Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/32

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20 Presidential Address.

When however we come to the real modern Greek, we are astonished by its wealth of resource. There is no idea, however abstract or abstruse, which cannot be quite clearly expressed by it. The power of composi- tion is as strong as ever it was, and as we see by our own borrowings, is capable of describing the most elaborate machine or invention. Its dramatic power is very great, and the Greeks are great talkers. There are very few foreign words in it ; nearly all have survived from classical times with their ancient meaning, although disguised by the modern pronunciation. And there is no local dia- lect which I am acquainted with, that does not show a number of other words and grammatical forms which do not survive in Attica, and therefore have been too hastily regarded as extinct. This is a matter for the philologist rather than for us, but it has importance as showing the tenacity of the old tradition. We may expect to find a similar tenacity in matters of custom. Some of the more general heads have been treated by Schmidt, and other instances may be found in the two papers which I have read before this Society.^ Thus Votive Offerings made in time of sickness or peril are much the same, and offered in the same way, as they were in the third and fourth centuries B.C. ; harvest thanksgiving and other popular feasts bear unmistakable evidence of their ancient origin ; modern sanctuaries in large numbers stand on the sites of ancient temples ; even sacrifice has left a faint image in the gilding of the horns of a victim in Lesbos, perhaps in the gold-leaf which is stuck on butchers' meat sold after the Sarakoste fast. The connexion between the saints and the old gods or heroes has never been worked out ; but that there often is some connexion is not only probable in itself but certain in some cases : the latest identification is that by Mr. Rendel Harris of the Dioscuri with SS. Kastulos and Polyeuctes, SS. Pro-

"^ Folk- Lore, vols, vii., p. 142, .ind x., p. 150.