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AN INTERESTING ELECTIVE.

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

THERE has been recently established in our University a course of much interest to the student at large, and especially to the student of languages; I mean the course in Romance Philology. It presents the double advantage of being attractive in itself, and under the direction of a competent and agreeable professor; and as the first course of the kind established in this country, it has the feature of novelty.

Philology is the study of a lifetime, constantly developing and discovering new fields for work. The foundations on which it is built lie far back in the mist of ages, and speculation, to a certain extent, is the guide to our results. It is therefore interesting to find among our modern tongues a family of languages whose origin, growth, and development lie within human observation, even within the records of the past two thousand years.

The Romance offers us this feature, and is therefore of no little importance in the history of speech. Its study is, so to speak, the A B C of the philologist. It offers a criterion, a test, for other and more difficult studies, and is a living type on which we may build our theories. Its application is practical enough. The habit of comparison and inquiry which it forms finds daily exercise, and cannot be too highly cultivated; and in our age, when a man of culture cannot exist without the knowledge of at least two languages besides his own, the theory of language is, or should be, of some importance to him. It guards him from the error, so frequently met with in earlier times, of guessing at an etymology, or of establishing his own tongue as the "language of Paradise." Romance, besides the purely philological interest it presents, has a rich literature. The Troubadours, whose love and chivalry found their highest expression in Dante, are the children of the Provencal, a dialect of the Romance. Their songs and stories live to-day; but the "glory has departed out of Juda," and their volumes often lie dusty and worm eaten on the shelf. They abound, however, in poetry, - legendary, amorous, humorous, - and are well worthy of perusal.

This is the new course which has been opened to us; and though our library is but poorly supplied with works hearing upon it, yet, through the efforts of the energetic gentleman who conducts this department, we are in hopes of seeing it not much longer in want. The time for the selection of our next-year electives is at hand, and the difficulty of choosing between so many attractive courses renews itself; but Romance Philology can be safely recommended to any student who seeks a study full of beauty and instruction.

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