supplies of words and turns of expression; they constitute, as it were, a dough, which they are to knead and fashion in the shape required on particular occasions; and to reduce poëtry into prose, as we have repeatedly recommended, is the first and safest step towards original composition. Our French translation of the German extract, gives besides to the industrious Student an opportunity of turning our English translation into French, and then comparing his work with ours, which, of course, will be very dissimilar, but may yet afford him useful hints. Neither can we comply with the wishes of our anonymous correspondent respecting our entering more deeply into grammatical discussions ; they would convert our periodical paper into a grammar, whilst it is a literary miscellany to keep up and improve what has been learnt. We shall, however, elucidate the point on which more particular information is required, viz. the use of the imperfect. We ardently wish to please every body; but

“ Contenter tout le monde ! “ Ecoutez ce récit avant que je réponde." To please every one! Hear this narrative before I answer: with these words does the inimitable La Fontaine close his introduction to the following fable :

J'ai lu dans quelque endroit qu'un Meûnier et son fils,
L'un vieillard, l'autre enfant, non pas des plus petits
Mais garçon de quinze ans, si j'ai bonne mémoire,
Alloient vendre leur âne un certain jour de foire.
Afin qu'il fût plus frais et de meilleur débit,
On lui lia les pieds, on vous le suspendit;
Puis cet homme et son fils le portent comme un lustre.
Pauvres gens ! idiots! couple ignorant et rustre !
Le premier qui les vit de rire s'éclata :
Quelle farce, dit-il, vont jouer ces gens là ?
Le plus âne des trois n'est pas celui qu'on pense.
Le Meûnier à ces mots connoit son ignorance ;
Il met sur pieds sa bête et la fait détaler.
L'âne, qui goutoit fort l'autre façon d'aller,
Se plaint en son patois. Le Meunier n'en a cure;
Il fait monter son fils, il suit; et d'aventure

Passent trois dons marchands. Cet objet leur déplut.
Le plus vieux au garçon s'écria tant qu'il put:
Oh là ! oh! descendez, que l'on ne vous le dise,
Jeune homme, qui menez laquais à barbe grise !
C'étoit à vous de suivre, au vieillard de monter.
Messieurs, dit le Meûnier, il faut vous contenter.
L'enfant met pied à terre, et puis le vieillard monte ;
Quand trois filles passant, l'une dit: C'est grand honte
Qu'il faille voir ainsi clocher ce jeune fils.
Tandis que ce nigaud, comme un évêque assis,
Fait le veau sur son âne et pense être bien sage.
Il n'est, dit le Meûnier, plus de veaux à mon age ;
Passez votre chemin, la fille, et m'en croyez.
Après maints quolibets coup sur coup renvoyés,
L'homme crut avoir tort, et mit son fils en croupe.
Au bout de trente pas, une troisième troupe
Trouve encore à gloser. L'un dit: Ces gens sont fous !
Le baudet n'en peut plus ; il mourra sous leurs coups.
Hé quoi ! charger ainsi cette pauvre bourrique !
N'ont ils point de pitié de leur vieux domestique ?
Sans doute qu'à la foire ils vont vendre sa peau.
Parbleu! dit le Meûnier, est bien fou du cerveau
Qui prétend contenter tout le monde et son père.
Essayons toutefois si par quelque manière
Nous en viendrons à bout. Ils descendent tous deux;
L'âne se prélassant marche seul devant eux.
Un quidam les rencontre, et dit, est-ce la mode
Que baudet aille à l'aise, et Meûnier s'incommode ?
Qui de l'âne ou du maître est fait pour se lasser?
Je conseille à ces gens de le faire enchasser.
Ils usent leurs souliers et conservent leur âne !
Nicolas, au rebours ; car, quand il va voir Jeanne
Il monte sur sa bête, et la chanson le dit.
Beau trio de baudets ! Le Meûnier répartit:
Je suis âne, il est vrai, j'en conviens, je l'avoue,
Mais que dorénavant on me blame, on me loue,
Qu'on dise quelque chose, ou qu'on ne dise rien,
J'en veux faire à ma tête. Il le fit, et fit bien.

THE MILLER, HIS SON, AND THE ASS. I READ somewhere that a miller and his son, the former an old man, the latter a child, not very young, but a boy of fifteen, if my memory does not deceive me, were going to sell their ass at a fair. That the animal might be fresher and more saleable, they tied his feet and suspended him, and then this man and his son carried him like a chandelier. Poor folks! idiots! ignorant and clownish couple! The first person who saw them burst out a laughing. What farce, said be, are these people going to perform ? He is not the greatest Ass of the three whom they think. The miller, at these words, became sensible of his silliness ; he set his animal on foot, and made him scamper away. The ass, which relished the other way of moving on, complained in his dialect : but the miller did not care for it; he made his son get up, and walked behind. Three good tradesmen happening to pass by, the sight displeased them, and the eldest cried out as lustily as he could to the boy: Holla ho ! come down, without being told so, young man, who are followed by a grey-bearded footman ! It behoveth you to march behind, and the old man to ride. Gentlemen, said the miller, you shall be satisfied. The son alighted, and the old man mounted the ass, when three girls coming by, one of them exclaimed: "Tis a great shame to let this young boy limp on, whilst this blockbead, seated as a bishop, stretches himself out like a calf, and fancies be is very clever. There are no calves at my age, said the miller; walk on, my girl, and believe me. After many jokes and brisk repartees, the man thought he was wrong, and took bis son up behind him. But they had not gone thirty steps when a third company of passengers again found fault with them. One of them observed : These people are mad. The ass is quite exhausted; he is going to die under their blows! How can they thus overload the poor donkey? Have they no consideration for their old servant ? Surely they are going to sell his skin at the fair. Forsooth! exclaimed the miller, that man surely is crackbrained who pretends to please all the world. Let us try, however, if by some means or other we shall accomplish it. He and his son both dismounted. The ass, strutting like a prelate, walked alone before them. A stranger who met them said: Is it the fashion now that the donkey walks at ease and the miller gets tired ? Is the ass or the master made to bear fatigue ? I would advise these people to have their ass enshrined. They wear their shoes out and preserve their donkey. Quite the reverse of Nicholas, for when he goes to see his Jane he gets upon his ass, and the song says so. A fine trio of donkeys ! The miller replied : I am an ass, it is true; I allow it, I confess it. But let me henceforward be blamed or praised, let people make their remarks, or make none, I will follow my own head. He did so, and did well.

non pas des plus petits, not of the smallest. Whenever "not" is used in English without any verb, it is not expressed by ne pas, page 56, No. IV., but by non pas, as here, or by non alone.

non des meilleurs, mais d'une très bonne qualité, not of the best, but of a very good quality.

si j'ai bonne mémoire, if I have good memory, if I remember rightly, correctly, if my memory does not deceive me. To denote “ I have a good memory," you must say, j'ai la moire bonne. See page 133, No. IX.

alloient vendre leur âne, were going to sell their ass. The French employ the imperfect tense, 1. whenever the English can express the same thought by the participle active, with the imperfect of the verb to be. I was thinking of it,” jy songeois. “ My father then commanded the cavalry,” mon père commandoit alors la cavalerie ; because you might say, my father was commanding the cavalry at that time.

66 A lamb quenched his thirst in a clear stream,” un agneau se désaltéroit dans le courant d'une onde pure; because you might say, a lamb was quenching his thirst. This rule is infallible; but unfortunately it is not capable of being applied to the two auxiliary verbs “ to have” and “to be," avoir and étre. Remember, therefore, in general, that the imperfect is employed in French whenever the expression implies that the action of the verb continued for some time. J'y songeois, I was thinking of it; mon père commandoit, my father commanded; un agneau se désaltéroit, a lamb quenched his thirst, are actions which must have continued for some time. Thus you say, j'étois encore au lit, I was still in bed ; j'avois une montre d'or, I had a gold watch. If you were still in bed, you had been in it for some time; if you had a gold watch, you must have possessed it for some time. 2. Whatever takes place, or is done habitually, must be expressed in French by the imperfect, because habit implies continuation, or constantly repeated performance of the same action. “ When I was at Paris I rose every morning at seven o'clock," lorsque j'étois à Paris je me levois tous les matins à sept heures.

“ The old King always wore a blue coat,” le vieux Roi portoit toujours un habit bleu. " He was twice a day on horseback,” il étoit deux fois par jour à cheval. had a favourite dog which followed him every where,” il avoit un chien fuvori qui le suivoit partout. My sister was uncommonly clever; she spoke three languages, played three instruments, drew with taste, and danced very gracefully.”

66 He

66 Je

ma seur étoit très habile ; elle parloit trois langues, jouoit de trois instruments, dessinoit avec goût, et dansoit avec beauсоир

You must say,

I thought he was a sensible man,” je le croyois un homme d'esprit, because you were in the habit of thinking so. “ He knew how to listen, what a fool never knew,” il savoit écouter, ce qu'un sot ne sut jamais. The first knew, in the imperfect, because it was the babit of the individual spoken of. 3. The French use the imperfect of the indicative, instead of the conditional, after the conditional conjunction si, if. “ Were I as rich as you," si j'étois aussi riche que vous.

“ If he should come to-day,” s'il venoit aujourd'hui; “ if it should rain,” s'il pleuvoit. 4. When one action is left unfinished, or interrupted, or when it takes place at the same time with another action, the French employ the imperfect of the indicative.

" I was on the point of going out when he came," j'étois sur le point de sortir lorsqu'il vint. It shows that an action took place at a time that is now gone by. The moment he came is past. n'avois plus de fil lorsqu'elle m'en demanda," I had no thread left when she asked me for some; I was left without any thread, that was the state in which I was: at what time? at the time that I was asked for thread, and that time is past. We shall take another opportunity for explaining the use of the preterperfect indefinite, or compound of the present. Remember that we follow Palairet's grammar in the names of the tenses, page 5, No. I.

On lui lia les pieds, one to him tied the feet, they tied his feet. Here you have the preterperfect definite, because the act of tying was a single act performed at once, and implying neither continuation, nor repetition, nor habit. If this were the case, you would say, on lui lioit les pieds tous les jours; on lui lioit les pieds lorsque le roi passa ; si on lui lioit les pieds, il seroit plus tranquille ; dans se accès de folie on lui lioit les pieds pour l'empêcher de courir. Observe also, that whenever the French speak of the limbs of the body they do not use the pronoun possessive, but the pron. pers. conjunctive, before the verb, and the limb spoken of with the

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