Monday, November 10, 2014
Teacher as Tree
In a letter (January 23, 1896) of thanks to his friends Cowell wrote:
The teacher's motto may well be—George Cowell, Life & Letters of Edward Byles Cowell (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1904), pp. 352-353:
Serit arbores quae alteri saeculo prosint,and I trust that the sapling which I have tried to plant in Cambridge will become a vigorous tree that shall long continue to bear fruit.
Gurur viçiṣyaḥ saralo yathā girauMy wife and I gratefully accept this portrait as a sign that our names will remain in kindly remembrance when we are gone; and we also feel it is an especial further kindness that you have allowed us to hang it in the Hall of Corpus Christi College.
Asevitaḥ pānthajanena tiṣthati |
Varaṃ sa jīryen navaçiṣyasaṃçrito
Vṛtaḥ svatamtrair viṭapair vaṭo yathā. ||
High on his rock the lonely scholar stands,—
A mountain pine that spreads no sheltering shade;
Rather grow old amid fresh student bands,—
A banyan with its native colonnade.
Cowell had this reply, which he had prepared beforehand, printed, and presented a copy to each of his friends who were present, and subsequently forwarded a copy also to all friends at home and abroad to whom he wrote an account of the presentation.Hat tip: Ian Jackson.
Amongst those who had attended the presentation were Mr. C.W. Moule and Professor Skeat, and both these scholars set to work on their return home to turn Cowell's Çloka, the one into Latin and the other into Anglo-Saxon. I am permitted to give both these tributes of affection for Cowell, as I think they are a fitting completion of the record of a deeply interesting occasion.
Rupe super sola sapiens stat, ut ardua pinus,
Unde patent nulli tegmina montivago.
Discipulos inter iuvenesque senescere malim,
Ut ficus virgis Indica fulta suis.
Hēah on hliðe āhæfen āna
stīð-mōd on stāne stent se lārēow,
swā pīn-treow hlīfað on hēan beorge,
gescyldend þurh scūwan fēawe scealca.
Bet wære yldan ealdor mid geongrum,
leorning-cnihta lēofra on midle,
fæst swā fīc-bēam fæð mē beclypped
þāra sīdra telga þe hē self cende.
LITERAL TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE.
High on the-slope heaved up alone
Strong-minded on the-rock stands the teacher,
As a-pine-tree stands-up on a-high mountain
Shielding by its-shade a few men.
Better were-it to-grow-old (as) an-elder together-with younger-ones,
Of-disciples dear in the middle;
Fast as a-fig-tree by-the-embrace clasped
Of the long shoots which he himself produced.