Chips from a German Workshop - Volume IV - Essays chiefly on the Science of Language
by Max Muller
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[Transcriber's Note:

This text is intended for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (Unicode/UTF-8) version of the file. All Greek has been transliterated and shown between marks, along with a few Hebrew and Devanagari letters. Characters that could not be fully displayed have generally been "unpacked" and shown in brackets:

ⱥ ɇ ɨ ... [vowel with macron or "long" mark] ă ĕ ĭ ... [vowel with breve or "short" mark] [The book generally used circumflex accents to represent long vowels. Anomalies are individually noted.]

[uo] [u with small o above, used in one Middle High German passage] [This form was used in place of the expected [ou] because "uo" is often found in transliterations.] ȩ [e with tilde-shaped "tail", used in a few Old Norse words] [+] [dagger, used only in a few Index entries]

The "oe" ligature is shown as separate letters, unbracketed, because its use is purely typographic.

Letters with multiple diacritics— generally vowels with both acute and circumflex— are shown as , , . Vocalic "r" with acute is shown as {r}.

Single-letter italics, used in Mller's Sanskrit transliterations, are shown in {braces}. The transliteration system is explained at the end of the e-text, before the Errata.

Normal italic text is shown with lines. Bold (only in the Colebrooke Appendix) and "gesperrt" (spaced-out) are shown with marks.

Note that Chapters VI-IX in the table of contents are labeled VII-X in the body text. Typographical errors are listed at the end of the e-text.]




by F. MAX MLLER, M.A., Foreign Member of the French Institute, etc.


NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, 1881. [Published by arrangement with the Author.]

Riverside, Cambridge: Stereotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton and Company.


ARTHUR PENRHYN STANLEY, D.D., Dean of Westminster, as a Token of Gratitude and Friendship


One Who Has for Many Years Admired His Loyalty to Truth, His Singleness of Purpose, His Chivalrous Courage, and His Unchanging Devotion to His Friends.



I. Inaugural Lecture, On the Value of Comparative Philology as a branch of Academic Study, delivered before the University of Oxford, 1868 1 Note A. On the Final Dental of the Pronominal Stem _tad_ 43 Note B. Did Feminine Bases in _ take _s_ in the Nominative Singular? 45 Note C. Grammatical Forms in Sanskrit corresponding to so-called Infinitives in Greek and Latin 47

II. Rede Lecture, Part I. On the Stratification of Language, delivered before the University of Cambridge, 1868 63 Rede Lecture, Part II. On Curtius' Chronology of the Indo-Germanic Languages, 1875 111

III. Lecture on the Migration of Fables, delivered at the Royal Institution, June 3, 1870 (Contemporary Review, July, 1870) 139 Appendix. On Professor Benfey's Discovery of a Syriac Translation of the Indian Fables 181 Notes 188

IV. Lecture on the Results of the Science of Language, Delivered before the University of Strassburg, May 23, 1872 (Contemporary Review, June, 1872) 199 Note A. theos and Deus 227 Note B. The Vocative of Dyas and Zeus 230 Note C. Aryan Words occurring in Zend but not in Sanskrit 235

V. Lecture on Missions, delivered in Westminster Abbey, December 3, 1873 238 Note A. Passages shewing the Missionary Spirit of Buddhism 267 Note B. The Schism in the Brahma-Samj 269 Note C. Extracts from Keshub Chunder Sen's Lectures 272 Dr. Stanley's Introductory Sermon on Christian Missions 276 On the Vitality of Brahmanism, Postscript to the Lecture on Missions (Fortnightly Review, July, 1874) 296

VI. Address on the Importance of Oriental Studies, delivered at the International Congress of Orientalists in London, 1874 317 Notes 355

VII. Life of Colebrooke, with Extracts from his Manuscript Notes on Comparative Philology (Edinburgh Review, October, 1872) 359

VIII. Reply to Mr. Darwin (Contemporary Review, January, 1875) 417

IX. In Self-defense 456

Index to Vols. III. and IV. 533




Delivered Before the University of Oxford the 27th of October, 1868.

The foundation of a professorial chair in the University of Oxford marks an important epoch in the history of every new science.[1] There are other universities far more ready to confer this academical recognition on new branches of scientific research, and it would be easy to mention several subjects, and no doubt important subjects, which have long had their accredited representatives in the universities of France and Germany, but which at Oxford have not yet received this well-merited recognition.

If we take into account the study of ancient languages only, we see that as soon as Champollion's discoveries had given to the study of hieroglyphics and Egyptian antiquities a truly scientific character, the French government thought it its duty to found a chair for this promising branch of Oriental scholarship. Italy soon followed this generous example: nor was the Prussian government long behind hand in doing honor to the newborn science, as soon as in Professor Lepsius it had found a scholar worthy to occupy a chair of Egyptology at Berlin.

If France had possessed the brilliant genius to whom so much is due in the deciphering of the cuneiform inscriptions, Ihave little doubt that long ago a chair would have been founded at the Collge de France expressly for Sir Henry Rawlinson.

England possesses some of the best, if not the best, of Persian scholars (alas! he who was here in my mind, Lord Strangford, is no longer amongus), yet there is no chair for Persian at Oxford or Cambridge, in spite of the charms of its modern literature, and the vast importance of the ancient language of Persia and Bactria, the Zend, alanguage full of interest, not only to the comparative philologist, but also to the student of Comparative Theology.

There are few of the great universities of Europe without a chair for that language which, from the very beginning of history, as far as it is known to us, seems always to have been spoken by the largest number of human beings,—I mean Chinese. In Paris we find not one, but two chairs for Chinese, one for the ancient, another for the modern language of that wonderful empire; and if we consider the light which a study of that curious form of human speech is intended to throw on the nature and growth of language, if we measure the importance of its enormous literature by the materials which it supplies to the student of ancient religions, and likewise to the historian who wishes to observe the earliest rise of the principal sciences and arts in countries beyond the influence of Aryan and Semitic civilization,—if, lastly, we take into account the important evidence which the Chinese language, reflecting, like a never-fading photograph, the earliest workings of the human mind, is able to supply to the student of psychology, and to the careful analyzer of the elements and laws of thought, we should feel less inclined to ignore or ridicule the claims of such a language to a chair in our ancient university.[2]

I could go on and mention several other subjects, well worthy of the same distinction. If the study of Celtic languages and Celtic antiquities deserves to be encouraged anywhere, it is surely in England,—not, as has been suggested, in order to keep English literature from falling into the abyss of German platitudes, nor to put Aneurin and Taliesin in the place of Shakespeare and Burns, and to counteract by their "suavity and brilliancy" the Philistine tendencies of the Saxon and the Northman, but in order to supply sound materials and guiding principles to the critical student of the ancient history and the ancient language of Britain, to excite an interest in what still remains of Celtic antiquities, whether in manuscripts or in genuine stone monuments, and thus to preserve such national heir-looms from neglect or utter destruction. If we consider that Oxford possesses a Welsh college, and that England possesses the best of Celtic scholars, it is surely a pity that he should have to publish the results of his studies in the short intervals of official work at Calcutta, and not in the more congenial atmosphere of Rytichin.

For those who know the history of the ancient universities of England, it is not difficult to find out why they should have been less inclined than their continental sisters to make timely provision for the encouragement of these and other important branches of linguistic research. Oxford and Cambridge, as independent corporations, withdrawn alike from the support and from the control of the state, have always looked upon the instruction of the youth of England as their proper work; and nowhere has the tradition of classical learning been handed down more faithfully from one generation to another than in England; nowhere has its generous spirit more thoroughly pervaded the minds of statesmen, poet, artists, and moulded the character of that large and important class of independent and cultivated men, without which this country would cease to be what it has been for the last two centuries, ares publica, a commonwealth, in the best sense of the word. Oxford and Cambridge have supplied what England expected or demanded, and as English parents did not send their sons to learn Chinese or to study Cornish, there was naturally no supply where there was no demand. The professorial element in the university, the true representative of higher learning and independent research, withered away; the tutorial assumed the vastest proportions during this and the last centuries.

But looking back to the earlier history of the English universities, Ibelieve it is a mistake to suppose that Oxford, one of the most celebrated universities during the Middle Ages and in the modern history of Europe, could ever have ignored the duty, so fully recognized by other European universities, of not only handing down intact, and laid up, as it were, in a napkin, the traditional stock of human knowledge, but of constantly adding to it, and increasing it fivefold and tenfold. Nay, unless I am much mistaken, there was really no university in which more ample provision had been made by founders and benefactors than at Oxford, for the support and encouragement of a class of students who should follow up new lines of study, devote their energies to work which, from its very nature, could not be lucrative or even self-supporting, and maintain the fame of English learning, English industry, and English genius in that great and time-honoured republic of learning which claims the allegiance of the whole of Europe, nay, of the whole civilized world. That work at Oxford and Cambridge was meant to be done by the Fellows of Colleges. In times, no doubt, when every kind of learning was in the hands of the clergy, these fellowships might seem to have been intended exclusively for the support of theological students. But when other studies, once mere germs and shoots on the tree of knowledge, separated from the old stem and assumed an independent growth, whether under the name of natural science, or history, or scholarship, or jurisprudence, afair division ought to have been made at once of the funds which, in accordance with the letter, it may be, but certainly not with the spirit of the ancient statutes, have remained for so many years appropriated to the exclusive support of theological learning, if learning it could be called. Fortunately, that mistake has now been remedied, and the funds originally intended, without distinction, for the support of "true religion and useful learning," are now again more equally apportioned among those who, in the age in which we live, have divided and subdivided the vast intellectual inheritance of the Middle Ages, in order to cultivate the more thoroughly every nook and every corner in the boundless field of human knowledge.

Something, however, remains still to be done in order to restore these fellowships more fully and more efficiently to their original purpose, and thus to secure to the university not only a staff of zealous teachers, which it certainly possesses, but likewise a class of independent workers, of men who, by original research, by critical editions of the classics, by an acquisition of a scholarlike knowledge of other languages besides Greek and Latin, by an honest devotion to one or the other among the numerous branches of physical science, by fearless researches into the ancient history of mankind, by a careful collection or revision of the materials for the history of politics, jurisprudence, medicine, literature, and arts, by a life-long occupation with the problems of philosophy, and last, not least, by a real study of theology, or the science of religion, should perform again those duties which in the stillness of the Middle Ages were performed by learned friars within the walls of our colleges. Those duties have remained in abeyance for several generations, and they must now be performed with increased vigor, in order to retain for Oxford that high position which it once held, not simply as a place of education, but as a seat of learning, amid the most celebrated universities of Europe.

"Noblesse oblige" is an old saying that is sometimes addressed to those who have inherited an illustrious name, and who are proud of their ancestors. But what are the ancestors of the oldest and proudest of families compared with the ancestors of this university! "Noblesse oblige" applies to Oxford at the present moment more than ever, when knowledge for its own sake, and a chivalrous devotion to studies which command no price in the fair of the world, and lead to no places of emolument in church or state, are looked down upon and ridiculed by almost everybody.

There is no career in England at the present moment for scholars and students. No father could honestly advise his son, whatever talent he might display, to devote himself exclusively to classical, historical, or physical studies. The few men who still keep up the fair name of England by independent research and new discoveries in the fields of political and natural history, do not always come from our universities; and unless they possess independent means, they cannot devote more than the leisure hours, left by their official duties in church or state, to the prosecution of their favorite studies. This ought not to be, nor need it be so. If only twenty men in Oxford and Cambridge had the will, everything is ready for a reform, that is, for a restoration of the ancient glory of Oxford. The funds which are now frittered away in so-called prize-fellowships, would enable the universities to-morrow to invite the best talent of England back to its legitimate home. And what should we lose if we had no longer that long retinue of non-resident fellows? It is true, no doubt, that a fellowship has been a help in the early career of many a poor and hard-working man, and how could it be otherwise? But in many cases I know that it has proved a drag rather than a spur for further efforts. Students at English universities belong, as a rule, to the wealthier classes, and England is the wealthiest country in Europe. Yet in no country in the world would a young man, after his education is finished, expect assistance from public sources. Other countries tax themselves to the utmost in order to enable the largest possible number of young men to enjoy the best possible education in schools and universities. But when that is done the community feels that it has fulfilled its duty, and it says to the young generation, Now swim or drown. Amanly struggle against poverty, it may be even against actual hunger, will form a stronger and sounder metal than a lotus-eating club-life in London or Paris. Whatever fellowships were intended to be, they were never intended to be mere sinecures, as most of them are at present. It is a national blessing that the two ancient universities of England should have saved such large funds from the shipwreck that swallowed up the corporate funds of the continental universities. But, in order to secure their safety for the future, it is absolutely necessary that these funds should be utilized again for the advancement of learning. Why should not a fellowship be made into a career for life, beginning with little, but rising like the incomes of other professions? Why should the grotesque condition of celibacy be imposed on a fellowship, instead of the really salutary condition of—No work, no pay? Why should not some special literary or scientific work be assigned to each fellow, whether resident in Oxford or sent abroad on scientific missions? Why, instead of having fifty young men scattered about in England, should we not have ten of the best workers in every branch of human knowledge resident at Oxford, whether as teachers, or as guides, or as examples? The very presence of such men would have a stimulating and elevating effect: it would show to the young men higher objects of human ambition than the baton of a field-marshal, the mitre of a bishop, the ermine of a judge, or the money bags of a merchant; it would create for the future a supply of new workers as soon as there was for them, if not an avenue to wealth and power, at least a fair opening for hard work and proper pay. All this might be done to-morrow, without any injury to anybody, and with every chance of producing results of the greatest value to the universities, to the country, and to the world at large. Let the university continue to do the excellent work which it does at present as a teacher, but let it not forget the equally important duty of a university, that of a worker. Our century has inherited the intellectual wealth of former centuries, and with it the duty, not only to preserve it or to dole it out in schools and universities, but to increase it far beyond the limits which it has reached at present. Where there is no advance, there is retrogression: rest is impossible for the human mind.

Much of the work, therefore, which in other universities falls to the lot of the professors, ought, in Oxford, to be performed by a staff of student-fellows, whose labors should be properly organized as they are in the Institute of France or in the Academy of Berlin. With or without teaching, they could perform the work which no university can safely neglect, the work of constantly testing the soundness of our intellectual food, and of steadily expanding the realms of knowledge. We want pioneers, explorers, conquerors, and we could have them in abundance if we cared to have them. What other universities do by founding new chairs for new sciences, the colleges of Oxford could do to-morrow by applying the funds which are not required for teaching purposes, and which are now spent on sinecure fellowships, for making either temporary or permanent provision for the endowment of original research.

It is true that new chairs have, from time to time, been founded in Oxford also; but if we inquire into the circumstances under which provision was made for the teaching of new subjects, we shall find that it generally took place, not so much for the encouragement of any new branch of scientific research, however interesting to the philosopher and the historian, as in order to satisfy some practical wants that could no longer be ignored, whether in church or state, or in the university itself.

Confining ourselves to the chairs of languages, or, as they used to be called, "the readerships of tongues," we find that as early as 1311, while the Crusades were still fresh in the memory of the people of Europe, an appeal was made by Pope ClementV. at the Council of Vienne, calling upon the principal universities in Christendom to appoint lecturers for the study of Hebrew, Arabic, and Chaldaic. It was considered at the time a great honor for Oxford to be mentioned by name, together with Paris, Bologna, and Salamanca, as one of the four great seats of learning in which the Pope and the Council of Vienne desired that provision should be made for the teaching of these languages. It is quite clear, however, from the wording of the resolution of the Council,[3] that the chief object in the foundation of these readerships was to supply men capable of defending the interests of the church, of taking an active part in the controversies with Jews and Mohammedans, who were then considered dangerous, and of propagating the faith among unbelievers.

Nor does it seem that this papal exhortation produced much effect, for we find that Henry VIII. in 1540 had to make new provision in order to secure efficient teachers of Hebrew and Greek in the University of Oxford. At that time these two languages, but more particularly Greek, had assumed not only a theological, but a political importance, and it was but natural that the king should do all in his power to foster and spread a knowledge of a language which had been one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of the reformers. At Oxford itself this new chair was by no means popular: on the contrary those who studied Greek were for a long time looked upon with great suspicion and dislike.[4]

Henry VIII. did nothing for the support of Arabic; but a century later (1636) we find Archbishop Laud, whose attention had been attracted by Eastern questions, full of anxiety to resuscitate the study of Arabic at Oxford, partly by collecting Arabic MSS. in the East and depositing them in the Bodleian Library, partly by founding a new chair of Arabic, inaugurated by Pococke, and rendered illustrious by such names as Greaves, Thomas Hyde, John Wallis, and Thomas Hunt.

The foundation of a chair of Anglo-Saxon, too, was due, not so much to a patriotic interest excited by the ancient national literature of the Saxons, still less to the importance of that ancient language for philological studies, but it received its first impulse from the divines of the sixteenth century, who wished to strengthen the position of the English Church in its controversy with the Church of Rome. Under the auspices of Archbishop Parker, Anglo-Saxon MSS. were first collected, and the Anglo-Saxon translations of the Bible, as well as Anglo-Saxon homilies, and treatises on theological and ecclesiastical subjects were studied by Fox, the martyrologist, and others,[5] to be quoted as witnesses to the purity and simplicity of the primitive church founded in this realm, free in its origin from the later faults and fancies of the Church of Rome. Without this practical object, Anglo-Saxon would hardly have excited so much interest in the sixteenth century, and Oxford would probably have remained much longer without its professorial chair of the ancient national language of England, which was founded by Rawlinson, but was not inaugurated before the end of the last century (1795).

Of the two remaining chairs of languages, of Sanskrit and of Latin, the former owes its origin, not to an admiration of the classical literature of India, nor to a recognition of the importance of Sanskrit for the purposes of Comparative Philology, but to an express desire on the part of its founder to provide efficient missionaries for India; while the creation of a chair of Latin, though long delayed, was at last rendered imperative by the urgent wants of the university.

Nor does the chair of Comparative Philology, just founded by the university, form altogether an exception to this general rule. It is curious to remark that while Comparative Philology has for more than half a century excited the deepest interest, not only among continental, but likewise among English scholars, and while chairs of this new science have been founded long ago in almost every university of France, Germany, and Italy, the foundation of a new chair of Comparative Philology at Oxford should coincide very closely with a decided change that has taken place in the treatment of that science, and which has given to its results a more practical importance for the study of Greek and Latin, such as could hardly be claimed for it during the first fifty years of its growth.

We may date the origin of Comparative Philology, as distinct from the Science of Language, from the foundation of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, in 1784. From that time dates the study of Sanskrit, and it was the study of Sanskrit which formed the foundation of Comparative Philology.

It is perfectly true that Sanskrit had been studied before by Italian, German, and French missionaries; it is likewise perfectly true that several of these missionaries were fully aware of the close relationship between Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin. Aman must be blind who, after looking at a Sanskrit grammar, does not see at once the striking coincidences between the declensions and conjugations of the classical language of India and those of Greece and Italy.[6]

Filippo Sassetti, who spent some time at Goa, between 1581 and 1588, had only acquired a very slight knowledge of Sanskrit before he wrote home to his friends "that it has many words in common with Italian, particularly in the numerals, in the names for God, serpent, and many others." This was in the sixteenth century.

Some of the Jesuit missionaries, however, went far beyond this. Afew among them had acquired a real and comprehensive knowledge of the ancient language and literature of India, and we see them anticipate in their letters several of the most brilliant discoveries of Sir W. Jones and Professor Bopp. The pre Coeurdoux,[7] aFrench Jesuit, writes in 1767 from Pondichery to the French Academy, asking that learned society for a solution of the question, "How is it that Sanskrit has so many words in common with Greek and Latin?" He presents not only long lists of words, but he calls attention to the still more curious fact, that the grammatical forms in Sanskrit show the most startling similarity with Greek and Latin. After him almost everybody who had looked at Sanskrit, and who knew Greek and Latin, made the same remark and asked the same question.

But the fire only smouldered on; it would not burn up, it would not light, it would not warm. At last, owing to the exertions of the founders of the Asiatic Society at Calcutta, the necessary materials for a real study of Sanskrit became accessible to the students of Europe. The voice of Frederick Schlegel roused the attention of the world at large to the startling problem that had been thrown into the arena of the intellectual chivalry of the world, and at last the glove was taken up, and men like Bopp, and Burnouf, and Pott, and Grimm, did not rest till some answer could be returned, and some account rendered of Sanskrit, that strange intruder, and great disturber of the peace of classical scholarship.

The work which then began, was incessant. It was not enough that some words in Greek and Latin should be traced in Sanskrit. Akind of silent conviction began to spread that there must be in Sanskrit a remedy for all evils; people could not rest till every word in Greek and Latin had, in some disguise or other, been discovered in Sanskrit. Nor were Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit enough to satisfy the thirst of the new discoverers. The Teutonic languages were soon annexed, the Celtic languages yielded to some gentle pressure, the Slavonic languages clamored for incorporation, the sacred idiom of ancient Persia, the Zend, demanded its place by the side of Sanskrit, the Armenian followed in its wake; and when even the Ossetic from the valleys of Mount Caucasus, and the Albanian from the ancient hills of Epirus, had proved their birthright, the whole family, the Aryan family of language, seemed complete, and an historical fact, the original unity of all these languages, was established on a basis which even the most skeptical could not touch or shake. Scholars rushed in as diggers rush into a new gold field, picking up whatever is within reach, and trying to carry off more than they could carry, so that they might be foremost in the race, and claim as their own all that they had been the first to look at or to touch. There was a rush, and now and then an ugly rush, and when the armfuls of nuggets that were thrown down before the world in articles, pamphlets, essays, and ponderous volumes, came to be more carefully examined, it was but natural that not everything that glittered should turn out to be gold. Even in the works of more critical scholars, such as Bopp, Burnouf, Pott, and Benfey, at least in those which were published in the first enthusiasm of discovery, many things may now be pointed out, which no assayer would venture to pass. It was the great merit of Bopp that he called the attention away from this tempting field to the more laborious work of grammatical analysis, though even in his Comparative Grammar, in that comprehensive survey of the grammatical outlines of the Aryan languages, the spirit of conquest and centralization still predominates. All languages are, if possible, to submit to the same laws; what is common to all of them is welcome, what is peculiar to each is treated as anomalous, or explained as the result of later corruption.

This period in the history of Comparative Philology has sometimes been characterized as syncretistic, and to a certain extent that name and the censure implied in it are justified. But to a very small extent only. It was in the nature of things that a comparative study of languages should at first be directed to what is common to all; nay, without having first become thoroughly acquainted with the general features of the whole family, it would have been impossible to discover and fully to appreciate what is peculiar to each of the members.

Nor was it long before a reaction set in. One scholar from the very first, and almost contemporaneously with Bopp's first essays on Comparative Grammar, devoted himself to the study of one branch of languages only, availing himself, as far as he was able, of the new light which a knowledge of Sanskrit had thrown on the secret history of the whole Aryan family of speech, but concentrating his energies on the Teutonic; Imean, of course, Jacob Grimm, the author of the great historical grammar of the German language; awork which will live and last long after other works of that early period shall have been forgotten, or replaced, at least, by better books.

After a time Grimm's example was followed by others. Zeuss, in his "Grammatica Celtica," established the study of the Celtic languages on the broad foundations of Comparative Grammar. Miklosich and Schleicher achieved similar results by adopting the same method for the study of the Slavonic dialects. Curtius, by devoting himself to an elucidation of Greek, opened the eyes of classical scholars to the immense advantages of this new treatment of grammar and etymology; while Corssen, in his more recent works on Latin, has struck a mine which may well tempt the curiosity of every student of the ancient dialects of Italy. At the present moment the reaction is complete; and there is certainly some danger, lest what was called a syncretistic spirit should now be replaced by an isolating spirit in the science of language.

It cannot be denied, however, that this isolating, or rather discriminating, tendency has produced already the most valuable results, and I believe that it is chiefly due to the works of Curtius and Corssen, if Greek and Latin scholars have been roused at last from their apathy and been made aware of the absolute necessity of Comparative Philology, as a subject to be taught, not only in every university but in every school. Ibelieve it is due to their works that a conviction has gradually been gaining ground among the best scholars at Oxford, also, that Comparative Philology could no longer be ignored as an important ingredient in the teaching of Greek and Latin; and while a comparative analysis of Sanskrit, Zend, Armenian, Greek, Latin, Gothic, High-German, Lithuanian, Slavonic, and Celtic, such as we find it in Bopp's "Comparative Grammar," would hardly be considered as a subject of practical utility, even in a school of philology, it was recognized at last that, not only for sound principles of etymology, not only for a rational treatment of Greek and Latin grammar, not only for a right understanding of classical mythology, but even for a critical restoration of the very texts of Homer and Plautus, aknowledge of Comparative Philology, as applied to Greek and Latin, had become indispensable.

My chief object, therefore, as Professor of Comparative Philology at Oxford, will be to treat the classical languages under that new aspect which they have assumed, as viewed by the microscope of Curtius and Corssen, rather than by the telescope of Bopp, Pott, and Benfey. Ishall try not only to give results, but to explain what is far more important, the method by which these results were obtained, so far as this is possible without, for the present at least, presupposing among my hearers a knowledge of Sanskrit. Sanskrit certainly forms the only sound foundation of Comparative Philology, and it will always remain the only safe guide through all its intricacies. Acomparative philologist without a knowledge of Sanskrit is like an astronomer without a knowledge of mathematics. He may admire, he may observe, he may discover, but he will never feel satisfied, he will never feel certain, he will never feel quite at home.

I hope, therefore, that, besides those who attend my public lectures, there will be at least a few to form a private class for the study of the elements of Sanskrit. Sanskrit, no doubt, is a very difficult language, and it requires the study of a whole life to master its enormous literature. Its grammar, too, has been elaborated with such incredible minuteness by native grammarians, that I am not surprised if many scholars who begin the study of Sanskrit turn back from it in dismay. But it is quite possible to learn the rules of Sanskrit declension and conjugation, and to gain an insight into the grammatical organization of that language, without burdening one's memory with all the phonetic rules which generally form the first chapter of every Sanskrit grammar, or without devoting years of study to the unraveling of the intricacies of the greatest of Indian, if not of all grammarians,—P{n}ini. There are but few among our very best comparative philologists who are able to understand P{n}ini. Professor Benfey, whose powers of work are truly astounding, stands almost alone in his minute knowledge of that greatest of all grammarians. Neither Bopp, nor Pott, nor Curtius, nor Corssen, ever attempted to master P{n}ini's wonderful system. But a study of Sanskrit, as taught by European grammarians, cannot be recommended too strongly to all students of language. Agood sailor may, for a time, steer without a compass, but even he feels safer when he knows that he may consult it, if necessary; and whenever he comes near the rocks,—and there are many in the Aryan sea,—he will hardly escape shipwreck without this magnetic needle.[8]

It will be asked, no doubt, by Greek and Latin scholars who have never as yet devoted themselves seriously to a study of Comparative Philology, what is to be gained after all the trouble of learning Sanskrit, and after mastering the works of Bopp, and Benfey, and Curtius? Would a man be a better Greek and Latin scholar for knowing Sanskrit? Would he write better Latin and Greek verse? Would he be better able to read and compare Greek and Latin MSS., and to prepare a critical edition of classical authors? To all these questions I reply both No and Yes.

If there is one branch of classical philology where the advantages derived from Comparative Philology have been most readily admitted, it is etymology. More than fifty years ago, Otfried Mller told classical scholars that that province at least must be surrendered. And yet it is strange to see how long it takes before old erroneous derivations are exploded and finally expelled from our dictionaries; and how, in spite of all warnings, similarity of sound and similarity of meaning are still considered the chief criteria of Greek and Latin etymologies. Ido not address this reproach to classical scholars only; it applies equally to many comparative philologists who, for the sake of some striking similarity of sound and meaning, will now and then break the phonetic laws which they themselves have helped to establish.

If we go back to earlier days, we find that Sanskrit scholars who had discovered that one of the names of the god of love in Bengali was Dipuc, i.e. the inflamer, derived from it by inversion the name of the god of love in Latin, Cupid. Sir William Jones identified Janus with the Sanskrit Ga{n}e{s}a, i.e., lord of hosts,[9] and even later scholars allowed themselves to be tempted to see the Indian prototype of Ganymedes in the Ka{n}va-medhtithi or Ka{n}va-mesha of the Veda.[10]

After the phonetic laws of each language had been more carefully elaborated, it was but too frequently forgotten that words have a history as well as a growth, and that the history of a word must be explored first, before an attempt is made to unravel its growth. Thus it was extremely tempting to derive paradise from the Sanskrit parade{s}a. The compound para-de{s}a was supposed to mean the highest or a distant country, and all the rest seemed so evident as to require no further elucidation. Parade{s}a, however, does not mean the highest or a distant country in Sanskrit, but is always used in the sense of a foreign country, an enemy's country. Further, as early as the Song of Solomon (iv.13), the word occurs in Hebrew as pards, and how it could have got there straight from Sanskrit requires, at all events, some historical explanation. In Hebrew the word might have been borrowed from Persian, but the Sanskrit word parade{s}a, if it existed at all in Persian, would have been paradaesa, the s being a guttural, not a dental sibilant. Such a compound, however, does not exist in Persian, and therefore the Sanskrit word parade{s}a could not have reached Hebrew vi Persia.

It is true, nevertheless, that the ancient Hebrew word pards is borrowed from Persian, viz.: from the Zend pairidaza, which means circumvallatio, a piece of ground inclosed by high walls, afterwards a park, agarden.[11] The root in Sanskrit is DIH or DHIH (for Sanskrit h is Zend z), and means originally to knead, to squeeze together, to shape. From it we have the Sanskrit deh, a wall, while in Greek the same root, according to the strictest phonetic rules, yielded toichos, wall. In Latin our root is regularly changed into fig, and gives us figulus, a potter, figura, form or shape, and fingere. In Gothic it could only appear as deig-an, to knead, to form anything out of soft substances; hence daig-s, the English dough, German Deich.

But the Greek paradeisos did not come from Hebrew, because here again there is no historical bridge between the two languages. In Greek we trace the word to Xenophon, who brought it back from his repeated journeys in Persia, and who uses it in the sense of pleasure-ground, or deer park.[12]

Lastly, we find the same word used in the LXX., as the name given to the garden of Eden, the word having been borrowed either a third time from Persia, or taken from the Greek, and indirectly from the works of Xenophon.

This is the real history of the word. It is an Aryan word, but it does not exist in Sanskrit. It was first formed in Zend, transferred from thence as a foreign word into Hebrew and again into Greek. Its modern Persian form is firdaus.

All this is matter of history rather than philology. Yet we read in one of the best classical dictionaries: "The root of paradeisos appears to be Semitic, Arab. firdaus, Hebr. pards: borrowed, also, in Sanskrit parad{s}a."[13] Nearly every word is wrong.

From the same root DIH springs the Sanskrit word deha, body; body, like figure, being conceived as that which is formed or shaped. Bopp identified this deha with Gothic leik, body, particularly dead body, the modern German Leiche and Leichnam, the English lich in lich-gate. In this case the master of Comparative Philology disregarded the phonetic laws which he had himself helped to establish. The transition of d into l is no doubt common enough as between Sanskrit, Latin, and Greek, but it has never been established as yet on good evidence as taking place between Sanskrit and Gothic. Besides, the Sanskrit h ought in Gothic to appear as g, as we have it in deig-s, dough, and not by a tenuis.

Another Sanskrit word for body is kalevara, and this proved again a stumbling-block to Bopp, who compares it with the Latin _cadaver_. Here one might plead that _l_ and _d_ are frequently interchanged in Sanskrit and Latin words, but, as far as our evidence goes at present, we have no doubt many cases where an original Sanskrit _d_ is represented in Latin by _l_, but no really trustworthy instance in which an original Sanskrit _l_ appears in Latin as _d_. Besides, the Sanskrit diphthong _e_ cannot, as a rule, in Latin be represented by long _.

If such things could happen to Bopp, we must not be too severe on similar breaches of the peace committed by classical scholars. What classical scholars seem to find most difficult to learn is that there are various degrees of certainty in etymologies even in those proposed by our best comparative scholars, and that not everything that is mentioned by Bopp, or Pott, or Benfey as possible, as plausible, as probable, and even as more than probable, ought, therefore, to be set down, for instance, in a grammar or dictionary, as simply a matter of fact. With certain qualifications, an etymology may have a scientific value; without those qualifications, it may become not only unscientific but mischievous. Again, nothing seems a more difficult lesson for an etymologist to learn than to say, Ido not know. Yet to my mind, nothing shows, for instance, the truly scholarlike mind of Professor Curtius better than the very fact for which he has been so often blamed, viz.: his passing over in silence the words about which he has nothing certain to say.

Let us take an instance. If we open our best Greek dictionaries, we find that the Greek aug, light, splendor, is compared with the German word for eye, Auge. No doubt every letter in the two words is the same, and the meaning of the Greek word could easily be supposed to have been specialized or localized in German. Sophocles ("Aj."70) speaks of ommatn augai, the lights of the eyes, and Euripides ("Andr." 1180) uses augai by itself for eyes, like the Latin lumina. The verb augaz, too, is used in Greek in the sense of seeing or viewing. Why, then, it was asked, should aug not be referred to the same source as the German Auge, and why should not both be traced back to the same root that yielded the Latin oc-ulus? As long as we trust to our ears, or to what is complacently called common sense, it would seem mere fastidiousness to reject so evident an etymology. But as soon as we know the real chemistry of vowels and consonants, we shrink instinctly from such combinations. If a German word has the same sound as a Greek word, the two words cannot be the same, unless we ignore that independent process of phonetic growth which made Greek Greek, and German German. Whenever we find in Greek a media, ag, we expect in Gothic the corresponding tenuis. Thus the root gan, which we have in Greek gignsk, is in Gothic kann. The Greek gonu, Lat. genu, is in Gothic kniu. If, therefore, aug existed in Gothic it would be auko, and not augo. Secondly, the diphthong au in augo would be different from the Greek diphthong. Grimm supposed that the Gothic augo came from the same etymon which yields the Latin oc-ulus, the Sanskrit ak-sh-i, eye, the Greek osse for oki-e, and likewise the Greek stem op in op-p-a, omma, and oph-th-almos. It is true that the short radical vowel a in Sanskrit, o in Greek, u in Latin, sinks down to u in Gothic, and it is equally true, as Grimm has shown, that, according to a phonetic law peculiar to Gothic, u before h and r is changed to a. Grimm, therefore, takes the Gothic ag for *ah, and this for *uh, which, as he shows, would be a proper representative in Gothic of the Sanskrit ak-an, or aksh-an.

But here Grimm seems wrong. If the au of aug were this peculiar Gothic a, which represents an original short a, changed to u, and then raised to a diphthong by the insertion of a short a, then that diphthong would be restricted to Gothic; and the other Teutonic dialects would have their own representatives for an original short a. But in Anglo-Saxon we find ege, in Old High German aug, both pointing to a labial diphthong, i.e. to a radical u raised to au.[14]

Professor Ebel,[15] in order to avoid this difficulty, proposed a different explanation. He supposed that the k of the root ak was softened to kv, and that aug represents an original agv or ahv, the v of hv being inserted before the h and changed to u. As an analogous case he quoted the Sanskrit enclitic particle ca, Latin que, Gothic *hva, which *hva appears always under the form of uh. Leo Meyer takes the same view, and quotes, as an analogon, haubida as possibly identical with caput, originally *kapvat.

These cases, however, are not quite analogous. The enclitic particle ca, in Gothic *hva, had to lose its final vowel. It thus became unpronounceable, and the short vowel u was added simply to facilitate its pronunciation.[16] There was no such difficulty in pronouncing *ah or *uh in Gothic, still less the derivative form *ahv, if such a form had ever existed.

Another explanation was therefore attempted by the late Dr. Lottner.[17] He supposed that the root ak existed also with a nasal as ank, and that ank could be changed to auk, and auk to aug. In reply to this we must remark that in the Teutonic dialects the root ak never appears as ank, and that the transition of an into au, though possible under certain conditions, is not a phonetic process of frequent occurrence.

Besides, in all these derivations there is a difficulty, though not a serious one, viz.: that an original tenuis, the k, is supposed irregularly to have been changed into g, instead of what it ought to be, an h. Although this is not altogether anomalous,[18] yet it has to be taken into account. Professor Curtius, therefore, though he admits a possible connection between Gothic aug and the root ak, speaks cautiously on the subject. On page 99 he refers to aug as more distantly connected with that root, and on p.457 he simply refers to the attempts of Ebel, Grassmann, and Lottner to explain the diphthong au, without himself expressing any decided opinion. Nor does he commit himself to any opinion as to the origin of aug, though, of course, he never thinks of connecting the two words, Gothic aug and Greek aug, as coming from the same root.

The etymology of the Greek aug, in the sense of light or splendor, is not known unless we connect it with the Sanskrit ojas, which, however, means vigor rather than splendor. The etymology of oculus, on the contrary, is clear; it comes from a root ak, to be sharp, to point, to fix, and it is closely connected with the Sanskrit word for eye, akshi, and with the Greek osse. The etymology of the German word Auge is, as yet, unknown. All we may safely assert is, that, in spite of the most favorable appearances, it cannot, for the present, be traced back to the same source as either the Greek aug or the Latin oculus.

If we simply transliterated the Gothic aug into Sanskrit, we should expect some word like ohan, nom. oh. The question is, may we take the liberty, which many of the most eminent comparative philologists allow themselves, of deriving Gothic, Greek, and Latin words from roots which occur in Sanskrit, only, but which have left no trace of their former presence in any other language? If so, then there would be little difficulty in finding an etymology for the Gothic aug. There is in Sanskrit a root h, which means to watch, to spy, to look. It occurs frequently in the Veda, and from it we have likewise a substantive, oha-s, look or appearance. If, in Sanskrit itself this root had yielded a name for eye, such as ohan, the instrument of looking, Ishould not hesitate for a moment to identify this Sanskrit word ohan with the Gothic aug. No objection could be raised on phonetic grounds. Phonetically the two words would be one and the same. But as in Sanskrit such a derivation has not been found, and as in Gothic the root h never occurs, such an etymology would not be satisfactory. The number of words of unknown origin is very considerable as yet in Sanskrit, in Greek, in Latin, and in every one of the Aryan languages; and it is far better to acknowledge this fact, than to sanction the smallest violation of any of those phonetic laws, which some have called the straight jacket, but which are in reality, the leading strings of all true etymology.

If we now turn to grammar, properly so called, and ask what Comparative Philology has done for it, we must distinguish between two kinds of grammatical knowledge. Grammar may be looked upon as a mere art, and, as taught at present in most schools, it is nothing but an art. We learn to play on a foreign language as we learn to play on a musical instrument, and we may arrive at the highest perfection in performing on any instrument, without having a notion of thorough bass or the laws of harmony. For practical purposes this purely empirical knowledge is all that is required. But though it would be a mistake to attempt in our elementary schools to replace an empirical by a scientific knowledge of grammar, that empirical knowledge of grammar ought in time to be raised to a real, rational, and satisfying knowledge, aknowledge not only of facts, but of reasons; aknowledge that teaches us not only what grammar is, but how it came to be what it is. To know grammar is very well, but to speak all one's life of gerunds and supines and infinitives, without having an idea what these formations really are, is a kind of knowledge not quite worthy of a scholar.

We laugh at people who still believe in ghosts and witches, but a belief in infinitives and supines is not only tolerated, but inculcated in our best schools and universities. Now, what do we really mean if we speak of an infinitive? It is a time-honored name, no doubt, handed down to us from the Middle Ages; it has its distant roots in Rome, Alexandria, and Athens;—but has it any real kernel? Has it any more body or substance than such names as Satyrs and Lamias?

Let us look at the history of the name before we look at the mischief which it, like many other names, has caused by making people believe that whenever there is a name there must be something behind it. The name was invented by Greek philosophers who, in their first attempts at classifying and giving names to the various forms of language, did not know whether to class such forms as graphein, grapsein, grapsai, gegraphenai, graphesthai, grapsesthai, gegraphthai, grapsasthai, graphthnai, graphthsesthai, as nouns or as verbs. They had established for their own satisfaction the broad distinction between nouns (onomata) and verbs (rhmata); they had assigned to each a definition, but, after having done so, they found that forms like graphein would not fit their definition either of noun or verb.[19] What could they do? Some (the Stoics) represented the forms in ein, etc., as a subdivision of the verb, and introduced for them the name rhma aparemphaton or geniktaton. Others recognized them as a separate part of speech, raising their number from eight to nine or ten. Others, again, classed them under the adverb (epirrhma), as one of the eight recognized parts of speech. The Stoics, taking their stand on Aristotle's definition of rhma, could not but regard the infinitive as rhma, because it implied time, past, present, or future, which was with them recognized as the specific characteristic of the verb (Zeitwort). But they went further, and called forms such as graphein, etc., rhma, in the highest or most general sense, distinguishing other verbal forms, such as graphei, etc., by the names of katgorma or sumbama. Afterwards, in the progress of grammatical science, the definition of rhma became more explicit and complete. It was pointed out that a verb, besides its predicative meaning (emphasis), is able to[20] express several additional meanings (parakolouthmata or paremphaseis), viz.: not only time, as already pointed out by Aristotle, but also person and number. The two latter meanings, however, being absent in graphein, this was now called rhma aparemphaton (without by-meanings), or geniktaton, and, for practical purposes, this rhma aparemphaton soon became the prototype of conjugation.

So far there was only confusion, arising from a want of precision in classifying the different forms of the verb. But when the Greek terminology was transplanted to Rome, real mischief began. Instead of rhma geniktaton, we now find the erroneous, or, at all events, inaccurate, translation, modus infinitus, and infinitivus by itself. What was originally meant as an adjective belonging to rhma, became a substantive, the infinitive, and though the question arose again and again what this infinitive really was, whether a noun, or a verb, or an adverb; whether a mood or not a mood; the real existence of such a thing as an infinitive could no longer be doubted. One can hardly trust one's eyes in reading the extraordinary discussions on the nature of the infinitive in grammatical works of successive centuries up to the nineteenth. Suffice it to say that Gottfried Hermann, the great reformer of classical grammars, treated the infinitive again as an adverb, and, therefore, as a part of speech belonging to the particles. We ourselves were brought up to believe in infinitives; and to doubt the existence of this grammatical entity would have been considered in our younger days a most dangerous heresy.

And yet, how much confused thought, and how much controversy might have been avoided, if this grammatical term of infinitive had never been invented.[21] The fact is that what we call infinitives are nothing more or less than cases of verbal nouns, and not till they are treated as what they are shall we ever gain an insight into the nature and the historical development of these grammatical monsters.

Take the old Homeric infinitive in menai, and you find its explanation in the Sanskrit termination mane, i.e. manai, the native of the suffix man (not, as others suppose, the locative of a suffix mana), by which a large number of nouns are formed in Sanskrit. From gn, to know, we have (g)nman, Latin (g)nomn, that by which a thing is known, its name; from gan, to be born, gn-man, birth. In Greek this suffix man is chiefly used for forming masculine nouns, such as gn-mn, gn-monos, literally a knower; tl-mn, asufferer; or as mn in poi-mn, ashepherd, literally a feeder. In Latin, on the contrary, men occurs frequently at the end of abstract nouns in the neuter gender, such as teg-men, the covering, or tegu-men or tegi-men; solamen, consolation; voca-men, an appellation; certa-men, a contest; and many more, particularly in ancient Latin; while in classical Latin the fuller suffix mentum predominates. If then we read in Homer, kunas eteuxe dma phulassemenai, we may call phulassemenai an infinitive, if we like, and translate "he made dogs to protect the house;" but the form which we have before us, is simply a dative of an old abstract noun in men, and the original meaning was "for the protection of the house," or "for protecting the house;" as if we said in Latin, tutamini domum.

The infinitives in men may be corruptions of those in menai, unless we take men as an archaic accusative, which, though without analogy in Greek, would correspond to Latin accusatives like tegmen, and express the general object of certain acts or movements. In Sanskrit, at least in the Veda, infinitives in mane occur, such as d-mane, to give, Greek do-menai; vid-mne, to know, Greek wid-menai.[22]

The question next arises, if this is a satisfactory explanation of the infinitives in menai, how are we to explain the infinitives in enai? We find in Homer, not only imenai, to go, but also ienai; not only emmenai, to be, but also einai, i.e., es-enai. Bopp simply says that the m is lost, but he brings no evidence that in Greek an m can thus be lost without any provocation. The real explanation, here, as elsewhere, is supplied by the Beieinander (the collateral growth), not by the Nacheinander (the successive growth) of language. Besides the suffix man, the Aryan languages possessed two other suffixes, van and an, which were added to verbal bases just like man. By the side of dman, the act of giving, we find in the Veda d-van, the act of giving, and a dative d-vne, with the accent on the suffix, meaning for the giving, i.e. to give. Now in Greek this v would necessarily disappear, though its former presence might be indicated by the digamma olicum. Thus, instead of Sanskrit dvne, we should have in Greek dowenai, doenai, and contracted dounai, the regular form of the infinitive of the aorist, aform in which the diphthong ou would remain inexplicable, except for the former presence of the lost syllable we. In the same manner einai stands for es-wenai, es-enai, eenai, einai. Hence ienai, stands for iwenai, and even the accent remains on the suffix van, just as it did in Sanskrit.

As the infinitives in menai were traced back to the suffix man, and those in wenai to a suffix van, the regular infinitives in enai after consonants, and nai after vowels, must be referred to the suffix an, dat. ane. Here, too, we find analogous forms in the Veda. From dhrv, to hurt, we have dhrv-a{n}e, for the purpose of hurting, in order to hurt; in Rv. IX. 61, 30, we find vibhv-ne, Rv. VI. 61, 13, in order to conquer, and by the same suffix the Greeks formed their infinitives of the perfect, leloip-enai, and the infinitives of the verbs in mi, tithe-nai, dido-nai, hista-nai, etc.

In order to explain, after these antecedents, the origin of the infinitive in ein, as tuptein, we must admit either the shortening of nai to ni, which is difficult; or the existence of a locative in i by the side of a dative in ai. That the locative can take the place of the dative we see clearly in the Sanskrit forms of the aorist, parsh{n}i, to cross, nesh{n}i, to lead, which, as far as their form, not their origin, is concerned, would well match Greek forms like lusein in the future. In either case, tupte-ni in Greek would have become tuptein, just as tupte-si became tupteis. In the Doric dialect this throwing back of the final i is omitted in the second person singular, where the Dorians may say amelges for amelgeis; and in the same Doric dialect the infinitive, too, occurs in en instead of ein; e.g., aeiden instead of aeidein. (Buttman, "Greek Gr.," 103, 10,11.)

In this manner the growth of grammatical forms can be made as clear as the sequence of any historical events in the history of the world, nay, Ishould say far clearer, far more intelligible; and I should think that even the first learning of these grammatical forms might be somewhat seasoned and rendered more really instructive by allowing the pupil, from time to time, aglimpse into the past history of the Greek and Latin languages. In English what we call the infinitive is clearly a dative; to speak shows by its very preposition what it was intended for. How easy, then, to explain to a beginner that if he translates, "able to speak," by hikanos eipein, the Greek infinitive is really the same as the English, and that eipein stands for eipeni and this for eipenai, which, to a certain extent, answers the same purpose as the Greek epei, the dative of epos, and therefore originally epesi.

And remark, these very datives and locatives of nouns formed by the suffix os in Greek, as in Sanskrit, es in Latin, though they yield no infinitives in Greek, yield the most common form of the infinitive in Latin, and may be traced also in Sanskrit. As from genus we form a dative generi, and a locative genere, which stands for genese, so from gigno an abstract noun would be formed, gignus, and from it a dative, gigneri, and a locative, gignere. I do not say that the intermediate form gignus existed in the spoken Latin, Ionly maintain that such a form would be analogous to gen-us, op-us, foed-us, and that in Sanskrit the process is exactly the same. We form in Sanskrit a substantive ckshas, sight, ckshus, eye; and we find the dative of ckshas, i.e. ckshase, used as what we should call an infinitive, in order to see. But we also find another so-called infinitive, jvse, in order to live, although there is no noun, jvas, life; we find yase, to go, although there is no noun yas, going. This Sanskrit yase explains the Latin i-re, as *i-vane explained the Greek ienai. The intention of the old framers of language is throughout the same. They differ only in the means which they use, one might almost say, at random; and the differences between Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin are often due to the simple fact that out of many possible forms that might be used and had been used before the Aryan languages became traditional, settled, and national, one family or clan or nation fancied one, another another. While this one became fixed and classical, all others became useless, remained perhaps here and there in proverbial sayings or in sacred songs, but were given up at last completely, as strange, obsolete, and unintelligible.

And even then, after a grammatical form has become obsolete and unintelligible, it by no means loses its power of further development. Though the Greeks did not themselves, we still imagine that we feel the infinitive as the case of an abstract noun in many constructions. Thus chalepon heurein, difficult to find, was originally, difficult in the finding, or difficult for the act of finding; deinos legein, meant literally, powerful in speaking; archomai legein, Ibegin to speak, i.e., I direct myself to the act of speaking; keleai me muthsasthai, you bid me to speak, i.e., you order me towards the act of speaking; phoboumai dielenchein se, Iam afraid of refuting you, i.e., I fear in the act, or, Ishrink when brought towards the act, of refuting you; son ergon legein, your business is in or towards speaking, you have to speak; pasin hadein chalepon, there is something difficult in pleasing everybody, or, in our endeavor after pleasing everybody. In all these cases the so-called infinitive can, with an effort, still be felt as a noun in an oblique case. But in course of time expressions such as chalepon hadein, it is difficult to please, agathon legein, it is good to speak, left in the mind of the speaker the impression that hadein and legein were subjects in the nominative, the pleasing is difficult, the speaking is good; and by adding the article, these oblique cases of verbal nouns actually became nominatives, to hadein, the act of pleasing, to legein, the act of speaking, capable of being used in every case, e.g., epithumia tou piein, desiderium bibendi. This regeneration, this process of creating new words out of decaying and decayed materials may seem at first sight incredible, yet it is as certain as the change with which we began our discussion of the infinitive. Imean the change of the conception of a rhma geniktaton, averbum generalissimum, into a generalissimus or infinitivus. Nor is the process without analogy in modern languages. The French l'avenir, the future (Zukunft), is hardly the Latin advenire. That would mean the arriving, the coming, but not what is to come. Ibelieve l'avenir was (quod est) ad venire, what is to come, contracted to l'avenir. In Low-German to come assumes even the character of an adjective, and we can speak not only of a year to come, but of a to-come year, de tokum Jahr.[23]

This process of grammatical vivisection may be painful in the eyes of classical scholars, yet even they must see how great a difference there is in the quality of knowledge imparted by our Greek and Latin grammars, and by comparative grammar. Ido not deny that at first children must learn Greek and Latin mechanically, but it is not right that they should remain satisfied with mere paradigms and technical terms, without knowing the real nature and origin of so-called infinitives, gerunds, and supines. Every child will learn the construction of the accusative with the infinitive, but I well remember my utter amazement when I first was taught to say Miror te ad me nihil scribere, "I am surprised that you write nothing to me." How easy would it have been to explain that scribere was originally a locative of a verbal noun, and that there was nothing strange or irrational in saying, "Iwonder at thee in the act of not writing to me." This first step once taken, everything else followed by slow degrees, but even in phrases like Spero te mihi ignoscere, we can still see the first steps which led from "Ihope or I desire thee, toward the act of forgiving me," to "Itrust thee to forgive me." It is the object of the comparative philologist to gather up the scattered fragments, to arrange them and fit them, and thus to show that language is something rational, human, intelligible, the very embodiment of the mind of man in its growth from the lowest to the highest stage, and with capabilities for further growth far beyond what we can at present conceive or imagine.

As to writing Greek and Latin verse, I do not maintain that a knowledge of Comparative Philology will help us much. It is simply an art that must be acquired by practice, if in these our busy days it is still worth acquiring. Agood memory will no doubt enable us to say at a moment's notice whether certain syllables are long or short. But is it not far more interesting to know why certain vowels are long and others short, than to be able to string longs and shorts together in imitation of Greek and Latin hexameters? Now in many cases the reason why certain vowels are long or short, can be supplied by Comparative Philology alone. We may learn from Latin grammar that the i in fdus, trusty, and in fdo, I trust, is long, and that it is short in fides, trust, and perfidus, faithless; but as all these words are derived from the same root, why should some have a long, others a short vowel? Acomparison of Sanskrit at once supplies an answer. Certain derivatives, not only in Latin but in Sanskrit and Greek too, require what is called Gu{n}a of the radical vowel. In fdus and fdo, the i is really a diphthong, and represents a more ancient ei or oi, the former appearing in Greek peith, the latter in Latin foedus, a truce.

We learn from our Greek grammars that the second syllable in deiknumi is long, but in the plural, deiknŭmen, it is short. This cannot be by accident, and we may observe the same change in damnmi and damnamen, and similar words. Nothing, however, but a study of Sanskrit would have enabled us to discover the reason of this change, which is really the accent in its most primitive working, such as we can watch it in the Vedic Sanskrit, where it produces exactly the same change, only with far greater regularity and perspicuity.

Why, again, do we say in Greek, oida, I know, but is-men, we know? Why tetlka, but tetlamen? Why memona, but memamen? There is no recollection in the minds of the Greeks of the motive power that was once at work, and left its traces in these grammatical convulsions; but in Sanskrit we still see, as it were, alower stratum of grammatical growth, and we can there watch the regular working of laws which required these changes, and which have left their impress not only on Greek, but on Sanskrit, and even on German. The same necessity which made Homer say oida and idmen, and the Vedic poet vda and vidms, still holds good, and makes us say in German, Ich weiss, I know, but wir wissen, we know.

All this becomes clear and intelligible by the light of Comparative Grammar; anomalies vanish, exceptions prove the rule, and we perceive more plainly every day how in language, as elsewhere, the conflict between the freedom claimed by each individual and the resistance offered by the community at large, establishes in the end a reign of law most wonderful, yet perfectly rational and intelligible.

These are but a few small specimens to show you what Comparative Philology can do for Greek and Latin; and how it has given a new life to the study of languages by discovering, so to say, and laying bare, the traces of that old life, that prehistoric growth, which made language what we find it in the oldest literary monuments, and which still supplies the vigor of the language of our own time. A knowledge of the mere facts of language is interesting enough; nay, if you ask yourself what grammars really are—those very Greek and Latin grammars which we hated so much in our schoolboy days—you will find that they are store-houses, richer than the richest museums of plants or minerals, more carefully classified and labeled than the productions of any of the great kingdoms of nature. Every form of declension and conjugation, every genitive and every so-called infinitive and gerund, is the result of a long succession of efforts, and of intelligent efforts. There is nothing accidental, nothing irregular, nothing without a purpose and meaning in any part of Greek or Latin grammar. No one who has once discovered this hidden life of language, no one who has once found out that what seemed to be merely anomalous and whimsical in language is but, as it were, apetrification of thought, of deep, curious, poetical, philosophical thought, will ever rest again till he has descended as far as he can descend into the ancient shafts of human speech, exploring level after level, and testing every successive foundation which supports the surface of each spoken language.

One of the great charms of this new science is that there is still so much to explore, so much to sift, so much to arrange. Ishall not, therefore, be satisfied with merely lecturing on Comparative Philology, but I hope I shall be able to form a small philological society of more advanced students, who will come and work with me, and bring the results of their special studies as materials for the advancement of our science. If there are scholars here who have devoted their attention to the study of Homer, Comparative Philology will place in their hands a light with which to explore the dark crypt on which the temple of the Homeric language was erected. If there are scholars who know their Plautus or Lucretius, Comparative Philology will give them a key to grammatical forms in ancient Latin, which, even if supported by an Ambrosian palimpsest, might still seem hazardous and problematical. As there is no field and no garden that has not its geological antecedents, there is no language and no dialect which does not receive light from a study of Comparative Philology, and reflect light in return on more general problems. As in geology again, so in Comparative Philology, no progress is possible without a division of labor, and without the most general coperation. The most experienced geologist may learn something from a miner or from a ploughboy; the most experienced comparative philologist may learn something from a schoolboy or from a child.

I have thus explained to you what, if you will but assist me, Ishould like to do as the first occupant of this new chair of Comparative Philology. In my public lectures I must be satisfied with teaching. In my private lectures, Ihope I shall not only teach, but also learn, and receive back as much as I have to give.




One or two instances may here suffice to show how compassless even the best comparative philologists find themselves if, without a knowledge of Sanskrit, they venture into the deep waters of grammatical research. What can be clearer at first sight than that the demonstrative pronoun that has the same base in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and German? Bopp places together (349) the following forms of the neuter:—

Sanskrit Zend Greek Latin Gothic tat ta{d}. to is-tud thata

and he draws from them the following conclusions:—

In the Sanskrit ta-t we have the same pronominal element repeated twice, and this repeated pronominal element became afterwards the general sign of the neuter after other pronominal stems, such as ya-t, ka-t.

Such a conclusion seems extremely probable, particularly when we compare the masculine form sa-s, the old nom. sing., instead of the ordinary sa. But the first question that has to be answered is, whether this is phonetically possible, and how.

If tat in Sanskrit is +ta+ + +ta+, then we expect in Gothic tha + tha, instead of which we find tha + ta. We expect in Latin istut, not istud, illut, not illud, it, not id, for Latin represents final t in Sanskrit by t, not by d. The old Latin ablative in d is not a case in point, as we shall see afterwards.

Both Gothic tha-ta, therefore, and Latin istud, postulate a Sanskrit tad, while Zend and Greek at all events do not conflict with an original final media. Everything therefore depends on what was the original form in Sanskrit; and here no Sanskrit scholar would hesitate for one moment between tat and tad. Whatever the origin of tat may have been, it is quite certain that Sanskrit knows only of tad, never of tat. There are various ways of testing the original surd or sonant nature of final consonants in Sanskrit. One of the safest seems to me to see how those consonants behave before taddhita or secondary suffixes, which require no change in the final consonant of the base. Thus before the suffix ya (called cha by P{n}ini) the final consonant is never changed, yet we find tad-ya, like mad-ya, tvad-ya, asmad-ya, yushmad-ya, etc. Again, before the possessive suffix vat final consonants of nominal bases suffer no change. This is distinctly stated by P{n}ini, I.4, 19. Hence we have vidyut-vn, from vidyut, lightning, from the root dyut; we have uda{s}vit-vn, from uda-{s}vi-t. In both cases the original final tenuis remains unchanged. Hence, if we find tad-vn, kad-vn, our test shows us again that the final consonant in tad and kad is a media, and that the d of these words is not a modification of t.

Taking our stand therefore on the undoubted facts of Sanskrit grammar, we cannot recognize t as the termination of the neuter of pronominal stems, but only d;[24] nor can we accept Bopp's explanation of tad as a compound of +ta+ + t, unless the transition of an original t into a Sanskrit and Latin d can be established by sufficient evidence. Even then that transition would have to be referred to a time before Sanskrit and Gothic became distinct languages, for the Gothic tha-ta is the counterpart of the Sanskrit tad, and not of tat.

Bopp endeavors to defend the transition of an original t into Latin d by the termination of the old ablatives, such as gnaivod, etc. But here again it is certain that the original termination was d, and not t. It is so in Latin, it may be so in Zend, where, as Justi points out, the d of the ablative is probably a media.[25] In Sanskrit it is certainly a media in such forms as mad, tvad, asmad, which Bopp considers as old ablatives, and which in madya, etc., show the original media. In other cases it is impossible in Sanskrit to test the nature of the final dental in the ablative, because d is always determined by its position in a sentence. But under no circumstances could we appeal to Latin gnaivod in order to prove a transition of an original t into d; while on the contrary all the evidence at present is in favor of a media, as the final letter both of the ablative and of the neuter bases of pronouns, such as tad and yad.

These may seem minuti, but the whole of Comparative Grammar is made up of minuti, which, nevertheless, if carefully joined together and cemented, lead to conclusions of unexpected magnitude.



I add one other instance to show how a more accurate knowledge of Sanskrit would have guarded comparative philologists against rash conclusions. With regard to the nominative singular of feminine bases ending in derivative _, the question arose, whether words like _bona_ in Latin, agatha in Greek, siv in Sanskrit, had originally an _s_ as the sign of the nom. sing., which was afterwards lost, or whether they never took that termination. Bopp (136), Schleicher (246), and others seem to believe in the loss of the _s_, chiefly, it would seem, because the _s_ is added to feminine bases ending in _ and _. Benfey[26] takes the opposite view, viz. that feminines in _ never took the _s_ of the nom. sing. But he adds one exception, the Vedic gn-s. This remark has caused much mischief. Without verifying Benfey's statements, Schleicher (l.c.) quotes the same exception, though cautiously referring to the Sanskrit dictionary of Boehtlingk and Roth as his authority. Later writers, for instance Merguet,[27] leave out all restrictions, simply appealing to this Vedic form gn-s in support of the theory that feminine bases in _ too took originally _s_ as sign of the nom. sing. and afterwards dropped it. Even so careful a scholar as Bchler[28] speaks of the _s_ as lost.

There is, first of all, no reason whatever why the s should have been added[29]; secondly, there is none why it should have been lost. But, whatever opinion we may hold in this respect, the appeal to the Vedic gn-s cannot certainly be sustained, and the word should at all events be obelized till there is better evidence for it than we possess at present.[30]

The passage which is always quoted from the Rv. IV. 9, 4, as showing gn-s to be a nom. sing. in s, is extremely difficult, and as it stands at present, most likely corrupt:—

Ut gn{h} agn{h} adhvar ut g{ri}h-pati{h} dme, ut brahm n sdati.

This could only be translated:—

"Agni sits down at the sacrifice as a woman, as lord in the house, and as priest."

This, however, is impossible, for Agni, the god of fire, is never represented in the Veda as a woman. If we took gn{h} as a genitive, we might translate, "Agni sits down in the sacrifice of the lady of the house," but this again would be utterly incongruous in Vedic poetry.

I believe the verse is corrupt, and I should propose to read:—

Ut agnv agn{h} adhvar.

"Agni sits down at the sacrifice in the fire, as lord in the house, and as a priest."

The ideas that Agni, the god of fire, sits down in the fire, or that Agni is lighted by Agni, or that Agni is both the sacrificial fire and the priest, are familiar to every reader of the Veda. Thus we read, I.12, 6, agnn agn{h} sm idhyate, "Agni is lighted by Agni;" X. 88, 1, we find Agni invoked as -hutam agnu, etc.

But whether this emendation be right or wrong, it must be quite clear how unsafe it would be to support the theory that feminine bases in _ ended originally in _s_ by this solitary passage from the Veda.



There is no trace of such a term as infinitive in Sanskrit, and yet exactly the same forms, or, at all events, forms strictly analogous to those which we call infinitives in Greek and Latin, exist in Sanskrit. Here, however, they are treated in the simplest way.

Sanskrit grammarians when giving the rules according to which nouns and adjectives are derived from verbal roots by means of primary suffixes (K{ri}t), mention among the rest the suffixes tum (P{n}., III. 3,10), se, ase, adhyai, tavai, tave, shyai, e, am, tos, as (IV.4, 9-17), defining their meaning in general by that of tum (III. 3,10). This tum is said to express immediate futurity in a verb, if governed by another word conveying an intention. An example will make this clearer. In order to say he goes to cook, where "he goes" expresses an intention, and "to cook" is the object of that intention which is to follow immediately, we place the suffix tum at the end of the verb pak, to cook, and say in Sanskrit, vrajati pak-tum. We might also say pcako vrajati, he goes as one who means to cook, or vrajati pkya, he goes to the act of cooking, placing the abstract noun in the dative; and all these constructions are mentioned together by Sanskrit grammarians. The same takes place after verbs which express a wish (III. 3, 158); e.g., icchati paktum, he wishes to cook, and after such words as kla, time, samaya, opportunity, vel, right moment (III. 3, 167); e.g., kla{h} paktum, it is time to cook, etc. Other verbs which govern forms in tum are (III. 4,65) {s}ak, to be able; dh{ri}sh, to dare; j, to know; glai, to be weary; gha{t}, to endeavor; rabh, to begin; labh, to get; prakram, to begin; utsah, to endure; arh, to deserve; and words like asti, there is; e.g., asti bhoktum, it is (possible) to eat; not, it is (necessary) to eat. The forms in tum are also enjoined (III. 4,66) after words like alam, expressing fitness, e.g., parypto bhoktum, alam bhoktum, ku{s}alo bhoktum, fit or able to eat.

Here we have everything that is given by Sanskrit grammarians in place of what we should call the Chapter on the Infinitive in Greek and Latin. The only thing that has to be added is the provision, understood in P{n}ini's grammar, that such suffixes as tum, etc., are indeclinable.

And why are they indeclinable? For the simple reason that they are themselves case terminations. Whether P{n}ini was aware of this, we cannot tell with certainty. From some of his remarks it would seem to be so. When treating of the cases, P{n}ini (I.4,32) explains what we should call the dative by Sampradna. Sampradna means giving (dotik), but P{n}ini uses it here as a technical term, and assigns to it the definite meaning of "he whom one looks to by any act" (not only the act of giving, as the commentators imply). It is therefore what we should call "the remote object." Ex. Brhma{n}ya dhanam dadti, he gives wealth to the Brhman. This is afterwards extended by several rules explaining that the Sampradna comes in after verbs expressive of pleasure caused to somebody (I.4,33); after {s}lgh, to applaud, hnu, to dissemble, to conceal, sth,[31] to reveal, {s}ap, to curse (I.4,34); after dhray, to owe (I.4,35); sp{ri}h, to long for (I.4,36); after verbs expressive of anger, ill-will, envy, detraction (I.4,37); after rdh and ksh, if they mean to consider concerning a person (I.4,39); after prati{s}ru and {s}ru, in the sense of according (I.4,40); anug{ri} and pratig{ri}, in the sense of acting in accordance with (I.4,41); after parikr, to buy, to hire (I.4,44). Other cases of Sampradna are mentioned after such words as nama{h}, salutation to, svasti, hail, svh, salutation to the gods, svadh, salutation to the manes, alam, sufficient for, vasha{t}, offered to, asacrificial invocation, etc. (II.3,16); and in such expressions as na tvam tri{n}ya manye, Ido not value thee a straw (II.3,17); grmya gacchati, he goes to the village (II.2,12): where, however, the accusative, too, is equally admissible. Some other cases of Sampradna are mentioned in the Vrttikas; e.g., I.4, 44, muktaye harim bhajati, for the sake of liberation he worships Hari; vtya kapil vidyut, adark red lightning indicates wind. Very interesting, too, is the construction with the prohibitive m; e.g. m cpalya, lit. not for unsteadiness, i.e., do not act unsteadily.[32]

In all these cases we easily recognize the identity of Sampradna with the dative in Greek and Latin. If therefore we see that P{n}ini in some of his rules states that Sampradna takes the place of tum, the so called infinitive, we can hardly doubt that he had perceived the similarity in the functions of what we call dative and infinitive. Thus he says that instead of phalny hartum yti, he goes to take the fruits, we may use the dative and say phalebhyo yti, he goes for the fruits; instead of yash{t}um yti, he goes to sacrifice, ygya yti, he goes to the act of sacrificing (II.3, 14-15).

But whether P{n}ini recognized this fact or not, certain it is that we have only to look at the forms which in the Veda take the place of tum, in order to convince ourselves that most of them are datives of verbal nouns. As far as Sanskrit grammar is concerned, we may safely cancel the name of infinitive altogether, and speak instead boldly of datives and other cases of verbal nouns. Whether these verbal nouns admit of the dative case only, and whether some of those datival terminations have become obsolete, are questions which do not concern the grammarian, and nothing would be more unphilosophical than to make such points the specific characteristic of a new grammatical category, the infinitive. The very idea that every noun must possess a complete set of cases, is contrary to all the lessons of the history of language; and though the fact that some of these forms belong to an antiquated phase of language has undoubtedly contributed towards their being used more readily for certain syntactical purposes, the fact remains that in their origin and their original intention they were datives and nothing else. Neither could the fact that these datives of verbal nouns may govern the same case which is governed by the verb, be used as a specific mark, because it is well known that, in Sanskrit more particularly, many nouns retain the power of governing the accusative. We shall now examine some of these so-called infinitives in Sanskrit.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse