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THEOLOGY.

4to.

POETRY.

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473, 4, for is read are.

TOPOGRAPHY.

ls.

THE

ECLECTIC REVIEW,

For AUGUST, 1806.

Art. I. A Dictionary Persian, Arabic and English ; with a Dissertation

on the Languages, Literature, and Manners of Eastern Nations; by John Richardson, F. S. A. of the Middle Temple and of Wadham College. A new Edition, with numerous Additions and Improvements; by Charles Wilkins, L. L. D. F. R. S. Royal 4to. Vol. I. pp. 1157. Dissertation, &c. pp. 96. Price 121. 12s. to be paid on the Delivery of this Vol. the 2d. or English Persian and Arabic to be delivered gratis. Richardson ; &c. &c. &c. 1806. THIS Edition of a work, ever scarce and long out of print,

has been ardently expected from the time the learned editor published his improved edition of Sir W. Jones's Persian Grammar, at the close of which he informed the public he was already engaged in this work. We also anticipated the plea. sure we should receive from an examination of the promised improvements, which we knew must be many and important to make the work what it should be, and which we had every reason to expect from the well-known abilities of the editor. *

The Persian and Arabic languages are becoming daily of more importance, not only to the political interests of this nation, bụt to the interest of literature in general. Our extensive dominions in India, and our extending commerce with the East, have loudly demanded that all employed in the management of the commercial, legislative, and military departments in our Asiatic possessions, should be accurately acquainted with these languages-A variety of facts has demonstrated that a want of acquaintance with the languages of India may be equally ruinous both to the natives, and their European governors.

In acquiring a knowledge of the Arabic, the student has long possessed many helps; Schindler, Raphaleng, Hottinger, Giga geus, Erpen, Bochart, Golius, D'Herbelot and Schultens abroad, Greares, Beverige, Pocock, Hyde, Castell, Walton, Robinson, Hunt, Richardson, and others, at home, have contributed much to render the rugged path to this copious and noble language in some measure easy, and in many respects pleasant. The

VOL. II.

* See Eclectic Review, vol. i. p, 41.

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Persian student, however, could not boast of similar aid. The excellency of this language was not fully known, till our extensive conquests had put us in possession, not only of the wealth, but of the literature of India. The Arabic, before this time, to the comparative neglect of all the other Asiatic languages, the Hebrew excepted, had engrossed the esteem and attachment of the literati. Historians, physicians, divines, and poets in this language had been read, studied, translated, and highly applauded: even the rugged though majestic Koran has had admirers, translators, and commentators, among those who possessed a better creed. The study of this language was earnestly recoinmendod to Europeans, by scholars of the first eminence in these and other nations; and a professorship of Arabic in the University of Oxford was founded, by Abp. Laud, in 1636. The university of Cambridge has long enjoyed a similar establishInent.

The Latin translation of the Gulistan of the excellent Poet Saadi, by the learned Gentins, under the title of Rosariwn Politicum, accompanied by the Persian text; the Historia Veterum Persarum of Dr. Hyde, the "Epocha celebriores of Mr. Greares

, and the Anthologia Persica, published at Vienna, 1778, induced many to wish that the rich mine of Persian literature might be farther explored, and its treasures more widely diffused. In 1770, the elegant and deeply learned Baron Revicski printed his Specimen Poeseos Persica, containing 16 odes, taken from the commencement of the Dewani Hafiz, in the original, accompanied with a Poetic Paraphrase, a Prose Version and Commentary, and copious Grammatical Notes. By this interesting piece, the elegance, harinony, copiousness, and excellence of the Persian language were soon discovered, and a taste for its cultivation increased, among all those especially, who had already gained some acquaintance with oriental literature. With what vigour and effect Sir W. Jones irod the path pointed out to bim more particularly by his illustrious friend Revicski, we need not stay to examine. By his example, many were excited to make the Persian poets, historians, and ethic writers the first objects of their stụdy; by him the Asiatic Society was founded, when the languages of India, and the stores they contained, were accurately studied and explored-where men of the first character in the republic of letters united their talents and labours, and from which, as from a perennial spring, copious streams of knowledge in every departinent of literature and science freely emanated, increasing the luxuriance of their native soil, and enriching ours with a veruure unknown before. · But it is necessary to return and trace up those progressive micans, by which the acquirement of this noble and useful language has become so widely diffused and so easy of access. Of Sir W. Jones's Grammar, and the improved edition of it by Dr. Wilkins, we have already expressed our opinion and approbation. Ecl. Rev. vol. i. p. 35. On Persian Dictionaries, we shall now proceed to make a few observations in their chronological order.

The first regular work of this kind which we recollect, was that produced by the conjoined labours of Professor Golius and Dr. Edm. Castell, and published in the Heptaglott Lericon of the latter, under the title, Dictionarium Persico-latinum, er Persarum MSS. Bibliis Polyglottis, aliisque libris, concizza natum. fol. Lond. 1669. This work was composed from three MS. copies of the all üyei collated with each other, which had been originally translated by Mr. Seamann, celebrated for his attainments in Turkish literature. The MS. of Mr. Seanann, which had fallen into the hands of Mr. Thomas Greaves, was kindly communicated to the editors Golius and Castell, and by them enriched with copious and important additions, and then printed as the Pars Altera of the Heptaglott Lexicon. When our readers consider that this work was performed when Persian literature was in its infancy in Europe, and that very few helps were at hand for such an undertaking, they may well be surprised at its general accuracy, and comparative perfection. Its greatest fault is, that its leading words are not sufficiently distinguished, by a proper position in the column, from derivative and cognate terms: the lines in the columns, being mostly printed consecutively, without proper breaks or indentinents, to signify the commencement of a new term. To this we may add, that owing, we suppose, to the paucity of characters in their fount, many of the Persian words are expressed by. Hebrew letters. In reading the Persian Targum of Yaacool Tovsee, on the Pentateuch, in the 4th vol. of the London Polyglott, and the Persian Gospels in the 5th vol. of the same work, a better help than this Lexicon can scarcely be found, particularly as it refers in general to the book, chapter and verse, where the words are used, and thus serves the double purpose of a Lexicon and Concordance. In this work, the hand of the original compiler, Mr. Seamann, may be often seen, by frequent references to Turkish words.

The next in order of time, as well as in literary merit, was that truly herculean work, the Thesaurus Linguarum Orientalium, of Meninski Viennæ 1680, in 4 large vols. folio. This is properly a Dictionary of the Turkish, Arabic, and Persian languages, interspersed with a number of Tatarian (vulgarly Tartarian) words, explained in Latin, German, Italian, French, and Polish:-A work of vast erudition and extraordinary merit, and which in all probability will never be superseded. At the conclusion of a century from its publication (in 1780,) a new edi

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tion proceeded from the same press, and with the same types; in soine respects improved, but greatly inferior in paper and typographic execution. A strange fatality has attended this work in both editions: the major part of the first was destroyed by a bomb from the Turkish army, which then besieged Vienna; and the principal part of the second has been spoiled by water, which fell upon the sheets previous to their being gathered, so that few unblemished copies can be made up. The second edition of this work will therefore in all probability be soon found nearly as scarce as the first. How this work served for the basis of that more immediately before us, we shall shortly consider.

In 1684, was published at Amsterdam, in folio, the Gazophylacium Linguæ Persarum, by Pere la Brosse, a bare-foot Carmelite, wlo named himself Angelo a S. Joseph, and called his curious compilation collegesys äit. Each page of this work is divided into four columns; the first containing the word in Italian, the second in Latin, the third in French, and the fourth what he calls Persian, which, it must be allowed, is sometimes Persian, sometimes Arabic, and sometimes neither. The truth is, La Brosse never understood the language thoroughly; he uses vulgar or obsolete terins, and makes incessant mistakes in the orthography. He had evidently never read the best authors, and he appears to have compiled bis dictionary, such as it is, rather from what he heard spoken among the common people, with whom he chiefly conversed, than from accredited authors: hence he was repeatedly misled by the almost similar sounds of different words, and hence his innumerable orthographical mistakes. On these accounts his dictionary can be of no real service to the Persian student, as he cannot trust with safety to the accuracy of even a single page.* That no Tyro in this language may be misled by this most imperfect compilation, we Judge it necessary to be thus particular concerning its defects. 'The work however has some merit, as it includes a variety of historical anecdotes, and several observations relative to local custons, which the author himself was euabled to collect.

The dictionaries already mentioned, particularly that of Merinski, long the only compilations of the kind to which the Persian student could have access, becoming every day more difficult to be procured, and higher in their price, 4 the late Mr.

* Dr. Hyde, speaking of this work, justly observes - Ubi (in Gazophylacio Persico) tam, ampla errorum messis ut onines corrigere aliud ei supplar volumen conficeret : ibi enim quævis fæminu vix pejus in orthographia erraverit quam ille.' Syntag. Dissertat. vol. i. p. 293.

† About the time referred to here, a good copy of the Thesaurus of Meninski generlly sold for eighty or one hundred guineas! and even at this price a copy could seldom be procured, as the work was become extreniely scarce.

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