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Editors for December-E. N. BARRETT, N. TAYLOR, E. S. BARRICK.

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To use, or not to use, that is the question;
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to "pony"
The moods and tenses and the nouns and pronouns,
Or to take up arms against a score of authors,

And, by-a lexicon-read them-and a grammar.

How is it? Can translations be used without harm to the user? Why, obviously, yes. Then again it would seem, obviously, no. It depends on who the user is, and on the end he has in view.

Let us see now, my good friend, whether this is rightly said or not. For if it is not rightly said let us not maintain it. But if rightly, then let us abide in our decision.

First, then, who can use translations without harm? Those who cannot read the original; and also those who can read the original, but, from lack of sufficient familiarity with it, or from want of time, or for other such reasons, prefer a good version in their own tongue; the end in view being, not to learn a foreign language, nor to go through a course of training, but to find information, or recreation and amusement.

All such may without harm follow the rule laid down for himself by Mr. Emerson: "I should as soon think of swimming across Charles river, when I wish to go to Boston, as of reading all my books in originals, when I have them rendered for me in my mother tongue." Very well. But Mr. Emerson has long since ceased to be a college student.

But who cannot use translations without harm? For after all this is the matter in hand. Let us say those who profess not already to have attained, but to be pressing on, to a proper familiarity with other tongues than their own-who also profess that, while this end in view is in itself held to be a great desideratum, yet they also hold it in a sense subordinate, so that it becomes a means to a still higher and more desirable end, which end they say is mental training and culture. And to accomplish this two-fold object, these, of their own accord, having secured the best lexicons and grammars as the essential apparatus for their work, hie them away to those retreats where dwell the Muses. These may by some be recognized as college students.

To proceed. Can college students, as above described, use translations without harm? Let us suppose that a student in Lafayette, in his daily study of the classics, substitutes the "translation" for the grammar and the dictionary. A most extraordinary supposition, we admit. Nevertheless, let us suppose it. This being supposed, let us see, if possible, what follows. Having seen what follows let it be decided whether or not he does himself harm.

Why, my good friend, do you make the substitution? Because it is a better, or an easier way?

An easier way, to be sure.

Very true. But an easier way to do what?

Why, to get a lesson out, of course.

Right again. You confess then, do you, that your object is to get out a lesson ? But should not your object be, not to get out a lesson, but, by getting out a lesson, to increase your knowledge of the foreign tongue, and to train your mind by careful, earnest, persevering investigation? And by taking the shortest time and the easiest way to get out your lesson do you not thereby confess that it would suit you quite as well not to get it out at all? And what is this but being a pretender? But I observe you no longer answer my questions. Are these things rightly said or not?

As for me, rightly. Well. Take care then, lest, having degraded your work, your work in turn degrades you, seeing that while you profess to be a student, yearning after scholarship, you at the same time, by your actions, seem to confess that you aim only at getting out a lesson. For let it ever be remembered, that deliberate, persistent inconsistency spoils one's character and debauches his conscience. And this is true in matters great and small. And, now, meeting with this result, will you, so far forth, suffer harm or not? How say you? Aye.

But perhaps some may say, and you may say, that by either method one must get out a lesson and may get knowledge and training.

Clearly some may say so, and I myself say so, and one would think you must say so, too.

And, truly, I do. But let us see exactly what the question is. To get out a lesson is a necessity, of course, in either case-a necessary evil, perhaps. But getting out a lesson as an end is a far different thing from doing it as a means. But let that pass. Now, as to the other matter. To make good our case, is it necessary to show that no knowledge and no training can be got by substituting "translations," or less knowledge and less training?

The latter in good truth, but please do not ask questions. Very well. Let me sum up briefly then, for I know your time is valuable.

Let us see then whether or not, by your method, the strong probability is that you get less knowledge and less training. Oneof the pleasantest and most profitable tasks of the classical student is to seek for the root meaning of a word and to discover, if possible, the connection of thought between it and the derived meanins, and then from all the meanings given to choose by his own will the one approved by his own judgment. Thus he is more sure to fix in his memory the meaning of the word for all time, sure to cultivate his powers of discrimination, sure to exercise his will and thus strengthen it, and sure to increase his English vocabulary. And further, he is almost certain to find something of value that he is not at the time looking for. For there are a great many things in a dictionary. It may be added that he will form an excellent habit-that of consulting a dictionary-a habit of importance and value to him in subsequent life. The antipathy that some have for

dictionary of any kind is perfectly astounding. They will walk two squares to ask some one what they could find at their elbows if they would but look.

Thus it appears that in the mere matter of looking up a word the one who uses a dictionary has a decided advantage over the one who does not, both in knowledge and training. The former brings memory, imagination, taste, judgment, will,-all into play, and reaps a reward in a permanent acquisition. The latter, temporarily bent on merely getting out a lesson, with temporary qualms, with a temporary spurt at memorizing, fixes up a temporary result by temporarily appropriating another man's work. The whole thing is

unmitigatedly temporary. To do this habitually for years must be disastrous to scholarship, to self discipline, and worse yet, to character. It eliminates self-reliance.

Self-reliance gone, one impor-
Doubtless there is great temp-

tant element of manhood is gone. tation to form such a habit, but true, manly, scholarly instinct, points in the opposite direction.

There is also a like advantage to the one and disadvantage to the other, in the matter of exploring idioms, weighing synonymes, balancing particles, determining tenses, moods, cases. To carry on this work a grammar and dictionary are indispensable. Only he who elects not to do this work can be content with a translation. Much more might be said on the above specifications and others to the same effect, but I observe you are weary. I leave you, earnestly commending to your serious consideration the following problem : Given two students, at the end of their course, a hundred lines of Greek or Latin, in the naked text and never before seen by the parties, which one of the two-the one who faithfully used his lexicon and grammar, or the one who substituted the "translation"will, other things being equal, on sight, literally, and yet elegantly, express the most of it in his mother tongue?

Having solved this problem you can decide for yourself whether er not he who substitutes the "translation" for the grammar and lexicon in his daily study of the classics does himself harm.

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