General Remarks. -
Second Year. -
Disregarding now the accidents of organisation, let us take the four departments of school work which have been named.
This no doubt is the classical course, in which Greek has the predominance. No more
can be said of it here; but so much must be said, because Latin has its value enhanced
as a part of it. Latin alone has its own benefits, but they are small in comparison
: although it is true that Cicero On Duties is a most valuable guide to conduct,
and is always very attractive to boys -
Reading, then, is our first topic. The greatest care must be taken in reading from the very first to obtain good utterance, correct quantity, proper pauses, and intelligent expression : for upon this depends not only the pleasure of the hearer, but his understanding of what is read. Without pleasure in the act of hearing the thing read will have no good effect, but rather bad one; since it will be associated in memory with what is unpleasant, and will therefore be rejected by the mind. A good voice well used is a most excellent thing in man ; its effect is incalculable, and it is one of the most precious of gif ts. We English have naturally good voices; but untrained they are usually bad, and of ten horrible. If an angel should descend from heaven, and proclaim great truths in the snarling tones of the city vulgarian, he would repel all sensitive hearers at once. No pains spent on the voice are wasted. Again, even a good voice is useless, if the speaker read without stops in a monotonous tone :for he will not be understood. Pauses, therefore, and modulations of infinite variety, must be taught : and mark that this cannot be done unless the master himself can do well what he tries to teach.
Granting that this preliminary training has been done, the master has at our present stage a test of understanding which will save many questions. If the reader pa uses in the wrong place, or modulates his tone doubtfully, it is clear at once that he does not understand what he reads; both faults must be corrected, and very often that alone is enough to convey to him and to the class the right meaning. But if he reads aright, it does not always follow that he understands fully ; and the master's experience of what is likely to be missed, or what has been missed by others at the same point, will prompt the necessary questions. Such matters must be left to his discretion; and since boys differ so widely, he must eke out his knowledge of the passage with his knowledge of the particular class. In general, the questions will concern new words or difficult constructions, the sense of the passage, and desirable illustrations of style ; it will in fact be much the same in Latin as the discussion of Shakespeare in an English lesson. If the passage is still misunderstood or even if the master is not quite sure, translation is a last means of making sure ; but the less of this the better in a Latin lesson, and later we shall see how the under standing may be tested still further.
It is always best to use plain texts; not only because the attention is distracted
by notes, but because where a note is needed, it is far more effective to make it
on the spot than to refer to a printed book. It is really surprising how few notes
are needed: most of those printed in books are a mere clouding of counsel, being
unnecessary, irrelevant, or pretentious. Parallel passages, where they help – for
But not only the master is concerned now in the meaning of the text : there are the other boys in the class, who take a very active part here. They have been trained with care from the beginning to ask questions whenever they do not understand; praised or blamed not according to what they know, but according to their honesty in owning to what they do not know. The meaning of strange words, therefore, or phrases, details of that kind, will be certainly asked by some
boy, and explained by another boy, who is happy to speak if he knows the answer ; and there is plenty of lively banter.
A few examples (out of many hundreds noted) may be given of boys' explanations of difficult words.
buccae……….. genae inflatae.
robigo …….. quasi morbus ruber qui ferrum oppugnat:
"debes thesaurum tuum in caelo reponere, ubi nec robigo corrumpit neque conopes."
commovit ………….. id quod commovet me, efficit ut irascar.
maneum …… est id quod non completum. Mancam nomi namus felcm quae caret cauda.
vortex (Cic. Dom. 47). vortex aquae in quam inhauriuntur omnia, itaque haec est translatio, namque absorbet omncs opes.
squamae quasi folia per totum corpus dispersa.
cochlea . animal quod domum suam in tergo porta t.
proinde aliis ut credat vide (Capt. 292) ……. si genio non credit, aliis certe non credet.
(1) A. Nescio quid fuerit origo seditionis.
B. Septima decima legio Romam redire iussa est. Tum Crispinus tribunus varietatis causa iussit arma nocte media sumere. Tum autem alii ebrii, alii temulenti, nesciebant quid fieret: itaque seditio factast.
(2) Short compendium said at beginning of the lesson.
In priore lectione, de rebus Romanis audivimus. Tiberius legem maiestatis renovavit, et ortum est novum genus hominum, delatores. Narrat quoque Tacitus ut Tiberius in tribunali adsederit.
A false quantity is really amusing to us ; it excites the same hearty laugh which would be caused in the Homeric circle by sitting down where there is no chair.
So was received the statement that Drusus praesedit edendis gladiatoribus (Tac. Ann .i. 74) ; one boy added, as a new wonder, In meo est textu, "continuis imbribus auctus Tiberius ! " (a misprint for 'Tiberis”)”. So the statement (Cic. Off . i. 99) delectat hoc ipsum quod inter se omnes partes cum quodam lepore consentiunt was greeted with a laugh and a cry of flevit lepus parv ulus (The tag of a Latin song.) So also the reading gelidus canis cum montibus (Virg. G. i. 43). When someone read in a fiercer tone si illas attigeris, dabitur tibi magnum malum (Pl. Rud. 793), he had a great ovation, and a friend solemnly offered him a small apple. So Mantua , dives avis was greeted with Non est avis Mantua ! When one read 0 qua sol habitabilis illustrat oras (Hor. Odes, iv. 14. 5), quite a dialogue ensued.
Omnes. Non est sol habitabilis! (Risus.)
Ego. Si sol est habitabilis, i tu et habita.
B. Non in sole habitabit ille, sed in luna -
That I think is a better way of explaining the construction than to ask, " What does habitabilis agree with? " Sometimes there is a flash of imagination beyond banter ; as when a boy read canet terra in winter time, for canet, and I asked, Si canere posset terra , quid caneret ? He replied simply, "A Shropshire Lad."
With the same readiness, mistakes in phrasing are seen, and they often give a ridiculous turn to a sentence. Where Livy describes a vast swarm of wasps, and how they were disposed of (Livy, xxxv. 9), it was once read thus : eas collectas | cum cura et igni | crematas esse, which was absurd enough ; still more so the statement secum portantes urbem | ingressi sunt (i. 34. 10), or the reading, highly enjoyed, et bulla aurea est pater | quam dedit mihi natali die (Pl. Rud . 1171).
The most welcome evidence of wit is the use of quotations to sum up the occasion,
or to point a jest. The practice ·of reading aloud impresses upon the memory without
effort a store of words, phrases, lines, even long passages, which become a possession
for ever. I have often known a rare word (intercus, for example, which had certainly
not recurred), and still oftener a line of verse, to remain in the memory for two
or even three years, and then to be recalled on a sudden occasion ; but most of the
specimens I shall give recall lines of more recent use, usually from the author
on hand. Thus, on a Horace morning, I enter my room and hear some boys talking
in English: I ask, Quis loquitur barbare ? to be answered at once 'Tu ne quaesieris,
scire nefas. A hideous peal of bells frequently rings opposite our school ; when
I say, provoked beyond the usual, Odi tintinnahulum illud , one boy replies utile
est, and another Sed non miscuit utile dulci. Johnson's Virgil falls to pieces,
whereat Jolley exclaims Disiecti membra poetae. A clumsy boy piles up books so that
they fall ; he is greeted by Vis consili expers mole ruit sua. I call on a boy
to read : he says, Bis hodie me iussisti recitare, and a friend caps him with Crambe
repetita. At a clap of thunder, one exclaimed, Caelo tonantem credidimus Iovem regnare.
The question Quare tristes Kalendae ? (on Hor. Sat. i.3. 87) called out the response:
Ea dies qua pecuniam solvere debemus -
A. Tantae sunt tenebrae ut videre non possim. Licetne incendere lumen ?
Ego. Licet. Sulpura quis habet ?
B. Ego. (Incendit.)
Will it be believed that the next line which the reader had to read was (Aen. ix. 270) : continuo nova lux oculi effulsit !
Some of the above quotations are not without wit ; and conscious humour or wit is a thing of every day. If Virgil says (Aen. iv. 270) qua spe teris otia terris, someone responds Non amo " teris terris," est terribile. Or the meaning of amenta is asked, then follows the quick interchange :
Ego. Minime vero, " fundus " valet " ager " vel " agri."
B. Funditus erravi.
In reading Livy, xxxiv. 43, we had many jests on the Roman names Blasio, Merenda, and others, in a passage containing the words evenit P. Cornelio H ispania ulterior, Sex. Digitio citerior, when a boy burst out laughing.
Ego. Non compos corporis videris esse, nam semper sine causa rides.
B. Ecce aliud nomen, Digitius.
Ego. Quot digitos habuit ?
B. Sex !
This had a sequel two years later, when a boy in drawing a figure on the board, gave
it six fingers, on which some-
On an allusion to Niobe, the explanation followed :
A. Niobe saxea est facta.
B. Sicut Lotti uxor !
C. Salse dictum !
Again, a boy comes in late.
Ego. Quare sero venis ?
B. Machina mea aegrotat.
Ego. Quomodo aegrotare potest machina ?
B. Pneumonia credo.
Enough perhaps of these trifles, which, however, are not without significance ;
they show the temper of the learners, and how real an impression has been made
; to play also with a language is a sign of easy mastery which ought not to
be missed. The same temper of good-
Ego. Silenus, vino sopitus, erravit : erant enim duae Scyllae. (Risus maxius.) Quare ridetis ?
A. Quia ebrius vidit duas Scyllas.
Ego. Sed erant duae.
B. Vidit ergo quattuor !
Ego. Vidit unam, more contrario! (Risus.) Error est, sed humanum est errare : divinum autem errores corrigere, sicut ego facio.
C. Ideo ego facio errores, ut tibi materiam corrigendi dem.
It may surprise some to learn it, but nevertheless it is true, that this humorous setting does not in the least interfere with the effect of anything noble or touching. The boys pass in a moment from gay to grave ; and although they have not, of course, the experience of life which alone can reveal the depths and heights of feeling, they respond at once to the eloquence of Cicero the dignity of Horace, the delicacy and tenderness of Virgil, just as they can savour the perfect art of the works they read. In judging this matter, no mistake is possible to one who knows boys. What they feel, they show, so long as they have been allowed to be natural. True and honest feeling is natural to the depths of the English heart, just as light jesting is natural to the surface : " the simple mirth of my people," as Queen Elizabeth said, "which keepeth high courage alive." This is the great secret which I have discovered in my experience. I hope I am not alone, but I think school masters are generally afraid to be natural ; and there is often an atmosphere of gloom and solemnity about the painfully pompous pedagogue, which we may be sure only represses the natural boy to make him mock when he is set free.
We will assume, then, that the reader reads well, that the class understand at least
most of what he reads, the general meaning if not all the details, at first hearing
: that is what we find to be true of a well-
This is why the Reading lesson is the chief part of our whole work. And when any of those problems come up which were mentioned a while since, it is the great master's hand that lays them before us, it is he who suggests what he has thought upon them ; we are ready in a reverent spirit to inquire what he would have us think, and our minds are helped to the personal solution which every man must attempt for himself. Suppose there be none, yet it is no small consolation to know that the greatest have also been troubled, and have not lost faith.
There are two kinds of translation. One is an art, an end in itself ; the other is a test or a method of explanation, a means to another end.
In the Direct Method, each has its place. The second is used as a test of understanding; both in the earlier stages of Latin work, and in the later for any specially difficult passage, or where explanation is impracticable by action, or by explanation in Latin. Such words as prepositions, conjunctions, and some adverbs are impossible to exemplify or paraphrase in the time at our disposal, sometimes indeed are entirely so. It is better to give these before the lesson, when they are wanted, with English explanations. The same may be said for explanations within the lesson, where other methods have failed ; the translation should be intro duced by Anglice, or ut aiunt Angli, or the like. Longer passages should also be so treated, in case of great difficulty, or with a new style, as, for example, when first beginning Tacitus. It is well, further, to test the understanding of the class by having pieces of the text translated after reading, until the master is sure they are able to do without. How often this has to be done, differs with each class. A really good class needs very little.
But the art of translation must also be cultivated : for it is not only worth while in itself, but it is one of the great tests which await our boys on entering the university. It is a very difficult art, and implies a good mastery both of Latin and of English. But when the Latin has been understood, there is never any difficulty in expressing its substance in good English. In my experience, boys of all stages find this easy to do ; their style is good, or at least natural, and (most important of all) there is no nonsense. Even when mistakes are made, they make sense and not nonsense.
All the boys need, in order to make good translators, is warning against likely mistakes where the idioms of the languages differ, and practice in bringing out details : for while they usually get the general sense right, they are apt to omit many small points. They must be taught accuracy. To this art, then, special lessons must be given ; they must practise translating both what
they have read and what they have not, and their work must be carefully criticised.
Very few such lessons are necessary. With a good Sixth Form, I have found it enough to give three Unseens a week in the term of their scholarship examination ; and that is all. But each class must be judged by itself ; and many need a great deal more.
One thing is certain : the use of "construing " in the reading lesson is wholly bad. It alternates scraps of either language, and makes a blurred impression instead of a distinct one ; it causes a bad style in English ; and worst of all, it encourages nonsense. To do two things at once is impossible ; Latin and English cannot both be learnt at the same time ; and it is just these continual breaks of the attention which cause nonsense to be spoken. Boys trained on the direct method give us no nonsense ; but I have always found it common under other methods, even with intelligent boys who have come into my charge after several years of Latin elsewhere.
The ordinary accidence and syntax have been learnt before reaching the Sixth Form
; but there has been plenty of practice, as the reader must have seen. It will
be clear also that both are well known ; for even the few quotations of boys' words
which have been given contain a variety of words and constructions, and they are
given exactly as they were said. But the grammar has now to be studied in a more
thorough and systematised way. The boys must have a good grammar, such a Sonnenschein's or Postgate's,
for reference ; but for learning we depend on the texts read. Whenever a
significant construction is met with, it is noted ; parallels are added to it as
they occur ; and sooner or later it can be discussed fully. Notebooks are kept,
or better, a portfolio in which loose sheets can be filed : then the passages in
question are classified, each group on its sheet, and the sheets classified and
arranged in the case. Thus Plautus gives the starting-
The question of Composition, as the reader must have seen, solvitur eloquendo. From the very first day, the boys have been learning and practising composi tion. They have only to write down what they say, or their master says, to produce composition. And more over, the effect of order on the sense has been so impressed upon them, that they feel it naturally ; and order is the key to classical style.
But this is only the foundation ; and the work of the third and fourth years is only the first range of the building. In the Sixth Form the whole edifice has to be completed, roofed in, and made watertight against all storms.
The composition in the first year of special work is the Summary. The work read
in school is new : the evening work is to read through again, with any helps they like
At first, the books are open before them, and they make use of them they are then
instructed to read portions of the text short at first, longer by degrees, and
to write their summary from memory. The usual length is 200 to 250 words.
In doing this, they are to use the words and phrases of the author as much
as possible. This is how new words arc taught, and how the Latin idiom is made
familiar. The master will show them, at first how to make the summary ; later the
boys are left to themselves :the only check on them being this, that the more
they rely on their own efforts, the faster they progress. The idle, the neglectful,
the silent, do not get on at all. But these are few : the Direct Method has
now for six or seven years pressed them gently but inflexibly towards self -
While the Summary is the regular means of teaching composition, sentences are translated occasionally to illustrate a new construction ; and an occasional piece of translation may be set to test progress. In particular, it is well to try once at least a piece of imitative verse, if any verse is being read by the form. (See below) But neither set prose nor verse should be part of this year's work, unless a boy of exceptional gifts should appear. For such boys, rules may be broken.
In the second year, there is one summary a week of the week's work in Latin, and one set piece every fortnight for translation into Latin, usually prose, occasionally verse.
In the third year and later, the summary is not continued, but the regular work is three pieces of set composition in Latin each fortnight, usually two of prose and one of verse. This is occasionally varied by a Latin speech, or a piece of original composition in prose or verse. Experience has shown that boys are brought up to the standard of open scholarships after about thirty pieces of set composition (that is, translation into Latin) in prose, and the same in verse.
Speeches are a pleasant variety. A good class will make them in addition to the written composition but sometimes a less capable boy will ask to be excused one such in order to prepare a speech. A few notes may be used, but the speech must not be written and read. The subject may be anything suggested by the work, and it should take five to ten minutes to deliver . In this way, matters of history or antiquities may be prepared by one, and by him delivered to the rest instead of the master's doing it. A specially alert class has sometimes so organised them, that they delivered speeches in rotation, one every day. One is appended.
Orphea Graeci putabant clarissimum fuisse poetam. Ante Homerum vixit. Fabulae de eo variae sunt. Haec tamen inter plerosque constant. In Thracia vivebat, filius Oagri et Calliopes. Apollo ei lyram dedit et a Musis doctus, fascinavit omnia ut Ovidius (Ars. Am. 21) dicit :
saxa ferasque lyra movit Rhodopeius Orpheus
Tartareosque lacus tergeminumque canem.
Velut Virg. (Georg. 5, 10). Mulcentem tigres, et agentem carmine quercus. Auxilium Argonautis multum dedit, namque illo cithara canente, Symplegadae, i.e. moventia saxa quae navi imminebant, defixa erant, et serpens Colchius custos aurei velleris dormivit. Est opus nominatus Argonautica de his rebus, quod dicitur ab ipso Orpheo scriptum esse. Postquam domum rediit, in antro Threicio quodam habitabat, et conatus est Thracios, qui feri barbari erant, facere cultiores.
Uxor nympha erat nomine Agriope vel Eurydice, quae dicitur morsa esse a serpente quodam, et sic mortua. Secutus Orpheus coniugem in Tartarum, ubi lyra ita Hadi placuit, ut permiserit ei ut educeret iterum ex Tartaro ; sed vetuit Orphcum spectare coniugcm, priusquam in orbc humano essent. Sed ubi paene ex Tartaro exiverunt, amore captus, Orpheus se torsit ut videret utrum sequeretur uxor; tum vero statim correpta est in Tartarum. Tam dolore consumptus est, ut contemneret feminas Thraciae, quae ubi bacchabantur, in multas partea eum disci derunt. Quas partes Musae collegerunt et in Libethra propc ad Olym pum sepeliverunt, et Philomela carmen super eas fudit. At caput eius in Mare Hcbrum derectum est, et sic portatus est ad Lesbum. Dicitur quoque lyra ad Lesbum portata esse ; sed hoc modo poeticum aliquid, quia praecipue Lesbi quidam optime lyra canere poterant.
Astronomi affirmabant lyram Orphei constellationem factam esse. Dicitur scripsisse poemata, sed ea quae exstant sunt, ut docti homines putant, falsa.
Seriore autem tempore putabant Apollinem, deum culturae, certavisse cum Dionyso, deo motuum animi. Et sic Orphea, qui minister erat Apollinis, a Bacchis Dionysio invidia discerptum esse.
Hymni, Theogoneia, Oracula (Fortasse Onomacritus scripsit haec?). Certe falsa : Argonautica (Hexam.), Hymni (Hexam.), Lithicae (de petris), Fragmenta.
Verses are written without difficulty, by ear. The structure of Latin verse, and
the scansion of the hexameter and pentameter, have already been taught in Form IV,
or when the first verse is read ; quantity has been observed with the utmost care
from the first. When therefore some five hundred lines of verse have been read in
the Sixth Form, the suggestion is given, that all the Sixth, and any of the Remove
who wish, make a set of verses in imitation of their author, a theme being chosen
like some passage lately read. This will at once disclose any who have a special
gift for verse, and it will show, in most, certain defects of ear or of knowledge
which have to be corrected. The first kind, naturally rarer, will go on further without
delay ; the rest had better wait until they have read more; The next step is, to
set a piece of English verse, without help of any kind, for translation. Asa rule,
these first exercises are quite equal in correctness, and are superior in style,
to the work of those who have had a long drill in full-
It is probably easiest to begin with hexameters ; for although a good set of hexameters is more difficult to make than a good set of elegiacs, beginners find it easier to write one kind of verse at a time than two. When the hexameter is once familiar, the pentameter can soon be learnt. I may add that we imitate every kind of verse, whatever in fact we read ; Horatian lyrics of all sorts offer no more difficulty than the hexameter. Since this is not the usual practice, I think it well to append a number of First, Second, and later pieces, that readers may judge for themselves. A very large number have been preserved, of which these are typical specimens.
The moral results of the course have already been suggested ; but it will be useful
to recount what books are read. We make a point of reading all Virgil and Horace
at some part of the course, or if any be not read in school, to see that it is read
out of school. Besides these, the stock authors are Plautus, Lucretius, Catullus,
Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, Caesar, Ovid, Juvenal, Martial. Parts of these, complete
in themselves, are always read. Plautus, in spite of occasional coarseness -
The following table shows a three-
The Fourth Year
Catullus, Tibullus, and Propertius -
At other times have been read :
Aulus Gellius -
Minucius Felix . Octavius
Pliny . Select Letters.
Quintilian . IX, Chapter 4
Suetonius . Selections.
Old Latin fragments; as illustrating Virgil, and the X Tables with certain inscriptions, to illustrate Livy.
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