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position. He was such a master of Latin expression, and had so much of the spirit of the bard in him, that his thoughts shaped themselves with a grace and vigour like those of his native tongue, into the language of the Roman Muse."
In the year 1809 he entered the University of Dublin, and became the pupil of the late Rev. Dr. Davenport, the Professor of Natural Philosophy, who immediately conceived the highest esteem for him, and did every thing in his power to cultivate his talents. Of this gentleman, and of his kindness, Mr. Wolfe ever spoke in terms of the most grateful recollection.
Thus assisted and encouraged, Mr. Wolfe soon distinguished himself, and was rewarded by various academical honours. In the very first year of his college course he wrote upon “ The Prison-scene of Jugurtha,” (a subject proposed by the head of the University,) an English poem, which, if not equal to some of his subsequent productions, certainly “ evinces,” to use Mr. Russell's words, “ boldness of thought, vigour of expression, and somewhat of a dramatic spirit.”
“ Towards the close of the same year,” says Mr. Russell, “ he had to sustain a severe domestic affliction, in the death of his mother -- an event which wrought upon his affectionate heart an impression of the deepest regret. As soon as he was enabled to resume his studies, he entered upon them with diligence.”
This period of Mr. Wolfe's life is thus interestingly described by the author of “ College Recollections.” It has already been mentioned; that Mr. Wolfe is designated in that work by the name of “ Waller.” The name of “ Crampton” is equally fictitious. The circumstances which are detailed are however, we understand, strictly true.
“ He had early acquired a very high reputation : for the first two years of his residence in college, he had devoted himself to classical studies, which seemed more congenial to his fine taste and sparkling fancy; and during this time he had carried off all the prizes, and was admitted to be, by eminence, the most distinguished man of his day. In the third
year, when languages are no longer objects of exclusive interest, he found that his inferiority in the sciences precluded him from his accustomed distinction. As usual, his friends used to rush eagerly up to the hall when the bell announced that the examination had ended, and the multitudes issued forth at the opened doors; but not as usual did Waller receive their congratulations, and he had, examination after examination, to read in the countenances around him an expression of disappointment. This was not to be endured. However distasteful to him the sciences were, it was more disagreeable to be defeated and to see his friends mortified. The division in which he happened to be was that in which the best science scholar in the undergraduate course had, for nearly three years, maintained an undisputed ascendancy. Waller might, if he pleased, have had himself transferred into a division where he would have had a fairer prospect of success i but this would not satisfy his ambition. It demanded a more noble triumph. He accordingly held his place in his class, and devoted himself only the more earnestly to what might almost be termed a new study. During the entire interval between the examinations he kept his noble faculties concentrated, and in intense action, upon what had been a most distasteful pursuit, and felt himself, when the time of trial drew near, possessed of knowledge and power which he had, in the beginning, but faint hopes of attaining.
“ During the examination, (which is continued at intervals for two days,) the interest and speculation respecting the result it is almost impossible to describe. At these trials of academic proficiency, no persons are permitted to be present except the examined and their examiners. After the first morning, it was noised abroad that Waller had answered with great ability, and had solved some difficult problems; and it was observed, that Crampton, his great adversary, did not pass across the courts to his room with his accustomed supercilious composure: the report at the close of the day was, that Waller had maintained, and, indeed, increased the character he had made in the morning; and some said, that he had gained a decided advantage over Crampton. The next day passed in the same manner, the interest becoming more general through the college; and if a stranger, during the last hours of the examination, were to pass through the courts, he would have had his attention strongly arrested by the faces of the different groups scattered in various directions about, and by the restlessness with which single stragglers were in motion ; now at the closed door of the hall, now looking up to the college clock, and seeing that there were five still minutes to pass; and he would have felt certain, that something of much more than ordinary interest was in agitation. At last the small bell tingled, and the doors were thrown open.
It is little to say, that the wave from within was met by a more precipitous rush from all the parts of the court without, to know the result; and although there were, perhaps, thirty premiums adjudged, yet the whole interest of the enquiries seem to be centered in the fate of one; and, for a moment, the faces of friends and brothers were unnoticed, in the eagerness to explore, amidst the moving mass, the face of Crampton and his opponent Waller. The first who came out was Crampton. His features seenied sunk and pale, and there was a bewildered air over his countenance, as if he was incapable of comprehending whether all around him was real. This was soon understood, when Waller was distinguished, with a suppressed enthusiasm breaking out in every feature and every expression of his countenance, and his friends now needed not to be told, that he had been successful; and yet, amidst all their joy and exultation, the appearance of Crampton crossing the courts with a hurried and disordered air, and without taking notice of the few friends who accompanied him, had the power effectually to check any disposition which they might have felt of making a public demonstration of their triumph.
" It was on the evening of this day that I met him for the first time; I cannot but call it a proud evening for him. Every person in company, except myself, was a tried and loved friend, and he knew how truly I esteemed his character ; there was not, therefore, an individual present, whom he did not know to rejoice in his triumph: and I cannot conceive
what can be called a proud moment, if that be not one, in which a man feels himself surrounded by a group, in whose countenances he can trace a sympathy with his own rejoicing; and where he knows, that, in every heart, however elevated, and however full of frolic and glee, there is, under all its varied emotions, a feeling of delight at his triumph, which ardent and exhilarated spirits cannot and will not chase away.
“ As the night advanced, and as various guests one by one passed away, the conversation began to grow more serious and more interesting. Every one knows how much more full and unrestrained the communion of hearts becomes, according as the social circle narrows. We spoke now no longer on general topics ; I say we, because, with the warmth of our age, and under the enthusiasm of such a time, our friendship had cemented. We spoke of the day's triumph; we made Waller recount the various emotions and alarms which he had experienced; we heard of questions such as struck him for the moment with dismay, and of the animation with which his whole faculties had concentrated themselves, as if into one powerful impulse, and borne him through the difficulty suddenly. These would be details in which the unconcerned reader could feel no interest, so I shall not give them. From speaking of the event of the day, we were drawn on to speak of the future; and it became a general wish, that he would devote himself to the study in which he had made so happy a commencement, and give himself up to the labour of fellowship reading. There were many reasons why his friends urged this upon him. He was of a very religious character, and would be an ornament to the clerical profession: and then, for other professions he seemed little qualified, from his uncommon simplicity of mind and ignorance of the world. He was certainly very agreeable in manner, and possessed of a very high intellect; but he never employed his mental powers in judging of men : and, although he could analyze with equal beauty and precision the characters which history set before him, yet he seemed to lay all this power of judging aside when it was to be employed in the affairs of daily life, and was always likely, from his candour and his unsuspecting temper, to be deceived by the least artful imposture. A fellowship, therefore, it was decided, was the object towards which Waller should look, and a fellowship, in the yielding kindness of his heart, through compliance with his friends' entreaties, he determined to seek.
“ Many a female voice was raised against this decision when it was communicated to his friends in town, for Waller was a very general favourite in female circles. Though his person was rather awkward and heavily formed, yet there was something in his look and air, which said he was a gentleman; and in his countenance there was such an ex
l pression of purity, and intelligence, and enthusiasm, that you never took into account against him the smallness of his eyes, and that the shape of his face was heavy. It was the triumph of mind over matter, and his constant cheerfulness of temper, and easily excitable spirits, did for his features, what they did for every subject he spoke upon, — diffusing their own character and their own light over what might otherwise remain unnoticed or uninteresting. • Is it true,' said a very pretty girl, that Mr. Waller has decided on reading for a fellowship? Mamma said last night that he had, and that he told her so.— I am sure there are men enough to be fellows, and now I suppose he will never come out to a party any more; and if ever we see him, he will be so solemn and so dull, that it would be better to be one of his books than his partner. However, Waller did not in the least alter his manner or disposition. During the day he was faithfully employed in his arduous labours; but the moment night came on, his happy spirits rallied about him, and he was to be seen the most joyous and enlivening member of every circle which was happy enough to have a claim
Mr. Wolfe was at this period of his life far from being in affluent circumstances. An intimate friend and fellow student of his, who, on coming of age, had acquired possession of a little property of four or five hundred pounds in value, warmly and anxiously pressed him to accept a moiety of it