been wasted, in times past, on the niceties of classical scholarship; and, moreover, that what is most valuable in Greek
and Roman literature has been so transfused into the modern literatures that it is no longer so important as formerly to seek it at the fountain-head.
It seems only a fine old-fashioned whim when we read of the desire of Dr. Popkin
, the old Greek Professor
at Harvard College, to retire from teaching and ‘read the authors,’ meaning thereby the Greeks alone.
The authors who are worth reading have now increased to a number that would quite dismay the good professor; but the more one has read, the better for his literary background.
It is necessary to use the past tense, for the need must commonly have been supplied in early life; and this implies either a college or its equivalent; that is, a period when one reads voraciously, without any limitation but in the number of hours in the day, and without any immediate necessity of literary production.
One sees but few men—I can claim to have personally known but one, the historian, Francis Parkman—for whom a perfectly well-defined