previous next
[72] allowed him to learn. But at Gottingen he was made to understand the difference between reciting to a man and being taught by him. Here he took lessons in Greek, for instance, of a scholar who had not only learned Greek thoroughly, but had also learned the art of teaching it. The delight he took in his new charters and privileges was in proportion to his ardent love of knowledge and his previous imperfect opportunities for gratifying it.

Another source of happiness, as well as of intellectual growth, was opened to him at Gottingen in its magnificent library of over two hundred thousand volumes, especially rich in modern literature, and adminstered so liberally that any number of books might be taken from it and kept as long as the student had any need of them. This immense treasury of knowledge was all the more impressive and the more welcome from its contrast with the meagre collections he had left at home.1 Every student knows what a pleasure it is to be able to lay his hands on every book he wants when he is studying a subject, as well as the exaggerated value he will put upon the particular book he cannot find. Here our ardent young scholar could be sure of lighting upon every book of which he had even ever heard; and the delight with which his eye ran along the endless shelves of the University library was only tempered by the sigh called forth by the thought of the disproportion between these boundless stores of knowledge and the length of any human life, or the measure of any human powers. Mr. Ticknor's enjoyment of the new and copious sources of knowledge which were now opened to him, and his sense of the intellectual growth derived from them, were alloyed both by the painful comparison he was forced to make between what he found in Gottingen and what he had left at home, and the sad thought of how much more he might have done and known if,

1 Mr. Ticknor once said to me that nothing more marked the change produced in him by his long residence in Europe than the different impressions made by the library of Harvard College before his departure and after his return. ‘When I went away,’ he said, ‘I thought it was a large library; when I came back, it seemed a closetful of books.’

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gottingen (Lower Saxony, Germany) (3)

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.
Elisha Ticknor (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: