Page:A memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
8
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF

the same rich mine, which had before only here and there "cropped out" above the surface.

On the 4th of July, 1787, at the age of little more than seven years, young Lewis David was placed in the institution of the Moravian community at Nazareth, where he continued for eleven years, or until 1798, and where he sedulously availed himself of every opportunity for the acquisition of knowledge. The period of instruction,—as generally happens when parental precept and example have prepared the way for a relish of knowledge,—was to him a season of delight, a scene of his life to which he ever after reverted with peculiar pleasure. Here were formed those habits of practical wisdom, which, when subsequently methodized in the schools of Germany, produced that happy balance of the faculties, without which the most brilliant talents may be wasted, either on ill-directed efforts, or on wild and fanciful theories. His powers of language, and his vein of satirical humour, were at this time occasionally put forth in the form of poetical effusions, turning the fruits of his leisure hours into harmless amusement for his companions.

The apparent facility with which he afterwards composed in the Latin language, induces the belief that his early classical instruction was of a very respectable order, and certain it is that the qualities of his heart were not neglected; his moral character was built on the broad and liberal basis of justice, love and charity so distinctly inculcated in the doctrines of his community.