We extract the following from an article which appeared some months since in the Portland Orion, which forcibly illustrates, by a reference to well authenticated facts, that man is never too old to learn.
Socrates, at an extreme old age, learned to play on musical instruments. This would look ridiculous for some of the rich old men in our city; especially if they should take into their heads to thrum a guitar under a lady’s window; which Socrates did not, but only learnt to play upon some common instrument of his time – not a guitar – for the purpose of resisting the fear of old age.
Cato, at eighty years of age, thought proper to learn the Greek language. Many of our young men, at thirty and forty, have forgotten even the alphabet of a language, the knowledge of which was necessary to enter college. A fine comment upon their love of letters, truly!
Plutarch was between seventy and eighty, when he commenced the study of the Latin.
Boccaccio was thirty years of age when he commenced his studies in polite literature; yet he became one of the three great masters of the Tuscan dialect, Dante and Petarch being the other two.
Sir Henry Spelman neglected the sciences in his youth, but commenced the study of them when he was between fifty and sixty years old. After this time, he became the most lerned anti-quarian and lawyer.
Colbert, the famous French Minister, at sixty years of age, returned to his Latin and Law studies.
Dr. Johnson applied himself to the Dutch language but a few years before his death.
Franklin did not fully commence his philosophical pursuits, till he had reached his fiftieth year.
Dryden, in his sixty-eighth year, commenced the translation of his Iliad, and his most pleasing productions were written in his old age.
We could go on to cite thousands of examples of men who commenced a new study, and struck out into an entirely new pursuit, either for livelihood or amusement, at an advanced age. But every one familiar with the biography of distinguished men, will recollect individual cases enough to convince him that none but the sick and indolent will ever say, I am too old to learn.
Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The North Star
Date: February 18, 1848
Title: Never too old to learn
Location: Rochester, New York
This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection
. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.