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A GLANCE BACKWARD AND FORWARD.
We have thus, as we were able, accomplished with our readers what we voluntarily put ourselves under engagement with them to do. We have completed the course of Greek literature usually presumed to have been gone over by the student that has prepared himself for matriculation at college; that is, what, in its relation to the college curriculum, has come to be, in a sort technically, termed the “preparatory” Greek course. We have, indeed, done something more than barely this; for we have advanced, in the various Greek authors represented, a little beyond the limits within which class instruction at school is ordinarily confined. We have further sought to supply to our readers something like an equivalent for the body of collateral information, which, during the hours of “recitation," so called, is imparted by the living teacher, either in response to questions from his class, or at the spontaneous suggestion of what occurs in the "lessons” from day to day. This incidental purpose of ours will, we hope, sufficiently account to our readers for the freedom with which, at intervals, we have permitted ourselves to be drawn aside into diversions from the main highway and thoroughfare of progress to our goal. We have tried to be entertaining, as well as instructive, but we have acted all the time on the belief that to be instructive was our best way to be entertaining. How well we have succeeded, our readers will, of course, judge for themselves—and our readers must judge, too, for us. Perhaps in the second book of our series we may reasonably trust to do better than we have done in this first. The effort, at least, shall not be wanting.
The intrinsic interest of the literature in Latin to be presented in the next volume, will not be greater, it may even be less, than that which belongs to what has been presented in this. But then there will be, in the next volume, the added interest of relation between the two literatures, a relation of comparison and of contrast, a relation likewise of derivation and influence. Plutarch conceived the idea of pairing off a Greek name with a Roman, and treating the two together in a kind of parallel biography. These collated lives written by Plutarch, constitute one of the most suggestive and interesting features of his fascinating volumes. Of course, such parallels may easily be made very misleading. That Pluturch has not pushed his device at points too far, we would by no means maintain. But the love of comparison and contrast is one of the deepest instincts of the human mind; and always we arrive best at clear definition when we have present in thought some contrast to our ideas, to indicate the limits at which we must look for their outline or boundary.
It will thus be highly instructive and stimulating to study Cæsar, in a kind of comparison and contrast with Xenophon -to study Virgil in parallel with Homer, his master and original. As we go on in our later, our latest, stages of progress in this road, we shall set Cicero off against Demosthenes—though we shall need to bring Plato too, perhaps even Aristotle besides, into relation, in order to find a full counterpart to the versatile, the voluminous, the all-accomplished Roman. And there will constantly, on to the end, continue to be such occasion of extrinsic interest derived for our study of Latin literature, through the parallels and antitheses suggested between the authors belonging respectively to the earlier and the later, to the original and the derivative. The genius and history of the two peoples, great and peculiar in ways so strikingly different, on the one side and on the other, will naturally be estimated with more advantage, and therefore with more zest, when, having got a tolerably intelligent comprehension of the first, we make the transition to form our comparative conception of the second. It will be suitable, in our second volume, to lay before our readers, not certainly an exhaustive, but at least a suggestive, assemblage of celebrated, or otherwise noteworthy, expressions of opinion on the several peculiarities and relative merits of the two literatures, Latin and Greek, as wholes, and then also, from time to time, in the second volume, and in the others to follow that, like expressions of opinion concerning those various individual writers on the two sides, who have naturally, in all ages since they flourished, been brought into mutual comparison.
Although, therefore, from the nature of the case, one cannot with reason anticipate any augmentation in the proper and inherent interest of the subject, in taking leave of Greek literature, to make acquaintance with Latin-for the Greek mind found for itself in letters and art that supreme satisfaction of its energy, which the Roman mind more naturally sought for itself in conquest and governmentstill, when we consider the separate interest to be derived,
one passes on to study the second, from mutual juxtaposition of the two in stimulating comparison, we feel warranted in promising to our readers that they will, on the whole, be not less entertained and instructed in the next following stage of their course, than they have been in this. Through all the successive stages of the course, to the ultimate goal, we shall, as we advance, in the instance of some of the authors represented, be able to make use of translations, that may be regarded as rising themselves to the rank of a really high literature in English. This will be notably the case as to Virgil, as to Horace, and as to Plato, hardly less so perhaps than it has been here as to Homer. The prospect altogether is decidedly bright and inviting.
With such assurances, animating to us at least, as we hope they will be likewise to them, we herewith bid our readers good-bye, and, if they kindly please, let it be in the senti
ment of that hearty German phrase of farewell, Auf wiedersehen, Till we meet again.
Those, however, who have thus far liked their entertainment the best, will, we may trust, have a mind to linger a little, still holding their friend, writer or compiler, by the hand, as they pass out at their leisure through the halls and corridors beyond, consisting of various matters germane to our purpose, in pages following adjoined and appended.
THE STUDENT'S MEMORANDA.
The reader of this volume may profitably fill the blanks on the following pages.
The labor required in this is very slight, but well performed will be of value, as it incites to the exercise of judgment, the discipline of memory, and the training in the art of concise and comprehensive statement. Every effort to recall and to express one's knowledge, gives a firmer hold upon that knowledge and renders it of greater practical value. He who does a little work well, will know how to undertake something larger, and from this experience will come continued and cumulative success. The reader may become the student, and the student, after a while, the scholar.
The exercises here provided are for beginners—whether they be old or young. They are not tasks assigned, but opportunities offered. The work may be done at any time, and in any place, and after any method. Only let the work be done.
The student having mastered the several subjects with sufficient fullness to be able to write out his answers, should do so with care and neatness, that he may never havs reason to be ashamed of the portion of the book which he has himself written,