Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 19th.

Thursday. 21st.

Wednesday. 20th. CFA Wednesday. 20th. CFA
Wednesday. 20th.

My night was not a quiet one. Morning clear, I arose at my usual City hour. After breakfast began a new branch of Study, Aristotle upon Poetical Composition.1 One would suppose I was a Poet from my studies but Nature gave me no flights. It endowed me with a tolerably strait forward sense and middling Judgment which is perhaps more than a counterbalance so far as regards the practical affairs of life. I read Aristotle and Horace to form a critical Judgment, and to apply much of their rules to prose composition, for which they answer equally well. Felt languid and unwell so that my exertions during a considerable part of the morning were lame. I finished a re-composition of my first number against Otis and wrote my Father a letter.2 Mr. Ballister called upon me with a short statement of his Account with my brother, which I inclosed to my Father with an explanation. Mr. Curtis came to ask me to mention an intended visit from himself and Mrs. Boylston on Friday morning. Judge Hall called for general conversation. Nothing was therefore lost of the time, that I could save. But these interruptions from people about my father’s concerns is something of a tax.

Returned to dinner. Afternoon, continued the Letters to Lentulus. There are some pleasures in living in town, but the situation of my Wife at present renders me anxious, and I take less interest in my books. Evening, Mrs. Frothingham called. Read Grimm and the Spectator.


Although there are three editions at MQA of Aristotle’s Poetics published as a separate work, including one in Greek and Latin (Leipzig, 1780) with CFA’s 94bookplate, apparently CFA was reading the text in Batteaux’s Les quatres poëtiques. See entry for 11 Aug., below.