« ZurückWeiter »
valuable in the productions of Greece and Rome. At that early period of life, when the languages of these nations are usually learned, their study affords a useful discipline to the mind, which could not, perhaps, at that age, be so well derived from any other source.
In discovering the meaning of a passage, there is not only a vigorous exercise of the powers of invention and comprehension, but in that grammatical analysis of each sentence, which is necessary for this purpose, a constant process of reasoning is carried on. By translation, a youth, while he acquires that copiousness of expression so much insisted on by Quinctilian, forms, at the same time, the habit of nicely discriminating the import of words, and perceiving their minutest shades of difference, and this much more from the dead than living languages, because their idiom and modes of combination vary more from
The importance of the early formation of this habit will be obvious to those who consider that language is not only the vehicle of our thoughts, when we impart them to others, but the very body in which they appear to ourselves. We think in propositions, and in proportion to the propriety and definiteness of our words, will be those of our ideas. It is true, that, during the period we have mentioned, many facts in geography, civil and even natural history, might be stored in the memory. But, not to mention that, especially with the children of the wealthy, there is time enough for all these, we hold it to be a maxim, that discipline, rather than knowledge, should be the object of education.
We do not consider that youth as best taught who has read or knows the most, but him who carries into the world an understanding formed successfully to grapple with whatever subject may be proposed, and most able, in whatever situation he may be placed, to think and act with sagacity, with truth and effect. The languages of the classics, once acquired, open to the maturer taste and
judgment all the stores of ancient wisdom, poetry and eloquence. Nor is it a slight knowledge of the character and manners of a people, their habit of thinking and feeling, their progress in philosophy and morals, which may be obtained from the mere vocabulary and peculiar modes of expression prevalent among them. To be convinced of this, we have but to recollect how many ideas in intellectual and moral science, and even more in the relations, duties and endearments of domestic 'life, are, with their appropriate terms, common among us, which cannot be expressed in the language of the Romans.
Letter from Lord Collingwood to his Daughter.
I RECEIVED your letter, my dearest child, and it made me very happy to find that you and dear Mary were well, and taking pains with your education. The greatest pleasure I have, amidst my toils and troubles, is in the expectation which I entertain of finding you improved in knowledge, and that the understanding which it has pleased God to give you both has been cultivated with care and assiduity. Your future happiness and respectability in the world depend on the diligence with which you apply to the attainment of knowledge at this period of your life, and I hope that no negligence of your own will be a bar to your progress. When I write to you, my beloved child, so much interested am I that you should be amiable, and worthy of the friendship and esteem of good and wise people, that I cannot forbear to second and enforce the instruction which you receive, by admonition of my own, pointing out to you the great advantages that will result from a temperate conduct and sweetness of manner to all people, on all occasions.
It does not follow that you are to coincide and agree in opinion with every ill-judging person; but, after showing them your reason for dissenting from their opinion, your argument and opposition to it should not be tinctured by any thing offensive. Never forget, for one moment, that you are a gentlewoman; and all your words and all your actions should mark you gentle. I never knew your mother—your dear, your good mother-say a harsh or a hasty thing to any person in my life. Endeavor to imitate her. I am quick and hasty in my temper ; my sensibility is touched sometimes with a trifle, and my expression of it sudden as gunpowder ; but, my darling, it is a misfortune which, not having been sufficiently restrained in my youth, has caused me much pain. It has, indeed, given me more trouble to subdue this natural impetuosity, than any thing I ever undertook. I believe that you are both mild ; but if ever you feel in your little breasts that you inherit a particle of your father's infirmity, restrain it, and quit the subject that has 'caused it,' until your serenity be recovered.
So much for mind and manners : next for accomplishments. No sportsman ever hits a partridge without aiming at it; and skill is acquired by repeated attempts. It is the same thing in every art: unless you aim at perfection, you · will never attain it; but frequent attempts will make it easy. Never, therefore, do any thing with indifference. Whether it be to mend a rent in your garment, or finish the most delicate piece of art, endeavor to do it as perfectly as it is possible. When you write a letter, give it your greatest care, that it
be as perfect in all its parts as you can make it. Let the subject be sense, expressed in the most plain, intelligible and elegant manner of which you are capable. If, in a familiar epistle, you should be playful and jocular, guard carefully that your wit be not sharp, so as to give pain to any person; and before you write a sentence, examine it, even the words of which it is composed, that there be nothing vulgar or inelegant in
them. Remember, my dear, that your letter is the picture of your brains; and those whose brains are a compound of folly, nonsense and impertinence, are to blame to exhibit them to the contempt of the world, or the pity of their friends.
To write a letter with negligence, without proper stops, with crooked lines, and great flourishing dashes, is inelegant; it argues either great ignorance of what is proper, or great indifference towards the person to whom it is addressed, and is, consequently, disrespectful. It makes no amends to add an apology, for having scrawled a sheet of paper ; of bad pens, for you should mend them; or want of time, for nothing is more important to you, or to which your time can more properly be devoted. I think I can know the character of a lady pretty nearly by her hand-writing. The dashers are all impudent, however they may conceal it from themselves or others; and the scribblers flatter themselves with the vain hope, that, as their letter cannot be read, it may be mistaken for sense. I am very anxious to come to England, for I have lately been unwell. The greatest happiness which I expect there, is to find that my dear girls have been assiduous in their learning.
May God Almighty bless you, my beloved little Sarah, and sweet Mary too.
Immortality.-RICHARD H. DANA.
BLINDED by passion, man gives up his breath,
What ! life destroy itself? O, idlest dream
Bursting to life, thy dominant desire
6 Wo for ever !” in its flow,
Come, listen to His voice who died to save
in heart. Would'st thou be blest?
Come lowly; He will help thee. Lay aside