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be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year.* And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind, is our time lost partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities ; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled, by long reading and observing, with elegant maxims and copious invention. These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit.
“ And for the usual method of teaching arts, I deem it to be an old error of universities, not yet well recovered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages, that instead of beginning with arts most easy, (and those be such as are most obvious to the sense,) they present their young unmatriculated novices, at first coming, with the most intellective abstractions of logic and metaphysics ; so that they, having bụt newly left those grammatic flats and shallows, where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentable construction, and now on the sudden transported under another climate, to be tossed and turmoiled with their unballasted wits in fathomless and unquiet deeps of controversy, do for the most part grow into hatred and contempt of learning, mocked and deluded all this while with ragged notions and babblement, while they expected worthy and delightful knowledge." +
Having thus indicated the main defects of university education, Milton thus enters on the development of his projected reforms. “ I shall detain you now no longer in the demonstration of what we should not do, but straight conduct you to a hill-side, where I will point you out the right path of a virtuous and noble education ; laborious indeed at
* On this subject, see Locke's Treatise on Education, $ 162—177. Works, folio edition, vol. iii. p. 72, seq.
+ Prose Works, vol. iii. pp. 464, 466.
the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospect, and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming. * I doubt not but ye
shall have more ado to drive our dullest and laziest youth, our stocks and stubs, from the infinite desire of such a happy nurture, than we have now to hale and drag our choicest and hopefullest wits to that asinine feast of sowthistles and brambles, which is commonly set before them as all the food and entertainment of their tenderest and most docible age. I call, therefore, a complete and generous education, that which fits a man to perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war. And how all this may be done between twelve and one and twenty, less time than is now bestowed in pure trifling at grammar and sophistry, is to be thus ordered.”+
It is not surprising that Milton's plan should have been condemned as too extensive to be practicable, for it embraces nearly every branch of human knowledge. Commencing with grammar, it leads the student through the Latin classics, beginning with those which convey some kind of scientific or economical knowledge ; at the same time acquiring the knowledge of the “principles of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and geography, with a general compact of physics, they may descend in mathematics to the instrumental science of trigonometry, and from thence to fortification, architecture, enginery, or navigation. And in natural philosophy they may proceed leisurely from the history of meteors, minerals, plants, and living creatures, as far as anatomy.” He continues his plan through the art of
* He had already, in Comus, described the delight derivable from the study of philosophy:
“How charming is divine philosophy!
Where no crude surfeit reigns." + Prose Works, vol. ii. p. 467.
medicine, and natural science generally, and those Latin poets who especially treat on similar subjects, and last come the highest departments of study,--ethics, politics, theology, and logic. This he connects throughout with a system of physical and military training, recommending as a principal relaxation, “the solemn and divine harmonies of music.” In concluding his treatise, he himself seems to have been struck, on a retrospect, with the almost presumptuous vastness of his scheme. “I believe," he says, “ that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in, that cunts himself a teacher ; but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses; yet I am withal persuaded that it may prove much more easy in the assay, than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious."
MILTON PUBLISHES HIS SPEECH FOR THE LIBERTY OF UNLICENSED
PRINTING" — ANALYSIS OF THE WORK-NOBLE PASSAGES OCCUR-
THE intolerance of the presbyterians, armed with the powers of a parliamentary majority, was now mimicking the most despotic acts of the prelacy: they attempted the forcible suppression of all opinions, political and religious, but their own, and even essayed the impossible task of damming up the great channel of mental communication by holding the press in control. Milton's enlightened mind was not slow to perceive that this course involved a fatuity analogous to that of the Eastern despot who lashed the waves, and threw fetters into the rebellious ocean. He further saw that the sufferings which this penal system inflicted on individuals were not to be compared with the evils of intellectual stagnation, political decay, and moral death which it shed on nations. To these sentiments we owe the masterpiece of Milton,—the “Address to the Parliament in favour of the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing," of which, in accordance with the plan of this volume, an analysis is now to be presented.
He commences with a stately eulogy upon the Parliament; he addresses himself to the recent order for the regulation of printing : " That no book, pamphlet, or paper shall be henceforth printed, unless the same be first approved and licensed by such, or at least one of such, as shall be thereto appointed.” He proposes first to show them, that this originated from a party with whom they would not willingly be identified; secondly, that it would be powerless for the suppression of scandalous, seditious, and libellous books; and lastly that it would operate for the discouragement of all learning, and the effectual obstruction of national progress in every department of knowledge both secular and sacred.
But while advocating the liberty of the press, Milton wisely guarded himself from approving an unseemly and dangerous license. “I deny not,” he says, “ but that it is of greatest concernment in the church and commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors; for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a progeny of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image ; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth ; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true, no age can restore a life, whereof, perhaps, there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse. We should be wary,