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THE VOICES OF EARTH.
EARTH, with its charms, which, spell-like, bind
Ambition's wasting fire.
Persuasive tell their joys.
Breathes gently—“Stay! oh stay!”
For me has murmurs deep.
Wake Music's echoes sweet.
Still whisper—“Stay! oh stay !"
And sorrel's clear green leaf :
And murmur—“ Stay, oh stay!”
Has spells of peace for mo.
Where waves, like prairie-horses, sweep
A solemn voice is near.
Which breathes through Nature's frame.
To float unseen for ever :
Which keeps the Way of Life.
For ever and for ever!”
And which will still be dear.
Which thrills-a mystic spell.
When all is hushed and still.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE.
THE object of language is to give an out- pelled to learn the same lessons by the ward expression to the internal concep- same painful experience, without any protions of the mind in such a form as that gressive advancement in intellectual learnthey shall be intelligible to those with ing, or in the discovery of new social adwhom we associate ; or to serve the soli- vantages. In such a condition the natural tary thinker as a register of the ideas wickedness of the human heart would find which have passed through his mind, and for its development a field broad and thus to aid him in his future researches, large, with few of the fences which now by affording an easy method of recalling restrain it from overstepping its destined the generalizations which he has already limits. The passions would rage with a formed. It furnishes, by means of words, fury knowing scarcely any abatement. an external projection to thoughts which The social affections, which constitute an must otherwise have remained within the essential part of human nature, would be secret chambers of the mind, unknown to stunted in their growth by the predomiall except their original possessor; and it nance of the merely brutal instincts, and gives a community of intelligence to all the emotions which, when rightly reguthe nations of the earth, by establishing a lated, furnish so large a part of our pleacommunication between man and man, and sure, would remain a hidden thing in the laying open the stores of universal know. secrets of our being, as the monotonous ledge for the apprehension and appropria- tenor of our life would afford few occation of every individual. Viewed in this sions for their exercise. If thus bereft of light, the importance of language has speech, man would live through the brief never been denied, but has always been span of life allotted to him without friends the more acknowledged as the advantages to assist him in his difficulties ; and which are derived from social intercourse though his natural desire after knowledge have been more felt and appreciated. It might carry him on for a little while in is only, however, when we contrast the the investigation of truth, he would soon privileges which are enjoyed by the large relax his exertions ; for there would be no majority of the human family with the voice of kindness to support him, and no unfortunate position of the deaf and dumb, friendly sympathies to relieve the tediousthat we can form an adequate notion of ness of the pursuit. Indolence would the immense superiority which is con- prevail over the energies of both the body ferred upon us by the gift of language, and mind; and he would be content to Were man deprived of its use, though he lounge away his time in sloth and idlewould undoubtedly retain all his faculties ness, save only when roused into activity unimpaired, yet, in their exercise he would by the recurring wants of his corporeal feel himself narrowed within the compass nature. But a merciful Providence has of his individuality, without any enlarged not left man without the use of speech, so notions of benevolence towards his fellow- pecessary to the full enjoyment of his inman, except what might be inspired by the tellectual faculties, though now and then instincts of his animal nature. Though his instances occur which show how weak he eye would give him a knowledge of the would have been, notwithstanding the external world, though his consciousness possession of reason, if the means of inwould tell of the existence of a mind tercommunication had been withheld from within him, and reveal to him much of him. The bestowal of language has enathe depths of his spiritual being, and bled him fully to gratify the wants of his though in these two facts there lie the being, and has made him feel that he is elements of all knowledge, yet from the not alone in the universe, but is conwant of intercourse he would be prevented nected by many tender ties and associafrom extending his sphere of information tions with his fellows; and in seasons of beyond concrete phenomena or the sim- difficulty and distress he knows that plest generalizations, and whatever be the there are sympathetic feelings to which amount of knowledge he had acquired, it he can appeal for relief or protection. By would be confined to his own breast, and the use of speech the information which generation after generation would be con- has been acquired by one individual is transmitted to another, and by him again that, under all circumstances, human nato a third, until what was originally accu- ture in both its constituents of soul and mulated by one party has become the body, is the same, and that all men are common property of all, and it is thus brethren, whatever be the colour of their that we are able to apply to present emer- skin or their inequality in mental culture; gencies the experience of the past, without and though there are great characteristic the unnecessary toil of undergoing the differences in both the corporeal and insame sorrows, temptations, and trials ; tellectual organization of the different faand by the constant additions which are milies, philosophers now almost unanibeing made of present experience to the mously admit that they are such as can accumulated treasures of the past, the be explained by natural causes, without stores of human knowledge are becoming any necessity of resorting to the supposiindefinitely enlarged, so that po bounds tion against which our feelings instinccan be set to the advancement of the hu- tively revolt, that the distinctions of race man race in intellectual, in social, or in are inherent and essential, and existed moral greatness.
from the beginning. An enlightened inThe primary object of all linguistic in- vestigation has proved that all men enjoy vestigation is to ascertain the connection corporeal and intellectual faculties, the which subsists between thought and lan- same in kind though not in degree. Phiguage, to trace, amid the seemingly end- lology then comes in with its investigaless varieties of tongues which are spoken tions, and finding that language has over the world, the laws which have re- everywhere been given as the necessary flected their development, and to disco- adjunct of reason, and has among all naver in the midst of constant fluctuations a tions similarities in form and in vocabubasis of original unity. But it is only lary, it feels itself authorised in coming within the last hundred years that the in- to a conclusion which harmonizes with the duction of facts has been substituted for resalts of the other kindred sciences, that empty, high-sounding theories, and that language has had but one original, from any convincing results have been obtained. which it has insensibly deviated, not by The short period which has elapsed since caprice, but by fixed and regular princithe first systematic cultivation of pbilo ples. logy, has not been sufficient to admit a Language, even in its first origin, ap. thorough investigation into the structure pears to have come forth fully formed, reand formation of all existing languages plete with the richest and most significant and dialects; but though much still re- vocabulary, with an almost redundant fulmains to be done, not a little has been al- ness of expression, and capable of giving ready accomplished. Philologists have utterance in the most fitting manner to advanced at least so far as to arrange all the creative genius which animated nalanguages under a few leading divisions, tions when yet in their infancy. It could and have proved that there is a real bond not, as some theorists have imagined, have of connection between each family. With begun with the merely animal cries and respect to the class of languages with various instinctive exclamations of joy or which Europeans are more immediately grief, of passion or of desire, and have interested, they have determined their de- thence gradually grown up, to the height rivation from one primary source, and the of grammatical order, and to a perfect calaws which have operated in producing the pability to unfold the loftiest imaginava.ious changes by which they are distin- tions and the most profound trains of guished from each other; and from a com reasoning. Against such a theory there parison of the Indo-European class of lan- lies the fatal objection, that the farther guages with other families they have been we are able to ascend the stream of lanable to go a step further, and infer, what guages, the more full and complete they was the great object of all their investi- are found to be in their grammatical gatious, the primitive unity of language, structure, and that the earliest languages and, to a certain extent, they have succeed- have the most complicated form, are the ed in tracing the causes which have led to most rich in inflection and inversion; but their gradual separation. Their inquiries as they become cultivated, they lose the throughout have been much facilitated variety and significancy of their terminaby simultaneous investigations in psy- tions, and their power of composition and chology and physiology, which have, eacli derivation. in its own way, arrived at the same result, This important fact is decisive as to the theory of a gradual process of forma- in their manners and customs, in their tion, derived from the analogy of our climate, in the physical characteristics of purely animal nature. We believe that the countries which they inhabit, and in language had a far higher origin; that it the degree of their civilization, must be is inherent in our very constitution, and accounted sufficiently active agencies to was bestowed upon man at his creation by produce the original variations of dialect. God, for the purpose of affording full de- When once mutations have been introvelopment to his rational faculties and his duced, they will be perpetuated by tradisocial desires. We do not mean to say tion; and they will have a natural tenthat God gave to man a language com- dency to increase in number and variety as posed of a certain number of words, with the organs of the people become habituated à complete terminology ; but that He en- to them, until external circumstances indowed him with the form or pattern of tervene to stop the progress of further inlanguage, which he might fill up as neces- novations. sity required ; that He gave him a type There are, however, principles in active upon which he might mould his thoughts, operation which tend to produce the opposo that they might be communicable to site effect, and to prevent human speech others.
from degenerating from its original patIt is vain to think to discover what was tern except by determinate laws. Among the original language of mankind. The the chief of these may be mentioned the knowledge of it could serve little purpose, essential requisite of language, in all its beyond the gratifying of a prying curiosity. stages, that it should admit of no changes Philology has a higher object in view than which would destroy its intelligibility with the ascertainment of any individual speech, those who have been accustomed to speak however ancient or curious. It has to it. The consequence of this law is, that discover in the existing dialects of nations changes can be produced only by slow dethe prototype of them all-the pattern grees and at distant intervals. Were any after which they have been formed. This class of men to attempt to remodel a lancan be done only by a searching investiga- guage according to their own preconceived tion into the varieties of language as exist- notions of propriety, their efforts would be ing at present, and a careful comparison met with general ridicule and contempt ; of one family with another. The collec- for, though they might form a system of tion of the necessary facts is laborious ; sounds which would be mutually intelligithe generalising of them is attended with ble to themselves, yet, in their intercourse still more difficulty: but, as the end of all with others, they would have to use the philosophy is the discovery of forms, and speech of the majority, while the latter this can be done only by an induction of would be under no necessity to make concrete instances, the laboriousness of themselves acquainted with their jargon, diligent research must be undergone, if and, in a short time, the ambitious innowe would hope to succeed in reducing lan- vators would find that all such attempts guage to a scientific form ; and we have must be futile. The acquiescence of a no doubt that the reward will be as ample large portion of the community is absoas has attended the similar prosecution of lutely necessary before any changes can physical science.
become component parts of a language ; But, if we admit the primeval unity of and no such acquiescence can be obtained language, the question then naturally oc- unless the proposed changes be founded curs-How does it happen that one tongue upon the habits and necessities of the peoshould have branched out into such innu- ple, for there is a constant tendency in merable varieties, apparently so far re- human nature to abide by past institutions moved from each other? In answering and customs, and to admit of changes only this question, it must be borne in mind when actually forced upon it. that everything which permanently affects In aldition to this requisite of general either the body or the mind must affect intelligibility, the preservation of the orilanguage in an equal degree, for its essence ginal forms of speech in all dialects may consists in expressing mental conceptions be traced to the essential unity of human through corporeal organs. The primary nature. The mind of man is everywhere cause is to be attributed to differences in composed of the same faculties, with simiintellectual development and culture; but, lar thoughts, emotions, and desires ; and even where the mental qualities of two his bodily organs are evidently moulded nations might be on a par, the differences after a fixed type, which, though it admits