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THE POPULAR SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER.
IN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
THE character of the school and the teacher at any given period, is to some extent reflected in the popular writings of the day, and is to a still greater extent perpetuated by such representation. As part of the History of Popular Education, we shall republish from time to time in this Journal, not only the elaborate dissertations by the best writers and thinkers of different countries and ages, on the principles and methods of education, but we propose to reproduce the portraitures which have been drawn in prose and verse of the school, the schoolmaster and the schoolmistress, by writers of established reputation—especially in the English language. We shall add a few notes and annotations for the benefit of readers who may not be familiar with the authors quoted, or the names and customs referred to.
THOMAS FULLER, D. D. 1608-1661.
DR. THOMAS FULLER was the son of a clergyman in Aldwinkle in Northamptonshire, where he was born in 1608,-was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, preached in London,-published his History of the Holy War in 1640, his Holy State in 1642, his Good Thoughts in Bad Times in 1645, and his Church History in 1656,and died in 1661. His Worthies of England, the labor of many years and a fund of biographical information, was not printed till after his death. His writings are full of learning, composed in a quaint and witty style, and abound in admirable maxims characterized by sagacity and good sense, and expressed in language always pithy, and frequently irresistibly humorous. His Holy and Profane States contain beautifully drawn characters, of which the following is an admirable specimen.
THE GOOD SCHOOLMASTER.
THERE is scarce any profession in the commonwealth more necessary, which is so slightly performed. The reasons whereof, I conceive to be these: first, young scholars make this calling their refuge, yea, perchance before they have taken any degree in the University, commence schoolmasters in the country, as if nothing else were required to set up this profession but only a rod and a ferula. Secondly, others, who are able, use it only as a passage to better preferment, to patch the rents in their present fortune, till they can provide a new one, and betake themselves to some more gainful calling. Thirdly, they are disheartened from doing their best with the miserable reward which in some places they receive, being masters to the children, and slaves to their parents. Fourthly, being grown rich, they grow negligent, and scorn to touch the school, but by the proxy of an usher. But see how well our schoolmaster behaves himself.
His genius inclines him with delight to his profession. Some men had as lief be schoolboys as schoolmasters, to be tied to the school, as Cooper's dictionary and Scapula's lexicon are chained* to the desk therein; and though great scholars, and skillful in other arts, are bunglers in this: but God of his goodness hath fitted several men for several callings, that the necessity of church and state in all conditions may be provided for. So that he who beholds the fabric thereof may say, "God hewed out this stone, and appointed it to lie in this very place, for it would fit none other so well, and here it doth most excellent." And thus God mouldeth some for a schoolmaster's life, undertaking it with desire and delight, and discharging it with dexterity and happy success.
He studieth his scholars' natures as carefully as they their books; and ranks their dispositions into several forms. And though it may seem difficult for him in a great school to descend to all particulars, yet experienced schoolmasters may quickly make a grammar of boys' natures, and reduce them all, saving some few exceptions, to these general rules.
1. Those that are ingenious and industrious. The conjunction of two such planets in a youth presage much good unto him. To such a lad a frown may be a whipping, and a whipping a death; yea, where their master whips them once, shame whips them all the week after. Such natures he useth with all gentleness. 2. Those that are ingenious and idle. These think, with the hare in the fable, that running with snails (so they count the rest of their schoolfellows) they shall come soon enough to the post, though sleeping a good while before their starting. Oh, a good rod would finely take them napping.
3. Those that are dull and diligent. Wines, the stronger they be, the more lees they have when they are new. Many boys are muddy-headed till they be clarified with age, and such afterward prove the best. Bristol diamonds are both bright and square and pointed by nature, and yet are soft and worthless; whereas, Orient ones in India are rough and rugged naturally. Hard, rugged and dull natures of youth acquit themselves afterward the jewels of the country, and therefore their dullness at first is to be borne with, if they be diligent. That schoolmaster deserves to be beaten himself, who beats nature in a boy for a fault. And I question whether all the whipping in the world can make their parts, which are naturally sluggish, rise one minute before the hour nature hath appointed.
4. Those that are invincibly dull and negligent also. Correction may reform the latter, not amend the former. All the whetting in the world can never set a razor's edge on that which hath no steel in it. Such boys he consigneth over to other professions. Shipwrights and boatmakers will choose those crooked pieces of timber, which other carpenters refuse. Those may make excellent merchants and mechanics which will not serve for scholars.
He is able, diligent, and methodical in his teaching; not leading them rather in a circle than forward. He minces his precepts for children to swallow, hanging clogs on the nimbleness of his own soul, that his scholars may go along with him.
He is, and will be known to be an absolute monarch in his school. If cockering mothers proffer him money to purchase their sons an exemption from his rod, (to live as it were in a peculiar, out of their master's jurisdiction,) with disdain he refuseth it, and scorns the late custom in some places of commuting whipping into money, and ransoming boys from the rod at a set price. If he hath a stubborn youth, correction-proof, he debaseth not his authority by contesting with him, but fairly, if he can, puts him away before his obstinacy hath infected others.
He is moderate in inflicting deserved correction. Many a schoolmaster better answereth the name παιδοτρίβηςt than παιδαγωγός - rather tearing his scholars' flesh with whipping, than giving them good education. No wonder
The practice of chaining the Dictionary to the master's desk, to be there consulted, existed in the early Grammar Schools of this country See Parker's History of the Free School of Roxbury.
BRISTOL DIAMONDS are small and brilliant crystals of quartz found in the vicinity of Bristol, England, and occasionally used for ornamental purposes Brande.
1 παιδοτρίβης a teacher of wrestling or gymnastics. παιδαγωγος—strictly the slave who went with a boy from home to school and the gymnasium-but used to designate one who teaches and trains boys.
If his scholars hate the muses, being presented unto them in the shape of fiends and furies. Junius* complains "de insolenti carnificina" of his schoolmaster, by whom conscindebatur flagris septies aut octies in dies singulos." Yea, hear the lamentable verses of poor Tusser in his own life:
Such an Orbilius‡ mars more scholars than he makes: their tyranny hath caused many tongues to stammer, which spake plain by nature, and whose stuttering at first was nothing else but fears quavering on their speech at their master's presence; and whose mauling them about their heads hath dulled those who in quickness exceeded their master.
He makes his school free to him, who sues to him "in forma pauperis." And surely learning is the greatest alms that can be given. But he is a beast, who, because the poor scholar can not pay him his wages, pays the scholar in his whipping. Rather are diligent lads to be encouraged with all excitements to learning. This minds me of what I have heard concerning Mr. Bust, that worthy late schoolmaster of Eton, who would never suffer any wandering begging scholar (such as justly the statute hath ranked in the forefront of rogues) to come into his school, but would thrust him out with earnestness, (however privately charitable unto him,) lest his schoolboys should be disheartened from their books, by seeing some scholars, after their studying in the University, preferred to beggary.
He spoils not a good school to make thereof a bad college, therein to teach his scholars logic. For besides that logic may have an action of trespass against grammar for encroaching on her liberties, syllogisms are solecisms taught in the school, and oftentimes they are forced afterward in the University to unlearn the fumbling skill they had before.
Out of his school he is no whit pedantical in carriage or discourse; contenting himself to be rich in Latin, though he doth not jingle with it in every company wherein he comes.
To conclude, let this amongst other motives make schoolmasters careful in their place, that the eminencies of their scholars have commended the memories of their schoolmasters to posterity, who otherwise in obscurity had altogether been forgotten. Who had ever heard of R. Bond, in Lancashire, but for the breeding of learned Ascham, his scholar? or of Hartgrave, in Brundly school,
FRANCIS JUNIUS. who died in 1602, professor of divinity at Leyden, whose autobiography contains brief notices of his school and schoolmasters-is probably referred to. He was the author of Commentaries, Hebrew Lexicon, Translations of the Scriptures, etc.
NICHOLAS UDAL, Head Master of Eton College, from 1530 to 1555, and of Westminster from 1555 to 1564, through the Schoolmaster of Roger Ascham, and Thomas Tusser's Account of his own life, seems destined to an unenviable immortality for his flogging propensities. He was born in Hampshire in 1506, educated at Oxford, and died in 1564. He was the author of a "Moral play" entitled Ralph Royster Doyster.
1 ORBILIUS PUPILLUS, was a native of Beneventum, where having received a good educa tion, served as a soldier in Macedonia, taught for some time in his native place, until in the consulship of Cicero, B. C. 63, he removed to Rome and opened a school, which was attended by Horace, who seems to have carried away with him a stinging remembrance of his flogging propensities, and for which he has made him infamous to all time. In his Epistle to Augustus, [Ep. 11. 1, 70.] he calls him plagosum-fond of flogging. Suetonius in his Liber de Illus tribus Grammaticis describes Orbilius in these words: Fuit autem naturæ acerbæ non modo in anti sophistus, quos omni sermone laceravit, sed etiam in discipulos, ut Horatius significat, plagosum eum uppellans, et Domitius Marsus scribens:
Si quos Orbilius ferula scuticaque cecidet.
The ferula, the general instrument of punishment in school, was the stalk of a reed or cane of that name, in which Prometheus conveyed the spark of fire from heaven. Many teachers act as though they thought some of the divine fire had impregnated the stalk for future use. Scutica was a lash, and a more flexible and severe instrument of punishment, like the raw hide, made of untanned leather twisted.
Orbilius lived to be nearly one hundred years old, and must have had a more cheerful temper than Horace gave him credit for. His native city erected a statue to his memory. He is said to have written a book on school-keeping.