Excerpt from Classical Studies
I am not going to weary you with an attempt even to recapitulate all the grounds of apology (if I must use that word) for Classical learning. The field has been so thoroughly trodden down by the multitudes who have passed over it, that there is not a square inch of green turf left, and it offers but a dreary prospect. Scholars can well afford to rest their case on this single consideration, - that the words and the thoughts of the old Greeks and Romans have been so thor oughly incorporated, so deeply ingrained, into modern language and literature, whether French, Italian, Spanish, or English, that no thorough knowledge or appreciation of these derivatives is possible except by going to the sources whence they were drawn; that this infusion has taken place, even in a greater degree, into modern science, which is so built upon ancient learning, - its precise, far-extended, and ever-increasing nomenclature being almost exclusively Greek, that, without a tolerable knowledge of that language, it may fairly be said that the student of science, however earnest and capable, knows hardly a word of what he is talking about. Without such knowledge, the lawyer must seem, even to himself, in the names of the writs which he every day draws, and in the phraseology of the legal aphorisms which he is compelled constantly to cite, to be prating a jargon com pared with which even Choctaw would be Significant and harmonious. Without it, the physician cannot read intelligently a single page of a medical book. 'without it, the divine, except by dim approximation and with much blind trust in very fallible human guides, cannot inter pret the very title-deeds of man's salvation. Language itself, in its widest sense, not of this or that particular nation, but of the whole human race, - that marvellous work, as I believe, not of man, but of God himself, with all its intricacies of structure, complex harmonies.
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