Today is

   "A word to the wise ain't necessary --  
          it's the stupid ones that need the advice."
					-Bill Cosby

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek . . ."

"[B]y being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell -- a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great -- was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing -- namely, to write mere English. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practised continually English analysis. . . Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence -- which is a noble thing. And when in after years my schoolfellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had to come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that."

-- Winston Churchill, My Early Life: 1874-1904


Anonymous Topdog said...

So, Kma, you are now belittling your Latin scholarship? Sister Helen Rose would be appalled! I think the great man (a bit of a late bloomer) was spinning his early failure a bit. For those of us without an Ivy ed, what is the origin of the title quote "And though...."?

October 12, 2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger Kate Marie said...

Hi Topdog!

The origin of the title quote is Ben Jonson's Ode to Shakespeare, but, with all due respect to my "Ivy ed," I have to give that Bruin school (and Prof. Kipling)credit for my knowledge of the quote.

And no, I'm not belittling my "Latin scholarship" -- which is probably as small as Shakespeare's and Churchill's, come to think of it, so I'm in good company. Anyway, I loved Latin, and I'm as indebted to Sister Helen Rose as Churchill is to Mr. Somervell.

October 12, 2007 12:21 PM  
Blogger stewdog said...

Hey, Stewdog Took 2 years of Latin. I was such a scholor at it that I was "invited" to spend 4 hours a day in summer after my first year to learn it again.
Knowing what I know now, I would have taken 4 years of Spanish!

October 13, 2007 8:25 AM  

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