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Vox-et præterea nihil.
ONE of the correspondents in your last month's number, suggests a plan for handing down to posterity the way in which the languages of Europe are at present pronounced, by means of recording, in the orthography of the respective alphabets, the sounds of the inferiour animals : “which," he says, “ have been, are, and will be the same, in all time coming.” He adduces instances to show, that in the days of Theocritus and of Plautus the sheep cried ba,a, and the cuckoo tu,tu. “ These," he says, “serve to point out, that the inferiour animals cried two thousand years ago exactly as they do at present, and also serve to show how the ancients sounded certain of the letters in their alphabet.” Now I humbly conceive it to be impossible for any examples of this kind to prove both these points. They can prove only one ; and I apprehend we express the cuckoo's note by a different orthography (the name of the bird) at present. The idea, however, is wonderfully ingenious and profound; and I shall be proud to contribute my trifling assistance in the furtherance of it. How greatly such an object is wanted, is well known to scholars. Mr. Godwin says in his Inquirer, that the most learned man now living does not understand the Latin tongue so well as a Roman milk-maid did ; nor, with respect to its pronunciation, so well as the cows that she milked. The following are the particulars, which, after some research, and on consulting the best authorities, I have been able to collect in this view.
To your correspondent's expression of the cuckoo's note, I must (as I mentioned before) except. Shakspeare records it otherwise, in a song
The cuckoo then on every tree
Unpleasing to a married ear! * Two notes, perhaps, thought to be ascertained with nearly equal precision, are those of the cock and the dog. Both these I shall produce from the same poet, in the song of Ferdinand and Ariel, in the first act of the Tempest: Hark, hark: bough-waugh: the watch-dog's bark,
Cry, cock-a-doodle-doo. I confess, however, I have seen the former given with some variation, on an authority very respectable in matters of this kind, thus :
addressing each other by name as follows: He. Moll-roro, MoU-row.
She. Curwell, Cur-well.
I'd rather be a kitten, and cry mew. Theocritus, as your correspondent informs us, has preserved the cry of the sheep in his time: to which I add, that it is on printed record, without variation, among ourselves, in the farce of the Village Lawyer.
Cocih, French, cuckold. VOL. I.
Swift has taken some pains to catch the neighing of a horse, in his inte vention of houyhnhm; and (in the first chapters of his fourth voyage) a shorter cry of that animal, hhuun, hhuun. Job says of the war-horse (chap. xxxix. ver. 25) “ He saith among the trumpets, ha, ha :" but I am not inclined to depend much on this, as I do not understand the original expression, to which I think our translators may perhaps have accommodated an interjection of our own. It is desirable to have the Hebrew sound in this place faithfully represented, that we may know what it is the horse really did say.
I have no written voucher for giving the bellowing of the cow as something like moo.
The cry of young pigs is on record in the lines which most of us have heard from our nurses :
This pig went to market, &c. I shall not repeat the whole poem, as I can attain the purpose with more advantage by an old“ quibble" of much simplicity, on sucking pigs, rescued from oblivion in a periodical publication of last month :
A fellow was to seek
And nothing else would repeat.
'Cause in three weeks they're kill'd to eat. There is no deficiency of testimony concerning the Canary bird's chirping. Pretty Dick, and sweet, sweet, are, as far as my most diligent observation has extended, its universal interpretations.
The duck's note is generally called quack; but Pope, in his Imitation of Chaucer, writes it rather differently thus:
Miss stared ; and grey ducke cricth, quaake.
When blood is nipt, and ways be foul,
Tu-whit, tu-whoo : a merry note, &c. The jack-daw's note we have on the authority of Cowper, in an epigram on the speculations of that bird from a steeple :
He sees that this great round-about,
Church, army, physick, law,
And say's What says he?- Caw. The same note is given to the crow in the jest-books, by a traveller who heard that bird in Scotland. Caw, caw, and be dd, if you stay in such a country as this when you have wings to fly away."
The nightingale's song I remember seeing introduced in some juvenile verses, describing her to
And charm the ear with jug', jug, jug. There is a small bird called, from its note, pee-wit ; and Mr. Ashe, in the first volume of his entertaining Travels, lately published, mentions an American bird, which, for a similar reason, is named whip-poor-Will.
If I remember right from my school days, it is stated in one of the notes to the Delphin edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses, that the frog's croak resembles the (French ?) pronunciation of the Latin words sub aqua, sub aguar
But I beg leave to suggest to your correspondent, whether his plan would not admit of being extended, so as to include likewise the sounds afforded by inanimate objects. For this extension there are certainly ample materials; a few of which at present occurring to my mind, I shall exhibit.
One of the most prominent instances at this season of festivity (Whitsuntide) is that of church-bells : but this indeed is rather scanty, hardly exceeding ding dong, though Shekspeare carries it one step further.
Let us all ring Fancy's knell.
I'll begin it; ding dong bell. As for the prophecy found in them by Whittington, and the contradictory admonitions by a widow in a singular story related, I think, in the Curiosities of Literature, I abandon them as not much to the present purpose:
On speaking of a watch or a clock, it is unnecessary to add a single word of confirmation in assigning to them tick tack.
· But a most valuable record of this kind is preserved in Tristram Shandy, where the sounds of the strings of a violin, in putting them into tune (they were of course, at the time, out of tune) are thus accurately delineated : Pir-r-ing—wing—twang-prut, trut, trut,' prut-ir-a, e,1,0,--twangtrut, pruididdle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum: twaddle diddle, widdle diddle, iwiddle diddle, twoddle diddle, twuddle diddle : prut, trutkrish, krash, krush : diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, hum, dum, drum: trut prut, prut, trut.
There are two other expressions very well established for musical sounds, but I am reluctantly obliged to give them up; as, in the first of the following quotations, they are appropriated to no particular instrument, and, in the second, are applied to instruments which they do not seem at all to suit :
Some say that signior Bononcini,
Sound the trumpet, beat the drum ;
Tweedle-dee, and tweedle-dum. The sound of a postillion's whip is also given by Tristram Shandy as crack, rack, crack.
In Pope's Iliad, a spear or an arrow in the air may abundantly be seen to whiz.
A bow-string, when pulled, is said to twang, on the same authority ; which is also confirmed by a song of Garrick's :
My heart would you hit,
And it comes to my heart with a twang.
Poor harmless fly,
Came here to make us merry, and thou hast kill'd him!
See, from the brake the whirring pheasant springs. The beat of a drum is pretty commonly agreed on. IVe have it in a military song in the surrender of Calais :
Nothing to eat,
We have nothing to eat.
And our hearts beat the rub-a-dub feelings of joy. Nothing further occurs to me at present on this highly important sub, ject, except that I believe the sound of a hunting-horn is represented by tantivy.
THIS illustrious prince and general was born in Georgia, of the royal stock of that warlike nation. Like most of the princes who derive their origin from the ancient dynasties of the vast empire of Russia, his family reside at Moscow, where they have a splendid palace, and live in all the pomp of eastern sovereignty.
Moscow may be compared to the former labyrinth of Thebes, not the residence of merely one king, but the abode of several. When the emperour Joseph the Second of Germany visited this city, he said to a nobleman who accompanied him: “ Here all the chief princes of the country seem to have settled, surrounded each by his villages, his church, and his vassals.” Hither the families, who count the names of the first Velike Knezes (the para, mount princes of Muscovy) and the earliest Tzars, in the roll of their ancestors, retired. Formerly independent princes, but now drawn into the wide vortex of an empire which embraces nearly one quarter of the globe, and too proud to mingle with a race of courtiers round the imperial ihrone, they reside within the walls of the ancient capital, and there enjoy the advantages of royalty without its cares. Nothing can transcend the grandeur of these families inhabiting gorgeous palaces, attended by numerous slaves superbly clad, and drawn in equipages glittering with all the decorations of Asiatick splendour. A traveller might suppose, on witness, ing their retinue, their entertainments, and their courts, that he had quitted earth and descended into the subterraneous regions of the Genii, where their domes flame with gold, their robes blaze with gems, and breathe the fragrance of Arabia.
From such a luxurious abode, the sons of these princes emerge at a very early age. Nursed in the love of fame, as the only end worthy of their birth, they see that its track leads through the imperial camp, and thither they repair. So strongly is a military life the passion of this illustrious race of men, that they sometimes enroll their sons in the army within the year in which they are born. Twelve years of age is the usual period ; and then, even youths of the first distinction do not commence their martial career as officers: they are not considered fit to command besore they know how to obey.
Suworoff himself, the great model of our heroick Bagration, though the son of a general officer, was first enrolled in the Russian army as a fusileer in the guards of Seimonoff. In 1747, he served as a corporal ; two years after he was promoted to the rank of serjeant, and employed as a courier during the campaigns in Poland and Germany. In 1754, he obtained a lieutenantcy; and after gradual promotions, at length arrived to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, " Then came his blushing honours thick upon
him;" and at last he died, Field-marhal Suworoff Rymnikski, count of the empire.
Similar would be the fruits, if the like probation were used in the British line. Were Englishmen to serve, before they issued orders ; were they disciplined in the field, before they attempted to marshal an army ; did they pass through as regular a military practice as British seamen do a naval one, the ensign of England would fly as proudly as her fag.
The rudiments of a soldier's duty were instilled into the young Prince Bagration, as soon as his opening faculties could apprehend their use. All eyes were turned to the growing fame of the great Suworoff. Though descended of a noble Swedish family, and only transplanted into Russia in the beginning of the last century, yet his forefathers had deserved well of the Tzars, and been endowed with lands and peasants, and the imperial friendship. Alexander Suworoff, the hero of Rymnikski, proved himself alike worthy of the country whence he sprung, and of that to which he was now attached; he conquered her enemies and covered her with glory. To such a conspicuous example of martial achievement, the young Bagration looked with rapturous admiration. The events of the brilliant campaign of 1762 were yet alive in the memory of the veterans who surrounded the prince. The prowess of the brave Suworoff, and his gallant brother in arms, the renowned prince Volkonsky, was a model which they delighted 10 hold up to his imitation.
Instead of leading their illustrious pupil to the illuminated theatres of Moscow, to lose his senses in the gayeties of scenick enchantment; instead of dissipating his mind by female assemblies, and sparkling promenades; they immersed themselves with him in a remote apartment of his paternal palace, where he travelled with Alexander to the Indian shores, scaled the Alps with Hannibal, and accompanied Cesar through the vast forests of Gaul. Turenne and Montecuculi, with the great Condé, made his heart glow, Charles of Sweden fired him with ambition ; and Peter the Great made him grasp his little sword, and glory in belonging to his empire.
Thus was this young hero brought to understand the merits of his future master in arms; thus was he taught to follow with his mind and heart the narratives of his preceptors, as they recounted the various achievements of their adored Suworoff: his campaigns against the confederates of Poland, his victories on the Danube, and his conquests in the Crimea. Thus was he attempered to meet him with all the enthusiasm of an ingenuous and martial heart, when that famous commander returned to Moscow from the subjugation of the Nogoy Tatars in the year 1784.
Few persuasions were necessary to induce Marshal Suworoff to enroll the young prince under his command. They left Moscow together; and in, stead of the eastern luxuries which might have attended the march of so extensive a conqueror, he beheld a simplicity which reminded him of the days of Phocion or of Cincinnatus. The manners of Suworoff were adopted by every officer who wished to gain his favour, or acquire renown. He rosu at four in the morning throughout the year; winter or summer making no difference to his robust constitution, rendered so by toil and temperance. A heap of fresh hay was his bed, with a truss for a pillow, and his cloak for a coverlid. His dress was simple, srtrictly military, and put on in a few seconds; and his meals were despatched with a haste that precluded luxury. He hardly ever devoted more than an hour to walking, after which he sat down to transact the oflicial duties of the day. He read letters and reports, dictated answers, gave orders, and then applied himself to a general inspection that all were properly executed. The small portion of