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the road we may doubtless receive; but escape from toil, and a just pretext for want of exertion, we cannot have.
3. Keeping in mind these few words of caution, let us glance more closely at the subject. First of all, we have " Memorias Artificial," in rhyme. It is but to learn half-a-dozen easy jingling verses, such as
William the First, of Norman Line,
and all the chief events of the Norman Conqueror's reign are at once disposed of, and stored up in the secret chambers of memory. We have no fault to find with such verses; they may be as excellent in intention as in poetical beauty. The mistake lies in supposing that an equal portion of time and perseverance would not teach history, if expended on the plain prose narrative of Darton's "School History of England," or any other well-arranged simple volume of English history. Such verses as the above, to be remembered, must be learned by heart; and this they cannot be without real mental toil and patient exertion. One couplet may, by its easy jingle, seduce some wayward ear for a time pleasantly and easily enough; but, to be of service, a thousand such couplets must be learned by heart and retained in the memory. We are convinced that the memory which can master and retain a sufficiency of such jangle would, with equal readiness, acquire a knowledge of history (dates and all) in a more reasonable and intellectual manner.
4. Next we have such things as "Phrenotypic" Systems of Memory; and under its auspices a Phrenotypic History of England (and a dozen other Histories), whereby, in some five or six pages, the student may carry about with him the cream of English History from the Norman Conquest to Queen Victoria. Of such systems we give one striking but sufficient morsel, again celebrating the Norman William :—
Namei of Sovereigns, and Memorable
William the Conqueror; he had great
rious at the battle of Hastings.
The Strong Hastings' Hero.
"The Strong Hastings' Hero" is here the easy but mysterious symbol of memorial renovation, and has only to be carefully learned by heart and retained to be of constant and eminent service; according to the system, T standing for 1, S for 0, and H H for 6 6. What can be easier, plainer, or better? what indeed, save and except the simple, plain, unvarnished date in English history, that in 1066 the Norman invader overthrew Harold at the battle of Hastings, and became king in his stead?
5. But why, we ask, should not the disciple who by the aid of phrenotypics accomplishes this deadly task, quite as easily and effectually master the plain, unadulterated facts of English History, with their date, circumstances, and features, all complete, without any aid but that of his own will and firm purpose, his own judgment, understanding, and memory? Why call in the aid of cork Phrenotypics, when the patient can swim alone? The mental toil and exertion in either case is, as we have seen, alike? Why not spend the strength on the ordinary, plain, unadorned, unversified incident?
6. Next we have Memoria Technieas such as Grey's, which in the title page professes to be " A New Method of Artificial Memory, applied to Chronology, History, Geography, Astronomy, &C., &C." Grey's method is briefly this. A series of vowels and consonants are made to represent the numerical figures, thus:—
by a combination of which letters it is evident that any number can be easily expressed.
Let us next suppose that the date to be remembered is the Edict of Cyrus, at the close of the Captivity, B.c 536. Mr. Grey's plan is to attach to some chief word connected with the event the necessary numerals in the shape of letters; and thus Cyrus is changed into Cyrutz, the last three italic letters signifying 536, the date to be remembered. In a similar way, The Creation, The Deluge, The Call of Abraham, The Exodus, The Building of Solomon's Temple, and The Edict of Cyrus, become, when ranged in the order of a Latin Hexameter,
Cro/th, Vdetoi, Abanei, Exams, Temiyie, Cyrutz,
which musical and dainty line a person of weak memory is said to be capable of learning and retaining in a far easier and more complete manner than the ordinary dates, 4004, 2348, 1921, 1491, 1012, &C., &C., &C. This is the primary and delicious morsel to be administered to the unfortunately weak and treacherous memory, after getting up, with considerable difficulty, the details, rules, and principles of the system itself; the mastery of which alone implies in the disciple the presence of that power for which the MemoHa Technica is said to be in some sense a substitute.
All history, ancient and modern, is thus translated into barbarous hexameters, and a royal road at once opened to an intimate acquaintance with every date, large and small, since the days of Adam. It is merely to learn by heart, and to remember a few score (or hundreds, as the case may be,) of such pleasant hexameters, and "the disciple will be no more troubled with weakness of memory, fyc, §fc, for the rest of his days."
By such argument—if argument it can be called—we are insensibly reminded of Golden Drops, and all the other Infallible nostrums which have blessed mankind since they began to suffer the pains of mortality; only wondering that weakness of memory, with all the other ills to which flesh is heir, has not long ago become extinct.
In reply to it, we can only say that the same amount of time, diligence, and labour expended on Old Testament history, on the more ordinary, intelligible, and simple plan, would have infallibly taught the poor learner all he wished to know concerning Adam, Noah, Solomon, and Cyrus.
And the same argument applies—with more or less force—to all artificial systems, encumbered with such ponderous machinery.*
7. Is there, then, no artificial means by which the Memory may be assisted in its patient toil? We should be the very last to make such an assertion.
8. Let us see what may be done in the shape of a few simple cautions and hints on the subject.
(a.) Never consider any event singly, and alone; but always connect with it the atmosphere in which it stands. Take, for example, "The Battle of the Standard:" its atmosphere will be not only the names of the two contending factions,
* Including even that of clever Major Beniowski of Bow Street, who divides and subdivides all events since time began into separate compartments of a room, and thinks nothing of packing a hundred celebrities in a square foot.
but one or two pointed details of the events immediately preceding or following the battle; the names of any who fought nobly, or who died ignobly, in it; the causes which led to the battle; and its ultimate results. These or such like points, grouped together, will form an atmosphere of interest and beauty for any event in history, and render its remembrance a matter of comparative ease.
(b.) Note, especially, if the event to be remembered is to be regarded as a game, or an effect, of some future or past event of importance; or regard it as a middle point of observation whence to look back on the past and forward to the future. Take, for instance, the divorce question of Henry VIII.; and regard the light it throws on the king's own individual character, as well as its deeply important results to the whole nation of England.
(c.) Class together ages of similar events; group together similar men, as Wickliffe, Reuchlin, Luther—or, later, as Marlborough, Eugene, Napoleon, Wellington; ages of discovery; periods of warlike renewal, invention, darkness, decay, or progress and revival. •■ ■ -
(d.) Single points of date, such as the Norman Conquest, are easy from their very magnitude.
(e.) Map out the centuries, first in bold outline, noting the main points of interest and importance according to preceding rules, afterwards filling up minor details.
(/.) Beware of laying too much stress at first on minor, single, unconnected dates, unless productive of great results of historical importance. If it is actually necessary to remember them for some special purpose, then will be the time for using Grey's Memoria, by coining some new memorial word.
(g.) The more fairly and healthily the Memory is exercised, the greater does its strength become. "Vires acquirit eundo."
(h.) The possession of a mere Verbal Memory is no necessary proof of intellectual power, mind, or imagination; neither is the apparent absence of memorial power in a child's mind any proof of intellectual deficiency.
(i.) Let every student set out with the conviction that he has a Memory, which only needs regular, due, and healthy exercise to become efficient for all necessary use.
Postscript, in reply to Miss Religious Morality, who, in the November number of "The Governess," was kind enough to address to the Editor a letter, which I much wish he had shown to me before he answered it:—
My Dear Madam,—I beg to thank you for your kind and able letter: first, because it gives me the pleasure of corresponding with you; secondly, because it shews me that the subject of Fiction for young people is really attracting attention. Will you permit me to say a few words in reply to it? I will take the paragraphs of your letter in order as they stand.
I. You say, " persons of opposite views do not necessarily hold the opinion which the Lecturer makes them utter." I only treat of one class of objectors who do hold the opinions which I sought to disprove.
II. I quite agree with you in thinking it a matter of very great importance whether young people spend their time in blowing soap-bubbles or in laying up treasure for the world to come; and strongly deny that in any written word of mine I have ever otherwise affirmed.
III. It is quite true that Religion, &c, may be bespattered by sarcastic sneers; and that no name is too harsh for the trifler with, or the poisoner of, the young mind: and to prove this is one great aim and end of my writing.
IV. "The secret of the Lord," you say, "is with them that fear Him,"—and you demand of me whether I am in that secret,—triumphantly concluding that, because I differ in opinion with yourself,—I am not. Surely you are using a weapon whose double edge cuts both ways. I might with equal justice assert that you are not in that secret, because your opinion differs from mine. If I did so, I should deserve a name neither Religious nor Moral—namely, that of one who judges his neighbour with pride and malice.
V. With this paragraph I have in reality no concern. You coolly assume that, because I differ from you in opinion, I am a vender of poisons; I simply reply—unproven. I might again, with equal justice, ask you the very same question: "Have you aught to do with so Satanic a traffic?" But I refrain, knowing that such a question would be utterly unworthy, and inapplicable. Why should I not receive an equal amount of charity at your hands? Again, you say—" Who makes the better wife or daughter; she who spends her time on trifling vanities, or on things eternal ?"—leaving the poor innocent reader to imagine that I had answered this question in a way which no Christian dare to do. Madam, I compliment you on the craft of this style of argument,— but not on its honesty. It Is utterly unworthy of the subject, and of the name you bear. A sharp practitioner at the Old Bailey may resort to such weapons, but not a fair writer in defence of Christian truth.
Lastly. I quite agree with you, that "banter is not argument, nor is assertion proof;" and I may add, that neither is the imputation of false and unworthy motives, argument; nor is the assumption of guilt in your adversary, proof; nor is the assertion that your opponent's views are poisonous, and your own infallibly pure, a proof that you are right in either case. I agree with you, that fancy needs to be curbed; especially when it for a moment leads people to take it for granted that all views but their own are false, that they are advancing their cause by imputing unworthy motives, or by calling their opponents hard names. I hope that the whole question will be calmly and fully discussed by the correspondents of " The Governess," and that you, my dear madam, will use your able pen with equal skill, greater charity, and less haste, than when you last wrote.