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Morphological Classification.


The above remarks have been suggested by the results of genealogical classification as applied to one family of languages. Another group of languages which have been similarly classified are those which are generally called Semitic languages. They are divided into three branches: the northern, which includes the Syriac and Chaldee; the central, which includes the Hebrew spoken by the Jews, the Phoenician, and the Carthaginian; and the southern, which includes the Hymyarite, Ethiopic, and Arabic.

These two families have a close relationship to one another, but they differ very widely from all other languages. On this point, though very interesting and important, we have space for only a very few remarks.

The eighth Lecture is devoted to the subject of Morphological Classification, which refers to the form (Greek, μoppń, morphe, 'form') of roots when united together. The author thinks there are only three modifications of this kind possible, and that to one or other of them all human languages may be referred: 1. Both roots (Predicative and Demonstrative) are subject to phonetic decay, as in the Indo-European and Semitic families. 2. Only one root may be thus affected. 3. Both roots may continue unchanged.

The second division embraces the Turanian languages, on which Professor Max Müller has thrown much light. The term Turanian applies principally to the languages of Northern and Central Asia as well as to a few in Europe. A detailed list is given in the Appendix to these Lectures.

In the first division the individuality of the elements is lost in the unity of the word. In the second division, on the contrary, even that part of the word which is subject to phonetic decay retains much of its original individuality and distinctness of meaning. The two parts are only glued' together, to use the author's expression, and are not dovetailed one in the other as is the case in the first division. The people are still conscious of the meaning of the separate elements of a word, and can therefore adapt those elements to new combinations. Hence the marvellous abundance and strength of dialectic growth in these languages. The personal pronouns, for instance, which are affixed to verbal roots to form verbs, may also be affixed to nominal stems to form possessive nouns; for their meaning is obvious in both cases alike. Thus, in the Turkish verb severdim, severdin, etc., 'I loved, thou lovedst,' etc., the letters m, n, mean 'I,' 'thou.' But the same letters affixed to nouns likewise mean 'my,' 'thy.' In the English word am, the m originally meant 'I;' but no one now is conscious of that mean



ing when using the word, and it is utterly impossible for us to affix this letter to a noun in order to denote possession.

In the second division the elements of a compound word are only held in mechanical solution, and are visible in their separate identity; whilst in the first division the same elements are chemically combined, and form a new word. There may be counterbalancing advantages in the latter case, but the loss in regard to verbal signification is very great. When the English word 'rose' stands alone, no one can tell whether it is a noun or a verb, and if a verb whether it applies to the speaker or persons spoken to, or is employed in reference to some third party. All these particulars were obvious enough at first, and have become obscure only in consequence of phonetic decay, which affects all parts of a word belonging to the first division. This influence does not operate to the same extent upon the Turanian languages, and they therefore form an intermediate stage between the first and third divisions. The early process by which words were formed has disappeared from the living languages of the Indo-European family.

They stand before us like solid rocks, and the microscope of the philologist alone can reveal the remains of organic life with which they are built up. In the grammar of the Turkic languages, on the contrary, we have before us a language of perfectly transparent structure, and a grammar the inner workings of which we can study as if watching the building of cells in a crystal beehive.'

In this light the Turanian languages must be of great interest to every linguist, though perhaps it is only the smaller number who will fully sympathize with our author when he says, 'It is a 'real pleasure to read a Turkish grammar, even though one may have no wish to acquire it practically.' We don't expect to see it announced that Mr. Mudie has 500 copies of the last Turkish Grammar in his library.

The third division of languages, or those in which the roots remain unchanged, is illustrated by the Chinese. Among the instances given are the following: gi-li literally house inside,' for in a house. From age to age the Chinese continue repeating these words in their unaltered form: ngò ta ni, 'I beat thee;' ni tà ngò, thou beatest me.' The position of words, instead of a modification of their form, has to determine their meaning. We are obliged to resort to the same method in English in proportion as we have lost the old terminations. The comparison of a Greek with an English verb shows how far we have got in our approach to this Chinese simplicity. Professor Max Müller estimates the forms of a Greek verb at 1,300. In English they are about half-dozen. If with the Greek púw

George Frederick Handel.


(phuo) we compare the corresponding English verb be, which originally had an equal number of inflections, we find in it only four forms; viz., be, being, been, and the almost obsolete beest. We cannot help applying a well-known passage in which the last form occurs, to the word itself: 'If thou beest he; but oh! how fallen!

It is supposed by some that all languages at first were like what the Chinese is at present, and that the three divisions which we have pointed out are only so many stages through which the same language has to pass. If so, we see that languages hasten to reach the goal from which they started, and to become at last what they were at first; as the head and tail in a serpent ring are at the same point.

The last Lecture treats of the third, or Theoretical stage of the science. It contains the author's views on the origin of language. We must refer our readers to the volume itself to see how he disposes of what he calls the bow-wow' and 'pooh'pooh' systems, and how he establishes the theory which he substitutes for them.

It is gratifying to see this important subject placed in so popular a light; and we are glad to observe that a third edition of the Lectures is already announced, showing that an interest is felt in these studies by a large number of readers.

ART. II.-(1.) The Life of Handel. By VICTOR SCHŒELCHER. London: Trübner & Co. 1857.

(2.) G. F. Händel. Von FRIEDRICH CHRYSANDER. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel. 1er Band, 1858; 2er, 1860.

AT a late hour in the night of the 4th of April, in the dull year of grace 1739, there sat in the back parlour of a house in Great Brook-street, Hanover-square, a man of somewhat beyond middle age, whose features, which would at all times have won immediate interest, were at that moment alive with a conflict of strong emotions. Every detail of the face declared the artistic temperament, and the head and face together were of the massive proportions so often found where that temperament is united to a commanding will. The limbs also were of Jovian bulk, and yet, through all their mass, they seemed to share the passionate mobility of the face. The hands, which were large and fleshy, yet supple and symmetrical, had a nervous motion, as if grasping at some recently relinquished symbol of rule. On an open harpsichord lay a scroll of music, where it had been carelessly flung when he entered the room; and on a block fixed

in the wall he had deposited a white wig, of that flowing amplitude common at the period. Near to the dismal square stove, which was in those days the domestic dispenser of heat, he had cast himself heavily into a cushioned chair, with every sign of physical weariness. It could scarcely be said that he rested, however, for, though alone, he talked vehemently in a Polyglot of languages, the least intelligible of which was a strongly Germanised English, studded thick with hybrid expletives. The tones were those of violent denunciation, dashed with sarcastic humour, and they were accompanied by wild gestures which would have worn a comic aspect but for the obvious and terrible earnestness of the man. Over all the tempest of his feeling there reigned a certain nobleness and majesty of mien; and this, together with occasional evidences of physical pain, would have held fast the reverent sympathy of any hidden observer, if

such there could have been.

This man was George Frederick Handel, in the full maturity of his matchless powers; and he had on that night produced his Israel in Egypt before an aristocratic public, who had received that immortal gift of music with as chilling an apathy as if their whole bodies (to speak of souls would be irrelevant) had been as artificial as their periwigs, patches, and hoops!

It was the supremely stupid age of wits.' The Government, under the most immaculate of Ministers, was just then muddling its way into the bottomless bog of national debt. Steele and Addison were both gone; and over the large brain of Swift was already hanging the darkness of drivelling idiotcy. Brave Samuel Johnson was as yet only toiling for doubtful dinners in the service of Cave; and the higher literature would have been a blank, but for the appropriate appearance, about that time, of a fourth book of the Dunciad. A sleepy and fatuous Church was waiting for the rousing blows of Wesley and Whitfield. The noble families, who were the exclusive patrons of art, chiefly valued the privilege as affording occasions for those partisan hostilities which are the pet 'sensations' of frivolous natures, and had neither eye nor ear that could anticipate the judgments of better days.* No wonder that the composer of Israel had, on the night of its first production, to carry with him to his solitary home that purgatory of the fervid artist-despair of contemporary appreciation.

If, in the healing sleep which followed this trial of his constancy, Handel could but have looked over a chasm of a hundred and twenty years, and seen what was to happen under an enchanted

"Israel in Egypt did not take; it is too solemn for common ears."— Autobiography and Correspondence of Mary Granville (Mrs. Delany). First Series.

1739 and 1859-Saxon Affinities.


dome at Sydenham, he would have had the mutation of human taste brought before him in a more picturesque and palpable form than it ever yet wore to mortal senses. If such prevision had been possible, we believe it was in the man's nature, egotistical and proud as he was, to bow in the moment of his own triumph before Him who had 'triumphed gloriously,' and to rejoice rather for the world's sake than for his own.

While we now write, the means are being organized for developing, on a yet grander scale, the capabilities of this Titanic music; and to many of our readers, when its echoes will be still lingering in their minds, a sketch of the genius from which it emanated will not be unacceptable.

Though Handel was for the greater part of his life a naturalized Englishman, and though we are proud of the fact that almost the whole of his works were produced in this country, it is to Germany-the country which has long been associated with music of the deepest meaning and largest structural type-that we have to render acknowledgments for the gift of Handel to England and the world. He was born on the 23rd of February, 1685, at Halle, in Lower Saxony. We like to think of this origin of our great composer; it seems, after all, to obliterate any distinction of race between him and ourselves. His advent in England was only another Saxon invasion-an addition to the main stream of one more drop from the common fountain. Perhaps this affinity may have some bearing on the natural and hearty way in which he settled into English habits, and on the undoubted fact that, notwithstanding early slights, it is in England, more than any other country, not excepting even Germany, that his works wear a native aspect, and have received a national homage. The majesty of their colossal proportions fits them to be the music elect of a people whose acts are colonies, steam-ships, and tubular bridges; while the simplicity of their fundamental ideas no less suits the practical turn of the nation.

Of course no German could be born to achieve greatness, and his pedigree remain under any shade of doubt. A small exertion of minute industry informs us* that the composer's grandfather was one Valentine Händel, a Breslau worker in copper, or, as we should briefly call him, a tinker, who, in accordance with the wandering habit of that craft, went to Halle in 1609, settled there, married the daughter of a brother of the guild, made his kettledrum music to win bread for the little Saxon mouths, and died in his 54th year, leaving one daughter and three sons. The

George Friedrich Händel's Stammbaum; von Karl Edouard Förstemann.. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1844.

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