previous next

‘Take Boswell,’ he said, ‘then Southey's Cowper, the lives of Mackintosh, 1 Scott, Southey, and so on, and the memoirs are so rich.’

With Mr. Charles Francis Adams, who visited him that evening, he had a most spirited and agreeable conversation, in the course of which he expatiated, with more force and terseness of expression than usual, on a theory which had for some time taken strong hold on his thoughts. He said that the ancient civilizations of the world had been undermined and destroyed by two causes,—the increase of standing armies, and the growth of great cities; and that modern civilization had now added to these sources of decay a third, in the hypothecation of every nation's property to other nations. He also spoke with earnestness of the dissatisfaction of the European people with all their present forms of government, and of the reasonableness of this discontent.

The next day friends came to bring him the greetings of the season, and he dined with his children and grandchildren, who came to keep the little festival with him. But on the third day of the year there was an obvious change in his condition, and the first signs of paralysis—though slight and almost doubtful —showed themselves. So gradual was the progress of disease, that for some days he still saw his friends, and still left his bedroom for a part of the day, his mind and his speech not being at all affected. His friend, Dr. Bigelow, though older than himself, took a share in the medical charge of his case, and made him daily visits, in which their former habits of humorous discussion still continued; and once, after the patient was confined to bed, the two old classicists were heard quoting Greek together, à l'envi l'un de l'autre.

Mr. George Ticknor Curtis, who came from New York to see

1 This memoir had a particular charm for Mr. Ticknor in the last months of his life, and he often said, as he laid it down, that it seemed to him as fresh and interesting as in the first of his several readings of it. With the ‘Life of Scott’ he continued occupied until the last, having just reached the concluding volume when his strength failed, and even then desiring to have it read to him, thus linking his last hours with those of the friend and the object of admiration of his early days.

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)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: