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care less than they did for the Waverleys (and I am not certain that this is the case), it is because more highly-seasoned dishes are offered them. If an English lesson implies learning of notes and analysis of sentences it will probably be considered as only a trifle preferable to the same task in a foreign language. If a man expects young boys to care for his pet passages of Keats or Wordsworth he will probably be disappointed. To make a literature lesson attractive and valuable, three conditions are essential: the book must be suitable, the aim purely literary, and the teacher really keen.

The book must be suitable. Boys like narrative poetry and little else. The small boys of ten or eleven prefer their stories short. For them Macaulay's Lays, Aytoun's Lays, modern ballads, such as Scott's and Campbell's, with a few of Tennyson's and Browning's, will afford an ample choice. There are, moreover, plenty of suitable collections from which to select. As they get older, the longer poems of Scott, "The Lay" and "Marmion especially, can be read. Personally, I have found nothing better than some of the "Idylls of the King," Geraint and Enid, Gareth and Lynette, and the Coming and Passing of Arthur. Some of the stories from "The Earthly Paradise" may be taken as a change. If a man has a taste for the old ballads they can undoubtedly be made interesting to boys, but the vocabulary is a difficulty, and there is not much teaching matter to be found in them. "The Golden Treasury" collection of ballads is, I think, the best, though that in "The Chandos Classics" is more complete. Lastly, for boys of fourteen or so, an occasional play of Shakespeare is a great treat.

I have not included any prose works, because I have never been able to find any that are really suitable, except perhaps Lamb's "Tales" and Kingsley's "Heroes." It is possible that something might be made of Stevenson.

The aim must be literary. If you wish to teach your boys vocabulary, grammar, language, take a "reader," or the history or geography in ordinary use-anything rather than the poetry you want to make them care for. Here the first object is to create a taste, not to teach a language. Inadvertently they will, of necessity, widen their vocabulary and acquire grammatical knowledge; but these are, so to speak, bye-products. The words must be explained, the construction elucidated, but only with the ulterior object of making boys feel what the poet desires them to feel. And so, if I were teaching the "Lay of the Last Minstrel," I should care little if my boys forgot what an aventayle or heriot was, or did not understand the allusion in "the warbling Doric reed," if only they had felt the glamour of the midnight tryst at Melrose, or the pathos of the minstrel's prayer

"By Yarrow's stream still let me stray !"

Such is the first and most important end in view, but there is another. Not only has the aim of the poet to be revealed, but also the means by which he accomplishes it. With many boys the sense of rhythm is dormant and has to be awakened; they

hardly appreciate what rhyme is, much less metre. Again, the tricks of the trade, such as alliteration and onomatopoeia, are to them a delightful new study. Similes, metaphors, epithets may all be collected and examined. With a writer like Tennyson, one has an inexhaustible store on which to stand; and I know nothing which an intelligent boy enjoys more than his first glimpses into the workshop of the poet. I need hardly add that he should be encouraged to learn by heart, to compare, and quote, for no teacher is likely to omit these points.

The teacher must be keen. To make history really successful a man must have read widely and be master of his subject. A geographer, Professor Geikie tells us, needs to know something of most of the sciences, and to have travelled widely; but most of us have sufficient stock-in-trade to interest boys in literature. But one has to remember this: it is easy to sneer at the small priggishnesses and raw crudities of boyish taste, but those who have learnt to look for results beyond the immediate present know that in these paltry seedlings lie the promise of a good harvest in the future.

Since this paper was written the Master of Marlborough has spoken on the subject at the Head Masters' Conference, and I am pleased to find that he is substantially in agreement with the views I have expressed.*

But, in conclusion, I should like to point out that, judging from the experience of the past, one may infer that the Preparatory Schools will not seriously move in the desired direction unless the Public Schools take the lead, and after setting their own houses in order, require from boys who come up for entrance or scholarship examinations, some knowledge of their mothertongue and some power of expressing their thoughts.



The Master's paper on this subject appeared in the School World for February, 1900.

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