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municate nothing but what is bad. If Lucretius's philosophy were not redeemed by the wealth of his poetry, it would not now attract a vagrant eye; and would, probably, have been whelmed under the worst rubbish of antiquity. The selection from the Greek is preferable to that from the Latin writers. The Muses of Ascra, and of Rhodes, are certainly respectable; and they present to us the stamp of the most simple and the most refined age of Grecian poetry. But they are to be regarded only as poets; for Apollonius assumes nothing more than to be the framer of a poetic fable; and the æconomy or the husbandry of Hesiod will not entitle him to the honourable rank of an instructor in our country, or the present age. Plutarch offers to us information and strong sense in an uncouth dress; and the two works of Xenophon are admirable productions, well known in the higher classes of our public schools; intelligible and instructive to the boy, and delightful to the man. Oppian, Quintus Calaber, Geminus, Polyænus and Ælian may be dismissed with Celsus, Pliny, and Frontinus, as possessing various degrees of merit, and as objects of literary curiosity;
but as qualified neither to give the young scholar any useful information, nor to form his tasle.
Proceeding with this ambitious, if not novel design of infusing extraordinary knowledge into the youthful mind, Milton las been expected to produce more than human abilities have the power to command; and has been insulted for not sending, from his little academy, orators and poets, philosophers and divines. No master can make scholars against the inhibition of nature; and solitary learning cannot snatch the palm of literary renown; or coinmand the world. “ Virûm volitare per ora” is the privilege of the highly favoured few; and if we compare the small proportion of these to the multitude of the undistinguished even among the most cultivated of the human race; if we reflect on the hundreds and the thousands,
gaze of the
r." If his pupils," says the candid Philips, “ had received his documents with the same acuteness of wit and apprehension, the same industry, alacrity, and thirst after knowledge, as the instructor was indued with, what prodigies of wit and learning might they have proved." Life of Milton.-Johnson talks with the true feeling, and in the proper style of a schoolmaster. " Every man, that has ever undertaken to instruct others, can tell what slow advances he has been able to make; and how much patience it requires to recall vagrant attention, to stimulate sluggish indifference, and to rectify absurd misapprehen. sion." Life of Milton.
who, in a short revolution of time, pass through our public schools to obscurity, we shall cease to be surprised that not one of Milton's small knot of pupils has asserted any very eminent place among the scholars or the writers of his country. We shall rather, indeed, wonder that two of them, the two Philips's, were authors, and of no despicable rank; one of them publishing a latin answer to an anonymous attack' on his uncle and his cause; and the other, besides that life, to which all the biographers of Milton are so greatly indebted, a respectable English work with the latin title of Theatrum Poëtarum, containing a list and character of the ancient and the modern poets. In honour of Milton's earnest and intelligent discharge of his duties as a teacher, it is recorded, that these two young men, who came under his care at the early ages of ten and nine, were so rapidly forwarded in. their studies, as, in the course of one year, to be " able to understand a latin author at sight.” Aubrey, who relates the circumstance, ought to have been more specific in his account. If he means by “ a latin
· Ascribed, but without sufficient grounds, to the pen of Dr. Bramhall, bishop of Derry; and afterwards archbishop of Armagh.
author" any latin author, the fact is certainly extraordinary, and reputable, in nearly an equal degree, to the master, and the scholars.
But Milton's scheme extended, beyond the Roman and the Greek, to the Hebrew, with its dialects of Chaldce and Syriac, and to some of the modern languages. It comprehended, also, a certain acquaintance with the mathematics, and with their sublime application to the purposes of astronomy. While this various reading fully occupied six days of the week, the seventh had its appropriate and clìaracteristic employment. On this day, the pupils, after reading to their master a chapter in the Greek testament, and hearing his explanation of it, wrote, as he dictated, on some subject of theology
As his plan of education could not be properly executed in his confined lodgings in St. Bride's church-yard, he soon removed to a house in Aldersgate-street, of which the size admitted his scholars into his family, and the situation, secluded by a court from the street, and opening into a garden,' supplied the retirement and quiet
' It was one of those houses, which were called Garden
favourable to literary attention. Here he gave the example to his
students of close application, with abstinent diet; and the only peculiar indulgence, which he allowed himself, was that of a day of temperate festivity once in three weeks or a month. This day, which his nephew, adopting, probably, his uncle's expression, calls “ a gawdy day,” was allotted to the society of some young and gay friends. Of these, Philips names Mr. Alphry and Mr. Millar, and remarks that “they were the beaux of those times; but that they were nothing near so bad as those now a days.” The gay men of the puritan age were, indeed, mere babies in excess to the revellers of the succeeding one; when the profligacy of a shameless court, propagated rapidly and strongly through the country, had nearly driven modesty and temperance from Britain.
Abstinence in diet was one of Milton's favourite virtues; which he practised invariably through life, and availed himself of every opportunity to recommend in his writings. In his second beautiful elegy to his friend, Deodati, he admits of the use of wine
houses, of which in that day there were many; and particularly in the northern suburbs. Our author's house in Petty France was a garden-house.