In his student days he had loved music, but he had little more than trifled with it; now, strangely enough, his love, even his understanding, seemed to have grown; and when the violins thrilled all the vast space into life, he was shaken with a passion newly born. All the evening he sat riveted.
Choate was not only thoroughly informed as a student and profound as a reasoner, but his genius produced such a fusion of imagination and understanding as to give creativeness to argumentation and philosophy to treatment of facts.
Out of the book shot a streak of light which grew into a large tree and spread its branches far above the student. Every leaf was alive, and every flower was a beautiful girl's head, some with dark and shining eyes, others with wonderful blue ones. Every fruit was a glittering star, and there was a marvellous music in the student's room.
Born of a respectable family, he had been noted, when a student in this very Groningen where he had now found his grave, for the youthful profligacy of his character. After dissipating his partrimony, he had taken to the sea, the legalized piracy of the mortal struggle with Spain offering a welcome refuge to spendthrifts like himself.
Though the student will not resign himself blindly to any single authority when he may have the advantage of consulting many, he must still be afraid of trusting his own judgment, and of deviating into any track where he cannot find the footsteps of some former master.
The student has already been told that human society is a complex of living organisms, responding now this way, now that, to external stimuli in the environment. These stimuli in the environment we have roughly, but inaccurately, spoken of as causes, though they are not causes in a mechanical sense.
"Look before you leap" is also good advice for impetuous people, who are apt to do a thing rashly and wonder afterwards whether they have done wisely. The most interesting thing about proverbs to the student of words is that they are always made up of simple words such as early peoples always used.
After school-hours the tutor and the student walked and talked, and on Saturdays and Sundays went on excursions through the woods; and to the youth there was given an impulse for a scientific knowledge of birds and flowers and the host of life that thronged the forest.
If it is meant that he should be the type of the modern man of science, Browning has missed his mark, for Paracelsus is in fact almost as much the poet as the man of science; but it is true that the cautious habits of the inductive student of nature were rare among the enthusiastic speculators of Renaissance days, and the Italian successor of Paracelsus Giordano Bruno was in reality, in large measure, what Browning has here conceived and exhibited.
The Encina student who has slaved his uneasy way, with no resources save his willingness to do anything that may help him from one semester to the next, springs exultantly from his alcove, for to-day he has finished the struggle, and there is a good job waiting for him.