His knowledge of antiquity was so profound as to excite the admiration of all the learned men with whom he discoursed, even when, as in the case of Pius II., they chanced to be his personal enemies.
Aurivillius considered that Pollicipes signatus showed a closer approach to the Balanidae than any other of the Lepadidae, but he, too, in ignorance of the Devonian Protobalanus (Whitf.), discoursed needlessly about the gap in the distribution.
These are twofold: that is to say, a personal name is followed by words indicating the subject-matter, as Marius de Fortuna, from which the contents may easily be guessed, and Sisenna de Historia, most likely a dialogue in which the old annalist of the name was the chief speaker, and discoursed of the principles on which history should be written.
From that position he gradually moved towards pantheism, a way of thought to which he had shown remarkable leanings when, as a schoolboy, he discoursed of Neo-Platonism to Charles Lamb, or - if we may trust his recollection - translated the hymns of Synesius.
"When he happened to be tired by having applied himself too much to his philosophical meditations, he would go downstairs to refresh himself, and discoursed with the Van der Spijcks about anything that might afford matter for an ordinary conversation, and even about trifles.