« AnteriorContinua »
gripes of wrestling, wherein Englishmen are wont to excel, as need may often be in fight to tug, to grapple, and to close.58 And this perhaps will be enough wherein to prove and heat their single strength. The interim of unsweating themselves regularly, and convenient rest before meat, may both with profit and delight be taken up in recreating and composing their travailed spirits with the solemn and divine harmonies of music59 heard or learned, either whilst the skillful organist plies his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugues, or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well studied chords of some choice composer ;61 sometimes the lute or soft organ-stop waiting on elegant voices either to religious, martial, or civil ditties, which, if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners to smooth and make them gentle from rustic harshness and distempered passions.” The like also would not be inexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction. Where having followed it under vigilant eyes until about two hours before supper, they are, by a sudden alarum or watchword, to be called out to their military motions, under sky or covert according to the season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, then, as their age permits, on horseback to all the art of cavalry ;es that having in sport, but with much exactness and daily muster, served out the rudiments of their soldiership in all the skill of embattling, marching, encamping, fortifying, besieging, and battering, with all the helps of ancient and modern stratagems, tactics, and warlike maxims, they may, as it were out of a long war, come forth renowned and perfect commanders in the service of their country. They would not then, if they were trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer them for want of just and wise discipline to shed away from about them like sick feathers, though they be never so oft supplied; they would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable colonels of twenty men in a company to quaff out or convey into secret hoards the wages of a delusive list and miserable remnant;65 yet in the meanwhile to be overmastered with a score or two of drunkards, the only soldiery left about them, or else to comply with all rapines and violences. No, certainly, if they knew ought of that knowledge which belongs to good men or good governors, they would not suffer these things. But to return to our own institute. Besides these constant exercises at home, there is another opportunity of gaining experience to be won from pleasure itself abroad : in those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in
her rejoicing with heaven and earth.66 I should not, therefore, be a persuader to them of studying much then, after two or three years that they have well laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies with prudent and staid guides to all the quarters of the land, learning and observing all places of strength, all commodities of building, and of soil for towns and tillage, harbors, and ports for trade.67 Sometimes taking sea as far as to our navy, to learn there also what they can in the practical knowledge of sailing and sea-fight. These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of nature, and if there were any secret excellence among them, would fetch it out and give it fair opportunities to advance itself by, which could not but mightily redound to the good of this nation, and bring into fashion again those old admired virtues and excellencies with far more advantage now in this purity of Christian knowledge.68 Nor shall we then need the monsieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into their slight and prodigal custodies, and send them over back again transformed into mimics, apes, and kikshose. But if they desire to see other countries at three or four and twenty years of age, not to learn principles but to enlarge experience and make wise observation, they will by that time be such as shall deserve the regard and honor of all men where they pass, and the society and friendship of those in all places who are best and most eminent. And perhaps then other nations will be glad to visit us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in their own country.
III. Now, lastly, for their diet there can not be much to say, save only that it would be best in the same house; for much time else would be lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it should be plain, healthful, and moderate, I suppose is out of controversy.
Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view in writing, as your desire was, of that which at several times I had discoursed with you concerning the best and noblest way of education; not beginning, as some have done, from the cradle, which yet might be worth many considerations, if brevity had not been my scope."Many other circumstances also I could have mentioned, but this, to such as have the worth in them to make trial, for light and direction may be enough. Only I believe that this is not a bow for every man to shoot in that counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews almost equal to those which Homer gave Ulysses ;?? yet I am withal pursuaded that it may prove much more easy in the essay than it now seems at distance, and much more illustrious; howbeit not more difficult than I imagine, and that imagination presents me with nothing but very happy, and very possible, according to best wishes, if God have so · decreed, and this age have spirit and capacity enough to apprebend.
HOME, SCHOOL, AND COLLEGE TRAINING.
MILTON! thou should'st be living at this hour:
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.- Wordsworth. John Milton, the most resplendent name for genius and culture, in prose and poetry, in English literature, belongs legitimately to the annals of Pedagogy, both as teacher and author. With natural endowments, such as are vouchsafed to but few in the history of a nation, with rare opportunities of home, school and college culture diligently improved, and his whole youthful training consummated by several years of intercourse with artists, scholars, and statesmen, in different countries, Milton first addressed himself as a worker, to the business of teaching, and to educational reform as “one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought of"_"the only genuine source of political and individual liberty, the only true safeguard of states, the bulwark of their prosperity and renown.” "Tractate on Education," published in 1644, amid the revolutionary upbreak of English society, maps out a vast domain of literature, science, and art, which only pupils of the amplest leisure, and of the highest industry and emulative ardor, under teachers of the best learning and method, can successfully traverse and master. While its aim is far beyond any thing attained at that day by the university scholars of England, its diligent perusal now, in connection with the study of his own life, will inspire an ingenuous mind “with a love of study, and the admiration of virtue,” and its precepts faithfully followed, will fit American youth" to perform justly, skillfully and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war.”
John Milton was born in the city of London, on the 9th of December, 1608. His father was a scrivener-copyist and draftsman of all kinds of documents, legal, commercial, and literary—and had the means and disposition to give his gifted son the opportunities of education which the best private tutors and public schools could impart. These opportunities are graphically described by Prof. Masson, in his elaborate and exhaustive work, entitled the “Life and Times of John Milton," from which we shall draw freely."
HOME EDUCATION OF MILTON. MORE important in his case than contact with the world of city sights and city humors lying around the home of his childhood, was the training he received within that home itself. It is a warm and happy home. Peace, comfort and industry reign within it. During the day the scrivener is busy with his apprentices and clerks; but in the evening the family are gathered togetherthe father on one side, the mother on the other, the eldest girl and her brother John seated near, and little Kit lying on the hearth. A grave puritanic piety Was then the order in the households of most of the respectable citizens of London; and in John Milton's home there was more than usual of the accompanying affection for puritanic habits and modes of thought. Religious reading and duvout exercises would be part of the regular life of the family. And thus a disposition towards the serious, a regard for religion as the chief concern of life, and a dutiful love of the parents who so taught him, would be cultivated in Wilton from his earliest years. Happy child, to have such parents; happy parents, to have such a child !
But the scrivener, though a serious man, was also a man of liberal culture. • He was an ingeniose man,” says Aubrey; and Phillips, who could recollect nim personally, says that while prudent in business, " he did not so far quit his generous and ingenious inclinations as to make himself wholly a slave to the world.” His acquaintance with literature was that of a man who had been sometime at college. But his special faculty was music. He had so cultivated the art as to acquire in it a reputation above that of an ordinary amateur. He was a contributor with twenty-one of the first English composers then living, in a collection of madrigals published under the title of “The Triumphs of Oriana," all originally intended to be sung at an entertainment in compliment to Queen Elizabeth. His name also appears in " The Whole Book of Psalms,” 1621, and “ The Tears and Lamentations of a Sorrowfull Soule," 1614. An organ and other instruments were part of the furniture in the house in Bread Street, and much of his spare time was given to musical study and practice. Hence we can readily understand the high place given by Milton to music in his "Tractate on Education." The intervals of more severe labor, he said, might "both with profit and delight be taken up in recreating and composing their travailed spirits with the solemn and divine harmonies of music, heard or learnt-either while the skillful organist plies his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugues, or the whole symphony with artful and unimaginable touches adorn and grace the well-studied chords of some choice composer; sometimes the lute or soft organstop waiting on elegant voices, either to religious, martial, or civil ditties, which,
* Vol. I. pp. 658. Repablished by GOULD & LINCOLN.
if wise men and prophets be not extremely out, have a great power over dispositions and manners to smooth and make them gentle." of this kind of education Milton had the full advantage. Often must he, as a child, have bent over his father while composing, or listened to him as he played. Not unfrequently of an evening, if one or two of his father's musical acquaintances dropped in, there would be voices enough in the Spread-Eagle for a little household concert. Then might the well-printed and well-kept set of the Orianas be brought out; and, each one present taking a suitable part, the child might hear, and always with fresh delight, his father's own madrigal :
Fair Qriana, in the morn,
The roses blushing said,
" Long live fair Oriana, long live fair Oriana!" They can remember little how a child is affected who do not see how from the words, as well as from the music of this song, a sense of fantastic grace would sink into the mind of the boy-how Oriana and her nymphs and a little Arcadian grass-plat would be before him, and a chorus of shepherds would be seen ginging at the close, and yet, somehow or other, it was all about Queen Elizabeth! And so, if, instead of the book of Madrigals, it was the thin, large volume of Sir William Leighton's " Tears and Lamentations” that furnished the song of the evening.
Joining with his young voice in these exercises of the family, the boy became a singer almost as soon as he could speak. We see him going to the organ for his own amusement, picking out little melodies by the ear, and stretching his tiny fingers in search of pleasing chords. According to Aubrey, his father taught him music, and made him an accomplished organist.
But, in the most musical household, music fills up but part of the domestic evening; and sometimes it would not be musical friends, but acquaintances of more general tastes, that would step in to spend an hour or two in the SpreadEagle.
Among the friends of the family were the Rev. Richard Stocke, the minister of the parish of Allhallows, Bread-street, "a constant, judicious, and religious preacher;" Humphrey Lownes, a printer and publisher; and John Lane, the author of "Poetical Vision," and continuation of the " Squire's Tale” in Chaucer, thus finishing that "story of Cambuscan bold," which, the son afterwards noted, had been left “ half-told” by the great original. In the conversation of such men, Milton's boyhood had educational stimulus and food of the best quality.
MILTON'S BOOK AND SCHOOL TRAINING. Writing in 1641, while his father was still alive, Milton describes his early scholastic education in these words :-"I had, from my first years, by the ceaseless diligence and care of my father, (whom God recompense) been exer