Scribere clericulis paro Doctrinale novellis,
pluraque doctorum sociabo scripta meorum.
iamque legent pueri pro nugis Maximiani
quae veteres sociis nolebant pandere caris.
praesens huic operi sit gratia Pneumatis almi;
me iuvet et faciat complere quod utile fiat.
si pueri primo nequeant attendere plene,
hic tamen attendet, qui doctoris vice fungens,
atque legens pueris laica lingua reserabit;
et pueris etiam pars maxima plana patebit.
voces in primis, quas per casus variabis,
ut levius potero, te declinare docebo.
istis confinem retinent heteroclita sedem.
atque gradus triplicis collatio subditur istis.
cuique sit articulo quae vox socianda, notabo.
hinc de praeteritis Petrum sequar ante supinis.
his defectiva suberunt et anormala verba.
verborum formas exinde notabo quaternas.
hinc pro posse meo vocum regimen reserabo.
quo iungenda modo constructio sit, sociabo.
post haec pandetur, quae syllaba quanta locetur.
accentus normas exhinc variare docebo.
tandem grammaticas pro posse docebo figuras.
quamvis haec non sit doctrina satis generalis,
proderit ipsa tamen plus nugis Maximiani.
(Alexander de Villa Dei, Doctrinale pro eruditione puerorum, prooem. 1-25)
I am getting ready to write a Doctrinale [“book of instruction”] for newer students and will adopt many works of my teachers. Instead of the nonsense of Maximianus boys will read those things which the ancients did not want to make accessible to their dear fellows. May the Grace of the nurturing Spirit be present to this work. May it help me to complete something that may be of use. If the boys should be unable to pay full attention to it at first, let him then at least pay attention, who fulfills the tasks of a teacher, who reads it to the boys, and will disclose it to them in the language of the laity; then for the most part it will be plain to the boys as well. Words [voces], which you must give different forms in different cases, I will first of all teach you to decline, in as easy a way as I can. The place next to them is taken by the heteroclitic nouns. And “comparison” [collatio] in its three grades is dealt with after those. I will indicate which word is to be combined with which article. And then I will follow Peter* on the past tenses and the supine verb-forms. Defective verbs come after these topics, and irregular ones. Subsequently, I will pick out the fourfold forms of verbs. And then, to the best of my ability, I will disclose the regimen [regimen] of words. How a construction is to be put together, I will add to this. After that it will be explained, what syllables have what length. Then I will teach what the various rules are for the accents. And finally I will teach the grammatical figures to the best of my ability. Although this doctrine is not really general enough, yet it will be more useful than the nonsense of Maximianus.
* Peter Riga
(tr. Rita Copeland & Ineke Sluiter, with their note)