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then attribute to my eccentricity the statement that they used the metre and its divisions?
In conclusion, it is apparent that this pedantic display of a useless nomenclature of Maya names for what he calls the standard lineal measure of the Mayas, was not published so much to impart to his readers exact information, as to parade Dr. Berendt's knowledge of the Maya language, while conveying the impression that this knowledge was his own. He should have remembered the saying: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones;" to which I will add: If they venture to do so, they should at least wait until their neighbors are dead and buried.
NOTE XV. (Page 105.)
(3) May we inquire, without being accused of indiscretion, how great is Dr. Brinton's acquaintance with this most interesting of languages, the Maya? It must indeed be quite extensive, since he presumes to declare authoritatively that Abbé Brasseur "knew next to nothing about it," and that Father Cogolludo, the author of the best history of Yucatan, published for the first time in Madrid in 1688, although he, during twenty-one years, preached the gospel to the natives in their own language, "was only moderately acquainted with the Maya tongue. "2 This is indeed a singular assertion. How does the learned doctor know it? What proof has he that such statement is true? Has he the pretension to expect that students of Maya civilization will accept such preposterous averment because he makes it?
If Abbé Brasseur "knew next to nothing about the Maya," and Dr. Brinton was aware of this, why, instead of making for himself a correct translation of that most interesting ancient Maya prayer, "The Invocation to the God of Rain," has he given a crippled, curtailed English rendering of the French version published by Brasseur, and offered it to his readers as a sample of Maya composition? Since he was intent upon imposing on them this deception, as he did not even preserve the depth of fervor exhibited in the French
1 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 261.
interpretation, the least he could have done was to give the invocation complete.
As rendered by the Spanish translator, it means little, and Dr. Brinton's version is quite as meaningless, whilst the Maya text expresses devotion and religious sentiment, and is for us, at this late date, full of significance and information, as shown by my own interpretation (pp. 107, 108).
This is the Spanish version given by Brasseur in Vol. II. of Troano MS. (pp. 101, 102): "Al asomarse el sol, señor del oriente, en las cuatro esquinas del cielo, en las cuatro esquinas de la tierra, caé mi palabra á cada cuatro punto, à la mano del Dios padre, de Dios hijo, de Dios Espiritu Santo.
"Al levantarse las nubes al oriente, ál subir en medio de la majestad celeste, á las trece ordenes de las nubes él que pone en orden el urácan amarillo, esperanza de los señores visitadores, él que pone en orden los asientos para el precioso vino, con el precioso amor para los señores cuidadores de milpas, para que vengan á poner su precioso favor, al santo grande Dios padre, Dios hijo, Dios Espiritu Santo.
"Yo entrego su virgen semilla con mi santo amor, tu tendràs que mirarme un momento; yo suplico que me lleves tu bendicion con todo tu corazon y entregues tu santo amor, para alcanzar tu creciente y virgen favor; porque es precioso entregar en la mano del Dios padre, de Dios hijo, de Dios Espiritu Santo."
The following is Dr. Brinton's pretended interpretation of the Maya text:
"At the rising of the Sun, Lord of the East, my word goes forth to the four corners of heaven, to the four corners of the
1D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, p. 167. Compare with my own version of this invocation, pp. 107, 108.
earth, in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
"When the clouds rise in the East, when he comes who sets in order the thirteen forms of the clouds, the yellow lord of the hurricane, the hope of the lords to come, he who rules the preparation of the divine liquor, he who loves the guardian spirits of the fields, then I pray to him for his precious favor; for I trust all in the hands of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."
Did he not know then, does he not know now, that even with the admixture of Christian ideas as Brasseur received it from the mouth of Marcelo Canich, mayoral of the hacienda of X-Canchakan (who also recited it to me), if the meaning of the words had been properly rendered, far from being the senseless sentences he has published, he would have found it, as it is, replete with curious and most valuable information?
His rendering of the Invocation is indeed worthless, but the Maya text tells its own most interesting story. From his not giving a proper translation, made by himself, are we to infer that the learned professor of linguistics does not know the Maya language as he would have the world believe?
No one can read the learned analysis of the Maya, and the comparison of its grammatical construction with that of the ancient Greek, by the scholarly Brasseur, which forms the introduction to his "Elements of the Maya tongue," in the second volume of the Troano MS., without being satisfied that he was thoroughly acquainted with said language; and without acquiring the conviction that, by attacking the memory of a great scholar, who now lies silent in the grave, Dr.
Brinton has given another proof that he wants to build for himself a reputation for learning at the cost of that of fellowstudents.
In mentioning Balam, the Yumilcax, the "lord of the fields," the learned Professor of Archæology of the University of Pennsylvania confounds him with the Chacs, "the gods of rain," " guardians of the cardinal points." "These Balams, says he, "are in fact the gods of the cardinal points, and of the winds and rains which proceed from them," etc.,1 and to prove his assertion he covers several pages of his book with idle tales, known to everybody. They are current to-day among the natives, who beguile the evening hours by recounting them over and over. These stories have no relation with ancient traditions. They contain as much teaching as the stories of "Puss in Boots" and "Bluebeard."
We have seen (p. 103) that the Chacs were the "gods of rain," and as such held as the "keepers of the fields," the
1 D. G. Brinton, Essays of an Americanist, "The Birds of the Winds " (p. 175). It will be noticed that Dr. Brinton writes the word Balams and gives H-Balamob as the Maya plural. This is a word of his own coinage. He will not find it in his copy of Brown Library (Motul) dictionary. He does not seem to know that the ancient termination ob, as sign of plural in nouns, has not been in use for very many years, having been replaced by ex, second person plural of the personal pronoun. So that, if in addressing his workmen he should say to them, "Palob" ("Boys"), as it was proper anciently, they would cast at each other an inquiring glance, the meaning of which would plainly be, What does he say? But should he tell them, "Palex! conex hanal" ("Boys, let us go to eat "), he would not have to repeat the order twice.
Neither does he seem to know that h is never used before a noun, except as a mark of the masculine gender, it being the contraction of ah, masculine article, never as a diminutive or particle of elegance. In that case a, contraction of the feminine article ix, is, and has always been, employed, even before a masculine noun, as, for instance, in X-Kukulcan. But this is regarded as affectation on the part of the speaker.