Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Seventeen Hours a Day

Francis Adams (1796-1861), quoted by John Brown, Horae Subsecivae. First Series (Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1885), p. 269:
As far as I can think, my classical bent was owing to a friendship which I formed, when about fifteen years old, with a young man a few years older than myself, who had enjoyed the benefits of an excellent education at Montrose, which gave him a superiority over myself that roused me to emulation.

In my early years I had been shamefully mistaught. I began by devoting seventeen hours a day to the study of Virgil and Horace, and it will be readily believed that such intense application soon made up for any early deficiencies.

I read each of these six or seven times in succession. Having mastered the difficulties of Latin literature, I naturally turned my attention to Greek as being the prototype of the other.

It was the late Dr. Kerr of Aberdeen who drew my attention to the Greek literature of medicine, and at his death I purchased a pretty fair collection of the Greek medical authors which he had made. However, I have also read almost every Greek work which has come down to us from antiquity, with the exception of the ecclesiastical writers; all the poets, historians, philosophers, orators, writers of science, novelists, and so forth. My ambition always was to combine extensive knowledge of my profession with extensive erudition.

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