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knowledge of the true meaning and power of words and sentences we are preparing for ourselves the tools and instruments, as it were, of right reason; we are forming our minds for any intellectual work which they may afterwards be called upon to do. Prospero is not liable to the charge of blundering or exaggeration when he tells Caliban that before Caliban knew the use of words he did not know his own meaning.
Why has the study of Greek and Latin been for ages made the foundation of all the higher intellectual training of Europe? Because a thorough knowledge of the principles of grammar, that is, of the structure of language itself, is supposed to be best attained through the medium of them. We learn our mother tongue by practice and almost intuitively, and may speak with tolerable correctness upon ordinary subjects without knowing anything of its structure. But when we come to speak or write a foreign language, we must know the reason why the same word assumes different forms in different connections; we must gather the general laws by which these changes are governed; we must observe the slight shades of distinction which make it expedient to choose one word in preference to another of nearly the same signification in our own language as an equivalent for
a word in the foreign language which we are construing; and by this laborious process we at length acquire, more or less, not only accuracy in expressing our meaning, but accuracy of thought. Greek and Latin are peculiarly adapted for being the materials of this process, because, from some peculiar mental conformation of the persons who spoke them, their structure is extremely subtle, expressing by the changes of the words. themselves every shade of distinction in the relation in which those words stand to each other. There are many other reasons indeed why the study of Greek and Latin is considered of paramount importance as an instrument of education; as, for instance, because of the excellence of the works written in those languages, and because almost all the tongues of modern Europe are founded upon them, so that he who knows Latin finds it comparatively easy to learn French, Italian, or Spanish. But the real and most important reason is, that Greek and Latin are the best and readiest medium for learning language itself. Some of the finest and simplest pieces of writing in the English language have been elaborated by the diligent study of Demosthenes and Cicero.
The thorough grammatical education, however, which is founded upon the study of the dead
it is the most artistically constructed, as it is one of the latest of the poet's works. Secondly, it is free from all impurity; and lastly, it is certainly one of the most poetical, and therefore the most likely to interest the youthful imagination, and so to form the youthful taste.
The fable of the play is not taken, like those of most of Shakespeare's, from any known story. Prospero Duke of Milan is deprived of his dukedom by his traitorous brother Antonio, aided and assisted by Alonzo King of Naples; and he and his youthful daughter Miranda are placed in an open boat and committed to the mercy of the winds and tide. This incident was a favourite with the early English poets. It is the foundation of the Man of Law's Tale in Chaucer's Canterbury Pilgrimage. A faithful old lord, Gonzalo, places in the boat provisions, clothes, and some of those books in the study of which Prospero used to forget the duties of government; and thus freighted the boat drifts upon an island inhabited only by spirits and Caliban the deformed and savage son of the witch Sycorax. Here the banished Duke and his daughter Miranda live in a cave, served by Caliban and an airy spirit named Ariel, whom Prospero by his magic art had rescued from a riven oak in the cleft of which he