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Tarver--but every syllable of this deserves 1 just as the French mind is a heap of flutterto be studied by a Bopp or a Grimm for half ing odds and ends, all alive and dancing--all a cannister of Canaster at least, that all the herissé, to use their own admirable wordprofound essence-quinta pars nectaris--may yet the result an inimitable medium, not for be completely extracted and distilled out of poetry or eloquence, nor lofty reasoning, but it ad residuum, by the bee-like acumen of for chat--which they are the only people to some linguistic Berzelius, or philological render neither bald nor disjointed. Latin, Scheele. This little phrase of three words with all the Roman flowingness and music (for the vous being repeated only counts for taken out of it, snipped, and nipped, and one) contains the very soul of the French clipped, like a Versailles yew-tree. Think character, their manners, their history; and of French being precisely--as far as elemennot only gives the portrait of their Past, but tary structure and origin are concerned-the helps us to an almost infallible prognostica- same tongue as Italian, and then calculate tion of their Future. Qualitas is monstrously what must be the difference of idiosyncrasy developed in proportion to quidditas. How from one and the same plastic substance to is the formula, not what. He busies himself have produced two such fabrics. The effect mainly with the shapes and shows of things; is far more astonishing than if the two had and therefore comment is the prominent and had quite independent sources, and is truly leading stroke in that involuntary photograph an overwhelming proof of the power of nawhich he strikes off fifty times a day. Then tional character to give its own form and the portez-vous. How do you carry your pressure to language, just as the larva of the sell? Outside, externally, superficial ginger- insect lends its shape to the silky envelop. It bread work in every letter of it. An impres- is the same as to the pronunciation; where sionable, eager, restless, vivacious manner of we find the process begun by cutting off all man, always ready to make love--and a droll the ends--the inflections--of the grand imsort of love it is nowadays--or to cock his perial words, carried still farther, as far, incap over his eyes, and “mourir pour la deed, as it will go, and all so completely patrie;" doing trivial things in a solemn way and solemn things in a trivial one; a tigre
Dismembered, maimed, hucked, rent, and torn, singe, as he was called by the vales who as nearly to have driven the Académie frantic, knew him best, and now and then a sinye- and to have extorted from unhappy Charles ligre. Sterne's old story of the little barber Nodier those plaintive lamentations which we proposing to “immerge the wig in the ocean, may peruse with much profit in the Essai will be true to the end of the chapter. A sur la Linguistique"--one of the cleverest vaporing, acting, aggressive, demonstrative small books of its age. For instance, let us people, on whom little things and great make compare the words Pucem, Salutem, et Fraan equally strong and equally fugitive im- lernitatem--pronounced not after the abominpression ; jesting commonly at everything able English guise, which Milton justly calls except trifles, and never more irresistably “as ill-hearing as law-French,” but with the comic than when trying with all their true broad Trasteverine sound of the vowels. might to be serious--for instance, play-|---fine, rolling, organ-like vocables, with a ing at constitution-making--a spectacle chat smack of the old Roman majesty in their reminds one of a party of little Emmies and
them, we say, with Carries playing at companies. In this Com- pé, salu, e fraternité. ment vous portes-rous ? one sees the theatri- Comment ça va-t-il ? How that goes it? cal character in perfection, the instant iden- Even here we have not been able in our tification of the person speaking with the per literal translation to give any account of the son spoken to, which is the definition of thea- miserable unfortunate i stuck in, euphonice tricality. The whole language how like the gratia, between the verb and the second nopeople! Every phrase composed of a heap minative : and what a truly Gallic flippancy of minute particles, y, ne, çı, and so forth, in the ça ! The old Middle-Age French, on
the other hand, bears a general character of useful. The idea was happy, and the execution has uniformity and strong religious feeling. been most laudably careful. We have been infinitely “ Adieu, vous die, messire Gauvain, mon obliged to it in reading the lighter French literature chier et doulx ami!” as we have it in Merlin of this day--so full of vocables fresh from the mint l'Enchanteur. All such“ skipping measures, of camp or guinguette, and lively audacious turns, such fantastical off-hand quaintnesses and Qwarta OUVETOIMIV, undreamt ef by “ the forty"
familiarities as Comment ça va-t-il ?-Portezwhich would bave puzzled Voltaire as much as Johnson,
vous ? and the like, could have had no ex
istence in those times; they would have magne," but even more powerfully perhaps been as discordant with their serious, simple by the tone of German metaphysics, and by tone, as London slang with a tournament. the German supremacy in music. As for And here we may remark that slang—a word personal practical activity, whether of body of wide meaning, including all the ideas and or mind, for taking, in short, the bull by the expressions that spring from the notion of horns, the German makes but an indifferent knowingness--slang, we say, could in no wise chulo; and the bull will have him over his have existed at a period of Faith, of pure head in a moment, thereby producing a child-like trust in matters of knowledge, of funcion of no unedifying kind at his expense. state, and of religion. With slang we must His ordinary salutation, when he meets you be careful not to confound humors, which are in the morning, sauntering along the Kartoffelquite a different thing—as different as Cor- gasse or the Amalienstrasse, as the case may poral Nym from Sam Weller, or Bobadil be, is Wie geht's? How goes it? Not, How from the Game Chicken. The modern Gas- do you get on ? but it—things in generalcons, in their patois, wbich has retained much a pure abstraction, a reines Vernunft wesen, more resemblance to Latin than we see in quite independent of hiniself or you, express“ Frenshe of Paris”-being, indeed, nearly ed by es—a: word of the most unseizable pure langue d'oc—say Coumo vas ?--and meaning and in its most unseizable form. It herein we may plainly mark the difference is that mysterious abstract it, that ideal of between the more indolent and sensuous nonentity, which is to get on, but whether, Southern and the eager, mocking, trivial or how? Let the Sphynx answer. It is es Parisian. Indolent--for observe how the which is to go; we “ humans are but mere subject of the phrase is altogether suppress-playthings in the hand of an uncontrollable ed, while we have none of the jags and tags Destiny ; feathers, down-particles, gossamers of language that dangle about its classical driven onward by the resistless roaring whirledition ; for though Coumo vas and Comment wind of ANAIKH. If we think for a moça va-t-il are much alike as far as the funda- ment of the ideal vagueness of this chaotic mentals are concerned, the former consists of particle, our brain begins to “ turn o’the toe only two words while the latter contains five, like a parish top;" we dare not pursue it the greater part of which are little insignifi- into the unfathomable void of breathless incant particles, not at all nece sary for the terlunar space. This touches us nearly, the intelligibleness of the proposition. The Gas- German element being so mingled in our own con, then, is evidently a more easy-going sort character; but we shall presently see how of a person, and does not give himself the of this element we have taken only so much trouble to waste good breath. He is of the as harmonizes with the rest of our naturemind of the noble wit who exclaimed against so like and yet so unlike that of our Saxon the absurdity of a man's muddling away his forefathers. Again, in Wie geht's? there is income in paying bills. It may perhaps ap- a stronge tinge of simple cordiality, perfectly pear odd that, in a nation which has so long in accordance with the friendly, homely, ceased to possess any claim to the title of familiar life of the Germans of all classes : religious, the formula adieu should have kept among whom--we speak of them as in the its footing. We must allow for the impres- anti-reform ages--you could find surprisingly sion bequeathed by the Roman Catholic little difference in accent, idion, or turn of faith, an impression likely to remain more thinking between the Prince of Saxe-Pumdurable on manners than on sentiments. pernickelhausen and his Serene Highness's This, and the convenience of the phrase postilion. In this brief Wie geht's ? the itself, together with the difficulty of changing whole tournure seems to breathe a comfort-for nothing is at bottom so immutable as able, easy-going, good-natured spirit, the language, apparently the most frail and very atmosphere of the puppet-show court chameleon-like of things--have contributed and lazy bourgeoisie of a queer, quaint, to maintain “ adieu,” and probably it will last sleepy, Lilliputian city of old amiable Deutschwben Notre Dame is a play-house.
land. The same thing may be said of the Madame de Staël stole and popularized J. parting words of “our fåt friend” in the P. Richter's saying, that to the German was plum-colored inexpressibles and apple-green reserved the empire of the air—an acute and coat, with the somewhat frowzy cap on his beautiful judgment, corroborated not only by head, the plethoric bloated umbrella in bis the vague and phantasmagoric character of hand; for on the Amalienstrasse, from morn German literature, and particularly poetry, till dewy eve, in all weathers, rain or shine, when she was manufacturing her “De l'Alle- ! summer or winter,
“ Umbrellas pass of every shade of green, walls? For who can have forgotten Sir And now and then a crimson one is seen Frances Head's neat definition of High Dula Like an umbrella ripened" — cookery: “whatever is not sour is g. casy,
and whatever is not greasy is sure to be sour and above all, with the horn spitz of his pipe we should not omit that, after you have depending from his rather pallid, flabby, and “greatly daring dined,” the kind native has soapless, hut still honest and hearty counte
an epilogue formula equally regular and nance. Leben Sie wohl! he ejaculates- suitable. It is “Good digestion !" lifting the cotton-velvet bonnet, which he is The authentic Low Dutch salutation is sedulous not to replace till he is well down Hoe vaari's-ge?--How fure you ?—which the Amalienstrasse, or fairly round the cor- well enough typifies the trading, voyaging ner. "Live well;":—for the worthy man's character of your "swag-bellied Hollander," existence is nearly animal, as far as external together with his practical, unromantic, bumatters go; though Heaven knows what siness-like nature, devoid of every touch of dream-images
, what abortive births of theo- sentiment. He has no poetry of his own, ries, political
, religious, social, socio-politico-though Southey thought otherwise after they religious, or religio-socio-political, Ait “ translated some of his--little literature, save thick as motes that people the sunbeam" in awful little punchy tomes of Jus Civile, or the wreathing smoke ever up-curling from still more awful volumes of painful commenthat unextinguished Baku-fire, that vestal tating and logic-chopping; the light of ima. altar of a pipe-that corded cane with the gination can hardly penetrate bis misty, picture of Beatrice Cenci, Martin Luther, foggy atmosphere, unless indeed on canvass, Old Fritz, Jenny Lind, Archduke John, Herr when it does stream gloriously through the Blum, or Ban Jellachich on its China bowl. "golden sherry and water” of Cuyp or the Very charming also are the little snatches of spray-laden breezes of Backhuysen." How old-world pedantry which may be perceived travel ye?" is perfectly in accordance with
” in German ways and words;--the vivats and the manners and history of sturdy old Holpereats of University enthusiasm—the Latin- land, redolent of spices from far Indian isles ized form retained in so many names of men _“from Ternate and Tydore"_like a soft and things, as “ der heilige Petrus," “ der fragrant land wind breathing from the MoIdealismus,” and also in the multitude of luccas, and stealing over the sense of the mere patronymics that have about them a weary mariner as he is beating up with delightful perfume of antique simplicity, as weather-whitened bark and thin sere sails Boccius, Lepsius, Avenarius, and scores of against the monsoon in those half-fabulous others. These latter are probably nothing seas. It is, we say, as perfectly in accordmore than relics of those days when High ance with Dutch manners and history, as it Dutch Philologists-grim, solemn words, would have been impossible for such a phrase which Mr. Clowes's compositors ought to as Hoe vaurt-ge? to have been generated set up in thick, black, erudite-looking small among the Hollander's cater-cousins, the capitals--wrote only in what passed for Germans-a stationary, home-keeping geneLatin, and found it necessary to their dignity ration—whose only fleets will continue to either to translate their plain hereditary navigate between the promontories of Cloudnames in whole, or at least to give them a land. sounding and declinable Greek or Latin ter- In Sweden, besides the universal formula mination ; thus we have Neumann transmog- Gud day, which requires no explanation, rified into Neander, Schwarzerz into Melanc- they say Hur mär ni ?-literally, How can thon, while Schweighäuser--the terror of the you?-ihat is, Are you strong and vigorous ? upper classes in English public schools, who —“More power to your elbow”-only withare reading Greek play—is less audaciously out the wild fantastic quaintness which reigns doctored into Schweighauserus, “illustrissi- in that truly Milesian God speed you. Gad mus ille noster, et mirifico acumine planè sei lar! they also cry=God be praised-and præditus." Among what other European for their parting Far-wal !—which is also people but the Germans could the wish - so good Dutch and good English-while the innocently humane--guten appetit! form part | Danes use lev-vel=live well, which predicates of the ordinary small change of common con- justly for the latter a more stay-at-home versation? And what country, we may add, spirit than prevails in the neighboring secstands in like need of such a pious prologue tion of Scandinavia. to the Speise-saal, with the view of Constan- The English nation being incontestably the inople painted in glaring distemper on its first on earth, and composed (which indeed
is the cause of its supremacy) " of every questionably have made “ How do you do ?” c 'eature's best,” of the finer and nobler es- the chorus or burthen of Rule Britannia. To senc s of all other races of mankind, we must do! Surely this contains the whole essence expect to find a rare richness and variety of of productive existence, national or individual. phrase in this matter. The Englishman To do! It is, the Law and the Prophets, “ has been at a great feast of languages, and the theorick and practick, the whole contexstolen the scraps ;" his dialect is * the alms- ture of life. And this doing is so universal basket of wit," and makes up in eclecticism, among us, it is such a completely recognized
a vigor, and abundance far more than it loses and accepted fact, that we do not ask a man, in apparent originality. We say apparent, as the dreaming, pipe compelling, beer-bebecause in reality no tongue was ever so in-mused Germans do, was machst du ?”— dividual as English :---though the rough ma- what dost thou ? but only how you do it ? terials are borrowed from a hundred sources, Do you must; there is no question about yet such is the inssimilative or digestive en- that. The only thing is to know how you do ergy, that the most discordant aliments are it. Again, let us think for a moment upon es immediately identified with its own inde- the value and extent of the sister-phrase, pendent existence, as the beef-steak which How are you?” Observe the wonderful yesterday gave roundness to the binder sym- practicality of it, so closely united with the metry of a prize ox becomes to-morrow part widest universality. It comes to the point and parcel of the proper substance--the ich at once, straight as a dart; and yet, if you -of the Yorkshire farmer. In truth, the take the trouble to follow it out a little, very caprices of our idiom, orthography, and whither does it not lead you? “ How are pronunciation, which make foreigners ** stare you?" in indeed the question. All knowledge and gasp,” are but so many proofs of the and science, all reason, thought, imagination, perfection ind.ompleteness of our language. is nothing else but the effort of the blinded It is the noble secular oak whose bark is Cyclops feeling about the walls of his cavern : rugged and furrowed with a thousand ex- ali merely a struggling to find out this and no crescences, and whose limbs are contorted other thing, namely, how we are. Perhaps, into fantastic curves and angles; but it is when a few more hundred years have carried from the oak that we hew out the knees of us a few steps farther onward toward pure inmighty victories and Agamemnons, while the telligence, men will cast aside their lambering village child sends the smooth and regular tools of dialects—their syllogisms, their illusdandelion swimming down a rivulet to perish trations, their definitions, the rubbish of the in two inches of water. It, we say, is the schools, the “ rags and tatters," as Milton degree to which caprices and peculiar idioms, calls them, “dropped from the overworn grammatical exceptions, &c., are seen in any shoulders of Time," --and formulize all their given tongue that forms the best measure inquiries, metaphysical, political, physiologiand scale of its worth and beauty: in Greek cal, in this one comprehensive questionthese eccentricities are inlinitely more nume- “ How are we?”—Happy if the advance of rous than in Latin ; in French, Italian, or knowledge in that twenty-ninth or thirtieth Spanish, than in Irish or 'Tongatabooze. century shall enable its Brougham or Whe
We may search through the whole map well to answer, “ Pretty well, I thank you." from Archangel to Van Diemen's Land-we A man were owl-blind, we think, who in may follow the history of human speech from the “ Hoo's a' wi' ye ?” of the kindly Scot Adam s first aleph, beth, ab, to the last could not perceive the mixture of national number of the "Fonetic Nuz,"--for it is pawkiness with hospitable cordiality. One now dead—we may decipher the Cuneiform sees in the mind's eye the canny chield, who inscriptions and learn to be as fluent in Zend would invite you to dinner three days in the as Borrow can patter Zincali; but it will be week, but who would look twice at your bill impossible to find anything finer, deeper, before he discounted it. Just as complete is than John Bull's How are you? and How do the Irish peasant's “ Long life to your Honor you do? They are the Calpe and Abyla of -may you make your bed in glory!" where. salutation. The How do you do ? is suffi- in is plainly reflected the violent and exagcient to account for Trafalgar, Waterloo, gerated enthusiasm of the inborn character Steam-engine, Railway, Exeter Hall, Times the common phrases of their everyday life Newspaper, Punch itself; and if Thomson being a better warrant of their Oriental orihad known what he was about, he, living be- gin than any. Ogham chronicles, or ægri fore the abolition of the Navigation Laws somnia of their addle-pated Vallanceys. In and the Colonies was dreamt of, would un- this little phrase we find engrossed, so that
he who runs may read, the very essence of ston winds up a dispatch to Count Nessela people endowed with a peculiar vivacity rode. But if we are justified in our fears and impressionableness of feeling, and which that the human race may be growing less has been long modified by a religion address. religious for good, it is but fair to allow that ing itself rather to the senses and fancy than it is far less fanatical in the persecuting line. to the reason. But this is not the time for Therefore, when a jolly helmsman showers being hard upon the Pope.
certain flagrant anti-benedictions upon you “Good bye,” though radically the same for not getting out of his way, it would be thing as “God be with ye,” is yet become unjust to take his sulphurous words au pied widely different in its modern effect and mean de la lettre, or to suppose that he would really ing. It has followed the general fate of hu- feel any satisfaction in seeing you simmering, man things, or, as the temporis acti men as Heinrich Heyne so pleasantly fancies," on would pathetically lament,
the infernal hob, with a little imp perpetually
What The beautiful has vanished and returns nol-
poking the fire under your pipkin.' The fair humanities of old religion ;
is sauce for goose is decidedly sauce for gan
der; and, consequently, if we only observe for it should be kept in mind that all forms with a measured regret that Good bye has of salutation were originally prayers, and in now become a mere expression of secular most cases bear very markedly the precatory well-wishing, a synonyme of portez vous bien, structure of expression : but, as time ad- then omne quod exit in—eyes should be convances, this inevitably gives way to the mere sidered with a somewhat softened repreenunciation of a wish, even when the ancient hension. form of words has been retained. In sbort, The change, so well marked in the phrase it is we fear true that human nature goes on we have been considering, by the gradual constantly secularizing. Chaucer's Host ac- corruption of God into Good, must have becuses the Persoune of being a Lollard—i. e. gun very early, as in the old greeting, Give hereticus comburendus-simply because the ye good den, the same word is entirely sup; good man reproves him for “shotting his dis pressed, the original sense being, “ May God course :” “what eileth the man so sinfully to give ye good even.” Dr. Johnson said one swere ?"
says the worthy priest, to the great day at the club, that he thought“ the time wrath of Harry Baily. "If we compare this would come when men would grow weary touch of Father Geoffrey with that dictum of preparation, introduction, and connection, of Mrs. Adams in Joseph Andrews, which in writing, and would come to treat all subasserts that Scripture out of church is wicked jects apophthegmatically," so that books and blasphemous, we shall, alas ! have a clear would resemble Bacon's fragments: and this notion of the gradual working of civilization most desirable brevity seems to have been from the fourteenth to the eighteenth cen- more nearly attained by the English than by tury.
any other nation on earth ; for we are not Those nations which, from circumstances contented with suppressing half the letters of position, government, or whatever else, of our syllables, and half the syllables of our have continued stationary and unprogressive, words, but we are gradually abolishing half will be found to have retained the pure an- the words of our sentences ; so that, if we go cient prayer form--as is proved by the abun- on as we have begun, our language will in dant addresses to Allah throughout the East, time become, not merely the mode of speech, the incessant invocations of the Virgin or the par excellence, for saying " Many things in Saints among people of the Roman and few words,” but a kind of stenology, or algeGreek churches; whereas we “smarter" braical condensation of thought, a pemmican Protestants, if we investigate the particular of ideas. To this consummation have already shade of meaning attached by ourselves to approached among us, on the one hand, the “ God bless you,
Adieu," * Good bye,” little children—for many solid and perma&c., must acknowledge that, though the lita- nent changes of language originate in the nic form has been retained, yet the idea meant mouths of babes and sucklings--the formula to be conveyed has become altogether a mere having become contracted, throughout the matter of pure good wishes--the religious nurseries of the United Kingdom, into “bye, nuance imperceptible; so that the phrase is bye,!"--and, on the other hand, among our now little more than the “most obedient hum- scrip-men and stock-brokers, who are reportble servant” at the battom of a dunning letter, ed to bid each other farewell, when doing is the Quaker's “friend,” or the “ distinguished over for the day, in the short, pastoral, and consideration” wherewith Viscount Palmer. euphonious ejaculation " ta-ta !"*