Teachers' Outlines for Studies in English - Based on the Requirements for Admission to College
by Gilbert Sykes Blakely
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Should this play have been called Marcus Brutus? Why?

CHARACTERS.—What gave Brutus the great influence that he enjoyed? Could he think clearly and reason logically? Could he clearly discern facts in the life about him? Was he a man of sympathetic nature, or was he cold and unfeeling? Give proof in detail for each answer. What was his mistake? Is there any evidence that he regretted the part that he took? Do you think it was possible for him to be thoroughly honorable and yet not regret this part? What is the lesson of his life?

What acts and words of Caesar, with statements made about him, tend to belittle him in our eyes? What do Brutus and Antony say of Caesar when they are alone, speaking freely and without disguise? What words or acts of Caesar mentioned in the play are expressive of true nobility?

Why did Shakespeare present in one play two impressions of Caesar very different from each other? Are both correct, or only one, or neither? Give evidence.

Was Cassius a patriot or a self-seeking politician? Give evidence. How could he justify the means that he used to win Brutus? In what respect did he surpass Brutus? What case did he make against Caesar? How far was he right? What weakness and what strength does he show in Act IV?

How does Antony appear before the death of Caesar? (Note what he does and says and what others say of him.) What change comes over him after Caesar's death? Is his agreement with Brutus in regard to Caesar's funeral an honorable one? Give reasons.

How does he dare to speak so frankly and boldly in the presence of the conspirators as he does in III, 1, 184-210? Does he conduct himself throughout the rest of the play as a true patriot? Give evidence. What were his virtues? Wherein was he weak?

What characteristics of Portia do you discover in II, 1, 261-278, 291-302; IV, 3, 152-156? Compare her with Calpurnia as she appears in II, 2.

What are the characteristics of the Commoners? Compare them with a modern crowd such as might gather to see a parade or a celebration.

FORM.—What is the meter of this play? Where do we frequently find an additional syllable? Illustrate.

What other variations from the normal line help to keep the verse from becoming monotonous?

Explain the metrical difficulties of the following lines:

"'Speak, strike, redress.' Am I entreated" (II, 1, 55).

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" (III, 2, 78).

"As a sick girl. Ye gods! it doth amaze me"(I, 2, 128).

Why do you think we have both prose and verse in I, 1?

Why prose in Brutus's speech and verse in Antony's?

Find, if you can, passages that express true patriotism (like II, 1, 52-58), others that express hollow rhetoric (like I, 3, 91-100), and others that express true and beautiful sentiment.

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—See outline for the study of The Merchant of Venice, p. 72.


I. Preparation

A review of the facts about Shakespeare's work and the development of his art previously studied; a short explanation of the meaning and purpose of tragedy; and an account of the general belief in witchcraft in the early seventeenth century, will help to give the class the right attitude toward the play.

II. Reading and Study

The purpose of the first and second readings is the same as that already stated in the general plan and in the outline for the study of The Merchant of Venice. The large number of puzzling passages in Macbeth makes the second reading unusually important.

III. Study of the Play as a Whole

SETTING.—Where and between whom were the battles fought in the beginning of the play?

Where are Inverness and Scone?

About how long a time is involved in the entire play? Which scenes follow one another without loss of time, and which do not?

From the various hints given, what impression do you get of the conditions of life in Scotland at the time of the play? (I, 2, 20-24; I, 4, 37-38; III, 2, 22-26.)

How is external nature used to heighten the effect made by the witches?

In what other instances is nature used to heighten the effect? (I, 5; II, 1, etc.)

PLOT.—What is the purpose of the introductory scene? Compare it with the opening scene in each of the other plays that you have studied.

At what point is the introduction of the plot, or the "exposition," complete?

What evidence is there that Macbeth had planned before the opening of the play for the murder of Duncan? (I, 3, 51-52; I, 7, 47-53.)

What three incidents help to his success? (I, 4, 42-43; II, 3, 112-113; II, 4, 25-26.)

By what means does Shakespeare make the murder of Duncan very effective in moving the audience, even though the actual deed is committed off the stage?

What facts necessary for the reader to know are brought out in the last scene of Act II?

What leads Macbeth to the murder of Banquo? (III, 1, 48-72.)

Where does Macduff first come in as a force in the action? (III, 4, 128-129.)

What hints of his part have we had before? (II, 4, 36-38.)

What double purpose had the author in having Macduff's family slain?

To what extent does Lady Macbeth influence action of the play? The weird sisters? Macduff? Banquo? Macbeth?

Note the steps by which Macbeth rose in fame.

What was the source of Shakespeare's material? Account for the most important changes that he made.

CHARACTERS.—What sort of man have we reason to believe Macbeth was at the opening of the play from the position that he held; from what his wife said of him; from what others said of him; and from his attitude in the face of his first crime?

What two contrasts are drawn between Macbeth and Duncan in scenes 2 and 4 of Act I? Is it strange that Macbeth had often wished that he might be king in place of Duncan? Why? Show how the prophecies of the witches became his temptations. From his soliloquies in Act I, scenes 3 and 4, what do you judge of his moral sense? What decision has he reached, if any, before he returns to his wife? In his soliloquy in Act I, scene 7, what two considerations are keeping him from the murder? What argument of Lady Macbeth was effective in bringing him to a decision? How do you account for the fact that he is extremely vacillating in Act I and fearful in the first part of Act II, while in the battle with the rebels he was the personification of bravery and decision? What is his state of mind as soon as the act is committed? What change takes place as soon as it is discovered? Is his fear of Banquo a reasonable one? What effect of his crime is apparent in Act III, scene 2? What, if any, further decline do you note in Act III, scene 4? In Act V how does Shakespeare contrive to represent Macbeth in a condition of brutality and yet to arouse a decided human interest in him, and even some sympathy for him? In Macbeth's several soliloquies throughout the play what mental characteristic is most prominent? Give examples. To what extent may Macbeth be taken as a type of ambition? to what extent the type of a noble soul led downward to destruction? What great truth does his life illustrate, a truth that we may call the central idea of the play?

What mental qualities does Lady Macbeth show in Act I, scene 5? Why does she not discuss with herself the pros and cons of the act to be committed? What fundamental difference does this illustrate between herself and her husband? Do you think Lady Macbeth's motive for the murder of Duncan was selfish or unselfish? Give reasons. What sort of woman do you suppose she was before the play opens? Why? What light does Act III, scene 2, throw on her character? Does her calmness and tenderness with her husband after the guests have left the banquet indicate her wisdom in dealing with him, or the pathetic weakening of her strong character, or a natural tenderness? Give reasons. What makes the sleep-walking scene so pathetic? How has the dramatist prepared us for her breakdown? What, if anything, do you find in her to admire?

Are we to regard Banquo as strong and noble, or blamelessly weak, or criminally negligent? Why? Compare Banquo and Macduff in order to bring out the chief characteristics of each.

What striking contrast is drawn between Macbeth and Edward the Confessor?

FORM.—Illustrate the normal line and the chief variations from it in Macbeth.

How does the number of incomplete lines compare with the number in the other plays that you have studied?

Find several highly imaginative passages (like II, 1, 49-60); several that express pathos (like V, 1, 22-86); several that are very condensed (like III, 2, 13-22). Which of these passages are most characteristic of this play?


I. Preparation

A good way to arouse interest in this poem is to give an account of the popularity of the mask in the days of Elizabeth and James I; the occasions for which masks were written; the people who wrote them; and the preparations that were made for presenting them. Some pupil who has read Kenilworth will be interested to tell of the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth by the Earl of Leicester. Other matters of interest are the character of Henry Lawes, his part in Comus, and the occasion for which this mask was prepared.

II. Reading and Study

The first reading should give familiarity with the events related and a general idea of the philosophical discussions. The second reading will include a careful study of details; Milton's use of mythology; the stage setting; the introduction of dances, etc.

III. Study of the Poem as a Whole

CONTENT.—When, where, for what occasion, and before what audience was this mask presented?

Who were the actors?

Members of the audience often took part in dances, which were a feature of the mask. Do you find here any indication of such a dance? Find two places in Comus where dances are introduced to serve the purpose of an anti-mask, that is, a humorous interlude to afford contrast and amusement.

What supernatural characters are introduced?

Find passages of compliment to the Welsh, to the Earl of Bridgewater, and to the Earl's family in the opening speech of the Attendant Spirit.

Find one passage complimenting the musical ability of Mr. Henry Lawes (494-496), and several complimenting the Lady Alice and her two brothers (145-150, 244-264, 297-304, 366, etc.).

What idea does Milton bring out in the long dialogue between the two brothers? between Comus and the Lady?

For what do the several characters stand, if we take the poem as an allegory? What is the significance of the ugly heads of the monsters? of the glass of liquor? of the remarkable courage of the Lady in the face of danger? What is the central idea of the poem?

FORM.—Distinguish between the mask and the regular drama; between the mask and the opera.

Point out the chief lyrical passages.

Find examples of blank verse, of rhymed pentameter, and of the two kinds of verse so common in L'Allegro and Il Penseroso.

Compare the meter of the dialogues with that of the lyric passages.

Find passages remarkable for beauty of figurative language (like 188-192 and 375-380), others for beauty of sentiment (like 210-220 and 453-463).

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—See outline for the study of Lycidas, page 59.

What impression of Milton's character do we get from Comus? What suggestions do we get here of the best side of Puritanism?


Like the lyric, the essay represents directly the author's thought and feeling. It appeals to the understanding, is practical in its nature, and for these reasons involves less difficulty in teaching; but it is often less attractive than poetry and frequently deals with matters that are uninteresting to the average boy and girl. A good essay is indirectly valuable in affording illustration of the principles of composition and rhetoric, but it is directly of great value in stimulating thought and broadening the mind. Nowhere, however, is there greater need of a wise plan of work, since the teacher must overcome mental inertia on the part of the pupils, and usually they are not spurred on, as in novel reading, by their interest in the subject itself.

The author's purpose is to impart his thought clearly and vigorously. Here lies the suggestion for any plan of study. If the thought is to be appreciated the students must understand the matters of which the essay treats. Furthermore, they must examine the conclusions and note how they are reached. In this way they will learn to discriminate between opinion and established fact; between logical and illogical reasoning. Since the author, in accomplishing his purpose, has paid special attention to orderly arrangement, to clear and forceful statement, and to a skillful choice of words, so these matters must be the subject of careful study on the part of the student. Conscious imitation has its place in developing the power to write, and it is no less valuable in gaining an appreciation of an author's style. The study of the essay offers the best opportunity for imitative work of this kind, since it is the essay that the student himself, in his school exercises, is continually trying to write. Care should be taken at this stage of the work not to ask pupils to discuss matters that are beyond their knowledge.


I. Preparation

Complete understanding of the matters that the essayist expects his readers to know usually involves more study than the class have time to give. Carlyle in his Essay on Burns takes for granted the reader's familiarity with the poetry of Burns and the facts of his life, while probably only a few of the pupils who come to the study of this essay have more than a scanty knowledge of either of these subjects. It remains for the teacher, then, to select the most important facts and to bring them before the class by various means as fully as the time will permit, remembering in the choice and presentation of subjects that it is of the utmost importance to get the student to approach the new book with interest and enthusiasm.

II. Reading and Study

A rapid reading by the pupil before the work is taken up in the class room may or may not be practicable. A safer method, perhaps, is to give the class a general outline of from five to ten topics, and ask them to read the essay topic by topic. The recitation period may be used to follow, in a broad way, the development of the thought.

After the class have thus become familiar with the main ideas of the essay they will be ready for a second and more careful reading. This will give the students opportunity for the study of details, for completing the detailed outline, and for a general discussion of conclusions, all of which should have for their purpose the appreciation of the author's thought.

III. Study of the Essay as a Whole

This will include general questions on content, form, and the life and character of the author.


I. Preparation

One of the chief causes of the great popularity of The Tatler and The Spectator at the time when they were published was the truthful representation of life that they contained. The touches of humor and satire in the delineation of character and the criticism of the follies of the day were most fully appreciated by those who were best acquainted with English life. It would seem, then, that the best way to interest boys and girls in these papers would be to introduce them briefly but vividly to the life of England in the days of Queen Anne, by the treatment of such topics as London, its size, population, and external appearance; public morals; frivolities of women; lawlessness of young men; the coffee-houses; newspapers, etc. Ashton's Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne and Chapter III of Macaulay's History of England will give the teacher a mass of material upon which he can draw to supplement the introduction in the text-book. There is danger, however, that the wealth of material will tempt him to devote too much time to this preparatory work.

Other topics of value to the pupil are: the founding of The Tatler, its purpose, and its success; how Addison became associated with Steele; the founding of The Spectator; a few facts about Steele and Addison.

II. Reading and Study

If these papers are taken up too much in detail the work becomes tiresome, but they contain so many references to the customs and manners of the time, the discussion of so many practical matters, and so many incidents full of human interest that a careful study is necessary for an intelligent appreciation of them. Each paper should be considered by itself; its main idea discovered; the truth of its statements tested; the sidelights on the character, beliefs, and experiences of the authors noted (for example, Steele's experiences as a soldier suggested by The Journey to London); and the skill of the writer pointed out in variety of incident, unity of thought, naturalness and picturesqueness of narrative. Most of the study will naturally be on the content, but a certain amount of attention should be given to practice writing in imitation of Addison's easy but dignified style. For composition work there are suggestions for description and narration as well as for exposition and argument. Imitations of certain papers may be extremely profitable and usually arouse a healthy interest in the content of the essays as well as in the style.

III. Study of the Book as a Whole

CONTENT.—What follies of the time, or of human nature of all time, are satirized here? Show how they are satirized.

What views on politics do you find expressed directly or indirectly? What evidence do you find of the Spectator's Whig prejudices? (See Papers XII, paragraph 3; XX, paragraph 2; XXI; XXII.)

What views are given on practical questions of life, for example, management of a house, attending church, economy, etc.?

Do you think a man unfit "for studies of a higher nature" and "uncapable of any liberal art or profession," likely to succeed "in the occupations of trade and commerce"? (See Paper VIII.) Discuss the wisdom of a liberal education for boys who expect to be business men.

Do you suppose the observance of the Sabbath was more necessary, as Addison seems to imply, for country people than for people in London? (Paper XI.)

Which do you think Addison preferred, the city or the country? Give evidence.

Make a list of the eighteenth-century customs and manners referred to in these papers.

Write an account of the Spectator and Sir Roger at Button's or Will's.

Recast or modernize Paper XIV on Labour and Exercise in such a way as to adapt its argument to the support of school and college athletics.

What types of character or classes of men are represented by persons in these papers? Which, if any, do not seem like real persons? Do they develop, or do they remain throughout as they are first represented? By what means does the author make us acquainted with them,—by what he says of them, by what they say themselves, or by what others say of them?

Do the whimsicalities of Sir Roger make him ridiculous or lessen our respect for him?

What qualities would such a man find to admire in the "perverse widow"?

Write a paper entitled "Sir Roger at the Play" modeled upon Addison's paper, but suppose Sir Roger to have seen, instead of The Distressed Mother, Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Write a reply from Sir Roger to Will Wimble on receipt of the jack.

Write a letter from the Chaplain to the Spectator announcing the death of Sir Roger and speaking as he naturally would of his patron.

Write an account of the trouble between Will Wimble and Tom Touchy referred to in Paper XXVII.

Compare the papers written by Addison with those written by Steele to determine which author is more successful in introducing characters; which in portraying the details that make these characters live; which uses more care in the choice of words and the form of sentences; which has a more refined and courteous manner; and which shows the more feeling. Give evidence.

FORM.—Make a topical outline of several papers, for example, XIX, XXI, XXVI, to show whether or not they have unity.

Do the paragraphs have unity? a clear order of development? Examine the sentences to see whether they are, in the main, loose or periodic.

Compare this series of papers with some novel, preferably The Vicar of Wakefield, in respect to clearness of setting, delineation of character, structure of plot, definiteness of purpose, and clearness and grace of style. What is lacking to make the series a novel?

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHORS.—What do we know of Addison's childhood? his school and college life? his reputation as a student? his tour of the continent? his entrance into political life? his political successes? his literary ventures and successes? his marriage? his death? What traits of character made him loved by his friends? How was he regarded by his political enemies? In the paper entitled The Spectator what traits are like Addison's own traits? From the Spectator papers that you have read what do you infer of Addison's power of observation? his feeling toward the follies of the day? his attitude toward religion?

Contrast Addison's early life with Steele's. Relate the main facts of Steele's school and college life, his experiences in the army, his first literary ventures, his popularity in society, his political successes and disappointments. Compare Steele's traits of character with those of Addison.


I. Preparation

Most students have probably read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle before entering the high school, and know something about Washington Irving. To enjoy the other sketches fully one should know well the man who wrote them, for they are strongly personal. The reader is to travel with Irving, to see things with his eyes, and to consider subjects with his good sense and fine taste. One way to approach the task of teaching the Sketch-Book, then, is to assign for re-reading, or at least for review, the two stories mentioned above, and to awaken a lively interest in the genial man who wrote them. This may involve reversing the usual method of studying the author last.

Washington Irving by Charles Dudley Warner, in the American Men of Letters Series, and The Life and Letters of Washington Irving by Pierre Irving will furnish abundant and interesting material for both teacher and student.

What do we know of Irving's parentage? his characteristics as a boy? his education? his first trip to England? his travels? his friends? his habits? his return from abroad? his military experience? his first literary ventures? his long stay in Europe? his literary successes? his great reception on his return to New York? his life at Sunnyside? his public services?

II. Reading and Study

These sketches should not be read hurriedly but thoughtfully and, as far as time will permit, aloud in class. They contain many fine descriptions which should be used, with the aid of questions and composition exercises, to keep alert the imagination of the pupils. The following are a few of the topics that might be used for oral or written work:

The Author's Account of Himself

The author's choice of facts. (Why he chose these and did not choose others.)

The charm of travel in America and in Europe—a comparison and a contrast.

The Voyage

What Irving has omitted in the account of his voyage.

An imaginative sketch of Irving as he may have appeared to one of his fellow-passengers. (Base the sketch on what Irving says that he did and saw.)

Descriptive features in the last four paragraphs.

An original account of some voyage.

The Christmas Sketches

Irving's purpose in these papers.

The Christmas spirit in England.

Travelling by stage coach.

The coachman—a character sketch.

The coachman at the inn-yard—a description.

Irving's fellow-travelers.

Irving—a sketch by one of the travelers.

Arrival at Bracebridge Hall.

The squire—a character sketch.

The festivities of Christmas eve.

The family at supper.

Prayers on Christmas morning.

The church service.

The parson.

The pleasures of the day.

The dining room when the boar's head was brought in—a description.

The wassail bowl.

After-dinner sports.

The mask of Christmas.

An original account of some Christmas holiday.

Rural Life in England

What Irving actually saw that suggested the comments in this essay.

The conclusions that he drew from his observations.

Rural life in England, as Irving saw it, compared with rural life in America.

Going to church—an imaginative sketch based on Irving.

The Country Church

The rich man's arrival at church—a description.

The audience at worship—a description.

A country audience in America—a sketch from real life.

The nobleman and the newly rich—a contrast.

A detailed outline of Irving's account of the two families.

Westminster Abbey

Time and circumstances of the visit and the mood of the visitor.

What Irving saw in the abbey (omit the musings).

Reflections suggested by the visit.

History of the building.

The Mutability of Literature

The setting for Irving's discussion of literature.

A summary of Irving's thought on the changing of.

The Art of Book-making

Adventures in the British Museum.

The meaning of Irving's dream.

How far is it honest for schoolboys and schoolgirls books for their essays?

Stratford on Avon

An evening with Irving at the Red Horse Inn.

The Shakespeare House.

A visit to Shakespeare's grave.

The groves and park about Charlcote.

The "great hall."

An original account of a visit to the home of an author, or to a place of historic interest, or of natural beauty.

The Angler

Irving's fishing excursion.

A stroll along the banks of the Alun.

The fisherman philosopher.

III. Study of the Book as a Whole

CONTENT.—What attractive features of country life in England does Irving represent?

Compare them with attractive features of country life in America.

Examine the sketches where the scene is laid in the city to see whether Irving wrote with equal appreciation of city life.

Irving's interest in antiquities.

Compare Irving's essays with Addison's in respect to descriptions of country life; city life; discussions of practical questions; representation of character; philosophy of life; purpose in writing.

FORM.—Examine Irving's method of describing a person, for example, Master Simon in Christmas Eve, and compare it with Scott's procedure in Ivanhoe.

Examine his description of the inn kitchen in The Stage-Coach and compare with one of your own on a similar subject.

Study the paragraphs in Rural Life in England to discover whether or not there is in each one a topic sentence and a regular method of development.


I. Preparation

The interest of such a book as Franklin's Autobiography does not lie in poetic language and rhetorical figures, but in the human interest shown in this record of a man's life. The teacher's aim, then, will be to fix in the minds of the students the essential facts of Franklin's life; their relation to one another; his connection with the advancement of society and with the achievements of our country; and the traits of his remarkable character. The approach to this study will most naturally be through what the students already know of Franklin's achievements and of his connection with history. These facts gathered from the class can be supplemented by others judiciously chosen for the purpose of making real the time in which Franklin lived, and of arousing an interest in the man himself.

II. Reading and Study

The student will have little or no difficulty in following the narrative of these pages, and with the aid of topics can be held strictly to account for the mastery of essential details. A good way, at first, is to assign, with the chapter for home reading, a list of topics to be studied, and later to require the pupils themselves to make out similar lists. The analysis of chapters is in itself valuable exercise and the use of topics for oral quiz and discussion is probably the best way for the daily study of such work. It is not desirable, however, that the analysis be too minute, or that it be carried so far as to kill the interest in the reading.

III. Study of the Book as a Whole

The purpose of this comprehensive study is two-fold: first, to group together in their proper relation the essential facts of the life and development of the man; and, second, to fix important matters and characteristic incidents. The following are a few topics and questions suggested for this study:

What were Franklin's achievements in business? in science? in literature? in military service? in diplomatic service? in public improvements?

Give the facts of his education, including his training, his private reading and study, and his broader education that came from association and travel.

For the advantages of his education how much did he owe to his parents and the circumstances in which he chanced to find himself as a boy? How much to fortunate association with wise men? How much to his own wise and persevering efforts?

Tell what you can of his ancestors, and discuss how much he owed his success to heredity.

How did Franklin manage men, get them to think as he did, and do what he wished? Illustrate by incidents.

What traits of character were in the main responsible for his attainments in each of the lines in which he gained a distinct success? Mention a few of the most important principles of his homely philosophy. Give incidents from his own acts to show whether or not he practised what he preached.


I. Preparation

Some of the following topics call merely for statements by the teacher; some for a special report; and others for class study. The more familiar the class are with the poetry and the life of Burns the more profitable will be their study of this essay.

The Scotchman's remarkable love for Burns.

The popularity of many of Burns's songs and poems.

Reading and study of some of Burns's poems.

A study of the important facts of Burns's life.

Who Carlyle was.

His interest in Burns.

Circumstances of writing this essay.

The assumption of the author with reference to the knowledge of his audience.

II. First Reading

An outline like the following will be helpful in getting the thought with the first reading:

The purpose of biography pp. 55-60

General estimate of Burns pp. 60-66

Burns as a literary man pp. 66-98

Burns as a man pp. 99-134

A plea for breadth and generosity in our estimate of the man pp. 134-136

III. Second Reading

It is so difficult for students to gain a mastery of the thought that the second reading must be slowly and carefully done.

IV. Study of the Book as a Whole

CONTENT.—What is the theme of the essay?

Trace the development of the theme by means of a full topical outline.

Has the essay unity?

Upon what is based the claim that Burns was a great poet?

What are the elements of his greatness?

From the three paragraphs (pp. 80-84) the first of which begins: "In fact, one of the leading features in the mind of Burns is this vigour of his strictly intellectual perceptions," would Carlyle have us believe that Burns had a strong character? To what extent, if at all, did he have a strong character?

Is it true that there was "but one era in the life of Burns, and that the earliest"? (see p. 99).

To what extent was his life a failure?

What were the causes of his failure? What share of the blame belongs to his friends and acquaintances?

To what extent was his life a success?

FORM.—Basing your answers on a few specific paragraphs, tell what you find about the unity of the paragraphs, the clearness of their development, regularity of sentence structure.

Do you find the words specific or general? forceful and full of feeling, or conventional?

How much use is made of figurative language?

Does the style seem finished as though the work had been revised with care, or rough as though written at white heat and not revised? Illustrate.

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—What do we know of Carlyle's parents? his education? the simplicity and severity of his early life? his perplexity in choosing his life work? his friendship with Edward Irving? his early manhood struggles with doubt, poverty, and sickness? his courage? his faith in himself? the slow recognition of his work? his literary successes? his life in London? his friends? his last years?

What characteristics made Carlyle disagreeable to live with?

What characteristics made him enthusiastically admired by a multitude of men?

What did Carlyle see in the life of Burns to attract him so strongly?

Why does it seem somewhat remarkable that he should have written sympathetically of Burns?

Point out passages in this essay that indicate that Carlyle was a man of deep emotion, of sympathy, of sincerity, of strong moral force.


I. Preparation

The more a student knows of life in London during Johnson's time, and especially of the life of literary men, the more he will get from this essay; nevertheless, it is interesting in itself without that knowledge. It is probable that any boy or girl who takes up the book will have read The Vicar of Wakefield, or at least have studied the life of Goldsmith and have learned of the "Literary Club." To review some of the facts about the members of this club and about the life in London at that time will be comparatively easy, but to attempt more before reading the essay does not seem necessary.

II. Reading and Study

The first reading should enable the student to make a simple outline to be filled in later. The teacher might take part of the recitation periods to introduce the class to Boswell's Life of Johnson.

The second reading should make the class thoroughly familiar with the matters treated in the essay and with the important features of Macaulay's style.

III. Study of the Book as a Whole

The students should be required to write in their notebooks outlines and short paragraphs on topics based on the essay. Most of the following topics have been used for this purpose:

CONTENT.—The story of Johnson's life; boyhood and education, his thirty years of struggle, his mature years, his decline and death.

His appearance.

Hindrances to his success—in the time in which he lived, in his surroundings, in himself.

Preparation for his life work: inherited tastes and tendencies, his education, circumstances by which he was surrounded.

His friends and associates: patrons, friends in his poverty, friends in his success, his dependents.

His writings: political, critical, poetical, biographical miscellaneous.

(Mention the separate writings in each division, characterize his work, and compare his success in one line with that in another.)

Johnson's travels.

Johnson the writer and Johnson the talker.

The Literary Club.

Macaulay's treatment of Boswell.

A detailed outline of the essay.

A character sketch of Johnson showing the weaknesses as well as the strength of his character.

RHETORICAL FEATURES.—Examine the opening sentence in each of the paragraphs, pp. 57-69, to see how Macaulay secures coherence in his essay.

Examine the paragraphs on pp. 64-66, to find the plan of structure.

Find passages in this essay where Macaulay aims to secure emphasis by the use of the following devices: inverted order in the sentences, the use of particular terms where the general would be more accurate, the use of superlatives, striking comparisons, repetition of ideas, contrast, balanced expressions, succession of short sentences, biblical language.

Define the following words and use them in sentences: railed, maundered, coxcomb, parasite, conclave, turgid, folio, overture.

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—What do we know of Macaulay's childhood? his precociousness? his education? his tastes and acquirements while at college? his entry into politics? his parliamentary life? his life in India? his literary work? his habits? his principles?

As we compare him with other literary men what were his special talents? his limitations?

Compare him with Carlyle with reference to character, if you have studied the Essay on Burns.

What characteristics of Macaulay can you trace in this essay?


I. Preparation

This work is usually found to be the most difficult book of the course in English; yet in the opinion of many the results of its study are most valuable. The fact that it is difficult leads the teacher to exercise great care in planning his work, especially in the matters that he presents to his class in preparation for the actual reading. The first difficulty lies in the fact that pupils are only vaguely acquainted with the conditions to which Burke constantly refers. The long story of the quarrel between the Colonies and the Mother Country is known to them in a superficial way. Any exhaustive study of the history of the time is out of the question; so, unless the class have been studying history recently enough to make a rapid review profitable, the best plan seems to be to assign definite topics for individual study and class report.

The following is a suitable list for this purpose:

The Navigation Acts—what they were, their purpose, and the ways in which they were violated.

Renewed attempt, after the Treaty of Paris, to regulate colonial commerce.

Grenville's New Act of Trade, Stamp Act, and Quartering Act.

The Stamp Act Congress in New York in 1765.

The Townshend Acts.

Opposition of the colonies led by Massachusetts, to Parliament's right to tax them.

The Boston Massacre.

The Hutchinson Letters.

The Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Port Act, The Massachusetts Government Act, and The Administration of Justice Act.

Lord North's Plan for conciliating the colonies.

The New England Restraining Bill ("The Grand Penal Bill").

An interesting introduction to the man Burke is found in Green's Short History of the English People, Chapter X.

II. First Reading

While the class is at work studying the historical topics, a part of the recitation period may profitably be spent in reading aloud the speech itself. Some teachers have been most successful in having the entire speech read aloud during successive recitations while the members of the class were looking up historical topics or doing other preliminary or supplementary work. At all events, the oral reading of a considerable portion of the speech at some time or other is strongly to be advised.

The purpose of the first reading is to make clear Burke's plan, and to arouse the imagination so that the student may enter into the spirit of the occasion. To that end the main divisions of the speech should be noted by the pupil and the propositions of the principal arguments set down for use later in making a detailed brief.

Introduction: pp. 37-45. Main Argument: pp. 46-96. Conclusion: pp. 96-110. Refutation: pp. 110-123. Peroration: pp. 124-127.

A. England ought to concede; for

I. The population is too large to be trifled with. pp. 46-47

II. The industries even more than the population make the colonies important. pp. 47-55

III. The use of force is unwise (refutation). pp. 55-57

IV. The temper and character of the colonists make conciliation advisable. pp. 57-65

V. Our policy of coercion has endangered the fundamental principles of our government pp. 65-69

VI. Concession is a necessity pp. 69-79

B. What the Concession ought to be.

I. It must satisfy the colonists on the subject of taxation pp. 79-82

II. It should admit them into an interest in the English Constitution pp. 82-95

III. Satisfaction is possible without admitting the colonies into Parliament. pp. 95-110

III. Second Reading

This reading should be accompanied with a careful and detailed study, both of thought and form. There seems to be a general agreement that a detailed brief should be studied; but some prefer to have the brief more or less fully worked out by the teacher, while others maintain that much, if not most, of the value of such practice is lost unless the student actually works it out for himself. The former hold that students make sorry work of it unless they have a great deal of help, and that the results are not commensurate with the time and effort expended. On the other hand, an honest and earnest effort on the part of the students to work out for themselves the detail of the argument, even though they are not all equally successful, is so valuable that a good deal of time and effort may well be devoted to it. If the class can work out in the first reading, even with much help from the teacher, the main propositions of the brief as they are given above, they can be expected to work out most of the details without much difficulty.

Another very important and valuable line of study in Burke's writings is the significance of his language. The meaning of such words as fomented, mace, bias, sensible, dissidence, and the significance of such phrases as auction of finance, ransom by auction, taxation by grant, touched and grieved, repay careful study. The study of from fifty to a hundred such words and phrases, carefully selected by the teacher, will do much toward familiarizing the students with Burke's thought, and with his habit of mind. In addition to this detailed study, and in connection with it, there should be frequent review of the main arguments in their logical order. In this way the student, while adding to his knowledge of the argument in detail, will be acquiring a larger grasp of the argument as a whole.

Finally, there is abundant opportunity here for the study of rhetorical features: the orderly arrangement of thought in the paragraphs, the series of short sentences, the long sentences, biblical language, epigram, paradox, rhetorical question, figurative language, etc. A comparison with Macaulay's essays will add interest and profit to the study.

IV. Study of the Book as a Whole

CONTENT.—Why did Burke apologize for presenting his plan?

What comparison did he draw between his own record and that of Parliament on the question of colonial policy?

Why did he make this comparison?

What is the purpose of paragraph beginning on p. 51, l. 3; on p. 52, l. 24?

Find several statements that Burke has supported with indisputable evidence; for example, comparisons of exports (pp. 48-53).

Find several statements where he gives no direct evidence, for example, the facts about the population of the colonies (p. 46), statements about the religion of the colonists (p. 60).

Why has he not given evidence for all? When may we make statements in argument without supporting them with evidence?

Is the fact that admitting Ireland, Wales, Chester, and Durham into the constitution has proved successful any proof that a similar plan will succeed in America?

How does Burke make his argument effective?

Was Burke's purpose in speaking of the "profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians" (p. 126) to arouse righteous anger against a certain class, to flatter his audience, or did he have some other purpose?

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS.—In the first fourteen paragraphs (pp. 37-46) show how Burke states his theme, seeks to overcome opposition, and tries to gain a favorable reception for his plan.

Discuss the peroration as a fitting conclusion in length, thought, and language.

Find illustrations of argument by example, argument by elimination, deductive argument.

State two or three of Burke's arguments in the form of a syllogism.

Find examples of climax; of contrast; of parallel structure; of biblical language.

What evidence do you find here of Burke's wide learning? philosophical turn of mind? conservatism? moral earnestness?

Find passages that indicate the oratorical character of this work.

Find illustrations of epigrams, practical maxims for men in public life.

Verify the statement that the secret of Burke's richness of thought "consisted to a large extent in his habit of viewing things in their causes and tracing them out in their results."

Find several passages that illustrate Burke's power of imagination.

Find illustrations of colloquial expressions like "such a pass," "have done the business," etc. Find also illustrations of poetic expressions quite the opposite of these.

Examine carefully the structure of several paragraphs, for example, those beginning with l. 4, p. 70; l. 19, p. 70; l. 27, p. 72; l. 26, p. 90; l. 29, p. 95; l. 16, p. 96. Find the topic sentence, if there is one; show how the other sentences are related to it and to one another; show how the principles of mass and proportion have been followed; note the logical order of thought and the means for securing a close coherence.

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—Find out what you can of Burke's childhood home; his education; his early tastes and tendencies; his early experiences in London; his entrance into politics; his reputation in public affairs; his home life; his attitude toward the French Revolution; his characteristics as an orator; the endurance of his work in government and literature. Write a character sketch of Burke, drawing upon this speech for illustrations wherever possible.


Emerson did not write for children. His essays are intended for those who have at least some maturity of mind, and the will to think. It is evident that if the essays are to be studied in high school they should be undertaken only by advanced classes. But there are many in our high schools who will be able to understand enough of Emerson's thought to make a study of his essays exceedingly profitable. It will require good judgment on the part of the teacher to determine which topics should be thoroughly mastered, and which should be lightly touched upon, for no one will doubt that the high school is not the place for a thorough study of such essays.

I. Preparation

If the class has studied Carlyle or Ruskin, it will be well to begin with a comparison of these two men with Emerson in order to show the latter's place as a self-appointed teacher and his motives in presenting to his audience such matters as he discusses in his essays and addresses. A brief study of the life and character of Emerson will help us to understand his message. Before assigning one of the essays for study the teacher should provide for the class a brief outline or analysis, and explain the general thought which it contains. The thought is often so difficult to follow that it is unwise to require the pupil to make his own outlines.

II. Reading and Study

With the aid of an outline or analysis the first reading should enable the student to get a fair understanding of the essay as a whole. He should know the theme and what it means, the author's plan and method of development.

The second reading should be taken up with as much attention to detail as the maturity of the class makes advisable. Care should be observed that in the study of details the larger unit be not forgotten. To this end the teacher, by frequent review, should make sure of a thorough mastery of the outline, and by questions should bring out the connection between details and main propositions. Parrot work, to which there is a strong temptation whenever hard thinking is called for, can be avoided by requiring the pupil to state in his own words the main ideas, which Emerson frequently embodies in epigrammatic form.

III. Study of Each Essay as a Whole

The American Scholar

What is the theme of this essay?

What distinction does Emerson make between "the farmer" and "Man on the farm," between "the scholar" and "Man Thinking"?

Emerson speaks of the education of the scholar by nature, by books, and by action. Develop his idea of education by nature. What does Lowell say of the influence of nature on man in the early part of The Vision of Sir Launfal?

How does Emerson think the scholar should be educated by books? Explain his meaning in the following expressions about reading: "Yet hence arises a grave mischief" (p. 39); "Books are for the scholar's idle times" (p. 42); "One must be an inventor to read well" (p. 43).

To what extent is Emerson's idea of the use of books applicable to the high school student?

What is meant by "education by action"? Explain the following: "Only so much do I know, as I have lived" (p. 45), and "Life is our dictionary" (p. 47).

What are the duties of the scholar and how are they comprised in self-trust? (p. 49).

"In self-trust all the virtues are comprehended" (p. 52). Discuss this statement, showing what is meant by self-trust, what virtues are comprehended in it, and what virtues, if any, are not comprehended in it.

What new spirit in literature is noted on pp. 58 and 59?

Where, besides in literature, does Emerson find the same spirit?

Did he regard his own age as a fortunate or unfortunate one for living? Why?

Summarize the concluding paragraph.


What is the theme of this essay?

What leading idea in this essay was also in the last?

What conclusion does Emerson draw from the fact that children and youth are independent and unaffected in their opinions?

Why do they change as they grow older?

Explain the meaning of the following: "Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members" (p. 69). "Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist" (p. 69).

Account for Emerson's scornful reference to "popular charities" (p. 71).

Show how our consistency is "a terror that scares us from self-trust" (p. 75).

What virtue does one need to have to be able to scorn consistency? (p. 77, l. 1).

What fault does Emerson find with hero worship? (p. 80).

What are intuitions?

Whence do they come?

Show clearly how Emerson bases his belief in self-trust on his belief in intuitions.

Why does he scorn the custom of traveling?

What do you think are the advantages of foreign travel?

Write on "The right spirit and the wrong spirit in foreign travel."

What conclusion does Emerson lead to from a consideration of reliance on society? on government? on property?

Why do we dislike a conceited man? Compare a conceited with a self-reliant man.

Make a collection of the epigrammatic sayings in this essay that you think are worth remembering.


What is the theme of this essay?

Illustrate the meaning of the law of compensation by referring to its working in nature, in human life, in government.

What did the Greeks mean by their goddess Nemesis?

Show the folly of trying to escape this law, by pointing out how it invariably works in the results of deeds of crime, of acts of honest labor, of deeds of love.

Explain the following statements and give illustrations:

"But for every benefit which you receive, a tax is levied" (p. 124). "The history of persecution is a history of endeavours to cheat nature" (p. 129).

What is Emerson's answer to the thoughtless who say: "What boots it to do well?... if I gain any good I must pay for it; if I lose any good I gain some other"? (p. 130)

Explain "Nothing can work me damage except myself" (p. 132).

What compensations are there for our calamities?

Show how this law of compensation is illustrated in the acts of some of the characters that you have studied in fiction: for example, Shylock, Ivanhoe, Isaac, Portia, Godfrey Cass, Silas Marner.


What is the theme of this essay?

How is friendship different from companionship?

How do friends enlarge and improve us?

Why often do "Our friendships hurry to short and poor conclusions"? (p. 145).

What are the two elements that go to the composition of friendship? Illustrate each.

What is Emerson's idea about the possibility of helpful conversation where more than two take part?

Discuss, to show the measure of truth that it contains.

What, in the persons themselves, is necessary for the most helpful conversation?

To what extent is it true that "friends are self-elected"? (p. 154).

What are the requirements for perfect friendship? (pp. 154-157).

Why would Emerson do with his friends as with his books? (p. 158). (See The American Scholar, pp. 38-44.)

Do you think that he would have us become recluses? Would he have us make no friendships except ideal ones? Try to summarize the truth of this essay in your own words for those of your own age.


Explain and illustrate the meaning of prudence.

What is the theme of this essay?

What reason does Emerson give for discussing it?

Explain his classification in paragraph beginning "There are all degrees of proficiency" (p. 164).

How does the cultured man's view of prudence differ from that of the man who lacks culture?

By referring to the comedies that you know, verify the statement, "The spurious prudence ... is the subject of all comedy" (p. 165).

What are the "petty experiences which usurp the hours and years"? (p. 167). How are we instructed by them?

How does nature punish neglect of prudence?

Name some of the imprudences of men in general, of men of genius, of scholars (pp. 171-173).

What is the result of such imprudence?

Why is prudence called a minor virtue? (p. 175).

To what conclusion does the discussion lead?

Shakespeare; or, The Poet

What is the theme of this essay?

Explain fully the meaning of originality.

What is more important in a man of genius than originality? Illustrate.

In Shakespeare's youth how were dramatic entertainments regarded?

What material did Shakespeare find at first to work upon?

What were the great sources of his material in the plays with which you are familiar?

Have other writers felt free to borrow as they pleased?

What is their justification?

Explain the meaning of: "It is easy to see that what is best written or done by genius in the world, was no man's work" (p. 191).

What have scholars and Shakespeare societies found out about Shakespeare? How did his contemporaries regard him? Explain: "Shakespeare is the only biographer of Shakespeare" (p. 198), and "He is the one person, in all modern history, known to us" (p. 200).

What do we learn of him through his works?

Sum up the author's idea of Shakespeare's creative power, representation of life, power of expression, cheerfulness, imperfection.


What is the theme of this essay? What motives prompt people to give gifts? Which ones are right? Which wrong? What things are suitable for gifts? What are most appropriate? What danger is there in giving those things that are substantial benefits? Are beautiful things better for gifts than useful ones? Why? "He is a good man who can receive a gift well" (p. 214). Explain.

Discuss the good and the evil of our custom of Christmas giving.

Discuss Carlyle's statement: "It is a mortifying truth, that two men, in any rank of society, could hardly be found virtuous enough to give money, and to take it as a necessary gift, without injury to the moral entireness of one or both." Essay on Burns (pp. 121-122).

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—What do we know of Emerson's ancestry? his childhood? his education? his experience as a teacher? his work as a minister? his travels in Europe? his friendship with distinguished men? his connection with Transcendentalism? the chief difference between him and other Transcendentalists? his success as a lecturer? his connection with Harvard College? his home life? the central idea in all his teaching? his service to his generation?


Much may be expected from the study of this oration. It is one of the few books required for careful study. It will be taken up late in the high school course, when pupils are maturing rapidly. It is distinctly American, the work of probably our greatest orator. But it is not difficult; the meaning is not puzzling, the structure is simple. The teacher may reasonably require of his pupils great familiarity with the divisions of the speech, with the thought of each, and with the language.

I. Preparation

The preparation necessary for the first reading is very slight. If the imagination of the student can be aroused, so that the occasion on which the Oration was delivered can be made to seem real and full of interest, he will read to better advantage. Webster's audience must be imagined, the number of people present, the different classes: the veteran, the old resident who saw the battle, the children and grandchildren of those who fell, and the distinguished visitor from France. A picture of Webster with some hints of his great reputation will help to complete the scene.

II. Reading and Study

The first reading should, if possible, be assigned for one lesson so that the class may read the oration at a single sitting.

The second reading should be accompanied by memory work, the preparation of an outline, the writing of compositions (some intended for speaking), and the study of introduction, conclusion, and climaxes.

III. Study of the Oration as a Whole

CONTENT.—A description of the scene from the point of view of Webster.

The same from the point of view of one of the listeners.

How did the orator try to arouse the interest and emotion of his audience in his introductory paragraphs?

Webster's ideal for the monument.

The emotions that Webster appeals to in his address to the veterans.

The character of Warren.

The example of Salem when the port of Boston was closed.

The spirit that bound the colonies together in their struggle.

Lafayette's part in the Revolution.

"A chief distinction of the present day is a community of opinions and knowledge amongst men in different nations, existing in a degree heretofore unknown."

Compare our own day with Webster's in this respect.

The causes of the French Revolution compared with those of the American Revolution.

Excesses of the French Revolution.

What reasons can you find for the almost entire lack of such excesses in our own?

The story of the Greek Revolution, 1820-29.

When and why had the Spanish colonies in South America revolted?

What conditions among these colonies gave Webster some doubt of their great success?

To what extent has history shown his doubt to be well founded?

The conclusion of the Oration, its idea and its appeal to the feelings.

FORM.—The purpose of the introductory paragraphs. Compare, if possible, with that of some other introduction.

Discuss Lodge's statement that this Oration is "a succession of eloquent fragments."

Between which of the main divisions, if any, is there a clear connection in thought?

Between which, if any, is there a transition paragraph?

Choose a number of paragraphs, for example, 8, 9, 12, 21, 28, 29, and make an analysis to discover the topic sentence, if there is one, and the method of development.

What figure of speech is strikingly illustrated in paragraphs 13 and 14?

Examine the most emotional passages like paragraphs 12-17 to note the sentence structure and choice of language.

THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF THE AUTHOR.—What do we know of Webster's parentage? his boyhood? his college life? his experience as a schoolmaster? the beginning of his career as a lawyer? his rapid success? his first term in Congress? his success as an orator? the importance of his work on the Dartmouth College case? his position on the great questions between North and South? the effect on his reputation of his Reply to Hayne? the effect on his reputation of his seventh of March speech? the great traits of his character?

Relate some of the anecdotes that illustrate his chief characteristics.


I. Preparation

A careful study of this address should include familiarity with the matters discussed and an analysis to show the structure of the essay. The most natural preparation for the first reading will be to recall the time and circumstances of the address, and to tell what part Madison and Hamilton had in preparing it.

II. Reading and Study

The first reading should be done, if possible, at a single sitting, and should enable the student to get the main points of the address and to appreciate the way in which Washington regarded the people.

The second reading should be made with special attention to the preparation of a detailed outline; to an analysis of the thought; and to a study of the paragraph structure.

III. Study of the Address as a Whole

CONTENT.—What were Washington's reasons for declining a third term?

Are they such that all our presidents should follow his example?

Explain what Washington meant by a "unity of government."

Give the various reasons that the people ought to have for cherishing this idea of unity.

What does Washington say about sectionalism?

To what extent had the country already suffered from it?

Discuss party-spirit,—its nature, its tendencies, its good compared with its evil.

Compare Washington's remarks with Addison's discussion on party-spirit in the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers.

Do we now suffer from any of the evils that Washington points out as resulting from party-spirit?

What relation do religion and morality bear to each other and to government?

How would Washington have us deal with foreign powers?

To what extent do we in our day follow his ideal?

What was his advice concerning political connection with foreign nations?

To what extent do we follow it?

FORM.—Summarize the introductory paragraphs, compare them with the introduction in Webster's First Bunker Hill Oration, and note the difference in purpose and method.

What is the purpose in paragraph 7?

Find other paragraphs in the address that have a similar purpose.

Examine several paragraphs (for example, 9, 10, 16, 17), note the topic sentence, if there is one, and the methods of development.

Compare this address with Webster's First Bunker Hill Oration with respect to the logical connection of the main topics, the choice of language, and the effectiveness of the conclusion.

[1] The Life of Sir Walter Scott, by J. G. Lockhart, London, 1898.

[2] See suggestions for teaching "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," in The Teaching of English, by Percival Chubb, pp. 161-166.

[3] Though there may be some doubt as to whether The Deserted Village is strictly a lyric, the plan of study will naturally follow that of lyric poetry.





A—Reading and Practice[4]

Select one subject from each of the following groups and write upon each a composition at least two pages in length. Be careful to keep to the subject. Pay special attention to the structure of sentences and paragraphs.


1 A scene from Ivanhoe in which one of the following characters is a principal figure: Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Wamba, Rowena, Isaac of York.

2 The Vicar finds Olivia.

3 The scene as it might have appeared to one standing just outside the castle gate, as Sir Launfal emerged from his castle in his search for the Holy Grail.

4 The ship of the Ancient Mariner is becalmed.


1 Why does Ida finally consent to marry the Prince?

2 Was the Dumfries aristocracy justified in "cutting" Robert Burns?

3 Show how the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers deal with the foibles of the time of Addison.

4 What does the Spectator mean when he says that Sir Roger is "something of a Humourist"? Define Sir Roger's peculiar humor, and contrast it with that of some other character in the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers.


1 What elements in the character of Godfrey Cass account for his relief at his wife's death and his failure to care for his child; also for his confession to Nancy and resolve to adopt Eppie?

2 Tell the story of the caskets in The Merchant of Venice.

3 Which in your opinion is the superior character, Cassius or Antony? Give the reasons for your opinion.

4 What qualities in the character of Brutus are brought home to us in the last scene of Julius Caesar? Trace in the action of the play the influence of any one of these qualities.

B—Study and Practice

The candidate is expected to answer four of the questions on this paper, selecting them in accordance with instructions under the headings.

I Take one part only, either a or b.

a "Sir, let me add, too, that the opinion of my having some abstract right in my favor would not put me much at my ease in passing sentence, unless I could be sure that there were no rights which, in their exercise under certain circumstances, were not the most odious of all wrongs and the most vexatious of all injustice."

(1) Name each clause by giving the grammatical subject, the verb, and the complement (if any). State the kind of clause. Give the reasons for your statements.

(2) Parse the italicized words.

b (1) Comment upon the unity of the following sentence and give the reasons for your opinion.

"At this moment the clang of the portal was heard, a sound at which the stranger started, stepped hastily to the window, and looked with an air of alarm at Ravenswood, when he saw that the gate of the court was shut, and his domestics excluded."

(2) In each of the sentences printed below tell whether the use of the italicized expression is right or wrong, and give the reason for your decision.

p The congregation was free to go their way.

q He said that he himself and I should go to-morrow, but that you would not go till next week.

r Seated on an upright tombstone, close to him, was a strange unearthly figure, whom, Gabriel felt at once, was no being of this world.

s After eating a hearty dinner our carriages were brought to the door.

II Take one part only, either a or b.

a "Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our station, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our situation and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the church, Sursum corda! We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us."

Write one paragraph or two or more connected paragraphs on the passage given above. Let your answer show (1) the division of Burke's speech in which this passage occurs, (2) the relation of the idea here expressed to his plan for the government of America, (3) the manner in which his motions carry out this plan.

b "It appears that Addison, on his death bed, called himself to strict account, and was not at ease until he had asked pardon for an injury which it was not even suspected that he had committed,—for an injury which would have caused disquiet only to a very tender conscience. Is it not then reasonable to infer that, if he had really been guilty of forming a base conspiracy against the fame and fortunes of a rival, he would have expressed some remorse at so serious a crime?"

Write one paragraph or two or more connected paragraphs on the passage given above. Show clearly to what reference is made in the last sentence.

III Take one part only, either a or b.

a "Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis, all, As the weird women promised, and I fear Thou play'dst most foully for't: yet it was said It should not stand in thy posterity, But that myself should be the root and father Of many kings. If there come truth from them— As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine— Why, by the verities on thee made good, May they not be my oracles as well And set me up in hope? But hush, no more."

In a paragraph or two show who is the speaker and what the passage suggests respecting his character.

Give the meaning of the italicized words and phrases.

b "We wish to add a few words relative to another subject on which the enemies of Milton delight to dwell—his conduct during the administration of the Protector."

In a paragraph or two summarize Macaulay's views on the subject indicated in the passage given above.

IV Take one part only, either a or b.

a "Mortals, that would follow me, Love Virtue; she alone is free. She can teach ye how to climb Higher than the sphery chime; Or, if Virtue feeble were, Heaven itself would stoop to her."

By whom were these words said? to whom? when? where? under what circumstances? Show the relation of these lines to the opening lines of the poem; to the plot of the poem. Answer in a paragraph or two.

b In Macaulay's Essay on Milton occurs the following passage:

"In none of the works of Milton is his peculiar manner more happily displayed than in the Allegro and the Penseroso. It is impossible to conceive that the mechanism of language can be brought to a more exquisite degree of perfection. These poems differ from others as attar of roses differs from ordinary rose-water, the close-packed essence from the thin, diluted mixture. They are, indeed, not so much poems as collections of hints, from each of which the reader is to make out a poem for himself. Every epithet is a text for a stanza."

Quote from L'Allegro and Il Penseroso several phrases, lines, or passages that exemplify the statements in italics. Give your reasons for the selection of any one of these.


A—Reading and Practice

Select one subject from each of the following groups, and upon each subject you select write at least two pages.


1 Under what circumstances did "the vision" come to Sir Launfal?

What was "the vision"? What was its effect upon him?

2 In what respect was Macbeth, though the bravest of the generals, "infirm of purpose"?

3 Show how, as the villagers said, "Silas Marner had brought a blessing on himself by acting like a father to a lone, motherless child."

4 Compare Ivanhoe with the most interesting story (by some other author) that you have ever read.


1 Give an account of the duel between Fitz-James and Roderick Dhu.

2 Relate how Sir Bedivere dealt with Excalibur.

3 Describe Goldsmith as he probably appeared to Johnson or Garrick or Boswell or Burke.


1 Show from the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers that the Spectator spoke truly when he said, "the city is the great field of game for sportsmen of my species."

2 Which question or questions on this paper has your training in English best fitted you to answer? Give the reasons for your answer.

3 Describe the most dramatic moment (as it seems to you) in The Merchant of Venice.

4 What are the chief characteristics that you would emphasize in the presentation of Shylock on the stage? Give the reasons for your answer.

B—Study and Practice

Answer four of the questions on this paper, selecting them in accordance with the instructions under the headings.

I Take one part only, either a or b.

a "Mr. Dance told me to jump down and knock, and Dogger gave me a stirrup to descend by. The door was opened almost at once by the maid.

"'Is Dr. Livesey in?' I asked.

"No, she said; he had come home in the afternoon, but had gone up to the Hall to dine and pass the evening with the squire.

"This time, as the distance was short, I did not mount, but ran with Dogger's stirrup-leather to the lodge gates. Here Mr. Dance dismounted, and taking me along with him, was admitted at a word into the house."

1 State as to each of the verbs in the sentences in the preceding passage whether it is (a) transitive or intransitive, (b) active or passive, (c) regular or irregular.

2 State which of the verbs here used transitively may be used intransitively, and which used intransitively may be used transitively.

3 Give the principal parts of each irregular verb.

4 Name the voice, mood, tense, person, and number of two of the principal verbs.

5 Explain the construction of one infinitive and one participle.

What constitutes a sentence? On the basis of your answer to this question, discuss whether the following are properly to be considered sentences. Recast those of the five that you deem unsatisfactory:

1 They were an odd couple and she was at least forty years old.

2 The enemy's troops charged, broke and fled, and we pursued them to the edge of their camp.

3 His father's family having all died many years before.

4 One who stood foremost in every good work, never relaxing his efforts till the cause in which they were enlisted had triumphed.

5 Many years had rolled by, many changes had taken place, but the old elm still stood.

In answering the questions selected from II, III, and IV, regard each answer as an English composition; give special attention to spelling, punctuation, and the construction not only of sentences and paragraphs but of the whole composition.

II Take one part only, either a or b.

a Who was on the English throne when Burke delivered his Speech on Conciliation? Was the speech delivered before or after the Stamp Act? Before or after the Declaration of Independence? Who was the English Prime Minister at the time? Did Burke's motions prevail?

Burke stated that the spirit of liberty among the Americans was "fierce", and that there were but three possible ways of dealing with it: one was, to remove the causes. What were the other two methods? Which of them did Burke advocate, and why?

b Contrast at some length the policy of the English ministry with that of Burke as set forth in this speech.

III Take one part only, either a or b.

a From the facts in the play justify Cassius's estimate of the Romans:

"And why should Caesar be a tyrant then? Poor man! I know he would not be a wolf But that he sees the Romans are but sheep: He were no lion, were not Romans hinds. Those that with haste will make a mighty fire Begin it with weak straws: what trash is Rome, What rubbish, and what offal, when it serves For the base matter to illuminate So vile a thing as Caesar!"

Act I, Sc. 3, 103-111.

b Discuss the speeches of Brutus and Antony at the funeral of Caesar, showing how each is characteristic of the speaker and of the part each bears in the action of the play.

IV Take one part only, either a or b or c.

a Quote from Milton or Shakespeare at least ten consecutive lines (other than those printed on this paper); give their setting and tell why to you the lines seem worth committing to memory.

b Discuss the position of men of letters in the times of Addison and Johnson respectively.

c Give the history of Johnson's Dictionary.

[4] In all these papers special attention should be given to spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure, and neatness.



The examiner expects you to plan each answer before writing, to write neatly and legibly, to spell and punctuate correctly, and to be accurate and intelligent in choosing words and in framing sentences and paragraphs.


Write carefully planned compositions on three of the following subjects.

1 The good traits in Macbeth's character.

2 Antonio and Bassanio as gentlemen.

3 The scenes in The Merchant of Venice which excite sympathy for Shylock.

4 Scott's poetry.

5 My first reading of The Lady of the Lake.

6 The best scene in The Lady of the Lake and my reasons for liking it.

7 "I found Him in the shining of the stars, I mark'd Him in the flowering of His fields, But in His ways with men I find Him not. I waged His wars, and now I pass and die."

8 How Gareth became a knight.

9 Godfrey Cass.

10 My reading apart from the prescribed books.


The examiner expects answers not merely correct but also well composed. Answer all the questions.

1 What is the plot of Comus?

2 Are the characters in Comus as much like real persons as the characters in Shakespeare's plays? Give reasons for your answer.

3 Relate the early life of Addison up to the time when he began to write for the Spectator.

4 Tell what you know about Johnson's Club.


Write carefully: the quality of your English is even more important than your knowledge of the books. Plan your answers before you write them, and look them over carefully after you have written them.

Omit either 3 or 4.

1 (Forty minutes.) Tell in the first person, as simply and as vividly as you can, the story of The Ancient Mariner.

2 (One hour.) Explain as fully as you can the differences between the life of knights and ladies at the time of King Arthur or of Ivanhoe, and the life of people in London in the eighteenth century,—the time of Sir Roger de Coverley, of Goldsmith, and of Dr. Johnson.

3 (Twenty minutes.) What does Macaulay mean when he says that Johnson "came up to London precisely at the time when the condition of a man of letters was most miserable and degraded"?

4 (Twenty minutes.) Write a letter, addressed to a person with whom you are not acquainted, applying for a position and setting forth your qualifications for it.




Any dishonesty in the examinations, including the giving as well as the receiving of aid, will, if detected, permanently debar the candidate from entering the University.

The purpose of this examination is to test (1) the candidate's ability to write English correctly, and (2) his acquaintance with certain specified works. The candidate is advised to go over his paper carefully before the end of the hour, to make sure that it is correctly spelled, punctuated, and paragraphed.

Write short compositions on three of the following topics:

I King Arthur as portrayed in the Idylls of the King.

II The English country squire as portrayed in the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers and in Silas Marner.

III The gradual deterioration of Macbeth's character.

IV Shylock and Isaac of York—a comparison.

V Lancelot's sojourn at Astolat.


The purpose of this examination is primarily to test the candidate's knowledge of certain specified works; but the examiners will refuse to accept any paper which shows marked deficiency in English composition. The candidate is therefore advised to look over his paper carefully before the end of the hour.

I (a) Why was Brutus chosen as the leader of the conspiracy? In what events of the play does he show his fitness as a leader? In what events does he show his unfitness?

(b) In what ways does Brutus reveal the gentler side of his character?

II (a) Name the supernatural characters in Comus, and show what influence each exerts upon the human beings of the play.

(b) To what ways of spending his old age does the speaker in Il Penseroso look forward?

III What does Burke say on each of the following topics, and how does he relate his discussion of each to his argument for conciliation?

(a) The use of force in bringing a colony to terms.

(b) American fisheries. (c) The history of Ireland.

IV (a) Addison's travels.

(b) Johnson's intimate friends.


(Spring, 1906)

The composition should contain not less than sixty lines of the examination book, and should be correct in spelling, grammar, punctuation, paragraphing, and general arrangement.

(Question 1. For candidates prepared on the reading set by Bryn Mawr College.)

1 How far, in your opinion, is Keat's saying, "I have loved the principle of beauty in all things," borne out by those of his poems that you have read? In answering the question consider, for instance, the subjects chosen, the method of treatment, the style, and the meter.

(Question 2. For candidates prepared on the reading set by the Conference on Uniform Entrance Requirements in English.)

2 Is Scott, in your opinion, greater as poet or novelist? Answer in as full detail as you can, basing your opinion on The Lady of the Lake and Ivanhoe.

(Questions 3 and 4 are for all candidates.)

3 Describe Sir Roger de Coverley.

4 Tell, briefly, Shylock's story.

(Autumn, 1906)

1 The function of tragedy is said to be, "to touch the heart with a sense of beauty and pathos, to open the springs of love and tears." Compare the characters of Brutus and Shylock with this definition in mind, stating which makes the stronger appeal to your sympathies and why.

2 Describe the old Pyncheon house in the House of the Seven Gables.

3 Tell the story of The Ancient Mariner.

(Spring, 1907)

Composition (1) should contain not less than sixty lines of the examination book, composition (2) not less than thirty lines, and both compositions should be correct in spelling, punctuation, grammar, paragraphing and general arrangement.

1 Write a composition on the Minor Poems of Milton that you have read, discussing their chief characteristics and giving reasons for the pleasure you derive from them. In writing the composition consider, for example, the subjects chosen, the method of treatment, the style and the meter.

2 Describe in as full detail as you can the scene from Scott's Ivanhoe that you remember most vividly.


(Spring, 1907)


1 At what school you studied English. 2 Under whose instruction. 3 For how long. 4 The text-books used.


Write a short composition on two of the following topics. Use plain, natural English, free from errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and correct in idiom. Before you begin, think what you are going to say. You will be judged by how well you write, not by how much.

1 The history of the writing of The Ancient Mariner, and its place in the development of English Literature.

2 The story of The Passing of Arthur.

3 Banquo.

4 The siege of Front-de-Boeuf's Castle.

5 The character of Oliver Goldsmith.

B—Intensive Reading

Explain the following passages:

a And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, With Ate by his side come hot from hell, Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice Cry "Havoc."

Julius Caesar.

Who speaks, and when?

b You shall digest the venom of your spleen, Though it do split you;... I'll use you for my ... laughter, When you are waspish.

Julius Caesar.

c Philomel will deign a song, In her sweetest, saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke Gently o'er the accustomed oak.

Il Penseroso.

d Alas, what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?



1 Explain and illustrate the principle of coherence, (a) in the sentence, (b) in the paragraph.

2 Define and illustrate simple, complex, and compound sentences. Write a brief account of a happening of yesterday; first write it in simple sentences only, then rewrite it in complex and compound sentences.

3 Comment on the use of the italicized words in the following sentences:

The quick fishes steered to and fro about the body.

How terrible, in "The Ancient Mariner," are the dead throats singing spectral carols!

Stars are my candles, and the wind my friend.

(Autumn, 1907)


1 At what school you studied English. 2 Under whose instruction. 3 For how long. 4 The text-books used.

A—Composition and Rhetoric

1 Write, first making an outline, on two of the following topics:

a Was Portia a lovable character—a girl who would make a good wife?

b The story of Lancelot and Elaine.

c Johnson and Goldsmith.

d Macaulay's ideas of the Puritans and of King Charles I.

e High-school fraternities.

f The town I like best.

2 Explain the principle of coherence, and show how, from sentence to sentence, you have made the coherence plain in your two foregoing compositions.

3 Define and give synonyms for the following words: passive, taunt, sanguine, affect, fix, stingy. Be equally careful about the truth and the form of your definitions.

4 Give, in a sentence of 30 words or more, three examples of parallel constructions.


1 Who wrote: The Faerie Queene, Rasselas, Treasure land, Vanity Fair, Tintern Abbey, Love's Labor's Lost, Robinson Crusoe, Locksley Hall?

2 What becomes of Fleance? of Rebecca, the Jewess? of Cassius? of Gareth? of Godfrey Cass? What was the result of Burke's speech on Conciliation?

3 Locate and explain the following passages:

a Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears.

b Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing Such notes as warbled to the string Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, And made Hell grant what love did seek.

c He were no lion, were not Romans hinds.

d I am a soldier, I, Older in practice, abler than yourself To make conditions.

e The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath.




Answer all the questions:

1 Correct any errors in the following sentences. Give reasons for the changes you make.

a The man whom she thought was her cousin was not.

b After digging for some weeks longer, another strata was discovered.

c Seating myself by the fire, which my odious companion had lighted, he thus began his tale.

d To the right of this monument stands the City Hall, a building of granite, and a few more structures of less importance.

e The tire was cut all the width and was caused by a wood-chopper who placed an axe beneath the tire.

2 Insert the proper forms (shall or will) in the following sentences:

a I be glad to do it.

b I gladly do it.

c If the school year is shortened, we find that less work is accomplished.

d you take my book, or you be able to do without one?

3 Define the following expressions: predicate, passive voice, intransitive, possessive, superlative.


Answer three questions:

1 Describe the quarrel between Brutus and Cassius in the Fourth Act of Julius Caesar. What characteristics of each does the quarrel reveal?

2 Narrate the adventures of Moses at the fair in The Vicar of Wakefield.

3 Where does Carlyle place the responsibility for the misfortunes of Burns?

4 Sketch the life of Lowell.

5 Describe the change which came over the title-character in The Princess.


Answer all the questions:

1 Explain words in italics.

The English power is near, led on by Malcolm, His uncle Siward, and the good Macduff: Revenges burn in them; for their dear causes Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm Excite the mortified man.

Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world; Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, Where the great Vision of the guarded mount Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold.

2 Scan the last two lines in the second passage above, as they would be read naturally. Name the feet in the first of the two lines, and give the metrical name for the second line as a whole.

3 What does Macaulay say of Addison as a satirist?



1 Decline the personal pronouns.

2 Give the preterites and past participles of the following verbs: lie, lay, sit, set, raise, rise, dive.

3 Give the plurals of the following nouns: spoonful, Mussulman, mother-in-law, series, sheep, alumnus, prospectus.

4 Give the case, number and construction of each noun and pronoun, and the mood, tense, voice and construction of each verb in the following sentence: If, in short, a writer sincerely wishes to communicate to another mind what is in his own mind, he will choose that one of two or more words equally in good use which expresses his meaning as fully as it is within the power of language to express it.


Write carefully prepared themes, about two pages in length, on two of the following topics:

1 A mediaeval tournament.

2 The career and character of Lancelot.

3 The outlaws in Ivanhoe.

4 Goldsmith's early life.

5 The death of Banquo.

6 Literary life in England in the eighteenth century.


Answer all the questions:

1 Explain the italicized words in the following passages from Il Penseroso:

(a) The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.

(b) 'Less Philomel will deign a song.

(c) Or call up him that left half told The story of Cambuskan bold.

(d) Storied windows richly dight.

2 Give some account of Johnson's works.

3 Who were Garrick, Reynolds, Burke, and Boswell?

4 In what form were Macaulay's Essays first published?

5 From what source did Shakespeare take most of the material for Julius Caesar?




The candidate is advised to be careful in paragraphing, spelling, punctuation, and form of expression.

Select either of the two following lists of topics, plainly indicating at the head of the paper which list is selected. Write short compositions (containing about one hundred words each) on five subjects chosen from that list.

The candidate must draw all his subjects from the one list selected.


1 The Excursion to the Waterfall in The Princess.

2 The Elopement of Jessica.

3 Cedric's Escape from Front-de-Boeuf's Castle.

4 Antony's Speech over Caesar's Body.

5 Sir Launfal and the Leper.

6 Sir Andrew Freeport.

7 Carlyle on the Sincerity of the Poetry of Burns.

8 The Influence of Eppie upon Silas Marner.

9 Carlyle on Burns as a Poet of Scottish Peasant Life.

10 A brief Sketch of Goldsmith's Life.


1 Sir Lancelot in Gareth and Lynette.

2 Sir Lavaine in Lancelot and Elaine.

3 Arthur's Sword, Excalibur.

4 The Elopement of Jessica.

5 The Witches in Macbeth.

6 Sir Andrew Freeport.

7 Cedric's Escape from Front-de-Boeuf's Castle.

8 The Songs in The Lady of the Lake.

9 The Influence of Eppie upon Silas Marner.

10 Goldsmith's Acquaintance with Dr. Johnson.


1 (a) Describe in detail the scene in which occurs the knocking at the gate of Macbeth's castle.

(b) How do Ross, Donalbain, and Hecate figure in the action in Macbeth?

(c) Trace throughout Macbeth the part of Macduff.

2 (a) Justify fully the phrase "companion pieces" often applied to L'Allegro and Il Penseroso.

(b) Thoroughly explain the significance of the following portion of the complete title of Lycidas: "The Author ... by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height."

(c) Discuss the songs in Comus.

3 (a) What, according to Macaulay, were the most important public questions with which Milton concerned himself?

(b) What does Macaulay say of Il Penseroso, L'Allegro, and Comus?

(c) Show clearly Macaulay's estimate of Richard Steele.

4 What does Burke say, (a) of American commerce; (b) of American fisheries; (c) of precedents for conciliation.



The candidate is advised to be careful in paragraphing, spelling, punctuation, and form of expression.

Write short compositions (containing about one hundred words each) on four subjects chosen from this list. One of these must be number 1, the others must be chosen from three different works. The Idylls of the King is to be regarded as one work.

1 My Preparation for this Examination.

2 The Discovery of the Murder of Duncan.

3 The Elopement of Jessica.

4 Gareth's Arrival at King Arthur's Court.

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