« PreviousContinue »
proverbial sayings, different readings, and the reasons for them, together with such references to Antiquities as we have mentioned above. Perhaps he will feel more free to deal with such difficulties in reading his author for the second time ; but in any case he should make brief manuscript notes of the explanations he has sought out, in order that he may have them ready for a quick revision prior to the examination. Fortified in this manner, and with the main facts already impressed on his mind, he need have no fear of the short and direct questions asked on this part of his work. He will thus be trusting to the results acquired by himself rather than to the second-hand knowledge furnished by others : and knowledge selfgained is always better understood and more readily remembered than that which others have provided for us without any trouble of
Testing questions in this subject are invariably asked, but they are comparatively few. Still they may take the whole range of Accidence and Syntax, together with the elementary principles of Prosody; and therefore the only safe course to pursue is a thorough and painstaking study of some treatise which, while not too elaborate and costly, will be sufficiently critical and comprehensive. The questions may seem brief and easy when looked at in the Calendar after the examination has been held and the candidate has had time to refer to particular points in his text-book ; but let him fancy himself in the examination room, solely dependent on what he can clearly remember—it may be in hurry and agitation, and not knowing a moment before the paper is put in his hand on what intricate parts of Latin Grammar he may be examined—and then he will realise the necessity of a complete study of the subject. There can be no doubt that more candidates fail in Latin Grammar than in Latin translation. They are apt to neglect their Grammar, or to scan it a few days before the examination in a superficial manner; they learn by rote, or by a ready-made translation, to construe their author with tolerable precision, but when they come upon unexpected questions on their text-book or on Latin Grammar they fail to meet the simplest test in a satisfactory manner. Inaccuracy or incompleteness in the answers to the grammatical questions will make the candidate inevitably fail.
Perhaps the best way is to have for daily use some reliable Grammar of moderate compass, containing a clear outline of the subject, such, for example, as Dr. Schmitz's, or Professor Wilkins's, or Dr. Smith’s, and then to have in reserve a larger work for occasional reference in cases of exceptional difficulty and on critical points. The most complete and comprehensive Latin Grammar is Roby's (2 vols., 8s. 6d. and 10s. 6d., Macmillan); but its price may put it out of the reach of most of our readers. The next to it, in our judgment, is Dr. Kennedy's Public School Latin Grammar (4th edition, 7s. 6d., Longmans). We have examined this volume of 632 pages, and can only marvel at the vast amount of learning and industry which it represents; and yet we marvel still more that the Iesults of such critical skill and advanced modern scholarship can be placed in a student's hands for the above moderate sum. Here are sections on Soundlore, Wordlore, Words and their Flexion, Irregular Nouns, the Conjugation and Stem-formation of Verbs, the Derivation and Composition of Words, the Uses of Words, Correlative Constructions, Co-ordination, Negative Words, the Doctrine of Sentences, Case-Construction, Verb-Construction, Compound Construction, Arrangement of Words, Structure and Connexion of Sentences, together with the Principles of Latin Prosody. These and other points are not dogmatically stated, but discussed, elucidated, classified, and illustrated in detail with distinguished erudition and practical insight. The brief examples from Latin authors are very apposite and copious. Its treatment of higher syntax is especially fresh and clear. It is this excellent feature of the work which has secured its “introduction into many eminent schools, and its ultimate adoption as the basis of a common Grammar”-the Public School Latin Primer (2s. 6d., Longmans). As we have intimated, such a work may be too extensive for the rapid effort of the student from day to day, or for revision just before the examination ; but the student could not have a more scholarly and reliable Latin Grammar for reference on critical matters, or for a full investigation of any point in which he may feel himself weak.
A very able and advanced work, almost handy enough for daily use, and complete enough for reference, to ordinary candidates for the pass examination, is Dr. Smith's Student's Latin Grammar (6s., Murray). Its arrangement of the Accidence and Syntax is very clear, whilst its classification of Irregular Nouns and Verbs, its chapters on the Formation of Words, Syntaxis Ornata, Prosody and Etymology, and its Appendices, are excellent features of the work. They are all simple, concise, and well illustrated by appropriate examples. They are, moreover, in harmony with the higher criticism of the day. X peculiar excellence of the book is that it contains a few brief chapters on the Styles of Authors—Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, and others. An abridged edition of the above work is published at 3s. 6d., but we do not recommend it, except to those who have in reserve a larger treatise like Dr. Kennedy's.
Dr. Schmitz's Latin Grammar (48., 444 pp., Chambers; or 2s. 6d., 222pp., Collins and Sons) will be preferred by many, mainly because it is written by an examiner to the University; and that certainly is an advantage when other things are equal, for an examiner may be supposed to prepare his papers from his own text-book, and to
be pleased with answers which correspond to his own way of putting things. But too much stress should not be laid upon that supposition, for an examiner has other duties than to please himself, and may purposely select his questions from the works of other authors. The larger work published by Chambers is, of course, the more advanced and complete one of the two; but it is the last edition which should be secured, for it has recently "undergone a rigid examination by Dr. Schmitz, who, besides effecting other improvements, has brought the work down to the latest state of classical and philological knowledge.” “To facilitate the use of the grammar the more important rules are printed in larger type, and those of less importance-exceptions to general rules, and peculiarities of poetic diction, and the like-are printed in small type to enable the teacher and learner at a glance to see what is, essential and what not.” It is a work which explains, illustrates, and gives the reasons for results, instead of merely stating the results, as is chiefly done in the more elementary work published by Collins. And yet the latter is an admirable school Grammar, which has “availed itself,” to a limited extent, “of the aids which scientific and philological investigations have placed at its disposal, especially in the accidence part, where, to mention only one point, it is of the utmost importance that the beginner should learn to distinguish between the stem of a word and its inflections--a point which is still much neglected in some of our recent Latin Grammars." It is in the brief notes that run through the work and materially add to its value that clear explanations of peculiar points and the latest results of modern learning are embodied. Questions are often asked which might be answered by attention to these excellent notes of Dr. Schmitz, which are to be found in both editions of his Grammar.
We are glad to observe that Professor Wilkins, who is already in the front rank of classical scholars, is preparing an Elementary Latin Grammar (Part I., 2s. 6d., Daldy and Co.), whicb, by its thoroughness in the advanced scholarship of the day, bids fair to supersede the many unsatisfactory school Grammars now in use. As an outline of the subject it is remarkably concise and luminous ; and though the private student would miss the reasons and explanations more fully given in Dr. Schmitz's larger Grammar, or Dr. Kennedy's elaborate work, yet it brings out the essential points as clearly as it could in 92 pages, and may be regarded as particularly reliable. The author adopts as his motto the words of Max Muller, who says there is no “longer an excuse why, even in the most elementary lessons—nay, I should say why, more particularly in these elementary lessons the dark and dreary passages of Greek and Latin, of French and German Grammar, should not be brightened by the electric light of comparative philology.” That electric light beams on every page of
the first part of this Grammar, which deals with Sounds and Inflections. The second part, now in preparation, will treat on Syntax. Meanwhile the student of this or of any other Grammar may inake good use of this author's Rules of Latin Syntax (2s., Longmans)—a handy little compendium, cram-full of information. It can be carried about in the pocket for an occasional glance. It would serve admirably, to one who has studied it, for a brief survey just before the examination ; and for its compactness and explicitness cannot be too much praised.
We should, doubtless, gratify some candidates if now we could indicate those parts of the subject on which questions would be most surely asked ; but we frankly confess we cannot. Nor is it wise for the candidate to trust to "that gambling in what are called 'tips,' and that art of divining the examiner's thoughts to which the name of 'cram’ (if the word has any meaning at all) may fairly be given.” It is a kind of gambling in which all the stakes are on one side, all the chances against that side, and the losses very bitter and humiliating indeed. Let the candidate compare one year's questions with another, and he will perceive that the drift and range of the questions differ very much, as they properly should to make the examination the real test it ought to be. In Matriculation the questions are chiefly, though not exclusively, on Latin Accidence ; in the First B.A. Examination they are chietly, though not exclusively, on Latin Syntax. Those that relate to Accidence often deal with the irregularities of the Third Declension, of the Third Conjugation, and of the Comparison of Adjectives and Adverbs. The distinctive use and peculiarity of Pronouns, especially of Indefinite Pronouns, the declension of Greek Substantives, and the leading parts of all Simple and Compound Verbs which form their Perfect and Supine irregularity, should be fairly mastered. Besides the general rules of Syntax, with which the candidate should be practically familiar by constant exercise in Latin Composition, the following points should be well understood : The Accusative of Reference or Limitation, the Ethical Dative, the different meanings of Verbs according as they are construed with a Dative or Accusative, the government of Verbs and Adjectives, the chief uses of the Genitive and Ablative, the Sequence of Tenses; above all, the Subjunctive Mood in hypothetical sentences, the Subjunctive as a potential and concessive mood, as used also in all indirect questions, and the very important rule that the subjunctive is used to express intention and result. Many of these principles are best learnt by a diligent study of
LATIN COMPOSITION. “Special stress is now laid on this subject, or as one of the examination-papers says, “Great importance is attached to the
correct rendering of these sentences;" and lest there should be any mistake on this point, the regulations distinctly state that “Grammatical correctness in the rendering of English into Latin is imperatively necessary.” It would be simple fully, after this, for any candidate to present himself without having diligently studied the art of Latin Composition. Learning by rote the rules of syntax will not suffice; he must know how to apply them at once to any short sentence of English that may be placed before him for translation into Latin. He may gain skill to do this in two ways—by observation and experiment.
By observation we mean the practical study and analysis of Latin as it exists in the authors announced for his year of examination. By carefully noticing the regular, and occasionally the peculiar, constructions of the authors he is reading-especially the prose author-by turning the sentences over and over in his mind, by mentally translating them, and then retranslating them into Latin, he will accomplish several things at once. He will familiarise himself with passages which are likely to be set for translation into English; he will see the original application of the syntactical rules he has been laboriously acquiring-rules, it may be, suggested or modified by those very passages; he will be giving definite shape to his acquirements in formal Grammar, and will be better able to remember them in that concrete and living shape. This is a method of study which continually interests the student in his work, and keeps him on the qui vive for future acquisitions. It is in this way, too, that grammarians perfect themselves in the knowledge of a language; and it is in this way, as a rule, that compilers of handbooks on Latin Composition accumulate their vast store of exercises, which to a great extent are translations of Latin sentences to be rendered into Latin by means of hints and rules classified by the compiler. Sometimes the examiner, as a test of the candidate's practical study of his author, adapts the “short passages of English to be translated into Latin” from the prose work of the year. For example, in 1876 three at least of the “short passages” were adapted from Livy, Book VI., the author for that year. We subjoin them and the original Latin, with the caution that the reader must not imagine that the original is the only form in which the given English can be rendered :
Camillus returned in triumph to the city, victorious in three wars at once.
Camillus in urbem triumphans rediit trium simul bellorum victor.
There was great alarm in the city, a general call to arms, and a rush to the walls and the gates.
Ingens in urbe trepidatio fuit: conclamatum ad arma concursumque in muros atque portas est.