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hension of the general principles of syntax is very desirable, and this can hardly be obtained except by the presentation of them in a materialized, and, so to speak, visible shape. To the knowledge of grammar as a science, and therefore to a scientific comprehension of English grammar, as well as of the general principles of language, the study of some tongue organized with a gross and palpable machinery is requisite, and the laws of syntax must be illustrated by exhibiting their application in a more tangible form than can be exemplified in a language so destitute of inflections, and so simple, and consequently so subtle, in its combinations as the English.

This advantage, or, for it is very doubtful whether it is an advantage to those who use the language possessing it, this convenience, rather, as an educational engine, is eminently characteristic of the Latin. The vocabulary of the Latin is neither copious nor precise, its forms are intricate and inflexible, and its literature, as compared with that of Greece, exhibits the inferiority which belongs to all imitative composition. But in the regularity, precision, and distinctness of its inflections and structure, it atones for much of the indefinite mistiness of its vocables, and it is an admirable linguistic machine for the manufacture of the coarser wares of intellectual produce and consumption. For the expression of technicalities, the narration of marches and battles, the description of sieges and slaughters, the enunciation of positive rules of pecuniary right, the promulgation of dictatorial ordinances and pontifical bulls, the Latin is eminently fitted. Its words are always

Sic volo, sic jubeo, stet pro ratione voluntas;

and it is almost as much by the imperatorial character of the language itself--the speech of masters, not of men—as by the commanding position of the people to whom it was vernacular, and of the church which sagaciously adopted it, that it has so powerfully influenced the development and the existing tendencies of all modern European tongues, even of those which have borrowed the fewest words from it.*

The Latin grammar has become a general standard, wherewith to compare that of all other languages, the medium through which all the nations of Christendom have become acquainted with the structure and the philosophy of their own; and technical grammar, the mechanical combinations of language, can be nowhere else so advantageously studied.

While then the study of Anglo-Saxon and of the older

The power of Rome was a more widely diffused, pervading, and all-informing element in the ancient world, than written history alone would authorize us to infer, and we find traces of her language, as well as amazing evidences of her material greatness and splendor in provinces which we should scarcely otherwise know that her legions had overrun. Not Roman coins only, which commerce might have borne farther than her eagles ever flew, but fortified camps, forums, roads, temples, inscriptions, throughout almost the whole Mediterranean basin as well as the Atlantic slope of the Eastern continent, everywhere attest her power, while palaces, theatres, aqueducts, baths, buried statues and scattered gems, prove that her taste and luxury had spread from the banks of the Elbe to the sands of the Libyan Desert. The presence, however, of remains of the Latin language and of Roman art is not always to be regarded as proof of the actual subjugation of the countries where such relics are found. With the view partly of familiarizing those whose conquest she meditated with her laws, institutions, and manners, and thus preparing them for the yoke they were destined to wear, and partly of facilitating such conquests by demoralizing the scions of royal and noble families, whose claim upon the loyal attachment of their people was one of the great barriers against the extension of her sway, it was the policy of Rome to train up at the capital, either as hostages or as national guests, as many foreign princes and other high-born youths as could be gathered from dependent and allied countries. Returning to their fatherland, they carried with them the speech, the arts, a ad often the artisans of their proud nurse, and thus many existing remains, of apparently Roman architecture, are doubt. less imitations of Roman buildings, erected by native potentates who had acquired a taste for Roman life on the banks of the Tiber.

literature of English itself promises the most abundant harvest of information with respect to the etymology of the fundamental part of our present speech, and an inexhaustible mine of material for the further enrichment of our native tongue, we must, in spite of the close analogy between the syntax of primitive and modern English, and the great diversity between that of the latter and of Latin, still turn to the speech and literature of Rome, as the great source of scientific grammatical instruction.

The Mæso-Gothic, both intrinsically, and as being the earliest form in which considerable remains of any dialect cognate with our own have come down to us, is of much philological interest and importance. There are extant in Meso-Gothic a large proportion of a translation of the gospels and epistles by Ulphilas, a semi-Arian bishop of that nation in the fourth century, portions of commentaries on different parts of the New Testament, and only some other less important fragments.

It is a point of dispute how far any of the later Teutonic dialects can claim direct descent from the Maso-Gothic, but it is certain that it is very closely allied to all of them, and scarcely any modern Germanic forms are too diverse from that ancient tongue to have been derived from it. In variety of inflection, and power of derivation and composition, in the possession of a dual and of certain passive forms, and in abundance of radical words, an inexhaustible material for development and culture, the Mæso-Gothic bears a certain resemblance to the Greek, while on the other hand, it is identified as a Germanic speech, by the character of its radicals, almost all of which yet exist in the Teutonic languages, by its want of any verbal tenses but the present and the past,

*

by the co-existence of a very complete sys. em of vowelchanges in a strong, with a well

marked weak, order of inflection, and by general syntactical principles.

The Scandinavian languages, the Swedish and Danish, and especially their common mother the Icelandic or Old-, Northern, the Frisic, which, in some of its great multitude of dialects, perhaps more than any other language resembles the English, the Dutch, and the German, particularly in the Platt-Deutsch or low German forms, are all of value to the thorough etymological and grammatical study of our native tongue.

They are important, not so much as having largely contributed to the vocabulary, or greatly influenced the grammatical structure of English, but because in the poverty of accessible remains of Anglo-Saxon literature in different and especially in early stages of linguistic development, we do not possess satisfactory means of fully tracing the history of the Gothic portion of our language. There are very many English words and phrases, whose forms show them to be Saxon, but which do not occur in Anglo-Saxon manuscripts. These may generally be explained or elucidated by reference to the sister-tongues, and consequently some knowledge of them is almost as useful to the English student as AngloSaxon itself. I should unhesitatingly place the Icelandic at the head of these subsidiary philologies, because, from its

* It is a question of curious interest whether those Crimean Goths, whom the Austrian ambassador, Busbequius, saw at Constantinople about the middle of the sixteenth century, and of whose vocabulary he has given us some scanty specimens in his fourth letter, were of Moeso-Gothic descer.t. It is difficult to account for their presence in that locality upon any other supposition, but the few words of their language left us by Busbequius do not enable us positively to determine to what branch of the Gothic stock their linguistic affinities would point.

close relationship to Anglo-Saxon, it furnishes more abundant analogies for the illustration of obscure English etymological and syntactical forms than any other of the cognate tongues.* It is but recently that the great value of Icelandic philology has become known to the other branches of the Gothic stock, and one familiar with the treasures of that remarkable literature, and the wealth, power, and flexibility of the language which embodies it, sees occasion to regret the want of a thorough knowledge of it in English and American grammatical writers, more frequently than of any other attainment whatever.

French, of course, is of cardinal importance, both with reference to the history of our grammatical inflections, and as having contributed, though chiefly as a conduit, much more largely to our vocabulary than any other foreign source. The English words usually referred to a Latin original, have, in a large majority of cases, come to us through the French, and we have taken them with the modifications of orthography and meaning which our Norman neighbors had impressed

* English philologists formerly ascribed perhaps too much to the Scandinavian Gothic as an element in the structure and composition of Anglo-Saxon, and more recent inquirers have erred as widely, in denying that early English was sensibly modified by the same influence. The dialects of Northern England, where the population partakes in greater proportion of Danish blood, show a large infusion of Scandinavian words and forms, and many of these have become incorporated into the general speech of Britain. The written AngloSaxon and Old-Northern certainly do not resemble each other so closely as to render it probable that they could have been mutually intelligible to those who spoke them; and we find that by the old Icelandic law the representatives of Englishmen dying in Iceland were expressly excluded from the right of inheritance, as foreigners, of an unknown þeir menn er menn kunna eigi hér máli eðr túngu við. At the same time, it appears abundantly from the sagas that the Old-Northern was well understood among the higher circles in England, and the Icelandic skalds or bards were specially welcome at he Englisb court.

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