Imatges de pàgina
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totle placeth in the skill of specialties. And I would advise him that hath to deal with a child, to imitate the nurse in helping him how to go forward, or the gardener in furthering the growth of his young plant. Est et hac summi in genic maxima infirmitas non posse descendere Tall wits, like long backs, can not abide to stoop-saith a teacher of eloquence; but whosoever is a schoolmaster, and would do his duty as he ought, must account it a point of wisdom to con. descend to a child's capacity, be it never so mean. How have I delighted to see an artist (I mean a watchmaker or the like) spend an hour or two sometimes in finding a defect in a piece of work, which he hath afterward remedied in the turning of a hand; whereas, a more hasty workman hath been ready to throw the thing aside, and to neglect it as good for no use. Let the master ever mind where a child sticks, and remove the impediments out of his way, and his scholar will take pleasure that he can go on in learning.

2. There is a great disproportion betwixt a child's capacity and the Accidents itself. Children are led most by sense, and the grammar rules, consisting in general doctrines, are too subtle for them. Children's wits are weak, active and lively, whereas, grammar notions are abstractive, dull and lifeless; boys find no sap nor sweetness in them, because they know not what they mean, and tell them the meaning of the same rule never so often over, their memories are so waterish, that the impression (if any were made in the brain) is quickly gone out again. He runneth on apace and mindeth nothing so much as play; and it is very hard to teach a child in doing a thing to heed, much less to judge, what he doth, till he feel some use of reason; in the meantime, he will profit more by continual practice and being kept still (as he loves to be) doing, than by knowing why and being called upon to consider the causes wherefore he doth this or that.

Besides, it will clearly appear to any that shall but mind the confused order (especially of the verbs) and the perplexity of some rules and examples, that that book was rather made to inform those of riper years, who knew something of Latin before, of the reasons of what they knew, than to direct little ones (as we now do) to use it as a rule about that whereof they are ignorant altogether.

3. It is one thing to learn the Latin tongue, or any other language, and another to learn the grammar as a guide to it, or a means to attain the reason of it. We see how readily cnildren learn to speak true and proper English, (and they may also do the same in Latin,) by daily use and imitation of others, long before they are able to apprehend a definition of what grammar is, or any thing else concerning it; and the reason is, because the first is a work of the imagination and memory, which are apt to take and keep impressions, having the senses to help them, but the other belongs to the understanding, which for want of the strength of reason to assist it, is hard to be wrought upon in a child, and till the memory and understanding go hand in hand, a child learns nothing to any purpose. Hence, it cometh to pass, that grammar learning (as it is now generally used) becometh a work of more difficulty and discouragement, both to master and scholar, than any study or employment they undertake, and that many have striven to contrive more facile grammars for their scholars; whereas, indeed, the right and constant use of any one that is complete, so as to handle the subjectum totale of the art, doth easily reduce all others to itself, especially after the language is somewhat gained.

These things thus premised, I conceive it very necessary for all such as undertake to teach grammar to little children, to cherish and exercise those endowments which they see do show themselves most vigorous and prompt in them, be they memory, fancy, &c., and to proceed orderly and by degrees, (for so nature itself doth,) that they may be able to hold pace with their teachers, and to perceive how they themselves mount higher and higher, and at every ascent to know where they are, and how to adventure boldly to go forward of themselves. And forasmuch as the Accidents is generally made use of as an introduction to Latin grammar, (which of itself is but a bare rule, and a very naked thing, as Mr Mulcaster hath well observed,) and it is one thing to speak like a grammarian, and another thing to speak like a Latinist, (as Quintilian hath noted,) it is fit that both the Accidents and the Latin tongue together should be brought within children's reach, and made more familiar unto them than formerly. And how this may be done even with those of seven years of age, or under, I shall now go on to discover according to what I have tried, and do still every day put in practice. But this I require aforehand, (which Mr. Mulcaster also wished for,) that a child may have his reading perfect and ready in both the English and Latin tongues, and that he can write a fair hand before ever he dream of his grammar; for these will make him so that he shall never complain of after difficulties, but cheerfully make a wonderful riddance in the rest of his learning.

The commonly received way to teach children the first rudiments of Latin speech is, to put them to read the Accidents once or twice over, and then to let them get it without the book by several parts, not respecting at all whether they understand it or not. Thus they spend two or three years (for the most part) in a wearisome toil to no purpose, not knowing all the while what use they are to make of their book, nor what the learning of such a multitude of rules may tend to; and in the interim of getting the Accidents by heart, (if great care be not taken,) they lose that ability of reading English which they brought from the Petty School, and this makes the parents cry out against learning Latin, and complain of their children not profiting at the grammar schools, whence they are therefore sometimes taken and sent back again to a mistress or dame to learn English better. The conscientious master all the while striving to the uttermost of his strength and skill to preserve his credit, and not knowing well how to remedy this mischief otherwise than by hastening on the children in this common road, doth overtoil (if not destroy) himself, and discourage (if not drive away) his scholars by his too much diligence.

Having, therefore, made sure that the little scholars can read very well and write plainly beforehand, put so many of them as are well able to hold pace together into one form, and begin to teach them their Accidents in an understanding manner thus:

1, Give them a glimpse or insight into the introduction or first part of it, by dividing it into twelve parts, and making them to take notice of the chief heads in every one; whereof the first may be, concerning the eight parts of speech, of a noun and its kindsnumbers, cases and genders.

The second, of the declensions of nouns' substantives.
The third, of the declining of adjectives and their comparison.
The fourth, of a pronoun,

The fifth, of a verb and its kinds, tb is, gerunds, supines, tenses, persons and conjugations.

The sixth, of the conjugating of verbs in 0.
The seventh, of the verb sum.
The eighth, of verbs in OR.
The ninth, of verbs irregular, as possum, &c.
The tenth, of a participle.
The eleventh, of an adverb.
The twelfth, of a conjunction, a preposition, and an interjection.

By this means they shall know the general terms of grammar, and where to turn to any part of speech and what belongs to it in the book. As they get their parts, make them hear one another read it over in their seats as they sit orderly; as they say it, let every one read a greater or lesser share as you please to appoint, and make the rest attend to him that readeth; after they have said it, one may take the examination of the Accidents, and out of it ask the questions belonging to their present part, to which the others may make answer out of the words of their Accidents, which if they can not readily do so, he may tell them out of his book; and if you yourself sometimes examine them in the most familiar and general questions, it will help them to understand it, and sharpen their memories very much for the getting of that by heart wbereof they already know somewhat.

2. When they get the introduction, memoriter, let them take but a very little at once, that they may get it more perfectly in a little time, and this will be a means still to heartén them on to a new lesson, but be sure that every lesson end at a full period; and that none may seem to be overcharged or hindered, let always the weakest child appoint the task, and cause the stronger to help him to perform it as he ought.

Forasmuch as your scholars' memories are yet very weak and slippery, it is not amiss to help them by more frequent repetitions, especially at the end of every part of speech, which they should examine so often over till they can answer to any thing that is in their book concerning it; then let them proceed to the next in like manner, not forgetting to recall the more general and necessary points to memory from the very beginning, and this will be a means to make them keep all fresh in mind, and to be able to tell you what part of speech any word is which you shall name, either in English or Latin, and what belongs to it, which is one main end for which the introduction was made. You may now and then exercise them in distinguishing the eight parts of speech, by giving them a period, and after they have written it out, making them to mark every word what part of speech it is by these figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

3. But as they get the introduction by heart, and learn to answer to the questions raised out of it, an especial care and pains must be taken, ever and anon, to make them very perfect in declining nouns and forming verbs. Let them, therefore, as it were by by-tasks, get the examples of the nouns and verbs very perfectly which are set down in their Accidents.

Then, first, let them decline the articles severally or jointly, for by these they may know the gender, case and number of a noun, though many learned grammarians of late do leave them off as useless. Harum musarum was formerly, as much as to say that musarum is of the feminine gender, genitive case and plural number. And whereas, the rule beginneth with the genitive case, do you supply the nominative thus: "d

2. Cause them with every example to join the rule of the declension, and thereby to know the due termination of every case in both numbers, saying the English sometimes before and sometimes after the Latin; the nominative case singular of the first declension endeth in an as nominativo hac musa, a song; the genitive in , as hujus musce, of a song; the dative in ce, as huic musce, to a song, &c.

Let them give the bare terminations of every declension in each case in both numbers, as to say, the terminations of the first declension throughout all cases, in both numbers are, singulariter nom., a; gen., c; data, æ; accu., am, &c.

The terminations of the nominative case singular of the five declensions are, of the first, a; of the second, r, us, um; of the third, aby , , 0, 1, 8, 1, 2; of the fourth, us; of the fifth, es.

The terminations of the genitive case singular of the five declensions are, of the first, æ; the second, i; the third, is; the fourth, us; the fifth, ei, &c. And let them take especial notice of the endings of the genitive case singular, because thereby they may know of what declension a noun is when they find it in a vocabulary or dictionary

Furnish them out of their vocabulary, or otherwise, with a store of examples for every several declension till they can readily decline any regular noun; but then especially mind them of the vocative singular of those nouns that end in us of the second declension, and of those that are of tho neuter gender, of the second, third, or fourth declension, and what cases they make all alike in both numbers.

5. Exercise them in declining nouns so often till they can tell you at once tho termination of any case in either number, in one or all of the declensions, and say on a sudden what any noun you name to them doth make in any one case of each number, in English or Latin. As, if you ask them of what declension, case and number this termination os is, they can presently answer, that os is of the second declension, accusative case and plural number; or, if you ask them of what declension, case and number virtute is, they can answer, that virtute is of the third declension, the ablative case and singular number. So in English, if you should say, with a pen, they can tell you it is the ablative case and singular number, and therefore must be said in Latin, penna. Or, if in Latin you should say, pennas, they can tell you it is of the accusative case, plural number, and must be said in English, pens, or the pens.

6. In declining adjectives, cause them to mind to what declension their several genders belong, and after they can parse every gender alone by itself, teach then to join it to a substantive of the same or a different declension, with the English either before or after the Latin, thus: Singulariter nominativo, pura charta, fair paper; gen., puræ chartæ, of fair paper, &c. Sing. nom., novus liber, a new book; gen., novi libri, of a new book, &c. Sing. nom., dulcis conjux, a sweet wife; gen., dulcis conjugis, of a sweet wife, &c. Edentula anus, a toothless old woman; gen., endentulæ anus, of a toothless old woman, &c. Frigida glacies, cold ice; gen., frigide glaciei, of cold ice, &c. Gravis turbis, a troublesome rout; gen., gravis turbie, of a troublesome rout, &c. Magnum onus, a great burthen; gen., magni oneris, of a great burthen, &c.

7. Acquaint them well with the manner of forming the three degrees of comparison, by showing them how the comparative and superlative are made of the positive, according to the rules, and then let them decline an adjective in all the degrees together, throughout all cases and genders in both numbers, as

well in English as in Latin, thus: Sing. nom., durus, hard, durior, harder, durissimus, very hard; dura, hard, durior, bardér, durissima, very hard; durum, hard, durius, harder, durissimum, very hard.· Gen., duri, of hard, durioris, of harder, durissimi, of very hard, &c. Sing. nom., felix, happy, felicior, more happy, felicissimus, most happy; felix, happy, felicior, more happy, felicissima, most happy; felix, happy, felicius, more happy, felicissimum, most happy. Gen.,

felicis, of happy, felicioris, of more happy, felicissimi, of most happy, &c. Then teach them to join a substantive with any one or all of the degrees, thus: Injustus pater, a harsh father; injusta mater, an unjust mother; injustum animal, an unjust creature. Indoctus puer, an unlearned boy; indoctior puella, a more unlearned girl; indoctissimum vulgas, the most unlearned common people.

8. To help them the better to perform this profitable exercise of themselves, let them sometimes write a noun, which you appoint them at large, and distinguish betwixt that part which is movable and that which is immovable; I mean betwixt the forepart of the word and its termination, thus: Sing. nom., mens-a, a table; gen., men-ce, to a table; dat., mens-æ, to a table, &c., to the

end.

Thus, likewise, they may be exercised in writing out substantives and adjectives, and forming the degrees of comparison, with which work they will be exceedingly much delighted when once they can write, and by once writing, they will better discern what they do than by ten times telling it over; which makes me again press hard, that either a child may be able to write before he be put to the grammar school, or else be put to learn to write so soon as he comes thither. For besides the confused disorder it will make in a school when some children are fitted to undergo their tasks and others are not, they that can write shall be sure to profit in grammar learning, whereas, they that can not will do little but disturb the school and hinder their fellows, and bring a shame upon their master, and a blame upon themselves because they do not learn faster. And, also, poor child, how should he be made to go that wants his legs? if he go upon crutches it is but lamely. And how should he be taught grammar, which is the art of right writing as well as speaking, that can not write at all? I wish they that take upon themselves to teach boys grammar before they can write, would but take upon themselves the trouble to teach one to speak well that can not speak at all. But I say no more of this subject, for though what I say have seemed to some a mere paradox, yet upon trial they have found it a plain, real truth, and such as any man will assent to.

As for that which is generally objected, that whilst children are young their hands are unsteady, and therefore they should go on at their books till they grow more firm, it will quickly be found a mere idle fancy when such objectors shall see less children than their own every day practice fair writing, and make more speedy progress at their books by so doing.

Now touching verbs :

1. Be sure that children be well acquainted with the different kinds of them, distinguished both by signification and termination, as also with their moods, tenses and signs, and with the characteristical letters of the four conjugations, (which are a long, and e long, and e short, and i long.) And as they conjugate a verb, let them take more particular notice of its present tense, preterperfect tense and first supine, because of these all other tenses are formed; and these, therefore, aro specified in every dictionary.

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