Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/297

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Reviews » 273

that if words failed, English sentences were not used as headings for the various sections. Happy indeed is that popular Greek tongue, rich enough to coin words to express the most elaborate scientific idea, which shall yet be " understanded of the people " ; but English is not a language of that sort, and with us all scientific terminology seems destined to be a hideous jargon. Of course no title can be devised to cover fully the contents of the songs and stories ; and magical elements (for instance) are often found in those classified under other heads ;i the head-title marks merely the general tendency in each case. In the section " Family Life " classification is especially difficult ; and it might have been better, though less symmetrical, not to subdivide this head into its three parts, since what is gained by it is not easy to see. By " Com- munal " the editor appears to mean nothing of the nature of what is usually understood by a " commune," but simply village life. It would be more natural, and would fit in better with the reader's previous knowledge, to classify the tales (for example) as Beast Tales, Cosmic Myths, Hero-Myths, Magical Tales, Social, and Historical. But enough : to the contents, which, however classified, form the value of the book.

The selection of verse is on the whole complete and satisfac- tory. If we miss examples of popular riddles, there is perhaps not much lost. If from the few specimens here given no one can form any idea of the hundreds of graceful love-couplets which form so marked a feature of Greek poetry, the difficulty of selection is great and of translation {experto credite) still greater. More im- portant, from our point of view, is the thinness of the " Magical " section. Charms, it is true, are not altogether lacking ; but there are current scores of charms against disease or misfortune which would have been interesting to us.^ Comparatively few of these have been printed ; but Miss Garnett cannot have lived among the Greeks without hearing many, and this book is not confined to what is already printed. Then, again, there are some songs relating to the operations of farming and breeding which may be important, as, for instance, the Sheep-shearing Ditty of Chios {Chiaka Anakkta, p. 103). As in the modern Swallow Song

' The poem in i. 185 might well be classified as Magical; i. 120 and i. 137 as Zoonist.

■■^ Such, for example, as those from Lesbos given in Folk- Lore, vol. vii. pp 143-4-