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THERE are in Cambridge three objects of public competition in classical literature, by examination; the University Scholarships, namely, the Classical Tripos, and the Chancellor's Medal. Of these, the examination for University Scholarships is considered to hold the highest place. The candidates are looked upon as men who have given their undivided attention to classical reading, and composition; and, therefore, the subjects proposed are extended beyond the ordinary range of reading throughout the University, and the variety of composition introduced is proportionably greater. We subjoin a general scheme of the subjects of these examinations.
I. Translation of Greek prose into English prose. The standard Greek prose books to which it is thought expedient that Undergraduates should limit their reading, are Herodotus, Xenophon, Thucydides, Demosthenes, Eschines, Lysias, Isocrates; the Ethics, Rhetoric, and Poetics of Aristotle; the Dialogues of Plato contained in the editions of Stallbaum, Buttmann, Heindorf, and some others. But in order, as it is said, to prove the fundamental knowledge of the language, it is sometimes thought proper to set for translation passages out of authors not usually read, and seldom or never used in the College lecture-rooms. Such are Poly
bius, Longinus, Lucian, Dionysius Hal., Athenæus, Plutarch, Ælian, Theophrastus, the minor orators, and the less noted works of Aristotle and Plato. It is not intended that the young men should extend their studies to these books; and the practice itself of introducing them into the public examinations has been much censured, as tending to produce a wandering unsettled mode of reading. For it gives rise to the idea, that it is necessary to be in some degree conversant with the style of every one of the writers who have at different times been made subjects of examination.
II. Translation of Greek verse into English prose. The usual subjects are Homer, Iliad and Odyssey; Hesiod; Pindar; the three tragedians; Aristophanes; Theocritus, and the minor pastoral poets. Sometimes the Homeric hymns; Callimachus; Apollonius Rhodius; and of late years it has been the fashion to introduce fragments of the comic poets from Athenæus.
III. A piece of English prose is given to be translated into Greek. It is sometimes required to adopt the Ionic dialect. Accentuation is generally insisted upon.
IV. A passage, usually from Shakspeare or Milton, into Greek verse. The metre is generally Tragic Iambic; sometimes Tragic Trochaic; sometimes Anapæstic; rarely Heroic; and still more seldom Comic Iambic. The Sapphic metre has not been used of late years.
V. The Latin prose authors commonly admitted are Cicero, Livy, Tacitus, Cæsar, Sallust, Nepos; sometimes we see Quintilian, either Pliny, Seneca, Q. Curtius, Val. Maximus, and other less approved writers.
VI. The Latin poets considered admissible are Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Lucretius, Terence, Plautus, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, Juvenal, Persius and Lucan.
VII. A subject is given for an original copy of Latin Heroic or Elegiac verse, generally the former. A piece of English verse is also set to be translated into either of these metres. And a chorus from one of the Greek tragedians, or a passage from Pindar, is required to be rendered into Latin lyrics.
VIII. A Latin theme is to be written on a given subject. And a piece of English prose is set to be translated into Latin prose.
IX. A general paper, containing questions in history, archæology, and criticism; difficult passages from different authors to be explained and illustrated; corrupt places to be corrected according to acknowledged canons of criticisms, &c. This highly useful part of the examinations is gradually falling into disuse, and instead of it, questions arising out of the passages set, are attached to each paper.