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sation, and he is superior in nothing, to the trailing vine or the green
rush. Take care of yourself, then. Self? What is worthy of the name, but mind? Take such a being, thus gloriously endowed. Give him gesture, an expressive coun. tenance and a voice; the voice of an infant or a dog; let him cry, moan, whine, yelp, growl, or bark, or even give him the melodious throat of the nightingale, or the volubility of the magpie, and bid him let his feelings forth through such a me. dium. Could he do it? Can you do it? What mockery!
Having concluded what I intend to say upon the subject of intelligence and reason, some one may inquire, (I hope you will not, reader,) what connection there is between these possessions and language. Suppose a dog can compare, and an elephant calculate, what bearing have these processes upon the subject of which your book purports to treat? It is cer. tainly far from encouraging, to have such questions propounded at so late a period; but the explanation is easily made. If the animate world possesses nothing but instinct, then there is nothing upon which to predicate an intelligent language among brutes; if man is endowed with nothing superior to mere animal intelligence, then both the dog and his master would employ a medium of communication, differing, it is true, as the organs employed, but precisely similar in extent, and every important particular. But we have seen that while the language of the infant and the brute are identical, the language of the man is as much superior to that of all other animals, as his powers are nobler; as much more complex, as he, himself is more elevated in the scale of being.
Language of animated nature-This is a world of language
Tabular view—Antennal language-Illustrations—Language of gesticulation-Its importance-Defects in modern systems of instruction-Power of gesticulation-Not subject to ruleAnecdote of Curran.
Let us now proceed to talk of the language of animated nature, as being any means by which one individual furnishes another with ideas.
Always living in a world of life and emphatically a world of language, and having, from earliest infancy been inured to the multitude of sounds that are ascending day and night from myriads of living things, they have become almost a part of our being, and excite no particular attention.
Hence it is, that the most graphic delineations of nature are generally the production of those, who, escaping for a while, the murky atmosphere and discordant din of the city, enjoy a new existence, as they inhale the fresh, free breath of heaven, sweeping the rocky hills and verdant dells of the country. But if we had sprang into being upon some planet where there was no language, and should be placed in the most secluded spot of this living world, at midnight, how tumultuous would be the feelings which these voices would awaken, even then, as each wave of sound struck upon our unaccustomed ear!
The glow-worm trimming its signal lamp in the dewy · grass; the hidden snake that stays your step with its warning rattle; the bright-eyed viper beneath the stone-heap, or the noisy geese by the pool, that talk almost English* to you as
Hissing; our language is noted for the recurrence of sibilants,
you pass; the cicada playing a merry tune upon his triangle; the ant's silent expression of its feelings, and the dying dol. phin's hues; the lion's bristling mane, and the panther's flashing eye; the bird's soft madrigal, and the cricket's roundelay, ringing loud and clear from the hearth-stone; the angry bass. note of the captured bee, and the lazy hum of the sleepy fies; the tiger's rumbling growl; the vulture's scream; the squirrel's chirrup, and “mousie’s” piping voice, are naught but 80 many varieties of a possession which is as universal as social being itself. Naught but so many displays of infinite Wisdom, and all are LANGUAGE—as strictly so, as the babelsounds in the market, the low whispers of lovers, or the thrilling tones, flushed cheek, lighted eye and expressive gesture of the orator; differing in manner, differing in quality, differing in extent, but in nature, essentially the same.
Language is susceptible of one grand division; viz: Natural and Artificial; the former, the language of animal feel. ing and intelligence; the latter, peculiarly of human thought and human reason; the one has been molded and modified by the skill of the creature; the other is originally adapted to the wants of its possessor by the wisdom of the Creator; in fine, the one partakes of the nature of its possessor, ever improving, and ever susceptible of improvement; the other limited, and without a possibility of expansion.
Natural language in a general sense, is possessed alike by the horse and his rider, by the insect and its tormentor, and as such we will now. contemplate it. Artificial language is peculiar to the man, and though the parrot may be taught to sing "Hail Columbia," and the magpie to wish you an apposite good morning, sir,” yet it is a mere mechanical opera. tion, unintelligent in itself considered, as the creaking of a cart-wheel; divested of feeling, intelligence, every thing which gives life, force and soul to language, and in comparison with which, the cawing of the most loquacious raven, is greatly superior.
With these remarks, I will proceed to glance at the different descriptions of Language, but it will be only a glance; the subject is worthy a larger volume and an abler pen than my own; and if, by the allusions that I make, interest may supersede apathy, and neglect be transformed into attention relative to Language, it will be all that I wish, and even more than I dare hope; that an existing interest should be deepened, and the duty gradually lose itself in the pleasure, is no more than the subject should effect, without respect to the garb, with which it is the writer's province to clothe it.
The different metbods of communication, together with the organs chiefly employed, and the senses to which they are severally addressed, are contained in the following table of
LANGUAGE. NATURAL. ORGANS.
DESCRIPTION. Antennal, Antenna,
Visible and Tangible. Gesticulation, Muscles,
Musical Apparatus, Audible.
Larynx, ARTIFICIAL. ORGANS.
DESCRIPTION. Deafly Dumb, Fingers,
Visible. Spoken, Larynx, tongue, teeth,
Audible. lips and palate, Written,
Visible. Written for the Blind,
Tangible. The antennæ, or as they are frequently termed, horns or feelers, are possessed by almost all insects, though differing
in form and size. Much doubt has been expressed by several eminent naturalists, relative to the exact use of these organs, but one fact is ascertained; viz: that the sociability of the bee and the ant, is as effectually destroyed, when the insect is deprived of its antennæ, as the social relations of a man would be, were he deprived of every medium of communication with his fellows. Any person who is not above such contemplations, can satisfy himself upon this point. Separate a queen bee from her subjects; the sad announcement has not yet been made; the public works progress; the wants of the young are supplied; laborers are continually passing in, la. den with the sweets of many a rifled flower, and going forth for a new supply. But see! A few of the workers are apprised of the bereavement, and like couriers, are hurrying from street to street. Now they meet a companion; one of them crosses antennæ with him; he learns the melancholy truth; he too is agitated, and hastens off to inform his neighbors; he performs the same act, and like results follow. Thus it passes, (I had almost said, from mouth to mouth,) from antennæ to antennæ, until the whole city is in an uproar. Place the queen in such a position that her subjects can reach her with their antenna; a conversation is immediately commenced, and like the chief magistrate on days of levee, the ill-fated queen is compelled to shake hands and say a word to each of the loyal throng; that is, to cross antennæ with every one. Deprive a queen of her antennæ and the workers, though they acknowledge her rank, do not recognize her, but pay allegiance as readily to any other; perform a similar amputation upon a worker, and he leaves his labor, his companions, and finally the hive. In a moonlit night, as the sentinels march their “rounds,” if some prowling moth ventures within the lines, the challenge is passed, and the antennal