Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

country, that laborious Writer traced out three historical variations. 1. The Britanno-Saxon-spoken during the period which elapsed from the Saxon conquest to the Danish invasion. 2. The Dano-Saxon from the event last mentioned, to the Norman subjugation. 3. The Normanno-Dano-Saxon, which followed the usurpation of William the Conqueror. Mr. Cardale's able refutation of this theory is well worth transcribing.

Dismissing the supposed Britanno-Saxon, as unworthy of consideration, the principal remains of the Saxon language may be arranged in two classes ; viz. those which are written in pure Anglo-Saxon, and those which are written in Dano-Saxon. These, in fact, were the two great dialects of the language. The former was used (as Hickes observes) in the southern and western parts of England ; and the latter in the northern parts of England and the south of Scotland. It is entirely a gratuitous supposition, to imagine that either of these dialects commenced at a much later period than the other. Each was probably as old as the beginning of the Heptarchy. We know that among the various nations which composed it, the Saxons became predominant in the southern and western parts, and the Angles in the northern. As these nations were distinct in their original seats on the continent, so they arrived at different times, and brought with them different dialects. This variety of speech continued till the Norman conquest, and even afterwards. It is not affirmed, that the dialects were absolutely invariable. Each would be more or less changed by time, and by intercourse with foreigners. The mutual connexion, also, which subsisted between the different nations of the Heptarchy, would necessarily lead to some intermixture. But we may with safety assert, that the two great dialects of the Saxon language continued substantially distinct, as long as the language itself was in use ;—that the Dano-Saxon, in short, never superseded the Anglo-Saxon. In a formal dissertation on this subject, citations might be made from the Saxon laws from Ethel. bert to Canute, from the Saxon Chronicle, froin charters, and from works confessedly written after the Norman conquest, to shew that, whatever changes took place in the dialect of the southern and western parts of Britain, it never lost its distinctive character, or became what can with any propriety be termed Dano-Saxon. After the Norman conquest, both the dialects were gradually corrupted, till they terminated in modern English. During this period of the declension of the Saxon language, nothing was permanent; and whether we call the mixed and changeable language · Normanno-Dano-Saxon' or SemiSaxon', or leave it without any particular appellation, is not very important. An additional proof that the two great dialects were not consecutive, but contemporary, might be drawn from early writings in English, and even from such as were composed long after the establishment of the Normans. We find traces of the pure Anglo-Saxon diaJect in Robert of Gloucester, who wrote in the time of Edward I., and whose works are now understood almost without the aid of a glossary; whereas the language of Robert Langland, who wrote nearly a century later, is more closely connected with the Dano-Saxon and so different from modern English, as to be sometimes almost unintel

ligible. Though these differences have been gradually wearing away, our provincial glossaries afford evidence that, even at the present day, they are not entirely obliterated!

In a brief compass, this is a history of the English language: and in the same vigorous, sound, unaffected, and unembarrassed style, does Mr. Cardale deliver all his statements and explanations. He has produced a work of great interest and excellent execution; and we trust that from so thorough an Anglo-Saxon scholar, we shall have frequent illustrations of a literature which has still among its stores wherewithal richly to repay curious and indefatigable research. The volume is exceedingly well got up, with new type, ornamented initials, rubricated title-page, and a clever wood-cut vignette from a design by Willamant.

The republication of King Alfred's Will from the old and long exhausted Oxford edition, is a well printed, though slender

volume, containing the document itself in the original AngloSaxon, with a close translation on the opposite page. The notes of the first edition are retained ; and additional annotations, few but valuable, are subjoined. The 'Preface' has very much the air of having been got up by some one rather green in Saxon lore, who has contrived to supply his own lack of knowledge by large draughts on Mr. Manning's Introduction to the former publication. The · Will' is a valuable illustration of the times and characters to which it refers, and the volume is altogether a creditable production.

Art. III. 1. The Botanical Miscellany ; containing Figures and De

scriptions of such Plants as recommend themselves by their Novelty, Rarity, or History, or by the Uses to which they are applied in the Arts, in Medicine, and in Domestic Economy; together with occasional Botanical Notices and Information. By William Jackson Hooker, LL.D. Royal 8vo. pp. 96. xxiv. Plates. Part I.

Price 10s. 6d. London. 1829. 2. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, or, Flower-Garden displayed: in

which the most ornamental Foreign Plants, cultivated in the open Ground, the Green House, and the Stove, are accurately represented and coloured. New Series. Conducted by Samuel Curtis, F.L.S.; the Descriptions by W. J. Hooker, LL.D. Nos. I to 33.

8vo. Price 3s. 6d. each. London. 1827–1829. OUR object

in this article, is to introduce with all due brevity to our botanical readers, two publications which appear admirably adapted to their avowed purpose of conveying valuable information in an attractive and accessible form. A few paragraphs will suffice for the New Series of the Botanical Magazine; a work that has long maintained a highly respectable

character, but which now comes forward with increased claims on public patronage. Dr. Hooker's talents, both as a professor and a demonstrator, are of too general knowledge to require eulogy from us; nor will his reputation suffer from the way in which his department of this publication is executed. The descriptions are full and distinct, frequently supplying information on particulars rather too frequently overlooked in the cursory explanations of periodical works.

In connexion, for instance, with the Cocoa-nut, there is given a satisfactory history of the entire plant, with five illustrative plates, including not only the various parts and stages of fructification with sections, but a picturesque representation of the male and female tree. The descriptive details are both minute and entertaining, and are peculiarly acceptable as giving a popular account of a species of plant respecting which erroneous and imperfect notions had long prevailed, and of which the most complete accounts must be sought in works of forbidding price. The Palms, justly termed by Linnæus, the princes of the vegetable reign, were in his time, the opprobrium of Bo

tany'; nor were they much more accurately known, until the labours of Thunberg and Roxburg, Poiteau, Spix, and Martius, had made their structure more intimately known. Among the individuals of this superh tribe, the Double Cocoa-nut, or Coco de Mer, was the most mysterious; and the tales of which it has been made the subject, might figure advantageously among the fantasticalities of the Arabian Nights. Until the year 1743, it was only known as having been occasionally found floating on the surface of the Indian Ocean, chiefly in the neighbourhood of the Maldives, without its husk, and with the internal part decayed. Rumphius described it as ranking in general estimation among the miracula natura, and as the very chief of marine rarities. Putting aside a large aggregate of absurdities, he restricted himself to a more moderate exhibition of incredibilities.

• The Double Cocoa-nut is not, he assures us, a terrestrial production, which may have fallen by accident into the sea, and there become petrified, as Garcias ab ORTA relates ; but a fruit, probably growing itself in the sea, whose tree has been hitherto concealed from the eye of

The Malay and Chinese sailors used to affirm, that it was borne upon a tree deep under water, which was similar to a Cocoa-nut tree, and was visible in placid bays, upon the coast of Sumatra, &c.; but that if they sought to dive after the tree, it instantly disappeared. The negro priests declared it to grow near the island of Java, with its leaves and branches rising above the water, in which a monstrous bird, or griffin, had its habitation, whence it used to sally forth nightly, and tear to pieces elephants, tigers, and rhinoceroses, with its beak, whose flesh it carried to its nest; furthermore, they avouched, that ships were attracted by the waves which surrounded this tree, and there

man.

retained, the mariners falling a prey to this savage bird, so that the inhabitants of the Indian Archipelago always carefully avoid that spot. With such, and many even more strange ideas respecting its place of growth and history, it is not wonderful that this nut should have been highly prized; and in the Maldivian islands, it was death to any man to possess it: all that were found became the immediate property of the king, who sold them at a very high price, or offered them as the most precious of regal gifts. Their value was estimated at from sixty to one hundred and twenty crowns; but those nuts which measured as much in breadth as in length, were the most esteemed; and those which attained foot in diameter, were sold for one hundred and fifty crowns. Nay, some kings have been so greedy of obtaining these fruits, as to have given a loaded ship for a single one.'

The albumen of this marvellous fruit, triturated in vessels of porphyry, and mixed with coral, ebony, and stag's horn, was in the highest value as an infallible Mithridate: like the wonderous Orvietan of the middle ages, in Europe, it cured all kinds of disease, and against poison was a specific. The shell, too, was supposed to possess medicinal properties, and to neutralise the injurious qualities of whatever substance might be deposited in it. The discovery of the Seychelles, or Mahé islands, at once put an end to all these ingenious speculations, and ascertained the localities where these fruits were to be found. On three mountainous and rocky isles in that groupe, while the seacoast produces in abundance the common Cocoa-nut (Cocos nucifera), all the interior is covered with 'Cocos de Mer'. The representations given in the present work, are from specimens forwarded by Mr. Telfair of the Mauritius; and they leave but little to be desired in the way of general information. The same gentleman transmitted, for the Royal Botanical Garden of Glasgow, a living nut; but, notwithstanding all possible care, it did not vegetate: since then, however, germinating nuts have reached England from the same quarter.

Six or seven plates, some of extra size, well drawn, clearly outlined, and, in general, excellently coloured, are given in each Number: and when we compare them with the price, we are puzzled to know where the remuneration of author, draughtsman, engraver, colourer, and proprietor, can possibly come from. The only suggestion of improvement that seems worth offering, relates to the more complicated examples. There are two or three of these, in which a few judicious touches of shadow would give meaning and precision, where there is now a little vagueness of effect and uncertainty of form.

The Botanical Miscellany is intended to supply a deficiency of which the inconvenience has been often felt by men of scientific pursuits. In Botany, as in other departments of knowledge, there is usually a considerable quantity of information

afloat, in the shape of report, memorandum, and unrecorded observation, which it is highly desirable to secure, and to bring into specific and available form. There are, moreover, appearing, from time to time, especially on the Continent, valuable memoirs on distinct branches of botanical inquiry, which, in this country, are but imperfectly known. In short, it must be obvious, that a publication professing to collect and communicate the novelties and miscellanea of this interesting science, has a primâ facie demand on our favourable disposition: it remains that we examine how far this claim is sustained by the execution.

Some years back, an experiment was made, by König and Sims, how far the public might be inclined to patronize a work of this kind; but their · Annals of Botany', though of very respectable character, were continued only for a brief period. Dr. Hooker has now stept forward to fill up their place, and the undertaking could not have fallen into abler or more efficient hands; nor could a first Number be reasonably expected to hold forth a higher promise of skilful performance, than is given, and thus far fulfilled, in the part which now lies before us. It comprises twenty-four spirited delineations, the cryptogamic examples carefully coloured, of plants, new, rare, or particularly interesting. There are some clever drawings of the Mutisiæ, and among the cryptogamia we may distinguish the representation of that most noble of all mosses ', the Spiridens Reinwardtii. A detailed account of the Mahogany Tree (Swietenia Mahagoni) will give us an opportunity of illustrating Dr. Hooker's mode of treating such subjects in the present work. This valuable wood, independently of its ornamental qualities, has valuable properties of a higher kind. It is said to be indestructible by worms or water, and to be nearly bullet-proof. The Spaniards used it largely in the construction of their vessels; and its tough texture, combined with the lightness obtained from its consequent divisibility into very thin planks, recommended it to Captain Franklin as the best material for the boats of his Arctic expedition. The Jamaica wood is the most valuable; and it is rather singular, that this tree should flourish best on elevated and rocky sites. The largest importations are from the Honduras, and the various processes of cutting and embarking are well described by Dr. H. from accurate information. Sir Walter Raleigh's carpenter, while his ship lay at anchor on the coast of Trinidad, in 1595, is said to have first discovered the beauty of this wood; but more than a century elapsed before Dr. Gibbons made it fashionable in England. The growth of two hundred years is required before this noble plant reaches its full perfection. The season of felling commences in August, and the 'gangs'employed in the work, con

« ПредишнаНапред »