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young minds, as well as less certain and satisfactory in the evic dence which they afford, than geometrical demonstration. Little or no advantage in point of easy instruction can be derived from recurring to algebra in preference to geometry. This preference seems to us to be inconsistent with that experimental mode of teaching, which the author so ingenioully and so zealously recommends.
How far Dr. B.'s theory is similar to that of Mr. Locke, and in what respects they differ, are the subjects of inquiry to. ward the close of this work. The difference conlfts merely in terms ; ' it vanishes altogether, as soon as it is observed that intuitive and experimental knowledge are one and the same thing.'
· All evidence, (according to our author,) may most conveniently be referred to two general heads; either, 1. What we ourselves lave personally experienced, or direct evidence ; or, 2. What other persons aflert, that they have experienced, or indirect evidence. Thus we are confined within the circle of sepse by a spell cast upon every individual of the human race, and such as we can never by any efforts dissolve.'
• Under these two heads of direct and indirect evidence, there are an infinite number of gradations of credibility;'--and • should any one ak, but how, since our senses are fallible, shall we then attain to certainty? It can only be replied, that certainty is not among the privileges of our nature, except that certainty which is attainable by lense.'
We are sorry that our limits will not allow our citing any ot the remarks which are introduced on a system of pneumatology, not long since published by M. Kant, Professor at Koeniglberg in Prussia, and which has contributed in a very high degree to the reputation of the author *. For there, and for the observations which are subjoined on the system of the Greek language, proposed by Schultens, Hemsterhuis, their disciples, and by Lord Monboddo ; and also on the spirit and tendency of the doctrines of the Enea [11ępcarta, and on the merit of the author of that work as a discoverer ; we must refer the reader to the present volume itself, which contains a variety of curious and useful refections that merit particular notice.
The design of this publication is announced by the author in the following paragraph, with which we shall close our account of it:
• As classical literature is not the whole, nor the most important of that which ought to be taught in the course of a good education, so even to acquire this, some better method than that which we at present follow is wanting. In fact, many of those, who are made to devote years to the pursuit, approach no nearer to the object than children
• See Review, N. S. vol. x. Appendix, p. 524.
when uten they give chace. to the extremity of the rainbow. Nor is any ching more common than to see the school and college books finally configned over to the damps and cobwebs of the dark closet the moment their possessor becomes fui juris. It was, partly, in order to ftrengthen, if posible, those arguments that have been urged in favour' of a plan of education which shall pay some attention to the senses and the understanding, by many illustrious writers from Locke to Condorcet ; partly to take away from the revivers of exploded absurdities that support which they have been desirous to gain, by forcing into an unnatural alliance with their cause, so respectable a science as mathematics; and partly to thew what false measures of objects are taken by those who have no better rule then antient metaphysics, that these remarks are offered to public confideration.'
Art. II. An Ayalytical Elay on the Greek Alphabet. By Richard
Payne Knight. 410. pp. 136. 155. Boards. Elmlley. 1791. For the seeming minuteness of this and similar investigations,
the author of the present work makes the following apology, which we recommend to the attentive consideration of all whom it may concern:
"I cannot indeed but think, that the judgement of the publick, upon the respective merits of the different classes of criticks, is peculiarly partial and unjust.
• Those among them who assume the office of pointing out the beauties and detecting the faults of literary composition, are placed with the orator and historian in the highest ranks; whilst those, who undertake the more laborious task of walhing away the rust and canker of time, and bringing back those forms and colours which are the subject of criticism, to their original purity and brightness, are degraded with the index-maker and antiquary, among the pioneers of literature, whose business it is to clear the way for those who are capable of more splendid and honourable enterprizes.
• But, nevertheless, if we examine the effects produced by these two classes of criticks, we shall find that the first have been of no use whatever, and that the last have rendered the most important services to mankind. All persons of taste and understanding know, from their own feelings, when to approve, and disapprove, and therefore stand in no need of instructions from the critick; and as for those who are destitute of such faculties, they can never be taught to use them ; for no one can be taught to exert faculties which he does not possess. Every dunce may, indeed, be taught to repeat the jargon of criti. cism, which of all jargons is the worst, as it joins the tedious formality of methodical reasoning to the trite frivolity of common-place obser. vation. But, whatever may be the taste and discernment of a reader, or the genius and ability of a writer, neither the one nor the other can appear while the text remains deformed by the corruptions of blundering transcribers, and obscured by the glosses of ignorant grammarians. It is then that the aid of the verbal critick is required; B4
and though his minute labour, in dissecting syllables and analysing letters, may appear contemptible in its operation, it will be found im. portant in its effect. ,
• The office, indeed, of analysing letters has been thought the lowest of all literary occupations; but nevertheless as found, though only the vehicle of sense, is that which principally distinguishes the most brilliant poetry from the flatteft prose; and as, in the dead lan. . guages, all sound is to be known only from the powers originally given to the characters reprelenting the elements of it; to analyse these characters, and to thew what their powers really were, is the only way to acquire a knowlege of those sounds in which the antient poets conveyed their sense. A successful endeavour to obtain this end will not, I Aatter myself, be deemed either trifling or absurd in this age of taste and learning.'
The work is divided into seven sections, of which we shall, in due order, endeavour to give our readers a general idea.
In Sect. I. Mr. Knight lays it down for a principle, that the first figns or notes of articulation among the Greeks were three; one labial, P, one dental, T, and one palatine, G, (as pronounced by us before the vowels A, O, U.) To these were soon added three others, nearly akin to the former, B, D, K. After giving us the history of these fix consonants, with respect to the various changes which they have undergone, both in form and power, during their palage through so many ages and nations, Mr. K. proceeds to the examination of the three aspirates; 1. the common aspirate, or H, which, being added to each of the labials or dentals, makes three more consonants, x, 0,9; 2. the digamma, the power of which is nearly the same with our W; and, 3. the letter S, which mir. K. calls the dental aspirate. He next gives an account of the five Greek vowels; one of which, the A, he derives from the Phænicians; and the other sour he supposes to be of Greek invention
Sect. II. contains a system of metrical quantity, partly de. duced from the foregoing observations, and partly from the practice of Homer, on whom Mr. K. bestows the following encomium:
As the Greek alphabet was adapted to the language, and not the language to the alphabet, we ihall find the practice perfectly accord with the theory, unless where local or vicious habits corrupted it. Even there we have the peculiar advantage in this language of posfelling the works of a poet (the molt elegant, correct, and perfect of all poets) who lived before many such habits had been formed, and whose writings, therefore, though defaced by the varnishes of critics, graminarians, and transcribers, are composed of materials so pure and fimple, and executed with such precision and regularity, that we can still trace the minuteft touches of the master's hand, and ascertain, with almos mathematical certainty, the principles on which he
wrought*. For this reason I fall admit no general rule or principle of metrical quantity that is not justified by the practice of Homer ; having found that his practice is always founded upon reason and analogy, whereas that of later poets was often regulated by local and temporary habit.'
On this ground, Mr. K. builds three general conclusions :
"1. A single vo:vel, representing a single act of vocal utterance or expiration, must necessarily be short, unless lengthened by a succeed. ing paule or obstruction of utterance; for the proper definition of a fort syllable is, one that occupies only the time usually allowed to a single act of vocal utterance; whereas a long one is that which occupies the time usually appropriated to two; either by being really a coalescence of two, or else by being delayed or impeded by some ad. scititious pause or obitruction.
2. A fingle vowel before a single mute consonant muft necessarily be short, unless there be a pause between them; for as the consonant terminates the found without adding to it, there will of course no pause accompany it. If however a second mute consonant. follow, either in the same or a different word, the syllable, though not the vowel, will necessarily be long.-
1. This character of Homer's poems may perhaps startle those who are accustomed to receive their opinions, ready formed, from the futile, but pompous assertions of certain self-created judges of li. terature ; whose decisions, to the disgrace of the age, are not unpopular.'
With all due fear of this fulmination before our eyes, we cannot but think this character of Homer a little over-rated. Homer's poetry, however exalted and embellished by learning and genius, mult partake of that rudeness and simplicity which are always incident to the infancy of language and of society. The champions for Homer, who attribute to him all posible perfection, who find in him not only all other arts and sciences, but also a philosophical grammar, and a philosophical system of metre, ought to be able to give a satisfactory anSwer to the following questions:
1. Who was Homer?
4. Was the art of writing known in Homer's time, or not in use till after his death?
5. Are the Iliad and Odyssey, as we have them at present, wholly written by the same person?
6. Were the several parts of them arranged by the author in the same order in which they now appear?
We feel no pleasure in scepticism: but, (as Dr. Johnson observes on Shakspeare,) no question can be so innocently discussed as a dead poet's pretensions to fame; and the queries, which we have proposed, at least might serve to repress the triumph of those fanguine projectors, who, on the sole foundation of Homer's works, would erect a system of language:--a task which they themselves own to be a matter of extreme nicety and difficulty.
• 3. A • 3. A single vowel followed by an aspirate or liquid either in the fame or a different syllable, or even preceded by one in the same fyllable, may be either long or short, since the constrained expiration, employed in sounding the aspirate or liquid, is a continuation of the vowel sound differently modified by the approximation or compreffion of the organs of speech, and may therefore be hartened or lengthened arbitrarily, according as the constrained expiration is continued for a greater or less time. When two aspirates or liquids come together, or one of them be joined to a mute confonant, this contrained expiration will naturally be lengthened or obstructed, either of which will prolong the syllable.'
The reader will easily observe that, in copying these passages, we have only endeavoured to state Mr. Knight's opinions in his own words, omitting the arguments by which they are fup, ported, the corollaries that he deduces from them, the collateral illustrations, answers to objections, &c. If we have room and leisure, we may perhaps hereafter briefly touch on some of these subjects.
The remainder of this section is chiefly occupied in examin. ing the nature of the digamma; that inftrument by whose aid Dr. Bentley, Mr. Dawes, and other critics, have proposed to work such miracles on Homer's poetry ; to make those verses, which, for several thousand years, had been cripples, and had wanted their due complement of feet, move as nimbly as if nothing ailed them ; nay, to restore to life and vigour even those which wanted a head.
There arises a doubt on the subject, to which, as far as we can find, Mr. K. has not attended. Dr. Bentley would restore the figure of the Æolic Digamma in the Iliad and Odyffey. Dawes thinks that a sign of the same nature ought to be inserted for the instruation of modern readers: but he apprehends that, in Homer's time and country, though the power of the digamo ma exifted, the use of the character was unknown. Now, if Homer wrote his own poems, (a point which Mr. K. does not venture to decide,) this question would certainly furnish ample malter for speculation. It will not be amiss to sew how fifty or fixty thousand digammas fhould desert all at once, and escape detection for so long a time,
Mr. Knight, with Mr. Dawes, supposes the true orthogra. chy of nouns now ending in suç to be EFL or EW'£, and the cales to be EWOL, EWI, EWA, &c. In the genitives of the patronymics, the poets had the privilege, it seems, of using indifferently, the lonic and Eolic;
« And if folks ask the reafon for's,
Say one was long, and t'other mort.” Thus, if they wanted to begin a line, Argewasew and Ilmasa itaw prefentcd shemselves; is to end a verse, Argewidowo, and 11:29Wiòxwe.