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-Oh! she was changed
There is another dream called “ Darkness," in which the poet fancies and describes the state of the world de. prived of light: this, like the preceding, is in blank verse, and, if we are not mistaken, they are the only specimens of the sort its author has printed. We have only room to say, that many parts of it are powerfully and picturesquely imagined, with here and there a striking resemblance to an effusion by Mr. Coleridge, entitled “ The Ancient Mariner,” published among Mr. Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads before referred to. T'he following lines conclude this piece.
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
Of aid from them--She was the universe.” The remaining pieces not above noticed (excepting two sonnets that do not add to their author's reputation) are « Churchill's Grave,” “ A Chorus to an unfinished Witch Drama, begun some years ago," and “ Prometheus,” the leading idea of which is taken from a poem bearing the same title, in German, by Göthe, with whom Lord Byron is not unacquainted : the opening lines of the Bride of Åbydos are almost a translation from a song in Wilhelm Meister..
ART. III. - English Synonyms discriminated. By W.
TAYLOR, Jun. of Norwich. London, Pople, 1813. 8vo,
pp. 294. English Synonymes explained, in Alphabetical Order ; with
copious Illustrations and Examples drawn from the best Writers. By George CRABB, of Magdalen Hall, Ox
ford. London, Baldwin and Co. 1816. 8vo. pp. 772. These title-pages, with the respective prefaces, are very characteristic of the works they introduce. Those of Mr. Taylor resemble the simple name on a brass-knocker, while Mr. Crabb's remind us of the advertising list of articles on the broad boards in front of a house, with the special notification-no connection with the shop at the next door.
Mr. Taylor's preface contains a brief but instructive account of works on synonymy in various languages, with a respectful notice of preceding English writers, and speaks little of himself; Mr. Crabb, on the contrary, very largely recominends his own work, and in this sentence alone notices former authors :
“ It cannot, however, be denied that, whilst the French and Germans have had several considerable works on the subject, we have not a single writer who has treated it in a scientific manner adequate to its importance: not that I wish by this remark to depreciate the labours of those who have preceded me, but simply to assign it as a reason why I have now been induced to come forward with an attempt to fill up what is considered a chasm in English literature," (p. i.)
Taylor, (thou hriginal writery useful labo
Now, except in mere quantity, and the labour, which it supposes, we have not been able to discover any thing in Mr. C.'s book which justifies these pretensions. Of science we have discovered no traces; and though he has exercised much laudable, and frequently useful labour, his claims to notice as an original writer are so far below those of Mr. Taylor, (though his book, after all, may be the more useful production,) that we shall principally advert to the latter gentleman's work, both in the extracts we shall make, and the few remarks we may find occasion to introduce. We are the more induced to this, because we think Mr. T. has great reason to complain of the treatment he has received from Mr. C.: indeed, we could not easily find aipong modern writers so much disingenuous concealment following such great and manifold obligations to a shortly-preceding writer. Mr. T.'s book, it is apparent to us, could never have been out of Mr. C.'s bands. He now and then expressly quotes him, it is true; though he more frequently adds a 66 v. Taylor" below, leaving the borrowed and the original, matter undistinguished. · He is ever exerting himself to disguise what he has thus appropriated; but it is in the form of paraphrase that his obligations are most marked. Besides these positive indications, there are negative proofs of the influence of Mr. T.'s little book on Mr. C.'s mind, by a departure from his accustomed manner when Mr. T. has by chance fallen into it. Of these we shall furnish illustrations incidentally in the course of this article.
We are aware of the difficulty of following in so narrow a track as the etymology and definition of a word without treading in the steps of those who have gone before : on such a subject there must often occur in voluntary coinci. dencies of thought between writers; and we have ourselves not unfrequently been tempted to utter the author's impre. cation—66 Pereant qui ante nos rostra direre.” A liberal and gentlemanly acknowledgment would have relieved Mr. C. from all difficulties. This might the sooner have been expected, because Mr. T. and Mr. C. bave devoted their talents to a walk of literature not very popular, and in which they have few fellow-labourers. Mr. T. is advan. tageously known as one of the best of our translators of classical German works. The fame of Göthe Wieland and Lessing has been spread by his versions: his Iphigenia in Taurus is an accession to our dramatic literature. Mr. Crabb has devoted himself to the bumbler task of writing
school-books : he has produced several on the German language: his present work is of higher pretensions. • It is unquestionably by German scholars that the English language most needs to be inquired into; like Parnassus, it has two heads; and the great cause of Johnson's now acknowledged inadequacy to the task he undertook of compiling a dictionary, was his utter ignorance of the Teutonic half of it. From the elder etymologists he copied the Saxon root, or origin of the word, without pretending or caring to understand its meaning. Almost all preceding philologists had been guilty of the same egregious mistake: they were acquainted only with Greek and Latin, and assumed often the most absurd derivations from that source. Horne Tooke may be considered as the restorer of etymo. logical learning among us, yet even he was not much acquainted with modern German; nevertheless he has rendered lasting service to his country by his etymological researches, though his metaphysics, or philosophy of language, will hereafter excite only a smile or astonishment.
The books now before us may be considered as the first fruits of the new but obvious discovery, that the English language being in its origin a dialect of the German, is capable of infinite illustration by a familiar acquaintance with its kindred dialects.
Of course all fellow-names are to be so explained, for etymology if it be not the polar-star, is at least the compassof synonymy. Mr. T. is the first writer who has been fully sensible of this truth, and as our own peculiar observations never fail to be estimated at their full value, and too often above; Mr. T.'s little work is almost exclusively etymologi. cal. Girard, the most popular French writer on synonymy, distinguished bimself by a delicate tact, and observation of the subtle distinctions practised by fine writers and polite talkers. Of this subtlety and observation Mr. T. has very little : and he appears from his preface not highly to appreciate the exercise of them : on the contrary, he considers etymology as the only safe guide. And, inasmuch as etymology serves to restrain the vagrant tendency of speech, it is most important that it should not be forgotten. “ So much of meaning” says Taylor, “ as inheres in the radical and primary signification of a word is necessarily immortal; but that which has accrued from casual application, may die out and disappear.” It is undoubtedly true that the infuence of the origin of a word will be felt long after that
origin is forgotten; and that whole races of men will continire to use words with delicate varieties of import, and imbibe niceties of feeling and thought from them, without being conscious of the reason. ' A polite man, for instance, would say in argument, “ you interposed an observation," rather than 6 you interrupted me by a remark ;” without recollecting that rumpere means to break, and therefore imputes violence, while ponere means simply to put. In this lies much of the grace of social conversation. They who frequent good company, or 'read the best books, will insensibly catch it there; a great deal may be learned in books of the present kind. Much half-obsolete refinement of distinction will be res called to practice, and new distinctions sometimes originate in them.? ' v '. inar
: Still the remark we quoted from Mr. T. is to be taken with its limitations; and as they who have imagination or invention enough to suggest the remark, are often unwil. Jing to weaken it by restriction, ingenious men are always apt to overcharge their observations; of this, Mr. T. has given us an amusing instance... :.. . ** School. Academy.
“ Schola .was used of the lobby to a bath-house, of a piazza, and of other inclosed places, where philosophers occasionally gave lessons. Academus was a citizen of Athens, who kept a gymnasium, or school of bodily exercises, and who finally bequeathed his house and garden to the public: it became a favourite walk for students. School, therefore, excites an idea of confinement, where the lessons are given between four walls; and academy an idea of liberty, where instruction is picked up on the saunter.” (p. 76.) .". Surely the therefore is absurd ; and in this kind of absurdity Mr. T.'s little book abounds. We suspect he is as aware of it as his readers can be, and we cannot severely condemn playful eccentricities of thought which are not calculated to mislead, and only amuse and stimulate. Mr.C. with more truth certainly, informs us that schola means, from the Greek, leisure, but we cannot applaud what bé adds
“ Hence it has been extended to any place where instruction is given, particularly that which is communicated to youth, which be ing an easy task to one who is familiar with this subject, is consi dered as a relaxation rather than a labour.” (p. 706.)