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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 1. February 28, 1947

Professor Rankine-Brown — —a Tribute

Professor Rankine-Brown

a Tribute

Although it is now ten years since I took my first lecture in Greek from Professor Brown, as he was then, so that I can hardly be ranked as one of his most recent students, yet I could wish to have known him at an earlier time. My generation recalls the kindness of Professor Brown, his great willingness to assist young people, his sane and accurate judgments. But had we come to the University at an earlier period, I fancy there would have been much more to flood the gates of memory.

There would have been a mind more vigorous, more apt to understand and grapple with the problems of his students, more incisive to elucidate them, more insistent upon a wider field, a greater search for comparison between the ancient world and our own. This was our loss. Our opinion might easily be coloured by it. But we need only consider the long period of service and his relentless driving of himself in the fulfilment of his duties for such a prejudice to be removed.

It was this devotion to his task that was his greatness. I remember our astonishment when, as an old man of eighty, he had been knocked down by a passing car we expected him to have several days at least in bed, recovering. But next day the Professor was back, a little tape over one eye a little tired looking, but that was all. He seemed indestructible.

Such anecdotes could be multiplied indefinitely, and perhaps when the forthcoming history of the College appears, we shall see them preserved for all to read. Here it only remains for me to add a sincere appreciation of the Professor's scholarship, which was deep, practical and always humane. He had begun by being a devotee of Rome, and ended with an abiding love of Greece. For myself, I can see no greater indication of intellectual progress than this.