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ation of the world to the present time, and if we are enabled to
When these chronological verses are fixed in the memory, it will be perfectly easy to remember any other historical event by observing its relative position to those recorded dates. In each page there should only be a certain number of memorial lines, comprising a defined period of time, whether two or more centuries, Or one or less, according to the ratio at which the interest of that particular period has induced us to record the dates. To each page, that is, to each series of memorial lines, what may be called an acrostic sentence might be attached, consisting of any words that could be strung together into sense, or even intelligible nonsense: there would be as many words in this sentence as lines in the pe of each of these words, the first syllable should resemble,
fat or in sound, the first syllable of each memorial line in sucCession. Every one who has repeated verses by heart, must be aware of the advantage of having the leading syllable prompted in each line. The acrostic, by binding together certain series of memorial lines, will be found to supply the place of a prompter; and to give a considerable degree of accuracy to the knowledge attained by the medium of technical verses. The geographical memorial lines are composed on the principle of abbreviated words, and occasionally initial letters only are employed to denote the names of places; it is a waste of time to commit these to memory. Dr. Grey, 1746, apologizes for their not being sufficiently modernised, and yet they are for the ninth time palmed upon the public in 1812, and are about as valuable as a catalogue of past snow-storms. The method of denoting the latitude and longitude by technical words, is extremely ingenious and apposite; but in this edition they are almost all incorrect. To the beginning of the name of the place is subjoined a technical ending, consisting in general of
two syllables, the first of which relates to the latitude, and the second to the longitude. Thus Lisbon, whose latitude is 38° N. 1. and 9° W. long. would be written Lis-tei-ou. But if the latitude of Lisbon had been nearer to 38 than to 39°, the syllable expressing it would have commenced with a vowel, and the word would have been written Lis-ik-ou; again if the longitude of Lisbon had approached nearer to 10 than to 9°, the same substitution would be made, and the word written Lis-ik-n. By observing this rule we are enabled to denote the longitude and latitude of any place within thirty minutes, and by taking the mean, that is, by conventionally adding fifteen minutes, we gain it within fifteen. In the ancient geography the selection and arrangement are injudicious throughout; we have not space to offer an extended comment upon the execution of this part of the work; it will be sufficient to point out the manner in which the system, as applied to geogra phy, may be modified and directed with the most beneficial effect. It cannot be difficult to compose memorial lines for ancient, sacred, and modern geography, upon the principle which we have already explained. The infinity of elementary books upon the subject will simplify the task, and leave nothing but the very easy process of composition.
These memorial lines should be committed to memory with constant reference to maps, so that the inspection of the map will at once suggest and prompt the lines belonging to it; and, vice versa, the recital of the lines suggest to the imagination the map with which they have been associated. In the selection of plans, of which we may wish to know the precise longitude and latitude, it is necessary to attend strictly to the principle which we have pointed out in our remarks upon chronology, viz. to select places which bear a relative distance to each other upon each map, and when these are perfectly familiar to us, we shall with ease be enabled to recollect the position, and almost the latitude and longitude of any place upon the surface of the globe, by ascertaining its relative position to those places which will be thus deeply imprinted on the memory and imagination.
The application of this art to astronomy, which is the subject of the fourth section, is precisely similar to that employed in chronology. In the fifth section it is applied to coins, weights, and
There is great ingenuity shewn in this section; and though it is confined chiefly to ancient coins, weights, and measures, with a useless minuteness of detail, and many inaccuracies, yet it demonstrates satisfactorily the advantage of employing letters for figures; it also points out the manner in which the system may be applied to modern arithmetic, and to the value of modern coins, weights, and
measures, which it is extremely desirable to retain with accuracy, without the necessity and waste of time by constant reference. The concluding section explains the possible application of this art to miscellaneous subjects. To this edition of Dr. Grey's Memoria Technica is subjoined Lowe's Mnemonics.' Dr. Watts in his Essay on the Improvement of the Mind, says, that' Mr. Lowe has improved Dr. Grey's scheme,' but it is evident that he was very imperfectly acquainted with that scheme. In short we are of opinion that he has deteriorated the plan pursued by Dr. Grey, whilst he can lay no sort of claim to originality.
There is a notice given in this edition, that the publisher would be happy to treat with any gentleman able to correct and modernize this work against a future edition. For any practical purpose ineteen twentieths of the original lines must be omitted in a future edition; we therefore do not consider it worth while to enter to any verbal or typographical criticism upon the present. It is much inferior, in execution, to the one printed by the same editor in 1806, and, as we before observed, is, with some slight alterations, a literal copy of the one published in 1746. In the present edition it is proposed to employ a double set of consonants to represent the numerals, in which g, r, and m shall be introduced, though they are already mortgaged by Dr. Grey, g to the value of 100, r to that of a fraction, m to that of a million. If we met with 'm'in many technical words, how would it be possible to ascertain whether it signified a million, according to Dr. Grey, or a cypher, according to the proposed extension by the present editor?
We have already pointed out the manner in which this system may be extended and improved in reference to the attainment of historical, chronological, and geographical knowledge. We will farther remark, that it is peculiarly apposite to assist the recollection in commercial and financial details. There is no extension of figures in the fearful estimate of funded debt, no minuteness of fractional expression in the economizing tone of public audits, which, by being translated into letters and embodied in hexameter verse, may not be remembered with accuracy; for example, the pith of Mr. Huskisson's pamphlet upon the bullion question, and the financial details of the two sets of resolutions, moved upon that occasion, might be comprised in about five and thirty lines, or if it was not thought necessary to remember the fractional parts they might be comprehended in ten or fifteen lines. By employing acrostic sentences to bind together the natural divisions of the subject there would be no possibility of mistake, and the lines when once committed to memory would be easily retained by occasional recurrence.
By dividing a series of technical words into a certain number of syllables, or by writing them with marked subdivisions, and by deciding to apply the first syllable in each series of words to one part of a subject, the second to another, &c. we think much accurate information might be gained with very little exertion of the memory; for example, if we were anxious to recollect in general terms, 24,000, 000,000
1806, 1. The official value of imports from? Europe, Africa, and America
2. Ditto from China
3. The official value of exports of foreign and colonial merchandize 4. The official value of exports of British produce and manufactures S The word au-do-s, ou-du would express the estimate for the year 6246925
1806. We must remark that, though pronounced as four syllables, it is divided into five parts, the first denoting the year, the second the official value of imports from Europe, Africa, and America, and so on; of course millions must be understood. It is necessary in such a case, that the sums to be expressed should be of one common denomination; thus, from 1806 to 1812, inclusive, the official value of exports and imports might be expressed in seven words, to remember which would surely require no extraordinary effort of memory.
We trust that we have succeeded in explaining the two systems of Feinaigle and Grey; it is not possible to draw a parallel between them, but we think they might be partially combined to produce a better effect than could result from the individual adoption of either: by employing invariably the alphabet and technical lines, according to Dr. Grey's method, when figures are to be remembered, and committing these lines to memory by associating them with the hieroglyphics or Toro, (for there is conciliation in a Greek term,) this combination will supersede the necessity of acrostic sentences, and is, indeed, far preferable to them. No one, who has not made the experiment, can appreciate the facility and exactness with which memorial lines can be retained and referred to by this method, and, as we have demonstrated in the former part of this article, without danger of confusion; in fact the multiplication of trains of ideas, however different, with our habitual objects of association, whether those objects are ideal pictures upon a wall or the rooms and furniture of a house, will strengthen our power recollection, as increased weight is known to strengthen an arch constructed upon sound mathematical principles.
We have no doubt that the misapplication of these systems will
again render them ridiculous and consign them to a temporary oblivion. Dr. Beattie in his Elements of Moral Science expresses his scepticism of the possible advantages of any art of memory, having remarked, that those who possessed them were never distinguished for readiness of recollection or multiplicity of attainments; but our readers may be assured, that there always have been persons who have applied them with considerable effect, but who have never had the indiscretion to confess the nature of that assistance, of which the effects were debited to the score of their natural abilities.
If our limits had permitted we might have been disposed to enquire how far it would be possible to interweave any part of these systems with the present plan of public classical education; but fortunately we have no space for the discussion. We are well aware that the classical ear of our young students would startle at the uncouth and unpoetical metre of a technical line; yet if there be any who have some arrears of information to bring up, and who are not very conversant with the principles of law, political Economy, &c. to these persons, if any abbreviated method could be suggested of mastering their multifarious details, the effect, if adequate to our expectations, might form, we should think, a sufficient apology for the apparent degradation of the means. We do not recommend the experiment to those who find their unassisted powers fully adequate to their purpose. If Briareus had been a stocking manufacturer, he would probably have despised the aid of frame-work, which, however, is no despicable auxiliary to the two-handed artizan.
ART. IX. Comedies of Aristophanes, viz. The Clouds, Plutus, the Frogs, the Birds. Translated into English, with Notes. London. 1812.
WHILE the tragic writers of Greece have been cherished by us with an eagerness bordering on enthusiasm, the only perfect remains of that celebrated country in the opposite walk of comedy, have been consigned to comparative neglect and obscurity. Tragedy, indeed, as speaking a more general language than comedy, and uttering much the same kind of sentiments, whether by the mouth of a Medea, or a Lady Macbeth, might naturally be expected to be more popular than her sister muse, whose allusions must necessarily be more local and confined; yet it still appears unaccountable, that a people, possessed with so decided a taste for humour, as the English, and keenly susceptible of personal satire, should