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English language, distinguishing the past rense both from the present tense and from the past p.rticiple, no opportunity should be lost by the grammarian for pressing into this list those verbs which, if we may so say, are still hesitating whether they shall belong to it or not. Thus the verb to strike forms struck in the past sense, but is hesitating whether to form stricken in the participle. Though Shakspeare already uses the latter in speaking of “the stricken deer,” yet “I have struck” is in most frequent use.
Among the conjunctions, Mr. Grant (p. 112.) places either, both, and neither ; which many of our grammarians rank among the pronouns: so strangely indefinite are the subdivisions termed parts of speech. — The tenth chapter, on Derivation, has the merit of introducing a topic too little discussed in popular grammars. '
At p. 169. the following rule is given :-'substantives, or nouns and pronouns, signifying the same thing, agree in case ; as “ Cicero the orator," "I the king."' - That substantives placed in apposition agree in case may be a rule of Latin grammar, but it is not a law of the English language. We say, His Majesty King George's soldiers: not His Majesty's King's George's soldiers. The Englishman imagines all words connected by apposition to be hyphened together, and inflects them as a single word: but, when the phrase is too long to be so contemplated, the inflective syllable is attached to the main substantive, and those which are subordinate stand apart in the case absolute. We staid at Lord Lyttleton's, the ornament of his country: no one would write the ornament's.
The first Appendix treats of figures of speech, somewhat pedantically. It may be well to attach more of the theory of rhetoric than is commonly allotted to grammars of language; yet, we think, the department of grammatical tuition is so different in its character from that of oratorical composition, that we should have preferred the assignment of a distinct treatise to each.
Appendix ii. treats of style. On these topics, Blair and Campbell are not easily excelled, but may properly be abridged.
The third Appendix relates to punctuation ; a topic which is essential to an English grammar. The vitious punctuation of the Psalms in the Common-prayer-book is deservedly blamed at p. 344. As the art of reading is acquired and preserved among the people of England in a great degree by means of their liturgic exercises, it is important that gross grammatical blunders should not be inculcated in them.
We extract the fifth chapter. Having treated of the comma, semicolon, colon, and period, Mr. Grant observes :
** There are four other marks, which influence the sense and the delivery, the Dash (-) the Note of Interrogation (?) the Note of Exclamation (!) and the Parenthesis ( ).
i Of the Dash. - The Dash is commonly used to denote abrupt. ness ; to shew that a significant pause is intended; or that there is an unexpected turn in the sentiment: thus, “ Nothing, my Lord, or if I know not what." (Shakesp.) “ You have given the command to a person of illustrious birth, of antient family, of innu. merable statues, but-of no experience." “ He sometimes counsel takes — and sometimes snuff." It is used instead of the regular points, by rambling, incoherent, or ignorant writers.
• Of Interrogation. The Note of Interrogation is put after a question ; as “ What shall we do?” If, in any matter of inquiry, the expression is not in the precise form of a question, this mark is not used ; thus, “ Your father inquired, when I should depart.” But, if the expression is in the form of a question, it should, though introduced with an affirmation, be followed by this mark; thus, « And they asked him, Who art thou ?” When exclamation, rather than interrogation, is intended, this mark should not be used; thus, « With what kindness does God vouchsafe to look upon us !" No question being intended, no answer is expected.
Of Exclamation or Admiration. - The Note of Exclamation is put after expressions of sudden emotion ; thus, “ Alas! what will become of us !” Although exclamations be generally expressed, as just observed, in an interrogative form ; yet, as no answer is expected or intended, they should not be followed by the mark of interrogation.
• Clauses which are terminated by these two last marks are sometimes followed by others, which are closely connected with them. This connection may be denoted by beginning the others with a small letter. When there is no such connection, we should begin with a capital ; thus, “ Wherefore is consciousness reposed in thee alone and whence is it derived to thee?” -“ Is he come? Are they arrived !” Both marks occasion an elevation of the voice, but are indeterminate with respect to the time of the pause. — Every sentence ends either with a period, a note of interrogation, or a note of exclamation.
Of the Parenthesis. — The Parenthesis incloses something explanatory, but which does not necessarily affect the construction of the sentence ; thus, “ King James wrote a treatise (what could be more ridiculous !) on the Heinous Sin of using Tobacco.” This mark is often used when it is not necessary; thus, “ Insomuch that (if it were possible) they shall deceive the elect.” Two commas may here be substituted. When the intermediate clause is short, or coincides with the rest of the sentence, it needs not be used; thus, “ The man, he replied, had never called.” The pa. renthesis requires a small depression of the voice, (cases of Interroga. tion and Exclamation excepted;) and may contain any point which the sense would require, were it omitted. The comma, however, is seldom employed, its place being sufficiently supplied by the pa. renthetical characters. X 2
• To conclude: - The primary object of punctuation, as already hinted, is to ascertain the grammatical construction, or the mutual relation of words, members, and sentences; and hence, in recitation, its influence in directing the intonation, pauses, and vocal inflexions, so that the hearer may have a distinct perception of the construction and meaning of each sentence, and a ctear comprehension of the whole.'
In the fourth Appendix, Mr. G. discusses Prosody. This is an essential part of grammar properly so called, and is too often neglected; under this head, the author not unwisely treats much of orthoepy.
Mr. Grant's grammar deserves perusal by those who have studied the laws of the English language only in the concise elementary school-books: but perhaps it does not sufficiently keep in view a specific and single class of readers. Examples, and erroneous lessons for correction, and other exercises, abound in it; as if it were deliberately intended for the use of schools : yet, in other parts, learned words and critical refinements are lavished, as if the appeal were only to the literary and the philosophic. We should advise the author to separate his book into two discinct volumes ; to treat popularly of English grammar merely in the first; and to reserve for the second those chapters or Derivation, Synonymy, Style, Harmony, and Expression, which belong rather to a grammar of rhetoric than to a grannar of
In p. 323. and 324. the author declares with great warmth his admiration of the style of Addison and Beattie. The former certainly has been a very fashionable writer, and copied with fidelity and grace the idiom in use among the genteel world: but that which was formerly the conversation of the young lady has now descended to the lady's maid ; and the tone of opinion and expression, of topic and phraseology, which pervades the Spectator, has insensibly faded into an antiquated sort of elegance. In order to keep the name and works of Addison current in the reading world, it has been found necessary to garble his parterre, to throw away the flowerets that are off show, and to plant out in smaller beds the perennials and evergreens of which there are still hopes. Addison lives, but not undecaying, nor unpruned; dead leaves are daily picked off; he does not luxuriate and replenish, and promise to bloom again in every summer of our literature.- Beattie is of much feebler stem than Addison. Charity and nationality held a hand-glass over his early reputation, and aided a sickly plant to grow up with a hot-house delicacy, which enabled it to pass for an exotic. Of his prose, little remains but the chapter on prosody in the Theory of Language. Of his verse, the Mir i s generally supposed to retain value as a descriptive
poem; it is euphonous, but tedious; and its beauties consist in its details rather than in its plan. We make these observations the more freely, because it is exceedingly important not to recommend inferior models to young persons. The human faculty never attains its entire capacity, until the greatest writers have been read; the sooner the mind is taught to shape its thoughts in their moulds, the more likely it is to take their bent; and whoever directs admiration to mediocrity teaches ambition to be contented with attainments which can bestow on the individual but a trifling distinction, and on the country no accession of glory.
We are persuaded that this comprehensive dissertation, on the laws which govern the inflections of our tongue, will contribute to direct a curious attention to its structure, and will favour that critical appretiation of its powers which is the best pledge for their habitual exercise, and the best safeguard against misuse and corruption.
Art. X. Blümchen der Einsamkeit ; i.e. Flowerets of Solitude.
By C. L. Reissig, Captain of Cavalry. 12mo. Boards. Boosey, London. 1813. A GERMAN volume, printed and published in London, is A welcome to us, as announcing a growing care respecting that language and literature. The writings of the Germans already command the attention of the continent; and their Gothic dialect, notwithstanding its difficulty, may even in time supersede French as the vehicle of European erudition. Indeed, there is a mass of information, partly compiled and partly speculative, which constitutes the attainment of our age, and which subsists altogether only in German. Hence the communicators of knowlege, of discovery, and of instruction, are every where finding the language to be necessary to them; and those philosophic bystanders, or gentlemen-critics, who choose to occupy such stations in the temple of science as enable them to see behind the curtain, are also learning it. German is become the esoteric language of the European mind.
We have here a volume of easy and pleasing poems, which it may amuse the young scholar, the learner of German, to try to construe. They are intitled Flowerets of Solitude, and exhale many sweetly-scented sighs. To Spring, to Sleep, to the Bottle, or to the Rose; to his Mistress, to his Friend, or to his Mother; to the Birth-day or the Wedding-festival which he joined, or to the Park which he visited, the author is prone to express the tuneful sensibility of his affectionate reminiscence. For a cavalry officer thus to know how to decorate and embellish
his leisure is a display of education, a mark of talent, and a proof of merit.
Writers of occasional poetry, of domestic verses, of social rhimes, of fire-side sonnets, who employ a muse to indite their notes, and Apollo to fill up their letters of congratulation, will readily find in this collection some apt model from which they may take hints, whatever ordinary subject may occupy their metrical activity. As German sentimentality has something so clinging and adhesive in its fondness as to leave English apathy at an aukward and blushing distance, these effu. sions have a tenderness which only Mr. Wordsworth, perhaps, among our own poets, might expect to rival. In warmth of attachment to little things, the brother-bards would agree; and they would sympathize in viewing the contiguous objects of nature through the microscope of a chrystalline tear.
Prose-translations of poetical compositions are at all times flat; and they are peculiarly so when the topic of the poem constitutes the smallest part of its interest; when it is the eu. phony of the lines, the flow of the phrase, the structure of the stanza, or the elegance of the turn and close, which bestows the charm. In reading these verses, we have been struck with a melody seldom attained in the Teutonic tongue, and with a display of feeling which endears the writer to the reader. Yet how could we convey, or even account for, these impressions, by any prosaic imitation? We must, then, have recourse to the rhiming machine in our drawer, which perhaps never went glibly, and which is now a little rusted from disuse ; and by means of it strive to grind into verse a short — no, a longspecimen : for this poem occupies three pages of the volume, and others commonly fill but one or two. Lamentation of a single Woman over the Cradle of her Child,
Sweet infant, glowing are thy cheeks
As is the roseat light of morn;
Thy little round plump face adorn :
The calm of heaven thy bosom beams;
To fan on thee their golden dreams.
Knew but affections calm and mild :
O that I yet remain'd a child !