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fortune he should leave me; do not you see,' says he, "the miserable condition of Burru, and the son of Albus? Let the misfortunes of those two wretches teach you to avoid luxury and extravagance." If he would inspire me with an abhorrence of debauchery: “Do not,” says he,
"make yourself like Sectanus, when you may be | happy in the enjoyment of lawful pleasures. How
scandalous” says he, “is the character of Trebonius, who was lately caught in bed with another man's wife!” To illustrate the force of this method, the poet adds, that as a headstrong patient, who will not at first follow his physician's prescription, grows orderly when he hears that his neighbours die all about him, so youth is often frighted from vice by hearing the ill report it brings upon others.
Xenophon's schools of equity, in his life of Cyrus the Great, are sufficiently famous: he tells us, that the Persian children went to school, and employed their time as diligently in learning the principles of justice and sobriety, as the youth in other countries did to acquire the most difficult arts and sciences: their governors spent most part of the day in hearing their mutual accusations one against the other, whether for violence, cheating, slander, or ingratitude, and taught them how to give judgment against those who were found to be any ways guilty of these crimes. I omit the story of the long and short coat, for which Cyrus himself was punished, as a case equally known with any in Littleton.
The method which Apuleius tells us the Indian Gymnosophists took to educate their disciples, is still more curious and remarkable. His
words are as follow: When their dinner is ready, before it is served up, the masters inquire of every particular scholar how he has employed his time since sun-rising: some of them answer, that haying been chosen as arbiters between two persons, they have composed their differences, and made them friends; some, that they have been executing the orders of their parents; and others, that they have either found out something new by their own application, or learned it from the instructions of their fellows. But if there happens to be any one among them, who can not make it appear that he has employed the morning to advantage, he is immediately excluded from the company, and obliged to work while the rest are at dinner.
It is not impossible that, from these several ways of producing virtue in the minds of boys, some general method might be invented. What I would endeavour to inculcate is, that our youth can not be too soon taught the principles of virtue, seeing the first impressions which are made on the mind are always the strongest.
The archbishop of Cambray makes Telemachus say,
that though he was young in years, he was old in the art of knowing how to keep both his own and his friends' secrets. When
father, says the prince, went to the siege of Troy, he took me on his knees, and after having embraced and blessed me, as he was sourrounded by the noblest of Ithaca, O my friend, says he, into your hands I commit the education of my son; if you ever loved his father, show it in
your care towards him: but, above all, do not omit to form him just, sincere, and faithful in keeping a
secret. These words of my father, says Telemachus, were continually repeated to me by his friends in his absence; who made no scruple of communicating to me their uneasiness to see my mother surrounded with lovers, and the measures they designed to take on that occasion. He adds, that he was so ravished at being thus treated like a man, and at the confidence reposed in him, that he never once abused it; nor could all the insinuations of his father's rivals ever get him to betray what was committed to him under the seal
• There is hardly any virtue which a lad might not thus learn by practice and example.
• I have heard of a good man, who used at certain times to give his scholars sixpence a-piece, that they might tell him the next day how they had employed it. The third part was always to be laid out in charity; and every boy was blamed or commended as he could make it
ke it appear that he had chosen a fit object.
In short, nothing is more wanting to our public schools, than that the masters of them should use the same care in fashioning the manners of their scholars as in forming their tongues to the learned languages. Wherever the former is omitted, I can not help agreeing with Mr Locke, that a man must have a very strange value for words, when preferring the languages of the Greeks and Romans to that which made them such brave men, he can think it worth while to hazard the innocence and virtue of his son for a little Greek and Latin.
* As the subject of this essay is of the highest importance, and what I do not remember to have
yet seen treated by any author, I have sent you what occurred to me on it from my own observation or reading, and which you may either suppress or publish, as you think fit. I am, sir, yours, &c.'
No. 338. FRIDAY, MARCH 28.
Nil fuit unquam
Made up of nought but inconsistencies. I FIND the tragedy of the Distressed Mother is published to-day. The author of the prologue, I suppose, pleads an old excuse I have read somewhere, of being dull with design; and the gentleman who writ the epilogue has, to my knowledge, so much of greater moment to value himself upon, that he will easily forgive me for publishing the exceptions made against gaiety at the end of serious entertainments, in the following letter: I should be more unwilling to pardon him than
any hody, a practice which can not have any ill consequence,
but from the abilities of the person who is guilty of it.
“I had the happiness the other night of sitting very near you and your worthy friend Sir Roger,
* Steele was the author of the prologue to the Distressed Mother. The epilogue was written by Mr. Budgell. For remarks on this play, see Nos. 290, 335, 555.
at the acting of the new tragedy which you have in a late paper or two so justly recommended. I was highly pleased with the advantageous situation fortune had given me, in placing me so near two gentlemen, from one of which I was sure to hear such reflections on the several incidents of the play as pure nature suggested, and from the other, such as flowed from the exactest art and judgment; though I must confess, that my curiosity led me so much to observe the knight's reflections, that I was not so well at leisure to improve myself by yours. Nature, I found, played her part in the knight pretty well, till at the last concluding lines she entirely forsook him. You must know, sir, that it is always my custom, when I have been well entertained at a new tragedy, to make my retreat before the facetious epilogue enters; not but that those pieces are often very well written; but having paid down my half-crown, and made a fair purchase of as much of the pleasing melancholy as the poet's art can afford me, or my own nature admit of, I am willing to carry some of it home with me; and can not endure to be at once tricked out of all, though by the wittiest dexterity in the world. However, I kept my seat the other night, in hopes of finding my own sentiments of this matter favoured by your friend's; when, to my great surprise, I found the knight entering with equal pleasure into both parts, and as much satisfied with Mrs. Oldfield's gaiety as he had been before with Andromache's greatness. Whether this were no other than an effect of the knight's peculiar humanity, pleased to find at last, that after all the tragical doings, every thing was safe and