Page images

wits, first, by the great beating, and after by the ill choosing of scholars to go to the universities : whereof cometh partly that lewd and spiteful proverb, sounding to the great hurt of learning, and shame of learned men, that “the greatest clerks be not the wisest men."

And though I, in all this discourse, seem plainly to prefer hard and rough wits, before quick and light wits, both for learning and manners; yet I am not ignorant that some quickness of wit is a singular gift of God, and so most rare among men; and namely, such a wit as is quick without lightness, sharp without brittleness, desirous of good things without newfangleness, diligent in painful things without wearisomeness, and constant in good will to do all things well; as I know was in Sir John Cheke, and is in some that yet live, in whom all these fair qualities of wit are fully met together.

But it is notable and true, that Socrates saith in Plato to his friend Phædo; “ That that number of inen is fewest, which far exceed, either in good or ill, in wisdom or folly; but the mean betwixt both be the greatest number.” Which he proveth true in divers other things; as in greyhounds, among which few are found exceeding great or exceeding little, exceeding swift or exceeding slow. And therefore, speaking of quick and hard wits, I meant the common number of quick and hard wits; amongst the which, for the most part, the hard wit proveth many times the better learn. ed, wiser, and honester man. And therefore do I the more lament, that such wits commonly be either kept from learn, ing by fond fathers, or beat from learning by lewd school, masters.

And speaking thus much of the wits of children for learning, the opportunity of the place, and goodness of the matter, might require to have here declared the most special notes of a good wit for learning in a child; after the manner and custom of a good horseman, who is skilful to know, and able to tell others, how by certain sure signs a man may choose a colt, that is like to prove another day excellent for the saddle. And it is pity, that commonly more care is had, yea and that among very wise men, to find out rather a cun ning man for their horse, than a cunning man for their children. They say nay in word, but they do so in deed : for to the one they will gladly give a stipend of two hundred crowns by the year, and loth to offer to the other two hundred shillings. God that sitteth in heaven laugheth their choice to scorn, and rewardeth their liberality as it should; for he suffereth them to have tame and well-ordered horse, but wild and unfortunate children; and therefore in the end they find more pleasure in their horse than comfort in their children.

But concerning the true notes of the best wits for learning in a child, I will report not mine own opinion, but the very judgement of him that was counted the best teacher and wisest man that learning maketh mention of; and that is Socrates in Plato, * who expresseth orderly these seven plain notes, to choose a good wit in a child for learning,


[7. ΦΙΛΕΠΑΙΝΟΣ. It may not be amiss, to present the reader with the whole passage out of Plato, though somewhat long; since not only the notes and characters themselves, but the explanation of them, are in some mea. sure thence taken by our author.

Δριμύτητα, ω μακάριε, (έφην) δεί αυτούς προς τα μαθήματα υπάρχειν, και μη χαλεπώς μανθάνειν. πολύ γάρ τοι μάλλον αποδειλιώσι ψυχαι εν ισχυρούς μαθήμασιν, ή εν γυμνασίοις. οικειότερος γαρ αυταίς ο πόνος, ίδιος, αλλ' ου κοινός ών μετά του σώματος. 'Αληθή, έφη. Και μνήμονα δε, και άκρατον, και πάντα φιλόπονον ζητητέον. ή τίνι τρόπω οίει τα τε του σώματος εθελήσειν τινα διαπονείν, και τοσαύτην μάθησίν τε και μελέτην επιτελεϊν; Ουδένα, ή δ' δς, εάν μη παντάπασιν ή ευφυής.

Το γούν νύν αμάρτημα (ήν δ' εγώ) και η ατιμία Φιλοσοφία δια ταύτα προσπέπτωκεν (ο και πρότερον είπομεν) ότι ου κατ' αξίαν αυτής άπτονται. Ου γαρ νόθους έδει άπτεσθαι, αλλά γνησίους. Πώς; έφη. Πρώτον μεν, είπον, φιλοπονία ου χωλόν δεί είναι τον άψόμενον. τα μεν ημίσεα φιλόπονον όντα, τα δε ημίσεα, άπονον. "Έστι δε τούτο, όταν τις φιλογυμναστης μεν, και φιλόθηρος ή, και πάντα τα δια του σώματος φιλοπονή. φιλομαθής δε μή, μηδε φιλήκοος, μηδε ζητητικός. αλλ' εν πάσι τούτοις μισοπονή. χωλός δε, και ο ταναντία τούτου μεταβεβληκώς την φιλοπονίαν.

The reader will observe the last note podéiasvos is not here expressed; and I question very much, whether there be any such word in the Greek language. In this sense piaótipos is generally used ; as in Xenophon, speaking of Cyrus, φιλομαθέστατος και φιλοτιμότατος" and in another place, oράς ως φιλότιμός έστι, και ελευθέριος : or else 4 periphrasis, as επαίνου εραστής, ορεγόμενος, εφιέμενος, or some such like.

And because I write English, and to Englishmen, I will plainly declare in English both what these words of Plato mean, and how aptly they be linked, and how orderly they follow one another.

1. ΕΥΦΥΗΣ, , Is he, that is apt by goodness of wit, and appliable by readiness of will, to learning, having all other qualities of the mind and parts of the body, that must another day serve learning; not troubled, mangled and halved, but sound, whole, full, and able to do their office; as, a tongue not stammering, or over-hardly drawing forth words, but plain and ready to deliver the meaning of the mind; a voice not soft, weak, piping, womanish, but audible, strong, and manlike; a countenance not weerish and crabbed, but fair and comely; a personage not wretched and deformed, but tall and goodly; for surely, * a comely countenance with a goodly stature giveth credit to learning, and authority to the person; otherwise, commonly, either open contempt or privy disfavour doth hurt or hinder both person and learning; and even as ta fair stone requireth to be set in the finest gold, with the best workmanship, or else it loseth much of the grace and price; even so excellency in learning, and namely divinity, joined with a comely personage, is a marvellous jewel in the world. And how can a comely body be better employed than to serve the fairest exercise of God's greatest gift? and that is learning. But commonly the fairest bodies are bestowed on the foulest purposes. I would it were not so; and with examples herein I will not meddle; yet I wish

* Thus Xenophon in his Institution of Cyrus, designing rather, as Tully supposes, a model of a just and complete government, than a true relation of things performed, has described his prince with all these happy endowments both of mind and body:

Φύναι δε ο Κύρος λέγεται και άδεται έτι και νύν υπό των βαρβάρων, είδος μεν κάλλιστος, ψυχήν δε φιλανθρωπότατος, και φιλομαθέστατος και φιλοτιμότατος, ώστε πάντα μεν πόνον ανατλήναι, πάντα δε κίνδυνος υπομείναι του επαινείσθαι ένεκα. And again in the same book: "Ετι δε και διά το φιλομαθής είναι, πολλά μέν αυτός αεί τους παρόντας ανηρώτα, πως έχοντα τυγχάνοι, και όσα αυτός υπάλλων ερωτώτο, διά το αγχίνους είναι, ταχύ απεκρίνετο. # Virgil

. lib. i. v. 596.
" Quale manus addunt ebori decus, aut ubi flavo

Argentum Pariusve lapis circumdatur auro,"

that those should both mind it and meddle with it, which have most occasion to look to it, as good and wise fathers should do; and greatest authority to amend it, as good and wise magistrates ought to do. And yet I will not let openly to lament the unfortunate case of learning herein.

For if a father have four sons, three fair and well formed both mind and body, the fourth wretched, lame, and deformed; his choice shall be to put the worst to learning, as one good enough to become a scholar. I have spent the most part of my life in the university, and therefore I can bear good witness that many fathers commonly do thus : whereof I have heard many wise, learned, and as good men as ever I knew, make great and oft complaint. A good horseman will choose no such colt, neither for his own nor yet for his master's saddle. And thus much of the first note.

2. ΜΝΗΜΩΝ, Good of memory: la special part of the first note Euçuns, and a mere benefit of nature; yet it is so necessary for learning, as Plato maketh it a separate and perfect note of itself, and that so principal a note, as without it all other gifts of nature do small service to learning. Afranius, * that old Latin poet maketh Memory the mother of learning and wisdom, saying thus :

“ Usus me genuit, mater peperit Memoria.” And though it be the mere gift of nature, yet is memory well preserved by use, and much increased by order, as our scholar must learn another day in the university. But in a child a good memory is well known by three properties ; that is, if it be quick in receiving, sure in keeping, and ready in delivering forth again.

3. QIAOMAOH'E, Given to love learning: for though a child have all the gifts of nature at wish, and perfection of memory at will, yet if he have not a special love to learning, he shall never

* Aul. Gell. lib. 13. cap. 8. Versus Afranii sunt in togata, cui Sellæ nomen est:

« Usus me genuit, mater peperit Memoria :

Sophiam vocant me Graii, vos Sapientiam."


attain to much learning. And therefore Isocrates, * one of the noblest schoolmasters that is in memory of learning, who taught kings and princes, as Halicarnassæus writeth; and out

of whose school, as Tully saith, came forth + more noble captains, more wise counsellors, than did out of Epeus' horse at Troy: this Isocrates, I say, did cause to be written at the entry of his school in golden letters this golden sentence, I 'Εαν ής φιλομαθής, έση πολυμαθής: which excellently said in Greek, is thus rudely in English, “If thou love learning, thou shalt attain to much learning."

4. QIAO'TIONOE, Is he that hath a lust to labour and a will to take pains : for if a child have all the benefits of nature, with perfection of memory, love, like, and praise learning never so much, yet if he be not of himself painful, he shall never attain unto it. And yet where love is present, labour is seldom absent, and namely in study of learning, and matters of the minds and therefore did Isocrates rightly judge, that if his scholar were pingpeading, he cared for no more. Aristotle, $ varying from Isocrates in private affairs of life, but agreeing with Isocrates in conimon judgement of learning, for love and labour in learning, is of the same opinion, uttered in these words, in

* Dionysius, in his treatise of the ancient Greek orators, gives us this great character of Isocrates : Επιφανέστατος δε γενόμενος των κατά τον αυτόν ακμασάντων χρόνον, και τους κρατίστους τών Αθήνησί τε και εν τη άλλη Ελλάδα νέων παιδεύσας - Και της Αθηναίων πόλεως εικόνα ποιήσας την εαυτου Σχολήν, κατά τας αποικίας των λόγων.

And so eminent for learning and wisdom were his scholars, that, as Dionysius informs us, Hermippus thought fit to write their History: και τους Ισοκράτους μαθητές αναγράψας "Έρμιππος.

+ “Ecce tibi exortus est Isocrates, magister istorum omnium, cujus è Iudo, tanquam ex equo Trojano, innumeri principes exierunt: sed eorum partim in pompa, partim in acie illustres esse voluerunt.” Cic. de Orat. lib. 2.

# This sentence is likewise in his Parænesis to Demonicus.

Ś This emulation between Isocrates and Aristotle is mentioned by Tully more than once. Ipse Aristoteles, cum florere Isocratem nobilitate discipulorum videret, quod ipse suas disputationes à causis forensibus et civilibus ad inanem sermonis elegantiam transtulisset, mutavit repente totam formam propè disciplinæ suæ, versumque quendam de Philocteta paulo secus dixit. Ille enim turpe sibi ait


« PreviousContinue »