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The continuation of Voltaire's Discourse on Moderation will afford us a variety of interesting remarks on the French language.

Courriers de la Physique, Argonantes nouveaux
Qui franchissez les monts, qui traversez les eaux
Ramenez des climats soumis aux trois couronnes
Vos perches, vos Secteurs, et surtout deux Laponnes ;
Vous avez confirmé, dans ces lieux pleins d'ennui,
Ce que Newton connut sans sortir de chez lui.
Vous avez arpenté quelque foible partie
Des flancs toujours glacés de la terre aplatie.
Dévoilez ces ressorts qui font la pesanteur;
Vous connoisez les loix qu'établit son auteur.
Parlez, enseignez moi comment ses mains fécondes
Font tourner tant de Cieux, graviter tant de mondes ;
Pourquoi vers le soleil notre globe entrainé
Se meut autour de soi sur son axe incliné;
Parcourant en douze ans les célestes demeures
D'où vient que Jupiter a son jour de dix heures ?
Vous ne le savez point; votre sayant compas
Mesure l'univers et ne le connoit pas.
Je vous vois dessiner par un art infaillible
Les dehors d'un palais à l'homme inaccessible ;
Les angles, les côtés sont marqués par vos traits ;
Le dedans à vos yeux est fermé pour jamais.
Pourquoi donc m'affliger si ma débile vue
Ne peut percer la nuit sur mes yeux répandue ?
Je n'imiterai point ce malheareux savant
Qui des feux de l'Etna scrutateur imprudent

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Marchant sur des monceaux de bitume et de cendre,
Fut consumé du feu qu'il cherchoit à comprendre.

Modérons nous surtout dans notre ambition ;
C'est du coeur des humains la grande passion.
L'empesé Magistrat, le financier sauvage,
La prade aux yeux dévots, la coquette volage
Vont en poste à Versaille essuyer des mépris
Qu'ils reviennent soudain rendre en poste à Paris.
Les libres habitans des rives du Permesse
Ont saisi quelquefois cette amorce traitresse:
Platon va raisonner à la Cour de Denis ;
Racine Janseniste est auprès de Louis ;
L'auteur voluptueux qui célébra Glycere
Prodigue au fils d'Octave un encens mercenaire.
Moi même renonçant à mes premiers desseins
Jai vécu, je l'avoue, avec des Souverains.
Mon vaisseau fit naufrage aux mers de ces Sirènes ;
Leur voix flatta mes sens, ma main porta leurs chaines.
On me dit : Je vous aime, et je crus comme un sot
Qu'il étoit quelque idée attachée à ce mot.

Ye messengers of physical science, new Argonauts, who pass mountains and cross seas, bring us back from the countries subject to three crowns, your perches, your sectors, and above all, two female Laplanders ; you have confirmed in those dull places what Newton knew without leaving his home. You have surveyed a small portion of the sides of the flattened earth which are perpetually frozen; explain the means which constitute gravity; you are acquainted with the laws which its author establishes. Speak, inform me how his creative hands cause so many Heavens to revolve, so many worlds to gravitate ; why our globe, attracted by the sun, moves round itself inclined upon its axis ; how it happens that Jupiter, revolving in twelve years through the celestial spheres, has a day of ten hours ? You cannot tell ; with your learned compasses you measure the universe, and do not know it. I behold you sketching by an infallible art the outsides of a palace inaccessible to man; its angles and its sides are drawn by your lines; but the inside is for ever shut out from your sight. Why then should I lament that my weak eye cannot pierce the darkness with which it is covered? I shall not imitate that unfortunate philosopher, who, imprudently exploring the fires of the Etna, and walking over heaps of bitumen and ashes, was consumed by the conflagration which he endeavoured to understand. Above all, let us moderate our ambition ; it is the great passion of the human heart. The starched magistrate, the unsociable financier, the prude with pious looks, the fickle coquet, hasten to Versailles to encounter contempt, which they hastily return to bestow in their turn at Paris. The free iphabitants of the banks of the Permessus have sometimes taken this treacherous bait. Plato went to argue at the court of Dionysius. Racine, though a Jansenist, attended upon Louis. The voluptuous poët who celebrated Glycera, lavished a mercenary incense upon the son of Octavius. I myself renouncing my former resolves, I lived, I own it, with monarchs. My ship was wrecked in those Syren seas; their voice flattered my ears; my hands wore their chains. I was told that I was beloved, and like a fool I thought there was some idea connected with the expression.

Courriers de la Physique, messengers of physical science. The poët is alluding to the expedition of Maupertuis and other French astronomers, who, in 1736, were sent to Lapland by Louis XV. to ascertain the figure of the earth. Observe that la Physique in French, always means physical science, natural history; but never physic in the English sense, or the science of healing diseases. This is called la médecine ; a physician is un médecin, and a physic, a remedy, une médecine. C'est un étudiant en médecine, he studies physic.

Argonautes nouveaux, new Argonauts. Navigators to distant unknown parts are frequently called Argonauts, in allusion to the 52 Greek princes who went with Jason in the ship Argo, in search of the golden fleece.

Nouveau, nouvel, before a vowel and h mute, m. nouvelle, f. adj. new. When Mr. Cobbett states in bis French grammar, $ 105, " nouveau was formerly written nouvel, and there may

be a case or two in which it is still used in this form,” he is ridiculously trifling with his dear little boy. It would not have taken up more time or more space to have informed him at once that bel and nouvel are placed before words of the masculine gender beginning with a vowel or an h mute, and that fou is still spelt and pronounced fol in the same cases; mou would likewise be spelt mol, but it generally is placed after the substantive m. Un Corps mou, a soft body. The important distinction between neuf, new, and nouveau, new, appears equally insignificant to Mr. C. but une robe neuve and une nouvelle robe, are not exactly the same thing.

Une robe neuve, is a new gown, which has never been worn before, and the materials or stuff of which are new; une robe nouvelle is a gown in the new fashion ; it may bave been worn before, but it is now differently made, or differently trimmed and ornamented, and it retains the name of nouvelle robe as long as it is in fashion. According to the Abbé Girard, ce qui n'a point servi est neuf ; ce qui n'avoit pas encore paru est nouveau. Hence on taking a new house, which may have been built many years before, you say to your friends : vous n'avez pas vu notre nouvelle maison ; but of a house lately built, you say, c'est une maison neuve. In the figurative sense of these adjectives, there is likewise a great difference between un homme neuf, and un homme nouveau ; the former denotes a man who is stiff, embarrassed in his manners, unused to genteel company; and as neuf in its proper sense means " new," the French, who are fond of punning and conveying secret sneers, say of such an individual il durera longtems ; he will last a long time. Un homme nouveau is a man, who, in spite of his low origin, has raised himself to dignities, rank, or riches; the first in his family who has risen to distinction. But this expression never insinuates an imputation upon the means by which be attained his elevation. In this latter case the French say, c'est un Parvenu.

Qui franchissez les monts, who go over the mountains. Franchir, r. a. 2, to leap clean over, to get over, to overcome, to get over any difficult pass; hence it applies to high mountains. Après avoir franchi les Alpes, after we had got over the Alps. To frank a letter, is affranchir une lettre: as the French bave not the substantive, a frank, you must say, j'ai prié Milord E. d'affranchir ma lettre, I have asked a frank of Lord E. Je n'ai pas pu faire affranchir ma lettre, I could not get a frank. Affranchir la pompe, or franchir la pompe, is a sea term: to free the pump.

Des climats soumis aux trois couronnes, means the three northern kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, which in the fourteenth century were united under Margareth, and were to remain under one sovereign by the union of Calmar. Deux Laponnes, two female Laplanders. This alludes to

a land surveyor.

Maupertuis having actually brought a female from Lapland with him.

Pleins d'ennui, full of dulness, dull. The French word ennui, s. m. denotes that weariness, that languor of the mind which arises from our attention not being engaged, either because something displeases us in itself or by its length, or on account of the disposition in which we happen to be.

Ce que Newton connut, what Newton knew. Mercier, the author of the Tableau de Paris, ventured to attack Newton in his writings, and some one said to a witty lady, “ Mer. cier n'est pas content de Newton.Eh bien ! replied she, qu'il prenne des cartes ! (which may mean playing cards, or the French philosopher Descartes.)

Vous avez arpenté, you have measured. Arpenter, r. a. 1. to survey, to measure land; to walk quick. Un Arpenteur,

Un arpent, a space of ground containing 1800 French square feet : according to the new French measures it answers to about 51 ares, the measure of land. Une Lande, f. being a tract of sandy ground covered with heath, on which it is disagreeable to walk, arpenter les Landes, means, to do unprofitable and fatiguing work, to run about for no purpose. It is one of those figurative expressions which the French call phrases faites, ready-made sentences, as it were, that give to the dullest speaker the appearance of being witty, when he has only a good memory. They are, however, inadmissible in the higher strains of poëtry, and in the graver styles of prose writing : but they are continually heard in familiar conversation. Hence it is chiefly peace-meal, and by the help of a retentive

memory, that the French language is acquired. Its analogies are so few, and its rules so encumbered with exceptions, that it cannot be learnt en masse, like the philosophical language of the Germans; it must be treasured up en détail, and yet the wonder-working Teachers pretend to teach without the dull and fatiguing exercise of memory! Surely if ever language peremptorily required it, it is the French.

Les dehors, or le dehors, s. m. the outside. But the plural is more generally confined to the outworks of fortifications ;'

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