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قراءة كتاب The Orbis Pictus

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‏اللغة: English
The Orbis Pictus

The Orbis Pictus

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

inscriptions set over ’em. Where again the very looking upon the thing pictured suggesting the name of the thing, will tell him how the title of the picture is to be read. And thus the whole book being gone over by the bare titles of the pictures, reading cannot but be learned; and indeed too, which thing is to be noted, without using any ordinary tedious spelling, that most troublesome torture of wits, which may wholly be avoided by this method. For the often reading over the Book, by those larger descriptions of things, and which are set after the Pictures, will be able perfectly to beget a habit of reading.

II. The same book being used in English, in English Schools, will serve for the perfect learning of the whole English tongue, and that from the bottom; because by the aforesaid descriptions of things, the words and phrases of the whole language are found set orderly in their own places. And a short English Grammar might be added at the end, clearly resolving the speech already understood into its parts; shewing the declining of the several words, and reducing those that are joined together under certain rules.

III. Thence a new benefit cometh, that that very English Translation may serve for the more ready and pleasant learning of the Latin tongue: as one may see in this Edition, the whole book being so translated, that every where one word answereth to the word over against it, and the book is in all things the same, only in two idioms, as a man clad in a double garment. And there might be also some observations and advertisements added in the end, touching those things only, wherein the use of the Latin tongue differeth from the English. For where there is no difference, there needeth no advertisement to be given. But, because the first tasks of learners ought to be little and single, we have filled this first book of training one up to see a thing of himself, with nothing but rudiments, that is, with the chief of things and words, or with the grounds of the whole world, and the whole language, and of all our understanding about things. If a more perfect description of things, and a fuller knowledge of a language, and a clearer light of the understanding be sought after (as they ought to be) they are to be found somewhere whither there will now be an easy passage by this our little Encyclopædia of things subject to the senses. Something remaineth to be said touching the more chearful use of this book.

I. Let it be given to children into their hands to delight themselves withal as they please, with the sight of the pictures, and making them as familiar to themselves as may be, and that even at home before they be put to school.

II. Then let them be examined ever and anon (especially now in the school) what this thing or that thing is, and is called, so that they may see nothing which they know not how to name, and that they can name nothing which they cannot shew.

III. And let the things named them be shewed, not only in the Picture, but also in themselves; for example, the parts of the body, clothes, books, the house, utensils, &c.

IV. Let them be suffered also to imitate the Pictures by hand, if they will, nay rather, let them be encouraged, that they may be willing: first, thus to quicken the attention also towards the things; and to observe the proportion of the parts one towards another; and lastly to practise the nimbleness of the hand, which is good for many things.

V. If anything here mentioned, cannot be presented to the eye, it will be to no purpose at all to offer them by themselves to the scholars; as colours, relishes, &c., which cannot here be pictured out with ink. For which reason it were to be wished, that things rare and not easy to be met withal at home, might be kept ready in every great school, that they may be shewed also, as often as any words are to be made of them, to the scholars.

Thus at last this school would indeed become a school of things obvious to the senses, and an entrance to the school intellectual. But enough: Let us come to the thing it self.

The Translator, to all judicious and industrious School-Masters.


There are a few of you (I think) but have seen, and with great willingness made use of (or at least perused,) many of the Books of this well-deserving Author Mr. John Comenius, which for their profitableness to the speedy attainment of a language, have been translated in several countries, out of Latin into their own native tongue.

Now the general verdict (after trial made) that hath passed, touching those formerly extant, is this, that they are indeed of singular use, and very advantageous to those of more discretion, (especially to such as already have a smattering of Latin) to help their memories to retain what they have scatteringly gotten here and there, to furnish them with many words, which (perhaps) they had not formerly read, or so well observed; but to young children (whom we have chiefly to instruct) as those that are ignorant altogether of things and words, and prove rather a meer toil and burthen, than a delight and furtherance.

For to pack up many words in memory, of things not conceived in the mind, is to fill the head with empty imaginations, and to make the learner more to admire the multitude and variety (and thereby, to become discouraged,) than to care to treasure them up, in hopes to gain more knowledge of what they mean.

He hath therefore in some of his latter works seemed to move retrograde, and striven to come nearer the reach of tender wits: and in this present Book, he hath, according to my judgment, descended to the very bottom of what is to be taught, and proceeded (as nature it self doth) in an orderly way; first to exercise the senses well, by representing their objects to them, and then to fasten upon the intellect by impressing the first notions of things upon it, and linking them on to another by a rational discourse. Whereas indeed, we, generally missing this way, do teach children as we do parrots, to speak they know not what, nay which is worse, we, taking the way of teaching little ones by Grammar only at the first, do puzzle their imaginations with abstractive terms and secondary intentions, which till they be somewhat acquainted with things, and the words belonging to them, in the language which they learn, they cannot apprehend what they mean. And this I guess to be the reason, why many great persons do resolve sometimes not to put a child to school till he be at least eleven or twelve years of age, presuming that he having then taken notice of most things, will sooner get the knowledge of the words which are applyed to them in any language. But the gross misdemeanor of such children for the most part, have taught many parents to be hasty enough to send their own to school, if not that they may learn, yet (at least) that they might be kept out of harm’s way; and yet if they do not profit for the time they have been at school, (no respect at all being had for their years) the Master shall be sure enough to bear the blame.

So that a School-master had need to bend his wits to come within the compass of a child’s capacity of six or seven years of age (seeing we have now such commonly brought to our Grammar-schools to learn the Latin Tongue) and to make that they may learn with as much delight and willingness, as himself would teach with dexterity and ease. And at present I know no better help to forward his young scholars than this little Book, which was for this purpose