Select excerpts from a study contained in A. Lang, Essays in Little
At present boys are introduced to the language of the Muses by pedantically written grammars, full of the queerest and most arid metaphysical and philological verbiage. The very English in which these deplorable books are composed may be scientific, may be comprehensible by and useful to philologists, but is utterly heart-breaking to boys.
Philology might be made fascinating; the history of a word, and of the processes by which its different forms, in different senses, were developed, might be made as interesting as any other story of events. But grammar is not taught thus: boys are introduced to a jargon about matters meaningless, and they are naturally as much enchanted as if they were listening to a chimaera bombinans in vacuo. The grammar, to them, is a mere buzz in a chaos of nonsense. They have to learn the buzz by rote; and a pleasant process that is--a seductive initiation into the mysteries. When they struggle so far as to be allowed to try to read a piece of Greek prose, they are only like the Marchioness in her experience of beer: she once had a sip of it. Ten lines of Xenophon, narrating how he marched so many parasangs and took breakfast, do not amount to more than a very unrefreshing sip of Greek. Nobody even tells the boys who Xenophon was, what he did there, and what it was all about. Nobody gives a brief and interesting sketch of the great march, of its history and objects. The boys straggle along with Xenophon, knowing not whence or whither:
"They stray through a desolate region, And often are faint on the march."
One by one they fall out of the ranks; they mutiny against Xenophon; they murmur against that commander; they desert his flag. They determine that anything is better than Greek, that nothing can be worse than Greek, and they move the tender hearts of their parents. They are put to learn German; which they do not learn, unluckily, but which they find it comparatively easy to shirk. In brief, they leave school without having learned anything whatever.
Cf. The Complete Iliad ||| The Complete Odyssey
Related: Clyde Pharr, Homer and the study of Greek Homer Bilingual (Greek English) Anthology Homer : Greek - English Interlinear Iliad A Commentary on the Odyssey, Homer: Achilles' Grief, Returning to Ithaca & The Underworld, Cavafy, The Horses of Achilles, Helen Keller, It was the Iliad that made Greece my paradise, Plato Home Page
The Greek Word Course : Lessons in Ancient Greek
Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/lessons/lang-homer.asp?pg=3