Page images

Lexicon was compiled, and have been so much struck by the care and patient labor, which it indicated, that we have resolved to lay it before our readers, partly for the sake of the individual himself, and partly to refute the malicious and contemptible slander, that would seek to deprive him of the well-merited praise to which his exertions entitle him. In order, then, to form the New-York Lexicon, the whole of the Greek text was carefully read over, and every word noted down. These words were from time to time written off in a separate book, in alphabetical order, without accents, and with copious references to passages in the text, where terms or phrases occurred, requiring particular explanation. The Lexicon was then formed from these materials, and was sent to the publisher entirely in manuscript. The explanations of the words were taken prin. cipally from Donnegan, the roots and accentuation were obtained from Passow : (except in a few instances, for example, fous, and its compounds, taken from Buttmann, where Jacobs and Passow give rows.) Materials were also obtained from various subsidiary works, the names of some of which we mentioned in our previous article. We have here given a plain history of the affair.

But there is one remarkable feature in the New-York Lexicon, that must not be omitted here. It contains a large number of words that occur in the text, and are also found in the text of the Boston work, but which are not to be met with in the Boston Lexicon. Now how is this? Either Mr, Drisler must have been a most lucky guesser, and must have guessed in every instance, when a word was omitted in the Boston Lexicon, and what that word was, or else he must have read over the text; and if he read over the text and formed his vocabulary, his only object in adopting after this the vocabulary of the Boston work, could have been either to make his own a more complete one, (a thing, however, which he had already done,) or to save himself labor which he had already performed. The only thing wanted to make this argument a full and satisfactory one, is a list of some of the words that occur in the Boston text, but not in the Boston Lexicon, and which are found in both the text and Lexicon of the New-York edition. We give the following, merely stating in passing, that others have been counted, to the number of at least sixty. The reference is to the paging in the Boston work : dypóteipa, p. 165. dcídu, p. 159. 'Aonvn, p. 190. Aiveías, the third king of Alba, p. 11. ikooßiw, p. 203, (a case precisely similar to dvośw, for the common text has exBonoar, which the Boston editors have altered, and yet their Lexicon has εκβοάω, and not έκσοβέω,) στάδιος, p. 134. àveurós, p. 145. 'Epopos, the historian, p. 155. Bcios, an uncle, p. 161. 'Avtí. oxos, the pilot, and favorite of Alcibiades, p. 159. douévws, p. 50. Bards, p. 209. yepaids p. 197. dpareridas, p. 209, etc. So careful in fact was Mr. Drisler in compiling his Lexicon, that in several instances words appearing in Jacobs' Lexicon to the German work, but which had not been marked by Mr. Drisler as curring in the text were nevertheless, through fear lest some oversight had been committed by him, actually introduced into the New York Lexicon, such as Tviowy, Kipan, etc. 'And again, several words contained in the Boston Lexicon do not appear in the New-York one, because they do not occur in the text; such are 'Αβρoτήσιος, άγνυμι, αδάμας, πίλναμαι, (the reading being rirvajan,) cöfcvos, etc. How did Mr. Drisler know they were not contained in the text, unless he had previously read it over ?

The attempt of the reviewer to deny that the Boston Lexicon is for the most part, a mere abridgment of Donnegan's, strikes us as exceedingly ill-judged, and evinces a degree of desperation that is a sure mark of a tottering cause. Donnegan's Lexicon is in every body's hands, and any one can, by a very brief examination of the two books, satisfy himself at once of the truth of our charge. Let one, for example, compare the explanations given in Donnegan and the Boston Lexicon to the following words, Aiyís, ai, aiáζω, κώμος, λειτουργός, εγκώμιον, αγύρτης, αδάμας, αίθουσα, and he will find within the com. pass of a few pages, a specimen of what occurs on every page of the Lexicon to the Boston work. Now, as we have already remarked, the New York Lexicon was taken in a great degree from Donnegan, and as a matter of course continual aid was obtained from the vocabulary of Jacobs, which accompanied the German work. It would have

been a strange thing, therefore, if the New York and Boston Lexicons, drawn as they both were from the same sources, did not occasionally resemble each other; and it would have been more honest in the reviewer to have acknowledged this, and not sought to blind his readers by concealing so plain a truth as the abridgment from Donnegan.

The reviewer doubts ‘if any one would believe that the same results would be obtained by an abridgment of Donnegan's translation of Passow, as by Mr. Drisler's abridgment and compilation of the works of all the lexicographers mentioned.' For once, very much to his own surprise, no doubt, he stumbles upon the truth. No such results would be obtained, and none such, we can assure him, have been. It is precisely in those articles where the works of these lexicographers have been used, that the widest and most different results possible have been obtained, and these occur on almost every page. Let any one, for example, compare dañv in the New-York work, with any in the Boston one; ερύω with ερύομαι; είλω with έλλω (an error in the Boston Lexicon ;) δίω with δίομαι. Let him consult also the following words in both Lexicons, oύτις, άλλομαι, γλαυκώπις, αμύνω, απούρας, αποσεύω, etc., and he will soon see what different results have been obtained by Mr. Drisler and his rival compiler. In conducting this argument relative to the New-York and Boston Lexicons, we have not thought it worth our while to say any thing of the portentous blunders by which the latter is disgraced : such as ' Kpćwv, the father of Jocasta,'' Euripides, the contemporary and rival of Socrates.' I would prove of no avail to crowd our pages with absurdities of this kind, in order to show that so wretched a compilation could afford but little attraction, even to the most desperate plunderer ; but we cannot dismiss this part of our subject without adverting to one effusion of malignity altogether disgraceful in itself, and fit only to emanate from a hired reviewer. The critic thinks it a very grave circumstance, that in a book published with Dr. Anthor's name, so important a part as the Lexicon should be compiled by another hand, and he then talks of a Peter-Parley book factory, with a capable fore man. In another part of his article, he speaks of the difference between scurrility and gentlemanly language, as a matter of taste. And all this is allowed to appear in the pages of a Review which professes to stand at the head of American literature, and to go forth as a pattern of national refinement. It had better change its name to a 'Peter. Parley Factory of Scurrilous Invective and Dishonest Criticism,' and all the world will acknowledge the peculiar fitness of its foreman.

As regards the preparation of the Lexicon, we have only to remark, that every page of the manuscript passed to the press through the hands of Dr. Anthon, after having been carefully examined and corrected by him; while with respect to the employing the aid of another in compiling a work of so much heavy labor as a Lexicon must require, this very thing has been done by the Boston editors in the case of their own Reader. It would appear, therefore, that a 'Peter-Parley book-factory' is established nearer home.

We took occasion in our last article to notice certain variations in accent, which the reviewer had mistaken for so many typographical errors, and which according to him had been copied by Dr. Anthon from the Boston work. We pronounced them mere differences of opinion, and to prove this, cited the names of a few scholars in whose works the system of accentuation which the reviewer denounced as a mere blunder, was plainly in use. He now pretends that he too was fully aware of this, and that he had duly weighed authorities on the subject. We venture to say that he weighed no authorities at all, and we are confirmed in this opinion by the clumsy and ludicrous mode in which he undertakes to prove that "Ayıs and ’lors have the long penult, and must therefore be accented with the circumflex on that syllable. The main charge itself falls at once to the ground, when we call to mind that Dr. ANTHON's text followed Jacobs's ninth edition, where all these accentuations occur : and that the later mode of accenting was adopted in the Lexicon on the authority of Passow. And here we might leave the subject at rest, were it not that we wish to expose to our readers the miserable emptiness of this person's pretended scholarship. The ancients, in reciting their verses, were in the babit of dwelling on what is technically termed the arsis of the foot, which

in the dactylic mea sure is the first syllable, and thus, double time being allowed for enunciating this syllable, it could be artificially lengthened, though short under ordinary circumstances. Numerous short syllables, lengthened by this stress of the voice, are therefore found in the ancient writers; so that it has become an acknowledged principle among prosodians, that you can never prove a syllable to be long, merely by finding it in the arsis of a foot, unless you bring to its support additional authority. This is no profound learning on our part, but plain school-boy knowledge. And yet so ignorant is this man of the simplest principles of prosody, that he actually brings forward eight lines, to prove his position, in every one of which the contested syllable is thus situated, and proves precisely nothing at all. So that all this great array of Greek only shows more clearly his own incompetency; and he who pretends to sit in judgment on others, is found to be himself in need of instruction. If the mode of proof which he here adopts be a correct one, our prosodies, our graduses, our metrical systems, must all be consigned to the flames; the old-fashioned dactyls and spondees of our boyhood will no longer pass muster ; the new pattern of the reviewer must become the orthodox standard, and συνεχές and συνεχές, παρέχει and παρέχει, όφιν and όφιν, will jostle each other in the most edifying confusion. Now is it not too bad, that a Review which crosses the ocean, should carry to other lands such barbarous scholarship as this, and fancy all the while that it is an oracle of learning

The truth is, the whole array of illustrious scholars, from the days of Bentley to within a comparatively late period, gave the forms 'Ayıs and 'locs with surprising unanimity. These men surely must have read the lines which the reviewer has paraded on his page. These men surely must have known how to scan them. Why then did they still regard the penults of "Ayıs and "lois as short, and accent them as they did? Why? Because the lines in question proved, as they well knew, just nothing at all. We have here then a singular issue joined between Hemsterhuis and Valckenaer, and Wesseling and Porson, and a host of eminent names on the one hand, and - the Boston magus on the other. The reviewer will here no doubt demand of us, whether we mean to defend the earlier accentuation. We spoke of it merely as a difference of opinion. We only wish to make it appear that he himself is but a tyro in accentuation, and altogether unacquainted with its simplest principles. Indeed he is very like a person who has thrust himself into the company of the eminent scholars whom he names, and fancying himself one of their number, volunteers like a meddling busy-body to give a reason for a thing which he does not understand, and in giving which he only displays his own ignorance. He will find the true reason stated in the pages of Spitzner; and he may also read in Stephen's Thesaurus, under the head of duvń, what will perhaps enlighten him on the subject of typographical errors.

Having shown, as we conceive, pretty clearly, the depth of the reviewer's scholarship, we will now make a few remarks about its fairness. In carrying out his argument respecting accents, he cites what he calls a rule from Dr. Anthon's Greek Grammar, relative to the accentuation of dissyllables, which he pronounces decidedly wrong; and the error consists, according to him, in Dr. Anthor's not having mentioned that the rule only applied when the penult was the place of the accent. Now it happens, that in Dr. Anthon's grammar, the rules are first given for the determination of the accented syllable, and then follow rules for determining the nature of the accent. This latter part has a general introduction in the following words : 'If the syllable on which the tone rests is known, the question then is, with what sign it is to be accented ? Concerning this, the following rules obtain.' The rules then follow. One of these applies to the case of the third syllable from the end being accented; the one immediately following, to the case of the accent being on the last syllable; and then comes the rule which excites the sneer of the reviewer : 'Every dissyllable word, whose penult is long by nature, and followed by a short final syllable, is marked by a circumflex on the penult.' Now, this rule, taken in connection with what immediately precedes, and with the general introduction that has just been quoted, is perfectly clear. The syllable on which the

tone rests is known, and the only thing is to know what that tone shall be. Our readers will hardly believe what we are going to state; but it is a positive fact. The reviewer suppresses the introductory remark, garbles the rule, and then cites it as Dr. ANTHON'S! What is still worse, he knew perfectly well that Dr. ANTHON meant the rule to be understood differently, for on the very next page this unprincipled critic actually quotes a remark of Dr. ANTHON, taken from the notes to the 'Reader,' which brands the reviewer in the plainest manner with wilful and deliberate falsification of the author's meaning; and then comes a long note of triumph, at the conclusion of which the reviewer exclaims: 'Seriously, Dr. Anthon, accustomed as he is to inaccuracy, ought to blush for such an error as this.' We should be insulting our readers, if we thought they needed a single word from us to excite their deep disgust at this revolting piece of turpitude. The man, however, punishes himself. He is made the instrument of his own disgrace. In the preface to his Grammar, Dr. Anthon modestly observes, that he lays but few claims to originality, either of design or execution. "The object of the editor,' he goes on to remark, 'has been to present in a small compass, all that his own experience as an instructor has shown him to be really useful in Greek elementary studies. His principal guide has been the excellent grammar of Matthiæ, of which the present volume may in some degree be considered as an abstract; and valuable materials have at the same time been obtained from the labors of Buttmann, Rost, and other distinguished philologists.' Of the grammars here mentioned, that of Rost enjoys a very high reputation in Germany, and it is one of the four to which the grammatical appendix is adapted at the end of the first volume of the German ‘Reader.' Jacobs himself, in the preface to the twelfth edition of his work, calls it 'the wide-spread grammar of Rost.' It has also been translated in England, and the preface to the translation alludes particularly to the excellence of the rules of accentuation contained in the work. Now, the rule condemned and ridiculed by the reviewer, is not Dr. Anthon's, but Rost's! It is a rule which has stood for years the test of German criticism; a rule received with approbation by the scholars of Eng. land; a rule which even in our own country has never been impugned, until the present moment. The truth is, the reviewer thought it was Dr. Anthon's. He wished to satisfy his employers to the utmost. The suppression of a part of Dr. Anthon's language could easily be glossed over. He would style him an inaccurate man, and then all would believe the story, and if Dr. ANTHON sought to vindicate himself, who would listen to one so 'accustomed to inaccuracy,' and who is told 'to blush' for his errors?" The situation in which the reviewer has placed himself, is, we are happy to say, a solitary one in the annals of criticism. The only case at all resembling it, is that of the Edinburgh Review, when they called the Greek line in Knight's version of the ‘Bard,' arrant nonsense, and afterward learned that it was an extract froni Pindar! There, however, it was ignorance; here it is something worse.

Our readers will not be surprised after this to hear, that the reviewer maintains, with regard to his criticism on the verb áminut, that he merely meant it had not the signification of 'to neglect,' or 'to be careless about,' in the passage under consideration. A more disgraceful subterfuge, and a more palpable violation of the truth, never before characterized any literary controversy. We venture to say that no one, whoever he is, by whom the reviewer's remarks in the July number of the North American have been read with the slightest attention, believes one word of what he now says in his defence. It is evident, to the plainest understanding, that he thought aginpe had no such meaning as that given to it by Dr. Anthon, but only the signification of 'to throw!' for he actually charges him with forging a signification for the verb in his Lexicon, in order to 'accommodate the latter to his notes.' And now it appears, that the whole affair was a mere difference of opinion, and that Dr. ANTHON's translation of the term was ridiculed by him because he thought it was erroneous! Take him, however, at his word, and suppose, for the sake of argument, that he does speak the truth in what he says; does it not follow, from the very passages which he cited, that he believed it to be a

physical impossibility to ignite a forest by being careless with fire? What then does he gain by his violation of the truth, but a character for stupidity, which goes to stultify the whole tenor of his criticisms ? We repeat, therefore, our deliberate opinion ; the writer has here been guilty of a wilful and paltry untruth. And yet this veracious personage triumphantly alleges that we have not answered any of his charges respecting the quality of Dr. Anthon's translations or his cumbrous pedantry. We took up that charge which he apparently considered his most unanswerable one, the mistranslation of aţinue, and in place of meeting us in fair argument, he sneaks away with a falsehood. We leave his other criticisms to school-boys, especially that, where in translating a participle, he makes the wonderful discovery that it can be rendered into our idiom by a tense, a matter settled we believe when people first began to translate from Greek into English.

As to cumbrous pedantry, that, to adopt his own words, is a mere matter of taste, and we are happy to add that this taste is on the increase. The volumes of Dr. ANTHON find their way every where. There is hardly a school or college in the land, where some of them have not been introduced. They are all, moreover, reprinted in England. The grammar, in particular, has been edited by Dr. MAJOR, the principal of the Preparatory School to King's College, London, and is the text-book in that establishment; and what is more remarkable still, the classical schools in Quebec are said to send for these very volumes to England, and to have thrown out the series of Valpy, and taken them in its stead. One would think that our patriotic gentlemen, who preside over the literary destinies of the North American Review, would feel a little pride on this occasion, and would think it also some little indication of merit, for American works thus gallantly to stem the tide of foreign prejudice. No such thing. Dr. Anthon is not a native of the 'modern Athens,' and his books therefore are full of inaccuracies, and unfit to be read ; at least it will do very well to tell the public so, and they will believe of course whatever falls from the lips of these honest and dignified and truth-loving censors. Beside, the rapid spread of Dr. Anthon's works might interfere with the sale of certain Boston publications, and injure the character of the 'literary emporium.' These works, there. fore, must be written down. If it cannot be done with truth, well then let it be accomplished by falsehood. Let him be called a plagiarist, a blunderer, a man of cumbrous pedantry. What will the world care about any attempts at refutation, or who will take the trouble to read them ?

What we here say is by no means idly said. This attack on Dr. ANTHON's series has been long maturing, and it would have developed itself sooner, had a fit opportunity presented. Its whole object is, to stop the sale of a series of works which have thrown rival editions far into the hade; and that this is uppermost in the thoughts of the reviewer, the concluding words of his malignant farrago most clearly indicate. He ends his remarks with the legal phrase of 'caveat emptor,'' let the buyer be on his guard;' and the ends of criticism are identified in his mind with the ends of trade. The whole is a mere money-making affair.

Strange as it may appear to the reviewer and his employers, this attack on Dr. Anthon's works has proved a source of positive advantage to the latter. It has excited a more general inquiry into the character of those productions, and every such inquiry has resulted in the adoption of the works. Strange as it may appear to some, numerous orders for the New-York Reader have been received, since the commencement of this controversy, from the city of Boston itself; two thousand copies of the book have been sold since its publication in the spring of the present year; and what is strangest of all, at the trade-sale of last September, the Boston Reader sold for fifty cents a copy, and was purchased too by a Boston house, whereas the New-York Reader, at the same time and place, sold for one dollar and thirty-five cents. Will the North American Review take these things into its serious consideration, and ask itself whether the true way of stopping the sale of Dr. ANTHON's publications would not be by bestowing upon them its encomiums ?

« PreviousContinue »