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rather be considered as the means by whósë use the mind has become greatly enriched. It was necessary in a great. measure to compel the youth to industry that he may acquire mental wealth; it has been collected and is treasured up; by a little exertion he not only will easily preserve what has been put together, but will greatly add to its value; if however he remains listless and idle, even what he has already acquired will rapidly dwindle away. Hi
I have known men who during protracted lives found in the cultivation of classical literature that relaxation which impro- . ved whilst it relieved the mind. The last survivor of those who pledged their lives and fortunes and nobly redeemed their sacred honor in the achievement of our glorious inheritance of liberty, was a striking instance of this. When nearly four score years had passed away from the period of his closing the usual course of classical education--after the perils of a revolution, after the vicissitudes of party strife, when the decay. of his faculties warned him of the near approach of that hour when he should render an account of his deeds to that Judge who was to decide his fate for eternity, from his more serious occupations of prayer and self-examination, and from the important concern of managing and dividing his property, would Charles Carroll of Carrolton turn for refreshment to those classic authors with whom he had been familiar th:ough life:his soul would still feel emotion at the force of Tully's eloquence or melt at Virgil's pastoral strain. . .
Perhaps the very selection in early life of this as the best mode of mental indulgence tended much to insure to him not only his patriarchial age but the calm and serene frame of mind which was also well calculated to preserve health and to promote longevity. When the young man is thus occupied and enjoys the literary gratification, he, is less disposed to search for that society or to rush into those indulgences which, whilst they destroy the powers of the mind undermine the vigor of the constitution, are the prelude to years of remorse and to a life of difficulties. This relaxation is unquestionably very
rational, perfectly dignified and would, I have no doubt, be be found eminently useful by all. who would adopt it.
There are many who regard classical studies merely as an exercise to become acquainted with the dead languages of Greece and Rome, so that we may be able to read the productions of their authors, and thus become acquainted with their : learning. And they very naturally tell us, that being possessed of good translations, whose accuracy is acknowledged, we can with more facility and precision and in an incomparably less portion of time learn all that they could teach.
This appears plausible, and would be true if its assumption was a fact. But such is not the case. The object is not to learn the languages merely for this purpose. In the first place, the object is to form the mind to habits of industry, to precision and accuracy of judgment, as well as to imbibe principles of just criticism by a discipline eminently fitted to this end. If the teacher, as in too manyi instances is unfortunately the case, especially in young communities, be not himself capable of appreciating the value of the course, or of usefully conducting a pupil through it, the fault lies in the incompetency of him who undertakes, not in the inutility of that which is undertaken. In learning properly a dead language there is no room for idleness without detection, because every word should be accounted for, its derivation traced with accuracy, every inflection ought to be known and its precise signification should be pointed out: the dependence of words upon each other must be understood and the rules of that dependence ascertained and applied. This is the indispensable basis of sound classical knowledge: and I ask, whether it be possible to have the youthful mind occupied during years in this process without producing habits of industry and research? When this knowledge has been perfectly acquired, no difficulty presents itself in perusing the works of the ancients, but each day new gratification is derived from the discoveries that are constantly made in the very structure of the language itself, words are separated into their most minute portions, the original expres
sions are found in which men first called objects by their most simple appellations, and the composition of the word shews the combinations found in some new object and this detection of the analogy between language and its objects leads to a most improving and delightful process of philosophy.
I am aware however, that comparatively few persons are admitted into this field of recreation because few persons labor to furnish themselves with the key by means of which they can enter: for by reason of either their own or their teacher's neglect, they have not acquired that accurate notion of the original language that would relieve them from trouble in its perusal, or would enable them to follow up the discoveries to which I allude : and therefore the book is closed, abandoned ånd soon forgotten.
Figure to yourselves a young man whose parents compelled him through long years of tedious, and often painful occupation, to reclaim a rich piece of ground and to cultivate it with care—see it now given to him as a possession, not only in the highest state of culture but with an exuberant and inexhaustible debth of soil, with hands sufficient for its tillage accustomed to the performance of their task, what would your estimate be of the judgment and taste of this young proprietor, should he proclaim to his servants, that they need not labor; should he take no concern in the management of this land, and should he suffer it to become waste through mere negligence? It will not remain unproductive. Should it not be cultivated, its very fertility will hasten its progress to renewed wildness: the noisome weed will spring up luxuriantly, the tangled underwood will thicken, and the rising trees will interweave their roots below the surface more quickly than their arms will meet above. Such is the figure of the human mind, such the consequence of neglecting by a little care to cultivate in your leisure moments that classical knowledge which you have acquired!
The discipline by which you have been brought to the knowledge of this ancient language fits your mind for the graver studies and the more pressing cares of your manhood, as it was itself that best calculated for your adolescence, because your curiosity was excited and gratified by the subjects that were submitted to your examination, and though you found some labour in ascending towards the temple of science, yet were you attracted by some flower that invited you forward, and were amply repaid even by the expansion of the horizon and the riches of the scenery that was spreading before you as you arose.—Having once overcome the difficulties of the ascent, if you preserve your position the labor has terminated and the enjoyment is within your control. Thus what was originally an arduous task becomes, by perseverance in its use, a pleasing recreation.
The proper study of the classics requires extensive acquain. tance with ancient history. The writers whose works are placed in the pupil's hand were men of information accurately instructed not only in the history of their own times but of those which preceded them. They often treat specially of the important events of those remote days, or they make direct allusions to them, to understand whose force we must become exactly informed of the facts themselves: and thus the classical student is drawn insensibly to acquire a vast fund of information in this department in a mode which stores the mind by a far more pleasing process than that of sitting down professedly to pore over the dry recital of some ancient chronicler of events. Take for instance the Æneid of Virgil and contemplate the vast accumulation of historical details to which it refers. It is true that the student must labour sedulously at first, and must consult many a dictionary and many a map; he must become acquainted with the early settlements of the little states that coverved' Asia Minor, that filled the Archipelago
and the continent of Greece: he must learn the origin and the · progress of Latium, the Tyrian migrations to the coast of Af
rica, and much more that you will easily recollect. But in the midst of this research he is allured to persevere by the sweet warbling of the poet whose full meaning he desires to compre
hend. It is thus, that the years, which are said to be lost in the mere acquisition of an useless tongue, are employed in layins, up treasures that may prove so valuable in after life. And it is thus, that the mind, after having acquired this knowledge, can without exertion recal and preserve it as it relaxes from its laborious occupations to enjoy the harmony of the Mantuan bard :- just as when, with extraordinary labor, great research and no inconsiderable expenditure, a fine cabinet of science has been collected from the several regions of the globe and the various kingdoms of knowledge, the exertious and the study for its arrangement are' fatiguing, but it subsequently is the source for enriching the mind with intellectual wealth, easily acquired, the occasion of refreshing, for the memory, that which would have faded away, and an agreeable and entertaining retreat in the hour of necessary relaxation.
Persuaded that a principal obstacle to making the knowl: edge of the classics subserve the great object of polished recreation, is to be found in the imperfection of the reading, I shall illustrate by a passage from one of the great masters of criticism, the position I have taken respecting the necessity of deep study in our early life to make those books delightful in after days.
" You then whose judgment the right course would steer,
You will then perceive that not only mere history such as I have alluded to, is required to be well known as a preliminary to understanding those authors, but history of another description, and respecting which there is much less accurate irformation, even amongst men of literary reputation, than is generally suspected. The mythology or history of their ancient religious systems is far more necessary to be known by him who would become acquainted with the writers of those early times,