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Perhaps the Virgilian phrase incumbite remis' perpetuates the ⚫ practice in schools.
P. 17. Rupium inaccessa prope conscendere a teneris adsueti. This form is used occasionally by the poets, but never, we believe, by any prose author of credit. Dr. Whitaker indeed seems scarcely aware of the insufficiency of poetical authority to sanction the use of words and the construction of sentences in prose. It is however an admitted principle not to found the one upon the other: and this confusion is justly deemed one of the marks of declining taste. Indeed when we recollect that it is the very character of poetry, and often constitutes its chief grace and beauty, to extend the use of common words, to place them in new situations, and make them unexpectedly serve new purposes, whoever is studious of purity and elegance in prose ought to be on his guard against such a practice, and rather suspect the propriety of a phrase which first presents itself to his mind in a poetical passage. Upon this principle we object to suffecerint in the following clause,- nisi quòd, positis sagittis, sclopeta duces clientibus suffecerint.' p. 17: so vias regiis invias, p. 82. But we must proceed with our list.
P. 28. Ad id loci.' The force of this phrase is misunderstood. It does not mean about that time;' but rather up to that time.' vid. Liv. 22-38.
Ibid. Quæ montanorum animis adeò inoleverat, ut neque justo pioque regimine LX. annorum aboleri poterat.' This, we presume, is an oversight; but it occurs again p. 88.
P. 33. Vix facile' Hardly easily! There is another unfortunate use of this word in p..91, vix aut ne vix quidem impares. Vir ought properly to be joined with a verb rather than an adjective, but never surely with such an adjective as impares.
Ibid. Ad ante diem XIV. Id. Sept.' Several mistakes are made by Dr. Whitaker in the form of dating. Sometimes indeed he specifies the day of the month in our calendar, which practice, though not the most classical, is perhaps the most convenient. The regular form however is a. d. XIV. id. Sept. which represents not, as Dr. Whitaker sometimes says, and as Buchanan always says, ad diem, but ante diem. The meaning is, on the day, i. e. before the day is ended. Ad ante diem is a phrase we never recollect to have met with in ante diem occurs in Livy, as well as ex ante diem; but in these cases in and ex are joined in construction with some other words: they have nothing to do with the expression of the date.
P. 49. Ubi enixè flagitâsset.' Quum would be better, not to say necessary, in this and a few other places where ubi is joined with a subjunctive verb. In some other passages ubi seems to usurp the place of postquam. See p. 52.
P. 24. Ne
P.51. Ne tentatâ pugnâ ;' instead of 'ne tentatâ quidem pugnâ.' This form of speaking, without quidem, occurs several times, as in pp. 60, 63, 77; but it is decidedly wrong. Another error in the use of quidem appears p. 86, where it stands in contact with ne. Ac ne quidem participe facto. Trifling as the remark may seem, there is no practice more uniform in the classical writers than the interposition of something between these words. Dr. Whitaker may however produce a host of Germans on his side.
P. 55. Literæ de magnis, ut fit, majora locutæ, Lutetiamque perlatæ. Dele que. This is an English barbarism, arising out of our frequent use of and, where the Latins either employ autem, verò, &c. or no conjunction at all. In this passage there is no connection between the ideas locuta and perlate. So p. 129, Clunioque mox reverso' for 'Clunio autem mox reverso.'
P. 68. Nihilque forti atque officioso consilio obfecit, quàm pecuniæ, et commeatuum difficultas.' Quàm instead of nisi after nihil is, we fear, one of the 'grey hairs' of latinity.
P. 70. Ad occidentem Falkirki.' To the west of Falkirk. This is altogether so unlike Dr. Whitaker's usual caution and correctness, that it startled us.
P. 82. Ante lucem, et quantum ejus fieri posset, eâdem horâ. What is the force of ejus?
P. 87. Innernessum cui Loudonus concesserat. quem locum.
Cui for quò
P. 130. Monte de Benalder. Why should this middle-age phrase be allowed to deform a classical page?
P. 132. Noctium sex aut circiter itinera emensus.' If aut were omitted the phrase would be Latin; iter is better than itinera.
P. 133. Rege vicissim haud dubiè perituro,' cannot be allowed for Cùm rex haud dubiè periturus esset.'
In the preceding catalogue we have not included some sentences of vicious construction which we must now point out; expressing our belief at the same time, that they proceed rather from the carelessness to which all writers in all languages are liable, than from ignorance or disregard of grammar,
'Horum quoque insequutio, nisi nupera avaritia naturæ communitatem infregissit, cuivis libera ac sine fraude fuit.-p. 13. Color non unus pallorve solus in ore civium conspectus, palàm fecit ne clamorem montanorum iterum laturos.-p. 69. Nec quidquam perindè dissolvendæ militiæ esse novimus, atque miles duci diffisus.'-p. 76.
Such examples are not frequent, and may easily be corrected. We have something also to say upon the use of the particle quòd-a word which must needs occur in every page of Latin, and in which Dr. Whitaker has erred less frequently than almost any modern writer. It so often stands in the place of
the Greek lì, that in the middle ages it had the same latitude given it, and is by the worst writers used as equivalent to the English particle that. It is however only when means doì that quod seems properly to correspond with it.-It then should be considered as a fragment of the phrase ' eò quod,' or 'propterea quod.' Sometimes indeed it serves the purpose at the beginning of a sentence continuandæ orationis, i. e. of mere connection with reference to a foregoing idea; and then it represents 'secundum quod,'' quod ad hoc attinet.' But in the body of a sentence, unless it introduce something which partakes more or less of the nature of a cause, it ought to be rejected. We propose this explanation as a general standard: for the idea of cause glides off by insensible gradations; and when it becomes so remote as to be scarcely perceptible, it is better to use some other form. On this account we do not scruple to condemn the following sentences as barbarous:
'Hâc verò in parte, unum alterumve quamvis brevissime [breviter] dictum suffecerit; quòd si Dumblant per socordiam ducis, suo uti ingenio montanis licuisset, haud æquo Marte foret discessum; quòdque Prestonæ obsessis ira in rabiem ac desperationem versa, parum abfuit quin ultimum meruisset exemplum. p. 8. Gnari scilicet quòd, animis hominum ab omni suspicione aversis, optimè coalitura essent conjuratorum molimina.-p. 35. Contigit autem quòd regulus, qui Falkirki primum, dein Culloduni, Stuarto operam fortem ac fidelem navârat, ad [sub] id temporis abesset.'--p. 117.
In all these cases the accusative case and infinitive mood is the proper form; although 7 would have been right in each. But there is a farther impropriety in the use of this particle, and that of an opposite kind. It now and then occurs where quia or quoniam is wanted. Let us take the following example: Interea securi, ac per summam pacem agebant regii, quòd Agnevius valido satis præsidio castellum Blarense firmaverat.'-p. 81. It is not easy to demonstrate the rule; for the distinction is subtle yet if the thing is felt there must be some reason, and we would suggest, that if the cause be a principal fact, declared in the indicative mood, quia and not quod is proper. Quod, Quod, as possessing the notion of cause in a fainter degree, belongs more to subordinate and oblique clauses. Sometimes, as in pp. 80, 84, quod is used where we expect sed or verum. We will not absolutely condemn the phrase quòd ubi, but it must be allowed that quòd hardly ever has the sense of but, except when joined with si.
In the use of moods Dr. Whitaker seems here and there to have erred, particularly with regard to the subjunctive mood. In the following passages, and in some few others, we should not hesitate
VOL. V. NO. IX.
to alter the subjunctives into indicatives, because the assertions are not dependent, but absolute.
Jamque res apertè ad seditionem spectabat, adparebatque nummos, annonam, arma, nî sufficerentur, vi rapturos, quum nuncius, necopinatò perlatus Carolum inter revertendum Dumfrisiam usque castra promovisse, litem jam contestatam dirimeret.-p. 68. Ingratæ vestigationi præerant Cambelli pater et filius, qui odiis erga Stuartos plusquàm civilibus officio fungerentur.-p. 113. In hunc nidulum contraxerat fortuna et spes et opes Stuartæ domus, quæ paucis ante mensibus, pavore ac fuga Scotiam complevisset, binos regios exercitus ad internecionem propè delevisset, Edinburgo potita esset, Londino immineret.'— p. 132.
Of the wrong use of tenses we should produce the following examples:
'Gordonus Abredoniæ stativa habuit, ejus rei satagens, ut missis circumcirca qui pavidæ inermique plebi terrorem incuterent, pecuniæ vim quàm maximam corradant.—p. 66. Necdum illuxerat, quum per summum silentium profecti, custodes regios fefellerint, primo, caligine noctis, inde, pruinosâ nubeculâ tuti.'-p. 49.
But the form which we most frequently observe as erroneously employed, is what is called the future in dus.' This name which Sanctius thinks altogether wrong, has we doubt not led to the practice, almost universal among modern writers of Latin, of using it to denote something that will or may be. Its genuine sense is confined to duty or necessity-what must be, or what ought to be. It is a slight extension of this latter meaning to make it express a wish they are kindred ideas, and in Greek are denoted by the same word ωφελον. A few authorities may perhaps be adduced of the future in dus, for what will be, or is to be, but even into these the 'notion of duty will be found more or less to enter. The following sentences are examples of its use by Dr. Whitaker for what may or can be, in defence of which we believe no authority can be pleaded.
Jamque cum nemini non constaret moram urbem arcemque oppugnantibus injiciendam unicæ prægressis saluti fore, neque minùs adpareret in præsidio relictos neci certissimæ dedendos, fœda inter perduelles contentio orta est.-p. 64. Mos erat apud montanos inveteratus, ut partam inter dimicandum prædam domum quisque dilapsi in tuto deponerent; id quo minùs auderent nec minis, nec vi, ac ne instante [quidem] discrimine cohibendi.-p. 77. Munitissimum id erat totius regionis propugnaculum, nec nisi majoribus tormentis quàm quorum perduellibus suppeditabat copia expugnandum.-p. 81. Cambellum præfectum, et milite et sociis stipatum, armacladam venis e, Carolum dedendum postulare.'--p. 116.
If our readers are not completely worn out by this thorny track through
through which we have been leading them, we have yet a few more objections to make. The transfer of classical names to analogous things and offices of modern times, is a practice to be indulged sparingly, and with great caution. It is seldom that the analogy is so exact as to justify the application: and it seems better to coin a new word (for which the imperious law of necessity must be pleaded) than to run the risk of exciting an idea altogether incongruous, or of raising or lowering it beyond the proper level. Upon this principle we think sclopeta much better than any circumlocution for muskets: while we object to the use of volones, (which always meant slaves allowed in times of emergency to take up arms) for modern volunteers; and still more to sacrificuli for the clergy. Dr. Whitaker did not mean to speak contemptuously of that order, and yet he has given them a title which was a term of contempt even for a heathen priest. The profane and peevish answer of Isaac Vossius, to an inquiry about the profession of one of his friends, has been often quoted. Sacrificulus est in pago, et rusticos decipit. But Vossius was a man, all whose learning we are persuaded Dr. Whitaker would not think worth purchasing by one atom of his impiety. For the same reason, we cannot approve of a general thanksgiving in a Christian country being described in the terms 'grates D. O. M. ad omnia pulvinaria redditæ.' We forbear to censure this under the harsh appellation of pedantry, because it is by no means a frequent or a characteristic fault; but we have seldom met with a more injudicious application of ancient learning, than the instance last produced.
In the adoption of classical phrases too, we hold it to be false taste to hunt after rarities-especially those which carry an air of conceit and stiffness. Mutuo metu ac montibus discretas,' p. 24, is a quaintness by no means worth the trouble of transplanting from Tacitus. Juga vicina, etiam per æstatem, gelida ac fida nivibus. p. 37. This phrase occurs once in Tacitus, but it is so affected that no authority can defend it. Claudian's description of Ætna, Scit nivibus servare fidem, always appeared to us rather too sentimental for a mountain, even in poetry; but we never dreamt of its being adopted into historical prose. Again, Pro virili commonly means to the utmost of his power; but can it be proper to say of a forgetful man that he' omnia pro virili oblivioni tradere?' p. 61. Gravior accola, although employed to denote a troublesome or dangerous neighbour, can never surely be allowed to express the vicinity of troops in the field of battle. 'Simul a fronte conspecta tumultuaria manus, quæ velitatione levi agmen carperet, donec eques, gravior accola, superveniret.'-p. 62.
Two or three instances of low expression offended us, as being quite unsuited to historical composition- parem propè vulnerum