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in except where it really throws light upon the text. When they are preparing these poems as lessons, the pupils are required to look out in a dictionary (and learn) every word the meaning of which they do not thoroughly know. The dictionary which up to the present I have found most handy and useful for the purpose (though it is far from perfect) is Messrs. Collins's "Illustrated National and Pronouncing Dictionary" (price one shilling). In the Notes, therefore, no words are explained if the meanings given in this dictionary are sufficiently clear and accurate.

It may, perhaps, be of use to teachers to have a summary given here of the chief points to be attended to in the study of literature. We should require :—

I. As to the substance of the text.

(a) All comparisons by means of which anything is illustrated or explained (similes *), and all applications of words to uses which in their original meaning they could not be put (metaphors †), to be carefully studied and explained, and the metaphors to be expanded to show their full meaning.

(b) The force and character of the descriptive words, and the names applied to things, to be fully realised.

(c) A paraphrase of the author's words to test that his meaning is exactly and fully understood. It is seldom that one gets a paraphrase which does not omit some point. And yet it is of the highest importance that the whole meaning shall be taken in. Never mind how long the paraphrase is, so that it omits nothing.

(d) A general knowledge of the meaning of the passage in hand, and of the line of argument pursued.

II. A knowledge of the history and derivation of a few particular words, where these illustrate clearly the general tendencies and laws of language, and are otherwise of

* E.g. "Her face was pale as the borrowed beauty of the moon." "The thought came to him as quick as lightning."

† E.g. "He bridles his anger." "In loftiness of thought he soars far above them."

special interest. The pupils should also be made to learn the most common and most productive roots in the English language, together with a well-chosen list of words derived from them, in order that the meanings of words shall not remain as isolated facts (which are always hard to remember), but shall show their connections and developments. They should then be required to point out what words in their lessons belong to these roots.

III. A clear understanding of all allusions.

IV. A knowledge of such illustrations as really throw light upon the text. Except when the illustrations are specially valuable it is best, in testing a pupil, to give him the illustration, and require him to give the passage in the text which it illustrates.

Then as to method and routine.

1. The notices of the author and the poem, together with the poem itself, should be carefully read over by the pupils with the teacher before anything else is attempted. But the teacher should bear in mind that the "notices are intended rather as helps to him than as lessons for his pupils.

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2. A passage should be set as a lesson for next time, and the pupils required to learn the Notes on it, and to look out and learn the meanings of all but the very simplest words which it contains. It is perhaps hardly necessary to remind teachers how ignorant young learners as a rule are of the meanings of even very common words. Their vocabulary is very small, and their words have very arbitrary or misty meanings.

3. When the text has been thoroughly understood, the critical notices of the author and the poem should next be studied.

4. Lastly, when all the points above mentioned have been carefully attended to, the pupil should be made to read the poem through aloud two or three times, in order to get an idea of it as a whole, and to show that he has really mastered its meaning.

JUNE 1879.


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The Song of the Brook

Home they brought her Warrior dead

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