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beauty or the purity of their diction, were capable of giving information in some of the departments of science. The books selected for this purpose from the Roman authors were, according to Philips, the agricultural works of Cato, Columella, Varro, and Palladius; the medical treatise of Cornelius Celsus, Pliny's natural history, Vitruvius's architecture, Frontinus's stratagems, and the philosophical poems of Lucretius and Manilius: from the Greek, Hesiod, Aratus, Dionysius's Periegesis, Oppian's Cynegetics and Halieutics, Apollonius Rhodius, Quintus Calaber, some of Plutarch's philosophical works, Geminus's astronomy, the Cyropædia and Anabasis of Xenophon, Polyænus's stratagems, and Ælian's tactics.
Admitting for a moment the propriety of Milton's system of instruction and the solidity of its foundation, we may reasonably doubt whether many of these authors were calculated to promote it. Vitruvius
Vitruvius may be read with instruction on the subject of architecture: but, while the Roman agricultural writers impart no useful information to the natives of Britain, the Roman philosophical poets, (if Manilius--the perplexed, the prosaic, the astrological Manilius can be called either a philosopher or a poet,) com
municate nothing but what is bad. If Lucretius's philosophy were not redeemed with the wealth of his poetry, it would not now attract a vagrant eye; and would probably have been whelmed under the worst rubbish of antiquity. The selection from the Greek is preferable to that from the Latin writers. The Muses of Ascra and of Rhodes are certainly respectable; and they present to us the stamp of the most simple and the most refined age of Grecian poetry. But they are to be regarded only as poets; for Apollonius assumes nothing more than to be the framer of a poetic fable, and the economy of the husbandry of Hesiod will not entitle him to the honourable rank of an instructor in our country or in the present age. Plutarch offers to us information and strong sense in an unstudied dress; and the two works of Xenophon are admirable productions, well known in the higher classes of our public schools, intelligible and instructive to the boy and delightful to the man. Oppian, Quintus Calaber, Geminus, Polyænus and Ælian may be dismissed, with Celsus Pliny and Frontinus, as possessing various degrees of merit and as objects of literary curiosity, but as qualified neither to give the young scholar any useful information nor to form his taste.
Proceeding with this ambitious, if not novel design of infusing extraordinary knowledge into the youthful mind, Milton has been expected to produce more than human abilities have the power to command; and has been insulted for not sending from his little academy orators and poets, philosophers and divines." No master can make scholars against the inhibition of nature; and solitary learning cannot snatch the palm of literary renown or compel the gaze of the world.
- Virûm volitare per ora”—to soar to the heights of fame is the privilege of the highly favoured few; and if we compare the small proportion of these to the multitude of the undistinguished even among the most cultivated of the human race, if we reflect on the hundreds and the thousands
k “ If his pupils," says the candid Philips, “had received his documents with the same acuteness of wit and apprehension, the same industry, alacrity, and thirst after knowledge as the instructor was indued with, what prodigies of wit and learning might they have proved.” Life of Milton, xix.
Johnson talks with the true feeling, and in the proper style of a schoolmaster. Every man, that has ever undertaken to instruct others, can tell what slow advances he has been able to make; and how much patience it requires to recall vagrant attention, to stimulate sluggish indifference, and to rectify absurd misapprehension." Life of Milton.
who in a short revolution of time
pass through our public schools to obscurity, we shall cease to be surprised that not one of Milton's small knot of pupils has asserted any very eminent place among the scholars or the writers of his country. We shall rather indeed wonder that two of them, (the Philips's,) were authors and of no despicable rank; the youngest having published a Latin answer to an anonymous attack' on his uncle and his cause, and the eldest, besides that life to which all the biographers of Milton are so greatly indebted, a respectable English work with the Latin title of Theatrum Poëtarum, containing a list and character of the ancient and the modern poets. In honour of Milton's earnest and intelligent discharge of his duties as a teacher, it is recorded that these two young men, who came under his care at the early ages of ten and nine, were so rapidly forwarded in their studies as in the course of one year to be “ able to understand a Latin author at sight.” Aubrey, who relates the circumstance, ought to have been more specific in his account. If he means by “ a Latin
Ascribed, but beyond question unjustly, to the pen of Dr. Bramhall, bishop of Derry, and afterwards archbishop of Armagh.
author,” any Latin author, the fact is certainly extraordinary, and reputable in nearly an equal degree to the master and the scholars.
But Milton's scheme extended beyond the Roman and the Greek, to the Hebrew with its dialects of Chaldee and Syriac, and to some of the modern languages. It comprehended also a certain acquaintance with the mathematics, and with their sublime application to the purposes of astronomy. While this various reading fully occupied six days of the week, the seventh had its appropriate and characteristic employınent. On this day the pupils, after reading to their master a chapter in the Greek testament and hearing his explanation of it, wrote, as he dictated, on some subject of theology.
As his plan of education could not be properly executed in his confined lodgings in St. Bride's church-yard, he soon removed to a house in Aldersgate-street, of which the size admitted his scholars into his family, and the situation, secluded by a court from the street and opening into a garden," supplied the retirement and quiet
m It was one of those houses, which were called Gardenhouses, of which in that day there were many; and particularly