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therefore disposed be take literature their sole occupation. Be their abilities' what they may, or their conduct and purposes as high and pure as they may, and few more favorable examples of either could be adduced than what we have here presented, they will be sure to rue their choice. Public taste or public gratitude affords no sure ground of dependence to him who does not write for the sole purpose of pleasing the public, of flattering its caprices, ministering to its prejudices, or amusing its indolence. He who runs counter to the opinions of the multitude, as every one who desires to improve and instruct his fellow men occasionally must do, cannot expect their approbation or sympathy, and therefore must not place himself in a situation like that of a writer for his bread, in which he must look to them alone for his support. audience, though few,” indeed, a man of ability and lofty aims may always hope to find; and their applause may cheer him on his way, and bind him with a more resolute purpose to his desk. But as society is now constituted, this is precisely the sort of audience which, though it may flatter his vanity, will never minister to his necessities. And from the unapproving or indignant crowd, he must look for neglect, or vehement censure and detraction. In Southey's case, indeed, the government stepped in at the last moment to rescue his declining old age from penury, and to offer something more than the meaningless laurel for his brow; and the public voice, weary at last of persecuting him, admitted that both the honor and the assistance were deserved. But the honor was not needed, and he was too high-minded to accept it; and the assistance came too late for any other purpose than that of smoothing his way to the tomb,
ART. II. — 1. A Grammar of the Anglo-Saxon Language.
By Louis F. KLIPSTEIN. New York: G. P. Putnam. 2. Analecta Anglo-Saxonica: Selections in Prose and
Verse from the Anglo-Saxon Literature ; with an Intro-
The titles of these volumes are significant signs of the times. They form an introduction to a language which, but a few years since, was as little thought of, in this country, as that of the Esquimaux; and in England, was an oject of interest to none but a small band of hardy · antiquarians. Even the history of those who spoke it was, fifty yeaks ago, known to the general reader only in faint and barren outlines. Sharon Turner, about the commencement of the present century, in his “ History of the Anglo-Saxons,” offered to the public, for the first time, an account at once popular and minute of this remarkable people. He had the satisfaction of finding that his favorite subject needed only to be presented in order to receive a cordial welcome; and he lived to see his work pass through six editions. The interest he awakened has continued steadily to increase; and now, as many persons are to be found studying the Anglo-Saxon language, as formerly possessed any familiar acquaintance with the history of those by whom it was spoken.
In 1837, the publication of “ The Pictorial History of England” contributed much towards popularizing a knowledge of the political and social state of the people under the Anglo-Saxon dynasty; and more recently, Bohn, an enterprising London publisher, has given to the reading world, in a cheap yet handsome form, a series of ancient English Histories and Chronicles, most of them till now to be found only in editions too rare and costly to be met with in the private libraries of any but the wealthy. These latter works,
, written by men who lived in or near the times of which they speak, seem to transport us to the half savage life of England as it was in those old days; and though full of superstitious tales, and often of doubtful authority in matters of fact, they
are of great value and interest as exhibiting pictures of the mind of the age in which they wrote: --- a kind of information quite as valuable as the chronicles of battles and sieges. All these, and various other kindred works, have combined to give us a tolerably familiar acquaintance with the modes of thought, the domestic and the social life, of our venerable progenitors; and even the Britons whom they conquered, and in great measure displaced, stand before us, under the shadow of their old Druidical groves, with a mien somewhat less mysterious than before.
Apart from the romantic charm attached to the history of those olden times, the great cause of the interest now awakened in this department of history, is the surprising resemblance found to exist between these our progenitors and ourselves. We not only know, but feel, that they were our fathers. The English Whig, as he urges on the progress of reform, and rejoices in finding that the Commons are every day becoming more and more the real head of the State, exults in the idea that the old Anglo-Saxon love of liberty and equal rights, though long bowed in subjection, is once more holding its head aloft, and taking possession of its birthright. The American, however democratic he may be, however slow to admit the claim of any thing hereditary, is yet proud to assert that he too is the free-born child of the same stock; for, a thousand years of progressive civilization, transportation to a new continent, revolution, change of governmental form, have not sufficed to change the nature of the Anglo-Saxon. When he wants that which a foreign neighbor possesses, he is still the same brave, hardy, determined, piratic being as when we first hear of him in history; and when, having conquered a new country, he plants himself, and establishes a home, we find him possessed of a similar love of liberty protected by law, a similar respect for woman, and a similar reverence for religion, as when he dwelt a pagan in the forests of Germany, in the days of the Roman Empire; or when, a few centuries later, he had established his power over the island of the Britons, and bowed before the cross of Christ. So striking is this resemblance that, of late years, we have come to call ourselves Anglo-Saxons in common parlance, and to find an excuse for our aggressions upon our neighbors in the inherent disposition handed down
to us from the farthest antiquity we can penetrate, and which, by its long continued success, we venture to affirm, plainly indicates that the destiny of the Anglo-Saxons is to conquer the whole earth.
Sidonius, bishop of Clermont, writing in the fifth century, exclaims: “We have not a more cruel and more dangerous enemy than the Saxons. They overcome all who have the courage to oppose them. They surprise all who are so imprudent as not to be prepared for their attack. When they pursue, they infallibly overtake; and when they are pursued, their escape is certain. They despise danger; they are inured to shipwreck; they are eager to purchase booty with the peril of their lives. Tempests, which to others are dreadful, to them are subjects of joy. The storm is their protection when they are pressed by the enemy, and a cover for their operations when they meditate an attack.” Perhaps, if a Mexican bishop were to write a character of the descendants of these same Saxons, it might run much after the same fashion. God grant that, some centuries hence, as the philosophic historian ponders upon our adventures, he may be able to write of us as Montesquieu wrote of the Teutones in the last century, looking back through the light that the progress of events had cast upon their career.
- The great prerogative of Scandinavia, and what ought to recommend its inhabitants beyond every people upon earth, is, that they afforded the great resource to the liberty of Europe, that is, to almost all the liberty that is among men.
The Goth Jornandes calls the north of Europe the forge of mankind. I should rather call it, the force of those instruments which broke the fetters manufactured in the south. It was there those valiant nations were bred, who left their native climes to destroy tyrants and slaves, and to teach men that nature having made them equal, no reason could be assigned for their becoming dependent, but their mutual happiness.”
Permanence of characteristics is by no means a peculiarity of the race to which we belong. The resemblance of modern nations to their remote progenitors is a subject that has been investigated with much care by various naturalists and philologists; and the results at which they have arrived show that, in this particular, we do but follow a general rule of all created things. The Almighty endows every thing that he
creates with peculiar characteristics, which the lapse of ages modifies, but seldom, if ever, radically changes. Plants and animals transported to strange climes soon die, unless they can, by slight and superficial changes, accommodate themselves to their new homes; and it is not often that these changes are so great that a casual observer would find any difficulty in recognizing either plant or animal, had he known it in its original locality. Man wanders at will from zone to zone, and his complexion varies a few shades in hue as he becomes acclimated under warmer or colder skies; but the form of his features and the configuration of his person remain ever distinct and recognizable.
No nation is more cosmopolitan than the Jew, and having experienced no mixture of race, change of climate is all that has caused him to vary from his first estate. We find him, therefore, fairer or darker according to the climate in which he dwells; but his form and features ever proclaim the Israelite. That he has ever been what he now is we have good reason to believe. Leonardi da Vinci, one of the nicest of observers, has represented him, in his celebrated picture of the Last Supper, such as he was three hundred years since; while in Egyptian paintings, we find him such as he was three thousand years ago; and ever the same unmistakable form and feature meet our eye.
Repeated conquest and admixture of races are not sufficient to eradicate the national characteristics of a settled people. In the Roman States, and nowhere else, we still find the form and features, represented in busts and statues, of the classic Romans. In the dominions of Florence, the very peculiar lineaments made familiar to us by the busts of Dante are continually met with, which perhaps are those of the ancient Etruscans. In the heart of Hungary dwell a tribe of people whose features answer precisely to the Mongolian characteristics given to the
Huns by the Roman writers at the time of the invasion of the Empire by that race. In France, two distinct races are found predominant in different parts of the kingdom, the one bearing the traits of the ancient Ganlish, and the other of the Kimmerian race. The peculiarities of language, especially its accentuation, are no less permanent than those of form and figure. All these external traits being the outbirths and exponents of the mind within, their VOL. LXXIII. NO. 152.