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me; since of the leading branches of science, so far am I from being a master, that I behold them, as it were, through a glass, and with but a distant prospect. I shall, however, strive, as indeed I now do, to become in future such as you represent me to be at present; what you are pleased to think, or at least wish me to be."

The uncommon attainments, and elegant accomplishments of Picus, were, united to such an excellence of disposition, that while they raised the wonder, they at the same time conciliated the esteem of the greatest scholars who had the good fortune of his acquaintance. Persons at a distance, indeed, and who knew him only by report, would hardly credit the astonishing things which were related of his mental powers.

They were even offended with Politian for speaking so highly of the extensive learning of his friend; on which occasion, that generous man took an opportunity of sending to one of his correspondents, an ingenious epistle written by Picus, in which he had ironically defended a certain class of academic philosophers against Hermolaus Barbarus. "From this letter," says Politian, "you will be able to form some estimate of the talents of Picus; yet it is to measure, as the proverb says, Leonem ab unguibus.' He is indeed in the constant habit of writing largely on one important subject or other; as his works, daily maturing for publication," will hereafter convince the world; yet now and then he condescends to

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exercise his pen on these lighter subjects. This very letter, so full, so pointed, so rich in argument, was in a manner the extemporaneous production of a few morning hours. You will, however, see in it select expressions, a truly classical style, attic simplicity, close argument, roundness of period, an agreeable conciseness, a sprightly glow of colouring, happy metaphors, acute reasoning, appropriate elucidation, strong and convincing argument, solidity of judgment, accuracy of discrimination, uncommon force, iugenuity, and dignity."

Such was the praise which Politian bestowed upon this wonderful youth, when writing in a private manner to a learned professor at a distance.

Praise so bestowed, and so deserved, redounds equally to the honour of Picus and his friend.

At the age of twenty-two, Picus quitted the university of Florence, and devoted himself to a branch of study which at that period had scarcely engaged the attention of learned men. Of this he gives the following account in a letter to Ficinus:

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Lately," says he,

"I devoted a whole month of nightly as well as daily application to the Hebrew tongue.' At present I am wholly occupied by the Arabic and Chaldaic; and I do not despair of speedily making the same progress in these languages that I have made in the Hebrew: for in this last I can already dictate a letter, though not with elegance, yet without grammatical inaccuracies.

You see," he adds, "what ardency of desire, aided by labour and diligence, can effect, even where the capacity is not the strongest."

To these exertions Picus declares he was stimulated by obtaining some oriental works of inestimable value, and which were thrown in his way by the peculiar kindness of Providence.

Shortly after this he set out for Rome, where he published nine hundred propositions in almost every science, which he engaged publicly to defend against all opponents whatsoever: and that time might be allowed for the circulation of them through the several universities of Italy, notice was given that the public discussion, would not take place till the feast of Epiphany. A further

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