« ZurückWeiter »
exercises ill corrected, and ideas of the language formed from their own unassisted impressions, and gradually wrought into the mind and implicitly received as truth.
Another and great obstacle to subsequent success and grasp of the language is the lack of a copia verborum, arising out of early neglect and the unlimited dependence upon dictionaries instead of the memory of the learner. This defect is such, that probably most boys will hesitate if asked to construe offhand even a simple sentence composed of words and phrases they have met with a hundred times. It has probably been thought enough if they have known a word at the time they have met with it in a particular lesson,—that is to say, if it has made a slight passing impression upon their memory for a momentary purpose, leaving little or no trace behind to meet the next occasion on which the word presents itself, and then the dictionary has to be consulted again, with as little prospect of leaving any real impression. If a boy has been taught to compile and learn his own dictionary as he proceeds, instead of consulting others which he does not know how to use, and which often only perplex and mislead him; if he has had the peculiarities of each word pointed out to him, its etymology explained, its seeming eccentricities reduced to rule, its analogy to other words (previously known) and its connexion with familiar English words exhibited, and finally, has been made to learn by heart the lesson of each day, the length of which may be regulated with reference to this object;-when all this has been done, he will have a stock of words and phrases which he can hardly fail to remember, and will have no difficulty in producing when wanted for composition,-his attempts at which usually bring out, in the clearest way, a boy's real ignorance of the Latin language.
There is no reason why the whole of this small selection from Ovid should not be familiarly and accurately written on the memory of every boy before he rises above the
fourth form; and with such a stock of knowledge well inculcated, it may be safely said that he will be a better Latin scholar than many who carry to the University the crude results of a long school education.
A selection of poetry has been made rather than of prose for the reason formerly stated, namely, that the constructions are more simple, and the sentences shorter. It may be as well that some degree of familiarity with the language, as here represented, should be attained before a boy passes on to the study of prose writers, of which study more will not be said in this place.
That the art of writing Latin verses will be much facilitated by the course of instruction proposed in these remarks is evident. Some persons underrate that art; perhaps some over-estimate its value. Thus much however most will admit, that while in its perfection it is itself the fruit of a close study of the Latin poets, in the acquiring of it that study is promoted and assisted; that while the reading of Ovid in the way here proposed will bring a boy almost naturally to write verses, in writing them his attention will be more closely fixed upon the book. So far therefore few teachers would do otherwise than encourage their pupils in this species of composition; and when the mechanical difficulties are overcome, and a considerable stock of ideas and words and phrases are stored in their minds, and they have learnt in some measure to think in the language of Ovid, the transition to a wider and more original field of composition is too natural to be avoided.
No notes have been appended to the pieces in this selection. It is not intended that the learner should be left to his own resources in making out the sense of the author, but that the master should assist him over every real difficulty; and difficulties must be estimated according to the circumstances of the learner. That which is and must be a difficulty to a boy at one stage of his studies
should be none at another; and notes which should embrace every difficulty that must occur in an elementary school-book would necessarily be very voluminous; but to explain some difficulties and leave others (perhaps of much greater importance) unsolved, is not the way to write notes, but is unfair and tantalising. It is presumed that masters professing to teach the Latin language will be able to explain, with a little consideration, every species of difficulty occurring in this selection; and this mode of annotation, though involving a little more labour and attention upon the teacher, is certainly the most profitable to the student.
A short heading to the shorter pieces, and an argument prefixed to the longer, will sufficiently explain their general scope, and help to imprint them on the memory, and serve as a guide for reference.
The Third Book of the Metamorphoses is easy and interesting. It will be found necessary to pass over one or two trifling parts, which may easily be done. The question of expurgation is one attended with difficulties; but without any intention of deciding that question in general, it has not been thought necessary to omit the few lines in this Book which it would not consist with delicacy to dwell upon or to construe. They form a link in the story, and are not calculated to do mischief; and it may be observed generally, that if the minds of boys are well regulated and properly directed, such merely incidental passages are naturally passed over by them sub silentio; and that it is much better to teach them these proper feelings, than to excite their curiosity by suppressing passages which it is probable they will be thereby tempted to find out for themselves, and the importance of which such a course only serves to exaggerate.
It only remains to be said, that the text is that of Burmann, with the exception of the following passages, in which the reading adopted has invariably the authority
of good Mss., while Burmann's readings are sometimes though not often conjectural.
P. 1. v. 10, antiqua est' for 'antiqui.'
P. 4. v. 11, 'jam' for 'qua.'
P. 7. v. 17, 'qua est' for 'quid.'
P. 24. v. 9, 'semel' for 'quater,' which has no authority at all.
P. 32. v. 43, 'at' for 'ac.' v. 66, 'spinae curvamine fixum' for 'fixum curv. spinae.'
P. 33. v. 78,
P. 35. v. 144,
P. 37. v. 200,
exstat' for 'exit.' v. 84, 'figit' for 'pangit.'
ut vero vultus et unda' for 'ut vero solitis
sua... undis.' v. 213, 'ferox' for 'fero.'
P. 39. v. 262, 'profeci' for 'effeci.'
P. 43. v. 412, 'locum' for 'lacum.'
P. 46. v. 501, 'locus' for. ' lacus.' v. 503, 'mors' for 'nox.' P. 47. v. 519, 'namque dies aderit quam non' for 'jamque. jamque haud,' which is Burmann's own conjecture.
P. 52. v. 682, 'dimidiae' for 'dividuae.'
A. J. M.
The foregoing remarks appeared in the first edition of this book. I did not append any notes to that edition, thinking it better to leave to the master the explanation of all difficulties than to give notes which, if less comprehensive than those on boys' books usually are, to the detriment of education and the embarrassment of good teachers, might prove unsatisfactory. But a desire for notes having been expressed to the publishers from different quarters, I have added such as judícious teachers will allow to be enough. I still think that the sooner boys can be put to learn Ovid the better, though it seems impossible to supersede entirely the short sentences by which
the connection of the noun and verb is first taught, and this was not intended in the former preface. But presuming that those who use this book will know little or nothing of others, or of the Greek language, I have seldom referred to other authors, and have not introduced Greek words. The few grammatical rules that I have given are such as the ordinary grammars do not teach, and I recommend that attention be drawn to them as often as their application is required. They may perhaps require to be further explained to some boys; but this is the province of the master. Teachers are now so much alive, I believe, to the importance of pointing out the etymology of words, that it need not be urged. I have explained a few in the notes, but more will occur to any careful instructor.
*These are not Burmann's readings; but they appear to
me to be right.