« السابقةمتابعة »
singular, when he closes it with these words:
The change is to be attributed to their misfor. tunes rather than to any physical degradation.'. It may be true that the Greeks are not physically degenerated, and that Constantinople contained on the day when it changed masters as many men of six feet and upwards as in the hour of prosperity; but ancient history and modern politics instruct us that something more than physical per. fection is necessary to preserve a state in vigour and independence; and the Greeks, in particular, are a melancholy example of the near connexion between moral degradation and national decay.
The Reviewer mentions a plan «we believe, by Potemkin for the purification of the Romaic. and I have endeavoured in vain to procure any tidings or traces of its existence. There was an academy in St. Petersburg for the Greeks; but it was suppressed by Paul, and has not been revi. ved by his successor
There is a slip of the pen, and it can only be a slip of the pen, in p. 58. No. 31. of the Edinburgh Review, where these words occur:- "We are told that when the capital of the East yielded to Solyman » -It may be presumed that this last word will, in a future edition, be altered to Ma. homet II. *). The « ladies of Constantinople,» it
) In a former number of the Edinburgh Review, 1808, it is ob
served : « Lord Byron passed some of his early years in Scotland, where he might have learned that pibroch does not mean a bagpipe, any more than daet means a fiddle.» Query, -Was it in Scotland that the young gentlemen of the Edinburgh Re. view learned that Solyman means Mahomet II. any more than criticism means infallibility ? -- but thus it is,
Caedimus inqne vicem praebemus crura sagittis.». The mistake seemed so completely a lapse of the pen (from the great similarity of the two words, and the total absence of error from the former pages of the literary leviathan) that I should have passed it over as in the text, had I not perceived in the Bdinburgh Review much facetious exultation on all such detections, particularly a recent one, where words and syllables are subjects of disquisition and transposition; and seems, at that period spoke a dialect, “which would not have disgraced the lips of an Athenian.. I do not know how that might be, but am sorry to say the ladies in general, and the Athenians in particular, are much altered; being far from choice ei. ther in their dialect or expressions, as the whole Attic race are barbarous to a proverb:
«Ω Αθηνα προτη χωρα
Τι γαιδαρους τρεφεις τωρα.» In Gibbon, vol. x. p. 161. is the following sentence: - «The vulgar dialect of the city was gross and barbarous, though the compositions of the church and palace sometimes affected to copy the purity of the Attic models. Whatever may be asserted on the subject, it is difficult to conceive that the « ladies of Constantinople, in the reign of the last Caesar, spoke a purer dialect than Anna Comnena wrote three centuries before: and those royal pages are not esteemed the best models of composition, although the princess yiwrray Elyev AKPIB2 ArTiXIGOVOay. In the Fa. nal, and in Yanina, the best Greek is spoken: in the latter there is a flourishing school under the direction of Psalida.
There is now in Athens a pupil of Psalida's. who is making a tour of observation through Greece: he is intelligent, and better educated than a fellow-commoner of most colleges. I mention this as a proof that the spirit of inquiry is not dor. mant amongst the Greeks.
The Reviewer mentions Mr. Wright, the author of the beautiful poem « Horae Ionicae,» as qualified to give details of these nominal Romans and degenerate Greeks, and also of their language: but Mr. Wright, though a good poet and an able
the above-mentioned parallel passage in my own case irresistibly propelled me to hint how much easier it is to be criti. cal than correct. The gentlemen, having enjoyed many a triumph on such victories, will hardly begrudge me a slight ovation for the present.
man, has made a mistake where he states the Albanian dialect of the Romaic to approximate nearest to the Hellenic: for the Albanians speak a Romaic as notoriously corrupt as the Scotch of Aberdeenshire, or the Italian of Naples. Yanina (where, next to the Fanal, the Greek is purest), although the capital of Ali Pacha's dominions, is not in Albania but Epirus; and beyond Delvinachi in Albania Proper up to Argyrocastro and Tepaleen (beyond which I did not advance they speak worse Greek than even the Athenians. I was attended for a year and half by two of these singular mountaineers, whose mother tongue is Illyric, and I never heard them or their country. men whom I have seen, not only at home, but to the amount of twenty thousand in the army of Vely Pacha) praised for their Greek, but often laughed at for their provincial barbarisms.
I have in my possession about twenty-five letters, amongst which some from the Bey of Corinth, written to me by Notaras, the Cogia Bachi, and others by the dragoman of the Caimacam of the Morea (which last governs in Vely Pacha's absence) are said to be favourable specimens of their epistolary style. I also received some at Constantinople from private persons, written in a most hyperbolical style, but in the true antique character.
The Reviewer proceeds, after some remarks on the tongue in its past and present state, to a paradox (page 59) on the great mischief the know. ledge of his own language has done to Coray, who, it seems, is less likely to understand the ancient Greek, because he is perfect master of the modern! This observation follows a paragraph, recommending, in explicit terms, the study of the Romaic, as “a powerful auxiliary , » not only to the traveller and foreign merchant, but also to the classical scholar; in short, to every body except the only person who can be thoroughly acquainted with its uses; and by a parity of reasoning, our old language is conjectured to be probably more attainable by “foreigners, » than by ourselves! Now I am inclined to think, that a
Dutch Tyro in our tongue (albeit himself of Saxon blood) would be sadly perplexed with “Sir Tristrem, or any other given « Auchinleck MS. » with or without a grammar or glossary; and to most apprehensions it seems evident, that none but a native can acquire a competent, far less complete, knowledge of our obsolete idioms. We may give the critic credit for his ingenuity, but no more believe him than we do Smollet's Lisma. hago, who maintains that the purest English is spoken in Edinburgh. That Coray may err is very possible; but if he does, the fault is in the man rather than in his mother tongue, which is, as it ought to be, of the greatest aid to the native student. - Here the Reviewer proceeds to business on Strabo's translators, and here I close my remarks.
Sir W. Drummond, Mr. Hamilton, Lord Aber. deen, Dr. Clarke, Captain Leake, Mr. Gell, Mr. Walpole, and many others now in England, have all the requisites to furnish details of this fallen people. The few observations I have offered I should have left where I made them, had not the article in question, and above all the spot where I read it, induced me to advert to those pages, which the advantage of my present situation ena bled me to clear, or at least to make the attempt.
I have endeavoured to wave the personal feelings, which rise in despite of me in touching upon any part of the Edinburgh Review; not from a wish to conciliate the favour of its writers, or to cancel the remembrance of a syllable I have for. merly published, but simply from a sense of the impropriety of mixing up private resentments with a disquisition of the present kind, and more parti. cularly at this distance of time and place.
The difficulties of travelling in Turkey have been much exaggerated, or rather have considerably diniinished of late years. The Mussulmans have been beaten into a kind of sullen civility, very comfortable to voyagers.
It is hazardous to say much on the subject of Turks and Turkey; since it is possible to live amongst them twenty years without acquiring in. formation, at least from themselves. As far as my own slight experience carried me I have no complaint to make; but am indebted for many ci. vilities (I might almost say for friendship ), and much hospitality, to Ali Pacha, his son Veli Pacha of the Morea, and several others of high rank in the provinces. Suleyman Aga, late Governor of Athens, and now of Thebes, was a bon vivant, and as social a being as ever sat cross. legged at a tray or a table. During the carnival, when our English party were masquerading, both himself and his successor were more happy to “receive masks » than any dowager in Grosvenor-sqnare.
On one occasion of his supping at the convent, his friend and visitor, the Cadi of Thebes, was carried from table perfectly qualified for any club in Christendom; while the worthy Waywode himself triumphed in his fall.
In all money transactions with the Moslems, I ever found the strictest honour, the highest disinterestedness. In transacting business with them, there are none of those dirty peculations, under the name of interest, difference of exchange, com. mission, etc. uniformly found in applying to a Greek consul to cash bills, even on the first houses in Pera.
With regard to piesents, an established custom in the East, you will rarely find yourself a loser; as one worth acceptance is generally returned by another of similar value-a horse, or a shawl.
In the capital and at court the citizens and courtiers are formed in the same sehool with those