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The chapter following, entitled “Our Aim," has left very little requiring to be said in a preface.
The usage of the schools has generally given Latin chronological precedence of Greek in a course of classical training. There is some reason to doubt whether this customary order is best. At any rate, we here have reversed it, choosing to commence with the Greek. Whatever considerations may favor the traditional order, for the case of the learner who aims at mastery of the languages themselves, as well as at acquaintance with the literatures of the languages, there is, perhaps, no serious consideration looking in the same direction, for the case of the student who aims only at knowing of Latin and Greek what may be learned through English alone.
The next book of the series herewith begun, will be the counterpart of this, that is, it will seek to do for Latin what this has sought to do for Greek.
The present writer has now to acknowledge that the idea of these volumes did not originate with him. That merit, and in his opinion the merit is great, belongs to the Rev. JOHN H. VINCENT, D.D. To the same dear and honored friend of the writer should be ascribed a large share of whatever excellence may be judged to have been achieved in the execution of the design. Dr. Vincent has counseled and encouraged from the beginning, with equal sagacity, kindness, and good cheer. It is the joint and several hearty hope—the writer named on the title-page ventures thus to speak on the double behalf-of the two authors, that their work may prove good enough to lead to better.
GREEK COURSE IN ENGLISH,
This volume belongs to a series of books, four in number, now in course of preparation, and soon successively to appear. The primary design of the series is to enable persons prevented from accomplishing a course of school and college training in Latin and Greek, to enjoy an advantage as nearly as possible equivalent. through the medium of their native tongue.
It is believed that there is among us a considerable community of enterprising and inquisitive minds who will joyfully and gratefully welcome the proffer of facilities for securing the object thus proposed. Some of these minds will be found, dispersed here and there, often in quarters where it would be least suspected, throughout the country, among the young men and the young women bound by their circumstances to the active and laborious employments of farming, of the mechanic arts, of business, of housewifery, and of all the various handicrafts by which material subsistence is procured. But there must, moreover, be fathers and mothers not a few, themselves without college training, and even ignorant of the elements of Latin and Greek, who would be glad to keep, as it were, within hearing and speaking distance of their children, while these go forward in a path of education in which it was forbidden to their own feet to tread.
Of parents belonging to this class there will, no doubt, be some to whom it will be unexpected good news to hear that, without any insufferably tedious and impossible labor on their part, it can be made practicable for them to keep up a somewhat intelligent sympathy with the young folks of their homes, at every stage of their progress, from the first lesson in Latin or Greek to the end of their college career.
Two highly valuable practical benefits will result to parents whose spirit of enterprise may prompt them actually to realize this desirable possibility. One benefit will be the hold retained and strengthened thereby upon the respect of their children, with the accompanying continued and enhanced ability to influence them for their good. Another benefit will be the widening of their own mental horizon, and the addition in number and in variety to their stock of ideas.
In short, parents, enjoying, as of course they will, the advantage over their children, of a maturer age and a larger experience, may in many cases not unwarrantably hope to reap, upon the whole, as rich a harvest of intellectual profit, from the comparatively imperfect course of study which they pursue in English, as do the boys and girls, in the preparatory school and in college, from their more leisurely and better guided classical education.
It may justly be added that intelligent and thoughtful parents may thus qualify themselves to supplement the school and college training of their children, in one highly important particular where that training is practically almost certain in some degree to fail. The reading of Greek and Latin authors in the class-room is necessarily done in such a slow and piecemeal fashion, that students seldom get a whole, comprehensive, proportionate view of the works which in their required course of study they translate. To many and many a college graduate, the perusal of Livy, of Xenophon,