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We have a word to address to the editor of this selection.In the first place, we would suggest to him that the use of the same epithet by two authors is no certain mark of imitation; and that, were it so, the multiplication of parallel passages might be carried on ad infinitum; nay, there would indeed, in that case, be nothing new after Homer; and we must literally interpret and believe the words of Ovid's father:
"studium quid inutile tentas?
Maonides nullas ipse reliquit opes."
Because Carew calls the wind whispering,' we need not be told that Milton in various passages does the same; nor need we be referred to Mister Todd's notes on that author, as our editor quaintly refers us. The dimpled stream' is an expression, like the foregoing, to be found throughout the whole range of English poetry, from Carew (should he be the first who used it) and Brown's British Pastorals, down to Mr. Thomas Little.The image is natural, and would obviously strike any beholder.
At page 47, the date of Herrick's poems should be 1648, not 1647; and page 87, that of Sandys's Travels, 1615, instead of 1610.
We are, on the whole, much obliged to the editor of the present selection; and we wish that it may be followed by more extracts of the same description, from the works of the contemporaries of Carew above-mentioned. Biographical notices should, as in the publication before us, accompany any subsequent volume: which might contain, we think, selections from more than one author, (steering clear, however, as much as possible, of Headley's publication ;) and from which we hope will be excluded all intimations of parallel passages that do not contain manifest indications of plagiarism. The present editor would do well to read Bishop Hurd's Treatise on this subject, before he publishes again.
ART. IX. An Inaugural Lecture on the Utility of Anglo-Saxon Literature; to which is added the Geography of Europe by King Alfred, including his Account of the Discovery of the North Cape in the ninth Century. By the Rev. James ingram, M. A. Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, Oxford, and Anglo-Saxon Professor. 4to. 8s. Ed. sewed. White, &c.
HIS inaugural lecture, which is inscribed to Lord Sidmouth, shews a zeal for the advancement of Anglo-Saxon literature which has not always failen to the lot of the Oxonian professors. In the prefatory advertisement, the writer offers to edit Alfred's Orosius; and everywhere he displays a meritorious disposition
to illustrate by research and encomium the labours of his predecessors.
A greater service, however, would accrue to public instruction, from editing the hitherto unpublished Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, than from giving a more accurately corrected edition of what is already known. Without looking beyond the precincts of the British Museum into the University-libraries, many inedited volumes may be perceived, which would throw light on our historic and poetic antiquities. In the Cotton library (Caligula, A. 9.), occurs an Anglo-Saxon history of King Arthur's wars against the Danes; and also (Vitellius, A. 15.) an Anglo-Saxon saga concerning the piratical warfare of Beowulf against the Swedes and Norsemen. From other manuscripts, (Tiberius, B. 4. Caligula, A. 10. and Domitianus, A. 8.) the learned, industrious, and careful Thorkelin might extract important supplements to the Saxon chronicle, and illustrate with patriotic minuteness the Danish dynasty of English kings.
The present lecture is subdivided into three sections, of which the first contains an historic account of the attention that has been paid to Anglo-Saxon literature by various distinguished Englishmen; the second analyzes the inducements to this study, and points out its importance to the lawyer, the historian, and the philosophic antiquary; and the third shews the grammatical utility of Anglo-Saxon, without some knowlege of which our own language cannot easily be written with purity, nor understood throughout, and the theory of language in general would be a more difficult attainment. In our judgment, the order of these topics ought exactly to have been inverted: the grammatical value of the Anglo-Saxon language constitutes the more cogent and popular claim to attention; the antiquarian value forms the more permanent and more noble claim; and the respectability of the study should first have been established, before its cultivators were selected for separate celebration.
As yet, much that is disputable remains in the received opinions concerning what respects Anglo-Saxon literature; and we lament that Mr. Ingram should not have dwelt more searchingly on the controverted points. For instance, it is maintained by him (p. 3.) that the mass of the people of this country are of Saxon origin, and (p. 13.) that our language is completely Saxon: whereas it is surely more probable that the Angles were the chief settlers on the eastern coast, and formed the great basis of our Gothic population. Pinkerton has proved, in his History of Scotland, that the Picts were of Gothic race, and the progenitors of the Caledonians; and Turner has proved, in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, that Pict, Pik, or Vik, is an appellative
signifying pirate. Hence it may be correct to say that the first settlers on the eastern coast of England were Piks, or pirates, but that these Piks were mostly Angles.
The Teutonic or Dutch language is notoriously divided into two main dialects, High-Dutch and Low-Dutch. Both have their radical terms and their inflections so much alike, as to be reciprocally intelligible: yet, where the one dialect uses hard, the other uses soft consonants: where the one puts double ss, the other puts double TT; and where the one employs cases, the other uses none. To take instances from the German and Hollandish forms of these respective dialects: where the German says offen, the Hollander says open; where the German says kessel, the Hollander says kettle; and where the German nouns and pronouns undergo casal inflection, those of the Hollanders remain undeclined.
Now it is observable that the Angles (see Möser's Osnaburg, 1780.) dwelt at the mouths of the Elbe and Weser, and spoke a Low-Dutch dialect; whereas the Saxons dwelt more southward, and spoke a High-Dutch dialect. The Anglo-Saxon, as preserved in books, is a High-Dutch dialect, much akin to the Frankish: it must have been the language of the Saxons, not that of the Angles.
Our vernacular English, however, is a Low-Dutch dialect, like the Danish and Hollandish; and it forms all its words, and constructs all its sentences, in the unartificial manner and with the rare use of hard consonants which are peculiar to the northern Germans. Hence it is likely that the language of the Angles forms the basis of our English; and, since it has spread farther, that it is an older language in this country than the Anglo-Saxon ;-not formed from it, as Mr. Ingram imagines and contends, but already prevalent, from the estuary of the Thames to that of the Forth, in the times of Julius Cæsar and Agricola. English was no doubt always the language of the Angles, and was settled here with the first Gothic population: because it preceded, it out-grew, and because it out-grew, it has survived every other dialect.
Egbert, in concert with Pepin of France, provided twelve missionaries, (Bede's Hist. Eccles. liv. v. c. 2.) who, under the guidance of Willbrord, were to attempt the conversion of the Frieslanders. The language of England, on the consolidation of the Saxon heptarchy, was consequently a Low-Dutch dialect, such as the Frieslanders could understand. The two Ewalds, who were sent into the same neighbourhood, and into Holstein, on the same errand, were Angles. No extant documents satisfactorily prove that the Anglo-Saxon language was ever vernacular in any part of Great Britain. None of our provincial
provincial jargons preserve traces of the plural nominatives in a, nor of the datives in um. In a few monasteries, some foreign monks, and some natives educated abroad, may have talked and have written in Anglo-Saxon, and thus have founded the idiom here: but, in general, those who have employed the dialect in this country had studied in another. This at least was the case with Aldhelm, Alcuin, Alfred, Bede, Cadmon, and others.
In the life of Pope Leo III., by Anastasius, is noticed the foundation at Rome of a Schola Saxonum, a seminary of Catholic missionaries, in which young noblemen from the Gothic provinces were also admissible, and which eventually became through Alfred's care an English college. The Anglo-Saxon language seems here first to have been reduced to writing; for its alphabet must have been conferred on the language in Italy, the letter being pronounced in Anglo-Saxon after the Italian manner, and standing for ch before e and i-a peculiarity which is confined to the Italian and the Anglo-Saxon. Thus, cheek is written ceac, and witch is written vice. Now, as Pepin of France had contributed to the endowment of this school, and to the selection of free sholars for missionaries, it is natural to presume that the Frankish dialect would originally be chosen for the medium of communication with the Gothic north, that being the language which was prevalent about Ingelheim, the favourite residence of Pepin and Charlemagne. Accordingly, the Anglo-Saxon is plainly a Frankish dialect, and resembles as closely the vernacular idiom now used on the Upper Rhine, as it differs widely from the vernacular idiom used in the villages of England.
The German is become the literary language of the Gothic north; and the people of Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck, and Frankfort, read and write in this High-Dutch dialect, while they are talking in a Low-Dutch dialect. In Alfred's time, the English seem exactly thus to have employed the Anglo-Saxon; as a literary language, which they were to read and write,-in which their homilies and hymns, their laws and charters, their chronicles and their sagas, were to be expressed, -but which was spoken only among travelled gentlemen, and nearly confined to the noble and the priest.
This hypothesis, however contrary to that which is maintained by Mr. Ingram, (p. 16.) and indeed to that which pervades Dr. Johnson's History of the English Language, will be found to account for many phænomena that are not explicable on the received system for the total disappearance of Anglo-Saxon as a popular idiom here, while it continues to exist on the Continent; for the sudden taciturnity of Anglo-Saxon, as a literary language, when the Norman writers came over; for the antient prevalence
prevalence of several inflections in our language which did not exist in Anglo.Saxon, (as of plural substantives in en,) and which the Normans did not introduce; and for the dissimilarity of declension, construction, and orthography, between the Saxon of the monks and the English of the people. The word Anglo-Saxon aptly enough defines what it represents; a Saxon, Frankish, or High-Dutch dialect, mingled with provincialisms of the Angles.
Dissenting so much from the historic theory which is espoused in this lecture, we naturally wish Mr. Ingram to reconsider the circumstances which oppose him. How much worthier both of his judgment and of his patriotism it would be to assert, from his professional chair, on the part of the English language, that claim to superior antiquity which foreign grafts have usurped! It is the native wood which luxuriates now, not the imported twigs. Saxon and Norman, like Latin and Greek phraseology, may have replenished, but have not formed, the English tongue. They have poured into the ever-widening flood their tributary streams, and assisted it to float the intercourse of the world: but they are not the well-heads of the original water, which faithfully retains the name of its earliest
A translation into Anglo-Saxon of the exordium to Milton's Paradise Lost has been attempted by Mr. Ingram: but this version is merely English, deprived of those words which are not autochthonous. In the first line is a false concord: the prepostion of governs the dative, and thas wastmes is put in the genitive. In the second line, of is made a substitute for the possessive case, which is an Anglicism; and the word tast is not Anglo-Saxon for gustus, but smac. The participial augments are everywhere forgotten; and, in short, we cannot dis cover one correct line in the whole set : but the notes are good :
In order to prove how much even Milton himself is indebted for the majestic simplicity of his verse to the Saxon materials therein, I have ventured to give a translation of the first sixteen lines of the Paradise Lost into that language; a kind of exercise, which, together with that of modernizing ancient documents, might be recommended to all Saxon students as both amusing and instructive.
The few words which it was necessary to substitute in the room of those of Latin etymology are marked with inverted commas. 'Milton's Paradise Lost, Book I.
Of mannes fyrst "unhyrsumnesse *," and fæs
*The word unhyrrumnerre affords a convenient specimen of the general etymology of the Saxon language. From the verb hypan, to hear, is derived the adjective hyprum, inclined to hear, i. e.