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is produced) does not belong to Grammar, but is part of the doctrine concerning Sounds, and to be handled under Sense and the Sensible. The sound which I speak of as belonging to Grammar relates only to sweetnesses and harshnesses. Of these some are common to all nations; for there is no language that does not in some degree shun the hiatus caused by vowels coming together, and the harshnesses caused by consonants coming together. There are others again which are respective, being found pleasing to the ears of some nations and displeasing to others. The Greek language abounds in diphthongs; the Latin is much more sparing of them. The Spanish dislikes thin letters, and changes them immediately into those of a middle tone. Languages derived from the Goths delight in aspirates. Many things of this kind might be mentioned; but these are perhaps more than enough.
The Measure of words has produced a vast body of art; namely Poesy, considered with reference not to the matter of it (of which I have spoken above) but to the style and form of words: that is to say, metre or verse; wherein the art we have is a very small thing, but the examples are large and innumerable. Neither should that art (which the grammarians call Prosody) be confined to the teaching of the kinds and measures of verse.
Precepts should be added as to the kinds of verse which best suit each matter or subject. The ancients used hexameter for histories and eulogies; elegiac for complaints; iambic for invectives; lyric for odes and hymns. Nor have modern poets been wanting in this wisdom, so far as their own languages are concerned. The fault has been, that some of them, out of too much zeal for antiquity, have tried to train the modern languages into the ancient measures (hexameter, elegiac, sapphic, &c.); measures incompatible with the structure of the languages themselves, and no less offensive to the
In these things the judgment of the sense is to be preferred to the precepts of art, -as the poet says,
Conæ fercula nostræ
Mallem convivis quam placuisse cocis.' And it is not art, but abuse of art, when instead of perfecting nature it perverts her. But for poesy (whether we
1 Mart. ix. 83. :
The dinner is for cating, and my wish is
speak of stories or metre) it is (as I said before) like a luxuriant plant, that comes of the lust of the earth, without any formal seed. Wherefore it spreads everywhere and is scattered far and wide, --so that it would be vain to take thought about the defects of it. With this therefore we need not trouble ourselves. And with regard to Accents of words, it is too small a matter to speak of; unless perhaps it be thought worth remarking, that while the accentuation of words has been exquisitely observed, the accentuation of sentences has not been observed at all. And yet it is common to all mankind almost to drop the voice at the end of a period, to raise it in asking a question, and other things of the kind not a few. And so much for the part of Grammar which relates to Speech.
As for Writing, it is performed either by the common alphabet (which is used by everybody) or by a secret and private one, agreed upon by particular persons; which they call ciphers. And with regard to the common orthography itself, a controversy and question has been raised among us,-namely, whether words ought to be written as they are pronounced, or in the usual way. But this apparently reformed style of writing (viz. in which the spelling should agree with the pronunciation) belongs to the class of unprofitable subtleties. For the pronunciation itself is continually changing; it does not remain fixed; and the derivations of words, especially from foreign tongues, are thereby completely obscured. And as the spelling of words according to the fashion is no check at all upon the fashion of pronunciation, but leaves it free, to what purpose is this innovation ?
Let us proceed then to Ciphers. Of these there are many kinds : simple ciphers ; ciphers mixed with non-significant characters; ciphers containing two different letters in one character; wheel-ciphers; key-ciphers; word-ciphers; and the like. But the virtues required in them are three; that they be easy and not laborious to write; that they be safe, and impossible to be deciphered; and lastly that they be, if possible, such as not to raise suspicion. For if letters fall into the hands of those who have power either over the writers or over those to whom they are addressed, although the cipher itself may be safe and impossible to decipher, yet the matter comes under examination and question ; unless the cipher be such as either to raise no suspicion or to elude inquiry. Now for this elusion of inquiry, there is a new and useful contrivance for it, which as I have it by me, why should I set it down among the desiderata, instead of propounding the thing itself? It is this: let a man have two alphabets, one of true letters, the other of non-significants; and let him infold in them two letters at once; one carrying the secret, the other such a letter as the writer would have been likely to send, and yet without anything dangerous. Then if any one be strictly examined as to the cipher, let him offer the alphabet of non-significants for the true letters, and the alphabet of true letters for non-significants. Thus the examiner will fall upon the exterior letter; which finding probable, he will not suspect anything of another letter within. But for avoiding suspicion altogether, I will add another contrivance, which I devised myself when I was at Paris in my early youth, and which I still think worthy of preservation. For it has the perfection of a cipher, which is to make anything signify anything; subject however to this condition, that the infolding writing shall contain at least five times as many letters as the writing infolded : no other condition or restriction whatever is required. The way to do it is this: First let all the letters of the alphabet be resolved into transpositions of two letters only. For the transposition of two letters through five places will yield thirty-two differences ; much more twenty-four, which is the number of letters in our alphabet. Here is an example of such an alphabet.
Example of an Alphabet in two letters.
А B с D E
G Aaaaa. aaaab. aaaba. aaabb. aabaa. aabab. aabba.
H I K L M N 0 aabbb.
abaaa. abaab. ababa. ababb. abbaa. abbab. P Q R S
T V W abbba. abbbb. baaaa. baaab. baaba. baabb. babaa.
X Y Z. babab. babba. babbb.
Nor is it a slight thing which is thus by the way effected. For hence we see how thoughts may be communicated at any distance of place by means of any objects perceptible either to the eye or ear, provided only that those objects are capable of two differences; as by bells, trumpets, torches, gunshots, and the like. But to proceed with our business: when you prepare to write, you must reduce the interior epistle to this biliteral alphabet. Let the interior epistle be
F L Y.
Have by you at the same time another alphabet in two forms ; I mean one in which each of the letters of the common alphabet, both capital and small, is exhibited in two different forms, any
Then take your interior epistle, reduced to the biliteral shape, and adapt to it letter by letter your exterior epistle in the biform character; and then write it out. Let the exterior epistle be,
Do not go till I come.
I add another larger example of the same cipher, - of the writing of anything by anything.
The interior epistle ; for which I have selected the Spartan despatch, formerly sent in the Scytale.
All is lost. Mindarus is killed. The soldiers want food. We can neither get hence, nor stay longer here.
The exterior epistle, taken from Cicero's first letter, and containing the Spartan despatch within it.
In all duty or rather piety towards you 7 satisfy every body except myself. Myself I never satisfy. For so great are the services which you have rendered me, that seeing you did not rest in your
endeavours on my behalf till the thing was done, I feel as if life had lost all its sweetness, because I cannot do as much in this cause of yours.
The occasions are these: Ammonius the King's ambassador openly besieges with
money : the business is carried on through the same creditors who were employed in it when you were here, &c.
The doctrine of Ciphers carries along with it another doctrine, which is its relative. This is the doctrine of deciphering, or of detecting ciphers, though one be quite ignorant of the alphabet used or the private understanding between the parties : a thing requiring both labour and ingenuity, and dedicated, as the other likewise is, to the secrets of princes. By skilful precaution indeed it may be made useless; though as things are it is of very great use. For if good and safe ciphers were introduced, there are very many of them which altogether elude and exclude the decipherer, and yet are sufficiently convenient and ready to read and write. But such is the rawness and unskilfulness of secretaries and clerks in the courts of kings, that the greatest matters are commonly trusted to weak and futile ciphers.
It may be suspected perhaps that in this enumeration and census, as I may call it, of arts, my object is to swell the ranks of the sciences thus drawn up on parade, that the numbers of them may raise admiration; whereas in so short a treatise, though the numbers may perhaps be displayed, the force and value of them can hardly be explained. But I am true to my design, and in framing this globe of knowledge I do not choose to omit even the smaller and more remote islands. And though my handling of these things be cursory, it is not as I think) superficial; but out of a large mass of matter I pick out with a fine point the kernels and marrows of them. Of this however I leave those to judge who are most skilful in such arts.
For whereas most of those who desire to be thought multiscient are given to parade the terms and externals of arts, thereby making themselves the admiration of those who do not understand those arts and the scorn of those who do; I hope that my labours will have the contrary fate, and arrest the judgment