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and, after all, it is a question whether an equal amount of refinement, and a higher kind of ingenuity, may not be attained by other less laborious and more profitable exercises. If verse-making is to be retained at all, it certainly should be confined to those who, from their superior scholarship or natural taste, are likely to excel in that branch of composition.
The question whether the Classics would be better learnt, if their study were commenced by the student at a later age than is at present usual, is one which probably admits of debate, and certainly cannot be satisfactorily decided except by a careful and extensive induction from experience; and no experiments on & sufficiently large scale have yet been made to enable us to form a positive opinion upon the matter. It is asserted, indeed, in a recent number of the Westminster Review (July, 1864), that “if composition were wholly cut out of the curriculum, and boys were allowed to begin their Classics at a later age than they do now, and after a proper training, which they do not now receive, in English and French, or German, they might acquire in two years, or, in cases of exceptional stupidity, in three years, as much knowledge of Greek and Latin as they do now after ten or twelve;" and, in support of this statement, it is urged that in the London Ladies' Colleges "young ladies, who leave school at sixteen or seventeen, do learn Latin fairly" in that time, studying simultaneously “a variety of other subjects." Now, that they do learn something of the subject is no doubt true, but how much-one would be glad to know. Although, however, we have no sufficient experience to guide us, we may suggest a few points, of much use in directing us towards a tolerably accurate decision on the proposed question. It is, we believe, a recognised fact, that students who take to classical studies after they have passed the ordinary school-boy age rarely attain to much proficiency in them, while, if they apply themselves to Mathematics, or many other branches of learning, they often reach a high, or even the highest, level of attainments to this rule the exceptions are very few; and it would seem to indicate that classical studies, if any useful amount of progress is to be made in them, must be introduced at an early stage of the educational course; it is not, however, decisive as to the point, whether the Classics are best mastered when commenced by school-boys in their tenth or their fourteenth year. It is undoubtedly true, that studies, which involve external observation, are most attractive to the mind of a child, and that, therefore, in them children at an early age are most likely to make rapid progress; still it is highly probable that the mind ought early to be directed to some extent, though not excessively, to the study of language, with a view, not so much to the acquiring a knowledge of the subject, as to the bending the faculties in the right direction, by way of preparation for the subsequent earnest and thorough pursuit of it. Thus young boys should, in our opinion, spend a small, but only a small, portion of their time on their Latin, their attention being chiefly devoted to other more suitable, or practically useful, subjects; this time may gradually be extended, as they progress in age and attainments. Nothing can be more indefensible than to devote, in the case of young boys, any considerable portion of their time to the Classics, when there are so many other branches of knowledge absolutely necessary for them to learn, in which they ought first to be well grounded, or which, at all events, they ought to be put in a fair way of acquiring in due course. To what has been already said upon this point we may add, from our own experience, that we have known, in one or two instances, boys who, commencing classical studies at a late period of their schoolboy career, have yet made considerable progress in them; but they have been boys of remarkable ability, and did not reach more than a respectable level of proficiency; and after all, it is questionable whether from these studies, entered upon thus late, they have derived any very valuable discipline of the mind : and again, it must be remembered that these instances are exceptional, and that in far the greater number of cases, when classics have been commenced late on in the school course, our experience has proved that but a very small amount of knowledge of them has been acquired. Still, to those disposed to venture on the experiment on a large scale, it is a matter at least worth a trial, whether the same, or even a greater, amount of classical proficiency may not be attained by commencing classical studies at a more advanced age; we can only say, that in our judgment the result would not be found to justify the practice.
Lastly, with reference to what has been said in condemnation of rote-teaching, we are disposed to acquiesce in the opinion of the Edinburgh Reviewer (July, 1864, p. 170), that “to repeat with unfailing accuracy the contents of the old Eton and Westminster Grammars, was an accomplishment, or rather a virtue, of which the value, intellectually speaking, was absolutely null.” It cannot, indeed, be denied, that in the method of teaching the Classics formerly, and perhaps to a great extent still, prevalent among us, too great importance has been attached to this mere memoriter acquisition of paradigms and rules; and thus the memory has been too much cultivated, while other faculties have been neglected, and the general intelligence has been unawakened. It is, however, to be hoped that a more intelligent system of instruction is at all events beginning to prevail; for we cannot but confess that great improvement in this respect is at once practicable and desirable.
If we proceed to enquire into the remedies for the deficiencies of our system of classical instruction, the first, and by far the most important one, at once presents itself. The truth is, that classical teachers, like all others, ought to be specially trained for their work; a young man may be an admirable classical scholar, and yet quite unfitted to impart classical instruction; and we believe that no really efficient method of teaching is likely to prevail, until the teacher has been first taught to teach, and so sent out thoroughly equipped and prepared for the work before him. The scholastic calling ought to be elevated into the rank of a profession, like that of the law, or medicine, requiring a definite course of preparatory professional training: we do not entrust matters which concern our bodily health, or the security of our property, to unskilled, untrained men; as little should we entrust the equally, or even more, important task of disciplining the minds and forming the characters of our children to men who have never undergone any special preparation for so difficult and momentous an employment. Our doctors and our lawyers receive professional training-so should also our schoolmasters; and not only our elementary ones, but still more those who undertake the education of the upper and middle classes of the country; for upon their fitness for their work, much more than upon that of the teachers of the lower orders, the well-being of the nation depends, inasmuch as it is the upper and middle classes who give the tone to, and impress their form upon, the national character and life.
A second remedy, which we venture to recommend, is the improvement of our existing text-books. For, though these have been greatly improved, yet there are comparatively few, among the very many published, which can be regarded as thoroughly satisfactory; indeed, the composition of a really good textbook requires on the part of its author an amount of theoretical knowledge, and practical experience of a certain kind, but rarely found in combination in one individual; and perhaps it is not in the nature of things possible, that the views and ideas of any one author, and his modes of expounding those views and ideas, can in any subject whatever solve the intellectual difficulties, and meet the intellectual wants, of the student. Our Latin Grammars are not what they should be; the old Eton Latin Grammar is by no means a satisfactory book; and though many Latin Grammars of a very superior character have been of late years compiled, yet there is room for the introduction of a better one still. As regards Greek Grammars we are more fortunate; for in Wordsworth's “Græcæ Grammatica Rudimenta," we possess a really serviceable school-book, at all events for some of our scholars; but unfortunately, for others it is marred by the fatal defect of its being written in Latin, and thus being in a great measure unintelligible, or rather only after the expenditure of much unnecessary time and pains intelligible, to the majority of schoolboys, whose knowledge of Latin itself is but meagre. Then again, our text-books upon classical prose composition do not seem thoroughly to answer their purpose; thus, T. K. Arnold's Works, excellent as they are in many respects, fail to impart to any satisfactory extent the art of classical composition; indeed, it is wonderful how long a boy may study the first part of that author's work upon the subject, without acquiring in most cases any but the faintest idea how to write Latin prose. Again, but few annotated editions of the Classics are of much use to the school-boy; sometimes they are too critical, and quite beyond his grasp; and if they are less pretentious in their aim, they seldom contain the information most wanted by the youthful student. The Oxford annotated pocket Classics are useful as far as they go, but would be more so if the notes were more copious and frequent. On the other hand, such editions as those of Anthon err from assisting the student too much. In the matter of Lexicons and Dictionaries we are far better off; as Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, and the extensive works edited by Dr. W. Smith, leave but little to be desired in the line which they take up. While we thus