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partial remuneration from the sale of those books, whose use they look upon as so utterly profitless; and warning others not to be cajoled, as they have been. While there are nobler spirits, who after repeated disappointments, still toil patiently on, supposing that the object of their efforts is but a short distance before them; some even till they lose their lives in the eager chase ;-an image of the alchemist, bending over his crucible, in constant expectation of seeing the gold at the bottom, till the severish sleepless anxiety of his pursuit has consumed the vital energy, and he is beyond the need of .earthly treasure.
We would not, then, hold out any fallacious promise, that the study of the languages will prove a philosopher's stone, which will convert, by a touch, all the base metals into gold; but would rather represent it as a plain honest art, which will reward all according to their efforts, and by which all who are willing to labor, may obtain a store of intellectual gold, more precious than all the heaps that ever rose in the imagination of the most sanguine alchemist.
A course of classical study may be properly divided into three great departments; the first, the language of the Greeks and Romans; the second, their history and antiquities; the third, their literature. These, though intimately connected, are yet three entirely distinct departments; as much so as any three branches in mathematics, or natural science. The first has for its object, words; the second, facts ; the third, thoughts and feelings. These three classes of objects are linked together in life, and consequently must be in the written pictures of life. For facts, or events, excite thoughts and feelings; these require words for their expression ; this expression with corresponding action, gives rise to new events; and thus is completed the circle in which life revolves. Yet, notwithstanding this intimate association, the distinct character of these classes is never lost. Perhaps no illustration of this is better, than the manner in which three persons, who have given an exclusive attention each to a different class, will read the same composition. Let, for instance, an oration of Demosthenes be taken. The mere linguist, notices only the forms, meaning, and connections of the words. Not a point, or an accent can escape his eagle eye. He is in raptures at the discovery of a new example of a peculiar idiom. But ask him, when he has finished the perusal, what light the oration throws on
the history of the times, or what are its distinguishing excellencies of thought or expression, and he is silent. The mere “matter of fact man,” gleans every microscopic item of information it contains, and every particle of evidence it furnishes upon any point in history, however unimportant; but Argus-eyed here, is blind to every thing else, observing neither the peculiarities of the language, nor the beauties of the composition. The mere literary amateur, delights himself in tracing the connections that subsist between the thoughts of the mighty Athenian, and in following and sympathising with the varieties of strong emotion, which accompanied their expression, to the entire neglect of all that interested the two former readers. While the finished classical scholar, whose attainments embrace the three departments, with scarce a conscious effort, observes, appreciates and enjoys all.
Yet, notwithstanding this broad line of distinction, the general method of study in all the parts of a classical course is the same, because this method has no respect to the peculiar characteristics of any part, but is founded on the constitution of the human mind, and the laws which it must follow in the attainment of knowledge. A general statement of this method, with a few remarks upon its application to particular parts of the course, will be all that our limits will permit. A view of the subject, that should have the least claim to be regarded as complete, would require a volume.
The first object of the student, then, should be, to obtain a familiar acquaintance with all the important particulars in each department of classical study.
All acquired knowledge must commence with particulars. It is only through these, that we can obtain general truths, and only by a continued observation of them, that our interest in those truths can be preserved. Mere abstracts are perfectly lifeless. Particulars, then, are the materials in the architecture of mind, and can no more be dispensed with, than the stone, the brick, and the wood, in the building of a house. Even if they should be unimportant in themselves, yet they derive from their necessary connection with the most valuable general truths, a high claim upon our attention. We should learn them extensively, to render our general knowledge complete; and minutely, to render it exact.
But the particulars which we find in classical study, are far from being unimportant in themselves. They have a value independent of the general conclusions to which they lead; and it has been for this value, principally, that perhaps the greater number have studied them.
A minute acquaintance with the language of the ancient Greeks and Romans is of constant service to its possessor. Whatever subject of inquiry he is pursuing, he is admitted by it to sources of information from which he must otherwise be debarred.
A key is not valued, like most articles, according to its material, or weight, or form, but according to the richness of the treasures to which it will admit its possessor. Though of the vilest material, shapeless, bruised, and rusty, it may still have a value superior to that of the proudest diamond that sparkles on a monarch's brow. Now if there is any knowledge, which has a value of this kind, it is the knowledge of the ancient languages.
To assure ourselves of this, let us consider for a moment, what works are brought by this knowledge within the ken of the scholar, as the orbs of heaven are brought near by the wonder-working telescope. If we may pursue the figure, we should mention, first of all, the sun of the moral firmament, that precious volume in which life and immortality are brought to light, left by infinite wisdom in the Greek language for the study of all coming ages. Then we may speak of the orbs that revolve around this centre, the first preachers and interpreters of our heaven-descended religion; and, though we would not deify them, yet we would consider many of them as the first of men, and as those who, standing near our Lord, can claim a high regard for their principles and precepts. Then we would point to the fixed stars, which have shone, through so many ages, with the same undimmed lustre, on the world of mind; fixed, it is true, in the night of heathenism, yet giving even to this night a sublime beauty ; drawing the admiration of every eye that is turned to them, either by the separate brightness of solitary stars, or the combined splendor of clusters and constellations; and thus unconsciously reflecting honor on Him who kindled those fires, though they knew Him not ; -the ornaments of that vast temple which pagan genius has erected to “ The Unknown God."
To ancient writers we may add the moderns who have spoken with the classic tongue. The Latin has been, till within a comparatively short time, the only language admitted
into the community of scholars; and, though the modern tongues have at length gained admittance, and are increasing in use, it still remains as the common language of men of learning. If, then, the tongues of modern Europe are justly regarded as worthy of study, on account of their literary stores, what shall we say of the universal language of literature, learning, and science; the language in which Bacon communicated his philosophy, and Newton recorded his discoveries?
We may go farther, and say that the very importance of the modern languages gives an additional consequence to the ancient, by reason of the intimate relation which subsists between them. No language can be thoroughly understood, without an acquaintance with its roots, or primitive words. If these roots are contained in the language itself, then we may become fully acquainted with it, without the study of any other language. But if otherwise, then it is essential for this full acquaintance, that we should study the language which contains the primitives. Hence the importance of the study of the Greek, for a perfect knowledge of the Latin. And hence the impossibility of a thorough acquaintance with the languages of literary Europe, without a familiarity with the ancient languages from which they are derived. The Latin, especially, sustains the same relation to the modern languages, which the mountains of Thibet sustain to the great rivers of Asia—that of a common
And as the traveller who stands on the top of those mountains, can trace, at his will, any of the mighty streams that run northward, eastward, southward, and westward, so he that stands on the eminence of the Latin, can then follow, with ease, any of the currents of language, that have flowed from it to water the nations of modern Europe. Our own tongue is not among the least indebted ; and he that would be perfect master of this powerful, but complicated engine of thought, must learn it in its elements.
The importance of a minute acquaintance with the history, government, arts, and manners of the ancients, is universally admitted. Scarce a book is published, or a speech delivered, which does not require it in its readers, or hearers. It is remarkable, that the very writer, who, of all in our country, most decries this knowledge,* exacts it the most
imperiously from those whom he addresses. To appreciate, or even understand modern literature, without it, is impossible. To be assured of this, we need but open to any page in our great Epic, the Paradise Lost. But every scholar will be equally ready to admit, that in no way can the requisite information be so easily gained, as by the study of the classics. A single word in the original language will often throw more light upon the character or habits of the Greeks or Romans, than could be possibly thrown by a whole paragraph in a modern author.
It were easy to show that a similar importance attaches itself to a particular acquaintance with the Greek and Latin literature, and that the connection between the ancient and modern literature is not less intimate than between the ancient and modern languages. But we cannot dwell longer on this part of the subject.
For the knowledge of particular truths, however interesting or valuable they may be, is not the great object of a liberal education. Particulars have been called the materials in mental architecture ; but who thought, as he first gazed upon the Parthenon, after the completion of this wonderful fabric, of the individual stones used in the building? These stones had been hewn with great care ; and yet all regard for them was lost in admiration of the grand design and exquisite proportion of the whole. In that nobler structure which every scholar should raise, aspiring to a higher fame than that of Phidias, the materials should all be wrought with equal care, and should then all hold an equally subordinate place. The Greek wit, if the triteness of the allusion may be pardoned, has held up to deserved ridicule, the foolish man, who carried round a stone from his house, to show as a specimen. How much wiser is the professed scholar, who confines his regards to the value of particular items of knowledge, instead of raising them to the surpassing dignity and incalculable worth of that mental enlargement and cultivation, in which this item should be lost, as a drop in the ocean an essential, but an unnoticed constituent.
This enlargement can be gained only by the acquisition, or clearer apprehension, of general truths ; this cultivation only by their application. A succession of ideas that respect particulars only, may be compared to the rill, which flows on, year after year, without a perceptible enlargement of its narrow channel ; while general truths are like the torrent,