previous next
‘ [72] Subjects of Classical Literature,’ Moore's ‘Life of Byron,’ Butler's ‘Reminiscences,’ Hume's ‘Essays;’ and, in history, Hallam, Robertson, and Roscoe. He copied at great length into his commonplace-book—soon after laid aside—the narrations and reflections of these historians. He read both the ‘Lorenzo de Medici’ and the ‘Leo X.’ of Roscoe; and on completing the former, Oct. 29, he wrote:—

The character of Lorenzo de Medici appears to be one of the most estimable which history records. A man with so great an ambition, and yet with one so well controlled and directed, with so much power in his hands and so little disposition to increase it by any infringement of the rights of his countrymen, with so many temptations in his path, and so firm and Hercules-like always in his choice; so great a statesman and magistrate, so strict a scholar, and so fine a poet; so great a friend of the ingenious, and patron of talent in every shape,—the annals of no country but Florence can show. In him seemed to centre all those talents which Heaven scatters singly; and these were moulded and directed by a temper soft and amiable. He united in himself the almost diverse professions of a merchant and a scholar, superintending at the same time his ships and his studies, and receiving in the same keel merchandise and manuscripts.

Advectus Romam quo pruna et cottana vento.1

Lorenzo is fortunate in a historian who is his most ardent admirer; whether the truth has been warped or concealed in any parts I cannot tell, but Roscoe surely presents us with an elegant character. His work to me is not so attractive in point of composition as Hume or Gibbon. It has not the charming ease of the former or the commanding periods of the latter; but it is chaste, ornate, classical, rather deficient in spirit and in philosophy, and unsound in several instances in the general reflections or propositions deduced from particular cases. It is deficient in dates.

At this time he set himself to a study, always disagreeable to those who, like him, have for it no natural aptitude. Mathematics, to which, as already stated, he gave very little attention in college, he now felt to be a necessary part of a complete education, and determined to overcome his deficiencies in the neglected science. He at once entered with zeal on the study of geometry, and found it less difficult than before. From geometry he passed to algebra, the abstruseness of which he was less able to overcome. It is seldom that a young man to whom mathematics has been an uncongenial study returns to it merely for the purpose of supplying a defect in his education. His classmates were much impressed with the resolution which he showed

1 Juvenal, Sat. III. 83.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William Roscoe (3)
Lorenzo Medici (2)
Hume (2)
David Robertson (1)
Archy Moore (1)
Hallam (1)
Gibbon (1)
Florence (1)
Byron (1)
Butler (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: