Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

before Northern French, when the virtually independent feudatories in the South, whose native tongue it was, were swallowed up by the all-engulfing vortex of Parisian centralization, And the cause that in Italy the popular dialects are more numerous and important than in any other country in Europe, is simply that in no country has there been, in mediæval and modern times, less of political union round any one centre. The sole form of the linguistic centripetal force which modern Italy has ever yet experienced, was the intellectually-centralizing power of Tuscany; and this we accordingly find denoted by the true name of the standard dialect of education and refinement, “La Lingua Toscana."

All over the globe the same laws hold good. In the dissolution of the old Scandinavian linguistic unity, Norway, in defiance of all antecedent geographical probability, accompanied Denmark and not Sweden, because her political centre was Copenhagen and not Stockholm. The centripetal force was energized by the Danish spirit of centralization, and, therefore, between these two kingdoms no divergence of language took place. Now, on the other hand, Norway chafes and fumes beneath the once welcome yoke of the Danish language, and casts about for any means, natural or artificial, to work out for herself a form of speech the laws of which shall be enacted in her own metropolis, because she has risen into a self-governing commonwealth, under no foreign control but the merely nominal presidency of the Swedish crown. At present, therefore, in Norway the centrifugal force is restlessly active, because the decentralization with regard to Sweden and Denmark is complete. If again we are asked why, throughout the enormous length and breadth of Madagascar, the language is one, the answer is indicated by the vigorous centralization which the conquering race of the Hovas, who first united the island under one sway, have organized in their capital Antananarivo. Or would we know why in Borneo, hardly a larger island, the languages count, it is said, by hundreds, the reason is found in that total absence of any great centralizing power, which leaves the various tribes practically in anarchical independence.

In the eastern half of Europe, we find among the so-called Slavonic family-viz., the Polish, Russian, Servian, Bohemian, &c.—just about the same degree of difference and resemblance as exists among the six descendants of the Latin. The same relation also prevails in that class of which Hebrew is a member; viz., the Arabic, Aramaïc, Ethiopic, &c. In Oceania

or

we hit upon an analogous group comprising the languages of New Zealand, Hawaii, Tahiti, &c. ; in Australia the same thing is repeated; and so on in numberless places. And thus, as we survey the globe, we see its surface everywhere dotled with the site of a Babel; until at last we learn that the splitting-up of one language into several is so far from being an isolated unusual event, that it is as commonly recurrent as any in history.

The immense diffusion of Latin, about A.D. 300 or 400, was a remarkable instance of peoples once using more than one language coming to use but one. Populations, speaking the Gaulish, the Cantabrian, the Etruscan, the Oscan, the Umbrian, &c., converged linguistically in the direction of Rome, by forsaking their mother-tongues and taking up hers. And in parts of the same area there have been examples of convergence of a second order since the grand disruption of Latin between the fifth and ninth centuries of our era. Catalonia, possessing a language of Latin descent, converged towards Castile, when she discarded this, the native Catalan, from her law-courts, and from all the serious intercourse of life, and adopted another tongue of similar origin — the standard Castilian of the united Spanish monarchy. Southern France also began to converge towards Paris, when the noble and beautiful Langue d' Oc was displaced from its official and literary throne, and the poor and meagre Langue d' Oil was made to reign in its stead. Perhaps the most astonishing instance of this kind was, when Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Babylonia, Northern Africa, &c., so converged in the matter of language towards Mecca, that, at this moment, an author in Arabic may command a public of eighty millions.

Iceland. - Was discovered by Nor- thaginian, in the Peninsula, to which it wegians about A.D. 861, and peopled by gave its name. Portugal rejected it.-Spain them in 874. It has belonged to Den- long tried to absorb Portugal, and mark since 1397. Barbaric Irruption.-- Philip II. succeeded for a time; but the From about A.D. 200, the attacks on the Portuguese threw off the yoke in 1640, Roman empire by the German tribes of and placed the house of Braganza, which Goths, Vandals, Alani, Suevi, and others, still reigns, on the throne. The Provençal. continued at intervals till, in the sixth -The language of Provence, an old procentury, after losing province after pro- vince in the south-east of France. Province, Rome itself finally passed into vence at one time included the whole of “barbarian" hands. It had already beer the south of France in one kingdom. Its taken by Alaric, the Visigoth, in 410; name was the continuation of the Roman by Genseric, the Vandal, who sacked it, usage by which the south-eastern part in 455 ; by Odoacer, the Goth, in 476; of France, in distinction from the rest of and by Totila, the Goth, twice, in 546 it, was spoken of as “The Province.":

Catalan. — The language of The Hovas.--The Hovas are of the Malay Catalonia, a province of Spain. Iberian race, and form part of the great migraPeninsula, Spain and Portugal. The tion which spread itself in past ages River Iberus, now the Ebro, separated from the Malayan Peninsula, east and the Roman territory from the Car- west, from Savage Island to Madagascar.

and 549.

They are fair-skinned and commonly Langue d'Oc and the Langue d'Oil.-The straight-haired. The other races of Visigoths and Burgundians south of the the island are the powerful Negroid Loire said oc (the German auch) for yes; Sakalavas of the north and west; the the Franks and Normans to the north of feeble Betsileos of the south, and the that river said oil. Hence the names for Betanims and others, partly Arab, of the the languages. The ancient province of east. The Gaulish. The language of Languedoc (Language of Oc) has its name ancient Gaul (France). Cantabrian. - The oxplained by this. - The Langue d'Oc is language of northern Spain in Roman rich in mediæval literature, such as troudays. The Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian.- badour poetry, romances, &c. The liteLanguages of ancient Italian kingdoms. rature of the Langue d'Oil is very meagre.

COMPOSITION.—Describe briefly and clearly, in your own words, the changes in European languages within the last 1,500 years.

SERMON IN A CHURCHYARD.Lord Macaulay, 1825.

See “Fifth Reader,” p. 163.
LET pious Damon take his seat,
With mincing step, and languid smile,
And scatter from his ’kerchief sweet,
Sabæan odours o'er the aisle ;
And spread his little jewelled hand,
And smile round all the parish beauties,
And pat his curls, and smooth his band,
Meet prelude to his saintly duties.
Let the thronged audience press and stare,
Let stifled maidens ply the fan,
Admire his doctrines, and his hair,
And whisper, “What a good young man!"
While he explains what seems most clear,
So clearly that it seems perplexed,
I'll stay, and read my sermon here;
And skulls, and bones, shall be the text.
Art thou the jilted dupe of fame ?
Dost thou with jealous anger pine
Whene'er she sounds some other name
With fonder emphasis than thine ?
To thee I preach ; draw near; attend !
Look on these bones, thou fool, and see
Where all her scorns and favours end,
What Byron is, and thou must be.
Dost thou revere, or praise, or trust
Some clod like those that here we spurn;
Something that sprang like thee from dust,
And shall like thee to dust return ?

Dost thou rate statesmen, heroes, wits,
At one sere leaf, or wandering feather ?
Behold the black, damp, narrow pits,
Where they and thou must lie together.

Dost thou beneath the smile or frown
Of some vain woman bend thy knee?
Here take thy stand, and trample down
Things that were once as fair as she.
Here rave of her ten thousand graces,
Bosom, and lip, and eye, and chin,
While, as in scorn,

the fleshless faces Of Hamiltons and Waldegraves grin.

Whate'er thy losses or thy gains,
Whate'er thy projects or thy fears,
Whate'er the joys, whate'er the pains,
That prompt thy baby smiles and tears ;
Come to my school, and thou shalt learn,
In one short hour of placid thought,
A stoicism, more deep, more stern,
Than ever Zeno's porch hath taught.
The plots and feats of those that press
To seize on titles, wealth, or power,
Shall seem to thee u game of chess,
Devised to pass a tedious hour.
What matters it to him who fights
For shows of unsubstantial good,
Whether his Kings, and Queens, and Knights,
Be things of flesh, or things of wood ?

We check, and take; exult, and fret;
Our plans extend, our passions rise,
Till in our ardour we forget
How worthless is the victor's prize.
Soon fades the spell, soon comes the night:
Say will it not be then the same,
Whether we played the black or white,
Whether we lost or won the game ?

Dost thou among these hillocks stray,
O'er some dear idol's tomb to moan ?
Know that thy foot is on the clay
Of hearts once wretched as thy own.

How many a father's anxious schemes,
How many rapturous thoughts of lovers,
How many a mother's cherished dreams,
The swelling turf before thee covers !
Here for the living, and the dead,
The weepers and the friends they weep,
Hath been ordained the same cold bed,
The same dark night, the same long sleep;
Why should

thou writhe, and sob, and rave O'er those with whom thou soon must be ? Death his own sting shall cure- -the

grave
Shall vanquish its own victory.
Here learn that all the griefs and joys,
Which now torment, which now beguile,
Are children's hurts, and children's toys,
Scarce worthy of one bitter smile.
Here learn that pulpit, throne, and press,
Sword, sceptre, lyre, alike are frail,
That science is a blind man's guess,
And History a nurse's tale.
Here learn that glory and disgrace,
Wisdom and folly, pass away,
That mirth hath its appointed space,
That sorrow is but for a day;
That all we love, and all we hate,
That all we hope, and all we fear,
Each mood of mind, each turn of fate,
Must end in dust and silence here.

Damon.-A classical name, used here for a clergyman.

The use

of such classical names in poetry was once very common, but is now given up. What Byron is. The poem was written in 1825. Byron had died at Missolonghi on April 19, 1824, at the age of thirty-six years and three months.

Hamiltons.-Miss Eliza

an Irish beauty who, in 1752, married the sixth Duke of Hamilton. Her sister Maria married the sixth Earl of Coventry. Horace Walpole says that the two sisters were spoken of in London society of the day as "the two Landsomest women alive." Waldegraves.

-Maria, grand-daughter of Sir Robert Walpole, her mother being a milliner's girl. She married the second Earl Waldegrave, and died in 1807. She was a woman of surpassing beauty. Georgiana, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire, was another of the lovely women of that day. Zeno.-Founder of the sect of Stoics. Born about B.C. 357. Died about B.C. 263. He taught in the painted colonnade (stoa) at Athens, and from this his followers were called Stoics. They were the noblest sect of ancient philosophy. Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor, one of the grandest names of antiquity, was one.

beth Gunning,

« НазадПродовжити »