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[81]

To Elisha Ticknor, Esq., Boston.

Gottingen, November 10, 1815.
. . . .I wrote you, in my last, less decisively about my Greek instructor than about the rest. . . . This week, however, has satisfied me that he will soon become my favorite instructor, as his subject has always been my favorite branch. I learn the language entirely through the German. My lexicon, grammar, etc., are German, and from this language I mean hereafter to acquire my Greek, since the means in it are vastly better than our language will afford, or even the Latin. At first we had some difficulty in fixing upon a common medium of translating. I did not like to render it into broken German, and I would not disgrace the language of Pericles and Demosthenes by rendering it into French. Latin, of course, was all that remained; and, after discarding my Latin and Greek lexicons, and renouncing forever the miserable assistance of Latin versions, I undertook to render into it, with some misgivings. I had never done it, I had never spoken a word of Latin; but the moment I began, the difficulty vanished. I found that I could translate thus nearly as fast as into my mother tongue; in short, I found that I knew a great deal more Latin than I suspected, I shall hereafter use it upon all emergencies without hesitation.

My instructor, Dr. Schultze,1 is one of the private lecturers here, and is considered very skilful in teaching; how he is, comparatively with others here, I cannot tell from my own experience, but I know that he is such a scholar as we have no idea of in America. To be sure, he looks as if he had fasted six months on Greek prosody and the Pindaric metres, but I am by no means certain that he has not his reward for his sacrifices.


To E. Ticknor.

Gottingen, November 18, 1815.
. . . . If I desired to teach anybody the value of time, I would send him to spend a semestre at Gottingen. Until I began to attend the


1 Schultze was a man of genius, and a poet as well as a scholar. He wrote ‘Psyche,’ ‘Cecilia,’ ‘The Enchanted Rose,’ (which last has been translated into English,) and many miscellaneous poems. He was but two years older than Mr. Ticknor, having been born in 1789. He died in 1817. After his death, his works were collected and published by his friend Bouterweck, with a short sketch of his life. A new edition appeared in Leipsic in 1855, in four volumes, with a more full biography. An account of his life and works may be found in the third volume of Taylor's ‘Historic Survey of German Poetry.’

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