« السابقةمتابعة »
As soon as they can read with fluency, let them begin to learn Lowth's Grammar, and to read at the same time some very easy and elegant author, with a view to exemplify the rules. They should learn a part in grammar every morning, and then proceed to read a lesson, just in the inanner observed in classical schools in learning Latin. After a year spent in this method, if the success is adequate to the time, they should advance to French, and study that language exactly in the same mode. In the French grammar, it will not be necessary to through those particulars which are common to the grammars of all languages, and which have been learned in studying English.
Several years should be spent in this elementary process; and when the scholar is perfectly acquainted with orthography and grammar, she inay then proceed to the cultivation of taste. Milton, Addison, and Pope, must be the standing models in English ; Boileau, Fontenelle *, and Vertot, in French; and I wish these to be attended to solely for a considerable time. Many inconveniences arise from engaging young minds in the perusal of too many books. After these authors have been read over with attention, and with a critical observation of their beauties, the scholar may be permitted to select any of the approved writers of France and England, for her own improvement. She will be able to select with some judgment, and will have lajd a foụndation which will bear a good superstructure. Her mind, if she has been successful in this course, will have imbibed an elegance which will naturally diffuse itself over her conversation, address, and behaviour. It is well known that internal beauty contributes much to perfect external grace. I believe it will also be favourable to virtue, and will operate greatly in restraining from any conduct grossly indelicate, and obviously improper. Much of the profligacy of female manners has proceeded from a levity occasioned by a want of a proper education. She who has no taste for well-written books will often be at a loss how to spend her timet; and the consequences of such a
* Though Fontenelle is accused by the critics of deviating a little from the classical standard, he is yet a very pleasing writer.
of How happy is it TO KNOW How to live with oneself, to find oneself again with pleasure, to leave oneself with regret! The world then is less necessary to one.
MARCHIONESS DE LAMBERT.
state are too frequent not to be known, and too fatal not to be avoided.
Whenever a young lady in easy circumstances appears to possess a genius and an inclination for learned pursuits, I will venture to say she ought, if her situation and connexions permit, to be early instructed in the elements of Latin and Greek. Her mind is certainly as capable of improvement as that of the other sex. The instances which might be brought to prove this are all too well known to adınit of citation. And the method to be pursued must be exactly the same as that which is used in the private tuition of boys, when judiciously conducted.
And bere I cannot refrain from adding, that though I disapprove, for the most part, of private tuition for boys, yet I very seriously recommend it to girls, with little exception. All sensible people agree in thinking, that large seminaries of young ladies, though managed with all the vigilance and caution which human abilities can exert, are in danger of great corruption. Vanity and vice will be introduced by some among a large number, and the contagion soon spreads with irresistible violence. Who can be so proper an instructor and guardian as a tender and a sensible mother? Where can virgin innocence and delicacy be better protected than under a parent's roof, and in a father's and a brother's bosom? Certainly no where, provided that the parents are sensible and virtuous, and that the house is free from inproper or dangerous connections. But where the parents are much engaged in pleasure, or in business ; where they are ignorant or vicious; where a family is exposed to the visits or constant company of libertine young persons; there it is certainly expedient to place a daughter under the care of some of those judicious matrons who preside over the schools in or near the metropolis. But I believe it often happens that young
ladies are sent from their parent's eye, to these seminaries, principally with a view to form connexions. I leave it to the heart of a feeling father to determine, whether it is uot cruel * to endanger the morals of his offspring for the sake of interestt.
* It must be remembered that only those parents can incur this, censure, who keep their daughters at school after a certain age,
+ One of the strongest arguments in favour of the literary edn-, cation of women is, that it enables them to superintend the domes-,
ON THE POETRY OF CHAUCER,
AND MORE ESPECIALLY OF THE CANTERBURY TALES.
Our pilgrims having partaken of the good cheer which the host of the Tabard set before them, who is described as “ bold of his speech, and wise, and well yťaught," were thus addressed by him :
tic education of their children in the earlier periods, especially of daughters. We are told, in the very elegant Dialogue ou the Causes of the Decline of Eloquence, that it was the glory of the ancient Roman matrons to devote themselves to economy, and the care of their children's education. Jamprimum filius ex castâ parente natus, uon in cellà emptæ nutricis educabatur, sed in gremio ac sinu matris, cujus præcipua laus erat, tueri domum et inservire liberis: 1 . : Sic Corneliam Gracchorum, sic Aureliam Julii Cæsaris, sic Attiam Augusti matrem, præfuisse educationibus liberorum acce. pimus. As soon as a son was born of a chaste parent, he was not brought up in the cottage of some hireling nurse, but in the lap and the bosom of his mother, whose principal merit it was to take care of the house, and to devote herself to the service of the children. . . . Thus are we told, Cor: nelia, the mother of the Gracchi, thus Aurelian of Julius Cæsar, thus Attia, of, Augustus, presided over the educ tion of their children. And, with respect to its not being the custom to teach ladies Latin, we may say, in the words of the learned Matron in Erasmus, Quid mihi citas vulgum, pessimum 'rei gerendæ auctorem? Quid mihi consuetudinem, omnium malarum rerum magistram ? Optimis assuescendum; ita fiet solitum, quod erat insolitum; et suave fiet, quod erat insuave; fiet decor um, quod videbatur indecorum. Why do you tell me of the generality of people, the very worst pattern of conduct ? Why do you talk to me of the custom, the teacher of all that is bad? Let us accustom ourselves to that which we know is best. So that will become vsuul which was unusual, and that will become agreeable which was disagreeable, and that fashionable which appeared unfashionable.
He of whom antiquity boasts itself, as of the wisest of mortals, was instructed in many elegant and profound subjects of learning by a lady.
Ασπασια μεν του η σοφη του Σωκράτους διδασκαλος των ρυToporiuw howyw. Aspasia, the learned lady, was the preceptress of Socrades in rhetoric.
ATHENÆUS.. Πλατων τον Σωκρατης παρ αυτ ης φησι μαθειν τα πολιτικα. . Plato says that Socrates learned politics of her. HARPOCRATION.
See some excellent remarks on the subject of giving daughters a learned education, in Eras. Epist. to Budæus, cited in Jortin's Eras. vol. ii. p. 366.
“ Lordings, quoth he, now hearken for the best,
L. 790, et seq.
This proposal of the host's was assented to by the whole party, who proceeded on their journey the following morning, escorted by their new companion. They decided the order of the tales by lot, and it fell to the Knight to relate the first, Of the Knight's tale Dryden thus speaks. “I prefer in Chaucer, far above his other stories, the noble poem of Palamon and Arcite, which is of the epic kind, and perhaps not much inferior to the Ilias or the Æneis : the story is more pleasing than either of them, the manners as perfect, the diction as poetical, the learning as deep and various, and the disposition full as artful, only it includes a greater length of time, taking up ten years at least.' The story was taken by Chaucer from an old Italian author, for Boccacio refers to it in his seventh Giornata. I think Dryden, in his great zeal to praise his favourite author, has said more than the poem in question will warrant, especially when he talks of the manners being perfect, since Chaucer has strangely enough jumbled together the customs and practices of chivalry with the times and persons of remote antiquity. However, it is certainly a proof of the great and intrinsic excellence of the poem, that we acquiesce in this incongruity, and find ample amends for it in the interest of the story, and the vivid colouring of the poetry.
The Knight having finished his tale, the Miller, the Reve, the Cook, the Man of Law, the Squire, the Mer: chant,and the rest of the party in turn, each relates a story. The prologue prefixed to each contains the observations of the company on the preceding narrative, many of
which are highly descriptive of the manners and the tema per
of the times. The Friar having inveighed against the bribery and corruption of the spiritual courts, the Sompnour * retaliated very severely on the Friar by relating in his tale an instance of their fraud and hypocrisy. After the Prioress had related her story of the murder of a Christian child by the Jews, who, notwithstanding, his throat had been cut, sang, to the amazement of the beholders, “ both loude and clere,” it came to Chaucer's turn to tell his story.
" When said was thiş miracle, every man
As sober was, as wonder was to see, 'Till tbat our host to joke again began,
And that at length he looked upon me,
And speaking thus "What man art thou,” quoth he,
Now ware you, Sirs, and let this man have place ;
This were a puppet in arms to embrace
For any woman small and fair of face.
Tell us a tale of mirth, and that anon."
For other tale of certain can 1 none,
But of a rhyme I learned years agone.”.
Some dainty thing, me thinketh, by thy cheer.” Chaucer then begins to relate “ The Rime of Sir Thopas" in a metre and style quite different from the rest, as if he was not the author, but merely the reporter of the tales. This story, however, does not at all please “ mine host," who interrupts Chaucer, after he had related about two hundred lines,
“ No more of this, for God bis dignity,”
In which there may be some mirth or doctrine."
* The Somprour was an inferior officer, whose business it was to gummon delinquents before the ecclesiastical courts.