Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/168

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CHAPTER XVI.

THE COO-EE—NUMBERS OF THE ABORIGINES.

Among the distinguishing peculiarities of nations, in all times, the war-song, or national shout, has occupied a pre-eminent position. Thus, the pæan of the Greeks, the ululatus of the Romans, the huzza of the British, the viva of the French, and the Allah of the Turks, are almost as much associated with those several nations as their language itself, of which, no doubt, the words form a part, but a very distinctive part. Even the Russians, whose vocabulary, like their civilization, is yet in course of formation, have adopted the "hurrah," so long in vogue among some of the Western nations, and intend to make it their own, as it appears by some recent despatches of their generals from the seat of war on the Danube. The distinctive cry of nations will, in general, be found, like their language, to be indicative of their character and habits. Originally, perhaps, they were the simultaneous outburst of passion or enthusiasm; the first uncouth and wild expression used being softened down and rendered more musical as language was improved, and as men became more polished. Thus the "huzza" of the modern British soldier bears no comparison with the old war-shouts of the Highlanders, the Welsh, and