« AnteriorContinuar »
twenty or thereabout may be attendants, all under the government of one, who shall be thought of desert sufficient, and ability either to do all, or wisely to direct and oversee it done. This place should be at once both school and university, not needing a remove to any other house of scholarship, except it be some peculiar college of law, or physic, where they mean to be practitioners; but as for those general studies which take up all our time from Lilly to commencing, as they term it, master of art, it should be absolute. After this pattern, as many edifices may
be converted to this use as shall be needful in every city throughout this land, which would tend much to the increase of learning and civility every where. This number, less or more thus collected, to the convenience of a foot company, or interchangeably two troops of cavalry, should divide their day's work into three parts as it lies orderly; their studies, their exercise, and their diet.
9. For their studies; first, they should begin with the chief and necessary rules of some good grammar, either that now used, or any
and while this is doing, their speech is to be fashioned to a distinct and clear pronunciation, as near as may be to the Italian, especially in the vowels. of education been more nearly approached than in the public schools of Egypt. The College of Kasserlyne, on the banks of the Nile, is such “a spacious house,” with beautiful and ample grounds about it; but in the interior arrangements, the studies, and the results, we must not look for any thing resembling what the poet proposed in this democratic establishment.--See Egypt and Mohammed Ali, vol. ii. p. 395. 899.
For we Englishmen being far northerly, do not open our mouths in the cold air wide enough to grace a southern tongue; but are observed by all other nations to speak exceeding close and inward; so that to smatter Latin with an English mouth, is as ill a hearing as law French. Next, to make them expert in the usefullest points of grammar; and withal to season them and win them early to the love of virtue and true labour, ere any flattering seducement or vain principle seize them wandering, some easy and delightful book of education would be read to them; whereof the Greeks have store, as Cebes, Plutarch, and other Socratic discourses. But in Latin we have none of classic authority extant, except the two or three first books of Quinctilian, and some select pieces elsewhere.
13. But here the main skill and groundwork will be, to temper them such lectures and explanations, upon every opportunity, as may lead and draw them in willing obedience, inflamed with the study of learning, and the admiration of virtue; stirred up with high hopes of living to be brave men, and worthy patriots, dear to God, and famous to all ages. That they may despise and scorn all their childish and ill-taught qualities, to delight in manly and liberal exercises; which he who hath the art and proper eloquence to catch them with, what with mild and effectual persuasions, and what with the intimation of some fear, if need be, but chiefly by his own example, might in a short space gain them to an incredible diligence and courage ; infusing into their young breasts such an
ingenuous and noble ardour, as would not fail to make many of them renowned and matchless men. (°) At the same time, some other hour of the day, might be taught them the rules of arithmetic, and soon after the elements of geometry, even playing, as the old manner was.
After evening repast, till bedtime, their thoughts would be best taken up in the easy grounds of religion, and the story of Scripture.
The next step would be to the authors of agriculture, Cato, Varro, and Columella, for the matter is most easy ; and if the language be difficult, so much the better, it is not a difficulty above their years. And here will be an occasion of inciting, and enabling them hereafter to improve the tillage of their country, to recover the bad soil, and to remedy the waste that is made of good ;('') for this was one of Hercules' praises. Ere half these authors be read (which will soon be with plying hard and daily) they cannot choose but be masters of any ordinary prose. So that it will be then seasonable for them to learn in any modern author the use of the globes, and all the maps, first, with the old names, and then with the new ;("') or they might be then capable to read any compendious method of natural philosophy.
(°) He here alludes to the Socratic system of education, frequently glanced at in all the dialogues of Plato, but more fully developed in the Protagoras. In pursuing a plan of this kind, the teacher would profit no less than the pupils-perhaps more. Adam Smith observes that almost all the great writers of Greece had been engaged in the business of education.
(1') Dr. Symmons remarks, that in agriculture no benefit could now be derived from the study of ancient authors. But Milton never intended that his pupils should seek to improve them. selves in husbandry by reading Varro or Cato. His design extended no further than to render their boyish studies a means of awakening in their minds a love of rural pursuits, which age and experience might afterwards enable them to turn to good ac
12. And at the same time might be entering into the Greek tongue, after the same manner as was before prescribed in the Latin; whereby the difficulties of grammar being soon overcome, all the historical physiology (") of Aristotle and Theophrastus are open before them, and, as I may say, under contribution. The like access will be
(11) This mode of studying geography has since been adopted, particularly at Eton, where, with the help of Arrowsmith's “ Comparative Atlas,” in which the ancient and modern maps of countries are bound up face to face, a lad may quickly acquire a knowledge at least of the elements of this useful science.
(12) Milton here enters upon that part of his plan which more particularly provoked Dr. Johnson's animadversions. He thought it, in fact, a good opportunity to display his wisdom, which he considered superior to Milton's, and, by supporting his views with the seeming approbation of Socrates, to obtain the credit of being what, in the cant of the present day, is called a practical man.” In order to insinuate into the reader's mind that Milton made little or no account of moral philosophy, he draws a sort of parallel between the knowledge of external nature," and the science of ethics, and gives, as every wise man must, the preference to the latter. He then proceeds: “ Those authors, therefore, are to be read at schools that supply most axioms of prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most materials for conversation; and these purposes are best served by poets, orators, and historians. Let me not be censured for this digression as pedantic or paradoxical ; for, if I have Milton against me,” (observe that,) “I have Socrates on my side. It was his labour to turn philosophy from the study of nature to speculations upon life; but the in
to Vitruvius, to Seneca's natural questions, to Mela, Celsus, Pliny, or Solinus. And having thus passed the principles of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and geography, with a general compact of physics, they may descend in mathematics to the instrumental science of trigonometry, and from thence to fortification, architecture, enginery, or navigation. And in natural philosophy they may proceed leisurely from the history of meteors, minerals, plants, and living creatures, as far as anatomy.
13. Then also in course might be read to them, out of some not tedious writer, the institution of
novators whom I oppose,” (he represents Socrates as an innovator in his day,) are turning off attention from life to nature. They seem to think that we are placed here to watch the growth of plants, or the motions of the stars : Socrates was rather of opinion, that what we had to learn was, how to do good, and avoid evil.” Before we inquire whether Socrates would know his own features in Johnson's picture, it is necessary to remark that the biographer was altogether mistaken in imagining he had against him Milton ; who, both in this treatise, and in his life, made it abundantly manifest that he considered the study of the sciences, nay, of poetry itself, of very inferior importance com. pared with that philosophy which embraces the knowledge of virtue, public and private, and leads to an active defence of the rights and dignity of human nature. He was very far, however, from supposing that watching “ the growth of plants,” or “the motions of the stars,” necessarily constitutes any impediment in the way to an acquaintance with the principles of ethics; and, accordingly, enumerates the knowledge of nature among the things which might very advantageously engage the attention of youth, before coming to the master-sciences of morals and politics. But “ then will be required,” says he, “ a special reinforcement of constant and sound indoctrinating, to set them right and firm, instructing them more amply in the knowledge of