Lapas attēli


of earnestness and modesty in his great undertaking. Not that he could not estimate his own worth, and find support in the consciousness of it. But there is nothing arrogant about him. Decided in his opinions, he is always ready with his reasons; and in doubtful cases he appeals to argument, not to the value of his own authority, or the extent of his own experience and critical skill. In the preface to the first edition of his dictionary, after alluding to his own model of perfection in this department, he says, How contented should I be, if in a work, so wearisome, and made so difficult and bitter to me by incidental circumstances, I should so far have succeeded, that a connoisseur in these things could say of me, If this man had formed his plan much earlier in life, pursued it firmly, slowly, and calmly, in the fitting leisure, with the necessary serenity of mind, and with the requisite collection of books, he would have brought his work near enough to the model, of which he had a clear conception. And after a long interval, in the third edition, made in the last years of his life, though he had been restless in his efforts to improve his work, he yet acknowledges how far it is from perfection, and breathes a pious wish, that 'some laborloving countryman may undertake to continue, enlarge, and improve it.' And again, acknowledging the many advantages he derived from the criticisms, which he had cheerfully received and made use of, the venerable veteran, for the last time editing a work, the greatest monument of the value of his life to his fellowmen, offers his gratitude to all, who from a love of science, and in the language of humanity, without sarcastic bitterness, will contribute anything to the perfection of the great undertaking.'


The excellent qualities of Schneider's Lexicon, which render it superior to that of Hedericus, are, a greater copiousness of words, selected from the profane writers; the omission of many words which rested on no sufficient authority, and had found their way by mistake into the Lexicons; the more accurate etymological derivation of the words; the careful investigation of the original meaning of each word; the historical and philosophical accuracy, with which the several significations are unfolded and arranged; the omission of all the analytical parts except in cases of an extraordinary nature; and the peculiar care with which the technical terms, and words belonging to natural history, are explained. Wherever he differs from Stephanus, he supports his own statement by a citation from a Greek author,

or a sufficient reference; and while many useless words have been retrenched, their place is supplied by others more valuable, derived from Greek authors, published since the days of Stephanus. During his long life he never was idle. Deeming it of importance for the knowledge of the Greek language to understand the state of natural science in the days of antiquity, he deliberately entered upon the study of natural history, and even pursued the branch of ichthyology to a great extent; and the object of all was mainly to make his Lexicon better.

One of the last acts of Schneider's life was the publishing of a supplementary volume to his Lexicon. It contains several thousand words from authors less frequently read, and of less intrinsic value. We mention it with the more pleasure, because it offers a gratifying example of the spirit of cooperation, successfully and cheerfully exercised; since Weigel, Buttmann, Jacobs, and Coray, with a multitude of others, may be mentioned, as having contributed to form the volume. It is a work, which should be in the scholar's library, though it will not often lie on his table.

The dictionary of Schneider was too large for general use in schools. Professor Frederic William Riemer, of Weimar, undertook to make an abridgment of it; but his mind was too original, too inquisitive, and too independent, to follow in the track of any man. His work, therefore, soon became one of a peculiar character. Riemer is a learned man, and a man of taste also. His name is well known in the polite literature of his country. The air of Weimar breathes of the gay science;' and numerous as is the rhyming brood, that nestle under the wings of Goethe, the two neat duodecimo volumes of the fictitious Silvio Romano have won for the Greek lexicographer a respectable rank among the poets of the ducal residence. Riemer is entirely national. His rapid mind is ingenious at tracing analogies in the derivation of words; he finds the seeds of the German wrapt up in the Greek. His pages sparkle with repartees and capital hits at his antagonists; and while you are gaining, through his interpretations, an accurate knowledge of a Greek word, you may have a chance to laugh at his puns, or smile at his chuckling, as he successfully exposes faults in the criticisms of his adversaries. Of course he is not spared by those, who suffer from his gibes; and while the public have crowned his work with most distinguished success, some cavillers have been even hardy enough to deny his learning. Riemer laughs at them all;

[blocks in formation]

in his Preface quotes and ridicules those, who reproach him with frightful ignorance; and, such is his humor, ends the last article of a book, which cost him five and twenty years' labor, with a jest.

We confess we like to use Riemer's Lexicon better than any other; every article is so lively, so exact, perspicuous, and instructive. As it followed, and at first abridged Schneider, it has the same general merits. Riemer has interspersed his pages with many little discussions, with which we are pleased, though, we confess, they do not belong properly to a Lexicon. Further, he has devised a very ingenious way of marking the quantity of doubtful vowels, without interfering with the accent. The marks are placed under the syllables.

Dr Francis Passow, of Breslau, was of opinion, that he could make a better book than Riemer's. Passow is a man of talents and elevated character; his name not unknown to the Muse of his country. A friend of Schneider's, and a teacher at the same university, he undertook to prepare the large work of the mighty master' for general use. It is plain, that Passow despises, or affects to despise, the attainments of his Weimar competitor, and at the close of one of his divisions, obviously calls in question his knowledge of Greek prosody. We shall give the claims of his dictionary to peculiar merit nearly in his own words. A more careful explanation of the prepositions, particles, and conjunctions, the most perfect exposition, that could be given, of the use of language in Homer and Hesiod, and the designation of the quantity of the syllables, which, before he gave the signal, had been entirely neglected, but now is already acknowledged to be indispensable; these have been and remain his chief object. As a fourth, he may add the omission or warning exposure of such forms of words, as had been coined at random by ancient and modern corrupters of language, without external authority, according to analogies of language often misunderstood.

And now, as to the labor of lexicography, we have seen with what patience and assiduity Schneider continued to use every means of improving his work, even to the latest year of his life. In the supplementary volume, published a few months before his death, he complains of no labor, but that which led to no result, and which had been forced from him by the criticisms of the many, who thought themselves fit to play the master over him, though they had enough to learn themselves.' Riemer kept up his spirits through twentyfive years of

[ocr errors]

of his dictionary.

labor, and more than twentysix hundred pages Passow asks of those, who complain of the irksome and disgusting nature of such labors, what keeps them thus chained like galley slaves to the oar; and adds, that the rich, infinitely various, and constantly new exercise of mind, which this branch of philological studies offered, was an abundant recompense for all the labors, without which no safe step could be taken, and of which he had gone through not fewer nor less considerable, than those who complained the most loudly.'

The best edition of Schneider is the third, printed at Leipsic, in 1819. The supplementary volume appeared in April, 1821, and probably will not be reprinted, as it is not designed for universal use. By far the best edition of Riemer is his last, the fourth, which was begun in 1823, and finished in 1825. That of Passow has, as yet, been printed but once, and having been begun in 1819, was completed in 1824. Its excellence leads us to believe, that it will go through a new edition before many years. The greatest praise belongs so Schneider, because he is the father of almost all the improvements in Greek lexicography; Riemer is the most amusing, very clear and careful, the most ingenious, and, we confess, our favorite; Passow, perhaps, the most convenient for daily use, accurate, trustworthy, and complete for the learner's purposes.

It may not be out of place to add, that a new edition of Hedericus, with the alterations, omissions, and additions, requisite to make it worthy of the age, is now executing by Dr Gustavus Pinzger of Breslau, under the eye of Passow.

We have been led into so large remarks already, that we do not venture upon discussing one or two questions of which we are reminded by our subject, and on which a word might now be in season. One is, whether it is worth our while to study Greek at all in this country; for there are those, who go out as knightserrant against Latin and Greek, and fashion into the shape of monsters everything, that bears a resemblance to ancient erudition; men, who would banish the Muse of Hellas, with her own Astræa, from the earth. We mean not those, who contend, and, as we think, rightly, for more liberty in our courses of public instruction, and who would leave the wants of the country, in connexion with the tastes of those who give themselves to study, to regulate the degree of attention, which shall be paid to each separate branch of learning; but those, who are governed by an undiscriminating and impotent

hatred of classical learning, and rail at what they cannot understand, and, happily, cannot injure.

We also intended to point out the absurd reasoning of a late writer in the Edinburgh Review, who, in the number for June last, has defended that superficial system of instruction, which most favors the indolence of teachers, and the weakness of boys. This they now bring forward as the wonderful invention of one Mr Hamilton, the rival of him who first lighted London with gas, the great Macadamizer of the road to learning. But we find this subject anticipated, and the general principles, which must be applied to its decision, clearly and forcibly stated in our American Journal of Education; and on the general question, we content ourselves with a reference to that work.

ART. X.-Essays upon Popular Education, containing a particular Examination of the Schools of Massachusetts, and an Outline of an Institution for the Education of Teachers. By JAMES G. CARTER. 8vo. pp. 60. Boston. 1826.

Bowles & Dearborn.

We have lately offered some remarks on Popular Education; and we are glad to meet with such an occasion as this pamphlet furnishes, for inviting the attention of our readers again to the subject. We have read these Essays with more than a feeling of interest and pleasure; and we venture earnestly to recommend them to general perusal. They are judicious and able, full of sound and liberal views, and important suggestions. They contain much, in a brief space, and must be read for reflection, and not for entertainment. They will not answer for dreaming or dozing away a dull hour after dinner; but for a man who sits upright, and is wide awake to the state and movement of things around him, we will engage, that this pamphlet shall furnish matter to think about and act upon. Mr Carter is too much concerned for the interests, which he advocates, and has a mind too much occupied with matters of reality and importance, to care much for our entertainment. From the very limits of his work, also, he has given us a pamphlet of hints, which, as he seems to be well aware, might be easily swelled into volumes of discussions.

Our own space, it is obvious, is yet more limited; but we

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »