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could he have known that he had indeed discovered a new continent, equal to the whole of the old world in magnitude, and separated by two vast oceans from all the earth hitherto known by civilized man; and how would his magnanimous spirit have been consoled, amidst the chills of age, and cares of penury, the neglect of a fickle public, and the injustice of an ungrateful king, could he have anticipated the splendid empires which were to spread over the beautiful world he had discovered, and the nations and tongues and languages which were to fill its lands with his renown, and to revere and bless his name to the latest posterity !" Vol. ij. p. 202.
Even in the appendix to this work, the interest is still sustained. Many questions are there discussed, which have an intimate relation to the life, character or discoveries of Columbus, and all of them will be read with pleasure. We cannot conclude without remarking, that a chapter on the actual state of science, at the close of the fifteenth century, and some philosophic inquiries into the condition of the natives on the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola, would be valuable additions to this work, and that some repetitions might well be retrenched from his many descriptions of tropical scenery and savage life, nor while noticing these slight blemishes, can we close without expressing a hope that the success which has attended Mr. Irving in this undertaking, may induce him to continue his researches in the same rich mine. Many subjects crowd upon the recollection full of striking and magnificent incidents, furnishing to the poet or historian, themes for grave discussion, or for lofty and impassioned strains, and bearing to our own country relations intimate, important and of increasing magnitude.
Art. II.--A Rhyming Dictionary, answering at the same time
the purposes of spelling and pronouncing the English Language, on a plan not hitherto attempted. By J. WALKER, Author of the Critical Pronouncing Dictionary. A new edition. London. 1824.
ALTHOUGH Our author notices in his introduction, the sketches of Poole and Byshe, he does not seem to have been aware, that lexicons of the same description as his own, existed among the Arabians of Spain, more than one thousand years before. The Abbé Giovanni Andres, a chief admirer and advocate of Arabic literature, informs us, in his work “Dell' origine, de' progressi e dello stato attuale d'ogni Letteratura,” that there are in the library of the Escurial, many Arabic dictionaries, in which the words are found, (as in Walker's) not by the initial but by the final letters.*
Richelet, a French jurisconsult of the seventeenth century, published “Un petit Dictionnaire de Rimes," which, if we credit the Abbe du Bos, was to the French poets a boon, equal to that conferred on the scholars of the first years of the sixteenth century, by the Latin Lexicon, called “Gemma Gemmarum.” The Abbe appears to take a malicious pleasure in thus rallying the poets of France--"In endeavouring to surmount these, (difficulties of rhyme) he (the French poet) meets with the assistance of a dictionary of rhymes, that favourite book of all severe rhymers. For, let these gentlemen say what they will, there are none of them, but have this excellent work in their studies.” The Abbé Sabathier (Desessart's Siecles Literaires de la France, vol. v. p. 297) seems to think Richelet's book only fit for those, whom he calls “ les penibles rimeurs.” “Le nom de Richelet tient encore au souvenir du public, par un'ouvrage, qui prouve que les petites choses, sont quelquefois capables de sauver de l'oubli.”
There is one advantage, which rhyme possesses over blank verse; and although we cannot cite authority for the opinion, we venture it as the experience of every poet, who has cultivated this department of verse. D'Alembert remarks in his Essay on Taste, that reason itself, is obliged, on some occasions, to make certain sacrifices to rhyme. But this is equally true of the versification employed by Homer, and Virgil, and Milton. “He that writes in rhymes," as Prior tells us, “dances in fetters;" but so did Pindar and Horace. Now, the advantage of rhyme over every other species of verse, lies in this, that the very difficulty of obtaining suitable words, leads directly in the search, to new ideas, suggested by the successive words, which the poet is endeavouring to accommodate to the preceding line. Every such writer has frequently found, that some of his best ideas and happiest forms of expression have arisen, in this manner, from the accidental associations of similar sounds. How far the crowd of such terminations, afforded by the Dictionary of Walker, may enhance or impair this advantage, none but the poets, who plead guilty to the pleasant accusation of Du Bos, can determine.
Nella biblioteca dell
* La rima era telmente in uso presso gli Arabi, fino da piu antichi tempi, che anche negli scritti prosaici si vede frequentemente adoper Escuriale si trovano molti Arabici dizionarii, ne' quali non si debbono cercare le parole, come si usa comunemente in simiglianti libri, nelle lettere iniziali, ma bensi nelle finali; perciocchè tanto è il diletto che si prendono gli Arabi della rima, che più hanno in pensiero la desinenza e l'ultime lettere delle parole, che non quelle, con cui cominciano." Tom. sec. p. 201.
When the peculiar and prevailing character of Arabian verse is considered, it cannot be surprising that dictionaries of rhymes, should have been almost coeval with their poetry. The monorhyme, as it is called, is the most common form (Sismondi Lit. du midi de l'Eur, tom. i. p. 101): and it is equally adopted in the ghazelle and the casside, which embrace almost the entire mass of Arabian and Persian poetry. “One favourite rhyme,” says Hindley, (Pref. to his Persian Lyrics, p. 13) "is characteristic of each ghazelle, and invariably terminates every couplet.” Such poems are written in distichs: the first line of each having no rhyme; but the second, throughout the poem, having the same termination. It is thus with the moậllakát or works of the Arabian Pleiades, suspended in the Caaba at Mecca. There are but six rhymes (li, di, mi, ha, mi, ma, and ao) in the seven poems, each having one prevailing final sound, from the second to the last line, (Works of Sir William Jones, vol. iv. p. 245, 4to.) In the composition of such verses, it is obvious, that the Arabian poets would have to contend with difficulties of perpetual recurrence, and not less formidable in a poem of similar length, than those of Pindar, when he rejected, in the structure of an ode, every word containing the letter S.* . We know not whether the Persian poet has ever had the same advantages as the Arabian; but neither certainly could make any progress, compared with the couplet or even octave rhymers of modern Europe, without the aid of a rhyming lexicon. Such a work would, indeed, be indispensable to the mono-rhymist of the Mohammedan school: and as necessity is man's first instructor, such dictionaries would appear to be the natural offspring of their system of versification.
A dictionary of rhymes would be as unintelligible to a Greek or Roman poet, as an English orator would esteem it useless to have instructions, like those of Dionysius of Halicarnassus, explanatory of the composition of prose sentences from poetical feet. The very fact then, that the character and objects of such
* Tryphiodorus, facilè princeps of Lipogrammatists, wrote an Odyssey, in which he omitted each letter of the alphabet successively in the twenty-four books. Indeed, Eustathius says, he excluded the letter 8, from the whole poem. Proba Falconia, (who wrote some portions of Scripture History in 700 lines, selected from Virgil) and Publil. Optatianus Porphyrius, (who wrote the Organon, consisting of 52 lines, the first 26 all of the same measure, and each having just 18 letters, the last 26 all hexameters, yet increasing by an additional letter at each step) were worthy compeers of our Lipogrammatic poet.
VOL. 11.-NO. 3.
somated with rhymonicle
a lexicon as Walker's, would be incomprehensible to a classic poet, demonstrates the existence of a state of things in modern poetry, entirely unknown to the ancients. Whence has arisen this state of things: in other words, to whom, to what age, to what country, do we owe the invention of rhyme ? If, indeed, rhyme deserves the anathema of the French romance of Charlemagne, it would ill merit the pains we are about to expend, in tracing its genealogy. “Nus contes rymés n'en est vrais: tot mensonge ce qu'ils dient." The romances of that day may, perhaps, have been worthy of our chronicler's indignation. But we are fain to believe, that rhyme has been too long and too frequently associated with beauty and sublimity, truth and usefulness, in some of the finest strains of modern poetry, to be now excluded from the literary company of antique verse or modern prose. Rhyme, says Milton, is the modern bondage; and Voltaire writes,
“ La rime est necessaire à nos jargons-nouveaux ;
“Enfans demi-polis des Normands et des Goths;" while the Abbé du Bos calls it "a mere flash, which disappears after having given only a short-lived splendour.” Par. i. c. 36. “Nihil æquè gravitati orationis officit, quàm in sono ludere syllabarum.” Voss. de Poem. cant. When a north-country gentleman, surprised at Dryden's admiration of Paradise Lost, exclaimed, “Why, Mr. Dryden, it is not rhyme:" "No," replied the poet, “nor would I have my Virgil in rhyme, if I were to begin it again.” And the same author consecrates this sentiment, in his epistle to Lord Roscommon, when he says
“Then Petrarch followed, and in him we see
“ At best, a pleasing sound, and fair barbarity.” But assuredly, all who have an accomplished taste, however severely modelled on the classic standard, must admit, that many of the poets of Italy, Spain, France and England, who have written in rhyme, justify the sentiment of the Abbé Batteux, when, having placed side by side, a passage of Virgil and one of Racine, he says, in reference to the latter, “Les Grecs et les Latins auroient admiré ces vers." Doubtless they could not but have admired the rhymed poetry of the masters of the modern school. Their ignorance indecd of the true pronunciation, might possibly have placed them in the situation of Gombaud, as described in his epigram on St. Amand :
“ Tes vers sont beaux, quand tu les dis,
The origin of rhyme is unquestionably obscure. It may well be doubted, whether any one person was the sole inventor of rhyme in its perfect state, for what Schlegel says of Gothic architecture, may be well applied to rhyme: “I doubt, indeed, very much, whether it was ever brought to perfection by any one great architect; for, in that case, it is difficult to believe that his name would have been forgotten.” And Shuckford remarks, with respect to letters, that we have “no account of any one person being the author of them,” in the post-diluvian world ; because, as he thinks, they were known far beyond the memory of man, even at that day. “Ni la poudre à canon, ni la boussole, ni les chiffres, ni le papier ne sont indiqués nulle part, comme des découvertes.” (1 Şism. p. 74.). Such seems to be very much the state of the fact, as to the invention of rhyme, wherever it is found. The author, in the primitive obscurity and in the subsequent common use of his invention, appears to have been consigned to oblivion, illustrating Seneca's thought, “ Heu quàm difficilis gloriæ custodia est.” It is one question, who first composed in rhyme; but quite a distinct one, who first gave it currency, by a various, frequent, popular use of it. A succession of attempts, probably reduced to settled forms and fixed rules, the scattered, accidental thoughts of several minds. “ Nemo nostrûm," says a translator of Galen, “sufficit ad artem simul constituendam et absolvendam; sed satis superque videri debet, si quæ multorum annorum priores invenerint, posteri accipientes, atque his adducentes aliquid, aliquando compleant, atque perficiant." There is, indeed, no department of human knowledge, which has not grown up in this manner, by gradual additions and improvements.
It might well be supposed, that the derivation of the word rhyme, would be a key to its origin; yet it is not remembered, that any writer has taken this view of the subject. Dr. Johnson derives it from pubros Greek, and rhythme French; but this must be condemned as an error. Rhythm, indeed, is derived from rhythme, rhythmus, puduos; but rhyme doubtless comes to us from the same source as the French “rime.” Words corresponding to our English words, “rhyme” and “rhythm,” are found, it is believed, in most, if not in all of the other European languages, in which rhyme is a familiar form of verse.*
• Thus we have in German, “reim” tor rhyme, "rhythmus" for rhythm, and ** rhytmisch" for rhythmical. In French, "rime” for rhyme, and “rhythme" for rhythm. In Italian “rima" for rhyme, and "ritmo" for rhythm. In Spanish, "rima" for rhyme, and "ritmo” for rhythm. In Portuguese, we have both " rima" and “rhythmo" for rhyme; in Danish, "rim" for rhyme, so also in Dutch, "rym" for rhyme ; in Polish, “rim" and in Swedish, “ripa" for rbyme; while the Russian