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OFFICIAL ACCURACY.-PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE. 88
cerning, dauntless, and most powerful speaker. Folly and corruption never had a more terrible enemy in the English House of Commons one whom it was so impossible to bribe, so hopeless to elude, and so difficult to [E. R. 1811.]
THE term official accuracy has of late days become one of very ambiguous import. Mr. Rose, we can see, would imply by it the highest possible accuracy—as we see office pens advertised in the window of a shop, by way of excellence. The public reports of those, however, who have been appointed to look into the manner in which public offices are conducted, by no means justify this usage of the term ;- and we are not without apprehensions, that Dutch politeness, Carthaginian faith, Boeotian genius, and official accuracy, may be terms equally current in the world; and that Mr. Rose may, without intending it, have contributed to make this valuable addition to the mass of our ironical phraseology. -[E. R. 1811.]
DURATION OF ERROR.
A HUNDRED years, to be sure, is a very little time for the duration of a national error; and it is so far from being reasonable to look for its decay at so short a date, that it can hardly be expected, within such limits, to have displayed the full bloom of its imbecility. — [E. R. 1809.]
PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE.
NOTHING will do in the pursuit of knowledge but the blackest ingratitude;- the moment we have got up the
VALUE OF CLASSICAL LEARNING.
ladder, we must kick it down; as soon as we have passed over the bridge, we must let it rot;-when we have got upon the shoulders of the ancients, we must look over their heads. The man who forgets the friends of his childhood in real life is base; but he who clings to the props of his childhood in literature, must be content to remain ignorant as he was when a child.- [E. R. 1809.]
VALUE OF CLASSICAL LEARNING.
To almost every Englishman up to the age of three or four and twenty, classical learning has been the great object of existence; and no man is very apt to suspect, or very much pleased to hear, that what he has done for so long a time was not worth doing.-[E. R. 1809.]
BEAUTY OF CLASSICAL LANGUAGE.
THE two ancient languages are as mere inventions -as pieces of mechanism incomparably more beautiful than any of the modern languages of Europe: their mode of signifying time and case, by terminations, instead of auxiliary verbs and particles, would of itself stamp their superiority. Add to this, the copiousness of the Greek language, with the fancy, majesty, and harmony of its compounds; and there are quite sufficient reasons why the classics should be studied for the beauties of language. Compared to them, merely as vehicles of thought and passion, all modern languages are dull, ill contrived, and barbarous.-[E. R. 1809.]
THE CLASSICAL AUTHORS.
WHATEVER Our conjectures may be, we cannot be sure that the best modern writers can afford us as
good models as the ancients; we cannot be certain that they will live through the revolutions of the world, and continue to please in every climate — under every species of government-through every stage of civilisation. We may still borrow descriptive power from Tacitus; dignified perspicuity from Livy; simplicity from Cæsar; and from Homer some portion of that light and heat which, dispersed into ten thousand channels, has filled the world with bright images and illustrious thoughts. Let the cultivator of modern literature addict himself to the purest models of taste which France, Italy, and England could supply, he might still learn from Virgil to be majestic, and from Tibullus to be tender; he might not yet look upon the face of nature as Theocritus saw it; nor might he reach those springs of pathos with which Euripides softened the hearts of his audience.-[E. R. 1809.]
A LEARNED man!- a scholar! -a man of erudition! Upon whom are these epithets of approbation bestowed? Are they given to men acquainted with the science of government? thoroughly masters of the geographical and commercial relations of Europe? to men who know the properties of bodies, and their action upon each other? No: this is not learning; it is chemistry, or political economy-not learning. The distinguishing abstract term, the epithet of Scholar, is reserved for him who writes on the Æolic reduplication, and is familiar with the Sylburgian method of arranging defectives in w and μl. The picture which a young Englishman, addicted to the pursuit of knowledge, draws—his beau idéal, of human nature-his top and consummation of man's
powers is a knowledge of the Greek language. His object is not to reason, to imagine, or to invent; but to conjugate, decline, and derive. The situations of imaginary glory which he draws for himself, are the detection of an anapæst in the wrong place, or the restoration of a dative case which Cranzius had passed over, and the never-dying Ernesti failed to observe.—[E. R. 1809.]
THERE are few boys who remain to the age of eighteen or nineteen at a public school, without making above ten thousand Latin verses; a greater number than is contained in the Eneid: and after he has made this quantity of verses in a dead language, unless the poet should happen to be a very weak man indeed, he never makes another as long as he lives.-[E. R. 1809.]
VERSIFICATION NO TEST OF CAPACITY.
THE prodigious honour in which Latin verses are held at public schools is surely the most absurd of all absurd. distinctions. You rest all reputation upon doing that which is a natural gift, and which no labour can attain. If a lad won't learn the words of a language, his degradation in the school is a very natural punishment for his disobedience, or his indolence; but it would be as reasonable to expect that all boys should be witty, or beautiful, as that they should be poets. In either case, it would be to make an accidental, unattainable, and not a very important gift of nature, the only, or the principal, test of merit. This is the reason why boys, who make a considerable figure at school, so very often make no figure in the world;-and why other lads, who are passed over without notice, turn out to be valuable, important men. The test established in the world is widely dif
EXCLUSIVE CULTURE OF LANGUAGES.
ferent from that established in a place which is presumed to be a preparation for the world; and the head of a public school, who is a perfect miracle to his contemporaries, finds himself shrink into absolute insignificance, because he has nothing else to command respect or regard, but a talent for fugitive poetry in a dead language.— [E. R. 1809.]
EXCLUSIVE CULTURE OF LANGUAGES.
THE passion for languages is just as strong as any other literary passion. There are very good Persian and Arabic scholars in this country. Large heaps of trash have been dug up from Sanscrit ruins. We have seen, in our own times, a clergyman of the University of Oxford complimenting their Majesties in Coptic and Syrophoenician verses; and yet we doubt whether there will be a sufficient avidity in literary men to get at the beauties of the finest writers which the world has yet seen; and though the Bagvat Gheeta has (as can be proved) met with human beings to translate, and other human beings to read it, we think that, in order to secure an attention to Homer and Virgil, we must catch up every man whether he is to be a clergyman or a duke, -begin with him at six years of age, and never quit him till he is twenty; making him conjugate and decline for life and death; and so teaching him to estimate his progress in real wisdom as he can scan the verses of the Greek tragedians. [E. R. 1809.]
NARROWNESS OF ENGLISH EDUCATION.
THE English clergy, in whose hands education entirely rests, bring up the first young men of the country as if they were all to keep grammar schools in little country towns.-[E. R. 1809.]