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bad company, or their health impaired by injudicious confinement, though Greek and Latin were annihilated.
2. It is another abuse of study, when the hours of attendance in a grammar school are all employed in the acquisition' of words. If a child find nothing but words in the old authors, it must be owing to the stupifying influence of an ignorant teacher. The most interesting part of profane history is delivered by the writers of Greece and Rome. From them also we may learn the purest precepts of uninspired morality, delivered in the most enchanting language, illustrated by the happiest allusions, and enforced by the most pertinent examples, and most emphatical reasoning. Whatever is amusive and instructive in fable, whatever in description is beautiful, or in composition harmonious, whatever can sooth or awaken the human passions, the Greek and Roman authors have carried to perfection. That children should enter into all these beauties, is not to be imagined; but that they may be made to comprehend them so far as to be improved and delighted in a high degree, admits of no doubt. Together with the words, therefore, of these two celebrated languages, they may learn, without any additional expense of time, the principles of history, morality, politicks, geography, and criticism; which, VOL. VI.
when taught in a foreign dialect, will perhaps be found to leave a deeper impression upon the memory, than when explained in the mother tongue. The young student should be equally attentive to the phraseology and to the subject of his lesson; and receive directions for analyzing the one, as well as for construing the other. He ought to read his authors, first as a grammarian, secondly as a philosopher, and lastly as a critick; and all this he may do without difficulty, and with delight as well as profit, if care is taken to proportion his task to his years and capacity. Nor let it be supposed, that the first principles of grammar are more intelligible to a young mind, than the rudiments of philosophy and rhetorick. In matters within their sphere, do we not find that children can distinguish between truth and falsehood; perceive the connection of causes and effects; infer an obvious conclusion from plain premises, and even make experiments upon nature for the regulation of their own conduct? And if in musick, and drawing, and penmanship, and phraseology, the taste of a child is improvable, why not in composition and style, the cadence of periods, and the harmony of verse, probability of fable and accuracy of description? The more we attend to an author's subject, the greater proficiency we shall always make in his language.
To understand the subject well, it is necessary to study the words and their connection with a critical eye; whereas, even when his knowledge of the words is very superficial, a scholar or tutor, who attends to nothing else, may think himself sufficiently acquainted with the author's meaning. The mere grammatical teacher will never be found to have any true taste for his author: if he had, it would be impossible for him to confine himself to verbal remarks: he must give scope to his admiration or disgust, if he really feel those passions; and must therefore communicate to the pupil some portion of his own enthusiasm or sagacity.
3. The mental faculties of children stand as much in need of improvement, and consequently of exercise, as their bodily powers. Nor is it of small importance to devise some mode of discipline for fixing their attention. When this is not done, they become thoughtless and dissipated to a degree that often unfits them for the business of life.
The Greeks and Romans had a just sense of the value of this part of education. The youth of Sparta, when their more violent exercises were over, employed themselves in works of stratagem; which in a state, where wealth and avarice were unknown, could hardly be carried to any
criminal excess. When they met together for conversation, their minds were continually exerted in judging of the morality of actions, and the expediency of publick measures of government; or in bearing with temper, and retorting with spirit the sarcasms of goodnatured raillery. They were obliged to express themselves, without hesitation, in the fewest and plainest words possible. These institutions must have made them thoughtful, and attentive, and observant both of men and things. And accordingly, their good sense, and penetration, and their nervous and sententious style, were no less the admiration of Greece, than their sobriety, patriotism, and invincible courage. For the talent of saying what we call good things they were eminent among all the nations of antiquity. As they never piqued themselves on their rhetorical powers, it was prudent to accustom the youth to silence and few words. It made them modest and thoughtful. With us very sprightly children sometimes become very dull men. For we are apt to reckon those children the sprightliest, who talk the most: and as it is not easy for them to think and talk at the same time, the natural effect of their too much speaking is too little thinking. At Athens, the youth were made to study their own language with accuracy both in the pronunciation and composition; and the meanest of the people valued themselves upon their attainments in this way. Their orators must have had a very difficult part to act, when by the slightest impropriety they ran the hazard of disgusting the whole audience: and we shall not wonder at the extraordinary effects produced by the harangues of Demosthenes, or the extraordinary care wherewith those harangues were composed, when we recollect, that the minutest beauty in his perfor-/ mance must have been perceived and felt by every one of his hearers. It has been matter of surprise to some, that Cicero, who had so true a relish for the severe simplicity of the Athenian orator, should himself in his orations have adopted a style so diffuse and declamatory. But Cicero knew what he did. He had a people to deal with, who, compared with the Athenians, might be called illiterate;* and to whom Demosthenes would have appeared as cold and uninteresting as Cicero would have seemed pompous and inflated to the people of Athens. In every part of learning the Athenians were studious to excel. Rhetorick in all its branches was to them an object of