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toward his creatures, of the creatures toward God, for Delicacy, likewise, requires generic terms, that we erotic love, pining love, for charity, &c.
may merely allude to unpleasant or offensive subjects, The poet, of course, wants frequently holophrastic when obliged to touch upon, instead of directly prowords; but polyphrastic terms are equally necessary at nouncing them. “During our late misunderstandings” other times; for as it is sometimes highly poetic to would be more delicate if used by an American writing shoot the word like an arrow to one single point, with to an Englishman, than “During our late war with unerring aim, poetry requires, at other times, to keep, if you,” and circumstances might exist which would renI may use the expression, the mind pending between a der a delicate expression in this case preferable to the number of thoughts, to allude and indicate instead of positive. pointing and fixing, to throw with one word a vast as There is also a peculiar energy in some cases, when sociation of ideas into the mind of the hearer, and let it we suddenly elevate ourselves from the specific to the work there for itself.
generic or the most general possible; for instance When we feel the want of being eloquent, the de- when the poet, having spoken of a vessel, so that we sire to speak with a degree of energy, yet on a subject know what he means, suddenly says “and now the of a decided or somewhat philosophical character, mighty thing,” &c. compound holophrastic words will be found peculiarly These observations, to which many other might be convenient, for they bring to our mind, an assemblage added, show that a language is the more complete, the of ideas, with rapidity and yet allow us to view it as more abundantly it is supplied and may, at pleasure, complex, without which the philosophical character continue to supply itself both with holophrastic and would vanish. Take a word like úrólnyes, or the analytic words, and the more archolophrastic and synGerman Rechtsfähigheit, the capability of being a person thetic or inflective holophrastic words it possesses, that with legal privileges and obligations.
it may supply the continual wants of the mind to deThe more our speech assumes the character of dis- signate newly divided shades, new symplectic ideas, cussion, the more philosophical it is—the more we newly discovered things or newly produced notions. stand in want of generic terms, of analytic words; yet There exists, however no language, which, being otherhere again, it is necessary that we may distinctly par- wise intimately connected with our civilisation, can at ticularize the various genera, in other words, that we all be compared in perfection—applying this term to lanhave an abundance of words. The French is a languages in the sense in which I have explained it—to guage of a decidedly analytic and generic character, the Greek, which to all its enumerated philosophic perstill it is a very inconvenient means for metaphysic fections, unites that of great euphony and rhythm. discussions; because it is a language which has not a The Greek language 1. possesses an abounding trcavery abundant treasure of words at its disposal. sure of words, so that it can designate with ease generic
A language must be rich in order to be energetic as as well as specific ideas, and is able to express the most well as delicate; if it be not, words which signify spe- delicate shades or the minutest connecting links between cific things or ideas must be used to express more gene- more definite or general ideas. 2. Its vocabulary conral ideas; hence they lose the power of expressing tains a vast number both of holophrastic and sharply quite specific objects or delicate shades. The French discriminating, analytic words. 3. The Greek has a is delicate with regard to social intercourse; but in this great many archolophrastic, and hence most energetic particular it is a very rich language, far more so than expressions; it contains 4. likewise an astonishing English or German.
abundance of synthetico-holophrastic words, which Hence the great beauty of languages which have not afford a variety, unequalled in any other language, of thrown away the privilege of forming and compound- discriminating terms for all philosophic inquiries, geneing, with the commencement of their written literature, ralizing as well as analyzing the processes of the mind, and which have at no period considered themselves as and of peculiar convenience for all abstract purposes. finished, but have at all periods continued to act as an 5. It is rich in polyphrastic terms; 6. Its faculty of organic, living thing, such as the German or Greek. compounding was so great that it rendered the idiom
Elegance of language requires likewise analytic a pliable, fusable and malleable material in the hands words, for it is the character of elegance not to be too of any reflecting man, to whatever point he directed positive or direct, to use, therefore, the general instead his researches or inquiries, or to whatever bold combi. of the particular, the generic instead of the specific, nations or daring allusions the loftiest genius elevated the distant, instead of the near, the circuitous instead itself. 7. The faculty of compounding extended not of the direct, (as we may say Mrs. B. instead of your only to words, but to a great number of elements, which, wife, though Mr. B. may stand before us, and as polite together with the abundance of entire words, rendered ness has introduced in many languages the third per- it a peculiarly descriptive tongue, both with regard to son, as if some one absent were spoken of, instead of natural phenomena and minute technical and mechanidirect address.) The French use la glace (the substance, cal descriptions. 8. The Greek has an extraordinary the general) for miroire (the specific.) Frequently it inflective character, which makes it concise, clear, defiis elegant to use the general instead of the specific, be- nite and logical, while it possesses at the same time cause it shows a certain skill of generalizing, something such a wonderful abundance of particles, far greater recherché ; but for this reason, also, it becomes so casily even than modern European idioms, though they are affected and ridiculous. Suppose a man were to say: not inflective are few imaginable, that there are relations an individual of the feline species, instead of a cat ; it and conditions which cannot be expressed perspicuously would be ridiculous. Still, modern affectation has intro- by this admirable idiom, perhaps the most wonderful duced many circuitous expressions of equal absurdity, of all the creations of the human mind. 9. Though it which nevertheless are now quite common.
is with regard to the composition of words of a decidedly
synthetic and not unfrequently polysynthetic character, ourselves. For reasons which it is impossible to deveyet it does not disdain agglutination, and though it has, lop here, but which are intimately connected with the as to the construction of periods a decidedly syntactic whole spirit of antiquity, and the mighty change, procharacter, it does not disdain parathesis, and thus in- duced by christianity, elevating as it did the value of creases still more its manyfold powers of expression, so the individual, the style of the ancients is characteristithat this idiom accompanies the mind to the minutest cally different from the style of modern nations. We ramifications of reasoning like an ever ready assistant. can learn also in this particular much from the ancients, 10. As the Greek is thus beautiful and perfect with without giving up in the least the advantages which we regard to its structure, its powers and its pliability, it derive from modern civilisation. It is but showing ouris not less so as to the exterior, and euphony forms one selves grateful to the great dispensor of nations, if we of its greatest ornaments. 11. It was cultivated, and duly appreciate what former generations gained and developped under circumstances the happiest imaginable conquered, often at a dear rate, and make it a means of for fixing the meaning of words and expanding the farther promotion of intellectual advancement. idiom itself as the element in which the human mind Nothing, probably, characterises the difference of the has to manifest itself, and by a race endowed with style of the classics and the moderns so strikingly, as eminently acute and discriminating faculties, a most the fact that the ancients keep the object to be described peculiar sensitiveness for the beautiful and the harmo- or discussed, strictly in view; the moderns make the nious, and gifted with the loftiest genius-a race which, subject, who describes, play a prominent part. The during the short space of two centuries, run through all ancients describe the beautiful, we beautifully; they the fine arts, nearly all systems of philosophy, tried the horrid, we fearfully; they the graceful, we gracealmost all forms of government and fought its way fully; they the fact, we the impression of the fact ; through many combinations of political systems, and they the thing, we the feeling caused by the thing; elevated itself to an admirable degree of perfection in they discriminate, we try to be witty. Hence, among all branches of poetry and eloquence, so that this very other things, the great advantage, which, individuals race has become the master race of civilised mankind endowed with independant judgment, have, at all times in most branches, and has laid the foundation even of derived from a careful study of the classics; for imitaour more mechanic civilisation ; for darkness prevailed tion is worth nothing; but patiently and attentively so long as never ceasing wars and conquests bade his learning from master minds is not slavish-imitation or tory to be silent on this race, until the conquest of Con- copying. stantinople scattered the degenerate sons of Greece over It has been often said, and, it may be allowed, with Western Europe and the light of knowledge was re- an appearance of plausibility if we glance only at the kindled even by the mere remnants of former Greek subject : “Why shall we study the ancients, whom did civilisation. So perfect an idiom proved this language they study?” “ Did the Greeks not develop their civithat when christianity changed the spirit of antiquity lisation from out themselves ?" "What foreign Homer into something entirely different, and new systems ne did the Athenian schoolboy study?” First, this objeccessarily arose, new views were to be expressed and a tion would apply to the Greeks only, for Roman litenew truth was to be proclaimed, even then this idiom rature is very decidedly founded upon the Greek; so was found to be a ready element in which the human was Roman science. With regard to the Greeks themmind could cast and form whatever it felt urged to selves, I have only to say: if it was the plan of the great express.
ruler to lead, by a combination of thousand different I trust that the objection will not be made, that, all I circumstances, geographical, chronologic, religious, and have said of the Greek being granted, it is, nevertheless political, a tribe to a high degree of civilisation without not our language, nor can we make it so; why then, foreign influence except in the first stages of its history, shall we acquire an idiom, which we cannot use as the what right have we to murmur against his plan, or to means of communication, however preferable it might throw aside the whole amount of this civilisation bebe in itself to our own idioms. I have shown how great cause we have not acquired it ? Surely, it is possible the advantage is, which our mind derives from the at that a nation may acquire a beautiful language withtentive study of a foreign idiom, unconnected with the out the influence of foreign literature; the very Greeks use, we may make of this language as a means of com- prove it; but are those who start the objection, aware munication; and I have likewise shown, I hope, why of how dearly bought Greek civilisation was? There these advantages are to be derived from this study. If eloquence could not have risen to so eminent a degree we apply what I said of the study of foreign idioms in had not Greece fought through all those many political general, to this most perfect language, which, as stated, struggles, nor without their peculiar liberty, which made has been developped under a most propitious combina- the state every thing and almost disowned individual tion of circumstances by some of the greatest minds on right; it was, if I may use a paradox, the tyranny of record, and lies before us deposited in a vast, variegated liberty. Will they deny, that the Greeks are and ought and rich literature, we shall find, that of all foreign lan- to be our teachers in sculpture and architecture; but guages, the Greek is by far the most superior in order could either have risen to so high a perfection without to obtain these advantages for the development of our their religion--a religion which ascribed human shapes mind; the more so, as it is a language of antiquity, a to the gods and thus lead to an idealization of this form? period when different views prevailed, different princi- In history there is no such thing as living over old peples were maintained ; at which, therefore, the division riods; a dream cannot be dreamt twice, and what is of ideas was in many cases entirely different. broken may be glued, but cannot form one whole again.
And this last observation leads me to make a remark It is folly to attempt to force back the great current of on the different style of the writings of the ancients and time, but it is wisdom to profit by what others have
produced without paying the same high price for it. | lisation is not directly connected with that of the anThe Greek beautiful plastic style is closely connected cient Hindoos; their ideas moved in too different a with their whole view of life, which acknowledged in sphere, to lead to the study of Sanscrita that general its fullest extent reality, the life that is, and nothing advantage, which we derive from the Greek, however beyond it. Dreary indeed was their view of Hades, interesting that venerable idiom once spoken on the despondingly so; who can read the visit of Ulysses shores of the Ganges may be to the philologist and the to the lower regions without chilling sadness! But since philosopher of the human mind by profession. In the such is the fact, since this view has produced so beau-Greek the student will find a new logic, a new division tiful and perfect a style, is it not our bounden duty to of ideas, nay, entirely new ideas with the new words profit by it? If a man were to squander his whole for which designate them, without being led into regions tune in cultivating a garden, to the neglect of many too distant. other important subjects; shall his neighbor, who culti What I have said of the Greek applies in a great vates likewise his garden, but is wiser, and does not measure to the Latin language and literature. I state ruin his fortune by it, decline to profit by the discove it as a fact in which I firmly believe, having seen variries, which the first may have made, and may have been ous confirmations of it, that it is impossible for any indie able to make only because he used up his whole for- vidual in modern times to read attentively and in a tune for horticulture? What should become of mankind way by which he reads the work not the words, a book if one generation is not to profit by the previous ones ? like Cæsar's War with the Gauls, without deriving a It would never elevate itself above barbarity.
decided benefit from it for his thoughts and his mode of There is another reason, however, why we ought to expression. study the classics, though the Greeks studied no foreign The study of the Latin and Greek however becomes authors, founded in the character of our languages and still more important for all whose native tongue is a that ancient idiom itself. Greek and Latin, whatever language with little of a grammar, and which relies their origin may be, developped themselves as original mainly on parathesis, as the modern idioms of western languages, i. e. they acquired their settled forms, and Europe do. The reason why this is the case is simply, grammar, and the meaning of the words along with the as I have stated already, because these languages rose progress of the respective nations. The languages of out of a highly cultivated language, the Latin, spoken, Western Europe however were formed by little civi- with admixtures from others, by barbarous tribes, lised nations of the fragments of those idioms, muti- which could not enter into the inflectiveand syntactic nicelated, defaced, corrupted fragments, so that all the ties, just as children or our negros to the present day beauties which are peculiar to original languages are drop nearly every thing which indicates any thing more necessarily excluded from these derivative and mixed than the bare thing. No plural, no tense, no subjunc. idioms. They have not the capacity of formation tive, no nicety of any relation is generally expressed (Bildsamkeit, in German) within them in any degree by them. Master minds as well as a highly improved comparable to that of the classic languages. I shall say state of society raised, at a later period, these jargons, a few more words on this subject.
and some, as the English, the Italian, &c. to an admiraThe Sanscrita is, I am well aware, far more perfect ble degree of perfection; still they could not change in its original structure and philosophic spirit than the their original character. A grammar could not be in. Greek. Perfect regularity pervades the whole system vented where there was none originally. The conseof this wonderful and surprising idiom; with a given quence is, that those whose vernacular tongue is one of number of roots and numerous classes of affixes, pre- these modern idioms, never have their mind directed to fixes and other means of formation or change and a a variety of relations in which certain ideas expressed richly endowed declension and verb, it can express, in a period stand to each other, if they do not learn a compound, approximate, modify, where other idioms language with a fully developped grammar such as the have to be silent; and exhibits to us a fabric which Latin. As, however, some relations of the kind alluded still more shows the senselessness of all those attempts to, are expressed in these languages and not the same at inventing a general language or pantagraphy, the by all, an acquaintance with the Latin or Greek will great desideratum of small minds; for though Leibnitz be always found of great service even for the study of may have started the idea, he soon gave it up, and we these modern languages. The mind of the student has have now acquired a different view of the essence of been initiated into grammatic relations. I speak here language than that it is a thing arbitrarily invented, from experience. This advantage is still more percepti. settled by conventional agreement, and might therefore ble when a modern language such as the German, is be as well invented by one as by many. There was a studied. I have invariably found that individuals actime when people were very ready with inventions, quainted with Latin derive the greatest benefit from inventing constitutions, inventing languages, inventing this knowledge in studying German, while it is somecodes, inventing religions !
times very difficult to make a student clearly underThere are other reasons, however, why the Sanserita stand so simple a relation as that of the accusative gocannot compete with the Greek in our systems of edu- verned by a verb, if he know nothing but English for cation. The Greek unites the two great advantages instance. that it belongs to early times, when languages had yet My previous remarks will show, what advantage is a productive power, which we miss in the later ones, to be derived from the study of the classic languages, and that it is far later than the earliest Asiatic lan- and how it happens that their study is recommended to guages and partakes therefore of the analytic character us, when the nations who spoke them, have long left of later idioms. The literature of the Sanscrita, more the stage of human events. It is not said that their over, is chronically too far removed from us; our civi- study is absolutely necessary for every individual,
though I do believe that it is absolutely necessary for all and Plan of Education for Girard College, to prove how modern nations, if they are resolved to acquire the far I am from a pedantic love of the classic idioms, greatest possible degree of civilisation and intellectual or that I consider their study indispensable for all, when elevation.
many things must be learned that are still more imporFrom the fact that Greek is far more perfect than tant to some. Latin, and Greek literature far richer and more elevated If the study of the classic languages is frequently or than the Roman, the one, moreover being indigenous, generally pursued, in the United States, in an unprofithe other in many points not, it would appear that table way, if it is especially to be deplored that so litGreek ought to be studied more than Latin. This tle attention is paid to the subject of antiquities, which would be the fact did not other circumstances change afford after all the true picture of antiquity, but which the matter. Greek is more difficult, and requires, con cannot be properly understood with a knowledge of the sequently, more time; and the Latin deserves more respective languages; and without which again it is vain over to be more generally studied because it is the to pretend the expounding of a classic author, let us corsimplest key to all the Romanic languages. Surely, if rect the deficiencies, but let us not cut off this whole Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese can be learned branch of education, from a want, perhaps, of a thocasily, so as to enable the student to read these lan- rough understanding of what the study of language guages, merely by learning Latin, in early life; and if, really effects. by a knowledge of Latin, we can enter at once so deep Those who object to the study of the ancient lanly into their spirit, it would be very strange if we were guages on the score of morality I will only remind of to throw away the very key to them. Latin besides the fact, that all the reformers were good scholars, some has penetrated so many branches and sciences, from its distinguished ones, and all and every one insisted upon having once been the language of universal communi- the study of the classics as a branch of general educacation and of an undivided church, that we can hardly tion, and that philology has been most effectually cultiget on in any scientific pursuit without some knowledge vated in modern times by protestant nations. Luther of it. And why not learn it? Is it too difficult? If pro- insisted most urgently on the study of Greek in schools, perly taught, not.
and his words on languages in general, are beautiful. Our country may be called decidedly protestant, and The mere fact that the ancient idioms have been stuit may be easily conjectured what protestantism, found- died for so many centuries, have always been the more ed upon the Bible, soon must become without a tho- studied the more refined nations became, have accomparough knowledge of the languages—(the Greek and, of nied the European race into other parts of the world course, Hebrew, the study of which will be found much and have been cultivated and loved by so many master easier by a student, well trained by the study of ancient minds, many of them in practical life, as Fox and Canlanguages in general)—being kept alive among its pro- ning, ought to make us consider the matter well. Facts fessional teachers, when all inquiry, criticism and con- of such magnitude are not arbitrarily produced. There jecture is founded upon a translation, and a translation is a power of victory within ancient literature which it too from ancient languages into a modern, the spirit of must retain forever. We might as well say: let us have which, therefore is very different and the translation something else than gold and silver for our common consequently difficult, a translation, moreover, made currency, as deprive the civilized world of the classics. at a period since which the grammatical, historical and What I have said can of course not convince ; how antiquarian knowledge of the Scriptures have been infi- could I prove that the Greek language really possesses nitely extended. How many unfortunate misconcep- all the excellencies which I have endeavored to indicate? tions of religiously disposed people were founded upon The fact can be known only from a study of the lana misconception of the Bible, to which the translation guage itself. But my remarks will at least suffice to alone could have led !
show that the advocates of the study of Greek and Those who assail the study of the classic languages, Latin may rest their reasons on points which many of frequently do it because, say they, modern languages those who object to it, never suspected, and which were are more useful! I agree with them that the European never touched upon in their attacks. On whatever side family forms in our own times a community so closely the truth may lie, certain it is, that the question is to be connected, that every individual of a liberal education tested and decided on far different grounds than the ought to know at least two modern languas e besides assailants of this branch seem to think of. Their real his own. It is easily acquired; but let the assail- value in education, the true advantage of foreign lanants rest assured that there is no better means to ob-guages in the formation of young minds, is not to be tain this object, than the instruction in the classic lan- judged of by the inquiry to what direct and immediate guages.
practical use the one or the other idiom may be conduI acknowledge that the importance of Greek and cive. Moral and intellectual expansion is the true and Latin is very different now from it was when sciences essential object of all education ; those so called pracrevived. Then nearly all that our race had produced tical subjects in education have generally turned out of in literature was in those languages; now modern lite- little use in practical life. Strengthen the mind, clear ratures of great excellence exist, and numerous new the intellect and give it sound knowledge in the general sciences have sprung up, some of which must be taught branches-develop it philologically, never mind by what in schools. Important as Greek and Latin is, I claim specific idiom, prepare it for clear and lofty historical its study not for all; it cannot be, nor is it necessary, views, never mind whether the history of every nation but do not strike it from the list of those studies which be known; imbue it with a true spirit for natural hisare generally pursued under the appellation of a liberal tory, no matter whether the names of all specimens be education. I hope, I may safely refer to my Constitution known, &c.; give at the same time that preparatory
knowledge without which neither these branches or many subjects in after life can be understood, such as geography (though different from what it is almost universally taught in our country) and you will prepare the student most practically for life.
My letter extends far beyond the limits which, when I began I thought it would reach; I hasten, therefore, to conclude it. I am very respectfully and faithfully
Your obedient servant,
South Carolina College, Feb. 1837.
SONNET TO SPRING. O, swistly fleet along, ye frozen hours !
Avaunt! thou spirit of the stormy north,
To call their verdure and their fragrance forth.
O'er the bald earth's enseam'd and rugged brow, Thy bloomy wreath of fresh-blown flowerets fling;
And bid the coming south-wind softly blow, Sending the silver rills unbound away, To mix their murmurs with the bird's wild lay. 0, come fair Spring! the rosy hours recall, That sped in Eden, ere the fatal fall, When the young sun with new-born radiance shone, And guilt, and grief, and gloom, were all unknown.
FARE THEE WELL.
TO THE PASSING YEAR.
JANUARY 1837. Thou art passing onward- the thoughtless throng Welcome thy coming with dance and song. Thou art passing onward; with thee are flying The hopes of the young, and the prayers of the dying. The smiles that brighten the festive hall, And the bitter tears that in secret fall; Careless of all that is lost or won, Brilliant, but cold, thou art passing on. Thou art passing onward; in joyous Spring, When grove and bower with music ring, The sun that wakens bird, bee and flower, Touching e'en thee with his gladd’ning power, Gently thine icy chains shall sever: Chains that may bind thee again, oh! never. Revel awhile in thy liberty; Worship the power that made thee free; 'Till the Summer comes, from whose burning glow Thou woulds't gladly fly to thy cave of snow; And vainly, wearily shalt thou pine For the icy setters that once were thine. But the fiery Summer shall pass away, And leave the earth to a softer swayThe gentle Autumn now draweth near Thy wearied spirit to soothe and cheer. Her fruits and flowers might shame the Spring: Her cooling breezes perchance may fling A freshness over thy fevered brow, But thy days too surely are numbered now; And she cometh only in time to shed A holy calm o'er thy dying bed. Awhile, 'tis true, thou wilt linger on 'Till her gentle glories are past and gone; But when Winter cometh, again to dress The earth in its icy loveliness, Thy knell shall sound on the northern blast; The clouds dark gather thy pall to cast; The spotless snow-flake thy shroud shall be, And thy burial place our memory. Sadly we watch over thy decline; Is not our destiny like to thine: In youth's gay season, with thoughtless pride Our childhood's setters we cast aside ; And yield our spirits, with wild delight, To the love of all that is fair and bright. Quickly our Summer, like thine will come; And flowers lie withering round our home: The dearly loved, in their early day of brilliant happiness, snatched away. The friends of childhood, estranged or gone; The hopes that danced on our pathway, flowo; And slighting blessings that still are ours, Weekly we grieve for those perished flowers; Till the heart, a prey to despair and sorrow, Ceases to hope for a calmer morrow; And pines, with a feeling deep as vain, For childhood's carelessness once again. But for us there cometh an Autumn day, When the withering sorrow shall pass away. We look abroad on the glorious earth; We smile again at the voice of mirth ; In life’s gay circles we mix once moreBut, alas ! 'tis not as in days of yore: For memory shadows glance, smile and toneTheir careless gladness for aye is gone. And though, while yet we may linger here, The light of friendship our path may cheer, The heart, with its dearest ties thus riven, Turns with a purer trust to heaven-Looking above, with an humble faith That brightens even the bed of death; With those departed again to dwell, Gladly we bid the bright earth farewell. Still, in some few warm hearts may be
A living shrine for our memory. Richmond.
To the old air of “Roy's Wife.”
Fare thee well! for I must leave thee;
My love for thee will last forever!
Fare thee well, &c.
One farewell smile before we sever;
Fare thee well, &c.