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GREEK PROSE COMPOSITION
BY A. SIDGWICK/ M.A.
ELLOW AND TUTOR OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, OXFORD; LATE ASSISTANT MASTER
WATERLOO PLACE, LONDON
My object in writing these Lectures has been to give the student of Greek Prose Composition (when he has passed the earlier stages) a kind of assistance which he often needs, and which Rules, however carefully framed, will not give him. He may get a good deal from hints, and from reading, and from practice; but there will still be many questions arising, when he comes to do a new piece, which neither hints, reading, nor practice will enable him at once to answer.
It seemed to me possible, that if he were, by the aid of such Lectures as the following, to witness the actual process of composition,-to see a typical collection of passages handled in detail, so to speak, before his eyes, it might to some extent meet this requirement. Having mastered the Accidence, and the ordinary Syntax, and reached a fair proficiency in the knowledge of idiomatic usage, he would be helped toward the further stages by seeing the various difficulties pointed out and solved; by watching the process of selection and rejection of words and expressions and turns of idiom; by witnessing the applicationalways the real difficulty-of the rules and principles
which he has learnt; and instead of merely doing the piece himself, and then reading the version of it by another hand, he would have the reasons put out beforehim in black and white, at every point, why each sentence and clause was turned in such a way, and not in such another.
In such a treatment there is sure to be a certain amount of repetition, which will perhaps be for some students superfluous; but, in the first place, it is often inevitable, as cases are constantly occurring where old principles have to be applied in a slightly new way, which without the re-statement the student might miss; and in the next place, even where the point is the same as before, repetition may be necessary for the thorough mastery of it. I venture to hope that for the average, whose interests I have had in view all along, the repetitions in these Lectures will not be found excessive.
I have also naturally kept in mind the obvious distinctions between the three principal Attic prose styles,— Narrative, Rhetorical, and Philosophical. The passages in the first ten Lectures are accordingly historical; the next six are from speeches; and the remaining four are such as might be set to be done into the style of Plato.
The notes on Structure and Idiom which are prefixed to the Lectures are intended mainly as a kind of catalogue raisonné of the points chiefly treated in the course of the Lectures themselves.
I hope they will serve the double purpose of an index
to the Lectures, enabling the student to find at once what points are discussed in the Lectures, and where the discussion is to be found, and also as a collection of similar instances, so that he may gain additional mastery over any point he is considering by the helpful method of comparison.
Of the fifty Exercises which, in deference to the opinion of experienced friends, I have added to the end of the Lectures, 1 to 28 are Narrative, 29 to 39 are Oratorical, and the remainder are intended to be turned into Platonic Greek. I ought to add that one of the Lectures (No. 3) deals with a passage from Messrs. Sargent and Dallin's excellent work, Materials and Models, and that I have the kind permission of my friend Mr. J. Y. Sargent to use it here.
I have only to add that I shall be very grateful to any one who uses the book if he will send me any correction or suggestion.