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IT is hoped that the following suggestions may not come too late to guide some students in their choice of studies.
Of the ten elective courses in Latin proper, the first five are generally intended for Sophomores, and such Freshmen as anticipate the required Latin; the last five for Seniors, Juniors, and such Sophomores as have taken some elective course in Latin during their course hitherto. This is not a hard and fast rule; but the cases of variance from it should be rare. Courses 1 and 2, which are virtually different divisions of the same course, correspond to the Latin course which was originally required of all Sophomores, and which has rarely if ever been intermitted. They comprehend some portion of Cicero's writings, at once philosophical, historical, and literary; they introduce the student to the Roman comedy and the earlier Republican style; - while the Satires of Horace are so different from the odes that they may be considered practically as by an author new to the student. The opportunity to read Terence, a specimen of the very purest Latin in a form as yet new to most Sophomores, should not be neglected, without careful thought, by any who are anxious to understand either the structure or literature of the language. The Satires of Horace are the best possible picture of society in the last year of the Republic. It will be observed that in Latin 2 abundant opportunity for reading at sight will be given. This can be more judiciously practised under the teacher's immediate direction than at the casual option of the reciter.
Latin 3 introduces the student to the literature of the second century of the Empire. The Agricola is the biography of a great general by a great historian. Its style is essentially different from that of any prose in the preparatory or required courses, and, generally speaking, is found harder. The Satires of Juvenal are more powerful, and perhaps less amusing, than those of Horace. In reading the Georgics, it is proposed to investigate the peculiarities and difficulties of Virgil's style more thoroughly than can be done in schools, where he often receives - most illogically - the name of an easy author. If a student prefers to omit this course, Tacitus and Juvenal are usually read in the later years to fully as great advantage. All these courses contain a large element of poetry. Course 5, on the other hand, is exclusively prose, which it is found that many prefer, and forms an excellent introduction to Ancient Philosophy, studied in works which are models of prose style, rising somewhat in difficulty, and touching on various departments of metaphysics and ethics.
Course 4 is in extemporaneous translation and composition. It is almost essential, either as an elective or extra, for candidates for second year honors in classics. It is not, however, meant to exclude others. The instructor will give as much time as possible to the personal correction and explanation of the exercises. But such labor must be met by corresponding accuracy on the part of the student. Writing Latin is not a mystery that can be communicated. It is to be acquired only by practice, and constant reading of good models. This course, therefore, should only be taken in connection with another elective or extra in Latin, except in those cases - unfortunately too rare - where a student is willing to undertake the reading of considerable Latin by himself. It is hardly a course for those who wish to "keep up their Latin a little," or "who never could do anything with Latin prose, and want to learn now."
Success in all these courses will be helped by taking a course in Greek as well. It should be remembered that Cicero is the standard model for writing Latin; 2 or 5, therefore, may properly be combined with 3.
In the Junior year No. 8, and in the Senior year No. 9, are the regular courses which always have been, and it is hoped always will be taught. No. 8 is exclusively the imperial, and 9 the republican authors. The first presents a thorough picture of Rome under the Emperors, from the hands of the greatest writers of that age. The second introduces the student to Lucretius, by many regarded as the greatest Latin poet, and much talked about now for the profundity and power of his philosophical speculation. Few writers are more amusing than Plautus. A restriction with reference to 9 will be noticed on the scheme of study.
No. 6 is intended for Juniors, Seniors, and such Sophomores as have already elected some Latin and find themselves unable to take a three-hour elective. It is of a literary and philosophical character. Cicero de Finibus is generally allowed to be the finest specimen of philosophical Latin prose; it is as hard as any of Cicero's works except the strictly legal orations. It is proposed to read the first two books of this treatise; the first an exposition of Epicurus's ethics, the second an attack upon them. Horace in his epistles appears as a practical epicurean in middle life. Persius - universally regarded as one of the hardest of Roman authors - is a young stoic of the time of Nero. The course will not be made intentionally difficult, but it will require close attention and care. It may be usefully combined with courses in philosophy, and all Latin 7 is the advanced division of 4. All the remarks made above with reference to 4 apply to it a fortiori. Latin 10 is adequately described on the scheme of study.
These remarks of course, though pains have been taken to make them accurate, are without authority, except what applies to 3, 4, 6, 7. With reference to those courses it should be said emphatically that regularity and attention at every exercise is essential to any real success. The courses are integral wholes, and no partial or spasmodic application is regarded as valuable.
In taking a course in Latin, as in every subject, the teachers earnestly invite personal application in advance to them, to save all misapprehension on the part of the student, and to enable them to understand as clearly as possible what are his needs. This remark applies particularly to the courses in composition.
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