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THE

MASTER'S LATIN VERSE BOOK.

BEING

A COLLECTION OF LATIN PROSE FABLES

TURNED INTO VERSE;

WITH

AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION;

INTENDED AS A HELP TOWARDS ORIGINAL

COMPOSITION.

BY A MASTER OF ARTS, LATE SCHOLAR OF TRINITY

COLLEGE, CAMBRIDge.

LONDON:

GEORGE BELL, 186, FLEET STREET.

1852.

305. C. 40.

PREFACE.

THIS little book is indebted for its existence to the following passage in the English Journal of Education for July, 1851. "We propose therefore to bridge over the gulf between Bland and Gray's Elegy for the average boy; and would suggest a simple plan, practised it may be by one or two, but certainly not by any means generally. It is to be hoped that it will be neither less useful nor less acceptable from being simple. At the period in question then, give the learner a Latin prose version of Æsop's shorter fables. Matter (which he generally wants) will then be before him, and after no long time-experto credite-he will produce a very fair copy of verses. The subjects too will interest him, and he will work with his adviser, and like the task, instead of becoming disgusted with the name of verse. By far the most profitable way, after criticizing his attempt, is to show him the same fable treated in the simplest mode in the same kind of verse. This encourages him much more than pointing to Virgil or Ovid, or even showing him a prize poem, and urging him to imitate them. He thinks such standards beyond his reach and imitation hopeless. But different is the effect of a simple version, with which he can sympathize. From it he derives real profit."

Nothing more is aimed at than to assist the hardworked master in a very useful exercise. And here it will not be out of place to give an instance of the practical use of placing modern verses before the young

student. In the early part of the Life of Bishop Shirley, which has been lately published, it is said: "Among the many books sent to him from home to assist his studies, one is mentioned which contributed in a remarkable degree to his success; it was T. Warton's edition of Milton's minor poems. The study of this volume improved his taste for modern Latin composition, and seemed to give him a new insight into its mechanism. For on the same principle that it requires less effort to copy a piece of mimicry than to observe in the first instance and reproduce the peculiarities of the original, he found it easier to catch the classical turn of thought and expression from a modern imitation than from an ancient model." Of course it is not pretended that this book contains compositions in any way comparable with those here mentioned, any more than the average boy is to be compared to the late Bishop of Sodor and Man. Still it is satisfactory in a matter not generally so understood to have one's own thoughts confirmed by so respectable an authority, and this little extract helps to show that the present attempt is at all events in the right direction. With respect to the value of the exercise itself, which is thus recommended and for which some assistance is here provided, the following remarkable testimony will encourage those that think well of it, and will surprise those that have been in the habit of treating it with neglect and some degree of contempt. "To the use of Latin verse,” writes the biographer of Arnold, "which he had been accustomed to regard as one of the most contemptible prettinesses of the understanding,' I am becoming,' he said, in my old age more and more a convert.'"

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THE MASTER'S LATIN VERSE

BOOK.

1. TAURUS ET MUS.

Inimicum quamvis humilem cauti est metuere. Mus Tauri pedem momorderat. Taurus vibrans cornua, quærit hostem; nusquam verò videt. Mus eum irridens, " Quia," inquit," robustus es ac vastus, ne idcirco quemvis contempseris; nunc enim te impune læsit exiguus Mus."

I.

A BULL had stretched himself on the ground; by chance a Mouse bit his legs; seeking the foe with his horns the former makes a rush: the latter is no where to be seen in vain the bull brandishes his horns him,

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whom he seeks, the thick grass conceals. Despise not little things," he says; "I a mouse provoke thee with impunity, though very great you have been injured by the least."

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