Amid the worry and disturbance which the classics appear at present to be undergoing at the hands of our faculty, let us remember that some things still deserve attention until proved to be worthless. Whether the future freshman shall offer a supposed knowledge of the use of the ablative in Plautus or the power of reaching a mathematical infinity, as his claim for admittance, is of small moment with respect to one matter. We can well afford to allow the future freshman to fret and terrify his soul over the classics, but we who have passed the slough of despond require none the less a recognition of our power to read the classics. It is very pleasant and profitable for us that the beauties of Chaucer should be held up for our admiration. But this is not enough. We miss the accustomed classical readings which have been given us in past years, and lift up our voices in remonstrance. We cannot feel satisfied to allow one of the most beneficial and practical applications of our classical knowledge to pass into disuse. No method is equal to that of the classical readings offered us in past years in acquiring a practical acquaintance with the various authors who are not read in the elective courses. If a student can ever derive any benefit from his power to read Latin and Greek, he ought to be able to derive that benefit from the classical readings which have hitherto given so great pleasure to us all. There is always danger that in the hurry and distraction of reforming a great system, the minor parts of the system under reform will become useless through neglect. We cannot allow the present notable absence of classical literature in the evening readings to pass without remark. We can comment upon this side of the classical question which has nothing to do with requirements, with perfect freedom, and feel that in our criticism we are simply conservative. We know that a departure from the usual classical readings would be a source of much loss to many in their enjoyment of what they have already acquired. And it is in the interest of these that we now offer our recommendation for their early revival.
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May 06, 2017