The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice



The Fourth Year

The object of this book is severely practical ; the fourth year may therefore be dismissed in comparatively short space. The composition, which we will describe shortly, does include a new type of work, namely, the turning of a connected piece of English into Latin Prose, but the reading is much the same as that described for the last term of the third year.


The class has now, however, been introduced to its first classical author, and will not experience the same difficulty in tackling its second. Consequently the master will not have to drill them into an appreciation of the author read, in anything like the degree which was necessary before. We suggested that it would be well for the master to know the first author read almost by heart ; this is, of course, no longer necessary. From the summary of work in Ch. II, the reader will see what authors are usually read during this year, and no more than a few words are necessary about each.


After the explanation and practice of the Latin Period in the composition lessons of the third year, Cicero will not be found so difficult as he would otherwise be. For a beginning one of the following speeches will probably be found most useful: Pro Rege Deiotaro; Pro Archia (a short but beautiful speech); Pro Sexto Roscio Amerino (a much longer but very interesting speech). The Catilines and the Pro Milone are better left till later.


In Tacitus the only really suitable thing is the Agricola, and it is a great pity to read this at a time when the difficulty which t presents obscures its literary merit.  We do not therefore recommendit for the fourth year.


Livy,apart from his speeches, affords much easier reading in prose, and oneor other of the Hannibal books always proves a success.


In Verse, select odes of Horace, possibly the Ars Poetica, or another book of Virgil are available. Horace will naturally be studied in the “intensive” manner described under the previous year.  The repetition will go on as before, and the majority of the odes read will be added to the repertory of the class.  Even those not definitely learnt by heart will become so  familiar by the process of “cross-references” that the class will hardly know which parts it is supposed to know by heart and which not.  Such “cross-references” will not, of course, be confined to Horace himself.  For example, the Exegi monumentum ode shouts for comparison with the concluding lines of the Metamorphoses of Ovid.


In the Composition of this year,

  • [In the Report on the Teaching of Latin in the Perse School (published by Eyre and Spttiswoode for the Board of Education, 1909), pp. 16-23, there is an elaborate analysis of one term’s work at this stage, showing the proportion of mistakes, the character of the mistakes, and the range of idiom.]

the methods of the third year are carried on, and an approach is made towards the final and most difficult art of all, the rendering of a piece of English literature into Latin of an appropriate style.  The exercises are, either the story in some form, or a passage of very simple English

  • A good collection is Champneys and Rundall’s Early Exercises for Latin Prose (Longmans, Green & Co.).

rendered into Latin, together with sentences that illustrate idiom or syntax; varied by original composition, if occasion arise.  No rule can be laid down as to the proportion of these elements.  Groups ofboys differ widely in average ability and in tastes: some groups are lively and answer with spirit, some are dull andheavy; some revel in stories, and are ready to offer stories of their own; some find stories too easy, and prefer the version; most are pleased with a few catchy sentences now and then,if they feel they can do them.  There is never any mistake about the taste of boys trained on the Direct Method; they show their likes and dislikes frankly, and it is well to be guided by these.  Let us never forget that the one fatal thing is monotony.

There are two lessons a week of forty-five minutes, each with half an hour for home-work.  When a piece of English is to be translated, the usual practice is to allow twenty minutes for quiet preparation in school (which the master may use by calling up the boys one by one, and discussing the last exercise with them): the piece is then done viva voce, and finally it is written out as home-work, when it should be correct, or nearly so.  The advantage of this plan is, that any mistakes are made in speech, not in writing, and they can be at once corrected and put out of mind; what is written should be free from mistakes, as far as possible, if the mistakes are not be impressed on the memory.  It is a general principle of the method not to write anything down unless there is a reasonable probability of its being correct.

Original work is a pleasant variety.  A letter may be written on some topic, important either to the nation or to the boys; or a short speech by some politician; or even a dramatic scene, but this takes more than one lesson.

Latin on the Direct Method - Rouse and Appleton 1925
The Direct Method applied to Latin
Linguaphone handbook for teachers - Rouse