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a man like Roscoe is not to be overcome by the mutations of fortune. They do 33 but drive him in 34 upon the resources 35 of his own mind; to the superior society of his own thoughts; which the best of men are apt sometimes to neglect, and to roam abroad in search of less worthy associates. He is independent of the world around him. He lives with antiquity and with posterity; with antiquity, in the sweet communion of studious retirement; and with posterity, in the generous aspirings after future renown. The solitude of such a mind is its state of highest enjoyment 36. It is then visited by those elevated meditations which are the proper aliment of noble souls, and are like manna sent from heaven, in the wilderness of this world.
While my feelings were yet alive on the subject, it was my fortune to light on further traces of Mr. Roscoe. I was riding out with a gentleman, to view the environs of Liverpool, when he turned off, through a gate, into some ornamented grounds 87. After riding a short distance 38, we came to a spacious mansion of freestone, built in the Grecian style. It was not in the purest taste, yet it had an air of elegance 39, and the situation was delightful. A fine lawn sloped away from it studded with clumps of trees, so disposed as to break a soft fertile country into a variety of landscapes. The Mersey 40 was seen winding a broad quiet sheet of water through an expanse of green meadow land; while the Welsh mountains, blending with clouds and melting into distance 41, bordered the horizon. ·
38) Ueber die Umschreibung mit do in behauptenden Sätzen zur Hervorhebung des Thätigkeitsbegriffs vergl. Mätzner, Engl. Gr. II, p. 57, 2, a.
34) Das Verbum to drive in, welches ein echtes Compositum ersetzt, ist mit upon verbunden.
85) résource (franz. ressource v. partic. resors v. resordre aus lat. resurgere) mit scharf. s.
96) state of highest enjoyment ist hier als ein Begriff gefasst, welcher das pronom. possess. vor sich nimmt, deutsch: der Zustand seines höchsten Genusses.
87) some ornamented grounds = ein künstlich angelegter Garten, Park.
40) vergl. S. 14, Anm. 39. Das komma hinter winding in der Tauchnitzausgabe findet sich in der in London 1823 bei John Murray erschienenen Ausgabe des Sketch Book nicht. Daher ist to wind hier transitiv = winden; deutsch etwa: Man sah den Mersey sich in einer breiten ruhigen Wasserfläche durch einen ausgedehnten grünen Wiesengrund schlängeln, winden.
41) to melt (wörtl. schmelzen) into distance = sich in d. Ferne verlieren.
This was Roscoe's favourite residence during the days of his prosperity. It had been the seat of elegant hospitality and literary retirement. The house was now silent and deserted. I saw the windows of the study, which looked out upon the soft scenery I have mentioned. The windows were closed the library was gone. Two or three ill-favoured 42 beings were loitering about the place, whom my fancy pictured into 43 retainers of the law. It was like visiting some classic fountain that had once welled its pure waters in a sacred shade, but finding it 44 dry and dusty, with the lizard and the toad brooding over the shattered marbles.
I inquired after the fate of Mr. Roscoe's library, which had consisted of scarce and foreign books, from many of which he had drawn the materials for his Italian histories. It had passed under the hammer of the auctioneer, and was dispersed about the country. The good people of the vicinity thronged like wreckers to get some part of the noble vessel that had been driven on shore. Did such a scene admit 45 of ludicrous associations 46, we might imagine something whimsical in this strange irruption into the regions of learning --- pigmies 47 rummaging the armoury of a giant, and contending for the possession of weapons which they could not wield. We might picture to ourselves some knot of speculators, debating with calculating brow over the quaint binding and illuminated margin of an obsolete author; of the air of intense, but baffled sagacity, with which some successful purchaser attempted to dive into the black-letter 48 bargain he had secured.
42) favoured als Adjectiv = favoured by nature with beauty of feature; hence, ill - favoured, not favoured with beauty = deformed, hässlich, ungestalt.
43) into zur Bezeichnung des Ergebnisses des picture (vrgl. Mätzner, Engl. Gr. II, p. 332); hier etwa: welche, wie meine Phantasie es sich ausmalte, Gerichtsdiener waren ; oder: in welchen meine Einbildungskraft mich Gerichtsdiener sehen liess.
44) = it was like finding it.
47) pigmy Zwerg; für pygmy, aus lat. pygmaeus, gr. nuyudios, zu nuyuń Faust = fausthoher Mensch.
48) black-letter, the old English or modern Gothic letter, in which the early English manuscripts were written, and the first English books were printed = gothische Schrift; dann adjectivisch = in gothischer Schrift gedruckt.
It is a beautiful incident in the story of Mr. Roscoe's misfortunes, and one which cannot fail to interest the studious mind, that the parting with his books seems to have touched upon his tenderest feelings, and to have been the only circumstance that could provoke the notice 49 of his muse. The scholar alone knows how dear these silent, yet eloquent, companions of pure thoughts and innocent hours become in the season of adversity. When all that is worldly turns to dross around us, these only retain their steady value. When friends grow cold, and the converse of intimates languishes into vapid civility and commonplace, these only continue the unaltered countenance of happier days, and cheer us with that true friendship which never deceived hope, nor deserted sorrow.
I do not wish to censure: but, surely, if the people of Liverpool had been properly sensible of what was due to Mr. Roscoe and themselves, his library would never have been sold. Good worldly reasons may, doubtless, be given for the circumstance, which it would be difficult to combat with others that might seem merely fanciful 50 ; but it certainly appears to me such an opportunity as seldom occurs, of cheering a noble mind struggling under misfortunes, by one of the most delicate, but most expressive tokens of public sympathy. It is difficult, however, to estimate a man of genius properly who is daily before our eyes. He becomes mingled and confounded with other men. His great qualities lose their novelty, and we become too familiar with the common materials which form the basis even of the loftiest character. Some of Mr. Roscoe's townsmen may regard him merely as a man of business; others, as a politician; all find him engaged like themselves in ordinary occupations, and surpassed, perhaps, by themselves on some points of worldly wisdom. Even that amiable and unostentatious simplicity of character, which gives the nameless grace to real excellence 51, may cause him to be undervalued 52 by some coarse minds, who do not know that true worth is always void of glare and pretension. But the man of letters who speaks of Liverpool, speaks of it as the residence of Roscoe. -- The intelligent traveller who visits
49) nölice etwa: Interesse.
51) welche dem wahren Werth eine so unbeschreibliche Anmuth verleiht.
52) may cause him to be undervalued : Accusativ mit d. Infinitiv: mag die Ursache sein, dass er u. s. w.
it, inquires where Roscoe is to be seen. — He is the literary landmark 53 of the place, indicating its existence to the distant scholar. – He stands like Pompey's column at Alexandria 5t, towering alone in classic dignity.
The following sonnet, addressed by Mr. Roscoe to his books on parting with them, is alluded to in the preceding article. If anything can add effect to the pure feeling and elevated thought here displayed, it is the conviction that the whole is no effusion of fancy, but a faithful transcript from the writer's heart: –
TO MY BOOKS.
Regrets his loss, but hopes again erewhile 55
To share their converse and enjoy their smile,
Thus, loved associates, chiefs of elder art,
Teachers of wisdom, who could once beguile
My tedious hours, and lighten every toil,
53) landmark = a mark to designate the boundary of land; any mark or fixed object (as a marked tree, a stone, a ditch, or a heap of stones) by which the limits of a farm, a town, or other portion of territory may be known and preserved = Wahrzeichen, d. h. eine Eigenheit des Orts, welche die Handwerksgesellen einer Stadt andern einwandernden zeigen, damit diese darthun können, dass sie an dem Ort gewesen sind.
54) Die Pompejussäule im Süden von Alexandrien gehört zur' corinthischen Ordnung und erreicht mit Fussgetsell und Knauf eine Gesammthöhe von 98 Pariser Fuss. Thr riesenhafter Schaft mit einem Durchmesser von 8 Fuss und einer Höhe von 68 Fuss ist aus einem einzigen Stück rothen ägyptischen Granits gehauen. - Der gelehrte Araber Abulfeda nennt sie die Säule des Severus. Eine erst in neuerer Zeit entdeckte griechische Inschrift am Piedestal führte zu der Vermuthung, dass Diocletian der Begründer gewesen. Clarke versucht zu beweisen, dass Julius Caesar dieser wahrscheinlieh lange vor seiner Zeit errichteten Säule die Bestimmung gegeben habe, oben jene Urne zu tragen, in welcher das Haupt des Pompejus beigesetzt wurde. Nach Anderen soll sie eine der Säulen sein, welche einst den Serapistempel zierten.
55) erewhile und erewhiles wörtl. vor einer Weile; jetzt veraltet, = some time ago, a little while before (Webster) vor kurzem, von der Vergangenheit. — Hier wird es auf die Zukunft bezogen und bezeichnet demgemäss: (vor einer Weile, ehe eine Weile vergeht,) in kurzem, bald; vergl. dazu das engl. ere long und das franz. avant peu = in Kurzem. Die Lexica geben nur die sich auf die Vergangenheit beziehende Bedeutung.
For pass 56 a few short years, or days, or hours,
And all your sacred fellowship restore;
And kindred spirits meet to part no more.
The treasures of the deep are not so precious
The violet bed's not sweeter3. MIDDLETON 4. I have often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times it approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a soft and tender female, who had been all6 weakness and dependence, and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and
56) pass a few short years: Conjunctiv der Einräumung im Hauptsatz; deutsch etwa: lass einige kurze Jahre etc. dahingehen.
57) unlimited its powers absolutes Particip (the case absolute); indem seine (its bezieht sich auf mind) Kraft unbeschränkt ist.
) The concealed comforts: etwa „die verborgenen Freuden', die verborgene Glückseligkeit,
2) breath Athem (altengl. bređ Dampf, Geruch, Athem, Zoro, neuhd. Brodem, heisser Dampf), hier etwa: Duft; to send forth = ausströmen.
3) „Ein Veilchenbeet duftet nicht lieblicher“.
4) Thomas Middleton, † 1627, verfasste ungefähr 20 Dramen, unter denen The Witch, ein Stück, zu dem man die Hexenpartien in Shaksperes Macbeth in Beziehung gesetzt hat, ohne entscheiden zu können, wer der Entlehnende gewesen. - Die im Text angeführten Verse sind aus dem Drama: Women, beware of Women, das für Middletons bestes gehalten wird.
5) it viz. their character.
6) who had been all weakness. In Bezug auf das adverbial gebrauchte: all vergl. das französ.: Le chien est tout zèle, tout ardeur, tout obéissance.