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SIX CHIEF LIVES
JOHNSON'S “LIVES OF THE POETS,"
MACAULAY'S “ LIFE OF JOHNSON.”
EDIT ED, WITH A PREFACE,
The Right of Translation and Reproduction is Reserved.
Da mihi, Domine, scire quod sciendum est—“Grant that the knowledge I get may be the knowledge which is worth having !”-the spirit of that prayer ought to rule our education. How little it does rule it, every discerning man will acknowledge. Life is short, and our faculties of attention and of recollection are limited; in education we proceed as if our life were endless, and our powers of attention and recollection inexhaustible. We have not time or strength to deal with half of the matters which are thrown upon our minds, they prove a useless load to us.
one talked to Themistocles of an art of memory, he answered : “ Teach me rather to forget !” The sarcasm well criticises the fatal want of proportion between what we put into our minds and their real needs and powers.
From the time when first I was led to think about education, this want of proportion is what has most struck me. It is the great obstacle to progress, yet it is by no means remarked and contended against as it should be. It hardly begins to present itself until we pass beyond the strict elements of education,-beyond the acquisition, I mean, of