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the land of promise, teeming with everything of which his childhood has heard, or on which his studious years have pondered.
From that time until the moment of arrival, it was all feverish excitement. The ships-of-war, that prowled like guardian giants along the coast; the headlands of Ireland, stretching out into the channel ; the Welsh mountains, towering into the clouds ; all were objects of intense interest.
As we sailed
up the Mersey, I reconnoitred the shores with a telescope. My eye dwelt with delight on neat cottages, with their trim shrubberies and green grass plots. I saw the mouldering ruin of an abbey overrun with ivy, and the taper spire of a village church rising from the brow of a neighboring hill ; - all were characteristic of England.
The tide and wind were so favorable that the ship was enabled to come at once to the pier. It was thronged with people : some, idle lookers-on ; others, eager expectants of friends or relatives. I could distinguish the merchant to whom the ship was consigned. I knew him by his calculating brow and restless air. His hands were thrust into his pockets; he was whistling thoughtfully, and walking to and fro, a small space having been accorded him by the crowd, in deference to his temporary importance. There were repeated cheerings and salutations interchanged between the shore and the ship, as friends happened to recognize each other. I particularly noticed one young woman of humble dress, but interesting demeanor. She was leaning forward
from among the crowd; her eye hurried over the ship as it neared the shore, to catch some wishedfor countenance. She seemed disappointed and agitated ; when I heard a faint voice call her
It was from a poor sailor who had been ill all the voyage, and had excited the sympathy of every one on board.
When the weather was fine, his messmates had spread a mattress for him on deck in the shade; but of late his illness had so increased, that he had taken to his hammock, and only breathed a wish that he might see his wife before he died. He had been helped on deck as we came up the river, and was now leaning against the shrouds, with a countenance so wasted, so pale, so ghastly, that it was no wonder even the eye of affection did not recognize him. But at the sound of his voice, her eye darted on his features : it read, at once, a whole volume of sorrow; she clasped her hands, uttered a faint shriek, and stood wringing them in silent agony. All now was hurry and bustle.
The meetings of acquaintances — the greeting of friends - the consultations of men of business. I alone was solitary and idle. I had no friend to meet, no cheering to receive. I stepped upon the land of my forefathers
- but felt that I was a stranger in the land.
In the service of mankind to be
NE of the first places to which a stranger
is taken in Liverpool is the Athenæum.
It is established on a liberal and judicious plan ; it contains a good library, and spacious reading-room, and is the great literary resort of the place. Go there at what hour you may, you are sure to find it filled with grave-looking personages, deeply absorbed in the study of newspapers.
As I was once visiting this haunt of the learned, my attention was attracted to a person just entering the room. He was advanced in life, tall, and of a form that might once have been commanding, but it was a little bowed by time — perhaps by care. He had a noble Roman style of countenance; a head that would have pleased a painter; and though some slight furrows on his brow showed that wasting thought had been busy there,
still beamed with the fire of a poetic soul. There was something in his whole appear
ance that indicated a being of a different order from the bustling race around him.
I inquired his name, and was informed that it was Roscoe.
I drew back with an involuntary feeling of veneration. This, then, was an author of celebrity ; this was one of those men whose voices have gone forth to the ends of the eartlı, with whose minds I have communed even in the solitudes of America. Accustomed, as we are in our country, to know European writers only by their works, we cannot conceive of them, as of other men, engrossed by trivial or sordid pursuits, and jostling with the crowd of common minds in the dusty paths of life. They pass before our imaginations like superior beings, radiant with the emanations of their genius, and surrounded by a halo of literary glory.
To find, therefore, the elegant historian of the Medici mingling among the busy sons of traffic, at first shocked my poetical ideas; but it is from the very circumstances and situation in which he has been placed, that Mr. Roscoe derives his highest claims to admiration. It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in disappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear legitimate dulness to maturity, and to glory in the vigor and luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius to the winds; and though some may perish among the stony places of the world, and some be choked by the thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birthplace all the beauties of vegetation.
Such has been the case with Mr. Roscoe. Born in a place apparently ungenial to the growth of literary talent ; in the very market - place of trade; without fortune, family connections, or patronage ; self-prompted, self-sustained, and almost self-taught, he has conquered every obstacle, achieved his way to eminence, and, having become one of the ornaments of the nation, has turned the whole force of his talents and influence to advance and embellish his native town.
Indeed, it is this last trait in his character which has given him the greatest interest in my eyes, and induced me particularly to point him out to my countrymen. Eminent as are his literary merits, he is but one among the guished authors of this intellectual nation. They, however, in general, live but for their own fame, or their own pleasures. Their private history presents no lesson to the world, or, perhaps, a humiliating one of human frailty and inconsistency: At best, they are prone to steal away from the bustle and commonplace of busy existence ; to indulge in the selfishness of lettered ease; and to revel in scenes of mental, but exclusive, enjoyment.
Mr. Roscoe, on the contrary, has claimed none of the accorded privileges of talent. He has shut himself up in no garden of thought, nor elysium