Изображения страниц

Mr. Horne to be superior to the common affectation, and to wish to make his work more perfect in a subsequent edition. We would suggest therefore that his book would be improved, if he would consider at some length the arguments of Mr. Faber (vide Origin of Pagan Idolatry) and others, on the Chronology of the Samaritan Pentateuch. In addition to which, Mr. Horne's opinion on the subject of a single or a double dispersion of mankind, on the origin of idolatry, on the history of the Cuthim, and the shepherd kings of Egypt, would be very acceptable. He has proved himself to be a man of patient thought; and his decision on these, and other points, would be received with much and deserved attention. We may add, that the names of several authors, Mr. Nolan and Dr. Lawrence, for instance, are omitted in the bibliographical index: the index of general matters, though very copious, would still be improved by enlargement: much might be added to the account of the patriarchal times, and a correct list ought by all means to be added of the numerous passages of Scripture quoted, illustrated, or explained.



5. Erse. The Erse, or Gælic of Scotland, bears the strongest resemblarce to the Irish, of the various Celtic dialects. Indeed many persons consider it as retaining more of the primitive simplicity than the Irish. For, according to the systems of the most ingenious grammarians, the Erse has no distinct form for the present tense, but the future and the preterite are exhibited as the only proper parts of the verb; and even these are formed, not by infections consisting of parts of pronouns combined with verbs, but by the pronouns themselves attached to the verbs. In expressing the present, in particular, and very often in the other tenses, a circumlocution is used, similar to that in Hebrew, by the use of the participle and the verb of existence. Thus, what in Irish is (buailim) 1 strike, is in Erse, ta me bualaah, I am striking.

If the Scottish Celtic possessed such ancient manuscripts as exist in Irish, it might be inferred, from the above mentioned particulars, that it retained more of the primitive simplicity, and was a more pure dialect of the common mother tongue : but, as this is not the case, we may rather consider it as the idiom of nature resuming its influence, after having been removed, for ages, by the innovations of art; for, until of late years, the Scotch Gaelic was written in the Irish orthography, and with the Irish inflections.

6. Manr. From the Manx dialect of the Celtic no inference can be drawn of any importance to the present subject of consideration. It is merely an inferior dialect of Irish, with which it agrees in all its leading characters.

7. Welch. The Welch differs more from its kindred dialects than those before mentioned. Having a very imperfect knowledge of this language, I speak with hesitation ; but it appears to me to retain the great principle which we have seen to prevail in the other languages, víz, the imperative is the simple and primitive form, from which the other parts of the verb are easily derived : while the conditional and optative phrases are formed by means of auxiliary verbs and conditional particles.

We see, therefore, that both the Hebrew, and its kindred tongue, the Celtic, with their respective branches, agree in support of the proposed theory.

Scythian-Gothic. Of the primitive Scythian our knowledge is very inconsiderable: but if we may judge from some of the best preserved dialects that have descended from it, we shall find ihe same principles prevail in them which we have already considered.

8. German. The German language bears very strong marks of its antiquity and purity, not only in the structure of its simple words, but in deriving, and compounding, almost all its terms within itself. Acd nothing can be simpler than the German regular verb. It has only the two moods of nature, the imperative and indicative; of which, as in other languages, the imperative is the primitive and simple form; and two tenses, which grammarians call the present and the preterite. But, as we observed before, the present, in all probability, was originally a future, or bad a reference to future time; and this appears almost certain from the imperative inood and the present indicative being, regularly, the same; as, lobe, praise; ich lobe, I praise; whence is formed the preterite, Ich lobete, I pruised. The verbal noun, or infinitive inood, is formed by adding n to the imperative; as loben, to praise : and the same infinitive, with a preposition, supplies the place of a separate participle; as, im loben, praising.

I believe that similar observations may be made on the Danish and Swedish dialects of this ancient language. And, as the Saxon English was formed from the German, what has been said of the latter tongue will apply to the principles on which the English language is inflected; although we have still fewer inflections than the German,

9. Greek. We come, lastly, to make a few observations on the use of moods in Greek, and the other languages that once prevailed, or do still exist, in the south and south-west of Europe.

It seems to be generally allowed that the Greek language is principally derived from the Hebrew, and Scythian or Gothic tongues. In its primitive structure, therefore, there is reason to believe that its inflections were as few and simple as those of its venerable originals. But of the Greek in this form, if there ever were any written documents, pone remain at present; and we must found our observations upon its moods, on their use by the classic authors of Greece.

Imperative. In Greek, then, as in the before-mentioned languages, it appears that the imperative, and that, in general, a monosyllable, was the original form of the verb, Either from the involuntary sound, that expressed the feeling of nature, or the imitative one, that represented an external object, the root of the verb was formed. As, from the sound of a stroke falling on some solid substance, we may conceive the monosyllable tur, or TUTT to bave originated, intiniating a desire that another person should give a stroke.

Indicative. The direct respondent to this will be TUTTW, that is TUNT éyw, I strike, or will strike, identifying, as was before observed, the speaker with the action desired to be performed.

Whenever this answer could be given with a logical, or even a moral certainty, the indicative mood was used. And the same mood was employed, when no direct application was made, or immediately understood ; but, in this case, conditional or subjunctive particles were prefixed to the indicative, as they are to the subjunctive and optative moods ; as, καγώ αν σε εφοβήθην, ει μή ήδειν se ovoy örta. Æsop. Even I would have feared you, undoubtedly, if I had not known that you were an ass.

'Αλλ' άγετ' αι κέν πως VOL. XX. Cl. Ni. NO. XXXIX. E

Owpnãojev vlas 'Agaiñv. Hom. Come let us try if by any means we shall arm the sons of the Grecians. In such phrases as this, grammarians commonly say that the indicative form is, according to the Ionic dialect, used for the subjunctive form. But I.conceive that it is not necessary to have recourse to this mode of resolving them. Ει μεν περί καινού τινός πράγματος προστίθετο λέγειν. Demosth. If it was proposed to speak about any new business(which it is not.)

Subjunctive. But if the matter were vague and uncertain, not only depending upon unforeseen or unknown circumstances, but upon their unknown consequences also, then the Greeks used the subjunctive mood. Thus Gamaliel observes on Peter's speech, 'Eày ng ανθρώπων ή βουλή αύτη, και το έργον τούτο, καταλυθήσεται ει δε εκ Θεού totiv, ou dúvao de xaratūrar aútó. Acts v. 38. If this counsel or this work be of men (wbich is barely possible) it will be brought to nought: but, on the other hand, if it is of God (of which there is a moral certainty) you cannot destroy it.

Hence, a purpose, or design, of doing any thing, where the exertion and the event were equally uncertain, was expressed by the subjunctive mood; as, απέστειλαν ένα ερωτήσωσιν αυτόν. John 1. 19. They sent persons, in order that they might ask him.

Optative. But the speaker might desire to give something more than a vague declaration of the possibility of the event; he might intimate that it was probable, or that he was already inclined, or might be induced, or enabled to do what was required. All this is concisely and delicately implied, in what is called the Greek optative mood.'

In no other language, of which I have any knowledge, are these shades of conditional certainty, uncertainty, and probability, so clearly expressed as they are in Greek, by means of the indicative, subjunctive, and cptative moods. For example, when Homer speaks of the taking of Troy as morally certain, had it not been preserved by a divine interposition, he says,

"Ενθα κεν υψίπυλον Τροίην έλoν υίες 'Αχαιών
Ει μη 'Απόλλων Φοίβος ευδμήτου επί πύργου

The peculiar terminations of the optative mood are open, and my, the former derived, perlaps, from olos, fit, proper, or probabie, or from oluos, a way, as if in the way of doing ; and the latter is a regular infection of the verb iw, or sipi. Both these terminations clearly indicate the original use of the optalive, as expressing what will uaturally follow from certain premises.

The Grecians then would (certainly) have taken Troy, had not Phæbus Apollo stood, &c.

How different is the manner of Demosthenes addressing the irresolute and wavering Athenians : 'Eay árad vũv y Tiedemonte στρατεύεσθαι, ίσως αν ίσως, ώ άνδρες Αθηναίοι, τέλειόν τι και μέγα κτήcairle ayalóv. If you would be willing (which is very doubtful), 0 Athenians, even yet to exert yourselves in military service, probably you would obiain some great advantage. Thus to express what is naturally to be expected, in consequence of a preceding cause, Lucian makes Proteus say to Menelaus, Oůx cioc Tuy αν άλλα πιστευσείας, τοϊς σεαυτού οφθαλμοίς απιστών. I do not know what other person you would be induced to believe, when you distrust your own eyes.

Perhaps there is no better example, in classic Greek, of the optative expressing the natural consequence, than that in which Nestor exposes to Agamemnon and Achilles the gratification which a knowledge of their contest would afford to their enemies.

"Η κεν γηθήσαι Πριάμος, Πριάμοιό τε παίδες,
"Αλλοι τε Τρώες μέγα κεν κεχαροίατο θυμώ,

σφωϊν τάδε πάντα πυθοίατο μαρναμένοιϊν. Surely, Priam and his sons would be made to exult, and the other Trojans would rejoice, with heartfelt satisfaction, if they were made to learn your contest.

In this signification it is, sometimes, not very easy to distinguish between the use of the optative and subjunctive. The shades of possibility and probability are, frequently, so similar, or so blended together, that the moods which express them may be used, in such circumstances, almost indifferently. Thus Aristophanes makes

Plutus say,

“Ο δ' έμ' εποίησεν τυφλόν,

Ινα μη διαγιγνώσκοιμι τούτων μηδένα. . He made me blind, that I might not be able to distinguish any of them. This, however, does not occur very frequently; and it should be avoided, as much as possible, in composition.

Such appears to bave been the original use, and distinction of the imperative, indicative, subjunctive, and optative moods, in Greek. But there is a secondary use of the optativè, from which it has derived its peculiar name. We naturally expect to obtain what we desire; and hence again what we generally expect, we desire. Thus, this form of the verb came to express not only what a persou might be induced to do, but what he would wish to do, or to be done for him. Thus Aristotle says, Ein TÒ μυθώδες λαβείν ιστορίας όψιν. I could wish the fabulous to assume" the

appearance of history. (which is usually the case, when the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »