think, Latin comparatively unimportant: the nearest to a great man the Latins ever produced being Tacitus or Lucretius. No sensible person would take the trouble to master a language in order to gain acquaintance with the second-rate. But new words in Greek were precious to me like new words in English and I used to memorize every passage studded with them save choruses like that of the birds in Aristophanes, where he names birds unfamiliar to me in life.
Smith, I found, knew all such words in both languages. I asked him one day and he admitted that he had read everything in ancient Greek, following the example of Hermann, the famous German scholar, and believed he knew almost every word.
I did not desire any such pedantic perfection. I make no pretension to scholarship of any sort and indeed learning of any kind leaves me indifferent unless it leads to a fuller understanding of beauty or that widening of the spirit by sympathy that is another name for wisdom. But what I wish to emphasize here is that in the first year with Smith I learned by heart dozens of choruses from the Greek dramatists and the whole of the "Apologia" and "Crito" of Plato, having guessed then and still believe that the "Crito" is a model short story, more important than any of even Plato's speculations. Plato and Sophocles! it was worth while spending five years of hard labor to enter into their intimacy and make them sister-spirits of one's soul. Didn't Sophocles give me Antigone, the prototype of the new woman for all time, in her sacred rebellion against hindering laws and thwarting conventions, the eternal model of that dauntless assertion of love that is beyond and above sex, the very heart of the Divine!
And the Socrates of Plato led me to that high place where man becomes God, having learned obed-