« PoprzedniaDalej »
De l'Improvisation Poëtique chez les Anciens, et particulière-
ment chez les Grecs et les Romains.
ROCHETTE. Sec. Partie
On the Science of the Egyptians and Chaldeans. By Sir W.
Cambridge Prize Poem.-Jerusalem. By C. H. TOWNSEND
Senarii Græci, præmio Porsoniano dignati. By G. J. PEN-
ADVERSARIA LITERARIA. No. XIII.-On a Simile in Ho-
FOR SEPTEMBER, 1817.
The Literary and Scientific Pursuits which are encouraged and enforced in the University of Cambridge, briefly described and vindicated. With various Notes.
BY THE REV. LATHAM WAINEWRIGHT, A.M. F. A. S. Of Emmanuel College, in that University; and Rector of Great Brickhill, Bucks.
Πολλὸν δ ̓ ἐφθίμοισι δεδώρηται βασιλεῦσι,
Πολλὸν δὲ πτολίεσσι, πολὺν δ ̓ ἀγαθοῖσιν ἑταίροις.
Theoc. Idyll. 17. v. 110.
MEMBERS of the English Universities, and attached to their institutions and principles, we hail with pleasure every publication, which tends to inform the public of their pursuits and advantages. We cannot better express our opinion of those establishments, than by quoting the words of a writer, whose experience enables him to form a proper judgment:
"Of all national Establishments formed by Piety and dedicated to Wisdom, none can, in the opinion of one who trusts he is not a slave to early prejudices, be compared to the Universities. They exhibit a system, the beneficial effects of which have not been decreased by NO. XXXI. CI. JI. VOL. XVI.
the gradual relaxation of the original austerities of its foundation these have been succeeded by a manly liberality, and by the rational cultivation of a more enlarged plan of literary pursuit, inculcated without that severity which hardens, and embraced without that servility which degrades, the human mind. The excellence of these Establishments does not depend on the decision of the question respecting particular modes of instruction in some technical branches of study, in the defence of which a member of the University of Oxford has lately displayed a sagacity and information, worthy the importance of his subject: we may even admit the possibility of further improvements in these seats of learning. That question considers these Establishments only in a literary point of view. will suppose a young man, who enters the University without being a candidate for Academical honors, or a claimant of Academical degrees. These are indeed professional advantages; but gratifying as they are, they are surpassed by the moral and civil benefits, which he may reap from a residence at Oxford or Cambridge. He will acquire a habit of associating with the heirs of the first families in the Kingdom; he will learn to respect the venerable Establishments of the Church and State; to love the constitution of his country, and revere the religion of his Fathers. Though he may not himself be fond of application, he will profit by the conversation of the studious and contemplative; his mind will expand to the rays of genius, his taste will be refined, and his judgment matured. He will, by mutual communication, imbibe sentiments of generosity, of every thing that is amiable in disposition, virtuous in principle, and beneficent in practice. By collision with others, he will wear off the asperities of unreflecting presumption, and of local prejudice. He is placed in the path, which leads to all that is good and great in private and in public life. From an English University, he will derive those principles of patriotism, of morality, of religion, and of general conduct, which will enable him to perform, with private credit and public utility, the part of the most honorable and beneficent character in the world, an English gentleman." *
We have, in our former Numbers, inserted an account and a defence of the course of studies pursued at Oxford. Mr. WAINEWRIGHT, in this publication, conveys a clear and satisfactory description of the literary and scientific pursuits of Cambridge, delivered in elegant and nervous style.
In conformity to the nature of this Journal, we shall confine ourselves to a quotation on the Classical studies of that University; containing an answer to those, who represent its institutions as confined to Mathematical objects:
"It has been often asserted, but has never yet been proved, that
Appendix to Dr. VALPY's Sermons, 2 Vols.
2 No. XII.
classical literature, so far from experiencing proper encouragement at Cambridge, is both despised and neglected; and it has been falsely imagined, that he who there aspires to academical distinction, must relinquish the fairy haunts of the Muses, and for ever renounce the society of the poets, the orators, and the sages of Greece and Rome, who had been the companions of his earlier days, and were destined, he had hoped, to contribute to the comfort of his maturer years. We have ample reason, however, to congratulate ourselves upon possessing a system of education, as comprehensive as it is strict and accurate, and which at once excludes a supposition not less erroneous than it is degrading. Whilst the student pursues the sublimities, and ascends with perseverance the craggy precipices of modern science, he neglects not to analyze the beauties and to trace the paths of ancient literature. The true state of the case is, that classical lectures take place in every college throughout that part of each term which requires residence, and uniform attendance is enforced with a proper degree of strictness. Those authors are selected which afford most scope for critical remark, and which at the same time are distinguished by a display of the higher beauties of sentiment and composition. The finest plays of the Greek Tragedians, Plato's Dialogues, the Histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, Aristotle's Poetics, Cicero's philosophical works, and the two treatises of Tacitus, might be enumerated as some of the more usual of the writings of antiquity chosen for this purpose. The advantages on these occasions do not consist merely in calling upon the student to explain the text of the author then in use, but principally in the opportunity afforded of hearing the criticisms of a learned and judicious preceptor, who, in addition to the result of his own researches, can frequently avail himself of manuscript observations not generally accessible. By this means it happens, that scarcely any striking beauties of expression, peculiarities of structure, or niceties of prosody, are suffered to escape the attention of his hearers.
Another instance, in proof of the attention which is required to classical pursuits, is afforded in the examination for the several scholarships attached to every college, in which, with a few excep tions, a proficiency in Greek and Latin is considered as more essential than skill in mathematics. The stipends annexed to these scholarships indeed are, generally speaking, but small, but still they are found by experience to be amply sufficient to attract competitors, and to create emulation. Nor must we omit to enumerate amongst these incitements, the excellent institution of college prizes. Once or twice in the week, during term, according to the magnitude of the college, a particular day is appointed for the public delivery of two declamations by the undergraduates in rotation, to be composed in Latin and English alternately every year. By taking opposite sides of the question fixed upon for discussion, a greater degree of exertion is naturally required, the reasoning faculty is more vigorously excited, and a comparison between the different claimants is more easily effected. Nothing, in truth, can be more gratifying than to listen to
these effusions of youthful genius, destined, perhaps, at some future period, to instruct mankind in wisdom, or to influence their actions by the powers of eloquence.
To this more private mode of encouraging the pursuit of classical literature, I must not neglect to add the public prizes and scholarships instituted for the same purpose, and which, by being open to general competition, afford a more trying scene to the efforts of literary ambition, and are on that account frequently more productive of meritorious exertion. Among the foremost of these are the three medals, which, in conformity with the will of Sir William Browne, are annually distributed to such undergraduates as prove themselves to be the successful claimants, by the following compositions: 1st, The best Greek ode in imitation of Sappho; 2dly, The best Latin ode in imitation of Horace; 3dly, The best Greek and Latin epigrams of which the Anthologia and Martial are to be considered as the models. They are afterwards recited by the successful candidates in the Senate House, before the members of the University, and a numerous assembly of visitors. There are also two medals annually given by the Chancellor of the University, to the two best proficients in classical literature amongst those who have just obtained their first degree. In the present instance there is an excellent regulation-that no one shall become a candidate for these prizes, unless he was included in the two first classes of honors when he was admitted a graduate. A third medul has been added by the present Chancellor, the Duke of Gloucester, which is annually conferred upon the undergraduate who shall be adjudged to be the author of the best English poem, composed either in the lyric or the heroic measure.
The next prizes, which merit the attention of persons unacquainted with the system at Cambridge, are those which are given by the representatives in Parliament of this University, to the authors of the four best Latin prose dissertations; and as they are confined to those who have taken their first degree, they contribute to remove the objection which has sometimes been made, that when once a student becomes a graduate, all farther incentive to exertion ceases to exist. The same observation is applicable to the Seatonian prize, for the best English poem on a sacred subject, which is restricted to Masters of
Our author is naturally partial to his own University, and perhaps not perfectly acquainted with every part of the plan of Oxford. Thus he says:
"In the enumeration of advantages possessed by the undergraduates of this University, I ought to have mentioned one, which appears to have little or no existence at Oxford-the liberal use of the noble libraries, which add so much to the dignity and reputation of the place. Besides the privilege of access to the library attached to his own college, every student has the power of borrowing ten volumes at one time, from the public or University library, by procuring a note from some resident Master of Arts. This fine collection, con