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Wringing from nature's mysteries a power
But now I come
And answering sympathies.
Thou askest much
Slow throbbing into silence.
Speak no more
Save the dear Vision which I bid thee bring.
Moving immortally from world to world,
"Twill be but to abash thy selfish soul. (As the Spirit of Ocean waved his sceptre and uttered slowly his incantation, a voice
was heard approaching, first distant, then nearer-singing : A smile from that eternal face,
I give the dew its pearly sheen, Which hath forever shone,
Its splendor to the flower, The universe my dwelling-place,
And every blade of grass is green, Through all my power is known. By my mysterious power, Where'er I glance the stars put on
Within the ocean's stirless deep, Their beauty and their pride,
Where choral music swells, And fresh-lit worlds, where I have gone. I give the amber's golden sleep, Shine brightly side by side.
And tinge the purple shells. The orb, where mortals have their birth, Its sands I spread and pebbly bed I've made to please their eye;
With pearls and diamonds bright, I've robed in living green the earth, And through its coral forests shed In varied hues the sky;
A strange and dreamy light. I give the trees their lordly growth, But most in woman's virgin face—"
The plants their lowly grace, And deck with gay
Lo! she stands before thee! speak,
If thou be not a inockery of the mind !
I know that I have sinned !
By evil power
Between thy soul and me?
Have I not loved thee,
The pale remembrance of a vanished dream?
Has thy dark life borne thee to so great light?
The stars shall pain thee, and the pallid moon
(Spirit of Beauty retiring.) Erdolph. Oh! one word more! Say that thou hat'st me not! Spirit of Beauty. How should I hate whom Heaven hath borne so long?
Yet now, farewell!
Oh! linger yet a moment!
To beautify the universe of God,
I hear the journeying stars,
SINCE the revival of letters in Europe For a century past, philological studies the study of language has held a promi- have not only been more universally nent place in every enlightened system cultivated, but they have taken a new of elucation, and the creation of an direction, and have been pursued for new original national literature has been purposes. Formerly, the Greek and every where accompanied by the culture Latin languages, distinguished as the and improvement of the vernacular Humanities, literæ humaniores kat' eçoxyv, tongue. Indeed, the predominant traits were alone thought indispensable to a of national literature stand in the rela- finished education, because they were tion of both cause and effect to the the vehicles of the best models of every character of the national language ; for species of literary composition, and men thought, like light, partakes of the hue learned Greek and Latin, merely that of the medium through which it is trans. they might be able to read the works of mitted, and the genius of every literature the poets, the philosophers, the dramais so far determined by the idiom of the tists, the orators, and the historians of language which is its vehicle, that the Athens and of Rome, who were supliterary productions of nations having a posed to have reached the highest point common speech are seldom or never dis- of attainable excellence in every departtinguished from each other by well-defined ment of intellectual exertion, and the characteristic traits, while, on the other greatest minds of modern Europe were hand, the form and spirit of every lan- content to admire and imitate what, by guage is, to a great extent, fashioned
common consent, the most favored genius and moulded by the intellectual character could never hope to rival. of its greatest writers.
It is a fact well worthy of notice in Unwritten and uncultivated tongues this connection, that the mighty intelusually abound in dialects. In nations Sects, who led the way in the revival of whose language has never been reduced learning in the fourteenth century, while to writing, every district has its peculi. cherishing the highest admiration for the arities of accent or vocabulary. These master spirits of antiquity, were yet change, from generation to generation, sufficiently independent to strike out for and the local dialects of regions separated themselves new forms of literary effort, by political divisions, or natural bounda- to be judged only by new canons of ries, soon become distinct tongues. But criticism, though doubtless with many when alphabetical writing is once adopt- misgivings as to the success of these ed, this process of divergence is usually untried labors. Rude dialects were arrested. Some great national writer softened, polished, enriched, made flexiadopts the dialect of his own province, ble, and taught to move in numerous or another better adapted to the artificial New rhythms, metres, and proforms which distinguish written from sodiacal combinations were invented, spoken language, or, with more compre- assonance and rhyme introduced, and hensive genius, selects from many, and their laws defined, and a new machinery combines into a harmonious whole the was employed and adapted to wholly elements of picturesque and poetical, original poetical forms. The explanadiscursive, or narrative expression, which tion of this phenomenon is to be found are scattered among them all. The in the general fact, that every period dialect thus selected or formed now marked by the successful resistance of becomes the classical standard of the man to arbitrary power has been conlanguage, while the others, unless, as in spicuous for great literary activity and the rare case of the Grecian dialects, excellence. For the greater part of the also illustrated by rival genius, sink to fourteenth century the papacy was under the humble rank of vulgar patois, and in a cloud, and men breathed freer during procese of time hecome entirely extinct. the great struggle between the crown
and the tiara. The study of Grecian now boast an original and independent and Roman literature served rather to literature. stimulate than to discourage attempts at The objects of philological pursuits, equal excellence, and the fourteenth as a branch of general education, are century is almost as memorable an era two-fold. The one makes the study of in literary history, as that which imme- languages a means of the acquisition of diately followed the final emancipation language, or, in other words, it makes of human intellect by Luther. Dante, the knowledge of other tongues subserve Petrarch and Chaucer were akin in the purpose of aiding us in acquiring a spirit to Wickliffe. Great original writers more thorough understanding and more are reformers in all ages, and among the perfect command of our own; the other names that shed lustre on the literature views the knowledge of foreign tongues of the periods we have noticed, there is simply as a key to the intellectual ireanot one, whose writings did not either sures of which they are the depositories. directly advocate, or indirectly promote We shall at present concern ourselves the principles, which finally gave charac- with the subject, only in the former of ter to the Protestant reformation. The these aspects. The value of etymology, conflicting interests of the throne and the as an auxiliary in the study of living hierarchy were at length reconciled, languages, has been disputed, and the according to the usual practice of rob- extravagances of the etymologists of the bers, by a division of the spoil. Temporal seventeenth century have been justly supremacy was conceded to the crown, ridiculed, as some of the wildest absurdi. and the church was invested with plenary ties into which fanciful and ingenious jurisdiction over the action of the human men have ever been led by the abuse of mind. It now became the mutual interest ill-digested erudition. It is moreover of these two powers to sustain the au- objected, that the ablest linguists have thority of each other. The prerogatives not often been distinguished for superior of the throne were defended, and majesty skill in the use of their vernacular, that was consecrated, by ecclesiastical sanc- many of the best writers of modern times, tions, and the civil power authorized its as well as most of the illustrious authors judges to confirm, and lent its execution of classic Greece and Rome, have been ers to fulfil, the sentences of the church. ignorant of all languages but their own, The pope, indeed, could no longer de- and that women, who are usually not throne kings, but he was compensated conversant with foreign languages, or by the unlimited power of worrying the speculations of etymologists, generheretics. In the thirteenth century, In- ally speak and write the purest English. nocent III. deposed John of England, It is no doubt true, that an exclusive debut his successors, in the fifteenth, en- votion to the study of foreign languages joyed no higher oblation than the incense will seriously impair the power of ready from the roasting of Huss, and the heca and appropriate expression in our matombs of Torquemada. The sovereign ternal tongue; but, on the other hand, it pontiffs now found leisure to turn their will be generally found, not only that attention to enslaving the power of the vocabulary of authors, who are acthought, as well as enchaining the frec- quainted with but a single language, is dom of conscience. The fifteenth century exceedingly narrow, but that they conFas, consequently, almost entirely barren fine themselves to a range of subjects, in manifestations of original intellectual which requires little scope or variety of power, and ancient mind acquired an expression. We are not authorized to ascendency over submissive modern in- impute to ancient writers so great a detellect, from which ages of free discus- gree of ignorance of foreign tongues, as sion and active rivalry have scarcely yet is generally assumed. That we find no fully emancipated us. The invention of ostentatious display of philological learnprinting, the discovery of America, the ing in their works, is indeed quite certain, Reformation, and the almost uninterrupt- but we have no means of determining, ed succession of political revolutivis, how far the languages of Egypt, Persia, which have followed that great event, or Carthage were known to the learned have kept the energies of the human of ancient Europe, or how far the formind constantly upon the stretch, literary gotten literature of those countries may activity has opened a thousand new fields, have influenced or modified that of Greece and almost every European nation can or Rome. We however know, that the
VOL. I.-NO. III.