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by difficulties, and never deficient in means to overcome them. His vigilance was extreme. Nothing passed in the fleet without his observation; and he is described to have had an eye so quick and piercing, that it was often said he appeared to look through
On shore he was cheerful, lively, and fond of a joke. The account of his calling up Captain Darby at Gibraltar, and detaining him at a bedroom window to listen to a pretended dream he had just awakened from, is more like a story in a novel than an incident of real life, (Tucker, vol. i. 371.) With children he was always playful, though he had none of his own. The two portraits in Mr Tucker's volumes are good ; that given by Captain Brenton is a perfect satyr—a Silenus. In his countenance was a strong expression of intelligence ; in his figure, and manners, and speech, he was the picture of a true Englishman.
We have little to say generally on Mr Tucker's volumes. Though he had every motive to paint the character and conduct of Lord St Vincent, as regards the public service of the State, in the brightest colours, we must do him the justice to say, that the portrait he has drawn appears to be a faithful and accurate likeness, free from flattery and exaggeration. But, throughout the work, the execution is far from faultless. In point of taste, correctness of construction, and purity of expression, it is eminently defective. His long sentences are sometimes so involved, inflated, and inverted, as not easily to be intelligible. In this latter particular we have seldom, indeed, seen a work so obnoxious to
In the use made of the Earl's Letters, there is an utter want of literary resource. Had one half of the six hundred he has given been omitted, and the other half dovetailed into the narrative, instead of being huddled together at the end of each chapter, it would have been a great improvement, and a relief to the reader. Every name almost, in these Letters, is a blank; in most cases unnecessarily so. These great blemishes and faults will, we hope, be at least partly removed, should another edition be called for.
Art. V.-1. The Mabinogion; a Collection of Tales translated from the Welsh. By Lady Guest. Four Parts 8vo. Lon
don : 1842.* 2. Salopia Antiqua ; or an Enquiry from personal survey into
the Druidical, Military, and other early Remains in Shropshire and the North Welsh Borders; with a Glossary of Words used in the County of Salop. By the Rev. C. H. HARTS
HORNE, M.A.F.S.A. 8vo. London: 1841. 3. Mélanges sur les Langues et Patois. 8vo. Paris : 1831.
nounced the celebrated Vossius—and the anecdote has been applied to Monsieur Menage—to be the most troublesome person in the world, as he made every word exhibit its passport, declare whence it came, and whither it was going. If this verbal surveillance were to be actually enforced over literary coteries, it would have the effect of diffusing over them universal distrust and silence; since few, excepting lexicographers and glossarists, would venture to open their lips. What a pleasing immunity, then, is enjoyed by habitually great talkers, in knowing that their conversation is not watched by this kind of philological police, and that their fluent utterance of wit and repartee is not strictly examined by the canons of etymology! Were such an investigation ever to be made as a trial, it would be attended with the most unexpected results; it would have the extraordinary effect of occasioning a complete check or convulsion on polite conversation. The educated classes, who conceive themselves exempt from the imputation, would have forced upon them the difficulty of proving, that they had neither recklessly adulterated their vernacular tongue by a wilful pillage of languages no longer spoken, nor arbitrarily coined words convenient to express their wants. If, on the other hand, the lower ranks were to be subjected to this kind of lingual tribunal, they would stand acquitted of a vast proportion of undeserved opprobrium lying at present against their discourse. Undoubtedly they would not be able to cite authority for the various senses in which their words and phrases were used; but still they might with confidence appeal to the testimony of ancient usage,
* To this curious monument of early Welsh literature, Lady Guest's valuable translation of which has been for some time completed, we shall, perhaps, return in an appropriate Article.
as well in proof of their genuine origin as of their general accuracy.
Without going to the extremes of Junius and Casaubon, and adopting their views, which are at variance with our own-without attempting to show as they, under the influence of fancy, have endeavoured to do, that unlettered rustics unwittingly speak Greek, and that many a word with a barbarous and discordant sound is nec Sarmata nec Thrax, mediis sed natus Athenis—we cannot but avow the conviction, that whilst the intellectual orders have gone on needlessly engrafting on the English tongue a countless number of words borrowed from the learned languages-in some instances obtaining, inconsistently enough, the former syllables of a term from the Latins, and the latter from the Greeks—the uneducated classes of an agricultural district have mainly contributed to sustain the national idiom in a state of incorruptness and stability. The universal use of the authorized translation of the Scriptures has certainly been one very efficient means of preventing innovation. The English version familiarizes us at once with the language in a natural form, and exhibits to the reader a standard of correctness. The language of tribes who roam wild in a condition of savage life, is necessarily simple and primitive. So long as they continue separate and distinct from a civilized race, it is marked by the genuine impress of nature ; but as soon as they mix with nations more refined than themselves, in proportion as they gain morally or mentally by the intercourse, it is observable that in the same degree the parent language becomes vitiated or changed. Modifications and inflexions, unsanctioned additions, tralatitions, and neologisms, like parasitical plants adhering to an ancient and venerable stock, are then first observed disfiguring the natural root; and, as the genius of modern literature has become disdainful of indigenous compounds, a kind of hybridous vocabulary takes the place of the old tongue. In examining the forms of the Sanscrit, Greek, Latin, Celtic, and other languages, the closest affivities will be seen in those words which represent the ideas of people in their most untutored and unmixed state of existence. The terms denoting kindred, the most striking objects of the material universe, or verbs significant of the commoner sensations of mind and body, will be found to be those where the closest analogies prevail. Such instances are frequently adduced, in proof of the original language; and it is the same evidence which shows that people living uncontaminated by luxury, and untouched by refinement, are the truest depositaries of the primitive tongue.
A few writers, though they are indeed few, have manifested such a degree of literary courage, we had almost written-of perspicacity, as to employ themselves in studying the oral language of the common people, before they undertook the works on which their subsequent fame was built. We know that Redi diligently occupied himself in this investigation; as we have seen the result of his enquiries on the subject, in manuscript, at his native city Arezzo. How far his intimate acquaintance with the Aretine dialect, the soft favella of Eastern Tuscany, might have influenced or formed the graceful simplicity and harmony of versification, for which his Bacco in Toscana is so justly admired, we can only be allowed to conjecture; but it does not appear at all improbable, that his critical attention to the homespun language spoken in the territory where he dwelt, enabled him to contribute those valuable observations to the Vocabolario della Crusca, which have rendered his name as conspicuous in philology as it was in natural history and poetry. His language, indeed, is so extremely correct, so defecated from all that is rude and low, that it has continually been cited as the standard of perfection. At a later period, a similar instance of appreciation of the beauties concealed in the language of the lower orders is recorded of Alfieri ; who, believing that he never should be able to speak Italian correctly as long as he went on translating hiniself, as he expresses it, resolved upon a journey to Tuscany to accustom himself to speak, hear, think, and dream in Tuscan ;-flattering himself that six months would be sufficient to obliterate the Gallicisms he had acquired by his travels, as well as those he had learned at Asti, his native place. Report says, that whilst sojourning at Florence he often resorted to the Piazza, for the sake of conversing with the Contadini, and catching their idiom.
How far Alfieri's adoption of this unusual practice improved his diction-how far it supplied his genius with suitable expressions, or enabled him to clothe his ideas in more appropriate phraseology-his classical tragedies must themselves declare; and these are universally deemed among Italians as the chastest specimens of the Tuscan style that recent ages have produced. Nor is this severely pure writer the only Tramontane dramatist who has condescended, as William Tindal expresses himself, to borrowe
speche' from the lower orders; since, perhaps, among the hundred and fifty comedies by Goldoni, those written in the Venetian dialect may be pronounced his most humorous and successful performances. This, which is universally spoken throughout ihe Venetian States, and its former dependencies over the Levant—the colloquial Italian of the Archipelagic Islands, the shores of Albania, Roumelia, the Morea, Macedonia, Thrace, and Asia Minor--was justly reputed by him as being beyond all question the sweetest and most graceful of all the Italian dialects. He declared its pronunciation to be clear, easy, and delicate; its words abundant and expressive; its phrases harmonious and full of spirit; and as the peculiar character of the Venetian nation was marked by mirth and gladness, so he characterized their language by facetiousness and pleasantry. This indefatigable writer even goes so far as to assert, that there is no reason why it should not be employed in treating more grave and difficult subjects in a suitable manner. The Advocates, he remarks, plead their causes in Venetian, the speeches of the Senators are uttered in the same idiom, without degrading the dignity of the forum or the majesty of the throne ; our orators naturally possess the happy faculty of associating with their more sublime eloquence phrases the most interesting and delightful. Goldoni first endeavoured to convey an idea of this nervous and brilliant style to his countrymen, in his comedy entitled the Avvocuto Veneto, and the play was fully appreciated by the public—so well received, in fact, that it was immediately translated into French. The entire success of the experiment emboldened him to compose many others, which, according to his own account, did him such great credit that he did not dare to submit them to any subsequent corrections. Nor, in considering these opinions, is it altogether unworthy of comment, that he should have published the forementioned play after he had taken his journey into Tuscany, for the sake of familiarizing himself with the Florentine and Siennese phraseology, which at that period, as at the present, were considered the testi vivi of polite conversation.
The experiment of composing comedies in the colloquial language of the lower classes, had, however, been previously tried with eminent success by Ruzzante, the first dramatist who made the attempt. His imitations of the Padovese were sufficiently skilful to elicit the warm praise of Speroni, himself an admirable judge as well as poet; whilst Varchi even extolled them more highly,--declaring them to be superior to the Atellanethose classical vaudevilles, whose origin has been a theme of learned dispute from the days of Diomede the grammarian to those of André Dacier. The poems of the universally accom. plished Baldi, the piscatory eclogues and comedies of Andrea Calmo, and the rhymes of Veniero, Archbishop of Corfu, agreeably exhibit the natural richness of the Venetian dialect, at a time when Italian literature had reached its height of perfection. At a still earlier period, a fact seemingly unknown to Goldoni, it had been considered dignified enough to be used in narrating the great historic events connected with the Republic of St Mark. Ardent and universal, however, as was this taste for the Venetian dialect, both in the capital itself and throughout its extensive dependencies in the Levant, it was not cultivated by the