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A Brief Appraisal Of The Greek Literature In Its Foremost Pretensions
by [?]

[Footnote 4:
Because the Latin word sublimis is applied to objects soaring upwards, or floating aloft, or at an aerial altitude, and because the word does sometimes correspond to our idea of the sublime (in which the notion of height is united with the notion of moral grandeur), and because, in the excessive vagueness and lawless latitudinarianism of our common Greek Lexicons, the word [Greek: hypsos] is translated, inter alia, by [Greek: to] sublime, sublimitas, etc. Hence it has happened that the title of the little essay ascribed to Longinus, [Greek: Peri hypsous], is usually rendered into English, Concerning the sublime. But the idea of the Sublime, as defined, circumscribed, and circumstantiated, in English literature–an idea altogether of English growth–the sublime byway of polar antithesis to the Beautiful, had no existence amongst ancient critics; consequently it could have no expression. It is a great thought, a true thought, a demonstrable thought, that the Sublime, as thus ascertained, and in contraposition to the Beautiful, grew up on the basis of sexual distinctions, the Sublime corresponding to the male, the Beautiful, its anti-pole, corresponding to the female. Behold! we show you a mystery. ]

[Footnote 5:
No word has ever given so much trouble to modern critics as this very word (now under discussion) of the sublime. To those who have little Greek and no Latin, it is necessary in the first place that we should state what are the most obvious elements of the word. According to the noble army of etymologists, they are these two Latin words–sub, under, and limus, mud. Oh! gemini! who would have thought of groping for the sublime in such a situation as that?–unless, indeed, it were that writer cited by Mr. Coleridge, and just now referred to by ourselves, who complains of frivolous modern readers, as not being able to raise and sequester their thoughts to the abstract consideration of dung. Hence it has followed, that most people have quarrelled with the etymology. “Whereupon the late Dr. Parr, of pedantic memory, wrote a huge letter to Mr. Dugald Stewart, but the marrow of which lies in a nutshell, especially being rather hollow within. The learned doctor, in the first folio, grapples with the word sub, which, says he, comes from the Greek–so much is clear–but from what Greek, Bezonian? The thoughtless world, says he, trace it to [Greek: hypo] (hypo), sub, i. e. under; but I, Ego, Samuel Parr, the Birmingham doctor, trace it to [Greek: hyper] (hyper), super, i. e. above; between which the difference is not less than between a chestnut horse and a horse-chestnut. To this learned Parrian dissertation on mud, there cannot be much reasonably to object, except its length in the first place; and, secondly, that we ourselves exceedingly doubt the common interpretation of limus. Most unquestionably, if the sublime is to be brought into any relation at all to mud, we shall all be of one mind–that it must be found above. But to us it appears–that when the true modern idea of mud was in view, limus was not the word used. Cicero, for instance, when he wishes to call Piso ‘filth, mud,’ etc. calls him Caenum: and, in general, limus seems to have involved the notion of something adhesive, and rather to express plaister, or artificially prepared cement, etc., than that of filth or impure depositions. Accordingly, our own definition differs from the Parrian, or Birmingham definition; and may, nevertheless, be a Birmingham definition also. Not having room to defend it, for the present we forbear to state it. ]

Now, therefore, after this explanation, recurring to the Longinian critiques upon Homer, it will avail any idolator of Homer but little, it will affect us not much, to mention that Longinus makes frequent reference to the Iliad, as the great source of the sublime–

‘A quo, ceu fonte perenni,
Vatum Pieriis ora rigantur aquis’;