« PreviousContinue »
REV. WILLIAM HEPWORTH THOMPSON,
CANON OF ELY; FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE;
AND REGIUS PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE;
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE republication of this Grammar has been delayed, in order that I might be enabled to convert it from a manual for learners, who were supposed to enjoy the advantage of competent instruction, into a book of reference adapted to the use of the highest class of students in our public Schools and Universities. In thus enlarging the work, I do not retract one word of what I said in the preface to the former edition, when I maintained its completeness, as distinguished from its extent, in reference to what was then its object. But some eminent scholars and teachers, who have been pleased to think favourably of the book in its original form, have urged me to adapt it to the wants of more mature readers, by incorporating those details, which, whether or not properly belonging to a Greek Grammar, are generally found in a work of this description. And I have the more readily deferred to this suggestion, because, with some notable exceptions, I have not been able to persuade the masters of schools to discard the old-fashioned grammars, and to connect the teaching of the Greek language with that higher philology, which is now accepted by all scholars who are worthy of the name; and because the large impression of this work, which has been already sold, has made its way chiefly into the hands of those, who require to have before them a complete apparatus of the
facts of the Greek language, and find it most convenient to have these facts stated in the book to which they appeal for the leading principles of grammar.
In accordance with this extended plan, I have now combined an exhibition of all the forms and constructions of classical Greek, with a practical, and, I hope, a lucid statement of the results, which I have obtained by independent investigations in comparative philology and the philosophy of language. The labours of former grammarians have nearly exhausted the field of research, in regard to the ordinary details of Greek accidence and construction; and in many particulars nothing was required of me, in enlarging this book, beyond the application of judgment and practical experience in bringing out things new and old from the various treasure-houses, to which I had such ready access. On the other hand, there were many points, and those among the most important, in which my predecessors had not observed the phenomena with due accuracy, and in which I was obliged to rely entirely on the results of my own reading. As far as the higher philology is concerned, the whole of this book presumes a reference to the speculations, and, I may almost venture to say, the established conclusions of the New Cratylus, and I reserve for that work, a new edition of which is about to appear, all discussions on the general principles and reasonings, which are here presented in their naked results. The main feature, however, of this book is the arrangement of the facts; and I am convinced, not only by my own experience, but also by the approval of the most competent judges, that the order which I have adopted, I believe for the first time, is that alone by which scientific grammar can be developed in a form calculated to ensure a methodical comprehension of the subject by an intelligent scholar.
My relations, then, to my immediate forerunners in the department of Greek Grammar are simply as follows. While the investigation of principles, the whole arrangement of the materials, and
most of the characteristic details, all in fact that can constitute originality in a book of this kind, must be regarded as mine in this as in the former edition, I have thought it right to place before me the most recent and generally esteemed of the treatises on Greek Grammar, which have appeared on the continent during the last few years, especially the works of Mehlhorn, Krüger, and Rost. These writers have been my task-masters, to indicate and prescribe the amount of work which I had to perform, if I did not wish to omit any of the details, which would be sought in such a manual: and they have also furnished me liberally with straw to make my bricks; for I have freely availed myself of their collections of examples, and, as the special references will show, I have occasionally adopted in extenso their paradigms and synoptical statements of well-known particulars. At the same time, I have not shrunk from the mechanical labour of re-writing anything, however notorious or elementary, which I thought I could improve by my own way of stating it. As Aristotle has well observed (Eth. Nic. 1. 7, § 16), all the advancement that has taken place in the different arts has arisen from successive attempts to adapt and improve what is already before the world. And I am just as anxious that my predecessors should have full credit for all that I have borrowed from them, as I am to vindicate my own distinctive position, as one who has made a step in advance, without which the publication of a new Greek Grammar would have been a superfluous undertaking. I therefore subjoin a list of all the grammatical works which I have consulted during the composition of my book, or with which I had previously made acquaintance, and, on the Pindaric principle (Ol. XIII. 17) that åπav evρóvтos ěpyov, I relinquish before-hand all claim to the merit of anything in this book, which, whether I know it or not, is to be found also in any of the works here cited. At the same time I must express my full conviction that whatever is common to this book with previous Grammars will be found more or less in all similar treatises; and I