My day passed in the quiet pursuits which render my Diary so exceedingly monotonous. I finished the Odes of Horace which completed my perusal of the book. It has been tolerably thorough this time, and I have for the first time formed an idea of the peculiar qualities of the Poet. Heretofore I was under an impression derived from some of his Anacreontic Poems, that he was a pleasant, Jovial, Epicurean Poet, but I find him now possessed of the Power to fly high into the sublimest regions of Poetry. He has also one great attribute of a Poet which supplies a wonderful charm to his verses, the faculty of happy application of epithets. This forms the superiority of Byron’s muse over that of all modern Poets and it goes a great way to make the fascination of Shakespear. A single adjective will very often form a picture out of the sentence, and the mind has the pleasure of filling up the outline with as much additional colouring as suits the particular taste of each reader.
The remainder of my time was filled up with my common occupation, examining letters of which I found many additional files. They contain much of the gloomy. My Grandmother’s trials were severe indeed. War, her husband absent a rebel with certain danger to himself of death if he should be taken, her Mother dying, her child very ill, a Servant in the house in the last and most dreadful stage of dysentery which at that time pervaded the Country. She was a wonderful woman to go through it so well—The Country too in an extremely poor condition and depressed by an unequal war. I cannot imagine any thing much more gloomy.1
Evening, My brother John, his Wife and child arrived having been two weeks at Long Branch. He looks out of health, although he has grown stout and fat since I saw him which is now three years.2 Conversation and the Mirror.
Some account of JA2 appears in vol. 1:xxvi; a likeness of him is in vol. 3 along with further observations, p. xv-xviii, xxxi. Since his last visit to Quincy in the summer of 1830 (vol. 3:277) JA2 had been in progressively poorer health, suffering especially with failing eyesight (vol. 4:414, 417; LCA to ABA, 11 Jan. 1833, Adams Papers). Accompanying him and his wife, Mary Catherine, was their daughter Georgeanna Frances, aged two. The older daughter, Mary Louisa, now five, had preceded them to Quincy, coming with LCA (JQA, Diary, 10 May). On all, see Adams Genealogy.