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3. Sanskrit Proverbs as distinguished from aphorisms and maxims. Boehtlingk’s excellent Sprüchworter are not strictly proverbs, but similes, aphorisms and proverbial sayings. We need a selection of Sanskrit Proverbs from the Vedic or Pauranic writings, similar to those extracted from the Scandinavian Edda.
4. Dictionaries of the Indian languages, giving the meaning of archaic words in proverbs, with illustrations."
5. The Tartar or Turanian Proverbs of India compared with those of Central Asia.?
1. The proverbs of the Gipsy tribes in Europe compared with those of the Gipsies or Nuts of India in their origin and affinities. I have met Gipsies on the banks of the Volga near Samara in Russia, as well as in Moscow, where they have been settled for several centuries.
2. The Keltic, Magyar, Finnish, and Slavonic 3 Proverbs in their Oriental affinities.
3. Russian * Proverbs in their relations to Oriental ones.
1 Dr. Dahl, in his great Russian Dictionary, Tolkovovui Slovar Jhivago Velikorusskago, illustrated by proverbs, has set an example to Europe and India of a new style of dictionary, with its quotations of common words drawn from the people's sayings, the tongue of the domestic hearth, and of the inner life of a people.
2 Dr. Caldwell, in his Dravidian Grammar, states that the Toda tribes of the Nilgiris in South India have an affinity with the Finns and Lapps in their language, as well as with the Ostiaks of Siberia, and that the Dravidian languages of South India are allied to those of tribes which overspread Europe before the arrival of the Goths and Celts.
The Eastern Iranians were the founders of Central Asian civilization, and Sir H. Rawlinson has shown that the belief in a very early empire in Central Asia, coeval with the institution of the Assyrian Monarchy, was common among the Greeks long anterior to Alexander's expedition to the East.
3 The Slavs are semi-Oriental in their customs and modes of thought. I was deeply impressed with this aspect in my visits to Russia, especially in relation to their proverbs, which have an Asiatic colouring about them, very perceptible to any one acquainted with the Indian mind. Their proverbs on women are especially satirical and caustic.
* Russia has made great progress in the collection of her proverbs. There is Dr. Dahl's great collection of 25,000, in richness and variety equal to the Spanish, the result of the investigations of a quarter of a century, arranged and classified according to subjects. I published six years ago in Calcutta an English translation of 600 of them, which excited much attention on account of their point and wit as well as their Oriental ring. I had them translated, and, through the liberality of Lord Napier, I offered prizes for the best comparison between them and Bengali Proverbs.
From Africa and America.
1. The Proverbs of the Indians of America, in the light they throw on the Eastern origin and migration of those tribes.
I met at Hartford, Connecticut, Mr. Trumbull, the greatest living scholar in the Indian languages. He might aid in this.
2. The Negro Proverbs of America.
When travelling lately in the United States, I made inquiries in various quarters as to the proverbs in use among Negroes. A Negro clergyman, the Rev. Dr. Crummel, of Washington, is instituting inquiries on this subject, and the Smithsonian Institution of Washing. ton will assist him.
Captain Burton, in that valuable work “The Wit and Wisdom of Africa,” remarks: “The West African tribes are those who delight most in proverbs, even more than the Spaniards ; but in America the Negroes, like the Brazilian descendants from the Portuguese, seem to have lost
of them.” Burton and Koelle have, however, given sufficient proverbs to vindicate, in spite of some anthropologists, the claim of the African to a place in the great human family. He may be monkey-faced, but who could conceive of a gorilla uttering a proverb ?
But the great desideratum is not the mere collection of proverbs, but the interpretation of them. This can only be given by those living among the people who speak them. The meaning is often very obscure, arising not only from the use of words not found in a dictionary, but also from references to local usages or traditions,
Hilferding and the Philo-Slavs of Russia have done much to direct the attention of Russian scholars to explore the rich mines of thought in Russian proverbs. See on this Snegirev’s Ruskie v svoikh poslovitzakh, a most valuable work, commentating on, classifying and comparing Russian proverbs. · Here are a few African proverbs :
“ Wisdom is not in the eye, but in the head.”
are counted as women." 2 We have in the case of the Vedas the great controversy between Wilson and Colebrooke on the one side, and some leading Germans, as Roth, Rosen, on the other, as to the value of the traditional interpretation of the commentators ; with respect to proverbs, a similar controversy cannot arise, as there are no dictionaries giving the archaic words.
or to stories which they point, their language being concise or epigrammatic.
The meaning or meanings of proverbs is the crux, for they are often used in various senses, and are applied in a different way by different people. Hence I made it a rule when preparing a translation of my 6000 Bengali Proverbs, when there was any obscurity in the interpretation, to take the opinion of three intelligent natives, each from a different locality; the common people and women who use these proverbs I found were the best interpreters of them.
In some proverbs the perfume is lost in the process of translation, others are untranslatable. The love of poetry, which made the Hindus enshrine their dictionaries and mathematical works in verse, has caused them to use words for the sake of the metre, which are untranslatable, like as in the Scotch :
“Every mickle makes a muckle." Professor Wilson states that the Sanskrit language consists, for a great part of the language, of botany and mythology; their mythology is the main structure, their botany the chief decoration of their poetical composition. The same remark is applicable to proverbs. The Telugus, for instance, express the idea of a dog in the manger by the Tirupati barber. Tirupati is a shrine near Madras, one barber has the monopoly of shaving all the pilgrims; they come in crowds, but as he can only shave a few at a time, numbers have to wait; still he will not allow another barber to do what he cannot do himself.
Finally, one must be careful to explain to natives what a proverb really is. I recollect when with Colonel Dalton, who has written so ably on the Kol tribes, we could not make a Kol understand what was meant by a proverb.
EXAMINATION OF THE
FRAGMENT OF IRON
GREAT PYRAMID OF
By St. JOHN VINCENT DAY,
Assoc. Inst, C.E., F.R.S.ED., ETC.
Whilst not a little controversy has taken place upon the question whether the Proto-Egyptians were acquainted with and used iron, it has escaped the notice of every Egyptologist, without exception, that the most convincing testimony in confirmation of the use of that metal in the earliest age which the human intellect has yet fathomed existed in our national treasure-house, the British Museum.
When Colonel Howard Vyse was conducting his famous researches in Lower Egypt during the third decade of the present century, one of his assistants, Mr. Hill, "discovered a piece of iron in an inner joint, near the mouth of the southern air channel, which is probably the oldest piece of wrought iron known. It was sent to the British Museum with the following certificates ::
“This is to certify that the piece of iron found by me near the mouth of the air-passage in the southern side of the Great Pyramid
1 See“ Pyramids of Gizeh.” By Colonel Howard Vyse. Fraser, London, 1840.
at Gizeh, on Friday, May 26, was taken out by me from an inner joint, after having removed, by blasting, the two outer tiers of the stones of the present surface of the Pyramid ; and that no joint or opening of any sort was connected with the above-mentioned joint, by which the iron could have been placed in it after the original building of the Pyramid. I also showed the exact spot to Mr. Perring on Saturday, June 24th.
J. R. HILL. “ Cairo, June 25th, 1837." “To the above certificate of Mr. Hill, I can add, that since I saw the spot at the commencement of the blasting, there have been two tiers of stones removed, and that if the piece of iron was found in the joint pointed out to me by Mr. Hill, and which was covered by a large stone, partly remaining, it is impossible it could have been placed there since the building of the Pyramid. J. S. PERRING, C.E.
“ Cairo, June 27th, 1837.” “We hereby certify that we examined the place whence the iron in question was taken by Mr. Hill, and we are of opinion that the iron must have been left in the joint during the building of the Pyramid, and that it could not have been inserted afterwards.
“ ED. S. ANDREWS.
“JAMES MASH, C.E.” “ The mouth of this air-channel has not been forced ; it measured 83 inches wide by 91 inches high, and had been effectually screened from the sands of the desert by a projecting stone above it.”
There is probably no other relic in the whole vast Egyptian collection—which in the sense of diminishing ose difficulties which have arisen in accounting for the means by which the various hard stones used in ancient Egypt were dressed and cut with the finish and precision which they to this day retain—so important as this solitary specimen of iron. And even the testimony which it affords could not have descended to our times, but for the fortunate circumstance of its being walled up quite out of the reach of the atmosphere deep down in the solid masonry of the building which has enshrined it, and the absence of which protection has permitted what other iron was used in those primeval days to pass out of sight by decay and rust.
The author first drew attention to the fragment of iron under