« PreviousContinue »
years ago Elements of the Anglo-Saxon Grammar," and subsequently an Abridgement of the same. He is also the author of the “ Origin of the Dutch, with a sketch of their Language and Literature, ,” “ The Origin of the Danish, and an Abstract of Scandinavian Literature,” and “ The Origin of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages and Nations.” The work whose title is prefixed to this notice occupied the author's attention more than seven years, four of which it was in the press. The dictionary is beautifully printed with three parallel columns on a page. With the view of illustrating the Anglo-Saxon, nearly all the radical words, and a few important compounds are followed by the parallel terms from the cognate dialects. To show more clearly the analogy of cognate languages, Mr. B. has attempted to arrange the parallel terms in the most natural order. The Low German is generally placed first, because it is now spoken by the people who occupy the territory formerly peopled by the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons. The Dutch and Friesic words follow, because they are of the same low German branch. Then succeed the German, the Alemannic, the Francic, the MoesoGothic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Old Danish or Norse. The derivation immediately follows the synonymes, though on this debateable ground constant care has been taken to refrain from doing too little rather than to do too much. Then the signification is given in English, while the principal significations in Latin are added. The radical meaning is placed first, then its various significations are numbered and arranged in that order which appeared most consonant with the association of ideas; each meaning, where practicable, is confirmed by a reference to the authors who most use the word. Next follow the idiomatical expressions. By the English and Latin Indexes of about 150 pages, the Saxon of the greater part of the English and Latin terms may be found, the derivation and original meaning of most English words ascertained, and a comparison instituted with their radical cognates in the other Gothic languages. The Roman character has been employed in printing the Anglo-Saxon words with the exception of two peculiar letters answering to the English th in thing and in thin. As the authors are always quoted, the age and purity of a word can be seen
Accents are now adopted, as they were evidently used by the Anglo-Saxons, to distinguish long from short vowels. They are placed, however, only on the word and its variations standing at the head of each article. Prefixed to the dictionary is an elaborate and very learned preface of more than 200 pages. The points discussed are the connection of the Japhetic languages with the Sanscrit, the German and Scandinavian; the Anglo-Saxons; the Anglo-Saxon dialects; the ancient and modern Friesic compared with the An. glo-Saxon by the Rev. J. H. Halbertsma, a native Friesian ; the Old Saxons; the Netherlands or Holland; the Goths and the Moeso
Gothic; the Alemanni or Suabians; the Francs ; the High German with its various dialects ; Scandinavian literature, including a sketch of the languages of Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden ; the affinity of Germanic languages ; etymology, with the manner_of forming words, and an outline of the German system, and the Essentials of Anglo-Saxon Grammar with an outline of the systems of professors Rask and Grimm. The author remarks with great candor, that the Essentials are given as the result of a long and close investigation of the language in the preparation of the Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, and a continued appeal to the grammar of a lamented friend, the late professor Rask, and to the learned Deutsche Grammatik of Prof. Grimm of Göttingen. It will be seen, that, as information has increased, there has been a gradual approximation, in grammatical forms and accents, to the views of Profs. Rask and Grimm.”
We are truly glad in the prospect of a good Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. We have, in two or three of our large libraries, solitary copies of Hickes and of Lye,-ponderous and dusty tomes whose external form is an emblem of what reigns within. We can never hope for a revival of Anglo-Saxon studies in this country without better elementary books than we have had. The volume of Dr. Bosworth will supply the want in lexicography. A small volume published in 1834, by Mr. Benjamin Thorpe, the translator of Rask's Anglo-Saxon Grammar, will serve as an excellent Chrestomathy. It is entitled “ Analecta Anglo-Saxonica: a selection in prose and verse from Anglo-Saxon authors of various ages; with a Glossary, designed chiefly as a first book for students." Rask's Grammar, the Analecta, and the Dictionary (without the preface) may be obtained in this country for about fourteen dollars. It is no honor to us that the main root of our language remains so little explored by us. Each of our colleges should have a professor of Anglo-Saxon, or perhaps of English with special reference to its noblest source. One institution, the University of Virginia, has set a good example in establishing an Anglo-Saxon professorship. We are no anti-Latinists or anti-Gallicists, yet we long for the time when old Beowulf, and Ælfric, and Alfred shall be duly honored ; when we shall cultivate the fresh, generous, and robust speech, from whose stores Shakspeare derived his immortal words. Such studies will open to us unexpected fountains of joy and profit. We shall get a new insight into German, Dutch, Danish, Icelandic. We shall feel a warmer sympathy for all the brave nations of the north, once bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. More than all, we shall have what cannot otherwise be gained, a fundamental acquaintance with our existing vernacular tongue.
7.-Letters from the West Indies. Andover and New York:
Gould & Newman, 1838. We had the privilege of perusing this work in manuscript. Its author, Mr. S. Hovey, formerly a tutor in Yale College, and for a number of years subsequently professor of mathematics and natural philosophy in Williams and Amherst colleges, resided for a considerable portion of the years 1835–6–7 in the West Indies. His observations are, however, confined to the Danish island St. Croix, and to the British islands Antigua, Barbadoes, and Jamaica. His main object is, to present a general development of the condition of slavery in the West Indies before emancipation took place; a brief description of the two systems which have been adopted at different islands, viz. immediate emancipation, and what has been termed the apprenticeship system; together with the difficulties, and the degrees of success, which have severally attended them in practice. Antigua, Barbadoes, and Jamaica are among the largest islands which the English possess, and they have ever maintained a high rank in the West Indies. Two of them are seats of episcopal sees, and each has a government of its own. Antigua is one of the two which proclaimed immediate emancipation, and is a favorable place for a trial of that form of abolition. At Barbadoes, the apprenticeship system was adopted, and is generally allowed to have succeeded better than anywhere else. The same system was also adopted in Jamaica ; but it has met there with the greatest opposition and discouragement; so that at Barbadoes and Jamaica we find the two extremes in the working of this plan. It is universally admitted that these three islands afford collectively a fair representation of the two systems, both in theory and practice; and that con. clusions, justly drawn from these examples, may be considered of universal application in the West Indies.
The author, in our opinion, shows an unusual degree of candor, judgment, discriminating observation, and industry, in the details which he has spread out before us in these pages. The spirit in which the Letters are written is eminently kind and conciliatory. All classes of our countrymen, we presume, whatever may be their opinions of slavery in the United States, will be glad to possess theinselves of the facis and views presented in the work of Professor Hovey. If slavery is ever to be abolished in this country, as it un. doubtedly will be, and in some of the States at no distant day, such information as is here embodied will be of great value, exhibiting the results of one of the most important experiments ever undertaken by
8.—The Works of Charles Lamb. 2 vols. New York: Harpers, 1838.
We have read these volumes with mingled feelings of pleasure and sadness. Lamb is one of the few original characters who has
appeared in modern times. His intimate friends shrink from the task of delineating what mocks the powers of the most delicate and discriminating pencil. Beneath all bis gaiety, notwithstanding all his lightness of heart, and his inveterate punning propensities, there was a tender melancholy, a longing for something higher and better, a dread of futurity, an instinctive grasp on present and surrounding objects, which invests his course with the deepest interest. After our best endeavors, we feel that we do not understand him fully; and where we do, we find it very difficult to embody our cohceptions in words. Lamb was not a great poet. But as an essayist, terse, pungent, witty, ironical, full-souled, playful, and old English, we hardly know his equal. His language is after the ancient, glorious models of Thomas Browne, and Fuller and Burton.
Sorrowful is it, that such a gentle spirit should have been given to his cups, should have so degraded himself beneath the beasts which perish. The apology which Mr. Talfourd tries to set up for this habit in his friend is lame and awkward enough. We must also protest with equal decision against some of the language employed by Lamb, his correspondents, and his biographer. Profane epi. thets ought to be excluded from all decent books. Trifling words on the most awful subjects, no man has a right to employ. Witticisms in respect to the existence and agency of the great enemy of God and man are equally abhorrent to taste and religious feeling. What if it would spoil a good joke or a taking story, if Lamb's writings were divested of these obnoxious epithets? We are not to tamper with morality and religion for the sake of a pun. With all that is contained in these volumes relative to the theatre we have, of course, no sympathy. A selection of Lamb's Letters and Essays might be made to which no friend of good order would object, and which would display noble powers of thought and of description. As it is, the work is attractive, and we are not surprised at its popularity.
9.- The Limitation of Human Responsibility. By Francis Way
land, President of Brown University. Boston: Gould, Ken
dall & Lincoln, 1838. pp. 188. The subjects discussed in this volume are the nature of human responsibility, individual responsibility, persecution on account of religious opinions, propagation of truth, voluntary associations, ecclesiastical associations, and the slavery question. Human responsibility is not concerned, according to Dr. Wayland, beyond the limit of our ability, nor does it require a kind of ability which has not been committed to us. Our responsibility is limited by the respect which we owe to the rights of our fellow men, and frequently by the innocent obligations which we have previously contracted. We are not Vol. XI. No. 30.
responsible for the performance of an action, when it cannot be performed without using our power for other purposes than those for which it was committed to us. Our responsibility ceases, when a particular good cannot be accomplished without the presentation of wrong motives to another; and when the performance of one duty, may be limited by the more urgent claims of another duty of the same character. The author then applies these principles to persecution op account of opinions, to the propagation of truth, to voluntary and ecclesiastical associations and to slavery. In respect to vol. untary associations, he thinks that the following limitations should be observed. The object for which men should associate should be capable of so exact and palpable definition, that it may be always clearly distinguished from every other that might from time to time be amalgamated with it. The mode of operation should be accurate. ly set forth. The object itself and the mode of promoting it should be entirely innocent. In the section on ecclesiastical associations, Dr. Wayland explains the principles on which christian churches are formed, particularly those of the Independents, asserts that these latter are incapable of representation, and points out some dangers into which they are liable to fall. The author remarks upon some of the aspects of slavery in the slave States, in the District of Columbia, and in Texas, and upon the duties and rights of the North and South. We have not room in this place to examine any of the opinions advanced by Dr. Wayland.
10.— The Works of William Cowper. By Robert Southey. 15 vols.
Foolscap, 8vo. London : 1835—7.
shawe. 12 vols. Foolscap, 8vo. London: 1835—7. Shortly after the death of Cowper, his Life and Correspondence by Hayley appeared. Though extremely interesting as the work unquestionably was, yet Hayley saw fit to suppress and mutilate much of his materials. The poet's Memoir of Himself was brought to light in 1816. The Private Correspondence of Cowper, with Mr. Newton and others, was published by Cowper's relative, Dr. John Johnson, in 1824. In 1825, a small volume with the title of “ Poems, the early Productions of W. Cowper, with Anecdotes of the Poet, collected from Letters of Lady Hesketh,” appeared. It contained the relics which had been for many years in the possession of bis cousin Theodora Cowper. Subsequently was issued Mr. Thomas Taylor's Life of Cowper. This, however, did not add much to the original biography.
Instead of a complete edition of the works of Cowper, which has been for a long time a desideratum, we have now two rival incomplete editions. Mr. Grimshawe, the biographer of Legh Richmond,