« 이전계속 »
with more ease to themselves, and more satisfaction to their instructors.
There has, of late, a gentleman appeared, who thinks the study of rhetoric essential to a perfect education. That bold male eloquence, which often, without pleasing, convinces, is generally destroyed by such institutions. Convincing eloquence is infinitely more serviceable to its possessor, than the most florid harangue, or the most pathetic tones, that can be imagined'; and the man who is thoroughly convinced himself, who understands his subject, and the language he speaks in, will be more apt to silence opposition, than he who studies the force of his periods, and fills our ears with sounds, while our minds are destitute of conviction.
It was reckoned the fault of the orators at the decline of the Roman empire, when they had been long instructed by rhetoricians, that their periods were so harmonious, as that they could be sung as well as spoken. What a ridiculous figure must one of these gentlemen cut, thus measuring syllables, and weighing words, when he should plead the cause of his client! Two architects were once can. didates for the building a certain temple at Athens; the first harangued the crowd very learnedly upon the different orders of architecture, and showed them in what manner the temple should be built ; the other, who got up after him, only observed, that what his brother had spoken he could do; and thus he at once gained his cause. - To teach men to be orators, is little less than to teach them to be poets; and, for my part, I should have too great a regard for my child, to wish him a manor only in a bookseller's shop.
Another passion which the present age is apt to run into, is to make children learn all things; the languages, the sciences, music, the exercises, and painting. Thus the child soon becomes a talker in all, but a master in none. He thus acquires a superficial fondness for every thing, and only shows his ignorance when he attempts to exhibit his skill.
As I deliver my thoughts without method, or connexion, so the reader must not be surprised to find me once more addressing school-masters on the present method of teaching the learned lan. guages, which is commonly by literal translations. I would ask such, if they were to travel a journey, whether those parts of the road in which they found the greatest difficulties, would not be the most strongly remembered ? Boys who, if I may con. tinue the allusion, gallop through one of the apcients with the assistance of a translation, can have but a very slight acquaintance either with the au. thor or his language. It is by the exercise of the mind alone that a language is learned; but a literal translation on the opposite page, leaves no exercise for the memory at all. The boy will vot be at the fatigue of remembering, when his doubts are at once satisfied by a glance of the eye; whereas, were every word to be sought from a dictionary, the learner would attempt to remember them, to save himself the trouble of looking out for them for the future.
To continue in the same pedantic strain, of all the various grammars now taught in the schools about town, I would recommend only the old common one; I have forgot whether Lily's, or an emen. dation of him. The others may be improvements; but such improvements seem to me, only mere grammatical niceties, no way influencing the learn. er; but perhaps loading him with subtilties, which, at a proper age, he must be at some pains to forget.
Whatever pains a master may take to make the learning of the languages agreeable to his pupil, he may depend upon it, it will be at first extremely un. pleasant. The rudiments of every language, there. fore, must be given as a task, not as an amusement. Attempting to deceive children into instruction of this kind, is ouly deceiving ourselves ; and I kuow no passion capable of conquering a child's natural laziness but fear. Solomon has said it before me; nor is there any more certain, though perhaps more disagreeable truth, than the proverb in verse, too well known to repeat ou the present occasiou. It is very probable that parents are told of some masters who never use the rod, and consequently are thought the properest instructors for their children; but, though tenderness is a requisite quality in an instructor, yet there is too often the truest tenderness in well-timed correction.
Some have justly observed, that all passion should be banished on this terrible occasion; but I know not how, there is a frailty attending human nature, that few masters are able to keep their temper whilst they correct. I knew a good-natured man, who was sensible of his own weakness in this respect, and consequently had recourse to the follow. ing expedient to prevent his passions from being engaged, yet at the same time administer justice with impartiality. Whenever any of his pupils committed a fault, he summoned a jury of his peers, I mean of the boys of his own or the next classes to him : his accusers stood forth; he had liberty of pleading in his own defence, and one or two more had the liberty of pleading against him : when found guilty by the pannel, he was consigoed to the footman, who attended in the house, and had previous orders to punish, but with lenity. By this means the master took off the odium of punishment from himself; and the foolman, between whom and the boys there could not be even the slightest intimacy, was placed in such a lighi as to be shunned by every boy in the school,
ON THE VERSATILITY OF POPULAR
A Nalehouse-keeper, near Islington, who had long
lived at the sign of the French King, upon the commencement of the last war with France, pulled down his old sign, and put up that of the Queen of Hungary. - Under the influence of her red face and, golden sceptre, he continued to sell ale, till she was no longer the favourite of his customers; he changed her, therefore, some time ago, for the King of Prussia; who may probably be changed in turu, for the next great man that shall be set up for vul. gar admiration:
Our publican, in this, imitates the great exactly ; who deal out their figures, one after the other, to the gazing crowd. When we have sufficiently won. dered at one, that is taken in, and another exhibited in its room, which seldom holds its station long; for the moh are ever pleased with variety.
I must own, I have such an indifferent opivion of the vulgar, that I am ever led to suspect that merit which raises their shout ; at least, I am certain to find those great, and sometimes good men, who find satisfaction in such acclamations, made worse by it; and history has too frequently taught me, that the head which has grown this day giddy with the roar of the million, has the very next been fixed up. on a pole.
As Alexander VI. was entering a little town in the neighbourhood of Rome, which had been just evacuated by the enemy, he perceived the towns. med busy in the market-place-in pulling down from a gibbet a figure which had been designed to repre. sent himself. There were also some knocking down a neighbouring statue of one of the Orsini family, with whom he was at war, in order to put Alexan. der's effigy in its place. It is possible a man who
knew less of the world would have condemned the adulation of those bare-faced flatterers; but Alex. andér seemed pleased at their zeal, and turning to Borgia, his son, said with a smile, · Vides, mi fili, quàm leve discrimen patibulum inter et statuam :You see, my son, the small difference between a gibbet and a statue.' If the great could be taught any lesson, this rnight serve to teach them upon how weak a foundation their glory stands, which is built upon popular applause; for as such praise what seems like merit, they as quickly condemo what has only the appearance of guilt.
Popular glory is a perfect coquet ; her lovers must toil, feel every inquietude, indulge every caprice; and, perhaps, at last, be jilted into the bar. gain. True glory, on the other hand, resembles a woman of sense : her admirers must play no tricks ; they feel no great anxiety, for they are sure, in the end, of being rewarded in proportion to their merit. When Swift used to appear in public, he generally had the mob shouting in his train. • Pox take these fools,' he would say; how much joy might-all this bawling give my lord-mayor !'
We have seen thosé virtues which have, while living, retired from the public eye, geuerally trans. mitted to posterity, as the truest objects of admiration and praise. Perhaps the character of the late Duke of Marlborough may one day be set up, even above that of his more talked of predecessor ; since an assemblage of all the mild and amiable virtues are far superior to those vulgarly called the great ones. I must be pardoned for this short tribute to the memory of a man, who, while living, would as much detest to receive any thing that wore the appearance of flattery, as I should to offer it. • I know not how to turn so trite a subject out of the beaten road of common-place, except by illus. trating it rather by the assistance of my memory than judgement; and, instead of making reflections, by telling a story,