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with the stucco Ajaxes and Achilleses about him, looming along the shop shelves, the ambition thus early took possession of him, that he too would design and embody in poetic forms those majestic heroes. His black chalk was at once in his hand, and the enthusiastic boy labored in a divine despair to body forth in visible shapes the actions of the Greeks and Trojans.
Like all youthful efforts, his first designs were crude. The proud father one day showed them to Roubilliac, the sculptor, who turned from them with a contemptuous “Pshaw !” But the boy had the right stuff in him ; he had industry and patience; and he continued to labor incessantly at his books and drawings. He then tried his young powers in modelling figures in plaster of Paris, wax, and clay ; some of these early works are still preserved, not because of their merit, but because they are curious as the first healthy efforts of patient genius. The boy was long before he could walk, and he only learned to do so by hobbling along upon crutches. Hence he could not accompany his father to see the procession at the coronation of George III., but he entreated his father to bring him back one of the coronation medals which were to be distributed amongst the crowd. The pressure was too great to enable the father to obtain one in the scramble, but, not to disappoint the little invalid, he obtained a plated button bearing the stamp of a horse and jockey, which he presented to his son as the coronation medal. His practice at this time was to make impressions of all seals and medals that pleased him; and it was for this that he so much coveted the medal.
His physical health improving, the little Flaxman then threw away his crutches. The kind Mr. Matthews invited him to his house, where his wife explained Homer and Milton to him. They helped him also in his self-culture, giving him lessons in Greek and Latin, the study of which he prosecuted at home. When under Mrs. Matthews, he