Saturday, March 07, 2009


The Greek Tongue

Samuel Butler, Characters and Passages from Note-Books, ed. A.R. Waller (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1908), p. 286:
The Greek Tongue is of little use in our times, unless to serve Pedants and mountebanks to smatter withall; to coyne foolish Titles for Medcines and Bookes of all Languages, and furnish Preachers with Sentences to astonish the Ignorant, and loose time withall in translating it over again into the vulgar and Nonsense. It is in itself a very untoward Language that abounds in a Multitude of Impertinent Declinations Conjugations Numbers, Times, Anomulas and formings of verbes, but has little or no Construction. And though no language is so Curious in the Contrivance of long and short vowels, yet they are so confounded by the Accent, that they are render'd of no use at all, And in verse, the Accent is again so confounded by the quantity of the Syllable, that the Language becomes another thing.
The same, p. 271:
One swore that Homer, Aristotle and all the Host of the Antient Greeks were such Ignorant Fellows that They did not understand one word of Latin.

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