet de quelques Monumens Phéniciens. Paris, 1766.

Swinton Inscriptiones Cilicæ s, in tinas Inscriptiones Phænicias inter rudera Citii, nuper repertas conjecturæ. 1750. Another, on two more inscriptions from the same place, in 1753.

« AnteriorContinuar »