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Latin riod of the Freuch tongue; and we think that age pro- cumstances which chiefly contributed to produce that re- Latin Language. duced. a race of learned men, in every department supe
Language. rior in number and equal in genius to the literati who The same Velleius Paterculus whom we have quoted flourished under the noble and envied constitution of assigns some plausible and very judicious reasons for this Britain during the same age, though the latter is uni- catastrophe. “ Emulation (says he) is the nurse of
versally allowed to have been the golden period of this nius; and one while envy, and another admiration, fires
country. The British isles, we hope, enjoy still as much imitation. According to the laws of nature, that which
liberty as ever ; yet we believe few people will aver, is pursued with the greatest ardour mounts to the top:
that the writers of the present age are equal either in but to be stationary in perfection is a difficult matter;
style or in genius to that noble group who flourished from and by the same analogy, that which cannot go forward
the middle of the reign of Charles I. to the middle of goes backward. As at the outset we are animated to
the reign of George II.; and here despotism is quite un- overtake those whom we deem before us, so when we
despair of being able to overtake or to pass by them, our
In the east the same observation is confirmed. The ardour languisbes together with our hope, and what it
Persians have long groaned under the Mohammedan cannot overtake it ceases to pursue; and leaving the sub-
yoke; and yet every oriental scholar will allow, that inject as already engrossed by another, it looks out for a
that country, and under the most galling tyranny, the new one upon which to exert itself. That by which we
most amazing productions of taste, genius, and industry, find we are not able to acquire eminence we relinquish,
that ever dignified buman nature, have been exhibited. and try to find out some object elsewhere upon which to
Under the Arabian caliphs, the successors of Moham- employ our intellectual powers. The consequence is,
med, appeared writers of a most sublime genius, though that frequent and variable transitions from subject to sub-
never was despotism more cruelly exercised than under ject proves a very great obstacle to perfection in any pro-
those fanatics. The revival of letters at the era of the fession.".
Reformation was chiefly promoted and cherished by petty This perhaps was the case with the Romans. The
heroes of the Augustan age liad borne away the prize
We cannot therefore be persuaded, that the despo. of eloquence, of history, of poetry, &c. Their succes-
tism of the Cæsars banished eloquence and learning sors despaired of being able to equal, much less to sur-
from Rome. Longinus indeed has attributed this mis- pass them, in any of these walks. They were therefore
fortune to that cause, and tells us, Ogres to your inam ta said under the necessity of striking out a new path by
Φρσηματα των ΜεγαλοΦρονων και ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ, &c. " It which they might arrive at eminence. Consequently
is liberty that is formed to nurse the sentiments of great Seneca introduced the stile coupé, as the French call it;
geniuses, to push forward the propensity of contest, to that is, a short, sparkling, figurative diction, abounding
inspire them with hopes, and the generous anubition of with antitheses,quaintnesses, witticisms, embellished with
being the first in rank.” When Longinus wrote this, flowers and meretricious ornaments; whereas the style of
he did not reflect that he himself was a striking instance the Augustan age was natnral, simple, solid, unaffected,
of the unsoundness of his observation.
and properly adapted to the nature of the subject and the 198
As to science, the fact is undoubtedly on the other sentiments of the author. 'The
writers side. That Seneca was superior to Cicero in philosophy, The historian Sallust laid the foundation of the unnaof the sil. cannot be reasonably contradicted. The latter bad read, tural style above mentioned. Notwithstanding all the ver age and actually abridged, the whole extent of Grecian phi- excellencies of that celebrated author, he everywhere greater masters of losophy: this displayed his reading rather than bis exbibits an affectation of antiquity, an antithetical cast, scienoe learning. The former had addicted himself to the stoic an air of austerity, an accuracy, exactness, and regulathan their sect; and though he does not write with the same flow rity, contrary to that air degagé which nature displays predeces of eloquence as Tully, he thinks more deeply and rea
in her most elaborate efforts. His words, his clauses, sors.
sons more closely. Pliny's Natural History is a won- seem to be adjusted exactly according to number, weight,
derful collection, and contains more useful knowledge and measure, without excess or defect. Velleius Pater-
than all the writings of the Augustan age condensed in- culus imitated this writer; and, as is generally the case
to one mass. We think the historical annals of Tacitus, with imitators, succeeded best in those points where bis
if inferior to Livy in style and majesty of diction, much archetype had failed most egregiously. Tacitus, how-
saperior in arrangement and vigour of composition. In ever excellent in other respects, deviated from the Au.
short, we discover in these productions a deep insight in- gustan exemplars, and is thought to have imitated Sala
to human nature, an extensive knowledge of the science lust; but affecting brevity to excess, be often falls into
of government, a penetration which no dissimulation obscurity.
obscurity. The other contemporary writers employ a
could escape, together with a sincere attachment to cognate style; and because they have deviated from the
truth both with respect to events and characters; nor is Augustan standard, their works are beld in less estima.
he inferior in the majesty, energy, and propriety of his tion, and are thought to bear about them marks of de-
harangues, wherever an equal opportunity presents it- generacy.
self. Quintilian, Pliny the younger, Suetonius, Petro- That degeneracy, however, did not spring from the
nius Arbiter, and Juvenal, deserve high esteem ; nor despotic government under which these authors lived,
are they inferior to their immediate predecessors. We but from that affectation of singularity into which they
think there is good reason to conclude, that the loss of were led by an eager but fruitless desire of signalizing
liberty among the Romans did not produce the extinc- theniselves in their mode, as their predecessors had dove
tion of eloquence, science, elevation of sentiment, or re- in theirs. But the mischiefs of this rage for innova.
finement of taste. There were, we believe, other cir- tion did not reach their sentiments, as it bad done their
VOL. XVI. Part I.
Latin style; for in that point we think they were so far from works, like those of the other, are miscellaneous; filled Latin
Language. falling below the measure of the writers of the former with mythology and ancient literature, with some philo- Language.
age, that in many instances they seem to have surpas- sophy intermixed.
In the same age with Aulus Gellius flourished å pu-
With respect to sentiment and mental exertions, the leius of Madaura in Africa ; a Platonic writer, whose
authors in question preserved their vigour, till luxury matter in general far exceeds his perplexed and affected
and effeminacy, in consequence of power and opulence, style, too conformable to the false rhetoric of the age in
enervated both the bodies and minds of the Romans. which be lived.
The contagion soon became universal ; and a listless- Boethius was descended from one of the noblest of the
ness, or intellectual torpor, the usual concomitant of Roman families, and was consul in the beginning of the
Juxury, spread indolence over the mental faculties, sixth century. He wrote many philosophical works ;
which rendered them not only averse to, but even inca- but his ethic piece on the Consolation of Philosophy de-
pable of, industry and perseverance. This lethargic serves great encomiums, both for the matter and the
disposition of mind seems to have commenced towards style; in which latter he approaches the purity of a far
the conclusion of the silver age ; that is, about the end better
than bis own. By command of 'Í'heodoric
of the reign of Adrian. It was then that the Roman king of the Goths this great and good man suffered
eagle began to stoop, and the genius of Rome, as well death; and with him the Latin tongue, and the last re-
in arts as in arms, began to decline. Once more, the mains of Roman dignity, may be said to have sunk in
declension of the intellectual powers of the writers of the western world.
that nation did not arise from the form of the govern- There were besides a goodly number both of poets
ment, but from the causes above specified.
and historians who flourished during this period; such
As the Roman genius, about that period, began to as Silius Italicus, Claudian, Ausonius, &c. poets and
decline, so the style of the silver age was gradually viti- historians to a very great number, for whom our readers.
ated with barbarisms and exotic forms of speech. The may consult Joh. Alberti Fabricii Bibl. Lat.
multitudes of barbarians who flocked to Rome from all There flourished, too, a number of ecclesiastical writ- Elegant ec-
parts of the empire; the ambassadors of foreign priuces, ers, some of whom deserve great commendation. The clesiastical
and often the princes themselves, with their attendants ; chief of these is Lactantius, who has been deservedly writers in
the prodigious numbers of slaves who were entertained dignified with the title of the Christian Cicero.
in all the considerable families of the capital, and over The Roman authors amount to a very small number
all Italy; the frequent commerce which the Roman ar- in comparison of the Greek. At the same time, when
mies upon the frontiers carried on with the barbarians ; we consider the extent and duration of the Roman em-
all concurred to vitiate the Latin tongue, and to inter- pire, we are justly surprised to find so few. writers of
lard it with foreign words and idioms. In such circum- character and reputation in so vast a field. We think
stances, it was impossible for that or any other language we have good reason to agree with the prince of Roman
to have continued pure and untainted.
poets in the sentiment already quoted. This vitiated character both of style and sentiment Upon the whole, the Latin tongue deserves our at- Excellency became more and more prevalent, in proportion as it tention beyond any other ancient one now extant. The and useful descended from the reign of Adrian towards the era of grandeur of the people by whom it was spoken ; the ness of the the removal of the imperial seat from Rome to Con- lustre of its writers ; the empire which it still maintains Latin
tongue stantinople. Then succeeded the iron age, when the among ourselves; the necessity we are under of learning
Roman language became absolutely rude and barba- it in order to obtain access to almost all the sciences, 199
nay even to the knowledge of our own laws, of our juWriters of Towards the close of the silver, and during the whole dicial proceedings, of our charters; all those circum
course of the brazen age, there appeared, however, stances, and many others too numerous to be detailed, Jents during the
many writers of no contemptible talents. The most re- render the acquisition of that imperial language in a pesilver and markable was Seneca the stoic, the master of Nero, culiar manner at once improving and highly interesting. brazen whose character both as a man and a writer is discus- Spoken by the conquerors of the ancient nations, it parAges, sed with great accuracy by the noble author of the Cha- takes of all their revolutions, and bears continually their racteristics, to whom we refer our readers.
impression. Strong and nervous while they were emAbout the same time lived Persius the satirist, the ployed in nothing but battles and carnage, it thundered friend and disciple of the stoic Cornutus; to whose pre- in the camps, and made the proudest people to tremble, cepts be did honour by his virtuous life; and by bis and the most despotic monarchs to bend their stubborn works, though small, he showed an early proficiency in necks to the yoke. Copious and majestic, when, weary the science of morals.
of battles, the Romans inclined to vie with the Greeks Under the mild government of Adrian and the Anto- in science and the graces, it became the learned lannines lived Aulus Gellius, or (as some call him) Agel- guage of Europe, and by its lustre made the jargon of lius ; an entertaining writer in the miscellaneous way, savages disappear who disputed with it the possession of we!l skilled in criticism and antiquity. His works con- that quarter of the globe. After having controuled by tain several valuable fragments of philosophy, which are its eloquence, and humanized by its laws, all those peoindeed the most curious part of them.
ple, it became the language of religion. In short, With Aulus Gellius we may rank Macrobius; not be- the Latin language will be studied and esteemed as cause he was a contemporary (for he is supposed to have long as good sense and fine taste remain in the Jived under Honorius and Theodosius), but from his world. near resemblance in the character of a writer. His
seats and afterwards in Italy, they had little temptation Celtic Language. Sect. IX. Celtic, Gothic, and Sclavonian Languages. or opportunity to mingle with foreigners. Their lan- Language.
guage, therefore, must have remained unmixed with fo. $ 1. Of the Celtic Language.
reign idioms. Such as it was when they settled in Gaul,
such it must bave continued till the Roman conquests. In treating of the origin of the Latin tongue (see If therefore there is one primitive language now existSect. VIII.), we observed that a great part of it is de ing, it must be found in the remains of the Gaelic or rived from the Celtic. We shall now endeavour to give Celtic. It is not, then, surprising, that some very some account of the origin and extent of that ancient learned men, upon discovering the coincidence of very language ; still leaving the minutiæ to grammars and great numbers of words in some of the Greek dialects dictionaries, as we have done with respect to the other with other words in the Celtic, have been inclined to
204 dialects which bave fallen under our consideration. Our establish a strict affinity between those languages. The Resemcandid readers, it is hoped, will remember, that we are ancient Pelasgic and the Celtic at least must have nearly blance be. acting in the character of philologers, not in that of resembled each other, admitting a dialectical difference ween their grammarians and lexicographers.
only, and that discrimination which climate and a long and that of The descendants of Japhet having peopled the west- period of time must always produce.
the Pe. Origin of the Celts,
ern parts of Asia, at length entered Europe. Some Some have thought that the Gauls lost the use of their lasgi.
broke into that quarter of the globe by the north, others native language soon after their country was conquered
found means to cross the Danube near its mouth. Their by the Romans ; but Monsieur Bullet, in his Memoires
posterity gradually ascended towards the source of that de la Langue Celtique, has proved almost to a demonstra-
river; afterwards they advanced to the banks of the tion, that the vulgar among those people continued to
Rbine, which they passed, and thence spread themselves speak it several centuries after that period. When a
as far as the Alps and the Pyrenees.
great and populous nation has for many ages employed
These people, in all probability, were composed of a vernacular tongue, nothing can ever make them en.
different families; all, however, spoke the same lan- tirely relinquish the use of it, and adopt unmixed that
guage; their manners and customs bore a near resem.
of their conquerors.
blance ; there was no variety among them but that dif- Many learned men, among whom is the lexicogra-
ference which climate always introduces. Accordingly pher above mentioned, have shown that all the local
they were all known, in the more early times, by the names in the north of Italy are actually of Celtic ex-
general name of Celto-scythe. In process of time, be- traction. These names generally point out or describe
coming exceedingly numerous, they were divided into some circumstances relating to the nature of their situa-
several nations, which were distinguished by different tion : such as exposure, eminence, lowness, moistness,
names and territorial appellations. Those who inhabited dryness, coldness, beat, &c. This is a very character103
that large country bounded by the ocean, the Mediter- istic feature of an original language ; and in the Celtic whom were ranean, the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees, were it is so prominent, that the Erse names of places all denomina- denominated Gauls or Celts. These people multiplied over Scotland, are, even to this day, peculiarly distinLed Gouls. so prodigiously in the space of a few centuries, that the guished by this quality. We have heard a gentleman,
fertile regions which they then occupied could not af- who was well skilled in the dialect of the Celtic still
ford them the means of subsistence. Some of them now spoken in the Highlands of Scotland, propose to lay a
passed over into Britain ; others crossed the Pyrenees, bet at very great odds, that if one should pronounce
and formed settlements in the northern parts of Spain. the name of any village, monntain, river, gentleman's
Even the formidable barriers of the Alps could not im- seat, &c. in the old Scottish dialect, he should be able,
pede the progress of the Gauls : they made their way by its very name, to give a pretty exact description of
into Italy, and colonized those parts which lie at the its local situation.
foot of the mountains, whence they extended themselves To discover the sources from which the Celtic tongue
towards the centre of that rich country.
is derived, we must bave recourse to the following expe-
By this time the Greeks had landed on the eastern dients.
coast of_Italy, and founded numerous colonies in those 1. We must consult the Greek and Latin authors,
parts. The two nations vying as it were with each other who have preserved some Gaelic or Celtic terms in their
in populousness, and always planting colonies in the writings.
course of their progress, at length rencountered about 2. We must have recourse to the Welsh and Basse
the middle of the country. This central region was at Bretagne dialects; in which, indeed there are many
that time called Latium. Here tbe two nations formed new words, but these are easily distinguished from the
one society, which was called the Latin people. The primitive stock.
languages of the two nations were blended together ; 3. If one would trace another source of the Celtic,
and bence, according to some, the Latin is a mixture, he must converse with the country people and peasants,
of Greek and Gaelic.
who live at a distance from cities, in those countries
As the Gauls were a brave and numerous people, they where it was once the vernacular tongue. · We have
certainly maintained themselves in their pristine posses- been credibly inforined, that a Higbland gentleman
sions, uninvaded, unconquered, till their civil animosi- crossing the Alps for Italy, accidentally fell in with an
ties and domestic quarrels exposed them as a prey to those old woman, a native of those parts, who spoke a lan-
very Romans whom they had so often defeated, and guage so near akin to his native Erse, that he could un-
sometimes driven to the brink of destruction. They derstand ber with little difficulty; and thát sbe on the
were not a people addicted to commerce ; and upon the other hand, -understood most of his words. That an
bole, considering their situation both in their primary event of this nature should actually take place is by no
Y y 2
Celtic means surprising, when we consider that the Erse spo. for the genuine characters of the dialect under conside- Celtic Language. ken in the Highlands of Scotland is perhaps the most ration.
Language. genuine remnant of the Celtic now existing, and at the Though the Hibernian tongue, in our opinion, difsame time reflect that there may be some remote can- fers considerably from the original Celtic, some very intons among those wild and inaccessible mountains, the genious essays have been lately published by the learned
Alps, where some remains of that tongue may still be and laborious members of the Antiquarian Society of coinci 205
Dublin ; in which the coincidence of that tongue with dence bepreserved. The most 4. We have said that the most genuine remains of some of the oriental dialects, has been supported by tween tbe genuine re- the Gaelic tongue are to be found in the Highlands of very plausible arguments. In a dissertation published in Celtic and mains of the Celtic
Scotland ; and the reason is obvious. The Scottish the year 1772, they bave exhibited a collection of Pre-Phænkcias. in the Highlanders are the unmised unconquered posterity of nico-Maltese words compared with words of the same imHighlands the ancient Britons, into whose barren domains the port in Irish, where it must be allowed the resemblance of Scot
Romans never penetrated; not, we imagine, because is palpable. In the same dissertation they have compaland.
they were not able, since they subdued both North and red the celebrated Punic scene in Plautus with its trans.
South Wales, equally inaccessible, but because they lation into the Irish; in which the words in the two lan-
found no scenes there either to fire their ambition or al.
guages are surprisingly similar. If those criticisms are
lure their avarice. Amidst all the revolutions that well founded, they will prove that the Celtic is coeval
from time to time shook and convulsed Albion, those and congenial with the most ancient languages of the
mountainous regions were left to their primitive lords, east; which we think highly probable. Be that as it
who, like their southern progenitors, hospitable in the may, the Danes and Norwegians formed settlements in
extreme, did not, however, suffer strangers to reside Ireland ; and the English have long been sovereigns of
long among them. Their language, accordingly, re- that island. These circumstances must bave affected the
mained unmixed, and continues so even unto this day, vernacular idiom of the natives; not to mention the pe-
especially in the most remote parts and unfrequented cessity of adopting the language of the conquerors in
law, in sciences, in the offices of religion.
The Norwegians subdued the western islands of Scot- The inhabitants of the highlands and islands of Scot-
land, at a time when the Scottish monarchy was still in Jand are the descendants of those Britons who fled from
its minority. They erected a kind of principality over the power of the Romans, and sheltered themselves among
them, of which the isle of Man was the capital. Though the fens, roeks, and fastnesses of those rugged mountains
they maintained the sovereignty of those islands for some and sequestered glens. They preferred those wastes and
centuries, built many forts, and strengthened them with wilds, with liberty and independence, to the pleasant
garrisons, and in fine were the lawgivers and administra- and fertile valleys of the souti, with plenty embittered
tors of justice among the natives; yet we have been in- by slavery. They no doubt carried their language along
formed by the most respectable authority, that there is with them; that language was a branch of the Celtic.
not at this day a single vocable of the Norse or Danish With them, no doubt, fed a number of the druidical
tongue to be found among these islanders. This fact priests, who unquestionably knew their native dialect in
affords a demonstration of that superstitious attachment all its beauties and varieties. These fugitives in process
with which they were devoted to their vernacular dia. of time formed a regular government, elected a king
and became a considerable state. They were sequester-
The Welsh dialect cannot, we think, be pure and on- ed by their situation from the rest of the world. Withdialect not sophisticated. The Silures were conquered by the Ro- ont commerce, without agriculture, without the mecha
mans, to whom they were actually subject for the space nical arts, and without objects of ambition or emulation, the Irish.
of three centuries. During this period a multitude of they addicted themselves whully to the pastoral life as
Italian exotics must have been transplanted into their their business, and to hunting and fishing as their diver-
language ; and indeed many of them are discernible at sion. Those people were not distinguished by an inno-
this day. Their long commerce with their English vating genius; and consequently their language must
neighbours and conquerors hath adulterated their lan- have remained in the same state in which they received
guage, so that a great part of it is now of an English it from their ancestors. They received it genuine Cel-
complexion. The Irish is now spoken by a race of tic, and such they preserved it.
people whose morality and ingenuity is nearly upon a
When the Scots became masters of the low country, level. Their latest historians have brought them from and their kings and a great part of the nobility embrathe confines of Asia, through a variety of adventures, to ced the Saxon manners, and adopted the Saxon Janpeople an island extra anni solisque vias. However this guage, the genuine Caledonians tenaciously retained genealogical tale may please the people for whom it was their native tongue, dress, manners, clanships, and feufabricated, we may still suspect that the Irish are of dul customs, and conld never cordially assimilate with Celtio extraction, and that their forefathers emigrated their southern neighbours. Their language, therefore, from.the western coast of Britain at a period prior to all could not be polluted with words or idioms borrowed historical or even traditional annals. Jreland was once from a people whom they hated and despised. Indeed the native lund of saints. The chief actors on this sa- it is plain from the whole tenor of the Scottish history, cred stage were Romanists, and deeply tinctured with that neither Caledonian chieftains, nor their vassals, were the superstition of the times. They pretended to im- ever steadily attached to the royal family after they Gxed prove the language of the natives; and whatever their their residence in the low country, and became Saxons, success was, they improved it in such a manner as to as the Highlanders called them by way of reproach. Inmake it deviate very considerably from the original deed the commerce between them and those of the south, Celtic ; so tbat it is not in Ireland that we are to look till about a century and a balf ago, was only transient
Celtic and accidental; nor was their native dialect in the least and even into simple sounds. In such a language we Celtic Language. affected by it.
may expect that some traces will be found of the ideas Language. Their language, however, did not degenerate, be- and notions of mankind living in a state of prinéval sim208
cause there existed among them a description of men plicity; and if so, a monument is still preserved of the Canses of the purity whose profession obliged them to guard against that mis- primitive manners of the Celtic race while as yet under of the fortune. Every chieftain retained in his family a bard the guidance of simple nature, without any artificial reScotch dia-or poet laureat, whose province it was to compose poems
straint or controul. lect of this ancient
in honour of bis lord, to commemorate the glorious ex- The sudden sensations of heat and cold, and bodily language. ploits of bis ancestors, to record the genealogy and con- pain, are expressed by articulate sounds, which, how
nections of the family; in a word, to amuse and enter- ever, are not used in this language to denote heat, cold,
tain the chief and his guests at all public entertainments or bodily pain. A sudden sensation of heat is denoted
and upon all solemn occasions. Those professors of the by an articulate exclamation hait; of cold, by id; of
Parnassian art used to vie with each other; and the bodily pain, by oich. All these sounds may be called
chiefs of families often assembled their respective bards, interjections, being parts of speech which discover the
and encouraged them by considerable premiums to exert mind to be seized with some passion. Few of the im-
their poetic talents. T'he victor was rewarded and ho- proved languages of Europe present so great a variety
noured ; and the chieftain deemed it an honour to him- of sounds which instantaneously convey notice of a par-
self to entertain a bard who excelled his peers. The an- ticular passion, bodily or mental feeling.
cient Gauls, as we learn from Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, The pronouns he and she are expressed by the simple
Tacitus, Lucan, &c. entertained persons of that profes- sounds é and i, and these are the marks of the masculine
sion; and certainly the ancient Britons did the same. and feminine genders; for a neuter gender is unknown
Those bards were highly revered; their persons were in the Gaelic. The compositions of rude and barbarous
deemed sacred; and they were always rewarded with ages are universally found to approach to the style and
salaries in lands or cattle (see Section Greek). Those numbers of poetry; and this too is a distinguishing cha- ,
poetic geniuses must have watched over their vernacular racter of the Gaelic. Bodily subsistence will always be
dialect with the greatest care and anxiety; because in the principal concern of an upcultivated people. Hence
their compositions no word was to be lost, but as many ed or eid is used upon discovery of any animal of prey
gained as possible.
or game: it is meant to give notice to the hunting com-
The use of letters was not known among the ancient panion to be in readiness to seize the animal: and hence
Celtæ ; their druidical clergy forbade the use of them. we believe edo “ to eat" in Latin, and ed in Irisb, sig-
All their religious rites, their philosophical dogmas, their nifies" cattle;" likewise in Scotch cdal “cattle," lite-
moral precepts, and their political maxims, were com- rally signifies“ the offspring or generation of cattle."
posed in verses wbich their pupils were obliged to com- Coed or cued, “ share or portion of any subject of pro-
mit to memory. Accordingly letters were unknown to perty," literally common food." Faced“ hunting,"
the Caledonian Scots, till they learned them either from literally “ gathering of food.” Edra “ the time of the
their southern neighbours or from the Romans. The morning when cattle are brought home from pasture to
Irish, indeed, pretend to have letters of a very ancient give milk,” literally " meal-tinie.” These are words
date; the Highlanders of the country in question make importing the simplicity of a primitive state, and are
no claim to the use of that invention. Their bards, common in the Gaelic idiom.
therefore, committed every thing to memory; and of Traces of imitative language remain in all countries.
course the words of their language must have been faith. The word used for cow in the Gaelic language is bo,
fully preserved. We find that the celebrated poems of plainly in imitation of the lowing of that animal.
Ossian, and others of an inferior character, or at least In joining together original roots in the progress of
fragments of such poems (see Ossian), have thus been improving language and rendering it more copious, its
preserved from father to son for more than 1000 years. combinations discover an admirable justness and preci-
The beauty, significancy, harmony, variety, and energy sion of thought, which one would scarce expect to find
of these verses, strike us even in a prose translation: how in an uncultivated dialect. It will, however, be found, Excellency
infinitely more charming must they appear in their na- upon examination, that the Gaelic language, in its com- of Gaelic
tive form and poetical attire!
bination of words, specifies with accuracy the known compounds. In order to exhibit the genius of the Celtic in as qualities, and expresses with precision the nature and striking a light as the nature of our present design will properties which were attributed to the object denomiperinit, we shall lay before our readers a very contract. nated. ed sketch of the Gaelic or Caledonian dialect as it now An appears to have been a word of frequent use in stands ; which we hope will go a great way to convince this language, and seems to have been originally a name them that this is the genuine offspring of the other. In applied indefinitely to any object. According to Bullet,
doing this we shall borrow many hints from a gentle. it was used to signify“ a planet;" hence the sun had Essays,
whose learning seems to equal his zeal for bis na- the name of grian, which is a compound of gri “ hot," &c. by
tive language; which, in compliance with the modern and an “a planet.” Re signifies originally and radical
practice, we shall for the future distinguish by the name ly“ division." The changes of the moon and the vaGrant, of Gaelic.
riety of ber phases were early employed to point out the Esq. advo.
The Gaelic is not derived from any other language divisions of time. The present name for the moon is cate.
as far as we know, being obviously reducible to its own geulach: a word derived from her whiteness of colour.
roots. Its combinations are formed of simple words of To these we might add a vast number more whose signi-
a known signification ; and those words are resolvable fication precisely indicates their shape, colour, effects,
into the simplest combinations of vowels and consonants, &c. Many of these would be found exactly similar to