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and simplest senses, and the children for whose benefit such works are intended are incapable of hunting for appropriate senses in a lexicon containing many, and some intricate, significations of each several word. But in editions of works of a higher order, we are satisfied, and that too by long experience and personal observation, that such lexicons produce much evil. Boys will by their nature and constitution avoid trouble; and when they can turn to the end of the book they are reading, and find some meaning or other for every word they meet, they will rather take a sense utterly inapt and inappropriate than trouble themselves to look farther for the true and befitting sense. Of this fact, we are satisfied, as we have said, by actual experience in some years practice in the business of teaching, and can assert that we never knew a single boy who, having a lexicon at the end of his school-book, would not rest satisfied with a meaning of a word as given there, though obviously unsuited to the context of the peculiar passage in question, rather than turn to his Donnegan or Hesychius or Scapulæ in search of the true idiomatic sense. We would, therefore, anxiously deprecate the introduction of these superficial lexicons ; for, with whatever ability executed, such they must be while the space devoted to a word, occupying four or five folio columns in real lexicons, is limited to as many lines.
For easy explanatory notes, we are great advocates — notes pointing out the peculiar force of every word or phrase at all out of its common acceptation, and stating distinctly the accidents by which the extraordinary meaning is affected or induced, dilating somewhat largely on the particles, (those all-important instruments and variously potent influencers of Greek idioms, so superficially treated of by most authors, so imperfectly understood even by the best scholars,) and putting each various recurrence of the same word undoubtedly in its true light. But of these final lexicons, we are the fixed and resolute opponents, as attached to any works of a higher standard than Eutropius and the like in Latin than the first small delectus, and perhaps Esop's fables, in the Greek language.
In the work before us, had the space given to the lexicon, which by the way seems to be as good and copious for its dimensions as can be expected, been devoted to the notes, which are, we think, far too brief, the volume would have been rendered not only more valuable for general and practical purposes, but would have aspired to a much higher place than it now pretends to assert.
We are aware that the public rage is now for these abbreviated simulacra of dictionaries, and that it requires no little personal courage to oppose the general cry. One cause, by the way, we seriously believe, of this favoris, that the ignorant teacher, where the school-book is fortified with this unscholarlike and shiftless aid to idleness, can carelessly, as it were, and unnoticed by his class, refresh his own defective memory, and so escape unbranded with the stamp of gross and shameful incapacity; whereas, with a
plain text-book, he must avow his ignorance, and stand revealed the blockhead.
Now, as it is our special wish and desire to see the establishment of such a system as shall preclude the possibility of there being teachers of this caste, we would gladly witness the extirpation of this fault, which we look upon, if not as an evil in itself of the first order, at least as the inducement and irritamenta malorum. And we the more regret that Professor Felton did not venture to discard this school-sanctioned abuse of scholarship, since he has so boldly stepped aside in other regards from the beaten path of error, and produced a selection which, in our opinion, is decidedly and very superior to the other compilations of Greek extracts in use.
Before proceeding to examine Professor Felton's selections, we must protest against one dictum which he has laid down in his preface, while lauding a Greek grammar published by Mr. Sophocles, a work, by the way, with which we are not peculiarly acquainted, and on which, as it may merit the highest encomiums, we are far from wishing to bring any disrepute. This dictum is, that “Mr. Sophocles has that accurate knowledge of the niceties of the Greek language which can hardly be expected from any other than a native Greek.” Now this, if it means any thing, means that the knowledge of, and habit of using and speaking, Romaic, is the best if not the only means of acquiring the nicetics of the Greek language; the very converse of which is true, for it is perfectly notorious that the modern Greek is a mixed and miserable jargon, that the established pronunciation thereof discards all distinction between the long and short vowels, and that before a modern Greek can acquire the ancient language, he must unlearn his own. The best Greek of modern Greece is allowed to be spoken in Joannina, in Epirus, the capital of the late Ali Pacha, and is not equal — the written language, we mean, of those classically educated to the style and phraseology of the Byzartine historians, and of her, who is barbarously said to have had γλωσσαν ακριβώς 'Αττικιζουσαν, the princess of the Palæologi, Anna Comnena. This par parenthese ; for we never knowingly pass by a false assumption. The grammar may be excellent: the cause alleged for its superiority to others is at best a wellsounding fallacy. The references to the grammar will not we imagine be much regarded, even by the students who have the work lying at their elbows, for the same reasons which we have predicated with regard to lexicons.
To turn now to the text itself, we will premise that the Greek type is excellent, and although of rather a small face, singularly distinct, clear, and legible. The principal fault of the selection is as must be the case to a greater or less degree with every book intended to be applicable as a general school-book to a great range of different intellects and ages that there is too great a difference, too wide a leap, between the first and easier extracts and those which follow them; the former being suited to the calibre of the youngest boys, the latter difficult enough for learners very far advanced in our collegiate courses. With this exception, we have but little to suggest in the way of improvement. The fables selected from Esop are the best and most elegant of his beautiful collection; nor do we at all think the editor has inserted too many. With regard to his next author, Lucian, we cannot go quite so far; for although the reasoning is plausible as to the popularity with young people of this writer, and the general accuracy of his style, he is not a favorite of ours, nor ever has been. He is too trivial, not to say foolish, for our taste; and we think his dialognies are calculated to do away with the poetical veneration for the beautiful fictions, the romantic dreams and gorgeous imagery of the old classical mythology, which their sole object is to scoff and ridicule. As there is now-a-days no fear of any reader being so imbued with the loveliness of pagan mythology as to run any risk of becoming a pagan, we doubt the utility of giving to boys the works of a writer who, wittily it is true, but irreverently derided the then system of religion, without endeavoring to set up in the place of the discarded and contemned deities of the old mystic faith any more pure or sacred system. We look upon him as we do on the French philosophers of Voltaire's school : we like his humor, but dislike its object and its aim. And although, in both instances, the religion attacked was false, and its tenets absurd, we cannot admire the assailants ; nor would we willingly give either to the young as text-books. Irreverence comes readily enough, and boys are quick enough to comprehend that it was irreverence in Lucian, although it be none in us, to jeer at Jupiter and Saturn — to pull down the established gods, and set no others in their places. There is too much of Lucian.
With Professor Felton's extracts from Xenophon, that purest and most entertaining of all ancient writers, we are delighted. He has done well in not limiting his selections to the Cyropædia, the least able and least interesting of all his works; and he has done well in giving place to the beautiful episode of Abradates and Panthea, instead of the usually extracted puerilities about the wondrously loquacious childhood of the Persian prince. From the Anabasis, also, the very best book of the whole, in our estimation, has been culled out, — the spirited and graphic second, which, with all the authenticity of the gravest history, blends all the interest of the wildest fiction, commencing with the desperate situation of the Greeks after the battle of Cynaxa, and the death of Cyrus, and ending with the characters of the five Greek commanders taken off by the base treachery of Tissaphernes, the portraits of Clearchus of Menon being the masterpieces of that age, the models of all later eras, as specimens of historical portrait-painting. From the Hellenics, we have the stirring tale of Thrasybulus when he sat "sublime on Phyle's brow," and how he conquered the oppressive thirty. The three selections give a very complete specimen of all
the various powers and various beauties of this accomplished general, and statesman, and philosopher, and author. A portion of the Sicilian expedition has been chosen, and that we think with judgment, from Thucydides. A single long extract from Herodotus, and a part of the superb funeral oration of Lysias, complete the prose selections, which we have no hesitation in pronouncing, with the one exception of the undue prominence of Lucian (from whom we have forty pages out of one hundred and forty-nine allotted to the Greek prose writers) as vastly superior to the collection in Jacob's, or any other Greek reader we have seen. In the omission of Plutarch, we agree generally with Mr. Felton, though some few passages might, we think, have been substituted with advantage for a corresponding quantity of the dialogues. In his preference of the Anabasis and Hellenica to the mere Cyropeedia we are quite with him. We prefer his passages of Thucydides to those in common use, the Plague and the Speech of Pericles, which are too difficult for any youthful readers; and we greatly applaud his admission of a specimen of Greek oratory to this goodly array
sages and historians.
It is, however, in his poetical selections that Professor Felton has differed the most widely from former selectors, and done himself most honor in the difference. He has here shown that he is not a mere bookworm, a decliner of nouns and conjugator of verbs — not one who, as the old philosopher said, passed his life in anxiety because he could not discover whether the future of the verb Baliw should be spelt with one or with two; but a man of taste and fancy, of a spirit thoroughly imbued with the spirit of old classic poetry — who, if he has neither “steeped his lips in the fountain of the horse, nor slumbered on the twain-topped Parnassus,” has at least bathed his soul in the rich streams that have flowed thence, and risen from his bath full of high tastes, and glorious sentiments, and keen appreciations of all beauty, caught from the godlike contact.
He commences with a selection from the Odyssey – Ulysses and Polyphemus—a beautiful one, it is true ; but why from the Odyssey, Professor Felton? Why not from the great glowing Iliad, so singularly set aside by all compilers of Greek readers ? Then we have some sweet odes of Anacreon and Sappho's Venus; then that most lovely lyric of all ages, the Danae and Perseus of Simonides, the untranslated, untranslatable, though hundreds have tried their hands at it; and then the magnificent war-song of Callistratus, “ In a myrtle branch my sword will I bear.” After these, we have a long extract from the Hecuba of Euripides, concluding with the sublime chorus, Si uer "S2 natpis 'Iles, the noblest, in our estimation, of all his lyrics, with the one exception of that in the Iphigenia at Aulis, Εμολον αμφί παρακτίαν, κ. τ. λ., which we wish he could have found room to insert; another from the Orestes of the same author, less beautiful than the last, and inferior to several passages which might have been chosen, (we would particularize the celebrated speech from
the Medea, Δρίσω τάδ. αλλά βαινε δωμάτων έσω, the most natural and pathetic speech of the Greek tragic school; the mad scene from Hyppolitus, or some one of the many lovely passages from the Alcestis ; above all that exquisite choral strain, '2 IIcaíov Obyatsp, ! but still highly characteristic of the poet, and of considerable intrinsic value. A portion of the Plutus of Aristophanes follows — well enough as a specimen of Greek comedy; but we never could appreciate Aristophanes, nor Greek comedy which, for wit has but scurrility, for humor slang, and for point personality, not to dwell on its disgusting obscenity, licentiousness, and absolute impiety. As an apt relief to the last-mentioned writer, we have the delightful epitaph of Bion, by Moschus, with which the volume closes, leaving us only to regret that the limits of the work precluded the possibility of inserting others of the characteristic and charming bucolic poetry of the Greeks, so little of which is read in our schools and colleges, and so much of which ranks among the most beautiful effusions of the unequalled lyre of antiquity.
The notes which follow are chiefly distinguished by a brief preamble to each extract, giving a slight notice of the writer's life, character, and style; and discussing shortly, but with a master's hand, the characteristic beauties or peculiarities of his composition and manner. Several of these preambles possess a very high degree of excellence in a literary point of view ; are themselves not only very instructive, but full of feeling and poetry, and evince clearly how much the mind of the editor was with his subject. We would especially call attention to the exordiums prefixed to the extracts from Simonides, Callistratus, and Euripides. In the first of these, the note to kvavéw te dróqw is marked at once by all the critic's acumen and all the poet's fire; and the passage succeeding it is all eloquence and poetry. And this is as it should be, for unless the teacher is a true and enthusiastic lover of the muse, wherewith shall he enkindle the sacred flame in his pupil's heart? And if it be not enkindled, what then avails it to read Greek ?
2. Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. With an
Introductory Memoir by her Grandson, Charles FRANCIS ADAMS. Boston: 1840. C.C. Little and James Brown.
We greatly regret that we have not room for a more particular notice than we can now give of this very entertaining volume. Mrs. Adams is the only one of our countrywomen who has had the distinguished honor of being the wife of one president and the mother of another, which is sufficient of itself to create a deep interest in her life and character. But independently of these accidents, she had other high claims to consideration : possessing a superior understanding, a noble spirit, and an excellent heart, she