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that truth he professes to investigate. It can no way affect the interests of our religion, though we should not admit the Jewish nation to be that fountain of learning and letters from whence the rest of mankind have been supplied : which would be allowing them greater marks of honour than their best writers ever arrogated to themselves. This way of thinking appears to have been most warmly embraced by Eusebius, and other Christian writers, through a laudable, though perhaps mistaken zeal for a cause of which they were the champions. But it is more our business to exhibit the opinions of the learned, than to controvert them.
IX.-BAYLY'S INTRODUCTION TO LANGUAGES. [From the Monthly Review, 1758. “ An Introduction to Lan
guages, Literary and Philosophical ; especially to the English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew : exhibiting, at one view, their Grammar, Rationale, Analogy, and Idiom. In three parls. By Anselm Bayly, LL.B."(\) 8vo.]
SCALIGER assigns the man he would have completely miserable, no other employment than that of composing grammars and compiling dictionaries; (2) perhaps with reason, as there is not, in the whole Encyclopædia, a more
(1) (Alterwards LL.D. He published also, “ Alliance of Music, Poetry, and Oratory,” the “Old Testament, English and Hebrew, with Critical Remarks, &c. ;' and died in 1791. ]
(2) [See, in Gent. Mag. 1748, p. 8, Scaliger's epigram on this subject ; and also in “ Johnsoniana," 8vo. edit. p. 370, the opening lines of Murphy's translation of Dr. Johnson's Latin verses, written after revising and enlarging his Dictionary :
"When Scaliger, whole years of labour past,
laborious, yet a more unthankful study, than that bestowed on the rudiments of language. The labour employed in other parts of science may be great, but it is also apparent : in this, as in the mine, it is excessive, yet unseen. This consideration may probably have been the cause that few good essays upon language are to be found among us: men whose talents were equal to such an undertaking, choosing to employ them on more amusing studies ; and those who were unequal to the task, shewing only by their unsuccessful attempts how much a well-executed performance of this kind was wanting. To echo back the rules of former grammarians, to translate Latin grammars into English, or English grammars into Latin, requires but small abilities, and has been the practice of many late writers in this species of erudition. But to trace language to its original source, to assign reasons for the justness of every rule in grammar, to shew the similitude of languages, and at the same time every distinguishing idiom of each, was reserved for the ingenious writer before us.
In the first and second parts of his work we have the rudiments of the four languages referred to in the title, explained with the utmost precision and brevity ; those rules which serve for one language being adapted, with very little variation, to the other three. Here no technical term is used, till it be first made plain by a definition ; and reasons are always assigned for the peculiarities of languages and usages in syntax.
The third part contains four Dissertations; in which, as these are calculated for entertainment as well as instruction, our author often indulges some peculiarities, ingeniously supported, though very liable to be controverted.
The first treats of the possible number of simple sounds in speech, of which he presents us with an alphabet; by these sounds alone he would have children taught to read, being of opinion, that they might learn by this method in a few months, what they are years in acquiring by the other, now in use among us. The author is led from his inquiry concerning the origin of simple sound, into an examination, whether language is the natural result of man's own industry, or whether communicated to him by some superior power. “If,” says he, “ in the ordinary course of things, language is transmitted in a constant series from parents to children, we must go back till we arrive at some point of time, wherein the first of the human species, whether one, two, or a thousand, could not receive language in this channel ; but it must have been derived to them in as extraordinary a manner as their existence, from the same fountain that gave them their being. We cannot help apprehending but that the first man's creator must be his instructor in languages as well as duty, teaching him how to form articulate sounds and words, giving him knowledge of things, their attributes, actions, and relations, as well as the power of assigning them their names.” To the same origin our author attributes the use also of alphabetical writings, and is of opinion, as we have hinted in the preceding article, that the alphabet was first given by God to Moses on the mount. (1) His reasoning on this head is curious, if not satisfactory ; however, we must decline the particulars for want of room.
The second dissertation treats of the changes of sounds in pronunciation; how far they may be imitated in writing ;
(1) [" Talking of the origin of language :- Johnson. It must have come by inspiration. A thousand, nay a million, of children could not invent a language. While the organs are pliable, there is not understanding enough to form a language : by the time there is understanding enough, the organs are become stiff. Inspiration seems to me to be necessary, to give man the faculty of speech; to inform him that he may have speech; which I think he could no more find out without inspiration, than cows or logs would think of such a faculty."-Boswell, vol. viii. p. 198.)
and the chief causes of the variation in words. As we have seen some modern innovations in our language, with regard to spelling, Mr. Bayly may be an useful monitor, to warn writers against such affectation. “Language,” says he,
by following pronunciation in writing, may be so altered from itself as to become new, and rendered so vague in its meaning, that books written even but a hundred years past, have the appearance of being barbarous, and to the surviving generation are scarce intelligible. Pronunciation might be left to take its course, vary ever so much and ever so often; but writing, as being the only preservative of a language, ought to be kept to some standard. Orthography should be steady, be made the guide to orthoepy, or at least a check upon it, and not orthoepy be the guide to orthography. Had such a rule as this, founded in reason and the nature of things, been attended to in all writings, though it is easy to see that it required a knowledge equal to divine to be able to write words truly in the first language, posterity would not have found so much difficulty as they now do, in understanding them; the etymology and meaning of words would have been more determinate, and the streams of knowledge traced with more certainty up to their fountain bead.”
The subject of the third dissertation is style, or the art of just writing; that of the fourth, elocution, or the art of speaking: both contain rules that may be useful, hints that are new, and ingenious observations. Upon the whole, the author attempts to give a rational and universal view of language, from its elements through its several combinations and powers, in writing and speaking. He is possessed of learning to examine his subject minutely, and good sense to avoid incurring the imputation of pedantry; so that his book will be found cqually useful to the student and entertaining to the critic.
X.-BURTON'S GREEK TRAGEDIES.(1)
[From the Monthly Review, 1758. “ Pentalogia ; sive Trage
diarum Græcarum Delectus." 8vo. Oxford.]
Dr. BURTON, whose former productions in the learned languages are more than sufficient proofs of his abilities for an undertaking of this nature, has here presented the public with an edition of five Greek tragedies, indisputably the best in that language ; and we may venture to add, superior to all that were ever composed in any other. Three of these are the Edipus Tyrannus, the Edipus Coloneus, and the Antigone of Sophocles ; the first peculiarly excellent for its fine complication of terror and distress, especially towards the catastrophe ; the second, for its pathetic opening, which Milton has so happily imitated in bis Sampson Angonistes; the third, also a master-piece, for what is called by Aristotle the Tων επεισοδιων οικονομιαν, , the just disposition of incidents. The other tragedies in this book are the Phænissæ of Euripides, and the Septem ad Thebas of Eschylus, which, though inferior to those of Sophocles, have, however, with great propriety, a place in this edition. They are introduced with intention to shew, (as our author expresses it)" in materia consimili ingeniorum dissimilium concertatio," the efforts of different geniuses in the same species of composition.
This edition, as we are informed, was long since undertaken ; but the death of a young gentleman, who was principally instrumental in forwarding it, occasioned its being
(1) (Dr. John Burton was born at Wombworth, in Devonshire, in 1696, and died rector of Mapledurham, Oxfordshire, in 1771. His works consist of Occasional Sermons," Opuscula Miscellanea Theologica,” and
Opuscula Metrico-prosaica, &c.” “ He was," says Dr. Kippis, an able divine, a sound scholar, and an excellent academic: and set an useful example to L'niversity men, whether as fellows, tutors, officers, or editors.")