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Home > Mezzofanti > Biography > 1774 to 1798 > Illness

About this period, soon after Mezzofanti had completed his fifteenth year, his health gave way under this long and intense application ; and his constitution for a time was so debilitated, that, at the termination of his course of philosophy, he was compelled to interrupt his studies Note 1; nor was it until about 1793, that he entered upon the theological course, under the direction of the Canon Joachim Ambrosi.

One of his class-fellows, the Abate Monti, the venerable arch-priest of Bagni di Poreta, in the archdiocese of Bologna, still survives and speaks in high terms of the ability which he exhibited. He describes him as a youth of most engaging manners and amiable dispositions - one who, from his habitually serious and recollected, air, might perhaps be noted by strangers for his grave looks, too thoughtful for his years, but who, to his friends, was all gaiety and innocent mirthfulness. Mgr. Monti adds that he was at this time a most laborious student, frequently remaining up whole nights in the library for the purpose of study. His master in moral theology was the Ca-nonico Baccialli, author of a Corpus Theologice Moralis, of some local reputation.

Having completed the course of theology, and also that of canon law, he attended the lectures of the celebrated Jurist, Bonini, on Eoman Law. The great body of the students of the school of Roman Law being laymen, the young ecclesiastic remained a considerable time unobserved and undistinguished in the class ; until, having accidentally attracted the notice of the professor on one occasion, he replied with such promptness and learning to a question which he addressed to him, as at once to establish a reputation ; and Dr. Santagata, who records the circumstance, Note 2 observes that his proficiency in each of his many different studies was almost as great as though he had devoted his undivided attention to that particular pursuit.

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Note 1
Manavit, "Esquisse Historique," p. 12.

Note 2
Santagata'5 " Sermones Duo," p. 173.

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