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affirm, when once truly awakened, no discouragements that the most unfavourable circumstances have interposed have ever been able effectually to subdue.
The late Professor Heyne, of Gottingen, was one of the greatest classical scholars of his own or of any age, and during his latter days enjoyed a degree of distinction, both in his own country and throughout Europe, of which scarcely any contemporary name, in the same department of literature, could boast. Yet he had spent the first thirty-two or thirty-three years of his life, not only in obscurity, but in an almost incessant struggle with the most depressing poverty. He had been born, indeed, amidst the miseries of the lowest indigence, his father being a poor weaver, with a large family, for wh his best exertions were often unable to provide bread. In the ‘Memoirs of his own Life,' Heyne says, “ Want was the earliest companion of my childhood. I well remember the painful impressions made on my mind by witnessing the distress of my mother when without food for her children. How often have I seen her, on a Saturday evening, weeping and wringing her hands, as she returned home from an unsuccessful effort to sell the goods which the daily and nightly toil of my father had manufactured!” His parents sent him to a child's school in the suburbs of the small town of Chemnitz, in Saxony, where they lived ; and he soon exhibited an uncommon desire of acquiring information. He made so rapid a progress in the humble branches of knowledge taught in the school, that, before he had completed his tenth year, he was paying a portion of his school fees by teaching a little girl, the daughter of a wealthy neighbour, to read and write. Having learned every thing comprised in the usual course of the school, he felt a strong desire to learn Latin. A
son of the schoolmaster, who had studied at Leipsic, was willing to teach him at the rate of four pence a week; but the difficulty of paying so large a fee seemed quite insurmountable. One day he was sent to his godfather, who was a baker in pretty good circumstances, for a loaf. As he went along, he pondered sorrowfully on this great object of his wishes, and entered the shop in tears. The goodtempered baker, on learning the cause of his grief, undertook to pay the required fee for him, at which, Heyne tells us, he was perfectly intoxicated with joy ; and as he ran, all ragged and barefoot, through the streets, tossing the loaf in the air, it slipped from his hands and rolled into the gutter. This accident, and a sharp reprimand from his parents, who could ill afford such a loss, brought him to his senses. He continued his lessons for about two years, when his teacher acknowledged that he had taught him all he himself knew. At this time, his father was anxious that he should adopt some trade, but Heyne felt an invincible desire to pursue his literary education; and it was fortunate for the world that he was at this period of his life furnished with the means of following the course of his inclination. He had another godfather, who was a clergyman in the
, neighbourhood; and this person, upon receiving the most flattering accounts of Heyne from his last master, agreed to be at the expense of sending him to the principal seminary of his native town of Chemnitz. His new patron, however, although a well-endowed churchman, doled out his bounty with most scrupulous parsimony; and Heyne, without the necessary books of his own, was often obliged to borrow those of his companions, and to copy them over for his own use. At last he obtained the situation of tutor to the son of one of the citizens; and this for a short time rendered his condition more comfortable. But
the period was come when, if he was to proceed in the career he had chosen, it was necessary for him to enter the university; and he resolved to go to Leipsic. He arrived in that city accordingly with only two florins (about four shillings) in his pocket, and nothing more to depend upon except the small assistance he might receive from his godfather, who had promised to continue his bounty. He had to wait so long, however, for his expected supplies from this source, which came accompanied with much grudging and reproach when they did make their appearance, that, destitute both of money and books, he would even have been without bread too, had it not been for the compassion of the maid-servant of the house where he lodged. What sustained his courage in these circumstances (we here use his own words) was neither ambition nor presumption, nor even the hope of one day taking his place among the learned. The stimulus that incessantly spurred him on was the feeling of the humiliation of his condition—the shame with which he shrunk from the thought of that degradation which the want of a good education would impose upon him--above all, the determined resolution of battling courageously with fortune. He was resolved to try, he said, whether, although she had thrown him among the dust, he should not be able to rise up by his own efforts. His ardour for study only grew the greater as his difficulties increased. For six months he only allowed himself two nights' sleep in the week; and yet all the while his godfather scarcely ever wrote to him but to inveigh against his indolence,-often actually addressing his letters on the outside, “ To M. Heyne, Idler, at Leipsic."
In the mean time, while his distress was every day becoming more intolerable, he was offered, by one of the professors, the situation of tutor in a
family at Magdeburg. Desirable as the appointment would have been in every other respect, it would have removed him from the scene of his studies and he declined it. He resolved rather to remain in the midst of all his miseries at Leipsic. He was, however, in a few weeks after, recompensed for this noble sacrifice, by procuring, through the recommendation of the same professor, a situation similar to the one he had refused, in the university town. This, of course, relieved for a time his pecuniary wants ; but still the ardour with which he pursued his studies continued so great, that it at last brought on a dangerous illness, which obliged him to resign his situation, and very soon completely exhausted his trifling resources, so that on his recovery he found himself as poor and destitute as ever.
In this extremity, a copy of Latin verses which he had written having attracted the attention of one of the Saxon ministers, he was induced, by the advice of his friends, to set out for the court at Dresden, where it was expected this high patronage would make his fortune; but he was doomed only to new disappointments. After having borrowed money to pay the expenses of his journey, all he obtained from the courtier was a few vague promises, which ended in nothing, He was obliged eventually, after having sold his books, to accept the place of copyist in the library of the Count de Bruhl, at the miserable annual salary of one hundred crowns (about £17 sterling)—a sum which, even in that cheap country, was scarcely sufficient to keep him from perishing of hunger. However, with his industrious habits, he found time, beside performing the duties of his situation, to do a little work for the booksellers. He first translated a French romance, for which he was paid twenty
For a learned and excellent edition which he prepared of the Latin poet Tibullus, he received,
in suecessive payments, one hundred crowns, with which he discharged the debts he had contracted at Leipsic. In this way he contrived to exist for a few years, all the while studying hard, and thinking himself amply compensated for the hardships of his lot, by the opportunities he had of pursuing his favourite researches, in a city so rich in collections of books and antiquities as Dresden. After he had held his situation in the library for above two years, his salary was doubled ; but before he derived any benefit from the augmentation, the Seven Years War had commenced. Saxony was overrun by the forces of Frederick the Great, and Heyne's place, and the library itself to which it was attached, were swept away at the same time. He was obliged to fly from Dresden, and wandered about for a long time without any employment. At last he was received into a family at Wittenberg; but in a short time the progress of the war drove him from this asylum also, and he returned to Dresden, where he still had a few articles of furniture, which he had purchased with the little money he saved while he held his place in the Library. He arrived just in time to witness the bombardment of that capital, in the conflagration of which his furniture perished, as well as some property which he had brought with him from Wittenberg, belonging to a lady, one of the family in whose house he lived, for whom he had formed an attachment during his residence there. Thus left, both of them, without a shilling, the young persons nevertheless determined to share each other's destiny, and they were accordingly united. By the exertions of some common friends, a retreat was procured for Heyne and his wife in the establishment of a M. de Leoben, where he spent some years, during which his time was chiefly occupied in the management of that gentleman's property.
At last, at the general peace in 1763, he returned to