Monthly Archives: June 2011

A School Where Every Thing May Be Learnt

From Boswell’s Life of Johnson, speaking of the year 1775.

    Somebody found fault with writing verses in a dead language, maintaining that they were merely arrangements of so many words, and laughed at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, for sending forth collections of them not only in Greek and Latin, but even in Syriack, Arabick, and other more unknown tongues. JOHNSON. “I would have as many of these as possible; I would have verses in every language that there are the means of acquiring. Nobody imagines that an University is to have at once two hundred poets; but it should be able to shew two hundred scholars. Pieresc’s death was lamentable, I think, in forty languages. And I would have at every coronation, and every death of a King, every Gaudiam, and every Luctus, University verses in as many languages as can be acquired. I would have the world to be thus told, ‘Here is a school where every thing may be learnt.'”

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