Imágenes de página
PDF

or inclination. Quis rem tam veterem pro certo affirmet Livy. Mediocribus et queis ignoscas vitiis teneor. Hor. Denique, hercle, aufugerim, potius quam redeam, si eo mihi redeundum sciam. Ter. Quid facias talem sortitus, Pontice, servum ? Juv. 2. Agent indefinite, or not limited to any certain individual. Neque is sum qui disputem. Nullum est animal, praeter homimem, quod habet notitiam aliquam Dei. Parvulae respublicae sunt bellicosae, et quod vires sint exigua, saepe insidiis circumvenire hostes tentant. In these, and similar sentences, the nature, or kind only of the agents is expressed. The same mood is used, when the phrase is turned impersonally, and the agent is put in the ablative; as, Erant quibus videretur. 3. Time indefinite, either as to its duration, or the parts of it at which any particular circumstances occurred. This includes, of course, a reference to the different objects of action, when spoken of in a general, or indefinite manner. Quae in hoc libro scripserim. Cum me rogaret ut adessem. Cic. Cum me rogabat would express a very different idea. In Cumano cum essem venit ad me Hortensius. Cic. Still it must be acknowledged that there is some variety in the practice of Latin writers, with regard to the subjunctive mood. Instances of the indicative being used, according to the Greek idiom, in a subjunctive meaning, (as has been already considered,) occur frequently in Plautus and Terence, who translated Greek into Latin; and even Cicero, though very rarely, uses the same form of expression: as, Priusquam de republica dicere incipio. . But exceptions of this kind do not invalidate the general principle on which the regular use of this mood is founded. Of the other moods, and the tenses, in Latin, nothing occurs worth mentioning, connected with the subject of this Essay. I may observe, however, that, by taking the imperative for the original form of the Latin verb, the business of conjugating would be rendered much more simple, than by the circuitous method which grammarians have adopted. Thus from Audi, by the addition only of certain syllables, we have audio, audiebam, audiwi, &c. Although the modern languages of the south-west of Europe afford no original authority, on this subject, yet we shall find that they are all coustructed upon the same principles that we have already considered.

11. Italian.

In the Italian language, which occupies the place that the Latin formerly held, we may expect to find the strongest resemblance of the common parent tongue. And it will, accordingly, be found that almost all the inflections of the Italian verbs may be formed, by adding certain terminations to the imperative mood. Thus, imp. ama, indic. amo–amai—amero; subj. ami—amassi, &c. &c. 12. Spanish. Next to the Italian, the Spanish may be considered as retaining most of the ancient Latin form, and such it appears to have, according to the general principles that have been laid down. Thus, imp. habla, speak; indic. hablo—hablaba—hable—hablarè; subj. hable—hablaria—hablase, &c. The Portuguese dialect of this language inflects its verbs on the same principle. Thus, imp. ama; indic. amo–amava amei—amarei ; subjunct. ame—amara—amaria, &c. It will be seen, in all these instances, that the inflection is much simpler than by commencing with the indicative, or the infinitive.

13. French.

Although the French departs farthest from the Latin manner of terminating its verbs, yet we find, in this, as in the other languages, that the imperative is the simplest form. Thus, imp. aime; indic. aime—aimai–aimerai; subjunct aime—aimerais, &c.

I have thus endeavoured to follow the course of nature, in the formation of moods; proceeding from the simplest elements of sound to the compound words which represent a combination of ideas. And, from the consideration of verbs, in those languages which are most commonly known, we see that the principles of nature prevail in them all. It is fair to argue, from this specimen, that the same order is observed in languages with which we are less acquainted. Whether any practical use may be made of this theory I j. not say ; but it is not unpleasant to trace the operations of nature, in the modes of speech, unfettered by the dogmas, and limited terms of art. The mind is thus raised above mere grammatical rules to the consideration of its own faculties and exertions; while the contrast of simpler tongues, with those of more elaborate structure suggests reflections upon the primitive character of one nation, and the refined science of another.

W. NEILSON.
Belfast College, May, 1819.

ON THE ANTIQUITY OF ALCHYMY.

hough I am no alchymist, yet as a relaxation from severer studies, I have read with considerable attention the works of the most celebrated writers on alchymy; and, as the result of this reading, am induced to think, that there is as much historical evidence for the truth of this art, as for any past trausaction, which is believed on the testimony of those that record it. I was much gratified, therefore, to find, in the preceding number of the Classical Journal, the arguinents of those who contend that the Egyptians possessed this art, displayed with so much ability by Sir William Drummond. Certain very respectable authorities, however, for the great antiquity of this art, appear not only to have escaped the notice of that gentleman, but of all the modern writers with whom I am acquainted. The authorities are these: Manetho, in the 4th book, p. 66 of his astrological poem, entitled Apotelesmatica, has the following lines: Kai Hovyn Kvospeia guyn wax4 paedovri Pext"pa; Xpwaolo, xxi IV8oysvov; eastavro; Epyorovov; 3sixvva, i.e. “Venus alone, in conjunction with the beautiful Phaethon (the sun), indicates MAKERs of Gold, and workers of Indian ivory.” This Mametho lived in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, to whom also he dedicated his work. In the second place, the Empress Eudocia, in her Greek. Dictionary, p. 108, published by Willoison, observes as follows, concerning the so much celebrated Golden Fleece: Aiovva os o Mirvanvaios, avágarov tool yeyevnaðal wai3aywyov row oppvãov, oyogari Kpiov x2, &epa; xgutopaxxov, oux w; tromtixw; opera, axxx 36xion "w sv Seppaai yeypapoueyov, repusXoy orw; 8s. Yevsgöz oia xutosia; XPvarovv. exora's ouw on tors Asyst, 2.pwarouw woula'ov auro 8sp25, 812 row s: avrov syspyslav. i. e. “Dionysius the Mitylenean says, that a man whose name was Crius," was the pedagogue of Phryxus, and that the sheep-skin had a golden fleece, not conformably to poetic assertion, but that it was a book written on skins, containing the manner in which gold ought to be made, according to the chymic art. Justly therefore, did those of that period denominate the skin golden, through the energy proceeding from it.” This Diony

* This word, as the learned reader well knows, signifies a ram,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Al. x+portxynora, vel x*Foxtanta.

* This Dioscorus was a priest of Serapis in Alexandria, so that he lived prior to the destruction of the ancient temples. See the treatise of Synesius to him, in the 7th vol. of Fabricius.

« AnteriorContinuar »