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Master Cheke did impart unto me concerning Sallust, and the right judgment of the Latin tongue.”
We give entire the few but pregnant sentences in which the style of Cæsar is characterised :
“Cæsar, for that little of him that is left unto us, is like the half face of a Venus, the other part of the head being hidden, the body and the rest of the members unbegun; yet so excellently done by Apelles, as all men may stand still to maze and muse upon it; and no man step forth with any hope to perform the like.
“ His seven books De Bello Gallico,' and three • De Bello Civili,' be written so wisely for the matter, so eloquently for the tongue, that neither his greatest enemies could ever find the least note of partiality in him (a marvellous wisdom of a man, namely writing of his own doings), nor yet the best judges of the Latin tongue, nor the most envious lookers upon other men's writings can say any other but all things be most perfectly done by him.
“Brutus, Calvus, and Calidius, who found fault with Tully's fulness in words and matter, and that rightly, for Tully did both confess it and mend it, yet in Cæsar they neither did, nor could, find the like, or any other fault.
“ And therefore thus justly I may conclude of Cæsar, that whereas in all others the best that ever wrote in any time or in any tongue, in Greek (I except neither Plato, Demosthenes, nor Tully), some fault is justly noted, in Cæsar only could never yet fault be found.
“Yet nevertheless, for all this perfect excellency in him, yet it is but one member of eloquence, and that but of one side neither; when we must look for that example to follow, which hath a perfect head, a whole body, forward and backward, arms, and legs, and all."
Here the work ends, at least in the form in which we have it. It will be observed, that of the four writers, whose characters the author had proposed to draw, only three are formally treated of; and that there are no observations on Declamation, the last of the six ways which he had enumerated for the learning of tongues. Yet, in his preface, as we have seen, he appears to state distinctly that the work was finished. Considering the circumstances and manner of its publication, it is not unlikely that the concluding portion of the treatise, though really prepared by Ascham, may have disappeared in the interval of several years that elapsed before his papers were sent to the press.
TO MASTER SAMUEL HARTLIB.
BY JOHN MILTON.
I am long since persuaded that to say and do aught worth memory and imitation, no purpose or respect should sooner move us than simply the love of God and of mankind. Nevertheless, to write now the reforming of education, though it be one of the greatest and noblest designs that can be thought on, and for the want whereof this nation perishes, I had not yet at this time been induced but by your earnest entreaties and serious conjurements; as having my mind diverted for the present in the pursuance of some other assertions, the knowledge and the use of which cannot but be a great furtherance both to the enlargement of truth and honest living with much more peace. Nor should the laws of any private friendship have prevailed with me to divide thus or transpose my former thoughts; but that I see those aims, those actions which have won you with me the esteem of a person sent hither by some good providence from a far country to be the occasion and incitement of great good to this island, and as I hear you have obtained the same repute with men of most approved wisdom and some of the highest authority among us, not to mention the learned correspondence which you hold in foreign parts, and the extraordinary pains and diligence which you have used in this matter both here and beyond the seas, either by the definite will of God so ruling, or the peculiar sway of nature, which also is God's working. Neither can I think, that so reputed and so valued as you are, you would, to the forfeit of your own discerning ability, impose upon me an unfit and over-ponderous argument; but that the satisfaction which you profess to have received from those incidental discourses which we have wandered into hath pressed and almost constrained you into a persuasion, that what you require from me in this point I neither ought nor can in conscience defer beyond this time both of so much need at once and so much opportunity to try what God hath determined. I will not resist, therefore, whatever it is either of divine or human obligement that you lay upon me; but will forthwith set down in writing, as you request me, that voluntary idea, which hath long in silence presented itself to me, of a better education, in extent and comprehension far more large, and yet of time far shorter and of attainment far more certain, than hath been yet in practice. Brief I shall endeavour to be ; for that which I have to say assuredly this nation hath extreme need should be done sooner than spoken. To tell you, therefore, that I have benefited herein among old renowned authors I shall spare; and to search what many modern Januas and Didactics more than ever I shall read have projected, my inclination leads me not. But if you can accept of these few observations which have flowered off, and are, as it were, the burnishing of many contemplative years altogether spent in the search of religious and civil knowledge, and such as pleased you so well in the relating, I here give you them to dispose of.
The end then of learning is, to repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him, as we may the nearest by possessing our souls of true virtue, which being united to the heavenly grace of faith makes up the highest perfection. But because our understanding cannot in this body found itself but on sensible things, nor arrive so clearly to the knowledge of God and things invisible as by orderly coming over the visible and inferior creature, the same method is necessarily to be followed in all discreet teaching. And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kind of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom; so that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother-dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally so unpleasing and so unsuccessful. First, we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year. And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind is our time lost in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judg