Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/58

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The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

him or his biographer. The distinction was most probably first observed by the Indian missionaries, and it was known to native scholars at least in the reign of Ch'i Wu Ti, A.D. 483 to 494. But the discovery was not fully recognized and adopted until the time of Liang Wu Ti, A.D. 502 to 550. About this time several other scholars also wrote on the subject of the "four tones" and it soon became a popular one, though not without protests. It does not seem to have been well known, however, to another contemporary of Shên Yo who also became famous in literature. This was Liu Hsie (劉勰) al. Liu Yen-ho (彥和), a native of Tung-kuan (東莞) in Shantung, in the time of Liang Wu Ti. He was a great reader and a good writer, and some of his works have been preserved. Among these is one called by its author "Wên-hsin-tiao-lung," (文心雕龍), The Carved Dragon of the Heart of Literature, that is, the finest ornaments of the best writing. This treatise is divided into ten chuan containing fifty chapters, the last of which gives some account of the work and the origin of the title, and from it the explanation here given has been derived. The work is a series of essays on various literary and other subjects, and is written in a loose, easy style. It touches on nearly every subject known at the time connected with the origin and development of language and literature. Its notices of the first rise and meaning of new expressions are specially interesting, though not always correct, and it abounds in references to old authors.[1]

The next writer on the language to come under notice is Chiang Shi (江式) al. Chiang Fa-an (法安), a native of Chi-yang (濟陽) in Honan. He was the author of the "Ku-chin-wên-tzŭ" (古今文字) in forty chuan, published in the year 514. Chiang was a man of inherited literary tastes and of great learning. In the above treatise he made the "Shuo-wên" his standard of authority (主), and he seems to have read with care all the good literature bearing on the characters. It was to these rather than to the spoken sounds that he devoted his thoughts and reading.[2]

  1. 文心雕龍(in "Han-Wei" Collection); Wylie, Notes on Ch. Lit., p. 197.
  2. Kuei Fu-hsio's "Shuo-wên," chap. 1.