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HISTORICAL VIEW

OF

ENGLISH LITERATURE.

INTRODUCTION.

OP THE LATIN AS THE SOURCE OF THE LANGUAGES

OF LATIN EUROPE.

When a powerful people has passed away ; when the language which it used has ceased to be spoken; that language remains a monument of another age, in which we admire the master-pieces of a broken pencil and chisel. To tell how the idioms of the tribes of Ausonia became the Latin idiom ; how much of the character of the barbarous tribes who formed it was retained by that idiom; what it lost and gained by the conversion of a free government into a despotic government, and still later by the revolution effected in the religion of the State ; to tell how the conquered and conquering nations introduced a number of foreign expressions into this idiom ; how the wrecks of this idiom formed the base upon which arose the dialects of the west and south of modern Europe-would be the subject of an immense philological work.

Nothing indeed could be more curious and more instructive than to take up the Latin at its conimencement, and to follow it to its end, through the different ages and changes. The materials for such a work are ready prepared in the seven treatises of John Nicolas Funck : De Origine Linguæ Latinæ TractatusDe Pueritiâ Latinæ Linguæ Tractatus - De Adolescentiâ Latinæ Linguæ Tractatus De virili Ætate Latinæ Linguæ Tractatus De imminenti Latinæ Linguæ Senectute Tractatus-De vegetâ Latinæ Linguæ Senectute Tractatus-De inerti et decrepita Latinæ Linguæ Senectute Tractatus.

The Doric Greek language, and the Etruscan and the Oscian language of the hymns of the Salii and of the Law of the Twelve Tables, the articles of which, in verse, were still sung by children in the time of Cicero, produced the rude language of Duillius, Cæcilius and Ennius, the lively language of Plautus, the satirical of Lucilius, the græcised of Terence, the philosophic, dull, slow and spondaic of Lucretius, the eloquent of Cicero and Livy, the clear and correct of Cæsar, the elegant of Horace, the brilliant of Ovid, the poetic and concise of Catullus, the harmonious of Tibullus, the divine of Virgil, the pure

and chaste of Phædrus.

This language of the age of Augustus-I know not at what date to place Quintus Curtius --became as it is degenerated, the energetic language of Tacitus, Lucian, Seneca, Martial ; the copious language of Pliny the elder ; the flowery language of the younger Pliny; the saucy language of Suetonius, the violent of Juvenal, the obscure of Persius, the inflated or flat of Statius and Silius Italicus.

After it had passed through the grammarians, Quintilian and Macrobius ; through the epitomists, Florus, Velleius Paterculus, Justin, Orosus, Sulpitius Severus ; through the fathers of the Church and the ecclesiastical writers, Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrosius, Hilary

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of Poitiers, Paulinus, Augustin, Jerome, Salvienus; through the apologists, Lactantius, Arnobius, Minutius Felix ; through the panegyrists, Eumenes, Mamertinus, Nazairius ; through the historians of the decline, Ammianus Marcellinus and the biographers of the august history; through the poets of the decline and fall, Ausonius, Claudian, Rutilius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Prudentius, Fortunatus ; after it had received from the change of religions, from the transformation of manners, from the invasion of the Goths, the Alans, the Huns, the Arabs, &c. accessions rendered absolutely necessary by new wants

wants and new ideas this language turned to another barbarism in the first historian of those Franks who began a new language after they had destroyed the Roman empire among our ancestors.

Authors have themselves noted the successive alterations of the Latin from age to age. Cicero asserts that in Gaul many words not admitted in Rome-verba non trita Roma were employed; Martial uses Celtic expressions and boasts of so doing ; St. Jerome says that, in his time, the Latin language was changing in every country-regionibus mutatur ; Festus, in the fifth century, complains of the

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