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They call the world "dunya" and a wife **namasi," which sufficiently shows their theology, and the Krarce whence they drew the most important of their words. Now, as the grammar proves that Negro languages are capable of expressing human thoughts — some of them, through their rich formal development, even with astonishing precision — so specimens of their 'Native Literature' show that the Negroes actually have thoughts to express ; that they reflect and reason about things just as other men. The poetry of the Yorubas, if I in&j call it such, seems rather to be of the didactic kind, probably evincing a different character of mind in the people, and which cannot fail, I think, to remind us, both in sentiment and style, of some of the poetical books of Scripture.*' The Bishop then proceeds to point out a characteristic which he believes gives the proverbs of Yoruba their peculiar claim to be considered a natioual didactic poetry.
Considered in such a point of view, such speci- mens may go a long way towards refuting the old- fashioned doctrine of an essential inequality of the Negroes with the rest of mankind, which now and then shows itself, not only in America, but also in Europe. It is the same feature which Bishop Lowth considered one of the grand characteristics of, and which Bishop Jebb proved to be the sole distinctive characteristic of, the Hebrew poetry, — the system of parallelism.* After of each period, so that in two lines, or members, of the same period, things shall answer to things and words to words, aa if fitted to each other by a kind of rule or measure." With diffidence, due when differing in opinion with three bishops, I venture to remark, that in the Semitic dialects, and in other than Asiatic and Indo-European tongues, — as the Persian, — which imitate their style, the habit of balancing sentences naturally produces this paralklism.
The author re- marks, " Short Ga-songs are composed at random during plays and processions, dances and labours. Paul concerning the Gentiles, * which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.' (Eom. 15.) These proverbs, in many instances, display ideas concerning the providence of God, the moral rectitude of actions, or the practice of social virtues, which (to say the least) we should hardly have expected to find in a people so wholly separated from the influences, direct or indirect, of that revelation which God was pleased to make of Himself to man.* The and second. Whoso knows one who will die with him, he (the known) will be his friend in this world.
Thej are often witty and satirical; but we are still too little acquainted with this part of the language to have a sure footing as to metre, time, ellipses, and other points. I have quoted many instances of tlxis peculiarity in " A History of Sindh." • I believe, on the contrary, that the whole of Yoruba shows more or less the effects of Bl Islam. words of Casalis, with reference to the Sisuto proverbs, are, in my opinion, even more applicable to those of the Yorubas.
We miss the cul- tivated mind which delights in seizing on these objects, and embodying them in suitable words." Finally, the points in vbich idioms the most dissimi Ur concur one with another.
That which is common in the intellectual organisation of man is re^ i«eied in the general structure of language ; and every idiom, bow- 0f«r barbarous it may aiear, discloses a regulating principle wbich tepradded at its formation." PBEFACE. Moffat often refers to the fables and apologues of the Bachwanas (Bechuanas). Casalis,* alluding to their proverbs, " me paraissent avoir ete particuliere- ment heureux dans ce genre de composition. Dohne's dictum be correct in the case of the Kafirs, it is distinctly not so when I should rather explain this by our kindred expression, "in- troduce the sharp edge of the wedge first ;" or, as the West Africans say, '* Softly ! applied to other African tribes, even to those of an in- ferior organisation, mental and physical.
XTU imagery, and of half-anrhour or an hour's duration ; or when I was writing from their dictation, sometimes two hours in succession, without having to correct a word or alter a construction in twenty or thirty pages ; or, when in Sierra Leone, I attended examinations of the sons of liberated slaves in Algebra, Geometry, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, etc. It is this which gives them their claim to the title of poetry ; for there does not appear to be anything which can be strictly called rhythm or metre in any of them ; although the feature which I am about to notice may be regarded as a slight approximation to it. What the conyalescent refuses, would give pleasure to the dead.
The books from which I have copied are so scattered, as will appear in the following pages, that the general reader never has an opportunity of perusing them : and this will, it is trusted, justify me in publishing such a com- pilation. Dard's Grammar.* The Wolofs, formerly called joloffs,! Suivi d'an ap- pendice od sout ^tablis les particularity lea plus essentielles des prin- cipales langnes de L'Afrique Septentrionale. Dard, Instituteur de r£cole Wolofe-Fran9aise du S^n^I, Auteur des dictionnaires Wolof et Bambara.
This Handbook contains a total of 2268 proverbs, idioms, enigmas, laconisms, and words conveying know- ledge concerning the people's habits and superstitions. Imprim S par autorisation da &oi & rimprimerie roj^ale, 1826.
Of these, 226 are in the Wolof Tongue, 83 in the Kanuri, or Bomuese. VBAR, LANGUAGE 323 VARIA VARIORUM 413 vii.— proverbial sayings and idioms in the mpangwe (fan) tongue 439 MISCELLANEOUS PHRASES AND EXPRESSIONS . It is popularly said in Senegal that no one will ever speak Wolof like M. The reason is, that, under the nevr regime of compulsory French instruction, the vernacular language languishes, — loses all its raciness. Fondhie on naigue de na jaija ab taw, tey sailo yagonl. Know th jself better than he does who speaks of thee. Tabaje son diamanto mbande todhiele (de nga ko todbia).
I have appended but few explanations to them, principally because their manifestly Semitic modes of thought render them sufficiently intelligible to the European mind. t According to the Folyglotta Africana *'Jolof " is merely a "Wolof" district. John, one " Bemoir," of princely bouse, visited Lisbon in state, was baptised, and did homage to the Europeau king. The great calabash-tree has had a seed for its mother. Son baton on nda diakono thia nsakje dieeti L If only the small measure goes to the shop, the millet will last long. The houae-roof figlits with the rain, but he who is sheltered ignores it. If you practise your *prentice-hand upon a large jar, you will break it.