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Teaching by lecture, as at Edinburgh, may make men scholars, if they think proper; but instructing by examination, as at Oxford, will make them so often against their inclination.
tions, where all scholastic jargon is banished, where they take a degree when they think proper, and live not in the college but the city. Such are Edinburgh, Leyden, Gottingen, Geneva. The third is a mixture of the two former, where the pupils are Edinburgh only disposes the student to receive restrained but not confined; where many, though learning; Oxford often makes him actually learnnot all of the absurdities of scholastic philosophy ed. are suppressed, and where the first degree is taken after four years' matriculation. Such are Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin.
As for the first class, their absurdities are too apparent to admit of a parallel. It is disputed which of the two last are more conducive to national improvement.
In a word, were I poor, I should send my son to Leyden or Edinburgh, though the annual expense in each, particularly in the first, is very great Were I rich, I would send him to one of our own universities. By an education received in the first, he has the best likelihood of living; by that receiv ed in the latter, he has the best chance of becoming
Skill in the professions is acquired more by prac-great. tice than study; two or three years may be sufli- We have of late heard much of the necessity of cient for learning their rudiments. The universi-studying oratory. Vespasian was the first who ties of Edinburgh, etc. grant a license for practising paid professors of rhetoric for publicly instructing them when the student thinks proper, which our youth at Rome. However, those pedants never universities refuse till after a residence of several made an orator.
The best orations that ever were spoken were
The dignity of the professions may be supported pronounced in the parliaments of King Charles the by this dilatory proceeding; but many men of learn- First. These men never studied the rules of oraing are thus too long excluded from the lucrative advantages which superior skill has a right to expect.
Those universities must certainly be most frequented which promise to give in two years the advantages which others will not under twelve.
The man who has studied a profession for three years, and practised it for nine more, will certainly know more of his business than he who has only studied it for twelve.
The universities of Edinburgh, etc. must certainly be most proper for the study of those professions in which men choose to turn their learning to profit as soon as possible.
The universities of Oxford, etc. are improper for| this, since they keep the student from the world, which, after a certain time, is the only true school of improvement.
Mathematics are, perhaps, too much studied at our universities. This seems a science to which the meanest intellects are equal. I forget who it is that says, "All men might understand mathematics if they would."
The most methodical manner of lecturing, whether on morals or nature, is first rationally to explain, and then produce the experiment. The most instructive method is to show the experiment first; curiosity is then excited, and attention awakened to every subsequent deduction. Hence it is evident, that in a well formed education a course of history should ever precede a course of ethics.
The sons of our nobility are permitted to enjoy greater liberties in our universities than those of private men. I should blush to ask the men of learning and virtue who preside in our seminaries the reason of such a prejudicial distinction. Our youth should there be inspired with a love of phi
When a degree in the professions can be taken only by men of independent fortunes, the number of candidates in learning is lessened, and conse-losophy; and the first maxim among philosophers quently the advancement of learning retarded.
is, That merit only makes distinction.
This slowness of conferring degrees is a rem- Whence has proceeded the vain magnificence of nant of scholastic barbarity. Paris, Louvain, and expensive architecture in our colleges? Is it that those universities which still retain their ancient men study to more advantage in a palace than in a institutions, confer the doctor's degree slower even cell? One single performance of taste or genius than we. confers more real honours on its parent university than all the labours of the chisel.
The statues of every university should be considered as adapted to the laws of its respective government. Those should alter as these happen to fluctuate.
Surely pride itself has dictated to the fellows of our colleges the absurd passion of being attended at meals, and on other public occasions, by those poor Four years spent in the arts (as they are called men, who, willing to be scholars, come in upon in colleges) is perhaps laying too laborious a four-some charitable foundation. It implies a contradation. Entering a profession without any previ- diction, for men to be at once learning the liberal ous acquisitions of this kind, is building too bold a arts, and at the same time treated as slaves; at once superstructure. studying freedom, and practising servitude.
It is this difference of pursuit which marks the morals and characters of mankind; which lays the EVERY subject acquires an adventitious import- half-taught citizen; between the civil citizen and line between the enlightened philosopher and the ance to him who considers it with application. He illiterate peasant; between the law-obeying peasant finds it more closely connected with human happi- and the wandering savage of Africa, an animal less ness than the rest of mankind are apt to allow; he mischievous indeed than the tiger, because endued sees consequences resulting from it which do not with fewer powers of doing mischief. The man, strike others with equal conviction; and still pursuing the nation, must therefore be good, whose chiefest speculation beyond the bounds of reason, too fre- luxuries consist in the refinement of reason; and quently becomes ridiculously earnest in trifles or reason can never be universally cultivated, unless absurdity. link between science and common sense, the mediguided by taste, which may be considered as the um through which learning should ever be seen by
It will perhaps be incurring this imputation, to deduce a universal degeneracy of manners from so slight an origin as the depravation of taste; to as- society. sert that, as a nation grows dull, it sinks into debauchery. Yet such probably may be the conse-when others fail, to judge of a nation's improveTaste will therefore often be a proper standard, quence of literary decay; or, not to stretch the ment or degeneracy in morals. We have often no thought beyond what it will bear, vice and stupidity permanent characteristics, by which to compare are always mutually productive of each other. Life, at the greatest and best, has been compared own. the virtues or the vices of our ancestors with our to a froward child, that must be humoured and out leaving any traces of what it really was; and A generation may rise and pass away withplayed with till it falls asleep, and then all the care all complaints of our deterioration may be only is over. Our few years are laboured away in va- topics of declamation or the cavillings of disappointrying its pleasures; new amusements are pursued ment: but in taste we have standing evidence; we with studious attention; the most childish vanities can with precision compare the literary performanare dignified with titles of importance; and the ces of our fathers with our own, and from their exproudest boast of the most aspiring philosopher is cellence or defects determine the moral, as well as no more, than that he provides his little play-fellows the literary, merits of either. the greatest pastime with the greatest innocence.
Thus the mind, ever wandering after amuse- so far depraved among us that critics shall load If, then, there ever comes a time when taste is ment, when abridged of happiness on one part, every work of genius with unnecessary comment, endeavours to find it on another; when intellectual and quarter their empty performances with the pleasures are disagreeable, those of sense will take substantial merits of an author, both for subsistence the lead. The man who in this age is enamoured and applause; if there comes a time when censure of the tranquil joys of study and retirement, may shall speak in storms, but praise be whispered in in the next, should learning be fashionable no long- the breeze, while real excellence often finds shiper, feel an ambition of being foremost at a horse- wreck in either; if there be a time when the Muse course; or, if such could be the absurdity of the times, of being himself a jockey. Reason and appetite are therefore masters of our revels in turn; and as we incline to the one, or pursue the other, we rival angels, or imitate the brutes. In the pursuit of intellectual pleasure lies every virtue; of sensual, every vice.
shall seldom be heard, except in plaintive elegy, as if she wept her own decline, while lazy compilations supply the place of original thinking; should there ever be such a time, may succeeding critics, both for the honour of our morals, as well as our learning, say, that such a period bears no resemblance to the present age!
Or Flavia been content to stop
Written and spoken by the Poet Laberius, a Ro-O had her eyes forgot to blaze!
WHAT! no way left to shun th' inglorious stage,
THE DOUBLE TRANSFORMATION;
SECLUDED from domestic strife
Such pleasures, unallay'd with care,
O had the archer ne'er come down
To ravage in a country town!
Or Jack had wanted eyes to gaze!
Need we expose to vulgar sight
The honey-moon like lightning flew,
Skill'd in no other arts was she,
'Tis true she dress'd with modern grace,
But when at home, at board or bed,
In short, by night, 'twas fits or fretting;
Of powdered coxcombs at her levee;
'This translation was first printed in one of our author's And twenty other near relations: earliest works. "The Present State of Learning in Europe," Jack suck'd his pipe, and often broke 12mo. 1759; but was omitted in the second edition, which ap
peared in 1774.
This and the following pocm were published by Dr. Gold. smith in his volume of Essays, which appeared in 1765.
A sigh in suffocating smoke;
Thus as her faults each day were known,
He thinks her features coarser grown;
How wide her mouth, how wild her eyes!
Now, to perplex the ravell'd noose,
That dire disease, whose ruthless power
The glass, grown hateful to her sight,
Poor madam now condemn'd to hack
A NEW SIMILE
IN THE MANNER OF SWIFT.
LONG had I sought in vain to find A likeness for the scribbling kind: The modern scribbling kind, who write, In wit, and sense, and nature's spite: Till reading, I forget what day on, A chapter out of Tooke's Pantheon, I think I met with something there To suit my purpose to a hair.
But let us not proceed too furious,
Imprimis, Pray observe his hat,
In the next place, his feet peruse,
For in the modern poet's flights,
Lastly, vouchsafe t' observe his hand,
Though ne'er so much awake before,
Now to apply, begin we then ;-
And here my simile almost tript,
things as trifles at best) told me with his usual good-
WHERE the Red Lion staring o'er the way,
Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;
The morn was cold, he views with keen desire
With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scored,
A night-cap deck'd his brows instead of bay,
The following letter, addressed to the Printer of he St. James's Chronicle, appeared in that paper in June, 1767.
As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels because I thought the book was a good one, and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading| was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad I published some time ago, from one by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these
*The Friar of Orders Gray. "Reliq. of Anc. Poetry," vol. I book 2. No. 18.
hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, Sir,
Note. On the subject of the preceding letter, the reader is desired to consult "The Life of Dr. Goldsmith," under the year 1765.
"TURN, gentle Hermit of the dale,
To where yon taper cheers the valo
"For here forlorn and lost I tread,
"Forbear, my son," the Hermit cries,
To lure thee to thy doom.
"Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still;
And though my portion is but scant,
"Then turn to-night, and freely share
My blessing and repose.
"No flocks that range the valley free,
To slaughter I condemn;
"But from the mountain's grassy side
A guiltless feast I bring;
And water from the spring.
"Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong;