Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Preface.

SOME arguments in favour of Latin and Greek Composition as an instrument of education might reasonably be expected from the Editors of Selections such as the following; but we leave the advocacy of this cause in better hands. The question whether verse-writing as a school exercise does or does not help towards sound scholarship and mental discipline, is ably treated in the appended remarks by the Principal of Cheltenham College, whose testimony in defence of the practice forms at once the substantial and appropriate Preface to the "Flosculi Cheltonienses." From us, therefore, only a few preliminary sentences are needed, in explanation of the immediate purpose of the Book and our connexion with it.

Owing to repeated applications from "old Cheltonians" for the College Prize Poems of former years, back copies have become scarce; indeed

the impossibility of obtaining any of them for the years previous to 1858 has given rise to much disappointment. Fortunately the College authorities possess a collection of the Poems from 1845 to 1858 in the volume presented by the late Dr. Cooke of Cambray, Cheltenham, one of the School's earliest and staunchest friends. It has, therefore, been suggested by the Principal that a Selection should be made, comprising the compositions of the last twenty years, and the making of this Selection we willingly undertook, especially as, for the reason just alleged, it seemed to us a work diu multumque desideratum.

That the College owns many "alumni" worthier than ourselves for the task (a sense of responsibility alone allows the term) is readily admitted by us; nor do we forget that in our present capacity,there being no obvious reason why the editorship should have devolved upon us more than upon others, we may provoke a certain amount of unfavourable comparison. But "good is best when soonest wrought," and doubtless the most distinguished of our number are busying themselves in work more congenial than the rescue of school exercises from oblivion. Our part- and we wish this to be clearly understood-has simply been the

revival of specimens of the talent and successful industry of past years, so as to place in the hands of those who have been, or are being, educated at Cheltenham College the most deserving of the Prize Poems now otherwise unattainable. We have not of course attempted emendations *, we have not even abridged or otherwise modified the originals; our only endeavour has been to choose the best samples, and secure a correct and neatlyprinted text. Should our efforts to discriminate fairly and judiciously result in the favourable judgment of those to whom we beg leave to dedicate this volume, our labour will not have been bestowed in vain.

For years past the School has put forth in print its achievements on the river, in the cricket-field, the gymnasium, and the other arenas devoted to the triumphs of muscularity; and these notices are welcomed by hundreds of us as "Reminiscences" of the right kind, as calculated to foster a wholesome esprit de corps, and, in the "uncovered school-room," to kindle a spirit of generous emula

* Except only in three or four instances, in which a phrase or construction of more than doubtful accuracy was discovered, and which we felt bound to alter; but in such a way as to make the least possible variation from the original.

tion. It is felt, however, that something is amisswhen enthusiasm is awakened only by physical excellence; and in the present temper of the times, when the tide is already on the turn, and a storm is being raised against "the exaggerated cultivation of Athleticism *," we venture to express the belief that these productions will recommend themselves as the exponents of Cheltonian intellectual development.

[ocr errors]

The voice of criticism will scarcely, we think, be heard in loud denunciation, when it is understood that the selected pieces are given unaltered, to stand or fall by their merits, as School Exercises to which Prizes were adjudged, when the respective authors were in statu pupillari, and in many instances considerably under the customary age for proceeding to the Universities. Whether they suffer or not by comparison with other attempts of a like character, we earnestly disclaim any intention of putting these embryonic productions in competition with the scholarship of riper years. Nor ought it to be expected that in the translation of passages averaging sixty or seventy lines in length the same elegance and force of expression can be sustained throughout, as might fairly be demanded

* Vide "Edinburgh Review," No. 259, p. 139.

« AnteriorContinuar »