previous next

[40] admiring their simple grandeur or reclining under the shade of some ancient tree. I would listen to the sighing zephyr, as it made sad music among the fresh foliage, or to the low murmuring of the rippling stream, till my soul was lost in the misty maze of its own meditations. Or, again, I would watch the yellow-bird, as she lined her downy nest with the soft fur of the mullein-leaf, and the honeybee, as she rolled herself in the farina of the rose's cup. Nature was my study, nature was my delight. By my father I was first introduced to the conversation of the English poets, and many of their sweetest verses I learned to repeat on his knee. It was in my sixth summer that I first fell to rhyming, and a happy boy was I!— happy in that state of purity and innocence which had not yet fallen a prey to the passions and temptations of the world,— happy in an undisturbed peace, not in the triumph of spiritual victory. One evening, ere the light of the moon had displaced the last blush of fading day, as I pressed my early pillow, the thoughts of my great Father's bounty came rushing in a full tide of grateful feeling over my soul, and I gave that joy expression in poetic measure. At the returning day I repeated it to my sister, and as she had advanced a step beyond me, in learning to write, she kindly volunteered to put it on paper for me and hand it up to the schoolmistress among the compositions of her class. Of course the schoolmistress, the scholars, and other foolish friends gave me exaggerated and undue praise, which fostered still more my rhyming propensity, imbued me with a desire of praise, and puffed me up with a nonsensical vanity, which, without the balance of firmness and pride, has marked my character, and injured me no little, even up to the present day. The devotional character of my rhymes, my peculiar course of reading, and the character of my conversation and feelings, induced my friends to suppose that I had inherited the deep religious cast of mind that distinguished my mother, and I therefore received the name of the “little minister.” It was my custom to assemble, in all sobriety and simplicity, my little playmates, and, imitating the parson's robe, to be their chorister and priest. In my sixth year I was attacked with lung-fever, which again brought me to death's door.

He was fitted for college chiefly by Rev. Daniel Kimball of Needham, and entered with his class in 1833. Rev. John Weiss was his first room-mate, and has told me that Richardson showed, within the very first week of his college career,

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.
John Weiss (1)
James Richardson (1)
Needham (1)
Daniel Kimball (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.
1833 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: