صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

unadmiring over scenes, rich in every element of beauty and grandeur, and proffering to our enjoyment, "a perpetual feast of nectared sweets !” Let a youth be imbued with that love of nature, which will urge him to penetrate her secrets, and survey her wonders, and how healthful and invigorating its influence on his whole mental and moral character! The fashionable novel, with its seductive pictures, that at once vitiate the taste, enfeeble the intellect, and corrupt the heart, is thrown aside; the scenes of riotous dissipation are abandoned; and amid the ever-varied beauties of nature-amid her flower spangled meadows and mountain solitudes, he drinks health, and wisdom, and virtue. Who can resist the magic of natural scenery?

"Who can forbear to smile with Nature? Can
The stormy passions in the bosom roll
When every gale is peace, and every grove

Is melody?” The Volume of Nature, like that of Revelation, is written with the finger of Jehovah, and teaches, in every page, the lessons of his wisdom and goodness. Let, then, the parent, who would multiply to his child the sources of innocent enjoyment, and preserve him from the seductive influences of vice, instil into his bosom a love for natural scenery and natural science. And to such, may I not particularly commend the following work? It attempts, indeed, no scientific exposition of any branch of Natural History-unless we may speak of the natural history of Language. But its numerous illustrations, drawn from the vegetable and animal world, cannot fail to engage the attention, and stimulate the curiosity of youth, more than would a work more formally scientific. It every where opens glimpses of that region of enchantment—that fairy land, to whose real and living wonders the creations of romance yield as far, in all the elements of interest, as does the mud-walled cottage of the peasant to the banditti-haunted castle among the Appenines. Truth is stranger than fiction. The inventions of man cannot rival in interest the creations of God. Upon the youth, then, I would urge the careful perusal of this work. Let them read it till the warm love of Nature, which it every where breathes, is transfused into their own breasts, and kindles in them an irrepressible desire to penetrate deeply into the mysteries of Jehovah's works.

I have dwelt so long on this topic, that I have little space to devote to that which is the main object of the work, viz. LANGUAGE. But surely no remarks can be needed from my pen, to awaken an interest in this subject. What a mystery is the expression of thought! What a wonderful creation of the mind is Language! Subtle itself almost to immateriali. ty, yet embodying and rendering palpable those subtler es. sences, thought, truth, and emotion! The medium by which mind communes with mind, and the electric flash of feeling is transmitted round the entire circle of intelligent and ra. tional existence! To change the figure; now flowing on, pure crystal stream, whose transparent depths reflect the cloudless heaven of truth; now breaking into a torrent of impetuous and impassioned eloquence, and now swelling and undulating into song! Such is Language-the mirror of the soul-catching its most delicate hues, its most fleeting emo. tions preserving them in their original vitality and freshness, and transmitting them from age to age, making each successive generation the inheritor of the collected wisdom of the past !

a

Such is the subject which invites the attention of the read. er of the following work, and were not every field of knowl. edge wonderful, we might claim for this a surpassing interest. Into the nature of written language the Author has not entered. But the mechanism of speech—the construction of that curious and complicated instrument, which he has expressively and happily termed the 'voice-machine'-the different origin and nature of the vocal elements, he has exhibited in a manner most clear and satisfactory. Those to whom this subject is new, will find in it matter of curious inquiry. They will find human speech made up of sound or voice, variously modified, issuing from the throat, (forming the vowels,) and, in its passage through the mouth, wrought upon, and jointed or articulated by the tongue, teeth, lips, &c., so as to produce the various consonant sounds. This power of articulating the voice, is a distinguishing characteristic of human speech, and led the observing ancients to designate man as the 'voice-dividing' animal.

But, commending this whole curious subject to the reader, under the able guidance of the Author, it only remains that I express my earnest desire, that the work may find, especial. ly with the youthful community, a favorable reception. For them it is especially designed, and to all intelligent youth it cannot fail of proving highly instructive. The Author has evidently brought to his work a hearty love for his subject, and a due sense of the richness of the field which he explores. His researches have evidently been patient and thorough, and he has looked on nature with a quick and loving eye, which has enabled him to detect, as it were, her inmost soul. He writes in a free and joyous spirit, gives spontane. ous utterance to pure and elevated sentiments, and displays,

every where, a vigorous and fertile mind. Should any of the more grave among his readers deem his spirit too light and frolicksome, they will easily make allowance for the ex. uberance of youthful imagination, and the warm, unrestrained flow of youthful feeling. To "frolic while 'tis May," may surely be innocently allowed to the fancy, which all too soon will be inevitably sobered by the stern realities of life, seen in the clear, uncolored light of reason and experience.

A. C. KENDRICK.

ATTRACTIONS OF LANGUAGE

PART FIRST.

CHAPTER I.

What the Critic says to the author-His early difficulties

His opinion of English Grammar-His "position definedRemarkable coincidence in views--Author's plan.

"ATTRACTIONS OF LANGUAGE? English Grammar newly vamped, I suppose. A sort of gilded pill as bitter as ever; a liberal spoonful of medicine and sugar; the latter disappearing like an April snow-the former, like Æneas' voice, “faucibus hæsit,” sticking to one's jaws for more leisurely rumination.

Now, if this attractive title only betokens a renewal of the dose, I declare to you of the book, that I protest against such cruel empiricism.

As for the "Attractions” that stare at me so saucily from your title

page, let me inquire whether those winged moon. ites, or, as Webster has it, lunarians, which were pleased to render themselves visible to him of the telescope, (happy man !) made any disclosures on the subject, which have bear misanthropically suppressed until now ?

« السابقةمتابعة »