This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 when a slave case made our city a camp? Loving books, he had no jot of a scholar's indolence or timidity, but joined hands with labor everywhere. Erasmus would have found him good company, and Melanchthon got brave help over a Greek manuscript; but the likeliest place to have found him in that age would have been at Zwingle'a side, on the battlefield, pierced with a score of fanatic spears. For above all things, he was terribly in earnest. If I sought to paint him in one word, I should say he was always in earnest. I spoke once of his diligence, and we call him tireless, unflagging, unresting. But they are commonplace words, and poorly describe him. What we usually call diligence in educated men does not outdo, does not equal the day-laborer in ceaselessness of toil. No scholar, not even the busiest, but loiters out from his weary books, and feels shamed by the hodman or the plough-boy. The society and amusements of easy life eat up and beguile one half our time. Those on whose lips and motions hang crowds of busy idlers submit to life-long discipline, almost every hour a lesson. Those on whose tones float the most precious truth disdain an effort. The table you write on is the fruit of more toilsome and thorough discipline than the brain of most who deem themselves scholars ever knew. Let us not cheat ourselves with words. But no poor and greedy mechanic, no farm tenant “on shares,” ever distanced this unresting brain. He brought into his study that conscientious, loving industry which six generations had handed down to him on tile hard soil of Massachusetts. He loved work, and I doubt if any workman in our empire equalled him in thoroughness of preparation. Before he wrote his review of Prescott, he went conscientiously through all the printed histories of that period in three or four tongues. Before he ventured to
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.