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Syria whom I knew in Europe, those of Yemen, whom I saw in the isle of Hinzuàn, whither many had come from Maskat for the purpose of trade, and those of Hejàz, whom I have met in Bengal, form a striking contrast to the Hindu inhabitants of these provinces : their eyes are full of vivacity, their speech voluble and articulate, their deportment manly and dignified, their apprehension quick, their minds always present and attentive ; with a spirit of independence appearing in the countenances even of the lowest among them. Men will always differ in their ideas of civilization, each measuring it by the habits and prejudices of his own country; but, if courtesy and urbanity, a love of poetry and eloquence, and the practice of exalted virtues be a juster measure of perfect society, we have certain proof, that the people of Arabia, both on plains and in cities, in republican and monarchical states, were eminently civilized for many ages before their conquest of Persia.

It is deplorable, that the ancient History of this majestick race should be as little known in detail before the time of Dhú Yezen, as that of the Hindus before Vieramáditya ; for, although the vast historical work of Aļnuwairi, and the Murújuldbabab, or Golden Meadows, of Almafúúdi, contain chapters on the kings of Himyar, Gbasàn, and Hirab, with lists of them and sketches of their several reigns, and although Genealogical Tables, from which chronology might be better ascertained, are prefixed to many compositions of the old Arabian Poets, yet most manuscripts are so incorrect, and so

many contradictions are found in the best of them, that we can scarce lean upon tradition with security, and must have recourse to the same media for investigating the history of the Arabs, that I before adopted in regard to that of the Indians ; namely, their language, letters and religion, their ancient monuments, and the certain remains of their arts; on each of which heads I shall touch very concisely, having premised, that

my

observations will in general be confined to the state of Arabia before that singular revolution, at the beginning of the seventh century, the effects of which we feel at this day from the Pyrenean mountains and the Danube, to the farthest parts of the Indian Empire, and even to the Eastern Ilands.

I. For the knowledge, which any European, who pleases, may attain of the Arabian language, we are principally indebted to the university of Leyden ; for, though several Italians have assiduously laboured in the same wide field, yet the fruit of their labours has been rendered almost useless by more commodious and more accurate works printed in Holland ; and, though Pocock certainly accomplished much, and was able to accomplish any thing, yet the Academical ease, which he enjoyed, and his theological pursuits, induced him to leave unfinished the valuable work of Maidáni, which he had prepared for publication; nor, even if that rich mine of Arabian Philology had seen the light, would it have borne any comparison with the fifty dissertations of Hariri, which the first ALBERT SCHULTENS translated and explained, though he sent abroad but few of them, and has left his worthy grandfon, from whom perhaps Maidáni also may be (expected, the honour of publishing the rest : but the palm of glory in this branch of literature is due to Golius, whose works are equally profound and elegant ; fo perspicuous in method, that they may always be consulted without fatigue, and read without languor, yet so abundant

any man, who shall begin with his noble edition of the Grammar compiled by his master ERPENIUS, and proceed, with the help of his incomparable dictionary, to study his History of Taimùr by Ibni Arabskáh, and shall make himself complete master of that sublime work, will understand the learned Arabick better than the deepest scholar at Constantinople or at Mecca. The Arabick language, therefore, is almost wholly in our power; and, as it is unquestionably one of the most ancient in the world, so it yields to none ever spoken by mortals in

that

in matter,

the number of its words and the precision of its phrases ; but it is equally true and wonderful, that it bears not the least resemblance, either in words or the structure of them, to the Sanscrit, or great parent of the Indian dialects ; of which diffimilarity I will mention two remarkable instances: the Sanscrit, like the Greek, Persian, and Germon, delights in compounds, but, in a much higher degree, and indeed to such excess, that I could produce words of more than twenty syllables, not formed ludicrously, like that by which the buffoon in ARISTOPHANES describes a feast, but with perfect seriousness, on the most solemn occasions, and in the most elegant works; while the Arabick, on the other hand, and all its sister dialects, abhor the composition of words, and invariably express very complex ideas by circumlocution ; so that, if a compound word be found in any genuine language of the Arabian Peninsula, (zenmerdab for instance, which occurs in the Hamásab) it may at once be pronounced an exotick. Again ; it is the genius of the Sanscrit, and other languages of the same stock, that the roots of verbs be almost universally biliteral, fo that five and twenty hundred such roots might be formed by the composition of the fifty Indian letters ; but the Arabick roots are as universally triliteral, so that the compofation of the twenty-eight Arabian letters would accomplish any thing, yet the Academical ease, which he enjoyed, and his theological pursuits, induced him to leave unfinished the valuable work of Maidáni, which he had prepared for publication; nor, even if that rich mine of Arabian Philology had seen the light, would it have borne any comparison with the fifty dissertations of Hariri, which the first ALBERT SCHULTENS translated and explained, though he sent abroad but few of them, and has left his worthy grandfon, from whom perhaps Maidáni also may be expected, the honour of publishing the rest : but the palm of glory in this branch of literature is due to Golius, whose works are equally profound and elegant; fo perspicuous in method, that they may always be consulted without fatigue, and read without languor, yet fo abundant in matter, that any man, who shall begin with his noble edition of the Grammar compiled by his master ERPENIUS, and proceed, with the help of his incomparable dictionary, to study his History of Taimùr by Ibni Arabsáh, and fhall make himself complete master of that sublime work, will understand the learned Arabick better than the deepest scholar at Constantinople or at Mecca. The Arabick language, therefore, is almost wholly in our power; and, as it is unquestionably one of the most ancient in the world, so it yields to none ever spoken by mortals in

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