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of these inscriptions, in its various dialects, stands to Sanskrit as Italian stands to Latin. Such changes require centuries. The religion of Asoka is Buddhism, and Buddhism stands to Brahmanism as Protestantism stands to Roman Catholicism. Such changes require centuries. Lastly, the literature of Vedic Brahmanism shows three successive layers of language, ceremonial, and thought. Such changes, again, require centuries. Constructive history places the earliest Vedic hymns about 1500 B.C. But even at that time the language of these Vedic hymns is full of faded, decayed, and quite unintelligible words and forms, and yet in some points more near to Greek than to ordinary Sanskrit. It possesses, for instance, a subjunctive, like Greek, of which there is hardly a trace left in the Epic poems or in the Laws of Manu. Such changes require centuries. In fact, if we ask ourselves how long it must have taken before a language like that of the Vedic hymns could have become what we find it to be, ordinary chronology seems altogether to collapse, and we should feel grateful if geological chronology would allow us to extend the limits assigned to man's presence on earth beyond the end of the Glacial Period.
Egyptian chronology carries us, no doubt, much further than the chronology of India. Menes is supposed to have reigned 4000 B. C., and, if we do not admit a division of the empire among different royal dynasties, the date of Menes might be pushed back even further, to 5600 B. C. Lepsius, however, is satisfied with 3892, Lieblein with 3893 B.C. But, whatever date we accept, we must bear in mind that, like all ancient Egyptian dates, they depend on the construction which we put on Manetho's dynasties, and on the fragments of papyri, like the Royal Papyrus of Turin. We are dealing again with constructive, not with authentic history.
The chronology of the Old Testament is likewise constructive. Those who have most carefully summed up the dates in the Books of Moses fix the day of the Creation in 4160 B. C.-not very long, you see, before the reign of Menes in Egypt possibly even later. The universal Deluge is fixed by the same scholars in 2504, which is about the time of the twelfth Egyptian dynasty. But in constructing
this chronology we must not forget that, whatever the age of the Mosaic traditions may be, the Hebrew text, as we now possess it, cannot be referred to an earlier date than about 500 B.C. If, then, we admit with Petermann that the Samaritan text was settled in the fourth century, we find that the interval between Adam and Abraham, which is reckoned as 1948 years in the Hebrew text, has in the Samaritan text been raised to 2249 years. Lastly, if we admit that the Septuagint translation was made in Egypt between the third and second centuries B. C., we find that there the same interval has been raised to 3314 years. It is clear, therefore, that in the history of the Jews also, the ancient dates, though more moderate than those of Egyptian antiquity, are of a purely constructive character.
And what applies to Egypt and Judæa applies even more strongly to China. China claims a history of at least four thousand years. Chinese scholars assure us that the date of the Emperor Yao is historical. Yet it varies between 2357 B.C. and 2145 B. C., the latter being the date of the Bamboo Annals. Beyond Yao it is generally admitted that Chinese history is fabulous, though we are told by some authorities that the Emperor Hwangti was an historical character, and began his reign in 2697 B.C. All this may be true. The historical traditions of China may reach back very far. But we must never forget the fact, which Chinese historians are very apt to forget, namely, the destruction of all ancient books by the Emperor Khin in 213 B.C. The edict, we are told, was ruthlessly enforced, and hundreds of scholars who refused obedience to the imperial command were buried alive. The edict was not repealed till 191. It lasted, therefore, twenty-two years. There are, no doubt, traditions that some of the books were recovered from hiding places or from memory; yet authentic history in China cannot be said to date from before the burning of the books and the beginning of the Han dynasty.
As to the ancient history of Babylon, it is well to learn to be patient and to wait. The progress of discovery and decipherment is so rapid, that what is true this year is shown to be wrong next year. Our old friend Gisdubar has now, thanks to the ingenious combinations of Mr. Pinches,"
become Gilgames.* This is no discredit to the valiant pioneers in this glorious campaign. On the contrary, it speaks well for their perseverance and for their sense of truth. I shall only give you cne instance to show what I mean by calling the ancient periods of Babylonian history also constructive rather than authentic. My friend Professor Sayce claims 4000 B.C. as the beginning of Babylonian literature. Nabonidus, he tells us (Hibbert Lectures, p. 21), in 550 B.c. explored the great temple of the Sun god at Sippara. This temple was believed to have been founded by Naram Sin, the son of Sargon. Nabonidus, however, lighted upon the actual foundation-stone-a stone, we are told, which had not been seen by any of his predecessors for 3200 years. On the strength of this the date of 3200 + 550 years, that is, 3750 B.C., is assigned to Naram Sin, the son of Sargon. These two kings, however, are said to be quite modern, and to have been preceded by a number of so-called Proto-Chaldæan kings, who spoke a Proto-Chaldæan language, long before the Semitic population had entered the land.
It is concluded, further, from some old inscriptions on diorite, brought from the Peninsula of Sinai to Chaldæa, that the quarries of Sinai, which were worked by the Egyptians at the time of their third dynasty, say six thousand years ago, may have been visited about the same time by these Proto-Chaldæans. 4000 B.C., we are told, would therefore be a very moderate initial epoch for Babylonian and Egyptian literature.
I am the very last person to deny the ingeniousness of these arguments, or to doubt the real antiquity of the early civilization of Babylon or Egypt. All I wish to point out is, that we should always keep before our eyes the constructive character of this ancient history and chronology. To use a foundation-stone, on its own authority, as a stepping-stone over a gap of 3200 years, is purely constructive chronology, and as such is to be carefully distinguished from what historians mean by authentic history, as when Herodotus or Thucydides tells us what happened during their own lives or before their own eyes.
But, whatever the result of these chro
nological speculations may be-whether Oriental history begins six, or five, or four, or three, or two, or one thousand before our era-I ask again, what is the charm of mere antiquity, if antiquity means no more than what is remote, what is separated from us by wide gaps of millenniums?
I am quite willing to grant that there is a charm in what is old, whether its age counts by years, or centuries, or millenniums, only that charin must come from ourselves, from the students of antiquity, whether in the East or in the West. should remember that antiquity means not only what is old. It is derived from ante. It means what is before us, what is anterior, what is antecedent to the present. It means, and it should mean, the firm historical foundation on which we stand.
If we can discover in the past the key to some of the riddles of the present; if we can link the past to the present by the strong chains of cause and effect; if we can unite the broken and scattered links of tradition into one continuous wire, then the electric spark of human sympathy will flash from one end to the other. most remote antiquity will cease to be remote. It will be brought near to us, home to us, close to our very heart. shall be the ancients of the world, and the distant childhood of the human race will be to us like our own childhood.
And mark the change, the almost miraculous change, which Oriental scholarship has wought among the ruins of the past. What was old has become young; what was young has become old.
Take our languages. We call English, French, and German modern, very modern. But when we have traced back English to Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon to Gothic, and Gothic to that "Home of the Aryas" in which the language spoken in India, Sanskrit, had as much right as Persian, as Greek and Latin, and Celtic and Slavonic, nay, as Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and English-when the student of language has gathered the broken links of that Aryan chain and fitted them together once more into one organic whole-what happens? Does not the young become old and the old become young? Our modern languages stand now before us as the most ancient languages of the world—gray, bald, shrivelled, and wizened; while the more ancient a language, the fresher its
features, the more vigorous its muscles, the more expressive its countenance. Our own words are old; our own philosophy is old; our own religion is old; our own social institutions are old. The youth of the world, the true juventus mundi, lies far beyond us, far beyond the Greeks, far beyond Troy. And even when we have tracked the young Aryas to their common home in Asia, even then we find in their so-called Proto-Aryan speech words full of wrinkles, and thoughts which disclose rings within rings in innumerable succession.
Therefore, neither mere old age on one side nor mere youth and childhood on the other can satisfy the true historical student, unless he is able at the same time to discover the laws of growth which explain what is young by what is old, what is secondary by what is primitive, which show that there is and always has been growth and purpose in the world. There lies the true charm of our Oriental studies. China, Egypt, Babylon, India, and Persia, are no longer distant from us as the East is from the West. They have really become to us the true East—that is, the point of orientation and direction for all the studies of the West.
Think of that one word Indo-European, which is now so familiar to us that we actually speak of Indo-European telegraphs, and railways, and newspapers. I remember the time when that word was framed, and the shiver which it sent through the limbs of classical scholarship. Nor do I wonder. Think what the synthesis of these two words, India and Europe, implies! It implies that the people who migrated into India thousands of years before the beginning of our era spoke the same language which we speak in England. When I call English and Sanskrit the same language, I do not wish to raise false hopes in the hearts of candidates for the Indian Civil Service. All I mean is, that English and Sanskrit are substantially the same language-are but two varieties of the same type, rivers flowing from the same source, though each running in its own bed. The bold synthesis contained in the term Indo-European brought the words and thoughts of the dark-skinned inhabitants of India, brought those very dark-skinned inhabitants of India themselves, at one swoop as close to us as the Greeks and Romans have been
for many centuries. It united the people of Europe, the speakers of English, German, Celtic, and Slavonic, of Greek and Latin, into one family with the speakers of Sanskrit, Persian, and Armenian. It constituted a Unionist-League embracing the greatest nations of history, and made them all conscious of a new nobility in thought and word and deed, the nobility of the Indo-European, or, as it is also called, the nobility of the ancient Aryan brotherhood.
I have been told again and again by my Hindu friends that nothing has given the intelligent population of India a greater sense of their dignity, and that nothing has drawn the bonds of fellowship between India and England more closely together, than this discovery of the common origin of their language and of the principal languages of Europe, and more particularly of English.
You know, of course, that we share most of our words in common with Sanskrit and the other members of the Aryan family of speech. You know that the grammar of all the Aryan languages was fixed once for all, and that it is totally different from the grammar of the Semitic and other families of speech.
But though these facts have become familiar to us, yet it is difficult to resist sometimes a feeling of giddiness that comes over us when we see how near the past is really to the present, how close the East has really been brought to the West.
Let us take one instance. You know, of course, that in every language of the Aryan race all the numerals are the same. But think what that means. The decimal system must have been elaborated and accepted by the ancestors of our race before they separated, and every number, from one to one hundred, must have received its name, and all these names must have been sanctioned, not by agreement, but by use, or, if yon like, by the survival of the fittest. How old these numerals are -is best shown by the fact that they cannot be derived from any of the roots known to us, so that we cannot tell why six was ever called six, or seven seven. And yet in Sanskrit, Zend, Armenian, Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Celtic, and English we find exactly the same series of numerals.
But the relationship is even more close in other parts of the language, and the dependence of the English of to-day on the
Sanskrit as spoken two or three thousand years ago is sometimes perfectly startling. Allow me to give you one illustration, which, though it is somewhat tedious, will surprise you by what the French would call the solidarité which still exists between Sanskrit and English.
Why do we say in English dead and death? I mean, why is there a d as the termination of the participle, and a th as the termination of the substantive? This may seem a very far-fetched question. Most people would say that it is no use asking such questions, because it is impossible to answer them. Grammar tells us that the participle is formed by d, and the substantive by th, and there must be an end of it. The Science of Language, however, takes a very different view. It holds that everything in language has a reason, and that it is our own fault if we cannot discover it. Now here, in order to discover the reason for d in dead and for th in death, it will be necessary to enter into some minutiae of comparative grammar. You have probably all heard of Grimm's Law. It is a very wonderful law, but we have now got far beyond it. Well, according to Grimm's Law, wherever we find in Sanskrit, in Greek and Latin, in Celtic and Slavonic a t, we find in Gothic, in Anglo-Saxon, and therefore in English, the aspirated t or th. Even this, if you come to think about it, seems a marvellous fact. There is no exception to this rule; at least, none that cannot be accounted for. And an exception that can be accounted for is no longer an exception; on the contrary, it is an exception which was said to prove the rule.
If "three" is trayas in Sanskrit, tres in Latin, 7pɛis in Greek, it must be three in English. If "thou" is tuam in Sanskrit, tu in Latin, où for rú in Greek, it must be thou in English. Thus Latin tonitrus is thunder, tectum is thatch, tenuis is thin. In the middle of a word, also, t becomes th, as in father for pater, mother for mater. And likewise at the end, as in tooth for dens, dentis.
With this rule clearly before our mind, let us now advance a step further.
The termination of the past participle in all Indo-European languages is formed by t. Thus in Sanskrit we have from yug," to join," yuk-ta, "joined," have in Latin from jungo, "I join," junctus, "joined."
If, then, our rule that t becomes th in Anglo-Saxon holds good, that t of the participle should appear in English as th. It should be death (A. S. death), not dead (A. S. dead). In the substantive death (A. S. death), on the contrary, we have quite regularly, and in accordance with Grimm's Law, the th, which corresponds to the t of a suffix well known in many Aryan languages, used for forming abstract and other nouns, namely tu. In many cases this suffix tu leaves the accent in Sanskrit on the radical portion of a word. Thus from vas," to shine," we have vástu, "shining," or the morning. From vas. to dwell," we have vâstu, a dwelling," the Greek ǎoTV, "town. The Sanskrit krátu, "might," appears in Greek as Kрaтús, "might." In some cases, however, the accent in Sanskrit as in Greek falls on the last syllable, as in ritú, season, gâtú, going," path." As forming abstract nouns the same suffix tu is most frequent in Latin, in such words as status, from stâ, "to stand," tactus, touch," from tangere, and many more.
By means of the same suffix, Gothic formed the word dauthu-s, death," and here you see that the rule holds good, and that the original t appears as th.
Why, then, we ask, was Grimm's Law broken in the case of the participle dead, and maintained in the case of the substantive death? Why is it to be called a law at all, if it can be broken so easily?
You will hardly believe it when I tell
that the reason why in dead the participial t was changed into d and not into th, and the reason why in death the original t has been changed into th, has been discovered in India, and in the language as spoken there three or four thousand years ago. It is a general rule in the ancient Vedic language that the accent must fall on the vowel following the t of the participle. We have to say, yuktá, kritá, dattá. But in many of the substantives ending in tu, the accent falls on the vowel preceding the t. Hence vástu, krátu, etc.
Whenever the accent in ancient Sanskrit falls on the vowel following the t, as in the participle, Grimm's Law does not apply; t does not become th, but d. But whenever the accent precedes the t. Grimm's Law applies, and t is changed into th, as in death. Grimm's Law is therefore not broken. It is rather con
firmed by a new law that comes in, and shows once more the marvellous regularity in the growth of language a regularity which, if we fully realize what it means, seems almost miraculous. The same hidden influences which were at work in producing two such words as dead and death were likewise active in all similar cases. They, and they alone, help us to account for the difference between such words as healed and health, to seathe and sodden, when we have in Anglo-Saxon seôthan, sêath, but sudon and sodin.
My chief object in drawing your attention to this one case was, to show how near such a language as Sanskrit, which has sometimes been called the most ancient language of the world, is really to The ghost of that dead language, or of some even more ancient ancestor, still haunts the dark passages of our own speech. Though dead it still speaketh. Think only what this means. Sanskrit ceased to be a spoken language in the third century B. C. Even at that time its accents had ceased to be what they were in Vedic times. Instead of being complicated, like the accent in Greek, they had become simplified, like the accents in Latin or English. We did not even know that Sanskrit had ever been pronounced according to the strict rules of accent till we became acquainted with the literature of the Vedic age. There, and there alone, the accents were marked in our MSS., and explained to us by the ancient grammarians of India, who composed their grammars in about 500 B.C.
Think, then, on the other side, for how many centuries, if not for how many thousands of years, Teutonic has been a separate and independent branch of Aryan. speech, spoken as Gothic on the Danube, as Saxon near the Elbe, as Anglo-Saxon on the banks of the Thames. Think of its free and independent growth within these realms and then try to understand how such a minute point in English grammar, the d of the participles and th of its abstract substantives, is still under the sway of a change of accent from the ultimate to the penultimate syllable, which took place thousands of years ago in the language spoken by the poets of the Veda in the valleys of the Penjâb. Is not this more marvellous than a ghost story by Rider Haggard? Does it not make our hair stand on end when we see a dead language
standing before us so much alive, so much able to will us, and to make us say either d or th, whether we like it or not? We have heard of letters from the Mabâtmas of Tibet flying through the air from Lhassa to Calcutta and to London. This does very well for a novel. But here we have. in sober earnest the very accents of the ancient language of the Veda flying across thousands of years from the Sutledj to the Thames, so that we, in this very hall here, must say death but dead, health but healed, to seethe but sodden, simply and solely because some dark-skinned poets in the common home of the Aryan race, in Asia, chose to say something like dhûtá for 'dead," and dhavátu for "death."
I am afraid this illustration may have proved rather tedious and difficult to follow. But it was necessary to give it in order to make you see with your own eyes what I mean when I say that the true charm of antiquity lies in its being so modern-not in its being remote, but in its being so near to us, so close, so omnipresent. If Sanskrit were simply a picce of antiquity-aye, if it were as old as the megatheria, or as old as the hills-we might stare at it, we might wonder at it, but it would never attract us, it would never make us ponder, it would never help us to learn how we came to be what we are.
I say, therefore, that antiquity by itself is nothing to us, and if Oriental languages, such as the ancient language of India, or of Egypt, Babylon, China, could display no other attractions than the wrinkles of old age, they would never have gained such ardent admirers as they still count among the young and the old members of this society.
Sanskrit, no doubt, has an immense advantage over all the other ancient languages of the East. It is so attractive, and has been so widely admired, that it almost seems at times to excite a certain amount of feminine jealousy. We are ourselves Indo-Europeans. In a certain sense we are still speaking and thinking Sanskrit; or, more correctly, Sanskrit is like a dear aunt to us; she takes the place of a mother who is no more.
But other languages of the East also ahve lost their remoteness, and have entered by one way or another into the arena of modern thought. The monuments of Babylon and Assyria may be very old, but what would they have been to us if those