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PRINTED BY E. B. DOE,
THE RIGHT METHOD OF STUDYING THE GREEK
AND LATIN CLASSICS.
Not many years ago the question of the right method of study. ing the Greek and Latin Classics seemed likely to be put for ever out of sight by the graver enquiry whether the Greek and Latin Classics should be studied at all. The awakening of the popular mind to the educational possibilities of natural science was accompanied by a tendency to disparage unduly the value of the old learning, a tendency which acquired additional strength from the unwise and imprudent opposition with which the claims of the innovators were met in some quarters. It must be admitted that neither side of the controversy was entirely free from blame. It should have been possible to call attention to the importance of a neglected subject of study without extolling it in language that might have been taken from the advertisement of some marvellous pill. It should also have been possible to defend the supremacy of the Classics without insisting upon the continued interdiction of a study that was not too frivolous to gain the attention of Aristotle and Pliny. The fears of the friends of classical study were not, however, altogether groundless. An appeal was made to the practical common-sense, so-called, of the English people. In the eyes of "practical” men the ideal education is that which would best enable a man to obtain food and shelter if cast alone on a desert island. It is forgotten that it is not given to all of us to live on desert islands; and that to the great majority of Englishmen, whose lives are destined to be spent in a civilised country, that education is not wholly unpractical which produces the perfect man though it may fail to create the perfect mechanic. In spite of all fears, the event has shown that, if science has gained much, the Classics have lost nothing. There was never a time when classical learning appealed to the sympathies of so large a proportion of the population. When we think of the manifest progress in the direction of the popularising of science, there is some danger of our overlooking the fact that classical instruction, too, has now reached many classes of society which, not long since, it hardly touched at all. The University Local Examinations, for instance, have stimulated the study of Classics in schools which would otherwise have been given over entirely to a non-classical course, and have afforded to promising students opportunities of distinction which in many cases have led to the Universities themselves those who, but for these examinations,