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dren will certainly err frequently, nothing can be more unwise than to notice the very trifling errors into which they fall by the immaturity of their judgment, unless it be merely to point them out for correction. A very large class of errors may be left out of the code as not demanding notice ; and in a school where a proper moral influence is felt, the faults requiring decided disapprobation or punishment can be reduced, by any teacher of ordinary powers, to a very few heads. Punishments, properly so called, are of rare necessity in a well-governed school. By marking with his decided disapprobation the more prominent obliquities of his pupils, a teacher can do more towards the maintenance of good order, than by the employment of many and various punishments, except in cases of oft repeated or flagrant violations of rule.
But while I would place the power, as well as the necessity of deciding arbitrarily upon the faults of scholars, out of the hands of an individual, influenced as the best man must be, by the variations of the moral as well as the physical atmosphere around him; it is, nevertheless, necessary to intrust the superintendent of a school with a certain amount of discretionary power, which will be perfectly consistent with the existence of bounding laws; in precisely the same manner, as a judge of a civil court has it in his power to make a fine, ten or a hundred dollars, as the case may demand. This is necessary, in order to meet the shades of difference in the culpability of offences, and the circumstances of extenuation or aggravation by which they may be accompanied.”
We may return to this volume in the next number.
Art. V.--MR COLERIDGE AT SCHOOL. “At school I enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a very sensible, though at the same time, a very severe master. He* early moulded my taste to the preference of Demosthenes to Cicero, of Homer and Theocritus to Virgil, and again Virgil to Ovid. He habituated me to compare
*The Rev. James Bowyer, many years Head Master of the Grammar School, Christ Hospital.
Lucretius, (in such extracts as I then read,) Terence, and, above all, the chaster poems of Catullus, not only with the Roman poets of the, so called, silver and brazen ages, but with even those of the Augustan era ; and on grounds of plain sense and universal logic, to see and assert the supe. riority of the former, in the truth and nativeness, both of their thoughts and diction. At the same time that we were studying the Greek tragic poets, he made us read Shakspeare and Milion as lessons : and they were lessons, too, which required most time and trouble to bring up, so as to escape his censure. I learnt from him that poetry, even that of the loftiest, and, seemingly, that of the wildest odes, had a logic of its own, as severe as that of science; and more difficult, because more subtle, more complex, and dependent on more, and more fugitive causes. In the truly great poets, he would say, there is a reason assignable, not only for every word, but for the position of every word; and I well remember, that, availing himself of the synonymes to the Homer of Didymus, he made us attempt to show, with regard to each, why it would not have answered the same purpose ; and wherein consisted the peculiar fitness of the word in the original text.
In our own English compositions, (at least for the last three years of our school education, he showed no mercy to phrase, metaphor, or image, unsupported by a sound sense, or where the same sense might have been conveyed with equal force and dignity in plainer words. Lute, harp, and lyre ; muse, muses, and inspirations; Pegasus, Parnas. sus, and Hipocrene, were all an abomination to him. In fancy, I can almost hear him now, exclaiming, “ Harp? Harp? Lyre? Pen and ink, boy, you mean! Muse, boy, Muse ? Your Nurse's daughter, you mean! Pierian spring? Oh, aye ! the cloister-pump, I suppose !" Nay, certain introductions, similes, and examples, were placed by name on a list of interdiction. Among the similes, there was, I remember, that of the Manchineel fruit, as suiting equally well with too many subjects ; in which, however, it yielded the palm at once to the example of Alexander and Clytus, which was equally good and apt, whatever might be the theme. Was it Ambition ? Alexander and Clytus ! Flattery? Alexander and Clytus ! Anger? Drunkenness? Pride? Friendship ? Ingratitude ? Late repentancce ? Still,
still Alexander and Clytus! At length, the praises of agriculture having been exemplified in the sagacious observation, that, had Alexander been holding the plough, he would not have run his friend Clytus through with a spear, this tried and serviceable old friend was banished by public edict in secula seculorum." ” “ There was one custom of our master which I cannot pass over in silence, because I think it imitable and worthy of imitation. He would often permit our theme exercises, under some pretext of want of time, to accumulate, till each lad had four or five to be looked over. Then placing the whole number abreast on his desk, he would ask the writer, why this or that sentence might not have found as appropriate a place under this or that thesis : and if no satisfying answer could be returned, and two faults of the same kind were found in one exercise, the irrevocable verdict followed ; the exercise was torn up, and another on the same subject to be produced, in addition to the tasks of the day. The reader will, I trust, excuse this tribute of recollection to a man, whose severities, even now, not seldom furnish the dreams, by which the blind fancy would fain interpret to the mind the painful sensations of distempered sleep, but neither lessen nor dim the deep sense of my moral and intellectual obligations. He sent us to the University excellent Latin and Greek scholars, and tolerable Hebraists. Yet our classical knowledge was the least of the good gifts which we derived from his zealous and conscientious tutorage. He is now gone to his final reward, full of years, and full of honors, even of those honors which were dearest to his heart, as gratefully bestowed by that school, and still binding him to the interests of that school, in which he had been himself educated, and to which, during his whole life, he was a dedicated thing.”—Coleridge's Biographia Literaria.
REVIEWS AND NOTICES. .
The Life of George Washington, written for the use of Schools,
by Joan MARSHALL, late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. · Philadelphia. 1838. pp. 379.
We opened this book with that peculiar feeling of respect, which we believe is common to Americans, at the sight or mention of Marshall's name. We also had in mind, the value and reputation of his great work, the Life of Washington, of wbich, the book before us is an abridgment. The fact that the abridgment was made by Marshall himself, excited no little interest and prepossession.
We must not conceal the fact, however, that as we read the book sufficiently to observe its plan, we were struck with its want of adaptation as a useful school book. It is a compend of facts in Wasbington's life, and in the early history of our country, deprived of that interest as well as assistance to the memory afforded by the usual varieties of historic writing.
Perbaps we are affected in our judgment by the extreme interest with wbich we read Weems's Life of Washington, in childhood. We are not of the opinion that all knowledge should be made so attractive by the form in which it is conveyed, as to dispense with mental effort, but if there is a department of knowledge which inay properly be relieved as far as possible, of tedious detail and dry circumstances, it is a history of one's own country, prepared for children and youth. A history interwoven with illustrations and graphic descriptions of men, places, scenes, events, will be far more useful to a youth, than a Book of Annals. The latter, we think, is too much the character of the work before us. It consists of a dry, dull narrative of what happened next in the order of time, after each event in Washington's history and that of bis country. It is delivered as though the writer were under oath. Suppose the young reader to be inflamed with a patriotic love of Washington sufficient to carry bim through any dull narrative, in which that great name frequently occurs, and you may put this book into his hands ; but to ordinary readers it will bave no charm that will make the woods and rocks and barrens of dry history move at the mere music of the patriot's name. There is no drum and fife in its battles, no caparisoned horse, or marshalled host listening to the harangue, before the onset. You have the order of time and the date of each battle, but nothing except an abstract effort of memory is awakened to fix it in the mind. So throughout the life of Washiugton; his great public acts and the leading events of the times are chronicled with the precision and coldness of a mere annalist. To a student, and indeed to any grown person interested in referring to historical facts, the book, with a copious index, would be a convenient, and we think, an excellent, manual, but we cannot believe it to be suitable to the purpose for which it was designed.
Here is an instance, we are inclined to believe, in which the publishers were captivated with a prospect of great gain, and the author deceived, probably, by their representations. The publishers, perhaps, thought that the same of Marshall and of his great work, would procure a sale for any form of that work in which it could be given to the public. This was a natural feeling, but an error in judgment: Marshall's Life of Washington is not a work that can bear abridgment for youth. Some of them might read the original work with interest, borne along by its dignified air of truth, and the indescribable impression of superior intellect which it leaves upon the mind of the reader. But let it be robbed of this power, which will indeed find for itself a fit audience, though few amongst the young, and you reduce the work to the uninteresting and tedious narrative of important facts which we have described it to be. At the same time, our respect and reverence for the author of the work would, if it were possible, suppress an unfavorable opinion of it, and our unwillingness to adopt or countenance the notion that all knowledge must be addressed to the imagination, makes us somewbat unwilling to express our irresistible opinion of the book, There is every thing of the useful in it, but little of the sweet ; if the two had been judiciously mingled, it would have carried an unanimous approbation.
The Life or W». Cowper, Esq. By Robert Southey, Esq.,
LL. D. Poet Laureate, etc., in two volumes. Boston: Otis, Broaders & Co. 1839.
The memory of William Cowper is precious to the scholar as well as to the Christian. The christian life as manifested in his oxperience shows a peculiar beauty,—the return of sunshine after a storm-light struggling through thick clouds—the peace of strong hope and of assured faith wrought out in the midst of disease, and pain, and fears. There is that in Cowper which we find in no other
nglish writer, the opening of his inmost soul to the fellowship o.