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the garb of caution very well, he can tell it just as well as he can tell that a man has a cloak on, nor can the garment be made so long that a hoof will not occasionally
But I cannot now enlarge upon the natural language of the feelings; I will only say, that if it is important to your children to know character, teach them, in the first place, what are the emotions and passions of the mind ; and, in the next place, what is the natural language by which each one of them may be known. I have said that language is natural to man ;
be added that it is necessary : pure intuition belongs to God, perhaps to disembodied spirits ; but man, man living in the body, can express nothing which passes within him, can understand nothing which passes within another, except through the medium of signs.
He expresses his thoughts and his emotions variously to those who are near him, but mainly in two ways ; 1st, by vocal sounds, aided by the expression of the countenance and the gestures of the body, or by vocal sounds alone, merely varying them in tone and pitch; and 2d, by gestures alone, which, though inferior in accuracy and minuteness to the vocal sounds, can, nevertheless, by cultivation be made very useful, as is seen in the case of the deaf mutes.
It is difficult to form an adequate conception of the extent and complexity of a thing in so common use as language; but it will help us so to do, if we conceive ourselves in a society of adults who were suddenly struck dumb, and that we were to set about devising a system of signs, by which we might communicate all our thoughts and feelings. We should have to devise expressions for all substantive existences, for mode of existence, for action, for mode, time and place of action, for attributes, qualifications of attributes, &c. Or, perhaps we could not do better than to take the Aristotelian division of thoughts and ideas into ten categories, and say we must devise ways and means of expressing our thoughts in a great variety of ways, upon
Habit,—(something additional and exterior to a substance.)
* This mention of the categories recalls to my mind an old method of teaching them to children, which may give a useful hint to some of my
hearers for helping the memories of their pupils, by associating each name in the list to be committed to memory with some circumstance or event.
“ Cornelius was forced to give Martin SENSIBLE IMAGES. Then calling up the coachman, he asked him what he had seen at the beargarden. The man answered that he saw two men fight a prize; one was a fair man, a sergeant of the guards; the other black, a butcher; the sergeant had red breeches, the butcher blue; they fought upon a stage, about four o'clock, and the sergeant wounded the butcher in the leg.
“ Mark, quoth Cornelius, how the fellow runs through the categories: men, SUBSTANCE; two, QUANTITY; fair and black, QUALITY; sergeant and batcher, RELATION; wounded, ACTION and PASSION; four o'clock, TIME; on a stage, PLACE; fighting, SITUATION; blue and red breeches, H.ABIT."
This division, which has been unduly praised and unduly ridiculed, will give us only the great classes under which language is to be divided, each of which has to be filled up with genera, species, and minuter divisions, which have no other limit than the limit of human thought and human progress.
We seem to find this wonderful instrument, language, ready made to our hands ; nevertheless we have had to become acquainted with it particle by particle ; at first, lisping out the names of substantive existences, pa, ma, drink, &c., and gradually becoming familiar with the whole.
Now it is not improbable that nations have gone through the same course as individuals, with the difference that each generation gradually added to the forms of expression as the gradual development of the human capacities required them.
We have no difficulty in conceiving how epithets were formed for all physical entities and physical relations ; the
: commonest mind would be capable of this, while for the passions, the emotions, the thousand shades of moral attributes, higher power of conception and invention were required. But whatever humanity requires for its progress and development, it is capable of itself accomplishing ; and when the hour cometh, lo! the man appeareth. Genius was required for this, as well as for the other
-as imagination bodied forth
It is quite probable, that in the commencement of language the two methods, which I have alluded to above,
that of voice and gesture, were more mutually dependent than they are now; the infant mingles his cries with gestures, and simple savages eke out their imperfect language by aid of signs. In ancient times we know that the language of gestures was used to add point and strength to words, as when the Prophet Jeremiah hid his linen girdle in the earth to let it rot, and then drew it out to show how the pride of Jerusalem should be marred; when he broke the potter's vessel, and when he cast the book into the river, he did but use the language of signs to strengthen the meaning of his words.
It is well known that the language of gestures, which was so much in use among the ancients, was not confined to the features and the arms, but that the movements of the feet had also their expression, and that the dance was not without meaning. Certain it is that man has a natural taste for rhythm and measured motion, and that in the early stages of civilization, he is led by it to the song and the dance ; these constitute parts of his language, and when David danced before the ark of God he gave additional point to his song by his motions.
The ancient Greeks, in whom ideality was so much developed, and who cultivated so carefully the sense of the beautiful, paid great attention to the language of the dance; and their opxhois, including as it did the whole mimic art, was capable of speaking to the intellect while it delighted the imagination ; it told its thrilling tale and threw its spectators into raptures, without uttering an audible sound.
The tendency to express strong emotions, and especially religious emotions, by the language of gestures and of the dance, is very strong in man, and although by a curious law of nature he always represses this tendency, as he advances in civilization and refinement, yet not even protestant christians have entirely subdued it; people do not, indeed, now-a-days tear their costly dresses, or soil their hair with ashes, but they elongate their visages and kneel upon their knees in proof of their devotion, and the Shakers of Lebanon will hold no mean rivalry with the dancing dervishes of Constantinople.
To those who judge of the dance by the automatic, up and down, forward and back motions of the bolt upright figures in our crowded ball-rooms, it has not only lost all its expression as a natural language, but all its grace as an exhibition and its utility as an exercise ; but not such is the case when the simple peasants dance their national dances upon the green swards of Bohemia, of Spain, and of Greece ; they move to the sound of varying music, now slowly and gently, now rapidly and violently; now they stoop to the ground, and now spring high into the air ; straining every muscle, assuming every variety of posture, and presenting a moving, glowing picture, which may be called indeed a living language of strength and gladness.
In the infancy of vocal language the rhythm was probably more attended to than it is now; the voice rose or fell with the varying gestures ; the same word was used perhaps, as it is now by the Chinese, in different senses, according as it was pronounced in a higher or lower key, They have about 350 monosyllabic words in common use, but by pronouncing each one in four or five different ways, they obtain over 1700 signs. We still make use of the prosody of our language to aid us in speaking ; and if any one reads or speaks to us in an uniform tone of