LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
William Roscoe to Samuel Parr, [March? 1806]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“Your letter found me in conversation with one of the most extraordinary beings that ever occurred to my notice—a poor Welsh fisher-lad, as ragged as a colt, and as uncouth as any being that has a semblance of humanity. But beneath such an exterior is a mind cultivated not only beyond all reasonable expectation, but beyond all probable conception. In his fishing boat on the coast of Wales, at an age little more than twenty, he has acquired the Greek, the Hebrew, and the Latin languages, has read the Iliad, Hesiod, Theocritus, &c. studied the refinements of Greek pronunciation, and examined the connection of that language with the Hebrew. He reads Latin with the utmost facility, and translates it either into Welsh or English. I
asked him whether he knew Italian? Yes, he could read it. I spoke to him in French,—he answered me, and we carried on our conversation in that language.

“He is well disposed, modest, truly pious, and intelligent, but in his exterior motions is certainly like no other creature on earth. He has just entered the room with a wallet of books in all languages, and on my speaking to him, he saluted me with a sort of curtsey, instead of a bow. Yet, the expression of his features speaks his mind; and if shaved and docked, he might not perhaps appear so frightful as at present. He has now left his country, where he says he is persecuted, and thrown himself upon our benevolence, of which he thinks he had some proof, on one of his visits here with fish. What I shall do with him, I know not; but I have promised him help and protection, which he shall have; and if I find I can assist in rendering the very extraordinary talents with which God has been pleased to endow this humble child of indigence useful to himself or others, I shall have no small pleasure in doing it. If, on further experience, I find him as deserving as he seems to be at present, I shall most probably take advantage of your friendship, and intrude upon you for your advice respecting him. At present, I assure you, I think it one of the most extraordinary circumstances that ever fell in my way; but as first
impressions are often incorrect, and I have yet seen but little of him, I will trouble you no longer respecting him at present, than to request your kind permission to mention him to you again should I find him entitled to your advice and favour.”