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each in their native tongue. So, also, many more scholars of those times are mentioned as well acquainted with several languages, capable of writing them with precision, and speaking them with correct accent.
In the reign of Suleyman, the Magnificent, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, there lived a lipguist of some celebrity, named Genus Bey. His history was a curious one ; his father was a poor fisherman in sunny Corfu, and his son used occasionally to bear him company upon the blae waters, which gave him his barvest. Oo such an occasion as this, it happened that they perceived a suspicious barque bearing down upon them. They, at first, thought not but that it would pass by. But, it was not to be. The next scene was, the boy a prisoner on the pirate's deck, sailing away for the slave-mart of Constantinople—the father, where was he? Such events were not uncommon then. A century after, Baltimore, on the south coast of Ireland, was sacked by the crews of two Algerine galleys. All its inhabitants, who had escaped massacre, and seemed suitable to slavework, were borne off.
0, some must tug the galley's oar, and some must tend the steed-
Genus Bey, the lad of Corfu, was sold at Constantinople. · His masters took him to Egypt, Syria, and other places, east and west, so that opportunity being afforded to his linguistic talents, he soon became a proficient in a considerable number of languages. His fame became noised abroad, and, in a short time, reached the ears of the sultan himself. This imperial personage sent for him, and finding that his celebrity was based on good grounds, promoted him to be first dragoman, or interpreter, and a pasba. - He was," writes an old French writer, “the first man of his day, for speaking divers sorts of languages, and of the happiest memory under the heavens." For it appears that he “knew perfectly no fewer than sixteen languages, videlicet : Greek, both ancient and modern, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Moorish, Tartar, Armenian, Russian, Hungarian, Polish, Italian, Spanish, German, and French.” So much for Genus Bey and his acquirements.
The orientals of the sea-ports have a facility, as well as an opportunity, for learning languages. The donkey drivers of Cairo, little boys, will be heard, according to an English traveller, "shouting three or four European dialects, with an accent as good as his own.” Chief among the Easterns, however, are the Armenians, whose active intellects, and linguistic tastes, elevate them above all the other races. The Armenian Mechitarist order have been named the Benedictines of the east. This is sufficient to show how distinguished they must have been, and are, in learning and literature; in acquiring knowledge, and sharing it with the world.
In connection with linguistic attainments, the name of Picus de Mirandula, or more correctly, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, naturally recurs to the memory. He was an Italian, son of a duke of the same name, and born in 1463. He was an extraordinary person in every way. Before be was ten years old he delivered lectures in civil and canon law-and lectures which were worthy of admiration. He turned his mind early to the acquisition of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, and Arabic. Before he was twenty he knew twenty-two languages, and spoke a large number of them with ease and correctness. His memory was one of great tenacity. It is stated of him, that after having read any work presented to him, he could repeat the author's words by heart, and even recite them backwards ! Tnis certainly is a strong statement, and no doubt much exaggerated, but it is sufficient to show that he was one whose real qualities were so extraordinary, that almost anything would be credited about him. He died at the age of thirty-one.
Fernando di Cordova was a Spaniard, who lived about the same time as Pico, and who was worthy to be accounted his rival. He had finished his studies in grammar and rhetoric at the early age of ten. Soon he became conversant with Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and many of the European languages. He was a universal genius (as was his Italian rival), being well acquainted with theology as with medicine, law as with mathematics. He excelled in all manly arts, including that of fencing. Such was his fame, that his feats were looked upon by some as the result of no mortal strength. An old English writer says
“ A young man have I seen,
He could recite, it is said, the whole of the Bible by heart. One fact, showing great powers of memory, is related by Cardinal Wiseman concerning the Italian, Father de Rossi, a very learned oriental scholar, who died in 1824. The anecdote was told to Dr. Wiseman by persons who heard the feat done. De Rossi was with some friends, and without any preparation on his part, it was proposed that they should choose a line out of any part of any of the four Italian poets, Dante, Petrarch, Tasso, or Ariosto. This being done, De Rossi at once recited the hundred lines which followed--and having selected different lines in different books, De Rossi was able still to “cap" them with the hundred lines which followed. Naturally their astonishment was great. But what was it, when, after selecting a line at random for the purpose, they heard him recite, line by line backwards, the hundred lines which immediately preceded the chosen line! And this was done several times, also.
Father Lorenzo Hervas-y-Pandura, born in Spain, about the midd!
of the last century, belonged to the learned order of the Jesuits, and was one of its great glories. He was a learned general scholar, well acquainted with the sciences of the day. He was also an assiduous and esteemed author; whilst his services to philosophy have been most valuable. He compiled grammars of eighteen of the American languages himself; and with the assistance of other missionaries had the Lord's Prayer translated into three hundred and seven languages. He is held in high esteem by all philological writers.
The idea of having a collection of translations in various languges of the Lord's Prayer appears to have originated with Guillaume Pastel, a visionary but learned Frenchman of the sixteenth century. He was beset by the idea that it was his mission to gather all Christians into one community, and be found that Francis I. was suited to be the head of this, as he was a direct descendant of Sem, son of Noe! J.J. Scaliger, who lived in the same century, was not only remarkable for his linguistic attainments, but also for being able to study at all hours of the night without the need of a lamp. He could read books in the dark, if we are to trust himself, and on the same authority, his father could do the same. He was a very unamiable character, but spoke thirteen languages. His qualifications were sammed up by a French writer, in a verse which may be thus translated
Scaliger, san and wonder of our age,
Renaudot, a pupil of the Jesuits, but not a priest, though he was wont to wear the ecclesiastical dress, was an eminent oriental scholar, and the first, we believe, who translated the “ Arabian Night's Entertainment” into French. He was born in 1646. Nicholas Schmid, a Saxon peasant, is said to have, shortly before, translated the Pater Noster into fifty languages
, having become a linguist under rude and repelling circumstances. The name of Adelung, a Pomeranian, born in 1734, is celebrated in connection with the “ Mithridates"- -a work which gave specimens of an immense number of languages. But, it was not a mere collection of translations; to each language was appended a disquisition on its conformation and character. Klaproth, fifty years after, published a new “Mithridates," supplementing to a certain degree the former. Another celebrated man who lived about the same period, was Peter Simon Pallas. Humboldt, Schlegel, and Bunsen are already sufficiently known to enable us to spare the reader any sketch of their achievements. The Hungarian Korosi Csoma Sandor, or Csoma de Koros, was an enthusiastic and successful scholar of oriental languages.
The “ Admirable Crichton"—who has not heard of him ? Undoubtedly his name is familiar to thousands who know nothing more concerning bin than what is comprised in the somewhat mysterious epithet with which his name has been associated.
The “ Admirable Crichton,” then, was a Scot, born in 1561, educated at St. Andrews; but, no doubt, still more so on the continent. All the gifts and graces which denote the profound scholar and accomplished gentleman were his, noue surpassed him in fencing, horsemanship, and gympastic skill; in philosophy, poetry, divinity, and general learning, he was the wonder of his day. At sixteen he spoke ten languages ; at twenty, twenty; at twenty-two he passed
Into the land of the great departed,
Into the silent land.
He undertook, in his thesis before the University of Paris, to dispute in any of twelve languages-Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, French, English, German, Flemish, and Slavonic. Whatever ex: aggeration may be in the accounts concerning him, this thesis shows that he did not fear the test in many languages.
Our own country had, and still has, some linguists of high repute. In Donegal, in 1669, was born James Junins—who afterwards assumed the name of Toland. His name is associated with Deism, into which he fell; as a linguist, he was conversant with more than ten languages, speaking many of them with great ease. Sir William Jones, an Englishman, who flourished about a hundred years ago, has gained merited renown as an orien. talist. In his time, also, a citizen of Dublin, William Marsden, distinguished himself considerably. Dr. Adam Clarke, distinguished among dissenting divines, and one who knew several tongues, was another Irishman, being born at Magherafelt, county Derry. Matching Admirable Crichton
Donal na Greiné," or Donal“ of the Sun;" his universal accomplishments are sung by a bard in Irish. He led the fashions, and shone as host, doctor, peace-maker, head-breaker, swimmer, goal-player, shoemaker, blacksmith, tailor, weaver, potter, glazier, boat-builder, and saddler, So the song asserts, and concludes :
All airs, pure or garbled, that ever were warbled
By harpers or singers,
He had on his fingers ;
And what you might term an
Eccentrics very often exist among men who devote themselves pertinaciously to learning. One of the most eccentric of men was the Rev. Dr. Barrett, of Trinity College, Dublin. The anecdotes concerning him are innumerable. It was he who was observed to have had two holes pierced in his door-one smaller than the other. Being asked the reason, he it was who replied, that they were designed to give admission to a cat and ber kitten the little hole was for the kitten, and the large one for the
cat. It never occurred to him that the kitten could go through the large hole! He rarely went beyond the college gate, and when he did so, it was to bank his money, wbich he used to preserve in a long stocking. But one day being induced to go into the country to dine, he returned full of amazement, and communicated to his friends the surprising discovery he had made-that he had seen mutton sporting in the fields, in the shape of sheep. He was acquainted with a few of the eastern languages.
As great a curiosity was Jones of Carnarvon. “ He was,” says Roscoe, a poor
Welsh fisher-lad, as ragged as a colt, and as uncouth as any being that has a semblance of humanity. But beneath such an exterior is a mind cultivated not only beyond all reasonable expectation, but beyond all probable conception. In his fishing boat on the coast of Wales, at an age little more than twenty, he has acqnired Greek, Hebrew, and Latin ; has read the Iliad, Hesiod, Theocritus, &c., studied the refinements of Greek pronunciation, and examined the connection of that language with Hebrew." He acquired also French, Italian, and Chaldee. He was irreclaimable wild, no effort could make him change his habits to his advancement in life. He loved to lie on his back in the bottom of a ditch. His uncouth appearance, solitary habits, and perhaps weak intellect, made him an object of ridicule and persecution to the children of the district ; and he often carried an iron pot on his head to screen him from the stones and clods which they threw at him. He wore a large dirty wrapper, in the pockets and folds of which be stowed his library; and his face, covered with hair, gave him a strangely uncouth appearance ; although the mild and abstracted expression of his features took from it much of its otherwise repulsive character."
Elihu Burrit, the celebrated American blacksmith, whose labour at the anvil was his only support, rendered his name illustrious by his unsparing devotion to the acquisition of languages. In the intervals of labour, he acquired not fewer than eighteen. Pritchard, Bowring, Prince Lucien Bonaparte, and Cardinal Wiseman, have, it is well known, distinguished them.. selves in philology ; whilst the famous “ Father Prout,” (Rev. F. Mahony, Cork), has shown what a witty linguist can do. Of the “Reliques of Father Prout,” it is unnecessary to mention more than the name. Every one will understand, who has read them, what idiomatic knowledge of various languages was required to enable the author to produce those translations of our popular songs and ballads in the Latin, French, and Greek.
Many ladies, principally Italians, have been eminent as mistresses of many languages. The Nun of Mexico, Juana Inez de la Cruz, had this as one of her many accomplishments.
But, especial wonders are related about children. A couple of centuries ago, a Venetian, before he was seven years of age, knew Greek and Hebrew, and at the age of eight delivered and sustained a thesis in Rome! That may surprise the reader, but let him reserve some admiration for yet greater feats. Louis Candiac, (Nismes, 1719,) spoke Latin as well as French, when he years
age. Ere he was six, he spoke also Greek and Hebrew,