Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/143

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131
JOWETT'S LIFE

or at least as having been a valuable expounder of some important aspect.

Is any phase of speculation marked by Jowett's personal stamp? That is the question which one naturally asks about a man who is a well-known writer upon philosophy, and one can hardly deny that the answer must be unequivocally in the negative. Jowett's biographers hold that he might have said something very important if he had found time. He had himself a lasting ambition to be a teacher. He had a habit of drawing out plans for future work. At the age of seventy he laid down a scheme for eight years of work: one year upon Plato, two upon Moral Philosophy, two upon a Life of Christ, one upon Sermons, and two upon a History of Early Greek Philosophy. We admire the sanguine spirit of the man; we feel his illusions to be pathetic; we envy the power of believing that at the fag-end of life, tasks can still be achieved which, taken separately, might well require years of devotion at the period of highest vitality. To most of us elders any similar fancies are as impossible as fancies of a sledge-journey to the North Pole. We may most sincerely regret that we cannot cherish them. We might do more