« 이전계속 »
ness-of stuff? The Saxon always possessed more Latin than that strange rendering implies. Within my own recollection, much of the foregoing vocabulary has sunk into disuse.
I have thus endeavoured to prove that the speech which the fop derides and the sciolist denounces, is a pure, genuine, selfsustained, and self-governed, language. It was built up by many other dialects. We see in it, at a very early period, a large infusion of Latin and Greek. The former may be explained by the empire of the Romans,—and the latter is as satisfactorily accounted for by the fact, that the Latin is greatly derived from the Greek, and preserves a strong analogy to the Æolic idiom. We have not the uncorrupted original of this Gothic tongue, nor its unvitiated transmission. All that is necessary to the elucidation of its history we cannot explore. The fountain is still concealed in darkness whence that stream originated, which can only confess one more copious and golden than itself,—which is now rolling over the earth,-a stream which, however far it flows, and into whatever channels it is distributed, still obeys the level of its source and swells with the impulse of its rise. In the district which we inhabit, we can trace some remains of this language in its pristine condition. Rich diluvian deposits have the escaping waters left behind. We have been proud and covetous of the residuum, and have warped what others have drained. But we contend that the forms of language imputed to us as provincialisms, were nationalisms; that its decried vulgar and uncomely parts roll back on our view a stupendous history. Words that provoke a smile are chronicles as well as symbols. I would compare these strong but unpolished relics to some awful ruins which the traveller discovers with appropriate amazement. Vast, massive, unhewn, they crowd the plain. The nicest poise exists in the fragments, and there is an ineffaceable design amidst increasing desolation. Deep shadows slant from the wreck, and the sun which sets upon it throws around the scene a tender light and a lingering glory. If, in the course of ages, those fragments should be knitted into the masonry of a classic temple, with sculptured capital and cornice and tracery,
-even if there be an incongruity, the tribute has at least been paid to the imperishable materials of the olden, when they were selected to found and hallow the new.
Horace, in his "Ars Poetica," speaks despondingly of the fate which overhangs every language, though perhaps little imagining that his strains would soon be but a monument of that which had ceased to live:
"Ut silvæ foliis pronos mutantur in annos,
Prima cadunt: ita verborum vetus interit ætas,
Mortalia facta peribunt:
Nedum sermonum stet honos et gratia vivax.
Multa renascentur, quæ jam cecidere; cadentque,
Quem penes arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi."
The Anglo-Saxon is marked by its changes. Wickliffe would have been puzzled by Cædmon, and Chaucer by Elfric. None can regret the accumulation and refinement of this speech. The English tongue has become a tongue of fire, and is sitting upon the nations. Beneath its inspiration, they begin to speak of truth and to prophesy of freedom. Many may be the revolutions through which it shall be carried, but it can never be extinguished. Its youth was in the past, but its birthright is in the future. Why should we be ashamed of its origin and growth? Why need we exculpate ourselves, if some peculiarities be yet retained? They serve to illustrate and connect the history of the greatest living language: they aid us in the investigation of its philosophy and rhythm. It is no uninteresting employ to dig about the roots of that Tree which is casting its shadow over the earth and distilling its virtues upon all people. It is no idle task to enter the quarry out of whose shapeless and unwrought marble the Palace rose that contains a wealth and declares a sovereignty which climes, most rude and most remote, seek and confess. It is no mean gratification to descend into the mine from whose encrusted ores and uncleansed gems the Diadem was fashioned and enriched, which,-encircled by the radiance of literature, enchased with the workmanship of science,
and anointed with the spirit of religion,-seems destined to claim and signalise the intellectual and moral conquest of the world!
The language of which we have spoken, is a noble store, and like the province over which it spreads, is various in its surface of fair and awful scenery; while, still like it too, its mines are deep, rich, and inexhaustible. The more its terms are investigated, the more replete will they be found. And other feelings flow in with these researches. They who spoke this language in its strength and purity, ere it was overwhelmed, struggled for light, but with darkness. Their spirits strained after our times. We need not be ashamed of them, but we should be ambitious to improve our greater advantages. It is not the plying crowd,—it is not the outgrown village,—it is not the canal uniting seas,-it is not the railroad triumphing over resistance and space, it is not physical science with all its wonders and all its spoils,-not literature itself with all its power to humanise, and its charm to adorn,-it is not each nor all of these instruments, results, and meliorations, which can fulfil our proper destiny, which can lift us up to the summit of that power which even humility may covet, and the most lowly heart may share. And if that be true of nations, as well as of individuals, which Seneca observes in one of his Epistles, "Talis est oratio, qualis vita,”—so let the substantial core of our speech find its answer in the honesty of our hearts,-let the sounds, redolent of olden times, stir us to purer deeds and worthier enterprises than any they could know,—and though a tide of more yielding phraseology and courtly dialect has set in upon us, submerging many words into an obsoleteness from which it were folly to attempt their resuscitation,-let it bury nothing beneath it of high-souled honour, nothing of glorious independence, nothing of cheerful content, nothing of domestic allegiance, nothing of uncompromising justice, nothing of munificent charity,-aye, nothing of that devotion to liberty and zeal for the gospel, which have wafted our name to other lands, and bound it up with the interests of the human race. Even now, he who is only the denizen catches the noble pride: how then should the native feel?
"Eaque verba, quæ dixi, etsi singularum rerum sunt, non, ut videntur, easdem res significant, sed aliquid differunt."
CICERO. Tusc: Quæs: lib. iii., sec. 34.
"Tironibus autem nihil sæpius fucum facit, quam verba specie et appellatione synonyma, quæ primo similes ac propè gemellos vultus offerunt, cum tamen origine, aut ingenio, aut utroque, simul longe differunt."
"Double, double,-toil and trouble."
Incantation Scene, MACBETH.
ON CORRELATES AND SYNONYMS.
THIS thesis raises questions of philological importance, as well as affords amusement; nor is the study to be discountenanced as altogether impertinent to those graver and more profound enquiries which seek to settle the origin of language, and to determine the elements of that family-speech which the family of mankind, yet infant, might be presumed to have employed.
There is nothing more singular, next to mind itself, than the verbal expressions with which it clothes and conveys its ideas. The enunciation of particular sounds is common to certain classes of animals, but their cries are few, circumscribed, and inflexible. The dove murmured as sweetly plaintive when it plucked the olive of a new world as now when that world is again grown old; nor does the lion lift up its voice more majestically than when the forests of Lebanon shook with its roar. The chirrup, the note, the song of the bird, are unvaried: the bellow, the growl, the moan of the quadruped, are unchanged. We may be sure that there is no improvement, no addition, of their sensations and impressions: that their vocabulary is large as their
But the voice of man, while contracted in its powers and confined to the utterance of certain sounds, has in it such a capability of rapid change and minute articulation, that, though its original powers are far from unlimited, their applications are little less. Our thoughts multiply with the enlargement of knowledge and the progress of society: we have reached no stationary point: and our language, instead of checking us, almost uniformly anticipates the idea, becomes elastic, so to speak, to our intellectual growth, and supplies a most powerful instrument towards the development of the hidden mind. But if speech and oral language mark the high superiority of our species,-opening up a highway where invisible essences may