To Elisha Ticknor, Esq., Boston.
Gottingen, November 5, 1815.The time has passed with surprising speed since I have been here. This evening finishes the third month since I drove into Gottingen with a heavy heart, doubtful, from what I had seen of the towns on the road, whether I should be contented to live here even the five or six months I then proposed to myself. A month's experience determined me to remain till the spring, and now I am ready to tell you that I do not think I shall ever again find its equal. Even while I was struggling with the language, and of course was cut off from half the means and opportunities the University could afford,—even then the conviction was continually pressing upon me of the superiority of their instructions and modes of teaching. Now I know it. . . . . Now I am ready to tell you just how I shall divide and dispose of my time for five months to come. In the first place, I rise precisely at five, and sit down at once to my Greek; upon which I labor three mornings in the week till half past 7, and three days till half past 8. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at the striking of eight o'clock, I am at Prof. Benecke's for my lesson in German. This has become a light study. I read with him only some of the most difficult parts of their poets, and carry to him the passages I do not understand in books I read for other purposes. He is perfectly at home in all their literary history, and familiar with all the secret allusions and hints in their ancient and modern classics, and is an uncommonly good English scholar, so that I find this hour's instruction very pleasant and useful. At nine, every day, I go to Prof. Eichhorn's lectures on the first three Evangelists. Though I do not agree with him in his doctrine respecting the origin and formation of the Gospels, and am not often satisfied with his general reasoning, yet this forms but a small part of his course; and in return I am delighted with his exposition of particular parts, his luminous elucidation of dark and doubtful passages, his acute and curious learning, which he brings most happily to the assistance of the exegetical part of his work, and, above all, with his eloquence and enthusiasm, and deep and genuine love of truth. At ten this lecture breaks up, and I catch a walk of fifteen minutes as I come home; and from that time till dinner at twelve I go on with my Greek, and thus divide my day pretty equally,—at least my day of labor. After dinner I take a nap of half an hour, which refreshes me very much, and then half a cup of coffee, which wakes me up and gives me spirit for the afternoon.