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ON A NEW EDITION OF THE
A New Polyglott Bible having been some time since projected, inay I inquire if any probability of its execution remains ? From the imperfect condition of many of the versions in Walton, such a work becomes absolutely necessary to the biblical student:the Cophtic, Sahidic, Armenian, Gothic, and Anglo-Saxon versions are entirely omitted, and many of those already printed may be much improved by a more accurate collation of Mss. Townley asserts in his biblical illustrations, that the whole of the Cophtic Scriptures may be found in a French library; and no better editors of that version can be procured, than Quatremère and Champollion. On the same authority it is asserted, that Bruce's Ms. of the Ethiopic Scriptures exists in the possession of the Kinnaird family, to which the book of Psalms alone is wanting, which may be supplied from the present Polyglott. Many better Arabic versions may be found, than that selected by Walton, of which the Pentateuch is the only tolerable part, and various Persian Gospels, superior to that of Tawnsi, are in the collection of our two universities, three of which Spelman edited at Cambridge about the year 1630.
Should this work ever be undertaken, a large and clear type should be cast expressly for it, and much room as well as confusion would be saved, if the interlineary Latin translation were placed over each language, as in the Hebrew of the old edition. The Vulgate might be placed over the Septuagint. In the supplementary volume or volumes the readings of Kennicott, of De Rossi, and of Yeates on the Buchanan Ms. should be inserted; the Syriac should be compared with the copies recently brought from the East, and the various readings carefully recorded. No modern translation should be admissible: for not one of them can possess any authority; and many are defective in the minuter elegances of the languages, whilst words have been selected, which the natives regard as barbarisms. Burckhardt's account of the wretched medley of words in the recent Arabic translation should be a caution, that the undertaking be not ruined by the insertion of any version that is not recommended by its antiquity.
At the same time, Castell's Heptaglott Lexicon should be extended. Bar Bahlûl, and other native Lexica should be consulted to complete the Syriac, Damir on Natural History, the
Kamus and Sibhah to complete the Arabic department; the Farhang-i Jehangiri and Berhan-i Kattea to supply all the deficiencies of the Persian. The Cophtic and Armenian, the Mæso-Gothic and Anglo-Saxon dictionaries already published should be added to the collection, that every version might have its corresponding Lexicon. Many new words would be discovered from the perusal of the Ethiopic Scriptures, to enrich that part of the series : and the Arabic would be found a great assistance in determining the sense of those which have no place in Ludolf, and as yet remain unknown, from our imperfect acquaintance with that tongue.
Each individual language should be entrusted to not less than three collators; and proper compositors, previously exercised in the use of the respective characters and orthographical marks, should be provided to execute the printing.
If the work were considered as a national undertaking, and edited under the auspices of Government, there could be no doubt of its success-subscriptions might, then, be solicited, and preparations made for its appearance, without further delay.
It is hoped that these hasty remarks may have a tendency to revive the subject, and cause some plan to be suggested for its completion.
P.S. The Grammars should be published separately, and be more diffuse than those in Castell; they should also be arranged in a more masterly manner.
NOTICE OF HISTOIRE de la MUSIQUE, par MADAME DE
BawR.-ESSAI sur la DANSE Antique et Moderne, par MADAME ELISE VOIART. Paris, 1823. 800.
DISSERTATIONs on the Arts and Sciences are of two kinds, each designed for a separate class of readers. The first, compiled from actual research, embraces all the facts relating to its subject, and reasons on them with accuracy; but is calculated only for the libraries of scholars, and such persons as are not frightened at the dead languages. The second is not quite fair in its origin; it appropriates the labors of industrious writers, moulds them into an essay, enlivening thein with occasional touches of esprit, and sends them forth in an elegant form for the amusement of general readers. Of this description are the volumes before us: they form part of an extensive work, entitled L'Encyclopédie des Dames, which professes to contain a complete course of instruction à l'usage des femmes, in eightyfour volumes.
The materials for the Histoire de la Musique appear to have been collected by the late M. Pujoulx, at whose death the task devolved on Mine. de Bawr: she also acknowledges her obliga+ tions to Burney, Choron,' and Castil-Blaze, after whose researches she had only to compile an agreeable memoir, in which she has succeeded. That the learning introduced into the first chapters should have been strained or filtered through other works, is not unreasonable; and that is evident from the absence of references, for which we must make allowance to a lady, and be thankful for her condescension: this complaisance to her predecessors is, however, attended with its evils, for she makes no distinction of authorities, but speaks of Moses from Clemens, and of Timotheus from Boëtius.
Among the specimens of Greek music which have come down to us, are three hymns, addressed severally to Calliope, Apollo, and Nemesis, attributed to Dionysius : they were published from a Ms. in the library of Cardinal St. Angelo at Rome, by Vincent Galileo (father to the celebrated astronomer) in his Discourse on Ancient and Modern Music, printed at Florence in
Burette reprinted them in 1720,4 with modern notes, from a Greek Ms. (which contained also the treatises of Aristides and Bacchius), in the Royal Library at Paris. A fourth fragment was discovered by Kircher, in the monastery of St. Saviour in Sicily; it contained eight lines of the first Pythian ode of Pindar, written in the characters which Alypius considers
' Author of the Dictionary of Musicians.
? Author of L'Opéra, and a Dictionary of Music, preferred by some to that of Rousseau.
3 1. De la Musique chez les Egyptiens et chez les Hébreux. 2. chez les Grecs. 3. Des instrumens Grecs. 4. Des jeux Grecs. 5. De Ja Musique dramatique chez les Grecs. 6. Des chansons et de la Mu. sique militaire chez les anciens. 7. De la Musique chez les Romains. 8. Du plein-chant.
4 In the Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions. S No. 3221.
as Lydian: the music is simple, and runs over six sounds only, a proof, says Madame de Bawr, of its antiquity, and that it was composed before the invention of the hepti-chordal lyre. This fragment is engraved at page 41, and, as she observes, we know not how to ascribe to such a composition the enthusiasm with which Pindar sang his verses; we may add, with which they were received by his auditors: but as they made little distinction between the simple and the sublime, they probably preferred energy to sweetness,' with the same taste as our ancestors formerly listened to minstrels, or our commonalty at present to itinerant Waits. We shall now extract a passage on the professors of the art :
Les joueurs de flûte célèbres faisaient des fortunes immenses. Plutarque parle des grandes richesses de Théodurus, maître de flûte renommé, qui fut père d'Isocrate l'orateur. Lucien rapporte qu'un certain Isménias de Thèbes acheta une flûte, à Corinthe, trois talens, ce qui fait 16,500 francs de notre monnaie: beaucoup d'autres gagnaient et dépensaient des trésors. Il fallait, au reste, que les joueurs de flûte fussent en bien grand nombre dans la Grèce; car, non-seulement ils étaient nécessaires dans les temples où ils jouaient pendant les sacrifices, dans l'orchestre des théâtres, et dans toutes les cérémonies publiques, mais on les voit encore appelés aux noces, aux fêtes, et aux festins, comme des personnages obligés. P. 48.
The Romans, our authoress remarks, were too busy with the conquest of the world, to equal Greece in the fine arts. What they learnt she considers as due to the Etruscans, and to the conquest of Sicily, where pastoral poetry and wind instruments are supposed to have had their origin. The more lyrical odes of Horace have the air and metre of Greek music; and, as the dramatists professedly borrowed their plots from Greece, it is probable that their embellishments were derived from the same quarter. Roman music seems to have attained its meridian under Nero, and forms the only interesting feature in his reign. From this period Madame de Bawr makes a rapid transition to mediæval and modern music, and loses the historian in the connoisseur.
The theories of Madame Voiart upon the origin of Dancing may be safely passed over; for it seems most natural to suppose that meetings occasioned hilarity, hilarity produced the chorus, and the chorus quickened the step.' We will now observe its progress.
'Rowe says: “ And Strength and Nature made amends for Art.”
2 A better instance need not be sought to show how much truth is injured by brilliant periods, or what the French term esprit: the conquest of the world, one would imagine from her words, was the primary object of the Romans; “ tout occupés du soin de conquérir le monde, les Romains n'ont été dans les arts que les faibles imitateurs des Grecs." P. 63.
Les Egyptiens furent les premiers qui donnèrent à la danse ce caractère de sublimité qui l'a rendu digne des éloges des poëtes et des sages. Inventeurs du langage mystérieux dont les images décorent encore leurs vénérables monumens, ils avaient fait de leurs danses des hiéroglyphes d'actions; sur un mode grave et solennel ils composaient des danses sévères, qui peignaient par des mouvemens réglés les révolutions des astres, l'ordre immuable et l'harmonie de l'univers. Ils avaient institué en l'honneur du dieu Apis, symbole sous lequel ils adoraient le soleil, des danses par lesquelles ils exprimaient successivement et la douleur de l'avoir perdu, et la joie de l'avoir retrouvé. Chez ce peuple la danse fut toujours liée aux cérémonies religieuses; les lois fondamentales du culte en avaient réglé l'usage et déterminé le caractère.
Orphée parmi les Grecs fut l'inventeur des danses sacrées, ou plutôt il fut le premier qui, rapportant dans sa patrie un culte et des notions religieuses recueillies dans ses longs voyages, osa consacrer l'expression du plaisir au culte de la Divinité. Aux danses naturelles et familières à la jeunesse il ajouta des évolutions empruntées aux prêtres de Sais ou de Colchide. Les súblimes accens de sa lyre leur imprimèrent Tes liautes vérités que son génie révélait aux peuples. P, 15, 16.
It must be observed that from the want of references every statement here has an air of romance; the dance of the Greeks 'follows:
* Par la suite, les Grecs, charmés de l'ordre et de l'harmonie que les danses apportaient dañs leurs cérémonies religieuses, les introduirent dans les divertissemens les moins susceptibles de les recevoir. Les chours, qui servaient d'intermèdes dans les représentations théâtrales, répétaient sur la scène les rôles qu'ils avaient dejà joués autour des autels. Ils dansèrent d'abord en rond, de droite à gauche, pour exprimer le mouvement du ciel, qui se fait du levant au couchant; ils appelaient cette danse strophes ou tours. Ils retournaient ensuite de gauche à droite pour représenter le cours des planètes, et nommèrent ces mouvemens antistrophes ou retours. Après ces deux danses ils s'arrêtaient pour chanter. Ce repos, accompagné d'harmonie, peignait, selon eux, ' l'immobilité de la terre, qu'ils croyaient fixe et immuable. P. 17.
This is very ingenious; but we question whether half the assembly considered the importance of their amusements, or that children were taught astronomy by a dancing-master. A
Nothing can be more absurd than the researches of antiquarians on this point, and the opinion of a fiddler would be preferable to that of a dilettante. That music was first invented, we venture to affirm, because the faculty of dancing is not spontaneous, but excited by melody: let the fair theorist make the experiment.