Forgetting Your Schooling

John Evelyn, Diary (May 18th 1661)

“I heard and saw such exercises at the election of scholars at Westminster school to be sent to the university in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, in themes and extemporary verses, as wonderfully astonished me in such youths, with such readiness and wit, some of them not above twelve, or thirteen years of age. Pity it is, that what they attain here so ripely, they either do not retain, or do not improve more considerably when they come to be men, though many of them do; and no less is to be blamed their odd pronouncing of Latin, so that out of England none were able to understand, or endure it.”

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