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[106] a facile and iron memory which easily seized and steadily retained every thing he acquired.

English poetry was also a constant subject of our talks; and he used to quote and read favorite passages which we earnestly discussed together. Among all the poets, at this time certainly, Gray was his favorite;1 and I have still a copy of his poems, presented to me by him, and full of annotations, many of which are due to these conversations. I shall never cease to feel grateful to him for these happy evenings, so full of interest and instruction.

Then, as afterwards, his judgment in respect to poetry was not a keen one. The higher flights of the imagination, or the rapid ranges of fancy, were above him; and I think his noblest idea of poetry was embodied in Gray's “Elegy,” which he would repeat with sonorous tones. But poetry was with him more all acquired taste than a natural one. He had himself little imagination or fancy, and better loved strong manly sentiments and thoughts within the range of the understanding, and solid facts and statements of principles. When he could steady himself against a statement by an ancient author he felt strong. His own moral sense, which was very high, seemed to buttress itself with a passage from Cicero or Epictetus. He seemed to build upon them as upon a rock, and thence defy you to shake him.

He was then, as ever in after life, an indefatigable and omnivorous student. He lived simply, was guilty of no excesses of any kind, went very little into society, and devoted his days and nights to books. Shortly after my first acquaintance with hi, he became librarian of the Dane Law School, and I think there was scarcely a text-book in the library of the contents of which he had not some knowledge. Nor was this a superficial knowledge, considering its extent and his youth. He had acquainted himself, also, with the lives, characters, and capacity of most of the authors, and could give a fair resume of the contents of most of their works. His room was piled with books: the shelves overflowed and the floor was littered with them. Though a devoted student of law, he did not limit his reading to it, but ranged over the whole field of literature with eager interest. He was at this time totally without vanity, and only desirous to acquire knowledge and information on every subject. Behind every work he liked to see and feel the man who wrote it, and, as it were, to make his personal acquaintance. Whenever a particular question interested him, he would come to my father and talk it over with him, and discuss it by the hour.

He had no interest in games and athletic sports; never, so far as I know, fished or shot or rowed; had no fancy for dogs and horses; and, in a word, was without all those tastes which are almost universal with men of his age. As for dancing, I think he never danced a step in his life. Of all men I ever knew at his age, he was the least susceptible to the charms of women. Men he liked best, and with them he preferred to talk. It was in vain for the loveliest and liveliest girl to seek to absorb his attention. He would at once

1 W. W. Story gave Sumner, Jan. 1, 1834, a copy of Milton, inscribed with, ‘From is grateful friend.’

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