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Specimens of papers

In giving in this way details of the system on which my own work is conducted, I do not feel that I owe an apology. One who proposes a method must have a very solid basis for his proposal. This basis must be an experience of the efficacy of that which he is urging; and this experience should be given with the greatest clearness and definiteness. It is to be wished, indeed, that teachers of a given subject throughout the country, in colleges and schools, might regard themselves as forming one body with a common purpose, and that a constant interchange of experience and opinion might go on among them, alike in matters of investigation and matters of pedagogy.

It should be remembered that the papers printed below were used, early in the Freshman year, with students who had prepared for college upon the familiar and thoroughly un-Roman system. If students were prepared upon the right method, not one in ten of the questions here indicated would need to be asked, and the exercise of translating at hearing would be a rapid and attractive affair.

These papers were given to the Freshman class in succession, at intervals of a week, in the autumn of 1885; at which time the work of the other recitations of the week was in Livy. The constant aim — and the class were so informed — was to find for these papers, as given week after week, passages which would demand of them a practical power of handling constructions which had been discussed in the other exercises of the week, so that their progress should be one of constant acquisition without loss; and it was promised them that in this way they should in a short time possess a ready and available familiarity with all the commonly recurring constructions of the language. I further told them that, since I should not give them at these exercises in translation the meaning of any word which they had ever seen before, they had a very strong reason for laying up for themselves a vocabulary through securing in their memory every Latin word occurring in their daily work, and a very strong reason for paying extremely careful attention, both at and after the other recitations of the week, to any explanations of meaning of this or that word, alone, or in connection with others related to it in meaning (e.g. to alius, in connection with alter and ceteri), which might similarly be given to them at the ordinary recitations. Nor was I content with this; for, in order that there might be no escape, I prepared a partial syllabus of definable points emphasized in the work of the term; and one of these was purchased, from the office that printed it, by each student in the class.

At the beginning of the term, the work of the advance lesson was largely done in the class-room, instructor and instructed working together. It will be rightly inferred from this that the class moved slowly at the outset. I am a devout believer in the reading of large quantities of the classics; indeed, that is, in this present business, my particular and precise aim; but I am also a believer in what is called "the long run," and "in the long run" only a soundly trained man gets very far. In the preliminary training, it is necessary at first to take a good deal of time in probing to the quick, sometimes with considerable distress to the would-be athletes, a class of new students who have been carefully trained to distort and mangle the Latin sentence; who have necessarily failed to acquire the alert and self-watchful habits of thought and of suspended judgment to which the received method, with its resulting impatience to "make sense," is practically strongly opposed; whose knowledge of syntax is of a back-handed kind, good for very little except to "parse" with, more or less mechanically and ineffectually, after the whole sentence has been dug out, but worth nothing as yet for the current interpretation of the syntax of word after word in situ in the progress of the sentence; and, finally, some of whom have been trained to pronounce Latin on the English method, others on the Continental, and others on one or another of that great variety of methods passing current under the general appellation of "Roman," and many of whom, accordingly, find it very difficult to understand a word of one syllable as pronounced by my assistant or myself, — to say nothing of a word of two syllables.

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