[ocr errors]

the whole of the last session, " a part of the Oedipus Tyrannus," and " some of the Plutus of Aristophanes,” we begin to entertain sanguine hopes for our northern neighbours; and shall not wonder to hear, when the new edition of Morell's Thesaurus is out, that they have tried their hand upon Greek verse, as the FEEÚrasov miyevinch of this moans weipas. Our readers perhaps are wondering what all this abuse of Mr. Russel has to do with Greek prosody; but the fact is, that it is contained in a Preface which is in the middle of the book; for the book is tripartite Latin at one end, Greek at the other, English in the middle :

Πρόσθε λέων, όπιθεν δε δράκων, μέσση δε χίμαιρα. And both the English and the Latin of Professor Dunbar bear a considerable resemblance to the heterogeneous animal described in the above line.. · The motto of all controvertists is "give and take.” Mr. Russel has giren it pretty freely to the Edinburgh' millers ;' Mr. Dunbar, if we may borrow an expression from the fancy,“ has milled him in return : we should not however conceive that the reputation of Mr. Russel will sustain any injury from the blows of his adversary, but that Antæus-like, he will rise with new strength from the ground, and transfix the Professor in one of his vulnerable parts, of which, we lament to say, there are not a few: such is the fate of war; a reciprocity of slaughter; idaúrtwy te xas orhujućiwy.

Mr. Dunbar infornis us that he succeeded to the chair of the late Professor Dalzel, a modest man and a respectable scholar. In which of these respects his successor resembles him we shall not pretend to determine, because we have no doubt but that some Glasgow graduate will settle the point more satisfactorily We would only observe, that Mr. Dalzel did not rise into no. tice by endeavouring to pull others down; he did not strive to enhance his own merit by depreciating that of his contemporaries; nor by compiling from other authors in bad Latin, and without acknowledgement. .

* Mr. Dunbar, it seems, has to do only with boys in his capacity of Greek Lecturer at Edinburgh;' and as they have read only part of the Oedipus Tyrannus, and some of the Plutus, and be, perhaps, has read the whole of those plays, he has contracted a notion of his own superiority, which is all very well in the lecture. room, but which becomes him ill when he walks abroad. The jsedagogue who carries his rod out of school and begins to exercise it on his neighbours, runs the risk of having it applied to his own back in retaliatiori. While Mr. Dunbar confines himself to the sphere for which unture designed and education has qualified him, he may continue to be respectable and unmolested; but when he


assumes at once the tone of a dictator and a censor; when he asserts with coufidence and reproves with insolence; we must break over his head his rod of office, and send him back to the country of false quantities with the reproof which he deserves ;

Discipulorum inter jubeo plorare cathedras. Will it be believed that a Scotch Professor, whose name is known only from the circumstance of its having been unaccount. ably hooked into the title page of an Herodotus with that of Porson, has presumed to hold the following language of a scholar, whose labours have received the unanimous applause of the learned world for more than half a century, and of whose works any single volume contains more of solid and substantial learning than all that Mr. Dunbar has published, or is ever likely to publish. Professor Heyne died in July, 1812, full of years and ho. gours; and left behind him the well earned reputation of having been the most judicious of all the interpreters of the ancient poets. And now for the first time starts up in an University, which, except as a great dissecting-room, is in all other points sufficiently obscure, a man who cannot even write Latin grammatically, and attempts to tear to pieces the literary character of him, whom the consenting suffrages of the English, Dutch and German scholars have raised tv an eminence far beyond even the ken of Mr. Dunbar. Mr. Hermann also comes in for his share of contemptuous censure; but he is alive, and quite able to de. fend himself if he thinks fit, in case this book should ever come to his knowledge. But Heyne is dead; and therefore Mr. Dunbar expects perhaps to insult hiin with impunity.

Asinus, ut vidit ferum. Impune lædi, calcibus frontem exterit. His words are these: “ It is evident, from the whole of his (Hermann's) discussion upon the cæsura and hiatus, in his edi, tion of the Orphica, and ihe little information he has communi, cated in his book upon the Greek metres, respecting hexameter verse, that he had very indistinct and confused notions of its structure. We must therefore enquire whether Heyne, the last, and in the opinion of many, the best editor of Homer, bas thrown more light upon the subject. For my own part, I must confess, that he has grievously disappointed me. (what a pity!) Amidst the appearance of great learning, much research, and no small degree of ostentation and dogmatism, it is rare to find a single principle upon which any opinion can rest, or any thing like a regular enquiry into the structure of his author's verse. He bas


indeed commented sometimes with more severity thau became him, upon the opinions of his predecessors, without adding any thing valuable to their remarks or clearly exposing tlieir errors, and has left his author much in the same state as he found him, only encumbered with a greater heap of useless illustrations."

Of Mr. Dunbar's own judgment on metrical points we may form some notion, when he tells us, that we are no better acquainted with the arrangement of the Clioral Odes, than we were some years ago, * notwithstanding the labours of Burney and others of inferior name." The gentlemen who are thus contemptuously passed over, and most other scholars on this side the Tweed, as well as a much better Grecian than Mr. Dunbar in another Scotch University, Glasgow we mean, will, we appre. hend, continue to think that a great deal indeed has been effected in this departinent, notwithstanding the dictum of the Edinburgh metrician, who does not at present appear to us to have any of the requisite qualifications for deciding upon this question, being, in our opinion; equally deficient in learning and judgment. But our readers shall judge for themselves. The Prosodia Græcu begins thus :

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

“ A in fine plerumque corripitur, ut openea, noipa, intÓTES &c.

EXCEPTIONES. 1. Nomina in då et ba; ut Anda, Elpaila, &c.-in pa plerutrique, diphthongo non praecedente, ut rupa, ruétape; praeter adject: TÉTelpa. Longis etiam junge paidpa, haufæ, caópe; aöpa, zápa, ailpa, 77eúpa.

A pretty specimen of accuracy. In the first place Mr. Dunbar makes the terminations of nouns in ba long. Whereas axavdo and its compounds auparavda, &c. are short.

2dly, He says that most words in-pa are long, when a diplithong does not go before, except TÉTEIPC in which word it strikes us that a diphthong does go before. But what becomes of cryxupă, nyéqupá, táppalis OXOÀCTEYÒpe, Képreupe, and other words of the saine sort?

The following is a choice sentence, whether we regard the elegance of the Latinity or the accuracy of the definition.

A privativum breve est nisi in vocibus plus quam trisyllabis, omnes vocales breves habentibus ; tunc apud Epicos producitur, at a ticos, déávatos.

Does not the Professor know that this A is made long as well by the Tragic as ille Epic poets ?

In a note on the section “ De Contractione,” he observes, " Hoc etiam synecphonesis dicitur.” And in p. 43. “ Confundi suspicor voces "Lopos et 'Inios, prior (1.e. pocem) lugubrissignificant, posterior ab inw sans, Apollinen, medicinæ deum.” In p.30, we have the following elegant piece of Latin : “Dubito an Græci duplices pedes unquam excogit arint, sell tantuin eos (1. é. duplices pedes) diversis modis, musices variationibus, saltationibusque numerosis accommodariut. Harum autem prorsus ighari sumus, pullo lumine prætenso, cujus ope choris canticis, quibus hi pedes locum habent, recte ordinentur, et ita constiluantur ut cum illis congruant:" We know not whether, as Mr. Dunbar asserts, they have learned to write Latin verse at “the mill,” but we are quite sure they cannot write Latin prose. A boy in the High School would deserve to be whipped, who should make sed answer to an, or use prætenso for præterto, or choris cantii is for canticis choricis. The confusion of harum, and hi and illis in the concluding sentence baffles our powers of com. prehension; and the argumentation in the first, staggers our. logic. “I doubt whether the Greeks ever thought of such things as double feet; but only accommodated them, &c." The fact is, that Mr. Dunbar has stulen the whole observation from an article in the Edinburgh Review on Dr. Burney's Tentamen, Vol. xxviii. pp. 183, 184, but not being able to couvert it into Latin, he has mauled and disfigured it in passing it through the mill. He will find a much more correct account of this obie servation given in good Latin by Professor Beck, in an extract from the article in question, inserted in the second volunie of ļhe Acta Seminarii Regii Lipsiensis, p. 482.

We observe by certain quotations from Eurip. Rhes. That the Professor supposes the Rhesus to be the production of Euri. pides.

He borrows largely, and in most instances without acknoirledgement, froin Dr. Burney and Mr. Gaisford; of the former he even copies the mistakes, and marks the penultima Qinoyabrıs long, and that of Bipis short. In biş notes on the first book of the Iliad, p. 33, he corrects Iliad, B. 135, vai on Sovpę oé0773 veñv xai onźpto deauvtarz and N85, qira yvir 26).Uvto: where, he says, the reading ought assuredly to be RAUTA! and M&Auto, it being " an established grammaticalrule, that neuter plurals, escept the subjects refer to animated beings, are always construed with words in the singular number.”. Tliis rule may perhaps be esta. blished at Edinburgh, but no where else. Porson was more cautious, when he asserted it of the veteres Attici. By the şame rule, we suppose, the professor will alter the following passage :


πολλά δε δούρα θρασειάων από χειρών
*Aana uÈj év Xpor nyut ágonilówr aien@v.

Πολλά δε και μεσσηγύ, πάρος χρόα καλόν έπαυρεϊν,
’Ev yain lo tanto, aiacióueva Xpoos ãour. Il. O. 314.
And this, "EyxEx dè a túqOONTO Opæreldwy áno gelgãy.

II. N. 134.
And this, Turvóvo útkp to empat' Èvè Meydéposai xéovrai.

ļl. X.510. And this, omws To Botsua tūviuatiwy ! ανέκπλυτον ταν βαφών αναπίωντι.

Lysidis Epist. ad Hipparch., So much for the Professor's Greek and Latin. We now. proceed to cull a few flowers from his English. It appears to him o that the whole body of Homer's poems present, even at this distant period, no very incorrect speciinen of what they were in ancient times.” Dr. Johnson properly defines a specimen to be " a part of any thing exhibited, that the rest may be known.” Now certainly as the Iliad, in its present state, contains a good deal more than Homer bimself wrote, it can scarcely be called a specimen of that poem. Besides there is a palpable absurdity in calling any thing a specimen of itself. From the expression, “ the whole body of his poems,” are we to collect ihat Mr. Dunbar can see no difference between the Iliad and the Odyssey? Again, in p. 4. “ The current of civilization evidently flowed from Thessaly, Thrace, &c. and carried with it the knowledge and arts which had previously established in those countries." Here is a confusion of metaphors, which, strictly speaking, means that the arts were carried away from Thessaly, &c. In p. 5, we have the following spirited question : “ Was it surprising then, that the language of poetry should liave been cultivated, even before Homer's time, to an amazing degree, &c?” Whatever was amuzing, was surprizing; and we are amazed that Mr. Dunbar should be surprized in such an inaccuracy.

In p. 7, we are informed that the Professor " is convinced that nouns and verbs were originally separate and independant words with distinct acceptations.” A most notable discovery. Will it be credited that any one, who calls himself a Greek Professor, should liave suffered to escape him such a mixture of positiveness and ignorance as is contained in the following words, p. 10?

« But even though the digamma or Tonic vau have been used by the Greeks, still I assert that it must have disappeared before the time of Homer.”


« ForrigeFortsett »