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at Paris. Having spent some time, and not a little money, in visiting the scholars and the libraries of Italy, and in collecting manuscripts, he paid a visit to England in the year 1550, and at London went to see the lions in the Tower, one of whom danced a jig while a man fiddled; an incident which he afterwards employed to justify the well-known story of Arion and the dolphin. He began his typographical career in 1554, in the 26th year of his age ; and continued it for the space of more than forty years; during which time he printed a prodigious number of ancient authors, many of them from manuscripts, exercising at the same time the office of a learned and ingenious, though somewhat bold critic. His claim to the title of the most learned of printers, no one pretends to dispute; few scholars, since the revival of letters, have succeeded in contracting so great a familiarity with the Greek language as Henry Stephens. Subsequent critics have discovered and pointed out many of its beauties and peculiarities, with which he was perhaps unacquainted; but for a general and comprehensive knowledge of its construction, and for an almost vernacular intimacy with it, Stephens is nearly unrivalled. The only person, perhaps, who can be put in competition with him in this respect, was his son-in-law, the celebrated and excellent Isaac Casaubon. His editions of the classical authors, when compared with those of former printers, are highly valuable for their accuracy, and from the circumstance of their having been, in most instances, either printed from, or collated with, manuscripts. In the year 1572, he published his Thesaurus Græcæ Linguæ, a work which had been planned, and in part executed, many years before, by his father, but the completion of wbich was reserved for the son; and it may be doubted whether there exists a more stupendous monument of human industry and learning. It appears to have been eleven years in printing; the same time which Robert Stephens bad employed in the publication of his Latin Thesaurus. 'In the following year he printed, in a separate volume, two glossaries, which, although not a part of the Thesaurus, are to be considered, together with his Animadversions and the Treatise on the Attic dialect, as an Appendix and completion of the work. A second edition was published, probably about the year 1580. To this eminent man belongs the praise of having been the first to point out, however imperfectly, the roots of the Greek language; and to reduce them to their derivatives and compounds.
The profit to which Stephens might justly look, as a well-deserved remuneration for the labour of so many years, is said to have been intercepted by the treachery of one Joannes Scapula (Jean Epaule, we suppose) who published an Epitome of the Thesaurus in the year 1579. The account commonly given of this transaction is, thai Scapula, being employed by Stephens as a corrector of the press, during the publication of his Thesaurus, extracted the most important words and explanations, comprised them in one volume, and published them under his own name. In consequence of this notion, the memory of poor Scapula has been loaded with reproach. It does not, however, appear, from any complaint of Stephens himself, that Scapula was guilty of a breach of trust; since it is probable that he had quitted his employment, long before the completion of the Thesaurus; and as his Lexicon was not published till seven years after it, we see no reason to doubt the fact of his having epitomized the Thesaurus itself. This is all which is laid to his charge by Stephens; an act indeed of ingratitude, and to a certain degree of dishonesty, but not quite so bad as to deserve the appellation of
gross disingenuity and fraud.' Scapula himself declares, that he had been for several years occupied about his plan, when he met with the Thesaurus. - - If this work was reprinted about the year 1580, we may fairly doubt, whether the effect of Scapula's Epitome was so ruinous to Stephens as it is represented to have been. At all events, it did not produce the immediate consequence of bankruptcy, which is slated, in the biographical dictionaries, to have followed the publication of the Thesaurus ; for, not to mention that he received, in 1578, a douceur of 3000 livres, and an order for a pension of 300 livres, from Henri III., it appears that in 1579 he obtained a privilege for the exclusive publication of the Greek and Latin historians; and that he possessed a country house, which was burnt down in 1585. The real causes of the confusion into which his affairs fell, were the civil wars which followed the death of Henri III. Whatever may have been the occasion of his distress, the melancholy fact is, that this indefatigable printer and eminent scholar died in a hospital at Lyons in 1598, in a state of poverty and mental imbecility.
With regard to the Thesaurus itself, there are three things to be remarked. First, that the examples of words were collected by the various contributors to the work, some from printed editions of authors, some from MSS. some from memory, some from conjectu
correction. Secondly, that several Greek authors, especially grammarians, have been published since the compilation of the Thesaurus, containing many words of which the existence was
not then known. Thirdly, the science of etymology, which H. Stephens took for his guide in the arrangement of his lexicon, was then in its infancy; and indeed the genius of the language itself
, was but imperfectly understood. These considerations will point out to us the nature and cause of the leading defects, conspicuous in this great work; viz. inaccurate or falsified quotations, the deficiency of several thousand words, and a wrong classification, both of primitives and derivatives. It was not till the age of Hemster huys, that the analogies of the Greek language were developed
with any degree of clearness or consistency. At the same time, we ought rather to be surprised, that Stephens, under existing disadvantages, accomplished so much, even in this department, than that he left so much undone. Certain, however, it is, that an irregular and unphilosophical arrangement of the derivatives under their supposed primitives, renders the Thesaurus most inconvenient even to the advanced scholar, and to the youthful student almost worse than useless. In this respect the lexicon of Scapula is vastly more serviceable, both from its greater simplicity, and more moderate dimensions. For a Thesaurus, which should contain a comprehensive view of the language, the plan which Stephens pursued, is, in its general outlines, undoubtedly the best. The most philosophical arrangement is, to class the primitives alone in alphabetical order, and to range each family of words under its respective head. This is the method pursued in natural philosophy; lay the basis first, and deduce from it all the varieties, which are produced by an alteration in the disposition of its constituent parts, or by the admixture of extraneous substances. But this is far more difficult in philology than in chemistry. The primitives of a language are for the most part
to be discovered only by conjecture and analogical reasoning. The richness and variety of the derivatives and compounds, threw by degrees the simpler forms into disuse; and oftentimes it is only by unravelling and separating the former, that the latter can be extricated. The Greek language, as it has descended to us in the monuments of ancient literature, contaips but a small number of radical and original words : the investigation and arrangement of these roots was reserved for the diligence and sagacity of Hemsterhuys and Valckenaer, who were enabled by the help of analogy, which in some instances, perhaps, they have pursued too far, to ascend through the derivatives to a great number of primitives which no longer exist. It is obvious, that in the application of analogy, a plausible, but oftentimes fallacious ground of reasoning, to the science of etymology, the greatest caution and moderation are requisite : and it is in this respect, that almost all, who have turned their thoughts to this department of grammar, have failed. Etymologists have always had too great a propensity to generalize and classify, without making due allowance for the anomalies and incidental varieties of language. In attempting to refer every word to its primitive, they have forgotten that a considerable portion of most languages, and certainly of the Greek, was imported, in secondary and compound words, from the dialects of other people. It is altogether surprising to hear such a scholar as Valckenaer talking of the primitive significations stamped upon words by the philosophical founders of the Greek tongue;' when we have every reason to conclude, from all we know of early Grecian history, that the language of that people, originally differing very greatly in different districts, was gradually refined from barbarism by the operation of a commereial intercourse with the Asiatic nations; and enriched by the admixture of foreign words. That many primitives of the ancient Pelasgic tongue may still be traced, particularly in verbs of the sixth conjugation, (according to the old classification,) and in verbs in Mi, we are ready to allow ; but considering the natural growth and progress of the language of a people, situate as the Greeks were, we are by no means disposed to assent to the position of Valckenaer, that 'the trunk of a language always remains the same; that the primitives may always be elicited by the help of analogy; that those which no longer exist, may be restored, and the defects of the lexicons supplied.' Be this, however, as it may, one thing is certain ; that the science of etymology had made but little progress amongst the scholars of the sixteenth century, and was imperfectly understood by Stephens, and even by Sylburgius, [a pupil of Stephens, of great erudition, who assisted in the whole work,] who was much more clear-sighted than his tutor. Wemust not, however, attribute to Stephens the merit of having been the first to devise an arrangement of the Greek language, with reference to its primitives; the same thing had been conceived, and perhaps in part executed by Constantine ; and it was from his father Robert, that Henry Stephens took the idea.
[Of the several modes of improvement which offered themselves to the present Editors, in the new Thesaurus]—a further accession of utility was to be obtained by referring, under particular words, to the writings of modern critics and philologists, who have illustrated their meanings or properties. In this respect the present editors have been eminently diligent, and leave little to be desired. It is but justice to them to observe, that they have displayed a most extensive reading, and much curious research. Scarcely any sources of information are open, to which they have not had recourse; and we are therefore the more inclined to regret, that they have allowed themselves so little time for the thorough digestion and judicious arrangement of their materials. They seem, indeed, to have been overwhelmed by the deluge of philological information which has been poured in upon them, and to have lost sight of every thing like selection or compression. A reference to critical works is necessary only in particular cases; and in no instance should any critical or philological discussion be introduced at length into the Thesaurus, the utility of which obviously varies directly as its comprehensiveness, and inversely as its bulk.-A Thesaurus is a book where the student looks not for dissertation, but for authority. We wish that the present editors had kept this consideration in view: as it is, we regret to say,--they have detailed page after page of discussion and diatribe, till poor
Stephens and his Thesaurus are often lost sight of in the fray. It is worse than useless to collect, or even to specify all the passages where a word is used, unless it be of rare occurrence, or have some peculiarity, which renders it more than commonly remarkable: and it is still more objectionable, to throw together in a dictionary all that has been said upon it by grammarians and critics; yet this is going on to an alarming extent (alarming to the eyes and the pockets of the subscribers) in the new edition of the Thesaurus. But least of all can it be tolerated, that in a work, which cannot possibly be made too compendious, (so that nothing important be omitted,) the compiler should indulge in discussions and observations quite foreign from the subject in hand, and oftentimes having nothing to do with the word under consideration. (Here instances are specified.]—This is a shameful abuse of the reader's time and patience, and makes it quite a farce to talk of the republication of Stephens's Thesaurus, which the editors have cut into small strips, and inserted here and there between their own incongruous and irrelevant masses of matter, as the Irishman passed his light guinea, by slipping it into three-pence which he paid at the turnpike. So completely disguised and overwhelmed is the good old lexicographer, that if he could suddenly revive, and contemplate his posthumous growth, he would doubt his own identity, as Trivelino did, when he awoke with the bridle in his hand, but without the horse. We do not deny that bis equipments were such as to require considerable improvement, both in capacity and ornament; but it is contrary to all principles of taste, to load him with half á score wigs and hats by different makers, and of various fashions S; and to deck his carcass with such cumbrous furniture
To wit, twelve jackets, twelve surtouts,
Twelve pantaloons, twelve pair of boots. The editors, in a paper drawn up for the purpose of obviating some objections of Professor Hermann, have endeavoured to defend themselves, by stating, that it has been their great object as 'far as it is practicable, without disturbing the arrangement of H. 'Stephens, to bring into one and the same article all the various synonymes, because by their juxtaposition they mutually reflect 'light upon each other. But this defence is totally inapplicable to a great proportion of the discussions of which we complain. In the last-mentioned instance, a multiplicity of words are brought together, to swell an article to an immoderate size, which have no common bond of connexion but their termination. This might have been excused in a new edition of Hoogeveen's lexicon, where the words are ranged according to their endings; but in the Thesaurus it is an unseemly and unnatural excrescence.
For our own amusement, and for the information of the subscribers, many of whom, we apprehend, are ignorant of the advanta