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As we shall yet have occasion to see, his speeches are full of classical allusions of apt and! beautiful comparisons and elucidations drawn from the sparkling fountains of antiquity. He also studied with much interest the manners and customs of different nations, and the chronology and mythology of the ancients.
The youth of Sumner was a pleasant season of rapid, intellectual development and progression in science and literature; and the remembrance of youthful associations has been delightful to him ever since, as it must be to those who have passed their early days in virtuous habits and correct mental discipline. In allusion to those tender associations of youth, which we all cherish to the evening of life, he some time since beautifully remarked:
"We incline, by a natural emotion, to the spot where we were born, to the fields which witnessed the sports of childhood, to the seat of youthful studies, and to the institutions under which we have been trained. The finger of God writes all these things, in indelible colors, on the heart of man; so that, in the dread extremities of death, he reverts, in fondness, to early associations, and longs for a draught of cold water from the bucket in his father's well."
In the same mingled strain of pathos and beau
ty does the classical and accomplished Everett allude to the scenes of his own schoolboy days. In 1838, at a public festival at Exeter, where he had received his academical education, he remarked:
"It was my good fortune, to pass here but a portion of the year before I entered college; but I can truly say that even in that short time I contracted a debt of gratitude, which I have felt throughout my life. I return to these endeared scenes with mingled emotion. I find them changed; dwelling-places are no more on the same spots; old edifices have disappeared; new ones, both public and private, have been erected. Some of the respected heads of society whom I knew, though as a child, are gone. The seats in the Academy-room are otherwise arranged than formerly, and even there the places that once knew me know me no more. Where the objects themselves are unaltered, the changed eye and the changed mind see them differently. The streets seem narrower and shorter, the distances less con siderable; this play-ground before us, which I re member as most spacious, seems sadly contracted But all, sir, is not changed, either in appearance or reality. The countenance of our reverend pre ceptor has undergone no change to my eye. I still expresses that suaviter in modo mentioned by the gentleman last up (Rev. Professor Ware,
Jun.), with nothing of the sternness of the other principle. It is thus I remember it; it was always sunshine to me. Nature, in the larger features of the landscape, is unchanged; the river still flows, the woods yield their shade as pleasantly as they did thirty years ago, doubly grateful for the contrast they afford to the dusty walks of active life; for the solace they yield in an escape, however brief, from its burdens and cares. As I stood in the hall of the Academy, last evening, and saw from its windows the river winding through the valley, and the gentle slope rising from its opposite bank, and caught the cool breeze that was scattering freshness after the sultry summer's day, I could feel the poetry of Gray, on revisiting, in a like manner, the scenes of his schoolboy days:
'Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields beloved in vain!
Where once my careless childhood strayed,
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss below,
As, waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
To breathe a second spring.""
Mr. Sumner early manifested the tachment to Boston, his native city. of uncommon beauty he shows this
In a passage
regard in a
"Boston has always led the generous and magnanimous actions of our history. Boston led the cause of the Revolution. Here was commenced that discussion, pregnant with the independence of the colonies, which, at first occupying a few warm but true spirits only, finally absorbed all the best energies of the continent,—the eloquence of Adams, the patriotism of Jefferson, the wisdom of Washington. Boston is the home of noble charities, the nurse of true learning, the city of churches. By all these tokens she stands conspicuous, and other parts of the country are not unwilling to follow her example. Athens was called the eye of Greece,-Boston may be called the eye of America; and the influence which she exerts is to be referred, not to her size,-for there are other cities larger far,-but to her moral and intellectual character."
In 1830, Mr. Sumner was graduated at Harvard College, and the following year, entered the Law School of the same institution. His whole attention was now turned to the study of juridical science. Not trusting to genius alone, he inured his mind to incessant and hard study, and read all the legal authors of value which he met with. His labor in this respect was truly assiduous, as it was astonishing. We are informed that he never relied upon text-books, but sought original sources,
read all authorities and references, and made himself familiar with books of the common law, from the year-books, in uncouth Norman, down to the latest reports. It was said that he could go into the law library of which he was the librarian, and find in the dark any volume, if in its proper place.
In the early intellectual culture of Mr. Sumner, we have another exemplification of that acknowledged truth, that in order to lead any individual, however gifted he may be, to the highest literary eminence, labor, industry, and perseverance, must always accompany genius. This idea is beautifully unfolded by Dr. Chalmers in an admirable passage which we must here be permitted to quote at length:
"It is by dint of steady labor-it is by giving enough of application to the work, and having enough of time for the doing of it—it is by regular painstaking and the plying of constant assiduities-it is by these, and not by any process of legerdemain, that we secure the strength and the staple of real excellence. It was thus that Demosthenes, clause after clause, and sentence after sentence, elaborated, and that to the uttermost, his immortal orations; it was thus that Newton pioneered his way, by the steps of an ascending geometry, to the mechanism of the heavens-after which, he left this testimony behind him, that he