Ralph Waldo Emerson entered the freshman class, in his fourteenth year, in 1817. Dr. Kirkland was then president of the university and Edward Everett professor of Greek literature. Among the other professors were Edward Channing and Ticknor. Emerson was greatly influenced throughout his course by the inspiration which Ticknor brought to the university. Among Emerson's classmates, were Upham, author of the "History of Salem Witchcraft," and Josiah Quincy, afterwards mayor of Boston. During his first year in college, Emerson was the "president's freshman," doing his errands and making his announcements for him. He was at this time "a slender, delicate youth, younger than most of his classmates, and of a sensitive, retiring disposition." He received, according to his own statement, but little instruction or criticism from his professors that was of value to him. His favorite study was Greek, and his translations of the classical authors were neat and happy. In mathematics he made no headway, and he did not succeed very well in philosophy. He was a great reader, and studied very much outside of the prescribed course. Even on entering college he was well read. His special favorites were the old English poets and dramatists,-Montaigne and Shakspere. He was especially devoted to Shakspere, and became very familiar with that poet's works. In his sophomore year he was connected with a book club, the members of which read Scott's novels far into the night. He had a taste for declamation, in which he was greatly skilled, and thus gained a Boylston prize. He also displayed marked ability in English composition, and what he wrote was of much excellence. In his junior year he wrote an essay on "The Character of Sociates," for which he gained a Bowdoin prize; and again in his senior year he took a second prize for an essay on "The Present State of Ethical Philosophy." He had much skill in making poetry, which he freely employed for college purposes. On Class Day he was the poet, and his verses were considered to be very good. He had one of the twenty-nine parts on "Commencement Day," and spoke on John Knox in a "Conference on the Character of John Knox, William Pean and John Wesley." Josiah Quincy, his classmate, and the winner of the first prize at the Bowdoin contest, made this entry in his journal under date of July 16, 1821: "Attended a dissertation of Emerson's, in the morning, on the subject of Ethical Philosophy. I found it long and dry." The next day he went to the chapel, where Barnwell and Emerson took part on valedictory exercises before all the scholars and a number of ladies. They were rather poor, and did but little honor to the class." Emerson was quiet in manner, studious, little given to the rude sports of his comrades. "His mind was unusually mature and independent. His letters and conversation already displayed something of originality." He owed much to his early developed, and assiduously followed, habit of wide and careful reading; and he "spent much of his time in special courses of private work in the library." In one of his essays he drops a bit of autobiography full of interest. "The regular course of studies," he says, "the years of academical and professional education, have not yielded me better facts than some idle books under the bench at the Latin School. What we do not call education is more precious than that which we do call so."
EMERSON AT COLLEGE.
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