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knowledge of them is better worth the keeping than the acquiring. They do not so much as pretend to the making of us virtuous, but only to give us an aptitude of disposition to be so. The grammarian's business lies in a syntax of speech; or if he proceed to history, or the measuring of a verse, he is at the end of his line. But what signifies a congruity of periods, the computing of syllables, or the modifying of numbers, to the taming of our passions, or the repressing of our lusts?
The philosopher proves the body of the sun to be large, but for the true dimensions of it we must ask the mathematician. Geometry and music, if they do not teach us to master our hopes and fears, all the rest is to little purpose. What does it concern us which was th elder of the two, Homer or Hesiod, or which was the taller, Helen or Hecuba? We take a great deal of pains to trace Ulysses in his wanderings, but were it not time as well spent to look to ourselves, that we may not wander at all? Are not we ourselves tossed with tempestuous passions, and both assaulted by terrible monsters on the one hand, and tempted by sirens on the other ? Teach me my duty to my country, to my father, to my wife, to mankind. What is it to me whether Penelope was honest or not? Teach me to know how to be so myself, and to live according to that knowledge. What am I the better for putting so many parts together in music, and raising a harmony out of so many different tones ? Teach me to tune my affections, and to hold constant to myself. Geometry teaches me the art of measuring acres; teach me to measure my appetites, and to know when I have enough; teach me to divide with my brother, and to rejoice in the prosperity of my neighbor. You teach me how I
hold my own, and keep my estate; but I would rather learn how I may lose it all, and yet be contented.
He that designs the institution of human life should not be
over curious of his words; it does not stand with his dignity to be solicitous about sounds and syllables, and to debase the mind of man with small and trivial things, placing wisdom in matters that are difficult rather than great. If he be eloquent, it is his good fortune, not his business. Subtile disputations are only the sports of wits that play upon the catch, and are fitter to be contemned than resolved. Were not I a madman to sit wrangling about words, and putting of nice and impertinent questions, when the enemy has already made the breach, the town fired over my head, and the mine ready to play that shall blow me up in the air? Were this a time for fooleries? Let me rather fortify myself against death and inevitable necessities ; let me understand that the good of life does not consist in the length or space, but in the use of it.
Let us rather study how to deliver ourselves from sadness, fear, and the burthen of all our secret lusts. Let us pass over all our most solemn levities, and make haste to a good life, which is a thing that presses us.
Quintilian, the famous rhetorician of Rome, was born at Calahorra in Spain about 43 A. D. Comparatively little is known about his family and early life; but, like most other great men of his time, he was educated at the metropolis of the empire. After returning for a brief period to his native province, he established himself in Rome in 68 A. D., and soon achieved distinction as an able pleader in the forum and as a successful teacher of eloquence. Among his numerous pupils was the younger Pliny. He was invested by Vespasian with the consular dignity, and granted an allowance from the public treasury. He was the first Roman teacher that was salaried by the state and honored with the title of "professor of eloquence."
After twenty years of pleading and teaching, in which he had accumulated an ample property, he retired from public employments and devoted the later years of his life to the preparation of his “ Institutes of Oratory.” This celebrated work consists of twelve books, and is the most comprehensive and systematic treatise on education that has descended to us from antiquity. It has been a storehouse from which subsequent educational writers, particularly in the period of the Renaissance, have drawn copiously for materials. Of its wide scope the author says: “I shall proceed to regulate the studies of the orator from his infancy, just as if he were entrusted to me to be brought up." “ The great merit of Quintilian's treatise on oratory," says
his translator Watson, “ above all works of the kind that had preceded it, was its superior copiousness of matter and felicity of embellishment. It does not offer a mere dry list of rules, but illustrates them with an abundance of examples from writers of all kinds, interspersed with observations that must interest, not only the orator, but readers of every class. It embraces a far wider field than the ‘ De Oratore' of Cicero, and treats of all that concerns eloquence with far greater minuteness. The orator conducts his pupil from the cradle to the utmost heights of the oratorical art." Of especial general interest are the brief but penetrating and judicious criticisms in the tenth book upon the leading Grecian and Roman writers.
The following selection is taken from the first book of the Institutes,” and presents in full Quintilian's principles and methods of primary education:
SELECTION FROM THE “INSTITUTES OF
BOOK I., CHAPTER I.
Let a father, then, as soon as his son is born, conceive, first of all, the best possible hopes of him; for he will thus grow the more solicitous about his improvement from the very beginning; since it is a complaint without foundation that “to very few people is granted the faculty of comprehending what is imparted to them, and that most, through dullness of understanding, lose their labor and their time.” For, on the contrary, you will find the greater number of men both ready in conceiving and quick in learning; since such quickness is natural to man; and as birds are born to fly, horses to run, and wild beasts to show fierceness, so to us peculiarly belong activity and sagacity of understanding;
whence the origin of the mind is thought to be from heaven. 2. But dull and unteachable persons are no more produced in the course of nature than are persons marked by monstrosity and deformities; such are certainly but few. It will be a proof of this assertion, that, among boys, good promise is shown in the far greater number; and, if it passes off in the progress of time, it is manifest that it was not natural ability, but care, that was wanting. 3. But one surpasses another, you will say, in ability. I grant that this is true; but only so far as to accomplish more or less; whereas there is no one who has not gained something by study. Let him who is convinced of this truth, bestow, as soon as he becomes a parent, the most vigilant possible care on cherishing the hopes of a future orator.
4. Before all things, let the talk of the child's nurses not be ungrammatical. Chrysippus wished them, if possible, to be women of some knowledge; at any rate he would have the best, as far as circumstances would allow, chosen. To their morals, doubtless, attention is first to be paid; but let them also speak with propriety. 5. It is they that the child will hear first; it is their words that he will try to form by imitation. We are by nature most tenacious of what we have imbibed in our infant years; as the flavor, with which you scent vessels when new, remains in them; nor can the colors of wool, for which its plain whiteness has been exchanged, be effaced; and those very habits, which are of a more objectionable nature, adhere with the greater tenacity; for good ones are easily changed for the worse, but when will you change bad ones into good? Let the child not be accustomed, therefore, even while he is yet an infant, to phraseology which must be unlearned.
6. In parents I should wish that there should be as much learning as possible. Nor do I speak, indeed, merely of fathers; for we have heard that Cornelia, the mother of the