Imagens das páginas

is,' he says, a considerable contraction of the lips in sounding T; but the lips give no effect to the sound of 1; the breath is driven against the teeth, and the mouth is open a little.' From the representation of the note of the cuckoo, in the Birds of Aristophanes, we cannot suppose that the letter T had the modern sound of ee. χωποθ' ὁ κοκκυξ εἶποι Κοκκυ.—v. 505.

r is sometimes pronounced soft as; thus yuvaîna becomes Yeenakee. At what period this practice was first introduced, we have not been able to ascertain; but the copyist of Ammonius must have given to the sound of, as he writes you for epsov. Id ex pronuntiandi ratione ortum, says Valckenaer.

OI and I have been confounded in pronunciation for many centuries. In the inscriptions relating to the Christian martyrs of Nubia, we find ΓΕΝΙΤΟ, ΚΟΛΠΙΣ, for ΓΕΝΟΙΤΟ, ΚΟΛΠΟΙΣ. They also give i for ει, as ἐτελιώθη for ἐτελειώθη——‘he suffered martyrdom.'

It is easy to imagine that innumerable errors must have arisen in consequence of the same sound being given to AI and E, to OI, H, Y, I,* EI. In transcribing manuscripts the copyist often wrote from dictation, and, misled by the sound, substituted one word for another. The mistakes originating in this confusion were so great, that Theognotus, a grammarian of the ninth century, delivered a number of rules pointing out in what cases AI and E should be written, and in what OI and Y.

II. In the common practice of reading the Greek language, the accent is disregarded, because it is found almost impossible to apply it, and to give at the same time to different words their proper quantity; though it does not always happen that the latter is preserved according to this mode. With the modern Greeks the accent is employed; but the syllable over which it is placed has, in consequence, a lengthened sound. The pronunciation of Ohouévv, as Mr. Knight has remarked, will exemplify the faults of the two systems; in Romaic the word evidently becomes 'Ouλquévyv; and, according to the common practice, 'Ovλouμevv.

This misapplication of the acute accent, according to the mode practised by the modern Greeks, is of early date. Paidwuos is a dactyl in Plautus; and the middle syllable of iOS is shortened in the same writer. The three last syllables of Orionis (Liwvos) form a dactyl instead of an anti-bacchius in Ovid; strictumque Orionis ensem. The unaccented syllables in these instances seem to have been pronounced rapidly, while a stress was laid on those

While this article is going through the press, we observe in some inscriptions copied in Nubia, apparently with great accuracy, by Mr. Burckhardt, a curious instance of the charge of u for r; it is also of considerable antiquity. MHPONHMOY ICIAOC, p. 124, Η ΜΥΡΙΩΝΥΜΟΥ 1. In another, p. 101, we have THN . . . PMNYMON EICIN.


which are accented. The Asiatic Greeks committed similar errors; Philostratus mentions a Cappadocian sophist, Pausanias, who, when he spoke, 'lengthened short syllables, and shortened long ones.' Aliva, the name of the island Ægina, and Maxpiva are dactyls in the Anthologia. In the age of Ausonius, Prudentius and Sidonius, we find the accent used with a power similar to that which it had among the vulgar in the days of Plautus; sid wax is idõla, and "ApaTos, the middle syllable of which is long becomes 'Αρᾶτος ; the ὦ in τρίγωνος is shortened by Ausonius ; 'Ευριπίδης has the penultimate long in Sidonius; the second syllables of pos and Tons are shortened by Prudentius. It has been contended that these Latin writers would not have employed the accent with a lengthening power, unless a similar mode of speaking had been familiar to the Greeks of their own time. It probably prevailed at first among the lower orders of Romans; and the more they mixed with the Greeks in their conquests of different countries of the east, the wider the corruption would be diffused. According to the neoteric Greeks, the acute had a lengthening power; the scholiast on Hephaestion* says that the o in Qw, in Homer, is long from the position of this accent; and Eustathius thinks the acute is the bepaa, or restorative medicine,' in the following verse of the same poet.

Βῆν” εἰς Αιόλου κλυτα δώματα.

If we find in the poems of Gregory of Nazianzum, a violation of the rules of metre, and a prolongation of short syllables bearing the acute accent, we may properly conclude that the same errors were general in his time, or at least were committed by those less learned than himself. In different parts of the works of this Father the following lines have occurred to us, each of which contains a false quantity.

Καὶ σὺ Γεωργίοιο φίλον δέμας.
Ὦ φοβεραὶ ψυχῶν μαστίγες οὐχ ὁσίων.
’Ακρα φέροντα πασης Καισαριό σοφίης.

Τὸ τρίτον αὖ σκίπησσιν αηρ καὶ γαῖα καλύφθη.
Ενθαδε Βασσιλίοιο Βασίλειον 'αρχιερα

We have in our own language verses written in the 13th century with the same cadence as the Erixoi ПITIO of the Greeks; and Heinsius has observed that a measure of a similar kind was employed by the ancient Hebrews. It was used by the Byzantines at an earlier period than is generally supposed; and we find it regularly formed in Simeon Metaphrastes, a writer of the ninth or tenth century.

̓Αναλογίζου ταπεινή ψωχή μου παναθλία.

* See Gaisford's Hephaestio, p. 181.

In the eleventh, the same measure is employed by Michael Psellus, in some lines addressed to the Emperor Constantine Monomachus, and by Philippus Solitarius in his Dioptra; in the twelfth, Constantine Manasses composed his Chronicle, and the Loves of Aristander and Callithea in Political verses: they were used about the same time by Theodorus Prodromus and Nicetas Eugenianus.

The verses written in this measure are thought by Heinsius to have been formed from the iambic tetrameter catalectic; but Leo Allatius describes them as trochaïc; and if we read the following line of Aristophanes with the accentual cadence alone, we have a complete Versus Politicus.'


Ει δε τυγχανει τις ήμων δραπέτης εστιγμενος.

It is unnecessary to pursue the changes of the language any farther. The capture of Byzantium drove the scholars of Greece into Italy, and interrupted the study of the ancient language; but no alterations have been made since that time in the neoteric idiom, except such as have arisen from the introduction of Turkish and Italian words. The works which appeared in the three centuries following the capture of Constantinople, possess little or no interest; they consist of homilies,* romances, and bad translations.

Before that event took place, the copying of manuscripts afforded employment to numerous scribes. Many of these volumes were fortunately carried into Italy by the exiles; and the liberal exertions of princes and private individuals have since removed others, from the obscurity in which they were buried, to the different libraries of Europe. When Villoison was in Patmos, he was informed by the monks, that they had been obliged to burn a great number of manuscripts in consequence of the injury they had received from worms, and the damp situation in which they had been placed. We do not think that a similar instance of neglect and barbarism will again occur. Enlightened and opulent Greeks are diffusing among their countrymen the advantages of education; and they will be taught to attach a proper value to the literary treasures which may be still in their possession.

In closing these remarks, we cannot help adverting to the different fate of the two languages which have arisen on the ruins of those of Greece and Rome. The Italians who wrote as early as the year 1300 are considered at this moment by their countrymen as models in respect of purity and correctness of diction. But the

We take this opportunity of noticing an error of a somewhat ludicrous kind in Warton's History of English Poetry, i. 350. The story of Arthur,' he says, was also reduced into modern Greek. M Crusius relates that his friends who studied at Padua sent him in the year 1565, together with Homer's Iliad, Ayu Regis Arthuri.' The words in Crusius are 'Adaya Rarthuri.' The homilies of this writer are well known to the modern Greeks.

VOL. XXIII. NO. 45.-Q. R.



Romaic has now been spoken for many centuries, and cannot yet boast of any work of genius, or original production, which can be referred to as a standard of taste or style. It is not difficult to explain the causes of this difference. The continued study of the writings of ancient Greece by the learned Byzantines, and their habits of composition in Hellenic, prevented them from paying any attention to the formation of the vulgar language. They were obliged indeed to use it occasionally in the common intercourse of life; but they always considered it as a depraved and vitiated idiom. And since the establishment of the Ottoman power, it is not easy to name a country, removed in any degree from barbarism, where the great body of the people is placed in a situation more unfavourable to the development of intellect, more hostile to improvement of every kind, than the Christian part of European Turkey. On the other hand, the literature of Italy was advanced at an early period by a concurrence of very remarkable circumstances. The immediate causes were-the conquest of Constantinople, the arrival of the scholars of Greece, the recent discovery of printing, the formation of libraries, the establishment of academies, and, above all, the protection which men of letters received from the Dukes of Milan and Ferrara, the houses of Medici and Sforza, the Kings of Naples, and the Republic of Venice.

ART. VII.-Vie Privée de Voltaire et de Madame du Châtelet, pendant un Séjour de Six Mois à Cirey, par l'Auteur des Lettres Péruviennes--Suivie de cinquante Lettres inédites en vers et en prose de Voltaire.-Paris, 1820, pp. 460.


ROM the catchpenny style of this title page, one might almost be led to suppose that an author of some reputation had undertaken to write a formal history of six months of the private life of this celebrated pair. The simple fact, however, is, that a certain Madame de Gratigny passed about two months, in 1738, at Cirey, the joint residence of M. and Madame du Châtelet and Voltaire in the first three weeks she wrote ten letters to a friend at Nancy, giving a gossipping account of the modes of life at Cirey; and a few more, relating to herself, in the last month of her stay.

But though these letters do not fulfil the pompous promise of the title, they are still an amusing and, we may even say, an interesting work. They give, at least, a sketch of the private life of these celebrated people, and they give somewhat more than a sketch of their hearts; and it will not be uninstructive to observe how the apparent amiability and good taste of their society, concealed, under a very thin varnish, the profligacy, the cruelty, the miscries which they inflicted on their dependants, and on each





other. They carry on too a kind of connected story, exciting in its progress a lively degree of curiosity which is, at last, satisfied by a natural, but very striking denouement.

The editor presumes, we suppose, that the author of the Peruvian Letters is so well known all over Europe, that he not only omits her name in the title, but has not taken the pains of making the most ordinary communications as to her history; indeed his whole biography consists in a short note (p. 129.) copied verbatim from the first lines of a brief mention of Madame de Grafigny in one of the most common and compendious biographical indexes.

Frances d'Issimbourgh d'Happoncourt was born at Nanci, in Lorraine, about the year 1694; she was the daughter of a Major in the Duke of Lorraine's troops, by a grand-niece of the famous Callot. She was married, or, as her indulgent friends used to say, sacrificed to Francis Count de Grafigny, chamberlain of the ducal court. He certainly was of a brutal temper; for, after many years of suffering, his wife was juridically separated from him, and he himself died afterwards in a prison, to which, it is said, his own violence of temper had conducted him. It must, however, be confessed that M. de Grafigny appears to have had some grounds for his ill-humour, though they were of a nature which the society in which he mixed would not admit to be any excuse whatsoever. Madame, it would seem, found consolation for the brutality of her husband in the tenderness of, at least, one lover, and though we have not sought to pierce into the obscurity that involves the family quarrels of this couple, (now a century gone by,) enough has met our view to create a suspicion that, even if the husband gave the first provocation, the lady eventually took the last revenge. The lord of her heart at the time of this visit was a lieutenant of cavalry, of the name of Desmarets, the son of a celebrated musician; and, in addition to some other miseries which she suffered at Cirey, we learn that she had the mortification to hear from the lips of the inconstant himself, who had followed her thither, 'le tendre aveu qu'il ne m'aime plus, et qu'il ne veut plus m'aimer.' (p. 281.) This candour, of course, desoles' the lady, but she makes up her mind to bear it with an equanimity and courage which would be more touching, if the deserted nymph had not attained the mature and reflecting age of forty-four.


It seems to have been just after her legal separation from her husband that Madame de Grafigny, now reduced to the necessity of subsisting upon the hospitality of her friends, arrived at Cirey on the 4th of December, 1738; on what invitation does not clearly appear: but it would seem as if her friendship with St. Lambert, Desmarets, and a Monsieur Devaux, reader to King


« AnteriorContinuar »