BOOK I, CHAPTER XXVI
your family to many ages, — I desire to tell you of one single idea of mine regarding this, which is contrary to the common wont; it is all that I can offer for your service in this matter.
The office of the tutor whom you will give him — upon the choice of whom the whole result of his education depends — has many other important duties; but I do not touch on those, because I am unable to contribute there any thing of value; and upon this one point, about which I take upon myself to give him advice, he will believe me so far as he shall see reason so to do. For a child of good family, who seeks letters and learning, not for profit (for so base an object is unworthy of the grace and favour of the Muses, and, too, it concerns and depends upon others), and not so much for external benefits as for those peculiar to himself, and to enrich and adorn himself inwardly, being desirous to turn out a man of ability rather than a learned man, I should wish, moreover, that care should be taken to select a guide whose head is very sound rather than very full; and that, while both qualities should be required, good morals and understanding, rather than book-knowledge, should be the more so; and that he should carry himself in his office in a novel way. They are always bawling into our ears as if pouring into a tunnel; and our business is simply to repeat what they tell us. I would have him amend this state of things, and that from the outset, according to the ability of the mind he has to deal with, he should begin to exercise it, making it examine things, choose among them, and distinguish them by itself; sometimes breaking out the path for it, sometimes letting it break it out. I would not have him alone think and speak: I would have him listen while his pupil takes his turn at speaking. (c) Socrates and, after him, Arcesilaus, first made their pupils talk, and then talked to them. Obest plerumque iis qui discere volunt auctoritas eorum qui docent. It is well that he make him trot be-
- See Seneca, Epistle 74.
- That is, our teachers.
- Il commençast à la mettre sur la montre.
- See Cicero, De Fin., II, 1.2.
- The authority of those who teach is very often a hindrance to those who wish to learn. — Idem, De Nat. Deor., I, 5.