youth. Sometimes I think I would give all our gains for those times when young and old gathered in the feudal hall, listening with soul-absorbing transport to the romance of the minstrel, unrestrained and regardless of criticism, and when they worshipped nature, not as high-dressed and pampered, but as just risen from the bath.
Cambridge, May 14, 1826.—I am studying Madame de Stael, Epictetus, Milton, Racine, and Castilian ballads, with great delight. There's an assemblage for you. Now tell me, had you rather be the brilliant De Stael or the useful Edgeworth——though De Stael is useful too, but it is on the grand scale, on liberalizing, regenerating principles, and has not the immediate practical success that Edgeworth has. I met with a parallel the other day between Byron and Rousseau, and had a mind to send it to you, it was so excellent.
Cambridge, Jan. 10, 1827.—As to my studies, I am engrossed in reading the elder Italian poets, beginning with Berni, from whom I shall proceed to Pulci and Politian. I read very critically. Miss Francis1 and I think of reading Locke, as introductory to a course of English metaphysics, and then De Stael on Locke's system. Allow me to introduce this lady to you as a most interesting woman, in my opinion. She is a natural person, —a most rare thing in this age of cant and pretension. Her conversation is charming,—she brings all her powers to bear upon it; her style is varied, and she has a very pleasant and spirited way of thinking. I should judge, too, that she possesses peculiar purity of mind. I