Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/384

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bring the verbs together in contrast, but it is easy to overstate the better adaptation of one word order than another for the understanding. The plain church-going American seems to find no difficulty with the line "Hangs my helpless soul on Thee" which, for rhythmic reasons, I always want to sing in the form "Helpless hangs my soul on Thee"; and "departed this life" is a formula very like relinquit animus Sextium. The desire to put the verb or other predicate forward has given rise to English turns like "There comes a stranger" or, in German, with wider reach, "Es klingelt die Glocke," "Es sperren die Eiesen den einsamen Weg." Our American newspaper headlines are particularly given to this sort of striving for emphasis. I have seen examples of it occasionally in such carefully edited papers as The Evening Post or The Courier Journal. It runs riot in the text as well as the headlines of our local daily. Precious instances I recall are "Singing were "—A, B, C,—" Tyro is he "—who didn't enjoy so and so. And even in the high literary realm our now "Englished" minds still retain a great flexibility for word order, as for instance in parenthetic interruptions of the stream of thought, such as we find in the following: "No one else can feel the same interest in them [the boys], and no one else (I am not speaking of myself personally, but merely by virtue of my situation) can speak to them with so much influence."[1]

Shall Professor Hill assess Cæsar's feeling for the natural order of thought? Then he must take Echegaray, and many a Spanish author besides, to task, and ask them to make their stream of thought flow Englishly. He must ask the Germans to think more naturally. I can not think Cæsar was less natural than an Englishman and the natural order for Cæsar's thought was the order bequeathed to him by his untutored savage ancestors who spoke Latin; for the order of words in any given language is, I suppose, conformed to the order of thought—but hardly to the extent American Latinists were asserting a decade or more ago; as though every Latin sentence were arranged for emphasis in a diminuendo, beginning with a scream and ending in a whisper.

Professor Hill's rethinking of gravibus acceptis vulneribus—"by or to grave, by or to received, by or to wounds "—is scarcely less than grotesque, though I believe there is a recommendation abroad in the land to use as one reads Latin some sliding slotted card which shall reveal to the reader gravibus alone, leaving him to ponder the "from," "to," "by," relations before he passes on to acceptis, where, another wait, and so on to vulneribus. The propriety of this method may be tested by reading, with long, reflective pauses, as indicated, the following English sentence: "The chief made his son. . . a present. . . to the king." Here, stopping short, with false phrasing, ruins the sense. The truth is, the sentence is not "connected up" by consciousness till the last word, king, is reached. The mind, if not the ear, hears the whole

  1. Stanley's "Life of Dr. Arnold," v. 1, p. 152.