On Teaching the Classics
THOSE, says Marville, who undertake the instruction of youth, and who read the ancients with their scholars, should point out to their observation the characteristic trait of each of these authors. This manner of teaching might inspire them to emulate these perfect models of composition.
Xenophon, for instance, and Quintilian, are excellent to form the education of young scholars.
Plato will fill the mind with great notions, and elevate them into a contemplation of the sublimest metaphysics.
Arisiotle will instruct them acutely to analyse the principles of composition, and to decide on the beauties of the works of imagination.
Cicero will shew them how to speak and to write with grace; Seneca to philosophise. The elder Pliny opens the mind to a great diversity of knowledge. Æsop and Phædrus, in an amusive way, will form their manners.
Epicetus, and the Emperor Antoninus, will afford them advice and counsels in every station of human life.
Plutarch offers the noblest examples of antiquity, and furnishes excellent matter for attic conversations.
Homer displays man in every possible situation, and paints him always great.
Virgil inculcates piety towards the gods, and filial tenderness towards our parents.
In Sallust, the portraits of the great may be contemplated: in Plautus and Terence, those of individuals; in Horace, and the Younger Pliny, the delicate eulogiums which may be administered to kings.
But, before there great models are offered to the study of our youth, as they claim a maturity of judgment, let them first be initiated by some elementary works.