Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

stitutions to which, for the common interest, they ought severally to intrust inviolably the decision of causes which involve the interests of persons resident under different sovereigns; and to collect those general maxims inferred from past experience, which ought to form the basis of decision in such mercantile tribunals; would do v eil to consult with attention this elaborate chapter of the work before us. How vast a subsisting sequestration of British property, in Spain, has resulted during the present war from a rash condemnation of some silks belonging to the Count of Yranda! This donative of a few thousands to our sailors cost to our manufacturers the confiscation of millions. It is important, then, that to tribunals independent of any government, to such tribunals as administer in Great Britain the internal laws, should be confided the arbitration of all alien interests; of which Strand-right is no inconsiderable part.

Art. III. A Letter, from Germany, to the Pnncess Royal of England; on the English and German Languages. With a Table of the different Northern Languages, and of different Periods of the German; and with an Index. By the Rev. Herber.tcs.oft. 4*0. pp. 96. Printed at Hamburgh, and sold in London, by Edwards. »797

't'he author of this letter expresses much disappointment * at the neglect shewn by the British nation, to his proposals for publishing a new .English Dictionary. On this subject, perhaps, it is fair to ask, was he at that time qualified properly for the undertaking? Is it not in consequence of his visit to the continent, and by means of his recent study of the Low and High-Dutch* dialects, and of the philological antiquaries and philosophical grammarians of Germany, that he has first acquired a valid claim to the patronage of his country? Is he likely henceforwards to miss it? Now that the deficiencies of Johnson's dictionary are generally experienced and known: that the grand intrusion of Gallic revolutionary neologisms is probably at an end; and that a wish to turn back to the springbeads of English, undefiled, begins to characterize our more careful writers; there is no sufficient reason for doubting that an extensive and liberal encouragement will be given to a lexicographer, whose knowledge of all the sister idioms of thv Gothic tongue enables him to investigate the derivation, and

* Mr. Croft (p. 81) censures this use of the word Dutch: but it is the primitive use of it, 'and is abundantly authorized. Can he approve- the practice of calling the Hollanders, Dutch f

13 U to estimate the purity, of our national and provincial, our obsolete and current terms: whose familiarity with classic writers must have furnished him with an interesting and instructive hoard of quotations for examples; and whose industry, so long ago as in 1793, had collected (p. 3) mere than 20,000 sound English words not contained in the dictionary of Johnson. Bp this time, no doubt, the supplemental matter would equal in magnitude the original work.

The rambling pen of this author unwillingly confines itself to the topic with which it sets out. A comparative table is indeed given of the different periods of the language of the Germans: some translations, word for word, of passages in their poets are introduced; and a list of their prepositions ocCuts at p. 49, without any sufficient commentary to account for the insertion :—hut much of the letter is taken up with remarks on other subjects, often useful, often ingenious, indeed, but too often unconnected.

Three new literary enterprises of the author are announced: 1. An edition of Young's Nigh: Thoughts, to be elucidated by the valuable notes of his German translator Ebert. 2. An edition, accompanied with an English verbal translation, of Alkmnrs Reynard the Fox. 3. A version, line for line, of Kkpstoct's Messiah, on the plan of the following specimen:

'So draws nigh the Pestilence, in midnight hour, To slumbering Cities. Tltere couches upon her broad-spread wings, Beneath the ramparts, Death; and exhales destroying vapours. Now lie the cities, as yet, undisturbed: by his nightly lamp Watches, as yet, the sage; as yet, converse superior friends, Over unprofaned wine, in shelter of odoriferous bowers, Of the soul, of friendship, and of their immortal duration. But soon will frightful Death, in the day of affliction, Spread himself over them! in the day of quail and of perishing

moans! .'

When, with wringing hands, the bride for the bridegroom makes lamentation;

When, now of all her children bereft, the desperate mother,
Furious, the day, In which she bore and was born, curses;
When, with hollow, far-sunken eye, the dead-buriers
Through carcases wander—till, high from the thunder-cloud,
With deep-thinking brow the angel of Death alights;
Wide all around surveys; all lonesome and still and desolate
Sees; and, over the graves, in earnest contemplation, to stand con-
tinues.' *

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* It would surely be possible to translate the Messiah into English, hexameters constructed by the same law which governs those of Klopttock; who substitutes, at will, a trochee for a spondee The above passage might with little variation run thiit:

This very important and desirable undertaking is the dor* to be recommended to our author's assiduity, as he enjoys the! , advantage of a personal and intimate acquaintance with Klop* stock; which enables him to consult the Christian bard on the true sense of his obscure passages, and to profit by his invaluable hints in rightly rendering the more beautiful parts.

In a note, Mr. Croft slightly discusses the question whethef the English language is likely, in the next century, to acquire preponderance over the French. To the reasons offered by us already, (Rev. Vol. xxvi. p. 538) it may be added that the other literary nations have a stronger interest in favouring the surrency of the English than of the French language, because they can more safely confide to it the deposit of their own reputation. The good translations of the English are better likenesses of the originals, than the good translations of the French. The Lucian of Belin dela Ballue is indeed a capital performance: but we recollect no other great Greek classic of which the French translation surpasses the English. The Tassa of Fairfax, and the Oberon of Sotheby *, are very superior tw the rival versions of our neighbours. The Messiah, like the Bible, will not please in French. Gbthe, Schiller, and the whole school of Gothic dramatists, will excite a Sardonic smile at Paris; while they draw tears or convulse with agony in London. The French have a very exclusive taste, and are too ambitious of drilling other countries into it. They want to re-cast in their own moulds every production of foreign art. Compare the Macbeth of Duels with that of Burger.—This daintiness unfits them for the carrying-trade in literature, for that cabotage

So at the midnight-hour draws nigh to the slumbering city, Pestilence. Couch'd on his broad-spred wings, lurks under the rampart

Death bale-breathing: as yet unalarm'd are the peaeeable dwellers
Close to his nightly lamp the sage yet watches; and high friends,
Over wine'not unhallow'd, in shelter of odorous bowers,
Talk of the soul and of friendship, and weigh their immortal duration.
But, too soon shall frightful death, in a day of affliction,
Pouncing over them spread, in a day of moaning and anguish ;—
When, with wringing of hands, the bride for the bridegroom loud
wails—

When, now of all her children bereft, the desperate mother
Furious curses the day on which she bore and was born ;—when,
Weary, with hollower eye, amid the carcases wander
Slowly the buriers ;—'till the sent death-angel, descending
Thoughtful, on thunder-clouds, beholds all lonesome and silent,
Gazes the wide desolation, and long broods over the graves, fixt.
* See our last Appendix.

/iierairPf

Ht'craire, that rapid importation and unadulterated transfer of 'the productions of different countries, in which the Ger* rhans so much excel) and which forms the most important business of a Common language, and the most essential condition of that literature which aspires to universality.

We cannot refrain from transcribing an elegiac ballad on some act of parliament relating to marriage, which Mr. Croft possesses, in the hand-writing of Sir William Temple* It is very impressive: love and death always make a good back-ground for one another: *

« Wake, all you dead! What, Ho f What, Ho!
How soundly they sleep, whose pillows lie low 1
They mind not poor lovers, walking above,
On the decks of the world, in the storms of love.

No whisper, there, no glance can pass*
Through wickets or through panes of glass;
For the windows and doors are shut up and barr'd.
Lie close in the church, and in the church-yard!

In every grave, make room! make room!

The world's at an end! We come! We come 1
The state is, now, Love's foe, Love's foe;
Has seiz'd on his arms, his quiver and bow;
Has pinion'd his wings and fctter'd his feet;
Because he made way for lovers to meet.

, But, Oh! sad chance! the judge was old.
Hearts cruel grow, when blood grows cold.
No man, being young, Love's process would draw;
All! Heavens! that Love should be subject to law!

Lovers, go woo the dead, the dead!
Lie two in a grave! and to bed, to bed!'

Mr. Croft seems well-disposed to compile a very complete vocabulary * of the English tongue: this ought to be his grand object. The principles on which its redundancies are to be, pruned away are an after-consideration. It will deserve his deliberate attention, whether he will recommend a reform ia the geographical and proper names which we have borrowed from the French, and which we write without any resemblance to the names in use on the spot. The «vulgar denominations of plants and animals ought, no doubt, to find a place: but It is to be hoped th3t they will be accompanied by the scientific appellations, and that we shall not be puzzled with such definitions as that of Dr. Johnson, that "Dead-nettle is the same with Archangel."

„ . I . i

• The novel, intitled Berkeley Hall, contains many American

words, which are strangers to our dictionaries i see Rev. vol. xxii.

p. ya. N. S. ■ .. 1

At?. Rev. Vol. Xxvii. M m "We

We have, on another occasion* (Rev. vol. xxiv. p. 558,} passed in review die principal competitors of Mr. Croft; we take a patriotic interest in his enterprise j and we expect from its success a wider circulation and an increased longevity to our literature.

Art. IV. I/istoire Je la Rtpubllque Francaisc, &c. /. e. A History of the French Republic, Sec. By Anthony Fantin-desodoards. Kvo." 2 Vols, pp.400 in each. Paris. 1798. Imported by De Bone, Londyn. 12s. sewed.

hpHE history of the French revolution, prior to the establish* ment of the present constitution of France, has already been treated by this author, and was analyzed at length in our xxiiid volume, p. 557. He now undertakes the history of the Republic; whith he begins at the separation of the National Convention, and conducts to the treaty of peace with the Emperor in 1797. The former was a narrative of progressive horror; this is a record of returning order and reviving satisfaction.

We shall notice some of the passages which have caught our attention on perusal.

To the military code established by Saint-Just, in 1793, the author ascribes the revival of discipline, the great energy of the French armies, and the remarkably complete subserviency of the Generals to the legislature.

At p. 3, it is observed that no General ever carried farther than Buonaparte, extreme valor, presence of mind, skill in manoeuvre, and the resources of stratagem. The battles of Lodi and Archola were won by the superiority of his talents. The soldier, persuaded of this superiority, boldly met dangers of which he supposed the importance had been justly estimated; and this daring spirit, by adding to the reputation of the General, rendered the army invincible. As skilful as Frederic the Great in scheming the plan of a campaign, Buonaparte knew better than that monarch (says the author) how to lead on men to great achievements, by the influence of sentiment. Like Cxsar, he would*march at the head of his army, and share the fatigue and food of the soldier. Each might address him as his comrade; and this affability, which softened the harshness of command, gave him such a moral empire over his troops, that they Would have followed him every where without hesitation. Hence the unlimited authority which he enjoyed in Itaiy, and which no other General has possessed since the .Roflian, Emperors.

»5- P-143.

« AnteriorContinuar »