Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Go fearin' God, but lovin' more!

I've tried to be an honest guide;
You 'll find the grave bas got a door,
And somethin' for you t' other side.

BAYARD TAYLOR, from the German of HEBEL.

METHOD

OF TEACHING

GEOGRAPHY.

a

PROBABLY no branch of study in our common schools is so poorly taught or so indefinitely understood as geography. Scholars often commit to memory many detached facts, unimportant descriptions, and long lists of names of towns, capes, gulfs, rivers, etc., but gain no conception of the principles and laws that underlie this important science. Geography is a science, and should be taught as such ; then the vast amount of details and extraneous matter that encumber our text-books can be easily learned. Prof. Arnold Guyot, Professor of Physical Geography at Neuchatel, Switzerland, one of the best geographers the world has produced, came to this country some ten years ago, and by his many lectures before educational conventions urged the importance of the study of physical geography as the foundation of all geographical knowledge. By the request of many who were deeply interested in the subject, he projected a series of Wall Maps for the use of schools, based on his system of instruction, viz., illustrating physical and political geography.

All teachers and friends of popular education will be pleased to learn that this series of large maps, so long promised, will be ready for the fall schools. A Teacher's Manual also will be ready in a few days. But one great merit of the maps is that they can be used to advantage with any text-book on political or physical geography now in use in our common schools or academies. Their real merit, however, is of a much higher order. For accuracy, beauty, freshness, clearness, and harmony, they excel any before published in this country or in Europe. Probably no one is so well qualified to prepare works on geography. Professor Guyot has devoted his lifetime to the investigation of this science.

He came to this country in connection with Prof. Agassiz, and each stands at the head of his respective department. Prof. Guyot has obtained a wide reputation among teachers by his lectures on physical geography, and by his published volume entitled Earth and Man'. This truly valuable book has passed through many editions, both in

[ocr errors]

6

this country and Europe, and is still the very best manual on physical geography to be found in any language. The complete works of Prof. Guyot are now being brought out on a munificent scale, corresponding with their merit, by the enterprising publisher, Mr. Charles Scribner, of New York. The publication of his complete series of maps and text-books is the largest and most extensive enterprise of the kind ever attempted – involving an expenditure of over $40,000. The smaller maps and text-books will be issued from the press as fast as possible. It is the intention of the author and publisher to cover the whole ground, and be able to furnish maps and text-books adapted to every educational institution, from the primary school to the highest university. The publication of these works will mark a new era in the method of teaching geography. Almost every teacher has been wearied by trying to impart a knowledge of the ten thousand useful facts' which constitute the basis of our geographical text-books. Innumerable names of towns, rivers, bays, etc., taxing the memory beyond endurance, giving trivial descriptions of each section or prescribed boundaries, without reference to the physical features, and with no recognition of the principles of the science of geography.

With the publication of Prof. Guyot's maps and books we hope for a new order of things, and that classes will not be left to wander without the guide of principle and law in the ancient wilderness of miscellaneous facts. Let them know and feel that the Great Creative Hand can be traced in all the departments of geography; that the earth is an organic total, fitted by all its structure to be the home of man; that there is a life of the globe'; that the world, as much as the human body, exhibits design in all its members; that the air, ocean, and land, act and react perpetually upon one another, fitting this terraqueous sphere' for all the wants of the human race; that mountains, rivers, seas, etc., exercise an important influence on the products and industry of a people and the progress of nations; that nature provides for the growth of cities and towns; that the favoring winds and currents that aid the intelligent mariner are governed by law; in fact, that geography is a science worthy of their closest study.

Prof. Guyot, as an investigator of truth in this direction, stands out in bold relief above all others. None of the numerous pupils of the renowned Humboldt and Ritter has entered more into the spirit of investigation which was evinced by these acknowledged masters than he, and none has developed in a more felicitous manner, or with more important additions, the views which they were foremost to announce. Having been their pupil in early life, he adopted their views with enthusiasm which foreshadowed his late distinction. He early became

6

[ocr errors]

a

an earnest investigator of the natural world ; the mountains and glaciers of his native land were his favorite study; and since his removal to the United States he has lost no opportunity to become familiar with the mountain ranges of the country. Fortunate indeed for our American youth that he has undertaken the preparation of a series of maps and books illustrating and embodying the results of his patient investigations and high attainments. In New England, especially, where their merits will be most fully appreciated, his works will receive a most hearty welcome; and we bespeak for them that general use which their intrinsic merits demand.

Maine Teacher.

[blocks in formation]

a

We are glad to welcome a new volume from Mr. Longfellow. It consists of a number of poems wrought into a narrative as the tales of a half-dozen travelers who meet by chance one evening at the RedHorse Tavern, Sudbury, Massachusetts. These poems are, most of them, familiar, having appeared from time to time in the Atlantic Monthly; but the poet has done his work so skillfully that it is difficult to believe they were not intended when they were written to fit into these very niches. Perhaps they were: who knows? The whole volume is characterized by the the tenderness of feeling, purity of sentiment, and beautiful diction, for which Mr. Longfellow is famous, and we have thought we could do no better service to the readers of the Teacher than to group together some of the gems that glitter on every page. The story opens thus :

One autumn night, in Sudbury town,
Across the meadows bare and brown,
The windows of the wayside inn
Gleamed red with firelight through the leaves
Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves
Their crimson curtains rent and thin.
As ancient is this hostelry
As any in the land may be,
Built in the old Colonial day,
When men lived in a grander way,
With ampler hospitality:
A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,

* Tales of a Wayside Inn, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1863. $1.50.

Now somewhat fallen to decay,
With weather-stains upon the wall,
And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
And creaking and uneven floors,
And chimneys huge, and tiled, and tall.
A region of repose it seems,
A place of słumber and of dreams,
Remote among the wooded hills;
For there no noisy railway speeds,
Its torch-race scattering smoke and gleeds;
But noon and night, the panting teams
Stop under the great oaks, that throw
Tangles of light and shade below,
On roofs and doors and window-sills.
Across the roads the barns display
Their lines of stalls, their mows of hay,
Through the wide doors the breezes blow,
The wattled cocks strut to and fro,
And half-effaced by rain and shine,
The Red Horse prances on the sign.
Round this old-fashioned, quaint abode
Deep silence reigned, save when a gust
Went rushing down the road,
And skeletons of leaves, and dust,
A moment quickened by its breath,
Shuddered and danced their dance of death,

A group of

But in the parlor there is a quite different scene.
friends have met,

And, though of different lands and speech,
Each had his tale to tell, and each
Was anxious to be pleased and please.

6

And in each intervening pause is heard the music of a violin. The landlord is the village • Squire', and boasted of his descent from a long line of famous men. Over his coat-of-arms in the parlor was hung the sword his grandsire bore,

In the rebellious days of yore,

Down there at Concord in the fight. Being importuned for the story promised of old, but always left untold, he yields, and tells the story of Concord and Lexington in Paul Revere's Ride'.

Suspecting a movement, watch is kept in the North-Church tower, while

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still

That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper «all is well !'

Only a moment he feels the spell of the hour, for he sees

Where the river widens to meet the bay,
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

Then the watchman hangs the signal-lights in the belfry, and there

comes

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the sparks struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

Paul Revere goes over Medford bridge at 12, at 1 he gallops into Lexington, and

It was two by the village clock
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.

The rest of the story we all know. The poem concludes thus :

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,-
A cry of defiance and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

« VorigeDoorgaan »