Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/86
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER
By the time of this publication, indeed, it was
has got off the high horse. But it is to be admitted that, in spite of the queer pedantry and the grotesque theories which could flourish in the atmosphere of an old-fashioned country town, there was really a good deal of solid sense, and, what is, perhaps, more unexpected, a capacity for turning out very decent verse translation. Even Carlyle admits that his accounts of Klopstock and Wieland are excellent; and, if the book be taken as contemporary annals instead of philosophic history, it might have passed muster very creditably. Taylor had, at any rate, the merit of studying German industriously for many years under great disadvantages; with little access to books or communication with living representatives of the literature. He had inevitably lost touch of the literary movement, earlier phases of which he describes in rather wooden fashion. His articles, though he never got much recognition as a public teacher, probably did something to spread a certain knowledge of the facts. They were not put together as a book till his powers were declining, and then naturally made a very discontinuous and unequal performance, besides representing an obsolete point of view.