Page:Essays on the Chinese Language (1889).djvu/95

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The Cultivation of their Language by the Chinese.

was even said to be nearly like giving legs to a serpent. But in recent times the attempt has been made to represent foreign sounds by a tri-syllabic spelling.[1]

We may here notice some of the labours in philology of certain Buddhist monks in the Ming period. In the fifteenth century one of these monks, by name Chie-hsüan (戒璿), with the help of several brethren compiled the "Wu-yin-chi-yun," the second treatise with that name. This is said to be a work of great research, the result of much study and investigation. Another monk, Chên-k'ung (真空), of a monastery in the capital, compiled the "Pien-yun-kuan-chu-chi" (篇韻貫珠集), better known by its short title "Kuan-chu-chi." This is a collection of eight short treatises on subjects connected with the language. It was published in 1498 with a preface from the pen of a metropolitan graduate named Liu. In the preface the work is praised for its great and varied learning and for its usefulness not only to the Buddhists but also to the orthodox student. The praise seems to be rather excessive and the whole work cannot be said to rank high. In the short treatises, however, of which it is composed, the curious reader will find information which he will scarcely find in other treatises. The "Ta-t'zŭ-jen" (大慈仁) monastery, in which Chên-k'ung lived, produced another monk who was noted for his great and varied learning. This was No-an (訥菴) who published a new and enlarged edition of Liu Chien's "Yü-yao-shi." The original edition had only thirteen "keys," and No-an added seven. The new work was edited by Chên-k'ung and published with a laudatory preface in 1513.[2]

In the first half of the sixteenth century lived Yang Shên (楊慎) al. Shêng-an (升菴) al. Yung-hsiu (用修), born in 1488 and surviving to 1559. He was a native of Hsin-tu in Ssŭchuan, and one of the most remarkable men of the Ming dynasty. In addition to the poetry, political writings, books on philosophy

and natural history which he produced during his unhappy life,

  1. "Li-shi-yin-chien," chap. ii.
  2. 貫珠集 (Ming reprint).