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majesty so justly recommends, may be practised with much facility and effect by parents or private preceptors, previous to a boy's going to a public school or military academy. And this most useful primary education must again be referred to the mother, by whom so much may be done. Few ladies are in these days ignorant of the rudiments of history; and from ancient or modern history, a mother will often be able to point out interesting examples and entertaining anecdotes ; and she may early contribute to form the reason, taste, and morals of her son, by conversing with him on the actions of the great and good, or the unprincipled and wicked men, with which history abounds. Notions of justice, sentiments of magnanimity, and in short, all moral ideas may be thus imperceptibly infused. From the simple but touching anecdote of Sir Philip Sidney and the dying Soldier, to the account of the heroic death of the same Sidney and of Russell, there may be found in the history of this country gradations of circumstances suited to the taste and capacities of boys from eight to twelve years old. As soon as a boy has some general knowledge of the history of England and France, parts of Froissart, of which we have now an excellent translation by Mr.Johnes, will interest him. The simple language and minute lively representations of this old chronicler are more likely to please young people than the fashionable style of modern historians. The martial and chivalrous spirit of the times in which Froissart wrote so entirely possess him, that he imparts a portion of the same enthusiasm to his reader : the perusal of this animated writer almost makes the reader think, that the business of the world is war; that there is no science but military science, and no virtue but martial courage. These are the prejudices, and this
the enthusiasm, with which a young soldier ought to be inspired.
The historical plays of Shakspear are often given to young people, to fix some of the characters and events of the English history in the mind; but frequently the language of this poet is difficult to a child, and it is best to postpone the reading of these plays, till the pleasure can be tasted without any abatement* The less advantage must always be sacrificed to the greater; and it would be absurd and cruel to deprive a young man of the full pleasure of enjoying the works of our great poet, by urging him to study them for any inferior purpose. When he is old enough, or rather when he is sufficiently cultivated to understand them, the characters of Harry the Fifth, of Owen Glendower, Hotspur, Brutus, Arviragus, and Coriolanus cannot fail to touch the heart, and seize the imagination of a young soldier. He should be taken to the theatre to see representations of these and of every other heroic character.
Some of Dryden's imitations of Chaucer are well suited to a military youth, who will feel the charms of
“ His long resounding march and energy divine."
But of all poets Homer is most capable of inspiring a martial taste. Nothing that has been written by the pen of man ever produced such strong effects upon the human mind as the Iliad—that poem, which the conqueror of the world kept in the precious box, that held the perfumes of the van
quished Darius! Alexander acknowledged, that his reading the character of Achilles was the first circumstance, that roused his emulation ; a similar declaration has been attributed to Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, and to other celebrated conquerors. Some modern writers have been pleased to call Achilles a mad butcher wading in carnage ; but all our love for the arts of peace, and all our respect for that humane philosophy which proscribes war, cannot induce us to join in such brutal abuse, such unseemly degradation of the greatest military hero upon poetic record. The manners of ancient and modern times are so different, that there is no danger of a boy's imitating the ferocity of Achilles, though he may admire and emulate his undaunted courage, and his magnanimous choice of glory in preference to a throne with inglorious security. His answer to Ulysses (in the eighth book) is not only one of the finest pieces of oratory that ever was written, but it is replete with good sense. The hero is represented not as a blind enthusiast, but as a man weighing the value of life and domestic happiness against glory. By the remembrance of the unprofitable toils he had endured, and of the insults which had tarnished his honour, he is justly irritated and disgusted, and to the message of the humiliated king of kings he replies, that
“ The unfruitful glories charm no more."
Afterwards, when his friend Patroclus is vanquished by Hector, the wonted enthusiasm of Achilles revives; and when the alternative is full in his view, either of death, to which he is doomed by the fates if he return to the war, or of disgrace if he desert the memory of his friend, he at once forgets his anger against Agamemnon, and, eager to sacrifice his life, rushes to the battle. These heroic beauties in the character of Achilles should be pointed out to a young reader, and he should not be suffered to be carried away merely by the heat of the action in the Iliad, or by the flow of the poetry. The various modifications of courage in the different characters of Ajax, Sarpedon, Diomede, Antilochus, Hector, Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Idomeneus, are admirable. The character of Telemachus in the Odyssey is also beautiful, and a fine model for a young man. It is said, and perhaps with reason, that Homer loses much by all translation, even by Pope's ; but for the pleasure of reading the Iliad and Odyssey in the original, it cannot be worth while for a military man to learn Greek : especially as the full poetic fire is preserved by Pope, though some of the simplicity of the thoughts and language may be lost, and for these he may consult Cowper’s.
However ornamental and useful a knowledge of the learned languages may be in other professions, it is not materially useful to a soldier, nor is it rendered necessary to military gentlemen by the opinion of their equals, or the fashion of society. An officer may be distinguished in the army, may perform the duties of his profession, and may rise to the head of it, without understanding Greek, and without its being a reproach to him that he is ignorant of that language. Without being able to trace English words to their Greek roots, and without knowing any thing of the Greek accents, he may write and speak his own language with sufficient force, clear
ness, and precision, for all the purposes of that active life, in which he must be continually engaged ; his eloquence is not to be the learned, studied eloquence of the bar, the pulpit, or the senate; he is, on the spur of the occasion, to give his orders, or impart his sentiments to unlettered men, who understand only their mother tongue, and the universal language of the passions. Military eloquence depends not upon taste or study, but upon feeling, and presence of mind. “ Follow “ my white plume, soldiers; you will always find it in the road “ to honour !” was more appropriate oratory from a general to his soldiers, than could have been learned from any of the harangues of Thucydides, Tacitus, or Livy. An officer who feels honourably, and thinks justly and decidedly, cannot be in want of clear, rapid, fluent language, though he may never have opened a Greek Grammar. Those who can speak well, may write well, for they have nothing to do but to represent their thoughts upon paper, in the order and in the words in which they occur ; and this they will be more likely to do, if they be unincumbered with pedantic precepts. A successful soldier's dispatches, or a victorious seaman's letters to the Admiralty, will not be criticised by the generous publick, even if they should not be worded with classical purity. Besides, great men have always secretaries, and may have Greek scholars for secretaries if they please. The duke of Marlborough was ignorant of the learned languages; and no Englishman would find fault with Sir Edward Hawke's letter, announcing a great victory over the French, in the truly sailor style, “ I gave them a good drubbing,” though his German majesty did not understand the uncourtly phrase: nor would