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that u and v were interchanged and stood in the relation of vowel and consonant; comparisons among other languages show us that w is the consonat sound of 00 (as exemplified in the identical sound of the French word oui and the English word ure). We see that such a poetic form as silua is immediately and naturally explained by pronouncing the original word silua – and the result of these and many similar observations is a conviction that the Roman v was pronounced like our w.
Sometimes we have a probability, as that the Roman diphthong æ was pronounced like our ee, which is inferred from the relations of its Greek equivalent on, which represents long e in the heroic genitive form 010, lengthened expression for ko, and is found closely connected with the same sound in such changes as oidc from idov. But this probability cannot be so far confirmed as to exclude the possible correctness of other hypotheses.
Sometimes we are divided between a nearly equal balance of authorities and probabilities, so that not only no certain but no probable conclusion can be arrived at. Such is the case with the Roman E (connected with and involving the whole question of Etacism and Iotacism, otherwise called the Erasmian and Reuchlinian controversy, in regard to Greek pronunciation), the diphthong YI and the aspirates. In some of these the Greek correspondence give us no assistance whatever, any more than we could obtain information of the values of y and r out of the single equation y=r.
The above somewhat desultory remarks, suggested by a mere glance at the general plan of Mr. Haldeman's book, may give some hint of the wide field it opens. To go into it in detail is not our intention; we have neither time nor space. Occasionally in grappling with a subject of so great extent, and seeking to pack down his results as closely as possible, he has, we fear, exemplified the “dum brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio;" in other places, p.g. his illustrations to prove that the Greek S was sd not ds, he is very lucid and satisfactory. There are a few peculiarities of his system which demand special notice. Into these parts and these only of his work shall we enter minutely.
He considers that is, if we understand him correctly, which we are not quite sure of, for the paragraph is somewhat ambiguously expressed
that the Greek was an asperated English w. Now, in the first place it has always been agreed that « (whatever its sound may be) was cognate to n, and it seems rather inconsistent to take away an aspirate from a tenuis existing in the language, leave it without any, and give the aspirate to a tenuis not existing in the language since the disappearance of the digummà and only represented by the vowel sound ov. Secondly, the combinations brought about by such a pronunciation would be most unharmonious; hwratria (roatoa) for instance. To be sure there are some puzzling arrangements of consonants in Greek; why Iu in Iambic verse should be permissive (i. e. admit a short vowel before it) and ou not, when according to our organ of hearing and articulation sm can go together in one syllable much better than thm; or why in any verse a proper name like Daphnis should be a Pyrrhic rather than a Trochee, so that we must separate the syllables Da-phnis and not Daph-nis — these are mysteries to us; but there is one consideration that settles the question to our mind. The combination hur induces a vowel before the r thus hwratria would come to be pronounced hwiratria. Now it was precisely to avoid a similar occurrence that the Greeks inserted letters in words like avdoi and uponu Boía; and we are therefore justified in concluding positively that such a combination as hur in contrary to the genius of the Greek language.
Donaldson's idea that had the sound of p followed by an aspirate as in the English word haphazard is rightly rejected by our author. Mr. D. fortifies himself with the reduplications (e. g. nréquxc) and contacts like Sangó. The former do not make for his theory any more than for the usual one, and the latter go dead against it, for our p with an aspirate after it is hard enough to pronounce, and two would be next to impossible. In answer to another theory of Donaldson's that “the Latin F must have contained å guttural element,” he cites the change from F and S to H metioned in the American Journal of Science as a peculiarity of Hawaiian and Tahitian languages compared with the Polynesian standard. This is equal to Mr. Donaldson himself, who will always be talking about visarga or anusvarah instead of apocope or ecthlipsis to astonish us poor fellows who are badly off
for Sanscrit. There was no use of going so far out of the way to get an illustration. Any father of a family may find it in his own nursery. It is the most ordinary thing for children before they can speak plain to use the aspirate instead of F in beginning a word, to say honey for funny, &c. They also frequently substitute the aspirate for initial S; the converse of which is seen in diş sal, in silva, and the like. H is capable of being articulated before S or F can be, and when the organs are imperfect as in infancy or the ruder stages of society, it is used for what afterwards becomes s or f. The Barbarians of the Spanish provinces recorrupted F into H, and it still remains as their written language, e. g. facio, Spanish hacer, &c., though the H is no longer sounded.
THE AJAX OF SOPHO KL E S. *
Literary World, October 1851.
IT may be unpatriotic, but it certainly is very true, to say that the man in this country who writes a book on a strictly classical subject (unless he be a College Professor, in which case he may induce his pupils to buy it) must make up his mind beforehand to
his own expenses, and be moreover content with a very limited circle of readers. The English gentleman who compiled this convenient and useful edition of a magnificent play to which most of our students are strangers, bas, thanks to his being a foreigner, come out of the affair better than a native would probably have done. Harvard found him a publisher, on the whole he may congratulate himself on having escaped so well.
Such books are not read because there are not men educated to read them men who can either comprehend readily or take interest heartily in their subject. A young
* The Aias (Ajax) of Sophocles, with Critical and Explanatory Notes. Cambridge: John Bartlett. 1851.
man in one of our great cities, with a family sufficiently wealthy to support him at the best college in the land, is clapped into a counting-house at fifteen and chained there for seven years. His work is office drudgery, his enjoyments and solaces of the earth, earthy. The Seirer. the Jacobin, and the Inerpressible comprise the extent of his literary researches. Derby and Pucalin are his oracles, any space which they leave in his ideas being filled up by Saracco. Delmonico suppers are his positive, a 2, 45" horse his comparative, a share in a yacht his superlative of eartly bliss. Such a man, even should he become opulent at an early period of life, can never be expected to cultivate an acquaintance with the Litera Humaniores. It is very doubtful if he has the power, and pretty certain that he will not have the inclination to do so. An ambitious country youth is fond of books, goes to college and acquires a reputation there. He is likely to do good in the church, to shine at the bar: perhaps has visions of senatorial dignity..Alas! because facility in composition and public speaking are to be of use to him in his future career, therefore he will do nothing but speak and write from the start, before he has learned to read or think. What classics he deigns to acquire are at most a college Appointment's worth - possibly not even that - perhaps just enough to fournish him with an occasional hacknied quotation
decidedly not enough to render the classical element a conspicuous one in his thoughts, studies, and tastes. When intelligent foreigners complain of our want of refinement, it is this sort of refinement they mean – the critical and asthetic sympathies of educated literary men and well-read gentlemen, not the refinement of dresses and dinners, French clothes and French dances, of which we denizens of the Atlantic cities have enough and somewhat too much.
Shockingly aristocratic and monarchical and unAmerican these remarks of ours! At least there will be plenty of charitable people to say so, for our popular mind has grown “tender and irritable,” like that of the decadent democracy described by Plato; even as a spoiled child or a spoiled woman, it will be found fault with in nothing. You can't say a word about Bruin the niggerdealer, or Grabster of the Bath Hotel, or the Morning Sewer, but some one will raise the hue and cry after you
as an enemy of our free institutions." O blatant individual, are Bruin and Grabster and the Sewer integral parts of our government and institutions ? If so, then have we institutions not altogether perfect, but imperatively demanding somewhat of reform. But we trust that they
two of them at least are not institutions at all, but monstrous excrescences to be lopped off from the body social and sent to their own place.
Indignant democrat, thou hast a friend or a brother perhaps, a good man and clever, respected and loved by thee above all other men. Wouldst thou, therefore, insist that everything about him shall be deemed perfect by all the world praise his snub nose, for instance, as an aquiline, and quarrel with all who shall not confess it the purest Roman? If so, thou art very blind or a sad toady. Go, take a lesson from John Bull, whose sauciness thou art wont to wax wroth with, forgetting that he is just as saucy at home. John is a patriot every inch of him, and thinks enough — yea, quite enough - of himself and his country; yet is he not slow to revile and ridicule the abuses thereof.
Can we expect him to be more civil to us than he is to his own people? When the Times compares Lords Brougham and Campbell to a couple of Scotch terriers, is it surprising that it should speak with small respect of Senator Seward or Editor Greeley? Thackeray wrote a book on English snobs and showed up a great many of the
institutions” of his fatherland in very large type. We think we see him writing a book about the Snobs of America and some of the said snobs reading it.
But all this while we are keeping you away from our play. Draw up the curtain then or rather let it down, for the classic curtain did not rise from the stage, but sank beneath it. The contest for the arms of Achilles is decided. The judges have given them to the eloquent man in preference to the brave man. Disappointment drives the defeated candidate mad; he rushes out on the sheep and cattle of the army and slaughters them instead of the Grecian chiefs. Ulysses will play the spy on his unfortunate rival, and here the drama opens.
The wily son of Laertes encounters his patron goddes near the tent of Ajax. And here let us make a note. The uninterrupted stateliness of the classical drama, its