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AB ALUMNIS SCHOLÆ REGIÆ WESTMONASTERIENSIS
ACTAM, A. D. 1812.
Salvere jubeo spectatores optimos,
Et vos præsertiin, siqui nunc demum hospites
At nostra cuiquam tenuis histrionia
Quid multa ? vestrå nitimur clementia,
Angustis, alii jam docuere. Para :
Hostiles crepuere fores. Procedite, et omnes
Claudite circum aditus ocyus. Hostis adest.
Stuprum ! G. Si latres, jam moriere, canis.
Quicquid habes. Mea sunt hæc et opima satis.
Debita. G. Si tangas, Scurra — Sed ipsa fugit.
Effusus labor est. Sed Thraso noster adest.
Addita jam palmis altera palma tuis.
Quam cupidè populus scis mea gesta legat.
Quis nisi tu ?-T. Verum. Quin age, fare. G. Lubens.
Sivimus exutis ire, dataque fide.
Cepimus. Ut semper, Sol quoque juvit opus.
(Quod valde mirum est,) quam solet esse domi. Sanga premens à fronte, Donax à posteriori,
Fecerunt plusquam quod fieri potuit. Hostis postremo trepidans, ubi copia nulla
Visa fugæ est, posuitque arma, deditque manus.
Gloriâ adornavit seque ducemque Phalanx.
En frustra in nostrum tela vibrata caput !
Perfossum variis est lacerumque locis ! Indicio est, quanti steterit victoria ! quantum
Sudorem experti, quanta pericla tui.
Pestis, fatalis machina, fata nece.
Pulveris exigui jactu abolenda fuit.
Nunquam usquam quicquam pestiferumve magis.
Helleboroque gravi, Sandapildque putri.
Prima esto belli cura, secunda cibi.
Ceu decet, bortantur nos meminisse foci.
T. Sannio sed properans quid venit? Sann. Occidimus. Lictores accivit anus. Tu
poscere : notos Esse diu fures teque tuosque fremunt.
Diripuere domum cives: mala mille minantur.
Suadeo quisque sibi consulat. Sang. Ipse mihi.
Sit mihi? G. Non dubium est. En abiere tui !
Extreinum scabies occupet. Gn. Atque ducem. Siccine agis ? valeas. Sie transit gloria mundi !
Rerum ad me solum denique summa redit.
Jamdudum in patinis incipit esse meus.
Volvisse hoc sasum satque superque diu.
Lauvavi: tandem lauder ut ipse volo.
Hoc vos ornetis munere, vester ero.
ON THE ANCIENT LANGUAGE OF EGYPT.
N some of my former letters to you, I stated it as my belief, that the ancient language of Egypt, in the time of the Patriarchs, must have been considerably different from that, which was afterwards spoken in the same country under the Ptolemies, and under the Cæsars; and I further contended, that the most ancient Egyptian and the Hebrew were probably cognate dialects. I have been led to hold these opinions from various considerations. First, because it seems highly improbable, that any nation should preserve its language unchanged during a period of fifteen or sixteen hundred years, which may be reckoned from the time of Moses to the second century, when, if I do not err, the earliest specimens which we have of the Coptic were written : Secondly, because Egypt had been successively subdued by the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans, before these specimens existed: Thirdly, because the Egyptians, during this period, had ceased to be the most philosophic and scientific people of antiquity --their laws and usages had been altered --and their religion, once sublime, had degenerated into the vilest superstition. It can scarcely be imagined, that their language alone remained unchanged: Fourthly, because, as it is certain that the Coptic language is inundated with Greek vocables, it may be presumed that between the conquest of the country by Cambyses, and its subsequent subjection to the dominion of the Greeks, many ancient Persian words and idioms may have been introduced into Egypt: Fifthly, because the last-mentioned conjecture seems to be strongly corroborated by its being undeniable that the Persian theology was, at least, partially introduced into Egypt, and
that the Egyptians occasionally wrote in the arrow-headed character of the ancient Persians : Sixthly, because it appears to me, that the names of the Egyptian Deities can be better explained in most instances by the Hebrew than by the Coptic: Seventhly, because the Coptic is extremely perplexed and anomalous in its structure, which seldom occurs in an original tongue: Eighthly, because there were only 25 letters in the ancient Egyptian alphabet, and there are 32 in the Coptic: Finally, because there was scarcely time, according to the received chronology, from the death of Ham to the birth of Abraham, for the formation and completion of a new language. Upon the whole, then, I am inclined to think that the Coptic, though it may contain many vocables belonging to the ancient idiom of Egypt, is not much nearer to it than the English of the present day is to the Saxon.
It must be admitted by every person, that a large proportion of Coptic words has been taken from the Greek ; but still it may be justly urged, that this no more proves the Coptic to be
be sprung from the Greek, than a similar mode of reasoning could demonstrate that our language had its origin in Latin, or in French. In a future letter, I shall inquire how far there may be reason to suppose, that the Coptic has been supplied from the ancient Persian. At present, I will admit that its principal basis, (though this has been much narrowed by the influx of foreign words and idioms,) is the old Egyptian ; but if in examining those words which are to be referred to the ancient dialect, I find that many of them are nearly allied to the Hebrew, I think I may conjecture with some probability on my side, that the languages of Palestine and Egypt were originally cognate dialects.
There is a difficulty of which I think it right to take early notice. Most words in the Coptic language are so involved in letters which are mere signs-in prefixes, suffixes, &c. that it is not possible for a stranger to the language to perceive how the etymology in many instances can be made out. Thus the Hebrew scholar might be startled at being told, that such words as IIIPEIWCUWI the minister, TOTUEBIIII retribution, 21 XOP to rail at, upbraid, or speak contumeliously, could possibly bear any analogy to, or be in any way connected with, the dialects of Syria and Chaldea. But IIIPEIWEUWI is composed of III the definite masculine article. PE'I the sign of a concrete noun (Gramm. Æg. p. 13. and WEUW I ministrare. Now I derive UGUWI, ministrare, from the Chaldaic wou ministravit. TOYWEBIU is compounded of T, the definite feminine article-OY the indefinite article incorporated into the word, (Gramm. Æg. p. 17.) and WEBIUI. Perhaps this last word may be referred to 310 resti. tuit, redire fecit. 21 XOP is evidently a compound word,-31 being a preposition signifying super. I, therefore, refer the word 21XOP, objurgare, to w objurgavit. These examples have been taken nearly at random; but I shall seek for others which can be made more obvious to the Hebraişt.
Before I proceed further, however, I shall mark the letters which answer to each other in the Hebrew and Coptic alphabets; and in doing so I shall be chiefly guided by the authority of Woide.
1. It is obvious that the Coptic answers to the Hebrew | and y.
2. Every one knows that B and II are letters easily convertible. Consequently the Coptic B is occasionally converted into II, and vice versa. Heb. ), D.
3. The Gamma, ', is not found in original Coptic words.
4. The Dalda, 2, is likewise only to be met with in words of foreign extraction.
5. E. Heb. X, X, Y.
This letter seems often to be employed as a mere aspirate.
20. T. Heb. O, n.
25. W. Heb. V. but convertible with y. This Coptic fetter Schei often takes the sound of a harsh aspirated guttural, and answers to the Hebrew 17 and J. The Latins, it will be remembered, often changed the Greek aspirate into an S-as sex for it, &c. But see Woide's Coptic Lexicon.
26. I. Phei. Heb. D, perhaps it occasionally was sounded like Q. Compare it with this letter in the Etruscan alphabet.
27. b. Heb. 17, 3.